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When Desdemona pleaded in vain to her father for forgiveness, Lord Vernon positively
My favourite Shakespeare was wrong in this view of human nature," said the good
old man ;
“ he did not understand the heart
of a father : if he did, he would have known that a parent could not spurn his weeping child. No; this is not natural. Don't you agree with me, my love ?” turning to his wife.
“ Lord Vernon thinks the hearts of all
fathers like his own," said Lady Vernon to me, and looking at him with eyes beaming with affection, while Lady Annandale placed
her hand in his.
A large private box, opposite to the one in which we were seated, was now thrown open; and Lord Annandale entered it, leading in the Comtesse Hohenlinden, and followed by Lady Mellicent and Miss Montressor, escorted by Lord Charles Fitzhardinge, and three or four other young men of their clique.
I felt annoyed at their presence; and observed that Lady Annandale appeared still more so, as she shrank back behind the curtain. The eagle eyes of the Comtesse Hohenlinden soon discovered us; and the glasses of all the party, save those of Lord Annandale and Miss Montressor, were levelled at us.
The comtesse attempted not to conceal the mingled mirth and surprise that our presence excited ; and Annandale looked more discomposed than I ever saw him. It was plain that the apparition of her husband and his party had given pain to Lady Annandale. She directed to me an imploring look not to remark their vicinity to her father and mother, who had not noticed it, being wholly occupied with the performance, or commenting on it.
The Comtesse Hohenlinden seemed to be engaged in an earnest conversation with Lord Annandale, while, from time to time, they cast angry looks at our box. What can all this mean? Perhaps, after all, I was pected to dine at Annandale House, and my presence with its mistress occasioned the apparent surprise I witnessed. But why, then, if I was expected there, did she go out to dine ? All this is a mystery, to the solution of which I have no clue. Perhaps, by calling at Annandale House to-morrow, I shall be
furnished with one.
Lady Vernon, being fatigued, proposed our leaving the theatre before the afterpiece was concluded; and her daughter, who seemed relieved by our departure, requested that we would leave her at her own door.
As I handed her from the carriage to the hall, I observed her servants exchange looks of suspicion; and then glance inquisitively at the coach, as if to ascertain whether it was occupied.
Such is the dignified reserve of Lady Annandale, that I dared not venture a question to her, though impatiently longing to know,why, if I was not forbidden to dine at her house, she had gone to her father's.
I left off writing to you last night, my dear Mordaunt, that I might tell you the result of my visit to Annandale House. I am more mystified than ever, and know not what to imagine.
On calling at the usual hour to-day, I found Lady Annandale and Miss Montressor in the boudoir; the former pale and sad, and the latter walking up and down the room, with the air of one who had been giving advice.
Why did you not dine here yesterday?" asked Miss Montressor, with an authoritative tone; “ Lord Annandale expected you, and was offended at having a Banquo chair in our gay party. You were wrong, not in preferring the society of Lady Annandale,- cela va sans dire,— but in affichant that preference, by appearing at the theatre with her. Your presence together led to several ill-natured comments and malicious interpretations by the whole party, which not all my tact and zeal could avert; and I displayed no want of either, I assure you, Such imprudence is very injurious to Lady Annandale's reputation; and, if you value it, you must be much more guarded.”