Page images
PDF
EPUB

BY MRS CROWE.

thing else in the matter; and the moment that the com- work, and that we are all of us but as tools in the hands monwealth should see it to be not for its interest that of the Great Workman. A livelier sense of these property should belong to individuals, there will be no truths might dispose us to consider property as not property in our common acceptation of the term. Now, rightly used, unless when devoted to the highest purif it be the wish of any to preserve the present arrange- poses of humanity, since these purposes are God's, and

we only deserve His benefits when we work His will. ment, which, on the whole, and relatively, is a good one, it should be his study to act as much as possible in such a way regarding his property, as may make it a source

THE LOST PORTRAIT. of no inconvenience to his fellow-creatures, but rather the reverse. Every movement towards the making it

Ecoutez!--listen!' said Monsieur Herbois to his commore exclusive or more aggressive, every occasion on which it interferes with great public interests, or be panion; there is that divine voice again!"

Mais c'est une voix d'enfant! — it is a child !' recomes in anyway a grievance or an impediment, must turned Monsieur Michelet. tend to impair that sanction without which it dies. On

“Yes, it is the voice of a child; but what a voice!' the other hand, where it is used and maintained in a exclaimed Herbois, standing still, and holding the other liberal spirit, the contentment of the commonwealth by the arm, in order to arrest his steps also; so pure, with its present posture must be promoted, and its so sweet, and even so steady; and what a perfect intopermanency in that degree insured. Amidst the many nation! Did you ever hear anything so enchanting?' movements of our time, it cannot be said that there is Michelet. It proceeds from this cottage ; let us go

• It is very remarkable, certainly, for a child,' replied any regarding the holding of property. Alterations in that department seem as if they would be amongst the round to the door and inquire about her.'

* Doucement ! – softly! Come this way a bit,' said latest births of human progress. It would, therefore, be Herbois, laying his finger on his lip, and drawing his absurd to speak thus in the way of menace, or for any friend in an opposite direction. one to dream that such is our purpose. We merely The cottage from which this sweet voice proceeded wish-and this, we think, is within our legitimate pro- stood alone in a valley of the Apennines, not far from vince—to awaken just feelings on the subject in those the town of Spoleto; and the two strangers, who had who are blessed with large possessions. We would wish approached it from behind, now retreated the way they them to be inspired with reverence for their fellow- to hear that voice I sent for you from Rome.'

"The truth is,' continued Herbois, it was creatures, as the creators of property in their persons,

* Then I think you might let me hear a little more of and to become disposed to share the blessing as far as it,' replied Michelet. the simplest regard to useful ends will permit. Let 'I hope we shall hear a good deal more of it,' answered them, above all, abstain from making the extent or Herbois with a mysterious nod of the head. What do position of their territories a source of trouble or you say to carrying her off with us to Paris?' annoyance to the community, as also from tightening * With all my heart,' replied Michelet; 'that voice, restrictions, so as to deprive the public of any pri- well cultivated, will be a fortune. What friends has

she? Will they give her up?' vileges which they have hitherto enjoyed. :

"That is the difficulty,' answered Herbois; "and here The public is at the same time bound to exercise its it is I want your assistance. You must know that it rights, and to use such graces as may be generously was about three months since, on my way to Naples, extended to it, in a manner as inoffensive as possible. that I first heard that voice. The day was cold, and In the case of a right of passage through open grounds, whilst they were waiting for the horses at Spoleto, I had it is only fitting hat care should be taken to avoid walked forwards to warm myself; when suddenly, as I injury to growing crops, to trees, and to enclosures, so passed near this spot, my ears were arrested by these that proprietors and tenants may have nothing to com- with delight and surprise ; and as I was instantly struck

delicious tones. For some minutes I stood transfixed plain of.

Justice and good-feeling alike make this with the immense advantages to be derived from the demand. If a kindly concession has been made by a possession of the child, I was about to enter the cottage proprietor to the public, the simplest regard to good for the purpose of making inquiries, and opening a manners renders similar care necessary. Before, indeed, negotiation, when the vetturino overtook me, and I was we can expect any liberality from proprietors, it is obliged to continue my journey. On my arrival at necessary that the public should learn to act with deli- Naples, however, I wrote to old Martinelli, who, by the cacy and conscientiousness towards that class. Pru. by, has given up teaching, and retired to end his days dence would even counsel that, for the preservation of at Spoleto ; which he left, some sixty years ago, a beggar what it has a right to the public ought to cultivate a livelihood by singing through the streets. Well, I wrote

boy without shoes or stockings, in order to make his reverence for the property which may be concerned, requesting him to make inquiries about the girl and abstaining from all injury to the minutest object in her friends, and to find out on what terms they would field or shrubbery-a course which a right-minded per- give her up; not doubting, from their apparently mean son would feel to be as necessary for the maintenance circumstances, that they would be willing enough to of his self-respect, as for the keeping up of a good resign her on such an advantageous speculation. But understanding with the owners of the soil.

I had reckoned without my host.'

• You offered a sum down?' To return, in conclusion, to the general principle, it

'I offered a hundred crowns; at least I authorised would be well to keep more in remembrance than we ge- Martinelli to do so, if he thought fit. But it appears nerally do, a source which property has somewhat higher that the grandfather of the girl had once before received than even the sanction of the republic. Petty man an application of the same kind, and had rejected it walks over his grounds, and says to himself, · Behold, with such indignation, that Martinelli said it would be all this mine !' forgetting the true Owner, and that of no use in the world to think of it: the old man being landlords are, after all, but a succession of tenants. He in the first place devotedly fond of the child; and in the devises and frames some piece of curious material, from objection to her going on the stage.'

next, having, for some family reasons, an insuperable which he expects to derive advantage, and says, 'Behold, I made this, and it is mine!' forgetting whence

*How are we to get her, then ?' returned Michelet.

• There's no way but stealing her that I know oil came the gifts which enabled him to accomplish his returned Herbois.

Stealing her!' echoed the other, looking rather entire. For the first few months, indeed, Marco occagrave.

sionally wrote them a line to say they were well ; and It's all for her own good, you know, answered Her- in one of his letters he mentioned that the count, his bois. “Isn't it much better that that beautiful voice master, was so charmed with Paulina's fine voice, that should be cultivated, and that she should make her he had undertaken to provide her with lessons in singfortune, and the fortunes of her family too, than that ing, which pleased and flattered the good people very she should languish here for the rest of her life in po- much. Gradually, however, this little link between the verty and obscurity?'

parents and their child dropt; and many a sigh and Well, perhaps it is,' answered Michelet, whose no tear it cost the former, that, owing to the travelling tions of right and wrong were apt to be a little confused propensities of Marco's employers, they had no means as well as those of his friend. In short, they were both of gaining intelligence of her, even through the interentrepreneurs for the French opera, and as their ideas vention of the scribes to be found at Spoleto: they did ran but in one channel, they did very honestly believe not know where to address a letter. Some years had that no destiny could equal that of a prima donna in passed in this state of uncertainty and privation, when the great European theatres.

one day the vetturino, who was weekly in the habit of Finding, as he had expected, that his friend threat- passing that way, drew up his horses at their door, and ened no very vigorous opposition to his nefarious pro- handed out of the coach a lady extremely elegant in her ject, Herbois now set about explaining to him the plan appearance and attire, but apparently in very bad health. he had formed for its execution. Whilst they are dis- He then lifted out a child, and having set it and their cussing this question, we will introduce our readers to luggage down at the door, he mounted his seat and the inhabitants of the cottage.

drove away again ; whilst Paula and Giuseppe stood at Giuseppe Marabini was the possessor of a small vine- the window watching these unusual proceedings, and yard which had been in his family, and descended from wondering what was to come next. A mistake it was of father to son, for several generations. He was thus a course ; for what could so fine a lady want with them? proprietor, and raised somewhat above the degree of a Meanwhile, the stranger having watched the carriage peasant, although the produce of this little patrimony till it had passed a corner, and was out of sight, turned was not sufficient to exempt him from a necessity for the towards the door, which was open, and entered the closest economy. Fortunately, however, he had no nume- house; whereupon the two old people, half in hope and rous family to provide for; one little girl being the only half in fear, advanced to meet her; and when she lifted fruit of his union with Paula Batta, a young girl of the her veil, they saw it was their daughter ; but so faded, village, who brought him no dowry but a good temper, so changed, so sad, that whether to rejoice or weep, as a pretty face, and a very sweet voice; which last quali- they embraced her, they knew not. For her part, poor fication was not the least of her attractions to Giuseppe; soul, tears were the only expression that she was caand it was much to the satisfaction of both parents pable of, or which suited her mingled feelings of joy and that they found the young Paulina had inherited this grief; and without being able to utter a word, she sank endowment. The child sang like a nightingale, and into a chair, and shed them freely; whilst the child, being also very pretty, she was the delight of her with wonder painted in its large dark eyes, stood starfather and mother. By the time she was fifteen, these ing at the scene. attractions, combined with the additional one of her As soon as the parents had recovered from their surbeing the heiress of the little vineyard, had brought prise, they gave their daughter the tenderest welcome, half the young peasants of the neighbourhood to her and sought by every means in their power to relieve her feet. But Paulina did not care for them, and was mental afflictions, and minister to her bodily comforts. in no hurry to be married ; indeed she frequently de- But poor Paulina had returned with ruined health, and clared to her young companions that she did not mean ' a broken and contrite heart;' and the only consolato marry at all, for she was quite sure she should never tion she seemed capable of receiving, was the promise be so happy as she was with her father and mother; made by her parents to take charge of her child, and and she remained inexorably fixed in this opinion till she devote themselves to its welfare. 'Let her live with you, was nearly sixteen, when the arrival of Marco Melloni, father: if she must marry, if she will marry, let it be her cousin, entirely changed her views on the subject to some one here on the spot : never let her leave her Marco was the son of her mother's sister, Teresa, and home : and, above all things, if she should inherit a had quitted home at an early age in the quality of page voice-I fear she will, for she sings already--never let toʻa lady of rank. He had since risen to some higher it be cultivated! Let her sing to please you, let her grade of service; and, the family he then lived with voice echo amongst her native hills ; but oh, never, never being at Rome, he had taken the opportunity of visiting within the walls of a theatre! Such were her constant his relations.

prayers and injunctions from the day she arrived till Marco was a very different person from the suitors the day she breathed her last breath in their arms, that Paulina had found it so easy to reject. He had which was just three months after they had seen her seen the world ; his manners and conversation were descend from the coach at their door. From that moquite polished and fashionable ; he talked of Paris, and ment Nina-so the little girl was called--became the Vienna, and London ; of concerts, operas, and balls ; darling of their hearts. They brought her up in the and, moreover, he wore very fine clothes : and Paulina same simple way in which they had brought up her soon began to perceive that her inexorable resolution mother ; indeed they knew of no other. She helped to to lead a single life had been somewhat prematurely do the house work, and to tend the vines ; and although announced.

inheriting more than her mother's beauty, and a voice The gallant Marco of course fell in love with his almost unparalleled in sweetness and power, she could pretty cousin, and when, at the end of his fortnight's neither read nor write. They had already fixed their holiday, he returned to Rome, he carried with him her eyes on a young peasant of the neighbourhood to be her promise to become his wife on his next visit, provided husband, when she was old enough ; which would be her father and mother did not object to the match ; in five years from the period at which our story comwhich, however grieved to lose their daughter, they mences, for she was now between ten and eleven years did not think they had any good grounds for doing. of age. So their consent being gained, and everything arranged, • Wife, wife!' said Giuseppe, as he approached the Marco returned to claim his bride before his master cottage an evening or two after the conversation be. and mistress quitted Rome; and then carried her off tween Herbois and Michelet, why are you sitting out with him to the north.

so late? Nina, you should make your grandmother go Now, unfortunately, although Paulina sang like an to bed; you know she is not well." angel, she could not so much as write her name ; so Grandmother wouldn't,' answered Nina. I did ask that the separation between herself and her parents was her.'

[ocr errors]

6

• The cool air is so pleasant,' said Paula, rising with often passing the door, had seen a carriage with posther husband's assistance; and I don't think I shall horses near Florence, in which sat two gentlemen and enjoy it many more evenings, for I grow weaker and a little boy, whose face struck him as bearing a remarkweaker.'

able resemblance to Nina. The child seemed to know The more reason for your not sitting out in the him too, for he had started up and put his head out of chill,' returned Giuseppe. Come along in.' And almost the window ; but the gentlemen pulled him back, and angry at her imprudence, he led her into the house. drew up the glass. The man promised to make inqui

The only thing that concerns me,' said Paula, after ries when he returned to Florence ; but he could learn a pause, 'is to think how you will be able to take care nothing : so many strangers visited that city, that the of Nina when I am gone.'

impression made by each was too evanescent to be • What do you mean?' said Giuseppe impatiently ; retained. for although he feared that Paula was really very ill, For some weeks after this cruel misfortune, Paula he could not bear to have his apprehensions confirmed languished betwixt life and death, and then expired,

