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THE

COURTIERS DAUGHTER.

BY

LADY STEPNEY.

One adequate support
For the calamities of mortal life
Exists, one only; an assured' belief
That the procession of our fate, howe'er
Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
Or infinite benevolence and power,
Whose everlasting purposes embrace
All accidents, converting them to good.”

WORDSWORTH

IN THREE VOL U MES.

VOL. III.

LONDON:

HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER,

GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1838.

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THE

COURTIER'S DAUGHTER.

CHAPTER I.

“ Thou walk'st the dizzy verge with steps unstaid, Fair as the habitant of yonder skies.”

Hogg.

and she is there,
Whose heart becomes one voiceless prayer."

R. M.

A MAN, who strives to raise himself in the estimation of others by means of petty artifices or bold untruths, may, even in the eyes of those who are capable of judging of his character, be regarded with respect and admiration; while, on the contrary, he who depends upon his honour,

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courage, and integrity, may become an object of mistaken odium, may also be played upon by the most worthless amid those who surround him, and perchance be made wretched for life, for want of one honest friend to counsel and to warn him.

We will now endeavour, as briefly as possible, to explain the motives which actuated the steward, and urged him to attempt the life of Lord Rosemaldon.

From his childhood, Joyce had been cruel, cunning, and desperate. No sooner was he raised to the companionship of his lord, and made the sharer in his pursuits and feelings, than he studied how he could best adapt his own habits and opinions to those of his noble friend, and resolved to be not only preferred, but to become necessary ; and, by administering to all his caprices, and lending himself as a ready tool to aid him in all his youthful gaieties, he succeeded, not merely in sharing every amusement and pleasure entered into by the young lord, but in proving to his satisfaction the attachment and devotion with which he regarded him.

If ever Joyce cared for a human being in the

world, it was for Alice Maund. His vanity was excessive, and it was proportionably wounded when he found that he had a rival, and that, moreover,

that rival was his illustrious friend. In the first bitterness of his wrath at the discovery, he cursed the object of his own dark passion with frantic violence, and prayed that she might one day be abandoned by her lover, and left to die of a broken heart. But, even at that early period, his craftiness of disposition enabled him to hide from every one the revengeful feelings of his heart. Not even

to Fanga did he betray himself, until the time when her daughter was forsaken, and she herself sufficiently enraged to fall into the plans of the rejected lover. They plotted together, watching eagerly for an opportunity to revenge themselves on the cause of their mutual disappointment.

The marriage of the young Lord Fitzhannon was now rumoured, and the bride whom he had selected was said to be the beautiful and amiable Olivia Valmour. Alice listened to the report with outward calmness, but her strength began gradually to fail her from that time; and, though

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