« PreviousContinue »
Edmund came, and a short time saw him a welcome guest at the oldfushioned residence of Captain Fitzallan, whose boat was always in attendance, as he took a proud pleasure in shewing the varied beauties of the lakes (with which he was so faniliar) to the young Englishman. Days flew by unheeded ; at least the young people marked not their flight, and the old man loved to see them happy.
Femund believed the fairy tales of his childhood realized amidst those seines of enchantment, and forgot his fond mother and distant home in the sority of the lovely Irish girl, who in the artless confidence of youth trusted her happiness to his keeping, and never for a moment doubted his truth. They had exchanged mutual vows of love and constancy. No thought of future ill shaded the sweet sunshine of their happiness, which was unruffled as the bosom of the lake beneath the summer sky. 'Tis ever thus in the bright and beautiful morning of existence, when every leaf of life is green, when generous feelings swell the young heart, still true to nature-ave, ever trius, before the world with artificial colouring spoils life's freshna Alas! that sorrow should cloud the brightness of that morning, chill those generous feclings, leaving the heart a cheerless desert. Edmund and Rize saw not the coming storm that threatened to separate them for ever,
But we must now transfer the reader to a more distant and more worldly
There is an air of home-felt comfort and tranquil beauty, about most of the English villages : their neat and comfortable cottages where peace and plenty seem to dwell; the pretty churches o'ertopping the hills; the well clad, well fed peasantry--all convey an idea of the benign influence, and foatering care of good landlords who feel a noble pride in the prosperity of their tenants, and wisely deem the protection they extend to them the true bond of national union. It is this that reflects such high honour on the land. d renty of England, and justly entitles then to the high station they held in their native land. Near to one of those villages in a rich domain rise in proud beauty the mansion of the Beaumonts. The family consisted of Mr. Beaumont, his wife, and two sons, the younger of whom was his mother's favourite, and our hero of the lakes.
Mirs. Beaumont was a proud haughty woman of strong feeling and prejudices, and had no idea of any one daring to oppose her will; she deemed very few worthy of aspiring to an alliance with her family, and had often declared that her daughters-in-law should boazt birth, wealth, and English lincage. Edmund from his infancy had been the dearest object of her affections ; his personal beauty and strong likeness to hersel-his sweet disposition and manly bearing, enhanced still more her fondness; as he grew up he importuned his mother to allow him to enter the army, but from year to vear she tried to divert his thoughts from a military life, and at the period of this lule she agreed to his making a little tour, hoping to drive the idea from his mind by variety and change of scene. His tutor having consented to accompany hum, Edmund selected Ireland as the country he wished most to visit, and though his mother had strong prejudices against the Irish, she did not like to oppose himn in every thing. This tutor who had some abstruse work in hand which he intended publishing, did not much relish the Irish excursion, but feared refusing the request made to him of accompanving Edmund, by a family who had so much patronage to bestow, and to whom he already owed so much; he determined however, as the event proved, to be as little restraint on Edmund as possible. Mr. Laurier, the tutor, when some short time at Killarney, found it necessary to go to Dublin, for a few days, in order to refer to some books relative to the work he was about publishing. On his return he found Edmund had made a useful acquaintance in the person of Captain Fitzallan. So matters rested, and weeks flew on in this way, when at length Mr. Laurier thought it time to return to England, and was quite astonished at the reluctance Edmund expressed, when the subject was mentioned. Strange suspicions began to disturb the tutor's mind, and he determined to observe his young friend closely; he laid aside his books, and took a boat the following morning to Captain Fitzallan's residence, where he was hospitably received, and invited to remain the day. It was his first introduction to Rose, and he saw at once clearly the cause of Edmund's refusal to return home. A pang shot through his heart at the recollection of his own ncg. lect of the charge committed to his care. The only reparation he could make, was to write to Mrs. Beaumont immediately, stating his apprehensions, and requesting her to use her authority by recalling her son. Anger and jealousy, (yes, jealousy that any one should rival her in her son's affections) filled the mother's soul, and she was seized with a fit on reading the letter ; her life was in imminent danger, and her medical attendants declared the least opposition to her will would prove fatal. Edmund soon after received a letter from his father, summoning him immediately home, as his mother was very ill and most anxious to see him. The communication, however, suppressed the receipt of Mr. Laurier's letter. Edmund who loved his mother fondly, determined to obey. But how was be to part Rose, the confiding, artless, lovely girl, and her warm-hearted uncle, who treated him with such ingenuous hospitality ? He could have passed his life with them on the shore of that beautiful lake. When should he meet Rose again? His mother's prejudices, his father's pride, would separate them for ever. Could he prevail on her to become his wife, he might by that endearing title, claim her hereafter; his parents would in time relent; seventeen is not the age of prudence, particularly if the blessing of maternal guardianship be wanting; and Rose had never heard a mother's warning voice, or known her gentle care.
