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its worth. Get him to consent to “ Let him think of the greater this, and I am ready to pledge my wrong he has done me! — of my word that he has seen the last of youth that he has wasted, and my me."
manhood lost and shipwrecked. “ He gave it to you as a wedding But for him and his weak ambipresent, Norman,” said she, haught- tion, I had belonged to a party who ily; and now her deep-toned voice would have prized my ability and rung out clear and strong ; " and it rewarded my courage. I would not will be an unpardonable offence to find myself at thirty brigaded with ask him this.
a set of low-hearted priests and “ Have I not told you that I seminarists, who have no other shall not need forgiveness — that weapons than treachery, nor any with this act all ends between us?” strategy but lies. If I have squan
“I will be no party to this,” said dered his fortune, he has beggared she, haughtily; and she arose and me in reputation. He does not walked out upon the terrace. As seem to remember these things. she passed, the lamp-light flared As to him whom he would prefer strongly on her features, and to me and make his heir, I have M‘Caskey saw a face he had once
seen him." known well ; but what a change “ You have seen him, Norman ! was there!
The beautiful Nina When ? - where? how ?” cried Brancaleone—the dark-haired Nor she, in wild impatience. ma—the belle that Byron used to Yes, I even had a plan to let toast with an enthusiasm of ad- the uncle meet his promising nemiration-was a tall woman ad- phew. I speculated on bringing vanced in years, and with two together two people more made for masses of snow-white hair on either mutual detestation than any other side of a pale face.
The dark eyes,
two in Europe.” indeed, flashed brightly still, and “It would have been a rash venthe eyebrows were dark as of yore; ture,” said she, fiercely. but the beautifully-formed mouth “ If you mean for me, that was was hard and thin-lipped, and the the very reason I thought of it. fair brow marked with many a What other game than the rash one strong line of pain.
is open to a man like me ?" “You forget, perhaps," said she, “Who ever had the safer road to after a short pause
you forget fortune if he could have walked that it is from this villa I take my with the commonest prudence ?” title. I am Brancaleone della Tor- said she, bitterly. ricella, and I forfeit the name when “How can you say that? Talk it leaves our hands."
of prudence to the man who has no And do you hold to this, mo- fortune, no family, not even a name ther ?” asked he, in a voice of sor- -no !” cried he, fiercely ; "for by row, through which something of the first Maitland I met I might be scorn was detectable.
challenged to say from what stock "Do I hold to it? Of course I I came. He could have saved me hold to it! You know well the from all this. Nothing was ever value it has in his eyes. Without easier. You yourself asked — ay, it he never would have consented begged this. You told me you begshe stopped suddenly, and seem- ged it on your knees; and I own, ed to catch herself in time to pre- if I never forgave him for refusing, vent the utterance of some rash I have never forgiven you for the avowal. As it is," added she, entreaty.”
he told me so late as yesterday “ And I would do it again tothat he has no rest nor peace, think- day!" cried she, passionately. “Let ing over his brother's son, and the him but acknowledge you, Norman, great wrong he has done him. and he may turn me out upon the
world houseless and a beggar, and for I suppose he would make it an I will bless him for it!"
audience,”and the last word he gave “What a curse is on the bas- with deep scorn. tard !” broke he out in a savage “Let me bring him the tidings." vehemence, “if it robs him of No, he shall hear them from every rightful sentiment, and poi- myself, or not hear them at all. I
even a mother's love. Do want this villa !” cried he, passionnot talk to me this way, or you ately—“ I want the title to sell it, will drive me mad!”
and pay off a debt that is crushing “Oh, Norman! my dear, dear me. Go, then, and say I have someNorman !” cried she, passionately; thing of importance enough to have “it is not yet too late.”
brought me down some hundred “ Too late for what?”
miles to tell him something that Not too late to gain back his deeply concerns the cause he cares favour. When he saw the letter in for, and to which his counsel would the King's hand, calling you Count be invaluable.” of Amalfi, he said, "This looks ill “And this is true ?” for the monarchy. I have a Scotch “Did I ever tell you a falsehood, earldom myself in my family, grant- mother?” asked he, in a voice of ed by another king the day after deep and sorrowful meaning. he had lost his own crown.' Try, 'I will go,” said she, after a few then, if you cannot rally to the moments of thought, and left the cause those men who are so much
Maitland took a bottle of under your influence, that, as you some essenced water from the table have often told me, they only want and bathed his forehead. He had ed to be assured of your devotion to been more agitated than he cared to pledge their own. If he could be- confess; and now that be was alone, lieve the cause triumphant, there is and, as he believed, unobserved, his nothing he would not do to up- features betrayed a deep depression. hold it.”
