« PoprzedniaDalej »
this is no time for words- we must away. Somewhere here about,” continued she, lowering the torch, somewhere here, is an iron door-ah here I come now, apd help me lift it pray heaven it be not fastened.” Sir Louis obeyed, and with some little difficulty, succeeded in the attempt.
“ Now!" exclaimed Ada, “ take thou the torch and leap down boldly you have nought to fear-I know this place,”
"and then added, in an undertone-"alas ! too well-go on, go on-I'll follow thee.” They had now descended into a long narrow cave, and coming after a few moments, into the open air, found themselves on the verge of the Castle moat." Here, close beside us, hangs the drawbridge,” whispered the nun, “and here, for a short time under cover of this passage, must we wait with patience ; speak not, move not, or thy life and mine are forfeit." not long before the Baron and an attendant were seen advance si ing towards the castle-the warder was summoned--the drawbridge lowered—and the moment Hugo and his companion had crossed, Ada, bidding the Knight follow her, rushed forward and hurried him rapidly over-the next instant, they beheld the bridge re-ascending. “ Thanks be to heaven," exclaimed the nun, raising her clasped hands on high"we are safe, and now Sir Knight, if peril befall us, thou must be my protector.
The sunshine of a May morning, poured its rays on many a richly painted window, throwing lights of numerous brilliant colours on the gorgeous decorations-shields, armour, banvers, and glittering arms which were profusely clustered round the walls of the chapel at Walden Castle. But all this was nothing to the brilliant display of manly and feminine beauty there assembled the sumptuous attire of nobles and ladies; the gallant bearing of knights and attendants attired from head to foot in glittering mail of various metal and fashion; the sharp gleaming of spears and battle.axes; and last, contrasting with all this, the simple dresses of those who attended to solemnize the marriage. Nor must we omit the pile of gold and silver plate which decked the altar, pouring forth a light in the sun's rays that dazzled the eyes of every beholder. Suddenly a murmur ran through the crowd, and the bride and bridegroom, duly attended, entered the chapel and took their station at the altar. The ceremony began, but had not continued many minutes when it was interrupted by a cry from without of “Hold !-the count and his daughter are beguiled," and then, rushing forward among the assembled throng, stood Louis, followed by Ada. ** Villain, what means this ?" demanded Hugo of his brother.
It means," replied the latter, that your treachery is thwarted;
that I, your brother Louis, have escaped your power, and that I am here, with proof in hand, to confound your base designs.” ** Thou liest !” cried Hugo, madly enraged at finding himself thus foiled in his villainy, and snatching a battle axe from one of the vassals, he rushed furiously on his brotber, but the latter, stepping aside, avoided the blow, and drawing a dagger from his vest, plunged it into Hugo's bosom. " See to the Baron," exclaimed De Walden, and consigning him to the care of his attendants, he demanded of Louis the proof of his identity. “ Here is one,” replied the youth, “who can substantiate all I bave said, aye and will, though her own disgrace be the consequence. “ Count de Walden !” exclaimed Ada,“
you see be. fore you the parent of both these claimants for your daughter's hand—behold the mark by which I recognize the perfidious Hugo,” and stooping over him, she gently removed the hair from his temple" with that scar," she continued, “was he born, and doubtless 'twas the design of Heaven, now so strikingly evinced, to shield others from his villainy. If this be not enough, learn 'twas I who warned your daughter that Louis still lived. I was ordained to be a witness of his brother's perfidy, for though myself unseen, these eyes beheld the base attack made upon him in the forest, and further-look on this purse of gold-given me by Hugo to purchase my secrecy.” proof hast thou for thyself?”. demanded Count de Walden ;
even thy sons, if thine they be, have long since believed thee dead in a foreign land.” “Sir Huon of Hainault, yonder, will doubtless spare me the shame of answering that enquiry," replied Ada, turning aside and burying her face in the bosom of Louis. Count Huon and de Walden conversed for a moment apart the former having seduced Ada from the affections of her husband, when Louis and Hugo were mere children-Ada had entered a Beguinage, and Baron Roden, the children's father, had told them that their mother was dead. " 'Tis true !" cried de Walden—" Marie, my child, thou art saved from becoming the bride of a villain." “No more ! no more !” faintly murmured the dying Hugo, “hearken to the utterance of my last breath-I confess all-brother-Marie-your hands-forgive me ; Louis, she is thine happiness be on you both.”
• Hugo ! my son!” shrieked Ada, rushing forward and clasping him in her embrace. “Ada !” replied he," my dear motherforgive, and grant me your blessing—thus--thus—I am happy.”
Some time after, this sad scene was almost entirely forgotten in the rejoicing that hailed the union of Louis and Marie.
" What THE BIRTH DAY GIFT.
Mrs. Child observes in her Mother's Book, that "life is made up of small events. The golden chain of existence is composed of innumerable little links, and if we rudely break them, we injure its strength, as well as mar its beauty. The happiest married couples I have ever known were those who were scrupulous in paying to each other a thousand minute attentions, generally thought too trifling to be of any importance ; and yet on these very trifles depend their continued love for each other. A birth-day present, accompanied with a kind look or word-reserving for each other the most luxurious fruit, or the most comfortable chair-day, even the habit of always say: ing, 'Will you have the goodness ?' and Thank you'-all these seemingly trivial things have a great effect on domestic felicity."
Every observing mind, unless devoid of sensibility, must coincide in her opinion. But it is to be regretted that this belief is not more acted upon in the daily intercourse of companions and friends. “The heart knoweth its own bitterness ;' and many a man could testify that much of its bitterness arises from a neglect of little kindnesses and attentirns on the part of those they love. It is strange that even by sensible persons, so little importance should be attached to this subject. The performance of the duty is so delightful in itself, and the emotion of gratitude awakened in the recipient is so sweet to the soul, that every generous mind need not be at a loss how to exert its powers. And it would seem that even the selfish would cultivate kind manners, if they bad no other motive than to be rendered happy themselves.
“In no relation of social life, is an attention to little things so productive of mutual enjoyment, as among those united by the marriage tie. The husband and the wife should prefer the happiness of the other to their own, and manifest this preference even in their slightest acts, whenever proper opportunities occur.
And that such occasions are frequent, all must allow. Probably, if the male sex were not often so thoughtless on this subject, our own would not be slow to invent ways and means, or backward to do what a fertile genius or a kind heart prompted. A wife feels a kind of delicacy, however, in sustaining chiefly the active part of this duty. It is the busband's place to go forward and set her an example, and she, with a grateful mind and glowing heart, will follow in his footsteps,
and even outstrip him in disinterestedness, without forfeiting the modesty so lovely in her character.
Although the dependence on each other for enjoyment in life is mutually felt by each, it seems designed in the providence of God, that the wife should feel it the more. But this was never intended as a source of evil to her. On the contrary, it is one of her most blessed privileges, and she feels it to be such, unless forbidden hy a narrow-minded or overbearing husband. But if such an one is so mean as to make a show of his power over her—a power which was given to defend rather than infringe on her rights, he will lower himself vastly in a discerning woman's estimation. It is deemed an ungenerous trait of disposition even in a brute, to injure another of weaker power ; how base then must be a rational being who, simply from the circumstance of possessing greater physical strength, delights to display his superiority over his other self. But this in polished society is rarely attempted. While the husband ever regards his companion as his equal, she may, without lowering her own dignity in the least, of her own free choice, treat him as a superior. Though there need be nothing servile in this, but merely an appearance of deferential respect founded on a perfect esteem for, and confidence in the nobleness and worth of his character. Would every husband render himself worthy of such estimation, this deference might oftener be his.
“ I am quite sure my husband will make me a present todav,” thought Emma Wilmot. “ He has a very good taste, and I know that whatever he selects will suit me perfectly. But I ought not to be too sanguine, for thus far I have not often in this way been remembered; though Henry is very kind in most respects. Yet the thought has sometimes occurred to me, that it is easy to be kind when it costs one nothing. Fie! I will not cherish so wicked a thought about my excellent husband ! He only forgets, without meaning to neglect me, and I do think he wont forget me to-day.”
These were the feelings that passed rapidly through the mind of Emma Wilmot, as the smiling sun ushered in the anniversary of her birth. Almost every one has a kind of superstitious desire that such periods in their lives should be spent agreeably, and are gratified to receive on those occasions any testimony of regard, however trifling from a friend. It is a delicate way of manifesting kind feelings towards others, and ought to be more generally practised. Even a bouquet of beautiful flowers may chase away a feeling of miştrust or sadness from a sensitive heart. The female miud too, is peculiarly inclined to emotions
of gratitude, and delights in repaying benefits which bave been thus conferred. Surely the benevolent Creator has not refined her sensibilities merely to add keenness to her sorrows, but has rather given her a relish for what is beautiful and lovely in cha. racter and conduct, to heighten her enjoyment. She require's little else to promote her happiness than food for the intellect and tbe heart. And if this denied her, she may be indifferent to everything which wealth or influence may procure.
Such a mind had Emma Wilmot. Ardent and enthusiastic by nature, she entered warmly into every scheme calculated to add to the sum of human enjoyment. To her the most trifling incident seemed worthy of notice, the slightest mark of friend. ship had a meaning. She felt that “life is made up of small events."
With this view of the subject, she had never, among other things, permitted her husband's birth-day to pass unnoticed. Generally, she taxed her ingenuity to manufacture for his use some article of taste and convenience; but sometimes simply complimented him with preparing his favourite dinner. He always seemed pleased at her thoughtfulness, and grateful for her simple offering. At first she thought of nothing but her pleasure in seeing him happy, and desired no other reward. But love is not always blind, and the idea was forced upon her, on seeing a new-year's gift to a young friend, that she was too often forgotten. She recollected with pain that she had rarely received a present of the kind. However, as his birthday was near, she concluded to continue her former practice, and determined to present him on that occasion, a still prettier offering, not without a hope, and even an expectation that he would this time follow her example. The day came, and passed away very pleasantly to both ; her gift was received and admired.
A few weeks after this was the return of her own birth-day. She could not believe that he would fail to offer her some small token of his regard. Not that she actually needed such a token, but she felt that it would be grateful, very grateful to her feelings, and she would like to see him more thoughtful about what did not seem to her, trivial things. Evening came, and yet she had heard nothing of a birth-day gift. But she still felt sure that he had one for ber acceptance. At length he went to his desk and drew from it something, upon which he employed his pen in writing, as she supposer, her name. But he again took his seat, and the evening passed slowly away.
Well, I will not feel sad," said she, as it closed, “for it is my birth-day !" But she did feel sad, notwithstanding her resolution, and many days passed away before she forgot her disappoitnemt.