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Ii'í fAIi RIGHTS RESERVED J THE MINIATURE. By the Author of Sydney Fielding CHAPTER I. Er friend was rather an eccentric and self-willed [low, or he would never have taken to the stage. He was not driven to it by accident or necessity, as if it had been his dernier reisort. Not a bit of it. Charles Coleraine was well born his parents were srealtby; and he had received a first-class education. Be was a very clever fellow, too, and might have made much of the advantages that surrounded him but lib many another gifted with an overflow of talents and an erratic temperament, he seemed to find it impossible to stick to any regular business or profes- sion. or to form any methodical theory of life. Not- withstanding the many promising paths open to him, and, in spite of the entreaties and recommendations af relatives and friends, our Hercules would not make his choice. When in his twenty-second year, he took the whim Ifeto his bead of making a long tour through the eountry, on foot; and, after he had been'absent from home many months, we had news of him as having Ifeen seen on the stage of the H Theatre, per- forming leading parts in genteel comedy and pselodrama, to the admiration of the good folks of (Blot largaand populous town. When this intelligence filtme to my ears, I went at once to H- intent n seeing for myself what sort of figure my old tlrhoolmate cut in the Livery of Thespis. Surely enough I found him, and, from my box, Ev and heard him rattle through a part in one of eridan's comedies in very capital style. I was not Surprised, however, to see how much at kue he was on the stage, and to find ■im acting with a great deal more of nature, spirit. Had scholarship, than any of the professional artists £ io were in the cast with him. He was one of those ver, murcurial fellows, who can do anything well lb which they take a fancy. Had I heard of his lining out with a volome of first-rate poetry, or lAith a pragmatical treatise on science, history, politics, or theology, full of new ideas and theories, ■^should only hare regarded it as what might have |nn expected. The only thing that would have astonished me with respect to him would have been The fact of his settling down, in a formal and steady Manner, to any sort of regular calling. I had not been long in the theatre before I ian.gined I could perceive the secret of Charley Coleraine's taking with such enthusiasm to the stage. Hot only the cast of the parts, but certain glances and tones, which I detected as being of much significance, hurried my suspicions to a conclusion whitb caused me much anxiety. While he rattled through the part of Captain Absolute, a very handsome and Clever young lady played up to him," as the phrase ■Oes, in the role of JLydia. Charley has fallen in »re with that young lady, and has turned actor for ber sake that was my "confident belief long before the comedy came to an end. What would the old tolks at home say, if they knew what sort of a pass tbeir son was come to ? When the curtain was down, and all was over, I went round to the stage-door, and waited. By and IjT Coleraine came forth, and. as I expected, the charming little actress, Miss Beatrice Jervan, was leaning on his arm. Glad to see you, Charley!" What I Ned, is it ever you ? I am delighted!" There was rather a troubled blush on his face, though, notwithstanding this assurance. But-but-ex- cuse me for a few minutes. Where are you putting op?" At the Bedford." Very well. 1 will bo with you in ten minutes. I am delighted beyond measure to see you, my dear fellow, and we must have a long talk before to-night is-ever. Mind, in ten minutes!" The pretty actress regarded us both with a very ■Squiring visage; but Charley tripped off with her, banded her into a cab and they were gene in a trice. No one will be surprised, when I say the ten gaintites were more like thirty; but at length Charley came to the Bedford, and we sat down to supper together. We talked a great deal, of course. We had many mutual inquiries to make, much new* to exchange. it will suffice, however, for the purpose of this narrative, to state that my supposition was fully and Completely confirmed. Charley confessed, not only with frankness, but with enthusiasm, that he was in love, once and for ever. He declared that Beatrice nm was, beyond comparison, the most gifted, the brightest witted, the :most brilliant girt it had ever keen his fortune to meet. He had felt himself fas- cinated, drawn as by a spell, to the stage, after once seeing her perform and the improved" acquaintance of every successive day bad onJy revealed to him that she was, indeed, "all his fanay painted her." firery expectation he had formed, upon witnessing her demeanour behind the footlights, had been- (Dost rare coincidence!—completely verified. But our talk ended more seriously, and to me less pleasantly. He was thoroughly earnest in his passion, and had fully made up his mind to carry it speedily to a definitive and honourable consumma- tion. He meant to take Miss Jervan from the stage, and marry her, as soon as he could gain his parents' Consent to that step and, if this should prove im- possible, then to marry her without, and to keep to the stage himself, as an easy and fdeasant mode of sarning a maintenance. Butheentraitted me-aiid here was he less agreeable part of the business—to break the news at home, to become diplomatist betwixt him and father and mother, and, as I loved him, on the more of our ancient and sincere friendship, to1 do all in my power to smooth the way for him. I uttered mitny cautions, many protests, and said many wise things; but where was ever the lover who would listen to reason ? Coleraine pooh-poohed, laughed, Complained, and talked, until he had won me over to such degree, that I said I would think abo^t it, and would tell him my determination when I saw him again. Our next meeting was on the following morning. Coleraine knocked me up, and at noon took me to the rehearsal, to "see how things were managed." They were going to play She Stoops to Conquer in the evening; Miss Jervan and my friend being east for Miss Hardcastle and. Young Marlow, as a matter of course. Charley seemed quite at home be- neath the flys, and though only a month had passed ttnce his debut, he trod the boards and uftd,bigvoic-e with all the ease and self-possession of an old stager. On this occasion I had an opportunity of seeing the charmer close at hand and face to face, and of witnessing what were her breeding and behaviour. I must confess that I thought Charley's rapturous encomiums were justified to a very fair degree. Mies Jervan was certainly a very superior young lady, very different from the class of ladies ordinarily met with at rehearsal or behind the scenes and, though her very considerable histrionic talents, joined to her personal advantages, rendered her acting showy and striking, she was in herself, I could perceive, of a modest and lady-like temperament. I was glad to 818 that the manager and every one else seemed to gsgard her with sincere respect. However, I knew what Coleraine's family and friends were and I could see nothing in this con- flection but a dreary prospect of troubles and estrangements. Very serious things, my gay young lovers I The honeymoon is by no means a co-pe-,sa- • tion for them. "She Stoops to Conquer" went off in first-rate Style in the evening; the good playgoer of H being so delighted, that the leading lady and gentle- man were called before the curtain to receive their plaudits at the termination. Coleraine was in high Spirits; delighted with everything and every one, jsst after the insane way of young lovers in their glimpses of happiness. After handing Miss Jervan into her cab, he took me home with him to his own lodgings. And, apropos of this, I made a discovery which further increased my sense of the young lady's propriety of feeling and behaviour. I saw a very decent-looking elderly lady in the cab that had been •siting for the young actress and I learned from Coleraine that this was the young lady's aunt, who, ttiM Jervan being an orphan, exercised a kindly sur- veillance over her movements, being her constant Companion and guardian, and never allowing her to go to or from the theatre alone. After supper, when our talk was fast and free, Charley drew a little ivory miniature from his breast, and showed it to me. It was a counterfeit present- SBent of the charmer, that he had got painted by some dever artist for twenty guineas. It was a very ex- gsllent piece of work-the colouring exquisitely soft and tender in tone, and the likeness so faithful as to he altogether unmistakable. Coleraine looked at it again and again, and pressed it to his lips in.the way eommon with young fellows when they are in his Condition and then burst upon me with a vehement reiteration of the suit he had pressed the preceding svening. In fact, before I left H-, he had exacted a promise from me that I would cautiously reveal all to his father and mother, and would do iqj best lID bring them round." And when I got back to town I certainly per- formed this promise, and did my best. But, alas, far the good offices of friendship! Mr. and Mrs. eoleraine were aghast at tbe turn affairs had taken; enraged beyond expression to think that the ■on whom they had brought up and educated with such care and cost, and wnose expectations ought to tMo high and honourable, had taken to exhibit him- self for the amusement of the public, and had farmed an attachment with an obscure actress in a provincial theatre. They were, indeed, truly and ■leeply grieved that Charles should outrage the feelings he knew they entertained, and throw him- Wisvay"inthis manner. AU that I could ear. ia extenuation of their son's youthful gpirit-of adventure in trying his talents upon the stage, or in justification of his attachment to the young lady, as being excited by uncommon talents and great personal gifts was entirely in vain. I wrote to Chat ley apprising him of my non-success and I believe that his father and mother wrote to him also, telling him very plainly, if not severely, what was their opinion of the course he was following, of the association which he had formed, and begging him to return home immediately. It was their hope that they should be able to get him out of the mesalliance before matters had gone too. ív to render retreat easy or possible. Undoubtedly, Coleraine was very much disturbed at finding himself thus set in reprehensible opposi- tion to his parents; but he did not, for a moment, think of altering his own views, or of separating him- self from the object of his regard. He wrote home, saying as much; but only received in relpy a reitera- tion of the parential counsel—he wasjyoung, inexperi- enced, and impulsive, they said and it was their hope, their prayer, that he would not rashly take a step which would ruin all his prospects, estrange him from his relatives and friends, and embitter the whole of his life. At their request I went to H—— again, upon the forlorn errand of attempting to draw him away from that region of sweet danger, and to bring the young prodigal back again. I went directly to his lodgings, and discovered him in a state of vehement, feverish excitement. I was so struck by his pallor and. agitation when I first made my descent upon him, that I immediately thought that if his father and mother could have seen his condition, their opposition to the young fellow's wishes would surely have relented; but I speedily found that I was altogether wrong in my conception of the cause of his excitement. In the course of our conversation he gave me to under- stand that he had not been able to conceal from Miss Jervan the fact that the scheme of life he had pro- posed, and in which she was to play a part so impor- tant, had met with the decided opposition of his friends and, also, that the young lady had attached the deepest consequence to that intimation, had im- plored him to leave her and forget her, for that she never would, on any consideration, be the means of alienating him from his family and friends. On hearing this, I must say that my good opinion of Miss Jervan was much improved, and I could not help recalling some sweet lines from Gerald Griffin's ballad of "Gillie Machree," and putting the senti- ment of them into the young lady's mouth, though in the poem they are so entirely the gentleman's: I might have said My mountain maid, A fath«-'« rifrht w,, never given True hearts to curse With tyrant fort e, That have been blest in heaven. But then I said, In after years, When thoughts of home will and her, My lo, e may mourn with secret tears, • Her friends thus left behind her. Oh, no," I said, My own dear maid For me, though all forlorn for ever, That heart of thine. Shall ne'er repine O'er slighted duty—never! from home and thee, though wand'ring far, A dreary fate be mine love, I'd rather live in endless war Than buy my peace with thine, love." I, of course, wouldn't listen to anything of that sort," Coleraine went on. 1 told her I should never think of leaving her, much less forgetting her; and as for the governor and my dear mother, and all the rest of them, why they would be sure to come round when they know it was no good to set their faces against us any longer and as for a maintenance we should do well enough. But she would not hear of it; she cried as if her heart would break, Ned, aiW insisted that we must separate. And now, what do you think she has done ?" he asked, with a strong culmination of grief and mortification. Indeed I don't know, my dear fellow; nothing desperate, I hope and trust?" said I, in much alarm. Why, she has gone away suddenly and secretly," returned Coleraine, with despair. No one knows when-no one knows whither-except the old aunt, and she won't give a word or a hint to anybody- not even to op. :Beatrice didn't even say a word to the manager; she left us all in the lurch and when the manager went to her aunt to complain and ask for an explanation, the forfeit money for the breach of engagement was put in his hands at once, before it was asked for, and without one of his questions being answered. It is all their doing at home, Ned. I have an idea that they must have written to her about me, and wounded her feelings. But I won't have my affairs interfered with and broken up in that way. Mark my words, Ned I will search and find her, wherever she is gone to, and then nothing in this world shall separate us again!" I had just commenced a grave and cooling exor- dium after this excited out-burst, when a visitor was announced, and an actor, named Craven, entered the room; a man with a very excellent presence for dramatic purposes, I considered a good figure, rather slender, dark olive complexion, brilliant black eyes, white well-set teeth, and rich black hair. Cole- raino had thrown up his engagement at the theatre immediately upon the Sight of Miss Jervan, and this gentleman had been summoned from a neighbouring city to fill his place. Mr. Craven, indeed, was now come for certain plays and parts which Coleraine had to place in his hands. I have just been informed," said the comedian, that Miss Jervan has left the theatre. If I had known that before I had set out, I should not have been here." Indeed 1 Why P" asked Coleraine, his face flush- ing on the instant. Why, because of her talents, and because one can get on all the better when there is someone to act up to you, you know," answered Mr. Craven, not noticing Coleraine's excited look. I was playing with her at B- some time ago, and my main in- ducement for coming here at a moment's notice was the hope of seeing her again. She left quite suddenly, it appears ?" She did, air-she did," said Charley, his excite- ment increasing. I have half a mind to go back again, and wait until I hear where she has gone to," said Craven, sitting down, moodily. My dear fellow, let me be frank with you," ex- claimed Coleraine. with an impetuosity that was natural to his temperament, as he crossed the room to where Mr. Craven was sitting, and drew the minia- W .1 ture hastily from his breast. Do you see this miniature?" Craven started in his sbair, at with a pang, when be set eyesiiponthat charming little portrait. Mies Jervan herself I" he exclaimed, with strong, eager interest. Yea; let me be frank with you," repeated Charley. "This is the counterfeit presentment of the lady I love. She consented to sit for it at my request; and also, it is with her consent that I wear it next my heart!" I understand you—I congratulate you—I appre- ciate your frankneaa," exclaimed Mr. Craven, quickly, and in a somewhat flurried manner, as he rose from his chair and shook Coleraine by the hand. I am greatly obliged for your friendly ingenuousness; possibly it has saved in* much wasted time—many idle dreams." Charley shook him by the hand, quite relieved and delighted by this assurance but all the time there was a certain expression beneath the flashy politeness of Mr. Craven's theatrical smile which, to my per- ception, was anything but sweet and amiable. Some- how, I had a sudden conviction that he was a dan- gerous and vicious man. Coleraine was not troubled with any fancies of the sort, however. When, after some further commonplace conversation, Craven rose to depart, he bid him good-morning with cordial politeness, and when he was gone, said he was I pleased with himself for having "set the fellow right." On the evening of that very day my suspicion of I the perfidy of the comedian's nature gained an un- expected confirmation. Coleraine determined to call once more upon Miss Jervan's aunt before he left H-, to roam through I the world in quest of her. At his request I accom- panied him; and we proceeded to the house wherein the beauty bad dwelt: a very decent, respectable house, and somewhat secluded. We found the old lady, at home, but she seemed to have been greatly put out of her way. Almost as soon as her servant had admitted us, she came out of the parlour and along the passage, in an impatient, flurried manner. Mr. Coleraine, Mr. Coleraine 1" she exclaimed. No questions I beg. for I can't answer them. My niece has left me, and whither she has gone I have given her my sacred promise not to reveal. My sacred promise, sir, which, as you are a gentleman, you will respect, I hope, and not try me with entreaties." j Suroly I will respect your sacred promise, Mrs. Duke," answered Coleraine, flushing with warmth, vexation, and confusion. Since you set the matter on that foundation, you shall not break your pro- mise on my account, at any rate, however different the behaviour I had a right to expect in. this quarter." My dear air, I am sure neither myself nor my niece ever thought of you otherwise than with re- spect," rejoined the troubled Mrs. Duke. "But when you grow calmer in thinking of us, sir, I am sure you will see that we have acted for the best. Believe an old woman, sir: it is far better for you to abide by your father and mother's wishes than any fancy of your j own. Young people don't know what the world is, and oftentimes find their best plm-tlre in thut which afterwards brings sorrow upon every day they have to live." Of course I could say nothing on this occasion, either on one side or the bther but I thought that Mrs. Duke seemed to be a very sensible old woman. "I percieve,ma'ani, that your mind, is perfectly made up," returned Colerairik, striving to assume a light and friendly smile. "I will not ask you any more questions, nor involve you In any responsibility whatever. I give you Earning, howe,er, that I am not exactly of your way of thinking, and.that I shall still make some endeavours to find out'where Miss Jervan has taken herself t6." j" AD, sir," said Mrs. Duke, shaking her hend, "my thoughts are with your father and mother, and I wish yours, were, too, though it's the way with young people to be crazy after their own fancies." "Well, well," exclaimed Coleraine, impatiently. We might talk all day. and not come a whit nearer each other's way of thinking. Let us have the sense to stop; and, at any rate, let us part good friends, Mrs. Duke." "Indeed, I hope so, sir. But don't go off for good and all, like this, Mr. Coleraine. Pray step in, gentle- men and take a glass of my old gooseberry-wine and a sweet biscuit. Ah! I forgot; there's a gentleman in there now, belonging to the theatre," she added, lowering her voice, and pointing to the parlour door. "I warrant you know him, sir; but, troth it's a trouble and worry to me to have people coming with their inquiries after Beatrice." A flash of angry suspicion passed across Coleraine's face at this intimation. He hurriedly accepted the old lady's invitation, and went forward into the parlout. Mrs Duke followed immediately, and I brought up the rear. The theatrical personage was Mr. Craven himself, and no other; and he had come there to make, a few inquiries on his own account. Coleraine's impetuous nature took fire immediately. After our conversation this morning, it strikes me as rather curious that you should come here almost immediately, making inquiries after, Miss Jervan!" he exclaimed, looking with pointed scrutiny at Craven. My dear sir, don't let any tender feara carry you away," returned Craven, placing the newspaper he had been reading on his knee, and looking up with a smile of affected surprise. Don't be so sensitive to love's alarms! So far from coming here to make inquiries after Miss Jervan, I came expressly to ask Mrs. Duke whether she had any apartments to let!" "Ah!" muttered Mrs. Duke, apparently greatly surprised, as if this were the first intimation she had had of the visitor's real object. The old lady had. apartments to let, however, and therefore was too polite to make any remark; and, moreover, her woman's instinct warned her that the sooner these gentlemen were separated the better. Accordingly, she began to bustle about, and set her excellent home- brewed goosebery-wine, and her excellent home-baked sweet biscuits, on the table, pouring forth, handing round, and begging us to partake. Coleraine was considerably taken aback by Craven's ooolness, but he returned no answer, save a contemptu- ous Oh, indeed!" The idea of the man seeking lodgings in that quarter was a further aggravation; but what could be said against his going where he chose I" When we had emptied the glasses that the good lady had filled, we took our departure, leaving Mr. Craven in possession of the flold-he and Coleraine quitting sight of each other with feelings decidedly unfriendly. (To be continued) >



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