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A LOVE STORY: Volume 1

William Harvey Christie A Love Story /by a Bushman Sydney G.W.Evans 1841 Volume 1


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CHAPTER 1. THE FAMILY.

“It was a vast and venerable pile.”


“Oh, may'st thou ever be as now thou art,
Nor unbeseem the promise of thy spring.”


THE mansion in which dwelt the Delmés was one of wide and extensive range. Its centre slightly receded, leaving a wing on either side. Fluted ledges, extending the whole length of the building, protruded above each story. These were supported by quaint heads of satyr, martyr, or laughing triton. The upper ledge, which concealed the roof from casual observers, was of considerably greater projection. Placed above it, at intervals, were balls


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of marble, which, once of pure white, had now caught the time-worn hue of the edifice itself. At each corner of the front and wings, the balls were surmounted by the family device—the eagle with extended wing. One claw closed over the stone, and the bird rode it proudly an' it had been the globe. The portico, of a pointed Gothic, would have seemed heavy, had it not been lightened by glass doors, the vivid colours of which were not of modern date. These admitted to a capacious hall, where, reposing on the wide-spreading antlers of some pristine tenant of the park, gleamed many a piece of armour that in days of yore had not been worn ingloriously.

The Delmé family was an old Norman one, on whose antiquity a peerage could have conferred no new lustre. At the period when the aristocracy of Great Britain lent themselves to their own diminution of importance, by the prevalent system of rejecting the poorer class of tenantry, in many instances the most attached,—the consequence was foreseen by the then proprietor of Delmé Park, who, spurning the advice of some interested few


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around him, continued to foster those whose ancestors had served his. The Delmés were thus enabled to retain—and they deserved it—that fair homage which rank and property should ever command. As a family they were popular, and as individuals universally beloved.

At the period we speak of, the Delmé family consisted but of three members: the baronet, Sir Henry Delmé; his brother George, some ten years his junior, a lieutenant in a light infantry regiment at Malta; and one sister, Emily. Emily Delmé was the youngest child; her mother dying shortly after her birth. The father, Sir Reginald Delmé, a man of strong feelings and social habits, never recovered this blow. Henry Delmé was barely fifteen when he was called to the baronetcy and to the possession of the Delmé estates. It was found that Sir Reginald had been more generous than the world had given him credit for, and that his estates were much encumbered. The trustees were disposed to rest contented with paying off the strictly legal claims during Sir Henry's minority. This the young heir would not accede to. He


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waited on his most influential guardian—told him he was aware his father, from hospitality and good nature, had incurred obligations which the law did not compel his son to pay; but which he could not but think that equity and good feeling did. He begged that these might be added to the other claims, and that the trustees would endeavour to procure him a commission in the army. He was gazetted to a cornetcy; and entered life at an age when, if the manlier traits are ready to be developed, the worthless ones are equally sure to unfold themselves. Few of us that have not found the first draught of life intoxicate! Few of us that have not then run wild, as colts that have slipped their bridle! Experience—that mystic word—is wanting; the retrospect of past years wakes no sigh; expectant youth looks forward to future ones without a shade of distrust. The mind is elastic—the body vigorous and free from pain; and it is then youth inwardly feels, although not daring to avow it, the almost total impossibility that the mind should wax less vigorous, or the body grow helpless, and decay.




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But Sir Henry was cast in a fine mould, nor did his conduct at this dangerous period detract from this his trait of boyhood. He joined his regiment when before the enemy, and, until he came of age, never drew on his guardians for a shilling. Delmé's firmness of purpose, and his after prudence, met with their due reward. The family estates became wholly unencumbered, and Sir Henry was enabled to add to the too scanty provision of his sister, as well as to make up to George, on his entering the army, a sum more than adequate to all his wants. These circumstances were enough to endear him to his family; and, in truth, amidst all its members, there prevailed a confidence and an unanimity which were never for an instant impaired. There was one consequence, however, of Sir Henry Delmé's conduct that he, at the least, foresaw not, but which was gradually and unconsciously developed. In pursuing the line of duty he had marked out—in acting up to what he knew was right—his mind became too deeply impressed with the circumstances which had given rise to his determination. It overstepped its object.


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The train of thought, to which necessity gave birth, continued to pervade when that necessity no longer existed. His wish to re-establish his house grew into an ardent desire to aggrandize it. His ambition appeared a legitimate one. It grew with his years, and increased with his strength.

Many a time, on the lone bivouac, when home presents itself in its fairest colours to the soldier's mind, would Delmé's prayer be embodied, that his house might again be elevated, and that his descendants might know him as the one to whom they were indebted for its rise. Delmé's ambitious thoughts were created amidst dangers and toil, in a foreign land, and far from those who shared his name. But his heart swelled high with them as he again trod his native soil in peace—as he gazed on the home of his fathers, and communed with those nearest and dearest to him on earth. Sir Henry considered it incumbent on him to exert every means that lay in his power to promote his grand object. A connection that promised rank and honours, seemed to him an


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absolute essential that was worth any sacrifice. Sir Henry never allowed himself to look for, or give way to, those sacred sympathies, which the God of nature hath implanted in the breasts of all of us. Delmé had arrived at middle age ere a feeling incompatible with his views arose. But his had been a dangerous experiment. Our hearts or minds, or whatever it may be that takes the impression, resemble some crystalline lake that mirrors the smallest object, and heightens its beauty; but if it once gets muddied or ruffled, the most lovely object ceases to be reflected in its waters. By the time that lake is dear again, the fairy form that ere while lingered on its bosom is fled for ever.

Thus much in introducing the head of the family. Let us now attempt to sketch the gentle Emily.

Emily Delmé was not an ordinary being. To uncommon talents, and a mind of most refined order, she united great feminine propriety, and a total absence of those arts which sometimes characterise those to whom the accident of birth


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has given importance. With unerring discrimination, she drew the exact line between vivacity and satire, true religion and its semblance. She saw through and pitied those who, pluming themselves on the faults of others, and imparting to the outward man the ascetic inflexibility of the inner one, would fain propagate on all sides their rigid creed, forbidding the more favoured commoners of nature even to sip joy's chalice. If not a saint, however, but a fair, confiding, and romantic girl, she was good without misanthropy, pure without pretension, and joyous, as youth and hopes not crushed might make her. She was one of those of whom society might justly be proud. She obeyed its dictates without question, but her feelings underwent no debasement from the contact. If not a child of nature, she was by no means the slave of art.

Emily Delmé was more beautiful than striking. She impressed more than she exacted. Her violet eye gleamed with feeling; her smile few could gaze on without sympathy—happy he who might


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revel in its brightness! If aught gave a peculiar tinge to her character, it was the pride she felt in the name she bore,—this she might have caught from Sir Henry,—the interest she took in the legends connected with that name, and the gratification which the thought gave her that by her ancestors, its character had been but rarely sullied, and never disgraced.

These things, it may be, she had accustomed herself to look on in a light too glowing: for these things and all mundane ones are vain; but her character did not consequently suffer. Her lip curled not with hauteur, nor was her brow raised one shadow the more. The remembrance of the old Baronetcy were on the ensanguined plain,—of the matchless loyalty of a father and five valiant sons in the cause of the Royal Charles,—the pondering over tomes, which in language obsolete, but true, spoke of the grandeur—the deserved grandeur of her house; these might be recollections and pursuits, followed with an ardour too enthusiastic, but they stayed not the hand of charity, nor could they


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check pity's tear. If her eye flashed as she gazed on the ancient device of her family, reposing on its time worn pedestal, it could melt to the tale of the houseless wanderer, and sympathise with the sorrows of the fatherless.




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CHAPTER II. THE ALBUM.

“Oh that the desert were my dwelling place,
With one fair spirit for my minister;
That I might all forget the human race,
And, hating no one, love but only her.”


A CHEERFUL party were met in the drawing room of Delmé. Clarendon Gage, a neighbouring land proprietor, to whom Emily had for a twelvemonth been betrothed, had the night previous returned from a continental tour. In consequence, Emily looked especially radiant, Delmé much pleased, and Clarendon superlatively happy. Nor must we pass over Mrs. Glenallan, Miss Delmé's worthy aunt, who had supplied the place of a mother to Emily, and who now sat in her accustomed chair, with an


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almost sunny brow, quietly pursuing her monotonous tambouring. At times she turned to admire her niece, who occasionally walked to the glass window, to caress and feed an impudent white peacock; which one moment strutted on the wide terrace, and at another lustily tapped for his bread at one of the lower panes. “I am glad to see you looking so well, Clarendon!” “And I can return the compliment, Delmé! Few, looking at you now, would take you for an old campaigner.”

The style of feature in Delmé and Clarendon was very dissimilar. Sir Henry was many years Gage's senior; but his manly bearing, and dark decided features, would bear a contrast with even the tall and elegant, although slight form of Clarendon. The latter was very fair, and what we are accustomed to call English-looking. His hair almost, but not quite, flaxen, hung in thick curls over his forehead, and would have given an effeminate expression to the face, were it not for the peculiar flash of the clear blue eye.




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“Come! Clarendon,” said Emily, “I will impose a task. You have written twice in my album; once, years ago, and the second time on the eve of our parting. Come! you shall read us both effusions, and then write a sonnet to our happy meeting. Would that dear George were here now!"

Gage took up the book. It was a moderately-sized volume, bound in crimson velvet. It was the fashion to keep albums then. It glittered not in a binding of azure and gold, nor were its momentous secrets enclosed by one of Bramah's locks. The Spanish proverb says, “Tell me who you are with, and I will tell you what you are."

Ours, in that album age, used to be, "Show me your scrap book, I will tell you your character." Emily's was not one commencing with— “I never loved a dear gazelle!”
and ending with stanzas on the "Forget-me-not." It had not those hackneyed but beautiful lines addressed by Mr. Spencer to Lady Crewe— “I stay'd too late: forgive the crime!
Unheeded flew the hours;
For noiseless falls the foot of Time.
That only treads on flowers.”




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Nor contained it those sublime, but yet more common ones, on Sir John Moore's death; which lines, by the bye, have suffered more from that mischief-making, laughter-loving creature, Parody, than any lines we know. It was not one of these books. Nor was it the splendid scrap book, replete with superb engravings and proof-impression prints; nor at all allied to the sentimental one of a garrison flirt, containing locks of hair of at least five gentlemen, three of whom are officers in the army. Nor, lastly, was it of that genus which has vulgarity in its very title-page, and is here and there interspersed with devilish imps, or caricatured likenesses of the little proprietress, all done in most infinite humour, and marking the familiar friendship, of some half-dozen whiskered cubs, having what is technically called the run of the house. No! it was a repository for feeling and for memory, and, in its fair pages, presented an image of Emily's heart. Many of these were marked, it is true; and what human being's character is unchequered ? But it was blotless; and the virgin page looks not so white as when the contrast of the sable ink is there.




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Clarendon read aloud his first contribution—who knows it not? The very words form a music, and that music is Metastasio's. “Placido zeffiretto,
Se trovi il caro oggetto,
Digli che sei sospiro
Ma non gli dir di chi,
Limpido ruscelletto,
Se mai t'incontri in lei,
Digli che pianto sei,
Ma non le dir qual' ciglio
Crescer ti fe cosi.”

“And now, Emily! for my parting tribute—if I remember right, it was sorrowful enough.”

Gage read, with tremulous voice, the following, which we will christen

THE FAREWELL.

I will not be the lightsome lark,
That carols to the rising morn, -
I'd rather be some plaintive bird
Lulling night's ear forlorn.

I will not be the green, green leaf,
Mingling 'midst thousand leaves and flowers,
That shed their fairy charms around
To deck Spring's joyous bowers.

I'd rather be the one red leaf,
Waving 'midst Autumn's sombre groves; -



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On the heart to breathe that sadness
Which contemplation loves.

I will not be the morning ray,
Dancing upon the river's crest,
All light, all motion, when the stream
Turns to the sun her breast.

I'd rather be the gentle shade,
Lengthening as eve comes stealing on,
And rest in pensive sadness there,
When those bright rays are gone.

I will not be a smile to play
Upon thy coral lip, and shed
Around it sweetness, like the sun
Risen from his crimson bed.

Oh, no! I'll be the tear that steals
In pity from that eye of blue,
Making the cheek more lovely red,
Like rose-leaf dipp'd in dew.

I will not be remember'd when
Mirth shall her pageant joys impart, -
A dream to sparkle in thine eye,
Yet vanish from thy heart.

But when pensive sadness clouds thee,
When thoughts, half pain, half pleasure, steal
Upon the heart, and memory doth
The shadowy past reveal.

When seems the bliss of former years, -
Too sweet, too pure, to feel again, -
And long lost hours, scenes, friends, return,
Remember me, love—then!





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“Ah, Clarendon! how often have I read those lines, and thought—but I will not think now! Here come the letters! Henry will soon be busy—I shall finish my drawing—and aunt will finish—no! she never can finish her tambour work. Take my portfolio and give me another contribution!" Gage now wrote "The Return," which we insert for the reader's approval: -

THE RETURN

When the blue-eyed morn doth peep
Over the soft hill's verdant steep,
Lighting up its shadows deep,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When the lightsome lark doth sing
Her grateful song to Nature's King,
Making all the woodlands ring,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

Or when plaintive Philomel
Shall mourn her mate in some lone dell,
And to the night her sorrows tell,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When the first green leaf of spring
Shall promise of the summer bring,
And all around its fragrance fling,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

Or when the last red leaf shall fall,
And winter spread its icy pall,
To mind me of the death of all,
I'll think of thee, love, then!




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When the lively morning ray
Is dancing on the river's spray,
And sunshine gilds the joyous day,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

And when the shades of eve steal on,
Lengthening as life's sun goes down,
Like sweetest constancy alone,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When I see a sweet smile play
On coral lips, like Phoebus' ray,
Making all look warm and gay,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When steals the tear of pity, too,
O'er a cheek, whose crimson hue
Looks like rose-leaf dipp'd in dew,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When mirth's pageant joys unbind
The gloomy spells that chain my mind,
And make me dream of all that's kind,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

And when pensive sadness clouds me,
When the host of memory crowds me,
When the shadowy past enshrouds me,
I'll think of thee, love, then!

When seems the bliss of former years, -
Too sweet, too pure, to feel again, -
And long lost hours, scenes, friends, return,
I'll think of thee, love, then!





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CHAPTER III. THE DINNER.

“Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven.”


“Away! there need no words or terms precise,
The paltry jargon of the marble mart,
Where pedantry gulls folly: we have eyes.”


WE are told by the members of the silver-fork school, that no tale of fiction can be complete unless it embody the description of a dinner. Let us, therefore, shutting from our view that white-limbed gum-tree, and dismissing from our table tea and damper, note call on memory's fading powers, and feast once more with the rich, the munificent, the intellectual Belliston Graeme.


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Dinner! immortal faculty of eating! to what glorious sense or pre-eminent passion dost thou not contribute? Is not love half fed by thy attractions? Beams ever the eye of lover more bright than when, after gazing with enraptured glance at the coveted haunch, whose fat—a pure white; whose lean—a rich brown—invitingly await the assault. When doth lover's eye sparkle more, than when, at such a moment, it lights on the features of the loved fair one? Is not the supper quadrille the most dangerous and the dearest of all ?

Cherished venison! delicate white soup! spare young susceptible bosoms! Again we ask, is not dinner the very aliment of friendship? the hinge on which it turns? Does a man's heart expand to you ere you have returned his dinner? It would be folly to assert it. Cabinet dinners—corporation dinners—election dinners—and vestry dinners—and rail-road dinners—we pass by these things, and triumphantly ask—does not the Ship par excellence—the Ship of Greenwich—annually assemble under its revered roof the luminaries of the nation ?

Oh, whitebait! called so early to your last account!


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a tear is all we give, but it flows spontaneously at the memory of your sorrows!

As Mr. Belliston Graeme was much talked of in his day, it may not be amiss to say a few words regarding him. He was an only child, and at an early age lost his parents. The expense of his education was defrayed by a wealthy uncle, the second partner in a celebrated banking house. His tutor, with whom he may be said to have lived from boyhood—for his uncle had little communication with him, except to write to him one letter half-yearly, when he paid his school bill—was a shy retiring clergyman—a man of very extensive acquirements, and a first rate classical scholar. After a short time, the curate and young Graeme became attached to each other. The tutor was a bachelor, and Graeme was his only pupil. The latter was soon inoculated with the classical mania of his preceptor; and, as he grew up, it was quite a treat to hear the pair discourse of Greeks and Romans. A stranger who had then heard them would have imagined that Themistocles and Scipio Africanus were stars of the present generation.


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When Graeme was nineteen, his uncle invited him to town for a month—a most unusual proceeding. During this period he studied closely his nephew's character. At the end of this term, Mr. Hargrave and his yotmg charge were on their way to the classical regions, where their fancy had been so long straying. They explored France, and the northern parts of Italy -came on the shores of the Adriatic—resided and secretly made excavations near the amphitheatre of Polo—and finally reached the Morea. Not a crag, valley, or brook, that they were not conversant with before they left it. They at length tore themselves away; and found themselves at the ancient Parthenope. It was at Pompeii Mr. Graeme first saw the beautiful Miss Vignoles, the Mrs. Glenallan of our story; and, in a strange adventure with some Neapolitan guides, was of some service to her party. They saw his designs of some tombs, and took the trouble of drawing him out. The young man now for the first time basked in the sweets of society; in a fortnight, to Mr. Hargrave's horror, was rolling in its vortex; in a couple of months found himself


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indulging in, and avowing, a hopeless passion; and in three, was once again in his native land, falsely deeming that his peace of mind had fled for ever. He was shortly, however, called upon to exert his energies. The death of his uncle suddenly made him, to his very great surprise, one of the wealthiest commoners of England. At this period he was quite unknown. In a short time Mr. Hargrave and himself were lodged luxuriously—were deep in the pursuit of science, literature, and the belle arte—and on terms of friendship with the cleverest and most original men of the day. Mr. Graeme's occupations being sedentary, and his habits very regular, he shortly found that his great wealth enabled him, not only to indulge in every personal luxury at Bendlesham Park, but to patronise largely every literary work of merit. In him the needy man of genius found a friend, the man of wit a companion, and the publisher a generous customer. He became famous for his house, his library, his exclusive society. But he did not become spoilt by his prosperity, and never neglected his old tutor.




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Our party from Delmé were ushered into a large drawing-room, the sole light of which was from an immense bow window, looking out on the extensive lawn. The panes were of enormous size, and beautiful specimens of classique plated glass. The only articles of furniture, were some crimson ottomans which served to set off the splendid paintings; and one table of the Florentine manufacture of pietra dura, on which stood a carved bijou of Benvenuto Cellini's. Our party were early. They were welcomed by Mr. Graeme with great cordiality, and by Mr. Hargrave with some embarrassment, for the tutor was still the bashful man of former days. Mr. Graeme's dress shamed these degenerate days of black stock and loose trowser. Diamond buckles adorned his knees, and fastened his shoes. His clear blue eye—the high polished forehead—the deep lines of the countenance revealed the man of thought and intellect. The playful lip shewed he could yet appreciate a flash of wit or spark of humour.

“Miss Delmé, you are looking at my paintings; let me show you my late purchases. Observe


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this sweet Madonna, by Murillo! I prefer it to the one in the Munich Gallery. It may not boast Titian's glow of colour, or Raphael's grandeur of design,—in delicate angelic beauty, it may yield to the delightful efforts of Guido's or Correggio's pencil,—but surely no human conception can ever have more touchingly portrayed the beauteous resigned mother. The infant, too! how inimitably blended is the God-like serenity of the Saviour, with the fond and graceful witcheries of the loving child! How little we know of the beauties of the Spanish school! Would I could ransack their ancient monasteries, and bring a few of them to light!

You are a chess player! Pass not by this check-mate of Caravaggio's. What undisguised triumph in one countenance! What a struggle to repress nature's feelings in the other! Here is a Guido! sweet, as his ever are! He may justly be styled the female laureat. What artist can compete with him in delineating the blooming expression, or the tender, but lighter, shades of female loveliness? who can pause between even the


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Fornarina, and that divine effort, the Beatrice Cenci of the Barberini?”

The party were by this time assembled. Besides our immediate friends, there was his Grace the Duke of Gatten, a good-natured fox-hunting nobleman, whose estate adjoined Mr. Graeme's; there was the Viscount Chambery, who had penned a pamphlet on finance—indited a folio on architecture—and astonished Europe with an elaborate dissertation on modern cookery; there was Charles Selby, the poet and essayist; Daintrey, the sculptor—a wonderful Ornithologist—a deep read Historian—a learned Orientalist—and a novelist, from France; whose works exhibited such unheard of horrors, and made man and woman so irremediably vicious, as to make this young gentleman celebrated, even in Paris—that Babylonian sink of iniquity.

Dinner was announced, and our host, giving his arm very stoically to Mrs. Glenallan, his love of former days, led the way to the dining-room. Round the table were placed beautifully carved oaken fauteuils, of a very old pattern. The service of plate was extremely plain, but of massive gold.


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But the lamp! It was of magnificent dimensions! The light chains hanging from the frescoed ceiling, the links of which were hardly preceptible, were of silver, manufactured in Venice; the lower part was of opal-tinted glass, exactly portraying some voluptuous couch, on which the beautiful Amphitrite might have reclined, as she hastened through beds of coral to crystaI grot, starred with transparent stalactites. In the centre of this shell, were sockets, whence verged small hollow golden tubes, resembling in shape and size the stalks of a flower. At the drooping ends of these, were lamps shaped and coloured to imitate the most beauteous flowers of the parterre. This bouquet of light had been designed by Mr. Graeme. Few novelties had acquired greater celebrity than the Graeme astrale. The room was warmed by heating the pedestals of the statues.

“ Potage a la fantome, and à l'ourika.”

“ I will trouble you, Graeme,”said my Lord Chambery, “ for the fantome. I have dined on la pritanniere for the last three months, and a novel soup is a novel pleasure."




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Of the fish, the soles were à la Rowena, the salmon à l'amour. Emily flirted with the wing of a chicken sauté au suprême, coquetted with perdrix perdu masqué à la Montmorenci, and tasted a boudin à la Diebitsch. The wines were excellent—the Geisenheim delicious—the Champagne sparkling like a pun of Jekyll's. But nothing aroused the attention of the Viscount Chambéry so much as a liqueur, which Mr. Graeme assured him was new, and had just been sent him by the Conte de Désir. The dessert had been some time on the table, when the Viscount addressed his host.

“ Graeme! I am delighted to find that you at length agree with me as to the monstrous superiority of a French repast. Your omelette imaginaire was faultless, and as for your liqueur, I shall certainly order a supply on my return to Paris."

“That liqueur, my dear lord,”replied Mr. Graeme, “ is good old cowslip mead, with a flask of Maraschino di Zara infused in it. For the rest, the dinner has been almost as imaginaire as the omelet. The greater part of the recipes are in an old English volume in my library, or perhaps


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some owe their origin to the fertile invention of my housekeeper. Let us style them a la Dorothee."

“Capital! I thank you, Graeme!”said his Grace of Gatten, as he shook his host by the hand, till the tears stood in his eyes.

The prescient Chambery had made a good dinner, and bore the joke philosophically. Coffee awaited the gentlemen in a small octagonal chamber, adjoining the music room. There stood Mr. Graeme's three favourite modern statues:—a Venus, by Canova—a Discobole, by Thorwaldson—and a late acquisition—the Ariadne, of Dannecker.

“This is the work of an artist,”said Mr. Graeme, “little known in this country, but in Germany ranking quite as high as Thorwaldson. This is almost a duplicate of his Ariadne at Frankfort, but the marble is much more pure. How wonderfully fine the execution! Pray notice the bold profile of the face; how energetic her action as she sits on the panther!”

Mr. Graeme touched the spring of a window frame. A curtain of crimson gauze fell over a globe


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lamp, and threw a rich shade on the marble. The features remained as finely chiselled, but their expression was totally changed.

They adjourned to the music-room, which deserved its title. Save some seats, which were artfully formed to resemble lyres, nothing broke the continuity of music's tones, which ascended majestically to the lofty dome, there to blend and wreath, and fall again. At one extremity of music's hall was an organ; at the other a grand piano, built by a German composer. Ranged on carved slabs, at intermediate distances, was placed almost every instrument that may claim a votary. Of viols, from the violin to the double bass,—of instruments of brass, from trombones and bass kettle-drums even unto trumpet and cymbal,—of instruments of wood, from winding serpents to octave flute,—and of fiddles of parchment, from the grosse caisse to the tambourine. Nor were ancient instruments wanting. These were of quaint forms and diverse constructions. Mr. Graeme would descant for hours on an antique species of spinnet, which he procured from the


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East, and which he vehemently averred, was the veritable dulcimer. He would display with great gusto, his specimens of harps of Israel; whose deep-toned chorus, had perchance thrilled through the breast of more than one of Judea's dark-haired daughters. Greece, too, had her representatives, to remind the spectators that there had been an Orpheus. There were flutes of the Doric and of the Phrygian mode, and—let us forget not—the Tyrrhenian trumpet, with its brazen-cleft pavilion. But by far the greater part of his musical relics he had acquired during his stay in Italy. He could show the litui with their carved clarions—the twisted cornua—the tuba, a trumpet so long and taper,—the concha wound by Tritons—and eke the buccina, a short and brattling horn.

