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before you are on with the new.” I think I hear la bell Elanche exclaiming, indignantly,
Dove sia, nessun lo sa.” I am not rich enough to presume to offer consolation; or I should be at her feet, I swear.
Oh! soft was the low silver sound of the rills,
And sweet were the flowers that enamelled the land, And fresh blew the breezes on Malvern's green hills,
When first, shining stone, thou wert placed in my hand.
I gave thee but passing attention and care,
I was laden with spoils from the fields and the bowers; My quiet ambition was daily to wear
The simple adornment of wild woodland flowers.
White clustering lilies with tremulous bells,
Hedge-roses, in natural wreaths aptly wrought: Forget-me-nots, bearing the sweetest of spells
In a name, and meek pansies, the symbol of Thought.
Now Summer's fair blossoms are swept from the earth,
And Autumn's ripe fruitage has dropped from the bough; The birds cease their concert of music and mirth,
And Malvern is dreary and desolate now.
* Demetrio, a. 2., 8. 3. Metastasio.
I seek for a token to bring to my view
Hills, vallies, and woods, in their former array;
The flowers that I loved—they have withered away,
Through Winter's dim aspect of mists and of gloom; Thou only art left as a visible sign,
To call back the season of beauty and bloom. In fancy I gather green moss in the dell,
Or actively toil the steep height to attain ;
I breathe the fresh air of the mountain again.
To Colwall's fair meadows, and green sheltered lanes;
The song-birds rejoice me once more by their strains. Mute talisman, harmed not by frosts or by showers,
Still ready the dear sunny past to recall; Again I may cull Malvern's exquisite flowers,
But thou to my sight shalt be dearer than all. Thou teachest, that often the fair things of earth
May perish when life's summer sky is o'ercast; And none should so truly be prized for their worth,
As those that endure through all change to the last.
Few persons could have been worse fitted to cope with the new troubles so unexpectedly closing around her, than Alice Greystock. Female influence had no part in the formation of her
* Continued from p. 299, vol. liv.
character; her father and the Abbe Dupont had been her sole instructors, and whilst the latter delighted in unfolding to his pupil the confused theology and intricate love of the church and the old fathers, Sir Thomas laid before her, as he would have done before a son, his political sentiments, projects and hopes. Almost wholly shut out from female society, having lost her mother at the period of her own birth, and Mrs. Dorothy Greystock having been during many years in a state of second childhood, she had received none of the tender nurture and pious counsel, to which England has been indebted for the formation of the greatest and most perfect characters amongst her sons as well as daughters. The supine and selfish Lady Shirley, whilst shrugging her shoulders at what she thought reprehensible in the bringing up of her niece, never dreamed of troubling herself to counteract the influences she disapproved, and with her naturally gracious disposition, and sweet temper, and earnest sympathies, Alice was left to grow wild, as her aunt said; loving every one about her, but chiefly her father, and cleaving with her whole heart and soul to the cause he had embraced. In the ruin of the one, and the absence of the other, she experienced a loss that nothing was fated to supply. Dependence paralysed her energies, new and scarcely definable feelings tyrannised over her thoughts and actions; and though the native delicacy of her mind had not deteriorated under the masculine education she had received, it remained uncultivated, and undirected, and now, instead of a guiding light, it seemed likely to serve only as a meteor, to bewilder and mislead her. Amidst her many bitter thoughts, was a painful sense of humiliation, as she reflected on all the particulars of her broken dream with regard to Colonel Seymour. She had yielded to the fascination of his converse and deportment to herselt, without a thought of the issue, and now, when she was compelled to acknowledge the extent of his influence over her heart, she felt it was even probable that he, with his professed indifference to, and general contempt of women, had only tampered with her child-like trust, in order to prove how lightly he valued it. In the same instant that she had discovered her own weakness, a full conviction had flashed upon her, of the utter improbability of such a man entertaining any one cordial feeling towards herself. In the House of Commons, of which he was a member, he had violently opposed the petition in favour of the rebels; in politics and religion, in other matters too--for he was an aristocrat, and proud of his order—there was a wide gulf between them, which neither, on giving a thought to the matter, could have deemed it possible to pass; and whilst condemning herself, Alice cast little blame upon him who could scarcely have conceived her to be so forget
ful or so shortsighted as she had been. Her courage insensibly rose as these reflections passed through her mind; as she felt that if he indeed judged hier as she deserved, it was in her power to arrest his judgment. Proud, and possessing much of the chivalrous sense of honour that could brook no stain, anything would have been more endurable to Alice, than the idea of having rendered herself an object of contempt or commiseration; but the very courage which thus bore her up, partly false and partly commendable, as it was the offspring of her faulty education, or the natural impulse of her own true feelings, was un. consciously hurrying her on to the worst evils she laboured to avoid. Under the influence of these excited feelings, Alice passed the long night preceding her interview with Mr. Gostick. The chaos of desperate thoughts that had before assailed her, were gradually moulded into form and method; the consciousness of being still, to a certain extent, free to act, in defiance of the enthralments around her, restored to her somewhat of her old enthusiasm; and when on the following morning Lady Shirley saw that, instead of again seeking to postpone the interview, her niece was impatient for its arrival, her self-gratulation and joy knew no bounds. And it was not as a victim patiently submitting to sacrifice, or powerlessly struggling against it, that Alice presented herself to the gaze of her antique lover. Neither on his part was there any such misgiving as might well have been anticipated in one so disqualified by age and appearance, for the position he aspired to. Mr. Gostick had seen too much of the influence of wealth, had been too much accustomed to trust implicitly to its power for the accomplishment of his ends, to quail before an inexperienced and portionless girl, on account of the natural advantages in lieu of which wealth had stood him in such good stead. It is true that, as the door closed behind him, and he advanced mincingly towards the spot where Alice stood, he quailed for an instant before something that was inexplicable in the proud flash of her steady eyes; but he recovered himself in the same breath, and kissing her hand with all the polished ease of an old courtier, he thanked her for the readiness with which she had yielded him the honour and happiness to which he aspired.
“I have yielded readily, as you say, Mr. Gostick,” said Alice, “and as each of us have a motive, it is only right that we should act openly. There are doubtless many that would be proud to be honoured by your choice; I am told it is so, and I believe this to be true. You offer me wealth, and I have nothing to offer in return, that in the eyes of the world would be esteemed an equivalent for wealth : so far I shall be your debtor. I, like the world, acknowledge the power of wealth; I consent to
marry your money-not you; you must perfectly understand this. You are about to interrupt-have patience, I beg, and hear me to the end. Under whatever disadvantages I may labour in the world's opinion or your own, I do not enter upon this engagement except under certain stipulations - I hold myself as yet free to choose, and you to reject. My circumstances are known to you; you are aware of my father's misfortunes—of his poverty. For his sake I am ready to become your wife, but I do not consent until you make such provision for him, as shall place him beyond the reach of possible destitution in the future."
“My dear young lady-my dear Mrs. Greystock, you do me honour. I trust you will not think the worse of me, when I say that I had considered all this myself, I mean the provision for your father. Stipulate for any sum you please, and I am sure I shall only feel inclined to go beyond it.” This ready compliance irritated Alice, and she struggled to conceal the impression it made. Her feelings were all at war; she was prepared to battle to the death, but not to owe anything to the generosity of the merchant.
“I have yet more to bargain for,” she said coldly, “I stipulate that you execute a deed of gift, entitling my father to the sum of ten thousand pounds, to be forwarded to him by my own hand on the day of our marriage, and to be held valid in any event, whether I live or die; and solely in consideration of my consenting to stand before the altar with one old enough to be my father's father ;-plainly, that you consent to pay this sum as the price of whatever feeling of mine may be sacrificed in that hour.”
“Your terms are strange," said the merchant; “however, say twenty thousand instead of ten, and I agree to them."
“ Allow me to abide by what I have myself proposed,” replied Alice, “it is enough that you are inclined to act generously.”
“Åb, you fatter me! it is you that act generously by consenting to become the light of an old man's home. And do not believe that I am not able to discriminate between the gifts of God and the inventions of men : youth and beauty, flowers and sunshine, are not the results of wealth, though this would often be freely resigned for some of them. derstand each other then, and it remains to be proved that I consider myself your debtor.”
A few more heavy days, and Mr. Gostick entered Shirley House as the publicly acknowledged suitor of Alice Greystock. A fresh impetus was given to the flagging interest, and the fortunes of the rebel's daughter were again the theme with hun.