Chapter 36699625

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Chapter NumberLV (Continued)
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Full Date1868-09-05
Page Number2
Word Count1532
Last Corrected2020-02-01
Newspaper TitleLaunceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)
Trove TitleThe Maxwells of Bremgarten
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THE MAXWELLS OF BREMGARTEN. A STORY OF TASMANIA. [Founded on Facts.] (ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED.) (Continued from Saturday, 29th August.) CHAPTER LV. (Continued.) GRISELDA'S DISTRESS. Isabel sat down beside her, and seemed distressed at witnessing her grief : she took her hand and said a few words calculated to console and reassure her—" Why, my simple and innocent, and I must say, pretty Griselda, what is the meaning of this passionate out- burst ? What a picture of extraordinary contrarieties you are, and how you will be laughed at by you friends, condemned for your perverse folly by your parents themselves, and sneered at by every sensible young woman in the Island. Come, come—do be a sensible, rational creature, and let me reason you out of this worse than idiotic folly. You do not know what great pleasure it will give me to call you sister ; and you do not know what a painful position you place me in if you persist in your insane notion of rejecting my brother. Only think, dear, of the mag- nitude of your folly. To reject a man—a young, handsome, well-made man, refined in his education, elegant in his manners, cheer- ful and amiable in temper, his position in society second only to nobility itself, with an ample fortune inherited from a father who gained it honorably, as he was the very beau- ideal of bravery and true-heartedness, and you yourself left to become on your wedding day actually independent of your husband by my generous and reflecting father. O, Griselda, listen to reason ; retract your childish words, and make us all happy by entering into our thoughts and feeling upon this matter,— come." " I wish I could make you all happy,—I wish I could make every one happy," said Griselda, still sobbing. " That is a very great and excellent wish," said Isabel, " and shows with what a kind heart and enlarged views my sweetest little friend is blessed ; but it is a wide and wicked world, and all the people in it are bound, in the natural order of things, to take care of themselves. Why, such an affectionate heart as yours cannot be so cruel as to refuse a young man with the advantages I have enume- rated after he has waited so long and so patiently, and travelled so far. Fancy your- self, Griselda, in the enchanted palace described by your cousin, Mr. Herbert, in his romantic tale, and seeking in a magic miriror a picture of your future life. I will paint it for you.—You will be the honored mistress of a grand house, perhaps in your native country. Seated in an elegant apartment on a luxurious couch, with maids and footmen to anticipate your slightest wishes ; Henry will sit by you read- ing some interesting tale ; a group of lovely children will dance before you to the music of their governess. You will have half-a- dozen carriages at least, and visitors—the wives and daughters of baronets, viscounts, and earls—will drop in to see you. You will have a magnificent park to drive about in, and a coachman dressed in scarlet and gold ; and to crown all things, you will have money to buy what you want, and to give away to whom you please ; and will it not give ex- quisite pleasure to your affectionate and charitable heart to have all the lame and blind beggars travelling miles and miles, wearing out their shoes and the skin off the soles of their feet, to besiege your kitchen door ?" " Your picture may be very fascinating, Isabel," said Griselda, " to some minds, but it has few charms for me. I give you every credit for wishing to see me occupy a high and happy position ; but what if Henry should not be the attentive and fond husband you would make me believe he will be ? What if he should become cold, neglectful, and harsh ; where will my happiness be then ?" " In that case you will have five hundred a year, and if you cannot extract happiness from that, you possess much less good sense than I give you credit for. But a truce, my dear, to your ifs and buts. I believe all our unhappiness arises from our own disordered imaginations in anticipating evils which, if we could let them alone, would never come to trouble us." " I am afraid that is an erroneous opinion, Isabel," said Griselda. " Our unhappiness consists in our being compelled to endure evils from which, when they do come, we cannot separate ourselves. There are some unfortunate people in the world who, what- ever may be their wealth and social position, cannot be happy themselves, and have no idea of promoting the happiness of others ; and there are a few who are constantly seeking for happiness as for an inestimable treasure, and doing their utmost, even in trifles, to diffuse it and increase it around them. When two people of such opposite characters and tendencies meet and become partners for life, tell me will there not be food for the morbid, hardened disposition of the one, and a sudden termination put to the cheerful hopes and joyful anticipations of the other ? Urge me no more, Isabel—the die is cast. Wealth cannot compensate the loving heart for the studied coldness, the chilling reserve, the bitter word—perhaps for the knowledge that you are wedded to a wine-bibber or a gambler. And I cannot be a hypocrite, even if I was sure that your brother would make a kind husband—my heart does not love him. To act in such a matter from motives of worldly ambition, and trample upon the best feelings of the heart, would be a baseness of which I am proud to feel myself incapable ; and so, dear Isabel, if you love me, seek your brother and tell him how unhappy I am in being compelled to decline. But he has not renewed the subject, and perhaps does not intend to do so : in that case all will go well.". " I will if I can ascertain my brother's in- tentions," replied Miss Arnott, " and if I find that he has a serious idea of renewing the subject, I will endeavor to save him the pain of a refusal for which, I conceive from his ardent temperament, he is scarcely prepared. I will tell him, too, that it is time our visit was brought to a termination, and you must not be surprised to learn, Griselda, that after you have so clearly announced your inten- tion of making Henry a laughing-stock, and me a fool—my friendship, however valueless it may be, shall terminate with my visit." The haughty young lady arose and was about to leave the summer-house in a flaming state of offended dignity, when Grisclda caught hold of her hand, begged her not to leave her in that unworthy manner ; and bursting out into a fresh fit of crying let her tears fall on the hand she held and kissed it repeatedly. " Pray let me go, Miss Maxwell," said

Isabel, assuming an air of deep dejection and consciousness of injury. " I am afraid— very much afrald, indeed—that your mind is not so very single as you would have me be- lieve, I am not very cosily deceived, and I know your thoughts as well as you know them yourself. You love your verse-making cousin, Edward Herbart, and you dare not deny it, for your denial would be a false- hood." Miss Arnott spoke those last words in a low but energetic tone : her eyes sparkled with more than usual lustre, and her counte- nance was lit up by a glow which it did not often wear. Griselda looked up through her tears in unfeigned surprise, if not actual fear, and replied softly— " Indeed, Isabel, you are mistaken—if I love Edwin it is as a cousin, a friend, a brother ; how can I love him in any other light since my honored father disapproves of it, and has forbidden me ? O ! Isabel, you are very cruel to taunt me thus when I am so low and wretched ; you will be sorry for this when you are far away, I am sure,—only say that you do not believe me guilty of duplicity." " I cannot commit myself by saying any- thing of the kind, Griselda : as to being sorry when I am far away, I take good care never to do or say things which may lead me into sorrow. I must really leave you for the pre- sent.—I declare and protest here is Henry coming. He sees me, and is walking this way,—for the last time, Griselda, take a friend's advice ; say yes, if he asks you again, and you may command me all your life ; say no, and you forfeit my friendship for ever." The speaker moved aside to allow her brother to enter the summer-house, and giving him a significant look as he sat down beside Griselda, tripped away. (To be continued.)