« AnteriorContinuar »
"You appear to know that young man, colonel. May I ask who he is?"
"I know very little about him," he replied, carelessly. "I met him this morning at Hazlemere. An artist, I believe, by name Hilary St. Ives."
"That Hilary St. Ives?" cried her ladyship. "Now, indeed, I am surprised. Do call him back. I should like so much to speak to him."
"Your ladyship must excuse me if I decline to obey your behest," rejoined the colonel. "I can have nothing to do with that young fellow."
"Oh, indeed!" exclaimed her ladyship.
She saw something was wrong. But the colonel's manner did not encourage her to ask any further questions, and though still full of curiosity, she desisted.
But how came Hilary in Boxgrove Park? Above all, how came he in that secluded road, known to few, and frequented by none save inmates of the mansion?
The thought perplexed her strangely.
THE LITTLE CHURCHYARD IN THE CITY.
BY NICHOLAS MICHELL.
[The wayfarer, passing through the City of London, especially in the neighbourhood of Cheapside and Upper Thames-street, will see numerous small burial-grounds of an ancient date. A few of these long-unused places of interment contain mouldering tombs, and are decently planted with flowers, while some are carefully secured by walls and iron railings.]
ERE the "Great Fire" spread fear and woe,
Laying half wealthy London low,
Above these graves did tear-drops flow.
The little church is swept away,
But still a wall, railed, moss'd, and gray,
A few feet off, the passers by
Yet when red evening floods the west,
A strange solemnity appears
'Round crumbling tombs the long grass grows; The citizens that here repose
Once knew ambitions, joys, and woes.
But they are still, like that hushed beam
The rain has long defaced each name,
There may a wealthy merchant sleep,
Here a poor city clerk may lie,
"Tis kind to guard this place of rest,
Children are playing near the
Where still, tho' small, one yew-tree waves,
And meekly dust, fire, ages, braves.
Oh, may no hand, with ruthless sway,
The ancient sleepers seem to cry-
Nay, this, in truth, of all your records past,
"YOUR friend, the Bachelor Baronet." These words of Mr. Goldrich to his wife may not be forgotten by the reader. By Giacomo they were still remembered uncomfortably; for Mrs. G. next day spoke much of the said bachelor, ill calculated to flatter the aspirations of the Italian, who could not avoid questioning the husband as to the whom and the what of his friend. The merchant's reply, however, was something solacing.
"Sir Richard Blackleigh," said he, "is a good enough acquaintance and neighbour, of about my own age; my daughter's godfather, and an uncommon favourite with my wife;" all which might very well be (thought Giacomo), without anything discouraging to an enamoured man, who, too young to be godfather to a lady of nearly his own years, felt himself decidedly in favour with that lady and her father. Wilton gave a few additional particulars of the baronet; of his luck in coming unexpectedly into his titular possessions; and of his being a very frequent visitor at Belmont. But this was said with not the least indication of reference to more than ordinary friendship; and Isabella herself simply spoke of Sir Richard as might any young girl of a generous godfather. Mamma, however, would then chime in, with rather pointed allusion to him as "a very good-looking man, much admired by many a fair lady, and certainly a bachelor by his own will, probably only waiting for the woman worthy to be his wife, one of adequate position and means, and of years not unsuitable for a husband who, though not a boy (she had no faith in young lads), was by no means advanced in age, and looked at least ten years younger than he was."
"I am happy, my dear," said her smiling husband, "that you had not your present ideas when you became the object of my solicitations, otherwise my then immature years might have gone against me."
Mrs. G. looked daggers but spoke none.
Isabella's conduct was singular. She seemed not to have heard the comments of her parents, but remained, as by a sudden
impulse, gazing on Giacomo, till she turned to her mother, and exclaimed,
"At last I've discovered it! Do you know, mamma, I've been searching my memory for the cause of an impression that Mr. Ridotti's features are not new to me, and assuredly it is found in their general resemblance to those of Sir Richard Blackleigh."
"A very flattering compliment to Mr. Ridotti," said mamma. "And not a bad compliment to Sir Richard," rejoined the father.
"I had no idea of being complimentary to either," said the daughter; "but it is well that my remark cannot now be offensive to Mr. Ridotti."
Mrs. Goldrich was becoming desperate.
"Isabella," said she, "I am about to close my letter to Sir Richard, and may of course give him your love in-in reciprocation of his own, so kindly expressed towards you?"
"Certainly," replied the daughter; "give him my dutiful love -a god-daughter's love; but I think there is no occasion to speak of reciprocation,' dear mamma, because reciprocity might seem to imply something ultra-sentimental on the part of a confirmed young lady, who trusts she has redeemed the promises made for her by her sponsor when she was a baby. Make her unite with her parents in all kind remembrances, and say how we have all enjoyed Tivoli, and how delighted we are to have met dear Charles Wilton, in company with such a friend and appreciator as Mr. Ridotti, and how
"And how," interposed her father, laughingly, "Italy and England reciprocated in their feelings for a matronly daughter of Britannia, when, in her pursuit of the picturesque, she was prostrated by a mischievous bramble on the brink of the classic Anio."
"You're a Beast !" said the now desperate mother.
"You're a Beauty," added her husband.
This may indicate the terms on which the alliance of "Beauty and the Beast" existed at Belmont. The beast was in fact the greater beauty of the two, speaking not less featurely than morally. A strong but simple-minded man was Mr. Goldrich, who (with his father) had made his money; while the beauty was a weak but subtle-minded woman, whom her husband's money had made proud. The merchant was all openness and trust, his wife all secrecy and scheme. Mr. Goldrich loved his daughter so entirely, that had it been her happiness to remain unwedded, he would have cherished her as his household deity. Mrs. Goldrich wanted only to be the mother of Lady Blackleigh of Blacklock Castle and Blackleigh Hall. The daughter, inheriting the moral worth of her sire, and the abstract energy of her dam, had susceptibilities of
heart and mind which, advantaged by a perfect education, suited her for the highest position to which favouring fate might call her. Mr. Goldrich still retained an affection for his lady-or at least practised the appearance of it-and indeed he truly believed in her having yet an undercurrent of much goodness, that might reappear, like the Tivoli river, after its temporary concealment in the siren's cave. He had often great cause for anger with her; but, as already illustrated, he generally confined his reproofs to a display of dry jest and comic sarcasm.
After a few days sequent to the mishap of the vale, the united party returned to Rome, whence the Goldriches soon proceeded homeward by the shortest route to Genoa, where the merchant had important business. Giacomo, made happy by an invitation to Belmont-most cordial on the part of Mr. Goldrich, and rendered the sweeter by the silent amen to be plainly read in the eyes of his daughter-accompanied his friend Carlo to Florence, where the artist had a lucrative commission to fulfil. This accomplished, the two young men advanced to Genoa, not without a hope of there again falling in with the Goldrich family, but this was not to be.
There was, however, much to interest the friends at Genoa. It was the birthplace of Giacomo. Close to the city was the Villa Ridotti, belonging to Giacomo's grandfather, but leased to an Italian dignitary, who gave them an earnest welcome, and accompanied them over the house and grounds. Giacomo had never before, since his infancy, entered his parental abiding-place, nor had he any preconception of what he was to see until, on beholding the scene, he immediately became convinced he had been familiar with it when a child. As he walked through the garden, objects successively addressed his awakened memory. He was rapt as in a dream! He looked on a grass-plot, where he seemed to revel again around a sick playfellow, while the latter was incapable of play. He recognised the seat whereon his grandfather sat weeping. He saw again, on a certain spot, an agonised woman who would not be comforted, because of a dead child, or of some sad bereavement. In the summer-house overlooking the sea, he seemed to remember a couch and table. The vague recollection of steps leading down to the beach suggested the search which immediately discovered them. The scene at the foot of the steps was almost familiar to him, one large stone in particular. He became greatly excited, and sat upon that stone to collect his scattered thoughts and compose his mind. He left the place, rather led away by Wilton than moving of his own accord. Isabella (for the first time since his meeting her) was out of his mind. He seemed nearly out of it himself. Wilton suggested his seeking his grandfather's steward, who still resided in Genoa, and this brought him