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“The morning rose that untouch'd stands,
Such fate, ere long, will thee betide,
When Lady Emily awoke the next morning, she scarcely knew where she was; a sense of oppression was at her heart, but she could
not at first clearly recollect its cause. This temporary unconsciousness, however, soon yielded to a distinct recollection th
scene of the preceding night, together with all its painful particulars.
“ Horrible London!” she said ; “why did I eyer.come into it, if such events as those are
, indeed as. common as Mrs. Neville represents them: to:be ???
? How beautiful is the first purity of youth, which feels itself contaminated by any approximation to vice, and thinks itself sullied even in the knowledge which life too soon imparts, that such things are. It is a cruel lowering to the spirit, this first recognition of the fallen estate we are doomed to witness in others; and not only witness in others, but to acknowledge in some shape and in some degree is also our own. Yes, this knowledge is contrary to the pride of our nature, and yet it is the first step towards that perfection of our being to which it tends, but which it cannot attain to upon earth.
“Oh, Rose, Rose !” exclaiined Lady Emily ;
and her tears flowed afresh, as the thoughts of what she had been, and what she now was, returned; “ Oh, my poor Rose, could you but see your miserable mother as I have seen her! Did you but know that your father has left his home in quest of you, and is a wanderer, houseless and wretched, for your sake; you would certainly return and expiate your error by a life of penitence, and in tending that remaining parent, whom your conduct has reduced to utter helplessness. Oh yes ! you may yet, be snatched from pursuing a course of infamy ! Though your good name be lost on earth, it may be retrieved in heaven; and if I can but be the means of doing this,---oh, if I can !-I shall think nothing on my part, that is not unworthy, too great a sacrifice for such an end.”
When Lady Emily met the General, he immediately inquired how she had been amused the preceding evening. “I was much delighted at first, dear uncle, only-
“What was the only, give me none of your onlys. When my Emily's amusement or happiness is concerned, I cannot bear an only. And
let me look at you, dear one-why your eyes are red, you have been crying !"
“ I have, dear uncle ! and all the pleasure I might have experienced was, I confess, totally lost in the melancholy discovery I made of Rose's present mode of life.”
Here she related to the General what had come to her knowledge in the lobby of the Opera House.
“Bad news, indeed," said the General; though I expected little else.”
“ But what can we do, my uncle, to snatch her from her terrible fate ? --what can we do?”
“Alas! my dear one, I fear that nothing which we can say or do, will be of any avail at present. By your description of her, she is surrounded with all that luxury and pleasure and vanity, can give to deceive her as to the real degradation of her situation.”
* Perhaps so, uncle ; but then, if she could but know of her poor mother's state-of her father's !-then, oh then! without a doubt her heart would melt, and she would loathe her finery and her riches."