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Good night to the season! the dances,
Of matches for Laura and Jane,
New Monthly Mag.
EARLY in the Autumn of 18-, a party of friends determined to exchange the quiet sameness of English life, for a tour which promised both novelty and amusement. They did not leave home for the purpose of boring their acquaintances on their return with interminable stories, neither had any one of them the malicious design of publishing "An account of a tour through various countries, perpetrated by seven persons, showing how much knowledge may be gained in a given time, at so much per head." They did not even promise their correspondents to send to them sketches of the manners and customs of various nations, well knowing, that mere passing travellers who make so rash an attempt, approach the truth as nearly as did those Scythians of old, who, after a few
days' sojourn in the far north, returned home and declared that the districts which were spread forth beyond the confines of their kingdom, could neither be passed nor discerned with the eye, by reason of the feathers which were continually falling, which filled the air and obstructed the view. But they were actuated by various motives, and wisely contrived that these motives should act with peculiar force at the beautiful season when the changed colour of the leaf tells of its approaching fall; when the last wild rose yet lingers, reluctant to give way to the red hip berries; when the vagrant swallows begin to talk of exchanging our misty mornings for a brighter sky, and the little field fare, alas! how all born of earth are governed by interest,-returns from the Scottish alps to feast on our haws and blackberries.
Lady Julian, and Sir Mark Heath, were anxious to visit an old friend who had been for some years resident at Gibraltar; Captain St. Roy, her ladyship's son by a former marriage, had in one of his Mediterranean cruises, married a fair young Hydriote, who, tired of lionizing, began now to pine for fatherland. May and Violet, twins and orphans, were delighted with any scheme that promised change and excitement; May had no pet flirtation in progress, and Violet, whose very name induced romance, was very desirous of writing a diary; moreover, they were willing to follow their aunt, whom they tenderly loved,
to the mountains of the moon, had she proposed it. Harry Dormer pleaded hard for permission to join the party; he preferred a double claim; was he not a relation? Debrett was consulted, but Debrett refused to sanction the assertion; at all events, he was a ward of Sir Mark's; his father had been Sir Mark's early friend and fellow-traveller: besides, he was an artist, and lived but for the exercise of his art; how could he ever hope to emulate Fielding or Turner, if he saw nought but the trim hedges and clover fields of England? It was more indispensable for him than for any one to gaze on the marble fanes of Greece, or the purple skies of Italy, — besides, he really must go. This last clause was quite definitive with good-natured Sir Mark; so, with a few necessary admonitions, the pleader's claim was allowed. There were, also, two sweet children in the party, Lady Julian's youngest and dearest, two of the loveliest and liveliest little elves that ever danced on the greensward, or chased butterflies in a spring morning, and they, with one other individual, completed the group—One, whose own life was to her devoid of interest, because the sources of joy and grief within her heart, had long been as sealed fountains, but who could yet rejoice in the sunshine which gilded the life-stream of another-One, for whom the roses of life's wreath had too soon withered, but who yet loved to pluck away the thorns which might wound