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" But the worm was in the gourd - woman; and since, under this mistake, the blight in the bud. Out of this poor she is protected from insult in her lonely girl's very strength and excellence, was rambles, the idea is sedulously encouthe principle of her destruction ex. raged. Have you seen her?' tracted. A scheme had been matured
VERITAS. amongst her companions to put her resolution to a farewell proof, and in pursuance thereof, means had been taken to procure a human skull, which OPPOSITE NEIGHBOURS. was introduced between the bed-clothes immediately previous to Amelia's re It was on a pouring wet morning in tiring to her chamber. It appears that the end of the month of March, 1827, the conspirators afterwards listened for that I sat drowsily ensconced in a some time at the door of the room; but “Wooburn” beside the fire in my hearing no exclamation, they one by one study (!) in a front room in Upper departed. Mr. G- had arrived late Brook Street-for I am in easy circumovernight, and slept at an adjoining stances, and rent “a suite of apartments hotel; and early in the morning his fit for the immediate reception of an impatience urged him to go and arouse M. P. or bachelor of fashion," in the his expectant child. He found one of house of a “professional man of cethe principals already stirring, hy whom lebrity, who has no family." I had Amelia was summoned. Repeatedly did spelt through two newspapers, even to this lady knock at the door of the poor the last resource of “Rowland's Kaly. girl's apartment to no purpose. At dor” and “Gowland's Lotion.” I had length, becoming alarmed, she commu- read and dozed over every article in the nicated the circumstance to the father, last page of my last paper, until I caught who, his first loud signal being un- myself reading the small-printed prices answered, with an unwonted exertion of of the markets—"potatoes at 88. 6d.” strength burst open the chamber door. I began to feel as hunting gentlemen
"The scene was strange and piteous. do during a hard frost-what is called On the side of the bed (which betrayed “hard up." few signs of occupation) sat Amelia. I had stirred my fire till it was out; and
"" Thank God, she is alive!' ex. yawned until I began to fear a locked claimed Mr. G , springing towards jaw. In very despair I strolled to the his daughter. Alas ! his eager saluta. window, hopeless as I was of seeing any tion was met with the vacant stare and thing more, amusing than overflowing unmeaning smile of idiocy! On her lap gutters, half-drowned sparrows, or a lay the death's head, which, after a drenched apothecary's boy. It was moment's interval, she tossed with loud early in the morning, at least in a Lonlaughter to the ceiling, and caught again. don morning, and I could not even an. Instead of his affectionate and intelli- ticipate the relief of a close carriage, with gent child, the horror-stricken parent an oil-skin hammer-cloth, driving by : beheld a maniac.
what then was my delight when, at one “What occurred after the girl had glance, as I reached the window, I entered ber chamber overnight, can only descried that the bills in a large and be guessed at. The most probable sur handsome house opposite had been mise is, that she was awakened from her taken down? Now do not suppose that first sleep by the discovery of the skull; I love to pry into my neighbour's affairs and that darkness, maidenly terror, the for the sake of gossip-far from it: but confusion incident to returning con- what is an honest bachelor gentleman to sciousness (operating in dreadful con- do on a rainy morning, if he may not trast to her previous cheerful excitement) pick up a small matter of amusement by had at once turned her brain, and added watching his opposite neighbours now another instance to the list of victims of and then ? reckless experiments.
The houses opposite were worse than "Gentle and inoffensive as ever, she no houses at all; for one was inhabited yet frequently eludes her attendants, by an old and infirm lady, who had no and wanders in the evening hours visitors but an M. D., an apothecary, through the adjacent fields. The rude and a man in a shovel hat. The other neighbours, to whom this story of course house contained only an elderly and very is unknown, avoid her as the spectre quiet couple, who had not near so much variety as a clock; they never stopt boxes of mignonette appeared in every never went too fast or too slow-never window. A cart from Colville's in the wanted winding up-they went of them. King's Road, filled with Persian lilacs, selves—their breakfast and dinner bells moss roses, and heliotropes, unladed its rang daily to a minute at half-past eight sweets at the door. They had, then, a and at six o'clock—their fat coachman rural taste; country people, perhaps ; and fat horses came to the door pre- and I sighed as I figured to myself a cisely at two o'clock to take them out, bevy of plump rosy misses in pink and always to the Regent's Park, and drove green, and one or two young squires in twice round the outer circle. I took green coats and top boots. The arrival, care to inquire into that fact. I ascer. whatever it might be, must be drawing tained too for certain that they had a leg very near-nearer and nearer-for a reof mutton for dinner every Tuesday and spectable looking housekeeper made her Friday, and fish three times a week, in- appearance one morning at the window, cluding Sundays, on which day too the who had stolen a march on me; I never butcher always brought roasting beef- could make that out, for I had never always the thick part of the sirloin. seen her arrive. Two or three maids What could I do with such people as also were flitting about, and a gentleman these? I gave them up as hopeless. out of livery appeared, now at the area,
Preparations for the reception of a and now at the hall-door, superintending family in my favourite house now went the unpacking of a grand piano-forte on with great spirit; a thorough internal from Broadwood's; then arrived a cart cleaning and scouring on the first day; from Brecknell and Turner, wax-chandon the second, all the windows were lers in the Haymarket; and one from cleaned. I could stand it no longer, Fortnum and Mason's in Piccadilly, with and snatching up my hat, I just stepped divers other carts and packages of minor over promiscuously to ask the maid who consideration. Then came hackney. was washing the steps, by whom the coaches with servants and coloured paper house was taken. She was a stupid, boxes-smart looking maids in Leghorn ignorant country girl, and did not seem bonnets and drab shawls, and footmen at all alive to the interest attaching to in dark green and very plain liveries. her examination. I however discovered The family could not be far behind. At that the house was taken by a baronet, last, about four o'clock, the fish arrived and that his family consisted of his lady –a turbot and two fine lobsters for and one child (a boy), and his wife's sauce. I can be on my oath it was not sister.
