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have inspired an artist with a dream them to his betrothed with some of some celestial goddess, and whose trite observation that they were an sylph-like airy movements were an emblem of the humility and freshindex of the happiness and sense ness of his love; for the young of peace that had fallen upon her man was a poet in a small and inspirits.

dolent way, and gazed with an adLucy's love was not difficult to miring eye upon the manifold nawin. She knew Robert's affection tural charms that might be observed was not of a mercenary character, on every side during that blissful since in marrying her he would in season of the year, when the earth a measure sacrifice his social posi appears in its most attractive guise. tion in the county; besides, the re- Evening after evening they watched puted fortune of his mother every the twilight spread itself over the one considered was sure to be amply rich expanse of country, and then sufficient for a young man who had with thoughts too deep for utno extravagant vice, and cared lit- terance, in silence turned hometle for society. Lucy's quick intel- ward. ligence had grasped all this long Many springtides have come before Robert had confessed his and gone since then; but the events passion; and though with maidenly of that period are still green in Lucoyness she at first avoided him, cy's heart. Though she has drunk by and by she obtained the know the cup of disappointment to the ledge that the listless young fellow dregs, and her expectant hopes like had become very dear to her, and Dead-Sea fruit crumbled into dust, that all other possessions were no sour carping spirit grew within naught compared with that of his her. A blight fell upon her young affection.

life; but did not dim the beauty of It was pleasant to Robert to have her character, or divest her of the some one in whom he could con- womanly graces that were as much fide, to know that he was loved, a part of herself as the flowers she and to have something to occupy so dearly treasured were of earth. his attention. He formed all man- With no bitterness does she call to ner of schemes for their future, and her remembrance the day-dreams almost wondered why he had not in which she once indulged; she previously sought occupation for knows now that her hopes rested his thoughts by falling in love. upon a baseless fabric; but in her Their mutual joy enhanced by the memory there yet remains a reflecapprobation of their parents, there tion of the tranquil happiness with was scarce an evening throughout which in that far-off time she built that happy spring that Robert did for herself those airy castles which not seek Lucy. When the weather so quickly vanished. was propitious together they strolled Oftentimes after parting with through the verdant meadows and her betrothed Lucy had wondered peaceful hedge - flowering lanes, whether it were possible such unreading the glowing page of Nature broken bliss could long exist, and spread before them, and weaving despite the earnest trusting love for themselves new bonds of happi- which glowed within her breast, ness. In one of these well-remem- had prepared herself for any change bered walks it was that the bunch that might occur. Nightly she of violets had been culled from the prayed that should any great ordeal mossy bank by Robert, who, bind be awaiting her, increased strength ing their tiny stalks with blades of might be accorded to enable her grass, had stammeringly presented to pass through it unscathed.

At length the blow came. At cents; and though it was folly to first it seemed as though it could think that he would be able to par only have an indirect influence sue his former indolent career, at upon her life; but as the watchful least he would be safe from destituobserver may by the action of the tion. wind upon a few straws loosely Not daring to meet the acquaintcast upon the ground foretell the ances whom she had been the tempest that is approaching, so means of involving in misfortune, Lucy's heart told her that the depth the wretched woman succumbed to and strength of Robert's affection her grief, and despite the tender was about to be tested.

nursing of Lucy and her betrothed, One of those crises in commer- the weary soul winged its flight to cial matters termed a financial a bourne where anxiety and worldly panic suddenly burst upon the cares have no part. money-market, and for a short pe. It was in the autumn of the year, riod convulsed speculators with and just a month before the time anxiety, despair, and ruin. Among that had originally been fixed for the first of the companies to feel their wedding, when Lucy Seymour the effects of an unwholesome and her betrothed again strolled course of tradingwere those in which through the shaded lane from the Mrs. Morton's property was em- hedge-bank of which Robert had, barked. Day by day she saw her on a happier day, gathered his first favourite shares dropping, dropping, love-gift. Even after the lapse of dropping, until they could decline so many years, Lucy could recall no farther; and then came closed the secret grief gnawing her heart doors, applications for winding-up at the temporary separation about orders, squabbling between deben to ensue. The demise of his mother ture and preference holders and the necessitated the postponement of official liquidators, which, involving their marriage for a year, and duras it did legal interference, speedily ing this period it was agreed that swallowed up the small assets that Robert should endeavour to obtain remained. No longer could Mrs. in the metropolis a clerkship or Morton blind herself to the truth; all other situation for which his edutherottenness of her pet schemes was cation fitted him. The next mornexposed, and the nice little yearly ing early he had decided to start, income left her by her husband had and but for accident now undreamt helped to provide neat broughams, of, this would be the lovers' last high-stepping horses, pleasant go- meeting for a space of some thic villas, and recherché dinners for months. Lucy had from the compromoters, directors, and commit- mencement of their acquaintance tees of management. Worse by ten urged Robert to shake off his indotimes than the knowledge of her lence, and now he saw that he own ruin was the consciousness would be compelled to seek some that by her persuasion nearly all occupation she offered no impediher dearest truest friends were suf- ment to his journey to the City, ferers by the calamity that had where he was to inaugurate a career fallen upon her. O, how bitterly of industry and usefulness. Yet she rued her thirst for gold! But Lucy's heart was on this night full it was only for his, her son's sake, of apprehension. Like Juliet hearthat she had been thus anxious. ing with intoxicating rapture the

