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Title: A Wife's Duty - A Tale
Author: Opie, Amelia Alderson, 1769-1853
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Wife's Duty - A Tale" ***

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A WIFE'S DUTY.

 [Illustration: Country House scene by _A H Payne_]
 ["Dearest Helen! why should we ever leave this paradise of sweets?"]



 A
 WIFE'S DUTY,
 A Tale

 by
 Mrs. Opie

 [Illustration: A view between Paris and Marseilles]



 "There is no killing like that which kills the heart."
                                             SHAKSPEARE.


 LONDON:
 PUBLISHED BY GROVE AND SON,
 TRINITY STREET, SOUTHWARK.
 1847.



 A WIFE'S DUTY,


 BEING A CONTINUATION OF A
 "WOMAN'S LOVE."

 PART THE SECOND.

I am only too painfully aware, my dear friend, that in my history of
a "Woman's Love," I have related none but very common occurrences
and situations, and entered into minute, nay, perhaps, uninteresting
details. Still, however common an event may be, it is susceptible of
variety in description, because endlessly various is the manner in which
the same event affects different persons. Perhaps no occurrence ever
affected two human beings exactly in the same manner; but as the rays
of light call forth different hues and gradations of colour, according
to the peculiar surfaces of the objects on which they fall, so common
circumstances vary in their results and their effects, according to the
different natures and minds of those to whom they occur.

My trials have been, and will no doubt continue to be, the trials of
thousands of my sex; but the manner in which I acted under them, and
their effect on my feelings and my character, must be peculiar to
myself. And on these alone I can presume to found my expectation of
affording to you, while you read, the variety which keeps attention
alive, and the interest which repays it.

In the same week which made me a bride Ferdinand De Walden left England,
unable to remain near the spot which had witnessed the birth of his
dearest hopes, and would now witness the destruction of them.

I could have soothed in a degree the "pangs of despised love," by
assuring him that I was convinced nothing but a prior attachment could
have prevented my heart from returning his love. I could have told
him that I seemed to myself to have two hearts; the one glowing with
passionate tenderness for the object of its first feelings, the other
conscious of a deep-rooted and well-founded esteem for him. But it was
my duty to conceal this truth from him, as such an avowal would have
strengthened my hold on his remembrance, and it was now become his duty
to forget.

My mother not very long after my marriage wounded my feelings in a
manner which I could not soon recover. I was speaking of De Walden with
that warmth of regard which I really felt for him, and lamenting that
I should probably now see him no more, when, with a look of agony for
which I was not prepared, she begged me never to mention the name
of De Walden to her again; for that her only chance of being able to
reconcile herself to the marriage which I had made, was her learning
to forget the one which she had so ardently desired.

Eagerly indeed did I pledge my word to her, that I would in future never
name De Walden.

The first twelve months of my wedded life were halcyon days; and the
first months of marriage are not often such,--perhaps they never are,
except where the wedded couple are so young that they are not trammelled
in habits which are likely to interfere with a spirit of accommodation;
nor even then, probably, unless the temper is good and yielding on both
sides. It usually takes some time for the husband and wife to know each
other's humours and habits, and to find out what surrender of their own
they can make with the least reluctance for their mutual good. But we
had youth, and (I speak it not as a boast) we had good temper also.
Seymour, you know, was proverbially good-natured; and I, though an only
child, had not had my naturally happy temper ruined by injudicious
indulgence.

You know that Seymour and I went to Paris, and thence to Marseilles, not
very long after we were married, and returned in six months, to complete
the alterations which we had ordered to be made to our house, under the
superintendence of my mother.

We found our alterations really deserving the name of improvements, and
Seymour enthusiastically exclaimed, "O Helen! never, never will we leave
this enchanting place. Here let us live, my beloved, and be the world to
each other!"

My heart readily assented to this delightful proposition, but even then
my judgement revolted at it.

I felt, I knew that Pendarves loved and was formed for society. I was
sure that by beginning our wedded life with total seclusion, we should
only prepare the way for utter distaste to it; and concealing my own
inclinations, I told him I must stipulate for three months of London
every spring. My husband started with surprise and mortification at
this un-romantic reply to his sentimental proposal, nor could he at all
accede to it; but he complained of my passion for London to my mother,
while the country with me for his companion was quite sufficient for his
happiness.

"These are early times yet," replied my mother coldly; and Seymour was
not satisfied with the mother or the daughter.

"Seymour," said I one day, "since you have declared against keeping
any more terms, and will therefore not read much law till you become a
justice of the peace, pray, tell me how you mean to employ yourself?"

"Why, in the first place," said he, "I shall read or write. But my first
employment shall be to teach you Spanish. I cannot endure to think that
De Walden taught you Italian, Helen."

"But you taught me to love, you know, therefore you ought to forgive
it."

"No, I cannot rest till I also have helped to complete your education."

"Well, but I cannot be learning Spanish all day."

"No; so perhaps I shall set about writing a great work."

"The very thing that I was going to propose, though not exactly a great
work. What think you of a life of poor Chatterton, with critical remarks
on his poems?"

"Excellent! I will do it."

And now having given him a pursuit, I ventured to indulge some
reasonable hopes that home and the country might prove to him as
delightful as he fancied that they would be; and what with studying
Spanish, with building a green-house, with occasional writing, with
study, with getting together materials for this life, and writing
the preface, time fled on very rapid pinions; and after we had been
married two years, and May arrived a second time, Seymour triumphantly
exclaimed, "There, Helen! I believe that you distrusted my love for the
country; but have I once expressed or felt a wish to go to London?"

"The ides of March are come, but not gone," I replied; "and surely if I
wish to go, you will not deny me."

"No, Helen, certainly not," said he in a tone of mortification; "if I am
no longer all-sufficient for your happiness."

Alas! in the ingenuousness of my nature, I gave way when he said this to
the tenderness of my heart, and assured him that my happiness depended
wholly on the enjoyment of his society; and I fear it is too true that
men soon learn to slight what they are sure of possessing. Had I been an
artful woman, and could I have condescended to make him doubtful of the
extent of my love, by a few woman's subterfuges; could I have feigned a
desire to return to the world, instead of owning, as I did, that all my
enjoyment was comprised in home and him; I do think that I might have
been for a much longer period the happiest of wives; but then I should
have been, in my own eyes, despicable as a woman, and I was always
tenacious of my own esteem.

May was come, but not gone--when I found my husband was continually
reading to me, after having previously read to himself, the accounts in
the papers of the gaieties of London.

"What a tempting account this is, Helen, of the Exhibition at Somerset
House!--I should like to see it. Seeing pictures is an elegant rational
amusement. And here are soon to be a ball and supper at Ranelagh. A fine
place Ranelagh for such an entertainment."

Here he read a list of routs and cotillion balls at different places;
but one day he read, with infinite mortification, that our uncle, Mr.
Pendarves, had given a ball on the return of his son-in-law to
Parliament.

"How abominable," cried Seymour, "for my uncle to give a ball, and not
invite us to go up to it!"

"You forget," replied I, "that, knowing our passion for the country, and
that we had abjured the world, he did not like to ask us, because he
knew he should be refused."

"I am not so sure he would have been refused, Helen; or, as to having
abjured the world--No, no; we are not such fools as to do that--are we,
my dearest girl?"

"We are bound by no vows, certainly; and, as soon as retirement is
become irksome to you, we can go to London."

"Did I say that retirement was grown irksome? Oh, fie! such an idea
never entered my thoughts: besides, as this fine ball is over, what
should we go to London for?"

"There may be other fine balls, and fine parties, you know."

"True; but really, Helen, I begin to believe you wish to go to London."

"If you do, I do certainly."

"I!--Not I indeed. Ah, Helen! I suspect you are not ingenuous with me;
and you do wish to go."

I only smiled: but I soon found that the book did not get forward, that
the newspapers were anxiously expected, and that my Spanish master
sometimes forgot his task in the indulgence of reverie; and I debated
within myself, whether it would not be for our interest and our domestic
comfort, to propose to go to London, in order to conceal from him as
long as I could that I was not sufficient for his happiness; and that he
would live and die a man of the world. I was the more ready to do this,
because I wished that my mother should not see my empire was on the
decline. Why did I so wish? I hoped it was because I was desirous to
spare her any anxiety for my peace; but I fear it also was because I did
not like that she should have cause to suspect her choice for me was
likely to have proved a better one than my own. (I believe I have
observed before, how strong my conviction is, that there is scarcely
such a thing in nature as a single motive of action.)

I therefore, in the presence of my mother, hinted a wish to go to London
for six weeks. She started, and looked suspiciously at Pendarves; while
he, with an odd mixture of surprise, joy, and mortification in his
countenance, exclaimed--

"Do I hear right, Helen? Are you, after all you have declared, desirous
of going to London?"

"I am: 'Variety is charming,' says the proverb; and here you know it is
_toujours perdrix_!"

"Well, there, madam," said Pendarves, turning to my mother, "you will
now, I hope, believe what I assured you of some time ago, that Helen
had a passion for London?"

"_C'est selon_," replied my mother, "to use a French phrase, in answer
to Helen's," and darting, as she spoke, a penetrating glance at me.

"I assure you," replied I, "that my wish to go to London originates with
myself, as I believe that this journey to the metropolis is the wisest,
as well as the most agreeable thing I could desire."

My mother sighed; and a "Well, my child, I have no reason to doubt your
word," broke languidly from her lips, while she suddenly rose and left
the room.

"And are you really in earnest, Helen?" said Pendarves.

"Never more so; and unless my proposal is very distasteful to you, I
beg you will write directly, and engage lodgings."

"Distasteful! oh, no! quite the contrary. I shall be proud to exhibit my
lovely wife in London, where, no doubt, she will be as much admired as
she was abroad.--Do you think," he affectionately added, "that I have
forgotten the exquisite pleasure I experienced at seeing you the object
of general attraction wherever you moved?"

This was said and felt kindly; still it did not inspire me with that
confidence which it seemed likely to inspire; for I, though I was
conscious of my husband's personal beauty, had no vanity to gratify in
exhibiting him to the London world. I had no wish to be the most envied
of women, it was sufficient for me to know that I was the happiest; and
I thought that, if Pendarves loved as truly as I did, the consciousness
of his happiness would have been sufficient for him. Still, I am well
aware how wrong it is to judge the love of others according to our own
capability of loving. As well, and as justly, might we confine beauty,
or the power of pleasing, to one cast of features or complexion. All
persons love after a manner of their own; and woe must befal the man or
woman who expects to be loved according to their own way and their own
degree of loving, without any consideration for the different character
and different feelings of the beloved object.

"How absurd I am!" said I to myself, after I had shed some weak tears
in the solitude of my chamber, because Pendarves did not love me, I
found, as I loved him. "How absurd! True, he delights in the idea of
exhibiting me, and I have no wish to exhibit him. After all, he loves
more generously than I do, and my selfishness is nothing to be proud
of."

Thus I reasoned with myself, and tried to fortify my mind to bear the
cares and the dangers which I had, on principle, provoked.

"One word, Helen," said my mother, when she was alone with me after
what had passed relative to my projected journey: "Are you sure, my
dear child, that in urging your husband to go to London you have acted
wisely?"

"As sure as the consciousness of my bounded vision of futurity can allow
me to be. I thought it better to forestal my husband's wishes than to
wait for the expression of them."

"If not better, it was less mortifying," replied my quick-sighted
parent; and we said no more on the subject.

In three days' time we had lodgings procured for us near Hanover Square;
and on the fourth day from that on which I made known my wishes, we set
off for London. But how different were the feelings of my husband and
myself on the occasion! He was all joy and pleased expectation, unmixed
with any painful regret or any anxious fears. But I left, for some
time, a tenderly beloved mother, and the scene of tranquil and certain
enjoyment. I was going, I knew, to encounter, probably, the influence
of rivals, both in men and women, in my husband's attentions, and the
dangerous power of long and early associations. And how did I know but
that into a renewal of intimacy with his former associates I was not
bringing my husband? But I had done what I thought right; and if I had
presumptuously acted on the dictates of human wisdom alone, I prayed,
fervently prayed, that the divine wisdom would take pity on my weakness,
and avert the courted and impending evil.

I was many miles on my journey before I could drive from my mind the
recollection of my mother's countenance when we parted. It did not alone
express sorrow to part with me: it indicated anxiety, foreboding of
evil to happen before we met again; and it required all my husband's
enlivening gaiety and fascinating powers to revive my drooping spirits.
His gaiety, I must own, however, depressed rather than enlivened me at
first; for I was mortified to see with what delight he anticipated our
return to the great world: but, as I had no ill-tempered feelings to
oppose to the influence of his buoyant hilarity and his winning charm of
manner, they at length subdued my depression, and imparted to me their
own pleasant cheerfulness.

"Dear, dear London!" cried Pendarves as our horses' hoofs first rattled
on its pavement, "Dear London! how I love thee! for here I was first
convinced how fondly Helen loved me!" So saying, he pressed me to his
heart, and a feeling of revived confidence stole over mine.

We found my uncle and Mrs. Pendarves still in London; but I did not feel
as rejoiced on the occasion as they and my husband did. The latter was
glad because he had in them proper protectors for his wife, whenever
he was obliged to leave me; and the former, because they had really
an affection for us. But I knew so much of Mrs. Pendarves, by the
description I had heard of her from Lady Helen and my mother, and what I
had observed myself, that I dreaded being exposed to her home truths and
her indiscreet communications.

It was not long before we found ourselves completely in the vortex of a
London life. And as, for the most part, my husband's engagements and
mine were the same, I lost the gloomy forebodings with which I left
home, and even lost my fears of Mrs. Pendarves.

One day Pendarves told me he was going to dine with an old friend of
his, Maurice Witred; but, as I was not going out, he hoped to be back to
drink tea with me; but I expected him in vain, and he did not return
till bed-time.

He told me he was sorry to have disappointed me; but his friend had
prevailed on him to go to the play. This excuse was so sufficient, and
his wish to accompany Mr. Witred so natural, that I should have had no
misgiving whatever had I not observed a certain degree of constraint in
his manner, and a consciousness as if he had not told me all. However,
I was satisfied with the alleged cause of his absence, and I slept as
soundly as usual. But the next morning came Mrs. Pendarves, saying she
was glad to find me alone. She told me she had met my husband, and she
had given him such a set to! (to use her own elegant phrase.)

"And wherefore?"

"Oh! for going to the play with Maurice Witred and his lady."

"Lady! I did not know he was married."

"He is not married; and it was very wrong, and had an ill-appearance for
a young, married man to be seen in public, though it was in a private
box, with a profligate man and his mistress. I thought he would not tell
you; but I was resolved you should know it, that you might scold him
with 'the grave rebuke of a severe youthful beauty and a grace.'"

I did not reply, even to assure her I was better pleased that she
should scold my husband than that I should do it myself; for I knew
she was incorrigible, and her communication had thrown me into a
painful reverie; for I found that Pendarves had begun to practise
disingenuousness and concealment with me, and in the most dangerous
way; for he had concealed only half the truth; by which means persons
make a sort of compromise with their integrity, and lay a salvo to
their consciences; for they fancy they are not lying, though they are
certainly deceiving; whereas, if they tell a downright lie, they, at
least, KNOW they are sinning, and may be led by conscious shame into
amendment. But there is no hope for those who thus delude themselves;
and as _ce n'est que le prémier pas qui coute_, I felt that I had lost
some of my confidence in my husband's sincerity. Alas! when perfect
confidence between man and wife is once destroyed, there is an end to
perfect happiness! But I tried to shake off my abstraction; and I
listened as well as I could to my talkative companion, whose passion
was to give advice, that troublesome but common propensity in weak
people; and like such persons, she was always boasting of the advice she
had given, that which she would give, or of the dressings and _set-tos_
which she had bestowed, or meant to bestow. At length, however, much to
my relief she went away, and not long after Pendarves returned.

"So," said he, "I find Mrs. Pendarves has been with you, and suppose
(blushing as he spoke) that she has been telling tales of me?"

"And of herself," I replied, smiling as unconcernedly as I could; "for
she owns to the presumption of having given you a _set-to_, as she calls
it."

"Yes: but I suppose she told you the cause?"

"No doubt."

"And do you think it deserved so severe a lecture?"

"I think it was not right in a respectable married man to seem to give
his countenance to such a connexion as the one in question; and I
suspect that you are of the same opinion."

"I am; but why do you think so?"

"From conceit; because I believe that fear of my censure made you
conceal from me what you had done."

"True, most true--and my repugnance to tell you all proved to me still
more how wrong that all was."

"My dearest Seymour," I replied, "believe me, that not all which you can
communicate to me can ever distress me so much as my consciousness of
your want of ingenuousness, and of your telling only half the truth can
do. I saw by your manner something was wrong, and I shall ever bless the
weak indiscretion of Mrs. Pendarves, because it led to this salutary
explanation; and I trust that the next time you go with Mr. Witred and
his lady to the play, you will mention both."

"But I shall _never_ go with them again," eagerly replied my husband,
"as you, Helen think it improper."

"But I may be too rigid in my ideas; and I beg you to be ruled by your
own judgment, rather than mine. All I ask is, to be told the whole
truth."

Pleasant to my feelings then, and dear to my recollection since, is the
look of tenderness and approbation which Pendarves gave me as I spoke
these words; and when he left me, peace and confidence seemed restored
to my mind.

The next evening was the fashionable night for Ranelagh, and my husband
and I, who dined out, were to accompany a large party to that scene of
gay resort.

Ranelagh was the place for tall women to appear to advantage in. Little
women, however beautiful, were likely to be unnoticed in that circling
crowd; but, even unattended with beauty, height and a good carriage of
the person were sure to be noticed there. The pride which Pendarves took
in my appearance was never so fully gratified as at Ranelagh; for while
I leaned upon him, I used to feel my arm pressed gently to his side as
he heard or saw the admiration which my lofty stature (to speak modestly)
excited. This evening as I was quite a new face in the splendid round,
I was even followed as well as gazed at; and I was not sorry when our
carriage was announced, though I was flattered on my own account,
and pleased on my husband's; for I was eager to escape from some
particularly impertinent starers, especially as I found that Pendarves
was disposed to resent the freedom with which some men of high rank
thought themselves privileged to follow and to look at me. Before we
separated, some of the party proposed that we should meet again at
Ranelagh on the next night but one, and while I hesitated, my husband
exclaimed, "No mock modesty, Helen; no declining an opportunity, which
you must enjoy, of being admired. So, pray tell our friends you gladly
accede to their proposal."

"I gladly accede to your proposal," cried I laughing, but blushing with
conscious vanity at the same time.

"What an obedient wife!" cried one of the ladies; "public homage has not
spoiled her yet, I see."

"Nor can it," replied I, "while I possess my husband's homage, which I
value far more."

"While you possess it! Then, if his homage should fail you, you might
perhaps be pleased with the other?"

"I humbly hope not: but if exposed to that bitter trial, I dare not
assert that I should not yield to it as scores of other women do
every day; for I must say, in defence of my sex, that good husbands,
generally speaking, make good wives; and that most women originally
value the attentions of their husbands more than those of other men. On
your sex, therefore, O false and fickle man! be visited the crimes of
ours!"

This grave discourse provoked some laughter from my audience, from which
I was glad to escape to our carriage, which had waited for us while we
alighted.

"So, Helen," said my husband as we went home, "it is your opinion,

 That when weak women go astray,
 Their lords are more in fault than they."

"It is."

"And you said what you did as a gentle hint and a kind warning to me how
I behaved myself?"

"Not so," said I eagerly: "I humbly trust that even your example would
not make me swerve from my duty; and my observation was a general one.
Still, my favourite and constant prayer is 'Let me not be led into
temptation;' and believe me, Pendarves, that she who is able to admit
that she may possibly err, is less liable to do so than the woman who
seems to believe she is incapable of it."

"Helen," said my husband, "I never for one moment associated together
the idea of you and frailty: therefore, dear girl, I will carry you to
Ranelagh again and again; for I do love to see you admired! and I feel
proud while I think and know that even princes would woo your smiles in
vain."

He kept his word, and we never missed a full night at Ranelagh. But one
evening completely destroyed the unmixed pleasure which I had hitherto
enjoyed there.

We had not been round the room more than twice when we were joined by
Lord Charles Belmour, a former associate of my husband's, who, after a
little while, begged to have some private conversation with him; and
taking his arm, Pendarves consigned me to the care of the gentleman with
us, on whose other arm hung a lady to whom he was busily making love:
consequently, his attention was wholly directed to her, and I had
nothing to divert mine from the conversation which occasionally met my
ear between my husband and his noble friend, who walked close behind us.

Sometimes this conversation was held in a low voice, and then I ceased
to listen to it; but when they spoke as usual, I thought I was justified
in attending to them.

"Look there!" said Lord Charles, as we were passing a box in which sat
two ladies splendidly dressed, accompanied by two gentlemen, "look,
Pendarves, there is an old friend of yours!"

"Ha!" said my husband, lowering his voice, "I protest it is she! I did
not know she was in England. Who are those men with her?"

"What, are you jealous?"

"Nonsense! Who are they?"

"The man in brown is husband to the lady in blue; and for the sake of
associating with a titled lady, which your friend is, you know, he
allows his wife, who is not pretty enough to be in danger, to go about
with her and her _cher ami_--the young man in green. You know she was
always a favourite with young men."

"True, and young indeed must the man be who is taken in by her
fascinations."

"But she is wonderfully handsome still."

"I hardly looked at her."

"We are passing her again--_Now_, then, look at her if you dare."

"Dare!"

"Yes: for her eyes are very like the basilisk's."

"I will risk it."

_I_ too now looked towards the box we were approaching; at the end of
which stood a young man in green, hanging over a woman, who though no
longer young, and wholly indebted to art for her bloom, appeared to my
now jealous eyes the handsomest woman I had ever beheld. I also observed
that she saw and recognised my husband; for she suddenly started, and
looked disordered, while an expression of anger stole over her face. A
sudden stop in the crowd, to allow the PRINCE and his party to pass, who
were just entering, forced us to be stationary a few minutes before her
box. Oh! how my heart beat during this survey! But one thing gratified
me: I was sure as I did not see her bow her head or curtsy, that
Pendarves did not notice her. And yet, Lord Charles had, uncontradicted,
called her his old friend!

Who, then, and what was she? would he tell me? Perhaps he would when he
got home; if he did not, I felt that I should be uneasy.

We soon moved on again, and I heard Lord Charles say,

"Cruel Pendarves, not even to look at or touch your hat to her! Surely
that would not have committed you in any way."

"It would have been acknowledging her for an acquaintance, which I do
not now wish to do, especially in my wife's presence," I conclude he
said, for he spoke too low for me to hear; but I judge so from the
answer of Lord Charles.

"Oh! then, if your wife was not present, you would not be so cruel?"

"I did not say so."

"No: but you implied it."

"I deny that also."

Then coming up to me, my husband again offered me his arm, and Lord
Charles left us. I soon after saw this beautiful woman walking in
the circle, and heard her named by the gentleman next me as Lady
Bell Singleton--a dashing widow more famed for her beauty and her
fascinations than her morals. But Pendarves said nothing; and though she
looked very earnestly at him, and examined me from head to foot as I
passed, I saw that he never turned his eyes on her, and seemed resolved
not to see her.

I had therefore every reason to be pleased with my husband's conduct;
but I felt great distrust of Lord Charles. I thought he was a man,
from what I had overheard, whom I could never like as a companion for
Pendarves; and I disliked him the more, because, if I had given him
the slightest encouragement, he would have been my devoted and public
admirer, and would have delighted to make his attachment to me and our
intimacy the theme of conversation. I also saw that my cold reserve had
changed his partiality into dislike; and I could readily believe that he
would be glad in revenge to wean my husband from me. Still I could not
wish that I had treated him otherwise than I did; for I could not have
done it without compromising my sense of right, as half measures in such
cases are of no avail; and if a married woman does not at once show that
pointed and particular admiration is offensive to her, the man who
offers it has a right to think his devoirs may in time be acceptable.

Here I may as well give you the character of this friend of my
husband's.

Lord Charles Belmour was the son of the Duke of ----; and never was any
man more proud of the pre-eminence bestowed by rank and birth: but to
do him justice, he began life with a wish to possess more honourable
distinctions; and had he been placed in better circumstances, the world
might have heard of him as a man of science, of learning, and of talents.
But he had every thing to deaden his wish of studious fame, and nothing
to encourage it. Besides, he was too indolent to toil for that renown
which he was ambitious to enjoy; and instead of reading hard at college,
he was soon led away into the most unbounded dissipation, while he saw
honours daily bestowed on others which he had once earnestly wished to
deserve and gain himself. But he quickly drove all weak repinings from
him, proudly resolving in future to scorn and undervalue those laurels
which could now never be his.

He therefore chose to declare it was beneath a nobleman, or even a
gentleman, to gain a prize, or take a high degree; and this assertion,
in which he did not himself believe, was quoted by many an idle dunce,
glad so to excuse the ignorance which disgraced him.

But, spite of this pernicious opinion, Lord Charles never sought the
society of those who acted upon it; and Pendarves, who had distinguished
himself at Oxford, was his favourite companion there.

When Lord Charles entered the world, he gave himself up to all its
vanities and irregularities. But he was conscious of great powers, and
also conscious that he had suffered them to run waste. Still if he could
not employ them in a way to excite admiration, he knew he could do so in
a way to excite fear; and after all, power was power, and to possess it
was the first wish of his heart.

Accordingly, though conscious he had himself the follies which he
lashed, he had no mercy on those of his acquaintance; for, as he himself
observed, "it is easier to laugh at the follies of others than amend
one's own;" and though courted as an amusing companion, he was often
shunned as a dangerous one.

Women, also, who defied him either as a suitor or an enemy, have rued
the day when they ventured to dispute his power: but, as I at length
discovered, there was one way to disarm him; and that was to own his
ability to do harm, and try to conciliate him as an active and
efficient friend.

In that case his generous and kind feelings conquered his less amiable
ones, and his friendship was as sincere and valuable as his enmity was
pernicious.

But, with no uncommon inconsistency, while he declared that he thought
a nobleman would disgrace himself if he sung well, or sung at all, or
entered the lists in any way with persons _à talens_, he condescended
to indulge before those whom he respected in the lowest of all talents,
though certainly one of the most amusing, that of mimickry--a gift which
usually appertains to other talents, as a border of shining gold to the
fag end of a piece of India muslin, looking more showy indeed than the
material to which it adheres; but how inferior in value and in price!

But to resume my narrative. My husband did _not_ mention Lady Bell to
me. The next time I went to Ranelagh with mixed feelings--for I dreaded
to see this lady again, and to observe that Pendarves had chosen at
length to own her for an acquaintance; for, had he been sure of never
renewing his acquaintance, why should he not have named her to me?

It was also with contending feelings that I found myself obliged to have
Mrs. Pendarves as my companion; for though I wished to be informed on
the subject of my anxiety, I dreaded it at the same time: and I was sure
that she would tell me all she knew.

A nephew of Mrs. Pendarves was our escort to Ranelagh; and my husband,
who dined with Lord Charles Belmour (much to my secret sorrow), was to
join us there.

My eyes looked every where in search of Lady Bell Singleton, and at
length I discovered her. My companion did the same; and with a sort
of scream of surprise, she said, "Oh, dear! if there is not Lady Bell
Singleton! I thought she was abroad. Do you know, my dear, when she
returned to England?"

"How should I know, madam? The very existence of the lady was a stranger
to me till the other evening."

"Indeed! Why, do not you really know that is the lady on whose account
your mother forbade your marriage with Pendarves?"

"No, madam, my mother was too discreet to explain her reasons."

"Well, my dear, you need not look so uneasy--it was all off long before
he married you--though she is a very dangerous woman where she gets a
hold, and looks

 'So sure of her beholder's heart,
  Neglecting for to take them.'"

I scarcely heard what she said, for a sick faint feeling came over me at
the consciousness that I was now in the presence of a woman for whom
Pendarves had undoubtedly felt some sort of regard; but it was jealousy
for the past, not of the present, that overcame me, though my husband's
total silence with regard to this lady was, I could not but think, an
alarming circumstance. And "it was on her account your mother forbade
your marriage with Pendarves" still vibrated painfully in my ears, when
Lord Charles and he appeared. With a smile by no means as unconstrained
as usual I met him, and accepted his proffered arm. Lord Charles walked
with us for a round or two--then left us, whispering as he did so,
"Remember! _do_ notice her, she expects it, and I think she has a right
to it."

Pendarves muttered, "Well, if it must be so," and his companion
disappeared.

"Soon after we saw him with Lady Bell Singleton leaning on his arm; and
I felt convinced he had made the acquaintance since we were last at
Ranelagh, as he never noticed her till that night. We were now meeting
them for the second time, and passing close to them, when I saw Lady
Bell pointedly try to catch my husband's eye: and no longer avoiding it,
he took off his hat, and civilly, though distantly, returned the cordial
but silent salutation which she gave him.

"This," thought I, "is in consequence of Lord Charles's interference,
and explains what Pendarves meant by 'Well, if I must, I must.'"

How I wished that he would break his silence on this subject, and be
ingenuous! But I felt it was a delicate subject for him to treat--and I
resolved to break the ice myself.

"That was a very beautiful woman to whom you bowed just now," said I,
glad to find that Mrs. Pendarves was looking another way.

"She _has_ been beautiful indeed!" was his reply.

Then looking at me, surprised I doubt not at the tremor of my voice, he
was equally surprised at my excessive paleness, and with some little
sarcasm in his tone, he said,

"My dear Helen, is my only bowing to a fine woman capable of making your
cheek pale, and your voice trembling?"

"No," said I, "not so--you wrong me indeed; nor did I know that my cheek
was pale." I said no more, shrinking from the seeming indelicacy of
forcing a confidence which he was disposed to withhold.

"Helen," said he, looking up in my face, "I see our aunt Pendarves has
been at her old work, telling tales of me. I protest I shall insist on
my uncle's sending her muzzled into your company."

"The best way of muzzling her would be to anticipate all her
communications yourself. It would be such an effectual silence to a
woman like our little aunt, to be able to say, 'I know that already!'"

"That's artfully put, Helen! But, really, there are some things which I
have respected you too much to name to you. A general knowledge of my
past faults and follies you have long had; but, from no unworthy motive,
I have shrunk from talking to you of any particular one: and I feel
pained and shocked, my beloved wife, to know that you are aware of that
lady's having once been very near, if not very dear, to me in the days
of my early youth."

"Enough," said I, "enough! Forget that I know any thing which you wished
me not to know, and assure yourself that I will forget also."

"You are a wise and good girl," he replied, kindly pressing the arm that
reposed in his: "but my little aunt is capable of making much mischief
between married persons, where the mind of the wife is weak, and her
temper suspicious."

But how irritated I was against Lord Charles that evening! He forced
conversation with Pendarves whenever we passed him, and gave Lady Bell
an opportunity of fixing her dark eyes on him in a manner which having
once seen, I took care never to see again. I am sure it offended him as
much as it did me; for though Lady Bell was not absolutely excluded from
society, she was by no means a woman to be forced on the notice of any
man who had a virtuous wife leaning on his arm; and in returning her
bow, Pendarves had done all that civility required of him: but I am
convinced that Lord Charles wished to give me pain; and he was also in
hopes that I should resent the appearance of any acquaintance remaining
between the quondam lovers, and thereby occasion a coolness between my
husband and myself.

This was the longest and the only painful evening I had ever passed at
Ranelagh; and from that moment I took such a dislike to it, that I was
very glad when the great heat of the weather made my usual companions at
such places substitute Vauxhall for Ranelagh. But at Vauxhall the same
lovely and unwelcome vision crossed my path; and I once overheard a
gentleman say, looking back at my husband, who had stopt to speak to
some ladies, "What a lucky fellow that Pendarves is! The two finest
women in the garden--aye, or in London, are his wife, and his quondam
mistress." The compliment to myself was deprived of its power to please
me, by these wounding words, my husband's "quondam mistress." And was
then that disgraceful connexion so well known? The thought was an
overwhelming one, and I began to resent my husband's having bowed to
this woman in my presence. But perhaps he was entreated to do so in
order to shield her reputation? If so, could he do otherwise? And as I
was always glad to find an excuse for Pendarves, I satisfied myself
thus, and my recent displeasure was forgotten.

When we had extended the six weeks we meant to pass in London to two
months, I expressed a wish of returning into the country; and Seymour
complied with so little reluctance, that I prepared to return home with
a much lighter heart than I had expected ever to feel again. But
Mrs. Pendarves had a parting gift for me in her own way--a piece of
intelligence which clouded over the unexpected brilliancy of my home
prospects.

"Well my dear niece," said she, "I am glad you are going, though I am
sorry to part with you; for I do not like Seymour's friend, Lord Charles
Belmour. He seems to me, my dear, to have, in the words of the poet,

 'That low cunning which from fools supplies,
  And aptly too, the means of being wise.'

"And I have thought no good of him ever since I saw him come out of Lady
Bell Singleton's house with your husband."

"What!" cried I, catching hold of a chair, for my strength seemed
suddenly to fail me, "does my husband visit Lady Bell?"

"Yes, that once I am sure he did: but then I do not doubt but that Lord
Charles took him there; for I am told his great pleasure is to alienate
his married friends from their wives."

Alas! from what a pinnacle of happiness and confidence did this foolish
woman cast me down in one moment! Reply I could not; and she went on to
give me one piece of advice, and that was, never, if I could help it, to
admit Lord Charles within my doors, and to discourage his intimacy with
my husband as much as I could.

By this time I had a little recovered this overwhelming blow; and I
resolved in self-defence, and in defence of my husband's character, to
tell her I must believe she was mistaken in thinking she saw Pendarves
come out of Lady Bell's house; but whether that were true or false, I
must request her to keep such communications to herself in future, as a
wife was the last person whom any one should presume to inform of the
errors of her husband. But company came in; and soon after my uncle
drove up to the house in his travelling carriage, and in a few minutes
more they were both on the road to Cornwall. If Seymour, when he came
in, had found me alone with Mrs. Pendarves, he would have attributed the
strange abstraction of my manner to some information which she had given
me; but he now imputed it to the head-ach of which I complained; and
when my visitors went he urged me to go and lie down.

This was unfortunate, as I should have disliked excessively to tell
him what his aunt had seen, and to let him observe how uneasy the
communication had made me; for I was aware that a wife whose jealousy is
so very apt to take alarm, is as troublesome to a husband as one whose
nerves are so weak that she goes into a fit at the slightest noise, and
starts at the mere shutting of a door. Still, my husband's ignorance of
the cause of my indisposition was a great trial to me; for it forced me
to have, for the first time, a secret from him. And he too, it seemed,
was keeping a secret from me; for, spite of my entreaties that he would
always tell me himself what it might grieve me to hear from others, he
had called on Lady Bell Singleton, without telling me that he had done
so!

Alas! I did indeed lie down, and I did indeed darken my room; but it
was to hide my agitation and my tears: nor till Pendarves went out to
dinner, which, with some difficulty I prevailed on him to do, did I
suffer the light to penetrate into my apartments, or my swollen eye-lids
to be seen of any one. But then I rose; then, too, I rallied my spirits;
for, in the first place I was cheered by my husband's affectionate
unwillingness to leave me, and in the next I had nearly convinced myself
that Mrs. Pendarves had not seen him when she fancied she did.

By this resolute endeavour to look only on the bright side, I was
enabled when my husband returned, which he did very early, to receive
him with unforced smiles and cheerfulness.

The next day we set off immediately after breakfast on our journey
home; and I met my mother with a countenance so happy, that the look of
anxious inquiry with which she beheld me was immediately exchanged for
one of tearful joy.

"Thank God! my dearest child," she fervently exclaimed, "that I see you
again, and see you thus!"

Why had she looked so anxious, and so inquiringly? and why was she thus
so evidently surprised, as well as rejoiced?

No doubt, thought I, she is in correspondence with our gossiping aunt,
and she has told my mother all she told me.--No doubt, also, she has all
along been that secret source whence was derived my mother's fear of
uniting me to Pendarves.--But then, was not her information derived from
her husband, and was it not always only too authentic?

As these thoughts passed my mind, it was well for me that my mother was
talking to Seymour, and did not observe me.

Two months had greatly embellished the appearance of our abode; and it
looked so green and gay, and was so fragrant from the summer flowers,
that Pendarves, always alive to present objects and present impressions,
exclaimed as we followed my mother through the grounds, "Dearest Helen!
why should we ever leave this paradise of sweets? Here let us live and
die!"

"Agreed," said I; and my mother looked at us with delighted eyes, but
eyes that beamed through tears.

Calm and tranquil were the months that followed--though my husband's
brow was always clouded when letters arrived bearing the London
post-mark; and when I asked who his correspondent was, he answered,
"Lord Charles;" but never communicated to me the contents of these
letters.

In walking, riding, receiving and paying visits, passed the time till
September, when my husband had an invitation to spend a few days in
Norfolk, on a shooting excursion; and when he returned he found me
confined to my sofa with indisposition. Never had woman a tenderer nurse
than he proved himself during the three succeeding months: at the end of
that time I was quite recovered; and as he had business in London, he
declared his intention of going thither for some days, as he could not
bear, he said, to leave me some few months later, and when a time was
approaching so dear to his wishes and expectations.

To London therefore he went, and left me to combat and indulge
alternately the fears of a jealous and the confidence of a tender wife.

His letters became a study to me. I tried to find out by his expressions
in what state of mind he wrote. Sometimes I fancied them hurried, and
expressive of a mind not at ease with itself; then in another passage I
read the unembarrassed eloquence of faithful and confiding love.

During his absence my mother found me a bad companion: I was for ever
falling into reverie, and a less penetrating eye than hers would have
discovered that my symptoms were those of mental uneasiness.

At length he returned, and he gazed on my faded cheek and evidently
anxious countenance with such tender concern, that my care-worn brow
instantly resumed its wonted cheerfulness; and when my mother came to
welcome him, she was surprised at the alteration in my looks.

"Foolish child!" said she in a faltering voice, when Pendarves left the
room, "Foolish child! to depend thus for happiness, nay health and life
itself perhaps, on one of frail and human mould! I see how it is with
you: you were ill and anxious yesterday, but he is come, and you need no
other physician."

"Did you see much of Lord Charles?" said I the next day, looking
earnestly for my needle while I spoke, as I was conscious that my
countenance was not tranquil.

"No--yes--on the whole I did. But why do you ask? I believe he is no
favourite of yours."

"Certainly not."

"But I hope, Helen, you are not so _very_ a wife as to wish me to give
up an old friend merely because he does not please you?"

"No: I am not so unreasonable, even though I could give substantial
reasons for my dislike."

"And pray what are these reasons? Oh! that reminds me of a joke Lord
Charles has against you, Helen. He tells me he is sure you thought that
he fell in love with you when, on being first presented to you, he
expressed his admiration in his usual frank way, which means nothing;
for he says your prudery took alarm, and you drew up your beautiful
neck to its utmost height, and have My lorded and Your lordship'd him
ever since into the most awful distance."

"True; but for a manner that means nothing, I never saw a manner more
offensive to a modest wife. However, I am very glad he has been so
clear-sighted as to my motives; for I wish him to know that I do not
love such marked homage from him, or any other friend of yours, even in
a joke."

"You are piqued, Helen."

"I am."

"Perhaps you wish me to call Lord Charles out? But indeed were I to call
out all the men who look at you with admiring eyes, I should soon sleep
with my fathers, or send numbers to sleep with theirs. No, no, excuse
me, Helen. I will not quarrel with Lord Charles; for even if the fire
ever was kindled, your snow has now completely extinguished it; and I do
assure you he is a very good fellow, though odd, and not always
pleasant."

"Is he paying his court to that Lady Bell?" said I, speaking her name
with difficulty, and preceding it with an impertinent, _that_.

"I really--I--cannot say positively. But that Lady Bell, as you
emphatically call her, has quarrelled with that fine young man whom you
saw at Ranelagh, and perhaps it is on his account."

I said no more; for I saw his colour heighten, and that his manner was
hurried: and I tried to believe that the quarrel was wholly on Lord
Charles Belmour's account.

I now however took myself seriously to task; for was I not violating a
wife's duty in trying to find errors in the conduct of my husband? and
was I not by so doing endangering my own peace of mind, my health, and
consequently, in my situation, my life? Was I not also depressing those
spirits, and weakening those powers of exertion which ought to make home
agreeable and alluring to the dear object of my weak solicitude?

The result of this severe self-examination was, that I resolutely
determined to turn away from every anxious and jealous suggestion, to
believe as long as I could, that my husband was as deserving of my
love and confidence when absent as he was when present, and to make a
vigorous effort to stop myself on my way to being a fretful, jealous,
and miserable wife.

Nor did I break my resolution, as you well know, my dear friend; for, if
I had, you would never have even fancied that I deserved to be exhibited
as an example of a wife's duty. But if I had not begun to school myself
when I did, all would have been over with me.

I cannot help observing here, that this painful jealousy, which I
endured so early in my married life, was owing to my having, in despite
of my mother's wise prohibition, united myself to a man of the steadiness
of whose principles I had had too much reason to doubt; and I could not
help saying to myself sometimes,--"If I had married De Walden, I should
have had none of these misgivings."

As the hour of my confinement drew nearer and nearer, Seymour's tender
attentions increased; and at length, after severe suffering I became a
mother; but scarcely had I been allowed to gaze upon my child, scarcely
had I heard its first faint cry,--that sound which thrills so powerfully
through the heart,--when its voice was stopt by death, and it closed its
eyes for ever.

I am afraid I should have borne this affliction very ill, had I not been
obliged to exert myself to quiet the fears of my husband and my mother
for my life, as they thought that the shock might be fatal.

I had also to console them; for they were both grieved and disappointed.
But their feelings were transitory; mine were still in full force when
they believed they were forgotten: for, besides the sorrow I felt for
the loss of that being whose helpless cry still vibrated in my ears, I
felt that I had lost in it a strong cement to the tie which bound my
husband to me. Nor till I found myself again likely to become a mother
was I really consoled.

A circumstance happened which induced me to conceal my situation; and
this was an invitation which my mother received from the Count De
Walden, to accompany his sister, and her husband back to Switzerland
when they left England, which they were then visiting, and to stay some
months with him and Ferdinand De Walden.

This invitation I well knew she would refuse, if she knew that accepting
it would prevent her being with me during my period of suffering; and I
allowed her to depart for Switzerland, with the expectation of returning
time enough to attend on me.

I own that this was a great trial to my selfishness, as I knew I should
miss her greatly: but I thought the excursion would be so pleasing a
one to her, that I felt it my duty to make the sacrifice. I suffered my
husband to remain in ignorance also, lest he should betray me to her:
and I had judged rightly; for when I owned the truth to him, it was with
great difficulty I could prevail on him not to write, and say I had
deceived her.

Alas! I had but too much reason to regret even this deception, which
might be called a virtuous one.

It so happened that I had no married friend, or near relation, who could
come to be with me at that time; and as Pendarves wished me to have a
female companion, I was induced to accept the eagerly proffered services
of a young lady, the eldest daughter of a numerous family, who had
conceived a great attachment to my husband and me, and was very
solicitous to be with me during my confinement.

This girl had such a warm and open manner, that I fancied her one of the
most artless of human beings; and I was so weak as to consider the gross
flattery which she lavished on me and on Pendarves, as the honest
overflowings of an affectionate heart.

I was, I own, a little startled when she used to kiss my husband's
picture as it lay on my table, when she became my guest, and when I
saw her come behind him, and cut off a lock of his hair, but as she
afterwards begged for a piece of mine, that she might unite them in a
locket, I considered this little circumstance as nothing but a flight
of girlish romance.

What Pendarves thought of it I know not; but he blushed excessively when
he saw that I observed it, and tried to take the hair from her; on which
a sort of romping ensued, that I thought vulgar, I own; but it called
forth no other feeling.

Perhaps had she been handsome I should not have been so easy; but she
was in my eyes plain and could scarcely, I thought, be called a fine
girl. Besides, I had heard Seymour say she was dowdy and awkward. But
few men are proof against the flatteries and attentions of any woman
who is not old and ugly; and I soon found, though without any jealous
fear, that Charlotte Jermyn had power to amuse my husband, and that her
enthusiastic admiration of every thing which she liked was a source of
never-failing entertainment to him.

He now was sufficiently intimate with her, he thought, to venture
to hint the necessity of a reform in her dress; and she wore better
clothes, became clean, if not neat, and in time she even learnt to look
rather tidy; while Pendarves was flattered to see the effect of his
admonitions, and used to reward her by challenging her to a long walk.

At length, after I had been confined to my sofa some weeks, I had the
happiness of giving birth to a daughter; and my young nurse was most
kind and assiduous in her attendance upon me; indeed, so much so that
she often shortened my husband's visits, on the kind plea that I was
not yet strong enough to bear long ones from one so dear; and I, though
reluctantly, dismissed him.

But I soon observed that her own visits became very short; that she
used still to kiss me, and call me "dearest creature!" and tell me how
beautiful I looked in my night-cap: but now, when I asked for her I was
told that she was gone out with Pendarves. And once, as he was standing
by my bedside, she was not contented with saying he had been with me
long enough, but she linked her arm in his, and dragged him away in a
manner at once hoydenish and familiar.

I also saw that though she loaded my sweet baby with caresses when he
was present, and tried to take her from him, she scarcely noticed it
when he was absent.

Still I felt no distrust, because I had confidence in my husband's
honour and affection. But I now saw that the countenances of my nurse
and my maid, when I inquired for Miss Jermyn, used to assume an angry
expression; and once my maid, muttered, that she supposed she was with
her master, for he could not stir but she was after him.

This I did not seem to hear; but it made me thoughtful.

When I had been confined three weeks, I was able to leave my chamber
for my dressing-room, which overlooked the garden; and one day, as I
ventured to the window for the first time, I saw Charlotte Jermyn
walking with my husband, and ever and anon hanging on his arm, almost
leaning her head against him occasionally, and looking up in his face
(he the while reading a book) with an expression of fondness which
alarmed and disgusted me. I then saw her snatch the book from him; and
as he tried to regain it, a great romping match ensued, and lasted till
they ran out of my sight, and left me pale, motionless, and miserable.
For I found that I had been exposing my husband to the allurements of a
coquettish romp; and though I acquitted both him and her of aught that
was wrong, I still felt that no prudent wife would place the man she
loved in such a situation.

Many, many a wife, it is well known, has had to rue the hour when at
a period like this she has introduced into her family a young and
seemingly attached friend.

What was to be done? I saw that the servants were aware of what was
passing, and they would not judge with the candour that I did.

I therefore convinced myself that regard for my husband's reputation,
and not jealousy, determined me to get down stairs and out again as fast
as possible, in order that I might make some excuse for sending my
dangerous attendant away, or at least be a guard over her conduct.

But, to my great surprise and joy, my beloved mother arrived most
unexpectedly that morning; for I had insisted on her not returning
sooner on my account, as I was so well. However, she did come; and I
received her with rapture for more reasons than one; for now I had an
excuse for sending Miss Jermyn away directly, as I wanted the best room
for my mother.

Accordingly, I told her that in two day's time my mother would take up
her abode with us for a few weeks; and that as Mrs. Jermyn had long been
desirous of her return, I hoped she would hold herself in readiness to
set off for home on the next day but one, as my mother always slept in
the room which _she_ occupied.

"O dearest Mrs. Seymour! do not send me away from you," cried the
strange girl, clasping and wringing her hands, "or I shall die with
grief; for I shall think you do not love me, and I shall never survive
it!"

The time for my belief in such rhodomontade was now happily past, and I
coolly replied, "that in no other but the best and most convenient room
in the house could I allow my mother to sleep; therefore she must go."

"Why so, Mrs. Seymour? I can sleep any where. There is a press bed in
the little room; and I care not where I sleep, so I am but permitted to
stay."

Here she attempted to throw her arms fondly round me, while she repeated,
"Do, there's a sweet woman, do let me stay!"

"Impossible!" I replied, disengaging myself with a look of aversion from
her embrace. On which she started up and exclaimed,

"I am sure some one has been telling you stories of me, and you are set
against me!"

"There is no one in this house, Miss Jermyn, who would presume to say
any thing to me against any guest of mine."

"And pray, does Mr. Pendarves know I am to be sent away at a moment's
warning?"

"He does not yet know that you are going away at two day's notice, to
make room for my mother, and that I may enjoy her society, after a long
absence, uninterrupted."

"Oh! if that be all, I will promise never to interrupt your
_tête-à-têtes_."

"They will not be _tête-à-têtes_: my husband will be of our party."

"And pray," answered she with great sullenness, "how am I to go home? I
am sure Mr. Pendarves will not approve of my going home in the stage
without a protector."

"Nor would his wife: and I will settle the mode of conveyance with him."

"Oh! if I must go, I will see if I cannot settle that myself."

At this moment my mother entered the room, and with her my husband; and
Miss, to hide her disordered countenance, abruptly disappeared.

"What is the matter with Miss Jermyn?" said Seymour: and I told him, but
in a voice that was not as assured as I wished it to be.

"So soon!" cried he, starting. "Is it not too sudden? Will it not look
as if she was sent away in a hurry?"

"Sent away in a hurry!" exclaimed my mother, looking earnestly in his
face. "Why should any one suspect that?"

"Oh, dear! No one ought, certainly; but after her having staid so
long--However, I think she has been here long enough, and the sooner she
goes the better."

"Then, as you think thus, and her mother has long wished for her, her
departure shall remain fixed for the day after to-morrow, and"--Here I
was interrupted by Seymour's being called out of the room: he did not
return for some minutes; when he did, he seemed disturbed.

During his absence the nurse brought me my child; and both my mother and
myself were too agreeably engaged with her to talk of Charlotte Jermyn.
But Seymour's evident abstraction and uneasy countenance drew my
mother's attention to him; and after a moment's thought she said, "That
seems a very strange presuming girl, Seymour; and I really think with
you it is time she were gone."

"Oh, yes, certainly! and she is very willing to go."

"So much the better," replied my mother; while I suppressed, for fear
of alarming her suspicions, the "How do you know that?" which was on my
lips; for, if her feelings were so changed, he must have changed them;
and she it was who had desired him to be called out of the room.

Seymour's horses now came to the door; but before he left us I begged to
know how he meant Miss Jermyn should travel.

"She came," said I, "in the coach which passes our gate; but then her
mother's maid came with her, and I cannot spare a servant to attend
her."

"I can drive her home in my curricle: if we set off at five in the
morning, we can perform the journey with ease before dark."

Pendarves said this in a hurried conscious manner, which did not escape
the quick eye of my mother; and while I hesitated how I could best
word my decided objection to this plan, which would I knew excite
disagreeable observations amongst the servants, that ever watchful
friend replied, "Hear my plan, which is far better than yours. The
mornings are yet dark and cold at five: lend me your horses for my
chariot; and as I want to visit a friend of De Walden's, who lives
half way to Mr. Jermyn's, with whom I have business, I will take this
opportunity of going. My maid shall accompany us, and while I stay at
Mr. Dumont's she shall see Miss Jermyn safe to her father's."

"Well, if Miss Jermyn likes this plan."

"She would prefer going with you, no doubt," said I smiling; "but as
this plan will be a convenience to my mother, we need not consult her
wishes."

"O no! very true, very true," said he in a fluttered tone (_but not
owning that he had promised to drive her_): "and when I return from my
ride, I shall expect to find you have arranged every thing with her."

He then ran down stairs and galloped off, as if to avoid speaking to
Charlotte; for I saw her from the window run along the path to the road,
to catch his eye if she could, and give him a signal to stop and speak
to her.

Soon after she joined us; and I thought I saw a triumphant meaning on
her countenance, which increased to a look of almost avowed exultation,
when, on my saying, "Now let us tell you how we have arranged matters
for your journey," she eagerly interrupted me, and exclaimed, "Oh! I
have arranged that with Mr. Pendarves, and he is to drive me in his
curricle."

I did not answer her, for her look disconcerted me; but my mother did,
coldly saying, "Mr. Pendarves did mean to do so, but for my convenience
he has changed his plan."

She then went on to inform her what the new plan was; and the mortified
indignant girl burst into tears, and left the room.

"That is a very self-willed, pernicious young person, I suspect,"
observed my mother: "but I flatter myself that her journey with me will
do her some good; at least, if it does not, it shall not be my fault."

Then, being too wise and too delicate to say more, she changed the
subject: nor was any allusion made to Miss Jermyn till Seymour returned
on foot; for he left his horse at the stables; and as he saw us in the
drawing-room, which was on the ground floor, he came in at the window,
being impatient, he said, to welcome me down stairs.

But he had probably another reason for that mode of entrance. He feared,
I suspect, that Charlotte Jermyn would want to speak to him, and he was
not disposed to listen to her reproaches for having given up his design
of driving her home.

My suspicions were confirmed by my seeing her walking along the path
which commanded the approach to the house, and this path Seymour had
avoided by going to the stables: but she did not long remain there, for
on looking towards the house she saw my husband standing at the window
with me, with one arm round my waist, while with his other hand he was
stroking the cheek of the child which I held to my bosom, and was
rocking to rest.

Happy as I was at this moment, I could not help throwing a hasty glance
towards this strange girl, who now rapidly drew near; and as she passed
the window curtsied to us, with a countenance in which every unamiable
feeling seemed to be uppermost.

She then threw open the hall door with violence, threw it to with the
same force, then ran to her own chamber, and closed the door of that
with such energy that it could be heard all over the house. Nor did we
see her again till dinner, when, though she had taken uncommon pains
with her dress, her eyes were swelled with crying, and her whole
appearance so indicative of gentle sorrow that Seymour's voice softened
even into tenderness when he addressed her, and mine was consequently
as strikingly cold and severe. Meanwhile, my mother was a silent but an
observant spectator; and both Pendarves and Miss Jermyn seemed oppressed
by the penetrating glance of her eye.

In the evening Seymour proposed reading to us aloud; and as I wished to
sit up late for reasons you may easily guess, I was glad of so good an
excuse as staying to hear an interesting book would be: but I had reason
to repent having allowed feeling to prevail over prudence: for when
my mother came to me the next day she found I had caught cold, and,
together with the fatigue of sitting up too late, was in no condition
to go down that day at all. Nor could my mother bear to leave me:
consequently, I had the mortification of finding that in trying to avoid
a slight evil I had fallen into a greater. But my mother, who had, I
doubt not, heard from her maid what the servants had observed, requested
Miss Jermyn would be so kind as to sit with us, and teach her two sorts
of work which she excelled in; and she could not without great incivility
refuse compliance. However, at the hour when she was accustomed to
walk with Seymour, she started up, declaring she could stay no longer,
because it was her last day there, and she was sure Mr. Pendarves would
walk with her. We could not object to this on any proper ground; and she
was putting her knitting and netting into her work bag, when we heard a
carriage drive to the door, and a servant came up to inform me that Lord
Charles Belmour was below, and his master desired him to say he meant to
dine with us.

Little did I think that Lord Charles would ever be a welcome guest to
me; but at this moment he was so, for I saw that Charlotte Jermyn looked
disappointed. My joy however vanished when I recollected that it was by
no means desirable Lord Charles should witness this indiscreet girl's
evident attachment to Pendarves; and just before she went to her own
apartment, my mother said, to my great relief, "You must then dine with
us to-day, Miss Jermyn; for you are too young and too old at the same
time to be the only female at a table where Lord Charles Belmour is."

"Well, if I _must_, I must," was her reply; and she left us.

But while I was rejoicing that circumstances would force her to dine
with us, I heard her rapidly ascending the stairs; and throwing open the
door hastily, she told us, with a look of delight, that she was going
to walk; for Lord Charles had brought his sister Lady Harriet with
him, whom he was conveying home from school for the holidays, and Mr.
Pendarves had told her she must do the honours to the young lady as I
was not able to attend her. "And so," she added, "I must also dine
below, for he told me so." And without waiting for our opinion or reply,
she again disappeared, and we soon after saw her laughing with Lord
Charles on the lawn, as if she had known him for years.

