Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

· niture in this room was as rich and re- wisest philosophers in all ages have shrunk cherché as the most fastidious Parisian belle alarmed from a thunder-storm." could desire. All seemed regulated by the "I was not even thinking of the thundermost refined taste. A handsome mahogany storm," replied the youth. book-case, well filled-quite a treasure at that “How is it possible to employ our time-stood on one side of the room, sur- thouglıts otherwise at such a moment, Clamounted by a marble bust of. Alexander the rençe, when nature has put on her aspect Great, said to have been copied from an of sublimity? The sudden change from original. On each side of the book-case were such perfect stillness to wild commotion couches covered with superb crimson satin, cannot fail to inspire feelings of veneration of a texture far superior to the flimsy ma mingled with awe.” terial of modern times. Immediately over "And may not a just similitude be drawn the couches hung two portraits, one repre between the change of scene we have just senting a cavalier of the English court, and witnessed and the homan heart ?" asked the other á French peasant-girl of rare Clarence. “As the sun is obscured by beauty. Over the mantel hung a full-length clouds, so is hope too often shrouded by the picture of a beautiful boy; and it needed but fears and doubts intruding there." a glance at that and the youth we have | “Yet the storm will pass away, Clarence, just introduced to our readers to discover and the sun shine eren brighter than be the original of the portrait. The windows fore. May it not be thus with the heart ?" were nearly shrouded by heavy curtains of A gleam of joy lit up the eyes of the the same rich material as the couches. A youth as she pronounced these words. fine Turkey carpet—an article then only in- ' “ What a blessed thought is that I he dulged in by the wealthy-covered the floor, exclaimed. “Yes, if it were not that hope and a black marble centre-table, on which but conceals itself to return again to glad lay an unfinished drawing and a few books, 1 den us, how miserable would be our completed the adornment of Madame Du- | life !" mont's drawing-room. But we must not “Clarence, I have observed of late that forget the two living ornaments to the room, you have given way too much to melancholy. whose, future history will be the subject of It is unnatural in you. So young, and forour story.

merly so happy; surrounded with every “Clarence," said the lady, turning sud- | thing to render life desirable ; you surely denly towards tie youth.

have no cause for sadness. How would the He started.

world marvel at such capricious fancies ! " Clarence, do you fear the lightning ?” For me to indulge in grief would excite no . *No."

wonder. An orphan, deprived of all those • “Had we not better retire from the win sweet ties of kindred and home with which dow.! you may not be a 'afe here."

you are blessed-having not one human .“ When will you cease to consider me a being from whom I can claim kindness or child ?" replied he, while a quick flush passed protection-ah! such is an unenviable lot.

over his brow. “If you i lo not fear the But you !-come, come, be more cheerful. - storm, why should I?"

As your Mentor, I shall not allow you to be "You seem to have great belief in my sad." strength of mind," said she, smiling. “Yet/ “And should Telemachus hesitate to obey "I acknowledge I am not so t imorous as the orders of Mentor, what will be his many of my sex; but your la ly-mother | punishment ?” is uncommonly so, and why she vuld you “Telemachus having arrived at an age notuba subjeet to terrors so naturai!! The when his own judgment should regulate his

actions, Mentor can only advise, having no tent than the sorcerer's magic. To break power to enforce obedience.”

that charm now would be to hurl me back "And if the pupil prefer even the voice of from the height of happiness to the depth reproof from such a Mentor, to all the praise of misery. No, rather consider me a child or adulation of others, what step should then again, if it secure my being near you and be taken to punish him ?”

listening to you for ever. One word more. “I know of no other but to banish him My mother has lately hinted a wish that I from the presence of so unfit a tutor, and should leave home, and take my station in the compel him to submit to the guidance of world. She gives me my choice—the law those more capable of insisting upon his or the army. For the one, I am wholly unobedience."

fitted. In the dangers and excitements of “Nay, then, rather than endure such an the other, I may learn forgetfulness, if not infliction as that, Telemachus will punish find peace. I have now told you all, and I himself by masking his sadness in smiles." ask your counsel, which has always been so

“Rather let reason guide you," replied sweet to me.” the lady.

