Part 11 out of 11
For several weeks Philip Beaufort was in imminent danger; for a
considerable part of that time he was unconscious; and when the peril was
past, his recovery was slow and gradual. It was the only illness to
which his vigorous frame had ever been subjected: and the fever had
perhaps exhausted him more than it might have done one in whose
constitution the disease had encountered less resistance. His brother;
imagining he had gone abroad, was unacquainted with his danger. None
tended his sick-bed save the hireling nurse, the feed physician, and the
unpurchasable heart of the only being to whom the wealth and rank of the
Heir of Beaufort Court were as nothing. Here was reserved for him Fate's
crowning lesson, in the vanity of those human wishes which anchor in gold
and power. For how many years had the exile and the outcast pined
indignantly for his birthright?--Lo! it was won: and with it came the
crushed heart and the smitten frame. As he slowly recovered sense and
reasoning, these thoughts struck him forcibly. He felt as if he were
rightly punished in having disdained, during his earlier youth, the
enjoyments within his reach. Was there nothing in the glorious health
--the unconquerable hope--the heart, if wrung, and chafed, and sorely
tried, free at least from the direst anguish of the passions,
disappointed and jealous love? Though now certain, if spared to the
future, to be rich, powerful, righted in name and honour, might he not
from that sick-bed envy his earlier past? even when with his brother
orphan he wandered through the solitary fields, and felt with what
energies we are gifted when we have something to protect; or when, loving
and beloved, he saw life smile out to him in the eyes of Eugenie; or
when, after that melancholy loss, he wrestled boldly, and breast to
breast with Fortune, in a far land, for honour and independence? There
is something in severe illness, especially if it be in violent contrast
to the usual strength of the body, which has often the most salutary
effect upon the mind; which often, by the affliction of the frame,
roughly wins us from the too morbid pains of the heart! which makes us
feel that, in mere LIFE, enjoyed as the robust enjoy it, God's Great
Principle of Good breathes and moves. We rise thus from the sick-bed
softened and humbled, and more disposed to look around us for such
blessings as we may yet command.
The return of Philip, his danger, the necessity of exertion, of tending
him, had roused Fanny from a state which might otherwise have been
permanently dangerous to the intellect so lately ripened within her.
With what patience, with what fortitude, with what unutterable thought
and devotion, she fulfilled that best and holiest woman's duty--let the
man whose struggle with life and death has been blessed with the vigil
that wakes and saves, imagine to himself. And in all her anxiety and
terror, she had glimpses of a happiness which it seemed to her almost
criminal to acknowledge. For, even in his delirium, her voice seemed to
have some soothing influence over him, and he was calmer while she was
by. And when at last he was conscious, her face was the first he saw,
and her name the first which his lips uttered. As then he grew gradually
stronger, and the bed was deserted for the sofa, he took more than the
old pleasure in hearing her read to him; which she did with a feeling
that lecturers cannot teach. And once, in a pause from this occupation,
he spoke to her frankly,--he sketched his past history--his last
sacrifice. And Fanny, as she wept, learned that he was no more
It has been said that this man, naturally of an active and impatient
temperament, had been little accustomed to seek those resources which are
found in books. But somehow in that sick chamber--it was Fanny's voice--
the voice of her over whose mind he had once so haughtily lamented, that
taught him how much of aid and solace the Herd of Men derive from the
Everlasting Genius of the Few.
