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a tyrant or a slave ; oppressing the weak submitting to the strong. Too gentle for contention, subdued, and faint, if not broken-hearted, Helen yielded implicit obedience to his behests. It might easily be seen that the yoke was becoining exceedingly heavy ; her actions, words and very looks, were under control. To many persons, with whom she had been on friendly terms, she was not permitted to speak; her style of dress was entirely changed; her female acquaintance slighted or wholly abandoned ; and not even with married men was she allowed to converse with her former unreserve.
Though hating me with a most cordial hatred, Drax was either afraid or ashamed to take any very strong measures for my exclusion. I would not perceive his disinclination to permit my approaches, but talked with Helen as usual, and, though she sometimes cast a deprecating look at, me, my perseverance seemed to afford her satisfaction. She wanted the support of some friend against the continual encroachments of a man who endeavoured to control her thoughts. Her brother and sister espoused his cause upon all occasions, and he found in Mrs. Marsden a ready instrument for the execution of the vengeance which he dared not take hiniself. I was no longer a welcome guest at the bungalow, and the lady took every opportunity of heaping those petty mortifications on my devoted head, which the weak-minded of either sex delight in inflicting upon those who oppose them.
While Drax was exhibiting his fair fiancée in public, driving her about in his curricle, or promenading in the ball-room, where she was not permitted to quit his arm for an instant, Conway withdrew himself entirely from society. He employed his leisure in a hopeless attempt to compromise with his creditors; sold off all his furniture and effects, rode out upon a miserable little tattoo, which could not make its appearance on the high-roads, betook himself, with one table, one chair, and a charpoy, to a wretched tumble-down bungalow, and enjoyed a melancholy gratification in making himself as uncomfortable as possible. In vain I entreated him to take up his quarters in my house; he would not hear of it, but seemned rather to enjoy the expectation of getting a fever, or being starved to death. As the time' appointed for Helen's nuptials approached, he grew more reckless and desperate ; talked of going down to Calcutta, and throwing himself into the jaws of his creditors, and began to look with a gloomy sort of complacency on the prospect of spending the remainder of his days within the walls of a prison. If there be a place in the world which is still under the dominion of that true and passionate love, whose empire has been so long in a state of decay,' it is India'; there the feelings have full scope, and when the heart is once enslaved, the state of society and of the public service affords few pursuits to divert it from its object. For an attack of love or of the liver, a voyage' to Europe, or a residence in a colder clime, is the only resource, and those who are unable to fly from the scene of their wretchedness, are condemned to the endurance of hopeless torments.
The wedding-day was fixed, and as I still continued upon decent terms with all the parties, I received an invitation to attend it; a refusal would have given mortal offence, and my unhappy friend felt' exceedingly desirous that I should be present : he wanted to know how the bride looked, and how she bore the trials of the hour. The dreadful dejection of his spirits' communicated itself to mine; throughout my experience, I had never seen any man so completely overpowered by his feelings, and his distress was exaggerated by the reflection that it had been caused by his own imprudence in the thoughtless days of boy. hood. Had he not been so inextricably involved in debt, this sacrifice;-for hie
was assured that Helen had not willingly accepted his cousin,-would have been prevented, and he might now have been the happy husband of a willing bride, for she whom he loved would have been content-with competence, or even something less, since, though subalterns do marry on their pay, it would be outraging truth to aver that even upon full-batta it is quite adequate to the support of two persons.
