Sidor som bilder

early in the morning, he took his leave. Mrs. Smithson (the nurse) not being yet returned, I resolved not to leave the little sufferers till she made her appearance, and seating myself between their two couches, watched with great anxiety their flushed faces and unnaturally bright eyes. Morning dawned, still the nurse returned not, and I was every moment dreading the return of the countess before that of Mrs. Smithson. Just as the clock was striking nine the physician arrived, and at the same moment a letter was put into my hand, requiring an immediate answer. I therefore retired for a moment to read it. It was from Mrs. Smithson, and ran thus:

DEAR Miss TERSEY, “You will not see me no more, as I am going to take your place with my lady. You will not see her no more, likewise, for she have consented to make the beautiful marquis happy by going away with him. We had some to do to get her to go at last, but he said he would kill himself if she didn't, he was so much in love with her. I'm sure he is so beautiful he is worth a hundred of the stupid earl, with his dull books, and shells and trumpery, which he seemed to care much more for than his beautiful lady. My lady begged me to go along with her, as she knowed I should like it, and she said she was sure you would not, so she would never trust you as she did me. Plese to send my boxes, which are reddy packed in the nursery closet, by the bearer. So no more at present from your humble servant,

“Mary Smithson.”

It is quite impossible to describe the feelings of dismay and indignation which filled me as I read the letter of this profligate woman, who had evidently assisted in the infamous designs of some abandoned villain in seducing from her home, her husband and her children, the beautiful but weak-minded Countess of Ruperta. As I turned to the beds, where the two poor, innocent, and now motherless children lay, I could not restrain a torrent of tears, as the physician, who at that moment rose from


the table where he had been writing his prescription, approached me. Seeing my agitation, and supposing it arose only from anxiety for the little sufferers, he said, “I hope with care they will yet do well.”

I could only reply by asking him to accompany me to another room.

Knowing him to be the confidential medical attendant of the family, I did not hesitate to show him the letter which I had just received.

“Great God!” he exclaimed, “can it be possible that what this vile woman insinuates is true ; that the young, lovely, and accomplished Countess of Ruperta has eloped with some artful villain! I will not, cannot believe


When, however, upon inquiry, we found that the carriage had returned an hour before, empty, and with the intelligence that the countess had left the ball-room an hour after she had entered it, under the plea of illness, and (as the servants reported) in the carriage of a friend, and yet had not returned to her

own house, our fears and suspicions were increased. In the mean time, the man who had brought Mrs. Smithson's letter sent up for my. answer. Dr. Knox (the physician) went down himself to inquire of this person to what place he was to conrey the boxes. He named some obscure inn in the city. We were all anxiety as to the manner in which this fatal news was to be communicated to the earl, who was quietly at breakfast in the library, awaiting the arrival of some literary friends. Alas! if he had been accustomed to take that meal with his natural friend, his wife, and had properly attended to her conduct and associates, instead of leaving her to her own resources, and the fulsome flattery of idle, worthless profligates, this wretched event might never have occurred; at any rate, the earl would not have had to re- . proach himself.

Dr. Knox thought it best to hasten in the first instance to the earl's mother, the dowager countess, and tell her of the fatal epistle I had received.

He had scarcely left the house, when a letter

was brought to the earl, and, from its effects, I concluded it must be either from his unhappy wife, or written by her desire.

The butler came to desire me to go to the library, saying, that his lord had just received a letter which appeared to have driven him mad, adding,

“I fear, Miss Theresa, that it is too true that my lady has gone off with that vile French Marquis Phillibert.”

“Impossible!” I exclaimed, surprised that he seemed to know any thing of the matter.

But it appeared that the men-servants had seen more than I had, and from something which had transpired the previous night, were not at all unprepared for what had happened.

I trembled at going down to the infuriated earl, and begged the old butler to accompany me. · When we entered the library, his lordship was pacing up and down, and so wild and haggard was his look, that for a moment I hardly knew him.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »