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tocratic salon in London;" and he looked in
a large mirror with undisguised complacency. “ But Fortune owes me a grudge, and pursues me with a guignon as provoking as it is inconvenient. Last night I lost a considerable sum, the final remnant of your supply, and I am come to demand another. Seeing in the papers that monsieur milord, votre mari, was to dine with the ministers (for the English papers leave us ignorant of none of the engagements of les messieurs et dames à la mode), I determined on paying you a visit. Should milord arrive before I depart, you will, of
course, present me to him as an old friend
just arrived from Paris, and the bearer of a letter from your friend, la Marquise de Villeroi. Sa seigneurie will, of course, act l'aimable -1, le gentil : the acquaintance thus made, leave the rest to me: he shall present me to the persons I desire to know, and all will go off à merveille. I see that you disapprove this arrangement,” added he, with a look of perfect nonchalance; “ but I have taken it into my head to enter into fashionable society in London, and your husband is the person I have selected as chaperon."
“ And you tell this to me,” said I, my blood boiling with indignation ; “ to me, who know you for a robber
for an assassin !"
His countenance assumed fearful
expression of malice as he glanced at me, and replied,
“ Bah, bah! you still remember that little
episode ; but you appear to forget your own share in it. Who gave me ingress to the house, and who secured my egress from it? Without your aid, I could not have effected the objects to which you refer. But let that pass;
I am not here to listen to your tragical
reminiscences. I am come for money, and must have it quickly.” I declared that he had taken all
funds at Annandale Castle, and that I had no more.
“What! can you not ask your husband? He is still too short a time married to have
ceased to be uxorious enough to be generous
to you;” and he looked at me in a way that brought the blood to my cheeks.
" But there is no occasion to have recourse
to his liberality,” said he," while these baubles can be converted into money," taking up the diamonds that lay scattered around ; they will do quite as well.”
They must not — cannot be yours!” said I; “ they are the family jewels, in which I have only a life-interest.”
“ Bah, bah!” answered he, “ I stand on no such idle ceremony."
As he spoke, he gathered up the scattered diamonds, placed them in the case, and put it within his coat, which he buttoned over it. In vain I implored him not to take them, and promised to send him money the very next day. He was deaf to my entreaties; and, having said that, shortly, he would call again, and be presented to milord, he rang the bell, and, when the domestic arrived, took a respectful leave of me, and departed.
I am utterly confounded ; and so agitated, by contending emotions, that I am incapable of thinking. Though the jewels are of great value, my husband attaches, even more importance to them from the number of years they have been in the family, than from their intrinsic worth. How shall I be able to conceal that I no longer possess them? How get off appearing at court to-morrow? I am all in a tremor! I must lie down, for my head swims, and I can scarcely support myself.
Delphine, I would prefer death to seeing this wretch intrude himself into the presence of my husband, to remind me of a crime I would give worlds to forget, and the memory of which, ever since I became a wife, is more
hateful to me than ever.
Think of a mis
creant, stained with theft with murder finding himself beneath the roof of an honourable man, and I tacitly sanctioning his monstrous effrontery by my silence! O God, have pity on me!
Lord Annandale found me so ill when he returned, that he was the first to propose my abandoning all thought of going to the drawing-room to-day.
This is a reprieve; but, alas ! a brief one; for in ten days more there will be another, and I shall be expected to go. The kindness of my husband melts me to tears—and this was the man I judged so harshly! How my heart