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´╗┐Title: Godolphin, Volume 4.
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
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GODOLPHIN, Volume 4.
By Edward Bulwer Lytton
(Lord Lytton)



It was the evening before Godolphin left Rome.  As he was entering his
palazzo he descried, in the darkness, and at a little distance, a figure
wrapped in a mantle, that reminded him of Lucilla;--ere he could certify
himself, it was gone.

On entering his rooms, he looked eagerly over the papers and notes on his
table: he seemed disappointed with the result, and sat himself down in
moody and discontented thought.  He had written to Lucilla the day before,
a long, a kind, nay, a noble outpouring of his thoughts and feelings.  As
far as he was able to one so simple in her experience, yet so wild in her
fancy, he explained to her the nature of his struggles and his
self-sacrifice.  He did not disguise from her that, till the moment of her
confession, he had never examined the state of his heart towards her; nor
that, with that confession, a new and ardent train of sentiment had been
kindled within him.  He knew enough of women to be aware, that the last
avowal would be the sweetest consolation both to her vanity and her heart.
He assured her of the promises he had received from her relations to grant
her the liberty and the indulgence that her early and unrestrained habits
required; and, in the most delicate and respectful terms, he inclosed an
order for a sum of money sufficient at any time to command the regard of
those with whom she lived, or to enable her to choose, should she so
desire (though he advised her not to adopt such a measure, save for the
most urgent reasons), another residence.  "Send me in return," he said, as
he concluded, "a lock of your hair.  I want nothing to remind me of your
beauty; but I want some token of the heart of whose affection I am so
mournfully proud.  I will wear it as a charm against the contamination of
that world of which you are so happily ignorant--as a memento of one
nature beyond the thought of self--as a surety that, in finding within
this base and selfish quarter of earth, one soul so warm, so pure as
yours, I did not deceive myself, and dream.  If we ever meet again, may
you have then found some one happier than I am, and in his tenderness have
forgotten all of me save one kind remembrance.--Beautiful and dear
Lucilla, adieu!  If I have not given way to the luxury of being beloved by
you, it is because your generous self-abandonment has awakened within a
heart too selfish to others a real love for yourself."

To this letter Godolphin had, hour after hour, expected a reply.  He
received none--not even the lock of hair for which he had pressed.  He was
disappointed--angry, with Lucilla--dissatisfied with himself.  "How
bitterly," thought he, "the wise Saville would smile at my folly!  I have
renounced the bliss of possessing this singular and beautiful being; for
what?--a scruple which she cannot even comprehend, and at which, in her
friendless and forlorn state, the most starched of her dissolute
countrywomen would smile as a ridiculous punctilio.  And, in truth, had I
fled hence with her, should I not have made her through out life
happier--far happier, than she will be now?  Nor would she, in that
happiness, have felt, like an English girl, any pang of shame.  _Here,_
the tie would have never been regarded as a degradation; nor does she,
recurring to the simple laws of nature, imagine than any one _could_ so
regard it.  Besides, inexperienced as she is--the creature of
impulse--will she not fall a victim to some more artful and less generous
lover?--to some one who in her innocence will see only forwardness; and
who, far from protecting her as I should have done, will regard her but as
the plaything of an hour, and cast her forth the moment his passion is
sated!--Sated!  O bitter thought, that the head of another should rest
upon that bosom now so wholly mine!  After all, I have, in vainly adopting
a seeming and sounding virtue, merely renounced my own happiness to leave
her to the chances of being permanently rendered unhappy, and abandoned to
want, shame, destitution, by another!"

These disagreeable and regretful thoughts were, in turn, but weakly
combated by the occasional self-congratulation that belongs to a just or
generous act, and were varied by a thousand conjectures--now of anxiety,
now of anger--as to the silence of Lucilla.  Sometimes he thought---but
the thought only glanced partially across him, and was not distinctly
acknowledged--that she might seek an interview with him ere he departed;
and in this hope he did not retire to rest till the dawn broke over the
ruins of the mighty and breathless city.  He then flung himself on a sofa
without undressing, but could not sleep, save in short and broken

The next day, he put off his departure till noon, still in the hope of
hearing from Lucilla, but in vain.  He could not flatter himself with the
hope that Lucilla did not know the exact time for his journey--he had
expressly stated it.  Sometimes he conceived the notion of seeking her
again; but he knew too well the weakness of his generous resolution; and,
though infirm of thought, was yet virtuous enough in act not to hazard it
to certain defeat.  At length in a momentary desperation, and muttering
reproaches on Lucilla for her fickleness and inability to appreciate the
magnanimity of his conduct, he threw himself into his carriage, and bade
adieu to Rome.

As every grove that the traveller passes on that road was guarded once by
a nymph, so now it is hallowed by a memory.  In vain the air, heavy with
death, creeps over the wood, the rivulet, and the shattered tower;--the
mind will not recur to the risk of its ignoble tenement; it flies back; it
is with the Past!  A subtle and speechless rapture fills and exalts the
spirit.  There--far to the West--spreads that purple sea, haunted by a
million reminiscences of glory; there the mountains, with their sharp and
snowy crests, rise into the bosom of the heavens; on that plain, the
pilgrim yet hails the traditional tomb of the Curiatii and those immortal
Twins who left to their brother the glory of conquest, and the shame by
which it was succeeded: around the Lake of Nemi yet bloom the sacred
groves by which Diana raised Hippolytus again into life.  Poetry, Fable,
History, watch over the land: it is a sepulchre; Death is within and
around it; Decay writes defeature upon every stone; but the Past sits by
the tomb as a mourning angel; a soul breathes through the desolation; a
voice calls amidst the silence.  Every age that bath passed away bath left
a ghost behind it; and the beautiful land seems like that imagined clime
beneath the earth in which man, glorious though it be, may not breathe and
live--but which is populous with holy phantoms and illustrious shades.

On, on sped Godolphin.  Night broke over him as he traversed the Pontine
Marshes.  There, the malaria broods over its rankest venom: solitude hath
lost the soul that belonged to it: all life, save the deadly fertility of
corruption, seems to have rotted away: the spirit falls stricken into
gloom; a nightmare weighs upon the breast of Nature; and over the wrecks
of Time, Silence sits motionless in the arms of Death.

He arrived at Terracina, and retired to rest.  His sleep was filled with
fearful dreams; he woke, late at noon, languid and dejected.  As his
servant, who had lived with him some years, attended him in rising,
Godolphin observed on his countenance that expression common to persons of
his class when they have something which they wish to communicate, and are
watching their opportunity.

"Well, Malden!" said he, "you look important this morning: what has

"E--hem!  Did not you observe, sir, a carriage behind us as we crossed the
marshes?  Sometimes you might just see it at a distance, in the

"How the deuce should I, being within the carriage, see behind me?  No; I
know nothing of the carriage: what of it?"

"A person arrived in it, sir, a little after you--would not retire to
bed--and waits you in your sitting-room."

"A person! what person!"

"A lady, sir,--a young lady;" said the servant, suppressing a smile.

"Good heavens!" ejaculated Godolphin: "leave me."  The valet obeyed.

Godolphin, not for a moment doubting that it was Lucilla who had thus
followed him, was struck to the heart by this proof of her resolute and
reckless attachment.  In any other woman, so bold a measure would, it is
true, have revolted his fastidious and somewhat English taste.  But in
Lucilla, all that might have seemed immodest arose, in reality, from that
pure and spotless ignorance which, of all species of modesty, is the most
enchanting, the most dangerous to its possessor.  The daughter of
loneliness and seclusion--estranged wholly from all familiar or female
intercourse--rather bewildered than in any way enlightened by the few
books of poetry, or the lighter letters, she had by accident read--the
sense of impropriety was in her so vague a sentiment, that every impulse
of her wild and impassioned character effaced and swept it away.  Ignorant
of what is due to the reserve of the sex, and even of the opinions of the
world--lax as the Italian world is on matters of love--she only saw
occasion to glory in her tenderness, her devotion, to one so elevated in
her fancy as the English stranger.  Nor did there--however unconsciously
to herself--mingle a single more derogatory or less pure emotion with her
fanatical worship.

For my own part, I think that few men understand the real nature of a
girl's love.  Arising so vividly as it does from the imagination, nothing
that the mind of the libertine would impute to it ever (or at least in
most rare in stances) sullies its weakness or debases its folly.  I do not
say the love is better for being thus solely the creature of imagination:
I say only, so it is in ninety-nine out of a hundred instances of girlish
infatuation.  In later life, it is different: in the experienced woman,
forwardness is always depravity.

With trembling steps and palpitating heart, Godolphin sought the apartment
in which he expected to find Lucilla.  There, in one corner of the room,
her face covered with her mantle, he beheld her: he hastened to that spot;
he threw himself on his knees before her; with a timid hand he removed the
covering from her face; and through tears, and paleness, and agitation,
his heart was touched to the quick by its soft and loving expression.

"Wilt thou forgive me?" she faltered; "it was thine own letter that
brought me hither.  Now leave me, if thou canst!"

"Never, never!" cried Godolphin, clasping her to his heart.  "It is fated,
and I resist no more.  Love, tend, cherish thee, I will to my last hour.
I will be all to thee that human ties can afford--father, brother,
lover--all but----" He paused; "all but husband," whispered his
conscience, but he silenced its voice.

"I may go with thee!" said Lucilla, in wild ecstasy: that was _her_ only

As, when the notion of escape occurs to the insane, their insanity appears
to cease; courage, prudence, caution, invention (faculties which they knew
not in sounder health), flash upon and support them as by an inspiration;
so, a new genius had seemed breathed into Lucilla by the idea of rejoining
Godolphin.  She imagined--not without justice--that, could she throw in
the way of her return home an obstacle of that worldly nature which he
seemed to dread she should encounter, his chief reason for resisting her
attachment would be removed.  Encouraged by this thought, and more than
ever transported by her love since he had expressed a congenial
sentiment: excited into emulation by the generous tone of his letter, and
softened into yet deeper weakness by its tenderness;--she had resolved
upon the bold step she adopted.  A vetturino lived near the gate of St.
Sebastian: she had sought him; and at sight of the money which Godolphin
had sent her, the vetturino willingly agreed to transport her to whatever
point on the road to Naples she might desire--nay, even to keep pace with
the more rapid method of travelling which Godolphin pursued.  Early on the
morning of his departure, she had sought her station within sight of
Godolphin's palazzo; and ten minutes after his departure the vetturino
bore her, delighted but trembling, on the same road.

The Italians are ordinarily good-natured, especially when they are paid
for it; and courteous to females, especially if they have any suspicion of
the influence of the belle passion.  The vetturino's foresight had
supplied the deficiencies of her inexperience: he had reminded her of the
necessity of procuring her passport; and he undertook that all other
difficulties should solely devolve on him.  And thus Lucilla was now under
the same roof with one for whom, indeed, she was unaware of the sacrifice
she made, but whom, despite of all that clouded and separated their
after-lot, she loved to the last, with a love as reckless and strong as
then--a love passing the love of woman, and defying the common ordinances
of time.

   *   *   *   *   *   *
   *   *   *   *   *   *
   *   *   *   *   *   *

On the blue waters that break with a deep and far voice along the rocks of
that delicious shore, above which the mountain that rises behind Terracina
scatters to the air the odours of the citron and the orange--on that
sounding and immemorial sea the stars, like the hopes of a brighter world
upon the darkness and unrest of life, shone down with a solemn but tender
light.  On that shore stood Lucilla and he--the wandering stranger--in
whom she had hoarded the peace and the hopes of earth.  Hers was the first
and purple flush of the love which has attained its object; that sweet and
quiet fulness of content--that heavenly, all-subduing and subdued delight,
with which the heart slumbers in the excess of its own rapture.  Care--the
forethought of change--even the shadowy and vague mournfulness of
passion--are felt not in those voluptuous but tranquil moments.  Like the
waters that rolled, deep and eloquent, before her, every feeling within
was but the mirror of an all-gentle and cloudless heaven.  Her head
half-declined upon the breast of her young lover, she caught the beating
of his heart, and in it heard all the sounds of what was now become to her
the world.

And still and solitary deepened around them the mystic and lovely night.
How divine was that sense and consciousness of solitude! how, as it
thrilled within them, they clung closer to each other!  Theirs as yet was
that blissful and unsated time when the touch of their hands, clasped
together, was in itself a happiness of emotion too deep for words.  And
ever, as his eyes sought hers, the tears which the sensitiveness of her
frame, in the very luxury of her overflowing heart, called forth,
glittered in the tranquil stars a moment and were kissed away.  "Do not
look up to heaven, my love," whispered Godolphin, "lest thou shouldst
think of any world but this!"

Poor Lucilla! will any one who idly glances over this page sympathise one
moment with the springs of thy brief joys and thy bitter sorrow?  The page
on which, in stamping a record of thee, I would fain retain thy memory
from oblivion; that page is an emblem of thyself;--a short existence;
confounded with the herd to which it has no resemblance, and then, amidst
the rush and tumult of the world, forgotten and cast away for ever!



As, after a long dream, we rise to the occupations of life, even so, with
an awakening and more active feeling, I return from characters removed
from the ordinary world--like Volktman[1] and his daughter--to the
brilliant heroine of my narrative.

There is a certain tone about London society which enfeebles the mind
without exciting it; and this state of temperament, more than all others,
engenders satiety.  In classes that border upon the highest this effect is
less evident; for in them--there is some object to contend for.  Fashion
gives them an inducement.  They struggle to emulate the toga of their
superiors.  It is an ambition of trifle, it is true; but it is still
ambition.  It frets, it irritates, but it keeps them alive.  The great are
the true victims of ennui.  The more firmly seated their rank, the more
established their position, the more their life stagnates into insipidity.
Constance was at the height of her wishes.  No one was so courted, so
adored.  One after one, she had humbled and subdued all those who, before
her marriage, had trampled on her pride--or, who after it, had resisted
her pretensions: a look from her had become a triumph, and a smile
conferred a rank on its receiver.  But this empire palled upon her: of too
large a mind to be satisfied with petty pleasures and unreal distinctions,
she still felt the Something of life was wanting.  She was not blessed or
cursed (as it may be) with children, and she had no companion in her
husband.  There might be times in which she regretted her choice, dazzling
as it had proved;--but she complained not of sorrow, but monotony.

Political intrigue could not fill up the vacuum of which Constance daily
complained; and of private intrigue, the then purity of her nature was
incapable.  When people have really nothing to do, they genrally fall ill
upon it; and at length, the rich colour grew faint upon Lady Erpingham's
cheek; her form wasted; the physicians hinted at consumption, and
recommended a warmer clime.  Lord Erpingham seized at the proposition; he
was fond of Italy; he was bored with England.

Very stupid people often become very musical: it is a sort of pretension
to intellect that suits their capacities.  Plutarch says somewhere that
the best musical instruments are made from the jaw-bones of asses.
Plutarch never made a more sensible observation.  Lord Erpingham had of
late taken greatly to operas: he talked of writing one himself; and not
being a performer, he consoled himself by becoming a patron.  Italy,
therefore, presented to him manifold captivations--he thought of fiddling,
but he talked only of his wife's health.  Amidst the regrets of the London
world, they made their arrangements, and prepared to set out at the end of
the season for the land of Paganini and Julius Caesar.

Two nights before their departure, Lady Erpingham gave a farewell party to
her more intimate acquaintance.  Saville, who always contrived to be well
with every one who was worth the trouble it cost him, was of course among
the guests.  Years had somewhat scathed him since he last appeared on our
stage.  Women had ceased to possess much attraction for his jaded eyes:
gaming and speculation had gradually spread over the tastes once directed
to other pursuits.  His vivacity had deserted him in great measure, as
years and infirmity began to stagnate and knot up the current of his
veins; but conversation still possessed for and derived from him its
wonted attraction.  The sparkling jeu d'esprit had only sobered down into
the quiet sarcasm; and if his wit rippled less freshly to the breeze of
the present moment, it was coloured more richly by the glittering sands
which rolled down from the experience that over shadowed the current.  For
the wisdom of the worldly is like the mountains that, sterile without,
conceal within them unprofitable ore: only the filings and particles
escape to the daylight and sparkle in the wave; the rest wastes idly
within.  The Pactolus takes but the sand-drifts from the hoards lost to
use in the Tmolus.

"And how," said Saville, seating himself by Lady Erpingham, "how shall we
bear London when you are gone?  When society--the everlasting draught--had
begun to pall upon us, you threw your pearl into the cup; and now we are
grown so luxurious, that we shall never bear the wine without the pearl."

"But the pearl gave no taste to the wine: it only dissolved itself--idly,
and in vain."

"Ah, my dear Lady Erpingham, the dullest of us, having once seen the
pearl, could at least imagine that we were able to appreciate the
subtleties of its influence.  Where, in this little world of tedious
realities, can we find anything even to imagine about, when you abandon

"Nay! do you conceive that I am so ignorant of the framework of society as
to suppose that I shall not be easily replaced?  King succeeds king,
without reference to the merits of either: so, in London, idol follows
idol, though one be of jewels and the other of brass.  Perhaps, when I
return, I shall find you kneeling to the dull Lady A----, or worshipping
the hideous Lady Z----."

   "'Le temps assez souvent a rendu legitime
     Ce qui sembloit d'abord ne se pouvoir sans crime;"'

answered Saville with a mock heroic air.  "The fact is, that we are an
indolent people; the person who succeeds the most with us has but to push
the most.  You know how Mrs. ----, in spite of her red arms, her red gown,
her city pronunciation, and her city connexions, managed--by dint of
perseverance alone--to become a dispenser of consequence to the very
countesses whom she at first could scarcely coax into a courtesy.  The
person who can stand ridicule and rudeness has only to desire to become
the fashion--she or he must be so sooner or later."

"Of the immutability of one thing among all the changes I may witness on
my return, at least I am certain no one still will dare to think for
himself.  The great want of each individual is, the want of an opinion!
For instance, who judges of a picture from his own knowledge of painting?
Who does not wait to hear what Mr. ----, or Lord ---- (one of the six or
seven privileged connoisseurs), says of it?  Nay, not only the fate of a
single picture, but of a whole school of painting, depends upon the
caprice of some one of the self-elected dictators.  The King, or the Duke
of ----, has but to love the Dutch school and ridicule the Italian, and
behold a Raphael will not sell, and a Teniers rises into infinite value!
Dutch representations of candlesticks and boors are sought after with the
most rapturous delight; the most disagreeable objects of nature become the
most worshipped treasures of art; and we emulate each other in testifying
our exaltation of taste by contending for the pictured vulgarities by
which taste itself is the most essentially degraded.  In fact, too, the
meaner the object, the more certain it is with us of becoming the rage.
In the theatre, we run after the farce; in painting, we worship the Dutch
school; in----"

"Literature?" said Saville.

"No!--our literature still breathes of something noble; but why?  Because
books do not always depend upon a clique.  A book, in order to succeed,
does not require the opinion of Mr. Saville or Lady Erpingham so much as a
picture or a ballet."

"I am not sure of that," answered Saville, as he withdrew presently
afterwards to a card-table, to share in the premeditated plunder of a
young banker, who was proud of the honour of being ruined by persons of

In another part of the rooms Constance found a certain old philosopher,
whom I will call David Mandeville.  There was something about this man
that always charmed those who had sense enough to be discontented with the
ordinary inhabitants of the Microcosm,--Society.  The expression of his
countenance was different from that of others: there was a breathing
goodness in his face--an expansion of mind on his forehead.  You perceived
at once that he did not live among triflers, nor agitate himself with
trifles.  Serenity beamed from his look--but it was the serenity of
thought.  Constance sat down by him.

"Are you not sorry," said Mandeville, "to leave England?  You, who have
made yourself the centre of a circle which, for the varieties of its
fascination, has never perhaps been equalled in this country?
Wealth--rank--even wit--others might assemble round them: but none ever
before convened into one splendid galaxy all who were eminent in art,
famous in letters, wise in politics, and even (for who but you were ever
above rivalship?) attractive in beauty.  I should have thought it easier
for us to fly from the Armida, than for the Armida to renounce the scene
of her enchantment--the scene in which De Stael bowed to the charms of her
conversation, and Byron celebrated those of her person."

We may conceive the spell Constance had cast around her, when even
philosophy (and Mandeville of all philosophers) had learned to flatter;
but his flattery was sincerity.

"Alas!" said Constance, sighing, "even if your compliment were altogether
true, you have mentioned nothing that should cause me regret.  Vanity is
one source of happiness, but it does not suffice to recompense us for the
absence of all others.  In leaving England, I leave the scene of
everlasting weariness.  I am the victim of a feeling of sameness, and I
look with hope to the prospect of change."

"Poor thing!" said the old philosopher, gazing mournfully on a creature
who, so resplendent with advantages, yet felt the crumpled rose-leaf more
than the luxury of the couch.  "Wherever you go the same polished society
will present to you the same monotony.  All courts are alike: men have
change in action; but to women of your rank all scenes are alike.  You
must not look without for an object--you must create one within.  To be
happy we must render ourselves independent of others."

"Like all philosophers, you advise the impossible," said Constance.

"How so?  Have not the generality of your sex their peculiar object?  One
has the welfare of her children; another the interest of her husband; a
third makes a passion of economy; a fourth of extravagance; a fifth of
fashion; a sixth of solitude.  Your friend yonder is always employed in
nursing her own health: hypochondria supplies her with an object; she is
really happy because she fancies herself ill.  Every one you name has an
object in life that drives away ennui, save yourself."

"I have one too," said Constance, smiling, "but it does not fill up all
the spaces of time.  The intervals between the acts are longer than the
acts themselves."

"Is your object religion?" asked Mandeville, simply.  Constance was
startled: the question was novel.  "I fear not," said she, after a
moment's hesitation, and with a downcast face.

"As I thought," returned Mandeville.  "Now listen.  The reason why you
feel weariness more than those around you, is solely because your mind is
more expansive.  Small minds easily find objects: trifles amuse them; but
a high soul covets things beyond its daily reach; trifles occupy its aim
mechanically; the thought still wanders restless.  This is the case with
you.  Your intellect preys upon itself.  You would have been happier if
your rank had been less;" Constance winced--(she thought of Godolphin);
"for then you would have been ambitious, and aspired to the very rank that
now palls upon you."  Mandeville continued--

"You women are at once debarred from public life and yet influence it.
You are the prisoners, and yet the despots of society.  Have you talents?
it is criminal to indulge them in public; and thus, as talent cannot be
stifled, it is misdirected in private; you seek ascendency over your own
limited circle; and what should have been genius degenerates into cunning.
Brought up from your cradles to dissembling your most beautiful
emotions--your finest principles are always tinctured with artifice.  As
your talents, being stripped of their wings are driven to creep along the
earth, and imbibe its mire and clay; so are your affections perpetually
checked and tortured into conventional paths, and a spontaneous feeling is
punished as a deliberate crime.  You are untaught the broad and sound
principles of life; all that you know of morals are its decencies and
forms.  Thus you are incapable of estimating the public virtues and the
public deficiencies of a brother or a son; and one reason why _we_ have no
Brutus, is because _you_ have no Portia.  Turkey has its seraglio for the
person; but custom in Europe has also a seraglio for the mind."

Constance smiled at the philosopher's passion; but she was a woman, and
she was moved by it.

"Perhaps," said she, "in the progress of events, the state of the women
may be improved as well as that of the men."

"Doubtless, at some future stage of the world.  And believe me, Lady
Erpingham, politician and schemer as you are, that no legislative reform
alone will improve mankind: it is the social state which requires

"But you asked me some minutes since," said Constance, after a pause, "if
the object of my pursuit was religion.  I disappointed but not surprised
you by my answer."

"Yes: you grieved me, because, in your case, religion could alone fill the
dreary vacuum of your time.  For, with your enlarged and cultivated mind,
you would not view the grandest of earthly questions in a narrow and
sectarian light.  You would not think religion consisted in a sanctified
demeanour, in an ostentatious almsgiving, in a harsh judgment of all
without the pale of your opinions.  You would behold in it a benign and
harmonious system of morality, which takes from ceremony enough not to
render it tedious but impressive.  The school of the Bayles and Voltaires
is annihilated.  Men begin now to feel that to philosophise is not to
sneer.  In Doubt, we are stopped short at every outlet beyond the Sensual.
In Belief lies the secret of all our valuable exertion.  Two sentiments
are enough to preserve even the idlest temper from stagnation--a desire
and a hope.  What then can we say of the desire to be useful, and the hope
to be immortal?"

