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woman, teacher and learner, the greater and the less.
"Another sitting, and the miniaturo will be complete, I fear," murmured Norman, with a conscience-stricken look, as he bent over me, his fair hair almost touching my ivory. A caress, sweet, though no longer new to me; for many a time his lips—but this is telling tales, so no more! My painted, yet not soulless eyes, looked at my master as did others of which mine were but the poor shadow. Both eyes, the living and the lifeless, were now dwelling on his countenance, which I have not yet described, nor need I. Never yet was there a beautiful soul that did not stamp upon the outward man some reflex of itself; and therefore, whether Norman Bethune's face and figure were perfect or not, matters not. \"It is nearly finished," mechanically said the Lady Jean. She looked dull that day, and her eyelids were heavy as with tears—tears which (as I heard many a whisper say) a harsh father gave her just cause to shed.
"Yes, yes, I ought to finish it," hurriedly replied the artist, as if more in answer to his own thoughts than to her, and he began to paint; but evermore something was wrong. He could not work well; and then the Lady Jean was summoned away, returning with a weary look, in which wounded feeling struggled with pride. Once, too, we plainly heard (I know my master did, for he clinched his hands the while) the Earl's angry voice, and Sir Anthony's hoarse laugh; and when the Lady Jean came back, it was with a pale, stern look, pitiful in one so young. As she resumed the sitting her thoughts evidently were wandering, for two great tears stole into her eyes, and down her cheeks. Wella-day! my master could not paint them; but he felt them in his heart. His brush fell—his chest heaved with emotion—he advanced a step, murmuring, "Jean, Jean," without the "Lady;" then recollected himself, and, with a great struggle, resumed his brush, and went painting on. She had never once looked or stirred.
The last sitting came—it was hurried and brief, for there seemed something not quite right in the house; and as we came to the castle, Norman and I (for he had got into the habit of always taking me home with him) heard something about "a marriage," and "Sir Anthony." I felt my poor master shudder as he stood.
The Lady Jean rose to bid the artist adieu. She had seemed agitated during the sitting at times, but was quito calm now.
"Farewell," she said, and stretched out her hand to him with a look, first of the Earl's daughter, then of the woman only; the woman, gentle, kindly, even tender, yet never forgetting herself or her maidenly reserve.
"I thank you," sho added, "not merely for this (she laid her hand on me), but for your companionship ;" and she paused as if she would fain have said friendship, yet feared. "You have done me good; you have elevated my mind; and
from you I have learned, what else I might never have done, reverence for man. God bless you with a life full of honor and fame, and, what is rarer still, happiness!" She half sighed, extended her hand without looking toward him; he clasped it a moment, and then—she was gone!
My master stared dizzily round, fell on his knees beside me, and groaned out the anguish of his spirit. His only words were, "Jean, Jean, so good, so pure! Thoa the Earl's daughter, and I the poor artist!" As he departed he moaned them out once more, kissed passionately my unresponsive image, and fied; but not ere the Lady Jean, believing him gone, and coming to fetch the precious likeness, had silently entered and seen him thus.
She stood awhile in silence, gazing the way he had gone, her amis folded on her heaving breast. She whispered to herself, "Oh! noble heart!— Oh! noble heart!" and her eyes lightened, and a look of rapturous pride, not pride of rank, dawned in the face of the Earl's daughter. Then she too knelt, and kissed me, but solemnly, even with tears.
The next day, which was to have been that of her forced marriage with Sir Anthony, Lady Jean had fled. She escaped in the night, taking with her only her old nurse and me, whom she hid in her bosom.
"You would not follow tho poor artist to wed him?" said the nurse.
"Never!" answered the Lady Jean. "I would live alone by the labor of my hands; but I will keep true to him till my death. For my father, who has cursed me, and cast me off, here I renounce my lineage, and am no longer an Earl's daughter."
So went she forth, and her place knew her no more.
For months, even years, I lay shut up in darkness, scarcely ever exposed to the light of day; but I did not murmur; I knew that I was kept, as you mortals keep your hearts' best treasures, in the silence and secrecy of love. Sometimes, late at night, pale, wearied hands would unclasp my coverings, and a face, wom indeed, but having a sweet repose, such as I had never seen in that of the former Lady Jean, would rome and bend over me with an intense gaze, as intense as that of Norman Bethune, under which I had glowed into life. Poor Norman! if he had but known!
All this while I never heard my master's name. Lady Jean (or Mistress Jean as I now heard her called) never uttered it, even to solitude and me. But once, when she had shut herself up in her poor chamber, she sat reading some papers with smiles, oftener with loving tears, and then placed the fragments with me in my hiding-place; and so—some magic bond existing between my master and me, his soul's child—I saw, shining in the dark, the name of Norman Bethune, and road all that Lady Jean had read. He had become a great man, a renowned artist; and these were tho public chronicles of his success. I, the pale reflex of the face which Norman had loved—the face which, more than any other in the wide world, would brighten at the echo of his fame—even my faint being became penetrated with an almost human joy.
One night Lady Jean took me out with an agitated hand. She had dolled her ordinary dress, which now changed the daughter of an Earl into the likeness of a poor gentlewoman. She looked something like her olden self—like me; the form of the dress was the same; I saw she made it scrupulously like; but there was neither velvet, nor lace, nor pearls, only the one red rose, as you may sec in me, was once more placed in her bosom.
"I am glad to find my child at last won out into society," said the nurse, hobbling in; "though the folk she will meet, poor authors, artists, musicians, and such like, are unmeet company for the Lady Jean."
"But not for simple Jean Douglas," she answered, gently smiling—the smile not of girlhood, but of matured womanhood, that has battled with and conquered adversity; and, when the nurse had gone, she took me out again, murmuring, "I marvel will he know me now!"
I heard her come home that night. It was late; but she took me up once more, and looked at me with a strange joy, though mingled with tears; yet the only words I heard her say were those she had uttered once before in the dim years past—" Oh! noble heart!—thrice noble heart!" and then she fell on her knees and prayed.
My dear master !—the author of my being!— I met his eyes once more. He took me in his hand, and looked at me with a playful compassion, not quite free from emotion.
"And this was how I painted it! It was scarce worth keeping, Lady Jean."
"Mistress Jean, I pray you; that name best suits me now, Mr. Bethune," she said, with gentle dignity.
I knew my master's face well. I had seen it brighten with the most passionate admiration as it turned on the Lady Jean of old; but never did I see a look such as that which fell on Jean Douglas now—earnest, tender, calm—its boyish idolatry changed into that reverence with which a man turns to the woman who to him is above all women. In it one could trace the whole life's history of Norman Bethune.
"Jean," he said, so gently, so naturally, that she hardly started to hear him use the familiar name, "have you in truth given up all?"
"Nay, all have forsaken me, but I fear not; though I stand alone, heaven has protected me, and will, evermore."
"Amen!" said Norman Bethune. "Pardon me; but our brief acquaintance—a few weeks then, a few weeks now—seems to comprehend a lifetime."
And he took her hand, but timorously, as if she were again the Earl's daughter, and he the poor artist. She too trembled and changed color, less like the pale, serene Jean Douglas, than the
bonnie Lady Jean, whose girlish portrait he once drew.
Norman spoke again; and speaking, his grave manhood seemed to concentrate all its subdued passion in the words:
"Years havo changed, in some measure, my fortunes at least, though not me. I—once the unknown artist—now sit at princely tables, and visit in noble halls. I am glad; for honor to me is honor to my art, as it should be." And bis face was lifted with noble pride. "But," he added, in a beautiful humility, '. though less unworthy toward men, I am still unworthy toward you. If I were to woo you, I should do so, not as an artist who cared to seek an Earl's daughter, but as a man who felt that his best deserts were poor, compared to those of the woman he has loved all his life, and honored above all the world."
Very calm she stood—very still, until there ran a quiver over her face—over her whole frame.
"Jean—Jean !" cried Norman Bethune, as the forced composure of his speech melted from it, and became transmuted into the passion of a man who has thrown his whole life's hope upon one chance, " if you do not scorn me—nay, that you can not do—but if you do not repulse me—if you will forget your noble name, and bear that which, with God's blessing, I will make noble—ay, nobler than any of your earls!—if you will give up all dreams of the halls where you were born, to take refuge in a lowly home, and be cherished in a poor man's loving breast—then, Jean Douglas, come!"
"I will!" she answered.
He took her in his protecting arms; all the strong man's pride fell from him—he leaned over her, and wept.
For weeks, months afterward, nobody thought of me. I might have expected it; and yet somehow it was sad to lie in my still darkness, and never to be looked at at all. But I had done my work, and was content.
At last I was brought from my hiding-place, and indulged with the light of day. I smiled beneath the touch of Lady Jean, which even now had a lingering tenderness in it—more for me than for any other of her best treasures.
"Look, Norman, look!" she said, stretching ont to him her left hand. As I lay therein, I felt the golden wedding-ring press against my smooth ivory.
Norman put down his brush, and came smiling to his young wife's side.
"What! do you keep that still? Why, Jean, what a boyish daub it is! The features nearly approach Queen Elizabeth's beau ideal of art, as she commanded her own portrait to be drawn. 'Tis one broad light, without a single shadow. And look how ill drawn are the shoulders, and what an enormous awkward string of pearls."
Jean snatched me up and kissed me. "You shall not, Norman—I will hear no blame of the poor miniature. I love it, I tell you—and you love it, too. Ah! there." And she held me playfully to my maker's lips (which now I touched not for the first time, as he knew well). '' When we grow rich, it shall be set in gold and garnets, and I will wear it every time my husband ceases to remember the days when he first taught me to love Kim, and in loving him, to love all that was noble in man."
And then Norman— But I do not see that I have any business to reveal further.
I did attain to the honor of gold and garnets, and, formed into a bracelet, I figured many a time on the fair arm of Jean Bcthune, who, when people jested with her for the eccentricity of wearing her own likeness, only laughed, and said that she did indeed love the self that her husband loved, for his sake. So years went by, until fairer things than bracelets adorned the arms of the painter's wife, and she came to see her own likeness in dearer types than tog poor ivory. So her ornaments—myself among .the rest—were slowly put by; and at last I used to Ue for months untouched, save by tiny baby-fingers, which now and then poked into the casket,to see "mamma's picture."
At length there came a change in my destiny. It was worked by one of those grandest of revolutionists—a young lady entering her teens.
"Mamma, what is the use of that ugly brace. let?" I heard one day, "Give me the miniature ( to have made into a breoch. I am sixteen—quite old enough to wear one, and it will be so nice to vbavc the likeness ofmy own mamma."
Mrs. Bethune could refuse nothing to her eldest daughter—her hope—her comfort—her sisterlike companion. So, with many an anxious charge concerning me, I was dispatched to the jeweler's. I hate to be touched by strangers, and during the wbole,l':me of my sojourn at the jeweler's, I shut up my powers of observation m a dormouse-like doze, frqra which I was only awakened by the eager fingers of Miss Anne JBethune, who bad rushed with jne into the painting-room, calling on papa «iii,,suamina to admire an old friend in a new face.
"Is that;the dear old miniature!" said the artist.
Jhe husband and wife looked at me, then at one,another, soil .smiled. Though both now glided into .middle , age, yet .in that, affectionate smile I saw nevive.the faces of Norman Bethune and the Lady Jean.
"I ,do believe there .ia something talismanic in the portrait," said young Anne, their daughter. "To-day, at thejewelerW, I was stopped by a disagreeable old gentleman, who stared at me, and then at the miniature, and finally questioned me about my name and my parents, until I was fairly wearied of his impertinence. A contemptible, malicious-eyed creature he looked; but the jeweler paid him all attention, .since, as I afterward
fofj-nt, he was Sir Anthony A , who succeeded
to *oj the estates of his cousin, the Earl of ."
