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the nursery; night and morning spying his opportunity, Lance | I am comparatively rich. I have earned a holiday, and shall Pomfret haunted the nursery too, but the creaking boots never take it; and as you suggest, I will be in time for this ball-my caught him there. cousin's first ball. Twelve months ago, I was 'Dear Lance.' What will she say to me now?"
MUST do something for my nephew," says the great Pomfret, taking the best chair in his sister-in-law's poor little room. "I positively must, Louisa. It is quite time he was settled." "We shall be very grateful to you," is the meek response. "Would you like now-anything in the lawyer line? or the church?"
"I think not, it is a great expense and doesn't pay. clerkship would do."
"I could get him into one of the best houses in the city. But he must go at once; no nonsense and weakness, Louisa; he is getting on in years."
Then Louisa sheds a few tears, and declares there shall be no weakness from her; she will be only too glad for her dear boy to do well.
And the banker says "Quite right; of course; very proper;" and gees leisurely back to gaze upon the splendid exterior of his own suburban mansion. He thinks of his wealth as he stands there, rattling his chain; he thinks what an heiress his daughter will be, and wonders who there is in all the world worthy to take her from his hand, and bear the name of Pomfret. He thinks, too, that it will be well to get Lance out of the way -not that he could have any misgivings of that sort; not of course that it would be possible for his presumption to carry him so far; still, there will be no harm in putting him on a stool safe in some far-off counting-house.
"Look bere, Lance." says a little figure all lace and finery, "papa will be home directly, and then you must go. He says I am not to play with you so much; but I like to, and when you are in that great nasty London, what shall I do?"
"You won't forget me? Remember what you promised this morning."
"To be your little wife?-yes; but I am such a wee child, and you are a great big boy-man, I mean. You can remember when I was a baby."
"I should think so," says Lance, laughing. "Come, you used to kiss me then; climb up and give me one now, and say good-bye."
He reaches the door, and then the little packet of lace trots after him.
"Lance, when people promise to be people's wives, they can't turn back-can they?"
"No, certainly not."
"Then you see I am safe, because I promised. Kiss me again, Lance."
What a tiny thing she is yet, and how tight the little arms cling round his neck! There is a sob-only one, a very little one. Now he is gone, and she is back amongst the window curtains, thinking with all the gravity of childhood that she is utterly miserable, and it is no use trying to be happy without
"Good-bye, Launcelot," says the banker: "I hope you will do well. Yes, yes; good-bye; take care of your money, and don't get into bad company."
"ALL these years," writes Lance to the widow, "I have worked hard, and the hardest is over. I see independence before me; I write myself 'Launcelot Pomfret, Merchant,' and
There she is, wandering up and down amongst the flowers; a flower herself, reared like a hot-house plant.
"My eighteenth birthday!" murmurs the heiress. old I shall be! After this I must get steady and grave, like Lance; but Lance is twenty-eight."
There is the creaking of the pompous boots, and the portly figure stands in the doorway.
"I cannot help it, papa; I do enjoy the thought of this ball very much. It is my first, you know; I hope you will like it. And Lance will be here."
A frown wrinkled up the banker's forehead; but his daughter did not see it.
"I meant you to enjoy it," he begins formally; " and I hope-nay, I am sure that you will behave in a manner befitting your position as-as my daughter. But I see you are not dressed yet."
Wondering why he is so grave and formal, she goes up and kisses him; wondering still more when he holds the door open with scrupulous politeness, and says, with a slight wave of his hand towards a distant figure," Mr. Launcelot Pomfret, my daughter, Miss Pomfret. Go now, my love; you will be late, and Sir Robert Dacre has already arrived."
What does she care about Sir Robert Dacre? And not even to see Lance's face plainly! not to speak to him! to have nothing but a bow, just like a stranger would have given her! What was it for? Thinking about it, she determines to find him out as soon as she goes down; it will be all right then; the banker was in such a hurry; he is always inclined to be fussy about punctuality. Thinking about it still, she answers at random those tiresome questions about her hair and ornaments, and runs away from her maid's admiring gaze. Thinking still, she watches the guests arrive and receives them; but no Lance is to be seen.
There is the music she used to think so delightful; but it only makes her impatient now. And there is Sir Robert Dacre coming to take her away as his partner, while the banker looks on complacently, and whispers to himself Sir Robert DacrePomfret, Lady Dacre-Pomfret."
Horrible man! She never hated him before. Why does he bend down to her so deferentially, and speak almost in a whisper? Even after the dance she is not suffered to escape, but must walk up and down on his arm with his emphatic nonsense in her ear.
"No," says Acton, impatiently, "I don't think I do enjoy it at all. I expected to; but I think it is very stupid." "I had hoped, Miss Pomfret," begins the baronet, impressively
"I beg your pardon, Sir Robert; excuse me one moment; I see some one I must speak to."
She is off at once, never seeing his stare of disgust and amazement; for Lance is there, alone in one of the conservatories; and she goes up to him frankly as usual, holding out her hand. "Lance, Lance, what is the matter? Why wouldn't you speak to me? I have been so unhappy"
How could he help taking the hand she held out to him? How could he help the look on his face or the words on his lips at that moment? How could he help the clasp that brought a sudden change over her face, and made her tremble before him?
They stand there silent; he struggling with the passionate desire to say out all his thoughts, and she wondering why she never had before that precious consciousness which she would not give up now for all the world. Silent still she moves on, and he follows; for one moment her hand is on his arm, and then he is gone. How can he stay there, near her, and not speak? To-morrow he will see his uncle. For the rest of that night the heiress acts her part in a dream; again and again his one passionate xclamation comes to her ears: even Sir Robert Dacre cannot rouse her up to annoyance. But she is glad when it is all over and she is alone-alone with the new hope which has made life so beautiful.
And to-morrow, fearing and yet hoping, for he does not see why this happiness should be denied him, Lance reaches the banker's house.
There a little figure rises up from her seat at his entrance, and greets him timidly. She is alone. How can he help himself? All lies before her now, all his hopes, all the beautiful future he has been dreaming over for years; while she knew nothing. Her hand is in his, and the pompous boots are at the door.
me? I wish I had never known you as you are. I wish I could bring back the feeling I used to have for my dear father. I wish I could call up some particle of respect, if not love; and when you tell me these things, how can I?”
"Bnt now," proceeded the banker, savagely, "I urge you because I want him. I want his influence, his name, his money!" "Money! Why that is worse than all. You whose very name is a proverb, want to sell your daughter for money. Tell One word breaks from Acton's lips; but she keeps her posi- it about the streets of London, would not the stones cry out tion.
"This familiarity," begins the banker, slowly, "when you were children together, was all very well at least it was permitted. Now, it is my duty to put a stop to it."
Familiarity! Acton would have cried out that Lance was her cousin, her father's nephew; but conscience told her it was not as such she regarded him.
And then comes from Lance, not the tale he has been telling her-that would not move the banker-but a calm detail of his position, of the prospects he thinks so bright himself.
"-To put a stop to it," repeats the pompous man, as though he had not heard a syllable, "utterly and for ever. I have to remind you, Acton, of what is due to yourself and me. I have to remind you, Launcelot, that this lady is my daughter and heiress; as far beyond your reach as the moon or the stars." "Papa," cries Acton, "I love him!"
against you? Look at the prayer-book in my hand, and tell me how I am to go through the marriage service with Sir Robert Dacre-even if that were possible-and it is not-I am not free. I belong to that name you will not suffer to be mentioned, as fully as though I were really his wife."
No answer but an oath. She is alone again.
In the city there are rumors afloat, which men will not speak of openly; hints and insinuations; the Times has a mysterious paragraph. Jones meeting his friend, asks anxiously, "Who do you bank with?''
"I! Oh not with Pomfret; I'm all right. By the way, is there anything in that?"
"In what? I've heard nothing distinct, nothing but a panic I should think."
Nothing but a panic. Up in his own room, all through the night Lance Pomfret is working over his papers. And in his
ders up and down with one word-in his mouth-"Ruin!"
A purple tint comes into the banker's face: "Silence, for room too, in the splendid house, Pomfret, the great banker, wanshame! A paltry clerk! a mean, beggarly quilldriver!"' "I love him better than any one in the whole world!" says Acton.
"A dishonorable scoundrel! I say it to his face, and he has the baseness to stand there and hear it. I request him to leave my house, and enter it no more. I tell him this is my daughter, the promised wife of Sir Robert Dacre-"
"Lance, dear Lance, never believe it," cries the heiress, clinging to him. "I can bid you good-bye now, since it must be; but never believe that, or any such report.'
One word broke from Lance: it was "Revenge!" "Oh Lance, not that, not that. Remember, I am yours always. Keep a good heart, as I will, and bear it. Above all, never part with hope." This was the good-bye, and the banker heard it silently.
HE same Acton, and yet changed; a little older-looking, and with a grave expression on her face, which
I was not there on the evening of the first ball.
And the banker has
changed too. His pomposity is the same, but he has altered. He is restless and nervous; he goes about like a man under the influence of a great terror.
"Years ago," says Acton - "I don't know how long it is, but it seems many years ago when you drove poor Lance away, I told you: I would never see Sir Robert Dacre again; I told you I would never marry any one of your choice. Why do you urge me now?"
"And years ago," says the banker, "before you could speak out your undutiful refusal, I vowed over your cradle to find a suitable match for my daughter, and I vowed that he should reverse the usual order of things, and take our name." "Lance bears it already."
"To the devil with Lance!" cries the banker fiercely; "keep his name to yourself, and never let me hear it. I conceal nothing from you, not even my motives. At first I urged Sir Robert upon you because he is a baronet of good old standing: I wanted a title-"
In the daybreak two men are together in that same room, a young man and an old one. The latter is shrunk and broken, his clothes hang miserably about him, his face is drawn down and withered. He looks at his companion despairingly, and says again, "Ruin!"
"You cannot meet your liabilities, I know. Give me an idea of the figure."
The old man bends down and whispers.
"That is heavy, but not hopeless. I am good for it. There is not a moment to be lost."
"Five minutes more, sir, and we shall be safe." "Five minutes! It has been a heavier run than I was prepared for. If I can gain time till to-morrow all will be well." Click. "Four minutes: keep perfectly calm, Wilson." "There is one man," whispers Wilson, "sure to come tonight. I've been looking for him all day."
Three minutes. "Is it heavy?"
"Too heavy for us" Two minutes.
No one, looking in the man's face, could have guessed what hung on these clicks of the timepiece. One minute. "There he is!"
Click. "Closed for to-night, sir; too late!"
"If he were but what he was once, what I thought him once," murmurs the heiress: "if he were only what he was all those years ago, when Lance went away, it would be better to bear. How he is changed!"
She is looking at her father wandering restlessly up and down before her, from door to door, from window to window.
"How old he has grown! I might be dreaming some horrible dream, for all the reality there seems about him. How he is changed!"
Now he comes up to her wistfully; he stops before her seat; he puts out his hands, and they shake piteously.
"If I were to ask my daughter to forgive me," begins the
A gesture of disgust from the heiress. "Why did you tell banker, "what would she say? If I bid her think the worst
she can of all that is past, but believe-only believe that I am sorry for it now, what will she say?"
Nothing. She is too full of wonder to speak.
"If I tell my daughter that ruin stared at me from every corner, and I was mad; that one who owed me a debt for illusage stepped in and had a noble revenge, that he saved me, took my good name into his hands and saved it-will she hesitate to repay him in some sort for that generous action ?''
"What does he ask?" "My daughter knows. "You know I cannot.
ing, and the other to construct a raft. To this raft the two boats were attached. Within the boats and on the raft as much provisions and water as could be got from the sinking ship were placed, and the crew, consisting of about sixty persons, was embarked on it, and the Jasseur left to her fate. Shortly after a heavy gale arose, and a most tremendous wave dashed over the raft, swamping with it ten of the men. withstanding every effort, it was impossible to recover any of them. The situation becoming every hour more precarious, and considerable fears being entertained that the lashings You know that I am bound-that I would give way, the captain determined to take to the boats,
She can repay him, not I."
would not be free if I could." "Only one thing then. See him and thank him for me." "That I can do."
The banker is gone, and there is another in his place. She knows it all now; there is no doubt, no hesitation. If anything were wanting to increase her pride in him, this would be it.
"Oh Lance, Lance, it was worthy of you!"
Those years that have been so dreary and long are forgotten; all the trouble that was weighing her down but a moment since is dead.
and accordingly they abandoned the raft, and embarked, twenty in the captain's boat, and thirty in that commanded by the first officer. It was agreed that each boat should make the best of its way to the coast without trying to keep near each other. They were soon separated by the violence of the wind; and, after enduring great privations and exposure to the winds and waves, the smaller boat made the land in safety. The other boat was undoubtedly lost, as no tidings were ever received of her. The sketch we have engraved was made by | Mr. Dunar, one of the survivors of this ill-fated vessel, and represents the minute when the gigantic wave bursts over the raft, carrying death and horror in its train.
A SHIPWRECK AT SEA.
Or all shipwrecks one of the most terrible is, doubtless, that, where a mass of human beings on a raft, amid the alternations of hope and fear, linger out the weary hours till exhaustion or a friendly billow cuts short their anguish in death. The most terrible of all is where fire superadds its presence, and carries human calamity into the regions of unbearable horror. So impressed have the greatest poets been with the scope which shipwreck gives for their powers of description, that many of our most popular writers have made it the subject of their study. Falconer, a very charming versifier, is entirely remembered by his poem of the Shipwreck, rendered still more interesting by the fact that he himself perished in that manner; the vessel in which he sailed soon after the publication of his volume was never heard of since the day it sailed from the port of London.
Byron has in his Don Juan eclipsed all by his magnificent episode of a shipwreck, principally founded upon the melancholy narrative of Admiral Byron, the poet's grandfather, whose sufferings after the loss of his vessel show the wonderful tenacity of human life. The poet has made an admirable use of his relative's narrative; and although many stanzas are almost literally rendered, yet, under the quickening touch of genius, the simple description of the sailor becomes unequalled for its pathos and power.
There are some shipwrecks which, although several years have elapsed since they occurred, still are fraught with the deepest sorrow to the American heart. Foremost among these are the President, the Baltic, the Pacific, the George Law and the Austrian-that of the Baltic was attended by several peculiarly distressing events, as both the wife and son of Mr. Collins, the first who contended with England on the Atlantic, were lost in the vessel.
A DEATH, attended with most extraordinary circumstances, has just taken place at Cesena (Romagna), in the person of a resident of that town, the Countess Cornelia, who had reached the age of sixty-two, without any kind of infirmity. One night her attendants observed that, contrary to her usual habits, she appeared rather heavy and sleepy immediately after supper, but she nevertheless sat up three hours talking with her maid, and then said her prayers and went to bed. The next morning her maid, alarmed at not being summoned by the countess long after the ordinary hour, entered her chamber, and called to her. Hearing no answer, and fearing that something had happened, she opened the shutters, and was horrorstruck at seeing the body of her mistress in the state we are about to describe: not more than a yard from the bed was a heap of ashes, in which lay two legs-entire from the foot to the knee-and two arms. The head was between the legs. All the rest of the body had been converted into ashes, which, when touched, left a greasy and fetid humidity on the fingers.
On the floor was a small lamp without oil, and on the table stood two candlesticks, the candles of which had lost all their tallow, but the wicks remaine unburnt; the bed was uninjured, the clothes lying as they usually do when a person has risen; all the hangings of the bed were covered with a grayish soot, which had even penetrated into some drawers, and soiled the linen they contained. This soot had also found its way into an adjoining kitchen, and covered the walls, furniture and utensils. The bread in the safe was also covered with it, and when off red to several dogs they would not touch it. In the chamber over the countess's room, the lower part of the windows was soiled with a fatty yellow fluid. The whole atmosphere around was impregnated with an indescribable and most disagreeable smell, and the floor of the chamber was coated with a thick, clammy and extremely adhesive moisture. The countess had evidently been consumed by an internal fire.
The picture we publish on page 489 represents the dreadful Dr. Bianchi, a physician of the town, who has published a shipwreck of the British war steamer Jasseur, which was lost pamphlet on the case, thinks that the fire began in the lungs, about three years ago off the coast of Jamaica. The circum- and was developed during sleep; that the countess, being stances attending this calamity were briefly these: On the awakened by the dreadful pain, had no doubt risen to get air, night of the 4th of March, 185, while cruising to the north- perhaps intending to open the window, but had only been able ward of the island of Jamaica, the Jasseur struck upon a sunken to leave her bed, when she sank under the fire that was dereef, and immediately began to fill. The pumps were rigged vouring her. The Marquis Scipio Maffei, who has also written and manned as quickly as possible, and kept at work until on the same subject, says that the countess was in the habit of daybreak, when it was discovered that, despite their utmost rubbing her body with camphorated spirits of wine, which she exertions, the vessel was rapidly sinking. The captain imme-used frequently, and he thinks that the frequent use of that diately divided his crew into two gangs, one to continue pump- liquid was one of the causes of her death.
THIS delicate ringlet rare.
Which I hold with fingers a glow,
Which danced in the perfumed hair
And I puzzle my brains to know