Project Gutenberg's The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 1 (of 4), by Jane Porter

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Title: The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 1 (of 4)

Author: Jane Porter

Release Date: August 12, 2014 [EBook #46570]

Language: English

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Transcriber’s Notes

The cover image was produced by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.
No table of contents existed in the original book. A simple table of contents was created by the transcriber.
Additional transcriber's notes at the end of the text.








I will confess the ambitious projects which I once had, are dead within me. After having seen the parts which fools play upon the great stage; a few books, and a few friends, are what I shall seek to finish my days with.






CHAP. I. 1
CHAP. II. 27
CHAP. IV. 102
CHAP. V. 130
CHAP. VI. 160
CHAP. VII. 193
CHAP. IX. 239
CHAP. X. 270
CHAP. XI. 278
CHAP. XII. 296


Vol. I.


It was late one fine evening in September, when a boat, borne along by a single sail, passed over the narrow sea which divides Lindisfarne from the mainland, and moored itself within the small bay of the island. The moon was beginning to rise; and by her silvering outline, already distinguished the venerable relics of Saint Cuthbert's monastery from the shadows of twilight.

Two persons wrapped in large cloaks, and followed by one who seemed a servant, rose from the boat; and giving a piece of gold to their solitary navigator,[2] stepped on shore. The elder of the two made the sign of the cross upon his breast, and with his eyes bent to the ground, walked slowly forward. The younger performed the same act of devotion, though in a less fixed manner, and shivering as he looked up to the flying clouds, followed his companion. Having proceeded over sand and shingle without discerning any thing like an inhabited dwelling, he began to doubt the boatman's information respecting the situation of their purposed lodgings; and, looking around for some other intelligence, perceived a group of fishermen on a shelve of the rock.—By the assistance of his servant, he scrambled up the acclivity, and enquired the way to the Reverend Richard Athelstone's.—One of the men, raising himself from the heap of gathered nets they had been drying on the rocks, pointed along the top of the cliff, and told him to keep on, west of the abbey, when he would soon see the[3] church, and the Pastor's house beside it.

The travellers proceeded a little way in the direction given: but finding that the dubious light bewildered them amongst rocks, ruins, and trees, the younger returned to the fisherman, and begged he would conduct them to Mr. Athelstone's. This request was obeyed with the same direct compliance as his question had been answered; and the man, throwing his net over his shoulder, trudged on before the travellers.—The elder pursued his way in devout abstraction. His eyes were fixed on the distant tower of the monastery; which, to his musing fancy, seemed to stand alone in the bright horizon, like the still hovering shade of the glorified saint of the island.

The way to the Pastor's dwelling lay by the ruins of the wall which had once surrounded the monastery. As the travellers approached it, the roofless aisles and broken arches stood white in the[4] moon-beam; and the windows, partially obscured by the withered stone-crop which sprung from their mouldering columns, threw a checquered light on the half-sunk monuments below.—The youth, fatigued in limbs, and depressed in spirits, drew near his companion. The elder traveller pressed the nerveless arm that now rested upon his, and said in a low voice, "What desolation is here!—Ah, my son, how can we expect peace in the counsels, or virtue in the conduct of a people who thus dishonour the tombs of the saints."

"Alas, my lord," replied the young man, "if we must estimate the piety of nations by the unanimity of their councils, we have not much reason to congratulate ourselves on the holiness of Spain!—Why," added he with asperity, "did her vacillating policy drag us from peaceful Italy?—But for that, we might never have visited these rugged shores."

"Ferdinand," rejoined his father, "the disease of your heart, makes you mis[5]judge your country.—Spain has her errors.—But no comparison can be justly drawn between a people that respect the Faith, even to hallowing the ashes of its apostles; and a race of men, who trample alike on the rights of their kings, and the ordinances of the church:—No good can come to such a people!"

The young man shuddered. "At least," exclaimed he, "no good can come to us, in so excommunicated a land:—though I shall not be sorry to shelter myself from so cutting a blast, even within the condemned cell of the heretic Cura of the island."

The travellers continued to follow their guide over rough ground covered with loose stones, and rendered intricate by the stunted trees which grew in scattered loneliness amongst the detached masses of the decayed monastery. Through the shadowy arches of what had once been a passage to the west cloisters, they espied a distant light.


"For your sake, my son," said the elder stranger, "I hope that portends we are near houses!"

"I hope so too," rejoined Ferdinand, "but I also fear, it may be only the lantern of some vessel, more lucky than we were, passing this desolate rock."

Having made their way through the varied gloom of the ruins, they came out on a smooth sheep-path.—The abbey now lay behind them.—Before them, rose the spire of the parish church; and near it, in holy fellowship, stood the parsonage; from whose ivy-latticed window still streamed the friendly ray which had guided them to its gate.

"This be our pastor's,—and God's blessing abide with him and his!" said the fisherman, pointing with a bow to the house.—Ferdinand put money into the man's hand; and then followed his father and their servant through a wicket into a little green court. They crossed its soft grass, and stooping beneath a low stone porch, knocked at the house-door. It[7] was opened by a hoary-headed servant, of a hale and cheerful aspect. The elder stranger asked for the Reverend Richard Athelstone. The old man immediately opened a door at his right hand; and without other reply than a respectful bow, ushered the travellers into the presence of his master.

The venerable pastor of Lindisfarne advanced to meet his visitors; who, though unannounced, he saw by their air were foreigners and gentlemen. The elder apologized for their appearance at so late an hour; saying, they had arrived from Holland at Berwick that morning in the midst of a storm. "But," said he, "when so fine an evening succeeded, I became too impatient to tread the sacred shore of Lindisfarne; and to deliver a packet entrusted to me by the Grand-Pensionary Hensius, to delay my coming until another day."

As the stranger spoke, he presented the packet. Mr. Athelstone received[8] it with a hospitable smile: and turning to a lady, who sat with two younger ones at a work-table near the fire; "Mrs. Coningsby, my dear niece," said he, "welcome these gentlemen; they come from a friend of your father's."

The lady rose; and gracefully obeyed, by expressing her reverence for the Grand-Pensionary; and the pleasure she felt in seeing Lindisfarne honoured by his remembrance in the persons of his friends. She then introduced the young ladies as her daughters. The eldest she called Cornelia, and the youngest Alice. They cast down their eyes, and bowed their fair necks to the strangers, as their mother named them:—and when, on observing the pale countenance of Ferdinand, she invited the two gentlemen to draw nearer the fire; the sisters moved their chairs back, and pursued their needle-work with redoubled industry.

Mr. Athelstone took a hasty survey of the Grand-Pensionary's letter; and fold[9]ing it up, repeated his former polite greeting with the cordial addition of taking the strangers each by the hand.

"Pleased as I was to receive any friend of the Baron Hensius," said he, "how must my pleasure be increased, when I see in that friend the Marquis Santa Cruz!"

"The Marquis Santa Cruz!" repeated Mrs. Coningsby, in a tone of delightful surprize.

The Pastor smiled.—"Your name, my lord, has long been with us. Fame had given it to the world at large; but it was brought to our remote shores by your noble antagonist Prince Eugene of Savoy."

With a bow to the implied compliment, the Marquis inquired how recently the Prince had been in England.

"Not very lately," replied Mr. Athelstone, "my acquaintance with His Highness must be dated one and twenty years back; in the spring of 1704, when he[10] came to England on a secret mission from the Emperor of Germany.—Having gained our queen's concurrence to support the Imperialists against Bavaria, Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough embarked for Holland. Stress of weather drove their vessel on this coast. I then inhabited Bamborough-Castle, during the absence of my brother Sir Hedworth Athelstone; and going to the beach to offer the usual assistance to distressed mariners, I discovered my friend the Duke, and his noble compeer, in two nameless passengers. They took up their residence with me till the tempest subsided, and it lasted many days; but remaining unknown to the country, they gave the whole of their society to myself and my niece. It was then, my lord, that in discoursing on the great and good of all countries, Prince Eugene named with friendship the Marquis Santa Cruz; who, he said, had baffled his best military skill the preceding year in Italy."


An answering glow of generous admiration suffused the face of the Marquis. "Eugene of Savoy," returned he, "can afford such acknowledgements. And, that I did discover, and baffle his designs before the dyke of Zero, I have ever considered the proudest fortune which has hitherto been granted to my military career. Since that period, I have often met the Prince, both in the field and in the cabinet: and in every character, whether as soldier or as statesman, he has manifested that nobleness of soul which commands alike the confidence of friends and of enemies."

A blush overspread the fine, though matron features of Mrs. Coningsby. "Ah, my dear uncle," cried she, "why does not Louis hear this, from the Marquis Santa Cruz?" Then rising, she said she would enquire about his return, and left the room.

"Does Mrs. Coningsby speak of her son?" asked the Marquis.


"No," said the Pastor, "the young man she alludes to is the son of her elder sister, now in a better world. His father, you doubtless know; the Baron de Ripperda."

"I have not been in Spain these ten years," replied the Marquis; "but I know the Baron is now there; and introducing plans of internal policy, worthy the emulation of his own times, and the gratitude of future ages.—Before happy circumstances restored him to Spain, it was never my good fortune to meet him in any of my accidental visits to the Netherlands."

Mr. Athelstone and his noble guest continued their discourse on the public history of the Baron de Ripperda. Remarking, with some loyal animadversions, on his father Don Juan de Montemar Duke de Ripperda, who, in resentment for some slight from his sovereign, left Spain for the Netherlands; and, joining himself to the United States, exchanged[13] his Spanish rank for that of a northern baron.—While the Marquis regretted that his son, the present illustrious Ripperda, had ever belonged to any other country than that of his ancestors, he expatiated with the pride of a Spaniard on the talents which were now reclaimed by their parent land. Mr. Athelstone, who had all the old-fashioned notions respecting amor patriæ, rejoined that the satisfactory accomplishment of Baron de Ripperda's mission as ambassador from the Netherlands to Madrid, had empowered him to resign with honour his bonds to their country; and to resume his hereditary rights in Spain in the manner best calculated to re-establish his house, and to transmit the ancient glories of his family.

While the Pastor and his guest were engaged in this conversation, Ferdinand leaned exhausted in his chair; and had leisure to survey the domestic scene around him; so different from the so[14]litude he had anticipated in the condemned cell of the heretic Cura of the island!—From the window of the room in which he now sat, still issued the light he had seen from afar; and which had beaconed his weary steps to his present comfortable station by its source; a cheerful fire, and a cluster of blazing candles on its chimney-piece.

Ferdinand could not have been so long in Italy without forming a taste in architecture; and he contemplated with admiring curiosity this specimen of Gothic workmanship. It was of a cinque-foil shape, supported by short columns on brackets, and adorned with a projecting frieze, on which stood the lighted branches, with alabaster vases full of autumnal flowers. It appeared to have been translated from some building of older date; and, indeed, little more than a century before, this very arch had mantled the Abbot's hearth in the good monastery of Lindisfarne.


Ferdinand next looked at the oak-pannelled walls of the room, enlivened by a range of fine portraits in carved ebony frames. These, with a cabinet of curious china, a harpsichord, a well-stored bookcase, and the usual complement of sofas and chairs, completed the furniture. He did not take so cursory a view of its inhabitants. The venerable master of the house sat on one side of the fire-place, talking with the Marquis. His silvered hair and benign countenance, blanched and worn by seventy winters, seemed to announce how nearly the divine spirit within had shaken off its earthly tabernacle. The Marquis had never before regarded an avowed minister of the Reformation, without a distance in his manner that proclaimed I am near pollution! but now he sat listening to the Pastor with so cordial an air, that Ferdinand murmured to himself; "Ah! my father, it is too late for your unhappy son, should your pre[16]sent feelings towards that good man, indeed, draw away the only prejudice from your noble heart!" He sighed heavily, and turned his attention to the other side of the room.

The sisters had withdrawn their chairs far from the fire-side circle, and were plying their needles with indefatigable diligence. Cornelia's raven hair was braided back from her polished brow, and confined in a knot with a gold bodkin. The majestic contour of her features suited well with her Roman name; and the simplicity of the plain white garment in which she was arrayed, harmonized with the modest dignity of a figure, which proclaimed in every movement that the nobility of the soul needs no foreign ornament! As her fair hand traversed the embroidery frame, Ferdinand turned from these lofty beauties, to the gentle Alice; whose charms, if of a feebler, were of a subtler force. Her head, which moved about rather oftener[17] than her sister's, in search of silk, scissors, and needles, gave free scope to the contemplation of the young Spaniard. She appeared several years younger than Cornelia. Her form was fairy in its proportions; slight, airy, and apparently impalpable to aught but the touch of a sylph. Her azure eyes, glancing around for what she sought, shone so lucidly bright from under her flaxen locks, that Ferdinand thought he had never seen eyes so beautiful; "Never," said he to himself, "so divinely innocent; never so irresistibly exhilarating."

He continued to gaze, till some bitter recollections caused him to cover his eyes with his hand; but soon withdrawing it, he looked again upon Alice; and longed to hear her speak, while a sudden self-gratulation on how fluently he could himself discourse in English, animated his before languid features. He observed her turn her head towards the yet uncurtained window. The moon was now[18] holding her bright course in the heavens, without meeting the passing shadow of a single cloud. He seized the opportunity to address the sisters, and remarked the beauty of the night.

"It is calmer than usual, after so tempestuous a day," observed Cornelia.

"I am glad the winds are quiet," said Alice; "for we may now look for Louis, without fear of the breakers."

Ferdinand enquired whether her cousin were to cross the sea that night.

"We hope so," replied she; "he went yesterday to Bamborough Castle; and I am sure nothing but the storm prevented his returning to us this morning."

"Whatever may be the attractions of Bamborough Castle," rejoined Ferdinand, "I cannot be surprised your cousin should prefer his home to all other places." He accompanied this remark with that sort of smile and bow to Alice, which a woman of the world would have[19] understood as a compliment to herself; but Alice was too ignorant of the gallantries of fashionable society, to see anything in this, but the obvious meaning of the words. Cornelia received the speech as her sister had done; and exclaimed with a sigh, "I wish Louis did prefer his home to all other places!"

"Why say that, Cornelia?" said Alice; "you know how he loves us all; how he despises the people he meets at the Castle; and you cannot seriously doubt our dear Louis's preference of home to all other places!"

Ferdinand did not perceive the grounds of conclusion which the fair Alice drew from her argument, but he admired her brightening eyes as she uttered this hasty defence; which he readily apprehended was intended, rather as a palliation to him of her cousin's absence, than any refutation to her sister. Cornelia appeared to understand the same; for she did not reply, but pensively re[20]sumed her embroidery. Alice now became confused; regarding the silence of her sister as a reproof for her having said so much before a stranger, she turned away her head, and with trembling hands re-commenced her work.—Ferdinand did not withdraw his eyes from the little table. He wished to see the fortunate cousin, upon whom these lovely sisters lavished so much solicitude; and he was curious to know who the inhabitants of the castle were, whose attractions could excite jealousy in young women so full of charms.

While he was thus ruminating, Mrs. Coningsby entered, to lead her uncle's guests to the supper room. Before they obeyed her hospitable summons, the Marquis requested that he and his son might retire to disencumber themselves of their travelling accoutrements; and when they had withdrawn, the Pastor took that interval to inform his niece and daughters, that the noble Spaniards[21] were to be his guests for some days.—He read apart to Mrs. Coningsby, the passage of Baron Hensius's letter, which mentioned that Don Ferdinand d'Osorio, the Marquis's only son, was the primary cause of this visit to England.—On the Marquis's recall from his diplomatic situation in Italy, he stopped a few months at Vienna, where his wife's family reside. In that city, Don Ferdinand was seized with a fever on his spirits, which menaced his life.—Medical skill was exhausted; and as a lost hope, the physicians ordered him to travel. His father knew this darling son had a fatal bond in the Austrian capital; he therefore saw no alternative but to apply secretly to Spain for the royal mandate, to send both father and son on a seemingly official tour to Holland and Great Britain. It arrived, and the travellers set forward. In Holland, Don Ferdinand's disorder re-doubled.—The Amsterdam physicians recommended a sea[22] voyage, and the bracing air of the north; and as the desponding invalid now appeared indifferent to his fate, the Marquis determined on entering Great Britain by Scotland. He knew that Lindisfarne, the Holy Island of unnumbered saints, lay in the way; and full of parental anxiety, he formed a wish, which he communicated to Baron Hensius, of propitiating a peculiar blessing on this part of his tour, by paying his vows at the shrine of Saint Cuthbert.

"My friend warns me," continued the Pastor, addressing his younger nieces as well as their mother; "that the Marquis Santa Cruz is a Roman Catholic in the severest sense of the term.—That his mind, enlightened on every other subject, is here under an impenetrable cloud. Indeed, his errand hither is a sufficient proof of his mental darkness. He brings his son to this island, to touch the dead man's bones, and be healed; and he neglects the living presence of his[23] Saviour, who has only to will it, and it is done!—Oh, my children, here is a lesson to humble the pride of intellect, and to fill you with awe before the Creator of your reason, and the revealer of his word!—Reason, when hearkening to revelation, must be as a little child; not as an idiot, that receives all, and does all, without understanding the nature of the command;—but as a little child, humble and intelligent, eager to apprehend the truth, and ready to obey it. Such a little child as that which appeared with the Doctors in the Temple, hearing and asking them questions, Mark you!—He did not then speak as one having authority, but he came to hear, and to inquire!—In all things, He is our example; and that example bids us search the Scriptures for truth; and to apply to God alone, through one Mediator for salvation here and here-after."

Mrs. Coningsby did not answer her[24] uncle, but pressed the hands of her listening daughters; who cast down their eyes in reverence of their beloved teacher and his divine subject.—Mr. Athelstone paused a few minutes, and resumed.

"The Grand-Pensionary, being aware how happy I should be to see the Marquis Santa Cruz, and to render every service in my power to his invalid son, gave him this letter, which has introduced to us two such interesting persons.—So now, my dear niece, you must do your part, in the shape of aired rooms and nourishing diet; and I will try to perform mine so, as to induce the father and son to become our guests for as many weeks, as they have purposed days:—They would be visitors after Louis's own heart."

"I thought the young Spanish nobleman looked very ill," observed Alice in a tone of pity; "he leaned so languidly in his chair; and his large dark eyes[25] moved so heavily, it seemed a labour for him to turn them even from me to my sister; though we sat close together.—Poor young man!—And how kindly he asked about Louis!—Did not you, Cornelia, think he looked ill?"

"Indeed," said her sister, "I scarcely noticed his looks at all; which I am sorry for.—He must have thought us most unfeelingly inattentive, to allow an invalid to sit so long in a hot room with that heavy cloak on."

"I rather think the fault was mine," rejoined their mother, "but the remembrances of past days had totally obscured present objects. And, as another proof of it, my dear Sir;" said she, turning to the Pastor; "I had forgotten to tell you that the boatman has returned from Bamborough without Louis; and bearing no other message than Sir Anthony Athelstone's respects, and Mr. de Montemar will remain at the castle the remainder of the week."


Further remarks were prevented by the re-entrance of the travellers. They were conducted by their hospitable host to the supper-room; and after partaking of its northern fare with good appetites, Mrs. Coningsby led the Marquis and his son to the doors of their apartments, where she bade them adieu for the night.



Ferdinand arose next morning at a late hour, refreshed and lighter in spirits than he had been of a long time. The day was bright and balmy; and when he descended to the breakfast-room, the Marquis glanced at his renovated appearance, and addressing Mr. Athelstone, exclaimed—"Already my son's cheerful countenance bears witness to the efficacy of this blessed spot!"

The family of the Pastor were assembled round the table; Mrs. Coningsby presided over the dispersion of her fragrant tea; and her daughters, blooming with the freshness of the dewy flowers, did the honours of the coffee and kneaded cakes. Social converse, augmenting in interest with its prolongation, suc[28]ceeded the hospitable meal, till Mr. Athelstone observed Ferdinand turn his eyes wistfully towards the open window. The light foliage of the spruce, which bent towards it, floated into the room on the gentle impulse of a soft south wind; and the aromatic breath that followed, seemed to be regarded by the young Spaniard as an invitation to taste its fragrance nearer. The Pastor, who anticipated the wishes of invalids with the same solicitude he would administer a salutary medicine, turned to his young nieces, and desired they would put on their hats, and introduce Don Ferdinand to their Michaelmas-daisies. The ladies withdrew; and Ferdinand, not requiring a second permission, was soon in the little porch, ready to accompany his fair conductors.

The youthful party had scarcely withdrawn, before a note was brought from Bamborough Castle. It was in answer to one the Pastor had dispatched that morning to Sir Anthony Athelstone, to[29] explain the necessity of Louis's immediate return to the Island. Mr. Athelstone took the letter, and read as follows:

"To the Reverend Richard Athelstone.

"Sir Anthony Athelstone is very sensible of the respect due to his reverend Uncle, and to his noble guests; but Louis de Montemar being engaged with a hunting-party, it is impossible he can have the honour of waiting upon them."

"Bamborough Castle,
Saturday Morn."

"From what I can gather from the man who brought the letter, Sir;" said the old servant who had delivered it, "the Duke of Wharton is at the Castle."

At this intimation, an unusual colour spread over the face of Mr. Athelstone. "Peter, that cannot be!—With all Sir Anthony's errors, he will not forfeit the honour of a gentleman!"

Peter bowed his grey head, and re[30]spectfully answered; "The lad, Sir, who brought that note, told me a fine Duke from foreign parts, with a company of ladies and gentlemen, came yesterday through all the storm to the Castle; and they were so merry and frolicsome, they sat up all night dancing, and singing outlandish songs, which the butler, who understands tongues, told him were arrant Jacobite."

Mr. Athelstone rose hastily from his seat.—"Peter, I am afraid you are right."—Peter bowed again, and withdrew.—Mr. Athelstone re-seated himself, and for a moment covered his discomposed features with his hand.

"I remember the Duke of Wharton eight years ago in Paris," said the Marquis; "I think it was in the summer of 1716; when he came to pay his homage to the illustrious widow of King James of England.—Wharton was then a very young man, hardly of age; certainly not arrived at the years of discretion; for[31] with a genius that equalled him in some respects to the maturest minds in France, he was perpetually reminding us of his real juvenility, by the boyish extravagance of his passions:—And I have since heard that time has not tamed them."

"It seldom does," exclaimed the Pastor, "when the reins have once been given to their impulse.—Oh, my dear Lord, where-ever human passion is, the law of reason and lawless appetite contend there, like Satan and the archangel.—Duke Wharton has yielded the mastery to the ill spirit:—and he is the less pardonable, his intellectual endowments being equal to any resistance. If the man who only hides his one talent, meet condemnation; what will be the eternal fate of him, who debases a countless portion, to decorate the loathsomeness of sin?"

Mr. Athelstone paused a few moments, and then added:—"I have so great a[32] horror of the contagion of such characters, that I made it a point with Sir Anthony, he would never, willingly, bring his nephew into the company of this dangerous nobleman; and how it has happened now, I cannot guess. Some unexpected circumstance must have brought him to the Castle. For you know, Mrs. Coningsby, your brother has always been scrupulous of a promise."

"Hitherto;" replied she "but if we have rightly explained Peter's account, we cannot consider Sir Anthony's present detention of Louis, as any thing less than a breach of promise to you."

The Pastor looked more disturbed.—"When the tide serves in the afternoon," cried he, "I will cross to Bamborough myself; and if I find that my confidence has been abused, I shall then know my course."

"Not that my uncle doubts our nephew's steadiness in despising the follies of Duke Wharton;" said Mrs. Con[33]ingsby, addressing their guest; "but no engagements ought to be broken with impunity."

"Pardon me, madam," returned the Marquis, "if I say that we should cruelly betray our young people, if we did not so far doubt their steadiness, as always to do our utmost to withdraw them from every separate temptation to vice or folly?—I hold it as great a sin to rush unnecessarily into occasions of moral contest, as to fall by the temptation when it comes unsought. Man should neither tempt himself, nor suffer others to be tempted, when he can put in a prevention. I am, therefore, thoroughly of Mr. Athelstone's opinion, not to allow Mr. de Montemar to remain an hour that he can prevent, within the influence of the Duke of Wharton."

The Pastor was roused from anxious meditation, by the last remark of Santa Cruz. And as Mrs. Coningsby soon after left the room, he put his hand upon[34] the arm of the Marquis, and conducting him by a side door into his library; "My good Lord," said he, "your observations are so just; that, as I may appear to have acted inconsistently with what I conscientiously approve, by having permitted my nephew to go at all where he is liable to meet the Duke; you must allow me to explain the peculiar circumstances which compelled my assent."

"I shall be glad, reverend Sir," returned the Marquis, taking a seat, "to hear what can be urged in defence of subjecting the waxen nature of youth to the impressions of perverting society. By painful experience, I know the trial to be perilous."—The last sentence was followed by a sudden coldness in his air towards the Pastor, which passed unfelt, because it was unobserved.

Unconscious of what really actuated the remarks of his auditor, with a benign smile Mr. Athelstone resumed.—

"Your Lordship must indulge me with[35] listening to a little family history, as a preliminary to my apology?—else, I know not how to make you perfectly understand my situation with regard to my nephew Sir Anthony Athelstone."

The Marquis bowed, and Mr. Athelstone proceeded.—

"My only brother, the late Sir Hedworth Athelstone, was the father of the present Sir Anthony, and of two daughters. The eldest, Louisa, was the mother of Louis de Montemar; and the youngest, Catherine, you have seen in Mrs. Coningsby. My brother's wife died the same year in which her husband received the commands of his sovereign to go embassador-extraordinary to the Netherlands. Louisa's health having been impaired by attendance on her mother, Sir Hedworth made her the companion of his embassy. At the Hague they met the Baron de Ripperda. He was struck with my niece at first sight. And indeed she was the most beautiful creature these eyes ever beheld!—[36]My Lord, you will see a manly copy of this angelic being, in her not unworthy son. Before she went abroad, she had refused the hands of some of the first men in England; for her accomplishments and her virtues were equal to her beauty. My brother had always left her to her own choice. He admired the Baron de Ripperda; and when she granted him permission to address her, Sir Hedworth sanctioned her acquiescence with pride and joy. I think I can recollect the very words he wrote to me on the day of her nuptials. I have often repeated them, though not lately;—yet I will recall them."

The venerable man leaned back in his chair, and shutting his eyes in silent recollection, in a few minutes repeated these words of the letter.

"Congratulate me, my brother!" said he, "This morning I have bestowed the hand of our darling Louisa upon William de Montemar Baron de Ripperda. I need[37] not enlarge in his praise: I have named the Baron de Ripperda; and in that name all human excellence is comprised. My full heart, overflowing with happiness, has but one wish ungratified. Richard, am I ungrateful to the Giver of all good? But my tears are now falling, that I enjoy it without the participation of her beloved mother. Oh, that she had lived to see this blissful day!"

The pious narrator paused a moment, drew his hand over his eyes; and then resumed his story in his usual manner.—

"Thus did my brother write, in the exultation of his heart. And every succeeding letter contained similar intelligence of Louisa's happiness; of the high-minded patriotism of her husband; of the honour in which he was held by the States; and of the anxious joy which agitated them all, in the prospect of an heir to this treasure of felicity. Think then, my dear Marquis, what were the feelings with which I read a long-expected[38] letter from the Hague! I had impatiently awaited what seemed so strangely withheld. It was to tell me of the birth of the anticipated blessing. The letter came, sealed with black.—An heir had been born, according to hope, but the mother was no more.—Louisa's delicate frame had perished in the trial of that dreadful period. She lingered three weeks after the morning of her child's birth, and then died in the arms of her husband and of her father. Next day the afflicted parent wrote to me. How differently did this letter conclude from the one in which he announced her marriage!"

Again the Pastor leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes; but he also pressed them down with his hand, as he proceeded to quote his brother's words.—

"I come to you, Richard, with all that remains to me of my too precious Louisa.—So young, so beautiful, so beloved!—Ripperda has resigned her infant to my[39] care. When he consented to my earnest supplication, he pressed the poor unconscious babe to his weeping face, and then putting him into my arms:—Take him, Sir Hedworth! (cried he) What compensation is too dear to the father of my lost Louisa? He then rushed from the room, and I have not seen him since. I thank my God, her mother is spared this last blow, which has laid my grey hairs in the dust."

