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and brilliant colour. Yet Helen felt no shade of envy towards her cousin; nor did she love her the less because every one loved Caroline, and no one loved herself. She would twine ('aroline's fair ringlets round her finger, and kiss the little beauty's delicate features, and only wish “ that she could be like her Caroline, that a great many might love her too."—“ But then grandmama loves me just as well;—and her little face would glow at the thought, and content settle upon it.
As they grew up, Helen's generosity of feeling was often put to the test; her very instructors took no interest in her till forced to do justice to her superior intellect and docility. When Caroline was about eleven, and Helen two years older, her father and mother returned from abroad. The latter had always been unwilling to leave her daughter in Lady T—-'s care, whom she strongly suspected of being no better than she should bevidelicet-a Methodist. I must acknowledge that appearances were against the old lady;, but then, in candour, we must hope the best.
She certainly did read the Bible, and practise its lessons, more than was strictly proper in a woman who kept good company; but then she had bad health and bad spirits, and perhaps it was as much for want of something inore becoming to do, or perhaps, as Burns says, in consequence of
“ Just a carnal inclination," as on account of any leaning towards Methodism, that she visited the sick, fed the hungry, and clothed the naked. However that may be, Caroline was now promptly withdrawn from a dangerous example, and settled at home among fashionable masters and fashionable acquaintances; and, in reality, her education now began. The cousins wept. and clung to each other, in all the sorrow natural to their age-equally intense on both sides for a time, but not doomed to be equal in duration. Caroline, removed to new scenes, new friends, and new pleasures, did not think of Helen so often as Helen did of her, who, day by day, surrounded by innumerable mementos of the past, was perpetually reminded of her beloved friend and playfellow. In the honest simplicity of her heart it never occurred to her that she was relieved of the presence of an eclipsing rival.
The girls met every year, for some months, either in town or country. They grew into womanhood. Caroline continued ever amiable and affec. tionate; but she valued her beauty more than formerly, and loved more to have it praised ; and longed to be presented, and to go to Almack's, and to have partners, and admirers, and lovers. And, Helen, don't you wish to be brought out too?"“ No, Caroline, I have not the same motives for wishing it that you have; however,"— laughing—"exchange persons, and I will long for it to your heart's content. The cousins were presented, however, on the same day; and how did Caroline's heart swell, and her cheeks flush, and her eyes sparkle, to know herself gazed at by all! As for Helen, she felt relieved when the ceremony was over, and only hoped she had escaped observation.
They went into society, side by side. Caroline had admirers by the hundred - lovers by the dozen—some offers. Helen had not one-neither admirer, lover, nor offer; yet she unaffectedly took pride-a kind of personal pride-in her cousin's conquests; and would meet Caroline's eyes, in company, with such a sincere expression of pleasure, and would congratulate her, in private, so earnestly, that the beauty's heart often beat in indulgence of higher feelings than those of gratified vanity-love and admiration of her generous cousin.
in childhood, Helen had been called cold and stupid when she was only repulsed, discouraged, and mortified. Now, however, she did not retire, terrified, into the corner of a room; with a perfect knowledge of her abiding plainness of feature, mental cultivation gave her confidence in herself as a woman; she ought to have added, could her modesty have permitted it, a dignified, feeling woman. She took her place among her fellow-creatures unassumingly, but easily, and she kept it, unobtrusively, but firmly. How
stood her heart towards the neglect of the men ?--As it inevitably must have stood. She felt she was above a coxcomb's compliment—thankfully felt it: but then Helen knew that all men were not coxcombs; and she would have prized the admiration of one of the exceptions. “It would not raise iny opinion of myself, for I do not think the love of men the criterion of merit in woman; but it would raise my opinion of men. The man who could love me must be a superior one." And then she would explain to herself her apparent vanity." His affection would be grounded on moral and intellectual excellence, supposed or real, in me. Though he might not have much discernment, he would at least prove that he possessed a noblyconstructed mind in so acting upon such a conviction, and I would do my best to keep up the delusion." *of all Caroline's admirers there was but one by whose preference Helen could have been gratified, and he, like the rest, overlooked her. I am now, as her husband, proud that when I was her cousin's suitor, she merely gave me her approbation; I was not then worthy of the slightest share of her regard.
Helen was in the country with her father when Caroline made the great conquest of the silly and profligate earl. As soon as she heard of it, and, at the same time, learnt that Caroline was inclined to the match to escape persecution, Helen wrote to her cousin.—"Accept him not, dearest Carosine," said part of the letter—" your faith is vowed to another. Upon the mere question of not loving S-, 1 implore you to reject him. You know how I love my father. Do you think I should obey him if he commanded me to marry where I could not give my heart, and with it my respeet and confidence? No. At the risk of being banished from his house and his bosom, I would not. But suppose your case, fully, to be mine. Suppose that, disliking my father's choice, I preferred another. Caroline, wed not with S-! Take courage, and intorm your family of the true state of your affections; and if they continue to persecute you, let them-ay, let them turn you out of doors ; and then, Caroline, come here to me, and to my father-and come soon-Trevor will not leave you long with us.
Caroline did not come, and Helen did not go to her wedding, giving the plain and true reason, namely, that she disapproved of her cousin's conduct. In the admiration and envy of fashionable roués of both sexes, Caroline sought compensation for the loss of a friend's approbation. Time went on. Lady S — was spoken of--not as a firt merely. Helen remonstrated. In answer, Caroline indignantly asked if it was meant to accuse her of impropriety of conduct; and complained that Helen was changed-grown methodistical and cold-hearted. Helen had become a tiresome friend, because she was a faithful one. In the course of another year Caroline's name became coupled with that of the “ gallant count,” the most successful man on the Continent; in fact, floated into England upon his Europ ean reputation. Helen once more addressed her cousin, in tenderness, yet in a tone which Caroline, spoilt by adoration, could not brook; besides, it was deserved. For the first time, a letter of Helen's remained unanswered. Soon aiter came the éclat of the affair. Helen was for many days almost senseless in her bed. She recovered to consciousness and utter misery. Her sense of honour was as deep as her principle of religion. The friend she loved as her own soul was now an outcast from society, and a sinner before God. She wished to make one last appeal. She tried every means to trace her cousin, but in vain. The usual proceedings were taken-a divorce obtained. The count refused to Caroline the only miserable reparation in his power-the name of wife. They disagreed and separated. No one knew the place of her retreat. At length Helen obtained a clue; and, entering her father's study, laid her hand tenderly and confidingly on his shoulder.—“ Father, I am come to make a request.'
“ Name it, my child."—Helen hesitated.
I understand you, my love. Start when you like; your father shall be ready to accompany you.
They set out the following morning for the Continent, and, arriving in the little village I have already spoken of, inquired for the English lady. They were told she was too ill to see any one. Helen wrote a billet containing these words :-“ Caroline, I have traced you. I am come to remain by your side till death separates us. She lingered in the passage leading to Caroline's room, after sending in the little note by the servant. The woman, issuing hastily from the chamber, a moment after, ran against her, excusing her inadvertence by saying that she was hurrying for water for the lady, who had fainted. Caroline awoke in her cousin's arms. She groaned; she shuddered, in the agony of self-abasement. Helen folded her to her bosom, wept over her, caressed her, smiled upon her, called her by all the old terms of endearment. Caroline would have freed herself of her close embrace. “No, no, no, Helen-leave me-leave me, Helen, in mercy! I am a degraded wretch, fit only for your contempt. I wish for nothing else. I neglected your warnings, Helen-disregarded you, dared to insult you. Leave me—I am no company for you, Helen–let me die alone."
Helen answered each broken sentence by an additional caress; and, as she kissed her worn and haggard features, wondered was it indeed Caroline whom she looked upon ! Caroline became calmer, and spoke of her end as near, and as desired. But she spoke of death as a relief from shame and suffering, merely. She neither hoped nor feared anything from the change. Helen knew this was not the mood in which man should meet his Maker. She tried to awaken other feelings. The poor sufferer had never had religious impressions. The subject was now irksome, and she disliked and avoided it. Helen, at times, was tempted to despair, and say—" Prayer is unavailing !" but she persevered, and found that it was not.
“ The heart of stone was taken away, and the softened heart given in its stead. Morning after morning the rising sun found Helen, after a night of watching, still sitting with the book of God in her hand, or kneeling in fervent prayer, by the deathbed; and they were not unmixed tears of grief which blinded her eyes as, at length, she gazed upon the inanimate wreck of her cousin, after the sinner's last breath had exhaled in a prayer for pardon.
A few days before Caroline died, she wrote to her former husband, beseeching him to give their only girl, and only child, to Helen's care. “ 'Tis the last request, my lord, of a guilty and a dying woman; except for my child's sake, I would not dare to intrude upon you." The petition was acceded to, and my Helen loves the child as she loved the mother. Poor Caroline also wrote a long and affecting letter to her seducer, to be delivered after her death. The count thrust it, half read through, into his pocket, as he hastened out to keep an evening engagement; and that night he was never more redoubtable, or more followed; and before the party broke up, he recollected the letter, and finished the perusal of it aloud, to some admired and admiring woman of fashion, who joined him in smiling at the piety of the Divorcée Dévote.
