had, for the deep heart of Isora, a language of onien
and of doom. Often would we wander alone, and for
hours together, by the quiet and wild woods and
streams that surrounded her retreat, and which we
both loved so well ; and often, when the night closed
over us with my arm around her, and our lips so near
that our atmosphere was our mutual breath, would she
utter, in that voice which " made the soul plant itself
in the ears," the predictions which had nursed them-
selves at her heart.
I remember one evening in especial. The rich twi-
light had gathered over us, and we sat by a slender and
soft rivulet, overshadowed by some stunted yet aged
trees. We had both, before she spoke, been silent for
several minutes ; and only when, at rare intervals, the
birds sent from the copse that backed us a solitary and
vesper note of music, was the stillness around us broken.
Before us, on the opposite bank of the stream, lay a
valley, in which shadow and wood concealed all trace
of man's dwellings, save at one far spot, where, from a
single hut, rose a curling and thin vapour like a spirit
released from earth, and losing gradually its earthier
particles, as it blends itself with the loftier atmosphere
It was then that Isora, clinging closer to me, whis-
pered her forebodings of death. " You will remember,"
said she, smiling faintly " you will remember me, in
the lofty and bright career which yet awaits you ; and
I scarcely know whether I would not sooner have that
memory free as it will be from all recollection of my
failings and faults, and all that I have cost you, than
incur the chance of your future coldness or decrease of
And when Isora turned, and saw that the tears stood
in my eyes, she kissed them away, and said, after a
" It matters not, my own guardian angel, what be-
comes of me ; and now that I am near you, it is wicked
to let my folly cost you a single pang. But why should
you grieve at my forebodings ? there is nothing pain-
ful or harsh in them to me, and I interpret them thus :
' If my life passes away before the common date,
perhaps it will be a sacrifice to yours.' And it will,
Morton it will. The love I bear to you I can but
feebly express now; all of us wish to prove our feel-
ings, and I would give one proof of mine for you. It
seems to me that I was made only for one purpose to
love you ; and I would fain hope that my death may
be -some sort of sacrifice to you some token of the
ruling passion and the whole object of my life."
As Isora said this, the light of the moon, which had
just risen, shone full upon her cheek, flushed as it was
with a deeper tint than it usually wore ; and in her
eye her features her forehead the lofty nature of
her love seemed to have stamped the divine expression
Have I lingered too long on these passages of life 1
They draw near to a close, and a more adventurous
and stirring period of manhood will succeed. Ah,
little could they who in after years beheld in me but
the careless yet stern soldier the wily and callous
diplomatist the companion alternately so light and so
moodily reserved, little could they tell how soft, and
weak, and doting, my heart was once !
An unexpected Meeting Conjecture and Anticipation.
THE day for the public solemnisation of our marriage
was at length appointed. In fact, the plan for the
future that appeared to me most promising was to
proffer my services to some foreign court, and that of
Eussia held out to me the greatest temptation. I was
therefore anxious, as soon as possible, to conclude the
rite of a second or public nuptials, and I purposed
leaving the country within a week afterwards. My
little lawyer assured me that my suit would go on
quite as well in my absence, and whenever my pre-
sence was necessary, he would be sure to inform me of
it. I did not doubt him in the least; it is a charming
tiling to have confidence in one's man of business.
Of Montreuil I now saw nothing; but I accidentally
heard that he was on a visit to Gerald, and that the
latter had already made the old walls ring with pre-
mature hospitality. As for Aubrey, I was in perfect
ignorance of his movements ; and the unsatisfactory
shortness of his last letter, and the wild expressions so
breathing of fanaticism in the postscript, had given me
much anxiety and alarm on his account. I longed
VOL. i. x
above all to see him to talk -with him over old times
and our future plans, and to learn whether no new bias
could be given to a temperament which seemed to lean
so strongly towards a self-punishing superstition. It
was about a week before the day fixed for my public
nuptials, that I received at last from him the follow-
ing letter :
" MY DEAREST BROTHER,
"I have been long absent from home absent on
affairs on which we will talk hereafter. I have not
forgotten you, though I have been silent, and the news
of my poor uncle's death has shocked me greatly. On
my arrival here, I learnt your disappointment and your
recourse to law. I am not so much surprised, though
I am as much grieved as yourself, for I will tell you now
what seemed to me unimportant before. On receiving
your letter, requesting consent to your designed mar-
riage, my uncle seemed greatly displeased as well as
vexed, and afterwards he heard much that displeased
him more. From what quarter came his news I know
not, and he only spoke of it in innuendos and angry
insinuations. As far as I was able, I endeavoured to
learn his meaning, but could not, and to my praises of
you I thought latterly he seemed to lend but a cold
ear; he told me at last, when I was about to leave him,
that you had acted ungratefully to him, and that he
should alter his will I scarcely thought of this speech
at the time, or rather I considered it as the threat of a
momentary anger. Possibly, however, it was the pre-
lude to that disposition of property which has so
wounded you. I observe, too, that the will bears date
about that period. I mention this fact to you you
can draw from it what inference you will; but I do
solemnly believe that Gerald is innocent of any fraud
" I am all anxiety to hear whether your love con-
tinues. I beseech you to write to me instantly and
inform me on that head as on all others. We shall
" Your ever affectionate Brother,
" AUBREY DEVEREUX."
There was something in this letter that vexed and
displeased me. I thought it breathed a tone of un-
kindness and indifference, which my present circum-
stances rendered peculiarly inexcusable. So far, there-
fore, from answering it immediately, I resolved not to
reply to it till after the solemnisation of my marriage.
The anecdote of my uncle startled me a little when I
coupled it with the words my uncle had used towards
myself on his deathbed viz., in hinting that he had
heard some things unfavourable to Isora, unnecessary
then to repeat ; but still if my uncle had altered his
intentions towards me, would he not have mentioned
the change, and its reasons ? "Would he have written
to me with such kindness, or received me with such
affection ? I could not believe that he would ; and
my opinions of the fraud and the perpetrator were not
a whit changed by Aubrey's epistle. It was clear,
however, that he had joined the party against me ; and
as my love for him was exceedingly great, I was much
wounded by the idea.
" All leave me," said I, " upon this reverse, all but
Isora !" and I thought with renewed satisfaction on
the step which was about to insure to her a secure
home and an honourable station. My fears lest Isora
should again be molested by her persecutor were now
pretty well at rest. Having no doubt in my own
mind as to that persecutor's identity, I imagined that
in his new acquisition of wealth and pomp, a boyish
and unreturned love would easily be relinquished ; and
that, perhaps, he would scarcely regret my obtaining
the prize himself had sought for, when in my altered
fortunes it would be followed by such worldly depre-
ciation. In short, I looked upon him as possessing a
characteristic common to most bad men, who are never
so influenced by love as they are by hatred ; and
imagined therefore, that if he had lost the object of
the love, he could console himself by exulting over
any decline of prosperity in the object of the hate.
As the appointed day drew near, Isora's despondency
seemed to vanish, and she listened, with her usual
eagerness in whatever interested me, to my Continental
schemes of enterprise. I resolved that our second
wedding, though public, should be modest and unos-
tentatious, suitable rather to our fortunes than our
birth, St John, and a few old friends of the family,
constituted all the party I invited, and I requested
them to keep my marriage secret until the very day
for celebrating it arrived. I did this from a desire of
avoiding compliments intended as sarcasms, and visits
rather of curosity than friendship. On flew the days,
and it was now the one preceding my wedding. I was
dressing to go out upon a matter of business connected
with the ceremony, and I then, as I received my hat
from Desmarais, for the first time thought it requisite
to acquaint that accomplished gentleman with the rite
of the morrow. Too well bred was Monsieur Des-
marais to testify any other sentiment than pleasure at
the news ; and he received my orders and directions for
the next day with more than the graceful urbanity which
made one alwa} r s feel quite honoured by his attentions.
" And how goes on the philosophy 1 ?" said I, -"faith,
since I am about to be married, I shall be likely to re-
quire its consolations."
" Indeed, Monsieur," answered Desmarais, with that
expression of self-conceit which was so curiously inter-
woven with the obsequiousness of his address "in-
deed, Monsieur, I have been so occupied of late in
preparing a little powder very essential to dress, that I
have not had time for any graver, though not perhaps
more important, avocations."
" Powder and what is it 1"
"Will Monsieur condescend to notice its effect?"
answered Desmarais, producing a pair of gloves which
were tinted of the most delicate flesh-colour. The
colouring was so nice that, when the gloves were on,
it would have been scarcely possible, at any distance,
to distinguish them from the naked flesh.
" 'Tis a rare invention," said I.
"Monsieur is very good, but I flatter myself it is
so," rejoined Desmarais ; and he forthwith ran on far
more earnestly on the merits of his powder than I had
ever heard him descant on the beauties of Fatalism. I
cut him short in the midst of his harangue. Too much
eloquence in any line is displeasing in one's dependant.
I had just concluded my business abroad, and was
returning homeAvard with downcast eyes and in a very
abstracted mood, when I was suddenly startled by a
loud voice that exclaimed in a tone of surprise :
" What 1 Count Devereux how fortunate !"
I looked up, and saw a little dark man, shabbily
dressed. His face did not seem unfamiliar to me, but
I could not at first remember where I had seen it. My
look, I suppose, testified my want of memory, for he
said, with a low bow
" You have forgotten me, Count, and I don't wonder
at it. So please you, I am the person who once brought
you a letter from France to Devereux Court."
At this, I recognised the bearer of that epistle which
had embroiled me with the Abbd MontreuiL I was
too glad of the meeting to show any coobiess in my
reception of the gentleman, and, to speak candidly, I
never saw a gentleman less troubled with mauvaise
"Sir!" said he, lowering his voice to a whisper,
"it is most fortunate that I should thus have met
you ; I only came to town this morning, and for the
sole purpose of seeking you out. I am charged with a
packet, which I believe will be of the greatest impor-
tance to your interests. But," he added, looking
round, " the streets are no proper place for my commu-
nication ; parbleu, there are those about who hear
whispers through stone walls suffer me to call upon
" To-morrow ! it is a day of great business with me,
but I can possibly spare you a few moments, if that
will suffice ; or, on the day after, your own pleasure
may be the sole limit of our interview."
" Parbleu, Monsieur, you are very obliging very ;
but I will tell you in one word who I am, and what is
my business. My name is Marie Oswald. I was born
in France, and I am the half-brother of that Oswald
who drew up your uncle's wilL"
"Good heavens !" I exclaimed, "is it possible that
you know anything of that affair ?"
" Hush yes, all ! my poor brother is just dead ;
and, in a word, I am charged with a packet given me
by him on his death-bed. Now, will you see me if I
bring it to-morrow ?"
" Certainly. Can I not see you to-night ? "
" To-night 1 No, not well ; parbleu ! I want a little
consideration as to the reward due to me for my emi-
nent services to your lordship. No; let it be to-
" Well ! at what hour ? I fear it must be in the
"Seven, s'il vous plait, Monsieur."
"Enough! be it so."
And Mr Marie Oswald, who seemed, during the
whole of this short conference, to have been under
some great apprehension of being seen or overheard,
bowed, and vanished in an instant, leaving my mind
in a most motley state of incoherent, unsatisfactory,
yet sanguine conjecture.
The Events of a Single Night Moments make the Hues in which
Years are coloured.
MEN of the old age ! what wonder that in the fondness
of a dim faith, and in the vague guesses which, from
the frail ark of reason, we send to hover over a dark
and unfathomable abyss, what wonder that ye should
have wasted hope and life in striving to penetrate the
future ! What wonder that ye should have given a
language to the stars, and to the night a spell, and
gleaned from the uncomprehended earth an answer to
the enigmas of Fate ! We are like the sleepers who,
walking under the influence of a dream, wander by the
verge of a precipice, while, in their own deluded vision,
they perchance believe themselves surrounded by bovvers
of roses, and accompanied by those they love. Or,
rather like the blind man, who can retrace every step
of the path he has once trodden, but who can guess not
a single inch of that which he has not yet travelled,
our Reason can reguide us over the roads of past ex-
perience with a sure and unerring wisdom, even while
it recoils, baffled and bewildered, before the blackness
of the very moment wiiose boundaries we are about to
The few friends I had invited to my wedding were
still with me, when one of my servants, not Desmarais,
informed me that Mr Oswald waited for me. I went
out to him.
" Parbleu ! " said he, rubbing his hands, " I perceive
it is a joyous time with you, and I don't wonder you
can only spare me a few moments."
The estates of Devereux were not to be risked for
a trifle, but I thought Mr Marie Oswald exceedingly
impertinent. " Sir," said I, very gravely, " pray be
seated : and now to business. In the first place, may
I ask to whom I am beholden for sending you with that
letter you gave me at Devereux Court ? and, secondly,
what that letter contained for I never read it 1 "
" Sir," answered the man, " the history of the letter
is perfectly distinct from that of the will, and the
former (to discuss the least important first) is briefly
this : You have heard, sir, of the quarrels between
Jesuit and Jansenist 1 "
11 1 have."
"Well but first, Count, let me speak of myself.
There were three young men of the same age, born in
the same village in France, of obscure birth each, and
each desirous of getting on in the world. Two were
deuced clever fellows : the third nothing particular.
One of the two at present shall be nameless ; the third,
who 'was nothing particular' (in his own opinion at least,
though his friends may think differently), was Marie
Oswald, "We soon separated : I went to Paris, was
employed in different occupations, and at last became
secretary, and (why should I disavow it?) valet to a
lady of quality, and a violent politician. She was a
furious Jansenist; of course I adopted her opinions.
About this time there was much talk among the Jesuits
of the great genius and deep learning of a young mem-
ber of the order Julian Montreuil. Though not re-
siding in the country, he had sent one or two books to
France, which had been published, and had created a
great sensation. Well, sir, my mistress was the great-
est intriguante of her party : she was very rich, and
tolerably liberal ; and, among other packets of which a
messenger from England was carefully robbed, between
Calais and Abbeville (you understand me, six, carefully
robbed : parbleu ! I wish I were robbed in the same
manner every day in my life !), was one from the said
Julian Montreuil to a political friend of his. Among
other letters in this packet all of importance was
one descriptive of the English family with whom he
resided. It hit them all, I am told, off to a hair; and
it described, in particular, one, the supposed inheritor
of the estates, a certain Morton, Count Devereux.
Since you say you did not read the letter, I spare your
blushes, sir, and I don't dwell upon what he said of
your talent, energy, ambition, &c. I will only tell you
that he dilated far more upon your prospects than your
powers; and that he expressly stated what was his
object in staying in your family and cultivating your
friendship he expressly stated that .30,000 a -year
would be particularly serviceable to a certain political
cause which he had strongly at heart."
" I understand you," said I ; " the Chevalier's 1 "
11 Exactly. ' This sponge,' said Montreuil, I remem-
ber the very phrase ' this sponge will be well filled,
and I am handling it softly now, in order to squeeze
its juices hereafter according to the uses of the party
we have so strongly at heart.' "
" It was not a metaphor very flattering to my under-
standing," said I.
" True, sir. "Well, as soon as my mistress learnt this,
she remembered that your father, the marshal, had been
one of her plus chers amis in a word, if scandal says
true, he . had been the cher ami. However, she was
instantly resolved to open your eyes and ruin the
maudit Jesuits: she enclosed the letter in an envelope,
and sent me to England with it. I came I gave it
you and I discovered, in that moment, when the Abbe"
entered, that this Julian Montreuil was an old acquaint-
ance of my own was one of the two young men who
I told you were such deuced clever fellows. Like
many other adventurers, he had changed his name on
entering the world, and I had never till now suspected
that Julian Montreuil was Bertrand Collinot. Well,
when I saw what I had done, I was exceedingly sorry,
for I had liked my companion well enough not to wish
to hurt him ; besides, I was a little afraid of him. I
took horse, and went about some other business I had
to execute, nor did I visit that part of the country again
till a week ago (now I come to the other business),
when I was summoned to the death-bed of my half-
brother, the attorney, peace be with him ! He suffered
much from hypochondria in his dying moments I
believe it is the way with people of his profession
and he gave me a sealed packet, with a last injunction
to place it in your hands, and your hands only. Scarce
was he dead (do not think I am unfeeling, sir ; I had
seen very little of him, and he was only my half-brother,
my father having married, for a second wife, a foreign
lady, who kept an inn, by whom he was blessed with
myself) scarce, I say, was he dead, when I hurried up
to town : Providence threw you in my way, and you
shall have the document upon two conditions."