"She is now approaching an age in which she will bidding Giuseppe never to resign his search after their want me more than ever, just as I am going to be taken lost darling. Seek her in the great cities,' said she ; from her,' continued Paula.

they have stolen her for her voice.' When she was • I'll go and call her in,' said Giuseppe, looking to dead, and Giuseppe had laid her in the earth, he sold wards the window, through which, although it was his cottage and his vineyard, and with the proceeds in dark, they could see Nina leaning over the railing that his pocket, he set out with a wallet on his back, and a separated their little garden from the ad, whilst her stick in his hand, to traverse the earth in search of his sweet voice resounded in their ears as she chanted her grandchild. evening hymn to the Virgin.

* Leave her a little; she is very well where she is, Seven years had elapsed--Pietro was married, and and she likes to be out of doors ; besides, I meant to bad two children ; the cottage where these scenes had speak to you about her, husband, for you must prepare transpired was pulled down; the vineyard was a vineyourself for what is to happen. I know I cannot live yard no longer; and the sorrows and distresses of their long;' and therefore, much to the distress of the old former owners had become a tradition in the neighman, Paula entered into the subject of her own ap- bourhood, when one day a stranger arrived to inquire proaching decease, giving him her directions and ad- for Giuseppe Marabini. But no one could give him vice with regard to the future management of their any intelligence : Giuseppe had gone away, nobody beloved grandchild.

knew whither, and had never been heard of since bis * Hark!' said he in the course of the conversation ; departure. But although these worthy people could * who can that be playing the flute so charmingly?' give no intelligence themselves, they were not the less

It's beautiful !' said Paula, who loved music as well desirous of obtaining some from the traveller. They as lier husband.

wanted to know whence he came, who sent him, and ‘Listen, grandmother ! Listen !' cried Nina, running whether he could tell them what had become of Nina. up to the door.

But it was in vain they surrounded and questioned him; • Yes, my child, we hear, returned Paula. 'I only he evidently came to make inquiries, not to answer hope her love of music may not lead her into any mis- them; and not a word could they extract to satisfy their chief,' she continued. “That scapegrace Pietro-1 sup- curiosity. When they were assured of the hopelessness pose that is his flute-is endeavouring to make up to of their endeavours, they drew aside from him, in order her; but you must not let him; and then, resuming to discuss the question by themselves, whilst he mouuted the former subject, she entered at length into her views his horse, and rode away as he came. of what would be best for the happiness of their beloved On that very same day, a poor old man was treading charge. “It's time she was in now, though,' said she heavily and sadly along the road between Dover and when the conversation was concluded. “You had better London. His clothes were worn and shabby, his tall call her.'

spare figure was bowed by age and sorrow, his face was * Nina!' cried Giuseppe, going to the door ; 'Nina, thin and wan, and his long white hair fell almost to his 1 child, come in. Why do you stay out so late ?' But shoulders; he helped himself along by the aid of a stick, ! Niva did not answer.

and under his arm he carried an old violin, which he She is gone after that flute: it's Pietro's flute, depend ever and anon stopped to play when he arrived at a on it; and he has enticed her out that he may whisper farmhouse or a village. Gradually toiling on from day nonsense into her young ears. I don't like that lad. to day, lie at length reached the metropolis; and as he Hark! I hear a carriage; I hope the child is not out could not speak a word of English, and was at a loss in in the road.'

what direction to seek a lodging, he set himself down I'll go and fetch her in,' said Giuseppe, proceeding upon a door-step to rest and deliberate; and after a towards the gate ; but as she was not there, he opened little while, in hopes of attracting the attention of the it, and went upon the road. It being now so dark that charitable, he commenced playing on his instrument. he could not see above a yard or two on either side, he Presently a window was thrown up above his lead, and stood still and called, but Nina did not answer. Then two fair young faces looked out. he walked a little one way, and a little the other, still • That is the very Tarantella I have been longing calling ‘Nina! Nina!' but still no Nina answered; for!' exclaimed one. upon which he re-entered the house to fetch his stick; • It's the very same that Miss Dallas played, I declare,' and whilst he and his wife vowed vengeance against cried the other. 'Oh, what fun! Now we'll get it; and Pietro for enticing the child away, he directed his steps she shall have the pleasure of hearing us play it the towards the cottage inhabited by that gay deceiver's very next time we meet.' mother, whither he did not doubt she was gone, as she • Hlow delightfully savage she will be, after tossing had occasionally done before, bewitched by Pietro's up her head, and telling us she never gave copies !' said musical accomplishments.

