Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

A note from Lord Annandale, requiring a few minutes' audience, has just been placed in my hand. What can he have to communicate? I have not yet seen Lady Annandale, so I am all in the dark. I shall resume my

letter after I have seen him.

This business advances more rapidly than I had anticipated, or even desired ; and, what is very provoking, will sadly interfere with all the schemes of amusement laid down for the closing of the season. Mais, c'est egal ; it is all in favour of other and more important schemes. Yet, now that the dénoûment of my comedy draws near, 1 begin to feel a little

nervous.

I left off with telling you that Lord Annandale demanded an audience, which I granted. I found sa seigneurie in his library, in a state of great agitation. He had, it appears, on

ex

leaving me last night, entered his wife's dressing-room, with, he says, the intention of seeking an explanation from her; but, I strongly suspect, he was very certain she had been some time in bed. He asserts, that a thought occurred to him (it is only husbands who erer have such thoughts), to examine her escritoire

the key lying temptingly on her toilet pecting to find some tangible proofs of the guilt he imagines ; when, lo and behold! instead of sundry amatory billets from le beau marquis, he finds naught but my lady's diary. This he considered mieux que rien ; and so it has proved. Fair ladies, while you live, or, at least, while you love, beware of keeping diaries ; or if you will do so, hint not at the feelings of your hearts !

Eh bien, ma chère, I judged rightly; Augusta loves Lord Nottingham with all the enthusiasm, all the romantic fervour, of which only a young Englishwoman is capable. Yes, ma belle, you French ladies, with all your fascinations, and all your sentimentalities (and I give you full credit for possessing both in no ordinary degree), must yield to the untravelled dames Anglaises for that strong and enduring affection, which is much less a passion than a sentiment, nursed in secret, and matured in sorrow. The naïve expression of Augusta's love for le marquis, and the no

less naïve disclosure of her more than in

difference for her liege-lord, have enraged him beyond measure; and, to avenge his mortified vanity, he has determined on exposing her to all the consequences of an open esclandre.

Every expression in this unfortunate diary which admits of an equivocal meaning, he has tortured into a guilty one; but I doubt whether any other person could find more in it than an artless outpouring of the secret feelings of a loving, yet pure heart.

This diary will serve to slew you more plainly than all my descriptions could, that lusus nature, the heart of a young English woman, which foreigners rarely have an opportunity of studying, and may I, without offending, add ?- more rarely have the power of comprehending. He has lent me this diary, so I shall copy it, and send you my transcript. I affected to plead for Lady Annandale, tried to extenuate some passages in this naïf record of her feelings, and to soften others : but what could extenuate, in her vain husband's eyes, that crime of deepest, darkest die, the depreciation of himself, so innocently expressed ? Her love for another I do believe he could pardon ; but her want of admiration for the

he most admires upon earth, self, he never can forgive.

person

DIARY OF LADY ANNANDALE.

Yes! Mary Delaward is right. No woman ever should permit the daily visits of any man. O God! why was the bandage not sooner torn from my eyes? Now, alas! it is too late ; the arrow has entered into my soul, never to leave it but with life. This deep consciousness of an unhallowed passion will destroy me; and I feel as if all who behold me could read

it in characters of shame on my brow. How am I fallen! To whom can I pour out the miseries of my oppressed heart? 'Not to Mary Delaward's chaste ear can the ravings of an illicit passion be disclosed : she would shrink from me in horror. To Caroline the confession of my error would only excite some heartless jest on the commonness of my misfortune. She would confound me with the crowd of

« PoprzedniaDalej »