"It is not enough to say that the character of an historical personage is to be drawn from the authentic record of his actions. No doubt it is so; but there are a thousand minute and almost indefinable suggestions, arising from the perusal of these actions with all their circumstances, which will exercise a most material influence upon the judgment. The motives, for instance, of an action, must be almost always matter of surmise, and yet upon these surmises the conclusion will mainly depend. It is to this cause we must attribute the contradiction which such conclusions occasionally exhibit, as in the conflicting characters drawn by various hands of Archbishop Cranmer, of General Monk, of James II., or, as in the case before us, of William Penn. Nevertheless, Mr. Forster does supply us with some means of estimating the justice and accuracy of Mr. Macaulay's decision; but as our limits preclude any thing like a comparison of the two theories in detail, we must confine ourselves to communicating a general idea of the disputed points in continuation and illustration of what we have already premised.
"William Penn, the Quaker, as we need hardly state, passed the early part of his life under heavy persecutions on account of his religious opinions. In the resolute spirit of fortitude with which he sustained these sufferings he gave utterance to many rigid and uncompromising doctrines. Things then took a turn with him, and from a poor persecuted pietist he became a close client of Royalty, and almost the chief of court favorites in an age of favoritism. That some of his sayings and doings in these two strangely-contrasted scenes of his life should be a little contradictory is, to say the least, no matter of wonder. Mr. Macaulay, accordingly, giving him full credit for religious principle, but not much for strength of mind, depicts the stubborn and fanatical Quaker of former days as having become in the reign of King James the compliant and, though well-meaning, not over-scrupulous agent of a monarch, whose designs were directed against the civil and religious liberty of his people. Mr. Forster, on the other hand, would ascribe Penn's appearance in these scenes exclusively to his good and charitable intentions. He would represent him solely as a peacemaker (which is, perhaps, not far from the truth), and he would exculpate him from all motives except those of charity; attributing to him a thorough and undisguised repugnance to the king's evil designs, and a resolution simply to realize out of these evil doings the great and permanent blessing of religious liberty for his countrymen at large.
"The first bone of contention is the participation of Penn in that nefarious transaction by which the Royal Maids of Honor extorted ransoms from the poor Taunton girls who had welcomed the arrival of Monmouth. It seems that the chief, if not the sole authority for Mr. Macaulay's remarks on this head is contained in a letter of Sunderland's, preserved in the State-Paper office, and addressed to "Mr. Penne." Mr. Forster, therefore, disputes the identity of the two persons. Now, we think that very few people, after a careful exercise of their judgment, would doubt either that this letter was addressed to Penn, or that another, subsequently alluded to, was written by him. Still we admit that its phraseology does not bear out all Mr. Macaulay's circumstantial details of the transaction, and it certainly cannot be denied that his conduct was, to say the least, susceptible of an interpretation which should have called rather for the approval than the censure of the historian. The principal subject, however, of the controversy is the share taken by William Penn in the dealings of James with the Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford. We feel it very difficult to give any sufficient statement of this case, not only by reason of our narrow limits, but for want of words so to express ourselves as not to assume what one or other of the disputants deny. Yet Mr. Forster must not complain if we assert that William Penn, in this as in other questionable transactions, was, if not an agent of the king, at least a kind of go-between, and generally with an inclination towards that conclusion which James desired. Perhaps he often interfered because nobody else could interfere so beneficially—this we are very willing to allow, but, to take the case now before us, it surely cannot be gainsayed that in his mediation, if Mr. Forster will accept the term, between the king and the college, he really did wish that, with as little unpleasantness as might be, the college should submit to the king. And even if we accept as not proved the allegation that he directly tempted the Fellows to perjury, yet Mr. Forster must not ask us to believe that Penn would not have been a great deal better pleased if the Fellows had quietly dropped the consideration of their oaths, and surrendered their foundation to the Papists without further struggle.
"We suspect the truth to be, that Mr. Macaulay has somewhat exceeded his specified warrants, not in the design, but in the coloring. We believe that many of Penn's acts were strangely inconsistent, if rigorously noted, with his principles as previously professed, but we doubt whether they will bear quite such hard words as Mr. Macaulay has given them. Nevertheless, to recur to an expression which we employed before, we are persuaded that in a majority of cases the general impression of an unbiassed inquirer would be more nearly in accordance with Mr. Macaulay's sketch than with that flattering and stainless portrait which Mr. Forster, at the conclusion of his remarks, would fain have drawn. Mr. Macaulay may have painted his story a little too highly. His faults are less in his verbs and substantives than in his adjectives and his adverbs. Penn never in all probability became such an obsequious and pliant-principled courtier as he is represented in this history, but the simple facts which are authentically recorded of his court-life preclude any notion of the high-souled and spotless character which Mr. Forster would fain depict."
The subjects discussed in this volume have been much handled by our own writers, and in several cases with very decided ability. We incline to the side of Mr. Forster, throughout. An attentive study of the life of William Penn reveals to our view a character of singular purity, and in nearly all respects admirably composed. The judgment of Macaulay we hold in very little esteem. It was said of Voltaire that he would sacrifice Christ for an epigram; it may be said of Macaulay that he would sacrifice as liberally for an antithesis. He labors always for effect, and it must be admitted that he has evinced very extraordinary abilities for this end; he never fails in variety, contrast, or grouping; hence his popularity, and the absence from his pictures of the highest elements of history.
Although in State Papers and in the Transactions of Societies in this country, there is a large amount of important historical material in relation to Penn, we have no creditable memoir of him; which is remarkable, considering the attractive interest of the subject, and the jealousy which has been displayed in various quarters respecting every thing affecting his reputation.
A STORY WITHOUT A NAME.
WRITTEN FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE
BY G. P. R. JAMES, ESQ.
Continued from Page 216.
The two horsemen rode on their way. Neither spoke for several minutes. Sir Philip Hastings pondering sternly on all that had passed, and his younger companion gazing upon the scene around flooded with the delicious rays of sunset, as if nothing had passed at all.
Sir Philip, as I have shown the reader, had a habit of brooding over any thing which excited much interest in his breast—nay more, of extracting from it, by a curious sort of alchemy, essence very different from its apparent nature, sometimes bright, fine, and beneficial, and others dark and maleficient. The whole of the transaction just past disturbed him much; it puzzled him; it set his imagination running upon a thousand tracks, and most of them wrong ones; and thought was not willing to be called from her vagaries to deal with any other subject than that which preoccupied her.
The young stranger, on the other hand, seemed one of those characters which take all things much more lightly. In the moment of action, he had shown skill, resolution, and energy enough, but as he sat there on his horse's back, looking round at every point of any interest to an admirer of nature with an easy, calm and unconcerned air, no one who saw him could have conceived that he had been engaged the moment before in so fierce though short a struggle. There was none of the heat of the combatant or the triumph of the victor in his air or countenance, and his placid and equable expression of face contrasted strongly with the cloud which sat upon the brow of his companion.
"I beg your pardon, sir, for my gloomy silence," said Sir Philip Hastings, at length, conscious that his demeanor was not very courteous, "but this affair troubles me. Besides certain relations which it bears to matters of private concernment, I am not satisfied as to how I should deal with the ruffian we have suffered to depart so easily. His assault upon myself I do not choose to treat harshly; but the man is a terror to the country round, committing many an act to which the law awards a very insufficient punishment, but with cunning sufficient to keep within that line, the passage beyond which would enable society to purge itself of such a stain upon it; how to deal with him, I say, embarrasses me greatly. I have committed him two or three times to prison already; and I am inclined to regret that I did not, on this occasion, when he was in the very act of breaking the law, send my sword through him, and I should have been well justified in doing so."
"Nay, sir, methinks that would have been too much," replied his companion; "he has had a fall, which, if I judge rightly, will be a sufficient punishment for his assault upon you. According to the very lex talionis, he has had what he deserves. If he has nearly broke your arm, I think I have nearly broken his back."
"It is not his punishment for any offence to myself, sir, I seek," replied the baronet; "it is a duty to society to free it from the load of such a man whenever he himself affords the opportunity of doing so. Herein the law would have justified me, but even had it not been so, I can conceive many cases where it may be necessary for the benefit of our country and society to go beyond what the law will justify, and to make the law for the necessity."
"Brutus, and a few of his friends, did so," replied the young stranger with a smile, "and we admire them very much for so doing, but I am afraid we should hang them, nevertheless, if they were in a position to try the thing over again. The illustration of the gibbet and the statue might have more applications than one, for I sincerely believe, if we could revive historical characters, we should almost in all cases erect a gallows for those to whom we now raise a monument."
Sir Philip Hastings turned and looked at him attentively, and saw his face was gay and smiling. "You take all these things very lightly, sir," he said.
"With a safe lightness," replied the stranger.
"Nay, with something more," rejoined his companion; "in your short struggle with that ruffian, you sprang upon him, and overthrew him like a lion, with a fierce activity which I can hardly imagine really calmed down so soon."
"O yes it is, my dear sir," replied the stranger, "I am somewhat of a stoic in all things. It is not necessary that rapidity of thought and action, in a moment of emergency, should go one line beyond the occasion, or sink one line deeper than the mere reason. The man who suffers his heart to be fluttered, or his passions to be roused, by any just action he is called upon to do, is not a philosopher. Understand me, however; I do not at all pretend to be quite perfect in my philosophy; but, at all events, I trust I schooled myself well enough not to suffer a wrestling match with a contemptible animal like that, to make my pulse beat a stroke quicker after the momentary effort is over."
Sir Philip Hastings was charmed with the reply; for though it was a view of philosophy which he could not and did not follow, however much he might agree to it, yet the course of reasoning and the sources of argument were so much akin to those he usually sought, that he fancied he had at length found a man quite after his own heart. He chose to express no farther opinion upon the subject, however, till he had seen more of his young companion; but that more he determined to see. In the mean time he easily changed the conversation, saying, "You seemed to be a very skilful and practised wrestler, sir."
"I was brought up in Cornwall," replied the other, "though not a Cornish man, and having no affinity even with the Terse and the Tees—an Anglo Saxon, I am proud to believe, for I look upon that race as the greatest which the world has yet produced."
"What, superior to the Roman?" asked Sir Philip.
"Ay, even so," answered the stranger, "with as much energy, as much resolution, less mobility, more perseverance, with many a quality which the Roman did not possess. The Romans have left us many a fine lesson which we are capable of practising as well as they, while we can add much of which they had no notion."
"I should like much to discuss the subject with you more at large," said Sir Philip Hastings, in reply; "but I know not whether we have time sufficient to render it worth while to begin."
"I really hardly know, either," answered the young stranger; "for, in the first place, I am unacquainted with the country, and in the next place, I know not how far you are going. My course tends towards a small town called Hartwell—or, as I suspect it ought to be, Hartswell, probably from some fountain at which hart and hind used to come and drink."
"I am going a little beyond it," replied Sir Philip Hastings, "so that our journey will be for the next ten miles together;" and with this good space of time before him, the baronet endeavored to bring his young companion back to the subject which had been started, a very favorite one with him at all times.
But the stranger seemed to have his hobbies as well as Sir Philip, and having dashed into etymology in regard to Hartwell, he pursued it with an avidity which excluded all other topics.
"I believe," he said, not in the least noticing Sir Philip's dissertation on Roman virtues—"my own belief is, that there is not a proper name in England, except a few intruded upon us by the Normans, which might not easily be traced to accidental circumstances in the history of the family or the place. Thus, in the case of Aylesbury, or Eaglestown, from which it is derived, depend upon it the place has been noted as a resort for eagles in old times, coming thither probably for the ducks peculiar to that place. Bristol, in Anglo Saxon, meaning the place of a bridge, is very easily traceable; and Costa, or Costaford, meaning in Anglo Saxon the tempter's ford, evidently derives its name from monk or maiden having met the enemy of man or womankind at that place, and having had cause to rue the encounter. All the Hams, all the Tons, and all the Sons, lead us at once to the origin of the name, to say nothing of all the points of the compass, all the colors of the rainbow, and every trade that the ingenuity of man has contrived to invent."
In vain Sir Philip Hastings for the next half hour endeavored to bring him back to what he considered more important questions. He had evidently had enough of the Romans for the time being, and indulged himself in a thousand fanciful speculations upon every other subject but that, till Sir Philip, who at one time had rated his intellect very highly, began to think him little better than a fool. Suddenly, however, as if from a sense of courtesy rather than inclination, the young man let his older companion have his way in the choice of subject, and in his replies showed such depth of thought, such a thorough acquaintance with history, and such precise and definite views, that once more the baronet changed his opinion, and said to himself, "This is a fine and noble intellect indeed, nearly spoiled by the infection of a corrupt and frivolous world, but which might be reclaimed, if fortune would throw him in the way of those whose principles have been fixed and tried."
He pondered upon the matter for some short time. It was now completely dark, and the town to which the stranger was going distant not a quarter of a mile. The little stars were looking out in the heavens, peering at man's actions like bright-eyed spies at night; but the moon had not risen, and the only light upon the path was reflected from the flashing, dancing stream that ran along beside the road, seeming to gather up all the strong rays from the air, and give them back again with interest.
"You are coming very near Hartwell," said Sir Philip, at length; "but it is somewhat difficult to find from this road, and being but little out of my way, I will accompany you thither, and follow the high road onwards."
The stranger was about to express his thanks, but the Baronet stopped him, saying, "Not in the least, my young friend. I am pleased with your conversation, and should be glad to cultivate your acquaintance if opportunity should serve. I am called Sir Philip Hastings, and shall be glad to see you at any time, if you are passing near my house."
"I shall certainly wait upon you, Sir Philip, if I stay any time in this county," replied the other. "That, however, is uncertain, for I come here merely on a matter of business, which may be settled in a few hours—indeed it ought to be so, for it seems to me very simple. However, it may detain me much longer, and then I shall not fail to take advantage of your kind permission."
He spoke gravely, and little more was said till they entered the small town of Hartwell, about half through which a large gibbet-like bar was seen projecting from the front of a house, suspending a large board, upon which was painted a star. The light shining from the windows of an opposite house fell upon the symbol, and the stranger, drawing in his rein, said, "Here is my inn, and I will now wish you good night, with many thanks, Sir Philip."
"Methinks it is I should thank you," replied the Baronet, "both for a pleasant journey, and for the punishment you inflicted on the ruffian Cutter."
"As for the first," said the stranger, "that has been more than repaid, if indeed it deserved thanks at all; and as for the other, that was a pleasure in itself. There is a great satisfaction to me in breaking down the self-confidence of one of these burly bruisers."
As he spoke, he dismounted, again wishing Sir Philip good night, and the latter rode on upon his way. His meditations, as he went, were altogether upon the subject of the young stranger; for, as I have shown, Sir Philip rarely suffered two ideas to get any strong grasp of his mind at the same time. He revolved, and weighed, and dissected every thing the young man had said, and the conclusion that he came to was even more favorable than at first. He seemed a man after his own heart, with just sufficient differences of opinion and diversities of character to make the Baronet feel a hankering for some opportunity of moulding and modelling him to his own standard of perfection. Who he could be, he could not by any means divine. That he was a gentleman in manners and character, there could be no doubt. That he was not rich, Sir Philip argued from the fact of his not having chosen the best inn in the little town, and he might also conclude that he was of no very distinguished family, as he had not thought fit to mention his own name in return for the Baronet's frank invitation.
Busy with these thoughts Sir Philip rode on but slowly, and took nearly half an hour to reach the gates of Mrs. Hazleton's park, though they stood only two miles' distance from the town. He arrived before them at length, however, and rang the bell. The lodge-keeper opened them but slowly, and putting his horse to a quicker pace, Sir Philip trotted up the avenue towards the house. He had not reached it, however, when he heard the sound of horses feet behind him, and, as he was dismounting at the door, his companion of the way rode quickly up and sprang to the ground, saying, with a laugh—
"I find, Sir Philip, that we are both to enjoy the same quarters to-night, for, on my arrival at Hartwell, I did not expect to visit this house till to-morrow morning. Mrs. Hazelton, however, has very kindly had my baggage brought up from the inn, and therefore I have no choice but to intrude upon her to-night."
As he spoke the doors of the house were thrown open, servants came forth to take the horses, and the two gentlemen were ushered at once into Mrs. Hazleton's receiving-room.
