Again Mr. Cram's great keys were put in motion, and he opened the grate to let them pass, eyeing John Ayliffe with considerable attention as he did so. Locking the grate carefully behind him, he lighted them on with his lantern, muttering as he went in the peculiar prison slang of those days, various sentences not very complimentary to the tastes and habits of young John Ayliffe, "Ay, ay," he said, "clerk be damned! One of Tom's pals, for a pint and a boiled bone—droll I don't know him. He must be twenty, and ought to have been in the stone pitcher often enough before now. Dare say he's been sent to Mill Dol, for some minor. That's not in my department, I shall have the darbies on him some day. He'd look handsome under the tree."
John Ayliffe had a strong inclination to knock him down, but he restrained himself, and at length a large plated iron door admitted the two gentlemen into the penetralia of the temple.
A powerful smell of aqua vitae and other kinds of strong waters now pervaded the atmosphere, mingled with that close sickly odor which is felt where great numbers of uncleanly human beings are closely packed together; and from some distance was heard the sounds of riotous merriment, ribald song, and hoarse, unfeeling laugh, with curses and execrations not a few. It was a time when the abominations of the prison system were at their height.
"Here, you step in here," said Mr. Cram to the attorney and his companion, "and I'll bring Tom to you in a minute. He's having a lush with some of his pals; though I thought we were going to have a mill, for Jack Perkins, who is to be hanged o' Monday, roused out his slack jaw at him for some quarrel about a gal, and Tom don't bear such like easily. Howsumdever, they made it up and clubbed a gallon. Stay, I'll get you a candle end;" and leaving them in the dark, not much, if the truth must be told, to the satisfaction of John Ayliffe, he rolled away along the passage and remained absent several minutes.
When he returned, a clanking step followed him, as heavy irons were dragged slowly on by unaccustomed limbs, and the moment after, Tom Cutter stood in the presence of his two friends.
The jailer brought them in a piece of candle about two inches long, which he stuck into a sort of socket attached to an iron bar projecting straight from the wall; and having done this he left the three together, taking care to close and lock the door behind him.
Chair or stool in the room there was none, and the only seat, except the floor, which the place afforded was the edge of a small wooden bedstead or trough, as it might be called, scantily furnished with straw.
Both Mr. Shanks and John Ayliffe shook hands with the felon, whose face, though somewhat flushed with drinking, bore traces of deeper and sterner feelings than he chose to show. He seemed glad to see them, however, and said it was very kind of them to come, adding with an inquiring look at Mr. Shanks, "I can't pay you, you know, Master lawyer; for what between my garnish and lush, I shall have just enough to keep me till the 'sizes; I shan't need much after that I fancy."
"Pooh, pooh," cried the attorney, "don't be downhearted, Tom, and as to pay, never mind that. John here will pay all that's needful, and we'll have down counsellor Twistem to work the witnesses. We can't make out an alibi, for the folks saw you, but we'll get you up a character, if money can make a reputation, and I never knew the time in England when it could not. We have come to consult with you at once as to what's the best defence to be made, that we may have the story all pat and right from the beginning, and no shifting and turning afterwards."
"I wish I hadn't killed the man," said Tom Cutter, gloomily; "I shan't forget his face in a hurry as he fell over and cried out 'Oh, my poor—!' but the last word choked him. He couldn't get it out; but I fancy he was thinking of his wife—or maybe his children. But what could I do? He gave me a sight of bad names, and swore he would peach about what I wanted him to do. He called me a villain, and a scoundrel, and a cheat, and a great deal more besides, till my blood got up, and having got the stick by the small end, I hit him with the knob on the temple. I didn't know I hit so hard; but I was in a rage."
"That's just what I thought—just what I thought," said Mr. Shanks. "You struck him without premeditation in a fit of passion. Now if we can make out that he provoked you beyond bearing—"
"That he did," said Tom Cutter.
"That's what I say," continued Mr. Shanks, "if we can make out that he provoked you beyond bearing while you were doing nothing unlawful and wrong, that isn't murder, Tom."
"Hum," said Tom Cutter, "but how will you get that up, Mr. Shanks? I've a notion that what I went to him about was devilish unlawful."
"Ay, but nobody knew any thing of that but you and he, and John Ayliffe and I. We must keep that quite close, and get up a likely story about the quarrel. You will have to tell it yourself, you know, Tom, though we'll make counsellor Twistem let the jury see it beforehand in his examinations."
A gleam of hope seemed to lighten the man's face, and Mr. Shanks continued, "We can prove, I dare say, that this fellow Scantling had a great hatred for you."
"No, no, he had not," said Tom Cutter, "he was more civil to me than most, for we had been boys together."
"That doesn't matter," said Mr. Shanks, "we must prove it; for that's your only chance, Tom. If we can prove that you always spoke well of him, so much the better; but we must show that he was accustomed to abuse you, and to call you a damned ruffian and a poacher. We'll do it—we'll do it; and then if you stick tight to your story, we'll get you off."
"But what's the story to be, master Shanks?" asked Tom Cutter, "I can't learn a long one; I never was good at learning by heart."
"Oh, no; it shall be as short and simple as possible," replied Shanks; "you must admit having gone over to see him, and that you struck the blow that killed him. We can't get over that, Tom; but then you must say you're exceedingly sorry, and was so the very moment after."
"So I was," replied Tom Cutter.
"And your story must refer," continued Mr. Shanks, "to nothing but what took place just before the blow was struck. You must say that you heard he accused you of putting wires in Lord Selby's woods, and that you went over to clear yourself; but that he abused you so violently, and insulted you so grossly, your blood got up and you struck him, only intending to knock him down. Do you understand me?"
"Quite well—quite well," replied Tom Cutter, his face brightening; "I do think that may do, 'specially if you can make out that I was accustomed to speak well of him, and he to abuse me. It's an accident that might happen to any man."
"To be sure," replied Mr. Shanks; "we will take care to corroborate your story, only you get it quite right. Now let us hear what you will say."
Tom Cutter repeated the tale he had been taught very accurately; for it was just suited to his comprehension, and Shanks rubbed his hands, saying, "That will do—that will do."
John Ayliffe, however, was still not without his anxieties, and after a little hesitation as to how he should put the question which he meditated, he said, "Of course, Tom, I suppose you have not told any of the fellows here what you came over for?"
The ruffian knew him better than he thought, and understood his object at once.
"No, no, John," he said, "I have'nt peached, and shall not; be you sure of that. If I am to die, I'll die game, depend upon it; but I do think there's a chance now, and we may as well make the best of it."
"To be sure—to be sure," answered the more prudent Shanks; "you don't think, Mr. Ayliffe, that he would be fool enough to go and cut his own throat by telling any one what would be sure to hang him. That is a very green notion."
"Oh, no, nor would I say a word that could serve that Sir Philip Hastings," said Tom Cutter; "he's been my enemy for the last ten years, and I could see he would be as glad to twist my neck as I have been to twist his hares. Perhaps I may live to pay him yet."
"I'm not sure you might not give him a gentle rub in your defence," said John Ayliffe; "he would not like to hear that his pretty proud daughter Emily came down to see me, as I'm sure she did, let her say what she will, when I was ill at the cottage by the park gates. You were in the house, don't you recollect, getting a jug of beer, while I was sitting at the door when she came down?"
"I remember, I remember," replied Tom Cutter, with a malicious smile; "I gave him one rub which he didn't like when he committed me, and I'll do this too."
"Take care," said Mr. Shanks, "you had better not mix up other things with your defence."
"Oh, I can do it quite easily," replied the other with a triumphant look; "I could tell what happened then, and how I heard there that people suspected me of poaching still, though I had quite given it up, and how I determined to find out from that minute who it was accused me."
"That can do no harm," said Shanks, who had not the least objection to see Sir Philip Hastings mortified; and after about half an hour's farther conversation, having supplied Tom Cutter with a small sum of money, the lawyer and his young companion prepared to withdraw. Shanks whistled through the key-hole of the door, producing a shrill loud sound as if he were blowing over the top of a key; and Dionysius Cram understanding the signal, hastened to let them out.
Before we proceed farther, however, with any other personage, we may as well trace the fate of Mr. Thomas Cutter.
The assizes were approaching near at this time, and about a fortnight after, he was brought to trial; not all the skill of counsellor Twistem, however, nor the excellent character which Mr. Shanks tried to procure for him, had any effect; his reputation was too well established to be affected by any scandalous reports of his being a peaceable and orderly man. His violence and irregular life were too well known for the jury to come to any other conclusion than that it would be a good thing to rid the country of him, and whether very legally or not, I cannot say, they brought in a verdict of wilful murder without quitting the box. His defence, however, established for him the name of a very clever fellow, and one portion of it certainly sent Sir Philip Hastings from the Court thoughtful and gloomy. Nevertheless, no recommendation to mercy having issued from the Judge, Tom Cutter was hanged in due form of law, and to use his own words, "died game."
We must go back a little, for we have somewhat anticipated our tale. Never did summons strike more joyfully on the ear of mortal than came that of her recall home to Emily Hastings. As so often happens to all in life, the expected pleasure had turned to ashes on the lip, and her visit to Mrs. Hazleton offered hardly one point on which memory could rest happily. Nay, more, without being able definitely to say why, when she questioned her own heart, the character of her beautiful hostess had suffered by close inspection. She was not the same in Emily's esteem as she had been before. She could not point out what Mrs. Hazleton had said or done to produce such an impression; but she was less amiable,—less reverenced. It was not alone that the trappings in which a young imagination had decked her were stripped off; but it was that a baser metal beneath had here and there shown doubtfully through the gilding with which she concealed her real character.
If the summons was joyful to Emily, it was a surprise and an unpleasant one to Mrs. Hazleton. Not that she wished to keep her young guest with her long; for she was too keen and shrewd not to perceive that Emily would not be worked upon so easily as she had imagined; and that under her very youthfulness there was a strength of character which must render one part of the plans against her certainly abortive. But Mrs. Hazleton was taken by surprise. She could have wished to guard against construction of some parts of her conduct which must be the more unpleasant, because the more just. She had fancied she would have time to give what gloss she chose to her conduct in Emily's eyes, and to prevent dangerous explanations between the father and the daughter. Moreover, the suddenness of the call alarmed her and raised doubts. Whereever there is something to be concealed there is something to be feared, and Mrs. Hazleton asked herself if Emily had found means to communicate to Sir Philip Hastings what had occurred with John Ayliffe.
That, however, she soon concluded was impossible. Some knowledge of the facts, nevertheless, might have reached him from other sources, and Mrs. Hazleton grew uneasy. Sir Philip's letter to his daughter, which Emily at once suffered her hostess to see, threw no light upon the subject. It was brief, unexplicit, and though perfectly kind and tender, peremptory. It merely required her to return to the Hall, as some business rendered her presence at home necessary.
Little did Mrs. Hazleton divine the business to which Sir Philip alluded. Had she known it, what might have happened who can say? There were terribly strong passions within that fair bosom, and there were moments when those strong passions mastered even strong worldly sense and habitual self-control.
There was not much time, however, for even thought, and less for preparation. Emily departed, after having received a few words of affectionate caution from Mrs. Hazleton, delicately and skilfully put, in such a manner as to produce the impression that she was speaking of subjects personally indifferent to herself—except in so much as her young friend's own happiness was concerned.
Shall we say the truth? Emily attended but little. Her thoughts were full of her father's letter, and of the joy of returning to a home where days passed peacefully in an even quiet course, very different from that in which the stream of time had flowed at Mrs. Hazleton's. The love of strong emotions—the brandy-drinking of the mind—is an acquired taste. Few, very few have it from nature. Poor Emily, she little knew how many strong emotions were preparing for her.
Gladly she saw the carriage roll onward through scenes more and more familiar at every step. Gladly she saw the forked gates appear, and marked the old well-known hawthorns as they flitted by her; and the look of joy with which she sprang into her father's arms, might have convinced any heart that there was but one home she loved.
"Now go and dress for dinner at once, my child," said Sir Philip, "we have delayed two hours for you. Be not long."
Nor was Emily long; she could not have been more rapid had she known that Marlow was waiting eagerly for her appearance. Well pleased, indeed, was she to see him, when she entered the drawing-room; but for the first time since she had known him—from some cause or other—a momentary feeling of embarrassment—of timidity, came upon her; and the color rose slightly in her cheek. Her eyes spoke, however, more than her lips could say, and Marlow must have been satisfied, if lovers ever could be satisfied.
Lady Hastings was lying languidly on a couch, not knowing how to intimate to her daughter her disapproval of a suit yet unknown to Emily herself. She could not venture to utter openly one word in opposition; for Sir Philip Hastings had desired her not to do so, and she had given a promise to forbear, but she thought it would be perfectly consistent with that promise, and perfectly fair and right to show in other ways than by words, that Mr. Marlow was not the man she would have chosen for her daughter's husband, and even to insinuate objections which she dare not state directly.
In her manner to Marlow therefore, Lady Hastings, though perfectly courteous and polite—for such was Sir Philip's pleasure—was as cold as ice, always added "Sir" to her replies, and never forgot herself so far as to call him by his name.
Emily remarked this demeanor; but she knew—I should rather have said she was aware; for it was a matter more of sensation than thought—a conviction that had grown up in her mind without reflection—she was aware that her mother was somewhat capricious in her friendships. She had seen it in the case of servants and of some of the governesses she had had when she was quite young. One day they would be all that was estimable and charming in Lady Hastings' eyes, and another, from some slight offence—some point of demeanor which she did not like—or some moody turn of her own mind, they would be all that was detestable. It had often been the same, too, with persons of a higher station; and therefore it did not in the least surprise her to find that Mr. Marlow, who had been ever received by Lady Hastings before as a familiar friend, should now be treated almost as a stranger.
It grieved her, nevertheless, and she thought that Marlow must feel her mother's conduct painfully. She would fain have made up for it by any means in her power, and thus the demeanor of Lady Hastings had an effect the direct reverse of that which she intended. Nor did her innuendos produce any better results, for she soon saw that they grieved and offended her husband, while her daughter showed marvellous stupidity, as she thought, in not comprehending them.
Full of love, and now full of hope likewise, Marlow, it must be confessed, thought very little of Lady Hastings at all. He was one of those men upon whom love sits well—they are but few in the world—and whatever agitation he might feel at heart, there was none apparent in his manner. His attention to Emily was decided, pointed, not to be mistaken by any one well acquainted with such matters; but he was quite calm and quiet about it; there was no flutter about it—no forgetfulness of proprieties; and his conversation had never seemed to Emily so agreeable as that night, although the poor girl knew not what was the additional charm. Delightful to her, however, it was; and in enjoying it she forgot altogether that she had been sent for about business—nay, even forgot to wonder what that business could be.
Thus passed the evening; and when the usual time for retiring came, Emily was a little surprised that there was no announcement of Mr. Marlow's horse, or Mr. Marlow's carriage, as had ever been the case before, but that Mr. Marlow was going to spend some days at the hall.
When Lady Hastings rose to go to rest, and her daughter rose to go with her, another thing struck Emily as strange. Sir Philip, as his wife passed him, addressed to her the single word "Beware!" with a very marked emphasis. Lady Hastings merely bowed her head, in reply; but when she and Emily arrived at her dressing-room, where the daughter had generally stayed to spend a few minutes with her mother alone, Lady Hastings kissed her, and wished her good night, declaring that she felt much fatigue, and would ring for her maid at once.
Lady Hastings was a very good woman, and wished to obey her husband's injunctions to the letter, but she felt afraid of herself, and would not trust herself with Emily alone.
Dear Emily lay awake for half an hour after she had sought her pillow, but not more, and then she fell into a sleep as soft and calm as that of childhood, and the next morning rose as blooming as the flower of June. Sir Philip was up when she went down stairs, and walking on the terrace with Marlow. Lady Hastings sent word that she would breakfast in her own room, when she had obtained a few hours' rest, as she had not slept all night. Thus Emily had to attend to the breakfast-table in her mother's place; but in those days the lady's functions at the morning meal were not so various and important as at present; and the breakfast passed lightly and pleasantly. Still there was no mention of the business which had caused Emily to be summoned so suddenly, and when the breakfast was over, Sir Philip retired to his library, without asking Emily to follow, and merely saying, "You had better not disturb your mother, my dear child. If you take a walk I will join you ere long."
For the first time, a doubt, a notion—for I must not call it a suspicion—came across the mind of Emily, that the business for which she had been sent might have something to do with Mr. Marlow. How her little heart beat! She sat quite still for a minute or two, for she did not know, if she rose, what would become of her.
At length the voice of Marlow roused her from her gently-troubled reverie, as he said, "Will you not come out to take a walk?"
She consented at once, and went away to prepare. Nor was she long, for in less than ten minutes, she and Marlow were crossing the park, towards the older and thicker trees amidst which they had rambled once before. But it was Marlow who now led her on a path which he chose himself. I know not whether it was some memory of his walk with Mrs. Hazleton, or whether it was that instinct which leads love to seek shady places, or whether, like a skilful general, he had previously reconnoitred the ground; but something or other in his own breast induced him to deviate from the more direct track which they had followed on their previous walk, and guide his fair companion across the short dry turf towards the thickest part of the wood, through which there penetrated, winding in and out amongst the trees, a small path, just wide enough for two, bowered overhead by crossing branches, and gaining sweet woodland scenes of light and shade at every step, as the eye dived into the deep green stillness between the large old trunks, carefully freed from underwood, and with their feet carpeted with moss, and flowers, and fern. It was called the deer's track, from the fact that along it, morning and evening, all the bucks and does which had herded on that side of the park might be seen walking stately down to or from a bright, clear-running trout-stream, that wandered along about a quarter of a mile farther on; and often, in the hot weather, a person standing half way down the walk might see a tall antlered fellow standing with his forefeet in the water and his hind-quarters raised upon the bank, gazing at himself in the liquid mirror below, with all his graceful beauties displayed to the uttermost by a burst of yellow light, which towards noon always poured upon the stream at that place.
Marlow and Emily, however, were quite alone upon the walk. Not even a hind or shart was there; and after the first two or three steps, Marlow asked his fair companion to take his arm. She did so, readily; for she needed it, not so much because the long gnarled roots of the trees crossed the path from time to time, and offered slight impediments, for usually her foot was light as air, but because she felt an unaccountable languor upon her, a tremulous, agitated sort of unknown happiness unlike any thing else she had ever before experienced.
Marlow drew her little hand through his then, and she rested upon it, not with the light touch of a mere acquaintance, but with a gentle confiding pressure which was very pleasant to him, and yet the capricious man must needs every two or three minutes, change that kindly position as the trees and irregularities of the walk afforded an excuse. Now he placed Emily on the one side, now on the other, and if she had thought at all (but by this time she was far past thought,) she might have fancied that he did so solely for the purpose of once more taking her hand in his to draw it through his arm again.
At the spot where the walk struck the stream, and before it proceeded onward by the bank, there was a little irregular open space not twenty yards broad in any direction, canopied over by the tall branches of an oak, and beneath the shade about twelve yards from the margin of the stream, was a pure, clear, shallow well of exceedingly cold water, which as it quietly flowed over the brink went on to join the rivulet below. The well was taken care of, kept clean, and basined in plain flat stones; but there was no temple over it, Gothic or Greek. On the side farthest from the stream was a plain wooden bench placed for the convenience of persons who came to drink the waters which were supposed to have some salutary influence, and there by tacit consent Marlow and Emily seated themselves side by side.
They gazed into the clear little well at their feet, seeing all the round variegated pebbles at the bottom glistening like jewels as the branches above, moved by a fresh wind that was stirring in the sky, made the checkered light dance over the surface. There was a green leaf broken by some chance from a bough above which floated about upon the water as the air fanned it gently, now hither, now thither, now gilded by the sunshine, now covered with dim shadow. After pausing in silence for a moment or two, Marlow pointed to the leaf with a light and seemingly careless smile, saying, "See how it floats about, Emily. That leaf is like a young heart full of love."
"Indeed," said Emily, looking full in his face with a look of inquiry, for perhaps she thought that in his smile she might find an interpretation of what was going on in her own bosom. "Indeed! How so?"
"Do you not see," said Marlow, "how it is blown about by the softest breath, which stirs not the less sensitive things around, how it is carried by any passing air now into bright hopeful light, now into dim melancholy shadow?"
"And is that like love?" asked Emily. "I should have thought it was all brightness."
"Ay, happy love—love returned," replied Marlow, "but where there is uncertainty, a doubt, there hope and fear make alternately the light and shade of love, and the lightest breath will bear the heart from the one extreme to the other—I know it from the experience of the last three days, Emily; for since last we met I too have fluctuated between the light and shade. Your father's consent has given a momentary gleam of hope, but it is only you who can make the light permanent."
Emily shook, and her eyes were bent down upon the water; but she remained silent so long that Marlow became even more agitated than herself. "I know not what I feel," she murmured at length,—"it is very strange."
"But hear me, Emily," said Marlow, taking her unresisting hand, "I do not ask an immediate answer to my suit. If you regard me with any favor—if I am not perfectly indifferent to you, let me try to improve any kindly feelings in your heart towards me in the bright hope of winning you at last for my own, my wife. The uncertainty may be painful—must be painful; but—"
"No, no, Marlow," cried Emily, raising her eyes to his face for an instant with her cheek all glowing, "there must be no uncertainty. Do you think I would keep you—you, in such a painful state as you have mentioned? Heaven forbid!"
"Then what am I to think?" asked Marlow, pressing closer to her side and gliding his arm round her. "I am almost mad to dream of such happiness, and yet your tone, your look, my Emily, make me so rash. Tell me then—tell me at once, am I to hope or to despair?—Will you be mine?"
"Of course," she answered, "can you doubt it?"
"I can almost doubt my senses," said Marlow; but he had no occasion to doubt them.
They sat there for nearly half an hour; they then wandered on, with marvellous meanderings in their course, for more than an hour and a half more, and when they returned, Emily knew more of love than ever could be learned from books. Marlow drew her feelings forth and gave them definite form and consistency. He presented them to her by telling what he himself felt in a plain and tangible shape, which required no long reverie—none of their deep fits of thoughtfulness to investigate and comprehend. From the rich store of his own imagination, and the treasury of deep feeling in his breast, he poured forth illustrations that brightened as if with sunshine every sensation which had been dark and mysterious in her bosom before; and ere they turned their steps back towards the house, Emily believed—nay, she felt; and that is much more—that without knowing it, she had loved him long.
This must be a chapter of rapid action, comprising in its brief space the events of many months—events which might not much interest the reader in minute detail, but which produced important results to all the persons concerned, and drew on the coming catastrophe.
The news that Mr. Marlow was about to be married to Emily, the beautiful heiress of Sir Philip Hastings, spread far and wide over the country; and if joy and satisfaction reigned in the breasts of three persons in Emily's dwelling, discontent and annoyance were felt more and more strongly every hour by Lady Hastings. A Duke, she thought, would not have been too high a match for her daughter, with all the large estates she was to inherit; and the idea of her marrying a simple commoner was in itself very bitter. She was not a woman to bear a disappointment gracefully; and Emily soon had the pain of discovering that her engagement to Marlow was much disapproved by her mother. She consoled herself, however, by the full approval of her father, who was somewhat more than satisfied.
Sir Philip for his part, considering his daughter's youth, required that the marriage should be delayed at least two years, and, in his theoretical way, he soon built up a scheme, which was not quite so successful as he could have wished. Marlow's character was, in most respects, one after his own heart; but as I have shown, he had thought from the first, that there were weak points in it,—or rather points rendered weak by faults of education and much mingling with the world. He wanted, in short, some of that firmness—may I not say hardness of the old Roman, which Sir Philip so peculiarly admired; and the scheme now was, to re-educate Marlow, if I may use the term, during the next two years, to mould him in short after Sir Philip's own idea of perfection. How this succeeded, or failed, we shall have occasion hereafter to show.
Tidings of Emily's engagement were communicated to Mrs. Hazleton, first by rumor, and immediately after by more certain information in a letter from Lady Hastings. I will not dwell upon the effect produced in her. I will not lift up the curtain with which she covered her own breast, and show all the dark and terrible war of passions within. For three days Mrs. Hazleton was really ill, remained shut up in her room, had the windows darkened, admitted no one but the maid and the physician; and well for her was it, perhaps, that the bitter anguish she endured overpowered her corporeal powers, and forced seclusion upon her. During those three days she could not have concealed her feelings from all eyes had she been forced to mingle with society; but in her sickness she had time for thought—space to fight the battle in, and she came forth triumphant.
When she at length appeared in her own drawing-room no one could have imagined that the illness was of the heart. She was a little paler than before, there was a soft and pleasing languor about her carriage, but she was, to all appearance, as calm and cheerful as ever.
Nevertheless she thought it better to go to London for a short time. She did not yet dare to meet Emily Hastings. She feared herself.
Yet the letter of Lady Hastings was a treasure to her, for it gave her hopes of vengeance. In it the mother showed but too strongly her dislike of her daughter's choice, and Mrs. Hazleton resolved to cultivate the friendship of Lady Hastings, whom she had always despised, and to use her weakness for her own purposes.
She was destined, moreover, to have other sources of consolation, and that more rapidly than she expected. It was shortly before her return to the country that the trial of Tom Cutter took place; and not long after she came back that he was executed. Many persons at the trial had remarked the effect which some parts of the evidence had produced on Sir Philip Hastings. He was not skilful in concealing the emotions that he felt, and although it was sometimes difficult, from the peculiarities of his character, to discover what was their precise nature, they always left some trace by which it might be seen that he was greatly moved.
Information of the facts was given to Mrs. Hazleton by Shanks the attorney, and young John Ayliffe, who dwelt with pleasure upon the pain his successful artifice had inflicted; and Mrs. Hazleton was well pleased too.
But the wound was deeper than they thought. It was like that produced by the bite of a snake—insignificant in itself, but carrying poison into every vein.
Could his child deceive him? Sir Philip Hastings asked himself. Could Emily have long known this vulgar youth—gone secretly down to see him at a distant cottage—conferred with him unknown to either father or mother? It seemed monstrous to suppose such a thing; and yet what could he believe? She had never named John Ayliffe since her return from Mrs. Hazleton's; and yet it was certain from Marlow's own account, that she had seen him there. Did not that show that she was desirous of concealing the acquaintance from her parents?
Sir Philip had asked no questions, leaving her to speak if she thought fit. He was now sorry for it, and resolved to inquire; as the fact of her having seen the young man, for whom he felt an inexpressible dislike, had been openly mentioned in a court of justice. But as he rode home he began to argue on the other side of the question. The man who had made the assertion was a notorious liar—a convicted felon. Besides, he knew him to be malicious; he had twice before thrown out insinuations which Sir Philip believed to be baseless, and could only be intended to produce uneasiness. Might not these last words of his be traced to the same motive? He would inquire in the first place, he thought, what was the connection between the convict and John Ayliffe, and stopping on the way for that purpose, he soon satisfied himself that the two were boon companions.
When he reached his own dwelling, he found Emily seated by Marlow in one of her brightest, happiest moods. There was frank candor, graceful innocence, bright open-hearted truth in every look and every word. It was impossible to doubt her; and Sir Philip cast the suspicion from him, but, alas! not for ever. They would return from time to time to grieve and perplex him; and he would often brood for hours over his daughter's character, puzzling himself more and more. Yet he would not say a word—he blamed himself for even thinking of the matter; and he would not show a suspicion. Yet he continued to think and to doubt, while poor unconscious Emily would have been ready, if asked, to solve the whole mystery in a moment. She had been silent from an unwillingness to begin a painful subject herself; and though she had yielded no assent to Mrs. Hazleton's arguments, they had made her doubt whether she ought to mention, unquestioned, John Ayliffe's proposal and conduct. She had made up her mind to tell all, if her father showed the slightest desire to know any thing regarding her late visit; but there was something in the effects which that visit had produced on her mind, which she could not explain to herself.
Why did she love Mrs. Hazleton less? Why had she lost so greatly her esteem for her? What had that lady done or said which justified so great a change of feeling towards her? Emily could not tell. She could fix upon no word, no act, she could entirely blame—but yet there had been a general tone in her whole demeanor which had opened the poor girl's eyes too much. She puzzled herself sadly with her own thoughts; and probably would have fallen into more than one of her deep self-absorbed reveries, had not sweet new feelings, Marlow's frequent presence, kept her awake to a brighter, happier world of thought.
She was indeed very happy; and, could she have seen her mother look brighter and smile upon her, she would have been perfectly so. Her father's occasional moodiness she did not heed; for he often seemed gloomy merely from intense thought. Emily had got a key to such dark reveries in her own heart, and she knew well that they were no true indications either of discontent or grief, for very often when to the eyes of others she seemed the most dull and melancholy, she was enjoying intense delight in the activity of her own mind. She judged her father from herself, and held not the slightest idea that any word, deed or thought of hers had given him the slightest uneasiness.
Notwithstanding the various contending feelings and passions which were going on in the little circle on which our eyes are fixed, the course of life had gone on with tolerable smoothness as far as Emily and Marlow were concerned, for about two months, when, one morning, Sir Philip Hastings received a letter in a hand which he did not know. It reached him at the breakfast table, and evidently affected him considerably with some sort of emotion. His daughters instantly caught the change of his countenance, but Sir Philip did not choose that any one should know he could be moved by any thing on earth, and he instantly repressed all agitation, quietly folded up the letter again, concluded his breakfast, and then retired to his own study.
Emily was not deceived, however. There were moments in Sir Philip's life when he was unable to conceal altogether the strong feelings of his heart under the veil of stoicism—or as he would have termed it—to curb and restrain them by the power of philosophy. Emily had seen such moments, and knew, that whatever were the emotions produced by that letter, whether of anger or grief or apprehension—her father was greatly moved.
In his own study, Sir Philip Hastings seated himself, spread the letter before him, and read it over attentively. But now it did not seem to affect him in the least. He was, in fact, ashamed of the feelings he had experienced and partly shown. "How completely," said he to himself, "does a false and fictitious system of society render us the mere slaves of passion, infecting even those who tutor themselves from early years to resist its influence. Here an insolent young man lays claim to my name, and my inheritance, and coolly assumes not only that he has a title to do so, but that I know it; and this instead of producing calm contempt, makes my heart beat and my blood boil, as if I were the veriest schoolboy."
The letter was all that Sir Philip stated; but it was something more. It was a very artful epistle, drawn up by the joint shrewdness of Mr. Shanks, Mr. John Ayliffe, and Mrs. Hazleton. It concisely stated the claims of the young man who signed it, to all the property of the late Sir John Hastings and to the baronetcy. It made no parade of proofs, but assumed that those in the writer's possession were indisputable, and also that Sir Philip Hastings was well aware that John Ayliffe was his elder brother's legitimate son. The annuity which had been bought for himself and his mother was broadly stated to have been the purchase-money of her silence, negotiated by her father, who had no means to carry on a suit at law. As long as his mother lived, the writer said, he had been silent out of deference to her wishes, but now that she was dead in France, he did not feel himself bound to abide by an arrangement which deprived him at once of fortune and station, and which had been entered into without his knowledge or consent. He then went on to call upon Sir Philip Hastings in the coolest terms to give up possession and acknowledge his right without what the writer called "the painful ceremony of a lawsuit;" and in two parts of the letter allusion was made to secret information which the writer had obtained by the kind confidence of a friend whom he would not name.
It was probably intended to give point to this insinuation at an after period, but if it was aimed at poor Emily, it fell harmless for the time, as no one knew better than Sir Philip that she had never been informed of any thing which could affect the case in question.
Indeed, the subject of the annuity was one which he had never mentioned to any one since the transaction had been completed many years before; and the name of John Ayliffe had never passed his lips till Marlow mentioned having seen that young man at Mrs. Hazleton's house.
When he had read the letter, and as soon as he thought he had mastered the last struggle of passion, he dipped the pen in the ink and wrote the few following words:
"Sir Philip Hastings has received the letter signed John Ayliffe Hastings. He knows no person of that name, but has heard of a young man of the name of John Ayliffe. If that person thinks he has any just claim on Sir Philip Hastings, or his estate, he had better pursue it in the legal and ordinary course, as Sir Philip Hastings begs to disclaim all private communication with him."
He addressed the letter to "Mr. John Ayliffe," and sent it to the post. This done, he rejoined Marlow and Emily, and to all appearance was more cheerful and conversable than he had been for many a previous day. Perhaps it cost him an effort to be cheerful at all, and the effort went a little beyond its mark. Emily was not altogether satisfied, but Lady Hastings, when she came down, which, as usual, was rather late in the day, remarked how gay her husband was.
Sir Philip said nothing to any one at the time regarding the contents of the letter he had received. He consulted no lawyer even, and tried to treat the subject with contemptuous forgetfulness; but his was a brooding and tenacious mind, and he often thought of the epistle, and the menaces it implied, against his own will. Nor could he or any one connected with him long remain unattentive or ignorant of the matter, for in a few weeks the first steps were taken in a suit against him, and, spreading from attorneys' offices in every direction, the news of such proceedings travelled far and wide, till the great Hastings case became the talk of the whole country round.
In the mean time, Sir Philip's reply was very speedily shown to Mrs. Hazleton, and that lady triumphed a good deal. Sir Philip was now in the same position with John Ayliffe, she thought, that she had been in some time before with Mr. Marlow; and already he began to show, in her opinion, a disposition to treat the case very differently in his own instance and in hers.
There he had strongly supported private negotiation; here he rejected it altogether; and she chose to forget that circumstances, though broadly the same, were in detail very different.
"We shall see," she said to herself, "we shall see whether, when the proofs are brought forward, he will act with that rigid sense of justice, which he assumed here."
When the first processes had been issued, however, and common rumor justified a knowledge of the transaction, without private information, Mrs. Hazleton set out at once to visit "poor dear Lady Hastings," and condole with her on the probable loss of fortune. How pleasant it is to condole with friends on such occasions. What an accession of importance we get in our own eyes, especially if the poor people we comfort have been a little bit above us in the world.
But Mrs. Hazleton had higher objects in view; she wanted no accession of importance. She was quite satisfied with her own position in society. She sought to see and prompt Lady Hastings—to sow dissension where she knew there must already be trouble; and she found Sir Philip's wife just in the fit frame of mind for her purpose. Sir Philip himself and Emily had ridden out together; and though Mrs. Hazleton would willingly have found an opportunity of giving Sir Philip a sly friendly kick, and of just reminding him of his doctrines announced in the case between herself and Mr. Marlow, she was not sorry to have Lady Hastings alone for an hour or two. They remained long in conference, and I need not detail all that passed. Lady Hastings poured forth all her grief and indignation at Emily's engagement to Mr. Marlow, and Mrs. Hazleton did nothing to diminish either. She agreed that it was a very unequal match, that Emily with her beauty and talents, and even with her mother's fortune alone, might well marry into the highest family of the land. Nay, she said, could the match be broken off, she might still take her rank among the peeresses. She did not advise, indeed, actual resistance on the part of her friend; she feared Lady Hastings' discretion; but she insinuated that a mother and a wife by unwavering and constant opposition, often obtained her own way, even in very difficult circumstances.
From that hour Mrs. Hazleton was Lady Hastings' best friend.
WRITTEN FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE
BY ALFRED B. STREET.
Does not the heart alone a God proclaim! Blot revelation from the mind of man! Yea, let him not e'en Nature's features scan; There is within him a low voice, the same Throughout the varied scenes of being's span, That whispers, God. And doth not conscience speak Though sin its wildest force upon it wreak! Born with us—never dying—ever preaching Of right and wrong, with reference aye to Him— And doth not Hope, on toward the future reaching— The aspirations struggling from the Dim Up toward the Bright—a ceaseless unrepose Of something unattained—a ceaseless teaching Of unfulfilled desire—the eternal truth disclose!
WRITTEN FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE
BY MARY E. HEWITT.
What if he loved me!—How the unwhispered thought Comes o'er me, with a thrill of ecstacy! And yet, when constant eve his step hath brought, I timid shrink as he approaches me. Last night, when greeting words were on his lips, My ears grew deaf between my faint replies; And when he pressed my trembling finger tips, I felt me turn to marble 'neath his eyes. What if he loved me! If 'twere mine to share His thought! to be of his proud being part! Hush! lest the tell-tale wind should idly bear To him this wild, wild beating of my heart For should he guess—who in my soul hath name— That I, unsought, love him, ah! I should die of shame.
THE SNOWDROP IN THE SNOW.
BY SYDNEY YENDYS.
O full of Faith! The Earth is rock,—the Heaven The dome of a great palace all of ice, Russ-built. Dull light distils through frozen skies Thickened and gross. Cold Fancy droops her wing, And cannot range. In winding-sheets of snow Lies every thought of any pleasant thing. I have forgotten the green earth; my soul Deflowered, and lost to every summer hope, Sad sitteth on an iceberg at the Pole; My heart assumes the landscape of mine eyes Moveless and white, chill blanched with hoarest rime; The Sun himself is heavy and lacks cheer Or on the eastern hill or western slope; The world without seems far and long ago; To silent woods stark famished winds have driven The last lean robin—gibbering winds of fear! Thou only darest to believe in spring, Thou only smilest, Lady of the Time!