As he sat with his head leaning “Yes," said he, thoughtfully, on both hands, the door opened. “ there never lived the man who 'Come," said she, gently—“come!" more worshipped success! The in- He arose and followed lier. No dulgences that he heaped upon my- sooner was all quiet around than self were merely offerings to a career M'Caskey rowed swiftly back to of insolent triumph.
his quarters, and, packing up hastily “You never loved him, Norman,” his few effects, made with all speed said she, sadly.
for the little bay, where was the “ Love had no share in the com- village he had passed on his arrival, pact between us. He wanted to and through which led the road to maintain a cause which, if success- Reggio. That something was ful, must exclude from power in at Naples he was now certain, and England the men who had insult- he resolved to be soon on the field : ed him, and turned him out of office. whoever the victors, they would I wanted some one who could afford want him. to pay my debts, and leave me free On the third evening he entered to contract more. But why talk to the capital, and made straight you about these intrigues !—once for Caffarelli's house. He met the more, will he see me?”
Count in the doorway. She shook her head slowly in dis- I wanted,” said he, as he saw the sent. Could you not write to him, Major. “Go into my study and Norman ?" said she at last.
wait for me. “ I will not write to a man under * What has happened?” asked the same roof as myself. I have M'Caskey, in a whisper. some news for him," added he, “if "Everything. The King is he cares to buy it by an audience; dead.”
“ The man
CHAPTER XLII.-MARK LYLE'S LETTER.
The following letter was received realises all I ever dreamed or imaat Lyle Abbey shortly after the gined of an Italian villa. Marble events recorded in our last chapter and frescoes and fountains, terraces had happened. It was from Mark descending to the sea, and gardens Lyle to his sister, Mrs Trafford :- a wilderness of orange and mag
nolia, and grand old rooms, the " Horel VICTORIA, NAPLES. very air of which breathed splen“MY DEAR ALICE,— While I was dour and magnificence; but à quoi cursing my bad-luck at being too bon ? dear Alice. It was a 'Pallate for the P. and 0. steamer at azzotto reale,' and one could only Marseilles, your letter arrived de- gaze enviously at delights they ciding me to come on here. No- could not hope to compass. thing was ever more fortunate; first Seeing my intense admiration of all, I shall be able to catch the of the place, the man who showed Austrian Lloyds at Ancona, and me around it said, as I was coming reach Alexandria in good time for away, that it was rumoured that the the mail; and, secondly, I have per- Count would not be indisposed to fectly succeeded—at least I hope so sell the property. I know enough -in the commission you gave me. of Italians to be aware that when For five mortal days I did nothing a stranger supposed to be rich
, but examine villas. I got a list all English are in this category,– of full fifty, but in the course of is struck with anything-picture, a little time the number filtered house, or statue—the owner will down to ten possible, and came at always part with it at tenfold its last to three that one could pro- value. Half out of curiosity, half nounce fairly habitable. To have to give myself the pretext for anhealth in this climate—that is to say, other morning's ramble over the to escape malaria—you must abjure delicious place, I asked where I vegetation; and the only way to could learn any details as to the avoid tertian is to book yourself value, and received an address as for a sunstroke. These at least follows, Count Carlo Caffarelli
, were my experiences up to Tuesday Villino della Boschetta, Chiaja, last, for all the salubrious spots Naples.' Caffarelli I at once realong the sea-shore had been long membered as the name of Maitsince seized on either by the King or land's friend, and in this found the Church, and every lovely point another reason for calling on him, of view was certain to be crowned since I had totally failed in all my by a royal villa or a monastery. I attempts to discover M. either in was coming back then on Tuesday, London, Paris, or even here. very disconsolate indeed from a long “ The same evening I went there, day's fruitless search, when I saw and found Count Caffarelli in one a perfect gem of a place standing of those fairy-tale little palaces on the extreme point of a promon- which this country abounds in. He tory near Caserta. It was of course had some friends at dinner, but, on royal'—at least it belonged to a reading my name, recognised me, Count d'Amalfi, which title was and came out with a most charming borne by some younger branch of politeness to press me to join his the Bourbons; yet as it was unten- party. It was no use refusing; anted, and several people were work- the Italian persuasiveness has that ing in the gardens, I ventured in element of the irresistible about it to have a look at it. I will not that one cannot oppose; and I soon attempt description, but just say found myself smoking my cigar in that both within and without it a company of half-a-dozen people,
who treated me
think Maitland would friend.
see me?' "I may amuse you some day “ 'I suppose he will be delighted by some of the traits of their to see you ; but I will ascertain bonhommie. I must now con- that without letting him know that fine myself to our more imme- I have already told you he was diate interests. Caffarelli, when here. Remember, too, if he should he found that I wanted receive you, drop nothing about information about the villa, drew the duel or the wound. Allude to his arm within my own, and, taking his illness as fever, and leave to me away from the rest, told me in himself entirely the option of tellstrictest confidence that the villa ing you the true story or not.' was Maitland's — Maitland being “After a few more words of cauthe Conte d'Amalfi—the title hav- tion-less needed, if he only had ing been conferred by the late known how thoroughly I underKing, one of the very last acts of stood his temper and dispositionhis life.
he left me.
He was back again in “And Maitland,' said I, scarcely less than five minutes, and, taking recovering from my astonishment; me by the arm, led me to Maitwhere is he now?'
land's door. There,' said he ; “Within a few yards of you, ‘go in; he expects you.' said he, turning and pointing to It was only after a few seconds the closed jalousies of a room that that I could see my way through opened on a small separately-en- the half - darkened room, but, closed garden ; ‘he is there.' guided by a weak voice saying,
“There was something like secrecy, Come on—here,' I approached a mystery at least, in his manner bed, on the outside of which, in a as he said this, that prevented my loose dressing-gown, the poor felspeaking for a moment, and he low lay. went on :-'Yes, Maitland is in "You find it hard to recognise that room, stretched on his bed, me, Lyle,' said he, with an attempt poor fellow ; he has been severely to smile at the amazement which wounded in a duel which, had I I could not by any effort repress; been here, should never have been for he was wasted to a shadow, bis fought. All this, remember, is brown cheeks were sunken and salin confidence ; for it is needless low, and his dark flashing eyes to tell you Maitland is one of almost colourless. those men who hate being made “And yet,' added he, 'the docgossip of; and I really believe that tor has just been complimenting his wound never gave him one- me on my improved looks. It half the pain that he felt at the seems I was more horrible yesterbare possibility of his adventure day. I don't remember what I being made town-talk. So well said, but he thanked me and have we managed hitherto, that of pressed my hand—a great deal from the men you see here to-night-all him, for he is not certainly demonof them intimate with him- one strative ; and then he pressed me only knows that his illness is not a to tell about you all-how you malaria fever.'
were, and what doing. He in“But can you answer for the quired so frequently, and recurred same prudence and reserve on the so often to Bella, that I almost part of the other principal ?' suspected something between them
“We have secured it, for the though, after all, I ought to have time at least, by removing him known that this was a conquest from Naples, and as the laws above Bella's reach—the man who here are very severe against duel- might any_day choose from the ling, his own safety will suggest highest in Europe. silence.'
Now a little about yourself,
Maitland,' said I. 'How long receiving any visitors, and I had have you been ill ?'
been there then full two hours ! This is the seventeenth day,' “I have told Lyle,' said he, as said he, sighing. “ Caffarelli of we were leaving the room, that course told you fever—but here you must let him come and see me it is,' and he turned on his side to-morrow; there are other things and showed me a great mass of I want to talk over with him.' appliances and bandages. 'I “It was high time I should have have been wounded. I went out left him, for his fever was now comwith a fellow whom none of my ing on, and Caffarelli told me that friends would consent to my meet- he raved throughout the whole ing, and I was obliged to take my night, and talked incessantly of valet Fenton for my second, and places which, even in a foreign prohe, not much versed in these mat- nunciation, I knew to be in our own ters, accepted the Neapolitan neighbourhood in Ireland. The sword instead of the French one. next day I was not admitted to see I had not touched one these eight him. The day after that I was years. At all events, my antagonist only suffered to pass a few minutes was an expert swordsman-I sus- beside his bed, on condition, too, pect, in this style of fencing, that he should not be allowed to more than my equal ; he certainly speak; and to-day, as it is my last was cooler, and took a thrust I gave in Naples, I have been with him him through the fore-arm without for above an hour. I am certain, ever owning he was wounded till my dear Alice, that there is somehe saw me fall.'
thing at least in my suspicion about « * Plucky fellow,' muttered I. Bella, from what took place to-day.
“Yes, pluck he has unquestion- Hearing that I was obliged to leave ably; nor did he behave badly when to-night to catch the steamer at all was over, for though it was as Ancona, he said, 'Lyle, I shall much as his neck was worth to do want a few minutes with you, all it, he offered to support me in the alone though, before you leave.' carriage all the way back to Naples. He said this because either the doc
“ That was a noble offer,' said I. tor or Caffarelli, or both, have been
“And there never was a less with us since our first meeting. noble antagonist !' cried Maitland, “Don't look gloomy, old fellow, with a bitter laugh. Indeed, if he added ; I'm not going to speak it ever should get abroad that I about my will. It is rather of life crossed swords with him, it would I mean to talk, and what to do go near to deny me the power of with life to make it worth living demanding a similar satisfaction for. Meanwhile, Caffarelli has been from one of my own rank to-morrow. telling me of your hunt after a villa. Do not ask me who he is, Lyle; There is mine—the Torricella—take do not question me about the quar- it. Carlo says you were greatly rel itself
. It is the thinking, the struck with it; and as it is really brooding over these things as I lie pretty, and inhabitable too, a thing here, that makes this bed a torture rare enough with villas, I insist upto me. The surgeon and his probes on your offering it to your family. are not pleasant visitors, but I There's a sort of summer-house or welcome them when they divert “ Belvidere” on the extreme point my thoughts from these musings.' of the rock, with half-a-dozen little
"I did my best to rally him, and rooms; I shall keep that for myself; get him to talk of the future, when but tell Lady Lyle I shall not be a he should be up and about again. troublesome visitor. It will be the I almost thought I had done him rarest of all events to see me there, some little good, when Caffarelli for I shall not be long in Italy.' came in to warn me that the doc- I was eager to ask why, or whither tors were imperative against his he was turning his steps, but he was