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say it, a very extraordinary person ; and my heart is truly touched at her misfortunes; but they are fast drawing to a close ; she has but a few hours in all probability to live; yield to her last wish, and come with me to see her once more ere she leaves this world and its sorrows !"
Lord Mowbray passed his arm through Mr. Altamont's, and without uttering a word walked away with him. It must be owned that the sacrifice of a present desire to the fulfilment of a duty of gratitude was a sacrifice; but still he would have loathed himself could he have acted otherwise. Nevertheless, the idea that Lady Emily was expecting him, perhaps blaming him for not coming after the events of the preceding evening; accusing him, it might be, of conduct of the very same nature which he had already practised in his intercourse with another, was an idea which almost distracted him.
When he entered the humble lodging in which Rosalinda resided, he pressed his hand on his forehead and groaned as he murmured
inaudibly—“ Is this an abode for her who dwelt in palaces ?—where are her orange gardens, her fountains, her flowers, her numerous train of attendants and adorers ?” And then he spake aloud and said,"is she come to this?"
“Ay,” cried Mr. Altamont; “ and a fortunate event for her that she is come to this. I wish you had seen the wretchedness from which it pleased Providence that it should have been my
lot to rescue her.” Mr. Altamont then related all that he knew of her since that time, and of his wife's friendly and even tender interest in her, till Lord Mowbray's whole soul was racked with remorse and anguish. A consciousness of selfreproach smote him with the goading remembrance that when Rosalinda was in prosperity and living in a country where she was honoured and loved, he had basked in the sunshine of her destiny; he had enjoyed the gratification of her society, till something of a tenderer nature stole over his being, and it was not till he came to England and recollected that he might forget, in this indulgence, his station in English life, his
advantages in rank and society, that he withdrew from her presence entirely; that he estranged himself totally from her acquaintance, and had never seen her but to fly from her as though she had been a pestilence; and what greater pestilence can there be than the secret sense of having wronged a helpless, defenceless, devoted woman !
In vain Lord Mowbray laid “ the flattering unction to his soul” that he had never sought her love; and that accident had brought them together; that she courted him in a way impossible to withstand ; that he had ever honoured and respected her. Still, still, he felt he ought never to have allowed an appearance of attachment on his part to lead her into an illusion so fatal to her peace : that which was play to him was death to her. He acknowledged all this now, when it was too late, and paid the price of error with a bitter pang.
Rosalinda's death-bed was a scene of deep and impressive awe; but it was calm and resigned. She took leave of Lord Mowbray as a friend, but never reproached or upbraided him. She ascribed her early death to the climate,
and to too much exertion ; and, in the warmest terms of gratitude, she acknowledged her obligation to Mr. and Mrs. Altamont. When Lord Mowbray was overcome with grief and yielded to a burst of sorrow which could not be suppressed, she besought him to let their last meeting, like their first, be one of brightness.
“ Retain of me,” she said, addressing him, only a gentle and soft remembrance. I would not have any harsh or bitter thought mingle in the recollection you may cherish of me.”
Her final adieus were equally calm, touching, and dignified ; and she then composed her mind to those great duties which alone can bring peace at the last.
Lord Mowbray and Mrs. Altamont were in the house till Rosalinda's soul had fled ; and then Lord Mowbray gave unrestrained course to his feelings. He ordered every respect to be paid to the remains of one who had been so truly devoted to him; and, hastily leaving London, he retired to Mowbray Castle, where he saw no one, and passed the winter in solitude and sorrow. When the recollection of Lady
Emily, and of his own apparently cruel rudeness of behaviour towards her, added a pang to all those which he already endured, he thought he had forfeited all chance of happi
The reflections which arose out of the late striking event, did more towards forming his character to true worth than many years of life unmarked by self-knowledge. But the bitterness of a reproaching conscience, and the regret he experienced, nevertheless faded with time into a gentler view of the subject; and under the sentiment that remained, lurked a tide of fond remembrance for Lady Emily, as the current of a stream may sometimes be seen through the ice that covers its surface. He mourned unfeignedly the fate of Rosalinda ; he lamented his own self-indulgence which betrayed her to her ruin ; but the image of Lady Emily stole like a sunbeam through the shade, and brought back peace to his heart. He secretly vowed to make amends, in as far as he could do so, for his past conduct, and determined to redeem his errors.
When the spring-time returned once more,