a brill, and fish was very dear that mornI took a few turns in the Park, and ing, for I inquired; therefore that could just as I rapped at my own door, I de- not be for the servants ; Sir Charles and termined I would make no farther en. family must be close at hand. quiries concerning the expected family, I remained rooted to the window, and no, it would be infinitely more interesting was soon rewarded for my patient investo discover every thing by my own pene. tigation, by hearing, at about six o'clock, tration and ingenuity ;-it would be a a carriage driving rapidly up the street nice employment for me, for I was from Park Lane. It was them actually. dreadfully at a loss for something to do, A green travelling carriage, all over im. and would keep me from falling asleep. perials, stopped at the door in good ear
I began now to count the hours. I nest, most beautifully splashed with was afraid of stirring from the window, mud-no arms-only a bird for a crest; lest the strangers should escape my vigi. four post horses, and a maid and man lance, and arrive unknown to me. I servant in the rumble. My heart beat even dined in my study, and here, by the thick, my eyes strained in my head lest way, I must let the reader into a little any one of the inmates of the carriage secret. I had a large wire blind fixed should escape my vigilance. The hall on one of my windows, behind which I doors were thrown open in an instant, could stand and direct my inquiries, and the gentleman out of livery, with unseen by any body, though few within two of his colleagues, flew out to assist range were unseen by me.
the ladies to alight. First of all, a gen. A few days past slowly on. Muslin tleman-Sir Charles, of course-made curtains were put up, not blinds, fortu. his appearance, tall, and very distin. nately for me, (I have a mortal antipathy guished looking, dressed in a brown to blinds to any windows but my own), frock coat, and dark fur travelling cap; and apparently about thirty years of age. I should have been inclined to fall in Next came a lady, who skipped out very love with her too, if she had not been a lightly, and who seemed rather in a hurry married woman, and I had not seen to see the new abode-that was the Ellen first ; but Ellen was by far the sister. She was thin, and very graceful, more beautiful of the two fair sisters— and wrapped in a white cachemere, with the most striking, the most animated, rather a narrow border; her features and I always admired animation, for it were hidden from my view, as she wore argues inquiry, and from inquiry springs one of those plaguy large coarse straw knowledge. The ladies lingered, and bonnets, tied down with white satin stooped down to inhale the fragrance of ribbons—two bows, and the edges cut in their flowers, until Sir Charles appeared vandykes. Another lady then descended, to summon them, and the whole trio more slowly and carefully, and as she descended to breakfast, Lady Seymour watched the alighting of a nurse who had leaning on the arm of her husband, and deposited a fine rosy boy, about a twelve- Ellen skipping down before them. Sir month old, into the arms of Sir Charles, Charles was very handsome, very tall, I observed that she was evidently about and very dignified looking. Nothing to increase her family; therefore, I had could be more promising than the apalready ascertained, beyond a doubt, pearance of the whole party. I was which was the wife, and which was the delighted with the prospect ; no more wife's sister. The doors then closed, gaping over newspapers ; adieu ennui, and I saw no more that evening, ex- here was food for reflection. My mind cepting that the lamp was lit in the was now both actively and usefully em. dining room, and the shutters closed at ployed, and a transition from idleness seven o'clock, and then in the gloom I to useful occupation is indeed a blessing. saw three figures descend the stairs, Days flew on, and I gradually gathered from which I concluded they all went to much important and curious information. dinner; besides the turbot, they had The Seymours had many visitors ; a house lamb, and asparagus.
