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Title: Thaddeus of Warsaw
Author: Porter, Jane
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: DR. MIDDLETON.]



THADDEUS OF WARSAW

BY

JANE PORTER

AUTHOR OF "THE SCOTTISH CHIEFS," ETC.



    "Loin d'aimer la guerre, il l'abhorre;
    En triomphant même il déplore
    Les désastres qu'elle produit
    Et, couronné par la victoire,
    II gémit de sa propre gloire.
    Si la paix n'en est pas le fruit."



A NEW AND REVISED EDITION
WITH NEW NOTES, ETC., BY THE AUTHOR



      THE AUTHOR,
          TO
  HER FRIENDLY READERS.


Written for the new edition of "Thaddeus of Warsaw," forming one of
the series called "The Standard Novels."

To such readers alone who, by the sympathy of a social taste, fall in
with any blameless fashion of the day, and, from an amiable interest,
also, in whatever may chance to afford them innocent pleasure, would
fain know something more about an author whose works have brought
them that gratification than the cold letter of a mere literary
preface usually tells: to such readers this--something of an
egotistical--epistle is addressed.

For, in beginning the republication of a regular series of the
novels, or, as they have been more properly called, biographical
romances, of which I have been the author, it has been considered
desirable to make certain additions to each work, in the form of a
few introductory pages and scattered notes, illustrative of the
origin of the tale, of the historical events referred to in it, and
of the actually living characters who constitute its personages, with
some account, also, of the really local scenery described; thus
giving, it is thought, a double zest to the entertainment of the
reader, by bringing him into a previous acquaintance with the persons
he is to meet in the book, and making him agreeably familiar with the
country through which he is to travel in their company. Indeed, the
social taste of the times has lately fully shown how advantageous the
like conversational disclosures have proved to the recent
republications of the celebrated "Waverley Novels," by the chief of
novel-writers; and in the new series of the admirable naval tales by
the distinguished American novelist, both of whom paid to the mother-
country the gratifying tribute of making it their birthplace.

Such evidences in favor of an argument could not fail to persuade me
to undertake the desired elucidating task; feeling, indeed,
particularly pleased to adopt, in my turn, a successful example from
the once Great Unknown--now the not less great avowed author of the
Waverley Novels, in the person of Sir Walter Scott, who did me the
honor to adopt the style or class of novel of which "Thaddeus of
Warsaw" was the first,--a class which, uniting the personages and
facts of real history or biography with a combining and illustrative
machinery of the imagination, formed a new species of writing in that
day, and to which Madame de Staël and others have given the
appellation of "an epic in prose." The day of its appearance is now
pretty far back: for "Thaddeus of Warsaw" (a tale founded on Polish
heroism) and the "Scottish Chiefs" (a romance grounded on Scottish
heroism) were both published in England, and translated into various
languages abroad, many years before the literary wonder of Scotland
gave to the world his transcendent story of Waverley, forming a most
impressive historical picture of the last struggle of the papist, but
gallant, branch of the Stuarts for the British throne. [Footnote: It
was on the publication of these, her first two works, in the German
language that the authoress was honored with being made a lady of the
Chapter of St. Joachim, and received the gold cross of the order from
Wirtemburg.]

"Thaddeus of Warsaw" being the first essay, in the form of such an
association between fact and fancy, was published by its author with
a natural apprehension of its reception by the critical part of the
public. She had not, indeed, written it with any view to publication,
but from an almost resistless impulse to embody the ideas and
impressions with which her heart and mind were then full. It was
written in her earliest youth; dictated by a fervent sympathy with
calamities which had scarcely ceased to exist, and which her eager
pen sought to portray; and it was given to the world, or rather to
those who might feel with her, with all the simple-hearted enthusiasm
which saw no impediment when a tale of virtue or of pity was to be
told.

In looking back through the avenue of life to that time, what events
have occurred, public and private, to the countries and to the
individuals named in that tale! to persons of even as lofty names and
excellences, of our own and other lands, who were mutually affected
with me in admiration and regret for the virtues and the sorrows
described! In sitting down now to my retrospective task, I find
myself writing this, my second preface to the story of "Thaddeus of
Warsaw," just thirty years from the date of its first publication.
Then, I wrote when the struggle for the birthright independence of
Poland was no more; when she lay in her ashes, and her heroes in
their wounds; when the pall of death spread over the whole country,
and her widows and orphans travelled afar.

In the days of my almost childhood,--that is, eight years before I
dipped my pen in their tears,--I remember seeing many of those
hapless refugees wandering about St. James's Park. They had sad
companions in the like miseries, though from different enemies, in
the emigrants from France; and memory can never forget the variety of
wretched yet noble-looking visages I then contemplated in the daily
walks which my mother's own little family group were accustomed to
take there. One person, a gaunt figure, with melancholy and bravery
stamped on his emaciated features, is often present to the
recollection of us all. He was clad in a threadbare blue uniform
great coat, with a black stock, a rusty old hat, pulled rather over
his eyes; his hands without gloves; but his aspect was that of a
perfect gentleman, and his step that of a military man. We saw him
constantly at one hour, in the middle walk of the Mall, and always
alone; never looking to the right nor to the left, but straight on;
with an unmoving countenance, and a pace which told that his thoughts
were those of a homeless and hopeless man--hopeless, at least, of all
that life might bring him. On, on he went to the end of the Mall;
turned again, and on again; and so he continued to do always, as long
as we remained spectators of his solitary walk: once, indeed, we saw
him crossing into St. Martin's Lane. Nobody seemed to know him, for
he spoke to none; and no person ever addressed him, though many, like
ourselves, looked at him, and stopped in the path to gaze after him.
We often longed to be rich, to follow him wherever his wretched abode
might have been, and then silently to send comforts to him from hands
he knew not of. We used to call him, when speaking of him to
ourselves, _Il Penseroso;_ and by that name we yet not unfrequently
talk of him to each other, and never without recurrence  to the very
painful, because unavailing, sympathy we then felt for that apparently
friendless man. Such sympathy is, indeed, right; for it is one of the
secondary means by which Providence conducts the stream of his mercies
to those who need the succor of their fellow-creatures; and we cannot
doubt that, though the agency of such Providence was not to be in
our hands, there were those who had both the will and the power
given, and did not, like ourselves, turn and pity that interesting
emigrant in vain.

Some time after this, General Kosciusko, the justly celebrated hero
of Poland, came to England, on his way to the United States; having
been released from his close imprisonment in Russia, and in the
noblest manner, too, by the Emperor Paul, immediately on his
accession to the throne. His arrival caused a great sensation in
London, and many of the first characters of the times pressed forward
to pay their respects to such real patriotic virtue in its adversity.
An old friend of my family was amongst them; his own warm heart
encouraging the enthusiasm of ours, he took my brother Robert to
visit the Polish veteran, then lodging at Sablonière's Hotel, in
Leicester Square. My brother, on his return to us, described him as a
noble looking man, though not at all handsome, lying upon a couch in
a very enfeebled state, from the effects of numerous wounds he had
received in his breast by the Cossacks' lances after his fall, having
been previously overthrown by a sabre stroke on his head. His voice,
in consequence of the induced internal weakness, was very low, and
his speaking always with resting intervals. He wore a black bandage
across his forehead, which covered a deep wound there; and, indeed,
his whole figure bore marks of long suffering.

Our friend introduced my brother to him by name, and as "a boy
emulous of seeing and following noble examples." Kosciusko took him
kindly by the hand, and spoke to him words of generous encouragement,
in whatever path of virtuous ambition he might take. They never have
been forgotten. Is it, then, to be wondered at, combining the mute
distress I had so often contemplated in other victims of similar
misfortunes with the magnanimous object then described to me by my
brother, that the story of heroism my young imagination should think
of embodying into shape should be founded on the actual scenes of
Kosciusko's sufferings, and moulded out of his virtues!

To have made him the ostensible hero of the tale, would have suited
neither the modesty of his feelings nor the humbleness of my own
expectation of telling it as I wished. I therefore took a younger and
less pretending agent, in the personification of a descendant of the
great John Sobieski.

But it was, as I have already said, some years after the partition of
Poland that I wrote, and gave for publication, my historical romance
on that catastrophe. It was finished amid a circle of friends well
calculated to fan the flame which had inspired its commencement some
of the leading heroes of the British army just returned from the
victorious fields of Alexandria and St. Jean d'Acre; and, seated in
my brother's little study, with the war-dyed coat in which the
veteran Abercrombie breathed his last grateful sigh, while, like
Wolfe, he gazed on the boasted invincible standard of the enemy,
brought to him by a British soldier,--with this trophy of our own
native valor on one side of me, and on the other the bullet-torn vest
of another English commander of as many battles,--but who, having
survived to enjoy his fame, I do not name here,--I put my last stroke
to the first campaigns of Thaddeus Sobieski.

When the work was finished, some of the persons near me urged its
being published. But I argued, in opposition to the wish, its
different construction to all other novels or romances which had gone
before it, from Richardson's time-honored domestic novels to the
penetrating feeling in similar scenes by the pen of Henry Mackenzie;
and again, Charlotte Smith's more recent, elegant, but very
sentimental love stories. But the most formidable of all were the
wildly interesting romances of Anne Radcliffe, whose magical wonders
and mysteries were then the ruling style of the day. I urged, how
could any one expect that the admiring readers of such works could
consider my simply-told biographical legend of Poland anything better
than a dull union between real history and a matter-of-fact
imagination?

Arguments were found to answer all this; and being excited by the
feelings which had dictated my little work, and encouraged by the
corresponding characters with whom I daily associated, I ventured the
essay. However, I had not read the sage romances of our older times
without turning to some account the lessons they taught to
adventurous personages of either sex; showing that even the boldest
knight never made a new sally without consecrating his shield with
some impress of acknowledged reverence. In like manner, when I
entered the field with my modern romance of Thaddeus of Warsaw, I
inscribed the first page with the name of the hero of Acre. That
dedication will be found through all its successive editions, still
in front of the title-page; and immediately following it is a second
inscription, added, in after years, to the memory of the magnanimous
patriot and exemplary man, Thaddeus Kosciusko, who had first filled
me with ambition to write the tale, and who died in Switzerland, A.
D. 1817, fuller of glory than of years. Yet, if life be measured by
its vicissitudes and its virtues, we may justly say, "he was gathered
in his ripeness."

After his visit to old friends in the United States,--where, in his
youth, he had learned the art of war, and the science of a noble,
unselfish independence, from the marvel of modern times, General
Washington,--Kosciusko returned to Europe, and abode a while in
France, but not in its capital. He lived deeply retired, gradually
restoring his shattered frame to some degree of health by the peace
of a resigned mind and the occupation of rural employments.
Circumstances led him to Switzerland; and the country of William
Tell, and of simple Christian fellowship, could not but soon be found
peculiarly congenial to his spirit, long turned away from the
pageants and the pomp of this world. In his span he had had all,
either in his grasp or proffered to him. For when nothing remained of
all his military glory and his patriotic sacrifices but a yet
existing fame, and a conscious sense within him of duty performed, he
was content to "eat his crust," with that inheritance alone; and he
refused, though with an answering magnanimity of acknowledgment, a
valuable property offered to him by the Emperor of Russia, as a free
gift from a generous enemy, esteeming his proved, disinterested
virtues. He also declined the yet more dazzling present of a crown
from the then master of the continent, who would have set him on the
throne of Poland--but, of a truth, under the vassalage of the Emperor
of the French! Kosciusko was not to be consoled for Poland by riches
bestowed on himself, nor betrayed into compromising her birthright of
national independence by the casuistry that would have made his
parental sceptre the instrument of a foreign domination.

Having such a theme as his name, and the heroes his co-patriots, the
romance of "Thaddeus of Warsaw" was no sooner published than it
overcame the novelty of its construction, and became universally
popular. Nor was it very long before it fell into General Kosciusko's
hands, though then in a distant land; and he kindly and promptly lost
no time in letting the author know his approbation of the narrative,
though qualified with several modest expressions respecting himself.
From that period she enjoyed many treasured marks of his esteem; and
she will add, though with a sad satisfaction, that amongst her
several relics of the Great Departed who have honored her with
regard, she possesses, most dearly prized, a medal of Kosciusko and a
lock of his hair. About the same time she received a most
incontestable proof of the accuracy of her story from the lips of
General Gardiner, the last British minister to the court of
Stanislaus Augustus. On his reading the book, he was so sure that the
facts it represented could only have been learned on the spot, that
he expressed his surprise to several persons that the author of the
work, an English lady, could have been at Warsaw during all the
troubles there and he not know it. On his repeating this observation
to the late Duke of Roxburgh, his grace's sister-in-law, who happened
to overhear what was said, and knew the writer, answered him by
saying, "The author has never been in Poland." "Impossible!" replied
the general; "no one could describe the scenes and occurrences there,
in the manner it is done in that book, without having been an
eyewitness." The lady, however, convinced the general of the fact
being otherwise, by assuring him, from her own personal knowledge,
that the author of "Thaddeus of Warsaw" was a mere school-girl in
England at the time of the events of the story.

How, then, it has often been asked, did she obtain such accurate
information with regard to those events? and how acquire her familiar
acquaintance with the palaces and persons she represents in the work?
The answer is short. By close questioning every person that came in
her way that knew anything about the object of her interest; and
there were many brave hearts and indignant lips ready to open with
the sad yet noble tale. Thus every illustrious individual she wished
to bring into her narrative gradually grew upon her knowledge, till
she became as well acquainted with all her desired personages as if
they were actually present with her; for she knew their minds and
their actions; and these compose the man. The features of the
country, also, were learned from persons who had trodden the spots
she describes: and that they were indeed correct pictures of their
homes and war-fields, the tears and bursting enthusiasm of many of
Poland's long expatriated sons have more than once borne testimony to
her.

As one instance, out of the number I might repeat, of the
inextinguishable love of those noble wanderers from their native
country, I shall subjoin the copy of a letter addressed to me by one
of those gallant men, then holding a high military post in a foreign
service, and who, I afterwards learned, was of the family of
Kosciusko, whose portrait he sent to me: for the letter was
accompanied with a curiously-wrought ring of pure gold, containing a
likeness of that hero. The letter was in French, and I transcribe it
literally in the words of the writer:--

"Madame!

"Un inconnu ose addresser la parole à l'auteur immortel de Thaddeus
de Warsaw; attaché par tent de liens à l'héros que vous avez chanté,
je m'enhardis à distraire pour un moment vos nobles veilles.

"Qu'il me soit permis de vous offrir, madame, l'hommage de mon
admiration la plus exaltée, en vous présentant la bague qui contient
le buste du Général Kosciusko:--elle a servi de signe de ralliment
aux patriots Polonois, lorsque, en 1794, ils entreprirent de sécouer
leur joug.

"Les anciens déposoient leurs offrandes sur l'autel de leurs
divinités tutélaires;--je ne fais qu'imiter leur exemple. Vous êtes
pour tous les Polonois cette divinité, qui la première ait élevée sa
voix, du fond de l'impériale, Albion, en leur faveur.

"Un jour viendra, et j'ose conserver dans mon coeur cet espoir, que
vos accens, qui ont retenti dans le coeur de l'Europe sensible,
produiront leur effêt célestial, en ressuscitant l'ombre sanglante de
ma chère patrie.

"Daignez agréer, madame, l'hommage respectueuse d'un de vos
serviteurs le plus dévoué, &c. &c."

Probably the writer of the above is now returned to his country, his
vows having been most awfully answered by one of the most momentous
struggles she has ever had, or to which the nations around have ever
yet stood as spectators; for the balance of Europe trembles at the
turning of her scale.

Thus, then, it cannot but be that in the conclusion of this my,
perhaps, last introductory preface to any new edition of "Thaddeus of
Warsaw," its author should offer up a sincerely heartfelt prayer to
the King of kings, the Almighty Father of all mankind, that His all-
gracious Spirit may watch over the issue of this contest, and dictate
the peace of Poland!

ESHER, _May_, 1831.



         DEDICATION TO THE FIRST EDITION.

               THADDEUS OF WARSAW

                 is inscribed to

                 SIR SIDNEY SMITH;

               in the hope that, as

                SIR PHILIP SIDNEY

       did not disdain to write a romance,

               SIR SIDNEY SMITH

           will not refuse to read one.

  SIR PHILIP SIDNEY CONSIGNED HIS EXCELLENT WORK TO THE
               AFFECTION OF A SISTER.

       I CONFIDE MY ASPIRING ATTEMPT TO THE
    URBANITY OF THE BRAVE; TO THE MAN OF TASTE,
            OF FEELING, AND OF CANDOR;

         TO HIM WHOSE FRIENDSHIP WILL BESTOW
   THAT INDULBENCE ON THE AUTHOR WHICH HIS JUDGMENT
           MIGHT HAVE DENIED TO THE BOOK;

  TO HIM OF WHOM FUTURE AGES WILL SPEAK WITH HONOR
    AND THE PRESENT TIMES BOAST AS THEIR GLORY!

                       TO

                SIR SIDNEY SMITH,

I SUBMIT THIS HUMBLE TRIBUTE OF THE HIGHEST RESPECT
         WHICH CAN BE OFFERED BY A BRITON,
            OR ANIMATE THE HEART OF
               HIS SINCERE FRIEND,

                   THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

Having attempted a narrative of the intended description, but
written, in fact, from the mere impulse of sympathy with its subject
still fresh in my own and every pitying memory, it is natural that,
after having made up my mind to assent to its publication, in which
much time and thought has been expended in considering the
responsibility of so doing, from so unpractised a pen, I should feel
an increase of anxiety respecting its ultimate fate.

Therefore, before the reader favors the tale itself with his
attention, I beg leave to offer him a little account of the
principles that actuated its composition, and in regard to which one
of the most honored heads in the author's family urged her "not to
withhold it from the press;" observing, in his persuasions, that the
mistakes which many of my young contemporaries of both sexes
continually make in their estimates of human character, and of the
purposes of human life, require to have a line of difference between
certain splendid vices and some of the brilliant order of virtues to
be distinctly drawn before them. "And," he remarked, "it appeared to
be so done in the pages of my Polish manuscript. Therefore," added
he, "let Thaddeus of Warsaw speak openly for himself!"

This opinion decided me. Though with fear and trembling, yet I felt
an encouraging consciousness that in writing the manuscript narrative
for my own private enjoyment only, and the occasional amusement of
those friends dearest around me, I had wished to portray characters
whose high endowments could not be misled into proud ambitions, nor
the gift of dazzling social graces betray into the selfish triumphs
of worldly vanity,--characters that prosperity could not inflate, nor
disappointments depress, from pious trust and honorable action. The
pure fires of such a spirit declare their sacred origin; and such is
the talisman of those achievements which amaze everybody but their
accomplisher. The eye fixed on it is what divine truth declares it to
be "single!" There is no double purpose in it; no glancing to a man's
own personal aggrandizement on one side and on professing services to
his fellow-creatures on the other; such a spirit has only one aim--
Heaven! and the eternal records of that wide firmament include within
it "all good to man."

What flattered Alexander of Macedon into a madman, and perverted the
gracious-minded Julius Caesar into usurpation and tyranny, has also
been found by Christian heroes the most perilous ordeal of their
virtue; but, inasmuch as they are Christian heroes, and not pagan
men, worshippers of false gods, whose fabled examples inculcated all
these deeds of self-absorbing vain-glory, our heroes of a "better
revelation" have no excuse for failing under their trial, and many
there be who pass through it "pure and undefiled." Such were the
great Alfred of England, Gustavus Vasa of Sweden, and his greater
successor in true glory, Gustavus Adolphus,--all champions of
immutable justice and ministers of peace. And though these may be
regarded as personages beyond the sphere of ordinary emulations, yet
the same principles, or their opposites, prevail in every order of
men from the prince to the peasant; and, perhaps, at no period of the
world more than the present were these divers principles in greater
necessity to be considered, and, according to the just conclusion, be
obeyed. On all sides of us we see public and private society broken
up, as it were by an earthquake: the noblest and the meanest passions
of the human bosom at contention, and the latter often so disguised,
that the vile ambuscade is not even suspected till found within the
heart of the fortress itself. We have, however, one veritable
touchstone, that of the truest observation, "ye shall know a tree by
its fruits." Let us look round, then, for those which bear "good
fruits," wholesome to the taste as well as pleasant to the sight,
whether they grow on high altitudes or in the humbler valleys of the
earth; let us view men of all degrees in life in their actions, and
not in their pretensions,--such men as were some of the Sobieski race
in Poland, in every change of their remarkable lives. When placed at
the summit of mortal fame, surrounded by greatness and glory, and
consequent power, they evinced neither pride to others nor a sense of
self-aggrandizement in themselves; and, when under a reverse
dispensation, national misfortunes pursued them, and family sorrows
pierced their souls, the weakness of a murmur never sunk the dignity
of their sustaining fortitude, nor did the firmness of that virtue
harden the amiable sensibilities of their hearts.

To exhibit so truly heroic and endearing a portrait of what every
Christian man ought to be,--for the law of God is the same to the
poor as to the rich,--I have chosen one of that illustrious and, I
believe, now extinct race for the subject of my sketch; and the more
aptly did it present itself, it being necessary to show my hero
amidst scenes and circumstances ready to exercise his brave and
generous propensities, and to put their personal issues to the test
on his mind. Hence Poland's sadly-varying destinies seemed to me the
stage best calculated for the development of any self-imposed task.

There certainly were matters enough for the exhibition of all that
human nature could suffer and endure, and, alas! perish under, in the
nearly simultaneous but terrible regicidal revolution of France; but
I shrunk from that as a tale of horror, the work of demons in the
shapes of men. It was a conflict in which no comparisons, as between
man and man, could exist; and may God grant that so fearful a
visitation may never be inflicted on this world again. May the
nations of this world lay its warnings to their hearts!

It sprung from a tree self-corrupted, which only could produce such
fruits: the demon hierarchy of the French philosophers, who had long
denied the being of that pure and Almighty God, and who, in the
arrogance of their own deified reason, and while in utter subjection
to the wildest desires of their passions, published their profane and
polluted creed amongst all orders of the people, and the natural and
terrible consequences ensued. Ignorant before, they became like unto
their teachers, demons in their unbelief,--demons in one common envy
and hatred of all degrees above them, or around them, whose existence
seemed at all in the way of even their slightest gratification:
mutual spoliation and destruction covered the country. How often has
the tale been told me by noble refugees, sheltered on our shores from
those scenes of blood, where infamy triumphed and truth and honor
were massacred; but such narratives, though they never can be
forgotten, are too direful for the hearer to contemplate in memory.

Therefore, when I sought to represent the mental and moral contest of
man with himself, or with his fellow-men, I did not look for their
field amongst human monsters, but with natural and civilized man;
inasmuch as he is seen to be influenced by the impulses of his
selfish passions--ambition, covetousness, and the vanities of life,
or, on the opposite side, by the generous amenities of true
disinterestedness, in all its trying situations; and, as I have said,
the recent struggle in Poland, to maintain her laws and loyal
independence, against the combined aggressions of the three most
powerful states in Europe, seemed to afford me the most suitable
objects for my moral aim, to interest by sympathy, while it taught
the responsible commission of human life.

I have now described the plan of my story, its aim and origin.

If it be disapproved, let it be at once laid aside; but should it
excite any interest, I pray its perusal may be accompanied with an
indulgent candor, its subjects being of so new, and therefore
uncustomary, a character in a work of the kind. But if the reader be
one of my own sex, I would especially solicit her patience while
going through the first portion of the tale, its author being aware
that war and politics are not the most promising themes for an
agreeable amusement; but the battles are not frequent, nor do the
cabinet councils last long. I beg the favor, if the story is to be
read at all, that no scene may be passed over as extraneous, for
though it begin like a state-paper, or a sermon, it always terminates
by casting some new light on the portrait of the hero. Beyond those
events of peril and of patriotic devotedness, the remainder of the
pages dwell generally with domestic interests; but if the reader do
not approach them regularly through the development of character
opened in the preceding troubled field, what they exhibit will seem a
mere wilderness of incidents, without interest or end; indeed I have
designed nothing in the personages of this narrative out of the way
of living experience. I have sketched no virtue that I have not seen,
nor painted any folly from imagination. I have endeavored to be as
faithful to reality in my pictures of domestic morals, and of heroic
duties, as a just painter would seek to be to the existing objects of
nature, "wonderful and wild, or of gentlest beauty!" and on these
grounds I have steadily attempted to inculcate "that virtue is the
highest proof of understanding, and the only solid basis of
greatness; that vice is the natural consequence of grovelling
thoughts, which begin in mistake and end in ignominy."

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



POSTCRIPT TO A SUBSEQUENT EDITION.

After so many intervening years have passed since the author of
Thaddeus of Warsaw wrote the foregoing preface, to introduce a work
so novel in its character to the notice and candid judgment of the
British public, it was her intention to take the present occasion of
its now perfectly new republication, at the distance of above forty
years from its earliest appearance and so continued editions, to
express her grateful sense of that public's gratifying sympathies and
honoring testimonies of approbation, from its author's youth to age;
but even in the hour she sits down to perform the gracious task, she
feels a present incapability to undertake it. The very attempt has
too sensibly recalled to her heart events that have befallen her
since she lived amongst the models of her tale; and she has also more
recently been in many of the places it describes; and circumstances,
both of joys and sorrows, having occurred to her there to influence
the whole future current of her mortal life, she finds it impossible
to yet touch on those times and scenes connected with the subjects of
her happy youth, which would now only reverberate notes of sadness it
is her duty to repress. Hence, though while revising the work itself
she experiences a calm delight in the occupation, being a kind of
parting duty, also, to the descendants of her earliest, readers, she
would rather defer any little elucidations she may have met with
regarding the objects of her pen to a few pages in the form of an
Appendix at the end of the work; all, indeed, bringing her
observations, whether by weal or woe, to the one great and guiding
conclusion. "Man is formed for two states of existence--a mortal and
an immortal being;" in the Holy Scriptures authoritatively declared,
"For the life that now is, and for that which is to come."

JANE PORTER.

BRISTOL, _November_, 1844.



CONTENTS.

        I.
       II. The Mill of Mariemont.
      III. The Opening of the Campaign.
       IV. The Pass of Volunna.
        V. The Banks of the Vistula.
       VI. Society in Poland.
      VII. The Diet of Poland.
     VIII. Battle of Brzesc--The Tenth of October.
       IX. The Last Days of Villanow.
        X. Sobieski's Departure from Warsaw.
       XI. The Baltic.
      XII. Thaddeus's First Day in England.
     XIII. The Exile's Lodgings.
      XIV. A Robbery and its Consequences.
       XV. The Widow's Family.
      XVI. The Money-Lender.
     XVII. The Meeting of Exiles.
    XVIII. The Veteran's Narrative.
      XIX. Friendship a Staff in Human Life.
       XX. Woman's Kindness.
      XXI. Fashionable Sketches from the Life.
     XXII. Honorable Resources of an Exile.
    XXIII.
     XXIV. Lady Tinemouth's Boudoir.
      XXV. The Countess of Tinemouth's Story.
     XXVI. The Kindredship of Minds.
    XXVII. Such Things Were.
   XXVIII. Mary Beaufort and her Venerable Aunt.
     XXIX. Hyde Park.
      XXX. Influences of Character.
     XXXI. The Great and the Small of Society.
    XXXII. The Obduracy of Vice--The Inhumanity of Folly.
   XXXIII. Passion and Principle.
    XXXIV. Requiescat in Pace.
     XXXV. Deep are the Purposes of Adversity.
    XXXVI. An English Prison.
   XXXVII.
  XXXVIII. Zeal is Power.
    XXXIX. The Vale of Grantham--Belvoir.
       XL. Somerset Castle.
      XLI. The Maternal Heart.
     XLII. Harrowby Abbey.
    XLIII. The Old Village Hotel.
     XLIV. Letters of Farewell.
      XLV. Deerhurst.
     XLVI. The Spirit of Peace.
    XLVII. An Avowal.
   XLVIII. A Family Party.
     XLIX.
        L.
 APPENDIX.



CHAPTER I.


The large and magnificent palace of Villanow, whose vast domains
stretch along the northern bank of the Vistula, was the favorite
residence of John Sobieski, King of Poland. That monarch, after
having delivered his country from innumerable enemies, rescued Vienna
and subdued the Turks, retired to this place at certain seasons, and
thence dispensed those acts of his luminous and benevolent mind which
rendered his name great and his people happy.

When Charles the Twelfth of Sweden visited the tomb of Sobieski, at
Cracow, he exclaimed, "What a pity that so great a man should ever
die!" [Footnote: In the year 1683, this hero raised the siege of
Vienna, then beleagured by the Turks; and driving them out of Europe,
saved Christendom from a Mohammedan usurpation.] Another generation
saw the spirit of this lamented hero revive in the person of his
descendant, Constantine, Count Sobieski, who, in a comparatively
private station, as Palatine of Masovia, and the friend rather than
the lord of his vassals, evinced by his actions that he was the
inheritor of his forefather's virtue as well as of his blood.

He was the first Polish nobleman who granted freedom to his peasants.
He threw down their mud hovels and built comfortable villages; he
furnished them with seed, cattle, and implements of husbandry, and
calling their families together, laid before them the deed of their
enfranchisement; but before he signed it, he expressed a fear that
they would abuse this liberty of which they had not had experience,
and become licentious.

"No," returned a venerable peasant; "when we were ignorant men, and
possessed no property of our own except these staffs in our hands, we
were destitute of all manly motives for propriety of conduct; but you
have taught us to read out of the Holy Book, how to serve God and
honor the king. And shall we not respect laws which thus bestow on
us, and ensure to us, the fruits of our labors and the favor of
Heaven!"

The good sense and truth of this answer were manifested in the event.
On the emancipation of these people, they became so prosperous in
business and correct in behavior, that the example of the palatine
was speedily followed by the Chancellor Zamoiski [Footnote: This
family had ever been one of the noblest and most virtuous in Poland.
And had its wisdom been listened to in former years by certain
powerful and wildly ambitious lords that once great kingdom would
never have exchanged its long line of hereditary native-princes for
an elective monarchy--that arena of all political mischiefs.] and
several of the principal nobility. The royal Stanislaus's beneficent
spirit moved in unison with that of Sobieski, and a constitution was
given to Poland to place her in the first rank of free nations.

Encircled by his happy tenantry, and within the bosom of his family,
this illustrious man educated Thaddeus, the only male heir of his
name, to the exercise of all the virtues which ennoble and endear the
possessor.

But this reign of public and domestic peace was not to continue.
Three formidable and apparently friendly states envied the effects of
a patriotism they would not imitate; and in the beginning of the year
1792, regardless of existing treaties, broke in upon the unguarded
frontiers of Poland, threatening with all the horrors of a merciless
war the properties, lives, and liberties of the people.

The family of Sobieski had ever been foremost in the ranks of their
country; and at the present crisis its venerable head did not hang
behind the youngest warrior in preparations for the field.

On the evening of an anniversary of the birthday of his grandson, the
palatine rode abroad with a party of friends, who had been
celebrating the festival with their presence. The countess (his
daughter) and Thaddeus were left alone in the saloon. She sighed as
she gazed on her son, who stood at some distance, fitting to his
youthful thigh a variety of sabres, which his servant a little time
before had laid upon the table. She observed with anxiety the
eagerness of his motion, and the ardor that was flashing from his
eyes.

"Thaddeus," said she, "lay down that sword; I wish to speak with
you." Thaddeus looked gayly up. "My dear Thaddeus!" cried his mother,
and tears started to her eyes. The blush of enthusiasm faded from his
face; he threw the sabre from him, and drew near the countess.

"Why, my dear mother, do you distress yourself? When I am in battle,
shall I not have my grandfather near me, and be as much under the
protection of God as at this moment?"

"Yes, my child," answered she, "God will protect you. He is the
protector of the orphan, and you are fatherless." The countess
paused--"Here, my son," said she, giving him a sealed packet, "take
this; it will reveal to you the history of your birth and the name of
your father. It is necessary that you should know a painful fact,
which has hitherto been concealed from you by the wish and noble
judgment of your grandfather." Thaddeus received it, and stood silent
with surprise. "Read it, my love," continued she, "but go to your own
apartments; here you may be interrupted."

Bewildered by the manner of the countess, Thaddeus, without
answering, instantly obeyed. Shutting himself within his study, he
impatiently opened the papers, and soon found his whole attention
absorbed in the following recital.

"TO MY DEAR SON, THADDEUS CONSTANTINE SOBIESKI.

"You are now, my Thaddeus, at the early age of nineteen, going to
engage the enemies of your country. Ere I resign my greatest comfort
to the casualties of war; ere I part with you, perhaps forever, I
would inform you who your father really was--that father whose
existence you have hardly known and whose name you have never heard.
You believe yourself an orphan, your mother a widow; but, alas! I
have now to tell you that you were made fatherless by the perfidy of
man, not by the dispensation of Heaven.

"Twenty-three years ago, I accompanied my father in a tour through
Germany and Italy. Grief for the death of my mother had impaired his
health, and the physicians ordered him to reside in a warmer climate;
accordingly we fixed ourselves near the Arno. During several visits
to Florence, my father met in that city with a young Englishman of
the name of Sackville. These frequent meetings opened into intimacy,
and he was invited to our villa.

"Mr. Sackville was not only the most interesting man I had ever seen,
but the most accomplished, and his heart seemed the seat of every
graceful feeling. He was the first man for whose society I felt a
lively preference. I used to smile at this strange delight, or
sometimes weep; for the emotions which agitated me were undefinable,
but they were enchanting, and unheedingly I gave them indulgence. The
hours which we passed together in the interchange of reciprocal
sentiments, the kind beaming of his looks, the thousand sighs that he
breathed, the half-uttered sentences, all conspired to rob me of
myself.

"Nearly twelve months were spent in these delusions. During the last
three, doubts and anguish displaced the blissful reveries of an
infant tenderness. The attentions of Mr. Sackville died away. From
being the object of his constant search, he then sedulously sought to
avoid me. When my father withdrew to his closet, he would take his
leave, and allow me to walk alone. Solitary and wretched were my
rambles. I had full leisure to compare my then disturbed state of
mind with the comparative peace I had enjoyed in my own country.
Immured within the palace of Villanow, watching the declining health
of my mother, I knew nothing of the real world, the little I had
learned of society being drawn from books; and, uncorrected by
experience, I was taught to believe a perfection in man which, to my
affliction, I since found to be but a poet's dream. When my father
took me to Italy, I continued averse to public company. In such
seclusion, the presence of Sackville, being almost my only pleasure,
chased from my mind its usual reserve, and gradually and surely won
upon the awakened affections of my heart. Artless and unwarned, I
knew not the nature of the passion which I cherished until it had
gained an ascendancy that menaced my life.

"On the evening of one of those days in which I had been disappointed
of seeing this too-dearly-prized companion, I strolled out, and,
hardly conscious of my actions, threw myself along the summit of a
flight of steps in our garden that led down to the Arno. My head
rested against the base of a statue which, because of its resemblance
to me, Sackville had presented to my father. Every recollected
kindness of his now gave me additional torment; and clinging to the
pedestal as to the altar of my adoration, in the bitterness of
disappointment I addressed the insensible stone: 'O! were I pale as
thou art, and this breast as cold and still, would Sackville, when he
looked on me, give one sigh to the creature he had destroyed? My sobs
followed this adjuration, and the next moment I felt myself encircled
in his arms. I struggled, and almost fainting with shame at such
utter weakness, implored to be released. He did release me, and, in
an agony of emotion, besought my pardon for the misery I had endured.
'Now, Therese,' cried he, 'all is as it ought to be! you are my only
hope. Consent to be mine, or the world has no hold on me!' His voice
was hurried and incoherent. Raising my eyes to his, I beheld them
wild and bloodshot. Terrified at his look, and overcome by my own
distracted thoughts, my head sunk on the marble. With increased
violence he exclaimed, 'Have I deceived myself here too? Therese, did
you not prefer me? Did you not love me? Speak now, I conjure you, by
your own happiness and mine! Do you reject me?' He clasped my hands
with a force that made me tremble, and I hardly articulated, 'I will
be yours.' At these words he hurried me down a dark vista, which led
out of the gardens to the open country. A carriage stood at the gate.
I fearfully asked what he intended. 'You have given yourself to me,'
cried he; 'and by that vow, written in heaven, no power shall
separate us until you are mine beyond the reach of man!' Unnerved in
body and weak in mind, I yielded to his impetuosity, and suffering
him to lift me into the chariot, was carried to the door of the
nearest monastery, where in a few minutes we were married.

"I am thus particular in the relation of every incident, in the hope
that you, my dear son, will find some excuse for my great
imprudence,--in the circumstances of my youth, and in the influence
which a man who seemed all excellence had gained over my heart.
However, my fault went not long unpunished.

"The ceremony past, my husband conducted me in silence back to the
carriage. My full bosom discharged itself in abundance of tears,
while Sackville sat by me, without any movement, and mute. Two or
three times I raised my eyes, in hopes of discerning in his some
consolation for my hasty compliance. But no; his gaze, vacant and
glaring, was fixed on the window, and his brow became heavily
clouded, as if he had been forced into an alliance with one he hated,
rather than had just made a voluntary engagement with the woman he
loved. My soul shuddered at this commencement of a contract which I
had dared to make unsanctioned by my father's consent. At length my
sighs seemed to startle my husband; and suddenly turning round, he
cried, 'Therese, this marriage must not be told to the palatine. I
have been precipitate. It would ruin me with my family. Refrain, only
for one month, and then I will publicly acknowledge you.' The
agitation of his features and the feverish burning of his hand, which
then held mine, alarmed me. Trembling from head to foot, I answered,
'Sackville! I have already erred enough in consenting to this stolen
marriage. I will not transgress further by concealing it. I will
instantly throw myself at my father's feet, and confess all.' His
countenance darkened again. 'Therese,' said he, 'I am your husband.
You have sworn to obey me, and till I allow you, divulge this
marriage at your peril!' This last stern sentence, and the sterner
look that accompanied it, pierced me to the heart, and I fell
senseless on the seat.

"When I recovered, I found myself at the foot of that statue beneath
which my unfortunate destiny had been fixed. My husband was leaning
over me. He raised me with tenderness from the ground, and conjured
me, in the mildest accents, to be comforted; to pardon the severity
of those words, which had arisen from a fear that, by an imprudent
avowal on my part, I should risk both his happiness and my own. He
informed me that he was heir to one of the first families in England;
and before he set out for the continent, he had pledged his honor to
his father never to enter into any matrimonial engagement without
first acquainting him with the particulars of the lady and her
family. Should he omit this duty, his father declared that, though
she were a princess, he would disinherit him, and never again admit
him to his presence.

"'Consider this, my dear Therese,' continued he; 'could you endure to
behold me an outcast, and stigmatized with a parent's curse, when a
little forbearance on your part would make all right? I know I have
been hasty in acting as I have done, but now I cannot remedy my
error. To-morrow I will write to my father, describe your rank and
merits, and request his consent to our immediate union. The moment
his permission arrives, I will cast myself on the palatine's
friendship, and reveal what has passed.' The tenderness of my husband
blinded my reason, and with many tears, I sealed his forgiveness and
pledged my faith on his word.

"My dear deceived parent little suspected the perfidy of his guest.
He detained him as his visitor, and often rallied himself on the hold
which this distinguished stranger's accomplishments had taken on his
heart. Sackville's manner to me in public was obliging and free; it
was in private only that I found the tender, the capricious, the
unkind husband. Night after night I have washed the memory of my want
of duty to my father with bitter tears; but my husband was dear to
me--he was more precious than my life! One affectionate look from
him, one fond word, would solace every pain, and make me wait the
arrival of his father's letter with all the sanguine anticipations of
youth and love.

"A fortnight passed away. A month--a long and lingering month.
Another month, and a packet of letters was presented to Sackville. He
was conversing with us. At sight of the superscription, he tore open
the paper, ran his eyes over a few lines, and then, flushed and
agitated, started from his seat and left the room. My emotions were
almost uncontrollable. I had already half risen from my chair to
follow him, when the palatine exclaimed, 'What can be in that letter?
Too plainly I see some afflicting tidings.' And without observing me,
or waiting for a reply, he hurried out after him. I hastened to my
chamber, where, throwing myself on my bed, I tried, by all the
delusions of hope, to obtain some alleviation from the pangs of my
suspense.

"The dinner-bell roused me from my reverie. Dreading to excite
suspicion, and anxious to read in the countenance of my husband the
denunciation of our fate, I obeyed the summons and descended to the
dining-room. On entering it, my eyes irresistibly wandered round to
fix themselves on Sackville. He was leaning against a pillar, his
face pale as death. My father looked grave, but immediately took his
seat, and tenderly placed his friend beside him. I sat down in
silence. Little dinner was eaten, and few words spoken. As for
myself, my agitation almost choked me. I felt that the first words I
should attempt to pronounce must give them utterance, and that their
vehemence would betray our fatal secret.

"When the servants had withdrawn, Sackville rose, and said, in a
faltering voice, 'Count, I must leave you.' 'Nay,' replied the
palatine; 'you are unwell--disturbed--stay till to-morrow.' 'I thank
your excellency,' answered he, 'but I must go to Florence to-night.
You shall see me again before to-morrow afternoon; all will then, I
hope, be settled to my wish.' My husband took his hat. Motionless,
and incapable of speaking, I sat fixed to my chair, in the direct way
that he must pass. His eye met mine. He stopped and looked at me,
abruptly snatched my hand; then as abruptly quitting it, darted out
of the room. I never saw him more.

"I had not the power to dissemble another moment. I fell back into
the arms of my father. He did not, even by this imprudence, read what
I almost wished him to guess, but, with all the indulgence of perfect
confidence, lamented the distress of Sackville, and the sensibility
of my nature, which sympathized so painfully with his friend. I durst
not ask what was the distress of his friend. Abashed at my duplicity
to my father, and overwhelmed with a thousand dreads, I obtained his
permission to retire to my chamber.

"The next day I met him with calmness, for I had schooled my heart to
endure the sufferings it had deserved. He did not remark my recovered
tranquillity, so entirely was his generous heart occupied in
conjecturing the cause of Sackville's grief, who had acknowledged
having received a great shock, but would not reveal the occasion.
This double reserve to my father surprised and distressed me, and to
all his suppositions I said little. My soul was too deeply interested
in the subject to trust to the faithfulness of my lips.

"The morning crept slowly on, and the noon appeared to stand still. I
anxiously watched the declining sun, as the signal for my husband's
return. Two hours had elapsed since his promised time, and my father
grew so impatient that he went out to meet him. I eagerly wished that
they might miss each other. I should then see Sackville a few minutes
alone, and by one word be comforted or driven to despair.

"I was listening to every footstep that sounded under the colonnade,
when my servant brought me a letter which had just been left by one
of Mr. Sackville's grooms. I broke open the seal, and fell senseless
on the floor ere I had read half the killing contents."

Thaddeus, with a burning cheek, and a heart all at once robbed of
that elastic spring which till now had ever made him the happiest of
the happy, took up the letter of his father. The paper was worn, and
blistered with his mother's tears. His head seemed to swim as he
contemplated the handwriting, and he said to himself, "Am I to
respect or to abhor him?" He proceeded in the perusal.

"TO THERESE, COUNTESS SOBIESKI.

"How, Therese, am I to address you? But an attempt to palliate my
conduct would be to no purpose; indeed it is impossible. You cannot
conceive a viler opinion of me than I have of myself. I know that I
forfeit all claim to honor, in the most delicate point of your noble
and trusting heart!--that I have sacrificed your tenderness to my
distracted passions; but you shall no more be subject to the caprices
of a man who cannot repay your innocent love with his own. _You_
have no guilt to torture you; and you possess virtues which will
render you tranquil under every calamity. I leave you to your own
purity, and, therefore, peace of mind. Forget the ceremony which has
passed between us; my wretched heart disclaims it forever. Your
father is happily ignorant of it; pray spare him the anguish of
knowing that I was so utterly unworthy of his kindness; I feel that I
am more than ungrateful to you and to him. Therese, your most
inveterate hate cannot more strongly tell me than I can tell myself
that to you I have been a villain. But I cannot retract. I am going
where all search will be vain; and I now bid you an eternal farewell.
May you be happier than ever can be the self-abhorring.

                      "R. S------."
                           "FLORENCE."

Thaddeus, after a brief pause, went on with his mother's narrative.

"When my senses returned, I was lying on the floor, holding the half-
perused paper in my hand. Grief and horror had locked up the avenues
of complaint, and I sat as one petrified to stone. My father entered.
At the sight of me, he started as if he had been a spectre. His well-
known features opened at once my agonized heart. With fearful cries I
cast myself at his feet, and putting the letter into his hand, clung,
almost expiring, to his knees.

"When he had read it, he flung it from him, and dropping into a
chair, covered his face with his hands. I looked up imploringly, for
I could not speak. My father stooped forward, and raising me in his
arms, pressed me to his bosom. 'My Therese,' said he, 'it is I who
have done this. Had I not harbored this villain, he never could have
had an opportunity of ruining the peace of my child.' In return for
the unexampled indulgence of this speech, and his repeated assurances
of forgiveness, I promised to forget a man who could have had so
little respect for truth and gratitude, and his own honor. The
palatine replied that he expected such a resolution, in consequence
of the principles my exemplary mother had taught me; and to show me
how far dearer to him was my real tranquillity than any false idea of
impossible restitution, he would not remove even from one
principality to another, were he sure by that means to discover Mr.
Sackville and to avenge my wrongs. My understanding assented to the
justice and dignity of all he said; but long and severe were my
struggles before I could erase from my soul the image of that being
who had been the lord of all my young hopes.

"It was not until you, my dear Thaddeus, were born that I could repay
the goodness of my father with the smiles of cheerfulness. And he
would not permit me to give you any name which could remind him or
myself of the faithless husband who knew not even of your existence;
and by his desire I christened you Thaddeus Constantine, after
himself, and his best beloved friend General Kosciusko. You have not
yet seen that illustrious Polander; his prescient watchfulness for
his country keeps him so constantly employed on the frontiers. He is
now with the army at Winnica, whither you must soon go; and in him
you may study one of the brightest models of patriotic and martial
virtue that ever was presented to mankind. It is well said of him
'that he would have shone with distinguished lustre in the ages of
chivalry.' Gallant, generous, and strictly just, he commands
obedience by the reverence in which he is held, and attaches the
troops to his person by the affability of his manners and the purity
of his life. He teaches them discipline, endurance of fatigue, and
contempt of danger, by his dauntless example, and inspires them with
confidence by his tranquillity in the tumult of action and the
invincible fortitude with which he meets the most adverse stroke of
misfortune. His modesty in victory shows him to be one of the
greatest among men, and his magnanimity under defeat confirms him to
be a Christian hero.

"Such is the man whose name you share. How bitterly do I lament that
the one to which nature gave you a claim was so unworthy to be united
with it, and that of my no less heroic father!

"On our return to Poland, the story which the palatine related, when
questioned about my apparently forlorn state, was simply this:--'My
daughter was married and widowed in the course of two months. Since
then, to root from her memory as much as possible all recollection of
a husband who was only given to be taken away, she still retains my
name; and her son, as my sole heir, shall bear no other.' This reply
satisfied every one; the king, who was my father's only confidant,
gave his sanction to it, and no further inquiries were ever made.

"You are now, my beloved child, entering on the eventful career of
life. God only knows, when the venerable head of your grandfather is
laid in dust, and I, too, have shut my eyes upon you in this world,
where destiny may send you! perhaps to the country of your father.
Should you ever meet him--but that is unlikely; so I will be silent
on a thought which nineteen years of reflection have not yet deprived
of its sting.

"Not to embitter the fresh spring of your youth, my Thaddeus, with
the draught that has poisoned mine: not to implant in your breast
hatred of a parent whom you may never behold, have I written this;
but to inform you in fact from whom you sprung. My history is made
plain to you, that no unexpected events may hereafter perplex your
opinion of your mother, or cause a blush to rise on that cheek for
her, which from your grandfather can derive no stain. For his sake as
well as for mine, whether in peace or in war, may the angels of
heaven guard my boy! This is the unceasing prayer of thy fond mother,

"THERESE, COUNTESS SOBIESKI.

"VILLANOW, _March_, 1792."

 When he finished reading, Thaddeus held the papers in his hand; but,
unable to recover from the shock of their contents, he read them a
second time to the end; then laying them on the table, against which
he rested his now aching head, he gave vent to the fulness of his
heart in tears.

The countess, anxious for the effect which her history might have
made on her son, at this instant entered the room. Seeing him in so
dejected an attitude, she approached, and pressing him to her bosom,
silently wept with him. Thaddeus, ashamed of his emotions, yet
incapable of dissembling them, struggled a moment to release himself
from her arms. The countess, mistaking his motive, said in a
melancholy voice, "And do you, my son, despise your mother for the
weakness which she has revealed? Is this the reception that I
expected from a child on whose affection I reposed my confidence and
my comfort?"

"No, my mother" replied Thaddeus; "it is your afflictions which have
distressed me. This is the first unhappy hour I ever knew, and can
you wonder I should be affected? Oh! mother," continued he, laying
his hand on his father's letter, "whatever were his rank, had my
father been but noble in mind, I would have gloried in bearing his
name; but now, I put up my prayers never to hear it more."

"Forget him," cried the countess, hiding her eyes with her
handkerchief.

"I will," answered Thaddeus, "and allow my memory to dwell on the
virtues of my mother only."

It was impossible for the countess or her son to conceal their
agitation from the palatine, who now opened the door. On his
expressing alarm at a sight so unusual, his daughter, finding herself
incapable of speaking, put into his hand the letter which Thaddeus
had just read. Sobieski cast his eye over the first lines; he
comprehended their tendency, and seeing the countess had withdrawn,
he looked towards his grandson. Thaddeus was walking up and down the
room, striving to command himself for the conversation he anticipated
with his grandfather.

"I am sorry, Thaddeus," said Sobieski, "that your mother has so
abruptly imparted to you the real country and character of your
father. I see that his villany has distressed a heart which Heaven
has made alive to even the slightest appearance of dishonor. But be
consoled, my son! I have prevented the publicity of his conduct by an
ambiguous story of your mother's widowhood. Yet notwithstanding this
arrangement, she has judged it proper that you should not enter
general society without being made acquainted with the true events of
your birth. I believe my daughter is right. And cheer yourself, my
child! ever remembering that you are one of the noblest race in
Poland! and suffer not the vices of one parent to dim the virtues of
the other."

"No, my lord," answered his grandson; "you have been more than a
parent to me; and henceforward, for your sake as well as my own, I
shall hold it my duty to forget that I draw my being from any other
source than that of the house of Sobieski."

"You are right," cried the palatine, with an exulting emotion; "you
have the spirit of your ancestors, and I shall live to see you add
glory to the name!" [Footnote: John Sobieski, King of Poland, was the
most renowned sovereign of his time. His victories over the Tartars
and the Turks obtained for him the admiration of Europe. Would it
might be said, "the gratitude also of her posterity!" For his signal
courage and wondrous generalship on the field of Vienna, against the
latter Mohammedan power, rescued Austria, and the chief part of
Christendom at that time, from their ruinous grasp. Where was the
memory of these things, when the Austrian emperor marched his
devastating legions into Poland, in the year 1793?]

The beaming eyes and smiling lips of the young count declared that he
had shaken sorrow from his heart. His grandfather pressed his hand
with delight, and saw in his recovered serenity the sure promise of
his fond prophecy.



CHAPTER II.

THE MILL OF MARIEMONT.


The fearful day arrived when Sobieski and his grandson were to bid
adieu to Villanow and its peaceful scenes.

The well-poised mind of the veteran bade his daughter farewell with a
fortitude which imparted some of its strength even to her. But when
Thaddeus, ready habited for his journey, entered the room, at the
sight of his military accoutrements she shuddered; and when, with a
glowing countenance, he advanced, smiling through his tears, towards
her, she clasped him in her arms, and riveted her lips to that face
the very loveliness of which added to her affliction. She gazed at
him, she wept on his neck, she pressed him to her bosom. "Oh! how
soon might all that beauty be mingled with the dust! how soon might
that warm heart, which then beat against hers, be pierced by the
sword--be laid on the ground, mangled and bleeding, exposed and
trampled on!" These thoughts thronged upon her soul, and deprived her
of sense. She was borne away by her maids, while the palatine
compelled Thaddeus to quit the spot.

It was not until the lofty battlements of Villanow blended with the
clouds that Thaddeus could throw off his melancholy. The parting
grief of his mother hung on his spirits; and heavy and frequent were
his sighs while he gazed on the rustic cottages and fertile fields,
which reminded him that he was yet passing through the territories of
his grandfather. The picturesque mill of Mariemont was the last spot
on which his sight lingered. The ivy that mantled its sides sparkled
with the brightness of a shower which had just fallen; and the rays
of the setting sun, gleaming on its shattered wall, made it an object
of such romantic beauty, that he could not help pointing it out to
his fellow-travellers.

Whilst the eyes of General Butzou, who was in the carriage, followed
the direction of Thaddeus, the palatine observed the heightening
animation of the old man's features; and recollecting at the same
time the transports which he himself had enjoyed when he visited that
place more than twenty years before, he put his hand on the shoulder
of the veteran, and exclaimed, "General, did you ever relate to my
boy the particulars of that mill?"

"No, my lord."

"I suppose," continued the palatine, "the same reason deterred you
from speaking of it, uncalled for, as lessened my wish to tell the
story? We are both too much the heroes of the tale to have
volunteered the recital."

"Does your excellency mean," asked Thaddeus, "the rescue of our king
from this place?"

"I do."

"I have an indistinct knowledge of the affair," continued his
grandson, "from I forget who, and should be grateful to hear it
clearly told me, while thus looking on the very spot."

"But," said the palatine, gayly, whose object was to draw his
grandson from melancholy reflections, "what will you say to me
turning egotist?"

"I now ask the story of you," returned Thaddeus, smiling; "besides,
as soldiers are permitted by their peaceful hearth to 'fight their
battles o'er again,' your modesty, my dear grandfather, cannot object
to repeat one to me on the way to more."

"Then, as a preliminary," said the palatine, "I must suppose it is
unnecessary to tell you that General Butzou was the brave soldier
who, at the imminent risk of his own life, saved our sovereign."

"Yes, I know that!" replied the young count, "and that you too had a
share in the honor: for when I was yesterday presented to his
majesty, amongst other things which he said, he told me that, under
Heaven, he believed he owed his present existence to General Butzou
and yourself."

"So very little to me," resumed the palatine, "that I will, to the
best of my recollection, repeat every circumstance of the affair.
Should I err, I must beg of you, general" (turning to the veteran),
"to put me right."

Butzou, with a glow of honest exultation, nodded assent; and Thaddeus
bowing in sign of attention, his smiling grandsire began.

"It was on a Sunday night, the 3d of September, in the year 1771,
that this event took place. At that time, instigated by the courts of
Vienna and Constantinople, a band of traitorous lords, confederated
together, were covertly laying waste the country, and perpetrating
all kinds of unsuspected outrage on their fellow-subjects who adhered
to the king.

"Amongst their numerous crimes, a plan was laid for surprising and
taking the royal person. Casimir Pulaski was the most daring of their
leaders; and, assisted by Lukawski, Strawenski, and Kosinski, three
Poles unworthy of their names, he resolved to accomplish his design
or perish. Accordingly, these men, with forty other conspirators, in
the presence of their commander swore with the most horrid oaths to
deliver Stanislaus alive or dead into his hands.

"About a month after this meeting, these three parricides of their
country, at the head of their coadjutors, disguised as peasants, and
concealing their arms in wagons of hay, which they drove before them,
entered the suburbs of Warsaw undetected.

"It was about ten o'clock P. M., on the 3d of September, as I have
told you, they found an apt opportunity to execute their scheme. They
placed themselves, under cover of the night, in those avenues, of the
city through which they knew his majesty must pass in his way from
Villanow, where he had been dining with me. His carriage was escorted
by four of his own guards, besides myself and some of mine. We had
scarcely lost sight of Villanow, when the conspirators rushed out and
surrounded us, commanding the coachman to stop, and beating down the
serving men with the butt ends of their muskets. Several shots were
fired into the coach. One passed through my hat as I was getting out,
sword in hand, the better to repel an attack the motive of which I
could not then divine. A cut across my right leg with a sabre laid me
under the wheels; and whilst in that situation, I heard the shot
pouring into the coach like hail, and felt the villains stepping over
my body to finish the murder of their sovereign.

"It was then that our friend Butzou (who at that period was a private
soldier in my service) stood between his majesty and the rebels,
parrying many a stroke aimed at the king; but at last, a thrust from
a bayonet into his gallant defender's breast cast him weltering in
his blood upon me. By this time all the persons who had formed the
escort were either wounded or dispersed, and George Butzou, our
friend's only brother, was slain. So dropped one by one the
protectors of our trampled bodies and of our outraged monarch. Secure
then of their prey, one of the assassins opened the carriage door,
and with shocking imprecations seizing the king, discharged his
pistol so near his majesty's face, that he felt the heat of the
flash. A second villain cut him on the forehead with a sabre, whilst
the third, who was on horseback, laying hold of the king's collar,
dragged him along the ground through the suburbs of the city.

"During the latter part of this murderous scene, some of our
affrighted people, who had fled, returned with a detachment, and
seeing Butzou and me apparently lifeless, carried us to the royal
palace, where all was commotion and distraction. But the foot-guards
followed the track which the conspirators had taken. In one of the
streets they found the king's hat dyed in blood, and his pelisse
also. This confirmed their apprehensions of his death; and they came
back filling all Warsaw with dismay.

"The assassins, meanwhile, got clear of the town. Finding, however,
that the king, by loss of blood, was not likely to exist much longer
by dragging him towards their employer, and that delay might even
lose them his dead body, they mounted him, and redoubled their speed.
When they came to the moat, they compelled him to leap his horse
across it. In the attempt the horse fell and broke its leg. They then
ordered his majesty, fainting as he was, to mount another and spur it
over. The conspirators had no sooner passed the ditch, and saw their
king fall insensible on the neck of his horse, than they tore from
his breast the ribbon of the black eagle, and its diamond cross.
Lukawski was so foolishly sure of his prisoner, dead or alive, that
he quitted his charge, and repaired with these spoils to Pulaski,
meaning to show them as proofs of his success. Many of the other
plunderers, concluding that they could not do better than follow
their leader's example, fled also, tired of their work, leaving only
seven of the party, with Kosinski at their head, to remain over the
unfortunate Stanislaus, who shortly after recovered from his swoon.

"The night was now grown so dark, they could not be sure of their
way; and their horses stumbling at every step, over stumps of trees
and hollows in the earth, increased their apprehensions to such a
degree, that they obliged the king to keep up with them on foot. He
literally marked his path with his blood; his shoes having been torn
off in the struggle at the carriage. Thus they continued wandering
backward and forward, and round the outskirts of Warsaw, without any
exact knowledge of their situation. The men who guarded him at last
became so afraid of their prisoner's taking advantage of these
circumstances to escape, that they repeatedly called on Kosinski for
orders to put him to death. Kosinski refused; but their demands
growing more imperious, as the intricacies of the forest involved
them completely, the king expected every moment to find their
bayonets in his breast.

"Meanwhile," continued the palatine, "when I recovered from my swoon
in the palace, my leg had been bound up, and I felt able to stir.
Questioning the officers who stood about my couch, I found that a
general panic had seized them. They knew not how to proceed; they
shuddered at leaving the king to the mercy of the confederates, and
yet were fearful, by pursuing him further, to incense them through
terror or revenge to massacre their prisoner, if he were still alive.
I did all that was in my power to dispel this last dread. Anxious, at
any rate, to make another attempt to preserve him, though I could not
ride myself, I strenuously advised an immediate pursuit on horseback,
and insisted that neither darkness nor apprehension of increasing
danger should be permitted to impede their course. Recovered presence
of mind in the nobles restored hope and animation to the terrified
soldiers, and my orders were obeyed. But I must add, they were soon
disappointed, for in less than half an hour the detachment returned
in despair, showing me his majesty's coat, which they had found in
the fosse. I suppose the ruffians tore it off when they rifled him.
It was rent in several places, and so wet with blood that the officer
who presented it to me concluded they had murdered the king there,
and drawn away his body, for by the light of the torches the soldiers
could trace drops of blood to a considerable distance.

"Whilst I was attempting to invalidate this new evidence of his
majesty's being beyond the reach of succor, he was driven before the
seven conspirators so far into the wood of Bielany, that, not knowing
whither they went, they came up with one of the guard-houses, and, to
their extreme terror, were accosted by a patrol. Four of the banditti
immediately disappeared, leaving two only with Kosinski, who, much
alarmed, forced his prisoner to walk faster and keep a profound
silence. Notwithstanding all this precaution, scarce a quarter of an
hour afterwards they were challenged by a second watch; and the other
two men taking flight, Kosinski, full of indignation at their
desertion, was left alone with the king. His majesty, sinking with
pain and fatigue, besought permission to rest for a moment; but
Kosinski refused, and pointing his sword towards the king, compelled
him to proceed.

"As they walked on, the insulted monarch, who was hardly able to drag
one limb after the other, observed that his conductor gradually
forgot his vigilance, until he was thoroughly given up to thought.
The king conceived some hope from this change, and ventured to say 'I
see that you know not how to proceed. You cannot but be aware that
the enterprise in which you are engaged, however it may end, is full
of peril to you. Successful conspirators are always jealous of each
other. Pulaski will find it as easy to rid himself of your life as it
is to take mine. Avoid that danger, and I will promise you none on my
account. Suffer me to enter the convent of Bielany: we cannot be far
from it; and then, do you provide for your own safety.' Kosinski,
though rendered desperate by the circumstances in which he was
involved, replied, 'No; I have sworn, and I would rather sacrifice my
life than my honor.'

"The king had neither strength nor spirits to urge him further, and
they continued to break their way through the bewildering underwood,
until they approached Mariemont. Here Stanislaus, unable to stir
another step, sunk down at the foot of the old yew-tree, and again
implored for one moment's rest. Kosinski no longer refused. This
unexpected humanity encouraged his majesty to employ the minutes they
sat together in another attempt to soften his heart, and to convince
him that the oath which he had taken was atrocious, and by no means
binding to a brave and virtuous man.

"Kosinski heard him with attention, and even showed he was affected.
'But,' said he, 'if I should assent to what you propose, and
reconduct you to Warsaw, what will be the consequence to me? I shall
be taken and executed.' 'I give you my word,' answered the king,
'that you shall not suffer any injury. But if you doubt my honor,
escape while you can. I shall find some place of shelter, and will
direct your pursuers to take the opposite road to that which you may
choose.' Kosinski, entirely overcome, threw himself on his knees
before his majesty, and imploring pardon from Heaven for what he had
done, swore that from this hour he would defend his king against all
the conspirators, and trust confidently in his word for future
preservation. Stanislaus repeated his promise of forgiveness and
protection, and directed him to seek refuge for them both in the mill
near which they were discoursing. Kosinski obeyed. He knocked, but no
one gave answer. He then broke a pane of glass in the window, and
through it begged succor for a nobleman who had been waylaid by
robbers. The miller refused to come out, or to let the applicants in,
expressing his belief that they were robbers themselves, and if they
did not go away he would fire on them.

"This dispute had continued some time, when the king contrived to
crawl up close to the windows and spoke. 'My good friend,' said he,
'if we were banditti, as you suppose, it would be as easy for us,
without all this parley, to break into your house as to break this
pane of glass; therefore, if you would not incur the shame of
suffering a fellow-creature to perish for want of assistance, give us
admittance.' This plain argument had its weight upon the man, and
opening the door, he desired them to enter. After some trouble, his
majesty procured pen and ink, and addressing a few lines to me at the
palace, with difficulty prevailed on one of the miller's sons to
carry it, so fearful were they of falling in with any of the troop
who they understood had plundered their guests.

"My joy at the sight of this note I cannot describe. I well remember
the contents; they were literally these:--

"'By the miraculous hand of Providence I have escaped from the hands
of assassins. I am now at the mill of Mariemont. Send immediately and
take me hence. I am wounded, but not dangerously.'

"Regardless of my own condition, I instantly got into a carriage, and
followed by a detachment of horse, arrived at the mill. I met
Kosinski at the door, keeping guard with his sword drawn. As he knew
my person, he admitted me directly. The king had fallen into a sleep,
and lay in one corner of the hovel on the ground, covered with the
miller's cloak. To see the most virtuous monarch in the world thus
abused by a party of ungrateful subjects pierced me to the heart.
Kneeling down by his side, I took hold of his hand, and in a paroxysm
of tears, which I am not ashamed to confess, I exclaimed, 'I thank
thee, Almighty God, that I again see our true-hearted sovereign still
alive!' It is not easy to say how these words struck the simple
family. They dropped on their knees before the king, whom my voice
had awakened, and besought his pardon, for their recent opposition to
give him entrance. The good Stanislaus soon quieted their fears, and
graciously thanking them for their kindness, told the miller to come
to the palace the next day, when he would show him his gratitude in a
better way than by promises.

"The officers of the detachment then assisted his majesty and myself
into the carriage, and accompanied by Kosinski, we reached Warsaw
about six in the morning."

"Yes," interrupted Butzou; "I remember my tumultuous joy when the
news was brought to me in my bed that my brave brother had not died
in vain for his sovereign; it almost deprived me of my senses; and
besides, his majesty visited me, his poor soldier, in my chamber.
Does not your excellency recollect how he was brought into my room on
a chair, between two men? and how he thanked me, and shook hands with
me, and told me my brother should never be forgotten in Poland? It
made me weep like a child."

"And he never can!" cried Thaddeus, hardly recovering from the deep
attention with which he had listened to this recital. [Footnote: The
king had his brave defender buried with military honors, and caused a
noble monument to be raised over him, with an inscription, of which
the following is a translation:--

"Here lieth the respected remains of George Butzou, who, on the 3d of
September, 1771, opposing his own breast to shield his sovereign from
the weapons of national parricides, was pierced with a mortal wound,
and triumphantly expired. Stanislaus the king, lamenting the death of
so faithful a subject, erects this monument as a tribute to him and
an example of heroic duty to others."] "But what became of Kosinski?
For doubtless the king kept his word."

"He did indeed," replied Sobieski; "his word is at all times sacred.
Yet I believe Kosinski entertained fears that he would not be so
generous, for I perceived him change color very often while we were
in the coach. However, he became tranquillized when his majesty, on
alighting at the palace in the midst of the joyous cries of the
people, leaned upon his arm and presented him to the populace as his
preserver. The great gate was ordered to be left open; and never
whilst I live shall I again behold such a scene! Every loyal soul in
Warsaw, from the highest to the lowest, came to catch a glimpse of
their rescued sovereign. Seeing the doors free, they entered without
ceremony, and thronged forward in crowds to get near enough to kiss
his hand, or to touch his clothes; then, elated with joy, they turned
to Kosinski, and loaded him with demonstrations of gratitude, calling
him the 'saviour of the king.' Kosinski bore all this with surprising
firmness; but in a day or two, when the facts became known, he feared
he might meet with different treatment from the people, and therefore
petitioned his majesty for leave to depart. Stanislaus consented--and
he retired to Semigallia, where he now lives on a handsome pension
from the king."

"Generous Stanislaus!" exclaimed the general; "you see, my dear young
count, how he has rewarded me for doing that which was merely my
duty. He put it at my option to become what I pleased about his
person, or to hold an officer's rank in his body-guard. Love ennobles
servitude; and attached as I have ever been to your family, under
whom all my ancestors have lived and fought, I vowed in my own mind
never to quit it, and accordingly begged permission of my sovereign
to remain with the Count Sobieski. I did remain; but see," cried he,
his voice faltering, "what my benefactors have made of me. I command
those troops amongst whom it was once my greatest pride to be a
private soldier."

Thaddeus pressed the hand of the veteran between both his, and
regarded him with respect and affection, whilst the grateful old man
wiped away a gliding tear from his face. [Footnote: Lukawski and
Strawenski were afterwards both taken, with others of the
conspirators. At the king's entreaty, those of inferior rank were
pardoned after condemnation; but the two noblemen who had deluded
them were beheaded. Pulaski, the prime ring-leader, escaped, to the
wretched life of an outlaw and an exile, and finally died in America,
in 1779.]

"How happy it ought to make you, my son," observed Sobieski, "that
you are called out to support such a sovereign! He is not merely a
brave king, whom you would follow to battle, because he will lead you
to honor; the hearts of his people acknowledge him in a superior
light; they look on him as their patriarchal head, as being delegated
of God to study what is their greatest good, to bestow it, and when
it is attacked, to de-fend it. To preserve the life of such a
sovereign, who would not sacrifice his own?"

"Yes," cried Butzou; "and how ought we to abhor those who threaten
his life! How ought we to estimate those crowned heads who, under the
mask of amity, have from the year sixty-four, when he ascended the
throne, until now, been plotting his overthrow or death! Either
calamity, O Heaven, avert! for his death, I fear, will be a prelude
to the certain ruin of our country."

"Not so," interrupted Thaddeus, with eagerness; "not whilst a
Polander has power to lift an arm in defence of a native king, and an
hereditary succession, can she be quite lost! What was ever in the
hearts of her people that is not now there? For one, I can never
forget how her sons have more than once rolled back on their own
lands legions of invaders, from those very countries now daring to
threaten her existence!"

Butzou applauded his spirit, and was warmly seconded by the palatine,
who (never weary of infusing into every feeling of his grandson an
interest for his country) pursued the discourse, and dwelt minutely
on the happy tendency of the glorious constitution of 1791, in
defence of which they were now going to hazard their lives. As
Sobieski pointed out its several excellences, and expatiated on the
pure spirit of freedom which animated its revived laws, the soul of
Thaddeus followed his eloquence with all the fervor of youth,
forgetting his late domestic regrets in the warm aspirations of
patriotic hopes; and at noon on the third day, with smiling eyes he
saw his grandfather put himself at the head of his battalions and
commence a rapid march.



CHAPTER III.

THE OPENING OF THE CAMPAIGN.


The little army of the palatine passed by the battlements of Chelm,
crossed the Bug into the plains of Volhinia, and impatiently counted
the leagues over those vast tracts until it reached the borders of
Kiovia.

When the column at the head of which Thaddeus was stationed descended
the heights of Lininy, and the broad camp of his countrymen burst
upon his sight, his heart heaved with an emotion quite new to him. He
beheld with admiration the regular disposition of the intrenchments,
the long intersected tented streets, and the warlike appearance of
the soldiers, whom he could descry, even at that distance, by the
beams of a bright evening sun which shone upon their arms.

In half an hour his troops descended into the plain, where, meeting
those of the palatine and General Butzou, the three columns again
united, and Thaddeus joined his grandfather in the van.

"My lord," cried he, as they met, "can I behold such a sight and
despair of the freedom of Poland!"

Sobieski made no reply, but giving him one of those expressive looks
of approbation which immediately makes its way to the soul, commanded
the troops to advance with greater speed. In a few minutes they
reached the outworks of the camp, and entered the lines. The eager
eyes of Thaddeus wandered from object to object. Thrilling with that
delight with which youth beholds wonders, and anticipates more, he
stopped with the rest of the party before a tent, which General
Butzou informed him belonged to the commander-in-chief. They were met
in the vestibule by an hussar officer of a most commanding
appearance. Sobieski and he having accosted each other with mutual
congratulations, the palatine turned to Thaddeus, took him by the
hand, and presenting him to his friend, said with a smile,

"Here, my dear Kosciusko, this young men is my grandson; he is called
Thaddeus Sobieski, and I trust that he will not disgrace either of
our names!"

Kosciusko embraced the young count, and with a hearty pressure of his
hand, replied, "Thaddeus, if you resemble your grandfather, you can
never forget that the only king of Poland who equalled our patriotic
Stanislaus was a Sobieski; and as becomes his descendant, you will
not spare your best blood in the service of your country." [Footnote:
Kosciusko, noble of birth, and eminently brave in spirit, had learnt
the practice of arms in his early youth in America. During the
contest between the British colonies there and the mother country,
the young Pole, with a few of his early compeers in the great
military college at Warsaw, eager to measure swords in an actual
field, had passed over seas to British America, and offering their
services to the independents, which were accepted, the extraordinary
warlike talents of Kosciusko were speedily honored by his being made
an especial aid-de-camp to General Washington. When the war ended, in
the peace of mutual concessions between the national parent and its
children on a distant land, the Poles returned to their native
country, where they soon met circumstances which caused them to
redraw their swords for her. But to what issue, was yet behind the
floating colors of a soldier's hope.]

As Kosciusko finished speaking, an aid-de-camp came forward to lead
the party into the room of audience. Prince Poniatowski welcomed the
palatine and his suite with the most lively expressions of pleasure.
He gave Thaddeus, whose figure and manner instantly charmed him, many
flattering assurances of friendship, and promised that he would
appoint him to the first post of honor which should offer. After
detaining the palatine and his grandson half an hour, his highness
withdrew, and they rejoined Kosciusko, who conducted them to the
quarter where the Masovian soldiers had already pitched their tents.

The officers who supped with Sobieski left him at an early hour, that
he might retire to rest; but Thaddeus was neither able nor inclined
to benefit by their consideration. He lay down on his mattress, shut
his eyes, and tried to sleep; but the attempt was without success. In
vain he turned from side to side; in vain he attempted to restrict
his thoughts to one thing at once; his imagination was so roused by
anticipating the scenes in which he was to become an actor, that he
found it impossible even to lie still. His spirits being quite awake,
he determined to rise, and to walk himself drowsy.

Seeing his grandfather sound asleep, he got up and dressed himself
quietly; then stealing gently from the marquée, he gave the word in a
low whisper to the guard at the door, and proceeded down the lines.
The pitying moon seemed to stand in the heavens, watching the awaking
of those heroes who the next day might sleep to rise no more. At
another time, and in another mood, such might have been his
reflections; but now he pursued his walk with different thoughts: no
meditations but those of pleasure possessed his breast. He looked on
the moon with transport; he beheld the light of that beautiful
planet, trailing its long stream of glory across the intrenchments.
He perceived a solitary candle here and there glimmering through the
curtained entrance of the tents, and thought that their inmates were
probably longing with the same anxiety as himself for the morning's
dawn.

Thaddeus walked slowly on, sometimes pausing at the lonely footfall
of the sentinel, or answering with a start to the sudden challenge
for the parole; then lingering at the door of some of these canvas
dwellings, he offered up a prayer for the brave inhabitant who, like
himself, had quitted the endearments of home to expose his life on
this spot, a bulwark of liberty. Thaddeus knew not what it was to be
a soldier by profession; he had no idea of making war a trade, by
which a man may acquire subsistence, and perhaps wealth; he had but
one motive for appearing in the field, and one for leaving it,--to
repel invasion and to establish peace. The first energy of his mind
was a desire to maintain the rights of his country; it had been
inculcated into him when an infant; it had been the subject of his
morning thoughts and nightly dreams; it was now the passion which
beat in every artery of his heart. Yet he knew no honor in slaughter;
his glory lay in defence; and when that was accomplished, his sword
would return to its scabbard, unstained by the blood of a vanquished
or invaded people. On these principles, he was at this hour full of
enthusiasm; a glow of triumph flitted over his cheek, for he had felt
the indulgences of his mother's palace, had left her maternal arms,
to take upon him the toils of war, and risk an existence just blown
into enjoyment. A noble satisfaction rose in his mind; and with all
the animation which an inexperienced and raised fancy imparts to that
age when boyhood breaks into man, his soul grasped at every show of
creation with the confidence of belief. Pressing the sabre which he
held in his hand to his lips, he half uttered, "Never shall this
sword leave my arm but at the command of mercy, or when death
deprives my nerves of their strength."

Morning was tinging the hills which bound the eastern horizon of
Winnica before Thaddeus found that his pelisse was wet with dew, and
that he ought to return to his tent. Hardly had he laid his head upon
the pillow, and "lulled his senses in forgetfulness," when he was
disturbed by the drum beating to arms. He opened his eyes, and seeing
the palatine out of bed, he sprung from his own, and eagerly inquired
the cause of his alarm.

"Only follow me directly," answered his grandfather, and quitted the
tent.

Whilst Thaddeus was putting on his clothes, and buckling on his arms
with a trembling eagerness which almost defeated his haste, an aid-
de-camp of the prince entered. He brought information that an
advanced guard of the Russians had attacked a Polish outpost, under
the command of Colonel Lonza, and that his highness had ordered a
detachment from the palatine's brigade to march to its relief. Before
Thaddeus could reply, Sobieski sent to apprise his grandson that the
prince had appointed him to accompany the troops which were turning
out to resist the enemy.

Thaddeus heard this message with delight; yet fearful in what manner
the event might answer the expectations which this wished distinction
declared, he issued from his tent like a youthful Mars,--or rather
like the Spartan Isadas,--trembling at the dazzling effects of his
temerity, and hiding his valor and his blushes beneath the waving
plumes of his helmet. Kosciusko, who was to head the party, observed
this modesty with pleasure, and shaking him warmly by the hand, said,
"Go, Thaddeus; take your station on the left flank; I shall require
your fresh spirits to lead the charge I intend to make, and to ensure
its success." Thaddeus bowed to these encouraging words, and took his
place according to order.

Everything being ready, the detachment quitted the camp, and dashing
through the dews of a sweet morning (for it was yet May), in a few
hours arrived in view of the Russian battalions. Lonza, who, from the
only redoubt now in his possession, caught a glimpse of this welcome
reinforcement, rallied his few remaining men, and by the time that
Kosciusko came up, contrived to join him in the van. The fight
recommenced. Thaddeus, at the head of his hussars, in full gallop
bore down upon the enemy's right flank. They received the charge with
firmness; but their young adversary, perceiving that extraordinary
means were necessary to make the desired effect, calling on his men
to follow him, put spurs to his horse and rushed into the thickest of
the battle. His soldiers did not shrink; they pressed on, mowing down
the foremost ranks, whilst he, by a lucky stroke of his sabre,
disabled the sword-arm of the Russian standard-bearer and seized the
colors. His own troops seeing the standard in his hand, with one
accord, in loud and repeated cries, shouted victory. Part of the
reserve of the enemy, alarmed at this outcry, gave ground, and
retreating with precipitation, was soon followed by some of the rear
ranks of the centre, to which Kosciusko had penetrated, while its
commander, after a short but desperate resistance, was slain. The
left flank next gave way, and though holding a brave stand at
intervals, at length fairly turned about and fled across the country.

The conquerors, elated with so sudden a success, put their horses on
full speed; and without order or attention, pursued the fugitives
until they were lost amidst the trees of a distant wood. Kosciusko
called on his men to halt, but he called in vain; they continued
their career, animating each other, and with redoubled shouts drowned
the voice of Thaddeus, who was galloping forward repeating the
command. At the entrance of the wood they were stopped by a few
Russian stragglers, who had formed themselves into a body. These men
withstood the first onset of the Poles with considerable steadiness;
but after a short skirmish, they fled, or, perhaps, seemed to fly, a
second time, and took refuge in the bushes, where, still regardless
of orders, their enemies followed. Kosciusko, foreseeing the
consequence of this rashness, ordered Thaddeus to dismount a part of
his squadron, and march after these headstrong men into the forest.
He came up with them on the edge of a heathy tract of land, just as
they were closing in with a band of the enemy's arquebusiers, who,
having kept up a quick running fire as they retreated, had drawn
their pursuers thus far into the thickets. Heedless of anything but
giving their enemy a complete defeat, the Polanders went on, never
looking to the left nor to the right, till at once they found
themselves encompassed by two thousand Muscovite horse, several
battalions of chasseurs, and in front of fourteen pieces of cannon,
which this dreadful ambuscade opened upon them.

Thaddeus threw himself into the midst of his countrymen, and taking
the place of their unfortunate conductor, who had been killed in the
first sweep of the artillery, prepared the men for a desperate stand.
He gave his orders with intrepid coolness--though under a shower of
musketry and a cannonade which carried death in every round--that
they should draw off towards the flank of the battery. He thought not
of himself; and in a few minutes the scattered soldiers were
consolidated into a close body, squared with pikemen, who stood like
a grove of pines in a day of tempest, only moving their heads and
arms. Many of the Russian horse impaled themselves on the sides of
this little phalanx, which they vainly attempted to shake, although
the ordnance was rapidly weakening its strength. File after file the
men were swept down, their bodies making a horrid rampart for their
resolute brothers in arms, who, however, rendered desperate, at last
threw away their most cumbrous accoutrements, and crying to their
leader, "Freedom or death!" followed him sword in hand, and bearing
like a torrent upon the enemy's ranks, cut their way through the
forest. The Russians, exasperated that their prey should not only
escape, but escape by such dauntless valor, hung closely on their
rear, goading them with musketry, whilst they (like a wounded lion
closely pressed by the hunters, retreats, yet stands proudly at bay)
gradually retired towards the camp with a backward step, their faces
towards the foe.

Meanwhile the palatine Sobieski, anxious for the fate of the day,
mounted the dyke, and looked eagerly around for the arrival of some
messenger from the little army. As the wind blew strongly from the
south, a cloud of dust precluded his view; but from the approach of
firing and the clash of arms, he was led to fear that his friends had
been defeated, and were retreating towards the camp. He instantly
quitted the lines to call out a reinforcement; but before he could
advance, Kosciusko and his squadron on the full charge appeared in
flank of the enemy, who suddenly halted, and wheeling round, left the
harassed Polanders to enter the trenches unmolested.

Thaddeus, covered with dust and blood, flung himself into his
grandfather's arms. In the heat of action his left arm had been
wounded by a Cossack. [Footnote: Cossacks. There are two descriptions
of these formidable auxiliaries: those of clear Tartar race, the
other mixed with Muscovites and their tributaries. The first and the
fiercest are called Don Cossacks, because of their inhabiting the
immense steppes of the Don river, on the frontiers of Asia. They are
governed by a hetman, a native chief, who personally leads them to
battle. The second are the Cossacks of the Crimea, a gallant people
of that finest part of the Russian dominions, and, by being of a
mingled origin, under European rule, are more civilized and better
disciplined than their brethren near the Caucasus. They are generally
commanded by Russian officers.] Aware that neglect then might disable
him from further service, at the moment it happened he bound it up in
his sash, and had thought no more of the accident until the palatine
remarked blood on his cloak.

"My injury is slight, my dear sir." said he. "I wish to Heaven that
it were all the evil which has befallen us to-day! Look at the
remnant of our brave comrades."

Sobieski turned his eyes on the panting soldiers, and on Kosciusko,
who was inspecting them. Some of them, no longer upheld by
desperation, were sinking with wounds and fatigue; these the good
general sent off in litters to the medical department; and others,
who had sustained unharmed the conflict of the day, after having
received the praise and admonition of their commander, were dismissed
to their quarters.

Before this inspection was over, the palatine had to assist Thaddeus
to his tent; in spite of his exertions to the contrary, he became so
faint, it was necessary to lead him off the ground.

A short time restored him. With his arm in a sling, he joined his
brother officers on the fourth day. After the duty of the morning, he
heard with concern that, during his confinement, the enemy had
augmented their force to so tremendous a strength, it was impossible
for the comparatively slender force of the Poles to remain longer at
Winnica. In consequence of this report, the prince had convened a
council late the preceding night, in which it was determined that the
camp should immediately be razed, and removed towards Zielime.

This information displeased Thaddeus, who in his fairy dreams of war
had always made conquest the sure end of his battles; and many were
the sighs he drew when, at an hour before dawn on the following day,
he witnessed the striking of the tents, which he thought too like a
prelude to a shameful flight from the enemy. While he was standing by
the busy people, and musing on the nice line which divides prudence
from pusillanimity, his grandfather came up, and bade him mount his
horse, telling him that, owing to the unhealed state of his wound, he
was removed from the vanguard, and ordered to march in the centre,
along with the prince. Thaddeus remonstrated against this
arrangement, and almost reproached the palatine for forfeiting his
promise, that he should always be stationed near his person. The
veteran would not be moved, either by argument or entreaty; and
Thaddeus, finding that he neither could nor ought to oppose him,
obeyed, and followed an aid-de-camp to his highness.



CHAPTER IV.

THE PASS OF VOLUNNA.


After a march of three hours, the army came in sight of Volunna,
where the advanced column suddenly halted. Thaddeus, who was about a
half mile to its rear, with a throbbing heart heard that a momentous
pass must be disputed before they could proceed. He curbed his horse,
then gave it the spur, so eagerly did he wish to penetrate the cloud
of smoke which rose in volumes from the discharge of musketry, on
whose wing, at every round, he dreaded might be carried the fate of
his grandfather. At last the firing ceased, and the troops were
commanded to go forward. On approaching near the contested defile,
Thaddeus shuddered, for at every step the heels of his charger struck
upon the wounded or the dead. There lay his enemies, here lay his
friends! His respiration was nearly suspended, and his eyes clung to
the ground, expecting at each moment to fasten on the breathless body
of his grandfather.

Again the tumult of battle presented itself. About an hundred
soldiers, in one firm rank, stood at the opening of the pass, firing
on the now vacillating steadiness of the enemy. Thaddeus checked his
horse. Five hundred had been detached to this post; how few remained!
Could he hope that Sobieski had escaped so desperate a rencontre?
Fearing the worst, and dreading to have those fears confirmed, his
heart sickened when he received orders from Poniatowski to examine
the extent of the loss. He rode to the mouth of the defile. He could
nowhere see the palatine. A few of his hussars, a little in advance,
were engaged over a heap of the killed, defending it from a troop of
Cossacks, who appeared fighting for the barbarous privilege of
trampling on the bodies. At this sight Thaddeus, impelled by despair,
called out, "Courage, soldiers! The prince with artillery!" The
enemy, looking forward, saw the information was true, and with a
shout of derision, took to flight. Poniatowski, almost at the word,
was by the side of his young friend, who, unconscious of any idea but
that of filial solicitude, had dismounted.

"Where is the palatine?" was his immediate inquiry to a chasseur who
was stooping towards the slain. The man made no answer, but lifted
from the heap the bodies of two soldiers; beneath, Thaddeus saw the
pale and deathly features of his grandfather. He staggered a few
paces back, and the prince, thinking he was falling, hastened to
support him; but he recovered himself, and flew forward to assist
Kosciusko, who had raised the head of the palatine upon his knee.

"Is he alive?" inquired Thaddeus.

"He breathes."

Hope was now warm in his grandson's breast. The soldiers soon
released Sobieski from the surrounding dead; but his swoon
continuing, the prince desired that he might be laid on a bank, until
a litter could be brought from the rear to convey him to a place of
security. Meantime, Thaddeus and General Butzou bound up his wounds
and poured some water into his mouth. The effusion of blood being
stopped, the brave veteran opened his eyes, and in a few moments
more, whilst he leaned on the bosom of his grandson, was so far
restored as to receive with his usual modest dignity the thanks of
his highness for the intrepidity with which he had preserved a
passage which ensured the safety of the whole army,

Two surgeons, who arrived with the litter, relieved the anxiety of
the bystanders by an assurance that the wounds, which they re-examined,
were not dangerous. Having laid their patient on the vehicle, they were
preparing to retire with it into the rear, when Thaddeus petitioned the
prince to grant him permission to take the command of the guard which
was appointed to attend his grandfather. His highness consented; but
Sobieski positively refused.

"No, Thaddeus," said he; "you forget the effect which this solicitude
about so trifling a matter might have on the men. Remember that he
who goes into battle only puts his own life to the hazard, but he
that abandons the field, sports with the lives of his soldiers. Do
not give them leave to suppose that even your dearest interest could
tempt you from the front of danger when it is your duty to remain
there." Thaddeus obeyed his grandfather in respectful silence; at
seven o'clock the army resumed its march.

Near Zielime the prince was saluted by a reinforcement. It appeared
very seasonably, for scouts had brought information that directly
across the plain a formidable division of the Russian army, under
General Brinicki, was drawn up in order of battle, to dispute his
progress.

Thaddeus, for the first time, shuddered at the sight of the enemy,
Should his friends be defeated, what might be the fate of his
grandfather, now rendered helpless by many wounds! Occupied by these
fears, with anxiety in his heart, he kept his place at the head of
the light horse, close to the hill.

Prince Poniatowski ordered the lines to extend themselves, that the
right should reach to the river, and the left be covered by the
rising ground, on which were mounted seven pieces of ordnance.
Immediately after these dispositions, the battle commenced with
mutual determination, and continued with unabated fury from eight in
the morning until sunset. Several times the Poles were driven from
their ground; but as often recovering themselves, and animated by
their commanders, they prosecuted the fight with advantage. General
Brinicki, perceiving that the fortune of the day was going against
him, ordered up the body of reserve, which consisted of four thousand
men and several cannon. He erected temporary batteries in a few
minutes, and with these new forces opened a rapid and destructive
fire on the Polanders. Kosciusko, alarmed at perceiving a retrograde
motion in his troops, gave orders for a close attack on the enemy in
front, whilst Thaddeus, at the head of his hussars, should wheel
round the hill of artillery, and with loud cries charge the opposite
flank. This stratagem succeeded. The arquebusiers, who were posted on
that spot, seeing the impetuosity of the Poles, and the quarter
whence they came, supposed them to be a fresh squadron, gave ground,
and opening in all directions, threw their own people into a
confusion that completed the defeat. Kosciusko and the prince were
equally successful, and a general panic amongst their adversaries was
the consequence. The whole of the Russian army now took to flight,
except a few regiments of carabineers, which were entangled between
the river and the Poles. These were immediately surrounded by a
battalion of Masovian infantry, who, enraged at the loss their body
had sustained the preceding day, answered a cry for quarter with
reproach and derision. At this instant the Sobieski squadron came up,
and Thaddeus, who saw the perilous situation of these regiments,
ordered the slaughter to cease, and the men to be taken prisoners.
The Masovians exhibited strong signs of dissatisfaction at such
commands; but the young count charging through them, ranged his
troops before the Russians, and declared that the first man who
should dare to lift a sword against his orders should be shot. The
Poles dropped their arms. The poor carabineers fell on their knees to
thank his mercy, whilst their officers, in a sullen silence, which
seemed ashamed of gratitude, surrendered their swords into the hands
of their deliverers.

During this scene, only one very young Russian appeared wholly
refractory. He held his sword in a menacing posture when Thaddeus
drew near, and before he had time to speak, the young man made a cut
at his head, which a hussar parried by striking the assailant to the
earth, and would have killed him on the spot, had not Thaddeus caught
the blow on his own sword; then instantly dismounting, he raised the
officer from the ground, and apologized for the too hasty zeal of his
soldier. The youth blushed, and, bowing, presented his sword, which
was received and as directly returned.

"Brave sir," said Thaddeus, "I consider myself ennobled in restoring
this weapon to him who has so courageously defended it."

The Russian made no reply but by a second bow, and put his hand on
his breast, which seemed wet with blood. Ceremony was now at an end.
Thaddeus never looked upon the unfortunate as strangers, much less as
enemies. Accosting the wounded officer with a friendly voice, he
assured him of his services, and bade him lean on him. Overcome, the
young man, incapable of speaking, accepted his assistance; but before
a conveyance could arrive, for which two men were dispatched, he
fainted in his arms. Thaddeus being obliged to join the prince with
his prisoners, unwillingly left the young Russian in this situation;
but before he did so he directed one of his lieutenants to take care
that the surgeons should pay attention to the officer, and have his
litter carried next to the palatine's during the remainder of the
march.

When the army halted at nine o'clock, P.M., preparations were made to
fix the camp; and in case of a surprise from any part of the
dispersed enemy which might have rallied, orders were delivered for
throwing up a dyke. Thaddeus, having been assured that his
grandfather and the wounded Russian were comfortably stationed near
each other, did not hesitate to accept the command of the intrenching
party. To that end he wrapped himself loosely in his pelisse, and
prepared for a long watch. The night was beautiful. It being the
month of June, a softening warmth still floated through the air, as
if the moon, which shone over his head, emitted heat as well as
splendor. His mind was in unison with the season. He rode slowly
round from bank to bank, sometimes speaking to the workers in the
fosse, sometimes lingering for a few minutes. Looking on the ground,
he thought on the element of which he was composed, to which he might
so soon return; then gazing upward, he observed the silent march of
the stars and the moving scene of the heavens. On whatever object he
cast his eyes, his soul, which the recent events had dissolved into a
temper not the less delightful for being tinged with melancholy,
meditated with intense compassion, and dwelt with wonder on the mind
of man, which, whilst it adores the Creator of the universe, and
measures the immensity of space with an expansion of intellect almost
divine, can devote itself to the narrow limits of sublunary
possessions, and exchange the boundless paradise above for the low
enjoyments of human pride. He looked with pity over that wide tract
of land which now lay betwixt him and the remains of those four
thousand invaders who had just fallen victims to the insatiate
desires of ambition. He well knew the difference between a defender
of his own country and the invader of another's. His heart beat, his
soul expanded, at the prospect of securing liberty and life to a
virtuous people. He _felt_ all the happiness of such an achievement,
while he could only _imagine_ how that spirit must shrink from
reflection which animates the self-condemned slave to fight, not
merely to fasten chains on others, but to rivet his own the closer.
The best affections of man having put the sword into the hand of
Thaddeus, his principle as a Christian did not remonstrate against
his passion for arms.

When he was told the fortifications were finished, he retired with a
tranquil step towards the Masovian quarters. He found the palatine
awake, and eager to welcome him with the joyful information that his
wounds were so slight as to promise a speedy amendment, Thaddeus
asked for his prisoner. The palatine answered that he was in the next
tent, where a surgeon closely attended him, who had already given a
very favorable opinion of the wound, which was in the muscles of the
breast.

"Have you seen him, my dear sir?" inquired Thaddeus.

"Yes," replied the palatine; "I was supported into his marquée before
I retired to my own. I told him who I was, and repeated your offers
of service. He received my proffer with expressions of gratitude, and
at the same time declared he had nothing to blame but his own folly
for bringing him to the state in which he now lies."

"How, my lord?" rejoined Thaddeus. "Does he repent of being a
soldier? or is he ashamed of the cause for which he fought?"

"Both, Thaddeus; he is not a Muscovite, but a young Englishman."

"An Englishman! and raise his arm against a country struggling for
loyalty and liberty!"

"It is very true," returned the palatine; "but as he confesses it was
his folly and the persuasions of others which impelled him, he may be
pardoned. He is a mere youth; I think hardly your age. I understand
that he is of rank; and having undertaken a tour in whatever part of
Europe is now open to travellers, under the direction of an
experienced tutor, they took Russia in their route. At St. Petersburg
he became intimate with many of the nobility, particularly with Count
Brinicki, at whose house he resided; and when the count was named to
the command of the army in Poland, Mr. Somerset (for that is your
prisoner's name), instigated by his own volatility and the arguments
of his host, volunteered with him, and so followed his friend to
oppose that freedom here which he would have asserted in his own
nation."

Thaddeus thanked his grandfather for this information; and pleased
that the young man, who had so much interested him, was a brave
Briton, not in heart an enemy, he gayly and instantly repaired to his
tent.

A generous spirit is as eloquent in acknowledging benefits as it is
bounteous in bestowing them; and Mr. Somerset received his preserver
with the warmest demonstrations of gratitude. Thaddeus begged him not
to consider himself as particularly obliged by a conduct which every
soldier of honor has a right to expect from another. The Englishman
bowed his head, and Thaddeus took a seat by his bedside.

Whilst he gathered from his own lips a corroboration of the narrative
of the palatine, he could not forbear inquiring how a person of his
apparent candor, and who was also the native of a soil where national
liberty had so long been the palladium of its happiness, could
volunteer in a cause the object of which was to make a brave people
slaves?

Somerset listened to these questions with blushes; and they did not
leave his face when he confessed that all he could say in extenuation
of what he had done was to plead his youth, and having thought little
on the subject.

"I was wrought upon," continued he, "by a variety of circumstances:
first, the predilections of Mr. Loftus, my governor, are strongly in
favor of the court of St. Petersburg; secondly, my father dislikes
the army, and I am enthusiastically fond of it--this was the only
opportunity, perhaps, in which I might ever satisfy my passion; and
lastly, I believe that I was dazzled by the picture which the young
men about me drew of the campaign. I longed to be a soldier; they
persuaded me; and I followed them to the field as I would have done
to a ballroom, heedless of the consequences."

"Yet," replied Thaddeus, smiling, "from the intrepidity with which
you maintained your ground, when your arms were demanded, any one
might have thought that your whole soul, as well as your body, was
engaged in the cause."

"To be sure," returned Somerset, "I was a blockhead to be there; but
when there, I should have despised myself forever had I given up my
honor to the ruffians who would have wrested my sword from me! But
when _you_ came, noble Sobieski, it was the fate of war, and I
confided myself to a brave man."



CHAPTER V.

THE BANKS OF THE VISTULA.


Each succeeding morning not only brought fresh symptoms of recovery
to the two invalids, but condensed the mutual admiration of the young
men into a solid and ardent esteem.

It is not the disposition of youthful minds to weigh for months and
years the sterling value of those qualities which attract them. As
soon as they see virtue, they respect it; as soon as they meet
kindness, they believe it: and as soon as a union of both presents
itself, they love it. Not having passed through the disappointments
of a delusive world, they grasp for reality every pageant which
appears. They have not yet admitted that cruel doctrine which, when
it takes effect, creates and extends the misery it affects to cure.
Whilst we give up our souls to suspicion, we gradually learn to
deceive; whilst we repress the fervors of our own hearts, we freeze
those which approach us; whilst we cautiously avoid occasions of
receiving pain, at every remove we acquire an unconscious influence
to inflict it on those who follow us. They, again, meet from our
conduct and lips the lesson that destroys the expanding sensibilities
of their nature; and thus the tormenting chain of deceived and
deceiving characters may be lengthened to infinitude.

About the latter end of the month, Sobieski received a summons to
court, where a diet was to be held on the effect of the victory at
Zielime, to consider of future proceedings. In the same packet his
majesty enclosed a collar and investiture of the order of St.
Stanislaus, as an acknowledgment of service to the young Thaddeus;
and he accompanied it with a note from himself, expressing his
commands that the young knight should return with the palatine and
other generals, to receive thanks from the throne.

Thaddeus, half wild with delight at the thoughts of so soon meeting
his mother, ran to the tent of his British friend to communicate the
tidings. Somerset participated in his pleasure, and with reciprocal
warmth accepted the invitation to accompany him to Villanow.

"I would follow you, my friend," said he, pressing the hand of
Thaddeus, "all over the world."

"Then I will take you to the most charming spot in it?" cried he.
"Villanow is an Eden; and my mother, the dear angel, would make a
desert so to me."

"You speak so rapturously of your enchanted castle, Thaddeus,"
returned his friend, "I believe I shall consider my knight-errantry,
in being fool enough to trust myself amidst a fray in which I had no
business, as one of the wisest acts of my life!"

"I consider it," replied Thaddeus, "as one of the most auspicious
events in mine."

Before the palatine quitted the camp, Somerset thought it proper to
acquaint Mr. Loftus, who was yet at St. Petersburg, of the
particulars of his late danger, and that he was going to Warsaw with
his new friends, where he should remain for several weeks. He added,
that as the court of Poland, through the intercession of the
palatine, had generously given him his liberty, he should be able to
see everything in that country worthy of investigation, and that he
would write to him again, enclosing letters for England, soon after
his arrival at the Polish capital.

The weather continuing fine, in a few days the party left Zielime;
and the palatine and Somerset, being so far restored from their
wounds that they could walk, the one with a crutch and the other by
the support of his friend's arm, they went through the journey with
animation and pleasure. The benign wisdom of Sobieski, the
intelligent enthusiasm of Thaddeus, and the playful vivacity of
Somerset, mingling their different natures, produced such a beautiful
union, that the minutes flew fast as their wishes. A week more
carried them into the palatinate of Masovia, and soon afterwards
within the walls of Villanow.

Everything that presented itself to Mr. Somerset was new and
fascinating. He saw in the domestic felicity of his friend scenes
which reminded him of the social harmony of his own home. He beheld
in the palace and retinue of Sobieski all the magnificence which
bespoke the descendant of a great king, and a power which wanted
nothing of royal grandeur but the crown, which he had the magnanimity
to think and to declare was then placed upon a more worthy brow.
Whilst Somerset venerated this true patriot, the high tone his mind
acquired was not lowered by associating with characters nearer the
common standard. The friends of Sobieski were men of tried probity--
men who at all times preferred their country's welfare before their
own peculiar interest. Mr. Somerset day after day listened with deep
attention to these virtuous and energetic noblemen. He saw them full
of fire and personal courage when the affairs of Poland were
discussed; and he beheld with admiration their perfect forgetfulness
of themselves in their passion for the general good. In these moments
his heart bowed down before them, and all the pride of a Briton
distended his breast when he thought that such men as these his
ancestors were. He remembered how often their chivalric virtues used
to occupy his reflections in the picture-gallery at Somerset Castle,
and his doubts, when he compared what is with what was, that history
had glossed over the actions of past centuries, or that a different
order of men lived then from those which now inhabit the world. Thus,
studying the sublime characters of Sobieski and his friends, and
enjoying the endearing kindness of Thaddeus and his mother, did a
fortnight pass away without his even recollecting the promise of
writing to his governor. At the end of that period, he stole an hour
from the countess's society, and enclosed in a short letter to Mr.
Loftus the following epistle to his mother:--

To LADY SOMERSET, SOMERSET CASTLE, LEICESTERSHIRE.

"Many weeks ago, my dearest mother, I wrote a letter of seven sheets
from the banks of the Neva, which, long ere this time, you and my
dear father must have received. I attempted to give you some idea of
the manners of Russia, and my vanity whispers that I succeeded
tolerably well. The court of the famous Catharine and the attentions
of the hospitable Count Brinicki were then the subjects of my pen.

"But how shall I account for my being here? How shall I allay your
surprise and displeasure on seeing that this letter is dated from
Warsaw? I know that I have acted against the wish of my father in
visiting one of the countries he proscribes. I know that I have
disobeyed your commands in ever having at any period of my life taken
up arms without an indispensable necessity; and I have nothing to
allege in my defence. I fell in the way of temptation, and I yielded
to it. I really cannot enumerate all the things which induced me to
volunteer with my Russian friends; suffice it to say that I did so,
and that we were defeated by the Poles at Zielime; and as Heaven has
rather rewarded your prayers than punished my imprudence, I trust you
will do the same, and pardon an indiscretion I vow never to repeat.

"Notwithstanding all this, I must have lost my life through my folly,
had I not been preserved, even in the moment when death was pending
over me, by a young officer with whose family I now am. The very
sound of their title will create your respect; for we of the
patrician order have a strange tenacity in our belief that virtue is
hereditary, and in this instance our creed is duly honored. Their
patronymic is Sobieski; the family which bears it is the only
remaining posterity of the great monarch of that name; and the count,
who is at its head, is Palatine of Masovia, which, next to the
throne, is the first dignity in the state. He is one of the warmest
champions of his country's rights; and though born to command, has so
far transgressed the golden adage of despots, 'Ignorance and
subjection,' that throughout his territories every man is taught to
worship his God with his heart as well as with his knees. The
understandings of his peasants are opened to all useful knowledge. He
does not put books of science and speculation into their hands, to
consume their time in vain pursuits: he gives them the Bible, and
implements of industry, to afford them the means of knowing and of
practising their duty. All Masovia around his palace blooms like a
garden. The cheerful faces of the farmers, and the blessings which I
hear them implore on the family when I am walking in the field with
the young count (for in this country the sons bear the same title
with their fathers [Footnote: _Prince_, (ancient _Kniaz_) and
_Boyard_, (which is equivalent in rank to our old English Baron,)
are titles used by Russians and Polanders, both nations being descended
from the Sclavonians, and their languages derived from the same roots.
_Prince_ indicates the highest rank of a subject; _Boyard_
simply that of _Nobleman_. But both personages must be understood
to be of hereditary power to raise forces on their estates for the service
of the sovereign, to lead them in battle, and to maintain all their
expenses. The title of _Count_ has been adopted within a century or
two by both nations, and occasionally appended to the ancient heroic
designation  of _Boyard_. The feminine to these titles is formed by adding
_gina_ to the paternal title; thus _Kniazgina Olga_, means Princess Olga;
also, _Boyarda_, Lady. The titles of _Palatine, Vaivode, Starost_
and the like belong to civil and military offices.]), have even drawn
a few delighted drops from the eyes of your thoughtless son. I know
that you think I have nothing sentimental about me, else you would
not so often have poured into my not inattentive ears, 'that to estimate
the pleasures of earth and heaven, we must cultivate the sensibilities
of the heart. Shut our eyes against them, and we are merely nicely-
constructed speculums, which reflect the beauties of nature, but
enjoy none.' You see, mamma, that I both remember and adopt your
lessons.

"Thaddeus Sobieski is the grandson of the palatine, and the sole heir
of his illustrious race. It is to him that I owe the preservation of
my life at Zielime, and much of my happiness since; for he is not
only the bravest but the most amiable young man in the kingdom; and
he is my friend! Indeed, as things have happened, you must think that
out of evil has come good. Though I have been disobedient, I have
repented my fault, and it has introduced me to the knowledge of a
people whose friendship will henceforward constitute the greatest
pleasure of my days. The mother of Thaddeus is the only daughter of
the palatine; and of her I can say no more than that nothing on earth
can more remind me of you; she is equally charming, equally tender to
your son.

"Whilst the palatine is engaged at the diet, her excellency,
Thaddeus, and myself, with now and then a few visitors from Warsaw,
form the most agreeable parties you can suppose. We walk together, we
read together, we converse together, we sing together--at least, the
countess sings to us, which is all the same; and you know that time
flies swiftly on the wings of harmony. She has an uncommonly sweet
voice, and a taste which I never heard paralleled. By the way, you
cannot imagine anything more beautiful than the Polish music. It
partakes of that delicious languor so distinguished in the Turkish
airs, with a mingling of those wandering melodies which the now-
forgotten composers must have caught from the Tartars. In short,
whilst the countess is singing, I hardly suffer myself to breathe;
and I feel just what our poetical friend William Scarsdale said a
twelvemonth ago at a concert of yours, 'I feel as if love sat upon my
heart and flapped it with his wings.'

