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ing so incessantly of one who, however kind, could only look upon me as the servant of his step-mother.
The anguish I felt as the truth of this flashed upon me was beyond endurance, and as the duchess was gone out to dinner, I took advantage of that circumstance to hurry into the gardens, and give a vent in their shelter to the tears which nearly suffocated me.
I had the grounds entirely to myself, for among all that host of servants not one had the taste to visit those delicious groves.
With hasty steps I reached the most retired and beautiful spot in that beautiful domain.
I had walked there with the marquis on the night of his fête, and had often visited it since.
I now seated myself broken-hearted on a mossy bank beside a beautiful stream which a short way off ended in a waterfall.
Nothing was to be heard on this calm and delicious evening but the soft dash of the water, which, however, instead of soothing, seemed to increase my grief; and being quite
alone, I no longer restrained myself, but gave way to my long pent-up feelings, and resting my aching head on my hands burst into a torrent of tears.
How long I might have indulged in this luxury of grief I know not; but I was soon roused and frightened by a noise near me.
I hastily raised my head, when, what was my amazement and delight to see approaching me with hurried steps him who was the cause of the tears I shed.
I could neither speak nor move; he was in a moment by my side, his arms encircling my waist, while my head sunk on his shoulder. The joy and surprise was more than I could bear, and I fainted away.
When I recovered I became conscious of my folly and weakness in thus giving way to my feelings, and I endeavoured to leave the marquis, but in vain.
“ No, no, Theresa,” he cried, “ you shall not, must not leave me. I love you dearer than life itself. We have gone on too long making each other miserable by not honestly VOL. 1.
confessing what we both feel. Had I not accidentally overheard what you said to those two girls on the evening you danced with me, I might have tried to keep my own feelings to myself; but now, now, my dear sweet Theresa, make me happy by confirming what I then heard. Your presence first charmed me into a forgetfulness of the misery I had for weeks endured, and you have incessantly, though unconsciously, soothed me under the neglect and mortification which I was at the time suffering from the conduct of a heartless and inconstant beauty.”
Nothing could exceed the ecstacy I felt at this declaration, and it is not to be supposed that I could long withstand his eager entreaties to confess a mutual feeling.
He then told me that he had returned that very afternoon from his visit, because he knew that the duke and duchess were engaged out to dinner, and he had resolved to avail himself of the opportunity to find me out and open his heart to me.
He had left his horse at the stables, and
stolen through the woods in hopes of meeting me, and had not gone far through the gardens when he found me, as I have described; for his heart pointed out to him that I was most likely in the place where we had met on the evening when he had overheard my conversation.
It is not necessary to dwell on the delight with which I listened to his honied words, or to declare with what truth I returned his vows of everlasting love.
My mind for the last few months had been enervated by the romantic French novels which my artful mistress had been in the habit of making me daily read to her, and I had no conception that there was the slightest impropriety in loving and being loved by one so perfect as I fancied Lord St. George to be.
All I thought was (if indeed I could be said to think at all on the subject,) that the marquis did not at present like that his father should know of his attachment to a person so humble as myself. · We continued, therefore, to meet and walk together some part of every day while we remained at the castle, and I was never conscious but once that any one had observed us.
One afternoon, however, as we were seated near our favourite waterfall, I happened to raise my eyes, when I saw distinctly the face of a man amongst the trees a few yards off, apparently watching us. I started up, and in a moment it vanished.
I told the marquis what I had seen, and he instantly ran into the thicket of evergreens, and searched all around, but no one was to be found. He therefore concluded that it had been my fancy. But it was not, for I felt con vinced that the face which I had seen was that of the duchess's French page.
I did not, however, mention my suspicions of this man to the marquis, but I ever after felt afraid of that person when I chanced to see him.
The latter end of September the family left Beaulieu Castle for Twickenham. As of course we travelled in different parties, Lord St. George and myself did not meet for several