Fortunately, he was engaged to passionate confession of her father's the daughter of one who had been enemy, Lucy would bid her lover content with the modest three per depart, and then would fain call

misfur spirits.

t was him back again. But the last words tions Lucy made for his coming, e able were spoken, the last kiss had met and with what expectancy she nt cher cheek, and he was gone. She awaited the day that would bring from leant against the stile at which they him once more to her side! So

had parted, and watched him into quickly sped the time, that almost hear the far distance walking with a ere she had realised he was with bea briskness that evinced his hopeful her the day had arrived for his de

parture. An acute observer might Sumber What a new life opened to her have noticed that during his visit the when he had quitted the village! Robert Morton seemed less attenhete Until she was alone she had not tive to Lucy than had been his sf an idea what an influence his pre- wont, that his manner was hesitatdesence had had upon her; now ing and constrained, and that not

that, for a time, an end had come a word escaped him as to their stheni to those peaceful evening walks, proposed marriage. Equally nothe when heart communed with heart, ticeable might it have been, that first and their earnest love found out whenever he had occasion to speak

burst in whispered phrases of en of his employer a flush suffused dearment, Lucy discovered that of his cheek, and the conversation late she had neglected or grown in- lapsed into an eulogium of his new different to a score of matters that friends, Mrs. Amott and Bella, the in former days had engaged her latter of whom he described as attention, and to these she re- a winsome girlish beauty, whose applied herself. Constant occupa innocent gaiety charmed all comtion prevented poignant regrets; for ing within its influence. But this though her thoughts were ever with was unobserved by Lucy. Her Robert, she knew it was better he own constancy blinded her to the should carve his own way in the frailties of others, and her heart world, and seek a manly indepen- was too full of joy to leave room dence, than subsist upon the wreck for the entrance of jealousy. Perof his mother's fortune and upon haps she did think his voice was his betrothed's prospects.

less sympathetic than it formerly At first he wrote to her twice a had been when he conversed with week, and with a pleasure that her; perhaps the delight that gleamcaused the tears to sparkle in hered once in his eyes when she teased eyes she read that he had hunted him upon any subject had now up an old school companion in the given place to a sullenness hard to City, who had recommended him to define, but apparent nevertheless ; a colonial merchant in want of a and perhaps he no longer embraced trustworthy clerk; that he was at her with an ardour as of old. But work early and late; that Mr. Lucy found an excuse for him on Amott, his employer, had offered, every occasion : his mind was occufor the purpose of facilitating certain pied with business, he had weighty business arrangements, that he matters to see after, and she was should take up his abode with him quite sure that he loved her none and his family; that he had done the less for being somewhat more so, and found Mrs. Amott and her reserved. daughter Bella extremely kind; and The poor girl wilfully closed that he hoped shortly to receive an her eyes to the truth, but at last it increase to the salary at which he came to her with a force that nohad been engaged. By and by thing could diminish. After that her lover got a holiday, extending memorable week's holiday Robert's to a whole week. What prepara letters grew less frequent, and with

