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her excited fancy. At length she essayed to speak, although conscious that her voice faltered.
“What a lovely night! Are you a believer in the language of the stars ?”
This was said with such simplicity of manner, that Delmé, as he turned to answer her, felt truly for the first time the full force of his attachment. He felt it the more strongly, that his mind previously had been wandering more than it had done for years.
There are times and seasons when we are engrossed in a train of deep and unconscious thought. Suddenly recalled to ourselves, we start from our mental aberration, and a clearer insight into the immediate purposes and machinery of our lives, is afforded us. We seem endowed with a more accurate knowledge of self; the inmost workings of our souls are abruptly revealed-feeling's mysteries stand developed—our weaknesses stare us in the face—and our vices appear to gnaw the very vitals of our hope, The veil was indeed withdrawn,and Delmé's heart acknowledged, that the fair being who leant on him for support, was dearer
far dearer, than all beside. But he saw too, ambition in that heart's deep recess, and knew that its dictates, unopposed for years, were totally incompatible with such a love. He saw and trembled.
Julia's question was repeated, before Sir Henry could reply.
“A soldier, Miss Vernon, is particularly susceptible of visionary ideas. On the lone bivouac, or remote piquet, duty must frequently chase sleep from his eyelids. At such times, I have, I confess, indulged in wild speculations, on their possible influence on our wayward destinies. I was then a youth, and should not now, I much fear me, pursue with such unchecked ardour, the dreams of romance in which I could then unrestrainedly revel. Perhaps I should not think it wise to do so, even had not sober reality stolen from imagination her brightest pinion.”
“I would fain hope, Sir Henry,” replied Julia, “that all your mind's elasticity is not thus flown. Why blame such fanciful theories? I cannot think them wrong, and I have often passed happy hours in forming them.”
“Simply because they remove us too much from our natural sphere of usefulness. They may impart us pleasure ; but I question whether, by dulling our mundane delights, they do not steal pleasure quite equivalent. Besides, they cannot assist us in conferring happiness on others, or in gleaning improvement for ourselves. I am not quite certain, enviable as appears the distinction, whether the too feelingly appreciating even nature's beauties, does not bear with it its own retribution.”
“Ah! do not say so! I cannot think that it should be so with minds properly regulated. I cannot think that such can ever gaze on the wonders revealed us, without these imparting their lesson of gratitude and adoration. If, full of hope, our eye turns to some glorious planet, and we fondly deem that there, may our dreams of happiness here, be perpetuated; surely in such poetical fancy, there is little to condemn, and much that may wean us from folly's idle cravings.
If in melancholy's hour, we mourn for one who hath been dear, and sorrow for the perishable nature of all that may here claim our earthly affections ; is it not sweet to think that in another world--perhaps in some bright star-we may again commune with what we have so loved-once more be united in those kindly bonds—and in a kingdom where those bonds may not thus lightly be severed?”
Julia's voice failed her; for she thought of one who had preceded her to “the last sad bourne.”
Delmé was much affected. He turned towards her, and his hand touched hers.
“Angelic being !"
As he spoke, darker, more worldly thoughts arose. A fearful struggle, which convulsed his features, ensued. The world triumphed.
Julia Vernon saw much of this, and maiden delicacy told her it was not meet they should be alone. · “Let us join the crowd !” said she. “We shall
probably meet our party in the long walk : if not, we will try the ball room.”
Poor Julia ! little was her heart in unison with that joyous scene!
By the eve of the morrow, Delmé was many leagues from her and his family.