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Charles thought of the scene he had lately that the love of freedom, one of the noblest of witnessed and felt sure that Edith had not been human feelings, and one too which has led to actuated in this instance by curiosity, but he also such glorious results in our own country, should perceived that she was unwilling for her good produce such frightful excesses in France.” deeds to be known or commented on, and there “ Frightful!" said Edith, her eyes filling with was something in her manner which induced him tears of mingled pity and indignation,
say to think she was anxious to show him that she rather deeds of which fiends might be ashamed." was not desirous to gain his approbation.
“Say any thing you please, my dear, and you "You see,” said Juliana laughing, “ though I cannot say too much,” said Mr. Travers,“ but am always considered not at all good, that Anna really proceedings such as those overset all my Maria and Edith are not much better. Edith theories, and convince me that I am but a tyro only takes interest in the poor from motives of in the knowledge of human nature." curiosity, and Anna Maria takes none at all from “ This page in the history of France,” said any motive.”
Charles, is an awful lesson as to what human Edith laughed, but Anna Maria's color rose to nature can be when the restraints of Governher temples, though she constrained herself to ment and Religion are entirely thrown off; a say with tolerable composure, "you quite mis- lesson too which can never be forgotten. When understood me, Juliana, I did not mean to say we consider the age, the circumstances, the counthat I took no interest in the poor, on the con- try in which these horrors are being perpetrated, trary, I pity them and endeavor to relieve them; they have not their parallel in ancient or modern I only remarked that my opportunities were lim- history." ited of acquiring much experience as to their • True,” said Mr. Travers, “but we can scarcehabits and character.
ly account for the unparalleled atrocities commit"You know.” said Edith, finding it necessary ted by the French, by the circumstance of their to come to the rescue, “Juliana never gives having thrown off all religious restraints, for herself the trouble to listen to our remarks or to they have certainly a better creed than the Pagive them a right construction, so explanations gans, and yet their practices are far more abomiand vindications are lost upon her, she would nable and horrible." only turn them into a jest;" then perceiving from “ You will observe," said Charles, “ that Paris Juliana's looks that some saucy reply was upon is the centre of these abominations, and judging her lips which she thought probable would pro- of the state of morals and religion there, from voke Anna Maria beyond all power of endurance all the pictures of society gathered from letters she took Juliana's work from her saying: “ how and memoirs, we may well pronounce the Pavery neatly and prettily you are making this cap, risians to be less under the influence of moral but it is a positive waste of time to put orna- and religious restraints than the nations of anmental stitches on work for such a purpose.” tiquity, for the profession of the Greeks and Ro
“Well I have nothing very particular to do mans did not differ so much from their practice with my time,” replied Juliana, “and I don't see as that of the Parisians, and there is nothing why, because the baby is poor, it should have a which produces so fatal an effect on national and frightful cap as an additional misfortune." individual character as this coustant discrepancy
Just then an involuntary exclamatiou of horror between faith and practice. The distinction bewhich escaped from Mr. Travers, who was in- tween good and evil cannot be perceived or cared tently employed in reading the newspapers, di- for. Political causes have, doubtless, likewise rected the attention of every one to himself. contributed to produce these fearful results, so
“ Bless me, my dear,” said Mrs. Travers who totally different from the effects of our own efforts was thrown in a tremor from head to foot at this for freedom.” exclamation, "are any of our friends dead ?" Juliana broke up the political discussion by
“No, not that I know of,” replied Mr. Travers, reading aloud from the paper which her father " but listen to this, Mr. Selden, and tell me if you had just laid down, the marriage of Mr. Norris could have believed that such demons exist in of Belvoir, to Miss Wilson of Primrose Cottage. human shape ?"
“Who would have thought,” she exclaimed Mr. Travers then read aloud a passage from turning to her father with a laugh, “of old cousin the paper, detailing some of the most revolting John Norris' getting married, and to that prim cruelties of the Revolutionary Tribunal, to which Miss Wilson too? I wonder what Thomas and his audience listened with countenances of hor- the girls will say to it." ror.
"I don't see what Mr. Norris' marriage has to “Well sir," he said when he had finished read- do with the French Revolution,” replied Mr. ing the passage, turning towards Charles, “what Travers rather gravely, “but I don't know what can you say to this could one have supposed his childreu can have to say about it, but that
their father is old enough to judge for himself; |fully would require an essay. Though I am a and as to his being so very old, as you seem to preacher," he added smiling, “I could not consuppose, Juliana, that is quite a mistake, he is sent, in cold blood, to inflict such tediousness on just about my age.”
an unoffending audience.” "La, Papa!" said Juliapa, with a saucy look Charles would scarcely have been able, how. and laugh.
ever, to avoid giving his opinions at full length "I could never understand," said Mr. Travers, on this subject, as Anna Maria was determined “why the ladies should entertain such unreasona- not to let him off so easily, but to plead her right ble prejudices against second marriages. A gen- as one of his flock to his views on all moral tleman pays the highest possible compliment to questions, had not the entrance of George Travers his first wife by seeking to supply her place." put a forcible end to the conversation. His fa
Anna Maria cast a side-long glance towards vorite riding-horse had been suddenly taken very Charles, as if to discover his sentiments on this sick, and he came to consult Mr. Travers as to subject, but as his countenance gave no indica- the best method of treating him. Charles, after tion by which she could discover them, she con- listening attentively to George's description of cluded his opinions were the same with those the state of his horse, which was addressed to just expressed by Mr. Travers, as she knew they his father, said that he had himself cured one a were entertained by men almost universally. few months ago, similarly affected and proposed Determined, therefore, to show that she was to go with George to the stable to see the borse. above the prejudices just ascribed by her father George accepted the offer with great surprise to women on the subject of second marriages, and some gratitude, and during their walk Charles she observed : “I think if Mr. Norris' children rose a hundred degrees in his estimation by the have a real affection for their father they will knowledge he discovered him to possess of farprefer bis happiness to their own."
riery. His good opinion was still farther increas“Very sensibly observed,” said her father. ed by the success with which Charles' prescrip
* So then if mamma were to die you would tion for the horse was attended and the interest have no objection to a step-mother, Anna Maria,” he showed in its recovery, and when Charles said Juliana in a reproachful tone.
took leave that night George exclaimed as soon “I should certainly wish my father to do what- as he had left the room—"He is a fine fellow ever would best promote his happiness." after all, if he is a preacher. What could have
A slight flush passed over the cheek of Mrs. possessed him to make such a horrible choice of Travers at Anna Maria's speech, but she said a profession ? he was intended for better things." nothing. Juliana, however, exclaimed with great “To cure horses for instance," said Edith indignation, " wonderfully good indeed at mam- laughing. ma's expense-I at least should”
“Yes, what could be more useful or charita"Come, come,” said Edith, gently laying her ble." hand upon Juliana's arm, " fortunately there does “Oh nothing, not even to save souls." not seem to be any probability that aunt Travers “Pshaw! you are disposed lately, Edith, to will afford a vacancy for a successor.
You know ridicule every thing I say. You think then, it all gentlemen approve and defend second mar- was beneath Mr. Selden's dignity to cure poor riages, they consider it as one of their inaliena- Saladin." ble privileges, even when they have no wish or “ Not at all, George," said Edith, with a goodintention of availing themselves of it. Even humored smile, "and I am sincerely glad your papa would not say for the world that he disap- fine horse is likely to recover. But good nigbt, proved of them."
for I have a letter now to write before bed-time." " Then I should be afraid that some of these So saying she glided quietly from the room, days he would present me with a step-mother," and it is certain that she thought several times of said Juliana.
Charles, his observations and his character, beAh, that is because you are not acquainted fore the letter was begun. with my father, if you knew him as well as I do the possibility of such an event would not occur to you."
CHAPTER IV. “Will you not give us your opinion on this subject ?” said Anna Maria, turning towards
Alas! our young affections runs to waste,
Or water but the desert.-Childe Harald. Charles with a sinile which she meant to be one of irresistible sweetness.
Week after week passed by, and Margare: " My opinions on this matter," said Charles, found her perplexities and disturbances daily in“are subject to so many qualifications and excep- crease, and yet the time glided on swiftly, and in tions from circumstances, that to explain them some respects, very pleasantly. Scarcels a day
passed that she did not see Gerald Devereux and but this, you know, we have determined should Augustus Vernon. The Davenports were near be the last resort, for many reasons. We must neighbors, and the families at Davenport Lodge write to Charles-you know he can safely be and Sherwood had always kept up habits of the trusted with any thing-tell him the whole truth, most social and intimate intercourse. Lewis and he will, without alluding to our information, and Arthur were always fisbing, hunting, shoot- write to insist upon Virginia's visiting him. I ing and riding together, and it had been gener- think if he urges it very strongly, she will go, ally understood by all their acquaintances, that partly because there will be no plausible reason Lewis had been in love with Virginia from bis to allege for not doing so, though I know she boyhood, though he had never yet found courage will do it with great reluctance." to tell her so, and it would have been thought “ That is an excellent idea, Margaret; if Virsomething very strange at Sherwood if two or ginia could be prevailed on to go from any mothree days had passed without seeing Lewis. tive whatever, I should hope that this infatuaHis guests, Gerald Devereux and Augustus Ver- tion inight be removed. It is merely a delusion non fell into the same habits of frequent inter- of the fancy; it can be nothing more ; for there course, and were becoming quite domesticated is certainly nothing in Augustus Vernon to inat Sherwood.
spire real love, and Charles is so skilful in manaThese gentlemen were now the almost con- ging diseases of the mind, and is so deeply instant subjects of thought and discussion amongst terested in Virginia, that I should hope every the family circle at Sherwood. While habits of thing from his society and influence, combined almost daily intercourse made the noble heart, with a total change of scene and associations—to and superior talents and endowments of Gerald say nothing of the cheerful, practical good sense Devereux more apparent, Augustus Vernon lost of Charlotte, who with all her strong feeling and ground proportionably in the estimation of Mrs. tender affection, is, you, know the very antipode Selden and Margaret. Unfortunately it was but of romance and sentimentality.” too visible, that if he lost favor with the other Margaret shook her head sorrowfully, “I do members of the family, he gained it rapidly with not wish to destroy your hopes, mother; I hope Virginia, and Mrs. Selden and Margaret perceiv- something, too, but I fear much more. Virginia's ing the state of her feelings with great and in- feelings are much more deeply rooted than you creasing disturbance, devised all sorts of meth- imagine; they are founded on delusion; but they ods to destroy his influence, and weaken the are, alas, but too real. I have studied the state too favorable impression which they perceiv- of her heart most closely, but if any one can died he had made upon her heart. To break up vert her thoughts, and change her feelings, Charles the intercourse was clearly impossible, and the would be the person.” only other possible method to divert Virginia's This plan was no sooner resolved upon, than thoughts into other chanuels, would be a change it was put into execution. Margaret wrote imof place and objects; but to effect this would be mediately to her brother, and she awaited his a matter of some difficulty. When Charles had reply with anxiety and uneasiness. She was first settled in his new abode, Virginia had fre-convinced that Virginia ought to be removed as quently expressed a great desire to visit him, and soon as was practicable from Augustus VerMargaret and her mother could think of no bet- non's society. Nothing could be more dangerous ter plan than to endeavor to persuade her to than this sort of intimate intercourse; especially spend a few weeks at The Rectory.
to a person of Virginia's modest and retiring " It will be impossible, I am afraid, to persuade character. The easy hospitality of Sherwood her to leave Sherwood now," said Mrs. Selden had completely domesticated Augustus Vernon, with a sigh to Margaret, after they had been dis- and this sort of familiarity rendered a thousand cussing the subject for some time, without com- things natural and proper, that would not bave ing to any satisfactory conclusion.
been thought of in more formal society; and Vir“We could not well propose such a plan to ginia thus insensibly glided into habits of intimaVirginia, without making our secret thoughts cy, which could not have taken place under any and wishes so obvious, as to wound and alarm other circumstances. Something must be done her feelings, and rouse within her a spirit of re- at once to remedy this evil; something, too, sistance; for though she is so gentle in most which would seem to be in the natural course of things, in this, I am sure, she would be inflexibly things, that suspicion might not be awakened as firm, if she once believed that her friends under- to the state of Virginia's feelings, and to the efstood her feelings, and deliberately designed op- fort her friends thought it necessary to make, to posing her attachment-for such I fear it is. Of enable her to subdue them. Yet Margaret shrunk course she would submit to a positive command from the pain which she knew this step would from you, that she should go to The Rectory;'inflict ou Virginia, if she consented to go to The
Rectory—and if she refused, from the explana-heart as life, I ask your confidence. Why should tions and persuasions which must ensue. She there be any reserve or circumlocution between was doubtful, too, whether or not to seek Vir- us ? Let us understand each other fully. Is it ginia's confidence, fearful that an expression of not Augustus Vernon against whom you think her feelings would give her courage and strength- me so much prejudiced, that his very attractions en her determination not to sacrifice Augustus and virtues are sins in my eyes ?” Vervon to the prejudices of her friends. But as Margaret's kind and firm tone had always pow. is often the case in life, our doubts and difficul- er over the tender heart and wavering resolution ties are settled by apparently the most casual cir- of Virginia; and she felt impelled to yield up ber cumstances, and we find ourselves saying the feelings and thoughts almost unconsciously to her very things, upon the propriety of which we had sister. “Yes, Margaret,” she said, "you cannot been long pondering daily almost without know- but be conscious of the justice of my assertion; ing how, or why, our thoughts were changed into it is the first time I have ever seen my mother words.
and yourself unjust to any one; and it seems so It happened one evening that Margaret and strange, so unkind, when you have so many reaVirginia were left alone; the gentlemen were all sons to be partial to him.” out on a fishing party, and Mrs. Selden had gone “ In the first place, then, Virginia, I will anto visit à sick neighbor. Margaret was looking swer for myself— I am not at all prejudiced against out on vacancy, thinking of Virginia, when she Mr. Vernon, and so far from wishing to see faults was roused from her reverie by the sound of a in his character, I should be rejoiced to see virlight footstep, and looking around she saw the tues.” object of her meditations busily engaged in ar- • Oh, Margaret, if these are indeed your feelranging and contemplating some flowers in a lings, why cannot you perceive what every one small china vase on the table. Margaret said else does ?" from an almost irresistible impulse, " These flow- Who is every one, Virginia ?" ers are scarcely worth preserving with so much Virginia's face flushed with a deep crimson care, Virginia ; I could make you a prettier bou- tint, and with a slightly tremulous voice, she said, quet from any bed of flowers in the garden." “ I, at least, am some one, Margaret, if I am not
A slight blush passed over Virginia's fair face, your equal in judgment and good sense, I am not as she replied half-reproachfully, “You have wholly devoid of those qualities, and you must scarcely deigued to look at my poor bouquet, admit, that I have had better opportunities of unwhich you speak of so contemptuously, or you derstanding his character than you." would have seen that it was selected with more • Pardon me, Virginia, I admit no such thing." than usual taste and sentiment."
“Because you are determined to make no adMargaret knew that this bouquet had been the mission, some how or other, it has certainly bapgift of Augustus Vernon two or three evenings pened, that-perhaps because he perceived your before, and an involuntary sigh escaped her, aversion to him, or from some other cause that though she smiled good humoredly, as he said, we have, that is, that he has"— “Let us see, roses that are full blown and begin- • That you have been much more together, ning to drop their leaves, bruised mignonnette, and and conversed more with each other," said Mara few sprigs of ill-thriven myrtle, cropped no garet, pitying her sister's confusion, “ that he has doubt from Charlotte's sickly bush. A few wild been much more attentive to you, more apsious flowers from the woods would suit my taste infi- to gain your approbation. All this I admit fully, nitely better, and suggest more pleasing associa- and I can easily perceive, arises from the most tions."
natural causes imaginable, and yet, Virginia, I • You have a great deal of charity for some do not think your opportunities for studying Mr. persons, Margaret, and none at all for others. Vernon's character have been so good as mine." There are some persons whose very attractions “If that is the case, it can only arise from my and virtues are sius in your eyes.” This was very inferior powers of discernment." said with a look and tone of pettishness, so unu- “ That is by no means a necessary inference. sual to Virginia, that Margaret looked at her Mr. Vernon has been so much more assiduous in steadily for a few minutes with surprise, until his efforts to gain your favor than mine, it is but she perceived that Virginia's eyes were filled with natural you should view him with more indultears; then taking her hand affectionately, she gence, and you know that it is possible to be presaid in a gentle tone,
judiced favorably, as well as unfavorably. Now, “Do not be vexed with me, Virginia ; you I deny that I am prejudiced unfavorably, and know that I would always gladly save your feel- think that I am able to pass a more impartial inge, even at the expense of my own, and in re- judgment on his character and understanding turn for that love, which is strong for you in my than you are.”
“ And that judgment has been unfavorable ?" | inexperience should have become interested in And as Virginia said this, she cast an earnest Augustus Vernon, nor can you have any reason and beseeching look at Margaret.
for the humiliating reflection that you have given "I am very, very sorry it has been,” and Marga- your love unsought, for though he has made no ret, conscious of the pain she was inflicting, avert- declaration of love in words, his every look and ed her eyes from Virginia and did not perceive the tone, since he became acquainted with you, has emotions that swelled her heart almost to suffoca- been a declaration." tion. She remained silent, her color varying from Margaret perceived as she returned these words marble paleness to the deepest flush of crimson un- that a bright and beautiful flush of joy passed til she was at length relieved by a burst of tears. over Virginia's face, and that she cast her eyes Ashamed of betraying how deeply her heart was down to conceal the pleasure that sparkled in interested, shocked at herself, and vexed with them, and she sighed as she continued. “But, Margaret, she was about to rise precipitately and my dear Virginia, how can we know that these leave the room; but Margaret took her reluctant looks and tones are indications of true love ?” hand, pressed it closely between her own, then Virginia's brow was instantly overcast as she raised it to her lips, and Virginia felt a warm replied in a low and besitating tone ; “I should tear fall on it. Vexation was always a weak suppose that looks and tones were the truest inand short lived sentiment in Virginia's heart. In- dications of genuine feeling. Words may destantly softened by this proof of Margaret's sym- ceive but looks and tones cannot." pathy, she returned the pressure of her hand “ Your looks and tones I admit cannot, beand her tears flowed more gently and were less cause they express unconsciously the feelings of bitter.
a warm and single heart; but this is not the case “Forgive me, dear Virginia, I ought to have with every one, especially with those who have remembered how delicate and sensitive your feel- made a profession of captivating.” ings are and should have spoken with more con- “What cruel things you say, Margaret, why sideration, should have prepared you for senti- should you believe that he is so mean, so deceitments so different from your own and which I ful and ungenerous, unless it appears to you imknew would be painful to you, alas ! I knew possible that I should be loved ?" not how painful. But your happiness, your char- “So far from this being impossible I think you acter, Virginia, which is even dearer to me than were made to be loved, one of the flowers of your happiness, are of too much importance to creation, meant to be cherished tenderly, and allow of any prevarication, any temporising upon never exposed to the storms and conflicts of life, 80 serious a subject. I have studied Augustus and it is for this reason that I feel so anxious Vernon's character with the deepest interest and about you. I have never for a moment doubted attention, and the result of my observation is that Augustus Vernon admires your beauty, arthat he is not worthy of my precious sister, that dently wishes you to love him and probably loves he could not make her happy, and moreover"- you as much as his uature is capable of, but
"Spare me, Margaret," said Virginia in a fal- nothing hardens the heart so much as the contering tone, and with her face averted, “you stant effort to make conquests merely to gratify know the weakness of my heart, do not take ad- vanity, and I fear that this has been the practice vantage of it; you cannot help despising me, I pursued by Mr. Vernon." know, for caring so much for a person who has • This is indeed prejudice unworthy of you, never made any declaration of love for me, but Margaret; why should you think so ?" asked Vireven though I incur your contempt I cannot hear ginia in an indignant tone. you do him so much injustice without saying "For several reasons. You know this is the something in his vindication. I have observed character we heard of him at the commencement his character likewise,-you must at least ac- of our acquaintance. I know this is the opinknowledge, by the humiliating proof I have given ion of persons who have been acquainted with you of my interest in it, that I have done so—and his past life, but what is to me most conclusive is, my conclusions have been very different.” that I have observed that all he does and says
“I do not condemn you, I do not despise you, seems to spring rather from vanity than feeling." Virginia, I only lament deeply the circumstances “Common report is often unjust, Margaret, that have led to this state of feeling, and I grieve and as to the persons who think so, you must tell still more that it should be utterly impossible for me who they are and what grounds they have me to enable you to perceive the truth, which to for their opinions. We should not condemn any me seems written in characters of light. With one without examination, I am sure I have often so many pleasing external qualities ivate, heard you say so.” it is not strange that a person at your age, with “And I say so still, nor do I expect the eviyour lively imagination, quick feelings and total dence, which is convincing to me, to be equally