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“I must soon return to the Continent on business, and this short dream of England will be amongst the things that are past. Oh, Jane, how that catalogue of the gone increases on us as we journey on! how quickly the irretrievable swells, while the doubtful diminishes before us!”
“ I often think,” said lady Jane, our life is like that beautiful tale in the Arabian Nights, where the vessel of the voyager is drawn on by an irresistible impulse to the rock of adamant, on which it is sure to be wrecked at last, and beyond which his eye can perceive nothing."
True, Jane,” answered lord Burton, “ and happy is he that can turn his eyes from it, and look back upon a calm and sunny sea behind him. Oh, Jane, never give yourself any thing to regret as I have done!" and he placed his hands before his eyes, as if to shut out the past, to which his mind had been too forcibly recalled. “ I did not mean to pain you, Frederic,” G 6
said lady Jane, laying her hand on his arm, e indeed I did not."
“I know it, Jane, I know it,” answered her cousin, and was proceeding, when some one entered the room, and lord Burton, too much agitated for conversation, gladly made his escape into the grounds which surrounded the Abbey, and wandering into the woods, began to think over all that had passed. -. It was one of those moments with lord Burton that every man must at times experience, when the examination of our own thoughts is painful to us, and when we would rather cling even to doubt itself, than ascertain a truth that must bring uncomfort along with it; but Frederic felt it right to investigate his own feelings, and though painful, he did so to the very utmost, and the result was, that he loved Louisa Stanhope deeply, sincerely loved her ; but at the same time a thousand obstacles presented themselves to his wishes, and forced on him the conviction that, if
possible, he ought to conquer the passion with which he was animated, and he resolved to make the attempt.
With this determination he returned towards the Abbey. Men's minds as well as their fortunes are the sport of cirumstances; they are blown about by every gust of feeling, and when they seem most sure that reason directs and guides them, some accidental remembrance, or some newraised hope, will turn them far from the course they had resolved to pursue. The view of the Abbey called back to lord Burton's mind all the happy hours he had there spent with the object of his affection: all the sweetness of disposition, the elegance of mind, the loveliness of
person, possessed by her he was about to resign for ever, rose upon his memory, and he entered the house more undetermined than ever. In this frame of mind he did not particularly wish to meet any of the family, and bent his steps towards the library, thinking at least that he should
meet none of them there. The first object he saw was Miss Stanhope; she had been, writing; a sealed letter lay before her; and she hastily wiped a tear from her eye, as lord Burton entered the room. What were all his resolutions then ? Air.
“ I am afraid to intrude," said lord Burton, as he advanced ; " but I am still more afraid, Miss Stanhope, that you are not happy."
“ Oh no, my lord!" she answered, attempting to smile; “ every one will feel a little low-spirited sometimes.”
“ That is true,” replied Frederic; " for I have just woke from one of those me. lancholy fits myself.”
“ But you can have nothing to make you unhappy, surely ?" she replied, with a look of incredulity.
“ And have you ?” asked lord Burton. “ But do not think,” he added, “ that I am gloomy without a cause; I have many things to make me so. Nothing, for in
stance, can be more painful than passionately to desire what we cannot obtain,"
" But I should hardly think that could be the case with you, my lord,” she replied, taking up the letter to go away; " for if you wish what any human being can bestow, I should suppose, what between rank, fortune, and influence, you will find means to persuade them to give
Lord Burton took her hand, and raised it to his lips" Could any thing persuade you to give me this ?” he asked, still detaining it in his.
My lord ! my lord!” exclaimed Miss Stanhope, withdrawing her hand, “ consider what you are saying: you are too generous, I am sure, to take advantage of my situation. Let me entreat you to forbear, nor make me more unhappy than I am already.”
Unhappy!" replied lord Burton“ Heaven knows that I would sacrifice any thing to make you happy."