Mrs. Hazleton was looking as beautiful as she had been at twenty—perhaps more so; for the few last years before the process of decay commences, sometimes adds rather than detracts from woman's loveliness. She was dressed with great skill and taste too; nay, even with peculiar care. The hair, which had not yet even one silver thread in its wavy mass, was so arranged as to hide, in some degree, that height and width of forehead which gave almost too intellectual an expression to her countenance—which, upon some occasions, rendered the expression (for the features were all feminine) more that of a man than that of a woman. Her dress was very simple in appearance though costly in material; but it had been chosen and fitted by the nicest art, of colors which best harmonized with her complexion, and in forms rather to indicate beauties than to display them.
Thus attired, with grace and dignity in every motion, she advanced to meet Sir Philip Hastings, frankly holding out her hand to him, and beaming on him one of her most lustrous smiles. It was all thrown away upon him indeed; but that did not matter. It had its effect in another quarter. She then turned to the younger gentleman with a greater degree of reserve in manner, but yet, as she spoke to him and welcomed him to her house, the color deepened on her cheek with a blush that would not have been lost to Sir Philip if he had been at all in the custom of making use of them. They had evidently met before, but not often; and her words, "Good evening, Mr. Marlow, I am glad to see you at my house at length," were said in the tone of one who was really glad, but did not wish to show it too plainly.
"You have come with my friend, Sir Philip Hastings," she added; "I did not know you were acquainted."
"Nor were we, my dear madam, till this evening," replied the Baronet, speaking for himself and his companion of the road, "till we met by accident on the hill-side on our way hither. We had a somewhat unpleasant encounter with a notorious personage of the name of Tom Cutter, which brought us first into acquaintance; though, till you uttered it, my young friend's name was unknown to me."
"Tom Cutter! is that the man who poaches all my game?" said the lady, in a musing tone.
Nor was she musing of Tom Cutter, or the lost game, or of the sins and iniquities of poaching; neither one or the other. The exclamation and inquiry taken together were only one of those little half-unconscious stratagems of human nature, by which we often seek to amuse the other parties in conversation—and sometimes amuse our own outward man too—while the little spirit within is busily occupied with some question which we do not wish our interlocutors to have any thing to do with. She was asking herself, in fact, what had been the conversation with which Sir Philip Hastings and Mr. Marlow had beguiled the way—whether they had talked of her—whether they had talked of her affairs—and how she could best get some information on the subject without seeming to seek it.
She soon had an opportunity of considering the matter more at leisure, for Sir Philip Hastings, with some remark as to "dusty dresses not being fit for ladies' drawing-rooms," retired for a time to the chamber prepared for him. The fair lady of the house detained Mr. Marlow indeed for a few minutes, talking with him in a pleasant and gentle tone, and making her bright eyes do their best in the way of captivating. She expressed regret that she had not seen him more frequently, and expressed a hope, in very graceful terms, that even the painful question, which those troublesome men of law had started between them, might be a means of ripening their acquaintance into friendship.
The young gentleman replied with all gallantry, but with due discretion, and then retired to his room to change his dress. He certainly was a very good-looking young man; finely formed, and with a pleasing though not regularly handsome countenance; and perhaps he left Mrs. Hazleton other matters to meditate of than the topics of his conversation with Sir Philip Hastings. Certain it is, that when the baronet returned very shortly after, he found his beautiful hostess in a profound reverie, from which his sudden entrance made her start with a bewildered look not common to her.
"I am very glad to talk to you for a few moments alone, my dear friend," said Mrs. Hazleton, after a moment's pause. "This Mr. Marlow is the gentleman who claims the very property on which you now stand;" and she proceeded to give her hearer, partly by spontaneous explanations, partly by answers to his questions, her own view of the case between herself and Mr. Marlow; laboring hard and skilfully to prepossess the mind of Sir Philip Hastings with a conviction of her rights as opposed to that of her young guest.
"Do you mean to say, my dear madam," asked Sir Philip, "that he claims the whole of this large property? That would be a heavy blow indeed."
"Oh, dear, no," replied the lady; "the great bulk of the property is mine beyond all doubt, but the land on which this house stands, and rather more than a thousand acres round it, was bought by my poor father before I was born, I believe, as affording the most eligible site for a mansion. He never liked the old house near your place, and built this for himself. Mr. Marlow's lawyers now declare that his grand-uncle, who sold the land to my father, had no power to sell it; that the property was strictly entailed."
"That will be easily ascertained," said Sir Philip Hastings; "and I am afraid, my dear madam, if that should prove the case, you will have no remedy but to give up the property."
"But is not that very hard?" asked Mrs. Hazleton, "the Marlows certainly had the money."
"That will make no difference," replied Sir Philip, musing; "this young man's grand-uncle may have wronged your father; but he is not responsible for the act, and I am very much afraid, moreover, that his claim may not be limited to the property itself. Back rents, I suspect, might be claimed."
"Ay, that is what my lawyer, Mr. Shanks, says," replied Mrs. Hazleton, with a bewildered look; "he tells me that if Mr. Marlow is successful in the suit, I shall have to pay the whole of the rents of the land. But Shanks added that he was quite certain of beating him if we could retain for our counsel Sargeant Tutham and Mr. Doubledo."
"Shanks is a rogue," said Sir Philip Hastings, in a calm, equable tone; "and the two lawyers you have named bear the reputation of being learned and unscrupulous men. The first point, my dear madam, is to ascertain whether this young gentleman's claim is just, and then to deal with him equitably, which, in the sense I affix to the term, may be somewhat different from legal."
"I really do not know what to do," cried Mrs. Hazleton, with a slight laugh, as if at her own perplexity. "I was never in such a situation in my life;" and then she added, very rapidly and in a jocular tone, as if she were afraid of pausing upon or giving force to any one word, "if my poor father had been alive, he would have settled it all after his own way soon enough. He was a great match-maker you know, Sir Philip, and he would have proposed, in spite of all obstacles, a marriage between the two parties, to settle the affair by matrimony instead of by law," and she laughed again as if the very idea was ridiculous.
Unlearned Sir Philip thought so too, and most improperly replied, "The difference of age would of course put that out of the question;" nor when he had committed the indiscretion, did he perceive the red spot which came upon Mrs. Hazleton's fair brow, and indicated sufficiently enough the effect his words had produced. There was an ominous silent pause, however, for a minute, and then the Baronet was the person to resume the discourse in his usual calm, argumentative tone. "I do not think," he said, "from Mr. Marlow's demeanor or conversation, that he is likely to be very exacting in this matter. His claim, however, must be looked to in the first place, before we admit any thing on your part. If the property was really entailed, he has undoubtedly a right to it, both in honesty and in law; but methinks there he might limit his claim if his sense of real equity be strong; but the entail must be made perfectly clear before you can admit so much as that."
"Well, well, sir," said Mrs. Hazleton, hastily, for she heard a step on the outer stairs, "I will leave it entirely to you, Sir Philip, I am sure you will take good care of my interests."
Sir Philip did not altogether like the word interests, and bowing his head somewhat stiffly, he added, "and of your honor, my dear madam."
Mrs. Hazleton liked his words as little as he did hers, and she colored highly. She made no reply, indeed, but his words that night were never forgotten.
The next moment Mr. Marlow entered the room with a quiet, easy air, evidently quite unconscious of having been the subject of conversation. During the evening he paid every sort of polite attention to his fair hostess, and undoubtedly showed signs and symptoms of thinking her a very beautiful and charming woman. Whatever was her game, take my word for it, reader, she played it skilfully, and the very fact of her retiring early, at the very moment when she had made the most favorable impression, leaving Sir Philip Hastings to entertain Mr. Marlow at supper, was not without its calculation.
As soon as the lady was gone, Sir Philip turned to the topic of Mrs. Hazleton's business with his young companion, and managed the matter more skilfully than might have been expected. He simply told him that Mrs. Hazleton had mentioned a claim made upon her estate by his lawyers, and had thought it better to leave the investigation of the affair to her friend, rather than to professional persons.
A frank good-humored smile came upon Mr. Marlow's face at once. "I am not a rich man, Sir Philip," he said, "and make no professions of generosity, but, at the same time, as my grand-uncle undoubtedly had this money from Mrs. Hazleton's father, I should most likely never have troubled her on the subject, but that this very estate is the original seat of our family, on which we can trace our ancestors back through many centuries. The property was undoubtedly entailed, my father and my uncle were still living when it was sold, and performed no disentailing act whatever. This is perfectly susceptible of proof, and though my claim may put Mrs. Hazleton to some inconvenience, I am anxious to avoid putting her to any pain. Now I have come down with a proposal which I confidently trust you will think reasonable. Indeed, I expected to find her lawyer here rather than an independent friend, and I was assured that my proposal would be accepted immediately, by persons who judged of my rights more sanely perhaps than I could."
"May I hear what the proposal is?" asked Sir Philip.
"Assuredly," replied Mr. Marlow, "it is this: that in the first place Mrs. Hazleton should appoint some gentleman of honor, either at the bar or not, as she may think fit, to investigate my claim, with myself or some other gentleman on my part, with right to call in a third as umpire between them. I then propose that if my claim should be distinctly proved, Mrs. Hazleton should surrender to me the lands in question, I repaying her the sum which my grand-uncle received, and—"
"Stay," said Sir Philip Hastings, "are you aware that the law would not oblige you to do that?"
"Perfectly," replied Mr. Marlow, "and indeed I am not very sure that equity would require it either, for I do not know that my father ever received any benefit from the money paid to his uncle. He may have received a part however, without my knowing it, for I would rather err on the right side than on the wrong. I then propose that the rents of the estate, as shown by the leases, and fair interest upon the value of the ground surrounding this house, should be computed during the time that it has been out of our possession, while on the other hand the legal interest of the money paid for the property should be calculated for the same period, the smaller sum deducted from the larger, and the balance paid by me to Mrs. Hazleton or by Mrs. Hazleton to me, so as to replace every thing in the same state as if this unfortunate sale had never taken place."
Sir Philip Hastings mused without reply for more than one minute. That is a long time to muse, and many may be the thoughts and feelings which pass through the breast of man during that space. They were many in the present instance; and it would not be very easy to separate or define them. Sir Philip thought of all the law would have granted to the young claimant under the circumstances of the case: the whole property, all the back rents, every improvement that had been made, the splendid mansion in which they were then standing, without the payment on his part of a penny: he compared these legal rights with what he now proposed, and he saw that he had indeed gone a great way on the generous side of equity. There was something very fine and noble in this conduct, something that harmonized well with his own heart and feelings. There was no exaggeration, no romance about it: he spoke in the tone of a man of business doing a right thing well considered, and the Baronet was satisfied in every respect but one. Mrs. Hazleton's words I must not say had created a suspicion, but had suggested the idea that other feelings might be acting between her and his young companion, notwithstanding the difference of age which he had so bluntly pointed out, and he resolved to inquire farther.
In the mean time, however, Mr. Marlow somewhat misinterpreted his silence, and he added, after waiting longer than was pleasant, "Of course you understand, Sir Philip, that if two or three honest men decide that my case is unfounded—although I know that cannot be the case—I agree to drop it at once and renounce it for ever. My solicitors and counsel in London judged the offer a fair one at least."
"And so do I," said Sir Philip Hastings, emphatically; "however, I must speak with Mrs. Hazleton upon the subject, and express my opinion to her. Pray, have you the papers regarding your claim with you?"
"I have attested copies," replied Mr. Marlow, "and I can bring them to you in a moment. They are so unusually clear, and seem to put the matter so completely beyond all doubt, that I brought them down to satisfy Mrs. Hazleton and her solicitor, without farther trouble, that my demand at least had some foundation in justice."
The papers were immediately brought, and sitting down deliberately, Sir Philip Hastings went through them with his young friend, carefully weighing every word. They left not even a doubt on his mind; they seemed not to leave a chance even for the chicanery of the law, they were clear, precise, and definite. And the generosity of the young man's offer stood out even more conspicuously than before.
"For my part, I am completely satisfied," said Sir Philip Hastings, when he had done the examination, "and I have no doubt that Mrs. Hazleton will be so likewise. She is an excellent and amiable person, as well as a very beautiful woman. Have you known her long? have you seen her often?"
"Only once, and that about a year ago," replied Mr. Marlow; "she is indeed very beautiful as you say—for a woman of her period of life remarkably so; she puts me very much in mind of my mother, whom I in the confidence of youthful affection used to call 'my everlasting.' I recollect doing so only three days before the hand of death wrote upon her brow the vanity of all such earthly thoughts."
Sir Philip Hastings was satisfied. There was nothing like passion there. Unobservant as he was in most things, he was more clear-sighted in regard to matters of love, than any other affection of the human mind. He had himself loved deeply and intensely, and he had not forgotten it.
It was necessary, before any thing could be concluded, to wait for Mrs. Hazleton's rising on the following morning; and, bidding Mr. Marlow good night with a warm grasp of the hand, Sir Philip Hastings retired to his room and passed nearly an hour in thought, pondering the character of his new acquaintance, recalling every trait he had remarked, and every word he had heard. It was a very satisfactory contemplation. He never remembered to have met with one who seemed so entirely a being after his own heart. There might be little flaws, little weaknesses perhaps, but the confirming power of time and experience would, he thought, strengthen all that was good, and counsel and example remedy all that was weak or light.
"At all events," thought the Baronet, "his conduct on this occasion shows a noble and equitable spirit. We shall see how Mrs. Hazleton meets it to-morrow."
When that morrow came, he had to see the reverse of the picture, but it must be reserved for another chapter.
Mrs. Hazleton was up in the morning early. She was at all times an early riser, for she well knew what a special conservator of beauty is the morning dew, but on this occasion certain feelings of impatience made her a little earlier than usual. Besides, she knew that Sir Philip Hastings was always a matutinal man, and would certainly be in the library before she was down. Nor was she disappointed. There she found the Baronet reaching up his hand to take down Livy, after having just replaced Tacitus.
"It is a most extraordinary thing, my dear madam," said Sir Philip, after the salutation of the morning, "and puzzles me more than I can explain."
Mrs. Hazleton fancied that her friend had discovered some very knotty point in the case with Mr. Marlow, and she rejoiced, for her object was not to emulate but to entangle. Sir Philip, however, went on to put her out of all patience by saying, "How the Romans, so sublimely virtuous at one period of their history, could fall into so debased and corrupt a state as we find described even by Sallust, and depicted in more frightful colors still by the latter historians of the empire."
Mrs. Hazleton, as I have said, was out of all patience, and ladies in that state sometimes have recourse to homely illustration. "Their virtue got addled, I suppose," she replied, "by too long keeping. Virtue is an egg that won't bear sitting upon—but now do tell me, Sir Philip, had you any conversation with Mr. Marlow last night upon this troublesome affair of mine?"
"I had, my dear madam," replied Sir Philip, with a very faint smile, for Sir Philip could not well bear any jesting on the Romans. "I did not only converse with Mr. Marlow on the subject, but I examined carefully the papers he brought down with him, and perceived at once that you have not the shadow of a title to the property in question."
Mrs. Hazleton's brow grew dark, and she replied in a somewhat sullen tone, "You decided against me very rapidly, Sir Philip. I hope you did not let Mr. Marlow see your strong prepossession—opinion I mean to say—in his favor."
"Entirely," replied Sir Philip Hastings.
Mrs. Hazleton was silent, and gazed down upon the carpet as if she were counting the threads of which it was composed, and finding the calculation by no means satisfactory.
Sir Philip let her gaze on for some time, for he was not very easily moved to compassion in cases where he saw dishonesty of purpose as well as suffering. At length, however, he said, "My judgment is not binding upon you in the least; I tell you simply, my dear madam, what is my conclusion, and the law will tell you the same."
"We shall see," muttered Mrs. Hazleton between her teeth; but then putting on a softer air she asked, "Tell me, Sir Philip, would you, if you were in my situation, tamely give up a property which was honestly bought and paid for, without making one struggle to retain it?"
"The moment I was convinced I had no legal right to it," replied Sir Philip. "However, the law is still open to you, if you think it better to resist; but before you take your determination, you had better hear what Mr. Marlow proposes, and you will pardon me for expressing to you what I did not express to him: an opinion that his proposal is founded upon the noblest view of equity."
"Indeed," said Mrs. Hazleton, with her eyes brightening, "pray let me hear this proposal."
Sir Philip explained it to her most distinctly, expecting that she would be both surprised and pleased, and never doubted that she would accept it instantly. Whether she was surprised or not, did not appear, but pleased she certainly was not to any great extent, for she did not wish the matter to be so soon concluded. She began to make objections immediately. "The enormous expense of building this house has not been taken into consideration at all, and it will be very necessary to have the original papers examined before any thing is decided. There are two sides to every question, my dear Sir Philip, and we cannot tell that other papers may not be found, disentailing this estate before the sale took place."
"This is impossible," answered Sir Philip Hastings, "if the papers exhibited to me are genuine, for this young gentleman, on whom, as his father's eldest son, the estate devolved by the entail, was not born when the sale took place. By his act only could it be disentailed, and as he was not born, he could perform no such act."
He pressed her hard in his cold way, and it galled her sorely.
"Perhaps they are not genuine," she said at length.
"They are all attested," replied Sir Philip, "and he himself proposes that the originals should be examined as the basis of the whole transaction."
"That is absolutely necessary," said Mrs. Hazleton, well satisfied to put off decision even for a time. But Sir Philip would not leave her even that advantage.
"I think," he said, "you must at once decide whether you accept his proposal, on condition that the examination of the papers proves the justice of his claim to the satisfaction of those you may appoint to examine it. If there are any doubts and difficulties to be raised afterwards, he might as well proceed by law at once."
"Then let him go to law," exclaimed Mrs. Hazleton with a flashing eye. "If he do, I will defend every step to the utmost of my power."
"Incur enormous expense, give yourself infinite pain and mortification, and ruin a fine estate by a spirit of unnecessary and unjust resistance," added Sir Philip, in a calm and somewhat contemptuous tone.
"Really, Sir Philip, you press me too hard," exclaimed Mrs. Hazleton in a tone of angry mortification, and, sitting down to the table, she actually wept.
"I only press you for your own good," answered the Baronet, not at all moved, "you are perhaps not aware that if this gentleman's claim is just, and you resist it, the whole costs will fall upon you. All that could be expected of him was to submit his claim to arbitration, but he now does more; he proposes, if arbitration pronounce it just, to make sacrifices of his legal rights to the amount of many thousand pounds. He is not bound to refund one penny paid for this estate, he is entitled to back rents for a considerable number of years, and yet he offers to repay the money, and far from demanding the back rents, to make compensation for any loss of interest that may have been sustained by this investment. There are few men in England, let me tell you, who would have made such a proposal, and if you refuse it you will never have such another."
"Do not you think, Sir Philip," asked Mrs. Hazleton sharply, "that he never would have made such a proposal if he had not known there was something wrong about his title?"
Now there was something in this question which doubly provoked Sir Philip Hastings. He never could endure a habit which some ladies have of recurring continually to points previously disposed of, and covering the reiteration by merely putting objections in a new form. Now the question as to the validity of Mr. Marlow's title, he looked upon as entirely disposed of by the proposal of investigation and arbitration. But there was something more than this; the very question which the lady put showed an incapacity for conceiving any generous motive, which thoroughly disgusted him, and, turning with a quiet step to the window, he looked down upon the lawn which spread far away between two ranges of tall fine wood, glowing in the yellow sunshine of a dewy autumnal morning. It was the most favorable thing he could have done for Mrs. Hazleton. Even the finest and the strongest and the stoutest minds are more frequently affected unconsciously by external things than any one is aware of. The sweet influences or the irritating effects of fine or bad weather, of beautiful or tame scenery, of small cares and petty disappointments, of pleasant associations or unpleasant memories, nay of a thousand accidental circumstances, and even fancies themselves, will affect considerations totally distinct and apart, as the blue or yellow panes of a stained glass window cast a melancholy hue or a yellow splendor upon the statue and carvings of the cold gray stone.
As Sir Philip gazed forth upon the fair scene before his eyes, and thought what a lovely spot it was, how calm, how peaceful, how refreshing in its influence, he said to himself, "No wonder she is unwilling to part with it."
Then again, there was a hare gambolling upon the lawn, at a distance of about a hundred yards from the house, now scampering along and beating up the dew from the morning grass, now crouched nearly flat so as hardly to be seen among the tall green blades, then hopping quietly along with an awkward, shuffling gait, or sitting up on its hind legs, with raised ears, listening to some distant sound; but still as it resumed its gambols, again going round and round, tracing upon the green sward a labyrinth of meandering lines. Sir Philip watched it for several moments with a faint smile, and then said to himself, "It is the beast's nature—why not a woman's?"
Turning himself round he saw Mrs. Hazleton, sitting at the table with her head leaning in a melancholy attitude upon her hand, and he replied to her last words, though he had before fully made up his mind to give them no answer whatever.
"The question in regard to title, my dear madam," he said, "is one which is to be decided by others. Employ a competent person, and he will insure, by full investigation, that your rights are maintained entire. Your acceptance of Mr. Marlow's proposals contingent on the full recognition of his claim, will be far from prejudicing your case, should any flaw in your title be discovered. On the contrary, should the decision of a point of law be required, it will put you well with the court. By frankly doing so, you also meet him in the same spirit in which I am sure he comes to you; and as I am certain he has a very high sense of equity, I think he will be well inclined to enter into any arrangement which may be for your convenience. From what he has said himself, I do not believe he can afford to keep such an establishment as is necessary for this house, and if you cling to it, as you may well do, doubtless it may remain your habitation as long as you please at a very moderate rent. Every other particular I think may be settled in the same manner, if you will but show a spirit of conciliation, and——"
"I am sure I have done that," said Mrs. Hazleton, interrupting him. "However, Sir Philip, I will leave it all to you. You must act for me in this business. If you think it right, I will accept the proposal conditionally as you mention, and the title can be examined fully whenever we can fix upon the time and the person. All this is very hard upon me, I do think; but I suppose I must submit with a good grace."
"It is certainly the best plan," replied Sir Philip; and while Mrs. Hazleton retired to efface the traces of tears from her eyelids, the Baronet walked into the drawing-room, where he was soon after joined by Mr. Marlow. He merely told him, however, that he had conversed with the lady of the house, and that she would give him her answer in person. Now, whatever were Mrs. Hazleton's wishes or intentions, she certainly was not well satisfied with the precise and rapid manner in which Sir Philip brought matters of business to an end. His last words, however, had afforded her a glimmering prospect of somewhat lengthy and frequent communication between herself and Mr. Marlow, and one thing is certain, that she did not at all desire the transaction between them to be concluded too briefly. At the same time, it was not her object to appear otherwise than in the most favorable light to his eyes; and consequently, when she entered the drawing-room she held out her hand to him with a gracious though somewhat melancholy smile, saying, "I have had a long conversation with Sir Philip this morning, Mr. Marlow, concerning the very painful business which brought you here. I agree at once to your proposal in regard to the arbitration and the rest;" and she then went on to speak of the whole business as if she had made not the slightest resistance whatever, but had been struck at once by the liberality of his proposals, and by the sense of equity which they displayed. Sir Philip took little notice of all this; for he had fallen into one of his fits of musing, and Mr. Marlow had quitted the room to bring some of the papers for the purpose of showing them to Mrs. Hazleton, before the Baronet awoke out of his reverie. The younger gentleman returned a moment after, and he and Sir Philip and Mrs. Hazleton were busily looking at a long list of certificates of births, deaths and marriages, when the door opened, and Mr. Shanks, the attorney, entered the room, booted, spurred, and dusty as if from a long ride. He was a man to whom Sir Philip had a great objection; but he said nothing, and the attorney with a tripping step advanced towards Mrs. Hazleton.
The lady looked confused and annoyed, and in a hasty manner put back the papers into Mr. Marlow's hand. But Mr. Shanks was one of the keen and observing men of the world. He saw every thing about him as if he had been one of those insects which have I do not know how many thousand pair of lenses in each eye. He had no scruples or hesitation either; he was all sight and all remark, and a lady of any kind was not at all the person to inspire him with reverence.
He was, in short, all law, and loved nothing, respected nothing, but law.
"Dear me, Mrs. Hazleton," he exclaimed, "I did not expect to find you so engaged. These seem to be law papers—very dangerous, indeed, madam, for unprofessional persons to meddle with such things. Permit me to look at them;" and he held out his hand towards Mr. Marlow, as if expecting to receive the papers without a word of remonstrance. But Mr. Marlow held them back, saying, in a very calm, civil tone, "Excuse me, sir! We are conversing over the matter in a friendly manner; and I shall show them to a lawyer only at Mrs. Hazleton's request."
"Very improper—that is, I mean to say very unprofessional!" exclaimed Mr. Shanks, "and let me say very hazardous too," rejoined the lawyer abruptly; but Mrs. Hazleton herself interposed, saying in a marked tone and with an air of dignity which did not always characterize her demeanor towards her "right hand man," as she was accustomed sometimes to designate Mr. Shanks, "We do not desire any interference at this moment, my good sir. I appointed you at twelve o'clock. It is not yet nine." "O I can see, I can see," replied Mr. Shanks, while Sir Philip Hastings advanced a step or two, "his worship here never was a friend of mine, and has no objection to take a job or two out of my hands at any time."
"We have nothing to do with jobs, sir," said Sir Philip Hastings, in his usual dry tone, "but at all events we do not wish you to make a job where there is none."
"I must take the liberty, however, of warning that lady, sir," said Mr. Shanks, with the pertinacity of a parrot, which he so greatly resembled, "as her legal adviser, sir, that if——"
"That if she sends for an attorney, she wants him at the time she appoints," interposed Sir Philip; "that was what you were about to say, I suppose."
"Not at all, sir, not at all," exclaimed the lawyer; for very shrewd and very oily lawyers will occasionally forget their caution and their coolness when they see the prospect of a loss of fees before them. "I was going to say no such thing. I was going to warn her not to meddle with matters of business of which she can understand nothing, by the advice of those who know less, and who may have jobs of their own to settle while they are meddling with hers." "And I warn you to quit this room, sir," said Sir Philip Hastings, a bright spot coming into his usually pale cheek; "the lady has already expressed her opinion upon your intrusion, and depend upon it, I will enforce mine."
"I shall do no such thing, sir, till I have fully——"
He said no more, for before he could conclude the sentence, the hand of Sir Philip Hastings was upon his collar with the grasp of a giant, and although he was a tall and somewhat powerful man, the Baronet dragged him to the door in despite of his half-choking struggles, as a nurse would haul along a baby, pulled him across the stone hall, and opening the outer door with his left hand, shot him down the steps without any ceremony; leaving him with his hands and knees upon the terrace.
This done, the Baronet returned into the house again, closing the door behind him. He then paused in the hall for an instant, reproaching himself for certain over-quick beatings of the heart, tranquillized his whole look and demeanor, and then returning to the drawing-room, resumed the conversation with Mrs. Hazleton, as if nothing had ever occurred to interrupt it.
Mrs. Hazleton was or affected to be a good deal flustered by the event which had just taken place, but after a number of certain graceful attitudes, assumed without the slightest appearance of affectation, she recovered her calmness, and proceeded with the business in hand. That business was soon terminated, so far as the full and entire acceptance of Mr. Marlow's proposal went, and immediately after the conclusion of breakfast, Sir Philip Hastings ordered his horses to depart. Mrs. Hazleton fain would have detained him, for she foresaw that his going might be a signal for Mr. Marlow's going also, and it was not a part of her policy to assume the matronly character so distinctly as to invite him to remain in her house alone. Sir Philip however was inexorable, and returned to his own dwelling, renewing his invitation to his new acquaintance.
Mrs. Hazleton bade him adieu, with the greatest appearance of cordiality; but I am very much afraid, if one had possessed the power of looking into her heart, one would have a picture very different from that presented by her face. Sir Philip Hastings had said and done things since he had entered her dwelling the night before, which Mrs. Hazleton was not a woman to forget or forgive. He had thwarted her schemes, he had mortified her vanity, he had wounded her pride; and she was one of those women who bide their time, but have a strong tenacity of resentments.
When he was gone, however, she played a new game with Mr. Marlow. She insisted upon his remaining for the day, but with a fine sense of external proprieties, she informed him that she expected a charming elderly lady of her acquaintance to pass a few days with her, to whom she should particularly like to introduce him.
This was false, be it remarked; but she immediately took measures to make it true. Now, there is in every neighborhood more than one of that class called good creatures. For this office, an abundant store of real or assumed soft stupidity is required; but it is a somewhat difficult part to play, for with this stupidity there must also be a considerable portion of fine tact, to guard the performer against any of those blunders into which good-natured people are continually plunging. Drill and discipline are also necessary, in order to be always on the look out for hints, to appreciate them properly, to comprehend that friends may say one thing and mean another, and to ask no questions of any kind. There were no less than three of these good creatures in this Mrs. Hazleton's immediate neighborhood; and during a few moments' retreat to her own little writing-room, she laid her finger upon her fair temple, and thought them well over. Mrs. Winifred Edgeby was the first who suggested herself to the mind of the fair lady. She had many of the requisites. She dressed well, talked well, and had an air of style and fashion about her; was perfectly innocuous, and skilful in divining the purposes and wishes of a friend or patron; but there was an occasional touch of subacrid humor about her which Mrs. Hazleton did not half like. It gave an impression of seeing too clearly, of perceiving much more than she pretended to perceive.
The second was Mrs. Warmington, a widow, not very rich, and not indeed very refined; gay, talkative, somewhat boisterous, yet full of a sound discretion in never committing herself or a friend. She had also much experience, for she had been twice married, and twice a widow, and thus had had her misfortunes. The third was a Miss Goodenough, the most silent, quiet, stilly person in the world, moving about the house with the step of a cat, and a face of infinite good nature to the whole human race. She was to all appearance the pink of gentleness and weak good nature; but her silence was invaluable.
After some consideration Mrs. Hazleton decided upon the widow, and instantly dispatched a note with her own carriage, begging Mrs. Warmington to come over immediately and spend a few days with her, as a young gentleman had arrived upon a visit, and it would be indecorous to entertain him alone.
Mrs. Warmington understood it all in an instant. She said to herself, "Ho, ho! a young gentleman come to stay!—wanted a duenna! Matrimony in the wind! Heigho! she must be six and thirty—six and thirty from two and fifty leave sixteen points against me, and long odds. Well, well,—I have had my share;" and Mrs. Warmington laughed aloud. However, she would neither keep Mrs. Hazleton's carriage waiting, nor Mrs. Hazleton herself in suspense, for there were various little comforts and conveniences in the good will of that lady which Mrs. Warmington was eager to cultivate. She had, too, a shrewd suspicion that the enmity of Mrs. Hazleton might become a thing to be seriously dreaded; and therefore, whichever side of the question she looked at, she saw reasons for seeking the beautiful widow's good graces. Her maid was called, her clothes packed up, and she entered the carriage and drove away, while in the mean time Mrs. Hazleton had been expatiating to Mr. Marlow upon all the high qualities and points of excellence in her friend Mrs. Warmington. She was too skilful, moreover, to bring her good taste and judgment into question with her young friend, by raising expectations which might be disappointed. She therefore threw in insinuations of a few faults and failings in dear Madam Warmington's manner and demeanor. But then she said she was such a good creature at heart, that although the very fastidious affected to censure, she herself forgot all little blemishes in the inherent excellence of the person.
Moreover, upon the plea of looking at the ground which was the subject of Mr. Marlow's claim, she led him out for a long, pleasant ramble through the park. She took him amongst old hawthorn trees, through groves of chestnuts by the banks of the stream, and along paths where the warm sunshine played through the brown and yellow leaves above, gilding their companions which had fallen earlier than themselves to the sward below. It was a very lover-like walk indeed—one where nature speaks to the heart, wakening sweet influences, and charming the spirit up from hard and cold indifference. Mrs. Hazleton felt sure that Mr. Marlow would not forget that walk, and she took care to impress it as deeply as possible upon his memory. Nor did she want any of the means to do so. Her mind was highly cultivated for the age in which she lived, her taste fine, her information extensive. She could discourse of foreign lands, of objects and scenes of deep interest, great beauty, and rich associations,—of courts and cities far away, of music, painting, flowers in other lands, of climates rich in sunshine and of genial warmth; and through the whole she had the art to throw a sort of magic glow from her own mind which brightened all she spoke of.
She was very charming that day, indeed, and Mr. Marlow felt the spell, but he did not fall in love.
Now what was the object of using all these powers upon him? Was Mrs. Hazleton a person very susceptible, or very covetous of the tender passion? Since her return to England she had refused some half-dozen very eligible offers from handsome, agreeable, estimable men, and the world in general had set her down for a person as cold as a stone. It might be so, but there are some stones which, when you heat them, acquire intense fervor, and retain it longer than any other substance. Every body in the world has his peculiarities, his whims, caprices, crochets if you will. Mrs. Hazleton had gazed over the handsome, the glittering and the gay, with the most perfect indifference. She had listened to professions of love with a tranquil, easy balance power, which weighed to a grain the advantages of matrimony and widowhood, without suffering the dust of passion to give even a shake to the scale. Before the preceding night she had only seen Mr. Marlow once, but the moment she set eyes upon him—the moment she heard his voice, she had said to herself, "If ever I marry again, that is the man." There is no explaining these sympathetic attractions, impulses, or whatever they may be called; but I think, from some observation of human nature, it will be found that in those persons where they are the least frequent, they are the most powerful and persevering when they do exist.
