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sort; but they have passed an hour or so together latterly at écarte."
"Ah! I thought so! He must not do so again. Warn him, but do not let him know who told you. Tell him never to play with the Comte again, particularly if I should be present, or else—I cannot say more. Oh, Mary! Mary! do not despise me! I cannot help myself. I have told you much-but, if you knew all! Shocked as Mrs Lea was, she had sufficient presence of mind to pass unnoticed the scarcely equivocal confession of the gamester's wife, and referring to her last words, replied, "I shall often think of you when absent, Jane, and of what you have told me; but we must never abandon hope, and if the Comte can but obtain his appointment, I don't despair. Idle folks are always getting into mischief. There's my goodman, for instance, because he has nothing to occupy his time here, seems to have taken it into his simple head that he understands écarte, and so must needs try his luck with an experienced player, as I suppose you mean to say the Comte is; so, of course, I shall lecture him on the subject, and really feel greatly obliged to you for your friendly warning.'
"Hush!" exclaimed the Comtesse, "that is his voice! He is angry at something, I know by his tone. Let us talk of something else-anything! You said you were going to see the castle at Eberstein, I think. Do seem cheerful!"
There was a scowl on the brow of Comte Henri de Marberg as he opened the door; but it disappeared the moment he beheld his wife's visiter; and during her stay he endeavoured to make himself particularly agreeable an endeavour in which he was seldom unsuccessful.
"Accept my thanks for your kind attention to my dear Jane," said he, when Mrs Lea was about to take leave; "she is sadly too much alone. I often urge her to mix more in society, particularly as your country families are so many here; but I cannot persuade her as I would, and I fear she is very dull at sometimes, though her amiable disposition is such as she always says it is not so.
Having dismissed their visiter, the Comte strode back to the table, and throwing down a letter, said, in an angry tone,
"There! Read that! It's from your father-a cursed old miser! He refuses a paltry single thousandcurse him! What for do you sit gaping there, like a fool? Can't you take and read ?-Eh?" and he threw himself upon a sofa, and, uttering low imprecations, scowled upon his wife as she tremblingly unfolded, and, with tearful eyes, ran over the contents of the letter; and, when she had finished, looked up imploringly, and murmured,
"I am very sorry-but what more can I do, Henri ?"
"What more? Why, write again, and again, and again! I will have it. Say as the wine crop is nothing; tell him as some tenant have failed; or as it must come and secure my appointment; or what you like. Bah!"
"But, listen, Henri! How can I say any thing about the appointment, when he insists upon knowing what it is, and you will not tell me?"
“Bah, you fool! You know as I know no more as yourself."
"And then your estate, Henri? This is the third time he has enquired where it is precisely, and I cannot tell him more than it is near the Rhine. He says it may be mortgaged, and money raised so. I don't understand such matters, but "—
"Oh, you don't, don't you? But you understand them so well as I understand your fortune being in three per cent instead of sterling, what I expected. You could keep that back to deceive me when you would be Comtesse, and you must do something now.'
"Indeed, indeed, Henri, I never meant to deceive you! You know I did not. All that I knew was that my aunt left me”.
"Curse your aunt and all the fa
"Oh, Henri! Could I ever have believed!"
"Well, well, then don't be a fool. Do as I tell you, and write and coax him. Come, come, don't cry like a child-so stupid. I don't mean no harm, only, besides this letter, I am provoked as I lost more than I intended with that lady's husband to-day, because there was somebody looking on as I am afraid knows too much; but I shall get my revenge to-morrow, when he will come here. I do all I can, and you must help and do something too."
GLIMPSE THE SIXTH.-HOME.
Two elderly gentlemen were sitting over their wine in the dining-room of Hartwell Hall. In their earlier days they had spent many a social confidential evening together; but duty had called one to the East Indies, where he had resided many years, and this was his first visit to his friend since his return.
"I see you don't think much of my second choice, Cowdrey," said squire Hartwell.
"My dear fellow!" exclaimed Mr Cowdrey, "what can you mean? Surely I have not committed any breach of politeness, or failed in paying Mrs Hartwell proper attention at dinner?"
"No, no, not at all, my old friend. You East Indians cut us plain country gentlemen quite out in that respect; but I know, by your look and manner, a certain something that I can't describe, but which puts me in mind of old times, and I like you all the better for it. Come, speak out plainly, and tell me what you think of her.'
"In the old times you allude to, I might have been foolish enough to decide upon the character of a person at first sight; but since then, I have been deceived rather too often to venture such random shots. Moreover, if I had seen more of your good lady, methinks that my opinion would be of little importance. If you are happy and content, that's quite enough never mind what other people think." "Very true, very true, my good friend. That's the main thing; and after all, perhaps, I might have done worse, for I must say that she keeps all household matters in capital order, though, sometimes, she's a confounded deal too particular and straitlaced. That is, according to my fancy, for I always liked a cheerful house. I believe I was rather too much in a hurry; but I married her out of spite, and the end is answered, that's some comfort."
"Not the most amiable motive possible. How was that?"
"I remained a widower for three years, and, during that time, the scoundrel who married my daughter, spent or gambled away the whole of her fortune, and swindled me out of
five thousand pounds besides, under various pretences, all of which I at last found, on enquiry, were false. And that was not the worst. She had deceived me too. I thought I should have gone mad when I discovered that. Oh, Cowdrey! If you had but known her when we left England! She was all goodness and purity, and, though young, we considered her lot in life settled, as an attachment had sprung up between her and a young man who was all we could wish. Poor Edward Drayton! He has never held up his head like a man since! He took to the church afterward, and I had the pleasure of presenting him to a small living last autumn-a poor compensation! Ah! if Jane had but married him, how happily might we all have lived together here!-here, where our forefathers have lived for so many generations. But, to think that this fine estate would pass away at my death to a foreign swindler, was more than I could endure. idea haunted me continually. night I was tormented with dreams of executions in the house, and sales by auction of every familiar object; and by day, especially at twilight, all the family portraits seemed to look at me imploringly, as though they tried to speak, and beseech me to save them from coming degradation. Then, if I rode out, or took my gun, or strove in any way to amuse myself in the open air, it was all the same. The woods, the river, the very ground beneath appeared to reproach me, and I fancied that the fine old trees, as their branches waved aloft, cast a darker shade around, and groaned as though the axe were already at work to hew them down to supply the wants of a gamester and a stranger. More than once I was tempted, since all must go, to turn gamester myself; for, in our unfortunate tour, I had been betrayed into that vice, and suffered some temporary inconvenience in consequence; but, luckily, I had then made a vow never to play for above a certain stake, or, I have frequently thought since, I might have given way to the temptation, for I was reckless, and longed for some strong excitement that might prevent me from thinking.
However, I did escape that danger, and then, to cut the matter short-for I fear that I am wearying you-I resolved to marry again, and marry I did, and have now a son and heir; and, between ourselves, it is more than probable that there may be a farther increase in our family. I allow Jane so much a-year, in quarterly payments, and have taken care that the same shall be continued after my death. I know that she is not what she was, and have great reason to suspect that I don't know all. Be that as it may, I shall never forget that I am her father, though, thank God! she is no longer my only child. No, no. There's a pretty fair chance now that the Hartwells will hold the property for another generation or two, at least. So I can look round me with comfort; and, though of course it's fancy, I can really imagine, at this moment, that yonder grim old cavalier in the corner has got his eye upon us, and looks as though he would like to step down from his frame and join us in a cheer. ful glass. Well, here's a bumper to your memory, old gallant heart and strong i' th'arm! He was at the battle of Worcester, and— -but I won't get into family stories. I've tired your patience already, I fear; but I feel as
though a load were taken off my mind, by thus unbosoming myself to a trusty old friend. don't know when I have passed a half hour so agreeably."
Here a servant entered and aunounced that tea was ready, and thereby caused no small alteration in the worthy squire's countenance. He bit his lips for a second or two in silence-then a flush o'erspread his cheeks-and then, as though conscious that his appearance was somewhat ludicrous, and it behoved him to assert his independence, he summoned resolution, just as the man had reached the door, to say, in an authoritative tone, "Tell your mistress!" There he stopped, and the footman stopped likewise. It was an awkward pause; but presently the squire resumed the same tone, and said, "Tell
tell Jones to bring us a bottle of the old old. He'll know what I mean.What do you stand gaping there for? Do as I tell you, sir!"
"That's always the way whenever I have any visiters," he continued, when the man was gone; 66 but, now! with so old a friend! when we have not met for so many years! Hang me, if I will submit! It's hard indeed, if, in my own house, I may not be allowed to enjoy myself for once!"
AN EXCURSION OVER THE MOUNTAINS TO ABERYSTWITH.
THERE are two sorts of exhibitions now open for the improvement and delight of the eye of taste- Nature and Art. Are they rivals? They are not unfrequently in undue opposition. At this season we prefer taking the former first, and then, though late, pay respect to the latter; and visit the exhibitions of art in our picture-teeming metropolis. Having just seen the trees put on their glorious apparel (with the exception of some few late risers), we took to the mountains leaving all thoughts of magillup and varnish, we had in exchange the purest air. We have seen some beautiful scenery, and, strange to say, we did not meet with one artist. Artists are either confined to town at this season by professional engagements, or they prefer the autumn. If the latter be the case, we think them decidedly wrong; they lose Nature in her vigour and freshest hue. There is more colour, they say, in autumnal tints. That may be denied, however, unless they mean variety of colours, which are in autumn more positive; but it may be doubted if the indescribable colours, and for which there are no names, are not at this season the most beautiful the bloom of woodsnay, the bloom of earth, however covered for all is now of youth and freshness. The setting sun, with all his gorgeous clouds, is not now a distant glory; it now, even when it be less splendid, has a more pervading beauty, suffusing all to the admirer's feet. This may be one reason why artists do not reach the true pastoral; for that is to be seen and to be enjoyed, not in the brown horrors of a coming winter, but in the time of the green year. This is the season for repose in the shade, the "santa pace" in the deep glens-where the flickering sunbeam, softened through young foliage, just comes to play its hour upon the waters of a sheltered stream or mountain river, then leaves many a sweet blossom it has called into existence, to unobtrusive shade and quiet; and so it goes round the earth like Nature's finger of light, partially touching it, and beauty gladdens the very skies, that look with wonder on the new creation.
Yet we did not meet with one
sketcher, and, perhaps, none to admire the scenery, varied in its character from the stupendous to the simply beautiful. Our excursion was short in extent and in time. Our chief objects were the Devil's Bridge, and Aberystwith. The first night we slept at Rhayader, a very poor place, but where there is said to be good fishing. Our friend and companion, another Piscator, hoped to have had some sport, but the river was too low; and we proceeded the following morning, without making any attack upon the innocent fish. Let us here note a very silly habit of some travellers, or pretended travellers, who, in their idleness, manufacture tales of horror as actual events; giving them "local habitation and a name," the annoyance of harmless inhabitants. We read, in the Magnet newspaper, a horrid murder in the neighbourhood of Rhayader, most romantically silly; in which a lady was stabbed to the heart, by her lover, at the source of the Wye. The writer professes himself to have been one of the discoverers of the murdered lady. But the whole is a wanton and foolish-fabrication. Rhayader is not very distant from Llanidloes, celebrated for the Chartists' doings. The next stage from Rhayader, as we baited, we met with the landlord of the inn of Llanidloes, who showed us his coat pierced with a pike; and it appeared that the cowardly villain purposed to stab the unoffending man in the back. The landlord told us that one of the Chartists snapped a pistol at his (the landlord's) sister. What savages are the offspring of Democratic principles ! It is to be feared, agitation, having been planted in England by men in authority, and protected by them when young, has taken a deep root, and will scarcely be eradicated. There is but a step from the speeches of Ministers and their emissaries, during the Reform mania, to the doings of the Chartists. We doubt not that all the Chartist principles, and the recommendation of their proceedings, may be gathered from the speeches of influential and Government men of the Reform day. The one party were only not traitors because they succeeded the other will only be trait
ors until they do succeed. But, we are among the mountains; and let us not pollute the pure air with politics. If evil days come, they will come; and so let us see what refuge, what solace, may be found among these wild and lonely fastnesses.