This was language Constance had not often heard before, nor was it
frequent on the lips of him who now uttered it.  But an interest in the
fate and happiness of one in whom he saw so much to admire, had made
Mandeville anxious that she should entertain some principle which he could
also esteem.  And there was a fervour, a sincerity, in his voice and
manner, that thrilled to the very heart of Lady Erpingham.  She pressed
his hand in silence.  She thought afterwards over his words; but worldly
life is not easily accessible to any lasting impressions save those of
vanity and love.  Religion has two sources; the habit of early years, or
the process of after thought.  But to Constance had not been fated the
advantage of the first; and how can deep thought of another world be a
favourite employment with the scheming woman of this?

This is the only time that Mandeville appears in this work: a type of the
rarity of the intervention of religious wisdom on the scenes of real life.

"By the way," said Saville, as, in departing, he encountered Constance by
the door, and made his final adieus; "by the way; you will perhaps meet,
somewhere in Italy, my old young friend, Percy Godolphin.  He has not been
pleased to prate of his whereabout to me; but I hear that he has been seen
lately at Naples."

Constance coloured, and her heart beat violently; but she answered
indifferently, and turned away.

The next morning they set off for Italy.  But within one week from that
day, what a change awaited Constance!

[1] After all, an astrologer,--nay, a cabalist--is not so monstrous a
prodigy in the nineteenth century!  In the year 1801, Lackingtou published
a quarto, entitled _Magus: a Complete System of Occult Philosophy;
treating of Alchemy, the Cabalistic Art, Natural and Celestial Magic,_
&c.--and a very impudent publication it is too.  That Raphael should put
forth astrological manuals is not a proof of his belief in the science he
professes; but that it should _answer_ to Raphael to put them forth, shows
a tendency to belief in his purchasers.



0 much-abused and highly-slandered passion!--passion rather of the soul
than the heart: hateful to the pseudo-moralist, but viewed with favouring,
though not undiscriminating eyes by the true philosopher: bright-winged
and august ambition!  It is well for fools to revile thee, because thou
art liable, like other utilities, to abuse!  The wind uproots the oak--but
for every oak it uproots it scatters a thousand acorns.  Ixion embraced
the cloud, but from the embrace sprang a hero.  Thou, too, hast thy fits
of violence and storm; but without thee, life would stagnate:---thou, too,
embracest thy clouds; but even thy clouds have the demigods for their

It was the great and prevailing misfortune of Godolphin's life, that he
had early taught himself to be superior to exertion.  His talents,
therefore, only preyed on himself; and instead of the vigorous and daring
actor of the world, he was alternately the indolent sensualist or the
solitary dreamer.  He did not view the stir of the great Babel as a man
with a wholesome mind should do; and thus from his infirmities we draw a
moral.  The moral is not the worse, in that it opposes the trite
moralities of those who would take from action its motive: the men of
genius, who are not also men of ambition, are either humourists, or
visionaries, or hypochondriacs.

By the side of one of the Italian lakes, Godolphin and Lucilla fixed their
abode; and here the young idealist for some time imagined himself happy.
Never until now so fond of nature as of cities, he gave himself up to the
enchantment of the Eden around him.  He spent the long sunny hours of
noon on the smooth lake, or among the sheltering trees by which it was
encircled.  The scenes he had witnessed in the world became to him the
food of quiet meditation, and for the first time in his life, thought did
not weary him with its sameness.

When his steps turned homeward, the anxious form of Lucilla waited for
him: her eye brightened at his approach, her spirit escaped restraint and
bounded into joy: and Godolphin, touched by her delight, became eager to
witness it: he felt the magnet of a Home.  Yet as the first enthusiasm of
passion died away, he could not but be sensible that Lucilla was scarcely
a companion.  Her fancy was indeed lively, and her capacity acute; but
experience had set a confined limit to her ideas.  She had nothing save
love, and a fitful temperament, upon which she could draw for
conversation.  Those whose education debars them from deriving instruction
from things, have in general the power to extract amusement from
persons:--they can talk of the ridiculous Mrs. So-and-so, or the absurd
Mr. Blank.  But our lovers saw no society: and thus their commune was
thrown entirely on their internal resources.

There was always that in the peculiar mind of Godolphin which was inclined
towards ideas too refined and subtle even for persons of cultivated
intellect.  If Constance could scarcely comprehend the tone of his
character, we may believe that to Lucilla he was wholly a mystery.  This,
perhaps, enhanced her love, but the consciousness of it disappointed his.
He felt that what he considered the noblest faculties he possessed were
unappreciated.  He was sometimes angry with Lucilla that she loved only
those qualities in his character which he shared with the rest of mankind.
His speculative and Hamlet-like temper--(let us here take Goethe's view of
Hamlet, and combine a certain weakness with finer traits of the royal
dreamer)--perpetually deserted the solid world, and flew to aerial
creations.  He could not appreciate the present.  Had Godolphin loved
Lucilla as he once thought that he should love her, the beauties of her
character would have blinded him to its defects; but its passion had been
too sudden to be thoroughly grounded.  It had arisen from the knowledge of
her affection---not grown step by step from the natural bias of his own.
Between the interval of liking and possession, love (to be durable) should
pass through many stages.  The doubt, the fear, the first pressure of the
hand, the first kiss, each should be an epoch for remembrance to cling to.
In moments of after coolness or anger, the mind should fly from the sated
present to the million tender and freshening associations of the past.
With these associations the affection renews its youth.  How vast a store
of melting reflections, how countless an accumulation of the spells that
preserve constancy, does that love forfeit, in which the memory only
commences with possession!

And the more delicate and thoughtful our nature, the more powerful are
these associations.  Do they not constitute the immense difference between
the love and the intrigue?  All things that savour of youth make our most
exquisite sensations, whether to experience, or recall:--thus, in the
seasons of the year, we prize the spring; and in the effusions of the
heart, the courtship.

Beautiful, too, and tender--wild and fresh in her tenderness--as Lucilla
was, there was that in her character, in addition to her want of
education, which did not wholly accord with Godolphin's preconception of
the being his fancy had conjured up.  His calm and profound nature desired
one in whom he could not only confide, but, as it were, repose.  Thus one
great charm that had attracted him to Constance was the evenness and
smoothness of her temper.  But the self-formed mind of Lucilla was ever in
a bright, and to him a wearying, agitation;--tears and smiles perpetually
chased each other.  Not comprehending his character, but thinking only and
wholly of him, she distracted herself with conjectures and suspicions,
which she was too ingenious and too impassioned to conceal.  After
watching him for hours, she would weep that he did not turn from his books
or his reverie to search also for her, with eyes equally yearning and
tender as her own.  The fear in absence, the absorbed devotion when
present, that absolutely made her existence--she was wretched because he
did not reciprocate with the same intensity of soul.  She could conceive
nothing of love but that which she felt herself; and she saw, daily and
hourly, that in that love he did not sympathise; and therefore she
embittered her life by thinking that he did not return her affection.

"You wrong us both," said he in answer to her tearful accusations; "but
our sex love differently from yours."

"Ah," she replied, "I feel that love has no varieties: there is but one
love, but there may be many counterfeits."

Godolphin smiled to think how the untutored daughter of nature had
unconsciously uttered the sparkling aphorism of the most artificial of
maxim-makers.[1]  Lucilla saw the smile, and her tears flowed instantly.
"Thou mockest me."

"Thou art a little fool," said Godolphin, kindly, and he kissed away the

And this was ever an easy matter.  There was nothing unfeminine or sullen
in Lucilla's irregulated moods; a kind word--a kind caress--allayed them
in an instant, and turned the transient sorrow into sparkling delight.
But they who know how irksome is the perpetual trouble of conciliation to
a man meditative and indolent like Godolphin, will appreciate the pain
that even her tenderness occasioned him.

There in one thing very noticeable in women when they have once obtained
the object of their life--the sudden check that is given to the impulses
of their genius!--Content to have found the realisation of their chief
hope, they do not look beyond to other but lesser objects, as they had
been wont to do before.  Hence we see so many who, before marriage, strike
us with admiration, from the vividness of their talents, and after
marriage settle down into the mere machine.  We wonder that we ever
feared, while we praised, the brilliancy of an intellect that seems now
never to wander from the limits of house and hearth.  So with poor
Lucilla; her restless mind and ardent genius had once seized on every
object within their reach:--she had taught herself music; she had learned
the colourings and lines of art; not a book came in her way, but she would
have sought to extract from it a new idea.  But she was now with
Godolphin, and all other occupations for thought were gone; she had
nothing beyond his love to wish for, nothing beyond his character to
learn.  He was the circle of hope, and her heart its centre; all lines
were equal to that heart, so that they touched him.  It is clear that this
devotion prevented her, however, from fitting herself to be his companion;
she did not seek to accomplish herself, but to study him: thus in her
extreme love was another reason why that love was not adequately returned.

But Godolphin felt all the responsibility that he had taken on himself.
He felt how utterly the happiness of this poor and solitary child--for a
child she was in character, and almost in years--depended upon him.  He
roused himself, therefore, from his ordinary selfishness, and rarely, if
ever, gave way to the irritation which she unknowingly but constantly kept
alive.  The balmy and delicious climate, the liquid serenity of the air,
the majestic repose with which Nature invested the loveliness that
surrounded their home, contributed to soften and calm his mind.  And he
had persuaded Lucilla to look without despair upon his occasional although
short absences.  Sometimes he passed two or three weeks at Rome, sometimes
at Naples or Florence.  He knew so well how necessary such intervals of
absence are to the preservation of love, to the defeat of that satiety
which creeps over us with custom, that he had resolutely enforced it as a
necessity, although always under the excuse of business--a plea that
Lucilla could understand and not resist; for the word business seemed to
her like destiny--a call that, however odious, we cannot disobey.  At
first, indeed, she was disconsolate at the absence only of two days; but
when she saw how eagerly her lover returned to her, with what a fresh
charm he listened to her voice or her song, she began to confess that even
in the evil might be good.

By degrees he accustomed her to longer intervals; and Lucilla relieved the
dreariness of the time by the thousand little plans and surprises with
which women delight in receiving the beloved wanderer after absence.  His
departure was a signal for a change in the house, the gardens, the arbour;
and when she was tired with these occupations, she was not forbidden at
least to write to him and receive his letters.  Daily intoxication! and
men's words are so much kinder when written, than they are when uttered!
Fortunately for Lucilla, her early habits, and her strange qualities of
mind, rendered her independent of companionship, and fond of solitude.

Often Godolphin, who could not conceive how persons without education
could entertain themselves, taking pity on her loneliness and seclusion,
would say,

"But how, Lucilla, have you passed this long day that I have spent away
from you?--among the woods or on the lake?"

And Lucilla, delighted to recount to him the history of her hours, would
go over each incident, and body forth every thought that had occurred to
her, with a grave and serious minuteness that evinced her capabilities of
dispensing with the world.

In this manner they passed somewhat more than two years: and in spite of
the human alloy, it was perhaps the happiest period of Godolphin's life,
and the one that the least disappointed his too exacting imagination.
Lucilla had had one daughter, but she died a few weeks after birth.  She
wept over the perished flower, but was not inconsolable; for, before its
loss, she had taught herself to think no affliction could be irremediable
that did not happen to Godolphin.  Perhaps Godolphin was the more grieved
of the two; men of his character are fond of the occupation of watching
the growth of minds; they put in practice their chimeras of education.
Happy child, to have escaped an experiment!

It was the eve before one of Godolphin's periodical excursions, and it was
Rome that he proposed to visit; Godolphin had lingered about the lake
until the sun had set; and Lucilla, grown impatient, went forth to seek
him.  The day had been sultry, and now a sombre and breathless calm hung
over the deepening eve.  The pines, those gloomy children of the forest,
which shed something of melancholy and somewhat of sternness over the
brighter features of an Italian landscape, drooped heavily in the
breezeless air.  As she came on the border of the lake, its waves lay dark
and voiceless; only, at intervals, the surf, fretting along the pebbles
made a low and dreary sound, or from the trees some lingering songster
sent forth a shrill and momentary note, and then again all became

     "An atmosphere without a breath, A silence sleeping there."

There was a spot where the trees, receding in a ring, left some bare and
huge fragments of stone uncovered by verdure.  It was the only spot around
that rich and luxuriant scene that was not in harmony with the soft spirit
of the place: might I indulge a fanciful comparison, I should say that it
was like one desolate and grey remembrance in the midst of a career of
pleasure.  On this spot Godolphin now stood alone, looking along the still
and purple waters that lay before him.  Lucilla, with a light step,
climbed the rugged stones, and, touching his shoulder, reproached him with
a tender playfulness for his truancy.

"Lucilla," said he, when peace was restored, "what impressions does this
dreary and prophetic pause of nature before the upgathering of the storm,
create in you?  Does it inspire you with melancholy, or thought, or fear?"

"I see my star," answered Lucilla, pointing to a far and solitary orb,
which hung islanded in a sea of cloud, that swept slowly and blackly
onward:--"I see my star, and I think more of that little light than of the
darkness around it."

"But it will presently be buried among the clouds," said Godolphin,
smiling at that superstition which Lucilla had borrowed from her father.

"But the clouds pass away, and the star endures."

"You are of a sanguine nature, my Lucilla."  Lucilla sighed.

"Why that sigh, dearest?"

"Because I am thinking how little even those who love us most know of us!
I never tell my disquiet and sorrow.  There are times when thou wouldst
not think me too warmly addicted to hope!"

"And what, poor idler, have you to fear?"

"Hast thou never felt it possible that thou couldst love me less?"


Lucilla raised her large searching eyes, and gazed eagerly on his face;
but in its calm features and placid brow she saw no ground for augury,
whether propitious or evil.  She turned away.

"I cannot think, Lucilla," said Godolphin, "that you ever direct those
thoughts of yours, wandering though they be, to the future.  Do they ever
extend to the space of some ten or twenty years?"

"No.  But one year may contain the whole history of my future."

As she spoke, the clouds gathered round the solitary star to which Lucilla
had pointed.  The storm was at hand; they felt its approach, and turned

There is something more than ordinarily fearful in the tempests that visit
those soft and garden climes.  The unfrequency of such violent changes in
the mood of nature serves to appal us as with an omen; it is like a sudden
affliction in the midst of happiness--or a wound from the hand of one we
love.  For the stroke for which we are not prepared we have rather
despondency than resistance.

As they reached their home, the heavy rain-drops began to fall.  They
stood for some minutes at the casement, watching the coruscations of the
lightning as it played over the black and heavy waters of the lake.
Lucilla, whom the influences of nature always strangely and mysteriously
affected, clung pale and almost trembling to Godolphin; but even in her
fear there was delight in being so near to him in whose love alone she
thought there was protection.  Oh what luxury so dear to a woman as is the
sense of dependence!  Poor Lucilla! it was the last evening she ever
spent with one whom she worshipped so entirely.

Godolphin remained up longer than Lucilla.  When he joined her in her
room, the storm had ceased; and he found her standing by the open window,
and gazing on the skies that were now bright and serene.  Far in the deep
stillness of midnight crept the waters of the lake, hushed once more into
silence, and reflecting the solemn and unfathomable stars.  That chain of
hills, which but to name, awakens countless memories of romance, stretched
behind--their blue and dim summits melting into the skies, and over one
higher than the rest, paused the new risen moon, silvering the first
beneath, and farther down, breaking with one long and yet mellower track
of light over the waters of the lake.

As Godolphin approached he did so, unconsciously, with a hushed and
noiseless step.  There is something in the quiet of nature like worship;
it is as if, from the breathless heart of Things, went up a prayer or a
homage to the Arch-Creator.  One feels subdued by a stillness so utter and
so august; it extends itself to our own sensations, and deepens into an

Both, then, looked on in silence, indulging it may be different thoughts.
At length, Lucilla said softly:--"Tell me, hast thou really no faith in my
father's creed?  Are the stars quite dumb?  Is there no truth in their
movements, no prophecy in their lustre?"

"My Lucilla, reason and experience tell us that the astrologers nurse a
dream that has no reality."

"Reason! well!--Experience!--why, did not thy father's mortal illness
hurry thee from home at the very time in which mine foretold thy departure
and its cause?  I was then but a child; yet I shall never forget the
paleness of thy cheek when my father uttered his prediction."

"I, too, was almost a child then, Lucilla."

"But that prediction was verified?"

"It was so; but how many did Volktman utter that were never verified?  In
true science there are no chances--no uncertainties."

"And my father," said Lucilla, unheeding the answer, "always foretold that
thy lot and mine were to be entwined."

"And the prophecy, perhaps, disposed you to the fact.  You might never
have loved me, Lucilla, if your thoughts had not been driven to dwell upon
me by the prediction."

"Nay; I thought of thee before I heard the prophecy."

"But your father foretold me, dearest--cross and disappointment in my
love--was he not wrong? am I not blest with you?"

Lucilla threw herself into her lover's arms, and, as she kissed him,
murmured, "Ah, if I could make thee happy!"  The next day Godolphin
departed for Rome.  Lucilla was more dejected at his departure than she
had been even in his earliest absence.  The winter was now slowly
approaching, and the weather was cold and dreary.  That year it was
unusually rainy and tempestuous, and as the wild gusts howled around her
solitary home--how solitary now!--or she heard the big drops hurrying down
on the agitated lake, she shuddered at her own despondent thoughts, and
dreaded the gloom and loneliness of the lengthened night.  For the first
time since she had lived with Godolphin she turned, but disconsolately, to
the company of books.

Works of all sorts filled their home, but the spell that once spoke to her
from the page was broken.  If the book was not of love, it possessed no
interest;--if of love, she thought the description both tame and false.
No one ever painted love so as fully to satisfy another:--to some it is
too florid--to some too commonplace; the god, like other gods, has no
likeness on earth, and every wave on which the star of passion beams,
breaks the lustre into different refractions of light.

As one day she was turning listlessly over some books that had been put
aside by Godolphin in a closet, and hoping to find one that contained, as
sometimes happened, his comments or at least his marks--she was somewhat
startled to find among them several volumes which she remembered to have
belonged to her father.  Godolphin had bought them after Volktman's death,
and put them by as relics of his singular friend, and as samples of the
laborious and selfwilled aberration of the human intellect.

Few among these works could Lucilla comprehend, for they were chiefly in
other tongues than the only two with which she was acquainted.  But some,
among which were manuscripts by her father, beautifully written, and
curiously ornamented (some of the chief works on the vainer sciences are
only to be found in manuscript), she could contrive to decipher by a
little assistance from her memory, in recalling the signs and
hieroglyphics which her father had often explained to her, and, indeed,
caused her to copy out for him in his calculations.  Always possessing an
untaxed and unquestioned belief in the astral powers, she now took some
interest in reading of their mysteries.  Her father, secretly, perhaps,
hoping to bequeath his name to the gratitude of some future Hermes, had in
his manuscripts reduced into a system many scattered theories of others,
and many dogmas of his own.  Over these, for they were simpler and easier
than the crabbed and mystical speculations in the printed books, she more
especially pored; and she was not sorry at finding fresh reasons for her
untutored adoration of the stars and apparitions of the heavens.

Still, however, these bewildering researches made but a small part,
comparatively speaking, of the occupation of her thoughts.  To write to,
and hear from, Godolphin had become to her more necessary than ever, and
her letters were fuller and more minute in their details of love than even
in the period of their first passion.  Wouldst thou know if the woman thou
lovest still loves thee, trust not her spoken words, her present smiles;
examine her letters in absence, see if she dwells, as she once did, upon
trifles--but trifles relating to thee.  The things which the indifferent
forget are among the most treasured meditations of love.

But Lucilla was not satisfied with the letters--frequent as they
were--that she received in answer; they were kind, affectionate, but the
something was wanting.  "The best part of beauty is that which no picture
can express."  That which the heart most asks is that which no words
can convey.  Honesty--patriotism--religion--these have had their
hypocrites for life;--but passion permits only momentary dissemblers.

[1] Rochefoucauld.



Godolphin arrived at Rome: it was thronged with English.  Among them were
some whom he remembered with esteem in England.  He had grown a little
weary of his long solitude, and he entered with eagerness into the society
of those who courted him.  He was still an object of great interest to the
idle; and as men grow older they become less able to dispense with

He was pleased to find his own importance, and he tasted the sweets of
companionship with more gust than he had yet done.  His talents, buried
in obscurity, and uncalled for by the society of Lucilla, were now
perpetually tempted into action, and stimulated by reward.  It had never
before appeared to him so charming a thing to shine; for, before, he had
been sated with even that pleasure.  Now, from long relaxation, it had
become new; vanity had recovered its nice perception.  He was no longer so
absorbed as he had been by visionary images.  He had given his fancy food
in his long solitude, and with its wild co-mate; and being somewhat
disappointed in the result, the living world became to him a fairer
prospect than it had seemed while the world of imagination was untried.
Nothing more confirms the health of the mind than indulging its favourite
infirmity to its own cure.  So Goethe, in his memoirs, speaking of
Werther, remarks, that "the composition of that extravagant work cured his
character of extravagance."

Godolphin thought often of Lucilla; but perhaps, if the truth of his heart
were known even to himself, a certain sentiment of pain and humiliation
was associated with the tenderness of his remembrance.  With her he had
led a life, romantic, it is true, but somewhat effeminate; and he thought
now, surrounded by the gay and freshening tide of the world, somewhat
mawkish in its romance.  He did not experience a desire to return to the
still lake and the gloomy pines;--he felt that Lucilla did not suffice to
make his world.  He would have wished to bring her to Rome; to live with
her more in public than he had hitherto done; to conjoin, in short, her
society, with the more recreative dissipation of the world: but there were
many obstacles to this plan in his fastidious imagination.  So new to the
world, its ways, its fashions, so strange and infantine in all things, as
Lucilla was, he trembled to expose her inexperience to the dangers that
would beset it.  He knew that his "friends" would pay very little respect
to her reserve; and that for one so lovely and unhackneyed, the snares of
the wildest and most subtle adepts of intrigue would be set.  Godolphin
did not undervalue Lucilla's pure and devoted heart; but he knew that the
only sure antidote against the dangers of the world is the knowledge of
the world.  There was nothing in Lucilla that ever promised to attain that
knowledge; her very nature seemed to depend on her ignorance of the nature
of others.  Joined to this fear and a confused sentiment of delicacy
towards her, a certain remorseful feeling in himself made him dislike
bringing their connexion immediately before the curious and malignant
world: so much had circumstance, and Lucilla's own self-willed temper and
uncalculating love, contributed to drive the poor girl into his arms,--and
so truly had he chosen the generous not the selfish part, until passion
and nature were exposed to a temptation that could have been withstood by
none but the adherent to sterner principles than he (the creature of
indolence and feeling) had ever clung to--that Godolphin, viewing his
habits--his education--his whole bias and frame of mind--the estimates and
customs of the world--may not, perhaps be very rigidly judged for the
nature of his tie to Lucilla.  But I do not seek to excuse it, nor did he
wholly excuse it to himself.  The image of Volktman often occurred to him,
and always in reproach.  Living with Lucilla in a spot only trod by
Italians, so indulgent to love, and where the whisper of shame could never
reach her ear, or awaken his remorse, her state did not, however, seem to
her or himself degraded, and the purity of her girlish mind almost forbade
the intrusion of the idea.  But to bring her into public--among his own
countrymen--and to feel that the generous and devoted girl, now so
unconscious of sin, would be rated by English eyes with the basest and
most abandoned of the sex,--with the glorifiers in vice or the hypocrites
for money,--this was a thought which he could not contemplate, and which
he felt he would rather pass his life in solitude than endure.  But this
very feeling gave an embarrassment to his situation with Lucilla, and yet
more fixedly combined her image with that of a wearisome seclusion and an
eternal ennui.

From the thought of Lucilla, coupled with its many embarrassments,
Godolphin turned with avidity to the easy enjoyments of life--enjoyments
that ask no care and dispense with the trouble of reflection.

But among the visitors to Rome, the one whose sight gave to Godolphin the
greatest pleasure was his old friend Augustus Saville.  A decaying
constitution, and a pulmonary attack in especial, had driven the
accomplished voluptuary to a warmer climate.  The meeting of the two
friends was quite characteristic: it was at a soiree at an English house.
Saville had managed to get up a whist-table.

"Look, Saville, there is Godolphin, your old friend!" cried the host, who
was looking on the game, and waiting to cut in.

"Hist!" said Saville; "don't direct his attention to me until after the
odd trick!"