vast proportion of coronetted carriages The next morning, while dressing, I among them ; went regularly to the espied the sister, whom I shall call opera. I could not make out who was Ellen, standing on the balcony admiring Ellen's harp-master ; but Crivelli taught and arranging the flowers. The morn- her singing, from which I argued their ing was beautiful and very light, so that good taste. She went out to evening I had a perfect view of her. It was im. parties; I concluded therefore that she possible that a more lovely creature had only just come out and was still purcould be seen. She appeared not more suing her education. A green britska than sixteen or seventeen ; indeed, from and chariot were in requisition for both the extreme plainness of her dress, I ladies, as the day was fine or otherwise : suspected she had not quite left the a dark cab with a green page attended school-room. She was rather above the Sir Charles on some days, on others he middle height, very slight and graceful, rode a bay horse with black legs, and a bright and beautiful, with long light star on his forehead. With respect to auburn curls, and a very patrician air the general habits of the family, they about her. Had I been young and ro. were early risers, and dined at eight mantic, I should most assuredly have o'clock. The beautiful baby was the fallen in love on the instant, as she pet of both ladies, and lived chiefly in stooped over the balcony, with a most the drawing-room; and I observed that enchanting air, smiling and kissing her Ellen frequently accompanied him and hand to the baby, whom his nurse, at his nurse in their early walks, attended that moment, carried out of the hall by a footman. door for an early walk in the Park. The Seymours occupied the whole of
Presently she was joined by her sister, my time; I gave up all parties for the whom I shall call Lady Seymour, and present on the score of business, and I who evidently came to summon her to assure you it was quite as much as one breakfast. She appeared about twenty- person could do, conveniently, to look to five or twenty-six years old : pale, in- them. From discoveries I made, the teresting, and beautiful: had a mild and family speedily became very interesting pensive, I almost thought a melancholy to me; I may say, painfully interesting. look, and seemed very quiet and gentle Now I am not at all given to romance in all her movements.
or high-flying notions, seeing that I am
but seldom known to invent anything; Could it be possible? Husbands are what I am about to relate, may safely be wayward things,-I felt glad that I was relied on as the result of an accurate not a husband. though painful investigation.
A kind of disagreeable and tormenting Before communicating these disco- suspicion at that moment strengthened veries to my readers, I pause, even on my belief ; a suspicion that—how shall the threshold. I have endeavoured to I speak it? -perhaps he might love the bespeak their interests for the fair Ellen, beautiful Ellen. I tried to banish the as I felt a deep one for her myself—but, idea, but circumstances, lightly passed --truth must out,-it is my duty. over before, returned now in crowds to
From the first day of the arrival of the my recollection to confirm me in it. Seymours, as I shall continue to desig- From that moment I renewed my obsernate then, I had been struck by the vations daily, and with still increased evident dejection of Lady Seymour. I vigilance, and was obliged to come to frequently observed her, when alone, the painful conclusion, that my suspi. bury her face in her hands, as she leant cions were not only but too well founded upon a small table beside the couch on with regard to Sir Charles, but that which she sat. The work, or the book, Ellen returned his passion. Yes, she or the pencil,—for she drew,-was in- was romantically in love with the husvariably thrown aside when her husband band of her sister! I seldom find myor her young sister quitted the apart. self wrong in my opinions, yet, in this ment. The fine little baby seemed her case, I would willingly have given five greatest pleasure. He was a wild, strug- hundred pounds to feel sure that I was gling little fellow, full of health and in error. Such was the interest with spirits, almost too much for her delicate which the extreme beauty, the vivacity, frame, and apparently weak state of and grace of the youthful Ellen had health. She could not herself nurse him inspired me. Here, then, was food for long together, but I observed that the philosophy as well as reflection. Who nurse was very frequently in the room shall say that inquirers are impertinent, with her, and that the fond mother fol- when such facts as these can be elicited. lowed and watched her little darling Had it not been for me-such is the almost constantly. She was surrounded apathy of people about what does not 'by luxuries—by wealth. Her husband, concern them-a base husband, and an "in appearance at least, was one whom artful intriguing sister, might still have all women must admire ; one of whom maintained a fair face to the world ; but a wife might feel proud ;-she had a I was determined to cut the matter short, beautiful child ; she was young, lovely, and open the eyes of the deluded wite titled. What then could be the cause as to the real extent of her injury: of this dejection ? What could it be? Honour compelled me to it. Let not I redoubled my attention: I was the the reader think me rash,-I will ex. last to retire and the first to rise. I de- plain the circumstances which influenced termined to discover this mystery. my conviction. Oh, Ellen ! how have