"I have tried all my powers of persuasion to prevail on this charming
countess to visit our country. I have over and over again told her of
you, and described her to you; that you are near her own age (for
this lovely woman, though she has a son nearly twenty, is not more
than forty;) that you are as fond of your ordinary boy as she is of
her peerless one; that, in short, you and my father will receive her
and Thaddeus, and the palatine, with open arms and hearts, if they
will condescend to visit our humbler home at the end of the war. I
believe I have repeated my entreaties, both to the countess and my
friend, regularly every day since my arrival at Villanow, but always
with the same issue: she smiles and refuses; and Thaddeus 'shakes his
ambrosial curls' with a 'very god-like frown' of denial; I hope it is
self-denial, in compliment to his mother's cruel and unprovoked
negative.

"Before I proceed, I must give you some idea of the real appearance
of this palace. I recollect your having read a superficial account of
it in a few slight sketches of Poland which have been published in
England; but the pictures they exhibit are so faint, they hardly
resemble the original. Pray do not laugh at me, if I begin in the
usual descriptive style! You know there is only one way to describe
houses and lands and rivers; so no blame can be thrown on me for
taking the beaten path, where there is no other. To commence:--

"When we left Zielime, and advanced into the province of Masovia, the
country around Praga rose at every step in fresh beauty. The
numberless chains of gently swelling hills which encompass it on each
side of the Vistula were in some parts checkered with corn fields,
meadows, and green pastures covered with sheep, whose soft bleatings
thrilled in my ears and transported my senses into new regions, so
different was my charmed and tranquillized mind from the tossing
anxieties attendant on the horrors I had recently witnessed. Surely
there is nothing in the world, short of the most undivided reciprocal
attachment, that has such power over the workings of the human heart
as the mild sweetness of nature. The most ruffled temper, when
emerging from the town, will subside into a calm at the sight of a
wide stretch of landscape reposing in the twilight of a fine evening.
It is then that the spirit of peace settles upon the heart, unfetters
the thoughts and elevates the soul to the Creator. It is then that we
behold the Parent of the universe in his works; we see his grandeur
in earth, sea, and sky: we feel his affection in the emotions which
they raise, and, half mortal, half etherealized, forget where we are,
in the anticipation of what that world must be of which this earth is
merely the shadow. [Footnote: This description of the banks of the
Vistula was given to me with smiles and sighs. The reality was once
enjoyed by the narrator, and there was a delight in the retrospection
"sweet and mournful to the soul." At the time these reflections arose
on such a scene, I often tasted the same pleasure in evening visits
to the beautiful rural environs of London, which then extended from
the north side of Fitzroy Square to beyond the Elm Grove on Primrose
Hill, and forward through the fields to Hampstead. But most of that
is all streets, or Regent's Park; and the sweet Hill, then the resort
of many a happy Sunday group, has not now a tree standing on it, and
hardly a blade of grass, "to mark where the primrose has been."]

"Autumn seemed to be unfolding all her beauties to greet the return
of the palatine. In one part the haymakers were mowing the hay and
heaping it into stacks; in another, the reapers were gathering up the
wheat, with a troop of rosy little gleaners behind them, each of whom
might have tempted the proudest Palemon in Christendom to have
changed her toil into 'a gentler duty.' Such a landscape intermingled
with the little farms of these honest people, whom the philanthropy
of Sobieski has rendered free (for it is a tract of his extensive
domains I am describing), reminded me of Somerset. Villages repose in
the green hollows of the vales, and cottages are seen peeping from
amidst the thick umbrage of the woods which cover the face of the
hills. The irregular forms and thatched roofs of these simple
habitations, with their infant inhabitants playing at the doors,
compose such lovely groups, that I wish for our dear Mary's pencil
and fingers (for, alas! that way mine are motionless!) to transport
them to your eyes.

"The palace of Villanow, which is castellated, now burst upon my
view. It rears its embattled head from the summit of a hill that
gradually slopes down towards the Vistula, in full view to the south
of the plain of Vola, a spot long famous for the election of the
kings of Poland. [Footnote: It was from this very assumption by the
nation, on the extinction of the male line of the monarchs of the
house of Jaghellon, that all their subsequent political calamities
may be dated. The last two sovereigns of this race were most justly
styled good and great kings---father and son--Sigismund I. and II.
But on the death of the last, about the middle of the sixteenth
century, certain nobles of the nation, intoxicated with their wealth
and privileges, run wild for dictation in all things; and as the
foundation for such rule, they determined to make the succession of
their future kings entirely dependent on the free vote of public
suffrage; and the plain of Vola was made the terrible arena. So it
may be called; for, from the time of the first monarch so elected,
Henry of Valois, a stranger to the country, and brother to the
execrable Charles IX. of France, bribery or violence have been the
usual keys to the throne of Poland. For the doors of the country
being once opened by the misguided people themselves to the influence
of ambition, partiality, and passion, and shut against the old tenure
of a settled succession, foreign powers were always ready to step in,
with the gold or the sword; and Poland necessarily became a vassal
adjunct to whatever neighboring country furnished the new sovereign.
Thus it was, with a few exceptions (as is still case of the glorious
John Sobieski), until the election of Stanislaus Augustus, who,
though nominated by the power of the Empress of Russia, yet being,
like Sobieski, a native prince of the nation, determined to govern
the people of Poland in the spirit of his and their most glorious
ancestors; and true to the vow, treading in the steps of the last of
the Jaghellons, he gave to Poland the constitution of 1791, which,
with the re-enaction of many wise laws, again made the throne
hereditary. Hence the devoted struggles of every arm in the country
in loyal defence of such a recovered existence.] On the north of the
building, the earth is cut into natural ramparts, which rise in high
succession until they reach the foundations of the palace, where they
terminate in a noble terrace. These ramparts, covered with grass,
overlook the stone outworks, and spread down to the bottom of the
hill, which being clothed with fine trees and luxuriant underwood,
forms such a rich and verdant base to the fortress as I have not
language to describe: were I privileged to be poetical, I would say
it reminds me of the God of war sleeping amid roses in the bower of
love. Here the eye may wander over the gifts of bounteous Nature,
arraying hill and dale in all the united treasures of spring and
autumn. The forest stretches its yet unseared arms to the breeze;
whilst that breeze comes laden with the fragrance of the tented hay,
and the thousand sweets breathed from flowers, which in this
delicious country weep honey.

"A magnificent flight of steps led us from the foot of the ramparts
up to the gate of the palace. We entered it, and were presently
surrounded by a train of attendants in such sumptuous liveries, than
I found myself all at once carried back into the fifteenth century,
and might have fancied myself within the courtly halls of our Tudors
and Plantagenets. You can better conceive that I can paint the scene
which took place between the palatine, the countess, and her son. I
can only repeat, that from that hour I have known no want of
happiness but what arises from regret that my dear family are not
partakers with me.

"You know that this stupendous building was the favorite residence of
John Sobieski, and that he erected it as a resting-place from the
labors of his long and glorious reign. I cannot move without meeting
some vestige of that truly great monarch. I sleep in his bed chamber:
there hangs his portrait, dressed in the robes of sovereignty; here
are suspended the arms with which he saved the very kingdoms which
have now met together to destroy his country. On one side is his
library; on the other, the little chapel in which he used to pay his
morning and evening devotions. Wherever I look, my eye finds some
object to excite my reflections and emulation. The noble dead seem to
address me from their graves; and I blush at the inglorious life I
might have pursued had I never visited this house and its
inhabitants. Yet, my dearest mother, I do not mean to insinuate that
my honored father and brave ancestors have not set me examples as
bright as man need follow. But human nature is capricious; we are not
so easily stimulated by what is always in our view as with sights
which, rising up when we are removed from our customary associations,
surprise and captivate our attention. Villanow has only awakened me
to the lesson which I conned over in drowsy carelessness at home.
Thaddeus Sobieski is hardly one year my senior; but, good heaven!
what has he not done? what has he not acquired? Whilst I abused the
indulgence of my parents, and wasted my days in riding, shooting, and
walking the streets, he was learning to act as became a man of rank
and virtue; and by seizing every opportunity to serve the state, he
has obtained a rich reward in the respect and admiration of his
country. I am not envious, but I now feel the truth of Caesar's
speech, when he declared 'The reputation of Alexander would not let
him sleep.' Nevertheless, I dearly love my friend. I murmur at my own
dements, not at his worth.

"I have scribbled over all my paper, otherwise I verily believe I
should write more; however, I promise you another letter in a week or
two. Meanwhile I shall send this packet to Mr. Loftus, who is at St.
Petersburg, to forward it to you. Adieu, my dear mother! I am, with
reverence to my father and yourself.

"Your truly affectionate son,

"PEMBROKE SOMERSET.

"VILLANOW, _August_, 1792."



CHAPTER VI.

SOCIETY IN POLAND.


"TO LADY SOMERSET, SOMERSET CASTLE, ENGLAND.

[Written three weeks after the preceding.]

"You know, my dear mother, that your Pembroke is famous for his
ingenious mode of showing the full value of every favor he confers!
Can I then relinquish the temptation of telling you what I have left
to make you happy with this epistle?

"About five minutes ago, I was sitting on the lawn at the feet of the
countess, reading to her and the Princess Poniatowski the charming
poem of 'The Pleasures of Memory.' As both these ladies understand
English, they were admiring it, and paying many compliments to the
graces of my delivery, when the palatine presented himself, and told
me, if I had any commands for St. Petersburg, I must prepare them,
for a messenger was to set off on the next morning, by daybreak.' I
instantly sprang up, threw my book into the hand of Thaddeus, and
here I am in my own room scribbling to you!

"Even at the moment in which I dip my pen in the ink, my hurrying
imagination paints on my heart the situation of my beloved home when
this letter reaches you. I think I see you and my good aunt, seated
on the blue sofa in your dressing-room, with your needle work on the
little table before you; I see Mary in her usual nook--the recess by
the old harpsichord--and my dear father bringing in this happy letter
from your son! I must confess this romantic kind of fancy-sketching
makes me feel rather oddly: very unlike what I felt a few months ago,
when I was a mere coxcomb--indifferent, unreflecting, unappreciating,
and fit for nothing better than to hold pins at my lady's toilet.
Well, it is now made evident to me that we never know the blessings
bestowed on us until we are separated from the possession of them.
Absence tightens the strings which unites friends as well as lovers:
at least I find it so; and though I am in the fruition of every good
on this side the ocean, yet my very happiness renders me ungrateful,
and I repine because I enjoy it alone. Positively, I must bring you
all hither to pass a summer, or come back at the termination of my
travels, and carry away this dear family by main force to England.

"Tell my cousin Mary that, either way, I shall present to her esteem
the most amiable and accomplished of my sex; but I warn her not to
fall in love with him, neither in _propriâ, personâ_, nor by his
public fame, nor with his private character. Tell her 'he is a bright
and particular star,' neither in her sphere nor in any other woman's.
In this way he is as cold as 'Dian's Crescent;' and to my great
amazement too, for when I throw my eyes over the many lovely young
women who at different times fill the drawing-room of the countess, I
cannot but wonder at the perfect indifference with which he views
their (to me) irresistible charms.

"He is polite and attentive to them all; he talks with them, smiles
with them, and treats them with every gentle complacency; but they do
not live one instant in his memory. I mean they do not occupy his
particular wishes; for with regard to every respectful sentiment
towards the sex in general, and esteem to some amiable individuals,
he is as awake as in the other case he is still asleep. The fact is,
he has no idea of appropriation; he never casts one thought upon
himself; kindness is spontaneous in his nature; his sunny eyes beam
on all with modest benignity, and his frank and glowing conversation
is directed to every rank of people. They imbibe it with an avidity
and love which makes its way to his heart, without kindling one spark
of vanity. Thus, whilst his fine person and splendid actions fill
every eye and bosom, I see him moving in the circle unconscious of
his eminence and the admiration he excites.

"Drawn by such an example, to which his high quality as well as
extraordinary merit gives so great an influence, most of the younger
nobility have been led to enter the army. These circumstances, added
to the detail of his bravery and uncommon talents in the field, have
made him an object of universal regard, and, in consequence, wherever
he is seen he meets with applause and acclamation: nay, even at the
appearance of his carriage in the streets, the passengers take off
their hats and pray for him till he is out of sight. It is only then
that I perceive his cheek flush with the conviction that he is seated
in their hearts.

"'It is this, Thaddeus,' said I to him one day, when walking together
we were obliged to retire into a house from the crowds that followed
him; 'it is this, my dear friend, which shields your heart against
the arrows of love. You have no place for that passion; your mistress
is glory, and she courts you.'

"'My mistress is my country,' replied he; 'at present I desire no
other. For her I would die; for her only would I wish to live.'
Whilst he spoke, the energy of his soul blazed in his eye. I smiled.

"'You are an enthusiast, Thaddeus,' I said.

"'Pembroke!' returned he, in a surprised and reproachful tone.

"'I do not give you that name opprobriously,' resumed I, laughing;
'but there are many in my country, who, hearing these sentiments,
would not scruple to call you mad.'

"'Then I pity them,' returned Thaddeus. 'Men who cannot ardently
feel, cannot taste supreme happiness. My grandfather educated me at
the feet of patriotism; and when I forget his precepts and example,
may my guardian angel forget me!'

"'Happy, glorious Thaddeus!' cried I, grasping his hand; 'how I envy
you your destiny! to live as you do, in the lap of honor, virtue and
glory the aim and end of your existence!'

"The animated countenance of my friend changed at these words, and
laying his hand on my arm, he said, 'Do not envy me my destiny.
Pembroke, you are the son of a free and loyal country, at peace with
itself; insatiate power has not dared to invade its rights. Your
king, in happy security, reigns in the confidence of his people,
whilst our anointed Stanislaus is baited and insulted by oppression
from without and ingratitude within. Do not envy me; I would rather
live in obscurity all my days than have the means which calamity may
produce of acquiring celebrity over the ruins of Poland. O! my
friend, the wreath that crowns the head of conquest is thick and
bright; but that which binds the olive of peace on the bleeding
wounds of my country will be the dearest to me.'

"Such sentiments, my clear madam, have opened new lights upon my poor
mistaken faculties. I never considered the subject so maturely as my
friend has done; victory and glory were with me synonymous words. I
had not learned, until frequent conversations with the young, ardent,
and pious Sobieski taught me, how to discriminate between animal
courage and true valor--between the defender of his country and the
ravager of other states. In short, I see in Thaddeus Sobieski all
that my fancy hath ever pictured of the heroic character. Whilst I
contemplate the sublimity of his sentiments and the tenderness of his
soul, I cannot help thinking how few would believe that so many
admirable qualities could belong to one mind, and that mind remain
unacquainted with the throes of ambition or the throbs of self-love."

Pembroke judged rightly of his friend; for if ever the real
disinterested _amor patriæ_ glowed in the breast of a man, it
animated the heart of the young Sobieski. At the termination of the
foregoing sentence in the letter to his mother, Pembroke was
interrupted by the entrance of a servant, who presented him a packet
which had that moment arrived from St. Petersburg. He took it, and
putting his writing materials into a desk, read the following epistle
from his governor:

"TO PEMBROKE SOMERSET, ESQ.

"My dear sir,

"I have this day received your letter, enclosing one for Lady
Somerset. You must pardon me that I have detained it, and will
continue to do so until I am favored with your answer to this, for
which I shall most anxiously wait.

"You know, Mr. Somerset, my reputation in the sciences; you know my
depth in the languages; and besides, the Marquis of Inverary, with
whom I travelled over the Continent, offered you sufficient
credentials respecting my knowledge of the world, and the honorable
manner in which I treat my pupils. Sir Robert Somerset and your lady
mother were amply satisfied with the account which his lordship gave
of my character; but with all this, in one point every man is
vulnerable. No scholar can forget those lines of the poet:--

 'Felices ter, et amplius,
    Quos irrupta tenet copula; nec malis
  Divulsus quærimoniis,
    Supremâ citius solvet amor die.'

It has been my misfortune that I have felt them.

"You are not ignorant that I was known to the Brinicki family, when I
had the honor of conducting the marquis through Russia. The count's
accomplished kinswoman, the amiable and learned widow of Baron
Surowkoff, even then took particular notice of me; and when I
returned with you to St. Petersburg. I did not find that my short
absence had obliterated me from her memory.

"You are well acquainted with the dignity of that lady's opinions on
political subjects. She and I coincided in ardor for the
consolidating cause of sovereignty, and in hatred of that levelling
power which pervades all Europe. Many have been the long and
interesting conversations we have held together on the prosecution of
the grand schemes of the three great contracting monarchs.

"The baroness, I need not observe, is as handsome as she is
ingenuous; her understanding is as masculine as her person is
desirable; and I had been more or less than man had I not understood
that my figure and talents were agreeable to her. I cannot say that
she absolutely promised me her hand, but she went as far that way as
delicacy would permit. I am thus circumstantial, Mr. Somerset, to
show you that I do not proceed without proof, She has repeatedly said
in my presence that she would never marry any man unless he were not
only well-looking, but of the profoundest erudition, united with an
acquaintance with men and manners which none can dispute. 'Besides,'
added she, 'he must not differ with me one tittle in politics, for on
that head I hold myself second to no man or woman in Europe.' And
then she has complimented me, by declaring that I possessed more
judicious sentiments on government than any man in St. Petersburg,
and that she should consider herself happy, on the first vacancy in
the imperial college, to introduce me at court, where she was 'sure
the empress would at once discover the value of my talents; but,' she
continued, 'in such a case, I will not allow that even her majesty
shall rival me in your esteem.' The modesty natural to my character
told me that these praises must have some other source than my
comparatively unequal abilities; and I unequivocally found it in the
partiality with which her ladyship condescended to regard me.

"Was I to blame, Mr. Somerset? Would not any man of sensibility and
honor have comprehended such advances from a woman of her rank and
reputation? I could not be mistaken; her looks and words needed no
explanation which my judgment could not pronounce. Though I am aware
that I do not possess that _lumen purpureum juveniæ_ which
attracts very young, uneducated women, yet I am not much turned of
fifty; and from the baroness's singular behavior, I had every reason
to expect handsomer treatment than she has been pleased to dispense
to me since my return to this capital.

"But to proceed regularly--(I must beg your pardon for the warmth
which has hurried me to this digression): you know, sir, that from
the hour in which I had the honor of taking leave of your noble
family in England, I strove to impress upon your rather volatile mind
a just and accurate conception of the people amongst whom I was to
conduct you. When I brought you into this extensive empire, I left no
means unexerted to heighten your respect not only for its amiable
sovereign, but for all powers in amity with her. It is the
characteristic of genius to be zealous. I was so, in favor of the
pretensions of the great Catherine to that miserable country in which
you now are, and to which she deigned to offer her protection. To
this zeal, and my unfortunate though honorable devotion to the wishes
of the baroness, I am constrained to attribute my present dilemma.

"When Poland had the insolence to rebel against its illustrious
mistress, you remember that all the rational world was highly
incensed. The Baroness Surowkoff declared herself frequently, and
with vehemence she appealed to me. My veracity and my principles were
called forth, and I confessed that I thought every friend to the
Tzaritza ought to take up arms against that ungrateful people. The
Count Brinicki was then appointed to command the Russian forces
preparing to join the formidable allies; and her ladyship, very
unexpectedly on my part, answered me by approving what I said, and
added that of course I meant to follow her cousin into Poland, for
that even she, as a woman, was so earnest in the cause, she would
accompany him to the frontiers, and there await the result.

"What could I do? How could I withstand the expectations of a lady of
her quality, and one who I believed loved me? However, for some time
I did oppose my wish to oblige her; I urged my cloth, and the
impossibility of accounting for such a line of conduct to the father
of my pupil? The baroness ridiculed all these arguments as mere
excuses, and ended with saying, 'Do as you please, Mr. Loftus. I have
been deceived in your character; the friend of the Baroness Surowkoff
must be consistent; he must be as willing to fight for the cause he
espouses as to speak for it: in this case, the sword must follow the
oration, else we shall see Poland in the hands of a rabble.'

"This decided me. I offered my services to the count to attend him to
the field. He and the young lords persuaded you to do the same; and
as I could not think of leaving you, when your father had placed you
under my charge, I was pleased to find that my approval confirmed
your wish to turn soldier. I was not then acquainted, Mr. Somerset
(for you did not tell me of it until we were far advanced into
Poland), with Sir Robert's and my lady's dislike of the army. This
has been a prime source of my error throughout this affair. Had I
known their repugnance to your taking up arms, my duty would have
triumphed over even my devotion to the baroness; but I was born under
a melancholy horoscope; nothing happens as any one of my humblest
wishes might warrant.

"At the first onset of the battle, I became so suddenly ill that I
was obliged to retire; and on this unfortunate event, which was
completely unwilled on my part (for no man can command the periods of
sickness), the baroness founded a contempt which has disconcerted all
my schemes. Besides, when I attempted to remonstrate with her
ladyship on the promise which, if not directly given, was implied,
she laughed at me; and when I persisted in my suit, all at once, like
the rest of her ungrateful and undistinguishing sex, she burst into a
tempest of invectives, and forbade me her presence.

"What am I now to do, Mr. Somerset? This inconsistent woman has
betrayed me into conduct diametrically opposite to the commands of
your family. Your father particularly desired that I would not suffer
you to go either into Hungary or Poland. In the last instance I have
permitted you to disobey him. And my Lady Somerset (who, alas! I now
remember lost both her father and brother in different engagements),
you tell me, had declared that she never would pardon the man who
should put military ideas into your head.

"Therefore, sir, though you are my pupil, I throw myself on your
generosity. If you persist in acquainting your family with the late
transactions at Zielime, and your present residence in Poland, I
shall finally be ruined. I shall not only forfeit the good opinion of
your noble father and mother, but lose all prospect of the living of
Somerset, which Sir Robert was so gracious as to promise should be
mine on the demise of the present incumbent. You know, Mr. Somerset,
that I have a mother and six sisters in Wales, whose support depends
on my success in life; if my preferment be stopped now, they must
necessarily be involved in a distress which makes me shudder.

"I cannot add more, sir; I know well your character for generosity,
and I therefore rest upon it with the utmost confidence. I shall
detain the letter which you did me the honor to enclose for my Lady
Somerset till I receive your decision; and ever, whilst I live, will
I henceforth remain firm to my old and favorite maxim, which I
adopted from the glorious epistle of Horace to Numicius. Perhaps you
may not recollect the lines? They run thus:--

  Nil admirari, prope res est una, Numici,
  Solaque, quae possit facere et servare beatum.

   "I have the honor to be,
     "Dear sir,
    "Your most obedient servant,
           "ANDREW LOFTUS.

 "St. PETERSBURG, _September_, 1792."

"P. S. Just as I was about sealing this packet, the English
ambassador forwarded to me a short letter from your father, in which
he desires us to quit Russia, and to make the best of our way to
England, where you are wanted on a most urgent occasion. He explains
himself no further, only repeating his orders in express commands
that we set off instantly. I wait your directions."

This epistle disconcerted Mr. Somerset. He always guessed the
Baroness Surowkoff was amusing herself with his vain and pedantic
preceptor; but he never entertained a suspicion that her ladyship
would carry her pleasantry to so cruel an excess. He clearly saw that
the fears of Mr. Loftus with regard to the displeasure of his parents
were far from groundless; and therefore, as there was no doubt, from
the extreme age of Dr. Manners, that the rectory of Somerset would
soon become vacant, he thought it better to oblige his poor governor,
and preserve their secret for a month or two, than to give him up to
the indignation of Sir Robert. On these grounds, Pembroke resolved to
write to Mr. Loftus, and ease the anxiety of his heart. Although he
ridiculed his vanity, he could not help respecting the affectionate
solicitude of a son and a brother, and as that plea had won him, half
angry, half grieved, and half laughing, he dispatched a few hasty
lines.

"To THE REVEREND ANDREW LOFTUS, ST. PETERSBURG.

"What whimsical fit, my dear sir, has seized my father, that I am
recalled at a moment's notice? Faith, I am so mad at the summons, and
at his not deigning to assign a reason for his order, that I do not
know how I may be tempted to act.

"Another thing, you beg of me not to say a word of my having been in
Poland; and for that purpose you have withheld the letter which I
sent to you to forward to my mother! You offer far-fetched and
precious excuses for having betrayed your own wisdom, and your
pupil's innocence, into so mortal an offence. One cause of my being
here, you say, was your 'ardor in the cause of insulted Russia, and
your hatred of that levelling power which pervades all Europe.'

"Well, I grant it. I understood from you and Brinicki that you were
leading me against a set of violent, discontented men of rank, who,
in proportion as each was inflated with his own personal pride,
despised all of their own order who did not agree with them, and,
coalescing together under the name of freedom, were introducing
anarchy throughout a country which Catharine would graciously have
protected. All this I find to be in error. But both of you may have
been misled: the count by partiality and you by misrepresentation;
therefore I do not perceive why you should be in such a terror. The
wisest man in the world may see through bad lights; and why should
you think my father would never pardon you for having been so
unlucky?

"Yet to dispel your dread of such tidings ruining you with Sir
Robert, I will not be the first to tell him of our quixoting. Only
remember, my good sir,--though, to oblige you, I withhold my letters
to my mother, and when I arrive in England shall lock up my lips from
mentioning Poland,--that positively, I will not be mute one day
longer than that in which my father presents you with the living of
Somerset; then you will be independent of his displeasure, and I may,
and will, declare my everlasting gratitude to this illustrious
family.

"I am half mad when I think of leaving them. I must now tear myself
from this mansion of comfort and affection, to wander with you in
some rumbling old barouche 'over brake and through briar!' Well,
patience! Another such upset to your friends of the Neva, and with
'victory perched like an eagle on their laurelled brows,' I may have
some chance of wooing the Sobieskis to the banks of the Thames. At
present, I have not sufficient hope to keep me in good-humor.

"Meet me this day week at Dantzic: I shall there embark for England.
You had best not bring the foreign servants with you; they might
blab. Discharge them at St. Petersburg, and hire a courier for
yourself, whom we may drop at the seaport.

"I have the honor to remain,

"Dear sir,

"Your most obedient servant,

PEMBROKE SOMERSET.

"VILLANOW, _September_, 1792."

When Somerset joined his friends at supper, and imparted to them the
commands of his father, an immediate change was produced in the
spirits of the party. During the lamentations of the ladies and the
murmurs of the young men, the countess tried to dispel the effects of
the information by addressing Pembroke with a smile, and saying, "But
we hope that you have seen enough at Villanow to tempt you back again
at no very distant period? Tell Lady Somerset you have left a second
mother in Poland, who will long to receive another visit from her
adopted son."

"Yes, my dear madam," returned he; "and I shall hope, before a very
distant period, to see those two kind mothers united as intimately by
friendship as they are in my heart."

Thaddeus listened with a saddened countenance. He had not been
accustomed to the thought of a long separation, and when he met it
now, he hardly knew how to proportion his uneasiness to the
privation. Hope and all the hilarities of youth flushed in his soul;
his features continually glowed with animation, whilst the gay
beaming of his eyes ever answered to the smile on his lips. Hence the
slightest veering of his mind was perceptible to the countess, who,
turning round, saw him leaning thoughtfully in his chair, whilst
Pembroke, with increasing vehemence, was running through various
invectives against the hastiness of his recall.

"Come, come, Thaddeus!" cried she; "let us think no more of this
parting until it arrives. You know that anticipation of evil is the
death of happiness; and it will be a kind of suicide should we
destroy the hours we may yet enjoy together in vain complainings that
they are so soon to terminate."

A little exhortation from the countess, and a maternal kiss which she
imprinted on his cheek, restored him to cheerfulness, and the evening
passed more pleasantly than it had portended.

Much as the palatine esteemed Pembroke Somerset, his mind was too
deeply absorbed in the condition of the kingdom to attend to less
considerable cares. He beheld his country, even on the verge of
destruction, awaiting with firmness the approach of the earthquake
which threatened to ingulf it in the neighboring nations. He saw the
storm lowering; but he determined, whilst there remained one spot of
vantage ground above the general wreck, that Poland should yet have a
name and a defender. These thoughts possessed him; these plans
engaged him; and he had not leisure to regret pleasure when he was
struggling for existence.

The empress continued to pour her armies into the heart of the
kingdom. The King of Prussia, boldly flying from his treaties,
marched to bid her colors a conqueror's welcome; and the Emperor of
Germany, following the example of so great a prince, did not blush to
show that his word was equally contemptible.

Dispatches daily arrived of the villages being laid waste; that
neither age, sex, nor situation shielded the unfortunate inhabitants,
and that all the frontier provinces were in flames.

The Diet was called, [Footnote: The constitutional Diet of Poland
nearly answers in principle to the British three estates in
Parliament--King, Lords, and Commons.] and the debates agitated with
the anxiety of men who were met to decide on their dearest interests.
The bosom of the benevolent Stanislaus bled at the dreadful picture
of his people's sufferings, and hardly able to restrain his tears, he
answered the animated exordiums of Sobieski for resistance to the
last with an appeal immediately to his heart.

"What is it that you urge me to do, my lord?" said he. "Was it not to
secure the happiness of my subjects that I labored? and finding my
designs impracticable, what advantage would it be to them should I
pertinaciously oppose their small numbers to the accumulated array of
two empires, and of a king almost as powerful as either. What is my
kingdom but the comfort of my people? What will it avail me to see
them fall around me, man by man, and the few who remain bending in
speechless sorrow over their graves? Such a sight would break my
heart. Poland without its people would be a desert, and I a hermit
rather than a king."

In vain the palatine combated these arguments, showing the vain quiet
such a peace might afford, by declaring it could only be temporary.
In vain he told his majesty that he would purchase safety for the
present race at the vast expense of not only the liberty of
posterity, but of its probity and happiness.

"However you disguise slavery," cried he, "it is slavery still. Its
chains, though wreathed with roses, not only fasten on the body but
rivet on the mind. They bend it from the loftiest virtue to a
debasement beneath calculation. They disgrace honor; they trample
upon justice. They transform the legions of Rome into a band of
singers. They prostrate the sons of Athens and of Sparta at the feet
of cowards. They make man abjure his birth right, bind himself to
another's will, and give that into a tyrant's hands which he received
as a deposit from Heaven--his reason, his conscience, and his soul.
Think on this, and then, if you can, subjugate Poland to her
enemies."

Stanislaus, weakened by years and subdued by disappointment, now
retained no higher wish than to save his subjects from immediate
outrage. He did not answer the palatine, but with streaming eyes bent
over the table, and annulled the glorious constitution of 1791. Then
with emotions hardly short of agony, he signed an order presented by
a plenipotentiary from the combined powers, which directed Prince
Poniatowski to deliver the army under his command into the hands of
General Brinicki.

As the king put his signature to these papers, Sobieski, who had
strenuously withstood each decision, started from his chair, bowed to
his sovereign, and in silence left the apartment. Several noblemen
followed him.

These pacific measures did not meet with better treatment from
without. When they were noised abroad, an alarming commotion arose
among the inhabitants of Warsaw, and nearly four thousand men of the
first families in the kingdom assembled themselves in the park of
Villanow, and with tumultuous eagerness declared their resolution to
resist the invaders of their country to their last gasp. The Prince
Sapieha, Kosciusko, and Sobieski, with the sage Dombrowski, were the
first who took this oath of fidelity to Poland; and they administered
it to Thaddeus, who, kneeling down, inwardly invoked Heaven to aid
him, as he swore to fulfil his trust.

In the midst of these momentous affairs, Pembroke Somerset bade adieu
to his Polish friends, and set sail with his governor from Dantzic
for England.



CHAPTER VII.

THE DIET OF POLAND.


Those winter months which before this year had been at Villanow the
season for cheerfulness and festivity, now rolled away in the sad
pomp of national debates and military assemblies.

Prussia usurped the best part of Pomerelia, and garrisoned it with
troops; Catharine declared her dominion over the vast tract of land
which lies between the Dwina and Borysthenes; and Frederick William
marked down another sweep of Poland. to follow the fate of Dantzic
and of Thorn, while watching the dark policy of Austria regarding its
selecting portions of the dismembering state.

Calamities and insults were heaped day after day on the defenceless
Poles. The deputies of the provinces were put into prison, and the
provisions intended for the king's table interrupted and appropriated
by the depredators to their own use. Sobieski remonstrated on this
last outrage; but incensed at reproof, and irritated at the sway
which the palatine still held, an order was issued for all the
Sobieski estates in Lithuania and Podolia to be sequestrated and
divided between four of the invading generals.

In vain the Villanow confederation endeavored to remonstrate with the
empress. Her ambassador not only refused to forward the dispatches,
but threatened the nobles "if they did not comply with every one of
his demands, he would lay all the estates, possessions, and
habitations of the members of the Diet under an immediate military
execution. Nay, punishment should not stop there; for if the king
joined the Sobieski party (to which he now appeared inclined), the
royal domains should not only meet the same fate, but harsher
treatment should follow, until both the people and their proud
sovereign were brought into due subjection."

These menaces were too arrogant to have any other effect upon the
Poles than that of giving a new spur to their resolution. With the
same firmness they repulsed similar fulminations from the Prussian
ambassador, and, with a coolness which was only equalled by their
intrepidity, they prepared to resume their arms.

Hearing by private information that their threats were despised, next
morning, before daybreak, these despotic envoys surrounded the
building where the confederation was sitting with two battalions of
grenadiers and four pieces of cannon, and then issued orders that no
Pole should pass the gates without being fired on. General
Rautenfeld, who was set over the person of the king, declared that
not even his majesty might stir until the Diet had given an unanimous
and full consent to the imperial commands.

The Diet set forth the unlawfulness of signing any treaty whilst thus
withheld from the freedom of will and debate. They urged that it was
not legal to enter into deliberation when violence had recently been
exerted against any individual of their body; and how could they do
it now, deprived as they were of five of their principal members,
whom the ambassadors well knew they had arrested on their way to the
Senate? Sobieski and four of his friends being the members most
inimical to the oppression going on, were these five. In vain their
liberation was required; and enraged at the pertinacity of this
opposition, Rautenfeld repeated the former threats, with the addition
of more, swearing that they should take place without appeal if the
Diet did not directly and unconditionally sign the pretensions both
of his court and that of Prussia.

After a hard contention of many hours, the members at last agreed
amongst themselves to make a solemn public protest against the
present tyrannous measures of the two ambassadors; and seeing that
any attempt to inspire them even with decency was useless, they
determined to cease all debate, and kept a profound silence when the
marshal should propose the project in demand.

This sorrowful silence was commenced in resentment and retained
through despair; this sorrowful silence was called by their usurpers
a consent; this sorrowful silence is held up to the world and to
posterity as a free cession by the Poles of all those rights which
they had received from nature, ratified by laws, and defended with
their blood. [Footnote: Thus, like the curule fathers of Rome, they
sat unyielding, awaiting the threatened stroke. But the dignity of
virtue held her shield over them; and with an answering silence on
the part of the confederated ambassadors, the Diet-chamber was
vacated.]

The morning after this dreadful day, the Senate met at one of the
private palaces; and, indignant and broken-hearted, they delivered
the following declaration to the people:--

 "The Diet of Poland, hemmed in by foreign troops, menaced with an
influx of the enemy, which would be attended by universal ruin, and
finally insulted by a thousand outrages, have been forced to witness
the signing of a submissive treaty with their enemies.

"The Diet had strenuously endeavored to have added to that treaty
some conditions to which they supposed the lamentable state of the
country would have extorted an acquiescence, even from the heart of a
conqueror's power. But the Diet were deceived: they found such power
was unaccompanied by humanity; they found that the foe, having thrown
his victim to the ground, would not refrain from exulting in the
barbarous triumph of trampling upon her neck.

"The Diet rely on the justice of Poland--rely on her belief that they
would not betray the citadel she confided to their keeping. Her
preservation is dearer to them than their lives; but fate seems to be
on the side of their destroyer. Fresh insults have been heaped upon
their heads and new hardships have been imposed upon them. To prevent
all deliberations on this debasing treaty, they are not only
surrounded by foreign troops, and dared with hostile messages, but
they have been violated by the arrest of their prime members, whilst
those who are still suffered to possess a personal freedom have the
most galling shackles laid upon their minds.

"Therefore, I, the King of Poland, enervated by age, and sinking
under the accumulated weight of my kingdom's afflictions, and also
we, the members of the Diet, declare that, being unable, even by the
sacrifice of our lives, to relieve our country from the yoke of its
oppressors, we consign it to our children and the justice of Heaven.

"In another age, means may be found to rescue it from chains and
misery; but such means are not put in our power. Other countries
neglect us. Whilst they reprobate the violations which a neighboring
nation is alleged to have committed against rational liberty, they
behold, not only with apathy but with approbation, the ravages which
are now desolating Poland. Posterity must avenge it. We have done. We
accede in silence, for the reasons above mentioned, to the treaty
laid before us, though we declare that it is contrary to our wishes,
to our sentiments, and to our rights."

Thus, in November, 1793, compressed to one fourth of her dimensions
by the lines of demarcation drawn by her invaders, Poland was
stripped of her rank in Europe; her "power delivered up to strangers,
and her beauty into the hands of her enemies!" Ill-fated people!
Nations will weep over your wrongs; whilst the burning blush of
shame, that their fathers witnessed such wrongs unmoved, shall cause
the tears to blister as they fall.

During these transactions, the Countess Sobieski continued in
solitude at Villanow, awaiting with awful anxiety the termination of
those portentous events which so deeply involved her own comforts
with those of her country. Her father was in prison, her son at a
distance with the army. Sick at heart, she saw the opening of that
spring which might be the commencement only of a new season of
injuries; and her fears were prophetic.

It being discovered that some Masovian regiments in the neighborhood
of Warsaw yet retained their arms, they were ordered by the foreign
envoys to lay them down. A few, thinking denial vain, obeyed; but
bolder spirits followed Thaddeus Sobieski towards South Prussia,
whither he had directed his steps on the arrest of his grandfather,
and where he had gathered and kept together a handful of brave men,
still faithful to their liberties. His name alone collected numbers
in every district through which he marched. Persecution from their
adversary as well as admiration of Thaddeus had given a resistless
power to his appearance, look, and voice, all of which had such an
effect on the peasantry, that they eagerly crowded to his standard,
whilst their young lords committed themselves without reserve to his
sole judgment and command. The Prussian ambassador, hearing of this,
sent to Stanislaus to command the grandson of Sobieski to disband his
troops. The king refusing, and his answer being communicated to the
Russian envoy also, war was renewed with redoubled fury.

The palatine remained in confinement, hopeless of obtaining release
without the aid of stratagem. His country's enemies were too well
aware of their interest to give freedom to so active an opponent.
They sought to vex his spirit with every mental torture; but he
rather received consolation than despair in the reports daily brought
to him by his jailers. They told him "that his grandson continued to
carry himself with such insolent opposition in the south, it would be
well if the empress, at the termination of the war, allowed him to
escape with banishment to Siberia." But every reproach thus levelled
at the palatine he found had been bought by some new success of
Thaddeus; and instead of permitting their malignity to intimidate his
age or alarm his affection, he told the officer (who kept guard in
his chambers) that if his grandson were to lose his head for fidelity
to Poland, he should behold him with as proud an eye mounting the
scaffold as entering the streets of Warsaw with her freedom in his
hand. "The only difference would be," continued Sobieski, "that as
the first cannot happen until all virtue be dead in this land, I
should regard his last gasp as the expiring sigh of that virtue
which, by him, had found a triumph even under the axe. But for the
second, it would be joy unutterable to behold the victory of justice
over rapine and violence! But, either way, Thaddeus Sobieski is still
the same--ready to die or ready to live for his country, and equally
worthy of the sacred halo with which posterity would encircle his
name forever."

Indeed, the accounts which arrived from this young soldier, who had
formed a junction with General Kosciusko, were in the highest degree
formidable to the coalesced powers. Having gained several advantages
over the Prussians, the two victorious battalions were advancing
towards Inowlotz, when a large and fresh body of the enemy appeared
suddenly on their rear. The enemy on the opposite bank of the river,
(whom the Poles were driving before them,) at sight of this
reinforcement, rallied; and not only to retard the approach of the
pursuers, but to ensure their defeat from the army in view, they
broke down the wooden bridge by which they had escaped themselves.
The Poles were at a stand. Kosciusko proposed swimming across, but
owing to the recent heavy rains, the river was so swollen and rapid
that the young captains to whom he mentioned the project, terrified
by the blackness and dashing of the water, drew back. The general,
perceiving their panic, called Thaddeus to him, and both plunged into
the stream. Ashamed of hesitation, the others now tried who could
first follow their example; and, after hard buffeting with its tide,
the whole army gained the opposite shore. The Prussians who were in
the rear, incapable of the like intrepidity, halted; and those who
had crossed on their former defeat, now again intimidated at the
daring courage of their adversaries, concealed themselves amidst the
thickets of an adjoining valley.

The two friends proceeded towards Cracow, [Footnote: Cracow is
considered the oldest regal city in Poland; the tombs of her earliest
and noblest kings are there, John Sobieski's being one of the most
renowned. It stands in a province of the same name, about 130 miles
south-west of Warsaw, the more modern capital of the kingdom, and
also the centre of its own province.] carrying redress and protection
to the provinces through which they marched. But they had hardly
rested a day in that city before dispatches were received that Warsaw
was lying at the mercy of General Brinicki. No time could be lost;
officers and men had set their lives on the cause, and they
recommenced their toil of a new march with a perseverance which
brought them before the capital on the 16th of April.

Things were in a worse state than even was expected. The three
ambassadors had not only demanded the surrender of the national
arsenal, but subscribed their orders with a threat that whoever of
the nobles presumed to dispute their authority should be arrested and
closely imprisoned there; and if the people should dare to murmur,
they would immediately order General Brinicki to lay the city in
ashes. The king remonstrated against such oppression, and to "punish
his presumption," his excellency ordered that his majesty's garrison
and guards should instantly be broken up and dispersed. At the first
attempt to execute this mandate, the people flew in crowds to the
palace, and, falling on their knees, implored Stanislaus for
permission to avenge the insult offered to his troops. The king
looked at them with pity, gratitude, and anguish. For some time his
emotions were too strong to allow him to speak; at last, in a voice
of agony, wrung from his tortured heart, he answered, "Go, and defend
your honor!"

The army of Kosciusko marched into the town at this critical moment;
they joined the armed people; and that day, after a dreadful
conflict, Warsaw was rescued from the immediate grasp of the hovering
Black Eagle. During the fight, the king, who was alone in one of the
rooms of his palace, sank in despair on the floor; he heard the
mingling clash of arms, the roar of musketry, and the cries and
groans of the combatants; ruin seemed no longer to threaten his
kingdom, but to have pounced at once upon her prey. At every renewed
volley which followed each pause in the firing, he expected to see
his palace gates burst open, and himself, then indeed made a willing
sacrifice, immolated to the vengeance of his enemies.

While he was yet upon his knees petitioning the God of battles for a
little longer respite from that doom which was to overwhelm devoted
Poland, Thaddeus Sobieski, panting with heat and toil, flew into the
room, and before he could speak a word, was clasped in the arms of
the agitated Stanislaus.

"What of my people?" asked the king.

"They are victorious!" returned Thaddeus. "The foreign guards are
beaten from the palace; your own have resumed their station at the
gates."

At this assurance, tears of joy ran over the venerable cheeks of his
majesty, and again embracing his young deliverer, he exclaimed, "I
thank Heaven, my unhappy country is not bereft of all hope! Whilst a
Kosciusko and a Sobieski live, she need not quite despair. They are
thy ministers, O Jehovah, of a yet longer respite!"

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER VIII.

BATTLE OF BRZESC--THE TENTH OF OCTOBER.


Thaddeus was not less eager to release his grandfather than he had
been to relieve the anxiety of his sovereign. He hastened, at the
head of a few troops, to the prison of Sobieski, and gave him
liberty, amidst the acclamations of his soldiers.

The universal joy at these prosperous events did not last many days:
it was speedily terminated by information that Cracow had surrendered
to a Prussian force, that the King of Prussia was advancing towards
the capital, and that the Russians, more implacable in consequence of
the late treatment their garrison had received at Warsaw, were
pouring into the country like a deluge.

At this intelligence the consternation became dreadful. The Polonese
army in general, worn with fatigue and long service, and without
clothing or ammunition, were not in any way, excepting courage,
fitted for resuming the field.

The treasury was exhausted, and means of raising a supply seemed
impracticable. The provinces were laid waste, and the city had
already been drained of its last ducat. In this exigency a council
met in his majesty's cabinet, to devise some expedient for obtaining
resources. The consultation was as desponding as their situation,
until Thaddeus Sobieski, who had been a silent observer, rose from
his seat. Sudden indisposition had prevented the palatine attending,
but his grandson knew well how to be his substitute. Whilst blushes
of awe and eagerness crimsoned his cheek, he advanced towards
Stanislaus, and taking from his neck and other parts of his dress
those magnificent jewels it was customary to wear in the presence of
the king, he knelt down, and laying them at the feet of his majesty,
said, in a suppressed voice, "These are trifles; but such as they
are, and all of the like kind which we possess, I am commanded by my
grandfather to beseech your majesty to appropriate to the public
service."

"Noble young man!" cried the king, raising him from the ground; "you
have indeed taught me a lesson. I accept these jewels with gratitude.
Here," said he, turning to the treasurer, "put them into the national
fund, and let them be followed by my own, with my gold and silver
plate, which latter I desire may be instantly sent to the mint. Three
parts the army shall have; the other we must expend in giving support
to the surviving families of the brave men who have fallen in our
defence." The palatine readily united with his grandson in the
surrender of all their personal property for the benefit of their
country; and, according to their example, the treasury was soon
filled with gratuities from the nobles. The very artisans offered
their services gratis; and all hands being employed to forward the
preparations, the army was soon enabled to take the field, newly
equipped and in high spirits.

The countess had again to bid adieu to a son who was now become as
much the object of her admiration as of her love. In proportion as
glory surrounded him and danger courted his steps, the strings of
affection drew him closer to her soul; the "aspiring blood" of the
Sobieskis which beat in her veins could not cheer the dread of a
mother, could not cause her to forget that the spring of her
existence now flowed from the fountain which had taken its source
from her. Her anxious and watching heart paid dearly in tears and
sleepless nights for the honor with which she was saluted at every
turning as the mother of Thaddeus: that Thaddeus who was not more the
spirit of enterprise, and the rallying point of resistance, than he
was to her the gentlest, the dearest, the most amiable of sons. It
matters not to the undistinguishing bolt of carnage whether it strike
common breasts or those rare hearts whose lives are usually as brief
as they are dazzling; this leaden messenger of death banquets as
greedily on the bosom of a hero as if it had lit upon more vulgar
prey; all is levelled to the seeming chance of war, which comes like
a whirlwind of the desert, scattering man and beast in one wide ruin.

Such thoughts as these possessed the melancholy but prayerful
reveries of the Countess Sobieski, from the hour in which she saw
Thaddeus and his grandfather depart for Cracow until she heard it was
retaken, and that the enemy were defeated in several subsequent
contests.

Warsaw was again bombarded, and again Kosciusko, with the palatine
and Thaddeus, preserved it from destruction. In short, wherever they
moved, their dauntless little army carried terror to its adversaries,
and diffused hope through the homes and hearts of their countrymen.

They next turned their course to the relief of Lithuania; but whilst
they were on their route thither, they received intelligence that a
division of the Poles, led by Prince Poniatowski, having been routed
by a formidable body of Russians under Suwarrow, that general, elated
with his success, was hastening forward to re-attack the capital.

Kosciusko resolved to prevent him, prepared to give immediate battle
to Ferfen, another Russian commander, who was on his march to form a
junction with his victorious countrymen. To this end Kosciusko
divided his forces; half of them to not only support the retreat of
the prince, but to enable him to hover near Suwarrow, and to keep a
watchful eye over his motions; whilst Kosciusko, accompanied by the
two Sobieskis, would proceed with the other division towards Brzesc.

It was the tenth of October. The weather being fine, a cloudless sun
diffused life and brilliancy through the pure air of a keen morning.
The vast green plain before them glittered with the troops of General
Ferfen, who had already arranged them in order of battle.

The word was given. Thaddeus, as he drew his sabre [Footnote: The
sabre (like the once famed claymore of Scotland) was the
characteristic weapon of Poland. It was the especial appendage to the
sides of the nobles;--its use, the science of their youth, their
ornament and graceful exercise in peace, their most efficient manual
power of attack or defence in war. It is impossible for any but an
eye-witness to have any idea of the skill, beauty, and determination
with which this weapon was, and is, wielded in Poland.] from its
scabbard, raised his eyes to implore the justice of Heaven on that
day's events. The attack was made. The Poles kept their station on
the heights. The Russians rushed on them like wolves, and twice they
repulsed them by their steadiness. Conquest declared for Poland.
Thaddeus was seen in every part of the field. But reinforcements
poured in to the support of Ferfen, and war raged in new horrors.
Still the courage of the Poles was unabated. Sobieski, fighting at
the head of his cavalry, would not recede a foot, and Kosciusko,
exhorting his men to be resolute, appeared in the hottest places of
the battle.

At one of these portentous moments, the commander-in-chief was seen
struggling with the third charger which had been shot under him that
day. Thaddeus galloped to his assistance, gave him his horse, mounted
another offered by a hussar, and remained fighting by his side, till,
on the next charge, Kosciusko himself fell forward. Thaddeus caught
him in his arms, and finding that his own breast was immediately
covered with blood, (a Cossack having stabbed the general through the
shoulder,) he unconsciously uttered a cry of horror. The surrounding
soldiers took the alarm, and "Kosciusko, our father, is killed!" was
echoed from rank to rank with such piercing shrieks, that the wounded
hero started from the breast of his young friend just as two Russian
chasseurs in the same moment made a cut at them both. The sabre
struck the exposed head of Kosciusko, who sunk senseless to the
ground, and Thaddeus received a gash near his neck that laid him by
his side.

The consternation became universal; groans of despair seemed to issue
from the whole army, whilst the few resolute Poles who had been
stationed near the fallen general fell in mangled heaps upon his
breast. Thaddeus with difficulty extricated himself from the bodies
of the slain; and, fighting his way through the triumphant troops
which pressed around him, amidst the smoke and confusion soon joined
his terror-stricken comrades, who in the wildest despair were
dispersing under a heavy fire, and flying like frighted deer. In vain
he called to them--in vain he urged them to avenge Kosciusko; the
panic was complete, and they fled.

Almost alone, in the rear of his soldiers, he opposed with his single
and desperate arm party after party of the enemy, until a narrow
stream of the Muchavez stopped his retreat. The waters were crimsoned
with blood. He plunged in, and beating the blushing wave with his
left arm, in a few seconds gained the opposite bank, where, fainting
from fatigue and loss of blood, he sunk, almost deprived of sense,
amidst a heap of the killed.

When the pursuing squadrons had galloped past him, he again summoned
strength to look round. He raised himself from the ground, and by the
help of his sabre supported his steps a few paces further; but what
was the shock he received when the bleeding and lifeless body of his
grandfather lay before him? He stood for a few moments motionless and
without sensation; then, kneeling down by his side, whilst he felt as
if his own heart were palsied with death, he searched for the wounds
of the palatine. They were numerous and deep. He would have torn away
the handkerchief with which he had stanched his own blood to have
applied it to that of his grandfather; but in the instant he was so
doing, feeling the act might the next moment disable himself from
giving him further assistance, he took his sash and neck-cloth, and
when they were insufficient, he rent the linen from his breast; then
hastening to the river, he brought a little water in his cap, and
threw some of its stained drops on the pale features of Sobieski.

The venerable hero opened his eyes; in a minute afterwards he
recognized that it was his grandson who knelt by him. The palatine
pressed his hand, which was cold as ice: the marble lips of Thaddeus
could not move.

"My son," said the veteran, in a low voice, "Heaven hath led you
hither to receive the last sigh of your grandfather." Thaddeus
trembled. The palatine continued; "Carry my blessing to your mother,
and bid her seek comfort in the consolations of her God. May that God
preserve you! Ever remember that you are his servant; be obedient to
him; and as I have been, be faithful to your country."

"May God so bless me!" cried Thaddeus, looking up to heaven.

"And ever remember," said the palatine, raising his head, which had
dropped on the bosom of his grandson, "that you are a Sobieski! it is
my dying command that you never take any other name."

"I promise."

Thaddeus could say no more, for the countenance of his grandfather
became altered; his eyes closed. Thaddeus caught him to his breast.
No heart beat against his; all was still and cold. The body dropped
from his arms, and he sunk senseless by its side.

When consciousness returned to him, he looked up. The sky was
shrouded in clouds, which a driving wind was blowing from the orb of
the moon, while a few of her white rays gleamed sepulchrally on the
weapons of the slaughtered soldiers.

The scattered senses of Thaddeus gradually returned to him. He was
now lying, the only living creature amidst thousands of the dead who,
the preceding night, had been, like himself, alive to all the
consciousness of existence! His right hand rested on the pale face of
his grandfather. It was wet with dew. He shuddered. Taking his own
cloak from his shoulders, he laid it over the body. He would have
said, as he did it, "So, my father, I would have sheltered thy life
with my own!" but the words choked in his throat, and he sat watching
by the corpse until the day dawned, and the Poles returned to bury
their slain.

The wretched Thaddeus was discovered by a party of his own hussars
seated on a little mound of earth, with the cold hand of Sobieski
grasped in his. At this sight the soldiers uttered a cry of dismay
and sorrow. Thaddeus rose up. "My friends," said he, "I thank God
that you are come! Assist me to bear my dear grandfather to the
camp."

Astonished at this composure, but distressed at the dreadful hue of
his countenance, they obeyed him in mournful silence, and laid the
remains of the palatine upon a bier, which they formed with their
sheathed sabres; then gently raising it, they retrod their steps to
the camp, leaving a detachment to accomplish the duty for which they
had quitted it. Thaddeus, hardly able to support his weakened frame,
mounted a horse and followed the melancholy procession.

General Wawrzecki, on whom the command had devolved, seeing the party
returning so soon, and in such an order, sent an aid-de-camp to
inquire the reason. He came back with dejection in his face, and
informed his commander that the brave Palatine of Masovia, whom they
supposed had been taken prisoner with his grandson and Kosciusko, was
the occasion of this sudden return; that he had been killed, and his
body was now approaching the lines on the arms of the soldiers.
Wawrzecki, though glad to hear that Thaddeus was alive and at
liberty, turned to conceal his tears; then calling out a guard, he
marched at their head to meet the corpse of his illustrious friend.

The bier was carried into the general's tent. An aid-de-camp and some
gentlemen of the faculty were ordered to attend Thaddeus to his
quarters; but the young count, though scarcely able to stand,
appeared to linger, and holding fast by the arm of an officer, he
looked steadfastly on the body. Wawrzecki understood his hesitation.
He pressed his hand. "Fear not, my dear sir," said he; "every honor
shall be paid to the remains of your noble grandfather." Thaddeus
bowed his head, and was supported out of the tent to his own.

His wounds, of which he had received several, were not deep; and
might have been of little consequence, had not his thoughts
continually hovered about his mother, and painted her affliction when
she should be informed of the lamentable events of the last day's
battle. These reflections, awake or in a slumber, (for he never
slept,) possessed his mind, and, even whilst his wounds were healing,
produced such an irritation in his blood as hourly threatened a
fever.

Things were in this situation, when the surgeon put a letter from the
countess into his hand. He opened it, and read with breathless
anxiety these lines:

"TO THADDEUS, COUNT SOBIESKI.

"Console yourself, my most precious son, console yourself for my
sake. I have seen Colonel Lonza, and I have heard all the horrors
which took place on the tenth of this month. I have heard them, and I
am yet alive. I am resigned. He tells me you are wounded. Oh! do not
let me be bereft of my son also! Remember that you were my dear
sainted father's darling; remember that, as his representative, you
are to be my consolation; in pity to me, if not to our suffering
country, preserve yourself to be at least the last comfort Heaven's
mercy hath spared to me. I find that all is lost to Poland as well as
to myself! that when my glorious father fell, and his friend with
him, even its name, as a country, became extinct. The allied invaders
are in full march towards Masovia, and I am too weak to come to you.
Let me see you soon, very soon, my beloved son. I beseech you to come
to me. You will find me feebler in body than in mind; for there is a
holy Comforter that descends on the bruised heart, which none other
than the unhappy have conceived or felt. Farewell, my dear, dear
Thaddeus! Let the memory that you have a mother check your too ardent
courage. God forever guard you! Live for your mother, who has no
stronger words to express her affection for you than she is thy
mother--thy

"THERESE SOBIESKI.

"VILLANOW, _October,_ 1794."

This letter was indeed a balm to the soul of Thaddeus. That his
mother had received intelligence of the cruel event with such "holy
resignation" was the best medicine that could now be applied to his
wounds, both of mind and body; and when he was told that on the
succeeding morning the body of his grandfather would, be removed to
the convent near Biala, he declared his resolution to attend it to
the grave.

In vain his surgeons and General Wawrzecki remonstrated against the
danger of this project; for once the gentle and yielding spirit of
Thaddeus was inflexible. He had fixed his determination, and it was
not to be shaken.

Next day, being the seventh from that in which the fatal battle had
been decided, Thaddeus, at the first beat of the drum, rose from his
pallet, and, almost unassisted, put on his clothes. His uniform being
black, he needed no other index than his pale and mournful
countenance to announce that he was chief mourner.

The procession began to form, and he walked from his tent. It was a
fine morning. Thaddeus looked up, as if to upbraid the sun for
shining so brightly. Lengthened and repeated rounds of cannon rolled
along the air. The solemn march of the dead was moaning from the
muffled drum, interrupted at measured pauses by the shrill tremor of
the fife. The troops, preceded by their general, moved forward with a
decent and melancholy step. The Bishop of Warsaw followed, bearing
the sacred volume in his hands; and next, borne upon the crossed
pikes of his soldiers, and supported by twelve of his veteran
companions, appeared the body of the brave Sobieski. A velvet pall
covered it, on which were laid those arms with which for fifty years
he had asserted the loyal independence of his country. At this sight
the sobs of the men became audible. Thaddeus followed with a slow but
firm step, his eyes bent to the ground and his arms wrapped in his
cloak; it was the same which had shaded his beloved grandfather from
the dews of that dreadful night. Another train of solemn music
succeeded; and then the squadrons which the deceased had commanded
dismounted, and, leading their horses, closed the procession.

On the verge of the plain that borders Biala, and within a few paces
of the convent gate of St. Francis, the bier stopped. The monks
saluted its appearance with a requiem, which they continued to chant
till the coffin was lowered into the ground. The earth received its
sacred deposit. The anthems ceased; the soldiers, kneeling down,
discharged their muskets over it; then, with streaming cheeks, rose
and gave place to others. Nine volleys were fired, and the ranks fell
back. The bishop advanced to the head of the grave. All was hushed.
He raised his eyes to heaven; then, after a pause, in which he seemed
to be communing with the regions above him, he turned to the silent
assembly, and, in a voice collected and impressive, addressed them in
a short but affecting oration, in which he set forth the brightness
of Sobieski's life, his noble forgetfulness of self in the interests
of his country, and the dauntless bravery which laid him in the dust.
A general discharge of cannon was the awful response to this appeal.
Wawrzecki took the sabre of the palatine, and, breaking it, dropped
it into the grave. The aids-de-camp of the deceased did the same with
theirs, showing that by so doing they resigned their offices; and
then, covering their faces with their handkerchiefs, they turned away
with the soldiers, who filed off. Thaddeus sunk on his knees. His
hands were clasped, and his eyes for a few minutes fixed themselves
on the coffin of his grandfather; then rising, he leaned on the arm
of Wawrzecki, and with a tottering step and pallid countenance,
mounted his horse, which had been led to the spot, and returned with
the scattered procession to the camp.

The cause for exertion being over, his spirits fell with the rapidity
of a spring too highly wound up, which snaps and runs down to
immobility. He entered his tent and threw himself on the bed, from
which he did not raise for the five following days.



CHAPTER IX.

THE LAST DAYS OF VILLANOW.


At a time when the effects of these sufferings and fatigues had
brought his bodily strength to its lowest ebb, the young Count
Sobieski was roused by information that the Russians had planted
themselves before Praga, and were preparing to bombard the town. The
intelligence nerved his heart's sinews again, and rallied the
spirits, also, of his depressed soldiers, who energetically obeyed
their commander to put themselves in readiness to march at set of
sun.

Thaddeus saw that the decisive hour was pending. And as the moon
rose, though hardly able to sit his noble charger, he refused the
indulgence of a litter, determining that no illness, while he had any
power to master its disabilities, should make him recede from his
duty. The image of his mother, too, so near the threatened spot,
rushed on his soul. In quick march he led on his troops. Devastation
met them over the face of the country. Scared and houseless villagers
were flying in every direction; old men stood amongst the ashes of
their homes, wailing to the pitying heavens, since man had none.
Children and woman sat by the waysides, weeping over the last
sustenance the wretched infants drew from the breasts of their
perishing mothers.

Thaddeus shut his eyes on the scene.

"Oh, my country! my country!" exclaimed he; "what are my personal
griefs to thine? It is your afflictions that barb me to the heart!
Look there," cried he to the soldiers, pointing to the miserable
spectacles before him; "look there, and carry vengeance into the
breasts of their destroyers. Let Praga be the last act of this
tragedy."

"Unhappy young man! unfortunate country! It was indeed the last act of
a tragedy to which all Europe were spectators--a tragedy which the
nations witnessed without one attempt to stop or to delay its
dreadful catastrophe! Oh, how must virtue be lost when it is no
longer a matter of policy even to assume it." [Footnote: To answer
this, we must remember that Europe was then no longer what she was a
century before. Almost all her nations had turned from the doctrines
of "sound things," and more or less drank deeply of the cup of
infidelity, drugged for them by the flattering sophistries of
Voltaire. The draught was inebriation, and the wild consequences
burst asunder the responsibilities of man to man. The selfish
principle ruled, and balance of justice was then seen only aloft in
the heavens!]

After a long march through a dark and dismal night, the morning began
to break; and Thaddeus found himself on the southern side of that
little river which divides the territories of Sobieski from the woods
of Kobylka. Here, for the first time, he endured all the torturing
varieties of despair.

The once fertile fields were burnt to stubble; the cottages were yet
smoking from the ravages of the fire; and in place of smiling eyes
and thankful lips coming to meet him, he beheld the dead bodies of
his peasants stretched on the high roads, mangled, bleeding, and
stripped of that decent covering which humanity would not deny to the
vilest criminal.

Thaddeus could bear the sight no longer, but, setting spurs to his
horse, fled from the contemplation of scenes which harrowed up his
soul.

At nightfall, the army halted under the walls of Villanow. The count
looked towards the windows of the palace, and by a light shining
through the half-drawn curtains, distinguished his mother's room. He
then turned his eye on that sweep of building which contained the
palatine's apartments; but not one solitary lamp illumined its gloom:
the moon alone glimmered on the battlements, silvering the painted
glass of the study window, where, with that beloved parent, he had so
lately gazed upon the stars, and anticipated with the most sanguine
hopes the result of the campaign which had now terminated so
disastrously for his unhappy country.

But these thoughts, with his grief and his forebodings, were buried
in the depths of his determined heart. Addressing General Wawrzecki,
he bade him welcome to Villanow, requesting at the same time that his
men might be directed to rest till morning, and that he and the
officers would take their refreshment within the palace.

As soon as Thaddeus had seen his guests seated at different tables in
the eating-hall, and had given orders for the soldiers to be served
from the buttery and cellars, he withdrew to seek the countess. He
found her in her chamber, surrounded by the attendants who had just
informed her of his arrival. The moment he appeared at the room door,
the women went out at an opposite passage, and Thaddeus, with a
bursting heart, threw himself on the bosom of his mother. They were
silent for some time. Poignant recollection stopped their utterance;
but neither tears nor sighs filled its place, until the countess, on
whose soul the full tide of maternal affection pressed, and mingled
with her grief, raised her head from her son's neck, and said, whilst
she strained him in her arms, "Receive my thanks, O Father of mercy,
for having spared to me this blessing!"

Thaddeus Sobieski (all that now remained of that beloved and honored
name!) with a sacred emotion breathed a response to the address of
his mother, and drying her tears with his kisses, dwelt upon the
never-dying fame of his revered grandfather, upon his preferable lot
to that of their brave friend Kosciusko, who was doomed not only to
survive the liberty of his country, but to pass the residue of his
life within the dungeons of his enemies. He then tried to reanimate
her spirits with hope. He spoke of the approaching battle, without
any doubt of the valor and desperation of the Poles rendering it
successful. He talked of the resolution of their leader, General
Wawrzecki, and of his own good faith in the justice of their cause.
His discourse began in a wish to cheat her into tranquillity; but as
he advanced on the subject, his soul took fire at its own warmth, and
he half believed the probability of his anticipations.

The countess looked on the honorable glow which crimsoned his
harassed features with a pang at her heart.

"My heroic son!" cried she, "my darling Thaddeus! what a vast price
do I pay for all this excellence! I could not love you were you
otherwise than what you are; and being what you are, oh, how soon may
I lose you! Already has your noble grandfather paid the debt which he
owed to his glory. He promised to fall with Poland; he has kept his
word; and now, all that I love on earth is concentrated in you." The
countess paused, and pressing his hand almost wildly on her heart,
she continued in a hurried voice, "The same spirit is in your breast;
the same principle binds you; and I may be at last left alone. Heaven
have pity on me!"

She cast her eyes upward as she ended. Thaddeus, sinking on his knees
by her side, implored her with all the earnestness of piety and
confidence to take comfort. The countess embraced him with a forced
smile. "You must forgive me, Thaddeus; I have nothing of the soldier
in my heart: it is all woman. But I will not detain you longer from
the rest you require; go to your room, and try and recruit yourself
for the dangers to-morrow will bring forth. I shall employ the night
in prayers for your safety."

Consoled to see any composure in his mother, he withdrew, and after
having heard that his numerous guests were properly lodged, went to
his own chamber.

Next morning at sunrise the troops prepared to march. General
Wawrzecki, with his officers, begged permission to pay their personal
gratitude to the countess for the hospitality of her reception; but
she declined the honor, on the plea of indisposition. In the course
of an hour, her son appeared from her apartment and joined the
general.

The soldiers filed off through the gates, crossed the bridge, and
halted under the walls of Praga. The lines of the camp were drawn and
fortified before evening, at which time they found leisure to observe
the enemy's strength.

Russia seemed to have exhausted her wide regions to people the narrow
shores of the Vistula; from east to west, as far as the eye could
reach, her arms were stretched to the horizon. Sobieski looked at
them, and then on the handful of intrepid hearts contained in the
small circumference of the Polish camp. Sighing heavily, he retired
into his tent; and vainly seeking repose, mixed his short and
startled slumbers with frequent prayers for the preservation of these
last victims to their country.

The hours appeared to stand still. Several times he rose from his bed
and went to the door, to see whether the clouds were tinged with any
appearance of dawn. All continued dark. He again returned to his
marquée, and standing by the lamp which was nearly exhausted, took
out his watch, and tried to distinguish the points; but finding that
the light burned too feebly, he was pressing the repeating spring,
which struck five, when the report of a single musket made him start.

He flew to his tent door, and looking around, saw that all near his
quarter was at rest. Suspecting it to be a signal of the enemy, he
hurried towards the intrenchments, but found the sentinels in perfect
security from any fears respecting the sound, as they supposed it to
have proceeded from the town.

Sobieski paid little attention to their opinions, but ascending the
nearest bastion to take a wider survey, in a few minutes he
discerned, though obscurely, through the gleams of morning, what
appeared to be the whole host of Russia advancing in profound silence
towards the Polish lines. The instant he made this discovery, he came
down, and lost no time in giving orders for the defence; then flying
to other parts of the camp, he awakened the commander-in-chief,
encouraged the men, and saw that the whole encampment was not only in
motion, but prepared for the assault.

In consequence of these prompt arrangements, the assailants were
received with a cross-fire of the batteries, and case-shot and
musketry from several redoubts, which raked their flanks as they
advanced. But in defiance of this shower of bullets, they pressed on
with an intrepidity worthy of a better cause, and overleaping the
ditch by squadrons, entered the camp. A passage once secured, the
Cossacks rushed in by thousands, and spreading themselves in front of
the storming party, put every soul to the spear who opposed them.

The Polish works being gained, the enemy turned the cannon on its
former masters, and as they rallied to the defence of what remained,
swept them down by whole regiments. The noise of artillery thundered
from all sides of the camp; the smoke was so great, that it was
hardly possible to distinguish friends from foes; nevertheless, the
spirits of the Poles flagged not a moment; as fast as one rampart was
wrested from them, they threw themselves within another, which was as
speedily taken by the help of hurdles, fascines, ladders, and a
courage as resistless as it was ferocious, merciless, and sanguinary.
Every spot of vantage position was at length lost; and yet the Poles
fought like lions; quarter was neither offered to them nor required;
they disputed every inch of ground, until they fell upon it in heaps,
some lying before the parapets, others filling the ditches and the
rest covering the earth, for the enemy to tread on as they cut their
passage to the heart of the camp.

Sobieski, almost maddened by the scene, dripping with his own blood
and that of his brave friends, was seen in every part of the action;
he was in the fosse, defending the trampled bodies of the dying; he
was on the dyke, animating the few who survived. Wawrzecki was
wounded, and every hope hung upon Thaddeus. His presence and voice
infused new energy into the arms of his fainting countrymen; they
kept close to his side, until the victors, enraged at the dauntless
intrepidity of this young hero, uttered the most fearful
imprecations, and rushing on his little phalanx, attacked it with
redoubled numbers and fury.

Sobieski sustained the shock with firmness; but wherever he turned
his eyes, they were blasted with some object which made them recoil;
he beheld his companions and his soldiers strewing the earth, and
their triumphant adversaries mounting their dying bodies, as they
hastened with loud huzzas to the destruction of Praga, whose gates
were now burst open. His eyes grew dim at the sight, and at the very
moment in which he tore them from spectacles so deadly to his heart,
a Livonian officer struck him with a sabre, to all appearance dead
upon the field.

When he recovered from the blow, (which, having lit on the steel of
his cap, had only stunned him,) he looked around, and found that all
near him was quiet; but a far different scene presented itself from
the town. The roar of cannon and the bursting of bombs thundered
through the air, which was rendered livid and tremendous by long
spires of fire streaming from the burning houses, and mingling with
the volumes of smoke which rolled from the guns. The dreadful tocsin,
and the hurrahs of the victors, pierced the soul of Thaddeus.
Springing from the ground, he was preparing to rush towards the
gates, when loud cries of distress issued from within. They were
burst open, and a moment after, the grand magazine blew up with a
horrible explosion.

In an instant the field before Praga was filled with women and
children, flying in all directions, and rending the sky with their
shrieks. "Father Almighty!" cried Thaddeus, wringing his hands,
"canst thou suffer this?" Whilst he yet spake, some straggling
Cossacks near the town, who were prowling about, glutted, but not
sated with blood, seized the poor fugitives, and with a ferocity as
wanton as unmanly, released them at once from life and misery.

This hideous spectacle brought his mother's defenceless state before
the eyes of Sobieski. Her palace was only four miles distant; and
whilst the barbarous avidity of the enemy was too busily engaged in
sacking the place to permit them to perceive a solitary individual
hurrying away amidst heaps of dead bodies, he flew across the
desolated meadows which intervened between Praga and Villanow.

Thaddeus was met at the gate of his palace by General Butzou, who,
having learned the fate of Praga from the noise and flames in that
quarter, anticipated the arrival of some part of the victorious army
before the walls of Villanow. When its young count, with a breaking
heart, crossed the drawbridge, he saw that the worthy veteran had
prepared everything for a stout resistance; the ramparts were lined
with soldiers, and well mounted with artillery.

"Here, thou still honored Sobieski," cried he, as he conducted
Thaddeus to the keep; "let the worst happen, here I am resolved to
dispute the possession of your grandfather's palace until I have not
a man to stand by me!" [Footnote: It was little more than just a
century before this awful scene took place that the invincible John
Sobieski, King of Poland, acting upon the old mutually protecting
principles of Christendom, saved the freedom and the faith of
Christian Europe from the Turkish yoke. And in this very mansion he
passed his latter years in honored peace. He died in 1694--a
remarkable coincidence, the division of Poland occurring in 1794.]

Thaddeus strained him in silence to his breast; and after examining
the force and dispositions, he approved all with a cold despair of
their being of any effectual use, and went to the apartments of his
mother.

The countess's women, who met him in the vestibule, begged him to be
careful how he entered her excellency's room, for she had only just
recovered from a swoon, occasioned by alarm at hearing the cannonade
against the Polish camp. Her son waited for no more, but not hearing
their caution, threw open the door of the chamber, and hastening to
his mother's couch, cast himself into her arms. She clung round his
neck, and for a while joy stopped her respiration. Bursting into
tears, she wept over him, incapable of expressing by words her
tumultuous gratitude at again beholding him alive. He looked on her
altered and pallid features.

"O! my mother," cried he clasping her to his breast; "you are ill;
and what will become of you?"

"My beloved son!" replied she kissing his forehead through the
clotted blood that oozed from a cut on his temple; "my beloved son,
before our cruel murderers can arrive, I shall have found a refuge in
the bosom of my God."

Thaddeus could only answer with a groan. She resumed. "Give me your
hand. I must not witness the grandson of Sobieski given up to
despair; let your mother incite you to resignation. You see I have
not breathed a complaining word, although I behold you covered with
wounds." As she spoke, her eye pointed to the sash and handkerchief
which were bound round his thigh and arm. "Our separation will not be
long; a few short years, perhaps hours, may unite us forever in a
better world."

The count was still speechless; he could only press her hand to his
lips. After a pause, she proceeded--

"Look up, my dear boy! and attend to me. Should Poland become the
property of other nations, I conjure you, if you survive its fall, to
leave it. When reduced to captivity, it will no longer be an asylum
for a man of honor. I beseech you, should this happen, go that very
hour to England: that is a free country; and I have been told that
the people are kind to the unfortunate. Perhaps you will find that
Pembroke Somerset hath not quite forgotten Poland. Thaddeus! Why do
you delay to answer me? Remember, these are your mother's dying
words!"

"I will obey them, my mother!"

"Then," continued she, taking from her bosom a small miniature, "let
me tie this round your neck. It is the portrait of your father."
Thaddeus bent his head, and the countess fastened it under his neck-
cloth. "Prize this gift, my child; it is likely to be all that you
will now inherit either from me or that father. Try to forget his
injustice, my dear son; and in memory of me, never part with that
picture. O, Thaddeus! From the moment in which I first received it
until this instant, it has never been from my heart!"

"And it shall never leave mine," answered he, in a stifled voice,"
whilst I have being."

The countess was preparing to reply, when a sudden volley of firearms
made Thaddeus spring upon his feet. Loud cries succeeded. Women
rushed into the apartment, screaming, "The ramparts are stormed!" and
the next moment that quarter of the building rocked to its
foundation. The countess clung to the bosom of her son. Thaddeus
clasped her close to his breast, and casting up his petitioning eyes
to heaven, cried, "Shield of the desolate! grant me a shelter for my
mother!"

Another burst of cannon was followed by a heavy crash, and the most
piercing shrieks echoed through the palace. "All is lost!" cried a
soldier, who appeared for an instant at the room door, and then
vanished.

Thaddeus, overwhelmed with despair, grasped his sword, which had
fallen to the ground, and crying, "My mother, we will die together!"
would have given her one last and assuring embrace, when his eyes met
the sight of her before-agitated features tranquillized in death. She
fell from his palsied arms back on the couch, and he stood gazing on
her as if struck by a power which had benumbed all his faculties.

The tumult in the palace increased every moment; but he heard it not,
until Butzou, followed by two or three of his soldiers, ran into the
apartment, calling out "Count, save yourself!"

Sobieski still remained motionless. The general caught him by the
arm, and instantly covering the body of the deceased countess with
the mantle of her son, hurried his unconscious steps, by an opposite
door, through the state chambers into the gardens.

Thaddeus did not recover his recollection until he reached the
outward gate; then, breaking from the hold of his friend, was
returning to the sorrowful scene he had left, when Butzou, aware of
his intentions, just stopped him in time to prevent his rushing on
the bayonets of a party of the enemy's infantry, who were pursuing
them at full speed.

The count now rallied his distracted faculties, and making a stand,
with the general and his three Poles, they compelled this merciless
detachment to seek refuge among the arcades of the building.

Butzou would not allow his young lord to follow in that direction,
but hurried him across the park. He looked back, however; a column of
fire issued from the south towers. Thaddeus sighed, as if his life
were in that sigh, "All is indeed over;" and pressing his hand to his
forehead, in that attitude followed the steps of the general towards
the Vistula.

The wind being very high, the flame soon spread itself over the roof
of the palace, and catching at every combustible in its way, the
invaders became so terrified at the quick progress of fire which
threatened to consume themselves as well as their plunder, that they
quitted the spot with precipitation. Decrying the count and his
soldiers at a short distance, they directed their motions to that
point. Speedily confronting the brave fugitives, they blocked up a
bridge by a file of men with fixed pikes, and not only menaced the
Polanders as they advanced, but derided their means of resistance.

Sobieski, indifferent alike to danger and to insults, stopped short
to the left, and followed by his friends, plunged into the stream,
amidst a shower of musket-balls from the enemy. After hard buffeting
with the torrent, he at last reached the opposite bank, and was
assisted from the river by some of the weeping inhabitants of Warsaw,
who had been watching the expiring ashes of Praga, and the flames
then devouring the boasted towers of Villanow.

Emerged from the water, Thaddeus stood to regain his breath; and
leaning on the shoulder of Butzou, he pointed to his burning palace
with a smile of agony. "See," said he, "what a funeral pile Heaven
has given to the manes of my unburied mother!"

The general did not speak, for grief stopped his utterance; but
motioning the two soldiers to proceed, he supported the count into
the citadel.



CHAPTER X.

SOBIESKI'S DEPARTURE FROM WARSAW.


From the termination of this awful day, in which a brave and hitherto
powerful people were consigned to an abject dependence, Thaddeus was
confined to his apartment in the garrison.

It was now the latter end of November. General Butzou, supposing that
the illness of his young lord might continue some weeks, and aware
that no time ought to be lost in maintaining all that was yet left of
the kingdom of Poland, obtained his permission to seek its only
remaining quarter. Quitting Warsaw, he joined Prince Poniatowski, who
was yet at the head of a few troops near Sachoryn, supported by the
undaunted Niemcivitz, the bard and the hero, who had fought by the
side heart, would have thrown himself on his knee, but the king
presented him, and pressed him with emotion in his arms.

"Brave young man!" cried he, "I embrace in you the last of those
Polish youth who were so lately the brightest jewels in my crown."

Tears stood in the monarch's eyes while he spoke. Sobieski, with
hardly a steadier utterance, answered, "I come to receive your
majesty's commands. I will obey them in all things but in
surrendering this sword (which was my grandfather's) into the hands
of your enemies."

"I will not desire it," replied Stanislaus. "By my acquiescence with
the terms of Russia, I only comply with the earnest petitions of my
people. I shall not require of you to compromise your country; but
alas! you must not throw away your life in a now hopeless cause. Fate
has consigned Poland to subjection; and when Heaven, in its
mysterious decrees, confirms the chastisement of nations, it is man's
duty to submit. For myself, I am to bury my griefs and indignities in
the castle of Grodno."

The blood rushed over the cheek of Thaddeus at this declaration, to
which the proud indignation of his soul could in no way subscribe,
and with an agitated voice he exclaimed, "If my sovereign be already
at the command of our oppressors, then indeed is Poland no more! and
I have nothing to do but to perform the dying will of my mother. Will
your majesty grant me permission to set off for England, before I may
be obliged to witness the last calamity of my wretched country?"

"I would to Heaven," replied the king, "that I, too, might repose my
age and sorrows in that happy kingdom! Go, Sobieski; your name is
worthy of such an asylum; my prayers and blessings shall follow you."

Thaddeus pressed his hand in silence to his lips.

"Believe me, my dear count," continued Stanislaus, "my soul bleeds at
this parting. I know the treasure which your family has always been
to this nation; I know your own individual merit. I know the wealth
which you have sacrificed for me and my subjects, and I am powerless
to express my gratitude."

"Had I done more than my duty in that," replied Thaddeus, "such words
from your majesty would have been a reward adequate to any privation;
but, alas! no. I have perhaps performed less than my duty; the blood
of Sobieski ought not to have been spared one drop when the liberties
of his country perished!" Thaddeus blushed while he spoke, and almost
repented the too ready zeal of his friends in having saved him from
the general destruction at Villanow.

The voice of the venerable Stanislaus became fainter as he resumed--

"Perhaps had a Sobieski reigned at this time, these horrors might not
have been accomplished. That resistless power which has overwhelmed
my people, I cannot forget is the same that put the sceptre into my
hand. But Catherine misunderstood my principles, when assisting in my
election to the throne; she thought she was planting merely her own
viceroy there. But I could not obliterate from my heart that my
ancestors, like your own, were hereditary sovereigns of Poland, nor
cease to feel the stamp the King of kings had graven upon that heart--
to uphold the just laws of my fathers! and, to the utmost, I have
struggled to fulfil my trust."

"Yes, my sovereign," replied Thaddeus; "and whilst there remains one
man on earth who has drawn his first breath in Poland, he will bear
witness in all the lands through which he may be doomed to wander
that he has received from you the care and affection of a father. O!
sire, how will future ages believe that, in the midst of civilized
Europe, a brave people and a virtuous monarch were suffered, unaided,
and even without remonstrance, to fall into the grasp of usurpation!--
nay, of annihilation of their name!"

Stanislaus laid his hand on the arm of the count.

"Man's ambition and baseness," said the king, "are monstrous to the
contemplation of youth only. You are learning your lesson early; I
have studied mine for many years, and with a bitterness of soul which
in some measure prepared me for the completion. My kingdom has passed
from me at the moment you have lost your country. Before we part
forever, my dear Sobieski, take with you this assurance--you have
served the unfortunate Stanislaus to the latest hour in which you
beheld him. That which you have just said, expressive of the
sentiments of those who were my subjects, is indeed a balm to my
heart, and I will earn its consolations to my prison."

The king paused. Sobieski, agitated, and incapable of speaking, threw
himself at his majesty's feet, and pressed his hand with fervency and
anguish to his lips. The king looked down on his graceful figure, and
pierced to the soul by the more graceful feelings which dictated the
action, the tear which stood in his eye, rolled over his cheek, and
was followed by another before he could add--pented the too ready
zeal of his friends in having saved him from the general destruction
at Villanow.

The voice of the venerable Stanislaus became fainter as he resumed--

"Perhaps had a Sobieski reigned at this time, these horrors might not
have been accomplished. That resistless power which has overwhelmed
my people, I cannot forget is the same that put the sceptre into my
hand. But Catherine misunderstood my principles, when assisting in my
election to the throne; she thought she was planting merely her own
viceroy there. But I could not obliterate from my heart that my
ancestors, like your own, were hereditary sovereigns of Poland, nor
cease to feel the stamp the King of kings had graven upon that heart--
to uphold the just laws of my fathers! and, to the utmost, I have
struggled to fulfil my trust."

"Yes, my sovereign," replied Thaddeus; "and whilst there remains one
man on earth who has drawn his first breath in Poland, he will bear
witness in all the lands through which he may be doomed to wander
that he has received from you the care and affection of a father. O!
sire, how will future ages believe that, in the midst of civilized
Europe, a brave people and a virtuous monarch were suffered, unaided,
and even without remonstrance, to fall into the grasp of usurpation!--
nay, of annihilation of their name!"

Stanislaus laid his hand on the arm of the count.

"Man's ambition and baseness," said the king, "are monstrous to the
contemplation of youth only. You are learning your lesson early; I
have studied mine for many years, and with a bitterness of soul which
in some measure prepared me for the completion. My kingdom has passed
from me at the moment you have lost your country. Before we part
forever, my dear Sobieski, take with you this assurance--you have
served the unfortunate Stanislaus to the latest hour in which you
beheld him. That which you have just said, expressive of the
sentiments of those who were my subjects, is indeed a balm to my
heart, and I will carry its consolations to my prison."

The king paused. Sobieski, agitated, and incapable of speaking, threw
himself at his majesty's feet, and pressed his hand with fervency and
anguish to his lips. The king looked down on his graceful figure, and
pierced to the soul by the more graceful feelings which dictated the
action, the tear which stood in his eye, rolled over his cheek, and
was followed by another before he could add--

"Rise, my young friend. Take from me this ring. It contains my
picture. Wear it in remembrance of a man who loves you, and who can
never forget your worth or the loyalty and patriotism of your house."

The Chancellor Zamoyisko at that moment being announced, Thaddeus
rose from his knee, and was preparing to leave the room, when his
majesty, perceiving his intention, desired him to stop.

"Stay, count!" cried he, "I will burden you with one request. I am
now a king without a crown, without subjects, without a foot of land
in which to bury me when I die. I cannot reward the fidelity of any
one of the few friends of whom my enemies have not deprived me; but
you are young, and Heaven may yet smile upon you in some distant
nation. Will you pay a debt of gratitude for your poor sovereign?
Should you ever again meet with the good old Butzou, who rescued me
when my preservation lay on the fortune of a moment, remember that I
regard him as once the saviour of my life! I was told to-day that on
the destruction of Praga this brave man joined the army of my
brother. It is now disbanded, and he, with the rest of my faithful
soldiers, is cast forth in his old age, a wanderer in a pitiless
world. Should you ever meet him, Sobieski, succor him for my sake."

"As Heaven may succor me!" cried Thaddeus; and putting his majesty's
hand a second time to his lips, he bowed to the chancellor and passed
into the street.

When the count returned to the citadel, he found that all was as the
king had represented. The soldiers in the garrison were reluctantly
preparing to give up their arms; and the nobles, in compassion to the
cries of the people, were trying to humble their necks to the yoke of
the dictator. The magistrates lingered as they went to take the city
keys from the hands of their good king, and with sad whispers
anticipated the moment in which they must surrender them, and their
laws and national existence, to the jealous dominion of three
despotic foreign powers.

Poland was now no place for Sobieski. He had survived all his
kindred. He had survived the liberties of his country. He had seen
the king a prisoner, and his countrymen trampled on by deceit and
usurpation. As he walked on, musing over these circumstances, he met
with little interruption, for the streets were deserted. Here and
there a poor miserable wretch passed him, who seemed, by his wan
cheeks and haggard eyes, already to repent the too successful prayers
of the deputation, The shops were shut. Thaddeus stopped a few
minutes in the great square, which used to be crowded with happy
citizens, but now, not one man was to be seen. An awful and painful
silence reigned over all. His soul felt too truly the dread
consciousness of this utter annihilation of his country, for him to
throw off the heavy load from his oppressed heart, in this his last
walk down the east street towards the ramparts which covered the
Vistula.

He turned his eyes to the spot where once stood the magnificent
towers of his paternal palace.

"Yes," cried he, "it is now time for me to obey the last command of
my mother! Nothing remains of Poland but its soil--nothing of my home
but its ashes!"

The victors had pitched a detachment of tents amidst the ruins of
Villanow, and were at this moment busying themselves in searching
amongst the stupendous fragments for what plunder the fire might have
spared.

"Insatiate robbers!" exclaimed Thaddeus; "Heaven will requite this
sacrilege." He thought on his mother, who lay beneath the ruins, and
tore himself from the sight, whilst he added, "Farewell! forever
farewell! thou beloved, revered Villanow, where I was reared in bliss
and tenderness! I quit thee and my country forever!" As he spoke, he
raised his hands and eyes to heaven, and pressing the picture his
mother had given him to his lips and bosom, turned from the parapet,
determining to prepare that night for his departure the next morning.

He arose by daybreak, and having gathered together all his little
wealth, the whole of which was compressed within the portmanteau that
was buckled on his gallant horse, precisely two hours before the
triumphal car of General Suwarrow entered Warsaw, Sobieski left it.
As he rode along the streets, he bedewed its stones with his tears.
They were the first that he had shed during the long series of his
misfortunes, and they now flowed so fast, that he could hardly
discern his way out of the city.

At the great gate his horse stopped, and neighed with a strange
sound.

"Poor Saladin!" cried Thaddeus, stroking his neck; "are you so sorry
at leaving Warsaw that, like your unhappy master, you linger to take
a last lamenting look!"

His tears redoubled; and the warder, as he closed the gate after him,
implored permission to kiss the hand of the noble Count Sobieski, ere
he should turn his back on Poland, never to return. Thaddeus looked
kindly round, and shaking hands with the honest man, after saying a
few friendly words to him, rode on with a loitering pace, until he
reached that part of the river which divides Masovia from the
Prussian dominions.

Here he flung himself off his horse, and standing for a moment on the
hill that rises near the bridge, retraced, with his almost blinded
sight, the long and desolated lands through which he had passed; then
involuntarily dropping on his knee, he plucked a tuft of grass, and
pressing it to his lips, exclaimed, "Farewell, Poland! Farewell all
my earthly happiness!"

Almost stifled by emotion, he put this poor relic of his country into
his bosom, and remounting his noble animal, crossed the bridge.

As one who, flying from any particular object, thinks to lose himself
and his sorrows when it lessens to his view, Sobieski pursued the
remainder of his journey with a speed which soon brought him to
Dantzic.

Here he remained a few days, and during that interval the firmness of
his mind was restored. He felt a calm arising from the conviction
that his afflictions had gained their summit, and that, however heavy
they were, Heaven had laid them on him for a trial of his faith and
virtue. Under this belief, he ceased to weep; but he never was seen
to smile.

Having entered into an agreement with the master of a vessel to carry
him across the sea, he found the strength of his finances would
barely defray the charges of the voyage. Considering this
circumstance, he saw the impossibility of taking his horse to
England.

The first time this idea presented itself, it almost overset his
determined resignation. Tears would again have started into his eyes,
had he not by force repelled them.

"To part from my faithful Saladin," said he to himself, "that has
borne me since I first could use a sword; that has carried me through
so many dangers, and has come with me even into exile--it is painful,
it is ungrateful!" He was in the stable when this thought assailed
him; and as the reflections followed each other, he again turned to
the stall. "But, my poor fellow, I will not barter your services for
gold. I will seek for some master who may be kind to you, in pity to
my misfortunes."

He re-entered the hotel where he lodged, and calling a waiter,
inquired who occupied the fine mansion and park on the east of the
town. The man replied, "Mr. Hopetown, an eminent British merchant,
who has been settled at Dantzic above forty years."

"I am glad he is a Briton!" was the sentiment which succeeded this
information in the count's mind. He immediately took his resolution,
but hardly had prepared to put it into execution, when he received a
summons from the vessel to be on board in half an hour, the wind
having set fair.

Thaddeus, somewhat disconcerted by this hasty call, with an agitated
hand wrote the following letter:--

"TO JOHN HOPETOWN, ESQ.

"Sir,

"A Polish officer, who has sacrificed everything but his honor to the
last interests of his country, now addresses you.

"You are a Briton; and of whom can an unhappy victim to the cause of
loyalty and freedom with less debasement solicit an obligation?

"I cannot afford support to the fine animal which has carried me
through the battles of this fatal war; I disdain to sell him, and
therefore I implore you, by the respect that you pay to the memory of
your ancestors, who struggled for and retained that liberty in
defence of which we are thus reduced--I implore you to give him an
asylum in your park, and to protect him from injurious usage.

"Perform this benevolent action, sir, and you shall ever be
remembered with gratitude by an unfortunate

"POLANDER.

"DANTZIC, _November_, 1794."

The count, having sealed and directed this letter, went to the hotel
yard, and ordered that his horse might be brought out. A few days of
rest had restored him to his former mettle, and he appeared from the
stable prancing and pawing the earth, as he used to do when Thaddeus
was about to mount him for the field.

The groom was striving in vain to restrain the spirit of the animal,
when the count took hold of the bridle. The noble creature knew his
master, and became gentle as a lamb. After stroking him two or three
times, with a bursting heart Thaddeus returned the reins to the man's
hand, and at the same time gave him a letter.

"There," said he; "take that note and the horse directly to the house
of Mr. Hopetown. Leave them, for the letter requires no answer."

This last pang mastered, he walked out of the yard towards the quay.
The wind continuing fair, he entered the ship, and within an hour set
sail for England.



CHAPTER XI.

THE BALTIC.


Sobieski passed the greater part of each day and the whole of every
night on the deck of the vessel. He was too much absorbed in himself
to receive any amusement from the passengers, who, observing his
melancholy, thought to dispel it by their company and conversation.

When any of these people came upon deck, he walked to the head of the
ship, took his seat upon the cable which bound the anchor to the
forecastle, and while their fears rendered him safe from their well-
meant persecution, he gained some respite from vexation, though none
from misery.

The ship having passed through the Baltic, and entered on the British
sea, the passengers, running from side to side of the vessels,
pointed out to Thaddeus the distant shore of England, lying like a
hazy ridge along the horizon. The happy people, whilst they strained
their eyes through glasses, desired him to observe different spots on
the hardly-perceptible line which they called Flamborough Head and
the hills of Yorkshire. His heart turned sick at these objects of
their delight, for not one of them raised an answering feeling in his
breast. England could be nothing to him; if anything, it would prove
a desert, which contained no one object for his regrets or wishes.

The image of Pembroke Somerset, indeed, rose in his mind, like the
dim recollection of one who has been a long time dead. Whilst they
were together at Villanow, they regarded each other warmly, and when
they parted they promised to correspond. One day, in pursuit of the
enemy, Thaddeus was so unlucky as to lose the pocket-book which
contained his friend's address; but yet, uneasy at his silence, he
ventured two letters to him, directed merely at Sir Robert
Somerset's, England. To these he received no answer; and the palatine
evinced so just a displeasure at such marked neglect and ingratitude,
that he would not suffer him to be mentioned in his presence, and
indeed Thaddeus, from disappointment and regret, felt no inclination
to transgress the command.

When the young count, during the prominent interests of the late
disastrous campaign, remembered these things, he found little comfort
in recollecting the name of his young English guest; and now that he
was visiting England as a poor exile, with indignation and grief he
gave up the wish with the hope of meeting Mr. Somerset. Sensible that
Somerset had not acted as became the man to whom he could apply in
his distress, he resolved, unfriended as he was, to wipe him at once
from his memory. With a bitter sigh he turned his back on the land to
which he was going, and fixed his eyes on the tract of sea which then
divided him from all that he had ever loved, or had given him true
happiness.

"Father of mercy!" murmured he, in a suppressed voice, "what have I
done to deserve this misery? Why have I been at one stroke deprived
of all that rendered existence estimable? Two months ago, I had a
mother, a more than father, to love and cherish me; I had a country,
that looked up to them and to me with veneration and confidence. Now,
I am bereft of all. I have neither father, mother, nor country, but I
am going to a land of utter strangers."

Such impatient adjurations were never wrung from Sobieski by the
anguish of sudden torture without his ingenuous and pious mind
reproaching itself for such faithless repining. His soul was soft as
a woman's; but it knew neither effeminacy nor despair. Whilst his
heart bled, his countenance retained its serenity. Whilst affliction
crushed him to the earth, and nature paid a few hard-wrung drops to
his repeated bereavements, he contemned his tears, and raised his
fixed and confiding eye to that Power which poured down its tempests
on his head. Thaddeus felt as a man, but received consolation as a
Christian.

When his ship arrived at the mouth of the Thames, the eagerness of
the passengers increased to such an excess that they would not stand
still, nor be silent a moment; and when the vessel, under full sail,
passed Sheerness, and the dome of St. Paul's appeared before them,
their exclamations were loud and incessant. "My home! my parents! my
wife! my friends!" were the burden of every tongue.

Thaddeus found his calmed spirits again disturbed; and, rising from
his seat, he retired unobserved by the people, who were too happy to
attend to anything which did not agree with their own transports. The
cabin was as deserted as himself. Feeling that there is no solitude
like that of the heart, when it looks around and sees in the vast
concourse of human beings not one to whom it can pour forth its
sorrows, or receive the answering sigh of sympathy, he threw himself
on one of the lockers, and with difficulty restrained the tears from
gushing from his eyes. He held his hand over them, while he contemned
himself for a weakness so unbecoming his manhood.

He despised himself: but let not others despise him. It is difficult
for those who lie morning and evening in the lap of domestic
indulgence to conceive the misery of being thrown out into a bleak
and merciless world; it is impossible for the happy man, surrounded
by luxury and gay companions, to figure to himself the reflections of
a fellow-creature who, having been fostered in the bosom of affection
and elegance, is cast at once from all society, bereft of home, of
comfort, of "every stay, save innocence and Heaven." None but the
wretched can imagine what the wretched endure from actual distress,
from apprehended misfortune, from outraged feelings, and ten thousand
nameless sensibilities to offence which only the unfortunate can
conceive, dread and experience. But what is it to be not only without
a home, but without a country? Thaddeus unconsciously uttered a groan
like that of death.

The noise redoubled above his head, and in a few minutes afterwards
one of the sailors came rumbling clown the stairs.

"Will it please your honor," said he, "to get up? That be my chest,
and I want my clothes to clean myself before I go on shore. Mother I
know be waiting me at Blackwall."

Thaddeus rose, and with a withered heart again ascended to the deck.

On coming up the hatchway, he saw that the ship was moored in the
midst of a large city, and was surrounded by myriads of vessels from
every quarter of the globe. He leaned over the railing, and in
silence looked down on the other passengers, who where bearing off in
boats, and shaking hands with the people who came to receive them.

"It is near dark, sir," said the captain; "mayhap you would wish to
go on shore? There is a boat just come round, and the tide won't
serve much longer: and as your friends don't seem to be coming for
you, you are welcome to a place in it with me."

The count thanked him; and after defraying the expenses of the
voyage, and giving money amongst the sailors, he desired that his
portmanteau might be put into the wherry. The honest fellows, in
gratitude to the bounty of their passenger, struggled who should obey
his commands, when the skipper, angry at being detained, snatched
away the baggage, and flinging it into the boat, leaped in after it,
and was followed by Thaddeus.

The taciturnity of the seamen and the deep melancholy of his guest
were not broken until they reached the Tower stairs.

"Go, Ben, fetch the gentleman a coach."

The count bowed to the captain, who gave the order, and in a few
minutes the boy returned, saying there was one in waiting. He took up
the portmanteau, and Thaddeus, following him, ascended the Tower
stairs, where the carriage stood. Ben threw in the baggage and the
count put his foot on the step. "Where must the man drive to?"

Thaddeus drew it back again.

"Yes, sir," continued the lad; "where be your honor's home?"

"In my grave," was the response his aching heart made to this
question. He hesitated before he spoke. "An hotel," said he, flinging
himself on the seat, and throwing a piece of silver into the lad's
hat.

"What hotel, sir?" asked the coachman.

"Any."

The man closed the door, mounted his box, and drove off.

It was now near seven o'clock, on a dark December evening. The lamps
were lighted; and it being Saturday-night, the streets were crowded
with people. Thaddeus looked at them as he was driven along. "Happy
creatures!" thought he; "you have each a home to go to; you have each
expectant friends to welcome you; every one of you knows some in the
world who will smile when you enter; whilst I, wretched, wretched
Sobieski where are now all thy highly-prized treasures, thy boasted
glory, and those beloved ones who rendered that glory most precious
to thee? Alas! all are withdrawn; vanished like a scene of
enchantment, from which I have indeed awakened to a frightful
solitude."

His reflections were broken by the stopping of the carriage. The man
opened the door.

"Sir, I have brought you to the Hummums, Covent Garden; it has as
good accommodations as any in the town. My fare is five shillings."

Thaddeus paid the amount, and followed him and his baggage into the
coffee-room. At the entrance of a man of his figure, several waiters
presented themselves, begging to know his commands.

"I want a chamber."

He was ushered into a very handsome dining-room, where one of them
laid down the portmanteau, and then bowing low, inquired whether he
had dined.

The waiter having received his orders, (for the count saw that it was
necessary to call for something,) hastened into the kitchen to
communicate them to the cook.

"Upon my word, Betty," cried he, "you must do your best to-night; for
the chicken is for the finest-looking fellow you ever set eyes on. By
Jove, I believe him to be some Russian nobleman; perhaps the great
Suwarrow himself! and he speaks English as well as I do myself."

"A prince, you mean, Jenkins!" said a pretty girl who entered at that
moment. "Since I was borne I never see'd any English lord walk up and
down the room with such an air; he looks like a king. For my part, I
should not wonder if he is one of them there emigrant kings, for they
say there is a power of them now wandering about the world."

"You talk like a fool, Sally," cried the sapient waiter. "Don't you
see that his dress is military? Look at his black cap, with its long
bag and great feather, and the monstrous sword at his side; look at
them, and then if you can, say I am mistaken in deciding that he is
some great Russian commander,--most likely come over as ambassador!"

"But he came in a hackney-coach," cried a little dirty boy in the
corner. "As I was running up stairs with Colonel Leson's shoes, I
see'd the coachman bring in his portmanteau." "Well, Jack-a-napes,
what of that?" cried Jenkins; "is a nobleman always to carry his
equipage about him, like a snail with its shell on its back? To be
sure, this foreign lord, or prince, is only come to stay here till
his own house is fit for him. I will be civil to him."

"And so will I, Jenkins," rejoined Sally, smiling; "for I never see'd
such handsome blue eyes in my born days; and they turned so sweet on
me, and he spoke so kindly when he bade me stir the fire; and when he
sat down by it, and throwed off his great fur cloak, I see'd a
glittering star on his breast, and a figure so noble, that indeed,
cook, I do verily believe he is, as Jenkins says, an enthroned king!"

"You and Jenkins be a pair of fools," cried the cook, who, without
noticing their description, had been sulkily basting the fowl. "I
will be sworn he's just such another king as that palavering rogue
was a French duke who got my master's watch and pawned it! As for
you, Sally, you had better beware of hunting after foreign men-folk:
it's not seemly for a young woman, and you may chance to rue it."

The moralizing cook had now brought the whole kitchen on her
shoulders. The men abused her for a surly old maid, and the women
tittered, whilst they seconded her censure by cutting sly jokes on
the blushing face of poor Sally, who stood almost crying by the side
of her champion, Jenkins.

Whilst this hubbub was going forward below stairs, its unconscious
subject was, as Sally had described, sitting in a chair close to the
fire, with his feet on the fender, his arms folded, and his eyes bent
on the flames. He mused; but his ideas followed each other in such
quick confused succession, it hardly could be said he thought of
anything.

The entrance of dinner roused him from his reverie. It was carried in
by at least half a dozen waiters. The count had been so accustomed to
a numerous suite of attendants, he did not observe the parcelling out
of his temperate meal: one bringing in the fowl, another the bread,
his neighbor the solitary plate, and the rest in like order, so
solicitous were the male listeners in the kitchen to see this
wonderful Russian.

Thaddeus partook but lightly of the refreshment. Being already
fatigued in body, and dizzy with the motion of the vessel, as soon as
the cloth was withdrawn, he ordered a night candle, and desired to be
shown to his chamber.

Jenkins, whom the sight of the embroidered star confirmed in his
decision that the foreigner must be a person of consequence, with
increased agility whipped up the portmanteau and led the way to the
sleeping-rooms. Here curiosity put on a new form; the women servants,
determined to have their wishes gratified as well as the men, had
arranged themselves on each side of the passage through which the
count must pass. At so strange an appearance, Thaddeus drew back; but
supposing that it might be a custom of the country, he proceeded
through this fair bevy, and bowed as he walked along to the low
curtesies which they continued to make, until he entered his
apartment and closed the door.

The unhappy are ever restless; they hope in every change of situation
to obtain some alteration in their feelings. Thaddeus was too
miserable awake not to view with eagerness the bed on which he
trusted that, for a few hours at least, he might lose the
consciousness of his desolation, with its immediate suffering.



CHAPTER XII.

THADDEUS'S FIRST DAY IN ENGLAND.


When he awoke in the morning, his head ached, and he felt as
unrefreshed as when he had lain down; he undrew the curtain, and saw,
from the strength of the light, it must be midday. He got up; and
having dressed himself, descended to the sitting-room, where he found
a good fire and the breakfast already placed. He rang the bell, and
walked to the window, to observe the appearance of the morning. A
heavy snow had fallen during the night; and the sun, ascended to its
meridian, shone through the thick atmosphere like a ball of fire. All
seemed comfortless without; and turning back to the warm hearth,
which was blazing at the other end of the room, he was reseating
himself, when Jenkins brought in the tea-urn.

"I hope, my lord," said the waiter, "that your lordship slept well
last night?"

"Perfectly, I thank you," replied the count, unmindful that the man
had addressed him according to his rank; "when you come to remove
these things, bring me my bill."

Jenkins bowed and withdrew, congratulating himself on his dexterity
in having saluted the stranger with his title.

During the absence of the waiter, Thaddeus thought it time to examine
the state of his purse. He well recollected how he had paid at
Dantzic; and from the style in which he was served here, he did not
doubt that to defray what he had already contracted would nearly
exhaust his all. He emptied the contents of his purse into his hands;
a guinea and some silver was all that he possessed. A flush of terror
suffused itself over his face; he had never known the want of money
before, and he trembled now lest the charge should exceed his means
of payment.

Jenkins entered with the bill. On the count's examining it, he was
pleased to find it amounted to no more than the only piece of gold
his purse contained. He laid it upon the tea-board, and putting half-
a-crown into the hand of Jenkins, who appeared waiting for something,
wrapped his cloak round him as he was walking out of the room.

"I suppose, my lord," cried Jenkins, pocketing the money with a
smirk, and bowing with the things in his hands, "we are to have the
honor of seeing your lordship again, as you leave your portmanteau
behind you?"