Belliston Graeme was an enthusiastic musician; and was in this peculiar, that he loved the science for its simplicity. Musicians are but too apt to give to music's detail and music's difficulties the homage that should be paid to music's self: in this resembling the habitual man of law, who occasionally


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forgetteth the great principles of jurisprudence, and invests with mysterious agency such words as latitat and certiorari. The soul of music may not have fled;—for we cultivate her assiduously,—worship Handel and appreciate Mozart. But music now springs from the head, not the heart; is not for the mass, but for individuals. With our increased researches, and cares, and troubles, we have lost the faculty of being pleased. Past are those careless days, when the shrill musette, or plain cittern and virginals, could with their first strain give motion to the blythe foot of joy, or call from its cell the prompt tear of pity. Those days are gone! Music may affect some of us as deeply, but none as readily!

Mr. Graeme had received from Paris an unpublished opera of Auber's. Emily seated herself at the piano—her host took the violin—Clarendon was an excellent flute player—and the tinkle of the Viscount's guitar came in very harmoniously. By the time refreshments were introduced, Charles Selby too was in his glory. He had already nearly convulsed the Orientalist by a theory which he


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said he had formed, of a gradual metempsychosis, or, at all events, perceptible amalgamation, of the yellow Qui Hi to the darker Hindoo; which said theory he supported by the most ingenious arguments.

“How did you like your stay in Scotland, Mr. Selby?” said Sir Henry Delmé.

“I am a terrible Cockney, Sir Henry,—found it very cold, and was very sulky. The only man I cared to see in Scotland was at the Lakes; but I kept a register of events, which is now on the table in my dressing-room. If Graeme will read it, for I am but a stammerer, it is at your service."

The paper was soon produced, and Mr. Graeme read the following: -

THE BRAHMIN. "A stranger arrived from a far and foreign country. His was a mind peculiarly humble, tremblingly alive to its own deficiencies. Yet, endowed with this mistrust, he sighed for information and his soul thirsted in the pursuit of knowledge. Thus constituted, he sought the city he


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had long dreamingly looked up to as the site of truth—Scotia's capital, the modern Athens. In endeavouring to explore the mazes of literature, he by no means expected to discover novel paths, but sought to traverse beauteous ones; feeling he could rest content, could he meet with but one flower, which some bolder and more experienced adventurer might have allowed to escape him. He arrived, rived, and cast around an anxious eye. He found himself involved in an apparent chaos—the whirl of distraction—imbedded amidst a ceaseless turmoil of would-be knowing students, endeavouring to catch the aroma of the pharmacopaeia, or dive to the deep recesses of Scotch law. He sought and cultivated the friendship of the literati; and anticipated a perpetual feast of soul, from a banquet to which one of the most distinguished members of a learned body had invited him. He went with his mind braced up for the subtleties of argument—with hopes excited, heart elate. He deemed that the authenticity of Champolion's hieroglyphics might now be permanently established, or a doubt thrown on them which would for ever extinguish


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curiosity. He heard a doubt raised as to the probability of Dr. Knox's connection with Burke's murders! Disappointed and annoyed, he returned to his hotel, determined to seek other means of improvement; and to carefully observe the manners, customs, and habits of the beings he was among. He enquired first as to their habits, and was presented with scones, kippered salmon, and a gallon of Glenlivet; as to their manners and ancient costume, and was pointed out a short fat man, the head of his clan, who promenaded the streets without trousers. Neither did he find the delineation of their customs more satisfactory. He was made nearly tipsy at a funeral—was shown how to carve haggis—and a fit of bile was the consequence, of his too plentifully partaking of a superabundantly rich currant bun. He mused over these defeats of his object, and, unwilling to relinquish his hitherto fruitless search, reluctant to despair,—he bent his steps to that city, where utility preponderates over ornament; that city which so early encouraged that most glorious of inventions, by the aid of which he hoped, that the diminutive barks


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of his countrymen might yet be propelled, thus superseding the ponderous paddle of teak. He here expected to be involved in an intricate labyrinth of mechanical inventions, in a stormy discussion on the comparative merits of rival machinery,—to be immersed in speculative but gigantic theories. He was elected an honorary member of a news-room; had his coat whitened with cotton; and was obliged to confess that he knew of no beverage that could equal their superb cold punch. Our philosopher now gave himself up to despair; but before returning to his own warm clime, he sought to discover the reason of his finding the flesh creep, where he had deemed the spirit would soar. He at length came to the conclusion that we are all slaves to the world and to circumstances; and as, with his peculiar belief, he could look on our sacred volume with the eye of a philosopher, felt impressed with the conviction that the history of Babel's tower is but an allegory, which says to the pride of man, “‘Thus far shall ye go, and no farther.’”

The Brahmin's adventures elicited much amusement.


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In a short time, Selby was in a hot argument with the French novelist. Every now and then, as the Frenchman answered him, he stirred his negus, and hummed a translation of “I'd be a butterfly.” “Erim papilio,
Natus in fiosculo.”




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CHAPTER IV. THE POSTMAN.

“Not in those visions, to the heart displaying
Forms which it sighs but to have only dream'd,
Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seem'd;
Or, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek
To paint those charms which, imaged as they beam'd,
To such as see thee not, my words were weak;
To those who gaze on thee, what language could they speak?”


DELMÉ had long designed some internal improvements in the mansion; and as workmen would necessarily be employed, had proposed that our family party should pass a few weeks at a watering place, until these were completed. They were not without hopes, that George might there join them, as Emily had written to Malta, pressing him to be present at her wedding.


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We have elsewhere said, that Sir Henry had arrived at middle age, before one feeling incompatible with his ambitious thoughts arose. It was at Leamington this feeling had imperceptibly sprung up; and to Leamington they were now going.

Is there an electric chain binding hearts predestined to love?

Hath Providence ordained, that on our first interview with that being, framed to meet our wishes and our desires—the rainbow to our cloud, and the sun to our noon-day—hath it ordained that there should also be given us some undefinable token—some unconscious whispering from the heart's inmost spirit?

Who may fathom these inscrutable mysteries? Sir Henry had been visiting an old schoolfellow, who had a country seat near Leamington. He was riding homewards, through a sequestered and wooded part of the park, when he was aware of the presence of two ladies, evidently a mother and daughter. They sate on one side of the rude path, on an old prostrate beech tree. The daughter, who was very beautiful, was sketching a piece of fern


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for a foreground: the mother was looking over the drawing. Neither saw the equestrian.

It was a fair sight to regard the young artist, with her fine profile and drooping eyelid, bending over the drawing, like a Grecian statue; then to note the calm features upturn, and forget the statue in the breathing woman. At intervals, her auburn tresses would fall on the paper, and sweep the pencil's efforts. At such times, she would remove them with her small hand, with such a soft smile, and gentle grace, that the very action seemed to speak volumes for her feminine sympathies. Delmé disturbed them not, but making a tour through the grove of beech trees, reached Leamington in thoughtful mood.

It was not long before he met them in society. The mother was a Mrs. Vernon, a widow, with a large family and small means. Of that family Julia was the fairest flower. As Sir Henry made her acquaintance, and her character unfolded itself, he acknowledged that few could study it without deriving advantage; few without loving her to adoration. That character it would be hard to


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describe without our description appearing high-flown and exaggerated. It bore an impress of loftiness, totally removed from pride; a moral superiority, which impressed all. With this was united an innate purity, that seemed her birthright; a purity that could not for an instant be doubted. If the libertine gazed on her features, it awoke in him recollections that had long slumbered; of the time when his heart beat but for one. If, in her immediate sphere, any littleness of feeling was brought to her notice, it was met with an intuitive doubt, followed by painful surprise, that such feeling, foreign as she felt it to be to her own nature, could really have existence in that of another. Thank God! she had seen few of the trickeries of this restless world, in which most of us are struggling against our neighbours; and, if we could look forward with certainty, to the nature of the world beyond this, it is most likely that we should breathe a fervent prayer that she should never witness more.

Her person was a fit receptacle for such a mind. A face all softness, seemed and was the index to


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a heart all pity. Taller than her compeers,—in all she said or did, a native dignity and a witching grace were exquisitely blended. She was one not easily seen without admiration; but when known, clung Cydippe-like to the heart's mirror, an image over which neither time nor absence possessed control.

The Delmés resided at Leamington the remainder of the winter, which passed fleetly and happily. Emily, for the first time, gave way to that one feeling, which, to a woman, is the all-important and engrossing one, enjoying her happiness in that full spirit of content, which basking in present joys, attempts not to mar them by ideal disquietudes. The Delmés cultivated the society of the Vernons; Emily and Julia became great friends; and Sir Henry, with all his stoicism, was nourishing an attachment, whose force, had he been aware of it, he would have been at some pains to repress. As it was, he totally overlooked the possibility of his trifling with the feelings of another. He had a number of sage aphorisms to urge against his own entanglement, and, with a


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moral perverseness, from which the best of us are not free, chose to forget that it was possible his convincing arguments, might neither be known to, nor appreciated by one, on whom their effect might be far from unimportant.

At this stage, Clarendon thought it his duty to warn Delmé; and, to his credit be it said, shrunk not from it.

“Excuse me, Delmé,” said he, “will you allow me to say one word to you on a subject that nearly concerns yourself?"

Sir Henry briefly assented.

“You see a great deal of Miss Vernon. She is a very fascinating and a very amiable person; but from something you once said to me, it has struck me that in some respects she might not suit you."

“I like her society,” replied his friend; “but you are right. She would not suit me. You know me pretty well. My hope has ever been to increase, and not diminish the importance of my house. It once stood higher both in wealth and consideration. I see many families springing up


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around me, that can hardly lay claim to a descent so unblemished. I speak not in a spirit of intolerance, nor found my family claim solely on its pedigree; but my ancestors have done good in their generation, and it is a proud thing to be ‘the scion of a noble race!’"

“It may be;” said Clarendon quietly, “but I cannot help thinking, that with your affluence, you have every right to follow your own inclination. I know that few of my acquaintances are so independent of the world."

Sir Henry shook his head. “The day is not very distant, Gage, when a Dacre would hardly have returned two members for my county, if a Delmé had willed it otherwise. But there is little occasion for me to have said thus much. Miss Vernon, I trust, has other plans; and I believe my own feelings are not enlisted deep enough, to make me forget the hopes and purposes of half a life-time."

It was some few days after this, when Emily had almost given up looking with interest to the postman's visit, that a letter at last came, directed


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to Sir Henry; not indeed in George's hand-writing, but with the Malta post mark. Delmé read it over thoughtfully, and, assuring Emily that there was nothing to alarm her, left the room to consider its contents.

By the way, we have thought over heartless professions, and cannot help conceiving that of a postman, (it may be conceit!) the most callous and unfeeling of all. He is waited for with more anxiety than any guest of the morning; for his visits invariably convey something new to the mind. He is not love! but he bears it in his pocket; he cannot be friendship! but he daily hawks about its assurances. With all this, knowing his importance, aware of the sensation his appearance calls forth, his very knock is heartless—the tones of his voice cold. Feeling seems denied him; his head is a debtor and creditor account, his departure the receipt, and time alone can say, whether your bargain has been a good or a bad one. He has certainly no assumption—it is one of his few good traits; he walks with his arms in motion, but attempts not a swagger; his knock is unassuming,


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and his words, though much attended to, are few, and to the point. Why, then, abuse him? We know not, but believe it originates in fear. An intuitive feeling of dread—a rushing presentiment of evil crosses our mind, as our eye dwells on his thread-bare coat, with its capacious pockets. News of a death or a marriage—the tender valentine—the remorseless dun—your having been left an estate, or cut off with a shilling—fortune and misfortune—he quietly dispenses, as if totally unconscious. Surely such a man—his round performed—cannot quietly sink to the private individual. Can such a man caress his wife, or kiss his child, when he knows not how many hearts are bursting with joy, or breaking with sorrow, from the tidings he has conveyed? To our mind, a postman should be an abstracted visionary being, endowed with a peculiar countenance, betraying the unnatural sparkle of the opium-eater, and evincing intense anxiety at the delivery of each sheet. But these,—they wait not to hear the joyful shout, or heart-rending moan—to know if hope deferred be at length joyful certainty,


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or bitter only half-expected woe. We dread a postman. Our hand shook, as we last year paid the man of many destinies his demanded Christmas box. The amount was double that we gave to the minister of our corporeal necessities—the butcher's boy—not from a conviction of the superior services or merit of the former, but from an uneasy desire to bribe, if we could, that Mercury of fate. The letter to Sir Henry, was from the surgeon of George's regiment. It stated that George had been severely ill, and that connected with his illness, were symptoms which made it imperative on the medical adviser, to recommend the immediate presence of his nearest male relative. Apologies were made for the apparent mystery of the communication, with a promise that this would be at once cleared up, if Sir Henry would but consent to make the voyage; which would not only enable him to be of essential service to his brother, but also to acquire much information regarding him, which could only be obtained on the spot. A note from George was enclosed in this letter. It was


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written with an unsteady hand, and made no mention of his illness. He earnestly begged his brother to come to Malta, if he could possibly so arrange it, and transmitted his kindest love and blessing to Emily.

Sir Henry at once made up his mind, to leave Leamington for town on the morrow, trusting that he might there meet with information which would be more satisfactory. He concealed for the time the true state of the case from all but Clarendon; nor did he even allude to his proposed departure.

It was Emily's birth-day, and Gage had arranged that the whole party should attend a little fete on that night. Sir Henry could not find it in his heart to disturb his sister's dream of happiness.




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CHAPTER V. THE FÊTE

“ Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!
If, in your bright leaves, we would read the fate
Of men and empires,—'tis to be forgiven,
That, in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you.”


THE night came on with its crescent moon and its myriads of stars: just such a night as might have been wished for such a fete. It was in the month of April. April dews, in Britain's variable clime, are not the most salubrious, and April's night air is too often keen and piercing; but the season was an unusually mild one; and the ladies, with their cloaks and their furs, promenaded the well-lighted walks, determined to be pleased and happy.


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The giver of the fete was an enterprising Italian. Winter's amusements were over, or neglected—summer's delights were not arrived; and Signor Pacini conceived, that during the dull and monotonous interval, a speculation of his own might prove welcome to the public and beneficial to himself. To do the little man justice, he was indefatigable in his exertions. From door to door he wended his smiling way,—here praising the mother's French, there the daughter's Italian. He gained hosts of partisans. “Of course you patronise Pacini!” was in every one's mouth. The Signor's prospectus stated, that “through the kindness of the steward of an influential nobleman, who was now on the continent, he was enabled to give his fete in the grounds of the Earl of W----; where a full quadrille band would be in attendance, a pavilion pitched on the smooth lawn facing the river, and a comfortable ball room thrown open to a fashionable and enlightened public. The performance would be most various, novel, and exciting. Brilliant fireworks from Vauxhall would delight the eye, and shed a charm on the fairy


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scene; whilst the ear would be regaled with the unequalled harmony of the Styrian brethren, Messrs. Schezer, Lobau, and Berdan, who had very kindly deferred their proposed return to Styria, in order to honour the fete of Signor Pacini.”

As night drew on, the mimic thunder of carriages hastening to the scene of action, bespoke the Signor's success. After the ninth hour, his numbers swelled rapidly. Pacini assumed an amusing importance, and his very myrmidons gave out their brass tickets with an air. At ten, a rocket was fired. At this preconcerted signal, the pavilion, hitherto purposely concealed, blazed in a flood of light. On its balcony stood the three Styrian brethren, although, by the way, they were not brethren at all,—and, striking their harmonious guitars, wooed attention to their strains. The crowd hurried down the walk, and formed round the pavilion. Our party suddenly found themselves near the Vernons. As the gentlemen endeavoured to obtain chairs for the ladies, a crush took place, and Sir Henry was obliged to offer his arm to Julia, who happened to be the nearest of


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her party. It was with pain Miss Vernon noted his clouded brow, and look of abstraction; but hardly one word of recognition had passed, before the deep voices of the Styrians silenced all. After singing some effective songs, accompanied by a zither, and performing a melodious symphony on a variety of Jew's-harps; Pacini, the manager, advanced to address his auditors, with that air of smiling confidence which no one can assume with better grace than a clever Italian. His dark eye flashed, and his whole features irradiated, as he delivered the following harangue.

“Ladies and gentlemen! me trust you well satisfied wid de former musical entertainment; but, if you permit, me mention one leetle circonstance. Monsieur Schezer propose to give de song; but it require much vat you call stage management: all must be silent as de grave. It ver pretty morceau."

The applause at the end of this speech was very great. Signor Pacini bowed, till his face rivalIed, in its hue, the rosy under-waistcoat in which he rejoiced.


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Schezer stepped forward. He was attired as a mountaineer. His hat tapered to the top, and was crowned by a single heron feather. Hussars might have envied him his moustaches. From his right side protruded a couteau de chasse; and his legs were not a little set off by the tight-laced boots, which, coming up some way beyond the ancle, displayed his calf to the very best advantage.

The singer's voice was a fine manly tenor, and did ample justice to the words, of which the following may be taken as a free version.

“Mountains! dear mountains! on you have I passed my green youth; to me your breeze has been fragrant from childhood. When may I see the chamois hounding o'er your toppling crags? When, oh when, may I see my fair-haired Mary?"

The minstrel paused—a sound was heard from behind the pavilion. It was the mountain's echo. It continued the air—then died away in the softest harmony. All were charmed. Again the singer stepped forward—the utmost silence prevailed—his tones became more impassioned—they breathed of love.

“Thanks! thanks to thee, gentle echo! Oft


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hast thou responded to the strains of love my soul poured to—ah me! how beautiful was the fair-haired Mary!"

Again the echo spoke—again all were hushed. The minstrel's voice rose again; but its tones were not akin to joy.

“Why remember this, deceitful echo? War's blast hath blown, and hushed are the notes of love. The foe hath polluted my hearth—I wander an exile. Where, where is Mary?"

The echo faintly but plaintively replied. There were some imagined that a tear really started to the eye of the singer. He struck the guitar wildly—his voice became more agitated—he advanced to the extremity of the balcony.

“My sword! my sword! May my right hand be withered ere it forget to grasp its hilt! One blow for freedom. Freedom—sweet as was the lip—Yes! I'll revenge my Mary!"

Schezer paused, apparently overcome by his emotion. The echo wildly replied, as if registering the patriot's vow. For a moment all was still! A thundering burst of applause ensued.


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The mountain music was succeeded by a sweep of guitars, accompanying a Venetian serenade, whose burthen was the apostrophising the cruelty of "la cara Nina."

It was near midnight, when all eyes were directed to a ball of fire, which, rising majestically upward, soared amid the tall elm trees. For a moment, the balloon became entangled in the boughs, revealing by its transparent light the green buds of spring, which variegated and cheered the scathed bark. It broke loose from their embrace—hovered irresolutely above them—then swept rapidly before the wind, rising till it became as a speck in the firmament.

This was the signal for Mr. Robinson's fireworks, which did not shame Vauxhall's reputation. At one moment, a salamander courted notice; at another, a train of fiery honours, festooned round four wooden pillars, was fired at different places, by as many doves practised to the task. Here, an imitation of a jet d'eau elicited applause—there, the gyrations of a Catherine's wheel were suddenly interrupted by the rapid ascent of a Roman candle.


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Directly after the ascent of the balloon, Emily and Clarendon had turned towards the ball room. JuIia's sisters had a group of laughing beaux round their chairs, Mrs. Glenallan and Mrs. Vernon were discussing bygone days,—and no one seemed disposed to leave the pavilion. Sir Henry, in his silent mood, was glad to escape from the party; and engaging Julia in a search for Emily, made his way to the crowded ball room. He there found his sister spinning round with Clarendon to one of Strauss's waltzes; and Sir Henry and his partner seated themselves on one of the benches, watching the smiling faces as they whirled past them. It was a melancholy thought to Delmé, how soon Emily's brow would be clouded, were he to breathe one word of George's illness and despondency. The waltz concluded, a quadrille was quickly formed. Miss Vernon declined dancing, and they rose to join Emily and Clarendon; but the lovers were flown. The ball room became still more thronged; and Delmé was glad to turn once more towards the pavilion. The party they had left there had also vanished, and strangers usurped their seats. In


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this dilemma, Miss Vernon proposed seeking their party in the long walk. They took one or two turns down this, but saw not those for whom they were in search.

“If you do not dislike leaving this busy scene," said Sir Henry, “I think we shall have a better chance of meeting Emily and Clarendon, if we turn down one of these winding paths."

They turned to their left, and walked on. How beautiful was that night! Its calm tranquillity, as they receded from the giddy throng, could not but subdue them. We have said that the moon was not riding the heavens in her full robe of majesty, nor was there a sombre darkness. The purple vault was spangled thick with stars; and there reigned that dubious, glimmering light, by which you can note a face, but not mark its blush. The walks wound fantastically. They were lit by festoons of coloured lamps, attached to the neighbouring trees, so as to resemble the pendent grape-clusters, that the traveller meets with just previous to the Bolognese vintage. Occasionally, a path would be encountered where no light met the eye,


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save that of the prying stars overhead. In the distant vista, might be seen a part of the crowded promenade, where music held its court; whilst at intervals, a voice's swell or guitar's tinkle would be borne on the ear. There was the hum of men, too—the laugh of the idlers without the sanctum, as they indulged in the delights of the mischievous fire-ball—and the sudden whizz, followed by an upward glare of light, as a rocket shot into the air. But the hour, and the nameless feeling that hour invoked, brought with them a subduing influence, which overpowered these intruding sounds, attuning the heart to love and praise. They paced the walk in mutual and embarrassed silence. Sir Henry's thoughts would at one time revert to his brother, and at another to that parting, which the morrow would assuredly bring with it. He was lost in reverie, and almost forgot who it was that leant thus heavily upon his arm. Julia had loved but once. She saw his abstraction, and knew not the cause; and her timid heart beat quicker than was its wont, as undefined images of coming evil and sorrow, chased each other through


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her excited fancy. At length she essayed to speak, although conscious that her voice faltered.

“What a lovely night! Are you a believer in the language of the stars?"

This was said with such simplicity of manner, that Delmé, as he turned to answer her, felt truly for the first time the full force of his attachment. He felt it the more strongly, that his mind previously had been wandering more than it had done for years.

There are times and seasons when we are engrossed in a train of deep and unconscious thought. Suddenly recalled to ourselves, we start from our mental aberration, and a clearer insight into the immediate purposes and machinery of our lives, is afforded us. We seem endowed with a more accurate knowledge of self; the inmost workings of our souls are abruptly revealed—feeling's mysteries stand developed—our weaknesses stare us in the face—and our vices appear to gnaw the very vitals of our hope. The veil was indeed withdrawn,—and Delmé's heart acknowledged, that the fair being who leant on him for support, was dearer—


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far dearer, than all beside. But he saw too, ambition in that heart's deep recess, and knew that its dictates, unopposed for years, were totally incompatible with such a love. He saw and trembled.

Julia's question was repeated, before Sir Henry could reply.

“A soldier, Miss Vernon, is particularly susceptible of visionary ideas. On the lone bivouac, or remote piquet, duty must frequently chase sleep from his eyelids. At such times, I have, I confess, indulged in wild speculations, on their possible influence on our wayward destinies. I was then a youth, and should not now, I much fear me, pursue with such unchecked ardour, the dreams of romance in which I could then unrestrainedly revel. Perhaps I should not think it wise to do so, even had not sober reality stolen from imagination her brightest pinion."

“I would fain hope, Sir Henry,” replied Julia, “that all your mind's elasticity is not thus flown. Why blame such fanciful theories? I cannot think them wrong, and I have often passed happy hours in forming them”


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“Simply because they remove us too much from our natural sphere of usefulness. They may impart us pleasure; but I question whether, by dulling our mundane delights, they do not steal pleasure quite equivalent. Besides, they cannot assist us in conferring happiness on others, or in gleaning improvement for ourselves. I am not quite certain, enviable as appears the distinction, whether the too feelingly appreciating even nature's beauties, does not bear with it its own retribution.”

“Ah! do not say so! I cannot think that it should be so with minds properly regulated. I cannot think that such can ever gaze on the wonders revealed us, without these imparting their lesson of gratitude and adoration. If, full of hope, our eye turns to some glorious planet, and we fondly deem that there, may our dreams of happiness here, be perpetuated; surely in such poetical fancy, there is little to condemn, and much that may wean us from folly's idle cravings.

“If in melancholy's hour, we mourn for one who hath been dear, and sorrow for the perishable nature of all that may here claim our earthly affections;


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is it not sweet to think that in another world—perhaps in some bright star—we may again commune with what we have so loved—once more be united in those kindly bonds—and in a kingdom where those bonds may not thus lightly be severed?”

Julia's voice failed her; for she thought of one who had preceded her to “the last sad bourne.”

