Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER II.

“ In van per me ride il nascente giorno,

E 'l sole innalza i rosseggianti rai ;
Sciolgon gli augelli invan pietosi lai,
E 'l suol rinverde in lieto manto adorno ;" a
* * * * * * *

T. J. MATHIAS.

I was very anxious for the return of Lady Eustace to town, though I could not hope to escape the penetration of her ladyship, as I had that of simple Mrs. Davies.

Indeed, if I could have done so, I should not have thought it right to deceive one who had so constantly favoured me with her protection and friendship.

I therefore determined to confess to her all that had passed, with the exception of the name of him who I so fervently desired should not suffer by any indiscretion of mine.

• Translation of the sonnet on the death of the Honourable R. West, by Gray.

As soon as I found that Lady Eustace had arrived in Grosvenor Square, I wrote a few lines, begging leave to wait upon her ladyship. The next morning she sent her carriage for me, and with a beating heart I entered it, and in still greater agitation of spirits left it, to proceed upstairs into her ladyship's dressing-room.

She was seated alone on the sofa when I entered. Raising her eyes, she quite started at sight of me.

“ Theresa,” she said, “my dear Theresa, what has been the matter with you? Why, how ill you look, my poor girl, and how tall you have grown; are you still living with the Duchess of Beaulieu ?"

I could not answer one of her rapid questions, so entirely overcome was I by the recollection of all that had happened to me since we last met, and the thought of all I had to confess.

Bursting into tears, I hurried towards her ladyship, and sinking on the cushion at her feet, buried my face in her lap.

With her usual sweetness, she endeavoured

to restore me to composure; and when I had in some measure recovered from the first burst of shame and grief which had overwhelmed me, I informed her, in a voice choked by sobs, of all that had happened and all I had suffered since I last saw her, omitting however (as I told her frankly I wished earnestly to do) the name I was so anxious to conceal.

She listened to my melancholy detail without interruption, except by a few endearing words, which sustained me in my wretched narration.

As soon as I had finished, she raised me from the cushion, and placing me on the sofa by her side, used all the consolatory and affectionate means in her power to soothe the griefs which this repetition of them had caused to burst out anew.

She was also too generous to press me as to the name, which she saw that I was so desirous to hide, but she did not attempt to conceal her indignation at the arts which she said she plainly perceived had been used for my destruction.

“You grieve, and naturally, my poor Theresa,” she said, “ for the loss of your child, but be assured that this is one of the most merciful dispensations which could have befallen you.

“ Had your little boy lived, you must in time have imparted to him the circumstances of his birth, and, to spare your own character, you must have informed him of your false marriage. This would have led to his detesting, and perhaps cursing his father.

“How could you have borne to have heard his revilings against the author of his being ? or how could you have endured to have seen his brothers and sisters, by a lawful marriage, enjoying rank and splendour, while he, poor outcast, would have been branded as illegitimate ? I speak of rank and splendour, because I feel convinced (though you have not named him) that your cruel seducer is one of high station, and who for that very reason should have spared so young, so innocent, and so helpless a being."

The words of Lady Eustace raised ideas in my mind which had never found entrance there before. That my sweet baby should have lived to curse his father, was so horrible, that, while I groaned at the thought, I was convinced of the probability of it, and, for the first time, I felt grateful that he had been taken from me.

Lady Eustace inquired if any one was informed of the late events which had happened to me besides herself.

Upon assuring her ladyship that she was the only person to whom I had even hinted the subject, she bade me rely on her kindness and secrecy, and warmly applauded my determination of exerting myself, and refusing all pecuniary assistance from him who had so cruelly deceived me.

It was in vain I tried to persuade Lady Eustace that he was not so much to blame. She only smiled faintly, saying, “ My poor child, you will, I doubt not, defend this cruel man to the last, while I can only see in his whole conduct, in spite of your endeavours to conceal it, deceit and selfishness. I will not, however, distress you by dwelling

« FöregåendeFortsätt »