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now that it had pleased me, and become a witness of his happiness.
How soothing is affection! and how do those who, like me, have known little of this sweetener of life, turn, with awakened tender
ness, to him who administers the cordial!
But why do I dwell on this now? Alas! I cling to the memory of this bright morning, and the hopes I then dared to indulge, as the last remnant of domestic peace; for the destroyer is at hand, and for his victim there
is no escape.
Soon after breakfast, my husband proposed
driving me in a pony phaeton ; and we entered it, in cheerful spirits. Having proceeded through the beautiful grounds, he wished to shew me a picturesque point of view at the other side of a neighbouring village; in passing through which we suddenly came on him whose sight nearly deprived me of reason. Hearing the wheels of a carriage, he turned round quickly, and, as I caught his glance, I uttered a piercing shriek, and fell back, nearly fainting. Lord Annandale instantly stopped, and, in the kindest way, inquired the cause of my alarm; which, when I had recovered, I attributed to the sight of a child running across the road, and my fears that it would be trampled by the horses.
I proposed returning to the castle, feeling too much agitated and unwell to continue our drive; and, even now that some hours have elapsed since I beheld that monster, I feel overpowered with terror : I dread being alone, and tremble each time that a servant enters, lest he should come to announce the presence of my enemy, or be the bearer of a letter from him.
Brief as was the glance I had of him, I saw that his apparel denoted the same state of poverty as when I last had the misfortune to behold him : consequently, it is evident that the large sum, and the price of the jewels plundered from my murdered aunt, must have all disappeared, and he is come here to extort fresh supplies.
What will become of me? Oh, Delphine! my heart faints within me, and my brain is nearly maddened. Death, in its most fearful shape, would be preferable to dragging on an existence, every moment of which may be embittered by the presence or menaces of that atrocious man; who, after all my sacrifices, may denounce me when I can no longer administer to his wants.
Sometimes, in a fit of desperation, I have thought of avowing all to Lord Annandale ; but a moment's reflection on the peculiarities of his character has led me to abandon the project.
When I look around me, and
behold the splendour and elegances of this abode, and the vast train of retainers that await my will; yet think that, in the midst of state and power, I, the mistress of this proud and princely dwelling, must tremble before a wretch -an outcast, with whom the poorest of my dependents would scorn to hold intercourse - must feel that I am an accomplice in his guilt; and that guilt — the murder and robbery of one who stood to me in the position of a parent, who was my sole relative and protector, — can you wonder that my brain is nearly maddened, and that I pray for death, unfit as I am to meet it?
He has written to me.
On entering my
chambre de toilette to dress for dinner, my attendant presented me with his letter.
“ The person who gave it to me, madame la comtesse,” said Claudine," was a foreignera terrible-looking man; so much so, that all
the servants bantered me on the bad counte
nance and shabbiness of
visitor; for so he represented himself to be, though I assured them that I did not know him. One of his eyes is concealed by a black patch, and his huge whiskers and moustaches nearly cover his face. I certainly have seen him before ;- yes, now I recollect having seen that wicked face somewhere. Oh, yes-it was, sure enough, at the village of Ellersly, the very day preceding the shocking death of your poor aunt; for I remember, when I heard of the murder, I immediately said to her maid, good Mrs. Western, that I had seen the most suspiciouslooking man imaginable, the day before, in the village. But she answered, that he could have nothing to do with the murder, all the windows and doors having been found fastened on the inside ;' therefore,' continued Mrs. Western, you see, Claudine, the dreadful crime must have