the first; whereupon, having called to the old man not But, alas! Nina was not there ; nor had it been to go away, they rang the bell, and desired the servant Pietro's flute they had heard, that was clear, for the to take him into the dining-room. boy was lying in bed with a hurt leg. Who, then, was * We want you to give us the music of that Taranthe musician that had enticed her away? Nobody could tella,' said they to him; ‘of course we will pay you for tell. The old man passed the night in seeking her all it.' round the neighbourhood ; Paula passed it in tears and Perrona!' said the old man, shaking his head. prayers. Vain tears-vain prayers! Nina was seen in Ali--you are a foreigner?' said they, addressing him ; the valley no more! All that could be learned was, that in French, which he understood enough to comprehend the vetturino, who knew her well by sight, from so l them; and on learning what they wanted, he said be

[ocr errors]

should be too happy to oblige them, if they could take happy as well as the rest, that she persuaded Lucy to down the music from his playing it for to write it him- extend her invitation to him, on the plea that his violin self he was unable, as he only played by ear.

would be a valuable acquisition to the party. So, after This was accordingly done, and when finished, they making some demur about the shabbiness of his clothes, thanked liim, and offered him five shillings in remu- the old man having consented to accompany them, neration. But poor as he was, the gallantry of the old they all four repaired to Grosvenor Street, where they foreigner recoiled from being paid for this little service; found a large party already assembled in the servants' and bowing respectfully, he told them he was too happy hall. to oblige their signorinas, and that he required no other As the poor stranger really played a great deal better reward than the pleasure.

than the musician they had engaged for the occasion, • How unlike an Englishman !' said one of the ladies. he was extremely well received, and made very wel.

* An Englishman would have held the two half- come; whilst his lame attempts at English contributed crowns in the palm of his hand, and looked at them much to the hilarity of the party, many of whom could with an air of astonishment and disappointment, as if | not conceive why he should prefer calling the candle a he could not conceive what we meant by offering him chandelle, or the chair a chaise ; Joey, the stable-boy, so little,' said the other; and this trifling trait of taking particular pains to correct his parts of speech, character having interested them in favour of the poor and make him comprehend that a chaise "was quite stranger, they proceeded to make some further inquiries another sort of boh, what took'd a horse to drawing of as to his situation.

it!' Altogether, the evening passed away gaily enough, *Then you travel about, and support yourself by and everybody went home well pleased. Four violin?'

• It was capital fun, wasn't it, old boy?' said George Si, signora,' answered the old man.

to the stranger on the following morning; and the fo• And bave you never been in London before?' reigner, perceiving that an assent was expected, smiled, • Never,' he replied.

and said. Qui, oui!' • Then how will you find yourself food, or a lodging, This passed whilst they were taking a later breakfast when you can speak no English ?'

than usual, and George fell to expatiating on Jack PearThe old man said he did not know, but he had en- son's capital dancing: he was so glad he had taken him ; countered great difficulties before, and he hoped God he was much the best dancer there; and so forth; when would protect him still,

the eulogium was suddenly interrupted by some very ‘I wonder if Thomas could recommend him to a unexpected visitors—no less a person than Sir Henry lodging,' said one of the ladies ; ‘let us inquire if he is Massey's house-steward, accompanied by two extremely at home.'

suspicious-looking strangers. Thomas, who was their brother's groom, said he I am sorry to interrupt you,' said Mr Terry, as they could get him a lodging in the Mews, where his mas- all rose to receive him; but a very unpleasant circumter's horse stood, if he could pay for it. Without re stance has occurred. An article of value has disapferring to the stranger on the subject, the young ladies peared; a miniature of my lady get in diamonds, which said they would be answerable for the rent for a month was brought yesterday from the jeweller's just after at anyrate; agreeing that they owed him as much as the carriage had driven away.; and which, intending to that for the music. So having desired the groom to forward by the mail, I had unfortunately brought down give him something to eat below, the poor foreigner, to the steward's room.' after partaking of some bread and cheese, was conducted * And what do you suppose is become of it?' inquired to the house of Thomas's acquaintance, and introduced | George, looking as he felt quite unconcerned in the into a more tidy room than he would probably have matter. had the luck to discover for himself.

