Page images
PDF
EPUB

as an especial favour, that I and my little friend here be not separated so soon.

“Go to-morrow ?" said the child; “ where are you going?"

“To England," replied he, with a sigh.

“Oh, then we are all going," cried the little girl, clapping her hands; “I'm so glad." “No, not all, only me," replied Cheveley.

The poor child's joy was now turned to sorrow, and she sobbed audibly as she said, “And is Prince going too? poor Prince."

“Yes, you know I could as soon leave my heart behind as leave Prince.”

“Then do leave your heart behind; make him leave his heart and Prince, mamma," said the child, innocently turning to the sofa where her mother was lying.

" Come here, Julia,” said Lady de Clifford; "you are teasing Lord Cheveley;" and she hid her own blushing face against her child's as she stooped down and whispered to her to be quiet, or her papa would send her to bed. . .

“It is time for you to call her to order, I think," said Lord de Clifford, as he rose from table and offered his arm to his mother, when they left the room together. When the dessert was taken away and the table removed, Saville begged for some music; while he, Fanny, and Mrs. Seymour were turning over the contents of the music-stand, Major Nonplus buttoned up his coat, and fussing up to Lord Cheveley, who had drawn his chair beside Lady de Clifford's sofa, began apologizing for, and regretting an indispensable engagement that called him away. It was really provoking, that, upon the last evening of his lordship's being in their circle, and the first of her ladyship's being able again to join it, he should be complled to absent himself; “but,” added he, “ I assure you, you cannot regret it so much as I do."

“ That I am convinced of,” said Cheveley, smiling, as he shook hands and wished him good-by. After the major's departure, and the laugh that followed it had subsided, an embarrassing silence ensued, which Cheveley broke by saying to Fanny, “Do, Miss Neville, have the goodness to sing that beautiful duet of Millar's, • Loved friend, awake thy song.'”

- With pleasure,” replied Fanny ; “how very beautiful some of his music is; it is so perfectly adapted to the words."

“ So it is,” said Cheveley; "I am a great admirer of his compositions ; but did you ever hear his wife sing?"

“ No,' said Fanny; “ does she sing well ?”

“ Well is not the word; she has about the most exquisite voice I ever heard; it is so soft, so silvery, so clear. Her upper notes always give me an idea of a waterfall trinkling through sunbeams; and then she is so delicately and gracefully pretty, that one's eyes are almost as much feasted as one's ears. One of the greatest musical feasts I ever had was hearing her and her sister, Mrs. Bishop, sing together.”

“ Dear me, you quite make me envy you," said Fanny.

Well, will you, in revenge, let me envy you, by hearing you sing ?” asked Cheveley.

And accordingly, Fanny and Saville, who had a deep, rich mellow voice, sang the beautiful duet that Lord Cheveley had asked for. When they came to the last verse,

“When in days long past,

I listened to thy song, too beautiful to last,” Cheveley involuntarily raised his eyes to Lady de Clifford's, and mechanically repeated the words "too beautiful to last.

The exquisite harmony of the last cadence had died away some minutes before he was sufficiently collected to ask them to sing something else. They good-humouredly complied by singing that sweet air from one of Blangini's Notturni, “ Amor che nasci ;" even had Julia and Lord Cheveley been alone, their hearts were too full to speak.

: “Men shadow out the truth when they are sad;

They say but ill who tell us that grief speaks

In household phrases;"* but it was not then, while they were filling their hearts with last looks of each other, that they felt all the agony of grief which fate had prepared for them.

Love is truly a child, to whom the present is all ; who plays, and even sleeps on the brink of a precipice, and feels neither its danger nor its desolation till it awakes and finds itself alone, and that truth, faith, memory, all save the heart, remain unbroken. Though neither Cheveley nor Julia could speak themselves, everything else

* Barry Cornwall.

seemed to speak for them. Even Monsieur de Rivoli, who had taken up a guitar and twanged people into asking him to sing, sang, with rather more feeling than usual, that charming little romance, “ Ou peut fuir sans oublier!" · When he had finished, little Julia said to Lord Cheveley, “Do let poor Prince come up, as it is the last evening, to wish us good-by."

“Ou peut fuir sans oublier," said he, abstractedly patting the child's hand.

"Yes, I know,” replied she, “ that dogs never forget; but may he come up?"

