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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHome As Found - Chapter 26
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Home As Found - Chapter 26 Post by :RichHope Category :Long Stories Author :James Fenimore Cooper Date :May 2012 Read :3328

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Home As Found - Chapter 26

Chapter XXVI

"Haply, when I shall wed, That lord, whose hand must take my plight, shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and duty."

CORDELIA.

As no man could be more gracefully or delicately polite than John Effingham, when the humour seized him, Mrs. Bloomfield was struck with the kind and gentleman-like manner with which he met his young kinswoman on this trying occasion, and the affectionate tones of his voice, and the winning expression of his eye, as he addressed her. Eve herself was not unobservant of these peculiarities, nor was she slow in comprehending the reason. She perceived at once that he was acquainted with the state of things between her and Paul. As she well knew the womanly fidelity of Mrs. Bloomfield, she rightly enough conjectured that the long observation of her cousin, coupled with the few words accidentally overheard that evening had even made him better acquainted with the true condition of her feelings, than was the case with the friend with whom she had so lately been conversing on the subject.

Still Eve was not embarrassed by the conviction that her secret was betrayed to so many persons. Her attachment to Paul was not the impulse of girlish caprice, but the warm affection of a woman, that had grown with time, was sanctioned by her reason, and which, if it was tinctured with the more glowing imagination and ample faith of youth, was also sustained by her principles and her sense of right. She knew that both her father and cousin esteemed the man of her own choice, nor did she believe the little cloud that, hung over his birth could do more than have a temporary influence on his own sensitive feelings. She met John Effingham, therefore, with a frank composure, returned the kind pressure of his hand, with a smile such as a daughter might bestow on an affectionate parent, and turned to salute the remainder of the party, with that lady-like ease which had got to be a part of her nature.

"There goes one of the most attractive pictures that humanity can offer," said John Effingham to Mrs. Bloomfield, as Eve walked away; "a young, timid, modest, sensitive girl, so strong in her principles, so conscious of rectitude, so pure of thought, and so warm in her affections, that she views her selection of a husband, as others view their acts of duty and religious faith. With her love has no shame, as it has no weakness."

"Eve Effingham is as faultless as comports with womanhood; and yet I confess ignorance of my own sex, if she receive Mr. Powis as calmly as she received her cousin."

"Perhaps not, for in that case, she could scarcely feel the passion. You perceive that he avoids oppressing her with his notice, and that the meeting passes off without embarrassment. I do believe there is an elevating principle in love, that, by causing us to wish to be worthy of the object most prized, produces the desired effects by stimulating exertion. There, now, are two as perfect beings as one ordinarily meets with, each oppressed by a sense of his or her unworthiness to be the choice of the other."

"Does love, then, teach humility; successful love too?"

"Does it not? It would be hardly fair to press this matter on you, a married woman; for, by the pandects of American society, a man may philosophize on love, prattle about it, trifle on the subject, and even analyze the passion with, a miss in her teens, and yet he shall not allude to it, in a discourse with a matron. Well, _chacun a son gout_; we are, indeed, a little peculiar in our usages, and have promoted a good deal of village coquetry, and the flirtations of the may-pole, to the drawing-room."

"Is it not better that such follies should be confined to youth, than that they should invade the sanctity of married life, as I understand is too much the case elsewhere?"

"Perhaps so; though I confess it is easier to dispose of a straight- forward proposition from a mother, a father, or a commissioned friend, than to get rid of a young lady, who, _propria persona_, angles on her own account. While abroad, I had a dozen proposals--"

"Proposals!" exclaimed Mrs. Bloomfield, holding up both hands, and shaking her head incredulously.

"Proposals! Why not, ma'am?--am I more than fifty? am I not reasonably youthful for that period of life, and have I not six or eight thousand a year--"

"Eighteen, or you are much scandalized."

"Well, eighteen, if you will," coolly returned the other, in whose eyes money was no merit, for he was born to a fortune, and always treated it as a means, and not as the end of life; "every dollar is a magnet, after one has turned forty. Do you suppose that a single man, of tolerable person, well-born, and with a hundred thousand francs of _rentes_, could entirely escape proposals from the ladies in Europe?"

