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and, hiding his face with his hands, would give way to feelings too violent to be suppressed.
How eagerly would he endeavour to read the fate of his son in the eyes of his medical attendants, at each successive visit they paid him, their hopes, but much more frequently their fears, being reflected from his countenance as if from a faithful mirror.-Often was he heard to curse Brokenhurst-Hall, its inhabitants, and his own folly, for having been the cause of the sudden step his son had taken in leaving home, and exposing himself, as he believed, to some accidental contagion.
At length the disease fortunately gave way, and hope began to dawn. The difficulty now was to keep the Admiral's growing joy somewhat within bounds, to prevent any injury to the patient in his weak state.
The medical men had enough to do to accomplish this ; but we must now leave them to their task, that we may bring forward the history of some of the other personages of our story.
She was so expensive, that the income of three dukes was not enough to supply her extravagancce.
Why do they decorate themselves with artificial flowers, the various colours of herbs, needle-works of exquisite skill, quaint devices, and perfume their persons, wear inestimable richies in precions stones, crown themselves with gold and silver, use co• ronets and tiaras of various fashions, deck themselves with pendants, bracelets, ear-rings, chains, girdles, rings, pins, spangles, embroideries, ribatoes, versicular ribbands ? Why do they make such glaring shows with their scarfs, feathers, fans, masks, furs, laces, tiffanies, ruffs, falls, calls, cuffs, damasks, velvets, cloth of gold, silver tissues ? Such setting up with sarks, straitening with whalebone, why, it is but as a day-net catcheth larks, to make young ones stoop to them. And when they are disappointed, they dissolve into tears, which they wipe away like sweat, weep with the one eye, laugh with the other, or, as children, weep and cry they can both together, and as much pity's to be taken of a woman weeping as of a goose going bare foot.
The rumours regarding the Delassauxs which had reached the ears of Sir Cable Oakenwold soon after his son's departure for Scotland, were not without foundation. For some years after the arrival of Lady Delassaux and her niece in England, and while Miss Delassaux was yet under age, she was made to submit, though with difficulty, to the haughty commands of her only surviving guardian. But being naturally of a fiery and ungovernable temper, which an injudicious and unsystematic control could hardly be expected to correct, the young lady began to presume upon her rights, and to exercise her own will, at a period much earlier than is usual with even the most forward of her sex. Some discoveries she cunningly made, enabled her to set Lady Deborah's authority at defiance, and to assume the government of herself and fortune. Although her aunt, perhaps, might have legally insisted on continuing the exertion of her authority for some time longer, she, on her part, had secret reasons for considering it prudent to give way.
Lady Deborah was conscious that had Miss Delassaux called her to account for the expenditure of her fortune, she would have found it a difficult matter to explain how large sums of money, deeply affecting her estate, had disappeared. Nature seemed never to have intended that her im.
perious temper should be placed under the subjection of another; but she was compelled to bow down her proud spirit, and to become the most submissive of human beings to a young girl, who treated her on every occasion like an obtrusive relation, an incumbrance both to her actions and to her estate. Sir Godmansbury's income had chiefly arisen from certain public situations he had held, and his Lady's high and extravagant habits were not such as to improve their precarious produce; she had, therefore, comparatively speaking, nothing left to live on at his death, the wrecks of her own small fortune having been wast ed away. Her means of support, therefore, were drawn from her niece's estate.
The aunt and niece being so affected towards each other, it is no wonder that their intercourse should have been one of mutual irritation, and productive of frequent unpleasant scenes. On Lady Deborah's side there was something very peculiar in conduct; for though she scrupled not to show to others a disposition haughty, overbearing, and proud, so unlike the softness of human nature, and still more that belonging to the softer sex, yet she not only bent subservient to the will of her
niece, but instead of showing any dislike to her who tyrannized over her, she, on every occasion, where such a feeling could possibly be called into action, displayed a strong degree of attachment, too natural to be mistaken for any thing but real.
Notwithstanding her luxurious rustication, notwithstanding the conversion of Brokenhurst into something liker the fairy palace of an eastern romance, than any thing to which a parallel could be found on earth, time often hung heavy with Miss Delassaux in the country. She therefore spent a great part of her year in London, where, then as well as now, eminence in extravagance and folly was the only indispensable passport of admission to a certain circle of self-constituted select, who looked with contempt on every one around them, of whatever talents, birth, or fortune, who were without these undefinable somethings, forming the free-masonry of their society.
For this circle Miss Delassaux was, indeed, supereminently qualified, and the orbit she moved in was high and conspicuous. There, in a series of balls, masquerades, and gay parties of every description, she ran the feverish and taste less round of heartless dissipation, to the no small