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of love, hope, and happiness was thunder-stricken and scattered around him, an utter wreck; a tumultuous whirl of lacerating thoughts flew through his heart, each as it passed inflicting a new and deeper pang, and he could have cursed the numerous passengers, among whom he staggered on his way, for that they seemed all so light-hearted and unconcerned. The very beggar who) beset his path, appeared to him a happy and enviable being.
At length he reached the house, rushed into his study, locked the door, and falling on a sofa, gave himself up to the full tide of his misery.
In an hour or two he heard the outer door open with a pass-key, and a quick, light, footfall hasten across the hall; he thought too he heard a faint sob, but it might have been fancy. He remained alone in this way till the evening, when he rose, took his hat, and went out, to wander alone in the park. He had now become more calm, and could reflect upon the matter. He was convinced that he had been duped miserabiy made a tool of, by an unprincipled creature with art beyond her years. Oh, is there any thought more galling, than that we have been deceived by one in whom we have put our dearest confidence that our own warm feelings have been made the means to effect the deceit? It is like a dagger-stab, and the belief that always follows that our betrayer feels contempt for us, is the poison thrown into the wound.
But his jealousy of her, was as nothing to the intense detestation in which he held her favourite-this latter was the ruling passion. To whom is it you bear the most virulent hatred ? Is it not to him who is loved by her you love ? the man who basks in the smiles you would give your very soul to buy, but cannot? You envy him, and yet you hate him-you see no merit in him-he appears to you every thing that is despicable, and yet how gladly would you change conditions with him? Anon, let the valued fair one leave him for another, as she left you for him, and your hatred ceases--he is now a fellow-sufferer Lyour ill-will becomes pity, sympathy, fellow-feeling, and you could all but swear with him a perpetual friendship.
It was with such feelings as these that Basil now called to mind the antipathy he had formerly entertained to Houldsworth, the very sight of whom he used to shun as an annoyance. How differently now did he think of him.
“ Poor young fellow! he too with his gewgaws and frippery, had been taken in. We have both been fooled. I wonder what he thinks now, for he must long have known it. But I see how it is—money is their object--she has been fluctuating between our hundreds a-year, and now this fellow's thousands have turned the balance-she has been keeping me as a kind of reserve to fall back upon, when others have done with her. And that ancient hypocrite, the mother, how well she abets—nay,
she must be the instigator of the schemes—and Wark. worth, too what a look of love did this Delilah of seventeen bend upon him—but he is handsome and free of his money-yet he is a married man-they can have no designs upon him in that way-can they have in any other-is she a thing so vile ? oh, agony! What am I to do? I must not let them know my mind. I see my course-- I shall stay here for a month or so, and go about as usual, but never another thought of mine shall be given to her, nor shall a word pass between us. I shall then quietly go off to England—at least leave this place for ever.”
He sought his home with this resolution, and for some weeks he kept it, at least as far as silence went, and avoiding her in every way. But could he keep her from his thoughts? He knew he could not-he could not even try. No! every process of his mind involved her; she was his memory—he could only recollect scenes in which she was mingled; she was his imagination, for alone, and every minute, with new associations, did the idea of her rise in his mind. She was his judgment, for the thought of her determined all his actions. She was his fear, his hope, and, oh, how much his love! She had been his joy, and was now his misery. Happy would he have been could he have ceased to think of her, but the very mental act of willing to think of her no longer, was still a thought regarding her. Thus he remained for some days, his mind a vortex of passions, plans, and resolves, which changed with every hour. He was unable to sleep for thinking of her, and when exhausted nature yielded, she rose in every dream.
He could not help seeing her once or twice during this period. She appeared pale and careworn, as if she too suffered acutely in her mind. When her eye met his, a feeling of shame was evident through her countenance, but he felt instinctively it was not the shame of guilt, but that of misfortune. It seemed impossible for the most prejudiced spectator to see evil in that face, on which fair fronted innocence palpably sat, albeit in the midst of sorrows. At length, a reaction began in his thoughts.
“ It cannot be- I was wrong to judge so harshly—besides, I took no account of motives. Again, have I not known her since from a child she changed to woman, and did I ever know a word or act of hers that could in the remotest degree indicate such conclusions as my passions have led me to form, much less could justify them. No angel's face ever had an expression of more purity, or beamed a sweeter smile, and I have condemned her unheard. But then how she smiled upon him! But then she is so young, -she cannot be far gone in her course of evil-she is still to be reclaimed. But again, the concealment- the duplicity. The whole matter is inscrutable-I must have an explanation from her, and if I find her really what I surmised, I can be no worse than I am-my heart can be no more than broken."
Thereupon he sent his servant to her with a note, asking if he might see her, who shortly returned with an answer in the affirmative.
He found her alone : she was seated on a sofa with her hands folded upon her lap, and appeared to be lost in a train of thought of a mournful cast. As he entered she raised her head, and a trace of her former glad smile of welcome rose on her face, but as her eye met his, this disappeared and she grew pale, and her lip trembled. For a moment or two no word was spoken; at length he said,
“ Miss Esterling, we have been strangers for a long time—" She made no reply. “I am going back to England, and my opinion is that after what has passed between us, it would be right to part in good will if we cannot do so in friendship, to use no warmer word.”
A pause. “ You are aware of the reason of our estrangement ?" “I am : I know well what your thoughts of me are ; but I assure
you they are without foundation. You are altogether mistaken, but I blame no one ; it could not be otherwise.”
“ I should be overjoyed to believe this. Are you aware that Warkworth is a married man ?”
“I believe he is"
“ I really did not think from what I knew of you, that I could ever detect you guilty of even deceit to me, much less that I would find you artfully setting out your charms to make a conquest (for what end I will not judge) of this husband of another woman-this man of notorious character."
She sprang up, her face red with anger, and stamped her foot on the floor, while her eyes glared upon him with pride, indignation, and scorn; but seeing him continue to regard her unmoved, she fell back into her seat, and covering her face with her fingers, gave way to a fit of hysterical weeping and sobbing. For a little he forbore to speak, then drawing nearer to her, he said,
“If I have given you pain by my words, think what an agony of mind your conduct has caused me. You have often given me reason to
entertained a very strong regard for me; latterly I have been led to think this was not real. If it is, you can prove it by giving me an explanation of your connexion with this man Warkworth. I know that any third person might think I have no right to ask this, but you, when you consider the terms on which we used to be, will I am sure acknowledge I have a right.”
“ Warkworth's calls here are altogether on business. He was intimately wrought up in my father's affairs, and still continues to be. He was a party to the unhappy separation of my parents. Why will you urge me to talk of these things—you will kill me.” (A new light began to open up before Basil's mind.) “More explanation than this I cannot, I will not give—not for my own sake, but because it would involve the dearest fame of others.' “ And you
do not love him then ?" “How can you ask me such a question? I give you my honour to all I have said ; I can give no further proof ; if that is not satisfactory, leave me at once and for ever. More on the subject I will not utter."
How short is the step between extremes, in hearts where love is master. There was a long silence, during which he sat unable to frame a sentence, his mind filled with conflicting gladness and regret; at length he spoke.
"My dearest Marianne, I have been misled, but I could not help it. I have been very harsh and rude, but your own heart I am sure will tell you I have not been wrong. Can you forgive me, my own good, noble girl ; I have every confidence in your truth and honour, and will never doubt you more. I know your gentleness, your patience, and generosity, and that you will forgive. I have vexed you much, but your own candour must allow that it all arose from my vehement devotion to you, which is the one passion of my existence.'
It was hard for her to resist his pleading, to withhold forgiveness from him on whom her heart doted. She tried to do it, at least for some time, but could not hold out, and tearfully gave way, owning to his raptured questioning that he was the sole object of her love.
It would be needless for us to describe in words the conversation that ensued, for the fancy of our readers would anticipate the scene and we and our details be overleaped and left far behind. It ended, after some hours, in a solemo engagement, that they should be united in marriage on the earliest day that could be convenient to them both, when she should be altogether and unalterably his own, and there should be no more doubt, fear, or jealousy.
Strange enough, this hardly appeared in the eyes of either of them an event of unusual weight or moment. They had both looked forward to it for years, during which they had lived together in daily familiar and confidential intercourse. There were no arrangements to be made; with the exception of her mother, no human being had control over either of them, or could direct or oppose their desires; there were no persons to be consulted, and a doubtful consent entreated from them; there was no one even to be informed of the fact. Not an obstacle stood in the way of the consummation. He had long been his own master, and as to worldly matters was perfectly independent, and could abundantly afford to follow the bent of his wishes. She again was well convinced that her mother loved her too dearly to withhold from her any thing that she earnestly desired.
But when he asked Mrs. Esterling's consent, the behaviour of the latter appeared to him remarkable. She seemed to suffer a strange and sudden depression of health and spirits, and entreated him to allow her another day, when she would be prepared to give him an answer.
Next day when he met her, her language and conduct seemed as extraordinary. At one time she told him she could not yet, for private reasons of her own, give her sanction to the marriage of her daughter, but as she could stand in the way of nothing that could conduce to the happiness of either of them, they might be married without any opposition on her part, if they were both willing to run all risks for good or evil, only she desired to be altogether unconnected with the matter. She had no hesitation in entrusting to him the future welfare of her only child, yet she had many fears that the happiness they expected would prove an illusion, and if ever it did, they should not reproach her with furthering this measure, which she called him to witness she had never encouraged, if she had not discountenanced it. Marianne, she continued, had many imperfections ; she was low born, of the very humblest class; her parents had been (here she trembled) most unfortunate if not criminal-("She alludes to their bankruptcy,” thought he)—and were one tithe of their evil fortunes known, a stigma would attach to her. No, it could not to her, but still this world was malignant, and apt to visit the sins of the parents on the children.
In this way she ran on, getting more confused and excited with every sentence, till Basil, positively in pain for her, withdrew, with a vague belief that he had obtained her acquiescence.
In a week or two, Marianne and he were quietly and unostentatiously married, according to the short and simple ceremony of their church, by their friend and pastor, Dr. The only remark he made regarded their youth, for she still wanted some months of eighteen, and he as many of twenty-one. Yet they seemed so loving and devoted, and he knew him to be so talented, so virtuous, and honourable, and she amid her blushes looked so beautiful, that as he bade Heaven bless them, there was a warmth and kindness in his benignant smile, as if they had been his own children.
(To be concluded in our next.)
Using the word dog as the Turks and Persians do when they say, “ dog of a Jew," or " dog of a Christian,” we take leave to style the lap-dog the dog of dogs, in order to inark the antipathy we bear to the most intolerable variety of the canine species. We assert with the utmost deliberation and solemnity, that we would infinitely prefer to have the country over-run again with bears and wolves, as it was in the days of the Heptarchy, than infested, as it now is under the House of Hanover, with those venomous little domestic nuisances, yclept lapdogs. The bear and the wolf were only to be met with in the woods and wilds, where it was a man's own fault if he went to meet them ; but the lap-dog is a wild-beast which you must fly to the woods and wilds to avoid, for he haunts the drawing-room and the boudoir ; the hearthrug is his jungle; the sofa his lair; he maketh his den of embroidered cushions, and “ imitates the action of the tiger," even in the soft situation from which he derives his name. More lively by many degrees is our dread of a London lap-dog than of a Bengal tiger. A general battue of the race of pugs and poodles, Shocks, Snaps, and Fidos, would be a splendid service to the public ; and if the British sportsman is a patriot, this hint will not be given in vain. Hitherto, the diminutive size of this ferocious animal has screened him from the stroke of justice; but it ought to protect him no longer. The flea is minuter a great deal, yet chambermaids are expressly commissioned to make war upon the flea, and extirpate it from bed and blanket. In fact, the smaller a mischievous creature is, the more difficult is it to guard against its attacks, and it is consequently formidable in an inverse proportion to its corporal dimensions. There is nothing so spiteful as the lap-dog; in no animal in creation are all the bad passions so completely developed or so shockingly conspicuous. Rancour, envy, jealousy, treachery, are amongst its “minor morals,”—the smallest graces of its character. It possesses a forty-spinster power of malice and all uncharitableness.
To give a mythological account of the origin of the breed, we should suppose the first lap-dog to have been the pet of those three virulent old maids, the Furies, and to have followed their heels, with a collar of snakes round its pretty neck, as its odious decendants wear pink ribbons. Perhaps the " Stygian pug,” kept by the great wizard Agrippa, was the identical darling of Miss Tisiphone and her sisters. Or, it is easy to conceive Cerberus to have been the Fido of Queen Proserpine, and a charming little dear no doubt he was, sporting about the Pandemonian drawing-room, and occasionally drawing “iron tears down Pluto's cheek,” by snapping at his sable majesty's nose, or biting his royal thumb.
We never see a lady and her lap-dog without thinking of Beauty and the Beast. It is observable that dogs of this description are actually prized for their ill-temper, for the fierceness of their bark,
*" Agrippa kept a Styrian pug.”-HUDIBRAS.