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exempted by circumstances from heeding it. The objects of her watch were to her surprise alone together, seated side by side on a stone embowered by shrubs, and, but for the murmur of the stream at their feet, she was so close behind them that every word of their converse would have reached her ear. As it was, she gathered only what follows:
Giacomo. "Yes-so many being without that—of feeling, which-the very soul of the true-. So that-loveliest charms -as much-to them-refined character-personal beauty-man of-susceptibility; where the passion of art [understood as heart] is-exciting. In short-love-any man-not despair, because— the charm-addresses-."
Isabella. "But with-of love-romantic-while the man of feeling-subjects-fascinating; indeed, I am enraptured when addressed by eloquently; and I lose myself-charm—man[ner not heard]-addresses me.'
So far, what Mrs. G. heard was rather alarming than distinctly conclusive. But her curiosity was now so urgent that she crept forward still nearer, leaning almost over them by holding on to a branch, and having by no means a secure footing. The next words of Giacomo were, therefore, perfectly audible.
"I quite agree with you, Miss Goldrich, and consider that my valued friend Carlo has all those qualities of perception and feeling, which, aided by his executive ability, must ensure his artistic success."
To this the young lady replied:
"I am delighted in having had this opportunity of agreeing with you upon the professional merits of Mr. Wilton. where is he? Let us seek him."
The previous apprehensions of the mother were of course allayed (for it was now evident, even to her suspicious mind, that the undistinguished portion of the former part of the conversation signified nothing more or other than their mutual appreciation of Charles Wilton); but the sudden rise of the speakers from their seat making her fear discovery, she became bewildered, lost her balance, entangled her foot in a bramble, broke the "envious sliver," on which she was half suspended by one arm; and the beholders were astonished by the sight of a confused bundle of body and clothes, bursting through the thicket, and rolling down the bank till stopped at the very brink of the stream by the stone on which they had been seated! The crackling of the twigs and the scream of the faller was a thing to hear!-the chaotic medley of legs and linen a thing to see!—and a thing for amazement was the sight of an august matron, rising with difficulty out of a bed of ferns with an agonised countenance, panting with agitation, soiled in dress, and scratched with briers. "Sublime" may be the effect
When castles topple on their warders' heads,
but rather "ridiculous" was the appearance of a besmeared lady, who had never before been otherwise than erect in her dignity, struggling under the very humiliating circumstances now presented!
May it be confessed? The daughter-seeing there was no serious damage done could not suppress the look that would have been a lusty laugh had not duty controled it to mere ocular expression; but the gallant cavaliero-having his manhood's and his country's honour at stake-exclaimed, with at least the appearance of great concern,
"My dear Mistress Goldrich! Are you hurt? I trust not! Only frightened. Be composed; be seated." And, taking her into his arms, he placed her on the stone that alone had prevented her from rolling into the water, and began to dabble her with the eau-which, for want of that de Cologne, was only that of the Anio-till the poor woman shrieked out, "Oh don't! you're choking me !"
"Lord bless us!" she continued, still panting like a bird, “I just came-behind you-intending-an agree-an agreeable surp-rise-and I-I caught my foot up-and-O, my back! don't Isy-do-on't rub so hard!-and-look at the blood-and -mercy on me!-people of my age-ought to-to have-done with-girlish tricks."
"No, no, dear madam," said Giacomo; "but girls, as well as their mothers, may meet with such little mishaps. Miss Goldrich, will you sit by your mamma while I fetch Mr. Wilton."
The poor mamma was now in her silent daughter's embrace; and, in a few minutes more, Wilton had arrived in aid, when Isabella (glad of the opportunity of getting away) ran off, ascending, like a wood nymph, the precipitous nearer way to the inn; nor paused until she had delivered her story to her father, who, being assured of no real mischief, and seeing more than his daughter had thought of, was convulsed with laughter.
Meanwhile, the two young men were proving themselves wholly efficient in their burthensome service to the poor lady, whom they were obliged almost to carry along the more circuitous ascent towards the inn, until accosted by Isabella, who informed them of the nearest practicable spot where a carriage would meet them, as it had to traverse a long extent of road. In due time the whole party was assembled in the hotel; but Mr. Goldrich had great difficulty in meeting his lady with an expression of becoming gravity.
"Come, come," said he, with a ludicrously melancholy face, "there's no great harm done, my dear."
"No," she replied; "and if there had been the greatest harm, there would have been no great grief on your part.
"Why, my love, if you will go rambling alone in search
"Of what?" she ejaculated, with a sudden vigour, little agreeing with her precedent faintness.
"Of-adventures," he continued, "you must expect that misadventures may occasionally turn up.'
"Turn up!" said the lady, in disgust, as if the expression had an unseemly reference to rumpled petticoats; "it was rather a turn-down; but I do believe, that any mishap to me would serve your turn. Turn-up, indeed!"
"Nay, wife; then cheer up," continued her husband. "Here's a letter from your friend the bachelor baronet, whose travels do not seem to have obliterated his memory of his Belmont neighbours; so that, as you were writing to him, you can add a postscript, acknowledging his communication and detailing the tragedy of this day."
The lady was not at all pleased with this sarcastic exaggeration, nor even did the intelligence of news from her friend of Blackleigh Hall seem much to affect her, but she merely said, "She thought she would go and lie down awhile." When dinner was announced, "She thought she would have it sent up to her in her bedroom;" and the dinner over, "She thought she would go to bed, for she felt rather shaken and very stiff."
Giacomo had also his thoughts, but they were not expressed. May we not imagine they had some reference to the words of Mr. Goldrich, "Your friend, the bachelor baronet"? At all events, for some moments after their utterance he looked most anxiously towards Isabella. Her counter-look was scarcely less noticeable, but it was evident the "bachelor baronet" had little or no interest in her meditations, while another bachelor seemed more fortunate, for she said, "Signore Ridotti! what ails you? Are you unwell?"
Giacomo's eager and suspicious expression instantly changed into one of relief. "Pardon me, Miss Goldrich; I had a momentary pang, which has as suddenly passed. My experience of your country has rendered me susceptible of neuralgic or other sensations of an intermittent nature, the show of which I cannot always conceal."
Thus spake Giacomo; (and here, in parenthesis, the reader may be informed that the secret colloquies of the signore and the young lady may not have been always so entirely confined to art or the artist as was supposed by Mrs. Goldrich, or as was the case in the conversation she had imperfectly overheard).
Giacomo had retired to his room to write to his grandfather at Turin. Isabella was at her mother's bedside. Mr. Goldrich and
Wilton went forth for an evening stroll. When, however, the mother fell asleep, the daughter came down-stairs to look at the drawing Carlo was making when called away by the accident, and Giacomo, having finished his letter, also came down, to find the young lady turning over Wilton's sketch-book. The immediate consequence of this accidental meeting was a tête-à-tête conversation on every topic but the one that ruled the thoughts of the speakers; but, at the same time, it was so expressed and conducted, that the sovereign ideas of both peered out respectively through the reverential delicacy of the gentleman and the modest candour of his fair companion. So may the true matter be signified by the manner of dealing with the immaterial subject professed, the last revealing the first. A lady may be conducted by her gallant attendant over a brook with more than a mere regard to her sure footing on the stepping-stones, the hand pressure signifying other than such security. A gentleman's aid may be received in a manner to be interpreted as more than simple thanks for simple service rendered. We may talk of art-hinting at the word with an h, though not venturing on the syllable with the aspirate; of nature's loveliness, without confining our reference to sky and water, rock and foliage; of woe, in reference to its solacer, woman; of manners, meaning the man whom manners make; of interest in others, so as to make ourselves interesting; of carelessness towards ourselves, so as to show that no one save the person addressed is an object of our care; of admiration for abstract qualities and character, so as to denote the especial person admired; of the philanthropy which overlooks national claims, meaning especial love for the foreign object in particular; of England and her love of liberty, meaning Italy's desired liberty to love England's fairest daughter; of Italy, with her Petrarchs and Tassos, having reference to more legitimate and accessible English responders than those poets found in Laura and Leonora; of rivers that may be diverted in their course but not arrested in their progress, and which will reach the sea, though by fearful leaps over precipices or plunges into cavernous tunnels, even as the affections that may be directed but can be impeded only to gather force, and, having the will, must find the way, though over difficulties and through whatever dangers; or of an admired temple, Corinthian or Doric, crowning its acropolis, meaning loveliness or manly beauty enthroned on its rock-like basis of truth and honour.
Thus by the time Mr. Goldrich and Wilton returned from their walk, Giacomo and Isabella had made a most delightful finish to the evening. The two former with difficulty dragged their fatigued bodies up-stairs to their beds. Giacomo retired to pass a wakeful night, and Miss Goldrich fell asleep under the influence of ideas that may have pleasantly affected her dreams.
THE LOVELIEST THING ON EARTH.
BY NICHOLAS MICHELL.
WHAT is the loveliest thing upon earth?
Is it the sea, when the wearied deep
Lies hushed in repose, the shore its white pillow, And the stars, angel eyes, are watching its sleep,
And the moon sees her face in the glass of each billow?
Or is it a stately ship on that ocean,
With snowy sails spread, just leaving the shore, Now stooping, now gliding with dignified motion, Like a sea-goddess walking the crystalline floor? Is it the river that now dashes proudly,
'Now kisses sweet islets, and sparkles along? Is it the vale when Morn, laughing loudly, Warms it with beams and fills it with song?
Is it the rainbow that stands in the skies,
A ladder with opal rounds, shafts rich impearled,
With fingers of fire, a curtain to raise,
Delighting our minds, while charming our eyes! 'Tis nothing that glorious Nature can bring,
But the sweet shrine of something akin to the skies. 'Tis the being who gave to Eden's blest bowers
A warmth and a charm till her birth all unknown;
And the angels mistook her for one of their own.
As the star that knows nought of its splendour on high. 'Tis woman, 'tis woman, her calm witching face.
Illumined by feeling, and mirroring worth,
Her brow thought's throne, and her form breathing graceOh, this is the loveliest thing upon earth!