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happy morning dawned.
The weather was mild and beautiful; the sky was of a
cloudless azure; and all nature seemed to smile with the gladness of an early
Markham rose at seven o'clock, and dressed himself in
plain clothes; but upon his breast he wore the star which denoted his princely
And never had he appeared so handsome; — no — not
even when, with the flush of his first triumph upon his cheeks, he had entered
the town of Estella and received the congratulations of the inhabitants. When he
descended to the breakfast-room, he found Mr. Monroe, Ellen, and Katherine
already assembled: they too were attired in a manner which showed that they were
not to be omitted from the bridal party.
At eight o'clock the Grand-Duke's carriage drove to the
door; and in a few minutes our hero and his friends were on their way to
"Strange!" thought Ellen to herself;
"that I should have passed my honey-moon of twenty-four hours with him
in the same neighbourhood whither Richard is now repairing to fetch his
The carriage rolled rapidly along; and as the clock
struck nine it dashed up the avenue to the door of the now royal dwelling.
Richard and his companions were ushered into the
drawing-room, where the Grand-Duke and the Duchess, with the aides-de-camp,
and a few select guests, were awaiting their arrival. The reception which Mr.
Monroe, Ellen, and Katherine experienced at the hands of the royal pair was of a
most cordial kind, and proved how favourably our hero had spoken of them.
In a short time Isabella made her appearance, attended
by her bridemaids — the two daughters of an English peer.
Richard hastened to present his friends to the Princess;
and the cordiality of the parents underwent no contrast on the part of the
daughter; — but if she were more courteous — nay,
kind — in her manner to either, that preference was shown towards
And it struck the young lady that such slight preference
was evinced towards her; for she turned a quick but rapid glance of
profound gratitude upon Richard, as much as to say, "'Tis you whom I must
thank for this!"
How lovely did Isabella seem — robed in
virgin white, and her cheeks suffused with blushes! There was a charm of
ineffable sweetness — a halo of innocence about her, which
fascinated the beholder even more than the splendour of her beauty. As she cast
down her eyes, and the long slightly-curling black fringes reposed upon her
cheeks, there was an air of purest chastity in her appearance which showed how
nearly allied her heart was to the guilelessness of angels. And then her
loveliness of person — oh! that was of a nature so ravishing, so
enchanting, as to inspire something more than mere admiration — something
nearer resembling a worship. Poets have compared eyes to stars — teeth
to ivory — lips to coral — bosoms to snow;-they have
likened symmetry of form to that of sylphs, and lightness of step to that of
fairies; — but poor, poor indeed are all similitudes which we might
call to our aid to convey an idea of the beauty of this charming Italian maiden,
now arrayed in her bridal vestment!
The ceremony was twofold, Richard being a Protestant and
Isabella a Roman Catholic. A clergyman of the Church of England therefore united
them, in the first instance, by special licence, at the Grand-Duke's mansion.
The bridal party immediately afterwards entered the carriages, which were in
readiness, and repaired to the Roman Catholic chapel at Hammersmith, where the
hands of the young couple were joined anew according to the ritual of that
And now the most exalted of Richard's earthly hopes were
attained; — the only means by which his happiness could be ensured,
and a veil drawn over the sorrows of the past, were accomplished. When he looked
back to tile period of his first acquaintance with Isabella, — remembered
how ridiculously insignificant was once the chance that his love for her would
ever terminate in aught save disappointment, — and then followed up
all the incidents which had gradually smoothed down the difficulties that arose
in his path until the happy moment when he knelt by her side at the altar of
God, — he was lost in astonishment at the inscrutable ways of that
Providence which had thus brought to a successful issue an aspiration that at
first wore the appearance of a wild and delusive dream!
On the return of the bridal party to the mansion near
Richmond, a splendid banquet was served up: and if there were a sentiment of
melancholy which stole upon the happiness of any present, it was on the part of
Isabella and her parents at the idea of separation.
At length the dejeuner is over; and Isabella
retires with her mother and bridemaids to prepare for her departure. The
Grand-Duke takes that opportunity to thrust a sealed packet into our hero's
hand. A few minutes elapse-Isabella returns — the farewells take
place-and the bridegroom conducts his charming bride to the carriage. Mr.
Monroe, Ellen, and Katherine follow in a second chariot.
[-286-] It was four o'clock
in the afternoon when Richard assisted the lovely young wife to alight at the
door of his own mansion; and now Markham Place becomes the residence of the
Prince and Princess of Montoni.
Vain were it to attempt to describe the delight of the
old butler when he beheld his master bring home that beauteous, blushing bride;
and — as he said in the course of the day to Mr. Monroe, "It
was only, sir, a due sense of that comportance which belongs to a man in my
situation of authority over the servants that perwented me from collapsing into
some of them antics that I indulged in when we heerd of Master-I mean of his
Highness's successes in Castle Chicory, and when he came home the day before
yesterday. But I won't do it, sir — I won't do it; although I don't
promise, Mr. Monroe," he added, in a mysterious whisper, "that I
shan't go to bed rayther jolly to-night with champagne."
It was eleven o'clock that night when Ellen cautiously
issued from the back door of the mansion.
She passed rapidly through the garden, passed out of the
gate, and hastily ascended the hill on whose summit were the two trees.
A man was seated on the bench.
Ellen approached him, threw her arms round his neck, and
embraced him with a tenderness that even appeared to surprise him by its warmth.
She placed herself by his side; he drew her towards
him — and kissed her almost affectionately.
"You are not happy!" said Ellen, in a
plaintive and anxious tone. "I knew that by the contents of the note
which Marian gave me just now; and your manner confirms me in the opinion."
"I know not how it is," replied Greenwood,
without answering her question in a direct way, "but you never seemed dear
to me, Ellen, until this evening."
"And am I dear to you now!" she asked, in a
tone tremulous with joy.
"You are — you are," exclaimed
Greenwood, speaking nevertheless in a manner which seemed to indicate that he
was giving way to a feeling of weakness which he could not conquer, but of which
he was ashamed; "you are dear to me — for my heart appears as
if it required something to love, and some one to love me."
"And do I not love you?" cried Ellen, pressing
her lips to his. "Oh! there was a time when I never thought I could love
you — when I only sought you as a husband because you were the
father of my child: — but since we have been united in holy bonds, I
have learnt to love you — and I do love you — I do
love you — in spite of all that has passed!"
"You are a good girl, Ellen," said Greenwood,
upon whose lash a tear stood: but he hastily dashed it away, exclaiming,
"This is unlike me! What can be the cause of these emotions — hitherto
unknown? Is it that I am envious of his happiness? Is it that I pine for
that sweet domesticity which he will now enjoy! Or is it that I am wearied of a
world false and hollow-hearted?"
"Alas!" cried Ellen, the tears streaming from
her eyes: "is the world really false and hollow-hearted? or have you sought
only that sphere which wears the appearance that you deplore? Look yonder,"
she continued, pointing towards the mansion; "no falsehood — no
hollow-heartedness are there! And why? Because he who rules in that abode has
encouraged every sweet sympathy that renders life agreeable — every
amenity which inspires confidence and mutual reliance between a number of
persons dwelling together. The sphere that he has chosen is purified by his own
virtues: the light of his excellence is reflected from the hearts of all around
him. All are good, or strive to be good in his circle — because he
himself is good. Where you have moved — ever agitating amidst the
selfish crowd, as in troubled waters — none are good, because no one
sets a good example. Every thing in your world is SELF: in Richard's
world he sacrifices SELF unto others. Hence his prosperity — his
happiness — "
"And hence my adversity — my
dissatisfied spirit!" exclaimed Greenwood, impatiently. "But talk not
thus, Ellen, any more: you will drive me mad!"
