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experience has taught me, what it is to love, and be loved ?-A tear here escaped the
of the Baroness. She turned to Arnold, and again repeated,—“ if you could, Arnold ?"-he replied only by a look expressive beyond the power of language.
“ Is it so ?”—she continued. “ Yes,” he said—" and my father must soon learn my determination." “ Not soon, Arnold, I hope.”
“ Yes!” he answered, “ Mother-unless you will doom me to all the misery that can overwhelm a heart.”
" Then leave to me the disclosure, Arnold, if it must be. If there is any one who can influence your father, I believe it is myself, and my
best offices shall not be wanting.--But, О Arnold, prepare for the worst-you know the determined character of de Weimar.'
The baroness now took the arm of her son, and they returned to the castle. They had not long entered when the messenger was announced, whom the Baroness had sent with inquiries for the daughter of their former friend. Rumour had not deceived them. She had been received into the family of her nurse, who had promised, promised unsolicited, to be all that a mother could be to her. Though born in an humble station, by industry and frugality, aided by occasional presents, this venerable woman had scraped together a small sum, which, with the narrow limits she had assigned to her wishes, she regarded as rendering her wealthy, elevating her as it did beyond the reach of want. Ellen of the glen-so she had long been called from the situation of her little secluded abode—was a woman far beyond the generality of those who move in her sphere of life; and had acquired information, which, at the period we are speaking of, when letters were but little cultivated, exceeded that of many who were surrounded by all the splendour of rank and fortune. Ellen had seen affliction. Her husband, to whom she had been tenderly attached, and who had loved her with an affection not less warm, had, soon after the birth of that child whose place Margaret de Guiscald had supplied, been wounded in one of the irruptions of a neighbouring chief, and had returned home to die.' Ellen attended him with a breaking heart, fulfilling every office that fondness and duty could dictate, until he was removed to another world. And scarcely had she followed him to the grave, when her babe, the only pledge of the tie that bound them, sickened and soon resigned its little spirit to Him that gave it. She laid them side by side under an aged willow that grew near her cottage ; and thither she often went at evening, to trim the sod, and scatter some fresh flower of the season upon the bed of rest, mourner—but she mourned in hope. Her husband had been withdrawn from her embraces—but his dying accents had fallen upon her heart, as it had been the voice of some ministering seraph sent to guide him on the way to mansions of felicity. And though her heart was often full, and her eyes overflowing at the remembrance of her loss, still was she supported by the peaceful assurance, that to him, whom most, whom only, she had loved on earth, she would again be united in another country, and by a better, an indissoluble, bond. Her little cottage, though lonely, was the residence of tranquillity and resignation. The morning dawned on it, and the evening closed, and still all within was happiness. Whatever might wake the distant world, all there was rest, and undisturbed repose. It stood in a spot as sweet and secluded as was to be found amid the wide range of the Switzer's hills. Many are the abodes of secluded loveliness that there lie hid : but few could be met with, that would speak to you with a voice of deeper peace, than that in whose retreats passed the days of Ellen of
She was a
the glen. To it, indeed, may be applied, with peculiar propriety, the pleasing description of the poet-for nothing was there adventitious, nothing but its own native beauty, to attract. Neither wealth nor titles, rank nor fortune were there to allure. Yet was there more than these. If virtue be true nobility-nobility, such as earth seldom witnesses, resided here.
“ The summer sun gilded the rushy roof, slanting,
The bright dews bespangled its ivy-bound hedge;
And wild buds thick dappled the clear river's edge.
The poor little hovel was still and secure:
For the splendours of pride had no charms to allure,”
Amidst the repining of thousands, no murmer escaped the lips of the possessor of the cottage in the glen. The world she knew. was passing away, and, while to her, belonged little of its pomp or pageantry, she could view them, though not with a contemptuous, with a compassionating, eye. Those who were the gayest of the festive throng—the fair, the young, the rich, the noble--all were going whence they were never to return :-all floating on that irrevocable stream, which bears us, as the river bears the scattered water-lily on its breast, to the distant ocean, whirled occasionally in some vortex which would seem willing to arrest our progress, yet hurried along irresistibly to that gulf which swallows up all generations. But her eye was fixed on brighter and more glorious scenes above. There could she contemplate a Being, on whose stability her soul could lean : and there was centered every hope that animated, every emotion that harboured in, the bosom of Ellen.
Such was the individual-little known indeed on the busy and crowded theatre of time, but marked in the rolls of eternity, as one attended by those who minister to the heirs of heaven, --in her Margaret de Guiscald found a protector. Under her retired and peaceful roof, screened from the storms that were rending kingdoms, and remote from the discords that were deluging the world with blood, Margaret bad leisure for reflection. Oftentimes, it is true, Pleasure would meet her gaze in the visions of other hours, and some silent sigh might be elicited from her heart: but soon her equanimity returned, As the cloud that shoots across the summer sky, and throws its shade on the hills and vales below, yet leaves behind it not a trace to tell that it has been, were those moments of gloom to the mind of Margaret. Settled into a sweet serenity, she could examine in spirit days gone by, with all the mirth and revelry, and in truth, the folly, that had winged their flight, and pursue them only with that feeling of mourn. fulness, which hung round the reflection, that they had passed so recklessly, so unprofitably away. Thus was she insensibly preparing for the tender offices she was yet to be summoned to discharge. She could not dive into futurity, nor wished she, indeed, to know what to-morrow might bring forth : but it increasingly became her desire, to be ready for whatever should be allotted her. All was wisely over-ruled--so would Ellen often tell her--by a wise and unerring power; and she gradually learned to lift her eye with confidence to heaven, and supplicate, that whether her path through life should be illumined by the sun of prosperity, or aided by the shades of trial and affliction, she might be enabled in every dispensation to feel, and devoutly to acknowledge, that " whatever is, is best."
** Oh! ever thus, from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay :
But 'twas the first to fade away.
To glad me with its soft black eye
And love me -it was sure to die!”
The intelligence of Margaret's safety was received by the Baroness of Weimar with unfeigned satisfaction. For, though she could not but anticipate much uneasiness, both to herself and her son from the tidings, yet so tenderly was she interested in whatever concerned him, that she participated with true maternal pleasure in a certitude which she was aware would be the cause of such happiness to Arnold. The particulars were immediately communicated to him, with an additional caution not to permit his feelings to betray him in the presence of his father. He promised obedience: and endeayoured to assume something of an air of tranquillity in his deportment, when first he met the eye of de Weimar.
But tidings, such as he had heard, were not of that nature which would long allow him to wear the mask of indifference. They had again sharpened every pang that had torn his heart for so many years, and too uncontrolled as had doubtless been his emotions, it was not now that he could check their violence. Like the stream, which might at first have been restrained by trifling aids to the banks that guided its flow, but which once let loose, carries all before its impetuous current; the feelings of Arnold had now passed their bounds, and it had required a power, possessed not meanwhile by the son of de Weimar, to stem their overwhelming tide.
The Baroness, fearful of some premature disclosure, and considering it advisable, therefore, to communicate the circumstances as early as possible to her husband, took the first opportunity that presented itself of alluding to them. De Weimer, formed as he was, only for the ruder toils of life, was not wanting in penetration; and he had already begun to harbour some suspicions of what was going forward. The first intimation, consequently, was sufficient: and as he cast his eye on the Baroness,—who, conscious of all, instantly turned pale as death,
and trembled from head to foot,-his fury became ungovernable. “ What?” cried he, raising his stentorean voice until it echoed through every avenue and vault of his castle ;”
are you, too, his aider and abetter? Is it not enough that my VOL. I. 16.
family should be dishonoured, and my name disgraced ? Mast the mother of my children be the first to encourage disobedience? But at his peril let him. I hold in my hand the deed which only requires the Emperor's signature to drive him an outcast on the world." Then, eyeing her with a look that almost quelled the pulse of life in her bosom, he ordered her to 'her chamber, and immediately summoned his son to his presence.
The name of Arnold now resounded through the courts. The agitated domestics, not daring to do otherwise than commanded, hastened to execute the injunctions of their lord, and hurried in various directions to find their young master, and prepare him for the interview. He was not, however, to be met with. Every corner was searched-every winding explored-every spot examined, which he had frequented—bat in vain.-In vain, indeed !-Arnold was already beneath the roof of Ellen of the glen. Though the distance of Margaret's retreat from the castle of De Wiemar was considerable, affection hath wings which bear thee forward, swiftly as the breezes thou seest not, but whose voice thou hearest as they dance lightly along. One of the noblest of De Wiemer's stud had been selected. One it was, which Arnold had often reined amid wilder scenes, when the roar of battle hailed him instead of the whispers of love one, that knew well his rider, and seemed to rejoice in answer to the speed of his desires. Scarcely had he heard where Margaret was sheltered, when his determination was taken. Willing as he would haye been to acquiesce in the entreaties of his mother, it was in vain that he attempted to place the curb upon his affections :--and one sun, only, had set and risen, subsequently to the arrival of the communication from Ellen, when Arnold withdrew from the castle. The first beams were just illumining the distant horizon, when the warder was summoned to let the young chieftain pass. The gates were opened—the portcullis was raised the draw-bridge was dropped—and Arnold was quickly out of sight. He hurried to the residence of her he loved. He had known it in other days, for the fame of Ellen's peaceful habitation had more than once attracted thither his steps in boyhood, when as yet his heart was unalhed with the daughter of Guiscald, her who had drawn nourishment from her breast.
Margaret had strolled down the glen, and was seated under the willow, beneath whose pensile foliage Ellen's husband and babe reposed. She was examining their epitaph's--simple memorials of those who were there shut out from the troubles of life and was conscious of some sensations, that would almost have placed her beside them in their bed of rest. A tear had fallen-and another was ready to follow it, when she heard a foot.—She looked up, and beheld before her, as in a vision. Arnold de Weimer. Overpowered at the sight of one who had so long been near her heart, but whom she believed to have forgotten her, even had she let a wandering imagination visit her abode, she shrieked, and would instantly have sunk upon the seat, from which she had started in the suddenness of surprise, had she not been supported by Arnold, who sprang forward and caught her as she fel.
She was just recovering—some tender interchange of look and language had passed-some allusion to future prospects, thought an
swering thought- when a noise was heard as of several voices, pronouncing occasionally, with vehemence, the name of Arnold de Wei
Margaret, alarmed for his safety, entreated him to fly. For herself she had no apprehensions. Her youth, her sex, her misfortunes, were her protection-and she begged him to leave her. But Arnold cared not for himself. Deprived of her, life had lost its attractions: and with her he must spend it, or, so he deemed in his ungoverned agitation, cast it “ as a worthless weed away.” He listened the sounds approached.—He distinguished among them the tone of his father, and heard him denouncing vengeance. He caught the word. and, as it fell from de Weimer's lips, he seized the hand of Margaret, and clasping it to his breast, vowed—“ No, Arnold, no!” she said—but it was done and the words were passed -vowed only to be hers's, that yow had scarcely been borne on rapid wing to heaven, and there irreversibly ratified, when Arnold was a prisoner. His father, on learning that he was not to be found, instantly suspecting whither he had directed his flight-for he was more intimately acquainted with the circumstances of the de Guiscalds, than he had given his family reason to believe-had mounted his horse, and ordering some of his vassals to attend him, hastened in pursuit of the fugitive. Though Arnold had had the advantage by several hours, yet as he had no relays, which were held in readiness only for the chieftain, or some one bearing his sign manual, he had almost overtaken him when he reached Margaret's seclusion; and had not Arnold been hurried on by an eagerness of expectation that could brook no delay, and favoured by the directions of Ellen, whom he met as he was descending to her cottage, for a season at least, perhaps for ever-for effects are indissolubly linked with their causes-he had been separated from Margaret de Weimar. It was, however, otherwise ordained: and the vow had passed to heaven which bound his life to hers. To her, his affections long had pointed: and now, faithful as the needle to its rest, they had twined themselves round her by folds, inevolvible as those of Gordins, and yet stronger still—folds, which no human power could either dissever or untie.
Arnold was now taken, amidst the reproaches and revilings of his father, and his fiendish satellites, to a building on the lands of the barony, where was a dungeon, used for confining the offending vassals. Into this he was thrown, and there left without intercourse, save that of the monster in human form, who brought him from day to day his bread and water of affliction. The Baroness was soon informed of her son's misfortune, and, ready as she would have been to die with him she bore, we may easily believe that she omitted nothing in her power to relieve him. Tears, however, and entreaties were alike unavailing; and she was doomed to behold the sun rise and set, and rise and set, again, and again, and again, without being permitted even to see him, or soothe his sufferings with the balm of maternal sympathy. The deed of exclusion, meantime, had been signed: a form simply executed by the despotic power of the Emperor in those times of feudal anarchy. The younger son, a youth of a spirit more congenial with his father's, was appointed successor, and Arnold was declared to have forfeited, by his contumacy to parental authority; all rights and privileges