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Poor Mary! no husband who fell short of the virtues of a Wilberforce would have satisfied her; and I, Heaven knows, was the last man on earth to aspire to such perfection. Well, to leave the gloomy past, and return to the cheerful future. On the 14th, I am to be made a happy man; and I want you, my dear Nottingham, to come and see the ceremony performed. Lord and Lady Vernon will expect you on the 12th, so do not disappoint votre ami,
LADY A. VERNON TO MISS MONTRESSOR.
You are a sad madcap, my dear Caroline; and, were I to judge you by what you write, I should consider you to be as unfeeling as you. are lively. You shall be present at a certain
solemn ceremony which takes place on the 14th ; and the nearer it approaches, the more solemn it appears to me. I am persuaded that, had I paid my long visit to Delaward Park before I had accepted Lord Annandale, I never should have acted thus; and even now I shrink, with secret repugnance, from the fulfilment of the engagement I have so unthinkingly contracted. The letters I have received from Lord Annandale have influenced my feelings quite as much as the various conversations on the subject of marriage, and morals, which I have had with Lady Delaward. He writes as only a man of pleasure would write to a woman who had as much levity and as little sentiment as himself. Notwithstanding his letters breathe of passion, it is not the sort of passion I wish to inspire; and, though I am no casuist, there seems to me to be an immeasurable distance between passion and love. The first may be
entertained without respect for the object, but the second and nobler sentiment must be based
on it. Lady Delaward has inspired love; and 1 (but why compare my unworthy self with one so infinitely superior ?) have only engendered a feeling that the least estimable of my sex have often excited. And yet, may it not be, that Lord Annandale is incapable of entertaining love? This belief is, at least, more soothing to my amour propre than my previous supposition, and therefore I will indulge it.
The romance à la George Sand, that you composed on the subject of the amiable family of Mrs. Ord, falls to the ground; for, instead of a melancholy tale of error, her eldest and handsomest daughter is soon to be united to Mr. Neville, the worthy rector of Delaward ; consequently, she will return to the home of her infancy, as its happy mistress. My dear father has determined to give young Ord
the next presentation of a living which, he expects, will soon revert to him -- the prospect of which has diffused joy through the whole family.
Lord Delaward has been absent a week on business; and you should have witnessed the gloom and void, his absence spread over the whole circle here, and the cheerfulness his return caused, to feel how wholly the happiness of a family depends on the master. You should have seen the efforts, not always successful, made by Lady Delaward, to conceal her regret at his departure, her pensiveness during his absence, and her joy-beaming eyes at his return, to be sensible of the power of affection, and the happiness it can confer. But you will, perhaps, mock what appears to me so sacred ; and such mockery I consider as little short of profanation. Never had I formed a notion of the comforts of a well-ordered home until my visit here; for mine, though abounding in all the luxuries of life, wants the animating spirit that only a young master and mistress can diffuse. The regularity at Vernon Hall appeared monotonous to me; and the oft-beginning, never-ending, visitations of our country neighbours served only to render it more tedious. I had learned to dread the thrice-told tales of the deaf and old Lady Hamlyn, and the pointless bon-mots of her gouty lord. Lord and Lady Dorington's old news half set me to sleep; from which happy state I was only awakened by their mutual contradiction of, “ Indeed, Lord Dorington, it was not so ;” and, “ You will permit me to know better, Lady Dorington.” Then, the short-sightedness of our old rector, who never could distinguish me from my mother, the taciturnity of his curate, the loquacity of our doctor, and the