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along the course of the stream. His pace was still slow and uncertain, for the object of his pursuit having escaped him for the present, haste was just as likely to thwart his wishes as to forward their completion. From the train of thought which he had been pursuing, his mind reverted to the mysterious stranger from whom he had so lately parted. He felt much curiosity to know who this person could be, and wondered that he had never seen or heard of him before. His rustic garb so plain and homely, his bearing and appearance so noble and stately, the melancholy of his countenance, his penetrating glance, his impressive speech, were all vividly stamped upon the young man's memory; and yet, though he could not conceal from himself the consciousness of the truth and real friendliness of the stranger's warning, he still looked upon him as an enemy, as one who had stepped between him and the realisation of his wishes, and had forced upon him the consideration of stern and unpalatable truths. Then his busy ingenuity began to find reasons and arguments for his neglect of the stranger's admonitions.

Why,” said he am I to be deterred from pursuing the course which Fortune herself has pointed out to me on account of the words of this dreamer, this mysterious intruder, who comes none knows whence, and vanishes none knows whither? And wherein consists the wisdom of the counsels which he delivers with such oracular certainty ? Is it a crime or a folly to admire and love the most exquisite beauty that the imagination can conceive, or do the gods sport with us by presenting such forms to our eyes only for the purpose of leading us into hopeless misery and ruin? And what are the evils which are so sure to attend this pursuit? Why should I suppose that she will endeavour to lead me from the path of duty and of honour? Are beauty and virtue incompatible? She will make me a slave and reward me with scorn and disdain! Ah! what slavery so sweet as the service of such loveliness? What spell so tolerable as the enchantment of such fascinations ? And if my devotion should prove vain, and contempt and scorn be the only return for my admiration and love, then what fate so desirable as a grave on some well fought battle-field ? But never will I be turned from the pursuit of such a prize by mysterious warnings and chimerical fears."

His musings were interrupted by the discovery that he was ascending a hill, and turning his attention to the objects around him he found that it had become necessary to decide whither and with what purpose he was going. At the point at which he had now arrived, the valley had become considerably narrower, and its wooded sides much more steep and precipitous. Philokalos saw that he was approaching the head of the valley where the spring arose from which the stream was supplied, along whose margin he had wandered. It was obvious that from where he now was there was no egress, except by either retracing his steps or climbing the hill by which the valley's head was shut in. Here, therefore, Philokalos paused, and began to consider what course he should take. He felt that the idea of retracing his steps was repugnant to his present state of mind, and a vague notion that his day's adventures were as yet only begun, induced him to find his way out of the valley by ascending the hill before him. He was not long in arriving at the top, and when there, he found that the country which lay before him was of a different kind from that which he had hitherto been traversing. Instead of being fertile and thickly wooded, it was now more barren and rocky. The trees were smaller, and grew only in scattered and isolated spots, and the vegetation generally was more scanty and stunted. These characters increased towards the sea shore, which appeared to be not far distant. The distant sea-view was visible from the spot where Philokalos now stood, but intervening cliffs shut out from his sight all the nearer portions. Philokalos now felt somewhat embarrassed, for having eaten nothing that morning the prospect before him appeared rather barren and unpromising. He saw nowhere any trace of a human habitation, and he began to think, that after all, it would become necessary for him to return upon his footsteps, by doing which he would be sure at all events of meeting with the same sort of refreshment which had served him on the preceding night. Before adopting this course, however, he turned his steps towards a small eminence near him, from which he thought he might obtain a slightly more extensive view. He ascended it and began to look round, but in the act of turning, his eyes fell upon an object which instantly arrested him in an attitude as fixed and motionless as stone.

Upon the eminence which he had just ascended and within a few yards of the spot where he was standing, there stood the very figure which he had that morning followed, and the sight of which had caused such commotion and conflict in his breast. There she stood in all the brilliance of her superb beauty, the dark folds of her magnificent hair hanging around her shoulders, from which her scarf floated its graceful drapery. She was leaning against a tree, and upon the scanty grass rested that small white foot, whose size and form Philokalos had so well studied by means of the impression it had left upon the margin of the stream. 'She appeared to be occupied in gazing down the valley from which he had just ascended, and to be totally unconscious of the presence

of any one near her. And now that Philokalos found himself in the presence of the object of his earnest pursuit, now that his eyes rested upon the form which appeared to him to be the sole object in nature worth gazing upon, now that the interview for which he would have defied a thousand dangers, was within his power, he felt unable to. move, to speak, almost to think, but remained as fixed as marble, all his powers apparently engaged in the occupation of gazing at the beautiful vision before him. At length she suddenly turned her head and saw him. Instantly, as some beautiful, wild animal which has been suddenly disturbed by the unheeded approach of a strange footstep, she started, and with head thrown back, and dilated nostril, and flashing eye, she seemed about to fly; but in a moment she appeared to have altered her intention, and whether discerning that no violence was to be apprehended from one who seemed himself so overcome with wonder and admiration, or confident in her own address and swiftness, she stood still and watched the intruder with her keen and lustrous black eyes.