Notwithstanding this coolness when a point was in question, Saville was
extremely glad to meet his former pupil.  They retired into a corner of
the room, and talked over the world.  Godolphin hastened to turn the
conversation on Lady Erpingham.

"Ah!" said Saville, "I see from your questions, and yet more your tone of
voice, that although it is now several years since you met, you still
preserve the sentiment--the weakness--Ah!--bah!"

"Pshaw!" said Godolphin; "I owe her revenge, not love.  But Erpingham?
Does she love him?  He is handsome."

"Erpingham?  What--you have not heard----"

"Heard what?"

"Oh, nothing: but, pardon me, they wait for me at the card-table.  I
should like to stay with you, but you know one must not be selfish; the
table would be broken up without me.  No virtue without

"But one moment.  What is the matter with the Erpinghams? have they

"Quarrelled?--bah!  Quarrelled--no; I dare say she likes him better now
than ever she did before."  And Saville limped away to the table.

Godolphin remained for some time abstracted and thoughtful.  At length,
just as he was going away, Saville, who, having an unplayable hand and a
bad partner, had somewhat lost his interest in the game, looked up and
beckoned to him.

"Godolphin, my clear fellow, I am to escort a lady to see the lions
to-morrow; a widow--a rich widow; handsome, too.  Do, for charity's sake,
accompany us, or meet us at the Colosseum.  How well that sounds--eh?
About two."

Godolphin refused at first, but being pressed, assented.

Not surrounded by the lesser glories of modern Rome, but girt with the
mighty desolation of the old city of Romulus, stands the most wonderful
monument, perhaps, in the world, of imperial magnificence--the Flavian
Amphitheatre, to which, it has been believed, the colossal statue of the
worst of emperors gave that name (the Colosseum), allied with the least
ennobling remembrances yet giving food to the loftiest thoughts.  The
least ennobling remembrances; for what can be more degrading than the
amusements of a degraded people, who reserved meekness for their tyrants,
and lavished ferocity on their shows?  From that of the wild beast to that
of the Christian martyr, blood has been the only sanctification of this
temple to the Arts.  The history of the Past broods like an air over those
mighty arches; but Memory can find no reminiscence worthy of the spot.
The amphitheatre was not built until history had become a record of the
vice and debasement of the human race.  The Faun and the Dryad had
deserted the earth, no sweet superstition, the faith of the grotto and the
green hill, could stamp with a delicate and undying spell the labours of
man.  Nor could the ruder but august virtues of the heroic age give to the
tradition of the arch and column some stirring remembrance or exalting
thought.  Not only the warmth of fancy, but the greatness of soul was
gone; the only triumph left to genius was to fix on its page the gloomy
vices which made the annals of the world.  Tacitus is the Historian of the
Colosseum.  But the very darkness of the past gives to the thoughts
excited within that immense pile a lofty but mournful character.  A sense
of vastness--for which, as we gaze, we cannot find words, but which
bequeaths thoughts that our higher faculties would not willingly
forego--creeps within us as we gaze on this Titan relic of gigantic crimes
for ever passed away from the world.

And not only within the scene, but around the scene, what voices of old
float upon the air?  Yonder the triumphal arch of Constantine, its
Corinthian arcades, and the history of Trajan sculptured upon its marble;
the dark and gloomy verdure of the Palatine; the ruins of the palace of
the Caesars; the mount of Fable, of Fame, of Luxury (the Three Epochs of
Nations); the habitation of Saturn; the home of Tully; the sight of the
Golden House of Nero!  Look at your feet,--look around; the waving weed,
the broken column--Time's witness, and the Earthquake's.  In that contrast
between grandeur and decay,--in the unutterable and awful solemnity that,
while rife with the records of past ages, is sad also with their ravage,
you have felt the nature of eternity!

Through this vast amphitheatre, and giving way to such meditations,
Godolphin passed on alone, the day after his meeting with Saville; and at
the hour he had promised the latter to seek him, he mounted the wooden
staircase which conducts the stranger to the wonders above the arena, and
by one of the arches that looked over the still pines that slept afar off
in the sun of noon, he saw a female in deep mourning, whom Saville
appeared to be addressing.  He joined them; the female turned round, and
he beheld, pale and saddened, but how glorious still, the face of
Constance!  To him the interview was unexpected, by her foreseen.  The
colour flushed over her cheek, the voice sank inaudible within.  But
Godolphin's emotion was more powerful and uncontrolled: violent tremblings
literally shook him as he stood; he gasped for breath: the sight of the
dead returned to earth would have affected him less.

In this immense ruin--in the spot where, most of earth, man feels the
significance of an individual life, or of the rapid years over which it
extends, he had encountered, suddenly, the being who had coloured all his
existence.  He was reminded at once of the grand epoch of his life and of
its utter unimportance.  But these are the thoughts that would occur
rather to us than him.  Thought at that moment was an intolerable flash
that burst on him for an instant, and then left all in darkness.  He clung
to the shattered corridor for support.  Constance seemed touched and
surprised by so overwhelming an emotion, and the habitual hypocrisy in
which women are reared, and by which they learn to conceal the sentiments
they experience, and affect those they do not, came to her assistance and
his own.

"It is many years, Mr. Godolphin," said she in a collected but soft voice,
"since we met."

"Years!" repeated Godolphin, vaguely; and approaching her with a slow and
faltering step.  "Years! you have not numbered them!"

Saville had retired a few steps on Godolphin's arrival, and had watched
with a sardonic yet indifferent smile the proof of his friend's weakness.
He joined Godolphin, and said,--

"You must forgive me, my dear Godolphin, for not apprising you before of
Lady Erpingham's arrival at Rome.  But a delight is perhaps the greater
for being sudden."

The word Erpingham thrilled displeasingly through Godolphin's veins; in
some measure it restored him to himself.  He bowed coldly, and muttered a
few ceremonious words; and while he was yet speaking, some stragglers that
had belonged to Lady Erpingham's party came up.  Fortunately, perhaps, for
the self-possession of both, they, the once lovers, were separated from
each other.  But whenever Constance turned her glance to Godolphin, she
saw those large, searching, melancholy eyes, whose power she well
recalled, fixed unmovingly on her, as seeking to read in her cheek the
history of the years which had ripened its beauties--for another.



"Good Heavens!  Constance Vernon once more free!"

"And did you not really know it?  Your retreat by the lake must have been
indeed seclusion.  It is seven months since Lord Erpingham died."

"Do I dream?" murmured Godolphin, as he strode hurriedly to and fro the
apartment of his friend.

Saville, stretched on the sofa, diverted himself with mixing snuffs on a
little table beside him.  Nothing is so mournfully amusing in life as to
see what trifles the most striking occurrences to us appear to our

"But," said Saville, not looking up, "you seem very incurious to know how
he died, and where.  You must learn that Erpingham had two ruling
passions--one for horses, the other for fiddlers.  In setting off for
Italy he expected, naturally enough, to find the latter, but he thought he
might as well export the former.  He accordingly filled the vessel with
quadrupeds, and the second day after landing he diverted the tedium of a
foreign clime with a gentle ride.  He met with a fall, and was brought
home speechless.  The loss of speech was not of great importance to his
acquaintance; but he died that night, and the loss of his life was! for he
gave very fair dinners--ah,--bah!"  And Saville inhaled the fragrance of a
new mixture.

Saville had a very pleasant way of telling a story, particularly if it
related to a friend's death, or some such agreeable incident.  "Poor Lady
Erpingham was exceedingly shocked; and well she might be, for I don't
think weeds become her.  She came here by slow stages, in order that the
illustrious Dead might chase away the remembrance of the deceased."

Your heart has not improved, Saville."

"Heart!  What's that?  Oh, a thing servant-maids have, and break for John
the footman.  Heart! my dear fellow, you are turned canter, and make use
of words without meaning."

Godolphin was not prepared for a conversation of this order; and Saville,
in a somewhat more serious air, continued:--"Every person, Godolphin,
talks about the world.  The world! it conveys different meanings to each,
according to the nature of the circle which makes his world.  But we all
agree in one thing,--the worldliness of the world.  Now, no man's world is
so void of affection as ours--the polished, the courtly, the great world:
the higher the air, the more pernicious to vegetation.  Our very charm,
our very fascination, depends upon a certain mockery; a subtle and fine
ridicule on all persons and all things constitutes the essence of our
conversation.  Judge if that tone be friendly to the seriousness of the
affections.  Some poor dog among us marries, and household plebeianisms
corrupt the most refined.  Custom attaches the creature to his ugly wife
and his squalling children; he grows affectionate, and becomes out of
fashion.  But we single men, dear Godolphin, have no one to care for but
ourselves: the deaths that happen, unlike the ties that fall from the
married men, do not interfere with our domestic comforts.  We miss no one
to make our tea, or give us our appetite-pills before dinner.  Our losses
are not intimate and household.  We shrug our shoulders and are not a whit
the worse for them.  Thus, for want of grieving, and caring, and fretting,
we are happy enough to grow--come, I will use an epithet to please
you--hard-hearted!  We congeal into philosophy; and are we not then wise
in adopting this life of isolation and indifference?"

Godolphin, wrapt in reflection, scarcely heeded the voluptuary, but
Saville continued: he had grown to that height in loneliness that he even
loved talking to himself.

"Yes, wise!  For this world is so filled with the selfish,  that he who is
not so labours under a disadvantage.  Nor are we the worse for our apathy.
If we jest at a man's misfortune, we do not do it to his face.  Why not
out of the ill, which is misfortune, extract good, which is amusement?
Three men in this room are made cheerful by a jest at a broken leg in the
next.  Is the broken leg the worse for it?  No; but the three men are made
merry by the jest.  Is the jest wicked, then?  Nay, it is benevolence.
But some cry, 'Ay, but this habit of disregarding misfortunes blunts your
wills when you have the power to relieve them.' Relieve! was ever such
delusion?  What can we relieve in the vast mass of human misfortunes?  As
well might we take a drop from the ocean, and cry, 'Ha, ha! we have
lessened the sea!'  What are even your public charities? what your best
institutions?  How few of the multitude are relieved at all; how few of
that few relieved permanently!  Men die, suffer, starve just as soon, and
just as numerously; these public institutions are only trees for the
public conscience to go to roost upon.  No, my dear fellow, everything I
see in the world says, Take care of thyself.  This is the true moral of
life; every one who minds it gets on, thrives, and fattens; they who
don't, come to us to borrow money, if gentlemen; or fall upon the parish,
if plebeians.  I mind it, my dear Godolphin; I have minded it all my life;
I am very contented--content is the sign of virtue,--ah,--bah!"

Yes; Constance was a widow.  The hand of her whom Percy Godolphin had
loved so passionately, and whose voice even now thrilled to his inmost
heart, and awakened the echoes that had slept for years, it was once more
within her power to bestow, and within his to demand.  What a host of
emotions this thought gave birth to!  Like the coming of the Hindoo god,
she had appeared, and lo, there was a new world!  "And her look," he
thought, "was kind, her voice full of a gentle promise, her agitation was
visible.  She loves me still.  Shall I fly to her feet?  Shall I press for
hope?  And, oh what, what happiness!----but Lucilla!"

This recollection was indeed a barrier that never failed to present itself
to every prospect of hope and joy which the image of Constance coloured
and called forth.  Even for the object of his first love, could he desert
one who had forsaken all for him, whose life was wrapt up in his
affection?  The very coolness with which he was sensible he had returned
the attachment of this poor girl made him more alive to the duties he owed
her.  If not bound to her by marriage, he considered with a
generosity--barely, in truth, but justice, yet how rare in the world--that
the tie between them was sacred, that only death could dissolve it.  And
now that tie was, perhaps, all that held him from attaining the dream of
his past life.

Absorbed in these ideas, Godolphin contrived to let Saville's
unsympathising discourse glide unheeded along, without reflecting its
images on the sense, until the name of Lady Erpingham again awakened his

"You are going to her this evening," said Saville; "and you may thank me
for that; for I asked you if you were thither bound in her hearing, in
order to force her into granting you an invitation.  She only sees her
most intimate friends--you, me, and Lady Charlotte Deerham.  Widows are
shy of acquaintance during their first affliction.  I always manage,
however, to be among the admitted--caustic is good for some wounds."

"Nay," said Godolphin, smiling, "it is your friendly disposition that
makes them sure of sympathy."

"You have hit it.  But," continued Saville, "do you think Madame likely to
marry again, or shall you yourself adventure?  Erpingham has left her
nearly his whole fortune."

