Imatges de pÓgina
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It is the grey of the evening. Fairthorn is sauntering somewhat sullenly along the banks of the lake. He has missed, the last three days, his walk with Sophy-missed the pleasing excitement of talking at her, and of the family in whose obsolete glories he considers her very interest an obtrusive impertinence. He has missed, too, his more habitual and less irritating conversation with Darrell. In short, altogether he is put out, and he vents his spleen on the swans, who follow him along the wave as he walks along the margin, intimating either their affection for himself, or their anticipation of the bread crumbs associated with his image by the amiable note, half snort and half grunt, to which change of time or climate has reduced the vocal accomplishments of those classical birds, so pathetically melodious in the age of Moschus and on the banks of Cayster.


"Not a crumb, you unprincipled beggars," growled the musician. "You imagine that mankind are to have no other thought but that of supplying you with luxuries! And if you were asked, in a competitive examination, to define ME, your benefactor, you would say-'a thing very low in the scale of creation, without wings or even feathers, but which Providence endowed with a peculiar instinct for affording nutritious and palatable additions to the ordinary aliment of Swans!' Ay, you may grunt; I wish I had you-in a pie!"

Slowly, out through the gap between yon grey crag and the thorntree, paces the doe, halting to drink just where the faint star of eve shoots its gleam along the wave. The musician forgets the swans and quickens his pace, expecting to meet the doe's wonted companion. He is not disappointed. He comes on Guy Darrell where the twilight shadow falls dark


est between the grey crag and the

"Dear Fellow Hermit," said Dar-
rell, almost gaily, yet with more than
usual affection in his greeting and
voice, "you find me just when I
want you. I am as one whose eyes
have been strained by a violent con-
flict of colours, and your quiet pre-
sence is like the relief of a return to
green. I have news for you, Fair-
thorn. You, who know more of my
secrets than any other man, shall be
the first to learn a decision that must
bind you and me more together-but
not in these scenes, Dick.


Carpere iter, comites, parati !'"

"What do you mean, sir?" asked Fairthorn. "My mind always misgives me when I hear you quoting Horace. Some reflection about the certainty of death, or other disagreeable subjects, is sure to follow!"

"Death! No, Dick-not now. Marriage-bells and joy, Dick! We shall have a wedding!"

"What! You will marry at last! And it must be that beautiful Caroline Lyndsay! It must-it must! You can never love another! You know it, my dear, dear master! I shall see you, then, happy before I die."

"Tut, foolish old friend!" said
Darrell, leaning his arm tenderly on
Fairthorn's shoulder, and walking on
slowly towards the house. "How
often must I tell you that no mar-
riage-bells can ring for me!"

"But you have told me, too, that
you went to Twickenham to steal
a sight of her again; and that it
was the sight of her that made you
resolve to wed no one else. And
when I have railed against her for
fickleness, have not you nearly fright-
ened me out of my wits, as if no one
might rail against her but yourself?
And now she is free-and did you
not grant that she would not refuse
your hand, and would be true and
faithful henceforth? And yet you
insist on being-granite!"
"No, Dick, not granite; I wish I


"Granite and pride persisted
Dick, courageously.
If one chips

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a bit off the granite, one only breaks one's spade against the pride."

"Pride-you too!" muttered Darrell, mournfully; then aloud, "No, it is not pride now, whatever it might have been even yesterday. But I would rather be racked by all the tortures that pious inquisitors ever invented out of compassion for obstinate heretics, than condemn the woman I have so fatally loved to a penance the misery of which she cannot foresee. She would accept me,-certainly ! Why? Because she thinks she owes me reparation-because she pities me. And my heart tells me that I might become cruel, and mean, and vindictive, if I were to live day by day with one who created in me, while my life was at noon, a love never known in its morn, and to feel that that love's sole return was the pity vouchsafed to the nightfall of my age. No; if she pitied, but did not love me, when, eighteen years ago, we parted under yonder beech tree, I should be a dotard to dream that woman's pity mellows into love as our locks become grey, and Youth turns our vows into ridicule. It is not pride that speaks here; it is rather humility, Dick. But we must not now talk of old age and bygones. Youth and marriage - bells, Dick! Know that I have been for hours pondering how to reconcile with my old-fashioned notions dear Lionel's happiness. We must think of the living as well as the dead, Dick. I have solved the problem. I am happy, and so shall the young folks be.'

"You don't mean to say that you will consent to-"

"Yes, to Lionel's marriage with that beautiful girl, whose parentage we never will ask. Great men are their own ancestors; why not sometimes fair women? Enough-I consent! I shall of course secure to my kinsman and his bride an ample fortune.

Lionel will have time for his honeymoon before he departs for the


He will fight with good heart now, Dick. Young folks of the present day cannot bear up against sorrow, as they were trained to do in mine. And that amiable lady who has so much pity for me, has, of course, still more pity for a charming

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young couple for whose marriage she schemed, in order to give me a home, Dick. And rather than she should pine and fall ill, and-no matter; all shall be settled as it should be for the happiness of the living. But something else must be settled; we must think of the dead as well as the living; and this name of Darrell shall be buried with me in the grave beside my father's. Lionel Haughton will keep to his own name. Live the Haughtons! Perish, but with no blot on their shield-perish the Darrells! Why, what is that? Tears, Dick Pooh!-be a man! And I want all your strength; for you, too, must have a share in the sacrifice. What follows is not the dictate of pride, if I can read myself aright. No; it is the final completion and surrender of the object on which so much of my life has been wastedbut a surrender that satisfies my crotchets of honour. At all events, if it be pride in disguise, it will demand no victim in others; you and I may have a sharp pang-we must bear it, Dick."

"What on earth is coming now?" said Dick, dolefully.

"The due to the dead, Richard Fairthorn. This nook of fair England, in which I learned from the dead to love honour this poor domain of Fawley-shall go in bequest to the College at which I was reared."

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to the dead, Dick! And the old house thus becomes useless. The new house was ever a folly. They must go down both, as soon as the young folks are married;- not a stone stand on stone! The ploughshare shall pass over their sites! And this task I order you to see done. I have not strength. You will then hasten to join me at Sorrento, that corner of earth on which Horace wished to breathe his last sigh.

'Ille te mecum locus et beatæ
Postulant arces-ibi-tu-

"Don't, sir, don't. Horace again! It is too much." Fairthorn was choking; but as if the idea presented to him was really too monstrous for belief, he clutched at Darrell with so uncertain and vehement a hand that he almost caught him by the throat, and sobbed out, "You must be joking."



Seriously and solemnly, Richard Fairthorn," said Darrell, gently disentangling the fingers that threatened him with strangulation. Seriously and solemnly I have uttered to you my deliberate purpose. I implore you, in the name of our lifelong friendship, to face this pain as I do

resolutely, cheerfully. I implore you to execute to the letter the instructions I shall leave with you on quitting England, which I shall do the day Lionel is married; and then, dear old friend, calm days, clear consciences: In climes where whole races have passed away-proud cities themselves sunk in graves-where our petty grief for a squirearch's lost house we shall both grow ashamed to indulge there we will moralise, rail against vain dreams and idle pride, cultivate vines and orangetrees, with Horace-nay, nay, Dick with the FLUTE!"


More bounteous run rivers when the ice that locked their flow melts into their waters. And when fiue natures relent, their kindness is swelled by the thaw.

Darrell escaped into the house; Fairthorn sank upon the ground, and resigned himself for some minutes to unmanly lamentations. Suddenly he

started up; a thought came into his brain-a hope into his breast. He made a caper-launched himself into a precipitate zigzag-gained the hall

door-plunged into his own mysterious hiding-place-and in less than an hour re-emerged, a letter in his hand, with which he had just time to catch the postman, as that functionary was striding off from the back-yard with the official bag.

This exploit performed, Fairthorn shambled into his chair at the dinnertable, as George Morley concluded the grace which preceded the meal that in Fairthorn's estimation usually made the grand event of the passing day. But the poor man's appetite was gone. As Sophy dined with Waife, the Morleys alone shared, with host and secretary, the melancholy entertainment. George was no less silent than Fairthorn; Darrell's manner perplexed him. Mrs Morley, not admitted into her husband's confidence in secrets that concerned others, though in all his own he was to her conjugal sight pellucidior vitro, was the chief talker; and, being the best woman in the world, ever wishing to say something pleasant, she fell to praising the dear old family pictures that scowled at her from the wall, and informed Fairthorn that she had made great progress with her sketch of the old house as seen from the lake, and was in doubt whether she should introduce in the foreground some figures of the olden time, as in Nash's View's of Baronial Mansions. But not a word could she coax out of Fairthorn; and when she turned to appeal to Darrell, the host suddenly addressed to George a question as to the texts and authorities by which the Papal Church defends its doctrine of Purgatory. That entailed a long, and no doubt erudite reply, which lasted not only through the rest of the dinner, but till Mrs Morley, edified by the discourse, and delighted to notice the undeviating attention which Darrell paid to her distinguished spouse, took advantage of the first full stop, and retired. Fairthorn finished his bottle of port, and, far from convinced that there was no Purgatory, but inclined to advance the novel heresy that Purgatory sometimes commenced on this side the grave slinked away, and was seen no more that night; neither was his flute heard.

Then Darrell rose, and said, "I

shall go up-stairs to our sick friend for a few minutes; may I find you here when I come back? Your visit to him can follow mine."

On entering Waife's room, Darrell went straight forward towards Sophy, and cut off her retreat.

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'Fair guest," said he, with a grace and tenderness of manner which, when he pleased it, could be ineffably bewitching "teach me some art by which in future rather to detain than to scare away the presence in which a duller age than mine could still recognise the charms that subdue the young." He led her back gently to the seat she had deserted-placed himself next to her-addressed a few cordial queries to Waife about his health and comforts-and then said, "You must not leave me for some days yet. I have written by this post to my kinsman, Lionel Haughton. I have refused to be his ambassador at a court in which, by all the laws of nations, he is bound to submit himself to his conqueror. I cannot even hope that he may escape with his freedom. No! chains for life! Thrice happy, indeed, if that be the merciful sentence you inflict."

He raised Sophy's hand to his lips as he ended, and before she could even quite comprehend the meaning of his words-so was she startled, confused, incredulous of such sudden change in fate-the door had closed on Darrell, and Waife had clasped her to his breast, murmuring, not Providence kind?"


Darrell rejoined the scholar. George," said he, "be kind enough to tell Alban that you showed me his letter. Be kind enough also to write to Lady Montfort, and say that I gratefully acknowledge her wish to repair to me those losses which have left me to face age and the grave alone. Tell her that her old friend (you remember, George, I knew her as a child) sees in that wish the same sweet goodness of heart which soothed him when his son died and his daughter fled. Add that her wish is gratified. To that marriage in which she compassionately foresaw the best solace left to my bereaved and baffled existence-to that marriage I give my consent."

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