« AnteriorContinuar »
quette, you must be very cautious. Poor dear! it must shock her little heart to be treated like a stranger by her own brother!” and Mrs. Chester went up and embraced Zelie. “Don't sit on his knee, love, for fear of the servants coming in -- and appearances are every thing in this world. ...of course, realities must be attended to also; but that's between oneself and one's conscience; the world can seldom judge about them, but every lynxeyed servant can fritter away the reputation of those who don't pay proper attention to appearances. Ah! she's my dear little charge, and I'll take good care of her.”
Zelie did not understand much of this rapid jargon, but she saw the expression and manner were kind, and kindness went straight to that warm young heart. So Zelie was all smiles and sallies during breakfast.
After breakfast, De Villeneuve left Julian with his sister, and went out on his “allimportant business,” which was nothing more than to gaze at Ellen's soft face, and drink in the music of her sweet and noble sentiments;
to plunge the dart deeper into poor Annie's heart; and to talk of Zelie's début, as if to him alone, of all the world, it was an unimportant event, while he adroitly answered all allusions to his desertion of the Lindsays, and devotion to the rising sun, by pointing out to them that poor Zelie was a timid, foreign girl, who knew no one but himself and Julianwho had fainted at her first effort to appear, and to whom the support and society, at such a time, of one who could be of no importance to any one else (and he sighed) was a solace, inconceivable, to the happy members of a happy home.
“I have sacrificed," he said mournfully, “one of the few evenings that, in my sad, blighted life, I might have delighted in at the time, and looked back upon with melancholy rapture when I am again alone. If, in your sweet society, dear friends, I had not grown better, and less selfish, I could not have made that sacrifice ;— having made it, I own I did expect approbation, not reproach !”
“We do approve—we do admire your con
duct,” said Ellen, almost instinctively offering her frank hand. De Villeneuve took Annie's also, and pressed them both; but Annie held down her head a tear fell on De Villeneuve's hand, and, ashamed, Annie burst from him, and rushed out of the room.
“ Annie is nervous and dispirited,” said Ellen, not aware that De Villeneuve had fixed his phosphoric eyes upon her -- that, to him, a tête-à-tête with Ellen was an era in life. As he did not reply, she proceeded, still engaged in netting a purse for Mr. Grunter“These late hours do not suit a wild Scotch lassie ; Augusta, too, is not well; I shall be glad when we leave town.”
Glad, Ellen !-Miss Ellen, I mean; I beg pardon; I spoke, for once, as I think of you ever as' Ellen'
a name which bears, to my mind, what Mary' does to a Roman Catholic devotee—all that is loveliest, holiest, best! an humble maid of earth, but fit to be a queen in heaven.” Ellen blushed at the earnestness of his voice and manner, and, afraid to prolong their tête-à-tête begged him to excuse her while she sought some more silk for her purse. As she rose, De Villeneuve rose too, struck by the mingled reserve and sweetness of her manner-passionately in love with her for herself, and anxious, for other reasons, to win her, he was about to hazard all—to fling himself at her feet, and try the effect of love-prompted eloquence upon her heart. She had turned away-she did not see that he had thrown himself on one knee-that he had caught hold of her scarf, and that there were tears on his pale cheeks. He had ejaculated, “Hear me ! oh, Heaven !” when, to his unspeakable dismay, Miss Tibby bustled in, and, before Ellen perceived his emotion, arrested as her attention was, by a look of unwonted care on Tibby's face, he had started to his feet - he had dropped the scarf, had turned for a moment to the window to dry his tears, and, before Miss Tibby even perceived him, he was again all smiling calm, and self-possession.
Naething, my dear !” answered Tibby, with a look of importance which belied her words.
“Oh, yes, there is something the matter ! tell me at once. Where are they all ? has any thing happened ? — mamma! Augusta ! my uncle !....Julian !”
“I know nothing of ony o' them. No, dear, since ye must know a'—I've been to the Douglases ; Grizzy's vary unweel, and would na see me, puir body!- But I saw Babie for a moment, and she said Grizzy had taken an unco fancy to you, my dear, and had said if you would put away an hour with her this afternoon, it would do her a warld o' gude. So the carriage is at the door, and if you will, my dear, I'm ready to attend you; I can sit a while wi’ Babie while you're wi’ Grizzy.”
“Did I not compare you well to · Mary mild'?” said De Villeneuve, in an under-tone, while Miss Tibby stood at the glass, settling her cloak and hat. 6. None so old and desolate but they seek your sweet shrine, sure of comfort there. Go, beautiful Madonna-pour