Delmé was much affected. He turned towards her, and his hand touched hers.

“Angelic being!”

As he spoke, darker, more worldly thoughts arose. A fearful struggle, which convulsed his features, ensued. The world triumphed.

Julia Vernon saw much of this, and maiden delicacy told her it was not meet they should be alone.

“Let us join the crowd!” said she. “We shall probably meet our party in the long walk: if not, we will try the ball room.”

Poor Julia! little was her heart in unison with that joyous scene!

By the eve of the morrow, Delmé was many leagues from her and his family.


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Restless man, with travel, ambition, and excitement, can woo and almost win oblivion ;—but poor, weak, confiding woman—what is left to her? In secret to mourn, and in secret still to love.




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CHAPTER VI. THE JOURNEY.

“Adieu! adieu! My native land
Fades o'er the ocean blue;
The night winds sigh—the breakers roar—
And shrieks the wild sea mew.
Yon sun that sets upon the sea,
We follow in his flight:
Farewell awhile to him and thee!
My native land! good night!”


note

WE have rapidly sketched the denouement of the preceding chapter; but it must not be forgotten, that Delmé had been residing some months at Leamington, and that Emily and Julia were friends. In his own familiar circle—a severe but true test—Sir Henry had every opportunity of becoming acquainted with Miss Vernon's sweetness of disposition, and of appreciating the many excellencies of


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her character. For the rest, their intercourse had been of that nature, that it need excite no surprise, that a walk on a gala night, had the power of extracting an avowal, which, crude, undigested, and hastily withdrawn as it was, was certainly more the effusion of the heart—more consonant with Sir Henry's original nature—than the sage reasonings on his part, which preceded and followed that event.

On Delmé's arrival in town, he prosecuted with energy his enquiries as to his brother. He called on the regimental agents, who could give him no information. George's military friends had lost sight of him since he had sailed for the Mediterranean; and of the few persons, whom he could hear of, who had lately left Malta; some were passing travellers, who had made no acquaintances there, others, English merchants, who had met George at the Opera and in the streets, but nowhere else. It is true, there was an exception to this, in the case of a hair-brained young midshipman; who stated that he had dined at George's regimental mess, and had there heard that George “had fallen


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in love with some young lady, and had fought with her brother or uncle, or a soldier-officer, he did not know which.”

Meagre as all this information was, it decided Sir Henry Delmé.

He wrote a long letter to Emily, in which he expressed a hope that both George and himself would soon be with her, and immediately prepared for his departure.

Ere we follow him on his lonely journey, let us turn to those he left behind. Mrs. Glenallan and Emily decided on at once leaving Leamington for their own home. The marriage of the latter was deferred; and as Clarendon confessed that his period of probation was a very happy one, he acquiesced cheerfully in the arrangement. Emily called on the Vernons, and finding that Julia was not at home, wrote her a kind farewell; secretly hoping that at some future period they might be more nearly related. The sun was sinking, as the travellers neared Delmé. The old mansion looked as calm as ever. The blue smoke curled above its sombre roof; and the rooks sailed over the chimneys,


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flapping their wings, and cawing rejoicefully, as they caught the first glimpse of their lofty homes. Emily let down the carriage window, and with sunshiny tear, looked out on the home of her ancestors.

There let us leave her; and turn to bid adieu for a season, to one, who for many a weary day, was doomed to undergo the pangs of blighted affection. Such pangs are but too poignant and enduring, let the worldly man say what he may. Could we but read the history of the snarling cynic, blind to this world's good—of him, who from being the deceived, has become the deceiver—of the rash sensualist, who plunging into vice, thinks he can forget;—could we but know the train of events, that have brought the stamping madman to his bars—and his cell—and his realms of phantasy;—or search the breast of her, who lets concealment “feed on her damask cheek”—who prays bless-ings on him, who hath wasted her youthful charms—then mounts with virgin soul to heaven :—we, in our turn, might sneer at the worldling, and pin our fate on the tale of the peasant girl, who


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discourses so glibly of crossed love and broken hearts.

Sir Henry Delmé left England with very unenviable sensations. A cloud seemed to hang over the fate of his brother, which no speculations of his could pierce. Numberless were the conjectures he formed, as to the real causes of George's sickness and mental depression. It was in vain he re-read the letters, and varied his comments on their contents. It was evident, that nothing but his actual presence in Malta, could unravel the mystery. Sir Henry had oneconsolation; how great, let those judge who have had aught dear placed in circumstances at all similar. He had a confidence in George's character, which entirely relieved him from any fear that the slightest taint could have infected it. But an act of imprudence might have destroyed his peace of mind—sickness have wasted his body. Nor was his uncertainty regarding George, Delmé's only cause of disquiet. When he thought of Julia Vernon, there was a consequent internal emotion, that he could not subdue. He endeavoured to forget her—her image


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haunted him. He meditated on his past conduct; and at times it occurred to him, that the resolutions he had formed, were not the result of reason, but were based on pride and prejudice. He thought of her as he had last seen her. Now she spoke with enthusiasm of the bright stars of heaven; anon, her eye glistened with piety, as she showed how the feeling these created, was but subservient to a nobler one still. Again, he was beside her in the moment of maiden agony; when low accents faltered from her quivering lip, and the hand that rested on his arm, trembled from her heart's emotion.

Such were the bitter fancies that assailed him, as he left his own, and reached a foreign land. They cast a shadow on his brow; which change of scene possessed no charm to dispel. He hurried on to France's capital, and only delaying till he could get his passports signed, hastened from Paris to Marseilles.

On his arrival at the latter place, his first enquiries were, as to the earliest period that a vessel would sail for Malta. He was pointed out a small


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yacht in the harbour, which belonging to the British government, had lately brought over a staff officer with despatches.

A courier from England had that morning arrived—the vessel was about to return—her canvas was already loosened—the blue Peter streaming in the wind. Delmé hesitated not an instant, but threw himself into a boat, and was rowed along-side. The yacht's commander was a lieutenant in our service, although a Maltese by birth. He at once entered into Sir Henry's views, and felt delighted at the prospect of a companion in his voyage. A short time elapsed—the anchor was up—the white sails began to fill—Sir Henry was once more on the wide sea.

What a feeling of loneliness, almost of despair, infects the landsman's mind, as he recedes from an unfamiliar port—sees crowds watching listlessly his vessel's departure—crowds, of whom not one feels an interest in his fate; and then, turning to the little world within, beholds but faces he knows not, persons he wots not of! But to one whose home is the ocean, such are


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not the emotions which its expanse of broad waters calls forth. To such an one, each plank seems a friend; the vessel, a refuge from the world and its cares. Trusting himself to its guidance, deceit wounds him no more—hollow-hearted friendship proffers not its hand to sting—love exercises not its fatal sorcery—foes are afar—and his heart, if not the waves, is comparatively at peace. And oh! the wonders of the deep! Ocean! tame is the soul that loves not thee! grovelling the mind that scorns the joys thou impartest! To lean our head on the vessel's side, and in idleness of spirit ponder on bygone scene, that has brought us anything but happiness,—to gaze on the curling waves, as impelled by the boisterous wind, we ride o'er the angry waters, lashed by the sable keel to a yeasty madness,—to look afar upon the disturbed billow, presenting its crested head like the curved neck of the war horse,—then to mark the screaming sea bird, as, his bright eye scanning the waters, he soars above the stormy main—its wide tumult his delight—the roaring of the winds his melody—the shrieks of the drowned an harmonious symphony


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to the hoarse diapason of the deep! All these things may awake reflections, which are alike futile and transitory; but they are accompanied by a mental excitement, which land scenes, however glorious, always fail to impart.

Delmé's voyage was not unpropitious, although the yacht was frequently baffled by contrary winds, which prevented the passage being very speedy. During the day, the weather was ordinarily blustering, at times stormy; but with the setting sun, it seemed that tranquillity came; for during the nights, which were uncommonly fine, gentle breezes continued to fill the sails, and their vessel made tardy but sure progress. Henry would sit on deck till a late hour, lost in reverie. There would he remain, until each idle mariner was sunk to rest; and nothing but the distant tread of the wakeful watch, or the short cough of the helmsman, bespoke a sentinel over the habitation on the waters. How would the recollections of his life crowd upon him!—the loss of his parent—the world's first opening—bitter partings—painful misgivings—the lone bivouac—the marshalling of squadrons—the


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fierce charge—the excitement of victory, whose charm was all but flown, for where were the comrades who had fought beside him? These things were recalled, and brought with them alternate pain and pleasure. And a less remote era of his life would be presented him; when he tasted the welcome of home—saw hands uplifted in gratitude—was cheered by a brother's greeting, and subdued by a sister's kiss. But there was a thought, which let him dwell as he might on others, remained the uppermost of all. It was of Julia Vernon, and met him as a reproach. If his feelings were not of that enthusiastic nature, which they might have been were he now in his green youth, they were not on this account the less intense. They were coloured by the energy of manhood. He had lost a portion of his self-respect: for he knew that his conduct had been vacillating with regard to one, whom each traversed league, each fleeting hour, proved to be yet dearer than he had deemed her.

In the first few days of their passage, the winds shaped their vessel's course towards the Genoese gulf. They then took a direction nearly south,


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steering between Corsica and Sardinia on the one hand—Italy on the other.

Delmé had an opportunity of noting the outward aspect of Napoleon's birth-place; and still more nearly, that of its opposite island, which also forms so memorable a link in the history of that demi-god of modern times. How could weaker spirits deem that there, invested with monarchy's semblance, the ruler of the petty isle could forget that he had been master of the world?

How think that diplomacy's cobweb fibre could hold the eagle, panting for an upward flight?

They fearfully misjudged! What a transcendent light did his star give, as it shot through the appalled heavens, ere it sunk for ever in endless night!

The commander of the yacht pointed out the rock, which is traditionally said to be the one, on which Napoleon has been represented -his arms folded—watching intently the ocean—and ambition's votary gleaning his moral from the stormy waves below. As they advanced farther in their course, other associations were not wanting; and


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Delmé, whose mind, like that of most Englishmen, was deeply tinctured with classic lore, was not insensible to their charms. They swept by the Latian coast. Every creek and promontory, attested the fidelity of the poet's description, by vividly recalling it to the mind. On the seventh day, they doubled Cape Maritimo, on the western coast of Sicily; and two days afterwards, the vessel neared what has been styled the abode of Calypso, the island of Gozzo. As they continued to advance, picturesque trading boats, with awnings and numerous rowers, became more frequent—the low land appeared—they were signalled from the palace—the point of St. Elmo was turned and a wide forest of masts met the gaze. The vessel took up her moorings; and in the novelty of the scene, and surrounding bustle, Sir Henry for a time rested from misgivings, and forgot his real causes for melancholy. The harbour of Malta is not easily forgotten. The sun was just sinking, tinging with hues of amber, the usually purple waters of the harbour, and bronzing with its fiery orb, the batteries and lofty Baraca, where lie entombed the


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remains of Sir Thomas Maitland. Between the Baraca's pillars, might be discerned many a faldette, with pretty face beneath, peering over to mark, the little yacht, as she took her station, amidst the more gigantic line of battle ships.

The native boatmen, in their gilded barks with high prows, were seen surrounding the vesseI; and as they exerted themselves in passing each other, their dress and action had the most picturesque appearance. Their language, a corrupted Arabic, is not unpleasing to the ear; and their costume is remarkably graceful. A red turban hangs droopingly on one side, and their waistcoats are loaded with large silver buttons, the only remains of their uncommon wealth during the war, when this little island was endowed with a fictitious importance, it can never hope to resume. Just as the yacht cast anchor, a gun from the saluting battery was fired. It was the signal for sunset, and every flag was lowered. Down came in most seaman-like style the proud flag of merry England -the then spotless banner of France—and the great cross, hanging ungracefully, over the stout, but clumsy, Russian


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man of war. All these flags were then in the harbour of Valletta, although it was not at that eventful time when—the Moslem humbled—they met with the cordiality of colleagues in victory.

The harbour was full of vessels. Every nation had its representative. The intermediate spaces were studded by Maltese boats, crowded with passengers indiscriminately mingled. The careless English soldier, with scarlet coat and pipe-clayed belt—priests and friars—Maltese women in national costume sat side by side. Occasionally, a gig, pulled by man of war's men, might be seen making towards the town, with one or more officers astern, whose glittering epaulettes announced them as either diners out, or amateurs of the opera. The scene to Delmé was entirely novel; although it had previously been his lot to scan more than one foreign country.

The arrival of the health officers was the first circumstance that diverted his mind from the surrounding scene. There had been an epidemic disease at Marseilles, and there appeared to be some doubts, whether, as a precaution, some quarantine


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would not be imposed. The superintendent of quarantine was rowed alongside, chiefly for the purpose of regulating this. The spirited little commander of the yacht, however, was not at all desirous of any such arrangement; and after some energetic appeals on his part, met by cautious remonstrances on the part of the other, their pratique was duly accorded.

During the discussion with the superintendent, Sir Henry had enquired from the health officer, as to where he should find George, and was informed that his regiment was quartered at Floriana, one of Valletta's suburbs. In a short time a boat from the yacht was lowered, and the commander prepared to accompany the government courier with his dispatches to the palace.

Previous to leaving the deck, he hailed a boat alongside—addressed the boatmen in their native language—and consigned Sir Henry to their charge. Twilight was deepening into night as Delmé left the vessel. The harbour had lost much of its bustle; lights were already gleaming from the town, and as seen in some of the loftiest houses, looked as if


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suspended in the air above. Our traveller folded his cloak around him, and was rowed swiftly towards the shore.




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CHAPTER VII. THE YOUNG GREEK.

“But not in silence pass Calypso's isles,
The sister tenants of the middle deep."

“Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone,
But trust not this; too easy youth, beware!
A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne,
And thou mayst find a new Calypso there.”


NIGHT had set in before Sir Henry reached the shore. The boatmen, in broken, but intelligible English, took the trouble of explaining, that they must row him to a point higher up the harbour, than the landing place towards which the commander's gig was directing its course, on account of his brother's regiment being quartered at Floriana. Landing on the quay, they took charge


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of Delmé's portmanteau, and conducted him through an ascending road, which seemed to form a part of the fortifications, till they arrived in front of a closed gate. They were challenged by the sentinel, and obliged to explain their business to a non-commissioned officer, before they were admitted.

This form having been gone through, a narrow wicket was opened for their passage. They crossed a species of common, and, after a few minutes' walk, found themselves in front of the barrack. This was a plain stone building, enclosing a small court, in the centre of which stood a marble bason. The taste of some of the officers had peopled this with golden fish; whilst on the bason's brim were placed stands for exotics, whose fragrance charmed our sea-worn traveller, so lately emancipated from those sad drawbacks to a voyage, the odours of tar and bilge water.

On either side, were staircases leading to the rooms above. A sentry was slowly pacing the court, and gave Delmé the necessary directions for finding George's room. Delmé's hand was on the


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latch, but he paused for a moment ere he pressed it, for he pictured to himself his brother lying on the bed of sickness. This temporary irresolution soon gave way to the impulse of affection, and he hastily entered the chamber. George was reading, and had his back turned towards him. As he heard the footsteps, he half turned round; an enquiry was on his lip, when his eye caught Henry's figure—a hectic flush suffused his cheek—he rose eagerly, and threw himself into his brother's arms.

Ah! sweet is fraternal affection! As boys, we own its just, its proper influence; but as men—how few of us can lay our hands on our hearts, and in the time of manhood feel, that the thought of a brother, still calls up the kindly glow which it did in earlier years. Delmé strained his brother to his heart, whilst poor George's tears flowed like a woman's.

“Ah, how,” he exclaimed, “can I ever repay you for this?”

The first burst of joyful meeting over—Sir Henry scanned his brother's features, and was shocked at the apparent havoc a few short years


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had wrought. It was not that the cheek—whose carnation tint had once drawn a comment from all who saw it—it was not that the cheek was bronzed by an eastern sun. The alabaster forehead, showed that this was the natural result, of exposure to climate. But the wan, the sunken features—the unnatural brilliancy of the eye—the almost impetuous agitation of manner—all these bespoke that more than even sickness had produced the change:—that the mind, as well as body, must have had its sufferings.

“My dear, dear brother,” said Henry, “tell me, I implore you, the meaning of this. You look ill and distressed, and yet from you I did not hear of sickness, nor do I know any reason for grief." George smiled evasively; then, as if recollecting himself, struck his forehead. He pressed his brother's arm, and led him towards a room adjoining the one in which they were.

“It were in vain to tell you now, Henry, the eventful history of the last few months; but see!" said he, as they together entered, "the innocent cause of much that I have gone through."


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Sir Henry Delmé started at the sight that greeted him. The room was dimly lighted by a lamp, but the moon was up, and shed her full light through part of the chamber. On a small French bed, whose silken linings threw their rosy hue on the face of its fair occupant, lay as lovely a girl as ever eye reposed on.

The heat had already commenced to become oppressive; the jalousies and windows were thrown open. As the night breeze swept over the curtains, and the tint these gave, trembled on that youthful beauty; Delmé might well be forgiven, for deeming it was very long since he had seen a countenance so exquisitely lovely. The face did indeed bear the stamp of youth. Delmé would have guessed that the being before him, had barely attained her fifteenth year, but that her bosom heaved like playful billows, as she breathed her sighs in a profound slumber. Her style of beauty for a girl was most rare. It had an almost infantine simplicity of character, which in sleep was still more remarkable; for awake, those eyes, now so still, did not throw unmeaning glances.


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Such as these must Guarini have apostrophised, as he looked at his slumbering love.

“0cchi! stelle mortale!
Ministri de miei mali!
Se chiusi m'uccidete,
Aperti,—che farete?”

Or, as Clarendon Gage translated it,

“Ye mortal stars! ye eyes that, e'en in sleep,
Can thus my senses chain'd in wonder keep,
Say, if when closed, your beauties thus I feel,
0h, what when open, would ye not reveal?”

Her beauty owed not its peculiar charm to any regularity of feature; but to an ineffable sweetness of expression, and to youth's freshest bloom. Hafiz would have compared that smooth cheek to the tulip's flower. Her eye-lashes, of the deepest jet, and silken gloss, were of uncommon length. Her lips were apart, and disclosed small but exquisitely formed teeth. Their hue was not that of ivory, but the more delicate though more transient one of the pearl. One arm supported her head—its hand tangled in the raven tresses—of the other, the snowy rounded elbow was alone visible.


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She met the eye, like a vision conjured up by fervid youth; when, ere our waking thoughts dare to run riot in beauty's contemplation—sleep, the tempter, gives to our disordered imaginations, forms and scenes, which in after life we pant for, but meet them—never!

George put his finger to his lips, as Delmé regarded her—kissed her silken cheek, and whispered,

“Acmé, carissima mia!”

The slumberer started—the envious eye-lid shrouded no more its lustrous jewel—the wondering eyes dilated, as they met her lover's—and she murmured something with that sweet Venetian lisp, in which the Greek women breathe their Italian. But, as she saw the stranger, her face and neck became suffused with crimson, and her small hand wrapped the snowy sheet round her beauteous form.

Sir Henry, who felt equally embarrassed, returned to the room they had left; whilst George lingered by the bedside of his mistress, and told her it was his brother. Once more together, Sir Henry turned towards George.




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“For God's sake,”said he, “unravel this mystery! Who is this young creature?"

“Not now !” said his brother, “let us reserve it for to-morrow, and talk only of home. Acmé has retired earlier than usual—she has been complaining." And he commenced with a flushed brow and rapid voice, to ask after those he loved.

“And so, dearest Emily will soon be married. I am glad of it; you speak so well of Gage! I wish I had stayed three weeks longer in England, and I should have seen him. We shall miss her in the flower garden, Henry! Yes! and every where else! And how is my kind aunt? I forgot to thank her when I last wrote to Delmé, for making Fidele a parlour inmate!—and I don't think she likes dogs generally either!—And Mrs. Wilcox! as demure as ever?—Do you recollect the trick I played her the last April I was at home? And my favourite pony! does he still adorn the paddock, or is he gone at last? Emily wrote me he could hardly support himself out of the shed. And the old oak—have you railed it round as I advised ? And the deer—is my aunt


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still as tenacious of killing them? I suppose Emily's pet fawn is a fine antlered gentleman by this time. And your charger, Henry—how is he? And Mr. Sims? and the new green house? Does the aviary succeed ? did you get my slips of the blood orange? have the Zante melon seeds answered ? And the daisy of Delmé, Fanny Porter -is she married? I stole a kiss the day I left. And so the coachman is dead? and you have given the reins to Jenkins, and have taken my little fellow on your own establishment? And Ponto? and Ranger? and my friend Guess?"

Here George paused, quite out of breath; and his brother, viewing with some alarm his nervous agitation, attempted to answer his many queries; determined in his own mind, not to seek the explanation he so much longed for, until a more favourable period for demanding it arrived. The brothers continued conversing on English topics till a late hour, when Henry rose to retire.

“I cannot,” said George, “give you a bed here to-night; but my servant shall show you the way to an hotel; and in the course of to-morrow, we


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will take care to have a room provided for you. You must feel harassed: will nine be too early an hour for breakfast?”

It was a beautiful night, still and starry. Till they arrived in the busy street, no sound could be heard, but the cautious opening of the lattice, answering the signal of the guitar. Escorted by his guide, Delmé entered Valletta, which is bustling always, even at night; but was more than usually so, as there happened to be a fete at the palace. As they passed through the Strado Teatro, the soldier pointed out the Opera-house; although from the lateness of the hour, Rossini's melodies were hushed. From a neighbouring cafe, however, festive sounds proceeded; and Delmé, catching the words of an unfamiliar language, paused before the door to recognise the singer. The table at which he sat, was so densely enveloped in smoke, that it was some time before he could make out the forms of the party, which consisted of some jovial British midshipmen, and some Tartar-looking Russians. One of the Russian officers was charming his audience with a chanson a boire, acquired


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on the banks of the Vistula. His compatriots were yelling the chorus most unmercifully. A few caleche drivers, waiting for their fares, and two or three idle Maltese, were pacing outside the Card, and appeared to regard the scene as one of frequent occurrence, and calculated to excite but little interest. His guide showed Delmé the hotel, and was dismissed; and Sir Henry, preceded by an obsequious waiter, was introduced to a spacious apartment facing the street.

It was long ere sleep visited him. He had many subjects on which to ruminate; there were many points which the morrow would clear up. His mind was too busy to permit him to rest.

When he did, however close his eyes; he slept soundly, and did not awake till the broad glare of day, penetrating through the Venetian blinds, disclosed to him the unfamiliar apartment at Beverley's.




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CHAPTER VIII. THE INVALID.

“'Mid many things most new to ear and eye,
The pilgrim rested here his weary feet.”


AS Sir Henry Delmé stepped from the hotel into the street, the sun's rays commenced to be oppressive, and, although it was only entering the month of May, served to remind him that he was in a warmer clime. The scene was already a bustling one. The shopkeepers were throwing water on the hot flag stones, and erecting canvas awnings in front of their doors. In the various cafes might be seen the subservient waiters, handing round the small gilded cup, which contained thick Turkish coffee, or carrying to some old smoker the little pipkin, whence he was to light his genial cigar.


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In front of one of these cafes, some English officers were collected, sipping ices, and criticising the relieving of the guard. Turning a corner of the principal street, a group of half black and three-parts naked children assaulted our traveller, and vociferously invoked carita. They accompanied this demand by the corrupted cry of "nix munjay"—nothing to eat,—which they enforced by most expressive gestures, extending their mouths, and exhibiting rows of ravenous-looking teeth. The caleche drivers, too, were on the alert, and respectfully taking off their turbans, proffered their services to convey the Signore to Floriana. Delmé declined their offers, and, passing a draw-bridge which divides Valletta from the country, made his way through an embrasure, and descending some half worn stone steps—during which operation he was again surrounded by beggars—he found himself within sight of the barracks. Acmé and George were ready to receive him. The latter's eye lit, as it was wont to do, on seeing his brother, whilst the young Greek appeared in doubt, whether to rejoice at what gave him pleasure, or to stand in


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awe of a relation, whose influence over George might shake her own. This did not, however, prevent her offering Delmé her hand, with an air of great frankness and grace. Nor was he less struck with her peculiar beauty than he had been on the night previous. Her dress was well adapted to exhibit her charms to the greatest advantage. Her hair was parted in front, and smoothly combed over her neck and shoulders, descending to her waist. Over her bosom, and fastened by a chased silver clasp, was one of the saffron handkerchiefs worn by the Parganot women. A jacket of purple velvet, embroidered with gold, fitted closely to her figure. Round her waist was a crimson girdle, fastened by another enormous broach, or rather embossed plate of silver. A Maltese gold rose chain of exquisite workmanship was flung round her neck, to which depended a locket, one side of which held, encased in glass, George's hair braided with her own; the other had a cameo, representing the death of the patriot Marco Bozzaris.

