|Chapter Number||The Last Chapter|
|Chapter Title||The Destroyer|
|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842)|
|Trove Title||Passages from the Diary of a late Physician|
Passages from the Diary of a late
Physician.- The last Chapter..
(From Blachwood's Magasine, Augittt,~iOS7.)
Fair and innocent readers ! how many,
many thousands of you will read this narrative with beating and indignant hearts ! Shrink not from it» sad--its faithful details ; consider them, if it be not presumptuously spoken, in somewhat of that spirit in which you ponder the mournful history of Eve and Eden-of her, our first mother, who, weakly listen- ing to lue serpent tempter, was iguomi niously -thrust out of her bright abode, degraded from her blessed estate, and entailed innumerable ills upon her hapless progeny !
' With kindly and fervent feeling, my conscience hearing testimony to the purity of my intentions, have I drawn up, and now thuB commend to you-to readers, indeed, of both sexes, and of all clashes of societj-, but those espe- cially who move amidst the scenes from which its incidents have been taken
this narrative, the last Passage from tlio 'Diary of a late Physician ;' of him
.who, having been long acquainted with you, now bids you farewell ; and could his eye detect among you ono whose trembling foot was uplifted to deviate from (he path of honour and virtue, he would whisper, amidst his reluctant
Mrs. St. Holen, a young, a fond, and beautiful mother, having, one morning in Juno l8-, observed a taint flush on the forehead of her infant son,-her firbt-born and only child, and ascertained from the nursery-maid that he had been rather restless during the night, persuaded her- self and her husbund that matters were
serious enough to require immediate
medical assistance from London. The worthy Colonel, therefore, ordered his phceton to be at the door by ten o'clock ; and, having been scarcely allowed by his anxious wife to swallow a cup of coffee and finish his ejjg, presently jumped into
his vehicle and dashed off almost as rapidly as Mrs. St. Helen, who remained standing on the steps, could have wished Though the distance was nearly nine miles, he reached my house by a little after eleven, and was at once bhown into my room, where I was arranging my list of dfcily visits It seemed clear, from his hurried statement, that his little son and heir was about to encounter the perils of scarlet fever or measles, at the very least ; and such were his importunities, that though I had several special engage- ments for the early part of the day, 1 was induced, at his suggestion, to put two hacks to my carriage, and drive down to Densleigh Grange, accompanied by the Colonel, who, ordered his servant to remain in town till his horses had been rested.
^ This was the first time that my profes- sional services had been required in Colonel St. Helen's family-in iact, I had never been at Denslejgh, though, previous to her marriage, I had been rather intimately acquainted with Mrs. St. Helen. We had never once met even since the day of her marriage, three years ago. When I last saw her-upon that happy occasion -1 thought her cer- tainly one of the loveliest young women the eye could look upon. I really think her person and manne) B were the most fascinating I ever witnessed. When I first saw her she was only seventeen, and dressed in the deepest mourning ; for her father, the Honourable Mr. Annesley, a beneficed clergyman in the West of England, had recently died, leaving her
to the care of his brother the Earl of He thcringham, whose family I wns then attending. Her mother liad died about a year after giving birth to this her first and only child ; and her father left nothing behind him but his daughter-and hid debts. The former he bequeathed, as I 'have already intimated, to his brother, who accepted the charge with a very ungracious air. He was a cold, proud .man-qualities, however, in which his Countess excelled him-by no means rich, except in children ; of whom he liad three sons and five daughters, who instantly recognised in their beautiful cousin a most formidable competitor for the notice of society. And they were right. The form of her features was worthy of the rich commingled expres- sion of sweetness, spirit, and intellect that beamed in them. What passion shone out of her dark blue eyes ! Her figure, too, was well proportioned and graceful, just budding out into woman- hood. She was sitting, when I first saw her, at a little rosewood table, near the Countess, in her boudoir-one hand hung down with a pen in it, while the other supported her forehead, from which her fingers wore pressing aside her auburn hair-evidently in a musing mood, which any sudden entrance through the door al- ready standing wide open, put an end to. " You need not go," said the Countess, coldly, seeing her hastily preparing to shut up herlittledesk--'my niece-Mif-s Annesley, Doctor !" I knew the Coun- tess-her character and circumstances
well : this exquisite girl, her niece, and she with five daughters to dispose of! Miss Annesley, after slightly acknow- ledging my salutation, re ¡timed her seat and pen : I could hardly keep my eyes away from her. If she looks so lovely now, in spite of the gloomy dress, thought I, what must she be, when she resumes the garb of youthful gaiety and elegance ! Ali, Countess, you may well tremble for your daughters, if this girl is to appear among them. " You see, Doctor," con- tinued the Countess, in a matter-of-fact manner, while there thoughts glanced across my mind-"we are all thrown into sables through the death of the Earl's brother, Mr. Annesley."
" Indeed !" I interrupted, with a look of sympathy towards hor niece, who spread her hand over her eyes, while the pen that was in the other slightly quiver- ed. " This young lady is, in fact,_ all my poor brother-in-law left behind him; and", (adding in a lower tone) '. she now forms one of our little family !" I fe** infinitely hurt at the scarce-concealed
sneer with which she uttered the word " little." Poor Miss Annesley, I feared, liad parceived it; for, after evidently struggling ineffectually to conceal her
emotions, she rose and stepped abruptly v towards the door. 1
" You'll find your cousins in the draw- * ing-room, love ! go and sit with them." ? said the Countess, endeavouring to speak l affectionately. lt Poor thing !" she con- * tinued, as soon as Miss Annesley had r closed the door, after which I fancied , I heard lier run rapidly up stairs-doubt- l less to weep alone in her own room- a " her father hasn't been dead more than | a fortnight, and she feels it acutely !
shockingly involved, my dear Doctor- s over head and ears in debt ! You've no r idea how it annoys the Earl ! My niece a is perfectly penniless! Literally, wo ° were obliged to provide the poor thing
with mourning ! I insisted on the Earl's .J1 making her one of our family'j"-a great , falsehood, as I subsequently discovered, * for she had suggested and urged sending l her abroad to a nunnery, which, however À inclined to do, he dared not for appear-
ances' sake. " She'll be a companion for n my younger "daughters, though she's I quite countrified at present-don't you ä
think so?" c
" Pardon mc, my dear Countess-> t she struck mc as extremely elegant and i beautiful," I answered, with sufficient f want of tact. ^
" Rather pretty, certainly-she's only
seventeen, poor thing," drawled the j: Countess, immediately changing the sub-
'I could not help feeling much interest c in the poor girl, thrust thus, in the first t agonies of her grievous bereavement, into r a soil and atmosphere ungenial and even I noxious-into a family that at once dis- a liked and dreaded her. What a life c seemed before her ! But, I reflected, the
conflict may be painful, it cannot belong. I Lady Iletheringham cannot utterly ex- t elude her niece from society ; and there, ?> once seen, she must triumph And so, f indeed, it happened ; for in less than six Q months after the period of her arrival at c her uncle's, she began to go out freely a into society with his family ; it having ] been'considered by her prudent and nf- c fectionate relatives, that the sooner this c young creature could be got off their i hands the better. The Earl and his « Countess, indeed, began to feel some ap- f prehension now and then lest one of their p niece's male cousins-the eldest possibly, j might feel rather more attachment to- a wards her than mere relationship required, c She was directed, therefore, to apply r] herself diligently to the completion of n her education, in which she had already
made rapid progress, which, together r with her natural talents, soon rendered ]i her independent of the fashionable in- p structors who taught her cousins. Miss a Annesley was, in truth, a creature of u much enthusiasm of character : of a ge- Jj nerous and confiding nature, a sanguine t temperament-fond withal of admiration, I as who is not, of either sex ? She felt in a her element in the glittering society in t which she now incessantly appeared, or ¡ rather into which she was forced. She ] breathed freely, for glorious was the con- r trast it afforded to the chilling, withering c
restraint and coldness that ever awaited r
her at her uncle's. There she had but f too sorrowfully felt herself an intruder- 1 that her aunt and uncle were stirring r heaven and earth to get rid of her. Many 1 a bitter hour did she pass alone when she J reflected upon this, and saw no course t open to her but to second the exertions of r her heartless relatives, and be emanci- \ pated from her bitter thraldom by almost t any one who chose to make the attempt. 1 Her anxieties on this score laid her open t to the imputation of being little more ^ than a brilliant flirt or coquette-than f which certainly nothing could be more ] distant from the wishes or repugnant to \ the feelings of poor Miss Annesley. She ] saw that her uncle and aunt could have t encouraged the advances of any one that ( seemed likely to propose for a beautiful ] but penniless orphan, and was almost dis- ?, posed to gratify them. What sort of life , would not be preferable to that of her | present bitter dependence? Alas, how , generous, how noble a heart was thus ] trifled with-was thus endangered, if not , even directly betrayed, by those whose ( sacred duty it was, whose pride and de- light it should have been, to regard and cherish it ! However pure, however high minded, a girl Miss Annesley's youth and inexperience, of her eager and fervent temper and character, could not hut be exposed to imminent danger when thrust thus into such scenes as are afforded by the fashionable society of the metropolis. Poor Emma ! No eye of zealous and vigilant affection followed theo when wan- dering through these dazzling mazes oi dissipation and of danger ! Anxious, however, as were Lord and Lady Ilether- ingham to get rid of their lovely charge, their efforts were unsuccessful. Two sea-
sons passed over, and their niece, though the admired of all beholders, utterly eclips- ing her impatient envious cousins, seemed unlikely to form an alliance, whether ow- ing to the incessant and widely-propagated sneers and injurious falsehoods of her five rivah, the ill-disguised coldness and dislike of the Earl and Countess, or, above all, to her want of fortune. Many who admired her, and felt disposed to pay her decisive attentions, were deterred ty the fear that a youg woman, of her family, station, beauty, and accomplishments, was an object placed far beyond their reach ; while others sighed
Sighod and looked, sighed and looted, omi looked again ;"
and feared that if she brought her hus- band no fortune, she nevertheless was perfectly able and disposed to spend his. Conquests, in the ordinary phrase, she made innumerable, and was several times mentioned in the newspapers as " likely io be led to the hymeneal altar" by Lord -, Sir-, the Honourable Mr. -, and so forth. As far, indeed, as appearances went, there was some ground for each of these rumours. Miss Annes- ley had many followers, most of whom . were sufficiently gratified by having their
names associated in fashionable rumour
with that of so distinguished a beauty. The only one, however, of all these tri
| flers who ever established any thing like
an interest in her heart, was the elegant and well-known Alverley ; a man whose fascinating appearance and manners soon distanced the pretensions of all those who aimed at an object ho had selected. Al
vcrleywas, when ho clioso, irrcsislable. IT He could inspire the woman he sought In
with a conviction that he loved her pas-
sionately, throwing a fervour and devotion C into his manner Avhich few, very few a women, and no young woman, could d resist. Poor Miss Annesley fancied that ti this envied prize was hers ; that he was ii destined to be led a " graceful captive
at her chariot wheels ;" that he was the v gallant knight who was to deliver her c from her bondage. Here, too, however, n she was destined to meet with disappoint- n ment; the distinguished Alverley dis- / appeared from among the throng of her ß admirers quite suddenly ; the fact being,
that iu a confidential conversation with li one of her cousins, in a quadrille, he had t!
become Satisfied that it was undesirable s
for him to prosecute any farther his dis- v interested attentions in tliat quarter. Miss ?
Annesley felt his defection more keenly n than that of any other of her transient v admirers. Her eager feelings, her inex- f. perienced heart, would not permit her to I see how uttterly unworthy was one who n could act thus, of even a moment's re- y gret. Alas! her high spirits had not 1 fair play. His graceful person, his v handsome and expresbive features, his v facinating manners, could not so easily be t banished from her young heart; and her
grief and mortification were but little as- p suaged, however perhaps her wounded I pride might be soothed, by the intimation s Alverley contrived to have conveyed to t conveyed to her, from several quarters, r that her regrets fell infinitely short of the
poignancy of his own, in being compelled t by others, on whom his all depended, to r abandon the dearest hope he had ever c
Thus it was that Miss Annesley and
her heartless and selfish relatives beheld r two seasons pass away without any pros- a peet of their being permanently released * from one another's presence and society ; c and infinite gratification did the poor girl t experience in being invited to spend the t
autumn of l8- with a distant relative of
Lady Ilelheringham's, in a remote part r of England. This lady was the widow 1 of a Geneia! officer, and during her stay n in town that season liad formed an attach- i nient towards Miss Annesley, whose pain- d ful position in the Earl's family she soon <? perceived and compassionated ; therefore
it was that her invitation had been given i and she felt delighted at securing the so-
ciety of her young and brilliant guest i during the tedious autumn and winter I'
Miss Annesley proved herself to be
possessed of a warm and affectionate r heart in addition to beauty and aecom- s plishments, and every day enoreased the
attachment between them. These six r
months were the [happiest Miss Annesley ' had ever known. Before returning to i town, an event she dreaded, a very eligi-
ble offer of marriage was made to her by < a relative of her hostess, who happened * to be quartered with his regiment in her 3 immediate neighbourhood, Major St. - Helen. Ile was an amiable, high spi- < rited man, of excellent family, in easy j circumstances, and with considerable ex- i pectations" His features, though not < handsome, were manly and expressive ; < his figure was tall and commanding, his ] manners frank, his disposition affection te ; < his suit was supported by Miss Annesley's ' kind hostess, and before her returning to 1 town he gained the promise of her_ hand. The more, indeed, she knew of him, and
learnt of his character, the more confi- '. dently she committed herself to him ; she 1 became sincerely and affectionately at- i tached to him, who loved her so evidently
with fervour and enthusiasm. In about
a twelvemonth's time she was married to 1
him, in her twentieth year, he being about
ten years her senior-from the Earl of i Hctheringham's. I was present, and I i never saw a lovelier bride ; how distinctly
even at this distance of time, is her figure ' before my mind's eye ! As her uncle, who felt as if a thorn had been at lenght plucked out of his side, led her down to the travelling carriage, that was in readi- ness to carry them away, I was one of the last to whisper a hasty benison into the ear of the trembling blushing girl. Gra-
cious heaven ! could either of us at that
moment have lifted the veil of futurity, and forseen her becoming the subject of this last and dreadful passage of my Dairy.
About three years aftewards was bom the little patient I was now on my way to visit. During this considerable interval, I had almost lost sight of them ; for Ma- jor, since become Colonel St. Helen, after a year's travel on the Continent, purchased the delightful residence to which we were driving, and where their little son and heir was born. Here they lived in delightful retirement-only occa- sionally and for very short periods, visiting the metropolis ; the chief reason being
Mrs. St. Helen's reluctance to renew her intercourse with Lord and Lady Hether ingham, or any member of their family. It was evident, from our conversation as we drove down, that their attachment to- wards each other continued unabated.
The only drawback upon their happiness was a fear that he might be, erelong, summoned upon foreign service. When, within about a mile of Densleigh, our conversation as if by common consent, dropped-and we leaned back in the cor- ners of the carriage in silence ; he, doubtless, occupied with anxieties about his little son, and the probable state of matters he should moot on reaching home; I sinking into a reverie upon past times. I was anxious to see again one iu wliom I had formerly felt such interest-and felt happy at her good fortune, not only in escaping the dangers to which she had been exposed, but in making so happy a marriage.
"Heavens!" exclaimed the Colonel, suddenly, who had been for the last few minutes incessantly putting his head out of the window-look-they are"-his keen eye had discovered two female figures standing at the outer gate opening upon the high-road-" Drive on coach- man, for God's sake."
" Don't alarm yourself, Colonel," said I ; adding, as we drew near enough to distinguish one of the figures pushing open the gate, and stepping into the road towards us, " for one of them can be no other than Mrs. St. Helen ; and the. other is her maid, with my little patient in her arms-positively! Ha, ha, Colonel!
That looks very much like (scarlet fever or
" Certainly you are right,"" replied the Colonel, with a sigh that seemed to let off all his anxiety. " That is my wife iri'
deed, and the child: there can be nqmis- take ; but how can they think of ventur- ing out till, at all events they are','
Though I was at the moment rather vexed at having come so far, at such'in- convenience, too, I soon made up my mind to it, and felt glad at the opportu- nity of seeing how the beautiful Miss Annesley would show in the character of Mrs. St! Helen-a mother.
" You must give these poor beasts a little refreshment, Colonel, before I can take them back, and me à little luncheon, said I, with a smile, looking at my
. Certainly-oh, of course 1 Forgive me, dear Doctor, for having been so ner- vous and precipitate ! But you are a father yourself. 'Tis all my wife's fault, I can assure you, and I shall tell her she must take the apology due for bringing you down from London, for nothing. The fact is, that I never thought there was anything the matter with the child ;" which was, I thought, a great mistake of
" I assure you I am infinitely better pleased to have the opportunity of seeing Mrs. St. Helen again, and in health and spirits, than to see her plunged into dis tress by the illness of her child-*so say
no more about it."
As we approached Mrs. St. Helen has- tily gave her parasol into the hands of the maid, from whoso arms she snatched the child, and walked quickly up to the car- riage door as we drew up.
"Oh, Doctor -," she com- menced, " I am so delighted to see you again, but realy Arthur did so frighten me about the child, and I am not a very experienced mother-but I suppose its the same with all fathers-alarmed atsuch trifles?"
"Really Emma, this is capital," inter- rupted the Colonel, half-piqued and half pleased, while I could not help laughing at them both-" so it was I, but who was it, Emma, that came rushing into my dressing room this morning, her hair half en papillote /'
" Arthur, don't be absurd-there is no
" Well, I forgive you. It was all my fault ; but, thank God, here's the young hero, seemingly as well as ever he was in his life-many, many happy returns."
"'Tis his birth day, Doctor," inter- rupted Mrs. St. Helen, eagerly, with a
The Colonel took the child out of his
mother's arms, and kissed him heartily. " But what apology can wc make, Em- ma, to Dr.-?"
" Oh dont say a syllable., I am sin- cerely glad that I have come, and more so that there was not the necessity for it you had supposed. My dear Mrs. St. Helen, how glad I am to see you," I continued, as she took my arm, the Colonel proceeding on with the child in his arms, who seemed however, anxi- ous 'to get back to his nurse. " I have often thought of you, and wondered where you had hid yourselves! But before we talk of past limes, let me hear what it was that so alarmed you about that sweet
little child ?"
" Oh-why, I suspect it's all my fault, Doctor I was very foolish ; but we do so love him, that we were afraid of the least thing. He's so beautiful, that fear we shall lose him-he's too good we should be too hapjiy."
" All mothers, Mrs. St. Helen, say that ; but I want to hear whether we are right in dismissing all anxiety about the appearances that so alarmed you this morning."
" I'm quite ashamed of it ! It was evidently nothing but a little redness on his forehead, which was occasioned,: no doubt, by the pressure of the pillow-and it quite disappeared before the Colonel had been gone half-an-hour-and the
nurse did not tell me till aftewards-and we had no man here at the time to ride
after the Colonel-and so"-pushingabout the end of her parasol upon the grass, and looking down, as we slowly followed the Colonel towards the house. I laughed heartily at the kind of sheepish air with which she confessed the slight occasion there had been for her alarm. She began again to apologize
" Pho, pho, my dear Mrs. St. Helen, this has happened to me more than a huu
dred times ! but never when I less re gretted it than I do now. I have had a delightful di ive, and I have seen you looking so well and happy-you cannot think now rejoiced I am on your ac
count ! What a contrast is your prosent life to that you led at the Earl of Hether ingham's !-you must be as happy as the day is long !"
" And so indeed I am ! I never, never knew what real happiness was till I knew
Colonel St. Helen ! We have never had
a difference yet ! He worships the very ground"-She paused, hung her head, and her eyes filled with tears.
" He looks quite the soldier," said I, glancing at his tall and erect figure.
' Oh yes, and he is ! He has the noblast disposition in the world ! so ge- nerous, and. as simple as the little crea- ture that he carries. You would. hardly think him the same man when he is at home, and at the head of his regiment looks so cold, and stern, and formal. And he is as brave as" -her beautiful fea- tures were turned towards me, flushed with excitement-" Do you know he's been in three engagements, and I have
heard from several officers that he is one
of the most desperate and fearless"
" Ah, you recollect these beautiful lines, Mrs. St. Helen," said I
" Warrior's heart when touched by mo, Can as downy, soft, and yeilding be,
As his own whito plume that high amid death.
Through the holds have shown, yet moves with
a breath ! *
Her eyes were fixed intently upon me while I repeated these lines, filled with tears as I concluded, and she spoko not. " Where are these lines 'I" she began at length ; but ashamed of her yet unsub- dued emotion, she quickly turned aside her head, and left the sentence unfinished. Her little dog that came scampering dov?n towards us, happily turned thoughts
" How very, very ridiculous !" she i exclaimed, half-laughing, half-crying, pointing to a light blue "ribbon tied round the dog's neck, in a large knot or bow, the little animal now frisking mer- rily about her, and then rolling about on the grass, evidently not knowing what to make of his new collar. " The fact is, Doctor, that this being our little boy's first birth-day, my maid has determined that even the dog-Down, Fan ! down ! you little impudent creature-go and run after your young master;" and away bounded Fan, leaving us once more
' When did you hear of the Hether inghaui8 last ? .. -
" Oh, by the way," she answered eagerly, " only a day or two ago. And what do you think ! DM you read that account of the elopement in the papers
with such numbers of stars and initials ?"
" Certainly, I recollect; but whom do they mean ?"
" My fair proud cousin, Anne Sedley, and the youngest officer in Arthur's regi- ment. Who would have thought it ! She was always the most unkind of any of them towards me ; but I am not the less sorry for her. Nothing but misery can come of an elopement; and how they are to live I do not know, for neither^ them has any thing."
" You see very Tittle of the Earl and
Countess, or your cousins^ I suppose
" We have scarcely met Bince we were married, and we don't regret it. Arthur does not like any of them, for I could not help telling him how they had treated me ; and, besides, we see nobody, nor do' we wish, for we are not yet tired of each other, and ha\ e plenty to do at home of one kind or another. In fact, we have only one thing that distresses us, a fear lest the Colonel may bo ordered to join his regiment and go abroad. Oh! we I tremble at the thought, at least I am sure that J do ; especially if it should happen before November," she added suddenly, faintly colouring. 1 understood her de- licate intimation that she bade fair to be- come again a mother, and told her so." " What should I do, in my situation, all alone here-my husband gone, perhaps never to return. I assure you, it often makes me very sad indeed-but here he
" Why, Emma ! How serious ! Posi- tively in tears ! What ! have you been regretting to Doctor-that you have not got a patient for him ?"
" No, dearest Arthur-the fact is we have been talking over past times ! I was telling him how happy we were in
our solitude here" --
But, I dare say, Doctor
with myself," said the Colonel,' quickly observing Mrs. St. Helen not yet to have entirely recovered from her emotion -" will not think the worse of Dens lejch when we've had a little lunch."
Ip^ell-I'll rejoin you in a few mi- nutes," interrupted AJrs. St. Helen, turning from us.
" Aha," said the Colonel, as he led me into the room where lundi was
spread-" she' gone to look'after Master St. Helen's dinner, I suppose ; we shan't sec her, for this quarter of an hour ! He
must never eat a mouthful without her
seeing it ! - We won't wait, Doctor -/' and we sat down - for I had really not much time to lose. Dens leigh was certainly a delightful residence -happily situated, and laid, out with nuich taste and elegance. ;The roora in wliîch we were sitting at ¿undi opened upon a soft green, sloping down to the banks of a pleasant stream, and com- manded an extensive prospect,-of which Mrs St. Helen had recently completed a very beautiful water-colour sketch, which was suspended near where I sat.
" You must come to day, Doctor, and seo Emma's port-feuille -for she really draws very beautifully. I'll try to get a sight of the picture she has nearly fin- ished of our little Arthur -by Heaven 'tis perfection !"
Here Mrs. St. Helen made her ap- pearance ; Master St. Helen had made a very hearty dinner, and Emma was again in high spirits, and I persuaded her to take a glass of wine with me-but not to give me a sight of the mysteries which the Colonel had spoken of. She would
not for the world let me see her half finished daubs - and so forth ; and as for the others, she would show them to me the next time I came, &c. &c. All lady artists are alike, so I did not press the matter. A plaesaut hour I passed at Densleigh-thinking, where was happi-
ness to be found if not there! I was not
allowed to leave before I had promised,
never to come within a mile or two with-
out calling upon them. They attended me to the door, where were drawn up my carriage and ponny photon of Mrs. St. Helen, with two beautiful little greys, which also were bednight witli the light blue ribbons, Master St. Helen and his maid were already seated in it, and I saw that Mrs. St. Helen longed to join them. Ah, you arc a happy woman, thought I, as I drove off-you ought indeed feel grateful to Heaven for having cast your lot in pleasant places,-long may you live the pride of your husband - mother it may be the race of heroes !
About six months afterwards, my eye lit upon the following announcement in one of the newspapers :-" On the 2nd instant at Densliegh Grange, the lady of Colonel St. Helen, of a son. " I dis- covered, upon inquiry, that both mother and child were doing well-although the event so dreaded by Mrs. St. Helen had come to pass, and very greatly affected her spirits-the Colonel was ordered, with his regiment, upon foreign service. She had nearly succeeded in persuading him to quit the army; and it required all the influence of his most experienced personal friends, as well as a tolerably distinct intimation of opinion from the Royal Commander-in-Chief at the Horse Guards to prevent him from yielding to her entreaties. His destination was In- dia ; and with a very heavy heart, six weeks before her accouchment took place, he bade lier adieu-feeling that too pro- bably it was for ever ! He could not, however, tear himself away ; twice did lie return suddenly and unexpectedly to
Densleigh, after having taken, as he had I thought, a final farewell. She insisted!
on returning with him to London, and witnessing his departure. When it had taken place, she returned to Densleigh, and for a while gave herself up to the most violent emotions of griei. Dreading the consequence to her, in her critical circumstances, Mrs. Ogilvie, the sister of Colonel St. Helen, came down to Dens- leigh, and succeeded in bringing Mrs St. Helen up to town with her, hoping that change of scene and the gaieties of the metropolis might aid in recruiting her agitated spirits and thereby prepare her for the trial she had so soon to undergo. She had not been long in London before she prevailed upon Mrs. Ogilvie' to drive
with her to the Horse Guards, and endea-1 vour, if possible, to gain some intelligence as to the probable duration of her hus- band's absence, and of the nature of tho, service in which he was to be employed. Her heart almost failed her when the carriage drew up at the Horse Guards. With some trepidation she gave the ser- vant a card bearing her name, on which she had written a few lines seating the enquiry she had called to make, and de sired him to take and wait with it for an
answer. " His Royal Highness willi send to you, ma'am, in a few moments," said the servant on his return. Presently an officer in splendid uniform was seen approaching the carriage-he was an aide-de-camp of the Commander-in-Chief, and Mrs. St. Helen, with some additional agitation, recognised in him, as he stood before her, Captain Alverley. To her it was indeed a most unexpected meeting ;
and he seemed not nee from embarrass-
" His Royal Highness has directed me to inform you," said he, bowing politely, " that he regrets being unable to receive you, as he is now engaged with important business. He also directs me to say, in answer to your enquiry, that Colonel 5t, Helen's stay will probably not exceed three years." While he was yet speaking Mrs. St. Helen, overcome with agitation, hastily bowed to him, ordered the coach- man to drive on, and sunk back on hor
" Emma ! Emma ! what can you mean?" exclaimed Mrs. Ogilvie, with much displeasure ; " I never saw such rudeness ! Yes," looking back tow ards the Horse GuarJs, " he may well be astonished ! I declare he is still standing thundei struck at your most extraordinary
" I-I cannot help it," murmured Mrs. St. Helen, faintly, " I thought I should
have have fainted. He so reminded me of Arthur-and-did you observe," she continued, sobbing, " nothing was said about the nature of the service ! Oh, I am sure, I shall never see him again ! I wish, I wish, I had not called at the odious place-I might have then hoped !" A long drive, however, through a cheerful part of the suburbs at length somewhat relieved her oppression ; but it was evi- dent, from her silence and lier absent manner,, that her thoughts continued oc cup:ed with what she had seen and heard
at the Horse Guards.
Captain Alverley did stand thunder- struck, and continued so standing for some moments after the carriage had .driven out of sight. Had I then seen him, and known that of his character which I now know, I should have been reminded of the poet's description of the deadly sei pent
" Terribly beautiful the serpent lap,
" Wreathed like a coronet of gold and jewels Fit for a tyrant's brow ; nnon ho flew,
Strnigbt like an arro», shot from his own
or rather it might have appeared as though the rattle-snake were stunned for an instant by the suddenness of the ap- pearance of this beautiful victim. No; the fatal spring had not yet been made, nor had as yet the fascination of that death-dooming eyebeenfeltby the victim! ; * The Pelican Ibland, by James Montgomery.
(To be Continued.)
» Lallah Itoolh.