Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

ness.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

with great gravity , "you must have had Dorcas did not see him. She had only some hidden reason for endeavouring to dis- eyes for Michael Sewell and his companion ; parage Mabel in my eyes.”

and when Mabel left them and came on “I would not say a word of disparage- alone towards Brian, she did not look toment against Mabel Westbrook for the wards her, but shifted her position with the world,” replied Brian ; “ but I would for all movements of her husband in the crowd. that, beg you to love her with less selfish- Presently Brian lost her altogether, and he

was gladdened by the sight of Mabel stand“What can you possibly mean now?" | ing before him. cried Angelo.

“What have you done with Angelo ? " “ I have already told you that no woman she asked. is deserving of, and that no good woman “He left me a few minutes since, being expects to be made, the sole thought of a heartily tired of my society," said Brian. man's life. It is unnatural and unreal; and I will go in search of him." harm may come of it.”

“ I will accompany you, if you will allow “I would prefer not continuing the dis- me." cussion," said Angelo, loftily, as he rose “Certainly," said Mabel. from his chair, took his hat formally from “I have one or two questions to ask conhis head, and left Brian to ponder on the cerning Mrs. Disney,” said Brian ; adding, non-success-even the utter failure-of his as Mabel regarded him with surprise, “and first attempt to rescue Mabel from the in Mrs. Disney's interest.” clutches of this man.

"Mrs. Disney should be very much obliged “ Still it must be done,” he said ; "he is to you,” Mabel answered. worse than I thought ; and she would be « Oh ! I am not going to quarrel with you hardly safe with him.”

again,” said Brian with a half sad smile ; He sat there brooding on this problem, “I think I understand you now, and for until Michael Sewell, Mrs. Disney, and Ma- ever.” bel passed again ; when he half rose to his “Well, well,” she said in a lower tone, feet, as if with the intention of joining them, and looking away from him for an instant, and then sat down again.

“it is almost time." “No I will not hunt her to death. She “Young Salmon tells me that Mrs. Disis happier without me,” he muttered. ney is a dear friend of yours,” Brian began.

As they passed, and Mabel looked to- “He is mistaken," Mabel answered, "a wards him and smiled, he could almost fancy dear friend Isabel Disney can never be. She that her glance asked him to rescue her from is an old school-fellow, whom I sought when those people whom she had sought of her I found myself alone in the world—whose own free will, and had possibly tired of knowledge of that world, too, I fancied might speedily ; but he had not the vanity to con- be of service to me in some way.

That was strue her meaning thus, and contented him- one of my mistakes—I make them at times, self by raising his hat, and feeling grateful as you are aware." for her acknowledgment of his existence. “ You do not like Mrs. Disney. I am They passed on, and Brian looked after glad of that,” exclaimed Brian. them, until he became aware that his sister “On the contrary, I like her very much Dorcas was looking after them too, from the —as an acquaintance,” was the reply. “She upper gallery of the covered corridor which is very amiable, very kind, very anxious to faced him. Ever the same thought and the be of service, very generoussame eternal watch for this woman of one “ And very vain," Brian concluded. idea--the sooner husband and wife were to- “ How do you know?” asked Mabel. gether, or Mrs. Disney separated from Mi- “I don't know, but the idea has impressed chael Sewell, the better. This task seemed me, nevertheless.” possible at least. Dorcas was thickly veiled Mabel laughed. now, and Brian would scarcely have recog- Well, I think she is just a little’ vain," nised her, despite his glasses, had it not been Mabel confessed; “ not much—not enough

d for the preceding interview. But Dorcas to spoil her. She is very pretty and dashing, was on his mind, and there was no mistak- and gentlemen pay her a great deal of attening the figure leaning over the balcony. tion, and that is likely to turn the head of a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Yes;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

young lady who is as fond of admiration as “ It is unfortunately too true.” the rest of us."

“Let us get away from this crowd," she “I wish you would not talk quite so flip- said with excitement. “I am bewilderedpantly on subjects of importance, Miss I shall betray my confusion. You must tell *Westbrook,” Brian jerked out solemnly. me what to do." “You are not fond of admiration or atten- “ What to do?tion.”

for Isabel. For oh ! Brian, I-I “I am only a woman,” answered Mabel think she likes him very much already.” demurely. "I think I am, Mr. Halfday.” “ And has no idea he is married ?”

“No-no, not in the way I mean," said “No. She is vain, but not wicked. She Brian ; “not the fulsome admiration and at- has not a bad thought in her simple heart, I tention which that big blonde would take am certain." for a compliment.”

“She will the more readily get over this “What a name, 'that big blonde !”” cried folly,” said Brian. Mabel. “If she could hear you ;

if her new They went slowly from the promenade to and last admirer could hear you.'

the paths which wound up the steep hills of “ The gentleman with whom she is now, the Spa Gardens, where they could talk in you mean?"

peace, and with only a few stragglers to “Yes. Captain Seymour."

wonder what might be the subject of their “Oh! that is Captain Seymour," said conversation. Brian. Do you like him ?”

“Now tell me what to do. I can rely 66 Well--no. He is very handsome, but upon you,” said Mabel, when they were on very rough in his manners.”

one of the upper paths, and not far from "Hardly a gentleman ?"

the summit of the cliff. “No-hardly a gentleman,” repeated “ Thank you for the compliment,” anMabel ; “but Isabel likes his frankness, and swered Brian with a smile. “I have given he is certainly very attentive to her,possi- you, in my time, a great deal of advice, which bly very fond of her.”

I have no remembrance of your following.” “ Don't say that,” said Brian very quickly. “Go on, You regard matters lightly. I

“Why not ? ” asked Mabel in astonish- have a friend's reputation at stake, said ment. “Why should he not be? Do you Mabel impatiently. know anything of him-is he what he “I beg your pardon, Miss Westbrook. seems ?”

This is reproof for reproof, I suppose ; but “No,” was Brian's reply.

I hardly deserve it. But why should we not “What is he, then?”

treat the matter lightly ?” he asked. “My sister's husband," answered Brian. chael Sewell has been flirting with your

friend, and has not told her he is married. Mrs. Disney has been a little indiscreet in

accepting attentions from a gentleman of CHAPTER XI.

whose antecedents she is in ignorance ; and

a quiet hint from you sets the position right. CLOSE TO THE TRUTH.

Where is the harm done? The widow is

not likely to be desperately in love. Her ABEL WESTBROOK turned very vanity may have been flattered by a hand

white, before a flush of lionest in- some young man's attentions, but I should dignation at Michael Sewell's duplicity stole doubt if her heart had been touched in the over her face and neck. Young and guile least.” less herself, knowing little of the world and “ I am not so sure. Love is a plant of the world's temptations, crediting humanity quick growth in the hearts of most women, with higher motives than as a rule it deserved, I have been told.” believing in the good, and doubting if there “Quick-growing plants wither quickly," were much evil in men's hearts, the revela- said Brian in reply. “The weed grows apace, tion of Brian Halfday was a blow to Mabel is torn up by the roots, and thrown asidefrom which she did not readily recover. and there's an end of it."

“Oh! is it true-can it be true?” she “I had forgotten your opinion of women, exclaimed.

said Mabel, half-indignantly, half-sorrow

" Mi

M

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

66

[ocr errors]

fully. “ But this Michael Sewell is dan- “Mrs. Disney I shall not see till lunchgerous.”

eon,” said Mabel, “but we may as well re“To any one with a fair share of common turn to the promenade.” sense,” Brian answered, “he is obtrusive and “I do not see any particular reason for vulgar."

that,” replied Brian, “I hate promenades “Why is he here without Dorcas ? Why and mobs of people with fine dresses to does he come under a false name to the show off.” 'Mastodon,' and with a title to which he has

Angelo will wonder where I am, no right? ”

he“I am not defending Michael Sewell,” re- “ Confound Angelo !” exclaimed Brian in plied Brian. “He is no friend of mine. In a higher key, despite himself; “only last twenty-four hours from this time he will con- night you spoke as if you were afraid of him, stitute himself my bitterest enemy.” doubtful of the result of this foolish step

Mabel drew a quick breath of alarm, and you must pardon me, but it was a very foollooked anxiously at Brian.

ish step-which you had taken at his friends' “He will not think you have told me," she advice-and now you are scarcely happy out said.

of his sight.” "Probably he will; but I am not alluding “He is my charge,” was Mabel's reply, to that. He knows I am likely to study

" for the present.

He is still weak and Dorcas's interest before his own ; and if í strange, and only I have any influence over understand the gentleman, he will treat the him. I might add without much vanity permatter as an excellent jest, when he is found haps that he at least is unhappy out of my out-not before."

sight, terribly unlike his old self, but after “Why do you think he will consider him- your hard words I shall say no more, Mr. self your bitterest enemy then ?

