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"True; all true," nodded the earl. And they sat themselves down to breakfast.
On the Friday, the following letter was despatched to Mrs. Carlyle :
"MY DEAREST,-I find I shall not be able to get to you on Saturday afternoon, as I promised, but will leave here by the late train that night. Mind you don't sit up for me. Lord Mount Severn is here for a few days: he sends his regards to you.
"And now, Barbara, prepare for news that will prove a shock. Madame Vine is dead. She grew rapidly worse, they tell me, after our departure, and died on Wednesday night. I am glad you were away.
"Love from the children. Lucy and Archie are still at Cornelia's; Arthur wearing out Sarah's legs in the nursery.
"Ever yours, my dearest,
Of course, as Madame Vine, the governess, died at Mr. Carlyle's house, he could not in courtesy do less than follow her to the grave. So decided West Lynne, when they found which way the wind was going to blow. Lord Mount Severn followed also, to keep him company, being on a visit to him. And very polite indeed of his lordship to do it! Condescending also! West Lynne remembered another funeral at which those two had been the only mourners-that of the late earl. By some curious coincidence, the French governess was buried close to the earl's grave. As good there as anywhere else, quoth West Lynne: there happened to be a vacant spot of ground.
The funeral took place on the Saturday morning. A plain, respectable funeral. A hearse and pair, and mourning coach and pair, with a chariot for the Reverend Mr. Little. No pall-bearers, or mutes, or anything of that show-off kind, and no plumes on the horses, only on the hearse. -West Lynne looked on with approbation, and conjectured that the governess had left sufficient money to bury herself: but of course that was Mr. Carlyle's affair, not West Lynne's. Quiet enough lay she in her last resting-place.
They left her in it, the earl and Mr. Carlyle; and entered the mourning-coach to be conveyed back again to East Lynne.
"Just a little upright stone of white marble, two foot high by a foot and a half broad," remarked the earl, on their road, pursuing a topic they were speaking upon. "With the initials, I. V. and the date of the year. Nothing more. What do you think?"
"I. M. V.," corrected Mr. Carlyle.
At that moment the bells of another church, not St. Jude's, broke out in a joyous peal, and the earl inclined his ear to listen.
"What can they be ringing for?" he cried.
They were ringing for a wedding. Afy Hallijohn, by the help of two clergymen and six bridesmaids (of whom you may be sure Joyce was not one), had just been converted into Mrs. Joe Jiffin. When Afy took a thing in her head, she somehow contrived to carry it through, and to bend even clergymen and bridesmaids to her will. Mr. Jiffin was blessed at last.
In the afternoon, the earl left East Lynne; and, somewhat later, Barbara arrived at it. Wilson scarcely gave her mistress time to step
into the house before her, and she very nearly left the baby in the fly. Curiously anxious was Wilson to hear all particulars, as to whatever could have took off that French governess. Mr. Carlyle was much surprised at their arrival.
"How could I stay away, Archibald, even until Monday, after the news you sent me?" said Barbara. "What did she die of? It must have been awfully sudden."
"I suppose so," was his dreamy answer. He was debating a question with himself, one he had thought over a good deal since Wednesday night. Should he, or should he not, tell his wife? He would have preferred not to tell her: and, were the secret confined to his own breast, he would decidedly not have done so. But it was known to three others: to Miss Carlyle, to Lord Mount Severn, and to Joyce. All trustworthy and of good intention: but it was impossible for Mr. Carlyle to make sure that not one of them would ever, through any chance and unpremeditated word, let the secret come to the knowledge of Mrs. Carlyle. That would not do if she must hear it at all, she must hear it from him, and at once. He took his course.
"Are you ill, Archibald ?" she asked, noting his face. It wore a pale, worn sort of look.
"I have something to tell you, Barbara," he answered, drawing her hand into his as they stood together. They were in her dressing-room, where she was taking off her things. "On the Wednesday evening, when I got home to dinner, Joyce told me that she feared Madame Vine was dying: and I thought it right to see her."
"Certainly," returned Barbara. "Quite right."
"I went into her room, and I found that she was dying. But I found something else, Barbara. She was not Madame Vine."
"Not Madame Vine!" echoed Barbara, believing in good truth that her husband could not know what he was saying.
"It was my former wife, Isabel Vane."
Barbara's face flushed crimson, and then grew white as marble; and she drew her hand unconsciously from Mr. Carlyle's. He did not appear to notice the movement, but stood with his elbow on the mantelpiece while he talked, giving her a rapid summary of the interview; not its details.
"She could not stay away from her children," she said, “and came back as Madame Vine. What with the effects of the railway accident in France, and those spectacles she wore, and her style of dress, and her grey hair, she felt secure in not being recognised. I am astonished now that she was not discovered. Were such a thing related to me I should refuse credence to it.”
Barbara's heart felt faint with its utter sickness, and she turned her face from the view of her husband. Her first confused thoughts were as Mr. Carlyle's had been-that she had been living in his house with another wife. "Did you suspect her?" she breathed, in a low tone.
"Barbara! Had I suspected it, should I have allowed it to go on? She implored my forgiveness; for the past, and for having returned here; and I gave it her fully. I then went to West Lynne, to telegraph for Mount Severn, and when I came back she was dead."
There was a pause. Mr. Carlyle began to perceive that his wife's face was hidden from him.
"She said her heart was broken.
Barbara, we cannot wonder at it." There was no reply. Mr. Carlyle took his arm from the mantelpiece, and moved so that he could see her countenance: a wan countenance then, telling of pain.
He laid his hand upon her shoulder and made her look at him. dearest, what is this?"
"Oh, Archibald !" she uttered, clasping her hands together, all her pent-up feelings bursting forth, and the tears streaming from her eyes, "has this taken your love from me?"
He took both her hands in one of his, he put the other round her waist and held her there, before him, never speaking, only looking gravely into her face. Who could look at its sincere truthfulness, at the sweet expression of his lips, and doubt him? Not Barbara. She had allowed the moment's excitement to act upon her feelings, and carry her away. "I had thought my wife possessed entire trust in me."
"Oh, I do, I do; you know I do. Forgive me, Archibald," she softly whispered.
"I deemed it better to impart this to you, Barbara. Had there been wrong feeling on my part, I should have left you in ignorance. My darling, I have told it you in love."
She was leaning on his breast, sobbing gently, her repentant face turned towards him. He held her there in his strong protection, his enduring tenderness.
"My wife! my darling! now, and always."
"It was a foolish feeling to cross my heart, Archibald. It is done with, and gone."
"Never let it come back, Barbara. Neither need her name be mentioned again between us. A barred name it has hitherto been: let it so continue."
"Anything you will. My earnest wish is to please you; to be worthy of your esteem and love. Archibald," she timidly added, her eyelids drooping, and her fair cheeks blushing, as she made the confession, "there has been a feeling in my heart against your children, a sort of jealous feeling, can you understand, because they were hers; because she had once been your wife. I knew how wrong it was, and I have tried earnestly to subdue it. I have indeed, and I think it is nearly gone. I"-her voice sunk lower-"constantly pray to be helped to do it; to love them and care for them as if they were my own. It will come with time."
Every good thing will come with time that we earnestly seek," said Mr. Carlyle. "Oh, Barbara, never forget-never forget that the only way to ensure peace in the end, is, to strive always to be doing right, unselfishly, under God."
END OF EAST LYNNE.
[We have the pleasure of announcing that a new story by the Author of East Lynne," will be commenced in the next Number of the New Monthly.-ED. N. M. M.]
NOTES ON NOTE-WORTHIES,
OF DIVERS ORDERS, EITHER SEX, AND EVERY AGE.
BY SIR NATHANIEL.
And make them men of note (do you note, men?).-Love's Labour's Lost, Act III. Sc. 1.
D. Pedro. Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Do it in notes.
Note this before my notes,
There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.
D. Pedro. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks,
Much Ado About Nothing, Act II. Sc. 3.
And these to Notes are frittered quite away.-Dunciad, Book I.
Notes of exception, notes of admiration,
Notes of assent, notes of interrogation.—Amen Corner, c. iii.
IF ever Madame de Sévigné wrote a short letter to her daughter, it could only be because there was some special bit of news to tell, and scant time to tell it in. Some startling occurrence at Court, or some exciting message of foreign intelligence, would alone justify Madame Mère in confining her pen-womanship (Southey's phrase) to a few lines only.
Such a justification existed in the case of Sobieski's victory over the Turks in 1673, ten years before that more memorable victory over them in 1683, which was hailed as the salvation of Emperor and Empire. Writing to her daughter, a few weeks after the death of the King of Poland, Michael Wiesnovieski, the Sévigné apprises her, as une nouvelle de l'Europe that demands a note or notelet all to itself, itself, "The Grand Marshal, who is married to Mademoiselle Arquien, is at the head of an army against the Turks: he has won a battle so fully and so completely, that there are fifteen thousand Turks left lying upon the field: he has taken two bashaws; he is quartered in the general's tent; and indeed, so great a victory is it, that there can be no doubt of his being elected king, more especially as he is at the head of an army, and that fortune is always on the side of large forces. There, now, is a bit of news after my own heart."*
The Grand Marshal of Poland, also Grand Hetman of that kingdom, was John Sobieski, now in his forty-ninth year. A man not personally unknown in the Court of the Grand Monarque; for his father, the noble castellan of Cracow, had sent him in early life to Paris, there to complete his education; and there the young man served for some time in the mousquetaires, or body-guards, of Louis XIV. After this metropolitan sojourn, he had travelled through various parts of France with his brother
* Madame de Sévigné to Madame de Grignan, Dec. 22, 1673.
Mark, whom he also accompanied in a tour through Italy and Turkey,— it being their father's practical maxim that
Home-keeping youth had ever homely wits
to avoid which effect, his paternal wisdom eschewed the alleged cause, and so kept his sons, nothing loth, on the move; that by seeing life, with vigilant inquiring eyes of their own, and by acquainting themselves with what was note-worthy in many cities, among many men and manners, they might be the reverse of homely-witted, yet prepared to do their fatherland good service, when the time should come, and so best do credit to their father's house.
The young men were staying at Constantinople when news came which hurried them home. A fearful insurrection of Cossacks had taken place, in which hordes of Polish serfs also shared; the allied insurgents overran Polish Russia, cried Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war-to wit, themselves on the bewildered inhabitants, showing a particular antipathy to two unwarlike classes, Christian priests and circumcised Jews. Wherever they could lay hands on a monk and a nun, they enforced matrimony forthwith, at the sword's point. The reigning King of Poland, John Casimir, was no match for these overwhelming multitudes, backed, as they were, too, by the Khan of Tartary, who laughed to see such sport, and hoped the hurly-burly would not be done for a good while yet. Many engagements ensued between the insurgents and the Poles, with varying success, in one of which Mark Sobieski met with his death. John at once distinguished himself in these wars, and also in those which ensued with Russia and Sweden-for with Swedes and Russians without, as well as Cossacks and serfs within, had Poland at this time to contend, and hard work she found it to keep the breath in her body, and not anticipate the Partition of the eighteenth, by a sheer case of collapse in the seventeenth century. In his thirty-first year, John Sobieski defeated the Muscovite general Sheremetoff, and followed up his triumph, year after year, by other successes, more or less signal, against Muscovites and Tartars; for which series of good services to the state, in time of need, he was appointed Grand Marshal and Grand Hetman of the realm. With twenty thousand men he, in 1667, again saved the "fair land of Poland" from destruction by an invading force of five times that number. Four years later he routed the Turks under the Sultan Mahomet IV. And not long after that triumph, he gained the one at Kotzim, which we have seen Madame de Sévigné writing about, and which set all Christendom talking, at the time, and the adjacent parts of heathendom too.
That such a man would, at such a crisis, be elected to fill the vacant throne, appeared to his, and his country's, well-wishers a matter of right and duty, if not almost a matter of course. One sturdy obstacle, nevertheless, was seen to stand in the way-his profession of a different religious creed to that of the people. One of Madame de Sévigné's next letters alludes to this possible let and hindrance, in terms of apprehension. The Grand Marshal, she informs her daughter, has been writing to Louis XIV., intimating, that should his majesty wish any particular individual to be made king of Poland, he, Sobieski, would be happy to abet and enforce the royal nomination; but that if no such nominee existed, then he asked his majesty's “vote and interest" for himself. Louis gave