Thaddeus hesitated a few seconds, then again moving towards the door,
said, "I will send for it."

"By what name, my lord?"

"The Count Sobieski."

Jenkins immediately set down the tea-board, and hurrying after
Thaddeus along the passage, and through the coffee-room, darted
before him, and opening the door into the lobby for him to go out,
exclaimed, loud enough for everybody to hear, "Depend upon it, Count
Sobieski, I will take care of your lordship's baggage."

Thaddeus, rather displeased at his noisy officiousness, only bent his
head, and proceeded into the street.

The air was piercing cold; and on his looking around, he perceived by
the disposition of the square in which he was that it must be a
market-place. The booths and stands were covered with snow, whilst
parts of the pavement were rendered nearly impassable by heaps of
black ice, which the market people of the preceding day had shoveled
up out of their way. He recollected it was now Sunday, and
consequently the improbability of finding any cheaper lodgings on
that day. [Footnote: Those who remember the terrible winter of 1794,
will not call this description exaggerated. That memorable winter was
one of mourning to many in England. Some of her own brave sons
perished amidst the frozen dykes of Holland and the Netherlands,
vainly opposing the march of the French anarchists. How strange
appeared then to him the doom of nations.]

Thaddeus stood under the piazzas for two or three minutes, bewildered
on the plan he should adopt. To return to the hotel for any purpose
but to sleep, in the present state of his finances, would be
impossible; he therefore determined, inclement as the season was, if
he could not find a chapel, to walk the streets until night. He might
then go back to the Hummums to his bed chamber; but he resolved to
quit it in the morning, for a residence more suitable to his slender
means.

The wind blew keenly from the north-east, accompanied with a violent
shower of sleet and rain; yet such was the abstraction of his mind,
that he hardly observed its bitterness, but walked on, careless
whither his feet led him, until he stopped opposite St. Martin's
church.

"God is my only friend! and in any house of His I shall surely find
shelter!"

He turned up the steps, and was entering the porch, when he met the
congregation thronging out of it.

"Is the service over?" he inquired of a decent old woman who was
passing him down the stairs. The woman started at this question,
asked her in English by a person whose dress was so completely
foreign. He repeated it. Smiling and curtseying, she replied--

"Yes, sir; and I am sorry for it. Lord bless your handsome face,
though you be a stranger gentleman, it does one's heart good to see
you so devoutly given!"

Thaddeus blushed at this personal compliment, though it came from the
lips of a wrinkled old woman; and begging permission to assist her
down the stairs, he asked when service would begin again.

"At three o'clock, sir, and may Heaven bless the mother who bore so
pious a son!"

While the poor woman spoke, she raised her eyes with a melancholy
resignation. The count, touched with her words and manner, almost
unconsciously to himself, continued by her side as she hobbled down
the street.

His eyes were fixed on the ground, until somebody pressing against
him, made him look round. He saw that his aged companion had just
knocked at the door of a mean-looking house, and that she and himself
were surrounded by nearly a dozen people, besides boys who through
curiosity had followed them from the church porch.

"Ah! sweet sir," cried she, "these folks are staring at so fine a
gentleman taking notice of age and poverty."

Thaddeus was uneasy at the inquisitive gaze of the bystanders; and
his companion observing the fluctuation of his countenance, added, as
the door was opened by a little girl,

"Will your honor walk in out of the rain, and warm yourself by my
poor fire?"

He hesitated a moment; then, accepting her invitation, bent his head
to get under the humble door-way, and following her through a neatly-
sanded passage, entered a small but clean kitchen. A little boy, who
was sitting on a stool near the fire, uttered a scream at the sight
of the stranger, and running up to his grandmother, rolled himself in
her cloak, crying out,

"Mammy, mammy, take away that black man!"

"Be quiet, William; it is a gentleman, and no black man. I am so
ashamed, sir; but he is only three years old."

"I should apologize to you," returned the count, smiling, "for
introducing a person so hideous as to frighten your family."

By the time he finished speaking, the good dame had pacified the
shrieking boy, who stood trembling, and looking askance at the
tremendous black gentleman stroking the head of his pretty sister.

"Come here, my dear!" said Thaddeus, seating himself by the fire, and
stretching out his hand to the child. He instantly buried his head in
his grandmother's apron.

"William! William!" cried his sister, pulling him by the arm, "the
gentleman will not hurt you."

The boy again lifted up his head. Thaddeus threw back his long sable
cloak, and taking off his cap, whose hearse-like plumes he thought
might have terrified the child, he laid it on the ground, and again
stretching forth his arms, called the boy to approach him. Little
William now looked steadfastly in his face, and then on the cap,
which he had laid beside him; whilst he grasped his grandmother's
apron with one hand, he held out the other, half assured, towards the
count. Thaddeus took it, and pressing it softly, pulled him gently to
him, and placed him on his knee. "My little fellow," said he, kissing
him, "you are not frightened now?"

"No," said the child; "I see you are not the ugly black man who takes
away naughty boys. The ugly black man has a black face, and snakes on
his head; but these are pretty curls!" added he, laughing, and
putting his little fingers through the thick auburn hair which hung
in neglected masses over the forehead of the count.

"I am ashamed that your honor should sit in a kitchen," said the old
lady; "but I have not a fire in any other room."

"Yes," said her granddaughter, who was about twelve years old;
"grandmother has a nice first-floor up stairs, but because we have no
lodgers, there be no fire there."

"Be silent, Nanny Robson," said the dame; "your pertness teases the
gentleman."

"O, not at all," cried Thaddeus; "I ought to thank her, for she
informs me you have lodgings to let; will you allow me to engage
them!"

"You, sir!" cried Mrs. Robson, thunderstruck; "for what purpose?
Surely so noble a gentleman would not live in such a place as this?"

"I would, Mrs. Robson: I know not where I could live with more
comfort; and where comfort is, my good madam, what signifies the
costliness or plainness of the dwelling?"

"Well, sir, if you be indeed serious; but I cannot think you are; you
are certainly making a joke of me for my boldness in asking you into
my poor house."

"Upon my honor, I am not, Mrs. Robson. I will gladly be your lodger
if you will admit me; and to convince you that I am in earnest, my
portmanteau shall this moment be brought here."

"Well, sir," resumed she, "I shall be honored in having you in my
house; but I have no room for any one but yourself, not even for a
servant."

"I have no servant."

"Then I will wait on him, grandmother," cried the little Nanny; "do
let the gentleman have them; I am sure he looks honest."

The woman colored at this last observation of the child, and
proceeded:

"Then, sir, if you should not disdain the rooms when you see them, I
shall be too happy in having so good a gentleman under my roof.
Pardon my boldness, sir; but may I ask? I think by your dress you are
a foreigner?"

"I am," replied Thaddeus, the radiance which played over his features
contracting into a glow; "if you have no objection to take a stranger
within your doors, from this hour I shall consider your house my
home?"

"As your honor pleases," said Mrs. Robson; "my terms are half-a-
guinea a week; and I will tend on you as though you were my own son!
for I cannot forget, excellent young gentleman, the way in which we
first met."

"Then I will leave you for the present;" returned he, rising, and
putting down the little William, who had been amusing himself with
examining the silver points of the star of St. Stanislaus which the
count wore on his breast. "In the meanwhile," said he, "my pretty
friend," stooping to the child, "let this bit of silver," was just
mounting to his tongue, as he put his hand into his pocket to take
out half-a-crown; but he recollected that his necessities would no
longer admit of such gifts, and drawing his hand back with a deep and
bitter sigh, he touched the boy's cheek with his lips, and added,
"let this kiss remind you of your new friend."

This was the first time the generous spirit of Sobieski had been
restrained; and he suffered a pang, for the poignancy of which he
could not account. His had been a life accustomed to acts of
munificence. His grandfather's palace was the asylum of the unhappy--
his grandfather's purse a treasury for the unfortunate. The soul of
Thaddeus did not degenerate from his noble relative: his generosity,
begun in inclination, was nurtured by reflection, and strengthened
with a daily exercise which had rendered it a habit of his nature.
Want never appeared before him without exciting a sympathetic emotion
in his heart, which never rested until he had administered every
comfort in the power of wealth to bestow. His compassion and his
purse were the substance and shadow of each other. The poor of his
country thronged from every part of the kingdom to receive pity and
relief at his hands. With those houseless wanderers he peopled the
new villages his grandfather had erected in the midst of lands which
in former times were the haunts of wild beasts. Thaddeus participated
in the happiness of his grateful tenants, and many were the old men
whose eyes he had closed in thankfulness and peace. These honest
peasants, even in their dying moments, wished to give up that life in
his arms which he had rescued from misery. He visited their cottage;
he smoothed their pillow; he joined in their prayers; and when their
last sigh came to his ear, he raised the weeping family from the
dust, and cheered them with pious exhortations and his kindest
assurances of protection. How often has the countess clasped her
beloved son to her breast, when, after a scene like this, he has
returned home, the tears of the dying man and his children yet wet
upon his hand! how often has she strained him to her heart, whilst
floods of rapture have poured from her own eyes! Heir to the first
fortune in Poland, he scarcely knew the means by which he bestowed
all these benefits; and with a soul as bounteous to others as Heaven
had been munificent to him, wherever he moved he shed smiles and
gifts around him. How frequently he had said to the palatine, when
his carriage-wheels were chased by the thankful multitude, "O my
father! how can I ever be sufficiently grateful to God for the
happiness he hath allotted to me in making me the dispenser of so
many blessings! The gratitude of these people overpowers and humbles
me in my own eyes; what have I done to be so eminently favored of
Heaven? I tremble when I ask myself the question." "You may tremble,
my dear boy," replied his grandfather, "for indeed the trial is a
severe one. Prosperity, like adversity, is an ordeal of conduct. Two
roads are before the rich man--vanity or virtue; you have chosen the
latter, and the best; and may Heaven ever hold you in it! May Heaven
ever keep your heart generous and pure! Go on, my dear Thaddeus, as
you have commenced, and you will find that your Creator hath bestowed
wealth upon you not for what you have done, but as the means of
evincing how well you would prove yourself his faithful steward."

This _was_ the fortune of Thaddeus; and _now_, he who had
scattered thousands without counting them drew back his hand with
something like horror at his own injustice, when he was going to give
away one little piece of silver, which he might want in a day or two,
to defray some indispensible debt.

"Mrs. Robson," said he, as he replaced his cap upon his head, "I
shall return before it is dark."

"Very well, sir," and opening the door, he went out into the lane.

Ignorant of the town, and thanking Providence for having prepared him
an asylum, he directed his course towards Charing Cross. He looked
about him with deepened sadness; the wet and plashy state of the
streets gave to every object so comfortless an appearance, he could
scarcely believe himself to be in that London of which he had read
with so much delight. Where were the magnificent buildings he
expected to see in the emporium of the world? Where that cleanliness,
and those tokens of greatness and splendor, which had been the
admiration and boast of travellers? He could nowhere discover them;
all seemed parts of a dark, gloomy, common-looking city.

Hardly heeding whither he went, he approached the Horse-Guards; a
view of the Park, as it appears through the wide porch, promised him
less unpleasantness than the dirty pavement, and he turned in, taking
his way along the Bird-Cage Walk. [Footnote: The young readers of
these few preceding pages will not recognize this description of St.
Martin's Lane, Charing Cross, and St. James's Park, in 1794, in what
they now see there in 1844. St. Martin's noble church was then the
centre of the east side of a long, narrow, and somewhat dirty lane of
mean houses, particularly in the end below the church. Charing Cross,
with its adjoining streets, showed nothing better than plain
tradesmen's shops; and it was not till we saw the Admiralty, and
entered the Horse-Guards, that anything presented itself worthy the
great name of London. The Park is almost completely altered. The
lower part of the lane has totally disappeared; also its adjunct, the
King's Mews, where now stands the royal National Gallery, while the
church of St. Martin's rears its majestic portico and spire, no
longer obscured by its former adjacent common buildings; and the
grand naval pillar lately erected to the memory of Britain's hero,
Nelson, occupies the centre of the new quadrangle now called
Trafalgar Square.]

The trees, stripped of their leaves, stood naked, and dripping with
melten snow. The season was in unison with the count's fate. He was
taking the bitter wind for his repast, and quenching his thirst with
the rain that fell on his pale and feverish lips. He felt the cutting
blast enter his soul, and shutting his eyelids to repel the tears
which were rising from his heart, he walked faster; but in spite of
himself, their drops mingled with the wet that trickled from his cap
upon his face. One melancholy thought introduced another, until his
bewildered mind lived over again, in memory, every calamity which had
reduced him from happiness to all this lonely misery. Two or three
heavy convulsive sighs followed these reflections; and quickening his
pace, he walked several times quite round the Park. The rain ceased.
But not marking time, and hardly observing the people who passed, he
threw himself down upon one of the benches, and sat in a musing
posture, with his eyes fixed on the opposite tree.

A sound of voices approaching roused him. Turning his eyes, he saw
the speakers were two young men, and by their dress he judged they
must belong to the regiment of a sentinel who was patrolling at the
end of the Mall.

"By heavens! Barrington," cried one, "it is the best shaped boot I
ever beheld! I have a good mind to ask him whether it be English
make."

"And if it be," replied the other, "you must ask him who shaped his
legs, that you may send yours to be mended."

"Who the devil can see my legs through that boot?"

"Oh, if to veil them be your reason, pray ask him immediately."

"And so I will, for I think the boot perfection."

At these words, he was making towards Sobieski with two or three long
strides, when his companion pulled him back.

"Surely, Harwold, you will not be so ridiculous? He appears to be a
foreigner of rank, and may take offence, and give you the length of
his foot!"

"Curse him and rank too; he is some paltry emigrant, I warrant! I
care nothing about his foot or his legs, but I should like to know
who made his boots!"

While he spoke he would have dragged his companion along with him,
but Barrington broke from his arm; and the fool, who now thought
himself dared to it, strode up close to the chair, and bowed to
Thaddeus, who (hardly crediting that he could be the subject of this
dialogue) returned the salutation with a cold bend of his head.

Harwold looked a little confounded at this haughty demeanor; and,
once in his life, blushing at his own insolence, he roared out, as if
in defiance of shame.

"Pray, sir, where did you get your boots?"

"Where I got my sword, sir," replied Thaddeus, calmly; and rising
from his seat, he darted his eyes disdainfully on the coxcomb, and
walked slowly down the Mall. Surprised and shocked at such behavior
in a British officer, while he moved away he distinctly heard
Barrington laughing aloud, and ridiculing the astonished and set-down
air of his impudent associate.

This incident did not so much ruffle the temper of Thaddeus as it
amazed and perplexed him.

"Is this a specimen," though he, "of a nation which on the Continent
is venerated for courage, manliness, and generosity? Well, I find I
have much to learn. I must go through the ills of life to estimate
myself thoroughly; and I must study mankind in themselves, and not in
reports of them, to have a true knowledge of what they are."

This strange rencontre was of service to him, by diverting his mind
from the intense contemplation of his situation; and as the dusk drew
on, he turned his steps towards the Hummums.

On entering the coffee-room, he was met by the obsequious Jenkins,
who, being told by Thaddeus that he wanted his baggage and a carnage,
went for the things himself, and sent a boy for a coach.

A man dressed in black was standing by the chimney, and seemed to be
eyeing Thaddeus, as he walked up and down the room, with great
attention. Just as he had taken another turn, and so drew nearer the
fireplace, this person accosted him rather abruptly--

"Pray, sir, is there any news stirring abroad? You seem, sir, to come
from abroad."

"None that I know of, sir."

"Bless me, that's strange! I thought, sir, you came from abroad, sir;
from the Continent, from Poland, sir? at least the waiter said so,
sir."

Thaddeus colored. "The waiter, sir?"

"I mean, sir," continued the gentleman, visibly confused at the
dilemma into which he had brought himself, "the waiter said that you
were a count, sir--a Polish count; indeed the Count Sobieski! Hence I
concluded that you are from Poland. If I have offended, I beg pardon,
sir; but in these times we are anxious for every intelligence."

Thaddeus made no other reply than a slight inclination of his head,
and walking forward to see whether the coach had arrived, he thought,
whatever travellers had related of the English, they were the most
impertinent people he had ever met with.

The stranger would not be contented with what he had already said,
but plucking up new courage, pursued the count to the glass door
through which he was looking, and resumed:

"I believe, sir, I am not wrong? You are the Count Sobieski; and I
have the honor to be now speaking with the bravest champion of Polish
liberty!"

Thaddeus again bowed. "I thank you, sir, for the compliment you
intend me, but I cannot take it to myself; all the men of Poland, old
and young, nobles and peasants, were her champions, equally sincere,
equally brave."

Nothing could silence the inquisitive stranger. The coach drew up,
but he went on:

"Then I hope that many of these patriots, besides your excellency,
have taken care to bring away their wealth from a land which they
must now see is abandoned to destruction?"

For a moment Thaddeus forget himself, indignation for his country,
and all her rights and all her sufferings rose in his countenance.

"No, sir! not one of those men, and least of all would I have drawn
one vital drop from her heart! I left in her murdered bosom all that
was dear to me--all that I possessed; and not until I saw the chains
brought before my eyes that were to lay her surviving sons in irons
did I turn my back on calamities I could no longer avert or
alleviate."

The ardor of his manner and the elevation of his voice had drawn the
attention of every person in the room upon him, when Jenkins entered
with his baggage. The door being opened, Sobieski sprang into the
coach, and gladly shut himself there, from a conversation which had
awakened all his griefs.

"Ah, poor enthusiast!" exclaimed his inquisitor, as the carriage
drove off. "It is a pity that so fine a young man should have made so
ill a use of his birth, and other natural advantages!"

"He appears to me," observed an old clergyman who sat in an adjoining
box, "to have made the best possible use of his natural advantages;
and had I a son, I would rather hear him utter such a sentiment as
the one with which that young man quitted the room, than see him
master of millions."

"May be so," cried the questioner, with a contemptuous glance;
"'different minds incline to different objects!' His has decided for
'the wonderful, the wild;' and a pretty finale he has made of his
choice!"

"Why, to be sure," observed another spectator, "young people should
be brought up with reasonable ideas of right and wrong, and prudence;
nevertheless, I should not like a son of mine to run harum-scarum
through my property, and his own life; and yet one cannot help, when
one hears such a brave speech as that from yonder Frenchman just gone
out,--I say one cannot help thinking it very fine." "True, true,"
cried the inquisitor; "you are right, sir; very fine indeed, but too
fine to wear; it would soon leave us acreless, as it has done him;
for it seems, by his own confession, he is penniless; and I know that
a twelvemonth ago he was an heir to a fortune which, however
incalculable, he has managed, with all his talents, to see the end
of."

"Then he is in distress!" exclaimed the clergyman, "and you know him.
What is his name?"

The man colored at this unexpected inference; and glad the company
had not attended to that part of the dialogue in which the name of
Sobieski was mentioned, he stammered some indistinct words, took up
his hat, and looking at his watch, begged pardon, having an
appointment, and hurried out of the room without speaking further;
although the good clergyman, whose name was Blackmore, hastened after
him, requesting to know where the young foreigner lived.

"Who is that spectacled coxcomb?" cried the reverend doctor, as he
returned from his unavailing application.

"I don't know, sir," replied the waiter "I never saw him in this
house before last night, when he came in late to sleep; and this
morning he was in the coffee-room at breakfast, just as that foreign
gentleman walked through; and Jenkins bawling his name out very loud,
as soon as he was gone, this here gentleman asked him who that count
was. I heard Jenkins say some Russian name, and tell him he came last
night, and would likely come back again; and so that there gentleman
has been loitering about all day till now, when the foreign gentleman
coming in, he spoke to him."

"And don't you know anything further of this foreigner?"

"No, sir; I forget what he is called; but I see Jenkins going across
the street; shall I run after him and ask him?"

"You are very obliging," returned the old clergyman; "but does
Jenkins know where the stranger lives?"

"No, sir I am sure he don't."

"I am sorry for it," sighed the kind questioner; "then your inquiry
would be of no use; his name will not do without his direction. Poor
fellow! he has been unfortunate, and I might have befriended him."

"Yes, to be sure, doctor," cried the first speaker, who now rose to
accompany him out; "it is our duty to befriend the unfortunate; but
charity begins at home; and as all's for the best, perhaps it is
lucky we did not hear any more about this young fellow. We might have
involved ourselves in a vast deal of unnecessary trouble; and you
know people from outlandish parts have no claims upon us."

"Certainly," replied the doctor, "none in the world, excepting those
which no human creature can dispute,--the claims of nature. All
mankind are born heirs of suffering; and as joint inheritors, if we
do not wipe away each other's tears, it will prove but a comfortless
portion."

"Ah! doctor," cried his companion, as they separated at the end of
Charles-street, "you have always the best of an argument: you have
logic and Aristotle at your finger ends."

"No, my friend; my arguments are purely Christian. Nature is my
logic, and the Bible my teacher."

"Ah, there you have me again. You parsons are as bad as the lawyers;
when once you get a poor sinner amongst you, he finds it as hard to
get out of the church as out of chancery. However, have it your own
way; charity is your trade, and I won't be in a hurry to dispute the
monopoly. Good-day! If I stay much longer, you will make me believe
that black is white."

Dr. Blackmore shook him by the hand, and wishing him good-evening,
returned home, pitying the worldliness of his friend's mind, and
musing on the interesting stranger, whom he could not but admire, and
compassionate with a lively sorrow, for he believed him to be a
gentleman, unhappy and unfortunate. Had he known that the object of
his solicitude was the illustrious subject of many a former eulogium
from himself, how increased would have been his regret--that he had
seen Count Thaddeus Sobieski, that he had seen him an exile, and that
he had suffered him to pass out of the reach of his services!



CHAPTER XIII.

THE EXILE'S LODGINGS.


Meanwhile the homeless Sobieski was cordially received by his humble
landlady. He certainly never stood in more need of kindness. A slow
fever, which had been gradually creeping over him since he quitted
Poland, soon settled on his nerves, and reduced him to such weakness,
that he possessed neither strength nor spirits to stir abroad.

Mrs. Robson was sincerely grieved at this illness of her guest. Her
own son, the father of the orphans she protected, had died of
consumption, and any appearance of that cruel disorder was a certain
call upon her compassion.

Thaddeus gave himself up to her management. He had no money for
medical assistance, and to please her he took what little medicines
she prepared. According to her advice, he remained for several days
shut up in his chamber, with a large fire, and the shutters closed,
to exclude the smallest portion of that air which the good woman
thought had already stricken him with death.

But all would not do; her patient became worse and worse. Frightened
at the symptoms, Mrs. Robson begged leave to send for the kind
apothecary who had attended her deceased son. In this instance only
she found the count obstinate, no arguments, nor even tears, could
move him to assent. When she stood weeping, and holding his burning
hand, his answer was constantly the same.

"My excellent Mrs. Robson, do not grieve on my account; I am not in
the danger you think; I shall do very well with your assistance."

"No, no; I see death in your eyes. Can I feel this hand and see that
hectic cheek without beholding your grave, as it were, opening before
me?"

She was not much mistaken; for during the night after this debate
Thaddeus grew so delirious that, no longer able to subdue her
terrors, she sent for the apothecary to come instantly to her house.

"Oh, doctor!" cried she, while he ascended the stairs, "I have the
best young gentleman ever the sun shone on dying in that room! He
would not let me send for you; and now he is raving like a mad
creature."

Mr. Vincent entered the count's humble apartment, and undrew the
curtains of the bed. Exhausted by delirium, Thaddeus had sunk
senseless on his pillow. At this sight, supposing him dead, Mrs.
Robson uttered a shriek, which was echoed by the cries of the little
William, who stood near his grandmother.

"Hush! my good woman," said the doctor; "the gentleman is not dead.
Leave the room till you have recovered yourself, and I will engage
that you shall see him alive when you return."

Blessing these words she quitted the room with her grandson.

On entering the chamber, Mr. Vincent had felt that its hot and
stifling atmosphere must augment the fever of his patient; and before
he attempted to disturb him from the temporary rest of insensibility,
he opened the window-shutters and also the room-door wide enough to
admit the air from the adjoining apartment. Pulling the heavy clothes
from the count's bosom he raised his head on his arm and poured some
drops into his mouth. Sobieski opened his eyes and uttered a few
incoherent words; but he did not rave, he only wandered, and appeared
to know that he did so, for he several times stopped in the midst of
some confused speech, and laying his hand on his forehead, strove to
recollect himself.

Mrs. Robson soon after re-entered the room, and wept out her thanks
to the apothecary, whom she revered as almost a worker of miracles.

"I must bleed him, Mrs. Robson," continued he; "and for that purpose
shall go home for my assistant and lancets; but in the meanwhile I
charge you to let every thing remain in the state I have left it. The
heat alone would have given a fever to a man in health."

When the apothecary returned, he saw that his commands had been
strictly obeyed; and finding that the change of atmosphere had
wrought the expected alteration in his patient, he took his arm
without difficulty and bled him. At the end of the operation Thaddeus
again fainted.

"Poor gentleman!" cried Mr. Vincent, binding up the arm. "Look here,
Tom," (pointing to the scars, on the count's shoulder and
breast;) "see what terrible cuts have been here! This has not been
playing at soldiers! Who is your lodger, Mrs. Robson?"

"His name is Constantine, Mr. Vincent; but for Heaven's sake recover
him from that swoon."

Mr. Vincent poured more drops into his mouth; and a minute afterwards
he opened his eyes, divested of their feverish glare, but still dull
and heavy. He spoke to Mrs. Robson by her name, which gave her such
delight, that she caught his hands to her lips and burst again into
tears. The action was so abrupt and violent, that it made him feel
the stiffness of his arm. Casting his eyes towards the surgeon's, he
conjectured what had been his state, and what the consequence.

"Come, Mrs. Robson," said the apothecary, "you must not disturb the
gentleman. How do you find yourself, sir?"

As the deed could not be recalled, Thaddeus thanked the doctor for
the service he had received, and said a few kind and grateful words
to his good hostess.

Mr. Vincent was glad to see so promising an issue to his proceedings,
and soon after retired with his assistant and Mrs. Robson, to give
further directions.

On entering the parlor, she threw herself into a chair and broke into
a paroxysm of lamentations.

"My good woman, what is all this about?" inquired the doctor. "Is not
my patient better?"

"Yes," cried she, drying her eyes; "but the whole scene puts me so in
mind of the last moments of my poor misguided son, that the very
sight of it goes through my heart like a knife. Oh! had my boy been
as good as that dear gentleman, had he been as well prepared to die,
I think I would scarcely have grieved! Yet Heaven spare Mr.
Constantine. Will he live?"

"I hope so, Mrs. Robson. His fever is high; but he is young, and with
extreme care we may preserve him."

"The Lord grant it!" cried she, "for he is the best gentleman I ever
beheld. He has been above a week with me; and till this night, in
which he lost his senses, though hardly able to breath or see, he has
read out of books which he brought with him; and good books too: for
it was but yesterday morning that I saw the dear soul sitting by the
fire with a book on the table, which he had been studying for an
hour. As I was dusting about, I saw him lay his head down on it, and
put his hand to his temples. 'Alas!, sir,' said I, 'you tease your
brains with these books of learning when you ought to be taking
rest.' No, Mrs. Robson,' returned he, with a sweet smile, 'it is this
book which brings me rest. I may amuse myself with others, but this
alone contains perfect beauty, perfect wisdom, and perfect peace. It
is the only infallible soother of human sorrows.' He closed it, and
put it on the chimney-piece; and when I looked at it afterwards, I
found it was the Bible. Can you wonder that I should love so
excellent a gentleman?"

"You have given a strange account of him," replied Vincent. "I hope
he is not a twaddler; [Footnote: A term of derision, forty years ago,
amongst unthinking persons, when speaking of eminently religious
people.] if so, I shall despair of his cure, and think his delirium
had another cause besides fever."

"I don't understand you, sir. He is a Christian, and as good a
reasonable, sweet-tempered gentleman as ever came into a house. Alas!
I believe he is most likely a papist; though they say papists don't
read the Bible, but worship images."

"Why, what reason have you to suppose that? He's an Englishman, is he
not?"

"No, he is an emigrant."

"An emigrant! Oh, ho!" cried Mr. Vincent, with a contemptuous twirl
of his lip. "What, a poor Frenchman! Good Lord! how this town is
overrun with these fellows!"

"No, doctor," exclaimed Mrs. Robson, greatly hurt at this scorn to
her lodger, whom she really loved; "whatever he be, he is not poor,
for he has a power of fine things; he has got a watch all over
diamonds, and diamond rings, and diamond pictures without number. So,
doctor, you need not fear you are attending him for charity; no, I
would sell my gown first."

"Nay, don't be offended, Mrs. Robson; I meant no offence," returned
he, much mollified by this explanation; "but, really, when we see the
bread that should feed our children and our own poor eaten up by a
parcel of lazy French drones--all _Sans Culottes_ [The democratic
rabble were commonly so called at that early period of the French
Revolution; and certainly some of their demagogues did cross the
Channel at times, counterfeiting themselves to be loyal emigrants,
while assiduously disseminating their destructive principles wherever
they could find an entrance.] in disguise, for aught we know, who
cover our land, and destroy its produce like a swarm of filthy
locusts--we should be fools not to murmur. But Mr.----, Mr.----, what
do you call him, Mrs. Robson? is a different sort of body."

"Mr. Constantine," replied she, "and indeed he is; and no doubt, when
you recover him, he will pay you as though he were in his own
country."

This last assertion banished all remaining suspicion from the mind of
the apothecary; and, after giving the good woman what orders he
thought requisite, he returned home, promising to call again in the
evening.

Mrs. Robson went up stairs to the count's chamber with other
sentiments to her sapient doctor than those with which she came down.
She well recollected the substance of his discourse, and she gathered
from it that, however clever he might be in his profession, he was a
hard-hearted man, who would rather see a fellow-creature perish than
administer relief to him without a reward. She had paid him to the
uttermost farthing for her poor son.

But here Mrs. Robson was mistaken. She did him justice in esteeming
his medical abilities, which were great. He had made medicine the
study of his life, and not allowing any other occupation to disturb
his attention, he became master of that science, but remained
ignorant of every other with which it had no connection. He was the
father of a family, and, in the usual acceptation of the term, a very
good sort of a man. He preferred his country to every other, because
it was his country; he loved his wife and his children; he was kind
to the poor, to whom he gave his advice gratis, and letters to the
dispensary for drugs; and when he had any broken victuals to spare,
he desired that they might be divided amongst them; but he seldom
caught his maid obeying this part of his commands without
reprimanding her for her extravagance, in giving away what ought to
be eaten in the kitchen: "in these times, it was a shame to waste a
crumb, and the careless hussy would come to want for thinking so
lightly of other people's property."

Thus, like many in the world, he was a loyal citizen by habit, an
affectionate father from nature, and a man of charity because he now
and then felt pity, and now and then heard it preached from the
pulpit. He was exhorted to be pious, and to pour wine and oil into
the wounds of his neighbor; but it never once struck him that piety
extended further than going to church, mumbling his prayers and
forgetting the sermon, through most of which he generally slept; and
his commentaries on the good Samaritan were not more extensive, for
it was so difficult to make him comprehend who was his neighbor, that
the subject of the argument might have been sick, dead and buried
before he could be persuaded that he or she had any claims on his
care. Indeed, his "chanty began at home;" and it was so fond of its
residence, that it stopped there. To have been born on the other side
of the British Channel, spread an ocean between every poor foreigner
and Mr. Vincent's purse which the swiftest wings of chanty could
never cross. "He saw no reason," he said, "for feeding the natural
enemies of our country. Would any man be mad enough to take the meat
from his children's mouths and throw it to a swarm of wolves just
landed on the coast?" "These wolves" were his favorite metaphor when
he spoke of the unhappy French, or of any other penniless strangers
that came in his way.

After this explanation, it may appear paradoxical to mention an
inconsistency in the mind of Mr. Vincent which never permitted him to
discover the above Cainish mark of outlawry upon a wealthy visitor,
of whatever country. In fact, it was with him as with many: riches
were a splendid and thick robe that concealed all blemishes; take it
away, and probably the poor stripped wretch would be treated worse
than a criminal.

That his new patient possessed some property was sufficient to ensure
the respect and medical skill of Mr. Vincent; and when he entered his
own house, he told his wife he had found "a very good job at Mrs.
Robson's, in the illness of her lodger--a foreigner of some sort," he
said, "who, by her account, had feathered his nest well in the spoils
of battle (like Moore's honest Irishman) with jewels and gold." So
much for the accuracy of most quotations adopted according to the
convenience of the speaker.

When the Count Sobieski quitted the Hummums, on the evening in which
he brought away his baggage, he was so disconcerted by the
impertinence of the man who accosted him there, that he determined
not to expose himself to a similar insult by retaining a title which
might subject him to the curiosity of the insolent and insensible;
and, therefore, when Mrs. Robson asked him how she should address
him, as he was averse to assume a feigned name, he merely said Mr.
Constantine.

Under that unobtrusive character, he hoped in time to accommodate his
feelings to the change of fortune which Providence had allotted to
him. He must forget his nobility, his pride, and his sensibility; he
must earn his subsistence. But by what means? He was ignorant of
business; and he knew not how to turn his accomplishments to account.
Such were his meditations, until illness and delirium deprived him of
them and of reason together.

At the expiration of a week, in which Mr. Vincent attended his
patient very regularly, Sobieski was able to remove into the front
room; but uneasiness about the debts he had so unintentionally
incurred retarded his recovery, and made his hours pass away in
cheerless musings on his poor means of repaying the good widow and of
satisfying the avidity of the apothecary. Pecuniary obligation was a
load to which he was unaccustomed; and once or twice the wish almost
escaped his heart that he had died.

Whenever he was left to think, such were his reflections. Mrs. Robson
discovered that he appeared more feverish and had worse nights after
being much alone during the day, and therefore contrived, though she
was obliged to be in her little shop, to leave either Nanny to attend
his wants or little William to amuse him.

This child, by its uncommon quickness and artless manner, gained upon
the count, who was ever alive to helplessness and innocence. Children
and animals had always found a friend and protector in him. From the
"majestic war-horse, with his neck clothed in thunder," to "the poor
beetle that we tread upon"--every creature of creation met an
advocate of mercy in his breast; and as human nature is prone to love
what it has been kind to, Thaddeus never saw either children, dogs,
or even that poor slandered and abused animal, the cat, without
showing them some spontaneous act of attention.

Whatever of his affections he could spare from memory, the count
lavished upon the little William. The child hardly ever left his
side, where he sat on a stool, prattling about anything that came
into his head; or, seated on his knee, followed with his eyes and
playful fingers the hand of Thaddeus, while he sketched a horse or a
soldier for his pretty companion.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XIV.

A ROBBERY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.


By these means Thaddeus slowly acquired sufficient strength to allow
him to quit his dressing-gown, and prepare for a walk.

A hard frost had succeeded to the chilling damps of November; and
looking out of the window, he longed, almost eagerly, to inhale again
the fresh air. After some tender altercations with Mrs. Robson, who
feared to trust him even down stairs, he at length conquered; and
taking the little William by his hand, folded his pelisse round him,
and promising to venture no further than the King's Mews, was
suffered to go out.

As he expected, he found the keen breeze act like a charm on his
debilitated frame; and with braced nerves and exhilarated spirits, he
walked twice up and down the place, whilst his companion played
before him, throwing stones, and running to pick them up. At this
moment one of the king's carriages, pursued by a concourse of people,
suddenly drove in at the Charing-Cross gate. The frightened child
screamed, and fell. Thaddeus darted forward, and seizing the heads of
the horses which were within a yard of the boy, stopped them;
meanwhile, the mob gathering about, one of them raised William, who
continued his cries. The count now let go the reins, and for a few
minutes tried to pacify his little charge; but finding that his alarm
and shrieks were not to be quelled, and that his own figure, from its
singularity of dress, (his high cap and plume adding to its height)
drew on him the whole attention of the people, he took the trembling
child in his arms, and walking through the Mews, was followed by some
of the bystanders to the very door of Mrs. Robson's shop.

Seeing the people, and her grandson sobbing on the breast of her
guest, she ran out, and hastily asked what had happened. Thaddeus
simply answered, that the child had been frightened. But when they
entered the house, and he had thrown himself exhausted on a seat,
William, as he stood by his knee, told his grandmother that if Mr.
Constantine had not stopped the horses, he must have been run over.
The count was now obliged to relate the whole story, which ended with
the blessings of the poor woman, for his goodness in risking his own
life for the preservation of her darling child.

Thaddeus in vain assured her the action deserved no thanks.

"Well," cried she, "it is like yourself, Mr. Constantine; you think
all your good deeds nothing; and yet any odd little thing I can do,
out of pure love to serve you, you cry up to the skies. However, we
won't fall out; I say, heaven bless you! and that is enough. Has your
walk refreshed you? But I need not ask; you have got a fine color."

"Yes," returned he, rising and taking off his cap and cloak, "it has
put me in aglow, and made me quite another creature." As he finished
speaking, he dropped the things from the hand that held them, and
staggered back a few paces against the wall.

"Good Lord! what is the matter?" cried Mrs. Robson, looking in his
face, which was now pale as death; "what is the matter?"

"Nothing, nothing," returned he, recovering himself, and gathering up
the cloak he had let fall; "don't mind me, Mrs. Robson; nothing:" and
he was leaving the kitchen, but she followed him, terrified at his
look and manner.

"Pray, Mr. Constantine!"

"Nay, my dear madam," said he, leading her back, "I am not well; I
believe my walk has overcome me. Let me be a few minutes alone, till
I have recovered myself. It will oblige me."

"Well, sir, as you please!" and then, laying her withered hand
fearfully upon his arm, "forgive me, dear sir," said she, "if my
attentions are troublesome. Indeed, I fear that sometimes great love
appears like great impertinence; I would always be serving you, and
therefore I often forget the wide difference between your honor's
station and mine."

The count could only press her hand gratefully, and with an emotion
which made him hurry up stairs to hide. When in his own room, he shut
the door, and cast a wild and inquisitive gaze around the apartment;
then, throwing himself into a chair, he struck his head with his
hand, and exclaimed, "It is gone! What will become of me?--of this
poor woman, whose substance I have consumed?"

It was true; the watch, by the sale of which he had calculated to
defray the charges of his illness, was indeed lost. A villain in the
crowd, having perceived the sparkling of the chain, had taken it
unobserved from his side; and he knew nothing of his loss until,
feeling for his watch to see the hour, he discovered his misfortune.

The shock went like a stroke of electricity through his frame; but it
was not until the last glimmering of hope was extinguished, on
examining his room where he thought he might have left it, that he
saw the full horror of his situation.

He sat for some minutes, absorbed, and almost afraid to think. It was
not his own, but the necessities of the poor woman, who had, perhaps,
incurred debts on herself to afford him comforts, which bore so hard
upon him. At last, rising from his seat, he exclaimed,

"I must determine on something. Since this is gone, I must seek what
else I have to part with, for I cannot long bear my present
feelings!"

He opened the drawer which contained his few valuables.

With a trembling hand he took them out one by one. There were several
trinkets which had been given to him by his mother; and a pair of
inlaid pistols, which his grandfather put into his belt on the
morning of the dreadful 10th of October; his miniature lay beneath
them: the mild eyes of the palatine seemed beaming with affection
upon his grandson. Thaddeus snatched it up, kissed it fervently, and
then laid it back into the drawer, whilst he hid his face with his
hands.

When he recovered himself, he replaced the pistols, believing that it
would be sacrilege to part with them. Without allowing himself time
to think, he put a gold pencil-case and a pair of brilliant sleeve-
buttons into his waistcoat pocket.

He descended the stairs with a soft step, and passing the kitchen-
door unperceived by his landlady, crossed through a little court; and
then anxiously looking from right to left, in quest of some shop
where he might probably dispose of the trinkets, he took his way up
Castle Street, and along Leicester Square.

When he turned up the first street to his right, he was impeded by
two persons who stood in his path, the one selling, the other buying
a hat. The thought immediately struck Thaddeus to ask one of these
men (who appeared to be a Jew, and a vender of clothes) to purchase
his pelisse. By parting with a thing to which he annexed no more
value than the warmth it afforded him, he should possibly spare
himself the pain, for this time at least, of sacrificing those gifts
of his mother, which had been bestowed upon him in happier days, and
hallowed by her caresses.

He did not permit himself to hesitate, but desired the Jew to follow
him into a neighboring court. The man obeyed; and having no ideas
independent of his trade, asked the count what he wanted to buy.

"Nothing: I want to sell this pelisse," returned he, opening it.

The Jew, without any ceremony, inspected its covering and its lining
of fur.

"Ay, I see: black cloth and sable; but who would buy it of me? An
embroidered collar! nobody wears such things here."

"Then I am answered," replied Thaddeus.

"Stop, sir," cried the Jew, pursuing him, "what will you take for
it?"

"What would you give me?"

"Let me see. It is very long and wide. At the utmost I cannot offer
you more than five guineas."

A few months ago, it had cost the count a hundred; but glad to get
any money, however small, he readily closed with the man's price; and
taking off the cloak, gave it to him, and put the guineas into his
pocket.

He had not walked much further before the piercing cold of the
evening, and a shower of snow, which began to fall, made him feel the
effects of his loss; however, that did not annoy him; he had been too
heavily assailed by the pitiless rigors of misfortune to regard the
pelting of the elements. Whilst the wind blew in his face, and the
sleet falling on his dress, lodged in its lappels, he went forward,
calculating whether it were likely that this money, with the few
shillings he yet possessed, would be sufficient to discharge what he
owed. Unused as he had been to all kinds of expenditure which
required attention, he supposed, from what he had already seen of a
commerce with the world, that the sum he had received from the Jew
was not above half what he needed; and with a beating heart he walked
towards one of those shops which Mrs. Robson had described, when
speaking of the irregularities of her son, who had nearly reduced her
to beggary.

The candles were lit. And as he hovered about the door, he distinctly
saw the master through the glass, assorting some parcels on the
counter. He was a gentleman-like man, and the count's feelings took
quite a different turn from those with which he had accosted the Jew,
who, being a low, sordid wretch, looked upon the people with whom he
trafficked as mere purveyors to his profit. Thaddeus felt little
repugnance at bargaining with him: but the sight of a respectable
person, before whom he was to present himself as a man in poverty, as
one who, in a manner, appealed to charity, all at once overcame the
resolution of a son of Sobieski, and he debated whether or not he
should return. Mrs. Robson, and her probable distresses, rose before
him; and fearful of trusting his pride any further, he pulled his cap
over his face, and entered the shop.

The man bowed very civilly on his entrance, and requested to be
honored with his commands. Thaddeus felt his face glow; but indignant
at his own weakness, he laid the gold case on the counter, and said,
in a voice which, notwithstanding his emotion, he constrained to be
without appearance of confusion, "I want to part with this."

Astonished at the dignity of the applicant's air, and the nobility of
his dress, (for the star did not escape the shop-keeper's eye), he
looked at him for a moment, holding the case in his hand. Hurt by the
steadiness of his gaze, the count, rather haughtily, repeated what he
had said. The man hesitated no longer. He had been accustomed to
similar requests from the emigrant French _noblesse_; but there
was a loftiness and aspect of authority in the countenance and mien
of this person which surprised and awed him; and with a respect which
even the application could not counteract, he opened the case, and
inquired of Thaddeus what was the price he affixed to it.

"I leave that to you," replied he.

"The gold is pure," returned the man, "but it is very thin; I cannot
give more than three guineas. Though the workmanship is fine, it is
not in the fashion of England, and will be of no benefit to me till
melted."

"You may have it," said Thaddeus, hardly able to articulate, while
the gift of his mother was passing into a stranger's hand.

The man directly paid him down the money, and the count, with a
bursting heart, darted out of the shop.

Mrs. Robson was shutting up the windows of her little parlor, when he
hastily passed her and glided up the stairs. Hardly believing her
senses, she hastened after him, and just got into the room as he
drank off a glass of water.

"Good lack! sir, where has your honor been? I thought you were all
the while in the house, and I would not come near, though I was very
uneasy; and there has been poor William crying himself blind, because
you desired to be left alone."

Thaddeus was unprepared to make an answer. He was in hopes to have
gotten in as he had stolen out, undiscovered; for he determined not
to agitate her too kind mind by the history of his loss. He would not
allow her to know anything of his embarrassments, from a sentiment of
justice, as well as from that sensitive pride which all his
sufferings and philosophy could not wholly subdue.

"I have been taking a walk, Mrs. Robson."

"Dear heart! I thought when you staggered back, and looked so ill,
after you brought in William, you had over-walked yourself."

"No; I fancy my fears had a little discomposed me; and I hoped that
more air might do me good; I tried it, and it has: but I am grieved
for having alarmed you."

This ambiguous speech satisfied his worthy landlady; and, fatigued by
a bodily exertion, which, in the present feeble state of his frame,
nothing less than the resolution of his mind could have carried him
through, Thaddeus went directly to bed, where tired nature soon found
temporary repose in a profound sleep.



CHAPTER XV.

THE WIDOW'S FAMILY.


Next morning Sobieski found himself rather better than worse by the
exertions of the preceding clay. When Nanny appeared as usual with
his breakfast and little William, (who always sat on his knee, and
shared his bread and butter,) the count desired her to request her
grandmother to send to Mr. Vincent with his compliments, and to say
her lodger felt himself so much recovered as to decline any further
medical aid, and therefore wished to have his bill.

Mrs. Robson, who could not forget the behavior of the apothecary,
undertook to deliver the message herself, happy in the triumph she
should enjoy over the littleness of Mr. Vincent's suspicions.

After the lapse of a quarter of an hour, she re-appeared in the
count's rooms, accompanied by the apothecary's assistant, who, with
many thanks, received the sum total of the account, which amounted to
three guineas for ten days' attendance.

The man having withdrawn, Thaddeus told Mrs. Robson, he should next
defray the smallest part of the vast debt he must ever owe to her
parental care.

"Oh, bless your honor, it goes to my heart to take a farthing of you!
but these poor children," cried she, laying a hand on each, and her
eyes glistening, "they look up to me as their all here; and my
quarter-day was yesterday, else, dear sir, I should scorn to be like
Doctor Vincent, and take your money the moment you offer it."

"My good madam," returned Sobieski, giving her a chair, "I am
sensible of your kindness: but it is your just due; and the payment
of it can never lessen your claim on my gratitude for the maternal
care with which you have attended me, a total stranger."

"Then, there, sir," said she, looking almost as ashamed as if she
were robbing him, when she laid it on the table; "there is my bill. I
have regularly set down everything. Nanny will bring it to me." And
quite disconcerted, the good woman hurried out of the room.

Thaddeus looked after her with reverence.

"There goes," thought he, "in that lowly and feeble frame, as
generous and noble a spirit: as ever animated the breast of a
princess! Here, Nanny," said he, glancing his eye over the paper,
"there is the gold, with my thanks; and tell your grandmother I am
astonished at her economy."

This affair over, the count was relieved of a grievous load; and
turning the remaining money in his hand, how he might replenish the
little stock before it were expended next occupied his attention.
Notwithstanding the pawnbroker's civil treatment, he recoiled at
again presenting himself at his shop. Besides, should he dispose of
all that he possessed, it might not be of sufficient value here to
subsist him a month. He must think of some source within himself that
was not likely to be so soon exhausted. To be reduced a second time
to the misery which he had endured yesterday from suspense and
wretchedness, appeared too dreadful to be hazarded, and he ran over
in his memory the different merits of his several accomplishments.

He could not make any use of his musical talents; for at public
exhibitions of himself his soul revolted; and as to his literary
acquirements, his youth, and being a foreigner, precluded all hopes
on that head. At length he found that his sole dependence must rest
on his talents for painting. Of this art he had always been
remarkably fond; and his taste easily perceived that there were many
drawings exhibited for sale much inferior to those which he had
executed for mere amusement.

He decided at once; and purchasing, by the means of Nanny, pencils
and Indian ink, he set to work.

When he had finished half-a-dozen drawings, and was considering how
he might find the street in which he had seen the print-shops, the
recollection occurred to him of the impression his appearance had
made on the pawnbroker. He perceived the wide difference between his
apparel and the fashion of England; and considering the security from
impertinence with which he might walk about, could he so far cast off
the relics of his former rank as to change his dress, he rose up with
an intention to go out and purchase a surtout coat and a hat for that
purpose, when catching an accidental view of his uniform, with the
star of St. Stanislaus on its breast, as he passed the glass, he no
longer wondered at the curiosity which such an appendage, united with
poverty, had attracted. Rather than again subject himself to a
similar situation, he summoned his young messenger; and, by her
assistance, furnished himself with an English hat and coat, whilst
with his penknife he cut away the embroidery of the order from the
cloth to which it was affixed.

Thus accoutred, with his hat flapped over his face and his great-coat
wrapped round him, he put the drawings into his bosom, and about
eight o'clock in the evening walked out on his disagreeable errand.
After some wearying search, he at last found Great Newport Street,
the place he wanted; but as he advanced, his hopes died away, and his
fears and reluctance re-awakened. He stopped at the door of the
nearest print-shop. All that he had suffered at the pawnbroker's
assailed him with redoubled violence. What he presented there
possessed a fixed value, and was at once to be taken or refused; but
now he was going to offer things of mere taste, and he might meet not
only with a denial, but affronting remarks.

He walked to the threshold of the door, then as hastily withdrew, and
hurried two or three paces down the street.

"Weak, contemptible that I am!" said he to himself, as he again
turned round; "where is all my reason, and rectitude of principle,
that I would rather endure the misery of dependence and self-reproach
than dare the attempt to seek support from the fruits of my own
industry?"

He quickened his step and started into the shop, almost fearful of
his former irresolution. He threw his drawings instantly upon the
counter.

"Sir, you purchase drawings. I have these to sell. Will they suit
you?"

The man took them up without deigning to look at the person who had
accosted him, and turning them over in his hand, "One, two, three,
hum; there is half-a-dozen. What do you expect for them?"

"I am not acquainted with the prices of these things."

The printseller, hearing this, thought, by managing well, to get them
for what he liked, and throwing them over with an air of contempt,
resumed--

"And pray, where may the views be taken?"

"They are recollections of scenes in Germany."

"Ah!" replied the man, "mere drugs! I wish, honest friend, you could
have brought subjects not quite so threadbare, and a little better
executed; they are but poor things! But every dauber nowadays sets up
for a fine artist, and thinks we are to pay him for spoilt paper and
conceit."

Insulted by this speech, and, above all, by the manner of the
printseller, Thaddeus was snatching up the drawings to leave the shop
without a word, when the man, observing his design, and afraid to
lose them, laid his hand on the heap, exclaiming--

"Let me tell you, young man, it does not become a person in your
situation to be so huffy to his employers. I will give you a guinea
for the six, and you may think yourself well paid."

Without further hesitation, whilst the count was striving to subdue
the choler which urged him to knock him down, the man laid the gold
on the counter, and was slipping the drawings into a drawer; but
Thaddeus, snatching them out again, suddenly rolled them up, and
walked out of the shop as he said--

"Not all the money of all your tribe should tempt an honest man to
pollute himself by exchanging a second word with one so
contemptible."

Irritated at this unfeeling treatment, he returned home, too much
provoked to think of the consequences which might follow a similar
disappointment.

Having become used to the fluctuations of his looks and behavior, the
widow ceased altogether to tease him with inquiries, which she saw he
was sometimes loath to answer. She now allowed him to walk in and out
without a remark, and silently contemplated his pale and melancholy
countenance, when, after a ramble of the greatest part of the day, he
returned home exhausted and dispirited.

William was always the first to welcome his friend at the threshold,
by running to him, taking hold of his coat, and asking to go with him
up stairs. The count usually gratified him, and brightened many dull
hours with his innocent caresses.

This child was literally his only earthly comfort; for he saw that in
him he could still excite those emotions of happiness which had once
afforded him his sweetest joy. William ever greeted him with smiles,
and when he entered the kitchen, sprang to his bosom, as if that were
the seat of peace, as it was of virtue. But, alas! fate seemed
adverse to lend anything long to the unhappy Thaddeus which might
render his desolate state more tolerable.

Just risen from a bed of sickness, he required the hand of some
tender nurse to restore his wasted vigor, instead of being reduced to
the hard vigils of poverty and want. His recent disappointment, added
to a cold which he had caught, increased his feverish debility; yet
he adhered to the determination not to appropriate to his own
subsistence the few valuables he had assigned as a deposit for the
charges of his rent. During a fortnight he never tasted anything
better than bread and water; but this hermit's fare was accompanied
by the resigned thought that if it ended in death, his sufferings
would then be over, and the widow amply remunerated by what little of
his property remained.

In this state of body and mind he received a most painful shock, when
one evening, returning from a walk of many hours, in the place of his
little favorite, he met Mrs. Robson in tears at the door. She told
him William had been sickening all the day, and was now so delirious,
that neither she nor his sister could keep him quiet.

Thaddeus went to the side of the child's bed, where he lay gasping on
the pillow, held clown by the crying Nanny. The count touched his
cheek.

"Poor child!" exclaimed he; "he is in a high fever. Have you sent for
Mr. Vincent?"

"O, no; I had not the heart to leave him."

"Then I will go directly," returned Thaddeus "there is not a moment
to be lost."

The poor woman thanked him. Hastening through the streets with an
eagerness which nearly overset several of the foot-passengers, he
arrived at Lincoln's-Inn-fields; and in less than five minutes after
he quitted Mrs. Robson's door he returned with the apothecary.

On Mr. Vincent's examining the pulse and countenance of his little
patient, he declared the symptoms to be the small-pox, which some
casualty had repelled.

In a paroxysm of distress, Mrs. Robson recollected that a girl had
been brought into her shop three days ago, just recovered from that
frightful malady.

Thaddeus tried to subdue the fears of the grandmother, and at last
succeeded in persuading her to go to bed, whilst he and Nanny would
watch by the pillow of the invalid.

Towards morning the disorder broke out on the child's face, and he
recovered his recollection. The moment he fixed his eyes on the
count, who was leaning over him, he stretched out his little arms,
and begged to lie on his breast. Thaddeus refused him gently, fearing
that by any change of position he might catch cold, and so again
retard what had now so fortunately appeared; but the poor child
thought the denial unkind, and began to weep so violently, that his
anxious friend believed it better to gratify him than hazard the
irritation of his fever by agitation and crying.

Thaddeus took him out of bed, and rolling him in one of the blankets,
laid him in his bosom; and drawing his dressing-gown to shield the
little face from the fire, held him in that situation asleep for
nearly two hours.

When Mrs. Robson came down stairs at six o'clock in the morning, she
kissed the hand of the count as he sustained her grandson in his
arms; and almost speechless with gratitude to him, and solicitude for
the child, waited the arrival of the apothecary.

On his second visit, he said a few words to her of comfort, but
whispered to the count, while softly feeling William's pulse, that
nothing short of the strictest care could save the boy, the infection
he had received having been of the most malignant kind.

These words fell like an unrepealable sentence on the heart of
Thaddeus. Looking on the discolored features of the patient infant,
he fancied that he already beheld its clay-cold face, and its little
limbs stretched in death. The idea was bitterness to him; and
pressing the boy to his breast, he resolved that no attention should
be wanting on his part to preserve him from the grave. And he kept
his promise.

From that hour until the day in which the poor babe expired in his
arms, he never laid him out of them for ten minutes together; and
when he did breathe his last sigh, and raised up his little eyes,
Thaddeus met their dying glance with a pang which he thought his soul
had long lost the power to feel. His heart seemed to stop; and
covering the motionless face of the dead child with his hand, he made
a sign to Nanny to leave the room.

The girl, who from respect had been accustomed to obey his slightest
nod, went to her grandmother in the shop.

The instant the girl quitted the room, with mingled awe and grief the
count lifted the little corpse from his knee; and without allowing
himself to cast another glance on the face of the poor infant, now
released from suffering, he put it on the bed, and throwing the sheet
over it, sunk into a chair and burst into tears.

The entrance of Mrs. Robson in some measure restored him; for the
moment she perceived her guest with his handkerchief over his eyes,
she judged what had happened, and, with a piercing scream, flew
forward to the bed, where, pulling down the covering, she uttered
another shriek, and must have fallen on the floor had not Thaddeus
and little Nanny, who ran in at her cries, caught her in their arms
and bore her to a chair.

Her soul was too much agitated to allow her to continue long in a
state of insensibility; and when she recovered, she would again have
approached the deceased child, but the count withheld her, and trying
by every means in his power to soothe her, so far succeeded as to
melt her agonies into tears.

Whilst she concealed her venerable head in the bosom of her
granddaughter, he once more lifted the remains of the little William;
and thinking it best for the tranquillity of the unhappy grandmother
to take him out of her sight, he carried him up stairs, and laid him
on his own bed.

By the time he returned to the humble parlor, one of the female
neighbors, having heard the unusual outcry, and suspecting the cause,
kindly stepped in to offer her consolation and services. Mrs. Robson
could only reply by sobs, which were answered by the loud weeping of
poor Nanny, who lay with her head against the table.

When the count came down, he thanked the worthy woman for her
benevolent intentions, and took her up stairs into his apartments.
Pointing to the open door of the bedroom, "There, madam," said he,
"you will find the remains of my dear little friend. I beg you will
direct everything for his interment that you think will give
satisfaction to Mrs. Robson. I would spare that excellent woman every
pang in my power."

All was done according to his desire; and Mrs. Watts, the charitable
neighbor, excited by a kindly disposition, and reverence for "the
extraordinary young gentleman who lodged with her friend," performed
her task with tenderness and activity.

"Oh! sir," cried Mrs. Robson, weeping afresh as she entered the
count's room, "Oh, sir, how shall I ever repay all your goodness? and
Mrs. Watt's? She has acted like a sister to me. But, indeed, I am yet
the most miserable creature that lives. I have lost my dearest child,
and must strip his poor sister of her daily bread to bury him. That
cruel Dr. Vincent, though he might have imagined my distress, sent
his account late last night, saying he wanted to make up a large
bill, and he wished I would let him have all, or part of the payment.
Heaven knows, I have not a farthing in the house; but I will send
poor little Nanny to pawn my silver spoons, for, alas! I have no
other means of satisfying the cruel man."

"Rapacious wretch!" cried Thaddeus, rising indignantly from his
chair, and for a moment forgetting how incapable he was to afford
relief: "you shall not be indebted one instant to his mercy. I will
pay him."

The words had passed his lips; he could not retract, though
conviction immediately followed that he had not the means; and he
would not have retracted, even should he be necessitated to part with
everything he most valued.

Mrs. Robson was overwhelmed by this generous promise, which, indeed,
saved her from ruin. Had her little plate been pledged, it could not
have covered one half of Mr. Vincent's demand, who, to do him
justice, did not mean to cause any distress. But having been so
readily paid by Thaddeus for his own illness, and observing his great
care and affection for the deceased child, he did not doubt that,
rather than allow Mrs. Robson a minute's uneasiness, her lodger would
defray his bill. So far he calculated right; but he had not
sufficient sagacity to foresee that in getting his money this way, he
should lose the future business of Mrs. Robson and her friend.

The child was to be buried on the morrow, the expenses of which event
Thaddeus saw he must discharge also; and he had engaged to pay Mr.
Vincent that night! He had not a shilling in his purse. Over and over
he contemplated the impracticability of answering these debts; yet he
could not for an instant repent of what he had undertaken: he thought
he was amply recompensed for bearing so heavy a load in knowing that
he had taken it off the worn-down heart of another.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XVI.

THE MONEY-LENDER.


Since the count's unmannerly treatment at the printseller's, he had
not sufficiently conquered his pride to attempt an application to
another. Therefore, he had no prospect of collecting the money he had
pledged himself to Mrs. Robson to pay but by selling some more of his
valuables to the pawnbroker.

For this purpose he took his sabre, his pistols, and the fated
brilliants he had brought back on a similar errand. He drew them from
their deposit, with less feeling of sacrilege, in so disposing of
such relics of the sacred past, than he had felt on the former
occasion. They were now going to be devoted to gratitude and
benevolence--an act which he knew his parents, were they alive, would
warmly approve; and here he allowed the end to sanctify the means.

About half-past six in the evening, he prepared himself for the task.
Whether it be congenial with melancholy to seek the gloom, or whether
the count found himself less observed under the shades of night, is
not evident; but since his exile, he preferred the dusk to any other
part of the day.

Before he went out, he asked Mrs. Robson for Mr. Vincent's bill.
Sinking with obligation and shame, she put it into his hand, and he
left the house. When he approached a lighted lamp, he opened the
paper to see the amount, and finding that it was almost two pounds,
he hastened forward to the pawn-broker's.

The man was in the shop alone. Thaddeus thought himself fortunate;
and, after subduing a few qualms, entered the door. The moment he
laid his sword and pistols on the counter, and declared his wish, the
man, even through the disguise of a large coat and slouched hat,
recollected him. This honest money-lender carried sentiments in his
breast above his occupation. He did not commiserate all who presented
themselves before him, because many exhibited too evidently the
excesses which brought them to his shop. But there was something in
the figure and manner of the Count Sobieski which had struck him at
first sight, and by continuing to possess his thoughts, had excited
so great an interest towards him as to produce pleasure with regret,
when he discerned the noble foreigner again obliged to proffer such
things.

Mr. Burket (for so this money-lender was called) respectfully asked
what he demanded for the arms.

"Perhaps more than you would give. But I have something else here,"
laying down the diamonds; "I want eight guineas."

Mr. Burket looked at them, and then at their owner, hesitated and
then spoke.

"I beg your pardon, sir; I hope I shall not offend you, but these
things appear to have a value independent of their price; they are
inlaid with crests and ciphers."

The blood flushed over the cheeks of the count. He had forgotten this
circumstance. Unable to answer, he waited to hear what the man would
say further.

"I repeat, sir, I mean not to offend; but you appear a stranger to
these transactions. I only wish to suggest, in case you should ever
like to repossess these valuables--had you not better pledge them?"

"How?" asked Thaddeus, irresolutely, and not knowing what to think of
the man's manner.

At that instant some other people came into the shop; and Mr. Burket,
gathering up the diamonds and the arms in his hand, said, "If you do
not object, sir, we will settle this business in my back-parlor."

The delicacy of his behavior penetrated the mind of Thaddeus, and
without demurring, he followed him into a room. While Mr. Burket
offered his guest a chair, the count took off his hat and laid it on
the table. Burket contemplated the saddened dignity of his
countenance with renewed interest entreating him to be seated, he
resumed the conversation.

"I see, sir, you do not understand the meaning of pledging, or
pawning, for it is one and the same thing; but I will explain it in
two words. If you leave these things with me, I will give you a paper
in acknowledgment, and lend on them the guineas you request; for
which sum, when you return it to me with a stated interest, you shall
have your deposit in exchange."

Sobieski received this offer with pleasure and thanks. He had
entertained no idea of anything more being meant by the trade of a
pawnbroker than a man who bought what others wished to sell.

"Then, sir," continued Burket, opening an escritoire, "I will give
you the money, and write the paper I spoke of."

Just as he put his hand to the drawer, he heard voices in an
adjoining passage; and instantly shutting the desk, he caught up the
things on the table, threw them behind a curtain, and hastily taking
the count by the hand, said, "My dear sir, do oblige me, and step
into that closet; you will find a chair. A person is coming, whom I
will dispatch in a few seconds."

Thaddeus, rather surprised at such hurry, did as he was desired; and
the door was closed on him just as the parlor door opened. Being
aware from such concealment that the visitor came on secret business,
he found his situation not a little awkward. Seated behind a
curtained window, which the lights in the room made transparent, he
could not avoid seeing as well as hearing everything that passed.

"My dear Mr. Burket," cried an elegant young creature, who ran into
the apartment, "positively without your assistance, I shall be
undone."

"Anything in my power, madam," returned My. Burket, with a distant,
respectful voice; "will your ladyship sit down?"

"Yes; give me a chair. I am half dead with distraction. Mr. Burket, I
must have another hundred upon those jewels."

"Indeed, my lady, it is not in my power; you have already had twelve
hundred; and, upon my honor, that is a hundred and fifty more than I
ought to have given."

"Pshaw! who minds the honor of a pawnbroker!" cried the lady,
laughing; "you know very well you live by cheating."

"Well, ma'am," returned he, with a good-natured smile, "as your
ladyship pleases."

"Then I please that you let me have another hundred. Why, man, you
know you let Mrs. Hinchinbroke two thousand upon a case of diamonds
not a quarter so many as mine."

"But consider, madam; Mrs. Hinchinbroke's were of the best water."

"Positively, Mr. Burnet," exclaimed her ladyship, purposely
miscalling his name, "not better than mine! The King of Sardinia gave
them to Sir Charles when he knighted him. I know mine are the best,
and I must have another hundred. Upon my life, my servants have not
had a guinea of board wages these four months, and they tell me they
are starving. Come, make haste, Mr. Burnet you cannot expect me to
stay here all night; give me the money."

"Indeed, my lady, I cannot."

"Heavens! what a brute of a man you are! There," cried she, taking a
string of pearls from her neck, and throwing it on the table; "lend
me some of your trumpery out of your shop, for I am going immediately
from hence to take the Misses Dundas to the opera; so give me the
hundred on that, and let me go."

"This is not worth a hundred."

"What a teasing man you are!" cried her ladyship, angrily. "Well, let
me have the money now, and I will send you the bracelets which belong
to the necklace to-morrow."

"Upon those conditions I will give your ladyship another hundred."

"Oh, do; you are the veriest miser I ever met with. You are worse
than Shylock, or,--Good gracious! what is this?" exclaimed she,
interrupting herself, and taking up the draft he had laid before her;
"and have you the conscience to think, Mr. Pawnbroker, that I will
offer this at your banker's? that I will expose myself so far? No,
no; take it back, and give me gold. Come, dispatch! else I must
disappoint my party. Look, there is my purse," added she, showing it;
"make haste and fill it."

After satisfying her demands, Mr. Burket handed her ladyship out the
way she came in, which was by a private passage; and having seated
her in her carriage, made his bow.

Meanwhile the Count Sobieski, wrapped in astonishment at the
profligacy which the scene he had witnessed implied, remained in
concealment until the pawnbroker returned, and opened the closet-
door.

"Sir," said he, coloring, "you have, undesignedly on your part, been
privy to a very delicate affair; but my credit, sir, and your honor--"

"Shall both be sacred," replied the count, anxious to relieve the
poor man from his perplexity, and forbearing to express surprise. But
Burket perceived it in his look; and before he proceeded to fulfill
the engagement with him, stepped half way to the escritoire, and
resumed.

"You appear amazed, sir, at what you have seen. And if I am not
mistaken, you are from abroad?"

"Indeed, I am amazed," replied Sobieski; "and I am from a country
where the slightest suspicion of a transaction such as this would
brand the woman with infamy."

"And so it ought," answered Burket; "though by that assertion I speak
against my own interest, for it is by such as Lady Hilliars we make
our money. Now, sir," continued he, drawing nearer to the table,
"perhaps, after what you have just beheld, you will not hesitate to
credit what I am going to tell you. I have now in my hands the jewels
of one duchess, of three countesses, and of women of fashion without
number. When these ladies have an ill run at play, they apply to me
in their exigencies; they bring their diamonds here, and as their
occasions require, on that deposit I lend them money, for which they
make me a handsome present when the jewels are released."

"You astonish me!" exclaimed Thaddeus; "what a degrading system of
deceit must govern the lives of these women!"

"It is very lamentable," returned Burket; "but so it is. And they
continue to manage matters very cleverly. By giving me their note or
word of honor, (for if these ladies are not honorable with me, I know
by what hints to keep them in order,) I allow them to have the jewels
out for the birth-days, and receive them again when their exhibition
is over. As a compensation for these little indulgences, I expect
considerable additions to the _douceur_ at the end."

Thaddeus could hardly believe such a history of those women, whom
travellers mentioned as not only the most lovely but the most amiable
creatures in the world.

"Surely, Mr. Burket," cried he, "these ladies must despise each
other, and become contemptible even to our sex."

"O, no," rejoined the pawnbroker; "they seldom trust each other in
these affairs. All my fair customers are not so silly as that pretty
little lady who just now left us. She and another woman of quality
have made each other confidants in this business. And I have no mercy
when both come together! They are as ravenous of my money as if it
had no other use but to supply them. As to their husbands, brothers,
and fathers, they are usually the last people who suspect or hear of
these matters; their applications, when they run out, are made to
Jews and professed usurers, a race completely out of our line."

"But are all English women of quality of this disgraceful stamp?"

"No; Heaven forbid!" cried Burket; "if these female spendthrifts were
not held in awe by the dread of superior characters, we could have no
dependence on their promises. Oh, no; there are ladies about the
court whose virtues are as eminent as their rank; women whose actions
might all be performed in mid-day, before the world; and them I never
see within my doors."

"Well, Mr. Burket," rejoined Thaddeus, smiling; "I am glad to hear
that. Yet I cannot forget the unexpected view of the famous British
fair which this night has offered to my eyes. It is strange!"

"It is very bad, indeed, sir," returned the man, giving him the money
and the paper he had been preparing; "but if you should have occasion
to call again upon me, perhaps you may be astonished still further."

The count bowed; and thanking him for his kindness, wished him a good
evening and left the shop. [Footnote: The whole of this scene at the
pawnbroker's is too true; the writer knows it from an eye and ear-
witness.]

It was about seven o'clock when Thaddeus arrived at the apothecary's.
Mr. Vincent was from home. To say the truth, he had purposely gone
out of the way. For though he did not hesitate to commit a shabby
action, he wanted courage to face its consequence; and to avoid the
probable remonstrances of Mrs. Robson, he commissioned his assistant
to receive the amount of the bill. Without making an observation, the
count paid the man, and was returning homeward along Duke Street and
the piazzas of Drury Lane Theatre, when the crowd around the doors
constrained him to stop.

After two or three ineffectual attempts to get through the bustle, he
retreated a little behind the mob, at the moment when a chariot drew
up, and a gentleman stepping out with two ladies, darted with them
into the house. One glance was sufficient for Sobieski, who
recognized his friend Pembroke Somerset, in full dress, gay and
laughing. The heart of Thaddeus sprang to him at the sight; and
forgetting his neglect, and his own misfortunes, he ejaculated--

"Somerset!"

Trembling with eagerness and emotion, he pressed through the crowd,
and entered the passage at the instant a green door within shut upon
his friend.

His disappointment was dreadful. To be so near Somerset, and to lose
him, was more than he could sustain. His bounding heart recoiled, and
the chill of despair running through his veins turned him faint.
Leaning against the passage door, he took his hat off to give himself
air. He scarcely had stood a minute in this situation, revolving
whether he should follow his friend into the house or wait until he
came out again, when a gentleman begged him to make way for a party
of ladies that were entering. Thaddeus moved to one side; but the
opening of the green door casting a strong light both on his face and
the group behind, his eyes and those of the impertinent inquisitor of
the Hummums met each other.

Whether the man was conscious that he deserved chastisement for his
former insolence, and dreaded to meet it now, cannot be explained;
but he turned pale, and shuffled by Thaddeus, as if he were fearful
to trust himself within reach of his grasp. As for the count, he was
too deeply interested in his own pursuit to waste one surmise upon
him.

He continued to muse on the sight of Pembroke Somerset, which had
conjured up ten thousand fond and distressing recollections; and with
impatient anxiety, determining to watch till the performance was
over, he thought of inquiring his friend's address of the servants;
but on looking round for that purpose, he perceived the chariot had
driven away.

Thus foiled, he returned to his post near the green door, which was
opened at intervals by footmen passing and repassing. Seeing that the
chamber within was a lobby, in which it would be less likely he
should miss his object than if he continued standing without, he
entered with the next person that approached; finding seats along the
sides he sat down on the one nearest to the stairs.

His first idea was to proceed into the playhouse. But he considered
the small chance of discovering any particular individual in so vast
a building as not equal to the expense he must incur. Besides, from
the dress of the gentlemen who entered the box-door, he was sensible
that his greatcoat and round hat were not admissible. [Footnote: A
nearly full dress was worn at that time by ladies and gentlemen at
the great theatres. And much respect has been lost to the higher
classes by the gradual change.]

Having remained above an hour with his eyes invariably fixed on the
stairs, he observed that some curious person, who had passed almost
directly after his friend, came down the steps and walked out. In two
minutes he was returning with a smirking countenance, when, his eyes
accidentally falling on the count, (who sat with his arms folded, and
almost hidden by the shadow of the wall,) he faltered in his step.
Stretching out his neck towards him, the gay grin left his features;
and exclaiming, in an impatient voice, "Confound him," he hastened
once more into the house.

This rencontre with his Hummums' acquaintance affected Thaddeus as
slightly as the former; and without annexing even a thought to his
figure as it flitted by him, he remained watching in the lobby until
half-past eleven. At that hour the doors were thrown open, and the
company began to pour forth.

The count's hopes were again on his lips and in his eyes. With the
first party who came clown the steps, he rose; and planting himself
close to the bottom stair, drew his hat over his face, and narrowly
examined each group as it descended. Every set that approached made
his heart palpitate. How often did it rise and fall during the long
succession which continued moving for nearly half an hour!

By twelve the house was cleared. He saw the middle door locked, and,
motionless with disappointment, did not attempt to stir, until the
man who held the keys told him to go, as he was about to fasten the
other doors.

This roused Thaddeus; and as he was preparing to obey, he asked the
man if there were any other passage from the boxes.

"Yes," cried he; "there is one into Drury Lane."

"Then, by that I have lost him!" was the reply which he made to
himself. And returning homewards, he arrived there a few minutes
after twelve.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XVII.

THE MEETING OF EXILES.


   "And they lifted up their voices and wept."


Thaddeus awoke in the morning with his heart full of the last night's
rencontre. One moment he regretted that he had not been seen by his
friend. In the next, when he surveyed his altered state, he was
almost reconciled to the disappointment. Then, reproaching himself
for a pride so unbecoming his principles and dishonorable to
friendship, he asked, if he were in Somerset's place, and Somerset in
his, whether he could ever pardon the morose delicacy which had
prevented the communication of his friend's misfortunes, and arrival
in the same kingdom with himself.

These reflections soon persuaded his judgment to what his heart was
so much inclined: determining him to inquire Pembroke's address of
every one likely to know a man of Sir Robert Somerset's consequence,
and then to venture a letter.

In the midst of these meditations the door opened, and Mrs. Robson
appeared, drowned in tears.

"My dear, dear sir!" cried she, "my William is going. I have just
taken a last look of his sweet face. Will you go down and say
farewell to the poor child you loved so dearly?"

"No, my good madam," returned Thaddeus, his straying thoughts at once
gathering round this mournful centre; "I will rather retain you here
until the melancholy task be entirely accomplished."

With gentle violence he forced her upon a seat, and in silence
supported her head on his breast, against which she unconsciously
leaned and wept. He listened with a depressed heart to the removal of
the coffin; and at the closing of the street door, which forever shut
the little William from that house in which he had been the source of
its greatest pleasure, a tear trickled down the cheek of Thaddeus;
and the sobbings of the poor grandmother were audible.

The count, incapable of speaking, pressed her hand in his.

"Oh, Mr. Constantine!" cried she, "see how my supports, one after the
other, are taken from me! first my son, and now his infant! To what
shall I be reduced?"

"You have still, my good Mrs. Robson, a friend in Heaven, who will
supply the place of all you have lost on earth."

"True, dear sir! I am a wicked creature to speak as I have done; but
it is hard to suffer: it is hard to lose all we loved in the world!"

"It is," returned the count, greatly affected by her grief. "But God,
who is perfect wisdom as well as perfect love, chooseth rather to
profit us than to please us in his dispensations. Our sweet William
has gained by our loss: he is blessed in heaven, while we weakly
lament him on earth. Besides, you are not yet deprived of all; you
have a grand-daughter."

"Ah, poor little thing! what will become of her when I die? I used to
think what a precious brother my darling boy would prove to his
sister when I should be no more!"

This additional image augmented the affliction of the good old woman;
and Thaddeus, looking on her with affectionate compassion, exclaimed--

"Mrs. Robson, the same Almighty Being that protected me, the last of
my family, will protect the orphan offspring of a woman so like the
revered Naomi!"

Mrs. Robson lifted up her head for a moment. She had never before
heard him utter a sentence of his own history; and what he now said,
added to the tender solemnity of his manner, for an instant arrested
her attention. He went on.

"In me you see a man who, within the short space of three months, has
lost a grandfather, who loved him as fondly as you did your William;
a mother, whom he saw expire before him, and whose sacred remains he
was forced to leave in the hands of her murderers! Yes, Mrs. Robson,
I have neither parents nor a home. I was a stranger, and you took me
in; and Heaven will reward your family, in kind. At least, I promise
that whilst I live, whatever be my fate, should you be called hence,
I will protect your grand-daughter with a brother's care."

"May Heaven in mercy bless you!" cried Mrs. Robson, dropping on her
knees. Thaddeus raised her with gushing eyes; having replaced her in
a seat, he left the room to recover himself.

According to the count's desire, Mrs. Watts called in the evening,
with an estimate of the expenses attending the child's interment.
Fees and every charge collected, the demand on his benevolence was
six pounds. The sum proved rather more than he expected, but he paid
it without a demur, leaving himself only a few shillings.

He considered what he had done as a fulfilment of a duty so
indispensible, that it must have been accomplished even by the
sacrifice of his uttermost farthing. Gratitude and distress held
claims upon him which he never allowed his own necessities to
transgress. All gifts of mere generosity were beyond his power, and,
consequently, in a short time beyond his wish; but to the cry of want
and wretchedness his hand and heart were ever open. Often has he
given away to a starving child in the street that pittance which was
to purchase his own scant meal; and he never felt such neglect of
himself a privation. To have turned his eyes and ears from the little
mendicant would have been the hardest struggle; and the remembrance
of such inhumanity would have haunted him on his pillow. This being
the disposition of Count Sobieski, he found it more difficult to bear
calamity, when viewing another's poverty he could not relieve, than
when assailed himself by penury, in all its other shapes of
desolation.

Towards night, the idea of Somerset again presented itself. When he
fell asleep, his dreams repeated the scene at the playhouse; again he
saw him, and again he eluded his grasp.

His waking thoughts were not less true to their object; and next
morning he went to a quiet coffee-house in the lane where he called
for breakfast, and inquired of the master, "did he know the residence
of Sir Robert Somerset?" The question was no sooner asked than it was
answered to his satisfaction. The Court Guide was examined, and he
found this address: _"Sir Robert Somerset, Bart., Grosvenor
Square,--Somerset Castle, L----shire,----Deerhurst, W----shire."_

Gladdened by the discovery, Thaddeus hastened home and unwilling to
affect his friend by a sudden appearance, with an overflowing heart
he wrote the following letter:--

"To PEMBROKE SOMERSET, ESQ., GROSVENOR SQUARE.

"Dear Somerset,

"Will the name at the bottom of this paper surprise you? Will it give
you pleasure? I cannot suffer myself to retain a doubt! although the
silence of two years might almost convince me I am forgotten. In
truth, Somerset, I had resolved never to obtrude myself and my
misfortunes on your knowledge, until last Wednesday night, when I saw
you going into Drury Lane Theatre; the sight of you quelled all my
resentment, and I called after you, but you did not hear. Pardon me,
my dear friend, that I speak of resentment. It is hard to learn
resignation to the forgetfulness of those we love.

"Notwithstanding that I lost the pocket-book in a battlefield which
contained your direction, I wrote to you frequently at a venture; and
yet, though you knew in what spot in Poland you had left Thaddeus and
his family, I have never heard of you since the day of our
separation. You must have some good reason for your silence; at least
I hope so.

"Doubtless public report has afforded you some information relative
to the destruction of my ever-beloved country! I bear its fate on
myself. You will find me in a poor lodging at the bottom of St.
Martin's Lane. You will find me changed in everything. But the first
horrors of grief have subsided; and my clearest consolation in the
midst of my affliction rises out of its bitterest cause: I thank
Heaven, my revered grandfather and mother were taken from a
consummation of ills which would have reduced them to a misery I am
content to endure alone.

"Come to me, dear Somerset. To look on you, to press you in my arms,
will be a happiness which, even in hope, makes my heart throb with
pleasure.

"I will remain at home all day to-morrow, in the expectation of
seeing you; meanwhile, adieu, my dear Somerset. You will find at No.
5 St. Martin's Lane your ever affectionate

"THADDEUS CONSTANTINE, COUNT SOBIESKI." _Friday noon._

"_P.S._ Inquire for me by the name of Mr. Constantine."
[Footnote: The humble, English home of Thaddeus Sobieski is now
totally vanished, along with the whole row of houses of which it was
one.] With the most delightful emotions, Thaddeus sealed this letter
and gave it to Nanny, with orders to inquire at the post-office "when
he might expect an answer?" The child returned with information that
it would reach Grosvenor Square in an hour, and he could have a reply
by three o'clock.

Three o'clock arrived, and no letter. Thaddeus counted the hours
until midnight, but they brought him nothing but disappointment. The
whole of the succeeding day wore away in the same uncomfortable
manner. His heart bounded at every step in the passage; and throwing
open his room-door, he listened to every person that spoke, but no
voice bore any resemblance to that of Somerset.

Night again shut in; and overcome by a train of doubts, in which
despondence held the greatest share he threw himself on his bed,
though unable to close his eyes.

Whatever be our afflictions, not one human creature who has endured
misfortune will hesitate to aver, that of all the tortures incident
to mortality, there are none like the rackings of suspense. It is the
hell which Milton describes with such horrible accuracy; in its hot
and cold regions, the anxious soul is alternately tossed from the
ardors of hope to the petrifying rigors of doubt and dread. Men who
have not been suspended between confidence and fear, in their
judgment of a beloved friend's faithfulness, are ignorant of "the
nerve whence agonies are born." It is when sunk in sorrow, when
adversity loads us with divers miseries, and our wretchedness is
completed by such desertion!--it is then we are compelled to
acknowledge that, though life is brief, there are few friendships
which have strength to follow it to the end. But how precious are
those few! The are pearls above price!

Such were the reflections of the Count Sobieski when he arose in the
morning from his sleepless pillow. The idea that the letter might
have been delayed afforded him a faint hope, which he cherished all
day, clinging to the expectation of seeing his friend before sunset.
But Somerset did not appear; and obliged to seek an excuse for his
absence, in the supposition of his application having miscarried,
Thaddeus determined to write once more, and to deliver the letter
himself at his friend's door. Accordingly, with emotions different
from those with which he had addressed him a few days before, he
wrote these lines--

"To PEMBROKE SOMERSET, ESQ.,

"If he who once called Thaddeus Sobieski his friend has received a
letter which that exile addressed to him on Friday last, this note
will meet the same neglect. But if this be the first intelligence
that tells Somerset his friend is in town, perhaps he may overlook
that friend's change of fortune; he may visit him in his distress!
who will receive him with open arms, at his humble abode in St.
Martin's Lane.

"SUNDAY EVENING, No. 5, St. Martin's Lane."

Thaddeus having sealed the letter, walked out in search of Sir Robert
Somerset's habitation. After some inquiries, he found Grosvenor
Square; and amidst the darkness of the night, was guided to the house
by the light of the lamps and the lustres which shone through the
open windows. He hesitated a few minutes on the pavement, and looked
up. An old gentleman was standing with a little boy at the nearest
window. Whilst the count's eyes were fixed on these two figures, he
saw Somerset himself come up to the child, and lead it away towards a
group of ladies.

Thaddeus immediately flew to the door, with a tremor over his frame
which communicated itself to the knocker; for he knocked with such
violence that the door was opened in an instant by half-a-dozen
footmen at once. He spoke to one.

"Is Mr. Pembroke Somerset at home?"

"Yes," replied the man, who saw by his plain dress that he could not
be an invited guest; "but he is engaged with company."

"I do not want to see him now," rejoined the count; "only give him
that letter, for it is of consequence."

"Certainly, sir," replied the servant; and Thaddeus instantly
withdrew.

He now turned homeward, with his mind more than commonly depressed.
There was a something in the whole affair which pierced him to the
soul. He had seen the house that contained the man he most warmly
loved, but he had not been admitted within it. He could not forbear
recollecting that when his gates opened wide as his heart to welcome
Pembroke Somerset, how he had been implored by his then grateful
friend to bring the palatine and the countess to England, "where his
father would be proud to entertain them, as the preservers of his
son." How different from these professions did he find the reality!
Instead of seeing the doors widely unclose to receive him, he was
allowed to stand like a beggar on the threshold; and he heard them
shut against him, whilst the form of Somerset glided above him, even
as the shadow of his buried joys.

These discomforting retrospections on the past, and painful
meditations on the present, continued to occupy his mind, until
crossing over from Piccadilly to Coventry Street, he perceived a
wretched-looking man, almost bent double, accosting a party of people
in broken French, and imploring their charity.

The voice and the accent being Sclavonian, arrested the ear of
Thaddeus. Drawing close to the man, as the party proceeded without
taking notice of the application, he hastily asked, "Are you a
Polander?"

"Father of mercies!" cried the beggar, catching hold of his hand, "am
I so blessed! have I at last met him?" and, bursting into tears, he
leaned upon the arm of the count, who, hardly able to articulate with
surprise, exclaimed--

"Dear, worthy Butzou! What a time is this for you and I to meet! But,
come, you must go home with me."

"Willingly, my dear lord," returned he; "for I have no home. I begged
my way from Harwich to this town, and have already spent two dismal
nights in the streets."

"O, my country!" cried the full heart of Thaddeus.

"Yes," continued the poor old soldier; "it received its death wounds
when Kosciusko and my honored master fell."

Thaddeus could not reply; but supporting the exhausted frame of his
friend, who was hardly able to walk, after many pauses, gladly
descried his own door.

The widow opened it the moment he knocked; and seeing some one with
him, was retreating, when Thaddeus, who found from the silence of
Butzou that he was faint, begged her to allow him to take his
companion into her parlor. She instantly made way, and the count
placed the now insensible old man in the arm-chair by the fire.

"He is my friend, my father's friend!" cried Thaddeus, looking at his
pale and haggard face, with a strange wildness in his own features;
"for heaven's sake give me something to restore him."

Mrs. Robson, in dismay, and literally having nothing better in the
house, gave him a glass of water.

"That will not do," exclaimed he, still upholding the motionless body
on his arm; "have you no wine? No anything? He is dying for want."

"None, sir; I have none," answered she, frightened at the violence of
his manner. "Run, Nanny, and borrow something warming of Mrs. Watts."

"Or," cried Thaddeus, "bring me a bottle of wine from the nearest
inn." As he spoke, he threw her the only half-guinea he possessed,
and added, "Fly, for he may die in a moment."

The child flew like lightning to the Golden Cross, and brought the
wine just as Butzou had opened his eyes, and was gazing at Thaddeus
with a languid agony that penetrated his soul. Mrs. Robson held the
water to his lips. He swallowed a little, then feebly articulated, "I
am perishing for want of food."

Thaddeus had caught the bottle from Nanny, and pouring some of its
contents into a glass, made him drink it. This draught revived him a
little. He raised himself in his seat; but still panting and
speechless, leaned his swimming head upon the bosom of his friend,
who knelt by his side, whilst Mrs. Robson was preparing some toasted
bread, with a little more heated wine, which was fortunately good
sherry.

After much kind exertion between the good landlady and the count,
they sufficiently recovered the poor invalid to enable them to
support him up stairs to lie down on the bed. The drowsiness usually
attendant on debility, aided by the fumes of the wine, threw him into
an immediate and deep sleep.

Thaddeus seeing him at rest, thought it proper to rejoin Mrs. Robson,
and by a partial history of his friend, acquaint her with the
occasion of the foregoing scene. He found the good woman surprised
and concerned, but no way displeased; and, in a few words, he gave
her a summary explanation of the precipitancy with which, without her
permission, he had introduced a stranger under her roof.

The substance of what he said related that the person up stairs had
served with him in the army; that on the ruin of his country (which
he could no longer conceal was Poland), the venerable man had come in
quest of him to England, and in his journey had sustained misfortunes
which had reduced him to the state she saw.

"I met him," continued he, "forlorn and alone in the street; and
whilst he lives, I shall hold it my duty to protect him. I love him
for his own sake, and I honor him for my grandfather's. Besides, Mrs.
Robson," cried he, with additional energy, "before I left my country,
I made a vow to my sovereign that wherever I should meet this brave
old man, I would serve him to the last hour of his life. Therefore we
must part no more. Will you give him shelter?" added he, in a subdued
voice. "Will you allow me to retain him in my apartments?"

"Willingly, sir; but how can I accommodate him? he is already in your
bed, and I have not one to spare."

"Leave that to me, best, kindest of women!" exclaimed the count;
"your permission has rendered me happy."

He then wished her a good night, and returning up stairs, wrapped
himself in his dressing-gown, and passed the night by the little fire
of the sitting-room.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE VETERAN'S NARRATIVE.


Owing to comfortable refreshment and a night of undisturbed sleep,
General Butzou awoke in the morning much recovered from the weakness
which had subdued him the preceding day.

Thaddeus observed this change with pleasure. Whilst he sat by his
bed, ministering to him with the care of a son, he dwelt with a
melancholy delight on his revered features, and listened to his
languid voice with those tender associations which are dear to the
heart, though they pierce it with regretful anguish.

"Tell me, my dear general," said he, "for I can bear to hear it now--
tell me what has befallen my unhappy country since I quitted it."

"Every calamity," cried the brave old man, shaking his head, "that
tyranny could devise."

"Well, go on," returned the count, with a smile, which truly declared
that the composure of his air was assumed; "we, who have beheld her
sufferings, and yet live, need not fear hearing them described! Did
you see the king before he left Warsaw?"

"No," replied Butzou; "our oppressors took care of that. Whilst you,
my lord, were recovering from your wounds in the citadel, I set off
for Sachoryn, to join Prince Poniatowski. In my way thither I met
some soldiers, who informed me that his highness, having been
compelled to discharge his troops, was returning to support his royal
brother under the indignities which the haughtiness of the victor
might premeditate. I then directed my steps towards Sendomir, where I
hoped to find Dombrowski, with still a few faithful followers; but
here, too, I was disappointed. Two days before my arrival, that
general, according to orders, had disbanded his whole party.[Footnote:
Dombrowski withdrew into France, where he was soon joined by
others of his countrymen; which little band, in process of time,
by gradual accession of numbers, became what was afterwards
styled the celebrated Polish legion, in the days of Napoleon; at the
head of which legion, the Prince Poniatowski, so often mentioned in
these pages, lost his life in the fatal frontier river his dauntless
courage dared to swim. His remains were taken to Cracow, and buried
near to the tomb of John Sobieski.] I now found that Poland was
completely in the hands of her ravagers, and yet I prepared to return
into her bosom; my feet naturally took that course. But I was
agonized at every step I retrod. I beheld the shores of the Vistula,
lined on every side with the allied troops. Ten thousand were posted
on her banks, and eighteen thousand amongst the ruins of Praga and
Villanow.

"When I approached the walls of Warsaw, imagine, my dear lord, how
great was my indignation! How barbarous the conduct of our enemies!
Batteries of cannon were erected around the city, to level it with
the ground on the smallest murmur of discontent.

"On the morning of my arrival, I was hastening to the palace to pay
my duty to the king, when a Cossack officer intercepted me, whom I
formerly knew, and indeed kindly warned me that if I attempted to
pass, my obstinacy would be fatal to myself and hazardous to his
majesty, whose confinement and suffering were augmented in proportion
to the adherents he retained amongst the Poles. Hearing this, I was
turning away, overwhelmed with grief, when the doors of the audience
chamber opened, and the Counts Potocki, Kilinski, and several others
of your grandfather's dearest friends, were led forth under a guard.
I was standing motionless with surprise, when Potocki, perceiving me,
held forth his hand. I took it, and wringing it, in the bitterness of
my heart uttered some words which I cannot remember, but my Cossack
friend whispered me to beware how I again gave way to such dangerous
remarks.

"'Farewell, my worthy general' said Potocki, in a low voice, 'you see
we are arrested. We loved Poland too faithfully, for her enemies: and
for that reason we are to be sent prisoners to St. Petersburg.
Sharing the fate of Kosciusko, our chains are our distinction; such a
collar of merit is the most glorious order which the imperial sceptre
could bestow on a knight of St. Stanislaus.'

"'Sir, I cannot admit of this conversation,' cried the officer of the
guard; and commanding the escort to proceed, I lost sight of these
illustrious patriots, probably forever.[Footnote: The Potocki family
at that time had still large possessions in the Crimean country of
the Cossacks; for it had formerly belonged to the crown of Poland.
And hence a kind of kindred memory lingered amongst the people: not
disaffecting them from their new masters but allowing a natural
respect for the descendants of the old.]

"I understood, from the few Poles who remained in the citadel, that
the good Stanislaus was to be sent on the same dismal errand of
captivity, to Grodno, the next day. They also told me that Poland
being no more, you had torn yourself from its bleeding remains,
rather than behold the triumphant entry of its conqueror. This
insulting pageant was performed on the 9th of November last. On the
8th, I believe you left Warsaw for England."

"Yes," replied the count, who had listened with a breaking heart to
this distressing narrative; "and doubtless I saved myself much
misery."

"You did. One of the magistrates described to me the whole scene, at
which I would not have been present for the world's empire! He told
me that when the morning arrived in which General Suwarrow, attended
by the confederated envoys, was to make his public _entrée_, not
a citizen could be seen that was not compelled to appear. A dead
silence reigned in the streets; the doors and windows of every house
remained so closed that a stranger might have supposed it to be a
general mourning; and it was the bitterest sight which could have
fallen upon our souls! At this moment, when Warsaw, I may say, lay
dying at the feet of her conqueror, the foreign troops marched into
the city, the only spectators of their own horrible tragedy. At
length, with eyes which could no longer weep, the magistrates,
reluctant, and full of indignation, proceeded to meet the victor on
the bridge of Praga. When they came near the procession, they
presented the keys of Warsaw on their knees."--

"On their knees!" interrupted Thaddeus, starting up, and the blood
flushing over his face.

"Yes," answered Butzou, "on their knees."

"Almighty Justice!" exclaimed the count, pacing the room with
emotion; "why did not the earth open and swallow them! Why did not
the blood which saturated the spot whereon they knelt cry out to
them? O Butzou, this humiliation of Poland is worse to me than all
her miseries!"

"I felt as you feel, my lord," continued the general, "and I
expressed myself with the same resentment; but the magistrate who
related to me that circumstance urged in excuse for himself and his
brethren that such a form was necessary; and had they refused,
probably their lives would have been forfeited."

"Well," inquired Thaddeus, resuming his seat, "but where was the king
during this transaction?"

"In the castle, where he received orders to be present next day at a
public thanksgiving, at which the inhabitants of Warsaw were also
commanded to attend, to perform a _Te Deum_, in gratitude for
the destruction of their country. Thank heaven! I was spared from
witnessing this blasphemy; I was then at Sendomir. But the day after
I had heard of it, I saw the carriage which contained the good
Stanislaus guarded like a traitor's out of the gates, and that very
hour I left the city. I made my way to Hamburgh, where I took a
passage to Harwich. But when there, owing to excessive fatigue, one
of my old wounds broke out afresh; and continuing ill a week, I
expended all my money. Reduced to my last shilling, and eager to find
you, I begged my way from that town to this. I had already spent two
miserable days and nights in the open air, with no other sustenance
than the casual charity of passengers, when Heaven sent you, my
honored Sobieski, to save me from perishing in the streets."

Butzou pressed the hand of his young friend, as he concluded.
Indignation still kept its station on the count's features.

The poor expatriated wanderer observed it with satisfaction, well
pleased that this strong emotion at the supposed pusillanimity of his
countrymen had prevented those bursts of grief which might have been
expected from his sensitive nature, when informed that ruined Poland
was not only treated by its ravagers like a slave, but loaded with
the shackles and usage of a criminal.

Towards evening, General Butzou fell asleep. Thaddeus, leaning back
in his chair, fixed his eyes on the fire, and mused with amazement
and sorrow on what had been told him. When it was almost dark, and he
was yet lost in reflection, Mrs. Robson gently opened the door and
presented a letter. "Here, sir," said she, "is a letter which a
servant has just left; he told me it required no answer."

Thaddeus sprang from his seat at sight of the paper, and almost
catching it from her, his former gloomy cogitations dispersed before
the hopes and fond emotions of friendship which now lit up in his
bosom. Mrs. Robson withdrew. He looked at the superscription--it was
the handwriting of his friend. Tearing it asunder, two folded papers
presented themselves. He opened them, and they were his own letters,
returned without a word. His beating heart was suddenly checked.
Letting the papers fall from his hand, he dropped back on his seat
and closed his eyes, as if he would shut them from the world and its
ingratitude.

Unable to recover from his astonishment, his thoughts whirled about
in a succession of accusations, surmises and doubts, which seemed for
a few minutes to drive him to distraction.

"Was it really the hand of Somerset?"

Again he examined the envelope. It was; and the enclosures were his
own letters, without one word of apology for such incomprehensible
conduct.

"Could he make one? No," replied Thaddeus to himself. "Unhappy that I
am, to have been induced to apply twice to so despicable a man! Oh,
Somerset," cried he, looking at the papers as they lay before him;
"was it necessary that insult should be added to unfaithfulness and
ingratitude, to throw me off entirely? Good heavens! did he think
because I wrote twice, I would persecute him with applications? I
have been told this of mankind; but, that I should find it in him?"

In this way, agitated and muttering, and walking up and down the
room, he spent another wakeful and cheerless night.

When he went down stairs next morning, to beg Mrs. Robson to attend
his friend until his return, she mentioned how uneasy she was at
having heard him most of the preceding night moving above her head.
He was trying to account to her for his restlessness, by complaining
of a headache, but she interrupted him by saying, "O no, sir; I am
sure it is the hard boards you lie on, to accommodate the poor old
gentleman. I am certain you will make yourself ill."

Thaddeus thanked her for her solicitude; but declaring that all beds
hard, or soft, were alike to him, he left her more reconciled to his
pallet on the floor. And with his drawings in his pocket, once more
took the path to Great Newport Street.

Resentment against his fickle friend, and anxiety for the
tranquillity of General Butzou, whose age, infirmities and sufferings
threatened a speedy termination of his life, determined the count to
sacrifice all false delicacy and morbid feelings, and to hazard
another attempt at acquiring the means of affording those comforts to
the sick veteran which his condition demanded. Happen how it would,
he resolved that Butzou should never know the complete wreck of his
property. I shuddered at loading him with the additional distress of
thinking he was a burden on his protector.

Thaddeus passed the door of the printseller who had behaved so ill to
him on his first application; and walking to the farthest shop on the
same side, entered it. Laying his drawings on the counter, he
requested the person who stood there to look at them. They were
immediately opened; and the count, dreading a second repulse, or even
more than similar insolence, hastily added--

"They are scenes in Germany. If you like to have them their price is
a guinea."

"Are you the painter, sir?" was the reply.

"Yes, sir. Do they please you?"

"Yes," answered the tradesman, (for it was the master, examining them
nearer); "there is a breadth and freedom in the style which is novel,
and may take. I will give you your demand;" and he laid the money on
the counter.

Rejoiced that he had succeeded where he had entertained no hope,
Thaddeus, with a bow, was leaving the shop, when the man called after
him, "Stay, sir!"

He returned, prepared to now hear some disparaging remark.

It is strange, but it is true, that those who have been thrust by
misfortune into a state beneath their birth and expectations, too
often consider themselves the objects of universal hostility. They
see contempt in every eye, they suppose insult in every word; the
slightest neglect is sufficient to set the sensitive pride of the
unfortunate in a blaze; and, alas! how little is this sensibility
respected by the rich and gay in their dealings with the unhappy! To
what an addition of misery are the wretched exposed, meeting not only
those contumelies which the prosperous are not backward to bestow,
but those fancied ills which, however unfounded, keep the mind in a
feverish struggle with itself, and an uttered warfare with the
surrounding world!

Repeated insults infused into the mind of Sobieski much of this
anticipating irritability; and it was with a very haughty step that
he turned back to hear what the printseller meant to say.

"I only want to ask whether you follow this art as a profession?"

"Yes."

"Then I shall be glad if you can furnish me with six such drawings
every week."

"Certainly," replied Thaddeus, pleased with the probability thus
securing something towards the support of his friend.

"Then bring me another half-dozen next Monday."

Thaddeus promised, and with a relieved mind took his way homeward.

Who is there in England, I repeat, who does not remember the
dreadfully protracted winter of 1794, when the whole country lay
buried in a thick ice which seemed eternal? Over that ice, and
through those snows, the venerable General Butzou had begged his way
from Harwich to London. He rested at night under the shelter of some
shed or outhouse, and cooled his feverish thirst with a little water
taken from under the broken ice which locked up the springs. The
effect of this was a painful rheumatism, which fixed itself in his
limbs, and soon rendered them nearly useless.

Two or three weeks passed over the heads of the general and his young
protector, Thaddeus cheering the old man with his smiles, and he, in
return, imparting the only pleasure to him which his melancholy heart
could receive--the conviction that his attentions and affection were
productive of comfort.

In the exercise of these duties, the count not only found his health
gradually recover its tone, but his mind became more tranquil, and
less prone to those sudden floods of regret which were rapidly
sapping his life. By a strict economy on his part, he managed to pay
the widow and support his friend out of the weekly profits of his
drawings, which were now and then augmented by a commission to do one
or two more than the stipulated number.

Thus, conversing with Butzou, reading to him when awake or pursuing
his drawings when he slept, Thaddeus spent the time until the
beginning of March.

One fine starlight evening in that month, just before the frost broke
up, after painting all day, he desired little Nanny to take care of
the general; and leaving his work at the printseller's, he then
proceeded through Piccadilly, intending to go as far as Hyde Park
Corner, and return.

Pleased with the beauty of the night, he walked on, not remarking
that he had passed the turnpike, until he heard a scream. The sound
came from near the Park wall. He hurried along, and at a short
distance perceived a delicate-looking woman struggling with a man,
who was assaulting her in a very offensive manner.

Without a moment's hesitation, with one blow of his arm, Thaddeus
sent the fellow reeling against the wall. But while he supported the
outraged person who seemed fainting, the man recovered himself, and
rushing on her champion, aimed a stroke at his head with an immense
bludgeon, which the count, catching hold of as it descended, wrenched
out of his hand. The horrid oaths of the ruffian and the sobs of his
rescued victim collected a mob; and then the villain, fearing worse
usage, made off and left Thaddeus to restore the terrified female at
his leisure.

As soon as she was able to speak, she thanked her deliverer in a
voice and language that assured him it was no common person he had
befriended. But in the circumstance of her distress, all would have
been the same to him;--a helpless woman was insulted; and whatever
her rank might be, he thought she had an equal claim on his
protection.

The mob dispersed; and finding the lady capable of walking, he begged
permission to see her safe home.

"I thank you, sir," she replied, "and I accept your offer with
gratitude. Besides, after your generous interference, it is requisite
that I should account to you how a woman of my appearance came out at
this hour without attendance. I have no other excuse to advance for
such imprudence than that I have often done so with impunity. I have
a friend whose husband, being in the Life-Guards, lives near the
barracks. We often drink tea with each other; sometimes my servants
come for me, and sometimes, when I am wearied and indisposed, I come
away earlier and alone. This happened to-night; and I have to thank
your gallantry, sir, for my rescue from the first outrage of the kind
which ever assailed me."

By the time that a few more complimentary words on her side, and a
modest reply from Thaddeus, had passed, they stopped before a house
in Grosvenor Place. [Footnote: All this local scenery is changed.
There is no turnpike gate now at the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly;
neither is there a park wall. Splendid railings occupy its place; and
two superb triumphal arches, in the fashion of France, one leading
into the Park and the other leading towards Buckingham Palace,
gorgeously fill the sites of the former plain, wayfaring, English
turnpike-lodges.--1845.] The lady knocked at the door; and as soon as
it was opened, the count was taking his leave, but she laid her hand
on his arm, and said, in a voice of sincere invitation:

"No, sir; I must not lose the opportunity of convincing you that you
have not succored a person unworthy of your kindness. I entreat you
to walk in!"

Thaddeus was too much pleased with her manner not to accept this
courtesy. He followed her up stairs into a drawing-room, where a
young lady was seated at work.

"Miss Egerton," cried his conductress, "here is a gentleman who has
this moment saved me from a ruffian. You must assist me to express my
gratitude."

"I would with all my heart," returned she; "but your ladyship confers
benefits so well, you cannot be at a loss how to receive them."

Thaddeus took the chair which a servant set for him, and, with
mingled pleasure and admiration, turned his eyes on the lovely woman
he had rescued. She had thrown off her cloak and veil, and displayed
a figure and countenance full of dignity and interest.

She begged him to lay aside his great-coat, for she must insist upon
his supping with her. There was a commanding softness in her manner,
and a gentle yet unappealable decision in her voice, he could not
withstand; and he prepared to obey, although he was aware the fashion
and richness of the military dress concealed under his coat would
give her ideas of his situation he could not answer.

The lady did not notice his hesitation, but, ringing the bell,
desired the servant to take the gentleman's hat and coat. Thaddeus
instantly saw in the looks of both the ladies what he feared.

"I perceive," said the elder, as she took her seat, "that my
deliverer is in the army: yet I do not recollect having seen that
uniform before."

"I am not an Englishman," returned he.

"Not an Englishman," exclaimed Miss Egerton, "and speak the language
so accurately! You cannot be French?"

"No, madam; I had the honor of serving under the King of Poland."

"Then his was a very gallant court, I suppose," rejoined Miss
Egerton, with a smile; "for I am sorry to say there are few about St.
James's who would have taken the trouble to do what you have done by
Lady Tinemouth."

He returned the young lady's smile. "I have seen too little, madam,
of Englishmen of rank to show any gallantry in defending this part of
my sex against so fair an accuser." Indeed, he recollected the
officers in the Park, and the perfidy of Somerset, and thought he had
no reason to give them more respect than their countrywomen
manifested.

"Come, come, Sophia," cried Lady Tinemouth; "though no woman has less
cause to speak well of mankind than I have. I will not permit my
countrymen to be run down _in toto_. I dare say this gentleman
will agree with me that it shows neither a candid nor a patriotic
spirit." Her ladyship uttered this little rebuke smilingly.

"I dare say he will not agree with you, Lady Tinemouth. No gentleman
yet, who had his wits about him, ever agreed with an elder lady
against a younger. Now, Mr. gentleman!--for it seems the name by
which we are to address you,--what do you say? Am I so very
reprobate?"

Thaddeus almost laughed at the singular way she had chosen to ask his
name; and allowing some of the gloom which generally obscured his
fine eyes to disperse, he answered with a smile--

"My name is Constantine."

"Well, you have replied to my last question first; but I will not let
you off about my sometimes bearish countrymen. I do assure you, the
race of the Raleighs, with their footstep cloaks, is quite _hors de
combat_; and so don't you think, Mr. Constantine, I may call them
so, without any breach of good manners to them or duty to my country?
For you see her ladyship hangs much upon a spinster's patriotism?"

Lady Tinemouth shook her head.

"O, Sophia, Sophia, you are a strange mad-cap."

"I don't care for that; I will have Mr. Constantine's unprejudiced
reply. I am sure, if he had taken as long a time in answering your
call as he does mine, the ruffian might have killed and eaten you too
before he moved to your assistance. Come, may I not say they are
anything but well-bred men?"

"Certainly. A fair lady may say anything."

"Positively, Mr. Constantine, I won't endure contempt! Say such
another word, and I will call you as abominable a creature as the
worst of them."

"But I am not a proper judge, Miss Egerton. I have never been in
company with any of these men; so, to be impartial, I must suspend my
opinion."

"And not believe my word!"

Thaddeus smiled and bowed.

"There, Lady Tinemouth," cried she, affecting pet, "take your
champion to yourself; he is no _preux chevalier_ for me?"

"Thank you, Sophia," returned her ladyship, giving her hand to the
count to lead her to the supper-room. "This is the way she skirmishes
with all your sex, until her shrewd humor transforms them to its own
likeness."

"And where is the man," observed Thaddeus, "who would not be so
metamorphosed under the spells of such a Circe?"

"It won't do, Mr. Constantine," cried she, taking her place opposite
to him: "my anger is not to be appeased by calling me names; you
don't mend the compliment by likening me to a heathen and a witch."

Lady Tinemouth bore her part in the conversation in a strain more in
unison with the count's mind. However, he found no inconsiderable
degree of amusement from the unreflecting volubility and giddy
sallies of her friend; and, on the whole, spent the two hours he
passed there with some perceptions of his almost forgotten sense of
pleasure.

He was in an elegant apartment, in the company of two lovely and
accomplished women, and he was the object of their entire attention
and gratitude. He had been used to this in his days of happiness,
when he was "the expectancy and rose of the fair state, the glass of
fashion and the mould of form,--the observed of all observers!" and
the re-appearance of such a scene awakened, with tender remembrances,
an associating sensibility which made him rise with regret when the
clock struck eleven.

Lady Tinemouth bade him good-night, with an earnest request that he
would shortly repeat his visit; and they parted, mutually pleased
with each other.



CHAPTER XIX.

FRIENDSHIP A STAFF IN HUMAN LIFE.


Pleased as the count was with the acquaintance to which his gallantry
had introduced him, he did not repeat his visit for a long time.

A few mornings after his meeting with Lady Tinemouth, the hard frost
broke up. The change in the atmosphere produced so alarming a relapse
of the general's rheumatic fever, that his friend watched by his
pillow ten days and nights. At the end of this period he recovered
sufficiently to sit up and read or to amuse himself by registering
the melancholy events of the last campaigns in a large book, and
illustrating it with plans of the battles. The sight of this volume
would have distressed Thaddeus, had he not seen that it afforded
comfort to the poor veteran, whom it transported back into the scenes
on which he delighted to dwell; yet he would often lay down his pen,
shut the book, and weep like an infant.

The count left him one morning at his employment, and strolled out,
with the intention of calling on Lady Tinemouth. As he walked along
by Burlington House, he perceived Pembroke Somerset, with an elderly
gentleman, of a very distinguished air, leaning on his arm. They
approached him from Bond Street.

All the blood in the count's body seemed rushing to his heart. He
trembled. The ingenuous smile on his friend's countenance, and his
features so sweetly marked with frankness, made his resolution
falter.

"But proofs," cried he to himself, "are absolute!" and turning his
face to a stand of books that was near him, he stood there until
Somerset had passed. He went past him, speaking these words--

"I trust, father, that ingratitude is not his vice."

"But it is yours, Somerset!" murmured Thaddeus, while for a moment he
gazed after them, and then proceeded on his walk.

When his name was announced at Lady Tinemouth's, he found her with
another lady, but not Miss Egerton. Lady Tinemouth expressed her
pleasure at this visit, and her surprise that it had been so long
deferred.

"The pain of such an apparent neglect of your ladyship's goodness,"
replied he, "has been added to my anxiety for the declining health of
a friend, whose increased illness is my apology,"

"I wish," returned her ladyship, her eyes beaming approbation, "that
all my friends could excuse their absence so well!"

"Perhaps they might if they chose," observed the other lady, "and
with equal sincerity."

Thaddeus understood the incredulity couched under these words. So did
Lady Tinemouth, who, however, rejoined, "Be satisfied, Mr.
Constantine, that I believe you."

The count bowed.

"Fie, Lady Tinemouth!" cried the lady; "you are partial: nay, you are
absurd; did you ever yet hear a man speak truth to a woman?"

"Lady Sara!" replied her ladyship, with one of those arch glances
which seldom visited her eyes, "where will be your vanity if I assent
to this?"

"In the moon, with man's sincerity."

Thaddeus paid little attention to this dialogue. His thoughts, in
spite of himself, were wandering after the figures of Somerset and
his father.

Lady Tinemouth, whose fancy had not been quiet about him since his
prompt humanity had introduced him to her acquaintance, observed his
present absence without noticing it. Indeed, the fruitful imagination
of Sophia Egerton had not lain still. She declared, "he was a soldier
by his dress, a man of rank from his manners, an Apollo in his
person, and a hero from his gallantry!"

Thus had Miss Egerton described him to Lady Sara Ross; "and," added
she, "what convinces me he is a man of fashion, he has not been
within these walls since we told him we should take it as a favor."

Lady Sara was eager to see this handsome stranger; and having
determined to drop in at Lady Tinemouth's every morning until her
curiosity was gratified, she was not a little pleased when she heard
his name announced.

Lady Sara was married; but she was young and of great beauty, and she
liked that its power should be acknowledged by others besides her
husband. The instant she beheld the Count Sobieski, she formed the
wish to entangle him in her flowery chains. She learnt, by his pale
countenance and thoughtful air, that he was a melancholy character;
and above all things, she sighed for such a lover. She expected to
receive from one of his cast a rare tenderness and devotedness; in
short, a fervent and romantic passion!--the fashion of the day ever
since the extravagant French romances, such as Delphine and the like,
came in; and this unknown foreigner appeared to her to be the very
creature of whom her fancy had been in search. His abstraction, his
voice and eyes, the one so touching and the other so neglectful of
anything but the ground, were irresistible, and she resolved from
that moment (in her own words) "to make a set at him."

Not less pleased with this second view of her acquaintance than she
had been at the first, Lady Tinemouth directed her discourse to him,
accompanied by all that winning interest so endearing to an ingenuous
heart. Lady Sara never augured well to the success of her
fascinations when the countess addressed any of her victims; and
therefore she now tried every means in her power to draw aside the
attention of the count. She played with her ladyship's dog; but that
not succeeding, she determined to strike him at once with the full
graces of her figure. Complaining of heat, she threw off her large
green velvet mantle, and rising from her chair, walked towards the
window.

When she looked round to enjoy her victory, she saw that this
manoeuvre had failed like the rest, for the provoking countess was
still standing between her and Thaddeus. Almost angry, she flung open
the sash, and putting her head out of the window, exclaimed, in her
best-modulated tones:

"How d'ye do?"

"I hope your ladyship is well this fine morning!" was answered in the
voice of Pembroke Somerset.

Thaddeus grew pale, and the countess feeling the cold, turned about
to ask Lady Sara to whom she was speaking.

"To a pest of mine," returned she gayly; and then, stretching out her
neck, resumed: "but where, in the name of wonder, Mr. Somerset, are
you driving with all that travelling apparatus?"

"To Deerhurst: I am going to take Lord Avon down. But I keep you in
the cold. Good-morning!"

"My compliments to Sir Robert. Good-by! good-by!" waving her white
hand until his curricle vanished from sight; and when she turned
round, her desires were gratified, for the elegant stranger was
standing with his eyes fixed on that hand. But had she known that,
for any cognizance they took of its beauty, they might as well have
been fixed on vacancy, she would not have pulled down the window, and
reseated herself with such an air of triumph.

The count took his seat with a sigh, and Lady Tinemouth did the same.

"So that is the son of Sir Robert Somerset?"

"Yes," replied Lady Sara; "and what does your ladyship think of him?
He is called very handsome."

"You forget that I am near-sighted," answered the countess; "I could
not discriminate his features, but I think his figure fine. I
remember his father was a singularly-admired man, and celebrated for
taste and talents."

"That may be," resumed Lady Sara, laughing, and anxious to excite
some emotion of rivalry in the breast of Thaddeus. "I am sure I ought
not to call in question his talents and taste, for he has often
wished that fate had reserved me for his son." She sighed while she
spoke, and looked down.

This sigh and gesture had more effect upon her victim than all her
exhibited personal charms. So difficult is it to break the cords of
affection and habit. Anything relating to Pembroke Somerset could yet
so powerfully interest the desolate yet generous Sobieski, as to
stamp itself on his features. Besides, the appearance of any latent
disquietude, where all seemed splendor and vivacity, painfully
reminded him of the checkered lot of man. His eyes were resting upon
her ladyship, full of a tender commiseration, pregnant with
compassion for her, himself, and all the world, when she raised her
head. The meeting of such a look from him filled her with agitation.
She felt something strange at her heart. His eyes seemed to have
penetrated to its inmost devices. Blushing like scarlet, she got up
to hide an embarrassment not to be subdued; and hastily wishing the
countess a good-morning curtseyed to him and left the room.

Her ladyship entered her carriage with feelings all in commotion. She
could not account for the confusion which his look had occasioned;
and half angry at a weakness so like a raw, inexperienced girl, she
determined to become one of Lady Tinemouth's constant visitors, until
she should have brought him (as she had done most of the men in her
circle) to her feet.

These were her ladyship's resolutions, while she rolled along towards
St. James's Place. But she a little exceeded the fact in the
statement of her conquests; for notwithstanding she could have
counted as many lovers as most women, yet few of them would have
ventured the folly of a kneeling petition. In spite of her former
unwedded charms, these worthy lords and gentlemen had, to a man,
adopted the oracle of the poet--

  "Love, free as air, at sight of human ties,
  Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies."

 They all professed to adore Lady Sara; some were caught by her
beauty, others by her _eclat_, but none had the most distant
wish to make this beauty and _eclat_ his own legal property. For
she had no other property to bestow.

The young Marquis of Severn seemed serious towards her ladyship
during the first year of his appearance at court; but at the end of
that time, instead of offering her his hand, he married the daughter
of a rich banker.

Lady Sara was so incensed at this disappointment, that, to show her
disdain of her apostate lover, she set off next day for Gretna Green,
with Horace Ross, a young and early celebrated commander in the navy,
whose honest heart had been some time sueing to her in vain. He was
also nephew to the Earl of Wintown. They were married, and her
ladyship had the triumph of being presented as a bride the same day
with the Marchioness of Severn.

When the whirlwind of her resentment subsided, she began most
dismally to repent her union. She loved Captain Ross as little as she
had loved Lord Severn. She had admired the rank and fashion of the
one, and the profound adoration of the other had made a friend of her
vanity. But now that her revenge was gratified, and the homage of a
husband ceased to excite the envy of her companions, she grew weary
of his attentions, and was rejoiced when the Admiralty ordered him to
take the command of a frigate bound to the Mediterranean.

The last fervent kiss which he imprinted on her lips, as she breathed
out the cold "Good-by, Ross; take care of yourself!" seemed to her
the seal of freedom; and she returned into her dressing-room, not to
weep, but to exult in the prospect of a thousand festivities and a
thousand captives at her feet.

Left at an early age without a mother, and ignorant of the duties of
a wife, she thought that if she kept her husband and herself out of
Doctor's Commons, she should do no harm by amusing herself with the
heart of every man who came in her way. Thus she hardly moved without
a train of admirers. She had already attracted everyone she deemed
worthy of the trouble, and listened to their compliments, and
insolent presumptions, until she was wearied of both. In this
juncture of _ennui_, Miss Egerton related to her the countess's
recontre with the gallant foreigner.

As soon as she heard he was of rank, (for Miss Egerton was not
backward to affirm the dreams of her own imagination,) she formed a
wish to see him; and when, to her infinite satisfaction, he did
present himself, in her eyes he exceeded everything that had been
described. To secure such a conquest, she thought, would not only
raise the envy of the women, but put the men on the alert to discover
some novel and attractive way of proving their devotion.

Whilst Lady Sara was meditating on her new conquest, the count and
Lady Tinemouth remained in their _tete-à-tete_. Her ladyship
talked to him on various subjects; but he answered ill upon them all,
and sometimes very wide of the matter. At last, conscious that he
must be burdensome, he arose, and, looking paler and more depressed
than when he entered, wished her a good morning.

"I am afraid, Mr. Constantine, you are unwell."

Like most people who desire to hide what is passing in their minds,
Thaddeus gladly assented to this, as an excuse for a taciturnity he
could not overcome.

"Then," cried her ladyship, "I hope you will let me know where to
send to inquire after your health."

Thaddeus was confounded for a moment; then, returning into the room,
he took up a pen, which lay on the table, and said,

"I will write my address to a place where any of your ladyship's
commands may reach me; but I will do myself the honor to repeat my
call very soon."

"I shall always be happy to see you," replied the countess, while he
was writing; "but before I engage you in a promise of which you may
afterwards repent, I must tell you that you will meet with dull
entertainment at my house. I see very little company; and were it not
for the inexhaustible spirits of Miss Egerton, I believe I should
become a complete misanthrope."

"Your house will be my paradise!" exclaimed the count, with an
expressiveness to the force of which he did not immediately attend.

Lady Tinemouth smiled.

"I must warn you here, too," cried she. "Miss Egerton must not be the
deity of your paradise. She is already under engagements."

Thaddeus blushed at being mistaken, and wished to explain himself.

"You misunderstand me, madam. I am not insensible to beauty; but upon
my word, at that moment I had nothing else in my thoughts than
gratitude for your ladyship's kindness to an absolute stranger."

"That is true, Mr. Constantine: you are an absolute stranger, if the
want of a formal introduction and an ignorance of your family
constitute that title. But your protection introduced you to me; and
there is something in your appearance which convinces me that I need
not be afraid of admitting you into the very scanty number of my
friends."

Thaddeus perceived the delicacy of Lady Tinemouth, who wished to know
who he was, and yet was unwilling to give him pain by a question so
direct that he must answer it. As she now proposed it, she left him
entirely to his own discretion; and he determined to satisfy her very
proper curiosity, as far as he could without exposing his real name
and circumstances.

The countess, whose benevolent heart was deeply interested in his
favor, observed the changes of his countenance with an anxious hope
that he would be ingenuous. Her solicitude did not arise from any
doubts of his quality and worth, but she wished to be enabled to
reply with promptness to the inquisitive people who might see him at
her house.

"I hardly know," said Thaddeus, "in what words to express my sense of
your ladyship's generous confidence in me; and that my character is
not undeserving of such distinction, time, I trust, will prove." He
paused for a moment, and then resumed: "For my rank, Lady Tinemouth,
it is now of little consequence to my comfort; rather, perhaps, a
source of mortification; for--" he hesitated, and then proceeded,
with a faint color tinging his cheek: "exiles from their country, if
they would not covet misery, must learn to forget; hence I am no
other than Mr. Constantine; though, in acknowledgment of your
ladyship's goodness, I deem it only just that I should not conceal my
real quality from you.

"My family was one of the first in Poland. Even in banishment, the
remembrance that its virtues were as well known as its name, affords
some alleviation to the conviction that when my country fell, all my
property and all my kindred were involved in the ruin. Soon after the
dreadful sealing of its fate, I quitted it, and by the command of a
dying parent, who expired in my arms, sought a refuge in this island
from degradations which otherwise I could neither repel nor avoid."

Thaddeus stopped; and the countess, struck by the graceful modesty
with which this simple account was related, laid her hand upon his.

"Mr. Constantine, I am not surprised at what you have said. The
melancholy of your air induced me to suspect that you were not happy,
and my sole wish in penetrating your reserve was to show you that a
woman can be a sincere friend."

Tears of gratitude glistened in the count's eyes. Incapable of making
a suitable reply, he pressed her hand to his lips. She rose; and
willing to relieve a sensibility that delighted her, added, "I will
not detain you longer: only let me see you soon."

Thaddeus uttered a few inarticulate words, whose significancy
conveyed nothing, but all he felt was declared in their confusion.
The countess's eloquent smile showed that she comprehended their
meaning; and he left the room.



CHAPTER XX.

WOMAN'S KINDNESS.


On the count's return home, he found General Butzou in better
spirits, still poring over his journal. This book seemed to be the
representative of all which had ever been dear to him. He dwelt upon
it and talked about it with a doating eagerness bordering on
insanity.

These symptoms, increasing from day to day, gave his young friend
considerable uneasiness. He listened with pain to the fond dreams
which took possession of the poor old man, who delighted in saying
that much might yet be done in Poland when he should be recovered,
and they be enabled to return together to Warsaw, and stimulate the
people to resume their rights.

Thaddeus at first attempted to prove the emptiness of these schemes;
but seeing that contradiction on this head threw the general into
deeper despondency, he thought it better to affect the same
sentiments, too well perceiving that death would soon terminate these
visions with the venerable dreamer's life.

Accordingly, as far as lay in the count's power, he satisfied all the
fancied wants of his revered friend, who on every other subject was
perfectly reasonable; but at last he became so absorbed in this
chimerical plot, that other conversation, or his meals, seemed to
oppress him with restraint.

When Thaddeus perceived that his company was rather irksome than a
comfort to his friend, he the more readily repeated his visits to
Lady Tinemouth. She now looked for his appearance at least once a
day. If ever a morning and an evening passed away without his
appearance, he was sure of being scolded by Miss Egerton, reproached
by the countess, and frowned at by Lady Sara Ross. In defiance of all
other engagements, this lady contrived to drop in every night at Lady
Tinemouth's. Her ladyship was not more surprised at this sudden
attachment of Lady Sara to her house than pleased with her society.
She found she could lay aside in her little circle that tissue of
affectation and fashion which she wore in public, and really became a
charming woman.

Though Lady Sara was vain, she was mistress of sufficient sense to
penetrate with tolerable certainty into the characters of her
acquaintance. Most of the young men with whom she had hitherto
associated having lived from youth to manhood amongst those
fashionable assemblies where individuality is absorbed in the general
mass of insipidity, she saw they were frivolous, though obsequious to
her, or, at the best, warped in taste, if not in principle; and the
fascinations she called forth to subdue them were suited to their
objects--her beauty, her thoughtless, or her caprice. But, on the
reverse, when she formed the wish to entangle such a man as Thaddeus,
she soon discovered that to engage his attention she must appear in
the unaffected graces of nature. To this end she took pains to
display the loveliness of her form in every movement and position;
yet she managed the action with so inartificial and frank an air,
that she seemed the only person present who was unconscious of the
versatility and power of her charms. She conversed with good sense
and propriety. In short, she appeared completely different from the
gay, ridiculous creature he had seen some weeks before in the
countess's drawing-room.

He now admired both her person and her mind. Her winning softness,
the vivacity of Miss Egerton, and the kindness of the countess,
beguiled him many an evening from the contemplation of melancholy
scenes at his humble and anxious home.

One night it came into the head of Sophia Egerton to banter him about
his military dress. "Do, for heaven's sake, my dear Don Quixote,"
cried she, "let us see you out of your rusty armor! I declare I grow
frightened at it. And I cannot but think you would be merrier out of
that customary suit of solemn black!"

This demand was not pleasing to Thaddeus, but he good-humoredly
replied, "I knew not till you were so kind as to inform me that a
man's temper depends on his clothes."

"Else, I suppose," cried she, interrupting him, "you would have
changed yours before? Therefore, I expect you will do as I bid you
now, and put on a Christian's coat against you next enter this
house."

Thaddeus was at a loss what to say; he only bowed; and the countess
and Lady Sara smiled at her nonsense.

When they parted for the night, this part of the conversation passed
off from all minds but that of Lady Tinemouth. She had considered the
subject, but in a different way from her gay companion. Sophia
supposed that the handsome Constantine wore the dress of his country
because it was the most becoming. But as such a whim did not
correspond with the other parts of his character, Lady Tinemouth. in
her own mind, attributed this adherence to his national habit to the
right cause.

She remarked that whenever she wished him to meet any agreeable
people at her house, he always declined these introductions under the
plea of his dress, though he never proposed to alter it. This
conduct, added to his silence on every subject which related to the
public amusements about town, led her to conclude, that, like the
banished nobility of France he was encountering the various
inconveniences of poverty in a foreign land. She hoped that he had
escaped its horrors; but she could not be certain, for he always
shifted the conversation when it too closely referred to himself.

These observations haunted the mind of Lady Tinemouth, and made her
anxious to contrive some opportunity in which she might have this
interesting Constantine alone, and by a proper management of the
discourse, lead to some avowal of his real situation. Hitherto her
benevolent intentions had been frustrated by various interruptions at
various times. Indeed, had she been actuated by mere curiosity, she
would long ago have resigned the attempt as fruitless; but pity and
esteem kept her watchful until the very hour in which her considerate
heart was fully satisfied.

One morning, when she was writing in her cabinet, a servant informed
her that Mr. Constantine was below. Pleased at this circumstance, she
took advantage of a slight cold that affected her; and hoping to draw
something out of him in the course of a _tete-à-tete_, begged he
would favor her by coming into her private room.

When he entered, she perceived that he looked more pensive than
usual. He sat down by her, and expressed his concern at her
indisposition. She sighed heavily, but remained silent. Her thoughts
were too much occupied with her kind plan to immediately form a
reply. She had determined to give him a cursory idea of her own
unhappiness, and thus, by her confidence, attract him.

"I hope Miss Egerton is well?" inquired he.

"Very well, Mr. Constantine. A heart at ease almost ever keeps the
body in health. May she long continue as happy as at this period, and
never know the disappointments of her friend!"

He looked at the countess.

"It is true, my dear sir," continued she. "It is hardly probable that
the mere effect of thirty-seven years could have made the inroads on
my person which you see; but sorrow has done it; and with all the
comforts you behold around me, I am miserable. I have no joy
independent of the few friends which Heaven has preserved to me; and
yet," added she, "I have another anxiety united with those of which I
complain; some of my friends, who afford me the consolation I
mention, deny me the only return in my power, the office of sharing
their griefs."

Thaddeus understood the expression of her ladyship's eye and the
tenderness of her voice as she uttered these words. He saw to whom
the kind reproach was directed, and he looked down confused and
oppressed.

The countess resumed.

"I cannot deny what your countenance declares; you think I mean you.
I do, Mr. Constantine. I have marked your melancholy; I have weighed
other circumstances; and I am sure that you have many things to
struggle with besides the regrets which must ever hang about the
bosom of a brave man who has witnessed the destruction of his
country. Forgive me, if I give you pain," added she, observing his
heightening color. "I speak from real esteem; I speak to you as I
would to my own son were he in your situation."

"My dearest madam!" cried Thaddeus, overcome by her benevolence, "you
have judged rightly; I have many things to struggle with. I have a
sick friend at home, whom misfortune hath nearly bereft of reason,
and whose wants are now so complicated and expensive, that never till
now did I know the complete desolation of a man without a country or
a profession. For myself, Lady Tinemouth, adversity has few pangs;
but for my friend, for an old man whose deranged faculties have
forgotten the change in my affairs, he who leans on me for support
and comfort,--it is this that must account to your ladyship for those
inconsistencies in my manner and spirits which are so frequently the
subject of Miss Egerton's raillery."

Thaddeus, in the course of this short and rapid narrative, gradually
lowered the tone of his voice, and at the close covered his face with
his hand. He had never before confided the history of his
embarrassments to any creature; and he thought (notwithstanding the
countess's solicitations) he had committed an outrage on the firmness
of his character by having in anyway acknowledged the weight of his
calamities.

Lady Tinemouth considered a few minutes, and then addressed him.

"I should ill repay this generous confidence, my noble young friend,
were I to hesitate a moment in forming some plan which may prove of
service to you. You have told me no more, Mr. Constantine, than I
suspected. And I had something in view." Here the countess stopped,
expecting that her auditor would interrupt her. He remained silent,
and she proceeded: "You spoke of a profession, of an employment."

"Yes, madam," returned he, taking his hands from his eyes; "I should
be glad to engage in any profession or employment you would
recommend."

"I have little interest," answered her ladyship, "with people in
power; therefore I cannot propose anything which will in any degree
suit with your rank; but the employment that I have in view, several
of the most illustrious French nobility have not disdained to
execute."

"Do not fear to mention it to me," cried the count, perceiving her
reluctance; "I would attempt anything that is not dishonorable, to
render service to my poor friend."

"Well, then, would you have any objection to teach languages?"

Thaddeus immediately answered, "Oh, no! I should be happy to do so."

"Then," replied she, greatly relieved by the manner in which he
received her proposal, "I will now tell you that about a week ago I
paid a visit to Lady Dundas, the widow of Sir Hector Dundas, the rich
East Indian director. Whilst I was there, I heard her talking with
her two daughters about finding a proper master to teach them German.
That language has become a very fashionable accomplishment amongst
literary ladies; and Misa Dundas, being a member of the Blue-stocking
Club, [Footnote: Such was the real name given at the time to Mrs.
Montague's celebrated literary parties, held at her house in Portman
Square. The late venerable Sir William Pepys was one of their last
survivors.] had declared her resolution to make a new translation of
Werter. Lady Dundas expressed many objections against the vulgarity
of various teachers whom the young ladies proposed, and ended with
saying that unless some German gentleman could be found, they must
remain ignorant of the language. Your image instantly shot across my
mind; and deeming it a favorable opportunity, I told her ladyship
that if she could wait a few days, I would sound a friend of mine,
who I knew, if he would condescend to take the trouble, must be the
most eligible person imaginable. Lady Dundas and the girls gladly
left the affair to me, and I now propose it to you."

"And I," replied he, "with a thousand thanks, accept the task."

"Then I will make the usual arrangements," returned her ladyship,
"and send you the result."

After half an hour's further conversation, Lady Tinemouth became more
impressed with the unsophisticated delicacy and dignity of the
count's mind; and he, more grateful than utterance could declare,
left his respects for Miss Egerton, and took his leave.



CHAPTER XXI.

FASHIONABLE SKETCHES FROM THE LIFE.


Next morning, whilst Thaddeus was vainly explaining to the general
that he no longer possessed a regiment of horse, which the poor old
man wanted him to order out, to try the success of some manoeuvres he
had been devising, little Nanny brought in a letter from Slaughter's
Coffee-house, where he had noted Lady Tinemouth to direct it to
him.[Footnote: This respectable hotel still exists, near the top of
St. Martin's Lane.--1845.] He opened it, and found these contents:--

"My dear Sir,

"So anxious was I to terminate the affair with Lady Dundas, that I
went to her house last night. I affirmed it as a great obligation
that you would undertake the trouble to teach her daughters; and I
insist that you do not, from any romantic ideas of candor, invalidate
what I have said. I know the world too well not to be convinced of
the truth of Dr. Goldsmith's maxim,--'If you be poor, do not seem
poor, if you would avoid insult as well as suffering.'

"I told Miss Dundas that you had undertaken the task solely at my
persuasion, and that I could not propose other terms than a guinea
for two lessons. She is rich enough for any expense, and made no
objection to my demand; besides, she presented the enclosed, by way
of entrance-money. It is customary. Thus I have settled all
preliminaries, and you are to commence your first lesson on Monday,
at two o'clock. But before then, pray let me see you.

"Cannot you dine with us on Sunday? A sabbath privilege! to speak of
good is blameless. I have informed Miss Egerton of as much of the
affair as I think necessary to account for your new occupation. In
short, gay in spirits as she is, I thought it most prudent to say as
little to her and to Lady Sara as I have done to the Dundases;
therefore, do not be uneasy on that head.

"Come to-morrow, if not before, and you will give real pleasure to
your sincere friend,

     "ADELIZA TINEMOUTH."
  "SATURDAY MORNING, GROSVENOR PLACE."

Truly grateful to the active friendship of the countess, and looking
at the general, who appeared perfectly happy in the prosecution of
his wild schemes, Thaddeus inwardly exclaimed, "By these means I
shall at least have it in my power to procure the assistance which
your melancholy state, my revered friend, requires."

On opening the enclosed, which her ladyship mentioned, he found it to
be a bank note for ten pounds. Both the present and its amount gave
him pain: not having done any service yet to the donor, he regarded
the money more as a gift than as a bond of engagement. However, he
found that this delicacy, with many other painful repugnances, must
at this moment be laid aside; and, without further self-torment, he
consigned the money to the use for which he felt aware the countess
had wished it to be applied, namely, to provide himself with an
English dress.

During these various reflections, he did not leave Lady Tinemouth's
letter unanswered. He thanked her sincerely for her zeal, but
declined dining with her the next day, on account of leaving his poor
friend so long alone; though he promised to come in the evening when
he should be retired to rest.

This excuse was regretted by none more than Lady Sara Ross, who,
having heard from Lady Tinemouth that she expected Mr. Constantine to
dinner on a Sunday, invited herself to be one of the party. She had
now seen him constantly for nearly a month, and found, to her
amazement, that in seeking to beguile him, she had only ensnared
herself. Every word he uttered penetrated to her heart; every glance
of his eyes shook her frame like electricity.

She had now no necessity to affect softness. A young and unsuspected
passion had stolen into her bosom, and imparted to her voice and
countenance all its subtle power to enchant and to subdue. Thaddeus
was not insensible to this gentle fascination; for it appeared to his
ingenuous nature to be unconsciously shown, and from under "veiled
lids." He looked on her as indeed a lovely woman, who, with a
touching delicacy, he observed, often tried to stifle sigh after
sigh, which, fluttering rose to her silent lips. Thus, as silently
remarking her, he became deeply interested in her; for he believed
her yearning heart then thought of her gallant husband, far, far at
sea. So had been his conclusion when he first noticed these
demonstrations of an inward unuttered sensibility. But in a little
while afterwards, when those veiled lids were occasionally raised,
and met his compassionate gaze, she mistook the nature of its
expression; and her responsive glance, wild with ecstasy, returned
him one that darted astonishment, with an appalling dread of his
meaning, through his every vein. But on his pillow the same night,
when he reflected on what he had felt on receiving so strange a look
from a married woman, and one, too, whom he believed to be a virtuous
one! he could not, he would not, suppose it meant anything to him;
and ashamed of even the idea having entered his head, he crushed it
at once, indignant at himself. Though, whenever he subsequently met
her at Lady Tinemouth's, he could not help, as if by a natural
impulse, avoiding the encountering of her eyes.

In the course of conversation at dinner, on the day Thaddeus had been
expected by Lady Tinemouth, in a tone of pleasure she mentioned that
she had conferred a great favor on her young cousins, the Misses
Dundas, by having prevailed on Mr. Constantine to undertake the
trouble of teaching them German. Lady Sara could not conceal her
vexation, nor her wonder at Lady Tinemouth's thinking of such a
thing; and she uttered something like angry contempt at acquiescence,
while inwardly she hated her former old friend for having made the
proposal.

Miss Egerton laughed at the scrape into which Lady Tinemouth had
brought his good nature, and declared she would tell him next time
she saw him what a mulish pair of misses he had presumed to manage.

It was the youngest of these misses that excited Lady Sara's
displeasure. Euphemia Dundas was very pretty; she had a large fortune
at her disposal; and what might not such united temptations effect on
the mind of a man exposed every day to her habitual flirtation? Stung
with jealousy, Lady Sara caught at a slight intimation of his
possibly coming in before the evening should close. Rallying her
smiles, she resolved to make one more essay on his relapsed
insensibility, before she beheld him enter scenes so likely to
extinguish her hopes. Hopes of what? She never allowed herself to
inquire. She knew that she never had loved her husband, that now she
detested him, and was devoted to another. To be assured of a
reciprocal passion from that other, she believed was the extent of
her wish. Thinking that she held her husband's honor safe as her
life, she determined to do what she pleased with her heart. Her
former admirers were now neglected; and, to the astonishment and
admiration of the graver part of her acquaintance, she had lately
relinquished all the assemblies in which she had so recently been the
brightest attraction, to seclude herself by the domestic fireside of
the Countess of Tinemouth.

Thus, whilst the world were admiring a conduct they supposed would
give a lasting happiness to herself and to her husband, she was
cherishing a passion which might prove the destruction of both.

On Sunday evening, Thaddeus entered Lady Tinemouth's drawing-room
just as Miss Egerton seated herself before the tea equipage. At sight
of him she nodded her head, and called him to sit by her. Lady
Tinemouth returned the grateful pressure of his hand. Lady Sara
received him with a palpitating heart, and stooped to remove
something that seemed to incommode her foot; but it was only a feint,
to hide the blushes which were burning on her cheek. No one observed
her confusion. So common is it for those who are the constant
witnesses of our actions to be the most ignorant of their expression
and tendency.

Thaddeus could not, in spite of himself, be so uninformed, and he
gladly obeyed a second summons from the gay Sophia, and drew his
chair close to hers.

Lady Sara observed his motions with a pang she could not conceal; and
pulling her seat as far from the opposite side as possible, began in
silence to sip her tea.

"Ye powers of gallantry!" suddenly exclaimed Miss Egerton, pushing
away the table, and lifting her eye-glass to her eye, "I declare I
have conquered! Look, Lady Tinemouth; look, Lady Sara! If Mr.
Constantine does not better become this English dress than his Polish
horribles did him, drown me for a witch!"

"You see I have obeyed you, madam," returned Thaddeus smiling.

"Ah! you are in the right. Most men do that cheerfully, when they
know they gain by the bargain. Now, you look like a Christian man;
before, you always reminded me of some stalking hero in a tragedy."

"Yes," cried Lady Sara, forcing a smile; "and now you have given him
a striking resemblance to George Barnwell!"

Sophia, who did not perceive the sarcasm couched under this remark,
good-humoredly replied:

"May be so, Lady Sara; but I don't care for his black suit: obedience
was the thing I wanted, and I have it in the present appearance."

"Pray, Lady Tinemouth," asked her ladyship, seeking to revenge
herself on his alacrity to obey Miss Egerton, "what o'clock is it? I
have promised to be at Lady Sarum's concert by ten."

"It is not nine," returned the countess; "besides, this is the first
time I have heard of your engagement. I hoped you would have spent
all the evening with us."

"No," answered Lady Sara, "I cannot." And ringing the bell, she rose.

"Bless me, Lady Sara!" cried Miss Egerton, "you are not going? Don't
you hear that it is little more than eight o'clock?"

Busying herself in tying her cloak, Lady Sara affected not to hear
her, and told the servant who opened the door to order her carriage.

Surprised at this precipitation, but far from guessing the cause,
Lady Tinemouth requested Mr. Constantine to see her ladyship down
stairs.

"I would rather not," cried she, in a quick voice; and darting out of
the room, was followed by Thaddeus, who came up with her just as she
reached the street door. He hastened to assist her into the carriage,
and saw by the light of the flambeaux her face streaming with tears.
He had already extended his hand, when, instead of accepting it, she
pushed it from her, and jumped into the carriage, crying in an
indignant tone, "To Berkeley Square." He remained for a few minutes
looking after her; then returned into the house, too well able to
translate the meaning of all this petulance.

When he reascended the stairs, Lady Tinemouth expressed her wonder at
the whimsical departure of her friend; but as Thaddeus (who was
really disturbed) returned a vague reply, the subject ended.

Miss Egerton, who hardly thought two minutes on the same thing, sent
away the tea-board, and, sitting down by him, exclaimed,--

"Mr. Constantine, I hold it right that no man should be thrown into a
den of wild creatures without knowing what sort of animals he must
meet there. Hence, as I find you have undertaken the taming of that
_ursa major_ Lady Dundas, and her pretty cubs, I must give you a
taste of their quality. Will you hear me?"

"Certainly."

"Will you attend to my advice?"

"If I like it."

"Ha!" replied she, returning his smile with another; "that is just
such an answer as I would have made myself, so I won't quarrel with
you. Lady Tinemouth, you will allow me to draw your kinsfolks'
pictures?"

"Yes, Sophia, provided you don't make them caricatures. Remember,
your candor is at stake; to-morrow Mr. Constantine will judge for
himself."

"And I am sure he will agree with me. Now, Lady Dundas, if you
please! I know your ladyship is a great stickler for precedence."

Lady Tinemouth laughed, and interrupted her--

"I declare, Sophia, you are a very daring girl. What do you not risk
by giving way to this satirical spirit?"

"Not anybody's love that I value, Lady Tinemouth: _you_ know
that I never daub a fair character; Mr. Constantine takes me on your
credit; and if you mean Charles Montresor, he is as bad as myself,
and dare not for his life have any qualms."

"Well, well, proceed," cried her ladyship; "I will not interrupt you
again."

"Then," resumed she, "I must begin with Lady Dundas. In proper
historical style, I shall commence with her birth, parentage, and
education. For the first, my father remembers her when she was
_damoiselle a'honneur_ to Judge Sefton's lady at Surat, and soon
after her arrival there, this pretty Abigail by some means captivated
old Hector Dundas, (then governor of the province,) who married her.
When she returned in triumph to England, she coaxed her foolish
husband to appropriate some of his rupee riches to the purchase of a
baronetage. I suppose the appellation _Mistress_ put her in mind
of her ci-devant abigailship; and in a fond hour he complied, and she
became _My Lady_. That over, Sir Hector had nothing more
obliging to do in this world but to clear her way to perhaps a
coronet. He was so good as to think so himself: and, to add to former
obligations, had the civility to walk out of it; for one night,
whether he had been dreaming of his feats in India, or of a review of
his grand entry into his governorship palace, I cannot affirm, but he
marched out of his bed room window and broke his neck. Ever since
that untoward event, Lady Dundas has exhibited the finest parties in
town. Everybody goes to see her, but whether in compliment to their
own taste or to her silver muslins, I don't know; for there are half
a dozen titled ladies of her acquaintance who, to my certain
knowledge, have not bought a ball-dress this twelvemonth. Well, how
do you like Lady Dundas?"

"I do not like your sketch," replied Thaddeus, with an unconscious
sigh.

"Come, don't sigh about my veracity," interrupted Miss Egerton; "I do
assure you I should have been more correct had I been more severe;
for her Indian ladyship is as ill-natured as she is ill-bred, and is
as presumptuous as ignorant; in short she is a fit mamma for the
delectable Miss Dundas, whose description you shall have in two
questions. Can you imagine Socrates in his wife's petticoats? Can you
imagine a pedant, a scold, and a coquette in one woman? If you can,
you have a foretaste of Diana Dundas. She is large and ugly, and
thinks herself delicate and handsome; she is self-willed and
arrogant, and believes herself wise and learned; and, to sum up all,
she is the most malicious creature breathing."

"My dear Sophia," cried Lady Tinemouth, alarmed at the effect such
high coloring might have on the mind of Thaddeus; "for heaven's sake
be temperate! I never heard you so unbecomingly harsh in my life."

Miss Egerton peeped archly in her face.

"Are you serious, Lady Tinemouth? You know that I would not look
unbecoming in your eyes. Besides, she is no real relation of yours.
Come, shake hands with me, and I will be more merciful to the gentle
Euphemia, for I intend that Mr. Constantine shall be her favorite.
Won't you?" cried she, resigning her ladyship's hand. Thaddeus shook
his head. "I don't understand your Lord Burleigh nods; answer me in
words, when I have finished: for I am sure you will delight in the
zephyr smiles of so sweet a fairy. She is so tiny and so pretty, that
I never see her without thinking of some gay little trinket, all over
precious stones. Her eyes are two diamond sparks, melted into lustre;
and her teeth, seed pearl, lying between rubies. So much for the
casket; but for the quality of the jewel within, I leave you to make
the discovery."

Miss Egerton having run herself out of breath, suddenly stopped.
Seeing that he was called upon to say something, Thaddeus made an
answer which only drew upon him a new volley of raillery. Lady
Tinemouth tried to avert it, but she failed; and Sophia continued
talking with little interruption until the party separated for the
night.



CHAPTER XXII.

HONORABLE RESOURCES OF AN EXILE.


Now that the count thought himself secure of the means of payment, he
sent for a physician, to consult him respecting the state of the
general. When Dr. Cavendish saw and conversed with the venerable
Butzou, he gave it as his opinion that his malady was chiefly on the
nerves, and had originated in grief.

"I can too well suppose it," replied Thaddeus.

"Then," rejoined the physician, "I fear, sir, that unless I know
something of its cause, my visits will prove almost useless."

The count was silent. The doctor resumed--

"I shall be grieved if his sorrows be of too delicate a nature to be
trusted with a man of honor; for in these cases, unless we have some
knowledge of the springs of the derangement, we lose time, and
perhaps entirely fail of a cure. Our discipline is addressed both to
the body and the mind of the patient."

Thaddeus perceived the necessity of compliance, and did so without
further hesitation.

"The calamities, sir, which have occasioned the disorder of my friend
need not be a secret: too many have shared them with him; his sorrows
have been public ones. You must have learnt by his language, Dr.
Cavendish, that he is a foreigner and a soldier. He held the rank of
general in the King of Poland's service. Since the period in which
his country fell, his wandering senses have approximated to what you
see."

Dr. Cavendish paused for a moment before he answered the count; then
fixing his eyes on the veteran, who was sitting at the other end of
the room, constructing the model of a fortified town, he said--

"All that we can do at present, sir, is to permit him to follow his
schemes without contradiction, meanwhile strengthening his system
with proper medicines, and lulling its irritation by gentle opiates.
We must proceed cautiously, and I trust in Heaven that success will
crown us at last. I will order something to be taken every night."

When the doctor had written his prescription, and was preparing to
go, Thaddeus offered him his fee; but the good Cavendish, taking the
hand that presented it, and closing it on the guinea, "No, my dear
sir" said he; "real patriotism is too much the idol of my heart to
allow me to receive payment when I behold her face. Suffer me, Mr.
Constantine, to visit you and your brave companion as a friend, or I
never come again."

"Sir, this generous conduct to strangers--"

"Generous to myself, Mr. Constantine, and not to strangers; I cannot
consider you as such, for men who devote themselves to their country
must find a brother in every honest breast. I will not hear of our
meeting on any other terms." [Footnote: This generous man is no
fictitious character, the original being Dr. Blackburne, late of
Cavendish Square; but who, since the above was written, has long
retired from his profession, passing a revered old age in the
beautiful neighborhood of our old British classic scenes, the Abbey
of Glastonbury.]

Thaddeus could not immediately form a reply adequate to the sentiment
which the generous philanthropy of the doctor awakened. Whilst he
stood incapable of speaking, Cavendish, with one glance of his
penetrating eye, deciphered his countenance, and giving him a
friendly shake by the hand, disappeared.

The count took up his hat; and musing all the way he went on the
unexpected scenes we meet in life,--disappointment where we expected
kindness, and friendship where no hope could arise,--he arrived at
the door of Lady Dundas, in Harley Street.

He was instantly let in, and with much ceremony ushered into a
splendid library, where he was told the ladies would attend him.
Before they entered, they allowed him time to examine its costly
furniture, its glittering book-cases, bird-cages, globes, and
reading-stands, all shining with burnished gilding; its polished
plaster casts of the nine muses, which stood in nine recesses about
the room, draperied with blue net, looped up with artificial roses;
and its fine cut-steel Grecian stove, on each side of which was
placed, on sandal-wood pedestals, two five-feet statues of Apollo and
Minerva.

Thaddeus had twice walked round these fopperies of learning, when the
door opened, and Lady Dundas, dressed in a morning wrapper of Indian
shawls, waddled into the apartment. She neither bowed nor curtseyed
to the count, who was standing when she entered, but looking at him
from head to foot, said as she passed, "So you are come;" and ringing
the bell, called to the servant in no very soft tones, "Tell Miss
Dundas the person Lady Tinemouth spoke of is here." Her ladyship then
sat down in one of the little gilded chairs, leaving Thaddeus still
standing on the spot where he had bowed to her entrance.

"You may sit down," cried she, stirring the fire, and not deigning to
look at him; "for my daughter may not choose to come this half-hour."

"I prefer standing," replied the count, who could have laughed at the
accuracy of Miss Egerton's picture, had he not prognosticated more
disagreeableness to himself from the ill manners of which this was a
specimen.

Lady Dundas took no further notice of him. Turning from her bloated
countenance, (which pride as well as high living had swollen from
prettiness to deformity,) he walked to a window and stationed himself
there, looking into the street, until the door was again opened, and
two ladies made their appearance.

"Miss Dundas," cried her ladyship, "here is the young man that is to
teach you German."

Thaddeus bowed; the younger of the ladies curtseyed; and so did the
other, not forgetting to accompany such condescension with a toss of
the head, that the effect of undue humility might be done away.

Whilst a servant was setting chairs round a table, on which was
painted the Judgment of Hercules, Lady Dundas again opened her lips.

"Pray, Mr. Thingumbob, have you brought any grammars, and primers,
and dictionaries, and syntaxes with you?"

Before he had time to reply in the negative, Miss Dundas interrupted
her mother.

"I wish, madam, you would leave the arrangement of my studies to
myself. Does your ladyship think we would learn out of any book which
had been touched by other people? Thomas," cried she to a servant,
"send Stephens hither."

Thaddeus silently contemplated this strange mother and daughter,
whilst the pretty Euphemia paid the same compliment to him. During
his stay, he ventured to look once only at her sylph-like figure.
There was an unreceding something in her liquid blue eyes, when he
chanced to meet them, which displeased him; and he could not help
seeing that from the instant she entered the room she had seldom
ceased staring in his face.

He was a little relieved by the maid putting the books on the table.
Miss Dundas, taking her seat, desired him to sit down by her and
arrange the lessons. Lady Dundas was drawing to the other side of
Thaddeus, when Euphemia, suddenly whisking round, pushed before her
mother, and exclaimed--

"Dear mamma! you don't want to learn!" and squeezed herself upon the
edge of her mother's chair, who, very angrily getting up, declared
that rudeness to a parent was intolerable from such well-bred young
women, and left the room.

Euphemia blushed at the reproof more than at her conduct; and Miss
Dundas added to her confusion by giving her a second reprimand.
Thaddeus pitied the evident embarrassment of the little beauty, and
to relieve her, presented the page in the German grammar with which
they were to begin. This had the desired effect; and for an hour and
a half they prosecuted their studies with close attention.

Whilst the count continued his directions to her sister, and then
turned his address to herself, Miss Euphemia, wholly unseen by him,
with a bent head was affecting to hear him though at the same time
she looked obliquely through her thick flaxen ringlets, and gazing
with wonder and admiration on his face as it inclined towards her,
said to herself, "If this man were a gentleman, I should think him
the most charming creature in the world."

"Will your task be too long, madam?" inquired Thaddeus; "will it give
you any inconvenience to remember?"

"To remember what?" asked she, for in truth she had neither seen what
he had been pointing at nor heard what he had been saying.

"The lesson madam, I have just been proposing."

"Show it to me again, and then I shall be a better judge."

He did as he was desired, and was taking his leave, when she called
after him:

"Pray, Mr. Constantine, come to-morrow at two. I want you
particularly."

The count bowed and withdrew.

"And what do you want with him to-morrow, child?" asked Miss Dundas;
"you are not accustomed to be so fond of improvement."

Euphemia knew very well what she was accustomed to be fond of; but
not choosing to let her austere sister into her predilection for the
contemplation of superior beauty, she merely answered, "You know,
Diana, you often reproach me for my absurd devotion to novel-reading,
and my repugnance to graver books; now I want at once to be like you,
a woman of great erudition: and for that purpose I will study day and
night at the German, till I can read all the philosophers, and be a
fit companion for my sister."

This speech from Euphemia (who had always been so declared an enemy
to pedantry as to affirm that she learnt German merely because it was
the fashion) would have awakened Miss Dundas to some suspicion of a
covert design, had she not been in the habit of taking down such
large draughts of adulation, that whenever herself was the subject,
she gave it full confidence. Euphemia seldom administered these doses
but to serve particular views; and seeing in the present case that a
little flattery was necessary, she felt no compunction in sacrificing
sincerity to the gratification of caprice. Weak in understanding, she
had fed on works of imagination, until her mind loathed all kinds of
food. Not content with devouring the elegant pages of Mackenzie,
Radcliffe, and Lee, she flew with voracious appetite to sate herself
on the garbage of any circulating library that fell in her way.

The effects of such a taste were exhibited in her manners. Being very
pretty, she became very sentimental. She dressed like a wood nymph,
and talked as if her soul were made of love and sorrow. Neither of
these emotions had she ever really felt; but in idea she was always
the victim of some ill-fated passion, fancying herself at different
periods in love with one or other of the finest young men in her
circle.

By this management she kept faithful to her favorite principle that
"love was a want of her soul!" As it was the rule of her life, it
ever trembled on her tongue, ever introduced the confession of any
new attachment, which usually happened three times a year, to her
dear friend Miss Arabella Rothes. Fortunately for the longevity of
their mutual friendship, this young lady lived in an ancient house,
forty miles to the north of London. This latter circumstance proved a
pretty distress for their pens to descant on; and Arabella remained a
most charming sentimental writing-stock, to receive the catalogue of
Miss Euphemia's lovers; indeed, that gentle creature might have
matched every lady in Cowley's calendar with a gentleman. But every
throb of her heart must have acknowledged a different master. First,
the fashionable sloven, Augustus Somers, lounged and sauntered
himself into her good graces; but his dishevelled hair, and otherwise
neglected toilette, not exactly meeting her ideas of an elegant
lover, she gave him up at the end of three weeks. The next object her
eyes fell upon, as most opposite to her former fancy, was the
charming Marquis of Inverary. But here all her arrows failed, for she
never could extract from him more than a "how d'ye do?" through the
long lapse of four months, during which time she continued as
constant to his fine figure, and her own folly, as could have fallen
to the lot of any poor despairing damsel. However, my lord was so
cruel, so perfidious, as to allow several opportunities to pass in
which he might have declared his passion; and she told Arabella, in a
letter of six sheets, that she would bear it no longer.

She put this wise resolution in practice, and had already played the
same game with half a score, (the last of whom was a young guardsman,
who had just ridden into her heart by managing his steed with the air
of a "feathered Mercury," one day in Hyde Park,) when Thaddeus made
his appearance before her.

The moment she fixed her eyes on him, her inflammable imagination was
set in a blaze. She forgot his apparent subordinate quality in the
nobleness of his figure; and once or twice that evening, while she
was flitting about, the sparkling cynosure of the Duchess of Orkney's
masquerade, her thoughts hovered over the handsome foreigner.

She viewed the subject first one way and then another, and, in her
ever varying mind, "he was everything by turns, and nothing long;"
but at length she argued herself into a belief that he must be a man
of rank from some of the German courts, who having seen her somewhere
unknown to herself, had fallen in love with her, and so had persuaded
Lady Tinemouth to introduce him as a master of languages to her
family that he might the better appreciate the disinterestedness of
her disposition.

This wild notion having once got into her head, received instant
credence. She resolved, without seeming to suspect it, to treat him
as his quality deserved, and to deliver sentiments in his hearing
which should charm him with their delicacy and generosity.

With these chimeras floating in her brain, she returned home, went to
bed, and dreamed that Mr. Constantine had turned out to be the _Duc
d'Enghien_, had offered her his hand, and that she was conducted
to the altar by a train of princes and princesses, his brothers and
sisters.

She woke the next morning from these deliriums in an ecstasy, deeming
them prophetic; and, taking up her book, began with a fluttering
attention to scan the lesson which Thaddeus had desired her to learn.



CHAPTER XXIII.

 "What are these words? These seeming flowers? Maids to call them,
'Love in idleness.'"


The following day at noon, as the Count Sobieski was crossing
Cavendish Square to keep his appointment in Harley Street, he was met
by Lady Sara Ross. She had spoken with the Misses Dundas the night
before, at the masquerade, where discovering the pretty Euphemia
through the dress of Eloisa, her jealous and incensed heart could not
withstand the temptation of hinting at the captivating Abelard she
had selected to direct her studies. Her ladyship soon penetrated into
the situation of Euphemia's heated fancy, and drew from her, without
betraying herself, that she expected to see her master the following
day. Stung to the soul, Lady Sara quitted the rooms, and in a
paroxysm of disappointment, determined to throw herself in his way as
he went to her rival's house.

With this hope, she had already been traversing the square upwards of
half an hour, attended by her maid, when her anxious eye at last
caught a view of his figure proceeding along Margaret Street. Hardly
able to support her tottering frame, shaken as it was with contending
emotions, she accosted him first: for he was passing straight onward,
without looking to the right or the left. On seeing her ladyship, he
stopped, and expressed his pleasure at the meeting.

"If you _really_ are pleased to meet me," said she, forcing a
smile, "take a walk with me round the square. I want to speak with
you."

Thaddeus bowed, and she put her arm through his, but remained silent
for a few minutes, in evident confusion. The count recollected it
must now be quite two. He knew the awkwardness of making the Misses
Dundas wait; and notwithstanding his reluctance to appear impatient
with Lady Sara, he found himself obliged to say--

"I am sorry I must urge your ladyship to honor me with your commands,
for it is already past the time when I ought to have been with the
Misses Dundas."

"Yes," cried Lady Sara, angrily, "Miss Euphemia told me as much; but,
Mr. Constantine, as a friend, I must warn you against her acts, as
well as against those of another lady, who would do well to correct
the boldness of her manner."

"Whom do you mean, madam?" interrogated Thaddeus, surprised at her
warmth, and totally at a loss to conjecture to whom she alluded.

"A little reflection would answer you," returned she, wishing to
retreat from an explanation, yet stimulated by her double jealousy to
proceed: "she may be a good girl, Mr. Constantine, and I dare say she
is; but a woman who has promised her hand to another ought not to
flirt with you. What business had Miss Egerton to command you to wear
an English dress. But she must now see the danger of her conduct, by
your having presumed to obey her."

"Lady Sara!" exclaimed the count, much hurt at this speech, "I hardly
understand you; yet I believe I may venture to affirm that in all
which you have just now said, you are mistaken. Who can witness the
general frankness of Miss Egerton, or listen to the candid manner
with which she avows her attachment to Mr. Montresor, and conceive
that she possesses any thoughts which would not do her honor to
reveal? And for myself," added he, lowering the tone of his voice, "I
trust the least of my faults is presumption. It never was my
character to presume on any lady's condescension; and if dressing as
she approved be deemed an instance of that kind, I can declare, upon
my word, had I not found other motives besides her raillery, my
appearance should not have suffered a change."

"Are you sincere, Mr. Constantine?" cried Lady Sara, now smiling with
pleasure.

"Indeed I am, and happy if my explanation have met with your
ladyship's approbation."

"Mr. Constantine," resumed she, "I have no motive but one in my
discourse with you,--friendship." And casting her eyes down, she
sighed profoundly.

"Your ladyship does me honor."

"I would have you to regard me with the same confidence that you do
Lady Tinemouth. My father possesses the first patronage in this
country, I therefore have it a thousand times more in my power than
she has to render you a service."

Here her ladyship overshot herself; she had not calculated well on
the nature of the mind she wished to ensnare.

"I am grateful to your generosity," replied Thaddeus, "but on this
head I must decline your kind offices. Whilst I consider myself the
subject of one king, though he be in a prison, I cannot accept of any
employment under another who is in alliance with his enemies."

Lady Sara discovered her error the moment he had made his answer;
and, in a disappointed tone, exclaimed, "Then you despise my
friendship!"

"No, Lady Sara; it is an honor far beyond my merits; and any
gratitude to Lady Tinemouth must be doubled when I recollect that I
possess such honor through her means."

"Well," cried her ladyship, "have that as you will; but I expect, as
a specimen of your confidence in me, you will be wary of Euphemia
Dundas. I know she is artful and vain; she finds amusement in
attracting the affections of men; and then, notwithstanding her
affected sensibility, she turns them into a subject for laughter."

"I thank your ladyship," replied the count; "but in this respect I
think I am safe, both from the lady and myself."

"How," asked Lady Sara, rather too eagerly, "is your heart?"--She
paused and looked down.

"No, madam!" replied he, sighing as deeply as herself: but with his
thoughts far from her and the object of their discourse; "I have no
place in my heart to give to love. Besides, the quality in which I
appear at Lady Dundas's would preclude the vainest man alive from
supposing that such notice from any lady there to him could be
possible. Therefore, I am safe, though I acknowledge my obligation to
your ladyship's caution."

Lady Sara was satisfied with the first part of this answer. It
declared that his heart was unoccupied; and, as he had accepted her
proffered friendship, she doubted not, when assisted by more frequent
displays of her fascinations, she could destroy its lambent nature,
and in the end light up in his bosom a similar fire to that which
consumed her own.

The unconscious object of all these devices began internally to
accuse his vanity of having been too fanciful in the formation of
suspicions which on a former occasion he had believed himself forced
to admit. Blushing at a quickness of perception his contrition now
denominated folly, he found himself at the bottom of Harley Street.

Lady Sara called her servant to walk nearer to her; and telling
Thaddeus she should expect him the next evening at Lady Tinemouth's,
wished him good-morning.

He was certain that he must have stayed at least half an hour beyond
the time when he ought to be with the sisters. Anticipating very
haughty looks, and perhaps a reprimand, he knocked at the door, and
was again shown into the library. Miss Euphemia was alone.

He offered some indistinct excuse for having made her wait; but
Euphemia, with good-humored alacrity, interrupted him.

"O pray, don't mind; you have made nobody wait but me, and I can
easily forgive it; for mamma and my sister chose to go out at one, it
being May-day, to see the chimney-sweepers dine at Mrs.
Montague's.[Footnote: This was a gay spectacle, and a most kind act
to these poor children, who thus once a-year found themselves
refreshed and happy. They resorted to the green court-yard of Mrs.
Montague's house every May-day, about one o'clock, dressed in their
gala wreaths, and sporting with their brushes and shovels, where they
found a good dinner, kind words from their hostess and her guests,
and each little sweep received a shilling at parting. On the death of
Mrs. Montague, this humane and pleasurable spectacle ceased.] They
did as they liked, and I preferred staying at home to repeat my
lesson."

Thaddeus, thanking her for her indulgence, sat down, and taking the
book, began to question her. Not one word could she recollect. She
smiled.

"I am afraid, madam, you have never thought of it since yesterday
morning."

"Indeed, I have thought of nothing else: you must forgive me. I am
very stupid, Mr. Constantine, at learning languages; and German is so
harsh--at least to my ears! Cannot you teach me any other thing? I
should like to learn of you of all things, but do think of something
else besides this odious jargon! Cannot you teach me to read poetry
elegantly?--Shakspeare, for instance; I doat upon Shakspeare!"

"That would be strange presumption in a foreigner?"

"No presumption in the least," cried she; "if you can do it, pray
begin! There is Romeo and Juliet."

Thaddeus pushed away the book with a smile.

"I cannot obey. I understand Shakspeare with as much ease as you,
madam, will soon do Schiller, if you apply; but I cannot pretend to
read the play aloud."

"Dear me, how vexatious!--but I must hear you read something. Do,
take up that Werter. My sister got it from the Prussian ambassador,
and he tells me it is sweetest in its own language."

The count opened the book.

"But you will not understand a word of it."

"I don't care for that; I have it by heart in English; and if you
will only read his last letter to Charlotte, I know I can follow you
in my own mind."

To please this whimsical little creature, Thaddeus turned to the
letter, and read it forward with a pathos natural to his voice and
character. When he came to an end and closed the volume, the cadence
of his tones, and the lady's memory, did ample justice to her
sensibility. She looked up, and smiling through her watery eyes,
which glittered like violets wet with dew, drew out her perfumed
handkerchief, and wiping them, said--

"I thank you, Mr. Constantine. You see by this irrepressible emotion
that I feel Goethe, and did not ask you a vain favor."

Thaddeus bowed, for he was at a loss to guess what kind of a reply
could be expected by so strange a creature.

She continued--

"You are a German, Mr. Constantine. Did you ever see Charlotte?"

"Never, madam."

"I am sorry for that; I should have liked to have heard what sort of
a beauty she was. But don't you think she behaved cruelly to Werter?
Perhaps you knew him?"

"No, madam; this lamentable story happened before I was born."

"How unhappy for him! I am sure you would have made the most charming
friends in the world! Have you a friend, Mr. Constantine."

The count looked at her with surprise. She laughed at the expression
of his countenance.

"I don't mean such friends as one's father, mother, sisters and
relations: most people have enough of them. I mean a tender,
confiding friend, to whom you unbosom all your secrets: who is your
other self--a second soul! In short, a creature in whose existence
you forget your own!"

Thaddeus followed with his eyes the heightened color of the fair
enthusiast, who, accompanying her rhapsody with action expressive as
her words, had to repeat her question, "Have you such a friend?"
before he found recollection to answer her in the negative.

The count, who had never been used to such extravagant behavior in a
woman, would have regarded Miss Euphemia Dundas as little better than
insane had he not been prepared by Miss Egerton's description; and he
now acquiesced in the young lady's desire to detain him another hour,
half amused and half wearied with her aimless and wild fancies. But
here he was mistaken. Her fancies were not aimless; his heart was the
game she had in view, and she determined a desperate attack should
make it her own, in return for the deep wounds she had received from
every tone of his voice, whilst reading the Sorrows of Werter.



CHAPTER XXIV.

LADY TINEMOUTH'S BOUDOIR.


Thaddeus spent nearly a fortnight in the constant exercise of his
occupations. In the forepart of each day, until two, he prepared
those drawings by the sale of which he was empowered every week to
pay the good Mrs. Robson for her care of his friend. And he hoped,
when the ladies in Harley Street should think it time to defray any
part of their now large debt to him, he might be enabled to liquidate
the very long bill of his friend's apothecary. But the Misses Dundas
possessed too much money to think of its utility; they used it as
counters; for they had no conception that to other people it might be
the purchaser of almost every comfort. Their comforts came so
certainly, they supposed they grew of necessity out of their
situation, and their great wealth owned no other commission than to
give splendid parties and buy fine things. Their golden shower being
exhaled by the same vanity by which it had been shed, they as little
regarded its dispersion as they had marked its descent.

Hence, these amiable ladies never once recollected that their master
ought to receive some weightier remuneration for his visits than the
honor of paying them; and as poets say the highest honors are
achieved by suffering, so these two sisters, though in different
ways, seemed resolved that Thaddeus should purchase his distinction
with adequate pains.

Notwithstanding that Miss Dundas continued very remiss in her
lessons, she unrelentingly required the count's attendance, and
sometimes, not in the most gentle language, reproached him for a
backwardness in learning she owed entirely to her own inattention and
stupidity. The fair Diana would have been the most erudite woman in
the world could she have found any fine-lady path to the temple of
science; but the goddess who presides there being only to be won by
arduous climbing, poor Miss Dundas, like the indolent monarch who
made the same demand of the philosophers, was obliged to lay the
fault of her own slippery feet on the weakness of her conductors.

As Thaddeus despised her most heartily, he bore ill-humor from that
quarter with unshaken equanimity. But the pretty Euphemia was not so
easily managed. She had now completely given up her fanciful soul to
this prince in disguise, and already began to act a thousand
extravagances. Without suspecting the object, Diana soon discovered
that her sister was in one of her love fits. Indeed she cared nothing
about it; and leaving her to pursue the passion as she liked, poor
Euphemia, according to her custom when laboring under this whimsical
malady, addicted herself to solitude. This romantic taste she
generally indulged by taking her footman to the gate of the green in
Cavendish Square, where he stood until she had performed a pensive
saunter up and down the walk. After this she returned home, adjusted
her hair in the Madonna fashion, (because Thaddeus had one day
admired the female head in a Holy Family, by Guido, over the chimney-
piece,) and then seating herself in some becoming attitude, usually
waited, with her eyes constantly turning to the door, until the
object of these devices presented himself. She impatiently watched
all his motions and looks whilst he attended to her sister; and the
moment that was done, she ran over her own lessons with great
volubility, but little attention. Her task finished, she shut the
books, and employed the remainder of the time in translating a number
of little mottoes into German, which she had composed for boxes,
baskets, and other frippery.

One day, when her young teacher was, as usual, tired almost beyond
endurance with making common sense out of so much nonsense, Euphemia
observed that Diana had removed to the other end of the room with the
Honorable Mr. Lascelles. To give an _éclat_ to her new studies,
Miss Dundas had lately opened her library door to morning visitors;
and seeing her sister thus engaged, Euphemia thought she might do
what she wished without detection. Hastily drawing a folded paper
from her pocket, she desired Thaddeus to take it home, and translate
it into the language he liked best.

Surprised at her manner, he held it in his hand.

"Put it in your pocket," added she, in a hurrying voice, "else my
sister may see it, and ask what it is!"

Full of wonder, he obeyed her; and the little beauty, having executed
her scheme, seemed quite intoxicated with delight. When he was
preparing to withdraw, she called to him, and asked when he should
visit Lady Tinemouth.

"This evening, madam."

"Then," returned she, "tell her ladyship I shall come and sit half-
an-hour with her to-night; and here," added she, running up to him,
"present her that rose, with my love." Whilst she put it into his
hand, she whispered in a low voice, "and you will tell me what you
think of the verses I have given you."

Thaddeus colored and bowed. He hurried out of the house into the
street, as if by that haste he could have gotten out of a dilemma to
which he feared all this foolish mystery might be only the
introduction.

Though of all men in the world he was perhaps the least inclined to
vanity, yet he must have been one of the most stupid had he not been
convinced by this time of the dangerous attachment of Lady Sara.
Added to that painful certainty he now more than dreaded a similar
though a slighter folly in Miss Euphemia.

Can a man see himself the daily object of a pair of melting eyes,
hear everlasting sighs at his entrance and departure, day after day
receive tender though covert addresses about disinterested love, can
he witness all this, and be sincere when he affirms it is the
language of indifference? If that be possible, the Count Sobieski has
no pretensions of modesty. He comprehended the "discoursing" of Miss
Euphemia's "eye;" also the tendency of the love-sick mottoes which,
under various excuses, she put into his hand; and with many a pitying
smile of contempt he contemplated her childish absurdity.

A few days prior to that in which she made this appointment with
Thaddeus, she had presented to him another of her posies, which ran
thus: "Frighted love, like a wild beast, shakes the wood in which it
hides."

Thaddeus almost laughed at the oddity of the conceit.

"Do, dear Mr. Constantine," cried she, "translate it into the
sweetest French you can; for I mean to have it put into a medallion,
and to give it to the person whom I most value on earth!"

There was something so truly ridiculous in the sentence, that,
reluctant to allow even Miss Euphemia to expose herself so far, he
considered a moment how he should make anything so bad better, and
then said, "I am afraid I cannot translate it literally; but surely,
madam, you can do it yourself!"

"Yes; but I like your French better than mine; so pray oblige me."

He had done the same kind of thing a hundred times for her, and,
without further discussion, wrote as follows:--

"L'amour tel qu'une biche blessée, se trahit lui-même par sa crainte,
qui fait remuer le feuillage qui le couvre."

"Bless me, how pretty!" cried she, and immediately put it into her
bosom.

To this unlucky addition of the words _se trahit lui-meme_
Thaddeus was indebted for the present of the folded paper. The ever-
working imagination of Euphemia had seized the inverted thought as a
delicate avowal that he was the wounded deer he had substituted in
place of the wild beast; and as soon is he arrived at home, he found
the fruits of her mistake in the packet she had given with so much
secrecy.

When he broke the seal, something dropped out and fell on the carpet.
He took it up, and blushed for her on finding a gold medallion, with
the words he had altered for Miss Euphemia engraved on blue enamel.
With a vexed haste he next looked at the envelope; it contained a
copy of verses, with this line written at the top:

"To him who will apply them."

On perusing them, he found them to be Mrs. Phillips's beautiful
translation of that ode of Sappho which runs--

 "Blest as the immortal gods is he,
  The friend who fondly sits by thee,
  And hears and sees thee all the while
  Softly speak and sweetly smile!

 "'Twas this deprived my soul of rest,
  And rais'd such tumults in my breast:
  For while I gazed, in transport tost,
  My breath was gone, my voice was lost.

 "My bosom glow'd; the subtle flame
  Ran quick through all my vital frame;
  O'er my dim eyes a darkness hung;
  My ears with hollow murmurs rung.

 "In dewy damps my limbs were chill'd;
  My blood with gentle horrors thrill'd:
  My feeble pulse forgot to play;
  I fainted, sunk and died away!

   "EUPHEMIA."

Thaddeus threw the verses and the medallion together on the table,
and sat for a few minutes considering how he could extricate himself
from an affair so truly farcical in itself, but which might be
productive of a very distressing consequence to him.

He was thinking of at once giving up the task of attending either of
the sisters, when his eyes falling on the uncomplaining but
melancholy features of his poor friend, he exclaimed, "No; for thy
sake, gallant Butzou, I will brave every scene, however abhorrent to
my heart."

Well aware, from observation on Miss Euphemia, that this seeming
tenderness which prompted an act so wild and unbecoming originated in
mere caprice, ha did not hesitate in determining to return the things
in as handsome a manner as possible and by so doing, at once crush
the whole affair. He felt no pain in forming those resolves, because
he saw that not one impulse of her conduct sprung from her heart. It
was a whim raised by him to-day, which might be superseded by another
to-morrow.

But how different was the case with regard to Lady Sara! Her
uncontrolled nature could not long brook the restraints of
friendship. Every attention he gave to Lady Tinemouth, every civility
he paid to Miss Egerton, or to any other lady whom he met at the
countess's, went like a dagger to her soul; and whenever she could
gain his ear in private, she generally made him sensible of her
misery, and his own unhappiness in being its cause, by reproaches
which too unequivocally proclaimed their source.

He now saw that she had given way to a reprehensible and headstrong
passion; and, allowing for the politeness which is due to the sex, he
tried, by an appearance of the most stubborn coldness, and an
obstinate perversity in shutting his apprehension against all her
speeches and actions, to stem a tide that threatened her with ruin.

Lady Tinemouth at least began to open her eyes to the perilous
situation of both her friends. Highly as she esteemed Thaddeus, she
knew not the extent of his integrity. She had lived too long near the
circle of the heir apparent, and had seen too many men from the
courts of the continent, to place much reliance on the firmness of a
single and unattached young man when assailed by rank, beauty and
love.

Alarmed at what might be the result of her observations, and fearing
to lose any time, she had that very evening in winch she expected
Thaddeus to supper drawn out of Lady Sara the unhappy state of her
heart.

The dreadful confession was made by her ladyship, with repeated
showers of tears, and in paroxysms of agony which pierced the
countess to the soul.

"My dear Lady Sara," cried she, "for heaven's sake, remember your
duty to Captain Ross!"

"I shall never forget it," exclaimed her ladyship, shaking her head
mournfully, and striking her breast with her clenched hand, "I never
look on the face of Constantine that I do not execrate from my heart
the vows which I have sworn to Ross, but I have bound myself his
property, and though I hate him, whatever it may cost me, I will
never forget that my faith and honor are my husband's."

With a countenance bathed in tears, Lady Tinemouth put her arms round
the waist of Lady Sara, who now sat motionless, with her eyes fixed
on the fire.

"Dear Lady Sara! that was spoken like yourself. Do more; abstain from
seeing Mr. Constantine."

"Don't require of me that?" cried she; "I could easier rid myself of
existence. He is the very essence of my happiness. It is only in his
company that I forget that I am a wretch."

"This is obstinacy, my dear Lady Sara! This is courting danger."

"Lady Tinemouth, urge me no more. Is it not enough?" continued she,
sullenly, "that I am miserable? Would you drive me to desperation? If
there be danger; you brought me into it."

"I! Lady Sara?"

"Yes, you, Lady Tinemouth; you introduced him to me."

"But you are married! Singularly attractive and amiable as indeed he
is, could I suppose--"

"Nonsense!" cried her ladyship, interrupting her; "you know that I am
married to a mere sailor, more in love with his ugly ship than with
me! But it is not because Constantine is so handsome that I like him.
No; though no human form can come nearer to perfection, yet it was
not that: it was you. You and Sophia Egerton were always telling me
of his bravery; what wealth and honors he had sacrificed in the
service of his country; how nobly he succored the distresses of
others; how heedless he was of his own. This fired my imagination and
won my heart. No; it was not his personal attractions: I am not so
despicable!"

"Dear Lady Sara, be calm!" entreated the countess, completely at a
loss how to manage a spirit of such violence. "Think, my dear friend,
what horrors you would experience if Mr. Constantine were to discover
this predilection, and presume upon it! You know where even the best
men are vulnerable."

The eyes of Lady Sara sparkled with pleasure.

"Why, surely, Lady Sara!" exclaimed Lady Tinemouth, doubtingly.

"Don't fear me, Lady Tinemouth; I know my own dignity too well to do
anything disgraceful; yet I would acquire the knowledge that he loves
me at almost any price. But he is cold," added she: "he is a piece of
obstinate petrefaction, which Heaven itself could not melt!"

Lady Tinemouth was glad to hear this account of Thaddeus; but ere she
could reply, the drawing-room door opened, and Miss Euphemia Dundas
was announced.

When the little beauty expressed her amazement at not seeing Mr.
Constantine, Lady Sara gave her such a withering look, that had her
ladyship's eyes been Medusan, poor Euphemia would have stood there
forever after, a stone statue of disappointment.



CHAPTER XXV.

THE COUNTESS OF TINEMOUTH'S STORY.


Meanwhile the count, having seen Dr. Cavendish, and received a
favorable opinion of his friend, wrote the following note to Miss
Euphemia:--

"TO MISS EUPHEMIA DUNDAS.

"Mr. Constantine very much admires the taste of Miss Euphemia Dundas
in her choice of the verses which she did him the honor of requesting
he would translate into the most expressive language, and to the
utmost of his abilities he has obeyed her commands in Italian,
thinking that language the best adapted to the versification of the
original.

"Mr. Constantine equally admires the style of the medallion which
Miss E. Dundas has condescended to enclose for his inspection, and
assures her the letters are correct."

Having sealed his note, and seen the general in bed, with little
Nanny seated by him to watch his slumbers, Thaddeus pursued his way
to Grosvenor Place.

When he entered Lady Tinemouth's drawing-room, he saw that his young
_inamorata_ had already arrived, and was in close conversation
with the countess. Lady Sara, seated alone on a sofa, inwardly
upbraided Constantine for what she thought an absolute assignation
with Euphemia.

Her half-resentful eyes, yet dewed with the tears which her discourse
with Lady Tinemouth had occasioned, sought his averted face, while he
looked at Miss Dundas with evident surprise and disgust. This pleased
her; and the more so as he only bowed to her rival, shook the
countess by the hand, and then turning, took his station beside
herself on the sofa.

She would not trust her triumphant eyes towards Lady Tinemouth, but
immediately asked him some trifling question. At the same moment
Euphemia tapped him on the arm with her fan, and inquired how it
happened that she had arrived first.

He was answering Lady Sara. Euphemia impatiently repeated her demand,
"How did it happen that I arrived first?"

"I suppose, madam," replied he, smiling, "because you were so
fortunate as to set out first. But had I been so happy as to have
preceded you, the message and present with which I was honored would
have been faithfully delivered, and I hope your ladyship will permit
me to do it now," said he, rising, and taking Euphemia's rose from
his button, as he approached the countess; "Miss Euphemia Dundas had
done me the honor to make me the bearer of sweets to the sweet; and
thus I surrender my trust." He bowed, and put the flower into Lady
Tinemouth's hand, who smiled and thanked Euphemia. But the little
beauty blushed like her own rose; and murmuring within herself at the
literal apprehension of her favorite, whom she thought as handsome as
Cimon, and as stupid too, she flirted her fan, and asked Miss Egerton
whether she had read Charlotte Smith's last delightful novel.

The evening passed off more agreeably to Thaddeus than he had augured
on his entrance. Lady Sara always embarrassed and pained him; Miss
Euphemia teased him to death; but to-night the storm which had
agitated the breast of her ladyship having subsided into
thoughtfulness, it imparted so abstracted an air to her ever-lovely
countenance, that, merely to elude communication with Euphemia, he
remained near her, and by paying those attentions which, so situated,
he could not avoid, he so deluded the wretched Lady Sara, as to
subdue her melancholy into an enchanting softness which to any other
man might have rendered her the most captivating woman on earth.

The only person present who did not approve this change was Lady
Tinemouth. At every dissolving smile of her Circean ladyship, she
thought she beheld the intoxicating cup at the lips of Thaddeus, and
dreaded its effect. Euphemia was too busily employed repeating some
new poems, and too intensely dreaming of what her tutor might say on
the verses and medallion in his possession, to observe the dangerous
ascendency which the superior charms of Lady Sara might acquire over
his heart. Indeed, she had no suspicion of finding a rival in her
ladyship; and when a servant announced the arrival of her mother's
coach, and she saw by her watch that it was twelve o'clock, she arose
reluctantly, exclaiming, "I dare say some plaguing people have
arrived who are to stay with us, else mamma would not have sent for
me so soon."

"I call it late," said Lady Sara, who would not lose an opportunity
of contradicting her; "so I will thank you, Mr. Constantine."
addressing herself to him, "to hand me to my coach at the same time."

Euphemia bit her lip at this movement of her ladyship, and followed
her down stairs, reddening with anger. Her carriage being first, she
was obliged to get into it, but would not suffer the servant to close
the door until she had seen Lady Sara seated in hers; and then she
called to Mr. Constantine to speak with her.

Lady Sara leaned her head out of the window. While she saw the man
she loved approach Lady Dundas's carriage, she, in her turn, bit her
lips with vexation.

"Home, my lady?" asked the servant, touching his hat.

"No; not till Miss Dundas's coach drives on."

Miss Euphemia desired Thaddeus to step in for a moment, and he
reluctantly obeyed.

"Mr. Constantine!" cried the pretty simpleton, trembling with
expectation, as she made room for him beside her, "have you opened
the paper I gave you?"

"Yes, madam," returned he, holding the door open, and widening it
with one hand, whilst with the other he presented his note, "and I
have the honor, in that paper, to have executed your commands."

Euphemia caught it eagerly; and Thaddeus immediately leaping out,
wished her a good-night, and hurried back into the house. Whilst the
carriages drove away, he ascended to the drawing-room, to take leave
of the countess.

Lady Tinemouth, seated on the sofa, was leaning thoughtfully against
one of its arms when he re-entered. He approached her.

"I wish you a good-night, Lady Tinemouth."

She turned her head.

"Mr. Constantine, I wish you would stay a little longer with me! My
spirits are disturbed, and I am afraid it will be near morning before
Sophia returns from Richmond. These rural balls are sad, dissipated
amusements!"

Thaddeus laid down his hat and took a seat by her side.

"I am happy, dear Lady Tinemouth, at all times to be with you; but I
am sorry to hear that you have met with any thing to discompose you.
I was afraid when I came in that something disagreeable had happened;
your eyes----"

"Alas! if my eyes were always to show when I have been weeping, they
might ever be telling tales!" Her ladyship passed her hand across
them, while she added, "We may think on our sorrows with an outward
air of tranquillity, but we cannot always speak of them without some
agitation."

"Ah, Lady Tinemouth!" exclaimed the count, drawing closer to her;
"could not even your generous sympathizing heart escape calamity?"

"To cherish a sympathizing heart, my young friend," replied she, "is
not a very effectual way to avoid the pressure of affliction. On the
reverse, such a temper extracts unhappiness from causes which would
fail to extort even a sigh from dispositions of less susceptibility.
Ideas of sensibility and sympathy are pretty toys for a novice to
play with; but change those wooden swords into weapons of real metal,
and you will find the points through your heart before you are aware
of the danger--at least, I find it so. Mr. Constantine, I have
frequently promised to explain to you the reason of the sadness which
so often tinges my conversation; and I know not when I shall be in a
fitter humor to indulge myself at your expense, for I never was more
wretched, never stood more in need of the consolations of a friend."

She covered her face with her handkerchief, and remained so for some
time. Thaddeus pressed her hand several times, and waited in
respectful silence until she recommenced.

"Forgive me, my dear sir; I am very low to-night--very nervous.
Having encountered two or three distressing circumstances to-day,
these tears relieve me. You have heard me speak of my son, and of my
lord; yet I never collected resolution to recount how we were
separated. This morning I saw my son pass my window; he looked up;
but the moment I appeared, he turned away and hastened down the
street. Though I have received many stronger proofs of dislike, both
from his father and himself, yet slight as this offence may seem, it
pierced me to the soul. O, Mr. Constantine, to know that the child to
whom I gave life regards me with abhorrence, is dreadful--is beyond
even the anxious partiality of a mother either to excuse or to
palliate!"

"Perhaps, dear Lady Tinemouth, you misjudge Lord Harwold; he may be
under the commands of his father, and yet yearn to show you his
affection and duty."

"No, Mr, Constantine; your heart is too good even to guess what may
be the guilt of another. Gracious Heaven! am I obliged to speak so of
my son!--he who was my darling!--he who once loved me so dearly! But
hear me, my dear sir; you shall judge for yourself, and you will
wonder that I am now alive to endure more. I have suffered by him, by
his father, and by a dreadful woman, who not only tore my husband and
children from me, but stood by till I was beaten to the ground. Yes,
Mr. Constantine, any humane man would shudder as you do at such an
assertion; but it is too true. Soon after Lady Olivia Lovel became
the mistress of my lord, and persuaded him to take my son from me, I
heard that the poor boy had fallen ill through grief, and lay sick at
his lordship's house in Hampshire. I heard he was dying. Imagine my
agonies. Wild with distress, I flew to the park lodge, and, forgetful
of anything but my child, was hastening across the park, when I saw
this woman, this Lady Olivia, approaching me, followed by two female
servants. One of them carried my daughter, then an infant, in her
arms; and the other, a child of which this unnatural wretch had
recently become the mother. I was flying towards my little Albina, to
clasp her to my heart, when Lady Olivia caught hold of my arm. Her
voice now rings in my ears. 'Woman!' cried she, 'leave this place;
there are none here to whom you are not an object of abhorrence.'

"Struggling to break from her, I implored to be permitted to embrace
my child; but she held me fast, and, regardless of my cries, ordered
both the women to return into the house. Driven to despair, I dropped
on my knees, conjuring her, by her feelings as a mother, to allow me
for one moment to see my dying son, and that I would promise, by my
hopes of everlasting happiness, to cherish her child as my own should
it ever stand in need of a friend. The horrid woman only laughed at
my prayers, and left me in a swoon. When I recovered, the first
objects I beheld were my lord and Lady Olivia standing near me, and
myself in the arms of a man-servant, whom they had commanded to carry
me outside the gate. At the sight of my husband, I sprang to his
feet, when with one dreadful blow of his hand he struck me to the
ground. Merciful Providence! how did I retain my senses! I besought
this cruel husband to give me a second blow, that I might suffer no
more.

"'Take her out of my sight,' cried he; 'she is mad.'

"I was taken out of his sight, more dead than alive, and led by his
pitying servants to an inn, where I was afterwards confined for three
weeks with a brain fever. From that hour I have never had a day of
health."

Thaddeus was shocked beyond utterance at this relation. The paleness
of his countenance being the only reply he made, the anguished
narrator resumed.

"I have gone out of order. I proposed to inform you clearly of my
situation, but the principal outrage of my heart rose immediately to
my lips. I will commence regularly, if I can methodize my
recollection.

"The Earl of Tinemouth married me from passion: I will not sanctify
his emotions by the name of affection; though," added she, forcing a
smile, "these faded features too plainly show that of all mankind, I
loved but him alone. I was just fifteen when he came to visit my
father, who lived in Berkshire. My father, Mr. Cumnor, and his
father, Lord Harwold, had been friends at college. My lord, then Mr.
Stanhope, was young, handsome, and captivating. He remained the
autumn with us, and at the end of that period declared an affection
for me which my heart too readily answered. About this time he
received a summons from his father, and we parted. Like most girls of
my age, I cherished an unconquerable bashfulness against admitting
any confidant to my attachment; hence my parents knew nothing of the
affair until it burst upon them in the cruelest shape.

"About two months after Mr. Stanhope's departure, a letter arrived
from him, urging me to fly with him to Scotland. He alleged as a
reason for such a step that his grandfather, the Earl of Tinemouth,
insisted on his forming a union with Lady Olivia Lovel, who was then
a young widow, and the favorite niece of the most powerful nobleman
in the kingdom. Upon this demand, he confessed to the earl that his
affections were engaged. His lordship, whose passions were those of a
madman, broke into such horrible execrations of myself and my family,
that Mr. Stanhope, himself, alas! enraged, intemperately swore that
no power on earth should compel him to marry so notorious a woman as
Lady Olivia Lovel, nor to give me up. After communicating these
particulars, he concluded with repeating his entreaties that I would
consent to marry him in Scotland. The whole of this letter so alarmed
me, that I showed it to my parents. My father answered it in a manner
befitting his own character; but that only irritated the impetuous
passions of my lover. In the paroxysm of his rage, he flew to the
earl his grandfather, upbraided him with the ruin of his happiness,
and so exasperated the old man, that he drew his sword upon him; and
had it not been for the interference of his father, Lord Harwold, who
happened to enter at the moment, a most fatal catastrophe might have
ensued. To end the affair at once, the latter, whose gentle nature
embraced the mildest measures, obtained the earl's permission to send
Mr. Stanhope abroad.

"Meanwhile I was upheld by my revered parent, who is now no more, in
firmly rejecting my lover's entreaties for a private marriage. And as
his grandfather continued resolutely deaf to his prayers or threats,
he was at length persuaded by his excellent father to accompany some
friends to France.

"At the end of a few weeks Mr. Stanhope began to regard them as spies
on him; and after a violent quarrel, they parted, no one knowing to
what quarter my lover directed his steps. I believe I was the first
who heard any tidings of him. I remember well; it was in 1773, about
four-and-twenty years ago, that I received a letter from him. Oh! how
legibly are these circumstances written on my memory! It was dated
from Italy, where, he told me, he resided in complete retirement,
under the assumed name of Sackville."

At this name, with every feature fixed in dismay, Thaddeus fell back
on the sofa.

The countess caught his hand.

"What is the matter? You are ill? What is the matter?"

The bolt of indelible disgrace had struck to his heart. It was some
minutes before he could recover; but when he did speak, he said,
"Pray go on, madam; I am subject to this. Pray forgive me, and go on;
I shall become better as you proceed."

"No, my dear friend; I will quit my dismal story at present, and
resume it some other time."

"Pray continue it now," rejoined Thaddeus; "I shall never be more fit
to listen. Do, I entreat you."

"Are you sincere in your request? I fear I have already affected you
too much."

"No; I am sincere: let me hear it all. Do not hold back anything
which relates to that stain to the name of Englishman, who completed
his crimes by rendering you wretched!"

"Alas! he did," resumed her ladyship; "for when he returned, which
was in consequence of the Earl of Tinemouth's death, my father was
also dead, who might have stood between me and my inclinations, and
so preserved me from many succeeding sorrows. I sealed my fate, and
became Stanhope's wife.

"The father of my husband was then Earl of Tinemouth; and as he had
never been averse to our union, he presented me with a cottage on the
banks of the Wye, where I passed three delightful years, the happiest
of womankind. My husband, my mother, and my infant son formed my
felicity; and greatly I prize it--too greatly to be allowed a long
continuance!

"At the end of this period, some gay friends paid us a visit. When
they returned to town, they persuaded my lord to be of the party. He
went; and from that fatal day all my sufferings arose.

"Lord Harwold, instead of being with me in a fortnight, as he had
promised, procrastinated his absence under various excuses from week
to week, during which interval my Albina was born. Day after day I
anticipated the delight of putting her into the arms of her father;
but, what a chasm! she was three months old before he appeared; and
ah! how changed. He was gloomy to me, uncivil to my mother, and
hardly looked at the child."

Lady Tinemouth stopped at this part of her narrative to wipe away her
tears. Thaddeus was sitting forward to the table, leaning on his arm,
with his hand covering his face. The countess was grateful for an
excess of sympathy she did not expect; and taking his other hand, as
it lay motionless on his knee, "What a consolation would it be to
me," exclaimed she, "durst I entertain a hope that I may one day
behold but half such pity from my own son!"

Thaddeus pressed her hand. He did not venture to reply; he could not
tell her that she deceived herself even here; that it was not her
sorrows only which so affected him, but the remembered agonies of his
own mother, whom he did not doubt the capricious villany of this very
earl, under the name of Sackville (a name that had struck like a
death-bolt to the heart of Thaddeus when he first heard his mother
utter it), had devoted to a life of uncomplaining but ceaseless self-
reproach. And had he derived his existence from such a man--the
reprobate husband of Lady Tinemouth! The conviction humbled him,
crushed him, and trod him to the earth. He did not look up, and the
countess resumed:

"It would be impossible, my dear sir, to describe to you the gradual
changes which assured me that I had lost the heart of my husband.
Before the end of the winter he left me again, and I saw him no more
until that frightful hour in which he struck me to the ground.

"The good earl came into Monmouthshire about six weeks after I parted
with my lord. I was surprised and rejoiced to see my kind father-in-
law; but how soon were my emotions driven into a different course! He
revealed to me that during Lord Harwold's first visit to town he had
been in the habit of spending entire evenings with Lady Olivia Lovel."

'This woman,' added he, 'is the most artful of her sex. In spite of
her acknowledged dishonor, you well know my deceased father would
gladly have married her to my son; and now it seems, actuated by
revenge, she resents Lord Harwold's refusal of her hand by seducing
him from his wife. Alas! I am too well convinced that the errors of
my son bear too strict a resemblance to those of his grandfather.
Vain of his superior abilities, and impatient of contradiction,
flattery can mould him to what it pleases. Lady Olivia had discovered
these weak points in his character; and, I am informed, she soon
persuaded him that you impose on his affection by detaining him from
the world; and, seconded by other fascinations, my deluded son has
accompanied her into Spain.'

"You may imagine, Mr. Constantine, my distraction at this
intelligence. I was like one lost; and the venerable earl, fearing to
trust me in such despair out of his sight, brought me and my children
with him to London. In less than four months afterwards, I was
deprived of this inestimable friend by a paralytic stroke. His death
summoned the new earl to England. Whilst I lay on a sick bed, into
which I had been thrown by the shock of my protector's death, my lord
and his mistress arrived in London.

"They immediately assumed the command of my lamented father-in-law's
house, and ordered my mother to clear it directly of me. My heart-
broken parent obeyed, and I was carried in a senseless state to a
lodging in the nearest street. But when this dear mother returned for
my children, neither of them were permitted to see her. The malignant
Lady Olivia, actuated by an insatiable hatred of me, easily wrought
on my frantic husband (for I must believe him mad) to detain them
entirely. A short time after this, that dreadful scene happened which
I have before described.

"Year succeeded year, during which time I received many cruel insults
from my husband, many horrible ones from my son; for I had been
advised to institute a suit against my lord, in which I only pleaded
for the return of my children. I lost my cause, owing, I hope, to bad
counsel, not the laws of my country. I was adjudged to be separated
from the earl, with a maintenance of six hundred a-year, which he
hardly pays. I was tied down never to speak to him, nor to his son
nor his daughter. Though this sentence was passed, I never
acknowledged its justice, but wrote several times to my children.
Lord Harwold, who is too deeply infected with his father's cruelty,
has either returned my letters unopened or with insulting replies.
For my daughter, she keeps an undeviating silence; and I have not
even seen her since the moment in which she was hurried from my eyes
in Tinemouth Park.

"In vain her brother tries to convince me that she detests me. I will
not believe it; and the hope that, should I survive her father, I may
yet embrace my child, has been, and will be, my source of maternal
comfort until it be fulfilled, or I bury my disappointment in the
grave."

Lady Tinemouth put her handkerchief to her eyes, which were again
flowing with tears. Thaddeus thought he must speak, if he would not
betray an interest in her narrative, which he determined no
circumstance should ever humble him to reveal. Raising his head from
his hand, he unconsciously discovered to the countess his agonized
countenance.

"Kind, affectionate Constantine! surely such a heart as thine never
would bring sorrow to the breast of a virtuous husband! You could
never betray the self-deluded Lady Sara to any fatal error!"

Lady Tinemouth did not utter these thoughts. Thaddeus rose from his
seat. "Farewell, my honored friend!" said he; "may Heaven bless you
and pardon your husband!"

Then grasping her hand, with what he intended should be a pressure of
friendship, but which his internal tortures rendered almost
intolerable, he hastened down stairs, opened the outward door, and
got into the street.

Unknowing and heedless whither he went, with the steps of a man
driven by the furies, he traversed one street and then another. As he
went along, in vain the watchmen reminded him by their cries that it
was past three o'clock: he still wandered on, forgetting that it was
night, that he had any home, any destination.

His father was discovered!--that father of whom he had entertained a
latent hope, should they ever meet, that he might produce some excuse
for having been betrayed into an act disgraceful to a man of honor.
But when all these filial dreams were blasted by the conviction that
he owed his being to the husband of Lady Tinemouth, that his mother
was the victim of a profligate, that he had sprung from a man who was
not merely a villain, but the most wanton, the most despicable of
villains, he saw himself bereft of hope and overwhelmed with shame
and horror.

Full of reflections which none other than a son in such circumstances
can conceive, he was lost amidst the obscure alleys of Tottenham
Court Yard, when loud and frequent cries recalled his attention. A
quantity of smoke, with flashes of light, led him to suppose that
they were occasioned by a fire; and a few steps further the awful
spectacle burst upon his sight.

It was a house from the windows of which the flames were breaking out
in every direction, whilst a gathering concourse of people were
either standing in stupefied astonishment or uselessly shouting for
engines and assistance.

At the moment in which he arrived, two or three naked wretches just
escaped from their beds, were flying from side to side, making the
air echo with their shrieks.

"Will nobody save my children?" cried one of them, approaching
Thaddeus, and wringing her hands in agony; "will nobody take them
from the fire?"

"Where shall I seek them?" replied he.

"Oh! in that room," exclaimed she, pointing; "the flames are already
there; they will be burnt! they will be burnt!"

The poor woman was hurrying madly forward, when the count stopped
her, and giving her in charge of a bystander, cried: "Take care of
this woman, if possible, I will save her children." Darting through
the open door, in defiance of the smoke and danger, he made his way
to the children's room, where, almost suffocated by the sulphurous
cloud that surrounded him, he at last found the bed; but it contained
one child only. This he instantly caught up in his arms, and was
hastening down the stairs, when the cries of the other from a distant
part of the building made him hesitate; but thinking it better to
secure one than to hazard both by lingering, he rushed into the
street just as a post-chaise had stopped to inquire the particulars
of the accident. The carriage-door being open, Thaddeus, seeing
ladies in it, without saying a word, threw the sleeping infant into
their laps, and hastened back into the house, where he hoped to
rescue the other child before the fire could increase to warrant
despair. The flames having now made dreadful progress, his face,
hands, and clothes were scorched by their fury as he flew from the
room, following the shrieks of the child, who seemed to change its
situation with every exertion that he made to reach it. At length,
when every moment he expected the house would sink under his feet, as
a last attempt he directed his steps along a passage he had not
before observed, and to his great joy beheld the object of his search
flying down a back staircase. The boy sprung into his arms; and
Thaddeus, turning round, leaped from one landing-place to another,
until he found himself again in the street, surrounded by a crowd of
people.

He saw the poor mother clasp this second rescued child to her breast;
and whilst the spectators were loading her with congratulations, he
slipped away unseen, and proceeded homewards, with a warmth at his
heart which made him forget, in the joy of a benevolent action, that
petrifying shock which had been occasioned by the vices of one too
nearly allied to his being to be hated without horror.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE KINDREDSHIP OF MINDS.


When Thaddeus awoke next morning, he found himself more refreshed,
and freer from the effects of the last night's discovery, than he
could have reasonably hoped. The presence of mind and activity which
the fire called on him to exert, having forced his thoughts into a
different channel, had afforded his nerves an opportunity to regain
some portion of their usual strength. He could now reflect on what he
had heard without suffering the crimes of another to lay him on the
rack. The reins were again restored to his hand, and neither
agitation nor anxiety showed themselves in his face or manner.

Though the count's sensibility was very irritable, and when suddenly
excited he could not always conceal his emotion, yet he possessed a
power of look which immediately repressed the impertinence of
curiosity or insolence. Indeed, this mantle of repulsion proved to be
his best shield; for never had man more demands on the dignity of his
soul to shine out about his person.

Not unfrequently has his sudden appearance in the study-room at Lady
Dundas's at once called a natural glow through the ladies' rouge, and
silenced the gentlemen, when he has happened to enter while Miss
Dundas and half-a-dozen other beaux and belles have been ridiculing
Euphemia on the absurd civilities she paid to her language-master.

The morning after the fire, a little bevy of these fashionable
butterflies were collected in this way at one corner of Miss Dundas's
Hercules table, when, during a moment's pause, "I hope, Miss
Beaufort," cried the Honorable Mr. Lascelles, "I hope you don't intend
to consume the brightness of your eyes over this stupid language?"

"What language, Mr. Lascelles?" inquired she; "I have this moment
entered the room, and I don't know what you are talking about."

"Good Lud! that is very true," cried he; "I mean a shocking jargon,
which a shocking penseroso man teaches to these ladies. We want to
persuade Miss Euphemia that it spoils her mouth."

"You are always misconceiving me, Mr. Lascelles," interrupted Miss
Dundus, impatiently; "I did not advance one word against the
language; I merely remonstrated with Phemy against her preposterous
attentions to the man we hire to teach it."

"That was what I meant, madam," resumed he, with a low bow.

"You meant what, sir?" demanded the little beauty, contemptuously;
"but I need not ask. You are like a bad mirror, which from radical
defect always gives false reflections."

"Very good, faith, Miss Euphemia! I declare, sterling wit! It would
honor Sheridan, or your sister."

"Mr. Lascelles," cried Euphemia, more vexed than before, "let me tell
you such impertinence is very unbecoming a gentleman."

"Upon my soul, Miss Euphemia!"

"Pray allow the petulant young lady to get out of her airs, as she
has, I believe, got out of her senses, without our help!" exclaimed
Miss Dundas; "for I declare I know not where she picked up these vile
democratic ideas."

"I am not a democrat, Diana," answered Euphemia, rising from her
seat; "and I won't stay to be abused, when I know it is all envy,
because Mr. Constantine happened to say that I have a quicker memory
than you have."

She left the room as she ended. Miss Dundas, ready to storm with
passion, but striving to conceal it, burst into a violent laugh, and
turning to Miss Beaufort, said: "You now see, my dear Mary, a sad
specimen of Euphemia's temper; yet I hope you won't think too
severely of her, for, poor thing, she has been spoilt by us all."

"Pray, do not apologize to me in particular!" replied Miss Beaufort;
"but, to be frank, I think it probable she would have shown her
temper less had that little admonition been given in private. I doubt
not she has committed something wrong, yet----"

"Yes, something very wrong," interrupted Miss Dundas, reddening at
this rebuke; "both Mr. Lascelles and Lord Berington there----"

"Don't bring in my name, I pray, Miss Dundas," cried the viscount,
who was looking over an old edition of Massinger's plays; "you know I
hate being squeezed into squabbles."

Miss Dundas dropped the corners of her mouth in contempt, and went
on.

"Well, then, Mr. Lascelles, and Miss Poyntz, here, have both at
different times been present when Phemy has conducted herself in a
very ridiculous way towards a young man Lady Tinemouth sent here to
teach us German. Can you believe it possible that a girl of her
fashion could behave in this style without having first imbibed some
very dangerous notions? I am sure I am right, for she could not be
more civil to him if he were a gentleman." Miss Dundas supposed she
had now set the affair beyond controversy, and stopped with an air of
triumph. Miss Beaufort perceived that her answer was expected.

"I really cannot discover anything in the matter so very
reprehensible," replied she. "Perhaps the person you speak of may
have the qualifications of a gentleman; he may be above his
situation." "Ah! above it, sure enough!" cried Lascelles, laughing
boisterously at his own folly. He is tall enough to be above
everything, even good manners; for notwithstanding his plebeian
calling, I find he doesn't know how to keep his distance."

"I am sorry for that, Lascelles," cried Berrington, measuring the
puppy with his good-natured eye; "for these Magog men are terrible
objects to us of meaner dimensions! 'A substitute shines brightly as
a king until a king be by,'"

"Why, my lord, you do not mean to compare me with such a low fellow
as this? I don't understand Lord Berrington----"

"Bless me, gentlemen!" cried Miss Dundas, frightened at the angry
looks of the little honorable; "why, my lord, I thought you hated
squabbles?"

"So I do, Miss Dundas," replied he, laying down his book and coming
forward; "and upon my honor, Mr. Lascelles," added he, smiling, and
turning towards the coxcomb, who stood nidging his head with anger by
Miss Beaufort's chair,--"upon my honor, Mr. Lascelles, I did not mean
to draw any parallel between your person and talents and those of
this Mr,----, I forget his name, for truly I never saw him in my
life; but I dare swear no comparison can exist between you."

Lascelles took the surface of this speech, and bowed, whilst his
lordship, turning to Miss Beaufort, began to compliment himself on
possessing so fair an ally in defence of an absent person.

"I never have seen him," replied she; "and what is more, I never
heard of him, till on entering the room Mr. Lascelles arrested me for
my opinion about him. I only arrived from the country last night, and
can have no guess at the real grounds of this ill-judged bustle of
Miss Dundas's regarding a man she styles despicable. If he be so, why
retain him in her service? and, what is more absurd, why make a
person in that subordinate situation the subject of debate amongst
her friends?"

"You are right, Miss Beaufort, returned Lord Berrington; but the
eloquent Miss Dundas is so condescending to her friends, she lets no
opportunity slip of displaying her sceptre, both over the republic of
words and the empire of her mother's family."

"Are not you severe now, Lord Berrington? I thought you generous to
the poor tutor!"

"No; I hope I am just on both subjects. I know the lady, and it is
true that I have seen nothing of the tutor; but it is natural to
wield the sword in favor of the defenceless, and I always consider
the absent in that light."

Whilst these two conversed at one end of the room, the other group
were arraigning the presumption of the vulgar, and the folly of those
who gave it encouragement.

At a fresh burst of laughter from Miss Dundas, Miss Beaufort
mechanically turned her head; her eye was arrested by the appearance
of a gentleman in black, who was standing a few paces within the
door. He was regarding the party before him with that lofty
tranquillity which is inseparable from high rank, when accompanied by
a consciousness of as high inward qualities. His figure, his face,
and his air contained that pure simplicity of contour which portrays
all the graces of youth with the dignity of manhood.

Miss Beaufort in a moment perceived that he was unobserved; rising
from her seat, she said, "Miss Dundas, here is a gentleman." Miss
Dundas looked round carelessly.

"You may sit down, Mr. Constantine."

"Is it possible!" thought Miss Beaufort, as he approached, and the
ingenuous expression of his fine countenance was directed towards
her; "can this noble creature have been the subject of such
impertinence!"

"I commend little Phemy's taste!" whispered Lord Berrington, leaving
his seat. "Ha! Miss Beaufort, a young Apollo?"

"And not in disguise!" replied she in the same manner, just as
Thaddeus had bowed to her; and, with "veiled lids," was taking up a
book from the table: not to read, but literally to have an object to
look on which could not insult him.

"What did Miss Dundas say was his name?" whispered the viscount.

"Constantine, I think."

"Mr. Constantine," said the benevolent Berrington, "will you accept
this chair?"

Thaddeus declined it. But the viscount read in the "proud humility"
of his bow that he had not always waited, a dependent, on the nods of
insolent men and ladies of fashion; and, with a good-humored
compulsion, he added, "pray oblige me for by that means I shall have
an excuse to squeeze into the _Sultane_, which is so 'happy as
to bear the weight of Beaufort!'"

Though Miss Beaufort was almost a stranger to his lordship, having
seen him only once before, with her cousin in Leicestershire, she
smiled at this unexpected gallantry, and in consideration of the
motive, made room for him on the sofa.

Offence was not swifter than kindness in its passage to the heart of
Thaddeus, who, whilst he received the viscount's chair, raised his
face towards him with a look beaming such graciousness and
obligation, that Miss Beaufort turned with a renewed glance of
contempt on the party. The next instant they left the study.

The instant Miss Dundas closed the door after her, Lord Berrington
exclaimed, "Upon my honor, Mr. Constantine, I have a good mind to put
that terrible pupil of yours into my next comedy! Don't you think she
would beat Katharine and Petruchio all to nothing? I declare I will
have her."

"In _propria persona_, I hope?" asked Miss Beaufort, with a
playful smile. Lord Berrington answered with a gay sally from
Shakspeare.

The count remained silent during these remarks, though he fully
appreciated the first civil treatment which had greeted him since his
admission within the doors of Lady Dundas Miss Euphemia's attentions
owned any other source than benevolence.

Miss Beaufort wished to relieve his embarrassment by addressing him;
but the more she thought, the less she knew what to say; and she had
just abandoned it as a vain attempt, when Euphemia entered the room
alone. She curtseyed to Thaddeus and took her place at the table.
Lord Berrington rose.