" Which are, first to reward you ; secondly, to "
" To promise you will not open the packet for seven
"The devil! and why?"
" I will tell you candidly ; one of the papers in the
packet, I believe to be my brother's written confession;
nay, I know it is ; and it will criminate one I have a
love for, and who, I am resolved, shall have a chance
" Who is that one ? Montreuil T
" No I do not refer to him ; but I cannot tell you
more. I require the promise, Count it is indispen-
sable. If you don't give it me, parbleu, you shall not
have the packet."
There was something so cool, so confident, and so
impudent about this man, that I did not well know
whether to give Avay to laughter or to indignation.
Neither, however, would have been politic in my situa-
tion; and, as I said "before, the estates of Devereux
were not to "be risked for a trifle.
" Pray," said I, however, with a shrewdness which I
think did me credit " pray, Mr Marie Oswald, do you
expect the reward before the packet is opened?"
" By no means," answered the gentleman, who, in
his own opinion, was nothing particular "by no
means ; nor until you and your lawyers are satisfied
that the papers enclosed in the packet are sufficient
fully to restore you to the heritage of Devereux Court
and its demesnes."
There was something fair in this ; and as the only
penalty to me, incurred by the stipulated condition,
seemed to be the granting escape to the criminals, I
did not think it incumbent upon me to lose my cause
from the desire of a prosecution. Besides, at that time,
I felt too happy to be revengeful; and so, after a
moment's consideration, I conceded to the proposal,
and gave my honour as a gentleman Mr Oswald oblig-
ingly dispensed with an oath that I would not open
the packet till the end of the seventh day. Mr Oswald
then drew forth a piece of paper, on which sundry
characters were inscribed, the purport of which was
that, if through the papers given me by Marie Oswald,
my lawyers were convinced that I could become master
of my uncle's property, now enjoyed by Gerald
Devereux, I should bestow on the said Marie 5000 :
half on obtaining this legal opinion, half on obtaining
possession of the property. I could not resist a smile,
when I observed that the word of a gentleman was
enough surety for the safety of the man he had a love
for, hut that Mr Oswald required a written hond for
the safety of his reward. One is ready enough to trust
one's friends to the conscience of another, hut as long
as a law can be had instead, one is rarely so credulous
in respect to one's money.
" The reward shall be doubled if I succeed," said I,
signing the paper; and Oswald then produced a packet,
on which was writ, in a trembling hand " For Count
Morton Devereux private and with haste." As soon
as he had given me this precious charge, and reminded
me again of my promise, Oswald withdrew. I placed
the packet in my bosom, and returned to my guests.
Never had my spirit been so light as it was that
evening. Indeed the good people I had assembled
thought matrimony never made a man so little serious
before. They did not, however, stay long, and the
moment they were gone, I hastened to my own sleep-
ing apartment, to secure the treasure I had acquired.
A small escritoire stood in this room, and in it I was
accustomed to keep whatever I considered most pre-
cious. With many a wistful look, and murmur at my
promise, I consigned the packet to one of the drawers
of this escritoire. As I was locking the drawer, the
sweet voice of Desmarais accosted me. Would Mon-
sieur, he asked, suffer him to visit a friend that even-
ing, in order to celebrate so joyful an event in Mon-
sieur's destiny ] It was not often that he was addicted
to vulgar merriment, but on such an occasion he owned
that he was tempted to transgress his customary habits,
and he felt that Monsieur, with his usual good taste,
would feel offended if his servant, within Monsieur's
own house, suffered joy to pass the limits of discretion,
and enter the confines of noise and inebriety, especially
as Monsieur had so positively interdicted all outward
sign of extra hilarity. He implored mille pardons for
the presumption of Ms request.
"It is made with your usual discretion; there are
five guineas for you : go and get drunk with your
friend, and be merry instead of wise. But, tell me, is
it not beneath a philosopher to be moved by anything,
especially anything that occurs to another, much less
to get drunk upon it ? "