"How he will show her off," said my mother, "to-day! That young man has
more ingenuous malignity about him than any one I ever saw. When I was
nursing Seymour at Oxford, he came to see him; and in order to make the
poor invalid laugh, he used to make masters, deans, and fellow-commoners
pass in rapid succession before us, like the distorted figures in a
magic lantern."

This view of what was likely to happen was a relief to my mind; for I
had not expected that Lord Charles would try to draw her forth for his
own amusement; I had feared he would be contented to amuse himself with
observing her admiration of Pendarves.

When they returned from their walk, I was vexed to observe that Lady
Harriet held her brother's arm, not my husband's; and I also saw that
Charlotte leaned on him, and looked up in his face in the same improper
manner as she did when they were alone. I was very glad that Lord
Charles and his sister walked before them.

Pendarves now came up stairs to beg, as I was not able to dine below, or
see Lord Charles otherwise, that I would go to the window and kiss my
hand to him in token of welcome; for that he was afraid to stay, because
he believed he was a disagreeable guest, and that I kept up stairs
merely because he was come. He also begged that I would after dinner
admit Lady Harriet for a few minutes.

I promised compliance with both these requests, and went to the window
directly.

Lord Charles answered my really cordial salutation with a most lowly
bow, and a countenance meant to express every thing that was respectful
and courteous, and drew from my mother, to whom he also bowed, the
observation of "Graceful coxcomb!" Now do I fancy him saying within
himself, 'There, I have made that haughty old woman believe that I
respect her and her loftiness to her heart's content.'

Pendarves could not help smiling at this right reading, as it probably
was, of his satirical friend's thoughts: but he assured her that
admiration the most unbounded was, as well as respect, felt by his
friend towards her; and that he considered a woman of her age as in the
prime of her charms.

"Nonsense!" cried my mother; and my husband, laughing, returned to Lord
Charles.

Charlotte Jermyn did not come to us before she went down to dinner, as
she had Lady Harriet with her; but, when they left the dinner-room, I
desired to see them in mine: and for the first time I thought her
pretty; for her cheeks glowed with a very brilliant and becoming
colour, which added to the fire of her eyes; and her dress was neat
and lady-like. She had the countenance, too, of one who had been much
commended, and felt certain that the commendations were sincere.

"I am glad she is going to-morrow," said I mentally, and I sighed at the
same time. Lady Harriet was a good foil to her, except in manners: for
there could be no comparison: and by the side of Lady Harriet, Miss
Jermyn was pretty.

As soon as they had had coffee the brother and sister drove off, but not
before Lord Charles had fixed to return that day fortnight to dinner, on
condition of my dining below.

When they were gone my mother went down to make the tea; and after that
meal was ended she asked if there was any objection to Seymour's going
on in my dressing-room with the book which he began the night before,
and in his reading till it was time for me to go to rest.

He complied instantly, and read till I was tired.

My mother then proposed that he should read me to sleep: to this also he
agreed, and while I lay with the curtains closed round, my mother, he
and Charlotte sat round the fire; and it was eleven before I ceased to
hear, and Pendarves retired to his own chamber.

My mother then went away, desiring Charlotte to be ready at six, as she
should breakfast with her at that hour. But, as I afterwards found, she
reached our house on foot before six, and just as Pendarves came down
stairs.

By these apparently undesigned circumstances my mother prevented any
scene that might have called forth unpleasant observations in the
family; but, she could not prevent a most sorrowful parting on the side
of the young lady. She wept, she sobbed, she leaned against Seymour's
shoulder when he put his lips to her cheek; and he was nearly obliged to
carry her to the carriage; for she declared she would not go till she
had taken leave of me: but my mother was as positive that I should not
be disturbed, and Pendarves gently forced her to the door.

What passed between my mother and her when they were on the journey and
alone,--for the maid always preferred travelling outside,--I do not
know: but I suspect that she animadverted on her conduct and want of
self-control in a manner more judicious than pleasant.

During these vexatious occurrences I must own that it was a sort of
comfort to me, that my aunt Pendarves had such inflamed eyes that she
could not write; for otherwise the chances were that she might hear
some exaggerated accounts of our visitor's conduct, and might think it
necessary to address one of us on the subject, and give us good advice.

Well: this pernicious girl was gone, and my mind at ease again. Still,
I feared that she had done me a serious injury: not that I believed she
had alienated my husband's heart from me, or from propriety; but she
had been the first person to accustom him to find amusement at home
independent of me and of the exertion of my talents. He was an indolent
man, and she had amused him, and beguiled away his hours, without
obliging him to any exertion of mind. Besides, she was not only a new
companion, but a new conquest. He was certainly flattered by it, and
evidently interested. I was led to draw these conclusions by observing
the gapish state into which Pendarves fell the day after her departure.

He seemed to miss an accustomed dram. He gave me indeed, on my
requesting it, a lesson in Spanish, which I had long neglected; but he
seemed to do it as if it was a trouble, and he was too absent to make
the lesson of much use. I however forbore to remark what I could not but
painfully feel, and I fancied that my best plan would be to contrive
some new objects of interest at home, if I could: but on second thoughts
I resolved to propose that he should visit a sick friend of his at
Malvern hills, for a few days, as I believed it not to be for my
interest he should stay to contrast his present with his late home; but
that he should go away to return from an invalid and the cold hills of
Malvern, to me and his own comfortable dwelling.

I no sooner named my plan to him than he eagerly caught at it, declaring
that he wished to go, but feared that I should think the wish unkind.
Accordingly, he only staid to see my mother comfortably settled as my
guest, and then set off for Malvern. Nor did he return till three or
four days before he expected Lord Charles. By that time I had recovered
my bloom and my strength, and our infant had acquired a fortnight's
growth,--an interesting event in the life of a young parent; and I
assure you it was thought such by Pendarves: and while he complimented
me on my restored comeliness, and held his little Helen in his arms, I
felt that he had no thought or wish beyond those whom he clasped and
looked upon.

I could now join him again in his walks, and in his rides or drives.

My mother threw a great charm over our evenings by her descriptions of
the country which she had so lately seen, and of the scientific men with
whom she had associated. But Seymour and I both fancied that she was
rather reserved and embarrassed when she talked of Count De Walden. Nor
could I help being desirous of finding out the reason. One day I told
her how sorry I was to think that she shortened her agreeable visit
entirely on my account; but, as if thrown off her guard, she eagerly
replied, "Oh, no! I was very glad of an excuse for coming away;" and
this was followed by such manifest confusion of countenance and manner,
that I suspected the reason, and at last I prevailed on her to confess
it.

The truth was that Count De Walden, who had admired her in America, when
she was a wife, as much as an honourable man can admire the wife of
another, could not live in the same house with a woman still lovely, and
even more than ever intellectual and agreeable, without feeling for her
a very sincere affection; and as their ages were suitable, he made her
proposals of marriage of the most advantageous and generous nature. But
my mother could not love again: and though at her time of life, and that
of her lover, she thought that mutual esteem and the wish to secure a
companion for declining years was a sufficient excuse for a second
marriage; still, she had an unconquerable aversion to form any connexion,
and more especially one which would remove her to such a distance from
me. When she told me how strongly she had been solicited, and that the
advantages which she should ultimately secure to me by this union were
held up to her in so seducing a light, as nearly once to overset her
resolution, I was so overcome by the thought of the escape which I had
had, that I threw my arms round her, and bursting into an agony of tears
exclaimed, "What could have ever made me amends for losing you? The very
idea of it kills me."

My mother was excessively affected when I said this; but I soon saw that
her tears were not tears of tenderness alone; and looking at me with an
expression of sadness on her countenance, she said, "Two years ago, my
poor child, you would have better borne the idea of such a separation;
and had I been a jealous person I should have been hurt to see how
completely a husband can supersede even a mother. But I was pleased to
see this, because I saw in it a proof that you were a happy wife: but
perhaps you have now an idea, though still a happy wife I trust, of the
great value of a parent, and can appreciate more justly that love which
nothing can ever alienate, or ever render less."

What could I answer her, and how?

I did not attempt to speak, but I continued to hold her in my arms, and
at last I could utter, "No, no, I never, never can bear to part with
you."

That day Lord Charles Belmour came, according to his promise, and just
as I had convinced myself that it was my duty to overcome my dislike
to him, and to endeavour to convert him from an enemy into a friend.
Accordingly, I went down to dinner prepared to receive him with even
smiles; but recollecting, when I saw him, his impudent assertion, that
his admiration of me meant nothing, and that I was an alarmed prude, my
usual coldness came over me, while the deepest blushes dyed my cheeks.

However, I extended my hand to him, which he kissed and pressed; and as
he relinquished it he turned up his eyes and muttered "Angelic woman!"
in a manner so equivocal, that, consistent as it seemed with "his joke
against me," I could not help giving way to evident laughter.

Lord Charles was too quick of apprehension to be affronted at my mirth;
on the contrary he felt assured and flattered by it. He had expressed
his admiration only in derision and impertinence, and as he saw that I
understood him, he felt we were much nearer being friends than we had
ever been before; and when our eyes met, a look almost amounting to one
of kindness passed between us. Lord Charles now became particularly
animated; but some allusion which he made to Lady Bell Singleton, while
addressing my husband, made me distrustful again, and I relapsed into
my usual manner; and he was My Lord and Your Lordship, during the rest
of the dinner. Nor could I be insensible to the look of menace which I
subsequently beheld in his countenance. It was not long before the storm
burst on my devoted head.

"My dear madam," said he in his most affected manner, "you are a
prodigiously kind and obliging help-mate, to provide your _caro sposo_
with so charming a _locum tenens_ when you are confined to your
apartments. I found my friend here with the prettiest young creature for
a companion! and then so loving she was!"

"Loving!" said I involuntarily.

"Oh, yes. Allow me to give you an idea of her." Immediately, to the
great annoyance of my husband, with all his powers of mimickry, he
exhibited the manner and look of Charlotte Jermyn, when looking up in
Seymour's face, and leaning against his arm, as I had myself seen her
do.

"Is not that like her?"

"Very," replied I forcing a laugh.

"Now shall I mimick your husband, and show you how _he_ looked in
return? Shall I paint the bashful but delighted consciousness which his
look expressed--the stolen glance, the--"

"Hush, hush!" cried Pendarves, anger struggling with confusion. "This is
fancy painting, and I like nothing but portraits."

During this time I observed a struggle in my mother's breast, and I sat
in terror lest she should say something severe to the noble mimick, and
make matters worse.

But after this evident struggle, which I alone observed, she leaned her
arms on the table, and fixed her powerful eyes steadfastly on Lord
Charles, looking at him as if she would have dived into the inmost
recesses of his heart.

It was in vain that he endeavoured to escape their searching glance;
even his assurance felt abashed, and his malignant spirit awed, till his
audacious and ill-intentioned banter was looked into silence, and he
asked for another bumper of claret to drink my health. I was before
overpowered with gratitude to the judicious yet quiet interference of
this admirable parent, and the recollection of our morning's conversation
was still present to me. No wonder, therefore, that my spirits were
easily affected, and that I felt my eyes fill with tears.

At this moment I luckily heard my child cry; and faltering out, "Hark!
that was my child's voice," I hastened to the door; but unfortunately
the pocket-hole of my muslin gown caught in the arm of my mother's
chair, and Lord Charles insisted on extricating me.

I could now no longer prevent the tears from flowing down my cheeks;
which being perceived by him, he said, in a sort of undertone, "Amiable
sensibility! There I see a mother's feelings!" On which my mother,
provoked beyond endurance, said, in a low voice, but I overheard it, "My
lord, my daughter has a wife's feelings also."

I was now disengaged happily, and I ran out of the room.

When I arrived in the nursery I found I was not wanted. I therefore
retired to my own apartment, where I gave way to a violent burst of
tears. I had scarcely recovered myself, and had bathed my eyes again and
again in rose water, when my husband entered the room.

He had witnessed my emotion, and he could not be easy without coming to
inquire after me, on pretence that the child's cry had alarmed him.

This affectionate attention was not lost upon me, and I went down stairs
with him with restored spirits, and in perfect composure.

My mother, who had walked to her own house, was only just entering the
door as we appeared; therefore Lord Charles had been left alone; and
whether he thought this an affront to his dignity or not, I cannot tell;
but we did not find him in a more amiable mood than when we left him.

After looking at me very earnestly, while sipping his coffee, he came
close up to me, and said, resuming his most affected tone, "Pray! what
eye-water do you use?"

"Rose water only," was my reply.

"Very bad, 'pon honour; I must send you some of mine, as you are a
person of exquisite sensibility, and I fancy it is likely to be tried.
Upon my word, it took me a week to compose it; and as I occasionally
read novels, and the _Tête-à-tête Magazine_, (which is, you know,
exceedingly affecting), I use it continually in order to preserve the
lustre of my eyes; and you see that in spite of my acute feelings they
retain all their pristine brilliancy."

As he said this, neither Pendarves nor myself, though provoked at his
noticing my swelled eyes, could retain our gravity; for the eyes, which
he had thus opened to their utmost extent, were of that description
known by the name of boiled gooseberries, and were really dead eyes,
except when the rays of satirical intelligence forced themselves through
them: for the sake of exciting a laugh, he had now dismissed from them
every trace of meaning, and consequently every tint of colour.

His purpose effected, he resumed his sarcastic expression; and turning
from me with a look full of sarcastic meaning, he said, "Ah! _comme de
coutume_--after tragedy comes farce."

My mother now asked him whether he had ever seen her house and garden;
and on his answering in the negative, she challenged him to take a walk
with her.

"I never," replied he, bowing very low, "refused the challenge of a fine
woman in my life; and till my horses come round, I am at your service,
madam." Then, hiding his real chagrin under a thousand impertinent
grimaces, he followed my mother.

"I would give something to hear their conversation," said Pendarves,
thoughtfully.

"And so would I: no doubt it will be monitory on her part."

"Monitory! What for?"

"If you do not know, I am sure I shall not tell you."

And with an expression of conscious embarrassment on his countenance,
my husband asked me to walk with him round the shrubbery.

My mother and Lord Charles did not return till the carriage was driving
up. We examined their countenances with a very scrutinizing eye; but on
my mother's all we could distinguish was her usual expression of placid
and dignified intelligence; that of Lord Charles exhibited its usual
_cattish_ and alarming look.

What had passed, therefore, we could not guess; but we saw very clearly,
that we should not be justified in joking on the subject of their
_tête-à-tête_; and simply saying that it was beyond the time fixed for
his departure, Lord Charles now respectfully kissed my hand, and told
Pendarves he hoped he should soon see him in London. He then left the
room without taking the smallest notice of my mother, and was driving
off before my husband could ask him a reason of conduct so strange.

"Pray, madam," said Pendarves, when he returned into the room, "did Lord
Charles take leave of you?"

"He did not."

"Then I solemnly declare that before we ever meet again he shall give me
a sufficient reason for his impertinence, or apologize to you; for there
lives not the being who shall dare, while I live, to affront you with
impunity."

"My dear, dear son," cried my mother, "look not so like, so _very_
like--"

Here her voice failed her, and she leant on Seymour's shoulder, while he
affectionately embraced her. Dear to my heart were any tokens of love
which passed between my mother and my husband.

Seymour's strong likeness to my father in moments of great excitement
always affected her thus, and endeared him to her.

When my mother recovered herself, she desired Pendarves would remain
quiet, and not trouble himself to revenge her quarrels.

"Indeed," said she, "I am much flattered, and not affronted, by the
rudeness of Lord Charles, as it proves that what I said to him gave him
the pain which I intended. The wound therefore will rankle for some
time, and produce a good effect. Nor should I be surprised if he were to
send me a letter of apology in a day or two; for, if I read him aright,
he has understanding enough to value the good opinion of a respectable
woman, and would rather be on amicable terms with me than not."

"I hope you are right," replied Pendarves; "for I do not wish to quarrel
with him: yet I will never own as my friend the man who fails in respect
to you."

"I thank you, my dear son," said my mother with great feeling, and the
evening passed in the most delightful and intimate communion. Nor I
really believe, were Charlotte Jermyn or Lord Charles again remembered.
So true is it, that when the tide of family affection runs smooth and
unbroken, it bears the bark of happiness securely on its bosom.

Shortly after Lord Charles's visit I was so unwell, that I was
forbidden to nurse my child any longer, and I had to endure the painful
trial of weaning and surrendering her to the bosom of another. But most
evils in this life, even to our mortal vision, are attended with a
counter-balancing good.

At this time it was the height of the gay season in London, and I saw
that my husband began to grow tired of home, and sigh for the busy
scenes of the metropolis, whither, had I been still a nurse, I could not
have accompanied him: but now, however unwilling I might be to leave my
infant, I felt that it must not interfere with the duty which I owed its
father; for my mother had often said, and my own observation confirmed
the truth of the saying, that alienation between husband and wife has
often originated in the woman's losing sight of the duty and attention
she owes the father of her children, in exclusive fondness and attention
to the children themselves, and she often warned me against falling into
this error.

She therefore highly approved my intention to leave my babe under her
care, and accompany Pendarves to London, where she well knew he was
exposed to temptations and to dangers against which my presence might
probably secure him.

"Yes: my child!" said she, as if thinking aloud, for I am sure she did
not intend to grieve me, "Yes, go with your husband while you can, and
have as few separate pleasures and divided hours as possible; for they
lead to divided hearts. But if you have a large family you will not be
able to leave home. Go therefore while you can, and while I am with
you, and turn me to account while I am still here to serve you. That
time I know will be short enough!"

It is not in the power of language to convey an adequate idea of the
agony with which I listened to these words. Never before had my mother
so pointedly alluded to her conviction that her health was decaying; and
if the idea of separation from her by a happy marriage was so painful to
my feelings, what must be the idea of that terrible and eternal
separation?

Pendarves came in in the midst of my distress and almost fiercely
demanded who had been so cruelly afflicting me, fearing, no doubt, that
I had heard something concerning him, and naturally enough conceiving
that no great grief could reach me, except through that or from him.

My mother gently replied, "She has been afflicting herself, foolish
child! I said, unwillingly I allow, what might have prepared her for an
unavoidable evil; but she chooses to fancy, poor thing! that I am not
mortal: yet, see here, Seymour!" As she said this she turned up her long
loose sleeves, and showed him her once fine arm fallen away
comparatively to nothing!

I never saw my husband much more affected: he seized that faded arm,
and, pressing it repeatedly to his lips, turned away and burst into
tears--then folding us in one embrace he faltered out, "My poor Helen!
Well indeed might I find you thus!" But my mother solemnly promised that
she would never so afflict me again.

In the midst of this scene a letter was brought to my mother. It was
from Lord Charles, and was so like the man, that I shall transcribe it.

     "Madam,

     "I doubt not but you were amazed, and probably offended, at my
     quitting the house of your son-in-law without taking leave of
     you, as you are not a woman likely to think my silence at the
     moment of parting from you was to be attributed to the
     tender passion which I had conceived for your beauty and
     accomplishments. But, madam, if my silence was not attributable
     to love, so neither was it caused by hate; and I beg leave, hat
     in hand, and on bended knee, to explain whence my conduct
     proceeded. In the first place, madam, you had given me a blow, a
     stunning blow; and after a man has been stunned, he does not soon
     recover himself sufficiently to know what he is about, and how he
     ought to behave. In the next place, I endeavoured to remember how
     the great Earl of Essex behaved when Queen Elizabeth gave him a
     blow, or in other words a box on the ear (for blow I need not
     tell a lady of your erudition is the _genus_, and box on the ear
     the _species_). Now that noble Earl did not return the blow
     (which I own I was very much inclined to do), but he departed in
     silence from her presence, I believe; and so _I_ in imitation of
     _him_ from yours. Methinks I hear you exclaim 'The little lord is
     mad! I gave him no blow.' Not with your hand, I own; but with
     your tongue, 'that unruly member,' as St. James so justly calls
     it; you gave me a tingling blow on the cheek of my mind, which
     it still feels, and for which perhaps it may be the better. It is
     this consideration, and the belief that your motives were kind,
     though your treatment was rough, and that you only meant, like
     the bear in the fable, to guard me from a slight evil, though you
     broke my head in doing it; it is this belief, I say, that now
     throws me thus a suppliant at your feet, and makes me beg of you
     to excuse all my rudeness, and all my faults, whether caused by
     imitation of Lord Essex, or my own sinful propensities, and to
     raise me up to receive not the kiss of peace, for to that I dare
     not aspire, but to grasp and carry to my heart the white hand
     tendered to me in token of forgiveness.

     "I am, madam, with the liveliest esteem, and the deepest respect,
     your obliged, though stricken servant,
                                                   "CHARLES FIREBRAND."

"Ridiculous person!" said my mother, when she had finished the letter,
giving it to me at the same time.

When I had read it, I asked her to tell us what she had said to him.
"And why," said Pendarves, "does he sign himself Charles Firebrand?"

"Oh! thereby hangs a tale," said my mother blushing, "which I, I assure
you, shall not tell: therefore ask me no questions. If ever Lord Charles
and I meet again, the white hand shall be tendered to him. Nay, perhaps
I shall answer his letter."

And so she did; but we never saw what she wrote: however, I am
convinced, that she had called him a firebrand, and reproved him for his
evident desire of making mischief between my husband and me. Nor can I
doubt but that the justice of her reproofs made them more stinging to
the heart of the offender, and that he felt at the time a degree of
unspeakable and unutterable resentment, on which his cooler judgment
made him feel it impolitic to act; for he had, as my mother said, too
much good sense not to value her acquaintance.

I must now return to Charlotte Jermyn. I forgot to say, that she wrote a
very fawning letter of thanks to me after her return home, thanking me
for my kindness to her, and hoping that I would send for her again
whenever she could be of any service to me. I have reason to think that
she also wrote more than once to my husband: but he never communicated
what she wrote to me; and I had the mortification to find how vainly I
had tried to give him those habits of openness and ingenuousness which
can alone render the nearest and tenderest ties productive of confidence
and happiness.

Now, after a silence of four months, she again wrote to me to inform me
that she was married to a young ensign in a marching regiment quartered
near her father's house; but as it was against her father's consent, she
had been forced to go to Gretna Green, and that her father, Mr. Jermyn,
continued inexorable.

This letter I communicated to my husband, who was, I found, already
acquainted with the circumstance, though he did not tell me by what
means he knew it. He also told me that her father has since assured her
of his forgiveness; but told her at the same time, that he could bestow
on her nothing else, as he had ten children, and a small income; and
that the young couple had nothing to live upon except the pay of an
ensign of foot.

"I am sure _I_ can do nothing for her," Pendarves added; "for my own
wants, or rather my expenses, are beyond my means."

"And were they not," answered I, "I do not feel that Charlotte Jermyn,
or rather Mrs. Saunders, has any claims on you."

"Still, I would not let her starve, if I could help it; but I cannot."

I did not like to ask whether she had applied to him to lend her money;
but I suspected that she had, and that he had refused: for soon after
I saw him receive a letter, which he read with an angry and flushed
countenance, and thrust into the fire, muttering as he did so,

"Confounded fool, insolent!"

I felt, however, that her visit to me, and the terms which we had been
upon, made it indispensable for me to give her a wedding gift, and I
sent her money instead of a present in consideration of her poverty,
desiring her to buy what she wanted most in remembrance of me. My letter
and its contents, much to the annoyance of us both, she answered in
person, bringing her husband with her; and they came with so evident
an intention of staying all night, spite of the coldness of their
reception, that we were forced to offer them a bed.

The next day, however, even their assurance was not proof against the
repelling power of our cold civility, and they departed, neither of us
prejudiced in favour of the husband, and leaving me disgusted by the
wife's forward behaviour to Pendarves.

I now, according to my mother's advice, proposed to Pendarves a visit to
London: but, to my great surprise, he seemed to have no relish for the
scheme; and telling me we would talk further about it, he dropped the
subject.

Most gladly should I have welcomed this unwillingness to go to London,
if I could have attributed it to a preference for home and for the
country; but I had no reason to do this, and I feared it proceeded only
from inability to meet the expenses of a London establishment, even for
a few weeks; and of this I was soon convinced.

I told you a few pages back, that I was so cruel as to rejoice in my
aunt's being rendered unable to write, by a violent inflammation in the
eyes; but as that did not deprive her of locomotion, most unexpectedly
one day, Mr. and Mrs. Pendarves drove up to my mother's door, and soon
after she accompanied them to our house. I was dressing when they
arrived, and I saw myself change even to alarming paleness when my
mother came up to announce them. I also saw she was as much disconcerted
as I was.

"Oh! if my dear uncle had but come alone," said she, "the visit would
have been delightful!" But, here we were interrupted by Pendarves, who
came in with "So, Helen! I suppose you know who is come. Oh! that one
could but transfer the disease from the eyes to the tongue, and bandage
that up instead of the former! What shall we do? For, probably, as she
can't use her eyes, she makes her tongue work double tide."

"Suppose," replied I, "we bribe our surgeon to assure her that entire
silence is the only cure for inflamed eyes?"

"The best thing we can do," observed my mother, "is to bear with
fortitude this unavoidable evil; and also to try to remember her virtues
more than her faults."

When I went down, I found my mother admiring her beaver hat and
feathers.

"Yes," she replied, "I think my beaver very pretty. What is it the mad
poet says about 'my beaver?' Oh! I have it--

 'When glory like a plume of feathers stood
  Perched on my beaver in the briny flood.'"

"Do you then bathe in the sea with your beaver on?" said my mother.

"Well! there's a question for a sensible woman!" cried my aunt, not
seeing the sarcasm: then turning to me, she welcomed me with a cordial
kiss; but I was struck by the great coldness with which she greeted
Seymour.

My uncle, however, received us both with the kindest manner possible.

But I forgave all her oddness, when she saw my child; for praise of her
child always finds its way to a mother's heart; and she was in raptures
with its beauty. She pitied me too for being forced to give her up to
a nurse; but she added, "I hope she is not, to use the words of the
bard, a

 'Stern rugged nurse, with rigid lore,
  Our patience many a year to bore.'"

Then renewing her caresses and her praises, she banished from my
remembrance for a while all but her affectionate heart.

At dinner, however, she restored to me my fears of her, and my dislike
to her visit; for she called my husband Mr. Seymour Pendarves at every
word, though my mother she called Julia, and me Helen;--wishing, as I
saw, to point out to every one that _he_ was not in her good graces. But
why? Alas! I doubted not but I should hear too soon; and, feeling myself
a coward, I carefully avoided being alone with her that evening.

What she had to tell I knew not, and whether it regarded Charlotte
Jermyn or Lady Bell; but I summoned up resolution to ask Pendarves
whether he had ever visited Lady Bell Singleton in company with Lord
Charles; and without hesitation, though with great confusion, he owned
that he had.

"What! more than once?"

"Yes."

"Why did you not tell me of it?"

"Because I thought, after what you had heard, it might make you uneasy."

"Should you ever do," I replied, forcing a smile, "what in our relative
situation it would make me uneasy to be informed of?"

"Not if your uneasiness would be at all well founded."

"But concealment implies consciousness of something indiscreet, if not
wrong; and had you told me yourself of your visits to Lady Bell, I could
have set Mrs. Pendarves and her insinuations at defiance."

"And can you not now?"

"Perhaps so; but no thanks to your ingenuousness. However, I must own,"
said I, smiling affectionately, "that no one answers questions more
readily."

I had judged rightly in preparing myself for my encounter with Mrs.
Pendarves, as she took the first opportunity of telling me how much she
pitied me: for she had heard of the affair with the young lady who came
to nurse me in my lying in, which was of a piece with the renewal of
intercourse with Lady Bell Singleton. "But I assure you," she added,
"his uncle means to tell him a piece of his mind; and if he does not, I
will."

