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FLORENCE.

CHAPTER I.

The stately homes of England !

How beautiful they stand,
Amidst their tall ancestral trees,

O’er all the pleasant land !
The deer across the greensward bound,

Through shade and sunny gleam!
And the swan glides past them with the sound
Of some rejoicing stream.

MRS. HEMANS.

It is recorded of Cardinal Mazarin that he arose from his deathbed, to totter once more through those famous galleries of the Palais Cardinal, which contained the innumerable treasures, the priceless gems of art, he had gathered together with insatiable cupidity. The old man wrung his hands in anguish, as he revelled for the last time, in the contemplation of that vast wealth, which he must leave behind. He lifted up his voice and wept, and the bitter cry broke from him—"Il faut quitter tout cela !”

There be some that put their trust in their goods, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches. They shall carry nothing away with them when they die, neither shall their pomp follow them. They shall follow the generation of their fathers, and shall never see light.

B

But we are wandering from the subject of this true history. One lovely evening in the month of June, a man in the prime of life was pacing the moss-grown terrace of an ancient manor house. He gazed, with folded arms, and drooping mien, upon the fair landscape spread 'efore him.

Thes tting sun lent a golden hue to flower and shrub, and dy d the magnificent woods, which stretched far away as the eye could reach, in the mellow tints of autumn. All nature was lighted up with the parting smile of the god of day,–

“The sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,

And they did make no noise.” “I must leave all this !” was the bitter reflection dictated by no shadow of cupidity, which saddened the countenance of Herbert Dudley, as he paused from time to time to scan more narrowly the beauties of his fair patrimony. "The time, the hour, the sweet influences of the summer-sky recall many of the happiest and some of the saddest hours of my existence. I thank Heaven for past mercies ; I look forward with trembling hope to future blessings. Fourteen years have winged their flight since I stood upon this terrace with my beautiful bride-fourteen years marked by a period of as much happiness as ever fell to the lot of man.” He sighed heavily. “Alas ! one bitter trial—the loss of my Mary -closed the brightest chapter of my existence. The shadow of that mighty grief has brooded o'er my path up to the present hour-a shadow ever lengthening as I draw nearer to the goal.”

He paced rapidly up and down the terrace, then stopped abruptly, On this bright summer evening I will confide my ruin to poor little Florence; God knows whether I can guard my winsome fairy from the bitter wind of poverty when I scarce know where to lay my head. Corragio! the battle must be fought singlehanded, the victory must be won!”

He drew himself up to his full height; a flash of

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