Gradually, and interval by interval, moment by moment, thus drawn
together, all thought beyond shut out (for, however crushing for the time
the blow that had stricken Philip from health and reason, he was not that
slave to a guilty fancy, that he could voluntarily indulge--that he would
not earnestly seek to shun--all sentiments 'chat yet turned with unholy
yearning towards the betrothed of his brother);--gradually, I say, and
slowly, came those progressive and delicious epochs which mark a
revolution in the affections:--unspeakable gratitude, brotherly
tenderness, the united strength of compassion and respect that he had
felt for Fanny seemed, as he gained health, to mellow into feelings yet
more exquisite and deep. He could no longer delude himself with a vain
and imperious belief that it was a defective mind that his heart
protected; he began again to be sensible to the rare beauty of that
tender face--more lovely, perhaps, for the paleness that had replaced its
bloom. The fancy that he had so imperiously checked before--before he
saw Camilla, returned to him, and neither pride nor honour had now the
right to chase the soft wings away. One evening, fancying himself alone,
he fell into a profound reverie; he awoke with a start, and the
exclamation, "was it true love that I ever felt for Camilla, or a
passion, a frenzy, a delusion?"
His exclamation was answered by a sound that seemed both of joy and
grief. He looked up, and saw Fanny before him; the light of the moon,
just risen, fell full on her form, but her hands were clasped before her
face; he heard her sob.
"Fanny, dear Fanny!" he cried, and sought to throw himself from the sofa
to her feet. But she drew herself away, and fled from the chamber silent
as a dream.
Philip rose, and, for the first time since his illness, walked, but with
feeble steps, to and fro the room. With what different emotions from
those in which last, in fierce and intolerable agony, he had paced that
narrow boundary! Returning health crept through his veins--a serene, a
kindly, a celestial joy circumfused his heart. Had the time yet come
when the old Florimel had melted into snow; when the new and the true
one, with its warm life, its tender beauty, its maiden wealth of love,
had risen before his hopes? He paused before the window; the spot within
seemed so confined, the night without so calm and lovely, that he forgot
his still-clinging malady, and unclosed the casement: the air came soft
and fresh upon his temples, and the church-tower and spire, for the first
time, did not seem to him to rise in gloom against the heavens. Even the
gravestone of Catherine, half in moonlight, half in shadow, appeared to
him to wear a smile. His mother's memory was become linked with the
"Thou art vindicated--thy Sidney is happy," he murmured: "to her the
Fair hopes, and soft thoughts busy within him, he remained at the
casement till the increasing chill warned him of the danger he incurred.
The next day, when the physician visited him, he found the fever had
returned. For many days, Philip was again in danger--dull, unconscious
even of the step and voice of Fanny.
He woke at last as from a long and profound sleep; woke so refreshed, so
revived, that he felt at once that some great crisis had been passed, and
that at length he had struggled back to the sunny shores of Life.
By his bedside sat Liancourt, who, long alarmed at his disappearance, had
at last contrived, with the help of Mr. Barlow, to trace him to Gawtrey's
house, and had for several days taken share in the vigils of poor Fanny.
While he was yet explaining all this to Philip, and congratulating
him on his evident recovery, the physician entered to confirm the
congratulation. In a few days the invalid was able to quit his room, and
nothing but change of air seemed necessary for his convalescence. It was
then that Liancourt, who had for two days seemed impatient to unburden
himself of some communication, thus addressed him:--
"My--My dear friend, I have learned now your story from Barlow, who
called several times during your relapse; and who is the more anxious
about you, as the time for the decision of your case now draws near. The
sooner you quit this house the better."
"Quit this house! and why? Is there not one in this house to whom I owe
my fortune and my life?"
"Yes; and for that reason I say, 'Go hence:' it is the only return you
can make her."
"I will," said Liancourt, gravely. "I have been a watcher with her by
your sick-bed, and I know what you must feel already:--nay, I must
confess that even the old servant has ventured to speak to me. You have
inspired that poor girl with feelings dangerous to her peace."
"Ha!" cried Philip, with such joy that Liancourt frowned, and said,
"Hitherto I have believed you too honourable to--"
"So you think she loves me?" interrupted Philip. "Yes; what then? You,
the heir of Beaufort Court, of a rental of L20,000. a year,--of an
historical name,--you cannot marry this poor girl?"
"Well!--I will consider what you say, and, at all events, I will leave
the house to attend the result of the trial. Let us talk no more on the
Philip had the penetration to perceive that Liancourt, who was greatly
moved by the beauty, the innocence, and the unprotected position of
Fanny, had not confined caution to himself; that with his characteristic
well-meaning bluntness, and with the license of a man somewhat advanced
in years, he had spoken to Fanny herself: for Fanny now seemed to shun
Philip,--her eyes were heavy, her manner was embarrassed. He saw the
change, but it did not grieve him; he hailed the omens which he drew from
And at last he and Liancourt went. He was absent three weeks, during
which time the formality of the friendly lawsuit was decided in the
plaintiff's favour; and the public were in ecstasies at the noble and
sublime conduct of Mr. Robert Beaufort: who, the moment he had discovered
a document which he might so easily have buried for ever in oblivion,
voluntarily agreed to dispossess himself of estates he had so long
enjoyed, preferring conscience to lucre. Some persons observed that it
was reported that Mr. Philip Beaufort had also been generous--that he had
agreed to give up the estates for his uncle's life, and was only in the
meanwhile to receive a fourth of the revenues. But the universal comment
was, "He could not have done less!" Mr. Robert Beaufort was, as Lord
Lilburne had once observed, a man who was born, made, and reared to be
spoken well of by the world; and it was a comfort to him now, poor man,
to feel that his character was so highly estimated. If Philip should
live to the age of one hundred, he will never become so respectable and
popular a man with the crowd as his worthy uncle. But does it much
matter? Philip returned to H---- the eve before the day fixed for the
marriage of his brother and Camilla.
From Night, Sunshine and Day arose--HES
The sun of early May shone cheerfully over the quiet suburb of H----.
In the thoroughfares life was astir. It was the hour of noon--the hour
at which commerce is busy, and streets are full. The old retired trader,
eying wistfully the rolling coach or the oft-pausing omnibus, was
breathing the fresh and scented air in the broadest and most crowded
road, from which, afar in the distance, rose the spires of the
metropolis. The boy let loose from the day-school was hurrying home to
dinner, his satchel on his back: the ballad-singer was sending her
cracked whine through the obscurer alleys, where the baker's boy, with
puddings on his tray, and the smart maid-servant, despatched for porter,
paused to listen. And round the shops where cheap shawls and cottons
tempted the female eye, many a loitering girl detained her impatient
mother, and eyed the tickets and calculated her hard-gained savings for
the Sunday gear. And in the corners of the streets steamed the itinerant
kitchens of the piemen, and rose the sharp cry, "All hot! all hot!" in
the ear of infant and ragged hunger. And amidst them all rolled on some
lazy coach of ancient merchant or withered maiden, unconscious of any
life but that creeping through their own languid veins. And before the
house in which Catherine died, there loitered many stragglers, gossips,
of the hamlet, subscribers to the news-room hard by, to guess, and
speculate, and wonder why, from the church behind, there rose the merry
peal of the marriage-bell!
At length along the broad road leading from the great city, there were
seen rapidly advancing three carriages of a very different fashion from
those familiar to the suburb. On they came; swiftly they whirled round
the angle that conducted to the church; the hoofs of the gay steeds
ringing cheerily on the ground; the white favours of the servants
gleaming in the sun. Happy is the bride the sun shines on! And when the
carriages had thus vanished, the scattered groups melted into one crowd,
and took their way to the church. They stood idling without in the
burial-ground; many of them round the fence that guarded from their
footsteps Catherine's lonely grave. All in nature was glad,
exhilarating, and yet serene; a genial freshness breathed through the
soft air; not a cloud was to be seen in the smiling azure; even the old
dark yews seemed happy in their everlasting verdure. The bell ceased,
and then even the crowd grew silent; and not a sound was heard in that
solemn spot to whose demesnes are consecrated alike the Birth, the
Marriage, and the Death.
At length there came forth from the church door the goodly form of a rosy
beadle. Approaching the groups, he whispered the better-dressed and
commanded the ragged, remonstrated with the old and lifted his cane
against the young; and the result of all was, that the churchyard, not
without many a murmur and expostulation, was cleared, and the crowd fell
back in the space behind the gates of the principal entrance, where they
swayed and gaped and chattered round the carriages, which were to bear
away the bridal party.
Within the church, as the ceremony was now concluded, Philip Beaufort
conducted, hand-in-hand, silently along the aisle, his brother's wife.
Leaning on his stick, his cold sneer upon his thin lip, Lord Lilburne
limped, step by step, with the pair, though a little apart from them,
glancing from moment to moment at the face of Philip Beaufort, where he
had hoped to read a grief that he could not detect. Lord Lilburne had
carefully refrained from an interview with Philip till that day, and he
now only came to the wedding as a surgeon goes to an hospital, to examine
a disease he had been told would be great and sore: he was disappointed.
Close behind followed Sidney, radiant with joy, and bloom, and beauty;
and his kind guardian, the tears rolling down his eyes, murmured
blessings as he looked upon him. Mrs. Beaufort had declined attending
the ceremony--her nerves were too weak--but, behind, at a longer
interval, came Robert Beaufort, sober, staid, collected as ever to
outward seeming; but a close observer might have seen that his eye had
lost its habitual complacent cunning, that his step was more heavy, his
stoop more joyless. About his air there was a some thing crestfallen.
The consciousness of acres had passed away from his portly presence.
He was no longer a possessor, but a pensioner. The rich man, who had
decided as he pleased on the happiness of others, was a cipher; he had
ceased to have any interest in anything. What to him the marriage of
his daughter now? Her children would not be the heirs of Beaufort. As
Camilla kindly turned round, and through happy tears waited for his
approach, to clasp his hand, he forced a smile, but it was sickly and
piteous. He longed to creep away, and be alone.
"My father!" said Camilla, in her sweet low voice; and she extricated
herself from Philip, and threw herself on his breast.
"She is a good child," said Robert Beaufort vacantly, and, turning his
dry eyes to the group, he caught instinctively at his customary
commonplaces;--"and a good child, Mr. Sidney, makes a good wife!"
The clergyman bowed as if the compliment were addressed to himself: he
was the only man there whom Robert Beaufort could now deceive.
"My sister," said Philip Beaufort, as once more leaning on his arm, they
paused before the church door, "may Sidney love and prize you as--as I
would have done; and believe me, both of you, I have no regret, no
memory, that wounds me now."
He dropped the hand, and motioned to her father to load her to the
carriage. Then winding his arm into Sidney's, he said,--
"Wait till they are gone: I have one word yet with you. Go on,
The clergyman bowed, and walked through the churchyard. But Lilburne,
pausing and surveying Philip Beaufort, said to him, whisperingly,--
"And so much for feeling--the folly! So much for generosity--the
delusion! Happy man!"
"I am thoroughly happy, Lord Lilburne."
"Are you?--Then, it was neither feeling nor generosity; and we were taken
in! Good day." With that he limped slowly to the gate.
Philip answered not the sarcasm even by a look. For at that moment a
loud shout was set up by the mob without--they had caught a glimpse of
"Come, Sidney, this way." he said; "I must not detain you long."
Arm in arm they passed out of the church, and turned to the spot hard by,
where the flowers smiled up to them from the stone on their mother's
The old inscription had been effaced, and the name of CATHERINE BEAUFORT
was placed upon the stone. "Brother," said Philip, "do not forget this
grave: years hence, when children play around your own hearth. Observe,
the name of Catherine Beaufort is fresher on the stone than the dates of
birth and death--the name was only inscribed there to-day--your wedding-
day. Brother, by this grave we are now indeed united."
"Oh, Philip!" cried Sidney, in deep emotion, clasping the hand stretched
out to him; "I feel, I feel how noble, how great you are--that you have
sacrificed more than I dreamed of--"
"Hush!" said Philip, with a smile. "No talk of this. I am happier than
you deem me. Go back now--she waits you."
