« AnteriorContinuar »
but too often obtrude themselves as it is. It was that event alone which prevented me from then visiting you : but you who know the whole will make my excuse yourself; and believe me, with kindest wishes to your son and daughter,
“ Yours sincerely,
“ FREDERIC BURTON.”.
While sir Charles Melville was engaged in reading this epistle, lady Mary Burton was as deeply employed with that he had handed to her, and perhaps as much, though more silently, affected by it. The colour came and went rapidly in her cheek, and a deep, involuntary sigh struggled from her lips, as she read the last lines.
Well, Mary,” exclaimed sir Charles, “ it is from your brother-it is from lord Burton, is it not ?"
“ Yes,” replied she, calmly. “ Frederic says, that he thinks I had better pay my
aunt Anne a visit for a month or two, or she may think I neglect her.”
A slight cloud passed over the brow of Charles Melville.
“ I thought so I thought so,” cried his father; “ I am no longer worthy of confidence, I suppose; but wherever you go, Mary, I shall always love you, at least as a father. You will go of course, Mary: lord Burton is your guardian, you know, and we must not dispute his lordship's commands."
“Oh, my dear uncle, you mistake Frederic entirely,” replied lady Mary; "indeed you do; he has not an idea of hurting your feelings, believe me. Besides, consider, I have been with you a year and a half, and never been a week with my aunt since I was in France with Jane and Cecilia Evelyn. Frederic does not command either; he only expresses a wish, but his wishes are always right, and they must always be a rule for me to go by.” “Oh yes, Mary," replied sir Charles,
your brother is perfect in your eyes, I know, and I should not wish it otherwise. I am a man of the old school, it is true, but I find that bob-tailed wigs and goldlaced hats are not more completely different from the fashions of the present day, than the modern ideas of propriety, not to speak of friendship, are from the politeness within my memory—that is all. But I am glad you are going to lady Anne Milsome, however; she is a good woman, and loves you as her child.”
“ And when do you propose to depart, Mary?" demanded Charles Melville.
“ I have not quite determined, Charles,” replied Mary; “ I think the day after tomorrow."
“ So soon !” exclaimed he.
“ So soon !” echoed Caroline; “ you are joking, Mary."
Mary shook her head with a smile.“ I do not know precisely as to a day,” replied she; “but somewhere about that time I think.”
On the third day lady Mary put her resolution into effect, and quitted the seat of sir Charles Melville, for the mansion of her aunt, lady Anne Milsome, near Ilfracombe. Caroline Melville took leave of her with tears. Sir Charles fidgeted about with a feeling of irritation and disappointment, but squeezed her hand tightly, and kissed her twice over before he would let her get into the carriage. Charles Melville's brow had been cloudy all the morning, but he shook hands with her warmly and frankly.—“ God bless you, Mary!" he said ; “ perhaps we shall not meet again before I go abroad. I think you might have staid till I was gone."
Mary replied something, in a low voice, about her brother's wish, and the door of the carriage being closed, she was soon borne away from the sight of her relations, while a tear or two stole slowly down her cheek, that she had before repressed. In the meanwhile Charles went to
walk in the park, and Caroline, turning away
from the door where she had stood to see her cousin depart, reentered the house with her father, the whole of whose suppressed indignation now burst forth against lord Burton.--"Well, Caroline," exclaimed he, " what do you think of this amiable cousin of yours, that all the world talk of?
this warm-hearted, enthusiastically benevolent, perfectly polite lord Burton ?”
“ But, my dear father," replied she, “ he may be so for any thing I know to the contrary: we must not think him every thing that is bad, because he wishes Mary to go to lady Anne Milsome.”
“ Oh yes,” replied her father, bitterly, “ it is all very true, no doubt: his answer to my letter was perfectly polite, and as cold as could be expected. His goodness of heart (from which it certainly proceeded) made him take a particular delight in overturning all my schemes about Mary and Charles, and prepare me for the dis