“Giorgio tells me,” said she, “that you


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speak Italian, at which I am very glad; for his efforts to teach me English have quite failed. Do you know you quite alarmed me last night, and I really think it was too bad of George introducing you when he did;” and she placed her hand on her lover's shoulder, and looked in his face confidingly. In spite of the substance of her speech, and the circumstances under which Delmé saw her, he could not avoid feeling an involuntary prepossession in her favour. Her manner had little of the polish of art, but much of nature's witching simplicity; and Sir Henry felt surprised at the ease and animation of the whole party. Acmé presided at the breakfast table, with a grace which many a modern lady of fashion might envy; and during the meal, her conversation, far from being dull or listless, showed that she had much talent, and that to a quick perception of nature's charms, she united great enthusiasm in their pursuit. The meal was over, when the surgeon of the regiment was announced, and introduced by George to Sir Henry. After making a few inquiries as to the invalid's state of health, he proposed to Delmé,


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taking a turn in the botanical garden, which was immediately in front of their windows.

Sir Henry eagerly grasped at the proposition; anxious, as he felt himself, to ascertain the real circumstances connected with his brother's indisposition. They strolled through the garden, which was almost deserted—for none but dogs and Englishmen, to use the expression of the natives, court the Maltese noon-day sun,—and the surgeon at once entered into George's history. He was a man of most refined manners, and a cultivated intellect, and his professional familiarity with horrors, had not diminished his natural delicacy of feeling. His narrative was briefly thus: -

George Delmé's bosom companion had been an officer of his own age and standing in the service, with whom he had embarked when leaving England. Their intercourse had ripened into the closest friendship. George had met Acmé, although the surgeon knew not the particulars of the rencontre,—had confided to his friend the acquaintance he had made—and had himself introduced Delancey at the house where Acmé resided. Whether her


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charms really tempted the friend to endeavour to supplant George, or whether he considered the latter's attentions to the young Greek to be without definite object, and undertaken in a spirit of indifference, the narrator could not explain; but it was not long before Delancey considered himself as a principal in the transaction. Acmé, whose knowledge of the world was slight, and whose previous seclusion from society, had rendered her timidity excessive, considered that her best mode of avoiding importunities she disliked, and attentions that were painful to her, would be to speak to George himself on the subject.

By this time, the latter, quite fascinated by her beauty and simplicity, and deeming, as was indeed the fact, that his love was returned, needed not other inquietudes than those his attachment gave him. The pride of ancestry and station on the one hand—on the other, a deep affection, and a wish to act nobly by Acmé—caused an internal struggle which made him open to any excitement, nervously alive to any wrong. He sought his friend, and used reproaches, which rendered it imperative


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that they should meet as foes. Delancey was wounded; and as he thought—and it was long doubtful whether it were so—mortally. He beckoned George Delmé to his bedside—begged him to forgive him—told him that his friendship had been the greatest source of delight to him—a friendship which in his dying moments he begged to renew—that far from feeling pain at his approaching dissolution, he conceived that he had merited all, and only waited his full and entire forgiveness to die happy. George Delmé wrung his hands in the bitterness of despair—prayed him to live for his sake—told him, that did he not, his own life hereafter would be one of the deepest misery,—that the horrors of remorse would weigh him down to his grave. The surgeon was the first to terminate a scene, which he assured Delmé was one of the most painful it had ever been his lot to witness. This meeting, though of so agitating a nature, seemed to have a beneficial effect on the wounded man. He sunk into a sweet sleep; and on awaking, his pulse was lower, and his symptoms less critical. He improved gradually, and


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was now convalescent. But it was otherwise with George Delmé. He sought the solitude of his chamber, a prey to the agonies of a self-reproaching spirit. He considered himself instrumental in taking the life of his best friend—of one, richly endowed with the loftiest feelings humanity can boast. His nerves previously had been unstrung; body and mind sank under the picture his imagination had conjured up. His servant was alarmed by startling screams, entered his room, and found his master in fearful convulsions. A fever ensued, during which George's life hung by a thread. To this succeeded a long state of unconsciousness, occasionally broken by wild delirium.

During his illness, there was one who never left him—who smoothed his pillow—who supported his head on her breast—who watched him as a mother watches her first-born. It was the youthful Greek, Acmé Frascati. The instant she heard of his danger, she left her home to tend him. No entreaties could influence her, no arguments persuade. She would sit by his bedside for hours, his feverish hand locked in hers, and implore him


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to recover, to bless one who loved him so dearly. They could not part them; for George, even in his delirious state, seemed to be conscious that some one was near him, and, did she leave his side, would rise in his bed, and look around him as if missing some accustomed object. In his wilder flights, he would call passionately upon her, and beg her to save his friend, who was lying so dead and still.

For a length of time, neither care nor professional skill availed. Fearful was the struggle, between his disease, and a naturally hardy constitution. Reason at last resumed her dominion. “I know not,” said the surgeon, “the particulars of the first dawning of consciousness. It appears that Acmé was alone with him, and that it was at night. I found him on my professional visit one morning, clear and collected, and his mistress sobbing her thanks." "I need perhaps hardly inform you,” said the narrator, “that George's gratitude to Acmé was vividly expressed. It was in vain I urged on her the propriety of now leaving her lover. This was met on both sides by an equal disinclination,


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and indeed obstinate refusal; and I feared the responsibility I should incur, by enforcing a separation which might have proved of dangerous consequence to my patient. Alas! for human nature, Sir Henry! need it surprise you that the consequences were what they are? Loving him with the fervency of one born under an eastern sun—with the warm devotion of woman's first love—with slender ideas of Christian morality—and with a mind accustomed to obey its every impulse—need it, I say, surprise you, that the one fell, and that remorse visited the other? To that remorse, do I attribute what my previous communication may not have sufficiently prepared you for; namely, the little dependence to be placed on the tone of the invalid's mind. Reason is but as a glimmering in a socket; and painful as my professional opinion may be to you, it is my duty to avow it; and I frankly confess, that I entertain serious apprehensions, as to the stability of his mind's restoration. It is on this account, that I have felt so anxious that one of his relations should be near him. Change of scene is absolutely necessary,


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as soon as change of scene can be safely adopted. Every distracting thought must be avoided, and the utmost care taken that no agitating topic is discussed in his presence. These precautions may do much; but should they have no effect, which I think possible; as a medical man, I should then recommend, what as a member of his family may startle you. My advice would be, that if it be ultimately found, that his feelings as regard this young girl, are such as are likely to prevent or impede his mind's recovery; why I would then at once allow him to make her any reparation he may think just. ”

“To what do you allude?” enquired Sir Henry.

“Why,” continued the surgeon, “that if his feelings appear deeply enlisted on that side of the question, and all our other modes have failed in obtaining their object; that he should be permitted to marry her as soon as he pleases. I see you look grave. I am not surprised you should do so; but life is worth preserving, and Acmé, if not entirely to our notions, is a good, a very good girl—warm-hearted and affectionate; and it is not fair


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to judge her by our English standard. You will however have time and scope, to watch yourself the progress and extent of his disorder. I fear this is more serious than you are at present aware of; but from your own observations, would I recommend and wish your future line of conduct to be formed. May I trust my frankness has not offended you?”

Sir Henry assured him, that far from this being the case, he owed him many thanks for being thus explicit. Shaking him by the hand, he returned to George's room with a clouded brow; perplexed how to act, or how best discuss with his brother, the points connected with his history.




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CHAPTER IX. THE NARRATIVE.

“The seal Love's dimpling finger hath impress'd,
Denotes how soft that chin which bears his touch,
Her lips whose kisses pout to leave their nest,
Bid man be valiant ere he merit such;
Her glance how wildly beautiful—how much
Hath Phoebus woo'd in vain to spoil her cheek,
Which grows yet smoother from his amorous clutch,
Who round the north for paler dames would seek?
How poor their forms appear! how languid, wan, and
weak.”


LOVE! Heavenly love! by Plato's mind conceived, and Sicyon's artist chiselled! not thou! night's offspring, springing on golden wing from the dark bosom of Erebus! the first created, and the first creating: but thou! immaculate deity; effluence of unspotted thought, and child of a chaster age! where, oh where is now thy resting place?


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Pensile in mid-heaven, gazest thou yet with seraphic sorrow on this, the guilty abode of guilty man?—with pity's tear still mournest thou, as yoked to the car of young desire, we bow the neck in degrading and slavish bondage? Or dost thou, the habitant of some bright star, where frailty such as ours is yet unknown, lend to lovers a rapture unalloyed by passion's grosser sense; as, symphonious with the tremulous zephyr, chastened vows of constancy are there exchanged? Ah! vainly does one solitary enthusiast, in his balmy youth, for a moment conceive he really grasps thee! 'tis but a fleeting phantasy, doomed to fade at the first sneer of derision—and for ever vanish, as a false and fascinating world stamps its dogmas on his heart! Celestial love! oh where may he yet find thee? and a dear voice whispers, ETERNITY!

Hope! guide the fainting pilgrim! undying soul! shield him from the world's venomed darts, as he painfully wends his toilsome way!

When Delmé returned to his brother, he found the latter anxiously expecting him, and desirous of


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ascertaining the impression, which his conversation with the surgeon had created.

But Delmé thought it more prudent, to defer the discussion of those points, till he had heard from George himself, as to many circumstances connected with Acmé's history, and had been able to form some personal opinion regarding the health of the invalid. He therefore begged George, if he felt equal to the task, to avail himself of the opportunity of Acmé's absence, to tell him how he had first met her. To this George willingly assented; and as there is ever a peculiarity in foreign scenes and habits, which awakens interest, we give his story in his own language.

“There are some old families here, Henry,” began the invalid, “whose names are connected with some of the proudest, which the annals of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem can boast. They are for the most part sunk in poverty, and possess but little of the outward trappings of rank. But their pride is not therefore the less; and rather than have it wounded, by being put in collision with those with whom in worldly wealth they are


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unable to compete, they prefer the privacy of retirement; and are rarely seen, and more rarely known, by any of the English residents, whom they distrust and dislike. It is true, there are a few families, some of the male members of which have accepted subordinate situations under government; and these have become habituated to English society, and meet on terms of tolerable cordiality, the English whose acquaintance they have thus made. But there are others, as I have said, whose existence is hardly recognised, and who vegetate in some lone palazzo brooding over the decay of their fortunes—never crossing the threshold of their mansions—except when religious feelings command them to attend a mass, or public procession. Of such a family was Acmé a member. By birth a Greek, she was a witness to many of the bloody scenes which took place at the commencement of the struggle for Grecian freedom. She was herself present at the murder of both her parents. Her beauty alone saved her from sharing their fate. One of the Turks, struck with her expression of childish sorrow, interfered in her behalf, and permitted


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a friend and neighbour to save her life and his own, by taking shipping for one of the islands in our possession. After residing in Corfu for some months, she received an invitation from her father's brother-in-law, a member of an ancient Maltese family; and for the last few years has spent a life, if not gay, at least free from a repetition of those sanguinary seenes, which have lent their impress to a sensitive mind, and at moments impart a melancholy tinge, to a disposition by nature unusually joyous. It was on a festa day, dedicated to the patron saint of the island, when no Maltese not absolutely bed-ridden, but would deem it a duty, to witness the solemn and lengthy procession which such a day calls forth; that I first met Acmé Frascati.

“I was alone in the Strada Reale, and strolling towards the Piazza, when my attention was directed to what struck me as the loveliest face I had ever seen.

“Acmé, for it was her, was drest in the costume of the island; and, although a faldette is not the best dress for exhibiting a figure, there was a


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grace and lightness in her carriage, that would have arrested my attention, even had I not been riveted by her countenance. She was on the opposite side of the street to myself, and was attended by an old Moorish woman, who carried an illumined missal. Of these women, several may yet be seen in Malta, looking very Oriental and duenna-like. As I stopped to admire her, she suddenly attempted to cross to the side of the street where I stood. At the same moment, I observed a horse attached to a caleche galloping furiously towards her. It was almost upon her ere Acmé saw her danger. The driver, anxious to pass before the procession formed, had whipped his horse till it became unmanageable, and it was now in vain that he tried to arrest its progress. A natural impulse induced me to rush forward, and endearour to save her. She was pale and trembling, as I caught her and placed her out of the reach of danger; but before I could touch the pavement, I felt myself struck by the wheel of the carriage, was thrown down, and taken up insensible. When consciousness returned, I found they had conveyed


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me to a neighbouring shop, and that medical attendance had been procured. But more than all, I noticed the solicitude of Acmé. Until the surgeon had given a favourable report, she could not address me, but when this had been pronounced, she overwhelmed me with thanks, begged to know where I would wish to be taken, and rested not until her own family caleche came up, and she saw me, attended by the Moorish woman, on the road to Floriana.

“My accident, though not a very serious one, proved of sufficient consequence, to confine me to my room for some time; and during that period, not a day passed, that did not give me proof of the anxiety of the young Greek for my restoration. I need not say that one of my first visits was to her. Her family received me as they would an absent brother. The obligations they considered I had conferred, outweighed all prejudices which they might have imbibed against my nation. On my part, charmed with my adventure, delighted with Acmé, and gratified by the kindness of her relations, I endeavoured to increase their favourable


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opinion by all the means in my power. Acmé and myself were soon more than friends, and I found my visits gave and imparted pleasure.

“I now arrive at the unhappy part of my narrative. How do I wish it were effaced from my memory. You may remember how, in all my letters to Delmé, I made mention of my dear friend Delancey. We were indeed dear friends. We joined at the same time, lived together in England, embarked together, and when, one dreadful night off the African coast, the captain of the transport thought we must inevitably drift on the lee shore, we solaced each other, and agreed that, if it came to the worst, on one plank would we embark our fortunes. On our landing in Malta, we were inseparable, and my first impulse was to inform Delancey of all that had occurred, and to introduce him to a house where I felt so happy. I must here do him the justice to state, that whether I was partly unaware of the extent of my own feelings towards Acmé, or whether I felt a morbid sense of delicacy, in alluding to what I knew to be the first attachment I had ever formed,


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I am unable to inform you! but the only circumstance I concealed from my friend was my attachment to the young Greek. Perhaps to this may be mainly attributed what happened. God, who knows all secrets, knows this; but I may now aver, that my friend, with many faults, has proved himself to have as frank and ingenuous a spirit, as noble ideas of friendship, as can exist in the human breast. For some time, matters continued thus. We were both constant visitors at Acmé's house. With unparalleled blindness, I never mistrusted the feelings of my friend. I never contemplated that he also might become entangled with the young beauty. I considered her as my own prize, and was more engaged in analysing my own sensations, and in vainly struggling against a passion, which I was certain could not meet my family's approval, than at all suspicious that fresh causes of uneasiness might arise in another quarter. As Acmé's heart opened to mine, I found her with feelings guileless and unsuspecting as a child's; although these were warm, and their expression but little restrained.There was a confiding simplicity


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in her manner, that threw an air over all she said or did, which quite forbade censure, and excited admiration. My passion became a violent and an all-absorbing one. I had made up my mind, to throw myself on the kindness of my family, and endeavour to obtain all your consents. Thus was I situated, when one day Acmé came up to me with frankness of manner, but a tremulous voice, to beg I would use my interest with my friend, to prevent his coming to see her.

““Indeed, indeed,” said she, “I have tried to love him as a friend, as the friend of my life's preserver, but ever since he has spoken as he now does, his visits are quite unpleasant. My family begged me to tell you. They would have asked him to come no more, but were afraid you might be angry. Will you still come to us, and love us all, if they tell him this? If you will not, he shall still come; for indeed we could not offend one to whom we owe so much.”

“"I, too", said I to Acmé, "I, too, dearest, ought perhaps to leave you, I, too” -

“ “Oh, never! never !” said she, as she turned


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to me her dark eyes, bright with humid radiance. “We cannot thus part!”

“She did, then, love me! I clasped her to my arms—our lips clung together in one rapturous intoxicating embrace.

“Yet, even in that moment of delirium, Henry, I told her of you, and of the many obstacles which still presented themselves to retard or even prevent our union. I sought my friend Delancey, and remonstrated with him. He appeared to doubt my right to question his motives. Success made me feel still more injured. I showered down reproaches. He could not have acted differently. We met! and I saw him fall! Till then, I had considered myself as the injured man; but as I heard him on the ground name his mother, and one dearer still—as he took from his breast the last gift she had made him—as he begged of me to be its bearer; I then first felt remorse. He was taken to his room. Even the surgeon entertained no hopes. He again called me to his side; I heard his noble acknowledgment, his reiterated vows of friendship, the mournful tones of his farewell.


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I entered this room a heart-broken man. I felt my pulse throb fearfully, a gasping sensation was in my throat, my head swam round, and I clung to the wall for support. The next thing of which I have any recollection, was the dawn of reason breaking through my troubled dreams. It was midnight—all was still. The fitful lamp shone dimly through my chamber. I turned on my side—and, oh! by its light, I saw the face I most loved—that face, whose gentle lineaments, were each deeply and separately engraven on my heart. I saw her bending over me with a maiden's love and a mother's solicitude. As I essayed to speak—as my conscious eye met her's—as the soft words of affection were involuntarily breathed by my feeble lips—how her features lit up with joy! Oh, say not, Henry, till you have experienced such a moment of transport, say not that the lips which then vowed eternal fidelity, that the young hearts which then plighted their truth, and vowed to love for ever—oh call not these guilty!

“Since that time my health has been extremely precarious. Whether the events crowded too


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thickly on me, or that I have not fully recovered my health, or—which I confess I think is the case—that my compunctions for my conduct to Acmé weigh me down, I know not; but it is not always, my dear Henry, that I can thus address you. There are hours when I am hardly sensible of what I do, when my brain reels from its opression. At such times, Acmé is my guardian angel—my tender nurse—my affectionate attendant! In my lucid intervals, she is what you see her—the gentle companion—the confiding friend. I love her, Henry, more than I can tell you! I shall never be able to leave her! From Acmé you may learn more of those dreary hours, which appear to me like waste dreams in my existence. She has watched by my bed of sickness, till she knows every turn of the disorder. From her, Henry, may you learn all.”

Thus did George conclude his tale of passion; which Delmé mused over, but refrained from commenting on.

Soon afterwards, George's caleche, in which he daily took exercise, was announced as being at the door. The brothers entered, and left Floriana.




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CHAPTER X. THE CALÈCHE

“The car rattling through the stony street.”


FOR an easy conveyance, commend us to a Maltese caleche! Many a time, assaulted by the blue devils, have we taken refuge in its solacing interior—have pulled down its silken blinds, and unseeing and unseen, the motion, like that of the rocking-cradle to the petulant child of less mature growth, has restored complacency, and lulled us to good humour. The caleche, the real caleche, is, we believe, peculiar to Malta. It is the carriage of the rich and poor—Lady Woodford may be seen employing it, to visit her gardens at St. Antonio; and in the service of the humblest of


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her subjects, will it be enlisted, as they wend their way to a pic nic in the campagna. Every variety of steed is put in requisition for its draught.

We may see the barb, with nostril of fire, and mane playing with the wind, perform a curvet, as he draws our aristocratic countrywoman—aristocratic and haughty at least in Malta, although, in England, perhaps a star of much less magnitude.

We may view too the over-burthened donkey, as he drags along some aged vehicle, in which four fat smiling women, and one lean weeping child, look forward to his emaciated carcase, and yet blame him for being slow.

And thou! patient and suffering animal, whose name has passed into a proverb, until each vulgar wight looks on thee as the emblem of obstinacy,—maligned mule ! when dost thou appear to more advantage, more joyous, or more self-satisfied, than when yoked to the Maltese caleche? Who that has witnessed thee, taking the scanty meal from the hand of thine accustomed driver, with whinnying voice, waving tail, thy long ears pricked upwards,


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and thy head rubbing, his breast, who that has seen thee thus, will deny thee the spirit of gratitude?

Most injured of quadrupeds! if we ascend the rugged mountain's path, where on either side, precipices frown, and the pines wave far—far beneath—when one false step would plunge us, with our hopes, our fears, and our vices, into the abyss of eternity; is it not to thee we trust? Calumniated mule! go on thy way.

This world's standard is but little to be relied on, whether it be for good, or whether it be for evil.

The motion of a caleche, such as we patronised, is an easy and luxurious one—the pace, a fast trot or smooth canter, of seven miles an hour—and with the blinds down, we have communed with ourselves, with as great freedom, and as little fear of interruption, as if we had been crossing the Zahara. The calèche men too are a peculiar and happy race—attentive to their fares—masters of their profession—and with a cigar in their cheek dexter, will troll you Maltese ditties till your head aches. Their costume is striking. Their long red caps


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are thrown back over their necks—their black curls hang down on each side of the face—and a crimson, many-folded sash, girds in a waist usually extremely small. Their neck, face, and breast, from continued exposure to the sun, are a red copper colour. They are always without shoes and stockings; and even our countrywomen, who pay much attention to the costume of their drivers, have not yet ventured to encase their brawny feet in the mysteries of leather. They run by the side of their caleches, the reins in one hand—the whip in the other—cheering on their animals by a constant succession of epithets, oaths, and invocations to their favourite saint.

They are rarely fatigued, and may be seen beside their vehicles, urging the horses, with the themometer at 110°, and perhaps a stout-looking Englishman inside, with white kerchief to his face, the image of languor and lassitude.

Their horses gallop down steeps, which no English Jehu dare attempt; and ascend and descend with safety and hardihood, stone steps which occur in many parts of Valletta; and which would


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certainly present an insurmountable obstacle to our steeds at home.

The proper period, however, to see a caleche man in his glory, is during the carnival. Every caleche is in employ; and many a one which has reposed for the twelvemonth previous, is at that time wheeled from its accustomed shed, and put in requisition for some of pleasure's votaries. Long lines of them continue to pass and repass in the principal street. Their inmates are almost universally of the fair sex, and of the best part of it, the young and beautiful. Cavaliers, with silken bags, containing bon-bons, slung on their left arm, stand at intervals, ready to discharge the harmless missiles, at these whom their taste approves worthy of the compliment. Happy the young beauty, who, returning homewards, sees the carpet of her caleche thickly strewn with these dulcet favours! The driver is now in his element! He ducks his head, as the misdirected sweetmeat approaches; he has an apt remark prompt for the occasion. As he nears too the favoured inamorato, for whom he well knows his mistress' sweetest smile is reserved


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—who already with his right hand grasping the sugared favours, is prepared to lavish his whole store on this one venture—how arch his look—how roguish his eye as he turns towards his donna, and speaks as plainly as words could do, “See! there he is, he whom you love best!”

Ah! well may we delight to recal once more those minute details! ah! well may we remember how—when our brow was smoothed with youth, as it is now furrowed with care—when our eye sparkled from pleasure, as it is now dimmed from time, or mayhap, tears—well may we love to remember, how our whole hearts were engrossed in that mimic warfare. How impatiently did we watch for one, amidst that crowded throng, for one—whose beauty haunted us by day, and whose smile we dreamt over by night. Well do we recal with what unexampled ingenuity, we laboured to befit the snow white egg for a rare tenant—attar-gul. Well do we remember how that face, usually so cloudless, became darkened almost to a frown, as our heart's mistress saw the


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missile approach her. What a radiant smile bewitched us, as it burst on her lap, and filled the air with its fragrance! Truly we had our reward!

Delmé and George took a quiet drive, and enjoyed that sweet interchange of ideas, that characterises the meeting of two brothers long absent from each other.

They went in the direction of St. Julian's, a drive all our Maltese friends will be familiar with. The road lay almost wholly by the sea side. A gentle breeze was crisping the waters, and served to allay the heat, which, at a more advanced period of the season, is by no means an enviable one. Sun-shine seemed to beam on George's mind, as he once more spoke of home ties, to one to whom those home ties were equally dear. And gratefully did he bask in its rays! Long used to the verdant but tame, beautiful but romantic landscapes, which the part of England he resided in presented; the scenery around him, novel and picturesque, struck Sir Henry forcibly. To one who has resided long in Malta, its scenes may wear an aspect somewhat different. The limited country—the ceaseless glare


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—the dust, or rather the pulverised rock—the ever-present lizard, wary and quick, peeping out at each crevice—the buzzing mosquito, inviting the moody philosopher to smite his own cheek,—these things may come to be regarded as real grievances. But Delmé, as a visitor, was pleased with what he saw. The promising vineyards—the orange groves, with their glowing fruit and ample foliage,“looking like golden lamps” in a dark night of leaves—the thick leaves of the prickly pear—the purple sky above him, lending its rich hue to the sea beside—the architectural beauties of the cottages—the wide portico of the mansions—the flat terrace with its balustrade, over which might be seen a fair face, half concealed by the faldette, smilingly peering, and through whose pillars might be noted a pretty ancle, and siesta-looking slipper -these were novelties, and pleasing ones! Their drive over, Delmé felt more tranquil as to George's state of mind, and more inclined to look on the bright side, as to his future fortunes.

Acmé was waiting to receive them, and as she scanned George's features, Delmé could not but


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observe the affectionate solicitude that marked her glance and manner.

Let it not be thought we would make vice seductive!

Fair above all things is the pure affection of woman! happy he who may regard it his! he may bask without a shade of distrust in its glorious splendour, and permanently adore its holy beauty.

