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horror. Fancy my feelings, Delphine, when I tell you that the artful and vicious man who betrayed me in early youth, and who has avoided me ever since he who, not content with triumphing over my virtue, exposed my infatuation and shame--is now in England! yes, even here, within a short distance --poor, degraded, and desperate. All that Florestan had heard of his ruin is but too true. He has spent the whole of his small fortune, and has exhausted all resources except the infamous one he now adopts, of compelling me to marry him, under pain of disclosing all to my aunt, and to the world. He has ascertained that my aunt is rich, and that I am considered heiress to her wealth. This is his inducement to his present plan ; and I know too well 'of what' he is capable to doubt his putting his threat into execution. What am I to do? where turn for support in this fearful dilemma? He says
he. will arrive at the post-town nearest this to-morrow; and that, if I do not meet him, he will directly seek my aunt, and inform her of all his rights over me.
Oh, Heavens! what is to become of me? who will, who can, protect me from this unprincipled, ruthless being? How I shudder at the thoughts of beholding him, knowing how wholly I am in his power! I am overpowered by terror, and feel a faintness that compels me to leave this unfinished.
Delphine, I have seen this man, and loathe him as never mortal loathed another. Yes, I abhor him and despise myself — oh, how immeasurably! — that I could ever have liked such a wretch. The long years that have elapsed since I knew him, he has evidently passed in a career of vice and profligacy, that has rendered him as hideous and disgusting as he was once the reverse. His manners, too, have fallen with his fortunes; for they are low and brutal beyond any that I ever witnessed, and he appears to be reduced to the most extreme poverty. Such was his attire, that I trembled at being seen by any of the peasants in the vicinity conversing with him.
We met in a retired lane outside the parkwall - a place of rendezvous that he indicated to me in a note, soon after his arrival, when he had reconnoitred the precincts of this abode. The person who brought his letter told the footman, that he believed it was a petition from a poor foreigner in distress. Luckily I was alone when it was given me ; for had my aunt been present, her suspicious eyes would have detected my emotion. I stole to the appointed place like a culprit, and there I found him. Oh, Delphine, had you seen him! -- his face bloated and flushed from the effects of intemperance; his figure attired in a suit of tawdry and threadbare clothes, yet still aiming at fashion ; his whole air resembling Frederick le Maitre in Robert Macaire. A gilt chain was drawn conspicuously through the button-holes of a showy, but soiled waistcoat; an old hat on one side of his tangled loeks; and a cigar in his mouth : but to the expression of his countenance there is no doing justice. The mixture of cunning and reckless daring ---oh, it was fearful !
He addressed me in a tone of easy familiarity, calling me his bonne amie, his chère Caroline. Time," said he,“ has dealt more leniently by you, Caroline, than by me; for play, infernal play! tries faces as well as purses ; and both, sacre Dieu ! have suffered
But you appear cold, reserved not glad to see me.
How is this? Come, come, ma belle, we must be better friends; for
I am, as you know, a sort of husband, and, as such, entitled to certain privileges : ” and the wretch positively attempted to embrace me. Oh, God! the degradation of that moment punished half the evil actions of my life.
“ Stand back !” I exclaimed, hoarsely, half choked by indignation.
“Ha, ha, ha!” he said, “ mademoiselle seems disposed to act la fière ;” and he burst into a contemptuous laugh: “it is a pity that she was not always so prudish. But let that pass : I am not come here to play the lover ; such mummery was well enough when mademoiselle was younger, and better worth the trouble--but now it is different. The years that have elapsed since we parted (for you, like myself, are not in your première jeunesse, though, en verité, très bien conservée) have mended your position, and injured mine. You are the heiress of a rich aunt; I am the heir of naught but what the