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Title: Falkland, Complete
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
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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FALKLAND

By Edward Bulwer-Lytton



PREFATORY NOTE TO THE PRESENT EDITION.

“FALKLAND” is the earliest of Lord Lytton’s prose fictions. Published
before “Pelham,” it was written in the boyhood of its illustrious
author. In the maturity of his manhood and the fulness of his literary
popularity he withdrew it from print. This is one of the first English
editions of his collected works in which the tale reappears. It is
because the morality of it was condemned by his experienced judgment,
that the author of “Falkland” deliberately omitted it from each of the
numerous reprints of his novels and romances which were published in
England during his lifetime.

With the consent of the author’s son, “Falkland” is included in the
present edition of his collected works.

In the first place, this work has been for many years, and still is,
accessible to English readers in every country except England. The
continental edition of it, published by Baron Tauchnitz, has a wide
circulation; and since for this reason the book cannot practically be
withheld from the public, it is thought desirable that the
publication of it should at least be accompanied by some record of the
abovementioned fact.

In the next place, the considerations which would naturally guide an
author of established reputation in the selection of early compositions
for subsequent republication, are obviously inapplicable to the
preparation of a posthumous standard edition of his collected works.
Those who read the tale of “Falkland” eight-and-forty years ago’ have
long survived the age when character is influenced by the literature of
sentiment. The readers to whom it is now presented are not Lord Lytton’s
contemporaries; they are his posterity. To them his works have already
become classical. It is only upon the minds of the young that the works
of sentiment have any appreciable moral influence. But the sentiment
of each age is peculiar to itself; and the purely moral influence
of sentimental fiction seldom survives the age to which it was first
addressed. The youngest and most impressionable reader of such works as
the “Nouvelle Hemise,” “Werther,” “The Robbers,” “Corinne,” or “Rene,”
 is not now likely to be morally influenced, for good or ill, by the
perusal of those masterpieces of genius. Had Byron attained the age
at which great authors most realise the responsibilities of fame and
genius, he might possibly have regretted, and endeavoured to suppress,
the publication of “Don Juan;” but the possession of that immortal poem
is an unmixed benefit to posterity, and the loss of it would have been
an irreparable misfortune.

“Falkland,” although the earliest, is one of the most carefully finished
of its author’s compositions. All that was once turbid, heating,
unwholesome in the current of sentiment which flows through this history
of a guilty passion, “Death’s immortalising winter” has chilled and
purified. The book is now a harmless, and, it may be hoped, a not
uninteresting, evidence of the precocity of its author’s genius. As
such, it is here reprinted.

[It was published in 1827]



FALKLAND.

BOOK I.

FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

L---, May --, 1822.

You are mistaken, my dear Monkton! Your description of the gaiety of
“the season” gives me no emotion. You speak of pleasure; I remember no
labour so wearisome; you enlarge upon its changes; no sameness appears
to me so monotonous. Keep, then, your pity for those who require it.
From the height of my philosophy I compassionate you. No one is so
vain as a recluse; and your jests at my hermitship and hermitage cannot
penetrate the folds of a self-conceit, which does not envy you in your
suppers at D---- House, nor even in your waltzes with Eleanor.

It is a ruin rather than a house which I inhabit. I have not been at
L----- since my return from abroad, and during those years the place
has gone rapidly to decay; perhaps, for that reason, it suits me better,
_tel maitre telle maison_.

Of all my possessions this is the least valuable in itself, and derives
the least interest from the associations of childhood, for it was not at
L----- that any part of that period was spent. I have, however, chosen
it from my present retreat, because here only I am personally unknown,
and therefore little likely to be disturbed. I do not, indeed, wish for
the interruptions designed as civilities; I rather gather around myself,
link after link, the chains that connected me with the world; I find
among my own thoughts that variety and occupation which you only
experience in your intercourse with others; and I make, like the
Chinese, my map of the universe consist of a circle in a square--the
circle is my own empire and of thought and self; and it is to the scanty
corners which it leaves without, that I banish whatever belongs to the
remainder of mankind.

About a mile from L----- is Mr. Mandeville’s beautiful villa of E-----,
in the midst of grounds which form a delightful contrast to the savage
and wild scenery by which they are surrounded. As the house is at
present quite deserted, I have obtained, through the gardener, a free
admittance into his domains, and I pass there whole hours, indulging,
like the hero of the _Lutrin, “une sainte oisivete,”_ listening to a
little noisy brook, and letting my thoughts be almost as vague and idle
as the birds which wander among the trees that surround me. I could
wish, indeed, that this simile were in all things correct--that
those thoughts, if as free, were also as happy as the objects of my
comparison, and could, like them, after the rovings of the day, turn
at evening to a resting-place, and be still. We are the dupes and the
victims of our senses: while we use them to gather from external things
the hoards that we store within, we cannot foresee the punishments we
prepare for ourselves; the remembrance which stings, and the hope which
deceives, the passions which promise us rapture, which reward us with
despair, and the thoughts which, if they constitute the healthful
action, make also the feverish excitement of our minds. What sick man
has not dreamt in his delirium everything that our philosophers have
said?* But I am growing into my old habit of gloomy reflection, and it
is time that I should conclude. I meant to have written you a letter as
light as your own; if I have failed, it is no wonder.--“Notre coeur est
un instrument incomplet--une lyre ou il manque des cordes, et ou nous
sommes forces de rendre les accens de la joie, sur le ton consacre aux
soupirs.”

   * Quid aegrotus unquam somniavit quod philosophorum aliquis non
   dixerit?--LACTANTIUS.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

You ask me to give you some sketch of my life, and of that _bel mondo_
which wearied me so soon. Men seldom reject an opportunity to talk of
themselves; and I am not unwilling to re-examine the past, to re-connect
it with the present, and to gather from a consideration of each what
hopes and expectations are still left to me for the future.

But my detail must be rather of thought than of action; most of those
whose fate has been connected with mine are now living, and I would not,
even to you, break that tacit confidence which much of my history would
require. After all, you will have no loss. The actions of another may
interest--but, for the most part, it is only his reflections which come
home to us; for few have acted, nearly all of us have thought.

My own vanity too would be unwilling to enter upon incidents which had
their origin either in folly or in error. It is true that those follies
and errors have ceased, but their effects remain. With years our faults
diminish, but our vices increase.

You know that my mother was Spanish, and that my father was one of
that old race of which so few scions remain, who, living in a distant
country, have been little influenced by the changes of fashion, and,
priding themselves on the antiquity of their names, have looked with
contempt upon the modern distinctions and the mushroom nobles which have
sprung up to discountenance and eclipse the plainness of more venerable
and solid respectability. In his youth my father had served in the army.
He had known much of men and more of books; but his knowledge, instead
of rooting out, had rather been engrafted on his prejudices. He was one
of that class (and I say it with a private reverence, though a public
regret), who, with the best intentions, have made the worst citizens,
and who think it a duty to perpetuate whatever is pernicious by having
learnt to consider it as sacred. He was a great country gentleman, a
great sportsman, and a great Tory; perhaps the three worst enemies which
a country can have. Though beneficent to the poor, he gave but a cold
reception to the rich; for he was too refined to associate with his
inferiors, and too proud to like the competition of his equals. One ball
and two dinners a-year constituted all the aristocratic portion of
our hospitality, and at the age of twelve, the noblest and youngest
companions that I possessed were a large Danish dog and a wild mountain
pony, as unbroken and as lawless as myself. It is only in later years
that we can perceive the immeasurable importance of the early scenes
and circumstances which surrounded us. It was in the loneliness of my
unchecked wanderings that my early affection for my own thoughts
was conceived. In the seclusion of nature--in whatever court she
presided--the education of my mind was begun; and, even at that early
age, I rejoiced (like the wild heart the Grecian poet [Eurip. Bambae,
1. 874.] has described) in the stillness of the great woods, and the
solitudes unbroken by human footstep.

The first change in my life was under melancholy auspices; my father
fell suddenly ill, and died; and my mother, whose very existence seemed
only held in his presence, followed him in three months. I remember
that, a few hours before her death, she called me to her: she reminded
me that, through her, I was of Spanish extraction; that in her country,
I received my birth, and that, not the less for its degradation and
distress, I might hereafter find in the relations which I held to it a
remembrance to value, or even a duty to fulfil. On her tenderness to me
at that hour, on the impression it made upon my mind, and on the keen
and enduring sorrow which I felt for months after her death, it would be
useless to dwell.

My uncle became my guardian. He is, you know, a member of parliament
of some reputation; very sensible and very dull; very much respected by
men, very much disliked by women; and inspiring all children, of either
sex, with the same unmitigated aversion which he feels for them himself.

I did not remain long under his immediate care. I was soon sent to
school--that preparatory world, where the great primal principles of
human nature, in the aggression of the strong and the meanness of the
weak, constitute the earliest lesson of importance that we are taught;
and where the forced _primitiae_ of that less universal knowledge which
is useless to the many who in after life, neglect, and bitter to the
few who improve it, are the first motives for which our minds are to be
broken to terror, and our hearts initiated into tears.

Bold and resolute by temper, I soon carved myself a sort of career among
my associates. A hatred to all oppression, and a haughty and unyielding
character, made me at once the fear and aversion of the greater powers
and principalities of the school; while my agility at all boyish games,
and my ready assistance or protection to every one who required it, made
me proportionally popular with, and courted by, the humbler multitude of
the subordinate classes. I was constantly surrounded by the most lawless
and mischievous followers whom the school could afford; all eager for my
commands, and all pledged to their execution.

In good truth, I was a worthy Rowland of such a gang; though I excelled
in, I cared little for the ordinary amusements of the school: I was
fonder of engaging in marauding expeditions contrary to our legislative
restrictions, and I valued myself equally upon my boldness in planning
our exploits, and my dexterity in eluding their discovery. But exactly
in proportion as our school terms connected me with those of my own
years, did our vacations unfit me for any intimate companionship but
that which I already began to discover in myself.

Twice in the year, when I went home, it was to that wild and romantic
part of the country where my former childhood had been spent. There,
alone and unchecked, I was thrown utterly upon my own resources. I
wandered by day over the rude scenes which surrounded us; and at evening
I pored, with an unwearied delight, over the ancient legends which
made those scenes sacred to my imagination. I grew by degrees of a more
thoughtful and visionary nature. My temper imbibed the romance of my
studies; and whether, in winter, basking by the large hearth of our old
hall, or stretched, in the indolent voluptuousness of summer, by the
rushing streams which formed the chief characteristic of the country
around us, my hours were equally wasted in those dim and luxurious
dreams, which constituted, perhaps, the essence of that poetry I had
not the genius to embody. It was then, by that alternate restlessness
of action and idleness of reflection, into which my young years were
divided, that the impress of my character was stamped: that fitfulness
of temper, that affection for extremes, has accompanied me through life.
Hence, not only all intermediums of emotion appear to me as tame, but
even the most overwrought excitation can bring neither novelty nor zest.
I have, as it were, feasted upon the passions; I have made that my
daily food, which, in its strength and excess, would have been poison to
others; I have rendered my mind unable to enjoy the ordinary aliments of
nature; and I have wasted, by a premature indulgence, my resources and
my powers, till I have left my heart, without a remedy or a hope, to
whatever disorders its own intemperance has engendered.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

When I left Dr. -----‘s, I was sent to a private tutor in D-----e. Here
I continued for about two years. It was during that time that--but what
then befell me is for no living ear! The characters of that history are
engraven on my heart in letters of fire; but it is a language that none
but myself have the authority to read. It is enough for the purpose of
my confessions that the events of that period were connected with
the first awakening of the most powerful of human passions, and that,
whatever their commencement, their end was despair! and she--the object
of that love--the only being in the world who ever possessed the secret
and the spell of my nature--her life was the bitterness and the fever of
a troubled heart,--her rest is the grave--

        Non la conobbe il mondo mentre l’ebbe
        Con ibill’io, ch’a pianger qui rimasi.

That attachment was not so much a single event, as the first link in
a long chain which was coiled around my heart. It were a tedious and
bitter history, even were it permitted, to tell you of all the sins and
misfortunes to which in afterlife that passion was connected. I will
only speak of the more hidden but general effect it had upon my
mind; though, indeed, naturally inclined to a morbid and melancholy
philosophy, it is more than probable, but for that occurrence, that
it would never have found matter for excitement. Thrown early among
mankind, I should early have imbibed their feelings, and grown like them
by the influence of custom. I should not have carried within the one
unceasing remembrance, which was to teach me, like Faustus, to find
nothing in knowledge but its inutility, or in hope but its deceit; and
to bear like him, through the blessings of youth and the allurements of
pleasure, the curse and the presence of a fiend.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

It was after the first violent grief produced by that train of
circumstances to which I must necessarily so darkly allude, that I
began to apply with earnestness to books. Night and day I devoted myself
unceasingly to study, and from this fit I was only recovered by the long
and dangerous illness it produced. Alas! there is no fool like him
who wishes for knowledge! It is only through woe that we are taught to
reflect, and we gather the honey of worldly wisdom, not from flowers,
but thorns.

“Une grande passion malheureuse est un grand moyen de sagesse.” From
the moment in which the buoyancy of my spirit was first broken by real
anguish, the losses of the heart were repaired by the experience of the
mind. I passed at once, like Melmoth, from youth to age. What were
any longer to me the ordinary avocations of my contemporaries? I had
exhausted years in moments--I had wasted, like the Eastern Queen, my
richest jewel in a draught. I ceased to hope, to feel, to act, to burn;
such are the impulses of the young! I learned to doubt, to reason, to
analyse: such are the habits of the old! From that time, if I have not
avoided the pleasures of life, I have not enjoyed them. Women, wine,
the society of the gay, the commune of the wise, the lonely pursuit of
knowledge, the daring visions of ambition, all have occupied me in turn,
and all alike have deceived me; but, like the Widow in the story of
Voltaire, I have built at last a temple to “Time, the Comforter:” I have
grown calm and unrepining with years; and, if I am now shrinking from
men, I have derived at least this advantage from the loneliness first
made habitual by regret; that while I feel increased benevolence to
others, I have learned to look for happiness only in myself.

They alone are independent of Fortune who have made themselves a
separate existence from the world.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

I went to the University with a great fund of general reading, and
habits of constant application. My uncle, who, having no children of
his own, began to be ambitious for me, formed great expectations of my
career at Oxford. I staid there three years, and did nothing! I did
not gain a single prize, nor did I attempt anything above the ordinary
degree. The fact is, that nothing seemed to me worth the labour of
success. I conversed with those who had obtained the highest academical
reputation, and I smiled with a consciousness of superiority at the
boundlessness of their vanity, and the narrowness of their views. The
limits of the distinction they had gained seemed to them as wide as the
most extended renown; and the little knowledge their youth had acquired
only appeared to them an excuse for the ignorance and the indolence of
maturer years. Was it to equal these that I was to labour? I felt that
I already surpassed them! Was it to gain their good opinion, or, still
worse, that of their admirers? Alas! I had too long learned to live for
myself to find any happiness in the respect of the idlers I despised.

I left Oxford at the age of twenty-one. I succeeded to the large estates
of my inheritance, and for the first time I felt the vanity so natural
to youth when I went up to London to enjoy the resources of the Capital,
and to display the powers I possessed to revel in whatever those
resources could yield. I found society like the Jewish temple: any one
is admitted into its threshold; none but the chiefs of the institution
into its recesses.

Young, rich, of an ancient and honourable name, pursuing pleasure rather
as a necessary excitement than an occasional occupation, and agreeable
to the associates I drew around me because my profusion contributed
to their enjoyment, and my temper to their amusement--I found myself
courted by many, and avoided by none. I soon discovered that all
civility is but the mask of design. I smiled at the kindness of the
fathers who, hearing that I was talented, and knowing that I was rich,
looked to my support in whatever political side they had espoused. I saw
in the notes of the mothers their anxiety for the establishment of their
daughters, and their respect for my acres; and in the cordiality of the
sons who had horses to sell and rouge-et-noir debts to pay, I detected
all that veneration for my money which implied such contempt for its
possessor. By nature observant, and by misfortune sarcastic, I looked
upon the various colourings of society with a searching and philosophic
eye: I unravelled the intricacies which knit servility with arrogance
and meanness with ostentation; and I traced to its sources that
universal vulgarity of inward sentiment and external manner, which,
in all classes, appears to me to constitute the only unvarying
characteristic of our countrymen. In proportion as I increased my
knowledge of others, I shrunk with a deeper disappointment and dejection
into my own resources. The first moment of real happiness which I
experienced for a whole year was when I found myself about to seek,
beneath the influence of other skies, that more extended acquaintance
with my species which might either draw me to them with a closer
connection, or at last reconcile me to the ties which already existed.

I will not dwell upon my adventures abroad: there is little to interest
others in a recital which awakens no interest in one’s self. I sought
for wisdom, and I acquired but knowledge. I thirsted for the truth, the
tenderness of love, and I found but its fever and its falsehood. Like
the two Florimels of Spenser, I mistook, in my delirium, the delusive
fabrication of the senses for the divine reality of the heart; and I
only awoke from my deceit when the phantom I had worshipped melted into
snow. Whatever I pursued partook of the energy, yet fitfulness of my
nature; mingling to-day in the tumults of the city, and to-morrow alone
with my own heart in the solitude of unpeopled nature; now revelling
in the wildest excesses, and now tracing, with a painful and unwearied
search, the intricacies of science; alternately governing others, and
subdued by the tyranny which my own passions imposed--I passed through
the ordeal unshrinking yet unscathed. “The education of life,” says De
Stael, “perfects the thinking mind, but depraves the frivolous.” I do
not inquire, Monkton, to which of these classes I belong; but I feel
too well, that though my mind has not been depraved, it has found no
perfection but in misfortune; and that whatever be the acquirements of
later years, they have nothing which can compensate for the losses of
our youth.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

I returned to England. I entered again upon the theatre of its world;
but I mixed now more in its greater than its lesser pursuits. I looked
rather at the mass than the leaven of mankind; and while I felt aversion
for the few whom I knew, I glowed with philanthropy for the crowd which
I knew not.

It is in contemplating men at a distance that we become benevolent. When
we mix with them, we suffer by the contact, and grow, if not malicious
from the injury, at least selfish from the circumspection which our
safety imposes but when, while we feel our relationship, we are not
galled by the tie; when neither jealousy, nor envy, nor resentment are
excited, we have nothing to interfere with those more complacent and
kindliest sentiments which our earliest impressions have rendered
natural to our hearts. We may fly men in hatred because they have galled
us, but the feeling ceases with the cause: none will willingly feed long
upon bitter thoughts. It is thus that, while in the narrow circle in
which we move we suffer daily from those who approach us, we can, in
spite of our resentment to them, glow with a general benevolence to the
wider relations from which we are remote; that while smarting
beneath the treachery of friendship, the stinging of ingratitude, the
faithfulness of love, we would almost sacrifice our lives to realise
some idolised theory of legislation; and that, distrustful, calculating,
selfish in private, there are thousands who would, with a credulous
fanaticism, fling themselves as victims before that unrecompensing
Moloch which they term the Public.

Living, then, much by myself, but reflecting much upon the world,
I learned to love mankind. Philanthropy brought ambition; for I was
ambitious, not for my own aggrandisement, but for the service of
others--for the poor--the toiling--the degraded; these constituted that
part of my fellow-beings which I the most loved, for these were bound to
me by the most engaging of all human ties--misfortune! I began to enter
into the intrigues of the state; I extended my observation and inquiry
from individuals to nations; I examined into the mysteries of the
science which has arisen in these later days to give the lie to the
wisdom of the past, to reduce into the simplicity of problems the
intricacies of political knowledge, to teach us the fallacy of the
system which had governed by restriction, and imagined that the
happiness of nations depended upon the perpetual interference of its
rulers, and to prove to us that the only unerring policy of art is
to leave a free and unobstructed progress to the hidden energies and
province of Nature. But it was not only the theoretical investigation of
the state which employed me. I mixed, though in secret, with the agents
of its springs. While I seemed only intent upon pleasure, I locked in my
heart the consciousness and vanity of power. In the levity of the lip I
disguised the workings and the knowledge of the brain; and I looked,
as with a gifted eye, upon the mysteries of the hidden depths, while
I seemed to float an idler, with the herd, only on the surface of the
stream.

