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Henrietta Temple - A Love Story
by Benjamin Disraeli
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Every morning as soon as he awoke, every evening before he composed himself again for the night's repose, Ferdinand sent for Glastonbury, and always saw him alone. At first he requested his mother to leave the room, but Lady Armine, who attributed these regular visits to a spiritual cause, scarcely needed the expression of this desire. His first questions to Glastonbury were ever the same. 'Had he heard anything? Were there any letters? He thought there might be a letter, was he sure? Had he sent to Bath; to London, for his letters?' When he was answered in the negative, he usually dwelt no more upon the subject. One morning he said to Glastonbury, 'I know Katherine is in the house.'

'Miss Grandison is here,' replied Glastonbury.

'Why don't they mention her? Is all known?'

'Nothing is known,' said Glastonbury.

'Why don't they mention her, then? Are you sure all is not known?'

'At my suggestion, her name has not been mentioned. I was unaware how you might receive the intelligence; but the true cause of my suggestion is still a secret.'

'I must see her,' said Ferdinand, 'I must speak to her.'

'You can see her when you please,' replied Glastonbury; 'but I would not speak upon the great subject at present.'

'But she is existing all this time under a delusion. Every day makes my conduct to her more infamous.'

'Miss Grandison is a wise and most admirable young lady,' said Glastonbury. 'I love her from the bottom of my heart; I would recommend no conduct that could injure her, assuredly none that can disgrace you.'

'Dear Glastonbury, what shall I do?'

'Be silent; the time will come when you may speak. At present, however anxious she may be to see you, there are plausible reasons for your not meeting. Be patient, my Ferdinand.'

'Good Glastonbury, good, dear Glastonbury, I am too quick and fretful. Pardon me, dear friend. You know not what I feel. Thank God, you do not; but my heart is broken.'

When Glastonbury returned to the library, he found Sir Ratcliffe playing with his dogs, and Miss Grandison copying a drawing.

'How is Ferdinand?' enquired the father.

'He mends daily,' replied Glastonbury. 'If only May-day were at hand instead of Christmas, he would soon be himself again; but I dread the winter.'

'And yet the sun shines.' said Miss Grandison.

Glastonbury went to the window and looked at the sky. 'I think, my dear lady, we might almost venture upon our promised excursion to the Abbey today. Such a day as this may not quickly be repeated. We might take our sketch-book.'

'It would be delightful,' said Miss Grandison; 'but before I go, I must pick some flowers for Ferdinand.' So saying, she sprang from her seat, and ran out into the garden.

'Kate is a sweet creature,' said Sir Ratcliffe to Glastonbury. 'Ah! my dear Glastonbury, you know not what happiness I experience in the thought that she will soon be my daughter.'

Glastonbury could not refrain from sighing. He took up the pencil and touched her drawing.

'Do you know, dear Glastonbury,' resumed Sir Ratcliffe, 'I had little hope in our late visitation. I cannot say I had prepared myself for the worst, but I anticipated it. We have had so much unhappiness in our family, that I could not persuade myself that the cup was not going to be dashed from our lips.'

'God is merciful,' said Glastonbury.

'You are his minister, dear Glastonbury, and a worthy one. I know not what we should have done without you in this awful trial; but, indeed, what could I have done throughout life without you?'

'Let us hope that everything is for the best,' said Glastonbury.

'And his mother, his poor mother, what would have become of her? She never could have survived his loss. As for myself, I would have quitted England for ever, and gone into a monastery.'

'Let us only remember that he lives,' said Glastonbury.

'And that we shall soon all be happy,' said Sir Ratcliffe, in a more animated tone. 'The future is, indeed, full of solace. But we must take care of him; he is too rapid in his movements. He has my father's blood in him, that is clear. I never could well make out why he left Bath so suddenly, and rushed down in so strange a manner to this place.'

'Youth is impetuous,' said Glastonbury.

'It was lucky you were here, Glastonbury.'

'I thank God that I was,' said Glastonbury, earnestly; then checking himself, he added, 'that I have been of any use.'

'You are always of use. What should we do without you? I should long ago have sunk. Ah! Glastonbury, God in his mercy sent you to us.'

'See here,' said Katherine, entering, her fair cheek glowing with animation, 'only dahlias, but they will look pretty, and enliven his room. Oh! that I might write him a little word, and tell him I am here! Do not you think I might, Mr. Glastonbury?'

'He will know that you are here to-day,' said Glastonbury. 'To-morrow——-'

'Ah! you always postpone it,' said Miss Grandison, in a tone half playful, half reproachful; 'and yet it is selfish to murmur. It is for his good that I bear this bereavement, and that thought should console me. Heigho!'

Sir Ratcliffe stepped forward and kissed his niece. Glastonbury was busied on the drawing: he turned away his face.

Sir Ratcliffe took up his gun. 'God bless you, dear Kate,' he said; 'a pleasant drive and a choice sketch. We shall meet at dinner.'

'At dinner, dear uncle; and better sport than yesterday.'

'Ha! ha!' said Sir Ratcliffe. 'But Armine is not like Grandison. If I were in the old preserves, you should have no cause to jeer at my sportsmanship.'

Miss Grandison's good wishes were prophetic: Sir Ratcliffe found excellent sport, and returned home very late, and in capital spirits. It was the dinner-hour, and yet Katherine and Glastonbury had not returned. He was rather surprised. The shades of evening were fast descending, and the distant lawns of Armine were already invisible; the low moan of the rising wind might be just distinguished; and the coming night promised to be raw and cloudy, perhaps tempestuous. Sir Ratcliffe stood before the crackling fire in the dining-room, otherwise in darkness, but the flame threw a bright yet glancing light upon the Snyders, so that the figures seemed really to move in the shifting shades, the eye of the infuriate boar almost to emit sparks of rage, and there wanted but the shouts of the huntsmen and the panting of the dogs to complete the tumult of the chase.

Just as Sir Ratcliffe was anticipating some mischance to his absent friends, and was about to steal upon tip-toe to Lady Armine, who was with Ferdinand, to consult her, the practised ear of a man who lived much in the air caught the distant sound of wheels, and he went out to welcome them.

'Why, you are late,' said Sir Ratcliffe, as the phaeton approached the house. 'All right, I hope?'

He stepped forward to assist Miss Grandison. The darkness of the evening prevented him from observing her swollen eyes and agitated countenance. She sprang out of the carriage in silence, and immediately ran up into her room. As for Glastonbury, he only observed it was very cold, and entered the house with Sir Ratcliffe.

'This fire is hearty,' said Glastonbury, warming himself before it: 'you have had good sport, I hope? We are not to wait dinner for Miss Grandison, Sir Ratcliffe. She will not come down this evening; she is not very well.'

'Not very well: ah! the cold, I fear. You have been imprudent in staying so late. I must run and tell Lady Armine.'

'Oblige me, I pray, by not doing so,' said Glastonbury; 'Miss Grandison most particularly requested that she should not be disturbed.'

It was with some difficulty that Glastonbury could contrive that Miss Grandison's wishes should be complied with; but at length he succeeded in getting Sir Ratcliffe to sit down to dinner, and affecting a cheerfulness which was far from his spirit, the hour of ten at length arrived, and Glastonbury, before retiring to his tower, paid his evening visit to Ferdinand.



CHAPTER XIII.

In Which the Family Perplexities Rather Increase than Diminish.

IF EVER there were a man who deserved a serene and happy life it was Adrian Glastonbury. He had pursued a long career without injuring or offending a human being; his character and conduct were alike spotless; he was void of guile; he had never told a falsehood, never been entangled in the slightest deceit; he was easy in his circumstances; he had no relations to prey upon his purse or his feelings; and, though alone in the world, was blessed with such a sweet and benignant temper, gifted with so many resources, and adorned with so many accomplishments, that he appeared to be always employed, amused, and contented. And yet, by a strange contrariety of events, it appeared that this excellent person was now placed in a situation which is generally the consequence of impetuous passions not very scrupulous in obtaining their ends. That breast, which heretofore would have shrunk from being analysed only from the refined modesty of its nature, had now become the depository of terrible secrets: the day could scarcely pass over without finding him in a position which rendered equivocation on his part almost a necessity, while all the anxieties inseparable from pecuniary embarrassments were forced upon his attention, and his feelings were racked from sympathy with individuals who were bound to him by no other tie, but to whose welfare he felt himself engaged to sacrifice all his pursuits, and devote all his time and labour. And yet he did not murmur, although he had scarcely hope to animate him. In whatever light he viewed coming events, they appeared ominous only of evil. All that he aimed at now was to soothe and support, and it was his unshaken confidence in Providence that alone forbade him to despair.

When he repaired to the Place in the morning he found everything in confusion. Miss Grandison was very unwell; and Lady Armine, frightened by the recent danger from which they had escaped, very alarmed. She could no longer conceal from Ferdinand that his Katherine was here, and perhaps Lady Armine was somewhat surprised at the calmness with which her son received the intelligence. But Miss Grandison was not only very unwell but very obstinate. She would not leave her room, but insisted that no medical advice should be called in. Lady Armine protested, supplicated, adjured; Miss Grandison appealed to Mr. Glastonbury; and Glastonbury, who was somewhat of a physician, was called in, and was obliged to assure Lady Armine that Miss Grandison was only suffering from a cold and only required repose. A warm friendship subsisted between Lady Armine and her niece. She had always been Katherine's favourite aunt, and during the past year there had been urgent reasons why Lady Armine should have cherished this predisposition in her favour. Lady Armine was a fascinating person, and all her powers had been employed to obtain an influence over the heiress. They had been quite successful. Miss Grandi-son looked forward almost with as much pleasure to being Lady Armine's daughter as her son's bride. The intended mother-in-law was in turn as warmhearted as her niece was engaging; and eventually Lady Armine loved Katherine for herself alone.

