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seemed as if there was to be no hope for me in this cruel world, and I sat down to the lessons of little Ellen Seaford, like one in a troubled
Before they were over, Mademoiselle Berri came in, and told the child to go to her mamma : some visitors were there, who wished to
“ You will stay to take de thé wid me dis afternoon,” said Mademoiselle, who had now made progress in English.
“ No, thank you,” I answered. “My head aches, and I want to get home.”
“ You cannot go till madame la comtesse has seen you : she did say so. Ah mon Dieu, but it is triste in dis campagne! I have de headache too, wid it. I shall have de glad heart next week to quit it.”
“ You have always found it dull, mademoiselle."
“As if anybody was capable to find it anyting else! Except it is de Lady Georgina. And perhaps de earl, wid his steward, and his shooting, and his af-fairs. But, for de Lady Georgina, she does keep herself alive wid flirting: as she would anywhere. She is de regular flirt.”
“ But then she is so very beautiful.”
“ Eh bien, oui, if she would dress like one Christian. But de English don't know how ; wid deir bare necks, and deir curled hair. There is no race in de world who ought to put on clothes, Miss Halliwell, but de French women."
“Lady Georgina always looks well," I sighed. Was it a sigh of jealousy?
“For de fashions here, she do," answered Mademoiselle, shrugging her shoulders at the “fashions here.” “But she has got de vanity! And not no mercy. She has turned de head of dat poor young minister, andA great spasm
throat. “Do you mean Mr. Archer?” I interrupted. “ To be sure.
One can see dat his heart is breaking for her. And she leads him on-leads him on. I do tink she loves him a little bitbut I only whisper dis to you, my dear, for de earl and de comtesse would give me chivy if dey heard me. But when she has amused herself to her fancy, she will just laugh at him, and marry. It is her fiancé dat is de handsome man.
My heart leaped into my mouth. “Is Lady Georgina Seaford engaged ?" I burst forth.
“ You do seem surprised,” cried the French woman. “ She is to have Mr. Caudour. He is my Lord Caudour's eldest son, and is now abroad wid some of de embassies. Dat is why he has never been here. He is some years older dan she, but it is de good parti for her, and they will be married this summer.'
Mademoiselle talked on, and thought I listened, but I heard no more. A weight was taken from my heart. And yet, with what reason ? For to couple a lowly curate with the Lady Georgina Seaford, was ridiculously absurd. I had to wait to see the countess—
it was that evening she gave me the bracelet-and it was near six when I left the castle.
The evening is in my memory now. It was still and balmy, and the sun was drawing towards its setting. I took the slanting cut through the
park, it was the shortest way, and as I hastened along the narrow path, over which the trees hung thickly, I came face to face with Mr. Archer. He was going there to dinner: I saw it by his dress. He shook hands, in a constrained manner, and then there was a silence between us, as there often had been of late. Some power—it was surely not my ownnerved me to speak.
“ I wanted to see you: I am glad we have met. We heard this afternoon that
you had given up your curacy. Is it true ?" “Yes,” he answered, breaking off a switch from one of the trees, and beginning to strip it, with his face turned from me.
“ Then have you heard of another ?”
“ I have accepted what may lead to something better than a curacy, he said, tearing away at the stick. “ The post of resident tutor to the young Seafords.” Was it a spasm now that fell on my heart? Ay, one of ice.
66 Then you
leave here—you go with them ?" I faltered. “When they leave next week, I shall have to accompany them. We must temporarily part, Hester.”
Temporarily !" Calm as is my general nature, there are moments in my life when it has been goaded to vehemence: it was so then. “ Let us not part to-night without an explanation, Mr. Archer," I poured forth. “ Is it me you love, or is it Lady Georgina Seaford ?”
The red light from the setting sun was upon us, for, in talking, we had moved restlessly to the opening in the trees, and the landscape lay full around, but the warm colour did not equal the glow upon his face. I
aw he loved her: far more passionately than he had ever loved me. He stood in hesitation, like a guilty coward, as if no words would arise at his bidding:
,” I uttered. “I see we can no longer be anything to each other. I wish, from my heart, we never had been.”
“ Hester,” he exclaimed, suddenly turning, and taking both my hands, you are well quit of me. A man with the unstable heart that mine has proved, could never bring you happiness. Curse my memory, in future,
will: I well deserve it.” “But what do you promise yourself, to have become enthralled with her, so immeasurably above you?" was wrung from me, in my emotion.
I promise myself nothing. I only know that I can live but in her presence, that she is to me in the light of an angel from heaven. God forgive my infatuation!”
* You need forgiveness. To indulge a passion for one who will soon be the wife of another."
“Of whom ?” he fiercely asked. The glow on his face had faded, and his lips were so strained that the teeth were seen he who never showed them.
“She is to marry Lord Caudour's son.”
“Ah, that's nothing, if you mean him,” he answered, drawing his breath again. “She has told me she dislikes him. And though her father desires the match, he will not force her inelinations.”
“ Then you wish your freedom back from me?” And my lips, as I asked it, were as white as his own. I could feel they were.
“I give you
“Pardon my fickleness, Hester! I cannot marry you, loving another."
“ Then I give it you,” I said, in a sort of wild desperation. “May the wife you choose never cause you to regret me.”
“ Thanks from me would be like a mockery," he whispered; “I can only hope that you will find your reward. Let us shake hands, Hester, for the last time.”
I held out my right hand. And he took it in his, and bent down his forehead upon it, and kept it there. I saw his lips move. I do believe he was praying for my welfare. He pray!
We walked away in opposite directions: soon, I stopped and looked after him. He was striding on. He never turned ; and as he approached the bend in the path, which would hide him from my sight, he Aung the little switch away, with a sharp, determined gesture. Like he had just flung away my love. Oh the misery that overwhelmed me! the fearful blank that had fallen on me! I cast myself down on the grass, eye could see me, and sobbed aloud in my storm of despair. That a sober old woman of fifty should have to confess to anything so unseemly!
I did not heed how long I lay. When I got up, the sun had set, it was dusk, and, as I walked forward, I staggered like one in drink. As I passed the rectory, a sudden idea came over me, and I went in. Mr. Coomes was drinking his tea, by firelight.
“Why, my dear," he said, "is it you ?”
I sat down with my back to the fire: I did not care that he should see my face, even by that faint light. And I told him what I came for --to beg that he would take my brother as his curate.
My dear, it is true that Mr. Archer is going to leave me; but who told you
of it ?" “ He told me so himself.”
“ He is a changeable fellow, then! He said he did not wish it immediately known, and requested me not to speak of it. I have been thinking of your brother."
“Oh, Mr. Coomes,” I said, “ you know it was through me he was driven
away from here to give place to Mr. Archer. Since his illness, that thought has rested, like a weight, on my conscience. He has been ill again this winter, the bleak air there tries him. If you would but receive him as curate now !"
“ We will see about it,” said Mr. Coomes. And I rose to go.
“ Hester," he whispered, in a kind voice, as he followed me to the door, “how is it between you and George Archer? Serene ?"
“ That is over," I said, striving indifferently. “We have bid each other adieu for ever."
“ If I did not think this! He is losing himself like an idiot. God's peace be with you, my child !"
III. It all came out to the Earl of Seaford. We heard of it when they came down to the castle in autumn. But there was a fresh tutor then, and the Lady Georgina was not with them, she was just married to the
Honourable Mr. Caudour. One day, in London, Lord Sale overheard a conversation between his sister and Mr. Archer, and had joked her about it before his father. The earl snapped at the matter, and Mr. Archer was so infatuated as to confess to him that he loved the Lady Georgina. The earl poohed him down contemptuously, paid him what was due, and civilly dismissed him from the house that same hour. He saw the Lady Georgina before he left, and she treated it lightly : said she could not help him, that it was no fault of hers, but she should ever retain a pleasant reminiscence of his flattering sentiments towards her. “ You should have seen his poor wan face, Miss Halliwell, when he left de house,” whispered Mademoiselle to me, confidentially. “I was coming in from a walk wid de littel girl, and met him in de hall: he held out his hand to me to say good-by, and I looked up at his face-it was one tableau of miserie. And de Lady Georgina, she went, all gay, to a soirée at de Duchess of Gloucester's dat same evening, and I do not tink she did care one pin for de killed heart of dat poor young clergyman.” So
my brother became curate of Seaford, and, in time, our mother died, and I grew into an old maid. And never more at Seaford did news come to us of the Reverend George Archer.
THE OLD AND THE NEW YEAR.
A SONG FROM THE DANISH.
BY MRS. BUSHBY.
SEE, how the Old Year sinks, oppressed with days
Beneath Eternity's vast, viewless wave!
To it, before it drops into the grave!
Another from the ample stores of Time;
While the weird midnight hour its far bells chime.
To usher in the dawn of the New Year,
They smile upon the home of Freedom here.
Than wrinkles or repining—it may give
And let Hope gild our pathway while we live!
First let us drink to all whom we hold dear-
A brimming bumper quaff—to the New Year!
New-Book Notes by Monkshood. LEWES'S LIFE AND WORKS OF GOETHE.* This long-expected work, the result of ten years' preparation, will not (for what would ?) satisfy the demands of thorough-going Goethe worshippers. Almost before it was begun, Madame Margaret Fuller d'Ossoli condemned it peremptorily, unseen, unheard; and now that it is finished, transcendentalists male and female, and symbolists of indefinite sex and sect, will scout it as no life of their All-sided One, and will pity the blindness that cannot see what they see in the heart of a milestone, cannot grasp and handle and weigh what to them is palpable and ponderable in the mystery of moonbeams. For Mr. Lewes is one who looks before he leaps, especially in the dark; and declines to affect raptures over what to him is unintelligible, or to praise up to the skies what he knows to be worthless. Honestly he guards himself, in the personal portraiture of his great subject-object, against any temptation to gloss over faults, or to conceal short-comings; he assures us that he reproduces all that testimony warrants-good and evil, as in the mingled yarn of life. Honestly he confesses, in the course of his often elaborate analyses and critical comments on Goethe's poetry and prose, his inability, wherever he is conscious of it, to admire, and applaud, and discover what longer-sighted second-sight seers, esoteric and extravagant exceedingly, pronounce full of beauty and over-full of meaning. Thus, while German critics are in ecstasies with the “ wit and irony" of that unreadable extravaganza, the " Triumph of Sensibility” (1778), “ I confess myself at a loss,” quoth Mr. Lewes, “ to conceive clearly what they mean.” He allows that the “Tour in Italy” is a “ disappointing book.” In reviewing Goethe's “Doctrine of Colours," he candidly “shows up” the author's doctrinal fallacy, as well as his “ astounding” irritability and “polemical bad taste.” He criticises the "slow languid movement” of
Egmont,” the “ triviality of the machinery” in “Wilhelm Meister," the preposterous perversion of “Romeo and Juliet," the defective style of the “ Elective Affinities," the inequalities and weaknesses of “Meister's Years of Travel” (a work " feeble, and careless even to impertinence,” with its incongruous little stories, " for the most part tiresome and sometimes trivial,” &c.), and the hopeless obscurity of the second part of “Faust.” Of the “ Natural Daughter,” he frankly and significantly says : “I confess not to have read this work, although I have twice commenced it.” And of the “ Great Copt :" “ One is really distressed to find such productions among the writings of so great a genius, and exasperated
* The Life and Works of Goethe: with Sketches of his Age and Contemporaries, from Published and Unpublished Sources. By G. H. Lewes. Two Vols. London: Nutt. 1855.