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the nature of a truce, or an accommodation, at least, the demeanor of the contracting parties was so evidently in accordance with rules and regulations laid down and agreed upon.
Jack did not, as on the occasion of their former meeting in my drawing-room, refrain from addressing or even glancing in the direction of Miss Francis ; on tlie contrary, he studiously, not to say laboriously, endeavored to include her in the desultory talk by which we beguiled the way ; and poor little Beaty, with a manner lamentably differing from her usual one, all the careless flow of her pretty talk sobered into constrained and measured cadence, gravely followed his lead.
I think both were glad when we reached the house, and they were released from any necessity of keeping up this show of common intercourse. But from this time the communication between The Wild and Meadowsleigh was resumed upon something of its old footing; and yet no, for I never now, as I threw up my window of a morning, and leaned out to inhale the health-giving breeze of early morn, was greeted by a cheery voice nor gladened with a sight of Jack Mortimer, coming, with those long quiet strides of his, across the dewy lawn of Meadowsleigh in time for an early breakfast. He did not drop in to luncheon, nor saunter up between the lights in his old fashion. It is true he might still have come at some of these times, but never now without being asked.
Nor did these symptoms of an agreed on and regulated demeanor towards each other, which I had detected at first between my cousin and my friend, disappear on continued intercourse. Thev showed now, in a mitigated form, perhaps, but they were still observable.
And over my little cousin a shadow had fallen, that, try to hide it as she would, she could not cover from my Bight. I could not accuse her of moping or pining—she did not sullenly turn her back upon life and its duties, refuse companionship, nor decline her daily meals. No; whatever her trouble was, she strove with it, as the good, healthy-minded English girl she was, and had evidently never a thought of giving up, nor giving in.
But as I noted sometimes how the sweet laughter would falter into sudden silence—the words lightly begun end in a sigh—her pretty, childish beauty deepen, and sadden at times, into thoughtful womanhood—my heart was sore within me. My little Beaty! thou wert very dear to me; but, alas! what human love avails to shield its object from the doom of all the world? I could only stand silently Dti one side, and grieve that it had come at last upon thee—that burden and heat of thy day here, which I could neither lighten nor share. Ah! I think there are few sadder moments in life than these—these in which we realize with a cruel pang that all our love, tender and true though it be, is powerless. "The world goes sobbing through space;" none who live upon it can escape the doom of sorrow, and regret, and tears.
And so summer days stole away on noiseless feet, and with the autumn came that time for Jack, which, let us hope, is seldom one of rejoicing, pure and unalloyed; that time when expectation becomes fulfillment, and the heir comes into his kingdom. The kind old maiden lady at Charleswood went quietly to her rest, and John Mortimer of The Wild, was now also lord of the fair domain of Charleswood, and a personage of considerable importance in the county where it was situate.
But when he came last to The Wild after some weeks of absence, and we walked under the limes, "whose leaves shivered silently to the ground beneath, our feet, I was vexed to observe that my old friend was disposed to treat this fact but lightly, and that in his mood and conversation generally there was a discontent, and gloom almost, quite unwonted in him. His sudden appearance, during my stroll, was somewhat unexpected, and I said so as I welcomed him.
"I seem to have been away an age, too," he answered, hastily; "and I came—upon my soul, I hardly know why I came, except that I was horridly lonely up at Charleswood, and no wonder! Not that The Wild is much better, though, only, at any rate, I don't miss there a kind old face I used to know. Frank, if it had not been for the dear old lady I should never have come home, I think; and since she's gone, I can't do better than go back again. I declare if it Was possible, I'd go back to the bush to-morrow."
"In search of society?" I inquired.
Jack laughed, but the next instant he sighed.
"Ah! you may laugh at the idea of a man who has been five year* in the bush, crying out at the solitude of an old country house under bachelor rule; but lean tell you solitude is not at all the same thing there—nothing like boredom in the bush, Frank; and somehow, i friend's , face seems all the more worth seeing, i when you have ridden over fifty miles of j green slope and swell, with that sole end in view. In fact, I think a mar must go' to the bush before he really understands j the meaningof the word "neighbor." No [ offence to you, old boy."
"None in the world; but, for a gentleman of passably engaging manners, decidedly handsome means, in a moderately populous, and sociably disposed neighborhood, toe >mplain of solitude, and talk of flying to the bush for society, strikes me as a fact requiring explanation. If Charleswood and The Wild are dull, fill them with friendlv faces, dear lad; they are never turned away from suck asthee."
But Jack-shook his head.
"The dear old country seems to have grown small, Frank. I feel in the way here."
We were just at the end of the shadowy avenue of limes as he spoke, and the next instant there was a faint rustle among the withered leaves on the grass, and my cousin Beaty glided into it, and faced us. We both started a little, but the little lady held out her hand to Mr. Mortimer with ever so quiet a smile, and then swept away, before we could turn and accompany her.
Jack looked after her for an instant, and there was trouble in his eye.
"Miss Francis is not looking well," he said; "she has grown thin and pale."
CHAPTER IV. BETWEEN THE LIGHTS.
There was no prettier nor cosier room in all comfortable and picturesque old Meadowsleigh than that one appropriated to its master, audcalled "Mr. March
mont's study." It was sacred to myself, and I was chary of allowing the intrusion of my household across its threshold, feeling that the "business" in which I talked solemnly of being engaged during a quiet hour or so, when it pleased me to retire from the bosom of my family into its comfortable seclusion, might perhaps suffer in the respect of its members, if they found how often it was transacted with a cigar between my lips and in a position of recumbency on a lounge constructed with many cunning contrivances for insuring the greatest amount of comfort, with the least expenditure of effort, on the part of theindiv.Jual who sought its sleepy hollow.
The lire had sunk down into a deep red glow on the wide tesselated hearth, my favorite hound was sleeping peacefully in its heat, all the room was full of brooding shadows, and that waveringglow from the fire only very dimly defined the large person of Jack Mortimer as he lay extended very much at his ease on that same lounge.
A tap at the long window that opens upon the shrubbery.
"If you please, sir, Jones would thank ye to walk down to the stable. Lady Betty went dead lame to-day, sir, while one of the boys had her out exercising, sir."
Uttering an anathema upon boys in general, and stable boys in particular, I caught up my cap and hastened away without a word of excuse to Jack, who was, moreover, half asleep.
I might, perhaps, have been absent half an hour, for I had to wait the veterinary surgeon's arrival and report upon the disaster of my favorite mare; and when I presently re-entered my sanctum, which I did by the window, as I departed, I stood still a moment surveying the sight that presented itself to my eyes.
Not with surprise—no—I flatter myself I had entirely overcome any tendency to that emotion where Jack Mortimer and my cousin Beaty were concerned; for of course, those young people composed the tableau on which I looked.
It was not otherwise than a pretty one, I am bound to confess that. There was Jack seated easily back on my favorite resting-place, and by his side—and so veiy close, that Jack's arm could scarce have found a position anywhere but round her waist—nestled Miss Beaty. As far as I knew, he had hardly hitherto touched the little finger-tips of my pretty cousin, and now—lo—but I was calm, and advanced into the charmed circle within the firelight, as if for a lady and gentleman apparently on the most formal terms of acquaintanceship, to assume the present relative position of these two, was among my most ordinary and familiar experiences.
"Wish me joy, Frank, old fellow," said Jack, jumping up then.
"I wish you all possible joy," I answered meekly; "none the less sincerely, that I don'tin the least know of what."
"I should think it was plain enough, too," Mr. Mortimer answered, turning to draw Beaty up beside him; "but I am afraid you are vexed, old boy, that we should have had a secret from you all this time. I suppose we have each fancied it the other's; but now it can be yours, too, Frank, if Beaty will tell it.
"Not I, Jack. I came here this evening meaning to tell Frank, and made a sad mess of it (heie she. glanced up at Jack, with the most enchanting look imaginable). You do it this time. Sit here, Frank, dear."
And my little cousin, bless her loving heart! seeing that I was grave (which I was, through sheer bewilderment), and fearing that I was wounded, sat down by me on the side not next Jack, and her soft cheek lay against my shoulder while I listened.
"I don't know whether you remember my sister Amy, Frank," Jack began; "I think it is likely enough you may not, for you could not have seen her many times. My home was always at Charleswood with my aunt, and after Amy left school she went to live down in Essex with her guardian. We two were pretty much alone in the world, and perhaps that was the reason we thought a great deal of one another—at least I know I, was very fond of my little sister.
"And she thought there was no brother in all the world to compare with hers, and never tired of talking of him," uuiriiiurai a voice on my left—Jack was on , my right.
•' Aud perhaps I never heard of Miss:
Beaty Francis, either, before I saw her," answered Jack. "I remember I laughed one day when Amy was setting forth her perfections, and said she must introduce me, and perhaps I might be the happy man who would win this paragon for his wife. Perhaps this unlucky speech of mine first turned my little sister's thoughts toward such a thing; though it passed entirely out of my mind; for very soon afterwards Amy fell into, delicate health, and before many months were over I knew that we should not have her long." I Jack paused here. When he resumed , his voice was lower, and Beaty's face was hidden against my shoulder.
'•It was a sad time, and I don't care to think of it. She sank very rapidly, and one day burst a blood-vessel; after that we knew the end must come very soon. She knew it herself, too, and pined so much to see her dear little schoolfriend Beaty Francis, that her kind old guardian went up to London himself, to beg Miss Francis might be allowed to return with him to bid the poor dying child "Good-bye!"
"I have never forgotten that day you came, nor how I first saw you," Jack went on, addressing himself now to Miss Beaty, with that involuntary softening of his deep voice as he did so which tells a tale to those who listen.
"Often and often out in Australia, when I have been sitting quite alone in my hut, with the level sunset light streaming through the open door, 1 have seen, it all over again. That golden light corning across the low Essex lands, and flickering on the wall above the sofa where Amy lay, her poor little wasted face propped upon pillows; and lying beside impressed close against it, your fresh rosy face, and your yellow hair, so bright and wavy, mixed with hers, all dark and straight. I did not think much about it at the time, but I suppose it must have made some impression. I remembered it all so often afterwards; then I thought of little, but my poor Amy. Your coming seemed to have put new life into her. She had scarcely spoken for days, now she laughed and talked so gaily, that something almost like a hope began to wake up in my heart. I looked over at you, and said, I remember, that you were the best doctor that hud come near Amy yet,
and that I thought a few days of your company would do all they had not been able to accomplish. And then—but you remember."
"Yes," whispered Beaty.
"/ do not," I could not refrain from reminding these absorbed creatures.
"I bee your pardon, Frank," returned Jack, with quite a start; "I had forgotten I was telling you."
"So it seems. But go on, my dear old fellow."
"Think of Amy, then, Frank, as a very young, very wami-hearted and loving—romantic, perhaps, and lifted, by the knowledge that she was dying, above ordinary, every-day life; very sorry for me, too, whom her death would leave but with very few to care much about me— think of her so, and then perhaps you will understand how it all came about: that, holding her friend's hands in hers, she asked her to promise her something, and that Beaty answered, 'Yes—willingly—gladly—anything!' Then, looking across at me, Amy asked me to do the same. How could I dream what the poor child's thoughts were fixed on J I answered, as Beaty had done. And then —then—with a light in her dying eyes, and a smile on her mouth, she told us that what she asked of us, what she had longed for, thought over, and prayed for, was, that we two would marry. That we had promised to grant her what she asked, and she asked that.
"Just imagine, if you can, our awful confusion while we listened, Frank; I'm sure I can't depict it I only dared once look towards Miss Francis, and then saw nothing of her face—only one little ear and a part of her throat, atid they were flushed with deep, and, I felt sure, indignant crimson. 1 was unutterably pained and shocked; but could I reproach my little dying sister? I did try to laugh the matter off, awkwardly enough, I dare say; at any rate, I failed, and made matters worse. 'How could I joke on such a subject, or dream that she could do so with dying lips'?' Amy said.
"Be angry with her I neither could nor would; and when all was over (she died with her arms round my neck that night, Frank) it was only left me to try and make the best oi' the matter with Miss Francis. I told her—at least I tried to
'—that she need never think herself bound by a promise so given—that she need never fear my insulting her, by making j any claim upon it"
"Oh, Jack, Jack, you incorrigible old blunderer!" I could not forbear crying ! out here; "so you as good as told a lady you would not have her."
"I suppose I did blunder horribly; I've no doubt I did," answered Jack, seriously; "for certainly Miss Francis—"
"Behaved very foolishly, I am afraid," here broke in the voice on my left I " But I was very ypung—only a schoolgirl—and the idea would torment me that you might think Amy had talked of —of what she wished to me before, and that perhaps I knew what the promise she asked referred to, before it was given. Thinking this, I felt so horribly ashamed, I could not bear to see you. I thought I never should be able."
