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very slow journeys, had spent at least a month between leaving Naples and reaching London, which he did very nearly about the same time that they arrived in Paris.
They drove immediately to lord Burton's hotel; and here it was agreed that they should rest for a day, ere they con tinued their route to London. One of Charles's first visits was to the library, where, in examining the letters which lay on the table, he was disappointed in finding none to himself; but there was one directed to Mary, which he instantly carried to her—" I know the hand, Mary,” said he, as he gave it; “ it is from lady Jane Evelyn.”
“ It is in answer to my last, I dare say," replied Mary, and breaking open the seal, she began to read it; but as she proceeded, the colour fled from her cheek, and a tear started in her eye, which will be best accounted for by giving the letter which produced so painful a feeling in her bosom.
· "DEAR MARY,
“ Long before you receive this, the die will be cast, and my fate for life decided. I would fain be serious, and give you my reasons for a line of conduct I know you will disapprove; and yet, Mary, I strive with myself for gaiety, and endeavour to banish from my mind the objections which' so obstinately oppose themselves to my intentions; and indeed as my resolution is taken, and my promise given, there is no use of thinking. My promise to do what? you will ask-to fly to Scotland with captain Malcolm. Oh, dear Mary, forgive me! I have scarcely courage to put it on paper. How I came to give that promise, I scarcely know ; I had no intention of doing it at the time; and when solitude brought me reflection, Fwas frightened at my own conduct.
-“ My father's increased sternness, and the constant torment of Cecilia's interference with my behaviour, made my home very wrétched ; and oh, Mary, my
heart was deeply, irrevocably given to William. His constancy, his ardour, and devotion, had far more won upon me than any personal perfection he possessed. His accomplishments and his manners certainly first caught my attention ; but it was his deep-rooted and unvarying attachment that gained my affection. Few men, I believe, of the present day, are capable of that deep feeling which is alone worthy of the name of loye. Malcolm has proved to me that he is so. When I first saw him, he was light, unthinking, and gay; and appeared merely a butterfly of more varied hues, and brighter colours, than those which fluttered in the same sphere with himself. But as I became better acquainted with him, his manners towards me assumed a more serious tone, and I gradually discovered new treasures in his mind, and new perfections in his heart. He told me that he loved me; but I had heard that so often before from others, that though willing enough to believe it real,
I doubted long, lest I should be mistaken on a point where my whole happiness was to rest for ever. But when I found, Mary, that all he said was true-when I had the most undeniable proofs of his affectionwhen I became convinced that he was one of those few ardent minds, those warm, enthusiastic spirits, so seldom to be met with in this frozen age, could I refuse him the only return in my power-could I help loving him, whose heart was so deeply given to me? He combated the coldness of my family; he did not yield to the repulses he met with from my father; and was it for me to calculate fortune, to weigh and poise my heart against pounds, shillings, and pence-to barter my happiness against a settlement, or to sell my person for a house in Grosvenorsquare? No, Mary; loving him most sincerely, I resolved to wait till time or cir, cumstances might remove my father's objections. It was a hard and bitter struggle for me. I had seldom the opportunity of
seeing Malcolm, and still less frequently could I enjoy his conversation; for, prohibited as he was from visiting at our house, it was only by accident that we ever met. But when I found, Mary, that his health was sinking under a passion which he considered almost hopeless, you may easily conceive how painful were my feelings then. We met by chance; I spoke of altered looks—but he would not allow that he was ill, saying, that he reposed full confidence in the continuance of my regard. We were alone, and I know not how it happened, but our conversation turning upon fortune, I told him that mine entirely depended upon my
eyes seemed to be instantly lighted up with new hopes. Now, now, dearest Jane,' he exclaimed, - I have no longer a scruple; I had been told that you had an independent fortune; and while I thought so, nothing should have made me ask you to give me your hand, without the appro