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he received me in the same calm, stiff manner as before; and after breakfast, handed me to the carriage that was to convey me away for ever. Many of the servants, and peasantry even, to whom I had been kind, wept at my departure; but my husband betrayed no emotion whatever; he was pale, deadly pale, and the only words he spoke were, · Adelaide, I can trust you; one day you will know me, and forgive me "
The baroness burst into tears, and could scarcely proceed for some minutes. At last she went on " I have little more to tell you. I settled, according to this arrangement, in Paris, and bought this hotel; my income is paid regularly, and regularly the baron inquires after my health ; but there all kindness stops: thus have days, that seemed to promise nothing but summer and sunshine, been clouded for ever! Oh, Melville ! when I think of all the dreams of my early youth, all the warmth of my affections, and the brightness of my
prospects, it is more than I can bear- ” and again she wept.
Charles pressed her to his bosom-he kissed the tears from her cheek. He was naturally no seducer; he had at first never fancied it possible that she could have a husband, or that he was living—he had never thought about it; but now some fiend seemed to tempt him; he urged every reason he could find to prove such a man unworthy of her affection. Not the most artful, not the most practised, could have produced more arguments in favour of his own love, than suggested themselves on the occasion.
The baroness hid her face on his bosom; and perhaps both might have had more to repent of, had it not been for the arrival of mademoiselle de L_ the sister of the count, who had come it seems to make his peace with the baroness, which she supposed would be rather à delicate matter; but the baroness was agitated, and was glad to lavish civilities upon the young
lady, to hide her own confusion; while Charles, who was scarcely more composed than herself, remained a few minutes to afford her some relief, and then rose to take his leave." See me tomorrow," whispered Adelaide, as he left her.
Charles pressed her hand, bowed to her visitor, and retired. But what a change had the passing of that evening caused in all his feelings! The baroness was married; there was no hope of her ever being his, but upon terms which would make them both miserable: he well knew what he ought to do what resolution he ought to take; but it is only when strong fiery passion contends against the slow, calm power of reason, that man finds what a weak being he is. Who is there that has not felt how one single instant, how one solitary event, can change all our sensa, tions-gan reverse every feelings of our heart-can make the gayest scenes, the sweetest sounds, the brightest prospects, sad, bitter, and gloomy, and can teach us
to regard the silence, once so tedious, as the only balm we can receive the solitude we fled from as the only refuge of our mii sery?
Such; however were not exactly the feelings of Charles Melville, though he felt them in a degrée; and though a complete revolution had taken place in all his ideas, he knew what he 'ought to do, and only wanted some one to fortify him in right by advice and assistance. It was to Wilmot of course he turned his eyes ; but with regard to the baroness, he was bound in every principle of honour to be silent ; yet Wilmot had hinted that he wished to speak to him on this very subject, and Charles almost wished yet feared that he would. He revolved in his own mind all the circumstances-he examined and reexamined all the peculiar traits in Wilmot's character—“ He is generous and frank himself,” thought Mr. Melville, “and at the same time he is upright and honourable; yet there is something evidently that weighs upon his spirits at particular'times, which he does not communicate; but I have nevertheless no right to suppose he would make a confidant of me; . our relative situations are widely different, and an openness on my part might be right, while I have no title to require a return; at all events,” resolved he, as he arrived at the door of the hotel, “ if he speaks to me on the subject, I will candidly confess my own feelings towards Adelaide, and ask his advice; that will compromise no one but myself, and perhaps he may suggest some way of extricating me from this difficulty.”