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“ Ah! but, Edith, you little knew what you bound yourself to. You were ignorant of the claims of the service upon me. I myself never thought they would come to break our happy dream."
“A dream, Walter! To me it has been a reality.” “ If we could make it so! But no! That is more than I dare ask.”
“ You speak in riddles, Walter : is not our love a reality? Why should we cease to love ?"
“ You misunderstand me, Edith. I can never cease to love you." 66 And do
you doubt the strength of my affection ?” “No! no ! But time and circumstances are sometimes terrible agents. See! in a few weeks I shall be gone, and another will stand on the ground I occupy, backed by your mother's authority.” “But I have told you, Walter, that Lord Deepdale can be nothing to
I have given myself to you." Walter Cobham drew Edith closer: he looked on her sweet face and saw his own love mirrored in her eyes : he had striven against the temptation, but it was too powerful now to be resisted.
"Edith,” he whispered, * dearest, my heart's life, will you marry me before I go?”
Edith became faint, and gasped for utterance.
“How can that be?” at length she faltered. “ You would not have me fly from home-even to you!"
“ I seek an assurance, love, beyond the power of the world to deprive me of. With the knowledge that you are irrevocably mine, the grief of absence might be borne. Whatever befel I should then have the right to protect you. In three years-perhaps less—I shall get my promotion and return,-a poor man still, no doubt, but with more of a home to offer." 66 Three years,
Walter! Will you not believe that I can be faithful to
you for that little space ? It will be wiser-better for us to wait.”
“ To wait, Edith! And to know that day by day, while I am from you, everything may be attempted to make you yield to your mother's will! If the barrier I seek were interposed, compliance could not even be enforced !”
Edith was deeply moved.
“Oh, Walter,” she said, "you ask too much! I dare not take the step to which you urge me. Nothing in the shape
Nothing in the shape of entreaty or menace can make me untrue. If I had sworn at the altar to be your wife I could not feel more steadfastly bound to you. Will not that content you, Walter ?"
"Edith,” he replied, sadly, “ forgive the selfishness of passion. The sacrifice I ask is, indeed, too great! I must strive to find comfort in the promise you have given. But—but we shall meet once more before I go. I could not part with you—perhaps for ever-here !"
Edith could not speak for tears.
“ I am afraid, Walter, to come to this public place any more. Besides, it was only accident that enabled me to be here to-day. But rely upon this—as I bid you rely on the promise I have made-I will not let you part without a last adieu. That kind Monsieur Perrotin, who has already
helped us, will not refuse to do so again. I will write to you as often as I can, and he will bring me your letters.”
“Be it then, Edith, as you say. I will not add to your pain by seeking more than you can give. Farewell for the present!"
They were alone in the most sequestered part of the gardens : he folded her to his heart in one long embrace, and left her!
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
EDITH's resolution was very soon tested.
Not only determined upon the attainment of her objects, Mrs. Scrope was one who never could press them forward too quickly for her desire. It was a feature of her. imperious character to expect that everything must at once submit to her will. The slightest opposition awoke her anger, and her anger awakened was uncontrollable.
The fixed idea of Mrs. Scrope was the marriage of her daughters to the men whom she should choose, and since the speedy return of Lord Deepdale had been announced, she thought of nothing but the match with Edith.
Hitherto she had only alluded in general terms to the probability of the connexion, but as the time drew near when he must appear as her future son-in-law, Lord Deepdale became her constant theme, and all vagueness on the subject was discarded.
One evening-it was about a fortnight after Edith's interview with Walter—Mrs. Scrope and her eldest daughter were alone together.
Edith,” she said, abruptly, “ you are aware that you are very soon to be married.”
“ Mamma!” exclaimed Edith, turning pale.
Mrs. Scrope neither noticed the exclamation nor the change in her daughter's countenance.
“ You remember what I said to you lately about your cousin Deepdale !"
“ Yes, mamma!" “ Within six months he will be your husband !" Edith strove to reply, but it was impossible. “I need not say that I suppose you are delighted with my choice.” Still Edith did not speak.
“ Deepdale will have the largest estate in Leicestershire, and even, before his time, it is very likely that the marquisate of Vipont will be revived in the family. No girl could marry better than you will, Edith. You may
very thankful to Lady Delaval and I that we have so decided it."
“ Mamma,” said Edith, summoning up cqurage, at last, to speak. “I have never seen my cousin since I was ten years
age. “I dare say,” observed Mrs. Scrope, indifferently, you will not know him again.” “But something more than recognition is necessary, mamma.
If he is to be what you say"--she could not utter the word her mother had used—“ I ought to know him well, beforehand.”
“What need of that ? Are you not blood relations ? Deepdale is not a stranger to the family.” “ To me he is, mamma.
A stranger to you! What does the girl mean ?” “I may-not-like him.”
“Oh," replied Mrs. Scrope, with a contemptuous toss of her head, 6 like or dislike is of no consequence !"
“Surely, mamma, it is of every consequence to the person most concerned.”
“Edith," said Mrs. Scrope, severely, "you are disposed to be disputatious instead of being grateful.”
“I cannot be grateful," said Edith, firmly, “for an unknown advantage."