In a few days, however, Miss Grandison announced that she was quite recovered, and Lady Armine again devoted her unbroken attention to her son, who was now about to rise for the first time from his bed. But although Miss Grandison was no longer an invalid, it is quite certain that if the attention of the other members of the family had not been so entirely engrossed, a very great change in her behaviour could not have escaped their notice. Her flowers and drawings seemed to have lost their relish; her gaiety to have deserted her. She passed a great portion of the morning in her room; and although it was announced to her that Ferdinand was aware of her being an inmate of the Place, and that in a day or two they might meet, she scarcely evinced, at this prospect of resuming his society, so much gratification as might have been expected; and though she daily took care that his chamber should still be provided with flowers, it might have been remarked that the note she had been so anxious to send him was never written. But how much, under the commonest course of circumstances, happens in all domestic circles that is never observed or never remarked till the observation is too late!

At length the day arrived when Lady Armine invited her niece to visit her son. Miss Grandison expressed her readiness to accompany her aunt, but took an opportunity of requesting Glastonbury to join them; and all three proceeded to the chamber of the invalid.

The white curtain of the room was drawn; but though the light was softened, the apartment was by no means obscure. Ferdinand was sitting in an easy-chair, supported by pillows. A black handkerchief was just twined round his forehead, for his head had been shaved, except a few curls on the side and front, which looked stark and lustreless. He was so thin and pale, and his eyes and cheeks were so wan and hollow, that it was scarcely credible that in so short a space of time a man could have become such a wreck. When he saw Katherine he involuntarily dropped his eyes, but extended his hand to her with some effort of earnestness. She was almost as pale as he, but she took his hand. It was so light and cold, it felt so much like death, that the tears stole down her cheek.

'You hardly know me, Katherine,' said Ferdinand, feebly. 'This is good of you to visit a sick man.'

Miss Grandison could not reply, and Lady Armine made an observation to break the awkward pause.

'And how do you like Armine?' said Ferdinand. 'I wish I could be your guide. But Glastonbury is so kind!'

A hundred times Miss Grandison tried to reply, to speak, to make the commonest observation, but it was in vain. She grew paler every moment; her lips moved, but they sent forth no sound.

'Kate is not well,' said Lady Armine. 'She has been very unwell. This visit,' she added in a whisper to Ferdinand, 'is a little too much for her.'

Ferdinand sighed.

'Mother,' he at length said, 'you must ask Katherine to come and sit here with you; if indeed she will not feel the imprisonment.'

Miss Grandison turned in her chair, and hid her face with her handkerchief.

'My sweet child,' said Lady Armine, rising and kissing her, 'this is too much for you. You really must restrain yourself. Ferdinand will soon be himself again; he will indeed.'

Miss Grandison sobbed aloud. Glastonbury was much distressed, but Ferdinand avoided catching his eye; and yet, at last, Ferdinand said with an effort, and in a very kind voice, 'Dear Kate, come and sit by me.'

Miss Grandison went into hysterics; Ferdinand sprang from his chair and seized her hand; Lady Armine tried to restrain her son; Glastonbury held the agitated Katherine.

'For God's sake, Ferdinand, be calm,' exclaimed Lady Armine. 'This is most unfortunate. Dear, dear Katherine, but she has such a heart! All the women have in our family, and none of the men, 'tis so odd. Mr. Glastonbury, water if you please, that glass of water; sal volatile; where is the sal volatile? My own, own Katherine, pray, pray restrain yourself! Ferdinand is here; remember, Ferdinand is here, and he will soon be well; soon quite well. Believe me, he is already quite another thing. There, drink that, darling, drink that. You are better now?'

'I am so foolish,' said Miss Grandison, in a mournful voice. 'I never can pardon myself for this. Let me go.'

Glastonbury bore her out of the room; Lady Armine turned to her son. He was lying back in his chair, his hands covering his eyes. The mother stole gently to him, and wiped tenderly his brow, on which hung the light drops of perspiration, occasioned by his recent exertion.

'We have done too much, my own dear Ferdinand. Yet who could have expected that dear girl would have been so affected? Glastonbury was indeed right in preventing you so long from meeting. And yet it is a blessing to see that she has so fond a heart. You are fortunate, my Ferdinand: you will indeed be happy with her.'

Ferdinand groaned.

'I shall never be happy,' he murmured.

'Never happy, my Ferdinand! Oh! you must not be so low-spirited. Think how much better you are; think, my Ferdinand, what a change there is for the better. You will soon be well, dearest, and then, my love, you know you cannot help being happy.'

'Mother,' said Ferdinand, 'you are deceived; you are all deceived: I—I———'

'No! Ferdinand, indeed we are not. I am confident, and I praise God for it, that you are getting better every day. But you have done too much, that is the truth. I will leave you now, love, and send the nurse, for my presence excites you. Try to sleep, love.' And Lady Armine rang the bell, and quitted the room.



CHAPTER XIV.

In Which Some Light Is Thrown upon Some Circumstances Which Were Before Rather Mysterious.

LADY ARMINE now proposed that the family should meet in Ferdinand's room after dinner; but Glastonbury, whose opinion on most subjects generally prevailed, scarcely approved of this suggestion. It was therefore but once acted upon during the week that followed the scene described in our last chapter, and on that evening Miss Grandison had so severe a headache, that it was quite impossible for her to join the circle. At length, however, Ferdinand made his appearance below, and established himself in the library: it now, therefore, became absolutely necessary that Miss Grandison should steel her nerves to the altered state of her betrothed, which had at first apparently so much affected her sensibility, and, by the united influence of habit and Mr. Glastonbury, it is astonishing what progress she made. She even at last could so command her feelings, that she apparently greatly contributed to his amusement. She joined in the family concerts, once even read to him.

Every morning, too, she brought him a flower, and often offered him her arm. And yet Ferdinand could not resist observing a great difference in her behaviour towards him since he had last quitted her at Bath. Far from conducting herself, as he had nervously apprehended, as if her claim to be his companion were irresistible, her carriage, on the contrary, indicated the most retiring disposition; she annoyed him with no expressions of fondness, and listened to the kind words which he occasionally urged himself to bestow upon her with a sentiment of grave regard and placid silence, which almost filled him with astonishment.

One morning, the weather being clear and fine, Ferdinand insisted that his mother, who had as yet scarcely quitted his side, should drive out with Sir Ratcliffe; and, as he would take no refusal, Lady Armine agreed to comply. The carriage was ordered, was at the door; and as Lady Armine bade him adieu, Ferdinand rose from his seat and took the arm of Miss Grandison, who seemed on the point of retiring; for Glastonbury remained, and therefore Ferdinand was not without a companion.

'I will see you go off,' said Ferdinand.

'Adieu!' said Lady Armine. 'Take care of him, dear Kate,' and the phaeton was soon out of sight.

'It is more like May than January,' said Ferdinand to his cousin. 'I fancy I should like to walk a little.'

'Shall I send for Mr. Glastonbury?' said Katherine.

'Not if my arm be not too heavy for you,' said Ferdinand. So they walked slowly on, perhaps some fifty yards, until they arrived at a garden-seat, very near the rose-tree whose flowers Henrietta Temple so much admired. It had no flowers now, but seemed as desolate as their unhappy loves.



'A moment's rest,' said Ferdinand, and sighed. 'Dear Kate, I wish to speak to you.'

Miss Grandison turned pale.

'I have something on my mind, Katherine, of which I would endeavour to relieve myself.'

Miss Grandison did not reply, but she trembled. 'It concerns you, Katherine.'

Still she was silent, and expressed no astonishment at this strange address.

'If I were anything now but an object of pity, a miserable and broken-hearted man,' continued Ferdinand, 'I might shrink from this communication; I might delegate to another this office, humiliating as it then might be to me, painful as it must, under any circumstances, be to you. But,' and here his voice faltered, 'but I am far beyond the power of any mortification now. The world and the world's ways touch me no more. There is a duty to fulfil; I will fulfil it. I have offended against you, my sweet and gentle cousin; grievously, bitterly, infamously offended.'

'No, no, no!' murmured Miss Grandison.

'Katherine, I am unworthy of you; I have deceived you. It is neither for your honour nor your happiness that these ties which our friends anticipate should occur between us. But, Katherine, you are avenged.'

'Oh! I want no vengeance!' muttered Miss Grandison, her face pale as marble, her eyes convulsively closed. 'Cease, cease, Ferdinand; this conversation is madness; you will be ill again.'

'No, Katherine, I am calm. Fear not for me. There is much to tell; it must be told, if only that you should not believe that I was a systematic villain, or that my feelings were engaged to another when I breathed to you those vows.'

'Oh! anything but that; speak of anything but that!'

Ferdinand took her hand.

'Katherine, listen to me. I honour you, my gentle cousin, I admire, I esteem you; I could die content if I could but see you happy. With your charms and virtues I thought that we might be happy. My intentions were as sincere as my belief in our future felicity. Oh! no, dear Katherine, I could not trifle with so pure and gentle a bosom.'

