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Silent their base commands I heard,
Unshrinking to return:
They sue for peace;-I bid you spurn
The gilded bait they bear;
War, ceaseless war, declare.
The struggles of despair? Else had they sent this wasted frame To bribe you to your country's shame?
No country has the slave;
And even his father's grave-
Her empire o'er the wave
Of coward hearts, on me;
The empire of the sea ;-
And Rome, the bold and free,
One path alone remains for me ;
My vows were heard on high;
For I return to die !
No smiling progeny;
“An, it is a sad thing, to be sure,” said the fashionable Mrs. Lowton to her friend Lady James, as, after a few common-place inquiries on my entrance, she returned to the conversation I had interrupted ; -“I really wonder, after Emma's delightful match, that she could have been so imprudent.”
“Heavens! my dear Mrs. Lowton! you do surprise me.”
“Yes, indeed, -I think it has surprised every one; - but you know, Lady James, she was always vastly opinionated.”
“So I have heard; but really, I am very sorry,—she seemed such a nice young woman. Only four hundred a-year, did you say?”.
“Scarcely that, I am told,- it is a very poor living indeed. I really don't see how they are to exist; for you know, she had no fortune of her own, and he has nothing beyond his preferment.”
“ Dear, dear! it is a sad business.”
“I can assure you it is a grievous disappointment to her friends, for she might have done so much better ;
you must have seen Lord S—'s attentions,-five thousand a-year there! But, Mr.—,” she turned abruptly to me, “ you must remember the Vernons,—you have often met them here?”
Now, it so happened, that I not only remembered them, but that the real purpose of my early call on the fashionable Mrs. Lowton, did not arise from any personal interest, as regarded the lady's self,—the mere compliment of a card, even after my six years' absence from England, would have amply satisfied that,- but, to ascertain, through her means, where the said Vernons were to be found; for they were two old and dear friends of mine. And though my long separation from my country had dissipated many of the associations of my earlier life, and destroyed most of its attachments, still, it had not in the slightest degree impaired my regard for this amiable family.
I had left them rich in beauty,—blooming in youth,smiling in loveliness ;- six years had now passed away, and my uncertain pursuits had kept me but ill-advised of the events — to them, at least of those six years ;nor was I at all pleased, that my first intelligence should have been thus ungracious, as concerned the dearest of those dear sisters.
Promptly acknowledging my acquaintance,- although not all my acquaintance with them,- I asked, with earnest anxiety, the particulars of poor Alicia's sad fault.
“ Fault, Mr. — !” exclaimed the lady, with evident surprise, and then turning to her friend, finished to her the interjection — " Why, Lady James, we cannot exactly call it a fault, you know.”
“No, my dear Mrs. Lowton,” rejoined her ladyship, “not exactly;—she has certainly thought proper to marry a poor man, when she had plenty of rich ones to choose from ;- but that—"
“Is a fault,” continued her friend, “ only as people choose to consider it.”
"But surely, Mrs. Lowton,” I inquired, “ you do not regard wealth as the only good ?—There may, I hope, be happiness without its abundance,- in some cases, perhaps, more, than with its greatest gifts ?”
“Very likely, Sir.” Mrs. Lowton did not look half pleased with the interrogatory ;-I fear her admitted assent was only about equally sincere.
“Pray, Madam,”—I waited a moment for the evaporation of her surprise,—" is there any objection to the gentleman, beyond his limited income?”.
“N-0." She drawled out the word very slowly; it was certainly any thing but a monosyllable.--"I believe he is a most amiable man, and very kind to her; but then, Mr. —, only think of the contrast between her and her sister, Mrs. Jermyn, who has as handsome an establishment as any in the beau-monde;-hers, indeed, was something like a match."- She pronounced the concluding words with considerable emphasis, as she turned to Lady James for her ready approval.