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what do you think?"-exclaimed Lu- It is, perhaps, scarcely possible for a cy, running to him, her whole counte- life to have flowed on more happily nance beaming with the expression of than his. The better and happier uncontrolled gaiety and pleasure, “ Old feelings of humanity had combined to Crompton, the fiddler, has composed— render his path one of sweetness and or got composed, poor fellow-a new enjoyment, and the fiercer passions tune to open the ball on Miss Lizzy's had never, by their action, caused a wedding-night, as he chooses to call her tumult in his soul. Cheerfulness bad, —and he says he has given it a name especially, been the characteristic of which he is sure will make it find fa- Arlescot Hall :-thus poor Sir Walter, vor with her, whether the music be when he found himself a solitary man, good or bad-he has called it “Good suffered to a most pitiable degree. Sir Walter'-Oh! how delighted I There is a term in use in some of the shall be to dance it !”
counties towards the midland, which - The more so for its name, Lucy?” we have no one word in general Eng
“ Tenfold !--there is no one in the lish to render. This word is unked. world so good and kind to me-no To those who know Oxfordshire, and one whom I love half so well-except the counties around it, its very sound my father, and I assure you, he is of- will convey far more than any elaboten jealous of you. Oh! how I shall rate description I could give of Sir delight in this dance-I shall make it Walter's state. He was very unkedthe tune of the whole county. You that is, he felt that desolate sadness, must dance it with me, Sir Walter, in and chilly sinking of the heart, which honor of our dear Bessy's bridal.” arises from being left in solitude by Sir Walter smiled and sighed almost those we love--but this periphrasis at the same instant, as he answered, does not convey half what the low “ You know, dear Lucy, I never provincial word does to those who dance "
have been familiar with its sound. “Oh, but you do,” she interrupted Oh! how cheerless was his break
" I recollect your dancing Sir Ro- fast!-Instead of his sister's kind ger de Coverly with me, the day I was face at the top of the table, (to say ten years old—and, I am sure, our nothing of a brilliant one which used baronet is the better of the two. Be- often to beam at the side,) there was sides, consider it is Bessy's wedding. -a blank! He literally started when, Such events as that do not occur eve- the first morning after his guest's dery day."
parture, on coming into the room, be « Thank God, No!” murmured saw one solitary chair placed for him, Sir Walter, as he took Lucy's hand, before the great tea-urn, and all the and led her towards the dance.
breakfast apparatus. “I am alone, He was deeply moved, in some de- then !"-he said aloud-" quite alone gree by the attachment thus shown at last!--I shall never be able to enhim by his humble neighbors, but far dure this”—and truly there was no more by the manner in which this sweet voice, or friendly smile to mark of it had been announced to him. strike upon his ear, or meet his ere “ Alas! this is the last time I shall -as both eye and ear craved their see her thus at Arlescot !-” thought accustomed objects of enjoyment. he, as he gazed upon the brilliant Dinner was perhaps more intoleracreature who stood opposite to him, ble still. It is probable, that Sir waiting with impatience for their turn Walter had not dined alone for sevento begin--and his heart heaved the teen years—and those who are in the heavier for the merry music to which habit of making one of a happy famithey had given his name.
ly circle round a hospitable board, The first week after his sister's need not be told how unked a solitary marriage was, probably, the most dinner is. But to Sir Walter it was wretched Sir Walter had ever passed. totally a new state of existence. It had never occurred to him before to no near prospect of a fire : but, on the be alone at Arlescot !-It seemed to other hand, the heliotrope and verbehim a solecism in nature. “I cannot na still flourished in their green beds, endure it !”-he exclaimed, the third and shed a powerful fragrance throughday, as the butler closed the door be- out the room; while some drawings hind him, after taking away the cloth. of the house and grounds of Arlescot, “ I will have half-a-dozen people which Lucy herself had done, hung on here before this time to-morrow, the walls, and gave token of who had or my name is not Walter Meynell.” been the occupant of the chamber.
