Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

about it. Do you remember the poor old man who generally took up his station at the door of our hotel formerly? He always wore a green bandage over his eyes, to conceal his face from the passers-by, and held a small basket of matches in his hand---"

“Yes," interrupted Madame Revial in her turn, “I remember him well: your father always dropped some money into the basket when returning from the Bourse. You used always to call him your poor old man---and you, little as you were, delighted in giving him every thing you could scrape together.”

“Well, since our departure from the hotel, we have asked each other a hundred times what could have become of him."

* Yes," said Madame Revial, with evident interest.

Well, mother, I found him to-day, at last, but in such a state of wretchedness that I was really shocked. Stretched on the snow, dying absolutely of cold and hunger---and, without the kind assistance of this gentlemen, he must have perished where he lay."

“Say, rather, without your's," said the youg man, earnestly. “I could do nothing, for I had lost my purse. To you and you alone, is he indebted for life. But,” continued he, in a different tone, seeing the bright color again mounting rapidly to Anna's face, " it is not for the purpose of disclosing to this lady the secret of your good actions that I have followed you here; it is to request you to take the trouble of buying a bed and some other little necessaries for this poor child of misfortune. Here are a hundred francs, that you will have the kindness to employ for this purpose. I pray you to believe that if I was not a stranger in Paris, and on the point of quitting it this very evening, I would not take this liberty with persons to whom I am not known. I trust that you will excuse my request.”

“There is no necessity to offer any apology" said Madame Revial," on the contrary, we ought to thank you for having selected us to complete a benevolent action."

“Now, Madame," added the young man, with a hesitating and timid manner, “it only remains for me to inquire the name of my young sister in this work of kindness.”

“Mademoiselle Anna Revial.”

A cry of astonishment broke from the stranger---" The daughter of M. Revial, of Bordeaux, who lost his fortune by trusting in a friend, and died of grief?

“Alas! you have but too truly stated the case. How does it happen that you are acquainted with these facts ?”

“I am Jules Barsac," said the young man, in a voice scarcely audible,

Anna grew pale, and went and placed herself near her mother's seat. A mournful silence succeeded for a short time, and it was Jules who broke it.

“Ah! Madame,” said he, suddenly rising, “ I perceive that I yesterday sent you my renunciation of a life of happiness. This letter," and he took it from the table, “this letter," he repeated, as he slightly touched it with the finger of his right hand, with a look of disgust---" permit me to destroy it, and to forget that it was ever written ?” Looking from one lady to the other, and seeing no sign of opposition, he tore it down the middle, and threw the portions into the fire; he watched them until the flame had seized on every part; andthen, as if content that it was wholly and irrecoverably destroyed, he approached MadameR evial, and bent his knee before her, as she regarded alternately, with the utmost satisfaction, her daughter and him, whom she would have

chosen for her son-in-law, if the choice had been in her power---" Or if the memory of this unhappy letter cannot altogether pass away, and if part of it must still remain in your remembrance, think only of the words which say “If your daughter and myself had been acquainted.' We are acquainted---and know each other already as if we had never been apart. Do not separate those whom charity has united. I just now called Mademoiselle by the name of sister: let me call her by another name, not less kind, but more sacred---that of wife. I have no fortune to offer her, but I feel myself now animated by double courage and hope. For her, for you, Madame, who will never quit us, I will work with energy and determination, and I feel that I shall succeed in my efforts. Oh! Madame, deign to answer me ;--but you weep---you give me your hand---you consent to my request ? "

“And you, Anna, what do you say?" asked Madame Revial, as she held out the other hand to her daughter.

"Have I ever any other will than yours, dear mother?” and she pressed the hand to her lips.

“You consent then, Mademoiselle?” said Jules, “Then you will allow me to present you this ring as a mark of our engagement ?"

He handed her a little ring set round with turquoises. “ It is Anna's ring!" said Madame Revial, with surprise.

“Yes, mother,” said Anna, quite confused: “I was obliged to sell it to replace the money I had received for my embroidery."

"It was in purchasing it that I discovered your address, although you entered in the jewellers's book only the name of Anna. It is to this ring that I owe the happiness of again beholding you.” He took, as he spoke, the unresisting hand of the young girl, and placed on her finger the pledge of their union.

The same evening, in order to fulfil the benevolent intentions of M. Barsac, who was obliged to leave town for Bordeaux, Anne returned to the old man's lodging. He was no longer to be found : he had disappeared, without pointing out his new abode!

A month after, in the humble lodging of Madame Revial, a few friends were assembled to witness the signing of the marriage contract before the notary, who soon made his appearance; he was followed by an elderly man, richly attired. As the latter was not introduced, no person took much notice of him, for each was too much occupied with the ceremony for which they had come together. Madame Revial was still an invalid, and had her daugter seated near her. Jules Barsac was standing on the other side. The notary placed his portfolio on the table, and took from it a contract of marriage, which he proceeded to read aloud. After having specified the little property of the bridegroom, he went on to detail the fortune of the lady... "Madame Revial makes over to her daughter the sum of £1000 per year..."

“You are making a mistake, Monsieur,” interrupted Madame Revial; “ formerly, indeed, I did intend--.”

The notary without paying any attention to this interuption, continued...

“ £1000 a year arising from money in the public funds, for which here are the securities."

Saying this, he displayed the coupons on the table, and Madame Revial, her daughter, and Jules Barsac all made a movement as if about to speak, when the aged stranger arose, and made a sign for them to remain silent. Surprised at

this interference, they awaited with interest the result of this strange scene.

“What !” said the old man with a broken voice, and addressing Anna, “What, Mademoiselle, do you not remember your poor old man?'

Whilst she was looking earnestly at him, trying to read in his calm and venerable countenance the marks of misery and suffering, he continued--

"You, have, then, forgotten ten years of daily kindness! You have forgotten the 3rd of January, with the assistance you gave so opportunely---the fire, the wine, and the wing of a fowl wrapped up in a piece of newspaper? All forgotten? Well, that very piece of newspaper is the cause of all my misery being at an end. In an advertisement which it bore, I read the intelligence, that a French gentlemen, named Francois de Chazel, had been for years seeking in vain for his brother Jacques de Chazel, ruined, like him, in the revolution; and that, by his will, he had ordered an advertisement to be inserted every week for three years, that the brother might come forward and claim his ample fortune. That Jacques de Chazel stands now before you---it is I.-Without delay I set out for London, and only returned yesterday. Your notary," continued he, speaking to Madame Revial, “is mine; from him I heard of the intended marriage of your daughter. To that angel I owe my life, and the least I can do is to present her with a part of that fortune which, without her, never would have reached my hands."

“But, Monsieur,” said Madame Revial, with emotion, “perhaps you have a family ? "

“Yes, Madame, ” replied he, bowing low as he spoke,” “if you will admit me into yours?"

“Ah, you have made part of our family for such a long time!” said Anna, pressing in her hands those of M. de Chazel; then, with a gesture full of naïveté and grace, pointing to her intended husband, she added, in a low voice, “ It is he who took you up. Do you recollect him? Ah! you say that to me you owe your life: if you only knew how much I am indebted to you---if you only knew it---But we will separate no more, and I shall have time to tell you all about it."

Jules came forward to present the pen to his bride, and they both signed the marriage contract. Formed under such auspices, who can doubt that it was a happy one.Court Gazette."

box comes from foreign climes ? But it was not so in this instance, and it contained nothing contraband ;---nothing save a hat, which would have been the envy of Rotten-row had it ever been exposed to that dusty atmosphere. But as yet it was virgin,---unpolluted by any zephyr. Its master rang at the gate impatiently, and the lodge-keeper quickly answered ; but, ere the traveller set his feet within the gate, a surly, pugnacious animal of the canine species flew at him, and did his best best to make acquaintance, with his legs. This rude and unlooked-for mode of salutation was promptly returned by a somewhat severe chastisement from the cane carried by the traveller :---the dog ran away howling. The lodge-keeper looked aghast.---“Sir," said he, “Sir, do you know, what you have done ?---you have beaten Solomon.”---“Beaten him! of course I have,” replied the traveller; "why do you suffer such an ill conditioned brute about the place ? "---" Ah, Sir, he is somewhat of a cur to be sure, but he is our young mistress's pet for all that; and no one here dares to beat him. But allow me to conduct you to the house.” So saying, the man took up the portmanteau and hat-box, and led the way. The stranger followed, but, sighing, said, “ Alas, my friend! ‘Love me, love my dog,' may be a true saying, but it augurs ill.”

Julius Ormond found his friend Jefferson in his dressing. room, sitting before a secretaire, and plunged in so deep a reverie that he did not at first perceive his entrance. He looks tolerably unhappy for a bridegroom, thought Julius, but it is certainly a bold undertaking for a man to rush into matrimony, especially when one's mistress has such a pet as Solomon. “How is it with you, my friend,” said he, approaching Jefferson, who started from a reverie; “when is the marriage-day ? "

"I hardly know; three days hence, I believe,” replied the bewildered bridegroom.

"You believe! you are an ardent lover. Come, come, there is something wrong here. Tell me what all this means."

“Hush, hush,” said Jefferson, “take care what you say; the very walls have ears."

“There,” said Ormond, seating himself close to his friend, “now we are literally téte-à-tête, open up your griefs.--Now begin."

“Ah! said Jefferson, heaving a deep sigh, " when I wrote to you to come down here to Mr, Anderson's, I was in an excess of enthusiasm; I beheld the future through a flattering medium, and everything was couleur de rose."

“ And now you have seen the reverse of the medal?" inquired Ormond. “I can guess at the evil. There is a deficiency in the portion ? "

“Quite the contrary. It is double what I expected."

“ Then I suppose there is something objectionable in the connexions of the family. A cousin has been hanged or sent to Sydney at the expense of the public ?”

“No such thing, the family is as respectable as any in the county."

“Well then, Miss Celestina owes her figure to her staymaker ? I have hit the mark at last."

“You are wider than ever. Her figure is as light and symmetrical as a Grecian nymph, the votaress of Diana."

“Then there is a lover in the case ? "

“No such thing; I am quite positive she has never loved any one."

"Except Solomon.”

LOVE ME, LOVE MY DOG.

It was on a lovely morning in the spring-time of summer, that the coach stopped at the gate of a pleasant countryhouse, where bewildering shrubberies, fair lawns, and brilliant flowers, were the fit ornaments to the hospitable mansion they surrounded. A traveller, a portmanteau, and, though last not least, a hat-box, that sine qua non of a masculine wanderer, were deposited. A hat-box is a mysterious thing; what wonders are not, or may not be, contained within that little insignificant case---especially if the hat

“Oh," groaned Jefferson, "you have seen that brute | It is needless to follow the proceedings of dinner, although then ? Has he bitten you ?”

to Ormond they were of considerable importance, so great “No, but I have beaten him."

was the charm of the fair girl by whom he sat, so original “God bless you for it. That cursed animal is the cause were the few remarks she let fall; her manner was so of all my cares.”

marked by the playful impetuosity of a spoiled child, and “How so?"

yet so chastened by womanly dignity, that he much “Why, you know I abominate all animals, particularly wondered that his friend Jefferson, his senior, by the way, dogs. He, I suppose, saw my antipathy in my face; for,

of some five years, should have taken the affair of the dog from the moment I came here, he has lost no opportunity of so much to heart. The dinner ended at last, the ladies annoying me. The first time he bit me, I laughed; the

| withdrew; and the younger gentlemen, after paying proper second, I looked black; the third, I begged that he might attention to their host's claret, left him and his more ancient be tied up; but I had far better have tied my tongue and friend to enjoy the last bottle and the last scrap of politics suffered in silence. Mr. Anderson thought my complaints by themselves, and sought the more agreeable charms of very reasonable, and ordered the beast to his kennel; but female society. They found the ladies in the billiard-room, Celestina------pity me, my friend! Oh, I was “a hard where Celestina was making the balls bound as wildly as hearted monster,---a wretch, to wish to deprive the innocent her own joyous spirits. They agreed to form a party, two animal of his natural liberty; my conduct was a sample of

against two, and drawing lots for partners, Fortune for once the tyranny of man, who always domineers over the weak; was wise, and the affianced pair were opposed to Ormond it was a sample of my conduct to a wife: was I not aware and Mrs. De Quincy. that liberty was the gift of Heaven, and that he who de Celestina entered into the game with all the vivacity of prived the meanest creature of its birthright was a miserable infancy, now laughing at her adversaries, then scolding her wretch !” Oh, how my ears have ached with the reverbe partner, and herself when she failed ; vexed when she could ration of her reiterated reproaches! Thus we have gone on not laugh, and laughing after each vexation. The game for a whole week, and this abominable Solomon is a stum was nearly ended, and Celestina danced with joy. Three bling block in the way of my marriage. His barking might points more would win the game, and if the red ball were be borne, but he bites."

pocketed it would be secure. It was Jefferson's turn, and, “Pooh, pooh,” replied Ormond, “why should you quarrel according to his custom, he took a long and steady aim, but, with your intended about a dog? You must put up with it whilst he was deliberately poising his cue, the impatient. till the wedding-day is over, and the first thing you do the

Celestina rested her white hand on the cushion, and looked next morning will be of course to shoot him.”

into his eyes. His aim was altogether distracted, and he “I have tried to comfort myself with that idea, but these pocketed his own ball without touching any other, and the disputes have drawn forth so much of Celestina's character,

game was lost. Celestina screamed aloud, and stamped her that I begin to be alarmed at the prospect of the future. little foot. “You abominable creature!” cried she; "a She is so capricious, wilful, unreasonable---in fact, quite a child could have made the stroke,"---and her eyes flashed spoiled child.”

lightnings. Ormond, after changing his travelling dress, accompanied “I was looking at you,” said poor Jefferson, with a conhis friend to the drawing-room, where they found their host, trite aspect. the intended father-in-law of Jefferson, and shortly before “Looking at me! I never look at you. I tell you, you dinner was announced they were joined by two ladies : the have done it on purpose!” first, a pretty woman, about twenty-five, the young wife of

“We shall win the next game," supplicated Jefferson. an old gentleman, who was in conversation with Mr. An

“Win it by yourself then. I shall play no more.” So derson at their entrance, was scarcely glanced at by Ormond; saying, the wilful girl walked to the window, and began to but the sight of the second sent the blood to his heart, and play the galopade in Gustavus upon the glass. thence, though he was all unused to blush, it mounted, in Vexed to his soul, poor Jefferson challenged Mrs. De despite of all his efforts at stoicism, to his temples. It was Quincy and Ormond, offering to play alone against them, she, that lovely, sparkling unknown, whose eyes had found but Mrs. De Quincy declined, and, seating herself on a their way to his heart, one well remembered night at the

bench overlooking the table, declared she would rather take opera, and whom he had vainly sought for since. His con a lesson from the young men. They began to play, Ormond fusion caused him so much embarrassment, as he paid his

with indifference, Jefferson measuring each stroke with the compliments to the ladies, that his friend began to be

utmost care, and, from too great nicety, missing several. ashamed of the awkward brideman he had chosen, but the

Celestina still drummed the galopade upon the window. announcement of dinner put an end to all further difficulties.

At length, just as the game was thrown into Jefferson's Ormond seized the opportunity, and, perceiving that Jeffer hands, and he, with the characteristic indecision of weak son was very backward in proffering his services, offered his minds, was balancing his cue, and pondering upon his arm to Celestina, and thus contrived to sit next her at

stroke, she threw open the window and called to the dinner, in the course of which he used all his art to pene

gardener, who was passing below. trate the character of a woman, whose conduct gave so much

“Where is Solomon ? let him loose directly; it is inhuman uneasiness to her future husband. She was so young and to deprive him of his liberty. Send him to me directly.” unsophisticated, so slender and buoyant, so much a child, The man obeyed. Solomon bounded in through the that you felt almost inclined to inquire after her doll. Her window just as Jefferson had adjusted his cue. At a signal figure, at once regular and delicate, presented a most charm from his mistress, Solomon bounded on the table, and seized ing contour. Her large black eyes, whose cloudy radiance the all-important ball; Jefferson flew to rescue it, and for seemed to presage lightnings, and yet shone with the bright his pains was bitten through the hand. In his desperation ness of innocence, spread a charm around her which it was

he struck the brute with the but-end of the cue, and the dog difficult to withstand.

retreated under the table howling.

him.

“What, Sir,” cried Celestina, her cheeks glowing, and at it. A child's trick, a child's trick! A wife will know her eyes flashing with anger, “ do you dare to beat my dog?" better. I trust you are not playing me false."

Poor Jefferson thought within himself, now is the time Ormond, seeing Jefferson wavering, stepped forward. “I to show my marital authority; and, holding out his bleed assure you, my dear sir, that such is not the case. I myself, ing hand, he struck the dog again.

I am sorry to say, am the bearer of this sad news; but, “You wretch !" cried Celestina ; and she raised her little knowing that there was no conveyance to town till the hand with the full intention of repaying Solomon's wrongs evening, I concealed them until the latest moment, in order on the ears of Mr. Jefferson ; but, at the moment, Mrs. De to spare the feelings of my friend. The coach will pass Quincy quitted her elevated post and ran to interfere.

your door within a quarter of an hour, and we must take “ Celestina !” she cried; and by a violent effort, that our leaves hastily, though unwillingly." most irascible of spoiled children withheld her hand. But “If it must be so, it must," said Mr. Anderson, slowly tears of passion rolled down her beautiful cheeks. Solomon, rising out of his comfortable arm-chair. “I like not to see emboldened by the turn of fortune in his favour, crept from marriages delayed. You will return quickly." his intrenchment, and commenced an attack upon his foe, “As soon as possible," murmured Jefferson. but the judicious Ormond quietly took him by the neck and “Will you not take leave of the ladies ? " said Mr. Antail, and, throwing him out of the window, closed it against derson.

“Alas! it is impossible," replied Ormond, with great Meantime Miss Anderson had gained the door and opened quickness ; my friend has not yet prepared anything for his it; then turning back, her face all glowing, and some bright departure.” drops of pearl still sparkling on her cheeks, she thus ad “But you, at any rate, need not depart, Mr. Ormond," redressed her future husband--

monstrated Mr. Anderson. “No, no, we shall keep you as “Wretch that you are, I hate you! do not deceive your a hostage for Mr. Jefferson." self, I will never be yours. You strike Solomon! I had

By no means displeased at this arrangement, Ormond rather be beaten myself. I detest you; do you understand hurried Jefferson away, and, after receiving from him a me? I hate and abhor you, and I won't marry you." letter to Celestina, renouncing all claim to her hand, and

So saying, Celestina, accompanied by Mrs. De Quincy, referring particularly to her behaviour respecting the dog, quitted the room, and drew to the door with a noise that

with a slight reference to the superior excellence of his cook shook the room.

Rachel, Ormond at last succeeded in starting his friend and “Well, said Ormond, after a silence of some minutes, to

his pattern valet James, the one in, the other outside the his friend, who remained lost in thought, with his chin on coach, and then resumed his way to the house with a tranhis breast, and his hands clasped before him, “ well; what

quillised mind. Here he passed a delightful evening, the think you of this gentle exhibition of your intended ?"

enfant gâté was all smiles, and when he bent over her at the “I won't have her; my mind's made up. I tell you I piano and requested his favorite pieces, the joyous, pure, and would sooner marry a fury.---Marry, indeed; why was I free-hearted glances that met his eyes carried him away into ever such a fool as to think of marrying? I ! and I had such the regions of enchantment. And when, at her request, the a comfortable little establishment at home; all so quiet, so trio, Mrs. De Quincy, Celestina, and Ormond, joined in a regular. Rachel is an excellent cook; James, the best of glee, he sang (he had many times been praised for his pure valets, never gives me any trouble; and Bob is so good a bass) he sang with an earnestness, a desire of doing well, groom, that my horses are never lame; what the mischief | that he had never felt before. possessed me when I wished to marry ?---and to fall in love When he sat in the quietude of his own room, he thought with a tigress.--- I've done with it. But what shall I say to to himself, is this the spoiled child of whom I have heard so her father? The wedding-day is fixed, and, despite all she much ? the girl whose mind is nothing but a light thing, has said in anger, I shall be obliged to fulfil my engage that can be turned by the power of society? I cannot ments; and if I meet her again---"

