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manner, easier felt than described. I cannot tell in -what this charm consisted, bat I have seen one or two others in my life who possessed a similar talisman to command success, and although it is almost irresistible in its effects, I never remember to have found its possessor a perfectly frank, open-hearted, candid man. The primitive simplicity of manners which prevailed in those days, gave great opportunity for the freedom of unrestrained yet refined familiarity between young persons of different sexes. The free-and-easy tone in which gentlemen now address ladies would not have been tolerated then in high-toned circles, and the deference which was paid to the sex was as strong a safeguard as a young lady could require. Lena therefore saw Stanley frequently, and was not proof against his peculiar powers of fascination; especially when she found herself the object of his particular attention. She was very young, unskilled in human nature, and one of the most confiding of human beings; it was natural, therefore, that she should listen to a first declaration of love with a heart-thrill which, in her inexperience, she mistook for reciprocal affection. Stanley proffered his love in language which no woman ever hears for the first time unmoved, and Lena promised to garner up her heart against the period when he might venture to ask her from her father.
"Lena was not quite so happy as she had been before this event. She had a feeling of responsibility, a certain uncomfortable sense of concealment which banished the spontaneous joyousness of her bosom. She was no longer the merry child, measuring existence but by joys; the happiness of another was in her keeping, and she had now to reflect and consider her destiny for the future. Those were times when engagements were considered as sacred things, and young people frequently held themselves bound to each other for years before asking the consent of parents, or making their engagement publicly known. Therefore, while every one noticed Stanley's devotion to Lena, no one was acquainted with the exact position of matters between them.
"Mr. Von Elmer had a country seat, situated somewhere in the neighbourhood of what is now called Union Park, sufficiently out of the city then to secure the retirement of rural life, while it yet afforded him daily access to the business quarter of the town. Here Lena often collected her young friends together to a sort of rustic feast, under the fine old trees which shut in the beautiful grounds. On one occasion it happened that the party, wearied with the fatigues of a long day of pleasure, became broken into little groups, and wandered off in different directions; some to take an afternoon nap, some to play a lazy game of bagatelle, or a
still lazier one of backgammon, and some to lounge over a book in the library. After seeing all her guests disposed of to their various likings, Lena wandered into the garden, and wearied with excitement, took her way to a favourite retreat which she had fancifully named the Rosary. This was a sequestered spot, surrounded and completely shut in by thick shrubbery so closely interwoven as to make a sort of verdant wall around a large bed of roses, from whence the place derived its name. There was but one entrance to this delightful nook, and that was so contrived as to be quite concealed by climbing roses trained upon the fantastically gnarled trunks of dismantled forest trees. Lena was just entering this green labyrinth, when she heard voices within the enclosure. Her first impulse was to surprise the parties with her merry laugh and sudden appearance, but while she paused, she heard words which sent the blood back to her heart, and paralysed every limb. The speaker was Charles Stanley; his companion was a beautiful but giddy girl, who numbered herself among Lena's most intimate friends. Words were uttered by Stanley which Lena felt to be an outrage to loyalty and faith. He was addressing to another words as impassioned as those which had thrilled her heart. She listened in a sort of stupor—as if she was hearing the painful sounds in a dream. At length she heard her own name mentioned.
"' Don't talk to me of Lena,' exclaimed Stanley, 'impatiently; 'Lena would give half her fortune for eyes and lips like yours.'
"' Yet you are going to marry her?' asked the girl.
"' I thought the affair was settled.'
"' Give me the kiss I have been begging for this half hour, and I will tell you all about it.' There was a moment's pause, and then Stanley continued: 'The poor girl is deeply sensible of the attractions of a certain young gentleman who, while she is making 'beaux yeux' at him, cannot help regarding 'let beaux yeux de sa cassette.' Lena Von Elmer is very rich, and very much in love with me, therefore both selfishness and generosity tempt me to avail myself of the lady's good opinion. But don't talk of her now; I would rather look at you than remember the fate which may link me to a dumpy little fright for life.'