While he was speaking, Helen, warned “Is not every effort of reason vain, when by the increasing violence of the storm, had employed to control the feelings ?”

retreated from the window, and sat with her "And cannot the voice of friendship have face half concealed by the heavy drapery. power to chase away your gloom !" asked The deep rich color of her cheek had subthe lady, while her eye drooped beneath the sided to a deadly paleness, as if the blood ardent gaze of her companion.

had retreated to a heart accustomed to still “ Friendship !" echoed the youth. “How its emotions. The long fringed lashes, which calmly you pronounce that word! Far shaded her dark hazel eyes, swept her cheek, above the weakness of human nature your- | for not once were they raised as she listene self, your heart is equally serene in sunshine but when he ceased, she replied, as calmly as and in storm. Helen, it is that very supe-| to any trivial remarkriority of mind, so different from the rest of "You have told me nothing new, Clarence. the world with which I have mingled, which Your mother has already informed me of chains me in adoration at your feet. Do her intentions with regard to your future not interrupt me now. The mask must be position in life. She has also, with many withdrawn, and the sooner the better. I thanks for what she terms a benefit conferred know what you would say; you would | upon her, by assisting in your instruction in lavish upon me again your cold lessons of the languages, hinted that my residence reason, prudence, and philosophy. You here is no longer necessary, and that on would make me a mere automaton-a crea- | your return from your three years' interture of calculating policy, subject to the course with the world, arrangements have caprice of those who pretend to possess a been made for your marriage with Adelaide right to control my feelings as well as my St. Clair, the niece of her late husband, your actions. I am your willing pupil in all else. step-father, Monsieur Dumont"But suffer me to indulge my own thoughts She paused, for on raising her eyes to unmolested. Nay, hear me patiently now, mark the effect of her words, she was terriand if the subject is painful, never more will fied at the agonized expression of her audiI offend. My life had been a blank till you tor's countenance. He made a slight effort came and awoke me from my stupor to in- to raise the window, a few half-uttered words tellectual existence. The companion of the issued from his lips-he half rose, and then mother became the tutor of the son. With fell back and fainted. the precepts which have fallen from your There are situations in life, wnen we lips, have been mingled a charm more po- | might find it as useless to attempt to confine

the impetuous torrent in its course, as re- the color mount to her brow, and her whole strain the pent-up feelings of the soul. Helen frame tremble; while Clarence confronted sprang to the side of the insensible youth, his parent, the angry spot on whose cheek threw up the window, and heeded not the foretold a coming storm, more to be dreaded dashing rain as it swept over her, and bathed than that on which they had been gazing. the pale forehead of the sufferer. With all None but a close observer would have the passionate eloquence which the tenderest traced a resemblance between the stern, unheart of woman could inspire, she sought to bending features of the intruder, and the call him back to life. But he soon reco- smiling, happy, innocent, artless face of the vered, and she was calm and cold as before, rustic peasant in the portrait we spoke of; and simply begged his forgiveness for being and yet they were the sarne. Colonel Graso abrupt in her communication, supposing bame had found this pretty flower blooming he had heard it already from his mother. unseen in the wild forests of Normandy, and

"And did you suppose I was a party to transplanted it to his lordly halls, to be the such an arrangement, Helen? This is the dispenser of wreaths to victors, and smiles last evening I may spend under this roof, to cringing slaves; but the untutored heart and I now declare, that if you cast me froin of the mountain girl grew lofty and overyou, I will enter the army, never to return bearing in its new situation. She reagain alive. Neither Adelaide St. Clair nor ceived the adulation of the multitude as her any other shall hear those vows from my lips right, and trampled on the feelings of the which bind me to you. Here I swear" humble without remorse. Her noble hus

“Stop, stop, Clarence! You know not band was abroad in the service of his counwhat you are saying. Alas! it is necessary try, and the young wife queened it bravely that we should part, when matters have at home. He was cut off in the prime of become so serious. I shall leave Madame life, yet crowned with glory's wreath, and Dumont's to-morrow; and if my prayers bequeathed to his only son, Clarence, then for your happiness have any efficacy, you a child of five years, an unsullied name and will, you must be happy, dear Clarence.” a rich inheritance. Mrs. Grahame mourned

In vain did the youth implore her, by his loss for a year, and then accepted the every tender epithet, not to leave him to hand of Monsieur Dumont, with whom she despair. The tears of Helen fell fast upon spent two years in Paris, and afterwards rehis brow as he knelt before her, but her re moved to the land of beauty and adventure, solution remained unchanged. She used which drew so many to its shores. all the influence which had ever been em Dumont died soon after their arrival, and ployed over her docile pupil, to prove to his widow was so inconsolable as to medihim how idle and visionary were his present tate retiring to a convent. But society had hopes; but the strength of mind with which too many charms, and the education of her she had armed herself was fast yielding to son claimed her attention ; she therefore the persuasions of him she secretly loved ; launched again into the vortex of fashionand the words were on her lips which would able life, and drank in eagerly the breath of have sealed their fate as one, when the door flattery, which is ever unsparingly lavished opened, and Madame Dumont, the mother | upon the possessor of wealth and the leader of Clarence, entered the apartment.

of fashion. A long digression in the middle of a story The beauty and intelligence of the orphan, is always fatiguing to the reader, or we Helen Williams, early caught the attention should go back to the early history of the of the wealthy lady. Her father, Colonel lady whose haughty step so unexpectedly Williams, in the second French war, 1755, interrupted the conversation of the lovers. was sent at the head of a regiment to join Helen, although conscious of no wrong, felt General Johnson, at the north, and was

killed in that year near the southern ex- she stood thus before her, in all the dignity tremity of Lake George, leaving his mother of innocence and unblemished truth, she less child portionless, and with neither friends could not, dared not give them utterance; nor relatives to receive her to their arms. and when Helen, in compliance with the Madame Dumont loved to patronize, when entreating look of Clarence, prepared to the object of her patronage was one pos- leave the room, she made not the slightest sessing any qualities to call forth the admi effort to detain her, but even moved aside ration of the world, and the brilliant talents to allow her to pass. The door closed upon of her protégé drew crowds to her drawing- | the unhappy orphan, and the mother was room, to laud to the skies the charity of the / left alone with her son. patron, and gaze with wonder at the fasci | And now the smothered flame burst forth. nating object upon which it was lavished. “This, then, is the result of my kindness," But by degrees the eyes of the lady began muttered the angry lady, throwing herself to open to the mortifying truth, that the | upon one of her splendid couches." Thank roses of youth had flown from her own fortune I have discovered the plot in time cheek, and blushed in freshness upon the to prevent it;" and, turning to her son, young face of Helen ; that the voice of Alat “Clarence," said she, “ the preparations are tery, the eye of admiration, had changed made for your joining the English army totheir direction; and her heart grew hard as morrow. It is time that you acquire a marble. The orphan girl began to learn name, and attain that position in life to that she was a dependent upon another's which your birth and fortune entitle you." bounty, and the thousand petty annoyances “My dear mother," answered the youth, which strike like adders to the bosom of in a deferential but resolute tone, “you missensibility, soon chased the sunshine from take my wishes altogether; I had never the her brow.

least idea of joining the English army. "She had drunk of knowledge with a strength America is my country; it was here that I As it were water to parching thirst.”

first heard the inspiring notes of freedom ; it But she must henceforth be

is in her cause that my heart is interested, - " The spirit of her own peculiar world and under her banner that I intend to fight. of passionate and illimitable thought.”

What care I for empty titles, and the still The star of the drawing-room was con | more contemptible distinctions of fortune ? signed to the study, and the youthful Cla | The nobility and honors you speak of will

ence, three years her junior, placed under find enough to court them. Give me only her care for instruction in the languages, in the nobler legacy which the sword of the which she was a proficient. We need di- | patriot bequeaths to his sons.” gress no further to show that the wisdom Madame Dumont raised herself from the and prudence of the parent were here at couch, and gazed upon her son in anger and fault; but let us not anticipate, nor leave astonishment. Never in his life before had the stately lady standing in her wrath, like | he presumed to thwart her wishes. It was an avenging spirit, before the culprits. some time ere she could find words to ex

They may talk of the power a monarch press her rage. exercises over his subjects, a tyrant over his “These are the principles, then, young slaves, but the influence of a strong mind sir, that have been instilled into your mind over a weak one is greater far than these; by your preceptress! this the use she has and as the calm, unquailing eye of Helen | made of her privileges. I wonder that I did met the flasbing one of Madame Dumont, not sooner detect these deceitful doings ; the latter shrank from the contact. She but it is not yet too late to remedy the evil. came prepared to shower insulting re- You, sir, prepare instantly to march with the proaches upon her dependent; but while troop about to join the army of Burgoyne. I will see if my commands are to be set at pawing of horses' feet was also heard, and naught. And as for her”

soon after a voice whose very tones betrayed “Stop, madam, there; say what you will the speaker to be one accustomed to comto me and of me, but breathe one word mand. against her, and I leave your roof for ever. “Loose the animal, and put him where I owe you proper respect as my mother, but he can rest; he must be off ere daylight. I I will not hear even my mother abuse an would speak to Madame Dumont; is she innocent person."

within ?" Madame Dumont saw that she was going the door flew open, and a tall martial too far, and that her own high spirit was figure strode into the room. Evidently surreflected in the breast of her son. In a prised at the elegance and luxury which softer tone she continued

met his view on every side, he doffed his “You have disappointed me, Clarence, in plumed hat with a low bow, and, making an both the objects dearest to my heart. Your apology for his hasty entrance and travelself and Adelaide St. Clair were betrothed stained costume, retreated again to the hall. in your infancy; Adelaide's mother is ready But Madame Dumont, who had caught a to seal the contract, and shall it be said that second view of his face as he turned it to I drew back? Never. Are you aware the light, and instantly recognized him, that Adelaide will have seventy thousand sprang forward with eagerness, and expounds ?"

claimed: “How much of scorn looked beautiful"

“ Lord D , this is an honor indeed.

Make no apology, I entreat you; my son upon the pressed lip of Clarence Grahame at will soon provide you with a change of this moment! but he merely answered— | raiment; and then I hope to hear by what

“I am sorry, my dear mother, that you happy chance I am indebted for the pleashould have thought it necessary to dispose sure of this visit.” of me so unceremoniously. But let this “ That is unnecessary, madam," returned matter rest until my return from the war. the stranger, replying to the first part of her The evening wears rapidly away, and I must speech by throwing off a thick overcoat leave you early"

which had protected him from the rain, and “Not for the rebel army, Clarence; that I again entering the room dazzling in the positively forbid. Remember, a mother's scarlet uniform of a British officer. curse is fearful, and it shall follow you if “And this is your son,” he continued, as you bring disgrace upon your noble name.” he seated himself and surveyed the youth.

“Was not my father a Scot, and did he “ The boy has sprung to manhood with a not battle for freedom against British tyran- | rapidity which reminds me of the flight of ny ?" asked the youth, his eye kindling as it time, and the additional gray hairs it has fell upon the portrait before him.

sprinkled on my brow. I should have re“He did," replied his mother. “But the cognized the youth without an introduction, two countries are now one, and it is your for his father's eyes are there. Does he folduty to uphold their interests. I tell you, I low the same path, and keep bright the Clarence, I will never forgive you if you do sword of a Grahame ?" not obey me in this respect."

“He is preparing to do so, I trust,” reAt this moment a loud rap at the door plied the mother, who exulted secretly that startled both mother and son. It spoke of so powerful an ally had arrived to her ashaste, and even terror. The storm raged sistance. “Clarence joins the army to-mormore violently than ever, and they did not row, and I would that he might be under doubt that this was some benighted traveler | the protection of your lordship.” hoping to find shelter from its fury. The “Nothing could afford me greater plea

« AnteriorContinuar »