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When, at the close of a sultry day, of his companion assured him that Major M'Caskey presented himself the safer policy was to restrain his at this gate, summoning the porter wrath, and, touching his hat in with a vigorous pull of the bell, he salute, he retired without a word. was not admitted till a very careful As though he felt in better temscrutiny showed that he was alone, per with himself for having thus and did not, besides, exhibit any- discharged this little debt, the thing very formidable in his ap- Major stepped more briskly forpearance. He was told, as he ward, gained the small postern, passed in, that he must leave his and entered a large and formal horse at the stables beside the garden, the chief avenue of which gate, and make the rest of his way showed him the gate at the exon foot. The Major was both tired tremity. It lay open, and he found and hungry; he had been in the himself in a large vaulted hall, from saddle since daybreak, had twice which doors led off. In doubt missed his way, and tasted no food which course to take, he turned to since he set out.
seek for a bell, but there was none “ Is there much more of this con- to be found ; and after a careful founded way to go ?” asked he of search on every side, he determined his guide, as they now mounted a to announce himself by a stout terrace, only to descend again. knocking at one of the doors before
“ About a quarter of an hour will him. bring you to the Molo,” said the The hollow clamour resounded other, just as ill-pleased to have the through the whole building, and duty of escorting him. A quick soon brought down two men in glance at the fellow's face showed faded livery, half terrified, half the Major how hopeless it would angry at the summons. be to expect any information from M'Caskey, at once assuming the him ; and though he was burning upper hand, a habit in which practo know who inhabited this lone- tice had made him a proficient, some place, and why he lived there, demanded haughtily to see “the he forebore all questioning, and Count,” their master. went along in silence.
“He is at dinner," said they 'There!” said his guide, at last, both together. as they reached a great archway “I wish I were so too,” said the standing alone in a sort of lawn. Major. “ Go in and tell him that —“there! you follow that road to I am the bearer of a royal despatch, the little gate yonder, pass in, cross and desire to see him immediately.” the garden, and you will be at the They held counsel together in side-entrance of the Molo. I don't whispers for a few minutes, during suppose you want to enter by the which the name Maria occurred grand gate ?"
frequently between them. “ We Major M‘Caskey was not much will tell the Senora Maria you are in the habit of suffering an inso- here,” said one, at last. lence to pass unresented ; but he “And who may she be?” said seemed to control himself as he M'Caskey, haughtily. drew forth his purse and took out “ She is the Cameriera of the a crown-piece." This is for your Countess, and the chief of all the trouble, my worthy fellow," said household.”
go and look for it yonder," “My business is not with a and he jerked the piece of money waiting-woman. I have come to over the low parapet, and sent it see the Count of Amalfi,” said the skimming along the sea a hundred Major, sternly. yards off.
The men apparently knew their Though the man's lips murmur- own duties best, and, civilly asked in passion, and his dark eyes ing him to follow, they led the way flashed anger, one look at the face up a small flight of stairs, and after
traversing some scantily-furnished her head away, and then covered rooms, showed him into a pretty her face with her hands. decorated little chamber, with two “ Senora Maria,” said he, slowly windows looking on the sea.
unless indeed you still desire I Having politely begged him to should call you Mrs M'Caskey.” be seated, they left him. The “No, no—
-Maria,” cried she, wildMajor, besides being hungry and ly; I am but a servant-I toil jaded, was irritable and angry. for my bread, but better that Filangieri had told him his mis- than
than—” She stopped, and, afsion was one of importance and ter an effort to subdue her emotion, high trust; in fact, so much so, burst into tears and sobbed bitthat it could not be confided to terly. one less known than himself. And "It matters little to me, madam, was this the way they received a what the name. The chain that royal envoy, sent on such an er- ties us is just as irrevocable, whatrand ? While he thus fumed and ever we choose to call ourselves. chafed, he heard a door open and As to anything else, I do not supclose, and shortly after the sweep pose you intend to claim me as your of a woman's dress coming along the husband.” corridor ; and now the step came “No, no, never,” cried she, imnearer, and the door opened, and petuously. a tall, sickly-looking woman
Nor am I less generous, madam. tered ; but scarcely had she ad- None shall ever hear from me that vanced one pace within the room you were my wife. The contract when she uttered a faint scream was one that brought little credit and fainted.
to either of us.” The Major's first care was to 'Nothing but misery and misturn the key in the lock, his second fortune to me!” said she, bitterly; was to lift up the almost lifeless nothing else—nothing else !" figure and place her on a sofa. As “You remind me, madam,” said he did so, any emotion that his he, in a slow deliberate voice, as features betrayed was rather of dis- though he were enunciating some pleasure than astonishment; and in long-resolved sentiment
you rethe impatient way he jerked open mind me much of Josephine." the window to let the fresh air “Who is Josephine?” asked she, blow on her there was far more of quickly. anger than surprise.
"I speak of the Empress Jose“So then you are the Senora phine, so you may perceive that I Maria, it would seem,” were the have sought your parallel in high first words she heard as she rallied places. She, like you, deemed herfrom her swoon.
self the most unhappy of women, “Oh, Miles !” cried she, with an and all because destiny had linked intense agony, “why have you her with a greatness that she could tracked me here? Could you not not measure. have let me drag out my few years Though her vacant stare might of life in peace ?”
have assured him either that she It was difficult to guess how did not understand his words, or these words affected him, or rather follow their meaning, never dauntin how many different ways; for ed he went on. though at first his eyes flashed “Yes, madam; and, like her husangrily, he soon gave a short jeering band, yours has had much to bearsort of laugh, and, throwing himself levity-frivolity-and-worse. down into a chair, he crossed his “What are you here for? Why arms on his breast and gazed have you come after me?” cried steadily at her.
she, wildly. “I swore to you beThe look seemed to remind her fore, and I swear it again, that I of bygone suffering, for she turned will never go back to you.'
Whenever you reduce that thought it was a mode of addresspledge to writing, madam, call on ing him secretly. The Count of me to be your security for its due Amalfi lives here, perhaps.” performance; be it known to you, “I never heard of him." therefore, that this meeting was an
“ Who lives here besides Sir unexpected happiness to me." Omerod ?”
She covered her face, and rocked "My lady—that is, the Countess; to and fro like one in the throes
none else.” of a deep suffering.
“ Who is the Countess—Countess “I should be a glutton, madam, of what, and where ?” if I desired a repetition of such “She is a Milanese ; she was a scenes as these; they filled eight Brancaleone." years--eight mortal years-of a life “Brancaleone, Brancaleone! there not otherwise immemorable.”
were two of them. One went to And what have they done for Mexico with the Duke of Sommarme ? ” cried she, roused almost to iva—not his wife." boldness by his taunting manner. “ This is the other ; she is mar
“Made you thinner, paler, a ried to Sir Omerod.” trifle more aged, perhaps,” said he, She must be Virginia Brancascanning her leisurely; " but al- leone," said M'Caskey, trying to
" ways what Frenchmen would call a remember—“the same Lord Byron femme charmante."
used to rave about.” The mockery seemed more than She nodded an assent, and he she could bear; for she sprang to continued. her feet, and, in a voice vibrating “Nini Brancaleone was a toast, with passion, said, “Take care, I remember, with Wraxall and TreMiles M'Caskey—take care ; there lawney, and the rest of us. She was are men here, if they saw me insult- the reason fair' of many a good ed, would throw you over that sea- glass of claret which Byron gave wall as soon as look at you.” us, in those days before he became
“Ring for your bravos, madam- stingy." summon your condottieri at once,' “ You had better keep your mesaid he, with an impudent laugh; mories to yourself in case you meet
they'll have some warmer work her,” said she, warningly. than they bargained for."
“Miles M'Caskey, madam, re“Oh, why not leave me in peace quires very little advice or admoni-why not let me have these few tion in a matter that touches tact years of life without more of shame or good-breeding.” A sickly smile and misery?” said she, throwing of more than half-derision curled herself on her knees before him. the woman's lip, but she did not
“Permit me to offer you a chair, speak. “ And now let us madam,” said he, as he took her back to this Count of Amalfi ; who hands, and placed her on a seat; is he? where is he ?” “and let me beg that we talk of “I have told you already I do something else. Who is the Count?- not know."
The Onoralissimo e Pregiatissimo, “ There was a time, madam, you Nobile Conte,'” for he read now would have required no second infrom the address of a letter he had timation that it was your duty to drawn from his pocket-“Nobile find out.” Conte d'Amalfi'-is that the name “Ah, I remember those words of the owner of this place ?” but too well,” cried she, bitterly.
“No; it is the Chevalier Butler, Finding out was my task for formerly Minister at Naples, lives many a year.” here-Sir Omerod Bramston But- Well, madam, it was an exercise ler.”
that might have put a fine edge on Ah, then I perceive it is real- your understanding, but, like some ly meant for another person ! I other advantages of your station, it
slipped by you without profit. I or are you to be hard-hearted and am generous, madam, and I for- merciless to the end ?” bear to say more. Tell me of these “I am proud to say, madam, that people here all that you know of Miles M'Caskey comes of a house them, for they are my more imme- whose motto is-Semper M'Caskey. diate interest at present.”
A scornful curl of her lip seemed “I will tell you everything, on to show what respect she felt for the simple condition that you never the heraldic allusion; but she respeak to me nor of me again. Pro- covered herself quickly, and said, mise me but this, Miles M'Cas- “I can stay no longer. It is the key, and I swear to you I will hour the Countess requires me; but conceal nothing that I know of I will come back to-morrow, withthem."
out you would let me buy off this “You make hard terms, madam,” meeting. Yes, Miles, I am in earnest; said he, with a mock courtesy. “It this misery is too much for me. I have is no small privation to be denied saved a little sum, and I have it by the pleasure of your agreeable pre- me in gold. You must be more sence, but I comply.”
changed than I can believe, or you And this shall be our last will be in want of money. You meeting ?” asked she, with a look shall have it all, every ducat of it, of imploring meaning.
if you only pledge me your word * Alas, madam if it must be !" never to molest me-never to follow "Take care,” cried she, suddenly; me-never to recognise me again !” you once by your mockery drove “Madam," said he, severely, "this me to
menial station you have descended “Well, madam, your memory to must have blunted your sense of will perhaps record what followed. honour rudely, or you had never I shot the friend who took up your dared to make me such a proposal.