•Somebody must have laid hands on it, I am afraid," Mrs Hudson was a laundress, and a widow with one returned Terry; most of the company were in and son, a scapegrace, on whom she doted to her own and out of that room taking refreshments in the course of his great injury; for she had indulged him most inju- the evening, you know.' diciously in his childhood; and now that he was grown And you are come to see if we have got it, I supup, she sacrificed the fruits of her laborious industry to pose ?' answered George laughing. Well, come on, my supply the idle and dissipated habits her former weak- boy. Here am I; search me if you like!' ness had engendered.

Mrs Hudson also, though somewhat mortified at the George Hudson was a fine young man too, in spite implied suspicion, offered to be searched, and to conduct of his faults: he was handsome, good-natured, lively, the officers over her small house; whilst the foreigner, and really fond of his mother in his heart: but then he who understood nothing of what was going on, remained was so thoughtless and extravagant, so destitute of any standing in silence. fixed principles, and so often led astray by worthless We must search the old man too,' said Mr Terry companions, that he was always getting into scrapes to the officers. and difficulties. However, the agreeable qualities he . Comment!' said he, making some resistance as they possessed rendered him a great favourite with the young took hold of him. women of his acquaintance; and amongst the rest, had • He does not know what it means, poor man,' said won him the heart of a cousin of his own, called Lucy Mrs Hudson. 'Never mind, mounseer,' she added, clapWatson, who lived in the capacity of housemaid in a ping the old man on the back to encourage him; 'it's baronet's family. Now, it happened about this time all right.' that Lucy's master, Sir Henry Massey, was about to be *Hallo! what have we got here?' exclaimed Townmarried, and it was arranged that, on the day of the shend, one of the officers, as he opened a small box which wedding, after the bride and bridegroom had left Lon- he had found in the foreigner's bosom, and drew from don, the servants were to celebrate the joyful event it the miniature of a beautiful young girl in the dress by a ball, to which each should invite his own friends of an Italian peasant. and relations. So Lucy of course invited George and * Bless my soul!' exclaimed Terry, snatching at it; his mother; and George begged leave to bring his but where are the diamonds ?-where is the setting?' friend Jack Pearson, a capital fellow, and a very good for the picture, which was somewhat faded and defaccd, dancer.

was without any setting whatever. Great were the preparations above stairs and below • Is that it?' asked Townshend. for this grand occasion; and great was the excitement 'It must be it, though I should hardly have known and expectation on the part both of the entertainers it again,' returned the steward. What have you done and their visitors; whilst good Mrs Hudson, who by this with the setting ?—where are the diamonds ?' said he, time had become much attached to the poor foreigner, addressing the old man sharply. her lodger, thought it such a pity that he should not be * Perdona !' said the foreigner; 'what he say?'

But he had not English enough to comprehend their May I inquire her name?' explanations; 80, greatly to his own perplexity, and * Paulina Melloni.' the grief and dismay of Mrs Hudson, they handed him Paulina Melloni! Indeed! Are you the father of off straightway to the police-office, George going with Paulina Melloni ?' them to see the fun.'

'Si, signor; that is to say, I was. E morta !' he added On being interrogated there in French, and informed with a heavy sigh, ' Paulina Melloni is dead.' of what he was accused, he laughed at them, and said ‘She was a great loss to the stage when she withdrew that the miniature was the portrait of his own daugh- from it,' said Sir Henry. Pray, take a chair ;' for he ter, which she herself had given him ; a fact which the was passionately fond of music, and he was beginning magistrate asserted to be highly improbable, as it was to feel an interest in the father of one of his favourite evidently the production of a first-rate artist.

singers. “But I am sorry to see the father of Paulina It was nevertheless true,' the old man said ; and, reduced to such extremities ; what has brought you moreover, it had been handsomely set in gold; though so low?' necessity had obliged him to part with the setting for • Ah! that would be a long story,' returned the old bread. On being asked how the daughter of so poor man,' which the signor would not care to be troubled a man should have had a portrait that must have cost with. Paulina left a daughter-a dear child-an angel at least thirty or forty guineas, he answered that his of beauty like herself; and with a voice! Ah, signori, daughter, who was now dead, had once been rich. “She if you had ever heard that voice! Paulina's was fine; was, said he, 'a singer at the Italian opera in Paris ; but if you had once heard my Nina's'and that portrait was taken of her in the costume she 'Whose ?' cried Sir Henry, starting from his seat. had worn in her native village.'

Did you say Nina?' To all this, however, Terry, when it was interpreted Si, signor,' answered the old man, stepping forward to him, answered that the miniature was beyond all and looking eagerly in his face. 'Nina Marabini ; for doubt the one they had lost; ‘for,' said he, supposing though her real name was Melloni, so we always called it possible that the dress were similar, it is quite impos- her.' sible that the face should be the same. Now, although *Then you are her grandfather, Giuseppe ?' said Sir this portrait is sadly altered and spoiled since yesterday, Henry. which, I suppose, has been done on purpose, yet it is *I am,' returned the old man, dropping into a seat, certainly my lady's likeness.'

and almost fainting from agitation; 'where-where is Upon this the old man was committed, much to his my child ?' own amazement and indignation; and what concerned "Your Nina is my wife, good friend,' said Sir Henry, him still more was, that they took the picture from giving him his hand kindly; "and glad she will be to him. But although they had got the thief and the see her grandfather. We sent to Spoleto to inquire for miniature, the gold and the diamonds were not forth- you; and only last week I received a letter from my coming; nor could all their threats and intreaties in- agent, saying you had long left it.' duce the old man to confess what he had done with We need not attempt to paint the joy of the meeting them; and to that effect, with great lamentations and that ensued between the old man and his darling; and contrition for his own carelessness, Terry wrote to the it is scarcely necessary to explain, that the same fancy baronet. The picture, he said, was retained by the for being painted in the becoming costume they had formagistrate, or he would have sent it.

merly worn had influenced both the young women, and On receiving this unwelcome intelligence, Sir Henry, so occasioned the resemblance between the pictures, and who was no farther off than Brighton, came up to Lon- the subsequent happy discovery. Nina, who had been don; but when shown the miniature, he was infinitely enticed out of the garden by Michelet's inimitable flutemore puzzled than Terry had been. He saw differences playing, and carried off to be educated for the stage, had imperceptible to the steward.

never known her mother's name, nor had she been ac* It is most extraordinary !' said he ; "it is the same, quainted with the fact of her having been an opera-singer and yet it is not the same! Let us send for the artist, -poor Paulina's sad experience, whatever it was, had and hear what he says.'

given birth to the desire that her child should be kept The artist said it was the most incomprehensible thing in ignorance of these circumstances. Nina found herhe ever saw; it was not the picture he had painted; it self the property of two strangers, who treated her was the work of a French artist, he was certain; and kindly enough, whilst they had her taught to read and it must either be a portrait of the same lady, or her write, and procured her the first instructions in singing sister. Had she a sister?'

and music, to which nearly all her time was devoted. "She never had a sister,' said Sir Henry; but nothing At first she had grieved very much at the separation is more probable than that some French artist may from her grandfather and grandmother, which, how. 1 have taken Lady Massey's likeness; but the singularity ever, she was told had been effected in that manner is, that it should be precisely in that costume! Be- with their entire concurrence and approbation, in order sides, I never heard her say that she had sat for her to spare the pain of parting; and that, by and by, she picture.'

would see them again. Young memories are short, and ' And how should it be in the possession of this old young tears soon dried. Nina delighted in music, and beggar?' said the artist.

her joy in it ere long consoled her; and as she worked Let us send for him and ask him,' said Sir Henry. con amore, she became in due time a most accomplished So the old foreigner was brought to the office, and singer. When the period arrived that she was to be being introduced into the magistrate's private room, he produced, her master, who was very proud of her, gare found himself alone with two strange gentlemen, who a select soirée, to which he invited a few distinguished began to interrogate him in French; with much more persons to hear her, amongst whom was Sir Henry civility, however, than had been practised towards him Massey, who happened to be at that time in Paris. Her before.

extreme resemblance to the lost favourite Paulina Mel. You say this is the portrait of your daughter, I loni, whom many of the company remembered, struck understand?'

every one, Sir Henry, who was a man of five-and-thirty, 'Si, signor.'

amongst the rest; and what with looking at her whilst * Pray, can you tell me where it was painted, and by this subject was discussed, and what with hearing her whom?'

sing, he contrived to lose his heart to the debutante ; and ‘A Paris, par Le Roy.'

having refunded to Herbois the cost of her education, I thought so,' said the artist.

instead of appearing on the stage, she became Lady ‘And your daughter was a singer at the French Massey. opera ?' said Sir Henry.

As for the miniature and the diamonds, they had, by "Si, signor.'

å very ingenious process, become the temporary pro

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »