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announced the carriage, and I withdrew; almost hating Miss Montressor for the annoyance she had caused her lovely and sensitive friend.
What if Lady Annandale should become alarmed, now that her attention has been so brusquely called to the subject, by the frequency and length of my visits, and curtail or prohibit them? But why should I anticipate an evil I never could find courage to support? No, she could not be so cruel.
Do I not already, Mordaunt, feel one of the many miseries to which an unlawful passion gives birth ? Here am I, trembling at the bare anticipation of being deprived of her society, on the terms I have lately been accustomed to enjoy it; yet not daring to look forward to a continuation of happiness that always seems to me too great to endure.
This it is to love, when destiny has placed an indestructible barrier between us and the object adored ; a barrier never surmounted, but by guilt and despair. I am a Christian, and must never forget that the faith I profess ought to preclude both.
MISS MONTRESSOR TO LA MARQUISE
La victoire est à moi, ma chère et belle amie ! Yes; this cold, this prudish Lady Annandale loves Lord Nottingham; and with a passion such as only tranquil, concentrated women feel.
I see it in a thousand instances : in the bright sparkle of her eyes when he is announced; in the drooping lid that veils them when he approaches; in her heightened colour and embarrassed manner; and, above all, in the increasing reserve and shrinking modesty of her deineanour towards him.
I catch her looking at the pendule when the time of his daily visit approaches : nay, I havé positively marked the quickened pulsation of her heart, visible even through the folds of her robe, when his step has been heard ; which she can distinguish from any other, as I lately had a proof—and this is one of the many certain symptoms in the malady ycleped love.
We were sitting in her boudoir at the time he generally comes, when I heard feet approaching, and said, “here comes le marquis.”
No," answered Lady Annandale, “ the step is not his;" and her cheek became perfectly crimson when she found my eyes fixed with an expression of surprise on her face. She was right: the step was that of Lord Charles Fitzhardinge, who brought me a note from the com'ess,
Lord Nottingham is un peu béte, for he appears totally unconscious of the conquest he has achieved; or else he is determined
not to avail himself of it.
His manner grows
every day more profoundly respectful towards her, though it always partook of the Sir Charles Grandison style; and he now approaches her as if she were a queen, and he, the humblest of her liege subjects.
This surely cannot be artifice to dupe me. Lord Annandale et madame la comtesse like each other less every day. Her indifference has wounded his vanity, the strongest and most vulnerable of all his feelings; and her reserve and austere coldness to the ladies of the clique he is most ambitious to propitiate, has irritated him into opposing her will, by inviting them, bon gré, malgré, to his house.
Notre frau gräfinn, who is si aimable et bon enfant, when she has everything her own way, can, as you know, be not un peu méchante when opposed. She has never forgiven Augusta for being so beautiful —a crime of deep die, and rarely pardoned by women and, to avenge it, she has insisted on exhibiting Lord Annandale as son amant en titre, which she thinks an éclatant proof of her superiority of attraction over the young beauty, his wife, and an infallible mean of mortifying her.
Notre frau gräfinn is, however, mistaken in this last calculation ; for Augusta is so perfectly indifferent towards her lord, that she has
never, I do believe, remarked his attentions to
her rival. The truth is, her own heart is too deeply occupied to permit her observing the morements of others; and she has too little vanity to be wounded by the proceedings which would be most influential with the majority of women.
Notre comtesse is evidently piqued at Au