Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Burton seldom saw her but at breakfast and dinner time.

Thus passed the time till within a few days of that on which lord Burton had fixed his departure, and finding himself alone with lady Jane, he resolved to take that opportunity of mentioning captain Malcolm as delicately as he could.“Well, Jane,” said he, to lead gently to the subject, “ so you did not approve of my letter to Charles Melville some days ago ?”

“I thought it was a very cold, ceremonious epistle," replied his cousin, “ and very unlike you to write. I know your reasons, now I have thought of it, for you may suppose I have heard all the scheme for marrying Mary to young Melville; but I do not see why you should object to it so strongly.

“ I do not object to it at all,” replied lord Burton, “if Charles really loves Mary.”

“ And do you think he does not ?" demanded lady Jane. " It is impossible to know her and not love her.”

G 3

« Yes,

“Yes, Jane,” replied Frederic, after a moment's thought, “ I believe he does love her, from all I hear; but at the same time, I do not think he knows it himself, The truth is, the idea has been very foolishly communicated to Charles, and I think he has taken the strongest determi. nation not to love Mary if he can possibly help it, on purpose to assert his free agency; and if he thought the scheme had my concurrence, he would be less disposed to fall in with it than ever.” . “But Mary,” said lady Jane" you do not seem to consider Mary at all in the business; women are not mere automatons, Frederic.”. ...“ Jane, you wrong me,” replied lord Burton warmly, “I do consider her. Mary is the only dear being which Heaven, in its wise dispensations, has thought fit to leave me; she is the only earthly thing to which my heart has clung through many years of sorrow, and for her happiness, for her peace, I would sacrifice my last drop

of blood!” He spoke with energy; then added, in a less vehement manner, , “ but Mary has puzzled me; I cannot at all penetrate into her sentiments with respect to Charles, and yet she is amiable, and frank in every thing, innocence, and truth itself; but on these subjects, Jane, women are so taught to conceal what they feel, that it becomes almost their nature.” :." You are very polite at least,” replied lady Jane.: .." Oh no,” said lord Burton, “ I did not mean to apply that to you; I wish I could, for then I should be less uneasy with regard to you at this moment.”

“ Uneasy about me, Frederic !" replied lady Jane, while an unwished-for blush spread itself gradually all over her face “ I don't know why you should be uneasy on my account.”

“ Plainly then, Jane," answered he, “ about captain Malcolm; I know I am taking an impertinent liberty, but I have

some

some affection for you, and cannot bear to see you trifle away your happiness.”

" Nonsense, Burton !" replied lady Jane, recalling her good spirits, which had for a moment forsaken her; “ I really think you and Cecilia have some design in wanting to persuade me I am in love with that man, and if you both look so serious, and all that, it will make him think the same, which I should not like, for, in the first place, it would foster his vanity, and all men have enough already; and in the next place, it is not true, and so he would be disappointed.”

“Well, Jane,” answered her cousin, “ I hope it is so; only, in pity's name, take care what you are about; remember your father's ideas on these subjects, and be warned in time.”

“ Well, I will, my sage cousin,” replied lady Jane, “ I will think for once in my life. But while you are lecturing me so severely, do you remember what you are about yourself? Are you aware of the

pointed

pointed attention you are paying to Lou: isa Stanhope? Other people, when they see it, think- Oh, she is only a pretty governess, that the earl is taken with for a moment;' but I know, Burton, that that would make no difference to you. She is gentle, amiable, and accomplished, and from what I see, I think she has a great deal of firmness; but she has the heart of a woman, Frederic, which is easily wound ed, but long in being cured, and if I thought that you were trifling with her, I should never have confidence in any man

[ocr errors]

again.”

It was now lord Burton's turn to feel, for she had probed him to the quick; and leaning his head upon the table, he thought for a moment.--" There are many, many obstacles," he said, raising his eyes to lady Jane, who contemplated his contending feelings with a look of deep interest.

“I know there are, Frederic,” she answered, " and I do not advise you to do it, without your feelings are too strong to

G 5

yield

« AnteriorContinuar »