Why was I disgusted, when I had but to put forth my hand and grasp
whatever object my ambition might desire? Alas! there was in my heart
always something too soft for the aims and cravings of my mind. I felt
that I was wasting the young years of my life in a barren and wearisome
pursuit. What to me, who had outlived vanity, would have been the
admiration of the crowd! I sighed for the sympathy of the one! and I
shrunk in sadness from the prospect of renown to ask my heart for the
reality of love! For what purpose, too, had I devoted myself to the
service of men? As I grew more sensible of the labour of pursuing, I saw
more of the inutility of accomplishing, individual measures. There is
one great and moving order of events which we may retard, but we cannot
arrest, and to which, if we endeavour to hasten them, we only give
a dangerous and unnatural impetus. Often, when in the fever of the
midnight, I have paused from my unshared and unsoftened studies, to
listen to the deadly pulsation of my heart,--[Falkland suffered much,
from very early youth, from a complaint in his heart]--when I have felt
in its painful and tumultuous beating the very life waning and wasting
within me, I have sickened to my inmost soul to remember that, amongst
all those whom I was exhausting the health and enjoyment of youth to
benefit, there was not one for whom my life had an interest, or by whom
my death would be honoured by a tear. There is a beautiful passage in
Chalmers on the want of sympathy we experience in the world. From my
earliest childhood I had one deep, engrossing, yearning desire,--and
that was to love and to be loved. I found, too young, the realisation of
that dream--it passed! and I have never known it again. The experience
of long and bitter years teaches me to look with suspicion on that
far recollection of the past, and to doubt if this earth could indeed
produce a living form to satisfy the visions of one who has dwelt
among the boyish creations of fancy--who has shaped out in his heart an
imaginary idol, arrayed it in whatever is most beautiful in nature, and
breathed into the image the pure but burning spirit of that innate love
from which it sprung! It is true that my manhood has been the undeceiver
of my youth, and that the meditation upon the facts has disenthralled me
from the visionary broodings over fiction; but what remuneration have I
found in reality? If the line of the satirist be not true, “Souvent
de tous nos maux la raison est le pire,” [Boileau]--at least, like the
madman of whom he speaks, I owe but little gratitude to the act which,
“in drawing me from my error, has robbed me also of a paradise.”

I am approaching the conclusion of my confessions. Men who have no ties
in the world, and who have been accustomed to solitude, find, with every
disappointment in the former, a greater yearning for the enjoyments
which the latter can afford. Day by day I relapsed more into myself;
“man delighted me not, nor women either.” In my ambition, it was not
in the means, but the end, that I was disappointed. In my friends, I
complained not of treachery, but insipidity; and it was not because I
was deserted, but wearied by more tender connections, that I ceased to
find either excitement in seeking, or triumph in obtaining, their love.
It was not, then, in a momentary disgust, but rather in the calm of
satiety, that I formed that resolution of retirement which I have
adopted now.

Shrinking from my kind, but too young to live wholly for myself, I have
made a new tie with nature; I have come to cement it here. I am like
a bird which has wandered, afar, but has returned home to its nest at
last. But there is one feeling which had its origin in the world, and
which accompanies me still; which consecrates my recollections of the
past; which contributes to take its gloom from the solitude of the
present:-Do you ask me its nature, Monkton? It is my friendship for you.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

I wish that I could convey to you, dear Monkton, the faintest idea of
the pleasures of indolence. You belong to that class which is of all the
most busy, though the least active. Men of pleasure never have time
for anything. No lawyer, no statesman, no bustling, hurrying, restless
underling of the counter or the Exchange, is so eternally occupied as a
lounger “about town.” He is linked to labour by a series of undefinable
nothings. His independence and idleness only serve to fetter and engross
him, and his leisure seems held upon the condition of never having a
moment to himself. Would that you could see me at this instant in the
luxury of my summer retreat, surrounded by the trees, the waters, the
wild birds, and the hum, the glow, the exultation which teem visibly and
audibly through creation in the noon of a summer’s day! I am undisturbed
by a single intruder. I am unoccupied by a single pursuit. I suffer one
moment to glide into another, without the remembrance that the next must
be filled up by some laborious pleasure, or some wearisome enjoyment.
It is here that I feel all the powers, and gather together all the
resources, of my mind. I recall my recollections of men; and, unbiassed
by the passions and prejudices which we do not experience alone, because
their very existence depends upon others, I endeavour to perfect my
knowledge of the human heart. He who would acquire that better science
must arrange and analyse in private the experience he has collected in
the crowd. Alas, Monkton, when you have expressed surprise at the gloom
which is so habitual to my temper, did it never occur to you that my
acquaintance--with the world would alone be sufficient to account for
it?--that knowledge is neither for the good nor the happy. Who can touch
pitch, and not be defiled? Who can look upon the workings of grief and
rejoice, or associate with guilt and be pure? It has been by mingling
with men, not only in their haunts but their emotions, that I have
learned to know them. I have descended into the receptacles of vice; I
have taken lessons from the brothel and the hell; I have watched feeling
in its unguarded sallies, and drawn from the impulse of the moment
conclusions which gave the lie to the previous conduct of years. But
all knowledge brings us disappointment, and this knowledge the most--the
satiety of good, the suspicion of evil, the decay of our young
dreams, the premature iciness of age, the reckless, aimless, joyless
indifference which follows an overwrought and feverish excitation--These
constitute the lot of men who have renounced _hope_ in the acquisition
of _thought_, and who, in learning the motives of human actions, learn
only to despise the persons and the things which enchanted them like
divinities before.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

I told you, dear Monkton, in my first letter, of my favorite retreat in
Mr. Mandeville’s grounds. I have grown so attached to it, that I spend
the greater part of the day there.

I am not one of those persons who always perambulate with a book in
their hands, as if neither nature nor their own reflections could afford
them any rational amusement. I go there more frequently _en paresseux_
than _en savant_: a small brooklet which runs through the grounds
broadens at last into a deep, clear, transparent lake. Here fir and elm
and oak fling their branches over the margin and beneath their shade I
pass all the hours of noon-day in the luxuries of a dreamer’s reverie.
It is true, however, that I am never less idle than when I appear the
most so. I am like Prospero in his desert island, and surround myself
with spirits. A spell trembles upon the leaves; every wave comes fraught
to me with its peculiar music: and an Ariel seems to whisper the secrets
of every breeze, which comes to my forehead laden with the perfumes of
the West. But do not think, Mounton, that it is only good spirits
which haunt the recesses of my solitude. To push the metaphor to
exaggeration--Memory is my Sycorax, and Gloom is the Caliban
she conceives. But let me digress from myself to my less idle
occupations;--I have of late diverted my thoughts in some measure by a
recurrence to a study to which I once was particularly devoted--history.
Have you ever remarked, that people who live the most by themselves
reflect the most upon others; and that he who lives surrounded by the
million never thinks of any but the one individual--himself?

Philosophers--moralists-historians, whose thoughts, labours, lives, have
been devoted to the consideration of mankind, or the analysis of public
events, have usually been remarkably attached to solitude and seclusion.
We are indeed so linked to our fellow-beings, that, where we are not
chained to them by action, we are carried to and connected with them by
thought.

I have just quitted the observations of my favourite Bolingbroke upon
history. I cannot agree with him as to its utility. The more I
consider, the more I am convinced that its study has been upon the
whole pernicious to mankind. It is by those details, which are always
as unfair in their inference as they must evidently be doubtful in their
facts, that party animosity and general prejudice are supported and
sustained. There is not one abuse--one intolerance--one remnant of
ancient barbarity and ignorance existing at the present day, which is
not advocated, and actually confirmed, by some vague deduction from the
bigotry of an illiterate chronicler, or the obscurity of an uncertain
legend. It is through the constant appeal to our ancestors that we
transmit wretchedness and wrong to our posterity: we should require,
to corroborate an evil originating in the present day, the clearest and
most satisfactory proof; but the minutest defence is sufficient for an
evil handed down to us by the barbarism of antiquity. We reason from
what even in old tunes was dubious, as if we were adducing what was
certain in those in which we live. And thus we have made no sanction
to abuses so powerful as history, and no enemy to the present like the
past.



FROM THE LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE TO MRS. ST. JOHN.

At last, my dear Julia, I am settled in my beautiful retreat. Mrs.
Dalton and Lady Margaret Leslie are all whom I could prevail upon to
accompany me. Mr. Mandeville is full of the corn-laws. He is
chosen chairman to a select committee in the House. He is murmuring
agricultural distresses in his sleep; and when I asked him occasionally
to come down here to see me, he started from a reverie, and exclaimed,
“--Never, Mr. Speaker, as a landed proprietor; never will I consent to
my own ruin.”

My boy, my own, my beautiful companion, is with me. I wish you could see
how fast he can run, and how sensibly he can talk. “What a fine figure
he has for his age!” said I to Mr. Mandeville the other day. “Figure!
age!” said his father; “in the House of Commons he shall make a figure
to every age.” I know that in writing to you, you will not be contented
if I do not say a great deal about myself. I shall therefore proceed to
tell you, that I feel already much better from the air and exercise! the
journey, from the conversation of my two guests, and, above all, from
the constant society of my dear boy. He was three last birthday. I think
that at the age of twenty-one, I am the least childish of the two.
Pray remember me to all in town who have not quite forgotten me. Beg
Lady------ to send Elizabeth a subscription ticket for Almack’s, an
 talking of Almack’s, I think my boy’s eyes are even more blue and
beautiful than Lady C-----‘s.

Adieu, my dear Julia, Ever, &c. E. M.



Lady Emily Mandeville was the daughter of the Duke of Lindvale. She
married, at the age of sixteen, a man of large fortune, and some
parliamentary reputation. Neither in person nor in character was he much
beneath or above the ordinary standard of men. He was one of Nature’s
Macadamised achievements. His great fault was his equality; and you
longed for a hill though it were to climb, or a stone though it were
in your way. Love attaches itself to something prominent, even if that
something be what others would hate. One can scarce feel extremes for
mediocrity. The few years Lady Emily had been married had but little
altered her character. Quick in feeling, though regulated in temper; gay
less from levity, than from that first _spring-tide_ of a heart which
has never yet known occasion to be sad; beautiful and pure, as an
enthusiast’s dream of heaven, yet bearing within the latent and powerful
passion and tenderness of earth: she mixed with all a simplicity and
innocence which the extreme earliness of her marriage, and the ascetic
temper of her husband, had tendered less to diminish than increase. She
had much of what is termed genius--its warmth of emotion--its vividness
of conception--its admiration for the grand--its affection for the good,
and that dangerous contempt for whatever is mean and worthless, the very
indulgence of which is an offence against the habits of the world.
Her tastes were, however, too feminine and chaste ever to render her
eccentric: they were rather calculated to conceal than to publish the
deeper recesses of her nature; and it was beneath that polished
surface of manner common to those with whom she mixed, that she hid the
treasures of a mine which no human eye had beheld.

Her health, naturally delicate, had lately suffered much from the
dissipation of London, and it was by the advice of physicians that she
had now come to spend the summer at E------. Lady Margaret Leslie,
who was old enough to be tired with the caprices of society, and Mrs.
Dalton, who, having just lost her husband, was forbidden at present to
partake of its amusements, had agreed to accompany her to her retreat.
Neither of them was perhaps much suited to Emily’s temper, but youth and
spirits make almost any one congenial to us: it is from the years which
confirm our habits, and the reflections which refine our taste, that it
becomes easy to revolt us, and difficult to please.

On the third day after Emily’s arrival at E------, she was sitting after
breakfast with Lady Margaret and Mrs. Dalton. “Pray,” said the former,
“did you ever meet my relation, Mr. Falkland? he is in your immediate
neighbourhood.” “Never; though I have a great curiosity: that fine old
ruin beyond the village belongs to him, I believe.” “It does. You ought
to know him: you would like him so!” “Like him!” repeated Mrs. Dalton,
who was one of those persons of ton who, though everything collectively,
are nothing individually: “like him? impossible!” “Why?” said Lady
Margaret, indignantly--“he has every requisite to please--youth, talent,
fascination of manner, and great knowledge of the world.” “Well,” said
Mrs. Dalton, “I cannot say I discovered his perfections. He seemed to
me conceited and satirical, and--and--in short, very disagreeable;
but then, to be sure, I have only seen him once.” “I have heard many
accounts of him,” said Emily, “all differing from each other: I think,
however, that the generality of people rather incline to Mrs. Dalton’s
opinion than to yours, Lady Margaret.” “I can easily believe it. It is
very seldom that he takes the trouble to please; but when he does, he is
irresistible. Very little, however, is generally known respecting him.
Since he came of age, he has been much abroad; and when in England, he
never entered with eagerness into society. He is supposed to possess
very extraordinary powers, which, added to his large fortune and ancient
name, have procured him a consideration and rank rarely enjoyed by one
so young. He had refused repeated offers to enter into public life; but
he is very intimate with one of the ministers, who, it is said, has
had the address to profit much by his abilities. All other particulars
concerning him are extremely uncertain. Of his person and manners you
had better judge yourself; for I am sure, Emily, that my petition for
inviting him here is already granted.” “By all means,” said Emily: “you
cannot be more anxious to see him than I am.” And so the conversation
dropped. Lady Margaret went to the library; Mrs. Dalton seated herself
on the ottoman, dividing her attention between the last novel and her
Italian greyhound; and Emily left the room in order to revisit her
former and favourite haunts. Her young son was her companion, and she
was not sorry that he was her only one. To be the instructress of an
infant, a mother should be its playmate; and Emily was, perhaps, wiser
than she imagined, when she ran with a laughing eye and a light foot
over the grass, occupying herself almost with the same earnestness as
her child in the same infantine amusements. As they passed the wood
which led to the lake at the bottom of the grounds, the boy, who was
before Emily, suddenly stopped. She came hastily up to him; and scarcely
two paces before, though half hid by the steep bank of the lake beneath
which he reclined, she saw a man apparently asleep. A volume of;
Shakespeare lay beside him: the child had seized it. As she took it from
him in order to replace it, her eyes rested upon the passage the boy had
accidentally opened. How often in after days was that passage recalled
as an omen! It was the following:

        Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
        Could ever hear by tale or history
        The course of true love never did run smooth!
                    Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As she laid the book gently down she caught a glimpse of the
countenance of the sleeper: never did she forget the expression which it
wore,--stern, proud, mournful even in repose!

She did not wait for him to wake. She hurried home through the trees.
All that day she was silent and abstracted; the face haunted her like a
dream. Strange as it may seem, she spoke neither to Lady Margaret nor to
Mrs. Dalton of her adventure. Why? Is there in our hearts any prescience
of their misfortunes?

On the next day, Falkland, who had received and accepted Lady Margaret’s
invitation, was expected to dinner. Emily felt a strong yet
excusable curiosity to see one of whom she had heard so many and such
contradictory reports. She was alone in the saloon when he entered. At
the first glance she recognised the person she had met by the lake on
the day before, and she blushed deeply as she replied to his salutation.
To her great relief Lady Margaret and Mrs. Dalton entered in a few
minutes, and the conversation grew general.

Falkland had but little of what is called animation in manner; but his
wit, though it rarely led to mirth, was sarcastic, yet refined, and the
vividness of his imagination threw a brilliancy and originality over
remarks which in others might have been commonplace and tame.

The conversation turned chiefly upon society; and though Lady Margaret
had told her he had entered but little into its ordinary routine, Emily
was struck alike by his accurate acquaintance with men, and the justice
of his reflections upon manners. There also mingled with his satire
an occasional melancholy of feeling, which appeared to Emily the more
touching because it was always unexpected and unassumed. It was after
one of these remarks, that for the first time she ventured to examine
into the charm and peculiarity of the countenance of the speaker. There
was spread over it that expression of mingled energy and languor, which
betokens that much, whether of thought, sorrow, passion, or action, has
been undergone, but resisted: has wearied, but not subdued. In the broad
and noble brow, in the chiselled lip, and the melancholy depths of the
calm and thoughtful eye, there sat a resolution and a power, which,
though mournful, were not without their pride; which, if they had borne
the worst, had also defied it. Notwithstanding his mother’s country, his
complexion was fair and pale; and his hair, of a light chestnut, fell
in large antique curls over his forehead. That forehead, indeed,
constituted the principal feature of his countenance. It was neither in
its height nor expansion alone that its remarkable beauty consisted;
but if ever thought to conceive and courage to execute high designs were
embodied and visible, they were imprinted there.

Falkland did not stay long after dinner; but to Lady Margaret he
promised all that she required of future length and frequency in his
visits. When he left the room, Lady Emily went instinctively to the
window to watch him depart; and all that night his low soft voice rung
in her ear, like the music of an indistinct and half-remembered dream.



FROM MR. MANDEVILLE TO LADY EMILY.

DEAR, EMILY,--Business of great importance to the country has, prevented
my writing to you before. I hope you have continued well since I heard
from you last, and that you do all you can to preserve that retrenchment
of unnecessary expenses, and observe that attention to a prudent
economy, which is no less incumbent upon individuals than nations.

Thinking that you must be dull at E------, and ever anxious both to
entertain and to improve you, I send you an excellent publication by Mr.
Tooke, together with my own two last speeches, corrected by myself.

Trusting to hear from you soon, I am, with best love to Henry,

Very affectionately yours,

JOHN MANDEVILLE.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

Well, Monkton, I have been to E-----; that important event in my
monastic life has been concluded. Lady Margaret was as talkative as
usual; and a Mrs. Dalton, who, I find, is an acquaintance of yours,
asked very tenderly after your poodle and yourself. But Lady Emily!
Ay, Monkton, I know not well how to describe her to you. Her beauty
interests not less than it dazzles. There is that deep and eloquent
softness in her every word and action, which, of all charms, is the most
dangerous. Yet she is rather of a playful than of the melancholy and
pensive nature which generally accompanies such gentleness of manner;
but there is no levity in her character; nor is that playfulness of
spirit ever carried into the exhilaration of what we call “mirth.” She
seems, if I may use the antithesis, at once too feeling to be gay, and
too innocent to be sad. I remember having frequently met her husband.
Cold and pompous, without anything to interest the imagination, or
engage the affections, I am not able to conceive a person less congenial
to his beautiful and romantic wife. But she must have been exceedingly
young when she married him; and she, probably, knows not yet that she is
to be pitied, because she has not yet learned that she can love.

        Le veggio in fronte amor come in suo seggio
        Sul crin, negli occhi--su le labra amore
        Sol d’intorno al suo cuore amor non veggio.

I have been twice to her house since my first admission there. I love to
listen to that soft and enchanting voice, and to escape from the gloom
of my own reflections to the brightness, yet simplicity, of hers. In my
earlier days this comfort would have been attended with danger; but we
grow callous from the excess of feeling. We cannot re-illumine ashes! I
can gaze upon her dream-like beauty, and not experience a single desire
which can sully the purity of my worship. I listen to her voice when
it melts in endearment over her birds, her flowers, or, in a deeper
devotion, over her child; but my heart does not thrill at the tenderness
of the sound. I touch her hand, and the pulses of my own are as calm as
before. Satiety of the past is our best safeguard from the temptations
of the future; and the perils of youth are over when it has acquired
that dulness and apathy of affection which should belong only to the
insensibility of age.



Such were Falkland’s opinions at the time he wrote. Ah! what is so
delusive as our affections? Our security is our danger--our defiance
our defeat! Day after day he went to E-------. He passed the mornings
in making excursions with Emily over that wild and romantic country by
which they were surrounded; and in the dangerous but delicious stillness
of the summer twilights, they listened to the first whispers of their
hearts.

In his relationship to Lady Margaret, Falkland found his excuse for the
frequency of his visits: and even Mrs. Dalton was so charmed with the
fascination of his manner, that (in spite of her previous dislike) she
forgot to inquire how far his intimacy at E------ was at variance with
the proprieties of the world she worshipped, or in what proportion it
was connected with herself.

It is needless for me to trace through all its windings the formation
of that affection, the subsequent records of which I am about to relate.
What is so unearthly, so beautiful, as the first birth of a woman’s
love? The air of heaven is not purer in its wanderings--its sunshine not
more holy in its warmth. Oh! why should it deteriorate in its nature,
even while it increases in its degree? Why should the step which prints,
sully also the snow? How often, when Falkland met that guiltless yet
thrilling eye, which revealed to him those internal secrets that Emily
was yet awhile too happy to discover; when, like a fountain among
flowers, the goodness of her heart flowed over the softness of her
manner to those around her, and the benevolence of her actions to those
beneath; how often he turned away with a veneration too deep for the
selfishness of human passion, and a tenderness too sacred for its
desires! It was in this temper (the earliest and the most fruitless
prognostic of real love) that the following letter was written.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

I have had two or three admonitory letters from my uncle. “The summer
(he says) is advancing, yet you remain stationary in your indolence.
There is still a great part of Europe which you have not seen; and since
you will neither enter society for a wife, nor the House of Commons for
fame, spend your life, at least while it is yet free and unshackled, in
those active pursuits which will render idleness hereafter more sweet;
or in that observation and enjoyment among others, which will increase
your resources in yourself.” All this sounds well; but I have already
acquired more knowledge than will be of use either to others or myself,
and I am not willing to lose tranquillity here for the chance of
obtaining pleasure elsewhere. Pleasure is indeed a holiday sensation
which does not occur in ordinary life. We lose the peace of years when
we hunt after the rapture of moments.

