Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

adherence to my religious duties could have supported me.

It was the last evening in July, and I was sitting reading to Lady Mary, when she interrupted me to say to Mrs. Henderson, that she meant to go into the country the following day for a week, on a visit to her brother, the Earl of — , and desired that she would give immediate directions to the servants to order post horses and make preparations accordingly.

Mrs. Henderson left the room to obey her ladyship’s orders.

As soon as she was gone, Lady Mary desired me to look out and see what sort of night it was. I obeyed, and, as I closed the window curtain, told her ladyship that it looked like rain, as the moon was hazy and clouded.

The words had hardly passed my lips, when she started from her seat, exclaiming, “How dare you insult me in this manner?”

As may be imagined, I concluded that her ladyship had mistaken what I had said; I therefore repeated it, adding as it had been so

hot all day, it was likely to be a thunder storm,

She now became furious, and, darting towards me, seized me by the hair, shouting, “I have not forgotten your behaviour the other day, when you spoke so slightingly of my lord and master; and now, wretch that you are, you dare to mention with disrespect that angel of light, my beloved daughter the moon!"

She then, in a frantic manner, asked if I could deny having said the day before, that the sun, her noble spouse, was too hot, at the same time lowering the blinds.

“Poor miserable creature,” she said, “ no wonder you could not bear his glorious beams. I will, however, teach you to speak more respectfully in future of my magnificent husband.”

Saying which, she threw me on the carpet, and began beating and kicking me in so furious a manner, that, being unable to contend with so violent and powerful a woman, I screamed for help.

This seemed to make her more desperate, for seizing the bell-rope, which she broke violently off, she endeavoured to coil it about my neck, saying, “ I will soon settle you.”

I was now nearly exhausted, and I have no doubt that she would have strangled me; but, providentially, in breaking off the bell-rope, the bell rang violently, and Mrs. Henderson and the butler rushed into the room in consequence, where they found me on the floor, half dead with fright and covered with bruises, while Lady Mary, who was alternately beating and struggling with me, was endeavouring to twist the cord tight about my neck.

The butler hastened to raise and extricate me from her furious grasp, while Mrs. Henderson, shaking her fist in her lady's face, desired her in an authoritative tone immediately to sit down.

Exhausted and terrified as I was, the sudden change in Lady Mary's manner, and in that of Mrs. Henderson towards her, perfectly astonished me. The former became in a moment perfectly quiet, trembling from head to foot,

[graphic]

placed about the person of one in such a deplorable state without any warning being given me, or having been in any way put upon my guard. I resolved therefore to quit the house as soon as possible.

I had been about an hour in my room, when Mrs. Henderson made her appearance, apologizing for the treatment which I had received, and assuring me that she would take care it should never occur again.

“I do not mean to put myself in the way of it,” I replied, “and consider myself very unfairly treated to have been placed about the person of a maniac and kept in utter ignorance of her being in such a deplorable state.”

Mrs. Henderson, who (I afterwards found) was a regular keeper from a madhouse, assured me that it was not her fault; but the family being naturally averse to Lady Mary's calamity being made public, and finding extreme difficulty in procuring a proper female attendant and companion for her ladyship under such circumstances, had given orders that it should not be mentioned to me, trusting to the vigilance

« FöregåendeFortsätt »