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PAGANINI's concert was, as all the world expected, a very crowded one, and amongst the throng was Lady Malpas. Thither also went the Marquis and Mr. St. John, and the former at least—as I myself witnessed from a gallery to which my master's liberality had given me admittance with Bobèche - improved the acquaintance made at the waterfall of Geroldsau. It was the beginning of an intimacy which increased with wondrous rapidity, in spite of what was singular in the conduct of Lady Malpas, who that evening renewed her visit to the gaming-table, and was again a winner, sweeping off, with her accustomed imperturbability, a large share of the Italian's newly-earned gold.

Without exercising any of the ordinary arts of captivation, there was a fascination about her which acted like a spell upon all with whom she came into contact. The men were loud in rapturous praise of her beauty, and notwithstanding her equivocal position, even the women refrained from that unsparing censure which beauty at all times, and more particularly when reputation is doubtful, draws down upon its

Intuitively the society at Baden-Baden seemed to guess at her situation, but with the exception of Mr. St. John, nobody really knew any thing of her history, and hebavard as he was—appeared to have some reason for not indulging in the méilisance which was habitual with him. Not that he altogether refrained, but his observations were not made in public ; he reserved them for the ear of his friend rather, as I at first judged, with a view of checking the too-evident admiration of Monsieur de Courtine than for the pleasure which the scandal might afford. At the same time, he was no less assiduous in paying his court to Lady Malpas, and his outward demonstrations were as respectful as if she held the highest place in his estimation. There was, however, a marked difference in the manner in which the lady received the advances of the two friends; and to this cause might possibly be ascribed the bitterness of Mr. St. John's sneer when he spoke of her to Monsieur de Courtine, though I had watched him carefully for ome days before I came to this conclusion. It may seem strange that a boy like me should have given himself up to the analysis of motives in a matter so far above my own sphere, but I was led to it by some undefinable feeling which stirred up within me emotions I had never experienced before.

I have already spoken of the advantage I possessed in knowing the

language in which Monsieur de Courtine and Mr. St. John were in the habit of conversing when the servants only were present; it had instructed me as to the position of Lady Malpas, and enabled me to learn much with regard to her, of which I should otherwise have remained ignorant. A week only had elapsed since her arrival at Baden-Baden, and every hour was now given up by the marquis to her society. Attention like this was significant enough in itself, but I was soon enlightened on the subject in a more positive manner.

I should observe, en passant, that the friend whom Lady Malpas expected, and whom Mr. St. John had characterised as her “lover” on the day when we drove out to Geroldsau, had not yet made his appearance. His absence, however, seemed to be borne with equanimity by the fair expectant, and except that the tall chasseur paid daily visits to the post-office, which were productive of no result to his mistress, I should scarcely have thought there was any one out of Baden-Baden on whom her thoughts were bestowed. But she was, of all the women whom it has since been my lot to encounter, the greatest paradox. That she had not passed through life without some incidents of more than ordinary character to chequer it, was sufficiently apparent from the fact of her living separate from her husband, but except that her calmness seemed too calm, there was nothing in her appearance to show that she had ever known the intensity of either joy or sorrow. Admiration could not be offensive to one so beautiful, but yet she rather seemed to submit to than encourage it. The mask—if, indeed, she wore one, and this passiveness were not her nature-was impenetrable.

There is no place of any note in the south of Germany that does not boast of its castled crag, the seat of its grandeur in days that never can return, and there are few that possess a more interesting relic of the past than the gay watering-place which, for half the year at least, is the real capital of the grand duchy. The Alte Schloss, which rises above the wooded height that commands the town on the north side, is as fine a specimen of a ruin on a large scale as can anywhere be met with. Dismantled about two centuries ago, nature has been allowed to assert her reign both within and around it, and the clustering ivy now crowns the broken towers and rifted walls, thick foliage waves above the deserted courts, and secular oaks, gigantic pines, and almost every variety of forest tree are scattered picturesquely about the irregular ground. But beyond the inevitable ravages of time nothing has been suffered to fall into decay, care having been taken to preserve as much as possible, and to render the vast ruins practicable for the many visitors who explore them.

