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CHAPTER XVIII.-FREDERICK AND GODFREY.
and I love each other dearly already, and I long, almost childishly, to call her sister. What a cow
"GODFREY, will you walk with me this morn-ard you are! With your feelings, and with half ing?"
Godfrey was sitting in a posture which seemed the very expression of gloom; his forehead bent upon his hands and a book resting on his knees, which, as for a full half-hour he had not turned one of the pages, might be supposed to be rather employed as a screen for idleness than as a subject of study. The face which he raised when the tones of Frederick's gentle voice fell on his ear did not, most assuredly, belie his attitude-it expressed profound, even sullen, despondency. He agreed to the proposal, however, without an instant's hesitation, and the brothers were soon on the lawn together, the one guiding the other's steps as tenderly as was his wont. They walked on in silence till they reached the shadow of a group of plane trees, beneath which the soft turf | formed a natural seat, edging an abrupt fall to the stream which murmured and fretted among the pebbles below. Frederick sat down and drew Godfrey to his side.
the encouragement you have received, I would have spoken weeks ago. Why, I have detected a hundred symptoms."
Godfrey stopped him by seizing both his hands. "Frederick! Frederick!" he cried, "it is impossible-you know it is impossible. Can you believe me for a moment to be so unnatural, so ungrateful? Frederick, you are unjust! Do you think, indeed, that I could have tried to win her affection? I swear to you, in the sight of Heaven, that I have never done so, directly or indirectly, by word, look, or tone. Not even in thought have I ever wished to become your rival. Your rival-am I capable of it? It is little to say now that your happiness-such happiness!—is my first and only wish; but you know it is true. That is," he added, his voice becoming strangely bitter, "if you don't think I am mocking you when I speak to you of happiness."
"But suppose," rejoined Frederick, still speaking lightly, as if aware of the violent agitation of
"I want to speak to you about Ida," said he, his companion, and seeking to relieve it, " suppose suddenly.
Godfrey started and turned away his face, as though the sightless eyes of his brother could have detected the emotion which he was unable to repress.
"You think she is ill," he replied, hurriedly; "I have thought so myself; but I don't believe there is any cause for alarm. She is anxious about Mrs. Chester, and tired with several nights' broken rest-that is all."
Frederick smiled. "No," said he, "it was not about her health that I meant to speak to you. Come, Godfrey, can't you guess what I was thinking of?"
my happiness has nothing to do with the matter? Of course, it is highly lover-like in you to think that nobody can know Ida without wishing to call her wife; but suppose I am cold enough, or insensible enough, or rational enough, to entertain no such wish? You may despise me as much as you like, Godfrey, but indeed it is the case."
Godfrey looked earnestly and incredulously in his brother's face; its smiling serenity might have deceived a less impassioned observer. "You will never marry," said he, abruptly.
"Is that so very terrible ?" rejoined Frederick, laughing.
Yes, yes!" continued Godfrey, with increasGodfrey became very pale, but answered, with ing gloom, "I see-I feel-I understand. Everynot more than a minute's pause— where, always, it is the same. Your whole life is the sacrifice-I can do nothing; even a word of affection from me to you seems the basest hypocrisy. The work is mine, and it is irrevocable. I can well believe that evil spirits may possess a man, first urging him to crime, and then forever avenging the acts which they themselves wrought in him. Don't talk to me-it is useless. Let me bear it silently. Never let her name be mentioned between us again-from my lips it is profaneness even to utter it."
"Yes, I believe I can. Ida loves you, and she is worthy of you. Tell me, is it all settled?" It was now Frederick's turn to betray a little emotion; the words had evidently taken him by surprise, and his deep blush showed that he was not altogether untouched by them. He rejoined, however, playfully, and flinging his arm round his brother's neck
"You foolish fellow, I do believe you are jealous! What should such a confirmed old bachelor as I am do with a wife? Poor Ida! it is "Listen to me, my dearest brother," answered lucky that her destiny does n't depend on your Frederick, now quite seriously, and assuming a words. No, no, Godfrey, I want her for a sister, tone of some authority; " and first let me beseech and I want you to tell me whether I shall be dis- you never to speak or think lightly of your affecappointed ?" tion for me it is the greatest injury you can do Godfrey shrank away and buried his face in his me. Your love, and my mother's, have hitherto hands; Frederick continued, still speaking half-made my life so happy-don't take away your sportively, yet with evident seriousness of mean- hand-it is true, and you must believe it. not afraid of mentioning in downright words that which it costs you so dearly to think of my blind. ness. In spite of it, I believe that there is scarcely
Do you suppose, my dear Godfrey, that I have been unconscious all this while? You don't know how expressive tones and half-tones, unlooked-for a human being in the whole world whose life is so silences, and fragmentary words, are to me. Ida uninterruptedly, so peacefully happy, as mine.
all this while been winning it-unconsciously, I grant, but not the less effectually. My mother thinks and wishes as I do. Indeed, this is the only thing wanting to complete my happiness." Again a silence.
"Won't you answer me, Godfrey?" resumed Frederick, almost timidly.
"I am so unworthylow, troubled voice.
began Godfrey in a
Say that to Ida," interrupted Frederick, checking him; "it is what all lovers say, though I don't suppose they think it, any more than their ladies do. Dear, dear brother! I forgot to thank you for the sacrifice which you were so ready to make to me. You would have given me your whole happiness."
Hush, hush!" cried Godfrey; "I would give you my life, and that would be far too little. Oh, what a wretch you make me! But, Frederick," (wringing his hand vehemently,)" remember, you must now release me from my promise: Ida must know all.”
"Impossible!" replied Frederick. "You would not give me that pain-your word is pledged!"
seldom speak of this-indeed, it is painful to describe one's own feelings-but often, very often, I have a sense, a possession, an enjoyment of beauty in my thoughts, which does, I am sure, so far exceed the actual vision, that, were my sight restored, the first emotion would be one of disappointment. Besides, I am naturally very weak and unstable in character-this privation has been to me an angel, holding me with a stern but most gentle grasp, and compelling me to remain in the only safe path. What has it taken from me? A power, certainly, but also a temptation, and one which I was peculiarly unfit to resist. I feel the strongest conviction that, had I possessed my eyesight, I should have grown up a mere idler, a dangler about art, a lover of trifles, a man whose existence was bound up and centred in elegancies. Now, my eyes are in my soul only, and-I say it humbly-the Divine image is ever before them. The lot to which I look forward is one so joyful that I only fear lest I should be unworthy to receive it. I must describe it to you a little in detail. You know I am a good musician-thanks to your indefatigable patience in helping me-as good in theory as in practice. There is an institution lately established, worthy of the pure first days of Christianity, where students are trained, who are hereafter to become servants of the church in foreign lands; their lives are made to be a course of saintly discipline—they are under the wisest teaching and their daily worship is such as no man can join without so feeling the privilege of his | have long lost, but would you have me sink so low membership that he must needs carry it away with as self-contempt? No, no; if I must not say all, him, an abiding witness to the truth of that Unity I will say nothing." which shall hereafter be made perfect. I hope to obtain the direction of the musical part of these services. I cannot express to you how happy such a life would make me. Just fancy it, dear Godfrey-a little cottage, with its fragrant flowergarden, not far from the college gates, where my mother and I should live in pleasant retirementthen, in the early fresh morning, my walk to the chapel-the delight of actually assisting in the service access to the organ at all times-the quiet cool cloister in which I may walk and meditate the studious, prayerful men with whom I shall be associated, and among whom I may perhaps find friends, though never, never a friend so dear as yourself. Even I shall be helping forward the great work-even I may dedicate a not useless offering of a life to God."
He paused, his face full of calm, pure, spiritual enthusiasm. Godfrey had bowed his head upon his brother's shoulder, and was weeping like a woman. After a minute's silence, Frederick continued.
But you will release me !" said Godfrey, passionately. "What! do you think me so despicable that even the poor virtue of honesty is out of my reach! Would you force me to such meanness? No, no, Frederick! surely you love my conscience as well as myself? Self-approval I
"Well, I release you," answered Frederick, a little sorrowfully. "Ida must be of a very harsh nature, if she does not think that a penitence so long, so deep, so disproportionate
"Hitherto," exclaimed Godfrey, folding the speaker closely in his arms, "it has been a bitter, gloomy, cold, proud penitence, but it shall be so no longer. Only on my knees-only before God, can I pour out all that is in my heart. have conquered, and I must tell you so. Pray for me; never did I feel the need of prayer so deeply as now. And-and-ask my mother to forgive me. I have not been blameless towards her-but you know what I have felt."