Mr«. Bethune put me down on the table, and leaned her head on her hand; perhaps some memories of her youth eame over her on hearing those long-silent names. Her husband glanced at her wW» a restleM doubt—some men will be so jeal
ous over the lightest thought of one they love. But Jean put her arm in his, with a look so serene, so clear, that he stooped down and kissed her yet scarce-faded cheek.
"Go, my own wife—go and tell our daughter all."
Jean Bethune and her child went out together. When they returned, there was a proud glow on Anne's check—she looked so like her mother, or rather so like me. She walked down the studio; it was a large room, where hung pictures that might well make me fear to claim brotherhood with them, though the same hand created them and me. Anne turned her radiant eyes from one to the other, then went up to the artist and embraced 'bim.
"Father, I had rather be your daughter than share the honors of all the Douglasses."
Anne Bethune wore me, year after year, until the fashion of me went by, till her young daughters, in their turn, began to laugh at my ancient setting, and—always aside—to mock at the rude Art of "grandmamma's" days. But this was never in grandmamma's presence, where still I found myself at times; and my pale eyes beheld the face of which my own had once been a mere shadow—but of which the shadow was now l«fi as the only memorial.
"And was this indeed you, grandmamma?" many an eager voice would ask, when my poor self was called into question. "Were you ever this young girl; and did you really wear these beautiful pearls, and live in a castle, and hear yourself called 'the Lady Jean!'"
And grandmamma would lay down her spectacles, and look pensively out with her calm, beautiful eyes. Oh! how doubly beautiful they seemed in age, when all other loveliness had gone. Then she would gather her little flock round her, and tell, for the hundredth time, the story of herself and Norman Bethune—leaning gently, as with her parent-feelings she had now learnt to do, on the wrongs received from her own father, and lingering with ineffable tenderness on the noble nature of him who had won her heart, more through that than even by the fascination of his genius. She dwelt oftener on this, when, in her closing years, he was taken before her to his rest; and while the memory of the great painter was honored on earth, she knew that the pure soul of the virtuous man awaited her, his beloved, in heaven.
"And yet, grandmamma," once said the most inquisitive of the little winsome elves whom the old lady loved, who, with me in her hand, had lured Mrs. Bethune to a full hour's converse about olden days — "Grandmamma, looking back on your long, long life, tell me, do you not feel proud of your ancient lineage? and would you not like to have it said of you that you were an Earl's daughter?"
"No!" she answered. "Say, rather, that I was Norman Bethune's wife."
I waked, and found myself gazing on the blank white curtains, from whence the fantnsmal image of the Lady Jean had all melted away. But still, through the mystic stillness of dawn, I seemed to have a melancholy ringing in my cars—a sort of echo of Gylbyn's cry — "Lost—lost — lost?" Surely it was the unquiet ghost of the miniature, thus beseeching restitution to its original owners. "Rest thee, perturbed spirit!" said I, addressing the ornament that now lay harmlessly on my dressing-table—a brooch, and nothing more. "Peace! Though all other means have failed, perhaps thy description going out into the world of letters may procure thy identification. Ha !— I have it—I will write thy autobiography."
Reader, it is done. I have only to add that the miniature was found in Edinburgh, in August, 1849, and will be gladly restored to the right owner, lest the unfortunate author should be again visited by the phantom of Lady Jean.
THE SUPERSTITIONS OF SAILORS.
SOME years ago a British frigate, mounting fifty guns, and manned by four hundred of old England's hardiest seamen—men fit to face any danger, or thrash any human foe—lay becalmed on a bright sunny day in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of miles away from any land. Not a breath of wind disturbed the dog-vane, not a ripple was upon the sea; the man at the wheel stood idle and listless, the canvas flapped against the masts powerless, and the tall spars towered up into the bland air as motionless as if they were growing in their native forests. The vast expanse of the ocean was like a sheet of glass, gently broken into tiny ripples by the dark pointed fin of the stealthy shark, as he slowly moved along in quest of his prey. Ever and anon a long rolling swell swept over the surface of the sea at regular, though distant intervals, and but for this all-but imperceptible motion, nature seemed asleep, and the heavings and settings of the water might be taken for the deep-drawn respirations of some enormous animal.
The frigate was alone, no other sail dotted the sea within the scope of her horizon. All was silent, solemn, and calm; when in the midst of this stillness, the attention of the crew, on deck and below, was suddenly arrested by the loud and distinct ringing of a bell. Clang, clang, clang, it went, to the amazement of many, and the astonishment of all.
There was something so extraordinary in the sound that it startled all hands. There was no describing it. At first it appeared to come from a distance, and then from the ship's bell, for the noise was clear and loud; and, but for a slightly muffled tone, might have been, as indeed it was, mistaken for the bell of the frigate. Yet who had dared to strike tho ship's bell, violently and without orders? And the officer of the watch, as soon as he had overcome the intense astonishment such a breach of naval discipline had occasioned, demanded, sternly—
"Who rang that bell?"
No answer was given.
"Who rang that bell, I say?" ho again de
manded, in the short, trumpet tono of the quarterdeck.
'' I tell ye what it is, my men," continued the officer, getting warm. "I'll have an answer out of some one. Here, quarter-master, tell me directly, who dared to ring that bell V
The man thus appealed to gaped with astonishment, for he had, like every man aboard, heard the singular peal. Yet he was perfectly awaro that no person had touched the bell; and as the sounds appeared to him to come from the direction where it was placed, he was as much puzzled as the officer to account why it had been struck or rung in such an unaccountable manner.
Finding that the quarter-master still hesitated, the officer said,
"Come, my man, tell me who rang that bell?"
"Well, then, I don't know, sir," solemnly replied the seaman . "leastways," he continued, awkwardly scraping his hair, " I 'spose 'twas n't done by any human fingers: 'cos yo see, sir, I was just about to mahe it twelve o'clock myself, when the duty was took clean out of my hands, by some invisible power, as it seems to me—"
"Invisible power, was it • Well, perhaps it was; but I'll stop his grog if I find him out; so come, that yarn won't do for me. Again I say, who dared to ring the ship's bell in that way?"
Again the quarter-master solemnly avowed that unless it was a freak of old Neptune, Davy Jones, or the Flying Dutchman, that ho did not know who did it.
As the quarter-master was a steady hand, not given to liquor, and ono of the best men in the ship, there was no reason to suspect him of falsehood ; besides, the ship's bell was hung in open view of the quarter-deck, and seen by all hands.
"Strange!" muttered the lieutenant, and he looked over the ship's side. Others followed his example at the bow and stern of the vessel, as though they expected to find a boat there. Active topmen ran up the rigging, but nothing could be seen but the gently heaving sea, the fair blue sky, and the clouds.
By this time the captain, astonished at the unusual noise and bustle on deck, for he had also heard the vehement ringing of the bell, had left his cabin, and was silently listening to tho inquiries made by his lieutenant. This lastnamed officer now reported in due form to his superior what had occurred, but that he had failed to detect the offender for the present.
Our captain was ono of the peppery breed— hasty, but good-natured—a strict disciplinarian, and a thorough seaman. He heard the lieutenant, then the quarter-master, and one or two of the waisters, describe what they knew of the matter; but as all their statements amounted to nothing, he cut the affair short by ordering every man in the watch to have his grog stopped until the culprit was found.
Clang, clang, clang, wont the bell again, as soon as tho words were out of the captain's mouth. Well, of course the captain was petrified, so was the lieutenant; and as for the quarter-master and the rest of the watch, it would be difficult to describe their sensations, for they were a compound of terror at the sound of the bell, and joy at the prospect of having the stoppage taken off their grog; for of course the captain could now judge for himself who it was that was having a freak with his bell.
"This is very unaccountable," said the captain.
"Very," replied the lieutenant.
"Young gentleman," said the captain, "go' below and inquire if any one sounded a bell just now between decks."
"Ay, ay, sir," and the midshipman of the watch dived down the after-hatchway, and there he found every body asking every body the very question he came himself to ask; nobody knew any thing about the matter.
As soon as the youngster came on deck he reported accordingly.
From whence then could these sounds proceed! No bell, by the ordinary mode of conveying sound, could be heard from the distance they could see. Even while the whole of the ship's company were palpitating with excitement, the inexplicable sounds continued—clang, clang, clang.
The crew now crowded on deck—midshipmen, marines, doctor, purser, cook, and idlers. The men stood at a respectful distance from the sacred precincts of the quarter-deck; but giving the mysterious bell a wide berth, not so much from fear as to remove all doubt about touching it, and to keep out of (h)arm's way of having their grog stopped.
Presently the same loud ringing was heard again; this time it 6oated high over head, and increased in intensity, and then it died away in long cadences, only to be renewed with fresh energy. Now it sounded broad upon the bow —now upon the beam, and then astern—while the whole of this time there hung the ship's bell, seen by all, and untouched.
Astonishment sat upon every countenance, from the captain to the cook's mate, and it was pretty evident that it would have been a relief to have exchanged the anxiety produced by their invisible enemy for a rattling broadside with the most spanking frigate that ever floated. Many a man believed they heard the ship's knell, and many a hardy tar grew pale.
The bell now ceased for a time, and a capstan consultation was instituted among the oldest seamen and officers in the ship. Nothing of the kind had ever been heard in all their experience at sea before. One old forecastle man admitted that he had seen the Flying Dutchman, that he was sartin of; another equally observant son of Neptune had seen (or else he was blind) a mer- [ maid; many had heard all sort of dismal noises in great storms, and scon large fires at night burning upon the sea; but as for the bell-ringing, they had never heard of the like before. Among the officers there were many opinions as to the place from whence the sounds came; some believed they proceeded from above, others from
the ship; but the majority were incredulous, and suspected the whole affair was a trick; but then, how could it be performed' And in order to settle all doubts upon that point, the bell was unhooked and placed upon the deck; but nevertheless the same mysterious clang, clang, clang, ran fore and aft the ship.
It was now evident that the sounds did not come from the ship's bell; and being satisfied upon that point, the investigation was pushed in another direction. Luckily for us all, we had a purser of a scientific turn in the frigate. He was one of those idlers belonging to a ship of war, who, having no sea duties to perform, are, nevertheless, always busy. He was always studying something; and he now stepped forth and assured us that the sounds which had so puzzled all hands were caused by some strange vessel at a distance.
"But no ship is in sight," remarked the first luff, in an incredulous tone.
"No matter," said the purser.
"Why we can see miles, from the mast-head, in every direction, and not an inch of canvas is visible."
"No matter," doggedly said the purser. "One of two things is certain," he continued : "the sounds either proceed from the frigate's bell, or from some ship's bell not at present in sight. You admit that, I presume?"
"Well," said the captain, "go on."
"And you do not believe with the quartermaster that Neptune, Davy Jones, or the Flying Dutchman have any hand in the matter?"
The officers didn't believe they had, evidently giving way before the reasoning of the purser.
"Well, then," continued he; "if these remarkable sounds do not proceed from this ship's bell, and you discard supernatural agency, then the inference is, that they must come from some ship in the distance.
"But how V inquired the first lieutenant, triumphantly. "Explain that if you can."
"In this way," calmly replied the purser. "In the theory of sound there is a known principle, called, I believe, the acoustic tube."
"What's that?" demanded the officers.
"Why, your speaking trumpet—the speaking pipe by which messages are conveyed from one part of a large building to another—whispering galleries, in which the softest sound is carried round vast areas, as the dome of St. Paul's—a thunder-clap—or the discharge of a gun on an elevated situation, which produces an echo from cliff to cliff, arc familiar examples of this principle."
"But we have no cliffs within hundreds of miles to repeat the echo," remarked the captain.
"True," said the purser; "but we have clouds."
"Yes, clouds!" echoed the man of science; "for in all matters where reason is concerned, the best demonstrations must be adopted as the heir-apparent to truth; so now, the most probable conjecture is, that this large mass of cloud,