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still lives.” From what friendly hand this intimation came remained a mystery, the warder having picked it up with a heavy stone attached to it, under the castle walls, from which circumstance it was clear that the bearer bad sought secrecy, and bad adopted the expedient of throwing the packet across the castle moat. Leaving Marie to be cheered and consoled by the hope of being yet united to her lover, we shall now proceed to show whose demon hand it was that had dealt such a merciless blow of bitter suffering.
The Baron Hugo de Roden, inheritor of his father's title and estates, with that strange antipathy wbich is sometimes seen even among kindred, bad, from early youth, borne a hatred to his brother Louis, a peculiarity only to be explained by the ex. treme dissimilarity of their minds and dispositions. This was rendered the more striking in consequence of the twin-like re. semblance which they bore to each other, so strong indeed that, when seen together, it was almost impossible to distinguish the one from the other except by a difference in some article of dress. Hugo was proud, fierce, vindictive, selfish, envious, and full of treachery ; Louis, gentle, forgiving, open hearted, and full of generous sympathy. With this variance between them it will not be wondered at, that when on the death of their father they were left joint residents under the same roof, the younger brother dependent on the generosity of the elder, the utmost patience and forbearance on the part of Louis was insufficient to enable him to endure the tyranny of his brother Hugo, who took every possible means of making him feel his own worldly superiority. So unbearable did this at last become that Louis quitted the place of his birth, took up arms in the crusade to the Holy Land and acquired high fame and honour, returning just in time to find himself the inheritor of a castle and domains left him by the will of his uncle, Sir Guy de Roden, who, to the great envy of Hugo, had always treated him with the most marked partiality. Thus endowed both with wealth and honour, the friendship of Louis was sought by all the neighbouring nobles, and, among the rest, by the father of the lovely Marie, at whose castle, on his first visit, he met his brother Hugo-an unwelcome suitor for the lady's hand. Great was the surprise of all at the extraordinary likeness of the two brothers, and much facetiousness did it give rise to on the part of the damsel's father, who bade her beware not to fall in love with Sir Louis, lest, however great her repugnance, she should eventually find herself wedded to Hugo. The meeting between the youths showed strongly the differ
ence of their dispositious, for though Louis received Hugo with a burst of affectionate and generous feeling which showed that all past wrongs had been forgotten and forgiven, Hugo's manner was cold and repulsive, the only courtesy he vouchsafed to display being a speering congratulation to Louis on his having always been the favourite of his " lamented " uncle. Some people wbo call themselves philosophers, deny that there is such a thing as love at first sight, but, in spite of this opinion, we do not hesitate to assert that if our heroine did not actually feel the full intensity of the passion on her first introduction to Louis, she regarded him with a prepossession so strongly in his favour that it would have exceedingly perplexed her maiden modesty strictly to define the nature of her feelings. The more she saw and conversed with him the stronger her partiality became, and when the guests had retired and she found herself alone in her chamber, the only being she thought of among that day's crowd of visitors was Louis; and yet it could not be his person that had made such an impression, for that, although seemly and gallant as ere a knight might be, was too like his brother ; no, it was neither his person nor his dress, it was the amiability of his manner; and that night ere the maiden slept, she felt compelled to acknowledge that she could love bimwhether or not, she actually did, is a point we must leave to the reader's sagacity to determine. Hugo quickly foresaw his doom, and what had been mere suspicion was speedily confirmed by the increased coldness with which Marie received his atten. tions, as her acquaintance increased with his brother Louis, à coldness which soon rose to undisguised dislike, and speedily showed itself in her rejection of his suit. His hatred of his brother now knew no bounds; an open and violent quarrel en. sued between them, and loading Louis with abuse and reproach as the cause of his dismissal, he warned him not to excite his vengeance by seeking to make Marie his bride. Now this, to say the least of it, was a very injudicious proceeding on the part of Hugo, for it soon got talked about by the friends of Louis and Marie, and created such a sensation among all parties as caused the young people to regard each other with feelings al. most as tavourable as those between lovers already betrothed; much, indeed, to the astonishment of Louis by whose lips one word of love bad never yet been uttered, although the beauty and amiable mapners of the damsel had not failed to make a strong impression on his heart. A passion, thus, as it were, fanned into flame, was soon mutually acknowledged, and must have been speedily and happily consummated but for the inter
vention of Hugo's treacherous vengeance and hence arose the fearful scene which took place in the chapel on the morning of the iotended nuptials.
But still, though deep his guilt and fiendlike his malice, Hugo's hands had not been imbrued in his brother's blood. Louis yet lived ; a prisoner in the dungeons of Roden Castle ; the horrors of his solitude only trivially alleviated by the daily visit of a surly, drunken gaoler who brought him provisions, but from this ruffian he could not gain the least information as to the cause of bis imprisonment or to whose enmity it was to be attributed. His brother's motive for his dastardly and malicious conduct may perhaps have been already surmised, but if not, it will now be explained by the following brief detail of his first meeting with the Beguine.
'Twas a brightspring morning, some weeks after Louis bad become the victim of Hugo's vengeance, when Ada was accosted in the confines of the forest, by a traveller, who rode up to the spot where she was busily employed culling herbs, (supposed to possess certain medicinal virtues), and suddenly reining in his sieed, demanded if yonder turrets were not tbose of Walden Castle. She turned, glanced for an instant at bis countenance, and then, with evident agitation and singular earnestness of manner, re, plied and what wouldst thou at Walden Castle ?--heware, or the vengeance of heaven will fall heavily upon thee." Hugo gazed intently on her face, and seemed as if unable to utter a word in reply. She continued—“perhaps, thou knowest this face in spite of all that sorrow and suffering have doneto change its lineaments ?" " 'Tis strange indeed -muttered the baron to himself, and evidently not bearing her enquiry-"' thy name?"_" Patience ! Hugo de Walden,” replied the QUA—" thou'lt learn it perhaps too soon. Let it suffice thee dow to find that I know thee, thy rank and lineage-ay, more-thy--but no matter. Return instantly from bence, release thy brother, and seek not by fraud to obtain a bride who ne'er can love thee I then let a life of penitence and prayer atone for the wrongs thou hast already done.'
“ Base hypocritei cease thy ravings !” exclaimed Hugo; "in all that thou hast said, thou liest, and if, as I believe, thy purpose be extortion"-continued he, pulling out a purse from the breast of his tunic, and throwing it on the ground before her, “ let that stop thy prating-peace! I'll hear no more.” Ada stooped to pick up the purse and return it to its owner, but he spurred on his steed and dashed forward with such impetuosity that her intention was completely thwarted, and the Baron speedily arrived before Walden Castle.
My lord !-my lady !" exclaimed a vassal, suddenly rushe ing with looks of terror, into an apartment where the Count and his daughter were seated. " Sir Louis de Roden-or Sir Louis de Roden's evil spirit-I know not which, claims admission ;" springing from her seat, with a wild cry of joy, Marie, (whose faith had implicitly relied on the truth of the anonymous scroll) rushed towards the door and would have hastened to throw herself, as she believed, into the arms of her lover, but the Baron withheld her and bade his vassal conduct the visitor to their presence. The next moment, Hugo held in his embrace the lovely form of Marie and his heart beat high with fiendlike exultation at foreseeing, as he thought, that his purpose would be successfully accomplished. The ordeal was passed-neither father or daughter suspected the fraud; for, besides a well-told tale as to being waylaid on his road home on the eve of his nuptials, the villian had so accurately copied the manners, tone of voice, and style of his brother Louis, as completely to prevent all suspicion of his identity ; besides, there was the miniature and the broken chain, botb which he artfully took an opportunity of exhibiting while giving an account of the struggle he bad with his assailants to keep possession of them. But the scroll his surprise at the mention of that by Marie almost betrayed him ; 'twas one of the mysteries, be said, that love had taught him to practice he could not forego the happiness of suddenly surprising his beloved by his presence; and thus the artless girl and her confiding father were prevented from harbouring the least suspicion of this artful deception. Hugo's visits were repeated, nor had many days elapsed, before, at his urgent entreaty, an early period was fixed for his marriage with Marie; a consummation of treachery which remained only to be frustrated by the high-minded courage and heroism of Ada, the Beguine.
The hall of Roden Castle resounded with the noise of mirth and revelry, for it was the night previous to Hugo's marriage with Marie, and the vassals were making merry in celebration of the coming event. A low winding of the horn suddenly disturbed the warder in his carousal, and muttering a curse on the intruder, he bastened to answer the summons, returning almost immediately, accompanied by the Beguine, who, as one having lost her road, claimed the hospitality of the castle till morning ; a demand which no other female under a similar pretext could that night have made with strict impunity, the depth of the revellers' potations inclining them somewhat to neglect the observance of propriety, but the sacred calling betokened by Ada's dress proteeted her from all annoyance.
"Our lord has
not yet returned from his wooing,” stammered one of the varfets,“ and old Margueritte has gone to bed, but you can sit here and take some refreshment, and then one of these maidens will find a couch for you, I'll warrant me." The nun took her seat at the extreme end of the hall behind where the revellers were seated and close to a narrow passage which led into the interior of the castle ; she was speedily waited upon by some of the female domestics who treated her with due respect.
“ As our prisoner," muttered the warder, with a wink to the party next bim, may feel somewhat cast down by bis misfortunes, 'twould be well, methink, that the fair nun yonder shonld give him a little pious consolation ;" a remark which elicited, in an under tone, numerous vulgar jokes, and caused one of the party suddenly to rise from his seat and declare that his poor prisoner should not sleep that night without quaffing a bumper to the health of the count and his bride. “ Bravo ! Bravo ! that's liberal !" shouted several voices. “ Generosity in an enemy is always commendable,” stammered the prisoner's gaoler, and filling a cup of wine, he lit a torch and hastened, as he said, to treat his prisoner as every liberal minded man would do !” The Beguine watched his movements, and as he passed her, slipped out unobserved behind him ; following closely through numerous winding passages, until at last he stopped, and, unlocking a door, descended into a spacious vault where lay Sir Louis. Slipping quickly behind the door which was left open as they entered, she managed to avoid being seen either by the gaoler or his captive, and thus scarcely daring to breathe, a waited the termination of their interview, "I bring you a good cup of wipe, Sir knight” cried the fellow-"our lord's to be married to. morrow, so you must drink to the health of the bride and bridegroom." The knight took the cup, cast a scornful glance at the ruffian, and bidding him begone, dashed the tankard with such force at his head, that had it not missed its mark, the gaoler would have found severe cause to repent his insolence. In stepping aside to avoid the blow, bis foot slipped, and stum, bling, he fell, at the same time extinguishing the torch in his hand. Muttering heavy curses on bis prisoner, he at last regained his footing, groped his way to the door, closed it securely after him, and departed. The Beguine instantly snatched up the torch, and whirled it around her till it became relighted, then, seizing the captive's hand, she thus addressed him ;-" Marvel not, Sir knight, at my presence here,but thank thy guardian saint for having sent me to thy deliverance-seek not now an explanation either as to who I am, or how I gained admission here