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to rush to his side, but the moment hand which had been raised in selfhad been enough. The contents of destruction? Who could tell the the pistol were lodged in his brain childish memories recalled by his before Hubert reached him. He mother's written words of love, and fell—and he never moved again. the anguish which they would bring

How that tale wrung my heart as with them into his feverish, sinful Hubert told me soine of the details life? which followed that fearful moment. I have often thought of that unHe fulfilled his pledge, and that day happy youth until I have fancied that he sought the father. Hubert never I could see him in his struggles spoke much of that interview, but between those letters and the gamhe said enough to make me feel as bling-table. I have said that this if I had seen the strong man bowed was the first tale of such misery down by grief too terrible for endu. in real life that I had ever heard. rance; and ere the first horror of It had occurred very shortly before his communication had past away I knew Hubert. It had impressed the door was thrown open, and the him deeply at the time, and it mother, the frantic mother, who had drew many tears from me as he heard whispers of dread import in spoke of it. I had often thought the house, entered the room, and of that boy's fate as I gazed on iell as suddenly as her boy had fallen my little Lionel. I had thought when she saw Hubert standing there. that even so had his mother watched But alas ! her insensibility was not and tended him, weaving a bright of long duration, and ere he could future for him as he lay in his leave the mourning house he had cradle, feeling her life bound more witnessed a scene of harrowing sor- closely to his as each year past row that might never be forgotten, away — sending him forth into the in the mother's awakening to the world with prayers, and hopes, and truth.

fond pride. And then the endHubert told me that many days the horror, the fearful horror of afterwards,when by the father's desire the end. he assisted him in opening his dead Hubert never knew how that son's papers, they found in his desk story haunted my mind after I bea packet of letters, marked, in the came a mother. How often I thought, dead son's writing, “From my as I watched Lionel, that Harry Goparents," and the father lowered dolphin was once as innocent, his his head, whitened in those few slumber as peaceful, his mother as weeks, and wept aloud. He saw at anxious, as tender as I could be. a glance that the most recent letters And what had it all availed ? Was had been placed there, letters which not the remembrance of each childish must have been received when the hour an additional suffering for her hapless boy was nearing the end now? Must she not lament the of his fatal career. Surrounded by fatal moment that gave her a living vicious companions witnessing scenes child ? Should I also live to regret nightly from which his nature re- my son's birth? coiled, yet held there by the fatal “Harry Godolphin's fate had inpassion to which he had yielded spired me with a great dread of the himself—and still perhaps clinging passion for play, and it was with fondly to those home letters as the painful anxiety that I now saw that one tie that bound him to the purer my husband spent many hours of life of the past — who might tell the day and night at the billiardwith what emotions these last letters table, and I soon saw that the two had been placed there by the hand new acquaintances, of whom I have which lay cold and still now? the spoken, were his most constant com

panions there. The time was gone “I could do nothing but suffer by when I might speak to Hubert silence. This was the commenc of my fears and anxieties. I could ment of a new sorrow. It increase not venture to approach the subject. with each succeeding year, and i

I soon saw that when our other sensibly, but surely, widened tł guests had quitted the billiard-table gulf between Hubert and myself 1 or card-room, Hubert would remain an impassable breadth. there for hours with M. de Beaulieu, “These two gentlemen remaine and Mr. Trevor. I saw that some at Earlscourt for many weeks ; an of our older acquaintances shunned when they left us, which they di even the occasional play to which together, I knew that Hubert ha they had been accustomed ; and I promised to meet them in German saw that Arthur Vivian, whom I before Christmas. After their d greatly liked and respected, very evi- parture my anxiety was lessene dently avoided Hubert's new friends, for the time, and my interest wa and seemed to watch Hubert him- soon claimed by an unexpecte self with a grave anxiety, which he event which took place in ou çould not conceal from my observa circle. tion.

CHAPTER XX,

IT has been said that sorrow has, events that were passing around my a softening influence on the human I have sometimes thought, in late heart; that those who have suffered years, when those events had lon much themselves. yield the most ripened and borne bitter. fruit, tha sympathy to others. . It may be so if I had not been indifferent to other with some sorrows-it may be so if I had seen more clearly at firs with some natures ; but it was not what I only saw when it was too lat so with me and with my sorrow. -- life might have been very differen There are pleasant places under the to Maud Courtenaye. blue sky, where spring showers fall, “More than a year had elapse and summer sunshine rests, and the since the day on which Maud an shower and the sunshine have each I had spoken together, of her rejec ą kindly influence to tempt forth the tion of Arthur Vivian, and from tha flowers, and brighten the verdure day the subject had never been re amidst which they bloom; but the newed between us. I believe tha same gentle showers, the same bril. I had almost forgotten the circun liant Sunshine, may fall vainly on stance, Maud and Mr. Vivian me a barren rock-the rock remains constantly at Earlscourt, and ther hard and barren as before. My suf- never was any embarrassment o fering must have made me selfish-- her part, any renewal of attention my nature may have been hard and on his. They were old friends, ani selfish-I know not now; I only as such they met, and Maud's detei know that whilst I watched my mination not to marry had becom children, with a love which knew in my mind a fixed and settled mat more of trem »ling than rejoicing, I ter, suiting well with her calm ani had become insensible to the joys somewhat cold demeanour, whic: and sorrows of all others around me, seemed to me little calculated t or I might have seen signs of sor- encourage anyone to try and gai row in one whom I dearly loved; her affection. If I had not been s and though I might have been self-centred, should I not have seei powerless to turn aside her sorrow, and known that Maud was not s powerless to change the current of passionless as she seemed, and a