Halfday. Please conduct me back to the “Will you allow me to reply to that ques

promenade." tion twenty-four hours hence also ?”

“ Yes-one minute," said Brian, “I have “For what reason ? ” Mabel inquired. said something rude again, and hurt your

“It concerns you —it relates to the old, feelings as usual. But you spoke of the man objectionable topic of your money," said as if " Brian.

“Well—as if ?" demanded Mabel imper“ Yes," replied Mabel thoughtfully, “I iously. can afford to wait for any explanation of “ As if you loved him,” Brian answered, that, but,” she added with greater interest, "and that vexed me.” "you are not going to quarrel with him—to I do not see why it should vex you in place yourself in vain opposition to him, any way,” said Mabel, with a charming asto do harm rather than good by setting your- sumption of ignorance that a man more self up as my champion ? I promised your versed in woman's wiles would have seen sister Dorcas to wait patiently—to have faith through quickly, and seized his advantage in her—and you must not interfere.”

from. “Suppose I am studying my own inter- “Everything that relates to you affects me ests, and not yours ? "

seriously,” replied Brian, very grave and stern “Ah! now you speak in the old aggra- under the misapprehension of her manner, vating, enigmatical way. I will not suppose

I will not suppose and you know, or should know, that as

" anything half so ridiculous as that," said well as I do. I have attempted no disguise ; Mabel, pouting a little.

you have. Every time I meet you there "Ridiculous-do you say ridiculous? I arises something to perplex me with your think at least--" he came to a full stop, character, and to bewilder me with your reand then went on in a different tone, “but marks. You wonder why I should be vexed I am never again going to be angry with at your speaking as if you loved Angelo you. There—you may say what you like!” Salmon. Why—you have no right to love

, “ Thank you very much,” said Mabel him!' drily.

“Have I not a right to love whom I “ Shall we change the subject, or go in please?” search of Mrs. Disney ?”

Certainly not,” said Brian emphatically,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was

[ocr errors]

so.”

66

“you should be—I believe you are--above said Brian ; it a fiction designed to all profession of attachment for people you mislead me ?”

" don't care for.”

“Not so bad as that." “But I do care for Angelo—in a way, "Believing in what you said to me, I bethat is.”

trayed the secret of my own heart," said “Yes, in a way! But how would the man Brian, “for I felt hope was gone for ever who loves you with his whole soul-whom after you had once loved.” you love, for you have almost owned it- “I simply said there was some one whom think of the miserable and mistaken position I might learn to love one day,” said Mabel ; you have assumed?”

“was there anything very remarkable in “What man can you possibly mean ? " ex- that?" claimed Mabel, becoming very red on the “ A man in the backwoods." instant.

“Ay-very far back, indeed.” “What man? Great Heaven, what a “If I had only dreamed you were jesting question ! are you laughing at me—have on that night respecting the man I fancied you gone out of your mind, too? ” cried you loved-I should have been very glad. Brian, in his profound astonishment.

I should have acted in a different fashion." “I hope not—but I don't know what you “I don't see why you should have done mean. I must be unaccountably dull this morning. Will it please you to enlighten “You were not in love with a dry-goods me?"

man—a backwoodsman-any one in Ame“ The dry-goods fellow-in the back- rica, then? Tell me that? woods somewhere--whom you are not treat- “Literally speaking-no," answered Maing well, if you care for him at all. Which bel ; “but you must not ask too__" you owned to me you did, mind,” said Brian “ And you have never loved Angelo Salwith severity.

mon ?” he cried. “ It is all out of pity Mabel coloured again, but her eyes looked for him that up at the blue sky, and then along the path “Pray don't say any more," said Mabel, they were pursuing in their slow progress interrupting him in her turn, and becoming downwards to the promenade again, and very much afraid of him. “ I don't carefinally, to Brian's increased surprise and I don't wish to reply to further questionvexation, she burst into a peal of merry ing. I will not.” laughter which echoed pleasantly and music- You shall," he exclaimed ; “for I must ally amongst the trees. It was a momentary learn the truth, and be crushed under foot forgetfulness of the shadows that were about or raised to heaven by a word. I love you, her life, that might be stealing from the lower Mabel. You know it-you have known it ground like a mist that would envelop the all along. Oh! my darling, to be lost for lives of others presently, and wherein others ever, or to be won I love you-1 might be lost, but she was young, naturally love you!" light-hearted, and the humour of the position It was a fitting place for the avowal, unand the studied gravity of Brian Halfday der the still, green trees that shadowed the were too much for her. She laughed from winding paths of the Spa Gardens, where the heart, as a girl should at her age, but it love-making is not particularly uncommon; was the last laugh for many a long day. it was the fitting time for it to two hearts

“I don't see the joke," said Brian that had been slowly and surely approachshortly.

ing each other from the first, in spite of "I cannot very well explain.” was Ma- every misconception ; it was the genuine

“ bel's answer; “there is a mistake some- outburst of a pent-up soul that no woman where, I think.”

could mistake. It was the strong love of a “ There is no one in America whom you strong man, whose pride had given way,and would marry if he asked you-whom you whose passion had mastered his reserve. could love in good time—who you are sure Mabel looked away, trembled, and shed loves you ?” he asked.

tears, but she did not shrink from him as “Not one," answered Mabel confidently. he passed his arm for an instant round her “ Have I been dreaming all this while ?” waist. This was her first love, and she only

now.

wondered that he had not seen it long ago ; the band--that was playing a triumphal for this had been her hero from the early march, as if in compliment to his victory. days of his unselfish thoughts of her.

Two men followed them, but Brian and “Don't say any more, Brian,” she mur- Mabel were unconscious of watchers, or of mured ; “let me think a little.”

anyone existing, just then, in the world, “I have not made you unhappy?” save themselves ; such is the selfishness of “ No."

the human heart when a man or woman Happy, then? say that, Mabel—just is stowed away at its core.

“What did I tell you ?” said Michael “Yes, I am happy now," she answered. Sewell to Angelo, as they stood on the high

He kissed her very hastily and clumsily ground, looking down at the lovers; "what —not being used to kissing —but he was else could you expect ? ” very happy, also, and forgot the world ahead “Yes- what could I expect?" repeated of him, as he drew her arm through his, and Angelo. walked down with her very proudly towards

(To be continued.)

one word."

CURRENT EVENTS.

I

N all countries where the people, either means to an end. To assert that the object

en masse, or as winnowed out by a process of all government is the good of the govof artificial selection, constitutes the ultimate erned, and, therefore, that its machinery is depositary of political power, the problem merely instrumental, appears to be a truism ; sooner or later arises, how to reconcile the yet, like other self-evident propositions, it broadest franchise with security for the is apt to be, at times, lost sight of or forability, culture, and integrity of rulers. It is gotten. There crops up, ever and anon, the no new perplexity arising out of the exi- popular fallacy that forms of rule are to be gencies of modern representative institu- approved or condemned, not for what they tions; on the contrary, it was felt in Rome do, but for what they are. Since the days of of old, and met by such rude appliances as Rousseau and the Encyclopædia, doctrinaires suggested themselves as each new emergency have never tired of expatiating on the theory arose. It is felt now, when civil polity has of government, as divorced from its pracassumed the garb of philosophy, when tice. Like political economy, the offspring society is more complex, and the need of of the same era, democracy has been subsatisfaction more pressing and imperative. mitted as a complete theory, indisputable in No doubt the science of government was its dogmatic principles, and capable of adaptreated of by Plato, and Aristotle, and Cicero, tation to any community, without regard to but the conditions under which it presented time, place, or degree of civilization. The itself to the view of the ancient philosopher revolution of 1789 has ceased to be the were radically different from those of modern bogey it was, and properly so. The present society, as contemplated by modern thought. generation has learned to peer beyond the A brief consideration of the question may be terrible excesses of the Revolution; the eye is of service here, since, as may perhaps ap- no longer confused with the fearful scenes of pear in the sequel, Canada offers a fairer the Terror; the ear catches other sounds field for its solution than Europe or the than the groans of the dying, the rattle of United States. And first, to clear the ground the fataltumbril, or the dull thud of Samson's of a few obstructions tending to obscure knife. The smoke has rolled away, and the the view, which, to be of use, must neces- substantial results remain to be contemplated sarily be broad and comprehensive. by men no longer frenzied by horror or

Popular government, whether it be decked unnerved by fear, The cost of these with the trappings of monarchy or appear- benefits surpasses calculation; but, on the ing in the naked, but pretentious, simplicity other hand, they are priceless. It is not too

,

, of a republic, is not an end, but only the much to say that all which Europe possesses of

« AnteriorContinua »