The Midnight Queen (Chapter 6, page 1 of 13)


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Chapter 6

"Love is like a dizziness," says the old song. Love is something
else--it is the most selfish feeling in existence. Of course, I don't
allude to the fraternal or the friendly, or any other such nonsensical
old-fashioned trash that artless people still believe in, but to the
real genuine article that Adam felt for Eve when he first saw her, and
which all who read this--above the innocent and unsusceptible age of
twelve--have experienced. And the fancy and the reality are so much
alike, that they amount to about the same thing. The former perhaps, may
be a little short-lived; but it is just as disagreeable a sensation
while it lasts as its more enduring sister. Love is said to be blind,
and it also has a very injurious effect on the eyesight of its
victims--an effect that neither spectacles nor oculists can aid in the
slightest degree, making them see whether sleeping or waking, but one
object, and that alone.

I don't know whether these were Mr. Malcolm or Ormiston's thoughts, as
he leaned against the door-way, and folded his arms across his chest to
await the shining of his day-star. In fact, I am pretty sure they were
not: young gentlemen, as a general thing, not being any more given to
profound moralizing in the reign of His Most Gracious Majesty, Charles
II., than they are at the present day; but I do know, that no sooner was
his bosom friend and crony, Sir Norman Kingsley, out of eight, than he
forgot him as teetotally an if he had never known that distinguished
individual. His many and deep afflictions, his love, his anguish, and
his provocations; his beautiful, tantalizing, and mysterious lady-love;
his errand and its probable consequences, all were forgotten; and
Ormiston thought of nothing or nobody in the world but himself and La
Masque. La Masque! La Masque! that was the theme on which his thoughts
rang, with wild variations of alternate hope and fear, like every other
lover since the world began, and love was first an institution. "As it
was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be," truly, truly it is
an odd and wonderful thing. And you and I may thank our stars, dear
readers, that we are a great deal too sensible to wear our hearts in
our sleeves for such a bloodthirsty dew to peck at. Ormiston's flame was
longer-lived than Sir Norman's; he had been in love a whole month, and
had it badly, and was now at the very crisis of a malady. Why did
she conceal her face--would she ever disclose it--would she listen to
him--would she ever love him? feverishly asked Passion; and Common Sense
(or what little of that useful commodity he had left) answered--probably
because she was eccentric--possibly she would disclose it for the same
reason; that he had only to try and make her listen; and as to her
loving him, why, Common Sense owned he had her there.

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