“Certainly,” said Cheveley, recollecting himself, and colouring as he rose to ring the bell. The dog was ordered, and five minutes afterward the poor animal camo bounding into the room; and, as if it were aware that it was paying a farewell visit, it seemed to lavish its caresses doubly upon every one, but especially on Lady de Clifford, who had always been kind to it. It placed its paws upon her shoulders, and nestled its cold nose into her neck. In stooping to return its caresses, a small Trichinopoli chain that she wore round her neck got entangled in the dog's collar, and the clasp giving way by the animal suddenly jumping on the ground, he remained in possession of the chain, which his master perceiving, disentangled and dexterously concealed; then stooping to pat Prince and call him a good dog, he said in a low voice, inaudible to every ear but the one it was intended for, “ Not a link is broken, nor ever shall be." But Time-relentless Time-Fate's mercuryknocks at every door, heedless whether the tidings he brings be life or death, weal or wo, and his iron tongue now tolled midnight. One after another the party had dropped off, till only Cheveley and Lady de Clifford, Fanny and Saville, remained. The two latter parted from their friend, loading him with a thousand good wishes; but neither he nor Julia spoke one word. He was to leave Venice at six in the morning; her door closed on him-was it for ever?

Julia sat by her window all night. Morning at length dawned; it was dull and cold, accompanied by a deluge of rain. She felt grateful that the very clouds seemed to sympathize with her. Soon she heard the murmur of voices on the landing beneath the windows; Sanford and Prince stood at the entrance of the gondola ; presently Lord Cheveley appeared; he looked pale and hag

gard; he pulled his travelling-cap over his eyes as he entered the coffin-like boat ; the gondola pushed off, and Julia saw him no more!

The noon of that day found Lady de Clifford in a high fever, and it was a month before she was sufficiently recovered to allow the party to pursue their journey to Naples.

CHAPTER VI.

"Look you, Bill, some hanimals is more difficult to poison nor hothers, 'specially if they are venomously hinclined, and fond of the world-like.”Bat-catcher's Diary.

“We are all of us deceived at times, and those who do not know us much are the more deceived.”—ZIMMERMAN.

"I have (though a tolerably good philosopher) a low opinion of Platonic love ; for which reason I thought it necessary to give my fair readers a caution against it; observing, to my great concern, the waist of a Platonist lately swell to a roundness that is inconsistent with that philosophy."--STEELE.

“A gentleman of a pacific temperament, but :who had somehow or other managed to incur a kicking, excused it by forcibly arguing that a man can no more help what is done behind his back, than what is said.? »

BEAUTIFUL Naples ! whose sapphire waves flow on in music, and whose flower-heathed air laughs out in sunshine, as if primeval Eden's youth still lingered on thy shores, mocking at sin and time! Beautiful Naples ! Venus of cities rising from the sea-begirt with beauty like a zone, and diademed with palaces !-shall I ever again behold you? No, never, at least as I beheld you once, for to the winter of the heart no second spring succeeds!

The journey to Naples had been performed by slow and easy stages. Still Lady de Clifford was so weak, that they had been there a month before she felt able to take a drive. Their apartments at the " Victoria" faced the Villa Reale, and the only progress that she had made towards convalescence was having her chair wheeled to her window, and inhaling the air of its delicious gardens. There she would sit for hours, without enjoying, or apparently noticing, anything; even the puppet-show penny-trumpet sound of the signal for the half dozen odds and ends of men that composed the guard to turn out when the king or queen passed, did not rouse her : the only objects which she seemed to distinguish from others, were when that gorgeous mockery of death, a Neapolitan funeral, passed under her window, and then she looked wistfully at the crimson velvet pall, and eagerly after the hideous masks that followed it. Indeed, she had become such a complete wreck, that the dowager of late had frequently taken occasion to impress upon her son, that, now his wife had taken to low spirits and ill health, it became doubly incumbent upon him, as soon as he returned to England, to make arrangements for living " ong gorson;" in other words, sending his wife quietly into the country to vegetate by herself; and soon everything was arranged to the complete satisfaction of both mother and son, even to the plausible excuse that was to be resorted to on the occasion, which was, that, with the expenses of an approaching election in view, he could not afford the frais of a London establishment; and, besides, the country was better for Julia's health and education!

Oh for a forty tartufe power to sing thy praise, hypocrisy! Time was when the arrangement, as it would necessarily include the removal of Mademoiselle d'Antoville also, would not have been so easily acceded to on the part of Lord de Clifford ; but, must we confess it? during the month he had been at Naples,

A grenadier, as you shall hear,

A mach fiercer, taller man !" Count Campobello by name, had been more constant in his visits to mademoiselle than Lord de Clifford thought consistent with her professed devotion to him. Nay, one night at the San Carlino, he could have almost sworn that he overheard the count call her“ mia: cara Laura !” but this his Laura positively denied ; nay, she got quite indignant at the bare supposition of such a thing ; cried, pouted, and whimpered a great deal: about the hardship of not being able to see such a very old friend as Giovanni Campobello without being so calumniated, and that, too, by the man she adored! Ney

« PreviousContinue »