I do not know if you ever felt that existence was ebbing away without
being put to its full value: as for me, I am never conscious of life
without being also conscious that it is not enjoyed to the utmost. This
is a bitter feeling, and its worst bitterness is our ignorance how to
remove it. My indolence I neither seek nor wish to defend, yet it is
rather from necessity than choice: it seems to me that there is nothing
in the world to arouse me. I only ask for action, but I can find no
motive sufficient to excite it: let me then, in my indolence, not, like
the world, be idle, yet dependent on others; but at least dignify the
failing by some appearance of that freedom which retirement only can
bestow.

My seclusion is no longer solitude; yet I do not value it the less. I
spend a great portion of my time at E------. Loneliness is attractive to
men of reflection, nor so much because they like their own thoughts, as
because they dis like the thoughts of others. Solitude ceases to charm
the moment we can find a single being whose ideas are more agreeable to
us than our own. I have not, I think, yet described to you the person of
Lady Emily. She is tall, and slightly, yet beautifully, formed. The ill
health which obliged her to leave London for E------, in the height of
the season, has given her cheek a more delicate hue than I should think
it naturally wore. Her eyes are light, but their lashes are long and
dark; her hair is black and luxuriant, and worn in a fashion peculiar
to herself; but her manners, Monkton! how can I convey to you their
fascination! so simple, and therefore so faultless--so modest, and yet
so tender--she seems, in acquiring the intelligence of the woman, to
have only perfected the purity of the child; and now, after all that
I have said, I am only more deeply sensible of the truth of Bacon’s
observation, that “the best part of beauty is that which no picture can
express.” I am loth to finish this description, because it seems to me
scarcely begun; I am unwilling to continue it, because every word seems
to show me more clearly those recesses of my heart, which I would have
hidden even from myself. I do not yet love, it is true, for the time
is past when I was lightly moved to passion; but I will not incur that
danger, the probability of which I am seer enough to foresee. Never
shall that pure and innocent heart be sullied by one who would die to
shield it from the lightest misfortune. I find in myself a powerful
seconder to my uncle’s wishes. I shall be in London next week; till
then, fare well. E. F.



When the proverb said, that “Jove laughs at lovers’ vows,” it meant not
(as in the ordinary construction) a sarcasm on their insincerity, but
inconsistency. We deceive others far less than we deceive ourselves.
What to Falkland were resolutions which a word, a glance, could over
throw? In the world he might have dissipated his thoughts in loneliness
he concentred them; for the passions are like the sounds of Nature,
only heard in her solitude! He lulled his soul to the reproaches of his
conscience; he surrendered himself to the intoxication of so golden a
dream; and amidst those beautiful scenes there arose, as an offering to
the summer heaven, the incense of two hearts which had, through those
very fires so guilty in themselves, purified and ennobled every other
emotion they had conceived,

        God made the country, and man made the town.

says the hackneyed quotation; and the feeling awakened in each, differ
with the genius of the place. Who can compare the frittered and divided
affections formed in cities with that which crowds cannot distract by
opposing temptations, or dissipation infect with its frivolities?

I have often thought that had the execution of Atala equalled its
design, no human work could have surpassed it in its grandeur. What
picture is more simple, though more sublime, than the vast solitude of
an unpeopled wilderness, the woods, the mountains, the face of Nature,
cast in the fresh yet giant mould of a new and unpolluted world; and,
amidst those most silent and mighty temples of THE GREAT GOD, the lone
spirit of Love reigning and brightening over all?



BOOK II.

It is dangerous for women, however wise it be for men, “to commune with
their own hearts, and to be still!” Continuing to pursue the follies of
the world had been to Emily more prudent than to fly them; to pause, to
separate herself from the herd, was to discover, to feel, to murmur at
the vacuum of her being; and to occupy it with the feelings which it
craved, could in her be but the hoarding a provision for despair.

Married, before she had begun the bitter knowledge of herself, to a man
whom it was impossible to love, yet deriving from nature a tenderness
of soul, which shed itself over everything around, her only escape from
misery had been in the dormancy of feeling. The birth of her son had
opened to her a new field of sensations, and she drew the best charm of
her own existence from the life she had given to another. Had she not
met Falkland, all the deeper sources of affection would have flowed into
one only and legitimate channel; but those whom he wished to fascinate
had never resisted his power, and the attachment he inspired was in
proportion to the strength and ardour of his own nature.

It was not for Emily Mandeville to love such as Falkland without feeling
that from that moment a separate and selfish existence had ceased to be.
Our senses may captivate us with beauty; but in absence we forget, or
by reason we can conquer, so superficial an impression. Our vanity may
enamour us with rank; but the affections of vanity are traced in sand;
but who can love Genius, and not feel that the sentiments it excites
partake of its own intenseness and its own immortality? It arouses,
concentrates, engrosses all our emotions, even to the most subtle and
concealed. Love what is common, and ordinary objects can replace or
destroy a sentiment which an ordinary object has awakened. Love what we
shall not meet again amidst the littleness and insipidity which surround
us, and where can we turn for a new object to replace that which has no
parallel upon earth? The recovery from such a delirium is like return
from a fairy land; and still fresh in the recollections of a bright and
immortal clime, how can we endure the dulness of that human existence to
which for the future we are condemned?

It was some weeks since Emily had written to Mrs. St. John; and her last
letter, in mentioning Falkland, had spoken of him with a reserve which
rather alarmed than deceived her friend. Mrs. St. John had indeed a
strong and secret reason for fear. Falkland had been the object of her
own and her earliest attachment, and she knew well the singular and
mysterious power which he exercised at will over the mind. He had, it is
true, never returned, nor even known of, her feelings towards him; and
during the years which had elapsed since she last saw him, and in the
new scenes which her marriage with Mr. St. John had opened, she had
almost forgotten her early attachment, when Lady Emily’s letter renewed
its remembrance. She wrote in answer an impassioned and affectionate
caution to her friend. She spoke much (after complaining of Emily’s late
silence) in condemnation of the character of Falkland, and in warning of
its fascinations; and she attempted to arouse alike the virtue and the
pride which so often triumph in alliance, when separately they would so
easily fail. In this Mrs. St. John probably imagined she was actuated
solely by friendship; but in the best actions there is always some
latent evil in the motive; and the selfishness of a jealousy, though
hopeless not conquered, perhaps predominated over the less interested
feelings which were all that she acknowledged to herself.

In this work it has been my object to portray the progress of the
passions; to chronicle a history rather by thoughts and feelings than
by incidents and events; and to lay open those minuter and more subtle
mazes and secrets of the human heart, which in modern writings have been
so sparingly exposed. It is with this view that I have from time to time
broken the thread of narration, in order to bring forward more vividly
the characters it contains; and in laying no claim to the ordinary
ambition of tale-writers, I have deemed myself at liberty to deviate
from the ordinary courses they pursue. Hence the motive and the excuse
for the insertion of the following extracts, and of occasional letters.
They portray the interior struggle when Narration would look only to
the external event, and trace the lightning “home to its cloud,” when
History would only mark the spot where it scorched or destroyed.



EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

Tuesday.--More than seven years have passed since I began this journal!
I have just been looking over it from the commencement. Many and various
are the feelings which it attempts to describe--anger, pique, joy,
sorrow, hope, pleasure, weariness, ennui; but never, never once,
humiliation or remorse!--these were not doomed to be my portion in the
bright years of my earliest youth. How shall I describe them now? I have
received--I have read, as well as my tears would let me, a long letter
from Julia. It is true that I have not dared to write to her: when shall
I answer this? She has showed me the state of my heart; I more than
suspected it before. Could I have dreamed two months--six weeks--since
that I should have a single feeling of which I could be ashamed? He has
just been here He--the only one in the world, for all the world seems
concentred in him. He observed my distress, for I looked on him; and my
lips quivered and my eyes were full of tears. He came to me--he sat next
to me--he whispered his interest, his anxiety--and was this all? Have
I loved before I even knew that I was beloved? No, no; the tongue was
silent, but the eye, the cheek, the manner--alas! these have been but
too eloquent!

Wednesday.--It was so sweet to listen to his low and tender voice; to
watch the expression of his countenance--even to breathe the air that he
inhaled. But now that I know its cause, I feel that this pleasure is a
crime, and I am miserable even when he is with me. He has not been here
to-day. It is past three. Will he come? I rise from my seat--I go to
the window for breath--I am restless, agitated, disturbed. Lady Margaret
speaks to me--I scarcely answer her. My boy--yes, my dear, dear Henry
comes, and I feel that I am again a mother. Never will I betray that
duty, though I have forgotten one as sacred though less dear! Never
shall my son have cause to blush for his parent! I will fly hence--I
will see him no more!



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

Write to me, Monkton--exhort me, admonish me, or forsake me for ever.
I am happy yet wretched: I wander in the delirium of a fatal fever, in
which I see dreams of a brighter life, but every one of them only brings
me nearer to death. Day after day I have lingered here, until weeks have
flown--and for what? Emily is not like the women of the world--virtue,
honour, faith, are not to her the mere _convenances_ of society. “There
is no crime,” said Lady A., “where there is concealment.” Such can never
be the creed of Emily Mandeville. She will not disguise guilt either in
the levity of the world, or in the affectations of sentiment. She will
be wretched, and for ever. I hold the destinies of her future life, and
yet I am base enough to hesitate whether to save or destroy her. Oh, how
fearful, how selfish, how degrading, is unlawful love!

You know my theoretical benevolence for everything that lives; you have
often smiled at its vanity. I see now that you were right; for it seems
to me almost superhuman virtue not to destroy the person who is dearest
to me on earth.

I remember writing to you some weeks since that I would come to London
Little did I know of the weakness of my own mind. I told her that I
intended to depart. She turned pale--she trembled--but she did not
speak. Those signs which should have hastened my departure have taken
away the strength even to think of it.

I am here still! I go to E------ every day. Sometimes we sit in silence;
I dare not trust myself to speak. How dangerous are such moments!
_Ammutiscon lingue parlen l’alme_.

Yesterday they left us alone. We had been conversing with Lady Margaret
on indifferent subjects. There was a pause for some minutes. I looked
up; Lady Margaret had left the room. The blood rushed into my cheek--my
eyes met Emily’s; I would have given worlds to have repeated with my
lips what those eyes expressed. I could not even speak--I felt choked
with contending emotions. There was not a breath stirring; I heard my
very heart beat. A thunderbolt would have been a relief. Oh God! if
there be a curse, it is to burn, swell, madden with feelings which you
are doomed to conceal! This is, indeed, to be “a cannibal of one’s own
heart.” [Bacon]

It was sunset. Emily was alone upon the lawn which sloped towards the
lake, and the blue still waters beneath broke, at bright intervals,
through the scattered and illuminated trees. She stood watching the sun
sink with wistful and tearful eyes. Her soul was sad within her. The ivy
which love first wreathes around his work had already faded away, and
she now only saw the desolation of the ruin it concealed. Never more
for her was that freshness of unwakened feeling which invests all things
with a perpetual daybreak of sunshine, and incense, and dew. The
heart may survive the decay or rupture of an innocent and lawful
affection--“la marque reste, mais la blessure guerit”--but the love of
darkness and guilt is branded in a character ineffaceable--eternal!
The one is, like lightning, more likely to dazzle than to destroy, and,
divine even in its danger, it makes holy what it sears; but the other
is like that sure and deadly fire which fell upon the cities of old,
graving in the barrenness of the desert it had wrought the record and
perpetuation of a curse. A low and thrilling voice stole upon Emily’s
ear. She turned--Falkland stood beside her. “I felt restless and
unhappy,” he said, “and I came to seek you. If (writes one of the
fathers) a guilty and wretched man could behold, though only for a few
minutes, the countenance of an angel, the calm and glory which it wears
would so sink into his heart, that he would pass at once over the gulf
of gone years into his first unsullied state of purity and hope; perhaps
I thought of that sentence when I came to you.”

“I know not,” said Emily, with a deep blush at this address, which
formed her only answer to the compliment it conveyed; “I know not why
it is, but to me there is always something melancholy in this
hour--something mournful in seeing the beautiful day die with all its
pomp and music, its sunshine, and songs of birds.”

“And yet,” replied Falkland, “if I remember the time when my feelings
were more in unison with yours (for at present external objects have
lost for me much of their influence and attraction), the melancholy you
perceive has in it a vague and ineffable sweetness not to be exchanged
for more exhilarated spirits. The melancholy which arises from no cause
within ourselves is like music--it enchants us in proportion to its
effect upon our feelings. Perhaps its chief charm (though this it
requires the contamination of after years before we can fathom and
define) is in the purity of the sources it springs from. Our feelings
can be but little sullied and worn while they can yet respond to the
passionless and primal sympathies of Nature; and the sadness you speak
of is so void of bitterness, so allied to the best and most delicious
sensations we enjoy, that I should imagine the very happiness of Heaven
partook rather of melancholy than mirth.”

There was a pause of some moments. It was rarely that Falkland alluded
even so slightly to the futurity of another world; and when he did, it
was never in a careless and commonplace manner, but in a tone which sank
deep into Emily’s heart. “Look,” she said, at length, “at that beautiful
star! the first and brightest! I have often thought it was like the
promise of life beyond the tomb--a pledge to us that, even in the depths
of midnight, the earth shall have a light, unquenched and unquenchable,
from Heaven!”

Emily turned to Falkland as she said this, and her countenance sparkled
with the enthusiasm she felt. But his face was deadly pale. There
went over it, like a cloud, an expression of changeful and unutterable
thought; and then, passing suddenly away, it left his features calm and
bright in all their noble and intellectual beauty. Her soul yearned to
him, as she looked, with the tenderness of a sister.

They walked slowly towards the house. “I have frequently,” said Emily,
with some hesitation, “been surprised at the little enthusiasm you
appear to possess even upon subjects where your conviction must be
strong.”

“_I have thought enthusiasm away!_” replied Falkland; “it was the loss
of hope which brought me reflection, and in reflection I forgot to feel.
Would that I had not found it so easy to recall what I thought I had
lost for ever!” Falkland’s cheek changed as he said this, and Emily
sighed faintly, for she felt his meaning. In him that allusion to his
love had aroused a whole train of dangerous recollections; for Passion
is the avalanche of the human heart--a single breath can dissolve it
from its repose.

They remained silent; for Falkland would not trust himself to speak,
till, when they reached the house, he faltered out his excuses for not
entering, and departed. He turned towards his solitary home. The grounds
at E------ had been laid out in a classical and costly manner which
contrasted forcibly with the wild and simple nature of the surrounding
scenery. Even the short distance between Mr. Mandeville’s house and
L------ wrought as distinct a change in the character of the country as
any length of space could have effected. Falkland’s ancient and ruinous
abode, with its shattered arches and moss-grown parapets, was situated
on a gentle declivity, and surrounded by dark elm and larch trees. It
still retained some traces both of its former consequence, and of
the perils to which that consequence had exposed it. A broad ditch,
overgrown with weeds, indicated the remains of what once had been a
moat; and huge rough stones, scattered around it, spoke of the outworks
the fortification had anciently possessed, and the stout resistance they
had made in “the Parliament Wars” to the sturdy followers of Ireton and
Fairfax. The moon, that flatterer of decay, shed its rich and softening
beauty over a spot which else had, indeed, been desolate and cheerless,
and kissed into light the long and unwaving herbage which rose at
intervals from the ruins, like the false parasites of fallen greatness.
But for Falkland the scene had no interest or charm, and he turned with
a careless and unheeding eye to his customary apartment. It was the
only one in the house furnished with luxury, or even comfort. Large
bookcases, inlaid with curious carvings in ivory; busts of the few
public characters the world had ever produced worthy, in Falkland’s
estimation, of the homage of posterity; elaborately-wrought hangings
from Flemish looms; and French fauteuils and sofas of rich damask,
and massy gilding (relics of the magnificent days of Louis Quatorze),
bespoke a costliness of design suited rather to Falkland’s wealth than
to the ordinary simplicity of his tastes.

A large writing-table was overspread with books in various languages,
and upon the most opposite subjects. Letters and papers were scattered
amongst them; Falkland turned carelessly over the latter. One of the
epistolary communications was from Lord ------, the --. He smiled
bitterly, as he read the exaggerated compliments it contained, and saw
to the bottom of the shallow artifice they were meant to conceal. He
tossed the letter from him, and opened the scattered volumes, one after
another, with that languid and sated feeling common to all men who have
read deeply enough to feel how much they have learned, and how little
they know. “We pass our lives,” thought he, “in sowing what we are never
to reap! We endeavour to erect a tower, which shall reach the heavens,
in order to escape one curse, and lo! we are smitten by another! We
would soar from a common evil, and from that moment we are divided by
a separate language from our race! Learning, science, philosophy, the
world of men and of imagination, I ransacked--and for what? I centred
my happiness in wisdom. I looked upon the aims of others with a scornful
and loathing eye. I held commune with those who have gone before me;
I dwelt among the monuments of their minds, and made their records
familiar to me as friends: I penetrated the womb of nature, and went
with the secret elements to their home: I arraigned the stars before
me, and learned the method and the mystery of their courses: I asked the
tempest its bourn, and questioned the winds of their path. This was not
sufficient to satisfy my thirst for knowledge, and I searched in this
lower world of new sources to content it. Unseen and unsuspected, I saw
and agitated the springs of the automaton that we call ‘the Mind.’ I
found a clue for the labyrinth of human motives, and I surveyed the
hearts of those around me as through a glass. Vanity of vanities! What
have I acquired? I have separated myself from my kind, but not from
those worst enemies, my passions! I have made a solitude of my soul, but
I have not mocked it with the appellation of Peace.

     “Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.”--TACITUS.
     “They make a solitude, and call it peace.”--BYRON.

“In flying the herd, I have not escaped from myself; like the wounded
deer, the barb was within me, and that I could not fly!” With these
thoughts he turned from his reverie, and once more endeavoured to charm
his own reflections by those which ought to speak to us of quiet, for
they are graven on the pages of the dead; but his attempts were as idle
as before. His thoughts were still wandering and confused, and could
neither be quieted nor collected: he read, but he scarcely distinguished
one page from another: he wrote--the ideas refused to flow at his call;
and the only effort at connecting his feelings which even partially
succeeded, was in the verses which I am about to place before the
reader. It is a common property of poetry, however imperfectly the gift
be possessed, to speak to the hearts of others in proportion as the
sentiments it would express are felt in our own; and I subjoin the lines
which bear the date of that evening, in the hope that, more than many
pages, they will show the morbid yet original character of the
writer, and the particular sources of feeling from which they took the
bitterness that pervades them.


                KNOWLEDGE.

     Ergo hominum genus incassum frustraque laborat
     Semper, et in curis consumit inanibus aevum.--Lucret.

        ‘Tis midnight! Round the lamp which o’er
        My chamber sheds its lonely beam,
        Is wisely spread the varied lore
        Which feeds in youth our feverish dream

        The dream--the thirst--the wild desire,
        Delirious yet divine-to know;
        Around to roam--above aspire
        And drink the breath of Heaven below!

        From Ocean-Earth-the Stars-the Sky
        To lift mysterious Nature’s pall;
        And bare before the kindling eye
        In MAN the darkest mist of all--

        Alas! what boots the midnight oil?
        The madness of the struggling mind?
        Oh, vague the hope, and vain the toil,
        Which only leave us doubly blind!

        What learn we from the Past? the same
        Dull course of glory, guilt, and gloom--
        I ask’d the Future, and there came
        No voice from its unfathom’d womb.

        The Sun was silent, and the wave;
        The air but answer’d with its breath
        But Earth was kind; and from the grave
        Arose the eternal answer--Death!

        And this was all! We need no sage
        To teach us Nature’s only truth!
        O fools! o’er Wisdom’s idle page
        To waste the hours of golden youth!

        In Science wildly do we seek
        What only withering years should bring
        The languid pulse--the feverish cheek
        The spirits drooping on their wing!

        To think--is but to learn to groan
        To scorn what all beside adore
        To feel amid the world alone,
        An alien on a desert shore;

        To lose the only ties which seem
        To idler gaze in mercy given!
        To find love, faith, and hope, a dream,
        And turn to dark despair from heaven!