Mrs. Scrope's eyes flashed fire.
“ I have never done so yet, mamma, but—but you are forcing a subject upon me for which I was unprepared.”
“How, unprepared! unless you were stupid as you are evil-disposed ? Don't answer me, I won't hear a word ; you must have been prepared for what I have just told you! Have I not repeatedly, incessantly, spoken of Deepdale ? To what purpose have I named him so often if not to make you
understand that he was to be your husband? I see no reason, indeed, why I should have troubled myself to prepare you at all, having once resolved that it should be so."
It was time for Edith to speak with all the decision she was capable of mustering
“I, too, mamma, am resolved,” she said; “I will not marry Lord Deepdale.
Mrs. Scrope's face became as white as ashes.
". Are you in your senses, Edith ? Have you the temerity to rebel against my commands ?”
“I have the right, mamma, to think of myself in a matter so allimportant as marriage."
To think of yourself! You !-a child—a creature devoid of sense, or heart, or mind, or feeling !-a thing incapable of estimating a mother's care! To whom do you owe everything, if not to me? And this is the reward of so many anxious years! At the moment when I confer upon you the greatest benefit that a parent can bestow, you turn, like a viper, and sting the bosom that has warmed you !"
Edith threw herself on her knees before her mother.
“ For God's sake!" she cried, “reproach me not so bitterly. I have not deserved it.”
“ Lie there!” returned Mrs. Scrope, pacing the room, frantic with passion. “ Grovel in the earth, base in spirit as you are wicked and heartless !” Then turning towards her with clenched hand, she added : “ You have dared to raise your voice against mine.
Listen then to this. If Deepdale were the worst, as he is the best of his race, you should marry him and no other. And the sooner, I swear it, for your unheard-of, your detestable obstinacy. Ay, humble yourself to the dust; you may well do so, you thankless—monstrous
Mrs. Scrope did not finish the sentence: her violence overcame her physical force; she threw herself on a sofa, and screamed with hysterical passion.
Edith rose from the ground, and rushed in terror to her mother. She had often experienced the effects of her temper, but never witnessed rage like this. Again she knelt beside her, chafing her hands, smoothing her brow, calling her by the most endearing names, incoherently promising all her mother desired if she would only look up again and speak with kindness.
Though her words were lost in air, Mrs. Scrope did look up, but it was to fix upon Edith a glance that might have turned her to stone.
“Edith,” she said, speaking slowly and dwelling upon every syllable, “if ever you hope to be forgiven, if you would not incur my everlasting hatred, retract what you had the insolence to say just now. Promise me on your knees to marry Lord Deepdale!"
Again Edith burst into tears.
" Mother, mother!" she cried—"spare me, spare me! I cannot, canDot promise!”
“Leave my sight, hypocrite !" cried Mrs. Scrope, starting up with reDewed fury. " Leave my sight! Never let me see your face till you come to my feet with tears of repentance.”.
Edith attempted once more to speak, but with a fierce gesture Mrs. Scrope motioned her to be gone, and she tremblingly obeyed.
It is a common saying that passionate people forget the cause of passion as soon as its explosion is over, but if this be generally true, Mrs. Serope was an exception to the rule. Her anger was not the irritation of temper only, but the mortification of deep-seated pride. The opposition of Edith in the present instance was a blow to the dearest project of her life. What if Agatha, also, should in her turn oppose her will! But no-she felt sure of her! And she would make sure, too, of Edith, whose blind, ungrateful obstinacy--thus ran the current of her thoughts -was quite unfathomable.
After a sleepless night-sleepless alike to both – Mrs. Scrope, setting aside her determination not to see or speak to Edith, sent for her as soon as it was light. It was to exact obedience, and tell her in the sternest language that she looked for immediate submission. The struggle between duty and love had wrung Edith's heart sorely, and if her mother had only shown the slightest tenderness, she must have yielded, even at the cost of future happiness. But the harsh, inflexible, bitter manner of Mrs. Scrope chilled the spring of her heart's affection, and turned its current aside to flow no more in its first direction. Under a sense of injury Edith was as resolute as her mother; and resolutely, though tearfully, she refused the expected compliance. Mrs. Scrope then took another course. Inspired by a feeling which amounted now to positive aversion, she resolved to banish Edith from home till her rebellious spirit was broken.
What steps she took for this purpose, and what result attended them, will shortly be told.
NAPOLEON BALLADS.-No. III.
BY WALTER THORNBURY.
THE BELLS OF FONTAINEBLEAU. NAPOLEON in the
And heavy bended head,
A hill near Fontainebleau,
Came to him from below.
Paced laughingly along,
Or scrap of opera song;
A monarch turned to stone,
The spot becomes a throne.
With sickles (not with swords),
Lay revelling like lords;
To win it o'er again.
As if upon a foe,
The plenty spread below,
From yonder village tower-
Exulting in his power.
(A moisture in his eyes), Massena gave a shrug that showed
A cynical surprise:
When all unknown of men,
And I was happy then.”
Sat down upon the hill,
With sword-sheath (oh that will!)
The battle lines again :-
Upon Marengo's plain.