"For an instant Lena was stunned as if by a blow. Recovering her self-possession by a powerful effort, she glided noiselessly away, and hurried into the house. To describe her emotions when she thought of Stanley's false and cruel words would be impossible. Every fibre in her whole frame quivered with the intensity of her indignation and shame. The struggle of her feelings was terrific. To her mother's sensitiveness of emotion she united her father's stern indomitable pride, and now, for the first time in her life, she learned her own power of self-control and silent energy. How she went through the remainder of that day she could never distinctly remember, but she must have mastered her emotions with wonderful power, for no one seemed to observe her agitation. The next morning she was too ill to leave her bed, and for several weeks she lay in the silence and darkness of a sick chamber. Her nerves had sustained a fearful shock, from which she did not quite recover in many months. upon your loveliness with a heart that coveted so rich a prize?'
"The first act of her convalescence was the dismissal of Charles Stanley. She uttered no reproaches, expressed no warmth of feeling, but coldly explained her reasons, repeated his offensive words, and with a quiet scorn bade him farewell for ever. The rapidity with which pride had come to her aid, and the contempt which so soon took the place of tenderer feelings, proved that Lena had mistaken the true nature of her regard for Stanley. She had admired and liked him, and his own solicitations had given a definite form to that which would otherwise have been a vague and passing fancy. But the effect of this discovery of his treachery was a lasting one.
"As I said before, she had lived in an atmosphere of love, and there everything is lovely if not beautiful. How then should she know the value which the world sets on external advantages? But now she learned to set an undue value upon personal beauty, and a painful sense of her own deficiencies took the place of her happy unconsciousness. She looked around her, and to her prejudiced fancy, every one possessed stronger claims to admiration than herself. She was pained and mortified at her own folly in believing that any one could ever seek the love of one so utterly unattractive and disagreeable in person. She learned to distrust every one, and to doubt all professions of personal regard. This was the most serious change which her disappointment effected in her character. But long after she had ceased to regret the faithless lover, she felt the want of the love. The simple pleasures of social life lost their zest for one who had been taught to feed on the honied flatteries of a lover's vows. It required a deal of bitter self-schooling before Lena could return to her ordinary routine of daily duties with a cheerful spirit and a willing heart.
"But time is always the consoler as well as the consumer of griefs. Lena recovered at least a portion of her cheerfulness, and was as kindly in her sympathies as ever. On one subject, however, she was a resolute sceptic. No
one could induce her to believe that she could be the object of a genuine attachment. Of her many suitors not one ever succeeded in impressing her with a belief in his earnestness; not one but became to her an object of contempt from the moment he ventured to proffer his suit. The thought that her father's wealth was her only attraction grew to be a fixed ides in her mind, and she could not help scorning those who sought to deceive her with a lover's vows.
"Matters went on in this way until Lena reached her one-and-twentieth year, when a distant relative of her mother's, a young man who had been sent out from Holland to learn the duties of a mercantile life under the direction of Mr. Von Elmer, came to take up his abode in the family. Walter Geysbert was one of the handsomest of men. His figure was the very perfection of symmetry; his complexion had all the freshness without the effeminacy of boyhood; his eyes were as beautiful in expression as they were rich in colour; and his mouth was like that of an Apollo. His manners were as attractive as his personal appearance. Polished, elegant, and refined, he had received an education far superior to that usually bestowed upon persons destined to commercial life: while his frankness, open-heartedness, and candour, were as remarkable as the graces of his demeanour.
"It was impossible for Lena to live in habits of daily intimacy with such a man without feeling the power of his attractiveness. Drawn unconsciously together by the mystic bond of sympathy, a deep and strong attachment grew up between them, which Geysbert soon recognised, but which Lena mistook for friendship. It seemed so natural to like Cousin Walter better than any one else; he took the place of a brother so completely and so naturally, that Lena did not think of analyzing the feeling which was fast taking possession of her heart.
