MR. LANSDOWNE SUBMITS TO THE INEVITABLE.
In the meanwhile, a change had come upon John Lansdowne. Only a few weeks ago, he was a careless youth, of keen and vigorous intellectual powers, satiated with books and tired of college walls, with the boy spirit in the ascendant within him. His eye was wide open and observant, and his ringing laugh was so merry, that it brought an involuntary smile upon any one who might chance to hear its rich peals. His talk was rapid, gay, and brilliant, with but the slightest dash of sentiment, and his manner frank and fearless.
But now his bearing had become quiet and dignified; his conversation was more thoughtful and deep-flowing, less dashing and free; he spoke in a lower key; his laugh was less loud but far sweeter and more thrilling; his eyes had grown larger, darker, deeper, and sometimes they were shadowed with a soft and tender mist, not wont to overspread them before. The angel of Love had touched him, and opened a new and living spring in his heart. Boiling and bubbling in its hidden recess, an ethereal vapor mounted up and mantled those blazing orbs in a dim and dreamy veil. A charmed wand had touched every sense, every power of his being, and held him fast in a rapturous thrall, from which he did not wish to be released. Under the spell of this enchantment, the careless boy had passed into the reflective man.
Stories are told of knights errant, in the times of Merlin and the good King Arthur, who, while ranging the world in quest of adventures, were bewitched by lovely wood fairies or were lulled into delicious slumber by some syren’s song, or were shut up in pleasant durance in enchanted castles. Accounts of similar character are found, even in the pages of grave chroniclers of modern date, to say nothing of what books of fiction tell, and what we observe with our own eyes, in the actual world. The truth is, Love smites his victims, just when and where he finds them. Mr. Lansdowne’s case then, is not an unprecedented one. The keen Damascus blade, used to pierce our hero and bring him to the pitiful condition of the conquered, had been placed in the hand of Adele. Whether Love intended to employ that young lady in healing the cruel wound she had made, remains to be seen.
At the beginning of their acquaintance, they had found a common ground of interest in the love of music.
They both sang well. Adele played the piano and John discoursed on the flute. From these employments, they passed to books. They rummaged Mr. Dubois’s library and read together, selected passages from favorite authors. Occasionally, John gave her little episodes of his past life, his childish, his school, and college days. In return, Adele told him of her term at Halifax in the convent; of the routine of life and study there; of her friendships, and very privately, of the disgust she took, while there, to what she called the superstitions, the mummeries and idolatry of the Catholic church.