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stock of warm affections centred in tended to the conferring of every her orphan nursling, and in the mas- thing really valuable, and even beyond ter, whose fortunes she had followed those attainments, to many of the orthrough good and through evil. namental acquirements, which, like
The residence of Sidmouth becom- the capital of a Corinthian pillar, so ing distasteful to Colonel Aboyne, af- gracefully surmount the more solid ter the death of his beloved compan- substructure. ion, he removed, with his little fami The mind of Millicent Aboyne was, ly, to a more secluded spot on the therefore, not only stored with sacred same western coast, the obscure vil- knowledge and useful information, but lage of Sea Vale, where motives of she could read Italian and French economy, as well as choice, induced with perfect facility,—drew landscapes him finally to fix his permanent abode. and Aowers with more taste and truth
Uneventful, but not unblessed, than is ever evinced by half the spoilt flowed on the existence of the inmates children of fortune, on whom vast of Sea Vale Cottage, till the young sums have been lavished, to entitle Millicent was grown up into woman- them to daub hot-pressed card-board hood, in the opinion of her doating with likenesses of things that never father as fair and perfect a creature existed in “ heaven above or in the as was ever formed in the imperfec- earth beneath ;' and even acquired tion of mortal nature, and in that of so much skill in instrumental music, Nora Carthy something still more (to accompany a naturally sweet and faultless—an earthly angel !--the ob- flexible voice,) as could be taught by ject of her idol worship, though the her father's crippled hand on an old warm-hearted Irishwoman, having Spanish guitar, the chords of which been brought up by her mistress, he had touched in his youth with such Colonel Aboyne's mother, in the perfect execution, as, in unison with Protestant communion, professed to vocal powers of uncommon richness, ahjure all Popish abominations. It had won for the gay and handsome should have been mentioned earlier soldier many a sweet smile and adin this little narrative, that the parents miring glance from the circle of court of Colonel Aboyne were of a divided beauties, of which Marie Antoinette faith, and that he himself—though was the eclipsing cynosure. Many an educated in his father's tenets—those ear which shrinks fatigued and unediof the Roman Catholic Church-had fied from astounding bravuras, and received from his mother's early ex- scientific hors d'euvres, running matchample, and restricted influence, such a es against time with scampering acbias in favor of the Reformed religion, companiments on grand pian might as in after time, when he became the have drank in delightedly the sweet inhabitant of a Protestant country, and perfect melody of two blended the husband of a wife of that persua- voices, harmonising with now and then sion, matured into sincere belief in a harp-like chord, which often sounded that faith which had been her support at nightfall from within the small low in the hour of death, and amid the parlor of Sea Vale Cottage, or from pangs of separation, the mutual the honey-suckle arbor in its little pledge of future reunion. It is almost garden, when the warm summer evepeedless to add, that the little Milli- nings drew thither the father and his cent was brought up in the belief child, with the tea-table, and Milliwhich had become that of both her 'cent's work-basket, the Colonel's old parents ; but the circumstances of guitar, and his still treasured “ cabier Colonel Aboyne had precluded all de romances nouvelles imprimées à possibility of giving her any other Paris l'an mil-sept cents quatrevingt advantages of education, beyond douze." But though this venerable those in his own power to impart. récueil was prized by Colonel Aboyne Happily his capabilities of tuition ex as a relic of the pleasurable days of
youthful vanity-when hope was Beyond that important period she high, and “the world all before him
was powerless to assist him ; and when where to choose”-and though visions he was so fortunate as to obtain the of “long-faded glories" passed be- desirable curacy of Sea Vale on enfore his eyes, as they dwelt on the tering into holy orders, her maternal familiar music, and he hummed un- anxieties, so far relieved on his acconsciously the old favorite airs, he count, were naturally engrossed by took far deeper delight in teaching the more pressing claims of her youngMillicent the songs of his own native er children. Horace was well conland, and in mingling his voice with tent with his allotted station. From hers, in those wild and thrilling har- his earliest recollection, accustomed monies. In one of those—the touch- to retirement, and to the strict though ing Gramachree-the united strains respectable frugality of his father's were sweetly swelling, when late in household, and subjected, during