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de Pieté (a government establishment answering the purpose of the English pawnbroker).—“ I have done for him,” continued the baroness, “ what little I could myself; but I wished to set forward a subscription, to enable him to begin the world again. I have not been long in Paris, and consequently have not an extensive acquaintance, therefore my name can be of but little service to him; but as I knew this poor man's case would bear thorough investigation, I flattered myself that I might prevail on lord Burton to put his name to the list, and then I was sure it would go on well, for people say he never leaves a good action till he has accomplished it.”
" What praise,” thought Charles Melville, “ from such lips ! how proud I should have been to have been the object of it!" However, as the next best thing, forgetting his prejudices against lord Burton, he began to feel proud of being his cousin, and assured his fair companion, that though K 5
his influence could be of little service to her protegé, as far as his purse went she might command him.
“ That I am sure I may," she answered with a smile, at the same time laying her hand upon his arm, in a way that shewed (whether she calculated on his charity or not) that she well knew the extent of her power over him.
“ You were going out," she added, seeing his hat and gloves laying on the table; “ can I set you down any where?” “ You may take me to my
you like,” replied Charles, very willing to enjoy her society as long as possible.
“ Do you not live here ?" demanded the baroness.
Charles replied that he did not, and threw open the door to lead her to the carriage.
The dining-room was exactly on the other side of the hall; the door was open, and the first object on which the eye of Charles Melville fell, was the form of lady
Mary Burton. It was only a picture; but Charles started involuntarily, and almost dropped the hand of the baroness, which he had taken to conduct her to the equipage -it was only a picture; but it was strongly like: the dress was one he had seen her often wear, and he fancied that there was in the countenance a reproachful expression; a mournful one there certainly was.. Charles's heart felt heavy, he knew not why, and he paused, not remembering that he detained the baroness, who, surprised at his stopping so suddenly, raised her eyes also—"Good Heavens, what a beautiful creature !” she exclaimed, as she looked at the picture—“ I never saw any thing so lovely. Do you know who it is ?"
" It is my cousin, lady Mary Burton,” replied Charles.
• Is it like her?" demanded the baroness, with an air of interest.
“ Strikingly," he replied; " it scarcely does her justice.”
“ Then she must be an angel," said the lady, as he led her on, " for I never saw so angelic an expression.”
There was something that pleased Charles, yet pained him, in the baroness's observation, and his mind was so occupied as he followed her into the splendid chariot that waited, he forgot to tell the servant where to drive, so that they were half over Paris, in another direction, before he remembered his mistake. It was not however conversation that had engrossed him, for neither the baroness nor himself had spoken one word, and when he did open his lips, it was only to tell her his error, and to obtain her permission to bid the coachman return to the Rue de la Paix ; after which they both again fell into silence, not for want of thought, for they were both overburdened with it, and the stopping of the carriage at his hotel woke them as from a dream.
As he took leave, and prepared to get out, the baroness hesitated for a moment,
and then said, abruptly—“ Will you
dine with me to-day?"
Charles as quickly answered—“ Yes.”
“ But where ?” he demanded : “ you forget I do not know your address.”
True, true,” she replied—“ Rue de Castiglione, numero —.”
He bowed, and the carriage drove off; and as he turned to enter the hotel, some one brushed so hastily by him, as almost to push him on one side. Charles turned angrily round, but in the passing crowd he could not distinguish who it was that thus impinged against him; and concluding that it was some person who had done it in a hurry, without intention, he went into the house, where he was informed that Mr. Wilmot had been out for some time. Shortly after, that gentleman returned, and Charles informed him of his rencontre with the baroness, and her invitation to dinner.