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A Love Story

by

A Bushman.

Vol. I.


"My thoughts, like swallows, skim the main,
And bear my spirit back again
Over the earth, and through the air,
A wild bird and a wanderer."


1841.



To
Lady Gipps
This Work Is Respectfully Inscribed,
By
A Grateful Friend.




Preface.



The author of these pages considered that a lengthened explanation might
be necessary to account for the present work.

He had therefore, at some length, detailed the motives that influenced
him in its composition. He had shown that as a solitary companionless
bushman, it had been a pleasure to him in his lone evenings

"To create, and in creating live
A being more intense."

He had expatiated on the love he bears his adopted country, and had
stated that he was greatly influenced by the hope that although

"Sparta hath many a worthier son than he,"

this work might be the humble cornerstone to some enduring and highly
ornamented structure.

The author however fortunately remembered, that readers have but little
sympathy with the motives of authors; but expect that their works should
amuse or instruct them. He will therefore content himself, with giving a
quotation from one of those old authors, whose "well of English
undefined" shames our modern writers.

He intreats that the indulgence prayed for by the learned Cowell may be
accorded to his humble efforts.

"My true end is the advancement of knowledge, and therefore have I
published this poor work, not only to impart the good thereof, to those
young ones that want it, but also to draw from the learned, the supply
of my defects.

"Whosoever will charge these travails with many oversights, he shall need
no solemn pains to prove them.

"And upon the view taken of this book sithence the impression, I dare
assure them, that shall observe most faults therein, that I, by gleaning
after him, will gather as many omitted by him, as he shall shew
committed by me.

"What a man saith well is not, however, to be rejected, because he hath
some errors; reprehend who will, in God's name, that is, with sweetness,
and without reproach.

"So shall he reap hearty thanks at my hands, and thus more soundly help
in a few months, than I by tossing and tumbling my books at home, could
possibly have done in some years."




A Love Story




Chapter I.

The Family.



"It was a vast and venerable pile."

"Oh, may'st thou ever be as now thou art,
Nor unbeseem the promise of thy spring."


The mansion in which dwelt the Delmés was one of wide and extensive
range. Its centre slightly receded, leaving a wing on either side.
Fluted ledges, extending the whole length of the building, protruded
above each story. These were supported by quaint heads of satyr, martyr,
or laughing triton. The upper ledge, which concealed the roof from
casual observers, was of considerably greater projection. Placed above
it, at intervals, were balls of marble, which, once of pure white, had
now caught the time-worn hue of the edifice itself. At each corner of
the front and wings, the balls were surmounted by the family device - the
eagle with extended wing. One claw closed over the stone, and the bird
rode it proudly an' it had been the globe. The portico, of a pointed
Gothic, would have seemed heavy, had it not been lightened by glass
doors, the vivid colours of which were not of modern date. These
admitted to a capacious hall, where, reposing on the wide-spreading
antlers of some pristine tenant of the park, gleamed many a piece of
armour that in days of yore had not been worn ingloriously.

The Delmé family was an old Norman one, on whose antiquity a peerage
could have conferred no new lustre. At the period when the aristocracy
of Great Britain lent themselves to their own diminution of
importance, by the prevalent system of rejecting the poorer class of
tenantry, in many instances the most attached, - the consequence was
foreseen by the then proprietor of Delmé Park, who, spurning the
advice of some interested few around him, continued to foster those
whose ancestors had served his. The Delmés were thus enabled to
retain - and they deserved it - that fair homage which rank and property
should ever command. As a family they were popular, and as individuals
universally beloved.

