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Herbert also was palpably embarrassed, and remained for several seconds silent. Then he said, addressing her in his usual tone of frank courtesy, though there was a little tremor in his voice,
“It is not always possible to control one's feelings.”
Ella made no answer, except by lifting a half shy, half questioning glance to his face; and he continued with a melancholy smile, as if certain of being understood,
“ Your sister was rallying me this morning upon the strange interest with which I watch all Lady Stanley's movements; but the fact is, she reminds me so forcibly of my mother, that I find myself at times utterly unable to prevent my eyes from following her, although”
—this was added slowly and sadly—“it often gives me more pain than pleasure to be so constantly put in remembrance of one whom I cannot hope to meet for many long years, perhaps”—here his voice sunk to a scarcely audible whisper—"never more in this world.”
A tear of sympathy glistened in Ella's eye as she asked gently,
“Do you really think that mamma bears any resemblance to Mrs. Seymour?"
“In personal appearance they are altogether unlike,” replied Herbert, “as you will see by looking at this ;” and, to her astonishment, he drew a small velvet case from his pocket, and, opening it, put his mother's portrait into her hand.
“ It is very beautiful,” she said, after gazing at it for a short time; 'you must prize it greatly."
"I do,” he answered, with a quick look of anguish, instantly succeeded by an expression of firm determination in his pale, grave countenance and resolutely closed lips.
“You are thinking,” said Ella, forgetting her reserve in the wish to comfort him, “how little even the best likeness can compensate for the loss of herself.”
“Yes; when death robs us of those we love, we know we must submit: whereas the struggle continues longer, and seems harder to—"
He stopped, apparently vexed with himself for having thus alluded to his own situation. Before he could recover his self-possession, Ella remarked in a quiet and considerate tone, glancing once more at the likeness,
“I suppose it is in manner that mamma and Mrs. Seymour resemble each other?"
“You are right,” said Herbert, speaking less mournfully, and regarding her with a pleased smile: “there is something also in their way of talking which makes me consider them alike, and in many respects their dispositions are, I think, the same.”
“ It is very strange," returned Ella, reflecting; “ I wish
Of the precise nature of her wish, however, Herbert was obliged to remain in ignorance; for the drawing-room door was just then unclosed, and Lady Stanley returned to them, accompanied by Sir Edward and Lucy.
“What have you there?” exclaimed the latter, as Ellen was trying to replace the picture in its sheath. “Diamonds !” she added, seeing them shine and sparkle beneath the brilliantly lighted chandelier.
“ I was showing your sister my mother's portrait,” said Herbert, holding it out for her inspection.
She examined it with great interest, as did also Sir Edward, who pronounced it an excellent likeness.
Lady Stanley looked at it for a minute or two without uttering a syllable; then she gave it back to Herbert, merely observing
“She is still very like what I remember her as a girl.” “You !" cried Herbert, his face suddenly lighting up with anima
did you ever meet her, dear Lady Stanley ?” Yes, I knew her well,” was the quiet reply. “But when ?" asked Herbert, eagerly.
“ Years ago_before either of us married,” said Lady Stanley, somewhat hesitatingly:
“And my father?” faltered Herbert—"I mean, Mr. Seymour; were you acquainted with him?"
“No, I had not that pleasure,” replied the lady, drawing herself haughtily up, when an indignant flush sprang into her cheek.
Herbert gazed at her in some surprise; but presently his eyes fell, and a deeper shade of gravity overspread his countenance.
He asked no further questions, neither did Lady Stanley volunteer any additional information.
On the contrary, she seemed desirous of changing the subject as soon as possible.
When shortly afterwards they separated for the night, she pressed his hand with more than her usual warmth, and welcomed him the next morning with a scarcely less affectionate greeting than she was in the habit of bestowing upon her own son.
Sir Edward was the last to appear at the breakfast-table, and as he seated himself in his accustomed place opposite Lady Stanley, and took from her hand the cup of coffee she smilingly offered him, Herbert noticed that he looked very thoughtful and serious.
