that it is time you should."
"Give me that letter, I beseech you," said Montreuil,
changing his voice from anger to supplication; "I ask your
pardon for my violence : the letter does not concern you but
me ; there is a secret in those lines which you see are in my
handwriting that implicates my personal safety. Give it me,
my dear, dear son: your own honour, if not your affection
for me, demands that you should."
I was staggered. His Aaolence had confirmed my suspi-
cions, but his gentleness weakened them. "Besides," thought
I, " the handwriting is his ; and even if my life depended
upon reading the letter of another, I do not think my honour
would suffer me to do so against his consent." A thought
struck me, ā
" Will you swear, " said I, " that this letter does not concern
"Solemnly," answered the Abbe, raising his eyes.
" Will you swear that I am not even mentioned in it ? "
"Upon peril of my soul, I will."
" Liar ! traitor ! perjured blasphemer ! " cried I, in an inex-
pressible rage, " look here, and here ! " and I pointed out to
the priest various lines in which my name legibly and fre-
quently occurred. A change came over Montreuil's face: he
released my arm and staggered back against the wainscot;
but recovering his composure instantaneously, he said, "I
forgot, my son ā I forgot ā your name is mentioned, it is
true, but with honourable eulogy, that is all."
"Bravo, honest Father!" cried I, losing my fury in admir-
ing surprise at his address, ā "bravo! However, if that be
all, you can have no objection to allow me to read the lines in
which my name occurs; your benevolence cannot refuse me
such a gratification as the sight of your written panegyric! "
"Count Devereux," said the Abbe, sternly, while his dark
face worked with suppressed passion, "this is trifling with
me, and I warn you not to push my patience too far. I will
have that letter, or ā " he ceased abruptly, and touched the
hilt of his sword.
" Dare you threaten me ? " I said, and the natural fierceness
of my own disposition, deepened by vague and strong suspi-
cions of some treachery designed against me, spoke in the
tones of my voice.
"Dare I?" repeated Montreuil, sinking and sharpening his
voice into a sort of inward screech. " Dare I ! ā ay, were
your whole tribe arrayed against me. Give me the letter, or
you will find me now and forever your most deadly foe;
deadly ā ay ā deadly, deadly ! " and he shook his clenched
hand at me, with an expression of countenance so malignant
and menacing that I drew back involuntarily^ and laid my
hand on my sword.
The action seemed to give Montreuil a signal for which he
had hitherto waited. "Draw then," he said through his
teeth, and unsheathed his rapier.
Though surprised at his determination, I was not backward
in meeting it. Thrusting the letter in my bosom, I drew my
sword in time to parry a rapid and fierce thrust. I had ex-
pected easily to master Montreuil, for I had some skill at my
weapon: I was deceived; I found him far more adroit than
myself in the art of offence ; and perhaps it would have fared
ill for the hero of this narrative had Montreuil deemed it
wise to direct against my life all the science he possessed.
But the moment our swords crossed, the constitutional cool-
ness of the man, which rage or fear had for a brief time ban-
ished, returned at once, and he probably saw that it would be
as dangerous to him to take away the life of his pupil as to
forfeit the paper for which he fought. He, therefore, ap-
peared to bend all his efforts towards disarming me. Whether
or not he would have effected this it is hard to say, for my
blood was up, and any neglect of my antagonist, in attaining
an object very dangerous, when engaged with a skilful and
quick swordsman, might have sent him to the place from
which the prayers of his brethren have (we are bound to be-
lieve) released so many thousands of souls. But, meanwhile,
the servants, who at first thought the clashing of swords was
the wanton sport of some young gallants as yet new to the
honour of wearing them, grew alarmed by the continuance of
the sound, and flocked hurriedly to the place of contest. At
their intrusion we mutually drew back. Eecovering my pres-
ence of mind (it was a possession I very easily lost at that
time), I saw the unseemliness of fighting with my preceptor,
and a priest. I therefore burst, though awkwardly enough,
into a laugh, and, affecting to treat the affair as a friendly
trial of skill between the Abbe and myself, resheathed my
sword and dismissed the intruders, who, evidently disbelieving
my version of the story, retreated slowly, and exchanging
looks. Montreuil, who had scarcely seconded my attempt to
gloss over our rencontre, now approached me,
"Count," he said, with a collected and cool voice, "suffer
me to request you to exchange three words with me in a spot
less liable than this to interruption."
" Follow me then ! " said I ; and I led the way to a part of
the grounds which lay remote and sequestered from intrusion.
I then turned round, and perceived that the Abbe had left
his sword behind. " How is this ? " I said, pointing to
his unarmed side, "have you not come hither to renew our
engagement ? "
" No ! " answered Montreuil, " I repent me of my sudden
haste, and I have resolved to deny myself all further possi-
bility of unseemly warfare. That letter, young man, I still
demand from you; I demanded it from your own sense of
honour and of right: it was written by me; it was not in-
tended for your eye; it contains secrets implicating the lives
of others besides myself; now, read it if you will."
" You are right, Sir, " said I, after a short pause ; " there is
the letter; never shall it be said of Morton Devereux that he
hazarded his honour to secure his safety. But the tie between
us is broken now and forever ! "
So saying, I flung down the debated epistle, and strode
away. I re-entered the great hall. I saw by one of the win-
dows a sheet of paper ; I picked it up, and perceived that it
was the envelope in which the letter had been enclosed. It
contained only these lines, addressed me in French : ā
A friend of the late Marshal Devereux encloses to his son a letter, the
contents of which it is essential for his safety that he should know.
C. D. B.
"Umph!" said I, "a very satisfactory intimation, consid-
ering that the son of the late Marshal Devereux is so very
well assured that he shall not know one line of the contents
of the said letter. But let me see after this messenger! " and
I immediately hastened to institute inquiry respecting him.
I found that he was already gone ; on leaving the hall he had
remounted his horse and taken his departure. One servant,
however, had seen him, as he passed the front court, address
a few words to my valet, Desmarais, who happened to be
loitering there. I summoned Desmarais and questioned him.
"The dirty fellow," said the Frenchman, pointing to his
spattered stockings with a lachrymose air, " splashed me, by
a prance of his horse, from head to foot, and while I was
screaming for very anguish, he stopped and said, 'Tell the
Count Devereux that I was unable to tarry, but that the
letter requires no answer. ' "
I consoled Desmarais for his misfortune, and hastened to
my uncle with a determination to reveal to him all that had
occurred. Sir William was in his dressing-room, and liis
gentleman was very busy in adorning his wig. I entreated
him to dismiss the coiffeur, and then, without much prelim-
inary detail, acquainted him with all that had passed between
the Abbe and myself.
The knight seemed startled when I came to the story of the
sword. *"Gad, Sir Count, what have you been doing ?" said
he ; " know you not that this may be a very ticklish matter ?
The King of France is a very great man, to be sure, ā a very
great man, ā and a very fine gentleman; but you will please
to remember that we are at war with his Majesty, and I can-
not guess how far the accepting such presents may be held
And Sir William shook his head with a mournful signifi-
cance. "Ah," cried he, at last (when I had concluded my
whole story), with a complacent look, "I have not lived at
court, and studied human nature, for nothing: and I will
wager my best full-bottom to a night-cap that the crafty old
fox is as much a Jacobite as he is a rogue ! The letter would
have proved it, Sir ; it would have proved it ! "
" But what shall be done now ? " said I ; " will you suffer
him to remain any longer in the house ? "
"Why," replied the knight, suddenly recollecting his rev-
erence to the fair sex, "he is your mother's guest, not mine;
we must refer the matter to her. But zauns, Sir, with all
deference to her ladyship, we cannot suffer our house to be a
conspiracy-hatch as well as a popish chapel ; and to attempt
your life too ā the devil! Ods fish, boy, I will go to the
countess myself, if you will just let NichoUs finish my wig,
ā never attend the ladies en deshabille, ā always, with them,
take care of your person most, when you most want to dis-
play your mind; " and my uncle ringing a little silver bell on
his dressing-table, the sound immediately brought Nicholls
to his toilet.
Trusting the cause to the zeal of my uncle, whose hatred to
the ecclesiastic would, I knew, be an efficacious adjunct to
his diplomatic address, and not unwilling to avoid being my-
self the person to acquaint my mother with the suspected de-
linquency of her favourite, I hastened from the knight's
apartment in search of Aubrey. He was not in the house.
His attendants (for my uncle, with old-fashioned grandeur of
respect, suitable to his great wealth and aristocratic temper,
allotted to each of us a separate suite of servants as well as
of apartments) believed he was in the park. Thither I re-
paired, and found him, at length, seated by an old tree, with
a large book of a religious cast before him, on which his eyes
were intently bent.
"I rejoice to have found thee, my gentle brother," said I,
throwing myself on the green turf by his side; "in truth you
have chosen a fitting and fair place for study."
"I have chosen," said Aubrey, "a place meet for the pe-
culiar study I am engrossed in; for where can we better read
of the power and benevolence of God than among the living
testimonies of both ? Beautiful ā how very beautiful ! ā is
this happy world ; but I fear, " added Aubrey, and the glow of
his countenance died away, ā "I fear that we enjoy it too
"We hold different interpretations of our creed then," said
I, "for I esteem enjoyment the best proof of gratitude; nor
do I think we can pay a more acceptable duty to the Father
of all Goodness than by showing ourselves sensible of the
favours He bestows upon us."
Aubrey shook his head gently, but replied not.
"Yes," resumed I, after a pause, ā "yes, it is indeed a glo-
rious and fair world which we have for our inheritance. Look
how the sunlight sleeps yonder upon fields covered with golden
corn; and seems, like the divine benevolence of which you
spoke, to smile upon the luxuriance which its power created.
This carpet at our feet, covered with flowers that breathe,
sweet as good deeds, to Heaven ; the stream that breaks through
that distant copse, laughing in the light of noon, and sending
its voice through the hill and woodland, like a messenger of
glad tidings; the green boughs over our head, vocal with a
thousand songs, all inspirations of a joy too exquisite for si-
lence; the very leaves, which seem to dance and quiver with
delight, ā think you, Aubrey, that these are so sullen as not
to return thanks for the happiness they imbibe with being :
what are those thanks but the incense of their joy ? The
flowers send it up to heaven in fragrance; the air and the
wave, in music. Shall the heart of man be the only part of
His creation that shall dishonour His worship with lamenta-
tion and gloom? When the inspired writers call upon us to
praise our Creator, do they not say to us, ā '^q joyful in your
God? ' "
" How can we be joyful with the Judgment-Day ever before
us?" said Aubrey; "how can we be joyful" (and here a dark
shade crossed his countenance, and his lip trembled with
emotion) "while the deadly passions of this world plead and
rankle at the heart ? Oh, none but they who have knov.ai the
full blessedness of a commune with Heaven can dream of the
whole anguish and agony of the conscience, when it feels it-
self sullied by the mire and crushed by the load of earth!"
Aubrey paused, and his words, his tone, his look, made upon
me a powerful impression. I was about to answer, when,
interrupting me, he said, " Let us talk not of these matters ;
speak to me on more worldly topics."
"I sought you," said I, "that I might do so," and I pro-
ceeded to detail to Aubrej' as much of my private intercourse
with the Abbe as I deemed necessary in order to warn him
from too close a confidence in the wily ecclesiastic. Aubrey
listened to me with earnest attention; the affair of the letter;
the gross falsehood of the priest in denying the mention of
my name, in his epistle, evidently dismayed him. "But,"
said he, after a long silence, ā "but it is not for us, Morton,
ā weak, ignorant, inexperienced as we are, ā to judge prema-
turely of our spiritual pastors. To them also is given a far
greater license of conduct than to iis, and ways enveloped in
what to our eyes are mystery and shade; nay, I know not
whether it be much less impious to question the paths of
God's chosen than to scrutinize those of the Deity Himself."
" Aubrey, Aubrey, this is childish ! " said I, somewhat
moved to anger. " IVIystery is always the trick of imposture :
God's chosen should be distinguished from their flock only
by superior virtue, and not by a superior privilege in deceit."
"But," said Aubrey, pointing to a passage in the book be-
fore him, " see what a preacher of the word has said ! " and
Aubrey recited one of the most dangerous maxims in priest-
craft, as reverently as if he were quoting from the Scripture
itself. " ' The nakedness of truth should never be too openly
exposed to the eyes of the vulgar. It was wisely feigned by
the ancients that Truth did lie concealed in a well ! ' "
"Yes," said I, with enthusiasm, "but that well is like the
holy stream at Dodona, which has the gift of enlightening
those who seek it, and the power of illumiuing every torch
which touches the surface of its water ! "
Whatever answer Aubrey might have made was interrupted
by my uncle, who appeared approaching towards us with un-
usual satisfaction depicted on his comely countenance.
"Well, boys, well," said he, when he came within hearing,
" a holy day for you ! Ods fish, ā and a holier day than my old
house has known since its former proprietor, Sir Hugo, of
valorous memory, demolished the nunnery, of which some
remains yet stand on yonder eminence. Morton, my man of
might, the thing is done; the court is purified; the wicked
one is departed. Look here, and be as happy as I am at our
release; " and he threw me a note in Montreuil's writing: ā
TO SIE WILLIAM DEVEREUX, KT.
My Honoured Friend, ā In consequence of a dispute between
your eldest nephew, Count Morton Devereux, and myself, in which he
desired me to remember, not only that our former relationship of tutor
and pupil was at an end, but that friendship for his person was incom-
patible with the respect due to his superior station, I can neither so far
degrade the dignity of letters, nor, above all, so meanly debase the
sanctity of my divine profession, as any longer to remain beneath your
hospitable roof, ā a guest not only unwelcome to, but insulted by, your
relation and apparent heir. Suffer me to offer you my gratitude for the
favours you have hitherto bestowed on me, and to bid you farewell for-
I have the honour to be,
With the most profound respect, etc.,
"Well, sir, what say you?" cried my uncle, stamping his
cane firmly on the ground, when I had finished reading the
letter, and had transmitted it to Aubrey.
" That the good Abbe has displayed his usual skill in com-
position. And my mother ? Is she imbued with our opinion
of his priestship ? "
"Not exactly, I fear. However, Heaven bless her, she is
too soft to say 'nay.' But those Jesuits are so smooth-
tongued to women. 'Gad, they threaten damnation with such
an irresistible air, that they are as much like William the
Conqueror as Edward the Confessor. Ha! master Aubrey,
have you become amorous of the old Jacobite, that you sigh
over his crabbed writing, as if it were a billet-doux ? "
"There seems a great deal of feeling in what he says, Sir,"
said Aubrey, returning the letter to my uncle.
" Feeling ! " cried the knight ; " ay, the reverend gentry al-
ways have a marvellously tender feeling for their own interest,
ā eh, Morton ? "
"Eight, dear sir," said I, wishing to change a subject which
I knew might hurt Aubrey ; " but should we not join yon party
of dames and damsels ? I see they are about to make a water
" 'Sdeath, sir, with all my heart," cried the good-natured
knight; "I love to see the dear creatures amuse themselves;
for, to tell you the truth, Morton," said he, sinking his voice
into a knowing whisper, "the best thing to keep them from
playing the devil is to encourage them in playing the fool ! "
and, laughing heartily at the jest he had purloined from one
of his favourite writers, Sir William led the way to the
BEING A CHAPTER OF TRIFLES.
The Abbe disappeared! It is astonishing how well eve^y^
body bore his departure. My mother scarcely spoke on the
subject; but along the irrefragable smoothness of her temper-
ament all things glided without resistance to their course, or
trace where they had been. Gerald, who, occupied solely in
rural sports or rustic loves, seldom mingled in the festivities
of the house, was equally silent on the subject. Aubrey
looked grieved for a day or two: but his countenance soon
settled into its customary and grave softness; and, in less
than a week, so little was the Abbe spoken of or missed that
you would scarcely have imagined Julian Montreuil had ever
passed the threshold of our gate. The oblivion of one buried
is nothing to the oblivion of one disgraced.
Meanwhile I pressed for my departure; and, at length, the
day was finally fixed. Ever since that conversation with
Lady Hasselton which has been set before the reader, that
lad}'' had lingered and lingered ā though the house was grow-
ing empty, and London, in all seasons, was, according to her,
better than the country in any ā until the Count De vereux,
with that amiable modesty which so especiall}' characterized
him, began to suspect that the Lady Hasselton lingered on
his account. This emboldened that bashful personage to
press in earnest for the fourth seat in the beauty's carriage,
which we have seen in the conversation before mentioned had
been previously offered to him in jest. After a great affecta-
tion of horror at the proposal, the Lady Hasselton yielded.
She had always, she said, been dotingly fond of children,
and it was certainly very shocking to send such a chit as the
little Count to London by himself.
IMy uncle was charmed with the arrangement. The beauty
was a peculiar favourite of his, and, in fact, he was some-
times pleased to hint that he had private reasons for love
towards her mother's daughter. Of the truth of this insinua-
tion I am, however, more than somewhat suspicious, and be-
lieve it was only a little rtise of the good knight, in order to
excuse the vent of those kindly affections with which (while
the heartless tone of the company his youth had frequented
made him ashamed to own it) his breast overflowed. There
was in Lady Hasselton's familiarity ā her ease of manner ā
a certain good-nature mingled with her affectation, and a gay-
ety of spirit, which never flagged, ā something greatly calcu-
lated to win favour with a man of my uncle's temper.
An old gentleman who filled in her family the office of
"the chevalier" in a French one; namely, who told stories,
not too long, and did not challenge you for interrupting them ;
who had a good air, and unexceptionable pedigree, ā a turn
for wit, literature, note-writing, and the management of lap-
dogs; who could attend Madame to auctions, plays, courts,
and the puppet-show; who had a right to the best company,
but would, on a signal, give up his seat to any one the pretty
capricieuse whom he served might select from the worst, ā in
short a very useful, charming personage, "vastly" liked by
all, and "prodigiously" respected by none, ā this gentleman,
I say, by name Mr. Lovell, had attended her ladyship in her
excursion to Devereux Court. Besides him there came also a
widow lady, 'a distant relation, with one eye and a sharp
tongue, ā the Lady Needleham, whom the beauty carried
about with her as a sort of gouvernante or duenna. These
excellent persons made my compagnons de voyage, and filled
the remaining complements of the coach. To say truth, and
to say nothing of my tendresse for the Lady Hasselton, I was
very anxious to escape the ridicule of crawling up to the town
like a green beetle, in my uncle's verdant chariot, with the
four Flanders mares trained not to exceed two miles an hour.
And my Lady Hasselton's private raileries ā for she was
really well bred, and made no jest of my uncle's antiquities of
taste, in his presence, at least ā had considerably heightened
my intuitive dislike to that mode of transporting myself to
the metropolis. The day before my departure, Gerald, for
the first time, spoke of it.
Glancing towards the mirror, which gave in full contrast
the magnificent beauty of his person, and the smaller pro-
portions and plainer features of my own, he said with a sneer,
"Your appearance must create a wonderful sensation in town."
"No doubt of it," said I, taking his words literally, and
arraying my laced cravat with the air of a petit-maitre.
"What a wit the Count has!" whispered the Duchess of
Lackland, who had not yet given up all hope of the elder
"Wit!" said the Lady Hasselton; "poor child, he is a
THE MOTHER AXD SON. ā VIRTUE SHOULD BE THE SOVEREIGN
OF THE FEELINGS, NOT THEIR DESTROYER.
I TOOK the first opportunity to escape from the good com-
pany who were so divided in opinion as to my mental accom-
plishments, and repaired to my mother; for whom, despite of
her evenness of disposition, verging towards insensibility, I
felt a powerful and ineffaceable affection. Indeed, if purity
of life, rectitude of intentions, and fervour of piety can win
love, none ever deserved it more than she. It was a pity
that, with such admirable qualities, she had not more dili-
gently cultivated her affections. The seed was not wanting;
but it had been neglected. Originally intended for the veil,
she had been taught, early in life, that much feeling was sy-
nonymous with much sin ; and she had so long and so carefully
repressed in her heart every attempt of the forbidden fruit to
put forth a single blossom, that the soil seemed at last to have
become incapable of bearing it. If, in one corner of this
barren but sacred spot, some green and tender verdure of
affection did exist, it was, with a partial and petty reserve
for my twin-brother, kept exclusive, and consecrated to
Aubrey. His congenial habits of pious silence and rigid de-
votion; his softness of temper; his utter freedom from all
boyish excesses, joined to his almost angelic beauty, ā a qual-
ity which, in no female heart, is ever without its value, ā
were exactly calculated to attract her sympathy, and work
themselves into her love. Gerald was also regular in his
habits, attentive to devotion, and had, from an early period,
been high in the favour of her spiritual director. Gerald,
too, if he had not the delicate and dream -like beauty of
Aubrey, possessed attractions of a more masculine and decided
order; and for Gerald, therefore, the Countess gave the little
of love that she could spare from Aubrey. To me she mani-
fested the most utter indifference. My difficult and fastidious
temper; my sarcastic turn of mind; my violent and headstrong
passions; my daring, reckless and, when roused, almost fero-