Irritated and impatient at Saville's tone, Godolphin rose.  "Between you
and me," said Saville, in wishing him goodbye, "I don't think she will
ever marry again.  Lady Erpingham is fond of power and liberty; even the
young Godolphin--and you are not so handsome as you were--will find it a
hopeless suit."

"Pshaw!" muttered Godolphin, as he departed.  But the last words of
Saville had created a new feeling in his breast.  It was then possible,
nay, highly probable, that he might have spared himself the contest he
had undergone, and that the choice between Lucilla and Constance might
never be permitted him.  "At all events," said he, almost aloud, "I will
see if this conjecture be true: if Constance, yet remembering our early
love, yet feeling for the years of secret pining which her ambition
bequeathed me, should appear willing to grant me the atonement fate has
placed within her power, then, then, it will be time for this

The social relations of the sex often make men villanous--they more often
make them weak.



Constances's heart was in her eyes when she saw Godolphin that evening.
She had, it is true, as Saville observed, been compelled by common
courtesy to invite him; and although there was an embarrassment in their
meeting, who shall imagine that it did not bring to Constance more of
pleasure than pain?  She had been deeply shocked by Lord Erpingham's
sudden death: they had not been congenial minds, but the great have an
advantage denied to the less wealthy orders.  Among the former, a husband
and wife need not weary each other with constant companionships; different
establishments, different hours, different pursuits, allow them to pass
life in great measure apart, so that there is no necessity for hatred, and
indifference is the coldest feeling which custom induces.

Still in the prime of youth and at the zenith of her beauty, Constance was
now independent.  She was in the enjoyment of the wealth and rank her
early habits of thought had deemed indispensable, and she now for the
first time possessed the power of sharing them with whom she pleased.  At
this thought how naturally her heart flew back to Godolphin!  And while
she now gazed, although by stealth, at his countenance, as he sat at a
little distance from her, and in his turn watched for the tokens of past
remembrance, she was deeply touched by the change (light as it seemed to
others) which years had brought to him; and in recalling the emotion he
had testified at meeting her, she suffered her heart to soften, while it
reproached her in whispering, "Thou art the cause!"--All the fire--the
ardour of a character not then confirmed, which, when she last saw him
spoke in his eye and mien, were gone for ever.  The irregular brilliancy
of his conversation--the earnestness of his air and gesture were replaced
by a calm, and even, and melancholy composure.  His forehead was stamped
with the lines of thought; and the hair, grown thinner toward the temples,
no longer concealed by its luxuriance the pale expanse of his brow.  The
air of delicate health which had at first interested her in his
appearance, still lingered, and gave its wonted and ineffable charm to his
low voice, and the gentle expression of his eyes.  By degrees, the
conversation, at first partial and scattered, became more general.
Constance and Godolphin were drawn into it.

"It is impossible," said Godolphin, "to compare life in a southern climate
with that which we lead in colder countries.  There is an indolence, a
laissez aller, a philosophical insouciance, produced by living under these
warm suns, and apart from the ambition of the objects of our own nation,
which produce at last a state of mind that divides us for ever from our
countrymen.  It is like living amidst perpetual music--a different kind of
life--a soft, lazy, voluptuous romance of feeling, that indisposes us to
action--almost to motion.  So far from a sojourn in Italy being friendly
to the growth of ambition, it nips and almost destroys the germ."

"In fact, it leaves us fit for nothing but love," said Saville; "an
occupation that levels us with the silliest part of our species."

"Fools cannot love," said Lady Charlotte.

"Pardon me, love and folly are synonymous in more languages than the
French," answered Saville.

"In truth," said Godolphin, "the love which you both allude to is not
worth disputing about."

"What love is?" asked Saville.

"First love," cried Lady Charlotte; "is it not, Mr. Godolphin?"

Godolphin changed color, and his eyes met those of Constance.  She too
sighed and looked down: Godolphin remained silent.

"Nay, Mr. Godolphin, answer me," said Lady Charlotte; "I appeal to you!"

"First love, then," said Godolphin, endeavouring to speak composedly, "has
this advantage over others--it is usually disappointed, and regret for
ever keeps it alive."

The tone of his voice struck Constance to the heart.  Nor did she speak
again--save with visible effort--during the rest of the evening.



All that Constance heard from others of Godolphin's life since they
parted, increased her long-nursed interest in his fate.  His desultory
habits, his long absences from cities, which were understood to be passed
in utter and obscure solitude (for the partner of the solitude and its
exact spot were not known), she coupled with the quiet melancholy in his
aspect, with his half-reproachful glances toward herself, and with the
emotions which he had given vent to in their conversation.  And of this
objectless and unsatisfactory life she was led to consider herself the
cause.  With a bitter pang she recalled his early words, when he said, "My
future is in your hands;" and she contrasted his vivid energies--his
cultivated mind--his high talents--with the life which had rendered them
all so idle to others and unprofitable to himself.  Few, very few, know
how powerfully the sentiment that another's happiness is at her control
speaks to a woman's heart.  Accustomed to dependence herself, the feeling
that another depends on her is the most soothing aliment to her pride.
This makes a main cause of her love to her children; they would be
incomparably less dear to her if they were made independent of her cares.
And years, which had brought the young countess acquainted with the
nothingness of the world, had softened and deepened the sources of her
affections, in proportion as they had checked those of her ambition.  She
could not, she did not, seek to disguise from herself that Godolphin yet
loved her; she anticipated the hour when he would avow that love, and when
she might be permitted to atone for all of disappointment that her former
rejection might have brought to him.  She felt, too, that it would be a
noble as well as delightful task, to awaken an intellect so brilliant to
the natural objects of its display; to call forth into active life his
teeming thought, and the rich eloquence with which he could convey it.
Nor in this hope were her more selfish designs, her political schemings,
and her desire of sway over those whom she loved to humble, forgotten; but
they made, however,--to be just,--a small part of her meditations.  Her
hopes were chiefly of a more generous order.  "I refused thee," she
thought, "when I was poor and dependent--now that I have wealth and rank,
how gladly will I yield them to thy bidding!"

But Godolphin, as if unconscious of this favorable bias of her
inclinations, did not warm from his reserve.  On the contrary, his first
abstraction, and his first agitation, had both subsided into a distant and
cool self-possession.  They met often, but he avoided all nearer or less
general communication.  She saw, however, that his eyes were constantly in
search of her, and that a slight trembling in his voice when he addressed
her, belied the calmness of his manner.  Sometimes, too, a word, or a
touch from her, would awaken the ill-concealed emotions--his lips seemed
about to own the triumph of her and of the past; but, as if by a violent
effort, they were again sealed; and not unoften, evidently unwilling to
trust his self-command, he would abruptly depart.  In short, Constance
perceived that a strange embarrassment, the causes of which she could not
divine, hung about him, and that his conduct was regulated by some secret
motive, which did not spring from the circumstances that had occurred
between them.  For it was evident that he was not withheld by any
resentment toward her from her former rejection: even his looks, his
words, had betrayed that he had done more than forgive.  Lady Charlotte
Deerham had heard from Saville of their former attachment: she was a woman
of the world, and thought it but common delicacy to give them all occasion
to renew it.  She always, therefore, took occasion to retire from the
immediate vicinity of Constance whenever Godolphin approached, and, as if
by accident, to leave them the opportunity to be sufficiently alone.  This
was a danger that Godolphin had, however, hitherto avoided.  One day fate
counteracted prudence, and a conference ensued which perplexed Constance
and tried severely the resolution of Godolphin.

They went together to the Capitol, from whose height is beheld perhaps the
most imposing landscape in the world.  It was a sight pre-eminently
calculated to arouse and inspire the ambitious and working mind of the
young countess.

"Do you think," said she to Godolphin, who stood beside her, that there
lives any one who could behold these countless monuments of eternal glory,
and not sigh to recall the triteness, or rather burn to rise from the
level, of our ordinary life?"

"Nay," said Godolphin, "to you the view may be an inspiration, to others a
warning.  The arch and the ruin you survey speak of change yet more
eloquently than glory.  Look on the spot where once was the temple of
Romulus:--there stands the little church of an obscure saint.  Just below
you is the Tarpeian Rock: we cannot see it; it is hidden from us by a
crowd of miserable houses.  Along the ancient plain of the Campus Martins
behold the numberless spires of a new religion, and the palaces of a
modern race!  Amidst them you see the triumphal columns of Trajan and
Marcus lntoninus; but whose are the figures that crown their summits?  St.
Peter's and St. Paul's!  And this awful wilderness of men's labours--this
scene and token of human revolutions--inspires you with a love of glory;
to me it proves its nothingness.  An irresistible--a crushing sense of the
littleness and brief life of our most ardent and sagacious achievements
seems to me to float like a voice over the place!"

"And are you still, then," said Constance, with a half sigh, "dead to all
but the enjoyment of the present moment?"

"No," replied Godolphin, in a low and trembling voice: "I am not dead to
the regret of the past!"

Constance blushed deeply; but Godolphin, as if feeling he had committed
himself too far, continued in a hurried tone:--"Let us turn our eyes,"
said he, "yonder among the olive groves.  There

    'Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,'

were the summer retreats of Rome's brightest and most enduring spirits.
There was the retirement of Horace and Mecaenas: there Brutus forgot his
harsher genius; and there the inscrutable and profound Augustus indulged
in those graceful relaxations-those sacrifices to wit, and poetry, and
wisdom--which have made us do so unwilling and reserved a justice to the
crimes of his earlier and the hypocrisy of his later years.  Here, again,
is a reproach to your ambition," added Godolphin, smiling; "his ambition
made Augustus odious; his occasional forgetfulness of ambition alone
redeems him."

"And what, then," said Constance, "would you consider inactivity the
happiest life for one sensible of talents higher than the common

"Nay, let those talents be devoted to the discovery of pleasures, not the
search after labours; the higher our talents, the keener our perceptions;
the keener our perceptions the more intense our capacities for
pleasure:[1]--let pleasure then, be our object.  Let us find out what is
best fitted to give our peculiar tastes gratification, and, having found
out, steadily pursue it."

"Out on you! it is a selfish, an ignoble system," said Constance.  "You
smile--well, I may be unphilosophical, I do not deny it.  But, give me one
hour of glory, rather than a life of luxurious indolence.  Oh, would,"
added Constance, kindling as she spoke, "that you--you, Mr.
Godolphin,--with an intellect so formed for high accomplishment--with all
the weapons and energies of life at your command,--would that you could
awaken to a more worthy estimate--pardon me--of the uses of exertion!
Surely, surely, you must be sensible of the calls that your country, that
mankind, have at this epoch of the world, upon all--all, especially,
possessing your advantages and powers.  Can we pierce one inch beyond the
surface of society, and not see that great events are hastening to their
birth?  Will you let those inferior to yourself hurry on before you, and
sit inactive while they win the reward?  Will you have no share in the
bright drama that is already prepared behind the dark curtain of fate, and
which will have a world for its spectators?  Ah, how rejoiced, how elated
with myself I should feel, if I could will over one like you to the great
cause of honourable exertion!"

For one instant Godolphin's eye sparkled, and his pale cheek burned--but
the transient emotion faded away as he answered--

"Eight years ago, when she who spoke to me was Constance Vernon, her wish
might have moulded me according to her will.  Now," and he struggled with
emotion, and turned away his face,--"now it is too late!"

Constance was smitten to the heart.  She laid her hand gently on his arm,
and said, in a sweet and soothing tone, "No, Percy, not too late!"

At that instant, and before Godolphin could reply, they were joined by
Saville and Lady Charlotte Deerham.

[1] I suppose Godolphin by the word pleasure rather signifies happiness.