It was only by a strong effort that Pbilokalos was able to shake off the strange feeling of fear which hindered him from addressing the wild and mysterious being who stood before him, but having succeeded in rousing himself from his state of embarrassment and surprise, he approached the maiden, and with something of the grace and dignity in his manner which were natural to him, said

“ Will the fairest of all maidens who have ever trod the soil of earth pardon the intrusion of one who deems that a life of toil and hardships might be well rewarded and overpaid by the sight of so much beauty "

She made no reply for a moment, but continued gazing upon him,

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and then said, rather as if in continuation of her own thoughts than in reply to his words

I thought that neither the winged bird nor the gliding lizard could elude the eye and ear of Ægle.” Then, in a half taunting tone of voice, she continued—“I pray you, are you of the race of men, or rather some deity of the woods, who thus comes with so noiseless a footstep to disturb the solitude of a poor rustic maiden ?"

“ Beautiful Ægle, if indeed you are she of whom I have heard so much,” replied the young chief, “I must ever thank the noiseless footstep of which you speak, since it has procured for me the sight of so much loveliness. But know that I am no deity, but am, like yourself, of the race of men, and capable of rendering all the homage which is due to your supreme beauty."

" Like myself!” said she, and laughed in scorn. “If the water of the sea runs in your veins, and the blast of the North is in your breath, you may claim fellowship with me. I know little of kindred, save that

I of wind and wave, crag and cliff.”

“If the healthful sea breezes of this island have given or heightened the beauty which you possess," returned Philokalos, " if they have been

" “ to you as companions and friends upon this bleak coast, they have not deprived you of your humanity. This rocky shore which has been the nurse of your loveliness, has been almost its only witness. Here you can have met with none capable of comprehending or worthy to look upon your peerless beauty. Listen now to one who is fascinated by your charms, and whose soul is able to mate and sympathize with your own.”

Again she laughed scornfully. “Aye,” said she, “I am to listen to you because you are of a noble house and the son of a chief. The rustics whom I have yet seen on this island, labour with the ox and the ass, and when they fight, they fight with sticks and stones; but Ægle must listen to one who will carry a shield and spear, and wield them perhaps on the plains of Troy."

Philokalos was stung by the last words, and the mocking tone in which they were uttered. In an instant there came crowding upon his recollection all the mental struggles which he had gone through, and the warnings of the stranger concerning the evil influence which this strange beauty would exert upon his destinies. He recollected them, and began to feel their truth, but the infatuation which urged him to neglect them then was far stronger now, and in the presence of the enchantress herself all the arguments of reason and wisdom were but dust in the balance. He answered Ægle's last remark by saying:

“I will go to the plains of Troy, oh, queen of all beauty! and I will bring back thence and lay at your feet spoils that shall prove to you how many dangers I have dared and endured for your sake.".

" And what care I," returned she, “ for the spoils of battle? Why must I value a battered helmet, a broken shield, or a pointless sword? I care not for the quarrels of men, or the causes for which they fight."

“It cannot be,” exclaimed Philokalos, " that the heart of woman can be insensible to the dangers and achievements of heroes—dangers and achievements too which are often undertaken for the sake of her beauty and to earn her gratitude. This very Trojan war of which you speak has been carried on now for nearly ten years on behalf of the most peerless beauty whom the world has yet seen; so at least fame reports, and so I have always believed until this morning fevealed to me charms which no Helen can ever hope to rival."

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“Let men deceive whom they can by such pretensions,” said Ægle, " and let women, if they will be fooled by them; let them believe that when men kill each other on the battle-field it is all for their sakes, and let them continue to be the puppets which men set up to excuse their own turbulence and thirst for blood and plunder. But I love the music of winds and waves better than the hollow flattery of man. Go then, sir hero, and fight for the fair Helen, and leave Ægle to the free wild breezes of this rugged shore."

“Oh, sovereign beauty,” exclaimed the young man passionately, "your will shall be my law, and your word the arbiter of

my

destinies. Speak, and I will seek the trophies of renown on the field of battle, or if you will it, I will cast away the arms of a hero and live a life of peaceful seclusion, if only the bright light of those eyes may be my reward.”