Even as the stars come up out of the sea Thou risest from the Earth. How is it down In the dark depths? Should I delve there, O Flower, For beauty? Shall I find the Summer there Met manifold, as in an ark of peace? And Thou, a lone white Dove art thou sent forth Upon the winter deluge? It shall cease, But not for thee—pierced by the ruthless North And spent with the Evangel. In what hour The flood abates thou wilt have closed thy wings For ever. When the happy living things Of the old world come forth upon the new I know my heart shall miss thee; and the dew Of summer twilights shall shed tears for me —Tears liker thee, ah, purest! than mine own— Upon thy vestal grave, O vainly fair!
Thou shouldst have noble destiny, who, like A Prophet, art shut out from kind and kin! Who on the winter silence comest in A still small voice. Pale Hermit of the Year, Flower of the Wilderness! oh, not for thee The jocund playmates of the maiden spring. For when the danceth forth with cymballed feet, Waking a-sudden with great welcoming, Each calling each, they burst from hill to dell In answering music. But thou art a bell. A passing bell, snow-muffled, dim and sweet.
As is the Poet to his fellow-men, So mid thy drifting snows, O Snowdrop, Thou. Gifted, in sooth, beyond them, but no less A snowdrop. And thou shalt complete his lot And bloom as fair as now when they are not. Thou art the wonder of the seasons, O First-born of Beauty. As the Angel near Gazed on that first of living things which, when The blast that ruled since Chaos o'er the sere Leaves of primeval Palms did sweep the plain, Clung to the new-made sod and would not drive, So gaze I upon thee amid the reign Of Winter. And because thou livest, I live. And art thou happy in thy loneliness? Oh couldst thou hear the shouting of the floods, Oh couldst thou know the star among the trees When—as the herald-voice of breeze on breeze Proclaims the marriage pageant of the Spring Advancing from the South—each hurries on His wedding-garment, and the love-chimes ring Thro' nuptial valleys! No, serene and lone, I will not flush thy cheek with joys like these. Songs for the rosy morning; at gray prime To hang the head and pray. Thou doest well. I will not tell thee of the bridal train. No; let thy Moonlight die before their day A Nun among the Maidens, thou and they. Each hath some fond sweet office that doth strike One of our trembling heartstrings musical. Is not the hawthorn for the Queen of May? And cuckoo-flowers for whom the cuckoo's voice Hails, like an answering sister, to the woods? Is not the maiden blushing in the rose? Shall not the babe and buttercup rejoice, Twins in one meadow? Are not violets all By name or nature for the breast of Dames! For them the primrose, pale as star of prime, For them the wind-flower, trembling to a sigh, For them the dew stands in the eyes of day That blink in April on the daisied lea? Like them they flourish and like them they fade And live beloved and loving. But for thee— For such a bevy how art thou arrayed Flower of the Tempests? What hast thou with them? Thou shalt be pearl unto a diadem Which the Heavens jewel. They shall deck the brows Of joy and wither there. But thou shalt be A Martyr's garland. Thou who, undismayed, To thy spring dreams art true amid the snows As he to better dreams amid the flames.—Athenaeum.
THE COUNT MONTE-LEONE: OR, THE SPY IN SOCIETY.[H]
TRANSLATED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE FROM THE FRENCH OF H. DE ST. GEORGES.
Continued from page 70.
The name of Count Monte-Leone produced great sensation in the numerous assemblage. The adventures of the Count and the report of his trial had been published in all the Parisian papers, and in the eyes of some he was a lucky criminal, and of others a victim and a martyr to his opinions, whom God alone had preserved. The women especially were interested in the hero of this judicial drama, on account of the exaggerated representations of his personal attractions. Received with general curiosity, which, however, he did not seem to notice, and crossing the rooms with his usual dignified air, Monte-Leone approached the Duchess of Palma and expressed his gratitude for her kindness in including him among her guests. The Duchess recognized the Count politely, and replied to him with a few meaningless phrases. She then left him to meet the young Marquise de Maulear, who came in leaning on the arm of her father, the old Prince. The Prince knew the Neapolitan Ambassador, whom he had often seen with the Duchess. He had been one of the first to visit the Duchess of Palma. A man of intelligence and devotion to pleasure, he thought he did not at all derogate from his dignity by civility to a young and beautiful woman, who bore so nobly the name which was conferred on her by love and hymen.
"Duchess," said the Prince, presenting Aminta, "you have often questioned me about my daughter-in-law, and know what I told you. I am, I confess, proud for you to be able now to judge for yourself." In the interim La Felina had taken in the whole person of Aminta at a single glance, and the result of this rapid examination exerted a strange influence on her. She grew pale, and her voice trembled, as she told the Prince that the praises he had bestowed on the Marquise were far less than the truth.
"The Marquis de Maulear," added she, "is an old acquaintance," and bowing kindly to him, she offered Aminta a seat and then left her, under the influence of an emotion which, actress as she was, she could repress with great difficulty.
The Prince sat by his daughter-in-law, and passing in review before her the distinguished personages of the room, described them with that skeptical wit, that courteous irony, of which the nobles of other days were so completely the masters. He spoke like the Duke d'Ayer of old, that caustic wit, of whom a lady of the court said that she was amazed that his tongue was not torn out twenty times a day, so full of pointed needles was all he said. Aminta smiled at the pencil sketches of the Prince, or rather at his dagger blow. Had the old man, however, been twenty times as bitter, she would not have found fault with her father-in-law, for she knew he was kind and she was grateful to him—one day we shall know whence these sentiments originated in his mind. The Marquis de Maulear had left his young wife to speak to his numerous acquaintances: and while the Prince for Aminta's amusement flayed alive the various personages who were led before him by their evil fate, Count Monte-Leone, who had seen the Ambassador, sought in vain to pierce the crowd which surrounded him. The Duke was not in the room when Monte-Leone was announced. It was then with surprise and almost with terror that he saw the Count approach him.
"I have not had the honor," said he, "to approach your Excellency since the visit paid me at the Castle Del Uovo. And I am doubly gratified at being able to return it in your hotel amid so splendid a festival."
"Count," said the Duke, seeking to conquer the emotion caused by the unexpected presence of Monte-Leone, "I dared not hope that you would honor me by accepting my invitation; for you cannot be ignorant that an Ambassador represents his king. It is then, in some degree, as if we meet to-day in the palace of his Majesty Fernando King of Naples: and I think I may venture to tell you, in the name of my Sovereign, that if your conduct is a token of reconciliation offered by you to his cause, Fernando IV will acknowledge it as cheerfully as I do now."
Count Monte-Leone appreciated the graceful perfidy of the language of the Duke, and was ready to curse the secret motive which had led him to the Embassy. His eyes, however, turned, almost contrary to his wishes, to the other side of the room, and there he seemed to find something to sustain him. He replied to the Duke as naturally as possible, that in coming to his house, he had remembered only the urbanity of his host and his frankness, being aware that the Duke would never convert a mere visit of pleasure into a political question.
The Duke bit his lips when he heard this evasive answer, and saw that he had met his equal in diplomacy. A young man then approached and passed his arm into that of Monte-Leone's, thus putting an end to this annoying interview. This young man had an eloquent and distingue air, and handsome features, though they were delicate and betokened but feeble health.
"Do you know, my dear Duke," said the new comer to the Ambassador, "that one must have a very perfect character, and be invited to a very charming ball, to come as I do to your house, after the manner we parted eighteen months ago at Naples. Listen!—one goes for health-sake to Naples to pass the winter, to enjoy the Carnival in peace. After one or two intrigues with beautiful women having dark eyes, not, however, comparable with those of the Duchess of Palma, one fine night in the middle of a Pulcinello supper, you send us in place of a dessert a company of black-looking sbirri, who rush like vultures upon us, and rust with dirty hands our Venetian daggers which they wrest from us. Twelve to three, they then separate Taddeo, Von Apsbury and myself, and placing us in rickety carriages, take one of us to prison, another to the frontier, and hurry me on board a miserable little vessel, from which they tumble me like a package of damaged goods on the quai of Marseilles. I had expected to make the tour of Italy."
"Vicompte," said the Duke, with a smile, "the air of Italy was not healthy for you. Very excellent physicians told me your life was unsafe in that country, and that you should leave it as soon as possible. So complain to the faculty, but thank me for having followed their directions."
"Now what mistakes," said the young man, "people make. I have always heard that the climate of Naples was excellent for the chest."
"True," said the Duke, "but it is bad for the head."
"Of that I know something," said Monte-Leone, bowing to the Duke.
"Well, then, suppose it is," continued d'Harcourt, who wished at any price to avenge himself on the sbirri of his Excellency, in the person of the Duke himself. "It may be the climate exaggerates and sometimes destroys the head, but it is excellent for the heart—a suffering heart—a heart which is attacked is easily cured in Naples. True, the remedies are sometimes priceless, but patients in desperate cases do not hesitate on that account."
"I hope, Count," said the Duke, who would not understand the allusion of the young man to his marriage, "that the climate of Paris suits you better than that of Naples. Besides, the Duc d'Harcourt, your father, that most influential nobleman, will prevent you henceforth from endangering an existence you held too cheaply in Italy."
"Luckily," said D'Harcourt, with a smile, "your Excellency watched over me, and it is no slight honor to have as a physician the minister of police of a kingdom. Excuse me, however," added he to the Duke, "I hear the prelude of Collinet's orchestra, and I have a family duty to fulfil: my sister Mary has promised to dance this contradance with me, and I must humor the whim of a spoiled child."
The wild young man hurried to take his sister's arm, and to get into place with her. Marie d'Harcourt, Rene's sister, was a charming girl, with blonde hair and a rosy complexion, fair and lithe as a northern elf. The blue veins were visible beneath her transparent skin, so fair that one might often have fancied the blood was about to come gushing through it. The Duke d'Harcourt had lost two of his sons of that terrible pulmonary disease against which medicine, alas, is powerless. The distress of the father was intense, for two of the scions of this family had been cut off by death; and of the five offshoots from the family tree, but two remained. All his love was therefore centred in Rene, now his only son, and in Marie, the young girl of whom we have just spoken. From a sentiment of tender respect, the Duke had not permitted his last son to assume the title of those he had lost, and Rene continued to be called the Vicompte d'Harcourt. There were already apparent sad indications that Rene would become a prey to the monster which had devoured his two brothers: Marie, a few years younger, gave her father great uneasiness, on account of the excessive delicacy of her constitution and organization. All Paris had participated in the grief of the Duke d'Harcourt; for all Paris respected him. Rich, kind, and benevolent, in an enlightened manner, and within the bounds of reason, rejecting all social Utopias, popular as they might make all who sustained them, the Duke d'Harcourt was a Christian philanthropist, that is to say, a charitable man. Charity is the holiest and purest of earthly virtues, and that in which this patriarch indulged shunned noise and renown. He did not wait until misfortune came to him to soothe it, but sought it out. When this second providence was known to those whom he aided, the Duke imposed secrecy on them as a reward for all he had done. He was, so to say, an impersonation of French honor, and the arbiter of all the differences which arose between the members of the great aristocratic families of France. His word was law, and his decisions sovereign.
The Prince de Maulear had determined to marry his son to the daughter of this noble old man, and had been forced by the Marquis's marriage to abandon the plan. The Duke still remained the friend of the Prince, though he had not unfrequently blamed his somewhat lax principles. Whenever he discovered the Prince in any peccadillo, he used to say, "Well, we must be lenient to youth." Now, the Prince de Maulear was a young man of seventy. The beauty of Aminta, her extreme paleness alone, would have sufficed to fix attention, and created a very revolution in the saloons of the Embassy. The Duchess of Palma did not produce her ordinary effect. The animation she experienced in the beginning of the evening gradually left her, and the sadness under which she had previously suffered, but which she had thrown off during the early hours of the entertainment, began again to take possession of her features and person. One man alone remarked the Duchess, for he had never lost sight of her. Leaning against the door of the boudoir, his eye followed her wherever she went, and appeared to sympathize with all the constraint inflicted on her as mistress of the house. When, however, the Duchess thought she had paid sufficient personal attention, and was satisfied that the pleasures of the evening would be sustained without her, the man who examined her with such care, saw her come towards the boudoir where he was. He went in without being seen by her, and yielding to one of those promptings which a man in his cooler moments would resist, went behind a drapery which covered a door leading into a gallery of pictures, and waited motionless. The Duchess of Palma entered the boudoir, and assuring herself by a glance that she was alone, fell rather than sat on a divan, and suffered two streams of tears to flow from her eyes. "I was strangling," said she. "I would die a thousand deaths. My cruel experiment has succeeded. He loves her yet—I am sure of it. For her sake he came to this entertainment, to which he would not have come for mine. He would have made an excuse of his old difficulties with the Duke, of his political position. I would have believed him, and have sacrificed my wish to see him to propriety and his honor. He never ceases to look at her. He thinks of her alone. He is busied with her alone, yet he has no look, no thought for me." The Duchess began to weep again. Steps were heard in the gallery—the drapery at the door was agitated. "Oh, my God!" said the Duchess, "if met with here, and in this condition, what shall I do and say!" The steps approached. Hurrying then to one of the outlets of the boudoir, she opened it hastily, and went into the garden. The steps the Duchess had heard were those of two persons, who, after having been the rounds of the room, were about to go into the picture-gallery. The two persons were Rene d'Harcourt and Count Monte-Leone.
"Ah ha!" said the Count, "what the devil is Taddeo doing there against the drapery, there like a jealous Spaniard at a corner of Seville, listening to a serenade given by his rival?"
"True! true!" replied d'Harcourt, "but I think the serenade has been given, for his features express the most malevolent expression."
The emotion of Taddeo was so violent when he heard the words of the Duchess, that he had not strength to leave. He, however, restrained himself, and listened to the raillery of his friends.
"Like yourselves," said he, with a quivering voice, "I was in search of fresh air, for it is fearfully warm."
"Do not get sick here," said d'Harcourt, "for Doctor Matheus is not here to cure you."
"Silence," said Taddeo, changing his expression at once, "how imprudent you are to pronounce his name."
All three of them entered the boudoir.
"True," said d'Harcourt, "my tongue is always quicker than my mind. I will however try and make them keep time."
"When will there be a consultation?" asked Taddeo, trying to be calm.
"Eight days hence!"
"At what hour?"
"Are there many patients?"
"More than ever," said the Count, "and the poor devils are anxious as possible to be cured!"
"Then," said d'Harcourt, "the practice of the Doctor increases."
"Every day. He will soon be unable to turn around."
"That does not make me uneasy," said d'Harcourt, "our Doctor is a skilful man, a great philosopher, and fully acquainted with the new medicine."
"Yes, very new;—he treats the mind, rather than the body."
"Ah, that is its very essence," replied the Vicompte, "and I know some wonderful cures of his—so wonderful, indeed, that on the other day I presented him to my father."
"To the Duke?" said Monte-Leone,—"introduce Doctor Matheus to the Duke d'Harcourt?" Then in a low voice he continued, "Why did you present him to the Doctor?"
"For a reason which was important and very dear to my heart. My young sister was suffering; my father, who consulted in behalf of my brothers the most eminent practitioners of Paris, lost all confidence in the faculty when he lost his sons. He did not know whom to consult about his daughter; I spoke to him of Matheus, and told him several wonderful cures he had effected, and the Duke became very anxious to see him."
"And did the stern Matheus consent to go to your father's house?"
"He was anxious to do so, and as his house is not far from ours, I in a few minutes was able to introduce him into the patient's room; and would you believe it, a few of the simplest remedies possible exerted a great effect. The agitation of my sister was calmed—her cough arrested—and this evening you see her dancing and waltzing, pretty and gay as possible."
The conversation of the three friends was soon interrupted by the entrance of two other of the personages of our story. The Prince de Maulear entered with the Marquise on his arm, seeking in this retired spot some repose from the fatigues of the ball, and a less heated air than that of the ball-rooms. Aminta leaned heavily on the arm of the Prince when she saw Monte-Leone thus unexpectedly. She had observed him during the evening, and in the course of the winter they had more than once met together. The Count, however, had never referred to their parting at Sorrento. Far from seeking her out, Monte-Leone seemed to avoid her. Satisfied with saluting her respectfully as often as they met, the Count used always to leave her. This reserved and proper conduct was sufficiently explained by the old rivalry of the Marquis de Maulear and the Count. Recollection of this rivalry, without doubt, caused in Aminta's mind the great emotion she always felt when in the presence of Monte-Leone.
"What," said the Prince, when he saw the Count, "are you here, my dear colleague? This chance delights me. My daughter," said he to the young Marquise, "let me introduce to you the Count Monte-Leone, a great traveller, to whom I am indebted for the best chapter of my Italian voyages; all action, I will read it to you one of these days! Ah! but for the Count, I would never have perfected it."
"Monsieur," said Monte-Leone, with a low bow, "I have the honor of the Marquise's acquaintance; and Signora Rovero, her mother, deigned sometimes to receive me at her house before the marriage of the Marquis de Maulear and Madame—"
The Count as he spoke felt as if his heart would burst. The Prince, however, did not perceive it.
"You know my daughter," said the Count, "yes, you have not called on her, you did not seek to see me, who am so glad to see you. This is bad, Count—you will not, however, remain away any longer, and I will not quit you until you promise me a speedy visit."
"I do not know if I should," said the Count, with a hesitation which was not natural to him—and looking timidly at Aminta.
"We shall be happy to receive the Count; but you know, Monsieur, I receive no one without the consent of the Marquis—"
"But the Marquis," said the Prince, "will be delighted to receive so charming a gentleman and erudite a traveller as Count Monte-Leone."
"But I also know M. de Maulear," said the Count.
"Indeed! then you know every one," said the old man. "Why then be so ceremonious? People of our rank easily understand each other. Besides, if the invitation of my son is all you need, here he comes to speak for himself."
D'Harcourt and Taddeo, especially the latter, who knew how devotedly Monte-Leone had loved Aminta, participated in the embarrassment of the scene. Aminta trembled. "Ah! you here at last, Monsieur," said the Prince to his son, as he appeared at the door of the boudoir. "You are a lucky fellow to have your father as your wife's cavalier servente, for you have not been near her during the whole evening." The Marquis turned pale, and said with agitation, "Excuse me, sir, but I met some old friends who kept possession of me all the evening."
"Ah!" said the Prince, "apropo of old friends—or old acquaintances, if you will, here is one of yours—the Count Monte-Leone, who wants only for a word from your mouth to renew his acquaintance and visit me."
Henri looked at Monte-Leone, whom he had not seen before.
Without trouble, without agitation, or any apparent effort, he said, "Count Monte-Leone will always be welcome whenever he pleases to visit me."
Aminta cast a glance full of surprise, grief, and reproach on the Marquis, and a secret voice repeated in her very heart:—"He is no longer jealous, and therefore does not love me."
"Very well," said the Prince to his son, and turning to Monte-Leone, and giving him his hand, he said, "We shall meet again, my dear colleague." He continued, "We will talk of our travels, and especially of the chapter of Ceprano."
Then taking the arm of Aminta, who could scarcely support herself, he returned to the ball-room.
VI.—JOURNAL OF A HEART.
The entertainment continued, and the joyous sounds of the orchestra reached the very extremity of the garden of the Hotel, where the Duchess of Palma had taken refuge to conceal her tears from all observers. She heard a faint noise beneath a neighboring hedge, and looking towards it, saw Taddeo gazing at her with an expression of great grief.
"Taddeo," said she.
"Yes," said the young man, "Taddeo, who pities and suffers with you because he knows all and suffers all that unappreciated love can inflict on the heart—"
This was said with an expression of deep pity.
"Who has told you," said the Duchess proudly, "that I suffered as you say?"
"Your tears," said Taddeo, "and the memory of the past. Better still, yourself. The words you uttered not long ago in the boudoir, and which by chance I heard."
"Signor," replied the Duchess with indignation, "do not attribute to chance what you owe to ignoble curiosity. To watch a woman—to surprise the secrets of her heart, is infamous, and betrays the hospitality extended to you. It shows a want of respect for me, and absence of honor in yourself."
"Signora, my only excuse is my ardent passion, which has lasted in spite of time and contempt. I have no motive for my fault but my sad interest in your suffering, the cruel progress of which I have read on your features since the commencement of the entertainment;—that is all——"
"But, Signor, what have I said? What words have I uttered?" said the Duchess, every feature being instinct with terror.
"Nothing, alas! that my heart has not long been aware of. He that you loved, you love still, and his coldness and insensibility for your devotion, makes you lament his ingratitude and indifference."
The Duchess seemed, as it were, relieved of an enormous burden which oppressed her. She breathed more freely and murmured these words with a burst of gratitude to God who had preserved her—"He knows nothing."
"Taddeo," said she, giving him her hand, "I pardon you, for I am myself guilty, very guilty in still preserving my old sentiments in the face of my new obligations, voluntarily contracted. I have, I am certain, lost the right to reproach you with a fault, which passion induced you to commit, while I commit one far greater. For pity's sake forget what you have heard, and to ask me to explain it would be an offence. Pity me in your heart. Ah! pity me, for I am most unfortunate." Then drying her eyes, she continued, "No more of this—be a friend to me as you promised six months ago, when we came to Paris. On this condition alone you know that I permitted you to see me. Now give me your arm, and let us return to the ball-room, whence, probably, our absence has been remarked." They walked in silence down the alley which led to the ball-room.
Two hours after, all was calm and silent where every thing had been gay and brilliant. The lights were out, and the darkness of night replaced the thousand lamps which a few minutes before were seen to glitter within the palace windows. But one person in all the Hotel of the Duke of Palma was awake. A woman sat alone, in a room of rare elegance, still wearing her ball attire, but with her hair dishevelled and her heart crushed. Her eyes were fixed and dry, and yet red with the tears she had shed. She was in all the brilliancy of youth and beauty, but which was already defaced somewhat, by the iron claws of sorrow, which by sleepless nights and the ravages of jealousy seemed resolved yet more to lacerate her. With her head resting on her hands, beautiful and touching as Canova's Magdalen, she looked with sorrow over the papers which lay strewn on a rich ebony desk before her. A lamp, the upper portion of which was shrouded in blue tulle, cast a pale and sad light over her brow. Her fine white hand rested on the papers which she seemed afraid to touch. "No," said she, "it is impossible; all that these contain are but falsehoods. No, this journal of my heart, written by myself, day by day, cannot be a romance created by the imagination in its delirium. No! all I wrote there was true. I felt the joys and bitternesses, yet it now seems to me a dream. A dream! can it be a dream?"
Taking up the papers convulsively she read as follows:—"It is he. I have seen him again and free. I thought that he, like myself, had contracted a life-long obligation. Is this joy or grief? The ties he was about to form, the ties the mere thought of which caused me a terrible anguish, were imposed on me by myself. Oh my God! what have I done? What perfidious demon inspired me when I yielded to another than to him the right to love me? When I promised a love I knew could be given to no other than to him? Why on the day of that fatal marriage did I see him only when I was about to leave the church? I would have broken off had I stood at the foot of the altar—I would have told him who was about to give me his name—ask me not to perjure myself! do not ask me to pledge you a faith I cannot keep! my heart, my soul, my love are his. I thought, alas! because he was not free that I too might cease to be. I fancied my agony to be power, my spite to be courage. When, however, I saw him pale and sombre, leaning against the door of the temple, I felt the coldness of death take possession of me, and I doubted long after that sad day, if I had seen a shadow, if some hallucinations of my senses had not evoked a phantom of my vanished love, to inspire me with eternal regret. Yet HE it was! HE it was! and when at the risk of my very life I would have flown towards that man, I was forced to follow another." The poor woman paused; for a mist obscured her sight, a distillation of burning tears. She resumed her task:—"I am a Duchess but of what value is that vain title which I sought, as an aegis against memory, to me? Have I found it such? For a long time, I thought so. I should, however, never have seen him again. I should have passed no happy days near him, and have been ignorant of the delirium and intoxication of his presence, which I never can forget. I had been the wife of the Duke of Palma six months, when a mission of the King of Naples forced him to leave me at a villa on the Lago di Como, while he went in a foreign country to discharge the duties his monarch had imposed on him. I scarcely dared to confess to myself, in spite of the kindness of the Duke, how I was delighted during his absence, for it gave me a liberty of mind and thought which was absolutely necessary to my heart. Resolved to discharge all my duties, I lived, or rather vegetated, in this existence, so unoccupied and objectless as all marriages contracted without love must be. Amid, however, the dead calm of a marriage contracted without love, there glittered sometimes a burst of passion repressed, but alas! not stifled. Dark passions filled my bosom, and I felt the poison of regret. I found myself often longing for my independence, which, however, would not have contributed to my happiness, but would at least have permitted me to indulge in my secret sorrow. My temporary solitude, therefore, became precious to me, for I was about to abandon myself to sadness without annoying any one, and without exciting a curiosity which it was impossible for me to satisfy. When one evening I had been wandering alone on the banks of the lake, I was terrified by a terrible scene on the water. At a great distance a man made every effort to approach the shore—for his boat was evidently sinking beneath him. Some opening, beyond doubt, permitted the water to penetrate, and his danger became every moment more imminent. I was too far from the villa to send him any assistance, and as a secret presentiment was joined to the horror and pity caused by the spectacle, I felt the greatest anxiety about the stranger. The night was near, and the sky became darker every moment. By the flashes of lights here and there, I saw the bark almost sinking, and ere long, it was entirely gone—and the tranquil waves of the lake, calm as they are wont to be, rolled over it. My strength deserted me, and almost in a fainting condition, I fell on the strand. I did not absolutely lose consciousness; for far in the distance I heard the sound of sudden blows on the water, for which at the time I could not account. The noise approached, and grew every moment more distinct. I then heard the sound, as it were, of a body falling on the sand, accompanied by a painful cry. I heard no more. Soon I saw the light of the torches of my servants, who being uneasy, had come to look for me. They found me, and also a half inanimate body, dripping with water. It was doubtless the person whose boat had foundered in the water, and I ordered him to be taken to the villa and carefully attended to. It was late, and I returned. A few hours had passed since the event, and I was sitting alone at the piano. Fancy bore me back to my last appearance at San-Carlo, where a mad and infatuated public had bade me so enthusiastic an adieu. While all that crowd had eyes, for him alone I wished to be beautiful—for him alone to be worthy of the admiration I excited. Dreaming this, my fingers run over the keys, and joining my voice to the instrument, I sang almost unconsciously that touching air in which I had been so much applauded. My song was at first low and half-whispered, but gradually increased in power. I thought I spoke to him, and that his eyes were fixed on mine. At last I paused, pale with surprise, joy and terror. In the glass before me I saw Count Monte-Leone."
The memory of this event was so distinct and exciting, that the Duchess paused and looked around for the apparition which had caused her such keen emotion. Then, as if she delighted to place the knife in the wound, she took up the manuscript, and continued:—
"'Excuse me, Madame,' said the Count, 'for having thus introduced myself into your house; but I am come to thank you for the cares I have received in your name.'
"'You—you here?' said I, yet doubting my eyes. 'Is it a dream or vision? Speak, speak once more, that, I may be sure I do not dream.'
"'Felina,' said he, in a tone full of melancholy, 'I know not why our fate should thus constantly bring us together. But one might think, that still faithful to your old oath, you continue the providence you used to be to me. When a few months since, after the wreck of all my hopes of happiness, after having been misconceived by those for whom I had done so much, when sad and desperate, I cursed my egotistical and cold career, you appeared to me in the Church of Ferentino and cast on me, in the face of your marriage vows, one of those deep-loving looks which cheer the heart and attach it to life. And when on the lake, exhausted with fatigue and ready to yield under the struggle necessary to avert my threatened fate, you again came to my relief. You see, then,' continued he, smiling sadly, 'that in becoming the good angel of the Duke of Palma, you do not cease to be mine.'
"Never had the Count spoken thus to me. He had always been cold, and seemed most unwillingly to acknowledge the services I had rendered him. I had never received an affectionate word from his mouth before. He saw the trouble he gave me, and taking my hand, said, with a voice full of sensibility, 'Are you happy?' At this question, it seemed as if my heart would break, and I burst into tears.
"'Felina,' said he, 'why do you weep? what is the meaning of this?'
"'Do not question me,' said I. 'Let me keep the cause of those tears a secret, for you can neither dry up nor understand them. Tell me though about yourself, said I. Tell me of your marriage.'
"Monte-Leone grew pale, and said, 'I am not married, I am free.'
"I could not repress a feeling of joy.
"'Ah!' said he, bitterly, 'Do you enjoy my misfortune?'
"This word restored me to my sang-froid. I became more calm, and questioned him. The Count told me all.
"For many months, he had travelled and returned to Europe to arrange some pecuniary matters previous to his return to France, where he purposed to remain. Passing by la Tremezzina, he learned, indirectly, that certain malevolent reports had been circulated in relation to him by the brothers of the powerful association, of which he had been the chief. A venta was to meet on the opposite shore of Lake Como. Taking a rude costume—he had gone thither, for the purpose of protesting against the perfidious insinuations of his enemies. Afraid, however, of being watched by some agent of his enemies, he resolved to cross the lake alone and at night. Thus he became so near being lost. The Count wished to leave me that night, for he was aware of the absence of the Duke of Palma, and was afraid of compromising me. I, however, retained him for several days in the villa, for the purpose of throwing off the vigilance of his enemies. Alas! how have I regretted those days, the only happy ones of my life. How rapidly they passed away! The Count knew the mystery I wished to hide from him. He read it in my soul, the only thought of which he long had been. He knew why I had married, what tears and sorrow I had known, and what anguish it had caused me. Touched by this vast sacrifice, understanding the extent of my love, I saw the ice of his heart gradually begin to melt. But as his heart warmed to mine, a secret terror took possession of me. Tasting all the joy of seeing arise in the heart of the Count, sentiments which, when I was free I could not have heard without pride and satisfaction, I trembled at the idea of being able to listen to them only with crime. Soon it was I who besought the Count to fly—to leave me—to see me no more. Strange, however, is the human heart; the passion of Monte-Leone seemed to feed on my opposition. He forgot the past, he could not realize it to have existed.
"Sitting by my side during the long days, beneath the flowery bowers of the villa, the Count, as he said, saw through the darkness in which he had been enveloped—his eyes recovered their vision, and at last I appeared to him, for the first time, the most charming, the most adorable of women. Never was there a more eloquent tenderness than his—and to me who lived for him alone—whose image was ever before me, who had loved him in spite of his coldness and indifference, almost his contempt, to me he used this language of entreaty.... Yet he did so to a woman who loved him. A month passed in this cruel contest of love and duty. The contest was not equal, and passion triumphed. The Count had left the villa, but was concealed in the vicinity, and I saw him every day become more tender and affectionate. One must have suffered as I have to understand the intoxication of my happiness. To be loved by him had never seemed possible; and to possess this life-dream, to read in his looks a passion I alone had experienced hitherto, was a veil, thin indeed, but this prevented me from discerning how great was my fault. If it did become known to me, I loved it; for in my delirium I thought that I gave to this man a heart which belonged to him, and a person of which, in defiance of his rights, another was possessed. The other though, whom I doubly injured by this thought, had given me truly, loyally, and nobly, his heart, his rank, his name. So completely, however, was I led astray, that I censured the Duke for this very generosity. Sometimes, however, my life of love had its sorrows. The Count would be sad, and in his moments of melancholy, forgot my presence, and spoke slightingly on the volatility of women and of their caprices. I used to look at him with surprise, and seek to discover his secret thoughts. One day it was revealed to me.
"'When women are young,' said he, 'they suffer themselves to be led away by brilliant exterior, and by that studied gallantry of which the French make such a display.' A few words full of venom escaped him involuntarily in relation to a rival that she whom he had loved preferred to him. So shocked was I, that I asked him, if ill-humor at his repulse alone had led him to my feet. Without knowing how he had done so, the Count saw he had wounded me, and by increased care and tenderness lulled a suspicion which ultimately was to rise in all its power and agony.
"One day, we were to separate. The Count was obliged to go to Naples, where he was impatiently waited for. My despair at this intelligence was terrible. How could I leave this sweet happiness which had grown around me in two months! It seemed above my power and ability. Nothing seemed to influence the Count. I knew him well, and was aware that he never yielded. I soon ceased to contend, and he left me—not, however, without the tenderest oaths of constancy. 'We will soon meet again,' he remarked, 'and in Paris: in that vast city where mystery is so easy, and where secret love finds an impenetrable shelter, we will reside—you still as beautiful, I devoted as ever.'"
This was the end of the manuscript.
"Vain promises," said La Felina, crushing the papers in her hands. "I wished to read these pages once more. I wrote them after he had gone, and they are the history of my fleeting happiness. I wished to be satisfied that I had been happy. I doubt it sometimes, for during the three months the Count has been here, I see him every day resume more and more his old coldness to me. Formerly, I could reproach myself with nothing. I had betrayed no one; and he, in his disdain, had violated no promise. Now, though, he has created eternal remorse and regret. He has revived in my heart a flame which was nearly out—yet has nothing but indifference and contempt for me. He forgets, though, how dangerous it is to offend an Italian woman. He has forgotten what he read in my letter to his friend: 'Had I been to the Count but an ordinary woman, the charms of whom would have fixed him for a time, but whom he would repudiate as he has his other conquests, I would have killed him.'"
At the time we write of, there was in la rue Babylonne, near the faubourg Saint-Germain, an old house, the owner of which was really to be pitied. In consequence of a kind of fate which overhung this house, no room had been occupied for many years, and the persons who went thither in search of room, terrified at their sombre air, heard, subsequently, such stories of what had happened within its walls, took good care not to take up their abode there, even if they had given the denier-a-Dieu, an important matter in Paris, and a kind of bargain between the lodger and landlord, made in the presence of the porter, who is the notary, witness, and depository of the contract. If, however, any quiet family, led astray by the retirement of the house, established themselves in it, the servants soon heard such stories from their neighbors in No. 15, that they lived in perpetual terror—madame grew pale, and as often as monsieur sang louder than usual, or came in without noise, had nervous attacks. The unfortunate lodgers, menaced by jaundice or some other bilious complaint, in consequence of the repeated emotions to which they were subjected, were anxious always to go, even under the penalty of indemnifying the landlord. The latter saw himself again forced to submit to the reign of solitude in the old halls, which were gilt and painted a la Louis XV., and saw the mildew and dust again rest on the windows and cells, as soon as the fires ceased to burn; not even the presence of a trunk, belonging to a chance sojourner in this desert isle, relieved the landlord from apprehensions of the recurrence of his old calamity. The Crusoe of this desert island had declared that he had rather pay the lodging three, six, or nine-fold, than live in such proximity with the miserable ideas which the house suggested. True, the Crusoe was an Englishman, predisposed to the spleen, and the sadness of his abode would soon have led him to augment by a new scene the dramas which had already happened in this house. The landlord, afraid that he would do so, hurried to conclude matters as soon as possible with the islander.
The following was the reason of the bad repute of No. 13:
A man had hung himself there for love. This was a horrid story, but it was not the whole drama. Three years after, two very old men, who were very rich, and said to be retired merchants, were found stifled beneath their mattress, and the criminal was never found out. The people of the quartier, however, knew all about it, and said who was the murderer. They maintained it was the old suicide, the shadow of whom was ill at ease, and had a mortal aversion to any one who disagreed with him about a suitable and pleasant residence.
Yet for some time No. 13 had looked like all the other houses in the vicinity. People went in and came out, just as if it had been the domicile of no ghost. The knocker on the door was often heard, and when the porter opened his door, a little flower-garden was seen, with various horticultural treasures, expanding beneath the spring sun.
At length a lodger was found, a very godsend to No. 13, whose lofty reason was superior to all the fables told of the house, and, by his presence defended it from the calumny which had been circulated about it; not by words but deeds, for he lived there, and was neither hung nor stifled, like the old merchants, who had several very evil disposed nephews, and who, to say the least, assisted the man that was hung in procuring the rich inheritance for them. This house had a large ground-floor, and many handsome rooms on the first story. The second story was very expensive, having previously been the studio of a painter, but which had been appropriated by the new lodger to an object which we will describe by and by. We will not attempt a description of this new lodger, but will introduce to our readers one more competent to do it. This person is Mlle. Celestine Crepineau, an old maid between thirty-seven and forty-nine years of age. She was tall and thin, and had all her life rejoiced at this, for she had a form three fingers in diameter. True, a broomstick can be grasped between the thumb and index finger, and yet is not very graceful. Let not any one think, though, in spite of this infantine vanity, that Mlle. Crepineau was of those virgins whom the Bible condemns as foolish about their beauty. She was a prudent honest-minded girl, the heart of whom if it ever spoke, did so in such low terms, that no one ever heard it. Mademoiselle Celestine's virtue was a proverb. Mothers in all that part of the town spoke of her as a model of prudence, and fathers pointed her out to their sons as a warning against the passions of youth. Without father or mother, from her very childhood Mlle. Crepeneau had no protector but her god-father, an old lawyer, who owned No. 13 of Babylonne-street. The worthy lawyer had provided for the youth of Mlle. Celestine, and had long intrusted her with the control of his kitchen: discovering, however, how little talent his god-daughter had for the art of Cussy and Brillot-Savarin, and wishing to provide an honorable and comfortable home for her, he removed her from the charge of her personal to that of his real property. We will see how fully Mlle. Celestine justified the esteem of her god-father: with what martial courage she took possession of this kingdom of shadows; and how, after sprinkling the whole house with holy water and hung a bough of a blessed tree, she had declared that this asylum, thus purified, henceforth would be unapproachable to the man who had been hung.