While, fascinating though be the concentred love of woman, whether struggling in its passion—enraptured in its madness—or clinging and loving on in its guilt: Man—that more selfish wanderer from virtue's pale, that destroyer of his own best sympathies—will find too late that a day of bitterest regret must arrive: a day when love shall exist no more, or, linked with remorse, shall tear—a fierce vulture—at his very heart strings.




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CHAPTER XI. THE COLONEL.

“Not such as prate of war, but skulk in peace.”

Delmé strolled out half an hour before his brother's dinner hour, with the intention of paying a visit of ceremony to the Colonel of George's regiment. His house was not far distant. It had been the palazzo of one of the redoubted Knights of St. John; and the massive gate at which Sir Henry knocked for admittanee, seemed an earnest, that the family, who had owned the mansion, had been a powerful and important one. The door was opened, and the servant informed Delmé, that Colonel Vavasour was on the terrace.

The court yard through which they passed was extensive; and a spring


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“Of living water from its centre rose,
Whose bubbling did a genial softness fling.”

Ascending a lofty marble staircase, along which were placed a few bronzed urns, Delmé crossed a suite of apartments—thrown open in the Italian mode—and passing through a glass door, found himself on a wide stone terrace, edged by pillars.

Immediately beneath this, was an orange grove, whose odours perfumed the air. Colonel Vavasour was employed in reading a German treatise on light infantry tactics. He received Sir Henry with great cordiality, and proposed adjourning to the library. Delmé was pleased to observe, for it corresponded with what he had heard of the man; that, with the exception of the chef d'oeuvres of the English and German poets, the Colonel's library, which was an extensive one, almost wholly consisted of such books as immediately related to military subjects, or might be able to bear on some branch of science connected with military warfare. Pagan, and his follower Vauban, and the more matured treatises of Cormontaigne, were backed by the works of that boast of the Low Countries,


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Coehorn; and by the ingenious theories, as yet but theories, of Napoleon's minister of war, Carnot.

Military historians, too, crowded the shelves. There might be noted the veracious Polybius—the classic Xenophon—the scientific Caesar—the amusing Froissart, with his quaint designs, and quainter discourses—and many an author unknown to fame, who in lengthy quarto, luxuriated on the lengthy campaigns of Marlborough or Eugene; those wise commanders, who flourished in an era, when war was a well debated scientific game of chess; when the rival opponents took their time, before making their moves; and the loss of a pawn was followed by the loss of a kingdom. There might you be enamoured with even a soldier's hardships, as your eye glanced on the glowing circumstantial details of Kincaid;—or you might glory in your country's Thucydides, as you read the nervous impassioned language of a Napier.Thou, too, Trant! our friend! wert there! Ah, why cut off in thy prime? Did not thy spirit glow with martial fire? Did not thy conduct give promise, that not in vain were those talents accorded


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thee? What hadst thou done, to sink thus early to a premature inglorious grave? Nor were our friends Folard and Jomini absent; nor eke the minute essays of a Jarry, who taught the aspiring youths of Great Britain all the arts of castrametation. With what gusto does he show how to attack Reading; or how, with the greatest chance of success, to defend the tranquil town of Egham. Here would he sink trous de loup on the ancient Runnimede, whereby the advance of the enemy's cavalry would be frustrated; there would he cut down an abattis, or plant chevaux de frise. At this winding of England's noblest river, would he establish a pontoon bridge; the approaches to which he would enfilade, by a battery placed on yonder height.

Before relating the conversation between Delmé and Colonel Vavasour, it may not be improper to say a few words as to the character of the latter. When we say that he was looked up to as an officer, and adored as a man, by the regiment he had commanded for years; we are not according light praise.


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Those who have worn a coat of red, or been much conversant with military affairs, will appreciate the difficult, the ungrateful task, devolving on a commanding officer.

How few, how very few are those, who can command respect, and ensure love. How many, beloved as men, are imposed on, and disregarded as officers. How many are there, whose presence on the parade ground awes the most daring hearts, who are passed by in private life, with something like contumely, and of whom, in their private relations, few speak, and yet fewer are those who wish kindly. When deserving in each relation, how frequently do we see those who want the manner, the tact, to show themselves in their true colours. An ungracious refusal—ay! or an ungraciously accorded favour! may raise a foe who will be a bar to a man's popularity for years:—whilst how many a free and independent spirit is there, who criticises with a keener eye than is his wont, the sayings and doings of his commanding officer, solely because he is such. How apt is such an one to misrepresent a word, or create a wrong


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motive for an action! how slow in giving praise, lest he should be deemed one of the servile train! Pass we over the host of petty intrigues—the myriads of conflicting interests:—show not how the partial report of a favourite, may make the one in authority unjust to him below him; or how the false tale-bearer may induce the one below to be unjust to his superior. Colonel Vavasour was not only considered in the field, as one of England's bravest soldiers; but was yet more remarkable for his gentlemanly deportment, and for the attention he ever paid to the interior economy of his corps. This gave a tone to the ----- mess, almost incredible to one, who has not witnessed, what the constant presence of a commanding officer, if he be a real gentleman, is enabled to effect. Colonel Vavasour had ideas on the duties of a soldier, which to many appeared original. We cannot but think, that the Colonel's ideas, in the main, were right. He disliked his officers marrying; often stating that he considered a sword and a wife as totally incompatible.

“Where,” would he say, “is then that boasted


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readiness of purpose, that spirit of enterprise? Can an officer then, with half a dozen shirts in his portmanteau, and a moderate quantity of cigars, if he be a smoker, declare himself ready to sail over half the world?”

The Colonel would smile as he said this, but would continue with a graver tone.

“No, there is a choice, and I blame no one for making his election:—a soldier's hardships and a soldier's joys;—or domestic happiness, and an inglorious life:—but to attempt to blend the two, is, I think, injudicious.”

On regimental subjects, he was what is technically called, a regulation man. No innovations ever crept into his regiment, wanting the sanction of the Horse Guards; whilst every order emanating from thence, was as scrupulously adopted and adhered to, as if his own taste had prompted the change. On parade, Colonel Vavasour was a strict disciplinarian;—but his sword in the scabbard, he dropped the officer in his manner,—it was impossible to do so in his appearance,—and no one ever heard him discuss military points in a place inappropriate.


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He knew well how to make the distinction between his public and his private duties. On an officer under his command, being guilty of any dereliction of duty, he would send for him, and reprimand him before the assembled corps, if he deemed that such reprimand would be productive of good effect to others; but—the parade dismissed—he would probably take this very officer's arm, or ask to accompany him in his country ride.

Colonel Vavasour had once a young and an only brother under his command. In no way did he relax discipline in his favour. Young Vavasour had committed a breach of military etiquette. He was immediately ordered by his brother to be placed in arrest, and would inevitably have been brought to a court martial, had not the commanding officer of the station interfered. During the whole of this time, the Colonel's manner towards him continued precisely the same. They lived together as usual; and no man, without a knowledge of the circumstance, could have been aware that any other but a fraternal tie bound them together.


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What was more extraordinary, the younger brother saw all this in its proper light; and whilst he clung to and loved his brother, looked up with awe and respect to his commanding officer.

As for Colonel Vavasour, no one who saw his convulsed features, as his brother fell heading a gallant charge of his company at Waterloo, could have doubted for a moment his deep-rooted affection. From that period, a gloomy melancholy hung about him, which, though shaken off in public, gave a shade to his brow, which was very perceptible.

In person, he was particularly neat; being always the best dressed officer in his regiment. “How can we expect the men to pay attention to their dress, when we give them reason to suppose we pay but little attention to our own?” was a constant remark of his. And here we may observe, that no class of men have a stricter idea of the propriety of dress, than private soldiers. To dress well is half a passport to a soldier's respect; whilst on the other hand, it requires many excellent qualities, to counterbalance in his mind a careless


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and slovenly exterior. Colonel Vavasour had an independent fortune, which he spent at the head of his regiment. Many a dinner party was given by him, for which the corps he commanded obtained the credit; many a young officer owed relief from pecuniary embarrassments, which might otherwise have overwhelmed him, to the generosity of his Colonel. He appeared not to have a wish, beyond the military circle around him, although those who knew him best, said he had greater talent, and possessed the art of fascinating in general society, more than most men.

“I am glad to see you here, Sir Henry,” said he to Delmé, “although I cannot but wish that happier circumstances had brought you to us. I have a very great esteem for your brother, and am one of his warmest well wishers. But I must not neglect the duties of hospitality. You must allow me to present you to my officers at mess this evening. Our dinner hour is late; but were it otherwise, we should miss that delightful hour for our ride, when the sun's rays have no longer power to harm us, and the sea breezes waft us


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a freshness, which almost compensates for the languor attending the summer's heat.”

Delmé declined his invitation, stating his wish to dine with his brother on that day; but expressed himself ready to accept his kind offer on the ensuing one.

“Thank you!” said Colonel Vavasour, “it is natural you should wish to see your brother; and it pains me to think that poor George cannot yet dine with his old friends. Have you seen Mr. Graham?”

Delmé replied in the affirmative; adding, that he could not but feel obliged to him for his frankness.

“I am glad you feel thus,” said Vavasour, “it emboldens me to address you with equal candour; and, painful as our advice must be, I confess I am inclined to side with George's medical attendant. I have myself been witness to such lamentable proofs of George's state of mind—he has so often, with the tears in his eyes, spoken to me of his feelings with regard to Acmé Frascati, that I certainly consider these as in a great measure the


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cause, and his state of mind the effect. I speak to you, Sir Henry, without disguise. I had once a brother—the apple of my eye—I loved him as I shall never love human being more; and, as God is my witness, under similar circumstances, frankness is what I should have prayed for,—my first wish would have been at once to know the worst. Mr. Graham has told you of his long illness—his delirium—and has, I conclude, touched upon the present state of his patient. Shall I shock you, when I add that his lucid intervals are not to be depended upon; that occasionally the wildest ideas, the most extraordinary projects, are conceived by him? I wish you not, to act on any thing that Mr. Graham, or that I may tell you, but to judge for yourself. Without this, indeed, you would hardly understand the danger of these mental paroxysms. So fearful are they, that I confess I should be inclined to adopt any remedy, make any sacrifices which promised the remotest possibility of success.”

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brother, were I once convinced these were for his real benefit.”

“I frankly mean,” said Vavasour, “that I think almost the only chance of restoring him, is by allowing him to marry Acmé Frascati.”

Delmé's brow clouded.

“Think not,” continued he, “that I am ignorant of what such a determination must cost you. I, too, Sir Henry”—and the old man drew his commanding form to its utmost height,—“I, too, know what must be the feelings of a descendant of noble ancestors. I know them well; and in more youthful days, the blood boiled in my veins as I thought of the name they had left me. Thank heaven! I have never disgraced it. But were I situated as you are, and the dead Augustus Vavasour in the place of the living George Delmé, I would act as I am now advising you to do. I speak solely as to the expediency of the measure. From what I have stated—from my situation in life—from my character—you may easily imagine that all my prejudices are enlisted on the other side of the question. But


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I must here confess that I see something inexpressibly touching in the devotion which that young Greek girl displayed, during the whole of George's illness. But putting this on one side, and considering the affair as one of mere expediency, I think you will finally agree with me, that however desperate the remedy, some such must be applied. And now, let me assure you, that nothing could have induced me to obtrude thus, my feelings and opinions on a comparative stranger, were it not that that stranger is the brother of one in whose welfare I feel the liveliest interest.”

Sir Henry Delmé expressed his thanks, and inwardly determined that he would form no opinion till he had himself been witness to some act of mental aberration. It is true, he had heard the medical attendant give a decided opinion,—from George's own lips he had an avowal of much that had been stated,—and now he had heard one, for whom he could not but feel great respect—one who had evidently no interest in the question—declare his sentiments as strongly. We are


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all sanguine as to what we wish. It may be, that a hope yet lurked in Delmé's breast, that these accounts might be unconsciously exaggerated, or that his brother's state of health was now more established than heretofore.

On returning to Floriana, Delmé found George and the blushing Acmé awaiting him. A delightful feeling is that, of again finding ourselves with those from whom we have long been parted, once more engaged in the same round of familiar avocations, once more re-acting the thousand little trifles of life which we have so often acted before, and that, too, in company with those who now sit beside us, as if to mock the lapse of intervening years. These meetings seem to steal a pinion from time's wing, and hard indeed were it if the sensations they called forth were not pleasurable ones; for oh! how rudely and frequently, on the other hand, are we reminded of the changes which the progress of years brings with it: the bereavement of loved ones—the prostration of what we revered—our buoyant elasticity of body and mind departed—all things changing and changed.


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We sigh, and gaze back. How few are the scenes, which memory's kaleidoscope presents in their pristine bright colours, of that journey, performed so slowly, as it once appeared, but which, to the eye of retrospection, seems to have hurried to its end with the rapid wings of the wind!

Imbued with an association, what a trivial circumstance will please! As the brothers touched each other's glass; and drank to mutual happiness, what grateful recollections were called up by that act! How did these manifest their power, as they lighted up the wan features of George Delmé. Acmé looked on smilingly; her hair flowing about ber neck -her dark eyes flashing with unusual brilIiancy. Delmé felt it would be unsocial were he alone to look grave; and although many foreboding thoughts crowded on him, he too seemed to be happy. It was twilight when the dinner was over. The windows were open, and the party placed themselves near the jalousies. They here commanded a view of the public gardens, where groups of Maltese were enjoying the coolness of the hour, and the fragrance of


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the flowers. The walk had a roof of lattice work supported by wooden pillars; round which, an image of woman's love, the honeysuckle clingingly twined, diffusing sweets.

Immediately before them, the principal outlet of the town presented itself. Laughing parties of English sailors were passing, mounted on steeds of every size, which they were urging forward, in spite of the piteous remonstrances of the menials of their owners. The latter, for the most part, held by the tails of their animals, and uttered a jargon composed of English, Italian, and Maltese. The only words however, that met the unregarding ears of the sailors, were some such exclamations as these,

“Not you go so fast, Signore; he good horse, but much tire.”

The riders sat in their saddles swinging from side to side, evidently thinking their tenure more precarious than that on the giddy mast; and wholly unmindful of the expressive gestures, and mournful ejaculations of the bare-legged pursuers. At another time, their antics and buffoonery, as they made unmerciful use of the short sticks


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with which they were armed, would have provoked a smile. Now our party gazed on these things as they move the wise. They felt calm and happy; and deceptive hope whispered they might yet remain so. Acmé took up her guitar, and throwing her fingers over it, as she gave a soft prelude, warbled that sweet although common song, “Buona notte, amato bene.”She sung with great feeling, and feeling is the soul of music.

How plaintively! how tenderly did her lips breathe the “ricordati ! ricordati di me!”

There was something extremely witching in her precocious charms. She resembled some beauteous bud, just ready to burst into light and bloom. It is not yet the rose,—but a moment more, may make it such. Her beauties were thus ripe for maturity. It seemed as if the sunshine of love were already upon them—they were basking in its rays. A brief space—and the girl shall no longer be such. What was promise shall be beauty. She shall meet the charmed eye a woman; rich in grace and loveliness. As Delmé


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marked her sympathising glance at George—her beaming features—her innocent simplicity;—as he thought of all she had lost, all she had suffered for his brother's sake,—as he thought of the scorn of the many—the pity of the few—the unwearied watching—the sleepless nights -the day of sorrow passed by the bed of sickness—all so cheerfully encountered for him—he could not reproach her. No! he took her hand, and the brothers whispered consolation to her, and to each other.

Late that evening, they were joined by Colonel Vavasour, and Mr. Graham. George's spirits rose hourly. Never had his Colonel appeared to such advantage—Acmé so lovely—or Henry so kind—as they did to George Delmé that night.

It was with a sigh at the past pleasures that George retired to his chamber.




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CHAPTER XII. THE MESS.

“Red coats and redder faces.”

THE following day, a room having been given up to Delmé, he discharged his bill at Beverley's; and moved to Floriana. He again accompanied George in his drive; and they had on this occasion, the advantage of Acmé's society, who amused them with her artless description of the manners of the lower orders of Maltese.

Pursuant to his promise, at the bugle's signal Delmé entered the mess room; and the Colonel immediately introduced him to the assembled officers. To his disappointment, for he felt curious to see one, who had exercised such an influence over his brother, Delancey was not amongst them.


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Sir Henry was much pleased with the feeling that appeared to exist, between Colonel Vavasour and his corps of officers:—respect on one side—and the utmost confidence on both. We think it is the talented author of Pelham, who describes a mess table as comprising “cold dishes and hot wines, where the conversation is of Johnson of ours and Thomson of yours.”

This, though severe, is near the truth; and if, to this description, be added lots of plate of that pattern called the Queen's—ungainly servants in stiff mess liveries—and a perpetual recurrence to Mr. Vice; we have certainly caught the most glaring features of a commonplace regimental dinner. Vavasour was well aware of this, and had directed unremitting attention, to give a tone to the conversation at the mess table, more nearly approaching to that of private life; one which should embrace topics of general interest, and convey some general information. Even in his welI ordered regiment, there were some, whose nature would have led them, to confine their attention to thoughts of the daily military routine. This inclination


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was repressed by the example of their Colonel; and these, if not debaters, were at least patient listeners, as the conversation dealt of matters, to them uncongenial, and the value of the discussion of which they could not themselves perceive. Not that military subjects were interdicted; the contrary was the case. But these subjects took a somewhat loftier tone, than the contemplation of an exchange of orderly duty, or an overslaugh of guard.

When dinner was announced, Colonel Vavasour placed his hand on the shoulder of a boy near him.

“Come, Cholmondeley!” said he, “sit near me, and give me an account of your match. You must not fail to write your Yorkshire friends every particular. Major Clifford, will you sit on the other side of Sir Henry? You are both Peninsula men, and will find, I doubt not, that you have many friends in common.

“There is something,”said he to Delmé, as he took his seat, “revivifying to an old soldier, in noting the exhilaration of spirit of these boys. It reminds us of the zeal with which we too buckled


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on our coat of red. It is a great misfortune these youngsters labour under, that they have no outlet for their ambition, no scene on which they can display their talents. Never were youthful aspirants for service more worthy, or more zealous, and yet it is probable their country will not need them, until they arrive at an age, when neither body nor mind are attuned for commencing a life of hardship, however well adapted to continue in it. We have had the advantage there—we trod the soldier's proudest stage when our hopes and buoyancy of heart were at their highest; and for myself, I am satisfied that much of my present happiness, arises from the very different life of my earlier years.”

The conversation took a military turn; and Delmé could not help observing the attention, with which the younger members of the corps heard the anecdotes, related by those who had been actually engaged. Occasionally, the superior reading of the juniors would peep out, and give them the advantage of knowledge, even with regard to circumstances, over those who had been personal actors in the


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affairs they spoke of. The most zealous of these detail narrators, were the quarter-master of the regiment, and Delmé's right-hand neighbour, Major Clifford. The former owed his appointment to his gallantry, in saving the colours of his regiment, when the ensign who bore them was killed, and the enemy's cavalry were making a sudden charge, before the regiment could form its square.

His was a bluff purple face, denoting the bon vivant. Indeed, it was with uncommon celerity that his previous reputation of being the best maker of rum punch in the serjeants' mess, had changed into his present one of being the first concoctor of sangaree at the officers'.

Major Clifford merits more especial notice. He was a man hardly appreciated in his own profession; out of it, he was misrepresented, and voted a bore. He had spent all the years of his life, since the down mantled his upper lip, in the service of his country; and for its good, as he conceived it, he had sacrificed all his little fortune. It is true his liberality had not had a very comprehensive range: he had sunk his money in the improvement of the


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personal appearance of his company—in purchasing pompons—or new feathers—or whistles, when he was a voltigeur—in establishing his serjeants' mess on a more respectable footing—in giving his poor comrade a better coffin, or a richer pall :—these had been his foibles; and in indulging them, he had expended the wealth, that might have purchased him on to rank and honours. His eagle glance, his aquiline nose, and noble person, showed what he must have been in youth. His hair was now silvered, but his coat was as glossy as formerly—his zeal was unabated—his pride in his profession the same—and what he could spare, still went, to adorn the persons of the soldiers he still loved. He remained a captain, although his long standing in the army had brought him in for the last brevet. It is true every one had a word for poor Clifford. “Such a fine fellow! what a shame!”But this did not help him on. At the Horse Guards, too, his services were freely acknowledged. The Military Secretary had always a smile for him at his levee, and an assurance that “he had his eye on him.”The Commander in Chief, too, the last


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time he had inspected the regiment, attracted by his Waterloo badge, and Portuguese cross, had stopped as he passed in front of the ranks, and conversed with him most affably for nearly two minutes and a half; as his colour serjeant with some degree of pride used to tell the story. But yet, somehow or other, although Major Clifford was an universal favourite, they always forgot to reward him. A man of the world, would have deemed the Major's ideas to be rather contracted; and to confess the truth, there were two halcyon periods of his life, to which he was fond of recurring. The one was, when he commanded a light company, attached to General Crauford's light brigade;—the other, when he had the temporary command of the regimental depot, and at his own expense, had dressed out it little band, as it had never been dressed out before.

Do you sneer at the old soldier, courtly reader?

There breathes not a man who dare arraign that man's courage;—there is not one who knows him, who would not cheerfully stake his life as a gage for his stainless honour.




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The soup and fish had been removed, when Delmé observed a young officer glide in, with that inexpressible air of fashion, which appears to shun notice, whilst it attracts it. His arm was in a sling, and his attenuated face seemed to bespeak ill health. Sir Henry addressed Colonel Vavasour, and begged to know if the person who had just entered the room was Delancey. He was answered in the affirmative; and he again turned to scrutinise his features. These rivetted attention; and were such as could not be seen once, without being gazed at again. His eyes were dark and large, and rested for minutes on one object, with an almost mournful expression; nor was it until they turned from its contemplation, that the discriminating observer might read in their momentary flash, that their possessor had passions deep and uncontrollable. His dark hair hung in profusion over his forehead, which it almost hid; though from the slight separation of a curl, the form of brow became visible; which was remarkable for its projection, and for its pallid hue, which offered a strong contrast to the swart and sunburnt face.


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“Are you aware of his history?” said the Colonel. “Not in the slightest,” replied Delmé. “I felt curious to see him, on account of the way in which he has been mixed up with George's affair; and think his features extraordinary—very extraordinary ones.”

“He is son,” said Vavasour, “to the once celebrated Lady Harriet D----, who made a marriage so disgracefully low. He is the only child by that union. His parents lived for many years on the continent, in obscurity, and under an assumed name. They are both dead. It is possible Delancey may play a lofty role in the world, as he has only a stripling between him and the earldom of D----, which descends in the female line. I am sure he will not be a common character; but I have great fears about him. In the regiment he is considered proud and unsocial; and indeed it was your brother's friendship that appeared to retain him in our circle. He has great talents, and some good qualities; but from his uncommon impetuosity of temper, and his impatience of being thwarted, I should be inclined to predict, that the first check he


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receives in life, will either make him a misanthrope, or a pest to society.”

At a later period of his life, Delmé again encountered Delancey; and this prophecy of he Colonel's was vividly recalled.

In the ensuing chapter, we purpose giving Oliver Delancey's history, as a not uninstructive episode; although we are aware that episodes are impatiently tolerated, and it is in nowise allied to the purpose of our story. But before doing so, we must detail a conversation which occurred between Delancey and Delmé, at the table of the -- mess. The latter was scanning the features of the former, when their eyes met. A conviction seemed to flash on Delancey, that Delmé was George's brother; for the blood rushed to his cheek—his colour went and came—and as he turned away his head, he made a half involuntary bow. Delmé was struck with his manner, and apparent emotion; and in returning the salute, ventured “to hope he was somewhat recovered.”

When Major Clifford left the table, Delancey took his vacant seat.


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“Sir Henry Delmé,” said he, “I have before this wished to see you, to implore the forgiveness of your family for the misery I have occasioned. How often have I cursed my folly! I acted on an impulse, which at the time I could not withstand. I had never serious views with regard to Acmé Frascati. Indeed, I may here tell you,—to no other man have I ever named it,—that I have ties in my own country far dearer, and more imperatively binding. I knew I had erred. The laws of society could alone have made me meet George Delmé as a foe; but even then on the ground—God and my second know that my weapon was never directed at my friend. I am an unsocial being, Sir Henry, and, from my habits, not likely to be popular. Your brother knew this, and saved me from petty contentions and invidious calumnies. He was the best and only friend I possessed. I purpose soon to leave Malta and the army. The former is become painful to me,—for the latter I have a distaste. A feeling of delicacy to Acmé Frascati would prevent my seeing your brother, even if Mr.


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Graham had not forbidden the interview, as likely to harass his mind. Will you, then, assure him of my unabated attachment, and tell me that you forgive me for the part I have taken in this unhappy affair.”

Delmé was much moved as he assured him he would do all he wished; that he could see little to blame him for—that George's excited feelings had brought on the present crisis, and that he had amply atoned for any share he might have had in the transaction. Delancey pressed his hand gratefully.