As Mr. Athelstone closed these remembrances, with a silent address to the Being in whose peace now rested the parent with his child; the Marquis wiped the starting tears from his eyes,—a pause of a few minutes ensued; and then the good man, turning with a serene aspect to his auditor, resumed.—

"My brother returned to Bamborough-Castle. He found me there, with his sole-remaining daughter. Early in the succeeding year, Catherine gave her hand to Mr. Coningsby. Not to leave my brother quite alone, I henceforth conti[40]nued to divide my time between the exercise of my parochial duties, and assisting him in the delightful task of unfolding the mental faculties of my infant nephew. But the drooping spirits of Sir Hedworth were daily depressed by cares more heavy to be borne than anxiety for the sick, or sorrow for the dead. Almost every post brought him accounts of his son's follies at college, or in town; and few were the weeks which past without calling on his purse for some disbursement to redeem the pledged honour of this unthinking young man. Mr. Coningsby died the sixth year after his marriage; and not leaving a son, his entailed property went to the male heir; but his daughters have, nevertheless, very noble fortunes. Sir Hedworth and myself were constituted their guardians; and as the best means of rendering them protection, my brother invited their mother from the dismal associations of a jointure-house, to her former home. Poor Catherine gladly obeyed[41] the paternal voice:—and time went smoothly over our heads, till the day on which Louis de Montemar attained his tenth year. It was always a sacred anniversary with my brother; and on that evening, while kneeling in his closet, he was called to a blessed re-union with her he had so long mourned.

"My nephew Anthony hurried from London to take possession of his inheritance. He expressed satisfaction at finding his uncle and his young nephew in the Castle; and requested his sister to honour his table by keeping her place at its head. Notwithstanding the happy promise of this conduct, (for Sir Anthony is kind and liberal to objects in his sight;) we soon found that Bamborough, under its new master, was not a fit residence for Mrs. Coningsby and her children. In short, he was too much a man of pleasure to allow of even the common restraints usual in a family on the recent loss of its head. Whilst the hatchment[42] was yet over the door, the Castle continued to overflow with visitors of the gayest order; and amongst the most conspicuous were the dissipated Earl of Warwick, and the no less worthless Duke of Wharton. Hunting all the morning; feasting all the day; and revelling all the night with wine, cards, music, and dance; formed the unvarying diary of the so lately revered Bamborough. In vain I remonstrated with my nephew on these pursuits; on the evils of his example to the county; and the prejudice he was doing to his fortune and his reputation. To be rid of my arguments, he frequently admitted their reasonableness; but they produced no amendment in his conduct. In short, the castle of my fathers had now become a Babylon, from which I saw the necessity of bearing away my innocent charges, while they were yet too young to be contaminated. In right of my mother Lady Cornelia Percy, Morewick-hall, on the Coquet, belongs to me. But[43] as my pastoral care was constantly required at Bamborough, or in this island, I had never resided on my inheritance. I now wished to make it the home of my niece, and her children, till they became of age. She gladly embraced my proposal. And the young Louis, though the indulged-plaything of the whole party, so far from expressing regret at leaving the castle, heard our arrangement with joy. This may appear more than natural in a boy hardly eleven years of age; but a little affair which took place at that time, will make his acquiescence very credible.

"It was during the Christmas of the very year in which you met Duke Wharton at Paris, that he made his brilliant but baneful appearance at Bamborough. He took an immediate fancy to Louis; who was a fine spirited boy, full of enterprize and invincible good-humour. The Duke delighted in betting on his youthful talents, against the maturest ac[44]quirements in the castle. He exulted in the leaps he made him take on horseback; on the precision of his eye, in firing at a mark; and the dexterity with which he disarmed almost every man, but himself, in the practice of the foils. Even in this there was much to blame. But one evening, when Sir Anthony and the Duke were wearied of the rest of the company, and withdrawn to another room were sitting over their wine, a sudden whim seized their own half-tipsey fancies, to send Louis in masquerade to surprise the boisterous group below. Louis was summoned; and, innocent of their intention, hastened to his uncle. In the ardour of their frolic, they told him they meant to dress him in vine branches, and priming him with wine, introduce him as the festive god to the worship of the revellers in the dining-room. The natural good-sense of the boy started at the proposal; and he modestly refused to comply.—They persuaded, they flattered, they threatened;[45] but in vain. Both resolutely, and with tears, he declared he would not, for his life, do any thing so wicked. Sir Anthony's passionate nature was in a blaze at this opposition. Mad with intoxication, he threw the helpless child on the floor, and holding him there, called on his profligate companion to give him the Burgundy. Wharton obeyed; and the inhuman uncle poured so great a quantity down the throat of his struggling victim, that the poor child was taken up insensible. He was carried to bed; and passed the remainder of the night in delirium and fever.

"I was then on one of my occasional visits to Lindisfarne. But on my return next day, the whole was told me by Mrs. Coningsby. Full of horror at the relation, I gave instant orders for our departure; and was passing along the gallery before the servants, who were supporting the suffering child to the carriage, when I encountered my graceless nephew. "An[46]thony!" cried I, in the burst of my indignation; "you have committed an outrage against the morals and life of this innocent child, that will cry against you at the gates of Eternal Justice!" Sir Anthony stood confounded; but Duke Wharton, who was just at his back, with affected solemnity, exclaimed—"It is a prophet who speaks!—Let us take care that in to-morrow's hunt, the foxes do not ape the bears of old, and turn upon and rend us!"—The sarcasm of the young libertine, and his irreverent allusion to Scripture, recalled me to a sense of my own unrestrained violence; and turning again to my nephew with a more collected manner, "Sir Anthony, (said I) I do not reply to your companion; having no hope that human reasoning can make any good impression on a mind which studies revelation only to use it to blasphemy. But for you, the son of a virtuous father, and a pious mother!—Recall to your remembrance their happy[47] lives, their honourable reputations, and their blessed deaths! And, notwithstanding all your wit, your merriment, and your splendour, your heart will whisper, that in comparison with them, you are wretched, despised, and now stand on the brink of everlasting perdition!" Sir Anthony remained silent and confused; but the hardened Duke, making me a gay bow, put his arm through the Baronet's, and with a jerk turned him into the billiard-room.

"Eight years elapsed before I saw my ill-directed nephew again.—Having established a truly Christian minister at Bamborough, I henceforth passed the winter months at Morewick-hall with Mrs. Coningsby. And how different from the society of the castle was that which visited our residence, and assisted to develope the opening minds of our young charges! Sir Richard Steele, Mr. Craggs, and Mr. Addison, were severally our guests. In short, my dear sir, I drew around me a[48] kind of college for my pupils; and besides the persons named, many others of humbler note, but equal merit, were our constant visitors. One half of the year I devoted to the inspection of my curate's ministry; and for that purpose fixed my summer residence in this island. Louis always accompanied me to Lindisfarne; as I considered it my duty, as well as my delight, to share with his various tutors, the anxious task of turning to good account the rich soil of his mind. His nature is so enquiring and ambitious, we had rather to restrain than to stimulate his abilities; and they have ever pointed to a military career. I tried to incline him to the calmer paths of life; but it was stemming a torrent. His spirit is determined to excess. And having fixed his heart on the reputation of a Nassau or a Marlborough, he directs his studies with an undeviating aim to that point. If he begin any language, science, or art, he pursues it steadily till he gains either a perfect[49] knowledge of its principles; or at least acquires as much as his teacher can give him. He will not hear of a slight knowledge of any thing; therefore, what he does not wish to master, he never attempts at all. In short, his talents take the form of passions; and are not to be exhausted by the continuance or impetuosity of their course."

From strong interest, the Marquis had hitherto forborne to interrupt Mr. Athelstone; but he could not now help exclaiming—"Oh, Sir, what a perilous character have you described!—How great is the responsibility of the man who is to guide and impel this youth! Virtue and vice contend alike for the direction of such spirits:—and you are answerable to his father and to heaven, that these powerful impulses should not be turned to evil!"

"I know it," replied the Pastor, devoutly bowing his head to the Almighty Being to whom he especially owed this[50] responsibility; "and at present, I trust, those impulses are blameless. His heart overflows with good-will to every created thing; and, (as he often says with a gay smile,) he seems born with no other concern but to be happy, and to do his best to make others as happy as himself. Dear child!" exclaimed the old man, with glistening eyes;—"if that be his commission, he knows he fulfils it here!—For the sound of his voice, or the tread of his foot in the passage, is sufficient at any time to raise my head from my severest studies; and to make his aunt and cousins start from their chairs, to welcome their gladdening Louis!"

"And yet you trust this gay, this buoyant!—this young man, constituted by nature, to be only too sensible to the world's allurements; you trust him to the temptations of his uncle's roof?"

"Because," replied the Pastor, "they are no temptations to him. Setting aside the principles with which religion for[51]tifies his heart, his taste is too pure not to be disgusted with the coarse jollity of Sir Anthony's usual boon companions. These sots see nothing in their wassal-bowl, but the wine and its spices. It is the possible visits of Duke Wharton, and a few of his anacreontic associates, that excite my apprehension. He drugs the cup with the wreath of genius. The wit, the grace, the sorceries of that man, indeed fill me with alarm: and from his society, as I would snatch a swimmer from the verge of a whirlpool, I shall hasten to bear away my yet uncorrupted nephew."

The Marquis enquired how, with these sentiments, and after the rupture with Sir Anthony, Mr. Athelstone had ever suffered Louis de Montemar to touch such a vortex again.—Mr. Athelstone apologized for having digressed so long from this most necessary part of his narrative; and proceeded to relate the accident which re-introduced the uncle and nephew to each other. What he suc[52]cinctly related, is more particularly given thus:

In the autumn of the preceding year, Louis obtained his guardian's permission to accompany a neighbouring gentleman to the Red-deer hunt at Blair Athol in Scotland. On the first day, several fine harts were roused and slain. But just as the two Northumbrians were seating themselves on a high wooded cliff to take some refreshment after a hot pursuit, the forester who attended them approached, crouching on hands and knees, and silently made a sign, pointing to the glen beneath.—On looking where he levelled, they saw two fine stags upon a rock below, which projected over the river Tilt. Louis immediately took aim, and shot one of them on the edge of the precipice; the animal fell headlong into the stream; and the victor, with his followers, hastened down the glen to secure his prize. About the same instant, a huntsman, who had been with[53] the foremost all day, from an opposite direction had espied the companion of the slain stag galloping forward in affright. He lost not a moment, but fired, and wounded the creature in the haunches. The disabled deer slackened his pace, and the huntsman let a hound loose after him, who held him at bay on a high bank; but the stag recovered courage, and broke away again.—Another dog was then unleashed, which brought him to a stand in a deep dell, filled by the current of a mountain-stream. This second hound ran in upon his antagonist, and seized him between the horns. The stag gored him from shoulder to shoulder, and alarmed for the life of his dog, the huntsman made a spring into the water, to shoot the deer without danger to the hound. But in his haste, the man fell, and with his gun under him. At this moment the Northumbrians came up. Louis's companion rashly unloosed their dogs, to[54] assist the struggling hounds of the fallen huntsman. The deer, the dogs, all were at once upon the prostrate man. He called for help.—The stag's foot was on his breast:—the hounds crushed him as they sprung forward, and hung on the furious animal. The deer's eye-balls flashed fire; he dashed his tremendous antlers from side to side, and seemed aiming their next plunge against the life of his fallen enemy.

"He is a dead man!" cried the forester. But Louis drew a dirk, which was always his companion in these excursions 5 and throwing himself at once amidst the terrific group, struck it into the throat of the animal.—The wounded stag instantly recoiled, carrying away the weapon buried in his flesh. The released huntsman sprung on his legs, and extricating himself from the dogs, which hung more fiercely on their dying prey, staggered towards the adjacent bank. With the assistance of his com[55]panions, Louis immediately conveyed the fainting stranger to a neighbouring lodge, where he soon recovered his recollection and wonted spirits.—Perhaps it need hardly be said, that this stranger was Sir Anthony Athelstone!—Louis, being unacquainted with the alteration in his uncle's person, which eight years of intemperance had rendered bloated and coarse, had thus exerted himself from humanity alone. But when Sir Anthony enquired the name of his preserver, and learnt that he owed his life to the intrepidity of Louis de Montemar, the joy of the uncle knew no bounds. He embraced his nephew a thousand times; vowed never to marry, that he might adopt him as his son; nay, he declared, that from this day forward, Louis de Montemar should be the lord both of Bamborough and its master. Louis was affected by his uncle's gratitude, and self-accusations for the cause of their first separation; but respectfully de[56]clined resuming a stationary residence at the castle, though he gratefully promised to make his visits very frequent.

"Providence having thus reconciled the uncle and nephew," continued the Pastor, "how could I presume to refuse my sanction to the renewal of kindred affection?"

The Marquis assented to the force of this argument; and Mr. Athelstone hastened to conclude his narrative, of which the following is a brief summary.

After this general amnesty, Louis continued to visit Sir Anthony every week. And as the watchful guardian heard of no proceedings in the baronet likely to injure the morals of his nephew, he consented to his accompanying his uncle early in the ensuing spring, to re-visit the scene of their happy reconciliation. They accordingly went to Scotland. And when they left the Duke of Athol's, Sir Anthony proposed returning home by Loch Rannock, and paying his respects[57] to old Robertson of Struan. Louis was eager to see the veteran and the poet; though, from his advanced age, he expected to find little of the lyre, and less of the trumpet, at his hospitable board.

The visit was paid; and Louis returned to Lindisfarne in raptures with the country he had seen; delighted with the chief of Struan; but above all, enchanted with one of the old man's guests. He seemed intoxicated with some before untasted pleasure, as he discoursed, full of a vague kind of admiration, about this extraordinary personage. Mr. Athelstone asked his name; Louis replied, it was the Duke of Wharton, whom he remembered when a boy; and who, he recollected, had joined his uncle in the folly about the wine. The Duke came to Loch Rannock the day after Sir Anthony's arrival. There was a large party in the house, but Wharton selected Louis as his companion; often deserting the rest, to ride alone with him; and to explore with[58] fearless step, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, the caverned recesses of the Loch; its fir-clad islands, and mountains of desolate sublimity. During their wide and stormy rambles, they visited the house of the laird, and the hovel of the shepherd; pleased alike with the generous cheer of the one, and the frugal hospitality of the other. Wharton could speak Gaelic, a language of which his companion was totally ignorant; but Louis did not the less enjoy the hilarity with which his noble friend pledged their entertainers in claret or whiskey: and while a rapid discourse passed in this, to him, unknown tongue, he did not the less sympathise in the pleasure with which gentle and semple seemed to regard their animated guest. Men, women, of all ages and degrees, thronged around their illustrious visitor. Sometimes he was serious, sometimes he was gay; but still he spoke in Gaelic; and all changes renewed their acclamations of delight.


When Louis narrated these particulars at the tea-table in Lindisfarne, Mr. Athelstone sighed, and thought that in this fortnight's sojourn at Rannock, his nephew had seen too much, or too little of this extraordinary man. However, he would not risk knowing all that passed, by any immediate observation to damp the ardour of Louis's frank communicativeness. His cousins were eager listeners; and he went rapturously on, describing the Duke as the most fascinating being on earth. So profound in his reflections; so careless in his manner of uttering them; so conscious of his fine person, and yet so gracefully negligent of its effect; so dignified in his carriage, and yet so boyishly fond of mirth; that the mischief he played ever found a ready excuse, in the ingenuity of its contrivance, or the frank apology of the laughing perpetrator.

"I would say," exclaimed Louis,[60] "that he is the merriest devil I ever saw, if I could give so poor a name to so rich a wit!"

"Call him Belial," said the Pastor, with a meaning smile; "and you will name him rightly."

Louis laughed; and replied,—"If you will have him a fallen angel, he must be Satan himself:

For such high-reaching thought, and port superb,
Could ne'er be native with the grov'ling crew
That sunk in raging Phlegethon!"

The Pastor shook his head with another smile; and Louis ran on, talking of the Duke's lofty demeanor at one season; of its playful condescension at another: and in the guileless exhilaration of his own heart, described the air with which Wharton drank his Burgundy; how he graced each draught with a brilliant song, adapted by himself to words of Horace or Anacreon, in their original language. Then he spoke of the Duke's eloquent criticisms on the classics; of his wit in apt references[61] to them, and to the best writers of France and Italy; and of the sportive manner with which he trifled, with the foibles of the company around him;—"seeming," continued Louis, "to stoop from his native height, merely' to skim the grosser element, in condescending fellowship with those heavy sons of earth. And the Duke tells me the change is pleasant; for it is only burrowing a little amongst the gnomes, to enjoy with keener relish the etherial joys of the upper regions!"

"Here, my Lord," continued the Pastor, in his narrative to the Marquis, "was the snare I had dreaded. When we were alone, I declared my apprehensions to my nephew; but he combated my suspicions with all the pleadings of ingenuous enthusiasm. Louis had never felt more than general kindliness for any of the young men of his acquaintance. For, I am sorry to say that education is not a principle of these times: and my boy[62] found few to understand any part of his intellectual pursuits, till he met this highly-gifted nobleman. Wharton is also master of every avenue to an unsuspecting heart. This, too, was the first time that any thing like his own ideas of friendship had come before my nephew; and when they were proffered by so specious a character, it was hardly surprising that even the short intimacy of a fortnight should bewilder his imagination and captivate his heart. When I became aware of the depth of the impression, I took up the subject in the serious light it demanded. I narrated several instances of the Duke's ill-conduct in various relations of life; and shewed at once to Louis the deleterious cup he was so tenaciously holding, since it had already induced him to confound right and wrong, by denominating the ruffian violence he had received in his helpless childhood, mere folly and frolic! His countenance betrayed there was a powerful contention in his mind.[63] I conjured him to reflect on what I had said; to hearken to my warning voice, as he would to that of his distant father, or to the last admonitions of his departed mother. Tears burst from his eyes; and kissing my hands, he solemnly pledged himself never again to be a willing resident in the same house with the Duke of Wharton. His Grace had separated from the travelling party, and was gone to Ireland. But that did not prevent me calling on Sir Anthony; and though he did not see the reasonableness of my alarm, he was prevailed on to make me a promise that he would not again be instrumental in bringing his nephew into the society of the Duke.

"From that period until now, this dangerous man has been too much engaged in cajoling and thwarting the British ministry, to think of obscurer triumphs in Northumberland. But now that he is come, and his mischievous spirit has not only persuaded Sir Anthony to[64] break his honour with me, but that Louis has been wrought upon to forfeit the verity of his word; I must assume the authority of a guardian; and at once wrest the infatuated boy from the favour of his uncle, and the perverting powers of his friend."

"Venerable Mr. Athelstone!" cried the Marquis, with an emotion of reverence; "this resolution is worthy of a minister of Christ!" But the words were no sooner uttered, than, dropping the hand he had emphatically seized, he quitted the room in disorder.



Unconscious of the anxieties which had been aroused respecting him at his tranquil home, Louis found himself engaged in scenes he little expected in the dull routine of his uncle's castle.

The first day of his present visit to Bamborough, passed according to the usual journal of the whole year; a plenteous dinner, with abundance of wine, and three or four country squires around the table. After the feast, Louis played at backgammon with his uncle; while three of the other guests, with the assistance of Dumby, dozed through half a dozen rubbers of whist. The senses of the fourth had not sufficiently survived the dinner's last potation, to be even a silent spectator. He took his station[66] in an easy chair, near some snoring dogs on the hearth-rug, and soon shewed audible fellowship with their slumbers. At ten o'clock the butler announced supper. The whole party started from their chairs; and rubbing their eyes and hands in the joy of renewed impulse, crowded into the eating-room. Louis, who could say no with as much good humour as most people say yes, declined accompanying them, and went to his own apartments; where he passed the moon-light hours in making a drawing of their effect on the opposite tower of Lindisfarne, and the misty ruins of its abbey.

The next morning being ushered in by a fierce equinoctial tempest, the guests of the castle gazed despairingly at the floods of rain which swept before the furious wind; and when they found it impossible to animate the drowsy hours by lingering out a breakfast they had already prolonged to loathing, they dashed through the pouring torrents, to kill time amongst[67] horses and grooms, dogs and whippers-in. But these employments too found satiety; and at the first blast of the letter-carrier's horn, the whole party rushed into the house, to see what his bag contained, and to snatch the welcome newspapers. The sleeper of the night before, who was also high-sheriff of the county, in right of his dignity, mumbled The Postman to himself; while Sir Anthony, with many bursts of applause, read The True Briton aloud to the rest of the company.

As soon as Louis found the badness of the weather likely to prevent his uncle's guests from taking their usual excursions, he retreated from their noisy pastimes to the large solitary library. There he knew he should be as safe from invasion, as if he had hid himself in the vaults of the chapel. A few minutes absorbed his whole attention in the black-letter annalists of Great Britain; comparing their details with the chronicles of France; and[68] losing himself in admiration of the Condés and Montmorencies of the one country, and the Talbots and Percies of the other. He dwelt with particular delight on the chivalric characters of Froissart, feeling as if he conversed with them as friends; while the heroes of Cressy and Poictiers divided his heart between the triumph of conquest, and the god-like moderation of their victories. While thus engaged, he was at times wrested from his fancied presence in the scenes he read, by the smacking of whips, and the halloos of his uncle's guests as they passed through the hall in their visits to the stables.

"What descendants of the Mowbrays, the Percies, and the Nevilles!" cried Louis to himself. The uproar rose and fell in gusts, like the tempest; and at last dying away behind the friendly interposition of long passages and distant rooms, he forgot the existence of the noisy rout; and again found himself in the pavilions of heroes.


Towards four o'clock the clouds had exhausted themselves; and a bright sun, tempering the chilly freshness of the air, he looked from the library window over the woods and glades of his uncle's park; and felt inclined to steal out unobserved, and take an exhilarating race towards its boundary. The deer were coming from their covert, to enjoy the beam; and the rooks, speeding home in glad multitudes, were cooing and wheeling, and flapping their wings, as they hovered over or settled on the tall elms of the ancient avenue. These sounds of grateful nature, rather soothed than disturbed the tranquillity of the scene; and Louis lingered at the window, reciprocating the happiness of these creatures, free, careless, innocent, and full of blameless enjoyment.

In the midst of these musings, a new, and an uncommon noise in his uncle's house, startled his ear; opening and banging doors along the adjoining gallery,[70] the rumbling of trunks, the calling of servants, and a variety of female voices in constant command. Louis stood amazed. He had not heard that his uncle expected any unusual company, and least of all women; for owing to the convivial character of Sir Anthony's meetings, none of the country ladies had honoured the Castle with a visit, since the departure of Mrs. Coningsby.

In a few minutes Louis heard his name loudly vociferated by Sir Anthony himself.—"Louis—Louis de Montemar!—Where the devil have you hid yourself?"—and with the boisterous interrogation the baronet burst into the library.—His eyes sparkled with jovial intelligence, as he advanced to his nephew: "Come Louis, my boy! Here is metal more attractive to your taste than chess and backgammon!—Leave this musty place, and I will introduce you to lillies and roses!"

Louis guessed, from these extraordinary[71] transports, that some accident had brought ladies to the Castle; and while he allowed Sir Anthony to hurry him down a back-stair to the drawing-room, he tried to learn something of the matter. But the Baronet was in too great an ecstacy to speak common sense:—he broke into extravagant thanks to the storm, and eulogies on fine eyes and blooming complexions; and did not give Louis time to ask another question before he ushered him into the presence of several elegantly dressed women. With manifest pride in the fine person of his nephew, Sir Anthony introduced him to the fair group; and they received him with compliments to the uncle, which, being new to the young man from female lips, deepened to crimson the colour on his glowing complexion.

A little observation convinced him that these were neither his county ladies, nor the ladies of any other county in England. They were handsome, their[72] habits costly; and their deportment something like high fashion, though it wanted that ineffable grace of delicate reserve, which is the indispensable mark of a true English gentlewoman. As he looked on their careless movements and familiar ease, he could not but think how like the last harmonizing hue which a skilful painter casts over his picture, is the veil of modesty to a lovely woman. In short, he soon gathered from the rapid discourse of these unexpected visitors, that they were natives of different countries, and belonging to the stage; which profession, he thought, might necessarily free their manners from the usual restraints of their sex, without in reality impairing their virtue.[A] Two of the[73] party were of the opera, the one, an Italian primadona, with a singularly beautiful figure; the other, a French dancer, young, pretty and full of life: the rest, English actresses of various degrees of personal charms.

It was the voices of these ladies' respective maids, which had surprized Louis from the gallery; and he now stood contemplating the persons and manners of their mistresses, with the amused curiosity of youth.—The pretty French dancer had just enquired whether he spoke her language; and was expressing her delight at being answered in the affirmative, when Sir Anthony (who had quitted the room soon after the introduction of his nephew,) re-entered with[74] the Duke of Wharton and the remainder of his guests.

Louis started at sight of the Duke, instantly remembering his promise to his guardian. Wharton wore the same careless, animated air, as when he first fascinated the imagination of his young admirer; and springing directly from the dull mass which surrounded him, seemed to Louis like a sun-beam shot from a heavy cloud. The next moment he found himself in the Duke's arms.

"My dear de Montemar! This is unexpected pleasure! I thought only of refreshing my horses, little dreaming your uncle had provided this feast for their master!"

Louis trembled and was silent. He wished his guardian had not exacted the promise, which, even at this moment, whispered he must not hearken to the captivating Wharton, but tear himself away. Louis did not reply; for he felt unable to say (what he was determined[75] to do:) that he must instantly return to Lindisfarne.

The Duke took his arm, and drew him to a distant part of the room. "De Montemar, I could sacrifice a hecatomb of my best Cumberland steers, for this blessed meeting! I have not seen any thing so after my own heart, since we parted; and yet I have been lamp in hand, day and night, in search of one of your stamp. I know you have a brave soul; and that it spurns a sleepy life, though your dreams should be of paradise!—When all are gone to bed, meet me to-night in the old library.—I have that to say to you, I would not have even a listening spider whisper to some of this herd."

"Not even myself must listen to it!" replied Louis, making a strong effort to declare at once his intention; "Your Grace must pardon me, but I am this instant leaving the Castle."

"Impossible!" cried the Duke, "you[76] would not go for the wealth of Mexico, if you knew the matter I have to communicate."

"No temptation must detain me!" replied Louis, with a smile that spoke of sacrifice; "I am under an engagement that cannot be broken."

"That countenance," returned Wharton, laughing; "tells a different story!—You know the old proverb! where there is a will, &c.; and I cannot doubt yours, since we pledged ourselves heart to heart on the bonnie braes of Glen Rannock!—Besides, I am here accidentally, and only for a short time. Under these circumstances, what engagement can be so serious, as ought to separate us at such a moment?"

The Duke paused, and Louis blushed. It was almost for his venerable uncle; for he thought him severe against this resistless pleader.—Wharton resumed. "Come, de Montemar; let me write man upon that candid brow. Not[77] as your uncle Anthony would stamp it, in lees; nor as another uncle, perhaps, would mark it, with Saint Cuthbert's tonsure! My signet is of other impression."

"Your signet is too true a one," returned Louis, "to obliterate a word of honour! and I have given mine to my uncle of Lindisfarne to——," he hesitated.—Could he tell the noble Wharton, that he had solemnly promised never to remain willingly under the same roof with him?

Wharton observed the painful confusion of his too well-inclined friend.

"To what," said he, "have you pledged yourself to Mr. Athelstone?—To return to him to-night?—But the promise was given under ordinary circumstances. I know your uncle does not like the usual orgies of Sir Anthony. And as neither you, nor the good old gentleman, could guess that my happy stars would bring me to Bamborough[78] to-day, you must allow me, as a good knight, and grand-master in the courts of honour, to give both of you acquittal on this head; and to pronounce, that change of circumstances releases you from your engagement, and him from the necessity of demanding its fulfilment!"

Louis's heightening colour overspread his face, as the Duke concluded; but collecting all his powers of self-denial, "My Lord," said he, "You are very good; but I must go!—The tide now serves, and delay——"

Wharton released his arm with an air of pique.—The resolution of Louis to depart, and without assigning his guardian's reason for insisting on his return, was enough for the ready apprehension of the Duke. He at once comprehended that Mr. Athelstone foresaw a change in his nephew's moral and political principles, should he be permitted to cultivate an intimacy, which, it was evident, was the secret wish of that nephew's[79] heart.—The Duke saw the struggle between inclination and duty. He saw, that persuasions to stay, by causing Louis to summon more of his moral strength to oppose his own desire to stay, only ensured his departure; and therefore the moment Wharton perceived the real position of the enemy, he made a russe de guerre, and drew off.

"I shall not withstand your own inclination, Mr. de Montemar," said he, as he turned away with assumed coldness. The words smote on the heart of Louis. Sir Anthony, who had caught their unusual tone, looked towards the Duke and his nephew. He saw the former walk with a grave demeanor towards a window, and the latter gaze after him with an agitated countenance. The baronet approached Louis, and in a whisper asked what had happened.