JOURNAL OF CONVERSATIONS WITH LORD BYRON,
BY LADY BLESSINGTON. No. x.*
BYRON'S bad opinion of mankind is not, I am convinced, genuine; and it certainly does not operate on his actions, as his first impulses' are always good, and his heart is kind and charitable. His good deeds are never the result of reflection, as the heart acts before the head has had time to reason. This cynical habit of decrying human nature is one of the many little affectations to which he often descends, and this impression has become so fixed in my mind, that I have been vexed with
myself for attempting to refute opinions of his that, on reflection, I was convinced were not his real sentiments, but uttered either from a foolish wish of display, or from a spirit of contradiction which much influences his conversation. I have heard him assert opinions one day, and maintain the most opposite, with equal warmth, the day after; this arises not so much from insincerity, as from being wholly governed by the feeling of the moment; he has no fixed principle of conduct or of thought, and the want of it leads him into errors and inconsistencies from which he is only rescued by a natural goodness of heart that redeems, in some degree, what it cannot prevent. Violence of temper tempts him into expressions that might induce people to believe him vindictive and rancorous; he exaggerates all his feelings when he gives utterance to them, and here the imagination, that has led to his triumph in poetry, operates less happily, by giving a darker shade to his sentiments and expressions. When he writes or speaks at such moments, the force of his language imposes a belief that the feeling that gives birth to it must be fixed in his mind; but see him in a few hours after, and not only no trace of this angry excitement remains, but, if recurred to by another, he smiles at his own exaggerated warmth of expression, and proves, in a thousand ways, that the temper only is responsible for his defects, and not the heart.
“I think it is Diderot (said Byron) who says that, to describe woman, one ought to dip one's pen in the rainbow; and, instead of sand, use the dust from the wings of butterflies to dry the paper. This is a concetto worthy of a Frenchman; and, though meant as complimentary, is really by no means so to your sex.
To describe woman, the pen should be dipped, not in the rainbow, but in the heart of man, ere more than eighteen summers have passed over his head; and, to dry the paper, I would allow only the sighs of adolescence. Women are best understood by men whose feelings have not been hardened by a contact with the world, and who believe in virtue because they are unacquainted with
* Continued from No. CLI. p. 315. Sept.--Vol. XXXIX, NO. CLIII.
vice. A knowledge of vice will, as far as I can judge by experience, invariably produce disgust, as I believe, with my favourite poet, that
• Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,
That, to be hated, needs but to be seen.' But he who has known it can never truly describe woman as she ought to be described ; and, therefore, a perfect knowledge of the world unfits a man for the task. When I attempted to describe Haïdee and Zuleika, I endeavoured to forget all that friction with the world had taught me; and if I at all succeeded, it was because I was, and am, penetrated with the conviction that women only know evil from having experienced it through men: whereas 'men have no criterion to judge of purity or goodness but woman. Some portion of this purity and goodness always adheres to woman, (continued Byron,) even though she may lapse from virtue; she makes a willing sacrifice of herself on the altar of affection, and thinks only of him for whom it is made: while men think of themselves alone, and regard the woman but as an object that administers to their selfish gratification, and who, when she ceases to have this power, is thought of no more, save as an obstruction in their path. You look incredulous, (said Byron ;) but I have said what I think, though not all that I think, as I have a much higher opinion of your sex than I have even now expressed.”
This would be most gratifying could I be sure that, to-morrow or next day, some sweeping sarcasm against my sex may not escape from the lips that have now praised them, and that my credulity, in believing the praise, may not be quoted as an additional proof of their weakness. This instability of opinion, or expression of opinion of Byron, destroys all confidence in him, and precludes the possibility of those who live much in his society feeling that sentiment of confiding security in him, without which a real regard cannot subsist. It has always appeared a strange anomaly to me, that Byron, who possesses such acuteness in discerning the foibles and defects of others, should have so little power either in conquering or concealing his own, that they are evident even to a superficial observer; it is also extraordinary that the knowledge of human nature that enables him to discover, at a glance, such defects, should not dictate the wisdom of concealing his discoveries, at least from those in whom he has made them; but in this he betrays a total want of tact, and must often send away his associates dissatisfied with themselves, and still more so with him, if they happen to possess discrimination or susceptibility.
“ To let a person see that you have discovered his faults, is to make him an enemy for life,” (says Byrou), and yet this he does continually: he says, “that the only truths a friend will tell you, are your faults; and the only thing he will give you, is advice." Byron's affected display of knowledge of the world deprives him of commiseration for being its