The short conversation recorded in the last chapter could not but show to
Godolphin the dangerous ground on which his fidelity to Lucilla rested.
Never before,--no, not in the young time of their first passion, had
Constance seemed to him so lovely or so worthy of love.  Her manners now
were so much more soft and unreserved than they had necessarily been at a
period when Constance had resolved not to listen to his addresses or her
own heart, that the only part of her character that had ever repulsed his
pride or offended his tastes seemed vanished for ever.  A more subdued and
gentle spirit had descended on her surpassing beauty, and the change was
of an order that Percy Godolphin could especially appreciate.  And the
world, for which he owned reluctantly that she yet lived too much, had,
nevertheless, seemed rather to enlarge and animate the natural nobleness
of her mind, than to fritter it down to the standard of its common
votaries.  When she spoke he delighted in, even while he dissented from,
the high and bold views which she conceived.  He loved her indignation of
all that was mean and low-her passion for all that was daring and exalted.
Never was he cast down from the height of the imaginative part of his love
by hearing from her lips one petty passion or one sordid desire; much
about her was erroneous, but all was lofty and generous--even in error.
And the years that had divided them had only taught him to feel more
deeply how rare was the order of her character, and how impossible it was
ever to behold her like.  All the sentiments, faculties, emotions, which
in his affection for Lucilla had remained dormant, were excited into full
play the moment he was in the presence of Constance.  She engrossed no
petty portion--she demanded and obtained the whole empire--of his soul.
And against this empire he had now to contend!  Torn as he was by a
thousand conflicting emotions, a letter from Lucilla was suddenly put into
his hands; its contents were as follows:--


"Thy last letter, my love, was so short and hurried, that it has not cost
me my usual pains to learn it by heart; nor (shall I tell the truth?) have
I been so eager as I once was to commit all thy words to my memory.  Why,
I know not, and will guess not,--but there is something ill thy letters
since we parted that chills me;--they throw back my heart upon itself.  I
tear open the seal with so much eagerness--thou wouldst smile if thou
couldst see me, and when I discover how few are the words upon which I am
to live for many days, I feel sick and disappointed, and lay down the
letter.  Then I chide myself and say, 'At least these few words will be
kind!'--and I spell them one by one, not to hurry over my only solace.
Alas! before I arrive at the end, I am blinded by my tears; my love for
thee, so bounding and full of life, seems frozen and arrested at every
line.  And then I lie down for very weariness, and wish to die.  O God, if
the time has come which I have always dreaded--if thou shouldst no longer
love me!--And how reasonable this fear is!  For what am I to thee?  How
often dost thou complain that I can understand thee not--how often dost
thou imply that there is much of thy nature which I am incapable--
unworthy--to learn!  If this be so, how natural is it to dread that thou
wilt find others whom thou wilt fancy more congenial to thee, and that
absence will only remind thee more of my imperfections!

"And yet I think that I have read thee to the letter; I think that my
love, which is always following thee, always watching thee, always
conjecturing thy wishes, must have penetrated into every secret of thy
heart: only I want words to express what I feel, and thou layest the blame
upon the want of feeling!  I know how untutored, how ignorant, I must seem
to thee; and sometimes--and lately very often--I reproach myself that I
have not more diligently sought to make myself a worthier companion to
thee.  I think if I had the same means as others; I should acquire the
same facility of expressing my thoughts; and my thoughts thou couldst
never blame, for I know that they are full of a love to thee
which--no--not the wisest--the most brilliant--whom thou mayest see could
equal even in imagination.  But I have sought to mend this deficiency
since we parted; and I have looked into all the books thou hast loved to
read, and I fancy that I have imbibed now the same ideas which pleased
thee, and in which once thou imaginedst I could not sympathise.  Yet how
mistaken thou hast been!  I see, by marks thou hast placed on the page,
the sentiments that more especially charm thee; and I know that I have
felt them much, oh! how much more deeply and vividly than they are there
expressed--only they seem to me to have no language--methinks that I have
learned the language now.  And I have taught myself songs that thou wilt
love to hear when thou returnest home to me; and I have practised music,
and I think--nay, I am sure, that time will not pass so heavily with thee
as when thou wast last here.

"And when shall I see thee again?--forgive me if I press thee to return.
Thou hast stayed away longer than thou hast been wont; but that I would
not heed; it is not the number of days, but the sensations with which I
have counted them, that make me pine for thy beloved voice, and long once
more to behold thee.  Never before did I so feel thy absence, never before
was I so utterly wretched.  A secret voice whispers me that we are parted
for ever.  I cannot withstand the omens of my own heart.  When my poor
father lived, I did not, child as I was, partake of those sentiments with
which he was wont to say the stars inspired us.  I could not see in them
the boders of fear and the preachers of sad tidings; they seemed to me
only full of serenity and tenderness, and the promise of enduring love!
And ever when I looked on them, I thought of thee; and thy image to me
then, as thou knowest it was from childhood, was bright with unimaginable
but never melancholy spells.  But now, although I love thee so far more
powerfully, I cannot divest the thoughts of thee from a certain sadness;
and so the stars, which are like thee, which are full of thee, have a
sadness also!  And this, the bed, where every morning I stretch my arms
for thee, and find thee not, and have yet to live through the day, and on
which I now write this letter to thee--for, I who used to rise with the
sun, am now too dispirited not to endeavour to cheat the weary day--I have
made them place nearer to the window; and I look out upon the still skies
every night, and have made a friend of every star I see.  I question it of
thyself, and wonder, when thou lookest at it, if thou hast any thought of
me.  I love to look upon the heavens much more than upon the earth; for
the trees, and the waters and the hills around, thou canst not behold; but
the same heaven which I survey is above thee also; and this, our common
companion, seems in some measure to unite us.  And I have thought over my
father's lore, and have tried to learn it; Day, thou mayest smile, but it
is thy absence that has taught me superstition.

"But tell me, dearest, kindest, tell me when--oh, when wilt then return?
Return only this once--if but for a day, and I will never persecute thee
again.  Truant as thou art, thou shalt have full liberty for life.  But I
cannot tell thee how sad and heavy I am grown, and every hour knocks at my
heart like a knell!  Come back to thy poor Lucilla--if only to see what
joy is!  Come--I know thou wilt!  But should anything I do not foresee
detain thee, fix at least the day--nay, if possible, the hour--when we
shall meet, and let the letter which conveys such happy tidings be long,
and kind, and full of thee, as thy letters once were.  I know I weary
thee, but I cannot help it.  I am weak, and dejected, and cast down, and
have only heart enough to pray for thy return."

"You have conquered--you have conquered, Lucilla!" said Godolphin, as he
kissed this wild and reproachful letter, and thrust it into his bosom;
"and I--I will be wretched rather than you shall be so!"

His heart rebuked him even for that last sentence.  This pure and devoted
attachment, was it indeed an unhappiness to obtain, and a sacrifice to
return!  Stung by his thoughts, and impatient of rest, he hurried into the
air;--he traversed the city; he passed St. Sebastian's Gate, gained the
Appia Via, and saw, lone and sombre, as of old--the house of the departed
Volktman.  He had half unconsciously sought that direction, in order to
strengthen his purpose, and sustain his conscience in its right path.  He
now hurried onwards, and stopped not till he stood in that lovely and
haunted spot--the valley of Egeria--in which he had met Lucilla on the day
that he first learned her love.  There was a gloom over the scene now, for
the day was dark and clouded: the birds were silent; a heavy oppression
seemed to brood upon the air.  He entered that grotto which is the witness
of the most beautiful love-story chronicled even in the soft south.  He
recalled the passionate and burning emotions which, the last time he had
been within that cell, he had felt for Lucilla, and had construed
erroneously into real love.  As he looked around, how different an aspect
the spot wore!  Then, those walls, that spring, even that mutilated
statue, had seemed to him the encouragers of the soft sensations he had
indulged.  Now, they appeared to reprove the very weakness which hallowed
themselves--the associations spoke to him in another tone.  The broken
statue of the river god--the desert silence in which the water of the
sweet fountain keeps its melancholy course--the profound and chilling
Solitude of the spot--all seemed eloquent, not of love, but the broken
hope and the dreary loneliness that succeed it!  The gentle plant (the
capillaire) that overhangs the sides of the grotto, and nourishes itself
on the dews of the fountain, seemed an emblem of love itself after
disappointment--the love that might henceforth be Lucilla's--drooping in
silence on the spot once consecrated to rapture, and feeding itself with
tears.  There was something mocking to human passion in the very antiquity
of the spot; four-and-twenty centuries had passed away since the origin of
the tale that made it holy--and that tale, too, was fable!  What, in this
vast accumulation of the sands of time, was a solitary atom!  What, among
the millions, the myriads, that around that desolate spot had loved, and
forgotten love, was the brief passion of one mortal, withering as it
sprung!  Thus differently moralises the heart, according to the passion
which bestows on it the text.

Before he regained his home, Godolphin's resolve was taken.  The next day
he had promised Constance to attend her to Tivoli; he resolved then to
take leave of her, and on the following day to return to Lucilla.  He
remembered, with bitter reproach, that he had not written to her for a
length of time, treble the accustomed interval between his letters; and
felt that, while at the moment she had written the lines he had now
pressed to his bosom, she was expecting, with unutterable fondness and
anxiety, to receive his lukewarm assurances of continued love, the letter
he was about to write in answer to hers was the first one that would greet
her eyes.  But he resolved, that in that letter, at least, she should not
be disappointed.  He wrote at length, and with all the outpourings of a
tenderness reawakened by remorse.  He informed her of his immediate
return, and even forced himself to dwell upon it with kindly hypocrisy of
transport.  For the first time for several weeks, he felt satisfied with
himself as he sealed his letter.  It is doubtful whether that letter
Lucilla ever received.



Along the deathly Campagna, a weary and desolate length of way,--through a
mean and squalid row of houses--you thread your course; and behold--Tivoli
bursts upon you!

"Look--look!" cried Constance, with enthusiasm, as she pointed to the
rushing torrent that, through matted trees and cragged precipices,
thundered on.

Astonished at the silence of Godolphin, whom scenery was usually so wont
to kindle and inspire, she turned hastily round, and her whole tide of
feeling was revulsed by the absorbed but intense dejection written on his
countenance.  "Why," said she, after a short pause, and affecting a
playful smile, "why, how provoking is this!  In general, not a common
patch of green with an old tree in the centre, not a common rivulet with a
willow hanging over it, escapes you.  You insist upon our sharing your
raptures--you dilate on the picturesque--you rise into eloquence; nay, you
persuade us into your enthusiasm, or you quarrel with us for our coldness;
and now, with this divinest of earthly scenes around us,--when even Lady
Charlotte is excited, and Mr. Saville forgets himself, you are stricken
into silence and apathy!  The reason--if it be not too abstruse?"

"It is here!" said Godolphin, mournfully, and pressing his hand to his

Constance turned aside; she indulged herself with the hope that he alluded
to former scenes, and despaired of the future from their remembrance.  She
connected his melancholy with herself, and knew that, when referred to
her, she could dispel it.  Inspired by this idea, and exhilarated by the
beauty of the morning, and the wonderful magnificence of nature, she
indulged her spirits to overflowing.  And as her brilliant mind lighted up
every subject it touched, now glowing over description, now flashing into
remark, Godolphin at one time forgot, and at another more keenly felt, the
magnitude of the sacrifice he was about to make.  But every one knows that
feeling which, when we are unhappy, illumines (if I may so speak) our
outward seeming from the fierceness of our inward despair,--that
recklessness which is the intoxication of our grief.

By degrees Godolphin broke from his reserve.  He seemed to catch the
enthusiasm of Constance; he echoed back--he led into new and more dazzling
directions--the delighted remarks of his beautiful companion.  His mind,
if not profoundly learned, at least irregularly rich, in the treasures of
old times, called up a spirit from every object.  The waterfall, the ruin,
the hollow cave--the steep bank crested with the olive--the airy temple,
the dark pomp of the cypress grove, and the roar of the headlong
Anio,--all he touched with the magic of the past--clad with the glories of
history and of legend--and decked ever and anon with the flowers of the
eternal Poesy that yet walks, mourning for her children, amongst the vines
and waterfalls of the ancient Tibur.  And Constance, as she listened to
him, entranced, until she herself unconsciously grew silent, indulged
without reserve in that, the proudest luxury of love--pride in the beloved
object.  Never had the rare and various genius of  Godolphin appeared so
worthy of admiration.  When his voice ceased, it seemed to Constance like
a sudden blank in the creation.

Godolphin and the young countess were several paces before the little
party, and they now took their way towards the Siren's Cave.  The path
that leads to that singular spot is humid with an eternal spray; and it is
so abrupt and slippery, that in order to preserve your footing, you must
cling to the bushes that vegetate around the sides of the precipice.