the the twilight of a summer evening a greater part of his college life, to the solitary stranger strolled down the innumerable privations and mortificashady green lane which bounded Co- tions inseparable from the station of a lonel Aboyne's garden, and passed poor scholar among the wealthy and close behind the honey-suckle arbor. the prodigal, he had acquired no haIt was not in nature—not in that stran- bits or ideas inimical to the life of ger's nature-to pass onward unheed- obscure usefulness apparently designed ful of those melodious sounds, which for him. There had never been any poured forth so unexpectedly, as it rational prospect of his obtaining were in his very path; and there he church preferment, unless he should lingered-(for strain succeeded strain) fag his way up the clerical ladder, by -till the bright moon climbed high in college tutorship, or private connexions heaven, and the unseen harmonists, otherwise formed at the University ; desisting from their vocal labors, be- and this course he might have pursugan to converse with each other in ed successfully, had his father lived to such sweet tones of affectionate fa- continue him at college, and to excite miliarity, as would have riveted the him to the necessary exertions. But listener's attention even more forcibly his was not an energetic character. than the preceding music, had he not It was amiable, affectionate, and feelstarted away from even a momentary ing-endowed with no inconsiderable indulgence of dishonorable curiosity. share of talent, much refined and eleHis forbearance was not unaccompa- gant taste, and a sincere desire of nied, however, by views of ultimate acting up to every moral and religious compensation ; and no later than the principle. Add to this a very handfollowing morning, the Village Doc- some person and engaging address, a tor, a worthy and sensible man, ever little leaven of vanity, and a too great a welcome visitant at Sea Vale Cot- liability to be influenced, even against tage, was accompanied, in his early his better judgment, by the graceful visit to its inmates, by a stranger of and showy, in opposition to more solid prepossessing appearance, whom he but less attractive qualities, and the introduced to Colonel and Miss sketch of Horace Vernon's character Ahoyne as the Rev. Mr. Vernon, the will be faithful as mere outline. new curate of Sea Vale.
This little history affords no scope for Horace Vernon was one of many Flemish painting. children, the orphans of a deceased So constituted and endowed, the clergyman; and his widowed mother young curate settled himself very conhad strained her overburdened means tentedly at Sea Vale, and was not to the very uttermost, to continue him long in making a most favorable imat the University for two years after pression on all classes throughout the his father's sudden and untimely parish. He was unaffectedly earnest death.
and sincere in his pulpit duties, and
not less anxious to fulfil all others other a warmer sentiment than kindannexed to his pastoral charge. And ness and friendly interest, for in many he did fulfil them very respectably, and points they differed essentially ; and so as to give almost general satisfac- Millicent, more than two years older tion; though it must be confessed, not than Vernon, gentle and serious almost without occasionally yielding, and of- to pensiveness, elegant and pleasing in ten doing violence, to certain feelings person, rather than strikingly beautiof morbid refinement, which revolted ful, and characterised by peculiar difwith sickening disgust from many offidence and simplicity of manner, would those scenes of human misery which hardly have been distinguished among must come under the eye of the zeal- the more youthful, the more brilliant, ous minister, and from which the the more showily accomplished, by faithful follower of Him who "went one so peculiarly liable as was Horace about doing good,” will not shrink Vernon to be captivated by those back with fastidious weakness. graces which excite most general ad
Exactly twelve months from that miration. sweet summer evening when Horace But he had never mixed in general Vernon was arrested, in his first stroll society ;-had never, in the sma cirround the village, thenceforth to be cle of his connexions and acquainthis home, by the plaintive air of ance, seen anything half so fair, so “Gramachree,” breathed in vocal uni- elegant and attractive, as the sweet son from behind the high holly-hedge Millicent. The high-bred manners of which separated him from Colonel Colonel Aboyne were also delightful Aboyne's garden ;-exactly a twelve- to his really refined taste ; and the month from that well-remembered kind hospitality with which he was evening, the young curate was seated ever welcomed at Sea Vale Cottage, in the arbor within that holly-hedge, won on his best affections, while the and his voice, in lieu of her father's, tastes and pursuits of its inmates was mingling with that of Millicent awakened his warmest sympathies. Aboyne in the same touching harmo- No wonder that, under such circumny, while her hand lightly swept the stances, Horace should attach himself chords of the old guitar; and Colonel devotedly to Miss Aboyne, nor that Aboyne, reclining comfortably in his she, whose intercourse with the world large arm-chair, the “cahier de ro- had been even more limited than her mances nouvelles” lying on his cush- lover's, should return his affection with ioned footstool, gazed with tender the warmth and truth of a first and complacency on the twain, thenceforth perfect tenderness, without questionto be inseparably united in his affec- ing with herself whether the amiable tions,-for bis Millicent was the affi- and engaging qualities which had won anced wife of Horace Vernon. her unpractised heart, were built upon
Such had been the very natural, that stable groundwork which formed the almost inevitable, result of an ac- the basis of her own gentle and diffiquaintance and intimacy formed be- dent character. Essentially requisite tween two amiable and attractive it was to the present peace and future young persons, brought perpetually happiness of Horace and Millicent, together under such circumstances as that the virtues of patience and stacharacterised the intercourse of Ho- bility should be among their leading race Vernon and Millicent Aboyne. characteristics,-for prudence, or raHad they become acquainted in the ther necessity, deferred to a distant concourse of the world, or even been period their hope of being united. thrown together in a circle rather more It was not indeed till the twelfth diversified than that small group which month of their acquaintance that Verconstituted their world at Sea Vale, non had ventured to declare to Colonel it is possible, nay, even probable, that Aboyne his attachment to his daughneither would have conceived for the ter, and to ask his parental sanction to
12 ATHENEUM, vol. 2, 3d series.
their future union. To this step he destined partner in all the sweet and had been emboldened by the promise holy charities constituting so essential of a small living from an old friend a portion of pastoral duty. Never, and college pupil of his deceased fa- perhaps, (allowing for the alloy which ther; and the present incumbent being must temper all earthly happiness,) far advanced in years, there was a ra were assembled happier persons than tional prospect of Vernon's becoming, the three sitting together, as lately deat no remote period, master of such a scribed, under the honeysuckle arbor moderate competence as might enable in Colonel Aboyne's garden, in the him to marry, without subjecting the warm twilight of that sweet summer object of his affections to the miseries evening. Horace and Millicent had of genteel poverty.
returned from a long ramble and maColonel Aboyne, who had become ny benevolent visits among the more warmly attached to Horace, was well distant cottagers of their extensive pacontent to accept bis proposals for rish. that darling daughter, the thought of They had felt that “ when the eye whose friendless and well nigh desti- saw, it blessed them;" and the tender tute condition, in the event of her be- and serious heart of Millicent, in parcoming an orphan, not only banished ticular, overflowed with that blissful sleep too often from his pillow, but conviction, and with the delightful aswrapt him in many a fit of deep and surance, that her heavenly, as well as sad abstraction, while listening-ap- her earthly parent, did indeed sancparently listening—to the sweet music tion her intended union, and that her of her silvery voice, or sitting with her lot, and that of her chosen partner, at the social board, where she “ gaily cast as it was in the quiet vale of prest and smiled,” unconscious of the sweet retirement and safe mediocrity, feelings she inspired. His consent where, nevertheless, opportunities of was therefore cordially and joyfully doing good would be abundantly afyielded ; and to Horace and Millicent, forded, was one so peculiarly favored, the state of sanctioned and untroubled that while she thought thereon tears happiness which succeeded their be- swelled into her dove-like eyes, and trothinent, seemed for a time so near she faltered out something of her feelthe perfection of earthly felicity, that ings—(for what tongue could speak even he (the more impassioned, but them fuently ?)—to him on whose not more devoted, of the twain) con arm she leant in tender and perfect templated, with tolerable equanimity, confidence. So time passed on with the possible intervention of two or the betrothed lovers, accompanied in three years—(a very reasonable allow- its progress by all of pleasantness and ance of life to the old incumbent)- enjoyment that could compensate for between his present condition of pro- protracted expectation. And on, and bationary bliss, and the union which on it passed-still pleasantly-still was to render it complete. Almost happily on the whole, but to a length domesticated with Colonel Aboyne and of probation so little anticipated by his daughter, to the former he looked Vernon-so unchangeable as to any up with filial affection and respect; immediate prospect of termination, and his more tender and intimate as- that something of the sickness of hope sociation with Millicent's finely-con- deferred began to steal into his heart, stituted mind insensibly led to the and now and then betrayed itself, even happiest results in his own character, to Millicent, by a fretful tone or word, which gradually settled into a steadi- or a look of languor and sullenness, ness of pursuit and principle well be- even in the midst of occupations and fitting his sacred profession, and hold- interests which to her had lost nothing ing out the fairest promise of wedded of their soothing and salutary influence. happiness to his affianced wife, who A year-two-three-four years— already went hand in hand with her (in truth, an awful amount in the sum
of human life !) passed on, at first Millicent's tender apprehensions swiftly and happily, then with more were not wholly groundless ; Colonel tedious pace, and at last heavily, and Aboyne's constitution, impaired by sometimes sadly, at Sea Vale Cottage. former severe suffering, had of late Still existing circumstances were pre- felt the pernicious influence of incisely the same with all parties, as creased mental disquietude, and again, when, four summers back, they felt the physical ailment, reacting on the themselves the happiest and most con- moral, brought on a train of those nertented of human beings. But as years vous miseries, scarcely to be repelled crept on with Colonel Aboyne, his by any effort of reason and self-con. anxiety to see his child securely esta- trol, even when perfectly imaginary ; blished became naturally greater, and and unhappily there was too much he could not but occasionally observe reason for Colonel Aboyne's uneasiand lament, that though Vernon's at- ness. He persuaded himself the hour tachment to Millicent suffered no ap- was fast approaching which would parent diminution, feelings of despond- make his daughter not only a friend ency and irritability were growing less, but almost a destitute orphan, her fast upon his character, where they sole inheritance comprising the small might acquire a fatal influence, not to cottage they inhabited, and a sum of be counteracted hereafter by the tardy money scarce amounting to hundreds, operation of happier circumstances. though the accumulated whole of his And Millicent! she was too well aware, small annual savings, religiously hoardeven more so than her father, of the ed, with whatever sacrifice of his own morbid change which was effecting in comforts, since the hour of his darling's her lover's mind, composed as it was birth. The circumstances of her enby nature of gay and happy elements. gagement to Horace Vernon were Poor Millicent !-how many thorns such as would also render her situahad already sprung up in that peaceful tion one of greater difficulty, if the path, which but so lately she had ac- period was still to be deferred when counted peculiarly favored ! Ver- she might be taken from a father's to non's affection for her, though less a husband's home ; and while revolvardently demonstrated than when they ing all these perplexities in his sleepfirst exchanged their plighted troth, less and solitary hours, Colonel Aboyne she verily believed to be entire and was almost inclined to yield to the fresincere as in those halcyon days; and quently impatient proposals of Horace her feelings towards him had but for his immediate union with Millimatured into deeper and more holy cent; and thus, leaving fearlessly to tenderness-entire and self-devoting, Providence all care for the future, such as only woman's heart can they might form for the present one cherish—not blind to the imperfec- humble and contented family, under tions of the beloved object, though the peaceful roof of Sea Vale Cottage. sweetly extenuating and excusing But Colonel Aboyne was too well them, with unconscious ingenuity. aware of the distresses which might Miss Aboyne could not but observe, tread close on such a measure to sancalso, that the broad open brow of her tion it, except as one of imperious nedear father was more frequently con- cessity; and at length, after long and tracted with deep and open lines than harassing reflection, he determined on she had ever yet seen imprinted there the execution of a project, to which -and she fancied too—(it might be nothing less than overpowering anxieonly fancy)—that there was a percep- ty for his beloved child could have retible change in his whole person and conciled his high spirit and fastidious deportment, as if Time were hurrying feelings. It was no less an enterprise him on with more hasty strides ihan (great indeed to the long-secluded the imperceptibly downward pace of valetudinarian) than to revisit the land natural decline.
of his birth-the home of his fore