I attired myself, or rather I suffered my old sirdar-bearer and his assistant to attire me, for the occasion, with a heavy heart. They brought out my fulldress coat from its envelopes of silver-paper, arranged my sash, buckled on my sword, and adjusted my stock, while I stood with the air of a martyr, neither sending them to the devil, as was sometimes my wont, nor otherwise betraying a symptom of impatience. The fact is, I did not care how long they were about their task; I was in no haste to go. The interest which my servants felt in this wedding was more active and very different from mine. They took care that every thing should be in readiness; the buggy and syces were at the door, and off I went, rather before than after the period of general assem. blage. When I drove into the compound of the church-bungalow,-- which, if the reader should be acquainted with Cawnpore, he knows is rather prettily situated, under some fine trees, on the brow of a gentle elevation,- I saw. a few carriages in waiting, but I was quite in time to hand out Mrs. Brudenell, who, as if determined to eclipse the bride, had arrayed herself in a lace pelisse, lined with white gros de Naples, looking perfectly resplendent by the side of an old yellow gauze, which, having been white at the time of the wearer's arrival in India,, was thought very proper for such an affair, and had done duty at weddings for the last ten years, freshened up occasionally by the addition of French-white ribbons. The general, attended by his personal staff, now arrived; then another importation of ladies, and presently afterwards the bride. She came in a close carriage, lent by one of her brother-in-law's friends, and the simple elegance of her attire certainly did credit to the taste of the persons by whom it was chosen. She looked deadly pale, and, drawing a veil of blonde lace over her face, sate down upon one of the benches at some distance from the altar, apparently faint and exhausted, and unable to stand. Mrs. Marsden, with many hypocritical tears, went about amongst her friends lamenting the approaching separation from her sister, and protesting that she would not have parted with her to any body less calculated to make her happy than Mr. Lessingham. But, where's the bridegroom all this time?” exclaimed old Colonel Trigonier; what has become of him I wonder ?” We all looked about; the rest of the party had assembled, the clergyman had arrayed himself in his gown and band, but the hero of the day was still absent. A good deal of whispering took place, and a thousand conjec. tures were formed; some said that his new coat had not come up from Cal. cutta; others, that his sirdar-bearer had run off with the keys of his petarr ahs. At length his carriage, a chariot new for the occasion, was espied driving furiously along; it dashed up to the church, the door was opened in a great hurry, and out tumbled, not Drax Lessingham, but a little disreputable drunken doctor, who, scrambling himself up, said that he was that instant come from the bridegroom, who had been at the point of death. Somebody now charitably suggested that Conway had stabbed his cousin; but the doctor, muttering something incoherently about fever, jumped into the carriage again, and was driven off. Captain Marsden took the arm of the superintending surgeon, and away they both travelled in the direction of the sick man's bungalow. Mrs. Marsden appeared ready to faint, but Helen recovered surAsiat. Journ. N.S.VOL. 14. No. 53.
prisingly; she threw up her veil, held her salts to her sister'a nose, and received the condolences of her friends with great firmness. In short, she was less disturbed by the unexpected termination of the scene than any
other person; satisfied with having gained a reprieve, she seemed indifferent respecting the cause, and contented herself with saying that, as Mr. Lessingham had been in perfect health the evening before, she trusted nothing serious was to be apprehended from the sudden attack.
Reports now came flying in, that the unfortunate bridegroom was in the greatest danger; the superintending surgeon had found him in convulsions. It was thought that he had swallowed poison, either by accident or design; but, upon the examination of the servants, nothing against them could be elicited ; his usual morning beverage was produced, and Drax was the last man in the world to be suspected of laying violent hands upon himself. That he was very ill, there could be no doubt; his skin had turned perfectly green, and a damp, death-like dew stood upon his forehead. The doctor, it appeared, happened to be passing the bungalow at the time of the seizure, and to the promptitude of his aid the patient attributed his eseape from immediate death. Though, at any other time, Drax Lessingham would not have permitted such a reptile to prescribe for his cat, illness, and the dread of fatal consequences, had so completely subdued the hauteur of our superfine friend, that he now voluntarily placed himself under the care of this degenerate son of Galen. Assistant Surgeon Hoskins, in spite of his vulgar name, and his predilection for beer and brandy, was duly installed in the sick man's chamber, and Drax did not seem to place confidence in any one else. Conway Lessingham offered to be the companion and nurse of his cousin in his illness, but his services were rejected, indeed the patient seemed exceedingly disinclined to converse with any body. Marsden, who persisted in daily visits to the house, was not often admitted, and when he was allowed to approach the couch, could only say that the bridegroom elect was in a very low way, and did not appear to rally.
