صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


March 1878.




Book the First.




'My name is Dorothea,' she said. 'I love to be called thus; it is my name. Society may give me others, but they are foreign to me. For those who appreciate and esteem me I shall always be Dorotheathe true worshipper of God. Can there be a higher name?

'My father was a rich English country gentleman, the only descendant of an old family once very celebrated, but now almost lost in oblivion. My mother was an Italian-a Roman. I have ever considered myself more of an Italian than an English woman; all my sympathies, from my earliest youth, have been for Italy-for Italy, the empire of the sun, as Corinne calls it. The dearest wish of my heart is to be the impersonation of Corinne. What Madame de Staël describes her heroine to have been, I feel I may become day. I may never be crowned



at the Capitol as she was, but I shall leave no stone unturned to deserve that prize. You may think my words strange; I fear you can hardly understand me yet. What can you know of what I feel here ?' laying her hand on her heart. 'Such natures as mine are always misunderstood. But it does not matter; I know myself, that is enough for me. Whatever else I may doubt, I shall always believe in myself, and that alone will carry me through everything; nay, it will even give me the unworldly Archimedean fulcrum with which to move the world.'

She said this in earnest measured tones, and raised her clasped hands as she paused, while her whole. countenance became again as if inspired with a celestial fire; then she continued more rapidly, and in a lower tone:

'I never was like other girls.


Although I am a woman, I always felt that I possessed the ardour, judgment, and courage of a man, though I possessed none of a man's physical characteristics, which I never envied; for I know full well the value of female beauty, and the influence it has over men. Yet I feel my superior strength, and wish. that the customs of society would permit me to fill my natural sphere of life; to be occupied, as men are, in more useful and more noble employments; to undertake duties, cares, and responsibilities that would fully satisfy the longings of my ardent nature. When quite a child I used to drive and ride by myself about my father's place in the country, where we always lived. My dearest friends, my only playmates for months at a time, were horses and dogs. I would often rise with the first streaks of dawn, and go out with my dogs to chase the deer in the park, for I was forbidden to do so in the day-time. Yet I was by no means a tom-boy, as you may, perhaps, imagine; for I loved reading and study, and before I was ten years old I used to read daily every newspaper that came into the house, and I knew by heart the histories of Rome and England. But my strong energy needed relaxation, and I rode wildly, as no girl ever rode before, over hill and valley, to the consternation of all our neighbours, and to the great displeasure of my father. To sit still and sew or embroider was to me a dreary imprisonment; household duties were a drudgery. I could not put up with any restraint, dictation, or parental authority; and yet I loved my parents -my mother especially, and it was she who first awakened in me the desire of liberating Italy, and identifying myself with that great country, the love of which now so ardently burns in my breast. She, poor soul! loved me dearly. Hers

was a great and noble mind. She was a true Roman matron, but habit and feebleness of body had made of her a slave to the conventionalities of society. She inspired me with the sacred ardour of a patriot, but she herself never felt its power, never experienced its delights.'

She bit her lips, while a bitter smile played around them.

'My father never understood me. He was a plain English gentleman, fond of hunting and his home. He knew nothing of Italy, and cared less. He loved my mother dearly, because she was gentle and sweet and loving; but he never loved me. I was his only daughter, the sole heiress to his estates and lands, and I was to be a true English lady, according to the common acceptation of that word. I was to devote myself to the cares of the estate, learn how to manage his business, become acquainted with the best system of agriculture, superintend all the domestic arrangements, and believe, as he believed, that there was no country like England, and no happiness like that of being the wife of an English nobleman. In fact, I was to feel everything I did not feel, do everything I hated and despised, and believe everything I did not believe. I was to love the dreary old church in which my grandfathers used to sleep, while some old clergyman, their creature and their parasite, enlarged upon their virtues to the country people, and set them up, each in due succession, as worthy models of all the Christian virtues. I was to go twice every Sunday to that church, and listen in silence and with reverence to the expounding of doctrines that my heart told me could not be true. I was to take an interest in the county families in our neighbourhood, and amuse them after dinner, singing songs for

them which they were as utterly unable to understand as I was to appreciate their long-winded discussions on farming and fox-hunting. I was to arrange everything about the home, and see that the housekeeper did her duty, and take a pleasure in attending the school in the village, and ministering to the necessities of the poor about the place. But I was not like Lady Laura; I could find no pleasure in these things. I only cared for the world, and all that I might do in it. I loved to do good, but not in that small circumscribed way. I wanted the whole world to profit by my good actions, and I longed to be the deliverer of humanity at large from their fetters and miseries, not the benefactor of a few poor cottagers in a little corner of a small island. I hated living under the shadow of my ancestors' memories. I was I was not one of them, and I envied not the marble tablets that enumerated their private homely virtues in that little church I so hated. "When I die," I used to say, "I must have a great monument raised to my memory-a monument before which future generations shall pause astounded or else I would rather not live at all." So when my poor mother died, and I was left alone with my father, I rebelled against his "this you must be," and "this you must not be," "a woman's heart must be of such a size, and not larger," "a woman's mind must be controlled, and never allowed to outstep the limits of feminine occupations." So I adopted the only means by which a woman can obtain freedom of action and thought-I married.'

She paused for a moment as if to take breath, then continued:

'I did not love the man I took for a husband, but I liked him better than any other man I knew. Indeed, the few men I had ever

seen fell so short of the great ideal I had formed in my own mind of what a true man should be, that I had given up the hope of ever finding him long before I met Colonel Champion.

"The Colonel is an American, and a great part of his life has been passed in the States, that country of freedom and perfect independence which in those days seemed to me the model of what all nations should be. Alas, I have since been there, and I know now what liberty and independence and free thought are according to American ideas. That dream of my youth, like so many others, has now vanished. But, to resume my history, Colonel Champion loved and admired me. My free independent spirit fascinated him, and he was all affection and love towards me. I had always longed for sympathy and affection, and I had found so little of that hitherto, though many men had paid their court to me. But I always distrusted their professions of love. I was an heiress, and heiresses are so seldom loved for themselves, that the idea of being married for my money appalled me. I was sure, at least, that the admiration of Colonel Champion was for myself, not for my estates; and I was fascinated by his gentle disposition, sweet temper, and, perhaps, a little by his good looks, as a young man might have been by the sweet character and pretty face of a young girl. My ardent nature clung to him, and I married him. I knew I should have to marry some one sooner or later, and he was the pleasantest man of my acquaintance; besides, I knew that I could rule him, and that my word would be law to him. I could not have married a stern severe man like my father. I had had enough of obedience; I wanted now to com


'My father was at first opposed to the marriage. Colonel Champion was younger than myself, could give me no position in the world, and was also very poorthree great sins in his eyes. He wanted me to marry a certain neighbour of ours, a lord whose estates joined his; but I hated that man, and threatened to run away and fly to America if he forced me to marry him; so he permitted me to marry the Colonel, believing that I was very much in love with him. Alas, how mistaken he was! After our marriage settlements had been properly arranged, and all my money entirely settled upon myself, so that my husband should not be able to touch a penny of it without my permission, we were married, and soon afterwards started to spend our honeymoon in America. We had not been long there before I received the news of my father's death. was now a rich woman, and I felt myself for the first time in my life a free being; for I had made my husband promise before I married him that he would never object to any of my plans, and that he would help me to the best of his ability in anything I might happen to take in hand. My dreams of domestic felicity had completely vanished before this. I knew then as well as I know now that I did not love my husband, and that he could never really love me, for he would never be able to comprehend my nature; but I also knew that I could depend upon him, and that, instead of a hindrance to me, he would try his best to become my devoted companion through life, however little I might seem to care for him. So I was happy at last.'


These latter sentences were uttered in a low tone; and when she had finished she paused, as if her words had raised a crowd of recollections not wholly pleasing to

her. She now breathed more freely, as if a great weight were off her mind, and, rising from her chair, continued, in calmer tones, as follows:

'I am now on my way to Italy, the country I love best in the world. I have made my husband promise that he will not pause,whatever may happen, until its final deliverance and unity has been accomplished. The unity of Italy is the one dream of my life that will never vanish. Cavour, Massimo d'Azeglio, Daniel Manin, Mazzini, and Garibaldi are my friends. I have had several private communications from them. They are honest patriots, who wish, as I do, that Italy may become once more the great country it was before-the great country God destined it to be; and my money, perhaps also my counsels and advice, shall help them. I am going to Rome, where I have not been since I was a mere child. If I succeed in seeing that city the capital of Italy, and its people free and happy, I shall die contented; the great dream of my life will have been realised.'

Her voice sank gradually lower and lower, and the earnestness of her gaze, which was now fixed on him, rendered her closing words most impressive. Her speech seemed to inspire Frank, and awakened in him a new feeling of enthusiasm, of which until that day he had been entirely ignorant.

'I told you the other day,' she continued, looking him straight in the face, as if she would have fathomed the very depths of his soul, 'that I did not believe in chance, that I was what some men call a fatalist. I cannot think that I was wrecked on this northern island by mere accident, and that your being here to rescue me was also an accident. No, there is a divine providence in heaven that rules our actions. It was destined we two

should meet, and we have met, though any one who had known us a fortnight ago would have laughed at the probability of such a sudden acquaintance. Heaven has thrown you in my path, Reymond; it cannot be without a purpose. You are young, strong, impressionable, of a generous disposition, a nobleman by birth and by nature, and the heir to immense wealth. I expect great things from you. Do not tell me that I have been mistaken,' she added anxiously, whilst her eyes met his with an imploring gaze.

'No, Mrs. Champion. I fear I was not born to be a great man, but I assure you that I greatly sympathise with your cause; and that if there is anything in my power that I can do to assist in or forward your plans, I shall ever be ready to place myself at your service. You may count upon me.'

She pressed his hand in silence, while a tear ran down her fair cheek. His noble words had greatly touched her.

'Thank you! thank you!' she said, after a short pause. "I knew I could not be mistaken. Ah, God be thanked for having brought us to these regions, where, amidst the cold winds and blighting storms of the north, I have at last discovered a true and noble heart. Ah, if there were only a few more men like you in the world, the struggle for liberty would not be so difficult. But I have courage. I shall yet live to see the unity of Italy and the complete regeneration of mankind. I feel it-I know it. The fire that burns within me will not be extinguished until this double task be accomplished.'

As she said this her whole countenance became as if inspired. As she stood there, erect before him, the classical outlines of her graceful figure expanded, and her beautiful face radiant with excitement,

she seemed indeed like the genius of that Italy which as yet existed only in her mind's eye. Frank, though unable to comprehend the lofty motives and noble ideas of this woman, was yet so fascinated by her look and by the strange power of her words, that taking her hand in his he kissed it reverently, as an old Athenian youth would have kissed the hand of a sibyl.

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You are a true hero, by Jove!' he exclaimed, with the enthusiasm of a boy excited by the relation of the adventures of a great soldier whose courage he could hardly realise. Though my life has been very different from yours, and though such noble glorious thoughts never entered my poor head, yet believe me, beautiful Dorothea, I can quite enter into the ardour of your noble struggle to free yourself and the country you so dearly love from the bonds of petty tyrants and modern conventionalities that make slaves of men. Ah, how well I can imagine all you have had to endure!'

You are a noble youth, Reymond,' she said, without withdrawing her hand, which he still held in his. I was not mistaken when I imagined that you could understand me; but you know not what you say when you tell me that you can imagine what I have had to suffer during my father's lifetime. How could you? You are a man, and can make your own way, and I daresay nothing ever disarranged your plans. No, you can never imagine what it is to have a man's force of genius in you, feel your power, know the extent of your ambition, and yet have to suffer the mortification of being a woman.'

'Nay, I think you are wrong there; the very idea of your being a woman, and a beautiful woman, born to fascinate, will ever be a

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