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collar pressed it; in fact the throat was swelled. I got it off with difficulty; something fell from it at my feet, which I mechanically took up and put into my pocket without looking at, so much was I absorbed in anxiety for the resuscitation. I rubbed him with all my strength; I grew more and more impatient for the return of Catharine. She came with a small phial in her hand, calling out in her usual manner, Here, sir, here's the medicine. I never opened my mouth about it to Mademoiselle Amelia; I pity her enough without that.'
"What is all this Catharine? where have you seen Mademoiselle Amelia? and what is her affliction, if she does not know of her favourite's death ?' O, sir, this is a terrible day for the poor young lady. She was at the end of the street searching for a ring which she had lost; and it was no trifle, but the ring that her dead father had got as a present from the Emperor, and worth, they say, more ducats than I have hairs on my head. Her mother lent it to her to-day for the party; she has lost it, she knows neither how nor where, and never missed it till she drew off her glove at supper. And, poor soul! the glove was on again in a minute, for fear it should be seen that the ring was wanting, and she slipped out to search for it all along the street, but has found nothing.'
"It struck me, that the substance that had fallen from the sheep's collar had the form of a ring-could it possibly be !-I looked at it; and judge of my joy !—it was Madame de Belmont's ring, and really very beautiful and costly. A secret presentiment whispered to me that this was a better means of presentation than the rose-tree. I pressed the precious ring to my heart, and to my lips; assured myself that the sheep was really dead; and leaving him stretched near the devastated rose-trees, I ran into the street, dismissed those who were seeking in vain, and stationed myself at my door to await the return of my neighbours. I saw from a distance the flambeau that preceded them, quickly distinguished their voices, and comprehended by them, that Amelia had confessed her misfortune. The mother scolded bitterly; the daughter wept, and said, Perhaps it may be found.' O yes, perhaps,'-replied the mother with irritation, it is too rich a prize to him who finds it; the emperor gave it to your deceased father, on the field, when he saved his life; he set more value on it than on all that he possessed besides, and now you have thus flung it away; but the fault is mine for having trusted you with it. For some time back you have seemed quite bewildered.' I heard all this as I followed at some paces behind them; they reached home; and I had the cruelty to prolong, for some moments more, Amelia's mortification. I intended that the treasure should procure me the entrée of their dwelling, and I waited till they had got up stairs. I then had myself announced as the bearer of good news; I was introduced, and respectfully presented the ring to Madame de Belmont : and how delighted seemed Amelia! and how beautifully she brightened in her joy, not alone that the ring was found, but that I was the finder. She cast herself on her mother's bosom, and turning on me her eyes, humid with tears, though beaming with pleasure, she clasped her hands, exclaiming, 'O, sir, what obligation, what gratitude do we not owe to you!'
"Ah, Mademoiselle!' returned I, you know not to whom you address the term gratitude.' To one who has conferred on me a great pleasure,' said she. To one who has caused you a serious pain -to the killer of Robin.'
666 You, sir?I cannot credit it-why should you do so? you are
not so cruel.'
"No, but I am so unfortunate. It was in opening his collar, which I have also brought to you, that your ring fell on the groundyou promised a great recompence to him who should find it. I dare to solicit that recompence; grant me my pardon for Robin's death.'
"And I, sir, I thank you for it,' exclaimed the mother. never could endure that animal; it took up Amelia's entire time, and wearied me out of all patience with its bleating. If you had not killsed it, Heaven knows where it might have carried my diamond. But how did it get entangled in the collar? Amelia, pray explain all this.'
"Amelia's heart was agitated; she was as much grieved that it was I who had killed Robin, as that he was dead. Poor Robin,' said she, drying a tear, he was rather too fond of running out; before leaving home, I had put on his collar, that he might not be lost-he had always been brought back to me. The ring must have slipped under his collar. I hastily drew on my glove, and never missed it till I was
"What good luck it was that he went straight to this gentleman's,' observed the mother.
"Yes-for you,' said Amelia; he was cruelly received-was it such a crime, sir, to enter your door?'
"It was night,' I replied; I could not distinguish the collar, and I learned, when too late, that the animal belonged to you.'
"Thank Heaven, then, you did not know it!' cried the mother, or where would have been my ring?'
"It is necessary at least,' said Amelia, with emotion, that I should know how my favourite could have so cruelly chagrined you.' "O Mademoiselle, he had devoured my hope, my happiness, a superb rose-tree about to blow, that I had been long watching, and intended to present to-to a person on New-Year's-Day.' Amelia smiled, blushed, extended her lovely hand towards me, and murmured,
All is pardoned.' If it had eaten up a rose tree about to blow,' cried out Madame de Belmont, it deserved a thousand deaths. I would give twenty sheep for a rose-tree in blow.' And I am much mistaken,' said Amelia, with the sweetest naiveté, if this very rosetree was not intended for you. For me! you have lost your senses, child; I have not the honour of knowing the gentleman.' • But he knows your fondness for roses; I mentioned it one day before him, the only time I ever met him, at Madame de S.'s. Is it not true, sir, that my unfortunate favourite had eaten up my mother's rose-tree?' I acknowledged it, and I related the course of education of my fifty rose
"Madame de Belmont laughed heartily, and said, she owed me a double obligation.' Mademoiselle Amelia has given me my recom
pence for the diamond,' said I to her — I claim yours also, madame.' Ask, sir. Permission to pay my respects sometimes to you!' • Granted,' replied she, gaily. I kissed her hand respectfully, that of her daughter tenderly, and withdrew. But I returned the next day-and every day I was received with a kindness that each visit increased-I was looked on as one of the family. It was I who now gave my arm to Madame de Belmont to conduct her to the evening parties; she presented me as her friend, and they were no longer dull to her daughter. NewYear's-Day arrived. I had gone the evening before to a sheepfold in the vicinity to purchase a lamb similar to that I had killed. I collected from the different hot-houses all the flowering rose-trees I could find; the finest of them was for Madame de Belmont; and the roses of the others were wreathed in a garland round the fleecy neck of the lamb. In the evening I went to my neighbours, with my presents. • Robin and the rose-tree are restored to life,' said I, in offering my homage, which was received with sensibility and gratefulness. I also should like to give you a New-Year's-gift,' said Madame de Belmont to me, if I but knew what you would best like.' • What I best like-ah! if I only dared to tell you.' If it should chance now to be my daughter-.' I fell at her feet, and so did Amelia. Well,' said the kind parent, there then is your New-Year's-gift ready found; Amelia gives you her heart, and I give you her hand. She took the rose wreath from off the lamb, and twined it round our united hands. 'And my Amelia,' continued the old professor, as he finished his anecdote, passing an arm round his companion as she sat beside him, My Amelia is still to my eyes as beautiful, and to my heart as dear, as on the day when our hands were bound together with a chain of flowers.'
LIFE IN THE COUNTRY.
From the "Hermit in the Country."
THE solitude of a country life is fitted only for the saint, the sage, or the philosopher. To any other man it loses its charms, when he cannot enjoy them in company with friends and fellow men. To see a fine prospect, an enchanting wood, a limpid river, a delightful waterfall, without being able to say to some one, "What a lovely scene!" saddens the heart of man. Society is as necessary for the country as the town; but the man who transports town habits and pleasures into the bosom of nature, loses the fountain and the grove, the verdant lawn, and the delicious retirement which country scenery and a country life present.
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn,' to watch his majestic rising from the gilded East, to contemplate the rosy fingered morning, opening the day upon man, to view the prismatic colours reflected in
the drops of dew, to brush that dew with early foot from the shrub and floweret in our healthful walk, to behold the glories of the setting sun," or the silvery moon-beam playing on the surface of the quiescent lake, to admire the expanded rosebud, and to watch the progress of nature in its spring, are amongst the loveliest and sublimest enjoyments, and are unknown in the busy haunts of vicious and populous cities. The country retirement, health, order, sobriety, and morality can alone furnish them.
There are fashionables, however, who expect to make nature subservient to their habits and caprice, every where, and in every thing; and who, not content with bringing summer in January, into their painted and gilded saloons, by rare shrubs, flowers, plants, and the expensive contents of their conservatories, added to the forced fruits and other articles of ruinous luxury with which their boards abound, madly expect to transmit town enjoyments, and dissipation, into the country, in order to lead the same unvaried course of voluptuousness and riot all the year round. In contradistinction to what we hear of "rus in urbe," it is with them urbs in rure; and not satisfied with turning day into night, and night into day, in town, they convert summer into winter, by passing it in London, or at some watering-place, where they only go as an adjournment of the London spring, and then travel down to the country, to view leafless trees, fields clad in snow, and to be either confined to the house, or to brave bad weather for a short time for form's sake.
Wedded to the London system of rising in the evening, riding at dusk, and dressing by taper light, they carry the same unnatural and unwholesome arrangements to scenes which would have furnished a retreat full of charms, if visited in the spring, or in the summer, them the feathered choir chaunts in vain; for them the flower expands not; all is haze, fog, and darkness, unless perchance the rising sun blushes at their orgies, or reminds them that the day has opened ere they retire to a feverish bed.
There are rakes and debauchees who unblushingly tell you that they only wish to see their family mansion in order to collect their rents; and to behold their woods turned into cash, their corn and hay at the market, instead of in their fields, is their sole delight; that their tenants are only the tributaries to their pleasures, and their flocks food for their table; and that they care neither for family pedigree, nor family estate, except as they can make them conducive to their consequence and luxuries.
There is a depravity in all this which absolutely denaturalizes the heart; but as this is the object we have at present in view, let us peruse the life of a certain nobleman at his family castle, surrounded by majestic woods, lakes, and forests, peopled for his use; a numerous and faithful tenantry, and the most romantic scenery which the eye can possibly view.
Engaged in London until July, and at Brighton until December, he gets down to this ancient edifice, the pride of his ancestors, about the first week in January, and leaves it in March, just as the days are lengthening, and increasing the ennui which the contemplation of rural objects occasions him.
Surrounded by foreign cooks, confectioners, and fiddlers, he travels all night, and arrives at day-break. His effeminate form sinks for a few hours on down ; and he rises in the afternoon. The breakfast-table is covered with delicacies, and with the provocatives necessary to excite a sated appetite. Gamblers and demireps, dandies and adventurers, compose his numerous party. "The weather is odious," says he : "what a bore the country!" He comes there only for fashion's sake, and in order to raise his rents. His spirits are low; brandy alone can save him from the blue devils; he swallows the liquid fire. The billiard-table occupies five hours, his toilette takes two more.
The second dinner-bell has rung; it is past eight, and he descends to his banqueting room. All here is pomp and pageantry; nothing is rational. Foreign wines and cookery compose the fare. Excess reigns over every thing. Intemperance plies the frequent cup, and vocal and instrumental music breathe their most voluptuous sounds.
Now comes the hour of gambling. His woods, his lands, his moveables, are all hazarded again, and again; ten times in the night they are lost and won. A castle totters on a single card: the comfort of his tenantry depends on one throw: agitation and ill humour ebb and flow; avarice and ruin stare each other in the face. The game is over, he has lost only two or three thousand: and the grinding of a few farmers will rub off his score. He goes to bed. Conscience has nothing to do with him; for these are only considered as the peccadillos of fashion.
Occasionally he sallies forth in the evening with a legion of liveried attendants. The woods are surrounded; the birds are circumvented: the cover is beaten. Armed with a double-barrelled gun, and followed by menials, who take from him even the trouble of loading his piece, he and his party fire a thousand shots, and spread death and desolation around them. This is called glorious sport, a noble day, rare country amusement! and the great man returns as proud as ever Alexander was after his greatest victory. Brandy recruits the fatigues of this memorable morning, and the tongue of flattery tickles the nobleman's ear, and elevates him in his own esteem.
At dressing time he gives audience to the steward, who is ordered to pay his gaming and intriguing debts, by the sale of timber, mortage, anticipation, or annuities.
Such is the exquisite's country life! Such the delights in which he indulges, in the midst of family estates and picturesque scenery, to which he is as blind as he is to his own vices and failings.
What a pity that a habitation and scenes like these should be bestow ed on such a possessor! The very detail is offensive to reason and feeling; but its colouring is not too high, nor is it a solitary example. Let our self-exiled, our ruined, our ruining nobility and rich men, look to themselves and this picture. How many will behold their own likeness, thus lightly sketched.