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MARKHAM retired to rest, but not to immediate slumber.
The proposal of Colonel Morosino was of a most
Our hero longed to be enabled to show his devotion to
Isabella by exerting himself in what must eventually prove her father's cause;
but he was afraid of acting in a manner which might displease the Prince.
Then he reflected that the Prince had uttered those
expressive words, "Were I less than I am, 1 would consent to take up
arms in defense of the liberties of Castelcicala."
The more Richard pondered upon these words, the more was
he inclined towards the service proposed to him; and when he remembered that he
should be associated with some of the most gallant and disinterested of Italian
patriots, he felt a generous ardour thrill and animate his bosom.
"Oh! if I could but achieve some deed that would
render me worthy of Isabella," he thought, "how should I bless the day
when I adopted the cause of those brave exiles who now seek my aid! Yes — I
will join them, heart and soul; and in me they shall have no lukewarm supporter!
The die is cast; — and this resolution must either make or mar me
Richard then gradually fell into a profound slumber: but
the subjects of his latest thoughts became the materials of which his dreams
Imagination carried him away from his native land, and
whirled him on board a vessel which was within sight of the Castelcicalan
coasts. Presently a descent upon the land was effected; and then Richard fancied
himself to be involved in the thickest of a deadly fight. Next he saw himself
entering Montoni at the head of a victorious army; and it seemed to him as if he
were the object of attraction [-53-] — as
if the salutations of countless multitudes were addressed to him — and
as if he returned them! Then the scene changed, by one of those rapid
transitions so peculiar to dreams; and he found himself standing at the altar,
the lovely Isabella by his side. A tiara of diamonds adorned her brow and on his
own was a princely coronet. Then the ceremony was completed; and friends with
smiling countenances gathered around to congratulate him and his lovely bride;
and the swelling words "Your Highness" and "My Lord" echoed
upon his ears. He turned to address his thanks to those who thus felicitated
him — and awoke!
"A dream — a dream!" he exclaimed,
as the gay pageantry of the vision yet dwelt vividly in his mind: "but will
the most happy episode therein ever be fulfilled?"
Richard rose with depressed spirits; for a dream of that
nature — by raising us to the highest eminence to which our
aspirations ever soared, and then dashing us back again to the cold realities of
earth — invariably leads to a powerful reaction.
The day passed without any incident of importance; and
by the time the evening arrived, Richard had recovered his mental serenity.
Punctual to his appointment, Colonel Morosino made his
He came in a chaise, accompanied by another individual;
but the latter did not alight from the vehicle.
"Mr. Markham," said the Colonel, when he was
alone with our hero, in the library, "have you made up your mind?"
"I have," answered Richard, in a decided tone.
"And your decision — "
"Is to join you, heart and soul — to
throw myself with enthusiasm into your cause — to co-operate with
you as if I were a Castelcicalan subject," said Richard, his handsome
countenance glowing with animation, his line dark eyes flashing fire, and his
nostrils dilating with the ardour which filled his soul.
"I am no prophet, if you ever repent this
decision," said Colonel Morosino, pressing Richard's hands warmly.
"Will you now permit me to introduce a gentleman who has accompanied
'With much pleasure," answered Markham.
The Colonel stepped out, and at the expiration of a few
moments returned, accompanied by a tall, thin, military-looking man, whose lofty
bearing and eagle eye bespoke him as one who had been accustomed to command.
"Mr. Markham," said the Colonel, "may you
soon become better acquainted with General Grachia."
The veteran proffered Richard his hand with true
military frankness, and observed, "I rejoice to find that your decision is
favourable to our views."
"You will also find that I shall be zealous and
unwearied in your service," rejoined Markham.
"Our proceedings," continued General Grachia,
"must be conducted with caution, so that no rumour prejudicial to our
measures may reach Castelcicala."
"I believe it to be understood," said Markham,
"that should the Grand Duke change his policy to such an extent that the
Castelcicalans may obtain their just rights and privileges by means of his
concessions, before our own projects shall be ripe for execution, — that,
in this case, we at once abandon them."
"Assuredly," replied General Grachia.
