BOILING with rage at
Louis's insulting defiance, Ronald returned to his quarters in the
Alcanzar, determined at daybreak to summon him forth, to fight or
apologize. He often repeated the words, 'Her heart has never wandered from
you.' Ah ! if this should indeed be the case, and that Alice loved him
after all! But from Louis his honour demanded a full explanation and ample
apology, either of which he feared the proud spirit of the other would
never stoop to grant. Yet, to level a deadly weapon against the brother of
Alice,—against him to whom he had been a constant friend and companion in
childhood and maturer youth, and perhaps by a single shot to destroy him,
the hopes and the peace of his amiable father and sister, he felt that,
should this happen, he never could forgive himself. But there was no
alternative ; it was death or dishonour.
Two ways lay before him,—to
fight or not to fight ; and his sense of injured honour made him, without
hesitation, choose the first, and he waited in ho ordinary anxiety for the
dawn, when Alister Macdonald, who was absent on duty, would return to the
quarters of the regiment.
Next morning, when the gray
daylight was beginning faintly to show the dark courts and gloomy arcades
of the Alcanzar, he sprung from his couch, which had been nothing else
than his cloak laid on the polished floor tiles ; and undergoing a hasty
toilette, he was about to set forth in search of Macdonald, when
Lieutenant Chisholm, one of the officers, entered.
'What! up already, Stuart?'
said he; ' I hope you are not on any duty?
'Because Lisle has asked me
to wait upon you.'
'Upon me?' asked Ronald,
with a frown of surprise. 'Upon me, Chisholm?'
'Yes; of course you will
remember what occurred in the cathedral last night?'
'How could I ever forget?
Mr. Lisle, under its roof, insulted me most grossly,' replied Ronald, his
lips growing white with anger. 'I was just about to seek Macdonald to give
him a message, but Mr. Lisle has anticipated me.'
'For Heaven's sake, Stuart,
let us endeavour to settle this matter amicably! Think of the remorse
which an honourable survivor must always feel. A hundred men slain in
action are nothing to one life lost in a duel.'
'Address these words to
your principal,—they are lost on me; but you are an excellent fellow,
'It is long since we have
had an affair of this sort among us, and Cameron is quite averse to this
mode of settling disputes.'
'I shall not consult his
opinion, nor that of any other man, in defence of my own honour,' said
'As you please,' replied
the other, with an air of pique: 'Lisle and you have long been on very
distant terms, and the officers have always predicted that the matter
would terminate in this way.'
'Curse their impertinent
curiosity! And so Lisle calls me out in consequence of the high words we
exchanged in the cathedral last night?' 'That is one reason—the least one,
I believe. He mentioned that his sister, Miss Lisle-------'
'Stay, Chisholm! I will
hear no more of this,' cried Stuart; then suddenly changing his mind,
added, 'Ah! well; his sister—Miss Alice Lisle. Go on.'
'Faith, Stuart, you seem
confoundedly confused. Do settle this matter in peace. Lisle has told me
the story, in confidence, and I think you have been to blame,—indeed you
have. Send Lisle an apology, for I assure you he is boiling with passion,
and will not yield a hair's breadth.'
'Chisholm, then how in the
devil's name can you suppose that I will?' exclaimed Ronald, his anger
getting the better of his confusion. 'Never, by Heaven! never will I
apologize when I have suffered the indignity. He has challenged me, and
fate must now decide. I will meet him.' 'Well, then, times presses; we
march at sunrise. Who is your friend ?' 'Alister Macdonald, if he has
returned; if not I shall have Logan.' 'Macdonald returned about midnight,
with some stragglers from Tor-rijos, and will not relish being disturbed
'Never mind that; an hour's
sleep less or more is scarcely to be considered when lives are in
jeopardy. Where is the meeting-place?'
'The bridge of Toledo. You
will barely be in time. Six is the hour; it wants fifteen minutes of it by
my watch.' 'Well, you may leave me now.'
