Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

filled to overflowing, and he could have thrown himself at her feet, and adored her. - Great joys like great sorrows are silent, and for a moment he remained without uttering a word, gazing upon her in that speechless delight more eloquent than any expression that language could supply; and if Mary felt happy herself, the rapture she saw sparkling in Charles's eyes, communicated additional pleasure to her bosom.

Charles thanked her again and again; but even that moment of happiness had made him fastidious, and he was not content to owe her love to gratitude" Nay, dearest Mary,” he said, after the first tumult of his joy was over, “ you say, owing me what you do; but do not place it to that account; make me happy completely, and let me believe that I do not owe your consent to any thing but the same unbiassed affection I bear to you.”

Mary had no affectation or reserve; but the first person of the present indicative of

the

the first verb we are taught to conjugate at school.—“ AmoI love," is a very difficult sentence for a woman to pronounce. · At length, however, Charles teased her out of a confession that she did not think she could have made; and then, with the usual encroaching spirit of mankind, he must needs also know the cause of that alteration in her manner towards him, which, for the last month, had given him so much uneasiness. ;. ". Well, I will tell you at once, Charles," she answered, smiling at the eagerness of his questions, “ for I know you will not rest till you hear it all explained. The truth was this ; as long as I thought you had no other feelings towards me than the mere common affection of relations, I felt no difficulty in my conduct; but when I considered what had passed in the moun. tains the warmth of your language, and your devotion in my defence, I became embarrassed I did not know what your feelings were; I believed you were atso delicate as yours, Mr. Melville,” replied the baron.

tached

“ Skin, my dear sir !" answered Charles; “ I can assure you I have not a bit left; I have suffered the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew! But for Heaven's sake let us get out of the place as soon as possible!”

“ We will take the ruins of the old city where Hannibal really was in our way,” said lord Burton; “I have never seen them, but I understand they offer some curious remains.”

Immediately after breakfast they proceeded to the old city of Capua, at the distance of a few miles from the modern one, and thence went on to Aversa, the calm quiet of whose lovely situation went directly home to Charles's heart. His mind was at that moment peculiarly open to every agreeable sensation; he saw nothing but beauty in the scene around; and with Mary by his side, knowing himself loved, and pressed on by no sorrow, in the midst of nature and repose, he fan

afraid of getting myself into a scrape by my curiosity, like Bluebeard's wives."

The confession he hąd to make was a very painful one for Charles, but he forced himself to do it fully and openly; and entering into all the particulars, he told her that they had been designed for each other by their family from very early years, and that he had long ago been informed of the circumstance.

“ I can conceive the rest, Charles,” said Mary, stopping him; “I suppose you, with the true obstinacy of a free agent, wished very much to hate poor Mary Burton, because you were told to love her."

“ No, no, Mary; not to hate you,” he replied—“ that was impossible; but I wished very much not to love you-only I could not help it; but the truth was, I always loved you, though I would not allow myself to believe it. I had no other motive really for going to Ilfracombe but to see you; and if I had not been an idiot, my feelings, when I beheld you in dan

- ger ger there, ought to have convinced me at once. But the worst part of my tale is to come;" and he entered upon the history of the baroness, without giving her name.

“ Hush, hush, Charles !” exclaimed Mary, before he had got half through it; “ do not let me hear any more; I forgive you all freely, and now let us return to the house, for Frederic will think I am lost-and I am tired; a good deal has happened to agitate me this morning.

Charles guessed, and guessed rightly, that she alluded to the rejection she had been obliged to give to the young nobleman he had seen with her in the morning: but he asked no questions, and turned slowly towards the house, willing to prolong the moments as much as possible,

As they approached, they saw lord Burton descending the steps which led into the garden where they were. Mary clung to Charles's arm for support. Ever before that time she had quitted him to fly to her brother; but now every feeling

of

« AnteriorContinuar »