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One beautiful afternoon, about the that he has finished a dry lesson to beginning of the barley and wheat some purpose, is very ready to indulge harvest, young Frederick Hume arose in a little badinage and light banter. from his desk, where, for several hours “For beard-shaving,” answered the he had been plodding at his studies, girl quizzically, and stroking his chin and, to unbend himself a little, went once or twice with her broom, as if with to his window, which commanded a a shaving brush. It might be she was view of the neighbouring village of conscious that he was not exactly the Holydean. A stillness almost like that person to buy her broom: or perhaps of the Sabbath reigned over the ham- she assumed this light mood for a molet, for the busy season had called the ment, and gave way to the frank and youngsters forth to the field, the sun- natural feeling of youth, which by a burnt sickleman and his fair partner. fine free-masonry knows and answers Boys and girls were away to glean: to youth, despite of differences in lanand none were left but a few young guage and manners, -despite of every children who were playing quietly on thing. the green ; two or three ancient gran- “ Most literally an argumentum ad dames who sat spinning at their doors hominem, to make me buy,” said the in the rich sunlight; and here and scholar; “ so what is the price, fair there a happy young mother, exempted stranger ?" by the duties of nurse from the harvest “No, no," said the girl, in quick toils. A single frail octogenarian, who, reaction from her playful mood, whilst in hobbling to the almost deserted a tear started in her dark lustrous eye, smithy, had paused, with the curiosi. “but they bid me come: they say you ty of age, to look long beneath his up- are a doctor: and if you will be kind raised arm after the stranger horse- and follow me to my poor brother, man, who was just going out of sight you shall have many brooms." at the extremity of the village, com- On inquiring distinctly what the pleted the picture of still and quiet life girl meant, our student was given to which our student was now contem- understand, that her only brother, plating. After raising the window, who had come with her as a harper to and setting open the door to win into this country, had fallen sick at a genhis little apartment the liquid coolness tleman's house about a mile off, and which was nestling among the green that she, on learning Mr Frederick fibrous leaves around the casement, he Hume was the only person within had resumed his station and was again many miles who could pretend to me. looking towards the village, when, dical skill, had come herself to take hearing a light foot approach the door him to her poor Antonio. After learnof his study, he turned round, and ing farther the symptoms of the lad's a young female stranger was before illness, the young surgeon took his him. On seeing him she paused at the lancets and some simple medicine, and threshold, made a sort of reverence, readily followed the girl, who led the and seemed willing to retire. From her way to a neat villa, which, as Frederick dark complexion, her peculiar dress, had heard, was the residence of an especially the head gear, which cona Italian gentleman of the name of Rosisted merely of a spotted handker- melli. He had been an officer in the chief wound round her black locks, French service, and had come to this Hume guessed at once that she was a country with other prisoners; but inforeigner; and he was confirmed in stead of returning home on an exthis supposition when, on his advan, change being made, he chose to concing and asking, “What do you wish, tinue in Scotland with his only daughmy good girl?" she held forward a light ter, who had come over to him from broom, and said, in the quick short Italy, and who, Frederick had heard, pronunciation of a foreigner, “ Buy a was a young lady of surpassing beauBroom?"-" Pray what is the use of ty. Following his conductress to ko it, my good lass ?" said Frederick, in melli's house, Hume was shewn into that mood in which a man, conscious a room, where, reclining upon a sofa, Vol. XXIV.
was a boy apparently about sixteen melli and his sister, who joined in the years of age, the features of whose pale remonstrance against his departure, face instantly testified him to be bro- the boy would be gone, even though ther to the maid with the broom. He at the same time he declared there was was ministered to by a young and most no place elsewhere where he wished beautiful damsel, Signora Romelli particularly to be. herself, the daughter of the house, who “ He is a capricious boy, to reject seemed to be watching him with the your excellent kindness, Miss Romel softest care. At the head of the sofa li,” said Frederick ; " and I doubt stood the harp of the wandering boy. not he will treat, in the same way, a
“ I presumed, sir,” said the lovely proposal I have to make. With your hostess, turning to Hume, “ to hint leave, young lady, I shall try to win that perhaps you might easily be him, with bis sister, to our house all found, and that certainly you would be night, lest he grow worse and need very willing to take a little trouble in medical aid.” such a case as this. The affectionate From the unhappy appearance of sister has not been long in bringing the young musician, this proposal you."
seemed so good, that it was readily “ If the cause of humanity may be acquiesced in by his sister, and by the enforced by such kind and beautiful kind lady of the house, provided the advocacy,” returned Frederick, bow, boy himself could be brought to aoing, “ the poor skill which you have cede to it, which, to their joyful sur. thus honoured, young lady, is doubly prise, he most readily did, so soon as bound, if necessary, to be most atten- it was signified to him. tive in this instance.- What is the “ With your permission, Miss Romatter with you, my little fellow ?” melli,” said Frederick, as he was about continued he, advancing to the patient. to depart, “ I shall do justice to your “Nothing," was the boy's answer: and benevolence, and walk down to-morimmediately he rose up and went to the row forenoon to tell you how the poor window, from which he gazed, heed- lad is.” less of every one in the apartment. At this the fair Signora might, or
“ I am afraid the boy is still very might not, slightly blush, as the thing unwell,” said Signora Romelli; “only struck her, or the tone in which the look how pale he is, sir."
offer was made, gave warrant. She Hume first looked to the boy's sister, did for a moment blush ; but of to assure bimself what was the natural course her answer was given very gehealthy hue of these swarthy stran- nerally, “ that she would be most gers; then turning to the boy himself, happy to hear her young countryman he could not but observe how much was quite well on the morrow." the dead yellow of his face differed The affectionate sister gratefully from the life-bloom which glowed in kissed the hand of her kind hostess. her dark brown cheek. His eye at As for the boy himself, with a look the same time burned with arrowy tips half of anger, he took the former by of restless lustre, such as are kindled the hand and drew her hastily away, by hectic fever. He resisted, however, as if he grudged the expression of her all advances on the part of our sur- gratitude. He had not moved, howgeon to inquire farther into his state ever, many paces forward, till, quitting of health, impatiently declaring that his sister's hand, he turned, and tahe was now quite well; then resu- king Signora Romelli's, he kissed it ming his harp, and taking his sister by fervently, with tears, and at the same the hand, he seemed in haste to be time bade the Virgin Mother of Heagone.
ven bless her. “ My father is not at home," said Struck with the remarkable manner the young lady of the house to Hume, of this boy, our student tried to en“ nevertheless they must abide here gage him in conversation by the way, all night, for I can easily see that boy but he found him shy and taeitum in is unable to travel farther this even- the extreme; and as he had already ing: And besides, they are of my own shewn bimself capricious, he now native country. Use your prerogative, evinced an equal obstinacy in refusing sir, and don't let him go.'
to allow either of his companions to In spite of the surgeon's persuasions, carry his harp, which being somewhat however, and heedless of Signora Ros large, seemed not well proportioned to the condition of the bearer, who, nificently into the same strain. On besides being manifestly unwell, was first view of the musician and his also of a light small make. From the party, the rude young swains of the sister, who seemed of a frank and obli- field, for favour, no doubt, in their ging temper, Frederick learned some mistresses’ eyes, began to play off their particulars of their earlier history and rough wit; but in another minute present mode of life. Her name, she these bolts were forgotten, and the said, was Charlotte Cardo, and her loud daffing of the whole company brother's Antonio Cardo. They were was completely hushed. At first the twins, and the only surviving children song was grave and lofty, but by de of a clergyman in Italy, who had been grees it began to kindle into a more dead for two years. Their mother airy strain, till, as it waxed fast and died a few hours after giving them mirthful, the harvest maids began to birth. “After the loss of our father," look knowingly to their partners, who, added the maiden, “ we had no one taking the hint, sprang to their feet, to care much for us; yet I would hauled up their sweet abettors, were have dwelt all the days of my life mated in a moment, and commenced near their beloved graves, had not my a dance among the stubble, so brisk, brother, who is of a restless and un- that the tall harvest of spiky wheat, happy temperament, resolved to wane standing by, rustled and nodded to der in this country. How could I them on its golden rods. Aged gleanstay alone? How could I let him go ers stood up from their bowing task, alone? So a harp was bought for and listened to the sweet music, while him ; and now every day, from village the young came running from all parts to village, and up and down among of the field, and, throwing down their the pleasant cots, he plays to the kind handfuls, began madly to caper and folk, and I follow him with my to mix with the more regular dance. brooms. We have been a year in this The old grey bandsters, as they stood, country, and I know not when we rubbing in their hands ears of the shall return home, for Antonio says fine grain, smiled as much under he cannot yet tell me.” Hume having the general sympathy, as from a colle expressed his surprise that she could sciousness of their own superior wise talk English so well on such a short dom above such follies. Even the residence in this country, she explain- overseer himself, who stood back, sied, by informing him, that both her lently, was, for a minute, not scandalbrother and herself had been taught ized at such proceedings, which were the language so carefully by their fa. converting a time of repose for his ther, that they could talk' it pretty weary labourers into mad exertions, fuently before they left Italy. Due which went positively to unfit them ring the brief narrative of his sister, for the remaining darg of the day. the hoy, Antonio, kept his eye in- Consideration, remonstrance, anger, tensely upon her, as if ready to check were, however, soon mantling on his every point of explanation, but Char- face, and he came forward ; but he lotte ended her short statement with- was anticipated, for the principal minout any expressed interruption on his strel, who, with something like a part, and again his eye became self. smile on his countenance, had seen at contained and indifferent.
first the quick influence of his music The next expression of the boy's on the swink’t labourers of the swelcharacter was no less singular and un- tering day, had gradually grown dark expected. On observing a company and severe in his look, and now stopof reapers, in a field by the way-side, ping his song all at once, he refitted taking their brief mid-afternoon rest, his harp to his shoulder and walked he advanced to the gate, opposite away without looking for guerdon, which, at a little distance, they were and heedless of the rustic swains, who seated, and, unslinging his harp, be. shouted after him and waved their gan to play, filling up the sweetly rye-straw hats. dotted outline of the instrumental With the greatest good-humour our music with his own low but rich vo- young surgeon had indulged, to the cal song. After the first preamble, he very top of their bent, this musical nodded to his sister, and instantly her frolic of the two foreigners, sitting loud and thrilling voice turned mag. down by the wayside till it was fairly over, and now he resumed his way the fair-haired boys, with faces flushwith them. Antonio was silent and ed and glowing from their autumnal shy as before ; but the manner in exercise, looked out in wonder from which he looked round him over the between the clefts of the boughs. beautiful country, shewed that his When the song ceased, the lady offer. spirit was touched with its glad scenes. ed money, but neither of the minstrels All the western sky was like an infla- would accept it. On the contrary, Anmed sea of glass, where the sun was tonio took his sister by the hand, and tracking it with his fervid and unal- hurried her away from the gate, ere layed wheels. Beneath his golden one of the children could bring the light lay the glad lands, from right to basket of fruit for which she had run, left white all over with harvest; to give a largesse from it to the stranthousands were plying in the fields; gers. Frederick, after talking a few sickles were seen glinting on the far minutes to the lady and gentleman, yellow uplands, and nearer were heard and telling them how he had fallen in ihe reapers' song, and the gleaners with the foreigners, followed and overcalling to each other to lay down their took his companions, just as they had handfuls in the furrows.
come in sight of Greenwells cottage, The road now led our party by an where he resided. orchard where boys were up in the “ So there is our house now, just trees shaking down the fruit. The beyond the village,” said Frederick, little fellows, all joyous in their vaca- advancing to them. “ The lady with tion from study, were tugging with whom I live will be very kind to you ; Inight and main at and among the and you must stay with her for a few clefted branches; their sisters below days, and give her music, which she gathered the apples in baskets, whilst loves. What say you, pretty Char. the happy father, walking about with lotte ?" his lady, decided their appeals as to Antonio here stepped forward bethe comparative beauty of individual tween his sister and Hume, and said, apples. “Allured by the sound of the with quick emphasis, “ I will go with fruit hopping on the ground, two or you, sir, and I shall let Charlotte folthree stray waifs had left off their low me.” gleaning in a neighbouring field; and On arriving at the cottage, Fredethe ragged little urchins were down on rick introduced the strangers to his their hands and knees, thrusting their relative, Mrs Mather, with whom he heads through holes in the hedge which resided, and who, on learning their separated the orchard from the road. circumstances, kindly received them One of them having been caught be, as her guests. They would have tahind the ear by the stump of a thorn, ken their departure next day, but in found it impossible to draw back his this they were resisted by the charihead, and in this predicainent he had table old lady, who farther won from to bawl for assistance. This drew the them the promise that they would stay attention of the lady; and, after the with her for at least a week. Ere the rogue had been released, the whole expiry of that time, whether from the party were summoned to the gate, and caprice or benevolence of her nature, blessed with a share of the bounties of or from her especial liking for Charthe year, which the kind lady dispen- lotte, who had gained rapidly upon sed to them through means of her own her affections, Mrs Mather had condear little almoners. Whether it was ceived the design of adopting the two that he liked the benevolence of this Italians, and preparing them for situscene,or whether he was reminded of his ations worthy of their good descent ; own beautiful Italy, or from whatever and she was confirmed in her purpose other affection, the young harper again when, on breaking the matter to Fretook his harp, and waked those wild derick Hume, it met with his entire and dipping touches, which seem more concurrence. The next step was to like a sweet preamble than a