their diminution in number came freedom, together with all the leta corresponding reduction in length. ters he had ever sent her. He The passionate epistles that had dared not open the thick packet, once thrilled Lucy's soul with re- but thrust the epistles tightly bound sponsive love, had now merged into together as they were into the blazsober curt notes. They were a col. ing fire. It was not the reflection lection of civil phrases coined from of the flames that caused his cheek the head, and not born of the heart to assume a lurid glow, but a feelThen one day came a long letter, ing of shame ; for he despised himpleading forgiveness for the injury self as he watched the witnesses of he had done her, that he found his his dead love disappear. love had become transferred to Various as were the offers reBella Amott, and that he could be ceived by Lucy, when the marriage happy with none but her. He knew of Robert Morton with Bella Amott how much Lucy must despise him, became known, she shut her ears but he pledged his honour that he to all importunities, and remained had struggled with his love, and faithful to him who had been faithhad been conquered. He felt he less. She looked round her, and had blighted her affection, and that discovered a hundred occupations possibly it might influence her to which she might devote her life. whole future ; but it were better he Yielding to Christian duties, she should tell her of the change that quickly found for herself a place had come over him ere the mar- at the bedside of the suffering and riage-tie had indissolubly knit them by the cheerless hearth of the poor. together.

Her presence seemed to bring inThe words seemed to sear her creased light into the humblest brain, but summoning self-control habitation, and the gentle accents she allowed no expression of sorrow of her voice, as they poured forth or emotion to escape her in public. words of peace and comfort, shed a Closeted within her room, she all holy calm on those to whom they that day and night communed with were addressed. her heart, and though her agony Years have gone by since Lucy was intense, she realised that infi- discovered upon what a baseless nitely better was it that Robert fabric her love had been built ; should divulge the true state of his but still those shrivelled flowerets feelings now than hereafter. Anger remain dear. They are sacred treafound no place in her thoughts; sures of the past; and though the she only pitied him, for she ima- occasional sight of them revives gined his sorrow must be even recollections that perhaps it were greater than hers. The next morn- best had been buried long since, ing when she quitted the apartment Lucy would not willingly part with her heart had become steeled to the relic. To her the love-gift is man's love, and ere many hours priceless; yet it is but a few faded had elapsed Robert received his scentless violets—nothing more.



CHAPTER LIV. forms were hopeless rags; in some

instances eked out by plain clothes, THE ASSAULT.

or whatever one could pick up; It is the morning of Saturday, the and the government contractors had 8th September 1855.

such vague ideas of the dimensions For a year now the allied forces of the human foot, that some of the have been before Sebastopol ; but boots issued to the soldiers would the flag of St. Andrew is still flying not have fitted a child of ten years in defiance upon its forts, and on old, and as they dared not throw this memorable morning the co- away her Majesty's property, many lumns of attack are forming for the men went bare-footed, with their great assault.

boots dangling from their knapsack In the preceding June, amid the or waistbelt. din of the ceaseless cannonade, 'In our present toggery we may poor Lord Raglan had passed away meet the Russians,' said Dyneley, to a quieter world; and the pic- our adjutant; 'but I should scarceturesque Sardinians, with their green ly like to figure in them before the uniforms, billycock hats, and Ber- girls at Winchester, in “the Row," saglieri plumes — each private a or at the windows of “the Rag.”' species of Fra Diavolohad come In great masses, 30,000 Frenchto aid us in the reduction of this men were forming to assault the place, the Gibraltar of the Euxine. Malakoff, with 5,000 Sardinians as

It was a cheerless morning. supports. From the sea, a biting wind swept A long line of cavalry-Hussars over the land; clouds of white dust with their braided dolmans, Lanand dusky-brown smoke, that came cers with their fluttering bannerfrom more than one blazing street oles, Dragoons with glittering heland burning ship-among the lat- mets, and all with loaded carbine ter was a two-decker, fired by the on thigh-had been, from an early French rockets-rose high above hour, thrown to the front, to form the green spires and batteries of a cordon of sentinels, to prevent Sebastopol, and overhung it like a straggling; while a similar line was sombre pall, while shorn of its rays formed in our rear to keep back the sun resembled a huge red globe idlers from Balaclava; yet to obhung in mid-air above us. Gradu tain glimpses of the impending atally it seemed to fade out altoge- tack, groups of red-fezzed Turks, ther, and then the whole sky be- of picturesque-looking Eupatorians came of a dull, leaden, and wintry and fur-capped Tartars, began to gray.

cluster on every green knoll at a By this time our epaulettes had safe distance, where, in their exentirely disappeared, and our uni- citement, they jabbered and gesti


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