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* Well, you must not be ungrate Maria looked down and spoke in a ful to him for his kindness you know.” low voice, but very earnestly, while
Maria made an answer unnecessary she said — Surely, however little they by asking for a glass of water, which may understand their faith, it must, if the girl went for, and, before she re- they have it at all, be essentially the turned, James himself came in. He same, and produce the same fruits in was an active, well-tempered, and their hearts, as in the most intelligent lively-looking man, with less appear- and expanded Chrstians.” ance of hard strength than his father Maria blushed deeper and deeper - for he had not had so much to fight while saying this, for she felt herself againsi—but a face and manner that engaged unawares in a dispute with were sure signs of thorough truth and one of the most celebrated of her conaffectionateness.
temporaries. But he only answered, " That scene,
” said Walsingham, with a bland smile—“I fear we often after they were all again on horseback, deceive ourselves by using the same u is a complete Idyll. There are word for very different things, and people whose aspect and manner give perhaps • faith' is one of them. one at once so satisfying an image of wise man it means knowledge, and in active cheerful life, in perfect har. a foolish one ignorance." He then mony with their circumstances, that turned to Sir Charles, and asked him one feels, to enlarge their sphere or if he could tell them any thing of the their minds would be to spoil the history of the family. whole ; and if you suppose
both I have been thinking," he replied, changed, it becomes not an altered, “ how little we can trust appearances but a totally different thing. Those such as those which you and Miss people are, without knowing it, and Lascelles have been talking of. So so long as they do not attempt to be far from the Wilson family having had any thing other than what they are, a the quiet and happy existence you perfect representation of nature and imagined, they met with a domestic fife. The mere limits of the family misfortune little more than a year ago, mark them out as distinctly as a poet which seemed likely to kill both the could desire ; and, at the same time, father and mother. Beside the son they are in constant living combina. whom you saw, they had an only tion with all the world in which they daughter-a small, delicate-looking, act, and with a whole human neigh. pretty blue-eyed girl. She seemed bourhood. But if you tried to make only eighteen or nineteen, but I bethem reflect more widely, or to feel lieve was in reality of age, when she more earnestly than they do, you became acquainted with a young man would, no doubt, introduce confusion who was private tutor in a family and anxiety among them.".
in the neighbourhood. After a few “ If all there," said Maria, “be as months' acquaintance she was ferpeaceful as it looks, I cannot imagine suaded to go off with him. it to have become and continued so, said that they were secretly married ; except by means of religious faith and but from that time to this nothing has principle; and, surely, no feelings or been heard of either of them.” reflections of any other kind could “ Ah !" said Walsingham ; “ I dare raise them so high as that.”
say he talked sentiment and specula“ Probably,” replied Walsingham, tion to her, and turned her head with " their faith is a mere dutiful warm- the uncongenial element. Had she hearted acquiescence in things that fallen in love with a farmer's son who they as little understand as if their had never thought beyond his calling, Bible were still in Hebrew and Greek. no harm could have happened." And well for them that it is so. What Maria said nothing, but she thought, vain self-upbraidings and fears and -Had she been a person of religious what vague monstrous images of fan- principle she would not have defied cied good and evil, would press on and her parents in such a matter, nor run destroy their quiet hearts and con- the risk of breaking their hearts; and ound their cheerful activity, if you religion might have enlarged her mind could awaken self-consciousness in as effectually as her lover's philosohem, and make them dream of con- phy. ersions, beatitudes, and perditions !"
The afternoon of the following day crown fill up the notion of an eternal was so rainy that none of the party heaven.” could leave the house, and several of Perhaps we cannot frame any such them were assembled in the large and ideal as you speak of. I am sure I noble library. Walsingham talked to cannot. But, on the other hand there Maria, and evidently felt much plea- is surely a want in human nature of a
in drawing out her clear and higher life than that of mere labour strong sense for all that had lain with- and pleasure. We cannot say exactly in her sphere, as well as much admira- in what forms that life, if it were all tion of her beauty. She had at first in all, would clothe itself. But it would been a little afraid of him, for genius be misery and despair to give up the is a power which, till we become fami- hope of it.” liar with has something that dis * I believe that whatever it really turbs, nay repels, as well as fascinates. promises of good is attainable now by But she possessed herself too deeply due cultivation, and that, too, in a real for this to last, and was too open to world which perfectly suits us, and all higher impressions not to be won which we may daily better undertsand, by his calm and manifold signifi- rule, and embellish."
“I cannot even wish to subdue the Miss Constable, who was near, then longing after a blessedness for which said — How tiresome this rain is ! I this world affords no adequate image wish one could have a world without and no congenial home.” rain !"
“ I fear it is this vague longing for A man of science, who was stand- that which we can do nothing to real
. ing near, immediately began to ex- ise that renders all our efforts uncerplain, learnedly, how impossible this tain, sad, and, fruitless. Believe that would be, without changing all the here, on this earth, is our true bearen, other characters of the globe as to its and we can make it so. Thus, to atmosphere and productions.
only can we escape all the inwari Walsingham turned, smilling, to struggle and convulsion between the Maria, and said — In truth we can inevitable Actual and a Possible never form no complete and consistent pic. to be attained." ture of any other state of existence “ No doubt you would then cut the than this, nor construct the ideal of any knot ; but is there not still a thread fairer world.”
which unites us to the hope, vague and “ Do you think this state of exist- colourless as it is, of a nobler being in ence complete and consistent ? It a more appropriate scene?” seems to me full of endless contradic “ Be it so,' said Walsingham, with tions."
his tranquil smile. “ For my part 1 “ Our business here is precisely that only hope at present that you will not of removing or reconciling these, and send me away from you to look for rounding-off our life into as smooth any happier ideal position. I am and large a circle as possible.”
contented where I am." “ I cannot get over the feeling that Maria, too, smiled faintly, but said the work is here hopeless, and that we nothing. After a pause, Walsingham, can never be at peace but by trying to who had looked down as if in thought, grow out of our natural state into a totally different, and far higher and “ In fact, we lose by our careless
indolence the advantages we might “ But can you form any distinct enjoy, and at the same time dream of image of such a state, with all its suit- those which are impossible
. We will able outward accompaniments ? They not walk because it is less trouble to must, I fancy, be only fragments and dream of flying. No wonder we make shadows of what we see about us here. little of our lives compared with their One swallow, you know, does not make capacities, when so few ever think of a summer, nor will one picture of an what they are capable. The word angel with white wings, and a diamond we live in is to most of us so mean,
went on, —
dim, and narrow, that it would seem Asiatic horsemen with an old hermit, as if our sight would serve us for no who has lived as a devotee perhaps better purpose than the blind man's for sixty or seventy years, and thinks string and dog, namely, to keep us the first European he sees must be out of ponds and ditches."
some spirit, whom he has met with beThis was more than is usually said fore in a previous state of existence; at a breath in society, but Walsing- when perhaps, too, the next hour you ham spoke so gracefully, and his fame have to fight your way among a troop : stood so high, that all were pleased to of Kurds, through an ambush of roba hear him. The only person who bers, and must ride for twenty-four seemed much surprised was Miss Har- hours without stopping, and with your court, who looked up, and exclaim- hand on your pistol, if you would esed
“Dear me! what strange ideas ! Walsingham said, quietlyI am sure they never would have 6. You mentioned that one learns struck me."
something in this way. Pray, what Hastings had been listening for does one learn ?" some minutes to the conversation, “Oh, no school-learning, perhaps, which he now took up thus :
but one gets new notions and images “For my part, I am of Miss Las- into one's head. You know the world celles's mind. I confess I think one better, and mankind, and what you always feels the want of a change can yourself endure and do." after a few weeks' residence in one "Perhaps all this may be learned place; and I suppose, when I have more accurately and deeply in the seen all the islands of the Pacific—by midst of our ordinary life, if we will the way, I mean to go there next only keep our eyes open, and be alweek-I shall want to embark for ways striving and shaping. And as one of the planets, or take a flight to to endurance, a life of action among the moon."
men will always bring with it suffi“I hope," said one of the younger cient trial-most, perhaps, to the mind men, “ if you imitate Astolpho in that, where least to the muscles." you will not, at least, bring back any “ Ah, so be it for those who like of the foolish brains that are kept it. I am never so cheerful and so there. We have enough here." much at ease as when there is danger
“ Perhaps," said Sir Charles, “you in the way, and enterprise and novelty would at last be tired there, and wish to lead me on. It does not seem worth yourself once more in England. Now, while to take all the pains you speak I am content to begin by staying of about so commonplace an existence here."
