startled; the priest, not appearing to notice me, and convers-
ing in a whispered yet seemingly vehement tone with his
companion, hurried on and vanished through the street door.
I entered St. John's room: he was alone, and received me
with his usual gayety.
"Pardon me, Mr. Secretary," said I; "but if not a ques-
tion of state, do inform me what you know respecting the
taller one of those two gentlemen who have just quitted
"It is a question of state, my dear Devereux, so my an-
swer must be brief, ā very little."
"You know who he is?"
" Yes, a Jesuit, and a marvellously shrewd one : the Abbe
"He was my tutor."
"Ah, so I have heard."
"And your acquaintance with him is positively and bona
fide of a state nature ? "
"Positively and bona fide."
" I could tell you something of him ; he is certainly in the
service of the Court at St. Germains, and a terrible plotter
on this side the Channel."
"Possibly; but I wish to receive no information respecting
One great virtue of business did St. John possess, and I
have never known any statesman who possessed it so emi-
nently : it was the discreet distinction between friends of the
statesman and friends of the man. Much and intimately as
I knew St. John, I could never glean from him a single se-
cret of a state nature, until, indeed, at a later period, I leagued
myself to a portion of his public schemes. Accordingly I
found him, at the present moment, perfectly impregnable to
my inquiries; and it was not till I knew Montreuil's com-
panion was that celebrated intriguant, the Abbe Gaultier,
that I ascertained the exact nature of the priest's business
with St. John, and the exact motive of the civilities he had
received from Abigail Masham.^ Being at last forced, de-
1 Namely, that Count Devereux ascertained the priest's commnnications
and overtures from the Chevalier. The precise extent of Bolingbroke's
secret negotiations with the exiled Prince is still one of the darkest portions
spairingly, to give over the attempt on his discretion, I suf-
fered St. John to turn the conversation upon other topics,
and as these were not much to the existent humour of my
mind, I soon rose to depart.
"Stay, Count," said St. John; "shall you ride to-day?"
"If you will bear me company."
" Volontiers, ā to say the truth, I was about to ask you to
canter your bay horse with me first to Spring Gardens, ^ where
I have a promise to make to the director; and, secondly, on a
mission of charity to a poor foreigner of rank and birth, who,
in his profound ignorance of this countrj', thought it right to
enter into a plot with some wise heads, and to reveal it to
some foolish tongues, who brought it to us with as much
clatter as if it were a second gunpowder project. I easily
brought him off that scrape, and I am now going to give him
a caution for the future. Poor gentleman, I hear that he is
grievously distressed in pecuniary matters, and I always had
a kindness for exiles. Who knows but that a state of exile
may be our own fate ' and this alien is sprung from a race as
haughty as that of St. John or of Devereux. The res an-
gusta domi must gall him sorely!"
" True, " said I, slowly. " What may be the name of the
" Why ā complain not hereafter that I do not trust you in
state matters ā I will indulge ā D' Alvarez ā Don Diego, ā a
hidalgo of the best blood of Andalusia ; and not unworthy of it,
I fancy, in the virtues of fighting, though he may be in those
of council. But ā Heavens ! Devereux ā you seem ill ! "
"No, no! Have you ever seen this man?"
At this word a thrill of joy shot across me, for I knew St.
John's fame for gallantry, and I was suspicious of the motives
of his visit.
"St. John, I know this Spaniard; I know him well, and
of the history of that time. That negotiations xcere carried on, both by
Harley and by St. John, very largely, and very closely, I need not say that
there is no doubt,
intimately. Could you not commission me to do your errand,
and deliver your caution? Relief from me he might accept;
from you, as a stranger, pride might forbid it; and you would
really confer on me a personal and essential kindness, if you
would give me so fair an opportunity to confer kindness upon
"Very well, I am delighted to oblige you in any way.
Take his direction; you see his abode is in a very pitiful siib-
urb. Tell him from me that he is quite safe at present; but
tell him also to avoid, henceforth, all imprudence, all connec-
tion with priests, plotters, et tons ces gens-la, as he values
his personal safety, or at least his continuance in this most
hospitable country. It is not from every Avood that we make
a Mercury, nor from every brain that we can carve a Mer-
cury's genius of intrigue."
