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“Ah, the confiding simplicity of youth !” pursued Lady Dinah. “I myself often urn back in thought to the wild mountains, and the bright lakes and green woods of Cumberland, from which I was transplanted at an earlier age than yours, and those glimpses of fresh feeling have helped to keep me alive during the last thir.y years. London society is a hot-house in which none thrive; its fairest flowers are ephemeral, blooming only for a season."
Lady Dinah was odd; her ordinary speeches bordered upon sermons, distinguished, withal, by much unpalateable truth. The younger ladies did not interrupt; they were evidently enjoying their friend's peculiarity. Lord Royston looked about for a convenient place against which to rest his back; and Sir Hildebrand took out and flourished a capacious handkerchief.
But,” continued Lady Dinah, in her soft, measured tone, “in the midst of the lassitude you may shortly feel, I trust you will not forget that, even here, there are quiet spots dedicated to better feeling, in which your spirit may find repose. Should you ever stand in need of such a sanctuary, remember that the house and heart of Lady Dinah Rance will always be open to receive you."
“If I did not believe that both were ever ready to receive the unfortunate, I should die of despair,” said Sir Hildebrand, taking a pinch of snuff.
Hang you!” exclaimed Lord Royston, “that's just what I was going to say myself.”
Alice felt shocked by the coarse familiarity, bordering on ridicule, in which the gentlemen indulged. “I beg you to believe that I feel most grateful for your kind offer,” she said, earnestly, “and doubt not but that I shall be inclined to avail myself of it."
“ Alice! Alice! where have you hid yourself ? Come this way directly; I want to introduce you to the Duke of Sunderland.”
Weary hours passed away, and the crowd of visitors began to disperse. The large saloon was at length cleared, and for a few moments Alice stood amid the failing lights, alone. On the mantelpiece beside her was a beautiful timepiece of Geneva workmanship, having around it a representation of the winged hours, scattering alternately flowers and tempests; her eyes were fixed upon it, but her thoughts were far away.
“Few amongst those who have been here to-night would have looked upon this emblem of time in search of its moral,” said a deep voice beside her.
Alice started as if she had been electrified, and Colonel Seymour's heart smote him, for he felt that the young girl's
reverie should have been sacred. She recovered herself, however, instantaneously, and lifted her eyes to the object of which he spake.
“True,” she said, "and fewer still might be inclined to search for the same moral in their own hearts, round which the hours are also ever passing, bringing with them joy or sorrow, storms or flowers.”
“Yet the many who are incapable of the pure feeling, properly called joy, are also invulnerable to real sorrow,” said the colonel. "The misery of most here is satiety,—a waste of the talent, in lieu of hiding it,—the ennui that craves a remedy. Sorrow seeks a resource, and may find even the highest.”
“You speak deep truths, and have doubtless felt their power,” said Alice, lifting her eyes to the colonel's face.
“For others, if not for myself,” he replied. “May I ask how you like Lady Dinah Rance ?"
I like her much. Her kind words alone dwell with me, out of all that I have heard this night." “I am glad to hear you say so.
She is eccentric; but frank, and kind-hearted to excess; and her experiences, of which she is sometimes too liberal, have much in them that should find way to a listener's heart. She is one of the few in whose friendship I myself rejoice.”
At the appearance of Lady Shirley, the colonel took leave; the eyes behind the glass door disappeared at the same instant, and two arms were waved about in the air, as if in triumph, and a dark figure fled down the stone steps into the park.
THANKFULNESS TO GOD.
BY MRS. CHARLES TINSLEY.
Written after reading a “Hymn to God," by C. Cowden Clark.
If it be questionless gratitude to lift
Not less acceptable is that breathed forth-
THE RING OF BETROTHAL.
BY MRS. ABDY.
I give thee, beloved one, in faith and in gladness,
This ring, brightly flashing with emerald light; Love's tokens, alas I are oft proffered in sadness,
And hastily screened from the world's piercing sight. Not such is this tribute,-it asks for inspection :
Thy friends are around thee, a gay, joyous band; Look, dearest, they greet thee with smiles of affection,
As the ring of betrothal is placed on thy hand.
This mute little herald our secret discovers ;
To-night, at the revel, the truth shall be known, And sighs, hopeless sighs, shall be breathed by thy lovers,
When they see that it marks thee, my plighted—my own!
Our thoughts swiftly fly. In the mind's mystic dreaming
I picture a ring yet more dear to behold; 'Tis quiet, and dazzles no eye by its gleaming,
'Tis plain, slight, and simple,-a ring of pure gold ! Yet, hold I though such visions be lovely and pleasant,
'Tis wrong on the future fond fancies to cast; While love sheds so blissful a charm o'er the present,
And softly dispels the dim mists of the past.
I never will chide them by look or by tone,
The ring of betrothal that marks thee my own!
THE “GRANDE FETE DE LA FRATERNITE” OF THE
NATIONAL GUARD, AND INAUGURATION OF
THE PORT OF CAEN.
FRANCIS LLOYD, ESQ.,
Author of “Hampton Court,"
DURING an excursion in Normandy, in the months of September and October last, I found expectations greatly excited by an approaching grand fête, to be given in honor of the tenth legion of The National Guard of Paris, who, having prepared a splendid
banner for presentation to their northern comrades, were coming themselves in great force, to give effect to this demonstration of their grateful sense of the assistance rendered by the former at the insurrection in June last. In the meanwhile, making acquaintance with some gentlemen of the Guard, I was warmly pressed to accompany them, and assured of a right soldierly greeting, from having been myself a Nationale Garde Anglais, as they were pleased to entitle the corps of which I was for several years an officer, the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry. This was at Havre, where the National Guard from Paris by the railroad were expected, and from whence two large steamers were expressly engaged to convey the metropolitan and Havre legions to Caen, the chief city of Normandy, the destined scene of festivity.
An additional interest to the projected visit was the opening of the great dock, or basin, which has been constructing at Caen for a period of twenty-five years.
The banks of sand at the mouth of the Orne have gradually accumulated so as to impede, nay almost destroy, the trade of Caen, to which at one time ships of five hundred tons burden could sail, but which now scarcely sees one of two hundred tons. A ship canal, constructing from the basin, will reach Caen independent of this part of the river.
The advent of local prosperity and national regeneration was to be celebrated simultaneously. The feelings of the whole of Normandy were excited on the auspicious event. Some people imagine Caen to be but an old sleepy dormitory of archæological giants, entombed in Gothic mausoleums, attracting the pilgrimages of architects and antiquaries, the quiet hiding place of dissolute roués, the last retreat of Brummel and thespot of his burial, as well as the cheap residence of very small English incomes.
Well, it is so, and these are no mean characteristics when they are co-existent upon ground whereon the hands of a new and enterprising generation are raising edifices of utility and comfort, and availing themselves of every development of modern civilisation, are creating commerce and wealth amid matchless monuments of intellectual cultivation. I will not lose myself in a rbapsody on Caen, but if rhapsodies be excusable digressions, the fault must be most venial under the shadows of St. Etienne and Saint Pierre, and the tower of the latter flooded with moonlight in face of my window.
“Paulo majora canamus," saith your Gothic-stricken Paul Pry, and hoping to be excused, recommences, “Arma virumque cano," the National Guards and President Buonaparte.
The Colonel Bredart of the Havre Guard is a fine, noble fellow, respected as a civilian as he is admired as an officer. He is a