Knowing it was needless to
say more about a reconciliation, Chisholm departed; and Ronald, after
buckling on his sword and dirk, stood for a few minutes holding his bonnet
in his hand irresolutely, while he sunk into a reverie of deep and bitter
reflections, of what his affectionate old sire and faithful dependents at
Lochisla would feel should he die by the hand of Lisle, whose very name
they regarded with so much jealousy and distrust. He also thought of Alice
and Lord Lisle, what their sentiments would be if the reverse was the
case, and the one lost a dear brother—the other a beloved son, who was the
only heir and hope of an ancient house, and the successor to its title. He
remembered also the words of Louis. Could it be that Alice might yet love
him? But no; that was impossible! He threw his cloak around him, and
rushed from the chamber to seek that of Macdonald, who was ready to attend
him in a moment. Suddenly remembering that he had no pistols, he turned
into an apartment occupied by Major Campbell, to request the loan of his.
It was a spacious and splendid room, with a ceiling twenty feet in height.
A colonnade supported the roof, the carved beams of which stretched across
from the gilded cornices on each side. The ceiling and walls were covered
with frescoes, but the plaster and the once bright and gorgeous gilding
were miserably faded and dilapidated by time and neglect. Rolled in his
cloak, and coiled up in a corner of this vast and empty hall, the bulky
frame of Campbell lay on the tessellated pavement, and no doubt he found
it a bed somewhat cold and hard. His pillow was formed by his long Andrea
and favourite rung with a plaid rolled round them. His dirk and steel
Highland pistols lay on one side of him, and an empty pigskin on the
other. Very desolate indeed he appeared, lying in a corner of that huge
apartment, which was totally destitute of furniture. Ronald shook him by
'If that is you, Sergeant
Macildhui,' said he, speaking very crossly beneath the cape of his cloak,
'I must beg leave to inform you that I have nothing to do with No. I
company. I am done with all that sort of dirty work, as you will see by
the last "Gazette." Apply to Mr. Kennedy, and take yourself off till the
drum beats. I wish the infernal Horse Guards would order six halting-days
every week, instead of only Sunday and Thursday.'
'Look up, major! 'Tis
I—Stuart.' 'What is the matter?' cried the other, bolting up, and showing
that the contents of the borachio-skin were operating still on his brain ;
'what is the matter now? It is very hard that a field-officer, and one,
too, that has seen the fields of Alexandria, Egmont-op-Zee, and the
onslaught of Copenhagen, should be so pestered by subalterns. How this
hard bed makes my bones ache! I have slept softer on the hot yellow sand
in Egypt. They tell me this was the bedroom of Don Alfonzo I., King of
Castile. Devil mend him! I suppose he did not sleep on the pavement with a
claymore for a pillow, like Colin Campbell, of Craig-fianteoch, in Lome, a
better man—for what is any Castilian don compared to a duine-wassal of
Argyle?' The major snapped his fingers, and it was evident that he was
very tipsy. 'But what do you want, Ronald, my boy?' he added.
'The loan of your pistols,
major, for ten minutes only. I have a very disagreeable affair to adjust
'I regret to hear it; but
it is with none of ours, I hope, my knight of Santiago?'
'This is no time for
jesting. 'Tis with a Portuguese of Colonel Campbell's brigade,' said
Ronald, colouring at the necessary falsehood.
'Pah! only a Portuguese,—a
dirty, garlic-eating devil. There are the pistols ; and remember, always
level low, and fire the instant the word is given. I hope your arm is
steady. A little hartshorn water or eau de Cologne are excellent things to
rub it with. I am sorry I never keep any of these things about me: Egypt
cured me of them. Take Stewart, the assistant-surgeon, with you, and come
back when the tulzie is over, and give me an account of it.'
'You forget, major. I may
never come back.'
'And your opponent a
Portuguese?' Who is your second?'
