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[-100-]

CHAPTER CLXXIII.

THE ADIEUX.

Our narrative must now take a leap of several months.
    It was the middle of October.
    Once more in the vicinity of Count Alteroni's mansion near Richmond, a handsome young man and a beautiful dark-eyed maiden were walking together.
    Need we say that they were Richard and the charming Isabella?
    The countenances of both wore an expression of melancholy; but that indication of feeling was commingled with the traces of other emotions.
    Richard's eyes beamed with ardour, and his lips denoted stern resolution: Isabella's bewitching features showed that her generous soul entertained warm and profound hope, even though the cloud sate upon her brow.
    "Yes, my adored one," said Richard, gazing tenderly upon her, "It is decided! To-morrow I embark on this expedition. But I could not quit England without seeing you once more, dearest Isabella; and for two or three days have I vainly wandered in this neighbourhood with the hope of meeting you  alone."
    "Oh! Richard, had I for one moment divined that you were so near, I should have come to you," answered the Princess; "and this you know well! If I have hitherto discouraged clandestine meetings and secret correspondence  save on one or two occasions  it was simply because you should not have reason to think lightly of me;  but you are well aware, Richard, that my heart is thine  unchangeably thine,  and that my happiest moments are those I pass with thee!"
    "I cannot chide you, dearest, for that fine feeling which has made you discourage clandestine meetings and secret correspondence," said Richard, gazing with mingled admiration and rapture upon the angelic countenance of Isabella; "but now that circumstances are about to change,  now that I shall be far away from thee, beloved girl  that [-101-] restriction must in some degree be removed, and you will permit me to write to you from time to time."
    "It would be an absurd affectation and a ridiculous prudery, were I to refuse you," replied Isabella. "Yes, dear Richard  write to me;  and write often," she added, tears starting into her eyes.
    "A thousand thanks, Isabella, for this kind permission  this proof of your love. And, oh! to whatever perils I am about to oppose myself face to face,  in whatever dangers I may be involved,  whatever miseries or privations I may be destined to endure,  the thought of you, my own adored Isabella, will make all seem light! But I do not anticipate much difficulty in the attainment of our grand object. General Grachia, Colonel Morosino, and the other chiefs of this enterprise, have so well, so prudently, so cautiously digested all the measures necessary to ensure success, that failure is scarcely possible. The tyranny of the Grand Duke and of his shameless Ministry has reduced the Castelcicalans to despair. We have three fine vessels; and twelve hundred devoted patriots will form the expedition. The moment we land, we shall be welcomed with enthusiasm. And if an opportunity should serve for me to show myself worthy of the confidence that General Grachia and his colleagues have placed in me,  if," continued Richard, his handsome countenance now lighted up with a glow of heroic enthusiasm,  " if the aid of my feeble efforts can in any way demonstrate my zeal in favour of the constitutional cause, be well assured, dearest Isabella, that it is not an idle boaster, nor a braggart coward who now assures thee that he will not dishonour the service in which he has embarked."
    "Of that I feel convinced, Richard," exclaimed the Italian lady, whose soul caught the enthusiasm which animated her lover. "But you know not the wild hopes  the exalted visions which have at times filled my imagination, since I heard a few weeks ago that you were one of the chiefs of this enterprise, the preparations for which were communicated to my father. For you are doubtless aware that General Grachia has made my father acquainted with his intentions and projects  "
    "Which the Prince discountenances," added Richard, with a sigh. "Nevertheless, he is perhaps right: but if we succeed, Isabella  oh! if we succeed, your father becomes the sovereign of a great and enlightened people! Then  what hope will remain for me!"
    "Providence will not desert us, Richard," answered Isabella. "Said I not ere now that the wildest hopes  the most exalted visions have dazzled my imagination! I will not describe them to you, Richard; but need I confess that they are connected with yourself! The dying words of our poor friend Mary Anne have made an impression upon me which I can never forget."
    "I can well divine all the hopes and aspirations which her prophetic language was calculated to excite," returned Markham; "for there have been moments when I was weak enough to yield to the same influence myself. But the future is with the Almighty; and He must ordain our happiness or our misery! I must now leave you, my beloved Isabella:  when I am away thou wilt think of me often?"
    "Oh! Richard, will you really depart? will you venture on this expedition, so fraught with danger?" cried Isabella, now giving way to her grief as the moment of separation drew nigh. "I told you to hope  I wished to console you; but it is I who require consolation when about to say farewell to you! Oh! Richard, if you knew what anguish now fills my heart, you would be enabled to estimate all my love for you!"
    "I do  I do, adored Isabella!" ejaculated Markham, pressing her to his breast. "How devotedly  how faithfully you have loved me, I never can forget! When spurned from your father's house  overwhelmed with the most cruel suspicions, your love remained unchanged; and in many a bitter, bitter hour, have I derived sweet solace from the conviction that thy heart was mine! Oh! Isabella, God in his mercy grant that I may return from this enterprise with some honour to myself! It is not that I am influenced by motives of selfish ambition;  it is that I may remove at least one of the hundred obstacles which oppose our union. And now adieu, my angel  my dearly-beloved Isabella: adieu  adieu!"
    "Farewell, Richard  farewell, dearest one  my first and only love," murmured Isabella, as she wept bitterly upon his breast.
    Then they embraced each other with that passionate ardour  with that lingering unwillingness to separate  with that profound dread to tear themselves asunder, which lovers In the moment, of parting alone can know.
    "Let us be firm, Isabella," said Richard: "who can tell what happiness my share in this enterprise may create for us!"
    "Yes  something tells me that it will be so," answered Isabella; "and that hope sustains me!"
    Another embrace  and they parted,
    Yes  they parted,  that handsome young man and that charming Italian maiden!
    And soon they waved their handkerchiefs for the last time;  then, in a few moments, they were lost to each other's view.
    Richard returned home to his house at Lower Holloway.
    He had visited the farm near Hounslow a few days previously, and had taken leave of Katherine. The young maiden had wept when her benefactor communicated to her his intended absence from England for some time; but, as he did not acquaint her with the nature of the business which took him away from his native country, she was not aware of the perils he was about to encounter.
    He had now to say farewell to the inmates of his own dwelling. But towards Mr. Monroe, Ellen, and the faithful Whittingham he was less reserved than he had been to Katherine.
    Vainly had the old butler implored "Master Richard not to indemnify himself with other people's business;"  vainly had Mr. Monroe endeavoured to persuade him to refrain from risking his life in the political dissensions of a foreign country; vainly had the beautiful and generous-hearted Ellen, with a sisterly warmth, argued on the same side. Richard was determined:  they deemed him obstinate  foolish  almost mad; but they knew not of his love for Isabella!
    "I must now make you acquainted with a certain portion of my affairs," said our hero, addressing Mr. Monroe, "in order that you may manage them for me until my return. I have embarked as much of my capital as I could well spare in the enter[-102-]prise on which I am about to set out: you will find in my strong-box, of which I leave you the key, a sufficient sum of money to answer the expenses of the establishment until January. Should I not return by that time, you will find papers in the same place, which will instruct you relative to the moneys that will then be due to me from the two respectable individuals who are my tenants. Moreover," added Richard,  and here his voice faltered,  "my will is in the strong-box; and should I perish in this undertaking, you will find, my dear friend,  and you too, my faithful Whittingham,  that I have not left you without resources."
    "Richard, this is too generous!" exclaimed Mr. Monroe, tears of gratitude trickling down his cheeks.
    Whittingham also wept; and Ellen's sobs were convulsive  for she regarded Richard in the light of a dear brother.
    "Render not our parting moments more painful than they naturally are, my dear friends," said Markham. "You cannot understand  but, if I live, you shall some day know  the motives which influence me in joining this expedition. Mr. Monroe  Ellen  Whittingham, I have one last request to make. You are all aware that on the 10th of July, 1843, a solemn appointment exists between my brother and myself. If I should perish in a far-off clime,  or if a prison, or any accident prevent my return,  let one of you represent me on that occasion. Should it be so, tell my brother how much I have loved him  how anxiously I have ever looked forward to that day,  how sincerely I have prayed for his welfare and his success! Tell him," continued Richard, while the tears rolled down his cheeks, large and fast,  "tell him that I have cherished his memory as no brother ever before was known to do; and if he be poor  or unhappy  or suffering  or unfortunate, receive him into this house, which will then be your own  console, comfort him! if he be criminal, do not spurn him  remember, he is my brother!"
    Ellen sobbed as if her heart would break as Richard uttered these words.
    There was something fearfully poignant and convulsive in that young lady's grief.
    But suddenly rousing herself, she rushed from the room; and, returning in a few moments with her child, she presented it to Markham, saying "Embrace him, Richard, before you depart;  embrace him  for he bears your Christian name!"
    Our hero received the innocent infant in his arms, and kissed it tenderly.
    No pen can depict the expression of pleasure  of radiant joy,  joy shining out from amidst her tears,  with which Ellen contemplated that proof of affection towards her babe.
    "Thank you, Richard  thank you, my brother," she exclaimed, as she received back her child.
    The old butler and Mr. Monroe were not callous to the touching nature of that scene.
    "I have now no more to say," observed Richard. "I am about to retire to the library for a short time. At five o'clock the post-chaise will be here. Whittingham, my faithful friend, you will see that all my necessaries be carefully packed."
    Markham then withdrew to his study.
    There he wrote a few letters upon matters of business.
    At length Whittingham made his appearance.
    "Morcar is arrived, Master Richard," said the old man, " and it is close upon five."
    "I shall soon be ready, Whittingham." answered Richard.
    The old butler withdrew.
    Then Richard took from his strong-box the mysterious packet which had been left to him by Thomas Armstrong; and that sacred trust he secured about his person.
    "Now," he said," I am about to quit the home of my forefathers."
    And tears trickled down his cheeks.
    "This is foolish!" he exclaimed, after a pause: "I must not yield to my emotions, when on the eve of such a grand and glorious undertaking."
    He then returned to the drawing-room.
    At that moment the post-chaise arrived at the front door of the mansion.
    We will not detail the affecting nature of the farewell scene: suffice it to say that Richard departed with the fervent prayers and the sincerest wishes of those whom he left behind.
    Morcar, the gipsy, accompanied him.
    " Which road, sir?" asked the postillion.
    "Canterbury  Deal," replied Richard.
    And the post-chaise whirled him away from the home of his forefathers!
    * * * * *
    By a special messenger, on the same day when the above-mentioned incidents took place, the following letter was despatched from London
    
    "TO HER SERENE HIGHNESS THE GRAND DUCHESS OF CASTELCICALA.
    
    "I have the honour to inform your Serene Highness that the measures which I adopted (and which your Highness condemned in the last letter your Highness deigned to address to me) have enabled me to ascertain the intentions of the conspirators. The three vessels purchased by them are now completely equipped and manned. One has already arrived in the Downs, where the Chiefs of the rebels are to join her. A second sailed from Hull four days ago: and the third left Waterford about the same time. They will all three meet at Cadiz, where they are to take in stores and water. Twelve hundred exiled Castelcicalans are on board these three ships, which are ostensibly fitted out as emigrant vessels for North America. So well have General Grachia, Colonel Morosino, and Mr. Markham planned their schemes, that I question whether even the English government is acquainted with the real destination of those ships, and the object of their crews.
    "Beware, then, noble lady! The last meeting of the Chiefs of the expedition was held last evening; and I was present in my presumed capacity of a stanch adherent to the cause of the conspirators. The reasons which I adduced for not proceeding with them on the enterprise, and for remaining in London, were completely satisfactory; and no one for a moment suspected my integrity. indeed, the confidence which Mr. Markham has placed in me from the beginning, in consequence of the share which I had in saving his life (an incident to which I have alluded in preceding letters to your Highness) on a certain occasion, annihilated all suspicion as to the sincerity of my motives.
    "At the meeting of which I have just spoken, it was resolved that the descent upon Castelcicala shall be made in the neighbourhood of Ossore, which, I need scarcely inform your Serene Highness, is a small sea-port about thirty-five miles to the south of Montoni.
    "And now I have discharged what I consider to be a faithful duty. If I have fallen in your Highness's good opinion by betraying those with whom I affected to act, I fondly hope that the importance of the information which I have thereby been enabled to give you, will restore me to your Highness's favour.
    "But remember, my lady  remember the prayer which I offered up to your Highness when first I wrote concern[-103-]ing this conspiracy,  remember the earnest supplication which I then made and now renew,  that not a hair of Richard Markham's head must be injured!
  
  "I have the honour to subscribe myself your Serene highness's most faithful and devoted servant,
    "PILIPPO DORSENNI.
    "Oct. 16th, 1840."
    
    Thus was it that Mr. Greenwood's Italian valet provided, to the utmost of his power, for the safety of Richard Markham, in case those whom he improperly denominated "conspirators' should fall into the hands of the Castelcicalan authorities.

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