"Let us dispense with our guide," said Godolphin.  "I know every part of
the way, and I am sure you share with me in dislike to these hackneyed
indicators and sign-posts for admiration.  Let us leave him to Lady
Charlotte and Saville, and suffer me to be your guide to the cavern."
Constance readily enough assented, and they proceeded.  Saville, by no
means liking the difficult and perilous path which was to lead only to a
very cold place, soon halted; and suggested to Lady Charlotte the
propriety of doing the same.  Lady Charlotte much preferred the wit of her
companion's conversation to the picturesque.  "Besides," as she said, "she
had seen the cave before."  Accordingly, they both waited for the return
of the more adventurous countess and her guide.

Unconscious of the defalcation of her friends, and not--from the attention
that every step required--once looking behind, Constance continued.  And
now, how delightful to her seemed that rugged way, as, with every moment,
Godolphin's care--Godolphin's hand became necessary; and he, inspired,
inflamed by her company, by her touch, by the softness of her manner, and
the devotion of her attention--no, no! not yet was Lucilla forgotten!

And now they stood within the Siren's Cave.  From this spot alone you can
view that terrible descent of waters which rushes to earth like the coming
of a god!  The rocks dripped around them--the torrent dashed at their very
feet.  Down--down, in thunder, for ever and for ever, dashed the might of
the maddening element; above, all wrath; below, all blackness;--there, the
cataract; here, the abyss.  Not a moment's pause to the fury, not a
moment's silence to the roar;--forward to the last glimpse of the sun--the
curse of labour, and the soul of unutterable strength, shall be upon
those waters!  The demon, tormented to an eternity, filling his dread
dwelling-place with the unresting and unearthly voice of his rage and
despair, is the only type meet for the spirit of the cataract.

And there--amidst this awful and tremendous eternity of strife and
power--stood two beings whose momentary existence was filled with the
master-passion of humanity.  And that passion was yet audible there: the
nature without coal; I not subdue that within.  Even amidst the icy
showers of spray that fell around, and would have frozen the veins of
others, Godolphin felt the burning at his heart.  Constance was indeed
utterly lost in a whirl and chaos of awe and admiration, which deprived
her of all words.  But it was the nature of her wayward lover to be
aroused only to the thorough knowledge of his powers and passions among
the more unfrequent and fierce excitements of life.  A wild emotion now
urged him on; something of that turbulent exaggeration of mind which gave
rise to a memorable and disputed saying--"If thou stoodest on a
precipice with thy mistress, hast thou ever felt the desire to plunge with
her into the abyss?--If so--thou hast loved!"  No doubt the sentiment is
exaggerated, but there are times when love is exaggerated too.  And now
Constance, without knowing it, had clung closer and closer to Godolphin.
His hand at first--now his arm--supported her; and at length, by an
irresistible and maddening impulse, he clasped her to his breast, and
whispered in a voice which was heard by her even amidst the thunder of the
giant waters, "Here, here, my early--my only love, I feel, in spite of
myself, that I never utterly, fully, adored you until now!"



While the above events, so fatal to Lucilla, were in progress at Rome, she
was holding an unquiet commune with her own passionate and restless heart,
by the borders of the lake, whose silver quiet mocked the mind it had, in
happier moments, reflected.  She had now dragged on the weary load of time
throughout the winter; and the early and soft spring was already
abroad--smoothing the face of the waters, and calling life into the
boughs.  Hitherto this time of the year had possessed a mysterious and
earnest attraction for Lucilla--now all its voices were mute.  The letters
that Godolphin had written to her were so few, and so restrained, in
comparison with those which she had received in the former periods of
absence, that--ever alive as she was to impulse, and unregulated by
settled principles of hope--her only relief to a tearful and spiritless
dejection was in paroxysms of doubt, jealousy, and despair.

It is the most common thing in the world, that, when we have once wronged
a person, we go on in the wrong, from a certain soreness with which
conscience links the associations of the injured party.  And thus,
Godolphin, struggling with the return to his early and never-forgotten
love, felt an unwillingness that he could seldom successfully combat, in
playing the hypocrite to Lucilla.  His very remorse made him unkind; the
feeling that he ought to write often, made him write seldom: and
conscious that he ought to return her expressions of eager devotion, he
returned them with involuntary awkwardness and reserve.  All this is very
natural, and very evident to us; but a thousand mysteries were more
acceptable to, more sought for and more clung to, by Lucilla, than a
conjecture at the truth.

Meanwhile she fed more and more eagerly on those vain researches which yet
beguiled her time, and flattered her imagination.  In a science so false,
and so unprofitable, it mattered, happily, little, whether or not the poor
disciple laboured with success; but I need scarcely tell to any who have
had the curiosity to look over the entangled schemes and quaint figures of
the art, how slender was the advancement of the daughter in the learning
of the sire.  Still it was a comfort and a soothing, even to look upon the
placid heaven, and form a conjecture as to the language of its stars.
And, above all, while she questioned the future, she thought only of her
lover.  But day after day passed--no letter, or worse than none; and at
length Lucilla became utterly impatient of all rest: a nervous fever
possessed her; the extreme solitude of the place filled her with that
ineffable sensation of irritability which sometimes preludes the madness
that has been produced in criminals by solitary confinement.

On the day that she wrote that letter to Godolphin which I have
transcribed, this painful tension of the nerves was more than hitherto
acute.  She longed to fly somewhere; nay, once or twice, she remembered
that Rome was easily gained, that she might be there as expeditiously as
her letter.  Although in that letter only we have signified that Lucilla
had expressed her wish for Godolphin's return; yet, in all her later
letters, she had (perhaps, more timidly) urged that desire.  But they had
not taken the same hold on Godolphin; nor, while he was playing with his
danger, had they produced the same energetic resolution.  Lucilla could
not, however, hope with much reason that the success of her present letter
would be greater than that of her former ones; and, at all events, she did
not anticipate an immediate compliance with her prayers.  She looked
forward to some excuses, and to some delay.  We cannot, therefore, wonder
that she felt a growing desire to follow her own epistle to Rome; and
although she had been prevented before, and still drew back from
absolutely favoring and enforcing the idea, by the fear of Godolphin's
displeasure; yet she trusted enough to his gentleness of character to feel
sure that the displeasure could scarcely be lasting.  Still the step was
bold, and Lucilla loved devotedly enough to be timid; and besides, her
inexperience made her look upon the journey as a far more formidable
expedition than it really was.

Debating the notion in her mind, she sought her usual retreat, and turned
listlessly over the books which she had so lately loved to study.  At
length, in moving one she had not looked into before, a paper fell to the
ground; she picked it up; it was the paper containing that figure, which
it will be remembered, the astrologer had shown to his daughter, as a
charm to produce dreams prophetic of any circumstance or person concerning
whom the believer might be anxious to learn aught.  As she saw the image,
which, the reader will recollect, was of a remarkable design, the whole of
her conversation with Volktman on the subject rushed into her mind, and
she resolved that very night to prove the efficacy of the charm on which
he had so confidently insisted.  Fraught with the chimerical delusion, she
now longed for the hours to pass, and the night to come.  She looked again
and again at the singular image and the portentous figures wrought upon
the charm; the very strangeness of the characters inspired her, as was
natural, with a belief of their efficacy; and she felt a thrill, an awe,
creep over her blood, as the shadows of eve, deepening over the far
mountains, brought on the time of trial.  At length it was night, and
Lucilla sought her chamber.

The hour was exceedingly serene, and the stars shone through the casement
with a lustre that to her seemed ominous.  With bare feet, and only in her
night-robe, she stole tremblingly across the threshold.  She paused for a
moment at the window, and looked out on the deep and quiet night; and as
she so stood, it was a picture that, had I been a painter, I would have
devoted a youth to accomplish.  Half in light--half in shadow--her undress
gave the outline, and somewhat more, of a throat and breast, whose
roundness, shape, and hue, never were surpassed.  Her arms were lightly
crossed above her bosom; and her long rich hair seeming darker by that
light, fell profusely, yet not dishevelled, around her neck; parting from
her brow.  Her attitude at that moment was quite still, as if in worship,
and perhaps it was; her face was inclined slightly upward, looking to the
heavens and towards Rome.  But that face--there was the picture!  It was
so young, so infantine, so modest; and yet, the youth and the timidity
were elevated and refined by the earnest doubt, the preternatural terror,
the unearthly hope, which dwelt upon her forehead--her parted lip, and her
wistful and kindled eye.  There was a sublimity in her loneliness and her
years, and in the fond and vain superstition, which was but a spirit
called from the deeps of an unfathomable and mighty love.  And afar was
heard the breaking of the lake in upon the shore--no other sound!  And
now, among the unwaving pines, there was a silver shimmer as the moon rose
into her empire, and deepened at once, along the universal scene, the
loveliness and the awe.

Lucilla turned from the window, and kneeling down wrote with a trembling
hand upon the figure one word--the name of Godolphin.  She then placed it
under her pillow, and the spell was concluded.  The astrologer had told
her of the necessary co-operation which the mind must afford to the charm;
but it will easily be believed that Lucilla required no injunction to let
her imagination dwell upon the vision she expected to invoke.  And it
would have been almost strange, if, so intently and earnestly brooding, as
she had done over the image of Godolphin, that image had not, without
recurring to any cabalistical spells, been present to her dreams.

She thought that it was broad noonday, and that she was sitting alone in
the house she then inhabited, and weeping bitterly.  Of a sudden the voice
of Godolphin called to her; she ran eagerly forth, but no sooner had she
passed the threshold, than the scene so familiar to her vanished, and she
was alone in an immense and pathless wilderness; there was no tree and no
water in this desert; all was arid, solitary, and inanimate.  But what
seemed most strange to her was that in the heavens, although they were
clear and bright, there was neither sun nor stars; the light seemed
settled and stagnant--there was in it no life.

And she thought that she continued to move involuntarily along the waste;
and that, ever and anon, she yearned and strove to rest, but her limbs did
not obey her will, and a power she could not control urged her onward.

And now there was no longer an utter dumbness and death over the scene.
Forth from the sands, as from the bowels of the reluctant earth, there
crept, one by one, loathly and reptile shapes; obscene sounds rang in her
ears--now in a hideous mockery, now in a yet more sickening solicitation.
Shapes of terror thickened and crowded round her.  She was roused by dread
into action; she hurried faster and faster; she strove to escape; and ever
as she fled, the sounds grew louder, and the persecuting shapes more
ghastly,--abominations which her pure mind shuddered to behold, presented
themselves at every turn: there was no spot for refuge, no cave for
concealment.  Wearied and despairing, she stopped short; but then the
shapes and sounds seemed gradually to lose their terror; her eye and ear
became familiar to them; and what at first seemed foes, grew into

And now, again, the wilderness was gone; she stood in a strange spot, and
opposite, and gazing upon her with intent and mournful eyes, stood
Godolphin.  But he seemed much older than he was, and the traces of care
were ploughed deeply on his countenance; and above them both hung a
motionless and livid cloud; and from the cloud a gigantic hand was
stretched forth, pointing with a shadowy and unmoving finger towards a
quarter of the earth which was enveloped in a thick gloom.  While she
sought with straining eyes, to penetrate the darkness of the spot thus
fearfully marked out, she thought Godolphin vanished, and all was suddenly
and utter night--night, but not stillness--for there was a roar as of many
winds, and a dashing of angry waters, that seemed close beneath; and she
heard the trees groan and bend, and felt the icy and rushing air: the
tempests were abroad.  But amidst the mingling of the mighty sounds, she
heard distinctly the ringing of a horse's hoofs; and presently a wild cry,
in which she recognised the voice of Godolphin, rang forth, adding to the
wrath of nature the yet more appalling witness of a human despair.  The
cry was followed by the louder dashing of the waves, and the fiercer
turmoil of the winds; and then her anguish and horror freeing her from the
Prison of Sleep, she woke.

It was nearly day, but the serenity of the late night had gone; the rain
fell in torrents, and the house shook beneath the fury of a violent storm.
This change in the mood of nature had probably influenced the latter part
of her dream.  But Lucilla thought of no natural solution to the dreadful
vision she had undergone.  Her superstition was confirmed and ratified by
the intense impression wrought upon her mind by the dream.  A thousand
unutterable fears, fears for Godolphin, rather than herself--or if for
herself, only in connection with him--bore irresistible despotism over her
thoughts.  She could not endure to wait, to linger any longer in the dark
and agitated suspense she herself had created; the idea she before had
nursed now became resolve, she determined forthwith to set out for
Rome--to see Godolphin.  She rose, woke her attendant, and that very day
she put her resolution into effect.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Godolphin, Volume 4." ***

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