The road, made with great skill and judgment, lay entirely among the mountains; we were for miles threading the high passes - every turn of the road opening into some new course, some gorge, deep and close-and then some wild vale in the amphitheatre of mountains with grand and sweeping lines folding within and about each other. Some times not a tree, not a shrub, to be seen in the whole, and somewhat wide, extent. It has been not unaptly said, that to enjoy solitude one must be more or less than human. The heart sinks under the oppressive desolation; the immediate effects of which are languor, apathy, a prostration of taste. It is long before we can admire the sweeping or precipitous lines before us, and not till the coming and receding shadows have relieved the mind, by offering, at least, this variety in the wilderness. It is in scenes where the disgust of unsociable and uninhabitable places is not at once overpower ed by an awful grandeur, that this disinclination to admire is so strong. Actual sublimity will find something congenial with it in almost every mind, and its terror is even sought courted. The desolate scenes short of sublimity, we hate. We do not, on this account, think such scenery is fit for the artist's pencil. We are often surprised to find them chosen, and represented under their worst effects a hot sun, under which the eye is forced to scrutinize dismal detail, and find no one object to rest upon; while at the same time, the gusty wind is blowing the coarse rushes, and whiten ing and making obtrusive the marshy pools. Yet here we need not stay pass we on. The scene is either more sublime, or changing into a lofty beauty. The rocky sides of the mountains are in larger masses, the foldings grander; or some wooded ravine bursts upon the sight, and the sound of water comes upon the sense with its fabulous mystery. Then we see, as we proceed, deeper and darker masses, and, at the bottom, deep and black pools, edged with white streaks or threads the silver chords that
throw-off nature's sweetest music. But wooded ravines in these regions are rare, and it was not until we approached the Devil's Bridge, that we met with any of much beauty. There were, however, some very beautiful scenes before we were perfectly with. in the area, or inner range of mountains. Wooded and low hills, with their deep shade and grassy openings, with little more than indication of a habitation among the trees, whose tops broke, not into the sky, but upon the loveliest blue of distant mountains; against which the whole low hill is dark, and of sheltered green repose, with a placid or gently interrupted stream at its base, that is lost to the eye as it winds round the base of the hill: and then lower down is a valley, if it may be called a valley which is but the descending land of higher territory, apparently, too, uncultivated -not a mark or division to be seen; but all of the loveliest colour-warm as gold beneath, yet veiled in the finest azure; and the sky, towards evening, so deep, so cool, yet so warm, so indescribable in colour!
Oh, the charm of these homes among the hills! Here might be trod the fallentis semita vitæ. Here is the poetry of pastoral life, sequestered, uninterrupted, safe, and happy. The very sky looks large and bountiful, and protecting all beneath it. We have now and then admired such scenes in Italy, and very similar in colour; but we have here the advantage of the refreshing green. Our friend, after his first burst of admiration, would talk of his hackles, and cast a longing eye to the stream stealing its way among the trees. But, as we may not stay, a mile or so is gladdened by social talk and fishing adventure, and sketching of adventure, all arising out of that home scene, till our attention is called off to admire some new wonder of nature's panorama. How different is the scene, when, unexpectedly and suddenly, we come to the very edge of a ravine, rocky, without any foliage, where meeting rivers, and not far, perhaps, from their sources, have scooped their courses, and torn away the cliffs above and, we might almost say, chiselled out ledges and masses of rock below, that, seen under water, look like steps down into black unfathomable pits of terrifying water, that not even "magician damned" could look at without