It was at a somewhat late hour that Delmé joined Acmé and his brother; declining the hearty invitation of the Quartermaster to come down to his quarters.

“He could give him a devilled turkey and a capital cigar.”




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CHAPTER XIII. OLIVER DELANCEY.

“Then the few, whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness,
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt, or ocean of excess;
The magnet of their course is gone, or only points in vain
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never reach again.”


WE have said that Delmé saw Delancey once more. It was at a later period of our story, when business had taken Sir Henry to Bath. He had been dining with Mr. Belliston Graeme, who possessed a villa in the neighbourhood. Tempted by the beauty of the night, he dismissed his carriage, and, turning from the high road, took a by-path which led to the city. The air was serene and mild. The moon-light was sufficiently


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clear to chase away night's dank vapours. The ground had imperceptibly risen, until having ascended a grassy eminence, over which the path stretched, the well-lighted city burst upon the eye.

Immediately in front of the view, a principal street presented itself, the lamps on either side stretching in regular succession, until they gradually narrowed and joined in the perspective. Nearer to the spectator, the flickering lights of the detached villas, and the moving ones of the carriages in the public road, relieved the stillness of the scene. Delmé paused to regard it, with that subdued feeling with which men, arrived at a certain period of life, scan the aspect of nature. The moon at the moment was enveloped in light clouds. As it broke through them, its shimmering light revealed a face and form that Delmé at once recognised as Delancey's. It was with a consciousness of pain he did so, for it brought before him recollections of scenes, whose impressions had still power to subdue him. All emotions, however, soon became absorbed in that of curiosity, as he


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noted the still figure and agitated features before him. A block of granite lay near the path. Delancey leant back over it—his right hand nearly touched the ground—his hat lay beside him. The dark hair, wet with the dews of night, was blown back by the breeze. His high forehead was fully shewn. His vest and shirt were open, as he gazed with an air of fixedness on the city, and conversed to himself. His teeth were firmly clenched, and it seemed that the lips moved not, but the words were fearfully distinct. We often hear of these soliloquies,—they afford scope to the dramatist, food for the poet, a chapter for the narrator of fiction,—but we rarely witness them. When we do, they are eminently calculated to thrill and alarm. It was evident that Delancey saw him not; but had it been otherwise, Delmé's interest was so aroused that he could not have left the spot.

“Hail! sympathising night!” thus spoke the young man, “the calm of thy silent hour seems in unison with my lone heart—thy dewy breeze imparts a freshness to this languid and darkened


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spirit. Sweet night! how I love thee! And moon, too! fair moon! how abruptly!—how chastely!—how gloriously! -dost thou break through the variegated and fleecy clouds, which would impede thy progress, and deny me to gaze on thy white orb unshrouded. And thou, too! radiant star of eye! oh that woman's love but resembled thee! that it were gentle, constant, and pure as thy holy gleam. That that should dazzle to bring in its train—oh God! what misery.” He raised his hand to his brow, as if a poignant thought had stung him.

Sir Henry Delmé stole away, and ruminated long that night, on the distress that could thus convulse those fine features. Afterwards, when Delancey's name was no longer the humble one he had first known it, but became bruited in loftier circles, for Vavasour's prediction became realised,—Delmé heard it whispered, that his affections had suffered an early blight, from the infidelity of one to whom he had been affianced. We may relate the circumstances as they occurred. Blanche Allen was the daughter of a country gentleman of


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some wealth, whose estate joined that of the Earl of D----'s, where Delancey's boyhood had been spent. For years Blanche and Oliver considered themselves as more than friends. Each selected the other as the companion in the solitary walk, or partner in the joyous dance. Not a country girl but had her significant smile, as young Delancey's horse's head was turned towards Hatton Grange.

Delancey joined the army at an early age. Blanche was some eighteen months his junior. They parted with tears, and thus they continued to do for the two following years, during which Oliver frequently got leave to run down to his uncle's. This was while he was serving with part of the regiment at home. When it came to his turn to embark for foreign service, it was natural from this circumstance, as well as from their riper age, that their farewell should be of a more solemn nature. They bade adieu by the side of the streamlet that divided the two properties. It was where this made a small fall, down which it gushed in crystal brightness, and then meandered


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with gentle murmur through a succession of rich meadows. A narrow bridge was below the fall, while beside it, a rustic seat had been placed, on which the sobbing Blanche sat, with her lover's arm round her waist. For the first time he had talked seriously of their attachment, and it was with youthful earnestness, that they mutually plighted their troth. Nor did Blanche hesitate, though blushing deeply as she did so, to place in his hand a trivial gage d'amour, and that which has so long solaced absent lovers, a lock of her sunny hair. Blanche was very beautiful, but she had a character common to many English women—more so, we think, than to foreign ones.

As a girl, Blanche was nature's self, warm, gentle, confiding,—as an unmarried woman, she was a heartless coquette,—as a matron, an exemplary mother and an affectionate wife. During the time Delancey was abroad, he heard of Blanche but seldom, for the lovers were not of that age in which a correspondence would be tolerated by Blanche's family. She once managed to send him, by the hands of a young cousin, some trifling


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present, with a few lines accompanying it, informing him that she had not forgotten him. His uncle—his only correspondent in England—was not exactly the person to make a confidant of; but he would, in an occasional postscript, let him know that he had seen Blanche Allen lately—that "she was very gay, prettier than ever, and always blushing when spoken to of a certain person.”

To do Oliver justice, he at all times thought of Blanche. We have seen him, with regard to Acmé, apparently disregarding her, but in that affair he had been actuated by a mere spirit of adventure. His heart was but slightly enlisted, and his feelings partook of any thing but those of a serious attachment.

Oliver Delancey left Malta soon after his conversation with Delmé. Previous to doing so, he had forwarded his resignation to Colonel Vavasour.

He passed some time in Italy, and, as the season arrived, found himself a denizen in that gayest of cities, Vienna. Pleasure is truly there enshrouded in her liveliest robes. As regards Delancey, not in vain was she thus clothed. Just


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relieved from the dull monotony of a military life—dull as it ever must be without war's excitement, and peculiarly distasteful to one constituted like Delancey, who refused to make allowance for the commonplace uncongenial spirits with whom he found himself obliged to herd—he was quite prepared to embrace with avidity any life that promised an agreeable change. Austria's capital holds out many inducements to dissipation, and to none are these more freely tendered, than to young and handsome Englishmen. The women, over the dangerous sentimentality of their nation, throw such an air of ease and frankness, that their victims resemble the finny tribe in the famous tunny fishery. While they conceive the whole ocean is at their command—disport here and there in imagined freedom—they are already encased by the insidious nets; the harpoon is already pointed, which shall surely pierce them. Delancey plunged headlong into pleasure's vortex—touched each link between gaiety and crime. He wandered from the paths of virtue from the infatuation of folly, and continued to err from the fascinations of


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sin. He was suddenly recalled to himself, by one of those catastrophes often sent by Providence, to awaken us from intoxicating dreams. His companion, with whom he had resided during his stay in Vienna, lost his all at a gaming table. Although he had not the firmness of mind to face his misfortunes, yet had he the rashness to meet his God unbidden. Sobered and appalled, Oliver left Germany for England. There was a thought, which even in the height of his follies obtruded, and which now came on him with a force that surprised himself. That thought was of Blanche Allen. He turned from the image of his expiring friend to dwell unsated on hers. A new vista of life seemed to open—thoughts which had long slept came thronging on his mind—he was once more the love-sick boy. The more, too, he brooded over his late unworthiness, the more did his imagination ennoble the one he loved. He now looked to the moment of meeting her, as that whence he would date his moral regeneration. “Thank God!” thought he, “a sure haven is yet mine. There will I—my feelings steadied, my


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affections concentrated—enjoy a purified and unruffled peace. What a consolation to be loved by one so good and gentle!”

He hurried towards England, travelled day and night, and only wondered that he could have rested anywhere, while he had the power of flying to her he had loved from childhood. Occasionally a feeling of apprehension would cross him. It was many months since he had heard of her—she might be ill. His love was of that confiding nature, that he could not conceive her changed. As he came near his home, happier thoughts succeeded. In fancy, he again saw her enjoying the innocent pleasures in which he had been her constant companion,—health on her cheek—affection in her glance. He had to pass that well known lodge. His voice shook, as he told the driver to stop at its gate. As he drove through the avenue of elms, he threw himself back in the carriage, and every limb quivered from his agitation. He could hardly make himself understood to the domestic—he waited not an answer to his enquiry—but bounded up the stairs, and with faltering step entered


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the room. Blanche was there, and not alone: but oh! how passing fair! Even Delancey had not dared to think, that the beauty of the girl could have been so eclipsed by the ripe graces of the woman. She recognised him, and rose to meet him with a burst of unfeigned surprise. She held out her hand with an air of winning frankness; and yet for an instant,—and his hand as it pressed hers, trembled with that thought,—he deemed there was a hesitating blush on her cheek, which should not have been there. But it passed away, and radiant with smiles, she turned to the one beside her.

“My dear,” said she, as she gave him a confiding look, which haunts Delancey yet, “this is a great friend of Papa's, and an old playmate of mine, Mr. Delancey;” and as the stranger stepped forward to shake his hand, Blanche looked at her old lover, with a glance that seemed to say, "How foolish were we, to deem we were ever more than friends." Oliver Delancey turned deadly pale; but pride bade him scorn her, and his hand shook not, as it touched that of him, who had robbed


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him of a treasure, he would have died to have called his.

“And you have been to D---- Castle, I suppose, and found your uncle had left it for Bath. Indeed, we only arrived the day before yesterday; but Papa wrote us, saying he had got one of his attacks of rheumatism, from the late fishing, and begged us to take this on our way to Habberton. Did you see my marriage in the papers, or did your uncle write you, Oliver?”

Delancey's lips quivered, but his countenance did not change, as he looked her in the face, and told her he had not known it until now.

And now her husband spoke: “It was very late, and he must want refreshment; and Mr. Allen intended to be wheeled to the dinner table; and they could so easily send up to D---- Castle to tell them to get a bed aired; and he could dismiss the chaise now, and their carriage could take him there at night.”

And Delancey did stay, although unable to analyse the feeling that made him do so. And during dinner, he was the life of that little


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party. He spoke of foreign lands—related strange incidents of travel—dwelt with animation on his schoolboy exploits. The old man was delighted—the husband forgot his wife;—and she, the false one, sat silent, and for the moment disregarded. She gazed and gazed again on that familiar face—drank in the tones of that accustomed voice—and the chill of compunction crept over her frame.

But Delancey's brain was on fire; and in the solitude of his chamber—no! he was not calm there. He paced hurriedly across the oaken floor; and he opened wide his window, and looked out on the bright stars, spangling heaven's blue vault; and then beneath him, where the cypress trees bowed their heads to the wind, and the moon's light fell on the marble statues on the terrace.

And he turned to his bed-side, and hid his tearless face in his hands; and in the fulness of his despair, he knelt and prayed, that though he had long neglected his God, his God would not now forsake him. And, as if to mock his sufferings, sleep came; but it was short, very short; and a weight, a leaden weight, oppressed his eye-lids


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even in slumber. And he gave one start, and awoke a prey to mental agony. His despair flashed on him—he sprung up wildly in his bed. "Liar! liar!" said he, as with clenched teeth, and hand upraised, he recalled that fond look given to another. Drops of sweat started to his brow—his pulse beat quick and audibly—quicker—quicker yet. A feeling of suffocation came over him—and God forgive him! Oliver Delancey deemed that hour his last. He staggered blindly to the bell, and with fearful energy pulled its cord, till it fell clattering on the marble hearth stone. The domestics found him speechless and insensible on the floor—the blood oozing from his mouth and ears.

It may be said that this picture is overcharged; that no vitiated mind could have thus felt. But it is not so. In life's spring we all feel acutely: and to the effects of disappointed love, and wounded pride, there are few limits.

Woman! dearest woman! born to alleviate our sorrow, and soothe our anguish! who canst bid feeling's tear trickle down the obdurate cheek, or mould the iron heart, till it be pliable as a child's—


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why stain thy gentle dominion by inconstancy? why dismiss the first form that haunted thy maiden pillow, until—or that vision is a dear reality beside thee—or thou liest pale and hushed, on thy last couch of repose?

And then—shall not thy virgin spirit hail him? Why first fetter us, slaves to virtue and to thee; then become the malevolent Typhoon, on whose wings our good genius flies for ever? In this—far worse than the iconoclasts of yore art thou! They but disfigured images of man's rude fashioning: whilst thou wouldst injure the once loved form of God's high creation,—wouldst entail on the body a premature decay—and on that which dieth not, an irradicable blight.

“Then the mortal coldness of the soul, like death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for others woes—it dares not dream its own,
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears;
And though the eye may sparkle still, 'tis where the ice appears.”

On such a character as was Delancey's, the blow


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did indeed fall heavy. Not that his paroxysms of grief were more lasting, or his pangs more acute, than is usual in similar cases; but to his moral worth it was death. An infliction of this nature, falling on a comparatively virtuous man, is productive of few evil consequences. It may give a holier turn to his thoughts -wean him from sublunary vanities—and purify his nature. On an utterly depraved man, its effects may be fleeting also; for few can here expect a moral regeneration. But falling on Delancey, it was not thus. The slender thread that bound him to virtue, was snapt asunder; the germ whence the good of his nature might have sprung, destroyed for ever. Such a man could not love purely again. To expect him to wander to another font, and imbibe from as clear a stream, would be madness. The love of a man of the world, let it be the first and best, is gross and earthly enough; but let him be betrayed in that love—let him see the staff on which he confidingly leant, break from under him—and he becomes from henceforth the deceiver—but never the deceived.


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When Delmé saw him, Delancey was writhing under his affliction. When he again entered the world, and it was soon, he regarded it as a wide mart, where he might gratify his appetites, and unrestrainedly indulge his evil propensities. He believed not that virtue and true nobility were there; could he but find them. He looked at the blow his happiness had sustained, and thought it afforded a fair sample of human nature. Oliver Delancey became a selfish and a profligate man.

He was to be pitied; and from his soul did Delmé pity him. He had been one of promise and of talent; but now his lot is cast on the die of apathy;—and it is to be feared—without a miracle intervene—and should his life be spared—that when the wavy locks of youth are changed to the silver hairs of age—that he will then be that thing of all others to be scoffed at—the hoary sensualist. Let us hope not! Let us hope that she who hath brought him to this, may rest her head on the bosom of her right lord, and forget the one, whose hand used to be locked in her own, for hours—hours which flew quick as summer's evening shadows!


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Let us trust that remorse may be absent from her; that she may never know that worst of reflections—the having injured one who had loved her, irreremediably; that she may gaze on her fair-haired children, and her cheek blanch not as she recals another form than the father's; that her life may be irreproachable, her end calm and dignified; that dutiful children may attend the inanimate clay to its resting place; that filial tears may bedew her grave; and, when the immortal stands appalled before its Judge, that the destruction of that soul may not be laid to her charge.




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CHAPTER XIV. THE SPITFIRE.

“And I have loved thee! Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles onward.”


“Pull away! yo ho! boys!”

Delmé continued to reside with his brother, whose health seemed to amend daily. George generally managed to accompany him in his sight-seeing, from which Henry derived great gratification.

He mused over the antique tombs of some of the departed knights; and admired the rich mosaics in that splendid church, dedicated to Saint John; than which the traveller may voyage long, and meet nothing worthier his notice. He visited the ancient armoury—dined at the palace, and at


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the different messes—inspected the laborious travailings of the silkworm at the boschetto—conversed with the original of Byron's Leila—a sweet creature she is!—looked with wondering eye on the ostrich of Fort Manuel—and heard the then commandant's wife relate her tale thereanent. He went to Gozzo too—shot rabbits—and crossed in a basket to the fungus rock. He saw a festa in the town, and a festa in the country—rode to St. Antonio, and St. Paul's Bay—and was told he had seen the lions. Nor must we pass over that most interesting of spectacles; viz., some figures enveloped in monkish cowl, and placed in convenient niches; but beneath the close hood, the blood mounts not with devotion's glow, nor do eyes glare from sockets shrunk by abstinence.Skeletons alone are there!

These, curious reader, are the bodies of saintly Capuchins; thus exhibited—dried and baked—to excite beholders to a life of virtue!

One morning, George said he felt rather unwell, and would stay at home. An oar happened to be wanted in the regimental gig, which Sir Henry


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offered to take. He was soon accoutred in the dress of an absent member, and in a short time was discharging the duties of his office to the satisfaction of all; for he knew every secret of feathering, and had not caught a crab for years.

It was a beautifully calm day—not a speck in the azure heaven. It was hot too—but for this they cared not. They had porter; and on such occasions, what better beverage would you ask? Swiftly and gaily did the slim bark cleave through the glassy sea. Its hue was a dark crimson, with one black stripe—its nom de guerre, the Spitfire. As the ------ regiment particularly prided itself on its aquatic costume, we shall describe it. Small chased pearl buttons on the blue jacket and white shirt; a black band round the neck, to match the one on the narrow-brimmed thick straw hat; white trousers; couleur de rose silk collar, fastened to the throat by a golden clasp; and stockings of the same colour. How joyously did the gig hold her course! What a thrilling sensation expanded the soul, as the steersman, a handsome little fellow with large black whiskers, gave the encouraging


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word, “Stroke! my good ones!” Then were exerted all the energies of the body—then was developed each straining muscle—then were the arms thrown back in sympathy, to give a long pull, and a strong pull—till the bark reeled beneath them, and shot through the wave.

The tall ship—the slender mole—the busy deck—the porticoed palace—the strong fort—the bristling battery—the astonished fisher's bark as it sluggishly crept on—were all cheeringly swept by, as the bending oars in perfect unison, kissed the erst slumbering water. What sensation can be more glorious? The only thing to compete with it, is the being in a crack coach on the western road; the opposition slightly in front—a knowing whip driving—when the horses are at their utmost speed—the traces tight as traces can be—the ladies inside pale and screaming—one little child cramming out her head, her mouth stuffed with Banbury cakes, adding her shrill affetuoso—whilst the odd-looking man in the white hat, seated behind, is blue from terror, and with chattering teeth, mumbles undistinguishable sentences of furious


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driving and prosecution. Surely such moments half redeem our miseries! What bitter thought can travel twelve miles an hour?

And ever and anon would the Spitfire dart into some little creek, and the thirsty rowers would rest on their oars, whose light drip fell on purple ocean, tinged by a purple sky. And now would the jovial steersman introduce the accommodating cork-screw, first into one bottle and then into another, as these were successively emptied, and thrown overboard, to give the finny philosophers somewhat to speculate on.

Delmé landed weary; but it was a beneficial weariness. He felt he had taken manly exercise, and that it would do him good. He was walking towards the barrack, with his jacket slung over his shoulder, when he was met by George's servant.

“Oh, Sir!”said the man, “I am so glad you are come. The Signora is terribly afraid for my young master. I fear, Sir, he is in one of his fits.”

Delmé hurried forward, and entered his brother's room. George held a riding whip in his hand.


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He had thrown off his cravat—his throat was bare—his eyes glanced wildly.

“And who are you, Sir?” said he, as Henry entered.

“What! not know me, dearest George?" replied his brother, in agony.

“I do not understand your insolence, Sir; but if you are a dun, go to my servant. Thompson,” continued he, “give me my spurs! I shall ride.”

“Ride!” said Delmé.

Thompson made him a quiet sign. “I am very sorry, Sir,” said he, “but the Arab is quite lame, and is not fit for the saddle.”

“Give me a glass of sangaree then, you rascal! Port—do you hear?”

The glass was brought him. He drained its contents at a draught.

“Now, kick that scoundrel out of the room, Thompson, and let me sleep.”

He threw himself listlessly on the sofa. Acmé was weeping bitterly, but he seemed not to notice her. It was late in the day. The surgeon had been sent for. He now arrived, and stated that


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nothing could be done; but recommended his being watched closely, and the removing all dangerous weapons. He begged Henry, however, to indulge him in all his caprices, in order that he might the better observe the state of his mind.

While George slept, Delmé entered another room, and ordering the servant to inform him when he awoke, he sat down to dinner alone and dispirited; for Acmé refused to leave George. It was indeed a sad, and to Sir Henry Delmé an unforeseen shock.

In a couple of hours, Thompson came with a message from Acmé. “Master is awake, Sir—knows the Signora—and seems much better. He has desired me to brush his cloak, as he intends going out. Shall I do so, Sir, or not?”

“Do so!” said Delmé, “but fail not to inform me when he is about to go; and be yourself in readiness. We will watch him.”




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CHAPTER XV. THE CHARNEL HOUSE.

“And when at length the mind shall be all free,
From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly or worm;
When elements to elements conform,
And dust is as it should be.”


THE last grey tinge of twilight, was fast giving place to the sombre hues of night, as a figure, enveloped in a military cloak, issued from the barrack at Floriana.

Henry at once recognised George; and only delaying till a short distance had intervened between his brother and himself, Delmé and Thompson followed his footsteps.

George Delmé walked swiftly, as if intent on


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some deep design. The long shadow thrown out by his figure, enabled his pursuers to distinguish him very clearly. He did not turn his head, but, with hurried step, strode the species of common which divides Floriana from La Valette. Crossing the drawbridge, and passing through the porch which guards the entrance to the town, he turned down an obscure street, and, folding his cloak closer around him, rapidly—yet with an appearance of caution—continued his route, diving from one street to another, till he entered a small courtyard, in which stood an isolated gloomy-looking house. No light appeared in the windows, and its exterior bespoke it uninhabited. Henry and the domestic paused, expecting George either to knock or return to the street. He walked on, however, and, turning to one side of the porch, descended a flight of stone steps, and entered the lower part of the house.

“Perhaps we had better not both follow him,” said the servant.

“No, Thompson! do you remain here, only taking care that your master does not pass you:


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and I think you may as well go round the house, and see if there is any other way of leaving it.”

Sir Henry descended the steps in silence. Arrived at the foot of the descent, a narrow passage, diverging to the left, presented itself. Beyond appeared a distant glimmering of light. Delmé groped along the passage, using the precaution to crouch as low as possible, until he came before a large comfortless room; in the centre of which, was placed a brass lamp, whose light was what he had discerned at the extremity of the passage. He could distinctly observe the furniture and inmates of the room. Of the former, the only articles were a table—on which were placed the remains of a homely meal—an iron bedstead, and a barrel, turned upside down, which served as a substitute for a chair. The bedstead had no curtains, but in lieu of them, there were hangings around it, which struck Delmé as resembling mourning habiliments. Whilst the light operated thus favourably, in enabling Sir Henry to note the interior of the apartment, it was hardly possible, from its situation, that he himself could


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be observed. Its rays did not reach the passage; and he was also shrouded in some degree by a door, which was off its hinges, and which was placed against the wall. Fastened to the side of the room were two deep shelves—the lower one containing some bottles and plates; the upper, a number of human sculls. In a corner were some more of these, intermingled in a careless heap, with a few bleached bones.

