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At this moment there was a loud knock and a ring at the at that instant a charming tableau vivant, but loving street-door.
eyes were the only mirrors in which it was reflecterl. "I wonder who it can be," said Mrs. Ireton, after a “ It is very kind of you, my dear, to come in topause; we are not expecting any one this evening, and night," said Mr. Ireton, pressing the hand which had it is a most unusual time for visitors.”
laid itself in his. Meanwhile the door was opened, and the quick hear- “Dear papa,” replied Frances in a low tone, “I have ing of the blind man instantly recognized well-known had quite an adventure, and we could not rest without voices. Ile exclaimed: “only Frances and Edward. I telling you about it. But—it concerns," and here she think they are inquiring if we are alone. How good of hesitated a moment, “it concerns Uncle Pembroke. them to come round!"
Perhaps I had better wait till Willy and baby are gone The next moment, Mrs. Ireton's married daughter, to bed ?” Mrs. Crawford, and her husband, entered the room. “As you like, my love," returned Mr. Ireton: “it They were a noble-looking pair; he a handsome man struck eiglit some time ago. Ah! here comes nurse for of about thirty, with that best air of high-breeding the little one, and Willy will soon follow." which is alike removed from petty affectations or cold And while Willy is loitering out his last ten minutes, indifference of manner, and the principal charm of showing his Latin prize to his brother-in-law, and wishwhich will be found to consist in its perfect ease and ing many “good-nights,” the reader shall be made naturalness; this manner, be it observed, rising readily acquainted with the broad outlines of family history enough whenever occasion requires, to generous enthu- which concerned Mr. Ireton and his brother Pembroke. siasm, but never betraying self-consciousness about They were the twin and youngest sons of a wealthy trifles-a
-a manner almost always demanding the rare banker, who had maintained the highest repute during combination of circumstances which includes nobility the first quarter of the present century. An elder broof character, large and clear intellect, and a worldly ther had always been intended for the man of business position that keeps far away depressing cares and anxie- to succeed in the banking-house; and the twins being ties.
amply provided for by the will of a maternal relative, Mrs. Crawford, the wife of three months, and barely haj for some joyous years followed pretty nearly get one-and-twenty, must be rather more elaborately the bent of their inclinations. Their according tastes described. Considerably taller than the medium height, led them to travel, and chiefly in the south of Europe; her finely-moulded figure was erect and yet pliant; and and there had been fostered and cultivated the intense some inder spring of thought or feeling gave such grace love and appreciation of Art which seemed with both to her movements, that her slightest and most careless of thein to be a master-passion. For a little while gestures impressed the beholder with an idea of beauty. bright indeed appeared their human destiny. Blessed Features far more lovely that those of the passionless with health, youth, and fortune, they seemed free to Greek ideal, were Frances Crawford's, though of the follow Art for its own pure sake, to woo it in its loftiest character to invite comparison with it; and eyes of and noblest moods, without regard to the "jingling of Oriental lustre, a pure yet warmly-tinted complexion, the guineas,” or instant present fame. As if to crown and abundant dark tresses of silky texture, completed their felicity, those almost inseparable brothers had the picture. But that her smile was marvellously sweet attached themselves to two sisters, to whom they were and tolerably frequent, one must have declared that on the eve of. being united, when the fearful moneyhaughtiness was the predominant expression of her panic of 1825 shook the mercantile classes to their beautiful countenance. And laughty, too, at times centre. she was; intolerant of meanness and falsehood ; The banking-house of which old Mr. Ireton was the impatient of control, save, when yielding and obeying, head, and which was like a prop to a score of others, she was likewise able to respect and venerate. It was fell, involving countless families in its ruin; and even curious, that while her sisters commonly called Bessy the private fortunes of the twin-brothers, which had and Lotty, and the family in general were rich in nick- been invested in the bank, shared the general fate. The narnes, no one ever had thought of appropriating one to elder brother, the man of business whose stern integrity her, or even of degrading the majestic Frances to simple had all gathered round one point of honor, bowed Fanny.
beneath the shock: his reason gave way, and in an liour It is a pleasant sight to witness cordial family greet- of horror and madness, he destroyed hiinsell. And ings; and though the married daughter resided in tho when the absent pair, who had been recalled from Italy next street, and meetings were almost daily, she stooped at the crisis of pecuniary ruin, arrived in London, they over the blind man's chair, kissed him fondly, salutce found their poor bereaved father in a yet deeper her mother almost as warmly, and bent her cheek down and darker agony than that for which they were preto meet the pleased faces of her young brothers and pared. sisters.' Then she returned to her father's side, Now was applied the test to two characters which threw back her large shawl, which, as her shawls had hitherto seeined to obey the same laws and follow always did, fell in an artistic drape across her chair; the same impulses. But a river that glides and sparkles and now she removed her bonnet, and lifting both hands in the sunshine, has often its two currents: and thongh for a moment to her hair, seemed with one touch to it seems to flow so evenly among flowers and mearlows, have shaped its plaits and braids to order. She formed parts its waters when shoals and rocks are near.
alike in person were William and Pembroke Ireton, that I blindness fell on him; but he bowed to it, meekly calldear friends mistook them for each other; so alike ing it the only hard trial of his happy life; and now, in tastes had they been, that books were common pro- indeed, he blessed the loving kindness which bad given perty between them; pictures, it is true, were some- him so many dear ones to be eyes and hands for liim. tines called “mine,” and “thine," but as the brothers “Meanwhile, Pembroke Ireton, still estranged from never dwelt apart, this had little signified. Ordinary his brother's family, had returned to England, and was friends of the amateur artists knew not their respective established as a painter of singular, but very high drawings, though, to be sure, certain connoisseurs had repute. His pictures brought him large sums of money, lately announced that William had the truer and higher but little was really known of the artist as a man genius; and yet it was William who, after a few days of though many and curious were the stories of his eccen wrestling thought, abandoned the pursuit of Art for tricity, which circulated among the lovers of anecdoti ever.
and gossip. Not so Pembroke; for he had borne the loss of fortune less nobly than his brother, for he bad fretted, and “Bessy and Lotty can keep & secret, I suppose ? fumed, and reproached over it. William had buried his exclaimed Mrs. Crawford, as soon as Willy's last goodregrets as in a grave, and only relaxed the iron firmness night was said, smiting and looking, as she spoke, interof his lip when comforting and counselling his vener- rogatively at the two girls. able and heart-broken father. Quickly, too, he had “Sister, of course we can,” replied the younger, addressed his betrothed, releasing her from her vow, if answering for both, and seeming by her tone as if the so it pleased her, and yet beseeching her still to love and dignity lately acquired by having officiated as bridetrust him, and wait but a little space till he could decide maid, was tarnished by a doubt being entertained of her how independence was to be won, that he might claim discretion. her. And when, “upon this hint,” her true heart The frequent beautiful smile parted Mrs. Crawford's replied, loosening as it did so some folds of prudery, and lips as she observed the manner; but addressing herself she crept one day uninvited to his side, and there, with more particularly to her parents, she proceeded: “Unsmiles and tears, re-registered her vows, he felt and cle Pembroke has made our acquaintance without in the knew that he had chosen well
, and that the fulfillment least suspecting the relationship. He wants my face for of near duties commonly brings about our choicest his model in a grand picture he is painting;" and then, blessings.
as if a sudden consciousness came upon her, that she William Ireton abandoned once and for ever all could not describe the circumstances she had to relate dreams of fame, and devoted himself to lead the Human without some landation of her own person, a flush rose Life-to toil diligently and cheerfully for those who to her cheek, and turning to her husband, she added: depended upon him. He cheered the last days of his “Edward, will you tell the story as briefly as you aged father; he married the woman he loved; he threw can?” his talents, his energies, into business; reared up the “ It is a very simple affair," said Mr. Crawford, fallen fabric of mercantile honor, paid off old debts, and “Yesterday, we were riding on horseback in the established a new firm of such noble repute, that its park, when, happening to turn my head, I saw that my name is a synonym for upright dealing.
groom had stopped for a moment, and was in conversaPembroke, on the contrary, devoted himself to Art- tion with a gentleman. I fancied that something was that jealous mistress who, now that he had determined wrong with the horse, and that the stranger had called to live by bis pencil, he discovered could bear no rival his attention to it; and as the man galloped on after us near her throne; and so he broke off his engagement the next instant, and, moreover, we met a couple of with the girl whose heart was wholly his; and when friends who joined us, the whole thing slipped my meWilliam remonstrated with him on the manner in which mory till this morning, when I received a letter from this was done, he quarrelled with his brother, as he Mr. Pembroke Ireton. Shall I read it aloud ?" who is in the wrong commonly does with his reprover. As “Pray do” was repeated on every side, he read The breach widened. Pembroke once more went as follows: abroad, but failed to correspond with William, because it was said there was an inmate of his family before Sır: Two years ago I composed the sketch of a picture whom his name had better not be mentioned. But that illustrative of Tennyson's poem, The Princess, but I have inmate died—the broken-hearted girl, the wife's sister : delayed the completion of my design from my inability her death was a lesson of faith, and full of beauty and to find a living realization of the poet's ideal. Feeling pathos, and there was a sweet message of love and for convinced that my true model, if discovered at all, would giveness to be written to the absent one, which was be found among my countrywomen, I, last spring, visited done very gently; and yet Pembroke Ireton took no those places of public resort where beauty and intellect heed. Years bad rolled on. William was the affluent would be likely to congregate, with my search solely in banker-merchant, secure, humanly speaking, from the view. One night, at the opera, I beheld Mrs. Crawford, ills of fortune, when his sight-which, from an attack and from that hour she has been the only Ida in the world of inflammation experienced under peculiar circum- for me. She must have sat back in the box during the stances in early life, had long been failing-showed the early part of the evening, for it was only towards the most alarming symptoms. The terrible affliction of close that I beheld her; and though I made my way to the door as quickly as possible, intending to follow the belonged to the “long ago” of a past century; the old carriage home, in the crowd and confusion of the occa- house had survived many vicissitudes, and now, for sion she was lost to me. Since then, I have made many nearly twenty years, had been the abode of a bachelor inquiries, but, without a clue to her name or abode, artist. Not one really comfortable habitable apartment how could they be other than fruitless ? Latterly, I did it contain—for Pembroke Ireton, keeping himself have stolen an hour from every day's short daylight, apart from all socialities, scarcely knew or remembered with the hope of finding her among the equestrians in the ways of the world; and his two servants, from our parks; and that I succeeded yesterday, and learned their forced seclusion and simple routine of duties, had from your servant your name, proves how true was my fallen into a sort of lethargic, indolent mode of life, that instinct. Sir, I beseech you, condescend to permit and rendered them, in this busy age, hardly less eccentric persuade Mrs. Crawford to sit for my picture. She is than their master. the realization of the Princess Ida; I cannot accept any Every room was more or less crowded with pictures, other countenance for her; and if you deny me, I must casts, antiquities, draperies, or other adjuncts of the work from that shifting, imperfect memory bequeathed atelier, and into these sanctuaries brooms and brushes to me by two transient glances. For the love of art, do were very sparingly admitted. The light was actually not refuse me; and if to this entreaty I may add ano- obscured by the dirtiness of the windows; and I will ther, it is that you will accept from me the finest por- not hazard a conjecture as to the number-had their trait of Mrs. Crawford which can be painted by census been taken-of the colony of spiders which
“PEMBROKE IRETON." brought up their families in peace and security in shady
corners and unmolested nooks. “Edward, you will not refuse?” exclaimed Mr. Ireton
It was about noon—the high tide, indeed, of Decemwith visible emotion. “Dear Frances, of course you ber daylight—and Pembroke Ireton was growing impa. will sit for this picture ? and I foretell that my lonely tient, for he had arranged the windows, the chair of brother will at last be restored to our knowledge and state, the easel, and made every preparation for his affection."
model, when suddenly a new thought possessed him, and “We have forestalled your wishes,” said Mr. Oraw- he rang his bell sharply. His one woman-servant ford, " by appointing to-morrow to call on him. How answered the summons. Hannah was a comely, portly, well,” he continued, “I remember that night at the middle-aged dame when she first entered the artist's operal Frances did sit behind my mother, who rebuked service, but time, and the strange life she had led, had us more than once for chattering."
changed her to the stooping, crone-like old woman. “Frances is a little like her namesake, my lost sis- Hannah had never, in her brightest days, been overter," said Mrs. Ireton, after a inusing pause ; “ though burdened with ideas, but she had two strong affections the likeness is chiefly apparent when she speaks and in her heart-one toward her eccentric master, and the smiles—the tones of her voice are like too. I wonder other for her brother Timothy, whom, on the strength if Pembroke will trace these resemblances, and waken of his being ten years her junior, she still called a lad, to the memories of his youth !”
and whom, soon after her own engagement, she recommended for her fellow-servant.
“Hannah, what am I to have for dinner to-day ?" was Pembroke Ireton was accustomed to receive certain the prosaic question the artist asked of his cook and connoisseurs of art, and wealthy patrons, which, by the housekeeper. way, he usually did with an air of indifference, that “ A steak to-day, sir,” she replied; "you had some amounted to churlishness; but the visitors whom he chops yesterdəy; and to-morrow is the day for a roastwas now momentarily expecting, aroused in his mind fowl.” feelings of delight that were quite new to him. To “Ah, true, true; but I expect visitors—à sitter, to have a true, perfect, living model for his grand picture, whom I should like to offer some refreshment." was the realisation of one of his dearest hopes; for the “Cake and wine, sir-I can buy a beautiful cake at Man was to all appearance so merged in the Painter, the pastry cook’s?” suggested Hannah. that it seemed as if nothing connected with his merely “Hang cake and wine! No, I mean something human life could arouse his sensibilities in a degree to dainty, and yet substantial—fit to offer to the Queen be compared with the influence of circumstances con-herself.” cerning his art.
“Lor', sir, you frighten me! I haven't cooked a It was a large, roomy house which Pembroke Ireton great dinner these twenty years." inhabited, just on the outskirts of the now fashionable “And I don't mean, I don't want a great dinner; part of London. Long ago, in the days of the two first only something very elegant, and very choice, to be Georges, it had been the scene of many a stately ready about dusk-say, four o'clock. I will give you festivity; its wide hall had accommodated the sedan- some money, and you must go to the people who supply chair, and its staircases been acquainted with hoops and collations. I don't care what it costs. I cannot stay trains; the spinet and harpsichord had resounded in its to talk to you. Didn't you hear a carriage and there's chambers, where courtly-powdered beaux, sword-girded a knock. Timothy is deaf, I think, not to open the and star-blazoned, had moved in solemn minuets, with door. And tell him to get the wine from the inner patched and painted ladies. But all these things I cellar—that tokay that Lord I sent me and hock
and champagne, and the port that was laid down in '38. Jerintendence, the “collation” had been spread, a stranger Mind, four o’clöck; and sweep out the parlor a little, if looking on, would have considered the trio rather a you can. Here, take the money;" and hurrying her party of old friends than mere acquaintances of a day. out of the room as he put a bank note into her hand, he Even certain incongruities of the repast inade mirth, added once more : Never mind what it costs."
and wore off formality; for Hannah, however much Possibly the last words were heard by the Crawfords" on hospitable thoughits intent,” had no knowledge of as they ascended the stairs.
rule and custom to guide her; and though the viands Surely there is no costume in the world more becom- were sufficiently good and abundant to afford an exceling to a woman of radiant, queen-like beauty, than a lent meal, they were so strangely chosen, that it was rich winter out-of-door attire. And as Frances Craw- easier for the lost to make a laughing apology for his foril appeared now in a robe of dark velvet, with an servant's selection, than pass it by unobserved. But the Indian Cashmere—whose size, though twice folded, was new friends did not part without the day for another more than commonly ample-drawn gracefully round sitting being appointed; and Mr. Ireton entreated that her; and furs of the rare, costly, peerless Russian sable, they would arrange to spend the evening with bim aftershe looked, if far too lovely to have stepped—as the wards, as he had certain curiosities of art he desired plirase is—out of a picture, yet notably worthy a much to show them. As the Crawfords finally conpainter's half-adoring study.
sented to this proposed plan, after only a faint, formal Pembroke Ireton's admiration and delight showed demurring at “such intrusion,” they exchanged a glance themselves in the flush of his sallow cheek, and in the which showed how mutually they rejoiced at the turn cordial, grateful greeting he awarded to his guests. The atfairs had taken. Occasion seemed so much less connected with the rela- But the second sitting was more eventful than the tions of social life than with the circumstances of liis first had been. Now, Frances was placed in the exact art, that he lost, in a great measure, the shyness which pose required for the great picture; and to complete hul for years been gradually incrusting itself round his the effect, a light drapery was thrown over ber velvet manners; while liis early good-breeding of course pre- robe, and fastened after the antique style on her shoulder. vented the iteration of personal compliments to Frances, For this purpose, Pembroke Ireton selected from liis which, after all, would have appeared as inadequate as stores a rare cameo, to which belonged a history. It offensive, coming in the wake of the one great compli- was one of the undoubted works of Benvenuto Cellini, ment lie had paid hier.
and had been nearly from his day in the possession of a The great picture was to represent that scene where noble French family, whose late descendant, fleeing froin the Princess Ida rebukes the seeming “northern ladies," the guillotine in the Reign of Terror bad rescued it saying:
with some other valuables, to prove his means of existence in exile. Pembroke Ireton purchased the brooch
at great cost from the collector, who had received it and where the disguised prince and his confederates, from the noble exile's own hand; and this matchless "conscious of themselves, "perused the matting.” At head of Minerva--for such it represented—had indethis first sitting, it was only a study of the face and pendently of the stamp of its own beauty, an authentic figure the painter purposed; yet long before they parted, pedigree of its possessors. Perhaps to gratify the taste the artist hoped in his own mind to paint many pictures of some belle of the eighteenth century, it had been gorof Ida, illustrating the great, wise poem of which she geously set round with brilliants, but though these were is the heroine, even to the point where
included in the price which Peinbroke Iretor cheerfully paid for the brooch, he had ruthlessly broken them
away, leaving his treasure in its original chaste sim. But while the painter seemed lost in the delight of plicity. his self-appointed task, his visitors were contemplating Very earnest and very honest were Mr. and Mrs. him with an interest he little suspected. Beneath the Crawford's expressions of admiration of this uisite calın flow of an easy, chatty discourse, his unknown work, and they were discriminating expressions too, so niece and her husband saw more than once into the that the painter felt that his guests understood what depths of his nature. When Mrs. Crawford first spoke, they praised; and his pale cheek flushed, and his eye there was a startled glance from Pembroke Ireton's eye; sparkled with pleasure as this sympathy declared itself
. and after he had grown familiar with her voice, he more By this time the dusty cobweb-festooned parlor had than once heaved a quiet sigh after she had been speak- been something more than “swept out.” Pembroke ing. Again, when Mr. Crawford addressed his wife by Ireton had felt the incongruity of entertaining his beautiher Christian name, there was an evidence-they hav- ful guest in a lumber-room, and had taken care that ing, as it were, the key to the cipher by which it needful renovations and preparations should be made; was betrayed—that told of a memory not dead, but and, on this second occasion, it was with every appointsleeping.
ment of elegance and comfort that the trio sat down to Very sociable grew the painter and his guests, even their repast. Now, a party of three, where two of the at their first visit; and when the deepening winter number are a really united married pair, while enjoying twilight caused him to rest from his labors, and they all the ease and confidence of close companionship, are descended into the parlor, where, under Hannah's sup- I usually more animated and conversational even than a
“ We did not think in our own hall to hear
This barren verbiage current among men,”
“Her falser self slipped from her like a robe."
tête-à-tête pair. Thus, merely as a pleasant social meet- “He is happy, though blind,” returned the daughter, ing this second sitting was to be marked with white in the with a sort of cruel kindness towards her hearercalendar; but after dinner, when the bright fire, and “happy, because our love, that seemed before too vast the soft lamplight, and the presence of his guests, threw for increase, still grew as his sight waned; and the a horne-charm around Peinbroke Ireton, to which he wealth of the heart outweighs the wealth of the senses. was little accustomed, his nature seemed to melt, and It seems to me a beautiful dispensation of Providence, his voice modulated to a tone, as if to speak his long-that this heavy affliction has fallen where every surpent up emotions were become a necessity to him. rounding circumstance lightens and alleviates it. llad
“Not unless I tell you a heavy secret,” he ex- my father been lonely and childless, how much more. claimed, addressing Frances, “can you estimate my terrible would have been his lot!" gladness at discovering you, or my gratitude for your
There was a minute's silence. With the morbid sencoinpliance with my wishes.
sitiveness of a recluse, and the keen perception of ono "I feel it an honor," replied Mr. Crawford, “ that who, if only for the purposes of his art, had been accusFrances should should be immortalised by so great a tomed to ana omize the passions, Pembroke Ireton painter. Dear sir, never mention itude again!" shrank from a display that might have onght about
“But I must," continued Pembroke Ireton with visi “a scene." Stifled sobs made thick liis breathing, and ble emotion—" I must: even one year hence might have assuaging tears were rising to his eyes, but be controlled been too late. The great painter-what a mockery! in these evidences of emotion, and suddenly, and with a little while to be the desolate, afflicted old man! My a sort of set phrases, changed the discourse.
“ Yonr friends!” he added with forced coinposure, “I am losing father must indeed be a happy man,” he exclaimed with my sight-physicians own it to me: unless I give up forced calmness, “ despite his bereavement; yet lad painting, I shall be blind in two or three years.” I known, dear madam, that my selfish outpourings
“Then,” exclaimed Frances in a thrilling tone of would have led to this sorrowful subject, indeed I would entreaty—" then, in pity to yourself, paint no more : have refrained.” cease from this hour. What is Art to sight?”
“Nay,” replied Frances, not wholly sorrowful to me; “Never!" replied the painter vehemently. “For Art, and is not sympathy, warm sympathy, a consolation to long years ago, I gave up more than life and sight, you?” though in my young, hot enthusiasm, I knew not what "I am not sure—perhaps not. Do not think me I relinquished; and to the last, Art shall have me—it ungrateful; but I will not speak of my own trouble claims even the dregs of my being.”
again. A little more wine, Mrs. Crawford ; pray,
half a “Pembroke Ireton has done enough for fame," said glass, and let me prepare an orange for you." Mr. Crawford.
A resolute host can always give the tone to conversa" Fame! Art has been my mistress; if she brought tion, and whatever were Pembroke Ireton's faults, want her handmaiden, Fame, I could not help it. It is of resolution was not one of them. Thus he once more a noisy busy body, hindering as often as helping. But drew round the discourse to anecdotes of travel and lite is not long enough to do true service to Art. Surely Art; a portfolio of curious engravings was brought I do not grudge a pair of eyes, that have been but trea- forward, and shown to his appreciating guests; and the cherous servants since, five-and-twenty years ago, they marvellous Cellini cameo was once more admired, and were exposed for two nights and days to the glare of the effect of the relievo examined by lamplight. Frances Alpine snows. You wonder at this, my sweet young was holding it, but after one or two attempts to return friend: it is the brain that paints, not the eye and the it into the artist's own hand, she laid it on the table. hand.”
After a little while, the owner took it up, but he seemed But Frances was overcome by a deeper emotion than awkward and confused, as if he knew not what to do wonder. That same perilous journey of early life which with it. Presently he stammered out: “ If Mrs. Crawhad laid the foundation of her father's affliction, had ford would do me the favor to accept this Minerva's similarly affected the twin brother; and thus that appa- head, as a slight memorial of these sittings, I should be rently inseparable pair, whom yet strange circumstances more gratified than I can express." had divided, seemed still to be mysteriously united by a
“So valuable a gift !” exclaimed Frances. “Indeed, common misfortune. "I am not wondering,” she you do me too much honor, are too generous; how can replied, trying to speak calmly; “I am only sorrowing, I accept it?” and thinking of a strange coincidence. My own dear “I must appeal to you, Mr. Crawford,” returned the father is blind-thus afflicted in consequence of a simi- painter, “to use your influence, and not to disappoint lar accident to yours—being lost in the snows of Swit- me. I know no one else worthy to wear such a zerland when travelling in his youth in search of grand gem.” scenery."
“ It is a magnificent gift,” replied Mr. Crawford; “How strange!" mused the painter.
and it would be churlish indeed to refuse the acceptance “You must know him," continued Frances in trem- of it. Yet you lay us under deep obligation.” bling tones : "you are formed to be—friends, com- “I am obliged,” said Ireton, passing the cameo panions to each other. Ah, you must know my father; to Frances. “I can fancy it is sentient enough to know be, too, loved Art most dearly.”
that it has only now found its true mistress.” “And now?" asked Pembroke Ireton.
“If I wear it, thongh," said Frances, holding forth