Not long after their first meeting, some intimation occurred of a claim on the part of Mr. Marlow to a portion of the lady's property—that portion that she loved best. The very idea of parting with it at all, of being forced to give it up, was most painful and distressing to her. Yet that made no difference whatever in her feelings towards Mr. Marlow. Communications of various kinds took place between lawyers, and the opposite counsel were as firm as a rock. Mrs. Hazleton thought it very hard, very unjust, very wrong; but that changed not in the least her feelings towards Mr. Marlow. Nay more, with that delicate art of combination in which ladies are formed to excel, she conceived and manipulated with great dexterity a scheme for bringing herself and Mr. Marlow into frequent personal communication, and for causing somebody to suggest to him a marriage with her own beautiful self, as the best mode of settling the disputed claim.
O those fine and delicate threads of intrigue, how frail they are, and how much depends upon every one of them, be it in the warp or the woof of a scheme! We have seen that in this case, one of them gave way under the rough handling of Sir Philip Hastings, and the whole fabric was in imminent danger of running down and becoming nothing but a raveled skein. Mrs. Hazleton was resolved that it should not be so, and now she was busily engaged in the attempt to knot together the broken thread, and to lay all the others straight and in right order again. This was the secret of the whole matter.
She exerted all her charms, and could Waller but have seen her we should have had such an account of the artillery of her eyes, the insidious attack of her smile, and the whole host of powerful adversaries brought to bear against the object of her assault in her gracefully moving form and heaving bosom, that Saccharissa would have melted away like a wet lump of sugar in the comparison.
Then again when she had produced an effect, and saw clear and distinctly that he thought her lovely, and very charming too, she seemed to fall into a pleasant sort of languid melancholy, which was even more charming still. The brook was bubbling and murmuring at their feet, dashing clear and bright over its stony bed, and changing the brown rock, the water weed, or the leaf beneath, into gems by the magic of its own brightness. The boughs were waving over head, covered with many-colored foliage, and the sun, glancing through, not only enriched the tints above, but checkered the mossy path along which they wandered like a chess-board of brown and gold. Some of the late autumn birds uttered their short sweet songs from the copse hard by, and the musical wind came sighing up from the valley, as if nature had furnished Eolus with a harp. It was in short quite a scene, and a moment for a widow to make love to a young man. They were silent for some little time, and then Mrs. Hazleton said, with her soft, sweet, round voice, "Is not all this very charming, Mr. Marlow?"
Her tone was quite a sad one, but not with that sort of pleasant sadness which often mingles with our happiest moments, giving them even a higher zest, like the flattened notes when a fine piece of music passes gently from the major into the minor key, but really sad, profoundly sad.
"Very charming, indeed," replied her young companion, looking round to her face with some surprise.
"And what am I to do without it, when you turn me out of my house?" said the lady, answering his glance with a melancholy smile.
"Turn you out of your house!" exclaimed Mr. Marlow; "I hope you do not suppose, my dear madam, that I could dream of such a thing. Oh, no! I would not for the world deprive such a scene of its brightest ornament. Some arrangement can be easily effected, even if my claim should prove satisfactory to those you appoint to investigate it, by which the neighborhood will not be deprived of the happiness of your presence."
Mrs. Hazleton felt that she had made a great step, and as she well knew that there was no chance of his proposing then and there, she resolved not to risk losing ground by any farther advance, even while she secured some present benefits from that which was gained. "Well, well," she said, "Mr. Marlow, I am quite sure you are very kind and very generous, and we can talk of that matter hereafter. Only there is one thing you must promise me, which is, that in regard to any arrangements respecting the house you will not leave them to be settled by cold lawyers or colder friends, who cannot enter into my feelings in regard to this place, or your own liberal and kindly feelings either. Let us settle it some day between ourselves," she added, with a light laugh, "in a tete-a-tete like this. I do not suppose you are afraid of being overreached by me in a bargain. But now let us turn our steps back towards the house, for I expect Mrs. Warmington early, and I must not be absent when she arrives."
Mrs. Warmington was there already; for the tete-a-tete had lasted longer than Mrs. Hazleton knew. However, Mrs. Hazleton's first task was to inform her fair friend and counsellor of the cause of Mr. Marlow's being there; her next to tell her that all had been settled as to the claim, by that tiresome man Sir Philip Hastings, without what she considered due deliberation, and that the only thing which remained to be arranged was in regard to the house, respecting which Mrs. Hazleton communicated a certain portion of her own inclinations, and of Mr. Marlow's kind view of the matter.
Now, strange to say, this was the turning point of fate for Mrs. Hazleton, Mr. Marlow, and most of the persons mentioned in this history. It was then that Mrs. Warmington suggested a scheme which she thought would suit her friend well.
"Why do you not offer him in exchange—for the time at all events—your fine old house on the side of Hartwell—Hartwell Place? It is only seven miles off. It is ready furnished to his hand, and must be worth a great deal more than the bare walls of this. Besides it would be pleasant to have him in the neighborhood."
Pause, Mrs. Hazleton! pause and meditate over all the consequences; for be assured much depends upon these few simple words.
Mrs. Hazleton did pause—Mrs. Hazleton did meditate. She ran over in her head the list of all the families in the neighborhood. In none of them could she see a probable rival. There were plenty of married women, old maids, young girls; but she saw nobody to fear, and with a proud consciousness of her own beauty and worth, she took her resolution. That very evening she proposed to Mr. Marlow what her friend had suggested. It was accepted.
Mrs. Hazleton had made one miscalculation, and her fate and Mr. Marlow's were decided.
 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by G. P. R. James, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
CHARLES MACKAY'S LAST POEMS.
We always read the poems of Charles Mackay, who, though not of the highest class, even of the living poets of England, is yet earnest, sensible, and good-hearted, and has always a point, and generally some happy fancies, in his least considered pieces. He has published two collections of short poems, one entitled "Voices from the Crowd," and the other and last, "Egeria, or the Spirit of Nature," &c. from which we take the following specimens:
WHY THIS LONGING?
Why this longing, clay-clad spirit? Why this fluttering of thy wings? Why this striving to discover Hidden and transcendent things? Be contented in thy prison, Thy captivity shall cease— Taste the good that smiles before thee; Restless spirit, be at peace!
With the roar of wintry forests, With the thunder's crash and roll, With the rush of stormy water, Thou wouldst sympathize, O soul! Thou wouldst ask them mighty questions In a language of their own, Untranslatable to mortals, Yet not utterly unknown.
Thou wouldst fathom Life and Being, Thou wouldst see through Birth and Death, Thou wouldst solve the eternal riddle— Thou a speck, a ray, a breath, Thou wouldst look at stars and systems, As if thou couldst understand All the harmonies of Nature, Struck by an Almighty hand.
With thy feeble logic, tracing Upward from effect to cause, Thou art foiled by Nature's barriers, And the limits of her laws. Be at peace, thou struggling spirit! Great Eternity denies The unfolding of its secrets In the circle of thine eyes.
Be contented with thy freedom— Dawning is not perfect day; There are truths thou canst not fathom, Swaddled in thy robes of clay. Rest in hope that if thy circle Grow not wider here in Time, God's Eternity shall give thee Power of vision more sublime.
Clogged and bedded in the darkness, Little germ abide thine hour, Thoul't expand in proper season, Into blossom, into flower. Humble faith alone becomes thee In the glooms where thou art lain: Bright is the appointed future; Wait—thou shalt not wait in vain.
Cease thy struggling, feeble spirit! Fret not at thy prison bars; Never shall thy mortal pinions Make the circuit of the stars. Here on Earth are duties for thee, Suited to thine earthly scope; Seek them, thou Immortal Spirit— God is with thee—work in hope.
YOU AND I.
Who would scorn his humble fellow For the coat he wears? For the poverty he suffers? For his daily cares? Who would pass him in the footway With averted eye? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who, when vice or crime repentant, With a grief sincere Asked for pardon, would refuse it— More than heaven severe? Who to erring woman's sorrow Would with taunts reply? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who would say that all who differ From his sect must be Wicked sinners, heaven-rejected, Sunk in Error's sea, And consign them to perdition With a holy sigh? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who would say that six days' cheating, In the shop or mart, Might be rubbed by Sunday praying From the tainted heart, If the Sunday face were solemn, And the credit high? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who would say that Vice is Virtue In a hall of State? Or that rogues are not dishonest If they dine off plate? Who would say Success and Merit Ne'er part company? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who would give a cause his efforts When the cause is strong, But desert it on its failure, Whether right or wrong? Ever siding with the upmost, Letting downmost lie? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
Who would lend his arm to strengthen Warfare with the right? Who would give his pen to blacken Freedom's page of light? Who would lend his tongue to utter Praise of tyranny? Would you, brother? No—you would not. If you would—not I.
"A people among whom Charles Mackay is a popular writer," says the Dublin University Magazine, "must possess largely the elements of greatness and the reality of goodness."
THE COUNT MONTE-LEONE, OR, THE SPY IN SOCIETY.
TRANSLATED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE FROM THE FRENCH OF H. DE ST. GEORGES.
Continued from page 229.
Second crime: A cold and deliberate attempt upon the life of Stenio Salvatori, on the public square of Torre-del-Greco. The Count listened to this harangue without emotion. "Bring in," said the judge, "both the witnesses and the plaintiffs, for they have a double quality."
At this summons, a man of stern and moody aspect appeared, with his hair and dress in great disorder. He was sustained by two others, and the group paused at the foot of the balcony, where the judges sat.
"Your name?" said the Grand Judge, to the eldest of the three.
"Stenio Salvatori," said one.
"Your names?" asked the Grand Judge, of the other two.
"You swear before God to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
"I swear," said each of them.
"Do you persist in your accusation against Count Monte-Leone?"
"I do," said they.
"The Count," continued Francesco, "presided over the Venta at Pompeia, where he was seen by my brothers and myself. In our presence he administered the oath to two of the neophytes of the society. They promised to contribute by every means in their power to the dethronement of our well-beloved sovereign Fernando IV., and to destroy monarchy forever in our country. The associates of the Count," added Raphael and Francesco, "discovered us listening to them, and our energy and strength alone preserved us from their poniards."
"And my energy and strength," said Stenio, with an accent of rage, as he sprang unexpectedly from the bench on which he sat and pointed to Monte-Leone, "were able to contend with difficulty against the iron hand and poniard of this man." Then tearing up the cuff which hid his wound, he showed the judges a deep and blood-stained stab. A feeling of horror took possession of all the assembly. Every eye was fixed on Monte-Leone, who seemed unconscious of the sentiment he inspired.
"The Count avenged himself on one of us, because we did our duty in denouncing him," said Francesco Salvatori.
"He would have murdered us all had he been able," said Raphael.
"Stenio," resumed Francesco, "has atoned for all the family."
"And we ask," said Stenio, with a terrible voice, "we ask justice on the assassin! We demand it of God, the king, and the judges."
The tall stature of Stenio, his pallor heightened by anger, and the bloody arm he intentionally exposed, made such an impression on the spectators that a murmur of approbation ran round the room. More numerous voices, however, soon drowned it.
"Count Monte-Leone, have you prepared yourself to reply to these accusations, or have you chosen a defender?"
"Name him," said the Grand Judge.
"My defender is Stenio Salvatori, my accuser."
Nothing could exceed the surprise caused by these words, not only in the minds of the three witnesses, but of the court and public.
"Count," said the Grand Judge, solemnly, "you must remember this accusation is a solemn one; that you are accused of two crimes, the punishment of which is known to you. Such an answer testifies your small respect to this court, and must injure a cause which needs to be ably defended."
"Signor," replied Monte-Leone, "it is because I recognize the great importance of the cause, that I confide to this man the duty of exonerating me from it. He alone can do so: his mouth alone, his lips, will demonstrate my innocence. Stenio Salvatori says, he saw me preside at the Venta of Pompeia."
"I did," said Stenio, rising again.
"He says I stabbed him at his threshold in the town of Torre-del-Greco."
"I do," said Stenio.
"You see clearly, Signori," continued the Count, speaking to the court, "that this man is establishing my case distinctly, as he saw me neither at Pompeia nor at Torre-del-Greco. The day on which he, his brothers, and the people of the latter town, say they saw me, I was imprisoned in a cell of the Castle Del Uovo, an impenetrable prison whence it is impossible for any human creature to escape, and whence none saw me go."
Bravos filled the hall. The Count was triumphing.
"Signori," said the Grand Judge, rising, "such applause is an insult to the court, and if it be renewed, the trial will be continued with closed doors." Silence was restored.
"Do not believe him," said Stenio, turning towards the auditors and showing his bloody arm. "He was the person who wounded me."
"Justice shall be done," said the Grand Judge. "Signori, a series of secret and minute inquiries instituted in the Castle Del Uovo, the examination of the employers of the fortress and the confronting of the gate-keeper, a man of known piety, and the head jailer, one of the most severe and incorruptible of Naples, have been unable to show how the Count Monte-Leone contrived to escape from prison. In the face of such complete evidence of his having remained in the prison, in the face of the report of the minister of police who visited the prison a few hours after the commission of the crime at Torre-del-Greco, we could not but recognize the innocence of the Count, and fancy that something had led to a mistake in his person. A strange and providential circumstance makes us doubt the innocence of the Count, and though the means of his escape from the castle be unknown to us, we persist in thinking him guilty as accused."
The interest and emotion of the audience was as great as it could be; and the words of the Grand Judge were listened to with the most intense anxiety. At that moment three hearts almost ceased to beat—that of the veiled woman, that of the young man who had replied to her signal, and that of Count Monte-Leone, though his features were unmoved.
"The Count," resumed the Grand Judge, "possesses a family jewel, a ring of immense price, one of the chef-d'oeuvres of Benvenuto Cellini. This ring he rarely lays aside, as we learn from many witnesses, and a secret superstition induces him always to wear it. Did he hide it from the jailers at the time of his incarceration, or did he obtain possession of it on his way to Torre-del-Greco? This has not as yet been demonstrated: one thing, however, is certain, he lost this jewel in his contest with Stenio Salvatori, who, having obtained possession of it, placed it in the hands of his Excellency the Duke of Palma, as a positive and incontestable evidence of the criminality of the Count. This mute witness is here," said the Grand Judge, who as he spoke exhibited a sparkling brilliant to the audience.
The judges took the emerald, and silently looked at it. When the Grand Judge first spoke of the emerald, the Count was satisfied that he was lost, and drops of icy sweat coursed down his cheeks. But yet his courage and energy, even when he saw the emerald in the hands of the judges, did not desert him, and he struggled against the new danger which had beset him in so strange and unexpected a manner.
"This ring," said he, pointing to the emerald, "is a fortune in itself, and may have been stolen from me."
The Grand Judge arose to reply, when an old man advanced toward the tribunal, pushing aside all who opposed his passage, and in spite of the resistance of the ushers and guards, reached the foot of the balcony on which the judges sat. With tears and an excited voice he said:
"The ring has not been stolen! It has not left our jewel closet, and I have brought it to the judges."
"Do not believe him," said the Salvatori, "he deceives you. This is the Count's ring."
"Silence, impostors!" said the old man. "I learned yesterday, from public rumor, the story of our ring being lost by Count Monte-Leone, the intendant of whom I am, and I have brought the precious jewel hither to confound our accusers."
Nothing could equal the effect produced by Giacomo's words. The court itself participated in the surprise, and the Grand Judge, making the old servant approach, took the jewel from his hand.
"Two rings!" said he, amazed; "two similar emeralds! Signori," said he, speaking to the court, "this event again changes the face of this trial. One of these jewels is evidently a copy of the other, such as the hand of a great artist alone can produce. There was, however, never but one Benvenuto in the world, and it will be easy to distinguish his work."
The words of the Grand Judge increased the agitation of the crowd. The Count, whom his friends thought saved, lost by the discovery of the emerald, and again restored by the testimony of Giacomo, became every moment an object of new interest and more intense curiosity. If we must use the word, pity for him increased. Every step taken seemed to bring his head nearer to or to remove it farther from the executioner. Just here this event interrupted the session of the court.
The judges retired to their room, the Salvatori to the witness chamber, until the experts, whom the president had sent for, should come. The interval between the acts, however, was filled by a touching episode which deeply excited the audience. Giacomo, taking advantage of the departure of the judges, hurried to his master, fell at his knees, and covered his hand with kisses.