"I must obey my uncle's command to return to Lindisfarne."

This reply re-called to Sir Anthony[80] his own promise to the same effect. He reddened angrily: "and you have told the Duke, Mr. Athelstone's monkish antipathy to his gaiety and good humour?"

"No, dear Sir, but I have told him, I must go; that I am pledged to go. And though he injures me by supposing that I am such an Insensible as to obey without reluctance; yet I respect my word too much, and hold my uncle's command too sacred, to hesitate about what I ought to do."

With a hurrying step, he was moving towards the door; when the baronet made one angry stride, and stretching forth his athletic arm, grasped his nephew's; and with an enraged countenance drew him into an anti-room, waving his other hand to the Duke to follow. Wharton was too good a general to comply immediately; and Sir Anthony, as soon as he could speak without the observation of strangers, burst into a loud[81] and violent invective on his uncle's unjustifiable prejudices against the Duke.

"What can he charge him with?" cried the baronet,—"That he is young? The fitter to be your companion!—That he is gay? And if a man be not gay in his youth, when is he to be gay?—That he is married, and does not live with his wife? What man of spirit would keep any terms with a woman, who wheedled him into wedlock, before he was out of his teens!—That he is fond of wine? His thirst does not make you drink!—That he is liked by women; and not ungrateful to their kindness? Why Louis, your old uncle had best shut you up at once with the dead bones in the abbey vaults! And then he calls him a rebel to his King! What of that? If the King himself does not fear him, but lets him go at large amongst his subjects; why should the Pastor of Lindisfarne take more care for His Majesty, than His Majesty thinks proper to take for himself! I tell you,[82] Louis, the cloven-foot is under the surplice. It is resentment of an old affront, that excites all this animosity in the mind of Mr. Athelstone."

There was much in this speech, and more in the manner of it, that offended the best feelings of Louis. "Sir," said he, "I thank you for having recalled to me my uncle's arguments on this subject. He may be mistaken as to the extent of the facts; but till he is so far convinced of his error, as to release me from the promise I gave him, to avoid the Duke; I must consider myself bound to abide by it."

The baronet's face now became purple. "Louis! am not I your uncle, as well as this domineering priest? I am your mother's brother; and from her, I have rights, he cannot claim. You respect his commands! By what authority will you disobey mine? I therefore order you, on your peril, not to stir from[83] this house, till it is my pleasure to let you go."

He turned, with a look of defiance, to leave the room; but the voice of Louis arrested him. "Sir Anthony," cried he, "when you command me as becomes my mother's brother, I have ever been eager to shew you obedience; but there is no authority on earth shall compel me to stay where I am to hear words of disrespect coupled with the name of my most revered guardian."

"We will look to that!" said the baronet fiercely; and opening an opposite door, he disappeared, banging it furiously after him. The Duke entered at the same instant, by the one from the drawing-room. He stood for a moment, observing the countenance of Louis; then approaching him with his usual frank air: "De Montemar," said he, "unintentionally, I have overheard something of what has passed between you and your uncle; and I have learnt enough, to be ashamed[84] of the fool's part I have played just now, when I turned from you like a jealous girl!"

Wharton laid his hand on the arm of Louis, and with a gay smile, which was rendered enchanting by the affectionate seriousness of his eyes, he gently added, "but friendship being the sister of love, we must forgive her sharing a little of her brother's infirmities."

Louis could not guess how much of the recent offensive discussion had been overheard by its subject; but he was glad to be cleared in the mind of the Duke from the implied charge of quitting him capriciously. "Chance," said he, "has communicated to your Grace, what I could never have brought myself to utter."

"And therefore," returned the Duke, "I suppose you leave me to guess the good Pastor's reason for excluding me from his fold? I see it in the sin of my youth. You have forgotten it; but in my beardless days, I offended Mr. Athel[85]stone in a way that deserved a cat-o-nine-tails. Had he laid his horse-whip over my shoulders at that time, it would have been wholesome chastisement: but this interdict—"

"It is not for that!" exclaimed Louis, "but could my guardian know the generous character he so misjudges; I feel he would court that friendship for me, he now so fearfully deprecates."

The Duke shook his head: "thanks, dear Montemar, for that profession of your faith! But when prejudice gets possession of an old head, neither argument nor auto de fé can dislodge the evil spirit."

"Indeed," cried Louis, "my excellent uncle is not fuller of years than of candour! It is not one prejudice, but reports—slanders—"

"Aye," interrupted the Duke, "Dan Bacon warns us that Envy, like the sun, beats hottest on the highest grounds! But I could have spared this proof of my merit.[86]—de Montemar," added he, in a graver and more earnest tone; "shall I tell you, that you;—with that guileless heart, that ingenuous soul, that maiden reputation; will one day be reported! slandered! made a pest, as I am, to be avoided!"

Clouds collected over the Duke's brow as he proceeded. He walked a few paces towards the opposite side of the room, and then turned round with his usual bright countenance.—"De Montemar, my life has been a comet's track; and therefore may astonish and alarm. It is not given to every man to know whither my eccentric course tends:—but I tell you, its aim is to the sun!"

Louis's heart glowed, as the Duke thus animatedly delivered himself. "Oh, my Lord," cried he, "why are you thus misapprehended? Or rather, why will that noble spirit give any licence to slander, by stooping to such associates as——" he paused.

"We will not name them!" replied[87] Wharton laughing; "But such things are my toys, or my tools. Did men of our sort keep only with our likes, we should prove but useless animals. The world is a multitude, where every creature must partake the fellowship of poor dependent human nature; or at once claim kindred with the gods by doffing his clay, and ascending post-haste to the regions above!"

The castle bell rang for dinner; and with its last peal, Sir Anthony presented himself at the drawing-room door.—He came haughtily forward. "My Lord Duke, the ladies await your hand to lead them down stairs.—Louis, you are come to your senses, I see, and will follow his Grace."

The manner with which the baronet said this, shewed he rather expected to intimidate his nephew into compliance; than really thought he had made up his mind to obey. Louis answered with[88] firmness, "I cannot, Sir, transgress what I know to be my duty."

Sir Anthony's eyes flashed fire: "That is to say," cried he, "you know it is your duty to obey me!—and you will obey me!—or abide by the consequence." "Nay, Athelstone," interrupted the Duke, "this is shot and bounce with a vengeance! What man, with the spirit of a weazel, but would grub through your very towers, to shew you he despised such threatenings? Open your gates to the uncontrouled egress and regress of your nephew; or my free pinions will spurn them in a moment!" "I am no jailor, Duke Wharton," replied the angry baronet, "But that boy should know his uncle is not to be insulted with impunity. He presumes on my avowed affection for him, to affront my company before my face; and then mocks me with an apology still more galling, by declaring that he must prefer the caprices of a selfish old[89] priest, to all the gratitude he owes an uncle who indulges his every wish; and has already made him heir to this castle and its estates."

"Athelstone! Athelstone!" exclaimed the Duke, "am I to tell you that boy is one exception to Walpole's theory of mankind? You cannot bribe Louis de Montemar to act against his conscience. Open your gates, and let him go."

Sir Anthony looked from the playful remonstrance of the Duke, to the perturbed countenance of his nephew.—"Louis," said he, in a more temperate tone, "You know how this has been wrung from me. Is there no terms to be kept with my affection for you? No middle way between outraging all respect to me, and breaking your extorted promise to this lord of penance?"

"How can I listen, Sir, to such epithets attached to the idea of the most venerable of men?"

"He may indulge the boy's-play!"[90] cried the Duke, "Ill names stick only to such sorry fellows as I."

"Oh, Sir," rejoined Louis, "I have only to represent to my guardian the candour with which the Duke of Wharton has just treated his unhappy prejudice; and I am sure he will instantly permit me to return to the castle."

"Then you persist in going to-night?"

"Now, Sir," replied Louis, "the tide serves: and if I delay, I must remain till midnight."

Sir Anthony walked the room in great agitation. Wharton looked at his young friend with a persuasion in his eyes, to which he did not give words; and their beset object, unable to give a favourable answer to such pleading, bent his to the ground.

At last the baronet stopped opposite to him. "Louis, you are not a generous adversary. You deal hardly with the heart you so well know is all your own. And there you stand, so silent, so stern,[91] to compel your uncle—the man whose life you saved,—to beg your pardon for his violence; and to entreat you, even with prayers, not to leave his roof in anger!" Sir Anthony caught his nephew's hand, and sobbed out the last words. Louis threw himself on his uncle's neck; and quite overcome, hardly articulated, "I will stay to-night, but to-morrow morning—Oh, my dear Sir, do not urge me to forfeit my own esteem!"

Wharton took the arm of the baronet, who covered his face with his handkerchief, while he obeyed the impulse which drew him away through the gallery-door. The Duke bent back, and whispered to Louis, "You will follow us to the dining-room?" He bowed his head in troubled silence; and the baronet and his friend turned down the gallery.

"A few hours yielded to my uncle's feelings," said Louis to himself, "will, I trust, make no essential difference in the performance of my word to Mr. Athel[92]stone. And indeed I am true to its spirit, for I stay not willingly. And yet, were it not for my pledged word, what delight should I have in the society of this amiable, this ingenuous, this generous Wharton!"

When Louis joined the party at dinner, the flush of his hardly-subsided agitation was still on his cheek; but his manner was composed, and his looks cheerful. The company were all seated; and the place left for him was between the lively Frenchwoman and the Earl of Warwick. The ruddy face of the baronet was burnished with smiles from his recent victory, which he hoped was a final one over the future influence of the Pastor with his nephew: and the pride of triumph did not a little inspirit the vivacity with which he did the honours of his table; challenging Louis to pledge the ladies in sparkling Champagne, while he drank to their ruby lips in glowing Burgundy.

For a little time the Duke appeared[93] thoughtful; and frequently turned his eyes upon Louis, rather as if he were the object of his thoughts, than of his sight: but the actress who sat next him, rallying him once or twice on his portentous abstraction, he suddenly shook off a mood so little according with the company; and replying with answering badinage, warned her dramatic majesty to beware of forcing Eneas from his cloud. The lady dared his threats; and a dialogue of wit, and playful gallantry, passed between the two, that delighted the sportive fancy of Louis, and set the grosser spirits of the party in a roar.

In the first pause of this noisy mirth, the black-eyed Italian challenged the Duke to bear his part with her in a new duetto of Apostola Zero. It was from the opera of Sappho and Phaon, and described the lover's last interview in the Lesbian shades. Louis loved music; and always listened with pleasure to his cousins chanting their border-legends,[94] or giving utterance to the sweeter ballads of Scotland: but he had never heard Italian singing until now; and he was in so wrapt an ecstacy, that, lost to the objects around him, he sat during the performance with his hands clasped, and his eyes rivetted alternately on the Duke and on the Signora, as they severally took up the thrilling melody; but when their voices mingled at the close with all the harmonious interchange of height, and depth, faultless execution, and exquisite pathos, the heart of Louis seemed dissolving within him; and as the last notes trembled, and died on his ear, he leaned back in his chair and covered his face with his hand.

The momentary pause that followed, and which his throbbing heart would fain have prolonged, was rudely broken by an universal clapping of hands, and cries of bravo! By a side glance, Wharton had observed Louis's attention to the singing; and now see[95]ing the disgust with which he pushed his chair back from the discordant uproar, he bent behind the Frenchwoman, and tapping his young friend on the shoulder, whispered—

"This universal shout, and shrill applause,
Seem to the outraged ear of listening Silence,
Strange as the hiss of hell, whose sound perverse
Went forth to hail its sovereign's victory!"

As the Duke spoke, the cadence with which he repeated the lines recalled the strains which yet vibrated on the entranced sense of his auditor; and Louis, turning his eyes on him who had charmed him out of himself, expressed, in broken but energetic language, the delight he had felt, the wonder that such powers could belong to the human voice: "I have heard fine singing, before;" said he, "but this is more than singing!—It is the voice of the soul—or, shall I say, it is the very ineffable language which love breathed into the heart of Psyché?"

"Say what you please, my own De[96] Montemar!" cried the Duke, his face radiant with animation; "you have the soul I want!—meet me to-night in the old library."

His friend the actress heard the last words; and gaily protesting against any appointment which tended to break up the present festivity; the rest of the ladies rapturously seconded her motion to close the night with a dance. Sir Anthony rubbed his hands with glee at the proposal: and when the ladies soon after ascended to their tea-table, he ordered the band, which usually travelled in the retinue of the magnificent Duke, to take its station in the great drawing-room.

The healths of the fair dames being drank on their departure, the native topics of the chace, races, justice-meetings, and county-politics, gradually gave way before the ascendancy of high spirits in men of wit and genius. Louis had insensibly drank more wine at dinner, than was his custom. Its fumes, and[97] the entrancing power of the music, united with the charms of the Duke's ever-varying discourse, had thrown his faculties into a kind of enchanted mist, where all that is pleasurable played on the surface; all that was alarming, remained behind the cloud.

At a late hour they joined the ladies, who were seated at ombre and piquet; but the moment the men appeared, the tables were pushed aside; and the leading actress, rising from her chair, invited the Duke to a minuet. He presented her his hand, while the violins obeyed the nod of his head; and then moved through the elegant evolvements of the dance, with a grace the more charming from the air of gay indifference with which he approached, and retreated from her gliding steps.

The pretty Frenchwoman shewed the agile varieties of her art, in a pas seul, which filled the northern squires with a wonder and satisfaction more level to[98] their apprehensions, than had been the science of the fair Italian. Louis stood, leaning over the back of a chair, smiling, and nodding his approbation to the exhilarating time of the music. As soon as Mam'selle Violante had made her concluding whirl in the air, she tripped lightly forward, and gaily demanded his hand for the country-dance. He bowed delightedly; and obeyed her volant motion, as she bounded with him down the room to join Wharton and his fair partner at the head of the set. The ball became general; and the jouissance so intoxicating; that the whole scene swam in delicious, delirious pleasure, with the newly-initiated sons of rough Northumberland.

When the party broke up as the sun rose, and Louis retired to his chamber, he hardly knew himself to be the same man who had left it the morning before. In that very chamber, four centuries ago, the gay and profligate Piers Gaveston[99] had been a prisoner! and Louis had issued from it, only the preceding day, censuring in his mind the vices of its ancient possessor; and marvelling how any temptation addressed to the mere senses of rational man, could betray his virtue.

With a whirling brain he now threw himself upon his pillow.—The music still sounded in his ears; he yet wound with airy step through the mazes of the dance; the familiar pressure of the laughing Violante was still warm on his hand; and he yet thrilled under the soft glances of the fair Italian. Till that day, he had never seen the manners of women so unzoned. He had never thought it possible, that any behaviour, freer than what he saw in the behaviour of his aunt and cousins, could excite other emotions in him, than those of dislike and disgust. He had admired the magic painting of Homer, Tasso, and Spenser, in their Circé, Armida, and Adessa; and he had trembled for the constancy of[100] their respective heroes, before the allurements of such sorcery:—but he never expected to find similar trials in real life. He believed the fair tempters in romance, were indebted for the beautiful mask with which they concealed their mental deformity, entirely to the spells of the poet's genius. Vice, in living woman, he expected to find as odious in outward shape, as it is loathsome within.

In short, in meditation, nothing is beautiful without goodness. The unbiassed heart, speculating upon these subjects, never unites admiration with any thing foreign to that character; and mistaking taste for principle, when it comes to the proof, too often substitutes the approbation of virtue for virtue itself. The discourses of Mrs. Coningsby fostered in the mind of her nephew this natural idea of the indivisibility of goodness and beauty. She described the empire of vice to be absolute, when it takes possession of a woman; and that its imme[101]diate effects were to obliterate every feminine grace, and transmute her at once into a monster of sin and disgust. Believing this, Louis was not prepared for the scene he had just witnessed. The pit, he expected to behold yawning like the mouth of hell, and so warning him from its approach, he saw overlaid with a verdure, brighter than all around: and no wonder his unwary feet trod the tempting spot, and found it treacherous.


[A] The reader is requested to call to mind, that this is the description of the Theatrical Profession, at that period of its history in this country, when the plays of Farquhar, and others of the same taste, occupied the stage; and were performed by persons who too nearly resembled in reality the characters they represented.—With Garrick and revived Shakspeare, morals and propriety were restored:—and at the head of our present British actresses who possess the "grace of delicate reserve, which is the indispensable work of a true English gentlewoman;" no one can fail to respect Mrs. Siddons.



He slept, and the scene was renewed with a thousand strange varieties. Imagination recalled, in fantastic vision, all that he had read of enchanted pleasures, or of descending goddesses mingling their immortal nature with favoured man. He now lost his own identity in the person of Rogero, slumbering away life in the arms of Alcina; and then became the indignant Rinaldo, cutting his way through the entangling thickets of Armida's wood.—He awoke heated, and unrefreshed. His heart panted with his imaginary contest; and his fevered temples beat to agony as he sprung from his disordered bed, and throwing open the window towards the breezes of the sea, inhaled their cooling freshness. His[103] tremulous frame gradually recovered a braced tone; and wrapping his dressing-gown around him, he stood gazing on the opposite rocks of Lindisfarne, with feelings as new to him as had been the spectacle of the night before. He blushed as he thought of rejoining the dear inhabitants of that sacred spot.—A strange faintness seized on his heart—a sense of shame!

"For what?" cried he, "what have I done, to cause this self-accusation?—I have not broken my word with my uncle; I did not consent willingly, to stay till this morning: I made the sacrifice to Sir Anthony's feelings."

Thus far, his conscience acquitted him; and he breathed freer: but still he could not say, my heart is lightened of its load.

"I feel myself polluted!" cried he; "I know not what was said and done last night, to change me thus; but the wine I drank, and those women's looks and[104] words; and my very dreams, seem to have contaminated my soul and body!—Oh, holy Lindisfarne!—My uncle, my sweet cousins, why did I ever leave your innocent presence!"

With this agonized invocation, he hastened to dress himself; that he might fly from the castle, and all its present mischiefs.

Violante had informed him the preceding night, how so strange a party came together; and why they had intruded themselves on the hospitality of his uncle. She described, with satirical pleasantry, a week's visit, which she and her Thespian sisters had been making to a noble amateur in Teviotdale.—Lord Warwick was there; and soon after, Duke Wharton came in his way from the Highlands. At the time of his arrival, the whole company were on the eve of departure; but as he was coming southward, and they were to travel in the same direction, he complied with War[105]wick's entreaties to join the party.—The storm caught them on the moors; and as it was attended with thunder, the women became so frightened, it was necessary to take them to some place of shelter.—A minute's thought brought to Wharton's recollection that Bamborough was in the neighbourhood; and without hesitation he ordered the horses heads of half a dozen carriages to be turned towards the mansion of the convivial baronet.

As Louis ran over these circumstances in his mind, and recalled the lively indifference with which the Duke seemed to dally with all this youth and beauty, and female witchery; turning from one to the other with the gay caprice of the frolic butterfly, which flies from flower to flower, hovering and touching, and straight to flight again:—"Happy Wharton!" exclaimed he, "yours is indeed the spirit which skims the earth, and does not soil its wings! while mine,[106] has only to approach its surface, and be made but too sensible, that dust I am, and would to dust return!"

In this mood he descended to the court yard; and gave orders for a boat to be ready at the castle-cove, to row him across to Lindisfarne as soon as the tide should serve. But in returning along the terrace, he encountered the object of his meditation and his envy; the object which still made his heart linger about the spot he was so determined to leave.

"Ha, de Montemar!" cried the Duke, "Well met; before the constellations of last night arise to put yon saucy, upbraiding sun out of countenance!—But how long have you been making morn hideous with those rueful looks?—Why, you are a different man, from the etherial son of joy, who moved amongst us last night like Ganymede dispensing the draughts of Olympus!"

Louis saw in this gay hyperbole, only the spectre of a folly he was ashamed of.[107] His disturbed countenance spoke what was passing in his mind; but trying to smile, "Indeed, my Lord," said he, "you are right to laugh at my inebriated senses.—I assure you, I despise myself."

"For what, de Montemar? That you have eyes, and ears, and are a man?"

Louis coloured; "Perhaps, that I own too much of his worst part!"


He did not answer, but quickened his steps. The Duke looked archly in his face, and laughed:—"I will answer myself. That fond little devil Violante has driven Saint Cuthbert out of your head, and you are hastening to exorcise the strange possession at the shrine of the holy woman-hater!"

Louis started at this insinuation: it offended him, though so lightly uttered. Perplexed, and every way displeased with himself and his companions, he however tried to answer composedly.—"Your Grace is mistaken. I carry away with[108] me no image from last night's revelry, but that of my own weakness. I despise the facility with which I fell in with the fashion of the hour, to drink wine till I unsettled my reason; and I detest myself for feeling that I existed from that time until I awoke this morning, without other consciousness than that which my besotted senses afforded." He stopped, then raising his before bent head, smiled scornfully, and added, "The garden of the Hourii is not my paradise!"

Wharton gazed on him a moment in fixed astonishment.—Louis did not perceive the amazement he had created, but walked on with a steadier pace and a calmer countenance.

"Well," thought the Duke, as he put his arm through that of Louis; "Anteas rose the stronger, after he had touched his mother earth! But Hercules will try another throw!"

"De Montemar," said he, "let us leave these unlucky Hourii to their slum[109]bers, and resume the subject which they charmed to silence last night?—An eve's dropper might be dangerous; so, let us turn towards the wood, where we may converse undisturbed."

Louis looked at his watch, and seeing that the tide would not be at full for yet half an hour, he allowed Wharton to turn his steps through the inner-court into the park.

"Louis de Montemar, I am going to unlock my heart to you.—I am going to put my life into your hands."

"My Lord?"

"I am.—But I have weighed the trust.—You do not know yourself.—I do; and,—laugh at me for a coxcomb, if you please! But I affirm, your character and mine are composed of the same materials. I recognize my brother's soul in your breast; and the same will be your pursuits, the same your destiny."

"Oh, my Lord," cried Louis, "if emulation could transform its subject, you[110] might not prophesy in vain!—But I will not think you mock me! Your own luminous nature surrounds you; and seeing through that, you fancy objects bright, which only reflect your beams."

"Prettily said, my ingenious friend," answered the Duke, "but my position shall be proved by the fact.—Let us compare circumstances.—You are not yet of age?"

"Just twenty."

"Young enough to be catechised!—Will you answer me fairly?"

Louis smiled: "as my godfathers did promise and vow?"

"Have you ambition?"

"As much as ever budded the brow of young Ammon."

"Have you enterprize?"

"Else my ambition had never been avowed."

"Can you dare the world's obloquy?"

"In a noble cause, I would risk its hisses."[111] The Duke caught him in his arms.—"By all the host of heaven," exclaimed he, "Yours is a spirit, with which mine shall have no disguises!—You know I am reported, slandered! But, on your own principle, I exult in the hooting of the mob; and I would direct your flight to the point whereon I stand, and laugh triumphant on the fools below! Mark my progress, de Montemar.—You see in Warwick, what nine-tenths of nobility are; distinguished from the crowd by nothing but their titles and extravagance. I would sooner hang like Absalom on a tree, than so pass away amongst the herd of my cotemporaries!

"My father did not understand my character; and when he died, bequeathed me doctors of law and doctors of divinity, to teach me the way I should go. They tried to break the spirit they could not bend; and often hard words, and harder usage, shook their heads as well as their canes, and pronounced me an unmanag[112]able colt. In the very heat and tempest of my rebellion, I told them I was a Bucephalus they could not tame! And so, breaking from their bridle, wonder not I scoured the field in the very wantonness of liberty!"

Louis joined in the gay laugh of his friend, and Wharton proceeded.

"I was then hardly nineteen, but I spurned the tedious tutelage of schools and colleges, and threw myself at once into the university of nature; the wide and populous world. I went to the continent.—But not to visit the garden of the Hourii! At Geneva, I became the friend of philosophers; at Paris, the companion of wits; in Italy, the counsellor of princes.—Do you mark me?"

"I do, with wonder and admiration."

"What I then dared to advise, I am now come to execute." He paused a moment, then resumed, "De Montemar, there are objects at Avignon, of more interest than Vaucluse!"—again he[113] paused, and looked at Louis, expecting a reply.

"I do not understand you, my Lord."

"Expound my riddle, and you shall have a better fate than Œdipus."

"I should deserve a worse, were I to waste the time in guesses; when I may profit by its exposition from yourself."

The Duke did not like this dullness, but he proceeded.—"De Montemar, what is your opinion of the Marquis of Montrose? He who Cromwell sent to the scaffold for attachment to the house of Stuart."

"I consider his gallant patriotism," replied Louis, "as hardly second to that of his immortal country-man William Wallace; and could almost envy him his feelings, when the executioner bound to his neck the catalogue of his battles against the regicides. What a consciousness of true greatness must have been in the smile with which he welcomed this intended badge of disgrace, as a brighter[114] testimony to his honour, than the star of Saint George which they tore from his breast!"

"Well answered, my promising catechumen!" cried the Duke, "now for another question, and I have done.—In what respect do you hold honest George Monk, who deserted the blockhead chief of the Roundheads, and recalled the son of his murdered sovereign to the throne of his ancestors?"

"Monk does not fire my heart, like Montrose," replied Louis, "I love the direct path; and honest George was most inclined to crooked ones.—However, he walked straight at last, and for that I honour him."

"Then you love the Stuarts?"

"Their line is of mingled yarn!—I revere, love, blame, pity them."

"De Montemar, you must know the Chevalier de Saint George!"

"How?—where?"[115] "At Avignon.—Now, do you read me?"

Louis met the powerful glance of Wharton's eye, and it shot into his soul. At the same instant the words of his guardian seemed to ring in his ear:—The wily Duke will teach you to be a traitor!—Hot and cold damps burst from every pore of his body.

"You do not answer me, de Montemar?—I see you are discomposed,—you are agitated;—and it is a cause to stir up every vital spring in the breast of free-born man! My blood is ready to follow the course of Derwentwater and Kenmuir; or to purchase, in some happy field of victory, the re-establishment of my lawful king!"

Louis had been taken unawares, and was still incapable of reply. He verified the remark, that no history is so little understood by young persons as that of their country near their own times. The false lights of party have not sufficiently[116] subsided, to allow the regular historian a clear view of events; and the prejudiced memoirs of the day are too numerous and contradictory to be put into the hands of youth, without making a waste of that time which ought to be devoted to building up a future judgement on the well-founded basis of the history of past ages. The subject proposed by the Duke, was therefore new to the reflections of Louis. He had never questioned, nor confirmed his loyalty to the House of Hanover, by considering the change of succession with any reference to his own peculiar opinions. He had never seen any thing at the parsonage but peaceful submission to authority, not for wrath, but conscience sake. At the castle, another sentiment was often agitated; but the speakers were usually violent, unreflecting characters, whose praise or blame were equally worthless. However, he could not deny to himself that he had shrunk in horror from recitals of what passed ten years ago,[117] with regard to the rebel lords; and he also could not forget that his uncle of Lindisfarne had often lamented the severe policy of their execution, and wished the State had thought it possible to unite mercy with judgement. "Had His Majesty pardoned them," said Mr. Athelstone, "rebellion would have perished in their stead; for the honour of a British heart is stronger than death."

All this rushed confusedly to the recollection of Louis. His partialities, romantic associations, and generous enthusiam, were all on the side of the suffering party; but his habits of submission had been directed by his best friends to the reigning family. He felt his own indecision he saw the Duke's advantage; and repeating to himself his uncle's warning, again determined not to linger another hour near the dangerous contagion.

Wharton's observing eye perceived fluctuation in the mind of his friend; and[118] as there was fluctuation on so portentous a subject, he boded a favourable issue to his side of the argument, could he detain him a little longer from the island. Should Louis return thither before his faith were actually pledged to the Stuart cause, it could not be doubted he would impart his scruples to the Pastor; and that true minister of the reformation, would keep him firm to the House of Hanover. Full of this apprehension, and aware that his proselyte must soon be summoned to the boat, unless he could prevent it by some unsuspected manœuvre, Wharton was not sorry when he saw Sir Anthony and several of the party advancing fast upon them from the house.—The tongues of the ladies proclaimed their vicinity.

"Gird your loins, my friend!" cried the Duke, resuming his usual merriment; and laughing at the stern air with which Louis turned to their voices:—"Dalilah and the Philistines are upon you!"[119] "And if every hair on my head were a rope by which they held me," replied Louis, "I would escape them!" As he spoke, he suddenly turned on his heel, and darted down a vista of firs towards the sea-beach. Wharton did no more than wave his hand to the light-footed Violante. She shot by a cross path through the shrubbery, and at a curve in the avenue met the flying object of her pursuit with such force, that she was struck to the ground. The rest of the party soon hastened forward, by the cries of Louis for help; for on raising her, and finding her insensible, he thought she was killed by the violence of the shock.

When they came up he was on one knee, with her head leaning on the other, and gazing with horror on her pale face. The pallid hue of his own, told all that he feared, to the Duke and Sir Anthony. But the ladies found the case not so desperate; and by the help[120] of essences soon restored the fair sufferer to animation.

Sir Anthony proposed her being taken into the house. But on attempting to rise, she sunk back, almost fainting a second time from the excessive pain of a sprained ancle. Wharton called for a sofa, which being brought, the invalid was carefully placed in it on cushions; and the gentlemen present, insisted on being its bearers into the castle. As the sofa was raised from the ground, Violante turned to Louis with a languid smile; "you will not leave me, Mr. de Montemar?" said she, and stretched out her hand to him, with a look more persuasive than her words.

To disappoint the wish and expectation these words and action implied, he found impossible.—He had no suspicion that she was running to intercept him, when the accident happened; and now, turning with a respectful bow to her summons, he silently followed the sofa into[121] the breakfast-room. Her gallant bearers placed it by the fire, at a small distance from the table. The Duke offered his services to the reclining beauty; but she would accept of no hand to bring her coffee and toast, but that of Louis: saying, that he who wounded, was in duty bound to administer the restoratives. Recovered from his dismay at what might have been the fatal effect of the accident he had so unintentionally occasioned, he gladly took the opportunity to make the amende honourable, and express his concern at what had happened.

Time rolled away, and he heard no tidings of the boat. It was an unusual inattention in his uncle's servants, who always vied with each other who should be most prompt in obeying every wish of their beloved Mr. de Montemar. But Wharton had contrived to have the little vessel countermanded, without appearing in the orders. Ignorant of this, Louis seized the first moment the inva[122]lid addressed herself to another person; and in a low voice asked the butler whether the boat were in waiting. The man, not aware of the commands which had been given one way or the other, simply answered the tide had been at ebb two hours. Stung with vexation, Louis started from his chair. Violante observed his disorder, and softly enquired the cause.—It was no sooner explained, than casting on him a reproachful look, she burst into tears and turned her head silently away. Louis felt himself in a very embarrassing situation; and almost unconsciously resuming his seat beside her, he drew a vexatious sigh as he said to himself,—"I am caught, and coiled in spite of myself!"

Violante mistook its meaning; and withdrawing her hand from her eyes, gave him a glance that mantled his face with crimson. Though apparently engaged in gay badinage with the other ladies, Wharton did not lose an expres[123]sion of his friend's countenance, as the alluring Frenchwoman continued to converse with him in a tone of mingled tenderness and raillery. "If he stand this," thought the Duke, "he has even more ice, of a certain kind, in his composition, than he forced me this morning to believe!"

Sir Anthony entered from the hall, calling aloud, "Who rides this morning? I have ordered horses round to the court."

"De Montemar, what are you for?" said the Duke, "I see victory is in the hands where I would always have it; but as the ladies may not wish to have their captive in their way all day;—are you inclined for a steeple-hunt this morning?"

Louis eagerly embraced the proposal.—Violante coloured, touched his arm; and pressing it with strong emotion, whispered something in his ear. Wharton laughed, and turned on his heel. Louis[124] believed himself turned idiot. Abandoned of his usual presence of mind, he knew not what to say, or how to look; though he felt perfectly resolved not to sleep another night in the castle, while it contained its present extraordinary inmates. The seductive scenes of the preceding night, seemed disenchanted before him; men and women, all were divested of their magic garments, excepting Wharton, and he still wore the vesture of light.

"Why will he mingle his noble nature with creatures base as these?" again he said to himself; "are they his toys? his tools?—To what purpose?"

He was gazing on the Duke, as these thoughts occurred to him, and deepened his reflections. Wharton caught the look; its expression went through him: but waving his hand, as if that would glance it aside, he shook his head sportively and exclaimed; "You want me to pledge my guarantee to Violante, that[125] there shall be no more desertions!—Believe me, pretty one! For the bright Pleiades are not more inseparable above, than are your swain and humble servant below."

"—— We rise and set together."

He spoke the last sentence without any reference to the subject which had first suggested the idea; and having in the utterance as much forgotten Violante, as though she had never existed, he put his arm through Louis's, and turned with him out of the room.

"De Montemar," said he, as they crossed the hall; "the conversation which was interrupted this morning, must be finished. I have put a packet open into your hand, which must be sealed this evening; else the vagrant leaves may follow the sybil's trick; and I know nothing of the gatherer, till that doughty Lictor, Jack Ketch, makes me his bow on Tower-Hill."[126] "Surely, my Lord, you cannot doubt my honour, if you could my heart?"

"I will doubt every thing, till that heart is laid open to me.—I vowed to have no disguises with you.—Repay me in kind.—Heart for heart, De Montemar, is the only true exchange!"

Louis did not immediately answer; for he felt what he would not fairly acknowledge to himself, that a mist did sometime appear to rise over this professed frankness of the Duke, which often made it uncertain whether he had really shewn his heart at all.—In the midst of a sentiment that seemed direct from the soul, a sudden quirk of fancy would present itself, that turned all athwart into whim and laughter. And the freest disclosure would as frequently start aside, to appear nothing more than a fantastic figure of speech, or break off into irreconcilable fragments, without apparent aim or connexion. But for all this, an apology came to the breast of his[127] friend. "He has embraced the desperate fortunes of a dethroned prince.—And perhaps it depends upon the caution of this, that prince's ablest confident, whether they are to be redeemed, or finally consigned to despair!"

The horses were at the hall door; and Sir Anthony, and his other male guests, mounted. On sight of the friends, he called to them, and the grooms bringing forward more horses, the Duke vaulted into his seat, and Louis, with a sensation of a double release, gladly followed his example.—As they turned merrily down the rocky path-way which led by the ancient fosse to the open country, every man had something to say according to his own humour, of the pleasures of the preceding night; but all concurred in so overcharging their anticipations of the coming evening, that it was easily to be foreseen the revelry of the past, would be encreased to an excess in the future,[128] which would destroy all, by drowning pleasure and consciousness in the same stream.

Sir Anthony appeared to take it for granted, his nephew had completely surrendered himself to the impulse which governed them all; but with redoubling disgust, Louis tried to make his uncle comprehend, that so far from intending to partake the projected festivity, he would not go back to the castle, but return to Lindisfarne immediately after their ride. Astonishment, remonstrance, raillery, entreaties, reproaches; all were successively and successlessly brought forward: Louis found his spirit rise with the clamour of opposition. He was now steadily doing, what he always knew was his only proper conduct; the padlock which had seemed to chain down his faculties under a sense of committing wrong, now burst asunder, and he was all himself again.—Sir Anthony affected not to believe him serious; talked of[129] Violante, then declared, it was his belief, he only wanted to be forced to do the thing he liked; and whispering the noisy sheriff and others, a loud laugh peeled through the party, and they instantly drew around Louis.

"What do you mean, gentlemen?" cried he, glad to be manually opposed by others beside his uncle.

"To bear you, as the Loves bore Adonis"—cried Wharton gaily, and planting his steed also, before that of his friend.

"Et tu Brute?" cried Louis; and striking his spurs into the sides of his horse, the high mettled animal sprang through the foremost rank, dispersed the rest; and speeding forward with the wings of the wind, was plunged by his determined rider into the receding waters of the tide.[130]


While these events were agitating the dissipated circle at the castle, the simple family on the opposite shore were engaged in far different scenes.—Its Pastor opened his pious views to the noble-minded Santa Cruz; and the young people obeyed the venerable man's commands, to enjoy the vernal hour of day, with all the zest of their as vernal years.

Cornelia conducted Don Ferdinand under the ivy-crowned wall which sheltered her uncle's flower-garden. He admired the disposition of its parterres, and wondered how such beautiful chinasters, balsams, and holly-hocks, could bloom in so northern a climate. Alice led him to the aromatic spot where she had stationed her bees, and shewed him[131] the beds of thyme, lavender, and other sweet herbs she had planted for their food. A little onward, raised on a low mound, stood an old sun-dial. Its bank was covered with mignonette; and many of Alice's industrious favorites were loading their wings with its extracted honey. She gathered a cluster of the flowers, and gave it to Ferdinand. Cornelia stooped to pluck a piece of sweetbriar, but the prickles prevented her: "I want my cousin's dextrous fingers here," said she with a smile.

"Rather his bold ones," cried Alice as she saw Ferdinand break off the bough, and present it to her sister, leaving the thorns in his hand.

"If he be as happy as I am, in being wounded in so sweet a cause," rejoined Ferdinand, "Mr. de Montemar is more to be envied than any man on earth."

"How so?" enquired Alice, with an incredulous laugh, "I see no pleasure in[132] being pricked and scratched for the prettiest flower in the world!"

"But I do, sweet Alice!" said he with a gallant smile, as he presented another branch of the shrub to her. With a faint blush, she glanced at her sister, but Cornelia, thinking at the moment of the truant Louis, had not heard what was said; and Alice, seeing no surprise in her sister at the familiarity of the term, supposed it was a foreign custom; and unlatching a wicket which led to the pasture-land, bounded with the lightness of a fawn to the top of an adjacent hillock. She stood in the midst of its heathy grass, calling on her sister to follow her, for that was the spot whence they might shew Don Ferdinand the objects of the island to best advantage. Cornelia and her companion were soon by her side; and as the young Spaniard's excursive eye shot at once across the island's self, to the surrounding ocean, he perceived a[133] cluster of rocks to the north, which shone in the noonday sun like gems on the belt of the horizon.

"I have heard," said he, smiling, "that in days of yore, a band of wandering sages, sailing in these seas, discovered certain islands encompassed with floods of light, and inhabited by blissful souls. These fortunate adventurers called them the Islands of Blessedness. Since that time no traveller has been able to find them. But, as I am a countryman of the great Columbus, I venture to hope the happy discovery was reserved for me; and that there they are!"

Both sisters remarked the direction of his eyes; and laughing heartily at the compliment his fancy had paid to the most barren of their rocks, told him, they were the Ferne Islands. "And so far from being blessed places," said Alice, "my uncle would never allow Cornelia or me to go near them, the landing is so dangerous."[134] "But Louis often visits them with the kelp-gatherers," rejoined Cornelia, "and while their fires reduce the weed to ashes, he generally throws himself on a jutting rock over the sea, to command the view, and sketch the group. Were you to walk these shores on a fine evening at that season of the year, you would admire the picturesque vapour from the kelp-fires, as its wreathing volumes sail away, and mingle with the clouds."

"But you would not mistake the kelp-gatherers for blessed spirits!" returned the gay Alice, "nor run the risque of your life to draw their portraits! But Louis loves roaming about amongst odd places, as much as you may love a quiet walk, and a bunch of sweet flowers;" added she, observing the delight with which Ferdinand continued to smell at the mignonette, "and so, we must forgive him."

Ferdinand was gratified at her playful reference to her fragrant gift, and answered, "I do not believe that he can[135] love rock or quicksand better than I could love and cherish some of the sweet flowers of this island, which he seems content to cast away!—and, pardon me, if I a little doubt the taste of your adventurous cousin?"

The sisters did not quite understand this speech, which seemed to begin in sport, but certainly ended with a serious tone.

"You mistake my cousin," said Cornelia, "if you suppose he chuses perilous excursions, from a vanity to shew his courage.—Courage is so natural to him, that he never thinks about it.—The activity of his mind makes exercise necessary to him; and the fearlessness of his temper renders that easy to him, which might be difficult, if not impossible to timid characters.—But indeed, his affection for us has been the most frequent cause of risquing his safety; for he deems no attempt too hazardous, by which he can gratify a wish of my[136] mother, or a desire of my sister or myself."

"My uncle will tell you, such have been his ways from a child," cried Alice, "and from the first of my recollection, I remember these frightful tokens of his love! Coming in with curious aquatic plants he had torn from some hardly accessible rock, for my uncle's herbal; or making his appearance with shells for me, which he had swam for, and sought in the sand bank at the point-head. I am sure I have often admired their beauties through my tears; but he never would believe we could be frightened."

"Indeed," rejoined Cornelia, "after old fisher-John's two sons were drowned, I have known Louis absent for hours on the open sea in the poor man's boat, helping him to draw his nets. For nothing is troublesome, or dangerous to him, that is connected with affection or benevolence."

"Ah, those daring expeditions suit your taste, Cornelia!" said Alice, with a[137] shudder; "You, like Louis, love to ride in the whirlwind and direct the storm! I can never forget his absence one whole night during a frightful tempest, when we did not know but that each horrid blast we listened to, was that which was sinking him to a watery grave. My terrors cost me a fit of illness,—and then my uncle made him see the cruelty, and even wickedness, of being rashly brave; for ever since, he has been careful not to put himself in any needless danger."

Ferdinand sighed heavily, as both sisters separately spoke. He felt a sense of feebleness in his own character, which made him envy the enterprising spirit of Louis. "Here," murmured he to himself, "is indeed the fire of youth, the animating principle of future greatness; while that which burns in my veins, withers my very vitals, and consumes every nobler element within me. Wretch that I am,—reprobate, and accursed!" His lips moved almost audibly, as his ac[138]cusing spirit uttered the last words; and unconsciously turning from the sisters, he walked hastily down the hill towards the cliff.

Cornelia and Alice gazed, on each other, astonished; "That is very odd!" cried the latter, "Did you observe his countenance?"

"Yes, he suddenly knit his brows; and I thought looked quite strange!"

"Let us follow him," rejoined Alice, "if he go on at that rate, and not being aware, he may slip down some of the fissures into the sea."

Alice hastened forward as she spoke; and not merely walking, but running, joined him as he had gained the top of the cliff. Cornelia came up soon after; and seeking to divert Ferdinand from whatever painful thoughts possessed him, she uttered the first idea that presented itself, and exclaimed as she approached, "You two stand there, your garments waving in the breeze, like Adam and the[139] angel overlooking the earth and its waters."

"To me," answered Ferdinand, "it might well be called the hill of paradise; if you and your sweet Alice, would indeed be to me what the sister-angels were to the erring father of mankind!"

Alice looked from him to her sister, with a tender pity that did not escape its object. Again he found a balmy warmth encircle his heart. The freezing hand of despair, which a moment before had obliterated all other impressions, was again withdrawn. "Have I," said he to himself, "indeed interested this innocent creature? I, so unworthy, so self-despised!" He drew towards her, as she followed Cornelia, who turned through some broken craggs, and crossing a ravine, brought them forth on a ridge that faced the west. At their feet lay the strait which divides the two shores. The tide was retreating, and rapidly discovering the sands and sunken rocks which[140] form the foundation of the stupendous cliff on which stand the towers of Bamborough.

"What princely fortress is that?" demanded Ferdinand, surprised into exclamation by the commanding line of coast; and the magnitude of the warlike structure which crowned its summit.

"It is the castle of my mother's ancestors," replied Cornelia; "under that parental roof, when my dear grandfather lived, she passed many a happy day; and there my sister Alice was born."

Ferdinand could not forbear looking from its regal grandeur, to the two lovely beings by his side: the offspring of the barons bold, who in former ages had poured the storm of sovereignty from those embattled walls! and they were content to pass their lives in an obscure parsonage, on an almost deserted island!—Their garments were simple as their lot; but the air of the one still demanded the coronet of her ancestors; while the other,[141] fair, tender, and unaspiring, seemed ready to shrink from the threatening front of what had once been the stronghold of her fathers. "Bright Cornelia!" said he to himself, as he looked on the castle, and listened to her observations; "your lover may be he who courts the wonderful, the wild, on the dizzy steep or the wide ocean!—But my heart—had it not engendered the vulture which preys upon its vitals!—would cleave to seclusion and peace, in the bosom of your timid Alice."

Cornelia described the extent of ground which the fortress occupied; enumerated its towers, and assigned to each the era of its erection. She pointed with particular complacency to the white walls of the formidable dungeon; and quoted Archives in Durham Abbey, to prove that its foundation was the work of a Roman Emperor. She named the Saxon Kings, from Ida to Egbert, who had raised their standard on its roof; and[142] made Ferdinand distinguish a high-grated window, which yet went by the name of Queen Bebba's chamber.

"But what is that in the sea yonder?" asked her auditor; who had accidentally looked down to the dashing surges at the foot of the rock, while she was directing his attention along its summit. The eyes of the sisters followed his.

"It seems to be somebody swimming," said Cornelia.

"To me," cried Alice, "it appears to be a man on horseback."

"Hardly possible!" exclaimed Ferdinand, "what human being would be so mad? Or rather, how can any man and horse live on such a sea as that!"

"It is, indeed, rashness, in the present state of the tide;" returned Cornelia, "the sands are so shifting, and the sea so rough. But when it is quite at ebb, or before it be amply full, persons, acquainted with the track, may find safe opportunities of passing on foot or on[143] horseback from the mainland. We have it on record, that in the persecuting reign of William the Conqueror, a little army of monks brought the relics of Saint Cuthbert from Durham to the opposite shore, and crossed with them, dry-shod, to Holy Island."

"Our cockle gatherers do the same continually," cried Alice, "but certainly never with the tide in the state it is now; and so, most likely, that is some poor smuggler flying from the revenue officers."

While Cornelia gently rebuked her, for bestowing an epithet of pity on such desperate violators of the law, the sisters descended to the beach, to gratify the curiosity of Ferdinand, who wished to see the hardy cavalier come to land. As they hastened along the cliffs, they saw the roaring waves, bright in the sun beams, break over the horse and the rider; and as the noble animal rose from the abyss, and resolutely breasted the[144] surge, the lashing waters whitened his sides with their foam. In one of these fearful moments, a huge wave, rolling towards the island, raised the man and horse upon its immense bosom, to a height almost level with the rock; and then plunged with them into a depth that seemed to cover them for ever.

"Merciful Heaven, it is Louis!" cried Alice—in that fatal instant she had recognised him, and with frantic shrieks ran forward, as if to meet him in the ocean.

Finding that the extraordinary swell of the last wave, had not merely torn the footing of his stout hunter from the ground, but had exhausted his strength, Louis slid from his back while he was yet overwhelmed by the weight of the surge; and grasping the bridle, swam with him through the deep water. Coming to the breakers, he waded the rest; and having drawn his faithful horse on the shelving rocks, was patting his heaving sides, when he perceived the terrified party[145] rushing down the nearest path to his assistance. Ferdinand had beheld the whole with wonder. And now that he stood apart, and saw him, with dripping garments, and uncovered head, reining and soothing the alarmed animal, that he might not injure the sisters; the astonished Spaniard could not help exclaiming to himself:

"Mounting with springing step the broad ascent,
A buoyant form of matchless shape I spied,
Attired like one whose ardent soul is bent
To win in fleetest race, by glory's side.
Flinging its changeless splendor far and wide
From his bright forehead flamed the polar star;
Through his clear cheek the ruby-tinctured tide
Shone with a healthful glow; while on the air
Back from his radiant eyes, was blown the clustering hair!"

"Louis! Louis!" exclaimed both sisters at once. Alice clasped her hands and sobbed aloud.

"Why, my dearest cousin, encounter all this danger?" cried Cornelia.

"I had no other way of getting to you."[146] "Hear him!" cried Alice, running back to Ferdinand, and grasping his arm; "I knew it was not his own will that detained him from us. Dear, dear, Louis!" and weeping again with the excess of her joy, she unconsciously allowed Ferdinand to support her with his arm.

Louis called to a fisherman he descried among the rocks; and giving him his horse to lead to the Parsonage stables, proceeded with Cornelia to join the trembling Alice and the young Spaniard, who, his cousin had told him, was their uncle's guest.

"My sweetest Alice!" said Louis, as he approached her. The moment she heard his footstep and the salutation, she took her hands from her streaming eyes, and threw herself upon his breast.

Cornelia put her hand upon Ferdinand's arm, and impelling him gently forward; "pardon me, Don Ferdinand," said she, "but Alice is so weak in her nerves! Or rather, her tender nature is[147] so alive to any danger threatening those she loves, that at such times she is hardly herself. She will recover soonest when left alone with our dear, but still rash cousin."

"What could impel Mr. de Montemar to so extraordinary an act?"

"His word, given to my uncle, not to be a willing inmate with Duke Wharton. His Grace is at the castle; and he and Sir Anthony, finding Louis determined to return to Lindisfarne, would have made him their prisoner, had he not effected his escape by this terrible expedient."

"But why did Mr. Athelstone require such a promise from your cousin?" asked Ferdinand; "has the gay Duke offended your uncle?"

"As he has offended all virtuous men," replied Cornelia with severity. Ferdinand regretted his inconsiderate question. Fearing the impression it might leave on the sister of Alice, he sighed deeply, and[148] exclaimed; "happy De Montemar! to be in this blessed seclusion so strange to vice, that its first aspect causes you to fly with horror! In the wide, worthless world, Miss Coningsby, vice meets us at every turning; and, to our shame, familiarity with the object soon makes us indifferent to its deformity."

The young Spaniard again lost his self-possession; and with an almost convulsed countenance and waiving his hand for her not to follow him, he darted through a chasm into the craggs; and by their intervening projections instantly disappeared. Cornelia joined Alice and her cousin; then turned with them into the direct path to the Parsonage, that Louis might be released from his wet garments; and her uncle relieved from any alarm the arrival of the horse might have occasioned. As they walked homeward, she gave her cousin a brief account of the visit of the Marquis and his son; and he much surprised her, when he de[149]clared this to be the first intimation he had received of their arrival. Alice was not sparing of her invectives against Sir Anthony for his dishonourable concealment of her uncle's messenger; and then enquired how Louis had at last broken away from his detainers.

"That you shall hear by and by," said he, "but I don't know what Cornelia will say; for, indeed, I had a run for it!" Cornelia smiled; and he added in a graver tone; "but if Mr. Athelstone knew the Duke of Wharton was at Bamborough, what must he have thought of my apparent neglect of his summons? Of my shameless contempt of my promise."

"No circumstance could have made him believe that any neglect came from you," cried Alice, "but we never heard of that frightful Duke being there; and so my uncle thought nothing about your stay, only as he regretted your losing so much of the society of these noble Spa[150]niards." On the first intimation of their being Spaniards, Louis had eagerly enquired whether they came from his father; and Cornelia having answered no; that their errand was the young man's health; he listened with benevolent interest to Alice's questions, of what was become of Don Ferdinand. Cornelia shook her head; and describing how he had left her, had just finished her account of his strange behaviour, when they arrived at the garden wicket. Louis entered the house by a side-door, that he might rid himself of his disordered cloaths before he saw the family; and Cornelia went to communicate his arrival to her mother and uncle.

Being satisfied of the safety of her cousin, Alice felt her anxiety re-awaken for another object. She lingered in the garden behind her sister; she returned to the wicket, and stood gazing through it; then stepping up the sun dial mound, looked from side to side over the bound[151]aries of the garden. Ferdinand was no where to be descried. The treacherous footing among the rocks, the perpendicular cliffs, his abstracted eye, and hurrying step, again presented themselves to her thoughts; and alarmed and agitated, she turned wistfully towards the hill beyond the little gate. "From that spot, I might certainly see him.—But if he were to see me, how strange he would think it! And Cornelia too, that I should absent myself from dear Louis, after such danger!"

Just as with blush succeeding blush, she made these comments, the object of her anxiety appeared from the opposite side on the top of the hill, leaning on his father's arm. Joy, confusion, a sense of shame she had never felt before, overwhelmed her; and springing from the mound, she ran hastily across the garden. She darted into the house, as if fearful of pursuit; and stopped, panting, before the door of her uncle's library. Supposing it[152] vacant, and glad to recover breath unobserved, she opened the door, and found herself in the presence of her uncle. He was bending before a table, and leaning his head upon his clasped hands. On hearing a step, he looked up. Alice stood confounded.

"My child," cried he, "come hither, and with me thank the giver of all good for the virtuous firmness of your cousin! He has not only preserved that bloom Of truth unimpaired, which, if once lost never is regained; but he has risqued his life this morning, to avoid a man who, I know, he loves, but whose society he relinquishes because he believes him to be as full of vices as of charms. Come Alice, and bow with me before his Almighty guardian!"

Alice sunk on her knees by the side of her uncle. She bent her face upon his fervent hands, and pressed them with her lips as her heart breathed with devotion[153] the thanksgiving his eloquent piety pronounced.

Cornelia, having been the glad messenger to Mr. Athelstone, and afterwards to her mother, of the safe return of Louis, accompanied Mrs. Coningsby to the general sitting room. It was that in which they had welcomed the travellers the preceding night, and where they found them now. Ferdinand had cast himself into a chair, fatigued and gloomy. His father stood by the window, gazing on him in anxious silence. Mrs. Coningsby had not time to address either, before the Pastor entered. He advanced immediately to Santa Cruz; and his aged eyes not discerning the peculiar sadness of his guest, "My Lord Marquis," cried he, "Louis de Montemar is returned. And I take shame to myself for having doubted the integrity of his word."

"My son has told me sufficient of the manner in which Mr. de Montemar has kept it, to fill me with respect for his[154] principles, and to inspire me with something more than admiration for the determination with which he has asserted them."

Before the Marquis had ceased speaking, a quick step was heard in the passage.

"Here is my dear nephew," cried Mrs. Coningsby, and the next moment he opened the door; but perceiving the strangers, he checked the buoyant gladness with which he was coming forward, and with a graceful bow advanced into the room. Alice glided in after him, and took a seat behind her mother's chair. Mr. Athelstone immediately named to him the Marquis Santa Cruz, and Don Ferdinand d'Osorio. The Marquis scanned for a moment the son of Ripperda, and the comparison he could not but draw was wormwood to the heart of a father. Nature had given Louis a passport to almost every bosom; a countenance and a figure which needed no ad[155]dition to complete the perfect form of youthful nobleness.

"Mr. de Montemar," said Santa Cruz, addressing him with a sigh he could not smother, "you have this day proved how worthy you are of the name you bear. I shall be proud of your friendship for my son."

Louis found himself pressed to the breast of Don Ferdinand, who indistinctly repeated his father's assurance of esteem. Praise and flattery of dubious import were fresh in the mind of Louis; but there was something in the encomium uttered by the Marquis, an air of noble sincerity rather than of courtly politeness, that filled him with a pleasure very apparent in the luminous countenance with which he bowed in modest silence to what was said. The Marquis pursued the subject with a vehemence not usual to him; and still addressing Louis, spoke of the indispensible duty of maintaining mutual confidence between relations; and then[156] expatiated on the honourable contest which man is commissioned to hold at all periods of his life with the ignoble impulses of sense, till the appetites are subdued, and the passions themselves become the agents of virtue.

"Few young men," added he, "would have made so bold an amendment as you you have done, on the story of Telemachus. He waited till Mentor thrust him from the rock, you cast yourself into the sea!"

Louis lost the pleasure of being approved, in the embarrassing personality of the language. He thought the Marquis went much farther than delicacy could warrant, or real respect for the object of his praise would have dictated. What had he then heard of the scene at the castle? How much was left for himself to tell his revered uncle? And whether did he indeed deserve praise or blame for his tardy yet desperate determination to escape? While this passed[157] in his thoughts, he looked down disordered. But some were present, who read in the anxious face of Santa Cruz a dearer aim than paying a compliment to a stranger.

Mrs. Coningsby observed that Ferdinand was discomposed by his father's remarks; and the Marquis himself soon perceived the mischief he had done. He sought to excite a generous emulation in his despondent son; but he saw that his extraordinary eulogy of Louis had been received by Ferdinand as an insidious reproach to himself: and resentful of the covert infliction, he stood distant, frowning and pale. A withering chill struck to the heart of the father, who became abruptly silent. Striving to shake off his embarrassment, Louis looked up, and met the haughty glance of Don Ferdinand. When their eyes encountered, the Spaniard's ashy cheek flashed scarlet, and he turned with a scornful air towards the window. This, by offending Louis,[158] tended to restore his self-possession. Whatever the father might intend by his excessive praise, the son evidently shewed that he despised its object. Louis thought he could not mistake the looks of the young Spaniard, and a sense of self-respect immediately dispelled his confusion.

Pleased with the truth of the Marquis's remarks, the Pastor had remained a gratified listener. But Alice, observing the gloom of Ferdinand; and half suspecting there was some reproving reference to him in what had been said, took advantage of the general pause; and hoping to change the conversation, or at least take it out of the Marquis's hands; she whispered her mother to ask of Louis the particulars of his detention at the castle. Mrs. Coningsby did so, adding, "It will interest our guests:—and I am anxious to know how you could be driven to so dangerous an alternative."[159] Louis felt new embarrassment at this request; and in a low voice he replied to his aunt, "I am sure, madam, you will excuse me, if I do not relate circumstances in the presence of these gentlemen, which might seem to cast some blame on a relation to whom I owe gratitude, if not unquestionable respect?"

The Marquis rose from his seat, on over-hearing this answer, and taking Louis's hand; "young man," said he, "I honour you." Louis could not doubt that look, that voice, that pressure; and blaming himself for having been inclined to take a prejudice against the father, from the repelling manners of the son; he gazed long and silently on the closed door, after the Marquis and Ferdinand had left the room.[160]


Understanding the delicacy of Santa Cruz, in thus having withdrawn; and to leave the room free for his return, the Pastor retired with his family into the library, where they listened without interruption to a brief account of what had passed at the castle.—Louis only excepted Wharton's mysterious discourse; and a little softened his representation of the scenes with the female visitors. He did not mean to deceive in either case; but honour forbade his betraying the Duke; and the decency of a manly mind, almost unconsciously threw a shade over descriptions which confessed their nature, by shrinking from disclosure.

Mr. Athelstone scarcely spoke during the recital. He listened with an atten[161]tion that considered every circumstance, and weighed every word.—The ladies were affected differently. Mrs. Coningsby inveighed against Sir Anthony, and extolled Duke Wharton for his unexpected interference in favour of her nephew's return. Cornelia expressed her wonder that women of any respectability could bring themselves to share the boisterous society of the baronet and his companions.—And Alice asked, as actresses must copy from the best models, whether it could really be the fashion in London and abroad, for women to be so very easy with men?—"If it is," said she, looking at her sister; "how very stupid Don Ferdinand must think you and me!"

Louis smiled, and thought; "Did you know all the ease of those ladies, how little would you have sullied those pure lips with even the mention of their names." But he only answered, "My dear Alice, licence in your sex is more[162] complimented than respected by ours.—Modesty in woman must be the fashion with men of principle in every country."

When he closed his relation, Mrs. Coningsby rose from her chair in vehement indignation at her brother; who had thus sought to gratify a whim, at the expence of his own honour, and the risque of his nephew's life.—The sisters trembled at what might have been the fatal consequence of Louis's desperate escape. And to calm the three, by diverting their attention to what he felt they were all most inhospitably neglecting, Mr. Athelstone proposed their seeking the Marquis and his son; while he remained a few minutes with Louis, to make some necessary observations on what they had just heard.

Louis foresaw that his uncle meant to enquire more particularly respecting the Duke, than he had thought fit to do before his nieces.—When they had left the room, the good old man drew his[163] chair close to his nephew, and with earnest tenderness asked him if he had disclosed all?—The cheeks of Louis kindled and his eyes fell.

"My child," cried the Pastor, "these answer for you.—You have not!—I guessed it, from your manner when you spoke of those women, and that dissembling Wharton.—Fear not to confess to me.—What is it that you have withheld from me?"

"Nothing, I trust, my dearest Sir, to justify this extraordinary agitation in yourself."

"Thank God! Thank God.—That open brow is still unmarked with consciousness of guilt.—Oh, my child, may it be ever thus with thee!—Preserve that innocence, so bright, so peace-bestowing! and never hesitate doing as you did this morning, risking your life in its preservation."

"I never will, my uncle:—So help me, heaven!"[164] A solemn pause ensued.—When Mr. Athelstone again spoke, the restored serenity of his mind was seen in the benign composure with which he proceeded to discuss the very subject which, a few moments before, had occasioned him so much emotion. He at once expressed his belief that his nephew's contest at Bamborough had been of a more serious nature than he had yet allowed; and he hoped he was not uncharitable in suspecting that Duke Wharton made those theatrical ladies his tools to detain Louis, while he played the disinterested part of promoting his release. Louis would not admit this inference; but he acknowledged that his uncle had guessed right with regard to the share the ladies had in protracting his stay. He ingenuously told the whole relating to them; and did not even disguise his own delusion of senses during the midnight revels.

The venerable Pastor lifted up his[165] clasped hands:—"Anthony! vile Anthony!" were his ejaculations during the recital.—"Oh, Louis," cried he, "the bane of your life was in that hour!—and in the blindness of your cheated imagination, had you put forth your hand to take the poisoned cup—— alas, dear child of my sainted niece, how near were these grey hairs being brought with shame and sorrow to the grave!"—He paused; then resumed; for Louis was too much affected to interrupt him.

"I cannot excuse the Duke.—I know him to be profligate; though to you he affects to despise the companions of his debasing pleasures. These women were in his train; and I firmly believe he excited their practices on your inexperienced heart."


"That he might have you in his power."

"For what? my uncle." He had no sooner asked the question, than recol[166]lection of the park discourse, answered him.

"I know not for what," replied Mr. Athelstone, "Probably he does not exactly know himself.—But there is a principle in wickedness that delights in laying human virtue waste, merely for the sake of destruction! The prince of evil was a murderer from the beginning! and so are all his followers."

"But my dear Sir, taking it for granted that Duke Wharton had an object to gain with me, how would my subjection to the seductions of these women, put me in his power?"

"He would have been your master in the new science you began to learn.—He would have governed your passions by the wiles of these wantons;—and, self-abased, and dependant on him for the wretched wages of your sin; how abject would have been your slavery! How omnipotent his controul!"

Louis felt the cold damps of suspicion[167] drop upon his heart.—He turned pale; he gasped for breath. A thousand circumstances which might corroborate his uncle's suggestion rushed upon his recollection. Though Wharton ridiculed the advances of these women, he did not repel them! Though he scorned the sensualist's pursuit, he boasted of seeming to share it, that he might turn him to his purpose. And when Louis retreated in his sight from the temptations he feared, did not the Duke rather laugh him into daring their strength, than encourage his flying from their influence?—Louis had never before doubted human being; much less suspected perfidy in the man who solicited his confidence, and whose irresistible persuasions had charmed him of more than half his heart. The Pastor grasped the cold hand of his nephew.

"Louis, can you be thus disturbed, by nothing more than my representation of what might have been?"[168] "My most revered, my best friend!" cried he, straining the old man's hand to his breast; "There are some views of human nature that strike an honest heart with horror. But I cannot suspect Duke Wharton of such murderous treachery, when he had that very heart in his hand. Oh, my uncle, wrest from me the thought! It seems to cover the character of man with one universal blot."

Mr. Athelstone allowed the violence of his nephew's feelings to exhaust itself, before he made a reply. He saw something had passed between Louis and the Duke, which the former still kept secret; and confident in his integrity, he determined not to press a disclosure he appeared so averse to offering voluntarily.

"I perceive, Louis," said he, "that you do think it is possible you might have been placed in the predicament I have supposed. I also perceive this subtle nobleman has got you so far into his power as to have obtained your con[169]fidence, and a pledge from you of secrecy. I do not require you to betray it; but I warn you again! You have put your heart into the hand of a man who is practised in deceiving; and who has no value for your deposit, but as it suits his purpose to make you his toy or his tool. These are his words, as you repeated them to me; and let them be his judge."

Louis was shocked to find this accusation lodge, and not rebound from his heart. He acknowledged that the Duke did engage him in a conversation he would rather have avoided; but no pledge of secrecy had been demanded; yet it was implied, and he trusted his uncle would think the word of honour he then gave ought to be respected.

"Your uncle, my child, will never induce you to violate that fidelity of word, which he has ever taught you to regard as one of the most sacred bonds of society. But, without committing yourself by any answer to what I may say, you must[170] allow me to speak to the subject on which I believe your honour has been given?"

"Speak freely, Sir, and I shall be grateful, but on your own terms, I make no answer."

He prepared to listen, looking down, that Mr. Athelstone might not read by the consciousness of his eyes, how true or false was his guess.

The good Pastor had no difficulty in fixing his suspicions on some confidential communication respecting the expatriated royal family. Duke Wharton was the near relation of the unfortunate Lord Derwentwater, who died on the scaffold, in the cause of James Stuart; and from that hour his young kinsman had declared so loud an indignation of the severity of the sentence, that his guardians could hold him in no bounds. And ever since, it was more than suspected that his influence was secretly used to maintain the interests which the expelled Prince still preserved in some parts of[171] the kingdom. Mr. Athelstone was aware that hopes were now reviving, which it was supposed had been finally crushed six years ago on the field of Glenshiel. But a patriot king was still only a vision. There were features in the personal character of George the First which rendered him unpopular with a high-spirited and intelligent nobility. He was haughty, reserved, and severe. All sincere members of the reformed church, and friends of national liberty, amongst the middle classes of the people, had the good sense to compromise the defects of the individual, for the general benefit of possessing a protestant king, and a limited monarchy. A large proportion of the nobility also, were of this opinion; while others merely followed the stream of power; and the rest rather endured than rejoiced in the changed succession. Though the principle of the nation at large was thus firm to its own measure of faith and of loyalty, yet parties ran high[172] in the English metropolis; and the court at St. Germain's, mistaking the rage of faction for public discontent, conceived new hopes of being recalled to the seat of its ancient glory. Elated with these expectations, the widowed queen of James the Second, in one part of the continent, and the Prince her son in another, drew around them all whom personal devotion, fancied interest, or a spirit of adventure, could animate to try again the often-disputed cause. The policy of Europe contributed to keep alive these pretensions; for whenever any new circumstance of national jealousy excited a country to disturb the peace of England, the rival Power had only to exchange ambassadors with St. Germain's, and make the restoration of its family a pretext for hostilities. Such had been the case in 1715, and also in 1719, when Spain assisted the Chevalier Saint George in his descent on Scotland. But with new ministers came new systems; and it was now whispered that[173] Philip the Fifth was veering round to the side of the house of Hanover.

Mr. Athelstone hastily ran over these preliminaries to the inference he meant to draw; observing the fluctuating complexion of his nephew; and believing that in guessing the subject of the Duke's discourse, he had also discovered its motive. In his morning's conversation with the Marquis, that nobleman had told him an anecdote of the Duke which bore on his present surmises. During the preceding Christmas, the Spanish ambassador at Paris had met Wharton at a diplomatic dinner given by the French minister. Flushed with wine, half-jest, half-earnest, the gay Duke interrupted a discussion on the desperation of the Stuart cause, by declaring himself its champion. "My master's interest," cried he, "has hitherto been mismanaged. Perth and two or three other old women, like Macbeth's witches, have met together under the portal of St. Germain's, to pro[174]phesy of crowns, and produce halters. But they are now laid in the red sea! And man and determination are called upon to act. I bring both in my own person, and am ready to run a tilt with George of Hanover, and Robert Walpole to boot, whenever your good kings will open the field to me!"

"My dear Louis," continued the Pastor, "here, I doubt not, this zealous champion has come to collect for his lists; and you would be a second to gain him a triumph."

Louis surprised, turned his eyes on his uncle.

"Yes, you,—as a promise of your father."

"My father Sir! how could I engage for my father? and how could my father serve the cause you suspect the Duke has at heart?"

"Your father was the energy of Holland; and, I understand, is the wisdom of Spain. We knew that he was respected[175] by the Spanish nation, and possessed the confidence of its monarch. But I was not aware of the extent of his power in that country, till I learnt it yesterday from the Marquis Santa Cruz. He tells me, that since the removal of Cardinal Alberoni from the place of prime minister, others may have the title, but your father dictates the measures. Indeed, added the Marquis, in any state he must ever have proved himself a great man; but Spain is his country; and restored to that, he flourishes like a tree in its native soil."

Louis knew that his family was originally Spanish. That his grandfather, Don Juan de Montemar, Duke of Ripperda, had removed from Spain in a pique against his sovereign. On further provocation he joined an insurrection in the Netherlands. The King retaliated, by confiscating his patrimonial estates in Andalusia, and degrading him from the rank of Grandee. Separated for ever[176] from his native country, and loathing its very remembrance, he laid aside his Spanish title with disdain, and became a citizen of Groningen. On purchasing large estates in that province, the States-General gave him the rank of Baron; and soon after he married the only daughter of the late Prince Casimir, of Nassau. Her brave father had been killed in battle against the Spaniards; and the proud and resentful Ripperda, therefore, gave his hand to her with particular complacency. A son was the fruit of this marriage, who its happy mother named after her uncle and cousin, both so famous for their patriotic virtues; one, the then existing Stadtholder of the Netherlands; the other, winning by his valiant deeds the future distinction of being King of England. Never having any more children, the illustrious parents lavished every species of care upon this; and with a pride, which all the adopted republicanism of the father could not subdue, they[177] saw him grow up with the proofs of his noble ancestry manifested in his spirit; courteous, brave, and ambitious. While he was yet a youth, he fought for Holland and for England, under the standard of his kinsman the great King William; and particularly distinguished his name at the celebrated siege of Namur. But the elder Ripperda did not long enjoy his son's fame. He died before the young hero returned to Groningen. His mother, who inherited the intellectual ambition of her princely house, exerted all her persuasions to turn the passion of her son from military glory to political honours. She effected her purpose; for nature seconded her views. The young Baron was born to be a statesman. There was an extraordinary intuitive intelligence in his mind, that seemed to require no more than to turn towards a subject, to comprehend it; all its bearings became present to him; and the energy of action followed the moment[178] in which its utility was perceived. He early became the confident of statesmen; and as every element takes its level, soon found his proper sphere, as their adviser; the suggester, and impelling agent of their boldest plans. In fact, he was the spirit of their council, without appearing in its body; for he professed the religion of his father, which was Roman Catholic. His mother's church was that of her country. And the bigotry of her deceased husband not having been imbibed by her son, she found no difficulty in converting him to the simplicity of the Hollanders' faith. The only obstacle being thus removed, the next assembly of the States-General saw him seated amongst them as representative of the province of Groningen. His civic honours were quickly succeeded by his mother's death. Two years after that event, he married the beautiful daughter of Sir Hedworth Athelstone. But his lot was not to be found in a domestic circle. His young[179] baroness died in the first year of his nuptials; and he relinquished his only child to the prayers of its maternal grandfather.

Thus, separated from every object that might have had a near claim upon his heart, Ripperda gave up his soul to the commonwealth. He travelled throughout Europe, to study the characters and politics of its rulers, in the seats of their governments; and he returned with an extent of information which rendered his judgement on general policy, almost omniscient. His influence too, was not less far-reaching; for he never forgot the gracious courtesies of life, in the stern pursuits of the statesman.—In him was mingled a strange, but imposing union; the republican independence of a citizen of Holland, with the chivalric gallantry and feudal grandeur which distinguish the grandee of Spain.—His house was a palace; his retinue superb; and his table open every day to the first men in[180] the States, and to all noble strangers who visited the country. His thoughts, his time, his fortune, all were dedicated to the Republic:—but he would bestow that all according to his own humour. Not by a covert, silent, channel; but openly, bounteously, magnificently; as he thought became him who made the dedication, and the great people by which it was accepted. With this profusion, he was no prodigal. His estates in Groningen and the adjacent provinces, were immense; but they were not his only means. His expansive genius had grasped the various resources of commerce; and the treasures which poured into him from every point of the compass, rendered his expenditure exhaustless. Thus absorbed in a wide-spreading vortex of public duties, which seemed by each successive movement to separate his thoughts still farther from domestic recollections, it is not surprising that he almost ceased to remember he was a[181] father. Indeed the image of his absent son never presented itself, but when occasional letters arrived from Mr. Athelstone; and then the thought once or twice occurred to him to have Louis to Holland. The next public dispatch dissipated the idea; and it never crossed him again, till some other letter recalled the wish—to be as speedily forgotten. Meanwhile, the great events of Europe were operating an unlooked for change in the destiny of Baron de Ripperda.

When Louis the Fourteenth of France died, his descendant Philip the Fifth of Spain, felt himself released from a yoke in which there had been more of the despot than of the parent.—And, in consequence of certain political changes which he immediately proposed, the States-General found it necessary to confide their affairs at his court to some man of diplomatic genius, capable of coping with the mysterious policy of Alberoni, and the variety of talent possessed by the[182] foreign ministers assembled at Madrid. Their universal suffrage named the Baron de Ripperda, and without demur he undertook the embassy.

During a long and complicated negociation at Madrid, he became the object of general interest and curiosity. His fine person, and exquisitely polished manners, were themes of amazement and admiration with the Queen and her ladies. Such graces of mien, and eloquence of discourse, could hardly be native or acquired by a Hollander!—But when it was understood that his father, and all his paternal ancestors were Spaniards, the enthusiasm of the Queen was excited to re-unite so much talent to the service of his original country. His favour with the royal Isabella was no trifling object of observation with the foreign ministers. But the jealousy which his acute penetration, and alert turns in diplomacy might have kept on the alarm, was beguiled of its vigilance by the suavity of[183] his manners, and his talent of winning their confidence, while he gained his object. He knew how to wear his triumphs with discretion; for, content with victory, he never displayed its ensigns. Thus, he noiselessly pursued his diplomatic advantages, and had subdued the whole field, before his adversary even perceived his banner on the ground.—The object of his mission being obtained, he returned to Holland. The States-General received him with public testimonies of satisfaction:—but he found his former sway in their councils traversed by a number of new representatives, impatient of dictation, and jealous of his former supremacy in the state. Though he had brought in his hand a treaty, that proved his unswerving fidelity to Holland, these turbulent men affected to suspect he might hereafter be too well inclined to favour a country which had just invited him, with every maternal persuasion, to return to her[184] bosom. Despising the juvenile demagogues who presumed to insinuate suspicions against his public faith; and indignant at the timidity of his colleagues, in suffering the utterance of such slanderous insults; he boldly declared, that the ingratitude of the States-General now determined him to re-unite himself to the land of his fathers.—"But," said he, "the unchecked obloquy of these novices, shall not provoke me to forget, when returned to my mother country, that Holland, until this disgraceful moment, was my affectionate nurse!"

Whilst disposing of his estates in Groningen, and turning the tide of his commercial affairs to the coasts of Spain, new revolutions were taking place in the political theatre of his future action.—Alberoni was dismissed the kingdom, in consequence of a trifling accident, which had the momentous effect of discovering all his long concerted plans to the eyes[185] of alarmed Europe. A scheme was developed to aggrandize Spain at the expence of all other nations; and had not Philip sacrificed his too-daring minister to the indignation of the monarchs, he would have felt their resentment on every side of his kingdom. The cabinet of Madrid was in tumults; and the King and Queen, doubting to what hand they could safely commit the helm in so dangerous a storm. At this juncture, Ripperda returned; and was received with open arms. Besides his acquaintance with foreign courts, his eminent situation, some years before, at the congress of Utrecht, by bringing him into diplomatic contact with the most efficient statesmen of the different nations, had informed him so thoroughly of their individual characters, and general views for their respective countries, that he found no difficulty in presenting his now acknowledged sovereigns, with a chart by which they might navigate the ves[186]sel of the State out of the perilous track into which the adventurous Alberoni had plunged her.

All this was transacted in the private boudoir of Her Majesty. To the inconsiderate part of the world, Ripperda appeared to have strangely resigned himself to a life of mere amusement; for to the inconsiderate, all is what it seems. His fine person was excuse enough to them, for the high favour in which he stood with the Queen; for though no lip of slander had ever moved against her honour; all knew, that like the royal Elizabeth of England, she was fond of the attentions of handsome and accomplished men.

Ripperda purchased a villa near Segovia, and a superb mansion at Madrid. His household establishment and equipages were not less magnificent, than when he was one of the merchant princes of Holland; and his table, in like manner was surrounded by the best company[187] of Spain. The gayer part believed that his evening attendance at the Buen Retiro was to play picquet with the Queen, or chess with His Majesty; but the graver sort were fully aware that, whoever were the ostensible ministers of Philip, Ripperda was the one in fact. They could trace to his suggestion, and covert execution, various changes in the constitution, to consolidate its power and augment its resources. Plans of commerce were devised and put into practice; and manufactures introduced at Segovia and Gaudalaxara, which threatened the staple trade of Great Britain. Considering the immediate instruments of national greatness to be wealth, and the power of defending it; he formed a design for rendering Cadiz one of the noblest ports in the world; and to establish around the coast, docks and arsenals, and every other means of constructing a formidable navy. This was the internal policy of Spain, under the secret influence of the Baron[188] de Ripperda. With Alberoni's dismission, its external measures also took a new aspect; and with regard to the disputed accession in England, seemed meditating a change. A few years ago Philip had assisted the chevalier Saint George in his descent on Scotland; but he now resisted all applications to the same effect; and openly professed a growing respect for the house of Hanover. Notwithstanding similar repulses from the French minister, the irrepressible hopes of James Stuart were kept on the alert by repeated assurances from his partizans in England; that a schism in the parliament had aroused corresponding jealousies amongst the people, which were daily expected to break out into an insurrection, not likely to be quelled by a king and an heir-apparent avowedly hostile to each other.

"At so critical a juncture, as the cabinet of St. Germain's supposed this to be;" observed the Pastor, "it is not surprising that Duke Wharton should[189] grasp at any means of averting the absolute secession of Spain from his master's cause. He is aware of the Baron de Ripperda's power with King Philip: and by seeking to involve the son in a project for a second rebellion, he hopes to engage the father's pride or his fears, in the same adventure."

The mind of Louis was powerfully excited during a discourse which embraced so many topics; and all connected with himself, by means of a father, who he knew by fame only; but such a fame as filled his son with an admiration, only to be equalled by the emulation which broke at once over his heart. While listening to the enumeration of his father's patriotic acts for Holland and for Spain; he contemned the airy pretensions of every brilliant, but inferior aim to celebrity: all but substantial worthiness vanished before him, like the bursting of light upon darkness. He had heard of his father; but now he seemed to feel his[190] presence: and he sat with his hands clasped, absorbed in the immensity of the subject.

Mr. Athelstone observed the workings of his countenance; the flashing brightness of his complexion, as his thoughts darted from Lindisfarne to Holland, and from Holland to Spain. He had not heard his uncle's last observation with regard to Wharton's views on his father and himself. Mr. Athelstone understood the abstraction of his mind. He was too well read in the human character not to guess what was passing there. He gazed on him a few minutes in silence; contemplating with the anxiety of parental affection what might be the issue of the passion he saw was then conceived in that ingenuous and ardent soul.

"But it must not be for treason!" cried he to himself, and gently shaking the arm of his nephew, he repeated his last remark on the Duke. He perceived by the start Louis gave, in recalling his[191] diverged faculties, that he was now attended to; and for a while he pursued the subject with other observations. At the conclusion, he added in a solemn voice, "you know, my child, I require no reply to this head of my discourse. But I beseech you, weigh well the true nature of things before you act. In no case allow imagination to mislead you. To be on the suffering side of a contest, is generally sufficient, in the judgment of generous youth, to make it the just one. And it is a beneficent disposition of nature, to prompt man to the immediate succour of distress. Oh, that our judges would consider this, in causes of rebellion, before they condemn the young enthusiast, who would as readily raise his arm for exiled Brunswick, as for banished Stuart! It is the circumstance that draws the sword of unreflecting youth; thought and principle unsheath that of age; and their trial and sentence should be accordingly. But let not such re[192]flections be your apology, Louis! Another time I will give you the experience of my seventy years, by a full explanation of why England changed the nature of her ruler; and then if you err," added he with a melancholy smile, "it will be against knowledge, and not even my partial indulgence can excuse you."

He rose as he spoke, and pressing the hand on which his nephew was thoughtfully leaning his head, the worthy Pastor left him to meditate on what had passed.[193]


Mrs. Coningsby found the Marquis and his son seated amongst some pine-clad rocks on the southern side of the Parsonage. She made an apology for the length of her absence, and the continuation of Mr. Athelstone's, by relating to his Lordship much of what her nephew had communicated.

Meanwhile, Cornelia and her sister had joined Ferdinand, and sat with him in a recess of the cliff which fronted the sea. Its genial airs, warm from the south, suggested the more balmy ones of Italy and Spain, to the imagination of Alice, and she soon saw all vestiges of gloom pass from the brow of the young Spaniard, as with encreasing animation he answered her various questions on the subject of his[194] travels and of his country. Cornelia enquired about the remains of ancient Rome, the eruptions of Vesuvius, and who, amongst the celebrated living characters of Italy and France, he personally knew. Alice paid little attention to his replies on these subjects, but made him describe the gardens of Naples, and the luxuriant landscapes which double their beauties in the translucent waters of its bay. She then talked of the orange groves of his own country; and asked whether it were true the Spanish ladies reposed every day after dinner by the sides of fountains, under the shade of these delicious arbours. He listened to her questions with delight. It was the ingenuous curiosity of fifteen, seeking information with the confidence of innocence; and he answered her with a minuteness, that shewed his pleasure in dwelling on themes congenial to her taste.

Cornelia perceived that the share she[195] wished to take in the discourse, was almost wholly disregarded; but pleased to see their guest restored to good humour, and Alice interested in such improving conversation; she cheerfully moved towards her mother and the Marquis, and soon became wholly absorbed in their discussions.

The dinner-hour of the Parsonage once more assembled its family and guests around the social board. Peace had resumed her sway in every breast. The voice of unconscious tenderness had soothed the jealous irritability of Ferdinand, and his smiles diffused a complacency over the seriousness of his father, that harmonized with the beneficent serenity of their host. Mrs. Coningsby discoursed with the energy of an imagination whose first fires still glowed in their embers. The equable Cornelia looked around with satisfaction on the general cheerfulness, while Alice, whatever might be her volatile changes of[196] place, always found herself settle by the side of the entertaining Spaniard. Gay as joy itself, and vibrating in every nerve the happiness she bestowed, she sported, like the young halcyon on waves of sunshine.

Louis was not less animated. His heart no longer upbraided him; and in his own element of blameless enjoyment, with unchecked delight his eyes followed the movements of Alice, as Ferdinand instructed her emulous curiosity in the native dances of his country. The young Spaniard seemed to have passed through the cave of Trophonius, so completely was he transformed from the reserved, frigid being of the morning. His late sallow complexion now flashed with the tints of health, and the vivacity of his conversation almost obliterated from Cornelia's remembrance the moody wretch who had rushed from her presence only a few hours before. Alice hovered round him, like one of the[197] zephyrs which fanned their evening festivity; and at her desire he took her mother's lute, and played and sung to it several Spanish ditties. He reclined on a low sofa, beneath the open ivied-window, through whose Gothic interlacing the breeze entered, with the soft light of the stars. The tender melancholy of the airs shed a similar influence on the spirits of the youthful party; and while they listened with pensive delight to the last stanza of a plaintive seguedilla, the church clock struck twelve.

From the distant quarter of the room where Mrs. Coningsby sat with her uncle and the Marquis, she had observed the amusements on the opposite side. On hearing the hour strike, she rose from her chair, and telling the young people, it was not merely the witching time of night, but that the sabbath morning was begun; she broke up their revels, and dismissed them to their pillows.

Cornelia alone found uninterrupted[198] slumber; Ferdinand did not sleep that night; Alice wondered why she did not close her eyes; and Louis lay meditating on the last four-and-twenty hours, till day dawned, and wearied nature sank into repose.

The morning brought him a letter before he had quitted his bed. Its seal was Wharton's manche and ducal coronet. Louis held it some time unopened in his hand. What new contention might it demand of him? Was it to upbraid him for his flight? or was it an apology from the Duke for his attempt to detain him? Whatever were its errand, the sight of the letter recalled to him all the fascinations of its writer; and with trepidation he broke the seal. His heart clung to every line, while that of the volatile writer seemed winged, and lightly skimming the surface he professed to dwell on. The latter ran thus,

"Et hi Brute! was a mighty dextrous Parthian bolt, but it whistled away, I[199] know not whither. Would Cæsar have been so bad a marksman, as not to have distinguished his own Anthony from the wretch who played the brute part in the capitol? Why, de Montemar you are as much like the lantern-jawed Cassius, as I to that nose-led Stoic! You are too profound in canonization not to have read of a certain saint, no matter his name, who, with a pair of convenient red-hot pincers, clutched the devil by his feature of honour, and so dragged him roaring round the world. Cassius was no saint, whatever he might be of a conjuror; but I never hear your king-killing demagogues vaunting of their prince of patriots, without seeing the pincers at his nose. So, prithee, my dainty Cæsar, no more misnomers if you would not have me requite you in kind!

"And so, you even took the flood! I would not for happier hours, than even those your stubbornness wrested from me, I would not have lost that proof of your[200] substance. You know I am a being of vapour! People who say so, must not wonder that I should be glad to play the atmosphere round something worth my while. Louis! had you not believed them, would you have fled me like a pestilence?

"Being of a gentle nature, as full of ruth as perhaps I ought to be of ruefulness, I will not bristle the grey locks of your venerable uncle this Saturday night, by likening him to any old woman on earth or in heaven. But I have a shrewd guess, that like the good lady Calphurnia, he pretends to dream; and on the evidence of such whimsies will report you my orisons!

—— Pulchra Laverna,
Da mihi fallere, da justum sanctumque videri.

—Oh, wizards, how little do you know the mettle of Philip Wharton!—In the face of day, and of these darkling augurs, I avow that it is my object to make you my own! My true spirit, wearied[201] with the tricks of men, and their sordid chemistry,

Delights to quaff the yet untasted spring,
And pluck the virgin flower!

"Is there a cloak over this dagger, my panic-struck Cæsar?

"However, that there may be no more alarms in. Saint Cuthbert's sanctuary, tell the holy man I have met Romulus's fate. If you look for me to-night it must be amongst the stars; for, after this is dispatched, neither Bamborough nor England, will hold your faithful.

"Bamborough Castle, Saturday night."

"Gone!" cried Louis, pressing the letter between his folded hands, "neither Bamborough nor England now holds its noble writer!" He turned towards the window, which commanded a view of the sea. The distant waves were sparkling beneath the beams of the morning sun: "beyond those he is sailing away, far from dark suspicion, and ungrateful de Montemar.—Ah, if he, indeed, knew[202] I had so readily imbibed my uncle's belief, that he is deceitful, and seeking to betray me in the dearest interests of man!—would he thus subscribe himself my Faithful?—Does he not, by that single word, avow his trust in my honour, and his own disinterested attachment to me?"

Again he read the letter; it contained nothing which he might not shew to Mr. Athelstone. There was not a word in it, excepting the declaration of reciprocal fidelity in that of the signature, which implied a confidence; or even hinted at the preservation of his secret; and this implicit trust still more affected Louis.—"Noble Wharton!" cried he, "this is Alexander drinking the suspected bowl!—and you shall find that I am faithful."

He sprang out of bed, and hastily dressed himself. But just as he was hurrying out of the door with the letter in his hand, he paused.—"Why should I be thus eager to put myself into purga[203]tory?"—He returned into the room.—"My dear, good, but precise uncle," continued he, "cannot understand this man! He will find an argument to blame all that I admire in this open, daring spirit. But at least, he must acknowledge that here he is no hypocritical designer! I will shew it to him."

Louis continued to fluctuate amidst a variety of reflections and resolutions, till the bell for family morning prayers roused him from his indecisive meditations; and putting the letter in his breast, he descended to the library.

When the duty was done, and he arose from his knees, he found the young Spaniard by his side; and rising from the same posture, which he had taken between him and Alice. Louis looked surprised: Ferdinand smiled; and without waiting to be questioned, said, that the preceding night he had enquired of Miss Coningsby what was meant by the vesper and matin bell, which rang after he and[204] his father had withdrawn to rest, and before they appeared in the morning. She was so good as to explain it to him; and he had thus taken the liberty to join the family devotion. While the domestics were making their reverential bows to the Pastor as they retired, Mrs. Coningsby observed her young guest. She expressed her pleasure at meeting him in so sacred an hour; "but you are not of the church of Calvin or of Luther?" asked she.

"No," replied he, "but I am of the church of their master. And that, I trust, does not exclude me from yours!"

"That plea will open the gates of Heaven to you!" cried the Pastor with a benign smile, as he passed from the reading-desk into the breakfast-room.

It was some time before the Marquis came from his chamber; but when he did join the morning group, being ignorant of his son having mingled in what he would have deemed an heretical rite,[205] he contemplated that son's renovated appearance with comfort unalloyed. He could not account to himself how such a change from weakness to activity; from despairing melancholy to gay cheerfulness; could have been wrought in the short space of two days; unless he might attribute it to the influence of the Saint, before whose defaced shrine he had knelt the preceding day, when he wandered alone to the solitary abbey. While he sat absorbed in these thoughts, Mrs. Coningsby mentioned to the younger part of the circle what had been discussed the evening before between herself and Mr. Athelstone.

As the season approached when she and her family usually emigrated to Morewick-hall, she now proposed going earlier; and that the Marquis and his son, accompanied by her nephew, should make a tour with herself and her daughters to the interesting scenery in the neighbourhood. "You will find the Hall[206] more befitting your reception than this lonely rock," continued she, addressing the Marquis; "but Lindisfarne is my uncle's Patmos; and when here, he loves to live like a hermit in his cell."

"Rather," returned Ferdinand, with an answering smile: "like the privileged saint, emparadised with angels!"

Louis guessed that one view in this scheme, was to take him out of the way of the Duke; and with something between a sigh and a smile, in thinking the precaution was no longer necessary; he warmly seconded his aunt's proposal. The eyes of Alice and of Ferdinand met in pleased sympathy. And Cornelia, addressing the Marquis, soon awakened an interest, in him, he did not expect to find in the projected excursion. She talked to him of Alnwick, of its chivalrous trophies; and of the stone chair of Hotspur, which still overlooks its battlements. She then passed to the Castle of Warkworth: and spoke of the ancho[207]rite's chapel, dug in the heart of its rock. As she discoursed of the hero of Halidown; and narrated the sorrows of his friend, the devout penitent of the hermitage, her share of the Percy blood glowed on her cheek and in her language: and the Marquis, aroused to all his military and religious enthusiasm, often grasped the cross of his sword, and mingled a prayer with the aspirations of a soldier.

Meanwhile Alice enumerated to Ferdinand, the charming variety of their walks at Morewick; particularly along the meandering banks of the Coquet, and in view of the very hermitage Cornelia was describing to his father. Ferdinand accepted with delight her promise of conducting him to the cell by her own favourite path; over a little rustic bridge that joined the Morewick-grounds to an old romantic mill, which stood on an island embowered in trees, and dashed the foaming waters of its wheels through[208] the pendant branches which swept the surface of the water. A boat, paddled by the miller's son, would convey them, under as deep a shade, to the opposite shore; and then, by a winding walk, traced in the wild wooded scenery by the hand of the hermit himself, she would lead him over the rocky heights to the cell; where for sixty years the mourning lover of murdered beauty had fed upon his tears day and night! "I know the pleasure with which Louis will accompany us;" added she, "and if it be moon-light he will like it better, for he often tells me, the garish hour of sunshine is no time for visiting the hermitage of Warkworth."

Louis did not hear what was passing, for he had chosen the opportunity of his uncle's guests being engaged in conversation with his cousins, to inform Mr. Athelstone that Duke Wharton had left Bamborough. When the good old man had read the Duke's letter, he pressed[209] his nephew's hand as he returned it, and said with a playful smile, "It is well, and we will not grudge him his apotheosis!"

The remainder of the sabbath passed in the Pastor's family, as became the purity of its master's faith, and the simplicity of his manners. At the usual hours for the public celebration of divine worship, he and his little household, all excepting his Roman Catholic guests, repaired to the parish church.

Towards the close of the afternoon service, (while the Marquis had again absented himself, and was retired to the interior ruins of the abbey;) Ferdinand placed himself at the window of his bedchamber, which commanded a view of the church-path, to watch the re-appearance of the only saint which now engaged his idolatry. With what pleasureable curiosity, excited by his sentiments for Alice, which gave him an interest in all that concerned her, did he see the[210] massy oaken doors unfold from under the low Saxon arch, and the island train issue forth in their clean but coarse Sunday attire! Four generations in one family, first met his eye. A hale old fisherman, with grizzled locks and a ruddy though weather-ploughed cheek, supported on his sinewy arm the decent steps of his dame; who, dressed in a camlet gown of her own spinning and a linen apron and cap of spotless white, looked smilingly behind on the group that closely followed:—Her athletic son, and his comely wife; each restraining the capering steps of a chubby boy and girl, as they led them forth from the house of God. The aged patriarch of the race, his head whitened by the winters of nearly a century, closed the procession; leaning one hand on a staff, and the other on the arm of his youngest grandchild; a pretty young woman, whose down-cast eyes shewed how cautiously she was guiding the faultering steps of her venerable[211] grand sire.—Of such simple and sincere worshippers was the congregation of Lindisfarne; and as Ferdinand observed their composed and happy countenances, he felt that their's must be the religion of peace.

"Yes;" cried he, "where innocence dwells, there must be genuine piety. Nothing is there to impede the free communion between earth and heaven. The blameless spirit does not fear to lift up its eyes in the presence of its Creator: it is still clothed in the brightness of His beams. But the guilty wretch—polluted—bereft!—Oh, what can hide his nakedness from the Omniscient eye?—Not the unction of man.—I have had enough of that.—What breath of mortal absolution can still this raging fire!" He smote his breast as he spoke, and tore himself from the window.

Mrs. Coningsby and her daughters had prepared tea in the drawing-room a long time before the different members of her[212] little circle drew their chairs around it. The Pastor was paying his customary sabbath visitations to the infirm from age, sickness, or sorrow. Ferdinand was yet in his chamber; struggling with an agony of soul, more grievous than penance that priest ever inflicted. And Louis, having accompanied his uncle to the door of one of the fisher's huts, instead of returning home, walked on unconsciously, till he found himself in the cemetery of the old monastery, and saw the Marquis approaching him from the western aisle.

Supposing his Lordship had come there, merely as an admirer of antiquity, Louis did not hesitate to join him; and entering into conversation on this idea, he began to point out the most perfect specimens of its ancient architecture; and to name the periods of British history which they commemorated, as the times of the abbey's erection, enlargement, or repairing. As he was master of his sub[213]ject; and spoke of its early founders, Oswald and Aidan, with not merely historical accuracy, but reverence for their holy zeal; Santa Cruz pressed the hand of his young companion; and attended with questioning complacency, till he almost forgot he was not listening to a good Catholic. He could not comprehend how a disciple of heresy, could have more toleration for the professors of the Roman creed, than he had for heretical infidelity; and therefore, with a hope that the Catholic Faith, which Baron de Ripperda had abjured, was latent in his son, the Marquis willingly gave way to the predilection he had conceived for him; and strolled with him over the whole ruin. After having been ascertained of the place where rested the mortal part of the exemplary Saint Aidan; he again bowed to the vacant spot, at the right side of the high altar, which had once contained the stone shrine of the holy Cuthbert.—Louis[214] conducted him to a cell, now choaked with docks and nettles, which had once been the penitentiary of a King. Near this half-buried vault, lay several flat crosiered tomb-stones of different dates; and amongst them were two mitred brothers of the Barons of Athelstone and of Bamborough.

"You are nobly descended, Mr. de Montemar!" observed the Marquis; "By your mother's side from these powerful Northumbrian Barons.—By your father's, from the princely house of Nassau, and the more illustrious Ripperda of Andalusia. These were all faithful sons of the cross!—but now that their posterity have embraced the schisms of infidelity—oh, my ingenuous young friend, are you not at this moment ready to exclaim, How am I fallen!"

"No, my Lord," returned Louis, "I have too British a spirit, to regret the feudal power which was founded on the vassalage of my fellow-creatures,—and[215] though my father may have forfeited all claim to the restitution of his paternal rights in Spain, by having become a proselyte to the religion in which I have been educated; I cannot deem any depression of rank a debasement, which is incurred in so sacred a cause."

Santa Cruz drew his arm from his companion. Such adherence to principle, had it been on his side of the argument, would have filled the Marquis with admiration; but in the present case, it gave his growing partiality for the son of Ripperda, so severe a shock, that he sunk into stern silence and turned out of the abbey. Not a word was spoken during their walk homeward. And when they entered the Parsonage, the Marquis bowed coldly to the Pastor; while, with a similar air of reserve, he accepted the seat presented to him by the side of Mrs. Coningsby.

The whole party were now assembled; but an embarrassing gravity pervaded[216] them all. None knew exactly how to explain it; but it arose, rather from the several individuals thinking too intensely of each other, than from indifference to each other's society. Louis alone had straying thoughts; and they were wandering far and wide:—sometimes with his noble friend, throwing himself in loyal gallantry at the feet of a dethroned Queen and her Son. Then the image of his father, and of Spain, would occupy his mind. He seemed to be present with him in that country; where, though denied the honours of his race, the fame of his services proclaimed that he did more than possess them—he deserved them!—"I am not fallen;" said Louis to himself; "when sprung from such a father! What is there in mere title or station, to render a man truly great?—It is action, that makes the post, that of honour, or disgrace.—And, God of my fathers! give me but the opportunity to serve my country; and no man[217] shall say the name of Ripperda has suffered degradation!"

Louis started from his chair, in the fulness of his emotion, and hastily crossed the room. He chanced to take the direction to a recess between the book-case and the porcelain cabinet.

"You are right to remind Cornelia of her duty," cried the Pastor, "open the door; and she will then recollect, that nearly an hour has elapsed since she ought to have given us our Sunday's evening anthem."

Louis immediately threw open a pair of small folding-doors, and discovered an organ, with the oratorios of Handel on its music-stand. Cornelia did not require a second reminder.—She took her seat before the instrument; and with tones that might—

"Create a soul under the ribs of death,"

sang the divine strains of "I know that my Redeemer liveth."

As the pealing organ swelled the note[218] of praise, the Marquis almost imagined himself in his own oratory; and that he heard the seraphic voice of his daughter Marcella, chaunting her evening hymn to the Virgin. Tears Filled the father's eyes; he drew near the instrument; and crossing his arms over his breast, with the silent responses of the heart, he re-echoed every word and every note of the holy song. When Cornelia struck its last triumphant chords, and was rising from her seat, he entreated her to prolong strains so well suited to the vesper-hour, and the feelings with which he listened.

Mr. Athelstone joined in the request; remarking, that as he loved a peculiar consecration of the instruments of worship, he never permitted this organ to be opened but on the seventh-day, or other holy festivals; and, that when it was once touched by his Saint Cecilia, his greatest pleasure was to hear its sounds, till the hour of night closed them in prayer.[219] Cornelia re-commenced, with the overture of the Messiah; and the evening ended in unison with the piety of her uncle and his guest: in hymns to the great Author of universal harmony.[220]


The morning of the 1st of October, if it were piercing as a flight of arrows, was as dazzling too; for the clearness of the atmosphere gave an unusual splendour to every object: and the larks that carrolled high in the heavens, seemed exulting in the brilliancy of their course. The exhilarating property of the air had its effect upon the party from the Parsonage; who gaily stepped into the boat that was to convey them to a creek on the opposite shore, a little below Bamborough. To touch at the castle was out of the question; for no second flag of amnesty had yet passed between the angry baronet and his quietly expectant nephew.

On landing, they found horses which[221] the Pastor had sent forward at dawn; and mounting, in full confidence of the animals being accustomed to the rough roads in prospect, the happy groupe commenced the day's excursion. Nearly a week's sojourn in the island had blunted most of the Marquis's prejudices against the amiable followers of Luther whom he found there; and the familiar companionship of minds not essentially discordant, had mingled them all into an intimacy almost amounting to friendship.

They proceeded along the classic banks of the Tweed, and the romantic borders of the Till, to the distant towers of royal Norham. Much food was there, for memory and meditation. The friends wandered for several hours amongst its legendary ruins; and then pursued the debateable stream to Flodden Field. They found another train of thought on that solitary track. Two centuries before, it had borne the bannered host of two brother nations; and now lay a desert, as if curst[222] by the kindred blood then spilt upon its soil.

Having treated the Marquis with a rustic dinner at a farm-house in the pretty village of Branxton, which stands a little to the north of the memorable field, Mrs. Coningsby and her highly-gratified party re-embarked at the mouth of the Tweed. Before them lay a magnificent setting sun. As the little bark tracked its way through a flood of molten gold, Ferdinand leaned behind the bench that supported Alice, and in a soft under-tone pursued the subjects which seemed most congenial to her youthful taste. Cornelia reclined near them, contemplating the receding shore, but listening to the Marquis; who sat between Louis and her mother, comparing with them the strange coincidence in the fates of James the Fourth of Scotland, Sebastian of Portugal, and Roderick of Spain; all of whose deaths were as doubtful, as their disappearance was certain, in the fields of[223] battle where each lost his crown and existence to the world.

In these discourses time passed lightly, till the breeze wafted them, under the rising moon, into the sheltered cove of Lindisfarne.

On entering the Parsonage, Mr. Athelstone presented a packet to the Marquis; and its contents put to flight all their ready plans for future rambles. It had been forwarded through Holland by Baron Heinsius, and contained dispatches from Spain. They conveyed the royal Philip's orders to the Marquis Santa Cruz, to repair immediately to Madrid; where he was required to take his seat in the council on an affair of importance.

Ferdinand turned pale at this intelligence.

"Oh, that your Lordship would take me with you!" exclaimed Louis, impetuously. Mr. Athelstone interrupted him with a look. "Pardon me, Sir," cried he, "but my father,—am I never to see my father?"[224] "When he wishes to see you. But you must not break upon his presence."

Louis said no more, but bowing to his uncle, with his heart full, hurried out of the room. The Marquis looked after him in silence.

Ferdinand had turned his despairing eyes on Alice, and saw her head bent on her bosom, with tears trickling down her cheeks. Those tears acted on his soul like dew on the parched earth, and, unconscious of the intention, he found himself at her side; he had taken her hand, he had murmured some indistinct sounds in her ear; but they suffused her face with blushes, and confused and agitated she withdrew her hand, and glided out of sight to a seat behind the window curtain. Ferdinand followed her with his eyes; but while he exultingly felt that her pure image possessed him wholly, he shrunk from the recollection of how unworthy his transgressions had made him of aspiring to the possession of so spotless[225] a being. Nay, were it possible that penitence could so wash his stains away, as to restore him to the self-respect which is indispensible to the manly character, and above all to the consciousness of him who takes upon himself to be the protector and the happiness of a virtuous woman; was he not aware that even this blessed regeneration could not avail him here? He well knew that his father's bigotry would sooner see him die than allow him to perish, soul and body; which he would suppose must be the consequence, should he permit him to marry a daughter of the church of England. To acknowledge his sentiments for Alice to the Marquis, was only to call down his malediction on their object. And, under these circumstances, to reveal more of them to herself, than his surprised heart had already betrayed, seemed to him a base sacrifice to his own immediate gratification, at the expence of his honour and her future comfort. He was not so ill[226]read in female character as to be ignorant that he had made an impression on the heart of this artless child of nature. No one present appeared to suspect what was passing in the bosoms of either. Could he then, knowing that the bar was insuperable between him and her, could he act the double treachery of fastening affections, that must be hopeless, upon him; and make so ungrateful a return to the hospitality of her uncle and her mother, as to devote the youth of their beloved child to tears and disappointment? "No," said he to himself, "I will not load my already burdened soul with the guilt of rendering her unhappy; of having come hither on a demon's errand, to lay waste all that paradise of smiles! I deserve to go hence, as I came, a lonely, unregretted wretch."

While these thoughts were occupying the mind of Ferdinand, the Marquis was explaining to Mr. Athelstone that he must abide by the letter of his sovereign's[227] commands; and not only relinquish the pleasure he had anticipated in visiting Morewick-hall, but take his leave even of the island, the following day. Finding this decision was not to be questioned, Mrs. Coningsby withdrew to give some necessary orders for her guest's early departure; and Alice, taking the opportunity of the opened door, hastily quitted the room. Cornelia having expressed her sincere regret to Ferdinand, that they must lose his father and himself so soon, in a few minutes followed her mother.

The gracious spell of tranquil enjoyment which an hour before had encircled them all, was now broken. Mrs. Coningsby hurried from place to place in hospitable bustle, ordering all kinds of travelling comforts to be put up for the service of their departing friends. The Marquis and the Pastor sat till a late hour, conversing in the library; but the young people continued dispersed, rather as if some cause of discord had fallen amongst[228] them, than an order to separate hearts so well inclined to join. Once Alice had summoned courage to descend to the drawing-room, but on entering, she saw no one there but Ferdinand, who was resting his head upon her harpsichord; and hastily retreating, she did not come down again till summoned to supper.

The ensuing morning's meal was passed, like that of the preceding evening, by the younger part of the group almost in silence. But when breakfast was over Louis drew a letter from his pocket, and presenting it open to Mr. Athelstone, told him he had written that to his father, and he hoped the Marquis would have the goodness to take charge of it to Madrid. Santa Cruz bowed his acquiescence, and the Pastor perused the letter. As he ran his eye over its contents, he could not but admire the generous submission which had with-held the writer from even hinting the wish which so thoroughly possessed him.[229] "You have written like an affectionate son," said the Pastor, as he returned the letter, "but you have not dropped one word of what is so much at your heart. Why do you not ask your father's permission to pay your personal duty to him?"

"And you give me yours, dearest Sir, to express that wish?"

"Certainly; and when the Baron's leisure will allow him to preside over his son's introduction to this perilous world, then, I doubt not, he will grant your petition, and I must resign you."

Louis gladly retired, to add, as a postscript to his letter, what he had found so much difficulty in preventing himself from making its primary subject. The ladies had already withdrawn; and Ferdinand seeing their waiving gowns through the distant shrubbery in the garden, believed that without any breach of his resolution, he might once more cool his feverish pulse with the breeze at their[230] side; and for the last time sooth his disturbed soul by feeling himself near Alice, and listening to her tender accents.

The wish was no sooner formed than he was in their path. Mrs. Coningsby was not there. Cornelia was calmly gathering flowers to replenish her beau-pots, and Alice was walking pensively towards the wicket that opened to the hill. Ferdinand followed her, and with a bound of joy he could not conceal from his better reason, saw her open the little gate and pass through. A few sheep were cropping the grass on the pasture, and her favorite lamb frolicked before her. She did not notice it, but turned to the base of the hill. Ferdinand heard her draw a deep sigh, as she seemed to think herself removed from observation, and, in an agitated voice, she ejaculated his name. He required no more to be at her side,—at her feet. What he said he hardly knew, but he felt all his high resolves vanish, and that words failed[231] under the impetuous declaration of his heart. Surprized at so unthought-of a disclosure; and alarmed at a language and vehemence she had never known before, Alice would have fled; but he detained her with her hands clasped in his: and while he wept upon them in the wild emotions of his soul, her tears flowed also; and he wrought her to confess that she had retired alone, to weep at his departure.

Ferdinand forgot all the wretched past, in the transport of that moment; and amidst the burning blushes of a timidity that trembled at every word she uttered, he drew from the guileless Alice all the secret of her heart. His dominant passion had again seized the rein; and clasping her hands to his breast, he ardently implored her to pledge him her faith before the Supreme of Heaven,—That, however long might be his absence, she would never be persuaded to become the wife of any other man.[232] Then growing in his demands on the tender girl, he conjured her to promise not to continue that "exquisite softness of manner, to Mr. de Montemar, the sight of which had already more than half maddened him."—With a glance, which shone like a shooting star over the dewy night, she gave him the solemn pledge he asked; and she smiled, when she made a promise she deemed so unnecessary. But both engagements were hardly pronounced by her ingenuous lips, before his ungovernable selfishness smote upon the conscience of her lover.

"Alice," cried he, "I am unworthy of your angelic nature. I know I do not deserve that you should even look upon me. But I cannot bid you retract your vow. It is that alone which saves me from despair:—It is that alone which can support me in life, till we meet again.—Oh, Alice, you saw the wretch that came to this island, at war with himself, and sinking fast to an un[233]timely grave!—You recalled me to existence!—You re-generated, and healed my broken heart!—But my father, should he know I love you, he would separate us for ever."

Alice raised her eyes, drowned as they were in tears, and looked on him aghast. "Is his rank so very great?"

"That is not my fear," returned Ferdinand, "his rank is not higher than your own illustrious blood. But he is so rigid a Catholic; I too well know he would rather see his whole race extinct, than one of them married to a Protestant."

Poor Alice was now seized with a violent trembling, and turning deadly pale, leaned for support against a tree. Ferdinand pressed her cold hand. "But I am no bigot, my beloved Alice; and there is a circumstance connected with my family, which may have power to influence a happier fate. It shall be tried; and it is of such importance, I hardly doubt its success."[234] She revived at this assurance, and, with deepened tenderness, he resumed.

"Meanwhile, as we hope to be blessed hereafter in an union as indissoluble as our love; forbear to disclose what has now passed between us, to any of your own family. They would communicate it to my father; and the consequence I seek to avert, must then inevitably follow: an eternal separation."

The arguments of love, and the pleadings of despair, at last prevailed upon her to make this promise also. Her head was in a whirl of distracting thought. She had never known such distress as overwhelmed her, when, in making this second vow, she felt as if she had at once relinquished her claims on the affection of her nearest relations; and saw the being, for whose sake she had made this boundless sacrifice, on the point of leaving her for an unlimited time, perhaps for ever!

Ferdinand beheld the agony of her[235] soul, and too well guessed her apprehensions. Now he felt the mischief he had wrought; now he saw the ruin he had begun in that so lately happy bosom. He had not only awakened a passion there, to feed upon her heart; but he had introduced the scorpions of an accusing conscience, where only a few moments before all was innocence and peace. "Wretch that I am!" cried he to himself; "to repay the blessing of thy tenderness with all this evil!"

But striving to sooth and to cheer her, he vowed to see her at all events early in the spring; and at the feet of her mother and her uncle, implore their pardon, and consent to an eternal union. When she became a little composed, he besought a ringlet of her hair to console him in his lonely absence; and having pressed the trembling hand that bestowed it, to his heart and his lips, he allowed her to break from the clinging arms that vainly tried to withhold her.[236] She rushed through the garden into the house; and locking herself within her own room, gave way to the anguish of her soul.

Ferdinand turned towards a remote winding of the cliffs, fuller of self-arraignment than of satisfaction; yet though he detested the selfishness of his recent conduct, the headlong impulse he had yielded to his passion was too strong to allow him to make the only restitution now in his power:—to release her from both her vows.

At noon the boat was announced that was to bear the travellers to the carriage on the mainland, which was to convey them to the place of embarkation for Spain. In the hurrying moments of departure, the absence of Alice was remarked by none but the heart of Ferdinand; and it yearned towards the sensibility which prevented her sharing these last adieus. He touched the cheeks of her mother and sister with an emotion[237] they did not expect. He hastily embraced Louis; and putting the hand of the Pastor reverentially to his lips, hurried down the rocks to the beach.

The Marquis's farewell was more composed; but as he crossed the sands to the boat, he stopped, and gathering up a few of the entrochi, (he had heard called Saint Cuthbert's beads,) he bent his head to the grey towers of the monastery, and turning towards Mr. Athelstone, said with a smile, "these shall be my rosary, in grateful remembrance of this holy isle!"

The venerable Pastor answered him with a benediction. He saw the father and son embark; and stood with his silvered head bare to the wind, as he waived his handkerchief to the diminishing vessel; and breathed a prayer for the safety of its freight, in every movement of his uplifted hands.

If Louis ever felt a touch of envy, it was at the moment when the distant sail[238] disappeared from the horizon; and as he slowly followed the homeward step of his uncle, he sighed to himself; "they will soon see my father!—They will understand all his glorious plans for the service of his restored country!—They will witness his honours!—While I—— down, my rebellious, my ungrateful spirit!"[239]


The remainder of the autumn was passed in Lindisfarne by the different members of the Pastor's family, with no change in the tranquil routine of their occupations, and little apparent alteration in themselves.

Sir Anthony had made ample apologies to his nephew, and concessions to his uncle, to justify a renewed reconciliation. He pleaded surprise and infatuation; and as the eccentric planet, whose influence created both, had some time reached its perihelium; it was hoped the attraction would be too powerful to allow of its return. Mr. Athelstone, therefore, permitted his nephew to visit as usual at the castle, till the closing in of winter rendered the shores dangerous,[240] and commanded the emigration of his family to the more sheltered regions of Morewick-hall.

Louis's elastic mind, like the principle of life shooting into every faculty of vigorous manhood, recovered all its spring; and allowing himself to think no more of his father nor of Duke Wharton, than what was sufficient to keep his emulation in active career to attain the patriotic talents of the one, and the disinterested enthusiam of the other; he devoted himself, heart and soul, to the perfect acquirement of every branch of study which could possibly promote the great ends of his ambition. Accustomed to labour, the buoyancy of his spirit never admitted the touch of fatigue. Bodily exertion could not weary his practised limbs; nor diversity of mental pursuits, distract nor overstrain his faculties. In the full power of health, and of a mind which care had never traversed, all things were easy to him. One hour he was[241] absorbed in mathematics, history, or languages; and the next saw him in the chace, with his gun on the moor, or bounding along the icicled heights of Morewick, by the side of Cornelia.

Alice alone had exhibited a change in her person and manners since the visit of the noble Spaniards. She, who used to be the most constant companion of her cousin, now hardly ever joined him in his rambles; and always refused to be his partner in the evening dances, which usually diversified the amusements of the hall, when any of the neighbouring families made a part of its winter fire-side. Her spirits and her bloom were gone; and Mrs. Coningsby at length became so alarmed, that she seriously talked with the Pastor about taking her in the spring to some milder climate. Louis was not insensible to the alteration in his cousin. But those anxious attentions which, in any former indisposition, she had always received from him with grate[242]ful affection, were now, not merely avoided, but repelled with evident dislike. At first he attributed this strange conduct, to some unintentional offence on his part; and he tenderly asked her if it were so. She burst into tears as she hurryingly replied in the negative, and left the room. On mentioning the circumstance to Mrs. Coningsby, it only confirmed her opinion of her daughter's illness being a latent consumption; and that her present distaste to what before gave her pleasure, was a symptom of that fatal disorder.

Such was the state of the family; when about four o'clock, one dreadfully severe day in December, a person of a middle age and a gloomy aspect, alighted from a chaise at the door of Morewick-hall; and almost speechless with cold, was ushered into the presence of Mr. Athelstone. The Pastor was alone in his library: and the stranger in brief and broken English, announced himself as[243] the Senor Castanos, confidential secretary to the Baron de Ripperda, and a messenger to the guardian of his son. While he spoke, he presented two packets; one from the Baron, the other from the Marquis Santa Cruz. With his accustomed hospitality, Mr. Athelstone bade his guest welcome; and was enquiring after the health of the Baron and the Marquis, when Louis entered the room. In passing through the hall, the porter told him that Peter had just shewn an outlandish gentleman in to his uncle; and impatient to know whether he came from Spain, Louis hastened to the library.

"My child," said the Pastor, "I believe you are near the goal of your wishes.—This gentleman comes from your father."

The secretary bowed to the son of his patron. And Louis, looking first at him, and then at his uncle, exclaimed—"my father!—and does he—?" He hesitated,[244] he stopped; the eagerness of his hopes interrupted his articulation.

"We will open this packet, and see," returned the Pastor, taking that from the Baron into his hand. But glancing at the shivering figure of his guest, who had drawn near the fire, he did not break the seal, but desiring Louis to ring the bell, requested the Senor to permit the servant who attended, to shew him to an apartment where he should have a change of warm garments, and proper refreshment after so inclement a journey.

As soon as the Spaniard had withdrawn, Mr. Athelstone opened the packet. It presented one for himself, and another for his nephew. Never before had Louis received a letter directed to himself, from his father. Though he always persevered in the duty of addressing his only parent, yet, until this moment, the answers were never more than acknowledging messages through his guardian. It was, therefore, with a peculiar feeling[245] of recognition; a conviction of being now owned by his father's heart as his son; that Louis opened the first letter he had ever received from his hand.—

Its contents were these:

"My dear Son,

"I hear from the Marquis Santa Cruz, that you are worthy the name you bear.—That your acquirements do credit to the liberality of your education; and that you are not deficient in ambition to bring these implements to the test. I offer you an opportunity. Accompany the bearer of this, to the continent.—He is my secretary:—and has my commands to present you to a person there, who will put your talents to the trial. Should the result be to your honour, you shall not be long withheld from the embrace of your father, William

Baron de Ripperda.

"November, 1725."

Louis pressed these welcome com[246]mands to his lips: then turning, to communicate their happy tidings to Mr. Athelstone, he saw the eyes of the venerable man still bent on the other packet; while the spectacles, which he held in his hand, bore tearful proofs how little was his sympathy with the joy that beat in the heart of his nephew. Louis took that trembling hand, and kissed it without speaking.

"I know, my child, that you are going to leave me.—I know that you are glad to go;—and it is natural, but an old man's tears are natural too."

Louis grieved for the grief of his uncle: and anticipated his own pangs in the moment of separation from so paternal a friend; from an aunt and cousins so beloved: but he did not feel the most distant wish to escape these pangs an hour, by delaying the journey that was to draw him nearer to his father, and to the indistinct, but, he hoped, sure objects of his ambition. He was indeed drawn by two attractions: the one tender and per[247]suading; the other, powerful and imperative; and his soul leaped to the latter, as to its congenial element.

In a few minutes Mr. Athelstone recovered his wonted serenity. "The time is now come," said he, "when I must put forth from my bosom the sacred deposit I have so fondly cherished.—Yes, Louis; your spirit, more than your years, demands its active destination; and I will not murmur that the moment for which I have educated your mind and your body, is at last arrived!" He then read aloud, and with composure, the letter which the Baron had addressed to him; but it was not more explanatory than the other, of the circumstances in which he meant to place his son.

The secretary soon after re-entered. On Mr. Athelstone putting some civil questions to him respecting his present fatigue, and his late long journey; he abruptly answered, "That as his arrival had been delayed by contrary winds at[248] sea; and the severity of the season did not promise a more propitious voyage, in returning; it would be necessary for him and Mr. de Montemar to take leave of Morewick-hall the following morning."

The Baron's letter to Mr. Athelstone, told him that Louis must yield implicit deference to the arrangements of Castanos. And in reply to some remonstrance from the Pastor, for a less hasty departure, the Senor coldly observed—"That at Ostend, he and his charge were to meet instructions for proceeding: and should they arrive there a day later than the one fixed by the Baron, the consequence might be fatal to their safety. Indeed, that no appendage should encumber their progress, his Lord had commanded him to deny to Mr. de Montemar the indulgence of taking a servant from England."

Mr. Athelstone made many enquiries, to gather something of the object of so peremptory a summons; but he received no satisfaction from the secretary, who,[249] with even morose brevity, continued to affirm his total ignorance of what was to follow the introduction of his charge to his new guardian. His own office went no further than to conduct Mr. de Montemar by a particular day to the continent: but who he was to meet there, or how he was to be employed, future events must explain. The frank-hearted Pastor, became uneasy at this mystery. And the more so, as from the secretary's hint, (which he appeared vext at having dropped) it seemed connected with danger. "Yet it is his father, who summons him into such circumstances!" said he to himself; "and surely I may trust a father's watchfulness over his only son!"

Louis's imagination had taken fire at what chilled the heart of his uncle. That there was a demand on his courage, in the proposed trial, swelled his youthful breast with exultation. He thought, as yet he had only tried his strength like a boy; in exercise, or in pastime. He[250] wanted to grapple with danger, with the heart and the arm of a man; and for a cause that would sanctify the hazard of his life. "And to something like this," cried he mentally, "my father calls me! He calls me, as becomes the son of his race, to share the labours, the perils, of his glorious career! I am now to prove my claim to so noble a birth-right.—And I will prove it! O gracious Heaven, give me but to deserve honour of my father; and I ask no other blessing on this side of eternity!"

Mr. Athelstone saw that strong emotions were agitating the occupied mind of his nephew, and reading their import, in the lofty expressions of his countenance, he did not check their impulse, by recalling his attention to present objects; but proceeded in silence to open the packet from Santa Cruz: hoping that its contents might cast a light upon the destiny of Louis.

The letter was short: chiefly thanking[251] the Pastor and his family, for their kindness to himself and his son during their visit at Lindisfarne. Writing of Ferdinand, he added that his health was materially improved, though his spirits were yet very unequal. To remedy these remains of his indisposition, he meant to engage himself in the expected hostilities between Austria and Spain, who were likely to quarrel on a question of maritime and commercial prerogative. The Marquis concluded his letter by saying, that he enclosed three packets from Don Ferdinand, as offerings of respect to the ladies of Lindisfarne.

Mr. Athelstone believed he had found a clew to the affair of danger, to which Louis was to be introduced. He did not doubt but that the Baron also meant to engage his son in the anticipated warfare between their Catholic and Cæsarian majesties. The halting at Ostend seemed to corroborate this surmise, as its new commercial company was the very dis[252]pute between the rival Powers. But still, the immediate peril which threatened any delay in arriving there remained as unexplained as before.

When Louis perused the Marquis's letter, he also supposed he was called to a military life; and as that was the point to which he had most wistfully directed his glory-attracted eye, the intimation at once fixed his vague anticipations; and rising from his seat, while his thoughts glanced on Wharton's gay demand to write man upon his brow, he smiled on his uncle and said, "this is the Toga virilis that has ever been the object of my vows!"

"God grant," cried the Pastor, mournfully returning his playful smile, "that it may not be steeped in blood!"

"And if found in the bed of honour," replied Louis, "I should not rest the worse for it!"

"Yon sport, my child, with these gloomy suggestions; and may you ever have[253] the same cause for smiling at the advance of death! I know the passion of your soul is to be always in the path of duty; and that in such pursuit, the rugged and the smooth, the safe or dangerous, are to you alike. Nourish this principle as that of your part in the covenant of your salvation. But keep a clear eye in discerning between duty and inclination. Remember, that no enterprize is great that is not morally good: that war is murder, when it commences in aggression; and that policy is villainy, when it seeks to aggrandize by injustice. In short, in whatever you do, consider the aim of your action, and your motive in undertaking its accomplishment. Be single-minded in all things, having the principle of the divine laws, delivered by the Son of God himself, as the living spring of every action throughout your life. Then, my Louis, you may smile in life and in death! You will be above the breath of man, beyond his power to disappoint you in your[254] reward; for it will abide with you in the consciousness of virtue, and a sure faith in an eternal glory."

While the Pastor was yet speaking, Mrs. Coningsby and her daughters entered from a Christmas visit they had been paying in the neighbouring town of Warkworth. They started at sight of a stranger dozing in the great chair by the fire. Overcome with fatigue, Castanos had fallen asleep almost immediately after he had given his last unsatisfactory reply. The entrance of the ladies roused him, and he got up heavily from his seat, when Mr. Athelstone presented him to his niece, and briefly told his errand. Surprize at the suddenness of the summons, and dismay at parting with a companion so dear, overcame Mrs. Coningsby, and she sunk fainting into a chair. Tears stole down the cheeks of Cornelia, and Alice stood motionless, pale, and silent.

After the emotions of the shock of[255] such intelligence had a little subsided; anxious to divert their thoughts, Mr. Athelstone presented his niece and her daughters with Don Ferdinand's three packets; and repeating the young Spaniard's request that each lady would inspect her present alone, he added his own wish, that they would indulge the donor now. The hint was immediately adopted, for Mrs. Coningsby understood its purport. Divining her uncle's tenderness for the sensibility of his nieces, she left him to discuss with Louis the many arrangements necessary to a separation, that might be final to most of the party.

The remainder of the day was hardly long enough, for the preparation of the various comforts each inmate of the hall was solicitous to produce, to render the journey and voyage of their beloved Louis as free of privations as possible. In the consequent bustle, no time was allowed for dwelling on its occasion, or giving way to the regrets which often[256] turned the heart faint in the midst of the body's exertions. "To-morrow, in the hour of parting, we will indulge our sorrow. We will then shew our Louis our love, and our grief at the separation!" With these thoughts, Mrs. Coningsby and Cornelia stilled their often-rising emotions; while Mr. Athelstone, reading in the feverish activity of their services what was passing in their minds, meditated how to spare them and his nephew the agitating hour they anticipated.

When the family parted for the night, it was settled that Louis and his foreign conductor should not leave the hall the next morning until after breakfast; and therefore they should all meet again round that dear domestic table, and there exchange the dreaded word farewell. Mrs. Coningsby observed, that before she slept she was going to write a few lines to Don Ferdinand, to thank him for the fine Moorish shawls his gratitude had presented to herself and daughters, and she[257] would give the letter to Louis in the morning. Then, as was the custom in this affectionate family, on retiring to their rooms, he touched the cheek of his aunt with his lips, and shook hands with his cousins when he bade God bless them!

With a body unwearied, and a mind too excited, to admit of any sleep this night, he was passing to his apartment, when his uncle opened the door of his own chamber, and beckoned him in. The venerable man, there informed him, that he alone of all the family, would bid him farewell the next morning. That he feared the fortitude of Mrs. Coningsby and his nieces in so severe a trial; and had therefore made arrangements to prevent it. Louis listened with gratitude, though with brimming eyes, to the good old man's account of his having ordered the travelling-chaise to the lodge-gate at day-break; and that he had prepared Senor Castanos to be[258] ready at so unexpected an hour, and to permit his charge to see his maternal uncle. In the usual routine of his movements, Sir Anthony had been some time at Athelstone-manor, where he always opened his Christmas hospitalities. As that mansion was on the banks of the Tyne, not far from Newcastle, where the travellers were to embark, his nephew would have an opportunity of paying his parting duty to him, without impeding his journey by going out of the way.

Louis left his kind guardian, with a promise of attending to the first tap at his door next morning; and in a more pensive mood proceeded to his dressing-room. On opening the door, he saw Alice seated by his table. Her lamp stood beside her; and its faint light gleamed upon her pallid features. He started with astonishment; for she had so long estranged herself from his slightest attentions, that Alice was the last person he could have expected to find at[259] such a moment in his apartment. However, he approached her tenderly. On seeing him, she covered her face with her hand, and evidently wept, though silently; for as he spoke and soothed her, (though vaguely, as he could not guess the reason of this solitary visit,) he felt the tears trickle through her fingers on his hand. At last she was able to command her speech, though she still concealed her face; and when she did find utterance, it was some time before she dared touch upon the secret that preyed upon her peace and life. She told him that she was miserable; that her health was consuming under a sense of her deception to the best of mothers, sisters, and of guardians; and that unless she did seize this, her last opportunity of unburthening her soul to the only friend to whom she could do so, without breaking a fatal vow; she felt that she must die, she could not exist much[260] longer under the tortures of her conscience, and the miseries of her heart.

Amazed, and alarmed, Louis listened to her, tried to calm her, and encouraged her to repose a full confidence in him. At length, amidst paroxysms of tears, and agonies of shame, she narrated all that had passed between herself and Don Ferdinand; and that since she had so rashly made him the vow of concealing their attachment from those who ought to know all her thoughts, she had never known a moment's happiness.

Louis was struck dumb with this recital. The brevity of her acquaintance with Don Ferdinand, might yet be long enough to allow his accomplished manners and interesting state, to make an impression on so young and sympathizing a heart; she therefore found a ready excuse with her cousin. But what was he to think of Don Ferdinand? Of the advantage he had taken of her tender[261] and guileless nature, to betray her into a confession and a vow, so sure to sacrifice her peace; and which could bring no gratification to him, but the disgraceful consciousness of a triumph to his vanity!

Louis's fixed silence, while occupied in these thoughts, struck Alice like the voice of condemnation. She gazed distractedly in his face, and exclaimed in despair, "You think I am unpardonable.—You think I deserve to die, miserable and unforgiven! Oh, wretched, guilty Alice,—break, break your heart, for there is none to pity you!" As she uttered this, in a hardly articulate voice, she threw herself back into her chair, sobbing and wringing her hands in bitter anguish. The violence of her emotions recalled Louis to recollection, and soothing her excessive remorse with every palliative that affection could suggest, he at last succeeded in restoring her to some degree of composure.[262] She told him, that her purpose in revealing her wretched story to him at this time, was not merely to unburthen her loaded soul; but to prevail on him to convey a letter to Ferdinand, in which she implored him to release her from her guilty vow of concealment. "I have warned him," continued she, "that if he hold me to this impious pledge, it will not be for long; for I cannot live in my present self-abhorring condition. But, should my life be lengthened under these circumstances, to be my punishment, I will never consent to see his face again, till he has released me from so sinful an engagement."

Louis warmly applauded her resolution.

"Do not praise me," cried she, "do not call it resolution. I am unworthy of approbation for any thing. I do not resolve; I only feel that I can know no happiness, endure no person, but continue to detest myself, till this guilt[263] is taken from my mind, by a full confession, and prayer for my mother's pardon."

She shewed a letter, which had come in the packet directed to her by Ferdinand, and which he had secured her receiving free from observation, by his apparently whimsical request that each lady would inspect her present alone. The letter contained protestations of inviolable attachment, petitions for her constancy; and exhortations to keep their secret, till the success of the plan he had in view, brought him again to her feet. He had inclosed a miniature of himself in the shawl which was his ostensible present to her. "I will never look on it a second time," said she, "till he removes from himself the guilt of holding me in this wicked undutifulness to my family."

Louis engaged, should he not meet him at Madrid, to forward her letter to Don Ferdinand, and to inclose it in one[264] from himself, enforcing her entreaties with his arguments; and giving his thoughts on the subject, as became his relationship to her, and fraternal regard for her happiness. He assured her, he would do it with a scrupulous attention not to irritate the feelings which had excited her lover to deprive him of her sisterly affection. Aware that her self-accusing state of mind, could not bear up against the representation he would fain have made of Ferdinand's entire selfishness in thus binding her, Louis contented himself with advising Alice, as a restitution she owed to her family for all the misery her melancholy and illness had made them suffer, to dismiss as much as possible all painful retrospections; and to console herself with the conviction that she was now re-treading her steps to the path of duty. "Cheer yourself with this thought," said he, "till the tidings shall arrive which will take the seal from your lips. Then you[265] may confess all, and reconciled, by pardon, to your family and yourself, you will again become the happy Alice."

She wept as he spoke. But it was no more the stormy grief of despair; she shed the balmy tears of penitence and hope. It was the genial shower upon the thirsty ground. "You have spoken comfort to me, Louis. I have not been so happy, since the dawn of the fatal morning, when my impious adjuration called down these months of misery upon my wretched head.—Oh, if Ferdinand could have guessed this, would he have denied me such a comforter!"

Louis gently reminded her, that as he was going, she must seek a comforter in a Superior Being; and in the exertions of her own mind: "you have ever, my Alice," said he, "been the idol of your family; and even to this day, been supported with a watchfulness, as if you were still in infancy: yet, you see, how inadequate has been all this anxiety to[266] preserve you from error, and its consequent sorrows! By experience, you must now feel, that the care of the tenderest relations can be of no permanent effect, unless you assist it with your own circumspection and strength. Look not for comfort from one side or another, till you have found its principle in your own bosom; that is to say, till you resolve to act according to your duty. And this is, not merely to grieve over your fault, and yearn to confess it and be forgiven; but to lay a restraint upon your sensibility, and the violence of your regrets; and from this hour to devote the whole of your mind to the re-establishment of happiness in your family.—Return to your former occupations.—Meditate less upon Don Ferdinand and yourself; and think more of your mother, your sister, and your guardian.—For their sakes, try to be cheerful, and you will be so.—In one word, my dearest Alice, remember, that to perform our duty in this[267] world, we must sustain our own virtue, and not habituate ourselves to the uncertain support of others."

"Why, my dear Louis, have I never heard these sentiments before? With such forewarning, I should never have erred."

"You might have heard them often; for my uncle has frequently talked to me in this way in your presence. But, my sweet Alice was not then awakened to such subjects. You regarded them as grave discourses, in which you could be as little interested as in the map of a country you never intended to visit."

"And I went astray in that very country!" cried she, "simpleton that I was; always to turn away from every thing but the pursuits of a child!"

She was anxious to engage Louis to correspond with her; but as he could not write any thing to her that would[268] not pass under the eye of the whole family, he told her she had best rest satisfied with his exertions for her release; and when he had obtained it from Don Ferdinand, he would then write openly, and tell her all his thoughts on an affair so momentous to her present and future happiness.

The hall clock struck one.

Alice rose: she put his hand to her lips, and smiled through her tears:—"I cannot be at this morning's breakfast.—But now—dear, dear, Louis,—best of friends—farewell!"—Her head dropped upon his shoulder, where she struggled with two or three convulsive sobs. He pressed her to his heart, and in vain tried to repel the tears which started to his eyes: they flowed over her face as he supported her trembling steps to the door of her apartment. When he had brought her to the threshold, she uttered a breath[269]less God bless you! and breaking from his arms, threw herself into the room. The door was closed:—he heard her sob:—but tearing himself away, he returned with a heavy load at his heart to his own chamber.[270]


The silver gleams of a winter morning streaked the horizon, as the chaise which conveyed Louis de Montemar from the friends of his youth, mounted the heights of Warkworth, and gave him a last glimpse of Morewick-hall, lying in its shroud of mist at the bottom of the valley. The smoke of his uncle's chimney, beside which he had just received that venerable man's parting embrace and blessing, was mingling its dark volumes with the ascending vapours. A bleak and gusty wind tossed their white billows around the ancient pinnacles of the building; but no smoke arose from any other chimney!—; There was no opened window-shutter; no sign of any other of the dear inhabitants being awake. The[271] good old man was then weeping alone, and mingling with his tears, the earnest prayer of solicitude for the preservation of his beloved nephew!

"And the prayer of the righteous availeth much!" said Louis to himself, fixing his eye on the golden disk just peeping above the distant rim of the ocean: "lovers have preserved their constancy, by a promise that each would remember the other when the sun set or rose! Why shall I not preserve my constancy to a better love than that of woman, whenever I look on yon rising or setting orb, and remember, that at those hours my venerable uncle is on his knees to Heaven for the conservation of my soul?"

As the turning of his carriage down an abrupt declivity snatched the whole of the vale of Coquet from his view, Louis thought of his aunt and Cornelia; how, in another hour, they would be looking in vain for his entrance into the breakfast[272] parlour: and, what would be the burst of their grief, when they should be told that he was gone; that he had found the heart to leave them without one affectionate farewell! He almost regretted that he had spared himself and them a pang, which, he began to think, would have been more tolerable than the idea they might entertain, that a passion for novelty had rendered him neglectful of their parting tenderness. The wan countenance, and piteous accents of Alice, next presented themselves to his imagination; and, painful as were many of his thoughts connected with her recent disclosure, he could not but rejoice that her timely remorse, and as critical a resolution, had afforded him an opportunity to make his last act in the home of his youth, one that would eventually repay his vast debt of gratitude to her mother.

These reflections accompanied him over many a heathy track, caverned with coal-mines; and at night, the gleaming[273] fires on their bituminous surface, with their wandering vapoury lights, lit him along moor and fell, till the sulphurous cloud which usually canopies the city of Newcastle, received his vehicle as it whirled down the steep northern hill into the town.

At Athelstone-manor, a few miles south of the city, he met his uncle Sir Anthony; and, as he expected, had to listen to many a rough remonstrance against obedience to so abrupt a summons. Louis did not use much argument in replies, the reasoning of which, good or bad, he knew would be equally disregarded; but with assurances that neither distance nor time should lessen his affection for the friends he left behind, he sought to dissipate his uncle's thoughts from the subject of debate; and so far succeeded, as to pass the remainder of the day with him in tolerable cheerfulness. But when the captain of the vessel that was to convey the travellers to Ostend, appeared at[274] the manor, to announce that the wind served and the ship was ready to sail; the newly-restored good-humour of the baronet was put to the proof: and it did not stand the trial. He burst into invectives against the Baron, for reclaiming his son; against the Pastor, for admitting his authority; and poured forth a torrent of reproaches on his nephew, for so readily consenting to quit relations who loved and honoured him, to become dependant on the caprices of a father who seemed to consider himself rather the patron than the parent of his son.

Louis saw it would be vain to reason with this violence; and that all he could do, was to take a grateful and steady leave of his uncle. Sir Anthony clung to him, mingling entreaties for his stay, with upbraidings for his departure. And amidst vows of entailing all on him, if he would remain; and oaths, to cut him off with a shilling, if he persisted to go, Louis tore himself away; leaving his uncle in an[275] agony of grief and exasperation in the arms of his servants.

Distressed by the outrageous emotions of Sir Anthony; so different from the chastised feelings of the Pastor, whose profound affections smoothed by their fulness the rising sorrow of the parting moment; Louis found a refuge, though a dreary one, in the solitude of his cabin. He sat for some hours, alone and silent, in the encreasing gloom. The evening-gun fired from the fort at the mouth of the harbour; and in a few minutes Castanos appeared with a lamp. He set it on the table, and silently threw himself into the birth appropriated to his use. Louis was not in a mood to desire companionship; and with little more than a gracious word or two of thanks to the civilities of the captain and his mate, as they stepped in at intervals to enquire how he fared, he passed the remainder of the night.

Next morning at dawn, when he pressed[276] his repeater and counted the hour, he calculated that if the breeze had continued, his vessel must now be far from the coast; and fearing to lose a last look of the shore where he first remembered consciousness of being, and where he had imbibed, from friends dear to his heart, all the valued impulses of his soul; he sprang from the cot on which he lay, and stepped upon deck. The lonely helmsman was at his post, gazing at the stars, and steering, slowly to leeward.—To windward, stretched darkly along the horizon, lay the embattled cliffs of Northumberland.

"Majestic England!" said he, as he turned towards them; "How do thy lofty rocks declare thy noble nature! There, liberty has stationed her throne; there, virtue builds her altar; and there peace has planted her groves! I leave thee, to prove myself worthy of being thy adopted son. I go far away, to send a good report to the dear friends slumbering be[277]hind thy promontories. England, beloved, honoured! Where shall I find a country like thee? Will gorgeous Spain be to me what thy simple glades have been?" He smiled at his own soliloquy.

"I go not to luxurious groves, and gorgeous indolence," cried he, "my errand is to the arena of populous cities; to win, or lose myself, in the Olympian struggles of man with man."

Louis forgot the receding shores of his country and its beloved inhabitants, in the ideas these images suggested; and forgetful alike of the wintery blast, he only drew his thick cloak closer around him; and cradled in the coiled rope of the anchor, with his eyes half-closed, he continued to muse on his future destiny: dreaming of martial achievements, and a succession of visionary triumphs, till the bright phantoms were lost in the chaos of sound sleep.[278]


A prosperous voyage brought the travellers safely to Ostend.—Castanos found the instructions he expected from the Baron de Ripperda; and he informed his charge, their commands were that they must proceed immediately to the metropolis of Germany, for there he was to meet his father's friend. Surprised, but not displeased at this extraordinary route, Louis cheerfully set forward; and did not permit the curiosity natural to his thirst for knowledge, to detain him a moment in any of the countries through which he travelled.

On a dark evening in January he and his guide arrived at Vienna. The streets were in so profound a gloom, he could not have guessed he was now in one of[279] the most magnificent capitals of the world, had he not received some intimation of its greatness, by the extent of pavement he went over from the point of the town at which he entered to that which was to be his destination. As he drove along, he perceived some other proofs that he was indeed in the modern Cæsarean metropolis. He passed noble houses, whose open gates shewed they were superbly illuminated, and whence proceeded strains of gay music that gave sign of life and festivity within. Castanos remarked, that these were palaces of the nobility. Exhilarated by the splendour of the lights, Louis enquired whether the house he was going to, promised as much consolation after a tedious journey. "But I flatter myself it will," added he, "from what I understand of the general rank of my father's friends."

"As the Baron de Ripperda is a nobleman of an universal acquaintance,"[280] replied Castanos, "he has friends of every rank, in every country."

In this instance, as in others, Louis saw he could get nothing satisfactory from his companion, and aware that a little patience must explain whither he was going, and what was to be his errand, he asked no more questions. As his carriage passed out of the brilliant halo which surrounded the immediate vicinity of these palaces, it seemed to enter the regions of tenfold night; so severe was the contrast from gay illumination to rayless darkness.

After an intricate drive of another half hour, the wheels no longer rattled on pavement, but turning abruptly down a narrow avenue, the leafless branches brushed across the carriage windows, as it jolted onward over a very rough road. A speck of light appeared in the extreme distance. As the heavy vehicle rumbled forward, the light seemed to encrease in size, and Louis soon after per[281]ceived it to be a flambeau held in the hand of a man. When the carriage approached him, he opened a pair of large iron gates under a high archway, through which the travellers immediately passed. All around was dark, vast, and dreary, as no lamp chased the deep shadows from a court-yard of immense extent.

The man mounted the steps of a huge black building, sufficiently capacious for a palace, but gloomy enough to be a prison. Louis followed his conductor and the flambeau-bearer across a large cold hall, up a wide-painted stair-case, mildewed and crazy, and through a long echoing gallery into a saloon whose distant extremities, like the outer court, were lost in deep shadow. A pair of wax lights, flaring in the wind, stood upon a great claw-table whose once gilded surface was browned by time and neglect. Little more furniture was visible than a couple of chairs of similar fabrick, two or three gigantic pier-glasses, reflecting the[282] persons in the apartment in ghost-like obscurity, and a brasier of newly-kindled fuel, sluggishly glimmering on the hearth.

Louis started at so dismal a reception, so different from the cordial comforts of Morewick-hall; so different from the social welcome of Athelstone-manor; so widely different from the anticipated magnificence of a palace at Vienna, and the hospitable greeting of his father's friend! He paused at the threshold, then smiling at the effeminacy of his disgust, entered light of foot and of heart, saying to himself, "Do I shrink at so poor a trial of my spirit? My father has guessed the sin of my breeding; and thus disciplines the spoiled boy!"

Louis might have been wearied, body and mind. He had travelled since the moment of his landing without other sleep than that he had caught by snatches in his indefatigable vehicle. He might have been hungry, for he had tasted nothing since the break of day. But he felt none of these wants of nature, in his[283] eagerness to meet, if not his father, his father's representative, and to receive from him that father's commands.

When Louis entered the saloon, and so far took possession of its dismal hospitality, as to lay his hat and sword upon the table; Castanos called to the attendant by the name of Gerard, and whispering to him they withdrew together. Louis sat for some time, expecting the re-entrance of the Spaniard, but no one appeared. He looked at his watch: it was near ten o'clock. From the hour, he supposed the taciturn secretary was staying away in his usual care of manufacturing his supper; and that he would presently return with his wine and omelet.

Louis sat composedly ten minutes after ten minutes, but at last his impatience to know why he was brought to so deserted an abode, and who he was to see, got the better of his determination to quietly await events, and he rose to ring the bell. He took one of the candles to seek for[284] this indispensible piece of furniture, but in no corner of the grim-visaged tapestry could he find even its remains. He opened the door, and called Castanos. No voice made answer, but the dull vibration of his own from the numerous vacant apartments. With the candle in his hand he retraced his way to the great hall, still calling on Castanos, and then on Gerard, and with as little success.

Determined to find somebody, he turned down a paved passage to the quarter that seemed to lead to the offices. Not a living creature presented itself, and all doors which appeared likely to open to the air were padlocked, and therefore resisted his attempts to force them. He returned to the hall to examine the great door, and found it unbolted, but locked, and the key taken away. He now comprehended that Castanos, and the only apparent inmate of the house, had left the place, that he was alone, and fastened in; but[285] for what purpose he was thus betrayed into solitary confinement, time only could shew. To quell the vague alarm that rose in his breast, he had again to recollect he was brought into these circumstances by his father's orders.

"But at any rate," thought he, "whether I am to meet friend or foe, there is no harm in keeping my sword at my side. It is just possible Castanos may not be honest. He may not hold the rank in my father's establishment, to which he pretends, he may not be the very Castanos; should he be a menial domestic, instead of a confidential secretary, (and from his avoiding my presence at all opportunities, and being so unwilling to converse, when obliged to be with me, it does not appear very doubtful!) then I may, indeed, be in the hands of a villain. He knows the generosity of my two uncles, has made me a no contemptible object for plunder, and—in short, I do not like appearances!"[286] With these ideas he hastily re-ascended the stairs to the saloon. He found his sword safe, and lost no time in returning it to his belt. "What," cried he, "would be the reproaches of Sir Anthony, could he guess my present situation? What the distress at dear Morewick, did they know that their Louis, for the first time in his life, now feels the touch of fear?"

Murder in this loneliness! To die under the hands of ruffians, and be no more heard of by the beings he loved best, haunted his imagination while he walked to and fro, examining again and again the locks of his pistols. He had one in his hand, when he heard the rumbling of wheels in the court-yard. Shortly after, the steps of a man sounded in the gallery, and the saloon door being open, Louis saw Castanos approaching with his usual slowness. He entered the apartment, and laid a letter on the table.

"For me?" said Louis, "from whom?"[287] "Its contents will tell you, Senor."

When Louis glanced on the superscription, he saw it was the hand-writing of his father. While he broke the seal, Castanos disappeared again. The letter was as follows:

"Louis!—It was the dying injunction of your mother to your grandfather Athelstone, that you should be brought up to honour me with a double duty. You can never forget the contents of the letter which she wrote to her infant son from her death-bed, and which your uncle Richard was to open to you on your twelfth birth-day. It told you to love your father as she had done, and to commit yourself in all things to his guidance.

"You are now called upon to act by this sacred exhortation. To be obedient in love and in fear, to a parent who received her legacy of tenderness for you, in his own bosom, and who will hereafter pay it with interest from his heart.[288]

"Now that she is gone, you are the only creature existing with whom I can identify my own being, that is, communicate my thoughts and my actions without reserve. Your interest is my interest: and till time and experience have given you judgement to guide your own proceedings, my judgement must be yours. You are yet a boy in years; though a manly person, and, I understand, a mind of no common capacity, give you at twenty the appearance of maturity. But remember, it is appearance only. Talents and good dispositions are the implements of wisdom, not wisdom's self, she is born of time and experience, and shews her proof in hard probation. The scenes in which you have hitherto been an actor, amongst the simple inhabitants of a remote province in England, are child's play to the parts you may now be called to perform. I am about to present you to the world, to aspiring, subtle, treacherous mankind!—You must be[289] instructed in every movement; prompted, and supported. I have provided means to these ends; and all you have to do, is to resign yourself with docility to the masters I set over you. Should impertinent curiosity, or refractory wilfulness, or any other perversity in your conduct, traverse my present trial of your character, we never meet! You shall return whence you came; and only as one dead, hold a place in the memory of your father. The child of my spotless wife shall not be denied an ample provision; but I will never cherish as my son, one who is an alien to my spirit.

"On the night of your arrival at Vienna, my secretary Castanos has my commands to introduce you to a person, who will give proof of coming from me, by shewing you a duplicate of that picture of your mother, which your grandfather bequeathed to me.—Being so assured, you must revere and obey that person in word and deed, as you would revere and[290] obey me; and ever hope to behold the face of your father, William,

"Madrid.  "Baron de Ripperda."

There were family references in this letter, which affected the heart of a son;—and though the style was generally severe, yet there was also a promise of such full future confidence, that Louis could not but press it to his lips as the earnest of a fellowship with his father he was determined to deserve. The first sight of the letter had removed all suspicion of his guide from his mind; and having read it with a beating heart, he walked up and down the room, impatiently awaiting the introduction of his father's friend.

Again he heard the approach of steps; but it was now of two persons. He stopped in the middle of the floor, his eyes rivetted to the door, which, in a few minutes was thrown open by Castanos; and a man of a commanding[291] stature, wrapped in a cloak, and with a large hat flapped over his brows, entered alone into the chamber. The door was immediately closed. He stepped a few paces forward; and putting up the projecting brim of his hat, over which hung a heavy black plume, that still threw a deeper shade over his eyes, their piercing glance shot at once through the soul of Louis.

The stranger stood; and, without speaking, continued to look steadfastly on his future charge. With a progressive movement of his powerful eye, he perused the lineaments of Louis's face and figure from head to foot. Louis gazed on him in turn; and wondered at the awe he felt of an unknown being, whose haughty port and unceremonious investigation, rather announced the future tyrant, than guardian of his conduct. Hitherto his independent spirit had been wont to start like fire from the flint, at any touch of oppression; and he could[292] not but marvel within himself, why he should both fear and respect the stern aspect of this extraordinary man. The loftiness of his mien was well adapted to the countenance which the raised brim of the hat disclosed. Dark mustachios and a pointed beard marked his lip and chin; while the marble hue of his commanding features seemed to turn even luridly pale, as the brightness of his deeply-set eyes flashed from under their shadowy brows, upon his immovable companion. Louis could not withdraw his riveted eye from the searching gaze of the stranger; and he said to himself, "I am thus struck, because it is the representative of my father that stands before me: it is he, who that father has commanded me to reverence as himself!"—As he ended this short soliloquy, he unconsciously obeyed the sentiment of his mind, and respectfully bowed his head.

This action seemed to recall the stranger from the abstraction with which[293] he was scanning his future pupil; and approaching him with a step which mingled a prince's dignity with the firmness of a soldier, he took Louis's hand, grasped, and wrung it, as if with some sudden sting of mental anguish; and then abruptly relinquishing it, threw himself into a chair, and pulling the beaver of his hat over his face, sat for some time leaning his head upon his hand, and preserving the silence which had not yet been broken.

Louis stood opposite to him, contemplating with interest and expectation, the further developement of this friend of his father. At last the stranger spoke.—

"Louis de Montemar," said he.

At the sound of his name, ejaculated by one who had continued so portentously silent, Louis started; and his heart laboured in his breast. He was now going to be told the secret of his destiny!—What it was his father demanded of his strength of mind, or bo[294]dily exertion; and how he was to prove himself worthy to be received as his son.

The stranger had paused, on uttering his first address.—But it was only for a moment. Again the lightning of his eyes flashed upon the face of his auditor, and he resumed; but what he said was in the French language.

"Louis de Montemar, you have read the letter which I conveyed to you, from your father the Baron de Ripperda?"

"I have."

Again the stranger bent his head on his hand. The long plumes covered his face from observation; but Louis perceived that his whole frame trembled. After another, and a longer pause, he spoke again.—"And you are prepared to obey your father's injunctions, contained in that letter?"

"I am. For I believe my father would not so entirely commit the temporal, and therefore eternal, welfare of his son, to[295] any man who is not worthy of the charge."

The stranger rose from his seat.—"I am the man to whom your father has confided this awful trust; and I accept your obedience. Know me as the Sieur Ignatius: and whatever else I may seem hereafter, it is not your interest to pry into. Your duty is to know of me no more than what I tell you; and to obey me, as if you knew me without reserve. To-morrow, at noon, your task shall be appointed.—Meanwhile, stir not hence. Refresh yourself from the fatigues of your journey; and rest confident in me and your father. There is my pledge."

Before Louis could find words in a foreign language, to answer, satisfactorily to himself so extraordinary a speech, the Sieur Ignatius laid the promised miniature of the late Baroness upon the table, and disappeared from the room.[296]


Having partaken of a slight refreshment, which the solitary domestic of the mansion set before him, Louis desired to be conducted to his bed-chamber. The man opened a door at the further extremity of the saloon, and the weary traveller followed into an apartment even more desolate than the one he had left. The dull cold light of a winter moon, shrouded in snow-clouds, gleamed through the mouldering remnants of what had once been damask curtains. These perishing relics of departed grandeur were all of furniture that presented itself to the eye of Louis, as he looked around for a place of rest. At last, in a distant recess deep in darkness, the candle he held in his hand shewed a mass of something[297] heaped together. He approached, and found his own travelling palliasse on the floor, and his baggage so disposed, as to supply the place of chair and table.

In recognizing even these poor necessaries to the repose he needed, Louis cast not a thought on the comforts he did not see, but thanking God for the good provided, stretched himself upon his hard bed, and soon was wrapped in balmy slumber.

After a night of profound sleep, the bright smile of the awakened sun played on his eye-lids, and starting from his pallet, with his usual morning-spring of joy he hailed the brilliancy of the opened day. In an apartment close to his chamber he found that luxury of the continent (which even this deserted mansion retained), a bath, and having enjoyed its refreshment, with spirits ready for whatever task might be assigned him, he prepared to meet again his mysterious visitor.

On re-entering the saloon, the gloomi[298]ness which had appalled him the preceding evening was no longer there; it had disappeared before the chaser of shadows, and he advanced to a window to see what evidence of neighbourhood would present itself without.

A view, as novel as it was gay and picturesque, burst upon his sight. Under the windows stretched a high balustraded terrace, with broad stone-steps leading down to a garden intersected with parterres and long vistas foliaged with glittering icicles. The ground was white with snow, which had been falling all night, and nothing having tracked the deserted walks, it lay in shining smoothness as far as the low wall which bounded the garden. Beyond the parapet, trees of loftier growth stretched their ample arms over a plain that banked the mighty waters of the Danube, now arrested by the mightier hand of winter into a vast substantial causeway.

At this early hour in the morning, and[299] on that long line of ice, whose limits were lost in the horizon, all Vienna and its surrounding country seemed assembled. Carriages of various forms and colours elevated on sledges, and filled by their owners of as various quality and habits, swept along in every direction. Men and women mounted on scates, darted past each other with the velocity of light; some with baskets of merchandize on their heads, and others, simply wrapped in their bear-skins, speeded forward on errands of business or of pleasure. Many of the sledged carriages took the direction of a beautiful island in the midst of the river. It was crowned with cedars, and every tree of perpetual green; they parted their verdant ranks to give place to a sloping glade, on whose smooth bosom stood a splendid but fantastic mansion. A thousand strains of music pierced the distant air, while the gay traineaux advanced in succession before its gilded colonades.[300] Louis gazed and listened. How different was this unexpected, this glittering scene, from the sombre-suited winters of Northumberland! There, the black and sterile rocks frowned horrible over the frozen stream, which lay in death-like stillness under their gloomy shade. But yet that awful pause of nature was dear to his contemplative and happy mind. It filled him with recollections of the gracious voice, which had spoken the world into existence from the sterner solitude of chaos! And then, when his mood for loneliness changed, he had only to quit his meditations amongst these caverns of cold and silence, to emerge at once into the warm, social circle of endearing kindred, and animating friends!

While, with a fixed eye, he was thus musing on the present and the past, Gerard entered the room, and placed a tray with breakfast on the table. Louis enquired for Senor Castanos. The man answered, he was engaged.[301] "With whom?"

"I do not know."

"Then I am not to expect him at breakfast?"

"He went out at sun-rise."

Louis asked no more questions, seeing that all around him were under the same law of la Trappe.

His lonely meal was soon dispatched; and as he found it impossible to fasten his attention to a book, or even to writing to the friends he loved, until he knew when he was to be removed from his strange situation; he left the table, and returned to his contemplations at the window. He was standing with folded arms, his eyes rambling over the ever-varying scene on the river, and sometimes wishing to be one in the animated groupe; when, hearing a step on the floor, he turned round, and beheld his expected visitor.

He wore the same enveloping dress as before, and, as before, shook aside the[302] overhanging plumes of his hat as he advanced into the room. Louis was recovered from the amazement into which the mystery of his new guardian's address had thrown him on their first interview; but he did not attempt to dispel the awe impressed by his deportment, and his relation as the Baron de Ripperda's friend; and, therefore, he greeted his re-appearance with a collected, but a profoundly respectful demeanor.

The Sieur Ignatius approached him.

"I need not enquire of your health this morning: you look well and cheerful; and these are signs of a constitution indispensable to the fulfilment of your future duties."

Louis answered with a grateful smile, that he had to thank Heaven for a vigorous frame, and for a destiny which, hitherto had not afforded him an excuse for being otherwise than cheerful.

"The cheerfulness of a life passed in retirement," observed Ignatius, "being[303] the effect of active amusements rather than of active duties, is habit and not principle; and must be re-moulded with stouter materials, to stand the buffets of the world. Louis, you are called from the happiness of self-enjoyment to that of self-neglect. You are called upon to toil for mankind."

"Point but the way, Sir!" cried Louis, in a subdued but earnest voice; "and I trust, you shall not find me turn from it."

"It is in all respects different from the one you have left. Fond old age, and female partiality, have hitherto smoothed your path. In the midst of this effeminacy, I know you have meditated on a manly life, on the career of fame, its triumphs, and its crown. But between the starting point and the goal, there is a wide abyss. The imagination of visionary youth overleaps it: but, in fact, it must be trod with strong unwearied feet; with wariness, privation, and danger."[304] The eyes of Louis, flashing the brave ardours of his heart, (and which he believed were now to be summoned into licenced exercise,) gave the only answer to the Sieur's remarks, but it was eloquent of the high expectations he had raised.

"Young man," continued his austere monitor, "I come to lay open this momentous pass to you; and, once entered, you are no longer your own. You belong to mankind: you are devoted to labour for them:—And, above all, to sacrifice the daintiness of a pampered body; the passions of your soul; the affections of your heart; to the service of the country, which was that of your ancestors, and to which your father is now restored."

"I am ready, Sir," exclaimed Louis, "to take my post, be it where it may, and I trust that I shall maintain it as becomes my father's son."

"At present," replied the Sieur, "it is within these walls."[305] Louis looked aghast. The animation of hope springing forward to military distinction, faded from his countenance.—"Within these walls!—How?—What can be done here?—I believed—I thought the army—"

This incoherent reply was suddenly arrested by the steady fixture of Ignatius's eyes. A pause ensued, doubly painful to Louis, on account of the shock his expectations had received, and because he had so weakly betrayed it. With the tint of shame displacing the paleness of disappointment, he stood before his father's friend, looking on the ground; at last the Sieur spoke.

"What army do you speak of?"

With encreased embarrassment, Louis replied: "the Spanish army; that which the Marquis Santa Cruz gave my uncle to understand was soon to march against Austria, to compel the Emperor to fulfil his broken treaties."

"And to meet that army in the heart[306] of the Austrian capital," said Ignatius, "you thought was the object of your present summons?"

Unable to speak, from a humiliating consciousness of absurdity, Louis coloured a deeper scarlet, and again cast his eyes to the ground.

"No," continued the Sieur, "there are ways of forcing sovereigns to do their duties, besides that which the sword commands. If it will sooth your disappointment, to think that you labour in one of these, believe what you wish, and rest satisfied."

"I am satisfied," returned Louis, "and ready to be confined within these walls, at whatever employment, and for whatever time, my father may chuse to dictate."

"Follow me."

As Ignatius pronounced this command, he opened the saloon door, and crossing the gallery, stopped before another door at its extremity. He unlocked it; and[307] Louis, who had obeyed his peremptory summons, followed him into a room furnished with an escritoire, and a large table covered with implements for writing.

"This, Louis de Montemar, is your post," cried the Sieur, closing the door and bolting it. "Here you must labour for Spain and your own destiny; and here," added he, in a decisive voice; "you must take an oath of inviolable secrecy, that neither bribery of wealth, honours, nor beauty; nor threats of ruin, torments, nor of death; shall ever induce you to betray what may be confided to you in this chamber."

Appalled at this demand, Louis did not answer. The Sieur examined his changing countenance.

"You cannot hesitate to give me this pledge of honour!"

"Honour does not need such a pledge," replied Louis, turning on him the assured look of conscious worth; "trust[308] me, and you shall find, that in no case where honour enjoins silence, death itself can compel me to speak."

Ignatius shook his head.—

"This will not do, in an affair like the present. When the interests of millions may hang upon a yea or nay; he, who has it in his power to pronounce either, must be bound on the perdition of his soul to utter that only which ensures the general safety."

He paused for an answer. But Louis remaining silent, as if still unconvinced, his stern monitor resumed with augmented asperity.

"I do not like this mincing nicety. It savours more of effeminate dreaming, than of manly intention to observe and to act. At a word, take the oath I proffer you; or, prepare to set out this night on your return to England; and to the absurd people who have taught you to pant for glory, and to start from its shadow."[309] The Sieur turned haughtily away.—The reasoning faculties of his pupil became confused. Was he doing right or wrong in resisting this demand? It called on him to stake his salvation on the preservation of secrets, of the nature of which he was entirely ignorant. It seemed to him more than just, that a stranger, however sanctioned, should, at so early a stage of acquaintance, expect that perfect reliance on his virtue, as would warrant a man in so awful a venture as that of vowing to adopt all that stranger might propose. But the authority with which he pronounced the sentence which should follow persisted refusal, struck Louis with astonishment. Who was he, that durst so fearlessly take on himself the responsibility of banishing, without appeal, and with disgrace, the son of the Baron de Ripperda? As Louis looked up, with something of this question in his eyes, he met the searching glance of Ignatius.[310] "Young man," said he, "you think your honour insulted, by the mention of an oath. Your honour, which is yet untried! Which has passed through no ordeal, but those presented by phantastic imagination! What must the Baron de Ripperda think, when he hears of a son who so insults his father's approved honour, as to doubt whether he ought to pledge his faith on that father's virtue? And, after all," added he, "what more is demanded of you, than the surety that is offered every hour by the rest of mankind, on the slightest requisition, and on the commonest occasions?"

"What is slightly assumed," returned Louis, "would be as slightly relinquished. And I trust that my father will not condemn, and that his friend will not continue to misjudge, a hesitation which springs from the inexpressible awe in which I hold the nature of an oath. By that most solemn of appeals, I have never yet called upon the presence of my[311] Creator; and therefore I tremble to do it now. But," added he, "as it is the will of my father; who, through your agency, demands it of me; on the probity of his soul, I commit mine, and am ready to swear."

"Then," cried the Sieur, "subscribe that paper with your name."

Louis took it, and read a form of words in the Spanish language, which claimed his allegiance to Spain; by the privileges and pledges of his long line of ancestors born in that realm, by the reunion of his father to that realm; and by the restitution which the King and council had made to him of the Ripperda territories in Andalusia and Granada, forfeited to the crown in the year 1673, by the rebellious conduct of Don Juan de Montemar Duke de Ripperda. In just return for this grace from the land of his ancestors, William, the present Baron de Ripperda, had taken an oath of fealty to Philip and to Spain.[312] And Louis de Montemar, his only son, and heir to all his possessions, honours, and civic duties, was called upon, by the same solemn rite to devote himself to Spain, as his country; and to Philip as his liege-lord. At the end of this official document, a postscript was written in the Baron's own hand, demanding of his son, to add to the signature required, on oath to perform all that might be appointed him by his father directly, or indirectly through the Sieur Ignatius, for the service of the King; and to hold all secrets confided to him for that purpose, inviolable as his Christian faith.

Louis saw nothing in bonds which his father's hand-writing had sanctified, to suggest further hesitation; and, without reluctance, he set his name to the paper, and pressed to his lips the sacred volume presented by the Sieur.

"Now Louis," said he, "your task is easy. Will, is a conquering sword!"—as he spoke, a smile played for a moment[313] on his stern lip; but like a sun-beam on a dark cloud, it suddenly disappeared, and all was gloom again. He opened the escritoire, and took from the shelves two thick scrolls in strange characters. Louis continued to gaze on the face of this mysterious man, as he arranged the sheets on the table. The smile, which had just lit up those lurid features with the nameless splendors of mental beauty, was passed away; but the impression remained on his pupil's heart. Louis congratulated himself on the assurance that it gave him, and said inwardly, "I shall never forget that magic smile, so eloquent of every ineffable grace of mind and spirit! It is a pledge to me, that I may love, as well as reverence its possessor."

Ignatius placed the papers before his attentive pupil, telling him, they comprised his duty for the day; that he must copy them stroke by stroke, for the inaccuracy of a single curve, might pro[314]duce consequences to burthen his soul for ever. The Sieur then sat down to give minute instruction respecting the execution of these momentous documents. The task was complicated, and of a nature totally different from any thing Louis had ever practised, or could possibly have anticipated. However, he cheerfully engaged in its performance; and his employer, having seen the precision of his commencement, rose to withdraw. Before he quitted the room, he turned and said, that he supposed it was hardly necessary to enjoin the propriety of always keeping that chamber locked, both when it was occupied and when it was vacant. On Louis's bowing to the implied command, he added, that Gerard would strike on the door, when dinner was served in the saloon; and that at midnight, he would himself return to the chateau, to inspect the papers, and affix his seal to their contents.

Louis continued from noon, till the[315] gloom of twilight, at his laborious penmanship. He knew nothing of the particular purport of any one of the numerous sheets he was transcribing. The characters were unknown to him; but he was assured by Ignatius, all were directed to the service of Spain; and with alacrity and exactness he had completed half his task before the duskiness of the hour, and the promised stroke of Gerard, gave him a short respite.

Solitude was again at his temperate meal. He had heard enough from the Sieur, to warn him against the imprudence of putting unnecessary questions; and determined to allow all unimportant circumstances, at least, to pass by him unnoticed by oral remark; he said nothing to his taciturn attendant about the continued absence of Castanos. His dinner was dispatched in a few minutes, and taking the candles in his hands, he returned to the locked chamber to finish his work.[316] At the appointed hour, Ignatius reappeared.

The several heaps of papers were arranged for his inspection, and, with a nod of approbation he examined them one by one. He approved what was done, and turning to the escritoire, sealed them, and affixed to each packet its appropriate address. What were the names on these superscriptions, Louis had no guess, though he did not doubt they were all to be consigned to the Baron de Ripperda; and, (as he observed by the proceedings of the Sieur, they were ready to be put into their last envelope,) he ventured to ask whether he might not add one packet more to his father. Ignatius remained silent. Though Louis saw no encouragement on his contracting brow, he would not be so repulsed, but steadily repeated his request, adding, that he was particularly anxious to dispatch this letter, as it was not only to assure his father of his de[317]votedness to his commands, but to beg him to forward one on most urgent business, which he had inclosed for Don Ferdinand d'Osorio.

"Your father will have sufficient assurance of your obedience, in the execution of these papers," returned the Sieur, "and as to promoting a correspondence with Don Ferdinand d'Osorio;—in your situation, that is out of the question. Your residence here is unknown to any one, and must continue so, till the affair that commands your service, is made or marred. Burn your packet, therefore; it cannot go."

During this speech, he opened the leathern-bag that was to be the travelling case of the dispatches.

Louis sighed convulsively as he put his letter back into his bosom. Ignatius took no notice of this heart-struck sign of disappointment, but calmly continued packing the papers. Louis thought of the unhappy Alice; of the tears she[318] shed on his neck at parting; of his vow to restore to her, her peace of mind; and he could not endure his own cowardice in having been over-awed to the appearance of giving up her cause, even for a moment. He resumed in a firmer voice.

"I seek no correspondence with Don Ferdinand, Sir, I never desire to hear from him in return for the letter I am so anxious he should receive. It is only to demand of him an act of justice to a lovely woman whose happiness he has destroyed. And to do this, I have solemnly engaged myself to her and to my own heart."

"Louis de Montemar," replied the Sieur, "you are entered on a course of life that will not admit of romantic trifling. There is but one direction for all your faculties:—the public good.—Private concerns must take care of themselves."

He closed the leathern-case over the dispatches, and covering its padlock with wax, stampt it with his seal.[319] "I repeat, Sir," cried Louis impetuously, "I have pledged my honour, to the forwarding this letter to Don Ferdinand; and the public good will not deem it necessary to make me a private deceiver!"

Ignatius turned on him a look of haughty reproof.

"Young man, you know little of your duty towards the public good, if you can put its smallest tittle into competition with the adjustment of an amour between a weak girl and a profligate youth. Her folly must be her punishment."

The indignation of insulted virtue burnt upon the cheek of Louis.

"You mistake me, Sir! She for whom I am interested, is as pure from unchaste weakness, as my father's honour from stain. It is her soul that is enthralled, by a vow extorted from her by this ungenerous Spaniard; and to release her from the wretched load, is the sole purport of my letter to him."[320] "You love the girl yourself," said the inflexible Ignatius, taking no visible notice of the encreasing agitation of his pupil.

"I do love her," returned he, "but not in the way your observation would imply. I love her, as becomes the son of the Baroness de Ripperda to love the daughter of her sister; that sister, who has been to him in the place of the mother heaven took from him at his birth! Alice Coningsby is the person to whom I have bound myself to release her conscience from the bonds of an artful man. And, after this explanation, I cannot believe that the friend of my father will longer withhold my letter!"

The Sieur listened with his eyes bent to the ground. He looked up when Louis ceased speaking; and saw, by his proud indignant air, that he rather expected occasion for further braving a refusal, than to receive the permission he affected to think could no longer be denied.[321] "Louis," said he, "I see what is passing in your mind; but I will not be rigid to your present feelings. Your letter shall go to Don Ferdinand. But you must expunge from it all reference to where you are, and tell him, to send the acquittal of your imprudent cousin, direct to herself."

Surprised and thankful, Louis readily undertook to re-write the letter according to these injunctions; a few minutes put it into the form required, and inclosing the irresistible appeal of Alice herself, to her ungenerous lover, he sealed the packet, and delivered it to the Sieur. The dispatches being fastened up, it was to be committed to the particular charge of Castanos, who was to carry the bag to Madrid. Louis's grateful heart was again going to pour itself out, but Ignatius checked the ingenuous effusion, by turning severely round, as he moved to the door.

"This time," said he, "I have yielded[322] to your request, in consideration of its pious motive. But you must fully understand me; and then you will not presume more on this indulgence, than the spirit of your recent oath will sanction. Here not only ends your correspondence with Don Ferdinand, but closes your communication with every person without these walls, until our affair is terminated. Not even the inhabitants of Lindisfarne must know of your being at Vienna."

"I lament my ignorance of the necessity for such precaution," replied Louis, "but the interdicted intimation is now beyond my recall. I wrote to both my uncles from Ostend; and twice during my journey to Vienna."

"Such an accident was provided against," answered Ignatius; "Castanos had the Baron de Ripperda's orders to destroy all such letters in their way to the post; so be at rest on that head. Your father himself will take care to let[323] Mr. Athelstone and Sir Anthony know that you are well, and conducting yourself to his satisfaction."

"I am in his hands, and in your's," said Louis, bowing his head; while struck by so strange an act of precaution, he had not power to utter a word more. The Sieur drew his cloak over the dispatches, and without further observations, left the apartment.


    Printed by A. Strahan,
New-Street-Square, London.

Transcriber’s Notes

List of Archaic Spelling (not an exhaustive list)

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