Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

of pretending to possess a large one, gained a consideration and an ascendance in society, which they otherwise could never have acquired. “ Mr. So-and-so is certainly a millionaire," was the excuse for a man of vulgar habits being seen every where, until his death revealed the fact of his supposed million being only a hundred thousand pounds; a fortune more than amply sufficient for all his desires, but the reputation of which would not have attained for him that preponderance in the world which he ambitioned.

Can it then be wondered at, that, seeing the influence wealth bestows, people are more anxious to possess, than fastidious in the mode of acquiring it? Hence, speculations the most unscrupulous, and actions the most reprehensible, are undertaken. If crowned with success, the mean is forgotten in the end; and if failure ensue, the action, and its consequences,

pass away from the memories of those who

knew the guilt of the perpetrator; for, no one here troubles himself to remember a poor man, except to avoid him.

I have now concluded a sketch, which, though it has no recommendation except its truth, may, I trust, ennuyer less than the witnessing the scenes described did your affectionate friend,

CAROLINE.

THE MARQUESS OF NOTTINGHAM TO

EDWARD MORDAUNT, ESQ.

Yes, my dear Mordaunt, you are right; I love passionately, madly, love - Lady Annandale ; yet it is a love as devoid of guilt as it is destitute of hope. The slightest betrayal of it would, I am persuaded, exile me from her sight for ever; and I value the friendship with which she honours me too dearly, to risk losing the least portion of it by any imprudence.

You ask me what I propose to myself, in thus abandoning my heart to so engrossing, so ungovernable a passion? This is a question I have never dared to answer to myself. To meet her every day, to think of her every minute, to dream of her when I close my eyes, and to awake with the blissful certainty of seeing her,these are my sole objects and aims; and these I may surely indulge without crime.

Mordaunt, if you knew the rapture 1 experience, when I behold her angelic face assume a more cheerfal expression when I approach her; when I observe the deference with which

she refers to my opinions, and the sweet and modest confidence with which she utters her own; the innocent delight with which she displays Annandale's hitherto neglected child,

and the pride with which she listens to my remarks on its visible improvement and growing intelligence,- you would not ask what I propose to myself!

The happiness of the present seems all I dare look to; and so dearly do I prize it, that I tremble to anticipate any change.

She admits me to her boudoir during the morning, when Miss Montressor and the child only are with her; allows me to read Italian aloud to her while she draws: and there are

moments, when seated in this retired and de

licious sanctuary, the ladies pursuing their feminine occupations, and the child climbing my knees, that I indulge the illusion that she belongs to me by the most holy tie, and that the child is ours.

I am too soon awakened from this blissful dream, by Miss Montressor's remembering some engagement to be kept, or some letter to be written, that obliges her to withdraw; and' what looks strange, is, that these reminiscences of hers always arrive at a mal-à-propos moment, either in the most interesting part of the book we are reading, or in the subject on which we are conversing.

Pray, do not let me interrupt you, good folk,” she invariably says, — "I shall be back in a few minutes ;” and off she hurries.

I resume the book, and, whenever a pause occurs, am charmed with the justice and tact of Lady Annandale's reflections. So much feeling, united to such extreme delicacy of perception, I never before encountered.

Often do I continue to read, until her cárriage, or saddle-horses are announced ; and we both find that it is five o'clock, when we had only imagined it three.

“ How time flies!” does she frequently say, on such occasions; “ but where can Caroline

« PoprzedniaDalej »