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matter of fashion. The gentlemen adopted a that neither Carbury nor our cousin Digby is most sentimental demeanor toward the ladies, nearer to my heart than you." and addressed them only in terms of peculiar “But no third admirer, either? There was delicacy and politeness. This exaggerated at the house of our good aunt Derby a young language of courtesy imparted a certain fan- poet, with so pretty and sentimental a face, tastic charm to the conversation of the broth- that I felt inclined to take him for a girl in ers with their sister, and added to their mu- disguise, an Arcadian shepherdess. This poet tual sallies the piquancy of a pleasant, arch paid the most particular attention to my sweet irony. Thomas, the younger brother, excelled little sister, and he did not once avert his particularly in this respect. He played with fiery and eloquent eyes from her charming evident relish the assumed part of a knight- face." errant and sentimental shepherd, and it was “I really do not know whom you refer to,” undeniable that his performance was highly said the blushing girl, in evident.confusion. successful. He treated his sister precisely like "O Dissimulation, thy name is woman!” an imaginary mistress, and lavished on her exclaimed the youth, in a tone of mock gravity. the most tender and nicely-constructed love- “Can you really not have noticed at the house phrases, wbich be borrowed very happily from of our aunt, the Countess of Derby, a certain the fashionable authors of that period, Sir John Milton, the poet of the Arcades ? " Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh.

“I did, of course," replied Alice, with seem"Noble lady,” he said, placing a dish before ing indifference. “I have even exchanged a her, and speaking in a tone slightly tinged with few words with him. He seemed to me taciturn merry sarcasm, “Will you not partake of this and misanthropic." tender venison pie? This wing of the grouse “Say rather awkward and clumsy, like most longs to make the acquaintance of your sweet men who hold more intercourse with their lips. Can you be so cruel as to refuse it that books than with the world and men,” remarkfavor ?"

ed the elder brother, who had hitherto listened Laughing and gayly entering into his jest, to their conversation in silence. Alice thanked him exactly in the spirit of the “I do not consider this awkwardness by any · rôle of a romantic young lady.

means ridiculous,” replied the beautiful girl, in “What ! you are not hungry?” he asked. a tone of slight irritation. « Poets are like "Noble lady, is there a secret grief gnawing at nightingales; they are silent in a noisy crowd, your heart, and have you lost your heart with and sing most beautifully in solitude." your appetite? Is it the fair-haired Carbury, “Well said,” remarked Thomas, playfully. the cavalier from Wales, who has robbed me “But I prefer this roast pheasant to all your of your affections ? or is it our philosopher, poetical nightingales and similar useless singSir Kenelm Digby, who, by his magic arts, has ing-birds." inmeshed already many a female heart, al- Alice scoffed, smilingly, at her brother's prosy. though he still plays the heart-broken wid- nature, wbile he derided merrily and gracefully ower? Answer, or, by Jove! this weapon, | her predilection for poets and poetry. The which has just carved the juicy mutton ham, elder brother listened for some time to this will put an end to my miserable existence if exchange of witty and amusing sallies, but you deprive me of all hopes."

without forgetting his habitual caution. Al“Stop!” cried Alice, with feigned terror. ready more than once he had anxiously inter"I swear by chaste Diana and all her nymphs, rupted'the playful conversation by the request

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to put an end to it and start again, as time was felt glad and happy in these kindred surroundpassing by with winged speed.

ings. Free from all restraints, they surren“Only a quarter of an hour yet,” begged dered willingly to the charms of the forest, his lovely sister, who could not make up her which they were so loth to leave. Hours glidmind to leave the delightful spot already. ed by like moments, and when they were at

In fact, Nature had lavished her choicest length obliged to set out, it seemed to them as charms on the place where they were reposing. though they were parting with their paradise. The green turf and soft moss formed a most The elder brother had to exhort them rebeautiful carpet, while the primeval oak peatedly and urgently before the little cavalarched like a splendid canopy over their youth-cade resolved to continue the journey. Even ful heads. Wild rose-bushes covered with fra- | the horses, which had found here a splendid grant blossoms, snow-white blackthorns, and pasture, shook their heads, as it were, disevergreen laurels formed the neat and graceful approvingly, and allowed themselves to be border of this natural dining-hall. Aromatic saddled again reluctantly, and amid loud, inthyme, mint, and the whole countless host dignant neighs. Especially did Alice's white of forest herbs and flowers, impregnated the palfrey seem to share the predilection of his balmy air with sweet perfumes. Vernal air mistress for this romantic spot. More than and vernal life filled the beautiful green once he turned back his head toward the rich forest. Finches and linnets vied with each pasture which had pleased him so well. At other in singing, and enlivened the silence of times he even stopped, contrary to his habit, nature. At a distance the cuckoo sounded its to nibble with his rosy lips at a few herbs and monotonous yet sweet melancholy notes, and low shrubs on the wayside. Alice willingly the thrush warbled boldly from lofty tree-tops. permitted these little diversions of her palfrey, Blue and yellow butterflies flitted past, turn- and from time to time turned her lovely face ing around the cups of the flowers and sip- toward the cozy nook where she had passed ping their sweet nectar with their long, fine such blissful hours. tongues from golden bowls. Lady-birds with Her sensible brother John led the way with red outside wings, dotted with black, were restless haste. He did not yet give up the climbing up the flexible twigs and practising hope of reaching again the highway with which their break-neck acrobatic feats; while a brown he was thoroughly familiar; but the further squirrel was rocking itself in the highest they advanced, the stranger and more alarmbranches of a slender white birch, and curi- ing appeared to him the path which they had ously looking down with its piercing eyes. taken. Moreover, it soon became quite narAt times a pliable lizard slipped through the row and impassable. Dense thorn-bushes and soft moss, and a sunbeam gilded its greenish, rankling weeds bordered it on both sides, and lustrous body. All these beings were moving naked roots crept across it like black snakes. in the bright sunshine, and rejoicing in the The landscape had gradually lost its graceful bliss of their existence; and the young people character, and became gloomier and gloomier. reposed in the midst of this blessed solitude, Sombre pines had taken the places of the leafy themselves the happiest and most contented trees, and shed a melancholy twilight on the creatures in the glorious forest. All three The most profound silence reigned far were young, handsome, and as yet undefiled and pear; for even the tread of the horses by the contact of life and the world, children sounded weird and dull on the ground, which of Spring, blossoms of May. Therefore, they | was covered with pointed leaves, and, by its




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slipperiness frequently caused the usually sure game-keeper. There he hoped to find a guide feet of the animals to stumble. The appre- through this intricate wilderness. Thomas hension that they had lost their way became was to remain with his sister, whom he was soon a certainty in the mind of the anxious not to leave under any circumstances. The leader of the cavalcade.

elder brother enjoined the rash youth repeat“We cannot get through here, and must re- edly not to violate this order, and then set out, turn to the former path,” said John.

accompanied by the heart-felt wishes of his We must retrace our steps, eh?” replied brother and sister. the bolder Thomas, who was attracted by Thomas and Alice remained with their every adventure. “By the memory of our horses near the gorge, which presented a by great ancestor Robert Malpas, who fought in no means inviting spectacle to their eyes. the battle of Hastings, the motto of our house The traces of the destruction which the swolsounds otherwise : Sio donec !'"