Dismissed early one morning from the light labours of our service, Bobèche and myself had climbed the steep ascent that leads to the old castle, and after wandering about the ruins for some time, my companion threw himself down beneath the shade of a large maple, and yielding to the influence of the heat, and lulled moreover by the murmur of the gentle air that stirred the leaves, soon fell fast asleep. I did not feel disposed to follow his example, so leaving him there, I once more explored the battlements, and ascended to the summit of the highest tower. Here, as in the of an eagle, I perched myself, and remained for some time lost in the beauty of the view stretched out before me. To the south, as far as the could reach, the Black Forest spread dense and wide ; south-westerly, the silver course of the Rhine might be traced by a distance of twenty leagues backed by the faint outline of the mountain range of the Vosges ;




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westward in the direction of Strasbourg, the spire of that famous cathedral was hidden by an intervening height, but the roar of artillery from the summer camp then formed for exercise, came booming up the valley, and clearly indicated where the frontier city lay; in a more northerly direction, through an opening in the thickly wooded hills, I could descry the shining walls of a large town, which I afterwards learnt was Carls

the panorama was more limited as I turned to the east, for the hills were of equal height with that on which I stood, but it

possessed claims of its own to admiration, the ruins of Eberstein, the ancient rival of Baden, and the lofty tower on the great Stauffenberg, now called the hill of Mercury being amongst the features of attraction and interest.

I remained for a while absorbed in the enjoyment of this beautiful scenery; but as it is not in human nature, or, at any rate, in the nature of a young Frenchman, to be content with the object before him for any length of time, I quitted my lofty stance, and amused myself by climbing about the ruins, leaping across dangerous chasms, and more than once periling my neck in my voyage of discovery. There was one massive, ivy-covered tower, isolated from the rest of the ruins by a high, crumbling wall, on the top of which there was, however, tolerable footing for any one whose nerves were firm, and along which a path might be forced through the high grass, the briars, and tangled shrubs that grew upon it. I resolved to make the experiment, and at the cost of a few

scratches, and one or two slips, which might have been awkward, had I not saved myself by clinging to the branches of some trees that overtopped the wall, I succeeded in reaching the tower I so much desired to examine. It was built on the edge of a very steep slope, which caused the exterior wall to be nearly twice as high as that on the opposite side ; and, after peeping cautiously over the battlement, without the inclination to throw myself down, which it is the fashion to say one always experiences in looking from a height, but not without the fear that I might lose my balance, I turned to explore the interior. The tower was not altogether roofless, but what protection there was for the part that remained below, arose from the accumulation of soil and shrubs on the stone floor, rent with many a fissure. In one angle were the broken steps of a winding staircase, leading to a lower chamber, and down these steps I ventured, carefully feeling my way as I descended. Some, twenty feet beneath, the staircase terminated, and I groped my way into a room which occupied the whole of the interior of the tower. It received its only light from the apertures above, for the arrow-slits with which the walls were pierced, were so completely overgrown with ivy, that the rays of the sun never penetrated through them.

The heat of the day, and the exertions I had made to reach the tower, rendered this cool and shaded retreat extremely pleasant, and, like Bobèche, I felt disposed to take some repose. Reclining myself, therefore, in one of the embrasures, which, owing to the thickness of the walls, were very deep, I placed myself in a very comfortable attitude, and slumber was gradually stealing over me, when the sound of voices arose immediately beneath my place of refuge. I turned and stretched myself at full length in the embrasure, and peered through the arrow-slit to ascertain who the intruders were. At first I could discover nothing, but by dint of separating the leaves, I succeeded in forming a vista, through which I could see perfectly, without the least risk of being myself seen.

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As I have already said, the height of the exterior walls differed very greatly, and on the side on which I was now looking, it was little more than ten or twelve feet to the ground. Here a broad greensward extended, perfectly level, and sheltered by high gray walls, which, to judge by the remains of several pointed windows with broken mullions, must once have enclosed a chapel. On either side rose the overarching foliage of the ash and maple, casting a chequered shadow upon the grass, and screening the place from the rays of the noon-day sun.

It was a spot formed as if by design for seclusion,--the seclusion that lovers delight in,-and to that purpose it appeared to be now devoted.

Pacing slowly along the turf, and occasionally pausing to listen to or utter words of more than ordinary meaning, were two figures, a lady and a gentleman. It was scarcely necessary that the former should raise her head to assure me that I beheld Lady Malpas, still less so that I should see the features of her companion to krow that it was the Marquis de Courtine.

After two or three turns along the green sward they stopped beneath the tower, and seated themselves on some fragments of the dismantled wall, which time had thickly covered with velvet lichen. I was thus enabled not only to see them but distinctly to hear all they said—and, in listening to their conversation, an act I did not then consider repre-. hensible, much as I condemn it now, I was more influenced by the interest which I felt for Lady Malpas than by ordinary curiosity. At all events I was undesignedly in the place where the temptation beset me, but the same could not be said for another person, whom I discerned stealthily moving behind the chapel wall till he had established himself close to the unconscious pair. The premeditated eavesdropper was Mr. St. John.

The marquis was the first to speak.

“ Isabel," he said, and I now for the first time heard her Christian name, “ I have told you more of the history of my past life, more of the passion that now fills my heart, than I ever yet breathed to human being. St. John necessarily knows much, and his nature prompts him to guess at more, but he even is only partially acquainted with what has befallen me, and of the present he knows nothing, for I have studiously refrained from making you the theme of our conversation, notwithstanding his desire to lead me to the subject.”

Lady Malpas smiled.

“And do you not feel,” she replied, " that by that very silence you have given him much more food for conjecture than if


had freely spoken?"

“No; for it has not been my habit to place myself in the confessional before him. As much as I have cared he should know, so much have I been willing to reveal to him, but more than that-never!” “ Yet I thought-it appeared to me- --that


had no dearer friend on earth.'

“For intimacy in the common affairs of life-yes, but for the dearest friend, that I have never realised. Does any one live who has, unless he feel as I feel now? No man can so absolutely negative his own existence as to be merely the reflex of another, and unless every thought is reflected the communion is necessarily imperfect. St. John has useful qualities ; he has talent and taste, and is, perhaps, the best companion I

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could have found to accompany me on my solitary journey through life ; but why speak of him or of myself either, when all I seek to know concerns you only ?"

“And what is it, Monsieur le Marquis,” replied Lady Malpas, that you are so desirous to learn ? Have I not already told you that I am married ?"

“ Yes ; but I have heard you have yourself hinted at being bound by another tie, as enthralling in its obligation, although less sacred in its character. That there is thraldom in it, a thousand circumstances lead me to infer. I will not speak of hope, for that, indeed, you

have never given me, though you have permitted my more than friendship; but, alone and unsought so long ; your habits of life so different from those of your sex generally ; can I suppose that the world has still claims

upon you which

you have not the will or the power to shake off ?” Lady Malpas gazed on Monsieur de Courtine steadily. “You put searching questions,” she said; “ but after what you have witnessed, and the frankness of your own communications, I have no right to object to them. It is true I lead a life which-happily-finds few imitators; I am, if you please, what I know your

friend calls me, a professed gambler, and even worse ; but have you never imagined it possible that the conduct, which in your heart no doubt you condemn, may be the desperate resource of one whom fate has driven to the last extremity!"

“ This is the answer I dreaded,” returned Monsieur de Courtine, mournfully. “ What then can be the circumstances which have induced one so beautiful, and still so young, to hold the world in such deadly. opposition?"

“ If to live as I have done be a task fulfilled without the show of pain, I need not mind the effort to relate the cause that has brought me to this condition, though it is easier, perhaps, to do than to speak. However, you have asked for and earned my confidence. Listen, then, to the story which I am about to tell you, and then judge me--but as he should judge who knows how cruelly the world can commit injustice and suffer wrong

Monsieur de Courtine answered only by silently pressing Lady Malpas's extended hand, and, bowing, assumed an attitude of profound attention.

I, too, eagerly awaited the tale, and I saw that Mr. St. John bent every faculty to catch the slightest word that might fall from the lips of the fair narrator.



“My father, Sir Henry Blount-was a man of pleasure ; my mother, a demoiselle of the house of Tancarville, was a lady of fashion; both, therefore, were extravagant, and, after a few years, all sunshine, found themselves, too soon for their sense of enjoyment, in comparative poverty.

“My father had inherited a large estate and an ample fortune, but there is a certain sort of expense which no fortune is adequate to support—the expense which is never supervised. He gained no immediate pecuniary advantage by his marriage, for my mother was an emigrant's daughter, and although he subsequently came in for her share in the indemnity

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