Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

look upon every word he spoke as if it proceeded from the Delphic oracle, yet he willingly allowed that he was superior to any man he ever saw, and that he every day discovered some new brilliance in his mind, or some new excellence of his heart.

CHAPTER XII.

And oft I wish, amidst the scene to find,
Some spot to real happiness consign'd ;
Where my worn soul, each wand'ring hope at rest,
May gather bliss to see my fellows blest.
The Traveller.

Opinions.

THERE had been as much settled at breakfast on the twenty-second day of May, in the hot city of Rome, as is often settled in a cabinet council in the smoky city of London. Every family, every party of

friends,

friends, is in itself a political body, and its interests being minute in proportion to its size, more nicety is required in deciding upon them, though such dangerous consequences do not proceed from a mistake, as where the more extended arrangements of a nation are concerned. ' And had the protocol of their conference been put into writing, it would merely have stated, that it was agreed by all parties, that they should proceed to Naples forthwith; that a month was to be the extent of their stay in that country—that the baron de S , who was present, should accompany them thither; and farther, that all parties being subjects of Great Britain, should return to that country before the

expiration of the month of October. This being settled, arranged, agreed, and finally determined on, lord Burton rose, and invited Charles to walk with him through the city. Perhaps Charles would rather have remained with Mary, but Frederic's desire was not to be decliK 3 ned; ned; and he also fancied that his cousin's wish was to speak to him on some of the many subjects on which they had yet to communicate. There were several of these on which Charles much wished to enter, but he could not make up his mind to begin the subject; and at first, as they walked on, lord Burton seemed not at all inclined to lead the way. He would talk of any thing else, and first began, by pointing out many of the wrecks of magnificence which had once adorned the queen of cities—“It is beautiful, even in its desolation,” said he. “Had I formed less extravagant expectations of it,” answered Charles— “ had I not dreamt of what it was, instead of what it is, I should most likely have been more pleased and less disappointed ; but it is the mere sepulchre of what I had fancied Rome.” “You put me in mind of what some poet says of it,” replied lord Burton :

[ocr errors]

“Fra queste ruite a terra sparte,
In se stessa cadea morta e sepolta.”

But perhaps, Charles, you have not heretofore been in the best possible mood for seeing the beauties that are yet left. The mind, and the objects it takes in, especially by the eye, are like two mechanical powers operating upon each other, and the action and reaction are very nearly equal. If the depression of the mind today casts a gloom over the beauties of nature, a lovely prospect to-morrow will transfuse a part of its own brightness to the mind.”

“I would rather,” answered Charles, “compare the mind to a lake, originally calm, and reflecting either the sunshine or the clouds as they pass over it, but sometimes agitated by tempests that cast the whole into confusion.”

“And such, Charles, has been the state of your mind for the last month,” said lord Burton; “and I dare say you have thought my conduct not a little singular.”

K 4 “Perhaps

“Perhaps I may have thought so, Frederic,” replied his cousin; “but in some instances I have behaved so ill, that I could not bring myself to ask you for any ex

planation.” “I understand to what you allude, Charles,” said lord Burton; “ but that is to be forgotten, and I will do you the justice to say, you acted, even with regard to the baroness, better than I expected from so young and ardent a man. But as to my own conduct, Mary was the only tie between me and existence; and where her happiness was concerned, I could not think any exertion on my part too great, that could secure her from that eternal bane to peace, an ill-assorted marriage. You know, that by your father and mine, you were destined for each other; and I had not much doubt, that if I offered no opposition, an union between you would take place. But, in the first place, I resolved to investigate your character thoroughly, and in the next, to ascertain whe. . . - ther

« AnteriorContinuar »