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proceed with that ceremony which is to make us both happy for life." ;
“ Happy!” exclaimed Lady Deborah, involuntarily shuddering as she' echoed the word. “ Heavenly powers !
But she had not time to finish her sentence before it was most unaccountably taken up by Antonio, with a Jesuitical air of the utmost seriousness and fervour, though accompanied with a frown, which, however, he took care should be perceptible to no one but Lady Deborah.
“ May the powers of heaven indeed shower down their choicest blessings on them both !"
Lady Deborah looked at him with an agonizing glance, and then made an effort to subdue her rising emotions, or at least to hide them, by burying her face in her handkerchief. The clergyman, and then the servants entered, and the ceremony proceeded.
It was hardly more than begun, when a confused noise of voices was heard, as if of several persons entering the house.
“ Officers !" exclaimed a voice Miss Delassaux knew to be that of her faithful steward, secure the carriage and the horses—they are worth
something; and then let us proceed as fast as we can within doors. Arrest every thing, do you hear, without loss of time, for there may be other creditors upon her before long, and I don't want any one to go snacks with me."
The astonishment and consternation that seized upon the party met to celebrate the marriage, and, most of all, upon the bride and bridegroom, may be more easily conceived than described., Miss Delassaux, who was not much versed in business, was at first disposed to imagine it merely some of those necessary perhaps, but troublesome legal forms, to which Mr Hawkins was every now and then subjecting her. On those occasions, particularly of late, she had been glad enough to get money, even although it was accompanied by so harassing a tax upon her patience. But now she thought his time for such vulgar ceremonial had been particularly ill hosen; and, breaking off abruptly, she walked with great irritation towards the wide and splendid , staircase, to inquire into the meaning of the steward's intrusion.
There she found Hawkins, attended by a train of clerks and bailiffs, employed in taking a list of
the marble statues and busts, the bronzes, the pictures, and the various other items of vertu decorating the hall and the landing-places.
“ Mr Hawkins !" cried she, with an intemperance of voice corresponding to the storm that agitated her mind at the moment, “ I cannot understand how
you should dare thus to disturb my house at such a time, by the introduction of so many strangers. If you have any thing of inportance to transact, I think you might have waited until I had been gone. This rudeness is what I did not expect of you. But, Sir, you must allow me to tell you, I will not suffer such improper intrusion.”
Hawkins lifted up his little red eyes from the small memorandum book in which he was inscribing the articles of furniture one by one, and looking at her askance, but without permitting her presence to disturb him, he went on repeating,—
“ One stove, with fire-irons to match, -wo cariatides of bronze, bearing lamps," and so he continued to write down the items, one after another, as if he heard not a word she said to him.
The Lady could bear his provoking conduct no longer. “ Mr Hawkins,” said she, with still
greater vociferation, “ I insist on your leaving my house directly, and I desire you will take with you the rude rabble that has followed
hither. Begone, Sir, instantly! I am resolved at least to be mistress in my own house."
“ One gilt bracket, with an alabaster temple thereon,” said Hawkins, continuing his operations with the most perfect indifference. " One statue in white marble of the Heathen god Apollo,—one drunken Satyr pressing grapes into a cup, carved out in red marble”.
“ Beast !” cried Miss Delassaux, now altogether forgetting herself in her growing rage.“ You are yourself a Satyr !-quit my house this instant, I tell you. I discharge you from this moment; and if you do not leave my house immediately, I shall call down one, to whom I must in future look for protection, to rid me of your presence."
Hawkins seemed to hear at last. “ Your house, Madam !” said he, “ I suspect you are disposed to be merry when you call this your house, and talk of turning me the owner of it out of it. You cannot have forgotten all the friendly efforts I have made for you; the risks I have run to raise money for your need, nåy, you must remember the very last transaction between us, when, in order to enable me to procure cash for your emergencies, you signed this deed of conveyancé, making over the house of Brokenhurst-Hall to me in mortgage. The estates, you know, were already mine by various transactions of a similar nature, which took place between us at different times before, all of which you cannot fail to recollect. My advances have been to an extent which, you must be aware, is by no means trifling ; and now you cannot wonder that I should endeavour to secure myself in as small a loss as may be, by arresting the furniture, moveables, and trinkets, which might else, perhaps, fall a prey to other creditors.” And so saying, he continued liis operations with imperturbable sang froid.
That certain legal forms had been gone through, as security for large sums of money, Miss Delas saux was well enough aware ; but, bad as she had believed her circumstances, she had not the most distant idea that they were so utterly wrecked as Hawkins now represented them. The whole of his rascality at once flashed upon her. Her fury