"Nobody ought to be better skilled in the materials requi-
site for such productions than Mr. Secretary St. John! " said
I; "and now, adieu."
"Adieu, if you will not ride with me. "We meet at Sir
William Wyndham's to-morrow."
Masking my agitation till I was alone, I rejoiced when I
found myself in the open streets. I summoned a hackney-
coach, and drove as rapidly as the vehicle would permit to
the petty and obscure suburb to which St. John had directed
me. The coach stopped at the door of a very humble but not
absolutely wretched abode. I knocked at the door. A woman
opened it, and, in answer to my inquiries, told me that the
poor foreign gentleman was very ill, ā very ill indeed, ā had
suffered a paralytic stroke, ā not expected to live. His
daughter was with him now, ā would see no one, ā even Mr,
Barnard had been denied admission.
At that name my feelings, shocked and stunned at first by
the unexpected intelligence of the poor Spaniard's danger,
felt a sudden and fierce revulsion. I combated it. " This is
no time," I thought, "for any jealous, for any selfish, emotion.
If I can serve her, if I can relieve her father, let me be con-
tented." ā " She will see me," I said aloud, and I slipped some
money in the woman's hand. "I am an old friend of the
family, and I shall not be an unwelcome intruder on the sick-
room of the sufferer."
"Intruder, sir, ā bless you, the poor gentleman is quite
speechless and insensible."
At hearing this I could refrain no longer. Isora's discon-
solate, solitary, destitute condition broke irresistibly upon
me, and all scruple of more delicate and formal nature van-
ished at once. I ascended the stairs, followed by the old
woman ā she stopped me by the threshold of a room on the
second floor, and whispered " There ! " I paused an instant,
ā collected breath and courage, and entered. The room was
partially darkened. The curtains were drawn closely around
the bed. By a table, on which stood two or three phials of
medicine, I beheld Isora, listening with an eager, a most
eager and intent face to a man whose garb betrayed his heal-
ing profession, and who, laying a finger on the outstretched
palm of his other hand, appeared giving his precise instruc-
tions, and uttering that oracular breath which ā mere human
words to him ā was a message of fate itself, ā a fiat on which
hung all that makes life life to his trembling and devout lis-
tener. Monarchs of earth, ye have not so supreme a power
over woe and happiness as one village leech! As he turned to
leave her, she drew from a most slender purse a few petty
coins, and I saw that she muttered some words indicative of
the shame of poverty, as she tremblingly tended them to the
outstretched palm. Twice did that palm close and open on the
paltry sum ; and the third time the native instinct of the heart
overcame the later impulse of the profession. The limb of
Galen drew back, and shaking with a gentle oscillation his
capitalian honours, he laid the money softly on the table, and
buttoning up the pouch of his nether garment, as if to resist
temptation, he pressed the poor hand still extended towards
him, and bowing over it with a kind respect for which I did
long to approach and kiss his most withered and undainty
cheek, he turned quickly round, and almost fell against me in
the abstracted hurry of his exit.
"Hush! " said I, softly. "What hope of your patient?"
The leech glanced at me meaningly, and I whispered to
Iiim to wait for me below. Isora had not yet seen me. It is
a notable distinction in the feelings, that all but the solitary
one of grief sharpen into exquisite edge the keenness of the
senses, but grief blunts them to a most dull obtuseness. I
hesitated now to come forward; and so I stood, hat in hand,
by the door, and not knowing that the tears streamed down
my cheeks as 1 fixed my gaze upon Isora. She too stood
still, just where the leech had left her, with her eyes fixed
upon the ground, and her head drooping. The right hand,
which the man had pressed, had sunk slowly and heavily by
her side, with the small snowy fingers half closed over the
palm. There is no describing the despondency which the
listless position of that hand spoke, and the left hand lay
with a like indolence of sorrow on the table, with one finger
outstretched and pointing towards the phials, just as it had,
some moments before, seconded the injunctions of the prim
physician. Well, for my part, if I were a painter I would
come now and then to a sick chamber for a study.
At last Isora, with a very quiet gesture of self-recovery,
moved towards the bed, and the next moment I was by her
side. If my life depended on it, I could not write one, no,
not one syllable more of this scene.
CONTAINING MORE THAN ANY OTHER CHAPTER IN THE SECOND
BOOK OF THIS HISTORY.