There was something very mysterious about this illness. Hoskins, whether in order to enhance his own credit, or for some equally potent reason, chose to be exceedingly obscure in his communications : some people went so far as to allege that the whole affair was a feint to get out of the marriage, and appearances were much in favour of this conclusion; but why he should de sire to break with a woman whom he so perseveringly sought, nobody could pretend to say. If any misconduct could have been attributed to Miss Waldburg, he needed not to have played off this farce to release himself from the engagement.' What could have happened to effect so sudden a change in his wishes it was impossible to guess; yet every day strengthened the opinion that he no longer desired to fulfil his contract. Captain Marsden found himself in an awkward position; he could not force a dying man either to fight or to marry; Drax shewed a disposition to take offence at the slightest suspicion of his integrity, and great caution was necessary to avoid affording a pretext for å quarrel with a person so willing to fancy himself insulted.
For a time, Miss Waldburg had remained in a state of seclusion ; but this was purely to oblige' her brother and sister, for she neither felt, nor affeeted to feel, ' much anxiety about the illness of her betrothed, whose conduct she considered to be of a very questionable character.' When he was pronounced to. be out of immediate danger, she saw her friends as usual, conducting herself, under these trying circumstances, with such good sense and discretion, as to. disarm the malice of all excepting the most inveterate of the scandal-mongers, who were compelled to content themselves with remarks upon her insensibility.
Drax Lessingham, still weak and debilitated, went upon the river for the sake of the air ; he had not been long absent before we were thunderstruck by the appearance, in orders, of his leave of absence to the presidency for health. He had left Cawnpore, it was now very evident, with the determination of going down to Calcutta, and the clandestine nature of his departure excited doubts even in those who, until now, had been unwilling to suspect him of acting dishonourably. Marsden was furious, and talked of following him for the purpose of calling him to account, but suffered himself very prudently to be over-ruled by his wife. The united wrath of this amiable pair was turned upon poor Helen; they imputed the lover's desertion to 'her too manifest indifference, and, forgetting the heavenly sweetness with which she bad borne hiś tyranny, accused her of being the cause of the annoyance and disgrace they had sustained.
Miss Waldburg, however, found a champion where she least expected it; our old bachelor friend, the postmaster, threw a little light upon the subject. He said that, late at night, on the eve of the day appointed for the marriage, be had forwarded a packet from England to Captain Lessingham: the contents of these letters had, in all probability, occasioned a change of measures, but it was impossible to guess what they were. Conway Lessingham had not received any intelligence whatsoever from home, and we were thus left entirely to our own conjectures. We hunted in vain through files of Calcutta newspapers for some item which could afford us a clue, and we sent to distant stations for the English periodicals, but with as little success; nothing could we find of public news, deaths, or marriages, which could in any way interest the Lessinghams. The vanity of Mrs. Brudenell placed a very romantic construction upon the whole affair. I drew from this lady a sentimental narrative, which, of course, it did not become me to dispute; she stated her firm conviction that the pursuit of Miss Waldburg, and the subsequent abandonment of Drax Lessingham's matrimonial plans, originated in a hopeless passion which the unfortunate young gentleman entertained for her. He had called at her house on the day previous to the intended wedding, and had seen her in that fatal lace pelisse, wbich she had-ordered up from Calcutta for the occasion: to endure any woman afterwards seemed an utter impossibility, and Mrs. Brudenell pitied and pardoned Helen for the beauty and accomplishments which had formerly proved so displeasing to her, in consequence of the misfortunes of which she had been the innocent cause; she hoped that the poor girl would make a tolerable match at last, and kindly promised to promote such a thing by every means in her power.
Conway Lessingham was enchanted by the fortitude with which Helen bore his cousin's desertion, a fact now rendered indisputable by the cessation of his correspondence; not a line did the late enamoured swain address to his betrothed or her relatives ; he had served long enough in India to be entitled to his furlough, and in all probability his passage to England was already taken. New hopes stimulated the late desponding lover to new efforts; he wrote to every
influential person, with whom he was at all acquainted, for their interest with the commander-in-chief to procure his nomination to a staff-appointment, and he began to shew himself again in society.
The dislike, however, which Mrs. Marsden had long entertained to the only man who was really attached to her sister, deepened into deadly hatred without the shadow of a reason; she imputed the insult she had received from Drax to the pretensions which Conway, it was well known, had once entertained, and she lost no opportunity whatsoever of shewing the extent of her aversion. Marsden supported his wife in her system of annoyance as far as he dared, and
miore than once nearly provoked my peace-loving friend to call him out. Conway was unwilling to add to Helen's disquietudes, and therefore contented himself with the defensive system ; and Marsden, whose courage was rather of an equivocal character, retreated when he found that he could not offer insult with impunity. Little Hoskins, doomed to be the messenger of horrible tidings, suddenly made his appearance by dāk at Cawnpore; he had accompanied Drax Lessingham down the river, who, having recovered surprisingly from his ness, was in the habit of amusing himself by shooting. One evening, jumping off the budgerow upon a sandbank, he suddenly disappeared, and though several of the boatmen dived after him, he never rose again; it was supposed that he had slipped into the jaws of an alligator ; but, satisfied with the fact of his death, nobody felt particularly interested about the manner of it. His friend and companion made himself master of his papers, and brought them to Cawnpore, to the heir-at-law, Conway Lessingham, who found that, by his cousin's decease, he had become possessed of property to the amount of five thousand a-year. Mr. Hoskins, deep in all Drax Lessingham's secrets, was enabled to explain the mysterious portion of his conduct; and although the part that he himself had acted in them was not particularly creditable, under the influence of lall shraub, he could not maintain the strict silence which respect for the tattered remains of his character ought to have imposed.
It appeared that, on the evening before the nuptial day, Drax, after having taken an impassioned leave of his affianced bride, found on his return home a large packet of letters, which announced his accession to a fortune, inherited in a very singular manner. The relative, by whose death he became entitled to this property, had been a very poor man, one from whom no expectations could have been entertained, but who had suddenly come into the estate in right of his wife, and dying shortly afterwards, the whole devolved upon Drax Lessingham, who was next of kin. Instantly, all the ambitious projects he had formerly cherished were revived in his breast. His affection for Miss Waldburg had always been a selfish feeling, and now, that she was no longer essential to his happiness, his only anxiety was to get rid of the engagement. However desirable it might be to have such a wife to brighten the domestic circle in India, with the new prospects opening before him, she would prove a worse than useless appendage; he might look up to a much more splendid alliance; and having determined to leave India a free man, he immediately set about the fulfilment of his wishes. Stealing away from his bungalow, without the knowledge of his servants, he surprised Mr. Hoskins with a visit, and secured bis co-operation by a bribe. This worthy gave him a dose, which would occasion the appearance of a violent attack of illness, without any danger of producing serious consequences : he was to take care to be in the way at the time of the seizure, and was accordingly at hand when the distressed servants rushed out of the bungalow in search of medical assistance for their master. He succeeded in mystifying, if he did not completely impose upon, his medical brethren; nobody ventured positively to assert that the doctor and his patient were in a league together, and Drax, up to the moment of his sinking in the quicksand, seemed in a fair way of effecting his object. The
exposure of his conduct stifled those sentiments of pity which his tragical fate would have produced. Mrs. Brudenell did not attempt to defend him against such positive proofs of delinquency; she performed a more prudent part by patronizing Conway, who found that he had a vast number of friends in the station hitherto unknown. The Marsdens made some awkward efforts at a reconciliation, but they did not succeed; and Helen's expectations, in