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thus placed, as it were, beyond his reach, in a very different light from that in which he had regarded her, when he supposed her hand was almost at his command ; not that Charles had ever supposed Mary loved him; but he had thought that he might easily improve the affection she bore him into more tender feelings, with the advantage which he knew the strong wishes of all her family would give him; neither had he been ever without a very high sense of all the many charms of mind and person which she possessed. But now that he seemed about to lose her, all those charms appeared doubly valuable; and a thousand amiable and beautiful traits in her character returned upon his mind, with a degree of painful regret, which would have convinced most men of the true nature of their feelings. But Charles wished not to be convinced, and therefore he was not; but at the same time, as a matter of course, he resolved to join his cousin for a few days at Florence, for the
purpose of satisfying himself in regard to her health ; and he also determined, as a mere point of curiosity, to gain from Mr. Wilmot, if possible, some farther information regarding lord Burton's intentions.
Mr. Wilmot, however, did not again make his appearance till dinner-time, and then he seemed totally absorbed in his own thoughts. From his conduct, Charles imagined that he either thought he had gone too far in the morning, or that something had intervened which entirely occupied his mind; for though assailed in various ways by Mr. Melville, in order to lead him towards the subject, Mr. Wilmot always kept aloof, sometimes coming so near, that Charles supposed he would enter upon it the next moment, and then, with the most indifferent quietness, would turn his conversation quite into a different channel, without dropping the least word that could throw any light on what Charles was the most interested in discovering. At length, having endured this kind of VOL. II.
Lady Mary started at the abruptness of her question, and a warm, soft blush rose quickly in her cheek, that sickness had made pale.
“ Yes, you are the cunningest little creature I know, Mary,” continued lady Jane," and I dare say you think you have hid it all from me; but a woman must be cunning indeed to deceive a woman. Well, I won't tease you, but you might have been more frank.”
“ Jane! Jane!” said lady Mary, “ how can you go on in such a strange way? I really do not know what you mean.”
“ All I wanted to know was, if you had ever been in love," continued her cousin; “ for if you ever have been in that state of insanity, tell me if blushing, when we hear a name mentioned that we never mention ourselves, listening eagerly to hear every thing that is said about that name, and pretending not to listen at all, drawing a deep sigh whenever we have been thinking for five minutes "
“Well,” said lady Mary, perceiving that her cousin paused, “and what then, Jane ?"
“ Tell me then if all these," continued lady Jane, are not several and particular signs of that passion, as it is called, (though, by the way, I find being in love very different from being in a passion ;) and if they are, then I will tell you in return, that Louisa Stanhope is in love, and in love with your brother.”
“ Indeed!” said lady Mary, thoughtfully; " but what makes you think that, Jane? you are sometimes too hasty in your conclusions.”
“I have seen her a great deal lately," answered lady Jane; “ she has left lady Delmont, you know. Indeed it was impossible to bear with her rudeness and ill temper. When she found Miss Stanhope was really going, she entreated her to stay, and accompany them all to Switzerland; but Louisa had made up her mind, and not having found one soul in the house to whom she could feel any attachVOL. II.
of proceeding to Paris with her aunt, lady Anne Milsome, in their way to Italy. Now though this calculation has been made from the most accurate sources of information at present extant, it is nevertheless very probable that there may be a mistake of a day or two, and therefore we will quote the words of doctor Moore's Almanack, saying—“ The day before or the day after,” which will make no great difference.
Lady Anne Milsome was neither of an age nor of a disposition to hurry herself in travelling, nor would she have done so on Mary's account, whose health was infinitely improved, and continued in a state of progressive amelioration every day of their journey; so much so, indeed, that she proposed to her aunt that they should spend a short time in Paris, and then return to England. But lady Anne was resolved to go on, and seemed to entertain as 'much dread of disobeying the physician's commands in the slightest particular,