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FASHION, MUSIC, AND ROMANCE
CHAPTER I. “It was a spell-couched hour:"_L. E. L. BEAUTIFULLY along the trembling wave did the light of day wander to its golden couch.
It was the sunset hour. The music of the breeze, and the voice of the birds, as they
“Tarned to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold," floated along the sparkling waters, and mingled, as they floated, with the gay song and the merry shout of life from cot and villa, on the banks of the Seine. The rich landscape-the broad champaign-the verdant forests, – the distant hills-the glassy river, were bathed in the mellowed crimson and purple tints of sunset, as they glittered along the heights of heaven. The air was calm and tranquil, and scarcely moved the leaf of the dim and distant mountain, or the spray of the river. The Seine was motionless as the willows that hung upon its golden bosom. On its either shore arose groves and alleys of tall poplars, winding above which could be seen the curling smoke of distant cottages, and on its smooth, unrippled surface was the large and heavy river craft, creeping along with snail-like pace, or the white sailed pleasure-boat ploughing the waters amidst the gushes of music and song from its gay passengers,
In the distance arose the domes, towers, temples and palaces of voluptuous Paris, on whose turrets and spires gleamed the rays of the sun, as it slowly sank beneath the western
Thus appeared the scene, as a solitary horseman slowly wen. ded through it. He was in the opening, rather than the prime of manhood, His form was slender, and somewhat above the common height, yet very symmetrical, and the whole appear
ance of his person strikingly noble, so much so, that at first sight, you could not be drawn from the general appearance to scrutinize each particular feature that had drawn forth your admiration when blended. His countenance was open and frank, as well as eminently handsome. His forehead was broad and high, over which floated in a careless manner, clusters of deep black hair, contrasting strongly with the paleness of the temples. His cheek was slightly flushed, and the blood could almost be seen gliding beneath it. His eye seemed thoughtfully wandering to other scenes than the one through which he now wended, wbich by some would have been interpreted to want of taste, in not appreciating one among the brightest landscapes in the land of vineyards; others, of deeper penetration, would have placed it, and perchance more truly, to a wish to forget the present in the events of the past, and the melancholy expression of his countenance betrayed those events as dark and embittering.
The observer, unacquainted though he might be with the withering commerce of the world, and viewing, though he might, its stern realities of deceit and discord through the eyes of youth, could easily have traced in the sadness of the travel. ler a sorrow which can never be concealed in the dim and silent chambers of the human heart. The past is a harp, and memory a sybil, whose finger will stray upon its silent chords, whether its tones are sickening to the soul, or refreshing as the dew of evening to the withered flower. The most trivial event will remove the lava and the dust, and array before the sufferer the grimlike thoughts of former years, which had been thought deeply buried-or, perchance, in the decay of the cheek, in the reckless laughter of the lip, or in the ruin of the eye, may be traced the gloomy thoughts that rise, like spectre-shapes, from the voiceless urn of buried hope. Sweetest of England's mighty writers ! loveliest of the daughters of song! beautifully hast thou said, and true as beautiful,
"The heart may be a dark and closed-up tomb
But memory stands a ghost amid the gloom !" As the traveller rode along, from a neighbouring chapel the vesper song of evening, borne over the calm waters and mellowed by the distance, reached his ears. The words, twined 'into a somewhat solemn rhyme, and sang by voices of peculiar sweetness, accompanied with the chime of convent bells, well befitted the hour, and threw our horseman into a train of reflections at once sweet and sad. As the hymn ceased, and he