"And you?--leave you!--alone!"
"Not alone," said Philip, pointing to the grave.
Scarce had he spoken when, from the gate, came the shrill, clear voice of
"We wait for Mr. Sidney Beaufort."
Sidney passed his hand over his eyes, wrung the hand of his brother once
more, and in a moment was by Camilla's side.
Another shout--the whirl of the wheels--the trampling of feet--the
distant hum and murmur--and all was still. The clerk returned to lock
up the church--he did not observe where Philip stood in the shadow of the
wall--and went home to talk of the gay wedding, and inquire at what hour
the funeral of the young woman; his next-door neighbour, would take place
the next day.
It might be a quarter of an hour after Philip was thus left--nor had he
moved from the spot--when he felt his sleeve pulled gently. He turned
round and saw before him the wistful face of Fanny!
"So you would not come to the wedding?" said he.
"No. But I fancied you might be here alone--and sad."
"And you will not even wear the dress I gave you?"
"Another time. Tell me, are you unhappy?"
"Unhappy, Fanny! No; look around. The very burial-ground has a smile.
See the laburnums clustering over the wall, listen to the birds on the
dark yews above, and yonder see even the butterfly has settled upon her
"I am not unhappy." As he thus spoke he looked at her earnestly, and
taking both her hands in his, drew her gently towards him, and continued:
"Fanny, do you remember, that, leaning over that gate, I once spoke to
you of the happiness of marriage where two hearts are united? Nay,
Fanny, nay, I must go on. It was here in this spot,--it was here that
I first saw you on my return to England. I came to seek the dead, and
I have thought since, it was my mother's guardian spirit that drew me
hither to find you--the living! And often afterwards, Fanny, you would
come with me here, when, blinded and dull as I was, I came to brood and
to repine, insensible of the treasures even then perhaps within my reach.
But, best as it was: the ordeal through which I have passed has made me
more grateful for the prize I now dare to hope for. On this grave your
hand daily renewed the flowers. By this grave, the link between the Time
and the Eternity, whose lessons we have read together, will you consent
to record our vows? Fanny, dearest, fairest, tenderest, best, I love
you, and at last as alone you should be loved!--I woo you as my wife!
Mine, not for a season, but for ever--for ever, even when these graves
are open, and the World shrivels like a scroll. Do you understand me?--
do you heed me?--or have I dreamed that that--"
He stopped short--a dismay seized him at her silence. Had he been
mistaken in his divine belief!--the fear was momentary: for Fanny, who
had recoiled as he spoke, now placing her hands to her temples, gazing on
him, breathlessly and with lips apart, as if, indeed, with great effort
and struggle her modest spirit conceived the possibility of the happiness
that broke upon it, advanced timidly, her face suffused in blushes; and,
looking into his eyes, as if she would read into his very soul, said,
with an accent, the intenseness of which showed that her whole fate hung
on his answer,--
"But this is pity?--they have told you that I--in short, you are
generous--you--you--Oh, deceive me not! Do you love her still?--Can you
--do you love the humble, foolish Fanny?"
"As God shall judge me, sweet one, I am sincere! I have survived a
passion--never so deep, so tender, so entire as that I now feel for you!
And, oh, Fanny, hear this true confession. It was you--you to whom my
heart turned before I saw Camilla!--against that impulse I struggled in
the blindness of a haughty error!"
Fanny uttered a low and suppressed cry of delight and rapture. Philip
"Fanny, make blessed the life you have saved. Fate destined us for each
other. Fate for me has ripened your sweet mind. Fate for you has
softened this rugged heart. We may have yet much to bear and much to
learn. We will console and teach each other!"
He drew her to his breast as he spoke--drew her trembling, blushing,
confused, but no more reluctant; and there, by the GRAVE that had been
so memorable a scene in their common history, were murmured those vows in
which all this world knows of human happiness is treasured and recorded--
love that takes the sting from grief, and faith that gives eternity to
love. All silent, yet all serene around them! Above, the heaven,--at
their feet, the grave:--For the love, the grave!--for the faith, the
CHAPTER THE LAST.