I pass on to a wilder period of my history. The passion, as yet only
revealed by the eye, was now to be recorded by the lip; and the scene
which witnessed the first confession of the lovers was worthy of the
last conclusion of their loves!

E------ was about twelve miles from a celebrated cliff on the seashore,
and Lady Margaret had long proposed an excursion to a spot, curious
alike for its natural scenery and the legends attached to it. A day was
at length fixed for accomplishing this plan. Falkland was of the party.
In searching for something in the pockets of the carriage, his hand met
Emily’s, and involuntarily pressed it. She withdrew it hastily, but he
felt it tremble. He did not dare to look up: that single contact had
given him a new life: intoxicated with the most delicious sensations, he
leaned back in silence. A fever had entered his veins--the thrill of
the touch had gone like fire into his system--all his frame seemed one
nerve.

Lady Margaret talked of the weather and the prospect, wondered how far
they had got, and animadverted on the roads, till at last, like a
child, she talked herself to rest. Mrs. Dalton read “Guy Mannering;” but
neither Emily nor her lover had any occupation or thought in common with
their companions: silent and absorbed, they were only alive to the vivid
existence of the present. Constantly engaged, as we are, in looking
behind us or before, if there be one hour in which we feel only the time
being--in which we feel sensibly that we live, and that those moments of
the present are full of the enjoyment, the rapture of existence--it is
when we are with the one person whose life and spirits have become the
great part and principle of our own. They reached their destination--a
small inn close by the shore. They rested there a short time, and then
strolled along the sands towards the cliff. Since Falkland had known
Emily, her character was much altered. Six weeks before the time I write
of, and in playfulness and lightness of spirits she was almost a
child: now those indications of an unawakened heart had mellowed into a
tenderness full of that melancholy so touching and holy, even amid
the voluptuous softness which it breathes and inspires. But this day,
whether from that coquetry so common to all women, or from some cause
more natural to her, she seemed gayer than Falkland ever remembered to
have seen her. She ran over the sands, picking up shells, and tempting
the waves with her small and fairy feet, not daring to look at him, and
yet speaking to him at times with a quick tone of levity which hurt and
offended him, even though he knew the depth of those feelings she could
not disguise either from him or from herself. By degrees his answers and
remarks grew cold and sarcastic. Emily affected pique; and when it was
discovered that the cliff was still nearly two miles off, she refused to
proceed any farther. Lady Margaret talked her at last into consent,
and they walked on as sullenly as an English party of pleasure possibly
could do, till they were within three quarters of a mile of the place,
when Emily declared she was so tired that she really could not go on.
Falkland looked at her, perhaps, with no very amiable expression of
countenance, when he perceived that she seemed really pale and fatigued;
and when she caught his eyes, tears rushed into her own.

“Indeed, indeed, Mr. Falkland,” she said, eagerly, “this is not
affectation. I am very tired; but rather than prevent your amusement, I
will endeavour to go on.” “Nonsense, child,” said Lady Margaret, “you
do seem tired. Mrs. Dalton and Falkland shall go to the rock, and I will
stay here with you.” This proposition, however, Lady Emily (who knew
Lady Margaret’s wish to see the rock) would not hear of; she insisted
upon staying by herself. “Nobody will run away with me; and I can very
easily amuse myself with picking up shells till you comeback.” After
along remonstrance, which produced no effect, this plan was at last
acceded to. With great reluctance Falkland set off with his two
companions; but after the first step, he turned to look back. He caught
her eye, and felt from that moment that their reconciliation was sealed.
They arrived, at last, at the cliff. Its height, its excavations, the
romantic interest which the traditions respecting it had inspired, fully
repaid the two women for the fatigue of their walk. As for Falkland,
he was unconscious of everything around him; he was full of “sweet and
bitter thoughts.” In vain the man whom they found loitering there,
in order to serve as a guide, kept dinning in his ear stories of the
marvellous, and exclamations of the sublime. The first words which
aroused him were these; “It’s lucky, please your Honour, that you have
just saved the tide. It is but last week that three poor people were
drowned in attempting to come here; as it is, you will have to go home
round the cliff.” Falkland started: he felt his heart stand still. “Good
God!” cried Lady Margaret, “what will become of Emily?”

They were--at that instant in one of the caverns, where they had already
been loitering too long. Falkland rushed out to the sands. The tide was
hurrying in with a deep sound, which came on his soul like a knell.
He looked back towards the way they had come: not one hundred yards
distant, and the waters had already covered the path! An eternity would
scarcely atone for the horror of that moment! One great characteristic
of Falkland was his presence of mind. He turned to the man who stood
beside him--he gave him a cool and exact description of the spot where
he had left Emily. He told him to repair with all possible speed to his
home--to launch his boat--to row it to the place he had described. “Be
quick,” he added, “and you must be in time: if you are, you shall never
know poverty again.” The next moment he was already several yards from
the spot. He ran, or rather flew, till he was stopped by the waters. He
rushed in; they were over a hollow between two rocks--they were already
up to his chest. “There is yet hope,” thought he, when he had passed
the spot, and saw the smooth sand before him. For some minutes he was
scarcely sensible of existence; and then he found himself breathless at
her feet. Beyond, towards T----- (the small inn I spoke of), the waves
had already reached the foot of the rocks, and precluded all hope of
return. Their only chance was the possibility that the waters had not
yet rendered impassable the hollow through which Falkland had just
waded. He scarcely spoke; at least he was totally unconscious of what he
said. He hurried her on breathless and trembling, with the sound of the
booming waters ringing in his ear, and their billows advancing to his
very feet. They arrived at the hollow: a single glance sufficed to show
him that their solitary hope was past! The waters, before up to his
chest, had swelled considerably: he could not swim. He saw in that
instant that they were girt with a hastening and terrible death. Can it
be believed that with that certainty ceased his fear? He looked in
the pale but calm countenance of her who clung to him, and a strange
tranquillity, even mingled with joy, possessed him. Her breath was on
his cheek--her form was reclining on his own--his hand clasped hers; if
they were to die, it was thus. What would life afford to him more dear?
“It is in this moment,” said he, and he knelt as he spoke, “that I dare
tell you what otherwise my lips never should have revealed. I love--I
adore you! Turn not away from me thus. In life our persons were severed;
if our hearts are united in death, then death will be sweet.” She
turned--her cheek was no longer pale! He rose--he clasped her to
his bosom: his lips pressed hers. Oh! that long, deep, burning
pressure!--youth, love, life, soul, all concentrated in that one kiss!
Yet the same cause which occasioned the avowal hallowed also the madness
of his heart. What had the passion, declared only at the approach of
death, with the more earthly desires of life? They looked to heaven--it
was calm and unclouded: the evening lay there in its balm and perfume,
and the air was less agitated than their sighs. They turned towards the
beautiful sea which was to be their grave: the wild birds flew over it
exultingly: the far vessels seemed “rejoicing to run their course.” All
was full of the breath, the glory, the life of nature; and in how many
minutes was all to be as nothing! Their existence would resemble the
ships that have gone down at sea in the very smile of the element that
destroyed them. They looked into each other’s eyes, and they drew still
nearer together. Their hearts, in safety apart, mingled in peril and
became one. Minutes rolled on, and the great waves came dashing round
them. They stood on the loftiest eminence they could reach. The spray
broke over their feet: the billows rose--rose--they were speechless. He
thought he heard her heart beat, but her lip trembled not. A
speck--a boat! “Look up, Emily! look up! See how it cuts the waters.
Nearer--nearer! but a little longer, and we are safe. It is but a
few yards off;--it approaches--it touches the rock!” Ah! what to them
henceforth was the value of life, when the moment of discovering its
charm became also the date of its misfortunes, and when the death
they had escaped was the only method of cementing their--union without
consummating their guilt?



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

I will write to you at length to-morrow. Events have occurred to alter,
perhaps, the whole complexion of the future. I am now going to Emily to
propose to her to fly. We are not _les gens du monde_, who are ruined by
the loss of public opinion. She has felt that I can be to her far more
than the world; and as for me, what would I not forfeit for one touch of
her hand?



EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

Friday.--Since I wrote yesterday in these pages the narrative of our
escape, I have done nothing but think over those moments, too dangerous
because too dear; but at last I have steeled my heart--I have yielded
to my own weakness too long--I shudder at the abyss from which I have
escaped. I can yet fly. He will come here to-day--he shall receive my
farewell.

Saturday morning, four o’clock.--I have sat in this room alone since
eleven o’clock. I cannot give vent to my feelings; they seem as if
crushed by some load from which it is impossible to rise. “He is gone,
and for ever!” I sit repeating those words to myself, scarcely conscious
of their meaning. Alas! when to-morrow comes, and the next day, and the
next, and yet I see him not, I shall awaken, indeed, to all the agony of
my loss! He came here--he saw me alone--he implored me to fly. I did not
dare to meet his eyes; I hardened my heart against his voice. I knew the
part I was to take--I have adopted it; but what struggles, what misery,
has it not occasioned me! Who could have thought it had been so hard
to be virtuous! His eloquence drove me from one defence to another,
and then I had none but his mercy. I opened my heart--I showed him its
weakness--I implored his forbearance. My tears, my anguish, convinced
him of my sincerity. We have parted in bitterness, but, thank Heaven,
not in guilt! He has entreated permission to write to me. How could
I refuse him? Yet I may not--cannot-write to him again! How could, I
indeed, suffer my heart to pour forth one of its feelings in reply? for
would there be one word of regret, or one term of endearment, which my
inmost soul would not echo?

Sunday.--Yes, that day--but I must not think of this; my very religion
I dare not indulge. Oh God! how wretched I am! His visit was always the
great aera in the clay; it employed all my hopes till he came, and all
my memory when he was gone. I sit now and look at the place he used to
fill, till I feel the tears rolling silently down my cheek: they come
without an effort--they depart without relief.

Monday.--Henry asked me where Mr. Falkland was gone; I stooped down to
hide my confusion. When shall I hear from him? To-morrow? Oh that it
were come! I have placed the clock before me, and I actually count the
minutes. He left a book here; it is a volume of “Melmoth.” I have read
over every word of it, and whenever I have come to a pencil-mark by him,
I have paused to dream over that varying and eloquent countenance, the
low soft tone of that tender voice, till the book has fallen from my
hands, and I have started to find the utterness of my desolation!



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE. ------ Hotel,
London.

For the first time in my life I write to you! How my hand trembles--how
my cheek flushes! a thousand, thousand thoughts rush upon me, and almost
suffocate me with the variety and confusion of the emotions they awaken!
I am agitated alike with the rapture of writing to you, and with the
impossibility of expressing the feelings which I cannot distinctly
unravel even to myself. You love me, Emily, and yet I have fled from
you, and at your command; but the thought that, though absent, I am not
forgotten, supports me through all.

It was with a feverish sense of weariness and pain that I found myself
entering this vast reservoir of human vices. I became at once sensible
of the sterility of that polluted soil so incapable of nurturing
affection, and I clasped your image the closer to my heart. It is you,
who, when I was most weary of existence, gifted me with a new life.
You breathed into me a part of your own spirit; my soul feels that
influence, and becomes more sacred. I have shut myself from the idlers
who would molest me: I have built a temple in my heart: I have set
within it a divinity; and the vanities of the world shall not profane
the spot which has been consecrated to you. Our parting, Emily,--do you
recall it? Your hand clasped in mine; your cheek resting, though but
for an instant, on my bosom; and the tears which love called forth, but
which virtue purified even at their source. Never were hearts so near,
yet so divided; never was there an hour so tender, yet so unaccompanied
with danger. Passion, grief, madness, all sank beneath your voice, and
lay hushed like a deep sea within my soul! “Tu abbia veduto il leone
ammansarsi alla sola tua voce.”

        ‘Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis.

I tore myself from you; I hurried through the wood; I stood by the lake,
on whose banks I had so often wandered with you: I bared my breast to
the winds; I bathed my temples with the waters. Fool that I was! the
fever, the fever was within! But it is not thus, my adored and beautiful
friend, that I should console and support you. Even as I write,
passion melts into tenderness, and pours itself in softness over your
remembrance. The virtue so gentle, yet so strong; the feelings so
kind, yet so holy; the tears which wept over the decision your lips
proclaimed--these are the recollections which come over me like dew. Let
your own heart, my Emily, be your reward; and know that your lover only
forgets that he adores, to remember that he respects you.



FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME. ---------- Park.

I could not bear the tumult and noise of London. I sighed for solitude,
that I might muse over your remembrance undisturbed. I came here
yesterday. It is the home of my childhood. I am surrounded on all sides
by the scenes and images consecrated by the fresh recollections of my
unsullied years. They are not changed. The seasons which come and depart
renew in them the havoc which they make. If the December destroys, the
April revives; but man has but one spring, and the desolation of the
heart but one winter! In this very room have I sat and brooded over
dreams and hopes which--but no matter--those dreams could never show
me a vision to equal you, or those hopes hold out to me a blessing so
precious as your love.

Do you remember, or rather can you ever forget, that moment in which the
great depths of our souls were revealed? Ah! not in the scene in which
such vows should have been whispered to your ear and your tenderness
have blushed its reply. The passion concealed in darkness was revealed
in danger; and the love, which in life was forbidden, was our comfort
amidst the terrors of death! And that long and holy kiss, the first,
the only moment in which our lips shared the union of our souls!--do not
tell me that it is wrong to recall it!--do not tell me that I sin,
when I own to you the hours I sit alone, and nurse the delirium of that
voluptuous remembrance. The feelings you have excited may render me
wretched, but not guilty; for the love of you can only hallow the
heart--it is a fire which consecrates the altar on which it burns. I
feel, even from the hour that I loved, that my soul has become more
pure. I could not believe that I was capable of so unearthly an
affection, or that the love of woman could possess that divinity of
virtue which I worship in yours. The world is no fosterer of our young
visions of purity and passion: embarked in its pursuits, and acquainted
with its pleasures, while the latter sated me with what is evil, the
former made me incredulous to what is pure. I considered your sex as
a problem which my experience had already solved. Like the French
philosophers, who lose truth by endeavouring to condense it, and who
forfeit the moral from their regard to the maxim, I concentrated my
knowledge of women into aphorism and antitheses; and I did not dream
of the exceptions, if I did not find myself deceived in the general
conclusion. I confess that I erred; I renounce from this moment
the colder reflections of my manhood,--the fruits of a bitter
experience,--the wisdom of an inquiring yet agitated life. I return with
transport to my earliest visions of beauty and love; and I dedicate them
upon the altar of my soul to you, who have embodied, and concentrated,
and breathed them into life!



EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

Monday.--This is the most joyless day in the whole week; for it can
bring me no letter from him. I rise listlessly, and read over again and
again the last letter I received from him--useless task! it is graven on
my heart! I long only for the day to be over, because to-morrow I may,
perhaps, hear from him again. When I wake at night from my disturbed and
broken sleep, I look if the morning is near; not because it gives light
and life, but because it may bring tidings of him. When his letter is
brought to me, I keep it for minutes unopened--I feed my eyes on the
handwriting--I examine the seal--I press it with my kisses, before I
indulge myself in the luxury of reading it. I then place it in my bosom,
and take it thence only to read it again and again,--to moisten it with
my tears of gratitude and love, and, alas! of penitence and remorse!
What can be the end of this affection? I dare neither to hope that it
may continue or that it may cease; in either case I am wretched for
ever!

Monday night, twelve o’clock.--They observe my paleness; the tears which
tremble in my eyes; the listlessness and dejection of my manner. I think
Mrs. Dalton guesses the cause. Humbled and debased in my own mind, I
fly, Falkland, for refuge to you! Your affection cannot raise me to my
former state, but it can reconcile--no--not reconcile, but support me in
my present. This dear letter, I kiss it again--oh! that to-morrow were
come!

Tuesday.--Another letter, so kind, so tender, so encouraging: would that
I deserved his praises! alas! I sin even in reading them. I know that
I ought to struggle more against my feelings--once I attempted it; I
prayed to Heaven to support me; I put away from me everything that could
recall him to my mind--for three days I would not open his letters. I
could then resist no longer; and my weakness became the more confirmed
from the feebleness of the struggle. I remember one day that he told us
of a beautiful passage in one of the ancients, in which the bitterest
curse against the wicked is, that they may see virtue, but not be able
to obtain it; [Persius]--that punishment is mine!

Wednesday.--My boy has been with me: I see him now from the windows
gathering the field-flowers, and running after every butterfly which
comes across him. Formerly he made all my delight and occupation; now
he is even dearer to me than ever; but he no longer engrosses all my
thoughts. I turn over the leaves of this journal; once it noted down the
little occurrences of the day; it marks nothing now but the monotony of
sadness. He is not here--he cannot come. What event then could I notice?



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

   [Most of the letters from Falkland to Lady E. Mandeville
   I have thought it expedient to suppress.]
--------- Park.

If you knew how I long, how I thirst, for one word from you--one word
to say you are well, and have not forgotten me!--but I will not distress
you. You will guess my feelings, and do justice to the restraint I
impose on them, when I make no effort to alter your resolution not to
write. I know that it is just, and I bow to my sentence; but can you
blame me if I am restless and if I repine? It is past twelve; I always
write to you at night. It is then, my own love, that my imagination can
be the more readily transport me to you: it is then that my spirit holds
with you a more tender and undivided commune. In the day the world can
force itself upon my thoughts, and its trifles usurp the place which
“I love to keep for only thee and Heaven;” but in the night all things
recall you the more vividly: the stillness of the gentle skies,--the
blandness of the unbroken air,--the stars, so holy in their loveliness,
all speak and breathe to me of you. I think your hand is clasped in
mine; and I again drink the low music of your voice, and imbibe again
in the air the breath which has been perfumed by your lips. You seem to
stand in my lonely chamber in the light and stillness of a spirit, who
has wandered on earth to teach us the love which is felt in Heaven.

I cannot, believe me, I cannot endure this separation long; it must be
more or less. You must be mine for ever, or our parting must be without
a mitigation, which is rather a cruelty than a relief. If you will not
accompany me, I will leave this country alone. I must not wean myself
from your image by degrees, but break from the enchantment at once. And
when Emily, I am once more upon the world, when no tidings of my fate
shall reach your ear, and all its power of alienation be left to the
progress of time--then, when you will at last have forgotten me,
when your peace of mind will be restored, and, having no struggles of
conscience to undergo, you will have no remorse to endure; then, Emily,
when we are indeed divided, let the scene which has witnessed our
passion, the letters which have recorded my vow, the evil we have
suffered, and the temptation we have overcome; let these in our old age
be remembered, and in declaring to Heaven that we were innocent, add
also--that, we loved.



FROM DON ALPHONSO D’AQUILAR TO DON --------.

London.

Our cause gains ground daily. The great, indeed the only ostensible
object of my mission is nearly fulfilled; but I have another charge
and attraction which I am now about to explain to you. You know that
my acquaintance with the English language and country arose from my
sister’s marriage with Mr. Falkland. After the birth of their only child
I accompanied them to England: I remained with them for three years,
and I still consider those days among the whitest in my restless and
agitated career. I returned to Spain; I became engaged in the troubles
and dissensions which distracted my unhappy country. Years rolled on,
how I need not mention to you. One night they put a letter into my
hands; it was from my sister; it was written on her death-bed. Her
husband had died suddenly. She loved him as a Spanish woman loves, and
she could not survive his loss. Her letter to me spoke of her country
and her son. Amid the new ties she had formed in England, she had never
forgotten the land of her fathers. “I have already,” she said, “taught
my boy to remember that he has two countries; that the one, prosperous
and free; may afford him his pleasures; that the other, struggling and
debased, demands from him his duties. If, when he has attained the age
in which you can judge of his character, he is respectable only from
his rank, and valuable only from his wealth; if neither his head nor
his heart will make him useful to our cause, suffer him to remain
undisturbed in his prosperity _here_: but if, as I presage, he becomes
worthy of the blood which he bears in his veins, then I conjure you, my
brother, to remind him that he has been sworn by me on my death-bed to
the most sacred of earthly altars.”

Some months since, when I arrived in England; before I ventured to find
him out in person, I resolved to inquire into his character. Had he been
as the young and the rich generally are--had dissipation become habitual
to him, and frivolity grown around him as a second nature, then I
should have acquiesced in the former injunction of my sister much more
willingly than I shall now obey the latter. I find that he is perfectly
acquainted with our language, that he has placed a large sum in our
funds, and that from the general liberality of his sentiments he is as
likely to espouse, as (in that case) he would be certain, from his high
reputation for talent, to serve our cause. I am, therefore, upon the eve
of seeking him out. I understand that he is living in perfect retirement
in the county of -------, in the immediate neighbourhood of Mr.
Mandeville, an Englishman of considerable fortune, and warmly attached
to our cause.

