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self, the concern and embarrassment of my Lord Mowbray were at their height.
It was his fate always to appear to despise counsel, yet never to be able to act without it; and it mattered little whose or what that counsel was, provided it afforded him an opportunity to unburthen himself. On the present occasion, the obviously best counsellor he could have was at his elbow, in the very party about whom he wished to consult. But this was far beyond his lordship to conceive. On the contrary, it seemed but regular policy to conceal from her all that he wished to discover; though a word, a look, on his part, in parental confidence, would have laid her heart bare to him, from a sense of filial duty alone.
He knew not the jewel he possessed, and took another course, more in the spirit of a politician, but whether so well calculated to succeed was a question which he did not ask. In a word, trusting to the high mind of his sister, he wrote to Lady Eleanor his fears that there might be a greater intimacy between the cousins than it was prudent to cultivate, considering the disparity of their situations, and, in particular, considering the views of many men of the very first consequence in the state in regard to his daughter. In other respects, too, he thought it behooved Lady Eleanor to give her son advice on his personal conduct; " which seemed,” he said, “ that of a madman, determined on self-ruin, rather than of one who, from his abilities and ancient name, might rise to any height he pleased. Tell him,” said he, part, (though I have often told it him in vain myself), to remember the maxim which I always propose to all young men, 'nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia ;' which means, my dear sister (for 1 dare say it will be necessary to translate it for you), that a man may always make his fortune, if he only have his wits about him."
Strange as it appeared to Lord Mowbray, this letter did not seem to produce the intended effect upon Lady Elea
Far from remonstrating, as he wished, with her son, “ It is not for me,” she said, in reply, “ to give advice to De Vere. In regard to my niece, he knows what honour is too well to stand in need of it. In regard to the world, I will not affront him by offering it. Depend upon it, my son will covet no elevation that is to be pure chased at the expense of principle; and of that principle I willingly leave him to be the judge. At any rate, if
he fail, he has me, and honourable poverty, to retire upon."
Lord Mowbray made a thousand wry faces as he finished reading this letter. Then, muttering something about honourable nonsense, he rang the bell to desire Lady Constance to attend him; and without much reHection, as Lady Eleanor had refused to help him, he thought himseli justifiable in placing her letter in the hands of his daughter, leaving the latter to guess the contents of that to which it was an answer.
The delicate Constance was thunderstruck at allusions, and replies to allusions, which, however obscure with out the subject matter, proved evidently to her sensitive mind that her conduct and feelings, in that which was of the last consequence to a woman's delicacy, had not only been canvassed in a correspondence between her father and her aunt, but had been supposed, by her father at least, to have been the subject of observation in the world. Her fears (as they always will where true modesty is concerned) went before her inquiries, and she felt a shock on the communication of her aunt's letter, from which she could not recover. At length she falteringly asked, what could have given rise to answers so deeply affecting her conduct, perhaps even her reputation in society?
Lord Mowbray, observing her agitation, which was in truth beyond what was warranted by the real circumstances of the case, then perceived the mistake he had made, and lamented that he had not kept a copy of his letter to his sister. “It would have explained all this at once."
“However," added he, “ do not be alarmed; I only mentioned what I had been told of the observation of the world upon your intimacy with Mortimer, and desired his mother, for his sake, as well as yours, to give him proper advice upon the occasion."
“ Only!" cried Constance, looking aghast—Only! The observation of the world !-For Heaven's sake, my dear father, what can this mean? What have I done that the world has observed, or that you aunt, and, through her, to another ? Oh, how properly has she judged, and how like herself? And to what am I reduced, when my whole pride of character has hung upon such a chance ?"-She here stopped in an agony of
to my should convey
distress, which alarmed her father the more because he could not possibly understand it.
Alas! though her parent, he was not made to deal with so delicate a being as Constance. He endeavoured to sooth her, but knew not the real topics of consolation. He felt he had been in fault, yet knew not exactly how; and at any rate thought it beneath him to own it. It was therefore with difficulty, and nly not to her relief, that Constance collected that the world coupled her name with her cousin's; but for her intimacy with whom, her father thought the fortunes of the Duke of Bellamont, or Lord Cleveland, would not have fared so ill.
This was quite enough to subdue Constance, without the addition of the displeasure Lord Mowbray expressed at such liberties being taken with the heiress of his house, or the threat of his eternal anger against Mortimer, if from his or her conduct their names should be mentioned together, and such reports continue. The heiress of the Mowbrays felt indeed no affront to her name by a report which coupled it with that of De Vere; but the dignity and purity of the Lady Constance felt alarmed that she had been observed by the eye of curiosity, and suspected of favourable but unsanctioned feelings towards a man who had never addressed her. This interview, therefore, with her father was the most painful of her life.
To the feelings and fortunes of De Vere the consequence was still more disastrous. His intercourse with his uncle had long been on the wane; but though he had from principle endeavoured to wean himself from the intimacy with his uncle's daughter which had been till then the charm of his existence, yet the persuasion that he possessed her regard was the soothing support of his soul. What then did he feel, when, instead of the pleasure which usually lighted up her features at his approach, he found her reserved, constrained, and, as he thought, distant ? It was the first real shock her personal demeanour had ever given him.
About the same time he also received an account from Mellilot, whom he had made one of his agents for the borough, that his sister had been forbidden by her lady from ever meddling with that subject again; “ which, to be sure, said Mellilot, argufies a change in my lord that some on us mayn't like.”
The change in my lord neither surprised nor alarmed De Vere; the change in my lady did both.
Embarrassed, distressed, disappointed, mortified, his cousin now became the object of his study more anxiously than ever. Her distance was as evident as his own misery upon feeling it; and, utterly unable to account for the alteration, he was tempted to exclaim, Frailty, thy name is woman!"
But something whispered him that though it might be the name of woman, it was not the name of Constance.
He had, however, no opportunity in London of clearing up that point; and it was amid all these uncertain. ties of his heart that his other great interests were excited by the tragic end of Beaufort, the consequent illness and danger of Wentworth, and his undertaking to accompany him in his convalescence upon that tour of diversion prescribed by Dr. Wilmot. Thus he had little opportunity to penetrate the thickening cloud that obscured the fondest hope of his mind, far less to dissipate its darkness and let in the day.
Thus disgusted with every thing that had awaited him in his own country, he began to meditate a longer sojourn abroad than his attendance upon Wentworth required, or than at first he had been disposed to contemplate. His heart always beat high in resistance to oppression, whether towards himself or others; and he pleased himself with the thought of offering his sword to the confederates in Poland, who, though arrayed nominally against their enslaved king, were then interesting every generous mind by their exertions (unfortunately vain) against a foreign yoke. The notion was rather floating in fancy than imbodied in fixed determina. tion; and Wentworth dissuaded him from it, as useless to those whom he wanted to serve, as well as detrimental to himself if he should be wanted at home. Nevertheless, it continued to possess him, and hints of it got abroad.
There was one person, however, to whom it was necessary to tell it in form, from whom he expected comfort, or at least sympathy, and whom, even without this design, duty as well as love impelled him to see. His attachment to his mother had always been so ten. der, and the confidence between them so sincere, that his best feelings were soothed by the thought of beholding her again. He longed also to visit the home he loved, after what he began to think had been a toilsome and anxious pilgrimage in a new world--for such the events of the last eight or nine months had made every thing appear. He therefore begged a week of Wentworth, to visit Lady Eleanor and Talbois, before he departed from England; a request which was without difficulty granted by one who, however an invalid in body, and a prey to grief in mind, felt that mind still lingering among the scenes of his greatness, and yielding with regret the necessity there was, for a time, to abandon them.
CHANGE OF SCENE.
And whither go they? up to the eastern tower,
DE VERE was soon among the haunts of his earlier youth, and seemed to breathe a freer air on the banks of the Dove. "The grotesque mounds of Tutbury Castle, with its ivy-mingled walls, once more greeted his eye; and he stopped his horses to indulge himself in a thousand recollections. For we may remember how dear the solitary grandeur of this remnant of ancient independe ence had been to his childhood, how often he had climbed among its ruins; and he did not now fail to recall the wild pleasure with which he had sometimes, for an hour together surveyed, from the top of one of its towers the devious course of his favourite stream. He at the same time remembered what peculiar notions he had formed of the interior of that world which he then beheld afar off. They were indeed somewhat different from those he had now brought back with him.
Other recollections of a more recent date, and, from what had lately passed, not quite so happy, also mingled themselves in his mind.
The horse he rode (which had been sent over to meet him at Burton) was a mare called Beauty, who deserved her name so well, and whom he had taught so gently