"Only it appears to me that you have changed your tnind on that point, Miss," pinching the little fingers that lay in mine.
"Yes, Frank," responded the demure monkey.
"Since when, pray1? for deuce take me if I can understand how you and Jack, who seemed only this morning as far as the poles asunder, can have arrived, in the space of half an hour, at the—well— I think I may say without offence, "close relations," in which I found you."
"Don't, Frank, dear!" whispered Miss Beaty. "I'll tell you another time."
"No time like the present. Come, Jack. I comprehend now, how the hostile attitude came about. Do clear up the mystery of the allied one."
"It was arrived at veiy simply, too. Miss Francis and I have been under the mutual impression all this time, that we were respectively disagre< able to each other. By a—a little accident this evening we found out that we were mutually mistaken, and so—. I think that will do, Frank."
"By Jove! no; for I declare I'm all in the dark."
"We were in the dark, cousin Frank," Miss Beaty whispered here, laughing and blushing, I dare say; certainly turning her face so that it should be invisible to Jack, who had risen by this time, and was standig before the lire. "At least, no—it was 'between the lights;' and I came in here to talk to you about something that was making me very unhappy —something I heard you and—and Mr. Mortimer talking of this afternoon in the avenue—about his going away to Australia for good, I mean. I thought it was you lying on the sofa, Frank. And before I had found out it was not, I had said—I don't know what. But Mr. Mortimer knew then I did not dislike him ; and so—and so—"
"And so poor little Amy's wish has come about, after all • thank God! And I don't think I shall go farther for a home now than Charlesvvood, unless Beaty particularly prefers the bush," concluded Jack, coming to the rescue.
"And my shrewd little wife's prediction is verified, also," I observed, "that if ever Jack Mortimer married, the lady would have to make the first confession of love. There, Beaty, never hide your face, my dear. Methinks a woman need scarce do that, when she owns to loving John Mortimer, no more at shining noonday than 'between the lights.'"
"How hnppy covilcl I be with clthor,
Siohino, whispering, shouting, thundering,
Leaping up the crashing scale, Murmurs faint swelled out to (.jeans—
Isis hail withdrawn her veil!
With a sweetly-selfish glee,
Beauty oucc again was free 1
Stately as a twin Apollo,
En>y with a victor's grace,
Flushed the down upon his face.
Perfumes smote him from the bowers; Heaven lent ocean smiles of greeting;
Clouds wept parti-colored showers.
Streaking, glimmering, gleaming, blazing,
Rushing up from deeps of night, Strode the sun, as strides a glint,
To the "upj>er deeps" of light. Thronging cities praised his sphndor;
Hill and vale essayed to sing; Streams gave tongue through countless channels;
Music soared on every wing.
In the spring-time and the morning—
Youth of year and youth of day— When near noon the momenta halted,
When Jnne caught the sonl of M»y; "Ne'ifh a roof of youn^-leafed arches—
Green o'erlaid with sunny gold— Wrought I reverie-mosaics,
Fitting fancies new with old.
Then my dreamy eyes a vision
Saw in twofold grace to glide;
With a Virtue by its side.
To a happy voiceless tune;
Uf the Morning and the June!
"Sisters of the prime of Nature
Or in action, or repose;
One a lily, one a rose 1
Free and grand and debonair
Dear to thought, to pity dear!
"Sisters of the June and Morning,
Of the Light on sea and shore— Each is sister of the other!
How m:iy worshiper say more? As the sun towards the darkness
Ever bends his goalless raco Be af.ir the clouds of sorrow
From each sweetly different face!
"So akin to grace and beauty, Will ye not to love be kind ?—
Though to choose were task too arduous
Why the knotty question settle,
A. H. G.
MEMOIRS OF THE AUTHORS OF
BT ». C. H u.l , F. S. A., AND MRS. S. C. HALL.
When I first knew Thomas Hood, his star was but rising; when I saw him last, he was on his death-bed; his fortysix years of life from the cradle to the grave having been passed in so weak a state of health, that day by day there was perpetual dread that at any moment might "the silver cord be loosed, and the golden bowl be broken." Continued bodily suffering was not the only trial to which this fine spirit was subjected. The world heard no wail from his lips: no appeal for sympathy ever came from his pen; his high heart endured iu si