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Mr. Wilmot looked at him, with that kind of smile which a person assumes when they see the very inmost of our thoughts; and for some reason or another, the blood rose quick into Charles's face, and the very feeling that it did so, made his cheek burn the more. It is singular,” said Mr. Wilmot, “ I have just heard a good deal concerning the baroness, from a person on whom I can rely. She is,” he continued," whạt few people are-a perfectly, natural character-exactly what she seems.; quick in sensation-naturally inclined to right-but with an imagination as warm as her feelings; and, I am afraid, without that steady principle, which, like the helm of a vessel, alone can keep us in the straight course, when the current of temptation, and the gusts of passion, alike strive to turn us aside from virtue.”
Charles did not choose to trust his tongue with an answer; for though he knew Wilmot to be a very keen and a very just observer, he was not willing to
think the baroness had any faults.—“Bad and strong passions,” thought he,“ will always leave some traces behind on the countenance. It is not from any feature that one can judge of the mind, but from the habitual expression which (however faintly) the face always acquires by the custom of any predominant feeling. If there is any thing strongly marked in the countenance of the baroness, it is melancholy; and yet what can make so beautiful, so accomplished a creature unhappy, with rank, wealth, and every gift of fortune? But there is no evil in her expression; there is every principle of sweetness and gentleness in her very eyes.” Thus reasoned and thought Charles Melville, and convinced of the truth of his judgment in the first instance, very readily found arguments to prove it right.
Tybalt.-This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy.
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
Romeo and Juliet
THE baroness was sitting on a sofa, with an open volume of Petrarch in her hand, when Charles Melville arrived, in consequence of the invitation she had given him in the morning. The apartment was a large splendid saloon, furnished in the most luxurious Parisian style, with couches and ottomans, so soft, you felt like Jupiter and his fraternity, in pictures, as if you were reclining on clouds. She was quite alone, and asking him to sit down
beside her, she apologized for having no one to meet him-adding, that the count de
Land his sister had been invited, but that the lady was unwell, and the count was engaged at the palace. However, she said, he would most likely be there in the evening.
Charles thought she was looking more lovely than ever; and there was a kind of softness in her manner, that in his eyes added another charm to those she had before possessed.
Dinner was served in the French style, during which she evidently exerted herself to keep up the conversation; but Charles had by this time acquired a greater degree of facility in speaking the language, and consequently they proceeded more easily. After dinner they again returned to the room in which she had received him, and she once more-spoke of her sorrow at having no party for him.
There was but one reply to be made, and Charles did make it, with all the energy of
sincerity, expressing how much more happy he was in her undivided society, than if the most splendid circle in Paris had been collected to meet him. Gallantry, as it would be considered in England, is little better than politeness in most parts of the Continent; and though perhaps the baroness in her own heart might remember that Charles was an Englishman, and give his words their full meaning, in her manner she seemed to receive it as a mere matter of common civility.
On looking round, Charles perceived a piano, and several musical instruments, and leading the conversation in that direction, he, without much difficulty, prevailed on the baroness to play. Singing soon followed, as a matter of course, and after executing most sweetly some beautiful Italian airs, she turned to Charles, saying, she was sure he sung. He did not affect to deny it. Duets were immediately sought, and for an hour they continued in such delightful employment,