believe it. She is evidently a child of nature, totally un“Leave that to me, my dear friend,” said Ormond, “it is

acquainted with the artifices which teach the practised to easily arranged. You have an uncle, a rich uncle ?"

conceal their feelings. It is evident that she does not love “Certainly, my uncle Edwards, from whom I have great Jefferson, and I feel very certain that I love her myself. I expectations. Ah, when he dies I am sure of ten thousand.” shall lose no time in acquitting myself of my commission, “Well; he is dying. he had an apoplectic attack last

and he will have no cause to complain if I turn to the fair night.”

one he abandons. “He had? How came you to know it?"

Days passed on, and Ormond was lost in the contempla“How came I to know it? My dear fellow, don't waste tion of this young girl, whose beauty had a seduction for time inquiring, but set off at once! It will enable you to him which he could hardly bring himself to acknowledge, come to a decision. Absence is a sure test, and if this wild By turns thoughtless as a child, and pensive as a woman, in girl really loves you, absence will try her. At any rate, the wild spirits in the morning, and melancholy at night, petunews of your uncle's illness will give you an excuse for ab lant and serious, she seemed an enigma, and Ormond hesisenting yourself for an indefinite time, without entirely tated. A letter from Jefferson roused him. Absence had breaking with this fair dragon.”

calmed his spirit, and he begged his friend, if he had not “ It is a good idea. Let us seek Mr. Anderson."

already delivered the message with which he was charged, "They found Mr. Anderson in his private room, which and altogether broken the match, to act the part of a peace. he dignified by the name of a study, but when he heard Mr. maker, and endeavour to move Celestina in his favour. No, Jefferson's statement, he looked rather blank.

no, my friend, thought Ormond, I cannot allow you to be “Come, come, my friend,” he said, “I've heard all about thus fickle: you surrendered Celestina, and have now lost that foolish affair of the dog: you ought not to take offence all right to interfere. However, I will put an end to this at

once.

If she refuses me, she may take you and welcome, but not otherwise. Brimful of valour, he determined to seek Celestina; and at length found her sitting in a pleasant summer-house, with Mrs. De Quincy. The sunbeams poured full upon her beautiful Italian head as she bent over her work, and reflected from her banded hair, shone around her like a glory. As Julius entered, she raised her head, and, dazzled by the light, requested him to draw down the blind. The window looked out upon a lane which ran at the back of the garden. As Julius unfastened the string which kept up the blind, he perceived the head of a man, who, by the aid of the inequalities of the wall, had clambered up to the window, and, in this extraordinary spy, he recognised his friend Jefferson. His first thought was to throw one of the flower-pots under his hand upon the intruder's head, and crush him like a second Pyrrhus; but his virtue triumphed over his homicidal temptation, and he contented himself with drawing down the blind, giving no sign that he had perceived Jefferson, and shutting the window, which, on second thoughts, he re-opened.

Jefferson had tormented himself with doubts ever since his return to London. His friend's silence surprised him; and, as the dread of Solomon vanished, his remembrance of his mistress's beauty grew stronger. His impatience grew at length so strong, that, after sending his letter to Ormond, he could not wait for a reply, but got on the first coach, and was sat down near Mr. Anderson's house.

Then again irresolution came upon him. He did not know in what character he should be received, and whether, if Ormond had followed his first instructions, his visit would not be considered as a gross insult. He recollected that Celestina was accustomed to sit in the summer-house in the afternoon, and it occurred to him that by climbing to the window he might gather sufficient from the conversation between her and Mrs. De Quincy to satisfy his doubts. There were seldom any passers in the lane, and, as the summer-house was situated at an angle of the wall, and the bricks were worn, the ascent was easy. He was in the act of ascending when he espied Ormond, and he drew back, flattering himself that he was un perceived. As soon as the blind was let down he regained his position, and established himself with his feet resting in a gap in the wall, and his hands firmly grasping the iron balcony of the window, and thus, with his head snugly ensconced behind a flower-pot, he settled himself to listen.

There was a long silence. Ormond was seated on a stool very near Celestina, but he knew not how to begin a conversation, and he looked with imploring eyes towards Mrs. De Quincy, who, though she understood him full well, for she had read his thoughts long before, would not help him. At length, with a wicked meaning in her speech, she said, "Have you heard nothing of Mr. Jefferson lately?"

Ormond saw her meaning, and hesitated for a moment; but, quickly resuming self-possession, he answered, “Yes, Madam, I have received a letter from him, announcing his return, and he has commissioned me to inform you of it.”

“ His uncle has then recovered ?"

“ I presume he has ; but his illness was only an excuse, to afford my friend a delicate opportunity of withdrawing for a few days."

Celestina raised her head, and fixed her expressive eyes upon Ormond.

“ If your friend,” said she, with an emphasis on the word friend---" If your friend thought it necessary to absent him

self, be assured, that I do not desire his return. Pray write, and tell him so."

“ You should not be so revengeful,” said Mrs. De Quincy, with affected good-nature; "if he repents and confesses his faults---if he confesses himself guilty of being bitten---if he throws himself on his knees, and implores your pardon, ought you not to grant him pardon ?”

“What an excellent woman,” said Jefferson, behind the flower-pot.

Miss Anderson was silent for a few moments, and then she softly said to Ormond, at whom, though sitting at her feet, she scarcely dared to look---" You, doubtless, are of Emily's opinion?”

A thrill ran through the frame of Julius, as, gently bending towards the beautiful girl, who sat motionless, her eyes cast down, but her emotion betrayed by the undulation of her snow-white garment, he murmured---" It is I who seek for pardon : I, who love you, and whom the very thought of this marriage plunges into despair. Celestina, my fate is in your hands, the happiness of my life depends on a word. Say, I beg of you,---on my knees I beg you---tell me that you will not marry him.”

Celestina answered not, but the pressure of her hand, which he had seized, answered for her.

Mrs. De Quincy, with a wicked smile, quietly said, “It is certainly praiseworthy to plead a friend's cause, but there is no need of so much warmth. Besides, it is not good manners to whisper."

“He is pleading for me ;---what will she answer?” said Jefferson, who began to find his position unpleasant.

Celestina rose, and, crossing the floor, sat down by the side of her friend. And hid her face in her bosom. At this moment Jefferson tried to put aside the blind ; a motion which was observed only by Ormond, who, changing his position, and approaching Mrs. De Quincy, said aloud--“Allow me to fulfil my commission. What answer shall I send to Jefferson ?"

* Very proper," said Mrs. De Quincy, with a sort of maternal gravity ; "it is time to make up your mind. If you love Mr. Jefferson, all these disputes are childish. If you do not love him, say so; and your father, I am sure, will not put any constraint on your feelings."

“I do not love him,” said Celestina in a firm voice.

Ormond looked round to the window, and perceived by the movement of the blind that these words had reached the ears of Jefferson.

But you accepted him," said Mrs. De Quincy, in a halfmocking tone.

“I was so young and foolish,” remonstrated Celestina. “I liked the thought of living in London; the match pleased my father ; and I accepted the hand of Mr. Jefferson, without considering the importance of such an engagement. I am sure he did not look on it in any other light. Fortunately, experience has shewn us that we are not made for one another. I do not blame him ; on the contrary, I am ready to confess that I alone am in the wrong. But I could not be happy with him. Why, then, should I marry him ?”

“But if he comes back," said Ormond, “how will you receive him?"

“I shall repeat what I have now said."

“What! if he appeared suddenly before you, in a humble, suppliant attitude ?”

“Yes ;---I tell you I don't love him, and I never will marry him,"

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »