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Paul. When the low wind sighed among the reeds, in her tears fell on the boy's forehead and mingled with his another moment to sound the death-dirge of the hapless own. boy, the gipsy Maud rushed through the wood, and Days and days Maud sat by the fever-bed of her plunging into the river, caught the drowning youth. friend, his life hanging by a thread, and the grim gates She drew him to shore, and placed him on the grass ; of death swung back to receive him; but Maud had she laid his head on her lap, and wrung his dark chest- been taught some rare secrets of nature : and magic nut hair; she chafed his hands, and warmed his heart potions, brewed under strict conditions of the moon and beneath her own: and she breathed back into his lips the compass, with holy prayers repeated reverently the sacred gift of life. A sigh, a convulsive start, a over them, and charms and spells—muttered spells of shudder that ran from head to heel, and Paul opened his the whispering voice, and shadowy spells of the waving eyes to fix them on the dusky face that looked down on hand, love and watchfulness-these restored Paul; and his, tending him faithfully-a dusky face, set round Maud was rewarded by his recovery. with jet-black hair, with eyes that told plainly enough One day the rattle of carriages past Paul's casement, what was her ontcast lineage-her Bohemian raceyet and the loud ringing of the Oakenden bells, brought a tender, loying, mild, and pure as the face of an angel- sudden fit of anguish-such as Maud had never seen a face that one would have prayed for to be one's com- since the first wrenching away of his hopes by Eva's forter in illness, and to whose mercy the fondest mother cruel words. “What is that, Maud ?” he asked; his lips would have given up her children.
quivering, and his nervous hand clutching at the empty “Maud, Maud !” sobbed Paul, “oh, you do not know air. Maud changed color. “O Maud ! do you not how my heart is broken !” He turned his weary head deceive ine too!” cried the poor boy. in her lap, and buried it like a child in her gown, weep- “No, Paul, I will not deceive you." ing passionately. All the nerve and sinew of his man “Then speak : quick-quick !". hood had gone; and as he lay there, Maud felt more “There are things sometimes best left unspoken, like the mother of some grieving child than the sister of Paul,” she said tenderly. a sorrowing man; yet this maternal instinct made her “No, no, Maud ! the truth always." more indulgent and more kind.
“At its right time, dear boy.” “ Hush !" she said; “I know all.”
“Now, now, Maud!” The bells rang louder, the vil"No, no, Maud! you cannot know all; no one but lage children screamed and laughed, and the horses myself can really know what a fearful game of cruelty pranced and neighed. All this tumult was borne on and deception has been played against me-played the morning air into the sick-chamber. “Tell me, against a heart of love, Maud, whose only fault was its Maud." trust. Oh, you cannot know all !”
" It is a marriage, my friend.” “Yes, Paul; for I have been with you through every “A marriage!”—he spoke with a kind of calm hour of this day of agony. I watched you through the despair—“whose?” She did not answer. “Whose ?" wood; I tracked you silently, and followed your foot- he cried, seizing her arm. His eyes were wild, and his steps faithfully and patiently, knowing that a time voice almost fierce; his gesture was fierce as well. would come when I should be useful to you. And now, “One you know of, Paul." I tell you, knowing all, that you must be brave, my “Her name?” friend, and patient.”
“Why do you ask it? You know as well as I that * Brave! patient! Maud, these are only words!” Eva's marriage-bells are ringing!”
“Something more than that, Paul. Look up, boy, / “Eva! Eva!” shrieked the boy; and then he fell into the sky above are there no truths there, no joys back, the blood flowing over his lip, and his whole body in knowledge and in religion, that you should fing racked by strong convulsions. away your life for the heartless words of a mocking When Maud wiped the blood from his lips, Eva, in girl? Has nature no stores of healing even for a love another scene, placed her hand in that of Charles Rollebetrayed ? learning no harbors of refuge even for a heart stone, and said, in her calm sweet voice, “I will,” when wrecked? You have not lost all in losing even Eva, Dr. Mathison asked her, according to the formula, if she beautiful as she is. No life has but one venture, and would have him for her husband. But not once that that a wreck, while a star shines above the clouds, or a day did Eva remember the youth she had so betrayed ; flower blossoms on the sands; or while one human not once, in her wedding glory, came the faintest glow heart lies stricken with sorrows which human sympa- of feeling for him; not the shadow of sympathy, of thy can soften; one throbbing head lies low with dis- pity, or regret. ease, which human hands can soothe. While there is a The agitation of this new trial brought back all secret of nature to learn, or a kindly office to fulfill, no Paul's fever, and for many days and weeks he was one can say: My anguish is incurable. Do these again on the threshold of the grave. But Maud snatched words sound cold and hard now, my boy? You will him from this new danger, as she had preserved him tind them true when this storm has passed by.” | from the first, and once more restored him to his art
" Cold and hard !” groaned Paul; “ they are stones and life. instead of bread-death instead of life.”
All Oakenden was in arms. It was thought a very Maud made no answer. She lifted his head on her bold thing on Maud's part, that she should have nursed lap, and laid it on her bosom; and once, and once only, | Paul Desprez through an illness. But Maud let them
talk as they would, and went on tending and caring for returned. And yet she used to fancy he loved her. It poor Paul, just as if there was no world in Oakenden to was not that his manners were in anything what they oriticise and malign.
had been to Eva; they were neither passionate nor Maud's great amusement had been—although it was poetic; neither absorbed nor excited. But they were a foolish one-to encourage in Oakenden the idea of her so intensely calm, with such an atmosphere of peace witchcraft. Many a thing which had gained her her and repose about them when Maud was there, that she questionable reputation, had been done out of the love could not fail to see the change. If she left the room, he of fun and mischief, rather than inadvertently; although was restless, sad, uneasy; when she returned, he was she never expected the large amount of sorrow which like a nursing child restored to its mother. He would befell her as a consequence of this reputation. She sleep sometimes for hours when she was sitting by him, trusted more to the goodness than she feared the folly not for an instant if she was away. And when he of men, and never thought it possible that human hearts grew stronger, they used to sit by the casement, talking should be closed because social prejudices were shocked. for long hours together over deeper things than mere The gipsy Maud knew more of botany and entomology youthful sentiment, over thoughts, and feelings, and asthan she did of English society or English ideas. If pirations that made the life of both. He was always so she had had more of what the world calls common attentive to what she said, so respectful, so docile—that sense, she would have never placed herself in such a noble kind of manly docility which is so sweet a thing, false position ; but then, if the people at Oakenden had and so purifying for women to receive. And he used to had more discernment than prejudice, they would have adopt her opinions one by one, fighting hard sometimes, understood her better, and would not have transformed and sometimes yielding suddenly, till she laughed and dissimilarity into crime.
called hiin her pupil, and said she would make someAfter all, her escapades were not very heinous. She thing grand of him at last. And Maud, who was no used to dress in a singular manner-her gowns made, as self-deceiver, and would rather have heard the bitthey said, like pictures; then she used to go out at terest truth than lived in the most enchanting falsenight, because she had sundry ideas of hours and posi- hood, pondered over all these things diligently, asking tions in the gathering of her herbs and simples; and herself whether they meant a sick man's gratitude, or a then she used to say odd out-of-the-way things when strong man's love. But she never received a clear they teased her, and used to look awful, and mutter response from either her hopes or her fears, so she threats, and endeavor to indemnify herself by their was fain to leave to time the unloosing of her life's terror for the cruelty of her tormentors; and then she problem. lived alone in the haunted Hollow, and was afraid of When Eva heard of Maud's care for Paul, and how nothing; and, chief of all, she was more clever than all the world said they were to be married as soon as any of the Oakenden people ; and this was the list of the artist was sufficiently strong to be carried to church poor Maud's misdoings!
