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"Is he a gentleman?" asked Sir John.
"Oh yes; a man about Frohsdorf. By-theby, here are the jewels which the Comte de Chambord sent her."
"She might have done worse," said Sir John. "Has he money?"
'He has enough," said Lady Hornbury. "Well, then, under the circumstances, we really must not grumble," said Sir John. "Now come, let us go down and meet old Compton."
Old Compton was waiting for them, and dinner was waiting for all three of them; but old Compton wanted a few words on business before they went into the dining-room.
"Sir John," he said, “you have, I suppose, put her ladyship in possession of the facts?" "I have," said Sir John.
"Don't you see what you have done?" said Mr. Compton, after he had drunk his wine.
"Not in the least," said Lady Hornbury. "Don't you see that your daughter has married Holmsdale, the very man we wanted her to marry? This Holmsdale, whom I believe to be your nephew, always has taken the title of Rocroy in France. Your daughter has married her cousin, and we are uncommonly well out of it. Sir John, do you forget everything when you forget that the family name of the De Touls was Rocroy?"
"I had completely forgotten it," said Sir John. And so they went to dinner and discussed matters very quietly.
"How could this astounding result have come about?" said Sir John.
"It is perfectly plain to me now that we have to thank the folly and stupidity of the Comtesse d'Aurilliac for this,' said Lady Hornbury. "She put things in a false light to Edith, and Edith was foolish enough to believe that we should force her into a marriage with Lumberton. Well now, what do you say about my going to Dijon and taking Mr. Compton?"
"Or what do you say to my going to Dijon and taking Lady Hornbury?" said Mr. Compton.
"Well, you must fight it out on the way as to who is the commander-in-chief," said Sir John, "but you had better both go. Compton, you have full power to act for me with this man. I feel sure that I shall like him. Mary, my love, what do you say to dropping the title, and becoming Mrs. Hornbury?"
"I think on the whole that it would be the best thing to do for Edith's sake. The world will say some hard things of us-will say, for example, that we discovered the justice of the claim, and sacrificed our daughter to save ourselves, but we, knowing otherwise, can laugh at that. However, nothing can be done until I have taken Mr. Compton to Dijon."
Edith had written a letter to her mother, which had crossed that lady's; she was therefore profoundly astonished, as she was sitting alone deeply anxious, to see her mother come sailing into the room, and saying, "My sweet Edith, get me some tea. I am as tired as if I had walked all the way. Where is your cousin?" "My cousin, mamma?"
"I should say your husband. Don't you know that you have married your cousin, and are Lady Hornbury? Come here and kiss me, you curious child. So he has never told you.'
Meanwhile Mr. Compton and Edith's husband had been in conversation. At first that young gentleman refused emphatically to touch the estates, titles, or anything else, save a decent allowance from Sir John. The most that he could be got to do was this: he was to be received as a nephew of Sir John's and heir to the baronetcy at Sir John's death, drawing such money as should be decided on from the estates. The marriage was to be immediately announced, and Sir John was at once to be told to do so.
"Now, my dear sir, I want to ask you to do a certain thing very much."
"I will do it," said Richard Hornbury. "Go at once, to-morrow, to Frohsdorf, and take your wife with you. You are pretty sure of a welcome there."
"I see," said the bridegroom, laughing.
People in London have got over the matter very easily. Sir John appeared in the Park on his famous horse, and told everybody his own version of the affair. His daughter Edith had married her cousin Dick abroad, and her mother had gone over to see her. The bride and bridegroom were staying with the Comte de Chambord at Frohsdorf: the jewels which the bride had received from the legitimist aristocracy were very handsome, monstrous handsome: the girl had won everybody's heart over there.
The world was a little puzzled about this new nephew of Sir John's, and also rather amazed at the suddenness of the marriage; but there came half a dozen other things to wonder about, and so the postponement of Lady Hornbury's ball was soon forgotten.
TO A CHILD.
Whose imp art thou, with dimpled cheek,
And soft and fair?-thou urchin sly!
What boots it who with sweet caresses
First called thee his,- -or squire or hind? Since thou in every wight that passes
Dost now a friendly playmate find.
Thy downcast glances, grave, but cunning,
I feel thee pulling at my gown,
Of right good-will thy simple token.
And thou must laugh and wrestle too,
A mimic warfare with me waging, To make, as wily lovers do,
Thy after-kindness more engaging.
The wilding rose, sweet as thyself,
And new-cropt daisies are thy treasure: I'd gladly part with worldly pelf
To taste again thy youthful pleasure.
Well; let it be!-through weal and woe,
But yet, for all thy merry look,
Thy frisks and wiles, the time is coming When thou shalt sit in cheerless nook,
The weary spell or hornbook thumbing.
WIND AND STARS.
The stars are shining fixed and bright,
O stars so high, from earth apart,
The wind may rave, the starry spheres
And music, what is it? and where does it dwell?
But far a-field thou hast not flown;
O hush, wild heart, regarded not;
ISA CRAIG KNOX.
A BLIND BOY'S SONG.1
Oh! tell me the form of the soft summer air,
Till pleasure, till pleasure is turning to pain.
The perfumes of flowers that are hovering nigh,
Are not they sweet angels, who come to delight
HANNAH F. GOULD.
1 Appropriate and beautiful music, composed by W. R. Dempster for this song, is published by R. Cocks & Co., London.
MARRIED? OR NOT MARRIED? FROM THE GERMAN.
The Countess von Werbe became a widow very young. Her husband was old and rich when he asked her in marriage. She rejected his addresses, and wept in the arms of her father. Her father laughed at her tears. He did not conceive how it was possible to reject the count, and his daughter did conceive it. Her father reckoned the estates of the count, and she reckoned his years.
She had sometime before become acquainted with Herr von Welt, who had fewer estates, and fewer years over his head, danced well, talked tenderly, and loved ardently. But the count was pressing the father severe-the Herr von Welt was poor, and the count rich. She continued to love the Herr von Welt, and gave the count her hand.
The count had no children. The gout and a cough reminded him of temperance, and he retired in the arms of Hymen to one of his estates. The young countess lived in solitude; the count coughed worse, and remained without children. His old age and his infirmities increased every day; in two years he left the world and his estates, and the young wife was a widow.
She laid aside her white dresses and put on black. The countess was fair-the dark dress set off her complexion-mourning became her.
The count left her all his property: but old people are often fantastical! According to a singular condition of the will, if she married again, the greatest part of the property reverted to one of his relations, living at the residence. Herr von Welt hastened to comfort the widow. He found her beautiful, and she found him as amiable as before. He talked all day long without coughing, and she listened to him all day long without yawning. He could relate a thousand little anecdotes, and the countess was curious. He spoke of the torch of love and his own feelings, and the countess felt. He described the torments of separation, and the anxieties which had martyred him, and the countess was compassionate. He lay at her feet; protestations of his passion streamed from his lips, and his tears upon her hand, and the countess loved; but she thought with tears on the conditions of the will. She was melancholy. It was already six weeks since the count had bid adieu to his gout for ever, and grief appeared now for the first time on the countenance of the countess.
"My dear friend," said Herr von Welt to her in the morning, "you torment yourself with doubts, and it remains in your own power to put an end to them."
"How so?" said the countess.
"You believe in the possibility," continued he, "of my ceasing to love you; you consider the band of the feelings not strong enough to withstand time; but, my dear friend, how easy it is for the hand of the priest to join ours together; you will then be tranquillized."
"Have you then forgotten the will?" said she weeping.
"My love, the question now is only about making you easy. We will be married privately. You and I, the priest-and love will hear our oath."
"But you see, there must be a priest," said she, hastily.
"Let me manage that," said Herr von Welt. "Here in the neighbourhood lives an old man, who is borne down by poverty and close upon a century of years. He is as worthy as the times in which he was born, and as silent as the tomb which will soon receive him. He will carry our secret with him to the grave, and we will bury it in our bosoms."
The countess threw herself into his arms, and entreated him to hasten. Welt did so. The conscience of the priest was tranquillized; twilight, and a distant summer-house, concealed them from the eye of suspicion, and Welt embraced with rapture-his wife.
A year passed away; she no longer looked after him with inquietude when he rode out, and his eyes were no longer fixed on her window when he returned; she could yawn when he related, and he sometimes felt ennui though she was sitting by him- but they lived together. The servants had observed familiarities not warranted by friendship; yet their attachment did not appear to be ardent enough to account well for their being together. A year had made them feel secure, and they no longer paid that strict attention which they did at first to their conduct and conversation. People began to conjecture, to doubt, at last to believe, and after a time to impart their sentiments to each other.
The Count von Werbe, who was to inherit the property in default of the condition of the will being observed, was at this time out of favour with the prince, through the intrigues of his numerous creditors, and had left the residence with his wife, to take refuge in the arms of nature. He had purchased the situation of grand chamberlain to the prince-had squandered his property by giving balls and
fêtes, and destroying his health by dancing and dancers. His wife was formerly a lady of honour-people had formerly paid homage to her charms she was formerly surrounded by a circle of admirers, but the boundaries of this circle grew smaller, and it was now many years since she had found the residence empty and tiresome, and the taste of the times quite spoiled.
Their estate joined that of the countess. The count attended with much interest to the suspicions which were imparted to him, and hastened to the castle of the countess to pay his respects to her as a relative, and to convince himself of the truth of the opinion of his neighbours; but he did not convince himself. The countess was prepared for his visit. The Herr von Welt was tender and attentive-his eyes riveted on her. The countess showed all the cordiality of friendship and the attentions of a warmer affection. The count returned home sorrowful.
"Dear Augusta," said the count, as he entered the chamber of his wife, "our neighbours are not prudent. It is only necessary to see them both to give no credit to the tale they have amused us with. I was there two hours, and he had not the courage to come within three steps of her."
"But that proves for us," cried the countess; "he would have sat at one end of the room and she at the other."
"Not so, my love," said the count; "respect seemed to keep him at a distance. Their eyes sought each other-her countenance appeared to complain of my presence. Then the interest with which they spoke of each other! No, my love, we see each other-we talk to each other, but believe me, on my word they are not married."
"But," said the countess, "our neighbours have eyes; did you never, then, observe nothing which can justify their opinion?"
"My love," replied the count, "you may suppose that I observed everything very attentively. It is not my fault if our creditors are not paid."
“Trifles often betray us," said the countess. "Reflect a little; did she not once drop her pocket-handkerchief?"
"Her pocket-handkerchief?" said the count, and considered a little; "no, but her fan fell
"And she picked it up again?" said the countess, quickly.
"Truly yes, she picked it up," said the count, looking at her with astonishment.
"And he was there, and suffered it?" said the countess.
The count looked thoughtful-she struck him playfully on the shoulder: "Believe me, good count, our neighbours are in the right."
"When I consider well," said the count, "it appears to me probable; she was very well dressed; her toilette was certainly a few months behind the fashion, but we are in the country, and I was astonished at her taste."
"And he?" asked the countess.
"He held a long dissertation upon taste; he went through the whole history of fashions, from the fig-leaf of the first lady to the last gala-dress of the grand-duchess. He particularly admired the Grecian costume."
"And was she dressed like a Greek?" said the countess quickly.
"Oh no," said the count: "she was true German-buried up to the chin."
"They are man and wife," said the countess, throwing herself into his arms.
"But her eyes," said the count, shaking his head.
You are a keen observer," said the countess. "What proofs do you wish to have? The lover would have fallen to the ground with the fan, the husband remained quietly seated; the lover would have had eyes only to admire, the husband had time for a long conversation; the lover would have been delighted to see a German woman he admired dressed in the German fashion, and the husband praised the Greek women. My dear count, are you not aware of all that?"
The count laughed. "Well," said he, "we are invited to-morrow to our neighbour the chamberlain; the Herr von Welt and the countess will likewise be there. In a large society we fancy ourselves less remarked, and give ourselves up more to our ease; we can therefore both observe them. You may be in the right, but her countenance, and her eyes. I have had the honour, during the last fifteen years, of presenting many married men to his royal highness, and I know mankind well! Matrimony has a peculiar look, something like despair-if you are right, my knowledge of mankind is good for nothing.'
