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BY MISS JEWSBURY.
Seated on a flowery bank, and overshadowed by one of those luxuriant chestnut trees for which the south of France has long been celebrated, Adele,-- young, beautiful, and a Countess, might have been mistaken for a happy woman. The surrounding domain, which evidenced the presence of refined taste, no less than the possession of wealth, together with the chateau in the distance, were entirely her own; and she had for her companion one who was also her bosom friend, considerably younger, and somewhat less lovely, but replete with sportive good sense, strong affection, and high-bred vivacity. In fact, she had more influence over the Countess, who, in her double character of beauty and heiress, was some
what apt to be unreasonable in her demands, and suspicious of motives: she had more influence, our romance says, than her guardian the old Marechal de B— , who was considered a very great man in the provinces; or than his very stately wife, who wore longer lappets than the queen, and whose notions of propriety were stiffer than her best court petticoat. Nevertheless, at the present time, Adele appeared ill at ease, and not unruffled in temper ; or, as she had that very morning dismissed three suitors, torn up a dozen ballads in praise of her beauty, forbidden an old acquaintance her presence, and quarrelled with the identical lady of the lappets, it might be, that she was fatigued with her labours. Certain it is, she complained of every thing excepting herself ; objected to the trickling sound of the fountain, the perfume of the flowers, and pleading a head-ache and bad spirits, requested Mathilde, the gayest of companions, to think instead of talk. Now Mathilde had a natural as well as national indisposition to refrain from the privilege of speech; she had, beside, a womanly suspicion as to the cause of her friend's ill humour, and the request only quickened her desire for conversation.
“Well, Adele, if your head really aches, and your spirits are as bad as you say they are, try to catch a slumber, and let me sing to you."
“I am weary of the troubadour strains :-when I have parted with my last jewel, I shall hear no more of “tes deux beaux yeur.”
“You shall hear nothing of the kind from me, I promise you,” replied Mathilde, laughing ; “nor will I offend your ear with praises of your meek, and gentle, and most reasonable nature; but you need not listen unless you please ;”—and with this generous permission she caught up Adele's guitar, and sang in a piquant manner, an impromptu of her own :
There once was a brave cavalier,
Commanded by Cupid to bow;
Had a very Sultana-like brow;
With many a Saracen Nero,
The fame and the heart of a hero:
The hero's reward in all story,
Poor Camille !
So back went the young cavalier,
(Where dwells such obedience now?)
A wreath for that fair cruel brow;
But not with the summer sun's glow;
By a brave heart for ever laid low!
And if I might be his adviser,
Poor Camille !
Mathilde gave the refrain of her madrigal with a particular emphasis—“What a pity” cried she, “that my memory should fail me just now! -- there were at least twenty-nine more stanzas, and all full of good advice, to be sure, the burthen of ‘Pauvre Camille !' came in rather too often, but people should always be tenderhearted in song "
“Mathilde, have done -- and tell me at once how has De Valori merited that you should thus advocate his suit?- the Camille of your foolish ballad was faithful, and died — but he, my Camille - where is the fidelity of him, who, on returning home after a long absence, allows six days to elapse without repairing to his mistress, when a bare league separates their domains ?”
“And where is that mistress's good faith, who denies him her presence one hour, and reproaches him for nonappearance the next?”
" The cause — the cause, Mathilde,” replied the Countess, and a tear started to her eye.
“The provocation, the provocation, Adele,” rejoined Mathilde.
“ Has he not,” resumed the Countess, “lingered in Italy long after the wars had ceased to require his presence?- Was he not, when there, first and last at every revel?— Did he not futter in the train of a certain Marchesa, and, for aught I know, in the train of a dozen others ?—What care I for the vulgar homage of lance and brand, compared with the service of the heart?
that which exists single, supreme, and undiminished the same, whether cherished by the smiles and presence of its object, or unaided save by fancy and remembrance!”
“ And who,” interrupted Mathilde, scarcely able to restrain a smile, “and who deserves this said service of the heart so little as yourself? In sooth, fair Countess, you may thank me if Camille now cares one feather for
Adele coloured, somewhat in surprise and displeasure.
“Yes indeed,” continued Mathilde, “and you may thank me too, if I do not appropriate him to myself, out of pure disinterested charity.”
Adele was constrained to smile, and her friend continued the list of her good offices.
“Who, pray, wrought a certain scarf with her own hands, and then presented it to Camille as a love-gift from his capricious Countess? Who listened to his complaints; never grew tired of his compliments (not one to myself, by the way), and now and then reported some stray word of commendation on his tilting suit, or hunting garb — or it may be, when he departed for Italy, administered a kinder version of your farewell? --who but Mathilde? And who, when tidings came that he had been sick at Milan, sent him some stolen token of your favour, which, I warrant, would never have been done by yourself? Dearest Adele, fairest and most froward of women! why trifle thus with your own happiness, and with a gallant, faithful heart!”