Fast fluttered his heart as his own castle towers He saw on the mountainÕs green height; ÒMy wife, and my son!Ó he exclaimed, while his tears Obscured for some moments his sight.
For terror now whispered, the wife he had left Full fifteen long twelvemonths before, The child he had claspt in his farewel embrace, Might both, then , alas! be no more.
Then, sighing, he thought of his EdithaÕs tears As his steed bore him far from her sight, And her accents of love, while she fervently cried, ÒGreat God! guard his life in the fight!Ó
And then he remembered, in language half formed How his child strove to bid him adieu; While scarcely he now can believe, as a man, That infant may soon meet his view.
But should he not live!É.To escape from that fear, He eagerly spurred his bold steed: Nor stopped he again, till his own castle moat Forbade on the way to proceed.
ÔT was day-break: yet still past the windows he saw Busy forms lightly trip to and fro: Blest sight! that she lives,Ó he exclaimed with smile, ÒThose symptoms of housewifery show: ÒFor, stranger to sloth, and on business intent, The dawn calls her forth from her bed; And see, through the castle, all busy appear, By her to their duty still led.Ó
Mrs Mowbray's father, Mr Woodville, a respectable country gentleman, married, in obedience to the will of his mother, the sole surviving daughter of an opulent merchant in London, whose large dower paid off some considerable mortgages on the Woodville estates, and whose mild and unoffending character soon gained that affection from her husband after marriage, which he denied her before it.
Nor was it long before their happiness was increased, and their union cemented, by the birth of a daughter; who continuing to be an only child, and the probable heiress of great possessions, became the idol of her parents, and the object of unremitted attention to those who surrounded her. Consequently, one of the first lessons which Editha Woodville learnt was that of egotism, and to consider it as the chief duty of all who approached her, to study the gratification of her whims and caprices.
But, though rendered indolent in some measure by the blind folly of her parents, and the homage of her dependents, she had a taste above the enjoyments which they offered her.
She had a decided passion for literature, which she had acquired from a sister of Mr Woodville, who had been brought up amongst literary characters of various pursuits and opinions; and this lady had imbibed from them a love of free inquiry, which she had little difficulty in imparting to her young and enthusiastic relation.
But, alas! that inclination for study, which, had it been directed to proper objects, would have been the charm of Miss Woodville's life, and the safeguard of her happiness, by giving her a constant source of amusement within herself; proved to her, from the unfortunate direction which it took, the abundant cause of misery and disappointment.