the only friend whom she had ever she was so young. Mr. Vivian had even partly admitted to her confi- been his own messenger to Lord dence, should I not have tried, whilst Effingham, and had gone to Paris it was yet time, to end her mistaken to make his appeal to the indulgent struggle?

brother in person ; and the result I saw no struggle. I was blind had been that after vainly and feebly to the deepening sadness on her advising a little delay, Lord Effingbrow; and when she came over to ham had written to Lady Anne Earlscourt, one day during that Courtenaye giving his consent to autumn, and told me that she was the marriage taking place at once, Lady Edith's messenger to announce wishing that Edith had not been her intended marriage to us, the quite so young, but adding that he surprise with which I heard that believed that an early marriage was Edith was to be Arthur Vivian's wife better than a long engagement. was quite unmingled with any When Lord Effingham's consent thought of Maud's feelings, any idea was given, neither Mr. Courtenaye that the marriage was interesting nor Lady Anne had power to offer to her, except so far as it affected any more opposition. Their oppoEdith's happiness.

sition had been very much grounded Maud said that she did not share on Edith's extreme youth and inexmy surprise. She told me that she perience. Mr. Vivian's fortune was, had expected this announcement for as I have said, very moderate, and some time. Short as Lady Edith's Edith had been so accustomed all acquaintance with Mr. Vivian had her life to a luxurious home that been, Maud thought that they had Lady Anne wisely and naturally been mutually attracted almost from thought that she ought not too hastily the first day that they had met. to decide on a marriage which must

The marriage was to take place make it necessary for her to exercise immediately. Maud told me that a care and self-denial to which she there had been some difficulties in was wholly unaccustomed. the way, some rough places to be Edith had answered her sister's made smooth; but that Edith had remonstrances coaxingly, but Mr. refused to listen to advice or remon- Courtenaye's more matter-of-fact obstrance from anyone, and that during jections had been treated scornfully the discussions, there had been by the wayward girl; and it had been enough that was unpleasant between Maud's part to make peace when Mr. Courtenaye and Edith to make she could, to still Edith's angry reall parties agree now, that the sooner plies, and to persuade her father that, the marriage was over, and Edith as Edith would certainly take her removed from the Priory, the better. own way, it was needless to oppose

Edith was, as I have said, very her. And so the discussion was young. Mr. Courtenaye and Lady ended, and in three short weeks from Anne had both thought that she was the day on which Maud came to antoo young even to enter on an engage- nounce the marriage to me, Mr. ment with Mr. Vivian. Edith had Vivian was to take his young bride appealed to her brother, who never to Ashleigh. knew how to oppose her. She was The three weeks soon passed away. his darling, and as self-willed as he There were congratulatory visits to was yielding. Lord Effingham was receive, farewell visits to pay, and living in Paris, and Edith's appeal many arrangements to be made. to him had been made by letter. Maud was constantly occupied, and She knew that he was her only I saw very little of her. Edith was guardian, and that his consent alone brilliant and happy. Mr. Vivian was necessary to her marrying whilst seemed devoted to her, and whilst

they enjoyed those few bright hours hopes fulfilled, these wishes ca -amongst the brightest which earth out, the colours with which offers — Lady Anne busied herself fancy had invested them had qu in attending to Edith's trousseau ; faded, and the happiness which and Maud, the bridesmaid, gave had thought so sure had crum advice and assistance where either to ashes as she strove to grasp i was wanted, and no one knew or My own dark thoughts colc guessed what lay in Maud's aching everything; and as I sat b heart.

Maud, assisting her in her tas It was the evening before the seemed to me that not more s marriage. We had gone on that must the fragrant flowers tha day to the Priory. There were not were arranging wither and to be many guests at the ceremony; than all that is called happ and most of those who were to be must fade away and turn to present had assembled on this day, row. Maud was silent, and I as the marriage was to take place sued my thoughts undistui at an early hour on the following Maud must have been thin morning.

deeply also, because she sti I had taken a quantity of flowers when I spoke to her. with me from Earlscourt, at Maud's “Do you think that Edith's request, as the conservatories there ture will be happy, Maud ? were rich in beauty even at that late me what you think of this marri season; and, late in the evening, “Every one says that Edith i Maud asked me to assist her in young," answered Maud evasi making up bouquets, as it was a “I cannot judge. Do you 1 fancy of Edith's that each guest that she will make him happy should receive and wear a bouquet linor ?" instead of the ordinary white favour. Maud did not raise her eye The flowers had been placed in she spoke, and looked at her Maud's dressing-room, and we re- some surprise. She did not s paired there together, declining in her usual tone, and it see Edith's offered help, and leaving her strange to me that her first tho radiant as usual, and delighting the should not be for Edith's ha guests with her singing, whilst Mr. ness. Vivian stood near her, an entranced “ They are certainly very diffi listener.

from each other. Mr. Vivian How often I have recalled that grave, rather stern in his mai bright face, that child-like form on Do you not think so, Maud ?? which my glance rested on that Edith is very wayward. She w evening as I left the drawing-room, require an indulgent husband. and the thoughts with which I gazed haps she will soften him, an on her. She seemed so full of hope may guide her well. But doub and happiness, so buoyant, so in- Maud, a day will come when I nocently joyous. She was standing will look back to those early on the threshold of life. Her next that are past, and wish in vai step was a momentous one. How one hour of the freedom and ha would it be with her when she had ness that they have brought to taken it? What did life promise Maud did not pause in her for her? Hitherto she had revelled as she answered me : in the careless joy of her bright “You always speak as if youth. Must a day come when she thought that there were no would look back to this last evening except in married life, dear Ell of that youth, with its hopes and Do you know that I think s wishes, and acknowledge that, these times--and you must forgive m

saying so that it would be better Maud covered her face with and happier for you if you would her hands, and I could not know try and think, what is certainly true, whether she wept or not. What that there may be as bitter sorrow could I say to her? This was a in a lonely heart as in any other," sorrow of the existence of which I

“ You cannot know, Maud ; you had never dreamed. Day after day cannot judge. Your only sorrow had I seen her for several months, has been a sacred sorrow. Your and never once suspected the tears for your mother's loss were truth. I felt, at that moment, that holy tears. They did not leave you affection ought to have made me in hopeless anguish. O Maud, how see more clearly. Maud looked up I have sometimes envied you !" abruptly, before I had“ found words

Maud bent her head low over the to answer her. flowers, and her voice was unsteady “Perhaps you are despising me, when she spoke again.

Ellinor. I have sometimes de“ Have you envied me because spised myself, that my love should you have thought that I knew no. have lasted whilst his passed so thing of trials and struggles, Ellinor ? soon away. And now, when he Would it reconcile you more to your has not a thought for me,—when I lot-whatever its secret trials may see all his devotion to Edith,-is it be-if I told you that I know well not terrible that I should love him what a struggle is ? that my heart still—should still look back to the knows an anguish under which I hour in which he said that he loved am well-nigh faint and weary p" me as the happiest hour of my life?

Your heart filled with anguish, Do you despise me for this, ElliMaud ?” I exclaimed. “Impossible ! nor ?” Tell me what you mean."

“No, my poor Maud !" I replied ; And Maud raised her head, “that would be impossible ! and as dropped the flowers that she held, little will I reproach you now for and looked at me steadily as she having trifled with your own happispoke. She said very slowly, very ness. Tell me, Maud, when you calmly :

refused to marry Arthur Vivian, did “I love Arthur Vivian, Ellinor. you tell him the reason of your reIs there not a world of anguish in fusal ?" these words, uttered whilst I am “No, I did not,” said Maud. wreathing flowers for Arthur Vivian's “Then he never knew that you bride ?"

loved him ?" I was speechless with surprise, “Never. I did not wish him to and Maud continued :

know it." “You remember the day-little “Ah, Maud ! if you had not more than a year ago—that I re- been so proud-if you had told him fused to be his wife? I loved him the truth-how differently all this then, Ellinor. When you called me might have ended ! His love would cold, I felt as if my heart were not have passed so easily away if he breaking. But I never knew what had known that it was returned. anguish might come from this love He would have persevered, and you until these last few weeks. If his would have broken your unnatural choice had only fallen amongst determination.” strangers, where I should not have “Was it not a presumptuous deseen his love surrounding another, termination ?" said, Maud, sadly. I could have borne it better. Do “I thought that I did what was not tell me that I know nothing of right in making it, and in keeping struggles. I am struggling not to to it. I ought to have known that hate Edith."

I had no right to try and stifle

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