"God knows the purity of my motives, and that I would not plunge my country
into civil war without the pressure of a dire necessity. Neither am I adopting
extreme measures from vindictive motives because the Grand Duke has banished me
not only from office but also from the territory. Had I assented to his despotic
decrees I might have retained my high position in the cabinet, and aggrandized
my own fortunes at the same time. As a proof of my integrity, Mr. Markham, read
The General produced from his pocketbook a letter which
had been sealed with the ducal signet, and was addressed "To His
Excellency General Grachia, Minister Secretary of State for the Department of
This document he handed to Richard, who found that it
was an autograph letter from the Grand Duke to the General, written at the time
when the military disturbances occurred at Montoni. It remonstrated with General
Grachia for refusing to countersign the ordinance decreeing the disbandment of
the three regiments, and promising him the rank of Marquis and the Premiership
if he would but consent to aid his Serene Highness in carrying out the proposed
"To this letter I replied by sending in my
resignation," said General Grachia; "and thus I wrecked my own
fortunes, and made my wife and children exiles."
"You acted nobly — like a true
patriot," cried Markham, contemplating the veteran with admiration.
"If for one instant I entertained a scruple in embracing your cause, it is
now annihilated; for you have honoured me with the most convincing proofs of
"I served the Grand Duke faithfully," said the
General; "and I cannot reproach myself for any measure which I ever
recommended to his Serene Highness. Although deeply attached to Prince Alberto,
I did not oppose the marriage of the Grand Duke; because I believed that, upon
principle, sovereigns are entitled to as much freedom in affairs so nearly
touching their domestic happiness, as any of their subjects. I saw in the
present Grand Duchess an amiable lady; and I knew that she was a virtuous one
from the strong recommendations which she received from his Highness Prince
Alberto and the Earl of Warrington to myself and my family. I supported, then,
that marriage upon principle — upon a conviction which I entertain.
I believe that sovereigns have a right to consult their own happiness in
marriage; but I never will admit that they have a right to enslave their
subjects. I will maintain the privileges of princes, when I consider them
encroached upon by the people: With equal readiness will I protect the people
against the tyranny of princes."
Richard listened with admiration to these noble
sentiments; and he could not help exclaiming, "How blind sovereigns often
seem to the merits and honesty of those who would counsel them wisely!"
"Such is too frequently the case," observed
"The plan upon which I propose to act is simply
this," resumed General Grachia: — "one of the most humble,
but not the least sincere, of those [-54-] refugees
who support us, will take a house in London in his own name; and there shall our
headquarters be fixed. There shall we hold our meetings; and thence will our
correspondence be expedited to those whom we can trust, and on whose support we
can rely. In order to avoid all cause of suspicion, I shall take a house for
myself and suite at the West End, where I shall, however, lead a comparatively
secluded life. Fortunately, the greater portion of my property consisted in
money in the public funds of Castelcicala; and for that I obtained securities
which may be easily realised in London. My friend Morosino stands in the same
position Between us we can muster some twenty thousand pounds; and other exiles,
who are favourable to our views, can throw ten thousand more into the common
"To which I shall also be permitted to contribute
my quota," interrupted Richard.
"Not if we can manage without it," answered
General Grachia; "and I have no doubt that pecuniary resources will not be
wanting in this good cause."
The General then proceeded to a more detailed
development of his plans; but as we shall have to deal with them fully
hereafter, we will take leave of the subject for the present.
Before we conclude this chapter we must record two or
three little incidents that maintain the continuous thread of our narrative.
A week after the demise of Miss Gregory the funeral took
place at a suburban cemetery The bereaved father and afflicted brothers were the
chief, mourners; but Richard also followed the remains of the departed girl to
the tomb. An elegant but chaste and unassuming monument marks the spot where she
reposes in her narrow bed.
At the expiration of the seven days during which she had
been remanded, Katherine was examined a second time before the magistrate, and
was fully committed for trial.
A Coroner's Inquest had in the meantime recorded a
verdict of Wilful Murder against her.
She was accordingly conveyed to Newgate.
But Richard Markham did not neglect her interests; and
Morris Benstead was busy in adopting every possible measure to fathom the deep
mystery in which the awful deed was still shrouded.
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