Obrazy na stronie

vulgarity of his fat wife, did not serve to enliven the periodical dinners at which these worthies graced the board of my paternal


Here, one day of every month is set apart for a grand dinner, given to all the nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood, who are conciliated by a dignified hospitality; but, not encouraged to that indiscriminate familiarity which, to the total interruption of all the rational occupations of the luckless owners, converts so many country-houses into inns. The high character Lord Delaward justly bears in his county led all his neighbours to form a favourable estimate of his wife, before they could judge from experience how far she was entitled to it. This is one of the many benefits arising from a high character: it enables him who possesses it to shed a lustre on all that immediately appertains to him; and happy, thrice happy is she, who derives honour from him who has chosen her for his companion through life. Heigh-ho! will such be my lot? Perhaps, I the more desire it, because I feel that my giddiness and inexperience require the mantle of a husband's superiority to cover them, and protect me from their effects.

We leave this the day after to-morrow; and with deep regret shall I quit a spot where I have learned to respect what I have hitherto been more disposed to scoff at the scrupulous discharge of duties; a spot where I have been taught to think better of others, and more modestly of myself, by having had an opportunity of comparing my own weak, and vacillating character, with that of those around me. I should, under any circumstances, lament my departure from Delaward Park, which I consider the temple of domestic happiness; but, when I reflect that I leave it to fulfil an engagement that my heart renounces, I feel doubly grieved. The foolish, the unpardonable desire, instigated by vanity, of throwing off the shackles of childhood, first led me to listen to Lord Annandale's flatteries, and to overrule the prudent objections of my family; and the more reprehensible folly of not acknowledging my weakness, lest I should be considered a child, has induced me to persevere in it.

The nearer the time approaches for pronouncing the irrevocable vows, the more do I dread this marriage ; and yet I have not courage to avow my feelings to those who possess the power of extricating me. . sentiment of evil continually hangs over my mind. It was not thus that Lady Delaward met her affianced husband at the altar! Fool — fool that I am, to compare myself in aught with one so good, so wise as she! Come to

A pre

me as soon

as you can, but come without

mockery on your tongue, or ridicule in your eye ; for my heart is ill at ease, and my spirits are not in a tone to bear your plaisanteries just now.

Your affectionate




Vernon Hall.

Pity me, ma chère Delphine! for here I am, doing penance in one of the most tristes châteauz in which ever luckless dame was immured for her sins. Imaginez vous mais, non, you cannot imagine any thing half so horrid ; ergo, I must describe it. But, to begin at the beginning, as all tales should.

I told



last that I was to be present at the nuptials of a certain young friend of mine, belle comme un ange, and innocent, too, as an angel, if all we are told of them be true. My little friend has enough of romance in her composition to make half-a-dozen modern heroines - enough giddiness to compromise thrice that number -- and enough sensibility to be rendered wretched at the effects which that giddiness may produce. She is the strangest imaginable mélange of all imaginable qualities. Proud, without being vain, generous to profusion, impatient of restraint, yet docile as an infant under the influence of tenderness : loving her parents excessively, yet jealous of their asserting any control over her actions — a paternal right which, to do them justice, they rarely, if ever, exercise. Her own feelings would lead her to desire to inspire a desperate, or, as you French call it,

« PoprzedniaDalej »