My first proposal was to remove the patient, with all due
care and gentleness, to a better lodging, and a district more
convenient for the visits of the most eminent physicians.
When I expressed this wish to Isora, she looked at me long
and wistfully, and then burst into tears. " You will not de-
ceive us," said she, "and I accept your kindness at once, ā
from him I rejected the same offer."
"Him? ā of whom speak you? ā this Barnard, or rather ā
but I know him! " A startling expression passed over Isora's
"Know him!" she cried, interrupting me, "you do not, ā
you cannot ! "
"Take courage, dearest Isora, ā if I may so dare to call
you, ā take courage: it is fearful to have a rival in that quar-
ter; but I am prepared for it. This Barnard, tell me again,
do you love him?"
"Love ā God, no!"
"What then? do you still fear him? ā fear him, too, pro-
tected by the unsleeping eye and the vigilant hand of a love
" Yes ! " she said falteringly, " I fear for you ! "
" Me ! " I cried, laughing scornfully, " me ! nay, dearest,
there breathes not that man whom you need fear on my ac-
count. But, answer me; is not ā -"
"For Heaven's sake, for mercy's sake!" cried Isora, ea-
gerly, "do not question me; I may not tell you who, or
what this man is; I am bound, by a most solemn oath, never
to divulge that secret."
"I care not," said I, calmly, "I want no confirmation of
my knowledge : this masked rival is my own brother ! "
I fixed my eyes full on Isora while I said this, and she
quailed beneath my gaze: her cheek, her lips, were utterly
without colour, and an expression of sickening and keen an-
guish was graven upon her face. She made no answer.
"Yes! " resumed I, bitterly, "it is my brother, ā be it so, ā
I am prepared; but if you can, Isora, say one word to deny
Isora's tongue seemed literally to cleave to her mouth ; at
last with a violent effort, she muttered, "I have told you,
Morton, that I am bound by oath not to divulge this secret;
nor may I breathe a single syllable calculated to do so, ā if I
deny one name, you may question me on more, ā and, there-
fore, to deny one is a breach of my oath. But, beware ! " she
added vehemently, "oh! beware how your suspicions ā mere
vague, baseless suspicions ā criminate a brother ; and, above
all, whomsoever you believe to be the real being under this
disguised name, as you value your life, and therefore mine, ā
breathe not to him a syllable of your belief."
I was so struck with the energy with which this was said,
that, after a short pause, 1 rejoined, in an altered tone, ā
"I cannot believe that I have aught against life to fear from
a brother's hand; but I will promise you to guard against
latent danger. But is your oath so peremptory that you
cannot deny even one name? ā if not, and you can deny
this, I swear to you that I will never question you upon
Again a fierce convulsion wrung the lip and distorted the
perfect features of Isora. She remained silent for some mo-
ments, and then murmured, " My oath forbids me even that
single answer: tempt me no more; now, and forever, I am
mute upon this subject."
Perhaps some slight and momentary anger, or doubt, or
suspicion, betrayed itself upon my countenance; for Isora,
after looking upon me long and mournfully, said, in a quiet
but melancholy tone, " I see your thoughts, and I do not re-
proach you for them ā it is natural that you should think ill
of one whom this mystery surrounds, ā one too placed under
such circumstances of humiliation and distrust. I have lived
long in your country : I have seen, for the last few months,
much of its inhabitants ; I have studied too the works which
profess to unfold its national and peculiar character: I know
that yon have a distrust of the people of other climates; I
know that you are cautious and full of suspicious vigilance,
even in your commerce with each other; I know, too [and
Isora's heart swelled visibly as she spoke], that poverty it-
self, in the eyes of your commercial countrymen, is a crime,
and that they rarely feel confidence or place faith in those
who are unhappy; ā why, Count Devereux, why should I re-
quire more of you than of Ihe rest of your nation? \Yhy
should you think better of the penniless and friendless girl,
the degraded exile, the victim of doubt, ā which is so often
the disguise of guilt, ā than any other, any one even among
my own people, would think of one so mercilessly deprived
of all the decent and appropriate barriers by whicli a maiden
should be surrounded? No ā no: leave me as you found me;
leave my poor father where you see him; any place will do
for us to die in."
"Isora!" I said, clasping her in my arms, "you do not
know me yet: had I found you in prosperity, and in the
world's honour; had I wooed you in your father's halls, and
girt around with the friends and kinsmen of your race, ā I
might have pressed for more than you will now tell me; I
might have indulged suspicion where I perceived mystery,
and I might not have loved as I love you now ! Note, Isora,
in misfortune, in destitution, I place without reserve my
whole heart ā its trust, its zeal, its devotion ā in your keep-
ing ; come evil or good, storm or sunshine, I am yours, wholly
and forever. Eeject me if you will, I will return to you
again; and never, never ā save from my own eyes or your
own lips ā will I receive a single evidence detracting from
your purity, or, Isora, ā mine own, own Isora, ā may I not
add also ā from your love? "
" Too, too generous ! " murmured Isora, struggling passion-
ately with her tears, " may Heaven forsake me if ever I am
ungrateful to thee ; and believe ā believe, that if love more
fond, more true, more devoted than woman ever felt before
can repay you, you shall be repaid ! "
Why, at that moment, did my heart leap so joyously within
me? ā why did I say inly, ā ''The treasure I have so long
yearned for is found at last : we have met, and through the
waste of years, we will work together, and never part again " ?
Why, at that moment of bliss, did I not rather feel a foretaste
of the coming woe? Oh, blind and capricious Fate, that
gives us a presentiment at one while and withholds it at an-
other! Knowledge, and Prudence, and calculating Foresight,
what are ye? ā warnings unto others, not ourselves. Reason
is a lamp which sheddeth afar a glorious and general light,
but leaveth all that is around it in darkness and in gloom.
We foresee and foretell the destiny of others : we march cred-
ulous and benighted to our own; and like Laocoon, from the
very altars by which we stand as the soothsayer and the
priest, creep forth, unsuspected and undreamt of, the serpents
which are fated to destroy us !
That very day, then, Alvarez was removed to a lodging more
worthy of his birth, and more calculated to afford hope of his
recovery. He bore the removal without any evident signs of
fatigue; but his dreadful malady had taken away both speech
and sense, and he was already more than half the property
of the grave. I sent, however, for the best medical advice
which London could afford. They met, prescribed, and left
the patient just as they found him. I know not, in the pro-
gress of science, what physicians may be to posterity, but in
my time they are false Avitnesses subpoenaed against death,
whose testimony always tells less in favour of the plaintiff
than the defendant.
Before we left the poor Spaniard's former lodging, and
when I was on the point of giving some instructions to the
landlady respecting the place to which the few articles of
property belonging to Don Diego and Isora were to be moved,
Isora made me a sign to be silent, which I obeyed. " Pardon
me," said she afterwards; "but I confess that I am anxious
our next residence should not be known, ā should not be
subject to the intrusion of ā of this ā "
" Barnard, as you call him. I understand you ; be it so ! "
and accordingly I enjoined the goods to be sent to my own
house, whence they were removed to Don Diego's new abode:
and I took especial care to leave with the good lady no clew
to discover Alvarez and his daughter, otherwise than through
me. The pleasure afforded me of directing Gerald's atten-
tion to myself, I could not resist. " Tell Mr. Barnard, when
he calls, " said I, " that only through Count Morton Devereux
will he hear of Don Diego d'Alvarez and the lady his
"I will, your honour," said the landlady; and then looking
at me more attentively, she added: "Bless me! now when
you speak, there is a very strong likeness between yourself
and Mr. Barnard."
I recoiled as if an adder had stung me, and hurried into the
coach to support the patient, who was already placed there.
Now then my daily post was by the bed of disease and suf-
fering: in the chamber of death was my vow of love ratified;
and in sadness and in sorrow was it returned. But it is in
such scenes that the deepest, the most endearing, and the
most holy species of the passion is engendered. As I heard
Isora's low voice tremble with the suspense of one who watches
over the hourly severing of the affection of Nature and of early
years; and as I saw her light step flit by the pillow which
she smoothed, and her cheek alternately flush and fade, in
watching the wants which she relieved; as I marked her
mute, her unwearying tenderness, breaking into a thousand
nameless but mighty cares, and pervading like an angel's
vigilance every ā yea, the minutest ā course into which it
flowed, ā did I not behold her in that sphere in which woman
is most lovely, and in which love itself consecrates its admi-
ration and purifies its most ardent desires? That was not a
time for our hearts to speak audibly to each other; but we
felt that they grew closer and closer, and we asked not for
the poor eloquence of words. But over this scene let me not
One morning, as I was proceeding on foot to Isora's, I per-
ceived on the opposite side of the way Montreuil and Gerald :
they were conversing eagerly; they both saw me. Montreuil
made a slight, quiet, and dignified inclination of the head:
Gerald coloured, and hesitated. I thought he was about to
leave his companion and address me; but, with a haughty
and severe air, I passed on, and Gerald, as if stung by my
demeanour, bit his lip vehemently and followed my example.
A few minutes afterwards I felt an inclination to regret that
I had not afforded him an opportunity of addressing me, " I
might, " thought I, " have then taunted him with his persecu-
tion of Isora, and defied him to execute those threats against
me, in which it is evident, from her apprehensions for my
safety, that he indulged."
I had not, however, much leisure for these thoughts. When
I arrived at the lodgings of Alvarez, I found that a great
change had taken place in his condition; he had recovered
speech, though imperfectly, and testified a return to sense. I
flew upstairs with a light step to congratulate Isora : she met
me at the door. " Hush ! " she whispered : " my father sleeps ! "
But she did not speak with the animation I had anticipated.
"What is the matter, dearest?" said I, following her into
another apartment: "you seem sad, and your eyes are red
with tears, which are not, methinks, entirely the tears of joy
at this happy change in your father. "
"I am marked out for suffering," returned Isora, more
keenly than she was wont to speak. I pressed her to explain
her meaning; she hesitated at first, but at length confessed
that her father had always been anxious for her marriage
with this sol-disant Barnard, and that his first words on his
recovery had been to press her to consent to his wishes.
" My poor father, " said she, weepingly, " speaks and thinks
only for my fancied good; but his senses as yet are only re-
covered in part, and he cannot even understand me when I
speak of you. *I shall die,' he said, 'I shall die, and you
will be left on the wide world ! ' I in vain endeavoured to
explain to him that I should have a protector : he fell asleep
muttering those words, and with tears in his eyes."
"Does he know as much of this Barnard as you do? " said I.
" Heavens, no ! ā or he would never have pressed me to
marry one so wicked."
"Does he know even who he is?"
"Yes!" said Isora, after a pause; "but he has not known
Here the physician joined us, and taking me aside, informed
me that, as he had foreboded, sleep had been the harbinger
of death, and that Don Diego was no more. I broke the news
as gently as I could to Isora: but her grief was far more vio-
lent than I could have anticipated ; and nothing seemed to cut
her so deeply to the heart as the thought that his last wish
had been one with which she had not complied, and could
I pass over the first days of mourning : I come to the one
after Don Diego's funeral. I had been with Isora in the
morning; I left her for a few hours, and returned at the first
dusk of evening with some books and music, which I vainly
hoped slie might recur to for a momentary abstraction from
her grief. I dismissed my carriage, with the intention of
walking home, and addressing the woman-servant who ad-
mitted me, inquired, as was my wont, after Isora. " She has
been very ill," replied the woman, "ever since the strange
gentleman left her."
"The strange gentleman?"
Yes, he had forced his way upstairs, despite of the denial
the servant had been ordered to give to all strangers. He
had entered Isora's room; and the woman, in answer to my
urgent inquiries, added that she had heard his voice raised
to a loud and harsh key in the apartment; he had stayed
there about a quarter of an hour, and had then hurried out,
seemingly in great disorder and agitation.
"What description of man was he?" I asked.
The woman answered that he was mantled from head to
foot in his cloak, which was richly laced, and his hat was
looped with diamonds, but slouched over that part of his face
which the collar of his cloak did not hide, so that she could
not further describe him than as one of a haughty and abrupt
bearing, and evidently belonging to the higher ranks.
Convinced that Gerald had been the intruder, I hastened
up the stairs to Isora. She received me with a sickly and
faint smile, and endeavoured to conceal the traces of her
"So!" said I, "this insolent persecutor of yours has dis-
covered your abode, and again insulted or intimidated you.
He shall do so no more! I will seek him to-morrow; and
no affinity of blood shall prevent ā "
" Morton, dear Morton ! " cried Isora, in great alarm, and
yet with a certain determination stamped upon her features,