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[August long since dead, and her very memory has probably passed away from all hearts save mine. In mine there is one hallowed spot where her name and her image lie silently treasured, and so must remain while life shall last. Yet I have oftentimes felt something like self-reproach in remembering how soon after her loss my passionate sorrow abated. I forgot that violent grief is naturally brief in its duration, and that in all imaginative minds there is a reproduction and revival of feeling which the bitterest anguish cannot totally prevent. The most earthly feelings of such a mind are dreamy, and its very dreams are tinged by its affections. I have never loved since in the common acceptation of the term, but in its extended sense I have loved far more than ever. The affections of my heart have expanded, instead of contracting, beneath the influence of my sorrow, and from the tiny flower to the glorious star, I may truly say I have loved all nature. And most of all have I delighted in the study of that marvellous thing, the human heart. I have had many opportunities for observation-strange incidents have come to my knowledge-strange characters have fallen in my way. My life has been a wandering one. I have spent much time in London, some in foreign lands, and some in the most lovely districts of my own country. But in all I have found something to interest and employ my thoughts and often my sympathies some new page to peruse in the book of human life.
A few of these my experiences I deem worth recording. The names introduced in these pages must necessarily be fictitious; but with these exceptions the truth of each narrative may be relied on.
NO. I. THE UNDER TEACHER.
ONE of the standing annoyances to which a portrait painter is subjected, is that of being perpetually called upon to pourtray the features of individuals, who, whilst they cannot be called positively ugly, are still so far from handsome, and so much farther from the possession of any peculiar expression, good or bad, that it is impracticable to throw any interest into their portraits, save for those who know the originals. Such has been my continual experience ever since, brush in hand, I entered the lists, where so many nobler and more gifted competitors than myself are contending for the prize of fame. And yet, paradoxical as the statement may seem, one of the most insipid portraits I ever undertook to paint, was the means of procuring me more genuine pleasure than I have often found in this world of tribulation and vexation. Miss Georgiana D- was just one of those common-place, red and white, unindividualized girls whom it is a labour to talk to, or to paint, either in words or colours. She had one quality, however, which rendered her a person of much consideration in her own circle-she was rich. Fifty thousand pounds has a magic power which might convert a Hottentot Venus into a divinity; and Miss D was not strikingly plain-it would have been something of a relief if she had been so. Any expression would have been preferable to the blank, mindless-looking
tract of countenance, of whose resemblance I was doomed to make my canvas the recipient.
Miss D. was a parlour boarder in a fashionable metropolitan school, and the painting of her portrait originated in the fancy of a rich and childless uncle in Bombay, who had the power, if he pleased, to swell the heiress's fortune to three times its present extent. To do Miss D- justice, I do not think her own vanity would have induced her to sit to me. She was too inert and sleepy to be very vain, and certainly had no innate love of the fine arts, which might have tempted her to patronize one of their votaries. Her exclamation, when she saw the picture on its completion, might have settled that question for ever-" Dear, dear! well, I dare say it is like me, though-and I am sure the lace tucker is the very same!" The back ground, and the rich drapery, and the flush tints, on which I had expended so much thought and care, were all as nothing to her!
Yet the painting of that portrait is connected in my mind with such sunny and happy recollections-with so much of the romance of real life, that I look back on it as one of the brightest vistas in the image of memory. ther face arises in my dreams beside that inexpressive visage-a face, of which a glimpse might put a man in good humour for a week, and even
reconcile him to the task of painting a Miss D! The face of Eleanor Armstrong, the under teacher at Miss Toogood's seminary, always rises to my mental sight amidst the memories of that time as one of the fairest visions that ever blest the eyes of painter.
Miss D- had favoured me with one or two sittings when Miss Toogood suggested that a companion might be useful in talking to her, as (heaven bless the mark!) I ought to catch the varying expression of my sitter's countenance! I certainly did not expect that any thing under an earthquake or the laughing gas could induce the heiress to move a muscle; but as I could not decently say so, I assented; and Eleanor Armstrong was forthwith installed in her office of conversationist, and eliciter of expression, where, alas! there was none to elicit. Oh! what a face was that which beamed on me, when, on the third day of my purgatory, I entered the room set apart for my work. There was Miss D. just as heavy and blank as usual, but beside her sat Eleanor Armstrongthe personification of living loveliness. suppose I should sadly err from the right way of story-tellers if I omitted to give a description of my heroine; but truly charms like her's are more easily pourtrayed in colours than in words.
She was about nineteen; her height just sufficient to redeem her figure from the charge of petitness, and yet without any approach to the stature of a tall woman. Her complexion was not sickly white, but so transcendently clear, that never might a feeling rise within her heart, but you read an intimation of it on her cheek, her brow, her lips." Her eyes were soft and dark, and the lashes raven black, but the long curls which fell in showers upon her neck-(the expression is not original, but no other will fitly describe their luxuriance) were of a deep, bright chestnut. Her mouth was small and sweet; and she might have been pronounced the prettiest of the pretty, but for an expansive white forehead which gave too much of dignity to her appearance to admit of the application of that term. Beautiful, very beautiful, was the Under Teacher. She painted her likeness on the minds of all who looked on her, as effectually as ever the sun painted the features of a landscape in Mr. Talbot's newly discovered camera obscura. But this sort of painting did not content me; I longed to
paint her portrait. Had I asked per-
managed to transfer that lovely face to
The portraits were finished. Miss D's was to have graced the walls of Somerset House; but as the person who had undertaken to convey it to the Indian Nabob left England earlier than he had intended, it was consigned to his keeping, and from that time to this I have seen and heard no more of it. The other, so secretly wrought, so fairly finished, supplied its place in the exhibition. Fresh, and fair, and new, did that sweet face look amongst the resemblances of glowing gentlemen and smirking ladies, by which it was surrounded. Many a loudly expressed burst of admiration, many a whisper of deeper and truer delight, were elicited from the groups which crowded round that transcendant portrait; and often might be heard the murmur of disappointment, when the page in the catalogue, eagerly turned to for information, was found to contain nothing respecting the original, save the unsatisfactory words, Portrait of a young lady."
The season was drawing to a close and the exhibition_rooms were unusually crowded. I happened to be there, and saw with much pleasure that the gazers on my favourite picture were as numerous as ever. Amongst these was a young man of about twenty-five years of age, of remarkably distinguished appearance, who seemed to regard it with an extraordinary degree of interest. Long did he pause before it, long after the groups around had departed, and he was left alone to
survey it at leisure. He paced back and forward before it, looked at it from all points of view, and finally left the room rather quickly, with the air of a man who has formed some hasty purpose, and is determined to lose no time in executing it.
"I shall see that youth again," was the prophetic impression on my mind, and I was not mistaken. That very evening my servant announced, "a gentleman on business," and on the skirts of the announcement, the gazer of the morning entered my apartment. Long before this time my readers will have anticipated that the young man had been struck by the likeness of the picture to some one in whom he was deeply interested. Such was precisely the case. He came to me for the purpose of ascertaining the residence of the original, of whose identity he had not a moment's doubt; but it is best that I should detail the history I gathered from him, in a somewhat more connected form than it was poured out to me.
Eleanor Armstrong was the only daughter of an excellent clergyman, and distantly related, by the mother's side, to the very noble and very proud Lady Borrodaile. Left an orphan at twelve years old, and very slenderly provided for, pity or pride, or both together, induced the titled dame to extend her protection to her fair young relative, and to receive her under her own roof. This was a piece of virtue which brought with it its own reward, for if ever embodied sunshine were the inmate of an earthly dwelling, Borrodaile Park had such an inmate in the
person of Eleanor. Gay, but never noisy, wise as well as witty, loving and amiable, as she was beautiful, Eleanor Armstrong was as a new life and pulse to the somewhat starched inhabitants of the gloomy old mansion. Her light foot sounded strangely pleasant as she tripped over the old oaken floors, so long used to echo nothing but the stately steps of the Lady Borrodaile and her attendants. Her sweet laugh rang like fairy music amongst the arched roofs, and in the broad, quiet corridors. Her bright face looked out like a flower with a soul in it-(it is a conceit, but it is so like her)-from the dark recesses and the Gothic windows. The Lady Borrodaile felt her influence -she could not resist it; and her heart, cold and formal as was the set of its currents, could not but warm into something like attachment to the fair
Sir Philip Borrodaile was an only child, and had been left under the guardianship of his proud mother, by a very weak and very henpecked father, who died when his son little more than an infant. Fond of power, which she had exercised with an iron hand over poor Sir Ralph, from the time of his marriage to his decease, and hating to give up her sway over any person until she should reach the extremest point to which it was possible to retain it, she had prevailed on her husband to give her a certain authority over the pecuniary resources of Sir Philip, which he could not shake off until he should have attained his twenty-fifth year.
Had he been a constant resident at Borrodaile Park, his heart might not have been less kind, but his manners might have contracted the dignified coldness of those around him, and the continued presence of his orphan cousin might have averted the event his mother dreaded; he might have loved her as a sister and no more. But fearing the consequences of constaut intercourse with one so lovely and so poor, the lady contrived that he should spend much of his time at a distance from home; and whenever he was a visitor at the Park, she never failed to expatiate largely on the horrors of misalliances in general, with a special clause against those which included relationship, however distant, amongst their disadvantages. Certainly for a wise woman Lady Borrodaile did a very foolish thing, for her design was immediately seen through; and as Sir Philip was not without a spice of the spirit of contradiction in his nature, he naturally fell in love with Eleanor, with a vehemence and ardour unsurpassed in all the records of romance.
That Eleanor should be indifferent to such a passion was not at all likely. The seclusion in which she lived debarred her from comparing him with any other who could claim the slightest equality with him. In him was her image of perfection embodied, or rather
she moulded her ideas of perfection by his standard. How could any young girl, with a heart full of affections, and yearning for sympathy, withstand the love of such a youth as Philip Borrodaile-so frank, so noble, so kind? So the fair Eleanor blushed and sighed, and murmured forth a promise to be his-his for ever; and never thought that his mother's anger would be implacable, nor that she herself would be deemed artful and ungrateful, so entranced was she in the happiness of loving and being loved. But a new light dawned, or rather a new cloud gloomed over her, when the discovery was made, (as, somehow, such discoveries always are made,) of their mutual attachment. Each was too proud to deny it when charged with it—each was too much in love to promise to forego it. Of course both fell under the bann of the old lady's severest displeasure a displeasure, however, more bitterly expressed against Eleanor than Philip for a mother's heart, be it ever so chilly, is always willing to find excuses for her own child, even though his crime be the deadly sin of opposition to her will. Nothing could exceed her indignation at the poor orphannothing could surpass the terseness and eloquence of her declamations on the subjects of meanness, ingratitude, and low artifice. Poor Eleanor began to feel for the first time that to be dependent is a bitter thing. This state of affairs could not long remain without some change; and Sir Philip left Borrodaile Park, trusting that time would mitigate his mother's anger, and reconcile her to the idea of his marriage with Eleanor. But he had to deal with one who, though cold and slow in most of her feelings, was vehement in her wrath, and obstinate in her resolutions. He had scarcely left Borrodaile Park, when she directed against poor Eleanor a series of annoyances, so systematic and so pointed, that the friendless girl, patient and enduring as she was for some time, at last could bear no more. She entreated to be allowed to seek another residence.
Before my heroine quitted Borrodaile Park, she had received a letter from her lover, full of passionate protestations of unalterable love, and entreaties that she would write to him while he remained at the little German village where he purposed passing some weeks. She had done so, and waited day after day in anxious expectation of a reply. None arrived, however, and she was compelled to leave the roof of Lady Borrodaile without receiving any assurance that Sir Philip was aware of her intended change of residence, or the harsh treatment which compelled her to the step she was taking. Should she write again? It was a long struggle between pride and love before she could prevail on herself so to do; but at length another epistle was written and despatched. Weeks passed by, still no letter came; and at length the high spirit began to droop and the light heart to despond. He must be ill-he must be dead, or-no! he could not have forgotten her!
But even that bitterest possibility seemed fixed on her belief, when, on taking up a newspaper which had wonderfully found its way through the outer barriers of Miss Toogood's establishment, she read an announcement of Sir Philip Borrodaile's arrival from the continent, and farther on a mysterious on dit respecting a projected union between himself and a certain Lady Honoria M, with whose family he had formed an acquaintance in Italy, and with whom he had returned to England. I need not dwell on the violence of such a shock to poor Eleanor's feelings. She had a long and severe illness, and for weeks small hopes were entertained that she would survive. But a sound constitution and an elastic spirit will bear up marvellously through heavy troubles, and revive again and again from bitter mental suffering. Eleanor Armstrong had a truly affectionate heart, and she had loved with all the warmth and enthusiasm of which such a one is
capable; but still she was not the girl to die of love, or resolve to be miserable because she had known disappointment, especially when she remembered that the object of her attachment had proved himself unworthy of it. She rallied her pride and her spirit-called in the blessed aids of religion and reason, and in a few months the lovely under teacher was as lovely as ever. There was, perhaps, a little more thought on her brow, a little more tenderness in her smile-but she was once more able to perform her duties with attention and energy, and her cheerful resignation and unrepining content won her the love and respect of every being near her whose heart was not utterly sheathed in the frost of selfishness.
I do not doubt that if Sir Philip Borrodaile had crossed her path no more she would in time have conquered the lingerings of attachment towards him which would sometimes rebel in her heart, and even might at some future day have practically proved that it is quite possible to love more than once. I say this might have happened, but the fates (in compassion to the romantic portion of my readers) had ordered otherwise, and Eleanor Armstrong was doomed to remain a heroine after the most approved fashion.
Perhaps Sir Philip may be forgiven for not answering Eleanor's letters, when it is explained that he never received them, and, moreover, was as fully convinced of her faithlessness as she was of his. Lady Borrodaile had managed to intercept the first of these missives, and the last did not reach the village to which it was addressed until the traveller had quitted it for another resting-place. True, he had left orders that any letter arriving after his departure should be immediately forwarded to him; but the postmaster was absent, and the postmaster's wife put the letter in her huge pocket, where it lay, amongst a curious chaos of other matters, for a full week, and then, in her fright at having caused its delay, the worthy Frow committed it to the flames. Sir Philip, unable to account for his fair one's silence, wandered restlessly from place to place, and at length received a letter from his venerable parent, entreating him to return home, and informing him that Miss Armstrong had chosen to quit Borrodaile Park, but that she would not pain him by detailing any particulars of the affair until his return.
The baronet had contracted an ac
quaintance, while on the continent, with an English nobleman, to whose party he speedily attached himself, and with them returned to England. His mother was delighted at this accident, for the family of the aforesaid nobleman was an ancient one, and his estates large, and she allowed to herself that the Earl of V's only daughter might be almost a sufficiently good match for the heir of Borrodaile Park. It was at her instigation that a newspaper paragraph had insinuated the probability of such a marriage, and by her direction that the paper was placed in the way of Eleanor Armstrong. To her son she was all warmth and affection. The untruths respecting Eleanor's conduct, which she rather hinted at than expressed, were of such a nature as to lead Sir Philip to suppose that his betrothed had acted in such a manner as to place an eternal bar betwixt them. She described Eleanor's departure from her protection as entirely her own spontaneous deed, and even denied any knowledge of her residence or situation. But Sir Philip clung long and obstinately to the memory of his early love; and it was only on the very eve of his twentyfifth birthday that his mother extracted from him a consent to pay a longdelayed visit to the Earl of Vand if he should find Lady Honoria still as favourably disposed towards him as she once seemed to be, to offer her his hand. For this purpose he went to London. Lady Borrodaile had no fears respecting the possibility of his meeting with Eleanor, for her obsequious confidante, Miss Toogood, was carefully apprised of Sir Philip's intended journey, and had orders to keep her fair inmate pretty close during his stay in town.
Great was the surprise of Miss Toogood when a gentleman called at the "establishment," and demanded an instant and private interview with Miss Armstrong. Greater still was her consternation when, on entering the drawing-room half an hour afterwards in an agony of uncontrollable curiosity, the gentleman announced himself as Sir Philip Borrodaile. Greatest of all was the anger of his lady mother when she was informed of the frustration of her schemes!
A fortnight after his memorable visit to the exhibition, Sir Philip Borrodaile kept his twenty-fifth birthday. In three months more a bridal party stood before the altar of St. George's, Hanoversquare, Sir Philip Borrodaile was