"Oh! my dear husband, what makes you thus!"
cried Ellen, in alarm: "I never saw you so before. You who were ever so
cool — nay, pardon me, if I say so chilling, — so
calculating — so inaccessible to the tenderest emotions, — you
are now an altered being! But God grant that your heart is touched at last, and
that you will abandon those paths of selfishness which, as you have by this time
learnt, are not those of permanent prosperity! Do not be offended with me: — heaven
knows I would not wound your heart; for I love you ten thousand times better
to-night than ever I did before — and solely because you are
changed, or appear to be. Oh! let me implore you to cast aside your assumed
name — to throw off all disguise — to return to that
home where the arms of sincerest affection will be extended to welcome you — "
"No — no, Ellen!" cried Greenwood,
almost furiously: "my pride will not permit me to do that! Speak no more in
this way — or I will quit you immediately. I will fulfil my
destiny — whatever it may be. Not a day — not an hour
before the appointed time must he and I meet? No-broken though my
fortunes be, they are not irreparable. Had it not been for the flight of that
villain Tomlinson, I should have retrieved them ere now. I must not, however,
despair: my credit is still good in certain quarters; and I possess talents for
finance and speculation of no mean order."
"But you will not again embark in any such
desperate venture as — as — "
"As the forged bills, you would say, Ellen,"
added Greenwood, hastily. "No — be not alarmed on this head. I
will not sully that name which he has rendered great."
"Oh! do you not remember," cried Ellen, as a
sudden reminiscence shot through her brain, "that on the morning when our
hands were united, you promised that the name which you then gave me should
go down to posterity?"
"It will — it will: the prediction is
already fulfilled, Ellen," said Greenwood, hastily; — "but
not by me!" he added mournfully. "I know not why I feel so low
spirited to-night; and yet your presence consoles me! Richard now clasps his
lovely bride in his arms — and we are forced to snatch this stolen
interview, as if we had no right to each other's society!"
"And whose fault is that!" asked Ellen,
somewhat reproachfully. "Is it not in your power to put an end to all this
"I cannot — I will not," returned
Greenwood, [-287-] with renewed impetuosity.
"No — let us not touch upon the topic again. My resolves are
immoveable on that point. If you love me, urge me not to inflict so deep a wound
upon my pride. This lowness of spirits will soon pass away: I am afraid that
envy — or jealousy, rather — has in some degree
depressed me. And yet envy is not the term — nor does jealousy
express the true nature of my sentiments. For, in spite of all my faults, I have
loved him, Ellen — as you well know. But it is that I feel
disappointed — almost disgusted: — I have as yet toiled
for naught I contrast my position with his — and that makes
me mournful. Still I am proud of him, Ellen: — I cannot be
"That is a generous feeling," said Ellen,
again embracing her husband: "It does me good to hear you express such a
"I scarcely know what I have been saying,"
continued Greenwood: "my mind is chaotic — my ideas are
confused. Let us now separate: we will meet again shortly — and I
will tell you of my progress towards the fortune which I am resolved to
"Yes — let us meet again soon,"
said Ellen: "but not here," she added, glancing towards the trees.
"It makes you melancholy."
'Well — well: I will find another spot for
our interviews. Farewell, Ellen — dearest Ellen."
"Farewell, my dearest husband."
They embraced, and separated — Ellen
retracing her steps towards the mansion, and Greenwood remaining on the hill.
On the following morning, after breakfast, Richard
conducted his lovely bride over the grounds belonging to the Place; and when
they had inspected the gardens, he said, "I will now lead you, to the
hill-top, beloved Isabella, where you will behold the memorials of affection
between my brother and myself, which mark the spot where I hope again to meet
They ascended the eminence that stood between the two
But scarcely had Richard cast a glance towards the one
planted by the hand of Eugene, when he started, and dropped Isabella's arm.
