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she didn't pay up to time. She used to anticipate the money, and then defraud me of my share. At last it came into my head, when I heard you had come back from India, to see what sort of gentleman you were, and whether you wanted your freedom bad enough to pay me a high price for it. You required a valet. I entered your service; and when I was sent down to Richmond with the parrot and the books and the flowers, and so on, for that little lady--no, Major, don't stop me, I mean no offence to her, and I must bring her name in to make my story clear-I thought the time would soon come, sir, when you'd give any price for your freedom, for I heard plenty of talk, sir, at that time, about you and her ; servants trouble themselves more about their master's business than they do about their own. The day you dismissed me from your service, I was going to tell you, if you had only listened. But you were so impatient and so haughty, that I thought I'd let you go on in ignorance, and free yourself, if ever you wanted, as best you might. I entered Lord Vane Castleton's service then. You know he hated you bitterly, because he was gone quite mad about Miss Tressillian; had set his heart upon her, just because he thought she belonged to you, and was not to be had. It seems, sir, he had been very good friends with Lucy in Paris, and he wrote and told her you were in love again, and with somebody who, he thought, didn't know you were married, and that if she wished to put a stop to it, she should come over and tell Miss Alma. Over she did come, saw him first, and then went to St. Crucis; and after she'd been—I didn't see her, and didn't know she was in London--he sent me to bring Miss Tressillian to Windsor, while you were sitting in court-martial on Mr. Halkett. It was a dirty job, sir, I know, and a rascally one. Don't look at me so fiercely, Major, for God's nake. I am sorry I did it now, for she'd sweet blue eyes, that little lady, and I was never quite easy till I knew she'd got out of Lord Vane's clutches ; she must have done it by some miracle, for no other woman ever got away from him before. Then you went to the Crimea, and Lucy paid worse and worse; to be sure, she gave me that diamond ceinture she wore on her wedding-day, your present to her, sir, I think, and it was good for a 1000l., but they wouldn't give me so much at the Mont de Piété, and I owed more than half what they did give me. At last I thought I would try you again, if only to spite Lucy, who was living in splendour, and grudging me every shilling. I wrote to you at the Crimea-I called to speak to you at Mivart's+finally, I tracked you bere. Now I've told you all my tale, Major. I know you well enough to know your word is as sure a bond as another man's cheque ; and if you'll go with me, sir, to Trinity Church, Frestonhills, I'll show you the register of my marriage, sir, which makes yours null and void.”
De Vigne leant against the old grey stone; his face was white with the intensity of the sudden joy, his breathing came short and thick, his eyes were dark; as night, with the rapture thrilling through every nerve, till it seemed to stifle him in its intensity; his strong frame trembled like a woman's. The ecstasy of that hour! No criminal, condemned to death and suddenly reprieved, felt the warm rush of fresh air welcoming him as he issued-ta free man-from the darkness of his prison-cell of doom, with deeper, more bewildering joy, than he realised and welcomed his liberty from the festering and bitter chains that so long had dragged upon him--his liberty from the weary weight, the repented folly, the bitter curse of an Early Marriage.
He was silent, breathing fast and loud, struggling to realise this possibility of freedom. Then-he threw back his head with a proud, joyous gesture ; he looked up to the glad suinmer sun shining above his head; he drew in with a deep long breath the free sweet air that streamed around him. He turned his eyes upon the man, flashing with their old, proud, brilliant, shadowless light.
“ Right! I would pay any price for freedom. Let us go at once. I will not lose an hour a moment !”.
He went and the sunlight played over his mother's grave, seeming to linger fondly there, touching the fragrant violets to a deeper blue, and the lilies to a purer-silver. It was pitiful that the gentle and loving heart, stilled there for ever, could not awake to throb in unison with her son's joy, and know his freedom from that deadly curse whose blow had sent her to her tomb? Her love had been with him in his grief; it was cruel that her love could not be with him in his joy. Cruel ? ah, trulyon earth there is no more bitter thing than the death that is in the midst of hfe.
*Frestonhills, unchanged, lay nestling among the green pastures and fresh woods of Berkshire, and all the old familiar places struck strangely on him as he passed them. There flowed the silver Kennet, bright and rapid as of old, rushing on its swift .sunny way under the graceful bridges; and past the wild luxuriant hedges; and through the quiet, silent country towns and villages. There, on its banks, were schoolboys lying among the purple clover and under the fragrant hawthorps, as poor little Curly had done long years ago. There were the dark palings, and the great forest-trees of the park of Weivehurst, long changed to other hands before its rightful owner was laid to rest, his grave marked only by a simple wooden cross, under the southern skies of Lorave. There, against the blue heavens, rose above its woods the grey pinnacles of the old house where Alma Tressillian had made the roof ring with her childish laughter, playing on the dark galleries, or out under the golden laburnums that fung the same shadows on the lawn, now, as then. There was the old Chancery, its gable roofs and its low ivygrown walls, as he passed. A lady glanced up, gardening among her geraniums and heliotropes—it was Miss Arabella--the ringlets very grey now. A little farther on, in the old playing-field, there were the wickets, and the bats, and the jumping poles, and four or five boys, in their shirt sleeves and their straw hats, enjoying their half-holiday, as we had done before them. So life goes on ; when one is bowled out, another is ready to step into his shoes, and, no matter how many the ball of death may knock over, the cricket of life is kept up the same, and players are never wanting.
The register lay on the table under the arched Norman window of the vestry of the church where, twenty years before, we had fidgeted through the dreary periods of the rector's cruel sermon full an hour long, and cast glances over our hymn-books at the pastrycook's pretty daughters.
The great old register, ponderous and dusty, lay on the table, the sunbeams from the stained glass above falling on its leather binding and
its thickly-written leaves, full of so many records of man's joy and sorrow, crowded with so many names that now were empty sounds ; penned by so many hands that were now crumbled to dust under the churchyard sods near by. The great register layon its table in the dark, quiet, solitary vestry—the last he had seen was the one in which he had signed his doom, eleven years before, in the church at Vigne. The old sexton unlocked the book, and with shaking infirm hand turned over the leaves one after the other. De Vigne leant against the table, watching for the entry, his breath short and laboured, his pulse beating with fever-heat, a mist before his eyes, a great agony of dread—the dread of deception tightening his heart and oppressing him to suffocation. If the man's story were not true !-if this, too, were a hoax and a fraud ! Breathless, trembling in every limb with fear and hope, he bent over the book, pushing the old man's hand away; his agony of impatience could not brook the slow and awkward fumbling of leaf after leaf-by the palsied feebleness of age. He thrust the pages back one after another till he reached the year 18%. Entry after entry met his eye; from lords of the manor, their ancestral names dashed across the page; from poor peasants, who could only make their mark; from feminine signatures, trembling and illegible; marriage after marriage met his eager glance, but not yet the one which was to loosen his fetters and set him free. He turned the leaves over one after the other, his heart throbbing thick with wild hope and irrepressible fear. At last the setting sun, shining in through the rich hues of glory, the rubies and the ambers, the heads of saints, and the golden scrolls, and the blazoned shields on the stained window above his head, Aung radiant colours on one dim yellow sheet, illumining with its aureole of light the two signatures he sought-the words that gave him rapsom-the names that struck off his chains
CONSTANCE LUCY DAVIS. And as his eyes fell upon the page that freed him from the wife that had so long cursed his life, and stained his honour, and made his name abhorrent in his sight because she bore it, De Vigne staggered forward, and, Ainging the casement open, leant out into the calm, fresh evening, stunned by his sudden deliverance as by some mortal blow, and gasping for breath, while the warm westerly wind swept over him, like a man who has escaped from the lurid heat and stilling agony of fire into the pure, sweet air of a breaking dawn.
He was FREE! The life that he had so madly sought to spend like water, and fling off from him as an evil too bitter to be borne, among jungles of Scinde and on the steppes of the Crimea, was once more rich, and precious, and beloved ;-he learned at last what his wayward nature had been long ere it would believe, that the fate we deem a curse is oftentimes an angel in disguise, if we wait patiently for the unfolding of its wings from the darkness that enshrouds them.
THE IONIAN ISLANDS.
Of the seven Ionian Islands— the Heptanisos — which now in a united federal league are under the protection of the great and uncon. quered Albion, how many are the classic associations—the interesting sites of scenes which, either for their present matchless beauty or for their antecedents, are viewed with such feelings of admiration by all those who love what is beautiful in nature, or characterised in history, as being the subjects dwelt upon with enthusiasm by classic writers ?—the Phcacia, where Ulysses suffered shipwreck, and where, even now, the figure of his ship is asserted by the present Greeks to stand, there being a rocky island in the form of a ship, which is invariably shown to the visitor as such, near the harbour of Corfu ; the marshy Leucadia, where you are shown the beetling cliff from which Sappho is said to have leaped ; the famed Tetrapolis, where the Cyclopean ruins of Samos, in their colossal magnitude, still arrest the gaze of the traveller—where the remaining stones of Palé, Proné, and Kranü, the other three great ancient cities, still present the mouldering ruins of grandeur-where the frequent mountains, gloomy and grand, though barren in appearance, are most prolific in their produce of grapes; the classic Ithaca, the spot most favoured of any of them, where yet you are shown the school which Homer was said to have studied at, and the castle which Penelope inhabited; the beautiful Zacynthus, now called the lower of the Levant, immortalised by Virgil:
Jam medio apparet fluctu nemorosa Zacynthus; the sequestered Cerigo, where Venus was born—the ancient Cythera ; and the small rocky islet called Paxo—all these, under the modern names of Corfu, Cephalonia, Santa-Maura, Ithaca, Zante, Cerigo, and Paxo, are called the Septinsular Republic, and united in one government, whose parliament and house of judicature is at Corfu, which is much the most important of all of them, and the best locality, whether as regards climate, civilisation, number of inhabitants, produce, or presence of English residents. It is true that the appearance of Zante is strikingly fine, presenting in the interior a vast plain, where the richly-cultivated soil produces in the greatest abundance the grape, the passolini, or Zante currant, the mulberry, the orange, and lemon-where the wild myrtle abounds and where the pitch wells are objects of much wonder. Out of these are drawn the pitch in a state perfectly fitted for use. I have myself seen several vessels filled with the pitch just as it came from the well. No implement of a more scientific nature than a common broom or a bucket was used in drawing it up. The soil of the ground which surrounded the wells was apparently common earth, and how the collection of black resinous matter had accumulated, I never heard accounted for. The upper surface of the well was water. The mountains also on this island, covered with olive groves, are singularly beautiful; and its silk manufactories are famed throughout the islands. The appearance of the vast extended plain, bespangled with flowers of every colour-of the oleander, rhododendrons, myrtle, and others—and teeming with the genial produce which the most kindly climate gives to the country, when seen from the mountain-top which lies south of this island, leads you to
understand the phrase which the Greek inhabitants use when speaking of it. They say it is “ Zante fior di Levante." But both this island and Santa-Maura are subject to earthquakes. Cephalonia is also visited frequently by them ; but I have always heard that the shocks of earthquake in the last-mentioned island have never been so violent as those which have been experienced by the inhabitants i of Zanter and Santa-Maura. In the town of Santa-Maura the houses are constructed so as to guard against these shocks of earthquake, being built with the upper stories projecting, and supported by wooden angular frames, which are called by the builders, knees. Paxo is a mere rock. Indeed, although it be well known that the olive oil produced in this small island is preferable to that of any of the others, it can scarcely be regarded but as a scene of exile for an unfortunate military officer, whose duty may destine him to inhabit it. I may speak of Cephalonia when we come to mention the disturbances which occurred there; but for the Englishman who wishes to enjoy a residence in the Mediterranean, Corfu is certainly the pleasantest locality: Here the walks lead through extensive olive planta tions, vineyards, orange groves, plantations of wild myrtle, the grounds cultivated with corn and fax, the mountains planted with olives and cypress-trees. The harbour is a fine one, and in its adjacent temporary dock, called the Mendrachio, are numerous yachts, which belong to the officers of the regiments stationed in the island, or the official residents. In these, during most days of the sultry summer, the most delightful excursions can be had easily, within the reach of those fond of sailing. The harbours, or small bays, which lie at different intervals on the eastern coast of the island, all are well adapted for the lay of small vessels, and present scenes full of attraction to every visitor fond of rural scenery. The places for landing on the opposite shore, at Albania, are equally enjoyable in their way, and for sportsmen are more resorted to than the anchorages in Corfu. In the former, there is the grand, wild, mountainous outline that marks a country which yet retains the same characteristics as those spoken of by Gibbon, when he said that'a country within a short sail of Europe is as wild and strange to its inhabitants as the backwoods of America: There, in the interior, the high mountain ranges of Pindus, Suli, and others, are covered at the top with snow for a great part of the year. The lowlands are mostly remarkable for their thick woody covers, and mountain caverns here and there placed at intervals. They display the same appearance which the wildest and most newly-discovered shores exhibit to the voyagers who sail to far: distant climes. There is the rude, untrimmed forest of thick underwood, the stone-covered plain, or the mountain cavern ; but the names of the inland localities still remind you in several places of the mention which they bear in the Æneid of Virgil. Thus Butrinto is the “Celsam Buthroti urbem ;" and further downward, passing Levitazzi, Gomenizza, Morta, and the harbour of the last-mentioned place, which is most commodious for all sorts of craft, you have the same names of localities as those spoken of by Virgil: the
Sameque et Neritos ardua saxisthe “Scopulos Ithacæ ;” and.
Leucatæ nimabosa cacumina mortis