The meal was about two-thirds over when, turning to his elder sister, he said kindly but gravely,
“ Is it possible, my dear Lucy, that you can have consented to go to Mrs. Denham's ball ?"
“Why should I not ?" asked the lively girl, in a tone of playful defiance.
“ There are several reasons,” began her brother, impressively.
“Nonsense, Edward,” she answered—and a touch of impatience could be detected in her voice—“you must be well aware that it would be ridiculous to expect us to decline the invitation ; we have secluded ourselves too long already, and now that we have laid aside our mourning there is not even the shadow of an excuse for refusing to go into society again.”
“You say us, which means, I suppose, that Ella also is longing to return to these gaieties?”
“Ella must answer for herself,” returned Lucy, laughing.
“ As far as I am concerned, I care very little about the matter," replied the young girl, hesitatingly. “ It is true, I unthinkingly accepted Mrs. Denham's invitation; still
"I am ashamed of you, Ella,” interrupted her sister, shaking her head reprovingly; “how can you take part with the enemy in that cowardly fashion ?”
“I was only going to propose that we should ask mamma's opinion, and be entirely guided by what she says."
“Perhaps Edward will not be satisfied with her decision,” said Lucy, in a tone of good-natured malice; for, entre nous, I am beginning to suspect that there is something of the tyrant in his disposition.” - Ah!* cried Sir Edward, starting sightly, while his brow contracted as if in pain; - I leared you wonid put this construction upon my interiesence. *
He paused for a moment, and then went on, speaking in a slow, reluctant way foreizg, as it were, each word from his lips, — “ I should be sorry indeed to have the appearance of wishing to deprive you of anythisg which could poss. by aca to your happiness; neither is it my intention to prevent you from sowowing the bent of your inclination: in this, as well as in every other respect, you and Ella, therefore, will be perfectly free. But at the same time, I feel it my duty to explain thai. after much and senoas consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it would not be acting in accordance with my prosession were I to allow what in tears I cisapprove of to take place in my own bouse. You may have dinners and musical parties to your beart's content.“ be added, smiling, - but-no dancing.”
* I think Edward is right, my love," said Lady Stanley, in answer to the comic look of appeal which Lucy directed towards her; “not of course, that I stare in his prejudice against dancing, or agree with him in condemning balls and other similar amusements; still, with his viens, I do not see how he could act otherwise than he is now doing."
** I am sure we could give them up without making any great sacrifice,” remarked Ella, smiling at her brother; "ior Lucy and I are always happier at home.”
"Speak for yourself, my dear," returned Lucy, assuming an air of well-beigned discontent; - I have no wish whatever to be included in your philosophical observations."
“You are still regarding me in the light of a tyrant, I presume?" said Sir Edward. possessing himself of Lucy's hand as they rose to leave the breakfast-room.
“Certainly," she answered, with a face of suppresses amusement; “what else could you expect? I appeal to you, Mr. Seymour; is he not deserving o? the name?"
“ In this instance, I should say decidedly not," said Herbert, fixing his eyes for a moment upon his friend's resoived countenance, with an expression of the warmest approbation.
Lucy shrugged her shoulders, and went off murmuring to herself, “ They are both of one mind, I see, and evidently prepared to support each other's crotchets, however absurd they may be."
HERBERT'S NEW HOME.
For empire's sake, nor empire to affect
MILTON. It was on the evening of a lovely summer's day, that the owner of Herbert Cottage arrived to take up his residence in it.
Words failed him when he strove to express his thanks to Lady Stanley for the tenderness and care she had manifested towards him during his long and painful illness; but his very silence was to her most eloquent, and as he looked at her with a grateful light dilating and deepening his dark eyes, then encouraged by her answering glance of sympathetic kindness, stooped and kissed the hand that rested on his arm, she had some difficulty in maintaining her own composure.
Strange and varied were the emotions which the sight of his new home awakened in his breast; but he checked them, lest they should be perceived by his faithful friend, James Gordon, who had with the utmost care and thoughtful consideration made everything ready for his reception, and was now doing all in his power to render him comfortable.
After remaining for a short time in a pleasant little parlour which Gordon had fitted up as a study, Herbert suggested that they should pay a visit to the other rooms.
"I may as well become acquainted with the extent of my property at once,” he said, with a melancholy attempt at a smile.
“I think you will be pleased with the house, sir,” remarked Gordon, throwing open the drawing-room door.
Then, seeing Herbert hesitate, and gaze in extreme astonishment and perplexity around him, he hastened to direct his attention to certain alterations which he had been obliged to undertake; hoping thereby to prevent him from too minutely inspecting the furniture.
For a while he succeeded; but he noted with extreme uneasiness that from time to time Herbert's eyes would rest first upon one article, then on another, as if quite unable to comprehend the meaning of their being there at all.
However, Gordon was not easily dismayed; and he resolved that, unless driven to extremity, and really forced to enter into an explanation of the manner in which he had been enabled to get rid of the old furniture, which was perfectly worthless, and replace it by what they now possessed, he would remain obstinately silent on the subject.
When, therefore, Herbert expressed his amazement at finding things so different from what he had anticipated, and questioned him regarding the reason, Gordon instantly assumed a face of such dull unconsciousness, and appeared so little interested in the matter, merely shrugging his shoulders, or uttering the comprehensive word “old fashioned,” if he deemed it necesarry to say anything, that the young
man, himself profoundly ignorant of the comparative value of the articles in question, readily concluded that the report he had previously received of their utter uselessness had been unintentionally exaggerated by the lawyer, who had for so many years taken charge of the property.
From him, (the lawyer,) James Gordon had nothing to fear, as he was no longer a resident of Lanchester; and the fact of his secret being partially known to Lady Stanley and her son did not cause him the slightest apprehension, as he was well assured that whatever happened they would consider themselves bound to keep it inviolate.
To return to Herbert. When he had made a tour of the house, and examined and approved of all that James Gordon had done on his behalf, he came back to the drawing-room.
Gordon followed him; and, pulling aside a wide curtain, which hung across an archway leading into a small though lofty inner apartment, pointed with a smile to the interior.
“ Another room!” exclaimed Herbert, advancing a step or two; “I did not notice it before. But what is the meaning of this ?” he continued hastily seizing Gordon's arm, and speaking in accents of excessive surprise. “ An organ! Where did it come from, James ? "
“Sir Edward sent it here last week, sir. He said he could think of nothing else so suitable; and he begged me to ask you not to be offended.”
“How thoughtful! how kind !” ejaculated Herbert; but it was with a very flushed cheek, and something of a shadow upon his brow; for he remembered that he was already deeply indebted to the generous. hearted young baronet, and regretted being called upon to increase his obligations by accepting this most appropriately-chosen gift.
A period of silence ensued, during which James Gordon quietly withdrew, leaving Herbert standing in front of the instrument-his arms crossed upon his breast, his eyes fixed and meditative.
Soon he roused himself, and began to walk softly up and down the room; but after he had taken a few turns, he again paused opposite the organ, and having almost unconsciously opened it, sat down and tried one of his favourite pieces.
Then the words of a simple hymn from the German, which he had learned years ago, returned to his recollection, as being peculiarly applicable to his present frame of mind; and, skilfully modulating the powerful tones of the instrument, so that it might harmonise with his own voice, he commenced to play and sing the sacred melody.
Perhaps to many of my readers the words of this hymn may be familiar; but as there are others who have probably never seen it, I transcribe three of the verses:
“Heavenward our path still goes,
Sojourners on earth we wander,
In the land of promise yonder;
For thou art á heavenly being ;
When from this world thou art fleeing: