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"No," answered Antonio, " yet he says in his letter that he has seen my beauteous daughter, and I think he surely loves her.”
“ Loves her,” replied the nurse, “that may be, but what if she loves not him, is that not to be thought on; would'st send her forth from thee to a stranger's arms, one whom neither have seen, or know ought of,—save that he writes to the father, for the the daughter's hand, as if her heart were in it, and both at his disposal. Why you would not part with one of these lifeless pictures with so little feeling ; how know you what he writes is true ? says he where he saw your daughter Madonna Laura ?"
“ He says not where, or when, he saw her ;" answered Antonio, advancing towards the covered painting, “but that he has seen her, I am well assured ; and you”—he added, at the same time removing the curtain from before it-“ have only to look on this picture to be convinced ;” and to himself he continued : “ Kings ere now, if chronicles say sooth, have made their daughters the prize of valour, and brute-strength. I held mine at a higher price,—and he whose practised hand gave life to every feature here, till the warm blood almost seems to glow in the modest cheek; and the vital breath to hang on those lips of parted coral; and all so like ; he claims the rich reward with noble pride, and wooes my Laura, as of old, Theseus wooed Hippolyta.”
While Antonio was speaking, the nurse had been minutely examining the picture, and now moving towards the window, said, “ He must indeed have seen her, and with no common eyes ; she was younger then than now, but it is very like what Madonna Laura was years gone; but look,” she said, pointing through the window, “she comes, and not alone; if my old eyes and memory do not deceive me, that tall handsome man on whose arm she leans with so much confidence, is very like the young Count Lorenzo, whom we have not seen for years.".
“No, sure, it cannot be,” said Antonio, “it has long been supposed that he was killed in the wars to which he went, it must be near ten years ago, his father's death would have brought him here, ere this, had he not fallen a war-sacrifice; whoe'er it be, he has passed into the porch with her, and we shall soon know.”
The nurse went to see if Laura needed her assistance; Antonio proceeded to cover the painting on which they had been looking, and had hardly finished when Laura and her companion entered ; . she ran to him, and falling on her knees at his feet, exclaimed: “ Father! dearest Father! speak, oh! speak to him! to Lorenzo ! my own Lorenzo !-whom, absent, I have loved for ten long years
and who has been true, and is now come to claim me. Oh! forgive me that I told you not my heart-secret."
The old man trembled, as a boat that strikes on an unseen rock, ere it sinks beneath the greedy waves. Taking her hand, he said, “ Rise, rise, my child, this is a dream of fancy, of flickering fancy, or what is worse, a phrenzy; thou hast been left lonely, and uncompanioned, till vain dreams, and thughts, vainer than dreams, have overborne thy better reason.” And turning to Lorenzo, he continued, “Signor, I pray you ask not for my daughter's hand. She is promised Camillo, a name which shall be as familiar in the mouths of future ages, as household word; he has won the prize, for he sends me argument mightier than words: I am resolved none other weds my Laura, save Camillo.”
“ Never, he ! no, never !” exclaimed Laura.
“Say not so, my sweetest, fairest constancy, for we are one," interrupted Lorenzo; and addressing Antonio, he added, “Camillo's hand has won the prize for Lorenzo ; brighter, and more to be desired, than all the adoration of millions of man-worshippers.
With feeble and tottering step, Antonio led Laura to Lorenzo's side; and placing her hand in his, with a fattering voice, said “Bless you-heaven bless you both, my children.”
Laura was weeping on Lorenzo's breast, and Antonio was no
With the wood-hook in the snow,
J. J. B.
Two Scenes from my Life-Play.
BY J. J. BRITTON.
WE parted,-I remember the day and the hour well. It was a calm spring moonlight, and that planet was high in the heavens, for the hour was late, and in the door-way of a modest dwellinghouse two figures were standing--a young soldier and a maiden ; and the white rays streaming through the porch of woven jasmines cast slender lines upon their faces that were so close together ; so close together indeed were those faces, that when the maiden raised her eyes to search for truth within those of her companion, the long lashes swept his cheek, and his light breath stirred her golden ringlets.
And the grand sea, which in the day-time might be seen plainly from the village-town, paused for a moment and began to flow.
Once a softly doubting glance, once more an earnest assurance, again a clinging silence!
A band of night-breakers, arm in arm, struggling for the centre of the horseway, passed by, singing with gin-cracked voices a broad drinking chorus,--and the girl impulsively clung to the youth for protection. A shout and a curse, and the noise of a scuffle broke upon their ears, and the young soldier darted from the door to give his assistance. But he returned quickly, it was but a Bacchite-quarrel, and two of the party were being led away by the night-watch, who walked on doggedly, deaf to their execrations, to their arguments, and to their entreaties; and so the truant returned to the porch, and excused his absence by a close embrace, and a gentle kiss.
And the shouts broke out again in the distance, and the girl looked into her lover's face thankedly for the peace that was hers. A woman's form reeled by and a white and ghastly face leaned against the iron railings, and a volley of uncouth and unwomanly words fell from a woman's mouth, and the young girl shuddered and wept.
e embrashouts broke ode thankedly it and ghas
Then the whisper-stream of love that ran from mouth to ear was heard only by themselves and the sky-dwellers, (and truly those angel-beings, looking down with their angel-loves, beheld that human love so pure, that could earth itself have been blotted from their gaze, they might have deemed the lovers as of their own company.)
Resolutely flowed on the great sea! The boom of the midnightgun upon its shores, reached faintly the village-town.-And the young soldier loosened his hold once more, and listened towards the land-side.
Like the steady falling of the huge rain-drops into a leaden cistern, louder and louder grew the tramp of feet.
“ They are here, it is time !" “Oh, no, no !"
A last embrace, a last kiss, a fragment of ribbon snatched from a white neck, and laid within a braided coat, a mutual vow to remember, to think, to write, a close meeting of the palms, a slow withdrawal, and—a farewell.
The tramp of men hushed, the moon lighted up a hedge of bayonets, and the stripling placed himself at the head of his troop and gave the word.
A tearful farewell from the doorway was all but lost in the onward tramp of men.
Down to the shore, thence in the light boats, to the Mammoth ship, over the skirting waves of the great sea passed the men cheerily.
The dwelling door was closed at last, and the moon shone on the naked steps, and the officer knew afterwards, that while he stood in the stern of the boat, looking seaward, and while he leaped lightly on to the deck—in the house behind, a girl sat on the side of her bed, her pale face in her hands, thoughtfully,
We met, the day and the hour are fresher in my recollection.
There was a snug, and a thoroughly-English Party at the oak wainscotted house of the jovial Squire, who held in himself the Manorship of E— Round the table were the guests seated with bowed-down heads and demure looks, while the grace was concluding in the age-cracked tones of the old Rector. He closed it, and the party looked up; a name was announced and a middle-aged grey-headed officer entered the room. Solemnly the old Pastor turned, when the host, forgetting all the bondages of society, bounced up from his chair, and stepped to meet the old