'Have I accused you, Ferdinand?'

'But you will when you know all.'

'I do know all,' said Miss Grandison, in a hollow voice.

Her hand fell from the weak and trembling grasp of her cousin.

'You do know all,' he at length exclaimed. 'And can you, knowing all, live under the same roof with me? Can you see me? Can you listen to me? Is not my voice torture to you? Do you not hate and despise me?'

'It is not my nature to hate anything; least of all could I hate you.'

'And could you, knowing all, still minister to my wants and watch my sad necessities? This gentle arm of yours; could you, knowing all, let me lean upon it this morning? O Katherine! a happy lot be yours, for you deserve one!'

'Ferdinand, I have acted as duty, religion, and it may be, some other considerations prompted me. My feelings have not been so much considered that they need now be analysed.'

'Reproach me, Katherine, I deserve your reproaches.'

'Mine may not be the only reproaches that you have deserved, Ferdinand; but permit me to remark, from me you have received none. I pity you, I sincerely pity you.'

'Glastonbury has told you?' said Ferdinand.

'That communication is among the other good offices we owe him,' replied Miss Grandison.

'He told you?' said Ferdinand enquiringly.

'All that it was necessary I should know for your honour, or, as some might think, for my own happiness; no more, I would listen to no more. I had no idle curiosity to gratify. It is enough that your heart is another's; I seek not, I wish not, to know that person's name.'

'I cannot mention it,' said Ferdinand; 'but there is no secret from you. Glastonbury may—should tell all.'

'Amid the wretched she is not the least miserable,' said Miss Grandison.

'O Katherine!' said Ferdinand, after a moment's pause, 'tell me that you do not hate me; tell me that you pardon me; tell me that you think me more mad than wicked!'

'Ferdinand,' said Miss Grandison, 'I think we are both unfortunate.'

'I am without hope,' said Ferdinand; 'but you, Katherine, your life must still be bright and fair.'

'I can never be happy, Ferdinand, if you are not. I am alone in the world. Your family are my only relations; I cling to them. Your mother is my mother; I love her with the passion of a child. I looked upon our union only as the seal of that domestic feeling that had long bound us all. My happiness now entirely depends upon your family; theirs I feel is staked upon you. It is the conviction of the total desolation that must occur if our estrangement be suddenly made known to them, and you, who are so impetuous, decide upon any rash course, in consequence, that has induced me to sustain the painful part that I now uphold. This is the reason that I would not reproach you, Ferdinand, that I would not quarrel with you, that I would not desert them in this hour of their affliction.'

'Katherine, beloved Katherine!' exclaimed the distracted Ferdinand, 'why did we ever part?'

'No! Ferdinand, let us not deceive ourselves. For me, that separation, however fruitful at the present moment in mortification and unhappiness, must not be considered altogether an event of unmingled misfortune. In my opinion, Ferdinand, it is better to be despised for a moment than to be neglected for a life.'

'Despised! Katherine, for God's sake, spare me; for God's sake, do not use such language! Despised! Katherine, at this moment I declare most solemnly all that I feel is, how thoroughly, how infamously unworthy I am of you! Dearest Katherine, we cannot recall the past, we cannot amend it; but let me assure you that at this very hour there is no being on earth I more esteem, more reverence than yourself.'

'It is well, Ferdinand. I would not willingly believe that your feelings towards me were otherwise than kind and generous. But let us understand each other. I shall remain at present under this roof. Do not misapprehend my views. I seek not to recall your affections. The past has proved to me that we are completely unfitted for each other. I have not those dazzling qualities that could enchain a fiery brain like yours. I know myself; I know you; and there is nothing that would fill me with more terror now than our anticipated union. And now, after this frank conversation, let our future intercourse be cordial and unembarrassed; let us remember we are kinsfolk. The feelings between us should by nature be amiable: no incident has occurred to disturb them, for I have not injured or offended you; and as for your conduct towards me, from the bottom of my heart I pardon and forget it.'

'Katherine,' said Ferdinand, with streaming eyes, 'kindest, most generous of women! My heart is too moved, my spirit too broken, to express what I feel. We are kinsfolk; let us be more. You say my mother is your mother. Let me assert the privilege of that admission. Let me be a brother to you; you shall find me, if I live, a faithful one.'



CHAPTER XV.

Which Leaves Affairs in General in a Scarcely More Satisfactory Position than the Former One.

FERDINAND felt much calmer in his mind after this conversation with his cousin. Her affectionate attention to him now, instead of filling him as it did before with remorse, was really a source of consolation, if that be not too strong a phrase to describe the state of one so thoroughly wretched as Captain Armine; for his terrible illness and impending death had not in the slightest degree allayed or affected his profound passion for Henrietta Temple. Her image unceasingly engaged his thoughts; he still clung to the wild idea that she might yet be his. But his health improved so slowly, that there was faint hope of his speedily taking any steps to induce such a result. All his enquiries after her, and Glastonbury, at his suggestion, had not been idle, were quite fruitless. He made no doubt that she had quitted England. What might not happen, far away from him, and believing herself betrayed and deserted? Often when he brooded over these terrible contingencies, he regretted his recovery.

Yet his family, thanks to the considerate conduct of his admirable cousin, were still contented and happy. His slow convalescence was now their only source of anxiety. They regretted the unfavourable season of the year; they looked forward with hope to the genial influence of the coming spring. That was to cure all their cares; and yet they might well suspect, when they watched his ever pensive, and often suffering countenance, that there were deeper causes than physical debility and bodily pain to account for that moody and woe-begone expression. Alas! how changed from that Ferdinand Armine, so full of hope, and courage, and youth, and beauty, that had burst on their enraptured vision on his return from Malta. Where was that gaiety now that made all eyes sparkle, that vivacious spirit that kindled energy in every bosom? How miserable to see him crawling about with a wretched stick, with his thin, pale face, and tottering limbs, and scarcely any other pursuit than to creep about the pleasaunce, where, when the day was fair, his servant would place a camp-stool opposite the cedar tree where he had first beheld Henrietta Temple; and there he would sit, until the unkind winter breeze would make him shiver, gazing on vacancy; yet peopled to his mind's eye with beautiful and fearful apparitions.

And it is love, it is the most delightful of human passions, that can bring about such misery! Why will its true course never run smooth? Is there a spell over our heart, that its finest emotions should lead only to despair? When Ferdinand Armine, in his reveries, dwelt upon the past; when he recalled the hour that he had first seen her, her first glance, the first sound of her voice, his visit to Ducie, all the passionate scenes to which it led, those sweet wanderings through its enchanted bowers, those bright mornings, so full of expectation that was never baulked, those soft eyes, so redolent of tenderness that could never cease; when from the bright, and glowing, and gentle scenes his memory conjured up, and all the transport and the thrill that surrounded them like an atmosphere of love, he turned to his shattered and broken-hearted self, the rigid heaven above, and what seemed to his perhaps unwise and ungrateful spirit, the mechanical sympathy and common-place affection of his companions, it was as if he had wakened from some too vivid and too glorious dream, or as if he had fallen from some brighter and more favoured planet upon our cold, dull earth.

And yet it would seem the roof of Armine Place protected a family that might yield to few in the beauty and engaging qualities of its inmates, their happy accomplishments, their kind and cordial hearts. And all were devoted to him. It was on him alone the noble spirit of his father dwelt still with pride and joy: it was to soothe and gratify him that his charming mother exerted all her graceful care and all her engaging gifts. It was for him, and his sake, the generous heart of his cousin had submitted to mortification without a murmur, or indulged her unhappiness only in solitude; and it was for him that Glastonbury exercised a devotion that might alone induce a man to think with complacency both of his species and himself. But the heart, the heart, the jealous and despotic heart! It rejects all substitutes, it spurns all compromise, and it will have its purpose or it will break.



BOOK V.



CHAPTER I.

Containing the Appearance on Our Stage of a New and Important Character.

THE Marquis of Montfort was the grandson of that nobleman who had been Glastonbury's earliest patron. The old duke had been dead some years; his son had succeeded to his title, and Digby, that youth whom the reader may recollect was about the same age as Ferdinand Armine, and was his companion during the happy week in London which preceded his first military visit to the Mediterranean, now bore the second title of the family.

The young marquis was an excellent specimen of a class inferior in talents, intelligence, and accomplishments, in public spirit and in private virtues, to none in the world, the English nobility. His complete education had been carefully conducted; and although his religious creed, for it will be remembered he was a Catholic, had deprived him of the advantage of matriculating at an English university, the zeal of an able and learned tutor, and the resources of a German Alma Mater, had afforded every opportunity for the development of his considerable talents. Nature had lavished upon him other gifts besides his distinguished intelligence and his amiable temper: his personal beauty was remarkable, and his natural grace was not less evident than his many acquired accomplishments.

On quitting the University of Bonn, Lord Montfort had passed several years on the continent of Europe, and had visited and resided at most of its courts and capitals, an admired and cherished guest; for, debarred at the period of our story from occupying the seat of his ancestors in the senate, his native country offered no very urgent claims upon his presence. He had ultimately fixed upon Rome as his principal residence, for he was devoted to the arts, and in his palace were collected some of the rarest specimens of ancient and modern invention.