Accordingly, he assembled a bach- But Sir Walter needed no such exelor party, who remained with him traneous fillip to divert his mind toabout a week. But even this would wards Lucy. He had, indeed, though not do for a continuance : to a man he had scarcely mentioned her name, who had been in the constant habit of even in his own mind, thought of litliving in society in which there are tle else since she had left him. But women, a continued male party, like now, as be stood in her very chama regimental mess, is intolerable. ber, and gazed upon the traces, not When they came into the drawing- only of herself, but of her interest in room after dinner, they found no one Arlescot, he gave the reins to his to give change to the hunting, the thoughts, and drew fairy visions of politics, or the something worse, which events, scattered through a long series had formed their topics of conversa- of years, which had taken place durtion :- there was no music—the piano- ing her visits, and of which she had forte closed, and the harp, in its case, been the heroine-and, though the frowned in fixed dumbness upon those last, certainly not the least, was the whom they had so often charmed- adventure of “Good Sir Walter," on there was no m in a word, the night of Elizabeth's wedding. there were no women in the house, I will go over to Wilmington to-inorand Sir Walter had never been with row"_said he-after having remained out them before.
some minutes surveying the room, and I am quite aware that a great deal all that it contained it is time I of this may, to some hypercritical should. Lucy will think I am forgetpeople, appear very trivial : it is, ne- ting her-or, what is worse, she will vertheless, perfectly true, as I am forget me.” sure many persons, who are something Sir Walter was most graciously refar better than hypercritical, will bear ceived on his visit to Wilmington. me out in asserting.
Some little complaints were made of It so happened that, on the night its delay—“ I thought,” said Lucy, before the last of this party were to " you had died of solitude and the leave him, Sir Walter, in passing ghosts, now you are left alone in that along the gallery at the extremity of dear, rambling old house. Mercy! which his bed-room was situated, how desolate it must look without chanced to inhale the scent of the Elizabeth, or me, or any of us !" verbenas, which were still preserved « It is, indeed,” said Sir Walter, in “ Ariel's Bower.” He opened with a melancholy tone, which struck the door, and went in. There was a Lucy with remorse, for having touchstrange mixture of effect in the aspect ed upon what she believed to be the of this room, from some remains of string that had jarred, his parting particular and individual habitation, from his sister. which were still apparent, and from “Nay, you must not let your sorits actual absence. With the careful row for Elizabeth's departure depress housewifery of that day, the curtains, you thus. She will come and visit both of the windows and of the bed, you in the spring, and we will renew were pinned and papered up, and a our merry doings as of yore. Mind chimney-board showed that there was you keep the bower in full bloom and
37 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.
beauty for Ariel-her · blossoms that section on my side. My sister is her hang on the bough' in particular.” dearest friend—and her affection for
“ They are all thriving-I visited her is unbounded. It is true that sister the bower last night-and oh! Lucy, might almost be my daughter-but still how desolate it looked! I could the name of sister's friend is somescarcely bear it !-yet I went again thing!” this morning, to bring a sample of the Accordingly, the tone of which I flowers to their absent owner.” As have spoken was purposely thrown inhe spoke, Sir Walter produced a very to the voice-or rather the voice was beautiful bouquet of the two plants so given free scope-and, all control often mentioned, and gave it to Lucy, over it being removed, it spoke in the
There was a difference in the sort key that nature prompted. of tone, not easy to analyze or de- Sir Walter's visit ended by Mr. scribe, in wbich Sir Walter addressed Adair asking him to come the next her—but which may easily be felt. day and stay a week, “ as he must be He had never used it towards her but so lonely at home.” “Truly I am once before, and that was when he so," answered Sir Walter—“I will wished her good night on the evening come most joyfully." of Elizabeth's marriage. It was, It so chanced that there was at this perhaps, more rapid and stronger period staying in the house at Wilthen, but it was more clear, firm, mington, a young gentleman, equivaand decided now.
