The banner of the South. (Augusta, Ga.) 1868-1870, March 21, 1868, Page 2, Image 2

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page.

2 gether with Mr. Rosman and Henry, for whom they had sent. Madame Charlotte and Louise were not long in making their appodrance, and when they were all bled Mr. Rosman turned to the two young men and said, smiling : “ No one here is ignorant ot the business v. hieh brought you toKayaersburg, gentle men, for tny sister-in-law, Madam© Char lotte Revel, "and her niece, Louise Armand, my ward, have come, like yourselves, to be present at the reading of the will of their brother and tmcle, Doctor Ilarver.” jjoti: of the young gentlemen bowed to Madam Charlotte aud Mademoiselle Louise, and they returned the salute. “I thought/’ continued Mr. Rosman, *• that the reading of the Doctor’s final wishes might take place at my house, since chance has brought here all the interested parties.” * . Henry replied by a gesture of assent. All seated themselves, and the notary was about to break the seal of the will, when lie paused. “This will is of a very old date." said he. “and iti the last months of his life Doctor Harver several times told me of his intention to destroy it, so that each of the heirs might inherit the portion assigned him by the law. I can only attribute liis failure to do so to bis sudden death. J make this declaration to satisfy my own oonseknee; now ( ask all those interested if they will not fulfill the Doctor's inten tion, and with one accord, destroy this will before any one of them knows whether it w ill disinherit or enrich him.” This unexpected proposition was fol lowed by a pause of several moments. Mulzen was the first to speak. “ For my part,” said he, modestly, “ having no particular cl im on the bounty of my deceased uncle, I cannot regard as a sacrifice the acceptance of an equal share, and 1 willingly accede to it.” “There shall bo no difficulty as far as I am concerned,” continued Madam Char lotte. “And 1 consent in the name of my ward,” added Mr. Rosman. “ Then,” said the notary, ‘‘ it only re mains for this gentleman,” and he turned to Henry, who showed some embarrass ment. “Like my consin,” said he, “I have no reason to hope tor a testamentary disposition which will benefit me, but on that very account I ought to bo more care ful. Whatever may have been the inten tions of the Doctor, his will alone can now bo trusted to explain them; to destroy un read this record of them would be to attack at the same time the right, of the testator and that of the unknown legatee.” “Bay no more,” interrupted the notary. “ Nothing but perfect unanimity could have justified my proposition; catch one for himself, as Mr. Fortin demands ; and now listen if you please.” With these words he tore open the en velope, unfolded tho will and read as follows: “ Os the four heirs who can lay claim to my succession, I know only two, my sister Charlotte Revel, and my niece, Louise Ar mand; but these two have long 3iad but one interest as they have but one heart, and in reality are but one single person ; on this side then [ have actually only Louise for my heiress. My tirst intention was to leave her all that 1 possess: but among my nephews may he found one equally of my interest ; it only remains to discover him. Not being able to do so myself, aim knowing the intelligence and tact of my niece, I trust entirely to hor judgment, and declare for my universal legatee that one of the two cousins whom she shall choose for her husband. “ Harveb.” After fhi- reading there was a long si lence. The young men appeared < mbar rassed, and Louise, confused and blushing, stood witii her eyes cast down. ‘‘ Heaven help ns! the Doctor has given my niece a difficult task,” cried Madam Charlotte. “ Los. - ’ so than you think, sister." said Mr Hosn;,in, smiling. “I have long known llarver's will, and in consequence I have taken pains to inform myself thoroughly. All that 1 have learned has convinced mo that whatever may be Louise’s choice, she will have nothing to fear.” “ Then let mademoiselle decide,” said the notary, laughing. “Since there is every security, it will only beau affair of inspiration.” “ I leavo everything to my aunt,” mur mured the young girl, throwing herself in the arms of Madame Charlotte. “To me?” cried she; “but it is very embarrassing, my love, and indeed—l do not know —’ As she spoke these words, hesitatingly, her eyes rested on Mulzeu; Henry per ceived it. “All, Madame! your choice is already made,” said he quickly, “and whatever regrets it in;c cause me, I am forced to approve it. Mademoiselle,” he added, taking Joseph’s hand and leading b in to the g rl, “ your aunt has seen and judged wisely. My cousin is worthier than I.” •• Wmr behaviour p- oves the contrary,” said Madame Charlotte, softening, “ but we already know Mr. Mulzeu slightly, and then—well, you deserve to know the whole truth.” I ell .o, ted me," interrupted Fortin “ Wei . Lis motto reassures me, while yours rm.kes me fear. He promises indul gence; you justice. Ah! mv dear sir, justice 5 L T ht do for angels, but men must have charity.” “ Perhaos you are right, Madame,” said Henry thoughtfully. “Ye-, since yester day everything seems to have combined to give me a lesson. My strict defen eof my rigid has always done me harm, while my cousin's benevolence always led to his good. Yes, Joseph’s motto is better than mine, for it is nearer the law of God. Christ did not say : 4 Let each one hove his right / ‘ but instead : “ Lore your neighbor ns you rsclf, l)o un to others icha tyo u icon Id hate others do unto you." THE ROWER* THE BIRD, Never wore two sisters more unlike, and yet more fondly attached to each other, than Orsala and Francesca, the daughters of Guglielmo, a painter of emi nence, whose genius they inherited. He is chiefly celebrated for his Madonnas, which breathe the true spirit of the Ro man and Florentine schools. The sisters, while vet very voting, took to fresco painting, a practice hitherto unknown to female hands, in which they greatly ex celled ; but such was the similarity of their execution, bo tty in this and all other branches of art, that, to avoid confusion, Orsala was wont to mark her performance witli a flower, while the younger distin guished hers by a bird, those symbols passing, in time, into pet, household names, so that Guglielmo often called them, in playful sport, Lis Flower and his Bird. Orsala was beautiful as a flower, and almost as fragile ; often drooping over her high tasks, but never discouraged or weary in mind—it was the body only that suffered. She was ambitious and enthu siastic, habitually serious and thoughtful, but not gloomy, and kind and affectionate in her domestic relations. Francesca, bird-like, sang at her easel, or as sht? flitted about the house. If not quite so beautiful as her elder sister, she was more lovable, and certainly more gifted. Her genius was like a glad in spiration—a flash of sunshine, that came almost without the seeking, and made bright whatever she attempted; but she was not industrious. And tho patient, persevering Orsala, by dint of unremitting toil and study, kept so close upon her track that, as wo have said, there was no telling tbeir work apart. Both ha I their dreams—what young girl has not ? Orsala would be great; Francesca yearned to bo loved! The one panted already for the world's plaudits! the other asked no higher meed than her father's approving smile, or the whispered praises of their kinsman—Lorenzo Mala notti. At the period our story commences, Lorenzo was staying* at Moncalvo, on a visit. He had originally come for & few days only ; but weeks passed away, and still he lingered. Kind, merry-hearted, and as generous as he was wealthy, he had become a universal favorite, more espe cially with the sisters; and his time was mostly spent in the pleasant studio of Guglielmo and his gifted daughters, lie was evidently struck with the faultless symmetry of Ursula's tall, noble figure, as she bent over her employment; or the radiant beauty of her pale, classical fea tures. Nor was the girl wholly insensible to his silent homage; although site cer tainly thought a great deal more of what she was about, and tin* absolute necessity of finishing her allotted portion of the cartoon before the materials of which it was composed should become dry and unfit for use, and so the harmony of color he destroyed throughout the whole picture— a necessity which Lorenzo, who was no painter, could never be brought to com prehend. Francesca laughed, and sang, and talked to him just as if he had been her brother; consulting his taste oftentimes, when she knew her own to be the best. A word of praise from him never failed to make her gay and happy ail the day afterward, and she even dreamt about it at night. She thought it only natural that he should ad mire Orsala the most. Occasionally, how ever, Francesca, as she marked Lorenzo’s earnest and devoted manner towards her sister, would stop singing, and sigh, and “wish that heaven had made her such a lover!" and then a moment afterward her merry voice was again heard : ‘Time enough, Francesca! ’ Guglielmo was well content that Lorenzo Malanotti should marry one of his daugh ters, and cared but little which. Perhaps the ill nights and pursuits of the ambitious and enthusiastic Ursula were most in unison with his own. But then, what should he do without his little laughter loving Francesca—his Li ret ? About the time of which we write there was a prize offered by the principal nobility and lovers of art in the neighbor ing towns of Casale for an altar-piece for .the Church of the Dominicans. Guglielmo having already too much employment upon his hands to care about working lor mere competition, declined entering the lists ; but his daughters, young as they were, eagerly availed themselves of this glorious opportunity of extending still further the well-established fame of the Guglielmo family. Already, in anticipa tion, did the ambitious and aspiring Orsala bear away the prize from all competitors ; while Francesca, less sanguine, and really caring much less about the result, except that her dear father w ould be so pleased if either of thorn should chance to win, sat calmly down to the contemplation of her task. Orsala's very impatience defeated its own object. All day long she remained apart, musing over that picture which was to produce such glorious results, and scarcely closed her eyes at night for think ing of it; until at length she fell ill, and was fit for nothing. Francesca was a kind and judicious nurse ; she did not peremp torily forbid Orsala saying a single word about her picture until she was quite well, for in that case she never would have been ; but encouraged her rather to talk oa tho subject nearest her heart, and then managed to throw in a thousand little hints and suggestions, of which she took no merit to herself; so that by the time Orsala was able to put them into execu tion, the whole design of the projected work, even to the minutest details, stood out palpably before her—and a beautiful conception it was! “Oh, if l have hut strength to realize it!” exclaimed the enthusiastic artist. Francesca’s soothing voice and fond caresses calmed her excited spirit; and from that hour she slowly recovered, but so slowly that it appeared almost impossi ble for the picture to be completed withiu the allotted time. “For my part,” said Lcremo who still lingered with them, but had absolutely limited his stay until the first adjudgment of the prize, *T wish the whole affair had never been thought of! Itonlv makes you ill. Orsala!” " “What of that ?” replied the girl, raising her beautiful eyes dreamily to his. “What are a few weeks, or even years, of bodily suffering in comparison with so great a triumph ? Those who fear thorns must not expect to gather roses!” “But there are roses without thorns,” said Francesca gently. •‘And without laurel !” “But sweet, nevertheless, dear Orsala.” “Yes; only they die so soon! The laurel for me, sister Francesca, although it should only bloom over my grave !” Guglielmo gazed proudly upon his child, and his eyes filled with unshed tears, while Francesca looked at Lorenzo with a sweet confidence, as though sue would fain make him a sharer both in her admiration and her fears for this clear sister. Although better, Orsala was very far from being competent to the task which she had assigned herself-—the working out of her own beautiful ideal! Her hand trembled ; her strokes wanted power and decision ; the whole sketch was teeble, and she felt it to be so Guglielmo shook his head ; he was afraid it would not do. Lorenzo would have praised it had it been ten times as bad ; partly because, as we have said, he was but an indifferent judge in such matters, but principally for the sake of the artist. Francesca, as usual, sided with the latter; protesting that it was the light in which it stood, and persuaded Orsala to wait at least until the morning before she destroyed it. And then, with fond and soothing words, led her gently to her own apartment where she remained with her until she was asleep, That evening Guglielmo and his young kinsman sat alone in their usual cheerful little saloon, for Francesca had also plead ed a headache, and did not appear again. It was the first time that Lorenzo had ever found the hours hang heavily since his ar rival at Moncalvo. Orsala awoke early on the following morning, much refreshed, but sad and dispirited, and went instantly, with a kind of desperate resolution, to the studio where her father and sister were already at their ta^k. ‘‘Francesca was right, dear child !’’ said Guglielmo, as he quitted his painting, and came eagerly forward to meet her: “it must have been the light in which it stood. Your design is really beautiful !” Orsala shook her head sadlv as she drew back the curtain ; but. was immedi ately struck by the exceeding grace and power of her own performance. “Yes, it will do, said she ; and a proud, exulting smile played over her paie tea times. “Did I not tell you so ?” exclaimed the no less happy Francesca. • “It is all like a dream, ’ said Orsala, •Why, l do not even remember drawing that exquisite profile.” “I do not think you quite know what ,you were doing at the lust,’ replied her sister affectionately “But we must not lot vou sit so long to-day—must we, Lorenzo V' Her kinsman made no answer ; ho did not evtm hear the question, but continued standing before the unfinished sketch, lost in thought. When lie spoke again, it was to notice how pale Francesca was looking. “I have been several times about to make the same observation,” said Gugli elnio. Come and tell me what ails you, my bird!” “Nothing, indeed, papa.” “Perhaps you did 'not rest well last night ?’-* whispered Malanotti, catching her hand as she attempted to pass him. ‘ Not very. You .must remember my telling you that I had the headache ;” and Francesca cast down her eyes, and colored deeply beneath his earnest gaze. Lorenzo released her in silence, but continued unusually grave and thoughtful during the remainder of the day. Inspired by tho beauty of her own conception, Orsala worked on until she could jio longer stand to her easel, and was again carried to bed, and watched and tended by her affectionate sister. “This will never do,” said Guglielmo, when Francesca returned to them at length ; “she had best give it up at once.” “No, m>, dear father ; Orsala has set her heart upon this prize, the disappoint ment would kill her. Besides, she will get better again ; and there is time yet.” Lorenzo said nothing ; he was think ing at that moment, as his eyes rested on her beaming countenance, that, after all, Francesca was quite as beautiful as her sister, only in a different style. And he was not sure whether he did not prefer her simple loveliness of the two. Orsala continued weak and ailing ; ho that she could only paint a few hours in each day, and yet the picture grew in beauty, and was rapidly approaching its completion. Francesca worked hard also, but not with her usual success ; perhaps because she was far from well For although she never complained, her large dark eyes grew heavy, and her cheeks pale and worn. No brother could have been kinder than Lorenzo was to her. Poor Francesca thought she could guess why ; but was grateful, neverthe less. Anyhow, his affectionate sympathy made her very glad and happy. The pictures were nearly finished. Orsala worked on with a flushed cheek and glittering oy''; the beauty of her own performance infusing* into her, as it were, anew life. “Do you believe in spirits?” asked she one day, after a long pause. “Li good spirits, most undoubtedly,” replied Malanotti, who was leaning idly on the back of Francesca’s chair. “[ have often thought.” continued the girl a little wildly, “thist some such must have helped me to the completion of iny task. Many a time have I retired to rest, weary and dispirited with my own work, but in the morning it was ever bright and beautiful!” “For the very reason you have stated,” said her father, “that you were ill and weary, and so saw the same things through a different medium.” “Well, it might have been thus: but it seemed strange oftentimes. And so you are a believer in spirits, Lorenzo ?” “I believe,” replied Malanotti, earnest ly. “that angels walk the earth in human form, and dwell among us, and we know them not.” Francesca glanced toward the pale, radiant face and graceful form of her beautiful Aster, and smiled softly ; but Lorenzo's eyes were fixed upon her only. While Orsala, taking the compliment as a matter of course, went quietly on with her painting. The pictures wore finished at length. Guglielmo was proud of his eldest daugh ter; but he pitied the younger. Orsala read her triumph in his first glance. Francesca had forgotten herself. She thought only of her father and sister. And yet she could not help feeling a little sorry when she saw him turn away from her picture without a word, and that even Orsala was silent; but it could not be helped. “X know what you are thinking of, papa,” said Francesca, gently—“that I have been very idle and negligent; is it not so? ’ “Why, truly, my bird ! I fear you stand but a poor chance of gaining the prize this time.” “Never mind, if Orsala gets it.” “And yet, with your genius, what might you not have achieved ! But 1 am forgetting how ill vou have been, poor child!” [ “Not so often, or so serious!}', as Orsala,” observed Malanotti. “But then, j to be sure, Francesca had no good ang-ds ! to work for her !” i “Nay, Lorenzo, I must not have even ! you taking part against me!” exclaimed | the girl, wiih an earnest and pleading i glance. “I do not care the least in the i world about the prize, so long as my dear I father is not angry with me.” “No, no, my bird! not angry, only a ■ little vexed, for your own sake. You I could not both win.” ! “That was what I thought!” said Fran ! cesca ; and then she paused abruptly, 1 while a burning flush spread over neck 1 and brow. But those few words had afforded Guglielmo a faint glimpse of the real truth. Intent on the contemplation of her picture, Orsala hoard nothing of passing around her. Her woman’s nature struggled vainly against the prevailing selfishness of an all-absorbing ambition; and therein lies the danger—the not alto gether fabled poison of the laurel when unmingled with, unblest by, the sweet home-flower of domestic affection. During the interval that necessarily elapsed between the sending in of the pictures and the final adjudgment of the prize, Orsala was restless and impatient, but not desponding ; for she could not but be conscious of the rare excellence of her own performance. Francesca, rapidly recovering her health and spirits, returned to her ordinary tasks with renewed cheer fulness, and once more sang as she work ed Again the sisters laughingly com pared their fresco-painting, plating, upon each that distinctive symbol, without which it was impossible to tell one from the other. Orsala found leisure to wonder at Francesca's first failure, and to pity her for it with many kind, soothing carcs'-es ; but this time Guglielmo never said a word, and yet he was far from guessing the whole truth ; imagining only that she had purposely taken less pain than usual, in order that she might not rival her sister in the possession of a prize upon which, from the very beginning, she had set her heart. Malanotti, was, however, more keen-sighted; and poor Francesca often blushed and trembled under kis scrutiny, or at the hints bo threw out, but trusted nevertheless to his love fbr Orsala to make him keep her secret. It was a proud and happy day for Gugli elmo and his children when the prizes were at length awarded, and Orsala unanimously declared to be vietoross over all her competitors. How beautiful she looked; her eyes flashing her cheeks burning, and her heart throbbing with the anticipation of that future fame, of which the present triumph was but an earnest and a prophecy ; while Francesca, equally glad and joyous (and, as Mala notti thought within himself, and that not for the first time, equally beautiful), hung about her sister’s neck, and laughed and wept by turns. She kissed both Orsala and her father in the wild exuberance of her delight, and seemed very near doing the same by Lorenzo ; but fortunately or rather unfortunately, according to his idea—recollected herself in time ; and he was forced to be content with the small white hand, so frankly extended as if to demand his glad sympathy in the general happiness. There was a festival that night at Mon calvo, in honor of Ursa la’s triumph, who moved among her guests like a queen—so at least thought Guglielmo and his daugh ter ; and the hitter wanted Malauotti to say the same, but he would not, and yet she never doubted that it was in his heart, and only laughed and shook her head at his silence. “You do not believe me ?” said Lo renzo ?” “Why, net exactly. But you need not look so grave about it.” “Let us go into the open air, Francesca,’’ said her companion, “it is too warm here.” “With all my heart," replied the maiden, passing her arm carelessly through his. And then pausing on a sudden, she added quickly—‘But you are ill, renzo!” “No. it is nothing. I want to talk to you very seriously, Francesca ” ‘Ah, 1 know what is coming,” thought his companion, as they passed into the quiet moonlight. But after a pause, and observing that he still continued silent, she said, timidly—“ Lorenzo, you are not angry with me for what I have done ? You will not betray me to my father, or Orsala, who is now so glad arid happy ! for her sake, you will not?” “Say rather, for your own, dearest ? That were the more powerful plea.” “Well, then, for my sake, Lorenzo!’’ replied Francesca, coaxingly. But her playful gaze sank before his: and a burning blush spread over neck and brow. She would have fled fr >m him, but Malanotti held her hands firmly in both of his, while he poured forth into her wondering, and yet joy ul heart, the long concealed affection of his own. lie con fessed to having been struck, just at bv Orsula’s rare beauty ; and how soon the impression had passed away to be succeeded by one, which, in the phrase of all true lovers, “death could only educe! while bke all true women, 1' raucesca be lieved him with a ready faith. He told her how he had watched her steal from her chamber at the dead of night, when the weary Orsala slept at length, and take her place until dawn, carefully erasing the feeble touches of a weak and unsteady h an d, and working in bright, warm tints, so exquisitely blended with the original • hat it was no wonder the artist should