ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

There was something of joy in Zelie's wild eyes, when, listlessly entering the drawingroom on her return from her ramble, she recognised Julian Lindsay. He had ever been kind to her he had risked his life for her-he always treated her with a respect which she valued the more, because she felt an inward, ever-haunting doubt of her claim to it.

She was in that state of depression, selfabandonment, and almost self-contempt, when the gentle hand of kindness unlocks those springs of grief no tyranny or harshness could have forced open. Julian and De Villeneuve were together in earnest conversation when she entered. On recognising Julian, she uttered a faint cry of joy, and rushed forward to welcome him; but, when gazing at her altered face and form with sorrowful surprise, he said, grasping her burning hand,“ Oh ! how very ill you must have been !" the contrast of his tearful glance, and the cold gaze of one she loved too well, struck her.

She murmured, “ Bless you! thank you!
VOL. III.

[ocr errors]

IN

how kind you are !” and, bursting into tears, she rushed out of the room.....

“You see, .!ulian, my dear fellow," said Alphonse, affectionately pressing his hand, “you see all the evil you have so unintentionally done..... Is it not so, my dearest friend ?......and, should you fail to win your lovely cousin, who — I speak with the privileged sincerity of friendship—would hesitate between you and a wealthier suitor (even Riskwell), will you not, should she jilt yon, return to our little home, and see what your presence can do towards binding the broken heart of one who, with all her rare and immortal gifts, has the heart of the meekest and most loving of women, and that heart, I fear, all yours?"

“Oh! but being all she is, she cannot, does not, love one who has not tried to win her.” And Julian's colour rose; for the triumph, though useless, was too great not to find its way to man's vain heart.

“Nay, Julian, you know woman's nature too well to build an argument on such a false

foundation ; perhaps, just because you never tried to win her, she has resolved to win you. No woman values an easy conquest; they are all generals at heart. But they do value what they have been long in winning. I fear my Zelie is something like Rousseau's Julie

- Le premier soupir de son cæur fera le destin de sa vie,' however. She has told me nothing ; you have seen her............Judge for yourself, and if you do not succeed with your cousin, if she trifles, if she rejects; because even a wealthier may offer — remember one who, I believe, would follow you in beggary through the world.”

“Ah! you wrong Augusta !”
“ Who can wrong a coquette ?”
“She is no coquette.”
Cela reste à prouver !

“ At any rate, oblige me by abstaining from censures which I will not listen to from any one. And now I hear Zelie singing in her boudoir—let us join her.”

“If Augusta should be sporting with my feelings, if she should be that vile thing, a

an

[ocr errors]

coquette,” thought Julian, as Zelie's rich voice and mournful strain woke strange echoes in his heart, “ I will try to repay the devoted love of that sweet girl. But it cannot be. Augusta does love me it is folly, treason, to doubt it. Alphonse, with all his romance, is so suspicious, so worldly, about women !”

CHAPTER L.

Yet see how all around them wait,
The ministers of human fate,
And black misfortune's baleful train;
Ah! shew them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murth'rous band-
All tell them they are men.

GRAY.

All was hope and joy at Moss Grove Rectory on the morning of the day fixed for the arrival of Mr. Lindsay, Julian, Miss Tibby, Annie-and last, not least (in his own opinion) the lion of the day, Ebenezer Grunter.

The Rev. Dr. Lindsay, disturbed by the universal bustle and excitement, was about to shut himself up in a remote chamber, where he might pursue his studies in peace, till his

« 前へ次へ »