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A Table Book of Literature and Art.
AUTHOR OF HEARTS AND HOMES; OR, SOCIAL DISTINCTION," ETC., ETC.
EMBELLISHED WITH HIGHLY FINISHED ENGRAVINGS ON STEEL, FROM
THE HISTORY OF A HUMAN HEART.
Ir was a very natural and reasonable thing that Ella More and Mr. Jocelyne should return together from their visit to the poor woman's cottage. It was very natural too, and equally reasonable, that, in pursuing their way along the cliff, the gentleman should offer the lady the support of his arm, and that the support so kindly offered should neither be refused at the moment, nor relinquished, even when the safety of the path rendered it no longer necessary.
We will not say that Ella looked about her with a triumphant glance as she approached the precincts of the town of C under this honourable, and perhaps envied, escort. Those who noticed her that day thought her appearance indicated unusual diffidence and embarrassment, as if she felt herself "out of her true position," they said. But certainly there was, from some cause or other, a more than common glow upon her cheeks, and a something in her eyes which made her almost afraid of looking up, lest she should be detected in the act of looking pleased.
It was a clear bright winter day, and many loiterers passed the two strangely-met companions on their way. Amongst these was Mrs. Lorrimer, whose significant expression of countenance made Ella blush more deeply than before. Soon afterwards came two other figures, equally well known, and equally expressive in their looks and gestures. Of this, however, Ella was unable to speak with certainty, for she could not look them full in the face, though she wished to do so, and felt in reality more glad to meet them than she would have been to meet any other persons in the world. She had
expected that her companion would stop to converse with these ladies, who were no other than Miss Cawthorne and Miss Mason; but he passed them by, like the rest, with a slight
good morning," and all the while maintained the thread of his conversation unbroken. It was on a very grave and solemn subject, for to him it was impossible to contemplate sickness, suffering, or the near prospect of death, under any circumstances, without feelings of deep melancholy; and thus the different parties to whom he slightly bowed in passing seemed to make no more impression upon his mind than the shadow of the white sea-gull flitting over the ocean wave.
How different was the expression of Mr. Jocelyne's countenance from that of the bright glowing conscious-looking face beside him! How different, too, the state of feeling which gave character to both! In one there was a dancing, fluttering, almost fearful joy, made up of many and various emotions, amongst which gratified vanity constituted more than half. In the other there was a deep earnestness, blended with compassion, which gave a tone of more than common pathos to all his solemn words, falling, as they did, like music on an ear scarcely at the moment conscious of any meaning they conveyed, beyond a vague impression of their harmony and tenderness-beyond the proud thought that, deep and solemn as they were, they still related to herself.
Ella could scarcely have deceived her own heart so far as to imagine she was reaping any spiritual advantage from what was said to her that morning, more especially at the moment when the two figures already alluded to passed by; nor yet when her companion stopped suddenly at the end of the terrace leading to her mother's house, and, asking if she was tired, proposed that their walk should be extended to the beach; "for why," said he," when we meet so seldom, and the day is so fine, should we not make the most we can of this wintry sunshine?"
"It is for you I ought to hesitate," said Ella; "my strength is equal to walking almost any distance."
"You have excellent health, I think," said Mr. Jocelyne.