The false heir, and other choice stories for the young

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Material Information

Title:
The false heir, and other choice stories for the young with illustrations
Physical Description:
120 p. : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Nimmo, William Philip, 1831-1883 ( Publisher )
Maurand, C ( Engraver )
Lavieille, Jacques Adrien, 1818-1862 ( Engraver )
Bertall, 1820-1882 ( Illustrator )
James Ballantyne and Co ( Printer )
Publisher:
William P. Nimmo
Place of Publication:
Edinburgh
Manufacturer:
Ballantyne and Company
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1871   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre:
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Scotland -- Edinburgh
England -- London

Notes

General Note:
Illustrations engraved by C. Maurand and Lavieille after Bertall.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002226032
notis - ALG6314
oclc - 57726863
System ID:
UF00026195:00001

Full Text




























































The Baldwin Library
^^^Univrsity













































PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE ANDCOMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON






































































THE FALSE HEIR.









THE FALSE HEIR


AND OTHER


aQict Staries faor ie ung.








With wllustations.








"EDINBUPGH:
WILLIAM P. NIM M O.
-4i,87i.



























CONTENTS.








PAGE
I. THE FALSE HEIR, . I


II. THE DISOBEDIENT SON, . 62


III. THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS, Ill

























LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.






PAGE
A DECEPTIVE VISION, . 17


FREDERICK'S GRACEFUL PEACE-OFFERING, 100

QUITE AT HOME, 13


















I.

THE FALSE HEIR.



CHAPTER I.

N one. of the most remote provinces of Ger-
many, and in the centre of a beautiful
"valley, stands the pretty little village of
Rosenthal. On one side a noble castle, which bears
its name, rears its stately head, and almost overtops
the giant pines which stand proudly erect around its
entrance-gates. This castle, the village, and a few
neighbouring hamlets, formed, at the time we speak
of a rich barony, and the proprietor preserved to him-
self all the feudal rights which were formerly observed
with such rigour throughout all Germany. On the
neighbouring heights, vast woods spread their rich
foliage a.s far as the eye could reach; there they
A







2 THE FALSE HEIR.

stood, in their grand beauty, looking. down upon the
little village which nestled below in the peaceful
valley, while their own dark heads almost seemed to
pierce the golden sky.
At the time our story commences. which is in the
beginning of the present century, this splendid domain
belonged to an old lord; who, invalid as he was,
passed his days in his desolate halls sadly enough,
with no happy voices around him to cheer his soli-
tude and lighten his lonely hours of pain and sick-
ness. At last the old man, anxious to make his
magnificent home happy and bright, bethought him-
self of his young and widowed cousin, Madame
Kilberg, and so he wrote and asked the widow to
come and take up her abode at Rosenthal, along
with her son, a boy about thirteen years old, called
Augustus. This lady was as poor as she was proud,
and, flattered by the baron's invitation, she imme-
diately concluded in her own worldly mind that he
would leave his vast possessions to her son.
Augustus was a wicked boy, badly brought up by
his mother, who was still worse than he. He never
could do anything well, and gave no attention to his
studies, because he thought a young man like him,
who had the prospect of becoming a powerful and








THE FALSE HEIR. 3

mighty lord, had no call to do anything but amuse
himself. But even this, Augustus did not know how
to do, for he had no resources within himself, and
was too proud and haughty to make companions of
the village children; and so he spent many a long
tiresome hour alone, with nothing better to occupy
him than his own vain thoughts.
Fortunately for him, however, a boy better dressed,
and apparently richer than the children of the neigh-
bouring farmers, came, after a few months had gone
by, to live at Rosenthal along with his mother, and
the proud Augustus, feeling his isolated position more
than he cared to confess, thought he might stoop to
make a companion of this boy without compromising
his dignity.
This boy's name was Victor Ernest; but who was
he? No one knew; and when he and his mother
arrived at the pretty little village of Rosenthal, and
made it their home, the neighbours were curious
enough to find out their history and where they had
come froin, but no information could they get.
What had attracted them to the quiet little valley
was a mystery, unless it was that there was a pretty
Slittle house and garden to sell, which might be bought
in this solitary retreat for no extravagant sum. It








4 THE FALSE R-EIf.

was a modest enough dwelling, but, nevertheless, it
was distinguished from the other houses in the village
by a certain air of elegance and comfort. Madame
Ernest bought this house, and very soon she was
fairly installed in it with her son and an old nurse,
who appeared to be extremely attached to them.
Victor was a noble boy, full of good qualities and
amiable dispositions. His mother had trained his
youthful mind with the greatest care; and, as she
was very learned and richly endowed with intellect
herself, she took the whole burden of her son's edu-
cation upon her own shoulders-thus there was no
need of him going to school. He had few play-
mates among the village boys; -but it was not, like
Augustus, from pride that he kept aloof, for when
occasion required, or when any opportunity pre-
sented itself, Victor was always ready to do a good
action, or perform any little deed of kindness that
might be in his power. But his mother, who knew
nothing dE' those boys or their habits and disposi-
tions, fearful Test her only son might be led away
by evil companions, and that the pure and virtuous
principles which she had so carefully instilled into
his young heart, and by which she had taught him
to regulate his life, might be overthrown by bad








THE FALSE HEIR. 5

example, was anxious that Victor should seek no
other society than hers.
She had no other in all the wide world to care
for but him alone; her whole happiness was centred
in her son. Madame Ernest was a gentle, pensive
woman, with a heart so full of sad and tender
memories that it almost seemed an effort for her
to smile, even upon the bright boy who gave himself
up to the pleasures of childhood with all the freedom
and carelessness of youth. Very often, as she gazed
on him, the mother's eyes would overflow with tears;
but when Victor asked the cause of her grief, he got
no answer, and the child could only guess that there
was some sorrow in his mother's heart, of which he
knew nothing as yet. Then he would throw his arms
round her neck, and kiss away the tears, and the
mother would look up and smile, and try to be happy
for her son's sake.
And Victor was so obedient to his mother's voice,
and so loving, and gentle, and anxious to please her,
that he 'could not fail to bring joy to the sorrowing
heart, and send bright rays of sunshine there to dis-
perse the melancholy gloom. When parents are
blessed. with such-children, is it not right that they
should forget their troubles in gratitude and thankful-








0 THE FALSE HEIR.

ness to God, from whom cometh every good and
every perfect gift ?
The whole village soon came to love and esteem
Madame Ernest. They respected her melancholy,
and did not disturb her solitude, for she was kind
and charitable towards the poor, and a good friend
to all that were in need of one, and so they only
spoke of her with a gentle and tender interest.
How much Madame Ernest, who watched over her
son so anxiously, would have desired to prohibit him
from cultivating the acquaintance of Augustus, if she
had only known his character But that was impos-
sible, for fate willed it otherwise. Augustus saw
Victor, and resolved to make a companion of him;
not from any sympathy, or the wish to have a friend,
-a wish so natural to all,-but simply because he
could not amuse himself alone, the days and hours
dragged too heavily along to be pleasant. Besides,
he hoped that this boy, whose position, in his eyes,
appeared so much inferior to his own, would be easily
ruled over; and the prospect of tyrannising over him
seemed very sweet to Augustus.
And so it came to pass, that one Sunday, as they
were going out of church, he advanced to Victor, and
proposed that he should accompany him to the castle.







THE FALSE HEIR. 7

But, seeing that Victor would not consent without
first receiving permission from his mother, and that
his mother did not seem at all disposed to grant that
permission, Augustus hastened to Madame Kilberg,
who had not yet seated herself in her splendid car-
riage, and begged her to speak for him to Victor's
mother. Madame Kilberg, who could not refuse
her son anything he asked for, consented to gratify
him, though not without some hesitation. She
believed she was doing an act of the greatest con-
descension, and quite expected that Madame Ernest
would be overwhelmed with gratitude at the honour
she was about to do her son; but, proud as she was,
she was somewhat disconcerted by Madame Ernest's
noble and dignified manner, and was obliged to
express herself a little more politely than she at first
intended.
I shall be obliged if you will allow your little boy
to pass two or three hours with my son at the Castle
of Rosenthal," said Madame Kilberg, drily enough,
and with a haughty curl of the lip, which told well
enough that it was an effort to be so gracious.
Victor's mother had a great desire to say "No;"
for, judging the son by the mother, she thought such
an acquaintance would be anything but desirable.







8 THE FALSE HEIR.

But she read in Victor's eyes such a wish to accept
the invitation, that she had not strength to refuse him
this small pleasure; besides, she was afraid of offend-
ing Madame Kilberg by refusing, and of making her
her enemy; and she knew well enough that this
lady's hatred might be productive of very bitter con-
sequences to her.
And so Victor accompanied Augustus to the castle
for the first time, where he soon became a frequent
visitor, and where his gentle and amiable character
soon gained him the affection of all around. Augustus
would have become his friend, if he had possessed
a good heart; but as it was, they could only be com-
panions, and this companionship was broken by many
a storm. Augustus always wished to be the master,
and play the tyrant; but Victor, in spite of the gentle-.
ness of his character, would not submit to being ruled
over, and he was right.
This struggle for power caused many quarrels and
frequent ruptures. But, on those occasions, it was
always Augustus who sought his comrade, and, in
spite of his pride, made all the advances; for, as we
have said, he knew nothing, and had not the power
of amusing himself alone. Far from being grateful,
however, for the amiability which Victor displayed in







THE FALSE HEIR. 9

so often forgetting his wrongs, and the bitter words
that had been spoken to him, Augustus did his best
to show that he was in no way submissive, and in the
depths of his heart nourished and cherished feelings
of hatred and jealousy towards his companion. Such
were the natures of the two children.
As to the mothers, they seldom or never saw each
other. Madame Kilberg was too haughty ever to
dream of visiting a person whom she regarded as so
much beneath her in station and wealth; and, for her
part, Madame Ernest was too much wrapped up in
her own melancholy, and had too much pride of
character besides, to humble herself by paying court
to the lady of the castle.


CHAPTER II.

MEANWHILE, the birthday of the old Baron Rosenthal
approached, and a numerous and brilliant company
had been invited to celebrate it. There were to be
games and amusements of every description for the
young people: a concert, then a banquet, followed by
a ball. Victor was not invited to this splendid fete.
The guests belonged entirely to the aristocracy of
the neighbourhood, and Victor,-intelligent, amiable,







10 THE FALSE HEIR.

and well educated as he was,-Victor, whom Augustus
could not do without for a single day when he was
alone, was not judged worthy by him to be admitted
into their company. Augustus had plenty com-
panions to amuse him on that day, and thought
no more about Victor than if he had not existed.
Victor, reasonable and amiable though he was,
could not help feeling slighted by this mark of in-
difference; not that he believed that Augustus had
any love for him, but it was quite natural that he
should wish to join in the pleasures of this fete, and
witness its splendour. The concert would, above all
things, have been a great source of delight to him,
and it was a sad disappointment to the boy to be
deprived of it. But Victor concealed his mortifica-
tion as well as he could, and never mentioned the
subject to his mother, he was so anxious to avoid
anything that was likely to vex or annoy her.
Madame Ernest had no difficulty, however, in guess-
ing what was passing in her son's heart, and, in order
to distract his thoughts, she occupied him as much
as possible, during the whole of that day, with his
various studies. She also intermingled them with
agreeable reading and pleasant conversation, for she
knew that variety of work prevents weariness and







THE FALSE HEIR. n

fatigue. And so this day, which Victor had expected
to find so painfully long, was full of charms to him,
and flowed past as rapidly as if it were only a
pleasant dream.
"Mother," said the boy, as the evening shadows
crept forth, "I have been very happy to-day, and
I do not regret not having been asked to the
castle."
"My dear boy, I am charmed to hear it," said
Madame Ernest, pressing her son to her heart; "and
now let us finish our pleasant day by a walk. We
will follow the stream to its source, and go as far as
the beautiful 'Poplar Fountain,' the spot you love
so much."
Victor was delighted with this proposal; this walk
was a great pleasure to him, and it made him unutter-
ably happy to see that his mother was at peace as
long as he was beside her. Every now and then he
stopped to pluck some beautiful wayside flower, and
give it to her, and as the mother took it, she smiled,
and almost forgot her troubles.
They soon arrived at the source of the stream, a
place preferred by Victor above all others, and one
where his mother often led him, and loved to talk
with him. It was a picturesque and charming spot







12 THE &ALSE HEIR.

on the very borders of the forest. The water, leap-
ing and darting from the rocks, fell into a natural
"basin among the pebbles and sand which formed its
depths. Just below the source, four beautiful Italian
poplars raised their pyramidal heads, and gave the
pretty retreat its name. The water in the basin
formed a transparent pool, clear as crystal, and
escaping with a gentle murmur, gave birth to a
limpid stream, which wound down the valley,
rippling, and tinkling, and chattering over the stones
as it went.
Seated near the fountain by his mother's side,
Victor contemplated the pure crystal waters with
heartfelt admiration.
"0 mother!" exclaimed the boy, "is it not
beautiful, this clear stream of bright blue water?"
Yes, my son, of what does it appear to you to be
the emblem?"
Victor reflected for a few moments, and then spoke.
I think, mother, this lovely water is the emblem
of a pure soul troubled by no evil passions, and soiled
bypno wicked thoughts."
"Yes, my boy; but, stay-look !"
At this moment, a frog leapt from the turf into the
water, and disturbed its stillness.







THE FALSE HEIR. 13

"Well, Victor, what do you think now?"
"0 mother !" replied the boy, without hesitation,
"that odious, ugly creature, which has thrown itself
into the pool to trouble it, is like a wicked thought,
which can, in one short moment, infect and corrupt
the purest heart, if we only allow it to enter."
"But, see, my son, the water has again become
clear and beautiful. Do you think, if the heart was
once soiled by vice, that it would recover its purity
so quickly ?"
"Oh, no, mother; I do not think so. It is very
difficult to root a sin out of the heart; and if it is
ever done, I think it would take a long time."
"And what conclusion do you draw from that,
dear boy?"
"That we should watch over our hearts very care-
fully, mother, and cast out all wicked thoughts, lest,
like this water, they lose their purity, and might
never recover it again."
"Yes, Victor, you are quite right; and now, will
you try to keep your heart pure, and free from every
stain ?"
Yes, mother, I will try; but how will I be able to
distinguish evil thoughts from good ones ?"
"There is nothing easier, my boy. Only listen to








.I THE. FALSE HEIR.

Gocyoice, and He always speaks distinctly by our
conscience. Be holy, just, and attentive to all your
duties; and if an evil thought presents itself to you,
you will easily recognise it, and shut it out. Thus
you will be happy, my son; for true happiness con-
sists only in peace of conscience, and the continual
exercise of virtue."
At those words, Victor glanced at his mother with
a look of sadness and doubt. The sun had gone to
rest behind the dark blue hills; but his dying light
still gilded the purple heavens, and one bright ray
came glimmering through the poplar leaves, and fell
full upon the eager upturned face of the boy.
"What is troubling you, dear Victor ?" asked
Madame Ernest. One would think, to look at you,
that you hardly dared to express the thought which
has just come to your mind."
"Well, dear mother, I hardly like to tell you what
I was thinking; but this is what I was going to ask
you,-if a peaceful conscience, and the fulfilment of
all our duties, is sufficient to make us happy, how is it
that yon, who are the best and kindest of women,
are so often sad and sorrowful ?"
Madame Ernest gazed at her son for a moment in
silence, and then she replied.







STHE FALSE HEIR. r

God, who sends us all our joys and sorrows, does
Snot forbid us from weeping and mourning; but He
sends us blessings to cheer and console us in the
midst of our troubles, and it is, my dear Victor, a
very sweet blessing to me to see you so good and
wise; and so, in spite of all my misfortunes, I am
happy. My misfortunes, which, alas are yours also,
my boy, I will soon reveal to you, for you are be-
coming every day more and more worthy to be
entrusted with my secret. But I am weary now; let
us leave this subject for another time, and we shall
talk of something more lively as we go home."
As they returned to their dwelling, they caught a
glimpse of the castle through the trees, the windows
of which were so brilliantly illuminated that they
shone like so many stars in the distance.
"0 mother how beautiful! exclaimed Victor,
pausing to admire the scene. It must be a mag-
nificent fete, and how pleased Augustus will be !"
"I am not the least envious now, mother," added
Sthe boy, with a sigh, "of Augustus and a11 the plea-
sures he enjoys. I do not envy him either his wealth
or his fine clothes. It is his friendship or love only
that I care about; and now, mother, I know well
Senough whether he really cares for me dr not !"







16 THE FALSE HEIR.

As Victor spoke, one of the castle windows was
thrown open, and the sweet sounds of music were
wafted to their ears by the gentle breeze.
"I would like to have been there to have heard all
that, mother," said Victor again; "but I have had a
very happy day, and I don't regret not having been
invited."
"And you are quite right, my dear boy. Let us
be happy in our own humble way, without trying to
go out of our sphere. Let us be content with the
simple pleasures which are given to us; it is the
only way to preserve our dignity and secure our hap-
piness."
"You talk of happiness, mother; but Augustus
ought to be happy; he has everything to make
him so."
"Alas, my son," replied the mother, do not trust
to appearances. It is sometimes in the midst of our
greatest joy and prosperity that sorrow lays her hand
upon us, and our most delightful pleasures are often
followed by our severest trials and misfortunes."


































^ B
i- -


i .* . ....
.7
.










THE FALSE HEIR. 19


CHAPTER III.

MADAME ERNEST little thought, as she spoke thus to
her son, that her words were so soon to prove true.
The next morning at an early hour, as Victor and
she were quietly sitting at breakfast, the door opened
hurriedly, and Augustus entered, his eyes red with
weeping, and his hair wild and disordered, and
throwing himself into a chair, he burst into a violent
fit -of sobbing. The mother and son rose quickly,
and hastened towards him. Victor put his arms
tenderly round his weeping friend, and asked him
the cause of his grief. But at first Augustus could
not utter a word ; his voice was choked with sobs.
"Pity me, Victor, and help me," he said at last.
"I am the most unfortunate boy in the whole world.
I am mined and lost for ever-the baron is dead !"
The baron is dead! Is it really possible ?" ex-
claimed the mother and son at once.
"I pity you with all my hert, Augustus," added
Victor, "and I am very sorry to hear of the kind old
man's death;" and as he said the words, the tears of
pity and sorrow really stood in Victor's eyes. Au-
gustus still continued to weep, but it was with rage
and disappointment.







20 THE FALSE HEIR.

Do not weep for him, Victor; he was a wicked,
bad man. Oh, if you only knew what he has done
to me. I do not weep for him,-I curse him with all
my heart !" said Augustus, giving way to a passion of
fury at last.
Madame Ernest was both surprised and frightened
by his behaviour. She spoke to him as gently as
she would have done to Victor, and did her best to
calm the enraged boy; and when she had somewhat
succeeded, she persuaded him, though not without
some difficulty, to tell them what had happened.
His story, which was often interrupted by sobs and
groans, ran thus:-
The evening before, just shortly after Madame
Ernest and Victor had passed the castle, and had
lingered to admire its brilliancy and beauty, and the
splendid brightness of the windows, the baron had
been seized with a sudden fit in the midst of the
gay and glittering ball-room. He had -one fault,
which is by no means a rare one amongst the
Germans, nor in our own country either, and that
was-the love of wine. During supper the baron
had drunk freely, as much in honour of the file as
to animate his guests. But the punishment of in-
temperance is generally an awful one, and upon this








THE FALSE HEIR. 2

occasion it was not far off. Making a violent effort,
the baron gave the signal to return to the ball-room,
and dancing commenced immediately with renewed
vigour. But in the midst of all this gaiety and mirth
the baron fell to the floor with a terrible groan of
agony, which was heard above the crash of the music
and the laughter of the guests. His terrified friends
flocked to his assistance, and raising the old man
gently and tenderly, bore him to his room. A doctor
was called in all haste, and did all that science could
prescribe in such a case; but all was in vain. The
baron had been struck down in a moment, and he
now lay there, stiff and cold, to rise no more.
The consternation and awe which succeeded to
the joy of this fite can be easily imagined. The
most of the company ordered their carriages and
departed immediately. The doctor, the lawyer, and
some of the most intimate friends alone remained.
They endeavoured to comfort Madame Kilberg, who
was bathed in tears.
"Alas !" said she, "what an excellent friend, what
a generous benefactor I have lost! How he has
loved me, and how much I have loved him in return I
I would have given ten years of my life to save his,
and he would have deserved it all !"








22 TIE FALSE HEIR.

And so Madame Kilberg continued to sound the
praises of the dead.
But," she added, my grief, violent though it be,
must not prevent me from fulfilling my duty. My
duty now, is to watch over the interests of my son,
who is, as you all know, the baron's heir, and I am
his guardian. And so, my good friends and neigh-
bours, I will take possession of the keys in your pre-
sence."
A profound silence prevailed in the room after
those words, in the midst of which the lawyer stood
forth and addressed Madame Kilberg.
"Do not be so hasty, if you please, my dear
madame," said he; the keys, in the meantime, belong
to me. Augustus is not, as you believe, the bhron's
heir, and you are only a stranger now in this house.
To-morrow you will have full proof of it, but, in the
meantime, you, and all here present, may satisfy
yourselves as to the truth of this statement by read-
ing over this paper, which I have carried about
with me, in anticipation of the awful event which
has just happened."
And the lawyer drew from his pocket-book a letter,
which he read aloud, and which was couched in these
terms :-







THE FALSE HEIR. 23

"If I happen to die suddenly, I forbid Madame
Kilberg from having any authority, either in the
castle or on the estate; and I authorise my man
of business to take immediate possession of the
keys.
(Signed) BARON DE ROSENTHAL."


This order was immediately executed; and, to
assure himself better that everything was right and
safe, the lawyer installed himself in the castle for the
night; the others retired one by one. Madame
could scarcely believe that all she had seen and
heard was true; this news had fallen upon her like
a thunderbolt; and she withdrew into her own apart-
ments, with her son, and passed the whole night in
lamentation and weeping, not for the death of the
cousin who had been her friend and benefactor, but
for the loss and failure of her ambitious hopes and
schemes.
*ach was the story Augustus related to his listen-
ing friends, and in the evening it was confirmed by
Madame Kilberg herself. She condescended to come
to Madame Ernest's humble house, and on foot too,
probably because the coachman had refused to yoke
his horses for her. She, who till now had treated







24 THE FALSE HEIR.

Madame Ernest with such haughty scorn, was now
only too happy to come and seek consolation and
comfort from her, by mourning over her griefs.
Every one at the castle shunned her, and she read
in their looks either dislike or a scornful pity. The
lawyer had communicated to her the last will of the
dead baron. The baron left all his fortune and pos-
sessions to his nearest relative, a cousin whom he had
for long supposed to be dead, but of whose return to
Germany he had recently heard. He left nothing
whatever to Augustus, and he remained completely
dependent upon the liberality of the new lord. As
to Madame Kilberg, her name was not mentioned
in the will at all.
The once proud and haughty lady threw her arms
round Madame Ernest's neck, while she called her
her good and only friend over and over again, im-
plored her help to try and melt the heart of the new
lord when he should arrive, begged her to persuade
Victor to speak a few words of praise to the new
baron about Augustus, and entreated the mother and
son to describe him in the most favourable colours.
Her words had not even common sense to recom-
mend them, and Victor, who was listening to all her
extravagant speeches, could hardly believe his ears.







THE FALSE HEIR. 25

"It is quite true," thought he to himself, "that
those who are proud and overbearing in prosperity,
lose all their dignity and courage in adversity. Mother
has told me so; but I never could have believed that
the haughty Madame Kilberg could fall into such an
excess of weakness, and show herself such a foolish
coward !"
Such were Victor's reflections; but he said no-
thing, and did all in his power to comfort and
cheer Augustus.
A week passed, and during all that time Madame
Kilberg had been constantly beside the friend whom
she had been wont to treat so contemptuously. There
was no end to her lamentations. She loaded the
dead man with the bitterest reproaches; she, who
had eaten his bread for ten years, and whom he had
loaded with benefits, now lavished the most odious
names upon his memory, and accused him of all the
vices and crimes under the sun. She only ceased
from her frantic invectives because she saw that
Madame Ernest was wounded by them. This lasted
for a week, but at the end of that time a finishing
stroke was put to Madame Kilberg's disappointed
hopes, which changed the aspect of affairs com-
pletely.








26 TH-E FALSE HEIR.


CHAPTER IV.

ON the evening of the eighth day, as Madame
Kilberg was sitting in the house of her friend, and
repeating, as usual, the story of her woes, her torrent
of lamentations was suddenly interrupted by the
entrance of a young man. This young man Ma-
dame Kilberg knew very well was the lawyer's clerk,
though, until now, she had never condescended to
honour him with a glance. He greeted Madame
Ernest first, then Madame Kilberg, who, contrary
to all his expectations, answered him with a gracious
smile; for she had become polite in her misfortune,
though not for long, as we shall see.
"My master has desired me to tell you that he
has received news of the new baron," said the young
man, addressing himself to Madame Kilberg. He
will arrive at Rosenthal in eight days, and till then
he requests that you will resume your authority at the
castle, and my master is charged to deliver up the
keys into your hands. All the servants will be at
your command, and are ordered to obey your
wishes."
Madame Ernest and her son listened with pleasure
to those words. Augustus was in a perfect transport







THE FALSE HEIR. 27

of delight; and as to Madame Kilberg, her counte-
nance was perfectly radiant with joy and pride. Her
feelings almost seemed to choke her in their intensity,
and took away the power of speech.
"And with what name is this letter signed ? what
does the new baron call himself? she asked, with
an eager trembling voice.
"-- Ernest, Baron Rosenthal. He has taken
the dead man's name; it was one of the clauses in
the will."
At this name, Victor's mother gave a sigh.
"And," continued Madame Kilberg, "does his
vife accompany him ? for, doubtless he is married,
and has children."
"" No, Madame; he is a widower, without children,
and has made a vow, they say, never to marry again."
Nothing could have appeared more favourable to
Madame Kilberg's wishes. She saw herself once
more reinstated at the castle, and invested with all
her former honours and splendid state.
"Oh, my son, he will adopt you she exclaimed,
pressing Augustus to her heart, in a perfect frenzy
of delight.
"Ah, and those insolent people at the castle, who
have treated me so rudely, I will pay them back for








28 THE FALSE HEIR.

all their impertinence yet," said the lady, frowning
and resuming her old haughty demeanour.
As soon as the carriage arrived at the door, she
hastened to take her seat in it, without addressing a
single word of thanks or farewell to Madame Ernest,
-without even once looking at her, and Augustus
followed her example.
"What!" exclaimed Victor, "are you going off
like that, without speaking one word to me ?"
Augustus turned and said Good-bye to his friend,
with a bad enough grace, and then-he took his place
beside his mother.
"That little boy is beginning to teach you, I
think," said that lady, as soon as they were fairly off.
"You must keep him in his proper place, and break
him off that habit, for there is a great difference in
station between you. I wish no more familiarity
between you two. What would the new baron say
if he saw the child he is going to adopt hand-in-glove
with one so much beneath him in rank That would
not please him, I should think; so I beg you will
keep your friend at a distance."
Augustus' heart received those evil counsels greedily
enough, and hedid not need to be taught to indulge
in pride and vanity.








W TE FALSE HEIR. 29

As for Madame Ernest, far from being offended by
the abrupt and hasty departure of Madame Kilberg
and her son, she would have smiled with all good
nature if her clear penetration had not forewarned her
that a storm was brewing against Victor and herself.
"This proud lady is about to become my enemy,"
she said to herself. "She will never forgive me
having been a witness of her humiliation and cow-
ardice. She will always be in perpetual fear lest I
reveal the ungrateful epithets she has showered upon
her benefactor, whose memory is doubtless both dear
and sacred to him whom he has endowed with his
possessions. She will repay the interest I have dis-
played in her welfare by injuring me as much as she
can. She may do more, perhaps. My God I if new
misfortunes threaten us, do Thou give us strength to
bear them calmly, and make Thy grace sufficient for
us at all times."
With her heart full of those thoughts, the mother
judged that the moment had arrived when she might
strengthen Victor's mind by making him her con-
fidant, and by revealing to him the secrets which she
had thought it her duty to keep from him till now.
He, poor boy, was troubled and hurt by the cold
adieu he had received from his companion, and could







30 THE FALSE HEIR.

not help brooding over the unkindness of the action,
as he sat silently gazing out of the window and watch-
ing the carriage disappear in the distance.
"How kind and friendly Augustus has been with
me for the past week, mother, and how he seemed to
love me!" said the boy, at last giving vent to his
thoughts. "I began to reproach myself for ever
having thought him cold and indifferent; but, after
all5 I believe I was right enough."
"Yes, my son, I believe you were. Augustus
cannot have a good heart if he speaks of his bene-
factor as we have heard him do. There is nothing
so unkind as man's ingratitude, We are told, an
ungrateful, thankless heart is not capable of friend-
ship. This last little scene has produced a painful
impression upon both of us, I see. A walk to the
'Poplar Fountain' will perhaps refresh our feelings,
and restore calmness to our hearts. Come, my
boy."
Victor was delighted with the prospect of a walk
to his favourite haunt, and the mother and son set
out immediately. When they arrived at the fountain,
Madame Ernest seated herself on the turf, and, after
having prepared the boy to receive her confidences,
she related to him the story of her life.







THE FALSE HEIR. 31

It was a long, sad tale, and we will give it in as few
words as possible.
Madame Ernest was born in France, where she
had spent the first happy years of her childhood.
When the great Revolution broke out, and desolated
that fair country with its horrors, her father and
mother fled to Germany with their little one. They
had lost nearly all their fortune, and lived for many
years, in concealment and comparative poverty, in a
little village on the right bank of the Rhine. In a
short time both died, and the little Edith remained
alone with the nurse who had brought her up, and
who still remained with her. A slender sum that
her parents had left enabled them to live, and her
mother's diamonds were reserved to her in case of
extreme necessity. A young German officer, called
Ernest de Clary, whose regiment was stationed in the
neighbouring town, had offered her his hand while her
parents were still alive, and a year after their death
she married him. Having, like her, neither father
nor mother, Ernest de Clary had not to ask the con-
sent of any one to his marriage. Just at this time the
war between France and Germany burst out in all its
fury: the armed hosts of France inundated the coun-
try, and there was a succession of bloody combats.







32 THE FALS.E HEIR.

Two months after his marriage, Ernest de Clary
perished, as was believed, in one of those battles,
for he had never more been heard of. In losing
him, his unfortunate bride lost everything, for she
could not prove her marriage. The little chapel
where it had been celebrated, the whole village,
the good old clergyman, had all perished in the
flames, the day of this fatal battle. Madame
Ernest could not obtain the smallest portion of her
dead husband's fortune. His brothers seized upon
everything, and even threatened the widow with a
ruinous lawsuit if she persisted in calling herself by
his name. She was then obliged to change it, and
called herself simply Madame Ernest. She sold
her mother's diamonds; and retaining two-thirds
of the sum they brought, she spent the rest in
purchasing a little house in a distant village, to
which she retired with her newly-born son and
her faithful old nurse. Some years after this, the
lord of this village, who was very powerful and
tyrannical, forced many of the inhabitants, and her
amongst others, to sell their houses, in order to in-
crease the dimensions ,of his park; and it was then
the widow established herself at Rosenthal.
In the midst of all her griefs and misfortunes her







THE FALSE HEIR. 33

trust in God had never been shaken, and a secret
hope sustained her courage, and made her strong to
endure all her wrongs. She still hoped that her dear
husband might yet be alive, for his name had never
been placed on the list of the dead or wounded.
God might have spared him to her by a miracle, and
Madame Ernest still dreamt that she would one
day have the happiness of seeing him return, and of
placing his son in his arms :-a very feeble spark of
hope, but one which shone sweetly, and brightened
the dark night of grief and trouble which surrounded
her, by its cheering rays.
Such was the story of this tender, trusting mother,
-a story which was often interrupted by her tears,
with which Victor mingled his own as he listened.
When it was finished, they rose, and the two walked
back to their home in silence, each too much occupied
by their own sad thoughts to utter a word. Victor
was burning to ask a thousand questions, but he
respected his mother's grief too much to trouble
her now, and reserved them all for the next day.





C








34 THE FALSE HEIR.


CHAPTER V.

BUT the next day brought many other events in its
train.
All the preceding night Madame Kilberg had
nourished in her heart the most unkind and hostile
feelings against the friends she had just parted from
so suddenly. Wicked people almost always judge
others by themselves; she thought Madame Ernest
and her son would triumph over the humiliation they
had just witnessed, and laugh at all the insolence
to which she had been subjected. She trembled
with fear when she thought of all they might say
against her, and of all they might do; and a secret
presentiment warned her that she was lost for ever if
Madame Ernest succeeded in having an interview
with the baron. At the same time, foolishly jealous,
she imagined that if he saw the two boys together,
Augustus would gain nothing by the comparison.
The incensed fear that she indulged in had engen-
dered a feeling of mortal hatred in her heart against
the mother and son who had shown her nothing but
gentleness and pity. She thought all night by what
possible means she might remove them from the
village, and determined to do all in her nower to rid








THE FALSE HEIR. 35

herself of such uncomfortable neighboufs. She never
thought of her unchristian behaviour, or how she was
abusing the power that had been entrusted to her;
she only thought of her own selfish motives and am-
bitious schemes, and how all her fair hopes might yet
be dashed in pieces, if she did not act with the
utmost wisdom and precaution.
It was easy to gain her son's sympathy and aid,
for it was chiefly through him that she hoped to suc-
ceed in her plans, and the lesson was not lost upon
him.
Victor was far from perceiving the storm which
was about to fall upon him; he had received so many
proofs of attachment from Augustus during these last
days, that, in spite of the coldness of his farewell the
evening before, and notwithstanding all his mother
had said to him, he still tried to believe in his friend-
ship.
He passed the whole morning beside his mother,
talking over the sad story he had learnt the
evening before; then he set himself to his studies
bravely, though his thoughts would wander away
from his lesson at times, for his heart was still
troubled and agitated.
He was astonished that Augustus did not come to








36 THE FALSE HEIR.

see him; and, towards evening, he went out to look
for him. The village people told him that they had
seen Augustus wander away up the stream in the
direction of the "Poplar Fountain," and Victor
hastened after him.
Sure enough Augustus was there, but occupied in
A strange manner. He had, apparently, been fight-
ing with a peasant boy about his own age, and had
gained the best of it, as he was now on the top of
him, and thrashing him most unmercifully.
At this sight, Victor uttered an exclamation of sur-
prise, and the cruel conqueror left off his blows when
he found he had a spectator.
0 Augustus! what are you doing to the boy?"
cried Victor. "What has he done?"
"What am I doing, and what has he done ?" re-
peated Augustus ironically, and treating Victor to a
scornful glance at the same time. "Is that the way
to address me, I would like to know? For the
future, my boy, remember that I am Sir Augustus to
you and all the other people of Rosenthal."
Victor could not help indulging in a hearty fit of
laughter at this singular speech, and, turning his back
upon Sir Augustus, he gave full vent to his mirth.
"Surely," said he, I will call you Sir Augustus,'








THE FALSE HEIR. 37

if you will call me 'Sir Victor.' I will not be behind
you in politeness. But, first of all, let this boy go. I
will not stand by and see you strike him before my
very eyes; and I warn you I will defend him. Tell
me what you have done ?" added Victor, turning tb
the poor boy.
"Nothing at all, Mr Victor," he replied. "The
keeper gave me permission to come into the forest
and cut some twigs for my rabbit cages, and Mr
Augustus found me here, and"-
"And told you," interrupted Augustus, passion-
ately, "that I would not permit vagabonds like you
to come and destroy the trees, which will one day be
mine. I don't care what the keeper told you; I will
soon lecture him. You deserve to be put in prison
for what you have done, and the beating I have given
you is too good for you. I have every right here,
remember,-yes, every right," he added, again looking
defiantly at Victor. "And you have dared to argue
with me! I have commenced to punish your in-
solence, but I am not finished. Do not stir,-I for-
bid you to move from the spot."
And in order to enjoy the full pleasure of torment-
ing this boy, who had not courage to defend him-
self, but trembled like a leaf before his oppressor,







38 THE FALSE HEIR.

Augustus flew at him again, and inflicted two cruel
blows upon his victim. He was on the point of
repeating them, when Victor, indignant at this un-
worthy treatment, threw himself between them.
Augustus was so surprised and so furious, that he
,ontitued to attack Victor, and fought and struggled
with the desperation of a madman; but, notwith-
stand all his energy and apparent bravery, he finished
by beating an ignominious retreat, and returned to
the castle in a pitiable state.
Victor went home, much grieved at discovering
what a wicked heart Augustus had, truly sorry at
having been obliged to fight with him, and conse-
quently more saddened than elated by his victory,
but fearing nothing, for his clear, unruffled conscience
told him that his conduct had been without reproach.
But Victor did not yet fully comprehend Madame
Kilberg's character.
When she saw her dear son return all torn and
bleeding from the fray, and learnt how he had re-
ceived his bruises, she was at first inconsolable, and
trembled with grief and rage; but all of a sudden her
feelings changed, and her heart beat wildly with joy.
Ah, I have found what I have been seeking for !"
she cried. This is just what I wished ; and, before








THE FALSE HEIR. 39

a week has passed, I will have rid myself of this
mother and her insolent son I "
Two of the victim's companions, who had been
concealed behind the trees, had been i esses of the
scene. Delighted at seeing the wicked
had so often treated them harshly, well be
took good care not to interfere, especially as they
knew Victor was in the right. Those two boys had
nothing to boast of in the way of principle; and as
soon as Madame Kilberg heard the story, and that they
had been spectators of the whole thing, she foresaw
that it would be easy enough to make tools out of
them for the accomplishment of her wishes, and so,
with all haste, she sent word for them to wait upon
her.
"You deserve to be punished severely for your
cowardly behaviour," said the lady sternly, "but I
will pardon you on one condition, and that is, that
you tell the truth, for you have seen the whole
thing.
"Yes," added she, looking fixedly at the boys, as
if to convince them of the truth of her own state-
ments, "you saw Madame Ernest's son, and another
boy who had been thieving in the forest, throw them-
selves upon my son without any provocation. You








40 THE FALSE HEIR.

saw them strike him and abuse him, so that he was
unable to defend himself, and now you are ready to
swear to his innocence, 'and the brutal treatment he
received at the hands of those little wretches. Ah,
well, I see you are brave boys after all, and good
servants. Stay, here is a gold piece for each of
you."


CHAPTER VI.

WHAT was Madame Ernest's surprise and conster-
nation next day when the lawyer's clerk again made
his appearance at her house with a very unexpected
intimation.
Madame Kilberg had lodged a complaint against
her, with the magistrate of the village, and she was
summoned to answer it without delay. Victor was
accused of being in league with a young thief, whose
accomplice they supposed him to be; together they
had fallen upon Augustus Kilberg, who wished to
reason with them and prevent the theft; but they
had maltreated him in a frightful manner, and would
have gone even further with their cruel proceedings,
if two of the keeper's sons, who had seen the com-
mencement of the struggle from a distance, had not







THE FALSE HEIR. 41

hastened to the unfortunate boy's help. They had
raised Augustus from the ground, and borne him,
bruised and bleeding, to the castle; they had also
taken away the stolen twigs to prove that the aim of
this assault was to conceal and cover a theft; both
were ready to affirm the truth of this story before the
magistrate by an oath. Victor and his accomplice
would doubtless be condemned to spend two months
in prison, and the parents of the young thief, who
gained their living only by the work supplied to them
by the Lord of Rosenthal, would be forced to leave
the village.
Madame Ernest, pale with grief, and trembling
with fear, listened to this false story almost mecha-
nically, and from time to time she raised her eyes
towards heaven, which could witness the innocence
of her son.
Madame," added the lawyer's clerk, "there is no
doubt the story is a false one, and my master regrets
it as much as I do; but the magistrate, who perhaps
in the depths of his heart thinks as we do, will be
forced to declare your son guilty: the testimony of
the two witnesses is unanswerable. The magistrate
will be obliged, in spite of himself, to send Victor to
prison. But calm yourself, my dear madame," added







42 THE FALSE HEIR.

he, seeing the unhappy mother buried in tears, there
is still one way of saving him: will you employ this
means ?"
Oh yes, thankfully," cried'Madame Ernest; "no-
thing will cost too much if it saves my son-from this
unjust sentence; it would kill him! What must
I do?"
My master has fathomed the motive of the am-
bitious woman who persecutes you: it is your depar-
ture she wishes. He has proposed this to her, and
she has agreed, and this is what I am entrusted with
telling you. If you will promise to leave Rosenthal
with your son before the new baron arrives, Madame
Kilberg will withdraw her complaint this evening,
and will throw the testimony of the witnesses into
the fire. My employer will take in hand to provide
a tenant for your house; they will leave the supposed
thief alone and in peace, and will continue to employ
his family on the estate. And now, madame," added
the young man, with tears standing in his own eyes,
for so much injustice and oppression on one side,
and so much misfortune and grief on the other, roused
both his sympathy and indignation, "what will you
decide upon doing?"
Madame Ernest had regained full possession of







THE FALSE HEIR. 43

her feelings, and answered with a calm voice, "I
will yield to tyranny and violence, since I am a
stranger, without a friend to support me, and so am
unable to resist it. I will save my son from an un-
merited punishment, a family from ruin, and your
magistrate from an unjust sentence. God will know,
sooner or later, how to punish tyranny, ingratitude,
and perjury, and with Him I leave it, who is ever a
Father to the fatherless, and the Friend of all who put
their trust in Him. Before a week has passed I shall
have left Rosenthal."
The young man bowed and retired, full of admira-
tion for the strong and dignified character Madame
Ernest had displayed.
It seemed as if God himself were giving Madame
Ernest strength to support this new reverse of for-
tune. Victor was almost stunned when he learned
the fate that threatened him and the innocent boy
he had so bravely defended, and, manly as he was,
his tears flowed plentifully when his mother told him
that they must seek a new place of exile. But Ma-
dame Ernest's courage gave the boy new life; his
mother's patience and resignation comforted his
young heart, and, as he caught her sweet spirit of
faith and trust, he felt that it was easy to console







44 THE FALSE HEIR.

one's-self in misfortune if the conscience was clear
and at peace. And from that moment he cheerfully
assisted his mother in making preparations for their
departure.
And what was Madame Kilberg doing all this
time ?
If her two victims were calm in their misfortune,
she was almost beside herself with the intoxication
of triumph. But, in the midst of all her joy and suc-
cess, she was anxious: one secret fear troubled and
haunted her, and, she could not rest. She made
extensive preparations for the reception of the new
lord; she caused a splendid triumphal arch to be
erected at the entrance of the village, which was
decorated with beautiful leaves and flowers; there,
the magistrate and all the inhabitants of the village
were to await the arrival of the new baron, offer him
their congratulations, and, above all, deliver a most
pompous eulogy upon Madame Kilberg and-her son.
She had made all her arrangements, and taught every
one their part, and now she went about smiling upon
all, as if to impress them with the fact that she really
was the amiable, generous creature she wished to
appear.
Augustus, who had been more frightened than







THE FALSE HEIR. 45

hurt in his fight with Victor, did not take long to
recover from his wounds, and the next day the only
marks which remained to blemish his appearance,
and give testimony to his pugnacious disposition,
were a large black circle round one of his eyes and
an ugly enough scar on the ear. A prominent part
in the welcome of the new baron had been reserved
for him,-for the very moment he arrived under the
triumphal arch, Augustus was to stand forth and
repeat a compliment, a chef-d'cuvre of wisdom and
wit, composed by the schoolmaster, the most learned
man in the village. His mother heard him say over
this speech two or three times every day, but the
boy's memory was none of the best, and he failed
perpetually. Madame was in a perfect agony of
despair and disappointment.
"Ah, madame !" exclaimed the schoolmaster, "how
can you expect a young lord like your son to have a
memory like any ordinary boy? The greatest minds
have been famed for their short memories and ab-
straction; keep yourself easy, all will go well; I will
remain near him, and prompt him if he fails."







46 THE FALSE HEIR..


CHAPTER VII.

THE great day at length dawned-that happy day
which was to complete Madame Kilberg's triumph,
and free her from the mighty incubus that oppressed
her, by ridding her of the presence of Madame Ernest
and her son, towards whom her hatred and jealousy
increased every day.
On the afternoon of the previous day, about four
o'clock, Augustus resolved to put into execution a
dark design which, he had formed, but which he was
careful not to mention to his mother, lest she might
place some obstacle in his way. The boy had brooded
darkly over his defeat, and a desire for revenge had
sprung up within his heart.
"To-morrow before the sun sets," he said to him-
self, "Victor and his mother will have left the village.
That is all my mother wants, but it is not sufficient
to please me: he has beaten me, and I shall have
my revenge. Before he leaves the place he shall
suffer for his conduct. Then, and not till then, will
I be content. But I will be guilty of no imprudence,
and will make the game sure."
And so Augustus called two active, robust boys
to him, two young wretches, who listened respect-







THE FALSE HEIR. 47

fully to their masters words, and showed all eagerness
to accede to his wishes.
"You know the Poplar Fountain?" asked the
wicked Augustus, his eyes glaring with malice and
revenge. "Well, I am pretty certain Victor will go
this afternoon to say 'Good-bye' to his favourite walk;
he's just that kind of sentimental fellow, and I
shouldn't be at all surprised if he drops a few tears
into the fountain-it's a pretty sort of idea, you know,
and he's just the fool to think so too. But I will
make him shed tears in good earnest. Go you and
conceal yourselves in the forest; I will meet Victor
alone. He will never suspect anything, and will
imagine very likely that I have come to say fare-
well to him. Ah, yes, I will give him something
that he will not forget in a hurry! Whenever I
make the signal, you will both rush out upon him,
seize hold of his arms and legs, and leave the rest to
me."
As this wicked boy had foreseen, as soon as even-
ing approached, Victor wandered towards the charm-
ing spot to which he had come so often with his
Smother, and where she had spoken so many sweet
words of instruction and consolation to him, and he
gazed upon the fresh green turf, the pure limpid







48 THE FALSE HEIR.

stream, the graceful poplars, and majestic forest, for
the last time.
"Farewell!" he said, "we must leave this dear
spot behind, but its memory can never fade from my
mind."
Victor had hardly spoken the words, when he was
interrupted by a mocking laugh from behind. It
was Augustus, and his sudden appearance somewhat
startled him.
"And are you not going to say 'Good-bye' to me,
-to me who loves you so much?" said the latter.
Have you no message to my mother ? shall I not tell
her how grateful you are to her for all her kindness to
you? What a sight you are, with your red eyes and
pale face; do look at yourself in the fountain, and
see what a queer figure you are !"
Victor restrained his feelings of passionate anger,
and looked at Augustus from head to foot with the
coldest and most contemptuous scorn.
"You laugh at our misfortune, after being the
cause of it? God will punish you for all your
wicked falsehoods, and that sooner than you think,
perhaps. You tell me to look at myself in the
fountain; rather look at yourself If this pure water,
instead of representing the features of your face,







THE FALSE HEIR. 49

could reflect the image of your heart, I am sure you
would shrink with horror at the sight."
"Fine preaching this, and to me, too! Do you
wish to insult me again?" cried the infuriated
Augustus, now really choking with rage.
At that moment the two boys darted from their
hiding-place in the forest, fell upon Victor, seized
him, and his cowardly enemy was on the point of
giving full bent to his cruelty and fury, when he was
suddenly interrupted,
"What are you about, cowards ?" cried a voice.
"What three to one !"
The voice belonged to a stranger, who, concealed
behind one of the pqplars, had both seen and heard
all that had passed, between the, boys. This stranger
had a noble and, military appearance, and such stern
indignation shone from his eyes that the culprits
trembled beneath his glance. The two boys instantly
let go Victor, and fled with fright as fast as they could
go. Augustus also would have gone, but disappointed
rage and hatred prevented him.
People have no business to interfere with things
they have nothing to do with," said he, haughtily.
"But you may be sure of this, Victor, wherever you
go, I will find you out. My family is powerful and
D







50 THE FALSE HEIR.

well known, and you have none. Our account is by
no means settled," and the furious boy walked off,
with a threatening gesture, and left Victor alone with
the stranger.
Am I wrong in guessing this boy to be Augustus
Kilberg ?" asked the gentleman, as he looked after
the retreating figure.
"No, sir; you are quite right; it is Augustus,"
replied Victor,
"Is it possible ?" said the stranger, looking very
much surprised; "he seems to be anything but
amiable; and those two wicked boys who joined
him, it was doubtless an agreement between them."
I don't know, sir," answered Victor, whose frank,
generous nature shrank from accusing any one with-
out the most open proof of their guilt, and who dis-
liked harbouring suspicions or speaking evil even
against the wicked.
"But why has he treated you thus ? What have
you done to deserve it, my boy? and have you no
friends to protect you and punish him ? Do not sup-
pose I am asking those questions out of mere idle
curiosity," said the stranger, seeing that Victor's eyes
were now full of tears. I have not listened to all
you said to Augustus without feeling interested in








THE FALSE HEIR. 5r

you. Speak, my boy, and fear nothing. I have some
little right now to know all that has happened; and
if they have wronged you in any way, I may perhaps
be able to help you. Sit down beside me here, and
speak to me with all confidence."
Victor had no difficulty in doing this, for, from the
first, he had felt attracted towards the stranger. It
was not only the irresistible sympathy expressed in
his manner, the gentle look, orthe sound of his voice
which attracted him,-there was an inexpressible
charm in his whole person which immediately took
possession of Victor. It almost appeared to the boy
as if he was no stranger, and that he had known him
for years. To refuse him his confidence, or conceal
anything from him, was not in his power; and so
he related to him all the persecution and misfortune
his mother had endured, the unjust accusation that
had been brought against himself by Madame Kil-
berg, his mother's embarrassment, and how they
were about to seek some new place of refuge in
this foreign land, where they had not a friend to pro-
tect them.
The stranger listened to the boy's story with pro
found attention, and did not seem able to take his eyes
from him, for Victor had fairly won his heart already.








52 THE FALSE HEIR.

"Yes," continued Victor, "we are all alone in the
world; we have not a friend we can call our own; for
this is not my mother's native land; she was born in
France, and married a brave German officer; but my
father was killed in fighting for his country soon after;
and my poor mother was never able to prove her
marriage, because the little village where it took place
was consumed by the flames of the enemy."
When Victor had finished his story, he saw that
the stranger was deeply moved. He seized the boy
in his arms, gazed into his eyes, and embraced him
passionately.
"Stop, stop !" he cried; "I only wish to hear one
more word from you-one little word-which will
decide the fate of my whole life. Oh, will it-can it
be what I am burning to hear?. But you do not
understand me, my boy. What is your mother's
name ?"
My mother said Victor, unable to explain this
stranger's conduct; "her name is Madame Ernest
de Clary."
The stranger's emotion was now greater than ever;
it appeared to him as if heaven itself had opened to-
his sight, as if the goal he had been seeking were
gained at last







THE FALSE HEIR. 53

"Look at yourself in the crystal waters of this
fountain, Victor, and look at me," said he tenderly.
And Victor recognised such a likeness between his
own features and that of the stranger, that his heart
bounded with surprise, and hope, and joy.
Can you be my poor father's brother?" asked
the boy, looking into the face that bent over him so
iindly.
I am your father, my dear boy,-your father, who
has been very miserable and lonely for many long
years; but he is very happy to-day. Take me to
your mother, dear boy."
A servant, who was leading two horses on the out-
skirts of the forest, now appeared.
"' Fritz," said the gentleman, I am now the hap-
piest of men, but I will explain everything to you
afterwards. In the meantime, return with the horses
as quickly as you can, and come back with a carriage
for me to the village of Rosenthal. You will ask for
Madame Ernest's house."
Then he rapidly followed Victor towards the home
where he was to find the patient, gentle, trusting wife,
from whom he had been separated so long.








54 THE FALSE HEIR.


CHAPTER VIII.

IT is impossible to express Madame de Clary's joy
and delight when she once more saw the husband for
whom she had mourned and wept for so many long,
weary years. The thought of this meeting, or rather
the hope of it, had been the bright loadstar that had
shone aloft in the darkness, and helped her to bear
all her grief and trouble; and now the happy little
family were united again by God's goodness, and they
mingled their tears of joy with their fervent thanks to
Him who doeth all things well, and from whose un-
erring hand come both our joys and our sorrows.
Then, how many things they had to relate to each
other On the evening, of the fatal battle that had
broken up their home, and torn them asunder, Ernest
de Clary was left for dead on the field; but he -ill
breathed, and it was through the humanity of a
French soldier that he was saved; this soldier, at
the very moment they were about to bury him with
the slain, thought he perceived a feeble spark of life
in the cold frame, though it was so very feeble that
he could hardly perceive it. Good and generous, as
all brave soldiers should be, he begged one of his
comrades to assist in conveying him to the hospital.







THE FALSE HEIR. 55

The wounded man remained for more than three
months between life and death, without being able to
articulate a word, or know what was passing around
him. His recovery was a miracle of medical skill
and science, but this recovery was'so extremely slow
that it was only after two years that he entirely re-
gained his intellectual and physical strength. Then
he returned to Germany. His brothers were obliged
to restore his patrimony to him, but they could not
or would not give him any tidings of the wife they
had so cruelly repulsed, for they feared her reproaches
and upbraidings ; and so they led the sorrowing hus-
band to understand that she had perished in the fire
which had consumed the peaceful little village where
she had spent her few first happy days of married life.
But he would not believe anything or accept anything
as a certainty; and with the hope that she might per-
haps have returned to her native country, he sought
her up and down France for six whole years; then
he returned to Germany to look for her there, but
all in vain; and the blessed influence of hope was
already beginning to die out of his heart, when, owing
to the wickedness and cruelty of Augustus, he had
been drawn into conversation with Victor-a conver-
sation which had for ever put an end to the misfor-







56 THE FALSE HEIR.

tunes of the mother and son, and had led to the hap-
piest results for all of them. And so the perversity
of the wicked is often the means which Providence
himself uses to punish them, and save the oppressed.
"And now, dearest wife," said Monsieur de Clary,
as he finished his story, "you have promised to leave
this house to-morrow; but you will leave it with me
immediately, and go where you will meet with a re-
ception worthy of you, to a neighbouring castle which
belongs to one of my best friends. To-morrow we
shall return together to our own castle, for you are
now the Baroness Rosenthal. I have been obliged
to change my name since the death of the old baron,
who, in leaving me heir to all his possessions, which
came from our maternal grandfather, has imposed
this one condition upon me. His mother and mine
were sisters; my cousin had for long believed I was
dead ; and when he heard of my return from France,
he all at once remembered that I was his nearest
kinsman. To-morrow is fixed for me making my
entry into the castle of my ancestors; but this even-
ing I wished to come without being known, and visit
some portions of this vast domain, and see what sort
of a manager Madame Kilberg is, who, they tell me,
is not much liked hereabouts; but, I fear, they have








THE FALSE HEIR. 57

not told me enough. As to Augustus, I could not
have believed there was such a wretch in our family."
O father, dear," said Victor, "forgive him, for
my sake. I don't believe he is really so very wicked,
but he has been spoiled, and taught to be proud and
malicious; I hope he is not quite past reformation, and
that he will yet become worthy of your kindness."
'The baron only answered his son by a gentle
caress, and at that moment the carriage, for which
Fritz had been sent, drove up to the door.
Madame Ernest learnt, without any feelings of
pride, that they were henceforth to live in splendour
and wealth, and remained as modest and unassuming
as formerly. She was sensible only of the happy
days that were in store for her with her husband and
her son.
The same evening, Madame Kilberg heard, with
the utmost satisfaction, that the woman whom she
detested so much had left the village; but she was
very far from guessing the change that was about to
take place in her destiny.
"Very well," said she, "she has executed my
orders with an eagerness and promptitude for which
I did not give her credit. But they tell me she has
gone in a carriage She How has she been able








58 THE FALSE HEIR.

to do that? I don't understand it at all. But it
does not matter, we will only think now of to-
morrow's great doings, and of the praises that will
be lavished on my son. Come, dear Augustus, and
say over your speech to me."
But "dear Augustus" would do no such thing.
He was as disobedient as he was idle; a never-fail-
ing result to an education such as he had received.
Besides, had not the schoolmaster promised to
prompt him, and what was the use of him exert-
ing himself for nothing? And so the evening was
brought to a close by one of those sharp scenes
between the mother and son, which, to tell the truth,
happened often enough.
The next morning, all Rosenthal was astir at an
early hour. The triumphal arch was magnificently
decorated, and shone gaily with its fresh beauty in
the morning sun. All the inhabitants of the village,
and from the whole country far and wide, flocked
eagerly in, dressed in holiday costume, to see the
procession, and welcome the new baron. In a little
gallery, erected for the occasion, and covered with
crimson cloth, sat Madame Kilberg beside her son,
wreathed with smiles, and radiant with hope and
pride; and behind Augustus the schoolmaster was








THE FALSE HEIR. 59

concealed by the foliage, ready to come to the help
of his uncertain memory.
Suddenly they heard the gallop of a horse, and, in
the midst of a cloud of dust, a courier rode forward to
the triumphal arch, and then stopped andcried aloud-
My lord, the baron is approaching, along with
his lady and their son, your future lord !"
The words were received by the crowd with an
outburst of enthusiasm; but Madame Kilberg could
scarcely believe her ears. There must be .some
mistake," she said to herself; but even as she tried
to comfort herself with the thought, she trembled,
and the beautiful garlands of flowers she held fell
from her hands.
"What! there is a baroness! and a son! No,
no," she cried; "never mind, Augustus, the courier
must be mad, and does not know what he is saying."
Breathless and eager, she bent forward to look
along the road, where, very soon, an open carriage,
drawn by six splendid horses, was seen approaching.
The poor lady believed she was in some horrible
dream. Yes, there was a baroness, and it was Ma-
dame Ernest, and Victor was the son At this sight
her head reeled round, and darkness hid the rest
from her eyes; losing all consciousness, Madame








60 THE FALSE HEIR.

Kilberg fell from the gallery, where she had fondly
expected to receive the homage of the spectators.
They raised her from the ground covered with blood
and, a prey to the convulsions of rage and fear, she
was borne to the little house which Madame Ernest
had just vacated.
The baron wished to leave the mother and son to
their miserable fate, but his wife interceded so ear-
nestly for the unfortunate Madame Kilberg, that he
consented to supply her with sufficient means to
take a pretty house some twenty or thirty miles from-
the castle. As to Augustus, who, coward as he was,
came crouching to Victor's feet, while he begged for
pardon, the latter persuaded his father to send him
to college, and secured an honourable future to him,
if he showed himself worthy by entirely changing his
character and conduct.
Augustus' two accomplices protested that they
would never have persisted in their false witness if
they had been called upon to give their testimony
before the magistrate. They were forced to restore
the gold pieces with which they had been bribed,
and which were given to the poor, and they pro-
mised to begin their lives upon new principles, that
they might become honest men.







THE FALSE HEIR. 61

The father of the supposed thief was elevated to
the post of gamekeeper, and the boy himself was
attached to the service of Victor.
The baron, his wife, arnd his son, at last re-united
after so much misfortune, enjoyed the most perfect
happiness possible on this earth, for happiness is
the fruit of virtue. Often and often they visited in
their walks the beautiful fountain which had been a
witness to so many important events in their lives;
they loved to gaze upon the pure water, which was
no calmer than their hearts now were, nor more
peaceful than their consciences.
And the filial tefiderness of Victor, whose gentle
love had brightened his mother's darkest hours, was
to those happy parents, in their season of prosperity,
the source of their purest joys and their most brilliant
crown of happiness.



















II.

THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

THE STORY OF HIS REPENTANCE.



CHAPTER I.

NE summer day, Sir Gilbert Leslie, the pro-
prietor of a beautiful country-house in the
neighbourhood of the great busy manufac-
turing town of Glasgow, went out to take a walk, and
in the course of his wanderings he penetrated into a
pretty little valley, where a flock of sheep were feed,
ing. The little shepherd, whose duty it was to watch
them, was stretched on the soft green turf, under a
great oak tree, apparently fast asleep. So th aght
Sir Gilbert, at least, as there was no movement visible,
and so he advanced softly towards him, with the inten-
tion of awaking him and asking his way.








THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 63

He approached the young sleeping shepherd, but
his progress was arrested by observing that the boy
held in his hand an open book. This surprised Sir
Gilbert not a little, and curious to see what this book
could be, he stooped down, and saw that it was a
Latin author-Virgil. Though extremely amazed,
and not a little interested, Sir Gilbert did not wish to
disturb the young man, so, leaning against a tree, he
silently waited till he should awake.
This shepherd seemed a boy of about sixteen years
old; his clothes were thick and coarse, but extremely
clean. His features were delicate and finely chiselled,
and his skin white and smooth, notwithstanding its
necessary exposure to the heat of a July sun. At
this moment he appeared to be tormented by a
painful dream; his, breast heaved convulsively, and
every now and then, he gave vent to an inarticulate
sob. In his restless sleep, he moved himself so
violently that he awoke. He opened his eyes, and
rose immediately, as he saw himself face to face with
the stranger who was gazing at him so earnestly. He
touched his cap politely, and was about to depart,
but Sir Gilbert detained him.
My boy," said he, I have just seen something
which surprised me very much: a book lying at your








64 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

side written in the Latin language:-do you under-
stand Latin?"
"I have studied it a little, sir," answered the boy
modestly.
"" Then you must have received a good education;
how is it that you are reduced to keeping sheep?"
It sometimes happens, sir, that a well-educated
orphan has to endure want," replied the boy in the
same modest voice, but with an air of firmness and
decision that would have become a man.
But, my boy, who are you; where do you come
from; what is your name, your family, your country?"
"I am called Frederick; I keep the sheep on the
neighbouring farm that you can just see peeping over
the top of that little hill. I cannot tell you anything
more."
"Then you do not wish to tell, me who you are?"
asked Sir Gilbert, somewhat astonished by his new
friend's manliness.
"I do not know you well enough, sir, and how can
I trust you ?" replied Frederick.
This answer was so just that Sir Gilbert was not
offended by it; on the contrary, it only redoubled the
interest that this boy had already inspired him with.
"Spoken like a young Scotchman, as you are,







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 65

doubtless; but I do not insist upon knowing your
secrets, my boy; keep them till you are sure of
having found a worthy confidant."
"Sir," said Frederick, touched by this language,
"if I have given a rude return to your marks of
kindness, I beg you will excuse me. I am an un-
happy and desolate boy, and I wish to remain
unknown. I entreat you," added he, with the hot
tears springing to his eyes, "that you will promise
not to speak to any one about me."
Sir Gilbert was deeply moved. There was some-
thing in Frederick's voice, in his accent, and look,
which assured him of his innocence, sincerity, and
candour.
"Well, well, my boy, I will do. as you wish. I
will not speak of you to any one, but I will come and
see you again some day soon,"
Indeed this young shepherd boy had inspired Sir
Gilbert with such a real desire to know more of him,
and cultivate his acquaintance, that he very often
directed his steps that way in his walks. Every day
he became more and more attached to him. It ap-
peared to this kind man as if God himself had sent
this orphan to him, forsaken by all the world, and
ordered him to take care of him.
E







66 THE DISOBEDIENT SON,

Frederick, though he did not entrust Sir Gilbert
with his secrets, was yet sensible enough of his kind-
ness. It soon became an established custom for Sir
Gilbert to come and talk with the boy; and as Frede-
rick was really possessed of a lively intelligence, and
.was well informed on many subjects, Sir Gilbert found
an infinite charm in his conversation. He resolved
to be useful to him, and to receive him into his
house.
But, in the first place, he wished to gain some
little insight into this boy's life, which seemed to be
shrouded in so much mystery; and, for this purpose,
he secretly repaired to, the farm where Frederick
looked after the sheep.
The farmer was absent, but his wife answered all
Sir Gilbert's questions quite as well, if not better, than
he could have done himself. She expatiated largely
upon Frederick's virtues; but she had only known
him for six months, had never heard his history, and
could only answer for his conduct during the short
time he had been with them.
My lord," said she, this child came to our door
one winter evening. 'Give me a little bread, if you
please, or let me work for it,' he said, in his innocent
way: but that was all he said. We asked him many








THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 67

questions. I don't want to tell a lie,' he said; 'and
so I would rather not answer you at all.'
"At that time our youngest son was ill, and we
required a shepherd badly enough; so we took this
young unknown. We have all along been very much
pleased with him; he is careful, intelligent, active,
and, besides, he is pious and gentle as an angel. 6ur
son will, we hope, soon be strong again; and then we
will have no more need of Frederick, but he can re-
main under our roof as long as he wishes. As long
as we have bread at the farm here, there will always
be enough for him."
These simple words of the good farmer's wife re-
doubled the interest which Sir Gilbert now felt in
Frederick.
"Who can this boy be?" he asked himself over
and over again; "and what strange adventure has
brought him here? I may perhaps know all that
some day, but in the meantime I will wait patiently,
and take care of him."
What are your plans for the future, Frederick? "
asked Sir Gilbert of the boy one day. "You know
you cannot keep sheep all your life."
No, sir, I have no wish to do so," replied Frede-
rick. I would like to learn some profession, which








68 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

would allow me to live in the country, and gain my
living by the work of my hands. Oh if I could learn
to be a good gardener, I think I would be quite
happy."
Ah, well, my boy, in the meantime, will you let
me take you home with me ? I will treat you like a
son. I have a large garden, which I cultivate myself,
and I shall have the pleasure of teaching you the art
of gardening. Come, my boy, we will work all day,
and in the evenings you will give my little ones les-
sons in the Latin language. Their mother, to whom
I have often spoken of you, is charmed with this
arrangement, and she will make no difference be-
tween you and them."
While Sir Gilbert spoke thus, Frederick appeared
to be deeply moved. One burning tear, which fell
from his eyes, was at first his only response. He
had not strength to speak; he silently took Sir Gil-
bert's hand and pressed it to his lips. Then, weepiig
and sobbing like a child, he expressed his gratitude
in the most lively and energetic terms.
The next day, Frederick, after having expressed his
thanks to the good farmer and his wife, said farewell
to them, and was installed in Sir Gilbert's house.
Lady Leslie was as kind and amiable as her hus-







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 69

band; she received Frederick with a hearty welcome,
conducted him herself to the pretty little room which
was from henceforth destined to be his own, and'then
introduced him to her two little sons, charming chil-
dren of seven and nine respectively, who very soon
came to look upon Frederick as their elder brother.
After dinner, Sir Gilbert showed Frederick over
his domain, every part of which was cultivated with
the greatest care. There was not a single waste or
unproductive corner to be seen, and everywhere the
beautiful and ornamental was mingled with the useful.
The estate, besides the house and garden, was com-
posed of cultivated fields, rich meadows, and a plan-
tation or small forest. Lesser plantations of useful
trees, planted by the hand of art, gave the whole the
appearance of a vast garden. There were poplars
and oaks on the higher parts, and fruit-trees on the
slopes exposed to the south.
The view from the front of the house extended
over a large park-adorned here and there by noble
oaks, and spreading beech-trees, and groups of acacias
-across the broad, smooth river, which looked like a
streak of silver in the distance, and over a wide ex-
panse of purple heath, to the blue hills beyond.
Quite near the house was a pretty pond surrounded







70 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

by willows, which drooped their weeping heads into
the clear waters, and rustled their silvery leaves in the
soft summer breeze. The little stream which fed this
small basin came rippling down from the mountains,
and the place where it escaped into the basin was
surrounded by small ornamental rocks, in the crevices
of which grew all sorts of creeping plants and wild
flowers.
Immediately in front of the house was a broad,
handsome terrace, ornamented with gay parterres of
flowers. Those parterres were the objects of Lady
Leslie's own peculiar care, and Frederick gazed on
those pretty borders and charming beds, where thou-
sands of bright and lovely flowers were blooming,
with something more like rapture than admiration.
From the terrace, Sir Gilbert conducted him into a
fine orchard, where the fruit-trees were now in full
bloom, and from thence he led the way into a flourish-
ing vegetable garden. This garden was surrounded
on all sides by high walls; and when Sir Gilbert
opened the door, Frederick was enchanted at the
first glimpse of this beautifully ordered spot, where
everything was so neatly and regularly arrangedy.and
looked the picture of prosperity.
In the centre of the garden was a large basin of







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 71

water, which was always kept full, and which, by
means of subterranean pipes, supplied water to little
basins placed symmetrically and at intervals through-
out the garden, and they, in their turn, supplied
moisture to the surrounding plants.
The different squares were filled with magnificent
vegetables; not a corner of earth was lost; all pre-
sented the charming appearance of fertility, variety,
and abundatice. Such was the smiling home into
which Frederick was admitted, and in which he re-
ceived nothing but the kindest and gentlest treat-
ment. He had the most beautiful examples of charity
and benevolence before his eyes. Sir Gilbert and
Lady Leslie seemed to live in an atmosphere of virtue
and peace; their days were occupied in work, their
evenings in study. The two little boys, whom Frede-
rick instructed with great diligence and perseverance,
made rapid progress, and Lady Leslie lavished the
tenderest care on each one of them.
Aided by his pupil, Lord Gilbert attended to the
cultivation of the garden, which no other person was
permitted to touch. Both, however, found time for
agreeable and instructive reading; and, besides all
this, Frederick helped Lady Leslie to take care of
her flower-beds. Each and all loved one another,







72 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

and were quite happy in their quiet and peaceful
life.
Frederick was perhaps the only one whose happi-
ness was not complete. His nights were broken and
restless, and often when morning came his eyes were
red with weeping. Often, also, during the day, it
happened that he relapsed into a profound reverie;
one would have thought, to look at him, that visions,
unseen to all save himself, were passing before his
eyes, and even as he gazed, his eyes were moistened
and filled with tears.
He was thinking of his griefs, but no one else knew
them, nor understood them.
On those occasions, one word from Sir Gilbert was
sufficient to dissipate his dreams, and rouse him from
his languor, and then he would return to his work with
renewed zeal and energy.
At last, at the end of six months, Frederick resolved
to confide all his secrets to his kind benefactor.
Accordingly, one evening, when the rest of the
family had retired, Frederick remained behind in the
dining-room with Sir Gilbert, and entrusted him with
the following story of his faults and misfortunes.







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 73



CHAPTER II.

" THE obstinacy and wilfulness of my disposition-
failings of which I am now perfectly conscious, ahd
which I bitterly lament, though now too late-have
been the cause of all my troubles. I have been
guilty of much ingratitude towards my father, and
so I entreat that you will allow his name to remain
unknown. It is his secret, alas! and not mine,
which I am concealing from you; but I do not
wish to reduce you to the sad alternative of deliver-
ing me up to his anger, or of retaining me here
against his will.
" "My father is a wealthy man, and well enough
known for the many services he has rendered his
country on more than one occasion. I am the
only offspring of his first marriage; but, alas I never
knew my mother: she died a short time after my
birth.
"After three years of widowhood, my father mar-
ried again. At first, my stepmother showed much
tenderness for me; but after two years had passed
happily enough, another child came to our home,
and then I fancied my stepmother began to dislike







74 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

me, because I did not caress my little brother suffi-
ciently. If I had only been obedient and affec-
tionate, I would doubtless have easily overcome
those feelings, for I cannot but remember that my
mother was naturally good and kind, and I, in the
depths of my heart, did love my little brother Harry.
But I took it into my head that I was cruelly
neglected; I became jealous and sulky, and treated
my baby brother with the greatest coldness and con-
tempt. Then my stepmother, thinking I disliked her
son, ceased to love me, and my father, observing that
I kept aloof from Harry, was angry with me. He
had good reason. Alas! it all seems like yesterday
to me.
"My dispositions changed completely, and I be-
came all at once sad and morose; sulkiness, defiance,
and a kind of savage timidity made me disagreeable
to all around me. My stepmother complained that
I did not love her, and that I was jealous of my
little brother. The tears stood in her eyes as she
related to my father the proofs of my aversion and
jealousy, and my father loaded me with reproaches
and reprimands; but at those times I always took
refuge in silence, and my tears were my only re-
sponse.







THIE DISOBEDIENT SON. 75

"At last I began to imagine that my stepmother
hated me, and that my father's love for me was also
gone. And so, losing all hope, I became discouraged
and despairing, and would not apply myself to any-
thing.
Then my father began to treat me with the utmost
rigour, and repulsed me coldly when I ventured to
remonstrate with him; and very soon I became an
object of dislike and scorn to the whole house-
hold.
"If I had only been patient and reasonable, if I
had applied myself diligently, if I had shown as much
affection for little Harry as he manifested for me, and
if I had tried to regain my father's and mother's affec-
tion by a never-failing gentleness of behaviour, I would
undoubtedly have succeeded. How many misfortunes
I would thus have avoided! But I was too angry
and wicked to wish for such a thing; I did not even
wish to conquer my own passions; and so God has
punished me.
Sometimes my nurse came to see me, and I threw
myself into her arms in a paroxysm of joy, and gave
full vent to my grief.
"'Ah !' said I to her, 'you are the only friend
that I have in the World! I am a poor orphan; I








76 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

have lost my mother, and my father does not love
me any more.'
"'Frederick, Frederick, do not speak that way!'
cried my trembling nurse. It is not right. Be gentle,
and patient, and wise, my child; if you deserve your
father's love, he will give it to you.'
"My nurse was right; but I would not listen to
her, nor believe her, and I hardened myself more and
more every day. My stepmother, noticing that I
was always more disobedient and ill-behaved after
my nurse's visits, forbade me seeing her again.
"I was only twelve years old at that time; but
when I heard that, I hurried, or rather rushed, into
the dining-room, where my stepmother was seated
alone.
"'Oh mother !' I .cried, 'it is more than I can
bear It is a cruel action to prevent me seeing" the
only person who has now any affection for me !'
"My mother looked at me for a moment with sur-
prise, and then she turned from me coldly.
"'You are nothing but an enemy to me now,' I
added, fiercely. 'Ask my father to send me out of
the house; it will not cost him much grief to part
with me, for he no longer loves me; and I cannot
remain with you.'







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 77

"Sobs of anger and passion choked my utterance;
I hastened out of the room, up-stairs, and threw my-
self on my bed in a fit of desperation.
"Next day, my father sent for me to come to his
study. I felt I was guilty of a grievous fault; and as I
obeyed the summons, I trembled with fear. His
angry glance made me lower my eyes; and I believe I
experienced the anguish of death itself, as I heard
him address those words to me, which, alas, my im-
prudence merited only too well--
"' You have accused your mother of cruelty, Frede-
rick; you have called her your enemy, and you
have said that I, your father, do not love you; you
have asked to be allowed to leave your home; do
you still wish this request to be granted ?'
"'Bewildered and stunned with fear and surprise, I
had not strength to utter a single word.
"'Your desire will be satisfied,' continued my
father. 'You will be sent to. a boarding-school, and
you will leave the day after to-morrow.'
"As my father said this, he made a sign for me to
leave the room. I obeyed. The thought of leaving
my father, whom I now loved more tenderly than ever,
made my tears flow; but I concealed my grief as well
as I could, and to those around me I pretended I did







78 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

not care. I soon learned that my father was going to
send me to a place some thirty miles or so from
London, to a castle which stood on the borders of a
forest, where an old university professor had opened
a school for boys. This professor was a learned and
severe man, they said, and experienced in the art of
subduing the most rebellious natures.
"I was too proud to ask any pardon for my
offences; and when the moment for departure arrived,
I presented myself before my father to say good-bye.
"He was alone in his study, and he looked at me
kindly. I had entered the room with an air of tran-
quil resignation, and swallowed my grief as best I
could; but it seemed to me as if my father's glance
pierced my heart and read my very thoughts.
"'Go, my dear boy,' he said to me, 'go, and learn
to conquer yourself. After some little time has passed,
I hope you will return to us more gentle and obedient.
Kiss me, my son. Good-bye.'
"These words seemed to break my heart. In my
excess of grief, instead of throwing myself into my
father's arms, I threw myself at his feet, and I seized
his hand and covered it with my burning kisses. I
could not speak a word, for my voice was buried in
sobs and tears.







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 79

"'Frederick! Frederick!' exclaimed my father.
' You are then sorry for your conduct, and grieved to
leave us too.'
Sorry yes father,' replied I, through my tears.
Ah, well, my boy,' said he, 'if your heart is still
good and kind, and if you love your father, promise
to correct your faults.'
"At that moment the door opened, and my step-
mother entered, leading her little son by the hand.
Frederick,' said my father, 'get up'; go and kiss
your mother; ask her pardon, and bid her farewell.'
"I rose quickly, but I did not obey. I was wrong,
I know, but my whole nature revolted from such an
act of submission. I brushed away my tears as
hastily as possible, and a look of haughty indignation
was the only farewell that my stepmother received
from me.
"'Go and kiss Frederick,' said my father to his
second son. Harry advanced towards me willingly
enough, but I rudely turned away from him; my
exasperation had made me both disobedient and
unjust.
'Oh, my father,' said I, falling on my knees again,
'I love you, and respect you, and am ready to obey
you in everything; but do not force me to ask the







80 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

pardon of one who detests me; do not compel me to
kiss a child who has usurped my place in your heart.'
"'Rise, unnatural son, and go,' said my father,
angrily. 'Let him go, and may he never appear
before my eyes again,' I heard him add; and I made
my way from the room, blinded by the falling tears.
"After this wretched scene, I was placed under the
care of a trustworthy servant, who conducted me to
the boarding-school, which was to be my future home.
The two first years I sper.t at school were nothing
but a long punishment to me; and what increased my
grief tenfold was, that I never received a single line,
not a single token of love from my father. My step-
mother wrote very regularly to my master, and desired
him to let me know that all the family were well.
But my father, to whom I often addressed the most
tender and loving letters, never sent me a word in
answer. It is true, in my letters I never mentioned
either my stepmother or brother, and that I mani-
fested no regret for my behaviour to them. Doubtless
that increased my father's displeasure with me : but
his silence overwhelmed me with grief.
My master, though stern and inflexible, was, at all
times, just and reasonable.
"'Frederick,' said he, to me one day, how can you







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 8

expect your father to show you any marks of tender-
ness or affection, before you have given him proofs
of your repentance? What have you done during the
two years you have been here? Have you worked
with patience and perseverance? Have you endea-
voured to repair your old faults by your irreproach-
able conduct and daily progress in your studies? First,
make a mighty effort to conquer yourself, and then
your father will forgive you and take you back to his
love.'
"This hope that my master held out to me ani-
mated and encouraged me. I triumphed over the
dark cloud of grief that had overwhelmed me; and
very soon my master lavished his praises upon me. I
wrote to my father regularly, but still he answered me
never a word. My heart beat impatiently, and every
time the postman appeared at the gates of the castle,
I rushed towards him eagerly. 'Nothing for you,' he
would invariably answer, and then my heart would be-
come colder and harder than ever.
"If I had spoken of my stepmother in my letters,
and of my brother, if I had showed the slightest
symptoms of affection for them, my father would most
certainly have replied to me. I understand it all now
perfectly well; but then I never thought of it
F







82 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

"The third year of my school-life had already gone
past, and still there was no word of recognition from
my father. I began to fall into my old melancholy
ways again; I had no longer the heart to study. During
the play-hours, I avoided my companions. I would
wander away into the bosom of the forest, and there
in some wild and solitary spot I would weep to my
heart's content. Sometimes one of my friends would
follow me, and try to find out what was wrong with me.
"' I am ill,' I would answer to their questions, as I
put my hand to my heart, where the pain lay.
"I told the truth; my heart pained me sorely. A
thousand sad and sorrowful thoughts had taken pos-
session of it. I hated study; I hated-school; I hated
all my companions; and even, oh ungrateful wretch
that I was I hated my master, who had always been
so kind to me, of late kinder than ever, for he appeared
to grieve over my troubles almost as much as I did
myself. I resolved-to make one last mighty trial, and to
write once more to my father, and if I did not receive
any reply, to renbunce him and everything else, and
run away-a guilty and imprudent resolution; but I
was enraged and maddened by cold neglect
After having despatched this last letter, I waited
for the answer with a feverish impatience and anxiety.







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 83

During the day, I had frequent palpitations of the
heart, and at night I was a prey to the most frightful
dreams. For a whole month I endured this agony,
for nothing had come !
"Then I determined to put the rash design into
execution that I had formerly agreed upon, though
my resolution was not taken without a shudder. I
ran away from the boarding-school; but, before de-
parting, I wrote this letter to my master.
My dear kind master, forgive my flight. I am
guilty only towards you, since you are the onlyiperson
in the whole world that loves me. I have no friends.
I have no longer any father. Do not be afraid that I
shall make any attempt to rid myself of my life, which
has only been a source of misery to me of late. The
principles of religion, in which you have brought me
up, are my safeguard. I will never do anything un-
worthy the name I bear. Farewell. Love and pray
for your unhappy Frederick.'
Some distance from school I stopped to rest, and
persuaded a young peasant to exchange clothes with
me. I only walked during the night, and avoided all
the villages by turning into secluded field-paths and
lanes. I longed to cross the border, and leave Eng-
land behind me; then, and only then, I felt I could







84 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

breathe freely. But there was a wide stretch of
country to be got over before that could be accom-
plished, and I was already so weary and worn out
that I felt as if I must die in the attempt. However,
I determined to push on to Liverpool, from where I
knew there were steamers went once or twice in the
week to Glasgow. I had only a very few shillings in
my pocket, but I hoped it might be enough to pay
my passage.
"After many days' weary walking, I at length
reached the Liverpool docks, where I was utterly
bewildered by the number of vessels, of all sizes,
that stood there like a vast forest. I inquired of a
sailor, who stood near me, if there were any steamers
there bound for Glasgow.
"'Ay, that there is, my little man; she's lying
yonder, and she'll start before the sun sets,' said the
sailor, pointing to a steamer only a few yards from us.
"' I would like to go in it,' said I, 'but I don't
think I've enough of money.'
"'Well, that's rather awkward, I must say,' whistled
the sailor. Is your business anything very particular?'
"'Oh yes ; I cannot tell you all about it; but I
must leave Liverpool to-night,' I replied, eager to
leave the land of my misfortunes behind me.







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 85

Well, well, my boy, there's no use of you spin-
ning a yarn, as you say, especially as I've no time
to listen to you; but you look an honest little man
enough. Anyhow, you won't take up much room;
and if you come back here in three hours' time, I'11
see what I can do for you; our captain's by no
means a hard man.'
I thanked the kind sailor warmly, and, true to his
instructions, I returned at the appointed time, and
was snugly stowed away on board by my good friend.
I had never been on the sea in my life before,
and I enjoyed the little voyage extremely. We were
not long in accomplishing it, and I was very soon
set on shore at Greenock to commence my travels
again.
I felt very desolate and lonely, and did not know
in what direction to turn my steps, but at last I made
up my mind to go to some farm-place, where they
might be in need of a shepherd. After some little
search, I found what I wanted in the farm-place where
you found me.
I would have been happy enough in that house,
where I was treated with every kindness; but I was
always imagining that my friends would be searching
for me, and would reach me even in this distant re-







86 THE DISWOBEDIENT SON-

treat; and if they found me, they would treat me
with the utmost rigour.
"After some months had passed, however, this
anxiety ceased, and I had the bitter satisfaction of
feeling assured that I was forgotten and abandoned
to my fate. Then my sorrow, though calmer, was
deeper; and the silence of the country where I wan-
dered with my flock, and the vast solitude which
extended around me, only plunged me deeper than
ever into the melancholy of my former days. When
I thought of my father, and when I said to myself,-
'I will never see him again,' I very nearly became
overwhelmed with despair. I have been preserved
from this misfortune by the religious sentiments I
had cherished, and which I will cherish till my latest
moment. I brought some of my books away from
school with me, amongst others Virgil, and they have
greatly helped to cheer me, and distract my thoughts.
I owe much of my comfort and consolation to Virgil;
it seems to have showed me all the sympathy and
kindness of a true friend."
The tears stood in Frederick's eyes as -he finished
the story of his life, and those of Sir Gilbert had been
moistened more than once in the course of the sad
tale.








THE DISOBEDIANT SON. 87

Sir Gilbert indulged in no useless reproaches to the
boy who so bitterly repented of all his obstinacy and
disobedience; but he vowed to himself to do all he
could to find out his family and home, and to make
each member of it happy by restoring to them the
lost son,


CHAPTER III.

ON-E year had past since Frederick's arrival at Sir
Gilbert's house; two more went by, and he had become
an able and experienced gardener. -At the same time
he was radically cured of his faults. Misfortune,
good example, industrious habits, and a peaceful life,
had calmed the violence of his passions, and Frederick
was now as gentle and patient as he was brave and
generous. But, trembling and blushing at the remem-
brance of his past faults, he still did not dare to form
the resolution of returning to his family, in spite of
all Sir Gilbert's solicitations.
"I am going to leave home for a day or two, Frede-
rick," said Sir Gilbert one morning, as they walked up
and down the garden. I have just heard that an
old friend of. mine, who was once of great service to
me, but whom I have lost sight of for the last twenty







88 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

years, has settled himself some miles from here.
Grief, they say, has weakened his health, and he has
come to this neighbourhood for complete change of
air and scene. For a whole year has he been living
in this solitary castle; but such is the retirement of
his life, that it was only yesterday that I heard he was
here. The gratitude I feel towards him impels me to
intrude myself upon his griefs. Meanwhile my boy I
leave you the care of the garden during the few days
that my visit to Colonel Clayton will last.
At the mention of this name, Frederick's face' sud-
denly became pale as death; he staggered and would
have fallen if he had not supported himself against a
tree.
"Colonel Clayton, did you say ?" he asked in a
strange voice.
Yes, my boy," replied Sir Gilbert, looking at Frede-
rick with some surprise; "but how does it happen that
his name troubles you so much ? Do you know him?
Was he a friend of your father's ? "
"Oh, Sir Gilbert! exclaimed Frederick, bursting
into violent sobs, "it is he, it is my father himself.
And grief, did you say, has weakened his health?
"This grief has been caused by me, miserable boy that
I am Ungrateful and unnatural son, this is what







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 89

my disobedience has led to! Oh! Sir Gilbert, take
me with you, ask him to forgive me, tell him-but
no, he will doubtless shrink from me now; he will
repulse me, and load me with reproaches and curses,
which I have deserved only too well. Perhaps he
thinks I am dead; and what would be his feelings on
seeing the son who has dishonoured him, rise, as it
were from the tomb, to renew his troubles!"
A prey to those distressing thoughts, Frederick gave
himself up to a passion of grief. He spoke a long
time without being able to calm himself; but, at last,
Sir Gilbert, by wise advice and tender words, succeeded
in restoring peace to his troubled heart.
"Do not imagine, Frederick, that you will be an
object of dislike to your poor father," said he; "nor
that if he has mourned for you as dead, your return
to life would grieve or disappoint him. No! Your
faults have certainly been very serious ones; but
there is an inexhaustible treasure of love and mercy
in a father's heart. You are no longer the Frederick
of former days-passionate, self-willed, jealous, and
"disobedient; misfortune has changed you; and God,
touched by your repentance, has many bright days in
store for you yet. I am going to see your father; my.
absence will only last for two days; and during that







90 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.

time reflect well upon your position-meditate, examine
your heart, and pray.to God to enlighten you and
send you help from above; and when I return, we
will consult together what you should do. And now,
good-bye, my dear boy, till I see you again," added
Sir Gilbert, pressing the young man to his heart.
"Put your faith in God, and trust in the love of a
father's heart."
Sir Gilbert Leslie set out on his journey, which was
a ride of some hours, through a beautiful but lonely
country. The castle which Colonel Clayton in-
habited was a grand and stately pile, which reared its
towers even above the giant forest kings which sur-
rounded it and in its solitude seemed to hold itself
proudly aloof from every other dwelling. But,
gloomy and grand as it looked at a distance, it had
its beauties.
The garden which surrounded the castle was both
smiling and picturesque; it was ornamented with an
innumerable number of massive statues; and an abund-
ance of rare and lovely flowers, disposed with infinite
art and taste, charmed and dazzled the eye with their
brightness. Without a railing or an enclosure of any
kind, this gay parterre seemed to lose itself in the
waving meadow beyond, and presented on all sides







THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 91

an enchanting aspect. An avenue of splendid lime
trees led up to the castle, and behind them one
could catch a glimpse of numerous fruit-trees, laden
with their snowy, fragrant blossoms, filling the air
with perfume. From the terrace a glimpse of the
winding river was to be seen, glowing in the rays of
the setting sun, and the little green hills beyond, and
still further, the beautiful blue mountains, which
seemed to lose themselves in the clouds.
Sir Gilbert, after having greatly admired the beau-
tiful panorama of nature stretched out before him,
approached the castle. An old man-servant, with
white hair, conducted him into the dining-room,
where he begged him to await his master's arrival.
Colonel Clayton ought to be happy, in such a
beautiful spot," remarked Sir Gilbert.
"No, no, sir!" replied the faithful old servant,
shaking his head sadly; "my master is always sad
and melancholy. The doctors recommended him
continual exercise; he cultivates this garden with his
own hands, with the most assiduous care; but he
never smiles, even at the sight of those beautiful
flowers."
Colonel Clayton himself entered presently. He
appeared delighted to see Sir Gilbert, for whom he





Full Text
10 THE FALSE HEIR.
and well educated as he was,-Victor, whom Augustus
could not do without for a single day when he was
alone, was not judged worthy by him to be admitted
into their company. Augustus had plenty com-
panions to amuse him on that day, and thought
no more about Victor than if he had not existed.
Victor, reasonable and amiable though he was,
could not help feeling slighted by this mark of in-
difference; not that he believed that Augustus had
any love for him, but it was quite natural that he
should wish to join in the pleasures of this fete, and
witness its splendour. The concert would, above all
things, have been a great source of delight to him,
and it was a sad disappointment to the boy to be
deprived of it. But Victor concealed his mortifica-
tion as well as he could, and never mentioned the
subject to his mother, he was so anxious to avoid
anything that was likely to vex or annoy her.
Madame Ernest had no difficulty, however, in guess-
ing what was passing in her son's heart, and, in order
to distract his thoughts, she occupied him as much
as possible, during the whole of that day, with his
various studies. She also intermingled them with
agreeable reading and pleasant conversation, for she
knew that variety of work prevents weariness and



PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 13 "Well, Victor, what do you think now?" "0 mother !" replied the boy, without hesitation, "that odious, ugly creature, which has thrown itself into the pool to trouble it, is like a wicked thought, which can, in one short moment, infect and corrupt the purest heart, if we only allow it to enter." "But, see, my son, the water has again become clear and beautiful. Do you think, if the heart was once soiled by vice, that it would recover its purity so quickly ?" "Oh, no, mother; I do not think so. It is very difficult to root a sin out of the heart; and if it is ever done, I think it would take a long time." "And what conclusion do you draw from that, dear boy?" "That we should watch over our hearts very carefully, mother, and cast out all wicked thoughts, lest, like this water, they lose their purity, and might never recover it again." "Yes, Victor, you are quite right; and now, will you try to keep your heart pure, and free from every stain ?" Yes, mother, I will try; but how will I be able to distinguish evil thoughts from good ones ?" "There is nothing easier, my boy. Only listen to



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 61 The father of the supposed thief was elevated to the post of gamekeeper, and the boy himself was attached to the service of Victor. The baron, his wife, arnd his son, at last re-united after so much misfortune, enjoyed the most perfect happiness possible on this earth, for happiness is the fruit of virtue. Often and often they visited in their walks the beautiful fountain which had been a witness to so many important events in their lives; they loved to gaze upon the pure water, which was no calmer than their hearts now were, nor more peaceful than their consciences. And the filial tefiderness of Victor, whose gentle love had brightened his mother's darkest hours, was to those happy parents, in their season of prosperity, the source of their purest joys and their most brilliant crown of happiness.



PAGE 1

.I THE. FALSE HEIR. Gocyoice, and He always speaks distinctly by our conscience. Be holy, just, and attentive to all your duties; and if an evil thought presents itself to you, you will easily recognise it, and shut it out. Thus you will be happy, my son; for true happiness consists only in peace of conscience, and the continual exercise of virtue." At those words, Victor glanced at his mother with a look of sadness and doubt. The sun had gone to rest behind the dark blue hills; but his dying light still gilded the purple heavens, and one bright ray came glimmering through the poplar leaves, and fell full upon the eager upturned face of the boy. "What is troubling you, dear Victor ?" asked Madame Ernest. One would think, to look at you, that you hardly dared to express the thought which has just come to your mind." "Well, dear mother, I hardly like to tell you what I was thinking; but this is what I was going to ask you,-if a peaceful conscience, and the fulfilment of all our duties, is sufficient to make us happy, how is it that yon, who are the best and kindest of women, are so often sad and sorrowful ?" Madame Ernest gazed at her son for a moment in silence, and then she replied.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 57 not told me enough. As to Augustus, I could not have believed there was such a wretch in our family." O father, dear," said Victor, "forgive him, for my sake. I don't believe he is really so very wicked, but he has been spoiled, and taught to be proud and malicious; I hope he is not quite past reformation, and that he will yet become worthy of your kindness." 'The baron only answered his son by a gentle caress, and at that moment the carriage, for which Fritz had been sent, drove up to the door. Madame Ernest learnt, without any feelings of pride, that they were henceforth to live in splendour and wealth, and remained as modest and unassuming as formerly. She was sensible only of the happy days that were in store for her with her husband and her son. The same evening, Madame Kilberg heard, with the utmost satisfaction, that the woman whom she detested so much had left the village; but she was very far from guessing the change that was about to take place in her destiny. "Very well," said she, "she has executed my orders with an eagerness and promptitude for which I did not give her credit. But they tell me she has gone in a carriage She How has she been able


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 85
" Well, well, my boy, there's no use of you spin-
ning a yarn, as you say, especially as I've no time
to listen to you; but you look an honest little man
enough. Anyhow, you won't take up much room;
and if you come back here in three hours' time, I'11
see what I can do for you; our captain's by no
means a hard man.'
" I thanked the kind sailor warmly, and, true to his
instructions, I returned at the appointed time, and
was snugly stowed away on board by my good friend.
" I had never been on the sea in my life before,
and I enjoyed the little voyage extremely. We were
not long in accomplishing it, and I was very soon
set on shore at Greenock to commence my travels
again.
" I felt very desolate and lonely, and did not know
in what direction to turn my steps, but at last I made
up my mind to go to some farm-place, where they
might be in need of a shepherd. After some little
search, I found what I wanted in the farm-place where
you found me.
" I would have been happy enough in that house,
where I was treated with every kindness; but I was
always imagining that my friends would be searching
for me, and would reach me even in this distant re-


4 THE FALSE R-EIf.
was a modest enough dwelling, but, nevertheless, it
was distinguished from the other houses in the village
by a certain air of elegance and comfort. Madame
Ernest bought this house, and very soon she was
fairly installed in it with her son and an old nurse,
who appeared to be extremely attached to them.
Victor was a noble boy, full of good qualities and
amiable dispositions. His mother had trained his
youthful mind with the greatest care; and, as she
was very learned and richly endowed with intellect
herself, she took the whole burden of her son's edu-
cation upon her own shoulders-thus there was no
need of him going to school. He had few play-
mates among the village boys; -but it was not, like
Augustus, from pride that he kept aloof, for when
occasion required, or when any opportunity pre-
sented itself, Victor was always ready to do a good
action, or perform any little deed of kindness that
might be in his power. But his mother, who knew
nothing dE' those boys or their habits and disposi-
tions, fearful Test her only son might be led away
by evil companions, and that the pure and virtuous
principles which she had so carefully instilled into
his young heart, and by which she had taught him
to regulate his life, might be overthrown by bad


THE FALSE HEIR. 31
It was a long, sad tale, and we will give it in as few
words as possible.
Madame Ernest was born in France, where she
had spent the first happy years of her childhood.
When the great Revolution broke out, and desolated
that fair country with its horrors, her father and
mother fled to Germany with their little one. They
had lost nearly all their fortune, and lived for many
years, in concealment and comparative poverty, in a
little village on the right bank of the Rhine. In a
short time both died, and the little Edith remained
alone with the nurse who had brought her up, and
who still remained with her. A slender sum that
her parents had left enabled them to live, and her
mother's diamonds were reserved to her in case of
extreme necessity. A young German officer, called
Ernest de Clary, whose regiment was stationed in the
neighbouring town, had offered her his hand while her
parents were still alive, and a year after their death
she married him. Having, like her, neither father
nor mother, Ernest de Clary had not to ask the con-
sent of any one to his marriage. Just at this time the
war between France and Germany burst out in all its
fury: the armed hosts of France inundated the coun-
try, and there was a succession of bloody combats.



PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. n fatigue. And so this day, which Victor had expected to find so painfully long, was full of charms to him, and flowed past as rapidly as if it were only a pleasant dream. "Mother," said the boy, as the evening shadows crept forth, "I have been very happy to-day, and I do not regret not having been asked to the castle." "My dear boy, I am charmed to hear it," said Madame Ernest, pressing her son to her heart; "and now let us finish our pleasant day by a walk. We will follow the stream to its source, and go as far as the beautiful 'Poplar Fountain,' the spot you love so much." Victor was delighted with this proposal; this walk was a great pleasure to him, and it made him unutterably happy to see that his mother was at peace as long as he was beside her. Every now and then he stopped to pluck some beautiful wayside flower, and give it to her, and as the mother took it, she smiled, and almost forgot her troubles. They soon arrived at the source of the stream, a place preferred by Victor above all others, and one where his mother often led him, and loved to talk with him. It was a picturesque and charming spot


42 THE FALSE HEIR.
he, seeing the unhappy mother buried in tears, there
is still one way of saving him: will you employ this
means ?"
" Oh yes, thankfully," cried'Madame Ernest; "no-
thing will cost too much if it saves my son-from this
unjust sentence; it would kill him! What must
I do?"
" My master has fathomed the motive of the am-
bitious woman who persecutes you: it is your depar-
ture she wishes. He has proposed this to her, and
she has agreed, and this is what I am entrusted with
telling you. If you will promise to leave Rosenthal
with your son before the new baron arrives, Madame
Kilberg will withdraw her complaint this evening,
and will throw the testimony of the witnesses into
the fire. My employer will take in hand to provide
a tenant for your house; they will leave the supposed
thief alone and in peace, and will continue to employ
his family on the estate. And now, madame," added
the young man, with tears standing in his own eyes,
for so much injustice and oppression on one side,
and so much misfortune and grief on the other, roused
both his sympathy and indignation, "what will you
decide upon doing?"
Madame Ernest had regained full possession of


The Baldwin Library
^^^Univrsity


40 THE FALSE HEIR.
saw them strike him and abuse him, so that he was
unable to defend himself, and now you are ready to
swear to his innocence, 'and the brutal treatment he
received at the hands of those little wretches. Ah,
well, I see you are brave boys after all, and good
servants. Stay, here is a gold piece for each of
you."
CHAPTER VI.
WHAT was Madame Ernest's surprise and conster-
nation next day when the lawyer's clerk again made
his appearance at her house with a very unexpected
intimation.
Madame Kilberg had lodged a complaint against
her, with the magistrate of the village, and she was
summoned to answer it without delay. Victor was
accused of being in league with a young thief, whose
accomplice they supposed him to be; together they
had fallen upon Augustus Kilberg, who wished to
reason with them and prevent the theft; but they
had maltreated him in a frightful manner, and would
have gone even further with their cruel proceedings,
if two of the keeper's sons, who had seen the com-
mencement of the struggle from a distance, had not


THE FALSE HEIR.



PAGE 1

16 THE FALSE HEIR. As Victor spoke, one of the castle windows was thrown open, and the sweet sounds of music were wafted to their ears by the gentle breeze. "I would like to have been there to have heard all that, mother," said Victor again; "but I have had a very happy day, and I don't regret not having been invited." "And you are quite right, my dear boy. Let us be happy in our own humble way, without trying to go out of our sphere. Let us be content with the simple pleasures which are given to us; it is the only way to preserve our dignity and secure our happiness." "You talk of happiness, mother; but Augustus ought to be happy; he has everything to make him so." "Alas, my son," replied the mother, do not trust to appearances. It is sometimes in the midst of our greatest joy and prosperity that sorrow lays her hand upon us, and our most delightful pleasures are often followed by our severest trials and misfortunes."


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 89
my disobedience has led to! Oh! Sir Gilbert, take
me with you, ask him to forgive me, tell him-but
no, he will doubtless shrink from me now; he will
repulse me, and load me with reproaches and curses,
which I have deserved only too well. Perhaps he
thinks I am dead; and what would be his feelings on
seeing the son who has dishonoured him, rise, as it
were from the tomb, to renew his troubles!"
A prey to those distressing thoughts, Frederick gave
himself up to a passion of grief. He spoke a long
time without being able to calm himself; but, at last,
Sir Gilbert, by wise advice and tender words, succeeded
in restoring peace to his troubled heart.
"Do not imagine, Frederick, that you will be an
object of dislike to your poor father," said he; "nor
that if he has mourned for you as dead, your return
to life would grieve or disappoint him. No! Your
faults have certainly been very serious ones; but
there is an inexhaustible treasure of love and mercy
in a father's heart. You are no longer the Frederick
of former days-passionate, self-willed, jealous, and
"disobedient; misfortune has changed you; and God,
touched by your repentance, has many bright days in
store for you yet. I am going to see your father; my.
absence will only last for two days; and during that



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 45 hurt in his fight with Victor, did not take long to recover from his wounds, and the next day the only marks which remained to blemish his appearance, and give testimony to his pugnacious disposition, were a large black circle round one of his eyes and an ugly enough scar on the ear. A prominent part in the welcome of the new baron had been reserved for him,-for the very moment he arrived under the triumphal arch, Augustus was to stand forth and repeat a compliment, a chef-d'cuvre of wisdom and wit, composed by the schoolmaster, the most learned man in the village. His mother heard him say over this speech two or three times every day, but the boy's memory was none of the best, and he failed perpetually. Madame was in a perfect agony of despair and disappointment. "Ah, madame !" exclaimed the schoolmaster, "how can you expect a young lord like your son to have a memory like any ordinary boy? The greatest minds have been famed for their short memories and abstraction; keep yourself easy, all will go well; I will remain near him, and prompt him if he fails."


CONTENTS.
PAGE
I. THE FALSE HEIR, . I
II. THE DISOBEDIENT SON, . 62
III. THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS, Ill


36 THE FALSE HEIR.
see him; and, towards evening, he went out to look
for him. The village people told him that they had
seen Augustus wander away up the stream in the
direction of the "Poplar Fountain," and Victor
hastened after him.
Sure enough Augustus was there, but occupied in
A strange manner. He had, apparently, been fight-
ing with a peasant boy about his own age, and had
gained the best of it, as he was now on the top of
him, and thrashing him most unmercifully.
At this sight, Victor uttered an exclamation of sur-
prise, and the cruel conqueror left off his blows when
he found he had a spectator.
" 0 Augustus! what are you doing to the boy?"
cried Victor. "What has he done?"
"What am I doing, and what has he done ?" re-
peated Augustus ironically, and treating Victor to a
scornful glance at the same time. "Is that the way
to address me, I would like to know? For the
future, my boy, remember that I am Sir Augustus to
you and all the other people of Rosenthal."
Victor could not help indulging in a hearty fit of
laughter at this singular speech, and, turning his back
upon Sir Augustus, he gave full vent to his mirth.
"Surely," said he, I will call you Sir Augustus,'



PAGE 1

4 THE FALSE R-EIf. was a modest enough dwelling, but, nevertheless, it was distinguished from the other houses in the village by a certain air of elegance and comfort. Madame Ernest bought this house, and very soon she was fairly installed in it with her son and an old nurse, who appeared to be extremely attached to them. Victor was a noble boy, full of good qualities and amiable dispositions. His mother had trained his youthful mind with the greatest care; and, as she was very learned and richly endowed with intellect herself, she took the whole burden of her son's education upon her own shoulders-thus there was no need of him going to school. He had few playmates among the village boys; -but it was not, like Augustus, from pride that he kept aloof, for when occasion required, or when any opportunity presented itself, Victor was always ready to do a good action, or perform any little deed of kindness that might be in his power. But his mother, who knew nothing dE' those boys or their habits and dispositions, fearful Test her only son might be led away by evil companions, and that the pure and virtuous principles which she had so carefully instilled into his young heart, and by which she had taught him to regulate his life, might be overthrown by bad



PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

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76 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
have lost my mother, and my father does not love
me any more.'
"'Frederick, Frederick, do not speak that way!'
cried my trembling nurse. It is not right. Be gentle,
and patient, and wise, my child; if you deserve your
father's love, he will give it to you.'
"My nurse was right; but I would not listen to
her, nor believe her, and I hardened myself more and
more every day. My stepmother, noticing that I
was always more disobedient and ill-behaved after
my nurse's visits, forbade me seeing her again.
"I was only twelve years old at that time; but
when I heard that, I hurried, or rather rushed, into
the dining-room, where my stepmother was seated
alone.
"'Oh mother !' I .cried, 'it is more than I can
bear It is a cruel action to prevent me seeing" the
only person who has now any affection for me !'
"My mother looked at me for a moment with sur-
prise, and then she turned from me coldly.
"'You are nothing but an enemy to me now,' I
added, fiercely. 'Ask my father to send me out of
the house; it will not cost him much grief to part
with me, for he no longer loves me; and I cannot
remain with you.'


68 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
would allow me to live in the country, and gain my
living by the work of my hands. Oh if I could learn
to be a good gardener, I think I would be quite
happy."
" Ah, well, my boy, in the meantime, will you let
me take you home with me ? I will treat you like a
son. I have a large garden, which I cultivate myself,
and I shall have the pleasure of teaching you the art
of gardening. Come, my boy, we will work all day,
and in the evenings you will give my little ones les-
sons in the Latin language. Their mother, to whom
I have often spoken of you, is charmed with this
arrangement, and she will make no difference be-
tween you and them."
While Sir Gilbert spoke thus, Frederick appeared
to be deeply moved. One burning tear, which fell
from his eyes, was at first his only response. He
had not strength to speak; he silently took Sir Gil-
bert's hand and pressed it to his lips. Then, weepiig
and sobbing like a child, he expressed his gratitude
in the most lively and energetic terms.
The next day, Frederick, after having expressed his
thanks to the good farmer and his wife, said farewell
to them, and was installed in Sir Gilbert's house.
Lady Leslie was as kind and amiable as her hus-


48 THE FALSE HEIR.
stream, the graceful poplars, and majestic forest, for
the last time.
"Farewell!" he said, "we must leave this dear
spot behind, but its memory can never fade from my
mind."
Victor had hardly spoken the words, when he was
interrupted by a mocking laugh from behind. It
was Augustus, and his sudden appearance somewhat
startled him.
"And are you not going to say 'Good-bye' to me,
-to me who loves you so much?" said the latter.
" Have you no message to my mother ? shall I not tell
her how grateful you are to her for all her kindness to
you? What a sight you are, with your red eyes and
pale face; do look at yourself in the fountain, and
see what a queer figure you are !"
Victor restrained his feelings of passionate anger,
and looked at Augustus from head to foot with the
coldest and most contemptuous scorn.
"You laugh at our misfortune, after being the
cause of it? God will punish you for all your
wicked falsehoods, and that sooner than you think,
perhaps. You tell me to look at myself in the
fountain; rather look at yourself If this pure water,
instead of representing the features of your face,


104 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
"He wants for nothing; he is well educated, active,
and intelligent."
"He has another son, I hear."
"Yes, and he is as worthy a lad as his brother."
"I must confess to you, my friend, I hardly know
how I would get on now without Alexander. At
first I could not accustpm myself to the young man's
presence at all; the very sight of him annoyed me,
for there was something in his features and voice that
reminded me so much of the child I lost. You know
about that?" said Colonel Clayton.
"Yes, I have heard the story spoken of; a child
who behaved very badly towards you, and who
caused you much bitter grief."
"It is only too true; he has caused me much
unhappiness. But oh! my friend, do not judge him
too harshly; he is not so guilty as you think; perhaps
the wrong was not committed by him alone; his step-
mother was to blame too. His stepmother-must I
indeed confess it to you?-who is otherwise so amiable,
and kind, and generous, did not love him; she im-
agined that Frederick hated her son. The fiery nature
and enraged passions of my unhappy son only con-
firmed her in this opinion; it rendered her unjust;
and she fancied if Frederick was restored to my good



PAGE 1

10 THE FALSE HEIR. and well educated as he was,-Victor, whom Augustus could not do without for a single day when he was alone, was not judged worthy by him to be admitted into their company. Augustus had plenty companions to amuse him on that day, and thought no more about Victor than if he had not existed. Victor, reasonable and amiable though he was, could not help feeling slighted by this mark of indifference; not that he believed that Augustus had any love for him, but it was quite natural that he should wish to join in the pleasures of this fete, and witness its splendour. The concert would, above all things, have been a great source of delight to him, and it was a sad disappointment to the boy to be deprived of it. But Victor concealed his mortification as well as he could, and never mentioned the subject to his mother, he was so anxious to avoid anything that was likely to vex or annoy her. Madame Ernest had no difficulty, however, in guessing what was passing in her son's heart, and, in order to distract his thoughts, she occupied him as much as possible, during the whole of that day, with his various studies. She also intermingled them with agreeable reading and pleasant conversation, for she knew that variety of work prevents weariness and


This page contains no text.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 25 "It is quite true," thought he to himself, "that those who are proud and overbearing in prosperity, lose all their dignity and courage in adversity. Mother has told me so; but I never could have believed that the haughty Madame Kilberg could fall into such an excess of weakness, and show herself such a foolish coward !" Such were Victor's reflections; but he said nothing, and did all in his power to comfort and cheer Augustus. A week passed, and during all that time Madame Kilberg had been constantly beside the friend whom she had been wont to treat so contemptuously. There was no end to her lamentations. She loaded the dead man with the bitterest reproaches; she, who had eaten his bread for ten years, and whom he had loaded with benefits, now lavished the most odious names upon his memory, and accused him of all the vices and crimes under the sun. She only ceased from her frantic invectives because she saw that Madame Ernest was wounded by them. This lasted for a week, but at the end of that time a finishing stroke was put to Madame Kilberg's disappointed hopes, which changed the aspect of affairs completely.


THE FALSE HEIR. 33
trust in God had never been shaken, and a secret
hope sustained her courage, and made her strong to
endure all her wrongs. She still hoped that her dear
husband might yet be alive, for his name had never
been placed on the list of the dead or wounded.
God might have spared him to her by a miracle, and
Madame Ernest still dreamt that she would one
day have the happiness of seeing him return, and of
placing his son in his arms :-a very feeble spark of
hope, but one which shone sweetly, and brightened
the dark night of grief and trouble which surrounded
her, by its cheering rays.
Such was the story of this tender, trusting mother,
-a story which was often interrupted by her tears,
with which Victor mingled his own as he listened.
When it was finished, they rose, and the two walked
back to their home in silence, each too much occupied
by their own sad thoughts to utter a word. Victor
was burning to ask a thousand questions, but he
respected his mother's grief too much to trouble
her now, and reserved them all for the next day.
C



PAGE 1

64 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. side written in the Latin language:-do you understand Latin?" "I have studied it a little, sir," answered the boy modestly. "" Then you must have received a good education; how is it that you are reduced to keeping sheep?" It sometimes happens, sir, that a well-educated orphan has to endure want," replied the boy in the same modest voice, but with an air of firmness and decision that would have become a man. But, my boy, who are you; where do you come from; what is your name, your family, your country?" "I am called Frederick; I keep the sheep on the neighbouring farm that you can just see peeping over the top of that little hill. I cannot tell you anything more." "Then you do not wish to tell, me who you are?" asked Sir Gilbert, somewhat astonished by his new friend's manliness. "I do not know you well enough, sir, and how can I trust you ?" replied Frederick. This answer was so just that Sir Gilbert was not offended by it; on the contrary, it only redoubled the interest that this boy had already inspired him with. "Spoken like a young Scotchman, as you are,



PAGE 1

^ B ii .* ...... .7


THE FALSE HEIR. 61
The father of the supposed thief was elevated to
the post of gamekeeper, and the boy himself was
attached to the service of Victor.
The baron, his wife, arnd his son, at last re-united
after so much misfortune, enjoyed the most perfect
happiness possible on this earth, for happiness is
the fruit of virtue. Often and often they visited in
their walks the beautiful fountain which had been a
witness to so many important events in their lives;
they loved to gaze upon the pure water, which was
no calmer than their hearts now were, nor more
peaceful than their consciences.
And the filial tefiderness of Victor, whose gentle
love had brightened his mother's darkest hours, was
to those happy parents, in their season of prosperity,
the source of their purest joys and their most brilliant
crown of happiness.



PAGE 1

40 THE FALSE HEIR. saw them strike him and abuse him, so that he was unable to defend himself, and now you are ready to swear to his innocence, 'and the brutal treatment he received at the hands of those little wretches. Ah, well, I see you are brave boys after all, and good servants. Stay, here is a gold piece for each of you." CHAPTER VI. WHAT was Madame Ernest's surprise and consternation next day when the lawyer's clerk again made his appearance at her house with a very unexpected intimation. Madame Kilberg had lodged a complaint against her, with the magistrate of the village, and she was summoned to answer it without delay. Victor was accused of being in league with a young thief, whose accomplice they supposed him to be; together they had fallen upon Augustus Kilberg, who wished to reason with them and prevent the theft; but they had maltreated him in a frightful manner, and would have gone even further with their cruel proceedings, if two of the keeper's sons, who had seen the commencement of the struggle from a distance, had not



PAGE 1

68 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. would allow me to live in the country, and gain my living by the work of my hands. Oh if I could learn to be a good gardener, I think I would be quite happy." Ah, well, my boy, in the meantime, will you let me take you home with me ? I will treat you like a son. I have a large garden, which I cultivate myself, and I shall have the pleasure of teaching you the art of gardening. Come, my boy, we will work all day, and in the evenings you will give my little ones lessons in the Latin language. Their mother, to whom I have often spoken of you, is charmed with this arrangement, and she will make no difference between you and them." While Sir Gilbert spoke thus, Frederick appeared to be deeply moved. One burning tear, which fell from his eyes, was at first his only response. He had not strength to speak; he silently took Sir Gilbert's hand and pressed it to his lips. Then, weepiig and sobbing like a child, he expressed his gratitude in the most lively and energetic terms. The next day, Frederick, after having expressed his thanks to the good farmer and his wife, said farewell to them, and was installed in Sir Gilbert's house. Lady Leslie was as kind and amiable as her hus-



PAGE 1

0 THE FALSE HEIR. ness to God, from whom cometh every good and every perfect gift ? The whole village soon came to love and esteem Madame Ernest. They respected her melancholy, and did not disturb her solitude, for she was kind and charitable towards the poor, and a good friend to all that were in need of one, and so they only spoke of her with a gentle and tender interest. How much Madame Ernest, who watched over her son so anxiously, would have desired to prohibit him from cultivating the acquaintance of Augustus, if she had only known his character But that was impossible, for fate willed it otherwise. Augustus saw Victor, and resolved to make a companion of him; not from any sympathy, or the wish to have a friend, -a wish so natural to all,-but simply because he could not amuse himself alone, the days and hours dragged too heavily along to be pleasant. Besides, he hoped that this boy, whose position, in his eyes, appeared so much inferior to his own, would be easily ruled over; and the prospect of tyrannising over him seemed very sweet to Augustus. And so it came to pass, that one Sunday, as they were going out of church, he advanced to Victor, and proposed that he should accompany him to the castle.



