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The Knight Of Gwynne, Vol. II (of II)   By: (1806-1872)

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By Charles James Lever

A Tale of the Time of the Union

With Illustrations By Phiz.

In Two Volumes. Vol. II.

Boston: Little, Brown, And Company 1894.



Soon after breakfast the following morning the Knight set out to pay his promised visit to Miss Daly, who had taken up her abode at a little village on the coast, about three miles distant. Had Darcy known that her removal thither had been in consequence of his own arrival at "The Corvy," the fact would have greatly added to an embarrassment sufficiently great on other grounds. Of this, however, he was not aware; her brother Bagenal accounting for her not inhabiting "The Corvy" as being lonely and desolate, whereas the village of Ballintray was, after its fashion, a little watering place much frequented in the season by visitors from Coleraine, and other towns still more inland.

Thither now the Knight bent his steps by a little footpath across the fields which, from time to time, approached the seaside, and wound again through the gently undulating surface of that ever changing tract.

Not a human habitation was in sight; not a living thing was seen to move over that wide expanse; it was solitude the very deepest, and well suited the habit of his mind who now wandered there alone. Deeply lost in thought, he moved onward, his arms folded on his breast, and his eyes downcast; he neither bestowed a glance upon the gloomy desolation of the land prospect, nor one look of admiring wonder at the giant cliffs, which, straight as a wall, formed the barriers against the ocean.

"What a strange turn of fortune!" said he, at length, as relieving his overburdened brain by speech. "I remember well the last day I ever saw her; it was just before my departure for England for my marriage. I remember well driving over to Castle Daly to say good bye! Perhaps, too, I had some lurking vanity in exhibiting that splendid team of four grays, with two outriders. How perfect it all was! and a proud fellow I was that day! Maria was looking very handsome; she was dressed for riding, but ordered the horses back as I drove up. What spirits she had! with what zest she seized upon the enjoyments her youth, her beauty, and her fortune gave her! how ardently she indulged every costly caprice and every whim, as if revelling in the pleasure of extravagance even for its own sake! Fearless in everything, she did indeed seem like a native princess, surrounded by all that barbaric splendor of her father's house, the troops of servants, the equipages without number, the guests that came and went unceasingly, all rendering homage to her beauty. 'T was a gorgeous dream of life, and well she understood how to realize all its enchantment. We scarcely parted good friends on that same last day," said he, after a pause; "her manner was almost mordant. I can recall the cutting sarcasms she dealt around her, strange exuberance of high spirits carried away to the wildest flights of fancy; and after all, when, having dropped my glove, I returned to the luncheon room to seek it, I saw her in a window, bathed in tears; she did not perceive me, and we never met after. Poor girl! were those outpourings of sorrow the compensation nature exacted for the exercise of such brilliant powers of wit and imagination? or had she really, as some believed, a secret attachment somewhere? Who knows? And now we are to meet again, after years of absence, so fallen too! If it were not for these gray hairs and this wrinkled brow, I could believe it all a dream; and what is it but a dream, if we are not fashioned to act differently because of our calamities? Events are but shadows if they move us not."

From thoughts like these he passed on to others, as to how he should be received, and what changes time might have wrought in her.

"She was so lovely, and might have been so much more so, had she but curbed that ever rising spirit of mockery that made the sparkling lustre of her eyes seem like the scathing flash of lightning rather than the soft beam of tranquil beauty... Continue reading book >>

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