Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

ces, with a sort of hysterical laugh, “no harm is done ;-all may yet be well, since you, my dear uncle, with your wonted forethought have had this prudent caution !"

“ Alas! Frances, it remains for me to add, with pain and grief of heart, for your sakes, I speak it”—and his voice faltered almost to inarticulation-“I am myself, from the most unforeseen and improbable circumstances-circumstances in which I have not had any participation whatever-I myself am probably a beggar !"

He sunk back on his chair as he uttered these last words, overcome with a

sense of remorse and sorrow, which preyed on his frame, and seemed to threaten him with some sudden convulsion, so awful a change passed over his benign countenance.

66 Dearest uncle !” cried Lady Emily, throwing her arms around his neck—"dearest uncle, calm your agitation ; Frances and I only regret this on your account: do we, dear sister? Pray cheer up-all will be well so that you only are well! Lord Bellamont, Frances, if he is worth

the heart you destine him, will never be influenced by such a paltry consideration as money and

“I am sorry for my uncle, certainly,” said Lady Frances, while a variety of feelings seemed struggling in her countenance;“ but in an affair so delicate as the present, you must give me leave

also on my own account." Frances,” rejoined the General, rousing himself from the temporary weakness of overwrought feelings, “ I have one word only to say to you, though I am but too well aware this is not a favourable moment for advice:- It is this that if Lord Bellamont now remains true to you, you may well be a prouder, and are sure to be a happier woman, than had you brought him the dower of a princess. Oh, my dear niece ! I earnestly hope that you may find it so!-at all events, send the young lord to me, and I will exonerate you from every shadow of imputation which might attach to you, of having wished to deceive. And you, my Emily, my gentle tender dove, come to the arms of your old uncle, and find the reward of your duty and

to say,

I
am sorry

affection in the exercise of those virtues which are twice blessed ; blessed to the giver, and blessed to the receiver.""

“ Well!” said Lady Frances, with ill-concealed displeasure and mortification, reddening in her before pale cheek; “ I must go at present, and shall await the result of your conversation with Lord Bellamont.” Thus having spoken, she bent forward to touch her uncle's forehead with her lips, and withdrew.

“ What will become of that unhappy girl,” said the General, “ should this marriage go off? —and what a heavy weight it will add to that which is already lying here!" and he struck his breast.

" Let us not forbode evil, dearest uncle. I cannot suppose Lord Bellamont will forsake Frances; and, provided she is married, then you need not cast a thought upon the past. How happily you and I shall live together! We have the same tastes, the same pursuits; I shall fly about and fulfil your orders, and there will be the library and the flower-garden," (her uncle smiled affectionately), “ and dearest un. cle !” she continued, “ I am determined to know every thing about the domestic arrangements, and do good to the poor, not by giving away things or money, which cost only the trouble of an order, but by really knowing what will be of lasting benefit to them, making their clothes, and distributing their medicines myself. Oh! we shall be so happy, dearest uncle, the day will not be long enough for all I shall have to do in it."

“ You are, indeed, a good and a gracious creature, my own Emily. Heaven has gifted you with a felicitous disposition: remember, my sweet one, it will be a double sin in you to contemn or misuse the gift; but why do I give you this charge? you who are every thing that is kind, every thing that is amiable.” And he kissed her forehead, and left her happy.

Yes, in her innocent aspirations after happiness, she was happy; but yet there was a secret worm at her heart! Where is the human heart that has no canker at its core ?--The Opera and its many occurrences recurred with

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

all their power of interest, to occupy her thoughts.—Rosalinda, and Lord Mowbray ! What was the mystery that hung upon these two persons ?-What link of association existed between them ?-Love it could not be, since Lord Mowbray evidently fled her presence. Hatred ?— Impossible : it was impossible to hate any one according to Emily's feelings; and to hate such beauty, such an expression of every thing exalted as dwelt in the person of Rosalinda, was utterly, she conceived, out of nature; but that some secret connexion did exist between these persons she felt assured was the case, and she dwelt upon this till it almost made her forget every other subject.

Before the day passed, Lord Bellamont, the expected visitor, arrived. Lady Emily was present when he was announced; and though he had been presented to them at the Fitzhammond's, still he had the awkwardness of a reintroduction to go through; yet his manner was so unaffected, so exceedingly pleasing, and his personal appearance so advantageous, that both the uncle and niece were impressed with the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »