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AN OLD FRIEND'S STORY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

"THE GAMBLER'S WIFE," DAUGHTERS,"

“SYBIL LENNARD,” &c. &c. &c.

" I cannot tell how the truth may be,
I say the tale as t'was said to me.”

Scott.

VOL. I.

FIBI

LONDON :
T. C. NEWBY, 72, MORTIMER STREET,
CAVENDISH SQUARE.

1848.

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J. BILLINO, PRINTEK

AND STEREOTIPRR,

WOKINO,

SURRY.

ALI NE.

CHAPTER I

“ Ye are the stars of earth and dear to me,
For ye to me are more than sweet or fair-
I love ye for the memories that ye bear
Of by-gone hours, whose bliss was but a dream."

HOWITT.
“ Yes! once, across my lonely path
There came a form of light,
And memory's magic holds her arm,
In youthful beauty bright.
E'en now I see her fair, pale brow,
Her lip of the ruby's glow,
And her cheek's warm tint was the morning's blush,
On a wreath of virgin snow."-Anon.

It was on a summer evening that, from the window of a quiet lodging at Brompton, I first

VOL. I.

B

beheld the being who has inspired me with the presumptuous desire to swell the list of contemporaries, who, with their trembling, withered fingers, take

up
the
pen

to recall some young life into being—to raise up the shadow of some sweet flower whose crumbling relics are so fondly treasured in their memory. Yes, Aline ! you too shall take your place amidst “ the old man's darlings,” shall have your story written, shall speak to the hearts still open to the kindly sympathies of our nature, and crave your meed of love, interest, and pity.

I sat then that summer's evening at my window, looking into the little garden which lay behind the house I occupied. I had but risen that day from a bed of sickness, to which I had been confined during the latter part of the week.

The air in this quarter, more free from the smoke of the metropolis, seemed this evening balmy and refreshing to my languid senses, the flowers grateful and pleasing to my eye.

I love flowers, and not only for their scent and beauty

They bring me tales of youth, and tones of love," and remind me of all that is fresh, pure, innocent, and healthful.

I need not the “ violet 'neath its mossy stone,” “ the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,” to awaken romantic, fresh and pleasing associations; the scent, even of the parched wallflower, adorning the mechanics' bits of garden ground in the crowded outskirts; the pale mignionette, from its confined tenement on the sill of some humble window, has often caused me to pause, and feel such enchantment, as did Wordsworth's poor Susan, when in the silence of morning, she passes the corner of Wood Street, and hears the loud song of the thrush.

“ She looks—and her heart is in heaven, but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade ;
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes.”

It is the most familiar, home-bred Eng

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