"This is so revolting to all our American notions, that, though I have often heard of such things, I have always found it difficult to believe them!"

"And is it more revolting for the friends of young ladies to look out for them, on such occasions, than that the young ladies should take the affair into their own hands, as is practised quite as openly, here?"

"It is well you are a confirmed bachelor, or declarations like these would mar your fortunes. I will admit that the school is not as retiring and diffident as formerly; for we are all ready enough to say that no times are egual to our own times; but I shall strenuously protest against your interpretation of the nature and artlessness of an American girl."

"Artlessness!" repeated John Effingham, with a slight lifting of the eye-brows; "we live in an age when new dictionaries and vocabularies are necessary to understand each other's meaning. It is artlessness, with a vengeance, to beset an old fellow of fifty, as one would besiege a town. Hist!--Ned is retiring with his daughter, my dear Mrs. Bloomfield, and it will not be long before I shall be summoned to a family council. Well, we will keep the secret until it is publicly proclaimed."

John Effingham was right, for his two cousins left the room together, and retired to the library, but in a way to attract no particular attention, except in those who were enlightened on the subject of what had already passed that evening. When they were alone, Mr. Effingham turned the key, and then he gave a free vent to his paternal feelings.

Between Eve and her parent, there had always existed a confidence exceeding that which it is common to find between father and daughter. In one sense, they had been all in all to each other, and Eve had never hesitated about pouring those feelings into his breast, which, had she possessed another parent, would more naturally have been confided to the affection of a mother. When their eyes first met, therefore, they were mutually beaming with an expression of confidence and love, such as might, in a measure, have been expected between two of the gentler sex. Mr Effingham folded his child to his heart, pressed her there tenderly for near a minute in silence, and then kissing her burning cheek he permitted her to look up.

"This answers all my fondest hopes, Eve"--he exclaimed; "fulfils my most cherished wishes for thy sake."

"Dearest sir!"

"Yes, my love, I have long secretly prayed that such might be your good fortune; for, of all the youths we have met, at home or abroad, Paul Powis is the one to whom I can consign you with the most confidence that he will cherish and love you as you deserve to be cherished and loved!"

"Dearest father, nothing but this was wanting to complete my perfect happiness."

Mr. Effingham kissed his daughter again, and he was then enabled to pursue the conversation with greater composure.

"Powis and I have had a full explanation," he said, "though in order to obtain it, I have been obliged to give him strong encouragement"

"Father!"

"Nay, my love, your delicacy and feelings nave been sufficiently respected, but he has so much diffidence of himself, and permits the unpleasant circumstances connected with his birth to weigh so much on his mind, that I have been compelled to tell him, what I am sure you will approve, that we disregard family connections, and look only to the merit of the individual."

"I hope, father, nothing was said to give Mr. Powis reason to suppose we did not deem him every way our equal."

"Certainly not. He is a gentleman, and I can claim to be no more. There is but one thing in which connections ought to influence an American marriage, where the parties are suited to each other in the main requisites, and that is to ascertain that neither should be carried, necessarily, into associations for which their habits have given them too much and too good tastes to enter into. A _woman_, especially, ought never to be transplanted from a polished to an unpolished circle; for, when this is the case, if really a lady, there will be a dangerous clog on her affection for her husband. This one great point assured, I see no other about which a parent need feel concern."

"Powis, unhappily, has no connections in this country; or none with whom he has any communications; and those he has in England are of a class to do him credit."

"We have been conversing of this, and he has manifested so much proper feeling that it has even raised him in my esteem. I knew his father's family, and must have known his father, I think, though there were two or three Asshetons of the name of John. It is a highly respectable family of the middle states, and belonged formerly to the colonial aristocracy. Jack Effingham's mother was an Assheton."

"Of the same blood, do you think, sir? I remembered this when Mr. Powis mentioned his father's name, and intended to question cousin Jack on the subject."

"Now you speak of it, Eve, there _must be a relationship between them. Do you suppose that our kinsman is acquainted with the fact that Paul is, in truth, an Assheton?"

Eve told her father that she had never spoken with their relative on the subject, at all.

