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hurst," cried Hawkins, with a sort of yell “ Phoh I beg your pardon, Sir Willian, but it is impossible,-I never saw stronger to nures,-parchments as firm as a rock, Sir,-holding blanch of the Crown, for the payment of four pounds of white wax, never exacted now, but, in the days of Popery, burnt in candles before Thomas à Becket's shrine, on the eve of his festival, as a penitential offering in behalf of the king, -and perhaps, too, for one of the early Delassaux's, who was said to have had a hand in the death of the prelate. Dover Castle, under favour, Sir William, stands not on a foundation more sure or enduring."
“ Sir,” replied Sir William Percival, with dig. nity and determination, “ I question not the stadbility of the rights of Miss Delassaux; they are, I believe, most unimpeachable ; but, while it gives me very great pain to be compelled to communicate such cruel information to any one, I must tell that Lady that she is not the daughter of Sir Marmaduke Delassaux, that she is, in fact, not Miss Delassaux, and, consequently, that she has, innocently, I believe, been all along usurping the rights of another."
On hearing these words, the young lady, who was the subject of them, uttered a shriek which graduated into a momentary and hysterical laugh, and staggering back a few paces, she was only prevented from falling on the floor by the exertions of Amherst, who sprang forward to catch her. As for Hawkins, the intelligence seemed to produce upon him a temporary delirium. He rushed from behind the chair, his little scratch wig rising from his scalp, by the mere force of the muscles of his brow and temples, which were thrown rigidly upwards, by the horror and dismay that struck him, as Sir William pronounced these fatal words. With the most frantic gestures, he threw himself on his knees before him, embraced his legs with an energy that almost threw the old gentleman down, and exclaimed :
“Oh, my dear master ! oh, don't say so !—I'm dead !-ruined !--undone !-if you say so !My all is gone !—my life !-my soul !—the fruits of all my industry !-of all my !-ugh! what am I going to say ?—but I am mad,stark mad !-dead, and damned, and ruined !
“ Unhand me, Hawkins;” said Sir William,
with some anger, to this grovelling reptile; “ I cannot make things otherwise than they really are, and what I have said will soon be put beyond doubt, by proofs irresistible."
Hawkins threw himself on the floor, and rolled about in absolute agony, like the clown in a pantomine. Meanwhile all the anxiety of the company was turned towards the Ex-Miss Delassaux, who was now in strong fits. Her maid was rung for,—and Amherst, and Lord Eaglesholme, who had also hastened to her assistance, carried ber to her apartment.
All pleasure springing from a gratified passion, as most of the pleasure of sin does, must needs determine with that passion.
AFTER the confusion occasioned by the sudden illness of the fictitious Miss Delassaux, Lord Eaglesholme and Amherst returned to the drawing-room, where they found Cleaver just arrived.
A long and most interesting conversation ensued, during which Amherst gathered, by fragments, the circumstances we are now to give the reader in more concise and connected narrative.
Lord Eaglesholme was not always the melancholy and abstracted being we have known him. His noble features were lighted up in youth, by the unvarying sunshine of unalloyed happiness,
to which the possession of health, a handsome person, high birth, ample estates, full freedom of will, and above all, an unreproaching conscience, largely contributed. With buoyant spi. rits, he travelled over Europe, loitering whereever any prospect of instruction tempted him to remain,--drinking freely, but purely and virtuously, from the fountains of delight, springing up everywhere in his path,—and plucking the roses, without twining one thorny care into his wreath.
Of all the countries he visited, he found Italy the most interesting ; and above all in that country, Naples had peculiar charms for him.
Soon after his arrival in that city, he was present at a magnificent masked ball, given by the king. The gardens were illuminated by millions of lights; and the bosom of the sea gave back so much radiance, that even the partial and fitful explosions of Vesuvius were lost in the blase. As he wandered about, in full enjoyment of the brilliant scene around him, his attention was arrested by the appearance of a tall, and very gant female figure, whose lofty air and mien marked her of high, if not of royal rank. He stepped aside from the centre of the walk along which she