At Pisa, Lord Montfort had made the acquaintance of Mr. Temple, who was residing in that city for the benefit of his daughter's health, who, it was feared by her physicians, was in a decline. I say the acquaintance of Mr. Temple; for Lord Montfort was aware of the existence of his daughter only by the occasional mention of her name, as Miss Temple was never seen. The agreeable manners, varied information, and accomplished mind of Mr. Temple, had attracted and won the attention of the young nobleman, who shrank in general from the travelling English, and all their arrogant ignorance. Mr. Temple was in turn equally pleased with a companion alike refined, amiable, and enlightened; and their acquaintance would have ripened into intimacy, had not the illness of Henrietta and her repugnance to see a third person, and the unwillingness of her father that she should be alone, offered in some degree a bar to its cultivation.

Yet Henrietta was glad that her father had found a friend and was amused, and impressed upon him not to think of her, but to accept Lord Montfort's invitations to his villa. But Mr. Temple invariably declined them.

'I am always uneasy when I am away from you, dearest,' said Mr. Temple; 'I wish you would go about a little. Believe me, it is not for myself that I make the suggestion, but I am sure you would derive benefit from the exertion. I wish you would go with me and see Lord Montfort's villa. There would be no one there but himself. He would not in the least annoy you, he is so quiet; and he and I could stroll about and look at the busts and talk to each other. You would hardly know he was present, he is such a very quiet person.'

Henrietta shook her head; and Mr. Temple could not urge the request.

Fate, however, had decided that Lord Montfort and Henrietta Temple should become acquainted. She had more than once expressed a wish to see the Campo Santo; it was almost the only wish that she had expressed since she left England. Her father, pleased to find that anything could interest her, was in the habit of reminding her of this desire, and suggesting that she should gratify it. But there was ever an excuse for procrastination. When the hour of exertion came, she would say, with a faint smile, 'Not to-day, dearest papa;' and then, arranging her shawl, as if even in this soft clime she shivered, composed herself upon that sofa which now she scarcely ever quitted.

And this was Henrietta Temple! That gay and glorious being, so full of graceful power and beautiful energy, that seemed born for a throne, and to command a nation of adoring subjects! What are those political revolutions, whose strange and mighty vicissitudes we are ever dilating on, compared with the moral mutations that are passing daily under our own eye; uprooting the hearts of families, shattering to pieces domestic circles, scattering to the winds the plans and prospects of a generation, and blasting as with a mildew the ripening harvest of long cherished affection!

'It is here that I would be buried,' said Henrietta Temple.

They were standing, the father and the daughter, in the Campo Santo. She had been gayer that morning; her father had seized a happy moment, and she had gone forth, to visit the dead.

That vast and cloistered cemetery was silent and undisturbed; not a human being was there, save themselves and the keeper. The sun shone brightly on the austere and ancient frescoes, and Henrietta stood opposite that beautiful sarcophagus, that seemed prepared and fitting to receive her destined ashes.

'It is here that I would be buried,' said she.

Her father almost unconsciously turned his head to gaze upon the countenance of his daughter, to see if there were indeed reason that she should talk of death. That countenance was changed since the moment we first feebly attempted to picture it. That flashing eye had lost something of its brilliancy, that superb form something of its roundness and its stag-like state; the crimson glory of that mantling cheek had faded like the fading eve; and yet it might be thought, it might be suffering, perhaps, the anticipation of approaching death, and as it were the imaginary contact with a serener existence, but certainly there was a more spiritual expression diffused over the whole appearance of Henrietta Temple, and which by many might be preferred even to that more lively and glowing beauty which, in her happier hours, made her the very queen of flowers and sunshine.

'It is strange, dear papa,' she continued, 'that my first visit should be to a cemetery.'

At this moment their attention was attracted by the sound of the distant gates of the cemetery opening, and several persons soon entered. This party consisted of some of the authorities of the city and some porters, bearing on a slab of verd antique a magnificent cinerary vase, that was about to be placed in the Campo. In reply to his enquiries, Mr. Temple learned that the vase had been recently excavated in Catania, and that it had been purchased and presented to the Campo by the Marquis of Montfort. Henrietta would have hurried her father away, but with all her haste they had not reached the gates before Lord Montfort appeared.

Mr. Temple found it impossible, although Henrietta pressed his arm in token of disapprobation, not to present Lord Montfort to his daughter. He then admired his lordship's urn, and then his lordship requested that he might have the pleasure of showing it to them himself. They turned; Lord Montfort explained to them its rarity, and pointed out to them its beauty. His voice was soft and low, his manner simple but rather reserved. While he paid that deference to Henrietta which her sex demanded, he addressed himself chiefly to her father. She was not half so much annoyed as she had imagined; she agreed with her father that he was a very quiet man; she was even a little interested by his conversation, which was refined and elegant; and she was pleased that he did not seem to require her to play any part in the discourse, but appeared quite content in being her father's friend. Lord Montfort seemed to be attached to her father, and to appreciate him. And this was always a recommendation to Henrietta Temple.

The cinerary urn led to a little controversy between Mr. Temple and his friend; and Lord Montfort wished that Mr. Temple would some day call on him at his house in the Lung' Arno, and he would show him some specimens which he thought might influence his opinion. 'I hardly dare to ask you to come now,' said his lordship, looking at Miss Temple; 'and yet Miss Temple might like to rest.'

It was evident to Henrietta that her father would be pleased to go, and yet that he was about to refuse for her sake. She could not bear that he should be deprived of so much and such refined amusement, and be doomed to an uninteresting morning at home, merely to gratify her humour. She tried to speak, but could not at first command her voice; at length she expressed her wish that Mr. Temple should avail himself of the invitation. Lord Montfort bowed lowly, Mr. Temple seemed gratified, and they all turned together and quitted the cemetery.

As they walked along to the house, conversation did not flag. Lord Montfort expressed his admiration of Pisa. 'Silence and art are two great charms,' said his lordship.

At length they arrived at his palace. A venerable Italian received them. They passed through a vast hall, in which were statues, ascended a magnificent double staircase, and entered a range of saloons. One of them was furnished with more attention to comfort than an Italian cares for, and herein was the cabinet of urns and vases his lordship had mentioned.

'This is little more than a barrack,' said Lord Montfort; 'but I can find a sofa for Miss Temple.' So saying, he arranged with great care the cushions of the couch, and, when she seated herself, placed a footstool near her. 'I wish you would allow me some day to welcome you at Rome,' said the young marquis. 'It is there that I indeed reside.'

Lord Montfort and Mr. Temple examined the contents of the cabinet. There was one vase which Mr. Temple greatly admired for the elegance of its form. His host immediately brought it and placed it on a small pedestal near Miss Temple. Yet he scarcely addressed himself to her, and Henrietta experienced none of that troublesome attention from which, in the present state of her health and mind, she shrank. While Mr. Temple was interested with his pursuit, Lord Montfort went to a small cabinet opposite, and brought forth a curious casket of antique gems. 'Perhaps,' he said, placing it by Miss Temple, 'the contents of this casket might amuse you;' and he walked away to her father.

In the course of an hour a servant brought in some fruits and wine.

'The grapes are from my villa,' said Lord Montfort. 'I ventured to order them, because I have heard their salutary effects have been marvellous. Besides, at this season, even in Italy they are rare. At least you cannot accuse me of prescribing a disagreeable remedy,' he added with a slight smile, as he handed a plate to Miss Temple. She moved to receive them. Her cushions slipped from behind her, Lord Montfort immediately arranged them with skill and care. He was so kind that she really wished to thank him; but before she could utter a word he was again conversing with her father.

At length Mr. Temple indicated his intention to retire, and spoke to his daughter.

'This has been a great exertion for you, Henrietta,' he said; 'this has indeed been a busy day.'

'I am not wearied; and we have been much pleased.' It was the firmest tone in which she had spoken for a long time. There was something in her manner which recalled to Mr. Temple her vanished animation. The affectionate father looked for a moment happy. The sweet music of these simple words dwelt on his ear.

He went forward and assisted Henrietta to rise. She closed the casket with care, and delivered it herself to her considerate host. Mr. Temple bade him adieu; Henrietta bowed, and nearly extended her hand. Lord Montfort attended them to the gate; a carriage was waiting there.

'Ah! we have kept your lordship at home,' said Mr. Temple.

'I took the liberty of ordering the carriage for Miss Temple,' he replied. 'I feel a little responsible for her kind exertion to-day.'



CHAPTER II.

In Which Lord Montfort Contrives That Miss Temple Should be Left Alone.

AND how do you like my friend, Henrietta?' said Mr. Temple, as they drove home.

'I like your friend much, papa. He is quite as quiet as you said; he is almost the only person I have seen since I quitted England who has not jarred my nerves. I felt quite sorry that I had so long prevented you both from cultivating each other's acquaintance. He does not interfere with me in the least.'

'I wish I had asked him to look in upon us in the evening,' said Mr. Temple, rather enquiringly.

'Not to-day,' said Henrietta. 'Another day, dearest papa.'

The next day Lord Montfort sent a note to Mr. Temple, to enquire after his daughter, and to impress upon him the importance of her eating his grapes. His servant left a basket. The rest of the note was about cinerary urns. Mr. Temple, while he thanked him, assured him of the pleasure it would give both his daughter and himself to see him in the evening.

This was the first invitation to his house that Mr. Temple had ventured to give him, though they had now known each other some time.

In the evening Lord Montfort appeared. Henrietta was lying on her sofa, and her father would not let her rise. Lord Montfort had brought Mr. Temple some English journals, which he had received from Leghorn. The gentlemen talked a little on foreign politics; and discussed the character of several of the most celebrated foreign ministers. Lord Montfort gave an account of his visit to Prince Esterhazy. Henrietta was amused. German politics and society led to German literature. Lord Montfort, on this subject, seemed completely informed. Henrietta could not refrain from joining in a conversation for which she was fully qualified. She happened to deplore her want of books. Lord Montfort had a library; but it was at Rome: no matter; it seemed that he thought nothing of sending to Rome. He made a note very quietly of some books that Henrietta expressed a wish to see, and begged that Mr. Temple would send the memorandum to his servant.

'But surely to-morrow will do,' said Mr. Temple. 'Rome is too far to send to this evening.'

'That is an additional reason for instant departure,' said his lordship calmly.

Mr. Temple summoned a servant.

'Send this note to my house,' said his lordship. 'My courier will bring us the books in four days,' he added, turning to Miss Temple. 'I am sorry you should have to wait, but at Pisa I really have nothing.'

From this day Lord Montfort passed every evening at Mr. Temple's house. His arrival never disturbed Miss Temple; she remained on the sofa. If she spoke to him he was always ready to converse with her, yet he never obtruded his society. He seemed perfectly contented with the company of her father. Yet with all this calmness and reserve, there was no air of affected indifference, no intolerable nonchalance; he was always attentive, always considerate, often kind. However apparently engaged with her father, it seemed that his vigilance anticipated all her wants. If she moved, he was at her side; if she required anything, it would appear that he read her thoughts, for it was always offered. She found her sofa arranged as if by magic. And if a shawl were for a moment missing, Lord Montfort always knew where it had been placed. In the meantime, every morning brought something for the amusement of Mr. Temple and his daughter; books, prints, drawings, newspapers, journals of all countries, and caricatures from Paris and London, were mingled with engravings of Henrietta's favourite Campo Santo.

One evening Mr. Temple and his guest were speaking of a celebrated Professor of the University. Lord Montfort described his extraordinary acquirements and discoveries, and his rare simplicity. He was one of those eccentric geniuses that are sometimes found in decayed cities with ancient institutions of learning. Henrietta was interested in his description. Almost without thought she expressed a wish to see him.

'He shall come to-morrow,' said Lord Montfort, 'if you please. Believe me,' he added, in a tone of great kindness, 'that if you could prevail upon yourself to cultivate Italian society a little, it would repay you.'

The professor was brought. Miss Temple was much entertained. In a few days he came again, and introduced a friend scarcely less distinguished. The society was so easy, that even Henrietta found it no burthen. She remained upon her sofa; the gentlemen drank their coffee and conversed. One morning Lord Montfort had prevailed upon her to visit the studio of a celebrated sculptor. The artist was full of enthusiasm for his pursuit, and showed them with pride his great work, a Diana that might have made one envy Endymion. The sculptor declared it was the perfect resemblance of Miss Temple, and appealed to her father. Mr. Temple could not deny the striking likeness. Miss Temple smiled; she looked almost herself again; even the reserved Lord Montfort was in raptures.

'Oh! it is very like,' said his lordship. 'Yes! now it is exactly like. Miss Temple does not often smile; but now one would believe she really was the model.'

They were bidding the sculptor farewell.

'Do you like him?' whispered Lord Montfort of Miss Temple.

'Extremely; he is full of ideas.'

'Shall I ask him to come to you this evening?'

'Yes, do!'

And so it turned out that in time Henrietta found herself the centre of a little circle of eminent and accomplished men. Her health improved as she brooded less over her sorrows. It gratified her to witness the pleasure of her father. She was not always on her sofa now. Lord Montfort had sent her an English chair, which suited her delightfully.

They even began to take drives with him in the country an hour or so before sunset. The country around Pisa is rich as well as picturesque; and their companion always contrived that there should be an object in their brief excursions. He spoke, too, the dialect of the country; and they paid, under his auspices, a visit to a Tuscan farmer. All this was agreeable; even Henrietta was persuaded that it was better than staying at home. The variety of pleasing objects diverted her mind in spite of herself. She had some duties to perform in this world yet remaining. There was her father: her father who had been so devoted to her, who had never uttered a single reproach to her for all her faults and follies, and who, in her hour of tribulation, had clung to her with such fidelity. Was it not some source of satisfaction to see him again comparatively happy? How selfish for her to mar this graceful and innocent enjoyment! She exerted herself to contribute to the amusement of her father and his kind friend, as well as to share it. The colour returned a little to her cheek; sometimes she burst for a moment into something like her old gaiety; and though these ebullitions were often followed by a gloom and moodiness, against which she found it in vain to contend, still, on the whole, the change for the better was decided, and Mr. Temple yet hoped that in time his sight might again be blessed and his life illustrated by his own brilliant Henrietta.



CHAPTER III.

In Which Mr. Temple and His Daughter, with Their New Friend, Make an Unexpected Excursion.

ONE delicious morning, remarkable even in the south, Lord Montfort called upon them in his carriage, and proposed a little excursion. Mr. Temple looked at his daughter, and was charmed that Henrietta consented. She rose from her seat, indeed, with unwonted animation, and the three friends had soon quitted the city and entered its agreeable environs.

'It was wise to pass the winter in Italy,' said Lord Montfort, 'but to see Tuscany in perfection I should choose the autumn. I know nothing more picturesque than the carts laden with grapes, and drawn by milk-white steers.'

They drove gaily along at the foot of green hills, crowned ever and anon by a convent or a beautiful stone-pine. The landscape attracted the admiration of Miss Temple. A palladian villa rose from the bosom of a gentle elevation, crowned with these picturesque trees. A broad terrace of marble extended in front of the villa, on which were ranged orange trees. On either side spread an olive-grove. The sky was without a cloud, and deeply blue; bright beams of the sun illuminated the building. The road had wound so curiously into this last branch of the Apennines, that the party found themselves in a circus of hills, clothed with Spanish chestnuts and olive trees, from which there was apparently no outlet. A soft breeze, which it was evident had passed over the wild flowers of the mountains, refreshed and charmed their senses.

'Could you believe we were only two hours' drive from a city?' said Lord Montfort.

'Indeed,' said Henrietta, 'if there be peace in this world, one would think that the dweller in that beautiful villa enjoyed it.'

'He has little to disturb him,' said Lord Montfort: 'thanks to his destiny and his temper.'

'I believe we make our miseries,' said Henrietta, with a sigh. 'After all, nature always offers us consolation. But who lives here?'

'I sometimes steal to this spot,' replied his lordship.

'Oh! this, then, is your villa? Ah! you have surprised us!'

'I only aimed to amuse you.'

'You are very kind, Lord Montfort,' said Mr. Temple; 'and we owe you much.'

They stopped, they ascended the terrace, they entered the villa. A few rooms only were furnished, but their appearance indicated the taste and pursuits of its occupier. Busts and books were scattered about; a table was covered with the implements of art; and the principal apartment opened into an English garden.

'This is one of my native tastes,' said Lord Montfort, 'that will, I think, never desert me.'

The memory of Henrietta was recalled to the flowers of Ducie and of Armine. Amid all the sweets and sunshine she looked sad. She walked away from her companions; she seated herself on the terrace; her eyes were suffused with tears. Lord Montfort took the arm of Mr. Temple, and led him away to a bust of Germanicus.

'Let me show it to Henrietta,' said Mr. Temple; 'I must fetch her.'

Lord Montfort laid his hand gently on his companion. The emotion of Henrietta had not escaped his quick eye.

'Miss Temple has made a great exertion,' he said. 'Do not think me pedantic, but I am something of a physician. I have long perceived that, although Miss Temple should be amused, she must sometimes be left alone.'

Mr. Temple looked at his companion, but the countenance of Lord Montfort was inscrutable. His lordship offered him a medal and then opened a portfolio of Marc Antonios.

'These are very rare,' said Lord Montfort; 'I bring them into the country with me, for really at Rome there is no time to study them. By-the-bye, I have a plan,' continued his lordship, in a somewhat hesitating tone; 'I wish I could induce you and Miss Temple to visit me at Rome.'

Mr. Temple shrugged his shoulders, and sighed.

'I feel confident that a residence at Rome would benefit Miss Temple,' said his lordship, in a voice a little less calm than usual. 'There is much to see, and I would take care that she should see it in a manner which would not exhaust her. It is the most delightful climate, too, at this period. The sun shines here to-day, but the air of these hills at this season is sometimes treacherous. A calm life, with a variety of objects, is what she requires. Pisa is calm, but for her it is too dull. Believe me, there is something in the blended refinement and interest of Rome that she would find exceedingly beneficial. She would see no one but ourselves; society shall be at her command if she desire it.'

'My dear lord,' said Mr. Temple, 'I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your considerate sympathy; but I cannot flatter myself that Henrietta could avail herself of your really friendly offer. My daughter is a great invalid. She———'

But here Miss Temple joined them.

'We have a relic of a delicate temple here,' said Lord Montfort, directing her gaze to another window. 'You see it now to advantage; the columns glitter in the sun. There, perhaps, was worshipped some wood-nymph, or some river-god.'

The first classic ruin that she had yet beheld attracted the attention of Miss Temple. It was not far, and she acceded to the proposition of Lord Montfort to visit it. That little ramble was delightful. The novelty and the beauty of the object greatly interested her. It was charming also to view it under the auspices of a guide so full of information and feeling.

'Ah!' said Lord Montfort, 'if I might only be your cicerone at Rome!'

'What say you, Henrietta?' said Mr. Temple, with a smile. 'Shall we go to Rome?'

The proposition did not alarm Miss Temple as much as her father anticipated. Lord Montfort pressed the suggestion with delicacy; he hinted at some expedients by which the journey might be rendered not very laborious. But as she did not reply, his lordship did not press the subject; sufficiently pleased, perhaps, that she had not met it with an immediate and decided negative.

When they returned to the villa they found a collation prepared for them worthy of so elegant an abode. In his capacity of a host, Lord Montfort departed a little from that placid and even constrained demeanour which generally characterised him. His manner was gay and flowing; and he poured out a goblet of Monte Pulciano and presented it to Miss Temple.

'You must pour a libation,' he said, 'to the nymph of the fane.'



CHAPTER IV.

Showing That It Is the First Step That Is Ever the Most Difficult.

ABOUT a week after this visit to the villa, Mr. Temple and his daughter were absolutely induced to accompany Lord Montfort to Rome. It is impossible to do justice to the tender solicitude with which he made all the arrangements for the journey. Wherever they halted they found preparations for their reception; and so admirably had everything been concerted, that Miss Temple at length found herself in the Eternal City with almost as little fatigue as she had reached the Tuscan villa.

The palace of Lord Montfort was in the most distinguished quarter of the city, and situate in the midst of vast gardens full of walls of laurel, arches of ilex, and fountains of lions. They arrived at twilight, and the shadowy hour lent even additional space to the huge halls and galleries. Yet in the suite of rooms intended for Mr. Temple and his daughter, every source of comfort seemed to have been collected. The marble floors were covered with Indian mats and carpets, the windows were well secured from the air which might have proved fatal to an invalid, while every species of chair and couch, and sofa, courted the languid or capricious form of Miss Temple, and she was even favoured with an English stove, and guarded by an Indian screen. The apartments were supplied with every book which it could have been supposed might amuse her; there were guitars of the city and of Florence, and even an English piano; a library of the choicest music; and all the materials of art. The air of elegance and cheerful comfort that pervaded these apartments, so unusual in this land, the bright blaze of the fire, evert the pleasant wax-lights, all combined to deprive the moment of that feeling of gloom and exhaustion which attends an arrival at a strange place at a late hour, and Henrietta looked around her, and almost fancied she was once more at Ducie. Lord Montfort introduced his fellow-travellers to their apartments, presented to them the servant who was to assume the management of their little household, and then reminding them of their mutual promises that they were to be entirely their own masters, and not trouble themselves about him any more than if they were at Pisa, he shook them both by the hand, and bade them good-night.

It must be confessed that the acquaintance of Lord Montfort had afforded consolation to Henrietta Temple. It was impossible to be insensible to the sympathy and solicitude of one so highly gifted and so very amiable. Nor should it be denied that this homage, from one of his distinguished rank, was entirely without its charm. To find ourselves, when deceived and deserted, unexpectedly an object of regard and consideration, will bring balm to most bosoms; but to attract in such a situation the friendship of an individual whose deferential notice under any circumstances must be flattering, and to be admired by one whom all admire, these are accidents of fortune which few could venture to despise. And Henrietta had now few opportunities to brood over the past; a stream of beautiful and sublime objects passed unceasingly before her vision. Her lively and refined taste, and her highly cultured mind, could not refrain from responding to these glorious spectacles. She saw before her all that she had long read of, all that she had long mused over. Her mind became each day more serene and harmonious as she gazed on these ideal creations, and dwelt on their beautiful repose. Her companion, too, exerted every art to prevent these amusements from degenerating into fatiguing expeditions. The Vatican was open to Lord Montfort when it was open to none others. Short visits, but numerous ones, was his system. Sometimes they entered merely to see a statue or a picture they were reading or conversing about the preceding eve; and then they repaired to some modern studio, where their entrance always made the sculptor's eyes sparkle. At dinner there was always some distinguished guest whom Henrietta wished to see; and as she thoroughly understood the language, and spoke it with fluency and grace, she was tempted to enter into conversations, where all seemed delighted that she played her part. Sometimes, indeed, Henrietta would fly to her chamber to sigh, but suddenly the palace resounded with tones of the finest harmony, or the human voice, with its most felicitous skill, stole upon her from the distant galleries. Although Lord Montfort was not himself a musician, and his voice could not pour forth those fatal sounds that had ravished her soul from the lips of Ferdinand Armine, he was well acquainted with the magic of music; and while he hated a formal concert, the most eminent performers were often at hand in his palace, to contribute at the fitting moment to the delight of his guests. Who could withstand the soft influence of a life so elegant and serene, or refuse to yield up the spirit to its gentle excitement and its mild distraction? The colour returned to Henrietta's cheek and the lustre to her languid eye: her form regained its airy spring of health; the sunshine of her smile burst forth once more.

It would have been impossible for an indifferent person not to perceive that Lord Montfort witnessed these changes with feelings of no slight emotion. Perhaps he prided himself upon his skill as a physician, but he certainly watched the apparent convalescence of his friend's daughter with zealous interest. And yet Henrietta herself was not aware that Lord Montfort's demeanour to her differed in any degree from what it was at Pisa. She had never been alone with him in her life; she certainly spoke more to him than she used, but then, she spoke more to everybody; and Lord Montfort certainly seemed to think of nothing but her pleasure and convenience and comfort; but he did and said everything so quietly, that all this kindness and solicitude appeared to be the habitual impulse of his generous nature. He certainly was more intimate, much more intimate, than during the first week of their acquaintance, but scarcely more kind; for she remembered he had arranged her sofa the very first day they met, though he did not even remain to receive her thanks.

One day a discussion rose about Italian society between Mr. Temple and his host. His lordship was a great admirer of the domestic character and private life of the Italians. He maintained that there was no existing people who more completely fulfilled the social duties than this much scandalised nation, respecting whom so many silly prejudices are entertained by the English, whose travelling fellow-countrymen, by-the-bye, seldom enter into any society but that tainted circle that must exist in all capitals.

'You have no idea,' he said, turning to Henrietta, 'what amiable and accomplished people are the better order of Italians. I wish you would let me light up this dark house some night, and give you an Italian party.'

'I should like it very much,' said Mr. Temple.

Whenever Henrietta did not enter her negative Lord Montfort always implied her assent, and it was resolved that the Italian party should be given.

All the best families in Rome were present, and not a single English person. There were some perhaps, whom Lord Montfort might have wished to invite, but Miss Temple had chanced to express a wish that no English might be there, and he instantly acted upon her suggestion.

The palace was magnificently illuminated. Henrietta had scarcely seen before its splendid treasures of art. Lord Montfort, in answer to her curiosity, had always playfully depreciated them, and said that they must be left for rainy days. The most splendid pictures and long rows of graceful or solemn statues were suddenly revealed to her; rooms and galleries were opened that had never been observed before; on all sides cabinets of vases, groups of imperial busts, rare bronzes, and vivid masses of tesselated pavement. Over all these choice and beautiful objects a clear yet soft light was diffused, and Henrietta never recollected a spectacle more complete and effective.

These rooms and galleries were soon filled with guests, and Henrietta could not be insensible to the graceful and engaging dignity with which Lord Montfort received the Roman world of fashion. That constraint which at first she had attributed to reserve, but which of late she had ascribed to modesty, now entirely quitted him. Frank, yet always dignified, smiling, apt, and ever felicitous, it seemed that he had a pleasing word for every ear, and a particular smile for every face. She stood at some distance leaning on her father's arm, and watching him. Suddenly he turned and looked around. It was they whom he wished to catch. He came up to Henrietta and said, 'I wish to introduce you to the Princess———.

She is an old lady, but of the first distinction here. I would not ask this favour of you unless I thought you would be pleased.'

Henrietta could not refuse his request. Lord Montfort presented her and her father to the princess, the most agreeable and important person in Rome; and having now provided for their immediate amusement, he had time to attend to his guests in general. An admirable concert now, in some degree, hushed the general conversation. The voices of the most beautiful women in Rome echoed in those apartments. When the music ceased, the guests wandered about the galleries, and at length the principal saloons were filled with dancers. Lord Montfort approached Miss Temple. 'There is one room in the palace you have never yet visited,' he said, 'my tribune; 'tis open to-night for the first time.'

Henrietta accepted his proffered arm. 'And how do you like the princess?' he said, as they walked along. 'It is agreeable to live in a country where your guests amuse themselves.'

At the end of the principal gallery, Henrietta perceived an open door which admitted them into a small octagon chamber, of Ionic architecture. The walls were not hung with pictures, and one work of art alone solicited their attention. Elevated on a pedestal of porphyry, surrounded by a rail of bronze arrows of the lightest workmanship, was that statue of Diana which they had so much admired at Pisa. The cheek, by an ancient process, the secret of which has been recently regained at Rome, was tinted with a delicate glow.

'Do you approve of it?' said Lord Montfort to the admiring Henrietta. 'Ah, dearest Miss Temple,' he continued, 'it is my happiness that the rose has also returned to a fairer cheek than this.'



CHAPTER V.

Which Contains Some Rather Painful Explanations.

THE reader will not perhaps be much surprised that the Marquis of Montfort soon became the declared admirer of Miss Temple. He made the important declaration after a very different fashion from the unhappy Ferdinand Armine: he made it to the lady's father. Long persuaded that Miss Temple's illness had its origin in the mind, and believing that in that case the indisposition of the young lady had probably arisen, from one cause or another, in the disappointment of her affections, Lord Montfort resolved to spare her feelings, unprepared, the pain of a personal appeal. The beauty, the talent, the engaging disposition, and the languid melancholy of Miss Temple, had excited his admiration and pity, and had finally won a heart capable of deep affections, but gifted with great self-control. He did not conceal from Mr. Temple the conviction that impelled him to the course which he had thought proper to pursue, and this delicate conduct relieved Mr. Temple greatly from the unavoidable embarrassment of his position. Mr. Temple contented himself with communicating to Lord Montfort that his daughter had indeed entered into an engagement with one who was not worthy of her affections, and that the moment her father had been convinced of the character of the individual, he had quitted England with his daughter. He expressed his unqualified approbation of the overture of Lord Montfort, to whom he was indeed sincerely attached, and which gratified all those worldly feelings from which Mr. Temple was naturally not exempt. In such an alliance Mr. Temple recognised the only mode by which his daughter's complete recovery could be secured. Lord Montfort in himself offered everything which it would seem that the reasonable fancy of woman could desire. He was young, handsome, amiable, accomplished, sincere, and exceedingly clever; while, at the same time, as Mr. Temple was well aware, his great position would insure that reasonable gratification of vanity from which none are free, which is a fertile source of happiness, and which would, at all times, subdue any bitter recollections which might occasionally arise to cloud the retrospect of his daughter.

It was Mr. Temple, who, exerting all the arts of his abandoned profession, now indulging in intimations and now in panegyric, conveying to his daughter, with admirable skill, how much the intimate acquaintance with Lord Montfort contributed to his happiness, gradually fanning the feeling of gratitude to so kind a friend, which already had been excited in his daughter's heart, into one of zealous regard, and finally seizing his opportunity with practised felicity, it was Mr. Temple who had at length ventured to communicate to his daughter the overture which had been confided to him.

Henrietta shook her head.

'I have too great a regard for Lord Montfort to accede to his wishes,' said Miss Temple. 'He deserves something better than a bruised spirit, if not a broken heart.'

'But, my dearest Henrietta, you really take a wrong, an impracticable view of affairs. Lord Montfort must be the best judge of what will contribute to his own happiness.'

'Lord Montfort is acting under a delusion,' replied Miss Temple. 'If he knew all that had occurred he would shrink from blending his life with mine.'

'Lord Montfort knows everything,' said the father, 'that is, everything he should know.'

'Indeed!' said Miss Temple. 'I wonder he does not look upon me with contempt; at the least, with pity.'

'He loves you, Henrietta,' said her father.

'Ah! love, love, love! name not love to me. No, Lord Montfort cannot love me. It is not love that he feels.'

'You have gained his heart, and he offers you his hand. Are not these proofs of love?'

'Generous, good young man!' exclaimed Henrietta; 'I respect, I admire him; I might have loved him. But it is too late.'

'My beloved daughter, oh! do not say so! For my sake, do not say so,' exclaimed Mr. Temple. 'I have no wish, I have had no wish, my child, but for your happiness. Lean upon your father, listen to him, be guided by his advice. Lord Montfort possesses every quality which can contribute to the happiness of woman. A man so rarely gifted I never met. There is not a woman in the world, however exalted her rank, however admirable her beauty, however gifted her being, who might not feel happy and honoured in the homage of such a man. Believe me, my dearest daughter, that this is an union which must lead to happiness. Indeed, were it to occur, I could die content. I should have no more cares, no more hopes. All would then have happened that the most sanguine parent, even with such a child as you, could wish or imagine. We should be so happy! For his sake, for my sake, for all our sakes, dearest Henrietta, grant his wish. Believe me, believe me, he is indeed worthy of you.'

'I am not worthy of him,' said Henrietta, in a melancholy voice.

'Ah, Henrietta, who is like you!' exclaimed the fond and excited father.

At this moment a servant announced that Lord Montfort would, with their permission, wait upon them. Henrietta seemed plunged in thought. Suddenly she said, 'I cannot rest until this is settled. Papa, leave me with him a few moments alone.' Mr. Temple retired.

A faint blush rose to the cheek of her visitor when he perceived that Miss Temple was alone. He seated himself at her side, but he was unusually constrained.

'My dear Lord Montfort,' said Miss Temple,' calmly, 'I have to speak upon a painful subject, but I have undergone so much suffering, that I shall not shrink from this. Papa has informed me this morning that you have been pleased to pay me the highest compliment that a man can pay a woman. I wish to thank you for it. I wish to acknowledge it in terms the strongest and the warmest I can use. I am sensible of the honour, the high honour that you have intended me. It is indeed an honour of which any woman might be proud. You have offered me a heart of which I know the worth. No one can appreciate the value of your character better than myself. I do justice, full justice, to your virtues, your accomplishments, your commanding talents, and your generous soul. Except my father, there is no one who holds so high a place in my affection as yourself. You have been my kind and true friend; and a kind and true friendship, faithful and sincere, I return you. More than friends we never can be, for I have no heart to give.'

'Ah, dearest Miss Temple,' said Lord Montfort, agitated, 'I ask nothing but that friendship; but let me enjoy it in your constant society; let the world recognise my right to be your consoler.'

'You deserve a better and a brighter fate. I should not be your friend if I could enter into such an engagement.'

'The only aim of my life is to make you happy,' said Lord Montfort.

'I am sure that I ought to be happy with such a friend,' said Henrietta Temple, 'and I am happy. How different is the world to me from what it was before I knew you! Ah, why will you disturb this life of consolation? Why will you call me back to recollections that I would fain banish? Why———'

'Dearest Miss Temple,' said Lord Montfort, 'do not reproach me! You make me wretched. Remember, dear lady, that I have not sought this conversation; that if I were presumptuous in my plans and hopes, I at least took precautions that I should be the only sufferer by their nonfulfilment.'

'Best and most generous of men! I would not for the world be unkind to you. Pardon my distracted words. But you know all? Has papa told you all? It is my wish.'

'It is not mine,' replied Lord Montfort; 'I wish not to penetrate your sorrows, but only to soothe them.'

'Oh, if we had but met earlier,' said Henrietta Temple; 'if we had but known each other a year ago! when I was, not worthy of you, but more worthy of you. But now, with health shattered, the lightness of my spirit vanished, the freshness of my feelings gone, no, my kind friend, my dear and gentle friend! my affection for you is too sincere to accede to your request; and a year hence Lord Montfort will thank me for my denial.'

'I scarcely dare to speak,' said Lord Montfort, in a low tone, as if suppressing his emotion, 'if I were to express my feelings, I might agitate you. I will not then venture to reply to what you have urged; to tell you I think you the most beautiful and engaging being that ever breathed; or how I dote upon your pensive spirit, and can sit for hours together gazing on the language of those dark eyes. O Miss Temple, to me you never could have been more beautiful, more fascinating. Alas! I may not even breathe my love; I am unfortunate. And yet, sweet lady, pardon this agitation I have occasioned you; try to love me yet; endure at least my presence; and let me continue to cherish that intimacy that has thrown over my existence a charm so inexpressible.' So saying, he ventured to take her hand, and pressed it with devotion to his lips.



CHAPTER VI.

Which Contains an Event Not Less Important Than the One Which Concluded Our Second Book.

LORD MONTFORT was scarcely disheartened by this interview with Miss Temple. His lordship was a devout believer in the influence of time. It was unnatural to suppose that one so young and so gifted as Henrietta could ultimately maintain that her career was terminated because her affections had been disappointed by an intimacy which was confessedly of so recent an origin as the fatal one in question. Lord Montfort differed from most men in this respect, that the consciousness of this intimacy did not cost him even a pang. He preferred indeed to gain the heart of a woman like Miss Temple, who, without having in the least degree forfeited the innate purity of her nature and the native freshness of her feelings, had yet learnt in some degree to penetrate the mystery of the passions, to one so untutored in the world's ways, that she might have bestowed upon him a heart less experienced indeed, but not more innocent. He was convinced that the affection of Henrietta, if once obtained, might be relied on, and that the painful past would only make her more finely appreciate his high-minded devotion, and amid all the dazzling characters and seducing spectacles of the world, cling to him with a firmer gratitude and a more faithful fondness. And yet Lord Montfort was a man of deep emotions, and of a very fastidious taste. He was a man of as romantic a temperament as Ferdinand Armine; but with Lord Montfort, life was the romance of reason; with Ferdinand, the romance of imagination. The first was keenly alive to all the imperfections of our nature, but he also gave that nature credit for all its excellencies. He observed finely, he calculated nicely, and his result was generally happiness. Ferdinand, on the contrary, neither observed nor calculated. His imagination created fantasies, and his impetuous passions struggled to realise them.

Although Lord Montfort carefully abstained from pursuing the subject which nevertheless engrossed his thoughts, he had a vigilant and skilful ally in Mr. Temple. That gentleman lost no opportunity of pleading his lordship's cause, while he appeared only to advocate his own; and this was the most skilful mode of controlling the judgment of his daughter.

Henrietta Temple, the most affectionate and dutiful of children, left to reflect, sometimes asked herself whether she were justified, from what she endeavoured to believe was a mere morbid feeling, in not accomplishing the happiness of that parent who loved her so well? There had been no concealment of her situation, or of her sentiments. There had been no deception as to the past. Lord Montfort knew all. She told him that she could bestow only a broken spirit. Lord Montfort aspired only to console it. She was young. It was not probable that the death which she had once sighed for would be accorded to her. Was she always to lead this life? Was her father to pass the still long career which probably awaited him in ministering to the wearisome caprices of a querulous invalid? This was a sad return for all his goodness: a gloomy catastrophe to all his bright hopes. And if she could ever consent to blend her life with another's, what individual could offer pretensions which might ensure her tranquillity, or even happiness, equal to those proffered by Lord Montfort? Ah! who was equal to him? so amiable, so generous, so interesting! It was in such a mood of mind that Henrietta would sometimes turn with a glance of tenderness and gratitude to that being who seemed to breathe only for her solace and gratification. If it be agonising to be deserted, there is at least consolation in being cherished. And who cherished her? One whom all admired; one to gain whose admiration, or even attention, every woman sighed. What was she before she knew Montfort? If she had not known Montfort, what would she have been even at this present? She recalled the hours of anguish, the long days of bitter mortification, the dull, the wearisome, the cheerless, hopeless, uneventful hours that were her lot when lying on her solitary sofa at Pisa, brooding over the romance of Armine and all its passion; the catastrophe of Ducie, and all its baseness. And now there was not a moment without kindness, without sympathy, without considerate attention and innocent amusement. If she were querulous, no one murmured; if she were capricious, everyone yielded to her fancies; but if she smiled, everyone was happy. Dear, noble Montfort, thine was the magic that had worked this change! And for whom were all these choice exertions made? For one whom another had trifled with, deserted, betrayed! And Montfort knew it. He dedicated his life to the consolation of a despised woman. Leaning on the arm of Lord Montfort, Henrietta Temple might meet the eye of Ferdinand Armine and his rich bride, at least without feeling herself an object of pity!

Time had flown. The Italian spring, with all its splendour, illumined the glittering palaces and purple shores of Naples. Lord Montfort and his friends were returning from Capua in his galley. Miss Temple was seated between her father and their host. The Ausonian clime, the beautiful scene, the sweet society, had all combined to produce a day of exquisite enjoyment. Henrietta Temple could not refrain from expressing her delight. Her eye sparkled like the star of eve that glittered over the glowing mountains; her cheek was as radiant as the sunset.

'Ah! what a happy day this has been!' she exclaimed.

The gentle pressure of her hand reminded her of the delight her exclamation had afforded one of her companions. With a trembling heart Lord Montfort leant back in the galley; and yet, ere the morning sun had flung its flaming beams over the city, Henrietta Temple was his betrothed.



BOOK VI.



CHAPTER I.

Which Contains a Remarkable Change of Fortune.

ALTHOUGH Lord Montfort was now the received and recognised admirer of Miss Temple, their intended union was not immediate. Henrietta was herself averse from such an arrangement, but it was not necessary for her to urge this somewhat ungracious desire, as Lord Montfort was anxious that she should be introduced to his family before their marriage, and that the ceremony should be performed in his native country. Their return to England, therefore, was now meditated. The event was hastened by an extraordinary occurrence.

Good fortune in this world, they say, is seldom single. Mr. Temple at this moment was perfectly content with his destiny. Easy in his own circumstances, with his daughter's future prosperity about to be provided for by an union with the heir to one of the richest peerages in the kingdom, he had nothing to desire. His daughter was happy, he entertained the greatest esteem and affection for his future son-in-law, and the world went well with him in every respect.

It was in this fulness of happiness that destiny, with its usual wild caprice, resolved 'to gild refined gold and paint the lily;' and it was determined that Mr. Temple should wake one morning among the wealthiest commoners of England.

There happened to be an old baronet, a great humourist, without any very near relations, who had been a godson of Mr. Temple's grandfather. He had never invited or encouraged any intimacy or connection with the Temple family, but had always throughout life kept himself aloof from any acquaintance with them. Mr. Temple indeed had only seen him once, but certainly under rather advantageous circumstances. It was when Mr. Temple was minister at the German Court, to which we have alluded, that Sir Temple Devereux was a visitor at the capital at which Mr. Temple was Resident. The minister had shown him some civilities, which was his duty; and Henrietta had appeared to please him. But he had not remained long at this place; and refused at the time to be more than their ordinary guest; and had never, by any letter, message, or other mode of communication, conveyed to them the slightest idea that the hospitable minister and his charming daughter had dwelt a moment on his memory. And yet Sir Temple Devereux had now departed from the world, where it had apparently been the principal object of his career to avoid ever making a friend, and had left the whole of his large fortune to the Right Honourable Pelham Temple, by this bequest proprietor of one of the finest estates in the county of York, and a very considerable personal property, the accumulated savings of a large rental and a long life.

This was a great event. Mr. Temple had the most profound respect for property. It was impossible for the late baronet to have left his estate to an individual who could more thoroughly appreciate its possession. Even personal property was not without its charms; but a large landed estate, and a large landed estate in the county of York, and that large landed estate flanked by a good round sum of Three per Cent. Consols duly recorded in the Rotunda of Threadneedle Street,—it was a combination of wealth, power, consideration, and convenience which exactly hit the ideal of Mr. Temple, and to the fascination of which perhaps the taste of few men would be insensible. Mr. Temple being a man of family, had none of the awkward embarrassments of a parvenu to contend with. 'It was the luckiest thing in the world,' he would say, 'that poor Sir Temple was my grandfather's godson, not only because in all probability it obtained us his fortune, but because he bore the name of Temple: we shall settle down in Yorkshire scarcely as strangers, we shall not be looked upon as a new family, and in a little time the whole affair will be considered rather one of inheritance than bequest. But, after all, what is it to me! It is only for your sake, Digby, that I rejoice. I think it will please your family. I will settle everything immediately on Henrietta. They shall have the gratification of knowing that their son is about to marry the richest heiress in England.'

The richest heiress in England! Henrietta Temple the richest heiress in England! Ah! how many feelings with that thought arise! Strange to say, the announcement of this extraordinary event brought less joy than might have been supposed to the heiress herself.

It was in her chamber and alone, that Henrietta Temple mused over this freak of destiny. It was in vain to conceal it, her thoughts recurred to Ferdinand. They might have been so happy! Why was he not true? And perhaps he had sacrificed himself to his family, perhaps even personal distress had driven him to the fatal deed. Her kind feminine fancy conjured up every possible extenuation of his dire offence. She grew very sad. She could not believe that he was false at Ducie; oh, no! she never could believe it! He must have been sincere, and if sincere, oh! what a heart was lost there! What would she not have given to have been the means of saving him from all his sorrows! She recalled his occasional melancholy, his desponding words, and how the gloom left his brow and his eye brightened when she fondly prophesied that she would restore the house. She might restore it now; and now he was another's, and she, what was she? A slave like him. No longer her own mistress, at the only moment she had the power to save him. Say what they like, there is a pang in balked affection, for which no wealth, power, or place, watchful indulgence, or sedulous kindness, can compensate. Ah! the heart, the heart!



CHAPTER II.

In Which the Reader Is Again Introduced to Captain Armine, during His Visit to London.

MISS GRANDISON had resolved upon taking a house in London for the season, and had obtained a promise from her uncle and aunt to be her guests. Lady Armine's sister was to join them from Bath. As for Ferdinand, the spring had gradually restored him to health, but not to his former frame of mind. He remained moody and indolent, incapable of exertion, and a prey to the darkest humours; circumstances, however, occurred which rendered some energy on his part absolutely necessary. His creditors grew importunate, and the arrangement of his affairs or departure from his native land was an alternative now inevitable. The month of April, which witnessed the arrival of the Temples and Lord Montfort in England, welcomed also to London Miss Grandison and her guests. A few weeks after, Ferdinand, who had evaded the journey with his family, and who would not on any account become a guest of his cousin, settled himself down at a quiet hotel in the vicinity of Grosvenor-square; but not quite alone, for almost at the last hour Glastonbury had requested permission to accompany him, and Ferdinand, who duly valued the society of the only person with whom he could converse about his broken fortunes and his blighted hopes without reserve, acceded to his wish with the greatest satisfaction.

A sudden residence in a vast metropolis, after a life of rural seclusion, has without doubt a very peculiar effect upon the mind. The immense population, the multiplicity of objects, the important interests hourly impressed upon the intelligence, the continually occurring events, the noise, the bustle, the general and widely-spread excitement, all combine to make us keenly sensible of our individual insignificance; and those absorbing passions that in our solitude, fed by our imagination, have assumed such gigantic and substantial shapes, rapidly subside, by an almost imperceptible process, into less colossal proportions, and seem invested, as it were, with a more shadowy aspect. As Ferdinand Armine jostled his way through the crowded streets of London, urged on by his own harassing and inexorable affairs, and conscious of the impending peril of his career, while power and wealth dazzled his eyes in all directions, he began to look back upon the passionate past with feelings of less keen sensation than heretofore, and almost to regret that a fatal destiny or his impetuous soul had entailed upon him so much anxiety, and prompted him to reject the glittering cup of fortune that had been proffered to him so opportunely. He sighed for enjoyment and repose; the memory of his recent sufferings made him shrink from that reckless indulgence of the passions, of which the consequences had been so severe.

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