At the period we speak of, the Delmé family consisted but of three
members: the baronet, Sir Henry Delmé; his brother George, some ten
years his junior, a lieutenant in a light infantry regiment at Malta;
and one sister, Emily, Emily Delmé was the youngest child; her mother
dying shortly after her birth. The father, Sir Reginald Delmé, a man of
strong feelings and social habits, never recovered this blow. Henry
Delmé was barely fifteen when he was called to the baronetcy and to the
possession of the Delmé estates. It was found that Sir Reginald had been
more generous than the world had given him credit for, and that his
estates were much encumbered. The trustees were disposed to rest
contented with paying off the strictly legal claims during Sir Henry's
minority. This the young heir would not accede to. He waited on his
most influential guardian - told him he was aware his father, from
hospitality and good nature, had incurred obligations which the law did
not compel his son to pay; but which he could not but think that equity
and good feeling did. He begged that these might be added to the other
claims, and that the trustees would endeavour to procure him a
commission in the army. He was gazetted to a cornetcy; and entered life
at an age when, if the manlier traits are ready to be developed, the
worthless ones are equally sure to unfold themselves. Few of us that
have not found the first draught of life intoxicate! Few of us that have
not then run wild, as colts that have slipped their bridle!
Experience - that mystic word - is wanting; the retrospect of past years
wakes no sigh; expectant youth looks forward to future ones without a
shade of distrust. The mind is elastic - the body vigorous and free from
pain; and it is then youth inwardly feels, although not daring to avow
it, the almost total impossibility that the mind should wax less
vigorous, or the body grow helpless, and decay.

But Sir Henry was cast in a finer mould, nor did his conduct at this
dangerous period detract from this his trait of boyhood. He joined his
regiment when before the enemy, and, until he came of age, never drew on
his guardians for a shilling. Delmé's firmness of purpose, and his after
prudence, met with their due reward. The family estates became wholly
unencumbered, and Sir Henry was enabled to add to the too scanty
provision of his sister, as well as to make up to George, on his
entering the army, a sum more than adequate to all his wants. These
circumstances were enough to endear him to his family; and, in truth,
amidst all its members, there prevailed a confidence and an unanimity
which were never for an instant impaired. There was one consequence,
however, of Sir Henry Delmé's conduct that _he_, at the least, foresaw
not, but which was gradually and unconsciously developed. In pursuing
the line of duty he had marked out - in acting up to what he knew was
right - his mind became _too_ deeply impressed with the circumstances
which had given rise to his determination. It overstepped its object.
The train of thought, to which necessity gave birth, continued to
pervade when that necessity no longer existed. His wish to re-establish
his house grew into an ardent desire to aggrandize it. His ambition
appeared a legitimate one. It grew with his years, and increased with
his strength.

Many a time, on the lone bivouac, when home presents itself in its
fairest colours to the soldier's mind, would Delmé's prayer be embodied,
that his house might again be elevated, and that his descendants might
know _him_ as the one to whom they were indebted for its rise. Delmé's
ambitious thoughts were created amidst dangers and toil, in a foreign
land, and far from those who shared his name. But his heart swelled high
with them as he again trod his native soil in peace - as he gazed on the
home of his fathers, and communed with those nearest and dearest to him
on earth. Sir Henry considered it incumbent on him to exert every means
that lay in his power to promote his grand object. A connection that
promised rank and honours, seemed to him an absolute essential that was
worth any sacrifice. Sir Henry never allowed himself to look for, or
give way to, those sacred sympathies, which the God of nature hath
implanted in the breasts of all of us. Delmé had arrived at middle age
ere a feeling incompatible with his views arose. But his had been a
dangerous experiment. Our hearts or minds, or whatever it may be that
takes the impression, resemble some crystalline lake that mirrors the
smallest object, and heightens its beauty; but if it once gets muddied
or ruffled, the most lovely object ceases to be reflected in its waters.
By the time that lake is clear again, the fairy form that ere while
lingered on its bosom is fled for ever.

Thus much in introducing the head of the family. Let us now attempt to
sketch the gentle Emily.

Emily Delmé was not an ordinary being. To uncommon talents, and a mind
of most refined order, she united great feminine propriety, and a total
absence of those arts which sometimes characterise those to whom the
accident of birth has given importance. With unerring discrimination,
she drew the exact line between vivacity and satire, true religion and
its semblance. She saw through and pitied those who, pluming themselves
on the faults of others, and imparting to the outward man the ascetic
inflexibility of the inner one, would fain propagate on all sides their
rigid creed, forbidding the more favoured commoners of nature even to
sip joy's chalice. If not a saint, however, but a fair, confiding, and
romantic girl, she was good without misanthropy, pure without
pretension, and joyous, as youth and hopes not crushed might make her.
She was one of those of whom society might justly be proud. She obeyed
its dictates without question, but her feelings underwent no debasement
from the contact. If not a child of nature, she was by no means the
slave of art.

Emily Delmé was more beautiful than striking. She impressed more than
she exacted. Her violet eye gleamed with feeling; her smile few could
gaze on without sympathy - happy he who might revel in its brightness!
If aught gave a peculiar tinge to her character, it was the pride she
felt in the name she bore, - this she might have caught from Sir
Henry, - the interest she took in the legends connected with that name,
and the gratification which the thought gave her, that by her ancestors,
its character had been but rarely sullied, and never disgraced.

These things, it may be, she had accustomed herself to look on in a
light too glowing: for these things and all mundane ones are vain; but
her character did not consequently suffer. Her lip curled not with
hauteur, nor was her brow raised one shadow the more. The remembrance of
the old Baronetcy were on the ensanguined plain, - of the matchless
loyalty of a father and five valiant sons in the cause of the Royal
Charles, - the pondering over tomes, which in language obsolete, but
true, spoke of the grandeur - the deserved grandeur of her house; these
might be recollections and pursuits, followed with an ardour too
enthusiastic, but they stayed not the hand of charity, nor could they
check pity's tear. If her eye flashed as she gazed on the ancient
device of her family, reposing on its time worn pedestal, it could melt
to the tale of the houseless wanderer, and sympathise with the sorrows
of the fatherless.




Chapter II.

The Album.



"Oh that the desert were my dwelling place,
With one fair spirit for my minister;
That I might all forget the human race,
And, hating no one, love but only her."


A cheerful party were met in the drawing room of Delmé. Clarendon Gage,
a neighbouring land proprietor, to whom Emily had for a twelvemonth been
betrothed, had the night previous returned from a continental tour. In
consequence, Emily looked especially radiant, Delmé much pleased, and
Clarendon superlatively happy. Nor must we pass over Mrs. Glenallan,
Miss Delmé's worthy aunt, who had supplied the place of a mother to
Emily, and who now sat in her accustomed chair, with an almost sunny
brow, quietly pursuing her monotonous tambouring. At times she turned to
admire her niece, who occasionally walked to the glass window, to caress
and feed an impudent white peacock; which one moment strutted on the
wide terrace, and at another lustily tapped for his bread at ne of the
lower panes.

"I am glad to see you looking so well, Clarendon!"

"And I can return the compliment, Delmé! Few, looking at you now, would
take you for an old campaigner."

The style of feature in Delmé and Clarendon was very dissimilar. Sir
Henry was many years Gage's senior; but his manly bearing, and dark
decided features, would bear a contrast with even the tall and elegant,
although slight form of Clarendon. The latter was very fair, and what we
are accustomed to call English-looking. His hair almost, but not quite,
flaxen, hung in thick curls over his forehead, and would have given an
effeminate expression to the face, were it not for the peculiar flash of
the clear blue eye.

"Come! Clarendon," said Emily, "I will impose a task. You have written
twice in my album; once, years ago, and the second time on the eve of
our parting. Come! you shall read us both effusions, and then write a
sonnet to our happy meeting. Would that dear George were here now!"

Gage took up the book. It was a moderately-sized volume, bound in
crimson velvet. It was the fashion to keep albums _then_. It glittered
not in a binding of azure and gold, nor were its momentous secrets
enclosed by one of Bramah's locks. The Spanish proverb says, "Tell me
who you are with, and I will tell you what you are." Ours, in that album
age, used to be, "Show me your scrap book, I will tell you your
character." Emily's was not one commencing with -

"I never loved a dear gazelle!"

and ending with stanzas on the "Forget-me-not." It had not those
hackneyed but beautiful lines addressed by Mr. Spencer to Lady Crewe -

"I stay'd too late: forgive the crime!
Unheeded flew the hours;
For noiseless falls the foot of Time.
That only treads on flowers."

Nor contained it those sublime, but yet more common ones, on Sir John
Moore's death; which lines, by the bye, have suffered more from that
mischief-making, laughter-loving creature, Parody, than any lines we
know. It was not one of these books. Nor was it the splendid scrap book,
replete with superb engravings and proof-impression prints; nor at all
allied to the sentimental one of a garrison flirt, containing locks of
hair of at least five gentlemen, three of whom are officers in the army.
Nor, lastly, was it of that genus which has vulgarity in its very
title-page, and is here and there interspersed with devilish imps, or
caricatured likenesses of the little proprietress, all done in most
infinite humour, and marking the familiar friendship, of some half-dozen
whiskered cubs, having what is technically called the run of the house.
No! it was a repository for feeling and for memory, and, in its fair
pages, presented an image of Emily's heart. Many of these were marked,
it is true; and what human being's character is unchequered? But it was
blotless; and the virgin page looks not so white as when the contrast of
the sable ink is there.

Clarendon read aloud his first contribution - who knows it not? The very
words form a music, and that music is Metastasio's,

"Placido zeffiretto,
Se trovi il caro oggetto,
Digli che sei sospiro
Ma non gli dir di chi,
Limpido ruscelletto,
Se mai t'incontri in lei,
Digli che pianto sei,
Ma non le dir qual' eiglio
Crescer ti fe cosi."

"And now, Emily! for my parting tribute - if I remember right, it was
sorrowful enough."

Gage read, with tremulous voice, the following, which we will christen

THE FAREWELL.

I will not be the lightsome lark,
That carols to the rising morn, -
I'd rather be some plaintive bird
Lulling night's ear forlorn.

I will not be the green, green leaf,
Mingling 'midst thousand leaves and flowers
That shed their fairy charms around
To deck Spring's joyous bowers.

I'd rather be the one red leaf,
Waving 'midst Autumn's sombre groves: -
On the heart to breathe that sadness
Which contemplation loves.

I will not be the morning ray,
Dancing upon the river's crest,
All light, all motion, when the stream
Turns to the sun her breast.

I'd rather be the gentle shade,
Lengthening as eve comes stealing on,
And rest in pensive sadness there,
When those bright rays are gone.

I will not be a smile to play
Upon thy coral lip, and shed
Around it sweetness, like the sun
Risen from his crimson bed.

Oh, no! I'll be the tear that steals
In pity from that eye of blue,
Making the cheek more lovely red,
Like rose-leaf dipp'd in dew.

I will not be remember'd when
Mirth shall her pageant joys impart, -
A dream to sparkle in thine eye,
Yet vanish from thy heart.

But when pensive sadness clouds thee,
When thoughts, half pain, half pleasure, steal
Upon the heart, and memory doth
The shadowy past reveal.

When seems the bliss of former years, -
Too sweet, too pure, to feel again, -
And long lost hours, scenes, friends, return,
Remember me, love - then!

"Ah, Clarendon! how often have I read those lines, and thought - but I
will not think now! Here come the letters! Henry will soon be busy - I
shall finish my drawing - and aunt will finish - no! she never _can_
finish her tambour work. Take my portfolio and give me another
contribution!" Gage now wrote "The Return," which we insert for the
reader's approval: -

THE RETURN.

When the blue-eyed morn doth peep
Over the soft hill's verdant steep,
Lighting up its shadows deep,
I'll think of thee, love, _then!_

When the lightsome lark doth sing
Her grateful song to Nature's King,
Making all the woodlands ring,
I'll think of thee, love, _then!_

Or when plaintive Philomel
Shall mourn her mate in some lone dell,
And to the night her sorrows tell,
I'll think of thee, love, _then!_

When the first green leaf of spring
Shall promise of the summer bring,
And all around its fragrance fling,
I'll think of thee, love, _then!_

Or when the last red leaf shall fall,
And winter spread its icy pall,
To mind me of the death of all,
I'll think of thee, love, _then!_

When the lively morning ray
Is dancing on the river's spray,
And sunshine gilds the joyous day,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

And when the shades of eve steal on,
Lengthening as life's sun goes down,
Like sweetest constancy alone,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

When I see a sweet smile play
On coral lips, like Phoebus' ray,
Making all look warm and gay,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

When steals the tear of pity, too,
O'er a cheek, whose crimson hue
Looks like rose-leaf dipp'd in dew,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

When mirth's pageant joys unbind
The gloomy spells that chain my mind,
And make me dream of all that's kind,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

And when pensive sadness clouds me,
When the host of memory crowds me,
When the shadowy past enshrouds me,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!

When seems the bliss of former years, -
Too sweet, too pure, to feel again, -
And long lost hours, scenes, friends, return,
I'll think of thee, love, _then_!




Chapter III.

The Dinner.



"Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven."

"Away! there need no words or terms precise,
The paltry jargon of the marble mart,
Where pedantry gulls folly: we have eyes."


We are told by the members of the silver-fork school, that no tale of
fiction can be complete unless it embody the description of a dinner.
Let us, therefore, shutting from our view that white-limbed gum-tree,
and dismissing from our table tea and damper, [Footnote: _Damper_.
Bushman's fare - unleavened bread] call on memory's fading powers, and
feast once more with the rich, the munificent, the intellectual
Belliston Græme.

Dinner! immortal faculty of eating! to what glorious sense or
pre-eminent passion dost thou not contribute? Is not love half fed by
thy attractions? Beams ever the eye of lover more bright than when,
after gazing with enraptured glance at the coveted haunch, whose fat - a
pure white; whose lean - a rich brown - invitingly await the assault. When
doth lover's eye sparkle more, than when, at such a moment, it lights on
the features of the loved fair one? Is not the supper quadrille the most
dangerous and the dearest of all?

Cherished venison! delicate white soup! spare young susceptible bosoms!
Again we ask, is not dinner the very aliment of friendship? the hinge on
which it turns? Does a man's heart expand to you ere you have returned
his dinner? It would be folly to assert it. Cabinet dinners - corporation
dinners - election dinners - and vestry dinners - and rail-road
dinners - we pass by these things, and triumphantly ask - does not _the_
Ship par excellence - the Ship of Greenwich - annually assemble under its
revered roof the luminaries of the nation? Oh, whitebait! called so
early to your last account! a tear is all we give, but it flows
spontaneously at the memory of your sorrows!

As Mr. Belliston Græme was much talked of in his day, it may not be
amiss to say a few words regarding him. He was an only child, and at an
early age lost his parents. The expense of his education was defrayed
by a wealthy uncle, the second partner in a celebrated banking house.
His tutor, with whom he may be said to have lived from boyhood - for his
uncle had little communication with him, except to write to him one
letter half-yearly, when he paid his school bill - was a shy retiring
clergyman - a man of very extensive acquirements, and a first rate
classical scholar. After a short time, the curate and young Græme
became attached to each other. The tutor was a bachelor, and Græme was
his only pupil. The latter was soon inoculated with the classical mania
of his preceptor; and, as he grew up, it was quite a treat to hear the
pair discourse of Greeks and Romans. A stranger who had _then_ heard
them would have imagined that Themistocles and Scipio Africanus were
stars of the present generation. When Græme was nineteen, his uncle
invited him to town for a month - a most unusual proceeding. During this
period he studied closely his nephew's character. At the end of this
term, Mr. Hargrave and his young charge were on their way to the
classical regions, where their fancy had been so long straying. They
explored France, and the northern parts of Italy - came on the shores of
the Adriatic - resided and secretly made excavations near the
amphitheatre of Polo - and finally reached the Morea. Not a crag,
valley, or brook, that they were not conversant with before they left
it. They at length tore themselves away; and found themselves at the
ancient Parthenope. It was at Pompeii Mr. Græme first saw the
beautiful Miss Vignoles, the Mrs. Glenallan of our story; and, in a
strange adventure with some Neapolitan guides, was of some service to
her party. They saw his designs of some tombs, and took the trouble of
drawing him out. The young man now for the first time basked in the
sweets of society; in a fortnight, to Mr. Hargrave's horror, was
rolling in its vortex; in a couple of months found himself indulging
in, and avowing, a hopeless passion; and in three, was once again in
his native land, falsely deeming that his peace of mind had fled for
ever. He was shortly, however, called upon to exert his energies. The
death of his uncle suddenly made him, to his very great surprise, one
of the wealthiest commoners of England. At this period he was quite
unknown. In a short time Mr. Hargrave and himself were lodged
luxuriously - were deep in the pursuit of science, literature, and the
belle arte - and on terms of friendship with the cleverest and most
original men of the day. Mr. Græme's occupations being sedentary, and


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