Inchkenneth. These pistols are very handsome,' observed Ronald, with
affected carelessness, as he examined the stones with which they were
studded, and surveyed the flints and locks.
'Ah! they are indeed
handsome. My grandfather took them out of the Duke of Douglas's belt,
after he had unhorsed him at Shirramuir. They did some execution at
'On the right side, of
'Yes; in the army of the
Prince. Use this one, with the cairngorm on the butt. The other throws
high, and you would need to level to the boot to hit the belt. It happened
so with me at Grand Cairo, when firing at a Turkish thief. I aimed at his
sash, and the ball knocked off his turban. I would tell you all the story,
but there is no time. I have no fear of you; so be off, my lad. God bless
you! and steady your hand. Do not let it be said that a Portuguese gained
and kept the ground before a Scotsman, and one of the Gordon Highlanders.'
At the gate of the Alcanzar
he met Macdonald, and, wrapping themselves up in their cloaks, as the
morning air was cold and chilly, they hurried towards the bridge of
Toledo. The streets appeared gloomy and dull in the gray light of the
morning, and save their own footfalls, no other sound broke the silence.
The most public places were absolutely deserted. The shops under the
piazzas of the Plaza, the stalls in the market-place, the cafes and
tabernas were still all closed. Two or three halberdiers stood at the gate
of El Medico's residence, and these were all they met, save a cloaked
cavalier, who by a ladder of ropes suddenly descended from the window into
the street, and disappeared.
On reaching the bridge
which spans the Tagus, immediately beneath the cannon and battlements of
the city, they found Lisle and Chisholm awaiting them. A pistol-case lay
on the parapet over which they were leaning, watching the smooth waters of
the river as they hurried on between rocky ledges, banks overhung with
foliage, and willow-trees that flourished amidst the stream. A thick white
mist was beginning to curl up from the bed of the river, exhaled by the
increasing heat of the morning sun, whose rays were tinging the east with
red, and the cross on the beautiful spire of the cathedral, from one of
the towers of which waved a broad and crimson banner, bearing the arms of
Toledo—the imperial crown of Spain.
'A very disagreeable
business this, Macdonald,' whispered Chisholm, as he took the arm of the
other, and led him aside to the parapet of the bridge, where they communed
for a few seconds, leaving the principals, awkwardly enough, to stare at
each other or admire the scenery, whichever they chose.
Another attempt at an
amicable arrangement was made, but without success ; both parties were too
much exasperated to yield in the least degree. 'Once more I ask you,
Stuart,' said Chisholm, coming forward, 'cannot this unhappy affair be
adjusted without recourse to arms?'
'You are a good-hearted
fellow, Chisholm, and I fully appreciate your good intentions, but your
words are lost upon me; I refer you to Mr. Lisle for an answer. Mine was
the insult, and any apology should therefore come from him.'
'It shall not!' exclaimed
Lisle bitterly; 'I will rather die than apologize. Stuart, you shall fight
me; and if not------'
behaviour is very violent and most unjustifiable.'
'I am the best judge, Mr.
Macdonald. I fight in the cause of another, and not for myself,' said
Louis, and he turned haughtily on his heel, and again walked to the
I am perfectly disposed to
accept of an apology,' observed Ronald to the seconds, in a subdued voice;
'but as one will not be given, on Lisle's own head will rest the guilt of
the blood shed this morning. This quarrel has been of his own seeking, not
mine. Heaven knows how loath I am to fight with him, but there is no
alternative now. Measure the ground, and give us our weapons.'
'Then, Macdonald,' said
Chisholm, 'all hopes of an accommodation are at an end?'
'Quite: your principal is
much to blame. But we must be expeditious, —see how red the horizon is;
the drums will beat in ten minutes.'
During the measuring of the
ground and the loading of the pistols, Ronald fixed his eyes on the
saffron east, where the sun was about to rise in all its splendour above
the mountains of Castile. Appearing black between him and the glowing sky
rose the grassy height, crowned by the black old ruins of the castle of
San Servan, that fortress so famous in romance, where 'Ruy, the Cid
Campeador,' was wont to spend the night in prayer and vigil. The sky was
seen through its embrasured towers and empty windows, brightening in a
blaze of glory all around, and giving promise of another day. Ronald gazed
eastward wistfully. In ten minutes more the sun would be up, but by that
time the eyes of either Lisle or himself might be sealed for ever. Ronald
pictured what would be the emotions of Alice if her brother was slain,
because she loved him well. He thought of his father, too; and remembered
painfully that he would almost exult if young Lisle was slain in this
His reverie was interrupted
'All is ready,'—Lisle has
taken his ground,' said he, putting into Ronald's hand the cold steel butt
of the Highland pistol. 'For Heaven's sake, or rather your own, appear a
little more collected. Lisle seems determined to shoot you, in revenge for
your neglect of his sister.'
'You have mentioned the
only thing which can unnerve and unman me. Chisholm has told you, I
'Yes. An explanation might
yet clear up this business.'
'I scorn to ask it now!'
'Are you ready?' cried
Chisholm, who had posted Lisle fourteen paces off.
'Stand aside, Macdonald. I
believe that I must give the word.'
'As you please.' Alister
retired, but, like Chisholm's, his heart was filled with a painful feeling
of suspense and dread.
The fatal word was given,
and the report of both pistols instantaneously followed. Ronald fired into
the air, but reeled backwards a few paces and sunk on the roadway. Louis's
stern look immediately relaxed, and he rushed towards him, tossing wildly
away the other pistol.
'Heaven be merciful, and
look down on me; I have killed him! Oh, Stuart, Ronald Stuart! speak to
me!' and he knelt over him with all the remorse which a brave and generous
heart is capable of feeling, after the gust of passion has passed away.
'The ball has passed
through his breast,' whispered Macdonald in an agitated tone. 'Unclasp the
plaid and open his coat. There is no blood; it must be flowing
These observations, though
made unintentionally, added greatly to the distress of Louis Lisle; but
the unclasping of the shoulder-belt, the undoing of the sash, the plaid,
and yellow riband of his gorget, aroused Ronald, who, to their great
surprise, rose slowly to his feet.
'Why what are you all
about, unharnessing me thus? I am not wounded; but I have received a devil
of a shock. By a perfect miracle I have been saved.'
'One I shall ever bless!'
said Lisle, pressing his hand.
'How is this?' exclaimed
Chisholm, in astonishment; 'the ball has glanced off and torn your coat,
as if you wore a corselet under it.'
'By Jove! the miniature has
saved him. He wears one; I used to quiz him about it at Merida,' said
Macdonald, as he pulled open the yellow lapel of the regimental coat, and
displayed the little portrait hung around his neck by a chain. 'You
perceive that the silver case has turned the ball, which has become
flattened against the parapet yonder. Such a very narrow escape!'
'The miniature ! how comes
this to pass?' asked Lisle. 'Have you still preserved and worn it thus,
notwithstanding your change of sentiments?'
'Listen to me, Lisle. I vow
to you, by Heaven and my honour, that my sentiments are yet unchanged:
they are the same as in that hour when I first received this miniature
from your own hand; and from that time until this I have continually worn
it near my heart, preserving it carefully and preciously as any monk does
here the piece of wood which he considers a part of the true cross. Never
yet have I parted with this relic for a moment, although I own that I was
on the point of destroying it when I first received intimation of the
intended alliance between the Earl of Hyndford and your sister, Miss
Lisle,—an alliance probably formed by this time.'
'The Earl of Hyndford!'
exclaimed Louis, in a tone of astonishment. 'Has that accursed and silly
report been the cause of our long alienation and quarrelling ? Hyndford,—I
had forgotten that affair altogether, or never supposed it could have
reached you here in Spain. We have both been cruelly mistaken, but all
will be happiness again. Give me your hand, Stuart, and we will be friends
and brothers as of yore. Your heart is still unchanged, and I pledge you
my honour that the affections of Alice are yours as much as ever. But this
hostile meeting must be concealed from her, otherwise we should never be
forgiven. Our seconds will never speak of the matter: their honour is a
sufficient warrant for their secrecy.'
Further conversation, and
the congratulations of Chisholm and Macdonald, were cut short by the drums
beating, and they were all compelled to hurry off. Lisle took the arm of
Ronald, and they went towards the muster-place by a different route from
that pursued by their seconds, so that they might freely converse and give
scope to their thoughts. A most agreeable revulsion of feeling had taken
place in their minds.
'Oh, Ronald Stuart," I have
been much to blame in this business,' said Lisle; 'much to blame indeed,
and can you forgive me?'
'Freely, Louis,' replied
the other, pressing his hand. 'I admire the spirit with which you have
perilled life and limb for the cause of Alice. And so the dear girl is yet
'True as the sun! But I was
infuriated,—almost maddened by your seeming indifference. It now flashes
upon my mind that you mentioned Lord Hyndford in our unlucky quarrel at La
Nava. Until this hour I had forgotten that; and probably, but for our
mountain pride and Scottish stubbornness, we might have come to a
satisfactory explanation twelve months ago. What a deal of bitter feeling
the paragraph of that wretched newspaper has occasioned! But that is all
at an end, and now, thank Heaven! we will no longer greet each other like
hostile clansmen, with gloomy and averted eyes, as our sires did of yore.
In all her letters to. me, Alice has deplored that for twelve months past
you have broken off all correspondence with her,—indeed, never having
written once since you left Lochisla; and my excuses appear to have been
very unsatisfactory to her.'
'I feared that my letters
might fall into Sir Allan's hands, and excite his displeasure. And
afterwards our quarrel at La Nava appeared to confirm my suspicions------'
'Say no more of them. I
have in my possession a letter from her to you. I was intrusted with it on
leaving home; but so great was the irritation I felt from our meeting at
La Nava, that instead of delivering it, it has lain in my baggage until
this hour,—nearly a whole year.'
'Cruel and foolish! Ah,
Lisle! how could you be so vindictive? Doubtless it would have unravelled
'You know not by what
indignant sentiments I was prompted. Pride hardened my heart, for I loved
Alice dearly; but, Stuart, I have heard some strange stories whispered at
our mess-table, in which your name was entwined with that of a certain
Donna Catalina. You change countenance.'
'Poor Villa Franca! she was
indeed a very beautiful woman, and I will acknowledge that, jealous and
irritated as I was at Alice's supposed desertion, I yielded greatly to the
charms of the noble Spanish lady; but I swear to you, Louis, that
Alice—Alice alone, is the only being, the only woman, I have ever truly
loved. How much I long to behold this letter, and read the words her white
hand has traced, although so many months ago!'
'Gentlemen, the regiment
has fallen in,' said the sergeant-major, breathlessly overtaking the
loiterers. 'The adjutant sent me to look for you, Mr. Lisle. You are to
carry the king's colours to-day, sir.' They hurried off.
Ronald derived the most
exquisite pleasure from this reconciliation with his old friend; and it
was alone equalled by the delightful idea that Alice yet loved him, and
was the same gentle, winning, and blooming creature as ever,—and would yet
be his, when all the perils of campaigning were past. Eagerly he longed
for an opportunity to write: and what a deal he had to tell her,—of love
and war, of future happiness and mutual tenderness!
The long-detained letter of
Alice could not be procured from the depths of Lisle's baggage-trunks
until the halt at the ruinous little town of Villa Mayor. Although the
march was only twelve miles, and lay along the left bank of the Tagus,
among the most beautiful scenery,—wood and water, rocks and ruins, fields
and vineyards,—it appeared to Ronald the longest and most wearisome he had
ever performed. As soon as he received the letter from Louis he rushed
away to a secluded nook or bower of orange-trees, by the river-side, and
prepared to con it over in secret. He hastily kissed and broke the seal,
which bore the crest of the Monteiths of Cairntowis, with the motto Keepe
tryste. Ronald knew the signet-ring of his mother, which he had given to
Alice when he bade her adieu on the lawn before Inchavon House.
'Inchavon, Perthshire, 10th
'My Dearest Ronald,
'Louis has already sent you no less than three letters, addressed to the
regiment via Edinburgh and Lisbon, but, alas ! we have never yet received
any answer, and 1 fear that none of them have reached you. I know not how
the posts are arranged in Spain, but I am afraid that all our letters have
miscarried, as you must have written Louis and me many by this time. This
one I send in the care of my dear brother, who leaves us to-morrow to join
your regiment. Ah ! I shall be very lonely without him, and shall weep
long and bitterly when he is gone. I shall have no one then to whom I can
impart my thoughts, or speak of you ; and my tears and anxiety will be
redoubled when you are both exposed to the dangers of war. Since you left
Perthshire I have never heard of a victory without weeping, and I dare not
read the lists of "killed, wounded, and missing," lest the name of one
should be there,—one on whom my thoughts ever dwell as their dearest
treasure. I cannot look at the paper, which a servant brings every morning
from Perth on horseback, but I sit breathlessly, in fear and trembling,
watching the face of papa as he reads them over at breakfast. Oh, goodness
guide me, Ronald ! my anxiety and pain, lest his features should change,
are indeed beyond description. How drearily the days have passed since you
left us ! and I generally spend them in wandering among the places you and
Louis loved best. And—but enough of this; I must not make my letter a
dismal one. Louis some time ago appeared at the Perth ball in the uniform
of the Gordon Highlanders; and I assure you that all the young ladies were
quite in love with him—fairly touched with the scarlet fever. He outshone
the militia, yeomanry, and even the gay tartans of Highland gentlemen from
the hills. How well a gay uniform looks in a ball-room ! and such a
flutter it creates in the hearts of the young ladies ! I believe you
soldiers would be very arrogant fellows if you really knew what we think
of you. But, as Mrs. Centlivre says, "There's something so jaunty in a
soldier,— a kind of je ne sais quoi air, that makes them more agreeable
than all the rest of mankind." If this is the case, we are to be excused
for being subdued by the gay epaulette.
'Lord Hyndford has been
down here residing with us for some time past, enjoying the
grouse-shooting with papa. He is a very nice old gentleman, with white
hair and a purple face,—the last occasioned, I suppose, by his drinking so
much of port; for every day after dinner he takes for his share a bottle
of papa's own "particular." He has become very peculiar and marked in his
attentions to me of late (the idea of the thing!), and, dear Ronald, it
would almost make you jealous, could you but see him hanging over me with
a sentimental expression on his droll old face, when I am playing on the
harp or piano. But I love to tease him, and always sing:
"He's coming frae the north
that's to marry me,
He's coming frae the north that's to marry me;
A feather in his bonnet, and the kilt aboon his knee,
He's a bonnie Highland laddie,—but you are no he."
'Indeed he annoys me very
much, as I cannot be troubled with his attentions, and you know I never
flirt. In this affair, that which annoyed me most was a notice which
appeared in a newspaper about his proposals to me. Such horrid prying
creatures those news-people are! But the editor came here to Inchavon, and
made so many apologies, that he got off free, although papa had threatened
to horsewhip him. But I shall soon be rid of Hyndford, as the
grouse-shooting ends to-day; and he must soon go to Edinburgh, to attend a
meeting of Scots peers at Holyrood.
'Your father, poor man,
must feel very lonely now without you, especially as he lives so far up
the glen, in that dreary old tower, sur rounded by heather, hills, water,
and rocks. I wish greatly that papa and he were good friends; but he is so
very proud, and so very distant, that I see no chance of its ever coming
about. Attended by my servant, Jessie Cavers, I rode up the glen one
Sunday, and went to the old kirk of Lochisla to see him; and I declare
that I could with pleasure have given him a kiss for your sake, Ronald,
such a noble-looking old gentleman he is ! He sat in his dark old oaken
pew, with his white hairs glistening in the sun, which shone through the
western window, and he often bowed down his head on his huge clasped
Bible. It was to pray for you he did so,—I am sure it was, because I saw
his lips move and his eyes brighten. He never looked once towards the pew
of the Corrie-oich family, with whom I sat, and so I never encountered his
glance; but his fierce-looking old piper, who stood behind him, accoutred
with dirk and claymore, stared at me fixedly during the whole service.
'When the aged and
venerable-looking old minister prayed, first in Gaelic and then in
English, for the success and safety of the British army, my heart beat
earnestly and responsive to the words which fell from his withered lips.
Indeed, you may be sure it did.
'Whether or not papa
favours the attention of the Earl of Hyndford I do not know; but he often
speaks kindly of you, and I love to listen to him when he does so. He has
not forgotten that dangerous ducking at Corrie-avon. Ah! what a day of
terror that one was!
'I am very busy just now,
working a pair of colours for the Greek Light Infantry, the regiment of my
Uncle Ludovick. They are of white silk, quite covered with embroidery and
needlework. I am heartily tired of them: but Louis's old flames, the
Graemes of Corrie-oich, are living with us just now, and we ply our
needles from daydawn till sunset like so many Penelopes, and the standards
will soon be dancing in the breezes of the Ionian Isles. When the Gordon
Highlanders want a new pair of colours you will know where to apply. With
a thousand prayers for your safety, and a thousand more for your return, I
must now conclude, as papa and Hyndford have just come from the moors,
with six men laden with grouse-bags, and I must hurry down to the
drawing-room. So believe me to be, my own dearest Ronald, yours ever,
'P.S.—Do endeavour to send
your next letters by some other way, as 'they must all have miscarried.
Try Cadiz, or Gibraltar,—but perhaps it is impossible. Jessie Cavers, my
foster-sister (who is at my side while I am writing), begs you will remind
her to "Jo and dearie O," a young man named Evan Iverach, who belongs to
your company; and tell him that he is not forgotten by the heart he has
left at hame. 'A. L.
'Alice, my own beloved
Alice! and you are yet true!' exclaimed Stuart aloud, pressing the letter
to his lips. ' What a wretch and madman I have been to doubt you for a
moment ! How unworthy I am that you should condescend to write to me!
Alas! oh, Alice, how much I have wronged you by my false and wicked
suspicions of your truth and constancy. Ah! my own dear girl, my repentant
heart turns to you more fondly by a thousand degrees than of yore.' He
drew forth her miniature to gaze upon it, and while doing so, let fall the
'Upon my word, a most
industrious creature!' said Louis Lisle, who had been standing by, as he
picked it up. 'She has given you no less than four closely-written pages
of a very pretty lady-like and current little hand. I have been sitting
beside you for this hour past, skimming stones along the surface of the
Tagus,—not a very intellectual amusement. I did not wish to interrupt you,
but I thought you would never come to a halt. How often have you read this
'Thrice? See what it is to
be in love!'
'Oh, Louis! how humbled and
mortified I am. What shall I say to Alice when I write to her? I dare not
tell the truth,—and yet, by heavens! I cannot deceive her. Is there no
alternative, but to wound her feelings by a whisper of my cursed
'Come, my old friend, I
will endeavour to make your peace; and Alice, I believe, will not be very
inexorable. I am billeted on the house of the escrivan, or town-clerk of
this place, Villa Mayor, and there we shall have writing materials in
abundance. Let us set about our correspondence, and have our letters ready
for Lisbon, to be despatched by the first orderly dragoon who rides to the