len forest rivulet caused every spring were disA slight stroke of the riding-whip incited tinctly visible all around. The country far the fiery horse on which the youth was mount- and near looked barren and sandy, and covered ed to renewed efforts. Alice kept close behind with the fragments which the furious waters him, and the more prudent John was obliged had detached from the mountains. Scanty, to follow the two, contrary to his better con- dwarfed herbs and ferns cropped out between viction. In the outset, fortune seemed to favor these débris. Sparse and isolated pines and the daring brother and sister. The path be- firs of wretched appearance stood here and came for some time again sufficiently broad there. The insidious waters had laid bare the and convenient, so that the travellers were roots, and the fragile trees awaited their downable to follow it without any special difficulty | fall whenever a livelier breeze should spring for more than half a mile. Already they in-up. Other trees had already succumbed to dulged in the pleasant hope that they were in the violence of the equinoctial storms and the a fair way of reaching the highway again, but rising waters. These tree-corpses lay broken, they were doomed to a sad disappointment. with dead branches, and half-rotten. From The insidious path terminated suddenly in the moist, decayed bark cropped out poisonous close proximity to a gorge which had probably mushrooms, and impudent crows skipped with been the bed of a sylvan rivulet. It was in dismal croaking round the sear, withered twigs. vain that the three turned their eyes with This gloomy scenery could not but exert a prying glances in all directions. After long sombre effect on the spirits of Alice and and fruitless search, they discovered a narrow Thomas. The witticism, by which Thomas footpath which was barely wide enough to af- strove to amuse his sister became somewhat ford to a single daring horseman room to pene- forced. The conversation soon ceased entirely, trate through a labyrinth of thorny hedges and and both awaited impatiently the return of rankling weeds and shrubs. It was impossible their brother John. Time hung heavy upon for the brothers to expose their delicate sister / them, and minutes seemed like hours. to the fatigues and even dangers of such a “I know brother John," said the youth, road.

after a long pause, almost angrily. “He is After a brief consultation, John resolved to always so slow, and I bet he has arrived at follow the patb, wbich, in his opinion, would some cross-road, and he is so irresolute which lead him to some human habitation, the hut direction to take, that he does not stir from of a charcoal-burner or the lonely house of a the spot.”

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“You do him injustice,” replied Alice, gen- | tion. Vainly did Alice, who often exercised tly. “His caution is praiseworthy, at all events, a great deal of authority over him, and stood and he does not deserve your censure. If we as a mediatrix between the two brothers, exhad followed his advice and retraced our steps bort him to be quiet and patient. as soon as he asked us to do so, we should “What matters it,” she said, soothingly, “if doubtless bave got back to the right road, we have to stay here another hour? We shall and we should have been spared the ennui of reach Ludlow Castle even then in time. The waiting here.”

day is so fine, and we shall be at home before Notwithstanding the gentle tone in which sundown.” his sister uttered these words, they were suf- “And there I shall be scolded again,” replied ficient to irritate and sadden the passionate the youtb, in a tone of irritation. " John will youth. He accused himself with exaggerated be praised for his prudence, and father will impetuosity of his former folly, and would scold me for my rashness.” have shrunk from no danger in order to ex- “We may say that we left aunt's house at tricate his beloved sister from the disagreeable an advanced hour of the day. Father shall predicament in which his rashness had in- not learn from us that we lost our way. What volved her. Moreover, the inactive part assign- good would it do? He would get unnecessaed to him was highly distasteful. His whole rily excited, and would not allow us again to nature urged him to take quick and resolute travel alone. And is not this very adventure steps. He jumped up uneasily from the stone delightful? We owe to it the charming hours on which he had sat hitherto, and paced the which we passed among the oaks. Come, brink of the dismal gorge with a nervous step | Orlando, give me your hand, and do not look in order to discover another path. Now he so gloomy, which does not sit well on you, looked at the footpath which John had taken, and which I do not like at all." now his eyes turned in the opposite direction, In this amiable manner the lovely sister which at all events would lead them some- tried to soften the anger of the sullen youth. where. Pride and ambition filled him with But that which she had formerly always suc. passionate excitement. He wished alone to ceeded in accomplishing was frustrated this save them all. The longing for distinction time by her brother's intense mortification. slumbered unknown to him in his young soul. He started up at the slightest noise, and More than once, in his childlike dreams, he listened with eager suspense to every distant had seen himself at the head of a large army sound. Now he believed he heard approachand performed miracles of valor. The chival- | ing footsteps, now the sound of human voices. rous spirit of his times and the thirst for ad- “Do you hear nothing ?” he asked his sister, ventures for which his countrymen were noted vehemently. “There must be men here, and, at that period, filled his bosom. He wished moreover, close by. The sounds I hear proto excel all by his courage and intrepidity, and ceed distinctly from the gorge yonder.” especially his elder brother, whose prepon- “Perhaps you are deceived by the rustling derance, based as it was on birth and custom, of the wind, or the notes of a bird.” he acknowledged only with the greatest reluc- “No, no. There are men in the gorge. tance.

will ascertain from them how we may get back Thus 'this youthful heart concealed, under to the highway, and will return to you in a few the deceptive cover of rashness and reckless- moments.” ness, a burning ambition and thirst for distinc- Before Alice could prevent him, the impa




manner as to

tient youth had already disappeared. He pur- The youth hesitated for a moment, and resued his object with a quick step. In the out- flected, contrary to his usual habit, before reset Thomas hastened along the dry bed of the solving to penetrate into the mysteries of the rivulet, which afforded him a very convenient wilderness. Poachers and gangs of daring robpath. But fragments of rocks and large heaps bers were by no means rare in those days, and of sand soon obstructed the path, and rendered perhaps they carried on their unlawful profesit almost impassable. The youth was obliged sion in this inaccessible solitude. It was, thereto leave it again. However, these obstacles fore, unadvisable for a single man to plunge only incited bis zeal to redoubled efforts instead recklessly into such a danger. Besides, Thomas of deterring him. On the crest of a neighbor- had often heard of secret meetings and illicit ing hill which he climbed, he found the distinct organizations of such religious sects as were traces of many human footsteps. These traces ruthlessly persecuted by the government. His soon increased in number, and intersected each own father, Lord President of Wales, had been other in different directions. Finally all the instructed by the government, more than once, footsteps led back to the dry bed of the rivulet, to break up such conventicles by main force. which became passable again. Thomas satis- Bloody scenes had sometimes ensued, for the fied himself more and more that human hands Puritans, Separatists, or whatever their names had made this hidden path. It did not escape might be, offered a bold and even desperate his keen eyes that even the fragments of the resistance to their assailants, whenever they rocks had been intentionally piled up in such a were numerous enough to cope with them.

est the progress of the unini- Thomas thought also of his sister Alice, whom tiated. This unexpected discovery warned him he had rashly left in the forest all alone and to be on his guard, and caused him to hesitate; without protection. his intrepid heart, however, did not so easily All these considerations would have probably shrink from a dangerous adventure. On the induced him to turn back and retrace his steps, contrary, his daring spirit found only fresh fuel had he not been irresistibly captivated at this in all these circumstances, and the secret which moment by the loud and swelling notes of a was concealed here excited his curiosity to the solemn anthem. It was a simple but touching last degree.

melody which all at once broke the profound Hence, he bravely advanced without further silence of the wilderness in so wonderful a hesitation. The deeper he penetrated into the

He listened breathlessly to the imgorge, the more it expanded at his feet, and it pressive anthem which penetrated in subdued seemed to terminate in a deep, round cleft. notes to him from a distance. These notes However, he was prevented by groups of tall seemed to proceed from choirs of spirits, and trees and almost impenetrable shrubbery from not from human lips. He was carried away by obtaining a full view of it. A natural hedge them in spite of himself. With a quick motion of closely interwoven thorn-bushes and young he opened the mysterious door, and his eyes shoots and shrubs seemed suddenly to put a glanced over the wonderful spectacle suddenly stop to his further progress. Already he had exhibited to his view. drawn his sword, which, according to the custom of the period, never left his side, in order to open himself a passage through the thicket, when he discovered an artificial door, skilfully concealed behind ivy and pine-branches.


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