lent to what would now be an officer The fact is that, on the former oc- of hussars, which individual species is casion, it was unconscious, and now a more modern exotic—who had come it was designed. The visit to Ariel's down to shoot, and who thought that Bower the night before--all the retro- so beautiful a girl as Lucy, and the spect of his past feelings, and the ex- succession to the Wilmington properamination of his existing ones, had ty, might be worth adding to his exserved finally to dissipate the film ploits during his campaign in the which was already fast falling from country. But, in despite of the Sir Walter's eyes. He felt that he moustache, and the town-air, and the loved Lucy Adair--and so gradually undeniableness of all the appointhad the sentiment been gaining pos- ments of the dragoon, he made but session of his heart, that when, at little progress in his chasse à l'hérilast, he became thoroughly conscious tière. He had not “ taken herin band," of its existence, so far from shrinking as he phrased it, more than a quarter of from it with the surprise and fear an bour, before she regarded him in the which he would have felt some months light of Dogherry, and « wrote him before, he welcomed it with delighted down an ass.” In truth, without beand unchecked joy. Still, as he rode ing quite that, he was by no means a alone towards Wilmington, he had felt man to cope with Lucy Adair. She the strongest despondency as to his went a good deal too fast for him, and chances of success. “She has always put him out of breath-she went a thought me so much older than her- great deal too deep for him, and left self-and, truth to say, there are some him floating on the surface of Infor. one-and-twenty years between us-she mation, in infinite fear and danger of has known me since she was a child, being drowned. “Still," drawled the and looked to me as her father's exquisite, (to call him by the name friend-though there are eight good he would now bear,) " she will have, years, the other way, between us at least, four thousand pounds a year; again, which is some comfort-and and, as for all this nonsense, let me once then she is so beautiful, and of such marry her, and she shall not dare to brilliant animation and wit !-No- say her soul's her own." she can never love me !-And yet I With this moderate and humane have all the feelings of long-rooted af- intention, the dragoon continued his siege--and on the day Sir Walter ar- fore his mind the constant consciousrived, in the drawing-room, waiting ness that this man was fifteen or sixfor dinner, he was in the act of carry- teen years younger than himself, and ing on what for him was a very brisk this was wormwood to bim. It is cannonade, when Sir Walter entered true that Lucy gave him no encourthe room. If the dragoon had cut six agement-but the fellow's coolness at his unprotected skull, he could and assurance were such that he did scarcely have started back with more not seem to need any—but went on as dismay than he did at this vision of a though he was received in the most young and tolerably well-looking man favorable manner possible. Once or in moustaches, rendering suit and ser- twice, indeed, he was protected from vice to Lucy. This was a contingen- annihilation by that shield thicker far cy which, down in a remote part of than the seven-fold buckler of Ajax the country, he had not at all expect- namely, that of perfect and unshaken ed--and the blow was proportionately Ignorance. Otherwise had a shaft severe,
from “ quaint Ariel's” bow slain him Sir Walter advanced to Lucy, how- more than once. ever, and though his voice shook a Sir Walter could not long endure little, his How-d'yes had all the fond this feverish state of existence. It friendliness of old times—perhaps a need, therefore, cause no very great little more. Lucy dropped the dra- surprise that on the fifth morning of goon, and was in the middle of a re- his visit--when the soldier had been capitulation to Sir Walter of a letter peculiarly pugnacious the evening beshe had received that morning from fore-he said to her—" Lucy, I want Elizabeth, when dinner was announc- to have a long conversation with you ed. The officer, who had been dur- - put on your capote, and come and ing this time, to use a most expressive walk with me along the river.” She Scottish phrase, “like a hen on a het complied frankly, and at once. girdle," then stepped forward, and And now the single-heartedness and stretching forth a pinion towards Lucy, open manliness of Sir Walter's chamuttered, “ Permit me”- I be- racter were most conspicuous. He lieve, Sir,” said Sir Walter, “I have was placed in a situation in which mathe privilege of ancienneté-I am an ny men of far greater commerce with older friend." So saying, he offered the world and with women lose all his arm to Lucy, who, slightly bowing self-possession, and behave like ninto the petrified equestrian, passed on nies. He, on the contrary, under the with Sir Walter.
strong and steady impulse of a pure The presence, however, of this and generous passion, spoke, with genpuppy was a constant blister to poor tleness indeed, but clearly, firmly, and Sir Walter's feelings—though he kept straight-forwardly. a perfect command over his temper. « Lucy,” he said, “I think you “ The fellow is handsome-there's no will feel great surprise at what I am denying it,”—thus argued Sir Walter, about to say to you. I myself, indeed, who, not being able to rate him as a feel great surprise that I should have Cyclops, chose to consider bim an it to say. Two months ago, I would Apollo at once-" he wears mousta- not have believed it possible, and yet ches, and belongs to a crack corps- it is the work of years. Lucy, I love and he is always at Lucy's ear; you ; not with that brotherly affection
-" I fear this blank was filled which bound us with Elizabeth in up with an expletive not fit to be such sweet union at Arlescot-but written in these delicate times, but with a love in comparison with which which may be considered as invoking that is pale and poor ;-I love you, upon the head of the unhappy bestri- with as fervent and as fond a passion der of chargers a very hearty curse. as man can hear towards woman. It The real fact was, Sir Walter had be- is only since my sister's mar
riage that I have known this--but maidenly-I hope not, for they are the I now know that the sentiment has truth. I then did feel surprise-surexisted long-long. Oh, Lucy! you prise that one like Good Sir Walter cannot conceive my desolate state of Meynell should feel interest of this feeling when I found myself suddenly nature for such a wild, thoughtless, cut off from your society,-I felt-I giddy girl as I am. Next it made me feel-that I cannot live without you." feel proud, that, with all my faults, He paused for a moment to collect such a man should have cast his eyes himself-he found that the violence upon me; and lastly, the crowd of of what he felt had carried him be- old recollections which flooded my yond what he had intended. Lucy heart and mind, made me feel that my spoke not. She kept her eyes upon best and dearest happiness had been the ground-her cheek was flushed- known at Arlescot-and that while I and the hand which rested on Sir had long felt towards its owner as a Walter's arm slightly trembled. He dear brother, a short time would enacontinued. “But I must not suffer ble me to love, as well as respect, him my feelings to run away with me thus as a husband. You see,” she added
-I must first learn what you feel. I in a tone scarcely audible," you see am aware, perfectly aware, of all the I am frank, indeed.” disadvantages under which I labor. I don't know whether my readers The close friendship which binds you will be surprised at this-but, mutatis to iny sister cannot conceal the fact mutandis, the same causes had workthat I am more than twenty years old- ed the same effect upon Lucy as they er than you are—or that you may pos- had upon Sir Walter. She had been sibly consider my disposition too staid deeply touched by his manner, during to harmonize with yours.-But yet the interval between the announcement they never jarred,” he added in a and the celebration of Elizabeth's softer and more broken tone" we marriage. She saw plainly what pain have passed happy days together-and, the general break-up of their intercould you feel aught approaching to course and all their babits of daily that which has gained possession of life gave him, and it was by no means my whole soul, those days might be with a light heart that she had left renewed with tenfold happiness. At Ariel's bower for the last time. She all events, do not reject my suit has- knew that it probably was not the last tily. Pause before you destroy for time in reality, inasmuch as when Eliever the visions of joy which my busy zabeth came to Arlescot, she would of thoughts, almost against my will, have course be there ; but still she felt that woven for us—at least, consider what it was for the last time as regarded the I have said.”
lang syne tone and footing to which she “ Sir Walter," answered Lucy, in a had been habituated for so many happy voice in which resolution and agita- years. “Dear, good Sir Walter,”tion struggled hard for mastery—“this she had said to herself, as her carriage conduct is like all your actions, can- drove from the door well may they did, manly, noble. I will strive to call him so—for, certainly, never did return frankness with frankness, and a better heart beat within a human to throw aside all petty evasions, as bosom. Alas! for the dear days of you have done. In the first place, Arlescot-I shall see them no more !" what you have said has not caused It was on Sir Walter's visit, that me surprise. I have been prepared the tone of voice which I noted so mifor it since your first visit here, after nutely, and his general manner, openmy return from Arlescot and I then ed Lucy's eyes to the whole truth ; saw that I ought to have had nothing to they might have opened the eyes of learn on that score since the ball on the blind. Her surprise was extreme. Bessy's wedding night. Sir, I hope “ Can it really be ?” thought shethese acknowledgments are not un- “Oh no, I am deceiving myself—it is