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addressed to himself. It began—“ My dear Charles," and went on in a strain of great kindness, begging that he would use his hotel, servants, and every part of his establishment, as if they were his own. For what reason he scarcely knew, but there was in Charles's breast an undefined sensation of bitterness towards his cousin, that did not incline him to view any of his actions in the best light, and he thought to himself as he read the letter—" Very kind I dare say; but, thank Heaven, I have neither the wish nor the necessity of accepting his offers.”
He sat down however to write a civil reply, when his eyes were called to the window, which looked across the court directly upon the porte-cochère, by the sound of a carriage which was driving up. Some one who was in it spoke for a moment to the porter (who had left him in the library), and the step of the carriage being let down as if they were going to get out, Charles drew back from the win
dow to which he had advanced. In a moment after the door of the room opened, and the baroness de Sentered the library. Mr. Melville stood for a moment in astonishment; the baroness started and looked confused, till at length recovering himself, he advanced and took her hand, and recalling the slight pressure it had given his at St. Quentin, he once more ventured to raise it to his lips.--" How extraordinary !” exclaimed the baroness; “ the porter told me that lord Burton was absent, but that his cousin was here. Am I to suppose that I see him now ?”
Charles bowed, and replied in the affirmative; but the baroness looked so lovely, and there was a kind of sparkle in her eyes, that seemed to say she was glad they had so soon met again; so what with that and his own feelings of pleasure at the rencontre, Charles thought of nothing but her; and lord Burton, and her business with him, and every thing else in the world, were driven out of his head by this
unexpected meeting ; so he darted off from all other subjects, and expressed his surprise and happiness as ardently as he could. She seemed scarcely more mindful of what she had come about than he was, and for a minute or two they spoke about the accident on the road, and St. Quentin, and all that had happened there; and then they returned to the strangeness of their meeting the very day after she had returned to Paris, and dilated upon it, as if it was the most singular thing that had ever happened, forgetting all the while that by attaching so much consequence to it, they shewed perhaps too plainly how much interest they took in one another, till the baroness's eyes happened to meet those of Mr. Melville; what they found there she only knew, but it made her cast them down directly, and in their progress towards the ground (which was the ultimate destination of their glanee), they happened to fall upon her hand, when she perceived that, like Sterne's lady at the door of the remise, she had remained with it all that time clasped in Charles Mel. ville's; and, to crown the whole, the porter looking on with somewhat of astonishment in his countenance; she instantly drew back her hand, with a quick, involuntary motion that betrayed herself, and then when she had done it, she did not know what to say, and remained in more confusion than before. At the same time, Charles could not sufficiently collect his thoughts to frame a sentence on the occasion; and how they would have got on was a matter of great doubt, had not the porter come to their assistance, and informed him that the lady wished to see lord Burton upon some charitable subscription; but that, as he was absent, he had informed her his cousin was there, as his master had said he was to command every thing during his absence.
The porter spoke to Mr. Melville in English; but the baroness seemed to comprehend the general tenour of what he
said, said, and found herself relieved by it from her embarrassment—“Apropos," said she, laughing—“ I should have told you before what was my errand at the hotel of Milor -a single man too, and if report speaks true, the most accomplished man in Paris; but the fact is, he is celebrated for his discriminating charity, and I wished personally to interest him for a poor man, whose history I will tell you. He was a German (a countryman of mine you know), and he used to serve me with jewellery long ago; but he thought he should make his fortune by coming to Paris; but instead of that, ever since he left Frankfort, he has met with nothing but sorrows;" and she recapitulated a long list of misfortunes he had suffered, with that unaffected simplicity, but energy of manner, that goes straight to the heart of the hearer. After a series of every sort of distress, she represented the object of her compassion as now labouring under sickness and want; his goods and tools all pledged to the Mont