Mr. Mandeville has invited me to accompany him down to his estate for
some days, and I am too anxious to see my nephew not to accept eagerly
of the invitation. If I can persuade Falkland to aid us, it will be by
the influence of his name, his talents, and his wealth. It is not of
him that we can ask the stern and laborious devotion to which we have
consecrated ourselves. The perfidy of friends, the vigilance of foes,
the rashness of the bold, the cowardice of the wavering; strife in the
closet, treachery in the senate, death in the field; these constitute
the fate we have pledged ourselves to bear. Little can any, who do not
endure it, imagine of the life to which those who share the contests of
an agitated and distracted country are doomed; but if they know not
our griefs, neither can they dream of our consolation. We move like the
delineation of Faith, over a barren and desert soil; the rock, and the
thorn, and the stings of the adder, are round our feet; but we clasp
a crucifix to our hearts for our comfort, and we fix our eyes upon the
heavens for our hope!



EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LADY EMILY MANDE VILLE.

Wednesday.--His letters have taken a different tone: instead of
soothing, they add to my distress; but I deserve all--all that can be
inflicted upon me. I have had a letter from Mr. Mandeville. He is coming
down here for a few days, and intends bringing some friends with him: he
mentions particularly a Spaniard--the uncle of Mr Falkland, whom he
asks if I have seen. The Spaniard is particularly anxious to meet his
nephew--he does not then know that Falkland is gone. It will be some
relief to see Mr. Mandeville alone; but even then how shall I meet him?
What shall I say when he observes my paleness and alteration? I feel
bowed to the very dust.

Thursday evening.--Mr. Mandeville has arrived: fortunately, it was late
in the evening before he came, and the darkness prevented his observing
my confusion and alteration. He was kinder than usual. Oh! how bitterly
my heart avenged him! He brought with him the Spaniard, Don Alphonso
d’Aguilar; I think there is a faint family likeness between him and
Falkland. Mr. Mandeville brought also a letter from Julia. She will be
here the day after to-morrow. The letter is short, but kind: she does
not allude to him; it is some days since I heard from him.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO THE HON. FREDERICK MONKTON.

I have resolved, Monkton, to go to her again! I am sure that it will
be better for both of us to meet once more; perhaps, to unite for ever!
None who have once loved me can easily forget me. I do not say this
from vanity, because I owe it not to my being superior to, but different
from, others. I am sure that the remorse and affliction she feels now
are far greater than she would experience, even were she more guilty,
and with me. Then, at least, she would have some one to soothe and
sympathise in whatever she might endure. To one so pure as Emily, the
full crime is already incurred. It is not the innocent who insist upon
that nice line of morality between the thought and the action: such
distinctions require reflection, experience, deliberation, prudence of
head, or coldness of heart; these are the traits, not of the guileless,
but of the worldly. It is the reflections, not the person, of a virtuous
woman, which it is difficult to obtain: that difficulty is the safeguard
to her chastity; that difficulty I have, in this instance, overcome.
I have endeavoured to live without Emily, but in vain. Every moment of
absence only taught me the impossibility. In twenty-four hours I shall
see her again. I feel my pulse rise into fever at the very thought.

Farewell, Monkton. My next letter, I hope, will record my triumph.



BOOK III.

EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

Friday.--Julia is here, and so kind! She has not mentioned his name, but
she sighed so deeply when she saw my pale and sunken countenance, that
I threw myself into her arms and cried like a child. We had no need
of other explanation: those tears spoke at once my confession and my
repentance. No letter from him for several days! Surely he is not ill!
how miserable that thought makes me!

Saturday.--A note has just been brought me from him. He is come
back-here! Good heavens! how very imprudent! I am so agitated that I can
write no more.

Sunday.--I have seen him! Let me repeat that sentence--I have seen him.
Oh that moment! did it not atone for all that I have suffered? I
dare not write everything he said, but he wished me to fly with
him--him--what happiness, yet what guilt, in the very thought! Oh! this
foolish heart--would that it might break! I feel too well the sophistry
of his arguments, and yet I cannot resist them. He seems to have thrown
a spell over me, which precludes even the effort to escape.

Monday.--Mr. Mandeville has asked several people in the country to dine
here to-morrow, and there is to be a ball in the evening. Falkland is
of course invited. We shall meet then, and how? I have been so little
accustomed to disguise my feelings, that I quite tremble to meet him
with so many witnesses around. Mr. Mandeville has been so harsh to me
to-day; if Falkland ever looked at me so, or ever said one such word, my
heart would indeed break. What is it Alfieri says about the two demons
to whom he is for ever a prey? “_La mente e il cor in perpetua lite_.”
 Alas! at times I start from my reveries with such a keen sense of agony
and shame! How, how am I fallen!

Tuesday.--He is to come here to-day and I shall see him!

Wednesday morning.--The night is over, thank Heaven! Falkland came late
to dinner: every one else was assembled. How gracefully he entered! how
superior he seemed to all the crowd that stood around him! He appeared
as if he were resolved to exert powers which he had disdained before. He
entered into the conversation, not only with such brilliancy, but with
such a blandness and courtesy of manner! There was no scorn on his lip,
no haughtiness on his forehead--nothing which showed him for a moment
conscious of his immeasurable superiority over every one present. After
dinner, as we retired, I caught his eyes. What volumes they told! and
then I had to listen to his praises, and say nothing. I felt angry even
in my pleasure. Who but I had a right to speak of him so well!

The ball came on: I felt languid and dispirited. Falkland did not dance.
He sat: himself by me--he urged me to--O God! O God! would that I were
dead!



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

How are you this morning, my adored friend? You seemed pale and ill when
we parted last night, and I shall be so unhappy till I hear something of
you. Oh, Emily, when you listened to me with those tearful and downcast
looks; when I saw your bosom heave at every word which I whispered in
your ear; when, as I accidentally touched your hand, I felt it tremble
beneath my own; oh! was there nothing in those moments at your heart
which pleaded for me more eloquently than words? Pure and holy as you
are, you know not, it is true, the feelings which burn and madden in me.
When you are beside me, your hand, if it trembles, is not on fire, your
voice, if it is more subdued, does not falter with the emotions it dares
not express: your heart is not like mine, devoured by a parching and
wasting flame: your sleep is not turned by restless and turbulent dreams
from the healthful renewal, into the very consumer, of life. No, Emily!
God forbid that you should feel the guilt, the agony which preys upon
me; but, at least, in the fond and gentle tenderness of your heart,
there must be a voice you find it difficult to silence. Amidst all the
fictitious ties and fascinations of art, you cannot dismiss from your
bosom the unconquerable impulse of nature. What is it you fear?--you
will answer, disgrace! But can you feel it, Emily, when you share it
with me? Believe me that the love which is nursed through shame and
sorrow is of a deeper and holier nature than that which is reared in
pride, fostered in joy. But, if not shame, it is guilt, perhaps, which
you dread? Are you then so innocent now? The adultery of the heart is no
less a crime than that of the deed; and--yet I will not deceive you--it
is guilt to which I tempt you!--it is a fall from the proud eminence
you hold now. I grant this, and I offer you nothing in recompense but
my love. If you loved like me, you would feel that it was something of
pride--of triumph--to dare all things, even crime, for the one to whom
all things are as nought! As for me, I know that if a voice from Heaven
told me to desert you, I would only clasp you the closer to my heart!

I tell you, my own love, that when your hand is in mine, when your head
rests upon my bosom, when those soft and thrilling eyes shall be fixed
upon my own, when every sigh shall be mingled with my breath, and every
tear be kissed away at the very instant it rises from its source--I tell
you that then you shall only feel that every pang of the past, and every
fear for the future, shall be but a new link to bind us the firmer to
each other. Emily, my life, my love, you cannot, if you would, desert
me. Who can separate the waters which are once united, or divide the
hearts which have met and mingled into one?


Since they had once more met, it will be perceived that Falkland had
adopted a new tone in expressing his passion to Emily. In the book of
guilt another page, branded in a deeper and more burning character, had
been turned. He lost no opportunity of summoning the earthlier emotions
to the support of his cause. He wooed her fancy with the golden language
of poetry, and strove to arouse the latent feelings of her sex by the
soft magic of his voice, and the passionate meaning it conveyed. But
at times there came over him a deep and keen sentiment of remorse; and
even, as his experienced and practised eye saw the moment of his triumph
approach, he felt that the success he was hazarding his own soul
and hers to obtain, might bring him a momentary transport, but not a
permanent happiness. There is always this difference in the love of
women and of men; that in the former, when once admitted, it engrosses
all the sources of thought, and excludes every object but itself; but
in the latter, it is shared with all the former reflections and feelings
which the past yet bequeaths us, and can neither (however powerful be
its nature) constitute the whole of our happiness or woe. The love
of man in his maturer years is not indeed so much a new emotion, as a
revival and concentration of all his departed affections to others; and
the deep and intense nature of Falkland’s passion for Emily was linked
with the recollections of whatever he had formerly cherished as tender
or dear; it touched--it awoke a long chain of young and enthusiastic
feelings, which arose, perhaps, the fresher from their slumber. Who,
when he turns to recall his first and fondest associations; when he
throws off, one by one, the layers of earth and stone which have grown
and hardened over the records of the past: who has not been surprised to
discover how fresh and unimpaired those buried treasures rise again upon
his heart? They have been laid up in the storehouse of Time; they have
not perished; their very concealment has preserved them! _We remove the
lava, and the world of a gone day is before us_!

The evening of the day on which Falkland had written the above letter
was rude and stormy. The various streams with which the country abounded
were swelled by late rains into an unwonted rapidity and breadth;
and their voices blended with the rushing sound of the winds, and the
distant roll of the thunder, which began at last sullenly to subside.
The whole of the scene around L------ was of that savage yet sublime
character, which suited well with the wrath of the aroused elements.
Dark woods, large tracts of unenclosed heath, abrupt variations of
hill and vale, and a dim and broken outline beyond of uninterrupted
mountains, formed the great features of that romantic country.

It was filled with the recollections of his youth, and of the wild
delight which he took then in the convulsions and varieties of nature,
that Falkland roamed abroad that evening. The dim shadows of years,
crowded with concealed events and corroding reflections, all gathered
around his mind, and the gloom and tempest of the night came over him
like the sympathy of a friend.

He passed a group of terrified peasants; they were cowering under a
tree. The oldest hid his head and shuddered; but the youngest looked
steadily at the lightning which played at fitful intervals over the
mountain stream that rushed rapidly by their feet. Falkland stood beside
them unnoticed and silent, with folded arms and a scornful lip. To
him, nature, heaven, earth had nothing for fear, and everything for
reflection. In youth, thought he (as he contrasted the fear felt at
one period of life with the indifference at another), there are so many
objects to divide and distract life, that we are scarcely sensible of
the collected conviction that we live. We lose the sense of what is by
thinking rather of what is to be. But the old, who have no future to
expect, are more vividly alive to the present, and they feel death more,
because they have a more settled and perfect impression of existence.

He left the group, and went on alone by the margin of the winding and
swelling stream. “It is (said a certain philosopher) in the conflicts
of Nature that man most feels his littleness.” Like all general maxims,
this is only partially true. The mind, which takes its first ideas from
perception, must take also its tone from the character of the objects
perceived. In mingling our spirits with the great elements, we partake
of their sublimity; we awaken thought from the secret depths where it
had lain concealed; our feelings are too excited to remain riveted to
ourselves; they blend with the mighty powers which are abroad; and as,
in the agitations of men, the individual arouses from himself to become
a part of the crowd, so in the convulsions of nature we are equally
awakened from the littleness of self, to be lost in the grandeur of the
conflict by which we are surrounded.

Falkland still continued to track the stream: it wound its way through
Mandeville’s grounds, and broadened at last into the lake which was
so consecrated to his recollections. He paused at that spot for some
moments, looking carelessly over the wide expanse of waters, now dark
as night, and now flashing into one mighty plain of fire beneath the
coruscations of the lightning. The clouds swept on in massy columns,
dark and aspiring-veiling, while they rolled up to, the great heavens,
like the shadows of human doubt. Oh! weak, weak was that dogma of the
philosopher! There is a pride in the storm which, according to his
doctrine, would debase us; a stirring music in its roar; even a savage
joy in its destruction: for we can exult in a defiance of its power,
even while we share in its triumphs, in a consciousness of a superior
spirit within us to that which is around. We can mock at the fury of the
elements, for they are less terrible than the passions of the heart; at
the devastations of the awful skies, for they are less desolating than
the wrath of man; at the convulsions of that surrounding nature which
has no peril, no terror to the soul, which is more indestructible and
eternal than itself. Falkland turned towards the house which contained
his world; and as the lightning revealed at intervals the white columns
of the porch, and wrapt in sheets of fire, like a spectral throng, the
tall and waving trees by which it was encircled, and then as suddenly
ceased, and “the jaws of darkness” devoured up the scene; he compared,
with that bitter alchymy of feeling which resolves all into one crucible
of thought, those alternations of sight and shadow to the history of
his own guilty love--that passion whose birth was the womb of Night;
shrouded in darkness, surrounded by storms, and receiving only from the
angry heavens a momentary brilliance, more terrible than its customary
gloom.

As he entered the saloon, Lady Margaret advanced towards him. “My dear
Falkland,” said she, “how good it is in you to come in such a night. We
have been watching the skies till Emily grew terrified at the lightning;
formerly it did not alarm her.” And Lady Margaret turned, utterly
unconscious of the reproach she had conveyed, towards Emily.

Did not Falkland’s look turn also to that spot? Lady Emily was sitting
by the harp which Mrs. St. John appeared to be most seriously employed
in tuning: her countenance was bent downwards, and burning beneath the
blushes called forth by the gaze which she felt was upon her.

There was in Falkland’s character a peculiar dislike to all outward
display of less worldly emotions. He had none of the vanity most men
have in conquest; he would not have had any human being know that he was
loved. He was right! No altar should be so unseen and inviolable as
the human heart! He saw at once and relieved the embarrassment he
had caused. With the remarkable fascination and grace of manner
so peculiarly his own, he made his excuses to Lady Margaret of his
disordered dress; he charmed his uncle, Don Alphonso, with a quotation
from Lope de Vega; he inquired tenderly of Mrs. Dalton touching the
health of her Italian greyhound; and then, nor till then--he ventured to
approach Emily, and speak to her in that soft tone, which, like a fairy
language, is understood only by the person it addresses. Mrs. St. John
rose and left the harp; Falkland took her seat. He bent down to whisper
Emily. His long hair touched her cheek! it was still wet with the night
dew. She looked up as she felt it, and met his gaze: better had it been
to have lost earth than to have drunk the soul’s poison from that eye
when it tempted to sin.

Mrs. St. John stood at some distance: Don Alphonso was speaking to her
of his nephew, and of his hopes of ultimately gaining him to the cause
of his mother’s country. “See you not,” said Mrs. St. John, and her
colour went and came, “that while he has such attractions to detain him,
your hopes are in vain?” “What mean you?” replied the Spaniard; but his
eye had followed the direction she had given it, and the question came
only from his lips. Mrs. St. John drew him to a still remoter corner of
the room, and it was in the conversation that then ensued between them,
that they agreed to unite for the purpose of separating Emily from
her lover--“I to save my friend,” said Mrs. St. John, “and you your
kinsman.” Thus is it with human virtue:--the fair show and the good
deed without--the one eternal motive of selfishness within. During the
Spaniard’s visit at E------, he had seen enough of Falkland to perceive
the great consequence he might, from his perfect knowledge of the
Spanish language, from his singular powers, and, above all, from his
command of wealth, be to the cause of that party he himself had adopted.
His aim, therefore, was now no longer confined to procuring Falkland’s
goodwill and aim at home: he hoped to secure his personal assistance in
Spain: and he willingly coincided with Mrs. St. John in detaching his
nephew from a tie so likely to detain him from that service to which
Alphonso wished he should be pledged.

Mandeville had left E------ that morning: he suspected nothing of
Emily’s attachment. This, on his part, was Bulwer, less confidence than
indifference. He was one of those persons who have no existence
separate from their own: his senses all turned inwards; they reproduced
selfishness. Even the House of Commons was only an object of interest,
because he imagined it a part of him, not he of it. He said, with the
insect on the wheel, “Admire our rapidity.” But did the defects of his
character remove Lady Emily’s guilt? No! and this, at times, was her
bitterest conviction. Whoever turns to these pages for an apology
for sin will be mistaken. They contain the burning records of its
sufferings, its repentance, and its doom. If there be one crime in the
history of woman worse than another, it is adultery. It is, in fact,
the only crime to which, in ordinary life, she is exposed. Man has a
thousand temptations to sin--woman has but one; if she cannot resist it,
she has no claim upon our mercy. The heavens are just! Her own guilt is
her punishment! Should these pages, at this moment, meet the eyes of one
who has become the centre of a circle of disgrace--the contaminator of
her house--the dishonour of her children,--no matter what the excuse for
her crime--no matter what the exchange of her station--in the very
arms of her lover, in the very cincture of the new ties which she has
chosen--I call upon her to answer me if the fondest moments of rapture
are free from humiliation, though they have forgotten remorse; and if
the passion itself of her lover has not become no less the penalty than
the recompense of her guilt? But at that hour of which I now write,
there was neither in Emily’s heart, nor in that of her seducer, any
recollection of their sin. Those hearts were too full for thought--they
had forgotten everything but each other. Their love was their creation:
beyond all was night--chaos--nothing!

Lady Margaret approached them. “You will sing to us, Emily, to-night?
it is so long since we have heard you!” It was in vain that Emily
tried--her voice failed. She looked at Falkland, and could scarcely
restrain her tears. She had not yet learned the latest art which sin
teaches us-its concealment! “I will supply Lady Emily’s place,” said
Falkland. His voice was calm, and his brow serene the world had left
nothing for him to learn. “Will you play the air,” he said to Mrs. St.
John, “that you gave us some nights ago? I will furnish the words.” Mrs.
St. John’s hand trembled as she obeyed.


                SONG.

        1.
        Ah, let us love while yet we may,
        Our summer is decaying;
        And woe to hearts which, in their gray
        December, go a-maying.

        2.
        Ah, let us love, while of the fire
        Time hath not yet bereft us
        With years our warmer thoughts expire,
        Till only ice is left us!

        3.
        We’ll fly the bleak world’s bitter air
        A brighter home shall win us;
        And if our hearts grow weary there,
        We’ll find a world within us.

        4.
        They preach that passion fades each hour,
        That nought will pall like pleasure;
        My bee, if Love’s so frail a flower,
        Oh, haste to hive its treasure.

        5.
        Wait not the hour, when all the mind
        Shall to the crowd be given;
        For links, which to the million bind,
        Shall from the one be riven.

        6.
        But let us love while yet we may
        Our summer is decaying;
        And woe to hearts which, in their gray
        December, go a-maying.


The next day Emily rose ill and feverish. In the absence of Falkland,
her mind always awoke to the full sense of the guilt she had incurred.
She had been brought up in the strictest, even the most fastidious,
principles; and her nature was so pure, that merely to err appeared like
a change in existence--like an entrance into some new and unknown world,
from which she shrank back, in terror, to herself.

Judge, then, if she easily habituated her mind to its present
degradation. She sat, that morning, pale and listless; her book lay
unopened before her; her eyes were fixed upon the ground, heavy with
suppressed tears. Mrs. St. John entered: no one else was in the room.
She sat by her, and took her hand. Her countenance was scarcely less
colourless than Emily’s, but its expression was more calm and composed.
“It is not too late, Emily,” she said; “you have done much that you
should repent--nothing to render repentance unavailing. Forgive me, if
I speak to you on this subject. It is time--in a few days your fate will
be decided. I have looked on, though hitherto I have been silent: I have
witnessed that eye when it dwelt upon you; I have heard that voice when
it spoke to your heart. None ever resisted their influence long: do
you imagine that you are the first who have found the power? Pardon me,
pardon me, I beseech you, my dearest friend, if I pain you. I have known
you from your childhood, and I only wish to preserve you spotless to
your old age.”

Emily wept, without replying. Mrs. St. John continued to argue and
expostulate. What is so wavering as passion? When, at last, Mrs. St.
John ceased, and Emily shed upon her bosom the hot tears of her anguish
and repentance, she imagined that her resolution was taken, and that she
could almost have vowed an eternal separation from her lover; Falkland
came that evening, and she loved him more madly than before.

Mrs. St. John was not in the saloon when Falkland entered. Lady Margaret
was reading the well-known story of Lady T----- and the Duchess of ---,
in which an agreement had been made and kept, that the one who died
first should return once more to the survivor. As Lady Margaret
spoke laughingly of the anecdote, Emily, who was watching Falkland’s
countenance, was struck with the dark and sudden shade which fell over
it. He moved in silence towards the window where Emily was sitting. “Do
you believe,” she said, with a faint smile, “in the possibility of such
an event?” “I believe--though I reject--nothing!” replied Falkland,
“but I would give worlds for such a proof that death does not destroy.”
 “Surely,” said Emily, “you do not deny that evidence of our immortality
which we gather from the Scriptures?--are they not all that a voice from
the dead could be?” Falkland was silent for a few moments: he did not
seem to hear the question; his eyes dwelt upon vacancy; and when he at
last spoke, it was rather in commune with himself than in answer to her.
“I have watched,” said he, in a low internal tone, “over the tomb: I
have called, in the agony of my heart, unto her--who slept beneath; I
would have dissolved my very soul into a spell, could it have summoned
before me for one, one moment the being who had once been the spirit of
my life! I have been, as it were, entranced with the intensity of my own
adjuration; I have gazed upon the empty air, and worked upon my mind to
fill it with imaginings; I have called aloud unto the winds and
tasked my soul to waken their silence to reply. All was a waste--a
stillness--an infinity--without a wanderer or a voice! The dead answered
me not, when I invoked them; and in the vigils of the still night I
looked from the rank grass and the mouldering stones to the Eternal
Heavens, as man looks from decay to immortality! Oh! that awful
magnificence of repose--that living sleep--that breathing yet
unrevealing divinity, spread over those still worlds! To them also I
poured my thoughts--but in a whisper. I did not dare to breathe aloud
the unhallowed anguish of my mind to the majesty of the unsympathising
stars! In the vast order of creation--in the midst of the stupendous
system of universal life, my doubt and inquiry were murmured forth--a
voice crying in the wilderness and returning without an echo unanswered
unto myself!”

The deep light of the summer moon shone over Falkland’s countenance,
which Emily gazed on, as she listened, almost tremblingly, to his words.
His brow was knit and hueless, and the large drops gathered slowly over
it, as if wrung from the strained yet impotent tension of the thoughts
within. Emily drew nearer to him--she laid her hand upon his own.
“Listen to me,” she said: “if a herald from the grave could satisfy your
doubt, I would gladly die that I might return to you!” “Beware,” said
Falkland, with an agitated but solemn voice; “the words, now so lightly
spoken, may be registered on high.” “Be it so!” replied Emily firmly,
and she felt what she said. Her love penetrated beyond the tomb, and she
would have forfeited all here for their union hereafter.

“In my earliest youth,” said Falkland, more calmly than he had yet
spoken, “I found in the present and the past of this world enough to
direct my attention to the futurity of another: if I did not credit all
with the enthusiast, I had no sympathies with the scorner: I sat
myself down to examine and reflect: I pored alike over the pages of the
philosopher and the theologian; I was neither baffled by the subtleties
nor deterred by the contradictions of either. As men first ascertained
the geography of the earth by observing the signs of the heavens, I did
homage to the Unknown God, and sought from that worship to inquire into
the reasonings of mankind. I did not confine myself to books--all
things breathing or inanimate constituted my study. From death itself
I endeavoured to extract its secret; and whole nights I have sat in the
crowded asylums of the dying, watching the last spark flutter and decay.
Men die away as in sleep, without effort, or struggle, or emotion.
I have looked on their countenances a moment before death, and the
serenity of repose was upon them, waxing only more deep as it approached
that slumber which, is never broken: the breath grew gentler and
gentler, till the lips it came from fell from each other, and all was
hushed; the light had departed from the cloud, but the cloud itself,
gray, cold, altered as it seemed, was as before. They died and made no
sign. They had left the labyrinth without bequeathing us its clew. It
is in vain that I have sent my spirit into the land of shadows--it has
borne back no witnesses of its inquiry. As Newton said of himself, ‘I
picked up a few shells by the seashore, but the great ocean of truth lay
undiscovered before me.’”

There was a long pause. Lady Margaret had sat down to chess with the
Spaniard. No look was upon the lovers: their eyes met, and with that one
glance the whole current of their thoughts was changed. The blood, which
a moment before had left Falkland’s cheek so colourless, rushed back
to it again. The love which had so penetrated and pervaded his whole
system, and which abstruser and colder reflection had just calmed,
thrilled through his frame with redoubled power. As if by an involuntary
and mutual impulse, their lips met: he threw his arm round her; he
strained her to his bosom. “Dark as my thoughts are,” he whispered,
“evil as has been my life, will you not yet soothe the one, and guide
the other? My Emily! my love! the Heaven to the tumultuous ocean of my
heart--will you not be mine--mine only--wholly--and for ever?” She did
not answer--she did not turn from his embrace. Her cheek flushed as
his breath stole over it, and her bosom heaved beneath the arm which
encircled that empire so devoted to him. “Speak one word, only one
word,” he continued to whisper: “will you not be mine? Are you not mine
at heart even at this moment?” Her head sank upon his bosom. Those deep
and eloquent eyes looked up to his through their dark lashes. “I will
be yours,” she murmured: “I am at your mercy; I have no longer any
existence but in you. My only fear is, that I shall cease to be worthy
of your love!”

Falkland pressed his lips once more to her own: it was his only answer,
and the last seal to their compact. As they stood before the open
lattice, the still and unconscious moon looked down upon that record of
guilt. There was not a cloud in the heaven to dim her purity: the very
winds of night had hushed themselves to do her homage: all was silent
but their hearts. They stood beneath the calm and holy skies, a guilty
and devoted pair--a fearful contrast of the sin and turbulence of this
unquiet earth to the passionless serenity of the eternal heaven. The
same stars, that for thousands of unfathomed years had looked upon the
changes of this nether world, gleamed pale, and pure, and steadfast
upon their burning but transitory vow. In a few years what of the
condemnation or the recorders of that vow would remain? From other lips,
on that spot, other oaths might be plighted; new pledges of unchangeable
fidelity exchanged: and, year after year, in each succession of scene
and time, the same stars will look from the mystery of their untracked
and impenetrable home, to mock, as now, with their immutability, the
variations and shadows of mankind!



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

At length, then, you are to be mine--you have consented to fly with me.
In three days we shall leave this country, and have no home--no world
but in each other. We will go, my Emily, to those golden lands where
Nature, the only companion we will suffer, woos us, like a mother, to
find our asylum in her breast; where the breezes are languid beneath the
passion of the voluptuous skies; and where the purple light that invests
all things with its glory is only less tender and consecrating than the
spirit which we bring. Is there not, my Emily, in the external nature
which reigns over creation, and that human nature centred in ourselves,
some secret and undefinable intelligence and attraction? Are not the
impressions of the former as spells over the passions of the later? and
in gazing upon the loveliness around us, do we not gather, as it were,
and store within our hearts, an increase of the yearning and desire of
love? What can we demand from earth but its solitudes--what from heaven
but its unpolluted air? All that others would ask from either, we can
find in ourselves. Wealth--honour--happiness--every object of ambition
or desire, exist not for us without the circle of our arms! But the
bower that surrounds us shall not be unworthy of your beauty or our
love. Amidst the myrtle and the vine, and the valleys where the summer
sleeps and “the rivers that murmur the memories and the legends of old
amidst the hills and the glossy glades,” and the silver fountains,
still as beautiful as if the Nymph and Spirit yet held and decorated an
earthly home; amidst these we will make the couch of our bridals, and
the moon of Italian skies shall keep watch on our repose.

Emily!--Emily!--how I love to repeat and to linger over that beautiful
name! If to see, to address, and, more than all, to touch you, has
been a rapture, what word can I find in the vocabulary of happiness
to express the realisation of that hope which now burns within me--to
mingle our youth together into one stream, wheresoever it flows; to
respire the same breath; to be almost blent in the same existence; to
grow, as it were, on one stem, and knit into a single life the feelings,
the wishes, the being of both!

To-night I shall see you again: let one day more intervene, and--I
cannot conclude the sentence. As I have written, the tumultuous
happiness of hope has come over me to confuse and overwhelm everything
else. At this moment my pulse riots with fever; the room swims before
my eyes; everything is indistinct and jarring--a chaos of emotions. Oh!
that happiness should ever have such excess!

When Emily received and laid this letter to her heart, she felt nothing
in common with the spirit which it breathed. With that quick transition
and inconstancy of feeling common in women, and which is as frequently
their safety as their peril, her mind had already repented of the
weakness of the last evening, and relapsed into the irresolution and
bitterness of her former remorse. Never had there been in the human
breast a stronger contest between conscience and passion;--if, indeed,
the extreme softness (notwithstanding its power) of Emily’s attachment
could be called passion it was rather a love that had refined by the
increase of its own strength; it contained nothing but the primary guilt
of conceiving it, which that order of angels, whose nature is love,
would have sought to purify away. To see him, to live with him, to
count the variations of his countenance and voice, to touch his hand at
moments when waking, and watch over his slumbers when he slept--this
was the essence of her wishes, and constituted the limit to her desires.
Against the temptations of the present was opposed the whole history of
the past. Her mind wandered from each to each, wavering and wretched,
as the impulse of the moment impelled it. Hers was not, indeed, a strong
character; her education and habits had weakened, while they rendered
more feminine and delicate, a nature originally too soft. Every
recollection of former purity called to her with the loud voice of duty,
as a warning from the great guilt she was about to incur; and whenever
she thought of her child--that centre of fond and sinless sensations,
where once she had so wholly garnered up her heart--her feelings melted
at once from the object which had so wildly held them riveted as by a
spell, to dissolve and lose themselves in the great and sacred fountain
of a mother’s love.

When Falkland came that evening, she was sitting at a corner of the
saloon, apparently occupied in reading, but her eyes were fixed upon her
boy, whom Mrs. St. John was endeavouring at the opposite end of the
room to amuse. The child, who was fond of Falkland, came up to him as he
entered: Falkland stooped to kiss him; and Mrs. St. John said, in a
low voice which just reached his ear, “Judas, too, kissed before he
betrayed.” Falkland’s colour changed: he felt the sting the words were
intended to convey. On that child, now so innocently caressing him, he
was indeed about to inflict a disgrace and injury the most sensible and
irremediable in his power. But who ever indulges reflection in passion?
He banished the remorse from his mind as instantaneously as it arose;
and, seating himself by Emily, endeavoured to inspire her with a portion
of the joy and hope which animated himself. Mrs. St. John watched them
with a jealous and anxious eye: she had already seen how useless had
been her former attempt to arm Emily’s conscience effectually against
her lover; but she resolved at least to renew the impression she had
then made. The danger was imminent, and any remedy must be prompt; and
it was something to protract, even if she could not finally break off,
an union against which were arrayed all the angry feelings of jealousy,
as well as the better affections of the friend. Emily’s eye was already
brightening beneath the words that Falkland whispered in her ear, when
Mrs. St. John approached her. She placed herself on a chair beside them,
and unmindful of Falkland’s bent and angry brow, attempted to create a
general and commonplace conversation. Lady Margaret had invited two or
three people in the neighbourhood; and when these came in, music and
cards were resorted to immediately, with that English politesse, which
takes the earliest opportunity to show that the conversation of our
friends is the last thing for which we have invited them. But Mrs. St.
John never left the lovers; and at last, when Falkland, in despair
at her obstinacy, arose to join the card-table, she said, “Pray, Mr.
Falkland, were you not intimate at one time with * * * *, who eloped
with Lady * * *?” “I knew him but slightly,” said Falkland; and then
added, with a sneer, “the only times I ever met him were at your house.”
 Mrs. St. John, without noticing the sarcasm, continued:--“What an
unfortunate affair that proved! They were very much attached to one
another in early life--the only excuse, perhaps for a woman’s breaking
her subsequent vows. They eloped. The remainder of their history is
briefly told: it is that of all who forfeit everything for passion, and
forget that of everything it is the briefest in duration. He who had
sacrificed his honour for her, sacrificed her also as lightly for
another. She could not bear his infidelity; and how could she reproach
him? In the very act of yielding to, she had become unworthy of, his
love. She did not reproach him--she died of a broken heart! I saw her
just before her death, for I was distantly related to her, and I could
not forsake her utterly even in her sin. She then spoke to me only of
the child by her former marriage, whom she had left in the years when
it most needed her care: she questioned me of its health--its
education--its very growth: the minutest thing was not beneath her
inquiry. His tidings were all that brought back to her mind ‘the
redolence of joy and spring.’ I brought that child to her one day: he
at least had never forgotten her. How bitterly both wept when they were
separated! and she--poor, poor Ellen--an hour after their separation
was no more!” There was a pause for a few minutes. Emily was deeply
affected. Mrs. St. John had anticipated the effect she had produced,
and concerted the method to increase it. “It is singular,” she resumed,
“that, the evening before her elopement, some verses were sent to her
anonymously--I do not think, Emily, that you have ever seen them. Shall
I sing them to you now?” and, without waiting for a reply, she placed
herself at the piano; and with a low but sweet voice, greatly aided
in effect by the extreme feeling of her manner, she sang the following
verses:

        1.
        And wilt thou leave that happy home,
        Where once it was so sweet to live?
        Ah! think, before thou seek’st to roam,
        What safer shelter Guilt can give!

        2.
        The Bird may rove, and still regain
        With spotless wings, her wonted rest,
        But home, once lost, is ne’er again
        Restored to Woman’s erring breast!

        3.
        If wandering o’er a world of flowers,
        The heart at times would ask repose;
        But thou wouldst lose the only bowers
        Of rest amid a world of woes.

        4.
        Recall thy youth’s unsullied vow
        The past which on thee smile so fair;
        Then turn from thence to picture now
        The frowns thy future fate must wear!

        5.
        No hour, no hope, can bring relief
        To her who hides a blighted name;
        For hearts unbow’d by stormiest _grief_
        Will break beneath one breeze of _shame_!

        6.
        And when thy child’s deserted years
        Amid life’s early woes are thrown,
        Shall menial bosoms soothe the tears
        That should be shed on thine alone?

        7.
        When on thy name his lips shall call,
        (That tender name, the earliest taught!)
        Thou wouldst not Shame and Sin were all
        The memories link’d around its thought!

        8.
        If Sickness haunt his infant bed,
        Ah! what could then replace thy care?
        Could hireling steps as gently tread
        As if a Mother’s soul was there?

        9.
        Enough! ‘tis not too late to shun
        The bitter draught thyself wouldst fill;
        The latest link is not undone
        Thy bark is in the haven still.

        10.
        If doom’d to grief through life thou art,
        ‘Tis thine at least unstain’d to die!
        Oh! better break at once thy heart
        Than rend it from its holiest tie!


It were vain to attempt describing Emily’s feelings when the song
ceased. The scene floated before her eyes indistinct and dark. The
violence of the emotions she attempted to conceal pressed upon her
almost to choking. She rose, looked at Falkland with one look of such
anguish and despair that it froze his very heart, and left the room
without uttering a word. A moment more--they heard a noise--a fall. They
rushed out--Emily was stretched on the ground, apparently lifeless. She
had broken a blood-vessel.



BOOK IV.

FROM MRS. ST. JOHN TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.

At last I can give a more favourable answer to your letters. Emily is
now quite out of danger. Since the day you forced yourself, with such a
disinterested regard for her health and reputation, into her room, she
grew (no thanks to your forbearance) gradually better. I trust that she
will be able to see you in a few days. I hope this the more, because she
now feels and decides that it will be for the last time. You have, it
is true, injured her happiness for life her virtue, thank Heaven, is yet
spared; and though you have made her wretched, you will never, I trust,
succeed in making her despised.

You ask me, with some menacing and more complaint, why I am so bitter
against you. I will tell you. I not only know Emily, and feel confident,
from that knowledge, that nothing can recompense her for the reproaches
of conscience, but I know you, and am convinced that you are the last
man to render her happy. I set aside, for the moment, all rules of
religion and morality in general, and speak to you (to use the cant
and abused phrase) “without prejudice” as to the particular instance.
Emily’s nature is soft and susceptible, yours fickle and wayward in
the extreme. The smallest change or caprice in you, which would not be
noticed by a mind less delicate, would wound her to the heart. You
know that the very softness of her character arises from its want of
strength. Consider, for a moment, if she could bear the humiliation and
disgrace which visit so heavily the offences of an English wife? She has
been brought up in the strictest notions of morality; and, in a mind,
not naturally strong, nothing can efface the first impressions of
education. She is not--indeed she is not--fit for a life of sorrow or
degradation. In another character, another line of conduct might be
desirable; but with regard to her, pause, Falkland, I beseech you,
before you attempt again to destroy her for ever. I have said all.
Farewell.

Your, and above all, Emily’s friend.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

You will see me, Emily, now that you are recovered sufficiently to do so
without danger. I do not ask this as a favour. If my love has deserved,
anything from yours, if past recollections give me any claim over you,
if my nature has not forfeited the spell which it formerly possessed
upon your own, I demand it as a right.

The bearer waits for your answer.



FROM LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.

See you, Falkland! Can you doubt it? Can you think for a moment that
your commands can ever cease to become a law to me? Come here whenever
you please. If, during my illness, they have prevented it, it was
without my knowledge. I await you; but I own that this interview will be
the last, if I can claim anything from your mercy.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ., TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE.

I have seen you, Emily, and for the last time! My eyes are dry--my hand
does not tremble. I live, move, breathe, as before--and yet I have seen
you for the last time! You told me--even while you leaned on my bosom,
even while your lip pressed mine--you told me (and I saw your sincerity)
to spare you, and to see you no more. You told me you had no longer
any will, any fate of your own; that you would, if I still continued to
desire it, leave friends, home, honour, for me; but you did not disguise
from me that you would, in so doing, leave happiness also. You did not
conceal from me that I was not sufficient to constitute all your world:
you threw yourself, as you had done once before, upon what you called
my generosity: you did not deceive yourself then; you have not deceived
yourself now. In two weeks I shall leave England, probably for ever.
I have another country still more dear to me, from its afflictions and
humiliation. Public ties differ but little in their nature from private;
and this confession of preference of what is debased to what is exalted,
will be an answer to Mrs. St. John’s assertion, that we cannot love in
disgrace as we can in honour. Enough of this. In the choice, my poor
Emily, that you have made, I cannot reproach you. You have done wisely,
rightly, virtuously. You said that this separation must rest rather with
me than with yourself; that you would be mine the moment I demanded it.
I will not now or ever accept this promise. No one, much less one whom I
love so intensely, so truly as I do you, shall ever receive disgrace at
my hands, unless she can feel that that disgrace would be dearer to her
than glory elsewhere; that the simple fate of being mine was not so much
a recompense as a reward; and that, in spite of worldly depreciation and
shame, it would constitute and concentrate all her visions of happiness
and pride. I am now going to bid you farewell. May you--I say this
disinterestedly, and from my very heart--may you soon forget how much
you have loved and yet love me! For this purpose, you cannot have
a better companion than Mrs. St. John. Her opinion of me is loudly
expressed, and probably true; at all events, you will do wisely to
believe it. You will hear me attacked and reproached by many. I do not
deny the charges; you know best what I have deserved from you. God bless
you, Emily. Wherever I go, I shall never cease to love you as I do now.
May you be happy in your child and in your conscience! Once more, God
bless you, and farewell!



FROM LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE TO ERASMUS FALKLAND, ESQ.

O Falkland! You have conquered! I am yours--yours only--Wholly and
forever. When your letter came, my hand trembled so, that I could not
open it for several minutes; and when I did, I felt as if the very earth
had passed from my feet. You were going from your country; you were
about to be lost to me for ever. I could restrain myself no longer; all
my virtue, my pride, forsook me at once. Yes, yes, you are indeed
my world. I will fly with you anywhere--everywhere. Nothing can be
dreadful, but not seeing you; I would be a servant--a slave--a dog,
as long as I could be with you; hear one tone of your voice, catch one
glance of your eye. I scarcely see the paper before me, my thoughts are
so straggling and confused. Write to me one word, Falkland; one word,
and I will lay it to my heart, and be happy.



FROM ERASMUS FALKLAND TO LADY EMILY MANDEVILLE. -------- Hotel, London.

I hasten to you, Emily--my own and only love. Your letter has restored
me to life. To-morrow we shall meet.


It was with mingled feelings, alloyed and embittered, in spite of the
burning hope which predominated over all, that Falkland returned to
E------. He knew that he was near the completion of his most ardent
wishes; that he was within the grasp of a prize which included all the
thousand objects of ambition, into which, among other men, the desires
are divided; the only dreams he had ventured to form for years were
about to kindle into life. He had every reason to be happy;--such is the
inconsistency of human nature, that he was almost wretched. The morbid
melancholy, habitual to him, threw its colourings over every emotion
and idea. He knew the character of the woman whose affections he had
seduced; and he trembled to think of the doom to which he was about to
condemn her. With this, there came over his mind a long train of
dark and remorseful recollections. Emily was not the only one whose
destruction he had prepared. All who had loved him, he had repaid with
ruin; and one--the first--the fairest--and the most loved, with death.

That last remembrance, more bitterly than all, possessed him. It will
be recollected that Falkland, in the letters which begin this work,
speaking of the ties he had formed after the loss of his first love,
says, that it was the senses, not the affections, that were engaged.
Never, indeed, since her death, till he met Emily, had his heart been
unfaithful to her memory. Alas! none but those who have cherished in
their souls an image of the death; who have watched over it for long and
bitter years in secrecy and gloom; who have felt that it was to them as
a holy and fairy spot which no eye but theirs could profane; who have
filled all things with recollections as with a spell, and made the
universe one wide mausoleum of the lost;--none but those can understand
the mysteries of that regret which is shed over every after passion,
though it be more burning and intense; that sense of sacrilege with
which we fill up the haunted recesses of the spirit with a new and a
living idol and perpetrate the last act of infidelity to that buried
love, which the heavens that now receive her, the earth where we beheld
her, tell us, with, the unnumbered voices of Nature, to worship with the
incense of our faith.

His carriage stopped at the lodge. The woman who opened the gates gave
him the following note:

“Mr. Mandeville is returned; I almost fear that he suspects our
attachment. Julia says, that if you come again to E------, she will
inform him. I dare not, dearest Falkland, see you here. What is to be
done? I am very ill and feverish: my brain burns so, that I can
think, feel, remember nothing, but the one thought, feeling, and
remembrance--that through shame, and despite of guilt, in life, and till
death, I am yours. E. M.”

As Falkland read this note, his extreme and engrossing love for Emily
doubled with each word: an instant before, and the certainty of seeing
her had suffered his mind to be divided into a thousand objects; now,
doubt united them once more into one.

He altered his route to L------, and despatched from thence a short note
to Emily, imploring her to meet him that evening by the lake, in order
to arrange their ultimate flight. Her answer was brief, and blotted with
her tears; but it was assent.

During the whole of that day, at least from the moment she received
Falkland’s letter, Emily was scarcely sensible of a single idea: she sat
still and motionless, gazing on vacancy, and seeing nothing within her
mind, or in the objects which surrounded her, but one dreary blank.
Sense, thought, feeling, even remorse, were congealed and frozen; and
the tides of emotion were still, bid they were ice!

As Falkland’s servant had waited without to deliver the note to Emily,
Mrs. St. John had observed him: her alarm and surprise only served
to quicken her presence of mind. She intercepted Emily’s answer under
pretence of giving it herself to Falkland’s servant. She read it, and
her resolution was formed. After carefully resealing and delivering it
to the servant, she went at once to Mr. Mandeville, and revealed Lady
Emily’s attachment to Falkland. In this act of treachery, she was solely
instigated by her passions; and when Mandeville, roused from his wonted
apathy to a paroxysm of indignation, thanked her again and again for
the generosity of friendship which he imagined was all that actuated her
communication, he dreamed not of the fierce and ungovernable jealousy
which envied the very disgrace which her confession was intended to
award. Well said the French enthusiast, “that the heart, the most serene
to appearance, resembles that calm and glassy fountain which cherishes
the monster of the Nile in the bosom of its waters.” Whatever reward
Mrs. St. John proposed to herself in this action, verily she has had the
recompense that was her due. Those consequences of her treachery, which
I hasten to relate, have ceased to others--to her they remain. Amidst
the pleasures of dissipation, one reflection has rankled at her mind;
one dark cloud has rested between the sunshine and her soul; like the
murderer in Shakespeare, the revel where she fled for forgetfulness
has teemed to her with the spectres of remembrance. O thou untameable
conscience! thou that never flatterest--thou that watchest over the
human heart never to slumber or to sleep--it is thou that takest from
us the present, barrest to us the future, and knittest the eternal chain
that binds us to the rock and the vulture of the past!

The evening came on still and dark; a breathless and heavy apprehension
seemed gathered over the air: the full large clouds lay without motion
in the dull sky, from between which, at long and scattered intervals,
the wan stars looked out; a double shadow seemed to invest the grouped
and gloomy trees that stood unwaving in the melancholy horizon. The
waters of the lake lay heavy and unagitated as the sleep of death; and
the broken reflections of the abrupt and winding banks rested upon their
bosoms, like the dreamlike remembrance of a former existence.

The hour of the appointment was arrived: Falkland stood by the spot,
gazing upon the lake before him; his cheek was flushed, his hand was
parched and dry with the consuming fire within him. His pulse beat thick
and rapidly; the demon of evil passions was upon his soul. He stood so
lost in his own reflections, that he did not for some moments perceive
the fond and tearful eye which was fixed upon him on that brow and
lip, thought seemed always so beautiful, so divine, that to disturb its
repose was like a profanation of something holy; and though Emily came
towards him with a light and hurried step, she paused involuntarily to
gaze upon that noble countenance which realised her earliest visions of
the beauty and majesty of love. He turned slowly, and perceived her;
he came to her with his own peculiar smile; he drew her to his bosom in
silence; he pressed his lips to her forehead: she leaned upon his bosom,
and forgot all but him. Oh! if there be one feeling which makes Love,
even guilty Love, a god, it is the knowledge that in the midst of
this breathing world he reigns aloof and alone; and that those who are
occupied with his worship know nothing of the pettiness, the strife,
the bustle which, pollute and agitate the ordinary inhabitants of earth!
What was now to them, as they stood alone in the deep stillness of
Nature, everything that had engrossed them before they had met and
loved? Even in her, the recollections of guilt and grief subsided: she
was only sensible of one thought--the presence of the being who stood
beside her,

        That ocean to the rivers of her soul.

They sat down beneath an oak: Falkland stooped to kiss the cold and pale
cheek that still rested upon his breast. His kisses were like lava: the
turbulent and stormy elements of sin and desire were aroused even to
madness within him. He clasped her still nearer to his bosom: her lips
answered to his own: they caught perhaps something of the spirit which
they received: her eyes were half-closed; the bosom heaved wildly that
was pressed to his beating and burning heart. The skies grew darker and
darker as the night stole over them: one low roll of thunder broke upon
the curtained and heavy air--they did not hear it; and yet it was the
knell of peace--virtue--hope--lost, lost for ever to their souls!

They separated as they had never done before. In Emily’s bosom there was
a dreary void--a vast blank-over which there went a low deep voice like
a Spirit’s--a sound indistinct and strange, that spoke a language she
knew not; but felt that it told of woe-guilt-doom. Her senses were
stunned: the vitality of her feelings was numbed and torpid: the first
herald of despair is insensibility. “Tomorrow then,” said Falkland--and
his voice for the first time seemed strange and harsh to her--“we
will fly hence for ever: meet me at daybreak--the carriage shall be in
attendance--we cannot now unite too soon--would that at this very moment
we were prepared!”--“To-morrow!” repeated Emily, “at daybreak!” and as
she clung to him, he felt her shudder: “to-morrow-ay-to-morrow!--” one
kiss--one embrace--one word--farewell--and they parted.

Falkland returned to L------, a gloomy foreboding rested upon his mind:
that dim and indescribable fear, which no earthly or human cause
can explain--that shrinking within self--that vague terror of the
future--that grappling, as it were, with some unknown shade--that
wandering of the spirit--whither?--that cold, cold creeping dread--of
what? As he entered the house, he met his confidential servant. He gave
him orders respecting the flight of the morrow, and then retired into
the chamber where he slept. It was an antique and large room: the
wainscot was of oak; and one broad and high window looked over the
expanse of country which stretched beneath. He sat himself by the
casement in silence--he opened it: the dull air came over his forehead,
not with a sense of freshness, but, like the parching atmosphere of the
east, charged with a weight and fever that sank heavy into his soul. He
turned:--he threw himself upon the bed, and placed his hands over his
face. His thoughts were scattered into a thousand indistinct forms, but
over all, there was one rapturous remembrance; and that was, that
the morrow was to unite him for ever to her whose possession had only
rendered her more dear. Meanwhile, the hours rolled on; and as he lay
thus silent and still, the clock of the distant church struck with
a distinct and solemn sound upon his ear. It was the half-hour after
midnight. At that moment an icy thrill ran, slow and curdling, through
his veins. His heart, as if with a presentiment of what was to follow,
beat violently, and then stopped; life itself seemed ebbing away; cold
drops stood upon his forehead; his eyelids trembled, and the balls
reeled and glazed, like those of a dying man; a deadly fear gathered
over him, so that his flesh quivered, and every hair in his head seemed
instinct with a separate life, the very marrow of his bones crept, and
his blood waxed thick and thick, as if stagnating into an ebbless and
frozen substance. He started in a wild and unutterable terror. There
stood, at the far end of the room, a dim and thin shape like moonlight,
without outline or form; still, and indistinct, and shadowy. He gazed
on, speechless and motionless; his faculties and senses seemed locked in
an unnatural trance. By degrees the shape became clearer and clearer to
his fixed and dilating eye. He saw, as through a floating and mist-like
veil, the features of Emily; but how changed!--sunken and hueless, and
set in death. The dropping lip, from which there seemed to trickle a
deep red stain like blood; the lead-like and lifeless eye; the calm,
awful, mysterious repose which broods over the aspect of the dead;--all
grew, as it were, from the hazy cloud that encircled them for one, one
brief, agonising moment, and then as suddenly faded away. The spell
passed from his senses. He sprang from the bed with a loud cry. All was
quiet. There was not a trace of what he had witnessed. The feeble light
of the skies rested upon the spot where the apparition had stood; upon
that spot he stood also. He stamped upon the floor--it was firm beneath
his footing. He passed his hands over his body--he was awake--he was
unchanged: earth, air, heaven, were around him as before. What had thus
gone over his soul to awe and overcome it to such weakness? To these
questions his reason could return no answer. Bold by nature, and
sceptical by philosophy, his mind gradually recovered its original tone:
he did not give way to conjecture; he endeavoured to discard it; he
sought by natural causes to account for the apparition he had seen or
imagined; and, as he felt the blood again circulating in its accustomed
courses, and the night air coming chill over his feverish frame, he
smiled with a stern and scornful bitterness at the terror which had so
shaken, and the fancy which had so deluded, his mind.

Are there not “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in
our philosophy”? A Spirit may hover in the air that we breathe: the
depth of our most secret solitudes may be peopled by the invisible;
our uprisings and our downsittings may be marked by a witness from the
grave. In our walks the dead may be behind us; in our banquets they may
sit at the board; and the chill breath of the night wind that stirs the
curtains of our bed may bear a message our senses receive not, from
lips that once have pressed kisses on our own! Why is it that at moments
there creeps over us an awe, a terror, overpowering, but undefined?
Why is it that we shudder without a cause, and feel the warm life-blood
stand still in its courses? Are the dead too near? Do unearthly wings
touch us as they flit around? Has our soul any intercourse which
the body shares not, though it feels, with the supernatural
world--mysterious revealings--unimaginable communion--a language of
dread and power, shaking to its centre the fleshly barrier that divides
the spirit from its race?

How fearful is the very life which we hold! We have our being beneath a
cloud, and are a marvel even to ourselves. There is not a single thought
which has its affixed limits. Like circles in the water, our researches
weaken as they extend, and vanish at last into the immeasurable and
unfathomable space of the vast unknown. We are like children in the
dark; we tremble in a shadowy and terrible void, peopled with our
fancies! Life is our real night, and the first gleam of the morning,
which brings us certainty, is death.

Falkland sat the remainder of that night by the window watching the
clouds become gray as the dawn rose, and its earliest breeze awoke. He
heard the trampling of the horses beneath: he drew his cloak round him,
and descended. It was on a turning of the road beyond the lodge that
he directed the carriage to wait, and he then proceeded to the place
appointed. Emily was not yet there. He walked to and fro with an
agitated and hurried step. The impression of the night had in a great
measure been effaced from his mind, and he gave himself up without
reserve to the warm and sanguine hopes which he had so much reason to
conceive. He thought too, at moments, of those bright climates beneath
which he designed their asylum, where the very air is music, and the
light is like the colourings of love; and he associated the sighs of a
mutual rapture with the fragrance of myrtles, and the breath of a Tuscan
heaven. Time glided on. The hour was long past, yet Emily came not!
The sun rose, and Falkland turned in dark and angry discontent from its
beams. With every moment his impatience increased, and at last he could
restrain himself no longer. He proceeded towards the house. He stood for
some time at a distance; but as all seemed still hushed in repose, he
drew nearer and nearer till he reached the door: to his astonishment
it was open. He saw forms passing rapidly through the hall. He heard a
confused and indistinct murmur. At length he caught a glimpse of Mrs.
St. John. He could command himself no more. He sprang forwards--entered
the door--the hall--and caught her by a part of her dress. He could not
speak, but his countenance said all which his lips refused. Mrs. St.
John burst into tears when she saw him. “Good God!” she said, “why are
you here? Is it possible you have yet learned--” Her voice failed her.
Falkland had by this time recovered himself. He turned to the servants
who gathered around him. “Speak,” he said calmly. “What has occurred?”
 “My lady--my lady!” burst at once from several tongues. “What of her:”
 said Falkland, with a blanched cheek, but unchanging voice. There was a
pause. At that instant a man, whom Falkland recognised as the physician
of the neighbourhood, passed at the opposite end of the hall. A light,
a scorching and intolerable light, broke upon him. “She is dying--she
is dead, perhaps,” he said, in a low sepulchral tone, turning his eye
around till it had rested upon every one present. Not one answered. He
paused a moment, as if stunned by a sudden shock, and then sprang up the
stairs. He passed the boudoir, and entered the room where Emily slept.
The shutters were only partially closed a faint light broke through, and
rested on the bed: beside it bent two women. Them he neither heeded nor
saw. He drew aside the curtains. He beheld--the same as he had seen it
in his vision of the night before--the changed and lifeless countenance
of Emily Mandeville! That face, still so tenderly beautiful, was
partially turned towards him. Some dark stains upon the lip and neck
told how she had died--the blood-vessel she had broken before had
burst again. The bland and soft eyes, which for him never had but one
expression, were closed; and the long and disheveled tresses half hid,
while they contrasted, that bosom, which had but the night before
first learned to thrill beneath his own. Happier in her fate than she
deserved, she passed from this bitter life ere the punishment of her
guilt had begun. She was not doomed to wither beneath the blight of
shame, nor the coldness of estranged affection. From him whom she had
so worshipped, she was not condemned to bear wrong nor change. She died
while his passion was yet in its spring--before a blossom, a leaf, had
faded; and she sank to repose while his kiss was yet warm upon her lip,
and her last breath almost mingled with his sigh. For the woman who has
erred, life has no exchange for such a death. Falkland stood mute and
motionless: not one word of grief or horror escaped his lips. At length
he bent down. He took the hand which lay outside the bed; he pressed it;
it replied not to the pressure, but fell cold and heavy from his own. He
put his cheek to her lips; not the faintest breath came from them; and
then for the first time a change passed over his countenance: he pressed
upon those lips one long and last kiss, and, without word, or sign,
or tear, he turned from the chamber. Two hours afterwards he was found
senseless upon the ground; it was upon the spot where he had met Emily
the night before.

For weeks he knew nothing of this earth--he was encompassed with the
spectres of a terrible dream. All was confusion, darkness, horror--a
series and a change of torture! At one time he was hurried through the
heavens in the womb of a fiery star, girt above and below and around
with unextinguishable but unconsuming flames. Wherever he trod, as he
wandered through his vast and blazing prison, the molten fire was his
footing, and the breath of fire was his air. Flowers, and trees, and
hills were in that world as in ours, but wrought from one lurid and
intolerable light; and, scattered around, rose gigantic palaces and
domes of the living flame, like the mansions of the city of Hell.
With every moment there passed to and fro shadowy forms, on whose
countenances was engraven unutterable anguish; but not a shriek, not a
groan, rung through the red air; for the doomed, who fed and inhabited
the flames, were forbidden the consolation of voice. Above there sat,
fixed and black, a solid and impenetrable cloud-Night frozen into
substance; and from the midst there hung a banner of a pale and sickly
flame, on which was written “For Ever.” A river rushed rapidly beside
him. He stooped to slake the agony of his thirst--the waves were waves
of fire; and, as he started from the burning draught, he longed to
shriek aloud, and could not. Then he cast his despairing eyes above for
mercy; and saw on the livid and motionless banner “For Ever.”

A change came o’er the spirit of his dream

He was suddenly borne up on the winds and storms to the oceans of an
eternal winter. He fell stunned and unstruggling upon the ebbless and
sluggish waves. Slowly and heavily they rose over him as he sank: then
came the lengthened and suffocating torture of that drowning death--the
impotent and convulsive contest with the closing waters--the gurgle, the
choking, the bursting of the pent breath, the flutter of the heart,
its agony, and its stillness. He recovered. He was a thousand fathoms
beneath the sea, chained to a rock round which the heavy waters rose as
a wall. He felt his own flesh rot and decay, perishing from his limbs
piece by piece; and he saw the coral banks, which it requires a thousand
ages to form, rise slowly from their slimy bed; and spread atom by atom,
till they became a shelter for the leviathan: their growth, was his only
record of eternity; and ever and ever, around and above him, came
vast and misshapen things--the wonders of the secret deeps; and the
sea-serpent, the huge chimera of the north, made its resting-place by
his side, glaring upon him with a livid and death-like eye, wan, yet
burning as an expiring seta. But over all, in every change, in every
moment of that immortality, there was present one pale and motionless
countenance, never turning from his own. The fiends of hell, the
monsters of the hidden ocean, had no horror so awful as _the human face
of the dead whom he had loved_.

The word of his sentence was gone forth. Alike through that delirium
and its more fearful awakening, through the past, through the future,
through the vigils of the joyless day, and the broken dreams of the
night, there was a charm upon his soul--a hell within himself; and the
curse of his sentence was--never to forget!

When, Lady Emily returned home on that guilty and eventful night, she
stole at once to her room: she dismissed her servant, and threw herself
upon the ground in that deep despair which on this earth can never again
know hope. She lay there without the power to weep, or the courage to
pray--how long, she knew not. Like the period before creation, her
mind was a chaos of jarring elements, and knew neither the method of
reflection nor the division of time.

As she rose, she heard a slight knock at the door, and her husband
entered. Her heart misgave her; and when she saw him close the door
carefully before he approached her, she felt as if she could have sunk
into the earth, alike from her internal shame, and her fear of its
detection.

Mr. Mandeville was a weak, commonplace character; indifferent in
ordinary matters, but, like most imbecile minds, violent and furious
when aroused. “Is this, Madam, addressed to you?” he cried, in a voice
of thunder, as he placed a letter before her (it was one of Falkland’s);
“and this, and this, Madam?” said he, in a still louder tone, as he
flung them out one after another from her own escritoire, which he had
broken open.

Emily sank back, and gasped for breath. Mandeville rose, and, laughing
fiercely, seized her by the arm. He grasped it with all his force. She
uttered a faint scream of terror: he did not heed it; he flung her from
him, and as she fell upon the ground, the blood gushed in torrents from
her lips. In the sudden change of feeling which alarm created, he raised
her in his arms. She was a corpse! At that instant the clock struck upon
his ear with a startling and solemn sound: it was the half-hour after
midnight.

The grave is now closed upon that soft and erring heart, with its
guiltiest secret unrevealed. She went to that last home with a blest
and unblighted name; for her guilt was unknown, and her virtues are yet
recorded in the memories of the Poor.

They laid her in the stately vaults of her ancient line, and her bier
was honoured with tears from hearts not less stricken, because their
sorrow, if violent, was brief. For the dead there are many mourners, but
only one monument--the bosom which loved them best. The spot where the
hearse rested, the green turf beneath, the surrounding trees, the gray
tower of the village church, and the proud halls rising beyond,--all had
witnessed the childhood, the youth, the bridal-day of the being whose
last rites and solemnities they were to witness now. The very bell which
rang for her birth had rung also for the marriage peal; it now tolled
for her death. But a little while, and she had gone forth from that home
of her young and unclouded years, amidst the acclamations and blessings
of all, a bride, with the insignia of bridal pomp--in the first bloom
of her girlish beauty--in the first innocence of her unawakened heart,
weeping, not for the future she was entering, but for the past she was
about to leave, and smiling through her tears, as if innocence had
no business with grief. On the same spot, where he had then waved
his farewell, stood the father now. On the grass which they had then
covered, flocked the peasants whose wants her childhood had relieved; by
the same priest who had blessed her bridals, bent the bridegroom who had
plighted its vow. There was not a tree, not a blade of grass withered.
The day itself was bright and glorious; such was it when it smiled
upon her nuptials. And size--she-but four little years, and all youth’s
innocence darkened, and earth’s beauty come to dust! Alas! not for her,
but the mourner whom she left! In death even love is forgotten; but in
life there is no bitterness so utter as to feel everything is unchanged,
except the One Being who was the soul of all--to know the world is the
same, but that its sunshine is departed.


The noon was still and sultry. Along the narrow street of the small
village of Lodar poured the wearied but yet unconquered band, which
embodied in that district of Spain the last hope and energy of freedom.
The countenances of the soldiers were haggard and dejected; they
displayed even less of the vanity than their accoutrements exhibited of
the pomp and circumstances of war. Yet their garments were such as even
the peasants had disdained: covered with blood and dust, and tattered
into a thousand rags, they betokened nothing of chivalry but its
endurance of hardship; even the rent and sullied banners drooped
sullenly along their staves, as if the winds themselves had become the
minions of fortune, and disdained to swell the insignia of those whom
she had deserted. The glorious music of battle was still. An air of
dispirited and defeated enterprise hung over the whole army. “Thank
Heaven,” said the chief, who closed the last file as it marched--on to
its scanty refreshment and brief repose; “thank Heaven, we are at least
out of the reach of pursuit; and the mountains, those last retreats of
liberty, are before us!” “True, Don Rafael,” replied the youngest of two
officers who rode by the side of the commander; “and if we can cut our
passage to Mina, we may yet plant the standard of the Constitution in
Madrid.” “Ay,” added the elder officer, “and I sing Riego’s hymn in the
place of the Escurial!” “Our sons may!” said the chief, who was indeed
Riego himself, “but for us--all hope is over! Were we united, we could
scarcely make head against the armies of France; and divided as we are,
the wonder is that we have escaped so long. Hemmed in by invasion, our
great enemy has been ourselves. Such has been the hostility faction has
created between Spaniard and Spaniard, that we seem to have none left to
waste upon Frenchmen. We cannot establish freedom if men are willing to
be slaves. We have no hope, Don Alphonso--no hope--but that of death!”
 As Riego concluded this desponding answer, so contrary to his general
enthusiasm, the younger officer rode on among the soldiers, cheering
them with words of congratulation and comfort; ordering their several
divisions; cautioning them to be prepared at a moment’s notice; and
impressing on their remembrance those small but essential points of
discipline, which a Spanish troop might well be supposed to disregard.
When Riego and his companion entered the small and miserable hovel
which constituted the headquarters of the place, this man still
remained without; and it was not till he had slackened the girths of his
Andalusian horse, and placed before it the undainty provender which the
_ecurie_ afforded that he thought of rebinding more firmly the bandages
wound around a deep and painful sabre cut in the left arm, which for
several hours had been wholly neglected. The officer, whom Riego had
addressed by the name of Alphonso, came out of the hut just as his
comrade was vainly endeavouring, with his teeth and one hand, to replace
the ligature. As he assisted him, he said, “You know not, my dear
Falkland, how bitterly I reproach myself for having ever persuaded you
to a cause where contest seems to have no hope, and danger no glory.”
 Falkland smiled bitterly. “Do not deceive yourself, my dear uncle,” said
he; “your persuasions would have been unavailing but for the suggestions
of my own wishes. I am not one of those enthusiasts who entered on your
cause with high hopes and chivalrous designs: I asked but forgetfulness
and excitement--I have found them! I would not exchange a single pain
I have endured for what would have constituted the pleasures of other
men:--but enough of this. What time, think you, have we for repose?”
 “Till the evening,” answered Alphonso; “our route will then most
probably be directed to the Sierre Morena. The General is extremely
weak and exhausted, and needs a longer rest than we shall gain. It is
singular that with such weak health he should endure so great an excess
of hardship and fatigue.” During this conversation they entered the
hut. Riego was already asleep. As they seated themselves to the wretched
provision of the place, a distant and indistinct noise was heard. It
came first on their ears like the birth of the mountain wind-low, and
hoarse, and deep: gradually it grew loud and louder, and mingled with
other sounds which they defined too well--the hum, the murmur, the
trampling of steeds, the ringing echoes of the rapid march of armed men!
They heard and knew the foe was upon them!--a moment more, and the drum
beat to arms. “By St. Pelagio,” cried Riego, who had sprung from his
light sleep at the first sound of the approaching danger, unwilling to
believe his fears, “it cannot be: the French are far behind:” and then,
as the drum beat, his voice suddenly changed, “the enemy? the enemy!
D’Aguilar, to horse!” and with those words he rushed out of the hut. The
soldiers, who had scarcely begun to disperse, were soon re-collected. In
the mean while the French commander, D’Argout, taking advantage of the
surprise he had occasioned, poured on his troops, which consisted solely
of cavalry, undaunted and undelayed by the fire of the posts. On, on
they drove like a swift cloud charged with thunder, and gathering wrath
as it hurried by, before it burst in tempest on the beholders. They did
not pause till they reached the farther extremity of the village: there
the Spanish infantry were already formed into two squares. “Halt!” cried
the French commander: the troop suddenly stopped confronting the nearer
square. There was one brief pause-the moment before the storm. “Charge!”
 said D’ Argout, and the word rang throughout the line up to the clear
and placid sky. Up flashed the steel like lightning; on went the troop
like the clash of a thousand waves when the sun is upon them; and
before the breath of the riders was thrice drawn, came the crash--the
shock--the slaughter of battle. The Spaniards made but a faint
resistance to the impetuosity of the onset: they broke on every side
beneath the force of the charge, like the weak barriers of a rapid and
swollen stream; and the French troops, after a brief but bloody victory
(joined by a second squadron from the rear), advanced immediately upon
the Spanish cavalry. Falkland was by the side of Riego. As the
troop advanced, it would have been curious to notice the contrast of
expression in the face of each; the Spaniard’s features lighted up with
the daring enthusiasm of his nature; every trace of their usual languor
and exhaustion vanished beneath the unconquerable soul that blazed
out the brighter for the debility of the frame; the brow knit; the
eye flashing; the lip quivering:--and close beside, the calm, stern;
passionless repose that brooded over the severe yet noble beauty of
Falkland’s countenance. To him danger brought scorn, not enthusiasm: he
rather despised than defied it. “The dastards! they waver,” said Riego,
in an accent of despair, as his troop faltered beneath the charge of the
French: and so saying, he spurred his steed on to the foremost line. The
contest was longer, but not less decisive, than the one just concluded.
The Spaniards, thrown into confusion by the first shock, never recovered
themselves. Falkland, who, in his anxiety to rally and inspirit the
soldiers, had advanced with two other officers beyond the ranks, was
soon surrounded by a detachment of dragoons: the wound in his left arm
scarcely suffered him to guide his horse: he was in the most imminent
danger. At that moment D’Aguilar, at the head of his own immediate
followers, cut his way into the circle, and covered Falkland’s retreat;
another detachment of the enemy came up, and they were a second time
surrounded. In the mean while, the main body of the Spanish cavalry were
flying in all directions, and Riego’s deep voice was heard at intervals,
through the columns of smoke and dust, calling and exhorting them in
vain. D’Aguilar and his scanty troop, after a desperate skirmish, broke
again through the enemy’s line drawn up against their retreat. The rank
closed after them like waters when the object that pierced them has
sunk: Falkland and his two companions were again environed: he saw his
comrades cut to the earth before him. He pulled up his horse for one
moment, clove down with one desperate blow the dragoon with whom he was
engaged, and then setting his spurs to the very rowels into his horse,
dashed at once through the circle of his foes. His remarkable presence
of mind, and the strength and sagacity of his horse, befriended him.
Three sabres flashed before him, and glanced harmless from his raised
sword, like lightning on the water. The circle was passed! As he
galloped towards Riego, his horse started from a dead body that lay
across his path. He reined up for one instant, for the countenance,
which looked upwards, struck him as familiar. What was his horror,
when in that livid and distorted face he recognised his uncle! The thin
grizzled hairs were besprent with gore and brains, and the blood yet
oozed from the spot where the ball had passed through his temple.
Falkland had but a brief interval for grief; the pursuers were close
behind: he heard the snort of the foremost horse before he again put
spurs into his own. Riego was holding a hasty consultation with his
principal officers. As Falkland rode breathless up to them, they had
decided on the conduct expedient to adopt. They led the remaining square
of infantry towards the chain of mountains against which the village,
as it were, leaned; and there the men dispersed in all directions. “For
us,” said Riego to the followers on horseback who gathered around him,
“for us the mountains still promise a shelter. We must ride, gentlemen,
for our lives--Spain will want them yet.”

Wearied and exhausted as they were, that small and devoted troop fled on
into the recesses of the mountains for the remainder of that day--twenty
men out of the two thousand who had halted at Lodar. As the evening
stole over them, they entered into a narrow defile: the tall hills rose
on every side, covered with the glory of the setting sun, as if Nature
rejoiced to grant her bulwarks as a protection to liberty. A small clear
stream ran through the valley, sparkling with the last smile of the
departing day; and ever and anon, from the scattered shrubs and the
fragrant herbage, came the vesper music of the birds, and the hum of the
wild bee.

Parched with thirst, and drooping with fatigue, the wanderers sprung
forward with one simultaneous cry of joy to the glassy and refreshing
wave which burst so unexpectedly upon them: and it was resolved that
they should remain for some hours in a spot where all things invited
them to the repose they so imperiously required. They flung themselves
at once upon the grass; and such was their exhaustion, that rest was
almost synonymous with sleep. Falkland alone could not immediately
forget himself in repose: the face of his uncle, ghastly and disfigured,
glared upon his eyes whenever he closed them. Just, however, as he was
sinking into an unquiet and fitful doze, he heard steps approaching: he
started up, and perceived two men, one a peasant, the other in the dress
of a hermit. They were the first human beings the wanderers had met;
and when Falkland gave the alarm to Riego, who slept beside him, it was
immediately proposed to detain them as guides to the town of Carolina,
where Riego had hopes of finding effectual assistance, or the means
of ultimate escape. The hermit and his companion refused, with much
vehemence, the office imposed upon them; but Riego ordered them to be
forcibly detained. He had afterwards reason bitterly to regret this
compulsion.

Midnight came on in all the gorgeous beauty of a southern heaven, and
beneath its stars they renewed their march. As Falkland rode by the side
of Riego, the latter said to him in a low voice, “There is yet escape
for you and my followers: none for me: they have set a price on my
head, and the moment I leave these mountains, I enter upon my own
destruction.” “No, Rafael!” replied Falkland; “you can yet fly to
England, that asylum of the free, though ally of the despotic; the
abettor of tyranny, but the shelter of its victims!” Riego answered,
with the same faint and dejected tone, “I care not now what becomes of
me! I have lived solely for Freedom; I have made her my mistress, my
hope, my dream: I have no existence but in her. With the last effort
of my country let me perish also! I have lived to view liberty not only
defeated, but derided: I have seen its efforts not aided, but mocked. In
my own country, those only, who wore it, have been respected who used it
as a covering to ambition. In other nations, the free stood aloof when
the charter of their own rights was violated in the invasion of ours.
I cannot forget that the senate of that England, where you promise me
a home, rang with insulting plaudits when her statesman breathed
his ridicule on our weakness, not his sympathy for our cause; and
I--fanatic--dreamer--enthusiast, as I may be called, whose whole life
has been one unremitting struggle for the opinion I have adopted, am
at least not so blinded by my infatuation, but I can see the mockery
it incurs. If I die on the scaffold to-morrow, I shall have nothing of
martyrdom but its doom; not the triumph--the incense--the immortality of
popular applause: I should have no hope to support me at such a moment,
gleaned from the glories of the future--nothing but one stern and
prophetic conviction of the vanity of that tyranny by which my sentence
will be pronounced.” Riego paused for a moment before he resumed, and
his pale and death-like countenance received an awful and unnatural
light from the intensity of the feeling that swelled and burned within
him. His figure was drawn up to its full height, and his voice rang
through the lonely hills with a deep and hollow sound, that had in it a
tone of prophecy, as he resumed “It is in vain that they oppose OPINION;
anything else they may subdue. They may conquer wind, water, nature
itself; but to the progress of that secret, subtle, pervading spirit,
their imagination can devise, their strength can accomplish, no bar: its
votaries they may seize, they may destroy; itself they cannot touch.
If they check it in one place, it invades them in another. They cannot
build a wall across the whole earth; and, even if they could, it
would pass over its summit! Chains cannot bind it, for it is
immaterial--dungeons enclose it, for it is universal. Over the faggot
and the scaffold--over the bleeding bodies of its defenders which they
pile against its path, it sweeps on with a noiseless but unceasing
march. Do they levy armies against it, it presents to them no palpable
object to oppose. Its camp is the universe; its asylum is the bosoms of
their own soldiers. Let them depopulate, destroy as they please, to
each extremity of the earth; but as long as they have a single supporter
themselves--as long as they leave a single individual into whom that
spirit can enter--so long they will have the same labours to encounter,
and the same enemy to subdue.”

As Riego’s voice ceased, Falkland gazed upon him with a mingled pity
and admiration. Sour and ascetic as was the mind of that hopeless and
disappointed man, he felt somewhat of a kindred glow at the pervading
and holy enthusiasm of the patriot to whom he had listened; and though
it was the character of his own philosophy to question the purity of
human motives, and to smile at the more vivid emotions he had ceased to
feel, he bowed his soul in homage to those principles whose sanctity he
acknowledged, and to that devotion of zeal and fervour with which
their defender cherished and enforced them. Falkland had joined the
constitutionalists with respect, but not ardour, for their cause. He
demanded excitation; he cared little where he found it. He stood in this
world a being who mixed in all its changes, performed all its offices,
took, as if by the force of superior mechanical power, a leading share
in its events; but whose thoughts and soul were as offsprings of another
planet, imprisoned in a human form, and _longing for their home_!

As they rode on, Riego continued to converse with that imprudent
unreserve which the openness and warmth of his nature made natural to
him: not one word escaped the hermit and the peasant (whose name
was Lopez Lara) as they rode on two mules behind Falkland and Riego.
“Remember,” whispered the hermit to his comrade, “the reward!”

“I do,” muttered the peasant.

Throughout the whole of that long and dreary night, the--wanderers rode
on incessantly, and found themselves at daybreak near a farm-house: this
was Lara’s own home. They made the peasant Lara knock; his own brother
opened the door. Fearful as they were of the detection to which so
numerous a party might conduce, only Riego, another officer (Don Luis
de Sylva), and Falkland entered the house. The latter, whom nothing ever
seemed to render weary or forgetful, fixed his cold stern eye upon the
two brothers, and, seeing some signs pass between them, locked the
door, and so prevented their escape. For a few hours they reposed in the
stables with their horses, their drawn swords by their sides. On waking,
Riego found it absolutely necessary that his horse should be shod. Lopez
started up, and offered to lead it to Arguillas for that purpose. “No,”
 said Riego, who, though naturally imprudent, partook in this instance of
Falkland’s habitual caution: “your brother shall go and bring hither the
farrier.” Accordingly the brother went: he soon returned. “The farrier,”
 he said, “was already on the road.” Riego and his companions, who were
absolutely fainting with hunger, sat down to breakfast; but Falkland,
who had finished first, and who had eyed the man since his return with
the most scrutinising attention, withdrew towards the window, looking
out from time to time with a telescope which they had carried about
them, and urging them impatiently to finish. “Why?” said Riego,
“famished men are good for nothing, either to fight or fly--and we
must wait for the farrier.” “True,” said Falkland, “but--” he stopped
abruptly. Sylva had his eyes on his face at that moment. Falkland’s
colour suddenly changed: he turned round with a loud cry. “Up! up!
Riego! Sylva! We are undone--the soldiers are upon us!” “Arm!” cried
Riego, starting up. At that moment Lopez and his brother seized their
own carbines, and levelled them at the betrayed constitutionalists.
“The first who moves,” cried the former, “is a dead man!” “Fools!” said
Falkland, with a calm bitterness, advancing deliberately towards them.
He moved only three steps--Lopez fired. Falkland staggered a few paces,
recovered himself, sprang towards Lara, clove him at one blow from the
skull to the jaw, and fell with his victim, lifeless upon the floor.
“Enough!” said Riego to the remaining peasant; “we are your prisoners;
bind us!” In two minutes more the soldiers entered, and they were
conducted to Carolina. Fortunately Falkland was known, when at Paris,
to a French officer of high rank then at Carolina. He was removed to
the Frenchman’s quarters. Medical aid was instantly procured. The first
examination of his wound was decisive; recovery was hopeless!

Night came on again, with her pomp of light and shade--the night that
for Falkland had no morrow. One solitary lamp burned in the chamber
where he lay alone with God and his own heart. He had desired his couch
to be placed by the window and requested his attendants to withdraw. The
gentle and balmy air stole over him, as free and bland as if it were to
breathe for him for ever; and the silver moonlight came gleaming through
the lattice and played upon his wan brow, like the tenderness of a bride
that sought to kiss him to repose. “In a few hours,” thought he, as he
lay gazing on the high stars which seemed such silent witnesses of an
eternal and unfathomed mystery, “in a few hours either this feverish and
wayward spirit will be at rest for ever, or it will have commenced a new
career in an untried and unimaginable existence! In a very few hours
I may be amongst the very heavens that I survey--a part of their
own glory--a new link in a new order of beings--breathing amidst the
elements of a more gorgeous world--arrayed myself in the attributes of a
purer and diviner nature--a wanderer among the planets--an associate
of angels--the beholder of the arcana of the great God-redeemed,
regenerate, immortal, or--dust!

“There is no OEdipus to solve the enigma of life. We are--whence came
we? We are not--whither do we go? All things in our existence have
their object: existence has none. We live, move, beget our species,
perish--and for what? We ask the past its moral; we question the gone
years of the reason of our being, and from the clouds of a thousand
ages there goes forth no answer. Is it merely to pant beneath this weary
load; to sicken of the sun; to grow old; to drop like leaves into the
grave; and to bequeath to our heirs the worn garments of toil and labour
that we leave behind? Is it to sail for ever on the same sea, ploughing
the ocean of time with new furrows, and feeding its billows with new
wrecks, or--” and his thoughts paused blinded and bewildered.

No man, in whom the mind has not been broken by the decay of the body,
has approached death in full consciousness as Falkland did that moment,
and not thought intensely on the change he was about to undergo; and yet
what new discoveries upon that subject has any one bequeathed us? There
the wildest imaginations are driven from originality into triteness:
there all minds, the frivolous and the strong, the busy and the idle,
are compelled into the same path and limit of reflection. Upon that
unknown and voiceless gulf of inquiry broods an eternal and impenetrable
gloom; no wind breathes over it--no wave agitates its stillness:
over the dead and solemn calm there is no change propitious to
adventure--there goes forth no vessel of research, which is not driven,
baffled and broken, again upon the shore.

The moon waxed high in her career. Midnight was gathering slowly
over the earth; the beautiful, the mystic hour, blent with a thousand
memories, hallowed by a thousand dreams, made tender to remembrance by
the vows our youth breathed beneath its star, and solemn by the olden
legends which are linked to its majesty and peace--the hour in which,
men should die; the isthmus between two worlds; the climax of the past
day; the verge of that which is to come; wrapping us in sleep after a
weary travail, and promising us a morrow which, since the first birth
of Creation has never failed. As the minutes glided on, Falkland felt
himself grow gradually weaker and weaker. The pain of his wound had
ceased, but a deadly sickness gathered over his heart: the room reeled
before his eyes, and the damp chill mounted from his feet up--up to the
breast in which the life-blood waxed dull and thick.

As the hand of the clock pointed to the half-hour after midnight the
attendants who waited in the adjoining room heard a faint cry. They
rushed hastily into Falkland’s chamber; they found him stretched half
out of the bed. His hand was raised towards the opposite wall; it
dropped gradually as they approached him; and his brow, which was at
first stern and bent, softened, shade by shade, into his usual serenity.
But the dim film gathered fast over his eye, and the last coldness upon
his limbs. He strove to raise himself as if to speak; the effort failed,
and he fell motionless on his face. They stood by the bed for some
moments in silence: at length they raised him. Placed against his
heart was an open locket of dark hair, which one hand still pressed
convulsively. They looked upon his countenance--(a single glance was
sufficient)--it was hushed--proud--passionless--the seal of Death was
upon it.





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