Edmund had consented to accompany his tutor the following night in the mail which left for Dublin, so that a few hours more and he should part Rose perhaps for ever. Yet he, with all the eloquence of love, urged her to become his wife before the bitter hour cf separation; he would arrange with the clergyman to meet them at the little rustic chapel in the mountains, by sud-rise the following morning It was not very difficult to prevail on one so young, so confiding, and inexperienced, to take this imprudent step ; Edmund had a powerful, though silent advocate in the pleadings of his gentle mistress's heart; and she at length consented; but no sooner had she done so, than she became affrighted at the idea of stealing from her uncle's house at that early hour ; and disposing of her heart and hand without either his knowledge or consent;-there was ingratitude in the very thought, and she shrank tremblingly from it. But Limund declared " it would ruin all their plans if her uncle even suspected them.” She knew not how to oppose his arguments, but veilding, she was a thuppy. And who is tver so when deaf to the silent monitor, the small still voice, within the bo-om, whose dictates of unerrin, truth lead to present peace, and eternal happines
The young bride elect rose next morning at break of day ; Sora her fanihful attendant assisted at her simple toilette, and wrapping a cloik rulind huur, they both passed out of the house by a back dior. The little chapel was a'rout half a mile distant in the mountains; hories were prepared for them to rice, and Puddly, tie Captain's servant walked beside thein. It was a grey autumnal morning in the beginning of October. The air was chill, and a fresh breeze stirred the waters of the lake. Heavy vapours from the Atlantic rested on the summit of the distant mountains. Rose felt the influence of the atmosphere, and her heart beat with timid apprehension. When they reached the little chapel, Edmund (who was already there) assisted her to dismount, and, pressing her hand, whispered words of encouragement. In a few moments the party stood within the rural temple, and in the presence of the clergyman and their humble followers, Edmund and Rose pledged their faith to each other for life. It appeared to Nora a very lonesome dismal wedding, and she whispered to Paddy that she observed a solitary magpie perch on some heath near the chapel door-" a very unlucky sign,” but she would not mention it to the mistress. Edmund had promised to breakfast with Captain Fitzallan on that morning, the last of his visit to Killarney; he therefore accompanied his fair bride on her return home. The uncle was accustomed to his niece's habit of taking early rides, and consequently she knew he would not be alarmed at her absence. The bridal party quitted the rustic chapel : as they did so, the sun shone brightly on the wild road before them ; the heavy vapours which shrouded the mountains were floating fast away ; Rose's spirits revived beneath the smile of Heaven. She thought the change auspicious, remembering the old adage“ happy the bride the sun shines on.'
Rose was received by her unsuspecting uncle with his usual affection. He noticed her silence, as she took her place at the breakfast table, but he attributed it to the charitable visit he supposed she had been making to some poor family that morning. Edmund tried to be gay, but it was an effort. The old man looked alternately at each from time to time, until a thought suggested itself that something unusual affected both, particularly Rose, who eat not a morsel. At length he exclaimed, “ My children what is the matter?" Rose, looking towards her uncle, found his eyes fixed on her; their tender expression touched the chord of affection in her 'bosom ; throwing herself into his arms she wept like a child : cuncealment was no longer possible ; and all was soon told! The old man was fully convinced of the great imprudence they were guilty of, but it was foreign to his kind nature to reproach those he loved, and how could he blame Edmund for preferring his little Rose to all the girls he had ever known ? no one was wrong but himself, and he declared he was an old fool not to have foreseen it. Not long after this denouement, Mr. Laurier arrived ; his anger and disappointment may be imagined when he heard the events of the morning. How should he break the news to Mr. and Mrs. Beaumont? In his vexation he would scarcely speak to Edmund, whom he insisted should accompany him at once to Dublin, showing him a letter he had received that day from England, with very alarming accounts of his mother's health. Edmund took a sad and tender fare well of his youthful bride, vowing eternal fidelity, and promising to return the moment his mother was convalescent.
A few days brought him to his parent's side; and she welcomed him with the foudest affection. Her physicians had ordered change of climate and of scene for the restoration of her health, and she declared her intention of taking her son with her. This was a deathblow to Edmund's hopes; he avowed his marriage, and his determination to return to Ireland and claim his wife. His mother's passions were roused at this intelligence, and she applied to her husband to use his authority in breaking the marriage. Her son was not of age; and, according to the laws of England, it was illegal, the ceremony having only been performed by a Catholic clergyman. Every art and persuasion were used to make Edmund a party to their wishes, but in vain. Nothing therefore remained out to take him abroad, and prevent all correspondence between him and “the artful Irish girl," as they called her. Accordingly his mother and family removed to Italy. At first, Edmund was in a state of irritability and sorrow; his letters to Ireland were intercepted, and those poor Rose wrote never reached him. His mother used all her influence (and she had much) to divert his thoughts and affections. She required his constant attendance, and introduced him into the best and most attractive society; he was very young, and by degrees he became less unhappy, and entered into all the amusements which surrounded him. Rose's silence at first pained him to the heart, but insensibly weaned his thoughts from her. His military penchant again revived, and he entreated his father and mother to get him a commission. Accordingly his father (his mother no longer dissenting) wrote to Colonel L— ra friend of his in London, to procure one for Edmund as soon as possible. At this time they had been two years in Italy, and his mother's health quite re-established; they prepared to return home.
But how did the young forsaken wife support the neglect of the faithless wanderer ? Had she forgotten him ? Had she ceased to love him? No! such is not woman's nature. Woman worships to the last the idol of her heart, though the beauty of the shrine be fled, leaving it a broken and deserted ruin. Day after day, she awaited his promised letters, till at length wearied with disappointment her spirits sank ; doubts of Edmund's truth were the last to present themselves to her mind, but too soon they did come in all their bitterness. Indignation at first swelled her gentle bosom, but tenderness and love soon resumed their place, and left her mourning over the past in fruitless sorrow. It almost broke her fond uncle's heart to see his sweet Rose evidently drooping, her cheek so pale,-her eyes dim with tears,—the music of her voice hushed to silence,-her health rapidly declining. She was a blighted flower fading away even in the morning of spring. The physician (an old friend of her uncle's) whom he called on to attend ber, could not minister to a mind diseased. He recommended change of air and scene as absolutely necessary to arrest, if possible, the malady which threatened her. Her uncle had some military friends in Plymouth, and thither he purposed going, for a while, and trying the effects of the southern climate of England on his beloved child. Those only, who have felt the lingering death of hope, and the soul sickening pangs of suspense, can know how surely they undermine health and strength.
The wound poor Rose had received from him she loved, sank festering deeply into her bosom. The solitude of her mountain home, and the seclusion in which she lived, were calculated to preserve in their first freshness the tender and confiding feelings of her bosom, which intercourse with the heartless world but too often wither and destroy. Her restoration therefore to health and happiness, were beyond the reach of art, which may occasionally alleviate suffering, but can never triumph over nature.
The Beaumont family had been some months re-established in their English home, where they were welcomed by their happy prosperous tenantry. Edmund had been gazetted immediately on his return, and his military ardour was likely to be put to the test. His regiment in a very short time was ordered out to India. His mother was in despair, and urged him to sell out, but he would not listen to such a proposal. Fear of the Irish connection was ever before his father's mind; and, of the two, he preferred that which in his prejudiced opinion was the lesser evil. Ali was preparation for Edmund's departure ; he took a most affecting and tender leave of his family and of his mother in particular, whom he fondly loved. He was to join his brother officers at Plymouth, from whence they were to mail. The day after his arrival at that port, as he passed through part of the town, which commands a view of the sea, his attention was attracted by a female figure sitting at a window of one of the houses ; her cheek rested un her hand, which thus shaded her face ; but the outline of the head, with its drapery of golden ringlets falling round it, and the elegance of the slight delicate figure in the stillness of its attitude, reminded him of a face and form he once loved in all the pride of health and beauty. His heart throbbed at the recollection, and he stood transfixed. Slowly the lady turned to gaze on the sea. Oh! what remorse filled his soul, as the present shadowy likeness of the former four original met his view. The bright colouring of the morning bloom was gone; the hue of death had replaced it. Alas! how changed! Yet she was still the same. Edmund's frame trembled ; his brain seemed on fire. In the impetuosity of youth, he sought admittance to the house, and rushing into the drawing-room where she sat, caught the faded form of his deserted wife in his arms, pressing her cold lips, and calling her by every endearing title. But she heard him not. Unexpected JOV 18 often as oppressive as sorrow. It proved too much for Rose, in her debcate state of health, and ere she could pronounce her husband's name she had fainted. He rang for assistance: the uncle, and Nora appeared.
It is vain to attempt describing Edmund's feelings of shame and remorse, as be once more met the kind-hearted old captain. He could only say that he had come to make reparation for all the sorrow he had caused him, and his lovely niece. The old man looking towards her inanimate form, shook his bend sorrowfully, and the tears trembled on his eye-lids. Nora's resto. ratives recalled Rose to consciousness. Her eyes immediately turned towards Edmund, who knelt beside her. As she met his returning glance of affection, she seemed to gain strength. Her physician (who had been sent for) and her uncle would not then permit any explanation likely to excite her, but in a few days wl was told, and Edmund forgiven. In her uncle's presence, he and Rose were again united, according to the rites of the Church of England, and the young husband determined that nothing but death should again separate them. Yet, how could she undergo all the difficulties of a long voyage, in her precarious state of health? The troops were under sailing orders in a few days, and he must accompany them. How leave her? The physicians declared it might cost her life to take her to sca, in her very weak state, and at that time of the year. Edmund could not oppose them. He and poor Rose were again doomed to part, but it was arranged that she should follow in the latter end of Mav, three months after his departure, under the protection of an experienced captain and his wife. As long as Edinand remained, Rose seemed to improve in health. The lustre of her eye brightened ; the colour on her cheek returned in greater loveliess; but darkness was beneath that light, and death beneath that bloom. Treacherous consumption ever cheating the hopes of love, preved on the roung victim, while decking her with beauty for the grave.
Edmund was at length forced to go, and after the sad parting, hope still Auttered in the young wife's bosom, sustaining her fast fleeting existence. Her uncle promised to follow her and Edmund to India, but was now obliged to return to Ireland in order to dispose of his property. He there. fore, on a beautiful morning in the latter end of May, committed his beloved child to the protection of the captain and his wife, who promisd to consider
VOL. IV. NO. XV.