Page images

wood, and an advance of a few paces brought, and that a fair companion cheered his wanderher to a shaded plain, where a beautiful white ings; sometimes it was hinted that they were in mare was champing the boughs and grass. A England, lounging among the fashionable watall horseman sprung forward the moment her tering places. But whatever the old man knew form was perceptible. It was Edward Craven, remained untold. If any allusion were made to and he clasped Ada in his arms with passionate the subject, he bent his head again between his warmth,

hands, and maintained an icy silence. So at No moon shone down upon the dell that last inquiry ceased ; and in the press of life the night. But palely—spiritually through the forest circumstance was yawned over and forgotten branches came the light of the stars. On the like a " twice-told tale." horseman's lofty stature, on the woman's sylph- But it is not thus that we can leave the wanlike form, glanced those myriad lustres, like derers; our tale pursues them in their flight. angel eyes gazing unimpassioned on weak hu- Craven's first route was to a neighbouring seamanity. Strange and various were the scenes port, where for many reasons he hoped to inon which their glory fell upon that breathless dulge unmolested in the possession of his beaueve. They lit the murderer to his victim, and tiful mistress. It was the period when the Lonthe thief to the miser's gold; they soothed the don season is at its height, so that there was infant praying beside its couch; they glittered less fear of stumbling over relations or families reproachfully on many a wild debauch. But no with whom he was acquainted; and if the fair sadder scene was lightened by their rays than Ada was accidentally seen in a corner of his carthe forest dell, where the faithless man and riage by some prudish mamma, it was easier to yielding woman walked hand in hand, talking of escape inquiry' in a watering-place, where his a love that was unhallowed.

“ locale” was unknown, than in the great Babel, “ Have you thought of what I said?" asked where morning, noon, and night brought him in Craven in his low, soft tone, drawing her closer contact with his friends. There was another to his side as he spoke.

reason, moreover, that urged him thither, and it “ Thought of it!" she faltered faintly; “ could may plead as a redeeming point in the character I forget to think ?”

of the libertine. The reader must not imagine “ And for your father!” he added, “fear that Craven had been utterly heartless and cold nothing regarding him, his welfare shall be as in his unfortunate crime. In the first instance, dear to me as your own. We will lift him be his actuating motives arose no doubt from a yond the rugged lot and weary toil that accord profligate vanity; but as he proceeded to the so little with his age-our wealth shall be his goal, these feelings were displaced by very difwhen we return !"

ferent sentiments. The trustful confidence of “No! no! it cannot be," exclaimed Ada, Ada, combined with her magical beauty, inspired bursting into a torrent of tears; "the thought him with love-a despotic love that had never would kill him ; and shall I bring sorrow upon reigned in his heart before. To a man like his grey hairs ! No, no, let us part now, and Craven, who had drunk to satiety from the cup for ever-why did we ever meet !"

of dissipation, there was something irresistibly “ Ada!” said Craven, who was only mad attractive in the discovery that there was still a dened into wilder passion by the grieving beauty youthful bosom which could beat in unison with of the girl, “ we can not part, the time is past. his. He yielded himself to its witchery at once ; Could such love as ours exist, if we had not he triumphed as we have seen ; but that victory been destined for each other?—impossible! Your was not all that his nature demanded. After heart will consent, if you have not ceased to the first gush of passion, his intellectual powers love !"

resumed their wonted restlessness, and the un. O the deep unutterable look that answered formed mind of the poor village girl was of those words !--too well it showed the tempter's course a blank in everything but its affection, triumph and the woman's shame. Let us hasten Therefore it was that Craven bore his bird of over the rest. That very night the lovers fled. beauty to the obscure town beside the sea. He

determined to make the jewel worthy of the

casket, to make her intellect as well as her heart Sad news for the hoary father, who bowed his responsive to his own, head, and never smiled again! Merry news to With this intent he hired masters of every Craven's bachelor friends, who were extremely description; he filled their retired cottage with facetious on the subject when they discussed it every adjunct to luxurious refinement which over their brimming bumpers. Pregnant matter wealth could provide. Books, busts, pictures, for scandal among the village gossips, especially and musical instruments were lavished upon her among Ada's conquered rivals, who had fore- with profusion, while he endeavoured to aca seen her disposition all along, and only wondered celerate her progress in the new world thus she had not gone off” before. Like almost opened by pouring into her soul the treasures of every other event that befalls humanity, the tale his own knowledge. The scheme was not withoccasioned both tears and laughter. Time out success: natural talent did much, and love passed, however, and curiosity died away with did more--for what cannot a young girl do who it

, for few rumours reached them to feed its really loves ?-and when the foundation was flame. Occasionally it was whispered that Ed. once laid, the superstructure rose with steady ward Craven was travelling on the continent, rapidity towards the completion he desired.


The Falcon and the Dove.


[ocr errors]

Now then, if ever, should have come the hap- she could not conceal from herself that a change piness he had sought to win. He possessed had come over the tone of his conversation. without restraint a being who loved him, a His new schemes of life spoke less of association being whose mind no longer trammelled by with her than of his friends in society; and the ignorance, added fresh charms every hour to idea of occasional separation, however short its a form of unusual beauty; he revelled in luxury, term might be, was full of anxiety and torture. and was rich in health, yet there were moments | There is this wide distinction between the miswhen his spirit languished to escape its thrall, tress and wife-that the former, if unhappy, An unruffled life grew wearisome for one who cannot shelter her sorrow under the wings of had been accustomed to alternate his studious friendship, or drown its recollection amid the days with nights of fierce excitement. He had thousand pursuits of a legitimate inember of the no friend, whom he could introduce to their human family. She has no friend; her position home. His bachelor friends would have striven is not recognized; her moral and physical existto beguile away so fair a companion; his more ence hangs on the breath of him who has led her staid acquaintance would have spurned her; astray. These, and many more such bitter rethere seemed no safety save in his present flections, dawned swiftly upon Ada's mind; and position, and every day rendered that position while they made her tremble for her future hapmore irksome. Week by week his words be- piness, they deprived her of the power of enjoycame fewer, his rides more protracted, and his ing the few consolations which the present brow less serene; and when he reached home, afforded. Her emotions, however, were caretheir conversation flagged so heavily that he fully suppressed from Craven's view. The long would take up a book and bury himself silently absent smiles that had now returned upon his in its contents until the approach of dawn. countenance were too welcome to permit the exIgnorant of the change that had overclouded pression of a syllable that might banish them his own manner, he was equally unaware of the again. She cast aside thought with a violent effect upon Ada. He knew not how every cold effort, and, drawing closer to her lover, linked reply and averted look struck like a dagger her hand in his. And thus they entered into through her heart; for the sorrow of a sensitive the mighty labyrinths of the modern Babylon, mind remains untold, and no bitter upbraiding A few days of bustle succeeded; and at ever passed her lips. But he discovered it at length the novelty of the first arrival wore off, last. One night he had cast his book aside and the pursuit of excitement palled upon them somewhat earlier than usual. Taking the lamp, both. It was impossible to keep quite incognito; he proceeded to his chamber; and as he passed Craven's name crept into the papers, his acher couch, he stayed to gaze upon the sleeping quaintance began to call, and as he could only girl.

permit a very small sprinkling of them to know Her face was concealed by the luxuriant that he had a companion, it became necessary to ringlets that had fallen around it, and as he find a habitation for Ada apart from his own. swept 'them softly aside from her beautiful At first she resolutely refused to leave him, and features, a low deep sigh escaped her. Some the mere proposal of separation elicited such mournful dream was haunting her slumber: it scenes of passionate anguish that he was totally was of him, for she murmured his name; and at a loss how to proceed. But by dint of perthen an unbidden tear gathered upon her fringed suasion and promises to be continually with her, eyelid, and coursed slowly down the cheek. she at last consented to this inevitable step, and Bending forward, he kissed away the unwelcome he hired magnificent apartments in a street conevidence of distress; but in that one tear the tiguous to his hotel. Having in this way carried whole truth flashed upon him. He saw at once his main point, he plunged with eager joy into how much she had striven to bear, and how the gaieties of the metropolis. There were very deep had been the sacrifice of endurance. For few drawing-rooms where Edward Craven was several minutes he paced the apartment in pro- not a favoured guest. His prodigal hospitality found thought, and at last his course was fixed. drew male friends around him by the score; his He resolved, no matter what the risk, to seek an wealth rendered him an object of intense inteabode in town.

rest to a numerous circle of managing mammas. So their little sea-side cottage was dismantled; Their invitations poured in for soirées and dinnera broker was ordered in to dispose of everything parties; the evening visits involved morning calls, it contained; and when the last token of their and engagements in the park, until but little time brief sojourn had been brought to the hammer, remained which he could bestow upon Ada. Craven's travelling carriage bore them to London Friendless and alone in the great capital, she as fast as four steeds could hurry it. Ada looked now began deeply to lament her position. Her despondent at first, but the evident satisfaction thoughts reverted mournfully to the humble but of her lover appeared in such heightened spirits happy cottage she had left

, and her father-but that she grew more resigned. Every mile they she dared not think of him ! covered seemed a furrow the less upon his Another torment that weighed upon her heart ample forehead; he conversed again without was the circumstance that Craven seldom or restraint, nay even with glee, and was per- never visited her alone. When she wearied of petually urging on the post-horses, as if—(vain public amusements, he would bring friends to hope) -he could leave “reflection” behind in dine with him at her apartments; and the levity their deserted solitude. In spite of all, however, I of their conversation, and the exhibitions of riot

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and intoxication that ensued, brought the ter-, it with trembling hands. Placing it with the rible conviction to her mind of how low was the money beside another packet that awaited him, esteem in which she was really held. She de- she rose once more, gazed wistfully around the manded, begged, implored to be spared these room on the mute evidences of their companioninflictions, and to be treated as he had promised, ship that lay scattered about, and at length the but in vain. He made vows of amendment die was cast : she hastened from the house. which were broken ere the week was past. The It was late in the night when Craven returned. riots became orgies, that revolted her spirit From the absence of light in their apartments with disgust; and one outburst brought on an he imagined that Ada had retired to rest, and he eclaircissement which drove them, before the cast himself wearily into a fauteuil for the purseason was over, to Paris.

pose of perusing his letters before he joined her. The thicker enveloppe covered a business dis

patch. He was about to cast it aside, when the Thus from scene to scene hurried the unhappy word“ Immediate,” on the inside cover, attracted pair, each haunted by a spectre that could not his attention. Hastily breaking the seal, he hurhe allayed. Regret on her side, and remorse ried through the contents; and the conclusion on his, forbade the slightest happiness from left him pale as if a voice had summoned bim their illicit love ; and the drama they were from the tomb. He called aloud to Ada, and enacting began to deepen into those tragic receiving no answer, hastened to her apartment. passages which heralded its close. Craven had It was tenantless! He was about to ring the not visited Paris since the tour that followed bell to make inquiries regarding her absence

, his first entrance into life; it will easily be under- when the second billet met his eye, written in her stood therefore that the associates he now raked well-known hand. The blotted lines told all : up were of a widely different class from the she had flown from his protection to England. polished scions of fashion whom he had left in Before another hour had elapsed, post-horses England. Men whose principal incomes de- were fastened to his travelling-carriage, and he pended on their wits; women, whose characters was flying on the track of the fair being whom he varied through many shades of the demirep, had destroyed. formed the companions who wasted his means In order to explain the sudden intelligence and occupied his time. Ada had too good which, more than Ada's flight, brought Craven reason, moreover, to doubt his fidelity. She saw back to England, it is necessary to retrace the indeed, what was really the case, that her beauty events that had occurred during his absence. Not lost hopelessly in its powers of attraction, when many months after his departure strange reports compared with the ineffable charm of a French were circulated abroad. Summer was on the woman's manner. But this, while it increased wane, harvest was near, and rumours arose her terror at the danger of her new position, from the country and the press that nature's exasperated her still more at the thought of his wealth was failing throughout the land. At first treating her with neglect. The consequence was it was treated as a mere outery of the least con, visible both in her mind and face, they were tented portion of the community; but instead equally clouded with gloom; the loveliness that of dying away, as the sanguine had anticipated, had been at once her weakness and her strong- every day added fresh evidence in confirmation hold, waned daily before the corroding effect of of the fact. While crowded meetings filled the grief, and with it seemed to fade her influence market-place, and angry recriminations were over Craven. Determined at last to solve her thundered in the senate

, the papers teemed with doubts and fears, she followed his carriage one accounts of present destitution and approaching evening, when he had left her, as he stated, to famine. Speculation commenced its accursed attend a soirée. The result was conclusive. traffic in human food, driving the value to an Instead of going to the Chaussée d'Antin, he unnatural height; and though this was a calamity met a veiled female not far from the Pont Neuf, which affected every individual unit in the country; and placing her hastily in his chariot, they drove it fell with double force on particular branches of off on the road to St. Cloud. She did not business : on none more heavily than that which follow, she did not attempt to arrest his progress, concerned Edward Craven. His employés bethough her voiture was close to his side; but came alarmed; they wrote letter after letter hurried to the hotel in a state of mind bordering urging his return, but their remonstrances were on frenzy. Floods of tears came to her relief, either unheeded or never reached their destinaor that shock would have killed her. When the tion. With his usual recklessness, he omitted first emotion had passed away, she rose from the to give any clue as to his whereabouts

, and so low ottoman on which she had sunk, and her while he was hurrying on in guilty companionmien was composed into a desperate calm ; ship from pleasure to pleasure, the fatal crisis nothing but a slight quiver on the lip betokened came. the madness that was gathering over her brain. Many will remember the event to which we With collected coolness she reckoned the sum allude.' Panic became universal, credit tottered, that was necessary for her purpose, and then banks stopped, the merchant princes of the nation having emptied the rest of the coin from her trembled on the brink of ruin. In the country purse, she sat down and wrote to him the last want of food produced every description of words that her hand ever penned. One solitary riotous license.' Armed bands of peasantry entear fell on that pregnant missive, as she folded tered the houses of the gentry, demanding re

The Falcon and the Dove.


lief, and the shops were plundered until their , threshold, unable to deliver his message, so owners ceased to trade. It was through a scene strangely was the mien of his master altered. of this kind, when the labourer had turned his Beside a table covered with papers, books, tools into weapons, that a travelling chariot, and other documents, sat the head man of urged by four steaming horses, passed along, business, reading hurriedly, and interpolating one autumn evening, to Craven House : the out- brief comments that only rendered the intellirages of the populace were at their height; man- gence more startling to his listener. Crayen sions had been robbed and ransacked : it was paced the saloon with rapid strides, denoting the just that point of a civil convulsion when the terrible agitation that worked within. At interthirst for blood commences.

vals he stopped, and sinking into a chair, unconAt the first appearance of the carriage there sciously wiped the cold sweat away that was a universal movement to arrest its pro- streamed upon his brow. All the lofty pride of gress. The crowd formed into a dense mass in his demeanour was vanished; his frame was the very centre of the road, shouting and waving hent, his colour changed into a ghoul-like paltheir torches in the air like the rabble of an lor; every word that reached him seemed to angry Comus. On came the conveyance, and plant a furrow upon his brow, and add a year to the voice of its occupant cheered the post-boys his full-blown manhood. It was no ordinary forward to headlong speed. The nostrils of the tale that had stricken his mind and body alike steeds flashed fire with fear and haste, the lamps into imbecility. When the clerk's voice ceased, flickered, the vehicle swayed from side to side as he learnt that he was ruined! But danger more if every moment would bring it to the ground, immediate even than this awaited him. Before and thus it reached the impeding multitude. the boy could summon courage to speak, a reThey made a shout of resistance, but in vain ; ( verberating shout rose outside the window like it swept through their recoiling ranks like a the yell of an Indian tribe. The multitude dedischarge of artillery. A few faming torches manded that he should come forth, and listen to were dashed in at the window; the panels were their will. Having briefly explained the mischief despoiled of their paint, and the affrighted that threatened, the servant secured the door of horses flew on faster than ever.

