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the penalty of your disobedience shall be the loss of Elleringay!”
“Wrong me if you will of mine inheritance. I have as haughty a breast as your own!”
“Insult me not, sir, with your rejoinders; I swear before Heaven, if you stultify yourself by marrying this penniless girl, Elleringay Manor shall pass from the name of De Bohun!”
Godfrey, pale with anger, left the room.
Long did the young soldier remain as if petrified to the chair on which he was sitting. His were not these maudlin emotions which find relief by melting into effeminate tenderness; no puerile weakness existed in his nature. He felt confused, maddened, as if his heart would burst.
The convulsions began to subside, he sighed chokingly, then reclined his head upon his hand and gave the rein to reflection. To have gone to bed would have been idle; that night slumber was sealed from his eyelids. Although weary with thinking, he threw himself upon the sofa, and counted
the dull hours until the grey light of morning streamed through the wide crevices of the huge oaken shutters. The resolutions in his anger were many and varied; at one moment he vowed he would marry her that very day, at another he considered his father's inflexible character, and deemed it prudent to wait for a time; then came the painful reflections of sacrificing Elleringay Manor, the time-honoured hall of ancestral heroes, which threat he well knew his father would carry out if disobeyed; then came the emphatic declaration, “I swear before Godbefore Heaven, I will never-never forsake her !"
Another hour tardily stole over, and the rising sun illumined the blue eastern hills. The distracted lover abruptly vacated his couch, marched with measured and melancholy step along the resounding corridor, took up his cloak, as if mechanically, from where he had thrown it on the previous evening, unslid the jarring bolts, and in moody mind proceeded, regardless of the turn he took, along one of the secluded
walks which traversed the beautiful confines of his paternal mansion. The birds, just awakened by the light of another day, were warbling their orisons to the God of nature, the hawthorn trees drooped in the tear-drops of morning, and each languishing flower felt the renovating influence of the warm, climbing sun. Freshness, and newness, and quiet, mantled over the ample face of crea
and earth, just disrobed of her dark livery, appeared calmer, serener, and holier still. A slight breeze wandered through the copse-wood; the air felt chilly; such, however, was grateful to him who had passed the night in feverish watching. With cap in his hand he strolled along, and the cool breath of morning lowered the temperature of his throbbing brow.
When the heir of Elleringay cast his eye over those fertile fields; when he looked upon those wide-spread clms which for generations had adorned the domain of his fathers; when he beheld the dark woods, so dear to his early days—gazed on the glassy stream whose murmurings were attuned to the sadness of his soul; when he turned and saw, through the dim medium of starting tears, the hoary hall of his sires half screened in its embosomed site, the thought of losing his rightful inheritance was a bitter reflection. “It shall not—shall not be! My honour, the sanctity of my word, shall be inviolate; but to forfeit the lands of my ancestors would be a degradation—a crime,” said he, with emphasis. “I will brood over the adoption of some plan, and all
be well. My enraged and weakly ambitious father, whose foolish pride through life hath been the foe to his peace, shall know nothing of my resolves. He is rapidly descending the arc of life, and we are young—a few years may suffice for many changes. Time and prudence shall be our allies, and the conquest ours. I will never recur to the subject—I will dissemble, and ere long his irascibility will be soothed by the supposition that I have forgot her-and-and Elleringay shall be for us and ours! No grovelling accumulator, no vulgar trader, shall enjoy the paternal acres which my forefathers' good
swords acquired; nature, and justice, and right decree the inheritance for me and mine! If incumbrance, the reckless result of extravagance for which I am irresponsible, burden it, my good hand, this arm of strength, this spirit descended from menfrom kings of the lion heart, shall free the incubus, and Moreton De Bohun shall be the lord of Elleringay! Shades of my sires, list to my vow. Inspire, ye viewless sprites, if
which mount the whirlwind and bestride the storm, with those noble qualities of bravery and enterprise which in ages past shed lustre on mine house, and the soil which I love shall not become that of the stranger!”
To quickly rejoin his regiment was his resolution. Every day developed fresh facts significant of war-a field to fame and fortune was near.
To one who was dear to his heart as the crimson waves which traversed it, were communicated his plans, his hopes, his griefs, his stout determination—to Emily Aylett, the divinity of Ivy Cottage. Poor Emily ! 'twas a melancholy meeting this