One morning I discerned her weeping I been deceived in thee! How hast -weeping bitterly. Her bed-room was 'thou betrayed a too susceptible heart! in the front of the house ; she was walk- Sir Charles was an M. P., which my ing backwards and forwards between the ingenuity in setting together hours and window and the opened folding doors, facts enabled me to make sure of. He her handkerchief at her eyes. At first frequently returned late from the debates I thought she might have the toothache, in the house. The weather grew warm, -not being given, as I before said, to and the shutters were always left open romance ;-then I suspected her con- till the family retired for the night. finement was about to take place,-but Their lamps were brilliant, and I could no, that could not be. No Mr. Blagden discern the fair Ellen peeping over the appeared his carriage had not even balustrades of the staircase, and lingering been at her door for more than a week; and waiting on the landing place, evl. at which I was rather surprised. She dently on the look-out for an anxiously was evidently and decidedly weeping, expected arrival. Then the cah of sir I ascertained that beyond a doubt. A Charles would stop at the door-his wellflash of light heamed across my mind! known knock would be heard, and Eller I have it ! thought 1,--perhaps her would fly with the lightness of a fairy to husband's affections are estranged. meet him as he ascended the stairs. He would then fold her in his arms, and and the galloping chariot of Mr. Blagden, they would enter the drawing-room to announced the accouchement of Lady gether ; yet, before they did so, five or Seymour. All seemed happily over ten minutes' tête-à-tête frequently took before the house was closed for the night. place on the landing, and the arm of Sir Sir Charles and Ellen were in the Charles was constantly withdrawn from drawing-room together. The lady's the waist of Ellen, before they opened maid rushed into the apartment; I the drawing room door, and appeared in almost fancied I heard her exclaim, “my the presence of the poor neglected wife, lady is safe, and a fine boy." So well whom he greeted with no embrace, as he did the deceitful Ellen act her joy, she took his seat beside her on the sofa.. clasped her hands together, and then, in
For some time I set down the empresse- the apparent delight of her heart, shook ments of Ellen to meet Sir Charles as hands with the maid, who left the room that of a lively and affectionate girl to directly. My heart was relenting towards greet her sister's husband, in the manner her, as she was flying to follow the she would receive her own brother. I woman, no doubt with the intention of was soon obliged to think differently. hastening to the bedside of her sister ;
When Ellen played on the harp, which but no-she returned to tenderly embrace she did almost daily, Sir Charles would Sir Charles before she quitted the drawstand listening beside her, and would ing-room. At such a time, too! Oh, frequently imprint a kiss on her beautiful faithless and cruel Ellen! brow, gently lifting aside the curls which Sir Charles and Ellen were now more covered it; but this never took place frequently together-more in love than when Lady Seymour was in the room- ever. They sang together, read together, mark that—no, not in a single instance. walked together, played with the little Sir Charles sometimes sat reading in a boy together, and nursed the new little chair near the drawing room window, baby in turns. and would, as Ellen passed him, fondly In due course of time poor Lady Sey. draw her towards him and hold her mour recovered, and resumed her station hands, while he appeared to converse in the drawing room, and then Sir with her in the most animated manner. Charles was less frequently at home. I If the door opened, and the poor wife was furious at him as well as at Ellen, came in, the hands were instantly re- All my tender compassion and interest leased.
centred in the unhappy and neglected As the spring advanced, the appearance wife. of Lady Seymour, and more frequent O ne other instance in corroboration of visits of Mr. Blagden, led me to suppose the justness of my suspicions I will her confinement drew near; she became relate. A miniature painter, whom I later in Tising in the morning, and Sir knew by sight, came early every morning Charles and Ellen almost constantly took to the house. Sir Charles was sitting a very early tête-à-tête walk in the Park, for his picture. One morning, when I from which they usually returned long concluded it must be nearly finished, Sir before Lady Seymour made her appear. Charles and the artist left the house ance in the drawing-room.
together. I saw the picture lying on the À very handsome man, with a vis- table near the window, in the same spot count's coronet on his cab, was a frequent where the artist had been working at it visitor in Upper Brook Street. I doubted for nearly two hours before, while. Sir not but that he was an admirer, of and Charles was sitting to him. I had not suitor to the fair Ellen. Yet she slighted for a moment lost sight of it, and am him ; he was entirely indifferent to her : ready to affirm upon oath that the miniaotherwise why did she often leave the ture was the likeness of Sir Charles, and drawing room during his very long morn- of no one else ; for you must know that ing visits, and sit reading in the window I have a small pocket telescope by which of a room up stairs, or playing with the I can detect these nice points accurately. baby in the nursery, leaving her sister to Well, Miss Ellen came into the room; entertain him? The reason was too evi- she was alone ;-she walked up to the dent; cruel and heartless Ellen! My picture, gazed on it for a long while, and heart bled more and more for the poor will it be believed ? pressed it several wife ; I absolutely began to hate Ellen. times to her lips and then to her heart !
At length closed bedroom shutters, –Yes, I am quite sure she pressed it to hurry and bustle, cart-loads of straw, her heart; no one can deceive me in