Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

-wouldn't tell them, “guess what? Mother, my love to theechildren, hurrah !—that's your sort! Father- Father- " At that now sacred word, Arthur stopped dancing, and breaking hysterically into a fresh fount of tears, at last found voice enough to dole out the discovery :- “ Father— had — a second class

railway insurance -ticket- and it's worth Mother, FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS !” Thus the last act of his life was one of providence.

The money was paid. The magnanimous man—a leader of the forlorn hope that scales the oft impregnable redoubts of toil and poverty, planted the colours of his small but heroic class on the breach in which he fell; constituting his very death an antitype of the gallant life of sacrifice for others that preceded it-himself content to wear a martyr's crown, that they might share the victory!

ma

Forget-me-not.

My spirit pines for thee !
Less welcome is the morning's cheering ray
To swain, benighted on his lonely way,

Than thy bright glance to me.

The sailor on the sea
Turns not with more devotion to his star,
Hailing its first faint glimmer from afar-

Than my heart turns to thee.

Thou art the star whose ray,
Piercing the gloom of sorrow's darkest night,
Sheds on my path a pure and holy light,

Which fadeth not away.

Whatever be my lot,
I'll love—as I have loved—thee, to the last,
And only ask one boon,-till life be past
Do thou forget-me-not.

E. GLOVER.

The Artist's Daughter.

“ There's a divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them how we will."

In a large room of an antique mansion of some pretensions, in a small town situated in the north of Italy, the furniture, decorations, and general appearance of which plainly indicated the pursuits of its owner—for the walls were covered with works of art, principally by the same pencil, while unfinished pieces were lying in various parts of the room, and on easels; guitars, veils, bird-cages, with their feathered inmates, flowers, and embroidery, also told that woman, the chief ornament of every household, was not wanting there. Yes, the artist, whose studio it was, had a daughter, who wrote sixteen summers in her short book of life, and whose grace, beauty, and amiable temper, made him justly proud of her. She was his only child; and in his enthusiasm for his art, he had sworn none but a victor in the noble field, in which he himself laboured, should win her; save a painter, none should call her wife. And it was concerning this daughter, that the three occupants of the chamber already alluded to were in conference.

The first was Antonio, the father of Laura, his venerable appearance betokening ripe old age, but his noble face had on it no care-signs; mixing little with the worldly-busy crowd, he had lived a peaceful life, had loved, and followed his profession through long undisturbed years, and his only desire of earth, was, to see his daughter married according to his vow, ere death should deprive her of his protection. The other two personages were of a widely different station; Count Adrian, the elder one, though in the autumn of life, carried himself erect and firm; there was an air of command about him, heightened by his military dress; yet notwithstanding a degree of sternness in his eye, the general expression of his face was open and manly, and when engaged in conversation, beamed with benevolence. Lorenzo, son of Count Adrian, was the third person who completed this little group. He was in the bloom and vigour of youth. A short black velvet riding dress, descending to the middle of the leg, exhibited the perfect symmetry of his tall and graceful person ; his profile was purely Greek; and his expression somewhat thoughtful for his years.

“ Signor,” said Antonio, addressing Count Adrian, “it is some marvel to me, that you would abase your son to wed a painter's daughter, so far removed”

“ The difference of rank which you speak of, as existing between us,” said Count Adrian, interrupting him, “sinks into nothing, before the welfare of those in whom we live again; moreover, your daughter's many virtues far outweigh so merely nominal a distinction ; therefore consent, that while yet we live, we may behold our children's happiness.”

“ Your kindness and condescension, Signor, overpower me; but I will deal frankly with you—much as I might otherwise wish it, it may not be. I have an oath, even before my daughter's birth, I vowed that—if a boy, he should be a votary,- if a girl, a guerdon—to the brush and the palette. Good Signor, I must keep my oath. Yet take from Lorenzo's hand, the sword he loves too well, and bid him supply its place by the peaceful painter's pencil ; then, if nature have given to him, the eye, hand, mind, of the poet and the painter, by time and patient toil, he may one day achieve to some master work of art : in that day bid him come, and he shall woo my daughter."

Count Adrian smiled, and taking Antonio's hand, said, “I wish it had been otherwise ; but we cannot make a painter of a soldier.”

Lorenzo stood for a moment as an indifferent spectator; but suddenly his proud lip curled. He fixed his flashing eye ; and determination was written over all his face. He spoke not to either, but to himself he said, -" Laura, I will wed thee yet !"and father and son departed.

When Antonio was left alone, he busied himself in covering those works on which he had been engaged during the day, for it was now evening, and he was so intently gazing on “ The Study of a Head," that he was not aware of the entrance of one of the fairest and loveliest of that land of beauty. Health, the handmaid of all that is fresh, and to be admired, supplied her eye with the purest light, and her cheek with the freshest roses. Her short and rosy upper-lip was slightly curled with as much of maiden sanctity, perhaps, as of pride : her high white forehead was shaded with locks of sunny brown, while her dark eyes beamed with unaffected modesty. Her dress was simple, and disencumbered of ornaments; and those who admired the grace of her person, were no less charmed with her simplicity, and the meekness of her deportment. nature had done all for her, and art must have striven in vain to rival her with others.

Seeing that Antonio noticed her not, she moved near to him, and placing her delicate hand upon his arm, said, “ Father, you have had guests with you but now—who were they? Methought, as from my chamber window, I saw the plume of one of them passing under the gateway, it resembled that worn by the young Count Lorenzo; was it he ?”.

“ It was he, my Laura, and with him his father, Count Adrian,” and taking her hand in his, he continued, “it was of thee, my loved-one, they came to speak; the Count would beg from me my sweetest flower, my brightest gem, for his son, Lorenzo; but thou knowest my sacred promise, and wilt never cherish any affection in thy young breast, to make me false to it.”

Laura's soul sank within her at these words, her cheek became blanched as her snowy neck; a coldness as of death passed over her frame; statue-like, and motionless, she seemed for some moments spell-bound; but Antonio noted it not, or regarded it as indifference, for he knew not of the love she fostered in her maiden-heart, nor was he to know for long, long years to come. (Oh! how falsely do they speak, who say, woman cannot keep a secret.) Drawing her slender form within his arms, he kissed her white temples, and white brow,—while she, waking as it were from a horrid dream, clung to his neck, and hardly repressed the sob which rose with her heart-secret to her lips. With a parting kiss, he said, “ My love, retire now to thy chamber—adieu, my joy, till sun-rise.” Tremblingly she did as her father bade her: while he, little recking of the anguish his words had occasioned to the jewel of his brow, turned to complete his arrangements for the night.

Heart-bent, but strong in innocence and faithful love, Laura sought her own private chamber ; not chiding her father, or doubting his love for her, but to seek in humble prayer the guidance and assistance of heaven.

Reader, bear with me while I endeavour to give you a faint description of this room, much unlike the one to which I last introduced you. Antonio had sought to make it all that the child he so much loved could wish, and it was indeed costly for his station, and his means.

A silver lamp, richly fretted, suspended from the raftered roof, gleamed faintly on the splendid bed; the curtains were of silk, and the coverlet of velvet, faced with miniver ; gilded coronals and tufts of plumage, shed alternate gleam and shadow over every angle of the canopy; and tapestry of silk and silver covered every compartment of the walls, save where the uncouthly constructed doors and windows broke them into angles. (Peculiarities of architecture of that age, irreconcilable alike to every rule of symmetry, or purpose of accommodation.) Near the ample hearth were placed a sculptured desk, furnished with several pieces of manuscript music, and a book of songs, gorgeously illuminated, and a black marble tripod supporting a vase, filled with choicest flowers; various fruits, too, lay upon a richly inlaid mosaic table, placed there by her careful nurse ; while silver vases filled with scented waters, paid their delicious tribute to the senses. When Laura entered, and the door was closed by the departing nurse, the rich sheet of tapestry dropped over it hushfully, and sweeping on the floor, it seemed like a wish for a deep repose, breathed by a thing inanimate. All was still. The silver lamp twinkled silently and dimly, the bright moon pouring its glories through the uncurtained, but richly tinted window, shed its borrowed hues of crimson, amber, blue, and purple, on curtain, and canopy, as if in defiance of the artificial light that gleamed so feebly within the chamber. · From a hand passed through the half open casement, a slip of paper was dropped on the richly embroidered cover of the window seat, whereon was written,_“I will wed thee yet.” The moonbright colours-light-and shade—all disappeared--the hand was withdrawn,-and Laura was praying.

In a bower sheltered from the hot rays of a summer sun, by the cool shade of myrtle boughs, and a closely woven trellised arch, from which delicious grapes hung amidst their rich and clustering leaves, the stillness only broken by the falling water of a large fountain in the centre of the garden, sat a beauteous form in all the ripeness of early womanhood :----pensively musing, but seeming to rouse from her waking dream, Laura, (for it was she) unclasped the costly gemmed brooch which fastened her dress around her neck, and took from her breast a small piece of paper, which now and again, she pressed with an appearance of fervour to her lips, then reading the words which it contained—“I will wed thee yet,”— exclaimed : “ Though long years have since rolled by, and I have nothing heard, still will I believe,--still will I trust his faith,

M

« PoprzedniaDalej »