PAGE 1

CONTENTS. PAGE I. THE FALSE HEIR, .....I II. THE DISOBEDIENT SON, ....62 III. THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS, ...Ill


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PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 107 me here, and at the same time allow you to remain beside your father and brother. Does this plan please you?" "Oh! sir, it is the dearest wish of my heart," replied Frederick. "Ah! well, that is good. I would like to employ the whole three of you in my service, and secure your future welfare by giving you advantageous terms. You had better write to your father, and let him know my proposal." Frederick turned pale, and his heart beat violently. The critical moment had come at last, that moment so often feared and desired. Sir," said he, in a trembling voice, will you be good enough to write to my father yourself? and, in your letter, will you tell him if you are satisfied with me? "Certainly I will, if you desire it. I shall tell him that we are in every respect satisfied with you, and that we love you here as if you were one of the family," said Colonel Clayton, as he seated himself at his desk and took up his pen. "Oh! thank you, sir; but stop one moment, sir, please. The confession I am going to make to you makes me tremble. It is not enough that you should



PAGE 1

28 THE FALSE HEIR. all their impertinence yet," said the lady, frowning and resuming her old haughty demeanour. As soon as the carriage arrived at the door, she hastened to take her seat in it, without addressing a single word of thanks or farewell to Madame Ernest, -without even once looking at her, and Augustus followed her example. "What!" exclaimed Victor, "are you going off like that, without speaking one word to me ?" Augustus turned and said Good-bye to his friend, with a bad enough grace, and then-he took his place beside his mother. "That little boy is beginning to teach you, I think," said that lady, as soon as they were fairly off. "You must keep him in his proper place, and break him off that habit, for there is a great difference in station between you. I wish no more familiarity between you two. What would the new baron say if he saw the child he is going to adopt hand-in-glove with one so much beneath him in rank That would not please him, I should think; so I beg you will keep your friend at a distance." Augustus' heart received those evil counsels greedily enough, and hedid not need to be taught to indulge in pride and vanity.


118 THE HEN AND
understanding each other. Presently a few drops, of
rain came pattering down. The hen called her young
ones, and they hastened to obey her voice. She led
them under a tree, then spread out her wings, and
each little chicken nestled in among the warm feathers.
When the rain ceased, the mother rose again, and the
little ones came out from below her wings quite dry,
and followed her across the field.
Suddenly, while the chickens were scraping and
picking to their hearts' content, and without any fear,
the hen uttered a cry quite different from its ordinary
voice. At this cry all the little chickens dispersed,
and ran, some to the right, some to the left, and
leaving their mother, they hid themselves, some in the
furrows, others under a heap of earth, under the leaves,
anywhere and everywhere they could find shelter, and
then not one of them stirred, and all was silent.
Louisa could not understand this at all. The
young ones were flying from their mother, who had
never left her before! What was the meaning of it?
The hen looked up into the air; Louisa raised her
eyes also, and saw a large bird flying above them-
far away, it is true, but gradually coming nearer, and
apparently seeking for something. Louisa knew that
this brown and gray bird was a hawk. Hawks are


2 THE FALSE HEIR.
stood, in their grand beauty, looking. down upon the
little village which nestled below in the peaceful
valley, while their own dark heads almost seemed to
pierce the golden sky.
At the time our story commences. which is in the
beginning of the present century, this splendid domain
belonged to an old lord; who, invalid as he was,
passed his days in his desolate halls sadly enough,
with no happy voices around him to cheer his soli-
tude and lighten his lonely hours of pain and sick-
ness. At last the old man, anxious to make his
magnificent home happy and bright, bethought him-
self of his young and widowed cousin, Madame
Kilberg, and so he wrote and asked the widow to
come and take up her abode at Rosenthal, along
with her son, a boy about thirteen years old, called
Augustus. This lady was as poor as she was proud,
and, flattered by the baron's invitation, she imme-
diately concluded in her own worldly mind that he
would leave his vast possessions to her son.
Augustus was a wicked boy, badly brought up by
his mother, who was still worse than he. He never
could do anything well, and gave no attention to his
studies, because he thought a young man like him,
who had the prospect of becoming a powerful and



PAGE 1

I. THE FALSE HEIR. CHAPTER I. N one. of the most remote provinces of Germany, and in the centre of a beautiful "valley, stands the pretty little village of Rosenthal. On one side a noble castle, which bears its name, rears its stately head, and almost overtops the giant pines which stand proudly erect around its entrance-gates. This castle, the village, and a few neighbouring hamlets, formed, at the time we speak of a rich barony, and the proprietor preserved to himself all the feudal rights which were formerly observed with such rigour throughout all Germany. On the neighbouring heights, vast woods spread their rich foliage a.s far as the eye could reach; there they A



PAGE 1

2 THE FALSE HEIR. stood, in their grand beauty, looking. down upon the little village which nestled below in the peaceful valley, while their own dark heads almost seemed to pierce the golden sky. At the time our story commences. which is in the beginning of the present century, this splendid domain belonged to an old lord; who, invalid as he was, passed his days in his desolate halls sadly enough, with no happy voices around him to cheer his solitude and lighten his lonely hours of pain and sickness. At last the old man, anxious to make his magnificent home happy and bright, bethought himself of his young and widowed cousin, Madame Kilberg, and so he wrote and asked the widow to come and take up her abode at Rosenthal, along with her son, a boy about thirteen years old, called Augustus. This lady was as poor as she was proud, and, flattered by the baron's invitation, she immediately concluded in her own worldly mind that he would leave his vast possessions to her son. Augustus was a wicked boy, badly brought up by his mother, who was still worse than he. He never could do anything well, and gave no attention to his studies, because he thought a young man like him, who had the prospect of becoming a powerful and



PAGE 1

W TE FALSE HEIR. 29 As for Madame Ernest, far from being offended by the abrupt and hasty departure of Madame Kilberg and her son, she would have smiled with all good nature if her clear penetration had not forewarned her that a storm was brewing against Victor and herself. "This proud lady is about to become my enemy," she said to herself. "She will never forgive me having been a witness of her humiliation and cowardice. She will always be in perpetual fear lest I reveal the ungrateful epithets she has showered upon her benefactor, whose memory is doubtless both dear and sacred to him whom he has endowed with his possessions. She will repay the interest I have displayed in her welfare by injuring me as much as she can. She may do more, perhaps. .My God I if new misfortunes threaten us, do Thou give us strength to bear them calmly, and make Thy grace sufficient for us at all times." With her heart full of those thoughts, the mother judged that the moment had arrived when she might strengthen Victor's mind by making him her confidant, and by revealing to him the secrets which she had thought it her duty to keep from him till now. He, poor boy, was troubled and hurt by the cold adieu he had received from his companion, and could


20 THE FALSE HEIR.
" Do not weep for him, Victor; he was a wicked,
bad man. Oh, if you only knew what he has done
to me. I do not weep for him,-I curse him with all
my heart !" said Augustus, giving way to a passion of
fury at last.
Madame Ernest was both surprised and frightened
by his behaviour. She spoke to him as gently as
she would have done to Victor, and did her best to
calm the enraged boy; and when she had somewhat
succeeded, she persuaded him, though not without
some difficulty, to tell them what had happened.
His story, which was often interrupted by sobs and
groans, ran thus:-
The evening before, just shortly after Madame
Ernest and Victor had passed the castle, and had
lingered to admire its brilliancy and beauty, and the
splendid brightness of the windows, the baron had
been seized with a sudden fit in the midst of the
gay and glittering ball-room. He had -one fault,
which is by no means a rare one amongst the
Germans, nor in our own country either, and that
was-the love of wine. During supper the baron
had drunk freely, as much in honour of the file as
to animate his guests. But the punishment of in-
temperance is generally an awful one, and upon this


44 THE FALSE HEIR.
one's-self in misfortune if the conscience was clear
and at peace. And from that moment he cheerfully
assisted his mother in making preparations for their
departure.
And what was Madame Kilberg doing all this
time ?
If her two victims were calm in their misfortune,
she was almost beside herself with the intoxication
of triumph. But, in the midst of all her joy and suc-
cess, she was anxious: one secret fear troubled and
haunted her, and, she could not rest. She made
extensive preparations for the reception of the new
lord; she caused a splendid triumphal arch to be
erected at the entrance of the village, which was
decorated with beautiful leaves and flowers; there,
the magistrate and all the inhabitants of the village
were to await the arrival of the new baron, offer him
their congratulations, and, above all, deliver a most
pompous eulogy upon Madame Kilberg and-her son.
She had made all her arrangements, and taught every
one their part, and now she went about smiling upon
all, as if to impress them with the fact that she really
was the amiable, generous creature she wished to
appear.
Augustus, who had been more frightened than


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 97
" He is a gardener, sir."
"And is your mother alive ?"
" No, sir; I lost her when I was very young."
"What age are you ?"
"Nineteen, sir," answered Frederick.
" Ah, that would just have been my son's age," said
Colonel Clayton to himself; and unable further to
resist the violence of his feelings, he wandered away
into the solitary woodpaths, and did not speak another
word to Frederick the whole day. He ordered his
old servant to instal the young man in a little cottage
adjoining the castle, and a woman was entrusted with
the charge of preparing his food, and of arranging the
modest dwelling; and so that evening Frederick en-
tered upon his duties.
Plunged into a deep melancholy, which it pleased
him to cherish, Colonel Clayton scarcely ever spoke
to his young gardener, whose features and voice
brought back so many tender memories to his heart.
But always fully occupied by his own work, he went
every now and then to inspect Frederick's, to whom
he was pleased to testify his unqualified satisfaction.
Besides that, he watched him carefully, and took
notice of all his actions. He was charmed with all he
heard from the servants of his character, behaviour,
G



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60 THE FALSE HEIR. Kilberg fell from the gallery, where she had fondly expected to receive the homage of the spectators. They raised her from the ground covered with blood and, a prey to the convulsions of rage and fear, she was borne to the little house which Madame Ernest had just vacated. The baron wished to leave the mother and son to their miserable fate, but his wife interceded so earnestly for the unfortunate Madame Kilberg, that he consented to supply her with sufficient means to take a pretty house some twenty or thirty miles fromthe castle. As to Augustus, who, coward as he was, came crouching to Victor's feet, while he begged for pardon, the latter persuaded his father to send him to college, and secured an honourable future to him, if he showed himself worthy by entirely changing his character and conduct. Augustus' two accomplices protested that they would never have persisted in their false witness if they had been called upon to give their testimony before the magistrate. They were forced to restore the gold pieces with which they had been bribed, and which were given to the poor, and they promised to begin their lives upon new principles, that they might become honest men.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 37 if you will call me 'Sir Victor.' I will not be behind you in politeness. But, first of all, let this boy go. I will not stand by and see you strike him before my very eyes; and I warn you I will defend him. Tell me what you have done ?" added Victor, turning tb the poor boy. "Nothing at all, Mr Victor," he replied. "The keeper gave me permission to come into the forest and cut some twigs for my rabbit cages, and Mr Augustus found me here, and""And told you," interrupted Augustus, passionately, "that I would not permit vagabonds like you to come and destroy the trees, which will one day be mine. I don't care what the keeper told you; I will soon lecture him. You deserve to be put in prison for what you have done, and the beating I have given you is too good for you. I have every right here, remember,-yes, every right," he added, again looking defiantly at Victor. "And you have dared to argue with me! I have commenced to punish your insolence, but I am not finished. Do not stir,-I forbid you to move from the spot." And in order to enjoy the full pleasure of tormenting this boy, who had not courage to defend himself, but trembled like a leaf before his oppressor,



PAGE 1

96 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. vague resemblance to Frederick, and, at this thought, a tear moistened the father's eye. Thus both, equally moved, stood gazing at each other some time in silence, and this delay gave Frederick time to compose himself. "And so Sir Gilbert Leslie has sent you to me," said Colonel Clayton, at last. "Yes, sir." The sound of Frederick's voice made Colonel Clayton start. How weak and foolish I am !" he said to himself. Can I not see or hear a youth of this age without my son being recalled to my mind; but the voice, the figure, and the manner are all so like! Ah, Frederick! my violent, self-willed, disobedient son, would that it were indeed you "What is your name?" asked Colonel Clayton, turning to the young man. "Alexander, sir," replied Frederick; and it was quite true, for his name was Frederick Alexander Clayton. "And where does your father live ?" continued the Colonel. "A few miles from Sir Gilbert Leslie's place, sir." "What does he do ?"


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THE FALSE HEIR. 19
CHAPTER III.
MADAME ERNEST little thought, as she spoke thus to
her son, that her words were so soon to prove true.
The next morning at an early hour, as Victor and
she were quietly sitting at breakfast, the door opened
hurriedly, and Augustus entered, his eyes red with
weeping, and his hair wild and disordered, and
throwing himself into a chair, he burst into a violent
fit -of sobbing. The mother and son rose quickly,
and hastened towards him. Victor put his arms
tenderly round his weeping friend, and asked him
the cause of his grief. But at first Augustus could
not utter a word ; his voice was choked with sobs.
"Pity me, Victor, and help me," he said at last.
"I am the most unfortunate boy in the whole world.
I am mined and lost for ever-the baron is dead !"
" The baron is dead! Is it really possible ?" ex-
claimed the mother and son at once.
"I pity you with all my hert, Augustus," added
Victor, "and I am very sorry to hear of the kind old
man's death;" and as he said the words, the tears of
pity and sorrow really stood in Victor's eyes. Au-
gustus still continued to weep, but it was with rage
and disappointment.


" THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 103
was so jealous, and whom I so blindly persisted in
Shating !"
"Alexander," said Harry, very thoughtfully, "I
think it must make you very sad to be separated from
all you love, I will ask my father if he will let your
father and brother come here and live beside you."
" What! do you think your father would allow such
a thing?"
"Oh, I am sure he would in a moment; for he is
very fond of you, and is always so pleased to hear
your praises."
Tle day after this conversation between the two
brothers, Sir Gilbert Leslie arrived at the castle.
"You have arrived at the proper time," said
Colonel Clayton to him. I was just going to write
you a line with regard to the family of your young
prdotgi here, and I wish to have some information
about them. I cannot thank you too much for the
favour you have done me by sending that young man
here; he is respected and beloved by all. Do you
know his father ?"
"I both know him and esteem him, for virtue,
honour, and probity are united in his character."
"Would he be capable of taking the management
of a farm, do you think ?"



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THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 71 water, which was always kept full, and which, by means of subterranean pipes, supplied water to little basins placed symmetrically and at intervals throughout the garden, and they, in their turn, supplied moisture to the surrounding plants. The different squares were filled with magnificent vegetables; not a corner of earth was lost; all presented the charming appearance of fertility, variety, and abundatice. Such was the smiling home into which Frederick was admitted, and in which he received nothing but the kindest and gentlest treatment. He had the most beautiful examples of charity and benevolence before his eyes. Sir Gilbert and Lady Leslie seemed to live in an atmosphere of virtue and peace; their days were occupied in work, their evenings in study. The two little boys, whom Frederick instructed with great diligence and perseverance, made rapid progress, and Lady Leslie lavished the tenderest care on each one of them. Aided by his pupil, Lord Gilbert attended to the cultivation of the garden, which no other person was permitted to touch. Both, however, found time for agreeable and instructive reading; and, besides all this, Frederick helped Lady Leslie to take care of her flower-beds. Each and all loved one another,



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86 THE DISWOBEDIENT SONtreat; and if they found me, they would treat me with the utmost rigour. "After some months had passed, however, this anxiety ceased, and I had the bitter satisfaction of feeling assured that I was forgotten and abandoned to my fate. Then my sorrow, though calmer, was deeper; and the silence of the country where I wandered with my flock, and the vast solitude which extended around me, only plunged me deeper than ever into the melancholy of my former days. When I thought of my father, and when I said to myself,'I will never see him again,' I very nearly became overwhelmed with despair. I have been preserved from this misfortune by the religious sentiments I had cherished, and which I will cherish till my latest moment. I brought some of my books away from school with me, amongst others Virgil, and they have greatly helped to cheer me, and distract my thoughts. I owe much of my comfort and consolation to Virgil; it seems to have showed me all the sympathy and kindness of a true friend." The tears stood in Frederick's eyes as -he finished the story of his life, and those of Sir Gilbert had been moistened more than once in the course of the sad tale.



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" THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 103 was so jealous, and whom I so blindly persisted in Shating !" "Alexander," said Harry, very thoughtfully, "I think it must make you very sad to be separated from all you love, I will ask my father if he will let your father and brother come here and live beside you." What! do you think your father would allow such a thing?" "Oh, I am sure he would in a moment; for he is very fond of you, and is always so pleased to hear your praises." Tle day after this conversation between the two brothers, Sir Gilbert Leslie arrived at the castle. "You have arrived at the proper time," said Colonel Clayton to him. I was just going to write you a line with regard to the family of your young prdotgi here, and I wish to have some information about them. I cannot thank you too much for the favour you have done me by sending that young man here; he is respected and beloved by all. Do you know his father ?" "I both know him and esteem him, for virtue, honour, and probity are united in his character." "Would he be capable of taking the management of a farm, do you think ?"


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THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 65
doubtless; but I do not insist upon knowing your
secrets, my boy; keep them till you are sure of
having found a worthy confidant."
"Sir," said Frederick, touched by this language,
"if I have given a rude return to your marks of
kindness, I beg you will excuse me. I am an un-
happy and desolate boy, and I wish to remain
unknown. I entreat you," added he, with the hot
tears springing to his eyes, "that you will promise
not to speak to any one about me."
Sir Gilbert was deeply moved. There was some-
thing in Frederick's voice, in his accent, and look,
which assured him of his innocence, sincerity, and
candour.
"Well, well, my boy, I will do. as you wish. I
will not speak of you to any one, but I will come and
see you again some day soon,"
Indeed this young shepherd boy had inspired Sir
Gilbert with such a real desire to know more of him,
and cultivate his acquaintance, that he very often
directed his steps that way in his walks. Every day
he became more and more attached to him. It ap-
peared to this kind man as if God himself had sent
this orphan to him, forsaken by all the world, and
ordered him to take care of him.
E



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THE DISOBEDIANT SON. 87 Sir Gilbert indulged in no useless reproaches to the boy who so bitterly repented of all his obstinacy and disobedience; but he vowed to himself to do all he could to find out his family and home, and to make each member of it happy by restoring to them the lost son, CHAPTER III. ON-E year had past since Frederick's arrival at Sir Gilbert's house; two more went by, and he had become an able and experienced gardener. -At the same time he was radically cured of his faults. Misfortune, good example, industrious habits, and a peaceful life, had calmed the violence of his passions, and Frederick was now as gentle and patient as he was brave and generous. But, trembling and blushing at the remembrance of his past faults, he still did not dare to form the resolution of returning to his family, in spite of all Sir Gilbert's solicitations. "I am going to leave home for a day or two, Frederick," said Sir Gilbert one morning, as they walked up and down the garden. I have just heard that an old friend of. mine, who was once of great service to me, but whom I have lost sight of for the last twenty



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THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 89 my disobedience has led to! Oh! Sir Gilbert, take me with you, ask him to forgive me, tell him-but no, he will doubtless shrink from me now; he will repulse me, and load me with reproaches and curses, which I have deserved only too well. Perhaps he thinks I am dead; and what would be his feelings on seeing the son who has dishonoured him, rise, as it were from the tomb, to renew his troubles!" A prey to those distressing thoughts, Frederick gave himself up to a passion of grief. He spoke a long time without being able to calm himself; but, at last, Sir Gilbert, by wise advice and tender words, succeeded in restoring peace to his troubled heart. "Do not imagine, Frederick, that you will be an object of dislike to your poor father," said he; "nor that if he has mourned for you as dead, your return to life would grieve or disappoint him. No! Your faults have certainly been very serious ones; but there is an inexhaustible treasure of love and mercy in a father's heart. You are no longer the Frederick of former days-passionate, self-willed, jealous, and "disobedient; misfortune has changed you; and God, touched by your repentance, has many bright days in store for you yet. I am going to see your father; my. absence will only last for two days; and during that


88 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
years, has settled himself some miles from here.
Grief, they say, has weakened his health, and he has
come to this neighbourhood for complete change of
air and scene. For a whole year has he been living
in this solitary castle; but such is the retirement of
his life, that it was only yesterday that I heard he was
here. The gratitude I feel towards him impels me to
intrude myself upon his griefs. Meanwhile my boy I
leave you the care of the garden during the few days
that my visit to Colonel Clayton will last.
At the mention of this name, Frederick's face' sud-
denly became pale as death; he staggered and would
have fallen if he had not supported himself against a
tree.
"Colonel Clayton, did you say ?" he asked in a
strange voice.
" Yes, my boy," replied Sir Gilbert, looking at Frede-
rick with some surprise; "but how does it happen that
his name troubles you so much ? Do you know him?
Was he a friend of your father's ? "
"Oh, Sir Gilbert! exclaimed Frederick, bursting
into violent sobs, "it is he, it is my father himself.
And grief, did you say, has weakened his health?
"This grief has been caused by me, miserable boy that
I am Ungrateful and unnatural son, this is what



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THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 79 "'Frederick! Frederick!' exclaimed my father. You are then sorry for your conduct, and grieved to leave us too.' Sorry yes father,' replied I, through my tears. Ah, well, my boy,' said he, 'if your heart is still good and kind, and if you love your father, promise to correct your faults.' "At that moment the door opened, and my stepmother entered, leading her little son by the hand. Frederick,' said my father, 'get up'; go and kiss your mother; ask her pardon, and bid her farewell.' "I rose quickly, but I did not obey. I was wrong, I know, but my whole nature revolted from such an act of submission. I brushed away my tears as hastily as possible, and a look of haughty indignation was the only farewell that my stepmother received from me. "'Go and kiss Frederick,' said my father to his second son. Harry advanced towards me willingly enough, but I rudely turned away from him; my exasperation had made me both disobedient and unjust. 'Oh, my father,' said I, falling on my knees again, 'I love you, and respect you, and am ready to obey you in everything; but do not force me to ask the


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PAGE 1

IHER CHICKENS. 119 birds of prey, which feed themselves on small birds, and which, if they dare not attack a hen, would very willingly attack and eat its poor little chickens. Then Louisa understood that if the hen had kept all her chickens beside her, she would not have been able to defend them, and the hawk would have seized and killed some of them, while now that they were dispersed and concealed, the hawk could not see them, and did not know where to pounce upon them. Every little while the hen gave a little cry, as if she were saying to her children, Remain concealed, the enemy is still at hand," and the little ones seemed to understand her, for they remained concealed in their places. At last the bird of prey, seeing the hen only, went away; and when the mother saw it fairly off,' she called her family together, who hastened to her from all sides, now that the danger was passed. Louisa had no longer any doubt but what the hen and chickens understood each other thoroughly; but who had taught them? Louisa knew nothing of that, for the poor child had never been to school. Louisa decided to ask her father, however. She led the hen and chickens home, and then related to her father all that she had seen, and asked him how


102 THE DISOBEDIENT SONV.
In the evenings, Frederick always joined Harry in
his pleasures and games: the latter could do nothing
without him. In this beautiful solitude, so far distant
from society and the gay world of fashion, Mrs Clay-
ton was pleased that her son should find some inno-
cent distraction and amusement in the society of such
an exemplary and well-educated young man, notwith-
standing the difference of their rank and position in
life. In short, Frederick, by his amiability and readi-
ness to oblige, had endeared himself to the whole
family; and so two months glided happily on.
"Have you got any brothers, Alexander? asked
Harry, one day innocently.
"Yes; I have one."
"And do you love him very much ?"
" I love him with my whole heart," replied Frede-
rick, looking tenderly at the boy. "And have you
any brothers ?"
A cloud came over Harry's bright young face at
this question.
"I once had one, but he is dead now. I was very
young when he left home, but I still miss him very
much; I would have loved him so much !"
"What a good, kind heart he has said Frederick
to himself. "And this is the brother of whom I


THE FALSE HEIR. 5
example, was anxious that Victor should seek no
other society than hers.
She had no other in all the wide world to care
for but him alone; her whole happiness was centred
in her son. Madame Ernest was a gentle, pensive
woman, with a heart so full of sad and tender
memories that it almost seemed an effort for her
to smile, even upon the bright boy who gave himself
up to the pleasures of childhood with all the freedom
and carelessness of youth. Very often, as she gazed
on him, the mother's eyes would overflow with tears;
but when Victor asked the cause of her grief, he got
no answer, and the child could only guess that there
was some sorrow in his mother's heart, of which he
knew nothing as yet. Then he would throw his arms
round her neck, and kiss away the tears, and the
mother would look up and smile, and try to be happy
for her son's sake.
And Victor was so obedient to his mother's voice,
and so loving, and gentle, and anxious to please her,
that he 'could not fail to bring joy to the sorrowing
heart, and send bright rays of sunshine there to dis-
perse the melancholy gloom. When parents are
blessed. with such-children, is it not right that they
should forget their troubles in gratitude and thankful-



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 39 a week has passed, I will have rid myself of this mother and her insolent son I Two of the victim's companions, who had been concealed behind the trees, had been i esses of the scene. Delighted at seeing the wicked had so often treated them harshly, well be took good care not to interfere, especially as they knew Victor was in the right. Those two boys had nothing to boast of in the way of principle; and as soon as Madame Kilberg heard the story, and that they had been spectators of the whole thing, she foresaw that it would be easy enough to make tools out of them for the accomplishment of her wishes, and so, with all haste, she sent word for them to wait upon her. "You deserve to be punished severely for your cowardly behaviour," said the lady sternly, "but I will pardon you on one condition, and that is, that you tell the truth, for you have seen the whole thing. "Yes," added she, looking fixedly at the boys, as if to convince them of the truth of her own statements, "you saw Madame Ernest's son, and another boy who had been thieving in the forest, throw themselves upon my son without any provocation. You


0 THE FALSE HEIR.
ness to God, from whom cometh every good and
every perfect gift ?
The whole village soon came to love and esteem
Madame Ernest. They respected her melancholy,
and did not disturb her solitude, for she was kind
and charitable towards the poor, and a good friend
to all that were in need of one, and so they only
spoke of her with a gentle and tender interest.
How much Madame Ernest, who watched over her
son so anxiously, would have desired to prohibit him
from cultivating the acquaintance of Augustus, if she
had only known his character But that was impos-
sible, for fate willed it otherwise. Augustus saw
Victor, and resolved to make a companion of him;
not from any sympathy, or the wish to have a friend,
-a wish so natural to all,-but simply because he
could not amuse himself alone, the days and hours
dragged too heavily along to be pleasant. Besides,
he hoped that this boy, whose position, in his eyes,
appeared so much inferior to his own, would be easily
ruled over; and the prospect of tyrannising over him
seemed very sweet to Augustus.
And so it came to pass, that one Sunday, as they
were going out of church, he advanced to Victor, and
proposed that he should accompany him to the castle.




98 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
and the diligence with which he applied himself to
his work. Often, as he passed by the- young gar
dener, the Colonel would smile upon him kindly, and
every day his good opinion of him increased.
Frederick observed with delight that he was daily
progressing in his father's esteem and affection, and
he saw the day approaching when he would be able
to reveal his secret. Sir Gilbert's frequent letters to
him in the meantime cheered his courage and bright-
ened his hope.
Time went rapidly past, and the decisive moment
of trial approached; the holidays had commenced,
and Mrs Clayton and her son were expected at the
castle.
Frederick- carefully examined his heart, but he
could find there no trace of the sinful passions which
had rendered him so unhappy. Hatred, defiance,
violence, and jealousy had all disappeared; and his
greatest ambition now was to show himself a gentle
and obedient son, a tender and generous brother.
As to his antipathy towards his stepmother-for this
antipathy still existed-his firm resolve was to endea-
vour to conquer it with all his might; and if he did
not succeed in that, to endure it patiently, without
irritation, and without complaint.


80 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
pardon of one who detests me; do not compel me to
kiss a child who has usurped my place in your heart.'
"'Rise, unnatural son, and go,' said my father,
angrily. 'Let him go, and may he never appear
before my eyes again,' I heard him add; and I made
my way from the room, blinded by the falling tears.
"After this wretched scene, I was placed under the
care of a trustworthy servant, who conducted me to
the boarding-school, which was to be my future home.
" The two first years I sper.t at school were nothing
but a long punishment to me; and what increased my
grief tenfold was, that I never received a single line,
not a single token of love from my father. My step-
mother wrote very regularly to my master, and desired
him to let me know that all the family were well.
But my father, to whom I often addressed the most
tender and loving letters, never sent me a word in
answer. It is true, in my letters I never mentioned
either my stepmother or brother, and that I mani-
fested no regret for my behaviour to them. Doubtless
that increased my father's displeasure with me : but
his silence overwhelmed me with grief.
" My master, though stern and inflexible, was, at all
times, just and reasonable.
"'Frederick,' said he, to me one day, how can you


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 95
Sir Gilbert Leslie," he explained to the servant who
opened the door.
" You are welcome enough," said the old domestic,
as he looked at the young man with apparent in-
terest.
Frederick had, indeed, recognised him, but the
good old man was very far from suspecting that the
child whom he had so often held in his arms, and
whom he had conducted to school seven years before,
now stood before him. He led Frederick to Colonel
Clayton, who, rake in hand, was busily working at his
flower-beds.
Frederick turned pale at the sight of his father,
whose features were now furrowed with age and grief,
and his dark hair streaked with silver. His beating
heart seemed as if it would burst from its place; his
knees shook, ard it almost seemed as if his secret
must escape his trembling lips. But he mastered
himself in time; making a violent effort, he drove
back his tears, and respectfully awaited his master's
questions.
Colonel Clayton observed the young man's visible
agitation, and attributed it to the timidity natural to
his years. He did not recognise the face, but he
traced in the features of this unknown young man a


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EDINBURGH AND LONDON


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 71
water, which was always kept full, and which, by
means of subterranean pipes, supplied water to little
basins placed symmetrically and at intervals through-
out the garden, and they, in their turn, supplied
moisture to the surrounding plants.
The different squares were filled with magnificent
vegetables; not a corner of earth was lost; all pre-
sented the charming appearance of fertility, variety,
and abundatice. Such was the smiling home into
which Frederick was admitted, and in which he re-
ceived nothing but the kindest and gentlest treat-
ment. He had the most beautiful examples of charity
and benevolence before his eyes. Sir Gilbert and
Lady Leslie seemed to live in an atmosphere of virtue
and peace; their days were occupied in work, their
evenings in study. The two little boys, whom Frede-
rick instructed with great diligence and perseverance,
made rapid progress, and Lady Leslie lavished the
tenderest care on each one of them.
Aided by his pupil, Lord Gilbert attended to the
cultivation of the garden, which no other person was
permitted to touch. Both, however, found time for
agreeable and instructive reading; and, besides all
this, Frederick helped Lady Leslie to take care of
her flower-beds. Each and all loved one another,



PAGE 1

50 THE FALSE HEIR. well known, and you have none. Our account is by no means settled," and the furious boy walked off, with a threatening gesture, and left Victor alone with the stranger. Am I wrong in guessing this boy to be Augustus Kilberg ?" asked the gentleman, as he looked after the retreating figure. "No, sir; you are quite right; it is Augustus," replied Victor, "Is it possible ?" said the stranger, looking very much surprised; "he seems to be anything but amiable; and those two wicked boys who joined him, it was doubtless an agreement between them." I don't know, sir," answered Victor, whose frank, generous nature shrank from accusing any one without the most open proof of their guilt, and who disliked harbouring suspicions or speaking evil even against the wicked. "But why has he treated you thus ? What have you done to deserve it, my boy? and have you no friends to protect you and punish him ? Do not suppose I am asking those questions out of mere idle curiosity," said the stranger, seeing that Victor's eyes were now full of tears. I have not listened to all you said to Augustus without feeling interested in


34 THE FALSE HEIR.
CHAPTER V.
BUT the next day brought many other events in its
train.
All the preceding night Madame Kilberg had
nourished in her heart the most unkind and hostile
feelings against the friends she had just parted from
so suddenly. Wicked people almost always judge
others by themselves; she thought Madame Ernest
and her son would triumph over the humiliation they
had just witnessed, and laugh at all the insolence
to which she had been subjected. She trembled
with fear when she thought of all they might say
against her, and of all they might do; and a secret
presentiment warned her that she was lost for ever if
Madame Ernest succeeded in having an interview
with the baron. At the same time, foolishly jealous,
she imagined that if he saw the two boys together,
Augustus would gain nothing by the comparison.
The incensed fear that she indulged in had engen-
dered a feeling of mortal hatred in her heart against
the mother and son who had shown her nothing but
gentleness and pity. She thought all night by what
possible means she might remove them from the
village, and determined to do all in her nower to rid


THE FALSE HEIR. 45
hurt in his fight with Victor, did not take long to
recover from his wounds, and the next day the only
marks which remained to blemish his appearance,
and give testimony to his pugnacious disposition,
were a large black circle round one of his eyes and
an ugly enough scar on the ear. A prominent part
in the welcome of the new baron had been reserved
for him,-for the very moment he arrived under the
triumphal arch, Augustus was to stand forth and
repeat a compliment, a chef-d'cuvre of wisdom and
wit, composed by the schoolmaster, the most learned
man in the village. His mother heard him say over
this speech two or three times every day, but the
boy's memory was none of the best, and he failed
perpetually. Madame was in a perfect agony of
despair and disappointment.
"Ah, madame !" exclaimed the schoolmaster, "how
can you expect a young lord like your son to have a
memory like any ordinary boy? The greatest minds
have been famed for their short memories and ab-
straction; keep yourself easy, all will go well; I will
remain near him, and prompt him if he fails."


70 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
by willows, which drooped their weeping heads into
the clear waters, and rustled their silvery leaves in the
soft summer breeze. The little stream which fed this
small basin came rippling down from the mountains,
and the place where it escaped into the basin was
surrounded by small ornamental rocks, in the crevices
of which grew all sorts of creeping plants and wild
flowers.
Immediately in front of the house was a broad,
handsome terrace, ornamented with gay parterres of
flowers. Those parterres were the objects of Lady
Leslie's own peculiar care, and Frederick gazed on
those pretty borders and charming beds, where thou-
sands of bright and lovely flowers were blooming,
with something more like rapture than admiration.
From the terrace, Sir Gilbert conducted him into a
fine orchard, where the fruit-trees were now in full
bloom, and from thence he led the way into a flourish-
ing vegetable garden. This garden was surrounded
on all sides by high walls; and when Sir Gilbert
opened the door, Frederick was enchanted at the
first glimpse of this beautifully ordered spot, where
everything was so neatly and regularly arrangedy.and
looked the picture of prosperity.
In the centre of the garden was a large basin of



PAGE 1

120 THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS. it was that those animals could understand, since they had not the gift of speech. My child," said the old shoemaker, God, who has givenr us the gift of speech, has also given t6 every kind of animal a sort of language of their own, by means of which they can make each other understand, to a certain degree, their wants, sufferings, and feelings. For example, when a poor dog has been beaten, and it cries, we understand quite well that it is saying, 'I am suffering;' when there are little birds in a nest, and their mother brings them food, she speaks to them with such a soft tender voice, we can guess again that she is saying loving things to them and asking them to eat. "God, my daughter, sees all things, and is always just and generous. He knows exactly what is necessary to each being that Hie has created, and to the very least of them He gives all that could possibly be useful to them."


THE FALSE HEIR
AND OTHER
aQict Staries faor ie ung.
With wllustations.
"EDINBUPGH:
WILLIAM P. NIM M O.
-4i,87i.




84 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
breathe freely. But there was a wide stretch of
country to be got over before that could be accom-
plished, and I was already so weary and worn out
that I felt as if I must die in the attempt. However,
I determined to push on to Liverpool, from where I
knew there were steamers went once or twice in the
week to Glasgow. I had only a very few shillings in
my pocket, but I hoped it might be enough to pay
my passage.
"After many days' weary walking, I at length
reached the Liverpool docks, where I was utterly
bewildered by the number of vessels, of all sizes,
that stood there like a vast forest. I inquired of a
sailor, who stood near me, if there were any steamers
there bound for Glasgow.
"'Ay, that there is, my little man; she's lying
yonder, and she'll start before the sun sets,' said the
sailor, pointing to a steamer only a few yards from us.
"' I would like to go in it,' said I, 'but I don't
think I've enough of money.'
"'Well, that's rather awkward, I must say,' whistled
the sailor. Is your business anything very particular?'
"'Oh yes ; I cannot tell you all about it; but I
must leave Liverpool to-night,' I replied, eager to
leave the land of my misfortunes behind me.



PAGE 1

94 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. gained the esteem of all, then I will throw myself at my father's feet, and I will say, I am Frederick !" This project, which at first appeared only a wild romance to Sir Gilbert, ended in seeming reasonable and generous enough. He fully understood that this life of dependence and work in his father's house, would be an expiation to the disobedient sonpleasing in the sight of God, and honourable in the eyes of man. He understood that Colonel Clayton's happiness would be rendered doubly sure if, before recognising his son, he had discovered the certainty of his good qualities. So he wrote to Colonel Clayton that he had a young gardener at his disposal, for *whose good conduct and abilities he would himself be answerable. A few days after the despatch of this letter, Frederick prepared to depart. After having taken an affectionate leave of Lady Leslie and her two amiable sons, Frederick set out on his journey to the lonely castle inhabited by his father. When he arrived at the entrance-gate, his heart almost failed him, and he was on the point of retracing his steps; but summoning up all his courage, he walked boldly up to the door and rang the bell. "I am the young man sent to Colonel Clayton by



PAGE 1

54 THE FALSE HEIR. CHAPTER VIII. IT is impossible to express Madame de Clary's joy and delight when she once more saw the husband for whom she had mourned and wept for so many long, weary years. The thought of this meeting, or rather the hope of it, had been the bright loadstar that had shone aloft in the darkness, and helped her to bear all her grief and trouble; and now the happy little family were united again by God's goodness, and they mingled their tears of joy with their fervent thanks to Him who doeth all things well, and from whose unerring hand come both our joys and our sorrows. Then, how many things they had to relate to each other On the evening, of the fatal battle that had broken up their home, and torn them asunder, Ernest de Clary was left for dead on the field; but he -ill breathed, and it was through the humanity of a French soldier that he was saved; this soldier, at the very moment they were about to bury him with the slain, thought he perceived a feeble spark of life in the cold frame, though it was so very feeble that he could hardly perceive it. Good and generous, as all brave soldiers should be, he begged one of his comrades to assist in conveying him to the hospital.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 35 herself of such uncomfortable neighboufs. She never thought of her unchristian behaviour, or how she was abusing the power that had been entrusted to her; she only thought of her own selfish motives and ambitious schemes, and how all her fair hopes might yet be dashed in pieces, if she did not act with the utmost wisdom and precaution. It was easy to gain her son's sympathy and aid, for it was chiefly through him that she hoped to succeed in her plans, and the lesson was not lost upon him. Victor was far from perceiving the storm which was about to fall upon him; he had received so many proofs of attachment from Augustus during these last days, that, in spite of the coldness of his farewell the evening before, and notwithstanding all his mother had said to him, he still tried to believe in his friendship. He passed the whole morning beside his mother, talking over the sad story he had learnt the evening before; then he set himself to his studies bravely, though his thoughts would wander away from his lesson at times, for his heart was still troubled and agitated. He was astonished that Augustus did not come to



PAGE 1

44 THE FALSE HEIR. one's-self in misfortune if the conscience was clear and at peace. And from that moment he cheerfully assisted his mother in making preparations for their departure. And what was Madame Kilberg doing all this time ? If her two victims were calm in their misfortune, she was almost beside herself with the intoxication of triumph. But, in the midst of all her joy and success, she was anxious: one secret fear troubled and haunted her, and, she could not rest. She made extensive preparations for the reception of the new lord; she caused a splendid triumphal arch to be erected at the entrance of the village, which was decorated with beautiful leaves and flowers; there, the magistrate and all the inhabitants of the village were to await the arrival of the new baron, offer him their congratulations, and, above all, deliver a most pompous eulogy upon Madame Kilberg and-her son. She had made all her arrangements, and taught every one their part, and now she went about smiling upon all, as if to impress them with the fact that she really was the amiable, generous creature she wished to appear. Augustus, who had been more frightened than



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 41 hastened to the unfortunate boy's help. They had raised Augustus from the ground, and borne him, bruised and bleeding, to the castle; they had also taken away the stolen twigs to prove that the aim of this assault was to conceal and cover a theft; both were ready to affirm the truth of this story before the magistrate by an oath. Victor and his accomplice would doubtless be condemned to spend two months in prison, and the parents of the young thief, who gained their living only by the work supplied to them by the Lord of Rosenthal, would be forced to leave the village. Madame Ernest, pale with grief, and trembling with fear, listened to this false story almost mechanically, and from time to time she raised her eyes towards heaven, which could witness the innocence of her son. Madame," added the lawyer's clerk, "there is no doubt the story is a false one, and my master regrets it as much as I do; but the magistrate, who perhaps in the depths of his heart thinks as we do, will be forced to declare your son guilty: the testimony of the two witnesses is unanswerable. The magistrate will be obliged, in spite of himself, to send Victor to prison. But calm yourself, my dear madame," added


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE
A DECEPTIVE VISION, . 17
FREDERICK'S GRACEFUL PEACE-OFFERING, 100
QUITE AT HOME, 13



PAGE 1

D^ III. THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS. HERE was once a poor shoemaker who lived, with his two children, in a little white house at the very end of the town. The shoemaker worked from morning till night in his little shop, mending and patching up old shoes and boots, and sometimes making new ones too. The shoemaker had one hen, which was so much accustomed to her master's kindness, that it often came and perched itself on the window sill, quitenear to him, and he had only to stretch out his arm to stroke its soft feathers. But for some time the hen had not left her nest. She had a heap of pretty white eggs to cover, and she would not leave them for a moment. She hardly gave herself time to eat, so earnest was she in her


D- ^
III.
THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS.
HERE was once a poor shoemaker who lived,
with his two children, in a little white house
at the very end of the town.
The shoemaker worked from morning till night in
his little shop, mending and patching up old shoes
and boots, and sometimes making new ones too.
The shoemaker had one hen, which was so much
accustomed to her master's kindness, that it often
came and perched itself on the window sill, quite-
near to him, and he had only to stretch out his arm
to stroke its soft feathers.
But for some time the hen had not left her nest.
She had a heap of pretty white eggs to cover, and
she would not leave them for a moment. She hardly
gave herself time to eat, so earnest was she in her





PAGE 1

S THE FALSE HEIR. r God, who sends us all our joys and sorrows, does Snot forbid us from weeping and mourning; but He sends us blessings to cheer and console us in the midst of our troubles, and it is, my dear Victor, a very sweet blessing to me to see you so good and wise; and so, in spite of all my misfortunes, I am happy. My misfortunes, which, alas are yours also, my boy, I will soon reveal to you, for you are becoming every day more and more worthy to be entrusted with my secret. But I am weary now; let us leave this subject for another time, and we shall talk of something more lively as we go home." As they returned to their dwelling, they caught a glimpse of the castle through the trees, the windows of which were so brilliantly illuminated that they shone like so many stars in the distance. "0 mother how beautiful! exclaimed Victor, pausing to admire the scene. It must be a magnificent fete, and how pleased Augustus will be !" "I am not the least envious now, mother," added Sthe boy, with a sigh, "of Augustus and a11 the pleasures he enjoys. I do not envy him either his wealth or his fine clothes. It is his friendship or love only that I care about; and now, mother, I know well Senough whether he really cares for me dr not !"


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PAGE 1

22 TIE FALSE HEIR. And so Madame Kilberg continued to sound the praises of the dead. But," she added, my grief, violent though it be, must not prevent me from fulfilling my duty. My duty now, is to watch over the interests of my son, who is, as you all know, the baron's heir, and I am his guardian. And so, my good friends and neighbours, I will take possession of the keys in your presence." A profound silence prevailed in the room after those words, in the midst of which the lawyer stood forth and addressed Madame Kilberg. "Do not be so hasty, if you please, my dear madame," said he; the keys, in the meantime, belong to me. Augustus is not, as you believe, the bhron's heir, and you are only a stranger now in this house. To-morrow you will have full proof of it, but, in the meantime, you, and all here present, may satisfy yourselves as to the truth of this statement by reading over this paper, which I have carried about with me, in anticipation of the awful event which has just happened." And the lawyer drew from his pocket-book a letter, which he read aloud, and which was couched in these terms :-


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54 THE FALSE HEIR.
CHAPTER VIII.
IT is impossible to express Madame de Clary's joy
and delight when she once more saw the husband for
whom she had mourned and wept for so many long,
weary years. The thought of this meeting, or rather
the hope of it, had been the bright loadstar that had
shone aloft in the darkness, and helped her to bear
all her grief and trouble; and now the happy little
family were united again by God's goodness, and they
mingled their tears of joy with their fervent thanks to
Him who doeth all things well, and from whose un-
erring hand come both our joys and our sorrows.
Then, how many things they had to relate to each
other On the evening, of the fatal battle that had
broken up their home, and torn them asunder, Ernest
de Clary was left for dead on the field; but he -ill
breathed, and it was through the humanity of a
French soldier that he was saved; this soldier, at
the very moment they were about to bury him with
the slain, thought he perceived a feeble spark of life
in the cold frame, though it was so very feeble that
he could hardly perceive it. Good and generous, as
all brave soldiers should be, he begged one of his
comrades to assist in conveying him to the hospital.



PAGE 1

32 THE FALS.E HEIR. Two months after his marriage, Ernest de Clary perished, as was believed, in one of those battles, for he had never more been heard of. In losing him, his unfortunate bride lost everything, for she could not prove her marriage. The little chapel where it had been celebrated, the whole village, the good old clergyman, had all perished in the flames, the day of this fatal battle. Madame Ernest could not obtain the smallest portion of her dead husband's fortune. His brothers seized upon everything, and even threatened the widow with a ruinous lawsuit if she persisted in calling herself by his name. She was then obliged to change it, and called herself simply Madame Ernest. She sold her mother's diamonds; and retaining two-thirds of the sum they brought, she spent the rest in purchasing a little house in a distant village, to which she retired with her newly-born son and her faithful old nurse. Some years after this, the lord of this village, who was very powerful and tyrannical, forced many of the inhabitants, and her amongst others, to sell their houses, in order to increase the dimensions ,of his park; and it was then the widow established herself at Rosenthal. In the midst of all her griefs and misfortunes her


THE FALSE HEIR. 41
hastened to the unfortunate boy's help. They had
raised Augustus from the ground, and borne him,
bruised and bleeding, to the castle; they had also
taken away the stolen twigs to prove that the aim of
this assault was to conceal and cover a theft; both
were ready to affirm the truth of this story before the
magistrate by an oath. Victor and his accomplice
would doubtless be condemned to spend two months
in prison, and the parents of the young thief, who
gained their living only by the work supplied to them
by the Lord of Rosenthal, would be forced to leave
the village.
Madame Ernest, pale with grief, and trembling
with fear, listened to this false story almost mecha-
nically, and from time to time she raised her eyes
towards heaven, which could witness the innocence
of her son.
" Madame," added the lawyer's clerk, "there is no
doubt the story is a false one, and my master regrets
it as much as I do; but the magistrate, who perhaps
in the depths of his heart thinks as we do, will be
forced to declare your son guilty: the testimony of
the two witnesses is unanswerable. The magistrate
will be obliged, in spite of himself, to send Victor to
prison. But calm yourself, my dear madame," added


This page contains no text.


Ino THE DISOBEDIENT SON
As for Frederick, his father presented him with the
beautiful Scotch castle where their reconciliation had
been effected, and the estate which belonged to it
There Frederick resides almost continually, the patron
of industry, and the benefactor of the poor.
Among the number of institutions which he has
founded is a fine school-house; he often examines
the children himself, gives them useful lessons and
advice, and rewards those who have been diligent
and persevering. But the great lesson which he
strives to inculcate into each little mind, is the
precept so well confirmed by his own misfortunes
and faults. :'
"Love your parents; honour them and obey them
m everything: it is the law of God, and the source
of all happiness."



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 73 CHAPTER II. THE obstinacy and wilfulness of my dispositionfailings of which I am now perfectly conscious, ahd which I bitterly lament, though now too late-have been the cause of all my troubles. I have been guilty of much ingratitude towards my father, and so I entreat that you will allow his name to remain unknown. It is his secret, alas! and not mine, which I am concealing from you; but I do not wish to reduce you to the sad alternative of delivering me up to his anger, or of retaining me here against his will. "My father is a wealthy man, and well enough known for the many services he has rendered his country on more than one occasion. I am the only offspring of his first marriage; but, alas I never knew my mother: she died a short time after my birth. "After three years of widowhood, my father married again. At first, my stepmother showed much tenderness for me; but after two years had passed happily enough, another child came to our home, and then I fancied my stepmother began to dislike



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 31 It was a long, sad tale, and we will give it in as few words as possible. Madame Ernest was born in France, where she had spent the first happy years of her childhood. When the great Revolution broke out, and desolated that fair country with its horrors, her father and mother fled to Germany with their little one. They had lost nearly all their fortune, and lived for many years, in concealment and comparative poverty, in a little village on the right bank of the Rhine. In a short time both died, and the little Edith remained alone with the nurse who had brought her up, and who still remained with her. A slender sum that her parents had left enabled them to live, and her mother's diamonds were reserved to her in case of extreme necessity. A young German officer, called Ernest de Clary, whose regiment was stationed in the neighbouring town, had offered her his hand while her parents were still alive, and a year after their death she married him. Having, like her, neither father nor mother, Ernest de Clary had not to ask the consent of any one to his marriage. Just at this time the war between France and Germany burst out in all its fury: the armed hosts of France inundated the country, and there was a succession of bloody combats.


74 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
me, because I did not caress my little brother suffi-
ciently. If I had only been obedient and affec-
tionate, I would doubtless have easily overcome
those feelings, for I cannot but remember that my
mother was naturally good and kind, and I, in the
depths of my heart, did love my little brother Harry.
But I took it into my head that I was cruelly
neglected; I became jealous and sulky, and treated
my baby brother with the greatest coldness and con-
tempt. Then my stepmother, thinking I disliked her
son, ceased to love me, and my father, observing that
I kept aloof from Harry, was angry with me. He
had good reason. Alas! it all seems like yesterday
to me.
"My dispositions changed completely, and I be-
came all at once sad and morose; sulkiness, defiance,
and a kind of savage timidity made me disagreeable
to all around me. My stepmother complained that
I did not love her, and that I was jealous of my
little brother. The tears stood in her eyes as she
related to my father the proofs of my aversion and
jealousy, and my father loaded me with reproaches
and reprimands; but at those times I always took
refuge in silence, and my tears were my only re-
sponse.


22 TIE FALSE HEIR.
And so Madame Kilberg continued to sound the
praises of the dead.
" But," she added, my grief, violent though it be,
must not prevent me from fulfilling my duty. My
duty now, is to watch over the interests of my son,
who is, as you all know, the baron's heir, and I am
his guardian. And so, my good friends and neigh-
bours, I will take possession of the keys in your pre-
sence."
A profound silence prevailed in the room after
those words, in the midst of which the lawyer stood
forth and addressed Madame Kilberg.
"Do not be so hasty, if you please, my dear
madame," said he; the keys, in the meantime, belong
to me. Augustus is not, as you believe, the bhron's
heir, and you are only a stranger now in this house.
To-morrow you will have full proof of it, but, in the
meantime, you, and all here present, may satisfy
yourselves as to the truth of this statement by read-
ing over this paper, which I have carried about
with me, in anticipation of the awful event which
has just happened."
And the lawyer drew from his pocket-book a letter,
which he read aloud, and which was couched in these
terms :-


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 109
ton entered the room; she guessed all in a glance.
Frederick hastened towards her, and kissed her hand.
She embraced him affectionately, called him her son,
and then sent for Harry. The boy threw his arms
round his brother's neck, and loaded him with
caresses, which Frederick joyfully returned.
"You see, Harry, I did not deceive you when I
told you that I loved my brother with all my heart,"
he said.
From that day peace and love reigned in that
hitherto unhappy family, and their existence was
ranquil as a summer day, without a cloud to
darken the sunshine. They all loved each other
tenderly; Mrs Clayton made not the least dis-
tinction between Frederick and Harry; and the
whole three united in making the Colonel as happy
as he could wish to be. Sir Gilbert Leslie was the
esteemed friend of each one of them, and they all
united in heartily thanking him for the great change
he had effected in Frederick's character.
SColonel Clayton, restored to health and strength
by the renewal of his happiness, again devoted his
talents to the service of his country.
Harry having finished his studies, followed his
father's example, and entered the army.


60 THE FALSE HEIR.
Kilberg fell from the gallery, where she had fondly
expected to receive the homage of the spectators.
They raised her from the ground covered with blood
and, a prey to the convulsions of rage and fear, she
was borne to the little house which Madame Ernest
had just vacated.
The baron wished to leave the mother and son to
their miserable fate, but his wife interceded so ear-
nestly for the unfortunate Madame Kilberg, that he
consented to supply her with sufficient means to
take a pretty house some twenty or thirty miles from-
the castle. As to Augustus, who, coward as he was,
came crouching to Victor's feet, while he begged for
pardon, the latter persuaded his father to send him
to college, and secured an honourable future to him,
if he showed himself worthy by entirely changing his
character and conduct.
Augustus' two accomplices protested that they
would never have persisted in their false witness if
they had been called upon to give their testimony
before the magistrate. They were forced to restore
the gold pieces with which they had been bribed,
and which were given to the poor, and they pro-
mised to begin their lives upon new principles, that
they might become honest men.



PAGE 1

12 THE &ALSE HEIR. on the very borders of the forest. The water, leaping and darting from the rocks, fell into a natural "basin among the pebbles and sand which formed its depths. Just below the source, four beautiful Italian poplars raised their pyramidal heads, and gave the pretty retreat its name. The water in the basin formed a transparent pool, clear as crystal, and escaping with a gentle murmur, gave birth to a limpid stream, which wound down the valley, rippling, and tinkling, and chattering over the stones as it went. Seated near the fountain by his mother's side, Victor contemplated the pure crystal waters with heartfelt admiration. "0 mother!" exclaimed the boy, "is it not beautiful, this clear stream of bright blue water?" Yes, my son, of what does it appear to you to be the emblem?" Victor reflected for a few moments, and then spoke. I think, mother, this lovely water is the emblem of a pure soul troubled by no evil passions, and soiled bypno wicked thoughts." "Yes, my boy; but, stay-look !" At this moment, a frog leapt from the turf into the water, and disturbed its stillness.


THE FALSE HEIR. n
fatigue. And so this day, which Victor had expected
to find so painfully long, was full of charms to him,
and flowed past as rapidly as if it were only a
pleasant dream.
"Mother," said the boy, as the evening shadows
crept forth, "I have been very happy to-day, and
I do not regret not having been asked to the
castle."
"My dear boy, I am charmed to hear it," said
Madame Ernest, pressing her son to her heart; "and
now let us finish our pleasant day by a walk. We
will follow the stream to its source, and go as far as
the beautiful 'Poplar Fountain,' the spot you love
so much."
Victor was delighted with this proposal; this walk
was a great pleasure to him, and it made him unutter-
ably happy to see that his mother was at peace as
long as he was beside her. Every now and then he
stopped to pluck some beautiful wayside flower, and
give it to her, and as the mother took it, she smiled,
and almost forgot her troubles.
They soon arrived at the source of the stream, a
place preferred by Victor above all others, and one
where his mother often led him, and loved to talk
with him. It was a picturesque and charming spot



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 67 questions. I don't want to tell a lie,' he said; 'and so I would rather not answer you at all.' "At that time our youngest son was ill, and we required a shepherd badly enough; so we took this young unknown. We have all along been very much pleased with him; he is careful, intelligent, active, and, besides, he is pious and gentle as an angel. 6ur son will, we hope, soon be strong again; and then we will have no more need of Frederick, but he can remain under our roof as long as he wishes. As long as we have bread at the farm here, there will always be enough for him." These simple words of the good farmer's wife redoubled the interest which Sir Gilbert now felt in Frederick. "Who can this boy be?" he asked himself over and over again; "and what strange adventure has brought him here? I may perhaps know all that some day, but in the meantime I will wait patiently, and take care of him." What are your plans for the future, Frederick? asked Sir Gilbert of the boy one day. "You know you cannot keep sheep all your life." No, sir, I have no wish to do so," replied Frederick. I would like to learn some profession, which



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 65 doubtless; but I do not insist upon knowing your secrets, my boy; keep them till you are sure of having found a worthy confidant." "Sir," said Frederick, touched by this language, "if I have given a rude return to your marks of kindness, I beg you will excuse me. I am an unhappy and desolate boy, and I wish to remain unknown. I entreat you," added he, with the hot tears springing to his eyes, "that you will promise not to speak to any one about me." Sir Gilbert was deeply moved. There was something in Frederick's voice, in his accent, and look, which assured him of his innocence, sincerity, and candour. "Well, well, my boy, I will do. as you wish. I will not speak of you to any one, but I will come and see you again some day soon," Indeed this young shepherd boy had inspired Sir Gilbert with such a real desire to know more of him, and cultivate his acquaintance, that he very often directed his steps that way in his walks. Every day he became more and more attached to him. It appeared to this kind man as if God himself had sent this orphan to him, forsaken by all the world, and ordered him to take care of him. E



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 109 ton entered the room; she guessed all in a glance. Frederick hastened towards her, and kissed her hand. She embraced him affectionately, called him her son, and then sent for Harry. The boy threw his arms round his brother's neck, and loaded him with caresses, which Frederick joyfully returned. "You see, Harry, I did not deceive you when I told you that I loved my brother with all my heart," he said. From that day peace and love reigned in that hitherto unhappy family, and their existence was ranquil as a summer day, without a .cloud to darken the sunshine. They all loved each other tenderly; Mrs Clayton made not the least distinction between Frederick and Harry; and the whole three united in making the Colonel as happy as he could wish to be. Sir Gilbert Leslie was the esteemed friend of each one of them, and they all united in heartily thanking him for the great change he had effected in Frederick's character. SColonel Clayton, restored to health and strength by the renewal of his happiness, again devoted his talents to the service of his country. Harry having finished his studies, followed his father's example, and entered the army.



PAGE 1

66 THE DISOBEDIENT SON, Frederick, though he did not entrust Sir Gilbert with his secrets, was yet sensible enough of his kindness. It soon became an established custom for Sir Gilbert to come and talk with the boy; and as Frederick was really possessed of a lively intelligence, and .was well informed on many subjects, Sir Gilbert found an infinite charm in his conversation. He resolved to be useful to him, and to receive him into his house. But, in the first place, he wished to gain some little insight into this boy's life, which seemed to be shrouded in so much mystery; and, for this purpose, he secretly repaired to, the farm where Frederick looked after the sheep. The farmer was absent, but his wife answered all Sir Gilbert's questions quite as well, if not better, than he could have done himself. She expatiated largely upon Frederick's virtues; but she had only known him for six months, had never heard his history, and could only answer for his conduct during the short time he had been with them. My lord," said she, this child came to our door one winter evening. 'Give me a little bread, if you please, or let me work for it,' he said, in his innocent way: but that was all he said. We asked him many


THE FALSE HEIR. 2
occasion it was not far off. Making a violent effort,
the baron gave the signal to return to the ball-room,
and dancing commenced immediately with renewed
vigour. But in the midst of all this gaiety and mirth
the baron fell to the floor with a terrible groan of
agony, which was heard above the crash of the music
and the laughter of the guests. His terrified friends
flocked to his assistance, and raising the old man
gently and tenderly, bore him to his room. A doctor
was called in all haste, and did all that science could
prescribe in such a case; but all was in vain. The
baron had been struck down in a moment, and he
now lay there, stiff and cold, to rise no more.
The consternation and awe which succeeded to
the joy of this fite can be easily imagined. The
most of the company ordered their carriages and
departed immediately. The doctor, the lawyer, and
some of the most intimate friends alone remained.
They endeavoured to comfort Madame Kilberg, who
was bathed in tears.
"Alas !" said she, "what an excellent friend, what
a generous benefactor I have lost! How he has
loved me, and how much I have loved him in return I
I would have given ten years of my life to save his,
and he would have deserved it all !"


90 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
time reflect well upon your position-meditate, examine
your heart, and pray.to God to enlighten you and
send you help from above; and when I return, we
will consult together what you should do. And now,
good-bye, my dear boy, till I see you again," added
Sir Gilbert, pressing the young man to his heart.
"Put your faith in God, and trust in the love of a
father's heart."
Sir Gilbert Leslie set out on his journey, which was
a ride of some hours, through a beautiful but lonely
country. The castle which Colonel Clayton in-
habited was a grand and stately pile, which reared its
towers even above the giant forest kings which sur-
rounded it and in its solitude seemed to hold itself
proudly aloof from every other dwelling. But,
gloomy and grand as it looked at a distance, it had
its beauties.
The garden which surrounded the castle was both
smiling and picturesque; it was ornamented with an
innumerable number of massive statues; and an abund-
ance of rare and lovely flowers, disposed with infinite
art and taste, charmed and dazzled the eye with their
brightness. Without a railing or an enclosure of any
kind, this gay parterre seemed to lose itself in the
waving meadow beyond, and presented on all sides


28 THE FALSE HEIR.
all their impertinence yet," said the lady, frowning
and resuming her old haughty demeanour.
As soon as the carriage arrived at the door, she
hastened to take her seat in it, without addressing a
single word of thanks or farewell to Madame Ernest,
-without even once looking at her, and Augustus
followed her example.
"What!" exclaimed Victor, "are you going off
like that, without speaking one word to me ?"
Augustus turned and said Good-bye to his friend,
with a bad enough grace, and then-he took his place
beside his mother.
"That little boy is beginning to teach you, I
think," said that lady, as soon as they were fairly off.
"You must keep him in his proper place, and break
him off that habit, for there is a great difference in
station between you. I wish no more familiarity
between you two. What would the new baron say
if he saw the child he is going to adopt hand-in-glove
with one so much beneath him in rank That would
not please him, I should think; so I beg you will
keep your friend at a distance."
Augustus' heart received those evil counsels greedily
enough, and hedid not need to be taught to indulge
in pride and vanity.



PAGE 1

8 aoots pAbisbtb bg J UJiMint i .intmo. NIMMO'8 SIXPENNY JUVENILE BOOKS. Demy 18mo, Illustrated, handsomely bound in cloth, gilt side, gilt edges, price 6d. each. VII. Pearls for Little People. Story Pictures from the Bible. II. VIII. Great Lessons for The Tables of Stone. Little People. X. Reason n Rhyme. Ways of Doing Good. IV. s Esop's Little Fable Book. Stories about our Dogs, V. XIr. Grapes from the Great Vine. The Bed-Winged Goose. vL. xil. The Pot of Gold, The Hermit of the Hills, I NIMMO'8 FOURPENNY JUVENILE BOOKS. The above Series of Books is also kept in Paper Covers,, elegantly printed in Colours, price 4d. each. *,* The distinctive features of the New Series of Sixpenny and One Shilling Juvenile Books are: The Subjects of each Volume have been selected with a due regard to Instruction and Entertainment; they are well printed on fine paper, in a superior manner; the Shilling Series is Illustrated with Frontispieces printed in Colours; the Sixpenny Series has beautiful Engravings; and they are elegantly bound. NIMMO'8 INSTRUCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING ANECDOTE BOOKS. Foolscap 8vo, elegantly printed on superfine paper, bound in boards, and printed in colours, price Is. each. ,. BOOKS AND AUTHORS. CuRIous FACTS AnD CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 2. LAW AND LAWYERS. COnIous FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 3. ART AND ARTISTS. CURIOUS FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES. 4. INVENTION AND DISCOVERY. CURIOUS FACTS AND CHARACTERiSTIC SKETCHES. 5. OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS. CURIous FACTS AND ILLUSTRATIVE SKETCHES. 6. CLERGYMEN AND DOCTORS. CURIous FACTS AND CHARACTERISTIC SKETCHES.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 97 He is a gardener, sir." "And is your mother alive ?" No, sir; I lost her when I was very young." "What age are you ?" "Nineteen, sir," answered Frederick. Ah, that would just have been my son's age," said Colonel Clayton to himself; and unable further to resist the violence of his feelings, he wandered away into the solitary woodpaths, and did not speak another word to Frederick the whole day. He ordered his old servant to instal the young man in a little cottage adjoining the castle, and a woman was entrusted with the charge of preparing his food, and of arranging the modest dwelling; and so that evening Frederick entered upon his duties. Plunged into a deep melancholy, which it pleased him to cherish, Colonel Clayton scarcely ever spoke to his young gardener, whose features and voice brought back so many tender memories to his heart. But always fully occupied by his own work, he went every now and then to inspect Frederick's, to whom he was pleased to testify his unqualified satisfaction. Besides that, he watched him carefully, and took notice of all his actions. He was charmed with all he heard from the servants of his character, behaviour, G



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 43 her feelings, and answered with a calm voice, "I will yield to tyranny and violence, since I am a stranger, without a friend to support me, and so am unable to resist it. I will save my son from an unmerited punishment, a family from ruin, and your magistrate from an unjust sentence. God will know, sooner or later, how to punish tyranny, ingratitude, and perjury, and with Him I leave it, who is ever a Father to the fatherless, and the Friend of all who put their trust in Him. Before a week has passed I shall have left Rosenthal." The young man bowed and retired, full of admiration for the strong and dignified character Madame Ernest had displayed. It seemed as if God himself were giving Madame Ernest strength to support this new reverse of fortune. Victor was almost stunned when he learned the fate that threatened him and the innocent boy he had so bravely defended, and, manly as he was, his tears flowed plentifully when his mother told him that they must seek a new place of exile. But Madame Ernest's courage gave the boy new life; his mother's patience and resignation comforted his young heart, and, as he caught her sweet spirit of faith and trust, he felt that it was easy to console



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 33 trust in God had never been shaken, and a secret hope sustained her courage, and made her strong to endure all her wrongs. She still hoped that her dear husband might yet be alive, for his name had never been placed on the list of the dead or wounded. God might have spared him to her by a miracle, and Madame Ernest still dreamt that she would one day have the happiness of seeing him return, and of placing his son in his arms :-a very feeble spark of hope, but one which shone sweetly, and brightened the dark night of grief and trouble which surrounded her, by its cheering rays. Such was the story of this tender, trusting mother, -a story which was often interrupted by her tears, with which Victor mingled his own as he listened. When it was finished, they rose, and the two walked back to their home in silence, each too much occupied by their own sad thoughts to utter a word. Victor was burning to ask a thousand questions, but he respected his mother's grief too much to trouble her now, and reserved them all for the next day. C



PAGE 1

II2 THE HEN AND work; and when at any time hunger proved too much for her, she would leave her nest, and hurriedly pick a few morsels of food, flap her wings, and then return in all haste to her nest, and creep gently on to the eggs, which needed so much heat to hatch them. The shoemaker's son was called George; he was a big boy, and old enough now to work with his father. The little girl's name was Louisa; she was ignoSrant; for, alas she had never been sent to school. But she was very attentive, and spoke little, and so she reflected much on all that she saw, and consequently learnt many things which other children would never have thought of. This was the first time Louisa had seen their hen sitting, and so she was very curious to see what would become of all the eggs. Her father told her that in three weeks, by means of the mother's gentle and constant heat, each egg would be changed into a little chicken, and so the little girl believed it. One thing, however, troubled her very much. "When the time has come," said she to herself, "who will open the eggs, and let the chickens out? The hen cannot do it, and she will smother them; and even after they are out of the shell, what will


82 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
"The third year of my school-life had already gone
past, and still there was no word of recognition from
my father. I began to fall into my old melancholy
ways again; I had no longer the heart to study. During
the play-hours, I avoided my companions. I would
wander away into the bosom of the forest, and there
in some wild and solitary spot I would weep to my
heart's content. Sometimes one of my friends would
follow me, and try to find out what was wrong with me.
"' I am ill,' I would answer to their questions, as I
put my hand to my heart, where the pain lay.
"I told the truth; my heart pained me sorely. A
thousand sad and sorrowful thoughts had taken pos-
session of it. I hated study; I hated-school; I hated
all my companions; and even, oh ungrateful wretch
that I was I hated my master, who had always been
so kind to me, of late kinder than ever, for he appeared
to grieve over my troubles almost as much as I did
myself. I resolved-to make one last mighty trial, and to
write once more to my father, and if I did not receive
any reply, to renbunce him and everything else, and
run away-a guilty and imprudent resolution; but I
was enraged and maddened by cold neglect
" After having despatched this last letter, I waited
for the answer with a feverish impatience and anxiety.



PAGE 1

HER CHICKENS. 117 well, and how they appeared so perfectly to comprehend their mother; but George, Louisa's brother, teased her, and laughed at her when she asked questions; and so she preferred to remain silent, and learn all alone. It was now eight days since the chickens had been hatched, and they were progressing wonderfully. They followed their mother about everywhere, and she seemed so much taken up with them, that she never thought of herself. Louisa," said the shoemaker to his daughter, it is a fine day, so you might take your knitting, and let the chickens into the field a little bit; they cannot destroy anything, now that the harvest is over." Louisa did as she was told, and called on the hen. The hen followed her, and brought all her little ones along with her. They very soon reached the field, and then the mother commenced to scrape with her feet, as if she were searching for grain or worms. Whenever she had found anything, instead of eating it herself, she called her little ones. They hastened to her side, ate, and commenced to scratch away in the earth like their mother. Louisa still watched them intently, and now began to wonder if God had not'givef them some means of


94 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
gained the esteem of all, then I will throw myself at
my father's feet, and I will say, I am Frederick !"
This project, which at first appeared only a wild
romance to Sir Gilbert, ended in seeming reasonable
and generous enough. He fully understood that this
life of dependence and work in his father's house,
would be an expiation to the disobedient son-
pleasing in the sight of God, and honourable in the
eyes of man. He understood that Colonel Clayton's
happiness would be rendered doubly sure if, before
recognising his son, he had discovered the certainty
of his good qualities. So he wrote to Colonel Clay-
ton that he had a young gardener at his disposal, for
*whose good conduct and abilities he would himself
be answerable. A few days after the despatch of this
letter, Frederick prepared to depart.
After having taken an affectionate leave of Lady
Leslie and her two amiable sons, Frederick set out
on his journey to the lonely castle inhabited by his
father. When he arrived at the entrance-gate, his
heart almost failed him, and he was on the point of
retracing his steps; but summoning up all his
courage, he walked boldly up to the door and rang
the bell.
"I am the young man sent to Colonel Clayton by


16 THE FALSE HEIR.
As Victor spoke, one of the castle windows was
thrown open, and the sweet sounds of music were
wafted to their ears by the gentle breeze.
"I would like to have been there to have heard all
that, mother," said Victor again; "but I have had a
very happy day, and I don't regret not having been
invited."
"And you are quite right, my dear boy. Let us
be happy in our own humble way, without trying to
go out of our sphere. Let us be content with the
simple pleasures which are given to us; it is the
only way to preserve our dignity and secure our hap-
piness."
"You talk of happiness, mother; but Augustus
ought to be happy; he has everything to make
him so."
"Alas, my son," replied the mother, do not trust
to appearances. It is sometimes in the midst of our
greatest joy and prosperity that sorrow lays her hand
upon us, and our most delightful pleasures are often
followed by our severest trials and misfortunes."



PAGE 1

24 THE FALSE HEIR. Madame Ernest with such haughty scorn, was now only too happy to come and seek consolation and comfort from her, by mourning over her griefs. Every one at the castle shunned her, and she read in their looks either dislike or a scornful pity. The lawyer had communicated to her the last will of the dead baron. The baron left all his fortune and possessions to his nearest relative, a cousin whom he had for long supposed to be dead, but of whose return to Germany he had recently heard. He left nothing whatever to Augustus, and he remained completely dependent upon the liberality of the new lord. As to Madame Kilberg, her name was not mentioned in the will at all. The once proud and haughty lady threw her arms round Madame Ernest's neck, while she called her her good and only friend over and over again, implored her help to try and melt the heart of the new lord when he should arrive, begged her to persuade Victor to speak a few words of praise to the new baron about Augustus, and entreated the mother and son to describe him in the most favourable colours. Her words had not even common sense to recommend them, and Victor, who was listening to all her extravagant speeches, could hardly believe his ears.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR AND OTHER aQict Staries faor ie ung. With wllustations. "EDINBUPGH: WILLIAM P. NIM M O. -4i,87i.



PAGE 1

48 THE FALSE HEIR. stream, the graceful poplars, and majestic forest, for the last time. "Farewell!" he said, "we must leave this dear spot behind, but its memory can never fade from my mind." Victor had hardly spoken the words, when he was interrupted by a mocking laugh from behind. It was Augustus, and his sudden appearance somewhat startled him. "And are you not going to say 'Good-bye' to me, -to me who loves you so much?" said the latter. Have you no message to my mother ? shall I not tell her how grateful you are to her for all her kindness to you? What a sight you are, with your red eyes and pale face; do look at yourself in the fountain, and see what a queer figure you are !" Victor restrained his feelings of passionate anger, and looked at Augustus from head to foot with the coldest and most contemptuous scorn. "You laugh at our misfortune, after being the cause of it? God will punish you for all your wicked falsehoods, and that sooner than you think, perhaps. You tell me to look at myself in the fountain; rather look at yourself If this pure water, instead of representing the features of your face,



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 55 The wounded man remained for more than three months between life and death, without being able to articulate a word, or know what was passing around him. His recovery was a miracle of medical skill and science, but this recovery was'so extremely slow that it was only after two years that he entirely regained his intellectual and physical strength. Then he returned to Germany. His brothers were obliged to restore his patrimony to him, but they could not or would not give him any tidings of the wife they had so cruelly repulsed, for they feared her reproaches and upbraidings ; and so they led the sorrowing husband to understand that she had perished in the fire which had consumed the peaceful little village where she had spent her few first happy days of married life. But he would not believe anything or accept anything as a certainty; and with the hope that she might perhaps have returned to her native country, he sought her up and down France for six whole years; then he returned to Germany to look for her there, but all in vain; and the blessed influence of hope was already beginning to die out of his heart, when, owing to the wickedness and cruelty of Augustus, he had been drawn into conversation with Victor-a conversation which had for ever put an end to the misfor-


12 THE &ALSE HEIR.
on the very borders of the forest. The water, leap-
ing and darting from the rocks, fell into a natural
"basin among the pebbles and sand which formed its
depths. Just below the source, four beautiful Italian
poplars raised their pyramidal heads, and gave the
pretty retreat its name. The water in the basin
formed a transparent pool, clear as crystal, and
escaping with a gentle murmur, gave birth to a
limpid stream, which wound down the valley,
rippling, and tinkling, and chattering over the stones
as it went.
Seated near the fountain by his mother's side,
Victor contemplated the pure crystal waters with
heartfelt admiration.
"0 mother!" exclaimed the boy, "is it not
beautiful, this clear stream of bright blue water?"
" Yes, my son, of what does it appear to you to be
the emblem?"
Victor reflected for a few moments, and then spoke.
" I think, mother, this lovely water is the emblem
of a pure soul troubled by no evil passions, and soiled
bypno wicked thoughts."
"Yes, my boy; but, stay-look !"
At this moment, a frog leapt from the turf into the
water, and disturbed its stillness.



PAGE 1

72 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. and were quite happy in their quiet and peaceful life. Frederick was perhaps the only one whose happiness was not complete. His nights were broken and restless, and often when morning came his eyes were red with weeping. Often, also, during the day, it happened that he relapsed into a profound reverie; one would have thought, to look at him, that visions, unseen to all save himself, were passing before his eyes, and even as he gazed, his eyes were moistened and filled with tears. He was thinking of his griefs, but no one else knew them, nor understood them. On those occasions, one word from Sir Gilbert was sufficient to dissipate his dreams, and rouse him from his languor, and then he would return to his work with renewed zeal and energy. At last, at the end of six months, Frederick resolved to confide all his secrets to his kind benefactor. Accordingly, one evening, when the rest of the family had retired, Frederick remained behind in the dining-room with Sir Gilbert, and entrusted him with the following story of his faults and misfortunes.




io6 THE DISOBEDIENT SON
at the thought, he has been dragged into the paths of
vice. If he is no more, the patrimony which would
have been his, will become the inheritance of the
poor. Such is Harry's wish and his mother's, and it
is mine too."
In speaking with so much confidence to Sir Gilbert
Leslie, Colonel Clayton had somewhat relieved his
oppressed heart. Sir Gilbert could not think of re-
peating this conversation to Frederick, for the secrets
entrusted to him by his friend were sacred; but he
encouraged the young man to be full of hope, and to
seize the first favourable opportunity of making him-
self known to his father.
CHAPTER IV.
THE very next day the long-looked-for opportunity
presented itself. Colonel Clayton called the young
man into his library, and addressed the following
words to him:
" I think you are attached to my service, Alex-
ander; my son is fond of you, and my wife is
delighted with your industrious habits. It would
be very agreeable to me if I could settle you near



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 23 "If I happen to die suddenly, I forbid Madame Kilberg from having any authority, either in the castle or on the estate; and I authorise my man of business to take immediate possession of the keys. (Signed) BARON DE ROSENTHAL." This order was immediately executed; and, to assure himself better that everything was right and safe, the lawyer installed himself in the castle for the night; the others retired one by one. Madame could scarcely believe that all she had seen and heard was true; this news had fallen upon her like a thunderbolt; and she withdrew into her own apartments, with her son, and passed the whole night in lamentation and weeping, not for the death of the cousin who had been her friend and benefactor, but for the loss and failure of her ambitious hopes and schemes. *ach was the story Augustus related to his listening friends, and in the evening it was confirmed by Madame Kilberg herself. She condescended to come to Madame Ernest's humble house, and on foot too, probably because the coachman had refused to yoke his horses for her. She, who till now had treated



PAGE 1

THIE DISOBEDIENT SON. 75 "At last I began to imagine that my stepmother hated me, and that my father's love for me was also gone. And so, losing all hope, I became discouraged and despairing, and would not apply myself to anything. Then my father began to treat me with the utmost rigour, and repulsed me coldly when I ventured to remonstrate with him; and very soon I became an object of dislike and scorn to the whole household. "If I had only been patient and reasonable, if I had applied myself diligently, if I had shown as much affection for little Harry as he manifested for me, and if I had tried to regain my father's and mother's affection by a never-failing gentleness of behaviour, I would undoubtedly have succeeded. How many misfortunes I would thus have avoided! But I was too angry and wicked to wish for such a thing; I did not even wish to conquer my own passions; and so God has punished me. Sometimes my nurse came to see me, and I threw myself into her arms in a paroxysm of joy, and gave full vent to my grief. "'Ah !' said I to her, 'you are the only friend that I have in the World! I am a poor orphan; I



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 7 But, seeing that Victor would not consent without first receiving permission from his mother, and that his mother did not seem at all disposed to grant that permission, Augustus hastened to Madame Kilberg, who had not yet seated herself in her splendid carriage, and begged her to speak for him to Victor's mother. Madame Kilberg, who could not refuse her son anything he asked for, consented to gratify him, though not without some hesitation. She believed she was doing an act of the greatest condescension, and quite expected that Madame Ernest would be overwhelmed with gratitude at the honour she was about to do her son; but, proud as she was, she was somewhat disconcerted by Madame Ernest's noble and dignified manner, and was obliged to express herself a little more politely than she at first intended. I shall be obliged if you will allow your little boy to pass two or three hours with my son at the Castle of Rosenthal," said Madame Kilberg, drily enough, and with a haughty curl of the lip, which told well enough that it was an effort to be so gracious. Victor's mother had a great desire to say "No;" for, judging the son by the mother, she thought such an acquaintance would be anything but desirable.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 91 an enchanting aspect. An avenue of splendid lime trees led up to the castle, and behind them one could catch a glimpse of numerous fruit-trees, laden with their snowy, fragrant blossoms, filling the air with perfume. From the terrace a glimpse of the winding river was to be seen, glowing in the rays of the setting sun, and the little green hills beyond, and still further, the beautiful blue mountains, which seemed to lose themselves in the clouds. Sir Gilbert, after having greatly admired the beautiful panorama of nature stretched out before him, approached the castle. An old man-servant, with white hair, conducted him into the dining-room, where he begged him to await his master's arrival. Colonel Clayton ought to be happy, in such a beautiful spot," remarked Sir Gilbert. "No, no, sir!" replied the faithful old servant, shaking his head sadly; "my master is always sad and melancholy. The doctors recommended him continual exercise; he cultivates this garden with his own hands, with the most assiduous care; but he never smiles, even at the sight of those beautiful flowers." Colonel Clayton himself entered presently. He appeared delighted to see Sir Gilbert, for whom he


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 8
expect your father to show you any marks of tender-
ness or affection, before you have given him proofs
of your repentance? What have you done during the
two years you have been here? Have you worked
with patience and perseverance? Have you endea-
voured to repair your old faults by your irreproach-
able conduct and daily progress in your studies? First,
make a mighty effort to conquer yourself, and then
your father will forgive you and take you back to his
love.'
"This hope that my master held out to me ani-
mated and encouraged me. I triumphed over the
dark cloud of grief that had overwhelmed me; and
very soon my master lavished his praises upon me. I
wrote to my father regularly, but still he answered me
never a word. My heart beat impatiently, and every
time the postman appeared at the gates of the castle,
I rushed towards him eagerly. 'Nothing for you,' he
would invariably answer, and then my heart would be-
come colder and harder than ever.
"If I had spoken of my stepmother in my letters,
and of my brother, if I had showed the slightest
symptoms of affection for them, my father would most
certainly have replied to me. I understand it all now
perfectly well; but then I never thought of it
F



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 93 While Sir Gilbert related to him every small detail of his visit, the young man listened with a breathless interest; but when he learnt that his father needed a young man to assist him in the cultivation of his extensive gardens, he uttered a cry of joy: "The young man my father is looking for, is found; it is I !" You !" exclaimed Sir Gilbert. "Yes; I. My father has not seen me for seven years, and during that time, my features, my complexion, even the colour of my hair, has changed. He would never recognise his son in a gardener's dress. What! after being so guilty, am I to go and implore forgiveness before proving that I deserve it; before having given a guarantee of the change in my character-certain proofs of my repentance ? I might, perhaps, receive forgiveness, but only like a criminal, who is mistrusted still. No; I wish to live for a while near my father, without being known by him, and regain his heart before entreating for pardon. I will be respectful and obedient towards my stepmother; and as to my brother, I will love him-oh I will love him so much, that his mother, in her turn, will be obliged to love me. And when, by dint of work, gentle obedience, and good conduct, I have


THE FALSE HEIR. 13
"Well, Victor, what do you think now?"
"0 mother !" replied the boy, without hesitation,
"that odious, ugly creature, which has thrown itself
into the pool to trouble it, is like a wicked thought,
which can, in one short moment, infect and corrupt
the purest heart, if we only allow it to enter."
"But, see, my son, the water has again become
clear and beautiful. Do you think, if the heart was
once soiled by vice, that it would recover its purity
so quickly ?"
"Oh, no, mother; I do not think so. It is very
difficult to root a sin out of the heart; and if it is
ever done, I think it would take a long time."
"And what conclusion do you draw from that,
dear boy?"
"That we should watch over our hearts very care-
fully, mother, and cast out all wicked thoughts, lest,
like this water, they lose their purity, and might
never recover it again."
"Yes, Victor, you are quite right; and now, will
you try to keep your heart pure, and free from every
stain ?"
" Yes, mother, I will try; but how will I be able to
distinguish evil thoughts from good ones ?"
"There is nothing easier, my boy. Only listen to


II2 THE HEN AND
work; and when at any time hunger proved too
much for her, she would leave her nest, and hurriedly
pick a few morsels of food, flap her wings, and then
return in all haste to her nest, and creep gently on to
the eggs, which needed so much heat to hatch them.
The shoemaker's son was called George; he was
a big boy, and old enough now to work with his
father.
The little girl's name was Louisa; she was igno-
Srant; for, alas she had never been sent to school.
But she was very attentive, and spoke little, and so
she reflected much on all that she saw, and conse-
quently learnt many things which other children
would never have thought of.
This was the first time Louisa had seen their hen
sitting, and so she was very curious to see what would
become of all the eggs. Her father told her that in
three weeks, by means of the mother's gentle and
constant heat, each egg would be changed into a
little chicken, and so the little girl believed it. One
thing, however, troubled her very much.
"When the time has come," said she to herself,
"who will open the eggs, and let the chickens out?
The hen cannot do it, and she will smother them;
and even after they are out of the shell, what will


___1B'
i~i: V
'~i



PAGE 1

HER CHICKENS. 15 become of them? Who will feed them? Their mother cannot do it, for she has no hands. And how will she teach them to eat alone, when she cannot speak ? God has given the animals no hands to help themselves, nor speech to teach one another; and the hen, who will have hatched her young ones with so much perseverance, will neither be able to feed them, nor bring them up. Poor little birds, how they are to be pitied ? And Louisa, forgetting the goodness of God, waited for the end of the three weeks with sadnress and compassion. At last, the three weeks passed, and Louisa one morning saw the hen raise herself a little, and turn the eggs gently round with her beak. One egg was ready; there was a little hole in it. The hen made it larger with her beak, taking the greatest-care all the while; little by little the egg opened; a little cry was heard, to which the mother answered tenderly. At last, the shell came quite away, and a tiny chicken came out of it, chirping with its little voice, and already trying to stand on its trembling feet. The mother seemed very happy to see her little one, but she had still much to do. There wereeleven more eggs, and she must help to hatch them, as she had done the first; so she hid the chicken under her



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 47 fully to their masters words, and showed all eagerness to accede to his wishes. "You know the Poplar Fountain?" asked the wicked Augustus, his eyes glaring with malice and revenge. "Well, I am pretty certain Victor will go this afternoon to say 'Good-bye' to his favourite walk; he's just that kind of sentimental fellow, and I shouldn't be at all surprised if he drops a few tears into the fountain-it's a pretty sort of idea, you know, and he's just the fool to think so too. But I will make him shed tears in good earnest. Go you and conceal yourselves in the forest; I will meet Victor alone. He will never suspect anything, and will imagine very likely that I have come to say farewell to him. Ah, yes, I will give him something that he will not forget in a hurry! Whenever I make the signal, you will both rush out upon him, seize hold of his arms and legs, and leave the rest to me." As this wicked boy had foreseen, as soon as evening approached, Victor wandered towards the charming spot to which he had come so often with his Smother, and where she had spoken so many sweet words of instruction and consolation to him, and he gazed upon the fresh green turf, the pure limpid


THE DISOBEDIANT SON. 87
Sir Gilbert indulged in no useless reproaches to the
boy who so bitterly repented of all his obstinacy and
disobedience; but he vowed to himself to do all he
could to find out his family and home, and to make
each member of it happy by restoring to them the
lost son,
CHAPTER III.
ON-E year had past since Frederick's arrival at Sir
Gilbert's house; two more went by, and he had become
an able and experienced gardener. -At the same time
he was radically cured of his faults. Misfortune,
good example, industrious habits, and a peaceful life,
had calmed the violence of his passions, and Frederick
was now as gentle and patient as he was brave and
generous. But, trembling and blushing at the remem-
brance of his past faults, he still did not dare to form
the resolution of returning to his family, in spite of
all Sir Gilbert's solicitations.
"I am going to leave home for a day or two, Frede-
rick," said Sir Gilbert one morning, as they walked up
and down the garden. I have just heard that an
old friend of. mine, who was once of great service to
me, but whom I have lost sight of for the last twenty



PAGE 1

116 THE HEN AND wing, and returned to her task. She turned the eggs over and over again, and each time a little chicken had commenced to open the shell from the interior, the mother helped it with her beak, and, whenever it had fairly left the shell, she covered it with her feathers. Louisa observed all that, and, quite surprised, she asked herself who could have taught the little chicken to chip the shell, and the mother to open it afterwards with so much patience and cleverness ? "Very soon the whole twelve chickens were out of their shells. The mother still sat upon them, however, for some hours, as if to give them time to accustom themselves to live out of an egg. But at last the hen rose, collected all her little ones round her, and stepped out of the nest. The shoemaker had thrown out some grains of corn and lbread-crumbs, and Louisa saw the hen stoop, take them in her beak, and place them'before her little ones, as if she were telling them to eat. And the chickens really commenced to eat, as if they perfectly understood their mother. The little girl was astonished more and more. She would have liked to ask her father how it happened that the hen seemed to understand her little ones so |



PAGE 1

30 THE FALSE HEIR. not help brooding over the unkindness of the action, as he sat silently gazing out of the window and watching the carriage disappear in the distance. "How kind and friendly Augustus has been with me for the past week, mother, and how he seemed to love me!" said the boy, at last giving vent to his thoughts. "I began to reproach myself for ever having thought him cold and indifferent; but, after all5 I believe I was right enough." "Yes, my son, I believe you were. Augustus cannot have a good heart if he speaks of his benefactor as we have heard him do. There is nothing so unkind as man's ingratitude, We are told, an ungrateful, thankless heart is not capable of friendship. This last little scene has produced a painful impression upon both of us, I see. A walk to the 'Poplar Fountain' will perhaps refresh our feelings, and restore calmness to our hearts. Come, my boy." Victor was delighted with the prospect of a walk to his favourite haunt, and the mother and son set out immediately. When they arrived at the fountain, Madame Ernest seated herself on the turf, and, after having prepared the boy to receive her confidences, she related to him the story of her life.



PAGE 1

8 THE FALSE HEIR. But she read in Victor's eyes such a wish to accept the invitation, that she had not strength to refuse him this small pleasure; besides, she was afraid of offending Madame Kilberg by refusing, and of making her her enemy; and she knew well enough that this lady's hatred might be productive of very bitter consequences to her. And so Victor accompanied Augustus to the castle for the first time, where he soon became a frequent visitor, and where his gentle and amiable character soon gained him the affection of all around. Augustus would have become his friend, if he had possessed a good heart; but as it was, they could only be companions, and this companionship was broken by many a storm. Augustus always wished to be the master, and play the tyrant; but Victor, in spite of the gentle-. ness of his character, would not submit to being ruled over, and he was right. This struggle for power caused many quarrels and frequent ruptures. But, on those occasions, it was always Augustus who sought his comrade, and, in spite of his pride, made all the advances; for, as we have said, he knew nothing, and had not the power of amusing himself alone. Far from being grateful, however, for the amiability which Victor displayed in


THIE DISOBEDIENT SON. 75
"At last I began to imagine that my stepmother
hated me, and that my father's love for me was also
gone. And so, losing all hope, I became discouraged
and despairing, and would not apply myself to any-
thing.
" Then my father began to treat me with the utmost
rigour, and repulsed me coldly when I ventured to
remonstrate with him; and very soon I became an
object of dislike and scorn to the whole house-
hold.
"If I had only been patient and reasonable, if I
had applied myself diligently, if I had shown as much
affection for little Harry as he manifested for me, and
if I had tried to regain my father's and mother's affec-
tion by a never-failing gentleness of behaviour, I would
undoubtedly have succeeded. How many misfortunes
I would thus have avoided! But I was too angry
and wicked to wish for such a thing; I did not even
wish to conquer my own passions; and so God has
punished me.
" Sometimes my nurse came to see me, and I threw
myself into her arms in a paroxysm of joy, and gave
full vent to my grief.
"'Ah !' said I to her, 'you are the only friend
that I have in the World! I am a poor orphan; I


64 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
side written in the Latin language:-do you under-
stand Latin?"
"I have studied it a little, sir," answered the boy
modestly.
"" Then you must have received a good education;
how is it that you are reduced to keeping sheep?"
" It sometimes happens, sir, that a well-educated
orphan has to endure want," replied the boy in the
same modest voice, but with an air of firmness and
decision that would have become a man.
" But, my boy, who are you; where do you come
from; what is your name, your family, your country?"
"I am called Frederick; I keep the sheep on the
neighbouring farm that you can just see peeping over
the top of that little hill. I cannot tell you anything
more."
"Then you do not wish to tell, me who you are?"
asked Sir Gilbert, somewhat astonished by his new
friend's manliness.
"I do not know you well enough, sir, and how can
I trust you ?" replied Frederick.
This answer was so just that Sir Gilbert was not
offended by it; on the contrary, it only redoubled the
interest that this boy had already inspired him with.
"Spoken like a young Scotchman, as you are,


52 THE FALSE HEIR.
"Yes," continued Victor, "we are all alone in the
world; we have not a friend we can call our own; for
this is not my mother's native land; she was born in
France, and married a brave German officer; but my
father was killed in fighting for his country soon after;
and my poor mother was never able to prove her
marriage, because the little village where it took place
was consumed by the flames of the enemy."
When Victor had finished his story, he saw that
the stranger was deeply moved. He seized the boy
in his arms, gazed into his eyes, and embraced him
passionately.
"Stop, stop !" he cried; "I only wish to hear one
more word from you-one little word-which will
decide the fate of my whole life. Oh, will it-can it
be what I am burning to hear?. But you do not
understand me, my boy. What is your mother's
name ?"
" My mother said Victor, unable to explain this
stranger's conduct; "her name is Madame Ernest
de Clary."
The stranger's emotion was now greater than ever;
it appeared to him as if heaven itself had opened to-
his sight, as if the goal he had been seeking were
gained at last


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PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 27 of delight; and as to Madame Kilberg, her countenance was perfectly radiant with joy and pride. Her feelings almost seemed to choke her in their intensity, and took away the power of speech. "And with what name is this letter signed ? what does the new baron call himself? she asked, with an eager trembling voice. "-Ernest, Baron Rosenthal. He has taken the dead man's name; it was one of the clauses in the will." At this name, Victor's mother gave a sigh. "And," continued Madame Kilberg, "does his vife accompany him ? for, doubtless he is married, and has children." "" No, Madame; he is a widower, without children, and has made a vow, they say, never to marry again." Nothing could have appeared more favourable to Madame Kilberg's wishes. She saw herself once more reinstated at the castle, and invested with all her former honours and splendid state. "Oh, my son, he will adopt you she exclaimed, pressing Augustus to her heart, in a perfect frenzy of delight. "Ah, and those insolent people at the castle, who have treated me so rudely, I will pay them back for


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PAGE 1

90 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. time reflect well upon your position-meditate, examine your heart, and pray.to God to enlighten you and send you help from above; and when I return, we will consult together what you should do. And now, good-bye, my dear boy, till I see you again," added Sir Gilbert, pressing the young man to his heart. "Put your faith in God, and trust in the love of a father's heart." Sir Gilbert Leslie set out on his journey, which was a ride of some hours, through a beautiful but lonely country. The castle which Colonel Clayton inhabited was a grand and stately pile, which reared its towers even above the giant forest kings which surrounded it and in its solitude seemed to hold itself proudly aloof from every other dwelling. But, gloomy and grand as it looked at a distance, it had its beauties. The garden which surrounded the castle was both smiling and picturesque; it was ornamented with an innumerable number of massive statues; and an abundance of rare and lovely flowers, disposed with infinite art and taste, charmed and dazzled the eye with their brightness. Without a railing or an enclosure of any kind, this gay parterre seemed to lose itself in the waving meadow beyond, and presented on all sides



PAGE 1

84 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. breathe freely. But there was a wide stretch of country to be got over before that could be accomplished, and I was already so weary and worn out that I felt as if I must die in the attempt. However, I determined to push on to Liverpool, from where I knew there were steamers went once or twice in the week to Glasgow. I had only a very few shillings in my pocket, but I hoped it might be enough to pay my passage. "After many days' weary walking, I at length reached the Liverpool docks, where I was utterly bewildered by the number of vessels, of all sizes, that stood there like a vast forest. I inquired of a sailor, who stood near me, if there were any steamers there bound for Glasgow. "'Ay, that there is, my little man; she's lying yonder, and she'll start before the sun sets,' said the sailor, pointing to a steamer only a few yards from us. "' I would like to go in it,' said I, 'but I don't think I've enough of money.' "'Well, that's rather awkward, I must say,' whistled the sailor. Is your business anything very particular?' "'Oh yes ; I cannot tell you all about it; but I must leave Liverpool to-night,' I replied, eager to leave the land of my misfortunes behind me.





PAGE 1

io6 THE DISOBEDIENT SON at the thought, he has been dragged into the paths of vice. If he is no more, the patrimony which would have been his, will become the inheritance of the poor. Such is Harry's wish and his mother's, and it is mine too." In speaking with so much confidence to Sir Gilbert Leslie, Colonel Clayton had somewhat relieved his oppressed heart. Sir Gilbert could not think of repeating this conversation to Frederick, for the secrets entrusted to him by his friend were sacred; but he encouraged the young man to be full of hope, and to seize the first favourable opportunity of making himself known to his father. CHAPTER IV. THE very next day the long-looked-for opportunity presented itself. Colonel Clayton called the young man into his library, and addressed the following words to him: I think you are attached to my service, Alexander; my son is fond of you, and my wife is delighted with your industrious habits. It would be very agreeable to me if I could settle you near



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 53 "Look at yourself in the crystal waters of this fountain, Victor, and look at me," said he tenderly. And Victor recognised such a likeness between his own features and that of the stranger, that his heart bounded with surprise, and hope, and joy. Can you be my poor father's brother?" asked the boy, looking into the face that bent over him so iindly. I am your father, my dear boy,-your father, who has been very miserable and lonely for many long years; but he is very happy to-day. Take me to your mother, dear boy." A servant, who was leading two horses on the outskirts of the forest, now appeared. "' Fritz," said the gentleman, I am now the happiest of men, but I will explain everything to you afterwards. In the meantime, return with the horses as quickly as you can, and come back with a carriage for me to the village of Rosenthal. You will ask for Madame Ernest's house." Then he rapidly followed Victor towards the home where he was to find the patient, gentle, trusting wife, from whom he had been separated so long.



PAGE 1

34 THE FALSE HEIR. CHAPTER V. BUT the next day brought many other events in its train. All the preceding night Madame Kilberg had nourished in her heart the most unkind and hostile feelings against the friends she had just parted from so suddenly. Wicked people almost always judge others by themselves; she thought Madame Ernest and her son would triumph over the humiliation they had just witnessed, and laugh at all the insolence to which she had been subjected. She trembled with fear when she thought of all they might say against her, and of all they might do; and a secret presentiment warned her that she was lost for ever if Madame Ernest succeeded in having an interview with the baron. At the same time, foolishly jealous, she imagined that if he saw the two boys together, Augustus would gain nothing by the comparison. The incensed fear that she indulged in had engendered a feeling of mortal hatred in her heart against the mother and son who had shown her nothing but gentleness and pity. She thought all night by what possible means she might remove them from the village, and determined to do all in her nower to rid



PAGE 1

___1B' i~i: V '~i



PAGE 1

52 THE FALSE HEIR. "Yes," continued Victor, "we are all alone in the world; we have not a friend we can call our own; for this is not my mother's native land; she was born in France, and married a brave German officer; but my father was killed in fighting for his country soon after; and my poor mother was never able to prove her marriage, because the little village where it took place was consumed by the flames of the enemy." When Victor had finished his story, he saw that the stranger was deeply moved. He seized the boy in his arms, gazed into his eyes, and embraced him passionately. "Stop, stop !" he cried; "I only wish to hear one more word from you-one little word-which will decide the fate of my whole life. Oh, will it-can it be what I am burning to hear?. But you do not understand me, my boy. What is your mother's name ?" My mother said Victor, unable to explain this stranger's conduct; "her name is Madame Ernest de Clary." The stranger's emotion was now greater than ever; it appeared to him as if heaven itself had opened tohis sight, as if the goal he had been seeking were gained at last



PAGE 1

36 THE FALSE HEIR. see him; and, towards evening, he went out to look for him. The village people told him that they had seen Augustus wander away up the stream in the direction of the "Poplar Fountain," and Victor hastened after him. Sure enough Augustus was there, but occupied in A strange manner. He had, apparently, been fighting with a peasant boy about his own age, and had gained the best of it, as he was now on the top of him, and thrashing him most unmercifully. At this sight, Victor uttered an exclamation of surprise, and the cruel conqueror left off his blows when he found he had a spectator. 0 Augustus! what are you doing to the boy?" cried Victor. "What has he done?" "What am I doing, and what has he done ?" repeated Augustus ironically, and treating Victor to a scornful glance at the same time. "Is that the way to address me, I would like to know? For the future, my boy, remember that I am Sir Augustus to you and all the other people of Rosenthal." Victor could not help indulging in a hearty fit of laughter at this singular speech, and, turning his back upon Sir Augustus, he gave full vent to his mirth. "Surely," said he, I will call you Sir Augustus,'


78 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
not care. I soon learned that my father was going to
send me to a place some thirty miles or so from
London, to a castle which stood on the borders of a
forest, where an old university professor had opened
a school for boys. This professor was a learned and
severe man, they said, and experienced in the art of
subduing the most rebellious natures.
"I was too proud to ask any pardon for my
offences; and when the moment for departure arrived,
I presented myself before my father to say good-bye.
"He was alone in his study, and he looked at me
kindly. I had entered the room with an air of tran-
quil resignation, and swallowed my grief as best I
could; but it seemed to me as if my father's glance
pierced my heart and read my very thoughts.
"'Go, my dear boy,' he said to me, 'go, and learn
to conquer yourself. After some little time has passed,
I hope you will return to us more gentle and obedient.
Kiss me, my son. Good-bye.'
"These words seemed to break my heart. In my
excess of grief, instead of throwing myself into my
father's arms, I threw myself at his feet, and I seized
his hand and covered it with my burning kisses. I
could not speak a word, for my voice was buried in
sobs and tears.



PAGE 1

76 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. have lost my mother, and my father does not love me any more.' "'Frederick, Frederick, do not speak that way!' cried my trembling nurse. It is not right. Be gentle, and patient, and wise, my child; if you deserve your father's love, he will give it to you.' "My nurse was right; but I would not listen to her, nor believe her, and I hardened myself more and more every day. My stepmother, noticing that I was always more disobedient and ill-behaved after my nurse's visits, forbade me seeing her again. "I was only twelve years old at that time; but when I heard that, I hurried, or rather rushed, into the dining-room, where my stepmother was seated alone. "'Oh mother !' I .cried, 'it is more than I can bear It is a cruel action to prevent me seeing" the only person who has now any affection for me !' "My mother looked at me for a moment with surprise, and then she turned from me coldly. "'You are nothing but an enemy to me now,' I added, fiercely. 'Ask my father to send me out of the house; it will not cost him much grief to part with me, for he no longer loves me; and I cannot remain with you.'


THE FALSE HEIR. 27
of delight; and as to Madame Kilberg, her counte-
nance was perfectly radiant with joy and pride. Her
feelings almost seemed to choke her in their intensity,
and took away the power of speech.
"And with what name is this letter signed ? what
does the new baron call himself? she asked, with
an eager trembling voice.
"-- Ernest, Baron Rosenthal. He has taken
the dead man's name; it was one of the clauses in
the will."
At this name, Victor's mother gave a sigh.
"And," continued Madame Kilberg, "does his
vife accompany him ? for, doubtless he is married,
and has children."
"" No, Madame; he is a widower, without children,
and has made a vow, they say, never to marry again."
Nothing could have appeared more favourable to
Madame Kilberg's wishes. She saw herself once
more reinstated at the castle, and invested with all
her former honours and splendid state.
"Oh, my son, he will adopt you she exclaimed,
pressing Augustus to her heart, in a perfect frenzy
of delight.
"Ah, and those insolent people at the castle, who
have treated me so rudely, I will pay them back for



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 105 graces, Harry would suffer for it. And so, my friend, bitter as the confession is, she suppressed the letters my son wrote to me from his boarding-school; so far was her sense of right conquered by her maternal fears. And I-I looked upon Frederick, who wrote to me so rarely, who never mentioned either the names of his mother or brother in his letters, and who at last took to flight-I looked upon him as a most unnatural son. But oh! my friend, for two years the hand of God weighed heavily upon us. Harry was taken dangerously ill, and for many days he lay in his mother's arms as if death had already called him for his own. Stunned and despairing, my wife looked upon this sad calamity as a chastisement from heaven, and her eyes, which had been so long blinded, were at last opened to the truth. She confessed everything to me, and made a vow to repair all the wrongs she had committed against Frederick, if God would only, restore Harry to us. God did restore Harry; but what has become of the unfortunate child whose self-will and disobedience have caused us so much sorrow, we know not. I have sought him everywhere in vain. I hope he still lives; but, alas! if he is, he is doubtless enduring a life of hardship and misery. Perhaps even, and I shudder



PAGE 1

88 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. years, has settled himself some miles from here. Grief, they say, has weakened his health, and he has come to this neighbourhood for complete change of air and scene. For a whole year has he been living in this solitary castle; but such is the retirement of his life, that it was only yesterday that I heard he was here. The gratitude I feel towards him impels me to intrude myself upon his griefs. Meanwhile my boy I leave you the care of the garden during the few days that my visit to Colonel Clayton will last. At the mention of this name, Frederick's face' suddenly became pale as death; he staggered and would have fallen if he had not supported himself against a tree. "Colonel Clayton, did you say ?" he asked in a strange voice. Yes, my boy," replied Sir Gilbert, looking at Frederick with some surprise; "but how does it happen that his name troubles you so much ? Do you know him? Was he a friend of your father's ? "Oh, Sir Gilbert! exclaimed Frederick, bursting into violent sobs, "it is he, it is my father himself. And grief, did you say, has weakened his health? "This grief has been caused by me, miserable boy that I am Ungrateful and unnatural son, this is what


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 69
band; she received Frederick with a hearty welcome,
conducted him herself to the pretty little room which
was from henceforth destined to be his own, and'then
introduced him to her two little sons, charming chil-
dren of seven and nine respectively, who very soon
came to look upon Frederick as their elder brother.
After dinner, Sir Gilbert showed Frederick over
his domain, every part of which was cultivated with
the greatest care. There was not a single waste or
unproductive corner to be seen, and everywhere the
beautiful and ornamental was mingled with the useful.
The estate, besides the house and garden, was com-
posed of cultivated fields, rich meadows, and a plan-
tation or small forest. Lesser plantations of useful
trees, planted by the hand of art, gave the whole the
appearance of a vast garden. There were poplars
and oaks on the higher parts, and fruit-trees on the
slopes exposed to the south.
The view from the front of the house extended
over a large park-adorned here and there by noble
oaks, and spreading beech-trees, and groups of acacias
-across the broad, smooth river, which looked like a
streak of silver in the distance, and over a wide ex-
panse of purple heath, to the blue hills beyond.
Quite near the house was a pretty pond surrounded


66 THE DISOBEDIENT SON,
Frederick, though he did not entrust Sir Gilbert
with his secrets, was yet sensible enough of his kind-
ness. It soon became an established custom for Sir
Gilbert to come and talk with the boy; and as Frede-
rick was really possessed of a lively intelligence, and
.was well informed on many subjects, Sir Gilbert found
an infinite charm in his conversation. He resolved
to be useful to him, and to receive him into his
house.
But, in the first place, he wished to gain some
little insight into this boy's life, which seemed to be
shrouded in so much mystery; and, for this purpose,
he secretly repaired to, the farm where Frederick
looked after the sheep.
The farmer was absent, but his wife answered all
Sir Gilbert's questions quite as well, if not better, than
he could have done himself. She expatiated largely
upon Frederick's virtues; but she had only known
him for six months, had never heard his history, and
could only answer for his conduct during the short
time he had been with them.
" My lord," said she, this child came to our door
one winter evening. 'Give me a little bread, if you
please, or let me work for it,' he said, in his innocent
way: but that was all he said. We asked him many


24 THE FALSE HEIR.
Madame Ernest with such haughty scorn, was now
only too happy to come and seek consolation and
comfort from her, by mourning over her griefs.
Every one at the castle shunned her, and she read
in their looks either dislike or a scornful pity. The
lawyer had communicated to her the last will of the
dead baron. The baron left all his fortune and pos-
sessions to his nearest relative, a cousin whom he had
for long supposed to be dead, but of whose return to
Germany he had recently heard. He left nothing
whatever to Augustus, and he remained completely
dependent upon the liberality of the new lord. As
to Madame Kilberg, her name was not mentioned
in the will at all.
The once proud and haughty lady threw her arms
round Madame Ernest's neck, while she called her
her good and only friend over and over again, im-
plored her help to try and melt the heart of the new
lord when he should arrive, begged her to persuade
Victor to speak a few words of praise to the new
baron about Augustus, and entreated the mother and
son to describe him in the most favourable colours.
Her words had not even common sense to recom-
mend them, and Victor, who was listening to all her
extravagant speeches, could hardly believe his ears.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 77 "Sobs of anger and passion choked my utterance; I hastened out of the room, up-stairs, and threw myself on my bed in a fit of desperation. "Next day, my father sent for me to come to his study. I felt I was guilty of a grievous fault; and as I obeyed the summons, I trembled with fear. His angry glance made me lower my eyes; and I believe I experienced the anguish of death itself, as I heard him address those words to me, which, alas, my imprudence merited only too well-"' You have accused your mother of cruelty, Frederick; you have called her your enemy, and you have said that I, your father, do not love you; you have asked to be allowed to leave your home; do you still wish this request to be granted ?' "'Bewildered and stunned with fear and surprise, I had not strength to utter a single word. "'Your desire will be satisfied,' continued my father. 'You will be sent to. a boarding-school, and you will leave the day after to-morrow.' "As my father said this, he made a sign for me to leave the room. I obeyed. The thought of leaving my father, whom I now loved more tenderly than ever, made my tears flow; but I concealed my grief as well as I could, and to those around me I pretended I did



PAGE 1

82 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. "The third year of my school-life had already gone past, and still there was no word of recognition from my father. I began to fall into my old melancholy ways again; I had no longer the heart to study. During the play-hours, I avoided my companions. I would wander away into the bosom of the forest, and there in some wild and solitary spot I would weep to my heart's content. Sometimes one of my friends would follow me, and try to find out what was wrong with me. "' I am ill,' I would answer to their questions, as I put my hand to my heart, where the pain lay. "I told the truth; my heart pained me sorely. A thousand sad and sorrowful thoughts had taken possession of it. I hated study; I hated-school; I hated all my companions; and even, oh ungrateful wretch that I was I hated my master, who had always been so kind to me, of late kinder than ever, for he appeared to grieve over my troubles almost as much as I did myself. I resolved-to make one last mighty trial, and to write once more to my father, and if I did not receive any reply, to renbunce him and everything else, and run away-a guilty and imprudent resolution; but I was enraged and maddened by cold neglect After having despatched this last letter, I waited for the answer with a feverish impatience and anxiety.



PAGE 1

92 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. had the most sincere feelings of esteem and friendship. During the conversation he hinted that he had had trouble and distress, but without explaining from what cause. Sir Gilbert also thought it would be prudent and advisable, in this first interview, to say nothing that had any connexion with Frederick, or that would lead to. the subject. "The doctors have ordered me the bracing air of the country," said Colonel Clayton; "and I have been here for more than a year now. My wife is in London, superintending the education of my son, and comes down to see me every now and then. But, my fiend," continued he, "you could do me a great service. I require a gardener to assist me in my work here, and I would like an intelligent young man. A good many have already applied for the situation; but in this place, where I know not a soul, my confidence might very easily be misplaced, and so I must have recourse to you." I will do my best to serve you, my friend," replied Sir Gilbert; and in a few days, I hope I shall find a young man such as you desire." After having passed two days with his old friend, Sir Gilbert returned to his home, where Frederick awaited him with the most eager anxiety.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 95 Sir Gilbert Leslie," he explained to the servant who opened the door. You are welcome enough," said the old domestic, as he looked at the young man with apparent interest. Frederick had, indeed, recognised him, but the good old man was very far from suspecting that the child whom he had so often held in his arms, and whom he had conducted to school seven years before, now stood before him. He led Frederick to Colonel Clayton, who, rake in hand, was busily working at his flower-beds. Frederick turned pale at the sight of his father, whose features were now furrowed with age and grief, and his dark hair streaked with silver. His beating heart seemed as if it would burst from its place; his knees shook, ard it almost seemed as if his secret must escape his trembling lips. But he mastered himself in time; making a violent effort, he drove back his tears, and respectfully awaited his master's questions. Colonel Clayton observed the young man's visible agitation, and attributed it to the timidity natural to his years. He did not recognise the face, but he traced in the features of this unknown young man a



PAGE 1

70 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. by willows, which drooped their weeping heads into the clear waters, and rustled their silvery leaves in the soft summer breeze. The little stream which fed this small basin came rippling down from the mountains, and the place where it escaped into the basin was surrounded by small ornamental rocks, in the crevices of which grew all sorts of creeping plants and wild flowers. Immediately in front of the house was a broad, handsome terrace, ornamented with gay parterres of flowers. Those parterres were the objects of Lady Leslie's own peculiar care, and Frederick gazed on those pretty borders and charming beds, where thousands of bright and lovely flowers were blooming, with something more like rapture than admiration. From the terrace, Sir Gilbert conducted him into a fine orchard, where the fruit-trees were now in full bloom, and from thence he led the way into a flourishing vegetable garden. This garden was surrounded on all sides by high walls; and when Sir Gilbert opened the door, Frederick was enchanted at the first glimpse of this beautifully ordered spot, where everything was so neatly and regularly arrangedy.and looked the picture of prosperity. In the centre of the garden was a large basin of


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PAGE 1

II. THE DISOBEDIENT SON. THE STORY OF HIS REPENTANCE. CHAPTER I. NE summer day, Sir Gilbert Leslie, the proprietor of a beautiful country-house in the neighbourhood of the great busy manufacturing town of Glasgow, went out to take a walk, and in the course of his wanderings he penetrated into a pretty little valley, where a flock of sheep were feed, ing. The little shepherd, whose duty it was to watch them, was stretched on the soft green turf, under a great oak tree, apparently fast asleep. So th aght Sir Gilbert, at least, as there was no movement visible, and so he advanced softly towards him, with the intention of awaking him and asking his way.


96 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
vague resemblance to Frederick, and, at this thought,
a tear moistened the father's eye.
Thus both, equally moved, stood gazing at each
other some time in silence, and this delay gave Frede-
rick time to compose himself.
"And so Sir Gilbert Leslie has sent you to me,"
said Colonel Clayton, at last.
"Yes, sir."
The sound of Frederick's voice made Colonel
Clayton start.
" How weak and foolish I am !" he said to him-
self. Can I not see or hear a youth of this age
without my son being recalled to my mind; but the
voice, the figure, and the manner are all so like!
Ah, Frederick! my violent, self-willed, disobedient
son, would that it were indeed you "
"What is your name?" asked Colonel Clayton,
turning to the young man.
"Alexander, sir," replied Frederick; and it was
quite true, for his name was Frederick Alexander
Clayton.
"And where does your father live ?" continued
the Colonel.
"A few miles from Sir Gilbert Leslie's place, sir."
"What does he do ?"


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PAGE 1

7' 44' ~ ? ...... 1... ifi l 4 11h 11 P.,; m~




THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 73
CHAPTER II.
" THE obstinacy and wilfulness of my disposition-
failings of which I am now perfectly conscious, ahd
which I bitterly lament, though now too late-have
been the cause of all my troubles. I have been
guilty of much ingratitude towards my father, and
so I entreat that you will allow his name to remain
unknown. It is his secret, alas! and not mine,
which I am concealing from you; but I do not
wish to reduce you to the sad alternative of deliver-
ing me up to his anger, or of retaining me here
against his will.
" "My father is a wealthy man, and well enough
known for the many services he has rendered his
country on more than one occasion. I am the
only offspring of his first marriage; but, alas I never
knew my mother: she died a short time after my
birth.
"After three years of widowhood, my father mar-
ried again. At first, my stepmother showed much
tenderness for me; but after two years had passed
happily enough, another child came to our home,
and then I fancied my stepmother began to dislike



PAGE 1

38 THE FALSE HEIR. Augustus flew at him again, and inflicted two cruel blows upon his victim. He was on the point of repeating them, when Victor, indignant at this unworthy treatment, threw himself between them. Augustus was so surprised and so furious, that he ,ontitued to attack Victor, and fought and struggled with the desperation of a madman; but, notwithstand all his energy and apparent bravery, he finished by beating an ignominious retreat, and returned to the castle in a pitiable state. Victor went home, much grieved at discovering what a wicked heart Augustus had, truly sorry at having been obliged to fight with him, and consequently more saddened than elated by his victory, but fearing nothing, for his clear, unruffled conscience told him that his conduct had been without reproach. But Victor did not yet fully comprehend Madame Kilberg's character. When she saw her dear son return all torn and bleeding from the fray, and learnt how he had received his bruises, she was at first inconsolable, and trembled with grief and rage; but all of a sudden her feelings changed, and her heart beat wildly with joy. Ah, I have found what I have been seeking for !" she cried. This is just what I wished ; and, before



PAGE 1

98 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. and the diligence with which he applied himself to his work. Often, as he passed by theyoung gar dener, the Colonel would smile upon him kindly, and every day his good opinion of him increased. Frederick observed with delight that he was daily progressing in his father's esteem and affection, and he saw the day approaching when he would be able to reveal his secret. Sir Gilbert's frequent letters to him in the meantime cheered his courage and brightened his hope. Time went rapidly past, and the decisive moment of trial approached; the holidays had commenced, and Mrs Clayton and her son were expected at the castle. Frederickcarefully examined his heart, but he could find there no trace of the sinful passions which had rendered him so unhappy. Hatred, defiance, violence, and jealousy had all disappeared; and his greatest ambition now was to show himself a gentle and obedient son, a tender and generous brother. As to his antipathy towards his stepmother-for this antipathy still existed-his firm resolve was to endeavour to conquer it with all his might; and if he did not succeed in that, to endure it patiently, without irritation, and without complaint.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 59 concealed by the foliage, ready to come to the help of his uncertain memory. Suddenly they heard the gallop of a horse, and, in the midst of a cloud of dust, a courier rode forward to the triumphal arch, and then stopped andcried aloud" My lord, the baron is approaching, along with his lady and their son, your future lord !" The words were received by the crowd with an outburst of enthusiasm; but Madame Kilberg could scarcely believe her ears. There must be .some mistake," she said to herself; but even as she tried to comfort herself with the thought, she trembled, and the beautiful garlands of flowers she held fell from her hands. "What! there is a baroness! and a son! No, no," she cried; "never mind, Augustus, the courier must be mad, and does not know what he is saying." Breathless and eager, she bent forward to look along the road, where, very soon, an open carriage, drawn by six splendid horses, was seen approaching. The poor lady believed she was in some horrible dream. Yes, there was a baroness, and it was Madame Ernest, and Victor was the son At this sight her head reeled round, and darkness hid the rest from her eyes; losing all consciousness, Madame


io8 THE DISOBEDIENT SON
yourself write to my father and testify your satisfac-
tion with me. It is his forgiveness-yes, his forgive-
ness-that I desire, and I am going to beg that you
will ask it for me."
"His forgiveness! exclaimed Colonel Clayton,
with surprise. Of what have you been guilty ?"
" Oh sir, I have been very guilty. In my child-
hood I caused my father much grief by my wicked
violence, my obstinate disobedience, and, lastly, my
disappearance."
The father listened and shuddered; the convulsive
trembling which agitated him increased with every
word his son uttered. He bent his eager gaze upon
the young man, and his whole heart seemed to rush
towards him.
"Ask him to pardon a guilty but repentant son,"
continued Frederick. "Forgive me, 0 my father !"
cried he, throwing himself at the Colonel's feet.
"0 Frederick! it is you, it is really you !" cried
the happy father, raising him and folding him to his
heart. "I have found my son again, and I have
found him wise, industrious, and obedient."
The happiness of such a moment seemed to stifle
his voice, and there was nothing to be heard but
tears and sobs. Attracted by the noise, Mrs Clay-


THE FALSE HEIR. 39
a week has passed, I will have rid myself of this
mother and her insolent son I "
Two of the victim's companions, who had been
concealed behind the trees, had been i esses of the
scene. Delighted at seeing the wicked
had so often treated them harshly, well be
took good care not to interfere, especially as they
knew Victor was in the right. Those two boys had
nothing to boast of in the way of principle; and as
soon as Madame Kilberg heard the story, and that they
had been spectators of the whole thing, she foresaw
that it would be easy enough to make tools out of
them for the accomplishment of her wishes, and so,
with all haste, she sent word for them to wait upon
her.
"You deserve to be punished severely for your
cowardly behaviour," said the lady sternly, "but I
will pardon you on one condition, and that is, that
you tell the truth, for you have seen the whole
thing.
"Yes," added she, looking fixedly at the boys, as
if to convince them of the truth of her own state-
ments, "you saw Madame Ernest's son, and another
boy who had been thieving in the forest, throw them-
selves upon my son without any provocation. You


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. I01
At last Mrs Clayton arrived at the castle with
Harry. At the first sight of his stepmother, Frede-
rick experienced a feeling of affection, mingled with
respect and regret, but the sight of his brother filled
him with a joyful rapture. He was now a handsome
boy, fourteen years old, full of fun and frankness.
Impatient to have a pretence for seeing him nearer
at hand, Frederick hastened to the garden, gathered
a handful of the most beautiful flowers he could see,
and, entering the room where the reunited family
were seated, he respectfully approached Mrs Clayton,
and presented her with the bouquet.
Mrs Clayton looked at the young gardener with very
evident surprise, as she received the beautiful offering.
"You have a very gentlemanly young man for your
-gardener," she remarked to her husband, as soon as
Frederick had left the room.
Frederick, embarrassed by her gaze, hurriedly took
his departure, but Harry followed him with all the
frankness natural to a boy. He talked for a long
time with his unknown brother, and derived the
greatest pleasure from his conversation. Very soon
Harry began to share his work, and receive lessons in
horticulture; and so the intimacy between the brothers
increased every day.


THE FALSE HEIR. 23
"If I happen to die suddenly, I forbid Madame
Kilberg from having any authority, either in the
castle or on the estate; and I authorise my man
of business to take immediate possession of the
keys.
(Signed) BARON DE ROSENTHAL."
This order was immediately executed; and, to
assure himself better that everything was right and
safe, the lawyer installed himself in the castle for the
night; the others retired one by one. Madame
could scarcely believe that all she had seen and
heard was true; this news had fallen upon her like
a thunderbolt; and she withdrew into her own apart-
ments, with her son, and passed the whole night in
lamentation and weeping, not for the death of the
cousin who had been her friend and benefactor, but
for the loss and failure of her ambitious hopes and
schemes.
*ach was the story Augustus related to his listen-
ing friends, and in the evening it was confirmed by
Madame Kilberg herself. She condescended to come
to Madame Ernest's humble house, and on foot too,
probably because the coachman had refused to yoke
his horses for her. She, who till now had treated


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THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 67
questions. I don't want to tell a lie,' he said; 'and
so I would rather not answer you at all.'
"At that time our youngest son was ill, and we
required a shepherd badly enough; so we took this
young unknown. We have all along been very much
pleased with him; he is careful, intelligent, active,
and, besides, he is pious and gentle as an angel. 6ur
son will, we hope, soon be strong again; and then we
will have no more need of Frederick, but he can re-
main under our roof as long as he wishes. As long
as we have bread at the farm here, there will always
be enough for him."
These simple words of the good farmer's wife re-
doubled the interest which Sir Gilbert now felt in
Frederick.
"Who can this boy be?" he asked himself over
and over again; "and what strange adventure has
brought him here? I may perhaps know all that
some day, but in the meantime I will wait patiently,
and take care of him."
" What are your plans for the future, Frederick? "
asked Sir Gilbert of the boy one day. "You know
you cannot keep sheep all your life."
" No, sir, I have no wish to do so," replied Frede-
rick. I would like to learn some profession, which


THE FALSE HEIR. 25
"It is quite true," thought he to himself, "that
those who are proud and overbearing in prosperity,
lose all their dignity and courage in adversity. Mother
has told me so; but I never could have believed that
the haughty Madame Kilberg could fall into such an
excess of weakness, and show herself such a foolish
coward !"
Such were Victor's reflections; but he said no-
thing, and did all in his power to comfort and
cheer Augustus.
A week passed, and during all that time Madame
Kilberg had been constantly beside the friend whom
she had been wont to treat so contemptuously. There
was no end to her lamentations. She loaded the
dead man with the bitterest reproaches; she, who
had eaten his bread for ten years, and whom he had
loaded with benefits, now lavished the most odious
names upon his memory, and accused him of all the
vices and crimes under the sun. She only ceased
from her frantic invectives because she saw that
Madame Ernest was wounded by them. This lasted
for a week, but at the end of that time a finishing
stroke was put to Madame Kilberg's disappointed
hopes, which changed the aspect of affairs com-
pletely.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. I01 At last Mrs Clayton arrived at the castle with Harry. At the first sight of his stepmother, Frederick experienced a feeling of affection, mingled with respect and regret, but the sight of his brother filled him with a joyful rapture. He was now a handsome boy, fourteen years old, full of fun and frankness. Impatient to have a pretence for seeing him nearer at hand, Frederick hastened to the garden, gathered a handful of the most beautiful flowers he could see, and, entering the room where the reunited family were seated, he respectfully approached Mrs Clayton, and presented her with the bouquet. Mrs Clayton looked at the young gardener with very evident surprise, as she received the beautiful offering. "You have a very gentlemanly young man for your -gardener," she remarked to her husband, as soon as Frederick had left the room. Frederick, embarrassed by her gaze, hurriedly took his departure, but Harry followed him with all the frankness natural to a boy. He talked for a long time with his unknown brother, and derived the greatest pleasure from his conversation. Very soon Harry began to share his work, and receive lessons in horticulture; and so the intimacy between the brothers increased every day.



PAGE 1

78 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. not care. I soon learned that my father was going to send me to a place some thirty miles or so from London, to a castle which stood on the borders of a forest, where an old university professor had opened a school for boys. This professor was a learned and severe man, they said, and experienced in the art of subduing the most rebellious natures. "I was too proud to ask any pardon for my offences; and when the moment for departure arrived, I presented myself before my father to say good-bye. "He was alone in his study, and he looked at me kindly. I had entered the room with an air of tranquil resignation, and swallowed my grief as best I could; but it seemed to me as if my father's glance pierced my heart and read my very thoughts. "'Go, my dear boy,' he said to me, 'go, and learn to conquer yourself. After some little time has passed, I hope you will return to us more gentle and obedient. Kiss me, my son. Good-bye.' "These words seemed to break my heart. In my excess of grief, instead of throwing myself into my father's arms, I threw myself at his feet, and I seized his hand and covered it with my burning kisses. I could not speak a word, for my voice was buried in sobs and tears.


THE FALSE HEIR. 7
But, seeing that Victor would not consent without
first receiving permission from his mother, and that
his mother did not seem at all disposed to grant that
permission, Augustus hastened to Madame Kilberg,
who had not yet seated herself in her splendid car-
riage, and begged her to speak for him to Victor's
mother. Madame Kilberg, who could not refuse
her son anything he asked for, consented to gratify
him, though not without some hesitation. She
believed she was doing an act of the greatest con-
descension, and quite expected that Madame Ernest
would be overwhelmed with gratitude at the honour
she was about to do her son; but, proud as she was,
she was somewhat disconcerted by Madame Ernest's
noble and dignified manner, and was obliged to
express herself a little more politely than she at first
intended.
" I shall be obliged if you will allow your little boy
to pass two or three hours with my son at the Castle
of Rosenthal," said Madame Kilberg, drily enough,
and with a haughty curl of the lip, which told well
enough that it was an effort to be so gracious.
Victor's mother had a great desire to say "No;"
for, judging the son by the mother, she thought such
an acquaintance would be anything but desirable.


26 TH-E FALSE HEIR.
CHAPTER IV.
ON the evening of the eighth day, as Madame
Kilberg was sitting in the house of her friend, and
repeating, as usual, the story of her woes, her torrent
of lamentations was suddenly interrupted by the
entrance of a young man. This young man Ma-
dame Kilberg knew very well was the lawyer's clerk,
though, until now, she had never condescended to
honour him with a glance. He greeted Madame
Ernest first, then Madame Kilberg, who, contrary
to all his expectations, answered him with a gracious
smile; for she had become polite in her misfortune,
though not for long, as we shall see.
"My master has desired me to tell you that he
has received news of the new baron," said the young
man, addressing himself to Madame Kilberg. He
will arrive at Rosenthal in eight days, and till then
he requests that you will resume your authority at the
castle, and my master is charged to deliver up the
keys into your hands. All the servants will be at
your command, and are ordered to obey your
wishes."
Madame Ernest and her son listened with pleasure
to those words. Augustus was in a perfect transport


46 THE FALSE HEIR..
CHAPTER VII.
THE great day at length dawned-that happy day
which was to complete Madame Kilberg's triumph,
and free her from the mighty incubus that oppressed
her, by ridding her of the presence of Madame Ernest
and her son, towards whom her hatred and jealousy
increased every day.
On the afternoon of the previous day, about four
o'clock, Augustus resolved to put into execution a
dark design which, he had formed, but which he was
careful not to mention to his mother, lest she might
place some obstacle in his way. The boy had brooded
darkly over his defeat, and a desire for revenge had
sprung up within his heart.
"To-morrow before the sun sets," he said to him-
self, "Victor and his mother will have left the village.
That is all my mother wants, but it is not sufficient
to please me: he has beaten me, and I shall have
my revenge. Before he leaves the place he shall
suffer for his conduct. Then, and not till then, will
I be content. But I will be guilty of no imprudence,
and will make the game sure."
And so Augustus called two active, robust boys
to him, two young wretches, who listened respect-


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PAGE 1

Ino THE DISOBEDIENT SON As for Frederick, his father presented him with the beautiful Scotch castle where their reconciliation had been effected, and the estate which belonged to it There Frederick resides almost continually, the patron of industry, and the benefactor of the poor. Among the number of institutions which he has founded is a fine school-house; he often examines the children himself, gives them useful lessons and advice, and rewards those who have been diligent and persevering. But the great lesson which he strives to inculcate into each little mind, is the precept so well confirmed by his own misfortunes and faults. :' "Love your parents; honour them and obey them m everything: it is the law of God, and the source of all happiness."



PAGE 1

56 THE FALSE HEIR. tunes of the mother and son, and had led to the happiest results for all of them. And so the perversity of the wicked is often the means which Providence himself uses to punish them, and save the oppressed. "And now, dearest wife," said Monsieur de Clary, as he finished his story, "you have promised to leave this house to-morrow; but you will leave it with me immediately, and go where you will meet with a reception worthy of you, to a neighbouring castle which belongs to one of my best friends. To-morrow we shall return together to our own castle, for you are now the Baroness Rosenthal. I have been obliged to change my name since the death of the old baron, who, in leaving me heir to all his possessions, which came from our maternal grandfather, has imposed this one condition upon me. His mother and mine were sisters; my cousin had for long believed I was dead ; and when he heard of my return from France, he all at once remembered that I was his nearest kinsman. To-morrow is fixed for me making my entry into the castle of my ancestors; but this evening I wished to come without being known, and visit some portions of this vast domain, and see what sort of a manager Madame Kilberg is, who, they tell me, is not much liked hereabouts; but, I fear, they have



PAGE 1

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THE FALSE HEIR. 35
herself of such uncomfortable neighboufs. She never
thought of her unchristian behaviour, or how she was
abusing the power that had been entrusted to her;
she only thought of her own selfish motives and am-
bitious schemes, and how all her fair hopes might yet
be dashed in pieces, if she did not act with the
utmost wisdom and precaution.
It was easy to gain her son's sympathy and aid,
for it was chiefly through him that she hoped to suc-
ceed in her plans, and the lesson was not lost upon
him.
Victor was far from perceiving the storm which
was about to fall upon him; he had received so many
proofs of attachment from Augustus during these last
days, that, in spite of the coldness of his farewell the
evening before, and notwithstanding all his mother
had said to him, he still tried to believe in his friend-
ship.
He passed the whole morning beside his mother,
talking over the sad story he had learnt the
evening before; then he set himself to his studies
bravely, though his thoughts would wander away
from his lesson at times, for his heart was still
troubled and agitated.
He was astonished that Augustus did not come to



PAGE 1

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58 THE FALSE HEIR.
to do that? I don't understand it at all. But it
does not matter, we will only think now of to-
morrow's great doings, and of the praises that will
be lavished on my son. Come, dear Augustus, and
say over your speech to me."
But "dear Augustus" would do no such thing.
He was as disobedient as he was idle; a never-fail-
ing result to an education such as he had received.
Besides, had not the schoolmaster promised to
prompt him, and what was the use of him exert-
ing himself for nothing? And so the evening was
brought to a close by one of those sharp scenes
between the mother and son, which, to tell the truth,
happened often enough.
The next morning, all Rosenthal was astir at an
early hour. The triumphal arch was magnificently
decorated, and shone gaily with its fresh beauty in
the morning sun. All the inhabitants of the village,
and from the whole country far and wide, flocked
eagerly in, dressed in holiday costume, to see the
procession, and welcome the new baron. In a little
gallery, erected for the occasion, and covered with
crimson cloth, sat Madame Kilberg beside her son,
wreathed with smiles, and radiant with hope and
pride; and behind Augustus the schoolmaster was



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 63 He approached the young sleeping shepherd, but his progress was arrested by observing that the boy held in his hand an open book. This surprised Sir Gilbert not a little, and curious to see what this book could be, he stooped down, and saw that it was a Latin author-Virgil. Though extremely amazed, and not a little interested, Sir Gilbert did not wish to disturb the young man, so, leaning against a tree, he silently waited till he should awake. This shepherd seemed a boy of about sixteen years old; his clothes were thick and coarse, but extremely clean. His features were delicate and finely chiselled, and his skin white and smooth, notwithstanding its necessary exposure to the heat of a July sun. At this moment he appeared to be tormented by a painful dream; his, breast heaved convulsively, and every now and then, he gave vent to an inarticulate sob. In his restless sleep, he moved himself so violently that he awoke. He opened his eyes, and rose immediately, as he saw himself face to face with the stranger who was gazing at him so earnestly. He touched his cap politely, and was about to depart, but Sir Gilbert detained him. My boy," said he, I have just seen something which surprised me very much: a book lying at your


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 63
He approached the young sleeping shepherd, but
his progress was arrested by observing that the boy
held in his hand an open book. This surprised Sir
Gilbert not a little, and curious to see what this book
could be, he stooped down, and saw that it was a
Latin author-Virgil. Though extremely amazed,
and not a little interested, Sir Gilbert did not wish to
disturb the young man, so, leaning against a tree, he
silently waited till he should awake.
This shepherd seemed a boy of about sixteen years
old; his clothes were thick and coarse, but extremely
clean. His features were delicate and finely chiselled,
and his skin white and smooth, notwithstanding its
necessary exposure to the heat of a July sun. At
this moment he appeared to be tormented by a
painful dream; his, breast heaved convulsively, and
every now and then, he gave vent to an inarticulate
sob. In his restless sleep, he moved himself so
violently that he awoke. He opened his eyes, and
rose immediately, as he saw himself face to face with
the stranger who was gazing at him so earnestly. He
touched his cap politely, and was about to depart,
but Sir Gilbert detained him.
" My boy," said he, I have just seen something
which surprised me very much: a book lying at your


7'
44' ~ ?
. . ... 1... ifi l 4 11h
11 P.,;
m~


8 THE FALSE HEIR.
But she read in Victor's eyes such a wish to accept
the invitation, that she had not strength to refuse him
this small pleasure; besides, she was afraid of offend-
ing Madame Kilberg by refusing, and of making her
her enemy; and she knew well enough that this
lady's hatred might be productive of very bitter con-
sequences to her.
And so Victor accompanied Augustus to the castle
for the first time, where he soon became a frequent
visitor, and where his gentle and amiable character
soon gained him the affection of all around. Augustus
would have become his friend, if he had possessed
a good heart; but as it was, they could only be com-
panions, and this companionship was broken by many
a storm. Augustus always wished to be the master,
and play the tyrant; but Victor, in spite of the gentle-.
ness of his character, would not submit to being ruled
over, and he was right.
This struggle for power caused many quarrels and
frequent ruptures. But, on those occasions, it was
always Augustus who sought his comrade, and, in
spite of his pride, made all the advances; for, as we
have said, he knew nothing, and had not the power
of amusing himself alone. Far from being grateful,
however, for the amiability which Victor displayed in


I.
THE FALSE HEIR.
CHAPTER I.
N one. of the most remote provinces of Ger-
many, and in the centre of a beautiful
"valley, stands the pretty little village of
Rosenthal. On one side a noble castle, which bears
its name, rears its stately head, and almost overtops
the giant pines which stand proudly erect around its
entrance-gates. This castle, the village, and a few
neighbouring hamlets, formed, at the time we speak
of a rich barony, and the proprietor preserved to him-
self all the feudal rights which were formerly observed
with such rigour throughout all Germany. On the
neighbouring heights, vast woods spread their rich
foliage a.s far as the eye could reach; there they
A



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 2 occasion it was not far off. Making a violent effort, the baron gave the signal to return to the ball-room, and dancing commenced immediately with renewed vigour. But in the midst of all this gaiety and mirth the baron fell to the floor with a terrible groan of agony, which was heard above the crash of the music and the laughter of the guests. His terrified friends flocked to his assistance, and raising the old man gently and tenderly, bore him to his room. A doctor was called in all haste, and did all that science could prescribe in such a case; but all was in vain. The baron had been struck down in a moment, and he now lay there, stiff and cold, to rise no more. The consternation and awe which succeeded to the joy of this fite can be easily imagined. The most of the company ordered their carriages and departed immediately. The doctor, the lawyer, and some of the most intimate friends alone remained. They endeavoured to comfort Madame Kilberg, who was bathed in tears. "Alas !" said she, "what an excellent friend, what a generous benefactor I have lost! How he has loved me, and how much I have loved him in return I I would have given ten years of my life to save his, and he would have deserved it all !"



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 3 mighty lord, had no call to do anything but amuse himself. But even this, Augustus did not know how to do, for he had no resources within himself, and was too proud and haughty to make companions of the village children; and so he spent many a long tiresome hour alone, with nothing better to occupy him than his own vain thoughts. Fortunately for him, however, a boy better dressed, and apparently richer than the children of the neighbouring farmers, came, after a few months had gone by, to live at Rosenthal along with his mother, and the proud Augustus, feeling his isolated position more than he cared to confess, thought he might stoop to make a companion of this boy without compromising his dignity. This boy's name was Victor Ernest; but who was he? No one knew; and when he and his mother arrived at the pretty little village of Rosenthal, and made it their home, the neighbours were curious enough to find out their history and where they had come froin, but no information could they get. What had attracted them to the quiet little valley was a mystery, unless it was that there was a pretty Slittle house and garden to sell, which might be bought in this solitary retreat for no extravagant sum. It



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 8 expect your father to show you any marks of tenderness or affection, before you have given him proofs of your repentance? What have you done during the two years you have been here? Have you worked with patience and perseverance? Have you endeavoured to repair your old faults by your irreproachable conduct and daily progress in your studies? First, make a mighty effort to conquer yourself, and then your father will forgive you and take you back to his love.' "This hope that my master held out to me animated and encouraged me. I triumphed over the dark cloud of grief that had overwhelmed me; and very soon my master lavished his praises upon me. I wrote to my father regularly, but still he answered me never a word. My heart beat impatiently, and every time the postman appeared at the gates of the castle, I rushed towards him eagerly. 'Nothing for you,' he would invariably answer, and then my heart would become colder and harder than ever. "If I had spoken of my stepmother in my letters, and of my brother, if I had showed the slightest symptoms of affection for them, my father would most certainly have replied to me. I understand it all now perfectly well; but then I never thought of it F


W TE FALSE HEIR. 29
As for Madame Ernest, far from being offended by
the abrupt and hasty departure of Madame Kilberg
and her son, she would have smiled with all good
nature if her clear penetration had not forewarned her
that a storm was brewing against Victor and herself.
"This proud lady is about to become my enemy,"
she said to herself. "She will never forgive me
having been a witness of her humiliation and cow-
ardice. She will always be in perpetual fear lest I
reveal the ungrateful epithets she has showered upon
her benefactor, whose memory is doubtless both dear
and sacred to him whom he has endowed with his
possessions. She will repay the interest I have dis-
played in her welfare by injuring me as much as she
can. She may do more, perhaps. My God I if new
misfortunes threaten us, do Thou give us strength to
bear them calmly, and make Thy grace sufficient for
us at all times."
With her heart full of those thoughts, the mother
judged that the moment had arrived when she might
strengthen Victor's mind by making him her con-
fidant, and by revealing to him the secrets which she
had thought it her duty to keep from him till now.
He, poor boy, was troubled and hurt by the cold
adieu he had received from his companion, and could


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 91
an enchanting aspect. An avenue of splendid lime
trees led up to the castle, and behind them one
could catch a glimpse of numerous fruit-trees, laden
with their snowy, fragrant blossoms, filling the air
with perfume. From the terrace a glimpse of the
winding river was to be seen, glowing in the rays of
the setting sun, and the little green hills beyond, and
still further, the beautiful blue mountains, which
seemed to lose themselves in the clouds.
Sir Gilbert, after having greatly admired the beau-
tiful panorama of nature stretched out before him,
approached the castle. An old man-servant, with
white hair, conducted him into the dining-room,
where he begged him to await his master's arrival.
" Colonel Clayton ought to be happy, in such a
beautiful spot," remarked Sir Gilbert.
"No, no, sir!" replied the faithful old servant,
shaking his head sadly; "my master is always sad
and melancholy. The doctors recommended him
continual exercise; he cultivates this garden with his
own hands, with the most assiduous care; but he
never smiles, even at the sight of those beautiful
flowers."
Colonel Clayton himself entered presently. He
appeared delighted to see Sir Gilbert, for whom he



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 9 so often forgetting his wrongs, and the bitter words that had been spoken to him, Augustus did his best to show that he was in no way submissive, and in the depths of his heart nourished and cherished feelings of hatred and jealousy towards his companion. Such were the natures of the two children. As to the mothers, they seldom or never saw each other. Madame Kilberg was too haughty ever to dream of visiting a person whom she regarded as so much beneath her in station and wealth; and, for her part, Madame Ernest was too much wrapped up in her own melancholy, and had too much pride of character besides, to humble herself by paying court to the lady of the castle. CHAPTER II. MEANWHILE, the birthday of the old Baron Rosenthal approached, and a numerous and brilliant company had been invited to celebrate it. There were to be games and amusements of every description for the young people: a concert, then a banquet, followed by a ball. Victor was not invited to this splendid fete. The guests belonged entirely to the aristocracy of the neighbourhood, and Victor,-intelligent, amiable,



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 83 During the day, I had frequent palpitations of the heart, and at night I was a prey to the most frightful dreams. For a whole month I endured this agony, for nothing had come "Then I determined to put the rash design into execution that I had formerly agreed upon, though my resolution was not taken without a shudder. I ran away from the boarding-school; but, before departing, I wrote this letter to my master. My dear kind master, forgive my flight. I am guilty only towards you, since you are the onlyiperson in the whole world that loves me. I have no friends. I have no longer any father. Do not be afraid that I shall make any attempt to rid myself of my life, which has only been a source of misery to me of late. The principles of religion, in which you have brought me up, are my safeguard. I will never do anything unworthy the name I bear. Farewell. Love and pray for your unhappy Frederick.' Some distance from school I stopped to rest, and persuaded a young peasant to exchange clothes with me. I only walked during the night, and avoided all the villages by turning into secluded field-paths and lanes. I longed to cross the border, and leave England behind me; then, and only then, I felt I could



PAGE 1

58 THE FALSE HEIR. to do that? I don't understand it at all. But it does not matter, we will only think now of tomorrow's great doings, and of the praises that will be lavished on my son. Come, dear Augustus, and say over your speech to me." But "dear Augustus" would do no such thing. He was as disobedient as he was idle; a never-failing result to an education such as he had received. Besides, had not the schoolmaster promised to prompt him, and what was the use of him exerting himself for nothing? And so the evening was brought to a close by one of those sharp scenes between the mother and son, which, to tell the truth, happened often enough. The next morning, all Rosenthal was astir at an early hour. The triumphal arch was magnificently decorated, and shone gaily with its fresh beauty in the morning sun. All the inhabitants of the village, and from the whole country far and wide, flocked eagerly in, dressed in holiday costume, to see the procession, and welcome the new baron. In a little gallery, erected for the occasion, and covered with crimson cloth, sat Madame Kilberg beside her son, wreathed with smiles, and radiant with hope and pride; and behind Augustus the schoolmaster was



PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

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PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 69 band; she received Frederick with a hearty welcome, conducted him herself to the pretty little room which was from henceforth destined to be his own, and'then introduced him to her two little sons, charming children of seven and nine respectively, who very soon came to look upon Frederick as their elder brother. After dinner, Sir Gilbert showed Frederick over his domain, every part of which was cultivated with the greatest care. There was not a single waste or unproductive corner to be seen, and everywhere the beautiful and ornamental was mingled with the useful. The estate, besides the house and garden, was composed of cultivated fields, rich meadows, and a plantation or small forest. Lesser plantations of useful trees, planted by the hand of art, gave the whole the appearance of a vast garden. There were poplars and oaks on the higher parts, and fruit-trees on the slopes exposed to the south. The view from the front of the house extended over a large park-adorned here and there by noble oaks, and spreading beech-trees, and groups of acacias -across the broad, smooth river, which looked like a streak of silver in the distance, and over a wide expanse of purple heath, to the blue hills beyond. Quite near the house was a pretty pond surrounded



PAGE 1

20 THE FALSE HEIR. Do not weep for him, Victor; he was a wicked, bad man. Oh, if you only knew what he has done to me. I do not weep for him,-I curse him with all my heart !" said Augustus, giving way to a passion of fury at last. Madame Ernest was both surprised and frightened by his behaviour. She spoke to him as gently as she would have done to Victor, and did her best to calm the enraged boy; and when she had somewhat succeeded, she persuaded him, though not without some difficulty, to tell them what had happened. His story, which was often interrupted by sobs and groans, ran thus:The evening before, just shortly after Madame Ernest and Victor had passed the castle, and had lingered to admire its brilliancy and beauty, and the splendid brightness of the windows, the baron had been seized with a sudden fit in the midst of the gay and glittering ball-room. He had -one fault, which is by no means a rare one amongst the Germans, nor in our own country either, and that was-the love of wine. During supper the baron had drunk freely, as much in honour of the file as to animate his guests. But the punishment of intemperance is generally an awful one, and upon this


92 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
had the most sincere feelings of esteem and friend-
ship. During the conversation he hinted that he had
had trouble and distress, but without explaining from
what cause. Sir Gilbert also thought it would be
prudent and advisable, in this first interview, to say
nothing that had any connexion with Frederick, or
that would lead to. the subject.
"The doctors have ordered me the bracing air of
the country," said Colonel Clayton; "and I have
been here for more than a year now. My wife is in
London, superintending the education of my son, and
comes down to see me every now and then. But, my
fiend," continued he, "you could do me a great
service. I require a gardener to assist me in my
work here, and I would like an intelligent young
man. A good many have already applied for the
situation; but in this place, where I know not a soul,
my confidence might very easily be misplaced, and so
I must have recourse to you."
" I will do my best to serve you, my friend," replied
Sir Gilbert; and in a few days, I hope I shall find
a young man such as you desire."
After having passed two days with his old friend,
Sir Gilbert returned to his home, where Frederick
awaited him with the most eager anxiety.


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 79
"'Frederick! Frederick!' exclaimed my father.
' You are then sorry for your conduct, and grieved to
leave us too.'
" Sorry yes father,' replied I, through my tears.
" Ah, well, my boy,' said he, 'if your heart is still
good and kind, and if you love your father, promise
to correct your faults.'
"At that moment the door opened, and my step-
mother entered, leading her little son by the hand.
" Frederick,' said my father, 'get up'; go and kiss
your mother; ask her pardon, and bid her farewell.'
"I rose quickly, but I did not obey. I was wrong,
I know, but my whole nature revolted from such an
act of submission. I brushed away my tears as
hastily as possible, and a look of haughty indignation
was the only farewell that my stepmother received
from me.
"'Go and kiss Frederick,' said my father to his
second son. Harry advanced towards me willingly
enough, but I rudely turned away from him; my
exasperation had made me both disobedient and
unjust.
" 'Oh, my father,' said I, falling on my knees again,
'I love you, and respect you, and am ready to obey
you in everything; but do not force me to ask the




THE FALSE HEIR. 3
mighty lord, had no call to do anything but amuse
himself. But even this, Augustus did not know how
to do, for he had no resources within himself, and
was too proud and haughty to make companions of
the village children; and so he spent many a long
tiresome hour alone, with nothing better to occupy
him than his own vain thoughts.
Fortunately for him, however, a boy better dressed,
and apparently richer than the children of the neigh-
bouring farmers, came, after a few months had gone
by, to live at Rosenthal along with his mother, and
the proud Augustus, feeling his isolated position more
than he cared to confess, thought he might stoop to
make a companion of this boy without compromising
his dignity.
This boy's name was Victor Ernest; but who was
he? No one knew; and when he and his mother
arrived at the pretty little village of Rosenthal, and
made it their home, the neighbours were curious
enough to find out their history and where they had
come froin, but no information could they get.
What had attracted them to the quiet little valley
was a mystery, unless it was that there was a pretty
Slittle house and garden to sell, which might be bought
in this solitary retreat for no extravagant sum. It


THE FALSE HEIR. 47
fully to their masters words, and showed all eagerness
to accede to his wishes.
"You know the Poplar Fountain?" asked the
wicked Augustus, his eyes glaring with malice and
revenge. "Well, I am pretty certain Victor will go
this afternoon to say 'Good-bye' to his favourite walk;
he's just that kind of sentimental fellow, and I
shouldn't be at all surprised if he drops a few tears
into the fountain-it's a pretty sort of idea, you know,
and he's just the fool to think so too. But I will
make him shed tears in good earnest. Go you and
conceal yourselves in the forest; I will meet Victor
alone. He will never suspect anything, and will
imagine very likely that I have come to say fare-
well to him. Ah, yes, I will give him something
that he will not forget in a hurry! Whenever I
make the signal, you will both rush out upon him,
seize hold of his arms and legs, and leave the rest to
me."
As this wicked boy had foreseen, as soon as even-
ing approached, Victor wandered towards the charm-
ing spot to which he had come so often with his
Smother, and where she had spoken so many sweet
words of instruction and consolation to him, and he
gazed upon the fresh green turf, the pure limpid



PAGE 1

74 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. me, because I did not caress my little brother sufficiently. If I had only been obedient and affectionate, I would doubtless have easily overcome those feelings, for I cannot but remember that my mother was naturally good and kind, and I, in the depths of my heart, did love my little brother Harry. But I took it into my head that I was cruelly neglected; I became jealous and sulky, and treated my baby brother with the greatest coldness and contempt. Then my stepmother, thinking I disliked her son, ceased to love me, and my father, observing that I kept aloof from Harry, was angry with me. He had good reason. Alas! it all seems like yesterday to me. "My dispositions changed completely, and I became all at once sad and morose; sulkiness, defiance, and a kind of savage timidity made me disagreeable to all around me. My stepmother complained that I did not love her, and that I was jealous of my little brother. The tears stood in her eyes as she related to my father the proofs of my aversion and jealousy, and my father loaded me with reproaches and reprimands; but at those times I always took refuge in silence, and my tears were my only response.



PAGE 1

104 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. "He wants for nothing; he is well educated, active, and intelligent." "He has another son, I hear." "Yes, and he is as worthy a lad as his brother." "I must confess to you, my friend, I hardly know how I would get on now without Alexander. At first I could not accustpm myself to the young man's presence at all; the very sight of him annoyed me, for there was something in his features and voice that reminded me so much of the child I lost. You know about that?" said Colonel Clayton. "Yes, I have heard the story spoken of; a child who behaved very badly towards you, and who caused you much bitter grief." "It is only too true; he has caused me much unhappiness. But oh! my friend, do not judge him too harshly; he is not so guilty as you think; perhaps the wrong was not committed by him alone; his stepmother was to blame too. His stepmother-must I indeed confess it to you?-who is otherwise so amiable, and kind, and generous, did not love him; she imagined that Frederick hated her son. The fiery nature and enraged passions of my unhappy son only confirmed her in this opinion; it rendered her unjust; and she fancied if Frederick was restored to my good




THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 77
"Sobs of anger and passion choked my utterance;
I hastened out of the room, up-stairs, and threw my-
self on my bed in a fit of desperation.
"Next day, my father sent for me to come to his
study. I felt I was guilty of a grievous fault; and as I
obeyed the summons, I trembled with fear. His
angry glance made me lower my eyes; and I believe I
experienced the anguish of death itself, as I heard
him address those words to me, which, alas, my im-
prudence merited only too well--
"' You have accused your mother of cruelty, Frede-
rick; you have called her your enemy, and you
have said that I, your father, do not love you; you
have asked to be allowed to leave your home; do
you still wish this request to be granted ?'
"'Bewildered and stunned with fear and surprise, I
had not strength to utter a single word.
"'Your desire will be satisfied,' continued my
father. 'You will be sent to. a boarding-school, and
you will leave the day after to-morrow.'
"As my father said this, he made a sign for me to
leave the room. I obeyed. The thought of leaving
my father, whom I now loved more tenderly than ever,
made my tears flow; but I concealed my grief as well
as I could, and to those around me I pretended I did



PAGE 1

102 THE DISOBEDIENT SONV. In the evenings, Frederick always joined Harry in his pleasures and games: the latter could do nothing without him. In this beautiful solitude, so far distant from society and the gay world of fashion, Mrs Clayton was pleased that her son should find some innocent distraction and amusement in the society of such an exemplary and well-educated young man, notwithstanding the difference of their rank and position in life. In short, Frederick, by his amiability and readiness to oblige, had endeared himself to the whole family; and so two months glided happily on. "Have you got any brothers, Alexander? asked Harry, one day innocently. "Yes; I have one." "And do you love him very much ?" I love him with my whole heart," replied Frederick, looking tenderly at the boy. "And have you any brothers ?" A cloud came over Harry's bright young face at this question. "I once had one, but he is dead now. I was very young when he left home, but I still miss him very much; I would have loved him so much !" "What a good, kind heart he has said Frederick to himself. "And this is the brother of whom I


This page contains no text.


56 THE FALSE HEIR.
tunes of the mother and son, and had led to the hap-
piest results for all of them. And so the perversity
of the wicked is often the means which Providence
himself uses to punish them, and save the oppressed.
"And now, dearest wife," said Monsieur de Clary,
as he finished his story, "you have promised to leave
this house to-morrow; but you will leave it with me
immediately, and go where you will meet with a re-
ception worthy of you, to a neighbouring castle which
belongs to one of my best friends. To-morrow we
shall return together to our own castle, for you are
now the Baroness Rosenthal. I have been obliged
to change my name since the death of the old baron,
who, in leaving me heir to all his possessions, which
came from our maternal grandfather, has imposed
this one condition upon me. His mother and mine
were sisters; my cousin had for long believed I was
dead ; and when he heard of my return from France,
he all at once remembered that I was his nearest
kinsman. To-morrow is fixed for me making my
entry into the castle of my ancestors; but this even-
ing I wished to come without being known, and visit
some portions of this vast domain, and see what sort
of a manager Madame Kilberg is, who, they tell me,
is not much liked hereabouts; but, I fear, they have


HER CHICKENS. 15
become of them? Who will feed them? Their
mother cannot do it, for she has no hands. And
how will she teach them to eat alone, when she can-
not speak ? God has given the animals no hands to
help themselves, nor speech to teach one another;
and the hen, who will have hatched her young ones
with so much perseverance, will neither be able to
feed them, nor bring them up. Poor little birds, how
they are to be pitied ? "
And Louisa, forgetting the goodness of God, waited
for the end of the three weeks with sadnress and com-
passion. At last, the three weeks passed, and Louisa
one morning saw the hen raise herself a little, and
turn the eggs gently round with her beak. One egg
was ready; there was a little hole in it. The hen
made it larger with her beak, taking the greatest-care
all the while; little by little the egg opened; a little
cry was heard, to which the mother answered ten-
derly. At last, the shell came quite away, and a
tiny chicken came out of it, chirping with its little
voice, and already trying to stand on its trembling
feet. The mother seemed very happy to see her little
one, but she had still much to do. There wereeleven
more eggs, and she must help to hatch them, as she
had done the first; so she hid the chicken under her




II.
THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
THE STORY OF HIS REPENTANCE.
CHAPTER I.
NE summer day, Sir Gilbert Leslie, the pro-
prietor of a beautiful country-house in the
neighbourhood of the great busy manufac-
turing town of Glasgow, went out to take a walk, and
in the course of his wanderings he penetrated into a
pretty little valley, where a flock of sheep were feed,
ing. The little shepherd, whose duty it was to watch
them, was stretched on the soft green turf, under a
great oak tree, apparently fast asleep. So th aght
Sir Gilbert, at least, as there was no movement visible,
and so he advanced softly towards him, with the inten-
tion of awaking him and asking his way.


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 105
graces, Harry would suffer for it. And so, my friend,
bitter as the confession is, she suppressed the letters
my son wrote to me from his boarding-school; so far
was her sense of right conquered by her maternal
fears. And I-I looked upon Frederick, who wrote
to me so rarely, who never mentioned either the
names of his mother or brother in his letters, and
who at last took to flight-I looked upon him as a
most unnatural son. But oh! my friend, for two
years the hand of God weighed heavily upon us.
Harry was taken dangerously ill, and for many days
he lay in his mother's arms as if death had already
called him for his own. Stunned and despairing, my
wife looked upon this sad calamity as a chastisement
from heaven, and her eyes, which had been so long
blinded, were at last opened to the truth. She con-
fessed everything to me, and made a vow to repair
all the wrongs she had committed against Frederick,
if God would only, restore Harry to us. God did
restore Harry; but what has become of the unfor-
tunate child whose self-will and disobedience have
caused us so much sorrow, we know not. I have
sought him everywhere in vain. I hope he still lives;
but, alas! if he is, he is doubtless enduring a life of
hardship and misery. Perhaps even, and I shudder


116 THE HEN AND
wing, and returned to her task. She turned the eggs
over and over again, and each time a little chicken
had commenced to open the shell from the interior,
the mother helped it with her beak, and, whenever it
had fairly left the shell, she covered it with her
feathers.
Louisa observed all that, and, quite surprised, she
asked herself who could have taught the little chicken
to chip the shell, and the mother to open it afterwards
with so much patience and cleverness ?
"Very soon the whole twelve chickens were out of
their shells. The mother still sat upon them, how-
ever, for some hours, as if to give them time to accus-
tom themselves to live out of an egg. But at last
the hen rose, collected all her little ones round her,
and stepped out of the nest.
The shoemaker had thrown out some grains of corn
and lbread-crumbs, and Louisa saw the hen stoop,
take them in her beak, and place them'before her
little ones, as if she were telling them to eat. And
the chickens really commenced to eat, as if they per-
fectly understood their mother.
The little girl was astonished more and more. She
would have liked to ask her father how it happened
that the hen seemed to understand her little ones so
|


THE FALSE HEIR. 9
so often forgetting his wrongs, and the bitter words
that had been spoken to him, Augustus did his best
to show that he was in no way submissive, and in the
depths of his heart nourished and cherished feelings
of hatred and jealousy towards his companion. Such
were the natures of the two children.
As to the mothers, they seldom or never saw each
other. Madame Kilberg was too haughty ever to
dream of visiting a person whom she regarded as so
much beneath her in station and wealth; and, for her
part, Madame Ernest was too much wrapped up in
her own melancholy, and had too much pride of
character besides, to humble herself by paying court
to the lady of the castle.
CHAPTER II.
MEANWHILE, the birthday of the old Baron Rosenthal
approached, and a numerous and brilliant company
had been invited to celebrate it. There were to be
games and amusements of every description for the
young people: a concert, then a banquet, followed by
a ball. Victor was not invited to this splendid fete.
The guests belonged entirely to the aristocracy of
the neighbourhood, and Victor,-intelligent, amiable,


50 THE FALSE HEIR.
well known, and you have none. Our account is by
no means settled," and the furious boy walked off,
with a threatening gesture, and left Victor alone with
the stranger.
" Am I wrong in guessing this boy to be Augustus
Kilberg ?" asked the gentleman, as he looked after
the retreating figure.
"No, sir; you are quite right; it is Augustus,"
replied Victor,
"Is it possible ?" said the stranger, looking very
much surprised; "he seems to be anything but
amiable; and those two wicked boys who joined
him, it was doubtless an agreement between them."
" I don't know, sir," answered Victor, whose frank,
generous nature shrank from accusing any one with-
out the most open proof of their guilt, and who dis-
liked harbouring suspicions or speaking evil even
against the wicked.
"But why has he treated you thus ? What have
you done to deserve it, my boy? and have you no
friends to protect you and punish him ? Do not sup-
pose I am asking those questions out of mere idle
curiosity," said the stranger, seeing that Victor's eyes
were now full of tears. I have not listened to all
you said to Augustus without feeling interested in


72 THE DISOBEDIENT SON.
and were quite happy in their quiet and peaceful
life.
Frederick was perhaps the only one whose happi-
ness was not complete. His nights were broken and
restless, and often when morning came his eyes were
red with weeping. Often, also, during the day, it
happened that he relapsed into a profound reverie;
one would have thought, to look at him, that visions,
unseen to all save himself, were passing before his
eyes, and even as he gazed, his eyes were moistened
and filled with tears.
He was thinking of his griefs, but no one else knew
them, nor understood them.
On those occasions, one word from Sir Gilbert was
sufficient to dissipate his dreams, and rouse him from
his languor, and then he would return to his work with
renewed zeal and energy.
At last, at the end of six months, Frederick resolved
to confide all his secrets to his kind benefactor.
Accordingly, one evening, when the rest of the
family had retired, Frederick remained behind in the
dining-room with Sir Gilbert, and entrusted him with
the following story of his faults and misfortunes.


THE FALSE HEIR. 57
not told me enough. As to Augustus, I could not
have believed there was such a wretch in our family."
" O father, dear," said Victor, "forgive him, for
my sake. I don't believe he is really so very wicked,
but he has been spoiled, and taught to be proud and
malicious; I hope he is not quite past reformation, and
that he will yet become worthy of your kindness."
'The baron only answered his son by a gentle
caress, and at that moment the carriage, for which
Fritz had been sent, drove up to the door.
Madame Ernest learnt, without any feelings of
pride, that they were henceforth to live in splendour
and wealth, and remained as modest and unassuming
as formerly. She was sensible only of the happy
days that were in store for her with her husband and
her son.
The same evening, Madame Kilberg heard, with
the utmost satisfaction, that the woman whom she
detested so much had left the village; but she was
very far from guessing the change that was about to
take place in her destiny.
"Very well," said she, "she has executed my
orders with an eagerness and promptitude for which
I did not give her credit. But they tell me she has
gone in a carriage She How has she been able


THE FALSE HEIR. 49
could reflect the image of your heart, I am sure you
would shrink with horror at the sight."
"Fine preaching this, and to me, too! Do you
wish to insult me again?" cried the infuriated
Augustus, now really choking with rage.
At that moment the two boys darted from their
hiding-place in the forest, fell upon Victor, seized
him, and his cowardly enemy was on the point of
giving full bent to his cruelty and fury, when he was
suddenly interrupted,
"What are you about, cowards ?" cried a voice.
"What three to one !"
The voice belonged to a stranger, who, concealed
behind one of the pqplars, had both seen and heard
all that had passed, between the, boys. This stranger
had a noble and, military appearance, and such stern
indignation shone from his eyes that the culprits
trembled beneath his glance. The two boys instantly
let go Victor, and fled with fright as fast as they could
go. Augustus also would have gone, but disappointed
rage and hatred prevented him.
" People have no business to interfere with things
they have nothing to do with," said he, haughtily.
"But you may be sure of this, Victor, wherever you
go, I will find you out. My family is powerful and
D


30 THE FALSE HEIR.
not help brooding over the unkindness of the action,
as he sat silently gazing out of the window and watch-
ing the carriage disappear in the distance.
"How kind and friendly Augustus has been with
me for the past week, mother, and how he seemed to
love me!" said the boy, at last giving vent to his
thoughts. "I began to reproach myself for ever
having thought him cold and indifferent; but, after
all5 I believe I was right enough."
"Yes, my son, I believe you were. Augustus
cannot have a good heart if he speaks of his bene-
factor as we have heard him do. There is nothing
so unkind as man's ingratitude, We are told, an
ungrateful, thankless heart is not capable of friend-
ship. This last little scene has produced a painful
impression upon both of us, I see. A walk to the
'Poplar Fountain' will perhaps refresh our feelings,
and restore calmness to our hearts. Come, my
boy."
Victor was delighted with the prospect of a walk
to his favourite haunt, and the mother and son set
out immediately. When they arrived at the fountain,
Madame Ernest seated herself on the turf, and, after
having prepared the boy to receive her confidences,
she related to him the story of her life.



PAGE 1

4 Nooks publiscdb bg iHtiam n .g itaiu NIMMO'S UNIVERSAL GIFT BOOKS-contnued. XII. Epoo -Men, and the Results of their Lives. By Samuel Neil, The Mirror of Character. Selected from the Writings of OVERBURY, EARLE, and BUTLER. XIV. Men of History, By Eminent Writers. XV. Old World Worthies; or, Classical Biography, Selected from PLUTARCH'S LIVES. XVI. Women of History. By Eminent Writers. XVII. The World's Way. Lays of Life and Labour, xvm. The Improvement of the Mind, By Isaac Watts. XIX. The Man of Business considered in Six Aspects. A Book for Young Men. xx. Stories about Boys. By Ascott R. Hope, Author of Stories of School Life,'.' My Schoolboy Friends,' etc. etc. *5* This elegant and useful Series of Books has been specially prepared for School and College Prizes: they are, however, equally suitable for General Presentation. In selecting the works for this Series, the aim of the Publisher has been to produce books of a permanent value, interesting in manner and instructive in matter-books that youth will read eagerly and with profit, and which will be found equally attractive in after life. Second Edition, crown 8vo, cloth extra, price 3s. 6d., FAMILY PRAYERS FOR FIVE WEEKS, WITH PRATERS FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS, AND A TABLE FOR READING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. BY WILLIAM WILSON, MINISTER OF KIrPE. 'This is an excellent compendium of family prayers. It will be found invaluable to parents and heads of families. The prayers are short, well expressed, and the book, as a whole, does the author great credit.'-Perth Advertiser.



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR.



PAGE 1

THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 85 Well, well, my boy, there's no use of you spinning a yarn, as you say, especially as I've no time to listen to you; but you look an honest little man enough. Anyhow, you won't take up much room; and if you come back here in three hours' time, I'11 see what I can do for you; our captain's by no means a hard man.' I thanked the kind sailor warmly, and, true to his instructions, I returned at the appointed time, and was snugly stowed away on board by my good friend. I had never been on the sea in my life before, and I enjoyed the little voyage extremely. We were not long in accomplishing it, and I was very soon set on shore at Greenock to commence my travels again. I felt very desolate and lonely, and did not know in what direction to turn my steps, but at last I made up my mind to go to some farm-place, where they might be in need of a shepherd. After some little search, I found what I wanted in the farm-place where you found me. I would have been happy enough in that house, where I was treated with every kindness; but I was always imagining that my friends would be searching for me, and would reach me even in this distant re-



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 5 example, was anxious that Victor should seek no other society than hers. She had no other in all the wide world to care for but him alone; her whole happiness was centred in her son. Madame Ernest was a gentle, pensive woman, with a heart so full of sad and tender memories that it almost seemed an effort for her to smile, even upon the bright boy who gave himself up to the pleasures of childhood with all the freedom and carelessness of youth. Very often, as she gazed on him, the mother's eyes would overflow with tears; but when Victor asked the cause of her grief, he got no answer, and the child could only guess that there was some sorrow in his mother's heart, of which he knew nothing as yet. Then he would throw his arms round her neck, and kiss away the tears, and the mother would look up and smile, and try to be happy for her son's sake. And Victor was so obedient to his mother's voice, and so loving, and gentle, and anxious to please her, that he 'could not fail to bring joy to the sorrowing heart, and send bright rays of sunshine there to disperse the melancholy gloom. When parents are blessed. with such-children, is it not right that they should forget their troubles in gratitude and thankful-


THE FALSE HEIR. 37
if you will call me 'Sir Victor.' I will not be behind
you in politeness. But, first of all, let this boy go. I
will not stand by and see you strike him before my
very eyes; and I warn you I will defend him. Tell
me what you have done ?" added Victor, turning tb
the poor boy.
"Nothing at all, Mr Victor," he replied. "The
keeper gave me permission to come into the forest
and cut some twigs for my rabbit cages, and Mr
Augustus found me here, and"-
"And told you," interrupted Augustus, passion-
ately, "that I would not permit vagabonds like you
to come and destroy the trees, which will one day be
mine. I don't care what the keeper told you; I will
soon lecture him. You deserve to be put in prison
for what you have done, and the beating I have given
you is too good for you. I have every right here,
remember,-yes, every right," he added, again looking
defiantly at Victor. "And you have dared to argue
with me! I have commenced to punish your in-
solence, but I am not finished. Do not stir,-I for-
bid you to move from the spot."
And in order to enjoy the full pleasure of torment-
ing this boy, who had not courage to defend him-
self, but trembled like a leaf before his oppressor,



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 5r you. Speak, my boy, and fear nothing. I have some little right now to know all that has happened; and if they have wronged you in any way, I may perhaps be able to help you. Sit down beside me here, and speak to me with all confidence." Victor had no difficulty in doing this, for, from the first, he had felt attracted towards the stranger. It was not only the irresistible sympathy expressed in his manner, the gentle look, orthe sound of his voice which attracted him,-there was an inexpressible charm in his whole person which immediately took possession of Victor. It almost appeared to the boy as if he was no stranger, and that he had known him for years. To refuse him his confidence, or conceal anything from him, was not in his power; and so he related to him all the persecution and misfortune his mother had endured, the unjust accusation that had been brought against himself by Madame Kilberg, his mother's embarrassment, and how they were about to seek some new place of refuge in this foreign land, where they had not a friend to protect them. The stranger listened to the boy's story with pro found attention, and did not seem able to take his eyes from him, for Victor had fairly won his heart already.


38 THE FALSE HEIR.
Augustus flew at him again, and inflicted two cruel
blows upon his victim. He was on the point of
repeating them, when Victor, indignant at this un-
worthy treatment, threw himself between them.
Augustus was so surprised and so furious, that he
,ontitued to attack Victor, and fought and struggled
with the desperation of a madman; but, notwith-
stand all his energy and apparent bravery, he finished
by beating an ignominious retreat, and returned to
the castle in a pitiable state.
Victor went home, much grieved at discovering
what a wicked heart Augustus had, truly sorry at
having been obliged to fight with him, and conse-
quently more saddened than elated by his victory,
but fearing nothing, for his clear, unruffled conscience
told him that his conduct had been without reproach.
But Victor did not yet fully comprehend Madame
Kilberg's character.
When she saw her dear son return all torn and
bleeding from the fray, and learnt how he had re-
ceived his bruises, she was at first inconsolable, and
trembled with grief and rage; but all of a sudden her
feelings changed, and her heart beat wildly with joy.
" Ah, I have found what I have been seeking for !"
she cried. This is just what I wished ; and, before


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 107
me here, and at the same time allow you to remain
beside your father and brother. Does this plan
please you?"
"Oh! sir, it is the dearest wish of my heart,"
replied Frederick.
"Ah! well, that is good. I would like to employ
the whole three of you in my service, and secure
your future welfare by giving you advantageous
terms. You had better write to your father, and
let him know my proposal."
Frederick turned pale, and his heart beat violently.
The critical moment had come at last, that moment
so often feared and desired.
" Sir," said he, in a trembling voice, will you be
good enough to write to my father yourself? and, in
your letter, will you tell him if you are satisfied with
me? "
"Certainly I will, if you desire it. I shall tell him
that we are in every respect satisfied with you, and
that we love you here as if you were one of the
family," said Colonel Clayton, as he seated himself
at his desk and took up his pen.
"Oh! thank you, sir; but stop one moment, sir,
please. The confession I am going to make to you
makes me tremble. It is not enough that you should


32 THE FALS.E HEIR.
Two months after his marriage, Ernest de Clary
perished, as was believed, in one of those battles,
for he had never more been heard of. In losing
him, his unfortunate bride lost everything, for she
could not prove her marriage. The little chapel
where it had been celebrated, the whole village,
the good old clergyman, had all perished in the
flames, the day of this fatal battle. Madame
Ernest could not obtain the smallest portion of her
dead husband's fortune. His brothers seized upon
everything, and even threatened the widow with a
ruinous lawsuit if she persisted in calling herself by
his name. She was then obliged to change it, and
called herself simply Madame Ernest. She sold
her mother's diamonds; and retaining two-thirds
of the sum they brought, she spent the rest in
purchasing a little house in a distant village, to
which she retired with her newly-born son and
her faithful old nurse. Some years after this, the
lord of this village, who was very powerful and
tyrannical, forced many of the inhabitants, and her
amongst others, to sell their houses, in order to in-
crease the dimensions ,of his park; and it was then
the widow established herself at Rosenthal.
In the midst of all her griefs and misfortunes her


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 93
While Sir Gilbert related to him every small
detail of his visit, the young man listened with a
breathless interest; but when he learnt that his father
needed a young man to assist him in the cultivation
of his extensive gardens, he uttered a cry of joy:
"The young man my father is looking for, is found;
it is I !"
" You !" exclaimed Sir Gilbert.
"Yes; I. My father has not seen me for seven
years, and during that time, my features, my com-
plexion, even the colour of my hair, has changed.
He would never recognise his son in a gardener's
dress. What! after being so guilty, am I to go and
implore forgiveness before proving that I deserve it;
before having given a guarantee of the change in my
character-certain proofs of my repentance ? I might,
perhaps, receive forgiveness, but only like a criminal,
who is mistrusted still. No; I wish to live for a
while near my father, without being known by him,
and regain his heart before entreating for pardon. I
will be respectful and obedient towards my step-
mother; and as to my brother, I will love him-oh !
I will love him so much, that his mother, in her turn,
will be obliged to love me. And when, by dint of
work, gentle obedience, and good conduct, I have


THE DISOBEDIENT SON. 83
During the day, I had frequent palpitations of the
heart, and at night I was a prey to the most frightful
dreams. For a whole month I endured this agony,
for nothing had come !
"Then I determined to put the rash design into
execution that I had formerly agreed upon, though
my resolution was not taken without a shudder. I
ran away from the boarding-school; but, before de-
parting, I wrote this letter to my master.
" My dear kind master, forgive my flight. I am
guilty only towards you, since you are the onlyiperson
in the whole world that loves me. I have no friends.
I have no longer any father. Do not be afraid that I
shall make any attempt to rid myself of my life, which
has only been a source of misery to me of late. The
principles of religion, in which you have brought me
up, are my safeguard. I will never do anything un-
worthy the name I bear. Farewell. Love and pray
for your unhappy Frederick.'
" Some distance from school I stopped to rest, and
persuaded a young peasant to exchange clothes with
me. I only walked during the night, and avoided all
the villages by turning into secluded field-paths and
lanes. I longed to cross the border, and leave Eng-
land behind me; then, and only then, I felt I could


THE FALSE HEIR. 53
"Look at yourself in the crystal waters of this
fountain, Victor, and look at me," said he tenderly.
And Victor recognised such a likeness between his
own features and that of the stranger, that his heart
bounded with surprise, and hope, and joy.
" Can you be my poor father's brother?" asked
the boy, looking into the face that bent over him so
iindly.
" I am your father, my dear boy,-your father, who
has been very miserable and lonely for many long
years; but he is very happy to-day. Take me to
your mother, dear boy."
A servant, who was leading two horses on the out-
skirts of the forest, now appeared.
"' Fritz," said the gentleman, I am now the hap-
piest of men, but I will explain everything to you
afterwards. In the meantime, return with the horses
as quickly as you can, and come back with a carriage
for me to the village of Rosenthal. You will ask for
Madame Ernest's house."
Then he rapidly followed Victor towards the home
where he was to find the patient, gentle, trusting wife,
from whom he had been separated so long.



PAGE 1

42 THE FALSE HEIR. he, seeing the unhappy mother buried in tears, there is still one way of saving him: will you employ this means ?" Oh yes, thankfully," cried'Madame Ernest; "nothing will cost too much if it saves my son-from this unjust sentence; it would kill him! What must I do?" My master has fathomed the motive of the ambitious woman who persecutes you: it is your departure she wishes. He has proposed this to her, and she has agreed, and this is what I am entrusted with telling you. If you will promise to leave Rosenthal with your son before the new baron arrives, Madame Kilberg will withdraw her complaint this evening, and will throw the testimony of the witnesses into the fire. My employer will take in hand to provide a tenant for your house; they will leave the supposed thief alone and in peace, and will continue to employ his family on the estate. And now, madame," added the young man, with tears standing in his own eyes, for so much injustice and oppression on one side, and so much misfortune and grief on the other, roused both his sympathy and indignation, "what will you decide upon doing?" Madame Ernest had regained full possession of


IHER CHICKENS. 119
birds of prey, which feed themselves on small birds,
and which, if they dare not attack a hen, would very
willingly attack and eat its poor little chickens. Then
Louisa understood that if the hen had kept all her
chickens beside her, she would not have been able to
defend them, and the hawk would have seized and
killed some of them, while now that they were dis-
persed and concealed, the hawk could not see them,
and did not know where to pounce upon them.
Every little while the hen gave a little cry, as if she
were saying to her children, Remain concealed, the
enemy is still at hand," and the little ones seemed to
understand her, for they remained concealed in their
places.
At last the bird of prey, seeing the hen only, went
away; and when the mother saw it fairly off,' she
called her family together, who hastened to her from
all sides, now that the danger was passed.
Louisa had no longer any doubt but what the hen
and chickens understood each other thoroughly; but
who had taught them? Louisa knew nothing of that,
for the poor child had never been to school.
Louisa decided to ask her father, however. She
led the hen and chickens home, and then related to
her father all that she had seen, and asked him how


THE FALSE HEIR. 59
concealed by the foliage, ready to come to the help
of his uncertain memory.
Suddenly they heard the gallop of a horse, and, in
the midst of a cloud of dust, a courier rode forward to
the triumphal arch, and then stopped andcried aloud-
" My lord, the baron is approaching, along with
his lady and their son, your future lord !"
The words were received by the crowd with an
outburst of enthusiasm; but Madame Kilberg could
scarcely believe her ears. There must be .some
mistake," she said to herself; but even as she tried
to comfort herself with the thought, she trembled,
and the beautiful garlands of flowers she held fell
from her hands.
"What! there is a baroness! and a son! No,
no," she cried; "never mind, Augustus, the courier
must be mad, and does not know what he is saying."
Breathless and eager, she bent forward to look
along the road, where, very soon, an open carriage,
drawn by six splendid horses, was seen approaching.
The poor lady believed she was in some horrible
dream. Yes, there was a baroness, and it was Ma-
dame Ernest, and Victor was the son At this sight
her head reeled round, and darkness hid the rest
from her eyes; losing all consciousness, Madame


THE FALSE HEIR. 55
The wounded man remained for more than three
months between life and death, without being able to
articulate a word, or know what was passing around
him. His recovery was a miracle of medical skill
and science, but this recovery was'so extremely slow
that it was only after two years that he entirely re-
gained his intellectual and physical strength. Then
he returned to Germany. His brothers were obliged
to restore his patrimony to him, but they could not
or would not give him any tidings of the wife they
had so cruelly repulsed, for they feared her reproaches
and upbraidings ; and so they led the sorrowing hus-
band to understand that she had perished in the fire
which had consumed the peaceful little village where
she had spent her few first happy days of married life.
But he would not believe anything or accept anything
as a certainty; and with the hope that she might per-
haps have returned to her native country, he sought
her up and down France for six whole years; then
he returned to Germany to look for her there, but
all in vain; and the blessed influence of hope was
already beginning to die out of his heart, when, owing
to the wickedness and cruelty of Augustus, he had
been drawn into conversation with Victor-a conver-
sation which had for ever put an end to the misfor-


THE FALSE HEIR. 5r
you. Speak, my boy, and fear nothing. I have some
little right now to know all that has happened; and
if they have wronged you in any way, I may perhaps
be able to help you. Sit down beside me here, and
speak to me with all confidence."
Victor had no difficulty in doing this, for, from the
first, he had felt attracted towards the stranger. It
was not only the irresistible sympathy expressed in
his manner, the gentle look, orthe sound of his voice
which attracted him,-there was an inexpressible
charm in his whole person which immediately took
possession of Victor. It almost appeared to the boy
as if he was no stranger, and that he had known him
for years. To refuse him his confidence, or conceal
anything from him, was not in his power; and so
he related to him all the persecution and misfortune
his mother had endured, the unjust accusation that
had been brought against himself by Madame Kil-
berg, his mother's embarrassment, and how they
were about to seek some new place of refuge in
this foreign land, where they had not a friend to pro-
tect them.
The stranger listened to the boy's story with pro
found attention, and did not seem able to take his eyes
from him, for Victor had fairly won his heart already.



PAGE 1

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE ANDCOMPANY EDINBURGH AND LONDON



PAGE 1

io8 THE DISOBEDIENT SON yourself write to my father and testify your satisfaction with me. It is his forgiveness-yes, his forgiveness-that I desire, and I am going to beg that you will ask it for me." "His forgiveness! exclaimed Colonel Clayton, with surprise. Of what have you been guilty ?" Oh sir, I have been very guilty. In my childhood I caused my father much grief by my wicked violence, my obstinate disobedience, and, lastly, my disappearance." The father listened and shuddered; the convulsive trembling which agitated him increased with every word his son uttered. He bent his eager gaze upon the young man, and his whole heart seemed to rush towards him. "Ask him to pardon a guilty but repentant son," continued Frederick. "Forgive me, 0 my father !" cried he, throwing himself at the Colonel's feet. "0 Frederick! it is you, it is really you !" cried the happy father, raising him and folding him to his heart. "I have found my son again, and I have found him wise, industrious, and obedient." The happiness of such a moment seemed to stifle his voice, and there was nothing to be heard but tears and sobs. Attracted by the noise, Mrs Clay-



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 19 CHAPTER III. MADAME ERNEST little thought, as she spoke thus to her son, that her words were so soon to prove true. The next morning at an early hour, as Victor and she were quietly sitting at breakfast, the door opened hurriedly, and Augustus entered, his eyes red with weeping, and his hair wild and disordered, and throwing himself into a chair, he burst into a violent fit -of sobbing. The mother and son rose quickly, and hastened towards him. Victor put his arms tenderly round his weeping friend, and asked him the cause of his grief. But at first Augustus could not utter a word ; his voice was choked with sobs. "Pity me, Victor, and help me," he said at last. "I am the most unfortunate boy in the whole world. I am mined and lost for ever-the baron is dead !" The baron is dead! Is it really possible ?" exclaimed the mother and son at once. "I pity you with all my hert, Augustus," added Victor, "and I am very sorry to hear of the kind old man's death;" and as he said the words, the tears of pity and sorrow really stood in Victor's eyes. Augustus still continued to weep, but it was with rage and disappointment.


HER CHICKENS. 117
well, and how they appeared so perfectly to compre-
hend their mother; but George, Louisa's brother,
teased her, and laughed at her when she asked ques-
tions; and so she preferred to remain silent, and learn
all alone.
It was now eight days since the chickens had been
hatched, and they were progressing wonderfully.
They followed their mother about everywhere, and
she seemed so much taken up with them, that she
never thought of herself.
" Louisa," said the shoemaker to his daughter, it
is a fine day, so you might take your knitting, and let
the chickens into the field a little bit; they cannot
destroy anything, now that the harvest is over."
Louisa did as she was told, and called on the hen.
The hen followed her, and brought all her little ones
along with her. They very soon reached the field,
and then the mother commenced to scrape with her
feet, as if she were searching for grain or worms.
Whenever she had found anything, instead of eating
it herself, she called her little ones. They hastened -
to her side, ate, and commenced to scratch away in
the earth like their mother.
Louisa still watched them intently, and now began
to wonder if God had not'givef them some means of



PAGE 1

26 TH-E FALSE HEIR. CHAPTER IV. ON the evening of the eighth day, as Madame Kilberg was sitting in the house of her friend, and repeating, as usual, the story of her woes, her torrent of lamentations was suddenly interrupted by the entrance of a young man. This young man Madame Kilberg knew very well was the lawyer's clerk, though, until now, she had never condescended to honour him with a glance. He greeted Madame Ernest first, then Madame Kilberg, who, contrary to all his expectations, answered him with a gracious smile; for she had become polite in her misfortune, though not for long, as we shall see. "My master has desired me to tell you that he has received news of the new baron," said the young man, addressing himself to Madame Kilberg. He will arrive at Rosenthal in eight days, and till then he requests that you will resume your authority at the castle, and my master is charged to deliver up the keys into your hands. All the servants will be at your command, and are ordered to obey your wishes." Madame Ernest and her son listened with pleasure to those words. Augustus was in a perfect transport


THE FALSE HEIR. 43
her feelings, and answered with a calm voice, "I
will yield to tyranny and violence, since I am a
stranger, without a friend to support me, and so am
unable to resist it. I will save my son from an un-
merited punishment, a family from ruin, and your
magistrate from an unjust sentence. God will know,
sooner or later, how to punish tyranny, ingratitude,
and perjury, and with Him I leave it, who is ever a
Father to the fatherless, and the Friend of all who put
their trust in Him. Before a week has passed I shall
have left Rosenthal."
The young man bowed and retired, full of admira-
tion for the strong and dignified character Madame
Ernest had displayed.
It seemed as if God himself were giving Madame
Ernest strength to support this new reverse of for-
tune. Victor was almost stunned when he learned
the fate that threatened him and the innocent boy
he had so bravely defended, and, manly as he was,
his tears flowed plentifully when his mother told him
that they must seek a new place of exile. But Ma-
dame Ernest's courage gave the boy new life; his
mother's patience and resignation comforted his
young heart, and, as he caught her sweet spirit of
faith and trust, he felt that it was easy to console



PAGE 1

46 THE FALSE HEIR.. CHAPTER VII. THE great day at length dawned-that happy day which was to complete Madame Kilberg's triumph, and free her from the mighty incubus that oppressed her, by ridding her of the presence of Madame Ernest and her son, towards whom her hatred and jealousy increased every day. On the afternoon of the previous day, about four o'clock, Augustus resolved to put into execution a dark design which, he had formed, but which he was careful not to mention to his mother, lest she might place some obstacle in his way. The boy had brooded darkly over his defeat, and a desire for revenge had sprung up within his heart. "To-morrow before the sun sets," he said to himself, "Victor and his mother will have left the village. That is all my mother wants, but it is not sufficient to please me: he has beaten me, and I shall have my revenge. Before he leaves the place he shall suffer for his conduct. Then, and not till then, will I be content. But I will be guilty of no imprudence, and will make the game sure." And so Augustus called two active, robust boys to him, two young wretches, who listened respect-


This page contains no text.



PAGE 1

118 THE HEN AND understanding each other. Presently a few drops, of rain came pattering down. The hen called her young ones, and they hastened to obey her voice. She led them under a tree, then spread out her wings, and each little chicken nestled in among the warm feathers. When the rain ceased, the mother rose again, and the little ones came out from below her wings quite dry, and followed her across the field. Suddenly, while the chickens were scraping and picking to their hearts' content, and without any fear, the hen uttered a cry quite different from its ordinary voice. At this cry all the little chickens dispersed, and ran, some to the right, some to the left, and leaving their mother, they hid themselves, some in the furrows, others under a heap of earth, under the leaves, anywhere and everywhere they could find shelter, and then not one of them stirred, and all was silent. Louisa could not understand this at all. The young ones were flying from their mother, who had never left her before! What was the meaning of it? The hen looked up into the air; Louisa raised her eyes also, and saw a large bird flying above themfar away, it is true, but gradually coming nearer, and apparently seeking for something. Louisa knew that this brown and gray bird was a hawk. Hawks are



PAGE 1

THE FALSE HEIR. 49 could reflect the image of your heart, I am sure you would shrink with horror at the sight." "Fine preaching this, and to me, too! Do you wish to insult me again?" cried the infuriated Augustus, now really choking with rage. At that moment the two boys darted from their hiding-place in the forest, fell upon Victor, seized him, and his cowardly enemy was on the point of giving full bent to his cruelty and fury, when he was suddenly interrupted, "What are you about, cowards ?" cried a voice. "What three to one !" The voice belonged to a stranger, who, concealed behind one of the pqplars, had both seen and heard all that had passed, between the, boys. This stranger had a noble and, military appearance, and such stern indignation shone from his eyes that the culprits trembled beneath his glance. The two boys instantly let go Victor, and fled with fright as fast as they could go. Augustus also would have gone, but disappointed rage and hatred prevented him. People have no business to interfere with things they have nothing to do with," said he, haughtily. "But you may be sure of this, Victor, wherever you go, I will find you out. My family is powerful and D


.I THE. FALSE HEIR.
Gocyoice, and He always speaks distinctly by our
conscience. Be holy, just, and attentive to all your
duties; and if an evil thought presents itself to you,
you will easily recognise it, and shut it out. Thus
you will be happy, my son; for true happiness con-
sists only in peace of conscience, and the continual
exercise of virtue."
At those words, Victor glanced at his mother with
a look of sadness and doubt. The sun had gone to
rest behind the dark blue hills; but his dying light
still gilded the purple heavens, and one bright ray
came glimmering through the poplar leaves, and fell
full upon the eager upturned face of the boy.
"What is troubling you, dear Victor ?" asked
Madame Ernest. One would think, to look at you,
that you hardly dared to express the thought which
has just come to your mind."
"Well, dear mother, I hardly like to tell you what
I was thinking; but this is what I was going to ask
you,-if a peaceful conscience, and the fulfilment of
all our duties, is sufficient to make us happy, how is it
that yon, who are the best and kindest of women,
are so often sad and sorrowful ?"
Madame Ernest gazed at her son for a moment in
silence, and then she replied.



PAGE 1

80 THE DISOBEDIENT SON. pardon of one who detests me; do not compel me to kiss a child who has usurped my place in your heart.' "'Rise, unnatural son, and go,' said my father, angrily. 'Let him go, and may he never appear before my eyes again,' I heard him add; and I made my way from the room, blinded by the falling tears. "After this wretched scene, I was placed under the care of a trustworthy servant, who conducted me to the boarding-school, which was to be my future home. The two first years I sper.t at school were nothing but a long punishment to me; and what increased my grief tenfold was, that I never received a single line, not a single token of love from my father. My stepmother wrote very regularly to my master, and desired him to let me know that all the family were well. But my father, to whom I often addressed the most tender and loving letters, never sent me a word in answer. It is true, in my letters I never mentioned either my stepmother or brother, and that I manifested no regret for my behaviour to them. Doubtless that increased my father's displeasure with me : but his silence overwhelmed me with grief. My master, though stern and inflexible, was, at all times, just and reasonable. "'Frederick,' said he, to me one day, how can you


^ B
i- -
i .* . ....
.7
.


STHE FALSE HEIR. r
" God, who sends us all our joys and sorrows, does
Snot forbid us from weeping and mourning; but He
sends us blessings to cheer and console us in the
midst of our troubles, and it is, my dear Victor, a
very sweet blessing to me to see you so good and
wise; and so, in spite of all my misfortunes, I am
happy. My misfortunes, which, alas are yours also,
my boy, I will soon reveal to you, for you are be-
coming every day more and more worthy to be
entrusted with my secret. But I am weary now; let
us leave this subject for another time, and we shall
talk of something more lively as we go home."
As they returned to their dwelling, they caught a
glimpse of the castle through the trees, the windows
of which were so brilliantly illuminated that they
shone like so many stars in the distance.
"0 mother how beautiful! exclaimed Victor,
pausing to admire the scene. It must be a mag-
nificent fete, and how pleased Augustus will be !"
"I am not the least envious now, mother," added
Sthe boy, with a sigh, "of Augustus and a11 the plea-
sures he enjoys. I do not envy him either his wealth
or his fine clothes. It is his friendship or love only
that I care about; and now, mother, I know well
Senough whether he really cares for me dr not !"


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86 THE DISWOBEDIENT SON-
treat; and if they found me, they would treat me
with the utmost rigour.
"After some months had passed, however, this
anxiety ceased, and I had the bitter satisfaction of
feeling assured that I was forgotten and abandoned
to my fate. Then my sorrow, though calmer, was
deeper; and the silence of the country where I wan-
dered with my flock, and the vast solitude which
extended around me, only plunged me deeper than
ever into the melancholy of my former days. When
I thought of my father, and when I said to myself,-
'I will never see him again,' I very nearly became
overwhelmed with despair. I have been preserved
from this misfortune by the religious sentiments I
had cherished, and which I will cherish till my latest
moment. I brought some of my books away from
school with me, amongst others Virgil, and they have
greatly helped to cheer me, and distract my thoughts.
I owe much of my comfort and consolation to Virgil;
it seems to have showed me all the sympathy and
kindness of a true friend."
The tears stood in Frederick's eyes as -he finished
the story of his life, and those of Sir Gilbert had been
moistened more than once in the course of the sad
tale.


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120 THE HEN AND HER CHICKENS.
it was that those animals could understand, since
they had not the gift of speech.
" My child," said the old shoemaker, God, who
has givenr us the gift of speech, has also given t6
every kind of animal a sort of language of their own,
by means of which they can make each other under-
stand, to a certain degree, their wants, sufferings, and
feelings. For example, when a poor dog has been
beaten, and it cries, we understand quite well that
it is saying, 'I am suffering;' when there are little
birds in a nest, and their mother brings them food,
she speaks to them with such a soft tender voice, we
can guess again that she is saying loving things to
them and asking them to eat.
"God, my daughter, sees all things, and is always
just and generous. He knows exactly what is neces-
sary to each being that Hie has created, and to the
very least of them He gives all that could possibly be
useful to them."