full strain. gain the consent of Antonio, which He again accompanied it with his voice, might be no easy matter, as he seemed and his sister did the same. The young a strange and impracticable boy; but, girls laid down their baskets of fruit, somewhat to the surprise of Frederick, and drew to the gate ; the trees had no sooner was the proposal made to rest for a while from shaking, while him, than he heartily acceded to it. As for his sister, independent of her bone or hiccory, and might have been dislike to a wandering life, and her cut with advantage into tapes for tying growing attachment to Mrs Mather, up bundles of her favourite tracts, or her brother's will was, in all cases, her sinewy bowstrings for Cupid, for his law. It was then settled that Char- arrows, not to be shot at, but to be lotte should be confidential maid to shot from. We need scarcely add, the old lady, to read to her at night, after all this, that her nose was very and assist her in making dresses for long, and so sharp it might have clett the poor, among whom she had a num- a hailstone. When Frederick Hume ber of retainers; while Antonio should was thrown a belpless orphan on the be sent to the Rev. Mr Baillie's, a cler. world, and Mrs Mather, who was a gyman, a few miles off, to board with distant relative of his mother's, prohim, and finish his education, which posed to take him to herself and bring had been neglected since his father's him up as if he were her own son, death, that so he might be fitted for a Miss Pearce, though she could not set liberal profession. Proud though Mrs her face directly against such a chaMather was of this scheme, her self- ritable arrangement, yet laboured to complacency was not without one qua- modify it by a counter-proposition, lification, in the cold and doubtful that the boy should be provided for, manner in which Miss Pearce nodded but by no means brought to the coto to the old lady's statement and ex- tage. She was then, however, but in planation of her plan. As this woman, the spring-dawn of favour with her Miss Pearce, had it in her power, ere patroness, and her opinion being overlong, grievously to affect the fortunes ruled, the boy was brought home to of young Hume, we shall notice her Mrs Mather, and daily grew in her here a little fully. She was the only affections. During his childhood, Miss daughter of a half-pay captain, whose Pearce advanced steadily in favour, death left her with a trifling annuity, and she was too jealous of divided ina and the proprietorship of a small house fluence, and too Jesuitical in her per. in the village of Holydean. After the severance, not to improve every oppor. death of her husband, a wealthy re- tunity of challenging and modifying tired merchant, who had spent the last the growing affection of Mrs Mather years of his life at Greenwells, Mrs for her adopted son, whose bold and Mather, having no family, began to frank nature was endearing bim to cast about for a companion, and Miss every one. When this would not do, Pearce was soon found out to be one of she began to change her battery, and those indispensable parasitical maidens tried, by a new show of kindness, to whom old ladies like Mrs Mather im- make a party in the young eléve himpress into active service, in the seasons self, whom yet she thoroughly hated. of raspberries, and the elder-vintages; Whether it was, however, that he -hold long consultations with on the knew her enmity, and never forgave eve of entertainments;-retain as their her for having once or twice secretly own especial butt in company, and a and severely pricked him with pins ; fag partner at whist whe a better or, whether, with the quick instinct of fourth band is wanting ;-appeal to in childhood, which knows in a moment, case of a (shall we name it?) lie, when and despises, the kind notice bestowed there is danger of detection ;-cherish upon it for the sake of currying faand moralize with when the party is vour with parents, he virtually set over;—and, finally, would not dismiss, down Pearce's new attentions to such though one were to rise from the dead a motive, certain it is, if he did not and cry out against the parasite. In positively hate her, he never once addition to these implied qualifica- stroked her purring vanity; and she, tions, the amiable creature was a mo- on the other hand, was, from his innopolist in ailments; and, of course, difference, confirmed in her dislike. careless about the complaints of others, As Frederick grew up, be had many of which, indeed, when within reach of opportunities of shaking Miss Pearce's Mrs Mather's sympathy, she seemed influence with her patroness; but, as to be jealous. in her person she was he thought her despicable merely, and lean and scraggy, with a hard brown not dangerous, he was too magnaniface, kiln-dried by nervous headachs. mous to molest her. In that scheme Her figure was very straight, and she of life to which the heart has long rewas elastic in her motions as whale. sponded, what was at first a jarring