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- I wonder what can be the reason that our friend Sydney withdraws himself from our society for so unusually lony a period? Has any one offended him, has any unintentional slight been shewn him ? if so I should be sincerely grieved. Do you know the cause-Ethel or Clementine?”
“Oh, Papa !" hastily replied the latter, “ He is suddenly affected with some ungracious spirit-perhaps he thinks us too gay, too worldly for his sanctity. I saw him, by chance yesterday, as we rode by, going up Oakwood Park. reconcile his conscience to some things, and show servility on some occasions. Mr. Mordaunt's exclusiveness and wealth are attractions now.”
“ His alienation from his relations is a subject of unfortunate importance to them, I know his nephew Captain Mordaunt intimately," observed Aubrey.
The conversation dropped, and presently Clementine and Lord Aubrey prepared to walk. They took the village track, and soon found themselves by the shaded margin of the neighbouring stream-a thick grove, where only here and there the setting sun stole in to glisten on the wing of the insect as it fluttered by, or rouse the song of the wood bird as it poured forth its farewell lay to the light.
“ How full of beauty is everything this evening—how balmy the perfume of the air—the very trees and shrubs seem to yield a refreshing fragrance. At times like these, our thoughts and feelings take their coloring from the look of happiness around.” As Clementine thus gave words to her ideas, she paused and rested against a tree. Her companion stopped also and replied—“ I cannot confess that my feelings are in a similar Elysian state ; the beauties of nature have certainly a wonderful power in diverting and elevating the mind, and withdrawing it for a brief space from regretful thoughts and despondencies, but to-night they fail even in yielding me a temporary pleasure. The present and the future are now my consideration. I am unable to be pleasantly affected by the beauties of scenery, when my future rises in perspective and throws its veil of uncertainty over my destiny. I could be very happy were my life always to be spent as it is at this momentbut this charm of my existence ! have I the right to say it shall never leave me, that it shall not melt away ? Looking then at the doubt of my wish, my hope being realized, can I be happy even at a time like this when I recollect that the bliss may be but too transient. Clementine ! will you, as the
enchantress, tell me that my fate shall not be clouded ? Will you utter those magical words which will make me feel I am really in Elysium ?”
“ My Lord,” answered Clementine, visibly affected, “ I do not think my heart deserves this homage from yours.” The recollection of Ravensworth was in her mind-she had been proud of the devotion of Sydney—and now regretted that she had so trifled with him ; she inwardly acknowledged his indisputable superiority over his titled rival. She shrank from his idea of her own meanness, her want of that true loftiness of spirit that attaches itself to real worth and moral excellence. Those words of Byron rushed to her memory
“ Maidens, like moths are caught by glare." I must here presume to digress, that I may give my opinion of this sarcastic line of the poet. There may be weak members of our sex
but there are some of us who believe in the proverb, that “all is not gold that glitters,” and who seek for that steady light which gives the unwavering pleasure reflected from sterling worth, preferring the less dazzling brightness of the fixed star, to the more attractive splendour of the meteor, and methinks the charge may be fairly retorted upon man.
Is he never seen hovering round the luminaries of station, reflecting the brilliancy of these planets of the earth—and pleasantly twinkling in all the glory of his artificial consequence ?
Clementine saw the necessity of decision. Two hearts had been offered at her shrine. On the one hand, domestic peace, pure pleasures, competence, equality: on the other a coronet with all its attendant charms— fashion, wealth, the triumphs of position, the incense of adulation, but there were none of the securities of home.—She remembered that Henry the Fourth, once the ambitious Earl of Richmond had exclaimed
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown;" she saw that the coronet had its responsibilities, the wealth was to be accounted for it was not to preserve him in grandeur -- but in respect : to be something more than the mere minister to his expensive pleasures. But rank and riches are allurements not easily withstood, and to the soaring spirit the coronet-clasped brow was too great a temptation.
“ How shall I be envied ?” thought Clementine and a triumphant expression passed swiftly over her countenance. She thus addressed Aubrey.
“ It is not for me to expatiate unreservedly on the gratification the preference shewn me by your Lordship has given to my feelings, yet it will not be unmaidenly of me to return you the assurance that the interest is mutual. If in granting your request, Aubrey, I accomplish your hopes, it required no sacrifice of feeling on my part in being kind. I have selfishly followed the guidance of my own heart.”
6. Then you will be my wife, dearest Clementine! Aubrey Castle will never have seen so beautiful a Countess for its mistress,” and he delightedly pressed the unresisting girl to his heart.
The disclosure was soon made at Beville Court. Her parents slightly wondered; but gave full consent. His Lordship being impatient to take home his destined bride, and the close of summer, an appropriate season for a tour, having arrived, the preparations for the event were forthwith commenced.
The news soon spread around, and often harshly reached the ears of Ravensworth, but he evinced no emotion. He saw his lately loved Clementine in the pew at church, the betrothed of a titled lover, and he withdrew his eyes again that no bitter or worldly feeling should disturb his higher and holier aspirations. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery attributed this conduct of Ravensworth to pique from some unintended annoyance. To Ethel his reserve seemed consequent on the betrayal of her secret, “ What will he think of the Montgomerys ?" she said to herself
, as she thought of this wayward treatment by Clementine and the unpremeditated discovery of her own love.
It was now the commencement of September and the wedding day having arrived, a note to Ravensworth was dispatched by Mr. Montgomery to solicit his services on the occasion.
The young clergyman received it in his study. He guessed the contents and found his surmises correct. It did not fall from his hand. He put back the hair that had fallen, whilst reading, over his eyes and read it once more. He had been more than mortal if no quickened pulse, no throbbing of the heart had oppressed him at that moment. A crimson hue came over his face, but it rapidly passed away and placing the note on the table, he breathed a few words of prayer. He rose and exclaimed aloud
“The most glorious beauty is as a fading flower, let me not sorrow then as becometh not a minister of God, over the fallacy of human hopes, at the vanity of human wishes. The door to earthly joy and peace is not closed to me for ever; it may again open to me—the
wherein I shall find surer and more solid
happiness. A merciful hand deals the crosses and afflictions of this life; my present disappointment may be the medium of truer bliss than might have been my lot with Clementine. It was meet that so rare a jewel should be preserved in a more costly casket than the dwelling of the Curate of Glen-Beville, it was just she should go forth into the world to be seen and admired. May she thus go forth-admired-unregretful-pure -happy.”
Sydney Ravensworth ceased; although his lip quivered for a few minutes—then all was at rest.
The morning came; at the hour fixed, eleven, Ravensworth was waiting in the chancel; the aisles and steps were covered with blue cloth and strewed with flowers. Little girls in white stood at the gate with baskets of flowers and decked in wreaths, while the boys had bouquets in their hands and rosettes in their jackets. These were the Sunday school children. The sound of carriage wheels was audible to him who had to perform a ceremony the most trying to him in the world. Voices were heard in gentle agitation without, and then the picturesque procession met the
of the curate. He stood by the altar with a firm step and a great command of feeling. He looked more than ever majestic and handsome. Any eye might have marked his superiority over Lord Aubrey, who was certainly only sufficiently good looking to make him passable. He however had the appearance of a gentleman. The parties arranged themselves in due order, and Clementine stood pale and trembling beside her chosen husband : she would not meet the eye of Sydney and the service began, proceeded and concluded. He was thus the instrument of sealing his own fate, but he faltered not through the whole—the strength he had prayed for had been granted to him. Clementine was not so calm although she was uttering vows to the one she had selected. She had been on the point of sinking once or twice and required the support of her father and Lord Aubrey. Now it was all over, the deed was irrevocable, and she received the congratulations of her family and friends, with the embrace of her husband. The requisite documents being signed, the wedding party prepared to leave the vestry, when Ravensworth came forward and presented a most exquisite bouquet to the bride, and taking her hand, pressed it to his lips. It was the work of a moment and he then turned away from observation. He had politely declined the warm invitation given him by Mr. and Major Montgomery
to be at the breakfast. He spoke of ministerial duties that must intervene between his pleasures. He therefore was soon left alone.
(To be concluded in the next number.)
KINDNESS! an angel's attribute thou art
So precious to receive, so sweet to give !
And on the lips of those with whom we live.
Thou hast such power with thy gentleness !
Thy soothing voice can charm away our grief;
Look unto thee, sweet kindness! for relief.
By all thy pleasing influence is felt
By thee, the guilty can be moved to tears ;
That might have rebelled against force for years !
Kindness! thou givest courage to endure
A life of trials uncomplainingly-
With thee, they can be borne so cheerfully!
Bring to the sufferer thy gentlest care ;
Come to the bed of sickness and of pain !
With thee, the sufferer is calm again.
Thou hast the tired wanderer addres't;
Thou speakest to the silent and the lone ;
Lives the remembrance of thy cheering tone!
Kindness, endearing kindness ! thou cans't bring
The angry back to tenderness again-
Thou givest not thy winning smile in vain.
Sweet kindness ! peace is ever where thou art;
This charm of our existence thou cans't give ;