Do you chance to know of Let me see you tomorrow, and for another who would like to imitate the last time.” And haughtily wavhis fortune ?”
ing his hand, he motioned to her to “Gracious heaven !” cried she, leave, and she turned away, with
agony, “has nothing the her hands over her face, and quitted power to change your cruel nature; the room.
CHAPTER XL-THE MAJOR'S TRIALS.
Major Miles M'Caskey is not a it would be a needless cruelty to foreground figure in this our story, chronicle it. nor have we any reason to suppose The Major, as we have once pasthat he possesses any attractions singly seen, kept a sort of brief for our readers. When such men journal of his daily doings; and a —and there are such to be found on few short extracts from this will life's highway-are met with, the tell us all that we need know of world usually gives them what him. On a page of which the upsailors call a “wide berth, and ample per portion was torn away, we find room to swing in,” sincerely trust- the following:-“Arrived at Ming that they will soon trip their on the 6th at sunset. Ruined old anchor and sail off again. Seeing rookery. Open at land side, and all this, I have no pretension, nor sea defences all carried away; never indeed any wish,
could have been strong against arpany any more than is strictly in- tillery. Found Mrs MC. in the dispensable, nor dwell on his so- style of waiting-woman to a Counjourn at the Molo of Montanara. tess Butler, formerly Nini BranIndeed, his life at that place was so caleone. A warm interview; difmonotonous and weary to himself, ficult to persuade her that I was not
in pursuit of herself - a feminine me with distinguished consideration,
delusion I tried to dissipate. She” but nothing said of an audience. —henceforth it is thus he always Pigeons again for supper, with designates Mrs M'Caskey — “she apology; quails had been sent for
avers that she knows nothing of the to Messina, and expected to-morCount d'Amalfi, nor has ever seen Shot at a champagne-flask in him. Went into a long story about the sea, and smoked. Sir O's. toSir Omerod Butler, of whom I know bacco exquisite, and the supply so more myself. She pretends that ample, I am making a petite proNini is married to him—legally vision for the future. married ; don't believe a word of “Full moon. Shot at the camelias it. Have my own suspicions that out of my window. Knocked off the title of Amalfi has been con- seventeen, when I heard a sharp ferred on B. himself, for he lives cry—a stray shot, I suppose. Shut estranged from England and Eng. the casement and went to bed. lishmen. Will learn all, however, Thursday.—Gardener's boybefore I leave.
flesh-wound in the calf of the leg; Roast pigeons, with tomato, a hope Sir 0. may hear of it and send strange fish, and omelette, with Capri for me. to wash it down; a meagre supper, “A glorious capon for dinner, stuffbut they say it shall be better to- ed with oysters-veritable oysters.
Drank Mrs M'C.'s health in the “Seventh, Wednesday. - Slept impression that this was a polite soundly and had a swim; took a attention on her part. No message sea view of the place, but could see from Sir 0. no one about. Capital breakfast- “Friday.-A general fast; a lentil ‘Frutti di mare,' boiled in Rhine soup and a fish : good but meagre; wine; fellow who waited said a took it out in wine and tobacco. favourite dish of his Excellency's, Had the gardener's boy up, and meaning Sir O. B. Best chocolate introduced him to sherry-cobbler. I ever tasted out of Paris. Found The effect miraculous; danced Tathe menue for dinner on the table rantella till the bandage came off all right; the wine is au choix, and and he fainted. I begin with La Rose and La Veuve “Saturday. — Rain and wind;
Cliquot. A note from her referring maccaroni much smoked; cook lays to something said last night; she is it on the chimney that won't draw ill and cannot see me, but encloses with a Levant wind. Read over my an order on Parodi of Genoa, in instructions again, and understand favour of the Nobile Signor il Mag- them as little as before ;—You will giore M'Caskey, for three thousand hold yourself at the orders of the seven hundred and forty-eightfrancs, Count d'Amalfi till further inand a small tortoise-shell box, con- structions from this department.' taining eighty-six double ducats in Vague enough all this; and for gold, so that it would seem I have anything I see, or am likely to see, fallen into a 'vrai Californie' of this Count, I may pass the autumn here. Reflected, and replied with a here. Tried to attract Sir O.'s atrefusal; a M‘Caskey cannot stoop tention by knocking off the oranges to this. Reproved her for ignoring at top of his wall, and received inthe character to whom she address- timation to fire in some other died such a proposal, and reiterated rection. my remark of last night, that she “Sunday.—Don Luigi something never rose to the level at which has come to say mass. Asked him she could rightly take in the native to dinner, but find him engaged chivalry of my nature.
the Countess. A dry old cove, who "Inquired if my presence had evidently knows everything but been announced to Sir O., and will tell nothing; has promised to learned it had. Orders given to treat lend me a guitar and a book or