"Mr. Von Elmer's house, like most dwellinghouses at that time, had a small one story building, known by the name of a 'put all,'* projecting into the paved court which formed the entrance to a lovely garden filled with shrubs and flowers. It was one of the sweetest places in the world on a summer's afternoon, and Lena usually seated herself there with her sewing, certain of being joined by Cousin Walter as soon as the sun had set. Here, in the porch, they were in the habit of lingering amid all pleasant sights and sounds and perfumes; reading or talking, and sometimes joining their voices in a song, secure from intrusion in the sweet seclusion of home.
"One evening Walter came later than usual,
* Vide Bartlett's Americanisms.
and Lena saw a cloud upon His brow. Instead of resuming the book he had laid aside on the previous evening, he stood leaning against the door-post, looking down upon Lena as she sate at her needlework, but not uttering a syllable.
"' Pray, don't pull that flower to pieces just now,' exclaimed Lena, laughingly, as she saw the petals falling around her; 'you have broken the crowning blossom of father's very choicest tuberose, and now you are scattering it about the porch.'
"'Lena, do you know I am going to leave you?' asked Geysbert, in a voice choked with emotion.
"' Leave us, Cousin Walter? Why?' "' My father is very ill, and has sent to desire my return.'
"Lena's look grew sad, and she then strove to utter words of condolence, but her voice failed, and she felt a sharp pang at her heart.
"' I have been so happy here, Lena, that I dread any change. I may come back to find you married.'
"' There is little danger of that, Cousin Walter; you will find me just where you leave me, so be content on that score, and let us talk over your present prospects.'
"She spoke in her usual cheerful tone, as she resumed her work; but Geysbert's heart was full and his lips could utter no idle words. Rapidly, wildly, almost incoherently, he poured forth his tale of true and faithful love. Lena bent over her sewing, and plied her needle with unwonted rapidity to conceal her emotion.
"' Let your own better nature teach you whether I have deserved this mockery,' exclaimed Lena, vehemently. 'Oh, Walter! Walter! whom can I trust since you too have deceived me?' With these words, she turned away hastily to conceal her gushing tears, and entered the house, leaving Geysbert perfectly confounded at her sudden change of manner.
"When she reached her own room she gave way to a burst of agony which fully revealed to her the nature of her own feelings. She knew that she loved, deeply and devotedly, but along with this knowledge came the bitter reoollection that she could never hope to inspire love in another. She thought with anguish upon the language which she had just heard from Walter's lips; she would have given worlds to have been able to believe it; but no; he, of all other men—so handsome, so gifted—it could not be that he could look with love upon her. It was a fearful thing to recognise in Walter Geysbert only the interested and venal suitor, but to her mind there seemed no alternative.
"Geysbert, on his part, could only attribute her indignant rejection of him to pride. He remembered that in her eyes he was only her father's clerk; and a stern and stubborn resolution took possession of him. During the few days that preceded his departure, they never met except at table. A cold respect characterized all Geysbert's demeanour towards Lena. He seemed to have forgotten or at least determined that she should forget his proffered suit, for neither by word or look did he ever remind her of the past. Thus they parted. No word of explanation was uttered, no kind glance, or unbidden tear melted the icy wall which pride had raised between them. They parted with wounded tenderness and bitter feelings strangely commingled in their bosoms; and each knew their parting was to be a life-long sorrow.
"Months passed away in dreary hopelessness and sorrow to Lena, when her father one day brought home a letter from Walter Geysbert.
"' You will have learned by the time this reaches you of my father's death, (so said the letter,) but there are other circumstances which may require some explanations to so old a friend. In early life my father was greatly indebted to an elder brother, who afforded him the means of making a fortune. That brother afterwards died a bankrupt, and his only child, my cousin Gertrude, has been like a daughter in my father's house ever since. It was my father's cherished wish to see us united, and at his bedside, the evening before his death, we were married. It was a melancholy bridal; and I pray you to offer me no congratulations. Gertrude is a good and gentle creature, and if
my heart sometimes feels a void when I think of the different fate I once dreamed of attaining, I subdue my repinings by the reflection that I have only performed my duty.'