"I must say good-by, Miss Euphemia; I will not disturb your studies.
Farewell, Miss Beaufort!" added he, addressing her, and bending his
lips to her hand. "Adieu! I shall look in upon you to-morrow. Good-
morning, Mr. Constantine!"

Thaddeus bowed to him, and the viscount disappeared.

"I am surprised. Miss Beaufort," observed Euphemia, pettishly (her
temper not having subsided since her sister's lecture), "how you can
endure that coxcomb!"

"Pardon me, Euphemia," replied she; "though I did not exactly expect
the ceremony his lordship adopts in taking leave, yet I think there
is a generosity in his sentiments which deserves a better title."

"I know nothing about his sentiments, for I always run away from his
conversation. A better title! I declare you make me laugh. Did you
ever see such fantastical dressing? I vow I never meet him without
thinking of Jemmy Jessamy, and the rest of the gossamer beaux who
squired our grandmothers!"

"My acquaintance with Lord Berrington is trifling," returned Miss
Beaufort, withdrawing her eyes from the pensive features of the
count, who was sorting the lessons; "yet I am so far prepossessed in
his favor, that I see little in his appearance to reprehend. However,
I will not contest that point, as perhaps the philanthropy I this
morning discovered in his heart, the honest warmth with which he
defended an absent character, after you left the room, might render
his person as charming in my eyes as I certainly found his mind."

Thaddeus had not for a long time heard such sentiments out of Lady
Tinemouth's circle; and he now looked up to take a distinct view of
the speaker.

In consequence of the established mode, that the presiding lady of
the house is to give the tone to her guests, many were the visitors
of Miss Dundas whose faces Thaddeus was as ignorant of when they went
out of the library as when they came in. They took little notice of
him; and he, regarding them much less, pursued his occupation without
evincing a greater consciousness of their presence than what mere
ceremony demanded.

Accordingly, when in compliance with Lord Berrington's politeness he
received his chair, and saw him remove to a sofa beside a very
beautiful woman, in the bloom of youth, Thaddeus supposed her manner
might resemble the rest of Miss Dundas's friends, and never directed
his glance a second time to her figure. But when he heard her (in a
voice that was melody itself) defend his lordship's character, on
principles which bore the most honorable testimony to her own, his
eyes were riveted on her face.

Though a large Turkish shawl involved her fine person, a modest grace
was observable in its every turn. Her exquisitely moulded arm, rather
veiled than concealed by the muslin sleeve that covered it, was
extended in the gentle energy of her vindication. Her lucid eyes
shone with a sincere benevolence, and her lips seemed to breathe balm
while she spoke. His soul startled within itself as if by some
strange recognition that agitated him, and drew him inexplicably
towards its object. It was not the beauty he beheld, nor the words
she uttered, but he did not withdraw his fixed gaze until it
encountered an accidental turn of her eyes, which instantly retreated
with a deep blush mantling her face and neck. She had never met such
a look before, except in an occasional penetrating glance from an
only cousin, who had long watched the movements of her heart with a
brother's care.

But little did Thaddeus think at that time who she was, and how
nearly connected with that friend whose neglect has been a venomed
shaft unto his soul!

Mary Beaufort was the orphan heiress of Admiral Beaufort, one of the
most distinguished officers in the British navy. He was the only
brother of the now lamented Lady Somerset, the beloved mother of
Pembroke Somerset, so often the eloquent subject of his discourse in
the sympathizing ear of Thaddeus Sobieski! The admiral and his wife,
a person also of high quality, died within a few months after the
birth of their only child, a daughter, having bequeathed her to the
care of her paternal aunt; and to the sole guardianship of that
exemplary lady's universally-honored husband, Sir Robert Somerset,
baronet, and M. P. for the county. When Lady Somerset's death spread
mourning throughout his, till then, happy home, (which unforeseen
event occurred hardly a week before her devoted son returned from the
shores of the Baltic,) a double portion of Sir Robert's tenderness
fell upon her cherished niece. In her society alone he found any
consolation for his loss. And soon after Pembroke's arrival, his
widowed father, relinquishing the splendid scenes of his former life
in London, retired into the country, sometimes residing at one family
seat, sometimes at another, hoping by change of place to obtain some
alleviating diversion from his ever sorrow-centred thoughts.

Sir Robert Somerset, from the time of his marriage with the
accomplished sister of Admiral Beaufort to the hour in which he
followed her to the grave, was regarded as the most admired man in
every circle, and yet more publicly respected as being the
magnificent host and most munificent patron of talent, particularly
of British growth, in the whole land. Besides, by his own genius as a
statesman, he often stood a tower of strength in the senate of his
country; and his general probity was of such a stamp, that his
private friends were all solicitous to acquire the protection of his
name over any important trusted interests for their families. For
instance, the excellent Lord Avon consigned his only child to his
guardianship, and his wealthy neighbor, Sir Hector Dundas, made him
sole trusted over the immense fortunes of his daughters.

This latter circumstance explains the intimacy between two families,
the female parts of which might otherwise have probably seldom met.

On Sir Robert Somerset's last transient visit to London, (which had
been only on a call of business, on account of his minor charge, Lord
Avon,) Lady Dundas became so urgent in requesting him to permit Miss
Beaufort to pass the ensuing season with her in town, that he could
not, without rudeness, refuse. In compliance with this arrangement,
the gentle Mary, accompanied by Miss Dorothy Somerset, a maiden
sister of the baronet's, quitted Deerhurst to settle themselves with
her importunate ladyship in Harley Street for the remainder of the
winter--at least the winter of fashion! which, by a strange effect of
her magic wand, in defiance of grassy meadows, leafy trees, and
sweetly-scented flowers, extends its nominal sceptre over the vernal
months of April, May, and even the rich treasures of "resplendent
June."

The summer part of this winter Miss Beaufort reluctantly consented
should be sacrificed to ceremony, in the dust and heat of a great
city; and if the melancholy which daily increased upon Sir Robert
since the death of his wife had not rendered her averse to oppose his
wishes, she certainly would have made objections to the visit.

During the journey, she could not refrain from drawing a comparison
to Miss Dorothy between the dissipated insipidity of Lady Dundas's
way of life and the rationality as well as splendor of her late
lamented aunt's.

Lady Somerset's monthly assemblies were not the most elegant and
brilliant parties in town, but her weekly _conversaziones_
surpassed everything of the kind in the kingdom. On these nights her
ladyship's rooms used to be filled with the most eminent characters
which England could produce. There the young Mary Beaufort listened
to pious divines of every Christian persuasion. There she gathered
wisdom from real philosophers; and in the society of our best living
poets, amongst whom were those leaders of our classic song, Rogers
and William Southey, and the amiable Jerningham, cherished an
enthusiasm for all that is great and good. On these evenings Sir
Robert Somerset's house reminded the visitor of what he had read or
imagined of the school of Athens. He beheld not only sages, soldiers,
statesmen, and poets, but intelligent and amiable women. And in this
rare assembly did the beautiful Mary imbibe that steady reverence for
virtue and talent which no intermixture with the ephemera of the clay
could ever after either displace or impair.

Notwithstanding this rare freedom from the chains with which her
merely fashionable friends would have shackled her mind, Miss
Beaufort possessed too much judgment and delicacy to flash her
liberty in their eyes. Enjoying her independence with meekness, she
held it more secure. Mary was no declaimer, not even in the cause of
oppressed goodness or injured genius. Aware that direct opposition
often incenses malice, she directed the shaft from its aim, if it
were in her power, and when the attempt failed, strove by respect or
sympathy to heal the wound she could not avert. Thus, whatever she
said or did bore the stamp of her soul, whose leading attribute was
modesty. By having learned much, and thought more, she proved in her
conduct that reflection is the alchemy which turns knowledge into
wisdom.

Never did she feel so much regret at the shrinking of her powers from
coming forth by some word or deed in aid of offended worth, as when
she beheld the foreign stranger, so noble in aspect, standing under
the overbearing insolence of Miss Dundas's parasites. But she
perceived that his dignified composure rebounded their darts upon his
insulters, and respect took the place of pity. The situation was new
to her; and when she dropped her confused eyes beneath his unexpected
gaze, she marvelled within herself at the ease with which she had
just taken up the cause of Lord Berrington, and the difficulty she
had found to summon one word as a repellant to the unmerited attack
on the man before her.

Euphemia cared nothing about Lord Berrington; to her his faults or
his virtues were alike indifferent; and forgetting that civility
demanded some reply to Miss Beaufort's last observation, or rather
taking advantage of the tolerated privilege usurped by many high-bred
people of being ill-bred, when and how they pleased, she returned to
Thaddeus, and said with a forced smile--

"Mr. Constantine, I don't like your opinion upon the ode I showed to
you; I think it a very absurd opinion; or perhaps you did not
understand me rightly?"

Miss Beaufort took up a book, that her unoccupied attention might not
disturb their studies.

Euphemia resumed, with a more natural dimple, and touching his glove
with the rosy points of her fingers, said,

"You are stupid at translation."

Thaddeus colored, and sat uneasily; he knew not how to evade this
direct though covert attack.

"I am a bad poet, madam. Indeed, it would be dangerous even for a
good one to attempt the same path with Sappho and Phillips."

Euphemia now blushed as deeply as the count, but from another motive.
Opening her grammar, she whispered, "You are either a very dull or a
very modest man!" and, sighing, began to repeat her lesson.

While he bent his head over the sheet he was correcting; she suddenly
exclaimed, "Bless me, Mr. Constantine, what have you been doing? I
hope you don't read in bed! The top of your hair is burnt to a
cinder! Why, you look much more like one who has been in a fire than
Miss Beaufort does."

Thaddeus put his hand to his head.

"I thought I had brushed away all marks of a fire, in which I really
was last night."

"A fire!" interrupted Miss Beaufort, closing her book; "was it near
Tottenham Court Road?"

"It was, madam," answered he, in a tone almost as surprised as her
own.

"Good gracious!" cried Euphemia, exerting her little voice, that she
might be heard before Miss Beaufort could have time to reply; "then I
vow you are the gentleman who Miss Beaufort said ran into the burning
house, and, covered with flames, saved two children from perishing!"

"And I am so happy as to meet one of the ladies," replied he, turning
with an animated air to Miss Beaufort, "in you, madam, who so
humanely assisted the poor sufferers, and received the child from my
arms?"

"It was indeed myself, Mr. Constantine," returned she, a tear
swimming over her eye, which in a moment gave the cue to the tender
Euphemia. She drew out her handkerchief; and whilst her pretty cheeks
overflowed, and her sweet voice was rendered sweeter by an emotion
raised by ten thousand delightful fancies, she took hold of Miss
Beaufort's hand.

"Oh! my lovely friend, wonder not that I esteem this brave
Constantine far beyond his present station!"

Thaddeus drew back. Miss Beaufort looked amazed; but Euphemia had
mounted her romantic Pegasus, and the scene was too sentimental to
close.

"Come here, Mr. Constantine," cried she, extending her other hand to
his. Wondering where this folly would terminate, he gave it to her,
when, instantly joining it with that of Miss Beaufort, she pressed
them together, and said, "Sweet Mary! heroic Constantine! I thus
elect you the two dearest friends of my heart. So charmingly
associated in the delightful task of compassion, you shall ever be
commingled in my faithful bosom."

Then putting her handkerchief to her eyes, she walked out of the
room, leaving Miss Beaufort and the count, confused and confounded,
by the side of each other. Miss Beaufort, suspecting that some
extravagant fancy had taken possession of the susceptible Euphemia
towards her young tutor, declined speaking first. Thaddeus, fixing
his gaze on her downcast and revolving countenance, perceived nothing
like offended pride at his undesigned presumption. He saw that she
was only embarrassed, and after a minute's hesitation, broke the
silence.

"I hope that Miss Beaufort is sufficiently acquainted with the
romance of Miss Euphemia's character to pardon the action,
unintentional on my part, of having touched her hand? I declare I had
no expectation of Miss Euphemia's design."

"Do not make any apology to me, Mr. Constantine," returned she,
resuming her seat; "to be sure I was a little electrified by the
strange situation in which her vivid feelings have just made us
actors. But I shall not forego my claim on what she promised--your
acquaintance."

Thaddeus expressed his high sense of her condescension.

"I am not fond of fine terms," continued she, smiling; "but I know
that time and merit must purchase esteem. I can engage for the first,
as I am to remain in town at least three months; but for the last, I
fear I shall never have the opportunity of giving such an earnest of
my desert as you did last night of yours."

Footsteps sounded on the stairs. Thaddeus took up his hat, and
bowing, replied to her compliment with such a modest yet noble grace,
that she gazed after him with wonder and concern. Before he closed
the door he again bowed. Pleased with the transient look of a soft
pleasure which beamed from his eyes, through whose ingenuous mirrors
every thought of his soul might be read, she smiled a second adieu,
and as he disappeared, left the room by another passage.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXVII.

SUCH THINGS WERE.


When the count appeared the succeeding day in Harley Street, Miss
Beaufort introduced him to Miss Dorothy Somerset as the gentleman who
had so gallantly preserved the lives of the children at the hazard of
his own.

Notwithstanding the lofty tossings of Miss Dundas's head, the good
old maid paid him several encomiums on his intrepidity; and telling
him that the sufferers were the wife and family of a poor tradesman,
who was then absent in the country, she added, "But we saw them
comfortably lodged before we left them; and all the time we stayed, I
could not help congratulating myself on the easy compliance of Mary
with my whims. I dislike sleeping at an inn; and to prevent it then,
I had prevailed on Miss Beaufort to pursue our road to town even
through the night. It was lucky it happened so, for I am certain Mary
will not allow these poor creatures a long lament over the wreck of
their little property."

"How charmingly charitable, my lovely friend!" cried Euphemia; "let
us make a collection for this unfortunate woman and her babes. Pray,
as a small tribute, take that from me!" She put five guineas into the
hand of the glowing Mary.

The ineffable grace with which the confused Miss Beaufort laid the
money on her aunt's knee did not escape the observance of Thaddeus;
neither did the unintended approbation of his eye pass unnoticed by
its amiable object.

When Lady Tinemouth was informed that evening by the count of the
addition to the Harley Street party, she was delighted at the news,
saying she had been well acquainted with Miss Dorothy and her niece
during the lifetime of Lady Somerset, and would take an early day to
call upon them. During this part of her ladyship's discourse, an
additional word or two had unfolded to her auditor the family
connection that had subsisted between the lady she regretted and his
estranged friend. And when the countess paused, Thaddeus, struck with
a forgiving pity at this intelligence, was on the point of expressing
his concern that Pembroke Somerset had lost so highly-prized a
mother; but recollecting that Lady Tinemouth was ignorant of their
ever having known each other, he allowed her to proceed without a
remark.

"I never have been in company with Sir Robert's son," continued the
countess; "it was during his absence on the Continent that I was
introduced to Lady Somerset. She was a woman who possessed the rare
talent of conforming herself to all descriptions of people; and
whilst the complacency of her attentions surpassed the most refined
flattery, she commanded the highest veneration for herself. Hence you
may imagine my satisfaction in an acquaintance which it is probable
would never have been mine had I been the happy Countess of
Tinemouth, instead of a deserted wife. Though the Somersets are
related to my lord, they had long treated him as a stranger; and
doubly disgusted at his late behavior, they commenced a friendship
with me, I believe, to demonstrate more fully their detestation of
him. Indeed, my husband is a creature of inconsistency. No man
possessed more power to attract friends than Lord Tinemouth, and no
man had less power to retain them; as fast as he made one he offended
the other, and has at last deprived himself of every individual out
of his own house who would not regard his death as a fortunate
circumstance."

"But, Lady Somerset," cried Thaddeus, impatient to change a subject
every word of which was a dagger to his heart, "I mean Miss Dorothy
Somerset, Miss Beaufort--"

"Yes," returned her ladyship; "I see, kind Mr. Constantine, your
friendly solicitude to disengage me from retrospections so painful!
Well, then, I knew and very much esteemed the two ladies you mention;
but after the death of Lady Somerset, their almost constant residence
in the country has greatly prevented a renewal of this pleasure.
However, as they are now in town, I will thank you to acquaint them
with my intention to call upon them in Harley Street. I remember
always thinking Miss Beaufort a very charming girl."

Thaddeus thought her more. He saw that she was beautiful; he had
witnessed instances of her goodness, and the recollection filled his
mind with a complacency the more tender since it had so long been a
stranger to his bosom; and again he felt the strange emotion which
had passed over his heart at their first meeting. But further
observations were prevented by the entrance of Miss Egerton and Lady
Sara Ross.

"I am glad to see you, Mr. Constantine," cried the lively Sophia,
shaking hands with him; "you are the very person I have been plotting
against."

Lady Tinemouth was uneasy at the care with which Lady Sara averted
her face, well knowing that it was to conceal the powerful agitation
of her features, which always took place at the sight of Thaddeus.

"What is your plot, Miss Egerton?" inquired he; "I shall consider
myself honored by your commands, and do not require a conspiracy to
entrap my obedience."

"That's a good soul! Then I have only to apply to you, Lady
Tinemouth. Your ladyship must know," cried she, "that as Lady Sara
and I were a moment ago driving up the Haymarket, I nodded to Mr.
Coleman, who was coming out of the playhouse. He stopped, I pulled
the check-string, and we had a great deal of confab out of the
window. He tells me a new farce is to come out this day week, and he
hoped I would be there! 'No,' said I, 'I cannot, for I am on a visit
with that precise body, the Countess of Tinemouth, who would not, to
save you and all your generation, come into such a mob,' 'Her
ladyship shall have my box,' cried he; 'for I would not for the world
lose the honor of your opinion on the merits of my farce.' 'To be
sure not!' cries I; so I accepted his box, and drove off, devising
with Lady Sara how to get your ladyship as our chaperon and Mr.
Constantine to be our beau. He has just promised; so dear Lady
Tinemouth, don't be inflexible!"

Thaddeus was confounded at the dilemma into which his ready
acquiescence had involved his prudence. The countess shook her head.

"Now I declare, Lady Tinemouth," exclaimed Miss Egerton, "this is an
absolute stingy fit! You are afraid of your purse! You know this
private box precludes all awkward meetings, and you can have no
excuse."

"But it cannot preclude all awkward sights," answered her ladyship.
"You know, Sophia, I never go into public, for fear of being met by
the angry looks of my lord or my son."

"Disagreeable people!" cried Miss Egerton, pettishly; "I wish some
friendly whirlwind would take your lord and son out of the world
together."

"Sophia!" retorted her ladyship, with a grave air.

"Rebuke me, Lady Tinemouth, if you like; I confess I am no Serena,
and these trials of temper don't agree with my constitution. There,"
cried she, throwing a silver medal on the table, and laughing in
spite of herself: "there is our passport; but I will send it back,
and so break poor Coleman's heart."

"Fie! Sophia," answered her ladyship, patting her half-angry cheeks;
"would you owe to your petulance what was denied to your good humor?"

"Then your ladyship will go!" exclaimed she, exultingly. "You have
yielded; these sullens were a part of my stratagem, and I won't let
you secede."

Lady Tinemouth thought this would be a fair opportunity to show one
of the theatres to her young friend, without involving him in expense
or obligation, and accordingly she gave her consent.

"Do you intend to favor us with your company, Lady Sara?" asked the
countess, with a hope that she might refuse.

Lady Sara, who had been standing silently at the window, rather
proudly answered--

"Yes, madam, if you will honor me with your protection."

Lady Tinemouth was the only one present who understood the resentment
which these words conveyed; and, almost believing that she had gone
too far, by implying suspicion, she approached her with a pleading
anxiety of countenance. "Then, Lady Sara, perhaps you will dine with
me? I mean to call on Miss Dorothy Somerset, and would invite her to
be of the party."

Lady Sara curtseyed her acceptance of the invitation, and, smiling,
appeared to think no more of the matter. But she neither forgot it
nor found herself able to forgive Lady Tinemouth for having betrayed
her into a confidence which her own turbulent passions had made but
too easy. She had listened unwillingly to the reasonable declaration
of the countess, that her only way to retreat from an error which
threatened criminality was to avoid the object.

"When a married woman," observed her ladyship, in that confidential
conference, "is so unhappy as to love any man besides her husband,
her only safety rests in the resolution to quit his society, and to
banish his image whenever it obtrudes."

Lady Sara believed herself incapable of this exertion, and hated the
woman who thought it necessary. By letter and conversation Lady
Tinemouth tried to display in every possible light the enormity of
giving encouragement to such an attachment, and ended with the
unanswerable climax--the consideration of her duty to Heaven.

Of this argument Lady Sara knew little. She never reflected on the
true nature of religion, though she sometimes went to church,
repeated the prayers, without being conscious of their spirit; and
when the coughing, sneezing, and blowing of noses which commonly
accompany the text subsided, she generally called up the remembrance
of the last ball, or an anticipation of the next assembly, to amuse
herself until the prosing business was over. From church she drove to
the Park, where, bowling round the ring, or sauntering in the
gardens, she soon forgot that there existed in the universe a Power
of higher consequence to please than her own vanity--and the
admiration of the spectators.

Lady Sara would have shuddered at hearing any one declare himself a
deist, much more an atheist; but for any influence which her nominal
belief held over her desires, she might as well have been either. She
never committed an action deserving the name of premeditated injury,
nor went far out of her way to do her best friend a service,--not
because she wanted inclination, but she ceased to remember both the
petitioner and his petition before he had been five minutes from her
sight. She had read as much as most fine ladies have read: a few
histories, a few volumes of essays, a few novels, and now and then a
little poetry comprised the whole range of her studies; these, with
morning calls and evening assemblies, occupied her whole day. Such
had been the routine of her life until she met the once "young star"
of Poland, Thaddeus Sobieski, in an unknown exile, an almost nameless
guest, at Lady Tinemouth's, which event caused a total revolution in
her mind and conduct.

The strength of Lady Sara's understanding might have credited a
better education; but her passions bearing an equal power with this
mental vigor, and having taken a wrong direction, she neither
acknowledged the will nor the capability to give the empire to her
reason. When love really entered her heart, its first conquest was
over her universal vanity; she surrendered all her admirers, in the
hope of securing the admiration of Thaddeus; its second victory
mastered her discretion; she revealed her unhappy affection to Lady
Tinemouth, and more than hinted it to himself. What had she else to
lose? She believed her honor to be safer than her life. Her
_honor_ was the term. She had no conception, or, at best, a
faint one, that a breach of the marriage vow could be an outrage on
the laws of Heaven. The word sin had been gradually ignored by the
oligarchy of fashion, from the hour in which Charles the Second and
his profligate court trod down piety with hypocrisy; and in this day
the new philosophy has accomplished its total outlawry, denouncing it
as a rebel to decency and the freedom of man.

Thus, the Christian religion being driven from the haunts of the
great, pagan morality is raised from that prostration where, Dagon-
like, it fell at the feet of the Scriptures, and is again erected as
the idol of adoration. Guilt against Heaven fades before the decrees
of man; his law of ethics reprobates crime. But crime is only a
temporal transgression, in opposition to the general good; it draws
no consequent punishment heavier than the judgment of a broken human
law, or the resentment of the offended private parties. Morality
neither promises rewards after death nor denounces future
chastisement for error. The disciples of this independent doctrine
hold forth instances of the perfectibility of human actions, produced
by the unassisted decisions of human intellect on the limits of right
and wrong. They admire virtue, because it is beautiful. They practice
it, because it is heroic. They do not abstain from the gratification
of an intemperate wish under the belief that it is sinful, but in
obedience to their reason, which rejects the commission of a vicious
act because it is uncomely. In the first case, God is their judge; in
the latter, themselves. The comparison need only be proposed, to
humble the pride that made it necessary. How do these systematizers
refine and subtilize? How do they dwell on the principle of virtue,
and turn it in every metaphysical light, until their philosophy
rarifies it to nothing! Some degrade, and others abandon, the only
basis on which an upright character can stand with firmness. The
bulwark which Revelation erected between the passions and the soul is
levelled first; and then that instinctive rule of right which the
modern casuist denominates the citadel of virtue falls of course.

By such gradations the progress of depravity is accomplished; and the
general leaven having worked to Lady Sara's mind on such premises,
(though she might not arrange them so distinctly,) she deduced that
what is called conjugal right is a mere establishment of man, and
might be extended or limited by him to any length he pleased. For
instance, the Turks were not content with one wife, but appropriated
hundreds to one man; and because such indulgence was permitted by
Mohammed, no other nation presumed to call them culpable.

Hence she thought that if she could once reconcile herself to believe
that her own happiness was dearer to her than the notice of half a
thousand people to whom she was indifferent; that only in their
opinion and the world's her flying to the protection of Thaddeus
would be crime;--could she confidently think this, what should deter
her from instantly throwing herself into the arms of the man she
loved? [Footnote: Such were the moral tactics for human conduct at
the commencement of this century. But, thanks to the patience of God,
he has given a better spirit to the present age,--to his philosophy
an admirable development of the wisdom and beneficence of his works,
instead of the former metaphysical vanities and contradictory
bewilderments of opinions concerning the divine nature and the
elements of man, which, as far as a demon-spirit could go, had
plunged the created world, both physically and morally, into the
darkness of chaos again. The Holy Scriptures are now the foundation
studies of our country, and her ark is safe.--1845.]

"Ah!" cried the thus self-deluded Lady Sara, one night, as she
traversed her chamber in a paroxysm of tears; "what are the vows I
have sworn? How can I keep them? I have sworn to love, to honor
Captain Ross; but in spite of myself, without any action of my own, I
have broken both these oaths. I cannot love him; I hate him; and I
cannot honor the man I hate. What have I else to break? Nothing. Ny
nuptial vow is as completely annihilated as if I had left him never
to return. How?" cried she, after a pause of some minutes, "how shall
I know what passes in the mind of Constantine? Did he love me, would
he protect me, I would brave the whole universe. Oh, I should be the
happiest of the happy!"

Fatal conclusion of reflection! It infected her dreaming and her
waking fancy. She regarded everything as an enemy that opposed her
passion; and as the first of these enemies, she detested Lady
Tinemouth. The countess's last admonishing letter enraged her by its
arguments; and, throwing it into the fire with execrations and tears,
she determined to pursue her own will, but to affect being influenced
by her ladyship's counsels.

The Count Sobieski, who surmised not the hundredth part of the
infatuation of Lady Sara, began to hope that her ardent manner had
misled him, or that she had seen the danger of such imprudence.

Under these impressions, the party for the theatre was settled; and
Thaddeus, after sitting an hour in Grosvenor Place, returned to his
humble home, and attendance on his venerated friend.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

MARY BEAUFORT AND HER VENERABLE AUNT.


The addition of Miss Dorothy Somerset and Miss Beaufort to the
morning group at Lady Dundas's imparted a less reluctant motion to
the before tardy feet of the count, whenever he turned them towards
Harley Street.

Miss Dorothy readily supposed him to have been better born than he
appeared; and displeased with the treatment he had received from Miss
Dundas and her guests, behaved to him herself with the most
gratifying politeness.

Aunt Dorothy (for that was the title by which every branch of the
baronet's family addressed her) was full twenty years the senior of
her brother, Sir Robert Somerset. Having in her youth been thought
very like the famous and lovely Mrs. Woffington, she had been
considered the beauty of her time, and, as such, for ten years
continued the reigning belle. Nevertheless, she arrived at the age,
of seventy-two without having been either the object or the subject
of a fervent passion.

Possessing a fine understanding, a refined taste, and fine feelings,
by some chance she had escaped love. It cannot be denied that she was
much admired, much respected, and much esteemed, and that she
received two or three splendid proposals from men of rank. Some of
those men she admired, some she respected, and some she esteemed, but
not one did she love, and she successively refused them all. Shortly
after their discharge, they generally consoled themselves by marrying
other women, who, perhaps, wanted both the charms and the sense of
Miss Somerset; yet she congratulated them on their choice, and
usually became the warm friend of the happy couple.

Thus year passed over year; Miss Somerset continued the esteemed of
every worthy heart, though she could not then kindle the embers of a
livelier glow in any one of them; and at the epoch called a
_certain age_, she found herself an old maid, but possessing so
much good humor and affection towards the young people about her, she
did not need any of her own to mingle in the circle.

This amiable old lady usually took her knitting into the library
before the fair students; and whenever Thaddeus entered the room, (so
natural is it for generous natures to sympathize,) his eyes first
sought her venerable figure; then glancing around to catch an
assuring beam from the lovely countenance of her niece, he seated
himself with confidence.

The presence of these ladies operated as a more than sufficient
antidote to the disagreeableness of his situation. To them he
directed all the attention that was not required by his occupation;
he heard them only speak when a hundred others were talking; he saw
them only when a hundred others were in company.

In addition to this pleasant change, Miss Euphemia's passion assumed
a less tormenting form. She had been reading Madame d'Arblay's
Camilla; and becoming enamored of the delicacy and pensive silence of
the interesting heroine, she determined on adopting the same
character; and at the same time taking it into her ever-creative
brain that Constantine's coldness bore a striking affinity to the
caution of Edgar Mandelbert, she wiped the rouge from her pretty
face, and prepared to "let concealment, like a worm in the bud, feed
on her damask cheek."

To afford decorous support to this fancy, her gayest clothes were
thrown aside, to make way for a negligence of apparel which cost her
two hours each morning to compose. Her dimpling smiles were now quite
banished. She was ever sighing, and ever silent, and ever lolling and
leaning about; reclining along sofas, or in some disconsolate
attitude, grouping herself with one of the marble urns, and sitting
"like Patience on a monument smiling at grief."

Thaddeus preferred this pathetic whim to her former Sapphic follies;
it afforded him quiet, and relieved him from much embarrassment.

Every succeeding visit induced Miss Beaufort to observe him with a
more lively interest. The nobleness yet humility with which he
behaved towards herself and her aunt, and the manly serenity with
which he suffered the insulting sarcasms of Miss Dundas, led her not
merely to conceive but to entertain many doubts that his present
situation was that of his birth.

The lady visitors who dropped in on the sisters' studies were not
backward in espousing the game of ridicule, as it played away a few
minutes, to join in a laugh with the "witty Diana." These gracious
beings thought their sex gave them privilege to offend; but it was
not always that the gentlemen durst venture beyond a shrug of the
shoulder, a drop of the lip, a wink of the eye, or a raising of the
brows. Mary observed with contempt that they were prudent enough not
to exercise even these specimens of a mean hostility except when its
noble object had turned his back, and regarding him with increased
admiration, she was indignant, and then disdainful, at the envy which
actuated these men to treat with affected scorn him whom they
secretly feared.

[Illustration: MISS EUPHEMIA DUNDAS.]

The occasional calls of Lady Tinemouth and Miss Egerton stimulated
the cabal against Thaddeus. The sincere sentiment of equality with
themselves which these two ladies evinced by their behavior to him,
and the same conduct being adopted by Miss Dorothy and her beautiful
niece, besides the evident partiality of Euphemia, altogether
inflamed the spleen of Miss Dundas, and excited her _coterie_ to
acts of the most extravagant rudeness.

The little phalanx, at the head of which was the superb Diana, could
offer no real reason for disliking a man who was not only their
inferior, but who had never offended them even by implication. It was
a sufficient apology to their easy consciences that "he gave himself
such courtly airs as were quite ridiculous--that his presumption was
astonishing. In short, they were all idle, and it was exceedingly
amusing to lounge a morning with the rich Dundases and hoax
Monsieur."

Had Thaddeus known one fourth of the insolent derision with which his
misfortunes were treated behind his back, perhaps even his friend's
necessity could not have detained him in his employment. The
brightness of a brave man's name makes shadows perceptible which
might pass unmarked over a duller surface. Sobieski's delicate honor
would have supposed itself sullied by enduring such contumely with
toleration. But, as was said before, the male adjuncts of Miss Dundas
had received so opportune a warning from an accidental knitting of
the count's brow, they never after could muster temerity to sport
their wit to his face.

These circumstances were not lost upon Mary; she collected them as
part of a treasure, and turned them over on her pillow with the
jealous examination of a miser. Like Euphemia, she supposed Thaddeus
to be other than he seemed. Yet her fancy did not suppose him gifted
with the blood of the Bourbons; she merely believed him to be a
gentleman; and from the maternal manner of Lady Tinemouth towards
him, she suspected that her ladyship knew more of his history than
she chose to reveal.

Things were in this state, when the countess requested that Miss
Dorothy would allow her niece to make one in her party to the
Haymarket Theatre. The good lady having consented, Miss Beaufort
received the permission with pleasure; and as she was to sup in
Grosvenor Place, she ventured to hope that something might fall from
her hostess or Miss Egerton which would throw a light on the true
situation of Mr. Constantine.

From infancy Miss Beaufort had loved with enthusiasm all kinds of
excellence. Indeed, she esteemed no person warmly whom she did no
think exalted by their virtues above the common race of mankind. She
sought for something to respect in every character; and when she
found anything to greatly admire, her ardent soul blazed, and by its
own pure flame lit her to a closer inspection of the object about
whom she had become more than usually interested.

In former years Lady Somerset collected all the virtue and talent in
the country around her table, and it was now found that they were not
brought there on a vain errand. From them Miss Beaufort gathered her
best lessons in conduct and taste, and from them her earliest
perceptions of friendship. Mary was the beloved pupil and respected
friend of the brightest characters in England; and though some of
them were men who had not passed the age of forty, she never had been
in love, nor had she mistaken the nature of her esteem so far as to
call it by that name. Hence she was neither afraid nor ashamed to
acknowledge a correspondence she knew to be her highest distinction.
But had the frank and innocent Mary exhibited half the like
attentions which she paid to these men in one hour to the common
class of young men through the course of a month, they would have
declared that the poor girl was over head and ears in love with them,
and have pitied what they would have justly denominated her folly.
Foolish must that woman be who would sacrifice the most precious gift
in her possession--her heart--to the superficial graces or empty
blandishments of a self-idolized coxcomb!

Such a being was not Mary Beaufort; and on these principles she
contemplated the extraordinary fine qualities she saw in the exiled
Thaddeus with an interest honorable to her penetration and her heart.

When Miss Egerton called with Lady Sara Ross to take Miss Beaufort to
the Haymarket, Mary was not displeased at seeing Mr. Constantine step
out of the carnage to hand her in. During their drive, Miss Egerton
informed her that Lady Tinemouth had been suddenly seized with a
headache, but that Lady Sara had kindly undertaken to be their
chaperon, and had promised to return with them to sup in Grosvenor
Place.

Lady Sara had never seen Mary, though she had frequently heard of her
beauty and vast fortune. This last qualification her ladyship hoped
might have given an unmerited _éclat_ to the first; therefore
when she saw in Miss Beaufort the most beautiful creature she had
ever beheld, nothing could equal her surprise and vexation.

The happy lustre that beamed in the fine eyes of Mary shone like a
vivifying influence around her; a bright glow animated her cheek,
whilst a pleasure for which she did not seek to account bounded at
her heart, and modulated every tone of her voice to sweetness and
enchantment.

"Syren!" thought Lady Sara, withdrawing her large dark eyes from her
face, and turning them full of dissolving languor upon Thaddeus;
"here are all thy charms directed!" then drawing a sigh, so deep that
it made her neighbor start, she fixed her eyes on her fan, and never
looked up again until they had reached the playhouse.

The curtain was raised as the little party seated themselves in the
box.

"Can anybody tell me what the play is?" asked Lady Sara.

"I never thought of inquiring," replied Sophia.

"I looked in the newspaper this morning," said Miss Beaufort, "and I
think it is called _Sighs_,--a translation from a drama of
Kotzebue's."

"A strange title!" was the general observation. When Mr. Suett, who
personated one of the characters, began to speak, their attention was
summoned to the stage.

On the entrance of Mr. Charles Kemble in the character of Adelbert,
the count unconsciously turned pale. He perceived by the dress of the
actor that he was to personate a Pole; and alarmed at the probability
of seeing something to recall recollections which he had striven to
banish, his agitation did not allow him to hear anything that was
said for some minutes.

Miss Egerton was not so tardy in the use of her eyes and ears; and
stretching out her hand to the back of the box, where Thaddeus was
standing by Lady Sara's chair, she caught hold of his sleeve.

"There, Mr. Constantine!" cried she; "look at Adelbert! that is
exactly the figure you cut in your outlandish gear two months ago."

Thaddeus bowed with a forced smile, and glancing at the stage,
replied--

"Then, for the first time in my life, I regret having followed a
lady's advice; I think I must have lost by the change."

"Yes," rejoined she, "you have lost much fur and much embroidery, but
you now look much more like a Christian.'"

The substance of these speeches was not lost on Mary, who continued
with redoubling interest to mark the changes his countenance
underwent along with the scene. As she sat forward, by a slight turn
of the head she could discern the smallest fluctuation in his
features, and they were not a few. Placing himself at the back of
Lady Sara's chair, he leaned over, with his soul set in his eye,
watching every motion of Mr. Charles Kemble.

Mary knew, by some accidental words from Lady Tinemouth, that
Constantine was a Polander, and the surmise she had entertained of
his being unfortunate received full corroboration at the scene in
which Adelbert is grossly insulted by the rich merchant. During the
whole of it, she scarcely dared trust her eyes towards Constantine's
flushed and agitated face.

The interview between Adelbert and Leopold commenced. When the former
was describing his country's miseries with his own, Thaddeus unable
to bear it longer, unobserved by any but Mary, drew back into the
box. In a moment or two afterwards Mr. Charles Kemble made the
following reply to an observation of Leopold's, that "poverty is no
dishonor."

"Certainly none to me! To Poland, to my struggling country, I
sacrificed my wealth, as I would have sacrificed my life if she had
required it. My country is no more; and we are wanderers on a
burdened earth, finding no refuge but in the hearts of the humane and
virtuous."

The passion and force of these words could not fail of reaching the
ears of Thaddeus. Mary's attention followed them to their object, by
the heaving of whose breast she plainly discovered the anguish of
their effect. Her heart beat with increased violence. How willingly
would she have approached him, and said something of sympathy, of
consolation! but she durst not; and she turned away her tearful eye,
and looked again towards the stage.

Lady Sara now stood up, and hanging over Mary's chair, listened with
congenial emotions to the scene between Adelbert and the innocent
Rose. Lady Sara felt it all in her own bosom; and looking round to
catch what was passing in the count's mind, she beheld him leaning
against the box, with his head inclined to the curtain of the door.
"Mr. Constantine!" almost unconsciously escaped her lips. He started,
and discovered by the humidity on his eyelashes why he had withdrawn.
Her ladyship's tears were gliding down her cheeks. Miss Egerton,
greatly amazed at the oddness of this closet scene, turned to Miss
Beaufort, who a moment before having caught a glimpse of the
distressed countenance of the count, could only bow her head to
Sophia's sportive observation.

Who is there that can enter into the secret folds of the heart and
know all its miseries? Who participate in that joy which dissolves
and rarifies man to the essence of heaven? Soul must mingle with
soul, and the ethereal voice of spirits must speak before these
things can be comprehended.

Ready to suffocate with the emotions she repelled from her eyes, Mary
gladly affected to be absorbed in the business of the stage, (not one
object of which she now saw), and with breathless attention lost not
one soft whisper which Lady Sara poured into the ear of Thaddeus.

"Why," asked her ladyship, in a tremulous and low tone, "why should
we seek ideal sorrows, when those of our own hearts are beyond
alleviation? Happy Rose!" sighed her ladyship. "Mr. Constantine,"
continued she, "do not you think that Adelbert is consoled, at least,
by the affection of that lovely woman?"

Like Miss Beaufort, Constantine had hitherto replied with bows only.

"Come," added Lady Sara, laying her soft hand on his arm, and
regarding him with a look of tenderness, so unequivocal that he cast
his eyes to the ground, while its sympathy really touched his heart.
"Come," repeated she, animated by the faint color which tinged his
cheek; "you know that I have the care of this party, and I must not
allow our only _cavalier_ to be melancholy."

"I beg your pardon, Lady Sara," returned he, gratefully pressing the
hand that yet rested on his arm; "I am not very well. I wish that I
had not seen this play."

Lady Sara sunk into the seat from which she had risen. He had never
before taken her hand, except when assisting her to her carriage;
this pressure shook her very soul, and awakened hopes which rendered
her for a moment incapable of sustaining herself or venturing a
reply.

There was something in the tones of Lady Sara's voice and in her
manner far more expressive than her words: mutual sighs which
breathed from her ladyship's bosom and that of Thaddeus, as they sat
down, made a cold shiver run from the head to the foot of Miss
Beaufort. Mary's surprise at the meaning of this emotion caused a
second tremor, and with a palpitating heart she asked herself a few
questions.

Could this interesting young man, whom every person of sense appeared
to esteem and respect, sully his virtues by participating in a
passion with a married woman? No; it was impossible.

Notwithstanding this decision, so absolute in his exculpation, her
pure heart felt a trembling, secret resolve, "even for the sake of
the honor of human nature," (she whispered to herself), to observe
him so hereafter as to be convinced of the real worth of his
principles before she would allow any increase of the interest his
apparently reversed fate had created in her compassionate bosom.

What might be altogether the extent of that "reversed fate," she
could form no idea. For though she had heard, in common with the rest
of the general society, of the recent "melancholy fate of Poland!"
she knew little of its particulars, politics of every kind, and
especially about foreign places, being an interdicted subject in the
drawing-rooms of Sir Robert Somerset. Therefore the simply noble mind
of Mary thought more of the real nobility that might dwell in the
soul of this expatriated son of that country than of the possible
appendages of rank he might have left there.

With her mind full of these reflections, she awaited the farce
without observing it when it appeared. Indeed, none of the party knew
anything about the piece (to see which they had professedly come to
the theatre) excepting Miss Egerton, whose ever merry spirits had
enjoyed alone the humor of Totum in the play, and who now laughed
heartily, though unaccompanied, through the ridiculous whims of the
farce.

Nothing that passed could totally disengage the mind of Thaddeus from
those remembrances which the recent drama had aroused. When the
melting voice of Lady Sara, in whispers, tried to recall his
attention, by a start only did he evince his recollection of not
being alone. Sensible, however, to the kindness of her motive, he
exerted himself; and by the time the curtain dropped, he had so far
rallied his presence of mind as to be able to attend to the civility
of seeing the ladies safe out of the theatre.

Miss Egerton, laughing, as he assisted her into the carriage, said,
"I verily believe, Mr. Constantine, had I glanced round during the
play, I should have seen as pretty a lachrymal scene between you and
Lady Sara as any on the stage. I won't have this flirting! I declare
I will tell Captain Ross--"

She continued talking; but turning about to offer his service to Miss
Beaufort, he heard no more.

Miss Beaufort, however self-composed in thought, felt strangely: she
felt cold and reserved; and undesignedly she appeared what she felt.
There was a grave dignity in her air, accompanied with a
collectedness and stillness in her before animated countenance, which
astonished and chilled Thaddeus, though she had bowed her head and
given him her hand to put her into the coach.

On their way home Miss Egerton ran over the merits of the play and
farce; rallied Thaddeus on the "tall Pole," which she threatened
should be his epithet whenever he offended her; and then, flying from
subject to subject, talked herself and her hearers so weary, that
they internally rejoiced when the carriage stopped in Grosvenor
Place.

After they had severally paid their respects to Lady Tinemouth, who,
being indisposed, was lying on the sofa, she desired Thaddeus to draw
a chair near her.

"I want to learn," said she, "what you think of our English theatre?"

"Prithee, don't ask him!" cried Miss Egerton, pouring out a glass of
water; "we have seen a tremendous brother Pole of his, who I believe
has 'hopped off' with all his spirits! Why, he has been looking as
rueful as a half-drowned man all the night; and as for Lady Sara, and
I could vow Miss Beaufort, too, they have been two Niobes--'all
tears.' So, good folks, I must drink better health to you, to save
myself from the vapors."

"What is all this, Mr. Constantine?" asked the countess, addressing
Thaddeus, whose eyes had glanced with a ray of delighted surprise on
the blushing though displeased face of Miss Beaufort.

"My weakness," replied he, commanding down a rising tremor in his
voice, and turning to her ladyship; "the play relates to a native of
Poland, one who, like myself, an exile in a strange land, is
subjected to sufferings and contumelies the bravest spirits may find
hard to bear. Any man may combat misery; but even the most intrepid
will shrink from insult. This, I believe, is the sum of the story.
Its resemblance in some points to my own affected me; and," added he,
looking gratefully at Lady Sara, and timidly towards Miss Beaufort,
"if these ladies have sympathized with emotions against which I
strove, but could not entirely conceal, I owe to it the sweetest
consolation now in the power of fate to bestow."

"Poor Constantine!" cried Sophia Egerton, patting his head with one
hand, whilst with the other she wiped a tear from her always smiling
eye, "forgive me if I have hurt you. I like you vastly, though I must
now and then laugh at you; you know I hate dismals, so let this tune
enliven us all!" and flying to her piano, she played and sang two or
three merry airs, till the countess commanded her to the supper-
table.

At this most sociable repast of the whole day, cheerfulness seemed
again to disperse the gloom which had threatened the circle. Thaddeus
set the example. His unrestrained and elegant conversation acquired
new pathos from the anguish that was driven back to his heart; like
the beds of rivers, which infuse their own nature with the current,
his hidden grief imparted an indescribable interest and charm to all
his sentiments and actions. [Footnote: When this was written, (in the
year 1804,) domestic hours were earlier; and the "supper hour" had
not then dissipation and broken rest for a consequence.]

Mary now beheld him in his real character. Unmolested by the haughty
presence of Miss Dundas, he became unreserved, intelligent, and
enchanting. He seemed master of every subject talked on, and
discoursed on all with a grace which corroborated her waking visions
that he was as some bright star fallen from his sphere.

With the increase of Miss Beaufort's admiration of the count's fine
talents, she gradually lost the recollection of what had occupied her
mind relative to Lady Sara; and her own beautiful countenance
dilating into confidence and delight, the evening passed away with
chastened pleasure, until the little party separated for their
several homes.

Lady Tinemouth was more than ever fascinated by the lovely Miss
Beaufort. Miss Beaufort was equally pleased with the animation of the
countess; but when she thought on Thaddeus, she was surprised,
interested, absorbed.

Lady Sara Ross's reflections were not less delightful. She dwelt with
redoubled passion on that look from the count's eyes, that touch of
his hand, which she thought were signs of a reciprocal awakened
flame. Both actions were forgotten by him the moment after they were
committed; yet he was not ungrateful; but whilst he acknowledged her
generous sympathy at that time, he could not but see that she was
straying to the verge of a precipice which no thoroughly virtuous
woman should ever venture to approach.

He found a refuge from so painful a meditation in the idea of the
ingenuous Mary, on whose modest countenance virtue seemed to have
"set her seal." Whilst recollecting the pitying kindness of her voice
and looks, his heart owned the empire of purity, and in the
contemplation of her unaffected excellence, he the more deplored the
witcheries of Lady Sara, and the dangerous uses to which her
impetuous feelings addressed them.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXIX.

HYDE PARK.


Next morning, when Thaddeus approached the general's bed to give him
his coffee, he found him feverish, and his mind more than usually
unsettled.

The count awaited with anxiety the arrival of the benevolent
Cavendish, whom he expected. When he appeared, he declared his
increased alarm. Dr. Cavendish having felt the patient's pulse,
expressed a wish that he could be induced to take a little exercise.
Thaddeus had often urged this necessity to his friend, but met with
constant refusals. He hopelessly repeated the entreaty now, when, to
his surprise and satisfaction, the old man instantly consented.

Having seen him comfortably dressed, (for the count attended to these
minutiae with the care of a son,) the doctor said they must ride with
him to Hyde Park, where he would put them out to walk until he had
made a visit to Piccadilly, whence he would return and take them
home.

The general not only expressed pleasure at the drive, but as the air
was warm and balmy, (it being about the beginning of June,) he made
no objection to the proposed subsequent walk.

He admired the Park, the Serpentine River, the cottages on its bank,
and seemed highly diverted by the horsemen and carriages in the ring.
The pertinence of his remarks afforded Thaddeus a ray of hope that
his senses had not entirely lost their union with reason; and with
awakened confidence he was contemplating what might be the happy
effects of constant exercise, when the general's complaints of
weariness obliged him to stop near Piccadilly Gate, and wait the
arrival of the doctor's coach.

He was standing against the railing, supporting Butzou. and with his
hat in his hand shading his aged friend's face from the sun, when two
or three carriages driving in, he met the eye of Miss Euphemia
Dundas, who pulling the check-string, exclaimed, "Bless me, Mr.
Constantine! Who expected to see you here? Why, your note told us you
were confined with a sick friend."

Thaddeus bowed to her, and still sustaining the debilitated frame of
the general on his arm, advanced to the side of the coach. Miss
Beaufort, who now looked out, expressed her hope that his invalid was
better.

"This is the friend I mentioned," said the count, turning his eyes on
the mild features of Butzou; "his physician having ordered him to
walk, I accompanied him hither."

"Dear me! how ill you look, sir," cried Euphemia, addressing the poor
invalid; "but you are attended by a kind friend."

"My dear lord!" exclaimed the old man, not regarding what she said,
"I must go home. I am tired; pray call up the carriage."

Euphemia was again opening her mouth to speak, but Miss Beaufort,
perceiving a look of distress in the expressive features of Thaddeus,
interrupted her by saying, "Good-morning! Mr. Constantine. I know we
detain you and oppress that gentleman, whose pardon we ought to beg."
She bowed her head to the general, whose white hairs were blowing
about his face, as he attempted to pull the count towards the
pathway.

"My friend cannot thank you, kind Miss Beaufort," cried Thaddeus,
with a look of gratitude that called the brightest roses to her
cheeks; "but I do from my heart!"

"Here it is! Pray, my dear lord, come along!" cried Butzou. Thaddeus,
seeing that his information was right, bowed to the ladies, and their
carriage drove off.

Though the wheels of Lady Dundas's coach rolled away from the
retreating figures of Thaddeus and his friend, the images of both
occupied the meditations of Euphemia and Miss Beaufort whilst,
_tete-à-tete_ and in silence, they made the circuit of the Park.

When the carriage again passed the spot on which the subject of their
thoughts had stood, Mary almost mechanically looked out towards the
gate.

"Is he gone yet?" asked Euphemia, sighing deeply.

Mary drew in her head with the quickness of conscious guilt; and
whilst a color stained her face, which of itself might have betrayed
her prevarication, she asked, "Who?"

"Mr. Constantine," replied Euphemia, with a second sigh. "Did you
remark, Mary, how gracefully he supported that sick old gentleman?
Was it not the very personification of Youth upholding the fainting
steps of Age? He put me in mind of the charming young prince, whose
name I forget, leading the old Belisarius."

"Yes," returned Mary ashamed of the momentary insincerity couched in
her former uncertain replying word, "Who?" yet still adding, while
trying to smile, "but some people might call our ideas enthusiasm."

"So all tell me," replied Euphemia; "so all say who neither possess
the sensibility nor the candor to allow that great merit may exist
without being associated with great rank. Yet," cried she, in a more
animated tone, "I have my doubts, Mary, of his being what he seems.
Did you observe the sick gentleman call him _My lord?_"

"I did," returned Mary, "and I was not surprised. Such manners as Mr.
Constantine's are not to be acquired in a cottage."

"Dear, dear Mary!" cried Euphemia, flinging her ivory arms round her
neck; "how I love you for these words! You are generous, you think
nobly, and I will no longer hesitate to--to--" and breaking off, she
hid her head in Miss Beaufort's bosom.

Mary's heart throbbed, her cheeks grew pale, and almost unconsciously
she wished to stop the tide of Miss Dundas's confidence.

"Dear Euphemia!" answered she, "your regard for this interesting
exile is very praiseworthy. But beware of----." She hesitated; a
remorseful twitch in her own breast stayed the warning that was
rising to her tongue; and blushing at a motive she could not at the
instant assign to friendship, selfishness, or to any interest she
would not avow to herself, she touched the cheek of Euphemia with her
quivering lips.

Euphemia had finished the sentence for her, and raising her head,
exclaimed, "What should I fear in esteeming Mr. Constantine? Is he
not the most captivating creature in the world! And for his person!
Oh, Mary, he is so beautiful, that when the library is filled with
the handsomest men in town, the moment Constantine enters, their
reign is over. I compare them with his godlike figure, and I feel as
one looking at the sun; all other objects appear dim and shapeless."

"I hope," returned Mary,--pressing her own forehead with her hand,
her head beginning to ache strangely,--"that Mr. Constantine does not
owe your friendship to his fine person. I think his mental qualities
are more deserving of such a gift."

"Don't look so severe, dear Mary!" cried Miss Dundas, observing her
contracting brow; "are you displeased with me?"

Mary's displeasure was at the austerity of her own words, and not at
her auditor. Raising her eyes with a smile, she gently replied, "I do
not mean, my dear girl, to be severe; but I would wish, for the honor
of our sex, that the objects which attract either our love or our
compassion should have something more precious than mere exterior
beauty to engage our interest."

"Well, I will soon be satisfied," cried Euphemia, in a gayer tone, as
they drove through Grosvenor Gate; "we all know that Constantine is
sensible and accomplished: he writes poetry like an angel, both in
French and Italian. I have hundreds of mottoes composed by him; one
of them, Mary, is on the work-box I gave you yesterday; and, what is
more, I will ask him to-morrow why that old gentleman called him
_My lord?_ It he be a lord!" exclaimed she.

"What then?" inquired the eloquent eyes of Mary.

"Don't look so impertinent, my dear," cried the now animated beauty:
"I positively won't say another word to you today."

Miss Beaufort's headache became so painful, she rejoiced when
Euphemia ceased and the carriage drew up to Lady Dundas's door.

A night of almost unremitted sleep performed such good effects on the
general condition of General Butzou, that Dr. Cavendish thought his
patient so much better as to sanction his hoping the best
consequences from a frequent repetition of air and exercise. When the
drive and walk had accordingly been repeated the following day,
Thaddeus left his friend to his maps, and little Nanny's attendance,
and once more took the way to Harley Street.

He found only Miss Dundas with her sister in the study. Mary (against
her will, which she opposed because it was her will) had gone out
shopping with Miss Dorothy and Lady Dundas.

Miss Dundas left the room the moment she had finished her lessons.

Delighted at being _tete-à-tete_ with the object of her romantic
fancies, Euphemia forgot that she was to act the retreating character
of Madame d'Arblay's heroine; and shutting her book the instant Diana
disappeared, all at once opened her attack on his confidence.

To her eager questions, which the few words of the general had
excited, the count afforded no other reply than that his poor friend
knew not what he said, having been a long time in a state of mental
derangement.

This explanation caused a momentary mortification in the imaginative
Euphemia; but her busy mind was nimble in its erection of airy
castles, and she rallied in a moment with the idea that "he might be
more than a lord." At any rate, let him be what he may, he charmed
her; and he had much ado to parry the increasing boldness of her
speeches, without letting her see they were understood.

"You are very diffident, Mr. Constantine," cried she, looking down.
"If I consider you worthy of my friendship, why should _you_
make disqualifying assertions?"

"Every man, madam," returned Thaddeus, bowing as he rose from his
chair, "must be diffident of deserving the honor of your notice."

"There is no man living," replied she, "to whom I would offer my
friendship but yourself."

Thaddeus bit his lip; he knew not what to answer. Bowing a second
time, he stretched out his hand and drew his hat towards him.
Euphemia's eyes followed the movement.

"You are in a prodigious haste, Mr. Constantine!"

"I know I intrude, madam; and I have promised to be with my sick
friend at an early hour."

"Well, you may go, since you are obliged," returned the pretty
Euphemia, rising, and smiling sweetly as she laid one hand on his arm
and put the other into her tucker. She drew out a little white
leather _souvenir_, marked on the back in gold letters with the
words, "_Toujours cher_;" and slipping it into his hand, "There,
receive that, _monsignor_, or whatever else you may be called,
and retain it as the first pledge of Euphemia Dundas's friendship."

Thaddeus colored as he took it; and again having recourse to the
convenient reply of a bow, left the room in embarrassed vexation.

There was an indelicacy in this absolutely wooing conduct of Miss
Euphemia which, notwithstanding her beauty and the softness that was
its vehicle, filled him with the deepest disgust. He could not trace
real affection in her words or manner; and that any woman, instigated
by a mere whim, should lay aside the maidenly reserves of her sex,
and actually court his regard, surprised whilst it impelled him to
loathe her.

They who adopt Euphemia's sentiments,--and, alas! there are some,--
can be little aware of the conclusion which society infer from such
intemperate behavior. The mistaken creature who, either at the
impulsion of her own disposition or by the influence of example, is
induced to despise the guard of modesty, literally "forsakes the
guide of her youth" and leaves herself open to every attack which man
can devise against her. By levelling the barrier raised by nature,
she herself exposes the stronghold of virtue, and may find, too late
for recovery, that what modesty has abandoned is not long spared by
honor.

Euphemia's affected attachment suggested to Thaddeus a few unpleasant
recollections respecting the fervent and unequivocal passion of Lady
Sara. Though guilty, it sprung from a headlong ardor of disposition
which formed at once the error and its palliation. He saw that love
was not welcomed by her (at least he thought so) as a plaything, but
struggled against as with a foe. He had witnessed her tortures; he
pitied them, and to render her happy, would gladly have made any
sacrifice short of his conscience. Too well assured of being all the
world to Lady Sara, the belief that Miss Euphemia liked him only from
idleness, caprice, and contradiction, caused him to repay her
overtures with decided contempt.

When he arrived at home, he threw on his table the pocket-book whose
unambiguous motto made him scorn her, and almost himself for being
the object of such folly. Looking round his humble room, whose
wicker-chairs, oil-cloth floor, and uncurtained windows announced
anything but elegance: "Poor Euphemia!" said he; "how would you be
dismayed were the indigent Constantine to really take you at your
word, and bring you home to a habitation like this!"

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXX.

INFLUENCES OF CHARACTER.


The recital of the preceding scene, which was communicated to Miss
Beaufort by Euphemia, filled her with still more doubting thoughts.

Mary could discover no reason why the old gentleman's mental
derangement should dignify his friend with titles he had never borne.
She remarked to herself that his answer to Euphemia was evasive; she
remembered his emotion and apology on seeing Mr. C. Kemble in
Adelbert; and uniting with these facts his manners and acquirements,
so far beyond the charges of any subordinate rank, she could finally
retain no doubt of his being at least well born.

Thus this mysterious Constantine continued to occupy her hourly
thoughts during the space of two months, in which time she had full
opportunity to learn much of a character with whom she associated
almost every day. At Lady Tinemouth's (one of whose evening guests
she frequently became) she beheld him disencumbered of that armor of
reserve which he usually wore in Harley Street.

In the circle of the countess, Mary saw him welcomed like an idolized
being before whose cheering influence all frowns and clouds must
disappear. When he entered, the smile resumed its seat on the languid
features of Lady Tinemouth; Miss Egerton's eye lighted up to keener
archness; Lady Sara's Circassian orbs floated in pleasure; and for
Mary herself, her breast heaved, her cheeks glowed, her hands
trembled, a quick sigh fluttered in her bosom; and whilst she
remained in his presence, she believed that happiness had lost its
usual evanescent property, and become tangible, to hold and press
upon her heart.

Mary, who investigated the cause of these tremors on her pillow,
bedewed it with delicious though bitter tears, when her alarmed soul
whispered that she nourished for this amiable foreigner "a something
than friendship dearer."

"Ah! is it come to this?" cried she, pressing down her saturated
eyelids with her hand. "Am I at last to love a man who, perhaps,
never casts a thought on me? How despicable shall I become in my own
eyes!"

The pride of woman puts this charge to her taken heart--that heart
which seems tempered of the purest clay, and warmed with the fire of
heaven; that tender and disinterested heart asks as its appeal--What
is love? Is it not an admiration of all that is beautiful in nature
and in the soul? Is it not a union of loveliness with truth? Is it
not a passion whose sole object is the rapture of contemplating the
supreme beauty of this combined character?

"Where, then," cried the enthusiastic Mary, "where is the shame that
can be annexed to my loving Constantine? If it be honorable to love
delineated excellence, it must be equally so to love it when embodied
in a human shape. Such it is in Constantine; and if love be the
reflected light of virtue, I may cease to arraign myself of that
which otherwise I would have scorned. Therefore, Constantine," cried
she, raising her clasped hands, whilst renewed tears streamed over
her face, "I will love thee! I will pray for thy happiness, though
its partner should be Euphemia Dundas."

Mary's eager imagination would not allow her to perceive those
obstacles in the shapes of pride and prudence, which would stand in
the way of his obtaining Euphemia's hand; its light showed to her
only a rival in the person of the little beauty; but from her direct
confidence she continued to retreat with abhorrence.

Had Euphemia been more deserving of Constantine, Miss Beaufort
believed she would have been less reluctant to hear that she loved
him. But Mary could not avoid seeing that Miss E. Dundas possessed
little to ensure connubial comfort, if mere beauty and accidental
flights of good humor were not to be admitted into the scale. She was
weak in understanding, timid in principle, absurd in almost every
opinion she adopted; and as for love, true, dignified, respectable
love, she knew nothing of the sentiment.

Whilst Miss Beaufort meditated on this meagre schedule of her rival's
merits, the probability that even such a man as Constantine might
sacrifice himself to flattery and to splendor stung her to the soul.

The more she reflected on it, the more she conceived it possible.
Euphemia was considered a beauty of the day; her affectation of
refined prettiness pleased many, and might charm Constantine: she was
mistress of fifty thousand pounds, and did not esteem it necessary to
conceal from her favorite the empire he had acquired. Perhaps there
was generosity in this openness? If so, what might it not effect on a
grateful disposition? or, rather, (her mortified heart murmured in
the words of her aunt Dorothy,) "how might it not operate on the mind
of one of that sex, which, at the best, is as often moved by caprice
as by feeling."

Mary blushed at her adoption of this opinion; and, angry with herself
for the injustice which a lurking jealousy had excited in her to
apply to Constantine's noble nature, she resolved, whatever might be
her struggles, to promote his happiness, though even with Euphemia,
to the utmost of her power.

The next morning, when Miss Beaufort saw the study door opened for
her entrance, she found Mr. Constantine at his station, literally
baited between Miss Dundas and her honorable lover. At such moments
Mary appeared the kindest of the kind. She loved to see Constantine
smile; and whenever she could produce that effect, by turning the
spleen of these polite sneerers against themselves, his smiles, which
ever entered her heart, afforded her a banquet for hours after his
departure.

Mary drew out her netting, (which was a purse for Lady Tinemouth,)
and taking a seat beside Euphemia, united with her to occupy his
attention entirely, that he might not catch even one of those
insolent glances which were passing between Lascelles and a new
visitant the pretty lady Hilliars.

This lady seemed to take extreme pleasure in accosting Thaddeus by
the appellation of "Friend," "My good man," "Mr. What's-your-name,"
and similar squibs of insult, with which the prosperous assail the
unfortunate. Such random shots they know often inflict the most
galling wounds.

However, "Friend," "My good man," and "Mr. What's-your-name,"
disappointed this lady's small artillery of effect. He seemed
invulnerable both to her insolence and to her affectation; for to be
thought a wit, by even Miss Dundas's emigrant tutor, was not to be
despised; though at the very moment in which she desired his
admiration, she supposed her haughtiness had impressed him with a
proper sense of his own meanness and a high conception of her
dignity.

She jumped about the room, assumed infantine airs, played with
Euphemia's lap-dag, fondled it, seated herself on the floor and swept
the carpet with her fine flaxen tresses; but she performed the
routine of captivation in vain. Thaddeus recollected having seen this
pretty full-grown baby, in her peculiar character of a profligate
wife, pawning her own and her husband's property; he remembered this,
and the united shafts of her charms and folly fell unnoticed to the
ground.

When Thaddeus took his leave, Miss Beaufort, as was her custom,
retired for an hour to read in her dressing-room, before she directed
her attention to the toilet. She opened a book, and ran over a few
pages of Madame de Stael's Treatise on the Passions; but such
reasoning was too abstract for her present frame of mind, and she
laid the volume down.

She dipped her pen in the inkstand. Being a letter in debt to her
guardian, she thought she would defray it now. She accomplished "My
dear uncle," and stopped. Whilst she rested on her elbow, and,
heedless of what she was doing, picked the feather of her quill to
pieces, no other idea offered itself than the figure of Thaddeus
sitting 'severe in youthful beauty!' and surrounded by the
contumelies with which the unworthy hope to disparage the merit they
can neither emulate nor overlook.

Uneasy with herself, she pushed the table away, and, leaning her
cheek on her arm, gazed into the rainbow varieties of a beaupot of
flowers which occupied the fireplace. Even their gay colors appeared
to fade before her sight, and present to her vacant eye the form of
Thaddeus, with the melancholy air which shaded his movements. She
turned round, but could not disengage herself from the spirit that
was within her; his half-suppressed sighs seemed yet to thrill in her
ear and weigh upon her heart.

"Incomparable young man!" cried she, starting up, "why art thou so
wretched? Oh! Lady Tinemouth, why have you told me of his many
virtues? Why have I convinced myself that what you said is true? Oh!
why was I formed to love an excellence which I never can approach?"

The natural reply to these self-demanded questions suggesting itself,
she assented with a tear to the whisperings of her heart--that when
cool, calculating reason would banish the affections, it is incapable
of filling their place.

She rang the bell for her maid.

"Marshall, who dines with Lady Dundas to-day?"

"I believe, ma'am," replied the girl, "Mr. Lascelles, Lady Hilliars,
and the Marquis of Elesmere."

"I dislike them all three!" cried Mary, with an impatience to which
she was little liable; "dress me how you like: I am indifferent to my
appearance."

Marshall obeyed the commands of her lady, who, hoping to divert her
thoughts, took up the poems of Egerton Brydges. But the attempt only
deepened her emotion, for every line in that exquisite little volume
"gives a very echo to the seat where love is throned!"

She closed the book and sighed. Marshall having fixed the last pearl
comb in her mistress's beautiful hair, and observing that something
was wrong that disquieted her, exclaimed, "Dear ma'am, you are so
pale to-day! I wish I might put on some gayer ornaments!"

"No," returned Mary, glancing a look at her languid features; "no,
Marshall: I appear as well as I desire. Any chance of passing
unnoticed in company I dislike is worth retaining. No one will be
here this evening whom I care to please."

She was mistaken; other company had been invited besides those whom
the maid mentioned. But Miss Beaufort continued from seven o'clock
until ten, the period at which the ladies left the table, the annoyed
victim of the insipid and pert compliments of Lord Elesmere.

Sick of his subjectless and dragging conversation, she gladly
followed Lady Dundas to the drawing-room, where, opening her knitting
case, she took her station in a remote corner.

After half an hour had elapsed, the gentlemen from below, recruited
by fresh company, thronged in fast; and, notwithstanding it was
styled a family party, Miss Beaufort saw many new faces, amongst whom
she observed an elderly clergyman, who was looking about for a chair.
The yawning Lascelles threw himself along the only vacant sofa, just
as the reverend gentleman approached it.

Miss Beaufort immediately rose, and was moving on to another room,
when the coxcomb, springing up, begged permission to admire her work;
and, without permission, taking it from her, pursued her, twisting
the purse around his fingers and talking all the while.

Mary walked forward, smiling with contempt, until they reached the
saloon, where the Misses Dundas were closely engaged in conversation
with the Marquis of Elesmere.

Lascelles, who trembled for his Golconda at this sight, stepped
briskly up. Miss Beaufort, who did not wish to lose sight of her
purse whilst in the power of such a Lothario, followed him, and
placed herself against the arm of the sofa on which Euphemia sat.

Lascelles now bowed his scented locks to Diana in vain; Lord Elesmere
was describing the last heat at Newmarket, and the attention of
neither lady could be withdrawn.

The beau became so irritated by the neglect of Euphemia, and so
nettled at her sister's overlooking him, that assuming a gay air, he
struck Miss Dundas's arm a smart stroke with Miss Beaufort's purse;
and laughing, to show the strong opposition between his broad white
teeth and the miserable mouth of his lordly rival, hoped to alarm him
by his familiarity, and to obtain a triumph over the ladies by
degrading them in the eyes of the peer.

"Miss Dundas," demanded he, "who was that quiz of a man in black your
sister walked with the other day in Portland Place?"

"Me!" cried Euphemia, surprised.

"Ay!" returned he; "I was crossing from Weymouth Street, when I
perceived you accost a strange-looking person--a courier from the
moon, perhaps! You may remember you sauntered with him as far as
Sir William Miller's. I would have joined you, but seeing the family
standing in the balcony, I did not wish them to suppose that I knew
anything of such queer company."

"Who was it, Euphemia?" inquired Miss Dundas, in a severe tone.

"I wonder he affects to be ignorant," answered her sister, angrily;
"he knows very well it was only Mr. Constantine."

"And who is Mr. Constantine?" demanded the marquis. Mr. Lascelles
shrugged his shoulders.

"E'faith, my lord! a fellow whom nobody knows--a teacher of
languages, giving himself the airs of a prince--a writer of poetry,
and a man who will draw you, your house or dogs, if you will pay him
for it."

Mary's heart swelled.

"What, a French emigrant?" drawled his lordship, dropping his lip;
"and the lovely Euphemia wishes to soothe his sorrows."

"No, my lord," stammered Euphemia, "he is--he is----"

"What!" interrupted Lascelles, with a malicious grin. "A wandering
beggar, who thrusts himself into society which may some day repay his
insolence with chastisement! And for the people who encourage him,
they had better beware of being themselves driven from all good
company. Such confounders of degrees ought to be degraded from the
rank they disgrace. I understand his chief protectress is Lady
Tinemouth; his second, Lady Sara Ross, who, by way of _passant le
temps,_ shows she is not quite inconsolable at the absence of her
husband."

Mary, pale and trembling at the scandal his last words insinuated,
opened her lips to speak, when Miss Dundas (whose angry eyes darted
from her sister to her lover) exclaimed, "Mr. Lascelles, I know not
what you mean. The subject you have taken up is below my discussion;
yet I must confess, if Euphemia has ever disgraced herself so far as
to be seen walking with a schoolmaster, she deserves all you have
said."

"And why might I not walk with him, sister?" asked the poor culprit,
suddenly recovering from her confusion, and looking pertly up; "who
knew that he was not a gentleman?"

"Everybody, ma'am," interrupted Lascelles; "and when a young woman of
fashion condescends to be seen equalizing herself with a creature
depending on his wits for support, she is very likely to incur the
contempt of her acquaintance and the censure of her friends."

"She is, sir," said Mary, holding down her indignant heart and
forcing her countenance to appear serene; "for she ought to know that
if those men of fashion, who have no wit to be either their support
or ornament, did not proscribe talents from their circle, they must
soon find 'the greater glory dim the less.'"

"True, madam," cried Lord Berrington, who, having entered during the
contest, had stood unobserved until this moment; "and their gold and
tinsel would prove but dross and bubble, if struck by the Ithuriel
touch of Merit when so advocated."

Mary turned at the sound of his philanthropic voice, and gave him one
of those glances which go immediately to the soul.

"Come, Miss Beaufort," cried he, taking her hand; "I see the young
musician yonder who has so recently astonished the public. I believe
he is going to sing. Let us leave this discordant corner, and seek
harmony by his side."

Mary gladly acceded to his request, and seating herself a few paces
from the musical party, Berrington took his station behind her chair.

When the last melting notes of "From shades of night" died upon her
ear, Mary's eyes, full of admiration and transport, which the power
of association rendered more intense, remained fixed on the singer.
Lord Berrington smiled at the vivid expression of her countenance,
and as the young Orpheus moved from the instrument, exclaimed, "Come,
Miss Beaufort, I won't allow you quite to fancy Braham the god on
whom

     Enamored Clitie turned and gazed!

[Footnote: This accomplished singer and composer still lives--one of
the most admired ornaments of the British orchestra.--1845.]

Listen a little to my merits. Do you know that if it were not for my
timely lectures, Lascelles would grow the most insufferable gossip
about town? There is not a match nor a divorce near St. James's of
which he cannot repeat all the whys and wherefores. I call him Sir
Benjamin Backbite; and I believe he hates me worse than Asmodeus
himself."

"Such a man's dislike," rejoined Mary, "is the highest encomium he
can bestow. I never yet heard him speak well of any person who did
not resemble himself."

"And he is not consistent even there," resumed the viscount: "I am
not sure I have always heard him speak in the gentlest terms of Miss
Dundas. Yet, on that I cannot quite blame him; for, on my honor, she
provokes me beyond any woman breathing."

"Many women," replied Mary, smiling, "would esteem that a flattering
instance of power."

"And, like everything that flatters," returned he, "it would tell a
falsehood. A shrew can provoke a man who detests her. As to Miss
Dundas, notwithstanding her parade of learning, she generally
espouses the wrong side of the argument; and I may say with somebody,
whose name I have forgotten, that any one who knows Diana Dundas
never need be at a loss for a woman to call impertinent."

"You are not usually so severe, my lord!"

"I am not usually so sincere, Miss Beaufort," answered he; "but I see
you think for yourself, therefore I make no hesitation in speaking
what I think--to you."

His auditor bowed her head sportively but modestly. Lady Dundas at
that moment beckoned him across the room. She compelled him to sit
down to whist. He cast a rueful glance at Mary, and took a seat
opposite to his costly partner.

"Lord Berrington is a very worthy young man," observed the clergyman
to whom at the beginning of the evening Miss Beaufort had resigned
her chair; "I presume, madam, you have been honoring him with your
conversation?"

"Yes," returned Mary, noticing the benign countenance of the speaker;
"I have not had the pleasure of long knowing his lordship, but what I
have seen of his character is highly to his advantage."

"I was intimate in his father's house for years," rejoined the
gentleman: "I knew this young nobleman from a boy. If he has faults,
he owes them to his mother, who doated on him, and rather directed
his care to the adornment of his really handsome person than to the
cultivation of talents he has since learned to appreciate."

"I believe Lord Berrington to be very sensible, and, above all, very
humane," returned Miss Beaufort.

"He is so," replied the old gentleman; "yet it was not till he had
attained the age of twenty-two that he appeared to know he had
anything to do in the world besides dressing and attending on the
fair sex. His taste produced the first, whilst the urbanity of his
disposition gave birth to the latter. When Berrington arrived at his
title, he was about five-and-twenty. Sorrow for the death of his
amiable parents, who died in the same month, afforded him leisure to
find his reason. He discovered that he had been acting a part beneath
him, and he soon implanted on the good old stock those excellent
acquirements which you see he possesses. In spite of his
regeneration," continued the clergyman, casting a good-humored glance
on the dove-colored suit of the viscount, "you perceive that first
impressions will remain. He loves dress, but he loves justice and
philanthropy better."

"This eulogy, sir," said Mary, "affords me real pleasure, may I know
the name of the gentleman with whom I have the honor to converse?"

"My name is Blackmore," returned he.

"Dr. Blackmore?"

"The same."

He was the same Dr. Blackmore who had been struck by the appearance
of the Count Sobieski at the Hummums, but had never learned his name,
and who, being a rare visitor at Lady Dundas's, had never by chance
met a second time with the object of his compassion.

"I am happy," resumed Miss Beaufort, "in having the good fortune to
meet a clergyman of whom I have so frequently heard my guardian, Sir
Robert Somerset, speak with the highest esteem."

"Ah!" replied he, "I have not seen him since the death of his lady; I
hope that he and his son are well!"

"Both are perfectly so now," returned she, "and are together in the
country!"

"You, madam, I suppose are my lady's niece, the daughter of the brave
Admiral Beaufort?"

"I am, sir."

"Well, I rejoice at this incident," rejoined he, pressing her hand;
"I knew your mother when she was a lovely girl. She used to spend her
summers with the late Lady Somerset, at the castle. It was there I
had the honor of cultivating her friendship."

"I do not remember ever having seen my mother," replied the now
thoughtful Mary. Dr. Blackmore observing the expression of her
countenance, smiled kindly, and said, "I fear I am to blame here.
This is a somewhat sad way of introducing myself. But your goodness
must pardon me," continued he; "for I have so long accustomed myself
to speak what I think to those in whom I see cause to esteem, that
sometimes, as now, I undesignedly inflict pain."

"Not in this case," returned Miss Beaufort. "I am always pleased when
listening to a friend of my mother, and particularly so when he
speaks in her praise."

The breaking up of the card-tables prevented further conversation.
Lord Berrington again approached the sofa where Mary sat, exclaiming,
as he perceived her companion, "Ah my good doctor; have you presented
yourself at this fair shrine I declare you eccentric folk may dare
anything. Whilst you are free, Miss Beaufort," added he turning to
her, "adopt the advice which a good lady once gave me, and which I
have implicitly followed: 'When you are young, get the character of
an oddity, and it seats you in an easy chair for life.'"

Mary was interrupted in her reply by a general stir amongst the
company, who, now the cards were over, like bees and wasps were
swarming about the room, gathering honey or stinging as they went.

At once the house was cleared; and Miss Beaufort threw herself on the
pillow, to think, and then to dream of Thaddeus.



CHAPTER XXXI.

THE GREAT AND THE SMALL OF SOCIETY.


If it be true what the vivid imaginations of poets have frequently
asserted, that when the soul dreams, it is in the actual presence of
those beings whose images present themselves to their slumbers, then
have the spirit, of Thaddeus and Mary been often commingled at the
hour of midnight; then has the young Sobieski again visited his
distant country, again seen it victorious, again knelt before his
sainted parents.

From such visions as these did Thaddeus awake in the morning, after
having spent the preceding evening with Lady Tinemouth.

He had walked with her ladyship in Hyde Park till a late hour. By the
mild light of the moon, which shone brightly through the still, balmy
air of a midsummer night, they took their way along the shadowy bank
of the Serpentine.

There is a solemn appeal to the soul in the repose of nature that
"makes itself be felt." No syllable from either Thaddeus or the
countess for some time broke the universal silence. Thaddeus looked
around on the clear expanse of water, over-shaded by the long
reflection of the darkening trees; then raising his eyes to that
beautiful planet which has excited tender thoughts in every feeling
breast since the creation of the world, he drew a deep sigh. The
countess echoed it.

[Illustration: LADY TINEMOUTH.]

"In such a night as this," said Thaddeus, in a low voice, as if
afraid to disturb the sleeping deity of the place, "I used to walk
the ramparts of Villanow with my dear departed mother, and gaze on
that lovely orb; and when I was far from her, I have looked at it
from the door of my tent, and fancying that her eyes were then fixed
on the same object as mine, I found happiness in the idea."

A tear stole down the cheek of Thaddeus. That moon yet shone
brightly; but his mother's eyes were closed in the grave.

"Villanow!" repeated the countess, in a tone of tender surprise;
"surely that was the seat of the celebrated Palatine of Masovia! You
have discovered yourself, Constantine! I am much mistaken if you be
not his grandson, the young, yet far-famed, Thaddeus Sobieski?"

Thaddeus had allowed the remembrances pressing on his mind to draw
him into a speech which had disclosed to the quick apprehension of
the countess what his still too sensitive pride would forever have
concealed.

"I have indeed betrayed my secret," cried he, incapable of denying
it; "but, dear lady Tinemouth, as you value my feelings, never let it
escape your lips. Having long considered you as my best friend, and
loved you as a parent, I forgot, in the recollection of my beloved
mother, that I had withheld any of my history from you."

"Mysterious Providence!" exclaimed her ladyship, after a pause, in
which ten thousand admiring and pitying reflections thronged on her
mind: "is it possible? Can it be the Count Sobieski, that brave and
illustrious youth of whom every foreigner spoke with wonder? Can it
be him that I behold in the unknown, unfriended Constantine?"

"Even so," returned Thaddeus, pressing her hand. "My country is no
more. I am now forgotten by the world, as I have been by fortune. I
have nothing to do on the earth but to fulfil the few duties which a
filial friendship has enjoined, and then it will be a matter of
indifference to me how soon I am laid in its bosom."

"You are too young, dear Constantine, (for I am still to call you by
that name,) to despair of happiness being yet reserved for you."

"No, my dear Lady Tinemouth, I do not cheat myself with such hope; I
am not so importunate with the gracious Being who gave me life and
reason. He bestowed upon me for awhile the tenderest connections--
friends, rank, honors, glory. All these were crushed in the fall of
Poland; yet I survive, I sought resignation only, and I have found
it. It cost me many a struggle; but the contest was due to the
decrees of that all-wise Creator who gave my first years to
happiness."

"Inestimable young man!" cried the countess, wiping the flowing tears
from her eyes; "you teach misfortune dignity! Not when all Warsaw
rose in a body to thank you, not when the king received you in the
senate with open arms, could you have appeared to me so worthy of
admiration as at this moment, when, conscious of having been all
this, you submit to the direct reverse, because you believe it to be
the will of your Maker! Ah! little does Miss Beaufort think, when
seated by your side, that she is conversing with the youthful hero
whom she has so often wished to see!"

"Miss Beaufort!" echoed Thaddeus, his heart glowing with delight. "Do
you think she ever heard of me by the name of Sobieski?"

"Who has not?" returned the countess; "every heart that could be
interested by heroic virtue has heard and well remembers its glorious
struggles against the calamities of your country. Whilst the
newspapers of the day informed us of these things, they noticed
amongst the first of her champions the Palatine of Masovia,
Kosciusko, and the young Sobieski. Many an evening have I passed with
Miss Dorothy and Mary Beaufort, lamenting the fate of that devoted
kingdom."

During this declaration, a variety of indeed happy emotions agitated
the mind of Thaddeus, until, recollecting with a bitter pang the
shameless ingratitude of Pembroke, when all those glories were
departed from him, and the cruel possibility of being recognized by
the Earl of Tinemouth as his son, he exclaimed, "My dearest madam, I
entreat that what I have revealed to you may never be divulged. Miss
Beaufort's friendship would indeed be happiness; but I cannot
purchase even so great a bliss at the expense of memories which are
knit with my life."

"How?" cried the countess; "is not your name, and all its attendant
ideas, an honor which the proudest man might boast?"

Thaddeus pressed her hand to his heart.

"You are kind--very kind! yet I cannot retract. Confide, dear Lady
Tinemouth, in the justice of my resolution. I could not bear cold
pity; I could not bear the heartless comments of people who,
pretending to compassion, would load me with a heavy sense of my
calamities. Besides, there are persons in England who are so much the
objects of my aversion, I would rather die than let them know I
exist. Therefore, once again, dear Lady Tinemouth, let me implore you
to preserve my secret."

She saw by the earnestness of his manner that she ought to comply,
and without further hesitation promised all the silence he desired.

This long moonlight conversation, by awakening all those dormant
remembrances which were cherished, though hidden in the depths of his
bosom, gave birth to that _mirage_ of imagination which painted
that night, in the rapid series of his tumultuous dreams, the images
of every being whom he had ever loved, or now continued to regard
with interest.

Proceeding next morning towards Harley Street, he mused on what had
happened; and pleased that he had, though unpremeditatedly, paid the
just compliment of his entire confidence to the uncommon friendship
of the countess, he arrived at Lady Dundas's door before he was
sensible of the ground he had passed over, and in a few minutes
afterwards was ushered into his accustomed purgatory.

When the servant opened the study-door, Miss Euphemia was again
alone. Thaddeus recoiled, but he could not retreat.

"Come in, Mr. Constantine," cried the little beauty, in a languid
tone; "my sister is going to the riding-school with Mr. Lascelles.
Miss Beaufort wanted me to drive out with her and my mother, but I
preferred waiting for you."

The count bowed; and almost retreating with fear of what might next
be said, he gladly heard a thundering knock at the door, and a moment
after the voice of Miss Dundas ascending the stairs.

He had just opened his books when she entered, followed by her lover.
Panting under a heavy riding-habit, she flung herself on a sofa, and
began to vilify "the odious heat of Pozard's odious place;" then
telling Euphemia she would play truant to-day, ordered her to attend
to her lessons.

Owing to the warmth of the weather, Thaddeus came out this morning
without boots; and it being the first time the exquisite proportion
of his figure had been so fully seen by any of the present company
excepting Euphemia, Lascelles, bursting with an emotion which he
would not call envy, measured the count's graceful limb with his
scornful eyes; then declaring he was quite in a furnace, took the
corner of his glove and waving it to and fro, half-muttered, "Come
gentle air."

"The fairer Lascelles cries!" exclaimed Euphemia, looking off her
exercise.

"What! does your master teach you wit?" drawled the coxcomb, with a
particular emphasis.

Thaddeus, affecting not to hear, continued to direct his pupil.

The indefatigable Lascelles having observed the complacence with
which the count always regarded Miss Beaufort determined the goad
should fret; and drawing the knitting out of his pocket which he had
snatched the night before from Mary, he exclaimed, "'Fore heaven,
here is my little Beaufort's purse!"

Thaddeus started, and unconsciously looking up, beheld the well-known
work of Mary dangling in the hand of Lascelles. He suffered pangs
unknown to him; his eyes became dim; and hardly knowing what he saw
or said, he pursued the lesson with increased rapidity.

Finding that his malice had taken effect, with a careless air the
malicious puppy threw his clumsy limbs on the sofa, which Miss Dundas
had just quitted to seat herself nearer the window, and cried out, as
in a voice of sudden recollection:

"By the bye, that Miss Mary Beaufort, when she chooses to be sincere,
is a staunch little Queen Bess."

"You may as well tell me," replied Miss Dundas, with a deriding curl
of her lip, "that she is the Empress of Russia."

"I beg your pardon!" cried he, and raising his voice to be better
heard, "I do not mean in the way of learning. But I will prove in a
moment her creditable high-mightiness in these presumptuous times,
though a silly love of popularity induces her to affect now and then
a humble guise to some people beneath her. When she gave me this
gewgaw," added he, flourishing the purse in his hand, "she told me a
pretty tissue about a fair friend of hers, whose music-master,
mistaking some condescension on her part, had dared to press her
snowy fingers while directing them towards a tender chord on her
harp. You have no notion how the gentle Beaufort's blue eyes blazed
up while relating poor Tweedledum's presumption!"

"I can have a notion of anything these boasted meek young ladies do
when thrown off their guard," haughtily returned his contemptuous
auditress, "after Miss Beaufort's violent sally of impertinence to
you last night."

"Impertinence to me!" echoed the fop, at the same time dipping the
end of the knitting into Diana's lavender-bottle, and dabbing his
temples; "she was always too civil by half. I hate forward girls."

Thaddeus shut the large dictionary which lay before him with a force
that made the puppy start, and rising hastily from his chair, with a
face all crimson, was taking his hat, when the door opened, and Mary
appeared.

A white-chip bonnet was resting lightly on the glittering tresses
which waved over her forehead, whilst her lace-shade, gently
discomposed by the air, half veiled and half revealed her graceful
figure. She entered with a smile, and walking up to the side of the
table where Thaddeus was standing, inquired after his friend's
health. He answered her in a voice unusually agitated. All that he
had been told by the countess of her favorable opinion of him, and
the slander he had just heard from Diana's lover, were at once
present in his mind.

He was yet speaking, when Miss Beaufort, casually looking towards the
other side of the room, saw her purse still acting the part of a
handkerchief in the hand of Mr. Lascelles.

"Look, Mr. Constantine," said she, gayly tapping his arm with her
parasol, "how the most precious things may be degraded! There is the
knitting you have so often admired, and which I intended for Lady
Tinemouth's pocket, debased to do the office of Mr. Lascelles's
napkin."

"You gave it to him, Miss Beaufort," cried Miss Dundas; "and after
that, surely he may use it as he values it!"

"If I could have given it to Mr. Lascelles, madam, I should hardly
have taken notice of its fate."

Believing what her lover had advanced, Miss Dundas was displeased at
Mary for having, by presents, interfered with any of her danglers,
and rather angrily replied, "Mr. Lascelles said you gave it to him;
and certainly you would not insinuate a word against his veracity?"

"No, not insinuate," returned Miss Beaufort, "but affirm, that he has
forgotten his veracity in this statement."

Lascelles yawned. "Lord bless me, ladies, how you quarrel! You will
disturb Monsieur?"

"Mr. Constantine," returned Mary, blushing with indignation, "cannot
be disturbed by nonsense."

Thaddeus again drew his hat towards him, and bowing to his lovely
champion, with an expression of countenance which he little suspected
had passed from his heart to his eyes, he was preparing to take his
leave, when Euphemia requested him to inform her whether she had
folded down the right pages for the next exercise. He approached her,
and was leaning over her chair to look at the book, when she
whispered, "Don't be hurt at what Lascelles says; he is always
jealous of anybody who is handsomer than himself."

Thaddeus dropped his eyelids with a face of scarlet; for on meeting
the eyes of Mary, he saw that she had heard this intended comforter
as well as himself. Uttering a few incoherent sentences to both
ladies he hurried out of the room.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE OBDURACY OF VICE--THE INHUMANITY OF FOLLY.


The Count Sobieski was prevented paying his customary visit next
morning in Harley Street by a sudden dangerous increase of illness in
the general, who had been struck at seven o'clock by a fit of palsy.

When Dr. Cavendish beheld the poor old man stretched on the bed, and
hardly exhibiting signs of life, he pronounced it to be a death-
stroke. At this remark, Thaddeus, turning fearfully pale, staggered
to a seat, with his eyes fixed on the altered features of his friend.
Dr. Cavendish took his hand.

"Recollect yourself, my dear sir! Happen when it may, his death must
be a release to him. But he may yet linger a few days."

"Not in pain, I hope!" said Thaddeus.

"No," returned the doctor; "probably he will remain as you now see
him, till he expires like the last glimmer of a dying taper."

The benevolent Cavendish gave proper directions to Thaddeus, also to
Mrs. Robson, who promised to act carefully as nurse; and then with
regret left the stunned count to the melancholy task of watching by
the bedside of his last early friend.

Thaddeus now retained no thought that was not riveted to the
emaciated form before him. Whilst the unconscious invalid struggled
for respiration, he listened to his short and convulsed breathing
with sensations which seemed to tear the strings of his own breast.
Unable to bear it longer, he moved to the fireside, and seating
himself, with his pallid face and aching head supported on his arm,
which rested on a plain deal table, he remained; meeting no other
suspension from deep and awestruck meditation than the occasional
appearance of Mrs. Robson on tiptoes, peeping in and inquiring
whether he wanted anything.

From this reverie, like unto the shadow of death, he was aroused next
morning at nine o'clock by the entrance of Dr. Cavendish. Thaddeus
seized his hand with the eagerness of his awakened suspense. "My dear
sir, may I hope--"

Not suffering him to finish with what he hoped, the doctor shook his
head in gentle sign of the vanity of that hope, and advanced to the
bed of the general. He felt his pulse. No change of opinion was the
consequence, only that he now saw no threatenings of immediate
dissolution.

"Poor Butzou!" murmured Thaddeus, when the doctor withdrew, putting
the general's motionless hand to his quivering lips; "I never will
leave thee! I will watch by thee, thou last relic of my country! It
may not be long ere we lie side by side."

With anguish at his heart, he wrote a few hasty lines to the
countess; then addressing Miss Dundas, he mentioned as the reason for
his late and continued absence the danger of his friend.

His note found Miss Dundas attended by her constant shadow, Mr.
Lascelles, Lady Hilliars, and two or three more fine ladies and
gentlemen, besides Euphemia and Miss Beaufort, who, with pensive
countenances, were waiting the arrival of its writer.

When Miss Dundas took the billet off the silver salver on which her
man presented it, and looked at the superscription, she threw it into
the lap of Lacelles.

"There," cried she, "is an excuse, I suppose, from Mr. Constantine,
for his impertinence in not coming hither yesterday. Read it,
Lascelles."

"'Fore Gad, I wouldn't touch it for an earldom!" exclaimed the
affected puppy, jerking it on the table. "It might affect me with the
hypochondriacs. Pray, Phemy, do you peruse it."

Euphemia, in her earnestness to learn what detained Mr. Constantine,
neglected the insolence of the request, and hastily breaking the
seal, read as follows:--

"Mr. Constantine hopes that a sudden and dangerous disorder which has
attacked the life of a very dear friend with whom he resides will be
a sufficient appeal to the humanity of the Misses Dundas, and obtain
their pardon for his relinquishing the honor of attending them
yesterday and to-day."

"Dear me!" cried Euphemia, piteously; "how sorry I am. I dare say it
is that white-haired old man we saw in the park, You remember, Mary,
he was sick?"

"Probably," returned Miss Beaufort, with her eyes fixed on the
agitated handwriting of Thaddeus.

"Throw the letter into the street, Phemy!" cried Miss Dundas,
affecting sudden terror; "who knows but what it is a fever the man
has got, and we may all catch our deaths."

"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed Mary, in a voice of real alarm; but it was
for Thaddeus--not fear of any infection which the paper might bring
to herself.

"Lascelles, take away that filthy scrawl from Phemy. How can you be
so headstrong, child?" cried Diana, snatching the letter from her
sister and throwing it from the window. "I declare you are sufficient
to provoke a saint."

"Then you may keep your temper, Di," returned Euphemia, with a sneer;
"you are far enough from that title."

Miss Dundas made a very angry reply, which was retaliated by another;
and a still more noisy and disagreeable altercation might have taken
place had not a good-humored lad, a brother-in-law of Lady Hilliars,
in hopes of calling off the attention of the sisters, exclaimed,
"Bless me, Miss Dundas, your little dog has pulled a folded sheet of
paper from under that stand of flowers! Perhaps it may be of
consequence."

"Fly! Take it up, George!" cried Lady Hilliars; "Esop will tear it to
atoms whilst you are asking questions."

After a chase round the room, over chairs and under tables, George
Hilliars at length plucked the devoted piece of paper out of the
dog's mouth; and as Miss Beaufort was gathering up her working
materials to leave the room, he opened it and cried, in a voice of
triumph, "By Jove, it is a copy of verses!"

"Verses!" demanded Euphemia, feeling in her pocket, and coloring;
"let me see them."

"That you sha'n't," roared Lascelles, catching them out of the boy's
hand; "if they are your writing, we will have them."

"Help me, Mary!" cried Euphemia, turning to Miss Beaufort; "I know
that nobody is a poet in this house but myself. They must be mine,
and I will have them."

"Surely, Mr. Lascelles," said Mary, compassionating the poor girl's
anxiety, "you will not be so rude as to detain them from their right
owner?"

"Oh! but I will," cried he, mounting on a table to get out of
Euphemia's reach, who, half crying, tried to snatch at the paper.
"Let me alone, Miss Phemy. I will read them; so here goes it."

Miss Dundas laughed at her sister's confused looks, whilst Lascelles
prepared to read in a loud voice the following verses. They had been
hastily written in pencil by Thaddeus a long time ago; and having put
them, by mistake, with some other papers into his pocket, he had
dropped them next day, in taking out his handkerchief at Lady
Dundas's. Lascelles cleared his throat with three hems, then raising
his right hand with a flourishing action, in a very pompous tone
began--

 "Like one whom Etna's torrent fires have sent
  Far from the land where his first youth was spent;
  Who, inly drooping on a foreign shore,
  Broods over scenes which charm his eyes no more:
  And while his country's ruin wakes the groan,
  Yearns for the buried hut he called his own.
  So driv'n, O Poland! from thy ravaged plains,
  So mourning o'er thy sad and but loved remains,
  A houseless wretch, I wander through the world,
  From friends, from greatness, and from glory hurl'd!

 "Oh! not that each long night my weary eyes
  Sink into sleep, unlull'd by Pity's sighs;
  Not that in bitter tears my bread is steep'd--
  Tears drawn by insults on my sorrows heap'd;
  Not that my thoughts recall a mother's grave--
  Recall the sire I would have died to save,
  Who fell before me, bleeding on the field,
  Whilst I in vain opposed the useless shield.
  Ah! not for these I grieve! Though mental woe,
  More deadly still, scarce Fancy's self could know!
  O'er want and private griefs the soul can climb,--
  Virtue subdues the one, the other Time:
  But at his country's fall, the patriot feels
  A grief no time, no drug, no reason heals.

 "Mem'ry! remorseless murderer, whose voice
  Kills as it sounds; who never says, Rejoice!
  To my deserted heart, by joy forgot;
  Thou pale, thou midnight spectre, haunt me not!
  Thou dost but point to where sublimely stands
  A glorious temple, reared by Virtue's hands,
  Circled with palms and laurels, crown'd with light,
  Darting Truth's piercing sun on mortal sight:
  Then rushing on, leagued fiends of hellish birth
  Level the mighty fabric with the earth!
  Slept the red bolt of Vengeance in that hour
  When virtuous Freedom fell the slave of Power!
  Slumber'd the God of Justice! that no brand
  Blasted with blazing wing the impious band!
  Dread God of Justice! to thy will I kneel,
  Though still my filial heart must bleed and feel;
  Though still the proud convulsive throb will rise,
  When fools my country's wrongs and woes despise;

  When low-soul'd Pomp, vain Wealth, that Pity gives,
  Which Virtue ne'er bestows and ne'er receives,--
  That Pity, stabbing where it vaunts to cure,
  Which barbs the dart of Want, and makes it sure.
  How far removed from what the feeling breast
  Yields boastless, breathed in sighs to the distress'd!
  Which whispers sympathy, with tender fear,
  And almost dreads to pour its balmy tear.
  But such I know not now! Unseen, alone,
  I heave the heavy sigh, I draw the groan;
  And, madd'ning, turn to days of liveliest joy,
  When o'er my native hills I cast mine eyes,
  And said, exulting--"Freemen here shall sow
  The seed that soon in tossing gold shall glow!
  While Plenty, led by Liberty, shall rove,
  Gay and rejoicing, through the land they love;
  And 'mid the loaded vines, the peasant see
  His wife, his children, breathing out,--'We're free!'
  But now, O wretched land! above thy plains,
  Half viewless through the gloom, vast Horror reigns,
  No happy peasant, o'er his blazing hearth,
  Devotes the supper hour to love and mirth;
  No flowers on Piety's pure altar bloom;
  Alas! they wither now, and strew her tomb!
  From the Great Book of Nations fiercely rent,
  My country's page to Lethe's stream is sent--
  But sent in vain! The historic Muse shall raise
  O'er wronged Sarmatia's cause the voice of praise,--
  Shall sing her dauntless on the field of death,
  And blast her royal robbers' bloody wrath!"


"It must be Constantine's!" cried Euphemia, in a voice of surprised
delight, while springing up to take the paper out of the deriding
reader's hand when he finished.

"I dare say it is," answered the ill-natured Lascelles, holding it
above his head. "You shall have it; only first let us hear it again,
it is so mighty pretty, so very lackadaisical!"

"Give it to me!" cried Euphemia, quite angry.

"Don't, Lascelles," exclaimed Miss Dundas, "the man must be a perfect
idiot to write such rhodomontade."

"O! it is delectable!" returned her lover, opening the paper again;
"it would make a charming ditty! Come, I will sing it. Shall it be to
the tune of 'The Babes in the Wood,' or 'Chevy Chase,' or 'The Beggar
of Bethnal Green?"

"Pitiless, senseless man!" exclaimed Mary, rising from her chair,
where she had been striving to subdue the emotions with which every
line in the poem filled her heart.

"Monster!" cried the enraged Euphemia, taking courage at Miss
Beaufort's unusual warmth; "I will have the paper."

"You sha'n't," answered the malicious coxcomb; and raising his arm
higher than her reach, he tore it in a hundred pieces. "I'll teach
pretty ladies to call names!"

At this sight, no longer able to contain herself, Mary rushed out of
the room, and hurrying to her chamber, threw herself upon the bed,
where she gave way to a paroxysm of tears which shook her almost to
suffocation.

During the first burst of her indignation, her agitated spirit
breathed every appellation of abhorrence and reproach on Lascelles
and his malignant mistress. Then wiping her flowing eyes, she
exclaimed, "Yet can I wonder, when I compare Constantine with what
they are? The man who dares to be virtuous beyond others, and to
appear so, arms the self-love of all common characters against him."

Such being her meditations, she excused herself from joining the
family at dinner, and it was not until evening that she felt herself
at all able to treat the ill-natured group with decent civility.

To avoid spending more hours than were absolutely necessary in the
company of a woman she now loathed, next morning Miss Beaufort
borrowed Lady Dundas's sedan-chair, and ordering it to Lady
Tinemouth's, found her at home alone, but evidently much discomposed.

"I intrude on you, Lady Tinemouth!" said Mary, observing her looks,
and withdrawing from the offered seat.

"No, my dear Miss Beaufort," replied she, "I am glad you are come. I
assure you I have few pleasures in solitude. Read that letter," added
she, putting one into her hand: "it has just conveyed one of the
cruelest stabs ever offered by a son to the heart of his mother. Read
it, and you will not be surprised at finding me in the state you
see."

The countess looked on her almost paralyzed hands as she spoke; and
Miss Beaufort taking the paper, sat down and read to herself the
following letter:

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE COUNTESS OF TINEMOUTH.

"Madam,

"I am commissioned by the earl, my father, to inform you that if you
have lost all regard for your own character, he considers that some
respect is due to the mother of his children; therefore he watches
your conduct.

"He has been apprized of your frequent meetings, during these many
months past, in Grosvenor Place, and at other people's houses, with
an obscure foreigner, your declared lover. The earl wished to suppose
this false, until your shameless behavior became so flagrant, that he
esteems it worthy neither of doubt nor indulgence.

"With his own eyes he saw you four nights ago alone with this man in
Hyde Park. Such demonstration is dreadful. Your proceedings are
abominable; and if you do not, without further parley, set off either
to Craighall, in Cornwall, or to the Wolds, you shall receive a
letter from my sister as well as myself, to tell the dishonored Lady
Tinemouth how much she merits her daughter's contempt, added to that
of her brother.

"HARWOLD."

Mary was indeed heart-struck at the contents of this letter, but most
especially at the accusation which so distinctly pointed out the
innocent object of her already doubly-excited pity. "Oh! why these
persecutions," cried her inward soul to heaven, "against an
apparently obscure but noble, friendless stranger?" Unable to collect
her thoughts to make any proper remarks whatever on the letter to
Lady Tinemouth, she hastily exclaimed, "It is indeed horrible; and
what do you mean to do, my honored friend?"

"I will obey my lord!" returned the countess, with a meek but firm
emphasis. "My last action will be in obedience to his will. I cannot
live long; and when I am dead, perhaps the earl's vigilance may be
satisfied; perhaps some kind friend may then plead my cause to my
daughter's heart. One cruel line from her would kill me. I will at
least avoid the completion of that threat, by leaving town to-morrow
night."

"What! so soon? But I hope not so far as Cornwall?"

"No," replied her ladyship; "Craighall is too near Plymouth; I
determine on the Wolds. Yet why should I have a choice? It is almost
a matter of indifference to what spot I am banished--in what place I
am to die; anywhere to which my earthly lord would send me, I shall
be equally remote from the sympathy of a friend."

Miss Beaufort's heart was oppressed when she entered the room! Lady
Tinemouth's sorrows seemed to give her a license to weep. She took
her ladyship's hand, and with difficulty sobbed out this inarticulate
proposal:--"Take me with you, dear Lady Tinemouth! I am sure my
guardian will be happy to permit me to be with you, where and how
long you please."

"My dear young friend," replied the countess, kissing her tearful
cheek, "I thank you from my heart; but I cannot take so ungenerous an
advantage of your goodness as to consign your tender nature to the
harassing task of attending on sorrow and sickness. How strangely
different may even amiable dispositions be tempered! Sophia Egerton
is better framed for such an office. Kind as she is, the hilarity of
her disposition does nor allow the sympathy she bestows on others to
injure either her mind or her body."

Mary interrupted her. "Ah! I should be grieved to believe that my
very aptitude to serve my friends will prove the first reason why I
should be denied the duty. It is only in scenes of affliction that
friendship can be tried, and declare its truth. If Miss Egerton were
not going with you, I should certainly insist on putting my affection
to the ordeal.'

"You mistake, my sweet friend." returned her ladyship; "Sophia is
forbidden to remain any longer with me. You have overlooked the
postscript to Lord Harwold's letter, else you must have seen the
whole of my cruel situation. Turn over the leaf."

Miss Beaufort re-opened the sheet, and read the following few lines,
which, being written on the interior part of the paper, had before
escaped her sight:--

"Go where you will, it is our special injunction that you leave Miss
Egerton behind you. She, we hear, has been the ambassadress in this
intrigue. If we learn that you disobey, it shall be worse for you in
every respect, as it will convince us, beyond a possibility of doubt,
how uniform is the turpitude of your conduct."

Lady Tinemouth grasped Miss Beaufort's hand when she laid the
matricidal letter back upon the table. "And that is from the son for
whom I felt all a mother's throes--all a mother's love!--Had he died
the first hour in which he saw the light, what a mass of guilt might
he not have escaped! It is he," added she, in a lower voice, and
looking wildly round, "that breaks my heart. I could have borne his
father's perfidy; but insult, oppression, from my child! Oh, Mary,
may you never know its bitterness!"

Miss Beaufort could only answer with her tears.

After a pause of many minutes, in which the countess strove to
tranquillize her spirits, she resumed in a more composed voice.

"Excuse me for an instant, my dear Miss Beaufort; I must write to Mr.
Constantine. I have yet to inform him that my absence is to be added
to his other misfortunes."

With her eyes now raining down upon the paper, she took up a pen and
hastily writing a few lines, was sealing them when Mary, looking up,
hardly conscious of the words which escaped her, said, with
inarticulate anxiety, "Lady Tinemouth, you know much of that noble
and unhappy young man?" Her eyes irresolute and her cheek glowing,
she awaited the answer of the countess, who continued to gaze on the
letter she held in her hand, as if in profound thought; then all at
once raising her head, and regarding the now downcast face of her
lovely friend with tenderness, she replied, in a tone which conveyed
the deep interest of her thoughts:--

"I do, Miss Beaufort; but he has reposed his griefs in my friendship
and honor, therefore I must hold them sacred."

"I will not ask you to betray them," returned Mary, in a faltering
voice; "yet I cannot help lamenting his sufferings, and I esteeming
the fortitude with which he supports his fall."

The countess looked steadfastly on her fluctuating countenance. "Has
Constantine, my dear girl, hinted to you that he ever was otherwise
than as he now appears?"

Miss Beaufort could not reply. She would not trust her lips with
words, but shook her head in sign that he had not. Lady Tinemouth was
too well read in the human heart to doubt for an instant the cause of
her question, and consequent emotion. Feeling that something was due
to an anxiety so disinterested, she took her passive hand, and said,
"Mary, you have guessed rightly. Though I am not authorized to tell
you the real name of Mr. Constantine, nor the particulars of his
history, yet let this satisfy your generous heart, that it can never
be more honorably employed than in compassionating calamities which
ought to wreath his young brows with glory."

Miss Beaufort's eyes streamed afresh, whilst her exulting soul seemed
ready to rush from her bosom.

"Mary!" continued the countess, wanned by the recollection of his
excellence, "you have no need to blush at the interest which you take
in this amiable stranger! Every trial of spirit which could have
tortured youth or manhood has been endured by him with the firmness
of a hero. Ah, my sweet friend," added the countess, pressing the
hand of the confused Miss Beaufort, who, ashamed, and conscious that
her behavior betrayed how dearly she considered him, had covered her
face with her handkerchief, "when you are disposed to believe that a
man is as great as his titles and personal demands seem to assert,
examine with a nice observance whether his pretensions be real or
artificial. Imagine him disrobed of splendor and struggling with the
world's inclemencies. If his character cannot stand this ordeal, he
is only a vain pageant, inflated and garnished; and it is reasonable
to punish such arrogance with contempt. But on the contrary, when,
like Constantine, he rises from the ashes of his fortunes in a
brighter blaze of virtue, then, dearest girl," cried the countess,
encircling her with her arms, "it is the sweetest privilege of
loveliness to console and bless so rare a being."

Mary raised her weeping face from the bosom of her friend, and
clasping her hands together with trepidation and anguish, implored
her to be as faithful to her secret as she had proved herself to
Constantine's. "I would sooner die," added she, "than have him know
my rashness, perhaps my indelicacy! Let me possess his esteem, Lady
Tinemouth! Let him suppose that I only _esteem_ him! More I
should shrink from. I have seen him beset by some of my sex; and to
be classed with them--to have him imagine that my affection is like
theirs!--I could not bear it. I entreat you, let him respect me!"

The impetuosity, and almost despair, with which Miss Beaufort uttered
these incoherent sentences penetrated the soul of Lady Tinemouth with
admiration. How different was the spirit of this pure and dignified
love to the wild passion she had seen shake the frame of Lady Sara
Ross.

They remained silent for some time.

"May I see your ladyship to-morrow?" asked Mary, drawing her cloak
about her.

"I fear not," replied the countess; "I leave this house tomorrow
morning."

Miss Beaufort rose; her lips, hands, and feet trembled so that she
could hardly stand. Lady Tinemouth put her arm round her waist, and
kissing her forehead, added, "Heaven bless you, my sweet friend! May
all the wishes of your innocent heart be gratified!"

The countess supported her to the door. Mary hesitated an instant;
then flinging her snowy arms over her ladyship's neck, in a voice
scarcely audible, articulated, "Only tell me, does he love Euphemia?"

Lady Tinemouth strained her to her breast. "No, my dearest girl; I am
certain, both from what I have heard him say and observed in his
eyes, that did he dare to love any one, _you_ would be the
object of his choice."

How Miss Beaufort got into Lady Dundas's sedan-chair she had no
recollection, so completely was she absorbed in the recent scene. Her
mind was perplexed, her heart ached; and she arrived in Harley Street
so much disordered and unwell as to oblige her to retire immediately
to her room, with the excuse of a violent pain in her head.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

PASSION AND PRINCIPLE.


This interview induced Lady Tinemouth to destroy the note she had
written to Thaddeus, and to frame another, better calculated to
produce comfort to all parties. What she had declared to Mary
respecting the state of the count's affections was sincere.

She had early pierced the veil of bashfulness with which Miss
Beaufort overshadowed, when in his presence, that countenance so
usually the tablet of her soul. The countess easily translated the
quick receding of her eye whenever Thaddeus turned his attention
towards her, the confused reply that followed any unexpected question
from his lips, and, above all, the unheeded sighs heaved by her when
he left the room, or when his name was mentioned during his absence.
These symptoms too truly revealed to Lady Tinemouth the state of her
young friend's bosom.

But the circumstances being different, her observations on Thaddeus
were not nearly so conclusive. Mary had absolutely given the empire
of her happiness, with her heart, into his hands. Thaddeus felt that
his ruined hopes ought to prevent him laying his at her feet, could
he even be made to believe that he had found any favor in her sight!
and regarding her as a being beyond his reach, he conceived no
suspicions that she entertained one dearer thought of him than what
mere philanthropy could authorize.

He contemplated her unequalled beauty, graces, talents and virtues
with an admiration bordering on idolatry! yet his heart flew from the
confession that he loved her; and it was not until reason demanded of
his sincerity why he felt a pang on seeing Mary's purse in the hands
of Mr. Lascelles, that with a glowing cheek he owned to himself that
he was jealous: that although he had not presumed to elevate one wish
towards the possession of Miss Beaufort, yet when Lascelles flaunted
her name on his tongue, he found how deep would be the wound in his
peace should she ever give her hand to another than himself!

Confounded at this discovery of a passion the seeds of which he
supposed had been crushed by the weight of his misfortunes and the
depths of his griefs, he proceeded homewards in a trance of thought,
not far differing from that of the dreamer who sinks into a harassing
slumber, and, filled with terror, doubts whether he be sleeping or
awake.

The sudden illness of General Butzou having put these ideas to
flight, Thaddeus was sitting on the bedside, with his anxious
thoughts fixed on the pale spectacle of mortality before him, when
Nanny brought in a letter from the countess. He took it, and going to
the window, read with mingled feelings the folding epistle:--

"TO MR. CONSTANTINE."

I know not, my dear count, when I shall be permitted to see you
again: perhaps never on this side of the grave!

"Since Heaven has denied me the tenderness of my own children, it
would have been a comfort to me might I have continued to act a
parent's part by you. But my cruel lord, and my more cruel son,
jealous of the consolation I meet in the society of my few intimate
friends, command me to quit London; and as I have ever made it a rule
to conform to their injunctions to the furthest extent of my power, I
shall go.

"It pierces me to the soul, my dear son! (allow my maternal heart to
call you by that name) it distresses me deeply that I am compelled to
leave the place where you are, and the more that I cannot see you
before my departure, for I quit town early to-morrow.

"Write to me often, my loved Sobieski; your letters will be some
alleviation to my lot during the fulfilment of my hard duty.

"Wear the enclosed gold chain for my sake; it is one of two given me
a long time ago by Miss Beaufort. If I have not greatly mistaken you,
the present will now possess a double value in your estimation:
indeed it ought. Sensibility and thankfulness being properties of
your nature, they will not deny a lively gratitude to the generous
interest with which that amiable and noble young woman regards your
fate. It is impossible that the avowed Count Sobieski (whom, a year
ago, I remember her animated fancy painted in colors worthy of his
actions) could excite more of her esteem than I know she has bestowed
on the untitled Constantine.

"She is all nobleness and affection. For, although I am sensible that
she would leave much behind her in London to regret, she insists on
accompanying me to the Wolds. Averse to transgress so far on her
goodness, I firmly refused her offer until this evening, when I
received so warm and urgent a letter from her disinterested, generous
heart, that I could no longer withhold my grateful assent.

"Indeed, this lovely creature's active friendship proves of high
consequence to me now, situated as I am with regard to a new whim of
the earl's. Had she not thus urged me, in obedience to my lord's
commands I should have been obliged to go alone, he having taken some
wild antipathy to Miss Egerton whose company he has interdicted. At
any rate, her parents would not have allowed me her society much
longer, for Mr. Montresor is to return this month.

"I shall not be easy, my dear count, until I hear from you. Pray
write soon, and inform me of every particular respecting the poor
general. Is he likely to recover?

"In all things, my loved son, in which I can serve you, remember that
I expect you will refer yourself to me as to a mother. Your own could
hardly have regarded you with deeper tenderness than does your
affectionate and faithful

"ADELIZA TINEMOUTH."

"GROSVENOR PLACE," _Thursday, midnight._

"Direct to me at Harwold Place, Wolds, Lincolnshire."

Several opposite emotions agitated the mind of Thaddeus whilst
reading this epistle,--increased abhorrence of the man whom he
believed to be his father, and distress at the increase of his
cruelty to his unhappy wife! Yet these could neither subdue the balmy
effect of her maternal affection towards himself nor wholly check the
emotion which the unusual mentioning of Miss Beaufort's name had
caused his heart to throb. He read the sentence which contained the
assurance of her esteem a third time.

"Delicious poison!" cried he, kissing the paper; "if adoring thee,
lovely Mary, be added to my other trials, I shall be resigned! There
is sweetness even in the thought. Could I credit all which my dear
lady Tinemouth affirms, the conviction that I possess one kind
solicitude in the mind of Miss Beaufort would be ample compensation
for---"

He did not finish the sentence, but sighing profoundly, rose from his
chair.

"For anything, except beholding her the bride of another!" was the
sentiment with which his heart swelled. Thaddeus had never known a
selfish wish in his life; and this first instance of his desiring
that good to be unappropriated which he might not himself enjoy, made
him start.

"There is an evil in my breast I wotted not of!" Dissatisfied with
himself at this, he was preparing to answer her ladyship's letter,
when turning to the date, he discovered that it had been written on
Thursday night, and in consequence of Nanny's neglect in not calling
at the coffee-house, had been delayed a day and a half before it
reached him.

His disappointment at this accident was severe. She was gone, and
Miss Beaufort along with her.

"Then, indeed, I am unfortunate. Yet this treasure!" cried he, fondly
clasping the separated bracelet in his hand; "it will, indeed, be a
representative of both--honored, beloved--to this deserted heart!"

He put the chain round his neck, and, with a true lover-like feeling,
thought that it warmed the heart which mortification had chilled; but
the fancy was evanescent, and he again turned to watch the fading
life of his friend.

During the lapse of a few days, in which the general appeared merely
to breathe, Thaddeus, instead of his attendance, despatched regular
notes of excuse to Harley Street. In answer to these, he commonly
received little tender billets from Euphemia, the strain of which he
seemed totally to overlook, by the cold respect he evinced in his
continued diurnal apologies for absence.

This young lady was so full of her own lamentations over the trouble
which her elegant tutor must endure in watching his sick friend, that
she never thought it worth while to mention in her notes any creature
in the house excepting herself, and her commiseration. Thaddeus
longed to inquire about Miss Beaufort; but the more he wished it, the
greater was his reluctance to write her name.

Things were in this situation, when one evening, as he was reading by
the light of a solitary candle in his little sitting-room, the door
opened, and Nanny stepped in, followed by a female wrapped in a large
black cloak. Thaddeus rose.

"A lady, sir," said Nanny, curtseying.

The moment the girl withdrew, the visitor cast herself into a chair,
and sobbing aloud, seemed in violent agitation. Thaddeus, astonished
and alarmed, approached her, and, though she was unknown, offered her
every assistance in his power.

Catching hold of the hand which, with the greatest respect, he
extended towards her, she instantly displayed to his dismayed sight
the features of Lady Sara Ross.

"Merciful Heaven!" exclaimed he, involuntarily starting back.

"Do not cast me off, Constantine!" cried she, clasping his arm, and
looking up to him with a face of anguish; "on you alone I now depend
for happiness--for existence!"

A cold damp stood on the forehead of her auditor.

"Dear Lady Sara, what am I to understand by this emotion; has
anything dreadful happened? Is Captain Ross--"

Lady Sara shuddered, and still grasping his hand, answered with words
every one of which palsied the heart of Thaddeus. "He is coming home.
He is now at Portsmouth. O, Constantine! I am not yet so debased as
to live with him when my heart is yours."

At this shameful declaration, Thaddeus clenched his teeth in agony of
spirit; and placing his hand upon his eyes, to shut her from his
sight, he turned suddenly round and walked towards another part of
the room.

Lady Sara followed him. Her cloak having fallen off, now displayed
her fine form in all the fervor of grief and distraction. She rung
her fair and jewelled arms in despair, and with accents rendered more
piercing by the anguish of her mind, exclaimed, "What! You hate me?
You throw me from you? Cruel, barbarous Constantine! Can you drive
from your feet the woman who adores you? Can you cast her who is
without a home into the streets?"

Thaddeus felt his hand wet with her tears. He fixed his eyes upon her
with almost delirious horror. Her hat being off, gave freedom to her
long black hair, which, falling in masses over her figure and face,
gave such additional wildness to the imploring and frantic expression
of her eyes, that his distracted soul felt reeling within him.

"Rise, madam! For Heaven's sake, Lady Sara!" and he stooped to raise
her.

"Never!" cried she, clinging to him--"never! till you promise to
protect me. My husband comes home to-night, and I have left his house
forever. You--you!" exclaimed she, extending her hand to his averted
face; "Oh, Constantine! you have robbed me of my peace! On your
account I have flown from my home. For mercy's sake, do not abandon
me!"

"Lady Sara," cried he, looking in desperation around him, "I cannot
speak to you in this position! Rise, I implore you!"

"Only," returned she, "only say that you will protect me!--that I
shall find shelter here! Say this, and I will rise and bless you
forever."

Thaddeus stood aghast, not knowing how to reply. Terror-struck at the
violent lengths to which she seemed determined to carry her unhappy
and guilty passion, he in vain sought to evade this direct demand.
Lady Sara, perceiving the reluctance and horror of his looks, sprang
from her knees, while in a more resolute voice she exclaimed, "Then,
sir, you will not protect me? You scorn and desert a woman whom you
well know has long loved you?--whom, by your artful behavior, you
have seduced to this disgrace!"

The count, surprised and shocked at this accusation, with gentleness,
but resolution, denied the charge.

Lady Sara again melted into tears, and supporting her tottering frame
against his shoulder, replied, in a stifled voice, "I know it well: I
have nothing to blame for my wretched state but my own weakness.
Pardon, dear Constantine, the dictates of my madness! Oh! I would
gladly owe such misery to any other source than myself!"

"Then, respected lady," rejoined Thaddeus, gaining courage from the
mildness of her manner, "let me implore you to return to your own
house!"

"Don't ask me," cried she, grasping his hand. "O, Constantine! if you
knew what it was to receive with smiles of affection a creature whom
you loathe, you would shrink with disgust from what you require. I
detest Captain Ross. Can I open my arms to meet him, when my heart
excludes him forever? Can I welcome him home when I wish him in his
grave?"

Sobieski extricated his hand from her grasp. Her ladyship perceived
the repugnance which dictated this action, and with renewed violence
ejaculated, "Unhappy woman that I am! to hate where I am loved! to
love where I am hated! Kill me, Constantine!" cried she, turning
suddenly towards him, and sinking clown on a chair, "but do not give
me such another look as that!"

"Dear Lady Sara," replied he, seating himself by her side, "what
would you have me do? You see that I have no proper means of
protecting you. I have no relations, no friends to receive you. You
see that I am a poor man. Besides, your character--"

"Talk not of my character!" cried she: "I will have none that does
not depend on you! Cruel Constantine! you will not understand me. I
want no riches, no friends, but yourself. Give me _your_ home
and _your_ arms," added she, throwing herself in an agony on his
bosom, "and beggary would be paradise! But I shall not bring you
poverty; I have inherited a fortune since I married Ross, on which he
has no claim."

Thaddeus now shrunk doubly from her. Why had she not felt a sacred
spell in that husband's name? He shuddered, and tore himself from her
clinging arms. Holding her off with his hand, he exclaimed, in a
voice of mental agony, "Infatuated woman! leave me, for his honor and
your own peace."

"No, no!" cried she, hoping she had gained some advantage over his
agitated feelings, and again casting herself at his feet, exclaimed,
"Never will I leave this spot till you consent that your home shall
be my home; that I shall serve you forever!"

Thaddeus pressed his hands upon his eyes, as if he would shut her
from his sight. But with streaming tears she added, while clasping
his other hand to her throbbing bosom, "Exclude me not from those
dear eyes! reject me not from being your true wife, your willing
slave!"

Thaddeus heard this, but he did not look on her, neither did he
answer. He broke from her, and fled, in a stupor of horror at his
situation, into the apartment where the general lay in a heavy sleep.

Little expecting to see anyone but the man she loved, Lady Sara
rushed in after him, and was again wildly pressing towards her
determined victim, when her eyes were suddenly arrested by a livid,
and, she thought, dead face of a person lying on the bed. Fixed to
the spot, she stood for a moment; then putting her spread hand on her
forehead, uttered a faint cry, and fell soul-struck to the floor.

Having instant conviction of her mistake, Thaddeus eagerly seized the
moment of her insensibility to convey her home. He hastily went to
the top of the stairs, called to Nanny to run for a coach, and then
returning to the extended figure of Lady Sara, lifted her in his arms
and carried her back to the room they had left.

By the help of a little water, he restored her to a sense of
existence. She slowly opened her eyes; then raising her head, looked
round with a terrified air, when her eye falling on the still open
door of the general's room, she caught Thaddeus by the arm, and said,
in a shuddering voice, "Oh! take me hence."

Whilst she yet spoke, the coach stopped at the door. The count rose,
and attempted to support her agitated frame on his arm; but she
trembled so, he was obliged to almost carry her down stairs.

When he placed her in the carriage, she said, in a faint tone, "You
surely will not leave me?"

Thaddeus made no reply; then desiring Nanny to sit by the general
until his return, which should be in a few minutes, and having
stepped into the coach, Lady Sara snatched his hand, while in
dismayed accents she quickly said,

"Who was that fearful person?"

"Alas! the revered friend whose long illness Lady Tinemouth has
sometimes mentioned in your presence."

Lady Sara shuddered again, but with a rush of tears, while she added
imploringly, "Then, whither are you going to take me?"

"You shall again, dear Lady Sara," replied he, "return to guiltless
and peaceful home."

"I cannot meet my husband," cried she, wringing her hands; "he will
see all my premeditated guilt in my countenance. O! Constantine, have
pity on me! Miserable creature that I am! It is horrible to live
without you! It is dreadful to live with him! Take me not home, I
entreat you!"

The count took her clasped hands in his, saying,

"Reflect for a moment. Lady Tinemouth's eulogiums on our first
acquaintance taught me to honor you. I believe that when you
distinguished me with any portion of your regard, it was in
consequence of virtues which you thought I possessed."

"Indeed, you do me justice!" cried she, with renewed energy.

He continued, feeling that he must be stern in words as well as in
purpose if he would really rescue her from herself. "Think, then,
should I yield to the influence of your beauty, and sink your
respected name to a level with those"--and he pointed to a group of
wretched women assembled at the corner of Pall-Mall. "Think, where
would be the price of your innocence? I being no longer worthy of
your esteem, you would hate yourself; and we should continue
together, two guilty creatures, abhorring each other, and justly
despised by a virtuous world."

Lady Sara sat as one dumb, and did not inarticulate any sound--except
the groan of horror which had shot through her when she had glanced
at those women--until the coach stopped in James's Place.

"Go in with me," were all the words she could utter, while, pulling
her veil over her face, she gave him her hand to assist her down the
steps.

"Is Captain Ross arrived?" asked Thaddeus of a servant, who, to his
great joy, replied in the negative. During the drive, he had alarmed
himself by anticipating the disagreeable suspicions which might rise
in the mind of the husband should he see his wife in her present
strange and distracted state.

When Thaddeus seated Lady Sara in her drawing room, he offered to
take a respectful leave; but she laid one hand on his arm, whilst
with the other she covered her convulsed features, and said,
"Constantine, before you go, before we part perhaps eternally, O!
tell me that you do not, even now, hate me!--that you do not hate
me!" repeated she, in a firmer tone; "I know too well how deeply I am
despised."

"Cease, ah, cease these vehement self-reproaches!" returned he,
tenderly replacing her on the sofa. "Shame does not depend on
possessing passions, but in yielding to them. You have conquered
yours, dear Lady Sara; and in future I must respect and love you like
a sister of my heart."

"Noble Constantine! there is no guile in thee," exclaimed she,
straining his hand to her lips. "May Heaven bless you wherever you
go!"

He dropped on his knees, imprinted on both her hands a true brother's
sacred kiss, and, hastily rising, was quitting the room without a
word, when he heard, in a short, low sound from her voice, "O, why
had I not a mother, a sister, to love and pity me! Should I have been
such a wretch as now?"

Thaddeus turned from the door at the tone and substance of this
apparently unconsciously uttered apostrophe. She was standing with
her hands clasped, and her eyes fixed on the ground. By an
irresistible impulse he approached her. "Lady Sara," said he, with a
tender reverence in his voice, "there is penitence and prayer to a
better Parent in those words! Look up to Him, and He will save you
from yourself, and bless you in your husband."

She did raise her eyes at this adjuration, and without one earthward
glance at her young monitor in their movement to the heaven she
sought. Neither did she speak, but pressed, with an unutterable
emotion, the hand which now held hers, while his own heart did indeed
silently re-echo the prayer he saw in her upward eyes. Turning gently
away, he glided, in a suffusion of grateful tears, out of the
apartment.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE.


The dream-like amazement which enveloped the count's faculties after
the preceding scene was dissipated next morning by the appearance of
Dr. Cavendish. When he saw the general, he declared it to be his
opinion that, in consequence of his long and tranquil slumbers, some
favorable crisis seemed near. "Probably," added he, "the recovery of
his intellects. Such phenomena in these cases often happen
immediately before death."

"Heaven grant it may in this!" ejaculated Thaddeus; "to hear his
venerable voice again acknowledge that I have acted by him as became
the grandson of his friend, would be a comfort to me."

"But, sir," replied the kind physician, touching his burning hand,
"you must not forget the cares which are due to your own life. If you
wish well to the general during the few days he may have to live, you
are indispensably obliged to preserve your own strength. You are
already ill, and require air. I have an hour of leisure," continued
he, pulling out his watch; "I will remain here till you have taken
two or three walks round St. James's Park. It is absolutely
necessary; in this instance I must take the privilege of friendship,
and insist on obedience."

Seeing the benevolent Cavendish would not be denied, Thaddeus took
his hat, and with harassed spirits walked down the lane towards
Charing Cross.

On entering Spring Garden gate, to his extreme surprise the first
objects that met his sight were Miss Euphemia Dundas and Miss
Beaufort.

Euphemia accosted him with ten thousand inquiries respecting his
friend, besides congratulations on his own good looks.

Thaddeus bowed; then smiling faintly, turned to the blushing Mary,
who, conscious of what had passed in the late conversation between
herself and Lady Tinemouth, trembled so much that, fearing to excite
the suspicion of Euphemia by such tremor, she withdrew her arm, and
walked forward alone, tottering at every step.

"I thought, Miss Beaufort," said he, addressing himself to her, "that
Lady Tinemouth was to have had the happiness of your company at
Harwold Park?"

"Yes," returned she, fearfully raising her eyes to his face, the
hectic glow of which conveyed impressions to her different from those
which Euphemia expressed; "but to my indescribable alarm and
disappointment, the morning after I had written to fix my departure
with her ladyship, my aunt's foot caught in the iron of the stair-
carpet as she was coming down stairs, and throwing her from the top
to the bottom, broke her leg. I could not quit her a moment during
her agonies; and the surgeons having expressed their fears that a
fever might ensue, I was obliged altogether to decline my attendance
on the countess."

"And how is Miss Dorothy?" inquired Thaddeus, truly concerned at the
accident.

"She is better, though confined to her bed," replied Euphemia,
speaking before her companion could open her lips; "and, indeed, poor
Mary and myself have been such close nurses, my mother insisted on
our walking out to-day."

"And Lady Tinemouth," returned Thaddeus, again addressing Miss
Beaufort, "of course she went alone?"

"Alas, yes!" replied she; "Miss Egerton was forced to join her family
in Leicestershire."

"I believe," cried Euphemia, sighing, "Miss Egerton is going to be
married. Hers has been a long attachment. Happy girl! I have heard
Captain Ross say (whose lieutenant her intended husband was) that he
is the finest young man in the navy. Did you ever see Mr. Montresor?"
added she, turning her pretty eyes on the count.

"I never had that pleasure."

"Bless me! that is odd, considering your intimacy with Miss Egerton.
I assure you he is very charming."

Thaddeus neither heard this nor a great deal more of the same
trifling chit-chat which was slipping from the tongue of Miss
Euphemia, so intently were his eyes (sent by his heart) searching the
downcast but expressive countenance of Miss Beaufort. His soul was
full; and the fluctuations of her color, with the embarrassment of
her step, more than affected him.

"Then you do not leave town for some time, Miss Beaufort?" inquired
he; "I may yet anticipate the honor of seeing--" he hesitated a
moment, then added in a depressed tone--"your aunt, when I next wait
on the Misses Dundas."

"Our stay depends entirely on her health" returned she, striving to
rally herself; "and I am sure she will be happy to find you better;
for I am sorry to say I cannot agree with Euphemia in thinking you
look well."

"Merely a slight indisposition," replied he, "the effect of an
anxiety which I fear will too soon cease in the death of its cause. I
came out now for a little air, whilst the physician remains with my
revered friend."

"Poor old gentleman!" sighed Mary; "how venerable was his appearance
the morning in which we saw him in the Park! What a benign
countenance!"

"His countenance," replied Thaddeus, his eyes turning mournfully
towards the lovely speaker, "is the emblem of his character. He was
the most amiable of men."

"And you are likely to lose so interesting a friend; dear Mr.
Constantine, how I pity you!" While Euphemia uttered these words, she
put the corner of her glove to her eye.

The count looked at her, and perceiving that her commiseration was
affectation, he turned to Miss Beaufort, who was walking pensively by
his side, and made further inquiries respecting Miss Dorothy. Anxious
to be again with his invalid, he was preparing to quit them, when
Mary, as with a full heart she curtseyed her adieu, in a hurried and
confused manner, said--"Pray, Mr. Constantine, take care of yourself.
You have other friends besides the one you are going to lose. I know
Lady Tinemouth, I know my aunt--" She stopped short, and, covered
with blushes, stood panting for another word to close the sentence;
when Thaddeus, forgetting all presence but her own, with delighted
precipitancy caught hold of the hand which, in her confusion, was a
little extended towards him, and pressing it with fervor,
relinquished it immediately; then, overcome by confusion at the
presumption of the action, he bowed with agitation to both ladies,
and hastened through the Friary passage into St. James's Street.

"Miss Beaufort!" cried Euphemia, reddening with vexation, and
returning a perfumed handkerchief to her pocket, "I did not
understand that you and Mr. Constantine were on such intimate terms!"

"What do you mean, Euphemia?"

"That you have betrayed the confidence I reposed in you," cried the
angry beauty, wiping away the really starting tears with her white
lace cloak. "I told you the elegant Constantine was the lord of my
heart; and you have seduced him from me! Till you came, he was so
respectful, so tender, so devoted! Bat I am rightly used! I ought to
have carried my secret to the grave."

In vain Miss Beaufort protested; in vain she declared herself
ignorant of possessing any power over even one wish of Constantine's.
Euphemia thought it monstrous pretty to be the injured friend and
forsaken mistress; and all along the Park, and up Constitution-hill,
until they arrived at Lady Dundas's carriage, which was waiting
opposite Devonshire wall, she affected to weep. When seated, she
continued her invectives. She called Miss Beaufort ungenerous,
perfidious, traitor to friendship, and every romantic and disloyal
name which her inflamed fancy could devise; till the sight of Harley
Street checked her transports, and relieved her patient hearer from a
load of impertinence and reproach.

During this short interview, Thaddeus had received an impulse to his
affections which hurried them forward with a force that neither time
nor succeeding sorrows could stop nor stem.

Mary's heavenly-beaming eyes seemed to have encircled his head with
love's purest halo. The command, "Preserve yourself for others
besides your dying friend," yet throbbed at his heart; and with ten
thousand rapturous visions flitting before his sight, he trod in air,
until the humble door of his melancholy home presenting itself, at
once wrecked the illusion, and offered sad reality in the person of
his emaciated friend.

On the count's entrance to the sick chamber, Doctor Cavendish gave
him a few directions to pursue when the general should awake from the
sleep into which he had been sunk for so many hours. With a heart the
more depressed from its late unusual exaltation, Thaddeus sat down at
the side of the invalid's bed for the remainder of the day.

At five in the afternoon, General Butzou awoke. Seeing the count, he
stretched out his withered hand, and as the doctor predicted,
accosted him rationally.

"Come, dear Sobieski! Come nearer, my dear master."

Thaddeus rose, and throwing himself on his knees, took the offered
hand with apparent composure. It was a hard struggle to restrain the
emotions which were roused by this awful contemplation the return of
reason to the soul on the instant she was summoned into the presence
of her Maker!

"My kind, my beloved lord!" added Butzou, "to me you have indeed
performed a Christian's part; you have clothed, sheltered and
preserved me in your bosom. Blessed son of my most honored master!"

The good old man put the hand of Thaddeus to his lips. Thaddeus could
not speak.

"I am going, dear Sobieski," continued the general, in a lower voice,
"where I shall meet your noble grandfather, your mother, and my brave
countrymen; and if Heaven grants me power, I will tell them by whose
labor I have lived, on whose breast I have expired."

Thaddeus could no longer restrain his tears.

"Dear, dear general!" exclaimed he, grasping his hand; "my
grandfather, my mother, my country! I lose them all again in thee! O!
would that the same summons took me hence!"

"Hush!" returned the dying man; "Heaven reserves you, my honored
lord, for wise purposes. Youth and health are the marks of
commission: [Footnote: I cannot but pause here, in revising the
volume, to publicly express the emotion (grateful to Heaven) I
experienced on receiving a letter quoting these words, many, many
years ago. It was from the excellent Joseph Fox, the well-known
Christian philanthropist of our country, who spent both his fortune
and his life in establishing and sustaining several of our best
charitable and otherwise patriotic institutions. And once, when some
of his anxious friends would gladly have persuaded him to grant
himself more personal indulgences, and to labor less in the then
recently-begun plans for national education, he wrote "to the author
of Thaddeus of Warsaw," and, quoting to her those words from the
work, declared "they were on his heart! and he would, with the
blessing of God, perform what he believed to be his commission to the
last powers of his youth and health."

This admirable man has now been long removed to his heavenly country--
to the everlasting dwelling-place of the just made perfect. And such
recollections cannot but make an historical novel-writer at least
feel answerable for more, in his or her pages, than the purposes of
mere amusement. They guide by examples. Plutarch, in his lives of
Grecian and Roman Worthies taught more effectually the heroic and
virtuous science of life than did all his philosophical works put
together.] _you_ possess them, with virtues which will bear you
through the contest. _I_ have done; and my merciful Judge has
evinced his pardon of my errors by sparing me in my old age, and
leading me to die with you."

Thaddeus pressed his friend's hand to his streaming eyes, and
promised to be resigned. Butzou smiled his satisfaction; then closing
his eyelids, he composed himself to a rest that was neither sleep nor
stupor, but a balmy serenity, which seemed to be tempering his lately
recovered soul for its immediate entrance on a world of eternal
peace.

At nine o'clock his breath became broken with quick sighs. The
count's heart trembled, and he drew closer to the pillow. Butzou felt
him; and opening his eyes languidly, articulated, "Raise my head."

Thaddeus put his arm under his neck, and lifting him up, reclined him
against his bosom. Butzou grasped his hands, and looking gratefully
in his face, said, "The arms of a soldier should be a soldier's
death-bed. I am content."

He lay for a moment on the breast of the almost fainting Thaddeus;
then suddenly quitting his hold, he cried, "I lose you, Sobieski! But
there is----" and he gazed fixedly forward.

"I am here," exclaimed the count, catching his motionless hand. The
dying general murmured a few words more, and turning his face inward,
breathed his last sigh on the bosom of his last friend.

For a minute Sobieski continued incapable of thought or action. When
he recovered recollection, he withdrew from his melancholy station.
Laying the venerable remains back on the bed, he did not trust his
rallied faculties with a second trial, but hastening down stairs, was
met by Mrs. Robson.

"My dear madam," said he, "all is over with my poor friend. Will you
do me the kindness to perform those duties to his sacred relics which
I cannot?"

Thaddeus would not allow any person to watch by his friend's coffin
besides himself. The meditations of this solitary night presented to
his sound and sensible mind every argument rather to induce rejoicing
than regret that the eventful life of the brave Butzou was
terminated.

"Yes, illustrious old man!" cried he, gazing on his marble features;
"if valor and virtue be the true sources of nobility, thou surely
wast noble! Inestimable defender of Stanislaus and thy country! thou
hast run a long and bright career; and though thou art fated to rest
in the humble grave of poverty, it will be embalmed by the tears of
Heaven--it will be engraven on my heart."

Thaddeus did not weep whilst he spoke. Nor did he weep when he beheld
the mold of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, close from his view the last
remains of his friend. It began to rain. The uncovered head of the
officiating minister was wet; and so was that of a little delicate
boy, in a black cloak, who stood near, holding the aged rector's hat
during the service. As the shower descended faster, Dr. Cavendish put
his arm through the count's to draw him away, but he lingered an
instant, looking on the mold while the sexton piled it up. "Wretched
Poland!" sighed he; "how far from thee lies one of thy bravest sons!"
The words were breathed in so low a murmur, that none heard them
except the ear of Heaven! and that little boy, whose gaze had been
some time fixed on Thaddeus, and whose gentle heart never forgot
them.

Dr. Cavendish, regarding with redoubled pity the now doubly desolated
exile in this last resignation of his parental friend to a foreign
grave, attempted to persuade him to return with him to dinner. He
refused the kind invitation, alleging, with a faint smile, that under
every misfortune he found his best comforter in solitude.

Respecting the resignation and manliness of this answer, Doctor
Cavendish urged him no further; but expressing his regret that he
could not see him again until the end of the week, as he was obliged
to go to Stanford next day on a medical consultation, he shook hands
with him at the door of Mrs. Robson and bade him farewell.

Thaddeus entered his lonely room, and fell on his knees before the
"ark of his strength,"--the Holy Book, that had been the gift of his
mother. The first page he opened presented to him the very words
which had poured consolation onto his sad heart, from the lips of the
venerable clergyman when he met him on his entrance into the church-
porch before the coffin of his friend!

"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord. He that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and
whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die."

After reading this, how truly did the young mourner feel that "Death
had lost its sting--the grave its victory."

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXXV.

DEEP ARE THE PURPOSES OF ADVERSITY.


Next morning, when the Count Sobieski unfolded the several packets of
papers which were put into his hands by little Nanny, he laid them
one after the other on the table, and sighing heavily, said to
himself, "Now comes the bitterness of poverty! Heaven only knows by
what means I shall pay these heavy charges."

Mere personal privations, induced by his fallen fortunes, excited
little uneasiness in the mind of Thaddeus. As he never had derived
peculiar gratification from the enjoyment of a magnificent house,
splendid table, and numerous attendants, he was contented in the
field, where he slept on the bare ground, and snatched his hasty
meals at uncertain intervals. Watching, rough fare, and other
hardships were dust in the path of honor; he had dashed through them
with light and buoyant spirits; and he repined as little at the
actual wants of his forlorn state in exile, until, compelled by
friendship to contract demands which he could not defray, he was
plunged at once into the full horrors of poverty and debt.

He looked at the amount of the bills. The apothecary was twelve
pounds; the funeral fifteen. Thaddeus turned pale. The value of all
that he possessed would not produce one half of the sum; besides, he
owed five guineas to his good landlady for numerous little comforts
procured for his deceased friend.

"Whatever be the consequence," cried he, "that excellent woman shall
not suffer by her humanity! If I have to pay with the last memorial
of those who were so dear, she shall be repaid."

He scarcely had ceased speaking, when Nanny re-entered the room, and
told him the apothecary's young man and the undertaker were both
below, waiting for answers to their letters. Reddening with disgust
at the unfeeling haste of these men, he desired Nanny to say that he
could not see either of them to-day, but would send to their houses
to-morrow.

In consequence of this promise, the men made their bows to Mrs.
Robson (who too well guessed the reason of this message), and took
their leave.

When Thaddeus put the pictures of his mother and the palatine, with
other precious articles, into his pocket, he could not forbear an
internal invective against the thoughtless meanness of the Misses
Dundas, who had never offered any further liquidation of the large
sum they now stood indebted to him than the trifling note which had
been transmitted to him, prior to his attendance, through the hands
of Lady Tinemouth.

Whilst his necessities reproached them for this illiberal conduct,
his proud heart recoiled at making a request to their chanty; for he
had gathered from the haughty demeanor of Miss Diana that what he was
entitled to demand would be given, not as a just remuneration for
labor received, but as alms of humanity to an indigent emigrant.

"I would rather perish," cried he, putting on his hat, "than ask that
woman for a shilling."

When the count laid his treasure on the table of the worthy
pawnbroker, he desired to have the value of the settings of the
pictures, and the portraits themselves put into leather cases. With
the other little things, there were a pair of gold spurs, the
peculiar insignia of his princely rank, which the palatine himself
had buckled on his grandson's heels on mounting his noble charger for
his first field. There was a peculiar pang in parting with these--a
sort of last relic of what he had been! But there was no alternative:
all that had any intrinsic value must pass from him.

Having examined the setting of the miniatures, and the gold of the
other trinkets, with that of the spurs (which their hard service had
something marred), Mr. Burket declared, on the word of an honest man,
that he could not give more than fifteen pounds.

With difficulty Thaddeus stifled as torturing a sigh as ever
distended his breast, whilst he said,

"I will take it, I only implore you to be careful of the things,
trifling as they are; circumstances with which they were connected
render them valuable to me to redeem."

"You may depend on me, sir," replied the pawnbroker, presenting him
the notes and acknowledgment.

When Thaddeus took them, Mr. Burket's eye was caught by the ring on
his finger.

"That ring seems curious? If you won't think me impertinent, may I
ask to look at it?"

The count pulled it off, and forcing a smile, replied, "I suppose it
is of little jewel value. The setting is slight, though the painting
is fine."

Burket breathed on the diamonds. "If you were to sell it," returned
he, "I don't think it would fetch more than three guineas. The
diamonds are flawed, and the emeralds would be of little use, being
out of fashion here; as for the miniature, it goes for nothing."

"Of course," said Thaddeus, putting it on again; "but I shall not
part with it." While he drew on his glove, Mr. Burket asked him
"whether the head were not intended for the King of Poland?"

The count, surprised, answered in the affirmative.

"I thought so," answered the man; "it is very like two or three
prints which I had in my shop of that king. [Footnote: The author
has a very correct likeness of this memorable king, copied from an
original miniature; and it is not one of the least valued portraits
in a little room which contains those of several other heroes of
different countries,--friends and gallant foes.] Indeed, I believe I
have them somewhere now: these matters are but a nine-day's wonder,
and the sale is over."

His auditor did not clearly comprehend him, and he told him so.

"I meant nothing," continued he, "to the disparagement of the King of
Poland, or of any other great personage who is much the subject of
conversation. I only intended to say that everything has its fashion.
The ruin of Poland was the fashionable topic for a month after it
happened; and now nobody minds it--it is forgotten."

Thaddeus, in whose bosom all its miseries were written, with a
clouded brow bowed to the remarks of Mr. Burket, and in silence
quitted the shop.

Having arrived at home, he discharged his debt to the worthy Mrs.
Robson; then entering his room, he laid the remainder of his money on
the bills of the two claimants. It was unequal to the demands of
either; yet, in some measure to be just to both, he determined on
dividing it between them and to promise the liquidation of the rest
by degrees.

Surely he might hope that, even should the Misses Dundas entirely
forget his claims on them, he could, in the course of time make
drawings sufficient to discharge the residue of this debt; but he was
not permitted to put this calculation to the trial.

When he called on the apothecary, and offered him only half his
demand, the man refused it with insolence, insisting upon having the
whole then, "or he would make him pay for it!" Unused to the language
of compulsion and vulgarity, the count quitted the shop saying "he
was at liberty to act as he thought fit." With no very serene
countenance, he entered the undertaker's warehouse. This man was
civil; to him Thaddeus gave the entire sum, half of which the
apothecary had rejected with so much derision. The undertaker's
politeness a little calmed the irritated feelings of the count, who
returned home musing on the vile nature of that class of mankind who
can with indifference heap insult upon distress.

Judging men by his own disposition, he seldom gave credence to the
possibility of such conduct. He had been told of dastardly spirits,
but never having seen them, and possessing no archetype within his
own breast of what he heard, the repeated relation passed over his
mind without leaving an impression. He had entered the world filled
with animating hopes of virtue and renown. He was virtuous; he became
powerful, great, and renowned. Creation seemed paradise to his eyes;
it was the task of adversity to teach him a different lesson of
mankind. Not less virtuous, not less great, his fortunes fell: he
became poor. The perfidy, the hard-heartedness of man, made and kept
him friendless. When he wanted succor and consolation, he found the
world peopled by a race too mean even to bear the stamp of the devil.

Whilst Sobieski was employed next morning at his drawing, Mrs. Robson
sent Nanny to say that there were two strange-looking men below who
wanted to speak with him. Not doubting they were messengers from the
apothecary, he desired the girl to show them up stairs. When they
entered his room, the count rose. One of the men stepped forward, and
laying a slip of paper on the table, said, "I arrest you, sir, at the
suit of Messrs. Vincent and Jackson, apothecaries!"

Thaddeus colored; but suppressing his indignant emotion, he calmly
asked the men whither they were going to take him?

"If you like," replied one of them, "you may be well enough lodged. I
never heard a word against Clement's in Wych Street."

"Is that a prison?" inquired Thaddeus.

"No, not exactly that, sir," answered the other man, laughing. "You
seem to know little of the matter, which, for a Frenchman, is odd
enough; but mayhap you have never a lock-upd-house in France, since
ye pulled down the bastile! Howsoever, if you pay well, Mr. Clements
will give you lodgings as long as you like. It is only poor rogues
who are obligated to go to Newgate; such gemmen as you can live as
ginteely in Wych Street as at their own houses."

There was such an air of derision about this fellow while he spoke,
and glanced around the room, that Thaddeus, sternly contracting his
brows, took no further notice of him, but, turning towards his more
civil companion, said:

"Has this person informed me rightly? Am I going to a prison, or am I
not? If I do not possess money to pay Mr. Jackson, I can have none to
spend elsewhere."

"Then you must go to Newgate!" answered the man, in as surly a tone
as his comrade's had been insolent.

"I'll run for a coach, Wilson," cried the other, opening the room
door.

"I will not pay for one," said Thaddeus, at once comprehending the
sort of wretches into whose custody he had fallen; "follow me down
stairs. I shall walk."

Mrs. Robson was in her shop as he passed to the street. She called
out, "You will come home to dinner, sir?"

"No," replied he; "but you shall hear from me before night." "The
men, winking at each other, sullenly pursued his steps down the lane.
In the Strand, Thaddeus asked them which way he was to proceed?"

"Straight on," cried one of them; "most folks find the road to a jail
easy enough."

Involved in thought, the count walked forward, unmindful of the stare
which the well-known occupation of his attendants attracted towards
him. When he arrived at Somerset House, one of the men stepped up to
him, and said, "We are now nearly opposite Wych Street. You had
better take your mind again, and go there instead of Newgate. I don't
think your honor will like the debtor's hole."

Thaddeus, coldly thanking him, repeated his determination to be led
to Newgate. But when he beheld the immense walls within which he
believed he should be immured for life, his feet seemed rooted to the
ground; and when the massive doors were opened and closed upon him,
he felt as if suddenly deprived of the vital spring of existence. A
mist spread over his eyes, his soul shuddered, and with difficulty he
followed the men into the place where his commitment was to be
ratified. Here all the proud energies of his nature again rallied
round his heart.

The brutal questions of the people in office, re-echoed by taunts
from the wretches who had brought him to the prison, were of a nature
so much beneath his answering, that he stood perfectly silent during
the business; and when dismissed, without evincing any signs of
discomposure, he followed the turnkey to his cell.

One deal chair, a table, and a miserable bed, were all the furniture
it contained. The floor was paved with flags, and the sides of the
apartment daubled with discolored plaster, part of which, having been
peeled off by the damp, exposed to view large spaces of the naked
stones.

Before the turnkey withdrew he asked Thaddeus whether he wanted
anything?

"Only a pen, ink, and paper."

The man held out his hand.

"I have no money," replied Sobieski.

"Then you get nothing here," answered the fellow, pulling the door
after him.

Thaddeus threw himself on the chair, and in the bitterness of his
heart exclaimed, "Can these scoundrels be Christians?--can they be
men?" He cast his eyes round him with the wildness of despair.
"Mysterious Heaven, can it be possible that for a few guineas I am to
be confined in this place for life? In these narrow bounds am I to
waste my youth, my existence? Even so; I cannot, I will not, degrade
the spirit of Poland by imploring assistance from any native of a
land in which avarice has extinguished the feelings of humanity."

By the next morning, the first paroxysm of indignation having
subsided, Thaddeus entertained a cooler and more reasonable opinion
of his situation. He considered that though he was a prisoner, it was
in consequence of debts incurred in behalf of a friend whose latter
hours were rendered less wretched by such means. Notwithstanding "all
that man could do unto him," he had brought an approving conscience
to lighten the gloom of his dungeon; and resuming his wonted
serenity, he continued to distance the impertinent freedom of his
jailers by a calm dignity, which extorted civility and commanded
respect.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXXVI.

AN ENGLISH PRISON.


Several days elapsed without the inhabitants of Harley Street hearing
any tidings of Thaddeus.

Miss Dundas never bestowed a thought on his absence, except when,
descanting on her favorite subject, "the insolence of dependent
people," she alleged his daring to withdraw himself as an instance.
Miss Euphemia uttered all her complaints to Miss Beaufort, whom she
accused of not being satisfied with seducing the affections of Mr.
Constantine, but she must also spirit him away, lest by remorse he
should be induced to renew his former devotion at the shrine of her
tried constancy.

Mary found these secret conferences very frequent and very teasing.
She believed neither the count's past devoirs to Euphemia nor his
present allegiance to herself. With anxiety she watched the slow
decline of every succeeding day, hoping that each knock at the door
would present either himself or an apology for his absence.

In vain her reason urged the weakness and folly of giving way to the
influence of a sentiment as absorbing as it was unforeseen. "It is
not his personal graces," murmured she, whilst her dewy eyes remained
riveted on the floor; "they have not accomplished this effect on me!
No; matchless as he is, though his countenance, when illumined by the
splendors of his mind, expresses consummate beauty, yet my heart
tells me I would rather see all that perfection demolished than lose
one beam of those bright charities which first attracted my esteem.
Yes, Constantine!" cried she, rising in agitation, "I could adore thy
virtues were they even in the bosom of deformity. It is these that I
love; it is these that are thyself! it is thy noble, godlike soul
that so entirely fills my heart, and must forever!"

She recalled the hours which, in his society, had glided so swiftly
by to pass in review before her. They came, and her tears redoubled.
Neither his words nor his looks had been kinder to her than to Miss
Egerton or to Lady Sara Ross. She remembered his wild action in the
park: it had transported her at the moment; it even now made her
heart throb; but she ceased to believe it intended more than an
animated expression of gratitude.

An adverse apprehension seemed to have taken possession of her
breast. In proportion to the vehemence of Miss Euphemia's reproaches
(who insisted on the passion of Thaddeus for Mary), she the more
doubted the evidence of those delightful emotions which had rushed
over her soul when she found her hand so fervently pressed in his.
Euphemia never made a secret of the tenderness she professed; and
Miss Beaufort having been taught by her own heart to read distinctly
the eyes of Lady Sara, the result of her observations had long acted
as a caustic on her peace; it had often robbed her cheeks of their
bloom, and compelled her to number the lingering minutes of the night
with sighs. But her deep and modest flame assumed no violence;
removed far from sight, it burnt the more intensely.

Instead of over-valuing the fine person of Thaddeus, the encomiums
which it extorted, even from the lips of prejudice, occasioned one
source of her pain. She could not bear to think it probable that the
man whom she believed, and knew, to be gifted with every attribute of
goodness and of heroism, might one day be induced to sacrifice the
rich treasure of his mind to a creature who would select him from the
rest merely on account of his external superiority.

Such was the train of Mary's meditations. Covering her face with her
handkerchief, she exclaimed in a tender and broken voice, "Ah, why
did I leave my quiet home to expose myself to the vicissitudes of
society? Sequestered from the world, neither its pageants nor its
mortifications could have reached me there. I have seen thee,
matchless Constantine! Like a bright planet, thou has passed before
me!--like a being of a superior order! And I never, never can debase
my nature to change that love. Thy image shall follow me into
solitude--shall consecrate my soul to the practice of every virtue! I
will emulate thy excellence, when, perhaps, thou hast forgotten that
I exist."

The fit of despondence which threatened to succeed this last
melancholy reflection was interrupted by the sudden entrance of
Euphemia. Miss Beaufort hastily rose, and drew her ringlets over her
eyes.

"O, Mary!" cried the little beauty, holding up her pretty hands,
"what do you think has happened?"

"What?" demanded she in alarm, and hastening towards the door;
"anything to my aunt?"

"No, no," answered Euphemia, catching her by the arm; "but could my
injured heart derive satisfaction from revenge, I should now be
happy. Punishment has overtaken the faithless Constantine."

Miss Beaufort looked aghast, and grasping the back of the chair to
prevent her from falling, breathlessly inquired what she meant?

"Oh! he is sent to prison," cried Euphemia, not regarding the real
agitation of her auditor (so much was she occupied in appearing
overwhelmed herself), and wringing her hands, she continued, "That
frightful wretch Mr. Lascelles is just come in to dinner. You cannot
think with what fiendish glee he told me that several days ago, as he
was driving out of town, he saw Mr. Constantine, with two bailiffs
behind him, walking down Fleet Street! And, besides, I verily believe
he said he had irons on."

"No, no!" ejaculated Mary, with a cry of terror, at this _ad
libitum_ of Euphemia's; "what can he have done?"

"Bless me!" returned Euphemia, staring at her pale face; "why, what
frightens you so? Does not everybody run in debt, without minding
it?"

Miss Beaufort shook her head, and looking distractedly about, put her
hand to her forehead. Euphemia, determining not to be outdone in
"tender woe," drew forth her handkerchief, and putting it to her
eyes, resumed in a piteous tone--

"I am sure I shall hate Lascelles all my life, because he did not
stop the men and inquire what jail they were taking him to? You know,
my clear, you and I might have visited him. It would have been
delightful to have consoled his sad hours! We might have planned his
escape."

"In irons!" ejaculated Mary, raising her tearless eyes to heaven.

Euphemia colored at the agonized manner in which these words were
reiterated, and rather confusedly replied, "Not absolutely in irons.
You know that is a metaphorical term for captivity."

"Then he was not in irons?" cried Miss Beaufort, seizing her hand
eagerly: "for Heaven's sake, tell me he was not in irons? '"'

"Why, then," returned Euphemia, half angry at being obliged to
contradict herself, "if you are so dull of taste, and cannot
understand poetical language, I must tell you he was not."

Mary heard no further, but even at the moment, overcome by a
revulsion of joy, sunk, unable to speak, into the chair.

Euphemia, supposing she had fainted, flew to the top of the stairs,
and shrieking violently, stood wringing her hands, until Diana and
Lady Dundas, followed by several gentlemen, hastened out of the
saloon and demanded what was the matter? As Euphemia pointed to Miss
Beaufort's dressing-room, she staggered, and sinking into the arms of
Lord Elesmere, fell into the most outrageous hysterics. The marquis,
who had just dropped in on his return from St. James's, was so afraid
of the agitated lady's tearing his point-lace ruffles, that, in
almost as trembling a state as herself, he gladly shuffled her into
the hands of her maid; and scampering down stairs, as if all Bedlam
were at his heels, sprung into his _vis-à-vis_, and drove off
like lightning.

When Miss Beaufort recovered her scattered senses, and beheld this
influx of persons entering her room, she tried to dispel her
confusion, and rising gently from her seat, while supporting herself
on the arm of Miss Dorothy's maid, thanked the company for their
attention and withdrew into her chamber.

Meanwhile, Euphemia, who had been carried down into the saloon,
thought it time to raise her lily head and utter a few incoherent
words. The instant they were breathed, Miss Dundas and Mr. Lascelles,
in one voice, demanded what was the matter?

"Has not Mary told you?" returned her sister, languidly opening her
eyes.

"No," answered Lascelles, rubbing his hands with delighted curiosity;
"come, let us have it."

Euphemia, pleased at this, and loving mystery with all her heart,
waved her hand solemnly, and in an awful tone replied, "Then it
passes not my lips."

"What, Phemy!" cried he, "you want us to believe you have seen a
ghost? But you forget, they don't walk at midday."

"Believe what you like," returned she, with an air of consequential
contempt; "I am satisfied to keep the secret."

Miss Dundas burst into a provoking laugh; and calling her the most
incorrigible little idiot in the world, encouraged Lascelles to fool
her to the top of his bent. Determining to gratify his spleen, if he
could not satisfy his curiosity, this witless coxcomb continued the
whole day in Harley Street, for the mere pleasure of tormenting
Euphemia. From the dinner hour until twelve at night, neither his
drowsy fancy nor wakeful malice could find one other weapon of
assault than the stale jokes of mysterious chambers, lovers
incognito, or the silly addition of two Cupid-struck sweeps popping
down the chimney to pay their addresses to the fair friends. Diana
talked of Jupiter with his thunder; and patting her sister under the
chin, added, "I cannot doubt that Miss Beaufort is the favored
Semelé; but, my dear, you over-acted your character? As confidant, a
few tears were enough when your lady fainted." During these attacks,
Euphemia reclined pompously on a sofa, and not deigning a reply,
repelled them with much conceit and haughtiness.

Miss Beaufort remained above an hour alone in her chamber before she
ventured to go near her aunt. Hurt to the soul that the idle folly of
Euphemia should have aroused a terror which had completely unveiled
to the eyes of that inconsiderate girl the empire which Thaddeus held
over her fate, Mary, overwhelmed with shame, and arraigning her easy
credulity, threw herself on her bed.

Horror-struck at hearing he was led along the streets in chains, she
could have no other idea but that, betrayed into the commission of
some dreadful deed, he had become amenable to the laws, and might
suffer an ignominious death. Those thoughts having rushed at once on
her heart, deprived her of self-command. In the conviction of some
fatal rencontre, she felt as if her life, her honor, her soul, were
annihilated. And when, in consequence of her agonies, Euphemia
confessed that she had in this last matter told a falsehood, the
sudden peace to her soul had for an instant assumed the appearance of
insensibility.

Before Miss Beaufort quitted her room, various plans were suggested
by her anxiety and inexperience, how to release the object of her
thoughts. She found no hesitation in believing him poor, and perhaps
rendered wretchedly so by the burden of that sick friend, who, she
suspected, might be a near relation. At any rate, she resolved that
another sun should not pass over her head and shine on him in a
prison. Having determined to pay his debts herself, she next thought
of how she might manage the affair without discovering the hand
whence the assistance came. Had her aunt been well enough to leave
the house, she would not have scrupled unfolding to her the recent
calamity of Mr. Constantine. But well aware that Miss Dorothy's
maidenly nicety would be outraged at a young woman appearing the sole
mover in such an affair, she conceived herself obliged to withhold
her confidence at present, and to decide on prosecuting the whole
transaction alone.

In consequence of these meditations, her spirits became less
discomposed. Turning towards Miss Dorothy Somerset's apartments, she
found the good lady sipping her coffee.

"What is this I have just heard, my dear Mary? Williams tells me you
have been ill!"

Miss Beaufort returned her aunt's gracious inquiry with an
affectionate kiss; and informing her that she had only been alarmed
by an invention of Miss Euphemia's, begged that the subject might
drop, it being merely one out of the many schemes which she believed
that young lady had devised to render her visit to London as little
pleasant as possible.

"Ah!" replied Miss Dorothy, "I hope I shall be well enough to travel
in the course of a few days. I can now walk with a stick; and upon my
word, I am heartily tired both of Lady Dundas and her daughters."

Mary expressed similar sentiments; but as the declaration passed her
lips, a sigh almost buried the last word. Go when she would, she must
leave Constantine behind, leave him without an expectation of
beholding him more--without a hope of penetrating the thick cloud
which involved him, and with which he had ever baffled any attempt
she had heard to discover his birth or misfortunes. She wept over
this refinement on delicacy, and "loved him dearer for his mystery."

When the dawn broke next morning, it shone on Miss Beaufort's yet
unclosed eyes. Sleep could find no languid faculty in her head whilst
her heart was agitated with plans for the relief of Thaddeus. The
idea of visiting the coffee-house to which she knew the Misses Dundas
directed their letters, and of asking questions about a young and
handsome man, made her timidity shrink.

"But," exclaimed she, "I am going on an errand which ought not to
spread a blush on the cheek of prudery itself. I am going to impart
alleviation to the sufferings of the noblest creature that ever
walked the earth!" Perhaps there are few persons who, being auditors
of this speech, would have decided quite so candidly on the
superlative by which it was concluded. Mary herself was not wholly
divested of doubt about the issue of her conduct; but conscious that
her motive was pure, she descended to the breakfast-room with a
quieter mind than countenance.

Never before having had occasion to throw a gloss on her actions, she
scarcely looked up during breakfast. When the cloth was removed, she
rose suddenly from her chair, and turning to Miss Dorothy, who sat at
the other end of the parlor, with her foot on a stool, said in a low
voice, "Good-by, aunt! I am going to make some particular calls; but
I shall be back in a few hours." Luckily, no one observed her
blushing face whilst she spoke, nor the manner in which she shook
hands with the old lady and hurried out of the room.

Breathless with confusion, she could scarcely stand when she arrived
in her own chamber; but aware that no time ought to be lost, she tied
on a long, light silk cloak, of sober gray, over her white morning-
dress, and covering her head with a straw summer bonnet, shaded by a
black lace veil, hesitated a moment within her chamber-door--her eyes
filling with tears, drawn from her heart by that pure spirit of truth
which had ever been the guardian of her conduct! Looking up to
heaven, she sunk on her knees, and exclaimed with impetuosity,
"Father of mercy! thou only knowest my heart! Direct me, I beseech
thee! Let me not commit anything unworthy of myself nor of the
unhappy Constantine--for whom I would sacrifice my life, but not my
duty to thee!"

Reassured by the confidence which this simple act of devotion
inspired, she took her parasol and descended the stairs. The porter
was alone in the hall. She inquired for her servant.

"He is not returned, madam,"

Having foreseen the necessity of getting rid of all attendants, she
had purposely sent her footman on an errand as far as Kensington.

"It is of no consequence," returned she to the porter, who was just
going to propose one of Lady Dundas's men. "I cannot meet with
anything disagreeable at this time of day, so I shall walk alone."

The man opened the door; and with a bounding heart Mary hastened down
the street, crossed the square, and at the bottom of Orchard Street
stepped into a hackney-coach, which she ordered to drive to
Slaughter's Coffee-house, St. Martin's Lane.

She drew up the glasses and closed her eyes. Various thoughts
agitated her anxious mind whilst the carriage rolled along; and when
it drew up at the coffee-house, she involuntarily retreated into the
corner. The coach-door was opened.

"Will you alight, ma'am?"

"No; call a waiter."

A waiter appeared; and Miss Beaufort, in a tolerably collected voice,
inquired whether Mr. Constantine lived there?

"No, ma'am."

A cold dew stood on her forehead; but taking courage from a latent
and last hope, she added, "I know he has had letters directed to this
place."

"Oh! I beg your pardon, ma'am!" returned the man recollecting
himself; "I remember a person of that name has received letters from
hence, but they were always fetched away by a little girl."

"And do you not know where he lives?"

"No, ma'am," answered he; "yet some one else in the house may: I will
inquire."

Miss Beaufort bowed her head in token of acknowledgment, and sat
shivering with suspense until he returned, followed by another man.

"This person, ma'am," resumed he, "says he can tell you."

"Thank you, thank you!" cried Mary; then, blushing at her eagerness,
she stopped and drew back into the carriage.

"I cannot for certain," said the man, "but I know the girl very well
by sight who comes for the letters; and I have often seen her
standing at the door of a chandler's shop a good way down the lane. I
think it is No. 5, or 6. I sent a person there who came after the
same gentleman about a fortnight ago. I dare say he lives there."

Miss Beaufort's expectations sunk again, when she found that she had
nothing but a dare say to depend on; and giving half-a-crown to each
of her informers, she desired the coachman to drive as they would
direct him.

While the carriage drove down the lane, with a heart full of fears
she looked from side to side, almost believing she should know by
intuition the house which had contained Constantine. When the man
checked his horses, and her eyes fell on the little mean dwelling of
Mrs. Robson, she smothered a deep sigh.

"Can this be the house in which Constantine has lived? How
comfortless! And should it not," thought she, as the man got off the
box to inquire, "whither shall I go for information?"

The appearance of Mrs. Robson, and her immediate affirmative to the
question, "Are these Mr. Constantine's lodgings?" at once dispelled
this last anxiety. Encouraged by the motherly expression of the good
woman's manner, Mary begged leave to alight. Mrs. Robson readily
offered her arm, and with many apologies for the disordered state of
the house, led her up stairs to the room which had been the count's
house.

Mary trembled; but seeing that everything depended on self-command,
with apparent tranquillity she received the chair that was presented
to her, and turning her eyes from the books and drawings which told
her so truly in whose apartment she was, she desired Mrs. Robson, who
continued standing, to be seated. The good woman obeyed. After some
trepidation, Mary asked where Mr. Constantine was? Mrs. Robson
colored, and looking at her questioner for some time, as if doubting
what to say, burst into tears.

Miss Beaufort's ready eyes were much inclined to flow in concert; but
subduing the strong emotions which shook her, she added, "I do not
come hither out of impertinent curiosity. I have heard of the
misfortunes of Mr. Constantine. I am well known to his friends."

"Dear lady!" cried the good woman, grasping at any prospect of succor
to her benefactor: "if he has friends, whoever they are, tell them he
is the noblest, most humane gentleman in the world. Tell them he has
saved me and mine from the deepest want; and now he is sent to prison
because he cannot pay the cruel doctor who attended the poor dead
general."

"What! is his friend dead?" ejaculated Mary, unable to restrain the
tears which now streamed over her face.

"Yes," replied Mrs. Robson; "poor old gentleman! he is dead, sure
enough; and, Heaven knows, many have been the dreary hours the dear
young man has watched by his pillow! He died in that room."

Miss Beaufort's swimming eyes would not allow her to discern objects
through the open door of that apartment within which the heart of
Thaddeus had undergone such variety of misery. Forming an
irresistible wish to know whether the deceased were any relation of
Constantine, she paused a moment to compose the agitation which might
betray her, and then asked the question.

"I thought, ma'am," replied Mrs. Robson, "you said you knew his
friends?"

"Only his English ones," returned Mary, a little confused at the
suspicion this answer implied; "I imagined that this old gentleman
might have been his father or an uncle, or----"

"O no," interrupted Mrs. Robson, sorrowfully; "he has neither father,
mother nor uncle in the wide world. He once told me they were all
dead, and that he saw them die. Alas! sweet soul! What a power of
griefs he must have seen in his young life! But Heaven will favor his
at last; for though he is in misfortune himself, he has been a
blessing to the widow and the orphan!"

"Do you know the amount of his debts?" asked Miss Beaufort.

"Not more than twenty pounds," returned Mrs. Robson, "when they took
him out of this room, a week ago, and hurried him away without
letting me know a word of the matter. I believe to this hour I should
not have known where he was, if that cruel Mr. Jackson had not come
to demand all that Mr. Constantine left in my care. But I would not
let him have it. I told him if my lodger had filled my house with
bags of gold, _he_ should not touch a shilling; and then he
abused me, and told me Mr. Constantine was in Newgate."

"In Newgate!"

"Yes, madam. I immediately ran there, and found him more able to
comfort me than I was able to speak to him."

"Then be at rest, my good woman," returned Miss Beaufort, rising from
her chair; "when you next hear of Mr. Constantine, he shall be at
liberty. He has friends who will not sleep till he is out of prison."

"May Heaven bless you and them, dear lady!" cried Mrs. Robson,
weeping with joy; "for they will relieve the most generous heart
alive. But I must tell you," added she, with recollecting energy,
"that the costs of the business will raise it to some pounds more.
For that wicked Jackson, getting frightened to stand alone in what he
had done, went and persuaded poor weak-minded Mr. Watson, the
undertaker, to put in a detainer against Mr. Constantine for the
remainder of his bill. So I fear it will be full thirty pounds before
his kind friends can release him."

Mary replied, "Be not alarmed: all shall be done." While she spoke,
she cast a wistful look on the drawings on the bureau; then
withdrawing her eyes with a deep sigh, she descended the stairs. At
the street-door she took Mrs. Robson's hand, and not relinquishing it
until she was seated in the coach, pressed it warmly, and leaving
within it a purse of twenty guineas, ordered the man to return whence
he came.

Now that the temerity of going herself to learn the particulars of
Mr. Constantine's fate had been achieved, determined as she was not
to close her eyes whilst the man whom she valued above her life
remained a prisoner and in sorrow, she thought it best to consult
with Miss Dorothy respecting the speediest means of compassing his
emancipation.

In Oxford Road she desired the coachman to proceed to Harley Street.
She alighted at Lady Dundas's door, paid him his fare, and stepped
into the hall before she perceived that a travelling-carriage
belonging to her guardian had driven away to afford room for her
humble equipage.

"Is Sir Robert Somerset come to town?" she hastily inquired of the
porter.

"No, madam; but Mr. Somerset is just arrived."

The next minute Miss Beaufort was in the drawing-room, and clasped
within the arms of her cousin.

"Dear Mary!"--"Dear Pembroke!" were the first words which passed
between these two affectionate relatives.

Miss Dorothy, who doted on her nephew, taking his hand as he seated
himself between her and his cousin, said, in a congratulatory voice,
"Mary, our dear boy has come to town purposely to take us down."

"Yes, indeed," rejoined he; "my father is moped to death for want of
you both. You know I am a sad renegade! Lord Avon and Mr. Loftus have
been gone these ten days to his lordship's aunt's in Bedfordshire;
and Sir Robert is so completely weary of solitude, that he has
commanded me"--bowing to the other ladies--"to run off with all the
fair inhabitants of this house sooner than leave you behind."

"I shall be happy at another opportunity to visit Somerset Hall,"
returned Lady Dundas; "but I am constrained to spend this summer in
Dumbartonshire. I have not yet seen the estate my poor dear Sir
Hector bought of the Duke of Dunbar."

Pembroke offered no attempt to shake this resolution. In the two or
three morning calls he had formerly made with Sir Robert Somerset on
the rich widow, he saw sufficient to make him regard her arrogant
vulgarity with disgust; and for her daughters, they were of too
artificial a stamp to occupy his mind any longer than with a magic-
lantern impression of a tall woman with bold eyes, and the prettiest
yet most affected little fairy he had ever beheld.

After half an hour's conversation with this family group, Miss
Beaufort sunk into abstraction. During the first month of Mary's
acquaintance with Thaddeus, she did not neglect to mention in her
correspondence with Pembroke having met with a very interesting and
accomplished emigrant, in the capacity of a tutor at Lady Dundas's.
But her cousin, in his replies, beginning to banter her on pity being
allied to love, she had gradually dropped all mention of
Constantine's name, as she too truly found by what insensible degrees
the union had taken place within her own breast. She remembered these
particulars, whilst a new method of accomplishing her present project
suggested itself; and determining (however extraordinary her conduct
might seem) to rest on the rectitude of her motives, a man being the
most proper person to transact such a business with propriety, she
resolved to engage Pembroke for her agent, without troubling Miss
Dorothy about the affair.

So deeply was she absorbed in these reflections, that Somerset,
observing her vacant eye fixed on the opposite window, took her hand
with an arch smile, and exclaimed.

"Mary! What is the matter? I hope, Lady Dundas, you have not suffered
any one to run away with her heart? You know I am her cousin, and it
is my inalienable right."

Lady Dundas replied that young ladies best know their own secrets.

"That may be, madam," rejoined he; "but I won't allow Miss Beaufort
to know anything that she does not transfer to me. Is not that true,
Mary?"

"Yes," whispered she, coloring; "and the sooner you afford me an
opportunity to interest you in one, the more I shall be obliged to
you."

Pembroke pressed her hand in token of assent; and a desultory
conversation continuing for another half-hour, Miss Beaufort, who
dreaded the wasting one minute in a day so momentous to her peace,
sat uneasily until her aunt proposed retiring to her dressing-room a
while, and requested Pembroke to assist her up stairs.

When he returned to the drawing-room, to his extreme satisfaction he
found all the party were gone to prepare for their usual drives,
excepting Miss Beaufort, who was standing by one of the windows, lost
in thought. He approached her, and taking her hand--

"Come, my dear cousin," said he, "how can I oblige you?"

Mary struggled with her confusion. Had she loved Thaddeus less, she
found she could with greater ease have related the interest which she
took in his fate. She tried to speak distinctly, and she accomplished
it, although her burning cheek and downcast look told to the fixed
eye of Pembroke what she vainly attempted to conceal.

"You can, indeed, oblige me! You must remember a Mr. Constantine! I
once mentioned him to you in my letters."

"I do, Mary. You thought him amiable!"

"He was the intimate friend of Lady Tinemouth," returned she,
striving to look up; but the piercing expression she met from the
eyes of Somerset, beating hers down again, covered her face and neck
with deeper blushes. She panted for breath.

"Rely on me," said Pembroke, pitying her embarrassment, whilst he
dreaded that her gentle heart had indeed become the victim of some
accomplished and insidious foreigner--"rely on me, my beloved cousin:
consider me as a brother. If you have entangled yourself--"

Miss Beaufort guessed what he would say, and interrupting him, added,
with a more assured air, "No, Pembroke, I have no entanglements. I am
going to ask your friendly assistance on behalf of a brave and
unfortunate Polander." Pembroke reddened and she went on. "Mr.
Constantine is a gentleman. Lady Tinemouth tells me he has been a
soldier, and that he lost all his possessions in the ruin of his
country. Her ladyship introduced him here. I have seen him often, and
I know him to be worthy the esteem of every honorable heart. He is
now in prison, in Newgate, for a debt of about thirty pounds, and I
ask you to go and release him. That is my request--my secret; and I
confide in your discretion that you will keep it even from him."

"Generous, beloved Mary!" cried Pembroke, pressing her hand; "it is
thus you always act. Possessed of all the softness of thy sex,
dearest girl," added he, still more affectionately, "nature has not
alloyed it with one particle of weakness!"

Miss Beaufort smiled and sighed. If to love tenderly, to be devoted
life and soul to one being, whom she considered as the most perfect
work of creation, be weakness, Mary was the weakest of the weak; and
with a languid despondence at her heart, she was opening her lips to
give some directions to her cousin, when the attention of both was
arrested by a shrill noise of speakers talking above stairs. Before
the cousins had time to make an observation, the disputants descended
towards the drawing-room, and bursting open the door with a violent
clamor, presented the enraged figure of Lady Dundas followed by
Diana, who, with a no less swollen countenance, was scolding
vociferously, and dragging forward the weeping Euphemia.

"Ladies! ladies!" exclaimed Somerset, amazed at so extraordinary a
scene; "what has happened?"

Lady Dundas lifted up her clenched hand in a passion.

"A jade!--a hussy!" cried her vulgar ladyship, incapable of
articulating more.

Miss Dundas, still grasping the hands of her struggling sister, broke
out next, and turning furiously towards Mary, exclaimed, "You see,
madam, what disgrace your ridiculous conduct to that vagabond
foreigner has brought on our family! This bad girl has followed your
example, and done worse-she has fallen in love with him!"

Shocked, and trembling at so rude an accusation, Miss Beaufort was
unable to speak. Lost in wonder, and incensed at his cousin's
goodness having been the dupe of imposition. Pembroke stood silent,
whilst Lady Dundas took up the subject.

"Ay," cried she, shaking her daughter by the shoulder, "you little
minx! if your sister had not picked up these abominable verses you
chose to write on the absence of this beggarly fellow, I suppose you
would have finished the business by running off with him! But you
shall go down to Scotland, and be locked up for months. I won't have
Sir Hector Dundas's family disgraced by a daughter of mine."

"For pity's sake, Lady Dundas," said Pembroke, stepping between her
shrewish ladyship and the trembling Euphemia, "do compose yourself. I
dare say your daughter is pardonable. In these cases, the fault in
general lies with our sex. We are the deluders."

Mary was obliged to reseat herself; and in pale attention she
listened for the reply of the affrighted Euphemia, who, half assured
that her whim of creating a mutual passion in the breast of Thaddeus
was no longer tenable, without either shame or remorse she exclaimed,
"Indeed, Mr. Somerset, you are right; I never should have thought of
Mr. Constantine if he had not teased me every time he came with his
devoted love."

Miss Beaufort rose hastily from her chair. Though Euphemia colored at
the suddenness of this motion, and the immediate flash she met from
her eye, she went on: "I know Miss Beaufort will deny it, because she
thinks he is in love with her; but indeed, indeed, he has sworn a
thousand times on his knees that he was a Russian nobleman in
disguise, and adored me above every one else in the world."

"Villain!" cried Pembroke, inflamed with indignation at his double
conduct. Afraid to read in the expressive countenance of Mary her
shame and horror at this discovery, he turned his eyes on her with
trepidation; when, to his surprise, he beheld her standing perfectly
unmoved by the side of the sofa from which she had arisen. She
advanced with a calm step towards Euphemia, and taking hold of the
hand which concealed her face whilst uttering this last falsehood,
she drew it away, and regarding her with a serene but penetrating
look, she said: "Euphemia! you well know that you are slandering an
innocent and unfortunate man. You know that never in his life did he
give you the slightest reason to suppose that he was attached to you;
for myself, I can also clear him of making professions to me. Upon
the honor of my word, I declare," added she, addressing herself to
the whole group, "that he never breathed a sentence to me beyond mere
respect. By this last deviation of Euphemia from truth, you may form
an estimate how far the rest she has alleged deserves credit."

The young lady burst into a vehement passion of tears.

"I will not be browbeaten and insulted, Miss Beaufort!" cried she,
taking refuge in noise, since right had deserted her. "You know you
would fight his battles through thick and thin, else you would not
have fallen into fits yesterday when I told you he was sent to jail."

This last assault struck Mary motionless; and Lady Dundas, lifting up
her hands, exclaimed, "Good la! keep me from the forward misses of
these times! As for you, Miss Euphemia," added she, seizing her
daughter by the arm, "you shall leave town tomorrow morning. I will
have no more tutoring and falling in love in my house; and for you,
Miss Beaufort," turning to Mary, (who, having recovered herself,
stood calmly at a little distance,) "I shall take care to warn Miss
Dorothy Somerset to keep an eye over your conduct."

"Madam," replied she, indignantly, "I shall never do anything which
can dishonor either my family or myself; and of that Miss Dorothy
Somerset is too well assured to doubt for an instant, even should
calumny be as busy with me as it has been injurious to Mr.
Constantine."

With the words of Mrs. Robson suddenly reverberating on her heart,
"He has no father, no mother, no kindred in this wide world!" she
walked towards the door. When she passed Mr. Somerset, who stood
bewildered and frowning near Miss Dundas, she turned her eyes on her
cousin, full of the effulgent pity in her soul, and said, in a
collected and decisive voice, "Pembroke, I shall leave the room; but,
remember, I do not release you from your engagement."

Staggered by the open firmness of her manner, he looked after her as
she withdrew, and was almost inclined to believe that she possessed
the right side of the argument. Malice did not allow him to think so
long. The moment the door closed on her, both the sisters fell on him
pell-mell; and the prejudiced illiberality of the one, supported by
the ready falsehoods of the other, soon dislodged all favorable
impressions from the mind of Somerset, and filled him anew with
displeasure.

In the midst of Diana's third harangue, Lady Dundas having ordered
Euphemia to be taken to her chamber, Mr. Somerset was left alone,
more incensed than ever against the object of their invectives, whom
he now considered in the light of an adventurer, concealing his
poverty, and perhaps his crimes beneath a garb of lies. That such a
character, by means of a fine person and a few meretricious talents,
could work himself into the confidence of Mary Beaufort, pierced her
cousin to the soul; and as he mounted the stairs with an intent to
seek her in her dressing-room, he almost resolved to refuse obeying
her commands.

When he opened the room-door, he found Miss Beaufort and his aunt.
The instant he appeared, the ever-benevolent face of Miss Dorothy
contracted into a frown.

"Nephew," cried she, "I shall not take it well of you if you give
stronger credence to the passionate and vulgar assertions of Lady
Dundas and her daughters than you choose to bestow on the tried
veracity of your cousin Mary."

Pembroke was conscious that if his countenance had been a faithful
transcript of his mind, Miss Beaufort did not err in supposing he
believed the foreigner to be a villain. Knowing that it would be
impossible for him to relinquish his reason into what he now
denominated the partial hands of his aunt and cousin, he persisted in
his opinion to both the ladies, that their unsuspicious natures had
been rendered subservient to knavery and artifice.

"I would not, my dear madam," said he, addressing Miss Dorothy,
"think so meanly of your sex as to imagine that such atrocity can
exist in the female heart as could give birth to ruinous and
unprovoked calumnies against an innocent man. I cannot suspect the
Misses Dundas of such needless guilt, particularly poor Euphemia,
whom I truly pity. Lady Dundas forced me to read her verses, and they
were too full of love and regret for this adventurer to come from the
same breast which could wantonly blacken his character. Such wicked
inconsistencies in so young a woman are not half so probable as that
you, my clear aunt and cousin, have been deceived.

"Nephew," returned the old lady, "you are very peremptory. Methinks a
little more lenity of opinion would better become your youth! I knew
nothing of this unhappy young man's present distress until Miss
Beaufort mentioned it to me; but before she breathed a word in his
favor, I had conceived a very high respect for his merits. From the
first hour in which I saw him, I gathered by his deportment that he
must be a gentleman, besides a previous act of benevolent bravery, in
rescuing at the hazard of his own life two poor children from a house
in flames--in all this I saw he must have been born far above his
fortunes. I thought so; I still think so; and, notwithstanding all
that the Dundasses may choose to fabricate, I am determined to
believe the assertions of an honest countenance."

Pembroke smiled, whilst he forced his aunt's reluctant hand into his,
and said, "I see, my dear madam, you are bigoted to the idol of your
own fancy! I do not presume to doubt this Mr. Constantine's lucky
exploits, nor his enchantments: but you must pardon me if I keep my
senses at liberty. I shall think of him as I could almost swear he
deserves, although I am aware that I hazard your affection by my
firmness." He then turned to Mary, who, with a swelling and
distressed heart, was standing by the chimney. "Forgive me, my
dearest cousin," continued he, addressing her in a softened voice,
"that I am forced to appear harsh. It is the first time I ever
dissented from you; it is the first time I ever thought you
prejudiced!"

Miss Beaufort drew the back of her hand over her glistening eyes. All
the tender affections of Pembroke's bosom smote him at once, and
throwing his arms around his cousin's waist, he strained her to his
breast, and added, "Ah! why, dear girl, must I love you better for
thus giving me pain? Every way my darling Mary is more estimable.
Even now, whilst I oppose you, I am sure, though your goodness is
abused, it was cheated into error by the affectation of honorable
impulses and disasters!"

Miss Beaufort thought that if the prudence of reserve and decorum
dictated silence in some circumstances, in others a prudence of a
higher order would justify her in declaring her sentiments.
Accordingly she withdrew from the clasping arms of Mr. Somerset, and
whilst her beautiful figure seemed to dilate into more than its usual
dignity, she mildly replied:

"Think what you please, Pembroke; I shall not contend with you. Mr.
Constantine is of a nature not to be hidden by obscurity; his
character will defend itself; and all that I have to add is this, I
do not release you from your promise. Could a woman transact the
affair with propriety, I would not keep yon to so disagreeable an
office; but I have passed my word to myself that I will neither
slumber nor sleep till he is out of prison." She put a pocket-book
into Pembroke's hand, and added, "Take that, my clear cousin; and
without suffering a syllable to transpire by which he may suspect who
served him, accomplish what I have desired, acting by the memorandum
you will find within."

"I will obey you, Mary," returned he; "but I am sorry that such rare
enthusiasm was not awakened by a worthier object. When you see me
again, I hope I shall be enabled to say that your ill-placed
generosity is satisfied."

"Fie, nephew, fie!" cried Miss Dorothy; "I could not have supposed
you capable of conferring a favor so ungraciously."

Pained at what he called the obstinate infatuation of Miss Beaufort,
and if possible more chagrined by what he considered the blind and
absurd encouragement of his aunt, Mr. Somerset lost the whole of her
last reprimand in his hurry to quit the room.

Disturbed, displeased, and anxious, he stepped into a hackney-coach;
and ordering it to drive to Newgate, called on the way at Lincoln's
Inn, to take up a confidential clerk of his father's law-agent there,
determining by his assistance to go through the business without
exposing himself to any interview with a man whom he believed to be
an artful and unprincipled villain.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

"Calumny is the pastime of little minds, and the venomed shaft of
base ones."


The first week of the count's confinement was rendered in some degree
tolerable by the daily visits of Mrs. Robson, who, having brought his
drawing materials, enabled him, through the means of the always
punctual printseller, to purchase some civility from the brutal and
hardened people who were his keepers. After the good woman had
performed her diurnal kindness, Thaddeus did not suffer his eyes to
turn one moment on the dismal loneliness of his abject prison, but
took up his pencil to accomplish its daily task, and when done, he
opened some one of his books, which had also been brought to him, and
so sought to beguile his almost hopeless hours,--hopeless with regard
to any human hope of ever re-passing those incarcerating walls. For
who was there but those who had put him there who could now know even
of his existence?

The elasticity and pressing enterprise of soul inherent in worth
renders; no calamity so difficult to be borne as that which betters
its best years and most active virtues under the lock of any
captivity. Thaddeus felt this benumbing effect in every pulse of his
ardent and energetic heart. He retraced all that he had been. He
looked on what he was. Though he had reaped glory when a boy, his
"noon of manhood," his evening sun, was to waste its light and set in
an English prison.

At short and distant intervals such melancholy reveries gave place to
the pitying image of Mary Beaufort. It sometimes visited him in the
day--it always was his companion during the night. He courted her
lovely ideal as a spell that for a while stole him from painful
reflections. With an entranced soul he recalled every lineament of
her angel--like face, every tender sympathy of that gentle voice
which had hurried him into the rashness of touching her hand. One
moment he pressed her gold chain closer to his heart, almost
believing what Lady Tinemouth had insinuated; the next, he would sigh
over his credulity, and return with despondent though equally intense
love to the contemplation of her virtues, independent of himself.

The more he meditated on the purity of her manners, the elevated
principles to which he could trace her actions, and, above all, on
the benevolent confidence with which she had ever treated him (a man
contemned by one part of her acquaintance, and merely received on
trust by the remainder), the more he found reasons to regard that
character with his grateful admiration. When he drew a comparison
between Miss Beaufort and most women of the same quality whom he had
seen in England and in other countries, he contemplated with
delighted wonder that spotless mind which, having passed through the
various ordeals annexed to wealth and fashion, still bore itself
uncontaminated. She was beautiful, and she did not regard it; she was
accomplished, but she did not attempt a display; what she acquired
from education, the graces had so incorporated with her native
intelligence, that the perfection of her character seemed to have
been stamped at once by the beneficent hand of Providence.

Never were her numberless attractions so fascinating to Thaddeus as
when he witnessed the generous eagerness with which, forgetful of her
own almost unparalleled talents, she pointed out merit and dispensed
applause to the deserving. Miss Beaufort's nature was gentle and
benevolent; but it was likewise distinguishing and animated. Whilst
the count saw that the urbanity of her disposition made her
politeness universal, he perceived that neither rank, riches nor
splendor, when alone, could extract from her bosom one spark of that
lambet flame which streamed from her heart, like fire to the sun,
towards the united glory of genius and virtue.

He dwelt on her lovely, unsophisticated character with an enthusiasm
bordering on idolatry. He recollected that she had been educated by
the mother of Pembroke Somerset; and turning from the double
remembrance with a sigh fraught with all the bitterness and sweetness
of love, he acknowledged how much wisdom (which includes virtue)
gives spirit and immortality to beauty. "Yes," cried he, "it is the
fragrance of the flower, which lives after the bloom is withered."

From such reflections of various hues Thaddeus was one evening
awakened by the entrance of the chief jailer into his cell. His was
an unusual visit. He presented a sealed packet to his prisoner,
saying he brought it from a stranger, who, having paid the debts and
costs for which he was confined, and all the prison dues, had
immediately gone away, leaving that packet to be instantly delivered
into the hand of Mr. Constantine.

While Thaddeus, scarcely crediting the information, was hastily
opening the packet, hoping it might throw some light on his
benefactor, the jailer civilly withdrew. But the breaking of the seal
discovered a blank cover only, save these words, in a handwriting
unknown to him--"You are free!"--and bank of England notes to the
amount of fifty pounds.

Overwhelmed with surprise, gratitude to Heaven, and to this generous
unknown, he sank down into his solitary chair, and tried to
conjecture who could have acted the part of such a friend, and yet be
so careful to conceal that act of friendship.

He had seen sufficient proofs of a heedless want of benevolence in
Miss Euphemia Dundas to lead him to suppose that she could not be so
munificent, and solicitous of secrecy. Besides, how could she have
learned his situation? He thought it was impossible; and that
impossibility compelled an erratic hope of his present liberty having
sprung from the goodness of Miss Beaufort to pass by him with a
painful swiftness.

"Alas!" cried he, starting from his chair, "it is the indefatigable
spirit of Lady Sara Ross that I recognize in this deed! The generous
but unhappy interest which she yet takes in my fate has discovered my
last misfortune, and thus she seeks to relieve me!"

The moment he conceived this idea, he believed it; and taking up a
pen, with a grateful though disturbed soul he addressed to her the
following guarded note:--

"TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE LADY SARA ROSS.

"An unfortunate exile, who is already overpowered by a sense of not
having deserved the notice which Lady Sara Ross has deigned to take
of his misfortunes, was this day liberated from prison in a manner so
generous and delicate, that he can ascribe the act to no other than
the noble heart of her ladyship.

"The object of this bounty, bending under a weight of obligations
which he cannot repay, begs permission to re-enclose the bills which
Lady Sara's agent transmitted to him; but as the deed which procures
his freedom cannot be recalled, with the most grateful emotions he
accepts that new instance of her ladyship's goodness."

Thaddeus was on the point of asking one of the turnkeys to send him
some trusty person to take this letter to St. James Place, when,
recollecting the impropriety of making any inmate of Newgate his
messenger to Lady Sara, he was determining to remove immediately to
St. Martin's Lane, and thence dispatch his packet to his generous
friend, when Mrs. Robson herself was announced by his turnkey, who,
as customary, disappeared the moment he had let her in. She hastened
forward to him with an animated countenance, and exclaimed, before he
had time to speak, "Dear sir, I have seen a dear, sweet lady, who has
promised me not to sleep till you are out of this horrid place!"

The suspicions of the count, that his benefactress was indeed Lady
Sara Ross, were now confirmed. Seating his warmhearted landlady in
the only chair his apartment contained, to satisfy her humility, he
took his station on the table, and then said: "The lady has already
fulfilled her engagement. I am free, and I only wait for a hackney-
coach--which I shall send for immediately--to take me back to your
kind home."

At this assurance the delighted Mrs. Robson, crying and laughing by
turns, did not cease her ejaculations of joy until the turnkey, whom
he had recalled to give the order for the coach, returned to say that
it was in readiness.

He took up his late prisoner's small portmanteau, with the drawing-
materials, &c., which had been brought to him during his
incarceration; and Thaddeus, with a feeling as if a band of iron had
been taken from his soul, passed through the door of his cell; and
when he reached the greater portal of Newgate, where the coach stood,
he gave the turnkey a liberal _douceur_, and handing Mrs. Robson
into the vehicle, stepped in after her, full of thankfulness to
Heaven for again being permitted to taste the wholesome breeze of a
free atmosphere.

They drove quickly on, and from the fullness of his thoughts, little
passed between the count and his happy companion till they alighted
at her door and he had re-entered his humble apartment. But so true
is it that advantages are only appreciated by comparison, when he
looked around, he considered it a palace of luxury, compared to the
stifling dungeon he had left. "Ah!" cried Mrs. Robson, pointing to a
chair, "there is the seat in which that dear lady sat--sweet
creature! I If I had known I durst believe all she promised, I would
have fallen on my knees and kissed her feet for bringing back your
dear self!"

"I thank you, my revered friend!" replied Thaddeus, with a grateful
smile and a tear at so ardent a demonstration of her maternal
affection. "But where is little Nanny, that I may shake hands with
her?" It being yet early in the evening, he was also anxious, before
the probable retiring time of Lady Sara into her dressing-room to
prepare for dinner should elapse, to dispatch his letter to her; and
he inquired of his still rejoicing landlady "whether she could find
him a safe porter to take a small packet of importance to St. James's
Place, and wait for an answer?"

The good woman instantly replied that "Mrs. Watts, her neighbor, had
a nephew at present lodging with her, a steady man, recently made one
of the grooms in the King's Mews, and as this was the customary hour
of his return from the stables, she was sure he would be glad to do
the service." While the count was sealing his letter, Mrs Robson had
executed her commission, and reentered with young Watts. He
respectfully received his instructions from Thaddeus, and withdrew to
perform the duty.

Nanny had also appeared, and welcomed her grandmother's beloved
lodger with all those artless and animated expressions of joy which
are inseparable from a good and unsophisticated heart.

The distance between the royal precincts of St. James's and the
unostentatious environs of St. Martin's church being very short, in
less than half an hour the count's messenger returned with the
wished-for reply. It was with pain that he opened it, for he saw, by
the state of the paper, that it had been blotted with tears. He
hurriedly took out the re-enclosed bills, with a flushed cheek, and
read as follows:--

"I cannot be mistaken in recognizing the proud and high-minded
Constantine in the lines I hold in my hand. Could anything have
imparted to me more comfort than your generous belief that there is
indeed some virtue left in my wretched and repentant heart, it would
have arisen from the consciousness of having been the happy person
who succored you in your distress. But no: that enjoyment was beyond
my deserving. The bliss of being the lightener of your sorrows was
reserved by Heaven for a less criminal creature. I did not even know
that you were in prison. Since our dreadful parting, I have never
dared to inquire after you; and much as it might console me to serve
one so truly valued, I will not insult your nice honor by offering
any further instance of my friendship than what will evince my soul's
gratitude to your prayers and my acquiescence with the commands of
duty.

"My husband is here, without perceiving the ravages which misery and
remorse have made in my unhappy heart. Time, perhaps, may render me
less unworthy of his tenderness; at present, I detest myself.

"I return the bills; you may safely use them, for they never were
mine.

"S. R."

The noble heart of Thaddeus bled over every line of this letter. He
saw that it bore the stamp of truth which did not leave him a moment
in doubt that he owed his release to some other hand. Whilst he
folded it up, his grateful suspicions next lighted on Lady Tinemouth.
He had received one short letter from her since her departure,
mentioning Sophia's stay in town to meet Mr. Montresor, and Miss
Beaufort's detention there, on account of Miss Dorothy's accident,
and closing with the intelligence of her own arrival at the Wolds. He
was struck with the idea that, as he had delayed answering this
letter in consequence of his late embarrassment, she must have made
inquiries after him; that probably Miss Egerton was the lady who had
visited Mrs. Robson, and finding the information true had executed
the countess's commission to obtain his release.

According to these suppositions, he questioned his landlady about the
appearance of the lady who had called. Mrs. Rob-son replied, "She was
of an elegant height, but so wrapped up I could neither see her face
nor her figure, though I am certain from the softness of her voice,
she must be both young and handsome. Sweet creature! I am sure she
wept two or three times. Besides, she is the most charitable soul
alive, next to you, sir; for she gave me a purse with twenty guineas,
and she told me she knew your honor's English friends."

This narration substantiating his hope of Lady Tinemouth's being his
benefactress, that the kind Sophia was her agent, and the gentleman
who defrayed the debt Mr. Montresor, he felt easier under an
obligation which a mysterious liberation would have doubled. He knew
the countess's maternal love for him. To reject her present
benefaction, in any part, would be to sacrifice gratitude to an
excessive and haughty delicacy. Convinced that nothing can be great
that it is great to despise, he no longer hesitated to accept Lady
Tinemouth's bounty, but smothered in his breast the embers of a proud
and repulsive fire, which, having burst forth in the first hour of
his misfortunes, was ever ready to consume any attempt that might
oppress him with the weight of obligation.

Being exhausted by the events of the day, he retired at an early hour
to his grateful devotions and to his pillow, where he found that
repose which he had sought in vain within the gloomy and (he
supposed) ever-sealed walls of his prison.

In the morning he was awakened by the light footsteps of his pretty
waiting-maid entering the front room. His chamber-door being open, he
asked her what the hour was? She replied nine o'clock; adding that
she had brought a letter, which one of the waiters from Slaughter's
Coffee-house had just left, with information that he did so by the
orders of a footman in a rich livery.

Thaddeus desired that it might be given to him. The child obeyed, and
quitted the room. He saw that the superscription was in Miss Dundas's
hand; and opening it with pleasure,--because everything interested
him which came from the house which contained Mary Beaufort,--to his
amazement and consternation he read the following accusations:--

"To MR. CONSTANTINE.

"Sir,

"By a miraculous circumstance yesterday morning, your deep and daring
plan of villany has been discovered to Lady D---and myself. The
deluded victim, whom your arts and falsehoods would have seduced to
dishonor her family by connecting herself with a vagabond, has at
length seen through her error, and now detests you as much as ever
your insufferable presumption could have hoped she would distinguish
you with her regard. Thanks be to Heaven! you are completely exposed.
This young woman of fashion (whose name I will not trust in the same
page with yours) has made a full confession of your vile seductions,
of her own reprehensible weakness, in ever having deigned to listen
to so low a creature. She desires me to assure you that she hates
you, and commands you never again to attempt the insolence of
appearing in her sight. Indeed this is the language of every soul in
this house, Lady D----, Miss D----, S----, Miss B---, besides that of

"D----D----.

"HARLEY STREET."

Thaddeus read this ridiculous letter twice before he could perfectly
comprehend its meaning. In a paroxysm of indignation at the base
subterfuge under which he did not doubt Euphemia had screened some
accidental discovery of her absurd passion, he hastily threw on his
clothes, and determined, though in defiance of Miss Dundas's
mandates, to fly to Harley Street, and clear himself in the eyes of
Miss Beaufort and her venerable aunt.

Having flown rather than walked, he arrived in sight of Lady Dundas's
house just as a coachful of her ladyship's maids and packages drove
from the door. Hurrying up the step, he asked the porter if Miss
Dorothy Somerset were at home.

"No," replied the man; "she and Miss Beaufort, with Miss Dundas and
Mr. Somerset, went out of town this morning by eight o'clock; and my
lady and Miss Euphemia, about an hour ago, set off for Scotland,
where they mean to stay all the summer."

At this information, which seemed to be the sealing of his
condemnation with Mary, the heart of Thaddeus was pierced to the
core. Unacquainted until this moment with the torments attending the
knowledge of being calumniated, he could scarcely subdue the tempest
in his breast, when forced to receive the conviction that the woman
he loved above all the world now regarded him as not merely a
villain, but the meanest of villains.

He returned home indignant and agitated. The probability that
Pembroke Somerset had listened to the falsehood of Euphemia, without
suggesting one word in defence of him who once was his friend,
inflicted a pang more deadly than the rest. Shutting himself within
his apartment, tossed and tortured in soul, he traversed the room.
First one idea occurred and then another, until he resolved to seek
redress from the advice of Lady Tinemouth. With this determination he
descended the stairs, and telling Mrs. Robson he should leave London
the ensuing day for Lincolnshire, begged her not to be uneasy on his
account, as he went on business, and would return in a few days. The
good woman almost wept at this intelligence, and prayed Heaven to
guard him wherever he went.

Next morning, having risen at an early hour, he was collecting his
few articles of wardrobe to put into his cloak-bag for his meditated
short visit, when going to open one of the top drawers in his
chamber, he found it sealed, and observed on the black wax the
impress of an eagle. It was a large seal. Hardly crediting his eyes,
it appeared to be the armorial eagle of Poland, surmounted by its
regal crown. Nay, it seemed an impression of the very seal which had
belonged to his royal ancestor, John Sobieski, and which was appended
to the watch of his grandfather when he was robbed of it on his first
arrival in England.

Thaddeus, in a wondering surprise, immediately rang the bell, and
Mrs. Robson herself came up stairs. He hurriedly but gently inquired
"how the drawer became not only locked as he had left it, but
fastened with such a seal?"

Mrs. Robson did not perceive his agitation, and simply replied,
"While his honor was in that horrid place, and after the attempt of
Mr. Jackson to get possession of his property, she had considered it
right to so secure the drawer, which she believed contained his most
valuable pictures, and the like. So, having no impression of her own
big enough, she went and bought a bunch of tarnished copper-seals she
had seen hanging in the window of a huckster's shop at the corner of
an ally hard by, one of them appearing about the size she wanted. The
woman of the shop told her she had found them at the bottom of a tub
of old iron, sold to her a while ago by a dustman; and as, to be
sure, they were damaged and very dirty, she would not ask more than a
couple of shillings for the lot, and would be glad to get rid of
them!"

"So, sir," continued Mrs. Robson, with a pleased look, "I gave the
money, and hastened home as fast as I could, and with Mrs. Watts by
my side to witness it, you see I made all safe which I thought you
most cared for."

"You are very thoughtful for me, kindest of women!" returned
Thaddeus, with grateful energy; "but let me see the seals--for it is
possible I may recognize in the one of this impression, indeed, a
relic precious to my memory!"

Mrs. Robson put her hand into her pocket, and instantly gave them to
him. There were three, one large, two small, and strung together by a
leather thong. The former massive gold chain was no longer their
link, and the rust from the iron had clouded the setting; but a
glance told Sobieski they were his! He pressed them to his heart,
whilst with glistening eyes he turned away to conceal his emotion.
His sensible landlady comprehended there was something more than she
knew of in the recognition (he never having told her of the loss of
his watch, when he had saved her little grandchild from the plunging
horses in the King's Mews;) and from her native delicacy not to
intrude on his feelings, she gently withdrew unobserved, and left him
alone.

About half an hour afterwards, when she saw her beloved lodger depart
in the stage-coach that called to take him up, her eyes followed the
wheels down the lane with renewed blessings.

His long journey passed not more in melancholy reveries against the
disappointing characters he had met in revered England than in
affectionate anticipations of the moment in which he should pour out
his gratitude to the maternal tenderness of Lady Tinemouth, and learn
from her ingenuous lips how to efface from the minds of Miss Dorothy
Somerset and her angel-like niece the representations, so
dishonoring, torturing, and false, which had been heaped upon him by
the calumnies of the family in Harley Street.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

ZEAL IS POWER.


The porter at Lady Dundas's had been strictly correct in his account
respecting the destination of the dispersed members of her ladyship's
household.

Whilst Pembroke Somerset was sullenly executing his forced act of
benevolence at Newgate, Miss Dundas suddenly took into her scheming
head to compare the merits of Somerset's rich expectancy with the
penniless certainty of Lascelles. She considered the substantial
advantages which the wife of a wealthy baronet would hold over the
thriftless _cara sposa_ of a man owning no other estate than a
reflected lustre from the coronet of an elder brother. Besides,
Pembroke was very handsome--Lascelles only tolerably so; indeed, some
women had presumed to call him "very plain." But they were "stupid
persons," who, not believing the _metempsychosis_ doctrine of
the tailor and his decorating adjuncts, could not comprehend that
although a mere human creature can have no such property, a man of
fashion may possess an _elixir vitae_ which makes age youth,
deformity beauty, and even transforms vice into virtue.

In spite of recollection, which reminded Diana how often she had
contended that all Mr. Lascelles' teeth were his own; that his nose
was not a bit too long, being a facsimile of the feature which reared
its sublime curve over the capricious mouth of his noble brother, the
Earl of Castle Conway--notwithstanding all this, the Pythagorean
pretensions of fashion began to lose their ascendency; and in the
recesses of her mind, when Miss Dundas compared the light elegance of
Pembroke's figure with the heavy limbs of her present lover,
Pembroke's dark and ever-animated eyes with the gooseberry orbs of
Lascelles, she dropped the parallel, and resolving to captivate the
heir of Somerset Castle, admitted no remorse at jilting the brother
of Castle Conway.

To this end, before Pembroke's return from Newgate, Diana had told
her mother of her intention to accompany Miss Dorothy to the
baronet's, where she would remain until her ladyship should think
Euphemia might be trusted to rejoin her in town. Neither Miss Dorothy
nor Miss Beaufort liked this arrangement; and next morning, with an
aching heart, the latter prepared to take her seat in the travelling
equipage which was to convey them all into Leicestershire.

After supper, Pembroke coldly informed his cousin of the success of
her commands--that Mr. Constantine was at liberty. This assurance,
though imparted with so ungracious an air, laid her head with less
distraction on her pillow, and as she stepped into Sir Robert's
carriage next day, enabled her with more ease to deck her lips with
smiles. She felt that the penetrating eyes of Mr. Somerset were never
withdrawn from her face. Offended with his perverseness, and their
scrutiny, she tried to baffle their inspection. She attempted gayety,
when she gladly would have wept. But when the coach mounted the top
of Highgate Hill, and she had a last view of that city which
contained the being whose happiness was the sole object of her
thoughts and prayers, she leaned out of the window to hide a tear she
could not repress; feeling that another and another would start, she
complained of the dust, and pulling her veil over her eyes, drew back
into the corner of the carriage. The trembling of her voice and hands
during the performance of this little artifice too well explained to
Pembroke what was passing in her mind. At once dispelling the gloom
which shrouded his own countenance, he turned towards her with
compassionate tenderness in his words and looks; he called her
attention by degrees to the happy domestic scene she was to meet at
the Castle; and thus gradually softening her displeasure into the
easy conversation of reciprocal affection, he rendered the remainder
of their long journey less irksome.

When, at the end of the second day, Miss Beaufort found herself in
the old avenue leading to the base of the hill which sustains the
revered walls of Somerset's castellated towers, a mingled emotion
took possession of her breast; and when the carriage arrived at the
foot of the highest terrace, she sprang impatiently out of it, and
hastening up the stone stairs into the front hall, met her uncle at
the door of the breakfast-parlor, where he held out his arms to
receive her.

"My Mary! My darling!" cried he, embracing her now wet cheek, and
straining her throbbing bosom to his own, "Why, my dear love," added
he, almost carrying her into the room, "I am afraid this visit to
town has injured your nerves! Whence arises this agitation?"

She knew it had injured her peace; and now that the floodgates of her
long-repelled tears were opened, it was beyond her power, or the
soothings of her affectionate uncle, to stay them. A moment
afterwards her cousin entered the room, followed by Miss Dorothy and
Miss Dundas. Miss Beaufort hastily rose, to conceal what she could
not check. Kissing Sir Robert's hand, she asked permission to retire,
under the pretence of regaining those spirits which had been
dissipated by the fatigues of her journey.

In her own chamber she did indeed struggle to recover herself. She
shuddered at the impetuosity of her emotions when once abandoned of
their reins, and resolved from this hour to hold a stricter control
over such betrayals of her ill-fated, devoted heart.

She sat in the window of her apartment, and looking down the
extensive vale of Somerset, watched the romantic meanderings of its
shadowed river, winding its course through the domains of the castle,
and nourishing the roots of those immense oaks which for many a
century had waved their branches over its stream. She reflected on
the revolution which had take place in herself since she walked on
its banks the evening that preceded her visit to London. Then she was
free as the air, gay as the lark; each object was bright and lovely
in her eyes hope seemed to woo her from every green slope, every
remote dingle. All nature breathed of joy, because her own breast was
the abode of gladness. Now, all continued the same, but she was
changed. Surrounded by beauty, she acknowledged its presence; the
sweetness of the flowers bathed her senses in fragrance; the setting
sun, gilding the height, shed a yellow glory over the distant hills;
the birds were hailing the falling dew which spangled every leaf. She
gazed around, and sighed heavily, when she said to herself, "Even in
this paradise I shall be wretched. Alas! my heart is far away! My
soul lingers about one I may never more behold!--about one who may
soon cease to remember that such a being as Mary Beaufort is in
existence. He will leave England!" cried she, raising her hands and
eyes to the glowing heavens. "He will live, he will die, far, far
from me! In a distant land he will wed another, whilst I shall know
no wish that strays from him."

Whilst she indulged in these soliloquies, she forgot both Sir Robert
and her resolution, until he sent her maid to beg, if she were
better, that she would come down and make tea for him. At this
summons she dried her eyes, and with assumed serenity descended to
the saloon, where the family were assembled. The baronet having
greeted Miss Dundas with an hospitable welcome, seated himself
between his sister and his son; and whilst he received his favorite
beverage from the hands of his beloved niece, he found that comfort
once more re-entered his bosom.

Sir Robert Somerset was a man whose appearance alone attracted
respect. His person bore the stamp of dignity, and his manners, which
possessed the exquisite polish of travel, and of society in its most
refined courts, secured him universal esteem. Though little beyond
fifty, various perplexing situations having distressed his youth, had
not only rendered his hair prematurely gray, but by clouding his once
brilliant eyes with thoughtfulness, marked his aspect with premature
old age and melancholy. The baronet's entrance into town life had
been celebrated for his graceful vivacity; he was the animating
spirit of every party, till an inexplicable metamorphosis suddenly
took place. Soon after his return from abroad, he had married Miss
Beaufort (a woman whom he loved to adoration), When, strange to say,
excess of happiness seemed to change his nature and give his
character a deep tinge of sadness. After his wife's death, the
alteration in his mind produced still more extraordinary effects, and
showed itself more than once in all the terrors of threatened mental
derangement.