for they all declared he was bewitched-she put on an Poor Maud! At first, she was merely amused at incredulous look, and said abruptly: “Paul Desprez seeing the terror in which she was held; but when she marry Maud of the Hollow ? he has stooped low after found that every heart was cold, and every door closed soaring high!" against her, she acknowledged the mistake she had Paul was weak and faint yet, and to sit in the autumn made, and would sometimes, when not very willful, sunsets was all he could do ; with purple grapes, the have undone the past if possible. But she trusted to rich red leaves overshadowing them, and the golden the power of time; and went on, doing her kindly bloom of apricots beside him. duties diligently. If a neighbor's child fell sick, Maud “How is it, Maud, that I did not think you beautiwould spare herself no trouble she would sit up at ful?" asked Paul suddenly one day. night with the poor mother, or to give her some hours “Because I am not beautiful," answered Maud calmly. of rest, while she nursed the little one; she would But she felt the blood come in her cheek, and another think nothing of miles and hours if she could but find light than the one now in it, steal into her eye. some rare herb on the moor which would do the sufferer | "Is that modesty or affectation, Maud ?” Paul asked good. If any one was wanted, Maud would be the laughingly. messenger, and as she went more swiftly than any one “Neither, my friend." else, the country people used to accept the convenience “ It must be. You are beautiful." and vilify the mode, always believing that she went on “Do you think so? I am deformed." Though this her errands of Christian charity in some most unchris- last speech was said very quietly, a bystander would tian fashion. Yet still she was not appreciated nor un- have seen from the quivering lip and the sudden strainderstood; and her life had grown into a wild loneliness, ing of the nerves how much it cost Maud to make that wherein her love, sown broadcast as it might be, was confession. ill cast back, harvestless, on herself.
1 “No, no!" exclaimed Paul, vehemently. “I cannot It may easily be imagined, then, what, under such | believe it!” conditions, Paul became to Mand. She used to be The gipsy smiled. “You saw it once, I believe, my startled herself, sometimes, at the happiness she had boy. When you first knew me, you were aware of it. centred on him, and ask herself, and wonder, what he was it not so ?" would do with a love he perhaps neither knew of nor “Oh,” he answered impatiently, “I was all blind then, and knew nothing! But I do not see it now, and Paul did not answer; nor that day, nor the next, nor I do not believe in it. And why libel yourself, Maud, the next again, did he refer to the subject. But he was when you would not libel another? Why tell a false- much lost in thought, and sat often watching Maud hood, even for modesty ?"
stealthily, when he thought she did not see him; and “ It is the truth, Paul."
then he would lean back in his chair, and close his eyes, “No, no!"
and remain there, absorbed in some deep reflections, “ You shall judge, then, for yourself.” She stood up perhaps for many hours. before him and the slanting shadow on the ground, “Maud, you loved Horace once in your life ?” They elongated and exaggerated, showed an evident deformity. were sitting in the doorway, the feathers of the clematis "I grant this is an exaggeration," she then said, quietly round them. reseating herself—"but it is an exaggeration of the truth “No, never !" There was a pause only ; it is not a falsehood."
“But when I first came to Oakenden, you seemed to "Why did you tell me this ?” cried Paul, mournfully. me to love him," returned Paul, dissatisfied. “I had begun to believe you beautiful, and I was so “You mistook," Maud answered simply; and she conhappy in that belief !” He spoke as if something had tinued her task, stringing great gold beads into a neckhad been taken from him.
lace. After a time, she added: “I could never love * Child in mind yet!” said Maud inwardly, caressing what I did not esteem. Horace is to me but a glorious his hair; “and yet how women love the very men they case enclosing a worthless jewel. I thought him beanaccuse of childishness! And shall I cease to be your tiful always—as, indeed, who would not? But I loved friend," she said aloud, “because I carry a little more him never, because I found no resting-place for my soul flesh on my right shoulder than on my left? If you in his heart or mind. They are both too shallow in value me at all, is it for anything but my heart and their own feelings to deserve the truth of any one's mind? If not for these, then for what? You would affection. I to love Horace would have been as far not surely that I should trust to the sincerity of a misplaced as you, Paul”—and she laid her hand on his friendship sown on the shifting sands of a fair skin and “to love Eva.” symmetrical form? If so, a fever caught by the bed. “I am cured now, Maud,” said Paul, and he took her side of a dying mother, or a fall from a height when hand in his. A glory shone in the depths of Maud's protecting a wandering child, would destroy it without downcast eyes. “Yet, tell me,” he added, “ do you hope. No, Paul, friendship must be built on surer think you could ever love one who had erred so far as to foundations than these."
mistake the false for the true, and had given to mere " And yet how sweet it is to honor and to admire physical symmetry the worship due to moral virtue? one's friend!”
| Can you forgive me, and do you think you could love “That may be: honor and admiration for what is me?" true and worthy in the eye of Heaven, rather than in Maud did not raise her head; tears hung on her long the code of man.”
black lashes, and she trembled. “Think !" she answer“And you, Maud ?"
ed, almost below her breath—"a gipsy, of evil fame in "And I, my boy, am less before man than, in all your own society, without one recommendation such as humility, I would much pray to be, before Heaven. See English manners require! Think again, Paul. You, an, me as I am," she added, suddenly taking a far different artist, to marry with physical deformity!" tone, standing and speaking with strength and decision. “Ah, Maud, then you do not love me !" " What am I?-a gipsy, deformed, an outcast by race; “Not love you!" she answered passionately, raising believed to be worse than human, the dwart-witch of her eyes and standing up: “I loved you from the first the Hollow; denied the cares given to other women : 1 day we talked together in the moonlight by the willow. denied by some that I am even a woman—for do trees. I had my lap filled with herbs, and you laughed they not call me gnome, witch, elf? And when you at me first, but you listened to me afterwards; and have fairly understood what I am, and what I seem, then I knew what a great gift Heaven had thrown in then call me friend if you will, and hold my hand in my way; then I acknowledged in you all my soul had yours "
ever longed for—my realization of truth and goodness ; “ But, Maud, you are my friend now," interrupted yet I never dreamed of your love, for I knew that you Paul.
loved Eva. Not love you! Then I do not love the She put up her hand. “Do not deceive yourself,” | very well-springs of my life!". she said. “Make no ideal of my swarthy face because That night Paul closed his journalHe wrote the it has bent over you lovingly in your sickness; and last words in it as the night passed into the morning believe me po angel because my foot stole round your hours: “To-day I have found my Egeria !”. feverish bed tenderly. Do not confound gratitude with that spontaneous affection which calls out a friend from “And now, Paul, that I know you love me for myself the large herd of humanity, and singles him alone of alone, and have cared more for my nature, the reality hundreds. If you do, you will but prepare your own of my character, than for conventional appearances,. I disenchantment and discomfiture, and my unending sor- will tell you such parts of my history as will interest row. Come, let us go in; the dews are falling, and you, and perhaps please you.” And Maud drew her your cheek is pale. You look tired, and must rest.” arm through her lover's, clasping her hands together.
"I am a gipsy-that is too evident to be denied," she enemies slander me at their will. I was too much at said laughing; “but I am also the daughter of a Spanish war by nature with the world to conciliate it by declarnobleman. My mother, who was wonderfully beautiful ing myself. This pride may be foolish, but it has made
-my dear mother ! how well I can remember her me strong—strong, Paul, in the strength of truth, and when I was very young, and she in all the pride of her careful for Heaven's favor rather than for man's." glorious loveliness !-well, she ran away from her tribe, “And you wish still to preserve this secret, my with a young Spaniard, wild, warm, and reckless, who Mand ?” married her because she had fine eyes—they were like "No," she said softly, and she put her arın round his stars-silky hair, and a clear voice. I have all the neck. “I have now more than iny own pride to think marriage-papers here,” she added, showing an ivory box of, and I have no right to lay my self-made burden on bound and barred with gold. “You know that the another. No, Paul; you may tell to all the world-all true gipsies are not allowed to marry out of their tribe, whose social approbatior. is dear to you -that your and you know that the Spanish grandee must marry gipsy-wife has the royal blood of Spain in her heart; also with his caste, if he wishes to keep its favor or and, what will perhaps sound higher to English ears, recognition. On both sides, therefore, this marriage that she possesses wealth, that could buy the old Hall, incurred the undying reprobation of two most different and yet not be exhausted. Maud of the Hollow.-Maud worlds; and both my father and mother had to begin the gipsy, who lived in the haunted cottage, and had new lives, strange and irksome—the restraint to her, dealings with Satan-- Maud, who has been inet on the and the simplicity to him, so unlike all they had ever heath bareheaded in a storm, and barefooted, too, is no been accustomed to, rendering existence almost intoler- dowerless vagrant married out of pity! But let all that able. They came to England-my father to escape pass,” she suddenly exclaimed, interrupting herself; from the jealous pride of his kinsmen, my mother from “ let me be but the cause of your happiness, and I shall the fury of her people. And here I was born, which be a queen, and happier than one!" is the reason of my Saxon name, given me out of grati- “And you will not, my Maud, when we are married, tude to a young nurse, Maud, who attended my mother refuse to be tamned? or shall I wake some morning to in her travail. But after a few years, my father died in find my gipsy-wife wandered away, like the bird-maiden a rapid consumption, as rapid almost as a fever. I can of the Eastern tale ?" just remember the funeral—the hearse and the black “When I am married,” she said, “I will be a good feathers, and my mother's veil that shrouded her entirely. English wife, stay at home, love my lord, live in his My mother had now no tie to civilization. Though dis- / smile, and earn it." owned by her tribe, and certain of being murdered if | “Maud! Egeria! pray for me to become worthy of she ever fell into their hands, she could not remain you; for how far below you I ain!" longer in the stillness of her hated English life. In the “ We will pray together, Paul, to become worthy of Hungarian forests, among the Spanish mountains, on each other, and of the priceless gift of love graciously the wide plains of Italy, and amidst the snows of Russia | laid on the hearts of both; for to love truly, one must - often without food, oftener without shelter, my be worthy. True love never lives in a degraded heart. mother and I roamed for many, many years, although By love the world was saved, by love the truth is she bore about with her gold and jewels—which I have accepted, by love the soul is purified. Let us be now, Paul—that would have established her among the worthy of our love, iny Paul, and then we shall be greatest of the lands where she was treated as a beggar faithful to the godlike charge we hold in the hearts of and lived the wild career of one. She taught me all I each.” know. Oh, she was wise, my beautiful mother! She Oakenden was greatly shocked at this marriage. Paul taught me secrets of nature undreamed of in the broad was positively cut for some weeks, and Maud's reputabeaten track of popular science; she taught me the tion as a sorceress was confirmed. Paul and Maud stars, and how—Oh, my poor mother !--how they spell were not much disturbed at the small tempest they had out our destiny ; and highest of all, she taught me to raised. They bore it very tranquilly, and forgave all read the fate stamped on each man's brow, and to spy their slanderers; and by degrees and in time those even into the heart through the book of the features; and who had been most bitterly opposed to them became these were secrets more valuable than cookery or em- appeased, and the old power of virtue and kindliness broidery-although I am not without the knowledge of was again, as ever, proved in the softening of prejudices these either,” she added, smiling. “So you see now and the opening of affection. Maud -- the despised the reason of my savageness of nature," she continued, dwarf, the dreaded gipsr--the feared witch-at last caressingly : “it is an inheritance. My poor mother won herself the esteem she deserved; for her patience, showed her uncivilized blood by restlessness and cease- her great-heartedness, affection and knowledge, madı less wandering; I mine, by contempt of appearances themselves felt, as sun-rays through a cloud. And a-, and a war with conventionalities. And it is from this after her marriage, she became wise and sensible, and feeling that I have kept my birth a secret, although it gave up the role ot' witchcraft played in her thoughtless is high enough to satisfy the most exacting. It is this maidenhood, the thick intellects of Oakenden were no instinct which has made me live without pomp or par- | longer obscured by shadows, and could at last afford to ade, content to be sufficient to myself, and to let my recognize her as she was.
Never was the heaven of calmer blue, or the earth and shade, was old Sir Cuthbert Clipstone, of Clipstone steeped in sweeter sunshine, than that which lay on Hall, attended by his beautiful daughter Bertha. the open glades and velvet pastures of Clipstone Chase Well did Bertha deserve the name of beautiful. In on a serene Sabbath morning in the summer of 1648. the large fullness of her dark, and tenderly expressive The bells of the village church were ringing out over eyes, in the sweet gentleness which lay about her hill and valley, and, by many a winding path and wood-lips, in the white, smooth, radiant brow, she resemland walk, the humble cotters and the lowly farmers bled not a little the picture of the Madonna which wended their way towards the old grey spire, which overhung the old church altar; and as she entered her stood pointing its silent finger to the sky.
rush-strewn pew, and knelt to mutter a silent prayer, Among those who sanntered carelessly through sun the sunlight which streamed through the glass-stained