Fanny Trevelyan, admired, petted, and caressed, had still the same childlike nature when friendship had been matured by daily companionship. Mary Douglas was charmed with the sweet and engaging manner which was at first attributed to a want of confidence. Frequently she spoke to Captain Trevelyan concerning his “child sister,” as she playfully termed her once, exclaiming: “How beautiful if Fanny shall always be a child woman.”
“It shall be my earnest wish,” returned Guy; “I would not have her otherwise.”
A WINTER IN THE ETERNAL CITY.
Gerald Bereford was now enjoying the soft summer breezes, blue skies and golden sunshine of an Italian climate. His health seemed to improve as he neared the far-famed city—the eternal city—the gigantic monument of what has been in ages of the mighty past. Many visions arose before Lady Rosamond’s mind as she contemplated the magnificent ruins that met her at every gaze. In the company of several acquaintances they visited scenes of impressive and peculiar interest: St. Peter’s, in all its glory, rising from its piazza of stately columns and fountains, something too grand for description. This imposing specimen of classic architecture, with grandeur inconceivable, the interior, the lofty dome, called up emotions her ladyship could never forget. In the coliseum the invalid seemed to enjoy returning vigor as he looked down from the upper halls and viewed the triumphal arches of Constantine, Septimus, Severus and Titus, now crumbling into decay, the lofty corridors left to the mercy of the elements, the endless porches grass grown and unprotected from the wild beast, the mouldering parapet, taught the one inspiring theme—mortality. This ruin of ruins—what can it not recall to a vivid imagination? The thousands who lined those seats in eager gaze upon the arena with its bloody and heart-sickening conflicts, its array of blood-thirsty antagonists, its dying groans, its weltering victims. Where are they? What remains? Awful solitude, awful grandeur, awful beauty, desolation. Peace, the emblem of Christianity, now reigns in the ancient stronghold of barbaric passion, butchery and strife. Lady Rosamond had visited ruins of palaces, castles, bridges, arches, cathedrals, monuments and countless relics of the past, but none had the power to chain her thoughts as the stupendous coliseum, viewed in the solemn stillness of a moonlight night. The present was a beautiful dream. It had a softening effect upon the devoted wife, infusing peace, content, and calm repose. The solemn reminders on every side had a charm to soothe her hitherto troubled breast. Holy emotions were nurtured within the heart where once reposed unresisting conflicts of rebellious strife and discontent.