"Mr. Von Elmer read the letter aloud as he sate in the porch at sunset. Lena stood behind him holding the silver tobacco-case from which he was about to fill his pipe as soon as he had finished reading. Her cheek grew deadly pale, but she uttered not a word.
"' I did not know my cousin Geysbert was so rich,' said Mrs. Von Elmer, scarcely looking up from her knitting.
"' He is one of the richest merchants in Amsterdam.'
"' Why did he send Walter out to this country as a clerk?'
"' For fear that riches would spoil him.'
"' Did not Walter know of his father's wealth?'
"' Not until I informed him, a few days before he sailed.'
"Lena waited to hear no more, but, hurrying from the room, sought in solitude to silence the bitter cry that rose up within her wronged heart. She saw it all now. Walter Geysbert had truly loved her; he had hushed all expression of his feelings while he was only the humble clerk, but no sooner did he find himself her equal in station and her superior in fortune, than he had come to her with the proffer of that noble heart. And she had rejected it In the blindness of her pride and self-distrust and base suspicion, she had trampled in scorn upon the priceless offering. Now he was lost to her for ever. Henceforth a life of loneliness and self-reproach must be her atonement for thus wronging two true hearts.
"Now I have told you a true story, my children; have I not proved to you the existence of a woman whose want of the very quality we call personal vanity caused all her sorrow?"
"But you have not finished your story, grandmamma. What became of Lena 1 Did she ever marry?"
"Then all her romantic ideas vanished with her youth, I suppose."
"No; for her marriage was the finish of her youth's romance, converting it into a blessed reality. Lena was just turning that awkward corner in life which brings a woman among the 'thirties,' when Walter Geysbert returned to America, a widower, with an infant daughter. He did not come to renew his early vows, but he still regarded Lena with a deep and earnest interest. He had scarcely expected to find her still unmarried, and in the pleasure of their renewed friendship the lapse of time was forgotten or disregarded. He finally ventured to allude to the painful past, and then Lena honestly and candidly avowed her long-expiated error. A fall explanation ensued, which ended in convincing Lena that beauty is not the only loveable quality in woman, and she became the happy wife of the lover of her youth. People said she had outlived her pride, and was glad now to take up with a widower rather than die an old maid. But she cared little for such remarks. For forty years she was the happy wife of the man whom she had once scornfully rejected; for forty years she found herself the object of the most devoted affection, notwith
standing her want of beauty; and when, ten years ago, the hand of death bowed down that stately form and dimmed the fire of those lovelighted eyes, she knew that a glory had departed from the earth to be renewed with immortal brightness in a better world."
The old lady's voice faltered, and she brushed away the tears that gathered upon her eyelids. Then her listeners knew that only she who had thus erred and (aim suffered could be enabled to read so well this riddle of woman's life.
BY WILLIAM PEMBROKE MULCH INOCK.
Briqitt as the sun in the East awaking,
With spells of might, that I would not sever,
Cheered by the sound of her dulcet laughter, My young heart pictures a bright hereafter,
Stainless and pure as the bright skies o'er me,
Sitting beside me all the day smiling,
Sorrow and hoary time both beguiling;
Sitting beside me, clinging unto me,
Many and sweet are her ways to woo me;
My life's a garden of fruits in flushing,
Love is the stream through its bright space rushing;
Ever and aye is the streamlet flowing,
Ever and aye are the fair flowers blowing,
Ever and aye, like brother with brother,
Joy and Hope through the space chase each other,
And the garden's queen of fawn-like lightness
Is Alice, my wife, the soul of brightness.
My heart is blest, safe from Fortune's malice;
My home is bright as a fairy palace;
My soul drinks love out of Joy's bright chalice,
Filled to the brim by my heart's queen, Alice.
The old familiar places which I knew
And wo, and ceaseless change, stole from the true
Treasured within my heart. The wood and hill,
And with slight change will keep their freshness still When I and all I've known have done with strife,
And other forms the round of being fili.