Then ring the bell and we will ascertain at once how far my conjecture is true. You can have no false delicacy, my child, about letting your engagement be known to one as near and as dear to us, as John."

"Engagement, father!"

"Yes, engagement," returned the smiling parent, "for such I already deem it. I have ventured, in your behalf, to plight your troth to Paul Powis, or what is almost equal to it; and in return I can give you back as many protestations of unequalled fidelity, and eternal constancy, as any reasonable girl can ask."

Eve gazed at her lather in a way to show that reproach was mingled with fondness, for she felt that, in this instance, too much of the precipitation of the other sex had been manifested in her affairs; still, superior to coquetry and affectation, and much too warm in her attachments to be seriously hurt, she kissed the hand she held, shook her head reproachfully, even while she smiled, and did as had been desired.

"You have, indeed, rendered it important to us to know more of Mr. Powis, my beloved father," she said, as she returned to her seat, "though I could wish matters had not proceeded quite so fast."

"Nay, all I promised was conditional, and dependent on yourself. You have nothing to do, if I have said too much, but to refuse to ratify the treaty made by your negotiator."

"You propose an impossibility,", said Eve, taking the hand, again, that she had so lately relinquished, and pressing it warmly between her own; "the negotiator is too much revered, has too strong a right to command, and is too much confided in to be thus dishonoured. Father, I _will_, I _do_, ratify all you _have_, all you _can promise in my behalf."

"Even, if I annul the treaty, darling?"

"Even, in that case, father. I will marry none without your consent, and have so absolute a confidence in your tender care of me, that I do not even hesitate to say, I will marry him to whom you contract me."

"Bless you, bless you, Eve; I do believe you, for such have I ever found you, since thought has had any control over your actions. Desire Mr. John Effingham to come hither"--then, as the servant closed the door, he continued,--"and such I believe you will continue to be until your dying day."

"Nay, reckless, careless father, you forget that you yourself have been instrumental in transferring my duty and obedience to another. What if this sea-monster should prove a tyrant, throw off the mask, and show himself in his real colours? Are you prepared, then, thoughtless, precipitate, parent"--Eve kissed Mr, Effingham's cheek with childish playfulness, as she spoke, her heart swelling with happiness the whole time, "to preach obedience where obedience would then be due?"

"Hush, precious--I hear the step of Jack; he must not catch us fooling in this manner."

Eve rose; and when her kinsman entered the room, she held out her hand kindly to him, though it was with an averted face and a tearful eye.

"It is time I was summoned," said John Effingham, after he had drawn the blushing girl to him and kissed her forehead, "for what between _tete a tetes with young fellows, and _tete a tetes with old fellows, this evening, I began to think myself neglected. I hope I am still in time to render my decided disapprobation available?"

"Cousin Jack!" exclaimed Eve, with a look of reproachful mockery, "_you are the last person who ought to speak of disapprobation, for you have done little else but sing the praises of the applicant, since you first met him."

"Is it even so? then, like others, I must submit to the consequences of my own precipitation and false conclusions. Am I summoned to inquire how many thousands a year I shall add to the establishment of the new couple? As I hate business, say five at once: and when the papers are ready, I will sign them, without reading,"

"Most generous cynic," cried Eve, "I would I dared, now, to ask a single question!"

"Ask it without scruple, young lady, for this is the day of your independence and power. I am mistaken in the man, if Powis do not prove to be the captain of his own ship, in the end."

"Well, then, in whose behalf is this liberality really meant; mine, or that of the gentleman?"

"Fairly enough put," said John Effingham, laughing, again drawing Eve towards him and saluting her cheek; "for if I were on the rack, I could scarcely say which I love best, although you have the consolation of knowing, pert one, that you get the most kisses."

"I am almost in the same state of feeling myself, John, for a son of my own could scarcely be dearer to me than Paul."

"I see, indeed, that I _must marry," said Eve hastily, dashing the tears of delight from her eyes, for what could give more delight than to hear the praises of her beloved, "if I wish to retain my place in your affections. But, father, we forget the question you were to put to cousin Jack."

"True, love. John, your mother was an Assheton?"

"Assuredly, Ned; you are not to learn my pedigree at this time of day, I trust."

"We are anxious to make out a relationship between you and Paul; can it not be done?"

"I would give half my fortune, Eve consenting, were it so!--What reason is there for supposing it probable, or even possible?"

"You know that he bears the name of his friend, and adopted parent, while that of his family is really Assheton."

"Assheton!" exclaimed the other, in a way to show that this was the first he had ever heard of the fact.

"Certainly; and as there is but one family of this name, which is a little peculiar in the spelling--for here it is spelt by Paul himself, on this card--we have thought that he must be a relation of yours. I hope we are not to be disappointed."

"Assheton!--It is, as you say, an unusual name; nor is there more than one family that bears it in this country, to my knowledge. Can it be possible that Powis is truly an Assheton?"

"Out of all doubt," Eve eagerly exclaimed; "we have it from his own mouth. His father was an Assheton, and his mother was--"

"Who!" demanded John Effingham, with a vehemence that startled his companions.

"Nay, that is more than I can tell you, for he did not mention the family name of his mother; as she was a sister of Lady Dunluce, however, who is the wife of General Ducie, the father of our guest, it is probable her name was Dunluce."

"I remember no relative that has made such a marriage, or who _can have made such a marriage; and yet do I personally and intimately know every Assheton in the country."

Mr. Effingham and his daughter looked at each other, for it at once struck them all painfully, that there must be Asshetons of another family.

"Were it not for the peculiar manner in which this name is spelled," said Mr. Effingham, "I could suppose that there are Asshetons of whom we know nothing, but it is difficult to believe that there can be such persons of a respectable family of whom we never heard, for Powis said his relatives were of the Middle States--"

"And that his mother was called Dunluce?" demanded John Effingham earnestly, for he too appeared to wish to discover an affinity between himself and Paul.

"Nay, father, this I think he did not say; though it is quite probable; for the title of his aunt is an ancient barony, and those ancient baronies usually became the family name."

"In this you must be mistaken, Eve, since he mentioned that the right was derived through his mother's mother, who was an Englishwoman."

"Why not send for him at once, and put the question?" said the simple-minded Mr. Effingham; "next to having him for my own son, it would give me pleasure, John, to learn that he was lawfully entitled to that which I know you have done in his behalf."

"That is impossible," returned John Effingham. "I am an only child, and as for cousins through my mother, there are so many who stand in an equal degree of affinity to me, that no one in particular can be my heir-at-law. If there were, I am an Effingham; my estate came from Effinghams, and to an Effingham it should descend in despite of all the Asshetons in America."

"Paul Powis included!" exclaimed Eve, raising a finger reproachfully.

"True, to him I have left a legacy; but it was to a Powis, and not to an Assheton."

"And yet he declares himself legally an Assheton, and not a Powis."

"Say no more of this, Eve; it is unpleasant to me. I hate the name of Assheton, though it was my mother's, and could wish never to hear it again."

Eve and her father were mute, for their kinsman, usually so proud and self-restrained, spoke with suppressed emotion, and it was plain that, for some hidden cause, he felt even more than he expressed. The idea that there should be any thing about Paul that could render him an object of dislike to one as dear to her as her cousin, was inexpressibly painful to the former, and she regretted that the subject had ever been introduced. Not so with her father. Simple, direct, and full of truth, Mr. Effingham rightly enough believed that mysteries in a family could lead to no good, and he repeated his proposal of sending for Paul, and having the matter cleared up at once.

"You are too reasonable, Jack," he concluded, "to let an antipathy against a name that was your mother's, interfere with your sense of right. I know that some unpleasant questions arose concerning your succession to my aunt's fortune, but that was all settled in your favour twenty years ago, and I had thought to your entire satisfaction."

"Unhappily, family quarrels are ever the most bitter, and usually they are the least reconcileable," returned John Effingham, evasively.--"I would that this young man's name were any thing but Assheton! I do not wish to see Eve plighting her faith at the altar, to any one bearing that, accursed name!"

"I shall plight my faith, if ever it be done, dear cousin John, to the man, and not to his name."

"No, no--he must keep the appellation of Powis by which we have all learned to love him, and to which he has done so much credit."

"This is very strange, Jack, for a man who is usually as discreet and as well regulated as yourself. I again propose that we send for Paul, and ascertain precisely to what branch of this so-much-disliked family he really belongs."

"No, father, if you love me, not now!" cried Eve, arresting Mr. Effingham's hand as it touched the bell-cord; "it would appear distrustful, and even cruel, were we to enter into such an inquiry so soon. Powis might think we valued his family, more than we do himself,"

"Eve is right, Ned; but I will not sleep without learning all. There is an unfinished examination of the papers left by poor Monday, and I will take an occasion to summon Paul to its completion, when an opportunity will offer to renew the subject of his own history; for it was at the other investigation that he first spoke frankly to me, concerning himself."

"Do so, cousin Jack, and let it be at once," said Eve earnestly. "I can trust you with Powis alone, for I know how much you respect and esteem him in your heart. See, it is already ten."

"But, he will naturally wish to spend the close of an evening like this engaged in investigating something very different from Mr. Monday's tale," returned her cousin; the smile with which he spoke chasing away the look of chilled aversion that had so lately darkened his noble features.

"No, not to-night," answered the blushing Eve. "I have confessed weakness enough for one day. Tomorrow, if you will--if he will,--but not to-night. I shall retire with Mrs. Hawker, who already complains of fatigue; and you will send for Powis, to meet you in your own room, without unnecessary delay."

Eve kissed John Effingham coaxingly, and as they walked together out of the library, she pointed towards the door that led to the chambers. Her cousin laughingly complied, and when in his own room, he sent a message to Paul to join him.

"Now, indeed, may I call you a kinsman," said John Effingham, rising to receive the young man, towards whom he advanced, with extended hands, in his most winning manner. "Eve's frankness and your own discernment have made us a happy family!"

"If any thing could add to the felicity of being acceptable to Miss Effingham," returned Paul, struggling to command his feelings, "it is the manner in which her father and yourself have received my poor offers."

"Well, we will now speak of it no more. I saw from the first which way things were tending, and it was my plain-dealing that opened the eyes of Templemore to the impossibility of his ever succeeding, by which means his heart has been kept from breaking."

"Oh! Mr. Effingham, Templemore never loved-Eve Effingham! I thought so once, and he thought so, too; but it could not have been a love like mine."

"It certainly differed in the essential circumstance of reciprocity, which, in itself, singularly qualifies the passion, so far as duration is concerned. Templemore did not exactly know the reason why he preferred Eve; but, having seen so much of the society in which he lived, I was enabled to detect the cause. Accustomed to an elaborate sophistication, the singular union of refinement and nature caught his fancy; for the English seldom see the last separated from vulgarity; and when it is found, softened by a high intelligence and polished manners, it has usually great attractions for the _biases_."

"He is fortunate in having so readily found a substitute for Eve Effingham!"

"This change is not unnatural, neither. In the first place, I, with this truth-telling 'tongue, destroyed all hope, before he had committed himself by a declaration; and then Grace Van Cortlandt possesses the great attraction of nature, in a degree quite equal to that of her cousin. Besides, Templemore, though a gentleman, and a brave man, and a worthy one, is not remarkable for qualities of a very extraordinary kind. He will be as happy as is usual for an Englishman of his class to be, and he has no particular right to expect more. I sent for you, however, less to talk of love, than to trace its unhappy consequences in this affair, revealed by the papers of poor Monday. It is time we acquitted ourselves of that trust. Do me the favour to open the dressing-case that stands on the toilet- table; you will find in it the key that belongs to the bureau, where I have placed the secretary that contains the papers."

Paul did as desired. The dressing-case was complicated and large, having several compartments, none of which were fastened. In the first opened, he saw a miniature of a female so beautiful, that his eve rested on it, as it might be, by a fascination.--Notwithstanding some difference produced by the fashions of different periods, the resemblance to the object of his love, was obvious at a glance. Borne away by the pleasure of the discovery, and actually believing that he saw a picture of Eve, drawn in a dress that did not in a great degree vary from the present attire, fashion having undergone no very striking revolution in the last twenty years, he exclaimed--

"This is indeed a treasure, Mr. Effingham, and most sincerely do I envy you its possession. It is like, and yet, in some particulars, it is unlike--it scarcely does Miss Effingham justice about the nose and forehead!"

John Effingham started when he saw the miniature in Paul's hand, but recovering himself, he smiled at the eager delusion of his young friend, and said with perfect composure--

"It is not Eve, but her mother. The two features you have named in the former came from my family; but in all the others, the likeness is almost identical."

"This then is Mrs. Effingham!" murmured Paul, gazing on the face of the mother of his love, with a respectful melancholy, and an interest that was rather heightened than lessened by a knowledge of the truth. "She died young, sir?"

"Quite; she can scarcely be said to have become an angel too soon, for she was always one."

This was said with a feeling that did not escape Paul, though it surprised him. There were six or seven miniature-cases in the compartment of the dressing-box, and supposing that the one which lay uppermost belonged to the miniature in his hand, he raised it, and opened the lid with a view to replace the picture of Eve's mother, with a species of pious reverence. Instead of finding an empty case, however, another miniature met his eye. The exclamation that now escaped the young man was one of delight and surprise.

"That must be my grandmother, with whom you are in such raptures, at present," said John Effingham, laughing--"I was comparing it yesterday with the picture of Eve, which is in the Russia-leather case, that you will find somewhere there. I do not wonder, however, at your admiration, for she was a beauty in her day, and no woman is fool enough to be painted after she grows ugly."

"Not so--not so--Mr. Effingham! This is the miniature I lost in the Montauk, and which I had given up as booty to the Arabs. It has, doubtless, found its way into your state-room, and has been put among your effects by your man, through mistake. It is very precious to me, for it is nearly every memorial I possess of my own mother!"

"Your mother!" exclaimed John Effingham rising. "I think there must be some mistake, for I examined all those pictures this very morning, and it is the first time they have been opened since our arrival from Europe. It cannot be the missing picture."

"Mine it is certainly; in that I cannot be mistaken!"

"It would be odd indeed, if one of my grandmothers, for both are there, should prove to be your mother.--Powis, will you have the goodness to let me see the picture you mean."

Paul brought the miniature and a light, placing both before the eyes of his friend.

"That!" exclaimed John Effingham, his voice sounding harsh and unnatural to the listener,--"that picture like _your mother!"

"It is her miniature--_the miniature that was transmitted to me, from those who had charge of my childhood. I cannot be mistaken as to the countenance, or the dress."

"And your father's name was Assheton?"

"Certainly--John Assheton, of the Asshetons of Pennsylvania."

John Effingham groaned aloud; when Paul stepped back equally shocked and surprised, he saw that the face of his friend was almost livid, and that the hand which held the picture shook like the aspen.

"Are you unwell, dear Mr. Effingham?"

"No--no--'tis impossible! This lady never had a child. Powis, you have been deceived by some fancied, or some real resemblance. This picture is mine, and has not been out of my possession these five and twenty years."

"Pardon me, sir, it is the picture of my mother, and no other; the very picture lost in the Montauk."

The gaze that John Effingham cast upon the young man was ghastly; and Paul was about to ring the bell, but a gesture of denial prevented him.

"See," said John Effingham, hoarsely, as he touched a spring in the setting, and exposed to view the initials of two names interwoven with hair--"is this, too, yours?"

Paul looked surprised and disappointed.

"That certainly settles the question; my miniature had no such addition; and yet I believe that sweet and pensive countenance to be the face of my own beloved mother, and of no one else."

John Effingham struggled to appear calm; and, replacing the pictures, he took the key from the dressing case, and, opening the bureau, he took out the secretary. This he signed for Powis, who had the key, to open; throwing himself into a chair, though every thing was done mechanically, as if his mind and body had little or no connection with each other.

"Some accidental resemblance has deceived you as to the miniature," he said, while Paul was looking for the proper number among the letters of Mr. Monday. "No--no--that _cannot be the picture of your mother. She left no child. Assheton did you say, was the name of your father?"

"Assheton--John Assheton--about that, at least, there can have been no mistake. This is the num her at which we left off--will you, sir, or shall I, read?"

The other made a sign for Paul to read; looking, at the same time, as if it were impossible for him to discharge that duty himself.

"This is a letter from the woman who appears to have been entrusted with the child, to the man Dowse," said Paul, first glancing his eyes over the page,--"it appears to be little else but gossip--ha!--what is this, I see?"

John Effingham raised himself in his chair, and he sat gazing at Paul, as one gazes who expects some extraordinary developement, though of what nature he knew not.

"This is a singular passage," Paul continued--"so much so as to need elucidation. 'I have taken the child with me to get the picture from the jeweller, who has mended the ring, and the little urchin knew it at a glance.'"

"What is there remarkable in that? Others beside ourselves have had pictures;-and this child knows its own better than you."

"Mr. Effingham, such a thing occurred to myself! It is one of those early events of which I still retain, have ever retained, a vivid recollection. Though little more than an infant at the time, well do I recollect to have been taken in this manner to a jeweller's, and the delight I felt at recovering my mother's picture, that which is now lost, after it had not been seen for a month or two."

"Paul Blunt--Powis--Assheton "--said John Effingham, speaking so hoarsely as to be nearly unintelligible, "remain here a few minutes-- I will rejoin you."

John Effingham arose, and, notwithstanding he rallied all his powers, it was with extreme difficulty he succeeded in reaching the door, steadily rejecting the offered assistance of Paul, who was at a loss what to think of so much agitation in a man usually so self-possessed and tranquil. When out of the room, John Effingham did better, and he proceeded to the library, followed by his own man, whom he had ordered to accompany him with a light.

"Desire Captain Ducie to give me the favour of his company for a moment," he then said, motioning to the servant to withdraw. "You will not be needed any longer."

It was but a minute before Captain Ducie stood before him. This gentleman was instantly struck with the pallid look, and general agitation of the person he had come to meet, and he expressed an apprehension that he was suddenly taken ill. But a motion of the hand forbade his touching the bell-cord, and he waited in silent wonder at the scene which he had been so unexpectedly called to witness.

"A glass of that water, if you please, Captain Ducie," said John Effingham, endeavouring to smile with gentleman-like courtesy, as he made the request, though the effort, caused his countenance to appear ghastly again. A little recovered by this beverage, he said more steadily--

"You are the cousin of Powis, Captain Ducie."

"We are sisters' children, sir."

"And your mother is"

"Lady Dunluce--a peeress in her own right."

"But, what--her family name?"

"Her own family name has been sunk in that of my father, the Ducies claiming to be as old and as honourable a family, as that from which my mother inherits her rank. Indeed the Dunluce barony has gone through so many names, by means of females, that I believe there is no intention to revive the original appellation of the family which was first summoned."

"You mistake, me--your mother--when she married--was--"

"Miss Warrender."

"I thank you, sir, and will trouble you no longer," returned John Effingham, rising and struggling to make his manner second the courtesy of his words--"I have troubled you, abruptly--incoherently I fear--your arm--"

Captain Ducie stepped hastily forward, and was just in time to prevent the other from falling senseless on the floor, by receiving him in his own arms.

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Home As Found - Chapter 27
Chapter XXVII"What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her." HAMLET. The next morning, Paul and Eve were alone in that library which had long been the scene of the confidential communications of the Effingham family. Eve had been weeping, nor were Paul's eyes entirely free from the signs of his having given way to strong sensations. Still happiness beamed in the countenance of each, and the timid but affectionate glances with which our heroine returned the fond, admiring look of her lover, were any thing but distrustful of their future felicity. Her hand was in
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Chapter XXV"To show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure." SHAKSPEARE. When Mrs. Bloomfield entered the drawing-room, she found nearly the whole party assembled. The Fun of Fire had ceased, and the rockets no longer gleamed athwart the sky; but the blaze of artificial light within, was more than a substitute for that which had so lately existed without. Mr. Effingham and Paul were conversing by themselves, in a window- seat, while John Effingham, Mrs. Hawker, and Mr. Howel were in an animated discussion on a sofa;
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