Page images

and Lorraine saw evidently that she was sleeping. To withdraw as quietly as possible seemed his best plan; when the entrance of Beatrice induced him to hesitate.


Signing to him for silence, she bent over her mother for a moment, drew a branch closer to exclude the sun from her face; and, with step so light that even to Lorraine's ear it was inaudible, she left the arbour, beckoning him to follow. I feared this," said she, her dark eyes filling with tears, whose softness was but momentary, so instantly were they checked. "My poor mother!-God forbid you should ever know what she has suffered !-Think what must have been the wretchedness that has left her a child in mind."


The truth flashed on Edward. then, indeed, was the situation of the young creature before him. It is very difficult to express sympathy to one who evidently shrinks from such expression. They walked on in silence till they came to where the negro was at work.

"I cannot leave my mother; when she wakes, she would be so alarmed to find herself alone, and her sleep is as transient as it is uncertain; but the country round is well worth

a stranger's attention, and Cæsar is an excellent guide as to roads. The picturesque I must leave to yourself. I shall hope at dinner to hear you say that our valley is as beautiful as we ourselves think it."

Edward asked a few topographical questions, and set forth without the old man, who seemed infinitely to prefer finishing his attendance on his carnations.

The finest prospect would have been thrown away on our young traveller: all he wished was solitude and his own thoughts. A nook was soon found; he threw himself on the soft grass beneath a large myrtle-tree, and pondered over the events of the last four-and-twenty hours; at the same time, after an approved English fashion, picking off the leaves from every bough within his reach. One reflection made him strip a poor branch very quickly—it was the thought that, under all circumstances, he ought not to remain at Don Henriquez's house. Still, his family were evidently so situated that a friend might be of use. What could have induced Beatrice to assume a disguise so foreign to what seemed her feelings and manners? If he could find out the difficulty, might he not offer assistance? Desolate and deserted

as both she and her unfortunate mother appeared to be, every kind and good sentiment prompted an effort to serve them. The result of his deliberations was, to stay a little while, at all events. He might convince them of his sincere wish to render any aid in his power. Advice alone to one so friendless as Beatrice might be invaluable. So, picking the last leaf of myrtle he could reach, he determined to remain. Inclination never wants an excuseand, if one won't do, there are a dozen others soon found.


"Elle étoit belle, et de plus la seule héritière !

"Ce fut sur cela que je formai le projet de mon établissement."

Histoire de Fleur d'Epine.

LIKE the cards which form a child's plaything palace, our pleasures are nicely balanced one upon the other. The pleasure of change is op`posed by that of habit; and if we love best that to which we are accustomed, we like best that which is new. Enjoyment is measured by the character of the individual. Lord Mandeville was sorry to leave Rome, because he had grown used to it. Lady Mandeville was delighted to leave it, because she had grown tired of it. Emily, actuated by that restlessness of hope which peculiarly belongs to hope that is solely imaginative, was rather relieved by, than pleased with, change. The map of her world was coloured by her affections, and it had but two divisions, absence and presence. She

knew that Edward Lorraine was on the Continent, and she allowed her mind to dwell on the vague, vain fancy of meeting him.

It was winter, with a promise of spring, when they arrived at Naples. A few days saw them settled in a villa on the sea-coast, at some distance from the city. Emily, who loved flowers with all the passion of the poetry that haunted them, gathered with delight the clustering roses which formed a miniature wood near the house, and wore the beauty of June in the days of February. Lord Mandeville reproached her with being run away with by novelty, and said contrast gave them a double charm in England. "The blossom is a thousand times fairer when we have seen the leaf fall and the bough bare."

Still, the situation of their villa was most lovely; it was quite secluded, in a little vale filled with orange-trees, now putting forth the soft green of their leaves, and the delicate white tracery of their coming buds. The grove was varied by a plantation of rose-trees, a few pinasters, and a multitude of winding paths. It was evident that nature had been left for years to her own vagrant luxuriance. A colonnade ran completely round the villa, which on one side only was open to the sea, whose sounds

« PreviousContinue »