Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Annandale, as a chosen friend. From the good. understanding that seems to subsist between Lady Annandale and her, I conclude that she has contrived to exculpate herself from the charge made against her honour. To effect this was easy, with so unexperienced a person as Lady Annandale, who would be likely to redouble her kindness towards her, if led to believe her unjustly accused. Her intimacy with the Comtesse Hohenlinden offers an excuse for drawing that lady perpetually to Lady Annandale's, whom she votes her amie de

cæur, a title to which Annandale is much

better entitled.

Last night there was a brilliant reception at Delafield House ; and again, Lady Annandale shone the brightest star of the evening. I had no idea of the beauty of this lovely creature until I saw her on this occasion; for, in the country, during the three days I passed beneath the same roof with her, she was so triste and abstracted, her eyes so dimmed by tears, and her cheeks so pale, that, though I was conscious that she was beautiful in spite of all these counteracting circumstances, still I was not prepared for the blaze of loveliness which she presented on the evening to which I am now referring

She displays a degree of kindness, indeed I might say cordiality, towards me, that is very agreeable, and would be extremely flattering if I could attribute even a portion of it to any implied sense of my own merit; but I know I owe it to the favourable opinion the Delawards are so kind as to entertain of me, and the good-natured commendations of Lord and Lady Vernon, who overrate the attention I paid them in the country. Annandale has solicited me to conduct his wife through the routs and soirées when we meet,

while he divides his attentions between the

Comtesse Hohenlinden, and Miss Montressor. He is elated at the sensation Lady Annandale has created ; and more than ever a slave to that artificial world, to which the possession of a treasure such as that he owns ought to render him utterly indifferent.

I was interrupted yesterday before I had time to finish this dull epistle ; and now re

sume my pen to add a few lines.

I dined

yesterday at Annandale's, with only a few persons of haut ton; consisting of ladies whose reputation are more fashionable than respectable, and of men whose morality is of that stamp which renders them the last persons a sensible person would select as his guests at a table where so young and lovely a woman presided. The Comtesse Hohenlinden came in the evening, followed by some of her adorers, whose attentions to her were marked rather

by warmth than respect. Her demoralising example seems to have withdrawn all reserve from the ladies who form her coterie, for each was occupied exclusively by the favourite beau of the season. In short, “ lovers were all they ought to be, and husbands not the least alarmed.” Lady Annandale was the only woman in the room ignorant of the exact relative positions of all the parties ; but Miss Montressor penetrated the whole at a glance, as I could perceive by the significant looks she exchanged with the comtesse.

Already has Lady Annandale become the object of marked attention of more than one of the young roués of fashion who hover round her, mingling compliments on her beauty with piquant anecdotes of most of the ladies

present.

“Observe,” said Lord Henry Mercer, “ how angry Lady Harlestone looks: she is jealous

of the Comtesse Hohenlinden, with whom she

has discovered Charles Fitzhardinge has been flirting during her absence at Paris.”

“ And what right has she to be jealous of that ?" asked Lady Annandale, looking as guileless and as innocent as— she is.

This question produced a smile from Lord Henry, who answered it by saying, “ Your ladyship is the only person in London, or, at least, in our circle, that could require to be informed why; for everyone knows that Charles Fitzhardinge has been the adorer of Lady Harlestone ever since she gave George Seymour his congé.

“Oh! I thought Lady Harlestone was a married woman,” replied Lady Annandale, with naïveté.

This produced more than a smile, for the two coxcombs who heard it laughed downright.

« PoprzedniaDalej »