The sound of approaching steps disturbed the brothers, and they were speedily joined by Alexander, Mr. Tyrrell, and uncle John. There was an awkward look upon the faces of two of the three, as though they had come together unintentionally, and had not found the surprise a pleasant one. But the third looked perfectly contented and was keeping up the conversation at a great rate, all by himself.
"And now, one word more on the subject which you have forbidden, but which will, I hope, often, Oh, yes," he was saying, as they came upvery often, be named between us. Don't suppose by the bye, dear uncle John was a thorough antithat I think so poorly of Ida as to believe that, if protestant; he never said "No," if he could help she could have loved me for myself, my blindness it, except to himself; his life was one vast assent would have done aught but clasp and strengthen to a series of imaginary propositions, to most of the link between us. But it is not so. I have which he agreed without so much as a hope of Beither sought nor won her love; and you have ever understanding them—“Oh, yes, Ida is a
sweet creature-a darling little girl! I don't think she has a fault in the world. You need n't look so glum, master Alexander, for though she isn't very fond of you, I'm quite sure she would sooner lose her little finger than do you an unkindness."
It cannot be denied that this was an unpleasant speech for Alexander, who was intending to become Ida's husband some time in the course of the next twelve months. He assumed an artificial smile, and, addressing his cousins with an air of the utmost sweetness, said, "I think, Frederick, Mr. Tyrrell and I will leave my uncle with you; we are going for a walk."
"A walk!" cried uncle John, "the very thing for me! I can show you such a view-there's nothing like it in the three kingdoms! I know every foot of the country for miles!" and, as he spoke, he passed his arm familiarly through Alexander's, with a warm gripe, from which there was no hope of escaping.
A scarcely perceptible smile of amusement curled Mr. Tyrrell's lip as he turned away from the illassorted pair, and seated himself on the grass beside Frederick.
"Are not you coming with us, Tyrrell?" cried uncle John, as he dragged his reluctant nephew
No, thank you. I have sprained my ancle," replied he, unhesitatingly telling a falsehood.
Alexander was fairly caught. The presence of a stranger, with whom, for some unexplained reason, it was evidently his object to stand well, prevented him from shaking off his unwelcome companion at once, though there can be but little doubt that he did so as soon as they were out of sight. As soon as Mr. Tyrrell was left alone with the brothers, he said, "I want you to do me a favor with your cousin Ida. I have particular, very particular reasons for wishing to speak privately with her friend, Mrs. Chester, as soon as she is able to receive me. Now I understand that the fever has left her, that she sat up yesterday for two or three hours, and is to do so again to-day. Surely, I might be admitted. But Miss Lee, I suppose out of anxiety for her friend's health, evidently has the greatest possible repugnance to the idea of my seeing her, and I have been unable to induce her even to promise that she will ask Dr. Edgecumbe's permission for the interview. Will you persuade her? I am so completely a stranger to her, that I can scarcely press the point with the urgency which it demands; but I do assure you that it is of the first importance that I should see this lady soon, and alone."
"We will endeavor," replied Frederick; "Ida is nervous, she is unused to illness, and perhaps over-anxious. You can see the doctor yourself this evening; and if you obtain his authority, we will reason Ida out of her terrors. Do you go to her, Godfrey. I know she is walking in the grounds," he added, anxious to give his brother an excuse for getting away, of which the latter was not slow to take advantage.
Godfrey walked slowly along, his heart burning with unwonted and overpowering thoughts. He was afraid of Hope, even to cowardice; for he knew that having once received it, parting from it would touch his life. He felt as though his whole nature were changing; but the process was too tumultuous and too bewildering to be the subject of contemplation, scarcely, even, of consciousness. It was the dawn of a new creation, but the twilight was too profound for him even to guess what the day might bring forth. This, however, he feltthat his spirit had lost its bitterness, being full of that true and only humility the outward vesture of which is perfect charity. A bitter spirit, a cold, dark view of life and man, is a disease which, though it seems to be the work of outward mishaps. losses, and disappointments, is nevertheless more the work of an evil tendency within us. It may be caught, like the plague; but it is only the predisposed subject who catches it.
He found Ida in a glade of the shrubbery; her lovely, childlike face was full of a new and almost sorrowful gravity, but she smiled when she saw him, and came eagerly to meet him. He took her hands in his; he felt that the hour was come, and that delay would be worse than failure. "Ida," said he, with that persuasive energy of voice and manner which subdues the will at once, and leaves it no time for surprise; "listen to me; I want to tell you a history; don't wonder at me, but give me all your thoughts, and listen with your whole heart."
"I will," she replied, seating herself on the roots of an overhanging sycamore, while he stood before her, still holding her hands, and looking fixedly into her face.
"There were two brothers-" he began. She looked up wonderingly, and was about to speak, but he checked her almost passionately—“ Don't ask me any questions; wait, and you will understand what may seem strange. I ask it of you as a kindness, Ida."
She felt how vehemently he was in earnest, and bent her head again, the color rising in her transparent cheeks as she said softly, "Don't be angry with me; I am listening."
He went on. "There were two brothers; one was all gentleness and goodness, without a single passion to be conquered, or bad tendency to be resisted; born with all that is or ought to be the labor of a lifetime to men in general, achieved, finished, completed in him, without an effort;-the other was violent, impetuous, uncontrollable. Their mother was a gentle, feeble, tender-hearted woman; she loved both with all her strength, and never opposed or thwarted either. This boundless indulgence could not harm the elder, but the younger grew up without one attempt to curb his furious passions. He was not altogether bad; when his fits of anger were over, he would be sorry for what he had said or done, and it was no hard penance to ask a forgiveness which he knew to be his own before he begged for it. But he was utterly unrestrained-such as he was in childhood, such was
he suffered to remain; no single effort, either from | rowful? Godfrey-you frighten me-you have himself or from another, e'er checked in him one been deceiving me. Do not go-speak to me, Godoutburst of passion. One day he was about frey!" Then, suddenly pausing, she put back the sixteen-he quarrelled with this good, gentle, un- long, bright hair from her forehead, and ran to him, offending brother; mad with anger, he mistook | looking up into his face with an eager smile, while calmness for contempt, remonstrance for sarcasm, the tears still coursed down her cheeks. "Dear and-" Godfrey, this was an unkind trick. I understand Godfrey stopped as suddenly as he had begun, now; you were trying whether you could make me and drew in his breath. believe it; but I don't believe it-I did not, even at "What?" said Ida, eagerly. "Go on-what first-I was only bewildered and distressed because happened?"
"He struck him," answered Godfrey, suppressing his voice to a whisper, and then forcibly resuming his former tone, and finishing his story in a hurried, almost indifferent manner-" he struck him—a furious blow-in the face, from the effects of which he never recovered. He was long ill, and when his health returned, he was blind for life!"
The pale horror in Ida's face spoke more expressively than words. She shuddered and was silent, then turned away her face, unable to endure the burning gaze that was riveted upon it. Godfrey dropped her hands. "Farewell, Ida!" said he. "Oh! what is this?" exclaimed Ida, weeping and wringing her hands. "Oh, why do you make me so miserable? is everybody's life dark and sor
Its hue should be beautiful over the world,
Whether hung on the blue walls of Italy's skyOn the green fields of Ireland or England unfurled, Or flung free to the snows that in Muscovy lie.
The blood of our brothers has given its dye,
And the blood of their slayers must keep it still
It shall bathe in the rose-tints that stream in the sky,
And the olive-branch reeks with the people's
it was such a dreadful history. Are you angry? Pray forgive me-indeed, indeed I do not believe it of you."
She had laid her hand upon his arm, and was detaining him almost forcibly. Gently he undid the grasp, and put her from him, while a groan of unspeakable agony broke from the depths of his heart. Not one look did he give her, not one word did he utter, but darted away, leaving her still standing there, pale, bewildered, incredulous, with her hands outstretched in the attitude in which he had left them, and her beautiful face all bathed in tears-like a child who, having sprung eagerly to the arms of one whom it had mistaken for its mother, starts back affrighted and distressed on encountering the stern, repulsive face of a stranger.
When the fury of war lights its flame in the heart,
But when wars shall be ended, and safety, return-
Brings back to the cheek of the maiden the bloom
When Cruelty, Bigotry, Theft, and Extortion
And Brotherhood comes to accomplish the plan
When Plenty and Peace shall replace Dearth and
Then our flag will forget all the fire of its anger,
New York, Oct. 12, 1849.
W. I. F.