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And the blame of the whole of your shocking behavior
Falls on me, sir! Come back, do you hear ? — or I leave your
Affairs, and abjure you forever. Come back
To your anxious betroth'd; and perplex'd
“ Cousin JACK."
Alfred needed, in truth, no entreaties from John
To increase his impatience to fly from Luchon.
All the place was now fraught with sensations of pain
Which, whilst in it, he strove to escape from in vain.
A wild instinct warn’d him to fly from a place
Where he felt that some fatal event, swift of pace,
Was approaching his life. In despite his endeavor
To think of Matilda, her image forever
Was effaced from his fancy by that of Lucile.
From the ground which he stood on he felt himself reel.
Scared, aların'd by those feelings to which, on the day
Just before, all his heart had so soon given way,
When he caught, with a strange sense of fear, for assistance
At what was, till then, the great fact in existence,
'Twas a phantom he grasp'd.
Having sent for his guide,
He order'd his horse, and determin'd to ride
Back forthwith to Bigorre.
Then, the guide, who well knew
Every haunt of those hills, said the wild lake of Oo
Lay a league froin Luchon; and suggested a track
By the lake to Bigorre, which, transversing the back
Of the mountain, avoided a circuit between
Two long valleys; and thinking, “Perchance change of scene
May create change of thought," Alfred Vargrave agreed,
Mounted horse, and set forth to Bigorre at full speed.
His guide rode beside him.
The king of the guides ! The gallant Bernard ! ever boldly he rides, Ever gayly he sings! For to him, from of old, The hills have confided their secrets, and told Where the white partridge lies, and the cock o' the woods ;. Where the izard flits fine through the cold solitudes; Where the bear lurks perdu; and the lynx on his prey At nightfall descends, when the mountains are gray; Where the sassafras blooms, and the blue-bell is born, And the wild rhododendron first reddens at morn; Where the source of the waters is fine as a thread; How the storm on the wild Maladetta is spread ;
Where the thunder is hoarded, the snows lie asleep,
Whence the torrents are fed, and the cataracts leap ;
And, familiarly known in the hamlets, the vales
Have whisper'd to him all their thousand love-tales;
He has laugh'd with the girls, he has leap'd with the boys;
Ever blithe, ever bold, ever boon, he enjoys
An existence untroubled by envy or strife,
While he feeds on the dews and the juices of life.
And so lightly he sings, and so gayly he rides,
For BERNARD LE SAUTEUR is the king of all guides !
But Bernard found, that day, neither song nor love-tale,
Nor adventure, nor laughter, nor legend avail
To arouse from his deep and profound revery
Him that silent beside him rode fast as could be.
Ascending the mountain they slacken'd their pace,
And the marvelous prospect each moment changed face.
The breezy and pure inspirations of morn
Breathed about thein. The scarp'd ravaged mountains, all
By the torrents, whose course they watch'd faintly meander,
Were alive with the diamonded shy salamander.
They paused o'er the bosom of purple abysses,
And wound through a region of green wildernesses;
The waters went wirbling above and around,
The forests hung heap'd in their shadows profound.
Here the Larboust, and there Aventin, Castellon,
Which the Demon of Tempest, descending upon,
Had wasted with fire, and the peaceful Cazeaux
They mark'd; and far down in the sunshine below,
Half dipp'd in a valley of airiest blue,
The white happy homes of the village of Oo,
Where the age is yet golden.
And high overhead
The wrecks of the combat of Titans were spread.
Red granite and quartz, in the alchemic sun,
Fused their splendors of crimson and crystal in one;
And deep in the moss gleam'd the delicate shells,
And the dew linger'd fresh in the heavy harebells;
The large violet burn'd; the campanula blue;
And Autumn's own flower, the saffron, peer'd through
The red-berried brambles and thick sassafras;
And fragrant with thyme was the delicate grass,
And high up, and higher, and highest of all,
The secular phantom of snow !
O'er the wall
Of a gray sunless glen gaping drowsy below,
That aërial specter, reveal'd in the glow
Of the great golden dawn, hovers faint on the eye,
And appears to grow in, and grow out of, the sky,
And plays with the fancy, and baffles the sight.
Only reach'd by the vast rosy ripple of light,
And the cool star of eve, the Imperial Thing,
Half unreal, like some inythological king
That dominates all in a fable of old,
Takes command of a valley as fair to behold
As aught in old fables; and, seen or unseen,
Dwells aloof over all, in the vast and serene
Sacred sky, where the footsteps of spirits are furl'd
'Mid the clouds beyond which spreads the infinite world
Of man's last aspirations, unfathom’d, untrod,
Save by Even and Morn, and the angels of God.
Meanwhile, as they journey'd, that serpentine road,
Now abruptly reversed, unexpectedly show'd
A gay cavalcade some few feet in advance.
Alfred Vargrave's heart beat; for he saw at a glance
The slight form of Lucile in the midst. His next look
Show'd hiin, joyously ambling beside her, the Duke.
The rest of the troop which had thus caught his ken
He knew not, nor noticed them (women and men).
They were laughing and talking together. Soon after
His sudden appearance suspended their laughter.
“ You here! . I imagined you far on your way
To Bigorre!”.. said Lucile. “What has caused you to stay?”
“I am on my way to Bigorre," he replied,
But, since my way would seem to be yours, let me ride
For one moment beside you.” And then, with a stoop,
At her ear, . .. “and forgive me !”
By this time the troop Had regather'd its numbers.
Lucile was as pale
As the cloud ’neath their feet, on its way to the vale.
The Duke had observed it, nor quitted her side,
For even one moment, the whole of the ride.
Alfred smiled, as he thought, “he is jealous of her!”
And the thought of this jealousy added a spur
To his firm resolution and effort to please.
He talk'd much; was witty, and quite at his ease.