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“ But everything will be done to destroy your confidence in me-your mother is ambitious, Gertrude, she wants a more splendid alliance for you; she thinks I am unworthy of you, and perhaps she is right.”
“ But, in that, I must choose for myself, and she knows my choice is made," said the Countess with a blush.
“But not confirmed-Ah! Gertrude, would to God you loved as I do !—that you could conceive the miseries of separation-the worse than death it will be to me to part from you."
“ But we shall see each other frequently, you must give up the army-you must not go abroad again-indeed, you must not—and then two years will soon pass away."
“ And in that time, what may not be effected by the misrepresentations of your mother, and the artful insinuations of that cold blooded stoic, Lyndsay ?”
“ You wrong your cousin, indeed, you do, by such a supposition-he is far above anything of the kind.”
“ Has he never once said anything that had a tendency to injure me in your estimation ?" de
manded Colonel Delmour, turning his eyes full
“ If he had, he has certainly been very unsuccessful,” said the Countess, with a smile ; “ but, , indeed, Edward is incapable of meanly insinuat
“ What, he spoke out, then !” exclaimed Delmour, passionately ; “ he told you of the follies, and the extravagances of my boyish-days, in which, however, he himself went hand in hand—and exaggerated them into vices—and warned you to beware of the profligate, who had lost, I forget how many hundred pounds one night at cards.”
“ No, indeed, he told me nothing of all this you wrong him-you misunderstand each other ; but you must be better friends, now that he is my guardian.”
“ Your guardian !” exclaimed Delmour, as if thunder-struck; “what, in the name of Heaven,
6 Even that it seems it was necessary for me to have guardians appointed, and so I have made choice of my cousin for one ; he has already proved himself my friend on more occasions than
one, and to him, I think, I owe my life ; you cannot, therefore, wonder at my choice.”
“ Yet you must be aware that Lyndsay is no friend to me, nor-I confess it- -am I to him : we think differently upon most subjects, and his creed is much too bigotted and intolerant for me.”
Indeed, I have not found him so; on the contrary, I should say he was extremely liberal in his sentiments, and lenient in his judgments; and, I am sure, he has a great deal more toleration than I have. I wish I saw you both better friends why should it not be so ?”
“ Because I am no hypocrite, Gertrude ; and, perhaps, also, because-shall I confess my weakness to you ?-I am jealous that you should bestow so much of your regard upon him.”
“ Jealous of my regard for Edward Lyndsay !" exclaimed the Countess; “ then you would be jealous if I had a brother whom I loved."
“ Yes, I believe I should ; when a man loves, as I do, to adoration, he can seldom brook any interference in those affections, which ought to be exclusively his own; your lukewarm sort of people, I know, make all welcome; but I am not one of these. Ah ! Gertrude, woman's heart is, in
deed, a royal palace, if it admit but one guest, and then, 'tis a glorious privilege to be that one.”
“ Nay, you would rather turn it into a cell, I think,” said Gertrude, smiling, “and become yourself a moping monk.”
“ No matter what it is, provided it is minesolely and exclusively mine,” returned Delmour, impatiently.
“ But being yours, wholly yours," said the Countess, and she blushed at the tone of emphatic tenderness with which she said it'; “ surely you
would not wish it to be unjust and ungrateful to all the world beside—such a thing would be no better worth having than this pebble on which I tread," as she touched one with her foot.
“ Do not blame me, Gertrude, because conscious that I possess a pearl richer than all its tribe, I fear to leave it open to all, lest even a part of it should be stolen from me-Common things may be shared—but, who could lose the hundredth part of a rare and costly gem, without feeling that its value was gone ? Even such a miser am I with your affections. You are all the universe to me; day and night I think, I dream but of you-a desert island in the midst of the ocean
you would be a paradise.—Gertrude, if you shared in these feelings, how little would you think or care for others in comparison."
“ Alas ! you little know-but how shall I convince you, sceptic as you are, of my—folly ?" added she with a smile ; “ you would not have me perjured, and to my mother—or drive from my house a friend and relation, to whom I owe so much-or retract my word passed to him, when I chose him for my guardian ?" Colonel Delmour remained silent.
Surely you would not have me so base as to do any of those things, nor would
value such proofs of my attachment."
Colonel Delmour found he had gone far enough for the present, and that, gentle and feminine as Gertrude was, his influence over her mind must be more gradual than he had expected. He saw that he was beloved with all the fervour and simplicity of a young confiding heart—but love with her was yet too pure, unsullied a passion, to have tainted the better feelings of her nature. These still flowed free and generous—she loved and was beloved, and her heart expanded beneath the joyous influence, and the bright rainbow hues of