His latest attack of the kind assailed him during the last winter,
under the appearance of a swoon, while he sat at breakfast reading
the newspaper. He was carried to bed, and awoke in a delirium which
menaced either immediate death or the total extinction of his
intellects. However, neither of these dreads being confirmed, in the
course of several weeks, to the wonder of everybody, he recovered
much of his health and his sound mind. Notwithstanding this happy
event, the circumstances of his danger so deeply affected his family,
that he ceased not to be an object of the most anxious attention.
Indeed, solicitude did not terminate with them: the munificence of
his disposition having spread itself through every county in which he
owned a rood of land, as many prayers ascended for the repose of his
spirit as ever petitioned Heaven from the mouths of "monkish
beadsmen" in favor of power and virtue.

Since the demise of Lady Somerset, this still-admired man drew all
his earthly comfort from the amiable qualities of his son Pembroke.
Sometimes in his livelier hours, which came "like angel visits, few
and far between," he amused himself with the playfulness of the
little Earl of Avon, the pompous erudition of Mr. Loftus, (who was
become his young ward's tutor), and with giving occasional
entertainments to the gentry in his neighborhood.

Of all the personages contained within this circle (which the
hospitality of Sir Robert extended to a circumference of fifty
miles,) the noble family of Castle Granby, brave, patriotic, and
accomplished, with female beauty at its head,

    "Fitted to move in courts or walk the shade,
     With innocence and contemplation joined,"

were held in the highest and most intimate appreciation; while many
of the numerous titled visitants who attended the celebrated and
magnificent Granby hunt were of too convivial notoriety to be often
admitted within the social home-society of either Castle Granby or
Somerset Castle, the two cynosure mansions which, now palace-like,
crest with their peaceful groves the summits of those two promontory
heights whereon in former times they stood in fortress strength, the
guardians of each opening pass into that spacious and once important
belligerent vale!

Amongst the less-esteemed frequenters of the chase was devoted
Nimrod, Sir Richard Shafto, who every season fixed himself and family
at a convenient hunting-lodge near the little town of Grantham, with
his right worthy son and heir who by calling at Somerset Castle soon
after the arrival of his guests, caused a trifling change in its
arrangements. When Dick Shafto (as all the grooms in the stables
familiarly designated him) was ushered into the room, he nodded to
Sir Robert, and, turning his back on the ladies, told Pembroke he had
ridden to Somerset "on purpose to _bag_ him for Woodhill Lodge."

"Upon my life," cried he, "if you don't come, I will cut and run.
There is not a creature but yourself within twenty miles to whom I
can speak--not a man worth a sixpence. I wish my father had broken
his neck before he accepted that confounded embassy, which encumbers
me with the charge of my old mother!"

After this dutiful wish, which brought down a weighty admonition from
Miss Dorothy, the young gentleman promised to behave better, provided
she would persuade Pembroke to accompany him to the Lodge. Mr.
Somerset did not show much alacrity in his consent; but to rid his
family of so noisy a guest, he rose from his chair, and acquiescing
in the sacrifice of a few clays to good nature, bade his father
farewell, and gave orders for a ride to Grantham.

As soon as the gentlemen left the saloon, Miss Dundas ran up stairs,
and from her dressing-room window in the west tower pursued the steps
of their horses as they cantered down the winding steep into the high
road. An abrupt angle of the hill hiding them from her view, she
turned round with a toss of the head, and flinging herself into a
chair, exclaimed, "Now I shall be bored to death by this prosing
family! I wish his boasted hunter had run away with Shafto before he
thought of coming here!"

In consequence of the temper which engendered the above no very
flattering compliment to the society at the Castle, Miss Dundas
descended to the dining-room with sulky looks and a chilling air. She
ate what the baronet laid on her plate with an indolent appetite, cut
her meat carelessly, and dragged the vegetables over the table-cloth.
Miss Dorothy colored at this indifference to the usual neatness of
her damask covers; but Miss Dundas was so completely in the sullens,
that, heedless of any other feelings than her own, she continued to
pull and knock about the things just as her ill-humor dictated.

The petulance of this lady's behavior did not in the least assimilate
with the customary decorum of Sir Robert's table; and when the cloth
was drawn, he could not refrain from expressing his concern that
Somerset Castle appeared so little calculated to afford satisfaction
to a daughter of Lady Dundas. Miss Dundas attempted some awkward
declaration that she never was more amused--never happier.

But the small credit Sir Robert gave to her assertion was fully
warranted the next morning by the ready manner in which she accepting
a casual invitation to spend the ensuing day and night at Lady
Shafto's. Her ladyship called on Miss Dorothy, and intended to have a
party in the evening, invited the two young ladies to return with her
to Woodhill Lodge, and be her guests for a week. Miss Beaufort, whose
spirits were far from tranquillized, declined her civility; but with
a gleam of pleasure she heard it accepted by Miss Dundas, who
departed with her ladyship for the Lodge.

Whilst the enraptured Diana, all life and glee, bowled along with
Lady Shafto, anticipating the delight of once more seating herself at
the elbow of Pembroke Somerset, Mary Beaufort, relieved from a load
of ill-requited attentions, walked out into the park, to enjoy in
solitude the "sweet sorrow" of thinking on the unhappy and far-
distant Constantine. Regardless of the way, her footsteps, though
robbed of elasticity by nightly watching and daily regret, led her
beyond the park, to the ruined church of Woolthorpe, its southern
boundary. Her eyes were fixed on the opposite horizon. It was the
extremity of Leicestershire; and far, far behind those hills was that
London which contained the object dearest to her soul. The wind
seemed scarcely to breathe as it floated towards her; but it came
from that quarter, and believing it laden with every sweet which love
can fancy, she threw back her veil to inhale its balm, then, blaming
herself for such weakness, she turned, blushing, homewards and wept
at what she thought her unreasonably tenacious passion.

The arrival of Miss Dundas at the Lodge was communicated to the two
young men on their return from traversing half the country in quest
of game. The news drew an oath from Shafto, but rather pleased
Somerset, who augured some amusement from her attempts at wit and
judgment. Tired to death, and dinner being over when they entered,
with ravenous appetites they devoured their uncomfortable meal in a
remote room; then throwing themselves along the sofas, yawned and
slept for nearly two hours.

Pembroke waking first, suddenly jumped on the floor, and shaking his
disordered clothes, exclaimed, "Shafto! get up This is abominable! I
cannot help thinking that if we spend one half of our days in
pleasure and the other in lolling off its fatigues, we shall have
passed through life more to our shame than our profit!"

"Then you take the shame and leave me the profit," cried his
companion, turning himself round: "so good-night to you!"

Pembroke rang the bell. A servant entered.

"What o'clock is it?"

"Nine, sir."

"Who are above?"

"My lady, sir, and a large party of ladies."

"There, now!" cried Shafto, yawning and kicking out his legs. "You
surely won't go to be bored with such maudlin company?"

"I choose to join your mother," replied Pembroke. "Are there any
gentlemen, Stephen?"

"One sir: Doctor Denton."

"Off with you!" roared Shafto; "what do you stand jabbering there
for? You won't let me sleep. Can't you send away the fellow, and go
look yourself?"

"I will, if you can persuade yourself to rise off that sofa and come
with me."

"May Lady Hecate catch me if I do! Get about your business, and leave
me to mine."

"You are incorrigible, Shafto," returned Pembroke, as he closed the
door.

He went up stairs to change his dress, and before he gained the
second flight, he resolved not to spend another whole day in the
company of such an ignorant, unmannerly cub.

On Mr. Somerset's entrance into Lady Shafto's drawing-room, he saw
many ladies, but only one gentleman, who was, the before-mentioned
Dr. Denton--a poor, shallow-headed, parasitical animal. Pembroke
having seen enough of him to despise his pretensions both to science
and sincerity, returned his wide smirk and eager inquiries with a
ceremonious bow, and took his seat by the side of the now delighted
Miss Dundas. The vivid spirits of Diana, which she now strove to
render peculiarly sparkling, entertained him. When compared with the
insipid sameness of her ladyship, or the coarse ribaldry of her son,
the mirth of Miss Dundas was wit and her remarks wisdom.

"Dear Mr. Somerset!" cried she, "how good you are to break this sad
solemnity. I vow, until you showed your face, I thought the days of
paganism were revived, and that lacking men, we were assembled here
to celebrate the mysteries of the _Bona Dea_."

"Lacking men!" replied he, smiling; "you have over-looked the
assiduous Doctor Denton?"

"O, no; that is a chameleon in man's clothing. He breathes air, he
eats air, he speaks air; and a most pestilential breath it is. Only
observe how he is pouring its fumes into the ear of yonder sable
statue."

Pembroke directed his eyes as Miss Dundas desired him, and saw Dr.
Denton whispering and bowing before a lady in black. The lady put up
her lip: the doctor proceeded; she frowned: he would not be daunted;
the lady rose from her seat, and slightly bending her head, crossed
the room. Whilst Mr. Somerset was contemplating her graceful figure,
and fine though pale features, Miss Dundas touched his arm, and
smiling satirically, repeated in an affected voice--

    "Hail, pensive nun! devout and holy!
     Hail, divinest Melancholy!"

"If she be Melancholy," returned Pembroke, "I would forever say

    "Hence, unholy Mirth, of Folly born!"

Miss Dundas reddened. She never liked this interesting woman, who was
not only too handsome for competition, but possessed an understanding
that would not tolerate ignorance or presumption. Diana's ill-natured
impertinence having several times received deserved chastisement from
that quarter, she was vexed to the soul when Pembroke closed his
animated response with the question, "Who is she?"

Rather too bitterly for the design on his heart, Miss Dundas iterated
his words, and then answered, "Why, she is crazed. She lives in a
place called Harrowby Abbey, at the top of that hill," continued she,
pointing through the opposite window to a distant rising ground, on
which the moon was shining brightly; "and I am told she frightens the
cottagers out of their wits by her midnight strolls."

Hardly knowing how to credit this wild account, Pembroke asked his
informer if she were serious.

"Never more so. Her eyes are uncommonly wild."

"You must be jesting," returned he; "they seem perfectly reasonable."

Miss Dundas laughed, "like Hamlet's, they 'know not seems, but have
that within which passeth show!' Believe me, she is mad enough for
Bedlam; and of that I could soon convince you. I wonder how Lady
Shafto thought of inviting her, she quite stupefied our dinner."

"Well," cried Pembroke, "if those features announce madness, I shall
never admire a look of sense again."

"Bless us," exclaimed Miss Dundas, "you are wonderfully struck! Don't
you see she is old enough to be your mother?"

"That maybe," answered he, smiling; "nevertheless she is one of the
most lovely women I ever beheld." Come, tell me her name."

"I will satisfy you in a moment," rejoined Diana; "and then away with
your rhapsodies! She is the very Countess of Tinemouth, who brought
that vagabond foreigner to our house who would have run off with
Phemy!"

"Lady Tinemouth!" exclaimed Pembroke; "I never saw her before. My
ever-lamented mother knew her whilst I was abroad, and she esteemed
her highly. Pray introduce me to her!"

"Impossible," replied Diana, vexed at the turn his curiosity had
taken; "I wrote to her about the insidious wretch, and now we don't
speak."

"Then I will introduce myself," answered he. He was moving away, when
Miss Dundas caught his arm, and by various attempts at badinage and
raillery, held him in his place until the countess had made her
farewell curtsey to Lady Shafto, and the door was closed.

Disappointed by this manoeuvre, Pembroke re-seated himself; and
wondering why his aunt and cousin had not heard of Lady Tinemouth's
arrival at Harrowby, he determined to wait on her next day.
Regardless of every word which the provoked Diana addressed to him,
he remained silent and meditating, until the loud voice of Shafto,
bellowing in his ear, made him turn suddenly round. Miss Dundas tried
to laugh at his reverie, though she knew that such a flagrant
instance of inattention was death to her hopes; but Pembroke, not
inclined to partake in the jest, coolly asked his bearish companion
what he wanted?

"Nothing," cried he, "but to hear you speak! Miss Dundas tells me you
have lost your heart to yonder grim countess? My mother wanted me to
gallant her up the hill; but I would see her in the river first!"

"Shafto!" answered Pembroke, rising from his chair, "you cannot be
speaking of Lady Tinemouth?"

"Efaith I am," roared he; "and if she be such a scamp as to live
without a carriage, I won't be her lackey for nothing. The matter of
a mile is not to be tramped over by me with no pleasanter companion
than an old painted woman of quality."

"Surely you cannot mean," returned Pembroke, "that her ladyship was
to walk from this place?"

"Without a doubt," cried Shafto, bursting into a hoarse laugh; "you
would be clever to see my Lady Stingy in any other carriage than her
clogs."

Irritated at the malice of Miss Dundas, and despising the vulgar
illiberality of Shafto, without deigning a reply, Pembroke abruptly
left the room, and hastening out of the house, ran, rather than
walked, in hopes of overtaking the countess before she reached
Harrowby.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE VALE OF GRANTHAM.--BELVOIR.


Pembroke crossed the little wooden bridge which lies over the Witham;
he scoured the field; he leaped every stile and gate in his way, and
at last gained the enclosure that leads to the top of the hill, where
he descried a light moving, and very rightly conjectured it must be
the lantern carried by the countess's attendant. Another spring over
the shattered fence cleared all obstacles, and he found himself close
to Lady Tinemouth, who was leaning on the arm of a gentleman.
Pembroke stopped at this sight. Supposing she had been met by some
person belonging to the neighborhood, whose readier gallantry now
occupied the place which Miss Dundas had prevented him from filling,
he was preparing to retreat, when Lady Tinemouth happening to turn
her head, imagined, from the hesitating embarrassment of his manner,
that he was a stranger, who had lost his way, and accosted him with
that inquiry.

Pembroke bowed in some confusion, and related the simple fact of his
having heard that she had quitted Lady Shafto's house without any
guard but the servant, and that the moment he learned the
circumstance he had hurried out to proffer his services. The countess
not only thanked him for such attention, but, constrained by a
civility which at that instant she could have wished not to have been
necessary, asked him to walk forward with her to the abbey, and
partake of some refreshment.

"But," added she, "though I perfectly recollect having seen another
gentleman in Lady Shafto's room besides Doctor Denton, I have not the
honor of knowing your name."

"It is Somerset," returned Pembroke; "I am the son of that Lady
Somerset, who, during the last year of her life, had the happiness of
being intimate with your ladyship."

Lady Tinemouth expressed her pleasure at this meeting; and turning to
the gentleman who was walking in silence by her side, said, "Mr.
Constantine, allow me to introduce to you the cousin of the amiable
Miss Beaufort."

Thaddeus, who had too well recognized the voice of his false friend
in the first accents he addressed to the countess, with a swelling
heart bent his head to the cold salutation of Somerset. Hearing that
her ladyship's companion was the same Constantine whom he had
liberated from prison, Pembroke was stimulated with a desire to take
the perhaps favorable occasion to unmask his double villany to Lady
Tinemouth; and conceiving a curiosity to see the man whose person and
meretricious qualities had blinded the judgment of his aunt and
cousin, he readily obeyed the second invitation of the countess, and
consented to go home and sup with her.

Meanwhile, Thaddeus was agitated with a variety of emotions. Every
tone of Pembroke's voice, reminding him of happier days, pierced his
heart, whilst a sense of his ingratitude awakened all the pride and
indignation of his soul. Full of resentment, he determined that,
whatever might be the result, he would not shrink from an interview,
the anticipation of which Pembroke (who had received from himself an
intimation of the name he had assumed) seemed to regard with so much
contemptuous indifference.

Not imagining that Somerset and the count had any personal knowledge
of each other, Lady Tinemouth begged the gentlemen to accompany her
into the supper-parlor, Pembroke, with inconsiderate, real
indifference, passed by Thaddeus to give his hand to the countess.
Thaddeus was so shocked at this instance of something very like a
personal affront, that, insulted in every nerve, he was obliged to
pause a moment in the hall, to summon coolness to follow him with a
composed step and dispassionate countenance. He accomplished this
conquest over himself, and taking off his hat, entered the room. Lady
Tinemouth began to congratulate herself with many kind expressions on
his arrival. The eyes of Pembroke fixed themselves on the calm but
severe aspect of the man before him; he stood by the table with such
an air of noble greatness, that the candid heart of Pembroke Somerset
soon whispered to himself, "Sure nothing ill can dwell in such a
breast!"

Still his eyes followed him, when he turned round, and when he bent
his head to answer the countess, but in a voice so low that it
escaped his ear. Pembroke was bewildered. There was something in the
features, in the mien of this foreigner, so like his friend Sobieski!
But then Sobieski was all frankness and animation; his cheek bloomed
with the rich coloring of youth and happiness; his eyes flashed
pleasure, and his lips were decked with smiles. On the contrary, the
person before him was not only considerably taller, and of more manly
proportions, but his face was pale, reserved, and haughty; besides,
he did not appear even to recollect the name of Somerset; and what at
once might destroy the supposition, his own was simply Constantine.

These reasonings having quickly passed through the mind of Pembroke,
they left his heart unsatisfied. The conflict of his doubts flushed
his cheeks; his bosom beat; and keeping his searching and ardent gaze
riveted on the man who was either his friend or his counterpart, on
Lady Tinemouth turning away to lay her cloak down, the eyes of the
young men met. Thaddeus turned paler than before. There is an
intelligence in the interchange of looks which cannot be mistaken; it
is the communication of souls, and there is no deception in their
language. Pembroke flew forward, and catching hold of his friend's
hand, exclaimed in an impetuous voice, "Am I right? Are you
Sobieski?"

"I am," returned Thaddeus, almost inarticulate with emotion, and
hardly knowing what to understand by Somerset's behavior.

"Gracious heaven!" cried he, still grasping his hand; "can you have
forgotten your friend Pembroke Somerset?"

The ingenuous heart of Thaddeus acknowledged the words and manner of
Pembroke to be the language of truth. Trusting that some mistake had
involved his former conduct, he at once cast off suspicion, and
throwing his arms around him, strained him to his breast and burst
into tears.

Lady Tinemouth, who during this scene stood mute with surprise, now
advanced to the friends, who were weeping on each other's necks, and
taking a hand of each, "My dear Sobieski," cried she, "why did you
withhold the knowledge of this friendship from me? Had you told me
that you and Mr. Somerset were acquainted, this happy meeting might
have been accomplished sooner."

"Yes," replied Pembroke, turning to the countess, and wiping away the
tears which were trembling on his cheek; "nothing could have given me
pain at this moment but the conviction that he who was the preserver
of my life, and my most generous protector, should in this country
have endured the most abject distress rather than let me know it was
in my power to be grateful."

Thaddeus took out his handkerchief, and for a few moments concealed
his face. The countess looked on him with tenderness; and believing
he would sooner regain composure were he alone with his friend, she
stole unobserved out of the room.

Pembroke affectionately resumed: "But I hope, dear Sobieski, you will
never leave me more. I have an excellent father, who, when he is made
acquainted with my obligations to you and your noble family, will
glory in loving you as a son."

Having subdued "the woman in his heart," Thaddeus raised his head
with an expression in his eyes far different from that which had
chilled the blood of Pembroke on their first encounter.

"Circumstances," said he, "dear Somerset, have made me greatly injure
you. A strange neglect on your side, since we separated at Villanow,
gave the first blow to my confidence in your friendship. Though I
lost your direct address, I wrote to you often, and yet you
persevered in silence. After having witnessed the destruction of all
that was dear to me in Poland, and then of Poland itself, when I came
to England I wished to give your faithfulness another chance. I
addressed two letters to you. I even delivered the last at your door
myself, and I saw you in the window when I sent it in."

"By all that is sacred," cried Pembroke, vehemently, and amazed, "I
never saw any letter from you! I wrote you many. I never heard of
those you mention. Indeed, I should even now have been ignorant of
the palatine's and your mother's cruel fate had it not been too
circumstantially related in the newspapers."

"I believe you," returned Thaddeus, drawing an agonizing sigh at the
dreadful picture which the last sentence recalled. "I believe you;
though at the time of which I speak, I thought otherwise, for both my
last letters were re-enclosed to me in a blank cover, directed as if
by your hand, and brought by a servant, with a message that there was
no answer."

"Amazing!" exclaimed Somerset; "there must be some horrible
treachery! Can it be that some lurking foreign spy got amongst my
servants at Dantzic, and has been this traitor ever since? Oh,
Thaddeus!" cried he, abruptly interrupting himself, and grasping his
hand, "I would have flown to you, had it been to meet death, instead
of the greatest joy Heaven could bestow upon me. But why did you not
come in yourself? then no mistake could have happened! Oh, why did
you not come in?"

"Because I was uncertain of your sentiments. My first letter remained
unnoticed: and my heart, dear Somerset," added he, pressing his hand,
"would not stoop to solicitation."

"Solicitation!" exclaimed Pembroke, with warmth; "you have a right to
demand my life! But there is some deep villany in this affair;
nothing else could have carried it through. Oh, if anybody belonging
to me have dared to open these letters--Oh, Sobieski!" cried he,
interrupting himself, "how you must have despised me!"

"I was afflicted," returned Thaddeus, "that the man whom my family so
warmly loved could prove so unworthy; and afterwards, whenever I met
you in the streets, which I think was more than once or twice, I
confess that to pass you cut me to the heart."

"And you have met me?" exclaimed Pembroke, "and I not see you; I
cannot comprehend it."

"Yes," answered Thaddeus; "and the first time was going into the
playhouse. I believe I called after you."

"Is it not now ten months since?" returned Pembroke. "I remember very
well that some one called out my name in a voice that seemed known to
me, while I was handing Lady Calthorpe and her sister into the porch.
I looked about, but not seeing any one I knew, I thought I must have
been mistaken. But why, dear Sobieski, why did you not follow me into
the theatre?"

Thaddeus shook his head and smiled languidly. "My poverty would not
permit," replied he; "but I waited in the hall until everybody left
the house, in hopes of intercepting you as you passed again."

Pembroke sprung from his chair at these words, and with vehemence
exclaimed, "I see it! That hypocrite Loftus is at the bottom of it!
He followed me into the theatre; he must have seen you, and his
cursed selfishness was alarmed. Yes; it is no foreign traitor! it
must be he! He would not allow me to return that way. When I said I
would, he told me a thousand lies about the carriages coming round;
and I, believing him, went out by another door. I will tax him of it
to his face!"

"Who is Mr. Loftus?" inquired Thaddeus, surprised at his friend's
suspicion; "I do not know the man."

"What!" returned Pembroke, "don't you remember that Loftus is the
name of my scoundrel tutor who persuaded me to volunteer against
Poland? To screen his baseness I have brought all this upon myself."

"Now I recollect it," replied Thaddeus; "but I never saw him."

"Yet I am not less certain that I am right," replied Somerset. "I
will tell you my reasons. After I quitted Villanow, you may remember
I was to meet him at Dantzic. Before we left the port, he implored,
almost on his knees, that in pity to his mother and sisters, whom he
said he supported out of his salary, I would refrain from incensing
my parents against him by relating any circumstance of our visit to
Poland. The man shed tears as he spoke; and, like a fool, I consented
to keep the secret till the Vicar of Somerset (a poor soul, still ill
of dropsy) dies, and he be in possession of the living. When we
landed in England, I found the cause of my sudden recall had been the
illness of my dear mother. But Heaven denied me the happiness of
beholding her again; she had been buried two days before I reached
the shore." Pembroke paused a moment, and then resumed: "For near a
month after my return, I could not quit my room; on my recovery, I
wrote both to you and to the palatine. But I still locked up your
names within my heart, the old rector being yet in existence. I
repeated my letters at least every six weeks during the first year of
our separation, though you persisted in being silent. Hurt as I was
at this neglect, I believed that gratitude demanded some sacrifices
from pride, and I continued to write even till the spring following.
Meanwhile the papers of the day teemed with Sobieski's actions--
Sobieski's fame; and supposing that increasing glory had blotted me
out of your memory, I resolved thenceforth to regard our friendship
as a dream, and never to speak of it more."

Confounded at this double misapprehension, Thaddeus with a glowing
countenance expressed his regret for having doubted his friend, and
repeating the assurance of having been punctual to his promise of
correspondence, even when he dreamed him inconstant, acknowledged
that nothing but a premeditated scheme could have effected so many
disappointments.

"Ay," returned Pembroke, reddening with awakened anger; "I could
swear that Mr. Loftus has all my letters in his bureau at this
moment! No house ever gave a man a better opportunity to play the
rogue in than ours. It is a custom with us to lay our letters every
morning on the hall-table, whence they are sent to the office; and
when the post arrives they are spread out in the same way, that their
several owners may take them as they pass to breakfast. From this
arrangement I cannot doubt the means by which Mr. Loftus, under the
hope of separating us forever, has intercepted every letter to you
and every letter from you. I suppose the wretch feared I might become
impatient, and break my engagement if our correspondence were
allowed. He trembled lest the business should be blown before the
rector died, and he, in consequence, lose both the expected living
and his present situation about Lord Avon. A villain! for once he has
judged rightly. I will unmask him to my father, and show him what it
is to purchase advancement at the expense of honor and justice."

Thaddeus, who could not withhold immediate credit to these evidences
of chicanery, tried to calm the violence of his friend, who only
answered by insisting on having his company back with him to Somerset
Castle.

"I long to present you to my father," cried he. "When I tell him who
you are, of your kindness to me, how rejoiced will he be! How happy,
how proud to have you his guest; to show the grandson of the Palatine
of Masovia the warm gratitude of a Briton's heart! Indeed, Sobieski,
you will love him, for he is generous and noble, like your
inestimable grandfather. Besides," added he, smiling with a sudden
recollection, "there is my lovely cousin, Mary Beaufort, who I verily
believe will fly into your arms!"

The blood rushed over the cheeks of Thaddeus at this speech of his
friend, and suppressing a bitter sigh, he shook his head.

"Don't look so like an infidel," resumed Somerset. "If you have any
doubts of possessing her most precious feelings, I can put you out of
your suspense by a single sentence! When Lady Dundas's household,
with myself amongst them (for little did I suspect I was joining the
cry against my friend), were asserting the most flagrant instances of
your deceit to Euphemia, Mary alone withstood the tide of malice, and
compelled me to release you."

"Gracious Providence!" cried Thaddeus, catching Pembroke's hand, and
looking eagerly and with agitation in his face "was it you who came
to my prison? Was it Miss Beaufort who visited my lodgings?"

"Indeed it was," returned his friend, "and I blush for my self that I
quitted Newgate without an interview. Had I followed the dictates of
common courtesy, in the fulfilment of my commission, I should have
seen you; and then, what pain would have been spared my dear cousin!
What a joyful surprise would have awaited myself!"

Thaddeus could only reply by pressing his friend's hand. His brain
whirled. He could not decide on the nature of his feelings; one
moment he would have given worlds to throw himself at Miss Beaufort's
feet, and the next he trembled at the prospect of meeting her so
soon.

"Dear Sobieski!" cried Pembroke, "how strangely you receive this
intelligence! Is it possible such sentiments from Mary Beaufort can
be regarded by a soul like yours with coldness?"

"O no!" cried the count, his fine face flushed with emotion. "I adore
Miss Beaufort. Her virtues possess my whole heart. But can I forget
that I have only that heart to offer? Can I forget that I am a
beggar?--that even now I exist on her bounty?" The eyes of Thaddeus,
and the sudden tremor which shook his frame, finished this appeal to
his fate.

Pembroke found it enter his soul. To hide its effect, he threw
himself on his friend's breast, and exclaimed, "Do not injure me and
my father by such thoughts. You are come, dearest Sobieski, to a
second home. Sir Robert Somerset will consider himself ennobled in
supplying the place of your lamented grandfather--in endowing you
like a son! Oh, Thaddeus, you must be my cousin, dear as a brother,
as well as my friend!"

Thaddeus replied with an agitated affection as true as that of the
generous speaker. "But," added he, "I must not allow the noble heart
of my now regained Somerset to believe that I can live a dependant on
any power but the Author of my being. Therefore, if Sir Robert
Somerset will assist me to procure some unobtrusive way of acquiring
my own support in the simplicity I wish, I shall thank him from my
soul. In no other way my kindest friend, can I ever be brought to tax
the munificence of your father."

Pembroke colored at this, and exclaimed, in a voice of distress and
displeasure, "Sobieski! what can you mean? Do you imagine that ever
my father or myself can forget that you were little less than a
prince in your own country?--that when in so high a station you
treated me like a brother; that you preserved me even when I lifted
my arm against your life. Can we be such monsters as to forget all
this, or to think that we act justly by you in permitting you to
labor for your bread? No, Thaddeus; my very soul spurns the idea.
Your mother sheltered me as a son; and I insist that you allow my
father to perform the same part by you! Besides, you shall not be
idle; you may have a commission in the army, and I will follow you."

The count pressed the hand of his friend, and looking gratefully but
mournfully in his face, replied, "Had I a hundred tongues, my
generous Pembroke, I could not express my sense of your friendship;
it is indeed a cordial to my heart; it imparts to me an earnest of
happiness which I thought had fled forever. But it shall not allure
me from my principles. I am resolved not to live a life of indolent
uselessness; and I cannot, at this period, enter the British army.
No," added he, emotion elevating his tone and manner; "rather would I
toil for subsistence by the sweat of my brow than be subjected to the
necessity of acting in concert with those ravagers who destroyed my
country! I cannot fight by the side of the allied powers who
dismembered it! I cannot enlist under the allies! I will not be led
out to devastation! Mine was, and ever shall be, a defensive sword;
and should danger threaten England, I would be as ready to withstand
her enemies as I ardently, though ineffectually, opposed those of
unhappy Poland."

Pembroke recognized the devoted soul of Thaddeus of Warsaw in this
lofty burst of enthusiasm; and aware that his father's munificence
and manner of conferring it would go further towards removing these
scruples than all his own arguments, he did not attempt to combat a
resolution which he knew he could not subdue, but tried to prevail
with him to become his guest until something could be arranged to
suit his wishes.

With an unuttered emotion at the thought of meeting Miss Beaufort,
Thaddeus had just consented to accompany Somerset to the Castle,
after Sir Robert had been apprized of his coming, when the countess's
old and faithfully attached manservant entered, and respectfully
informed her guests that his lady, not willing to disturb their
conversation, had retired to her room for the night, but that beds
were prepared for them in the Abbey, and she hoped to meet both
friends at her breakfast table in the morning. The honest man then
added, "It was now past eleven o'clock; and after their honors had
partaken of their yet untasted refreshment, he would be ready to
attend them to their chambers."

Pembroke started up at this, and shaking his friend warm by the hand,
bade him, he said, "a short farewell;" and hastening down the hill,
arrived at the gate of the Wold Lodge just at the turn of midnight.

At an early hour the next morning he gave orders to his groom, wrote
a slight apology to Shafto for his abrupt departure, and, mounting
his fleet horse, galloped away full of delight towards Somerset
Castle.



CHAPTER XL.

SOMERSET CASTLE.


But Sobieski did not follow the attentive domestic of his maternal
friend to the prepared apartment in the Abbey. He asked to be
conducted back through the night shadowed grounds to the little hotel
he had seen early in the evening on his approach to the mansion. It
stood at the entrance of the adjoining village, and under its rustic
porch he had immediately entered, to engage a lodging beneath its
humble sign, "The Plough," for the few clays of his intended visit to
Lady Tinemouth. A boy had been his guide, and bearer of his small
travelling bag, from the famous old Commandery inn, the "Angel," at
Grantham, where the Wold diligence had set him down in the afternoon
at the top of the market-place of that memorable town of ancient
chivalry, to find his way up to the occasional rural palace cells on
Harrowby Hill, of the same doughty and luxurious knights who were now
lying, individually forgotten, in their not only silent but unknown
graves, there not being a trace of them amongst the chapel ruins of
the Abbey, nor below the hill, on the sight of the old Commandery
church at Grantham.

"Ah, transit mundi!" exclaimed Thaddeus to himself, with a calmed
sigh, as he thought on those things, while resting under the modest
little portal of the hotel, whose former magnificence, when a hermit
cell, might still be discernible in a few remaining remnants of the
rich Gothic lintel yet mingling with the matted straw and the
clinging ivy of the thatch.

"What art thou, world, and thine ambitions?" again echoed in silence
from the heart of Thaddeus. "Though yet so young, I have seen thee in
all thy phases which might wean me from this earth. But there are
still some beings dear to me in the dimmed aspect, that seem to hold
my hopes to this transitory and yet too lovely world." He was then
thinking of his restored friend Pembroke Somerset, and of her whose
name had been so fondly uttered by him, as a possible bond of their
still more intimate relationship. He tried to quell the wild hope
this recollection waked in his bosom, and hurried from the little
parlor of the inn, where Lady Tinemouth's old servant had left him,
to seek repose in his humbly-prepared chamber.

At sight of its white-robed bed and simple furniture, and instantly
conscious to the balmy effects of the sweet freshness that breathed
around him, where no perfume but that of flowers ever entered, his
agitated feelings soon became soothed into serenity, and within a
quarter of an hour after he had laid his grateful head on that quiet
pillow, he had sunk to a sleep of gentle peace with man and Heaven.

Next morning, when the countess met her gladly re-welcomed guest at
the breakfast-table, she expressed surprise and pleasure at the scene
of the preceding night, but intimated some mortification that he had
withheld any part of his confidence from her. Sobieski soon obtained
her pardon, by relating the manner of his first meeting with Mr.
Somerset in Poland, and the consequent events of that momentous
period.

Lady Tinemouth wept over the distressful fate that marked the residue
of his narrative with a tenderness which yet more endeared her to his
soul. But when, in compliance with his inquiries, she informed him
how it happened that he had to seek her at Harrowby Abbey, when he
supposed her to be on the Wolds, it was his turn to pity, and to
shudder at his own consanguinity with Lord Harwold.

"Indeed," added the countess, wishing to turn from the painful
subject, "you must have had a most tedious journey from Harwold Park
to Harrowby, and nothing but my pleasure could exceed my astonishment
when I met you last night on the hill."

Thaddeus sincerely declared that travelling a few miles further than
he intended was no fatigue to him; yet, were it otherwise, the
happiness which he then enjoyed would have acted as a panacea for
worse ills, could he have seen her looking as well as when she left
London.

Lady Tinemouth smiled. "You are right, Sobieski. I am worse than when
I was in town. My solitary journey to Harwold oppressed me; and when
my son sent me orders to leave it, because his father wanted the
place for the autumnal months, his capricious cruelty seemed to
augment the hectic of my distress. Nevertheless, I immediately
obeyed, and in augmented disorder, arrived here last week. But how
kind you were to follow me! Who informed you of the place of my
destination?--hardly any of Lady Olivia's household?"

"No," returned Thaddeus; "I luckily had the precaution to inquire at
the inn on the Wolds where the coach stopped, what part of Lord
Tinemouth's family were at the Park; and when I heard that the earl
himself was there, my next question was, "Where, then, was the
countess?" The landlord very civilly told me of your having engaged a
carriage from his house a day or two before, to carry you to one of
his lordship's seats within a few miles of Somerset Castle. Hence,
from what I heard you say of the situation of Harrowby, I concluded
it must be the Abbey, and so I sought you at a venture."

"And I hope a happy issue," replied she, "will arise from your
wanderings! This rencontre with so old a friend as Mr. Somerset is a
pleasing omen. For my part, I was ignorant of the arrival of the
family at the Castle until yesterday morning, and then I sent off a
messenger to apprize my dear Miss Beaufort of my being in her
neighborhood. To my great disappointment, Lady Shafto found me out
immediately; and when, in compliance with her importunate invitation,
I walked down to an early dinner with her yesterday, little did I
expect to meet the amiable cousin of our sweet friend. So delightful
an accident has amply repaid me for the pain I endured in seeing Miss
Dundas at the Lodge; an insolent and reproachful letter which she
wrote to me concerning you has rendered her an object of my
aversion."

Thaddeus smiled and gently bent his head. "Since, my dear Lady
Tinemouth, her groundless malice and Miss Euphemia's folly have
failed in estranging either your confidence or the esteem of Miss
Beaufort from me, I pardon them both. Perhaps I ought to pity them;
for is it not difficult to pass through the brilliant snares of
wealth and adulation and emerge pure as when we entered them?
Unclouded fortune is, indeed, a trial of spirits; and how brightly
does Miss Beaufort rise from the blaze! Surrounded by splendor,
homage and indulgence, she is yet all nature, gentleness and virtue!"

The latter part of this burst of heart he uttered rapidly, the nerves
of that heart beating full at every word.

The countess, who wished to appear cheerful, rallied him on the
warmth of his expressions; and observing that "the day was fine,"
invited him to walk out with her through the romantic, though long-
neglected, domains of the Abbey.

Meanwhile, the family at Somerset were just drawn round the
breakfast-board, when they were agreeably surprised by the sudden
entrance of Pembroke. During the repast Miss Beaufort repeated the
contents of the note she had received the preceding day from Lady
Tinemouth, and requested that her cousin would be kind enough to
drive her in his curricle that morning to Harrowby.

"I will, with pleasure," answered he. "I have seen her ladyship, and
even supped with her last night."

"How came that?" asked Miss Dorothy.

"I shall explain it to my father, whenever he will honor me with an
audience," returned her happy nephew, addressing the baronet with all
the joy of his heart looking out at his eyes. "Will you indulge me,
dear sir, by half an hour's attention?"

"Certainly," replied Sir Robert; "at present I am going into my study
to settle my steward's books, but the moment I have finished, I will
send for you."

Miss Dorothy walked out after her brother, to attend her aviary, and
Miss Beaufort, remaining alone with her cousin, made some inquiries
about the countess's reasons for coming to the Abbey. "I know nothing
about them," replied he, gayly, "for she went to bed almost the
instant I entered the house. Too good to remain where her company was
not wanted, she left me to enjoy a most delightful _tete-à-tete_
with a dear friend, from whom I parted nearly four years ago. In
short, we sat up the whole night together, talking over past scenes--
and present ones too, for, I assure you, you were not forgotten."

"I! what had I to do with it?" replied Mary, smiling. "I cannot
recollect any dear friend of yours whom you have not seen these four
years."

"Well, that is strange!" answered Pembroke; "he remembers you
perfectly; but, true to your sex, you affirm what you please, though
I know there is not a man in the world I prefer before him."

Miss Beaufort shook her head, laughed, and sighed; and withdrawing
her hand from his, threatened to leave him if he would not be
serious.

"I am serious," cried he. "Would you have me _swear_ that I have
seen him whom you most wish to see?"

She regarded the expression of his countenance with a momentary
emotion; taking her seat again, she said, "You can have seen no one
that is of consequence to me; whoever your friend may be, I have only
to congratulate you on a meeting which affords you so much delight."

Pembroke burst into a joyous laugh at her composure.

"So cold!" cried he--"so cautious! Yet I verily believe you would
participate in my delights were I to tell you who he is. However, you
are such a skeptic, that I wont hint even one of the many fine things
he said of you."

She smiled incredulously.

"I could beat you, Mary," exclaimed he, "for this oblique way of
saying I am telling lies! But I will have my revenge on your
curiosity; for on my honor I declare," added he, emphatically, "that
last night I met with a friend at Lady Tinemouth's who four years ago
saved my life, who entertained me several weeks in his house, and who
has seen and adores you! Tis true; true, on my existence! And what is
more, I have promised that you will repay these weighty obligations
by the free gift of this dear hand. What do you say to this, my sweet
Mary?"

Miss Beaufort looked anxious at the serious and energetic manner in
which he made those assertions; even the sportive kiss that ended the
question did not dispel the gravity with which she prepared to reply.

Pembroke perceiving her intent, prevented her by exclaiming, "Cease,
Mary, cease! I see you are going to make a false statement. Let truth
prevail, and you will not deny that I am suing for a plighted faith?
You will not deny who it was that softened and subdued your heart?
You cannot conceal from me that the wanderer Constantine possesses
your affections?"

Amazed at so extraordinary a charge from her hitherto always
respectful as well as fraternally affectionate cousin, she reddened
with pain and displeasure. Rising from her seat, and averting her
tearful eyes, she said, "I did not expect this cruel, this ungenerous
speech from you, Pembroke! What have I done to deserve so rude, so
unfeeling a reproach?"

Pembroke threw his arm round her. "Come," said he, in a sportive
voice; "don't be tragical. I never meant to reproach you, Mary. I
dare say if you gave your heart, it was only in return for his. I
know you are a grateful girl; and I verily believe you won't find
much difference between my friend the young Count Sobieski and the
forlorn Constantine."

A suspicion of the truth flashed across Miss Beaufort's mind. Unable
to speak, she caught hold of her cousin's hands, and looking eagerly
in his face, her eyes declared the question she would have asked.

Pembroke laughed triumphantly. A servant entering to tell him that
Sir Robert was ready, he strained her to his breast and exclaimed,
"Now I am revenged! Farewell! I leave you to all the pangs of doubt
and curiosity!" He then flew out of the room with an arch glance at
her agitated countenance, and hurried up stairs.

She clasped her trembling hands together as the door closed on him.
"O, gracious Providence!" cried she, "what am I to understand by this
mystery, this joy of my cousin's? Can it be possible that the
illustrious Sobieski and my contemned Constantine are the same
person?" A burning blush overspread her face at the expression
_my_ which had escaped her lips.

Whilst the graces, the sweetness, the dignity of Thaddeus had
captivated her notice, his sufferings, his virtues, and the
mysterious interests which involved his history, in like manner had
fixed her attention had awakened her esteem. From these grounds the
step is short to love. "When the mind is conquered, the heart
surrenders at discretion." But she knew not that she had advanced too
far to retreat, until the last scene at Dundas House, by forcing her
to defend Constantine against the charge of loving her, made her
confess to herself how much she wished the charge were true.

Poor and lowly as he seemed, she found that her whole heart and life
were wrapped in his remembrance; that his worshipped idea was her
solace; her most precious property the dear treasure of her secret
and sweetest felicity, It was the companion of her walks, the monitor
of her actions. Whenever she planned, whenever she executed, she
asked herself, how would Constantine consider this? and accordingly
did she approve or condemn her conduct, for she had heard enough from
Mrs. Robson to convince her that piety was the sure fountain of his
virtues.

When she had left London, and so far separated from this idol of her
memory, such was the impression he had stamped on her heart; he
seemed ever present. The shade of Laura visited the solitude of
Vaucluse; the image of Constantine haunted the walks of Somerset. The
loveliness of nature, its leafy groves and verdant meadows, its
blooming mornings and luxuriant sunsets, the romantic shadows of
twilight or the soft glories of the moon and stars, as they pressed
beauty and sentiment upon her heart, awoke it to the remembrance of
Constantine; she saw his image, she felt his soul, in every object.
Subtile and undefinable is that ethereal chord which unites our
tenderest thought, with their chain of association!

Before this conversation, in which Pembroke mentioned the name of
Constantine with so much badinage and apparent familiarity, he never
heard him spoken of by Mary or his aunt without declaring a
displeasure nearly amounting to anger. Hence when she considered his
now so strangely altered tone, Miss Beaufort necessarily concluded
that he had seen, in the person of him she most valued, the man whose
public character she had often heard him admire, and who, she now
doubted not, had at some former period given him some private reason
for calling him his friend. Before this time, she more than once had
suspected, from the opinions which Somerset occasionally repeated
respecting the affairs of Poland, that he could only have acquired so
accurate a knowledge of its events by having visited the country
itself. She mentioned her suspicion to Mr. Loftus: he denied the
fact; and she had thought no more on the subject until the present
ambiguous hints of her cousin conjured up these doubts anew, and led
her to suppose that if Pembroke had not disobeyed his father so far
as to go to Warsaw, he must have met with the Count Sobieski in some
other realm. The possibility that this young hero, of whom fame spoke
so loudly, might be the mysterious Constantine, bewildered and
delighted her. The more she compared what she had heard of the one
with what she had witnessed in the other, the more was she reconciled
to the probability of her ardent hope. Besides, she could not for a
moment retain a belief that her cousin would so cruelly sport with
her delicacy and peace as to excite expectations that he could not
fulfil.

Agitated by a suspense which bordered on agony, with a beating heart
she heard his quick step descending the stairs. The door opened, and
Pembroke, flying into the room, caught up his hat. As he was darting
away again, unable to restrain her impatience, Miss Beaufort with an
imploring voice ejaculated his name. He turned, and displayed to her
amazed sight a countenance in which no vestige of his former
animation could be traced. His cheek was flushed, and his eyes shot a
wild fire that struck to her heart. Unconscious what she did, she ran
up to him; but Pembroke, pushing her back, exclaimed, "Don't ask me
any questions, if you would not drive me to madness."

"O Heaven!" cried she, catching his arm, and clinging to him, while
the eagerness of his motion dragged her into the hall. "Tell me! Has
anything happened to my guardian--to your friend--to Constantine?"

"No," replied he, looking at her with a face full of desperation;
"but my father commands me to treat him like a villain."

She could hardly credit her senses at this confirmation that
Constantine and Sobieski were one. Turning giddy with the tumultuous
delight that rushed over her soul, she staggered back a few paces,
and leaning against the open door, tried to recover breath to regain
the room she had left.

Pembroke, having escaped from her grasp, ran furiously down the hill,
mounted his horse, and forbidding any groom to attend him, galloped
towards the high road with the impetuosity of a madman. All the
powers of his soul were in arms, Wounded, dishonored, stigmatized
with ingratitude and baseness, he believed himself to be the most
degraded of men.

It appeared that Sir Robert Somerset had long cherished a hatred to
the Poles, in consequence of some injury he affirmed he had received
in early youth from one of that nation. In this instance his dislike
was implacable; and when his son set out for the continent, he
positively forbade him to enter Poland. Notwithstanding his
remembrance of this violated injunction, when Pembroke joined the
baronet in his library, he did it with confidence. With a bounding
heart and animated countenance, he recapitulated how he had been
wrought upon by his young Russian friends to take up arms in their
cause and march into Poland. At these last words his father turned
pale, and though he did not speak, the denunciation was on his brow.

Pembroke, who expected some marks of displeasure, hastened to
obliterate his disobedience by narrating the event which had
introduced not only the young Count Sobieski to his succor, but the
consequent friendship of the whole of that princely family.

Sir Robert still made no verbal reply, but his countenance deepened
in gloom; and when Pembroke, with all the pathos of a deep regret,
attempted to describe the death of the palatine, the horrors which
attended the last hours of the countess, and the succeeding misery of
Thaddeus, who was now in England, no language can paint the frenzy
which burst at once from the baronet. He stamped on the ground, he
covered his face with his clenched hands; then turning on his son
with a countenance no longer recognizable, he exclaimed with fury,
"Pembroke! you have outraged my commands! Never will I pardon you if
that young man ever blasts me with his sight."

"Merciful Heaven!" cried Pembroke, thunderstruck at a violence which
he almost wished might proceed from real madness: "surely something
has agitated my father! What can this mean?"

Sir Robert shook his head, whilst his teeth ground against each
other. "Don't mistake me," replied he, in a firm voice "I am
perfectly in my senses. It depends on _you_ that I continue so.
You know my oath against all of that nation! and I repeat again, if
you ever bring that young man into my presence, you shall never see
me more."

A cold dew overspread the body of Pembroke. He would have caught his
father's hand, but he held it back. "O sir," said he, "you surely
cannot intend that I shall treat with ingratitude the man who saved
my life?"

Sir Robert did not vouchsafe him an answer, but continued walking up
and down the room, until, his hesitation increasing at every step, he
opened the door of an interior apartment and retired, bidding his son
remain where he left him.

The horror-struck Pembroke waited a quarter of an hour before his
father re-entered. When he did appear, the deep gloom of his eye gave
no encouragement to his son, who, hanging down his head, recoiled
from speaking first. Sir Robert approached with a composed but severe
countenance, and said, "I have been seeking every palliation that
your conduct might admit, but I can find none. Before you quitted
England, you knew well my abhorrence of Poland. One of that country
many years ago wounded my happiness in a way I shall never recover.
From that hour I took an oath never to enter its borders, and never
to suffer one of its people to come within my doors. Rash,
disobedient boy! You know my disposition, and you have seen the
emotion with which this dilemma has shaken my soul! I But be it on
your own head that you have incurred obligations which I cannot
repay. I will not perjure myself to defray a debt contracted against
my positive and declared principles. I never will see this Polander
you speak of; and it is my express command, on pain of my eternal
malediction, that you break with him entirely."

Pembroke fell into a seat. Sir Robert proceeded.

"I pity your distress, but my resolution cannot be shaken. Oaths are
not to be broken with impunity. You must either resign him or resign
me. We may compromise your debt of gratitude. I will give you deeds
to put your friend in possession of five hundred pounds a-year for
life forever; nay, I would even double it to give you satisfaction;
but from the hour in which you tell him so, you must see him no
more."

Sir Robert was quitting the room, when Pembroke, starting from his
chair, threw himself in agony on his knees, and catching by the skirt
of his father's coat, implored him for God's sake to recall his
words; to remember that he was affixing everlasting dishonor on his
son! "Remember, dear sir!" cried he, holding his struggling hand,
"that the man to whom you offer money as a compensation for insult is
of a nature too noble to receive it. He will reject it, and spurn me;
and I shall know that I deserve his scorn. For mercy's sake, spare me
the agony of harrowing up the heart of my preserver--of meeting
reproach from his eyes!"

"Leave me!" cried the baronet, breaking from him; "I repeat, unless
you wish to incur my curse, do as I have commanded."

Thus outraged, thus agonised, Pembroke had appeared before the eyes
of his cousin Mary more like a distracted creature than a man
possessed of his senses. Shortly after his abrupt departure, her
apprehension was petrified to a dreadful certainty of some cruel ruin
to her hopes, by an order she received in the handwriting of her
uncle, commanding her not to attempt visiting Lady Tinemouth whilst
the Count Sobieski continued to be her guest, and under peril of his
displeasure never to allow that name to pass her lips.

Hardly knowing whither he went, Pembroke did not arrive at the ruined
aisle which leads to the habitable part of the Abbey until near three
o'clock. He inquired of the groom that took his horse whether the
countess and Mr. Constantine were at home. The man replied in the
affirmative, but added, with a sad countenance, he feared neither of
them could be seen.

"For what reason?" demanded Somerset.

"Alas! sir," replied the servant, "about an hour ago my lady was
seized with a violent fit of coughing, which ended in the rupture of
a blood-vessel. It continued to flow so long, that Mr. Constantine
told the apothecary, whom he had summoned, to send for a physician.
The doctor is not yet arrived, and Mr. Constantine won't leave my
lady,"

Though Mr. Somerset was truly concerned at the illness of the
countess, the respite it afforded him from immediately declaring the
ungrateful message of Sir Robert gave him no inconsiderable degree of
ease. Somewhat relieved by the hope of being for one day spared the
anguish of displaying his father in a disgraceful light, he entered
the Abbey, and desired that a maid-servant might be sent to her
ladyship's room to inform his friend that Mr. Somerset was below.

In a few minutes the girl returned with the following lines on a slip
of paper:

"To Pembroke Somerset, Esq.

"I am grieved that I cannot see my dear Somerset to-day I fear my
revered friend is on her death-bed. I have sent for Dr. Cavendish,
who is now at Stanford; doubtless you know he is a man of the first
abilities. If human skill can preserve her, I may yet have hopes; but
her disorder is on the lung and in the heart, and I fear the stroke
is sure. I am now sitting by her bedside, and writing what she
dictates to her husband, her son, and her daughter. Painful, you may
believe, is this task! I cannot, my dear Somerset, add more than my
hope of seeing you soon, and that you will join in prayers to Heaven
for the restoration of my inestimable friend, with your faithful and
affectionate

"Sobieski."

"Alas! unhappy, persecuted Sobieski!" thought Pembroke, as he closed
the paper; "to what art thou doomed! Some friends are torn from thee
by death; others desert thee in the hour of trouble."

He took out his pencil to answer this distressing epistle, but he
stopped at the first word; he durst not write that his father would
fulfil any one of those engagements which he had so largely promised;
and throwing away the pencil and the paper, he left a verbal
declaration of his sorrow at what had happened, and an assurance of
calling next day. Turning his back on a house which he had left on
the preceding night with so many joyful hopes, he remounted his
horse, and, melancholy and slow, rode about the country until
evening,--so unwilling was he to return to that home which now
threatened him with the frowns of his father, the tears of Mary
Beaufort, and the miserable reflections of his own wretched heart.



CHAPTER XLI.

THE MATERNAL HEART.


Doctor Cavendish having been detained beyond his expected time with
his invalid friend at Stanford, was happily still there, and set off
for Harrowby the instant Mr. Constanine's messenger arrived, and
before midnight alighted at the Abbey.

When he entered Lady Tinemouth's chamber he found her supported in
the arms of Thaddeus, and struggling with a second rupture of her
lungs. As he approached the bed, Thaddeus turned his eyes on him with
an expression that powerfully told his fears. Dr. Cavendish silently
pressed his hand; then taking from his pocket some styptic drops, he
made the countess swallow them, and soon saw that they succeeded in
stopping the hemorrhage.

Thaddeus and her physician remained by the side of the patient
sufferer until ten in the morning, when she sunk into a gentle sleep.
Complete stillness being necessary to continue this repose, the good
doctor proposed leaving the maid to watch by her ladyship, and
drawing the count out of the room, descended the stairs.

Mr. Somerset had been arrived half an hour, and met them in the
breakfast parlor. After a few kind words exchanged between the
parties, they sat down with dejected countenances to their melancholy
meal. Thaddeus was too much absorbed in the scene he had left to take
anything but a dish of coffee.

"Do you think Lady Tinemouth is in imminent danger?" inquired
Pembroke of the doctor.

Dr. Cavendish sighed, and turning to Thaddeus, directed to him the
answer which his friend's question demanded. "I am afraid, my dear
Mr. Constantine," said he, in a reluctant voice, "that you are to
sustain a new trial! I fear she cannot live eight-and-forty hours."

Thaddeus cast down his eyes and shuddered, but made no reply. Further
remarks were prevented by a messenger from the countess, who desired
Mr. Constantine's immediate attendance at her bedside. He obeyed. In
half an hour he returned, with the mark of tears upon his cheek.

"Dearest Thaddeus!" cried Pembroke, "I trust the countess is not
worse? This threatened new bereavement is too much: it afflicts my
very heart." Indeed it rent it; for Pembroke could not help
internally acknowledging that when Sobieski should close the eyes of
Lady Tinemouth, he would be paying the last sad office to his last
friend. That dear distinction he durst no longer arrogate to himself.
Denied the fulfilment of its duties, he thought that to retain the
title would be an assumption without a right.

Thaddeus drew his hand over his again filling eyes. "The countess
herself," said he, "feels the truth of what Dr. Cavendish told us.
She sent for me, and begged me, as I loved her or would wish to see
her die in peace, to devise some means for bringing her daughter to
the Abbey to-night. As for Lord Harwold, she says his behavior since
he arrived at manhood has been of a nature so cruel and unnatural,
that she would not draw on herself the misery, nor on him the added
guilt, of a refusal; but with regard to Lady Albina, who has been no
sharer in those barbarities, she trusts a daughter's heart might be
prevailed on to seek a last embrace from a dying parent. It is this
request," continued he, "that agitates me. When she pictured to me,
with all the fervor of a mother, her doating fondness for this
daughter, (on whom, whenever she did venture to hope, all those hopes
rested;) when she wrung my hand, and besought me, as if I had been
the sole disposer of her fate, to let her see her child before she
died, I could only promise every exertion to effect it, and with an
aching heart I came to consult you."

Dr. Cavendish was opening his lips to speak, but Somerset, in his
eagerness to relieve his friend, did not perceive it, and immediately
answered, "This very hour I will undertake what you have promised. I
know Lord Tinemouth's family are now at the Wolds. It is only thirty
miles distant; I will send a servant to have relays of horses ready.
My curricle, which is now at the door, will be more convenient than a
chaise; and I will engage to be back before to-morrow morning. Write
a letter, Thaddeus," added he, "to Lady Albina; tell her of her
mother's situation; and though I have never seen the young lady, I
will give it into her own hand, and then bring her off, even were it
in the face of her villanous father."

The pale cheeks of Sobieski flushed with a conscious scarlet. Turning
to Dr. Cavendish, he requested him, as the most proper person, to
write to Lady Albina, whilst he would walk out with his friend to
order the carriage. Pembroke was thanked for his zeal, but it was not
by words; they are too weak vehicles to convey strong impressions.
Thaddeus pressed his hand, and accompanied the action with a look
which spoke volumes. The withered heart of Pembroke expanded under
the animated gratitude of his friend. Receiving the letter, he sprang
into his seat, and, until he lost sight of Harrowby Hill, forgot how
soon he must appear to that friend the most ungrateful of men.

It was near six in the evening before Mr. Somerset left his curricle
at the little inn which skirts the village of Harthorpe. He affected
to make some inquiries respecting the families in the neighborhood;
and his host informed him that the ladies of the earl's family were
great walkers, passing almost the whole of the day in the grounds.
The measures to be adopted were now obvious. The paling belonging to
Lord Tinemouth's park was only a few yards distant; but fearful of
being observed, Pembroke sought a more obscure part. Scaling a wall
which was covered by the branches of high trees, he found his way to
the house through an almost impassable thicket.

He watched nearly an hour in vain for the appearance of Lady Albina,
whose youth and elegance, he thought, would unequivocally distinguish
her from the rest of the earl's household. Despairing of success, he
was preparing to change his station, when he heard a sound among the
dry leaves, and the next moment a beautiful young creature passed the
bush behind which he was concealed. The fine symmetry of her profile
assured him that she must be the daughter of Lady Tinemouth. She
stooped to gather a china-aster. Knowing that no time should be lost,
Pembroke gently emerged from his recess, but not in so quiet a manner
as to escape the ear of Lady Albina, who instantly looking round,
screamed, and would have fled, had he not thrown himself before her,
and exclaimed, "Stay, Lady Albina! For heaven's sake, stay! I come
from your mother!"

She gazed fearfully in his face, and tried to release her hand, which
he had seized to prevent her flight.

"Do not be alarmed," continued he; "no harm is intended you. I am the
son of Sir Robert Somerset, and the friend of your mother, who is now
at the point of death. She implores to see you this night (for she
has hardly an hour to live) to hear from your own lips that you do
not hate her."

Lady Albina trembled dreadfully, and with faded cheeks and quivering
lips replied, "Hate my mother! Oh, no! I have ever dearly loved her!"

A flood of tears prevented her speaking further; and Pembroke,
perceiving that he had gained her confidence, put the doctor's letter
into her hand. The gentle heart of Lady Albina bled at every word
which her almost blinded eyes perused. Turning to Pembroke, who stood
contemplating her lovely countenance with the deepest interest, she
said, "Pray, Mr. Somerset, take me now to my mother. Were she to die
before I arrive, I should be miserable for life. Alas! alas! I have
never been allowed to behold her!--never been allowed to visit
London, because my father knew that I believed my poor mother
innocent, and would have seen her, had it been possible."

Lady Albina wept violently while she spoke, and giving her hand to
Pembroke, timidly looked towards the house, and added, "You must take
me this instant. We must haste away, in case we should be surprised.
If Lady Olivia were to know that I have been speaking with anybody
out of the family I should be locked up for months."

Pembroke did not require a second command from his beautiful charge.
Conducting her through the unfrequented paths by which he had
entered, he seated her in his curricle and whipping his horses, set
off, full speed, towards the melancholy goal of his enterprise.



CHAPTER XLII.

HARROWBY ABBEY.


Whilst the two anxious travellers were pursuing their sad journey,
the inhabitants of the Abbey were distracted with apprehension lest
the countess might expire before their arrival. Ever since Lady
Tinemouth received information that Mr. Somerset was gone to the
Wolds, hope and fear agitated her by turns, till, wearied out with
solicitude and expectation, she turned her dim eyes upon Thaddeus,
and said, in a languid voice, "My dear friend, it must be near
midnight. I shall never see the morning; I shall never in this world
see my child. I pray you, thank Mr. Somerset for all the trouble I
have occasioned; and my daughter--my Albina! O father of mercies!"
cried she, holding up her clasped hands, "pour all thy blessings upon
her head! She never wilfully gave this broken heart a pang!"

The countess had hardly ended speaking when Thaddeus heard a bustle
on the stairs. Suspecting that it might be the arrival of his friend,
he made a sign to Dr. Cavendish to go and inquire. His heart beat
violently whilst he kept his eye fixed on the door, and held the
feeble pulse of Lady Tinemouth in his hand. The doctor re-entered,
and in a low voice whispered, "Lady Albina is here."

The words acted like magic on the fading senses of the countess. With
preternatural strength she started from her pillow, and catching hold
of Sobieski's arm with both hers, cried, "O give her to me whilst I
have life."

Lady Albina appeared, led in by Pembroke, but instantly quitting his
hand, with an agonizing shriek she rushed towards the bed, and flung
herself into the extended arms of her mother, whose arms closed on
her, and the head of the countess rested on her bosom.

Dr. Cavendish perceived by the struggles of the young lady that she
was in convulsions; and taking her off the bed, he consigned her to
Pembroke and his friend, who, between them, carried her into another
apartment. He remained to assist the countess.

Albina was removed; but the eyes of her amiable and injured mother
were never again unclosed: she had breathed her last sigh, in
grateful ecstasy, on the bosom of her daughter; and Heaven had taken
her spotless soul to Himself.

Being convinced that the countess was indeed no more, the good doctor
left her remains in charge of the women; and repairing to the
adjoining room, found Lady Albina yet senseless in the arms of his
two friends. She was laid on a sofa, and Cavendish was pouring some
drops into her mouth, when he descried Thaddeus gliding out of the
room. Desirous to spare him the shock of suddenly seeing the corpse
of one whom he loved so truly, he said, "Stop, Mr. Constantine! I
conjure you, do not go into the countess's room!"

The eyes of Thaddeus turned with emotion on the distressed face of
the physician; one glance explained what the doctor durst not speak.
Faintly answering, "I will obey you," he hurried from the apartment.

In the count's silent descent from Lady Albina's room to the
breakfast-parlor, he too plainly perceived by the tears of the
servants that he had now another sorrow to add to his mournful list.
He hastened from participation in their clamorous laments, almost
unseen, into the parlor, and shutting the door, threw himself into a
chair; but rest induced thought, and thought subdued his soul. He
started from his position; he paced the room in a paroxysm of
anguish; he would have given worlds for one tear to relieve his
oppressed heart. Ready to suffocate, he threw open a window and
leaned out. Not a star was visible to light the darkness. The wind
blew freshly, and with parched lips he inhaled it as the reviving
breath of Heaven.

He was sitting on the window-seat, with his head leaning against the
casement, when Pembroke entered unobserved; walking up to him, he
laid his hand upon his arm, and ejaculated in a tremulous voice,
"Thaddeus, dear Thaddeus!"

Thaddeus rose at the well-known sounds: they reminded him that he was
not yet alone in the world for his soul had been full of the dying
image of his own mother. Clasping Somerset in his arms, he exclaimed,
"Heaven has still reserved thee, faithful and beloved, to be my
comforter! In thy friendship and fond memories," he added, with a yet
heaving breast, "I shall find tender bonds of the past still to
endear me to the world."

Pembroke received the embrace of his friend; he felt his tears upon
his cheek; but he could neither return the one nor sympathize with
the other. The conviction that he was soon to sever that cord, that
he was to deprive the man who had preserved his life of the only stay
of his existence, and abandon him to despair, struck to his soul.
Grasping the hand of his friend, he gazed on his averted and dejected
features with a look of desperate horror. "Sobieski," cried he,
"whatever may happen, never forget that I swear I love you dearer
than my life! And when I am forced to abandon my friend, I shall not
be long of abandoning what will then be worthless to me."

Not perceiving the frenzied look which accompanied this energetic
declaration, Thaddeus gave no other meaning to the words than a
renewed assurance of his friend's affection.

The entrance of Dr. Cavendish disturbed the two young men, to whom he
communicated the increased indisposition of Lady Albina.

"The shock she has received," said he, "has so materially shaken her
frame, I have ordered her to bed and administered an opiate, which I
hope will procure her repose; and you, my dear sir," added he,
addressing the count, "you had better seek rest! The stoutest
constitution might sink under what you have lately endured. Pray
allow Mr. Somerset and myself to prevail with you, on our accounts,
if not on your own, to retire for half an hour!"

Thaddeus, in disregard of his personal comfort, never infringed on
that of others; he felt that he could not sleep, but he knew it would
gratify his benevolent friends to suppose that he did; and
accordingly he went to a room, and throwing himself on a bed, lay for
an hour, ruminating on all that had passed.

There is an omnipresence in thought, or a celerity producing nearly
the same effect, which brings within the short space of a few minutes
the images of many foregoing years. In almost the same moment,
Thaddeus reflected on his strange meeting with the countess; the
melancholy story; her forlorn death-bed; the fatal secret that her
vile husband and son were his father and brother; and that her
daughter, whom his warm heart acknowledged as a sister, was with him
under the same roof, and, like him, the innocent inheritor of her
father's shame.

Whilst these multifarious and painful meditations were agitating his
perturbed mind, Dr. Cavendish found repose on a couch; and Pembroke
Somerset, resolving once more to try the influence of entreaty on the
hitherto generous spirit of his father, with mingled hope and
despondence commenced a last attempt to shake his fatal resolution,
in the following letter:

"TO SIR ROBERT SOMERSET, BART, SOMERSET CASTLE.

"I have not ventured into the presence of my dear father since he
uttered the dreadful words which I would give my existence to believe
I had never heard. You denounced a curse upon me if I opposed your
will to have me break all connection with the man who preserved my
life! When I think on this, when I remember that it was from
_you_ I received a command so inexplicable from one of your
character, so disgraceful to mine, I am almost mad; and what I shall
be should you, by repeating your injunctions, force me to obey them,
Heaven only knows! but I am certain that I cannot survive the loss of
my honor; I cannot survive the sacrifice of all my principles of
virtue which such conduct must forever destroy.

"Oh, my father! I conjure you, reflect, before, in compliance with an
oath it was almost guilt to make, you decree your only son to
everlasting shame and remorse. Act how I will, I shall never be happy
more. I cannot live under your malediction; and should I give up my
friend, my conscience will reproach me every instant of my existence.
Can I draw the breath which he prolonged and cease to remember that I
have abandoned him to want and misery? It were vain to flatter myself
that he will condescend to escape either by the munificence which you
offer as a compensation for my friendship. No; I cannot believe that
his sensible and independent nature is so changed; circumstances
never had any power over the nobility of his soul.

"Misfortune, which threw the Count Sobieski on the bounty of England,
cannot make him appear otherwise in my eyes than as the idol of
Warsaw, whose smile was honor and whose friendship conferred
distinction.

"Though deprived of the splendor of command; though the eager circle
of friends no longer cluster round him; though a stranger in this
country, and without a home; though, in place of an equipage and
retinue, he is followed by calamit and neglect, yet, in my mind, I
still see him in a car of triumph I see not only the opposer of his
nation's enemies, but the vanquisher of his own desires. I see the
heir of a princely house, who, when mankind have deserted him, is yet
encompassed by his virtues. I see him, though cast out from a
hardened and unjust society, still surrounded by the lingering
spirits of those who were called to better worlds!

"And this is the man, my dear father, (whom I am sure, had he been of
any other country than Poland, you would have selected from all other
men to be the friend and example of your son),--this is he whom you
command me to thrust away.

"I beseech you to examine this injunction! I am now writing under the
same roof with him; it depends on you, my ever-revered father,
whether I am doing so for the last time; whether this is the last day
in which your son is to consider himself a man of honor, or whether
he is henceforth to be a wretch overwhelmed with shame and sorrow!

"I have not yet dared to utter one word of your cruel orders to my
unhappy friend. He is now retired to seek some rest, after the new
anguish of having witnessed the almost sudden death of Lady
Tinemouth. Should I have to tell him that he is to lose me too-but I
cannot add more. Your own heart, my father, must tell you that my
soul is on the rack until I have an answer to this letter."

"Before I shut my paper, let me implore you on my knees, whatever you
may decide, do not hate me; do not load my breaking heart with a
parent's curse! Whatever I may be, however low and degraded in my own
eyes, still, that I sacrificed what is most precious to me, to my
father, will impart the only consolation which will then have power
to reach your dutiful and afflicted son.

"P. SOMERSET.

"HARROWBY ABBEY, TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING."

Dr. Cavendish remained in a profound sleep, whilst Pembroke, with an
aching heart having written the above letter, and dispatched it by a
man and horse, tried to compose himself to half an hour's
forgetfulness of life and its turmoils; but he found his attempts as
ineffectual as those of his friend.

Thaddeus had found no repose on his restless pillow. Reluctant to
disturb the doctor and Somerset, who, he hoped, having less cause for
regret, were sleeping tranquilly, he remained in bed; but he longed
for morning. To his fevered nerves, any change of position, with
movement, seemed better than where he was, and with some gleams of
pleasure he watched the dawn, and the rising of the son behind the
opposite hill. He got up, opened the window to inhale the air, and
looking out, saw a man throw himself off a horse, which was all in
foam, and enter the house.

Surprised at this circumstance, he descended to the parlor to make
inquiry, and met the man in the hall, who, being Pembroke's
messenger, had returned express from the Castle, bearing an order
from Sir Robert (who was taken alarmingly ill) that his son must come
back immediately.

Dismayed with this new distress, Mr. Somerset, on its instant
information, pressed the count so closely to his breast when he bade
him farewell, that a more suspicious person might have apprehended it
was a final parting; but Thaddeus discerned nothing more in the
anguish of his friend's countenance than fear for the safety of Sir
Robert; and fervently wishing his recovery, he bade Pembroke remember
that should more assistance be necessary, Dr. Cavendish would remain
at the Abbey until Lady Albina's return to the Wolds.

Mr. Somerset being gone, towards noon, when the count was anxiously
awaiting the appearance of the physician from the room of the new
invalid, he was disappointed by the abrupt entrance of two gentlemen.
He rose, and with his usual courtesy to strangers, inquired their
business? The elder of the men, with a fierce countenance and a voice
of thunder, announced himself to be the Earl of Tinemouth, and the
other his son.

"We are come," said he, standing at a haughty distance--"we are come
to carry from this nest of infamy Lady Albina Stanhope, whom some one
of her mother's paramours--perhaps you, sir--dared to steal from her
father's home yesterday evening. And I am come to give you, sir, who
I guess to be some fugitive vagabond! the chastisement your audacity
deserves."

With difficulty the Count Sobieski suppressed the passions which were
rising in his breast. He turned a scornful glance on the person of
Lord Harwold (who, with an air of insufferable derision, was coolly
measuring his figure through an eyeglass); and then, replying to the
earl, said, in a firm voice, "My lord, whoever you suppose me to be,
it matters not; I now stand in the place of Lady Tinemouth's
confidential friend, and to my last gasp I will prove myself the
defender of he injured name."

"Her lover!" interrupted Lord Harwold, turning on his heel.

"Her defender, sir!" repeated Thaddeus, with a tremendous frown; "and
shame and sorrow will pursue that son who requires a stranger to
supply his duty."

"Wretch!" cried the earl, forgetting his assumed loftiness, and
advancing passionately towards Thaddeus, with his stick held up; "how
dare you address such language to an English nobleman?"

"By the right of nature, which holds her laws over all mankind,"
returned Thaddeus, calmly looking on the raised stick. "When an
English nobleman forgets that he is a son, he deserves reproach from
his meanest vassal."

"You see, my lord," cried Harwold, sliding behind his father, "what
we bring on ourselves by harboring these democratic foreigners! Sir,"
added he, addressing himself to Thaddeus, "your dangerous principles
shall be communicated to Government. Such traitors ought to hanged."

Sobieski eyed the enraged little lord with contempt; and turning to
the earl, who was again going to speak, he said, in an unaltered
tone, "I cannot guess, Lord Tinemouth, what is the reason of this
attack on me. I came hither by accident; I found the countess ill;
and, from respect to her excellent qualities, I remained with her
until her eyes were closed forever. She desired to see her daughter
before she died,--what human heart could deny a mother such a
request?--and Pembroke Somerset, her kinsman, undertook to bring Lady
Albina to the Abbey.

"Pembroke Somerset!" echoed the earl. "A pretty guard for my
daughter, truly! I have no doubt that he is just such a fellow as his
father--just such a person as yourself! I am not to be imposed upon.
I know Lady Tinemouth to have been a disgrace to me, and you to be
that German adventurer on whose account I sent her from London."

Shocked at this calumny on the memory of a woman whose fame from any
other mouth came as unsullied as purity itself, Thaddeus gazed with
horror at the furious countenance of the man whom he believed to be
his father. His heart swelled; but not deigning to reply to a charge
as unmanly as it was false, he calmly took out of his pocket two
letters which the countess had dictated to her husband and her son.

Lord Harwold tore his open, cast his eyes over the first words, then
crumpling it in his hand, threw it from him, exclaiming, "I am not to
be frightened either by her arts or the falsehoods of the fellows
with whom she dishonored her name."

Thaddeus, no longer master of himself, sprang towards his unnatural
son, and seized his arm with an iron grasp. "Lord Harwold!" cried he,
in a dreadful voice, "were it not that I have some mercy on you for
that parent's sake, to whom, like a parricide, you are giving a
second death by such murderous slander, I would resent her wrongs at
the hazard of your worthless life!"

"My lord! my lord!" cried the trembling Harwold, quaking under the
gripe of Thaddeus, and shrinking from the terrible brightness of his
eye,--"my lord! my lord, rescue me!"

The earl, almost suffocated with rage, called out, "Ruffian! let go
my son!" and again raising his arm, aimed a blow at the head of
Thaddeus, who, wrenching the stick out of the foaming lord's hand,
snapped it in two, and threw the pieces out of the open window.

Lord Harwold took this opportunity to ring the bell violently, on
which summons two of his servants entered the room.

"Now, you low-born, insolent scoundrel," cried the disarmed earl,
stamping with his feet, and pointing to the men who stood at the
door; "you shall be turned by the neck and heels out of this house.
Richard, James, collar that fellow instantly."

Thaddeus only extended his arm to the men (who were looking
confusedly on each other), and calmly said, "If either of you attempt
to obey this command of your lord, you shall have cause to repent
it."

The men retreated. The earl repeated his orders.

"Rascals! do as I command you, or instantly quit my service. I will
teach you," added he, clenching his fist at the count, who stood
resolutely and serenely before him, "I will teach you how to behave
to a man of high birth."

The footmen were again deterred from approaching by a glance from the
intimidating eyes of Thaddeus, who, turning with stern dignity to the
storming earl, said, "You can teach me nothing about high birth that
I do not already know. Could it be of any independent benefit to a
man, then had I not received the taunts and insults which you have
dared to cast upon me."

At that moment Dr. Cavendish, having heard a bustle, made his
appearance. Amazed at the sight of two strangers, who from their
enraged countenances and the proud elevation with which Thaddeus was
standing between them, he rightly judged to be the earl and his son,
he advanced towards his friend, intending to support him in the
attack which he saw was menaced by the violent gestures of these
visitors.

"Dr. Cavendish," said Thaddeus, speaking to him as he approached,
"your name must be a passport to the confidence of any man; I
therefore shall gratify the husband of my ever lamented friend by
quitting this house; but I delegate to you the office with which she
entrusted me. I leave you in charge of her sacred remains, and of the
jewels which you will find in her apartment. She desired that half of
them might be given with her blessing, to her daughter, and the other
half, with her pardon, to her son."

"Tell me. Dr. Cavendish," cried the earl, as Thaddeus was passing him
to leave the room, "who is that insolent fellow? By heaven, he shall
smart for this!"

"Ay, that he shall," rejoined Lord Harwold, "if I have any interest
with the Alien-office."

Dr. Cavendish was preparing to speak, when Thaddeus, turning round at
this last threat of the viscount, said, "If I did not know myself to
be above Lord Harwold's power, perhaps he might provoke me to treat
him according to his deserts; but I abjure resentment, while I pity
his delusions. For you, my lord," added he, addressing the earl with
a less calm countenance, "there is an angel in heaven who pleads
against the insults you have uninquiringly and unjustly heaped upon
an innocent man!"

Thaddeus disappeared from the apartment while uttering the last word;
hastening from the house and park, he stopped near the brow of the
hill, at the porch of his lately peaceful little hotel. The landlady
was a sister of John Jacobs, the faithful servant of his lamented
friend, and who was then watching the door of the neglected chamber
in which the sacred remains of his dear mistress lay, as he would
have guarded her life, had the foes who had now destroyed it been
still menacing its flickering flame. The worthy couple were also
attached to that benevolent lady; and with sad looks, but respectful
welcoming, they saw Mr. Constantine re-enter their humble home, and
assured him of its retirement as long as he might wish to abide in
the neighborhood of the Abbey. Any prospect of repose promised
elysium to him; and with harassed and torn nerves he took possession
of his apartment, which looked down the road that led from the old
monastic structure to the town of Grantham. The rapidity of the
recent events bewildered his senses, like the illusions of a dream.
He had seen his father, his sister, his brother; and most probably he
had parted from them forever!--at least, he hoped he should never
again be tortured with the sight of Lord Tinemouth or his son.

"How," thought he, whilst walking up and down his solitary parlor,
"could the noble nature of my mother love such a man? and how could
he have held so long an empire over the pure heart he has just now
broken."

He could nowhere discern, in the bloated visage and rageful gestures
of the earl, any of that beauty of countenance or grace of manners
which had alike charmed Therese Sobieski and the tender Acleliza.

Like those hideous chasms which are dug deep in the land by the
impetuous sweep of a torrent, the course of violent passions leaves
vast and irreparable traces on the features and in the soul. So it
was with Lord Tinemouth.

"How legibly does vice or virtue," ejaculated Thaddeus, "write itself
on the human face! The earl's might once have been fine, but the
lineaments of selfishness and sin have degraded every part of him.
Mysterious Providence! Can he be my father--can it be his blood that
is now running in my veins? Can it be his blood that rises at this
moment with detestation against him?"

Before the sun set, Sobieski was aroused from these painful
soliloquies by still more painful feelings. He saw from his window a
hearse driving at full speed up the road that ascended to the Abbey,
and presently return at a slower pace, followed by a single black
coach.

"Inhuman men!" exclaimed he, while pursuing with his eyes the tips of
the sable plumes as the meagre cavalcade of mourners wound down the
hill; "could you not allow this poor corse a little rest? Must her
persecution be extended to the grave? Must her cold relics be
insulted, be hurried to the tomb without reverence--without decency?"

The filial heart that uttered this thought also of his own injured
mother, and shrunk with horror at this climax of the earl's
barbarity. Dr. Cavendish entered with a flushed countenance. He spoke
indignantly of the act he still saw from the window, which he
denounced as a sacrilege against the dead. "Not four-and-twenty hours
since," cried he, "she expired! and she is hurried into the cold
bosom of the earth, like a criminal, or a creature whose ashes a
moment above ground might spread a pestilence. Oh, how can that sweet
victim, Lady Albin, share such peccant blood?"

Thaddeus, whose soul had just writhed under a similar question with
regard to himself, could little bear the repetition and interrupted
the good physician by tenderly inquiring how she had borne that so
abrupt removal of her mother's remains.

"With mute anguish," returned Dr. Cavendish, in a responding, calmer
voice of pity; "and though I had warned her father that the shock of
so suddenly tearing his daughter from such beloved relics might peril
her own life, he continued obdarate; and putting her into his
travelling chariot in a state of insensibility, along with her maid,
in a few minutes afterwards I saw him set off in a hired post-chaise,
accompanied by his detestable son, loaded with more than one curse,
muttered by the honest rustics. Only servants followed in that
mourning coach."

In the midst of this depressing conversation a courier arrived from
Stamford to Dr. Cavendish, recalling him immediately to return
thither, the invalid there having sustained an alarming relapse. The
good doctor, sincerely reluctant to quit Thaddeus (whom he still knew
by no other name than Constantine), ordered the dispatch-chaise to
the hotel door. When it was announced, he shook hands with the now
lonely survivor of his departed friend in this stranger land,
requested that he might hear from him before he left that part of the
country for London again, and bidding him many cordial adieus,
continued to look out of the back window of the carriage, until the
faint light of the moon and the receding glimmer of the village
candles finally hid the little spot that yet contained this young and
sadly-stricken exile from his lingering eyes.



CHAPTER XLIII.

THE OLD VILLAGE HOTEL.


For the first time during many nights, Thaddeus slept soundly; but
his dreams were disturbed, and he awoke from them at an early hour,
unrefreshed and in much fever.

The simple breakfast which his attentive host and hostess set before
him was scarcely touched. Their nicely-dressed dinner met with the
same fate. He was ill, and possessed neither appetite nor spirits to
eat. The good people being too civil to intrude upon him, he sat
alone in his window from eight o'clock (at which hour he had arisen)
until the cawing of the rooks, as they returned to the Abbey-woods,
reminded him of the approach of evening. He was uneasy at the absence
of Somerset, not so much on his own account, as on that of Sir
Robert, whose increased danger might have occasioned this delay;
however, he hoped otherwise. Longing earnestly for a temporary
sanctuary under his friend's paternal roof, in the quiet of its peace
and virtues, he trusted that the sympathy of Pembroke, the only
confidant of his past sorrows, would tend to heal his recent wounds
(though the nature of the most galling, he felt, must ever remain
unrevealed even to him!) and so fit him, should it be required, to
yet further brave the buffets of an adverse fate. Nor was Miss
Beaufort forgotten. If ever one idea more than another sweetened the
bitterness of his reflections, it was the remembrance of Mary
Beaufort. Whenever her image rose before him--whether he were
standing in the lonely clay with folded arms, in vacant gaze on the
valley beneath, or when lying on his watchful pillow he opened his
aching eyes to the morning light-still, as her angel figure presented
itself to his mind, he did indeed sigh, but it was a sigh laden with
balm; it did not tear his breast like those which had been wrung from
him by the hard hand of calamity and insult. It was the soft breath
of a hallowed love, which makes man dream of heaven, while he feels
sinking to an early grave. Thaddeus felt it delightful to recollect
how she had looked on him that day in Hyde Park, when she "bade him
take care of his own life, while so devoted to that of his dying
friend!" and how she "blessed him in his task," with a voice of
tenderness so startlingly sacred to his soul in its accents, that in
remembering her words now, when so near the moment of his again
seeing and hearing her, his soul expanded towards her, agitated,
indeed, but soothed and comforted.

"Sweet Mary!" murmured he, "I shall behold thee once more; I shall
again revive under thy kind smile! Oh, it is happiness to know that I
owe my liberty to thee, though I may not dare to tell thee so! Yet my
swelling heart may cherish the clear consciousness, and, bereaved
though I am of all I formerly loved, be indeed blessed while on earth
with the heaven-bestowed privilege of loving thee, even in silence
and forever! Alas! alas! a man without kindred or a country dare not
even wish thee to be his!" A sigh from the depths of his soul closed
this soliloquy.

The sight of Pembroke riding through the field towards the little
inn, recalled the thoughts of Sobieski to that dear friend alone. He
went out to meet him. Mr. Somerset saw him, and putting his horse to
a brisk canter, was at his side in a few minutes. Thaddeus asked
anxiously about the baronet's health. Pembroke answered with an
incoherency devoid of all meaning. Thaddeus looked at him with
surprise, but from increased anxiety forbore to repeat the question.
They walked towards the inn; still Pembroke did not appear to recover
himself, and his evident absence of mind and the wild rambling of his
eyes were so striking, that Thaddeus could have no doubt of some
dreadful accident.

As soon as they had entered the little parlor, his friend cast
himself into a chair, and throwing off his hat, wiped away the
perspiration which, though a cold October evening, was streaming down
his forehead. Thaddeus endured a suspense which was almost
insupportable.

"What is the direful matter, dear Pembroke? Is any we honor, and
love, ill unto death?" His pale face showed that he apprehended it,
and he thought it might be Mary.

"No, no," returned Pembroke; "everybody is well, excepting myself and
my father, who, I verily believe, has lost his senses; at any rate he
will drive me mad."

The manner in which this reply was uttered astonished Thaddeus so
much, that he could only gaze with wonder on the convulsed feature of
his friend. Pembroke observed his amazement, and laying his hand on
his arm, said, "My dear, dear Sobieski! what do I not owe to you?
Good Heaven! how humbled am I in your sight! But there is a Power
above who knows how intimately you are woven with every artery of
this heart."

"I believe it, my kind Pembroke," cried Thaddeus, yet more alarmed
than before; "tell me what it is that distresses you? If my counsel
or my sympathy can offer anything to comfort or assist you, you know
I am your own."

Pembroke burst into tears, and covering his streaming eyes with his
handkerchief, exclaimed, "I am indeed distressed--distressed even
beyond your comfort. Oh! how can I speak it! You will despise my
father! You will spurn me!"

"Impossible!" cried Thaddeus with energy, though his flushed cheek
and fainting heart immediately declared that he had anticipated what
he must hear.

"I see," cried Pembroke, regarding the altered features of his friend
with a glance of agony--"I see that you think it is possible that my
father can sink me below my own contempt."

The benumbing touch of ingratitude ran through the veins of Thaddeus;
his frame was chilled--was petrified; but his just affection and
calmed countenance proclaimed how true a judgment he had passed on
the whole. He took the burning hand of Mr. Somerset in his own, and,
with a steady and consoling voice, said, "Assure yourself, dear
Pembroke, whatever be the commands of your father, I shall adhere to
them. I cannot understand by these generous emotions that he objects
to receive me as your friend. Perhaps," added he,--a flash of
suspicion gleaming through his mind,--"perhaps Miss Beaufort may have
perceived the devotedness of my heart, and disdaining my--"

"Hush, for Heaven's sake!" cried Pembroke, starting from his chair;
"do not implicate my poor cousin! Do not add to her disappointment
the misery that you suspect her! No, Thaddeus," continued he, in a
calmer tone; "Mary Beaufort loves you: she confessed it in an agony
of grief on my bosom, just before I came away; and only through her I
dare ever expect to meet forgiveness from _you_. In spite of my
father, you may marry her. She has no curse to dread; she need not
sacrifice all that is most precious in her sight to the obstinate
caprice of criminal resentment."

"A curse!" reiterated Thaddeus. "How is this!--what have I done, to
deserve such hatred from your father?"

"Oh! nothing," cried Pembroke--"nothing. My father never saw you. My
father thanks you for all that you have done for me; but it is your
country that he hates. Some Polander, years back, injured him; and my
father took a fatal oath against the whole nation. He declares that
he cannot, he will not, break it, were he by so doing to save his own
life, or even mine; for, (Heaven forgive me!) I was this morning
wrought up to such frenzy, that I threatened to destroy myself rather
than sacrifice my gratitude and honor to his cruel commands! Nay, to
convince you that his is no personal enmity to yourself, he ordered
me to give you writings which will put you in possession of an
independence forever. I have them with me."

All the pride of his princely house rose at once in the breast of
Thaddeus. Though full of indignation at this insult of Sir Robert's,
he regarded the averted face of his friend with compassion, whilst in
a firm voice he rejected the degrading compromise.

"Tell your father," added he, addressing Pembroke, in a tone which
even his affection could not soften from a command, "that my absence
is not to be bought with money, nor my friendship so rewarded."

Pembroke covered his burning face with his hands. This sight at once
brought down the haughty spirit of Sobieski, who continued in gentler
accents, "Whatever be the sentiments of Sir Robert Somerset, they
shall meet with clue attention from me. He is your father, therefore
I respect him; but he has put it out of his power to oblige me; I
cannot accept his bounty. Though your heart, my dearest Pembroke, is
above all price, yet I will make it a sacrifice to your duty." And by
so doing put the last seal on my misfortunes, was the meaning of the
heavy sigh which accompanied his last words.

Pembroke traversed the room in an agony. "Merciful Providence!" cried
he, wringing his clasped hands, "direct me! Oh, Thaddeus, if you
could read my tortured heart, you would pity me; you would see that
this affair is tearing my soul from my body. What am I to do? I
cannot, I will not, part with you forever."

Thaddeus, with a calm sadness, drew him to a seat. "Be satisfied,"
said he, "that I am convinced of your affection. Whatever may happen,
this assurance will be sufficient to give me comfort; therefore, by
that affection, I entreat you, dear Pembroke, not to bring regret to
me, and reproach on yourself, by disobeying in any way the will of
your father in this matter! If we separate for life, remember, my
beloved friend, that the span of our existence here is short; we
shall meet again in a happier world--perhaps more blest, for having
immolated our wishes to hard duty in this."

"Cease, Sobieski, cease!" cried Pembroke; "I can draw no consolation
from this reasoning. It is not duty to obey a hatred little short of
distraction; and if we now separate, I feel that I never shall know
peace again. Good Heaven! what comfort can I find when you are
exposed to all the indignities which the world levels against the
unfortunate? Can I indulge in the luxuries of my father's house when
I know that you have neither a home nor subsistence? No, Thaddeus, I
am not such a villain. I will not give you up, though my father
should load me with curses. I trust there is a just Power above who
would avert them."

Perceiving that argument would not only be fruitless, but might
probably incense his friend's irritated nature to the commission of
some rash action, Thaddeus pretended to overlook the frantic gesture
and voice which terminated this speech, and assuming a serene air,
replied: "Let this be the subject of a future conversation. At
present, I must conjure you, by the happiness of us both, to return
to the Castle. You know my message to Sir Robert. Present my respects
to your aunt; and," added he, after an agitated pause, "assure Miss
Beaufort that whilst I have life, her goodness, her sometimes
remembrance, will be--"

Pembroke interrupted him. "Why these messages, dear Thaddeus? Do not
suppose, though I fulfil my father's orders to return to Somerset to-
night, that it is our separation. Gracious Heaven! Is it so easy to
part forever?"

"Not forever! Oh, no," replied Thaddeus, grasping his hand; "we shall
see each other again; only, meanwhile, repeat those, alas! inadequate
messages to your aunt and cousin. Go, my dear Pembroke, to your
father; and may the Lord of Heaven bless you!"

The last words were spoken in almost a stifled voice, as he opened
his arms and strained his friend to his breast.

"I shall see you to-morrow," cried Pembroke; "on no other condition
will I leave you now."

Thaddeus made no further answer to this demand (which he determined
should never be granted) than a second embrace. Pembroke went out of
the room to order his horse; then, returning, he stood at the door,
and holding out his hand to the count, repeated, "Farewell till to-
morrow." Thaddeus pressed it warmly, and he disappeared.

The outward gate closed after his friend, but Sobieski remained on
the seat into which he had thrown himself. He did not venture to
move, lest he should by chance catch a second glance of Pembroke from
the window. Now that he was gone, he acknowledged the full worth of
what he had relinquished. He had resigned a man who loved him; one
who had known and revered his ever-lamented grandfather, and his
mother--the only one with whom he could have discoursed of their
virtues! He had severed the link which had united his present state
with his former fortunes! and throwing his arms along a table that
stood near him, he leaned his aching head upon them, and in idea
followed with a bleeding heart the progress and reception of his
friend at the Castle.

The racking misery which tortured the mind of Mr. Somerset was not
borne with equal resignation. Conscious of his having inflicted fresh
wounds on the breast of his truest friend, his spirits were so ill
adapted to any conversation, that he was pleased rather than
disappointed when he found the supper-room at the Castle quite
vacant, and only one cover on the table awaiting his arrival.

He asked a few questions of the servants, who informed him that it
was past twelve o'clock, and that Sir Robert, who had become worse,
had retired to bed early in the evening.

"And where are my aunt and cousin?" demanded Pembroke.

One of the men replied that, in consequence of Miss Beaufort having
been taken suddenly indisposed, both the ladies left the saloon
before eleven. Pembroke readily guessed the cause of her disorder; he
too truly ascribed it to Mary's anxiety respecting the reception
which the noble Sobieski would give to his disgraceful proposition.
Sighing bitterly, he said no more but went to his chamber.

The restless state of his mind awoke Mr. Somerset by times. Anxious
for the success of an application which he intended to make to his
beloved cousin, whose pure and virgin heart he believed did indeed
here sympathize with his own, he traversed the terrace for an hour
before he was summoned to breakfast. The baronet continuing too ill
to leave his room, the ladies only were in the parlor when he
entered. Miss Dorothy, who had learned the particulars of the late
events from her niece, longed to ask Pembroke how his noble friend
would act on her brother's so strange and lamentable conduct--conduct
so unlike himself in any other circumstance of gratitude in his life.
But every time she moved her lips to inquire, her nephew's inflamed
eyes and wan countenance made her fear to venture on the subject.
Mary sat in mute dejection, watching the agitation of his features;
and when he rose to quit the room, still in silence, she looked
wistfully towards him. Pembroke turned at the same moment, and
holding out his hand to her, said, "Come, Mary: I want to say
something to you. Will you walk with me on the terrace?"

With a beating heart Miss Beaufort took his arm, and proceeded
without a word until they ascended the stone steps and reached the
terrace. A mutual deep-drawn sigh was the first opening to a
conversation on which the souls of both hung. Pembroke was the first
who spoke.

"My dear Mary," cried he, "you are now my sole dependence. From what
I told you yesterday of my father's inflexibility, we can have no
hope of his relenting: indeed, after what has passed, I could not
flatter myself that Thaddeus Sobieski would now submit to any
obligation at his hands. Already he has refused, with all the
indignation I expected, Sir Robert's offer of an annuity. My dear
cousin, how can I exist and yet witness this my best friend in
distress, and living without the succor of my friendship? Heaven
knows, this cannot be the case, for I would sooner perish than
venture to insult the man my father has treated so ill with any
pecuniary offers from me! Therefore, dear girl, it is on you alone
that I depend. With his whole soul, as our marriage service says,
Thaddeus 'worships you;' you love him! In a few days you will become
of age. You will be your own mistress. Marry him, my beloved cousin,"
cried Pembroke, pressing her hand to his lips, "and relieve my heart
from a load of misery! Be generous, my sweet Mary," added he,
supporting her now trembling frame against his breast; "act up to
your noble nature, and offer him, by me, that hand which his
calamities and disinterestedness preclude him from wooing himself."

Miss Beaufort, hardly able to articulate, replied, "I would give him
all that I possess could it purchase him one tranquil hour. I would
serve him forever could I do it and be unknown? but--"

"O, do not hesitate!--do not doubt!" interrupted Pembroke. "To serve
your friends, I know you are capable of the most extraordinary
exertions. I know there is nothing within the range of possibility
that your generous disposition would not attempt; then, my beloved
Mary, dare to be what you are, by having the magnanimity to act as
you know you ought--by offering your hand to him. Show the noble
Sobieski that you really deserve the devotion of a hero's heart--
deserves to be his consolation, who, in losing his mother, lost an
angel like yourself."

"Dear Pembroke," replied Miss Beaufort, wiping the gliding tears from
her burning cheek, "after the confession which you drew from me
yesterday, I will not deny that to be this to your friend would
render me the happiest of created beings; but I cannot believe what
your sanguine affection tells me. I cannot suppose, situated as I was
at Lady Dundas's, surrounded by frivolous and contemptible society,
that he could discover anything in me to warrant such a vanity. Every
way embarrassed as I was, disliking my companions, afraid of my own
interest in him, a veil was drawn over my mind, through which he
could neither judge of my good nor bad qualities. How, then, can I
flatter myself, or do the Count Sobieski so great an injury, as to
imagine that he could conceive any preference for so insignificant a
being as I must have appeared?"

It was some time before Pembroke could shake this prepossession of a
sincere humility from Miss Beaufort's mind. But after having set in
every possible light the terms with which his friend had spoken of
her, he at length convinced her of what her heart so earnestly wished
to believe--that the love of Sobieski was indeed hers.

Mr. Somerset's next achievement was to overcome her scruples against
sanctioning him with the commission he was bent on communicating to
Thaddeus. But from the continual recurrence of her apprehensions,
that the warm affection of her cousin had too highly colored the
first part of his representation, this latter task was not more easy
to accomplish than the former.

In vain she remonstrated, in vain she doubted, in vain demurred.
Pembroke would not be denied. He saw her heart was with him; and when
with faltering lips she assented to the permission, which he almost
extorted, she threw her arms round his neck, and implored him, "by
all he loved and honored, to be careful of her peace; to remember
that she put into his charge all that was most precious to woman--the
modesty of her sex and her own self-esteem !"

Delighted at this consent, notwithstanding he received it through the
medium of many tears, he fondly and gratefully pressed her to his
bosom, uttering his own soul's fervent conviction of a future
domestic happiness to them all. Having stood till he saw her re-enter
the house from a door on the terrace, he mounted his horse and set
off on the spur towards Harrow by Hill.



CHAPTER XLIV.

LETTERS OF FAREWELL.


When Thaddeus recovered from the reverie into which he fell on the
departure of Mr. Somerset, he considered how he might remove out of a
country in which he had only met with and occasioned distress.

The horrid price that Pembroke's father had set on the continuance of
his son's friendship with a powerless exile was his curse. Whatever
might have been the injury any individual of now annihilated Poland
could, in its palmy days of independence, and sometimes pride,
inflict on this implacable Englishman, of a nature that appeared to
have blinded him to even human feeling, Thaddeus felt so true an
indignation against such cruel injustice, and so much of a contrary
sentiment towards the noble son of this hard parent, that he
determined to at once relieve the warring mind of Pembroke of any
further conflict on his account by immediately quitting England.
Averse to a second interview with a friend so justly beloved, which
could only produce them new pangs, he resolved on instant
preparations--that another morn should not rise upon him in the
neighborhood of Somerset Castle. Taking up a pen, with all the
renewed loneliness of his fate brooding on his heart, he wrote two
letters.

One he addressed to Mr. Somerset, bidding him that farewell which he
confessed he could never take. As he wrote, his hand trembled, his
bosom swelled, and he hastily shut his eyelids, to withhold his tears
from showing themselves on the paper. His emotion, his grief, were
driven back, were concealed, but the tenderness of his soul flowed
over the letter. He forgave Pembroke's father for Pembroke's sake;
and in spite of their personal disunion, he vowed that no earthly
power should restrain his love from following the steps of his
friend, even into the regions of eternity. He closed his melancholy
epistle with informing Mr. Somerset that, as he should quit not only
England directly, but Europe, any search after him which his generous
nature might dictate would be in vain.

Though Thaddeus Sobieski would have disdained a life of dependence on
the greatest potentate of the world; though he rejected with the same
sincerity a similar proposal from his friend, and despised the
degrading offer of Sir Robert, yet he did not disparage his dignity,
not infringe on the disinterested nature of friendship, when he
retained the money which Pembroke had conveyed to him in prison.
Thaddeus never acted but from principle. His honorable and
penetrating mind knew exactly at what point to draw the tender thread
of delicacy--the cord of independence. But pride and independence
were with him distinct terms. Receiving assistance from a friend and
leaning on him wholly for support have different meanings. He
accepted the first with gratitude; he would have thought it
impossible to live and endure the last. Indeed Thaddeus would have
considered himself unworthy to confer a benefit if he had not known
how to receive one. But had not Pembroke told him "the whole gift was
Mary Beaufort's?" And what were his emotions then? They were full of
an ineffable sense of happiness inexplicable to himself. Mary
Beaufort was the donor, and it was bliss to have it so, and to know
it was so. With these impressions again throbbing at his heart, he
began a short letter to her, which he felt must crush that heart
forever.

"To Miss Beaufort.

"My faculties lose their power when I take up my pen to address, for
the first and the last time, Miss Beaufort. I hardly know what I
would say--what I ought to say; I dare not venture to write all that
I feel. But have you not been my benefactress? Did you not assert my
character and give me liberty when I was calumniated and in distress?
Did you not ward from me the scorn of unpitying folly? Did you not
console me with your own compassion? You have done all this; and
surely you will not despise the gratitude of a heart which you have
condescended to sooth and to comfort. At least I cannot leave England
forever without imploring blessings on the head of Miss Beaufort,
without thanking her on my knees, on which I am writing, for that
gracious and benign spirit which discovered a breaking heart under
the mask of serenity, which penetrated through the garb of poverty
and dependence, and saw that the condemned Constantine was not what
he seemed! Your smiles, Miss Beaufort, your voice speaking
commiseration, were my sweetest consolations during those heavy
months of bitterness which I endured at Dundas House. I contemplated
you as a pitying angel, sent to reconcile me to a life which had
already become a burden. These are the benefits which Miss Beaufort
has bestowed on a friendless exile; these are the benefits which she
has bestowed on me! and they are written on my soul. Not until I go
down into the grave can they be forgotten. Ah! not even then, for
when I rise again, I shall find them still registered there.

"Farewell, most respected, most dear, most honored! My passing soul
seems in those words. O, may the Father of heaven bless with his
almighty care her whose name will ever be the first and the last in
the prayer of the far distant

        "THADDEUS CONSTANTINE SOBIESKI.

   "HARROWBY VILLAGE, MIDNIGHT."

When he had finished this epistle, with a tremulous hand he consigned
it to the same cover that contained his letter to Somerset. Then
writing a few lines to the worthy master of the inn, (the brother-in-
law of the faithful servant of his late lamented maternal friend,)
saying that a sudden occasion had required his immediate departure at
that untimely hour, he enclosed a liberal compensation in gold for
the attentive services of both the honest man and his warm-hearted
wife. Having sealed each packet, he disposed them so on the table
that they might be the first things seen on entering the room.

He had fixed on deep night as the securest time for commencing
unobserved his pedestrian tour. The moon was now full, and would be a
sufficient guide, he thought, on his solitary way. He had determined
to walk to London by the least public paths; meaning to see kind Mrs.
Robson, and bid her a grateful farewell before he should embark,
probably never to return, for America.

He had prepared his slender baggage before he sat down to write the
two letters which had cost him so many pangs; compressed within a
light black leather travelling-bag, he fastened it over his shoulders
by its buckled straps, in the manner of a soldier's knapsack. He then
put the memorandum-book which contained his "world's wealth," now to
be carefully husbanded, into a concealed pocket in the breast of his
waistcoat, feeling, while he pressed it down upon his heart, that his
mother's locket and Miss Beaufort's chain kept guard over it.

"Ah!" cried he, as he gently closed the low window by which he leaped
into the garden; "England, I leave thee forever, and within thee all
that on this earth had been left to me to love. Driven from thee!
Nay, driven as if I were another Cain, from the face of every spot of
earth that ever had been or would be dear to me! Oh, woe to them who
began the course. And thou, Austria, ungrateful leader in the
destruction of the country which more than once was thy preserver!--
could there be any marvel that the last of the Sobieskis should
perish with her? What accumulated sins must rest on thy head, thou
seducer of other nations into the spoliation and dismemberment of the
long-proved bulwark of Christendom? Assuredly, every hasty sigh that
rebels in the breasts of Poland's outcast sons against the mystery of
her doom will plead against thee at the judgment-seat of Heaven!"

He went on at a rapid pace through several fields, his heart and soul
full of those remembrances, and the direful echoes to them he had met
in England. Stopping a moment at the boundary-gate of the Harrowby
domains,--the property of a disgraceful owner of a name that might
have been his, had not his nobler mother preserved to him that of
Sobieski,--he stretched out his arms to the heavens, over which a
bleak north-west wind was suddenly collecting dark and spreading
clouds, and exclaimed, in earnest supplication, "Oh, righteous Power
of Mercy! in thy chastening, grant me fortitude to bear with
resignation to thy will the miseries I may yet have to encounter,
Ah!" added he, his heart melting as the images presented themselves
even as visions to his soul, "teach me to forget what I have been.
Teach me to forget that on this dreadful October night twelve months
ago I clasped the dying body of my revered grandfather in these
arms!"

He could not speak further. Leaning his pale face against the gate,
he remained for a few minutes dissolved in all a son's sorrow; then,
recovering himself by a sudden start, he proceeded with hurried steps
through the further extending meadows until they conducted him by a
short village-lane into the high road.

It was on the 10th of October, 1795, that the Count Sobieski
commenced this lonely and melancholy journey. It was the 10th of
October in the preceding year that he found the veteran palatine
bleeding to death in the midst of a heap of slain. The coincidence of
his renewed banishment and present consequent mental sufferings with
those of that fatal period powerfully affected him, recalling, in the
vivid colors of an actual existence, scenes and griefs which the
numerous successive events he had passed through had considerably
toned down into dream-like shades.

But now, when memory, by one unexpected stroke, had once conjured up
the happy past of his early life and its as early blighting, true to
her nature, she raised before his mind's eye every hope connected
with it and his present doom, till, almost distracted, he quickened
his speed. He then slackened it; he quickened it again; but nothing
could rid him of those successive images which seem to glide around
him like mournful apparitions of the long-lamented dead.

When the dawn broke and the sun rose, he found himself advanced
several miles on the south side of Ponton Hill. The spiry aisles of
Harrowby Abbey were discernible through the mist, and the towers of
Somerset Castle, from their height and situation, were as distinctly
seen as if he had been at their base. Neither of these objects were
calculated to raise the spirits of Thaddeus. The sorrows of the
countess, whose eyes he so recently had closed, and the treatment
which he afterwards received from the man to whom he owed his life,
were recollections which made him turn from the Abbey with a renewed
pang and fix his eyes on Somerset. He looked towards its ivied
battlements with all the regret and all the tenderness which can
overflow a human heart. Under that roof he believed the eyes of his
almost, indeed, worshipped Mary were sealed in sleep; and in an
instant his agitated soul addressed her as if she had been present.

"Farewell, most lovely, most beloved! The conviction that it is to
ensure the peace of my now only friend on earth, my faithful
Pembroke, that I resign the hope of ever beholding thee again in this
life, will bring me one comfort, at least, in my barren exile!"

Thus communing with his troubled spirit, he walked the whole day on
his way to London. Totally absorbed in meditation, he did not remark
the gaze of curiosity which followed his elegant yet distressed
figure as he passed through the different towns and villages. Musing
on the past, the present, and the future, he neither felt hunger nor
thirst, but, with a fixed eye and abstracted countenance, pursued his
route until night and weariness overtook him near a cross-road, far
away from any house.

Thaddeus looked around and above. The sky was then clear and
glittering with stars; the moon, shining on a branch of the Ouse
which divides Leicestershire from Northamptonshire, lit the green
heath which skirted its banks. He wished not for a more magnificent
canopy; and placing his bag under his head, he laid himself down
beneath a hillock of furze, and slept till morning.

When he awoke from a heavy sleep, which fatigue and fasting had
rendered more oppressive than refreshing, he found that the splendors
of the night were succeeded by a heavy rain, and that he was wet
through. He arose with stiffness in his limbs, pain in his head, and
a dimness over his eyes, with a sense of weakness which almost
disabled him from moving. He readily judged that he had caught cold;
and every moment feeling himself grow worse, he thought it necessary
to seek some house where he might procure rest and assistance.

Leaning on his closed umbrella, which, in his precarious
circumstances of travelling, he used in preference to a walking-
stick, and no longer able to encumber himself with even the light
load of his bag, he cast it amongst the brambles near him. Thinking,
from the symptoms he felt, that he might not have many more hours to
endure the ills of life, he staggered a few yards further. No
habitation appeared; his eyes soon seemed totally obscured, and he
sunk down on a bank. For a minute he attempted to struggle with the
cold grasp of death, which he believed was fastening on his heart.

"And are my days to be so short?--are they to end thus?" was the
voice of his thoughts,--for he was speechless. "Oh! thou merciful
Providence, pardon my repining, and those who have brought me to
this! My only Father, hear me!"

These were the last movements of his soundless lips, while his blood
seemed freezing to insensibility. His eyelids were closed, and pale,
and without sign of animation, he lay at the foot of a tree nigh
which he had dropped.

He remained a quarter of an hour in this dead-like state before he
was observed; at length, a gentleman who was passing along that road,
on his way to his country-seat in the neighborhood, thought he
perceived a man lying amongst the high grass a little onward on the
heath. He stopped his carriage instantly, though driven by four
spirited horses, and ordering one of the outriders to alight, bade
him examine whether the object in view were living or dead.

The servant obeyed; and presently returning with an affrighted
countenance, he informed his master that "it was the body of a young
man, who, by his dress, appeared to be a gentleman; and being quite
senseless, he supposed he had been waylaid and murdered by footpads."
The features of the benevolent inquirer immediately reflected the
alarm of his informant. Ordering the chariot door to be opened, he
took in his hand a bottle of medicine, (which, from his own invalid
states was his carriage companion,) and, stepping out, hastened to
the side of the apparently lifeless Thaddeus.

By this time all the servants were collected round the spot. The
master himself, whilst he gazed with pity on the marble features of
the stranger, observed with pleasure that he saw no marks of
violence. Supposing that the present accident might have been
occasioned by a fit, and thinking it possible to recall life, he
desired that the unfortunate person's neck-cloth might be unloosened,
and removing his hat, he contrived to pour some drops into his mouth.
Their warmth renewed pulsation to the heart, for one of the men, who
was stooping, declared that it beat under his hand. When the
benevolent gentleman was satisfied of the truth of this report, he
bade his servants place the poor traveller in his carriage; having
only another mile or two to go, he said he hoped his charge might be
restored at the end of so short a drive.

Whilst the postilions drove rapidly towards the house, the cold face
of Thaddeus rested on the bosom of his benefactor, who continued to
chafe his temples with eau de Cologne until the chariot stopped
before the gates. The men carried the count into the house, and
leaving him with their master and a medical man, who resided near,
other restoratives were applied which in a short time restored him to
consciousness. When he was recalled to recollection, and able to
distinguish objects, he saw that he was supported by two gentlemen,
and in a spacious chamber.

Gratitude was an active virtue in the soul of Thaddeus. At the moment
of his awakening from that sleep which, when it fell upon him, he
believed would last until time should be lost in eternity, he pressed
the hands of those who held his own, not doubting but that they were
the good Samaritans who had preserved him from perishing.

The younger of the gentlemen, perceiving, by the animated lustre
which spread over his patient's eyes, that he was going to speak, put
his hand on his lips, and said, "Pardon me, sir! you must be mute!
Your life at present hangs on a thread; the slightest exertion might
snap it. As all you want is rest and resuscitation to supply some
great loss which the vital powers have sustained, I must require that
you neither speak nor be spoken to until I give permission.
Meanwhile, be satisfied, sir, that you are in the kindest hands. This
gentleman," added he, (pointing to his friend, who bore the noble
presence of high rank,) "saw you on the heath, and brought you to his
house, where you now are."

Thaddeus bowed his head to them both in sign of obedience and
gratitude, and the elder, with a kind bend of his mild eyes, in
silence left the room.



CHAPTER XLV.

DEERHURST.


Next morning, when the seal was taken off the lips of the object of
their care, he expressed in grateful terms his deep sense of the
humanity which had actuated both the gentleman to take so generous an
interest in his fate.

"You owe no thanks to me," replied the one who had enjoined and
released him from silence, and who was now alone with him; "I am only
the agent of another. Yet I do not deny that, in obeying the
benevolent orders of Sir Robert Somerset, I have frequent
opportunities of gratifying my own heart."

Thaddeus was so confounded at this discovery that he could not speak,
and the gentleman proceeded.

"I am apothecary to Sir Robert's household, and as my excellent
employer has been long afflicted with an ill state of health, I live
in a small Lodge at the other end of the park. He is the boast of the
county: the best landlord and the kindest neighbor. All ranks of
people love him; and when he dies, (which his late apoplectic fits
make it too probable may be soon,) both poor and rich will lose their
friend. Ill as he was this morning, when I told him you were out of
danger, he expressed a pleasure which did him more good than all my
medicines."

Not considering the wildness of the question, Thaddeus hastily
demanded, "Does he know who I am?"

The honest apothecary stared at the look and tone with which these
words were delivered, and then replied, "No, sir; is there any reason
to make you wish that he should not?"

"Certainly none," replied Thaddeus, recollecting himself; "but I
shall be impatient until I have an opportunity of telling him how
grateful I am for the goodness he has shown to me as a stranger."

Surprised at these hints, (which the count, not considering their
tendency, allowed to escape him,) the apothecary gathered sufficient
from them, united with the speaker's superior mien, to make him
suppose that his patient was some emigrant of quality, whom Sir
Robert would rejoice in having served. These surmises and conclusions
having passed quickly through the worthy gentleman's brain, he bowed
his head with that respect which the generous mind is proud to pay to
nobility in ruins, and resumed:

"Whoever you may be, sir, a peasant or a prince, you will meet with
British hospitality from the noble owner of this mansion. The
magnificence of his spirit is equalled by the goodness of his heart;
and I am certain that Sir Robert will consider as fortunate the
severe attack which, bringing him from Somerset for change of air,
has afforded him an opportunity of serving you."

Thaddeus blushed at the strain of this speech. Readily understanding
what was passing in the mind of the apothecary, he hardly knew what
to reply. He paused for a moment, and then said, "All you have
declared, sir, in praise of Sir Robert Somerset I cannot doubt is
deserving. I have already felt the effects of his humanity, and shall
ever remember that my life was prolonged by his means; but I have no
pretensions to the honor of his acquaintance. I only wish to see him,
that I may thank him for what he has done; therefore, if you will
permit me to rise this evening, instead of to-morrow morning, you
will oblige me."

To this request the apothecary gave a respectful yet firm denial, and
went down stairs to communicate his observations to his patron. When
he returned, he brought back a request for his patient from the
baronet, even as a personal consideration for his host's solicitude
concerning him, to remain quietly in the perfect repose of his closed
chamber until next day; then it might be hoped Sir Robert would find
him sufficiently recovered to receive his visit without risk. To this
Sobieski could not but assent, in common courtesy, as well as in
grateful feeling; yet he passed in anything but repose the rest of
the day, and the anxiety which continued to agitate him while
reflecting that he was receiving these obligations from his
implacable enemy so occupied and disturbed him, that he spent a
sleepless night. The dawn found his fever much augmented; but no
corporeal sufferings could persuade him to defer seeing the baronet
and immediately leaving his house. Believing, as he did, that all
this kindness would have been withheld had his host known on whom he
was pouring such benefits, he thought that every minute which passed
over him while under Sir Robert's roof inflicted a new outrage on his
own respect and honor.

To this end, then, as soon as Mr. Middleton, the apothecary, retired
to breakfast, Thaddeus rose from his bed, and was completely dressed
before he returned. He had effected this without any assistance, for
he was in possession of his travelling-bag. One of the outriders
having discerned it amongst the herbage, while the others were busied
in carrying its helpless owner to the carriage, he had picked it up,
and on the arrival of the party at home, delivered it to the
baronet's valet to convey to the invalid gentleman's chamber, justly
considering that he would require its contents.

When Mr. Middleton re-entered the apartment, and saw his patient not
only risen from his bed, but so completely dressed, he expostulated
on the rashness of what he had done, and augured no less than a
dangerous relapse from the present increased state of his pulse.
Thaddeus, for once in his life, was obstinate, though civilly so; and
desiring a servant to request that Sir Robert would indulge him with
an audience for a few minutes alone in his library, he soon convinced
Mr. Middleton that his purpose was not to be shaken.

The baronet returning his compliments, and saying that he should be
happy to see his guest, the still anxious apothecary offered him his
assistance down stairs. Thaddeus needed no help, and gratefully
declined it. The exertion necessary to be summoned for this interview
imparted as much momentary strength to his frame as to his mind, and
though his color was heightened, he entered the library with a firm
step.

Sir Robert met him at the door, and, shaking him by the hand with a
warm assurance of pleasure at so rapid a restoration, would have led
him to a seat; but Thaddeus only supported himself against the back
of it with his hand, whilst in a steady voice he expressed the most
earnest thanks for the benefits he had received; then pausing, and
casting the proud lustre of his eyes to the ground, lest their
language should tell all that he thought, he continued, "I have only
to regret, Sir Robert, that your benevolence has been lavished on a
man whom you regard with abhorrence. I am the Count Sobieski, that
Polander whom you commanded your son to see no more. Respecting even
the prejudices of my friend's parent, I was hastening to London,
meaning to set sail for America with the first ship, when I swooned
on the road. I believe I was expiring. Your humanity saved me; and I
now owe to gratitude, as well as to my own satisfaction, the
fulfilment of my determination. I shall leave Deerhurst immediately,
and England as soon as I am able to embark."

Thaddeus with a second bow, and not quite so firm a step, without
venturing a glance at what he supposed must be the abashed or the
enraged looks of Pembroke's father, was preparing to quit the room,
when Sir Robert, with a pale and ghastly countenance, exclaimed,
"Stop!"

Thaddeus looked round, and struck by the change in his preserver's
appearance, paused in his movement. The baronet, incapable of saying
more, pointed to a chair for him to sit down; then sinking into
another himself, took out his handkerchief, and wiping away the large
drops which stood on his forehead, panted for respiration. At last,
with a desperate kind of haste, he said.

"Was your mother indeed Therese Sobieski?"

Thaddeus, still more astonished, replied in the affirmative. Sir
Robert threw himself back on the chair with a deep groan. Hardly
knowing what he did, the count rose from his seat and advanced
towards him. On his approach, Sir Robert stretched out his hand, and,
with a look and tone of agony, said, "Who was your father?" He then,
without waiting for a reply, covered his convulsed features with his
handkerchief. The baronet's agitation, which now shook him like an
earthquake, became contagious. Thaddeus gazed at him with a palsying
uncertainty in his heart; laying his hand on his bewildered brain, he
answered, "I know not; yet I fear I must believe him to be the Earl
of Tinemouth. But here is his picture." With an almost disabling
tremor he unclasped it from his neck where his mother's last blessing
had placed it, and touching the spring which held it in its little
gold case in the manner of a watch, he gave it open to Sir Robert,
who had started from his seat at the name of the earl. The moment the
baronet's eyes rested on the miniature, he fell senseless upon the
chair.

Thaddeus, hardly more alive, sprinkled some water on his face, and
with throbbing temples and a bleeding heart stood in wordless
expectation over him. Such excessive emotion told him that something
more than Sir Robert's hatred of the Polanders had stimulated his
late conduct. Too earnest for an explanation to ring for assistance,
he rejoiced to see, by the convulsion of the baronet's features and
the heaving of his chest, that animation was returning. In a few
minutes he opened his eyes, but when he met the anxious gaze of
Thaddeus, he closed them as suddenly. Rising from his seat, he
staggered against the chimney-piece, exclaiming, "Oh God, direct me!"
Thaddeus, whose conjectures were now wrought almost to wildness,
followed him, and whilst his exhausted frame was ready to sink to the
earth, he implored him to speak.

"Sir Robert," cried he, "if you know anything of my family, if you
know anything of my father, I beseech you to answer me. Or only tell
me: am I so wretched as to be the son of Lord Tinemouth?"

The violence of the count's emotions during this agonizing address
totally overcame him; before he finished speaking, his limbs withdrew
their support, and he dropped breathless against the side of the
chair.

Sir Robert turned hastily round. He saw him sunk, like a beautiful
flower, bruised and trampled on by the foot of him who had given it
root. Unable to make any evasive reply to this last appeal of virtue
and of nature, he threw himself with a burst of tears upon his neck,
and exclaimed, "Wretch that I have been! Oh, Sobieski! I am thy
father. Dear, injured son of the too faithful Therese!"

The first words which carried this avowal to the heart of Thaddeus
deprived it of motion, and when Sir Robert expected to receive the
returning embrace of his son, he found him senseless in his arms.

The cries of the baronet brought Mr. Middleton and the servants into
the room. When the former saw the state of the count, and perceived
the agonized position of his patron, (who was supporting and leaning
over his son,) the honest man declared that he expected nothing less
from the gentleman's disobedience of his orders. The presence of the
servants having recalled Sir Robert's wandering faculties, he desired
them to remove the invalid with the greatest care back to his
chamber. Following them in silence, when they had laid their charge
on the bed, he watched in extreme but concealed suspense till Mr.
Middleton once more succeeded in restoring animation to his patient.

The moment the count unclosed his eyes, they fixed themselves on his
father. He drew the hand which held his to his lips. The tears of
paternal love again bathed the cheeks of Sir Robert; he felt how warm
at his heart was the affection of his deserted son. Making a sign for
Mr. Middleton to leave the room, who obeyed, he bent his streaming
eyes upon the other hand of Thaddeus, and, in a faltering voice, "Can
you pardon me?"

Thaddeus threw himself on his father's bosom, and wept profusely;
then raising Sir Robert's clasped hands to his, whilst his eloquent
eyes seemed to search the heavens, he said, "My dear, dear mother
loved you to her latest hour; and I have all my mother's heart.
Whatever may have been his errors, I love and honor my father."

Sir Robert strained him to his breast. After a pause, whilst he shook
the tears from his venerated cheeks, he resumed--"Certain, my dear
son, that you require repose, and assured that you will not find it
until I have offered some apology for my unnatural conduct, I will
now explain the circumstances which impelled my actions, and drew
distress upon that noble being, your mother."

Sir Robert hesitated a moment to recover breath, and then, with the
verity of a grateful penitence, commenced.

"Keep your situation," added he, putting down Thaddeus, who at this
opening was raising himself, "I shall tell my melancholy story with
less pain if your eyes be not upon me. I will begin from the first."

The baronet, with frequent agitated pauses, proceeded to relate what
may be more succinctly expressed as follows: Very early in life he
had attached himself to Miss Edith Beaufort, the only sister of the
late Admiral Beaufort, who at that time was pursuing his chosen brave
career as post-captain in the British navy. By the successive deaths
of their parents, they had been left young to the guardianship of Sir
Fulke Somerset and their maternal aunt, his then accomplished lady:
she and their deceased mother, the Lady Grace Beaufort, having been
sisters--the two celebrated beautiful daughters of Robert Earl
Studeley of Warwick.

Sir Fulke's family by the amiable twin of the Lady Grace were Robert
(who afterwards succeeded him) and Dorothy his only daughter. But he
had a son by a former marriage with the brilliantly-endowed widow of
a long-resident governor in the East, who having died on his voyage
home to England, on her landing she found herself the sole inheritrix
of his immense wealth. She possessed charms of person as well as
riches, and as soon as "her weeds" could be laid aside, she became
the admired wife of the "gay and gallant" Sir Fulke Somerset. Within
the twelve subsequent months she presented him with a son and heir,
soon to be her own too; for though she lived three or four years
after his birth, her health became so delicate that she never bore
another child, but gradually declined, and ultimately expired while
apparently in a gentle sleep.

Sir Fulke mourned his due time "in the customary suit of solemn
black;" but he was a man of a lofty and social spirit, by no means
inclined to be disconsolate, and held "a fair help-mate" to be an
indispensable appendage to his domestic state. In this temper, (just
before the election of a new parliament, when contending interests
were running very close,) he obtained the not less eagerly disputed
hand of Lady Arabella Studeley, whose elder sister (as has been
mentioned) had made a magnificent marriage, only a year or two
before, with John of Beaufort, the lord of the noble domain of
Beaufort in the Weald of Kent--a lineal endowment from his princely
ancestor, John of Gaunt. This illustrious pair dwelt on the land,
like its munificent owners in the olden times, revered and beloved;
and they were the parents of their two equally-honored representatives--
Guy, afterwards Admiral Beaufort, and Edith, who subsequently became
the adored wife of her also tenderly-beloved cousin, Robert Somerset.

But before that fondly-anticipated event took place, the young lover
had to pass through a path of thorns, some of which pierced him to
the end. From his childhood to manhood, he saw little of Algernon,
his elder brother, who always seemed to him more like an occasional
brilliant phantom, alighting amongst them, than a dear member of the
family coming delightedly to cheer and to share his paternal home.
Algernon was either at Eaton school, or at one of the universities,
or travelling somewhere on the continent; and at all these places, or
from them all, he became the enchanted theme of every tongue.
Meanwhile, Robert--though, perhaps, equally endowed by nature yet
certainly of a milder radiance--was the object of so apprehensive a
solicitude in his gentle mother's breast for the puritas well as the
intellectual accomplishments of her son, that she obtained Sir
Fulke's reluctant consent to his being brought up in what is called
"a home education;" that is, under the especial personal care of the
best private tutors, and which were found to the great credit of her
judgment. He showed an ardent devotedness to his studies; and though,
like his mother, he was one of the mildest of human beings in his
dealings with those around him, yet his aspirations towards high
attainments were as energetic as they were noiseless, and ever on
steady wind soaring upward. Robert Somerset was then unconsciously
forming himself for what he afterwards became--the boast of the
country of his birth, the glory of England, to whose prosperity he
dedicated all his noble talents, showing what it is to be a true
English country gentleman. Being alike "the oak or laurel" of "Old
England's fields and groves."

    "With sickle or with sword,
     Or bardic minstrelsy!"

he was permitted to pass a term or two at Oxford, where he acquitted
himself with honor, particularly in the classics, to the repeated
admiration of their then celebrated professor, the late Thomas
Warton. But the young student was also fond of rural pursuits and
domestic occupations. He lived mostly at home, enjoying the gentle
solace of elegant modern literature and the graces of music, with the
ever blameless delights of an accomplished female society, at the
head of which his revered mother had presided, accompanied by his
lively sister Dorothy and the sweet Edith Beaufort, whom he had
gradually learned to love like his own soul. His heart became yet
more closely knit to her when his beloved parent died, which sad
event occurred about a year after the death of Edith's own mother,
who on her widowhood had continued to live more with her sister, Lady
Arabella Somerset, than at her bereaved home. Edith's filial sorrow
was renewed in the loss of her maternal aunt, and her tenderest
sympathy reciprocated the tears of her son. Their hearts blended
together in those tears, and both felt that "they were comforted."

Time did not long pass on before the happy Robert communicated their
mutual attachment to his father, petitioning for his consent to woo
for the hand of her whose heart he had already gained. But the
baronet, in some surprise at what he heard, refused to give his
sanction to any such premature engagement, first, on account of the
applicant's "extreme youth;" and second, being a younger scion of his
house, it might not be deemed well of in the world should he, the
guardian of his niece and her splendid fortune, show so much haste to
bestow her on his comparatively portionless son. The baronet, with
some of his parliamentary acumen, drew another comparison, which
touched the disappointed lover with a feeling almost of despair. He
compared what he denominated his romantic fancies for "woods and
wilds," and book-worm pursuits in the old crypts of the castle or the
college, with the distinguished consideration held by his travelled
brother in courts and councils, whether abroad or at home, closing
the parallel by telling him "to follow Algernon's example, and become
more like a man of some account amongst men before he dared pretend
to a hand of so much importance as that of the heiress of Beaufort."

Robert was standing silent and dismayed, as one struck by a thunder-
flash, when his brother (who had been only a month arrived from a
long revisit to the two Sicilies) suddenly entered his father's
library, as Sir Fulke had again resumed his discourse with even more
severity. At sight of the animated object of his contrasting eulogy,
he instantly described to his new auditor what had been mutually
said, and referred the subject to him.

"Romance, indeed! whether in merry Sherwood, with hound and horn, or
with gentle dames in bower and hall, you have had enough of, my
brother," replied the gay-spirited traveller. "Neither men nor women
like philandering after deer or doe, or a lady's slipper, beyond the
greenwood season. So I say, for the glory of your manhood up and
away! Abroad, abroad! My father is right. That is the only ground for
such a race and guerdon as you aspire to. I admire your taste, and
not less your ambition, my brave boy. Do not thwart him, Sir Fulke,"
added he, to the baronet, who began to frown: "let him enter the
lists with the boldest of us; faint heart never won fair lady! So,
forward, Robert! and give me another sweet sister to love and to
cherish as I do our blithe little Dora."

At this far from unwelcome advice, Robert smiled and sighed; but the
smile swallowed up the sigh, for his soul kindled with hope. His
father smiled also; the cloud of a stern authority had passed from
his brow, and before that now perfectly reconciled party rose, it was
decided that Robert should make immediate preparations for commencing
a regulated course of continental travels, the route to be drawn out
by his brother and his expenses in the tour to be liberally supplied
by his father. The length of the probation was not then thought on,
at least not mentioned. Shortly afterwards, when Robert hastened from
the library to communicate what had passed to the beloved object of
the discussion, he left his father and his brother together to think
and to plan all the rest for him.

But Edith Beaufort wept when she heard of the separation; her heart
failed within her. For since her first coming under the roof of her
guardian uncle, she had never been without seeing her brother-like
cousin beyond a few days or weeks at most. He was now going to be
banished (and, it was asserted, for her sake too) into far distant
countries, and for an indefinite period--months, perhaps years. And
these saddening thoughts made her weep afresh, though silently; for
her full-flowing tears were soft and noiseless, like the heart from
whence they sprung. Robert, with all his now sanguine expectations,
sought to cheer her, but in vain. She felt an impression, that should
he go, they would never meet again. But she did not betray that
feeling to him; yet the infection of her despondency, by its
continuance, so wrought on his own consequent depressed spirits, that
when his father announced to him that his absence must be for two or
three years at least, he ventured to remonstrate, beseeching that it
might be limited to the shorter term of two years. The baronet
derided the proposal, with many words of contempt towards the urgent
pleader. Robert withheld from disclosing to the too often hard mind
of his father that the proposition he so scorned had originated in
the tender bosom of Edith Beaufort, and Sir Fulke's sarcasm fell so
thick on the bending head of his son, that at last the insulted
feelings of the generous lover became so indignant at the little
confidence placed in the real manliness of his character, which had
hitherto been found ever present when actually called for, that his
heart began to swell to an almost uncontrollable exasperation, and
while struggling to master himself from uttering the disrespectful
retort risen to his lips, his brother again accidentally entered the
room, and by giving Robert the moment to pause, happily rescued his
tottering duty from that regretful offence.

As soon as Algernon appeared, the baronet resumed his sarcastic tone,
in a rapid recapitulation of Robert's retrograde request. Algernon
again took up the cause of his brother, and, with his usual tact,
gained the victory, by the dexterous gayety with which he pleaded for
the young noviciate in all the matters for which he was to be sent so
far afield to learn. At last the conference ended by Sir Fulke
agreeing to a proposition from his eldest son,--that the time for
this foreign tutelage might possibly expire within the second year,
should the results evoked by the ambitious passion of his youngest
born be in any fair progress to fulfilment.

In little more than a week after this final arrangement, every
preparation was finished for the wildly-contemplated tour. Robert had
taken a heart-plighting adieu from his beloved Edith. But by his
father's positive injunction, there was no engagement for a hereafter
actual plighting of hands made between them. Yet their eloquent eyes,
transparent through their mutual tears, vowed it to each other, and
with silent prayers for his indeed early return, they parted.

When taking leave of his father, and receiving his directions
relative to a correspondence with his family, permission was
peremptorily denied him to hold any with his cousin Edith. He had
learned enough lately to avoid all supplications to the paternal
quarter, if he would not invite scorn as well as to receive
disappointment. But Algernon whispered to him "that nobody should
remain wholly _incognita_ to him in that house while he dipped
pen in any one of the three hundred and sixty-five inkhorns under its
awful towers!" Robert then bowed his farewell with a flushed cheek
and grave respect to his father, but gratefully separated from his
brother with a warm pressure of the hand. The old household servants
blessed him as he passed through the hall, and in a few minutes he
found himself seated in the family post-chaise and four that was to
convey him from the home of his youth and happy innocence, and, alas!
to return to it "an altered man."

When he reached Dover to embark, he fell in with the present Earl of
Tinemouth, then Mr. Stanhope, sent abroad on a similar errand with
himself. But Stanhope's was to forget a mistress--Somerset's to merit
the one he sought. The two young men were kinsfolk by birth, and they
now felt themselves so in severing from their parents. Stanhope was
in high wrath against his, and he soon rekindled the already excited
mind of Somerset to a responsive demonstration of resentment. They
determined to show that "they were not such boys as to submit any
further in passive obedience to the stern authority dominating over
them." Sir Fulke's particular charge against his son was a "womanish
softness, unworthy his loftier sex!" "Show him," cried Stanhope, that
"you have the hardihood of a true man by an immediate act of
independence. Let us travel together, kinsmen as we are, change our
names, and let no one in England know anything about us during our
tour except the two dear women on whose accounts we are thus
transported!"

With these views they landed in France, gave themselves out to be
brothers (which a certain resemblance in their persons corroborated),
and called themselves Sackville. Agreeably amused with the novelties
presented to them at almost every step of their tour from gay Paris
to sentimental Italy, they proceeded pretty amicably until they
reached Naples. There Mr. Stanhope involved himself in an intrigue
with the only daughter of an old British officer, who had retired to
that climate for his health. Somerset remonstrated on the villany of
seducing an innocent girl, when he knew his heart and hand were
pledged to another. Stanhope, enraged at finding a censor in a
companion whom he had considered to be as headstrong as himself,
ended the argument by drawing his sword, and if the servants of the
hotel had not interfered, the affray would probably have terminated
with one of their lives. Since that hour they never met. Mr. Stanhope
fled from his shame and his bleeding friend, and, fearful of
consequences, took temporary refuge in one of the Aonian Isles, not
daring to proceed any further against the innocence of the poor
officer's daughter, who had been thus rescued from becoming his
victim!

When recovered from his wound, Robert Somerset (by some strange
infatuation still retaining the name of Sackville) proceeded to
Florence, in which interesting city, for works of art, ancient and
modern, and the graces of classic society, determining to stay some
time, he rather sought than repelled the civilities of the
inhabitants. Here he became acquainted with the palatine, and the
lovely Countess Therese, his daughter. Her beauty pleased his taste;
her gentle virtues and exquisite accomplishments affected both his
heart and mind; and he often gazed on her with tenderness, when his
fidelity to Edith Beaufort only meant him to convey a look of
grateful admiration. The palatine honored England, and was prepared
to esteem her sons wherever he might meet them; and very soon he
became so attached to this apparently lonely young traveller, that he
invited him to all the excursions he and his daughter made into the
adjoining states, whether visiting them by the romantic scenery of
the land-roads, or coasting the beautiful bays of the sublime shores
on either side of those parts of the Mediterranean.

In the midst of this intimacy, as if she were aware of a friendship
so hostile to his cousin's love, he suddenly ceased to receive any
remembrance-messages from her to him, in the two last letters from
his brother,--for he had never allowed himself to so brave his
father's parting commands as to write to her himself. Desperate with
jealousy of some unknown object supplanting him, he was on the point
of setting off for home, to judge with his own eyes, when a large
packet from England was put into his hands. On opening it he found a
letter from Edith, on which his surprised and eager gaze had
immediately fixed. Without looking on any of the rest, he broke the
seal, and read, astounded by the contents, "that having for some time
been led to consider the probable consequences to him, both from his
father's better judgment and the ultimate opinion of the world,
should he and she continue their pertinacious adherence to their
childish attachment, she had tried to wean both him and herself from
so rebellious a folly towards her revered guardian, his honored
father; and trusting that the gradual shortening of her cousin-like
messages to him, through his brother's letters, must have had the
effect intended, she now had permission to write one herself to him,
to convince him at once of the unreasonableness and danger of all
such premature entanglements. For," she added, "soon after his
departure, a journey to town had taught her to know her own heart.
She learned to feel that it was still at her disposal; and time did
not long pass after she returned to the country before, having
compared the object of her awakened taste with that of her former
delusion, she persuaded her own better judgment to set a generous
example to her ever-dear cousin Robert, by marrying where that
judgment now pointed. And so, with the full consent of Sir Fulke (who
she well knew had been totally averse to her marriage with his
youngest son), she had yielded to the long love of his brother, which
had been struggling in his manly bosom many agonizing months against
his persistent fidelity to Robert, but whose sister she hoped to
shortly become, as his affectionate Edith--then Somerset."

Having read this extraordinary epistle to the end, so monstrous in
the character of its sentiments and its language, when compared with
all he had hitherto known of the pure and simple mind from which it
came, a terrible revulsion seized on his own, and, almost maddened
with horror at every name in that letter, he foreswore his family
forever! Hastening, as for one drop of heaven's dew upon his burning
brain, to seek Therese Sobieski, he found her alone, and though
without such aim when he rushed so frenzied into her presence, he
besought her "to heal a miserable and broken heart, which could only
be saved to endure any continuance of life by an acknowledgment that
she loved him!" Alas! the avowal was too soon wrung from that tender
and noble spirit! and yielding to a paroxysm of a rash and blinding
revenge, he hurried her to a neighboring convent and secretly married
her.

This most unrighteous act perpetrated, he in vain sought
tranquillity. He was now stung within by a constant sense of
increasing guilt. Before this act he was the injured party--injured
by those in whom he had confided his dearest earthly happiness; and
he could raise his head in conscious truth, though all his fondest
hopes had been wrecked by their falsehood. But now he was the
betrayer of a young and innocent heart, which had implicitly trusted
in him. And he had insulted with a base and treacherous ingratitude,
by that act of deceit, without excuse, the honor of her father, whose
generous confidence had also been implicitly placed in him. But the
effects of these scorpion reproaches in his bosom were not less
destructive of her peace than of his own. He saw that his wedded
Therese was unweariedly anxious to soothe the mysterious wanderings
of his mind with her softest tenderness. But his thoughts were,
indeed, far from her, ever hovering over the changed image of his so
lately adored Edith--ever agonizing over the lightness of a conduct
so unlike her former virgin delicacy, so unlike the clinging vows she
breathed to him in their hour of boding separation!--ever execrating
the perfidy of his brother, which had brought on him this distracting
load of guilt and woe!

In this temper of alienation from all the world, a second packet from
England was put into his hand. Again he saw Edith's writing; but he
dropped it unopened, in horror of the signature he anticipated would
be appended to it. Roused by resentment towards him whose name he
believed she then bore, he tore asunder the wax of a letter from his
father, which was sealed with black. His eyes were speedily riveted
to it. Sir Fulke, in the language of deep contrition, confessed a
train of deception that petrified his son. He declared, with bitter
invectives against himself, that all which had been communicated to
that unhappy son relating to Edith and her intended marriage with
Algernon had been devised by that unkind brother, and his no less
unnatural father, for the treacherous purpose of that marriage.
Devoted to ambition for his own sake, as well as for that of his
favorite son, Sir Fulke owned that he had from the first of Edith
Beaufort's becoming his ward resolved on her union in due time with
Algernon, in order to endow him, in addition to his own rich
inheritance, with all the political influence attendant on the vast
estate to which she was heiress, and so build up the family, in the
consideration of government, to any pitch of coroneted rank their
high-reaching parent might choose to reclaim.

With many prayers for pardon from Heaven and the cruelly-injured
Robert, the wretched father acknowledged that this confession was
wrung from him by the sudden death of his eldest son, who having been
thrown off his horse on a heap of stones in the high-road, after
three days of severe bodily and mental suffering, now lay a sadly-
disfigured corpse, under the vainly mourning blazonry of his house,
in the darkened hall of his ancestors. The disconsolate narrator then
added, "that in contrite repentance his son had conjured him, with
his dying breath, to confess the falsehood of all that had passed to
the grossly-abused Robert;" amongst which, was Algernon turning to
the account of his own designs every confidence imparted to him by
his brother, in his _incognito_ movements, and awakened intimacy
with the noble Sarmatian family at Florence. And from these
unsuspected sources, this false friend and kinsman had contrived to
throw out hints of his brother's reported sliding heart to the
shrinking object of his own base and perfidious passion. At last,
believing Robert to be unfaithful, she sunk into a depression of
spirits which Sir Fulke thought would be easy to work to an assent,
in mere reckless melancholy, to the union he sought. With that
object, and to break the knot at once by a trenchant blow on Robert's
side, Algernon forged that letter in Edith Beaufort's handwriting
which had announced so unblushingly her preparations for an immediate
marriage with the eldest son.

"But," continued Sir Fulke, "death has put an end to this unnatural
rivalry. And my poor girl, undeceived in her opinion of you, longs to
see you, and to give you that hand which your ill-fated brother and
infatuated father so unjustly detained from you. You are now my only
son, the only prop of my house, the only comfort of my old age! My
son, do not abandon to his remorse and sorrow your only parent."

On receipt of this packet, in a consternation of amazement, and a
soul divided between rekindled love in all its fires and pity and
honor towards her he had betrayed before the altar of heaven, Robert
Somerset sacrificed both to his imperious passion. He adored the
woman on whose account he had left the country, and though every tie,
sacred and just, bound him to the tender and faithful wife he must
forsake to regain that idol, he at once consigned her to the full
horrors of desertion and hastened to England.

"Disgraceful to relate!" ejaculated Sir Robert, putting his hand over
his face, "I married Edith Beaufort, while in our deepest mourning,
but at Somerset, as the place farthest from general notice. My
father, eager to efface as fast as possible from my mind and hers all
recollection of his past conduct towards us, had prepared everything
splendid, though private, for our union; and in her blissful,
restored possession, I forgot for a while Therese and her agonies.
But when my dear Pembroke first saw the light, when I pressed him to
my heart, it seemed as if in the same instant a dagger pierced it.
When I would have breathed a blessing over him, the conviction struck
me that I durst not--that I had deluded the mother who gave him
birth, and that at some future period he might have cause to curse
the author of his existence.

"Well," continued the baronet, wiping his forehead, "though the birth
of this boy conjured up the image of your mother, to haunt me day and
night, I never could summon moral courage to inquire of her destiny
after I had left her. When the troubles of Poland commenced, what a
dreadful terror seized me! The successes of their allied enemies, and
the consequent distress and persecution of the chief nobility,
overwhelmed me with apprehension. I knew not but that many, like the
_noblesse_ of France, might be forced to abandon their country;
and the bare idea of meeting your grandfather, or the injured
Therese, in England, precipitated me into a nervous state that
menaced my life. I became abstracted and seriously ill, was forbidden
all excitements; hence easily avoided the sight of newspapers; and,
on the plea you have heard, my family were withheld from speaking on
any public subjects that manifestly gave me pain. But I could not
prevent the tongues of our visitors from discoursing on a theme which
at that period interested every thinking mind. I heard of the valiant
Kosciusko, the good Stanislaus, and the palatine Sobieski, with his
brave grandson, spoken of in the same breath. I durst not surmise who
this grandson was; I dared not ask--I dreaded to know.

"At length," added the agitated father, quickening his voice, "the
idol of my heart--she for whom I had sacrificed my all of human
probity, perhaps my soul's eternal peace--died in my arms. Where
could a wretch like me turn for consolation? I had forfeited all
right to it from Heaven or earth. But at last a benignant spirit
seemed to breathe on me, and I bent beneath the stroke with humility;
for I embraced it as the just chastisement of a crime which till
then, even in the midst of my married felicity, had often pressed on
my dearest feelings like the hand of death. I repeat, I bore this
chastening trial with the resignation I have described. But when, two
years afterwards, my eye fell by accident upon the name of Sobieski
in one of the public papers, I could not withdraw it; my sight was
fascinated as if by a rattle-snake. In one column I read how bravely
the palatine fell, and in the next the dreadful fate of his daughter.
She was revenged!" cried Sir Robert, eagerly grasping the hand of
Thaddeus, who could not restrain the groan that burst from his
breast. "For nearly three months I was deprived of that reason which
had abused her noble nature.

"When I recovered my senes," continued he, in a calmer tone, "and
found I had so fatally suffered the time of any restitution to her to
go by, I began to torture my remorseful heart because that I had not,
immediately on the death of my too much loved Edith, hastened to
Poland, and besought Therese's pardon from her ever-generous heart.
But this vivid approach to a sincere repentance was soon obliterated
by the consideration that, the Countess Sobieski having had a prior
claim to my name, such restitution on my part must have
illegitimatized my darling Pembroke, his dying mother's fondest
bequeathment to a father's arms.

"It was this fearful conviction," exclaimed Sir Robert, a sudden
horror, indeed, distracting his before affectionate eye, "that caused
all my barbarian cruelty. When my dear and long-believed only son
described the danger from which you had rescued him, when he told me
that Therese had fostered him with a parent's tenderness, I was
probed to the heart. But when he added that the young Count Sobieski
was now an alien from his country, and relying on my friendship for a
home, my terror was too truly manifested. Horror drove all natural
remorse from my soul. I thought an avenging power had sent my
deserted child to discover his father, to claim his rights, and to
publish me as a disgrace to the name I had stolen from him. And when
I saw my innocent Pembroke, even to his knees, petitioning for the
man who I believed had come to undo him, I became almost deranged.
May the Lord of mercy pardon the fury of that derangement! For under
that temper," added he, putting the trembling hand of Thaddeus to his
streaming eyes, "I drove my first-born to be a wanderer on the face
of the earth, not for his own crimes, but for those of his father;
and Heaven justly punished in the crime the sin of my injustice. When
I thought that evidence of my shame was divided from me by an
insuperable barrier, when I believed that the ocean would soon
separate me from my fears, a righteous Providence brought thee before
me, forlorn and expiring. It was the son of Therese Sobieski I had
exposed to such wretchedness. It was the cherished of her heart I had
delivered to the raging elements! Oh, Thaddeus, my son," cried he,
"can I be forgiven for all this, in this world or in the next?"

"Oh, my father!" returned Thaddeus, with a modest, but a pathetic
energy, "I am thy son! thy happy son, in such acknowledgment!
Therefore no longer upbraid yourself. Did you not act, as by a sacred
impulse, a father's part to me when you knew me not? You raised my
dying head from the earth and laid it on your bosom. O, my father! He
who brought us so together in his own appointed time, chasteneth
every son whom he receiveth, and has thus proved his love and pardon
to your contrite heart, both on earth and in heaven, by the nature of
your chastisement and the healing balm at its close!"

At the end of this interview, so interesting and vital to the
happiness of both these newly-united parties, father and son, Sir
Robert motioned his blessing to that son by laying his hand gently on
his head, while the parental tears flowed on that now dear forehead--
for he could not then speak. He immediately withdrew, to leave
Thaddeus to repose, and himself to retire to pour out his grateful
spirit in private.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XLVI.

THE SPIRIT OF PEACE.


At dawn on the morning following the preceding eventful but happy
conference, Sir Robert, painfully remembering the frantic grief of
Pembroke on finding that Sobieski had not only withdrawn himself from
Harrowby, but had adjured England forever, and still feeling the
merited bitterness of the reproaches which his inexplicable commands,
dishonoring to his son, had provoked from that only too-long-
preferred offspring of his idolized Edith.--which reproaches,
unknowingly so inflicted by the desperation of their utterer, had
driven the guilty father to seek a temporary refuge from them, if not
from his own accusing conscience, under the then solitary roof of one
of his country seats in the adjacent county,--yet somewhat relieved,
as by the immediate mercy of Heaven, from the load of his misery, he
eagerly wrote by the auspicious beams of the rising sun a few short
lines to Pembroke, telling him that "a providential circumstance had
occurred since they parted, which he trusted would finally reconcile
into a perfect peace all that had recently passed so distressingly
between them; therefore he, his ever tenderly-affectioned father,
requested him to join him alone, and without delay, at Deerhurst."

This duty done to one beloved child, he then turned to anticipate a
second converse to his comfort with the other.

That sickness which is the consequence of mental suffering usually
vanishes with its cause. Long before the dinner-hour of this happy
day, Thaddeus, refreshed by the peaceful and lengthened sleep from
which he awoke late in the morning, rose as if with a renewed
principle of life. Quitting his room, he met his glad father in the
passage-gallery, who instantly conducted him into a private room,
where that now tranquillized parent soon brought him to relate, with
every sentence a deepening interest, the rapid incidents of his brief
but eventful career. The voice of fame had already blazoned him
abroad as "the plume of war, with early laurels crowned;" but it was
left to his own ingenuous tongue to prove, in all the modest
simplicity of a perfect filial confidence, that the most difficult
conflicts are not those which are sustained on the battle-field.

Sir Robert listened to him with affection, admiration, and delight,--
ah, with what pride in such a son! He was answering the heartfelt
detail with respondent gratefulness to that Almighty Power which had
shed on his transgressing head such signal "signs of heavenly
amnesty!" when the door opened, and a servant announced that Mr.
Somerset was in the library.

Thaddeus started up with joy in his countenance; but Sir Robert
gently put him down again. "Remain here, my son," said he, "until I
apprize your brother how nearly you are related to him. Yonder door
leads into my study; I will call you when he is prepared."

The moment Sir Robert joined Pembroke, he read in his pale and
haggard features how much he needed the intelligence he was summoned
to hear. Mr. Somerset bowed coldly but respectfully on his father's
entrance, and begged to be honored with his commands.

"They are what I expect will restore to you your usual looks and
manner, my dear son," returned the baronet; "so attend to me."

Pembroke listened to his father's narrative with mute and, as it
proceeded, amazed attention. But when the name of Therese Sobieski
was mentioned as that of the foreign lady whom he had married and
deserted, the ready apprehension of his breathless auditor conceiving
the remainder yet unuttered by the agitated narrator, Sir Robert had
only to confirm, though in a hardly audible voice, the eager demand
of his son, "Was Thaddeus Sobieski indeed his brother?" and while
hearing the reply, unable to ask another question, he looked wildly
from earth to heaven, as if seeking where he might yet be found.

"O, my father!" cried he, "what have you done? Where is he? For what
have you sacrificed him?"

"Hear me to an end," rejoined the baronet. He then, in as few words
as possible, repeated the subsequent events of the recent meeting.

Pembroke's raptures were now as high as his despair had been
profound. He threw himself on his father's breast; he asked for his
friend, his brother, and begged to be conducted to him. Sir Robert
did no more than open the intervening door, and in one instant the
brothers were locked in each other's arms.

The transports of the young men for a long while denied them words;
but their eyes, their tears, and their united hands imparted to each
breast a consciousness of mutual love unutterable, not even to be
expressed by those looks which are indeed the heralds of the soul.

Sir Robert wept like an infant whilst contemplating these two
affectionate brothers; in a faltering voice he exclaimed, "How soon
may these plighted hands be separated by inexorable law! Alas,
Pembroke, you cannot be ignorant that I buy this son at a terrible
price from you!"

At this speech the blood rushed over the cheek of the ingenuous
Pembroke; but Thaddeus, turning instantly to Sir Robert, said, with
an eloquent smile.

"On this head I trust that neither my father nor my brother will
entertain one thought to trouble them. Had I even the inclination to
act otherwise than right, my revered grandfather has put it out of my
power to claim or to bear any other name than that of Sobieski. He
made me swear never to change it; and, as I hope to meet him
hereafter," added he, with solemnity, "I will obey him. Therefore, my
beloved father, in secret only can I enjoy the conviction that I am
your son, and Pembroke's brother. Yet the happiness I receive with
the knowledge of being so will ever live here, will ever animate my
heart with gratitude to Heaven and to you."

"Noble son of the sainted Therese!" cried Sir Robert; "I do not
deserve thee!"

"How shall I merit your care of my honor, of my dearest feelings?"
exclaimed Pembroke, grasping the hand of his brother. "I can do
nothing, dearest Thaddeus; I am a bankrupt in the means of evincing
what is passing in my soul. My mother's chaste spirit thanks you from
my lips. Yet I will not abuse your generosity. Though I retain the
name of Somerset, it shall only be the name; the inheritance entailed
on my father's eldest son belongs to you."

Whilst Thaddeus embraced his brother again, he calmly and
affectionately replied that he would rather encounter all the
probable evils from which his father's benevolence had saved him,
than rob his brother of any part of that inheritance, "which," he
earnestly added, "I sincerely believe, according to the Providence of
Heaven, is your just due."

Sir Robert, with abhorrence of himself and admiration of his sons,
attempted to stop this noble contention by proposing that it should
be determined by an equal division of the family property.

"Not so, my father," returned Thaddeus, steadfastly, but with
reverence; "I can never admit that the title of Somerset should
sacrifice one jot of its inherited accustomed munificence by making
any such alienation of its means."

And then the ingenuous son of Therese Sobieski proceeded, in the same
modest but firm tone, to remind his father that "though the laws of
the national church wherein he had married her would have given their
son every right over any inheritance from either parent which
belonged to Poland, yet as no opportunity had subsequently occurred
for repeating the sacred ceremony by the laws of his father's church,
her son could make no legal claim whatever on a rood of the Somerset
lands in England."

Sir Robert, with unspeakable emotion, clasped the hand of his first-
born when he had made, and with such tender delicacy, this conclusive
remark, and which, indeed, had never presented itself to his often
distractedly apprehensive mind, either before or after the death of
Pembroke's mother; even had it done so, it would not have afforded
any quiet to his soul from the internal worm gnawing there. His act
had been guilt towards Therese Sobieski and her confiding innocence.
And it was not the discovery of any omitted legislative ordinance
that could have satisfied the accusing conscience in his own bosom,
hourly calling out against him. But the heaven-consecrated son of
that profaned marriage had found the reconciling point--had poured in
the healing balm; and the spirit of his father was now at peace.

In cordial harmony, therefore, with this generous opinion, so
opportunely expressed by the sincere judgment of the last of the
house of Sobieski, when so united to that of Somerset, and with a
corresponding simplicity of purpose, interwoven by the sweet
reciprocity of mutual confidence, the remainder of the evening passed
pleasantly between the happy father and his no less happy sons.

Sir Robert dispatched a letter next day to his sister, to invite her
and his beloved Mary to join the home party at Deerhurst without
delay. Pembroke rejoiced in this prospective relief to the minds of
his aunt and cousin, being well aware that he had left them in a
state of intense anxiety, not only on account of the baronet's
strange conduct,--which had not been explicable in any way to their
alarmed observations,--but on account of himself, whose mind had
appeared from the time of his father's incensed departure in a state
verging on derangement. On the instant of his return from the
deserted hotel, while passing Mary, whom he accidently met in his
bewildered way to Sir Robert's room, he had exclaimed to her, "I have
not seen Sobieski! he is gone! and your message is not delivered."
From the time of that harrowing intimation, he had constantly avoided
even the sight of his cousin or his aunt. Yet before he quitted the
Castle to obey his father's new commands, he had summoned courage to
enter Mary's boudoir, where she sat alone. Not trusting himself to
speak, he put the letter which Thaddeus had written to her into her
hand, and disappeared, not daring to await her opening what he knew
to be a last farewell.

He had guessed aright; for from the moment in which her trembling
hand had broken the seal and she had read it to the end, bathed in
her tears, it lay on her mourning heart, whether she waked or slept,
till her silent grief was roused to share her thoughts with a
personal exertion, welcome to that despondent heart. It was Sir
Robert's invitation for her own and her aunt's immediate removal to
their always favorite Deerhurst! because far from the gay world, and
ever devoted to quite domestic enjoyments.

But before this summons had arrived, and early in the morning of the
same day, Lady Albina Stanhope, more dead than alive in appearance,
had reached Somerset Castle in a post-chaise, accompanied by her maid
alone, to implore the protection of its revered owner against the
most terrible evils that could be inflicted by an unnatural parent on
a daughter's heart--that of being compelled to be a party in a double
outrage on the memory of her mother, by witnessing the marriage of
her father, by special license, to Lady Olivia Lovel, that very
evening, in the Harwold great hall, and herself to commit the
monstrous act of being married to a nephew of that profligate woman.
To avoid such horrors, she had flown for refuge to the only persons
she knew on earth likely to shield her from so great an infamy.

Soon after this disclosure, to which the sister and niece of the
beneficent Sir Robert Somerset--whom she had hoped to find at the
Castle--had listened with the tenderest sympathy, his letter to Miss
Dorothy was delivered to the venerable lady. Mary and their fatigued
guest were seated together on the sofa; and the seal, without
apology, from the receiver's anxious haste to learn what it might
contain of her brother's health, was instantly broken. A glance
removed every care. Reading it aloud to both her young auditors, at
every welcome word the bosom of the amazed Miss Beaufort heaved with
increasing astonishment, hope, and gratitude, while beneath the veil
of her clustered ringlets her eyes shed the tribute of happy tears to
heaven--to that heaven alone her virgin spirit breathed the emotions
of her reviving heart. The good old lady was not backward in
demonstrating her wonderings. Surprised at her brother's rencontre
with Thaddeus, but more at his avowal of obligations to any of that
nation about which he had always proclaimed an aversion, she was so
wrapped in bewilderment yet delight at the discovery, that her ever
cheerful tongue felt nothing loathe to impart to the attentively-
listening Albina--who had recognized in the names of Constantine and
Thaddeus those of her lamented mother's most faithful friend--all
that she knew of his public as well as his private character since
she had known him by that of Sobieski also.

Sir Robert's letter informed his sister "that a providential
circumstance had introduced Pembroke's friend, the Count Sobieski, to
his presence, when, to his astonishment and unutterable satisfaction,
he discovered that this celebrated young hero (though one of a nation
against which he had so often declared his dislike, but which
ungenerous prejudice he now abjured!) was the only remaining branch
of a family from whom, about twenty-live years ago, while in a
country far distant equally from England or Poland, he had received
many kindnesses, he had contracted an immense debt, under peculiarly
embarrassing circumstances to himself, when then an alien from his
father's confidence. And his benefactor in this otherwise
inextricable dilemma was the Palatine of Masovia, the world-revered
grandfather of the young Count Sobieski. And," he added, "in some
small compensation for the long-unredeemed pecuniary part of this
latter obligation, (the fulfilment of which certain adverse events on
the continent had continued to prevent), he had besought and obtained
permission from the young count, now in England, to at once set at
rest his past anxieties to settle an affair of so much importance, by
signing over to him, as the palatine's heir and representative, the
sole property of his (Sir Robert's) recently-purchased new domain--
the house and estates of Manor Court, nearly adjoining to those of
Dcerhurst, on the Warwick side. The rent-roll might be about live
thousand pounds per annum. And there, in immediate right of
possession, the noble descendant of his munificent friend would
resume his illustrious name, and embrace, with a generous esteem of
this country's national, character, a lasting home and filiation in
England!"

Sir Robert closed this auspicious letter (which he had striven,
however, to write in such a manner as not to betray the true nature
of the parental feelings which dictated it) with a playful expression
of his impatience to present to his sister and niece "their
interesting _emigré_ in a character which reflected so much
honor on their discernment."

The impatience was indeed shared, though in different degrees and
forms, by the whole little party--the soul of one in it totally
absorbed. But owing to some insurmountable obstacles, occasioning
delays, by the exhausted state of the overwrought Lady Albina; and
notwithstanding the necessity of getting on as fast as possible, to
be out of the reach of the enraged earl, should he have missed and
traced his daughter to Somerset Castle, the fugitives could not start
till late in the afternoon of that day, and it was an hour or more
past midnight before they arrived at Deerhurst.

The family, in no small disappointment, had given them up for the
night, and had retired to their rooms. Miss Dorothy, who would not
suffer her brother to be disturbed, sent the two young ladies to
their chambers, and was crossing, on tiptoe, the long picture-gallery
to her own apartment, when a door opening, Pembroke, in his dressing-
gown and slippers, looked out on hearing the stealthy step. She put
forth her hand to him with delight, and in a low voice congratulated
him on the change in Sir Robert's mind, kissed his cheek, and told
him to prepare for another pleasant surprise in the morning. Smiling
with these words, she bade him good-night, and softly proceeded to
her chamber.

Pembroke had thought so little of his ever-merry aunt's lively
promise, that she saw him one of the latest in entering the
breakfast-parlor, he not having hastened from his usual breezy early
walk over the neighboring downs, where Thaddeus had been his
companion. Miss Dorothy gayly reproached her nephew for his undutiful
lack of curiosity, while Mary, with a glowing cheek, received the
glad embrace of her cousin, who gently whispered to her, "Now I shall
see together the two beings I most dearly love! Oh! the happiness
contained in that sight!" Mary's vivid blush had not subsided when
the entrance of Thaddeus, and his agitated bow, overspread her neck
and brow with crimson. A sudden dimness obscured her faculties, and
she scarcely heard the animated words of Sir Robert, whilst
presenting him to her as the Count Sobieski, the beloved grandson of
one who had deserved the warmest place in his heart! Whatever he was,
the lowly Constantine or the distinguished Sobieski, she was
conscious that he was lord of hers; and withdrawing her hand
confusedly from the timid and thrilling touch of him she would have
willingly lingered near forever, she glided towards an open casement,
where the fresh air helped to dispel the faintness which had seized
her.

After Miss Dorothy, with all the urbanity of her nature, had declared
her welcome to the count, she put away the coffee that was handed to
her by Pembroke, and said, with a smile, "Before I taste my
breakfast, I must inform you, Sir Robert, that you have a guest in
this house you little expect. I forbade Miss Beaufort's saying a
word, because, as we are told, 'the first tellers of unwelcome news
have but a losing office;' _vice versâ_, I hoped for a gaining
one, therefore preserved such a profitable piece of intelligence for
my own promulgation. Indeed, I doubt whether it will not win me a
pair of gloves from some folks here," added she, glancing archly on
Pembroke, who looked round at this whimsical declaration. "Suffice it
to say, that yesterday morning Lady Albina Stanhope, looking like a
ghost, and her poor maid, scared almost out of her wits, arrived in a
hack-chaise at Somerset Castle, and besought our protection. Our dear
Mary embraced the weeping young creature, who, amidst many tears,
recapitulated the injuries she had suffered since she had been torn
from her mother's remains at the Abbey. The latest outrage of her
cruel father was his intended immediate marriage with the vile Lady
Olivia Lovel, and his commands that Lady Albina should the same
evening give her hand to that bad woman's nephew. Ill as she was when
she received these disgraceful orders, she determined to prevent the
horror of such double degradation by instantly quitting the house;
'and,' added she, 'whither could I go? Ah! I could think of none so
likely to pity the unhappy victim of the wickedness I fled from as
the father of the kind Mr. Somerset. He had told me we were
relations; I beseech you, kind ladies, to be my friends!' Certain of
your benevolence, my dear brother," continued Miss Dorothy, "I
stopped this sweet girl's petition with my caresses, and promised her
a gentler father in Sir Robert Somerset."

"You did right, Dorothy," returned the baronet; "though the earl and
I must ever be strangers, I have no enmity to his children. Where is
this just-principled young lady?"

Miss Dorothy informed him that, in consequence of her recent grief
and ill treatment, she had found herself too unwell to rise with the
family; but she hoped to join them at noon.

Pembroke was indeed deeply interested in this intelligence. The
simple graces of the lovely Albina had on the first interview touched
his heart. Her sufferings at Harrowby, and the sensibility which her
ingenuous nature exhibited without affectation or disguise, had left
her image on his mind long after they parted. He now gave the reins
to his eager imagination, and was the first in the saloon to greet
her as his lovely kins-woman.

Sir Robert Somerset welcomed her with the warmth of a parent, and the
amiable girl wept in happy gratitude.

During this scene, Miss Beaufort, no longer able to bear the
restraint of company nor even the accidental encountering of his eyes
whose presence, dear as it was, oppressed and disconcerted her,
walked out into the park. Though it was the latter end of October,
the weather continued fine. A bright sun tempered the air, and gilded
the yellow leaves, which the fresh wind drove before her into a
thousand glittering eddies. This was Mary's favorite season. She ever
found its solemnity infuse a sacred tenderness into her soul. The
rugged form of Care seemed to dissolve under the magic touch of sweet
Nature. Forgetful of the world's anxieties, she felt the tranquillizing
spirit of soothing melancholy that shades the heart of sorrow with
a veil which might well be called the twilight of the mind; and the
entranced soul, happy in its dream, half closes its bright eye,
reluctant to perceive that such bland repose is pillowed on the
shifting clouds.

Such were the reflections of Miss Beaufort, after her disturbed
thoughts had tossed themselves, in a sea of doubts, regarding any
possible interest she might possess in the breast of Sobieski. She
recalled the hours they had passed together; they agitated but did
not satisfy her heart. She remembered Pembroke's vehement declaration
that Thaddeus loved her; but then it was Pembroke's declaration, not
his! and the circumstances in which it had been made were too likely
to mislead the wishes of her cousin. And then Sobieski's farewell
letter! It was noble--grateful; but where appeared the glowing, soul-
pervading sentiment that consumed her life for him? Exhausted by the
anguish of this suspense, she resolved to resign her future fate to
Providence. Turning her gaze on the lovely objects around, she soon
found the genius of the season absorb her wholly. Her cheeks glowed,
her eyes became humid, and casting their mild radiance on the fading
flowers beneath, she pursued her way through a cloud of fragrance. It
was the last breath of the expiring year. Love is full of
imagination. Mary easily glided from the earth's departing charms to
her own she thought waning beauty; the chord once touched, every note
vibrated, and hope and fear, joy and regret, again dispossessed her
lately-acquired serenity.



CHAPTER XLVII.

AN AVOWAL.


After some little time, Lady Albina, having missed Miss Beaufort,
expressed a wish to walk out in search of her, and the two brothers
offered their attendance. But before her ladyship had passed through
the first park, she complained of fatigue. Pembroke urged her to
enter a shepherd's hut close by, whilst the Count Sobieski would
proceed alone in quest of his cousin.

With a beating heart Thaddeus undertook this commission. Hastening
along the nearest dell with the lightness of a young hunter, he
mounted the heights, descended to the glades, traversed one woody
nook and then another, but could see no trace of Miss Beaufort.
Supposing she had returned to the house, he was slackening his pace
to abandon the search, when he caught a glimpse of her figure as she
turned the corner of a thicket leading to a terrace above. In an
instant he was at her side, and with his hat in his hand, and a
glowing cheek, he repeated his errand.

Mary blushed, faltered, and became strangely alarmed at finding
herself alone with him. Though he now stood before her in a quality
which she ever believed was his right, the remembrance of what had
passed between them in other circumstances confounded and overwhelmed
her. When Constantine was poor and unfriended, it seemed a sacred
privilege to pity and to love him. When the same Constantine appeared
as a man of rank, invested with a splendid fortune and extensive
fame, she felt lost--annihilated. The cloud which had obscured, not
extinguished, his glory was dispersed. He was that Sobieski whom she
had admired unseen; he was that Constantine whom she had loved
unknown; he was that Sobieski, that Constantine, whom, seen and
known, she now, alas! loved almost to adoration!

Oppressed by the weight of these emotions, she only bowed to what he
said, and gathering her cloak from the winds which blew it around
her, was hurrying with downward eyes to the stairs of the terrace,
when her foot slipped, and she must have fallen, had not Thaddeus
caught her in his ready arm. She rose with a blushing face, and the
color did not recede when she found that he had not relinquished her
hand. Her heart beat violently, her head became giddy, her feet lost
their power. Finding that, after a slight attempt to withdraw her
hand, he still held it fast, though in a trembling grasp, and nearly
overcome by inexplicable distress, she turned away her face to
conceal its confusion.

Thaddeus saw all this, and with a fluttering hope, instead of
surrendering the hand he had retained, he made it a yet closer
prisoner by clasping it in both his. Pressing it earnestly to his
breast, he said in a hurried voice, whilst his earnest eyes poured
all their beams upon her averted cheek, "Surely Miss Beaufort will
not deny me the dearest happiness I possess--the privilege of being
grateful to her?"

He paused: his soul was too full for utterance; and raising Mary's
hand from his heart to his lips, he kissed it fervently. Almost
fainting, Miss Beaufort leaned her head against a tree of the thicket
where they were standing. The thought of the confession which
Pembroke had extorted from her, and dreading that its fullness might
have been imparted to him, and that all this was rather the tribute
of gratitude than of love, she waved her other hand in sign for him
to leave her.

Such extraordinary confusion in her manner palsied the warm and
blissful emotions of the count. He, too, began to blame the sanguine
representation of his friend; and fearing that he had offended her,
that she might suppose he presumed on her kindness, he stood for a
moment in silent astonishment; then dropping on his knee, (hardly
conscious of the action,) declared in an agitated voice his sense of
having given this offence; at the same time he ventured to repeat,
with equally modest energy, the soul-devoted passion he had so long
endeavored to seal up in his lonely breast.

"But forgive me!" added he, with increased earnestness; "forgive me,
in justice to your own virtues. In what has just passed, I feel I
ought to have only expressed thanks for your goodness to an
unfortunate exile; but if my words or manner have obeyed the more
fervid impulse of my soul, and declared aloud what is its glory in
secret, blame my nature, most respected Miss Beaufort, not my
presumption. I have not dared to look steadily on any aim higher than
your esteem."

Mary knew not how to receive this address. The position in which he
uttered it, his countenance when she turned to answer him, were both
demonstrative of something less equivocal than his speech. He was
still grasping the drapery of her cloak, and his eyes, from which the
wind blew back his fine hair, were beaming upon her full of that
piercing tenderness which at once dissolves and assures the soul.

She passed her hand over her eyes. Her soul was in a tumult. She too
fondly wished to believe that he loved her to trust the evidence of
what she saw. His words were ambiguous, and that was sufficient to
fill her with uncertainty. Jealous of that delicacy which is the
parent of love, and its best preserver, she checked the over-flowings
of her heart, and whilst her concealed face streamed with tears,
conjured him to rise. Instinctively she held out her hand to assist
him. He obeyed; and hardly conscious of what she said, she continued--

"You have done nothing, Count Sobieski, to offend me. I was fearful
of my own conduct--that you might have supposed--I mean, unfortunate
appearances might lead you to imagine that I was influenced--was so
forgetful of myself--"

"Cease, madam! Cease, for pity's sake!" cried Thaddeus starting back,
and dropping her hand. Every motion which faltered on her tongue had
met an answering pang in his breast.

Fearing that he had set his heart on the possession of a treasure
totally out of his reach, he knew not how high had been his hope
until he felt the depth of his despair. Taking up his hat, which lay
on the grass, with a countenance from which every gleam of joy was
banished, he bowed respectfully, and in a lower tone continued: "The
dependent situation in which I appeared at Lady Dundas's being ever
before my eyes, I was not so absurd as to suppose that any lady could
then notice me from any other sentiment than humanity. That I excited
this humanity, where alone I was proud to awaken it, was, in these
hours of dejection, my sole comfort. It consoled me for the friends I
had lost; it repaid me for the honors which were no more. But that is
past! Seeing no further cause for compassion, you deem the delusion
no longer necessary. Since you will not allow me an individual
distinction in having attracted your benevolence, though I am to
ascribe it all to a charity as diffused as effective, yet I must ever
acknowledge with the deepest gratitude that I owe my present home and
happiness to Miss Beaufort. Further than this, I shall not--I dare
not--presume."

These words shifted all the count's anguish to Mary's breast. She
perceived the offended delicacy which actuated each syllable as it
fell; and fearful of having lost everything by her cold and what
might appear haughty reply, she opened her lips to say what might
better explain her meaning; but her heart failing her, she closed
them again, and continued to walk in silence by his side. Having
allowed the opportunity to escape, she believed that all hopes of
exculpation were at an end. Not daring to look up, she cast a
despairing glance at Sobieski's graceful figure, as he walked,
equally silent, near her. His arms were folded, his hat pulled over
his forehead, and his long dark eyelashes, shading his downward eyes,
imparted a dejection to his whole air which wrapped her weeping heart
round and round with regretful pangs. "Ah!" thought she, "though the
offspring of but one moment, they will prey on my peace forever."

At the turning of a little wooded knoll, the mute and pensive pair
heard the sound of some one on the other side, approaching them
through the dry leaves. In a minute after Sir Robert Somerset
appeared.

Whilst his father advanced smiling towards him, Thaddeus attempted to
dispel the gloom of his countenance, but not succeeding, he bowed
abruptly to the agitated Mary, and hastily said, "I will leave Miss
Beaufort in your protection, sir, and go myself to see whether Lady
Albina be recovered from her fatigue."

"I thought to find you all together," returned Sir Robert; "where is
her ladyship?"

"I left her with Pembroke, in a hut by the river," said Thaddeus, and
bowing again, he hurried away, whilst his father called after him to
return in a few minutes, and accompany him in a walk.

The departure of Sobieski, when he had come expressly to attend her
to Lady Albina, nearly overwhelmed Miss Beaufort's before exhausted
spirits. Hardly knowing whether to remain or retreat, she was
attempting the latter, when her guardian caught her hand.

"Stay, Mary!" cried he; "you surely would not leave me alone?"

Miss Beaufort's tears had gushed over her eyes the moment her back
was turned, and as Sir Robert drew her towards him, to his extreme
amazement he saw that she was weeping. At a sight so unexpected, the
smile of hilarity left his lips. Putting his arm tenderly round her
waist, (for now that her distress had discovered itself, her emotion
became so great that she could hardly stand,) he inquired in a kindly
manner what had affected her.

She answered by sobs only, until finding it impossible to break away
from her uncle's arms, she hid her face in his bosom and gave vent to
the full tide of her tears.

Recollecting the strange haste in which Thaddeus had hurried from
them, and remembering Miss Beaufort's generosity to him in town,
followed by her succeeding melancholy, Sir Robert at once united
these circumstances with her present confusion, and conceiving an
instantaneous suspicion of the reality, pressed her with redoubled
affection to his bosom.

"I fear, my dearest girl," said he, "that something disagreeable has
happened between you and the Count Sobieski. Perhaps he has offended
you? perhaps he has found my sweet Mary too amiable?"

Alarmed at this supposition, after a short struggle she answered, "O
no, sir! It is I who have offended him. He thinks I pride myself on
the insignificant services I rendered to him in London."

This reply convinced the baronet that he had not been pre-mature in
his judgment, and, with a new-born delight springing in his soul, he
inquired why she thought so? Had she given him any reason to believe
so?

Mary trembled at saying more.--Dreading that every word she might
utter would betray how highly she prized the count's esteem, she
faltered, hesitated, stopped. Sir Robert put the question a second
time, in different terms.

"My loved Mary," said he, seating her by him on the trunk of a fallen
tree, "I am sincerely anxious that you and this young nobleman should
regard each other as friends. He is very dear to me; and you cannot
doubt, my sweet girl, my affection for yourself. Tell me, therefore,
the cause of this little misunderstanding."

Miss Beaufort took courage at this speech. Drying her glowing eyes,
though still concealing them with a handkerchief, she replied in a
firmer voice, "I believe, sir, the fault lies totally on my side. The
Count Sobieski met me on the terrace, and thanked me for what I had
done for him. I acted very weakly; I was confused. Indeed I knew not
what he said; but he fell upon his knees, and I became so
disconcerted, so frightened at the idea of his having attributed my
conduct to indelicacy, or forwardness, that I answered something
which offended him, and I am sure he now thinks me unfeeling and
proud."

Sir Robert kissed her throbbing forehead, as she ended this rapid and
hardly-articulated explanation.

"Tell me candidly, my dearest Mary!" rejoined the baronet, "can you
believe that a man of Sobieski's disposition would bend his knee to a
woman whom he did not both respect and love? Simple gratitude, my
dear girl, is not so earnest. You have said enough to convince me,
whatever may be your sentiments, that you are the mistress of his
fate; and if he should mention it to me, may I describe to him the
scene which has now passed between us? May I tell him that its just
inference would requite his tenderness with more than your thanks and
best wishes?"

Miss Beaufort, who believed that the count must now despise her,
looked down to conceal the wretchedness which spoke through her eyes,
and with a half-suppressed sigh, answered, "I will not deny that I
deeply esteem the Count Sobieski. I admired his character before I
saw him, and when I did see him, although ignorant that it was he,
the impression seemed the same. Yet I never aspired to any place in
his heart, or even his remembrance; I could not have the presumption.
Therefore, my dear uncle," added she, laying her trembling hand on
his arm, "I beseech you, as you value my feelings, my peace of mind,
never to breathe a syllable of my weakness to him. I think," added
she, clasping her hands with energy, and forgetting the force of her
expression, "I would sooner suffer death than lose his respect."

"And yet," inquired Sir Robert, "you will at some future period give
your hand to another man?"

Mary, who did not consider the extent of this insidious question,
answered with fervor, "Never! I never can be happier than I am,"
added she, with breathless haste. Seeing, by the smile on Sir
Robert's lips, that far more had been declared by her manner than her
words intended, and fearful of betraying herself further, she begged
permission to retire to the house.

The baronet took her hand, and reseating her by him, continued, "No,
my Mary; you shall not leave me unless you honestly avow what your
sentiments are towards the Count Sobieski. You know, my sweet girl,
that I have tried to make you regard me as a father--to induce you to
receive from my love the treble affection of your deceased parents
and my lamented wife. If her dear niece do not deny this, she cannot
treat me with reserve."

Miss Beaufort was unable to speak. Sir Robert proceeded:

"I will not overwhelm your shrinking delicacy by repeating the
inquiry whether I have mistaken the source of your recent and present
emotion; only allow me to bestow some encouragement on the count's
attachment, should he claim my services in its behalf."

Mary drew her uncle's hand to her lips, and whilst her dropping tears
fell upon it, she threw herself, like a confiding child, on her
knees, and replied in a timid voice: "I should be a monster of
ingratitude could I hide anything from you, my dearest sir, after
this goodness! I confess that I do regard the Count Sobieski more
than any being on earth. Who could see and know him and think it
possible to become another's?"

"And you shall be his, my darling Mary!" cried the baronet, mingling
his own blissful tears with hers. "I once hoped to have contrived an
attachment between you and Pembroke, but Heaven has decreed it
better. When you and Thaddeus are united, I shall be happy; I may
then die in peace."

Miss Beaufort sighed heavily. She could not yet quite participate in
her uncle's rapture. She thought that she had insulted and disgusted
the count by her late behavior, beyond his excuse, and was opening
her lips to urge it again, when the object of their conversation
appeared at a short distance, coming towards them.

Full of renewed trepidation, she burst from the baronet's hand, and
taking to flight, left her uncle to meet Sobieski alone.

Sir Robert's anxious question on the same subject received a more
rapid reply from Thaddeus than had proceeded from the reluctant Miss
Beaufort. The animated gratitude of Sobieski, the ardent yet
respectful manner with which he avowed her eminence in his heart
above all other women, convinced the baronet that Mary's retreating
delicacy had misinformed her. A complete explanation was the
consequence; and Thaddeus, who had not been more sanguine in his
hopes than was his lovely mistress in hers, now allowed the clouds
over his so lately darkened eyes to disappear.

Impatient to see these two beings, so dear to his soul, repose
confidently in each other's affection, the moment Sir Robert returned
to the house, he asked his sister for Miss Beaufort. Miss Dorothy
replied that she had seen her about half an hour ago retire to her
own apartments; the baronet, therefore, sent a servant to beg that
she would meet him in the library.

This message found her in a paroxysm of distress. She reproached
herself for her imprudence, her temerity, her unwomanly conduct, in
having given away her heart to a man who she again began to torment
herself by believing had never desired it. She remembered that her
weakness, not her sincerity, had betrayed this humiliating secret to
Sir Robert; and nearly distracted, she lay on the bed, almost hoping
that she was in a miserable dream, when her maid entered with the
baronet's commands.

Disdaining herself, and determining to regain some portion of her own
respect by steadily opposing all her uncle's deluding hopes, with an
assumed serenity she arrived at the study-door. She laid her hand on
the lock, but the moment it yielded to her touch, all her firmness
vanished. Trembling, and pale as death, she appeared before him.

Sir Robert, having supported her to a chair, with the most
affectionate and tender expressions of paternal exultation repeated
to her the sum of his conversation with the count. Mary was almost
wild at this discourse. So inconsistent and erratic is the passion of
love, when it reigns in woman's breast, she forgot in an instant the
looks and voice of Thaddeus; she forgot her terror of having
forfeited his affection by her affected coldness alone; and dreading
that the first proposal of their union had proceeded from her uncle,
she buried her agitated face in her hands, and exclaimed, "O sir! I
fear that you have made me forever hateful in my own eyes and
despicable in those of the Count Sobieski!"

Sir Robert looked on her emotion with a smiling but a pitying gaze,
reading in all the unaffected apprehensive modesty of that noble
maiden's heart.

"Well," cried he, in a gentle raillery of tone, "my own beloved one!
if thy guardian uncle cannot prevail over this wayward fancifulness,
so unlike his ingenuous Mary's usual fair dealing with the truth of
others. I must call in even a better-accredited pleader, and shall
then leave my object, the balance of justice and mercy, in equally
beloved hands."

While he spoke, he rose and opened a door that led to an adjoining
room. Miss Beaufort would have flown through another had not Sir
Robert suddenly stood in her way. He threw his arm about her, and
turning round, she saw the count, who had entered, regarding her with
an anxiety which covered her before pale features with blushes.

His father bade him come near. Sobieski obeyed, though with a step
that expressed how reluctant he was to oppress the woman he so truly
loved. Mary's face was now hidden in her uncle's bosom. Sir Robert
put her trembling hand into that of his son, who, dropping on his
knee, said, in an agitated voice, "Honored, dearest Miss Beaufort!
may I indulge myself in the idea that I am blessed with your regard?"

She could not reply, but whispered to her uncle, "Pray, sir, desire
him to rise! I am overwhelmed."

"My sweet Mary!" returned the baronet, pressing her to his breast,
"this is no time for deception on either side. I know both your
hearts. Rise, Thaddeus," said he to the count, whilst he locked both
their hands within his. "Take him, Mary! Receive from your guardian
his most precious gift--my matchless and injured son."

The abruptness of the first part of this speech might have shocked
her exhausted spirits to insensibility, had not the extraordinary
assertion at its end, and Sir Robert's audible sobs, aroused and
surprised her.

"Your son!" exclaimed she; "what do you mean, my uncle?"

"Thaddeus will explain all to you," returned he. "May Heaven bless
you both!"

Mary was too much astonished to think of following her agitated uncle
out of the room. She sunk on a seat, and turning her gaze full of
amazement towards the count, seemed to ask an explanation. Thaddeus,
who still retained her passive hand, pressed it warmly to his heart;
and whilst his effulgent eyes were beaming on her with joyous love,
he imparted to her a concise but impressive narrative of his
relationship with Sir Robert. He touched with short yet deep
enthusiasm, with more than one tearful pause, on the virtues of his
mother; he acknowledged the unbounded gratitude which was due to that
God who had so wonderfully conducted him to find a parent and a home
in England, and with renewed pathos of look and manner ratified the
proffer which Sir Robert had made of his heart and hand to her who
alone on this earth had reminded him of that angelic parent. "I nave
seen her beloved face, luminous in purity and tender pity, reflected
in yours, ever-honored Miss Beaufort, when your noble heart, more
than once, looked in compassion on her son. And I then felt, with a
wondering bewilderment, a sacred response in my soul, though I could
not explain it to myself. But since then that sister spirit of my
mother has often whispered it as if direct from heaven."

Mary had listened with uncontrollable emotion to this interesting
detail. Her eyes overflowed: their ingenuous language, enforced by
the warm blood which glowed on her cheek, did not require the medium
of words to declare what was passing in her mind. Thaddeus gazed on
her with a certainty of bliss which penetrated his soul until its
raptures almost amounted to pain. The heart may ache with joy;
neither sighs nor language could express what passed in his mind. He
held her hand to his lips; his other arm fell unconsciously round her
waist, and in a moment he found that he had pressed her to his
breast. His heart beat violently. Miss Beaufort rose instantaneously
from her chair; but her pure nature needed no disguise. She looked up
to him, whilst her blushing eyes were shedding tears of delight, and
said in a trembling voice: "Tell my dear uncle that Mary Beaufort
glories in the means by which she becomes his daughter."

She moved to the door. Thaddeus, whose full tide of transport denied
him utterance, only clasped her hands again to his lips and bosom;
then, relinquishing them, he suffered her to quit the room.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

A FAMILY PARTY.


The magnificent establishment which this projected union offered to
Sobieski seemed to heal the yet bleeding conscience of Sir Robert
Somerset. Although he had acquiesced in the count's generous
surrender of the family-inherited honors, his heart remained still
ill at ease. Every dutiful expression from his long-neglected son at
times had stung him with remorse. But Miss Beaufort's avowed and
returned affection at once removed the lingering accuser from his
bosom. Mistress of immense wealth, her hand would not only put the
injured Thaddeus in possession of the pure delights which only a
mutual sympathy can bestow, but would enable his munificent spirit to
again exert itself in the worthy disposal of an almost princely
fortune.

Such meditations having followed the now tranquillized baronet to his
pillow, they brought him into the breakfast-parlor next day full of
that calm pleasure which promises a steady continuance. The happy
family were assembled. Miss Dorothy saluted her brother, whose
brightened eye declared that he had something pleasant to
communicate; and he did not keep her in suspense. With the first cup
of coffee the good lady poured out, his grateful heart unburdened
itself of the delightful tidings that ere many months, perhaps weeks,
he had reason to hope Miss Beaufort would give her hand to the Count
Sobieski. Pembroke was the only hearer who did not evince surprise at
this announcement. Every one else had been kept uninformed, on the
especial injunction of Sir Robert, who desired its knowledge to be
withheld till he had completed some necessary preliminaries in his
mind. But Thaddeus, by the permission of the happy parent, during a
long and interesting conversation in his library, which passed
between the father and his new-found son, immediately after the
latter's blissful parting with his then heart-affianced Mary, had
hastened to his brother, and retiring with him to his little study,
there communicated, in full and enraptured confidence, the whole
events of the recent mutual explanations.

During Sir Robert's animated disclosure, Mary's blushing yet grateful
eyes sought a veil in a branch of geranium which she held in her
trembling hand.

Miss Dorothy rose from her chair; her smiling tears spoke more than
her lips when she pressed first her niece and then the Count Sobieski
in her venerable arms.

"Heaven bless you both!" cried she. "This marriage will be the glory
of my age."

Miss Beaufort turned from the embrace of her aunt to meet the warm
congratulations of Pembroke. Whilst he kissed her burning cheek, he
whispered, loud enough for every one to hear, "And why may I not
brighten in my good aunt's triumph? Attempt it, dear Mary! If you can
persuade my father to allow me to make myself as happy with Lady
Albina Stanhope as you will render Sobieski, I shall forever bless
you!"

Lady Albina colored and looked down. Sir Robert took her hand with
pleased surprise, "Do you, my lovely guest--do yon sanction what this
bold boy has just said?"

Lady Albina made no answer; but, blushing deeper than before, cast a
sidelong glance at Pembroke, as if to petition his support. He was at
her side in an instant; then seriously and earnestly entreating his
father's consent to an union with their gentle kinswoman (whose
approbation he had obtained the preceding day in the shepherd's hut),
he awaited with anxiety the sounds which seemed faltering on Sir
Robert's lips.

The baronet, quite overcome by his ever-beloved Pembroke having, like
his brother, disposed of his heart so much to his own honor, found
himself unable to say what he wished. Joining the hands of the two
young people in silence, he hurried out of the room. He ascended to
the library, where kneeling down, he returned devout thanks to that
"all-gracious Being who had crowned one so unworthy with blessings so
conspicuous."

Thaddeus, no less than his father, remembered the hand which, having
guided him through a sharply-beset wilderness of sorrow, had in so
short a term conducted him to an Eden of bliss. Long afterwards, when
years had passed over his happy head, and his days became dedicated
to various important duties, public and private, attendant on his
station in life and the landed power he held in his adopted country,
never did he forget that he was "only a steward of the world's
Benefactor!" The sense of whose deputy he was gave to his heart a
grateful conviction that in whatever spot he might be so placed, he
was to consider it as his country!--the Canaan of his commission.

Before the lapse of a week, it became expedient that Sir Robert
should hasten the marriage of Pembroke with Lady Albina, or be forced
by law to yield her to the demands of her father. After much search,
Lord Tinemouth had discovered that his daughter was under the
protection of Sir Robert Somerset. Inflamed with rage and revenge, he
sent to order her immediate return, under pain of an instantaneous
appeal to the courts of judicature.

Too well aware that her nonage laid her open to the realization of
this threat, Lady Albina fell into the most alarming swoonings on the
first communication of the message. Sir Robert urged that in her
circumstances no authority could be opposed to the earl's excepting
that of a husband's; and on this consideration she complied with his
arguments and the prayers of her lover, to directly give that power
into the hands of Pembroke.

Accordingly, with as little delay as possible, accompanied by Miss
Dorothy and the enraptured Mr. Somerset, the terrified Lady Albina
commenced her journey to Scotland, that being the only place where,
in her situation, the marriage could be legally solemnized. A
clerical friend of the baronet's, who dwelt just over the borders,
could perform the rite with every proper respect.

Whilst these young runaways, chaperoned by an old maiden aunt, were
pursuing their rapid flight across the Tweed, Sir Robert sent his
steward to London to prepare a house near his own in Grosvenor Square
for the reception of the bridal pair. During these necessary
arrangements, a happy fortnight elapsed at Deerhurst--thrice happy to
Mary, because its tranquil hours imparted to her long-doubting heart
"a sober certainty of that awaking bliss" which had so often animated
with hope the visions of her imagination, when contemplating the
mystery of such a mind as that of Thaddeus having been destined to
the humble lot in which she had found him. Morning, noon, and evening
the loving companion of the Count Sobieski, she saw with deepened
devotedness that the brave and princely virtues did not reign alone
in his bosom. Their full lustre was rendered less intense by the
softening shades of those gentler amenities which are the soothers
and sweeteners of life. His breast seemed the residence of love--of a
love that not only infused a warmer existence through her soul, but
diffused such a light of benevolence over every being within its
influence, that all appeared happy who caught a beam of his eye--all
enchanted who shared the magic of his smile. Under what different
aspects had she seen this man! Yet how consistent! At the first
period of their acquaintance, she beheld him, like that glorious orb
which her ardent fancy told her he resembled, struggling with the
storm, or looking dimmed, yet unmoved, through the clouds which
obscured his path; but now, like the radiant sun of summer amidst a
splendid sky, he seemed to stand the source of light, and love, and
joy.

Thus did the warm fancy and warmer heart of Mary Beaufort paint the
image of her lover; and when Sir Robert received intelligence that
the Scottish party had arrived in town and were impatient for the
company of the beloved inhabitants of Deerhurst, while preparing to
revisit the proud and gay world, she confessed that some embers of
human pride did sparkle in her own bosom at the anticipation of
witnessing the homage which they who had despised the unfriended
Constantine tine would pay to the declared and illustrious Sobieski.

The news of Lady Albina's marriage infuriated the Earl of Tinemouth
almost to frenzy. Well assured that his withholding her fortune would
occasion no vexation to a family of Sir Robert Somerset's vast
possessions, he gave way to still more vehement bursts of passion,
and in a fit of impotent threatening embarked with all his household
to spend the remainder of the season on his much-disregarded estates
in Ireland.

This abrupt departure of the earl caused Lady Albina little
uneasiness. His unremitted cruelty, her brother's indifference and
the barbed insults of Lady Olivia Lovel, now the earl's wife, rankled
too deeply in the daughter's bosom to leave any filial regret behind.
Considering their absence a suspension of pain rather than a
punishment, she did not stain the kiss which she imprinted on the
revered cheek of her new parent with one tear to the memory of her
unnatural father.

Whilst all was splendor and happiness in Grosvenor Square, Thaddeus
did not forget the excellent Mrs. Robson. He hastened to St. Martin's
Lane, where the good woman received him with open arms. Nanny hung,
crying for joy, upon his hand, and sprung rapturously about his neck
when he told her he was now a rich man, and that she and her
grandmother should live with him forever. "I am going to be married,
my dear Mrs. Robson," said he; "that ministering angel who visited
you when I was in prison was sent to wipe away the tears from my
eyes." Drying the cheek of his weeping landlady, while he spoke, with
his own handkerchief, he continued:--"She commanded me not to leave
you until you had assured me that you will brighten our happiness by
taking possession of a pretty cottage close to her house in Kent. It
is within Beaufort Park, and there my Mary and myself will visit you
continually."

"Blessed Mr. Constantine!" cried the worthy woman, pressing his hand;
"myself, my Nanny, we are yours;--take us where you please, for
wherever you go, there will the Almighty's hand lead us, and there
will his right hand hold us."

The count rose and turned to the window; his heart was full, and he
was obliged to take time to recover himself before he could resume
the conversation. He saw her twice after this; and on the day of her
departure for Kent, to await in her own new home his and his Mary's
arrival there, he put into her hand the first quarterly payment of an
annuity which would henceforward afford her every comfort, and raise
her to that easy rank in society which her gentle manners and rare
virtues were so admirably fitted to adorn. Neither did he neglect Mr.
Burket. It was not in his nature to allow any one who served him to
pass unrewarded. He called on him on the last day he visited St.
Martin's Lane, (when Mrs. Watts, too, shared his bounty,) and having
repaid him with a generosity which astonished the good money-lender,
he took back his sword, and the venerated old seals he had left with
Mrs. Robson to get repaired by the same honest hand; also the other
precious relics he had had refitted to their original settings, and
pressing them mournfully yet gratefully to his breast, re-entered Sir
Robert's carriage to drive home. What bliss to his heart was in that
sword?

Next day Thaddeus directed his steps to Dr. Cavendish's. He found his
worthy friend at home, who received him with kindness. But how was
that kindness increased to transport when Thaddeus told him, with a
smiling countenance, that he was the very Sobieski about whose
wayward fate he had asked so many ill-answered questions. The
delighted doctor embraced him with an ardor which spoke better than
language his admiration and esteem. His amazement, having subsided,
he was discoursing with animated interest on events at once so fatal
and so glorious to Sobieski, when a gentleman was announced by the
name of Mr. Hopetown. He entered; and Dr. Cavendish at the same time
introducing Thaddeus as the Count Sobieski, Mr. Hopetown fixed his
eyes upon him with an expression which neither of the friends could
comprehend. A little disconcerted at the merchant's seeming rudeness,
the good doctor attempted to draw off the steadiness of his gaze by
asking how long he had been in England.

"I left Dantzic," replied he, "about three weeks ago; and I should
have been in London five days since, but a favorite horse of mine,
which I brought with me, fell sick at Harwick, and I waited until he
was well enough to travel."

Whilst he spoke he never withdrew his eyes from the face of Thaddeus,
who at the words Dantzic and horse recollected his faithful Saladin;
almost hoping that this Mr. Hopetown might prove to be the Briton to
whom he had consigned the noble animal, he took a part in the
conversation by inquiring of the merchant whether he were a resident
of Dantzic.

"No, your excellency," replied he; "I live within a mile of it.
Several years ago I quitted the smoke and bustle of the town to enjoy
fresh air and quiet."

"Last year," rejoined Sobieski, "I passed through Dantzic on my way
to England. I believe I saw your house, and remarked its situation.
The park is beautiful."

"And I am indebted, count," resumed the merchant, "to nobleman of
your country for its finest ornament: I mean the very horse I spoke
of just now. He was sent to me one morning, with a letter from his
brave owner, requesting me to give him shelter in my park. He is the
most beautiful animal ever beheld. Unwilling to leave behind so
valuable a deposit when I came to England I brought him with me."

"Poor Saladin!" cried Thaddeus, his heart overflowing with
remembrance; "how glad I shall be to see thee!"

"What! was the horse yours?" asked Dr. Cavendish, surprised at this
apostrophe.

"Yes," returned Thaddeus, "he was mine! and I owe to Mr. Hopetown a
thousand thanks for his generous acquiescence with the prayers of an
unfortunate stranger."

"No thanks to me, Count Sobieski. The moment I entered this room, I
recollected you to be the same Polish officer I had observed on the
beach at Dantzic. When I described your figure to the man who brought
the horse, he said it was the same who gave him the letter. I could
not learn your excellency's name; but I hoped one day or other to
have the pleasure of meeting you again, and of returning Saladin into
your hands in as good condition as when he came to mine."

Tears started into the eyes of Thaddeus.

"That horse, Mr. Hopetown, has carried me through many a bloody
field; he alone witnessed my last adieu to the bleeding corpse of my
country! I shall receive him again as an old and dear friend; but to
his kind protector, how can I ever demonstrate the whole of my
gratitude?" [Footnote: The love of Thaddeus to his horse has had some
resemblances in the author's knowledge in yet more recent times. It
seems to belong to the brave heart of every country in our civilized
Europe, as well as in that of the wild Arab of the desert, to
companion itself with his war-steed as with a friend or brother. I
knew more than one gallant man who wept over the doom of his old
charger when shot in the lines near Corunna; and another, of the same
and other fields, who can never mention without turning pale the name
of his faithful and beloved horse Columbus, who had carried him
through various dangers on the South American continent, and at last
perished by his side during a tremendous storm at sea, when no
exertions of his master could save him. These are pangs of which only
those who have the generous sensibility to feel them can have any
idea. But they are true to the noble nature of which the inspired
page speaks when it says, "The just man is merciful to his beast."--
1822.

The benignant master of the regretted Columbian steed was the late
Sir R. K. Porter, the lamented brother of the yet surviving writer of
the preceding note.--1845.]

"To have had it in my power to serve the Count Sobieski is a
privilege of itself," returned Mr. Hopetown. "I am proud of that
distinction, to be called the friend of a man who all the world
honors will be a title which John Hopetown may be proud of."

Before the worthy merchant took his leave, he promised Thaddeus to
send Saladin to Grosvenor Square that evening, and accepted his
invitation to meet him and Dr. Cavendish the following day at dinner
at Mr. Somerset's.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *



CHAPTER XLIX.

    "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her
cunning."


Lady Albina Somerset's arrival in London was greeted by the immediate
visits of all the persons in town who had been esteemed by the late
Countess of Tinemouth, or on intimate terms with the baronet's
family. It was not the gay season for the metropolis. Amongst the
earliest names that appeared at her door were those of Lord
Berrington, the Hon. Captain and Mrs. Montresor, and the Rev. Dr.
Blackmore. Under any circumstances, either in the country or in town,
Mr. Somerset and his young bride did not propose opening their gates
to more general acquaintances until Miss Beaufort and the count were
married, and both bridal parties had been presented at court in the
spring. To this little select group of friends who were to assemble
round Mr. Somerset's table on the appointed day, Thaddeus informed
him, with frank pleasure, that he had taken the liberty of adding Dr.
Cavendish and Mr. Hopetown of Dantzic.

Lady Albina received the two strangers with graceful hospitality. The
affianced Mary, with an equally blushing grace, presented her hand to
the generous protector of Saladin, accompanying the action with a
modest acknowledgment of her interest in an animal so deservedly dear
to the Count Sobieski. He had turned to meet Lord Berrington and the
ever lively Sophia Egerton (now Mrs. Montresor), who both advanced to
him at the same instant, to express their gratulations not only at
seeing him again, but in a situation of happy promise, so consonant
to his avowed rank and personal early fame.

Thaddeus replied to their felicitations with a smiling dignity in
that ingenuous manner peculiarly his own. He was not a little
surprised when Dr. Blackmore soon after recognized him to be the
noble foreigner whose appearance had so much excited his attention,
about a twelvemonth ago, at the Hummuins, in Covent Garden. The count
did not recollect the circumstance of having seen the good doctor
there; but the venerable man recapitulated the scene in the coffee-
room through which the count had passed, describing, with no little
animation, "a pedantic mannered person, dressed in black, and wearing
spectacles (whose name he afterwards learned was Loftus), an M.A. of
one of the colleges, who took the liberty to make some not very
liberal remarks on the number of noble strangers then confiding
themselves to the honorable sanctuary and sympathy of our country."

Pembroke could hardly hear the benevolent speaker to the end;
stifling any audible expression of his re-awakened indignation, he
whispered to the baronet, "My dear father! recent happy events have
made us almost forget that villain's baseness; but I pray, let him
not remain another week a blot upon our house's escutcheon."

"All shall be done as you wish," returned his father, in the same
subdued tone; "but let us remember how much of that recent happiness
the goodness of Providence hath brought out of this wretched man's
offence. Were I extreme to mark what is done amiss, how could I abide
the sentence that might be justly pronounced against myself? To-
morrow we will talk over this matter, and settle it, I trust, with
satisfaction to all parties."

Pembroke gratefully pressed his father's hand, and then, walking up
the room, addressed Mrs. Montresor. In a few minutes her brave
husband joined them. While talking of his late victorious and
happily-completed homeward-bound voyage, he spoke with great regret
of the threatened absence from England of his late colleague on the
battle-field of the ocean, his old friend Captain Ross.

"How--whither is he going?" asked his wife, in a tone of interest.

Montresor replied, "The ill state of Lady Sara's health requires a
milder air, and poor Ross means to take her without loss of time to
Italy. I met him this morning, in despair about the suddenness of
some alarming symptoms."

Thaddeus too well divined that this increased indisposition owed its
rise to his recent return to town, and inwardly petitioning Heaven
that absence and her husband's devoted tenderness might complete her
cure, he could not repress a sigh, wrung from his respectful pity
towards her, in this deep bosom-struggle with herself.

No one present except the future partner of his own heart marked the
transient melancholy which passed over his countenance. She, who had
suspected the unhappy Lady Sara's attachment, loved Thaddeus, if
possible, still dearer for the compassion he bestowed on the meek
penitence of the unhappy victim of a passion often as inscrutable as
destructive.

When the party descended to dinner, Miss Dorothy, who sat next to the
Count Sobieski, rallied him upon the utter desertion of one of his
most pertinacious allies or adversaries--she did not know which to
call the fair delinquent. "For admiring or detesting seemed quite the
same to some ladies, so they did but show their power of mischief
over any poor mortal man they found in their way!"

This strange attack, though uttered in perfect good humor by the
lively old lady, following so closely the information relative to
Lady Sara Ross, summoned a fervid color into the count's face; he
looked surprised, and rather confused, at the revered speaker, who
soon gayly related what she had been told that morning by her
milliner, of "Miss Euphemia Dundas being on the point of marriage
with a young Scotch nobleman in Berwickshire; and in proof, her
elegant informant, Madame de Maradon, was making the bridal
_trousseau._"

"So much the better for all straight-going people, _ma chere
tante_" cried Pembroke; "little Phemy was no contemptible
assailant either way. Besides," added he, turning airily to his own
gentle bride, "you, my young lady, may congratulate yourself on the
same good hope. I hear that an old turf-comrade of mine is going to
take her loving sister off my hands. Come, Lord Berrington, you must
verify my report, for I learned it from you."

His lordship smiled, and answered in the affirmative, adding that a
friend of his in Lincolnshire, had written to him as most amusing
news, "That the most worthy Orson, heir of all the lands, tenements,
stables, and kennels of the doughty Sir Helerand Shafto, of that ilk,
and twenty ilks besides north of the Humber, had been discovered by
the wonderful occult penetration possessed by the exceedingly blue
sorceress-lady Miss Diana Dundas (of as many ilks north of the
Tweed), to be no Orson at all; but her very veritable Valentine, to
whom she was now preparing to give her fair and golden-garnished hand
in the course of the forthcoming month; that is, when the season of
hunting and shooting is past and gone, and the chase-wearied pair may
turn themselves, with their blown horses and hounds, to a little
wholesome rustication in their homestead fields."

"I would not be their companion for Nebuchadnezzar's crown!"
reiterated Pembroke, laughing.

Sobieski, not suppressing the smile that played on his lips at the
whimsical description given by Lord Berrington's correspondent,
wished the nuptials happy, as far as the parties could comprehend the
feeling. The viscount in return protested that their Polish friend
"was more generous than just in such a benediction."

"I vow to heaven," cried his lordship, "that I never knew people the
aim of whose lives seemed so bent on sly mischief as those two
sisters. Euphemia, pretty as she is, is better known by her skill in
tormenting than by her beauty. And as for the poor squire Diana has
conjured into matrimony, I have little doubt of his future baited
fate when she springs her dogs of war upon that petted deer!"

"Ah, poor fool!" exclaimed Mrs. Montresor, "I warrant he will not
escape the punishment he merits, for stepping between the goddess and
her delectable Endymion, Lascelles."

"Quarter for an old acquaintance!" whispered Miss Beaufort, in a
beseeching voice.

"She does not deserve it of you!" returned the lady, pursuing her
ridiculous game, until both Miss Dorothy and Sir Robert petitioned
for mercy from so fair a judge.

Thaddeus, who possessed not the disposition to exult in the
misconduct or mischances of any one who had injured him, felt this
part of the conversation the least pleasant on that happy day, and to
change its strain, he, in his turn, whispered to his father "to
prevail on Lady Albina to indulge his friend Mr. Hopetown by singing
a few passages from that beautiful ballad of the Scottish borders,
'Chevy Chase,' which had so delighted their own family party the
preceding evening."

He did not ask this "charmed resource" from his own betrothed,
because it was only at the close of that very preceding evening he
had for the first time heard her voice, "in sweetest melody,"
chanting forth the parting anthem for the night, "From the ends of
the earth, I will call upon thee, O Lord," and with tones of a
kindred pathos, too thrilling to a son's startled ear and memory, to
be invoked again in a mixed company.

Strange, indeed, it might be, but it was a sacred balm to his soul
when these recurring remembrances discovered to his heart in the
young and lovely future partner of his life a bond of union with that
angelic mother who had given him being; and perhaps this devoted
filial heart alone could appreciate the joy, the comfort, the bliss
of such a similitude! But in after days he shared those feelings with
his father, bringing to his regretful bosom a soothing perception of
the likeness.

Lady Albina instantly complied, casting a sweet glance at Sir Robert,
who immediately led her to the piano-forte, followed by the Scottish
merchant of the Baltic, whither the noble symphony of "The Douglas,"
"hound and horn," soon gathered the rest of the company. The
remainder of the evening passed away delightfully in the awakened
harmony. Mrs. Montresor joined Lady Albina in some touching Italian
duets; Pembroke supported both ladies in a fine trio of Mozart's; Mr.
Hopetown requested another favorite son of his country, "Auld Robin
Gray," and himself repaid Lady Albina's kind assent by a magnificent
voluntary on his part, "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." Mary
accompanied that well known pibroch of "The Bruce" with a true
responsive echo from her harp; but she declined singing herself, and
when Thaddeus took the relinquished instrument from her hand, he
pressed it with a silent tenderness, sweeter to her than could have
been the plaudits of all the accomplished listeners around. That soft
hand had stroked the branching neck of his recovered Saladin the same
morning, and the happy master now marked his feeling of the gentle
deed.

In the course of a few days, Pembroke's wishes with regard to Mr.
Loftus were put into a train of fulfilment, Dr. Blackmore having
undertaken to find a fitting tutor for the young Lord Avon, and in
the interim would receive him into his own classical instruction,
whenever it should be deemed proper to terminate his present holiday
visit in Bedfordshire. But whilst Sir Robert had thus adjudged the
guilty, he was careful not to expose him to fresh temptations, nor to
suffer his crimes to implicate the innocent in its punishment. Hence,
in pity to age and helplessness, he determined to settle two hundred
pounds per annum on the wretched man's mother and sisters, who dwelt
together in Wales. Shortly after, in consequence of his contrite
confessions, "that all Mr. Somerset's allegations against him were
too true," the humane father and son appointed one hundred pounds
more to be paid yearly to the culprit himself, so that at least he
might not be induced to lighten his honest labors for a suitable
subsistence by renewed villanies. With reference to the benefice of
Somerset, which had been the ill-sought price of this base pretender
to sanctity and truth, Sir Robert decided on presenting it to the
exemplary Dr. Blackmore whenever it should become vacant.

Meanwhile, the baronet's sojourn in town became indispensably
prolonged, not only by the simple nature of the affairs that brought
him thither, but by certain unlooked-for intricacies occurring in
making a final adjustment of the various settlements and consequent
conveyances to be effected on account of the two felicitous marriages
in his family. During these lingering proceedings amongst the legal
protectors of "soil and surety," Miss Beaufort remained the cherished
and cheering guest of the already espoused pair, one of whom, indeed,
still wore the garb of "a mourning bride," but all within was clad in
the true white robe of nuptial purity and peace. Sobieski was the now
no less privileged abiding inmate in the home and heart of Sir Robert
Somerset. Increasing daily in favor with "good aunt Dorothy," the
presiding mistress of his father's house, he soon became nearly as
precious in her sight as had long been the pleasant society of her
nephew Pembroke. And all this her ingenuous and affectionate nature
avowed to Mary, in their frequent visits between the two houses, with
a sort of delighted wonder at her heart's so prescient recognition of
the new nephew her sweet niece was to bestow upon her. For it had not
yet been revealed to her that Thaddeus did stand in that same tender
relationship to her by a former marriage of her beloved brother with
the lamented mother of the noble object of her cherished esteem. And
what was the double joy of the blessed moment when that happy secret
was confided to her bosom.

The last busy month of autumn in London had not only laid down its
wearied head under the dark canopy of a murky atmosphere, lit with
dimmed street-lamps to its slumbers, but its expected refreshment in
the country did not offer much more agreeable materials for repose
and vernal renovation. There were blustering winds strewing the
recently green earth with beds of withered leaves of every foliage,
stripped and fallen from the shivering woods above. And there were
drenching rains, laying the lately pleasant fields in trackless
swamps, and swelling the clear and gentle brooks into brawling
floods, rending asunder the long-remembered rustic bridges which had
hitherto linked the villages together, in convenient passages for
wholesome relaxation or useful toil.

Such were the newspaper accounts from the country during the latter
part of November; but there was seen a fairer prospect from the
carriage windows of Sir Robert Somerset, when he and his gladdened
party, one bright morning, on quitting the splashy environs of
Hammersmith and Brentford, entered the broad expanse of Hounslow
Heath, on their way into Warwickshire, and beheld its wide common
covered with a fair carpet of spotless snow. Winter had then
seriously, or, rather, smilingly, set in. It was the 10th of
December; and the baronet, having signed and sealed all things
necessary to transfer with perfect satisfaction himself and family
(as was always his custom at this homeward season), now set forth to
one or other of his ancient domains, to pass his Christmas in the
bosom of an enlarged and a grateful domestic happiness. Thus, year
after year, he diffused from each of those parental mansions that
bounteous hospitality to high and low which he considered to be an
especial duty in an English gentleman, whether in the character of
"landlord" to noble guests and respected neighbors, or to wayfaring
strangers passing by; or, while graciously mingling with his widely-
established tenantry, or his equally regarded daily guests at this
"holy festival," the virtuous, lowly peasantry, laborers on the land.
Then smiled the cottager, with honest consciousness of yeoman worth,
when seated in the great hall, under the eye of his munificent lord,
who partook of the general feast. Then, too, did he smile when, at
the head of his own little board, he sat with his children and
humbler dependents, all furnished with ample Christmas fare by the
baronet's still open hand.

When Thaddeus shared these primeval scenes of old England by the side
of his British parent, (which festivities are still honorably
preserved by some of its most ancient and noblest families,) they
brought back to his heart those similar assemblages at Villanow and
in Cracovia, where his revered grandfather, the palatine, had reigned
prince and father over every happy breast. [Footnote: The writer
remembers a similar scene to the above when she had the honor of
dining, along with her revered family, on a festival of harvest-home
at Bushy Palace, when its royal owner, his late majesty, was Duke of
Clarence. Himself moved through his rustic guests in the gracious
manner described.]

And happy were now the recollections of all who met at Deerhurst on
this their first joyful Christmas season! Week after week glided
along in the bland exercise of social duties aided by the more
homefelt enjoyments of sweet domestic affections, which gave a living
grace to all that was said or done and more intimately knit hearts
together, never more to be divided.

But winter's howling blasts and sheltering halls, "where fireside
comforts, taste, and gentle love, with soft amenities mingled into
bliss," swiftly and fairer, changed their pleasant song, proclaiming
in every brightening hue the hymn of nature--

    "These, as they change, Almighty Father!
     Are but the varied God! The rolling year
     Is full of Thee! Forth in the pleasing spring
     Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love;"

and in the first month of that genial season, when the young grass
covers the downy hills with verdure, and the glowing branches of the
trees bud with an infant foliage, the sun smiles in the heavens, and
the pellucid streams reflect his glorious rays, the day was fixed by
Sir Robert Somerset, and approved by the beloved objects of his then
peculiar solicitude, in which his paternal hand should plight theirs
together before the altar of eternal truth.

The solemnity was to be performed in the village church, which stood
in the park of Deerhurst, and the Rev. Dr. Blackmore, who came over
from his own private dwelling in Worcestershire, accompanied by his
pupil, Lord Avon, vas to perform the holy rite. No adjunct of the
Roman Catholic ceremony (then the national churc