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"No, no, Charlotte! we have lived a strange and hurried life lately. I have had no time to think, but I remember how much I was at first shocked by the general profanation of the Sabbath, the dreadful oaths I heard, and the many things daily occurring in our journeys so revolting to our English notions."
"Call them prejudices, dear Jane, and say no more about them.”
"That is exactly what I have done, Charlotte; and I am not satisfied. Yesterday was the first Sunday that we have attended any service since we left Paris; and, even when we were there, how was the rest of the day spent? The manners and customs of the people here are more like our own, and what I heard yesterday reminded me of home, and made it seem very long since I last entered our quiet little church, which we used to attend so regularly; and it seemed to me that I was separated from home not only by absence of body, but in spirit. I feel that I am changed, or else how could I have seen and heard, so calmly as I often have done, things which at first shocked me?"
Why, my dear friend, if we could make all the people do exactly as we wished, there's no doubt but they would all be a great deal better than they are; but, since we cannot, it does not seem worth while to be triste about the matter. Chacun à son gout, as the French say. people here may shut up their shops on a Sunday; but they are as shocking cheats as any of the rest, I know. There was that diamond crescent haircomb of mine that was to bebut, la! only look! Yes, that's the handsome German count that was with us at Chamouni! He sees us, too, and is coming this way; and there is another gentleman with him-who can he be? Il a bonne mine, at all events."
The two gentlemen joined them, and talked as fluent nonsense as any two young ladies would desire to hear,
during their promenade; and when they separated, Miss Byrne.volunteered, for her friend's edification, a comparison between the elegant politeness of foreign manners and those of England, by no means favourable to the latter.
"And yet," thought Jane, "how impertinently intrusive and embarrassing would all that I have been listening to for the last hour have appeared, if addressed to me when I first landed at Calais! Has it annoyed me now? No, quite the contrary. Therefore I must be changed.
Major Byrne and his daughter dined with the Hartwells that day; and, in the evening, the worthy squire was introduced to a "cercle," where he passed several hours very agreeably at whist; so pleasantly, indeed, that he declared he almost forgot that he was abroad. For this treat he was indebted to the Major, who had travelled much, and seemed perfectly at home wherever he went; and, sooth to say, Mr Hartwell, whose habits were somewhat convivial, was right glad of his acquaintance, for of sightseeing he had long been heartily tired, and would generally, on their arrival in a town, enquire, with an almost imploring yawn, "Well, I hope there's nothing to be seen here?"
The "cercle" was, of course, revisited, and its delights might have determined him to pass the winter in Geneva, had not their course been previously decided on in family debates, too long for detail, but the result of which was, an utter abandonment of the original limits of six months to their tour. They were now on their way to Italy.
"I am so glad we are going from this dull place," said Charlotte Byrne to her father, as they were leaving Geneva. "If we had remained here much longer, I do think that Jane would have turned methodist; and that would have been a pity, for she was going on so well before! Scarcely one foolish prejudice left.
GLIMPSE THE THIRD.-ROME.
Another half year had elapsed, and it was on the day after a splendid ball and entertainment given by Torlonia (the banking duke), when Jane Hartwell sat in her boudoir alone. There
was a flush upon her cheeks, and a restlessness in her dark sparkling eyes and quick occasional movements, that indicated all not to be quite at ease within.
! "Le Comte de Marberg!" said an Italian valet, throwing open the door. "Giacomo! Did I not tell you?" she exclaimed faintly; but, ere the words had passed her lips, the door was closed, and the person announced was in her presence, apologising incoherently, but with an almost reverential air, for his intrusion.
Such an intrusion would indeed have alarmed and perplexed the unsophisticated daughter of Hartwell Hall a year earlier: but she had since seen ladies receive visiters of the other sex even in their chambers, and had "assisted” at numerous gay and frivolous parties of every description.
She was now an altered person, and, instead of being over-fastidious, had begun to abandon herself to that latitudinarian" insouciance" of manners and conduct by which our fair countrywomen so frequently astonish foreigners. Possibly her feelings might be somewhat similar to those of a new convert to some sect, who imagines himself bound to evince, on every occasion, his utter contempt of all his former errors and prejudices, by going somewhat farther than the more regularly initiated.
Be such matters as they may, the Comte Henri de Marberg (the same "handsome German" whom they had met at Chamouni) and Jane Hartwell were, in less than a minute after his entrance, engaged in a volatile tête-àtéte," which continued for half-anhour, during which time they "talked over" the last night's party. Then another half-hour was spent in a conversation much more interesting to both, but with the detail of which we shall not meddle till the expiration of the said second half-hour, when Jane said, "Now, really, if you wish us to remain friends, you must not continue to plague me with such nonsense. have told you frankly that I do not mean to change my situation."
"But, lovely Jane, it cannot be always so. Your beauty and good sense and accomplishments will ever make you to be surrounded with flatterers and adorers, and I am sure you have heart formed for❞—
"Heigho! I'm sure I don't know what it was formed for!" exclaimed Jane, in a tone that appeared compounded of a sigh and a yawn; but there was no time to consider which predominated, for the moment after
she continued, in high spirits: "but,
a propos des botes,' you have not told me how you contrived to find your way here, when I ordered Giacomo to show all visiters to my father into the salon, and to say that I was not at home. You perceive that he has announced no one else, and some of my other partners must have called.'
"Charmante étourdie!" exclaimed the Comte, gazing upon her with an expression which would formerly have discomposed her utterly, but at which she now smiled, and merely bade him proceed. So he informed her that her father had been somewhat unlucky at cards, when playing with a Russian nobleman and Major Byrne, in the early part of the previous night, and that probably on that account he had been induced to partake rather freely of the choice wines that were so abundant at the supper tables.
"After that," said the Comte, "he had some more play, and, as he was at the table with one of the bankers' relatives, no doubt as they took care he should not be obliged to ask many times for refreshments, and so he did not come home till long after I had the honour and felicity to hand you to the Comtesse's carriage, and noww-that is -just now, when I come, he is not up. So I said, never mind, Giacomo, your young mistress will do as well, and I know she is at home and expects me, which must be the truth, because I am sure you cannot suppose as I would let the morning pass without calling to ask how you have recovered from your fatigue. And now I have asked you that, and something else"
Ah, méchant! Do you dare, after I have forbidden you?" exclaimed Jane, interrupting, with a playful air of authority. "Let us have no more of that, for the present at all events, or I shall positively hate the sight of you. There! Get along with you, do, you good-for-nothing creature; unless you feel inclined for a little music this morning, and then you may go into the salon and wait till I come," and she left the room laughing.
Twenty thousand English livres sterling! Cela en veut bien la peine!" muttered the Comte when left to himself; and of course he descended to the salon.
At the time of the above conversation, Mr Hartwell was sitting alone over his coffee and eggs, in a frame of
mind far from enviable. "Confound cheap place I've found, though I sup、
them altogether!" he murmured, "There's madness in the very air one breathes, I do believe. To believe that I, Charles Hartwell of Hartwell Hall, an English gentleman, who never thought of playing above crown points, and always lived within his income, should be such an incomprehensible ass as to sit down with a parcel of outlandish jabbering foreigners, and Hebrew Jews, and lose pretty near three hundred pounds in one night! Then there's the note I owe the major! Zounds! One must amuse one's self somehow. Well, well, what's done can't be helped. Heigho! there's my poor dear wife too! If any body had told me that when she was ill I could have sat down to breakfast without enquiring after her, would I have believed it?" And, rising angrily, he rang the bell, and summoned her maid, who reported that her mistress had passed an unquiet night, and that Miss Jane was not yet stirring, though she well knew how that young lady was engaged.
"I have a great mind to go back to England at once," soliloquized the squire when again alone. "No, that won't do, I must wait here for a remittance. Besides, poor dear soul! in her present state, she couldn't bear the journey. Humph! Naples, they say, is cheap. If so, it will be the first
pose one might hide one's-self in some obscure town or village, and save money. That's what we must do. If the air is to be of use to her, as they say it will, it will be purer there than in a city. We have all the summer before us, and then, perhaps, I can find some fishing and shooting, maybe somewhat different from our own, and so have something to talk about in that way when I get back, if ever I shall. Bless my heart! what a wild-goose chase we have been running, just for the sake of being able to say that we have seen a parcel of places, and things, and people, that some of us might have been better if we never had seen. Heigho! and where's Edward Drayton, too? He seems in no hurry, now he's got to Paris." And thus the poor gentleman went on grumbling, after the too prevalent fashion of persons, who, discontent with themselves, resolve to be dissatisfied with every one else.
Could he have witnessed the glee with which, at that moment, his recent antagonists, and his friend the Major, were exulting and laughing over their winnings, and ridiculing his "tourdise" and execrable attempts at speaking French, assuredly it would not have increased the amiability of his disposi tion.
GLIMPSE THE FOURTH.-NAPLES.
On a bright calm day in the month of August, two gentlemen were seated in a shady recess of the public gardens. They had been for some time silent, and nothing was heard save the gentle plashing of the blue waters against the marble sea-wall. The younger was Edward Drayton, and fierce contending passions were painfully expressed in his countenance. "So you refuse me!" he at length exclaimed in an angry tone.
"I see the end too clearly," replied Major Byrne, "he is a practised fencer, and would have his choice of weapons. You would stand no chance. None. Besides, after all, what has he done? You have told me that there was no engagement between Miss Hartwell and yourself, and the letter you showed me, recommending you to travel slowly, and see all you could
-Not an inch. You cannot marry the girl without her own consent; and if you could, would she be worth having? No, no; leave her.-She is not worthy of you. Quit this place, and travel; and, rely upon it, that fresh scenes and continual change will soon eradicate-nay, nay, don't shake your head! I know they will; I know it, Sir. Take my advice, and I'll bet you a thousand to one you'll thank me for it some day."
"You mean me well, I have no doubt, Major; but you don't understand -you cannot enter into my feelings. Call him out I will,—that's settled; and the only question is, whether or not you will be my friend. I ask you, because I know no one else here. Tell me plainly, yes or no?" "Why, Mr Drayton, I don't like to refuse you; and yet You must give me time to think of it-say till to-morrow."
"Be it so," said Edward, rising, and taking the Major's hand," I shall depend upon you. Excuse my leaving you abruptly. I am in no mood for conversation, as you may perceive," and he walked slowly away.
"Confound the fellow!" said the Major to himself; "I wish he'd broken his neck by the way, ere he had come here. All was going on so well! But now, in spite of all he says, I can see that the little flirt is undecided about who shall be the man; and, if she should jilt Marberg after all, I may whistle for the five hundred louis he owes me. Then, if he should pink this young fellow unluckily, he must cut and run, and that would be nearly as bad. No. He must disarm him.That's the play! or I will have nothing to do with it; for, if mischief be done, there will be an end of écarte with the old noodle; and such an unsuspecting, conceited, old pigeon, is not to be found every day. He thinks he understands the game now, and billiards too! It is strange what could have set him and the poor old lady travelling, when they have not one glimpse of taste for painting, sculpture, music, scenery, or antiquities, or any one object in view, unless it be 'killing time,' which, he says, never hung so heavily on his hands at home as it does here. It's a strange infatuation ! Well, as Franklin says, 'A man will sometimes pay dear for his whistle.'"
About three weeks after the above conversation, the Comte Marberg lay reclined upon a sofa, in luxurious indolence. His features were somewhat attenuated, and his complexion paler, from recent confinement; but the whole expression of his countenance was indicative of triumph. "Twenty thousand English pounds sterling!" he soliloquized, "That's her own; and as she is an only child, when the old people go, why, three or four times as much more at least. Bravo, Henri de Marberg! Diable! I can hardly believe my good luck. Ah! that's Byrne's voice! He has lost no time since he got my note."
The Major here entered the apartment, and after a few words of congratulation upon the Comte's good looks, and evident convalescence, said
"I have had a dreary time of it at Terracina. Almost every day some traveller brought a report that there was no chance of your recovery. If I had not known your handwriting well, I should have thought your last note a hoax. What has wrought this sudden and almost miraculous cure?"
"La petite capricieuse," replied the Comte gaily; "I shall not keep you in suspense. It is all good. All has been good since when that awkward Englishman gave me "la botte;" for which I thank you; as if you told me he knew nothing-absolutely nothing-of the use of the sword, I should have taken care, because nothing is so difficult as such a man; like a left-handed man as squints, one can't guess what he will do."
"Well, well!" said the Major, impatiently,-" never mind that now. What happened after?"
"Ah! after? You shall hear as I played my game well. You call me expensive to have apartments in the same hotel with them; but I know better. Well, they brought me home here, and sent for a medico, with whom I soon agree, as I will be in great danger of my life, and so very interesting ill. Eh! you see? although the wound is a mere bagatelle."
"This is too bad!" exclaimed the Major; " and so I might have remained safe in Naples, instead of running off and hiding
"Doucement, my good Major! I know my game better. It was necessary to be debarrassed of that Drayton,
for I found out, no matter how, as there has been un premier amour between him and you know who; and, as you are his second, you could not stop. Nothing else could do. We was on very uncertain ground, Major. If I had wounded him instead of me, and he been here like me Bah! I believe truly as he should have gained the preference after all. She is so bizarre! What think you of her playing the part of a sister of charity? Ha, ha! You see I was so very dangerous ill, and like to lose my life, which I hazarded on her account; so she must be interested, and I send her word, as I am content if I can but see her once before I die. She come directly, and when I see the tears in her eyes, as she sat at my bedside, I take her hand and press it. Bah! you may guess what pass then; and after, as we are under the same roof, (ah! that was
the master-stroke!) she come again and again, and sat with my hand in hers during some hours. And we are not silent all that time, je vous en repond, Major, particularly as I got worse-and worse-andat last, father Isidore, a bijou of a padre, who comprehend me as well as the medico, came one night with the viaticum; and all that night she remained at my bedside till the morning, when the old people find it out, and papa played le diable à quatre.' Ha, ha! He
was too late! They forbid her to come again, but 'tis no use. She is entêtée, and come nevertheless, which soon made the crisis of my danger go by; and then the old people themselves are glad to come to, as it is gone too far for re treat, as all the world in this great hotel know every thing, and there is some other English families as will take the news home if they refuse their consent."
GLIMPSE THE FIFTH.-BADEN-Baden.
"My poor dear mother never got the better of it, I fear!" said the Comtesse de Marberg; "she had been very unwell for some time previous. She lived only three months after my unfortunate marriage. It is now as many years since that event, and you are the first bosom friend to whom I have ventured to confide the secret of my griefs. We were children and playfellows together, Mary. Our prospects were the same, but how different has been our lot! You are returning to happy England, to the society of old friends, and your own quiet, domestic home. For me there is no such place-none! and the only chance of our being at all settled, even for a time, is the Comte's obtaining some diplomatic situation, which, with his habits, is scarcely probable. In the mean while, we are wanderers upon the face of the earth, going from one gay place to another, living in the strangest manner, I know not how, and endeavour not to think, for I have every reason to suppose that my little fortune has been dissipated long since. And then the strange, coarse people of both sexes with whom I am obliged sometimes to associate!" "We married women cannot always choose our own society," observed Mrs Lea, hardly knowing in what way to comfort her once almost inseparable friend, "nor indeed can the men, particularly at such places as this. No doubt,
the Comte has his motives for associating with such persons as you allude to: with some from family connexions, and, as he is seeking a diplomatic office, with others, perhaps, from interested motives."
"Ah! Mary, you are but too correct!" sighed the Comtesse.
"Well, then, Jane, let us hope he will be successful. I assure you that my goodman thinks highly of the Comte's talents, and has expressed regret that they should be wasted in the frivolous sort of life that people lead here. If his time were but usefully employed, he would find relaxation at home, instead of seeking it elsewhere from mere ennui. Nay, do not shake your head, and look so incredulous! He would, indeed, Jane and your kind attentions would then be appreciated, and your purity of mind would form a contrast that must"
"Oh, spare me!" exclaimed the Comtesse, "I cannot bear to hear you talk so. You know not what you say. But, tell me, is Mr Lea intimate with the Comte? I have not been out much lately, and acquaintances are formed here so suddenly; besides, he never mentioned his name before me. Tell me, do they play together?'
"If you mean gambling, my dear, certainly not. My husband has an utter detestation of every thing of the