"A labore reclinat otium."--HORAT.
[Leisure unbends itself from labour.]
I feel that there is some justice in the affection the general reader
entertains for the old-fashioned and now somewhat obsolete custom, of
giving to him, at the close of a work, the latest news of those who
sought his acquaintance through its progress.
The weak but well-meaning Smith, no more oppressed by the evil
influence of his brother, has continued to pass his days in comfort and
respectability on the income settled on him by Philip Beaufort. Mr. and
Mrs. Roger Morton still live, and have just resigned their business to
their eldest son; retiring themselves to a small villa adjoining the town
in which they had made their fortune. Mrs. Morton is very apt, when she
goes out to tea, to talk of her dear deceased sister-in-law, the late
Mrs. Beaufort, and of her own remarkable kindness to her nephew when a
little boy. She observes that, in fact, the young men owe everything to
Mr. Roger and herself; and, indeed, though Sidney was never of a grateful
disposition, and has not been near her since, yet the elder brother, the
Mr. Beaufort, always evinces his respect to them by the yearly present of
a fat buck. She then comments on the ups and downs of life; and observes
that it is a pity her son Tom preferred the medical profession to the
church. Their cousin, Mr. Beaufort, has two livings. To all this Mr.
Roger says nothing, except an occasional "Thank Heaven, I want no man's
help! I am as well to do as my neighbours. But that's neither here nor
There are some readers--they who do not thoroughly consider the truths of
this life--who will yet ask, "But how is Lord Lilburne punished?"
Punished?--ay, and indeed, how? The world, and not the poet, must answer
that question. Crime is punished from without. If Vice is punished, it
must be from within. The Lilburnes of this hollow world are not to be
pelted with the soft roses of poetical justice. They who ask why he is
not punished may be the first to doff the hat to the equipage in which my
lord lolls through the streets! The only offence he habitually committed
of a nature to bring the penalties of detection, he renounced the moment
he perceived there was clanger of discovery! he gambled no more after
Philip's hint. He was one of those, some years after, most bitter upon
a certain nobleman charged with unfair play--one of those who took the
accusation as proved; and whose authority settled all disputes thereon.
But, if no thunderbolt falls on Lord Lilburne's head--if he is fated
still to eat, and drink, and to die on his bed, he may yet taste the
ashes of the Dead Sea fruit which his hands have culled. He is grown
old. His infirmities increase upon him; his sole resources of pleasure
--the senses--are dried up. For him there is no longer savour in the
viands, or sparkle in the wine,--man delights him not, nor woman neither.
He is alone with Old Age, and in the sight of Death.
With the exception of Simon, who died in his chair not many days after
Sidney's marriage, Robert Beaufort is the only one among the more
important agents left at the last scene of this history who has passed
from our mortal stage.
After the marriage of his daughter he for some time moped and drooped.
But Philip learned from Mr. Blackwell of the will that Robert had made
previously to the lawsuit; and by which, had the lawsuit failed, his
rights would yet have been preserved to him. Deeply moved by a
generosity he could not have expected from his uncle, and not pausing
to inquire too closely how far it was to be traced to the influence of
Arthur, Philip so warmly expressed his gratitude, and so surrounded Mr.
Beaufort with affectionate attentions, that the poor man began to recover
his self-respect,--began even to regard the nephew he had so long
dreaded, as a son,--to forgive him for not marrying Camilla. And,
perhaps, to his astonishment, an act in his life for which the customs of
the world (that never favour natural ties not previously sanctioned by
the legal) would have rather censured than praised, became his
consolation; and the memory he was most proud to recall. He gradually
recovered his spirits; he was very fond of looking over that will: he
carefully preserved it: he even flattered himself that it was necessary
to preserve Philip from all possible litigation hereafter; for if the
estates were not legally Philip's, why, then, they were his to dispose of
as he pleased. He was never more happy than when his successor was by
his side; and was certainly a more cheerful and, I doubt not, a better
man--during the few years in which he survived the law-suit--than ever he
had been before. He died--still member for the county, and still quoted
as a pattern to county members--in Philip's arms; and on his lips there
was a smile that even Lilburne would have called sincere.
Mrs. Beaufort, after her husband's death, established herself in London;
and could never be persuaded to visit Beaufort Court. She took a
companion, who more than replaced, in her eyes, the absence of Camilla.
And Camilla-Spencer-Sidney. They live still by the gentle Lake, happy in
their own serene joys and graceful leisure; shunning alike ambition and
its trials, action and its sharp vicissitudes; envying no one, covetous
of nothing; making around them, in the working world, something of the
old pastoral and golden holiday. If Camilla had at one time wavered in
her allegiance to Sidney, her good and simple heart has long since been
entirely regained by his devotion; and, as might be expected from her
disposition, she loved him better after marriage than before.
Philip had gone through severer trials than Sidney. But, had their
earlier fates been reversed, and that spirit, in youth so haughty and
self-willed, been lapped in ease and luxury, would Philip now be a better
or a happier man? Perhaps, too, for a less tranquil existence than his
brother, Philip yet may be reserved; but, in proportion to the uses of
our destiny, do we repose or toil: he who never knows pain knows but the
half of pleasure. The lot of whatever is most noble on the earth below
falls not amidst the rosy Gardels of the Epicurean. We may envy the man
who enjoys and rests; but the smile of Heaven settles rather on the front
of him who labours and aspires.
And did Philip ever regret the circumstances that had given him Fanny for
the partner of his life? To some who take their notions of the Ideal
from the conventional rules of romance, rather than from their own
perceptions of what is true, this narrative would have been more pleasing
had Philip never loved but Fanny. But all that had led to that love had
only served to render it more enduring and concentred. Man's strongest
and worthiest affection is his last--is the one that unites and embodies
all his past dreams of what is excellent--the one from which Hope springs
out the brighter from former disappointments--the one in which the
MEMORIES are the most tender and the most abundant--the one which,
replacing all others, nothing hereafter can replace.
. . . . . .
And now ere the scene closes, and the audience, whom perhaps the actors
may have interested for a while, disperse, to forget amidst the pursuits
of actual life the Shadows that have amused an hour, or beguiled a care,
let the curtain fall on one happy picture:--
It is some years after the marriage of Philip and Fanny. It is a summer
morning. In a small old-fashioned room at Beaufort Court, with its
casements open to the gardens, stood Philip, having just entered; and
near the window sat Fanny, his boy by her side. She was at the mother's
hardest task--the first lessons to the first-born child; and as the boy
looked up at her sweet earnest face with a smile of intelligence on his
own, you might have seen at a glance how well understood were the teacher
and the pupil. Yes: whatever might have been wanting in the Virgin to
the full development of mind, the cares of the mother had supplied. When
a being was born to lean on her alone--dependent on her providence for
life--then hour after hour, step after step, in the progress of infant
destinies, had the reason of the mother grown in the child's growth,
adapting itself to each want that it must foresee, and taking its
perfectness and completion from the breath of the New Love!
The child caught sight of Philip and rushed to embrace him.
"See!" whispered Fanny, as she also hung upon him, and strange
recollections of her own mysterious childhood crowded upon her,--"See,"
whispered she, with a blush half of shame and half of pride, "the poor
idiot girl is the teacher of your child!"
"And," answered Philip, "whether for child or mother, what teacher is
Thus saying, he took the boy into his arms; and, as he bent over those
rosy cheeks, Fanny saw, from the movement of his lips and the moisture in
his eyes, that he blessed God. He looked upon the mother's face, he
glanced round on the flowers and foliage of the luxurious summer, and
again he blessed God: And without and within, it was Light and MORNING!