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proud mother might have done. He was fast becoming an enigma to me; disturbing in many ways hard to express, mingling with my dreams, giving me horrible nightmares; wearing himself insensibly into my life, with a silent power impossible to shake off, simply because I resembled a woman he had once loved or rather still loved, since it must be with her that he held spiritual communications.
I did not dare to look at Mr. Addison, who offered no remark in reply to Miss Stanhope's inquiry. I could not tell if he saw me; I only knew that he did not care to speak; but Miss Stanhope, who no doubt felt piqued at his want of appreciation in not offering her a compliment on her taste, said reprovingly :
"You must not grow indifferent to the charms of ladies and their society, Mr. Addison-you are too young for that; you have not even bespoken Mary for a dance this evening; her card is sure to be soon filled-you ought to be early in the field."
"It is an honour I dare not hope for," he said, somewhat stiffly.
"How do you know that you cannot hope for the honour if you don't ask? What a foolish man you are! 'Nothing venture, nothing have,' remember," said Miss Stanhope.
"Retreat is the better part of valour," he cried, lightly; "I quote the antithesis of your maxim to prove my case. You must excuse me, Miss Stanhope, in this. I shall be happy to be your cavalier throughout the evening in every other respect but that of a dancing man.”
Wounded to the quick by his direct refusal to have anything to say to me, I hurried out of the room to get rid of my tears, and hiding myself in a corner of the small drawing-room, was battling with pride, anger, and disappointment when Colonel Stanhope found me. I strove to conceal all traces of suffering in his presence; but he read sufficient to come directly to the point.
"What have you done to repel Addison? why can't you like him? I have noticed for some time the secret antagonism going on between you-on your side, I am afraid.”
"You are quite mistaken, it is all the other way!" I burst out, glad to unburden my misery to some one. 'He has taken a dislike to me, and takes no pains to conceal his aversion."
"I think you wrong him."
"I wish I thought so!" I said, earnestly, flushing crimson, as I remembered that in that last admission my secret was no longer my own.
"Poor little maiden!" he said, tenderly clasping one of my hands in his, with sympathy; "is that why the poor little heart
has been aching? I knew there was something; but never mind, it shall all be right soon.'
"Never!" I cried, starting up alarmed. "Oh, you could never betray me! I should despise you if you did. If he cared for me it might be different, but he does not."
"Don't grow excited, my child-you need not fear my ever compromising you; why I say that it will all come right is, that I rather think he does care for you; and if the truth were known, his heart is aching as much as your own!"
"Men's hearts! I don't believe they have any, certainly none that can ache," I said, despondingly; "and his least of all. are so annoyingly strong-not like we, poor weak woman that I
"Look at me, and then see if men's hearts never ache! Mine has been aching longer than you can remember, has only just ceased to ache-if, indeed, it has ceased yet!"
"But you are not-not-you know who I mean?" I stammered.
Yes, I know who you mean," he said, smiling at the disparagement my comparison implied. "No, I am not like Addison. I wish to God I were. I am as weak as he is strong in most things; but his strength won't help him in a matter of this kind."
"Yes it will; he told me as much," I said, confidingly.
"Has he? Ah, well, you must know best in that case; but did he tell you that as applying to himself generally, or in any special case, because men are so wonderfully strong on these points when not personally implicated."
"But he was!" I exclaimed.
"And he confided his grief to you?" 'Unfortunately I was the cause of it. much I liked him until it was too late, and cross purposes, and he despises me; but, oh, never meant to tell this to anyone."
I never found out how now we are always at what have I done? I
"You are only redeeming a promise you made that you would appoint me your father confessor."
"And I can trust you," I pleaded.
"Yes, child; you will find none truer to you in the world." "A friend is a great comfort," I remarked, "especially such a friend as you have been."
"And what have you not been to me, child, God alone knows! Let us go," he said, rising hurriedly, as if desirous not to prolong the interview.
Turning back as we crossed the room, he said kindly: "Are you a little bit happier now ?"
"I feel the relief of a shared secret," I answered;
I dare say I shall regret having parted with it before I sleep."
In the common order of things Mr. Addison had to offer me his arm to go in to dinner. I took it with a sort of suspended vitality, and waited for him to speak; but it seemed as if he had registered a vow never to open his lips to me again, even to offer me the commonest civility. What had I said or done?
We parted company at table, as Dolly declined sitting next to
Colonel Stanhope was not over pleased at the change, and retaliated on Dolly by observing.
"It is early in the day to be sent to the other side, is it not, Domville ?"
"But you forget I have a much better view of him where he is," said Dolly, in her most self-satisfied manner, as she gave her husband a patronising smile, which seemed to compensate him for everything and no wonder! A smile from such a Dolly now looked in the "gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls" was enough to turn a stronger head than Colonel Domville's.
Just once I ventured to look across the table at Mr. Addison-a shy, nervous look, as if afraid of being caught. It is said you cannot either think long of or look at a person without their becoming conscious of some exterior influence acting magnetically upon them, which attracts them to return either thought or glance. If that be true he ought to have been magnetised long ago-he was at that moment, for he looked up quickly and caught my eye, which cowered guiltily before his clear, cold gaze. I was thankful when dinner was concluded, leaving me at liberty to be as unhappy as I pleased. The gentlemen went to the smoking-room, while Dolly and I repaired to the morning-room.
"We can have a cosy chat there, Mim, until we are wanted to charm and destroy," said Dolly, with one of her bright laughs that always inspired me with life, however low the ebb I had reached, and just now I was terribly dull and in need of some yeast to counteract my heaviness.
"It is to be hoped you are going to spare us the destructive element," said Colonel Stanhope; "we want only charms to-night; you must be satisfied with one victim," he continued, glancing at Colonel Domville.
"You don't mean to call him a victim, I hope. Are you one, Reginald?"
"A proud and happy one, my dear," he said, giving her one of his most courtly bows, a perfect Sir Roger de Coverley, in fact.
"Oh, Reginald!" she exclaimed; "I forgot all about Regina;
do go and see after her. Barker is such an old maid, and only cares for cats; she does not attend to Regina in the least."
"But there is Pedro, my dear, to see to her," he replied, feeling, no doubt, how utterly he had been dragged down from the sublime to the ridiculous in one moment.
"No, no, Pedro will not look after her. I do wish you would go, before you begin smoking, and wrap her up in my travellingshawl."
I felt so much for his humiliation that I volunteered to go for him.
"No, dear Mim, I couldn't hear of it, Reginald is accustomed to it; she would only bark at you;" and with that she put her arm into mine, and we went upstairs.
"The sooner Domville is dead the better," said Colonel Stanhope, when next we met before the ball opened. "Your sister is a brilliant-looking girl, but that man is ruining her. She despises him already, and he has lost his head. She will become perfectly unbearable in a short time, an utterly vain and selfish woman. She is altered already.
"Do you think so!" I replied, for I considered Dolly was only developing freely what was all along in her nature. "I think she is only worldly," I remarked.
"She wants a good disappointment, my child, to bring her to her senses, and then she will be an amiable woman; but as she is--"
"Now don't say one word against Dolly, for I am blind-that is to say, I love her as she is. Faults and absurdities that I should dislike and denounce in others in her seem tolerable; they are like her slang phrases, graced by her using.'
"Yes; she is just one of those pitfalls that lure men on to destruction. Charming to look at, but with no trustworthy foundation, not unlike what I have heard of her father," he said, as if thinking aloud.
"Why! what did you ever hear of our father that you speak so ?"
"More than I should ever care to tell you, child," and he seemed to wince under my remark and inquiry; leaving me to wonder, while he advanced to do the honours of his house, as the guests were arriving, and the ball about to commence.
POLITICAL AND COMMERCIAL IMPORTANCE OF TURKEY.
THE never-ending encroachments of Russia upon Turkey in Europe, and in Asia-indeed, upon all Asia-combined with a sense of insecurity, arising from such persistent aggressions on the part of a colossal Power, to our own vast possessions in the East, have from a time, extending now beyond the memory of man, kept up a condition of things, at one moment of chronic, and at another of active hostility, which is not only hurtful to the progress of humanity, but it is not even creditable to human nature itself.
It is true that the Turks are aliens in religion upon the soil of Europe, but they are not more so in race than the great nationalities of Sarmatian or Slavonian, and of Ugrian or Hunnish descent, which, with the Teutons, Greco-Latin, and Keltic races, constitute the population of that quarter of the globe.
The Turks have been variously looked upon according to circumstances, and according to religious, moral, or political bias. This attests to two facts, that as a nation their condition is not satisfactory; and secondly, that being aliens in religion, no two people can look upon them in the same point of view. Some have taken pride in speaking of the Turks as encamped, rather than settled in Europe; the decline and fall of their power has been a byword for years, and a French traveller has complacently designated their empire as a "cadavre." Others, again, looking at the Osmanlis in a political point of view, have, like Lord Palmerston, declared that no nation has made greater progress in late years.
The latter is undoubtedly the most current view of the facts of the case; but the Turks can never constitute, by progress or by civilisation, a recognised member of the European family, so long as the sheri or fundamental principle of Islamism-which teaches that the faithful are a dominant race, that all others arc subject to them, and that no faith is to be maintained, beyond what is expedient, towards an "infidel”—is upheld in its integrity. As, however, there are Unitarians in Christendom, so also there are Deists in Turkey, as well as what may be termed Ultramontane Muhammadans, and a reform may come about even in this essential point, and Hatti-Sheriffs become Hatti-Allahs.*
* The writer has heard some of the oldest and wisest of the land say: 66 Give up your Saviour, and we will give up our Muhammad."