She threw a look of intense alarm on his countenance;
but her fears were immediately succeeded by delight when she beheld the
unfeigned joy that was depicted on his features.
"Eugene is alive! He has been hither again-he has
revisited this spot!" exclaimed Richard. "See, Isabella- — he
has left that indication of his presence."
The Princess now observed the inscriptions on the tree.
They stood thus: —
Dec. 26, 1836.
May 17th, 1838.
March 6, 1841.
"Eugene was here yesterday," said Richard.
"Oh! — he still thinks of me — he remembers that he
has a brother. Doubtless he heard of my happiness — my prosperity:
perhaps he even learnt that yesterday blest me with your hand, dearest Isabel:
and that inscription is a congratulation — a token of the kind wish
alike to you and to me."
Isabella partook of her husband's joy; and after
lingering for some time upon the spot, they retraced their steps to the mansion.
The carriage was already at the door: they entered it;
and Richard commanded the coachman to drive to Woolwich.
On their arrival at the wharf where Richard had landed
only two days previously, they found a barge waiting to convey them on board the
The Grand-Duke and Grand-Duchess, with their suite,
received them upon the deck of the vessel.
The hour of separation had come: Alberto and his
illustrious spouse were about to return to their native land to ascend a throne.
The Grand-Duke drew Richard aside, and said, "My
dear son, you remember your promise to return to Montoni so soon as the time of
appointment with your brother shall have passed."
"I shall only be too happy to return, with my
beloved Isabella, to your society." answered Markham. "My brother will
keep his appointment; for yesterday he revisited the spot where that meeting is
to take place, and inscribed his name upon the tree that he planted."
"That is another source of happiness for you,
Richard," said the Grand-Duke; "and well do you deserve all the
felicity which this world can give."
"Your Serene Highness has done all that is in
mortal power to ensure that felicity," exclaimed Markham. "You have
elevated me to a rank only one degree inferior to your own; — you
have bestowed upon me an inestimable treasure in the person of your
daughter — and you yesterday placed in my hands a decree appointing
me an annual income of twenty thousand pounds from the decal treasury. Your
Serene Highness has been too liberal: — a fourth part will be more
than sufficient for all our wants. Moreover, from certain hints which Signor
Viviani dropped when I was an inmate at his house at Pinalla — and
subsequently, after his arrival at Montoni to take the post of Minister of
Finance which I conferred upon him, and which appointment has met the approval
of your Serene Highness — I am justified in believing that in July,
1843, I shall inherit a considerable fortune from our lamented friend Thomas
"The larger your resources, Richard, the wider will
be the sphere of your benevolence," said the Grand-Duke; then, by way of
cutting. short our hero's remonstrances in respect to the annual revenue, his
Serene Highness exclaimed, "But time presses: we must now say
We shall not dwell upon the parting scene. Suffice it to
say that the grief of the daughter in separating from her parents was attempered
by the conviction that she remained behind with on affectionate and well-beloved
husband; and the parents sorrowed the less at losing their daughter, because
they knew full well that she was united to one possessed of every qualification
to ensure her felicity.
And now the anchor was weighed; the steam hissed through
the waste-valves as if impatient of delay; and the young couple descended the
ship's side into the barge.
The boat was pushed off-and the huge wheels of [-288-]
the steamer began to revolve on their axis, ploughing up the deep water.
The cannon of the arsenal thundered forth a parting
salute in honour of the sovereign and his illustrious spouse who were returning
to their native land from a long exile.
The ship returned the compliment with its artillery, as
it now sped rapidly along.
And the last waving of the Grand-Duchess's handkerchief,
and the last farewell gesture on the part of the Grand-Duke met the eyes of
Isabella and Richard during an interval when the wind had swept away the smoke
of the cannon.
The Prince and Princess of Montoni landed at the wharf,
re-entered their carriage, and were soon on their way back to Markham Place.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF
LONDON [Vol. II]
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