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& from all I have seen or heard, I believe her mind to be as beautiful as her person. I only spoke of worldly evils; for to remain in a family which was in any way not respectable, might involve her in un pleasant difficulties, which had better be avoided than encountered.”
Well, I think I shall try to get a sight of your protegée, lady Jane," said sir Charles—“and who knows, Caroliné, but you may have a young step-mother ?”
“Don't call her my protegée, sir Charles," said lady Jane, rising to depart; “ my friend, if you like. I wish I could
protect her. But I hope,” she added gaily, " that some of these days she will have some one better calculated to do so than I ám.“
Mr. Malden offered her his hand to conduct her to the carriage.—“ Yes,” said lady Jane, smiling, “ I intend to take you down stairs with me, to make you give me Frederic's message, for I perceive it is à secret embassy--and so, sir Charles, I
hope your dining-room walls have not got ears, as some scandalous saying or another would persuade us that all walls have; for then there would be three of us--Mr. Malden, myself, and the dining-room, which being a congregation, it would be no longer valuable as a secret.”
“ The message concerns lord Burton himself,” said Mr. Malden, as he handed her down stairs, “ and therefore of course I could not repeat it before
perI had better, I think, read you that part of his letter."
Do so,” said lady Jane; “ but, for Heaven's sake, do not let it be a long extract, or Caroline will be uneasy at your. absence, Mr. Malden !"
“ I am not aware of your ladyship's meaning,” replied Mr. Malden, and leading the way to the dining-room, he proceeded to read lord Burton's letter, as follows:
“ You ask me,” it continued, “ if my attachment towards Miss Stanhope has
subsided ? No, not in the least; I never loved but her, and you know me too well,
I would quickly change. The variety of scene, the variety of incident through which I have passed since I saw her, have never for a moment banished her from my remembrance, and the only effect produced by the useless effort to forget her, has been to teach me its impossibility. You mention having seen her with lady Jane Evelyn, and say you cannot wonder at my admiration, and think her worthy of me! but, Malden, am I worthy of her? I believe, in offering her my hand
upon so short an acquaintance, I presumed too much upon my rank, my fortune, and the deference which it has generally procured me in society. I blinded my eyes, and would not see the indifference with which she regarded me; and yet Jane seems to have been equally deceived, for she very plainly expressed an opinion that Miss Stanhope was not unbiassed in my favour."
; * Nonsense !" exclaimed lady Jane; " since he confesses he did offer her his hand, I will tell you, Mr. Malden, what I told him at the time, that Louisa Stanhope is decidedly attached to him; I feel perfectly sure of it.”
“ I am most happy to hear it,” answered Mr. Malden, - " for I have always flattered myself that Frederic might yet be one of the happiest of men. With all the external advantages he possesses, and a disposition in itself a blessing, I cannot help hoping that in domestic life he would fora gét
that unfortunate duel which has oppréssed him so long."
" I fear never entirely,” answered lady Jañe; “but with regard to Miss Stanhope, I am sure, if he had persevered, he would have succeeded.”
“ I hope it will not prove too late yet,” said the clergyman, “ for he continues • Jane's opinion yet gives me some degree of hope, and I have resolved to allow a sufficient space of time to elapse, for her to
forget what has already passed, and then endeavour to gain her regard by the most unwearied attention. I have no reason to suppose her heart preengaged ; and at all events, it will be giving myself a chance for happiness; for without her I have none, at least till time has buried my remembrance of her under the accumulated weight of years.”
* But this is no message to me, Mr. Malden, after all,” said lady Jane ; " it is certainly very interesting to me, for I al
my cousin dearly, and I love Louisa as much; but did he intend you to read it to me?"
“ He did," said Mr. Malden ; " for here, in another part, he says. If you see Jane, let her know all I feel towårds Louisa; she would not willingly deceive me on such a subject, and I know would do all she could to see me happy. My cousin's continued kindness to one só near my heart would endear her to me, if it were independent of old attachment. I