George Delmé was standing opposite the door, conversing earnestly with a Maltese, evidently of the lowest caste. The latter was seated on the barrel we have mentioned, and was listening with apparently a mixture of surprise and exultation to what George was saying. George's voice sunk to an inaudible whisper, as the conversation continued, and he was evidently trying to remove some scruples, which this man either affected to feel, or really felt. The man's answers were given in a gruff and loud tone of voice, but from the Maltese dialect of his Italian, Sir Henry could not understand what was said. His countenance was very peculiar. It was of that derisive character


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rarely met with in one of his class of life, except when called forth by peculiar habits, or extraordinary circumstances. His eyes were very small, but bright and deeply set. His lips wore a constant sarcastic smile, which gave him the air of a bold but cunning man. His throat and bosom were bare, and of a deep copper colour; and his muscular chest was covered with short curly hair. The conversation on George's part became more animated, and he at length made use of what seemed an unanswerable argument. Taking out a beaded purse, which Sir Henry knew well—it had been Emily's last present to George—he emptied the contents into the bronzed hand of his companion, who grasped the money with avidity. The Maltese now appeared to acquiesce in all George's wishes; and rising, went towards the bed, and selected some of the articles of wearing apparel Delmé had already noticed. He addressed some words to George, who sat on the bedside quiescently, while the man went to the table, and took up a knife that was upon it. For a moment, Delmé felt alarm lest his design might


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be a murderous one; but it was not so. He laughed savagely, as he made use of the knife, to cut off the luxuriant chestnut ringlets, which shaded George's eyes and forehead. He then applied to the face some darkening liquid, and commenced choosing a sable dress. George threw off his cloak, and was attired by the Maltese, in a long black cotton robe of the coarsest material, which, descending to the feet, came in a hood over his face, which it almost entirely concealed. During the whole of this scene, George Delmé's features wore an air of dogged apathy, which alarmed his brother, even more than his agitation in the earlier part of the day. After his being metamorphosed in the way we have described, it would have been next to an impossibility to have recognised him. His companion put on a dress of the same nature, and Sir Henry was preparing to make his retreat, presuming that they would now leave the building, when he was induced to stay for the purpose of remarking the conduct of the Maltese. He took up a scull, and placing his finger through an eyeless hole, whence once love beamed or hate flashed,


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he made some savage comment, which he accompanied by a long and malignant laugh. This would at another time have shocked Sir Henry, but there was another laugh, wilder and more discordant, that curdled the blood in Delmé's veins. It proceeded from his brother, the gay—the happy George Delmé; and as it re-echoed through the gloomy passage, it seemed that of a remorseless demon, gloating on the misfortunes of the human race. Delmé turned away in agony, and, unperceived, regained the anxious domestic. Screened by an angle of the building, they saw George and his companion ascend the stone steps, cross the yard, and turn into the street. They followed him cautiously—Delmé's ears ringing with that fiendish laugh. George's companion stopped for a moment, at a house in the street, where they were joined by a sallow-looking priest, apparently one of the most disgusting of his tribe. He was accompanied by a boy, also drest in sacerdotal robes, in one hand bearing a silver-ornamented staff, of the kind frequently used in processions, and in other observances of the


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Catholic religion; and in the other, a rude lanthorn, whose light enabled Delmé to note these particulars. As the four figures swept through the streets, the lower orders prostrated themselves, before the figure of the crucified and dying Saviour which surmounted the staff. They again stopped, and the priest entered a house alone. On coming back, he was followed by a coffin, borne on the shoulders of four of the lower order of Maltese. At the moment these were leaving the house, Henry heard a solitary scream, apparently of a woman. It was wild and thrilling; such an one as we hear from the hovering sea bird, as the tempest gathers to a head. To Delmé, coming as it did at that lone hour from one he saw not, it seemed superhuman. In the front of the house stood two caleches, the last of which, Sir Henry observed was without doors. At a sign from the Maltese, George and his strange companion entered it. They were followed by the coffin, which was placed lengthways, with the two ends projecting into the street. In the leading caleche were the priest and boy, the latter of


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whom thrust the figure of the bleeding Jesus out at the window, whilst with the other hand he held up the lanthorn. Twice more did the caleche stop—twice receive corpses. Another light was produced, and placed in the last conveyance, and Delmé took the opportunity of their arranging this, to pass by the caleche, The light that had been placed in it shone full on George. The coffins were on a level with the lower part of his face. Nothing of his body, which was jammed in between the seat and the coffins, could be seen. But the features, which glared over the pall, were indeed terrific; apathy no longer marked them. George seemed wound up to an extraordinary state of excitement. Gone was the glazed expression of his eye, which now gleamed like that of a famished eagle. The Maltese leant back in the carriage, with a sardonic smile, his dark face affording a strange contrast to the stained, but yet ghastly hue of George Delmé's.

“They intend to take them to the vault at Floriana, your honor,” said the servant, “shall I call a caleche, and we can follow them?”


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Without waiting a reply, for the man saw that Sir Henry's faculties, were totally absorbed in the strange scene he had witnessed; Thompson called a carriage, which passed the other two—now commencing at a funeral pace to proceed to the vault—and, taking the same direction which they had done on entering the town, a short time sufficed to put them down immediately opposite the church. They had time allowed them to dismiss their carriage, and screen themselves from observation, before the funeral procession arrived.

This stopped in front of the vault, and Delmé anxiously scrutinised the proceedings. Another man—probably the one whose place George had supplied—had joined them outside the town, and now walked by the side of the caleche. He assisted George's companion in bearing out the coffins. The huge door grated on its hinges, as they opened it. The coffins were borne in, and the whole party entered; the priest mumbling a short Latin prayer. In a short time, the priest alone returned; and looking cautiously around, and seeing no one, struck a light from a tinder box,


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and lighted his cigar. The other two men brought back the coffins, evidently relieved of their weight; and the priest -the boy—with the man who had last joined them, and who had also lit his cigar—entered the first caleche, after exchanging some jokes with George's companion, and returned at a rapid pace towards the town. During this time, George Delmé had been left alone in the vault. His companion returned to him, after taking the precaution to fasten its doors inside.

Sir Henry was now at a loss what plan to adopt; but Thompson, after a moment's hesitation, suggested one.

“There is an iron grating, Sir, over part of the vault, through which, when a bar was loose, I know one of our soldiers went down. Shall I get a cord?”

The man ran towards his barrack, and returned with it. To wrench by their united efforts, one bar from its place, and to fasten the rope to another, was the work of an instant. Space was just left them to creep through the aperture. Sir Henry was the first to breathe the confined air of the


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sepulchre. A voice warned him in what direction to proceed; and not waiting for the domestic, he groped his way forward through a narrow passage. At first, Delmé thought there was a wall on either side him; but as he made a false step, and the bones crumbled beneath, he knew that it was a wall, formed of the bleached remains of the bygone dead. As he drew nearer the voice, he was guided by the lanthorn brought by George's companion; and towards this he proceeded, almost overpowered by the horrible stench of the charnel house. As he drew near enough to distinguish objects, what a scene presented itself! In one corner of the vault, lay a quantity of lime used to consume the bodies, whilst nearer the light, lay corpses in every stage of putrefaction. In some, the lime had but half accomplished its purpose; and while in parts of the body, the bones lay bare and exposed; in others, corruption in its most loathsome form prevailed. Here the meaner reptiles -active and prolific—might be seen busily at work, battening on human decay. Sir Henry stepped over a dead body, and started, as a rat, scared from its prey,


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rustled through a wreath of withered flowers, and hid itself amid a mouldering heap of bones. But there were some forms lovely still! In them the pulse of life had that day ceased to beat. The rigidity of Death—his impressive stillness was there—but he had not yet “swept the lines where beauty lingers.”

The Maltese stood with folded arms, closely regarding George Delmé.

George leant against a pillar, with one knee bent. Over it was stretched the corpse of a girl, with the face horribly decomposed. The dull and flagging winds of the vault moved her dank and matted hair.

“Acmé,”said he, as he parted the dry hair from the blackened brow, “do but speak to your own George! Be not angry with me, dearest!” He held the disgusting object to his lips, and lavished endearments on the putrid corpse.

Delmé staggered—and Thompson supported him—as he gasped for breath in the extremity of his agony. At this moment his eye caught the face of the Maltese. He had advanced towards


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George—his arms were still folded—his eyes were sparkling with joy—and his features wore the malignant expression of gratified revenge. Sir Henry sprang to his feet and rushed forward.

“George! my brother! my brother!”

The maniac raised his pallid brow—his eye flashed consciousness—the blue veins in his forehead swelled almost to bursting—he tossed his arms wildly—and sunk powerless on the corpses around—his convulsive shrieks re-echoing in that lonely vault. Thompson seized the Maltese, and making him unlock the door, bore the brothers into the open air; for Henry, at the time, was as much overpowered as George himself.

A clear solution to that curious scene was never given, for George could not give the clue to his train of mental aberration.

With regard to his companion's share in the transaction, the man was closely questioned, and other means of information resorted to, but the only facts elicited were these:

His son had been executed some years before for a desperate attempt to assassinate a British


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soldier, with whom he had had an altercation during the carnival.

The man himself said, that he had no recollection of ever having seen George before, but that he certainly did remember some officers questioning him on two occasions somewhat minutely as to his mode of life.

This part of his story was confirmed by another officer of the regiment, who remembered George and Delancey being with him on one occasion, when the latter had taken much interest in the questioning of this man. The Maltese declared, that on the night in question he was taken entirely by surprise—that George entered the room abruptly—offered him money to be allowed to accompany him to the vault—and told him that he had just placed a young lady there whom he wished to see.

Colonel Vavasour, who took some trouble in arriving at the truth, was satisfied that the man was well aware of George's insanity, but that he felt too happy in being able to wreak an ignoble revenge on a British officer.




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CHAPTER XVI. THE MARRIAGE.

“The child of love, though born in bitterness,
And nurtured in convulsion.”


FOR many days, George Delmé lay on his couch unconscious and immoveable. If his eye looked calm, it was the tranquillity of apathetic ignorance, the fixedness of idiotcy. He spoke if he was addressed, but recognised no one, and his answers were not to the purpose. He took his food, and would then turn on his side, and close his eyes as if in sleep. In vain did Acmé watch over him—in vain did her tears bedew his couch—in vain did Delmé take his hand, and endeavour to draw his attention to passing objects.

George had never been so long without a lucid


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interval. The surgeon's voice grew less cheering every day, as he saw the little amendment in his patient, and remarked that the pulse was gradually sinking. Colonel Vavasour never allowed a day to elapse without visiting the invalid; and in the regiment, his illness excited great commiseration, and drew forth many expressions of kindness.

“Oh God! oh God!” said Delmé, “he must not sink thus. Just as I am with him—just as—oh, poor Emily! what will she feel? Can nothing be done, Mr. Graham?”

“Nothing! Sir: we must now put our whole trust in an all-seeing Providence. My skill can neither foresee nor hasten the result.”

One soft summer's evening, when the wind blew in the scent of flowers from the opposite gardens—and the ceaseless hum of the insects—those twilight revellers—sounded happily on the ear, Acmé started from the couch as a thought crossed her.

“We have never tried music,” said she, "I have been too unhappy to think of it.”

Her tears fell fast on the guitar, as she


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tuned its strings. She sung a plaintive Greek air. It was the first George ever heard her sing, and was the favourite. He heard it, when watching lover-like beneath her balcony, during the first vernal days of their attachment. The song was gone through sadly, and without hope. George's face was from her, and she laid down the guitar, weary of life.

George gently turned his head. His eyes wore a subdued melancholy expression, bespeaking consciousness. Down his cheek one big drop was trickling.

“Acmé!” said he, “dearest Acmé!”

Delmé, who had left the room, was recalled by the hysterical sobs of the poor girl, as she fell back on the chair, her hands clasped in joyful gratitude.

The surgeon, who had immediately been sent for, ordered that George should converse as little as possible.

What he did say was rational. What a solace was that to Henry and Acmé! The invalid too appeared well aware of his previous illness, although he alluded to it but seldom. To those about him,


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his manner was femininely soft, as he whispered his thanks, and sense of their kindness.

Immediately after the horrible scene he had witnessed, Sir Henry's mind had been made up, as to the line of conduct he ought to pursue. The affectionate solicitude of the young Greek, during George's illness, gave him no reason to regret his determination.

“Now,” said Mr. Graham, one day as George was rapidly recovering, “now, Sir Henry, I would recommend you to break all you have to say to George. For God's sake, let them be married; and although, mark me! I by no means assert that it will quite re-establish George's health, yet I think such a measure may effectually do so, and at all events will calm him for the present; which, after all, is the great object we have in view.”

The same day, Delmé went to his brother's bed-side. "George," said he, "let me take the present opportunity of Acmé's absence, to tell you what I had only deferred till you were somewhat stronger. She is a good girl, George, a very good girl. I wish she had been English—it would have


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been better!—but this we cannot help. You must marry her, George! I will be a kind brother-in-law, and Emily shall love her for your sake.”

The invalid sat up in his bed—his eyes swam in tears. He twice essayed to speak, ere he could express his gratitude.

“Thank you! a thousand times thank you! my kind brother! Even you cannot tell the weight of suffering, you have this day taken from my mind. My conduct towards Acmé has been bowing me to the earth; and yet I feared your consent would never be obtained. I feared that coldness from you and Emily would have met her; and that I should have had but her smile to comfort me for the loss of what I so value. God bless you for this!”

Delmé was much affected.

To complete his good work, he waited till Acmé had returned from a visit she had just made to her relations; and taking her aside, told her his wishes, and detailed his late conversation with George.

“Never! never!” said the young Greek, “I am too happy as I am. I have heard you all make


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better lovers than husbands. I cannot be happier! No! no! I will never consent to it.”

All remonstrances were fruitless—no arguments could affect her—no entreaties persuade.

Delmé, quite perplexed at finding such a difficulty, where he had so little expected to find one,—pitying her simplicity, but admiring her disinterestedness,—went to George, and told him Acmé's objections.

“I feared it,” said his brother, “but perhaps I may induce her to think differently. Were I to take advantage of her unsophisticated feelings, and want of howledge of the world, I should indeed be a villain.”

Acmé was sent for, and came weeping in—took George's hand—and gazed earnestly in his face as he addressed her.

“You must change your mind, dearest,” said he. And he told her of the world's opinion—the contumely she might have to endure—the slights to which she would be subjected. Still she heeded not.

“Why mention these things?” said she. Who


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would insult me, were you near? or if they did, should I regard them while you were kind?”

And her lover's words took a loftier tone; and he spoke of religion, and of the duties it imposes; of the feelings of his countrywomen; and the all-seeing eye of their God. Still the fond girl wept bitterly, but spoke not.

“My own Acmé! consider my health too, dearest! Were you now to consent, I might never again be ill. It would be cruelty to me to refuse. Say you consent for my sake, sweet!”

“For your sake, then!” said Acmé, as she twined her snowy arms round his neck, “for your sake, Giorgio, I do so! But oh ! when I am yours forever by that tie; when—if this be possible—our present raptures are less fervent—our mutual affections less devoted—do not, dearest George—do not, I implore you—treat me with coldness. It would break my heart, indeed it would.”

They were married according to the rites of both the Protestant and Catholic Church. Few were present. George had been lifted to the sofa, and sat up during the ceremony; and although his


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features were pale and emaciated, they brightened with internal satisfaction, as he heard those words pronounced, which made his love a legitimate one. Acmé was silent and thoughtful; and tears quenched the fire of her usually sparkling eye. George Delmé's recovery from this date became more rapid.

He was able to resume his wonted exercise—his step faltered less—his eye became clearer. His convalescence was so decided, that the surgeon recommended his at once travelling, and for the present relinquishing the army.

“Perhaps the excessive heat may not be beneficial. I would, if possible, get him to Switzerland for the summer months. I will enquire what outward -bound vessels there are. If there is one for Leghorn, so much the better. But the sooner he tries change of scene, the more advantageous it is likely to be; and after all, the climate is but a secondary consideration.”

An American vessel bound to Palermo, happened to be the only one in the harbour, whose destination would serve their purpose; and determined


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not to postpone George's removal, Sir Henry at once engaged its cabin. Colonel Vavasour obtained George leave for the present, and promised to arrange as to his exchanging from full pay. He likewise enabled him, which George felt as a great boon, to take his old and attached servant with him; with the promise that he would use all his interest to have the man's discharge forwarded him, before the expiration of his leave.

“He may be useful to you, my dear boy, if you get ill again, which God forbid! He is an old soldier, and a good man—well deserving the indulgence. And remember! if you should be better, and feel a returning penchant for the red coat, write to me—we will do our best to work an exchange for you.”




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CHAPTER XVII. THE DEPARTURE.

“Farewell! a word that must be, and hath been,
A sound that makes us linger, yet farewell.”


THE day of departure at length arrived. Thompson had been busy the greater part of the night in getting every thing ready for the voyage. It was a lovely morning, and the wind, although light, was propitious. Acmé had parted with her relations and friends the day previous. She was henceforward to share the destiny of one, who was to supply the place of both to her. Attached to them as she was, and grateful as she felt for their kindness in the hour of need, there was nothing in that parting to throw


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a permanent gloom on the hopes of the youthful bride.

Her love, and the feelings it engendered, were of that confiding nature, that she could have followed George anywhere, and been happy still. As it was, her lot seemed cast "in pleasant places," and no foreboding of evil, except indeed for George, ever marred the waking dreams of Acmé. Her simple heart had already learnt, to look up with respect and affection to Sir Henry, and yearned with fond longing for the period when she should return a sister's love.

She had that lively talent too, which, unmatured as it was, allowed of her fully appreciating the superiority of the English she had lately met, to the general run of those with whom she had hitherto associated. An English home had none but charms for her.

“Come Acmé,”said George, as he assisted her in adjusting the first bonnet that had ever confined her wavy curls, “wish good bye to your ring-dove, dear! Mrs. Graham will take good care of it; and Thompson has just finished the packing.”


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The boat which was to convey them to the vessel was so near, that they had agreed to walk down to the place of embarkation.

As George left the room, a tall figure presented itself on the staircase.

“Ah, Clark!” said George, “my good fellow! I am very sorry to part with you. I do not know what I shall do without my pay serjeant!”and he held out his hand.

It was grasped gratefully.

“Thank you, your honour!”

The old soldier stood erect, and put his hand to his cap.

“God bless you! Mr. Delmé. I have served under many officers, but never under a kinder. May the Almighty bless you, Sir, in all your wanderings."

The soldier turned away -one large drop burst o'er the lid, and trickled down his sun-burnt cheek.

With the back of his hand, he brushed it off indignantly.

His converse may be rough—his manner rude—


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his hand ever ready for quarrel;—but, believe us! ye who deem the soldier beneath his fellow-men,—that the life of change—of chance—of hardship—and of danger—which is his, freezes not the kindlier emotions of the soul, if it sweep away its sicklier refinements. Beneath the red vest, beat hearts as warm and true, as ever throbbed beneath operative apron, or swelled under softest robe of ermine.

George was moved by the man's evidently sincere grief. He reached the bottom of the stairs. The company to which he belonged was drawn up in the court yard.

In front of it, the four tallest men supported a chair, and almost before George Delmé was aware of their purpose, bore him to it, and lifted him on their shoulders, amidst the huzzas of their comrades. The band, too, which had voluntarily attended, now struck up the march which George delighted to hear; and, followed by his company, he was carried triumphantly towards the mole. George's heart was full.

Sir Henry felt deeply interested in the scene; and poor Acmé leant on his arm, and wept with joy.


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Yes! there are moments in life, and this was one, when the approval of our inferiors awakens a degree of pride and mental satisfaction, that no panegyric of our superiors, no expressions of esteem from our equals, could have ever called forth. Such approval meets us, as the spontaneous effusion of hearts that have looked up to ours, and have not been deceived.

This pride was it that flushed George's cheek, and illumed with brightness his swimming eye. He was thus carried till he arrived at the spot where his boat should have been. It was already, with Thompson and their baggage, half way towards the vessel. In its place was the regimental gig, manned by George's best friends. Its steersman was Colonel Vavasour, drest in the fanciful aquatic costume his regiment had adopted.

Trifling as this may appear, this act of his Colonel, seemed to George the very highest compliment that had ever been paid him.

George Delmé turned to his company, and with choking voice thanked them for this last mark of attention. We are very certain that a shake of


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the hand from a prince, would not have delighted him as much, as did the hearty farewell greeting of his rough comrades.

Even Aeme blushingly went up to the chair-supporters, and, with a winning smile, extended her small hand. Vavasour assisted her into the gig and it was with a bounding elasticity of spirit, to which he had long been a stranger, that George followed. As the boat cut through the water, they were greeted with a last and deafening huzza.

In a short time they were alongside the vessel. The captain was pacing the deck, and marking the signs of the wind, with the keen eye of the sailor. A chair was lowered for Acmé. She shook hands with the rowers. George parted from them as if they had been brothers, and from Colonel Vavasour last of all.

“Take care of yourself, my dear boy," said the latter, “do not forget to write us; we shall all be anxious to know how you have stood the voyage.”

As the gig once more shot its way homewards, and many a friendly handkerchief waved its adieu, George felt, that sad as the parting was, he should


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have felt it more bitterly if they had loved him less.

To divert their minds from thoughts off a melancholy nature, Sir Henry, as the boat made a turn of the land, and was no longer visible, proposed exploring the cabin. This they found small, but cleanly. Some hampers of fruit, and a quantity of ice, exhibited agreable proofs of the attention of Acmé's relations. We may, by the way, observe, that rarely does the sense of the palate assert its supremacy with greater force than on board-ship. There will the thought—much more the reality—of a mellow pine—or juicy pomegranate—cause the mouth to water for the best part of a long summer's day. On their ascending the deck, the captain approached Sir Henry.

“No offence! Sir; but I guess the wind is fair. If you want nothing ashore, we will off, Sir, now! if you please.”

Delmé acquiesced.

How disagreable is the act of leaving harbour in a merchant ship!


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Even sailors dislike it, and growl between their teeth, like captive bears. The chains of the anchor clank gratingly on the car. The very chorus of the seamen smacks of the land, and wants the rich and free tone that characterises it in mid-sea. Hoarse are the mandates of the boat-swain! his whistle painfully shrill! The captain walks the deck thoughtfully, and frowningly ruminates on his bill of lading—or on some over-charge in the dock duties—or, it may be, on his dispute on shore with a part owner of the vessel.

And anon, he shakes off these thoughts, and looks on the weather-side—then upwards at the the masts—and, as he notes the proceedings, his orders are delivered fiercely, and his passions seem ungovernable.

The vessel, too, seems to share the general feeling—is loath to leave the port.

She unsteadily answers the call of her canvas—her rigging creaks—and her strong sides groan—as she begins lazily and slowly to make her way.

Glad to turn their attention to anything rather than the scene around, George began conversing


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on the effect the attentions of his company and brother officers had had on him.

“Their kindness,” said George, “was wholly unexpected by me, and I felt it very deeply. An hour before, I fancied that Acmé and my own family monopolised every sympathy I possessed. But, thank God! the heart has many hidden channels through which kindness may steal, and infuse its genial balm.”

“I felt it, too, George!” said his brother, “and was anxious as to the effect the scene might have on you. I am glad it was unexpected. We are sometimes better enabled to enact our parts improvising them, than when we have schooled ourselves, and braced all our energies to the one particular purpose.

“Acmé, how did you like the way George's men behaved?”

“It made me weep with joy,” replied the young Greek, “for I love all who love my Giorgio.”




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CHAPTER XVIII. THE ADIEU.

“Adieu! the joys of La Valette.”

“No more! no more! No! never more on me
The freshness of the heart shall fall like dew.”


“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,
Isle of Beauty! fare thee well.”


MALTA! the snowy sail shivers in the wind—the waves, chafed by our intruding keel, are proudly foaming—sea birds soar, screaming their farewell aloft as we wave our hand to thee for ever! What is our feeling, as we see thee diminish hourly? Regret! unfeigned regret!

Albeit we speed to our native land, on the wing of a bark as fleet as ever—but it matters not—thou hast seen the best of our days.


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Visions conjured up by thee, have the unusual power, to banish anticipations of Almack's glories, and of home flirtations.

We are recalling balls enjoyed in thee, loved island! the valse spun round with the darling fleet-footed Maltese, who during its pauses leant back on our arm, against which her spangled zone throbbed, from the pulsations of her heart.

Dreams of turtle and of grand master—the fish, not the official—and of consecutive iced champagne, mock our sight! But more—yes! far more than all, are we reminded of thy abode—thou dispenser of cheering liquids! thou promoter of convivial happiness! meek Saverio! How swiftly glided the mirth-loving nights as—the enchanting strains of the prima donna hushed—we adjourned to thy ever to be praised bottegua!

With what precision didst thou there mete out the many varied ingredients—the exact relative proportions—which can alone embody our conception of the nectar of the Gods, punch a la Romaine!

Whose cigars ever equalled thine, thou prince of


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Ganymedes? and when were cigars more justly appreciated, than as our puffs kept time with the trolling ditty, resounding through the walls of thy domain ?

The luxury of those days!

Then would Sol come peeping in upon us; as unwelcome and unlooked-for a visitant, as to the enamoured Juliet, when she sighing told her lover that

“'Twas but a meteor that the sun exhaled,
To be to him that night a torch-bearer,
And light him on his way to Mantua.”

Then, with head dizzy from its gladness, with heart unduly elate, has the Strada Teatro seen us, imperiously calling for the submissive caleche. Arrived in our chamber, how gravely did we close its shutters! With what a feeling of satisfied enjoyment, did we court the downy freshness of the snow-white sheet!

Sweet and deep were our slumbers—for youth's spell was upon us, and our fifth lustre had not yet heralded us to serious thoughts and anxious cares.

Awoke by the officious valet, and remorseless


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friend, deemest though our debauch was felt? No! an effervescent draught of soda calmed us; we ate a blood orange, and smoked a cigar!

We often hear Malta abused. Byron is the stale authority; and every snub-nosed critic turns up his prominent organ, and talks of "sirocco, sun, and sweat." Byron disliked it—he had cause. He was there at a bad season, and was suffering from an attack of bile. We know of no place abroad, where the English eye will meet with so little to offend it, and so much to please and impress.

There is such a blending together of European, Asiatic, and African customs; there is such a variety in the costumes one meets; there is such grandeur in their palaces—such glory in their annals; such novelty in their manners and habits; such devotion in their religious observances; such simplicity and yet such beauty, in the dress of the women; and their wearers possess such fascinations; that we defy the most fastidious of critics, who has really resided there, to deny to Malta many of those attributes, with which he would


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invest that place, on whose beauty and agremens, he may prefer of all others to descant.

With the commonplace observer, its superb harbour, studded with gilded boats; its powerful fortifications, where art towers over nature, and where the eye looks up a rock, and catches a bristling battery; the glare of its scenery, with no foliage to cover the white stone;—all these, together with the different way in which the minutiae of life are transacted,—will call forth his attention, and demand his notice.

Art thou a poet, or a fancied warrior? What scene has been more replete with noble exploits? In whose breasts did the flame of chivalry burn brighter, than in those of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem? Not a name meets thee, that has not belonged to a hero! If thou grievest to find all dissimilar but the name; yet mayest thou still muse, contemplative, over the tomb and ashes of him, whom thy mind has shadowed forth, as a noble light in a more romantic age.

Art thou a moralist, a thinking Christian? Thou mayest there trace—and the pursuit shall profit


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thee—the steps of the sainted apostle; he who was so signally called forth, to bear witness to the truth of ONE, whom he had erst reviled. Yon cordelier will show you the bay, where his vessel took refuge in its distress; and will tell you, that yon jagged rock first gave its dangerous welcome, to the bark of his patron saint.

Lovest thou music? hast loved? or been beloved? or both perchance?

Steal forth when night holds her starry court, and the guitars around are tinkling, as more than one rich voice deplores his mistress's cruelty, in hopes she may now relent. But see! there is one, who puts in requisition neither music's spell, nor flattery's lay.

See! he approaches. His cloak wrapped around him, he cautiously treads the tranquil street.

He gains the portico—the signal is given. Who but an expectant maiden could hear one so slight?

Hark! a sound! cautiously the lattice opens—above him blushes the fair one! How brightly her dark eye flashes! how silver soft the tones of her voice!


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The stern father—the querulous mother—the tricked duenna—all—all are slumbering. She leans forward, and her ear drinks in his honied words; as her head is supported by her snowy arm.

And now he whispers more passionately. She answers not, but hides her face in her hands. She starts! she throws back her hair from her brow; she waves a white fazzolet, and is gone.

Not thus flies the lover. He crouches beneath the Ionic portico, his figure hardly discernible. A bolt—the last bolt is withdrawn. A form is dimly seen within—retiring, timid, repentant.

Sweet the task to calm that throbbing heart, or teach it to throb no more with fear!

But let him of melancholy mood, wander to the deserted village. A more fearful calamity has befallen it, than ever attended the soft shades, of the one conjured up by the poet.

Here the demon Plague, with baneful wing, and pestilential influence, tarried for many days; till not one—no! not one soul of that village train—that did not join his bygone fathers.


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Stray along its grass-grown roofless tenements! where your echo alone breaks the silence, as it startles from its resting-place the slumbering owl—for who would dwell in abodes so marked for destruction? Stray there! think of the gentle contadina diffusing happiness around her! then think of her as she supports the youth she loves—as she clasps his faint form—and drinks in a poisonous contagion from his pallid lip.

Think of her as the disease seizes on its new victim—still attempting to prop up his head—to reach the cup, that may relieve his maddening thirst,—until, giddy and overpowered, she sinks at last; but—beside him!

Think of their dying together! that at least is a solace.

Do not the scene and the thought draw a tear?

If your eye be dry, come—come away—your step should not sound there!

The wind continued fair during the whole of the first day. Every trace of Valletta was soon lost; and the good barque Boston swept by the rocky coast of the island, where few human habitations


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meet the eye, swiftly and cheerily. The sea birds sported round the tall masts—the canvas bulged out bravely—the Captain forgot his shore griefs, and commenced a colloquy with Sir Henry. The sailors sung in chorus; whilst poor Acmé,—we grieve to confess the fact, for never was a Mediterranean sea looked down on by brighter sun, or more cloudless sky,—retired to her cabin, supported by George, a prey to that unsentimental malady, sea sickness. The following day, the wind shifted some points; and the Captain judged it most prudent to forego his original intention of steering direct for Palermo; but to take advantage of the breeze, and adopt the passage through the Faro of Messina.

Delmé felt glad of this change; for Scylla and Charybdis to an Englishman, are as familiar as Whittington and his cat. For the first two days Acmé continued unwell; and George, who already appeared improved by the sea air, never left her side.

Delmé had therefore a dull time of it; which he strove to enliven by conversing, one after the


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other, with the Captain and his two mates. From all of them, he learnt something; but from all he turned away, as they commenced discussing the comparative merits of the United States, and the old country; a subject he had neither the wish to enter on, nor fortitude to prosecute. Not daunted, he attacked mate the third; and was led to infer better things, as the young gentleman commenced expatiating on the “purple sky,” and “dark blue sea.” This hope did not last long; for this lover of nature turned round to Sir Henry, and asked him in a nasal twang, if he preferred Cooper's or Mr. Scott's novels? Delmé was not naturally a rude man, but as he turned away, he hummed something very like Yankee-doodle.

And then the moon got up; and Sir Henry felt lonely and sentimental. He leant over the vessel's side, and watched it pictured on the ocean, and quivering as the transient billow swept onwards. And he thought of home, and Emily. He thought of his brother, his heir,—if he died, the only male to inherit the ancient honours of his house,—married to a stranger, and—but Acmé was too sweet


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a being, not to have already enlisted all his sympathies with her. And as if all these thoughts, like rays converged in a burning glass, did but tend to one object, the image of Julia Vernon suddenly rose before him.

He saw her beautiful as ever—gentleness in her eye—fascination in her smile!

And the air got cold—and he went to bed.




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CHAPTER XIX. A DREAM AND A GHOST STORY.

“Touching this eye-creation;
What is it to surprise us? Here we are
Engender'd out of nothing cognisable -
If this were not a wonder, nothing is;
If this be wonderful, then all is so.
Man's grosser attributes can generate
What is not, and has never been at all;
What should forbid his fancy to restore
A being pass'd away? The wonder lies
In the mind merely of the wondering man.”


IT was the fourth evening of the voyage. Hardly a breath fanned the sails, as the vessel slowly glided between the Calabrian and Sicilian coasts, approaching quite close to the former.

The party, seated on chairs placed on the deck, gazed in a spirit of placid enjoyment on one of those scenes, which the enthusiastic traveller often


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recals, as in his native clime, he pines for foreign lands, and for novel impressions. The sun was setting over the purple peaks of the Calabrian mountains, smiling in sunny gladness on deep ravines, whose echoes few human feet now woke, save those of simple peasant, or lawless bandit. Where the orb of day held its declining course, the sky wore a hue of burnished gold; its rich tint alone varied, by one fleecy violet cloud, whose outline of rounded beauty, was marked by a clear cincture of white.

On their right, beneath the mountain, lay the little village of Capo del Marte, a perfect specimen of Italian scenery.

Its sandy beach, against which the tide beat in dalliance—the chafed spray catching and reflecting the glories of the setting sun -ran smoothly up a slope of some thirty yards; beyond which, the orange trees, in their greenest foliage, chequered with their shade the white cottages scattered above them.

The busy hum of the fishermen on the coast—the splash of the casting net—and the drip of


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the oar—were appropriate accompaniments to the simple scene.

On the Sicilian side, a different view wooed attention. There, old Etna upreared his encumbered head, around which the smoke dung in dense majesty; and—not contemptible rivals of the declining deity—the moon's silvery crescent, and the evening star's quiet splendour, were be-decking the cloudless blue of the firmament.

Acmé gazed enraptured on the scene—her long tresses hanging back on the chair, across which one hand was languidly thrown.

“Giorgio,” said she, “do you see this beautiful bird close to the ship—swimming so steadily—its snowy plumage apparently unwet from its contact with the wave? To what can you compare it? “

“That bright-eyed gull, love!” replied he, “riding on the water as if all regardless that he is on the wide—wide sea—whose billows may so soon be lashed up to madness; where may I find a resemblance more close, than my Acmé's simplicity, which guides her through a troubled


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world, unknowing its treacheries, and happily ignorant of its dangers and its woes?”

“Ah!” said the blushing girl,“how poetical you are this evening; will you tell us a story, Giorgio?”

I will tell you one,” said Delmé, interrupting her. “Do you recollect old Featherstone, who had been in the civil service in India, and who lived so near Delmé Park, George?”

“Perfectly,” said his brother, “I remember I used to think him mad, because he always looked so melancholy, and used to send us word in the morning when he contemplated a visit; in order that all cats might be kept out of his way.”

“The very man! I am glad you know so much about him, for it is on this subject I was going to speak. I cannot tell you where he picked up the idea originally—but I believe in a dream—that a cat would occasion his death.

“Well! he was at Ascot one year, when a gipsy woman came up to him on the course—told him his fortune—and, to his utter astonishment, warned him to beware of the wild cat.


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“From that moment, I understand his habits changed. From being a tolerably cheerful companion, he became a wretched hypochondriac; all his energies being directed to the avoiding a contact with any of the feline race.

“Featherstone, two or three years ago, embarked in one of the mining speculations—lost great part of his fortune—and found it necessary to try and retrieve his affairs, by a second voyage to India.

“I heard nothing more of him, till just before leaving England, when my old school-fellow, Lockhart, who went as a cadet to the East, called on me—reminded me of our old whimsical friend—and related his tragic death.

“Lockhart says that one day he and some mutual friends, persuaded Featherstone to accompany them into the interior of the country, to enjoy the diversion of a boar hunt.

“They had had good sport, and were returning homewards, when they suddenly came on a party of natives, headed by the Rajah.

“They were mounted on elephants, and surrounding


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a jungle, in which, as some sepoys had reported, lay a tiger.

“You know Lockhart's manner—animated and enthusiastic—making one see the scene he is describing.

“I will try and clothe the rest of the story in his own words, although I can hardly hope it will make the same impression on you, that its recital did on me.

“Well, Sir! we all said we would see the sport—all but Featherstone—who said something about coming on. We were engaged to dine with Sir John M----, who was in that part of the world, on some six-and-eightpenny mission about indigo.

“The beaters went in, firing and shouting—intending to make him break towards the hunting party.

“We all drew up on one side, to be in view, but out of the way; Featherstone was next me. He suddenly grasped my arm, and pointed to the jungle, his teeth chattering—his face ashy pale. I turned and saw the tiger!—a splendid beast—certainly!


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“He seemed not to notice us, and stalked on with an innocent yep! yep! like a sick hound's, more than anything else.

“Suddenly his eye caught us, and flashed fire. At the first view, he crouched to the earth, then came on us, bounding like a tost foot-ball. More magnificent leaps I never beheld! We were struck dumb—but fired -and turned our horses' heads!—all but Featherstone.

“I shall remember the tones of his voice to my dying hour.

““The cat! Lockhart! the cat!"

“I don't know whether his horse refused the spur—or whether the rider's nerve was gone: but neither appeared to make an effort, till the animal was close on them.

“The horse gave one plunge—and had hardly recovered his feet, when down went horse and rider.

“Featherstone gave a piercing scream! Some of the sepoys were by this time up—and fired.

“The tiger trailed off—the blood spouting down his striped side.

“We came up—it was all over!


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“The first stroke of that terrific paw had laid the unfortunate man's scull bare. On his shoulder, were the marks of the animal's teeth.

“The horse was still writhing in agony. One of my pistols relieved him.

“We bore Featherstone to the nearest cantonment, and buried him there.”

“How terrible!" said Acmé, as she gave a slight shudder. “Englishmen are generally more sceptical on these points than we are; and disbelieve supernatural appearances, which we are accustomed to think are not unfrequent. I could tell you many stories, which, in my native island, were believed by our enemies the Turks, as well as by ourselves: but if you would like it, I will tell you a circumstance that occurred to myself, the reality of which I dare not doubt.

“You have often, Giorgio! heard me revert with pain, to the horrible scene which took place, on the recapture of our little isle by the infidel Turks; when my family were massacred, and only poor Acmé left to tell their tale.”

Here the young bride put her handkerchief to


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her face, and wept bitterly. George put his arm round her and soothed her. She continued her narrative.

“You know my escape, and how I was sent to a kinsman, who had promised to have me sent to my kind friends in Malta. He was a Corfuote, and it was in Corfu I remained for a long—a very long time—and there first met my dear friend, Zoe Scalvo-Forressi. I was then very young. We lived in the Campagna about four miles from each other.

“We had both our Greek ponies, and used often to pass the evenings together; and at length knew our road so well, that often it was night before we parted.

“One night, we had been singing together at her house, and it was later than usual when I cantered home.

“About four months had elapsed previous to my landing in Corfu, and I had been eight months there; although at the time, I paid little attention to these circumstances.

“My road lay through an olive grove. I had


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arrived in its centre, where a small knoll stretched away on my right; on whose summit, was a white Greek monastery, backed by some dark cypress trees.

“The moon was shining brightly—dancing on the silver side of the olive trees—and illuminating the green sward.

“This was smooth and verdant.

“My spirits were more than usually buoyant, when suddenly my pony stopped.

“I could not conceive the reason.

“I looked before me. Immediately in front of me, was the shattered trunk of an old olive tree—it had been blasted by lightning—and sitting quietly at its foot -I saw my own mother, Giorgio! as clearly as I see you now. I could not be mistaken. She wore the same embroidered vest and Albanian shawl, as when I had last seen her.

“She conversed with me calmly for many minutes, and—which surprised me much at the time—I felt no dread, and asked her and answered many questions.

“She told me I should die early, in a foreign land; and many—many more things, which I


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dare not repeat; for I cannot contemplate the possibility of their being true.

“At the time, I told you I felt composed: without any sense of alarm or surprise. For many days afterwards, however, I never left my bed of sickness.

“I told my kinsman all the circumstances, and he discovered beyond a doubt, that it was on that very day, the twelve-month previous, that my poor mother had been murdered.”

Sir Henry and George tried to smile at Acmé's story, and account for what she had seen;—but her manner was so impressive, and her ingenious reasonings—delivered in the most earnest tone—seemed to confute so entirely all their speculations, that they were at length content to deem it “wondrous strange.”

In the best and wisest of us, there is such a tendency to believe in a mysterious link, connecting the living and the departed; that a story of this nature, in exciting our feelings, serves to paralyse our reasoning faculties, and leaves us half converts, to the doctrines that we faintly combat.


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They looked forth again on the scene. The mountains of Calabria were frowning on them. The village was far behind -- and not a straggling light marked its situation.

Numberless stars were reflected on the glassy water, whose serenity was no longer ruffled by wing of sea bird, which long ere now had returned to its“wave girded nest.”

Our party and the watch were the only lingerers on deck.

George wrapped Acmé's silk cloak around her, and then carefully assisted her in her descent to the cabin.




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CHAPTER XX. THE MAD HOUSE.

“And see the mind's convulsion leave it weak.”

THE land breeze continued to freshen, and the first dawn of morning saw our party on deck, scanning with near view, the opposite coasts of Sicily and Italy, as their vessel glided through the Faro of Messina.

Some pilot boats,—how unlike those which greet the homeward-bound voyager, as he first hails Britain's chalky cliffs—crowded around the vessel, offering their services to guide it through the strait.

Avarice—one incentive to language—had endowed these Sicilian mariners with a competent knowledge of English, which they dealt out vociferously.


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As the Captain made his selection, the rejected candidates failed not to use that familiar English salam; half the gusto of which is lost, when used by foreign lip.

On the Calabrian coast, the sea-port town of Reggio wore an unusual air of bustle and animation.

It was a festa day there; and groups of peasants, in many-coloured costumes, paced up and down the mole; emitting that joyous hum, which is the never-failing concomitant of a happy crowd. Passing through the Faro, the vessel's course lay by the northern coast of Sicily. The current and wind were alike favourable, as it swept on by Melazzo and Lascari.

Etna, towering over the lesser mountains, became once more visible; its summit buried in the clouds of heaven.

On the right, a luminous crimson ring revealed Stromboli, whose fitful volcano was more than usually active.

The following day our party arrived at Palermo. So pleasurable had been their voyage, that it was with a feeling akin to regret, that they heard the


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rumbling chains of the anchor, rush through the hawse-hole, as their vessel took her station in the bay.

After going through those wearisome forms, which a foreign sea-port exacts; and which appear purposely intended, to temper the rapture of the sea-worn voyager, as he congratulates himself on once more treading terra firma; our party found themselves the inmates of the English hotel; and spent the remainder of the day in engaging a cicerone, and in discussing plans for the morrow.

The morrow came—sunny and cloudless—and the cicerone bowed to the ground, as he opened the door of the commodious fiacre.

“Where shall I drive to, Sir?”

“What were our plans, George?” said Sir Henry.

“I think,” replied George, “that we only formed one plan to change it for another. Let the cicerone decide for us.”

He, nothing loath, accepted the charge; and taking his station on the box of the carriage, directed the driver.


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The carriage first stopped before a large stone building. The bell was rung—a veteran porter presented himself—and our party entered the court yard.

“What place is this ?”said Delmé.

“This,” rejoined his guide, with the true cicerone fluency, “is the famous lunatic asylum, instituted by the illustrious Baron Pisani. This, gentlemen, is the Baron!”

Here a benevolent-looking little man with a large nose, took off his hat.

“So much approved of was his beneficent design, that our noble King, and our paternal Government, have not only adopted it; but have graciously permitted the Baron, to continue to preside over that institution, which he so happily commenced, and which he so refulgently adorns.”

During this announcement, the Baron's face flushed with a simple, but honest pride.

These praises did not to him appear exaggerated; for his intentions had been of the purest, and in this institution was his whole soul wrapt up. Acmé became somewhat pale, as she heard where


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they were, and looked nervously at George; who could not forbear smiling, as he begged they would be under no apprehensions.

“Yes! gentlemen,” said the Baron, “circumstances in early life made me regard mental disease as the most fearful of all. I observed its victims struggling between reason and insanity; goaded on by the ignorance of empirics, and the harsh treatment of those about them, until light fled the tortured brain, and madness directed its every impulse. You, gentlemen, are English travellers, I perceive! In your happy land, where generosity and wealth go hand in hand, there are, I doubt not, many humane institutions, where those, who—bowed down by misfortunes, or preyed on by disease—have lost the power to take care of themselves, may find a home, where they may be anxiously tended, and carefully provided for.

“Here we knew not of such things.

“I have said, gentlemen, that chance made me feel a deep interest in these unfortunates. I sunk the greater part of my fortune, in constructing this mansion, trusting that the subscriptions of


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individuals, would enable me to prosecute the good work.

“In this I was disappointed; but our worthy Viceroy, who took an interest in my plans, laid the matter before the Government, which—as Signor Guiseppe observes—has not only undertaken to support my asylum, but also permits me to preside over the establishment. That, gentlemen, is my apartment, with the mignionette boxes in front, and without iron bars in the window; though indeed these very bars are painted, at my suggestion, such a delicate green, that you might not have been aware that they were such.

“This is our first chamber—cheerful and snug. Here are the patients first brought. We indulge them in all their caprices, until we are enabled to decide with certainty, on the fantasy the brain has conjured up. From this room, we take them to the adjacent bed-room, where we administer such remedies as we think the best fitted to restore reason.

“If these fail, we apportion the patient a cell, and consider the case as beyond our immediate relief.


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We cure, on an average, two-thirds of the cases forwarded to us; and there have been instances of the mind's recovering its tone, after a confinement of some years.”

“How many inmates have you in the asylum at present?” said Acmé.

“One hundred and thirty-six, eighty-six of whom are males. These are our baths, to which they are daily taken; this the refectory; this the parlatorio, where they see their friends; and now, if the lady is not afraid, we will descend to the court yard, and see my charges.”

“There is no fear?”said George.

“Not in the least. Our punishment is so formidable, that few will incur it by being refractory.”

“What! then you are obliged to punish them?” said Acmé, with a shudder.

“Sometimes, but not often. I will show you what our punishment consists in. You see this room without furniture! Observe the walls and floor; and even the door as it closes. All these are carefully stuffed; and if you walk across the room, there is no sound.


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“We cautiously search violent lunatics; who are then dressed in a plain flannel suit, and left alone. It is seldom we have occasion to retain them longer than twenty-four hours. They soon find they cannot injure themselves; their most violent efforts cannot elicit a sound. Their minds become calmed; and when released, they are perfectly quiet, and generally inclined to melancholy.”

They descended to the court yard, set apart for the men. Its inmates were pacing it hurriedly; some jabbering to themselves; others with groups round them, to whom they addressed some quickly delivered jargon. With one or two exceptions, all noticed the entrance of the strangers; and some of them bowed to them, with mock gravity. One man, who wore an old cocked hat with a shabby feather, tapped Sir Henry on the shoulder.

“Vous me reconnaissez—Napoleon! votre Empereur!"

He wheeled round, and called for his Mamelukes.

The next moment, a young and interesting looking person came forward, the tears standing in his eyes, and extended his hand to Acmé.


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“Give me yours,”said he, “as a great favour. I was a painter once in Naples—and I went to Rome -and I loved Gianetta Cantieri!”

A more ludicrous incident now occurred. At and since their entrance, our party had heard what seemed the continued bark of a dog. A man on all fours came forward from behind a group, and with unmeaning face, and nostril snuffing up the wind, imitated to perfection the deep bay of a mastiff.

“That man's peculiarity,” observed the Baron, “is an extraordinary one. He had a cottage near Catania, and had saved some little wealth. His house was one night robbed of all it contained. This misfortune preyed on the man's reason, and he now conceives himself a watch dog. He knows the step of every inmate of the asylum, and only barks at strangers.”

From the male court yard, the Baron ushered them to the female, where insanity assumed a yet more melancholy shape.

A pale-faced maniac, with quivering frame, and glaring eye-balls, continued to cry, in a low and piteous tone, “Murder! murder!! murder!!!”


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One woman, reclining on the cold pavement, dandled a straw, and called it her sweet child; while another hugged a misshapen block of wood to her bared breast, and deemed it her true love.

A third was on her knees, and at regular intervals, bent down her shrivelled body, and devoured the gravel beneath her.

Acmé was happy to leave the scene, and move towards the garden; which was extensive, and beautifully laid out.

As they turned down one of the alleys, they encountered five or six men, drawn up in line, and armed with wooden muskets.

In front stood Napoleon, who, with stentorian voice, gave the word to "present arms!" then dropping his stick, and taking off his hat to Delmé, began to converse familiarly with him, as with his friend Emperor Alexander, as to the efficiency of Poniatowski and his Polish lancers.

“Poor fellow!” said the Baron, as they moved on. “Never was insanity more harmless! He was once brigade major to Murat. This is his hour for exercise. Exactly at two, he goes through the


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scene of Fontainbleau. What will appear to you extraordinary is, that over the five or six men you saw around him, whose madness has been marked by few distinguishing traits, he has gradually assumed a superiority, until they now believe him to be, in reality, the Emperor he so unconsciously personates.”

In the garden, which was of considerable size, were placed a number of swings and whirligigs, in full motion and occupancy.

On a stuccoed wall, were represented grotesque figures of animals dancing; opposite to which, one of Terpsichore's votaries, with a paper cap on his head, shaped like a pyramid, was executing agile capers, whose zeal of purpose would have found infinite favour in the eyes of Laporte.

Having explored the garden, Delmé accompanied the Baron to a small room, where the sculls of the deceased maniacs were ranged on shelves, with a small biographical note attached to each; and heard with attention, the old man's energetic reasoning, as to these fully demonstrating the truth of Spurzheim's theory.


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Acmé, meantime, remained on George's arm, talking to a girl of thirteen, who had been selected to conduct them to the carriage.

They entered their names in a book at the lodge, and then, turning to the benevolent director, paid him some well deserved compliments, for which he bowed low and often.

The young girl, who had been conversing most rationally with Acmé, moved forward, and made a signal for the carriage to drive up.

She was a fair-haired gentle-looking creature, with quiet eye, and silvery voice. She assisted Acmé to step into the carriage, who dropped a piece of silver into her hand, for which she gave a sweet smile and a curtsey.

She stood a moment motionless. Suddenly her eye lighted up—she darted into the carriage, and clapped her hands together joyfully.

“Viva! viva! we shall soon be home at Trapani!"

The tears sprang to the eyes of the young Greek.

Even the driver and cicerone were moved.

Acmé took some flowers from her zone—kissed


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her cheek—and tried to change the current of her thoughts; but it was not till the driver promised he would call again, at the same hour the following day, that she consented with a sigh to relinquish her journey home.

From the Lunatic Asylum, our party adjourned to the Duomo, and beheld the coffin, where the revered body of the Palermitan Saint, attracts many a devout Catholic.

Sweet Rosalia! thy story is a pretty one—thy festa beauteous—the fireworks in thy honour most bright. No wonder the fair Sicilians adore thy memory.

In the cool of the evening, our travellers drove to the Marina; where custom—the crowded assemblage—and the grateful sea breeze—nightly attract the gay inhabitants of Palermo.

The carriages, with their epauletted chasseurs, swept on in giddy succession, and made a scene quite as imposing as is witnessed in most European capitals.

Delmé did not think it advisable, to remain too long in the metropolis of Sicily; and the travellers


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contented themselves, with the sight-seeing of the immediate neighbourhood.

They admired the mosaics of the Chiesa di Monte Reale; and fed the pheasants, at that beautiful royal villa, well styled "the Favourite." They took a boat to witness the tunny fishery; and Sir Henry explored alone the vast catacombs—that city of the dead.

After a few days thus passed—the weather continuing uncommonly fine—they did not hesitate to engage one of the small vessels of the place, to convey them to Naples.

After enjoying their evening drive as usual, they embarked on board the Sparonara, one fine starry night, in order to get the full advantage of the favouring night breeze.

END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
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