The next day all the company was assembled at the chamberlain's except the countess and Herr von Welt. The chamberlain was impatient, all eyes turned toward the road; at last a cloud of dust was observed, and then the carriage of the countess driving quickly She was looking out of the right window of the carriage. Welt, leaning on his arm, was looking out of the other. The lady of the grand chamberlain touched her husband and smiled; he turned round good-humouredly, and
said in a low voice, "I believe you are right." The carriage stopped; Welt sprang out, the servants assisted the countess; he stood quietly by and brushed the dust from his coat. "They are man and wife," said the grand chamberlain's lady softly.
"Yes, yes, I begin to doubt my knowledge of mankind," said the count.
The countess made excuses for being so late; Welt knit his brow in vexation. Dinner was announced; the master of the house offered his arm to the lady of the grand chamberlain. The grand chamberlain and Welt, the countess and a strange lady remained. Welt offered his arm to the strange lady, and left the countess to the grand chamberlain. His wife looked back and smiled; the grand chamberlain nodded significantly. The society was gay. Welt sat between the countess and the strange lady. He conversed with the stranger on fashion and feeling, and left the countess to be amused by the grand chamberlain. The latter smiled, his wife looked at him good-humouredly. After dinner Welt approached the countess. He talked of the influence of the body over the mind, which occasioned satiety in everything. The countess yawned. "That is the body," said she. Welt continued calmly talking, and the body of the countess yawned again.
The grand chamberlain stole up to his lady. "They are man and wife," she whispered.
"It is certain," said the grand chamberlain. The chamberlain proposed a walk in the garden, and the company went. A narrow plank led to a fine waterfall. The grand chamberlain had brought his vertigo with him from the residence; the chamberlain was too lusty to trust himself on the plank, and the ladies were timid. Welt sought to tranquillize them. He escorted them over the plank; but he offered his services last to the countess.
The grand chamberlain stood smiling on one side, and his wife stood smiling at him from the other. It was evening, and the company hastened back to the house. The countess was behind, Welt near her. He walked on thoughtfully; she followed him fatigued.
The grand chamberlain pressed the hand of his wife. The carriages were ordered; the party separated, and hastened home.
"You are a clever woman, my love," said the grand chamberlain; "it is certain they are man and wife."
"Now, my dear," said the countess, "only take the pains to get certain proofs." "Leave me alone," said the count. "The thing is clear, and when that is the case, there
must be proofs." Accordingly he went round the neighbourhood to obtain more information; but he wanted proof, and could only procure conjectures. People had heard this, and seen that; one referred to another; and when he wanted proofs, the one had said nothing, and the other had heard nothing. He came back sorrowful. "My dear," said he, "I return just as rich in conjectures, and as poor in proofs."
"Indeed!" said the countess. "Can the people yet doubt that they are married?"
"Alas! no," said the count; "but no one can prove it. However, I will try what I can do; the day after to-morrow Herr von Welt has business in the residence; I will send immediately to my lawyer. We must take advantage of the moment, for conjectures lead to nothing."
The lawyer was called; they were shut up together, and on the second day he drove to the chateau of the countess.
"All alone?" said the grand chamberlain, as he entered the room with an appearance of surprise.
"Herr von Welt is in town," said the countess; "he will be sorry that he was not at home when he finds that you have been here."
The grand chamberlain took a seat near her; he admired the arrangement of the house, and some pictures which were in the room.
"My husband was a connoisseur," said the countess. "The collection of paintings he has made proves his taste."
"Ah! his taste proves other things still more," said the count, smiling; and he kissed her hand. "But he was an extraordinary man; he had caprices, which he showed even to the last; his will proves that."
The countess looked at him surprised. The grand chamberlain appeared not to observe it, and continued, "So young as you are, to remain a widow can only be the caprice of an old jealous husband, who wishes to torment you after his death. The poor man forgot that the heart is very susceptible at your age."
The countess cast down her eyes and blushed. "Herr von Welt is an old acquaintance, at least I think so," said the grand chamberlain.
I have known him above four years," said the countess embarrassed.
"He was remarked at court for his talents and affability," continued the grand chamberlain, smiling, and his smile was expressive; "but the last year he has been quite lost to the court and to the world. How is it possible for him not to forget the caprices of an old man who is dead?"