|Chapter Title||MAXWELL ENTERTAINS A STRANGER.|
|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||The Maxwells of Bremgarten|
THE MAXWELLS OF BREMGARTEN. A STORY OF TASMANIA. [Founded on Facts.] (ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.) (Continued from Saturday, 17th July.) CHAPTER LI. MAXWELL ENTERTAINS A STRANGER. WE would gladly take our curious reader to Bremgarten again, and draw aside the curtain which has so long hidden our interesting friends, Griselda and Isabel, from his view ; but we must hurry on, and be careful lest we exhaust his patience by dwelling on minute details when so many events of stir- ring importance remain to be recorded. Our tale has swollen since its commence- ment to a magnitude which, so far from being originally thought of or in- tended, has astonished ourselves ; and it is with most respectful deference to a discerning public, which may or may not approve of this work, that we confess that the efforts to check the wild progress of our pen have been great and unremitting. It will scarcely be our fault, therefore, if we are charged with tautology, seeing that we have done our best to avoid that literary vice, which we detest. Notwithstanding this apology, we cannot tear ourselves too suddenly from the beloved spot. We owe a trifling debt to Maxwell which it is time to pay, and we would derive fresh courage for the remaining portion of our task in the society of his amiable wife and daughter and their sprightly and accomplished guest. Then with renewed life and vigor we will take a hasty glance at Bella Park, which was the somewhat feminine designation of Edwin Herbart's estate, in anticipation of a visit to the capital in company with that poetical youth, to meet friends from home. Shortly after the departure of the grand army on its bootless expedition Maxwell re- ceived a visit from Mr. Earlsley. This was nothing unusual, for Earlsley had contracted a sort of sneaking regard for his brother magistrate, and often called at Bremgarten to gossip over the news of the day and exchange a few complimentary words with the young ladies. On this occasion, however, Mr. Earlsley was accompanied by a stranger, whom he introduced into Maxwell's private apartment, rather pedantically called "the study," under the imposing name of Mr. Augustus Clifford Smythe, a gentleman en- quiring about sheep, which he was desirous of purchasing in order to stock a large tract of newly-discovered land at Port Phillip. Maxwell rose and bowed to the stranger, shaking hands with Earlsley at the same time, and requesting them both to take seats. As the dinner hour was at hand he invited his visitors to dine with him, and on their assent- ing, an interesting conversation, principally about the plains of Port Phillip, which the stranger eloquently described, and the sheep which were destined to turn the rich pastures into oceans of stirling money, arose. While the stranger discanted in a tone of rather uneasy confidence on the superior capabilities of Port Phillip as a pastoral country, Maxwell closely examined his fea- tures and person. He was a tall individual, but rather gaunt, and awkward on the first introduction, and had the aspect of one not in his proper element. A smile played occa- sionally over his swarthy features, but it was not an easy smile, such as could be assumed by one at perfect peace with himself and all mankind. There was a restlessness in his dark eye which struck Maxwell as being peculiar, and he did not sit still on his chair as Earlsley did, or, indeed, as any thorough- bred gentleman would have done ; but shuffled himself from side to side, the shuffle being more particularly noticeable whenever he happened to be asked a question. He was dressed like a gentleman—that is to say, not a particularly fine one, but as gentlemen settlers at that period generally dressed them- selves when visiting their neighbors—a shepherd's plaid shooting coat, dark vest and trousers, watch with gold guard, and gilt studs in the bosom of his shirt. Beyond this Mr. Augustus Clifford Smythe appeared to have nothing in unison with his aristocratic name, if we except boots and spurs, and a dark pair of whiskers and moustache. Mr. Earlsley explained, after some general conversation, that Mr. Smythe was anxious to purchase one thousand four-tooth owes to take to Port Phillip, and appealed to Mr. Smythe if such was not the case. Mr. Smythe, with a six-inch shuffle on his chair, replied in the affirmative. He then, with another slighter shuffle, asked Maxwell if he had that number to dispose of, and Maxwell intimated that he might be able to supply him. Mr. Smythe, with a curious twinkle in his dark eye, enquired the price. Maxwell said that for picked ewes he would require 18s. per head. Smythe said that he thought fifteen would not be so much out of the way, and asked, with another shuffle, what term off credit Maxwell was disposed to allow ; Maxwell answered that he would allow nine or even twelve months' credit, upon an ac- ceptance endorsed by his friend Mr. Earlsley, and bearing interest at ten per cent. per annum ; upon hearing which Earlsley fixed his eyes with magisterial severity upon Smythe, and then broke out into a series of extraordinary cadaverous chuckles. Dinner was announced, and Mr. Augustus Clifford Smythe was formally introduced to Mrs. Maxwell and the young ladies. The fact of being in such a presence did not in- crease Mr. Smythe's easy nonchalance, but on the contrary, rather added to the wildness of his eye ; and his general manner appeared so very outre, to use the polite expression of Isabel, that that young lady herself was scarcely able to restrain her mirth. Never- theless the gentleman managed to get through some of the dinner ceremonials in a creditable manner, drank wine with Mrs. Maxwell without spilling his wine over the tablecloth and finally, when the ladies with- drew he opened the door for them after the most approved fashion. After some commonplace conversation over another glass of wine, Mr. Earlsley excused himself and took his leave, saying that he would leave Mr. Smythe to settle his busi- ness matters with Maxwell, as both might consider best for mutual advantage. Max- well asked Earlsley if he would not have something to do with the transaction touch- ing the bill ? Earlsley replied with an amount of equivocation which leaves us nothing to admire--" Yes, Sir, I have a bill to settle ; the blacksmith at Avoca presented his bill to me last week, and I told him that if the offence was repeated, I would follow Dr. Moungarrett's example and give him three dozen lashes." This piece of small wit put Mr. Smythe into a great state of delight—to judge at least by the manner in which he buried his
countenance in his handkerchief. After the magistrate left the room Maxwell remained silent for awhile, and as if to give his austere friend time to get away, went to a bookcase and spent about a quarter of an hour in looking over some papers. Then resuming his seat he turned abruptly towards his guest and said—" I think I have repaid you your hospitality, my friend." " So I see, and knew an hour ago that you had found me out, Mr. Maxwell," said the visitor ; " but I hope you will remember the laws of hospitality, and not betray me now I am in your power. My intention was to make myself known to you, as your character for honor and benevolence is well known, thinking you might possibly be in- clined to assist me out of a difficulty." " It was scarcely fair I think," said Max- well, " in you to take your place at this table in company with my wife and daughter." " You invited me," said Mr. Smythe, " your good sense will allow that when a man is invited to dinner and happens to be hun- gry, he must be an idiot not to accept the invitation. Had you consigned me to your kitchen the suspicions of Mr. Earlsley would have been aroused. I really owe you many thanks, both for your dinner and your for- bearance." " I am aware," said Maxwell, " that I lie under another obligation besides the hospi- tality to which I alluded. On one occasion when a great bush fire raged in this neigh- borhood, and when my standing corn was saved by something little short of a miracle, you opportunely appeared and assisted to beat out the fire, which all but got the better of Mr. Juniper and a number of men ; at least, I concluded from the description that you were the man. One of the men then present told me that my wheat would cer- tainly have been consumed if it was not for your timely assistance." " Yes, Sir," said the stranger, " I was that man. I was seeking an interview with you at that time to impart some secret informa- tion concerning the bushranger Jeffries, who had concocted a plan to attack your house at night and murder you and your family. But my intention was frustrated by that mis- chievous ape Juniper, who ought to have had a bullet through his body twenty years ago. I spoiled the plan of Jeffries, however, by giving him false information concerning an elderly man whom I swore I saw leaving a public house, with two hundred and fifty dollars in silver tied up in a red and black handkerchief. I hope nobody answering the description was murdered." " I am more indebted to your watchful protection than I was aware of then," said Maxwell. " You certainly are, Sir," answered Mr. Smythe ; " when I had you in my power in the Peppermint Forest, on the occasion of your first journey into this country, I did you no violence : with your purse I made free certainly, but not to the extent of all it contained. I entertained you with the best I was master of : you repaid me at the time by giving me good advice and hopes about a future existence, which I have not forgotten. I learned some chivalrous nonsense from the romances which I read when a boy, and some of them I have carried into practice ; and if you were the man to write a novel, I could furnish you with material for the best thing of the kind that ever passed through the hands of a bookseller." " I never read and am not likely to write novels," said Maxwell, " but what have you been doing since you made your appearance at the fire ?" " You ask the question apart from police treachery, of course ?" said Smythe, " I know you are a magistrate and am therefore bound to be doubly cautious." " You need not be apprehensive of police treachery," said Maxwell. " I cannot per- suede myself that it would be right in me to take advantage of the confidence you think proper to repose in me ;—yet, bless my soul, what a setting down I shall get from Mrs. Maxwell when she learns she has been taking wine with a bushranger !" " That, you will say, was the unkindest cut of all, Sir," said the guest, " but I don't see why you should make your lady as wise as you are yourself. You see I was ac- quainted with a young woman in England who was compelled by fortuitous circum- stances to take a voyage out to this country, and I had been here just five years or so when she arrived. Well, she found a master in some farmer near Swanport, and I in the course of my rambles found her out, and renewed my acquaintance with her. She received me graciously, and procured me em- ployment in the same service ; and when in course of time I, led by the stubborn will of my ruling genius, absconded from that ser- vice, she assisted me time after time with food, clothes, and money. Woman was made, Sir, to make smooth the roughest paths in this life, and upon my honor I believe I would have married her if she had not un- expectedly married somebody else. Even now, though she is the farmer's wife, it is by her bounty that I am able to ride a horse, borrow a name, and equip myself like a gen- tleman." " You said, I think," said Maxwell, " that you were in a difficulty, and intended to apply to me for assistance ?" " I did," replied the outlaw, " and will candidly explain myself if you have not be- come so hard as to turn me out of doors at the mention of that objectionable word 'assistance.' You must know, then, that when I paid my last visit, to my Dulcinea I received strict and positive instructions never to show my delightful countenance to her again, and for no other reason that I can dis- cover than being somewhat erratic in my habits and staying away from her too long. I had been on a visit to Sydney with the help of a certificate of freedom which I bor- rowed from the pocket of a man with whom I travelled pretending to look for work. He showed me his certificate, and I borrowed it while he slept on a grassy bank one sunny day. I made some money in Sydney, and came back here to spend it and see my dear Polly Hopkins again, but as I said she told me to be off, threatening to denounce me to her husband and the police. Think, Sir, of the treachery of the female heart ! She had the unparalleled impudence to accuse me of stealing—mark the word—stealing a gold watch, a ruby brooch, and other trinkets to the value of thirty-seven pounds." " Of which you were perfectly innocent, of course," said Maxwell, glancing involuntarily round to see if the spoons were all right. " As innocent as a babe unborn, Sir. I never steal, I only borrow with the full in- tention of returning when better times come. But my real offence was keeping away from her too long." " You said it was by her bounty that you
were able now to appear as a gentleman," said Maxwell. " Did I ?" answered Smythe, " then I be- lieve I said it ironically—but to say truth I was so provoked at her insolence that I lurked about the premises till it was dark, and then went into the stable and borrowed her husband's horse and saddle, and rode away. The horse—I have him now—is a good fellow to go, but I was not pleased with the saddle as it turned out to be by daylight as black as ink, with the stuffing hanging out in various places in a most ungentlemanly manner. So it became necessary that a good looking saddle if not a new one must be procured for love at least, if not for money. Well, after riding all night I breakfasted at an inn in a certain part of the country, no matter where, and ascertained that there was to be a sale of sheep and cattle that day at a settler's house about seven miles off. Made up my mind to go to it, though rather ashamed of the old saddle. On the road I overtook a middle- aged gentleman and entered into affable con- versation with him. I found him congenial and communicative ; he rode a high stepping chestnut, had on a blue coat with brass but- tons ; and trowsers which for want of straps terminated at his knees. But my soul was refreshed at the sight of the bran new saddle upon which he sat, a very Adonis in black. cotton stockings on Pegasus himself. Rode on to be in time for luncheon ; plenty of ham and beer ; lunched like a prince ; went out to meet Mr. Brass Buttons and welcomed him at the stable door ; you may imagine how I recommended the ham and beer ; ostler was already drunk ; my Adonis went into the ham and beer and I watched my opportunity : to borrow a horse is no crime, and to ex- change saddles cannot be sinful, so off went my saddle, which I hung up in a business like manner, and on went his to my horse's back, and I rode away quite leisurely before the owner of Pegasus had half-filled himself with ham and beer." " Now, Mr. Smythe," said Maxwell gravely, " it is time to put an end to this frivolous conversation. If you expect assistance from me you certainly should not come here con- fessing that you have stolen a horse and a saddle, for your sophistry about borrowing and exchanging is ridiculous and contemptible: Is it not my duty to arrest you for having committed these offences against society ?" " It may be your duty, but it won't be your interest," said Smythe. " Why so ?" demanded Maxwell. " Because," returned Smythe slapping his breast, " I would shoot you dead on the spot." " I am not to be frightened by that threat,' said Maxwell, looking firmly at the outlaw, " but go—leave the house, and never let me see you here again. I could not arrest you, as such a proceeding would endanger your life ; but I would again venture to advise you for your good—return the horse and saddle to their proper owners, repent of your sins and turn to God, and get out of this country as fast as you can." " Why that is precisely what I want you to help me to do," said the visitor. " Help you to leave the country !—how am I to help you ?" said Maxwell. " With money," answered Smythe. " You owe me fifty pounds. You cannot grumble at paying me that sum for saving your wheat and house from being burnt. You're a rich man, and ought to have some gratitude. I'll cry quits at half the money ; give me five and twenty and I walk. Your house was not insured ?" " No." " There ;—if it had been burnt a dead loss of a thousand pounds at least ; premium for five years at one per cent. say fifty pounds saved by not insuring, besides the value of barn and wheat, fifteen hundred pounds saved in all ; I'll let you off for twenty—give me twenty and I'll ride back to return the horse, and search for Brass Buttons, Esq., with dili- gence." " You have forgotten your principles," said Maxwell ; " you borrowed money from me the first night I saw you, and have not repaid it yet." " O, how can a rich man like you talk of such a thing ! I believe there is a limitation statute, though it is faulty, for the time is too long—it should have been six months. Twenty pounds will give me a fair start, hand over twenty and I'll bless you while living, and ' when fame elates me I'll think of thee.' " " Very glad to hear you say so," said a stranger who had glided noiselessly into the room. " Sit still, Mr. Smythe--don't allow any malignant or unpleasant feelings to get the better of you, Sir; it's not a matter of life and death. It is my duty to arrest you on the warrant of Arthur Earlsley, Esq., J.P. There, you need not show your teeth, and don't put your hand in your pocket, for I won't allow mischief to be done." The constable, as he said these words, caught hold of the prisoner's wrist as he was in the act of thrusting his right hand into the breast pocket of his coat. Mr. Smythe began to fume— " Do you know I'm a gentleman, sir ? Let me go. I'll bring an action against Earlsley for false imprisonment. Is this your handy work, Mr. Maxwell ?" " No 'pon my honor I declare I know nothing about it," said Maxwell. " Come, now, be quiet, and don't compel me to call in my mate," said the constable, " he's waiting in the kitchen. What have you got here ? a bulldog, eh ?" Putting his hand into the prisoner's pocket the constable drew forth a small pistol which was found on examination to be primed and loaded. Mr. Smythe resigned himself to his fate, and asked his captor what was the charge against him ? " Stealing a horse my friend," was the reply. "And now," continued the limb of the law, when he had finished his examina- tion of his friend's person, " just come along with me, I see you've had, dinner ; sorry to deprive you, Mr. Maxwell, of your company, but necessity don't often wait for legal advice, sir." Mr. Smythe was accordingly walked off with steel bracelets on this wrists, much to his chagrin. We may as well dismiss him for ever from our chess-board by informing the reader that he was tried for horse- stealing and re-transported for fourteen years. He was betrayed to Earlsley by one of Maxwell's servants who knew the horse and had heard it had been stolen. His was not an isolated case of prisoner of tolerable address, illegally at large, palming himself off upon a number of settlers as a gentleman. A wealthy proprietor of our acquaintance once entertained one at dinner, and, to do him justice, he made himself agreeable to the ladies, and deluded his host into the belief that he wanted to purchase a large flock of sheep at a large paying price ; but
wishing to see a little more of the country he travelled on. The next day the settler stood at the gate and saw two constables going by with his fascinating guest of yester- day between them in handcuffs, " I thought you wanted to buy sheep," said the settler, " Sir," said the prisoner, " you would never throw water on a drowning rat." He had been arrested as an absconder whilst sitting in another settler's carriage with the ladies of the family. A more pleasing subject, at least we hope so, is at hand. Griselda and Isabel were united in bonds of friendship of the most earnest and interesting kind. They walked, read, and played the piano together ; and not a single thought, we might almost venture to say, arose in the mind of the one that was not instantly made known to the other. Owing to the distracted state of the country, and the absence of their usually attendant cavalier, Charles, they could not take such exercise on horseback as had been their custom two or three times a week ; neither could they now pay pleasant visits to the Earlsley's or any of their other neighbors, so they were forced to amuse themselves as well as they could at home. Had it not been for the companionship of Isabel, it is hard to say what Griselda would have done at this dull period of her life. Her mother was certainly all in all to her as heretofore, but she could converse with a light-hearted and youthful friend with less restraint than she could with her mother ; and upon topics which, though highly interesting to the young people, were likely to be much less so to the maternal parent. " It is very singular Griselda," said Isabel one day as they sat together over their needle-work, " that we two amiable, witty, and not very frightful belles, should content ourselves in this outlandish place without being seen by or seeing a handsome pair of eyes from Monday morning till Sunday night." " You certainly have a remedy, though I should be sorry if you availed yourself of it, Isabel," said Griselda with a smile, " but I have not. You are rich and your own mistress, but I am still dependent on my parents whom I do not wish to leave. As for eyes, I never wish to see a more hand- some pair than you possess yourself." " Thank you, dear, for your compliment," said Isabel ; " an attentive beau might have paid me the same, but not in so ingenuous a manner. No, the foolish speech of the being calling himself a lord of creation would in all probability be—' Miss Arnott, I dread your displeasure for not coming near you for a week, but 'pon my honor the last time I came under the influence of your eyes I had two round holes burnt in my heart." " And what in all probability would be your reply, Isabel ?" said Griselda, laughing. " Why, my reply would be with a dis- dainful look,—' Sir, had there been three hun- dred and sixty-five days in the week you speak of, my displeasure would be changed to positive rejoicing.' " " That would be a very bitter speech," said Griselda, " and hardly consistent with your first allusion to a handsome pair of eyes from Monday morning till Sunday night. But seriously, Isabel, I do really often regret that we cannot for your sake enter a little more into society ; I feel the loneliness of our dull life myself very much sometimes ; and how much more must you feel it who have been accustomed to see friends and strangers all your life." " I do not allow the want of gay society to crush me, however," said Isabel ; " I am not an enthusiastic lover of what the world calls pleasure. My father was a peculiar man, and I dare say I am a peculiar woman. He did not often enter into society at Sydney, and he made it his constant habit to refuse invitations to parties, except when given by one or two particular favorites. I am very far from being tired of your society, or that of your excellent mother. Griselda, but still I sometimes wish we could see a little more of the world. In- deed when Harry comes back and brings me my perfect freedom I will probably return with him to Sydney in the first place, and then persuade him to take me to England or France, I am most anxious to see Paris, and I should like above all things to visit London and the Pyramids of Egypt. O ! I wish I was a man." " I should also like to travel," said Griselda, " but I should not like to go among the swarthy Arabs, to be found near the Pyramids, or under the fierce sun of Egypt. My thoughts often carry me home to my native land, even to that called the Emerald Isle, a name which is apt to provoke an ironical smile on the face of an Englishman. I mean those who advertise in English papers for servants and tell the public that ' no Irish need apply.' But whatever the faults and misfortunes of the poor people may be, I love the island very dearly ; and it is to it that all my fondest recollections of youth naturally turn. I shall never forgot the happy days I have spent at the Dargle, the drives through Belleview, and the Glen of the Downs, and the beautiful shore at Bray. I once walked with my cousin Edwin and his sister Augusta, nearly to the top of the great Sugar Loaf, and I have been with them to a picnic at Powers- court Waterfall, and saw the place where a young gentleman fell from the rocks above and was killed." " Did you witness his death ?" " Oh no—it occurred a short time before our visit." " I should not like," said Isabel, " to wit- ness the death of any person in that way, it would be very shocking. I have not yet re- covered the shock of poor papa's death, and I hope I shall never, never be called upon to witness any more sudden or violent deaths. And yet my wild dreams of which I have for- merly spoken sometimes lead me to suppose that there is something dreadful in store for me. A few nights ago I dreamed that I saw Harry standing in a bath up to his shoulders ; the water was very black and his face was as white as snow, and what I considered more remarkable, I thought that your friend Mr. Herbart was present, and stood by my side. Something prompted me to dip my hand in the water to try its temperature, and when I drew it out again it was quite red ; and seeing that, I thought I said playfully, ' What for goodness sake, Henry, induces you to bathe in wine ?' and he replied in such an unaccountable and unnatural voice—' No Isabel, it is blood!' I cannot tell you in what an agony I awoke." " It was indeed a very painful and fearful dream," said Griselda ; " do you often have such terrible visions, Isabel ?" " Why, no dear, not very often," replied Miss Arnott, " but having mentioned the names of Harry and Mr. Herbart, I am led to ask you Griselda if you think there is any likelihood of a dangerous rivalry or jealousy growing up between them ?" " On whose account ?" asked Griselda.
" On your account," said Isabel. " Good gracious, Isabel, you frighten me to death," said Griselda ; " how can you think such a thing possible ?" " I not only think it possible but extremely probable," answered Isabel. " I am no stranger to the state of your mind with respect to my brother, and I am not so blind as not to have discovered a clue to the state of Mr. Herbart's mind with respect to you. Now knowing my brother as I do, I cannot help thinking that should you refuse to become his wife, as from the prejudices you seem to have imbibed I greatly fear you will, his fierce temper, which you might have softened into gentleness, will mark out your unoffending cousin as an object of vengeance, and, trust me, he will never rest until the supposed stain upon his honor is wiped away in blood." " A catastrophy like that," said Griselda, " would certainly cause me inexpressible pain, but to view the matter in a proper, sensible light, there is no earthly reason why it should take place. Your brother has done me the high honor to ask my hand in mar- riage, and though I am grateful, I still claim the right of freely using the prerogative which is universally accorded to the female sex, of accepting or rejecting his proposals. If I de- cide upon the latter course I am not bound, I believe, to give my reasons for coming to a decision. The gentleman so refused is bound by the laws of society to submit with the best grace possible to his fate, hard though it may be : he has no right to coerce the incli- nations of the lady who rejects him, either directly by offending her personally, or in- directly by taking vengeance upon any real or supposed rival—any person, in fact, in whom he suspects the lady who has rejected him may possibly take an interest. The thing is quite preposterous : if such a thing were permitted one might as well go back to the dark ages, when the simple act of hand- ing a lady her glove might cost the polite cavalier his life." " Your reasoning may be very good, Gri- selda," said Isabel, " and your arguments sound, but I think you would fail to con- vince Henry ; and if you do reject him, you will do so in the full assurance of the fact that something dreadful will happen." " I cannot bring myself to believe that Mr. Arnott would be so foolish," said Gri- selda ; " his folly would be coupled with in- justice, and his injustice with cruelty. He has no conceivable right to trifle with Ed- win's happiness—I mean, with the happiness or life of any person, to whom such baneful, such unreasonable jealousy may unfortunately attach itself ; and if my poor prayers are heard in Heaven, he certainly will not com- mit such a grave error." " You acknowledge, then, Griselda," said Isabel, " that you do take a tender interest in your cousin, Mr. Herbart ?" " Indeed, Isabel," said Griselda, bending more closely over her work, " I did not ac- knowledge anything of the kind. How could I think of any person of whom my father has forbidden me to think ? You said your brother has singled him out as a rival, but if he has done so he has done wrong. You are mistress, too, it seems of Mr. Herbart's thoughts with respect to me, but I can assure you that he has never, if I except some childish speeches made when we were chil- dren, addressed me in the language of love. Do not imagine, then, Isabel," continued the fair speaker looking up suddenly, " that you have penetrated my secret, for from my mother and you I conceal nothing." " I believe you, my dear sweet friend," said Isabel, " but frankly confess now like a good girl that you would prefer Edwin to my brother, if your father threw no obstacle in the way ?" " You cannot make me confess that of which I have no consciousness," said Gri- selda. " I have not given the subject any serious consideration. If Edwin came here now with a chariot and four and asked me to become his wife it is certain that, unless I could ask my father for his blessing, I should refuse him. If your brother came it is probable I should refuse him also, because I entertain very grave doubts as to his ability to make a woman of my disposition happy. Besides I am not anxious to be married ; what would my mother do were I to leave her ? I am too practical, perhaps, to view an affair of marriage in a very romantic light, and cannot plead guilty to being the maiden described by the poet, who ' Never told her love, But let concealment like the worm i' the bud, Feed on her damask cheek—' I do not think I could sit like patience on a monument and smile at grief : when I am grieved I cry, and you will own that is but natural." " Quite natural, indeed," said Isabel. " Is Edwin your first cousin ?" " No." " Your second ?—a woman cannot marry her second cousin, you know." " That I believe to be a popular error," said Griselda ; " but Edwin is my third cousin, not my second." " He seems to be an amiable young man, and as far as figure and face go an interesting one enough," said Isabel ; " and he seems to possess those mental qualities which are essen- tial to the domestic happiness of the woman he may choose for his wife ;—who can tell but with his literary talents he may become an author of some celebrity at a future time ? I can tell you a secret, my sweet Griselda. I am half in love with him myself, and would take a real pleasure in my wealth if I could place it all in the hand of such an one who as my husband and protector would take me from city to city and show me the wonders of the great world in which we live. I would be his friend, his lover, his wife ; I would not only make him happy with my wealth but with my temper too, and if it were his pleasure to settle down in some quiet valley his home should not be disturbed by disputes or complaints. Do you not think, Griselda, that it is thus in the power of every woman to bind her husband to herself, so that if he neglects or despises her it must be because of the natural wickedness of his own heart ?" " If you are wise, Isabel," said Griselda, " you will not lend yourself to any vain illu- sions of earthly happiness. In this world there is no true or permanent happiness, and it is the greatest of all folly to expect such." The sudden entrance of Mrs. Maxwell put a stop to this interesting conversation. She announced that Charles was on his way home from the black war, and that the carrier, Baxter, had been killed : Mrs. Baxter was overwhelmed with grief, and his daughter, Mary, of whom the poor man had been so fond, was really to be pitied. (To be continued.)