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should accept an offer lately made to Dr. Matson for me to reside with the Lady Helen St. Clare, to attend upon and accompany her occasionally in her walks and drives. This lady, of whom Dr. Matson spoke very highly, was in her twentieth year. Her father, the Earl of
had been dead only two months, and she had not yet quitted the family mansion in town, but was about to take up her abode in a week with her uncle's widow, the Honourable Mrs. Lovelyn.
My first interview with Lady Helen St. Clare gave me a most favourable impression of her ladyship, and I was much pleased when she expressed herself anxious that I should be ready to accompany her in three days to the residence of her aunt, where it had been the wish of her late father that she should reside till her marriage with Sir Edward Jordyn, (to whom she was engaged,) should take place.
A suite of apartments was appropriated at Mrs. Lovelyn's to the sole use of Lady Helen, who made her aunt a handsome allowance. Her ladyship had also her separate equipage.
During the first two months of her residence at her new abode, Lady Helen did not mix much with the family party, having not yet recovered from the severe blow she had received in the death of her father. I was therefore almost her only companion, and we saw more of each other in that short time, than if we had been two years together under other circumstances.
Lady Eustace had, with her accustomed attention and kindness, answered my letter by return of post, expressing her concern at having missed me on her route to Ireland, and insisting upon my always considering her house my home when I was disposed to make it so.
I had not received a single line from Miss O'Neille, though I had written to her twice. I could not account for this strange silence, as she had so repeatedly begged me to write to her, assuring me that I should often hear from her in return. I was vexed at this neglect, but endeavoured to forget it, and give my whole attention to my present protectress. My time was agreeably employed, and I found Lady Helen St. Clare the most congenial to my feelings of any person I had yet met with, except always dear Lady Eustace.
I must now give some account of the principal inmates of the house which sheltered me.
The Honourable Mrs. Lovelyn was a widow, in fancied ill-health, and of such indolent habits that she very seldom exerted herself even to rise from the sofa. She had only one child, a daughter about two or three years older than her cousin, Lady Helen. At first sight Miss Lovelyn might have been considered the handsomest of the two, but a few minutes' conversation dissolved the charm, and displayed the great advantage Lady Helen had in sweetness of expression and intelligence of countenance over her more showy cousin.
The latter was that most odious of characters, a bold and determined flirt. She was always surrounded by admirers, or rather flatterers, but she was never known to have one real lover or friend.
All she seemed to care for was, enticing away the lovers of others, and after she had enjoyed her triumph, and amused herself with making, as she said, “complete fools” of the men, she cast them off unceremoniously, quite careless of the misery she caused to her female acquaintance. The ill-health or rather careless indolence of her mother had been the cause of Miss Lovelyn being left in great measure to her own discretion.
She entirely managed her weak-minded mother, gave parties, and received visiters as she pleased, (while her parent was perhaps in bed,) and this had given her a fearlessness of manner which in my opinion destroyed the effect of her beauty, and took from her all appearance of feminine grace. This young lady was, therefore, a most uncongenial companion for her excellent and accomplished cousin, whom she was frequently rallying upon the abominable stupidity of tying herself so early to one lover.
“I am sure I shall not like Sir Edward Jordyn,” she would often say in her laughing manner. “He must be very stupid to have fallen so soon and steadily in love. I shall be
very glad when he comes to town, however, that I may tease his heart out.”
Lady Helen, who had no spirits to contend with her merry cousin, only smiled faintly, saying, “I think you cannot help liking Sir Edward, when you know him, he is so good and kind.”
“I hate good and kind young gentlemen," replied Miss Lovelyn ; " and if he does not flirt with me before a month is over I shall detest him, so I give you fair warning, cousin."
Sir Edward Jordyn, who had been to Italy with his mother and sisters, returned to England after Lady Helen had been about six months with her aunt, and he hastened to London to his betrothed.
He was an elegant young man about fiveand-twenty, and had been engaged to Lady Helen two years; and he was looking forward with eagerness to the hour when he might with propriety make her his own, for he felt assured she could not be happy, though she might be contented, under her aunt's roof. He was now a daily visiter in Hanover Square. Miss Lore