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There is an hypocrisy, a dingy sort of subterfuge, a hiding away, a keeping in the dark, peeping-from-behind-curtains sort of tone about the whole affair, which it is quite reasonable to accept as an index to the character of the occupant; and you may be pretty sure that his thoughts, were the curtains drawn back from them, would show out quite as unsatisfactorily as would his rooms, did you but open the windows, take down the curtains, and let a ray of bright sunshine fall upon his untidy hearth.

The disorder, want of cleanliness, the rickety, worn-out condition of the furniture, alike of brain and sitting-room, would be, I am afraid, pretty much upon a par. Yet, this would be a severe test for even the best of us to be put to-aye, even for that well-looking house over the way, so bright and cheerful of aspect, with its long wide French windows opening to the floor, its flowers in the balcony, and its fresh clean muslin curtains, only lending so much grateful shadow to its inner penetralia as is consistent with coolness and comfort.

Despite the new paint, and the trim servant that answers the door with all promptitude, despite the well-organized household, the regular hours, and the free, unaffected heartiness of the welcome you always receive, despite the perfect harmony which exists between the mind of the host and the appearance of his domicile; yes, despite all this, if a ruthless hand were to tear down what little drapery is used, say merely for the sake of decoration, possibly the sight of something unpleasant, if not ugly, that we never expected, would meet our gaze. At least there would be unfinished angles, rough edges, sharp nails, and little disused, long-forgotten, dusty recesses, brought to light. Well, then, what hand would wish to do this? So long as a sufficient quantity of light and air circulates through our brains, and our houses, to keep them pure and healthy, let us willingly submit to the employment of just so many hangings and curtains as shall make matters look cheerful and pleasant; and provided they never fall between true hearts, or interfere with the free circulations of sincere sympathies, nothing can be urged against them. It is only when, like arras and tapestry, they form a refuge for unclean things, or, like the surroundings to our four-post bedsteads, they preclude the possibility of ventilation, that we may congratulate ourselves on their disappearance, and that we live in an age which, whatever its short-comings may be, can scarcely be said to be one darkened by the superabundant use of curtains.

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For whether I wake, or whether I sleep,
It is always just the same;

I am far away to the time that was,
Or the time that never came.

Sometimes I walk in the paradise,
That, alas! was not to be;
Sometimes I sit the whole night long
A child on my father's knee;

And when my sweet sad fancies run
Unheeded as they list,

They go and search about to find
The things my life has missed.

Ay! this love is a tyrant always,
And whether for evil or good,
Neither comes nor goes for our bidding;-
But I've done the best I could.

And Edgar's a worthy man I know,
And I know my house is fine;

But I never shall live in it, mother,

And never shall make it mine!

PHOEBE CARY.

Brakespeare;

OR,

THE FORTUNES OF A FREE LANCE.

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BY THE AUTHOR OF GUY LIVINGSTONE," ETC., ETC.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

DAME GIACINTA'S TALE. *

"You must know, most noble cavaliere”—Dame Giacinta began-" that I was not city-bred, but born some four leagues hence, on the lands of the Vidoni, which stretch along Lake Bientina; in the service of which family I abode till the castle and fief changed masters: then I came hither to abide with mine uncle, in whose house, Matteo, my good-man, found me, and wedded me-despite my thirty years. The Florentines slew my father before I knew his face; and in that same battle Messer Geronimo Vidoni was wounded mortally. His widow, Donna Agatha, was very kind to my mother, and would have her always near her own person, albeit she was too weakly to be of great use as bowerwoman; and when, five years later, I was left orphan, caused me to be educated-it may be somewhat above my station; whilst she lived I never lost her favour, though she was too wise to spoil me. Her son too, was pleased to show me no small favour. Messer Marco was but a youth when he became head of his house; but both in bearing and spirit he was older than his years. Such as knew him well, liked him well, for he was true, and brave, and generous to the heart's core but he was no general favourite with men or women, being rough and curt of speech and something imperious of manner; neither did he affect the company of neighbours. Even in hunting or hawking he mostly took his pleasure alone, and seldom cared to show himself in

Some may remember to have seen the main incidents of this chapter more graphically set forth in a few verses that appeared three years ago in “Temple Bar," signed by Robert Buchanan. I have tried to make the plagiarism palpable by adhering even to manner; but it is better to make it still plainer by this confession.

the tilt yard-holding all other courtly pastimes in utter scorn. The lady Agatha used sometimes to lament this to me, and to wish that Messer Marco could be prevailed on to wed. A gentle, fitting, helpmate-she thought-might do much towards causing him to take such a place amongst his equals as beseemed the chief of the Vidoni. So she cast her eyes round about heedfully, till they lit on a damsel of good birth and breeding-daughter to one of the Spinetti-who had just returned home from the Carmelite convent, where she had been nurtured by the special care of the abbess.

Doubtless the lady Maddalena was rarely beautiful; but, had I been a man, I would as lief have wived with one of the fair saints that Sêr Giotto limned so deftly. Her cheeks might have been as snowflakes, for all the flush that love or anger ever brought out thereon; her eyes might have been wrought in sapphire; and her very smile -she smiled but seldom, save the mark!-was frozen too. I do not think, at first, Messer Marco was much drawn towards the maiden; but in most things he let his mother have her way, and perchance was somewhat weary of hearing from her lips "that if he cared not for wedlock, it still was his bounden duty in such troublous times to provide his house with an heir;" so he gave assent a little sullenly, making condition that he should be troubled with no formal wooing. Indeed, he scarce saw the bride half-a-score of times, before he brought her home.

The change that came over Messer Marco, within a year, was near akin to witchcraft. I was appointed the lady Maddalena's own tiring-woman, so I saw it all. Before they had been married two months, he loved her with all his soul and strength; but she never seemed to notice his passion-much less to return it. It angered me past patience, to watch his full brown face waxing thin and drawn, and his eyes hollower and brighter; whilst morning or evening brought no change in her small, white, demure face. It would have been better if she had shown fear or loathing of him, than that deathly coldness; but she would only draw herself slowly away if he came too near, or murmur, if he wrung her hand too hard-" I pray you be not so rough; you crush my fingers "-looking all the while like a virgin martyr. I cannot guess if the lady Agatha found out that she had made a mistake. She was not the woman, to confess such things to any living creature; if it was so, she had not long space to repent herself; for the marsh fever carried her off suddenly in the eighth month after the wedding. She passed away at last very happily and calmly, blessing both

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