the apartment, and tried to rouse Craven to a Irritated beyond measure at the failure of their knowledge of his position. At first all their attempt, the mob grew uproarious in its demand efforts were vain. He neither spoke nor moved, for vengeance. “Who was it that dared to but kept gazing upon them with a bewildered trample down the starving people?” “ Who stare ; by degrees, however, a sense of their meanwas he?” “What was his name?”

ing appeared to dawn upon him. He motioned “Edward Craven !" shouted a sturdy peasant, them to open the window. While they unfolded with a fowling-piece in his hand; and as he the shutters, Craven opened an escritoire beside spoke the torchlight fell on his countenance, him, and swept a quantity of loose guineas out discovering the features of Richard Hawthorn. of a secret drawer ; then in the same listless

“Edward Craven !" echoed the rioters. The apathy, he emptied his purse upon the pile of name of the once-favoured landlord was branded glittering coin, and lifting the whole in both with imprecations and ribald jests upon his late hands, he advanced to the casement, and precompanionship. The roar of voices grew loudly sented himself before the multitude. Another insolent; elubs, pitchforks, and sticks waved clamorous outburst rent the air as they recogominously on high. There are moments of nized his form, which was personally familiar to popular excitement when a single collected most of them. The clerk and the servant shrunk mind may lead the mob in any direction it sug- back, and screened themselves in terror behind gests. The present juncture was ripe for the a curtain ; but Craven gazed upon the rioters proposal that succeeded. “Let us follow him!” with the same unconscious immobility he had cried the voice that had spoken before, and with displayed throughout. During the lull that fola unanimous impulse they adopted the thought. lowed he approached more fully into view, and Along lane and valley went labourer, tenant, essayed to speak. Twice the accents died upon artizan, even women and children, in one solid his lips in a hollow murmur, and when at last mass, not shouting as they had hitherto done, the words escaped, they sounded hoarse and but silent in their deadly purpose, as the sepulchral as the night-wind from a charnel. panther, an instant ere it springs. Until they " What is it you require ?" he said, in lareached the gates, not a whisper escaped, not a boured gasps. “Have my tenantry come to sound was heard, except their heavy, irregular welcome me home, or are they not my friends ?" tramp along the road. No precaution seemed An uproar of confused voices replied, renderto have been taken to obstruct their progress, ing little distinguishable, save the prominent cry and they wound through the carriage-drive to of “ Food! bread! money!" the very door of the mansion, where the reeking “Money!” he repeated; “money! I have horses still remained harnessed. A post-boy none but this, and it is yours; take it-dewas loitering on the steps when they first drew part!" He showered the gold in small handnear : with an instinctive foreboding of mischief fuls among them to the right hand and the left. he hastened to alarm the house. Craven was A sickly smile convulsed his lips while they in a drawing-room overlooking the lawn, which scrambled for it; his cheek grew more livid than was covered with this insurgent crew, and for before. This unexpected benevolence was not some time the boy stood motionless on the without effect upon the assembled crowd. One

[ocr errors]

of those curious reactions occurred which are so probable some casual reader may recognize its common in popular outbreaks, making them at details, and start to see the curtain lifted here. once unsafe and useless. They forgot the past, Blackinits guilt, fearful in its retribution, we would they saw nothing but the present ministrant to fain have chosen a brighter reminiscence from their necessities, for gold speaks eloquently to the leaves of memory; but it was written, and starving stomachs: their former shout of de- must be told. We have not sought to paint a fiance was changed into an applauding cheer; high-wrought picture; it has rather been our again it rose, rending the heavens; a third time endeavour to subdue than excite the colouring ; their ragged hats were thrown up in joy, and nor have we cast a meretricious halo over faults their lungs roared forth applause, when, louder that were shainelessly committed and fearfully than all, a sharp crack was heard above the din. atoned. The names of the dead have been supBefore any one could turn to see the cause, pressed out of regard to the living; in every Edward Craven uttered a thrilling cry, and fell other respect the circumstances are truthfully lifeless! Three shots had penetrated his heart. recorded. May the Epicurean triflers of the

Thus perished the last of a long line of wealthy present day, who deem that "the only Good is commoners. The murderer was never known, Pleasure,” listen to the warning which is whisfor immediately after the occurrence the rioters pered in these pages, that "the only Pleasure fled in terror to their houses. On examination is Good.” a fowling-piece was found beneath the window, but there was no mark upon it that gave even circumstantial evidence regarding its owner. The revenge of Richard Hawthorn upon the seducer

TO A COQUETTE. of his betrothed was seen by One alone. Days passed on, and at length the forsaken

Think not, false-hearted girl, to win dust was borne from the stately hall of Craven My love with smiles so false as thine ; House to the escutcheoned sepulchre of his race. On some new swain to-morrow's dawn Slowly it wound through the broad demesnes, Beholds thy sunniest glances shine, followed by weeping tenantry and mourning Sore tempting him to taste of love, friends. Solemnly waved the plumes of the

Thinking thy smile can alter never ; hearse ; loftily, as if in mockery of human pride,

But ere the goblet reach his lip, the prancing horses tossed their heads, and

Thy frowns dispel his dreams for ever. flecked their ebony skins with foam. As they moved silently along, a loud neigh burst forth

Vain girl! ere long thou'lt know 'tis sweet

To have a constant true heart near thee, from the market-place-it was from Craven's

With which thou may'st of love commune, white mare, which had just been sold. The

And in the hour of sorrow cheer thee; animal pricked her ears and snorted,* with a And passing sweet, amid the drear kind of instinctive recognition, while the para- And thorny path of life, to see phernalia of death gleamed by.

The cheering ray of faithful love Leaving the town, they moved along the Then hovering watchful over thee! winding valley; but another scene must yet be passed ere they reach the village temple. Amid Then think not, fickle girl, to win the oaks and pines that skirted the forest was a My heart with smiles so false as thine ; humble thatch-roofed cottage, whence discordant With witching glance on some new swain shrieks issued that scarcely seemed human in

To-morrow's dawn may see them sbine ! their agony. An old man tended his daughter,

W. B. A. and strove to calın her ravings with every endearing term that affection could dictate, but it was in vain. She burst from him, and rushed to the door, with her long chesnut hair streaming

upon the wind. The hearse and the feathers, 'Tis not the earth that is a waste to man,
the mutes and the train came past, and the sight When he hath put forth hopes, and seen them die-
increased her delirium; she poured a volley of When he hath watched the stripping, one by one,
curses upon her destroyer; her hazel eyes shot Of all Love's blossoms from his tree of life:
forth indignant hate, as if she saw some deadly The desert ever lies within man's heart.
enemy. The old man held her back with diffi- | He may have gathered some fair flower to bloom
culty, until on a sudden something appeared to And twine around his pathway; yet for want
strike her frame with feebleness, and the maniac of kindly tending-once so light a task-
Ada Gray sank upon her father's neck, and it may be withered, and its early bloom

Be lost in wreck and ruin. Passing on,
Through Care's drear wilderness and sombre shade,

Dare that man say, earth has no gift for him ?
A few brief years only have passed away since Oh! if his path be cheerless-strewn with weeds,
the occurrences which we have transcribed; so

That choke the place where once the flower grew recent indeed is the tragedy that it is not im- Without love's track to guide him on his way,

He is but wandering in a self-made waste,

And where the wild-wood and the thorn that wounds * This may appear unlikely; it is a literal fact were planted by his will. nevertheless.

Rose Acton.

« PreviousContinue »