as ours is here.' Hastings answered
* Surely no existence is common. “I know no country I tire of so place to him who lives with uncom. soon as England. All the bold fresh mon aims. The meanest work car. character of men is worn away by ried on with insight and hope, with a conventional refinement, and life is feeling of the Beautiful, and with resmothered under a heap of comforts. ference to the whole, of which we One learns something by lying in wait and it are parts, becomes large and among the rocks, with a rifle in one important. Sophocles writing his tra. hand, and an Indian chief as compa- gedy, and the flame, by the light of nion, when a herd of a thousand bisons which he saw to write, each was rush over the plain to the banks of working in its vocation. But if the some great river, and beast after beast, lamp would flare about and set first squadron after squadron, plunge with the tragedy on fire, and then the a crash, and swim to fresh pastures ; house, it had better been extinguished or when one finds, in the wide soli- at first. All that is essential in romance tude, the hut of some Indian girl, lies diffused throughout ordinary life, perhaps the last survivor of her tribe, which, for those who live worthily, who has escaped from the massacre, culminates to creative art. A dew. and lived for a year alone on the ani- drop is water as fresh as Hippocrene mals she has trapped, singing, while or Niagara.” she sews their skins into clothes, some " It is no amusement to me to play melancholy song of the old days; or at taking brass counters for gold.” when one falls in at some haunt of “Ay, but what if we could turn
them to purer go!d than ever came Charles was pleased that so celebratfrom the mine? Would it not be ed a man as Walsingham spoke so better worth while to stay at home freely and earnestly in his house, and learn that art than to spend years Remembering that his reading was in gathering yellow sand, and find, much admired, he now came to him perhaps, at last, that it is worthless ? and asked him if he would read. Children, indeed, hoard counters as if Walsingham, whom Maria's presence they were coin. But men too often seemed to have lured onward, and unthrow away the true coin as if they folded, looked at her, caught her eye, were counters.”
which sparkled at the proposal, and Several of the company had now taking down a volume from the book. gathered round the little group. Sir case, read the following narrative.
“When I was in Italy some years silk. An antique bust of an old man ago, I knew a young Englishman who was represented on a table before her, was in the habit of seeking places to and her right hand and raised forereside in, little frequented by his finger seemed to indicate that both countrymen. He was a lover of soli- she and the spectator on whim her tude and study, and addicted to reve. divine eyes were fixed, must listen to rie; and much of his life was a gentle some expected oracle from the marble and shimmering dream that glided to lips. She might have served as a the music of romantic traditions. At lovely symbol of the fresh present the time I must now refer to, he had world listening to the fixed and Sibyl, selected as his abode one of the de- line past. Her eyes were large and serted palaces of the Venetian nobility dark, but not lustrous; they seemed on the banks of the Brenta. But he rather heavy, with an inward thougbthad no acquaintance with the owners ful melancholy, as if there were some to interrupt his solitude, for he had thing in her situation or character hired it from the steward to whom more solemn than her years or cir. their affairs were entrusted. It had cumstances could have led us to ex. attracted his fancy, though it was pect. There was, however, no tradimuch out of order, from having a tion of her story, except that she was gallery of pictures, chiefly portraits, a daughter of the family which still still remaining, and in good preserva- possessed the palace and the picture, tion. There was also a large neglect- and that she had died in early life. ed garden with a terrace along the “ Before this figure the young Eng. river, and in its shady overgrown lishman would remain for an hour ar walks the Englishman sat or wander- two at a time, endeavouring to shape ed for many hours of the day. But he out for himself some distinct view of also spent much time in the picture. her being and story. This was idle gallery, conversing with the grave work, as it led him to no definite and old senators, saturating his mind
with lasting creation, but it occupied him the colours of Tintoretto, and Paolo for the time as well as any thing else Veronese, and contemplating like a that he was likely to have done. By modern Paris the goddesses of Tic and by his fancy so gained upon him tian's pencil. But there was one pic- that he had the chamber next to that ture which gradually won his very part of the gallery where the picture heart. It was a portrait by Giorgione was, arranged as his bedroom, that of a young Venetian lady; and the so he might be near his incorporeal old servant of the house called her La mistress even during the hours of Celestina. She had the full and lux- sleep. One night, soon after this urious Venetian form; but, unlike any change had been made, while he was of the other female portraits, there lying in bed and musing of Celestina, was a profusion of rather light brown he thought he heard a noise in the hair flowing down her back, as one gallery consecrated to her, low voices, sees in some of the early Italian pic- and a light step. He felt
, I believe tures of the Virgin, and the sunny nay cherished, some dash of supersti
. stream fell from a wreath of bay tious fear in his character, and he did leaves. Her dress was of dark green not rise to examine into the matter.
The next night was that of the full could throw light upon the matter. moon, and again he heard the same Next day the friend found upon his tasound; and again for the third time ble a slip of paper, on which was written on the night following. Then it in a beautiful female hand, a request ceased, and for some days he was in that he would present himself in the much perplexity. The gallery by easternmost arbour of the garden at day-light presented no appearance of the hour of the seista. He of course change. He brooded over the remem. did so, and found there a lady in a brance, whether founded in fact or dark dress, and closely veiled. She imagination, till it struck him that, said, in fine Italian, that she had beg, perhaps, there was a connection be- ged to see him, in order to repair, if tween the sounds and the age of the possible, the mischief which had been moon when they were heard, and accidentally done. • My father,' she that
, if so, they might possibly return continued, • the owner of this palace, at the next corresponding period. He is of a proud but impoverished Venetian grew thin and nervous with anxiety, family. His son is an officer in an and resolved at all hazards to endea- Austrian Regiment, which has been vour to clear up the secret. The stationed for some years in Hungary; night before the full moon came, and and I am the old man's only companwith it the sounds—the light whispers ion. He is, perhaps, a little peculiar murmured and sang along the high and eccentric in his habits and chawalls and ceilings, and the steps flitted racter, and all his strongest feelings like fairies from end to end of the are directed towards the memory of galleries. But even now he could not his ancestors whose abode is now ocresolve to part with the_tremulous cupied by your friend. Nothing but pleasure of the mystery. The follow- necessity would have induced him to ing night, that of the full moon, he let it to a stranger, and to reside in felt worn-out, fretted, and desperate, the small house in the neighbourhood Again the sounds were heard, the which we now inhabit. He still perdoors opened and closed, the steps petually recurs to the traditional stothrobbed in his heart, the indistin- ries of his family's former greatness ; guishable words flew on, till he caught and it is a favourite point of belief in a low but clear tone, the name of with him that his daughter closely reCelestina. He seized a sword and sembles the Celestina whose picture stepped silently to a door near him is in the gallery, and whose name she which opened into the gallery, and bears. Owing to this fancy, he is was in deep shadow. Unclosing it never satisfied unless he sees her dressslowly, he looked down the long ed in imitation of the idolized porroom, and there opposite the place of trait
. But, as he no longer inhabits the well-known picture, stood, in the the house, and does not choose to prebright moonlight, Celestina herself sent himself to its occupier in a light upon the floor. The right hand was which he considers so unworthy, he raised like that on the canvass, as if could gratify his love for the pictures to listen, and the eyes were looking only by visiting them at night, at a eamestly into the depth of gloom time when the moon affords a light by which hid the Englishman. He let which, imperfect as it is, his ancestors fall his sword, let go the door, which appear to him distinct and beautiful closed before him, and when he had beings. Nor could he be long conagain courage to open it the gallery tented with this solitary pleasure, but was empty, and the still clear light insisted that I should accompany him. fell only on a vacant surface.
We have more than once entered “ The consequence to him of this through a door from the gardens, and event was a severe illness, and a friend it was on the last of these occasions and fellow-countryman was sent for that I thought I heard a noise, and from Venice to attend his sick-bed. while I listened, the door at the end of This visitor gradually obtained an the gallery was opened, and then viooutline of the facts from the sufferer, lently closed again. On this alarm and then applied to the old Italian we immediately escaped as we had servant in order to arrive at a reason- entered, and the strange consequences able explanation. But he stoutly de- to your friend have been to me a source nied all knowledge of any thing that of much regret. We heard of his