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How different has been your fate to mine, Delphine! yet both equally sinned in our early youth. The consequences of that one false step, which has plunged me in the fearful position in which I now stand, have been comparatively harmless to you, because the partner of your indiscretion was not, as in my case, a villain. Yet had Villeroi been my lover instead of yours, my poverty would bave opposed an impassable barrier between us. He would have left me as the other did, to brave all the consequences of my crime ; but he would not have added insult to injury. Your wealth, your station, would always have rendered your lover anxious to become your husband ; and thus, that sin which has led to my ruin, has had no evil influence on your brilliant destiny.
Forgive me for thus comparing our different fates; like a drowning wretch, who catches at straws, I try to cheat myself into a belief
that I am not quite so guilty as conscience tells me I am ; but even this illusion is denied me; for too plainly does reason whisper, that to my own turpitude alone do I owe the pangs I endure, and the future I tremble to contemplate.
Adieu, Delphine! Pity your unfortunate friend,
THE COUNTESS OF DELAWARD TO THE
EARL OF DELAWARD.
You will, my beloved, I know, be desirous to learn how poor dear Augusta bore her first day's journey, and be delighted to hear that she has supported it wonderfully well. Her longing anxiety to get away from London, lent her, I do think, a factitious force, that has given birth to new hopes in the hearts of her father and mother ; hopes which a sad presentiment assures me will never be realised. She begged so earnestly that we might leave London very early in the morning, that, to comply with her wishes, we were in the carriage by seven o'clock. Only a very few persons, and these of the humblest class, were visible in Grosvenor Square, as she was placed in the dormeuse, propped up by pillows; but even from the glance of these she shrank with a dread that it was painful to behold.
I alone accompanied her in the dormeuse ; Lord and Lady Vernon preceding us in their travelling-carriage, and Augusta's femme de chambre and mine following us in a postchaise. She was silent, and absorbed in meditation. While we passed through the street, and immediate environs of London, she kept her eyes closed, as if to shut out their view, though the blinds had been let down at her desire, as she betrays the most nervous susceptibility at encountering the gaze of a stranger. When we had traversed the environs, she opened her eyes, and said,
“ Now I can breathe more freely. I seem to have escaped from an atmosphere of humiliation and disgrace, where every eye mocked, and every tongue defamed me. Oh, Mary! you know not, and you never can know, the agonising consciousness of being the subject of general and disgraceful animadversion ; of seeing caricatures portraying vice in its most hideous forms, stamped with your likeness; bon mots and equivoques the most contemptuous coupled with your outraged name ; while the good deplore, and the wicked triumph, in your presumed criminality. All this I have felt and writhed under, until my tortured imagination has conjured the belief that the overwhelming sense of shame which was preying on my soul, had fixed its burning brand on my brow. How- how I longed to be transported to some distant region, where my name had never been heard — my disgrace never been related; where I could again meet the glance of human beings without being crimsoned by the blush of shame. I was proud, Mary, too proud ; – how has that pride been humbled! Will not every modest woman accuse me of bringing dishonour on my sex? Will not every immodest one cite me as a companion in vice? Think of a trial !”
“ But your innocence will be proved, dearest."
Admitting this to be the result; through what a fearful ordeal does the virtue of a woman pass,—that virtue which should never be questioned, - when it is subjected to the odious, the defiling publicity of a judicial investigation! No! the burning ploughshare, over which