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CONDUCTED BY E. LITTELL.
E PLURIBUS UNUM.
* These publications of the day should from time to time be winnowed, the wheat carefully preserved, and the
chaff thrown away."
OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, 1850.
PHILADELPHIA, Getz & Buck, 3 Hart's Building.
STEREOTYPED BY HOBART & ROBBINS.
LITTELL’S LlWING AGE.-No. 333.—5 OCTOBER, 1850.
LADY MARJORY ST. JUST.
I was the only child of Lord St. Just, an impoverished nobleman, whose income barely sufficed to keep up an appearance suitable to his rank. I saw scarcely o change in my father's aspect from the time when I can first remember him : his scattered hairs were gray, and his tall attenuated form was bent; but there were no strong indications of decay, which nevertheless gradually went on, and in the same ratio as the young sapling shot upwards. The parent trunk had been bared of all its other glories, and was ready for the woodman's axe. I was an infant, they told me, when my mother “went to heaven;” the sole survivor of a numerous family, all of whom had died in childhood before I was born—born, alas! not to bless and solace that gentle mother, whose loving eyes closed forever almost as soon as she heard my first faint cry. While, from repeated bereavements, my father tremblingly clasped me to his bosom, dreading to o his hopes on the delicate baby, yet, in spite of is fears, he felt for me a redoubled tenderness as the last precious bequest of an adored wife I was brought up under the care and management of Fibsey, the faithful nurse who had tended and mourned over all the departed little St. Justs; and when I attained the age of eight years a governess was provided, who roused much jealousy in old Fibsey's kind, foolish heart by speedily winning a large portion of those affections which I had hitherto divided among my father, herself, and the sweets of nature at Edenside. Mrs. Edmondstone was a widow lady, pale, mild, and middle-aged, with an only son, who was completing a college education, and intended for the service of the church. Basil Edmondstone sometimes came to see his mother, but he was not a favorite of mine : he was a serious youth, and did not fondle and coax me, as my Uncle Mertoun did, nor would he call me “Countess May;” and }. he had gentle, pleasant ways too with a child. his uncle was my mother's brother, the Earl of Mertoun, and I had ever been taught to consider myself his heiress: he was a bachelor, well advanced in years, and there seemed every probability that I must eventually succeed to the earldom, which is one of the few in this country that are exempted from the Salic law. He always designated me his “pretty Countess May,” and I well understood that it was a title of distinction, and to be coveted, and I was proud and vain as a peacock. My father's estates were strictly entailed on male issue, and in default of such, descended to a distant branch. Very rarely Uncle Mertoun visited Edenside, but when he did, it was a gala-day with me; and I watched, in a state of the utmost excitement, the approach of his equipage as the four splendid bays slackened pace up the slopes and defiles. And well I might, for he never came empty-handed, showering beautiful and expensive gifts upon me, to say nothing of the welcome music he whispered CCCXXXIII. LIVING AGE. WOL. xxvii. 1
in my ears, ringing the changes in every variety on the theme of my future glories' My father lived much in his library, and I was but seldom with him : sorrow and disappointment had rendered him unsociable and nervous, and whenever he took me in his arms, the tears coursed down his furrowed cheeks. Yet never a day passed without a bestowal of the fervent benediction —“God bless and keep thee, my darling!” Mrs. Edmondstone, my governess, erred on the side of over-indulgence : she was one of those worthy matrons who look leniently on the vanities and follies of the young—saying “that troubles come soon enough, and 't were pity to break the spirit which must bend of its own accord by and by.” And had it been otherwise, Fibsey would have turned restive. I was the lamb saved out of a fine flock, and I must be left free to roam amid the green pastures and still waters, gathering health and vigor from every breeze that blew. Beautiful Edensides and quaint, beautiful old Fibsey ! Surely never child or lamb had such lovely pastures to disport in, or listened to such marvellous antique songs and fables as delighted my childish ear! Then it was so charming to retail them to Uncle Mertoun, for he was in all respects like an overgrown schoolboy, and an attentive listener to the saucy prattle of “Countess May.” I told him that angels flew over the house at night, showering down bright dreams from their starry perfumed wings, and that good people caught them as they fell. I told him that the shooting-stars were heavenly messengers, speeding on their flights of love and glory; and that the innumerable spirits sleeping among the leaves of the aspen-tree caused it to shiver. I took him to see the fairy rings, and the charmed well of Edenside; the well on whose clear surface was mirrored, once a year, the future of those who gazed with implicit faith ! For my own part I had begun to study the “Arabian Nights,” and I confided to my uncle that I had but one wish in the world, and that was to be Queen Zobeide, to live in the enchanted palace of the good Haroun Alraschid “Nay, nay, Marjory St. Just,” he answered with a giggle of delight; “you would n’t like your husband to have other wives, I suspect—better be ‘Countess May' at home.” This ancestral home of mine was neither a castle nor an abbey, but there was a dry moat, on whose sloping emerald sides clustering flowers shed perfume and radiance; while, at one end of the vaulted entrance-hall, an oriel window of elaborate tracery and brilliantly-stained glass threw a dim. mysterious light on the tesselated pavement, suggesting a conjecture of ecclesiastical origin. The dwelling stood on a hill-side, and we commanded a fine range of diversified scenery from the windows of our sunny parlor—half nursery, half schoolroom, and at length half boudoir; for at Edenside there were no appointments of modern luxury— faded hangings and antique furniture alone were to be found throughout the bare and deserted apartments. Yet the spot well deserved its name of Edenside, for dark waving woods, shining waters, hill and valley, frowning granite crags, and patches