“What?” said Ægle, “Will the son of Crantor forego the fame and glory of a hero ; will he love beauty better than renown, and consent to pass his life in inglorious ease ?"

“Enchantress!” he replied, “ What more excellent object of worship can earth afford than such incomparable beauty ? My soul is enslaved to your charms, my life itself is at your disposal. There is nothing you can enjoin me that I will not perform.”

“If,” said Ægle, speaking with slow and measured words, and looking him full in the face, “if the son of Crantor speaks sincerely, let him take that sword from his side, and break it upon this rock. The spear in his hand will be sufficient for the wild animals of this forest.”

Philokalos started and turned pale, as though an arrow had pierced him. To what point of degradation and ruin had he now arrived? He had abandoned himself without reserve to the fascinations of this beautiful temptress, and her first requirement was that he should break and cast from him his father's sword, that relic of the honour and dignity of his house around which so many of his early associations were clustered -associations which had exercised such an influence in the formation of his own character. He felt that Ægle had already established such a supremacy over him as would allow him to refuse nothing that she might enjoin, but at the same time he was far from being insensible to the indelible disgrace which would be the consequence of his yielding to her wishes in this particular. He saw the look of mocking expectation with which she awaited his reply, and in a confused and hesitating manner he answered :

" Alas! beautiful Ægle, you know not what you ask. I will break a hundred swords, and consent never to look on a field of battle, if you command it. But this sword was my father's, and is one of the most precious and valued trophies of our house, and—”

“And therefore,” broke in Ægle, “its presence would be a constant reproach to the degenerate son who had refused to wield it. Break it, therefore, if your intentions are sincere. By so doing you will not imperil your father's fame, but you will remove from yourself an unpleasant memory.

“I will hang this sword again,” said he,“ on its accustomed place in our hall, and I will now swear to you if you choose, by whatever oath can most bind a man, to renounce for your sake the use of arms. Will not this content you

?" “I thought I had estimated aright the sincerity of men,” returned

she with cold sarcasm. “Abundant protestations, and the first request denied. Ægle will return to the wild waves who woo her with no deceitful flattery. Let the son of Crantor wield his sword on the plains of Troy." And she turned as if going. “Stay!" exclaimed Philokalos," "stay, oh cruel beauty. I refuse, I

” deny you nothing. The Gods know my sincerity, but I pray you let me prove it in some other way, and do not ask me to dishonour myself and my family by breaking the sword of my father."

“If you are indeed sincere in renouncing your father's career, and yet cannot persuade yourself to destroy this memorial of it, give me the sword, and I will keep it until you shall ask it back, as I doubt not you will soon do, for I much suspect your present fancy to be as short-lived as it is sudden."

“Ah! inexorable enchantress,” replied he with a sigh. “Would that my love might be as prosperous as enduring. I can refuse no command of yours. Take the sword of my father ; take the ambition, the hopes, the honour of Philokalos ; take every thing, but let my devotion claim & smile for its reward.”

He unbuckled the sword, and presented it to her, and, as he did so, a chilliness came over his heart, for he felt that he was giving up every thing that to his unclouded sight had made life worth having, and was bringing disgrace upon himself and the traditions of his house.

Ægle took the sword in her hand, and looked at it from heel to point ; then suddenly stretching her white arm high above her head, she waved the sword in the air, and uttered a low, but clear and ringing laugh, whose tones seemed to express bitter and triumphant scorn.

" And this” she said, " is the faith and integrity of man! Thus easily is he turned from his career! Oh! this sword shall be to me a lasting proof of the insincerity of men; a new weapon to repel all vain and deceitful wooers. Sir hero, if you need your sword, you may chance to meet with Ægle among some of these rocks and crags.”

She spoke the last words in departing, and had scarcely concluded them before the bushes hid her from his sight.

CHAPTER VIII.

Full jolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

SPENSER

The young chief made no attempt to follow the path of the malicious enchantress in the wood. He remained motionless, and apparently stunned or stupefied. The mocking sound of that taunting laugh still rang in his ears, and its scornful tones seemed to him like a note of triumph sounded over the ruin of his own name, honour, and reputation. He felt that he was now beginning to taste the bitter consequences of that course which he had embraced with precipitate recklessness, and against which the stranger had warned him so emphatically. What had he done, and what was to be the consequence of his blind rashness? He had given up the sword of his father, that sword which was such a priceless memorial of the glories of his house, which he should have

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