On hearing this I thought proper to laugh as well as I could; which
perfectly astonished my aunt, as I knew it would do, and she demanded
a reason of my ill-timed mirth. I told her that I laughed at her
mountain's having brought forth a mouse: for that the affair with the
young lady ended in her marrying a young ensign, soon after she left us,
for love, and that I had given her a wedding present; and that I knew
from Seymour himself that he visited Lady Bell Singleton: I therefore
begged she would keep her pity, and my uncle his advice, for those who
required them.

My mother entered the room at this moment, and I had great pleasure in
repeating to her what had passed: for I was glad to impress her with an
idea that my husband confided in me. I saw that I had succeeded.

"Mrs. Pendarves," said she, gravely, "I am sorry to find you are one of
those who act the part of an enemy while fancying you are performing
that of a friend. What good could you do my daughter by telling her of
her husband's errors, had the charge been a true one? Answer me that.
Surely, where 'ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.'"

"But she could not be ignorant long--she must know it some time or
other, and it was better she should hear it from a sympathizing and
affectionate friend like me. However, I did not mean to be officious and
troublesome, and I am glad Mr. Seymour Pendarves is better than I
supposed he was."

"Madam," replied my mother, "Seymour, like other persons, is better,
much better than a gossiping world is willing to allow any one to be.
And it is hard indeed that a man's own relations should implicitly
believe and propagate what they hear against him."

"Take my advice, my dear little aunt, and always inquire before you
condemn; which advice is your due, in return for the large store of that
commodity which you are so willing to bestow on other people."

My aunt was silent a moment, as if considering whether in what was said
there was most of compliment, or most of reproof. Be that as it might,
she was too politic not to choose to believe there was much of compliment
implied in the mention made of her willingness to bestow advice. She
therefore looked pleased, declared her pleasure at finding all was well,
and that she found even the best authority was not always to be depended
upon. At dinner that day, to show, I conclude, that Seymour was restored
to her favour, she asked him to pay her a visit at their house in town;
but on my saying that I expected she would include me in the invitation,
as I wished to go to London, she turned round with great quickness and
exclaimed, "What! and leave your sweet babe?"

The censure which this abrupt question conveyed gave a sort of shock
to my feelings, and I could not answer her; but my mother instantly
replied, "My daughter's health requires a little change of scene, and
surely she can venture to intrust her infant to my care."

"Oh, yes! but how can she bear to leave it?"

"The trial will be great, I own," said I; "but I am not yet so very a
mother as to forget I am a wife; and as I must either leave my child, or
give up accompanying my husband, of the two evils I prefer the first."

"Oh! true, true, I never thought of that," was her sage reply; "and you
are right, my dear, quite right, as husbands are, to go to take care of
yours; and I advise you to keep a sharp look-out--for there are hawks
abroad."

"Hawks!" said my uncle smiling, "turtle doves more likely; and they are
the most dangerous bird of the two."

This observation gave Pendarves time to recover the confusion his aunt's
speech had occasioned him, and he told me he was much amused to see that
I had positively arranged a journey to London for him and for myself,
without his having ever expressed an intention of going at all.

"But I knew you wished to go, and I thought it was your kind reluctance
to ask me to leave my child which alone prevented your expressing your
wishes."

"Indeed, Helen, you are right: I never should have thought of asking you
to leave your child; and I own I am flattered to find I am still dearer
to you than she is: therefore, if my uncle and aunt will be troubled
with us, I shall be very happy to visit London as their guest."

"Is it possible," cried I, "that you can think of going any where but to
a lodging?"

"Is it possible," cried Mrs. Pendarves, "that you can prefer a lodging
to being the guest of your uncle and aunt?"

"To being the guest even of a father and mother; for when one has much
to see in a little time, there is nothing like the liberty and
convenience of a lodging."

"Well, well, Helen," said Pendarves, rather impatiently, "that may be;
but _this year_, if you please, we will go to Stratford Place."

I said no more, and it was settled that we should follow my uncle and
aunt to town, and take up our residence with them. But the next day
my mother, who thought the plan as foolish and disagreeable as I did,
desired me to find out, if I could, why my husband consented to be the
guest of a woman whose society was so offensive to him: "And if," said
she, "it is because he cannot afford to take lodgings, you may tell
him, that I have both means and inclination to answer all the necessary
demands; and moreover I have a legacy of £2000 untouched, which I have
always meant to give you, Helen, on the birth of your first child; and
that also is at your service."

I shall pass over my feelings on this occasion, and my expression of
them. Suffice that my husband owned his "poverty, and not his will,
consented" to his acceptance of our relation's offer; and that he
thankfully received my mother's bounty. The legacy, however, he resolved
to secure to me, as my own property, and so tied up that he could not
touch it. We found, however, that we must spend part of our time with my
uncle and aunt; but at the end of ten days we removed to lodgings near
them.

I was soon sensible of the difference between the present time in London
and the past. I found that Pendarves, though his manner was as kind as
ever, used to accept in succession engagements in which I had no share;
and if it had not been for the society of Mr. and Mrs. Ridley, and my
uncle and aunt, I should have been much alone; and have pined after my
child and mother even more than I did. Still ardently indeed did I long
to return home; and had I not believed I was at the post of duty, I
should have urged my husband to let me go home without him.

Lord Charles was frequently with us, and, had I chosen it, would
have been my escort every where: but I still distrusted him; and I
suspect that it was in revenge he so often procured Pendarves dinner
invitations, from which he rarely returned till day-light; and once he
was evidently in such low spirits, that I was sure he had been at play,
and had lost every thing.

We had now been several weeks in London, and I grew very uneasy at
my prolonged separation from my child, and at my mother's evidently
declining health--besides having reason to think that my husband would
have enjoyed London more without me; for Lord Charles took care to
tell me often, that had I not been with him, Pendarves would have gone
thither; always adding, "So you see what a tame domestic animal you have
made of him, and what a tractable obedient husband he is." There is
perhaps nothing more insiduous and pernicious, than to tell a proud man
that he is governed by a wife, or a mistress, provided he has great
conscious weakness of character; and Lord Charles knew that was the case
with Pendarves. And I am very sure that he accepted many invitations
which he would otherwise have declined, because his insiduous friend
reproached him with being afraid of me.

Ranelagh was still the fashion, and my husband had still a pride in
showing me in its circles; but even there I was sensible of a change. He
now was not unwilling to resign the care of me to other men, while he
went to pay his compliments to dashing women of fashion, and give them
the arm once exclusively mine. Still, these occasional neglects were
too trifling to excite my fears or my jealousy, and I expected, when we
returned to our country home, that it would be with unclouded prospects.
But while I dreamt of perpetual sunshine, the storm was gathering which
was to cloud my hours in sorrow.

I had vainly expected a letter from my mother for two days,--and she
usually wrote every day,--a circumstance which had depressed my spirits
in a very unusual manner; and I was consequently little prepared to bear
with fortitude the abrupt entrance of my husband in a state of great
agitation: but pale and trembling I awaited the painful communication
which I saw he was about to make.

"Helen!" cried he, "if you will not or cannot assist me, I am likely to
be arrested every moment."

"Arrested! What for?" cried I, relieved beyond measure at hearing it was
a distress which money could remove.

"Aye, Helen, dearest creature! There is the pang--for a debt so weakly
contracted!"

"Oh! a gaming debt to Lord Charles, I suppose?"

"No, no, would it were!--though I own that way also I have been very
culpable."

"Keep me no longer in suspense, I conjure you."

"Why you know what a rash marriage that silly girl Charlotte Jermyn
made."

"Go on."

"Well--her husband was forced to sell his commission to pay his debts:
but that was not sufficient; and to save him from a jail, I had the
folly to be bound for him in no less a sum than several hundreds."

"But who asked you? Are they in London?"

"They were."

"And you saw them?"

"Yes."

"Why did you not tell me they were here?"

"Because they were persons with whom I did not choose my wife to
associate."

"Were they fit associates for you then?" was on my tongue, but I
suppressed it; for mistaken indeed is the wife who thinks reproach can
ever do ought but alienate the object of it.

"But did you often visit them? and what made them presume to apply to
you?"

"Necessity. She wrote to me again and again, and she way-laid me
too--what could I do? I was never proof against a woman's tears--and I
was bound for him."

"Well, and what then?"

"Why, the rascal is gone off, and left his wife without a farthing, to
maintain herself as she can."

"Is she in London?" cried I, turning very faint.

"No, at Dover; but, as soon as it is known that he is off, I expect to
be arrested for the money; and for me to raise it is impossible; but
you, Helen--"

"Yes, yes--I understand you," I replied, speaking with great difficulty:
"the legacy--I will drive instantly to the bankers--and take it, take
it all, if you wish."

Here my voice and even my eye-sight totally failed me, and almost my
intellects; but I neither fell nor fainted.--Miserable suspicions and
certain anxiety came over me, and in one moment life seemed converted
into a dreary void. My situation alarmed Pendarves almost to phrensy. He
rung for the servants, sent for the nearest surgeon, without my being
able to oppose any thing he ordered--for I could not speak: and I was
carried to my room, and even bled, before I had the power of uttering a
word.

"The lady has undergone a violent shock," said the surgeon; and the
conscience-stricken Seymour ran out of the room in an agony too mighty
for expression.

I was now forced to swallow some strong nervous medicine; and at length,
feeling myself able to speak again, I ejaculated "Thank God!" and fell
into a passion of tears, which considerably relieved me.

My kind but officious maid had meanwhile sent for Mrs. Pendarves, who
eagerly demanded the original cause of my seizure.

"Dearest Helen, do you tell your aunt," said Seymour, "how it was."

"I had been fretting for two days," I replied, "on account of my
mother's silence; and while I was talking to Seymour, this violent
hysterical seizure came over me. Indeed, I had experienced all
the morning, my love, previous to your coming in, a most unusual
depression." This statement, though true, was I own deceptive; but I
could not tell all the truth without exposing my husband.--Oh! how
fondly did his eyes thank me! My aunt was satisfied; she insisted on
sitting by my bedside while I slept,--for an anodyne was given me,--and
I consented to receive her offered kindness. Nay, I must own that, in
the conscious desolation of my heart at that moment, I felt strangely
soothed by expressions of kindness, and was covetous of those endearments
from her which before I had wished to avoid. But my hand now returned
and courted the affectionate pressure of hers; and I seemed to cling to
her as a friend who, if she knew all, would have sorrowed over me like a
mother; and while sleep was consciously stealing over me, I was pleased
to know that she was watching beside my pillow.

I had forbidden Pendarves to come near me, because the sight of his
distress prevented my recovery, and perfect quiet was enjoined.

But, when I was asleep he would not be kept from the bedside; and he
betrayed so much deep feeling, and exhibited so much affection for
me, that when I woke, and desired to rise and dress, as I was quite
recovered, my aunt was lavish in his praise, and declared she was now
convinced he was the best of husbands.

Pendarves would fain have staid at home with me that day; but I insisted
on his going out, as I thought it would be better for us both; and I
told him with truth I preferred his aunt's company to his. Our next
meeting alone was truly painful; for we could neither of us advert to
my excessive emotion. He could not explain away its cause, nor could I
name it: but he, though silent, was affectionate and attentive, and I
tried to force my too busy fancy to dwell only on what I knew and saw,
and not to fly off to sources of disquiet, which spite of appearances
might really not exist.

The next morning, as soon as breakfast was over, we drove to the
banker's, resumed the whole of the deposit, and I insisted that
Pendarves should accept it all. This he was very unwilling to do--but I
was firm, and my mind was tranquillized by his consenting at last to my
desire. Yet, I think I was not foolish enough to suppose I could buy his
constancy.

One thing which I said to him I instantly repented. I asked him whether
Mrs. Saunders was likely to remove to London. He said, he did not know:
"But if she does, what then? O Helen! can you suppose I will ever see
her now?" he added.

"And why not?" thought I, when he quitted me--"If it was ever proper
to see her, why not now? And why should I seem to be accusing him, by
appearing solicitous to know whether he would see her or not?"

Alas! his reply only served to make me more wretched; but, fortunately I
may say, my mother's continued silence made a sort of diversion to my
thoughts, and substituted tender for bitter anxiety.

That very day the demand was made on my husband by the creditor of
Saunders, and while he was gone out with this man on business in bustled
my kind but mischievous aunt.

"How are you to-day," said she, "my poor child? but I see how you
are--sitting like patience on a monument, smiling with grief!"

"With grief! dear aunt?"

"Yes: for do you think I do not know all? Oh, the wicked man!"

"Whom, madam, do you call wicked?"

"Your husband, child: has he not been keeping up an acquaintance with
that girl, who married? and has he not been bound for her husband? and
is not the man run away, and he liable to be arrested for the debt? and
where he can get the money to pay it I can't guess--I am sure my Mr.
Pendarves will not pay it. Nay, _I_ know 'tis all, all true--my maid,
I find, met him walking in the park with her, and the creditor is my
maid's brother."

Here she paused exhausted with her own vehemence; and I replied, "I am
sorry, madam, that you listen to tales told you by your servant: I am
also sorry that a transaction which though rash was kind, is known to
more persons than my husband and me. I know as well as you that Pendarves
visited at Mrs. Saunders's lodgings, and he was very likely seen in the
park with her. To the money transaction I am also privy, and I assure
you my Mr. Pendarves need not apply to yours on this or, I trust, on any
occasion; for the creditor has been here, and he is paid by this time."

"Then he must have borrowed the money, for I know he has lost a great
deal lately."

"Mrs. Pendarves," said I, rising with great agitation, "I will not
allow you to speak thus of the husband whom I love and honour. I tell
you that he has paid the creditor with his _own_ money; and if you
persist in a conversation so offensive to me, I will quit the room."

"How! this to me? Do you consider who I am--and our relationship?"

"You are the wife of my great uncle, madam, no more; and were you even
my mother, I would not sit and listen tamely to aspersions of my
husband, and I must desire that our conversations on this subject may
end here."

I believe there is nothing more formidable while it lasts, than the
violence of those who are habitually mild--because surprise throws the
persons who are attacked off their guard; and it also magnifies to them
the degree of violence used.

The poor little woman was not only awed into silence, but affected unto
tears; and I was really obliged to sooth her into calmness, declaring
that I was sure she meant well, and that I had never doubted the
goodness of her heart.

The next day brought the long expected letter from my mother; and its
contents made all that I had yet endured light, in comparison; for they
alarmed me for the life of my child! She was, however, declared out of
danger for the present, when my mother wrote.

It is almost needless to add, that as soon as horses could be procured,
Pendarves and I were on the road home.

I must pass rapidly over this part of my narrative. Suffice, that she
vacillated between life and death for three months; that then she was
better, and my husband left me to join Lord Charles at Tunbridge Wells,
whither he had been ordered for his health; that he had not been gone a
fortnight, when her worst symptoms returned, and my mother wrote to him
as follows:

     "Come instantly, if you wish to see your child alive, and
     preserve the senses of your wife! When all is over, your presence
     alone can, I believe, save her from distraction.
                                                              J. P."

He instantly set off for home, and arrived at a moment when I could be
alive to the joy of seeing him; for my child had just been pronounced
better! But what a betterness! For six weeks longer, watched by us
all day and all night with never-failing love, it lingered on and on,
endeared to us every day the more, in proportion as it became more
helpless, and we more void of hope, till I was doomed to see its last
faint breath expire, and----no more on this subject--

       *       *       *       *       *

I believe my mother was right; I believe that, dearly as I loved her,
her presence alone would not have kept my grief within the bounds of
reason: but the presence of him whose grief was on a par with mine, of
him whom love and duty equally bade me exert myself to console, had
indeed a salutary effect on me; and it at length became a source of
comfort to reflect, that the object of our united regrets was mercifully
removed from a state of severe suffering, and probably from evils to
come. But my progress towards recovered tranquillity bore no proportion
to Seymour's; for, when I was capable of reflection, I felt that in
losing my child I lost one of my strongest holds on the affection of my
husband. Consequently, the clearer my mind grew after the clouds of
grief dispersed, the more vividly was I sensible of my loss.

I also became conscious that the habitual dejection of my spirits, which
was pleasing to Seymour's feelings while his continued in unison with
mine, would become distasteful, and make his home disagreeable, as soon
as he was recovering his usual cheerfulness. Still, I could not shake it
off--and by my mother's advice I urged him to renew his visit to Lord
Charles, who was still an invalid.

To Tunbridge Wells he therefore again went, leaving me to indulge
unrestrained that pernicious grief which even his presence had not
controuled, and also to impair both my health and my person in a degree
which it might be difficult ever to restore.

When Pendarves returned, which he did at the end of six weeks, during
which time he had written in raptures of the new acquaintances which he
had formed at the Wells, he was filled with pain and mortification at
sight of my pale cheek, meagre form, and neglected dress.

What a contrast was I to the women whom he had left! And even his
affectionate disposition and fine temper were not proof, after the first
ebullitions of tenderness had subsided, against my dowdy wretched
appearance, and my dejection of manner.

"Helen!" said he, "I cannot stand this--I must go away again, if you
persist to forget all that is due to the living, in regard for the dead.
I have not been accustomed lately to pale cheeks, meagre forms, and
dismal faces. I love home, and I love you; but neither my home nor you
are now recognisable."

I was wounded, but reproved and amended: I felt the justice of what he
said, and resolved to do my duty.

Soon after he told me he was going away again; and on my mother's gently
reproaching him for leaving me so much, he replied that he could not
bear to witness my altered looks, and to listen to my mournful voice.

While Pendarves was gone, I resolved to renew my long neglected
pursuits. I played on the guitar; I resumed my drawing, and sometimes I
tried to sing: but that exertion I found at present beyond my powers.

After three weeks had elapsed, Seymour wrote me word that he was
about to return from the Wells with some new friends of his, who were
coming to the mansion within four miles of us, which had been so long
uninhabited, called Oswald Lodge. He said he should arrive there very
late on the Saturday night; but that after attending church on the
Sunday to hear a new curate preach, whom they were to bring with them,
he should return home.

I was mortified I own to think that he could stop, after so long an
absence, within four miles of home; but I felt that I had lately made so
few efforts for his sake, that I had no right to expect he would pay me
an attention like this. But to repine or look back was equally vain and
weak; and I resolved to act, in order to make amends for what I could
not but consider an indolent indulgence of my own selfishness, however
disguised to me under the name of sensibility, at the expense of my
husband's happiness. And as six months had now elapsed since the death
of my child, I resolved to throw off my mourning, and make the house and
myself look as cheerful as they were wont to do.

I also resolved to meet him at the church, which was common to the
parish whence he would come, and ours also, and not to sit, as I had
lately done, in a pew whence I could steal in and out unseen; but walk
up the aisle, and sit in my own seat, where I could see and be seen of
others.

My mother meanwhile observed in joyful silence all my proceedings; and
when she saw me stop at the door in the carriage on the Sunday morning,
dressed in white, with a muslin bonnet, and pelisse, lined with full
pink, and a countenance which was in a measure at least cheerful, she
embraced me with the warmest affection, and said she hoped she should
now see her own child again.

Spite, however, of my well-motived exertions, my nerves were a little
fluttered when I recollected that I was going to encounter the
scrutinizing observation of Seymour's new friends, who, if arrived,
would no doubt, from the situation of the pew, see me during my
progress to mine, which was opposite. They were arrived before me;
for I saw white and coloured feathers nodding at a distance: but I
remembered it was not in the temple of the Most High that fear of man
ought to be felt, and I followed my mother up the aisle with my
accustomed composure.

Oh! how I longed to see whether my husband was with the party! but I
forebore to seek the creature till the dues to the Creator were paid. I
then looked towards the opposite pew; but soon withdrew my eyes again:
for I saw my husband listening with an animated countenance to what a
gentleman was saying to him, who was gazing on me with an expression of
great admiration. I therefore only exchanged a glance of affectionate
welcome with Pendarves, and tried to remember him and his companions no
more.

When service was ended Seymour eagerly left his seat, and coming into
mine proposed to introduce me to his friends; "for now," said he in a
low voice, "I again see the wife I am proud of." I smiled assent, and a
formal introduction took place.

The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Oswald, who after a long residence
abroad were come to live on their estate, and resume those habits of
extravagance, the effects of which they had gone abroad to recover; of a
Lord Martindale, the gentleman I had before observed; and of one or two
persons, a sort of hangers-on in the family, who ministered in some way
or other to the entertainment of the host and hostess.

Mr. and Mrs. Oswald now politely urged my mother and myself to favour
them with our company at dinner, my husband having promised to return to
them by five o'clock; but we declined it, and Seymour attended us home.
Seymour expressed more by his looks than his words the pleasure my
change of dress and countenance had occasioned him; for he was too
delicate to expatiate on what must recall to my mind only too forcibly
the cause of the difference which he had deplored: but when he rejoiced
over my recovered bloom, and _embonpoint_, I reminded him that my bloom
was caused by my lining, and my seeming plumpness by my pelisse. This
was only too true. Still I was, he saw, disposed to be all he wished
me; and when we reached our house, and he beheld baskets of flowers
in all the rooms, as usual; when he beheld the light of day allowed to
penetrate into every apartment, except where the sun was too powerful;
when he saw my guitar had been moved from its obscurity, and that my
portfolio seemed full of drawings; he folded my still thin form with
fondness to his heart, and declared that he now felt himself quite a
happy man again. Nor would he leave me, to dine at Oswald Lodge; and
he sent an excuse, but promised to call there on the morrow and take
me with him. The next day he summoned me to get ready to fulfil his
promise, and I obeyed him, but with reluctance; for I felt already sure
that I should not like these new friends.

In Lord Martindale I already saw an audacious man of the world; and
those spendthrift Oswalds, those beings who seemed to think they came
into life merely to amuse it away, did not seem at all suited to my
taste or principles, and were certain to be dangerous to a man of
Seymour's tendency to expense.

On our way thither I asked if Lord Martindale was married; and with a
cheek which glowed with emotion he replied, "Married! Oh yes! did I not
mention Lady Martindale to you? How strange!" But I did not think it so,
when I heard him descant on her various attractions and talents with an
eloquence which was by no means pleasing to me.

"Indeed," said I, sighing as I spoke, "I feel it a great compliment,
that you preferred staying with your faded wife to dining with this
brilliant beauty."

"Brilliant beauty! dear girl! In beauty she is not to be compared to
you. She is certainly ten years older, and never was a beauty in her
life. She has very fine eyes, fine teeth, fine hair, and a little
round, perfectly formed person: _au reste_, she is sallow, and, when
not animated, plain: in her expression, her endless variety, her
gracefulness, and her vivacity, lies her great charm. Altogether _c'est
une petite personne des plus piquantes_; and with even more than the
usual attraction of her countrywomen."

"Is she French then?"

"Yes: she was well born, but poor; and her great powers of fascination
led Lord Martindale, who was living abroad, to marry her, in spite of
his embarrassed fortune. They came over in the same ship with the
Oswalds, and thence the intimacy."

By this time we had reached Oswald Lodge, and were ushered through a
hall redolent with sweets to the morning room, where we found Mrs.
Oswald, splendidly attired, stringing coral beads, and the gentlemen
reading the papers. If there ever was a complete contrast in nature,
it was my appearance and that of Mrs. Oswald. Figure to yourself the
greeting between a woman of my great height, excessive meagreness, and
long neck, and one not exceeding five feet, with legs making up in
thickness for what they wanted in length, with a short neck buried
in fat, and the rest of her form of suitable dimensions, while the
dropsical appearance of her person did not however impede a short and
quick waddling walk. Figure to yourself also, a fair, fat, flat face,
full of good humour, and betokening a heart a stranger to care, and then
call to mind my different style of features, complexion, and expression,
particularly at that melancholy period of my life.

"What a fine caricature we should make!" thought I; and it required all
my dislike to employ the talent for caricature which I possessed, to
prevent my drawing her and myself when I went home. But I was ashamed of
the satirical manner in which I regarded her, when she welcomed me
with such genuine kindness; and ill befall the being whom welcome and
courtesy cannot disarm of even habitual sarcasm! Mr. Oswald was as
courteous and kind as his wife, and Lord Martindale looked even more
soft meanings than he uttered--adding, "When I saw you yesterday, Mrs.
Pendarves, I did not expect to see Mr. Pendarves return to us to
dinner. Nay, if he had, I never could have forgiven him."

"My lord," cried Oswald, "I did not expect him for another reason,
though I admit the full force of yours. He knew Lady Martindale was
too unwell to dine below, for I told him so myself; and 'my fair,
fat, and forty' here was not likely to draw him from 'metal more
attractive'"--bowing to me.

"So then," said I to myself, "his staying with me, for which I expressed
my thanks, was no compliment after all; and disingenuous as usual, he
did not tell me Lady Martindale would not be visible!" I am ashamed to
own how this little incident disconcerted me. I had been flattered by
Seymour's staying at home, but now there was nothing in it. Oh! the
weakness of a woman that loves!

Seymour, who knew that I should be mortified, and he lowered in my eyes
by this discovery, was more embarrassed and awkward than I ever knew
him, in paying his respects and making his inquiries concerning the
health of Lady Martindale, and had just expressed his delight at
hearing she was recovered when the lady herself appeared: she paid her
compliments to me in a very easy and graceful manner, and expressed
herself much pleased to see the lady of whom her lord had raved ever
since he saw her; and I suspect her broken English gave what she said
much of its charm. At least I wished to think so then. I found Seymour
had painted her as she was, as to externals; whether he had been as
accurate a delineator of her mind and general manners, I was yet to
learn.

That she could dance, I had soon the means of discovering; for she
had a little French dog with her, which had been taught to dance to
a tune; and while Mrs. Oswald played a slow waltz, and then a jig, Lady
Martindale, on pretence of showing off the little dog, showed herself
off to the greatest possible advantage.--Whether she glided smoothly
along in graceful abandonment of the waltz measure, or whether she
sprung lightly on the "gay fantastic toe," her fine arms floated
gracefully on the air, and her beautiful feet moved with equal and as
becoming skill. When she had ended, she was repaid with universal bravos
and clapping of hands.

Nothing could exceed the grace with which she curtsied; and snatching
the dog under her arm, she went round the circle, extending her
beautiful hand to each of us, saying "_De grace! donnez des gateaux
à ma Fanchon:_"[1] and the plate of macaroons that stood near us was
immediately emptied before the little animal, who growled and ate, to
the great delight of his mistress, who knelt in an attitude _fait à
peindre_ beside him.

  [Footnote 1: Pray give cakes to my Fanchon.]

I cannot express to you what I felt when I saw Seymour's eyes rivetted
on this woman of display. He watched her every movement, and seemed
indeed to feel she possessed _la grace plus belle encore que la
beauté_.[2] But who and what was she? A French woman, and well-born,
though poor.

  [Footnote 2: Grace more beautiful still than beauty.]

Was it the quick-sightedness of jealousy, I wonder, or was it that women
read women better than men do, where their love or their vanity is
concerned, which made me suspect that she had been not only a _femme_ de
_talens_, but a _femme_ à _talens_, and that Lord Martindale had married
a woman who had been in public life? However, what did that matter to
me? Whatever she was, she possessed fascinations which I had not; she
had a power of amusing and interesting which I had never possessed; and
I feared that to him who could admire her I must soon cease to be an
object of love, though I might continue to be one of esteem. But did I
wish to please as she had been pleasing? Did I wish to be able to exhibit
my person in attitudes so alluring? Would it have been consistent with
the modest dignity of an English gentlewoman? Nay, would my husband have
liked to see me so exhibit in company? Notwithstanding, to charm, amuse
and fix his roving eye, and enliven our domestic scenes, I could not
help wishing that I could do all she did. But I could not do it, and
I feared her. We were asked to stay dinner, but we refused: however,
another day was fixed for our waiting on them, so the evil was only
delayed.

And what were we doing? and wherefore? We were entering into dinner
visits, and with a reduced income, with persons who lived in all the
luxuries of life, and of whom we knew nothing but that ten years before
they had been forced to run away from their creditors, and that the
chances were they would be forced to do so again. The wherefore was
still less satisfactory to me. We did it that my husband might amuse
away his hours; and, as I had reason to fear, forget in this stimulating
sort of company and diversions the anxieties and the unhappy feelings
which were in future likely to cling to him at home. For I was sure
he was involved in debts which he could not pay, and those who are
so involved are always forced to substitute constant amusement for
happiness. If they do not, they fly to intoxication; but agreeable
company and gay pursuits are the better intoxication, I own, of the two.

And was it come to this? Was my husband for ever unfitted for the
enjoyment of domestic comfort; and was I reduced to the cruel alternative
of seeing him abstracted and unhappy, or of parting with him to the
abode of the Syren? while I was sometimes forced to accompany him
thither, and witness his evident devotion to her, his forgetfulness
of me? Alas! such seemed to be my situation at that moment; but I was
resolved to talk with him seriously on the state of his affairs, and to
make any retrenchments, and offer any sacrifices, to remove from his
mind the burthen which oppressed it. But for some time, like most
persons so distressed, he was decidedly averse to talk on the subject,
and liked better to drive care away by pleasant society, than to meet
the evil though it was in order to remove it. In the meanwhile I went to
Oswald Lodge occasionally, and occasionally invited its owners and their
guests to our home, till the party there grew too large for our rooms to
receive them: and then I had an excuse for not accompanying my husband
often, in not having carriage horses, as I had prevailed on Pendarves to
drop that unnecessary expense. This produced urgent invitations to sleep
there; but that I never would do; and I would not consent to be with
these people on so intimate a footing, especially as I had not my
mother's countenance or presence to sanction it; she having resolutely
declined visiting them at all, as she disliked the manners and appearance,
as well as the mode of life, of the whole party. But she confirmed me in
my resolution never to seem to under-value, though I did not commend,
Lady Martindale, as she well knew my disapprobation would be imputed
to envy and jealousy even by Pendarves, and she advised me to endure
patiently what I could not prevent. Not that she for a moment suspected
that my husband was seriously alienated from me, and was acting a
dishonourable part towards Lord Martindale; but she could not be blind
to Seymour's long absences at Oswald Lodge, and his now passing nights
there, as well as days. But his pleasures were, for a little while at
least, put a stop to; for he received at length so many dunning letters,
that he was forced to unburthen his mind to me, and ask my aid if
possible to relieve his distresses. He positively, however, forbade me
to apply to my mother, and I was equally unwilling to let her know the
errors of my still beloved husband.

Yet what could I do for him? I could dismiss one, if not two
servants,--and he could sell another horse; but then money was wanted to
pay debts. There was therefore no alternative, but for me to prevail on
my trustees to give up some of my marriage settlement; and as I knew
that my mother's fortune must come to me and my children, if I had any,
I was very willing to relieve my husband from his embarrassments, by
raising for him the necessary supplies. Nor did I find my trustees very
unwilling to grant my request, and once more I believed my husband free
from debt. I also hoped my mother knew nothing of either the distress,
or the means of relief. But, alas! one of the trustees concluded our
uncle knew of these transactions, and was probably desirous to know
why he had, though a very rich man, allowed me to diminish my marriage
settlement, in order to pay debts which he could have paid without the
smallest inconvenience, as he had only two daughters, who were both well
married.

Accordingly he mentioned the subject to my astonished and indignant
uncle, who with his usual indiscretion revealed it to his wife.
The consequence was inevitable: she immediately wrote a letter of
lamentation to my mother, detailing the whole affair, adverting to the
other transaction concerning Saunders's debts, pointing out the great
probability there was that what every one said was true, namely, that
my husband had prevailed on Saunders to marry Charlotte Jermyn, and
therefore was bound in justice to assist him, and concluding with a
broad hint concerning his evident attachment to a Lady Martindale.

What a letter for a fond mother to receive! But to the money
transactions alone did she vouchsafe any credit; and relative to these
she demanded from me the most open confession, saying, "The rest of the
letter I treat with the contempt it deserves." I had no difficulty in
telling her every thing which related to the last transaction; but my
voice faltered, and my eye was downcast, when I described the other,
because I had never been entirely able to conquer some painful
suspicions of my own; and her quick eyes and penetrating mind soon
discovered, though she was too delicate to notice it, that in my own
heart I was not sure that all my aunt suspected was unjust. But if I
shrunk from the searching glance of her eyes, how was I affected when
she fixed them on me with looks of approving tenderness, and told me
with evidently suppressed feeling, that I had done well and greatly in
concealing my husband's extravagant follies even from her!

That day's post brought a letter of a more pleasant nature from my uncle
to me. He informed me, that though he utterly disapproved my giving to
an erring husband what was intended as a provision for my innocent
children, he could not bear that I should suffer by my erroneous but
generous conception of a wife's duty, and had therefore replaced the sum
which I had so rashly advanced, desiring me on any future emergency to
apply to him.

Kind and excellent old man! How pleasant were the tears which I shed
over this letter! but still how much more welcome to my soul were those
which it wrung from the heart of Pendarves!

But amidst the various feelings which made my cheek pale, my brow
thoughtful and sad, my form meagre, and which deprived me of every thing
but the mere outline of former beauty, was the consciousness that my
mother's heart was estranged from my husband. He had even exceeded all
her fears and expectations; and her manner to him was full of that cold
civility, which when it replaces ardent affection is of all things the
most terrible to endure from one whom you love and venerate. He felt it
to his heart's core, and alas! he resented it by flying oftener from his
home and the wife whom he thus rendered wretched.

At this period my mother was surprised by a most unexpected guest, and,
situated as I was, an unwelcome visitor to both; for it was Ferdinand de
Walden.

Business had brought him to England; and as time had, he believed,
mellowed his attachment to me into friendship, he had no objection to
visit my mother, and renew his acquaintance with me. But though she
prepared him to see me much altered, as I had not, she said, recovered
the loss of my child, he was so overcome when he saw me, that he was
forced to leave the room; and the sight of that faded face and form,
nay, I may say, the utter loss of my beauty, endeared me yet more to the
heart of De Walden.

Had I been an artful, had I been a coquettish woman, this was the time
to show it; for I might have easily roused the jealousy of my husband,
and perhaps have terrified him back to his allegiance. But I should have
felt debased if I had excited one feeling of jealousy in a husband's
heart, and my manner was so cold to De Walden that he complained of it
to my mother.

Mr. Oswald called on De Walden, as soon as he heard of his arrival, for
he had known him abroad, and a day was fixed for our meeting him at
Oswald Lodge: nay, my mother, to mark her great respect for her guest,
would have joined the party had she not sprained her ankle severely the
day before.

It was now some weeks since I had dined there; therefore I had not
seen the great increase of intimacy which was visible between Seymour
and Lady Martindale, and which I dreaded should be observed by Lord
Martindale himself: but he did not seem to mind it, and looked at me
with such an expression of countenance, lavishing on me at the same time
such disgusting flatteries, that the dark eye of De Walden flashed fire
as he regarded him, and he beheld my absorbed and inattentive husband
with a look in which scorn contended with agony. But if Seymour was
so completely absorbed in looking at and listening to the Syren who
bewitched him, she was not equally absorbed in him: but I saw that when
he was not looking at her, she was earnestly examining De Walden, and
that his eye dwelt on her with a very marked and scornful meaning.

Lady Martindale was solicited at the dinner table to promise some new
guests who were there, to exhibit to them the scene with the dog;
but on pretence of having hurt her foot she refused. This led to a
conversation on dancing, of which art, to my great surprise, De Walden
declared himself a great admirer in the early part of his life. "When I
was very young," said he in French, "I saw such dancing as I shall never
forget. It was that of a young creature on the Paris stage, who was then
called Annette Beauvais, and she quite bewitched my young heart, both on
and off the stage; for I once saw her in a private party, but then I was
quite a boy: she was at that time the mistress of a _fermier général_:
since then she has figured, as I have heard, in many different capacities,
and I should not be surprised to hear of her as a peeress, or a princess;
so great and versatile were her powers."

This discussion, so little _à-propos_, for what did any one present care
for Annette Beauvais? convinced me De Walden had a meaning beyond what
appeared; and casting my eyes on Lord Martindale and his lady, I saw
they were both covered with confusion: but the former recovering himself
first, said, "Annette Beauvais! My dear Eugénie, is not that the name of
the girl who was reckoned so like you?"

"_Mais oui--sans doute_--I was much sorry--for I was take for her very
oft'--_et cependant elle est plus grande que moi._[3]"

  [Footnote 3: Yet she is taller than I.]

"She may look taller on the stage, my lady," said De Walden, again
speaking in French, that she might not lose a word; "but I would wager
any money, that off the stage, no one would know Annette from you, or
you from her."

"_A la bonne heure_," said she in a tone of pique, and avoiding the
searching glance of his eye; then, on her making a signal to Mrs.
Oswald, she rose, and we left the dining-room.

With the impression which I had just received on my mind of Lady
Martindale's former profession, or rather character, I could not help
replying to the attentions which she now lavished on me with distant
politeness; and I saw clearly that she observed my change of manner,
and, resenting it in her heart, resolved to take ample vengeance; for,
as I stood with my arms folded in a long mantle which I wore, lost in
reverie, it happened that I did not answer Lady Martindale when she
first spoke, and when I did, it was in a cold and absent manner, and
as if I addressed an inferior; on which the artful woman, who sat in a
recess by the side of my husband, threw herself back, exclaiming, "_Mais
voyez donc comme elle me traite! Ah! comment ai-je mérité cette dureté
de sa part?_"[4] She accompanied these words with a few touching tears.

  [Footnote 4: Only see how she treats me! How have I deserved such
  hard treatment from her?]

On seeing and hearing this, for the first time in his life since we
married, Seymour felt irritated against me; and coming up to me, he
said, in a voice nearly extinct with passion, "Mrs. Pendarves, I insist
on your apologizing to that lady for the rudeness of which you have been
guilty." For one moment my spirit revolted at the word "insist," and my
feelings were overset by the "Mrs. Pendarves;" but it was only for a
moment.

I felt that I had been rude; and I also felt that I should not have
acted as I did, spite of my suspicions, if I had not been jealous of
Seymour's adoration for her.

Accordingly, drawing so near to her that no one could hear what passed,
I told her that at the command of my husband, I assured her I did not
mean to wound or offend her, and that I was sorry I had done so.

"Ah! 'tis your husban spoak den, not your own heart--dat's wat I want."

"The feelings of my heart," said I, "are not at the command even of my
husband; but my words are, and I have obeyed him--but I am really sorry
when I have given pain to any one." Then with a low curtsy I left them,
and retired to a further part of the room.

During this time I saw that Seymour looked still angry, and was not
satisfied with my apology, or the manner in which I delivered it; and I
repented I had not been more gracious. But now I was requested to sing
a Venetian air to the Spanish guitar, to which I had written English
words; and I complied, glad to do something to escape from my own
painful reflections, and also from the earnest manner in which De Walden
examined my countenance, and watched what had just passed. But in order
no doubt to mortify my vanity by calling off the attention from me to
herself, the moment I began, Lady Martindale set her little dog down who
was lying in her lap, and began to make him dance to the tune; but as
she did not get up herself and dance as usual with him, the poor beast
did not know what to make of it, but set up a most violent barking. I
had had resolution to go on both singing and playing during the grimaces
of the dog and its mistress, even though my own husband instead of
resenting the affront to me had seemed to enjoy it; but when the dog
spoke I was silent; on which De Walden seized the little animal in
his arms in spite of Lady Martindale's resistance, and put it out of
the room. Then stooping down he whispered something in her ear which
silenced her at once. During this scene I trembled in every limb; for I
feared that Seymour might be mad enough to resent De Walden's conduct.
I was therefore relieved when Lord Martindale came up to him, as if
he meant to resent the violence offered to his lady's dog; but on
approaching De Walden, he said, with great good humour--"That was right,
Count De Walden; and if you had not done it, _I_ should. Only think that
a beast like that should presume to interrupt a Seraph!"

"Ah! if it was but he alone that presumed in this room, it would be
well; but we often make example of one who is guilty the least."

Lord Martindale did not choose to ask an explanation of these words,
but, turning to me, requested me to resume my guitar and my song. But
I had not yet recovered my emotion, nor perhaps would it have been
consistent with my self-respect to comply.

Certainly De Walden thought not; for he said in a low voice "_Ma chere
amie, de grace ne chantez pas!_"[5] and I was firm in my refusal.

  [Footnote 5: My dear friend, pray do not sing!]

Perhaps it was well that I was not allowed to go on with my song, as the
words were only too expressive of my own feelings, for they were as
follows:--

 SONG.

 How bright this summer's sun appear'd!
   How blue to me this summer's sky!
 While all I saw and all I heard
   Could charm my ear, could bless my eye.

 The lonely bower, the splendid crowd,
   Alike a joy for me possess'd;
 My heart a charm on all bestow'd,
   For that confiding heart was _bless'd_.

 But thou art changed!--and now no more
   The sun is bright, or blue the sky;
 Now in the throng, or in the bower,
   I only mark thy _alter'd eye_.

 And though midst crowds I still appear,
   And seem to list the minstrel's strain,
 I heed it not--I only hear
   My _own deep sigh_ that mourns in vain.

My carriage was announced soon afterwards; and I saw by the manner of
both, that Lady Martindale was trying to persuade my husband to stay all
night: but as De Walden came with us, propriety, if not inclination,
forbade him to comply, and he sullenly enough followed De Walden and me
to the carriage. When there, that considerate friend refused to enter
it--declaring as it was moon-light he preferred walking home.

What a relief was this to my mind! for I dreaded some unpleasant
altercation, especially if De Walden expressed the belief which he
evidently entertained, that Lady Martindale and Annette Beauvais were
the same person.

When he entered the carriage my husband threw himself into one corner of
it, and remained silent. I expected this: still I did not know how to
bear it; for I could not help contrasting the past with the present. Is
there--no, there is not--so agonizing a feeling in the catalogue of
human suffering, as the first conviction that the heart of the being
whom we most tenderly love, is estranged from us? In vain could I
pretend to doubt this overwhelming fact. Seymour had resented for
another woman, and to me! He had even joined in, and enjoyed, the mean
revenge that woman took, though that revenge was a public affront to me!
And now in sullen silence, and in still rankling resentment, he was
sitting as far from me as he possibly could sit, and the attachment of
years seemed in one hour destroyed!

All this I felt and thought during the first mile of our drive home: but
so closely does hope ever tread on the heels of despair, that one word
from Pendarves banished the worst part of my misery; for in an angry
tone he at length observed, "So, madam, your champion would not go with
us: I think it is a pity you did not walk with him--I think you ought
to have done no less, after his public gallantry in your service."

"Ha!" thought I immediately, "this is pique, this is jealousy;
and perhaps he loves me still!" What a revulsion of feeling I now
experienced! and never in his fondest moments did I value an expression
of tenderness from him more, than I did this weak and churlish
observation; for he was not silent and sullen on account of Lady
Martindale's fancied injuries; but from resentment of De Walden's
interference. In one moment therefore the face of nature itself seemed
changed to me; and I eagerly replied, "I was certainly much obliged to
De Walden--I needed a champion, and who so proper to be it as himself,
the only old friend I had in the room, yourself excepted, and the only
person in it probably who now (here my voice faltered) has a real regard
and affection for me!"

"Helen!" cried Pendarves, starting up, "you cannot mean what you say!
You do not, cannot believe that De Walden loves you better than _I_ do."

"If I had not believed it I should not have said it."

"But how could you believe it? Has he dared to talk to you of love?"

"Do you think he could forget himself so far as to do such a thing? or
if he did, do you think I could forget myself so far as to listen to
him? Surely, sir, you forget of whom and to whom you are speaking."

"Forgive me: I spoke from pique. And so, Helen, you think I do not love
you?"

"Not as you did, certainly: but I excuse you. I know grief has changed
me; and it had been better for me to have died, if it had so pleased
God, when my poor child died."

"Helen! dearest! do not talk thus, I cannot bear it!" he exclaimed,
clasping me to his heart; and though I then wept even more abundantly
than before, I wept on his bosom, and all my sorrows were for awhile
forgotten.

The next morning Pendarves told me he should certainly breakfast with
me; but he must leave me soon to partake of a late breakfast at Oswald
Lodge, as he had promised to go with the party to call on a family, with
whom they were to arrange some private theatricals.

"And are you to engage in them?"

"Oh! to be sure: it will not be the first time of my acting."

"And will Lady Martindale act?"

"Yes: but not with us. We shall act in English: she will favour us with
a mono-drame, a ballet of action, and perhaps read a French play, which
she reads to perfection."

"Not better than she dances, I dare say; for dancing, I suspect, was
once one of her professions."

"What nonsense is this Helen? and who has dared to give such an
erroneous and false impression of this admirable woman?"

"Surely you must have perceived that De Walden meant to insinuate that
she and Annette Beauvais are the same person?"

"Then he is a vile calumniator."

"Not so: he is only a mistaken man."

"But it seems you think he cannot be mistaken: he is an oracle!"

"My love," replied I, "we had better not talk of De Walden."

"You are right, Helen, quite right; for I am conscious of great
irritation when I think of him: for I feel, I cannot but feel, how much
more worthy of you he is than I am; and yet, foolish girl, you gave him
up for me. O Helen! when I saw him, impatient of affront to you, step
forward with that flashing eye, that commanding air, to seize the
offending brute, though I could have stabbed him, I could also have
embraced him; and I said within myself, 'And to this man Helen preferred
me! How she must repent her folly now!'"

"She never has repented, she never can repent it," said I, throwing
myself upon his neck. "You know I took you with all your faults open to
my view."

"Yes: but you fancied love and you would reform them!"

"I did--and I think we may do so still: but you must not let me fancy
you do not love me, Seymour; if you do, I shall pine and mope, and
become the object of your aversion."

"Impossible! do you think I can ever dislike you, Helen?"

"Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing?" said I, returning
his embrace.

"I will hear no more of such horrible surmises: I have now outstaid my
time."

Then mounting his horse, he was out of sight in a moment.

Soon after my mother appeared, and, to my surprise, unaccompanied by De
Walden.

"Where is our friend?" was my first salutation.

"On the road to London."

"London! And why?"

"He had his reasons for going; and, as usual, they do honour both to his
head and heart."

"May I not know them?"

"I would not tell them to all women under your circumstances; but I can
trust you. He finds that he has not conquered his attachment; and that
he cannot behold the affecting change in your appearance, and reflect
on the cause, without feeling what his principles disapprove. Besides,
he is afraid of getting involved in a quarrel with Pendarves, as, I
suppose, you guess who this Lady Martindale is."

"I do. Well, I am glad De Walden is gone; for I know Pendarves will
rejoice."

I then related to her my conversation with my husband; and I did it
with so much cheerfulness, and such an evident revival of hope, that I
imparted some of the feelings which I experienced; and my mother's heart
was visibly softened towards Seymour, while she uttered, "Poor fellow!
he does indeed justly judge himself: you did prefer the brilliant to the
diamond. But where is he?"

"Gone out with the party at the lodge on particular business; and will
not return till night."

On hearing this my mother's countenance fell; and kissing my cheek, she
shook her head mournfully, and changed the conversation.

Pendarves came home that evening in great spirits. Every thing was
arranged for the theatricals, and the play fixed upon. It was to be the
Belle's Stratagem, and he was to play Doricourt, a part he had often
played before. The part of Letitia Hardy, was given to a young lady who
was an actress on private theatres; and every part was filled but that
of Lady Frances Touchwood.

"Oh, Helen!" cried he, "how happy should I be if you would give over all
your dismals, lay aside your scruples, and make me your slave for life,
by undertaking this mild and modest part!"

"You bribe high," I replied (turning pale at the apprehension of any
thing so contrary to my habits and my sense of right): "but you know my
aversion to things of the sort."

"I do: but I also know your high sense of a wife's duty; and that you
cannot but own a wife ought to obey her husband's will, when not
contrary to the will of God."

"You seem to have high though just ideas of a wife's duty," said I,
smiling; "now, perhaps, you will favour me with your opinion of a
husband's duty."

"Willingly. It is to wean a beloved wife, if possible, from gloomy
thoughts; to keep amusing company himself, and to make her join it: in
short, when he has engaged in private theatricals, it is his _duty_
to get his wife to engage in them also: and if you think such things
dangerous to good morals, you are the more bound to engage in them, in
order to watch over _mine_."

I suspected he was right, and that the general duty should, in this
instance, give way to the particular one; but I shrunk with aversion
from the long and intimate association with these disagreeable if not
disreputable people, to which it would oblige me; and after expressing
this dislike I begged time to consider of his request.

The next day I went to consult my mother, who at first would not hear
the plan named, and declared that her child should not so far degrade
herself as to allow her person to be profaned by such familiarities as
acting must induce and she must suffer. But when I told her Mr. Oswald
was to act Sir George Touchwood, a quiet, elderly married man, she was
more reconciled to it on that score, but she disliked it as much as I
did on other grounds. However, having convinced myself, I at length
convinced her, that it was my duty to make myself as dear and as
agreeable to my husband as I could, and not leave him thus exposed to
the every day increasing fascinations of another woman.

"But can you, my dear child," said she, "have fortitude enough to bear
for days together the sight of his attentions to your rival? Will it not
make you pettish, grave, and unamiable, and cloud your eyes in tears,
which will incense and not affect, because they will seem a reproach?"

"It will be a difficult task, and a severe trial, I own; but I humbly
hope to be supported under it: and though the risk is great, the
ultimate success is worth the venture."

"Helen," said my mother, "till now I thought my trials as a wife great,
and my duties severe; but I am convinced that they were easy to bear
and easy to perform, compared to what a fond wife feels, who is forced
to mask misery with smiles; to substitute undeserved kindness for just
reproach; and to submit even her own superior judgement, and her own
sense of right and wrong, to the will of her husband."

"But, dear mother! I shall be repaid and rewarded at last!"

"Repaid, rewarded, Helen! how? Who or what is to repay you? As well can
_assignats_ repay bullion, as the love of a being who has grossly erred
can reward that of one to whom error is unknown."

"But he has not grossly erred; and if he had, I love him," cried I,
deeply wounded and appalled at the truth of what she said.

"Ah! there it is," she replied; "and thus does love level all in their
turns; the weak with the strong, the sensible with the foolish. One
thing more, Helen, before you go--You shall have your mother's
countenance and presence to support you under your new trials: I will
condescend to invite myself to attend rehearsals, and I will be at the
representation."

I received this offer with gratitude, and then returned to tell my
husband that I would perform the part of Lady Frances Touchwood.

He was delighted with my compliance; and on making me read the part
aloud directly he declared that I should perform to admiration.

"I should have played Letitia Hardy better," said I.

"You! how conceited!"

"I got that part by heart once, and I have often acted it quite through
for my own amusement when I was quite alone. But I prefer playing Lady
Frances now, for the days of my vanity are pretty well over."

"No, no, child, they are only now beginning, according to this; and
little did I think I had married a great actress."

Pendarves then departed in high spirits to his friends, and I sat down
to study my part. But bitter were the tears I shed over it. And was I,
so lately the mourner over a dying and a dead child, was I about to
engage in dissipations like these?--But humbly hoping my motive
sanctified my deed, I shook off overwhelming recollections, and resolved
to persevere in my new task.

For some days, and till all was ready for rehearsals, Pendarves
rehearsed his part to me, and I to him; but at length he found it
pleasanter to have Lady Martindale hear him, he said, for her broken
English was so amusing.

I could not oppose to this excellent reason my being a better judge of
his performance, but I was forced to submit in silence. Now, however, I
was soon called to rehearsals, and my mother was allowed to accompany
me.

My first performance was wretched, and I thought Seymour looked ashamed
of me; but my mother said she should have been mortified if I had done
better the first time. The next I gained credit; but on the third day I
found the party in great distress. The Letitia Hardy had been sent for
to a dying father, and there was no one to undertake her part. You may
easily guess that Seymour immediately told tales of me, and I undertook
that prominent character: but I did not shrink from it, for my husband
was to act with me; and Letitia Hardy was not more eager to charm
Doricourt, than I to charm my husband.

You know there is a minuet to be danced, and a song to be sung; and as
Le Piq and Madame Rossi were the first dancers when I was young, I had
taken lessons of both in London, and was said to dance a minuet well.
Pendarves was equally celebrated in that dance; and as we rehearsed
our minuet often at home, each declared the other perfect; nor was the
little song less warmly applauded, which I substituted for the original,
and adapted to a Scotch air. It applied to my own situation and feelings
as well as to those of the heroine, and was as follows:

 SONG.

   If now before this splendid throng
     With timid voice, but daring aim,
   I strive to wake my pensive song
     And urge the minstrel's tuneful claim;
 One wish alone the anxious task can move,
 The wish to charm the ear of HIM I LOVE.

   If in the dance with eager feet
     I seek a grace before unknown,
   And dare the critic eye to meet,
     Nor heed though scornful numbers frown;
 This wish to fear superior bids me prove,
 The wish to charm the eye of HIM I LOVE.

   And if, my woman's fears resign'd,
     I thus my loved retirement leave,
   My humble vest with roses bind,
     And jewels in my tresses weave;
 One wish alone could such vast efforts move,
 The wish to _fix the heart_ of HIM I LOVE.

The rehearsals meanwhile were pleasanter than I expected. My husband
was forced to be a great deal with me, as he had to rehearse so much
with me; and Lady Martindale chose to practise her ballet in her own
apartment, in sight of a long glass. Therefore I had not to bear, as
I expected, my husband's complete neglect; and I could smile at the
meanness which led her to come in while I was rehearsing, and lament,
as she looked on, loud enough for Seymour and me to hear, that the
_charmante_ Henrietta Goodwin was summoned away, and could not perform
the heroine, because she did it _à ravir_. I saw Pendarves change colour
often when she said this, and she said it daily; but as he thought I
much excelled Miss Goodwin, he attributed it to female envy, and perhaps
to jealousy of me as his wife.

At length the first day of our theatricals took place, and a company far
more select and less numerous than I expected was assembled. My mother
had insisted on defraying my expenses, and both my dresses were elegant.
You must forgive my vanity when I say, that with rouge replacing my
natural bloom, and clad in a most becoming manner, I looked as young
and as well as when I married; while to my grateful joy my husband
seemed to admire me more than any one. Indeed he pronounced my whole
performance beyond praise, and I know not what any one else said. I made
one alteration, however, in the text on the night of representation,
which called down thunders of applause. The Author makes Letitia Hardy
say, that if her husband was unfaithful she would elope with the first
pretty fellow that asked her, while her feelings preyed on her life. I
could not make my lips utter such words as these; I therefore said, "I
would not elope like some women, &c. but would patiently endure my
sufferings, though my feelings preyed on my life."

Seymour was so surprised, so confounded, and so affected, that he seized
my hand and pressed it to his heart and his lips before he could reply:
and my mother told me afterwards that she could scarcely controul her
emotions at a change so worthy of me, and so well-timed. The next
representation was deferred for a week; and, whatever was the reason,
Lady Martindale deferred any exhibition of herself to that future
opportunity.

But the comfort and the joy of all to me was, that during this
intermediate week I recovered my husband; and with him some of my good
looks; while that odious lord would very fain have bestowed on me equal
attention to what Seymour had bestowed on his wife, and of a less
equivocal nature.

Lord Charles Belmour at this period paid us an unexpected visit, having
entirely recovered from his late indisposition. I certainly was not
glad to see him, though I believed he regarded me with more kindness
than formerly, and he was evidently solicitous, by the most respectful
attentions, to conciliate the regard of my beloved mother.

Out of compliment to Lord Charles, Seymour dined at home two days; but
on the third, he insisted on taking his friend to call at Oswald Lodge,
whose hospitable master had called on him, as soon as he heard of his
arrival, and was anxious to have the honour of his acquaintance. Lord
Charles thought the honour would be all on Mr. Oswald's side, and
probably the pleasure also; but he was at length prevailed on to return
the call, and to my great joy he returned wondering at Seymour's
infatuation in living so much with such a vulgar set; declaring, that
even the Lady Martindale had more the air of a French _petite maîtresse_
than of any thing akin to quality. He said this in my mother's presence
and mine, and he could not have made, I own, better court to either.

"My daughter and I always thought so; and I am glad to have our
judgement confirmed by your lordship," answered my mother. "But my son
thinks differently."

"I do indeed," said Pendarves blushing; "and when Lord Charles sees her
to advantage,--which he did not to-day,--he will not, I am sure, wonder
at my admiration."

"Well, we shall see," said he; "but I trust I shall not change my mind,
if the future exhibitions of her exquisite ladyship be like that of
to-day. You were not there, ladies; therefore, for your amusement,
allow me to open my show-box and give you portraits of the inhabitants
of Oswald Lodge."

He then stood up, and Mr. and Mrs. Oswald lived before us: air, voice,
attitude--all perfectly given. Then came Lord Martindale; and at these
pictures Pendarves laughed heartily: but when Lord Charles exhibited the
dog and lady by turns dancing, and sometimes barking for the one, and
throwing himself into attitudes and smiling for the other, my husband
looked much disconcerted, and said it was a gross caricature. But we did
not think it so; and though neither my mother nor myself approved such
exhibitions, and on principle discouraged them, still on this occasion
I must own they were very gratifying to me. But the feeling was an
unworthy one, and it was soon punished; for Seymour said with a look of
reproach, "You have mortified me, Helen: I had given you credit for more
generosity: I did not think you would thus enjoy a laugh at any one's
expense; especially that of one whose graces and talents you have
yourself acknowledged."

I felt humbled and ashamed at the just reproof, though I thought he
should not thus have reproved me, and I was silent; but my mother
haughtily replied, "I am glad to hear you own you are mortified to find
your wife has some leaven of human frailty; as I am now for the first
time convinced that you appreciate her justly."

"I have many faults," he replied; "but that of not valuing Helen as she
deserves was never one of them; and oh! how deeply do I feel and
bitterly lament that I am not more worthy of her and you!"

My mother instantly held out her hand to him; while Lord Charles
exclaimed, "What a graceful and candid avowal! No wonder the offender
is so soon forgiven! But believe me, dear madam, there is no hope of
amendment from persons who are so ready to own their faults; for they
consider that candour makes amends for all their errors, and throws such
a charm over them, that they have no motive to improve, especially if
they are young and handsome like my friend here; for really he looked so
pretty, and modest and pathetic, that I wondered you only gave him your
hand to kiss."

"Be quiet, Lord Charles; you are not a kind commentator."

"But I am a just one. Oh! believe me, there is more hope of an ugly dog
like me, who can't look affecting, than of such a man as Seymour. I
cannot make error look engaging if I would, and therefore must reform
in good earnest when I wish to please."

That night Seymour, who sat up with Lord Charles, did not come to bed
till some hours after me. I was awake when he entered the room, and
could not help asking him what had kept them up so late, anticipating
his answer only too well. "We sat up playing piquet," said he in a
cheerful voice; "and I am a great winner, Helen. If Lord Charles stays
some days, and plays as he did to-night, I am a made man: only think of
my winning a hundred pounds since you left us!"

"But if Lord Charles should not always play as he did to-night, and you
should lose a hundred pounds, what is to become of you then?"

"Psha, Helen! you are always so wise and cautious: there, there, go to
sleep, and do not alarm yourself concerning what may never happen."

But I could not go to sleep, though I said no more; and I saw that our
guest would probably upset those resolutions to which Pendarves had for
some time adhered. True, he had not been tempted to break them; but had
his desire for play been strong, he could have sought means to indulge
it. He had not done so, and therefore I thought him cured; though, as
most persons have recourse to gaming merely to produce excitement, and
the stimulus of alternate hope and fear, I could not but see that Oswald
Lodge and Lady Martindale amply supplied to my husband the place of
play; and so that he was interested and amused, it mattered not whence
that feeling was derived. And this was he who had declared himself the
votary of domestic habits, home amusements and literary pursuits! But
now he was most unexpectedly and unnecessarily assailed; for he had not
gone to temptation, but it was come to him,--and my resolution was
taken.

The next morning, while we were at breakfast, a chaise stopped at our
door. It was sent from Oswald Lodge, to convey my husband thither
immediately; as a note from Lady Martindale informed him, that she could
not make arrangements for the next evening's exhibition without his
advice and assistance: for nobody, she added, had any taste but himself.

This note Lord Charles playfully snatched from him, and would read
aloud, much to Seymour's annoyance; as, though the language was elegant,
there was not a word spelt right, and every rule of grammar was
violated.

"The education of this well born lady was much neglected, I see," said
Lord Charles: "would she could spell as well as she can flatter!"

He then read the concluding compliment aloud.

"_C'est un peu fort,_" he observed, returning the note; which Seymour
angrily observed he ought not to have allowed him to read.

"Well; but you obey the summons, I suppose?"

"Certainly."

"And when may we hope to see you again?"

"As soon as I can get away."

"That may not be till bed-time."

"Impossible! have I not promised to give you your revenge this evening?"

"Yes; but when a lady's in the case--"

"Nonsense! I shall return to dinner."

"And not before? How mortifying it is to me to see that you are not
afraid of leaving me so many hours at liberty to pay court to your
wife,--with whom, you know, I am desperately in love!"

"If my wife were not what she is, I should be so; and my confidence, I
assure you, is not in you, but in her."

"Besides, we shall not be alone, my lord, for I am going to challenge
you," said I, "to call on my mother."

"Agreed! And now I am flattered. Your lady, you see, thinks me a more
formidable person than you do. Suppose, my dear lady, that we go off
together, only to punish him for his weak confidence?"

"We will consider of it," said I, laughing; "and in the meanwhile we
will visit my mother."

My husband then drove off and I prepared for my walk.--When I returned,
I found Lord Charles walking up and down the room, and with a thoughtful
disturbed countenance.

"Mrs. Pendarves," cried he, "I have no patience with that infatuated
husband of yours! Here am I come on purpose to see him and for a short
time only, and yet, at the call of this equivocal French peeress, he
leaves me, and has the indecorum, too, to go away and leave me with
his beautiful wife! Tell me, do you not believe in love-powders and
philters? for surely some must have been administered to him."

"Not necessarily: my ill-health, the consequence of sorrow, and that
sorrow itself made poor Seymour's home uncomfortable to him; he did
not like to see me suffer, therefore he acquired a habit of seeking
amusement elsewhere; and the flatteries and invitations of these gay and
agreeable people have at last obtained a complete ascendency over him."

"That I see; and such people too! And to think of what the foolish man
leaves! Mrs. Pendarves, I think that if I had had such a wife as his, I
could not have left my home as he does."

"Lord Charles," replied I, "this is language which I will not listen
to; but I laugh at your self-deception. The habits of all men of the
world are similar, and alike powerful, and your wife would be left as I
am: but I assure you that I am convinced my husband loves me tenderly
notwithstanding; and I am trying, by conforming to his habits, to make
myself as agreeable to him as others are."

Lord Charles seemed about to break into violent exclamations of some
kind or other; but I stopped him, and begged to lead the way to my
mother's. He bowed respectfully, and followed me: then taking his arm, I
tried to begin the conversation I meditated; and luckily he made my task
easy by saying, "I conclude Pendarves told you how completely he beat me
at cards last night? But he has promised to give me my revenge to-night.
The truth is, I have not played picquet these two years; but before I
leave you, I expect to recover my knowledge, and to turn my visit to
account: for I have been very unsuccessful at Brookes's lately."

I now stopped, and said, "Hear me, Lord Charles! I believe that you can
be a kind and honourable man, and that you are really disposed to be a
friend to me."

"To be sure--to be sure I am."

"I feel, I own, your power to be my foe in many essential points, but I
am equally sure that you can be my friend if you choose; and I request
you, if you value my peace of mind, not to tempt my husband to renew
that habit and fondness for play, which he had lost, which he cannot
afford to indulge, and which, I assure you, has impoverished and
distressed us."

"You amaze me! Impoverished!"

"Yes; we have been forced to part with our horses and dismiss servants.
Surely, therefore, it would not be the part of a friend to lure
Pendarves to the risk of losing a hundred pounds a-night. My lord, I
throw myself on your generosity, and say no more."

"You have said enough; and the admirable wife's prudence shall make
amends for the rashness of her husband. Besides, I am so flattered by
your confidence in me! At last to find you considering me as a friend,
and asking assistance from me as a friend! I protest I am more flattered
by your friendship than I should be by the love of twenty other
women.--Take my revenge! No, indeed. He shall keep his hundred pounds:
'I will none of it.'"

"Hold; not so: play with him this evening; but whether you win or lose,
declare you will play no more. I would rather you should win back the
money, and even more; for it may be dangerous to Seymour to feel himself
enriched by play, and he may go on, though not with you: but after this
evening, forbear."

"Excellent! excellent! O that ever I should come hither! I shall be a
lost man: for I shall fancy it so charming a thing to have a wife to
take care of me, that I shall marry, and find too late there is only
one Helen Pendarves!--But tell me, do you wish me to go away to-day,
to-morrow, or when--in order to put you out of your pain?"

"By no means: I rely implicitly on your promise; and I owe it to you to
assure you, Lord Charles, that your company is most welcome to me, and
that I shall not forget your kindness."

I now offered him my hand, which he was going to kiss; but suddenly
dropping it, he said, "No--no; take it away.--You must not be too good
to me: I am not a man to be trusted with much flattery and kindness:
for, ugly as I am, the women have so spoiled me, that I may fancy even
you are kind to me '_pour l'amour des mes beaux yeux_,'"[6] opening his
gooseberry eyes as wide as he could, and in a manner so irresistibly
comic, that I gave way to that laughter which he delighted to excite. I
therefore entered my mother's parlour looking more animated than usual,
and she looked most graciously on my companion as the cause: but she
seemed displeased when she found Pendarves was gone to Oswald Lodge, and
had left me to entertain his noble guest.

  [Footnote 6: For the love of my fine eyes.]

I now took my departure, having some poor cottagers to visit. When I
came back, I saw by the thoughtful brow and flushed cheek of both, that
their conversation had been of a very interesting nature; and I also saw
that there was an air of confiding intimacy between them, which I never
expected to see between two persons so little accordant in habits and
sentiments.

But every human being has a capacity for good as well as evil, and
the great difference in us all results chiefly, I believe, from the
favourable or unfavourable circumstances in which we are placed. Lord
Charles had been so circumstanced, that his capacity for evil alone had
been cultivated; and till he knew my mother and myself, he had never met
in women any other description of companions than those whom he courted,
conquered, and despised,--and those whose rigid morals and disagreeable
manners threw him haughtily at a distance, and made him hate virtue for
their sakes. But now, trusted, noticed, liked by women of a different
kind, his good feelings were awakened; and while with us, he really was
the amiable being which he might, differently situated, have always
been.

"I love to be with you," said he to us: "your influence is so beneficial
over me, and you wrap me in such a pleasing illusion! for while I am
with you I fancy myself as good as you are: but when I go away, I shall
be just as bad again.--Well; have you nothing to say in reply? How
disappointed I am! for I thought you would in mercy have exclaimed,
'Then stay here for ever!' Would I could!"

And indeed, when he did go, I missed him.--But to return to the place
whence I digressed. Pendarves came home time enough to take a ride with
Lord Charles, but he took care to let him see that he expected more
attention from him. That evening he challenged my husband to picquet;
and having won back nearly the whole of what he had lost, positively
declined playing any more: and, much to Seymour's vexation, he would not
play again while he staid. The second night's performances at Oswald
Lodge now took place; but though Lord Charles staid to be present at
them, he could not help expressing his astonishment to me, when alone,
that a modest, respectable gentlewoman like myself should ever have
joined in them, and that my husband should have permitted it.

"It is very well for these fiddling, frolicking, fun-hunting Oswalds,"
said he, "to fill their house with persons and things of this sort,
and rant and roar, and kick and jump, and make fools and tumblers of
themselves and such of their guests as like it: but never did I expect
to see the dignified and retiring Helen Pendarves exhibiting her person
on a stage, and levelling herself to a Lady Martindale. As your friend,
your adoring friend, I tell you, that such an exhibition degrades you."

"It would do so were it my choice, but it is my necessity; and the
fulfilment of a painful duty exalts rather than degrades."

"Duty!"

"Yes; my husband required me to act, and I obeyed."

"I understand you. Oh! what a rash, ill-judging being he is! But I beg
your pardon, and will say no more. Yet I must add, you are justified;
but alas! what can justify him?"

This conversation did not give me any additional courage to undertake
and execute my task; especially as I had no reputation as an actress to
lose, and other circumstances increased my timidity.--Lady Martindale
had purposely reserved all her powers for this evening, and, as she
herself said, she was very glad to have her performance witnessed by
such a judge as Lord Charles Belmour--a man whose opinion, she knew, was
looked up to in all circles as decisive, with regard to beauty, grace,
and talents. No wonder, therefore, that to throw her spells round him
was become the object of her ambition. Hitherto he had avoided her, and
she seemed conscious that he did not admire her. Her only hope was, I
believe, therefore, to charm him at once by a _coup de théâtre_; and
while she convinced Pendarves that for him alone she should exert her
various powers, her fascinating graces were in reality aimed at Lord
Charles: so I thought and suspected,--and though jealousy blinds, it
also very often enlightens.

She was to begin the entertainments by acting a French proverb with a
French gentleman, an _emigré_, who was staying at the house; and having
no doubt of her transcendent powers, I felt very reluctant to enter
into competition with her. Yet, was not the prize for which I strove
my husband's admiration? But then was I not degrading myself from the
dignity of a wife and a private gentlewoman, by putting myself into a
competition like this? The question was difficult to answer, and while I
was thus ruminating, the curtain drew up.

I shall not describe her performance: suffice, that the exhibition was
perfect. The dialogue was epigrammatic, and the scenes too short to let
the attention flag. Every word, every gesture, every look told; and the
curtain dropped amidst the loudest applauses.

I could only see from the side-scene; but I saw enough to make me feel
my own inferiority, and I went on for Letitia Hardy in a tremor of
spirits of which I was quite ashamed; nor could the kindest of the
audience applaud me, except from pity and the wish to encourage me;
while I saw that Lord Charles could not even do that, and sat silent,
and, I thought, uneasy. However, I recovered myself in the masquerade
scene, though my voice when I sung still trembled with emotion; and now
I was overwhelmed with plaudits, and even Lord Charles seemed pleased;
for, as I was masked, I could examine the audience.

Still the play went off languidly after the lively petite piece, and I
saw I had mortified my husband's vanity, which my first performance had
gratified.

Much impatience was expressed for the next entertainment, which was
Rouseau's Pygmalion. Pygmalion by the French Marquis; the Statue, by
Lady Martindale. This was received with delight; and I saw that the
beautiful statue, whose exquisite proportions were any thing but
concealed by the dress she wore, absorbed completely the attention
of Pendarves; and when she left the stage apparently exhausted, how
different were the look and manner with which he led her to her
dressing-room, to those with which he had so handed me!

"Why, why," said I to myself, "did I attempt a comparison, in which I
was sure to fail?" But if I had erred, I had meant well, and my mother
had approved my conduct, and that must console me under my want of
success; for, instead of winning Seymour back, I now saw that, feeling
my rival's superiority over me, he would be more her slave than ever.

The whole concluded with a ballet of action, a monodrame, by Lady
Martindale, to which I was too uncomfortable to attend; but what I saw I
thought admirable. She pretended to be overcome with fatigue when it was
ended, and fell into my husband's arms, who in his alarm called me to
her assistance. I went; but her lip retained its glowing hue, and I saw
in her illness nothing but a new attitude, and that the statue was now
recumbent. Having been long enough contemplated in this posture, she
opened her eyes, fixed them with a dying look on Pendarves, and then
desired him to lead her to her apartment: whence she returned attired in
a splendid mantle, which seemed in modesty thrown over her statue dress,
but which coquettishly displayed occasionally the form it seemed
intended to hide.

I never saw Lord Charles so disconcerted as he was during the whole of
the time. He could not bear to praise the heroine of the evening, yet
he felt that praise was her due. Nor could he bear either to find fault
with or to praise _me_. In this dilemma, he seemed to think it was
best to be silent; and drawing himself up, he entrenched himself in
the consciousness that he was Lord Charles Belmour. But while Lady
Martindale leaned on Seymour on one side and I on the other, as we
were awaiting the summons to supper, surrounded by our flatterers, one
glance at my dejected countenance brought back his kinder feelings; and
turning to my mother, who held his arm, he said, "Shall I tell your fair
daughter how enchanted I was with the masquerade scene?"

"I assure you," said Seymour, "Helen did not do herself justice
to-night: she did not act as well as she can act."

"I should have been very sorry, so much do I esteem her, to have
seen her act better," was his cold reply. "Would you have your wife,
Pendarves, perform as well as a professional person, and as if she had
been brought up on the stage?"

"I would wish my wife to do well whatever she undertakes," replied
Seymour.

"And so she does, and so she _did_; but if you do not love her the
better (as I am sure you do) for the graceful timidity which she
displayed, I could not esteem you."

Lady Martindale, who watched his very look, now bit her lip, and
Seymour did not look pleased. My mother owned afterwards, that what
with pinching Lord Charles's arm, to see how Lord and Lady Martindale
both were confused by the first part of his speech, and squeezing it
affectionately from delight at the last, she is very sure Lord Charles
carried her marks with him to London. _I_ too could scarcely keep the
grateful tears from flowing down my cheeks, which his well timed
kindness brought into my eyes: but I saw that my expression was not lost
upon him.

Seymour led Lady Martindale to the head of the supper table, and Lord
Charles on account of his rank was forced to sit next her.

"Painful pre-eminence!" he whispered to my mother, who, as I was one of
the queens of the night, insisted on my taking her place on the other
side. Lord Martindale seated himself next me; and Seymour took the seat
vacant by Lady Martindale. As Lord Charles scarcely noticed her, except
as far as civility commanded, Lady Martindale soon turned her back on
him, and Seymour and she seemed to forget any one else was present.

Lord Charles endeavoured by the most unremitting attentions to conceal
from me what must, he knew, distress me. But he could not do it: I
heard every whisper of their softened voices, and I dare say my uneasy
countenance was a complete and whimsical contrast to that of Lord
Martindale, who seemed perfectly easy under circumstances which would
have distressed most men, and talked and laughed with every one in his
turn.

The Lord and Lady of the feast, who were never tired of exhibitions,
now began their usual demands on the talents of their guests, and were
importunate in soliciting several of them to sing, a custom which I
usually think "more honoured in the breach than the observance;" but on
this occasion it was welcome to me, especially as I knew that it must
for a time interrupt Seymour's attention to Lady Martindale. But as the
hypochondriac, when he reads a book on diseases, always finds his own
symptoms in every case before him, so I in the then existing state of
my feelings always brought home every thing I heard or read to my own
heart; and two of the songs which were sung that night accorded so well
with my own state of mind, that I felt the tears come into my eyes as I
listened; and during the following one Pendarves sighed so audibly, that
I imagined he felt great sympathy with the sentiments; and that idea
increased my suffering:--

 SONG.

 O that I could recall the day
   When all my hours to thee were given,
 And, as I gazed my soul away,
   Thou wert my treasure, world, and heaven!

 Then time on noiseless pinions flew,
   And life like one bright morning beam'd:
 Then love around us roses threw,
   Which ever fresh and fragrant seem'd.
 And are these moments gone for ever?
   And can they ne'er return? NO NEVER.

 For oh! that cruel traitor Time,
   Although he might unheeded move,
 Bore off our YOUTH'S luxuriant prime,
   And _also_ stole the _bloom of_ LOVE.

 Yet still the thought of raptures past
   Shall gild life's dull remaining store,
 As sinking suns a _splendour_ cast
   On scenes their _presence lights_ no more.

 But are those raptures gone for ever?
   And will they ne'er return? NO NEVER.

The other song was only in unison with my feelings in the last lines of
the last verse. Still, while my morbid fancy made me consider them as
the expression of my own sentiments, I listened with such a tell-tale
countenance, that my delicacy was wounded; for I saw that my emotion was
visible to those who sat opposite to me.

The song was as follows:--

 FAIREST, SWEETEST, DEAREST,

 A SONG.


 "Say, by what name can I impart
  My sense, dear girl, of what thou art?
    Nay, though to frown thou darest,
  I'll say thou art of _girls the pride_:
  And though that modest lip may chide,
    Mary! I'll call thee 'FAIREST.'

 "Yet no--that word can but express
  The soft and winning loveliness
    In which the sight thou meetest.
  But not thy heart, thy temper too,
  So good, so sweet--Ha! that will do!
    Mary! I'll call thee 'SWEETEST.'

 "But 'fairest, sweetest,' vain would be
  To speak the love I feel for thee:
    Why smilest thou as thou hearest?"
  "Because," she cried, "one little name
  Is all I wish from thee to claim--
    That _precious_ name is 'DEAREST.'"

You will not, I conclude, imagine that I remember these songs only from
having heard them that night, especially as they have very little merit;
but the truth is, I was so pleased with them, because I fancied them
applicable to my own feelings, that I requested them of the gentlemen
who sung, and they were given to me.

Lord Charles meanwhile listened to the singing with great impatience, as
he had had enough of the company, which was very numerous, and by no
means as select as it had been before. Indeed at one table were many
persons in whom the observant eye of Lord Charles discovered associates
whose evident vulgarity made him feel himself out of his place. However,
he could not presume to break up the party; and as our indefatigable
host and hostess still kept forcing the talents of their guests into
their service, song succeeded to song, and duet to duet. From one of the
latter, however, sung by a lady and gentleman, I at length derived a
soothing feeling; and in one moment, an observation of Seymour's, with,
as I fancied, a correspondent and intended expression of countenance,
removed a load from my heart, and my clouded brow became consciously to
myself unclouded again.

The words of this healing duet were as follows:--

 DUET.

 "Say, why art thou pensive, beloved of my heart?
 Indeed I am happy wherever thou art:
 My eyes I confess toward others may rove,
 But never, believe me, with wishes of love.
 And trust me, however my _glances_ may roam,
 Of them, and _my heart_, THOU ALONE ART THE HOME!"

 ANSWER.

 "Perhaps I am wrong thus dejected to be;
 But my faithful eyes never wander from _thee_.
 On beauty and youth _I unconsciously_ gaze,
 No thought, no emotion in me they can raise;
 And ah! if thine eyes get the habit to roam,
 How can I _be certain_ they'll EVER COME HOME?"

 "Oh! trust thy own charms! See the bee as he flies,
 And visits each blossom of exquisite dies;
 There culls of their sweetness some store for his cell;
 But short are his visits, and prompt his farewell;
 For still he remembers, howe'er he may roam,
 That _hoard of delight_ which AWAITS HIM AT HOME.

 "Then trust me, however thy Henry may roam,
 I feel my best pleasures AWAIT ME AT HOME."

 "I'll try to believe, howsoever thou roam,
 Thy heart's dearest pleasures await thee at home."

"That is a charming duet," cried Seymour when it was ended. Then leaning
behind Lady Martindale and Lord Charles, and calling to me, he said,
with a look from which my conscious eye shrunk, "Helen, I admire the
sentiment of that duet. I think, my love, we will get it--we should sing
it _con amore_, should we not?" I could not look at him as I replied,
"_I_ could, I am sure."

"Silly girl," he added in a low and kind tone, "and so, I am sure, could
I."

I then ventured to raise my eyes to his; and his expression was such,
that I felt quite a different creature, and was able to enjoy the rest
of the evening.

But why do I enter into these minute and unimportant details? Let me
efface them--but no, perhaps they may chance to meet the eyes of some
whose hearts have felt the anxieties and the vicissitudes of mine, and
to them they may be interesting.

Lord Martindale was now requested to favour the company with a song,
and with great good nature he instantly complied;--while Lord Charles
whispered across me to my mother, "What a disgrace that fellow is to the
peerage!"

"By his vices I grant you," replied my mother, "but not by his obliging
compliance."

Lord Charles shrugged up his shoulders and was about to reply, when
Silence was vociferated rather angrily by the lady of the house, who had
not been blind to the airs which, as she said, Lord Charles had given
himself the whole evening. Lord Martindale, as may be supposed, was
greatly applauded, on the same principle as that mentioned by the poet
with regard to noble authors:

 "For if a lord once own the happy lines,
  How the wit brightens! how the taste refines!"

and the noisy expressions of admiration which rewarded a very mediocre
performance did not increase the good humour of our noble guest, against
whom I saw an attack preparing at the bottom of the table. At length
a very pretty girl, and who had sung with considerable skill, tried
to engage the attention of Lord Charles; and finding "Sir" was not
sufficient, she added "Mr. Belmour, Sir!" But some one whispered, "He is
a Lord;" on which she said, "Dear me! Well then, My lord, Lord Belmour;"
and Lord Charles turned towards the pretty speaker, while a half-muttered
"Vulgar animal!" was audible to my mother and myself, and formed a
ludicrous contrast to the affectedly respectful attention and bent head
with which he listened to what she had to observe.

But when he found that the young lady was requesting him to sing, and
that she declared she had a claim on him, his expression of mingled
_hauteur_, astonishment, and indignation, was highly comic, and we who
knew him were eagerly expecting his answer, when we heard him say,
having bowed and smirked his hand affectedly to his heart at the same
time, "with the greatest pleasure in life;--which wine, claret or
Champagne?"

"Dear me," cried the young lady, "I did not ask you to drink, but to
sing, my lord."

"Oh! Champagne; very good. Carry a glass to that young lady:" but she
indignantly rejected it, and repeated her request.

"I beg pardon," replied the impracticable Lord Charles, "I thought you
said Champagne: then take claret to the young lady," who in vain exerted
her voice. He remained quite deaf, holding his ear like a deaf person,
much to the amusement of the company and the confusion of the fair
supplicant, who had been encouraged by the admiring glances which Lord
Charles had till now bestowed on her, to think that any request from her
would have been attended to.

Thus far Lord Charles's endangered dignity had come off with flying
colours, as it was no great affront to be requested to sing by a pretty
girl, even though she had told him that he had a singing face, and
looked like a singer; for the turn which he had given to her application
got the laugh on his side, and he was very sure that she would not so
presume again. But he was not to be let off so easily; for Mr. Oswald,
who, being almost "as drunk as a lord," felt himself quite as great as
one, now came behind Lord Charles, and giving him a sounding blow across
the back, exclaimed with an oath, "Come, now, Belmour, there is a good
fellow, do sing, for I have heard you are a comical dog when you like."

If a look could have annihilated, that instant would the little fat man
have disappeared from off the face of the earth. The glance of Lord
Charles was powerless even to wound Mr. Oswald; and he was equally
unmoved when, scorning even to answer his importunate host, our friend
suddenly addressed my mother, saying, "I think, Mrs. Pendarves, you
desired me to call your carriage?"

"You are mistaken, my lord," replied my mother, with a reproving
look which he well understood; and his tormentor was going to assail
him again, when Seymour, to relieve Lord Charles, drew him into
conversation; and I had just advised his still irritated guest to
remember that Oswald was intoxicated, when our attention was attracted
to a conversation between Mrs. Oswald and another lady, of which Lord
Charles was the subject; and it was evident that Mrs. Oswald spoke of
him in no friendly tone.

"Yes, my lord," said she, "you may look; we were certainly talking of
your lordship."

"You do me much honour, madam."

"That is as it may be, my lord; but I was trying to do you justice, for
my friend said it was pride that prevented your singing; but _I_ said--"
(and here she raised her voice to a shriller and more ludicrous pitch
than usual) "yes, I said, says I, 'That is impossible, my dear; it
cannot be pride; for if a real peer of the realm,' says I, 'the real
thing, condescends to sing and amuse the company, surely Lord Charles
Belmour need not be above it, who is only a commonly called, you know.'"

Instantly, to my consternation, and afterwards to his own, Lord Charles,
thrown off his guard by this sarcasm, echoed her last words, and gave
her tone and manner so exactly, that the effect upon the company was
irresistible, and a general laugh ensued; which, to do him justice,
shocked more than it gratified the self-condemned mimic, who could only
for a moment be provoked to violate the rules of good breeding; and he
was completely subdued, when Mrs. Oswald, with a degree of forbearance
and good-humour which exalted her in my esteem, observed, "Well, my
lord, you have condescended to exert your talent of mimicry, though you
would not sing; and though it was at my expense, I am grateful to you,
as you have contributed to amuse my company."

"Admirably replied!" exclaimed my mother.

"Excellent, excellent, bravo!" cried Pendarves; while Lord Charles,
admonished, penitent and ashamed, was not slow to redeem himself from
the sort of disgrace which he had incurred. Rising gracefully and
bowing his head on his clasped hands, he solicited her pardon for the
liberty which her evident nature had emboldened him to take, declaring
at the same time, that if she forgave him, it would be long before he
should forgive himself.

Mrs. Oswald, who was really as kind-hearted as she seemed, readily
granted the pardon which he asked, and he respectfully pressed her
offered hand to his lips. He did more; for while the carriages were
called, he suddenly disappeared, and in a moment we could have fancied
ourselves at the door of Drury-lane or Covent-garden; for the offered
services of link-boys, the cries of "Coach, coach," and "Here, your
honour," with all the different sounds, were heard in the hall; and
while the guests listened delighted to this new and unexpected
entertainment, the Oswalds were, I saw, evidently gratified at finding
that it proceeded from the talent of Lord Charles. O the unnecessary
humiliation to which pride exposes itself! Had he civilly though firmly
refused the young lady's and Mr. Oswald's request to sing, and not
discovered in the evening his haughty contempt for the company and his
host, or insulted his hostess, he needed not to have condescended to an
expiatory exhibition from which under other circumstances his pride
would have properly revolted.

Thus ended this to me disagreeable evening, which extended far into
the morning. The drive home was pleasant; for Lord Charles, having
reconciled himself to himself by his ample _amende honorable_, and by
the generous candour with which he received our reproofs, thought he
was privileged to indulge his less amiable feelings by turning some of
the company into ridicule, and exhibiting them to the very life before
us. I must own that I again felt an ungenerous pleasure in some part of
the entertainment, namely his mimicry of Lady Martindale, which I vainly
endeavoured to subdue, and I was glad that, as Pendarves rode on the
box, he did not witness my degradation. I must add, that both my mother
and myself were gratified to observe that Lord Charles forbore to mimic
our kind but vulgar host and hostess; and my mother took care to let him
know indirectly that his delicacy was not lost upon her.

Another performance was fixed for that day week; the original Letitia
Hardy, however, was expected, and most gladly did I offer to resign my
part to her. Still, I was mortified to see with how little concern
Pendarves heard me offer my resignation, and saw it accepted. Alas!
not even Lord Charles's and my mother's joy at my being removed from a
situation which they thought unworthy of me, could reconcile me to his
indifference on the subject.

The next day Lord Charles was to leave us; but I saw that his departure
was more welcome to my husband than to my mother and myself. In the
morning he had requested Pendarves to walk with him round the grounds,
and they returned, I observed, with disturbed countenances.

Lord Charles then called, and sat some time with my mother. What passed
between them I do not know; but their parting was even affectionate,
and his with me was distinguished from all our other partings by a
degree of emotion for which I could not account.

"How I shall miss you!" said I, softened by his dejection.

"Thank you! I can bear better to leave you now:" and springing into his
carriage he drove off and I felt forlorn; for I felt that I had lost a
friend: and I also felt that I wanted one who, like him, had some check
over my husband.

What more shall I say of this painful period of my life, for which,
however, painful as it was, I would gladly have exchanged that which
soon followed? One day was a transcript of the other. Pendarves, ever
good-natured and kind while he was at home, seemed to think that he was
thereby justified in leaving me continually; but as I was not of that
opinion, to use a French phrase, _je dépérissois à vue d'oeil;_ and
though I affected to be cheerful, my mother saw that my feelings were
undermining my existence. But not even to her would I complain of my
husband and she respected my silence too much to wish me to break it.
However she was with me,--she, I felt, never would forsake me, or love
me less; and while I had her, I was far from being completely miserable.
Alas! what was she not to me? friend, counsellor, comforter!

But the decree was gone forth, and even her I was doomed to resign!

Not long after Lord Charles had quitted us, I perceived a visible
alteration in my mother's appearance. I saw that she ate little, that
she was very soon fatigued, and that her fine spirits were gone. I had
no doubt but that she fretted for my anxieties. I therefore laboured the
more to convince her that I was not as uneasy as she thought me.

But how vainly did I try to veil my heart from her penetrating glance!
if there be such a thing as the art of divination, it is possessed by
the eagle eye of interested affection, and that was hers.

My mother saw all my secret struggles; she pitied, she resented their
cause; and I have sometimes feared that she sunk under them.

One morning, Pendarves on his return from Oswald Lodge came in with a
very animated countenance, and told us a new description of amusement
was introduced there, namely, archery, and he must beg me to go with him
the next day, and learn to be an archer. "Lady Martindale," cried he,
"already shoots like Diana herself."

"The only resemblance, I should think," said my mother, "which she has
to Diana. But what do you say to this proposal, Helen? I must take leave
to say that, as your mother, you can never go to Oswald Lodge again with
my consent on any terms: and to engage in this new competition, oh!
never, never!"

"And why not, madam? There is nothing indelicate in such an exhibition;
and I own my pride in Helen, as a husband, made me wish to see her fine
form exhibited in the graceful action of shooting at a target. Besides,
as I really wish if possible to associate her in all my amusements, I
was delighted to think this new pursuit would have led her to join me
in my visits to the Lodge, and I am really desirous to know on what
grounds you object to her obliging me."

"On account of the company there. Mr. and Mrs. Oswald are weak, vain
people, fond of courting persons of quality; and so as they can but be
intimate with a Lord and Lady, they care not of what description they
are. This Lord Martindale is, I find, a man not much noticed by his
equals; and as to Lady Martindale, the woman who could so expose her
person in the dress of a Statue is not a fit companion for my daughter,
nor your wife."

"You are severe, madam; but what says Helen?"

"That my mother does not make sufficient allowances for the difference
of manners and ideas between a French and an English woman; and that
the dress which shocks us in the former does not necessarily prove
incorrectness of conduct."

"Incorrectness of conduct! and can your mother suppose I would introduce
my wife to a woman whom I knew to be incorrect in her conduct?"

"No, Seymour, no: I do you more justice. But it is my duty to inform you
that it is suspected this person is Lord Martindale's mistress only, not
his wife."

"Not his wife!" interrupted Seymour.

"No, so I am informed. As to him, you know his character is so infamous
that one can wonder at nothing he does; and he has been suspected of
being a spy for the French convention, as well as the lady."

"Madam," said Seymour, "I thought you had been above listening to tales
like these, and I cannot think myself justified in acting upon them. On
the contrary, by taking my wife to the Lodge, I think it right to show
my disregard of them, especially as by staying away, and by her distant
manner when there, Helen has already injured the character of Lady
Martindale, and made even my attentions to her the source of calumny.
This the afflicted lady told me with tears and lamentations, and Helen's
renewed visits can alone repair the injury her absence has done."

"So, then, this is the real reason of your wishing to make Helen a
sharer in your amusements, and to exhibit her fine form to advantage!"
exclaimed my mother indignantly. "But, Mr. Pendarves, if your constant
visits are injurious to the fame of this afflicted lady, you know your
remedy--discontinue them; for never, with my consent, shall my virtuous
daughter lend her assistance to shield any one from the infamy which
they deserve."

"Deserve, madam!" cried Seymour, as indignant as she was: "repeat
that, and, spite of the love and reverence I bear you, I shall exert
a husband's lawful authority, and see who dares dispute it."

"Not I," she replied, folding her arms submissively on her breast, "and
still less that poor trembling girl. No, Pendarves, my only resource now
is supplication and entreaty: and I conjure you, by the dear name of
your beloved mother, and by the memory of past fond and endearing
circumstances, and hours, to grant the prayer of a dying woman, and not
to force your wife to this abode of revelry and riot. I feel my days
are already numbered; and when I am taken from you, bitter will be your
recollections if you refuse, my son, and soothing if you grant my
prayer. I know you, Seymour, and I know that you cannot do any great
cruelty without great remorse."

It was some moments before Pendarves could speak; at length he
said--"Your request alone would have been sufficient, without your
calling up such agonizing ideas. Helen, my best love, tell your mother
you shall never go to Oswald Lodge again." He then put his handkerchief
to his eyes, and rushed out of the room.

"The foolish boy's heart is in the right place still," said my mother,
giving way to tears, but smiling at the same time.

But I, alas! could neither smile nor speak. She had called herself a
dying woman; and through the rest of the day I could do nothing but
look at and watch her, and go out of the room to weep; and my night
was passed in wretchedness and prayer.

The next day I found my husband cold and sullen in manner; and I
suspected that, having engaged to bring me to Oswald Lodge, he was
mortified and ashamed to go thither without me, and would, I doubted
not, make some excuse for my staying away which was not strictly true.

No one could feel more strongly or more virtuously than Pendarves: but
good feelings, unless they are under the guard of strict principles, are
subject to run away when summoned by the voice of pleasure and of error:
and before he set off for the archery ground, he told me he sincerely
repented his promise to my mother.

I did not reply, but shook my head mournfully.

"Psha!" said he, "that ever a fine woman like you, Helen, should wish to
appear in her husband's eyes little better than a constant _memento
mori_! Helen, an arrow cannot fly as far in a wet as in a dry air; and a
laughing eye hits where a tearful one fails. You see I already steal my
metaphors from my new study. But, good bye, sweet Helen! and when I
return let me find you a little less dismal."

This was not the way to make me so; nor were his daily visits at this
seducing house, which began in the morning, and lasted till he came home
to dress for dinner; he then returned thither to stay till evening. At
last he chose to dress there, and he did not return till night; nor,
perhaps, would he have done that, had there not been some house-breaking
in our neighbourhood, and he was afraid of leaving the house so
ill-defended. I think that pique and resentment had some share in making
him thus increase in the length as well as constancy of his visits; for
I saw but too clearly that he continued offended with my poor mother:
and I doubted not but that he had owned she was the cause of my refusal
to visit at the house, and that Lady Martindale had added full force to
this bitter feeling.

But he soon lost all resentment against my beloved parent.--Not very
long after his painful conversation with her I was summoned to her, as
she was too ill to rise, and had sent for medical advice.

"Go for my husband instantly," cried I.

"My mistress forbade me go for him," replied her faithful Juan (one of
my father's manumised slaves), "and I canno go."

"Then she does not think very ill of herself?" said I.

"No, but I think very bad indeed."

And when I saw her, my fears were as strongly excited.

"I am going, I am going fast, my child," said she: "but I do not wish to
have Pendarves sent for yet: I wish to have you a little while without
any divided feelings, and all my own once more; when he comes, the wife
will seduce away the child."

"How can you think so?" said I, giving way to an agony of grief; "and
how can you be so barbarous as to tell me you are dying?"

"My poor child! I wished long ago to prepare you, but you would not be
prepared. For your sake I still wished to live. You would have better
spared me years ago, Helen! but this is cruel; and I will try to behave
better."

As soon as her physician arrived, and had felt her pulse, I saw by his
countenance that he was considerably alarmed; and the first feeling of
my heart was to send for my husband, for him on whom I had been
accustomed to rely in the hour of affliction. But I dared not, after
what had passed! and I tried to rally all the powers of my mind to meet
the impending evil, while I raised my thoughts to Him who listens to the
cry of the orphan.

The physician had promised to come again in the evening. He did so; and
then I learnt that there was indeed no hope; and I also learnt, by the
agony of that moment, that I had in reality hoped till then; and, more
like an automaton then aught alive, I sat by the fast exhausting
sufferer.

Pendarves returned at night, and heard with anguish uncontrollable, not
only that my mother was dying, but had forbidden that he should be sent
for; and he arrived at the house in a state little short of distraction,
nor could he be kept from the chamber of death.

His countenance, as he stood at the foot of the bed, told all the agony
of his mind. They tell me so, for I saw him not; I could only see that
object whom I was soon to behold no more!

My mother knew him; read, no doubt, all his wild wan look expressed; and
smiling kindly, held out her hand to him. He was instantly on his knees
by her bed-side; and she seemed, from the look she gave him, to feel all
the maternal love for him revive which she had experienced through life.

Your husband, my dear friend, now came to perform his interesting duty,
and we left her alone with him.

Oh! what a night succeeded! But Pendarves felt more than I. My faculties
were benumbed: I had made such unnatural efforts for some time past to
appear cheerful, while my heart was breaking, that I was too much
exhausted to be able to endure this new demand on my fortitude and my
strength; therefore already was that merciful stupor coming over me,
which saved, I firmly believe, both my life and my reason.

My mother frequently, during that night, joined my hand in that of
Pendarves, grasped them thus united, while her eyes were raised to
heaven in prayer, but spoke not. At length, however, just as the last
moment was approaching, she faltered out--"Seymour, be kind, be very
kind to my poor child; she has only you now."

He replied by clasping me to his breast; and in one moment more all was
over!

You know what followed; you know that for many weeks I was blessedly
unconscious of every thing, and that I lay between death and life under
the dominion of fever. My first return of consciousness and of speech
showed itself thus:--I heard voices below, and recognised them, no
doubt, as female voices; for I drew back the curtain, and asked my
mother's faithful Alice whose voice I heard. But the joy my speaking
gave the poor creature was instantly damped, for I added--"But I
conclude it is my mother's voice, and I dare say she will be here
presently."

Alice, bursting into tears, replied--"Your blessed mother never come
now."

"Oh, but by-and-by will do:" and I closed my eyes again.

Alice now ran down stairs to call my husband, and tell him what
had passed. The voices I heard were those of Mrs. Oswald and Lady
Martindale, who had called every day to inquire for me; and Pendarves
had been this day prevailed upon to go down to them. But he bitterly
repented his complaisance when he found I had heard them talking;
though he rejoiced in my restored hearing, which had seemed quite gone.
He hastily, therefore, dismissed his visitors, and resumed his station
by my bed-side. I knew him, and spoke to him; but damped all his
satisfaction by asking for my mother, and wondering where she was. He
could not answer me, and was doubtful what he ought to reply when he
recovered himself.

At this moment the physician entered; and hearing what had passed,
declared that the sooner he could make me understand what had happened,
and shed tears (for I had shed none yet), the sooner I should recover,
and he advised his beginning to do it directly.

Accordingly, when I again asked for her he said--"Do you not see my
black coat, Helen? and do you not remember our loss?"

"O, yes; but I thought our mourning for the dear child was over."

"You see!" said Pendarves mournfully.

The physician replied--"Till her memory is restored, though her life is
spared, a cure is far distant; but persevere."

In a fortnight I was able to take air; but I still wondered where my
mother was, though I soon forgot her again.

But one day Pendarves asked me if I would go and visit the grave of my
child, which I had not visited for some time. I thankfully complied, and
he dragged me in a garden chair to the church door.

It was not without considerable emotion that he supported me to that
marble slab which now covered my mother as well as my child, and I
caught some of his trembling agitation.

"Look there, my poor Helen!" said he.

I did look, and read the name of my child.

"Look lower yet."

I did so, and the words 'Julia Pendarves;' with the sad _et cetera_, met
my view, and seemed to restore my shattered comprehension.

In a moment the whole agonizing truth rushed upon my mind; and throwing
myself on the cold stone, I called upon my departed parent, and wept
till I was deluged in tears, and had sobbed myself into the stillness of
exhaustion.

"Thank God! thou art restored, my beloved, and all will yet, I trust, be
well," said my husband as he bore me away.

From that time my memory returned, and with it so acute a feeling of
what I had lost, that I fear I was ungrateful enough to regret my
imbecility.

I now insisted on hearing details of all that had occurred since my
illness; and I found that my uncle and aunt had come down to attend the
funeral of my mother, and that Lord Charles had attended uninvited to
pay her that tribute of respect, nor had he returned to London till my
life was declared out of danger. How deeply I felt this attention! I
also heard that the ladies at the Lodge pestered my husband with letters,
to prevail on him to spare his sensibility the pain of following my lost
parent to the grave: but that, however he shrunk from the task, he had
treated their request with the utmost disregard, saying, that if he had
no other motive, the certainty that he was doing what _I_ should have
wished, was sufficient.

When I was quite restored to strength, both of mind and body, Pendarves
gave me the key of my mother's papers, which he had carefully sealed up.
My mother left no will, as she wished me to inherit every thing; but in
a little paper directed to Pendarves she desired that an income might
be settled on Juan and Alice, which would make them comfortable and
independent for life; that her friends the De Waldens might have some
memorial of her given to them; and that Lord Charles might have her
travelling writing-desk.

Oh! what overwhelming feelings I endured while looking over her papers,
containing a sketch of her life, her reflections and prayers when I
married Pendarves, a character of Lady Helen, of her husband and of my
father, and many fragments, all indicative of a mother's love and a
mother's anxiety! But tender sorrow was suspended by curiosity, when I
found one letter from Ferdinand de Walden! It was evidently written in
answer to one from her, in which she had described me as suffering
deeply, but, on principle, trying to appear cheerful, and for her sake
dutifully trying to conceal from her the agony of my heart. What else
she had said, was very evident from the part of the letter which I
transcribe, translating it from the French.

    "Yes! you only, I believe, do me justice. I should have been a
    more devoted husband than Pendarves; having my affections built, I
    trust, on a firmer foundation than his, viz. a purifying faith,
    and its result, pure habits. Still, I know not how to excuse his
    conduct towards such an angel! for oh! that faded cheek, and that
    shrunk form, that dejection of spirits from a mother's sorrows
    which seem to have alienated him, would have endeared her to me
    still more fondly--"

I had resolution enough, my dear friend, to pause here, and read no
more: nay, distrusting my own strength, I had the courage to commit the
dangerous letter to the flames, and that was indeed an exertion of duty.

I shall pass lightly and rapidly over the next few months.--My husband
gradually resumed his intercourse at the Lodge; while I, to conceal as
much as possible his neglect, paid and received visits; and Mrs. Ridley
and my aunt were by turns my guests, for I had now lost my dread of the
latter. She had nothing to tell but what I knew already, except that she
believed my husband more criminal than I did or could think him, and
that I positively forbade her ever to name him to me again. I also
visited you, and did all I could to fly from that feeling of conscious
desolation which was ever present to me since I lost my mother. In all
other afflictions I had her to rely upon; I had her to sooth and to
comfort me: but who had I to console me for the loss of her? on whose
never-to-be-abated tenderness could I rely? Other ties, if destroyed,
may be formed again; but we can have parents only once; and I had lost
my mother, my sole surviving parent, at a moment when I wanted her most.
Still, I roused myself from my lethargy of grief, and 'sorrowed' not
like 'one without hope.' But the misery of disappointed and wounded
affections preyed on me while tenderer woes slumbered, and my health
continued to fade, my youth to decay.

My kind aunt and Mrs. Ridley were both just come on a visit to me, when
Pendarves signified his intention of accompanying his friends on a tour
to the Lakes. He said his health had suffered much from his anxiety
during my illness, and he thought the journey would do him good.

"Then take your wife a journey," cried my aunt bluntly: "she wants it
more than you do."

"She will not accompany my friends," replied he; "and my word is pledged
to go with them."

"Is a pledge given to friends more sacred than duty to a wife, Mr.
Seymour Pendarves?"

"Is it a husband's duty never to stir without his wife, madam?"

"My dear aunt, you forget," said I, "how unfit I am to travel: quiet and
home suit me best."

"It is well they do," said my aunt; and Seymour left the room.

I will pass over the time that intervened before Seymour's departure:
suffice that I tried to attribute his still frequent absences from home
to his dislike of his aunt's society; and in the meanwhile I masked an
aching heart in smiles, that no one might have the authority of my
dejected spirits to found an accusation of my husband upon.

At length the day of Seymour's departure arrived, and we had an
affectionate and on my side a tearful parting: but I recovered myself
soon; and though I deeply felt the unkindness of his leaving me after
my recent affliction, I declared it the wisest thing he could do, and
that I hoped he would find me fat and cheerful at his return. But I saw
I did not convert my auditors; and that Lord Charles Belmour, who called
to inquire after my health, absolutely started when he found that
Seymour was gone away on a journey. I could not bear this, but left the
room; for I could not, would not, either by word or look, blame my
husband; and I could not bear to observe that he was blamed by others.

At the end of three weeks my uncle came down to fetch his wife; and I
heard, with a satisfaction which I could not conceal, that my uncle
hoped he should be able to prove that Lady Martindale, as she was
called, was a spy of the Convention, and that he could get her sent
out of the country on the Alien Bill; for that she was undoubtedly the
mistress, not the wife, of Lord Martindale. I also learnt that Lord
Charles had been indefatigable in using his exertions and his interest
to effect this purpose, in hopes, as my aunt said, of opening my
husband's eyes; and she thought, when he saw that his uncle and his
friend were thus active and watchful to save him from perdition, that he
could not refuse to be convinced and saved.

Alas! we none of us as yet knew Pendarves. We did not know that
in proportion to conscious strength of mind is the capacity of
conviction--and that no one is so jealous of interference, and so averse
to being proved in the wrong, as those who are most prone to err and
most conscious of weakness. My uncle and aunt went away in high spirits
at the idea of the good which was going to accrue to me from their
exertions, and left me much cheered in my prospects, little thinking of
the blow which these exertions were ensuring to me.

My husband wrote to me on his journey about twice a week; but as he
rarely did so till the post was just going out, or the horses were
waiting, I was convinced, either that he had lost all remains of
tenderness for me, or that, conscious of acting ill, he could not
bear to write.

When he had been gone two months, I was expecting his arrival in London
every day, and with no small anxiety; for my uncle had written me word,
that as soon as Annette Beauvais (for that _was_ her real name) arrived
in town, she would be seized by the officers employed by Government, and
be shipped off directly for Altona--whither Lord Martindale, who was
reckoned a dangerous disloyal subject, would be advised to accompany
her.

But while I was pleasing myself with the idea that Pendarves, when
convinced of the real character of those with whom he associated so
intimately, would return to me thankful for the discovery, and that
in the detected courtesan and spy he would forget the fascinating
companion, a very different end was preparing for the well-intentioned
plans of our friend and relation.

Pendarves, not choosing to fail in respect to his uncle, and resolved
to consider himself as on good terms with him, called at his house
in Stratford Place; but unfortunately found only Mrs. Pendarves. The
consequence you may easily foresee. She reproached him with his cruel
neglect of his wife, and then triumphed in the approaching discomfiture
of that wicked woman who had lured him from her; informing him with
great exultation, that his uncle had procured her arrestation; that she
would be taken up directly, and sent abroad; and that his angel-wife was
expecting his return to her with eager and affectionate love.

"And was my wife privy to this injustice and this outrage?" asked
Pendarves, with a faltering voice and a flashing eye.

"To be sure she was."

"Then she may expect me, madam, but I will never return!" Having said
this, he rushed from the house, and hurried back to the lodgings. He
found Lady Martindale, as she still persisted in calling herself, in
fits, and Lord Martindale threatening, but in vain. The warrant was
executed, and the lady forced to set off, her lord having a hint given
him, which made his retreat advisable also.

"You shall not go _alone_, my friends," said Pendarves, as soon as he
saw that their banishment was certain; "and as my family have presumed
to procure your exile, they shall find that they have exiled me too."

So saying, he left the house, gained a passport as an American, which
you know he was, as well as myself, by birth, and soon overtaking them,
he travelled with them, and embarked with them for Altona.

He wrote to me from the port whence they embarked, and such a letter! I
thought I should never have held up my head after it. He reproached me
for joining the mean cabal against an injured and innocent woman, and
declared that as I and his uncle had caused her exile, he felt it his
duty to sooth and to share it.

In a postscript he told me he had drawn for all the money that was in
his banker's hands, before he set out on his journey: that he wished me
to let our house, and remove into my mother's, which was still empty;
that he trusted I would not let him want in a foreign land; for in some
respects he knew I could be generous; but that he feared the income of
his fortune must be appropriated to the payment of his debts, which were
so many, he feared he could not return, even if he wished it, except at
the danger of losing his personal liberty. He trusted therefore that I
would join my uncle in settling his affairs; and if he wanted money to
support him, he knew I would spare him some out of the fortune which
came to me on the death of my mother, the income of which I, and I
alone, could receive.

In the midst of the wretchedness inflicted by this letter--for it was
my nature to cling to hope, I eagerly caught at the high idea of my
conjugal virtues which this cruel letter implied; and I trusted that,
when intimate association had completely unmasked this Syren and her
paramour, he would prize me the more from contrast, and hasten home to
receive my eagerly-bestowed forgiveness. But the order to let the house
was so indicative of a separation meant to be long, if not eternal, that
again and again I went from hope to despair. But there was one sorrow
converted into rejoicing. Till now I had grieved that my mother was
no more: but now I rejoiced to think that this last terrible blow was
spared her; that she did not live to witness the grief of her worse than
widowed daughter, nor to see the degradation of the beloved son of her
idolized Lady Helen. Degradation did I say? Yes: but I still persisted
to excuse my husband, and would not own even to myself that he was
without excuse for his conduct. I thought it was generous in him not to
forsake his friends in their distress, nor would I allow any one to hint
at the probability that his female companion was his mistress.

I also resolved to justify his reliance on my exertions and my
generosity. I wrote to my uncle, I made myself acquainted with all his
embarrassments, I dismissed every servant but Alice and Juan, and I set
apart two-thirds of my income also for payment of the debts.

My uncle would fain have interfered, and advanced me the money; but I
had a pride in making sacrifices for my husband's sake, and I wished Mr.
Pendarves to leave him money in his will, as a resource for him when he
should return to England, and I should be no more; for I fancied that I
was far gone in a rapid decline. But I mistook nervous symptoms, the
result of a distressed mind, for consumptive ones; and to my great
surprise, when I had arranged my husband's affairs, and had, while so
employed, been forced to visit London once or twice, and associate with
the friends who loved and honoured me, my pain of the side decreased,
my pulse became slower, my appetite returned, and I recovered something
of my former appearance. But it was now the end of the winter of 1793,
and the reign of terror had long been begun in France, while we heard
from every quarter that the English there were in the utmost danger, on
account of the unpopularity of the English Government; that all were
leaving France who could get away; and Pendarves was gone to Paris! But
then he was an American. Still, I could not divest myself of fears for
his life; and the horrible idea of his pining in a foreign land, in a
prison and in poverty, (for, though he had written to say he was arrived
in Paris, he had not drawn for money, nor given his address,) haunted me
continually. To be brief: you know how the idea of my husband's danger
took entire possession of my imagination, till I conceived it to be my
duty to set off for Paris.

You remember, that you and your husband both dissuaded me from the rash
and hazardous undertaking; and that I replied, "I have now but one
object of interest in the world, the husband of my love! True, a
romantic generosity, and what he calls just resentment, have led him
for the present to forsake his country and me; but that is no reason
why I should forsake him; and who knows but that the result of my
self-devotion may restore him to me more attached than ever?" You know
that you listened, admired, and almost encouraged me; and that you have
always considered this determination, as the crown of my conjugal glory,
and held it up as a bright example of a wife's duty. But, my dear friend,
my own sobered judgement and the lessons of experience, together with
reproof from lips that never can deceive, and a judgement that can
rarely err, have convinced me that I rather violated than performed a
wife's duty when I set off on this romantic expedition to France.

No: if ever I deserved the character of a good wife, it was from the
passive fortitude and the patient spirit with which I bore up against
neglect, wounded affections, and slighted tenderness. It was the sense
of duty which led me to throw a veil over my husband's faults, which
held him up when his own errors had cast him down, and which led me
still, in strict compliance with my marriage vows, to obey and honour
him by all a wife's attentions, even when I feared that he deserved not
my esteem.

But to go on with my narrative. My uncle and aunt came down to reason me
out of my folly, as they called it; and my uncle thought he held a very
persuasive argument, for he told me he felt it indelicate for me to
intrude myself and my fondness on a husband who had showed he did not
value it, and had chosen to escape from me.

"But I do not _mean_ to intrude upon him," I replied; "I mean to be
concealed in Paris, and with Alice and Juan to attend me; I fear nothing
for myself, nor need you fear for me."

"What!" cried my aunt, "be in Paris, and not let the vile man know you
are there? _I_ should discover myself, if it were only for the sake of
reproaching him; for I should treat him very differently, I assure you.
_I_ should show him

 'Earth has a rage with love to hatred turned,
  And love has fury by a woman spurned.'"

"But you are not Helen, my dear," said my uncle, meekly sighing as he
always did over her misquotations; and still he argued, and I resisted,
when I obtained an unexpected assistant in our kind physician.

"My dear sir," said he, "if your niece remains here in compliance with
your wishes, I well know that her mind and her feelings will prey upon
her life, and ultimately destroy it, if they do not unsettle her reason.
But if she is allowed to be active and to indulge at whatever risk her
devoted affection to her husband, depend on it she will be well and
comparatively happy: nor do I see that she runs any great risk. She is
an American; her two servants are the same, and are most devotedly
attached to her: and I give my opinion, both as a physician and a
friend, that she had better go."

Oh, how I loved the good old man for what he said! and my uncle and aunt
were now contented to yield the point; but my uncle insisted on
defraying all my expenses.

"They will be trifling," said I; "for I shall not choose to travel as a
lady, but to dress as plainly, travel as cheaply, and attract as little
attention as I can."

This he approved; but, in case I should want money to purchase services
either for myself or my husband, he insisted on my sewing into my stays
ten bank notes of a hundred pounds each, and I accepted them in case of
emergencies, as I thought I had no right to refuse what might be of
service to my husband.

"Would I were not an old man!" said my uncle; "then you should not go
alone, Helen." But I convinced him that any English friend would only be
a detriment to me.

Lord Charles Belmour, on hearing of my design, left London, and the
career of dissipation in which he was ever engaged, to argue with me,
to expostulate with me, to entreat that I would not go, and risk my
precious life, which no man living was worthy to have sacrificed for
him, and then burst into tears of genuine feeling when he bade me adieu,
wishing that "Heaven had made him such a woman;" and, while envying the
husband of a virtuous wife, went back to a new mistress, and renewed his
course of error.

At length the day of my departure arrived; and plainly attired, I set
off for the port of Great Yarmouth, attended by my two faithful
servants.

Juan and Alice were both slaves on part of our American property; but
they were born on the estate of a French proprietor, therefore French
was their native tongue, which was a fortunate circumstance. As soon as
my father was their master he made them free, and they became man and
wife. They had lived with my mother ever since. She, as I before said,
had desired they should be made independent for life. It is no wonder,
therefore, the faithful creatures were devoted to the daughter of their
benefactress, and I had the most cheering confidence in the tried
sagacity as well as integrity of both. Their colour, you know, was what
is called mulatto, and their appearance was less distinguished by
ugliness than is usually the case with such persons.

I thought it necessary to give this little history of two beings whom I
learnt to love even in childhood, and who in the season of my affliction
added to that love the feeling of interminable gratitude.

Well, behold us landed at Altona, and designated in our passports as
Mrs. Helen Pendarves, and Juan and Alice Duval, Americans. After a
tedious journey in the carts of the country, and sometimes in its
horrible waggons, behold me also arrived in the metropolis of blood,
passports examined and approved, and all my greatest difficulties at an
end. So relieved was my mind, when every thing was arranged and I had
hitherto gotten on so well, that my affectionate companions observed
with delighted wonder, that my cheek glowed and my eyes sparkled once
more: but cautious Juan advised me to hide my face as much as possible,
for there were no such faces in Paris, he believed.

When however I found myself in Paris, when I knew that the being I
loved best was there, and yet I dared not seek him, sorrow destroyed my
recovered bloom again, and tears dimmed my eyes. Yet still I felt a
strange overpowering satisfaction in knowing that I was near him; and
when we had found out his abode, I thought that I could perhaps contrive
to see him, myself unseen. But I found a letter addressed to me _poste
restante_, which not only dimmed the brightness of my prospects, but
damped much of my enthusiastic ardour in the task which I had
undertaken, and even abated some of my tenderness for Pendarves: for I
could no longer shut my eyes to the nature of his attachment to Annette
Beauvais.

My uncle told me in his letter that Lord Martindale was returned to
London, but could not stay there, and was on his way to America; that he
had met him in a shop, that on hearing his name, Lord Martindale had the
effrontery to introduce himself and thanked him for having enabled him
so easily to get rid of a mistress of whom he was tired.

"Indeed," said he, "I am much obliged to the family of Pendarves; for
the uncle forces my mistress to go back to her native place, and the
nephew takes her off my hands, and under his own protection.

"And I have the honour to assure you, sir," said he, "that if you visit
Paris, and the Rue Rivoli, _numero_ 22, you will there find your nephew
romantically happy with a most fascinating _chere amie_ who had once the
honour of bearing my name."

"I turned from him," adds my uncle, "with disgust, as you, I hope, will
turn from your unworthy husband, and come back, my dearest niece, to
your affectionate and anxious uncle."

For one moment I felt inclined to obey his wishes--my husband really
living with an abandoned woman, as her avowed protector! wife, country,
reputation, sacrificed for her sake!

Horrible and disgusting it was indeed! but I soon recollected, that if
it was really a duty in me to come to Paris for his sake at all, it was
equally a duty now, for his criminality could not destroy his claims on
my duty; nor could his breach of duty excuse the neglect of mine. In
short, whether love or conscience influenced me, I know not, but I
resolved to stay where I was. And so he was in the Rue Rivoli! I was
glad to know where he was, but I did not as before wish to see him, and
even to gaze on him unseen. No: I felt him degraded, and I thought that
I should now turn away if I met him.

We took a pleasant and retired lodging on the Italian Boulevards; but
I soon found that in this situation we were not likely to learn any
tidings of Pendarves; and by the time we had been ten days at Paris,
Juan and I resolved, having first felt our way, to put a plan which we
had formed into execution.

It was absolutely necessary that we should have opportunities of knowing
what was going forward in public affairs, in order to learn the degree
of safety or of danger in which Pendarves was; and if Madame Beauvais
had really been a spy in London for the Convention, she must be
connected with the governing persons in Paris.

Accordingly, we hired a small house which had stood empty some time in a
street through which most of the members of the National Convention were
likely to pass in their way to and fro. The street door opened into a
front parlour, and that into a second parlour: of this with a kitchen
and two chambers consisted the whole of the house. Humble as it was, I
assure you it was on the plan of one which Robespierre occupied in the
zenith of his power.

The windows of the front parlour Juan converted into a sort of shop
window; and as he and his wife were both good bakers, they filled it
with a variety of cakes, which they called _gateaux républicains_; and
it was not long before, to our great joy, they obtained an excellent
sale for their commodity. This emboldened us to launch out still more;
and in hopes that our shop might become a sort of resting and lounging
place to the men in power as they passed, Juan put a coat of paint on
the outside of the house, converted the parlour into a complete shop,
and at length put a notice over the door in large tricolour letters,
importing that at such hours every day plum and plain pudding _à
l'Américaine_ was to be had _hot_, as well as _gateaux républicains_.

If this _affiche_ succeeded, there was a chance of Juan's hearing
something relative to the objects of our anxiety from the members of the
Convention, while I myself, hidden behind the glass door of the back
parlour, might also overhear some to me important conversation. At any
rate, it was worth the trial; and experience proved that the scheme was
not as visionary as it at first appeared.

It was not without considerable emotion that I saw our shop opened,
and business prospering. Never, surely, was there a more curious and
singular situation than mine. Think of me, the daughter of an American
Loyalist, living an unprotected woman in the metropolis of republican
France, and helping to make puddings and cakes for the members of the
National Convention!

Though I have never paused in my narrative to mention politics, still
you cannot suppose that I was ignorant of what was passing on the great
theatre of the Continent, nor that the names of the chief actors in it
were unknown to me. On the contrary, I often beguiled my lonely hours
with reading the accounts of the proceedings at Paris; had mourned not
only over the fate of the royal family, but had deplored the death of
those highly gifted men, and that great though mistaken woman (Madame
Roland) in whom I fancied that I perceived some of the republican virtue
to which others only pretended; and though far from being a Republican
myself, I could not but respect those who, having adopted a principle
however erroneous, acted upon it consistently. But with Brissot and his
party ended all my interest in the public men of France, though their
names were familiar to me, and aversion and dread were the only feelings
which they excited.

Therefore, when on the 1st of February, 1794, we opened a shop for
puddings and cakes, and I through the curtain of a glass-door saw it
thronged with customers, some of whom I concluded were regicides and
murderers, my heart died within me. I felt as if I stood in the den of
wild beasts, and I wished myself again in safe and happy England.

Juan was frequently asked a number of questions by his customers; such
as who he was, and whence he came, and how long he had been there; and
his answer was, that he was born in America, and born a slave, and so
was his little wife, but a good master made him free.

"Bravo! and _Vive la liberté!_ and you are like us; we were slaves, now
we are free," always shouted the deluded people to whom he thus talked.

Juan used to go on to say that he had heard his master was in France,
and poor, and so they left America and came to work for him (applauses
again); but that he found he was dead. "And so," said he, "as I liked
Paris, we resolved to stay here, and make nice things for the
republicans in Europe."

This tale had its effect; Juan was hailed as _bon citoyen_ Duval, and
promised custom and protection.

"Oh! dear Miss Helen," cried Juan, (as he usually called me) "what
bloody dogs some of them look! No doubt some of them were members of
parliament. _They_ govern a nation indeed, who were such fools as to be
so easily taken in by my story! Psha! I should make a better parliament
man myself."

At length, we saw some of the distinguished men.

Juan heard one of the party call two of the others Hébert and Danton;
and he made an excuse to come in and tell me which was which. I looked
at them, and was mortified to find that Danton was so pleasant-looking.

When they went away, which they did not do till they had eaten largely,
and commended what they ate, a wild, singularly-looking man entered the
shop, in all the dirty and negligent attire of a _sans culotte_, and
desired a plum pudding _à l'Américaine_ to be set before him; declaring
that had it been _à l'Anglaise_ he could not have eaten it, as it would
have tasted of the slavery of that wretched grovelling country England.
When the pudding was served, he talked more than he ate, and made minute
inquiries into the history of Alice and Juan; but when he heard who and
what they were, he ran to them, and insisted on giving each the
fraternal embrace--"for I," said he, "am Anacharsis Cloots! the orator
of the human race; and dear to my heart is the injured being who was
born in servitude. Blessed be the memory of the master who broke your
chains!"

He then resumed his questions, and, to my great alarm, desired to know
if they lived alone in the house. Juan, off his guard, replied,

"No; we have a lodger."

"Indeed! let me see him."

"Him! 'tis a woman."

"Better and better still! Let me see her then. Is she young and
handsome?"

"Hélas! la pauvre femme! elle ne voit personne, elle est malade à la
mort."[7]

"Eh bien, que je la voye! Je la guérirai moi."[8]

"Tu! citoyen? Oh non! elle ne se guérira jamais."[9]

"Mais oui, te dis-je. Où est-elle? Je veux absolument faire sa
connaissance."[10]

"C'est impossible. Elle est au lit."[11]

"Quest-ce que cela fait?"[12]

"Comment, les femmes chez nous ne reçoivent jamais les visites quand
elles sont au lit."[13]

"Mais, quelle bêtise! au moins dis moi son nom, qui elle est, et tout
cela."[14]

  [Footnote 7: Alas! poor woman! she is sick to death.]

  [Footnote 8: Well, let me see her: I will cure her.]

  [Footnote 9: You! citizen? Oh no! she will never be cured.]

  [Footnote 10: Yes, I tell you. Where is she? I will absolutely make her
  acquaintance.]

  [Footnote 11: Impossible. She is in bed.]

  [Footnote 12: What does that signify?]

  [Footnote 13: Our ladies never receive visits in bed.]

  [Footnote 14: What nonsense! But tell me her name and all that.]

And Juan told him that I was the relation of his benefactor; that I was
in reduced circumstances, having had a bad husband; and that he and his
wife had taken me to live with them, and never would desert me.

"_O les braves gens!_" exclaimed he.--But what an agony I endured all
this time! Afraid that this mad-headed enthusiast would really insist on
paying me a visit, I ran up stairs, put on my green spectacles which Juan
insisted on my buying (for he really thought me a perfect beauty, and
that all who looked must love); then tied up my face in a handkerchief,
pulled over it a slouch cap, and lay down on the bed, drawing the
curtains round. But Alice came up to tell me the strange man was gone.
He declared, however, that the next time he came he would see _la pauvre
malade_.

But fortunately we never saw him again, except when he stopped in
company with others, and was too much taken up in laying down the law
for the benefit of the human race, to remember an individual.

You will not be surprised when I tell you, that slight as was my
knowledge of the persons of Hébert and Anacharsis Cloots, and little as
I had heard of their voices, still the circumstance of having seen their
faces and heard them speak made all the difference between rejoicing at
their deserved fate and regretting it. They were guillotined during the
course of the next month; and I shuddered when I heard they were no
more, catching myself saying, "Poor men!" very frequently during the
rest of the day.

I could give you some interesting details of many events that now
happened in affecting succession; but they have been painted by abler
hands than mine: I shall only say further concerning our shop-visitors,
that more than once the great Dictator himself took shelter there from a
shower of rain, and ate a _gateau républicain_. When he first came,
Juan, who had seen him often before, sent Alice to tell me who he was;
and I cannot describe the sensation of horror with which he inspired me;
for nature there had made the outside equally ugly with the inside. He
asked many questions of Juan relative to who he was, and whence and why
he came; and I saw his quick and restless eye looking suspiciously
round, as if he feared an unseen dagger on every side: and so watchful
and observant was his glance, that I retreated from the curtain lest he
should see me. I was also terrified to perceive that my poor Juan was
not so much at his ease with _him_, and did not tell his story with so
steady a voice as usual. But perhaps like Louis the XIVth, Robespierre
was flattered with the consciousness of inspiring awe. Juan was,
however, a little relieved by the entrance of Danton, who spoke to him
as an old acquaintance; on which Robespierre turned to Danton and said,
"Then _you know_ these people?"

"Yes; and their puddings too. Do I not, citizen?" he good naturedly
replied; and soon after, Robespierre and he departed together.

Certain it is that I breathed more freely after they were gone.

Not long after this, Danton and Camille des Moulins came together; and
though they spoke very low, Juan heard them talk of _la Citoyenne
Beauvais_, and then they talked of _son bel Américain Anglois_,[15] (so
it was clear they knew who my husband really was,) and they whispered
and laughed. We then heard the name of Colonel Newton, an Englishman by
birth, who had served in foreign armies all his life, and had the
melancholy distinction of being the only British subject who was put to
death by the guillotine. But Juan heard him mentioned by these men, and
soon after we knew he was arrested; for Juan was in the habit of
frequenting the Palais Royal and its gardens in the evening, and other
places of public resort, and there he was sure to hear the news of the
day. At first, he only heard that an Englishman was arrested; and his
emotion was such, that if any one had looked at him it must have been
perceived; but no one noticed him, and presently some one named Colonel
Newton as the conspirator who had been denounced and imprisoned.

  [Footnote 15: Her handsome American Englishman.]

Was Pendarves acquainted with this unfortunate man? We could not tell;
but certain it was, that the awful lips which mentioned the one had
named the other.

In another month Danton and Camille des Moulins were no more! and fell
with many others who were obnoxious to the tyrant; and again I wished
that I had not seen or heard them.

As I never went out till it was quite dark, the great seclusion in which
I lived injured my health. Since the death of Hébert, indeed, I was not
so cautious, as I could wear a hat; but while he lived, he had decreed
that every head-dress was _aristocrat_, except the peasants' cap.

Juan went therefore to find a lodging for me for a week or two near or
in the Champs Elysées, and in so retired a spot, that with my green
spectacles, and otherwise a little disguised, my guardian declared he
allowed me to walk even in a morning.

Alice accompanied me, and Juan promised to come and tell us every
evening what was going forward. During my abode in this pretty place
Juan arrived one evening a good deal agitated, and I found that he had
seen Pendarves.

"Did he see you?"

"Oh! no: he saw no one but--"

"His companion, I suppose?--Was Madame Beauvais with him?"

"She was, and her little dog; and the beast would not come at her call;
and then she was uneasy, and so he took up the nasty animal and carried
it in his arm. I could have wrung its neck."

"It is a nice clean animal," replied I, trying to speak cheerfully. "But
how did he look, Juan?"

"Well, madam--_too_ well!" said the faithful creature, turning away in
agony to think he could look well under his circumstances.

"You see he is not yet arrested," said I; "and for that I am thankful."

One night, the night before we were to return to our house, Juan
disappointed us and did not come at all. You, who have always lived in
dear and quiet Britain, cannot form to yourself an idea of the agitation
into which this little circumstance threw us. We could not fancy he was
ill: that was too common-place and too natural a circumstance to occur
to the heated imaginations of women accustomed as we were to tales
of terror and blood; and we thought no less than that he had been
suspected, denounced, arrested, and would be _jugé à mort_. What a night
of misery was ours! Early in the morning, however, Alice set off for
Paris, conjuring me on her knees not to come with her, as Juan thought
it unsafe for me to walk in the street unprotected; and promising to
come back directly if any thing alarming had happened. I therefore
allowed her to depart without me; but though her not returning was
a proof that all was right, according to our agreement, I was half
distracted when hour succeeded to hour and she did not return; till, at
last, unable to bear my suspense any longer, I set off for Paris, and
reached the Place de la Revolution (as it was then called) just as an
immense crowd was thronging from all parts and around me, to a spot
already filled with an incalculable number of persons. In one instant I
recollected that what I beheld in the midst must be the guillotine, and
I tried to turn back, but it was impossible. I was hurried forward with
the exulting multitude; and just as the horrible snap of the murderous
engine met my now tingling ears, I heard from the shouts of the mob,
that the victim was the Princess Elizabeth!!!--Self-preservation
instinctively prompted me to catch hold of the person next me to save
myself from falling, which would have been instant death; and the aid I
sought was yielded to me: and while a noise of thunder was in my ears,
and my eyes were utterly blinded with horror and agonizing emotion, a
kind but unknown voice said in French, "Poor child! I see you are indeed
a stranger here. We natives are used to these sights now;" and he
sighed, as if use had not however entirely blunted his feelings.

"But why did you come to see such a sight?"

"Oh! I knew nothing of it, and was going home."

"Poor thing! Well; but shall I see you home--if you can walk?"

I now looked up, and saw that my kind friend was only a lowly citizen,
and wore a Jacobin cap; and I was still shrinking from allowing of his
further attendance, though I trembled in every limb, and felt sick
unto death: when, as the crowd dispersed, I saw Juan and Alice coming
towards me; in another moment I was in her arms, where I nearly fainted
away.

"This is unfortunate," said the _citoyen_; "her illness may be observed
upon, as it was a Bourbon who died, and she may be fancied no friend to
the republic. What is best to be done?"

While he said this I recovered, and begged to go home directly; but I
could not walk without the aid of my Jacobin friend; who insisted on
seeing me safe home, and we thought it the best way to consent.

On our way, the _citoyen_ exclaimed, "_O mon Dieu! le voilà
lui-même!_"[16] and we saw the dreaded Robespierre hastily approaching
us. He desired to know what was the matter with that woman; and neither
Juan nor Alice had recollection enough to reply; but our friend did
instantly, taking off his cap as he spoke: "The poor woman, _citoyen_,
was nearly crushed in the crowd, and but for me would have been trodden
to death. Only see how she trembles still! She has not been able to
speak a word yet."

  [Footnote 16: Oh! there he is himself.]

"Oh! that is the case, is it?" said he, surveying me with a most
scrutinizing glance. "It is well for her I find her in such good
company, Benoit."

He then departed, and we recovered our recollection.

He was no sooner gone, than, to my great surprise, I saw Juan seize our
companion's hand, while he exclaimed, "You! are you Benoit?"

"To be sure; what then?"

"Why then, you God for ever bless that's all! For many poor wretch
bless you; and now, but for you, what might have become of her?"

"How!" cried Alice; "is this the kind jailor of Luxembourg? Oh dear! how
glad I am to see you?"

It was indeed Benoit; who, at a period when to be cruel seemed the only
means to be safe, lightened the fetters which he could not remove, and
soothed to the best of his power the horrors of a prison and of death.

A feeling which he could not help, but certainly not one of joyful
anticipation, led him to witness the death of the royal victim; and my
evident horror instantly interested and attached him to my side. This
good man attended us home, and we had great pleasure in setting before
him our little stores: but he could not eat then, he said; and as he
spoke, he sighed deeply. However, he assured us he would come and eat
with us some other day: then desiring us to take heed and not go to see
sights again, he ran off, saying he had been absent too long.

What a mercy it was that Benoit was with us when we met the tyrant! We
also rejoiced that he did not see or did not recognise Juan and Alice:
but after this unfortunate rencontre we did not feel ourselves as safe
as we did before, and dreaded every day to see him enter the shop.

I now desired to know the reason of Juan's not coming to us, and I found
that his too great care had exposed me to even a far worse agony than
that from which he wished to preserve me. The truth was, he heard that
poor Madame Elizabeth was to be executed the next day: fearing,
therefore, that he should be betrayed into saying so, and wishing me
not to know of it till all was over, as he knew how interested I was in
her fate, he resolved to stay away, not supposing we should be alarmed;
and he and Alice could not return to me sooner, as the way led over the
very spot which they wished to avoid. Besides, Alice had told me her not
returning was a good sign. Well! this agony was past; but I had seen and
met the suspicious eye of the tyrant, and it haunted me wherever I went.
For my own life, indeed, I had no fear; and imprisonment, I thought, was
all I had to dread, though poor Juan insisted on it that the wretch
saw, spite of my dowdy appearance, that I was a handsome woman; and
he thanked Heaven at the close of every day, that no Robespierre had
visited us. Another evening Juan returned in much agitation from
his walk, but I saw it was of an opposite nature to that which he
experienced at sight of Pendarves; and on inquiry I found that he had,
as he said, met that good young man, Count De Walden.

"Indeed!" exclaimed I; "and did he see you? and does he know I am in
Paris?"

"No, he did not see me; and without your leave, I dared not tell you
were here: so I thought it best not to speak to him."

I felt excessively disappointed; but after some moments of reflection I
recollected that it would be cruel and selfish to force myself, in a
situation so interesting and so anxious, on one who on principle had so
recently left the place in which I was; and I told Juan he had done
quite right.

"However," said I, "it is a comfort to me to know that I have a
protector near."

"Aye; but not for long!"

"No! But what could bring a man like him to this den of wickedness and
horrors? Some good purpose no doubt."

"I suspect so; for I saw him in close conversation with Barrère and
others, and I overheard him say, 'But can you give me no hope? I want
excessively to return home: still, while there is a chance of Colonel
Newton's being saved, I will stay.' Barrère, I believe, said all hope
was over; for the Count cast up his eyes mournfully to heaven, and
retired."

Till I heard this, I was inclined to suspect that my uncle had written
to say I was here, and that he came on my account.

I shall now relate the motive of his journey: the object of it was
connected with the fate of my husband.

A man of the name of Beauvais was executed with Danton and other
supposed conspirators in the preceding April. This man was the father of
Annette Beauvais; and she would have been denounced and executed with
her father, had not one of Robespierre's tools become exceedingly
enamoured of her, and for his sake she was spared. But Colonel Newton
having been known to be rather intimate with Beauvais, and having also
dared, like a free-born Englishman and a man of independent feelings, to
reproach the tyrant with his cruelty, he was accused, imprisoned, and
condemned to death. It was on his account that De Walden came to Paris.
By some means or other Newton informed him of his situation; and as he
had known him in Switzerland, and greatly esteemed him, he hastened to
try whether by solicitation, interest, or money, he could procure his
acquittal or escape: but he tried in vain. As vain also were the efforts
made,--to do her justice,--by Madame Beauvais herself. The wretch to
whom she applied was made jealous of Newton by her earnest entreaties
for his life; and his doom was consequently rendered only more certain.
He also tauntingly bade her take care of her own life and that of her
American Englishman, assuring her she would not find it an easy matter
to do that long. Nor did he threaten in vain; for, though she admitted
his addresses and received his splendid presents, she still persisted in
living with the infatuated Pendarves, who believed her constancy equal
to her pretended love. The consequence was, that an accusation was
brought against my husband for getting to Paris on false pretences, and
as being a dangerous person: for, though he was born in America, his
father was a loyalist, not a republican, and had fought, they found,
against the republican arms; and his mother was that offensive thing a
woman of quality and a nobleman's daughter. There were other charges
equally strong; and even in the presence of his vile companion,
Pendarves was arrested, and condemned for the present to be confined
_au secret_ in the Luxembourg.

He bore his fate with calmness; for he expected that she who had caused
his imprisonment would be eager to share and to enliven it: but that
was beyond the heroism of a mistress. She was not willing to prefer to
fine apartments and liberty, love and a prison with him; but while he,
agonized at her desertion,--for she bade him a cold and final
farewell,--was borne away into confinement, she was led away smiling and
in triumph by her now avowed protector.

All these circumstances I did not know at first--I only knew the result;
which was imparted to me by the trembling Juan, who had seen Pendarves
led away, had seen her farewell, and had vainly tried to make himself
observed by him, that he might know he had a friend at hand.

"A friend!" cried I with a flushed cheek, but with a trembling frame:
"he shall know that he has the best of friends, a wife, near him!" and
instantly, taking no precaution to conceal my person in any way, for I
thought not of myself, I hastened rapidly along, Juan with difficulty
keeping pace with me, till I reached the Luxembourg.

"Whom do you want?" said a churlish man on duty.

"Seymour Pendarves."

"You can't see him: he is _au secret_."

"Oh! but I must! Do let me speak to the _Citoyen_ Benoit, and ask him to
let me enter."

"You are very earnest; and perhaps he will let you.

"Who shall I say wants to be admitted to this Pendarves?"

"His wife."

"His wife! Well," added he respectfully, "wives should not be kept from
their husbands when they seek them in their distress."

He then went in search of Benoit, who appeared with his keys of office.

"_Citoyen_," said he, "here is a wife wants to see her husband."

"I fear she is an aristocrat, then," replied Benoit, smiling and
approaching us.

"Ha!" cried he, "is it you? What is become of your spectacles? And do
you want to see your husband, poor thing? Who is he?"

I told him. He shook his head, saying to himself--"Who could have
supposed he had a wife, and such a one too!"

"_Citoyenne_," said he, "you cannot see your husband to-night, nor shall
he know you are here; but to-morrow, at nine in the morning, I will
admit you. Yes, and for your sake I will show him all the indulgence I
can. So it was for this, was it, you came to Paris? I thought there was
a mystery. Good girl! good girl!"

So saying, he walked hastily away, and we returned to our home, at once
disappointed and cheered.

Oh! how I longed for the light of morning! Oh! how I longed to exhibit
the superiority of the wife over the mistress! With what pleasure I
anticipated the joy, mixed with shame and sorrow, no doubt, but still
triumphant over every other feeling with which Pendarves would behold
and receive me! How he would value this proof of tenderness and duty!
while I should fondly assure him that all was forgotten and all
forgiven!--So did I paint the scene to which I was hastening. Such
were the hopes which flushed my cheek and irradiated my countenance.

At length the appointed hour drew near; and I had just reached the gates
of the Luxembourg, had just desired to be shown to Benoit, when I looked
up and beheld De Walden!

"You here!" cried he, turning pale as death. "O Helen! dear rash friend!
why are you in Paris? Speak."

Here he paused, trembling with emotion. I was little less affected; but,
making a great effort, I faltered out, "My husband is prisoner here, and
I am going to him."

De Walden clasped his hands together and was silent; but his look
declared the agony of his mind.

Benoit now came to conduct me in; and De Walden, taking Juan's arm, led
him apart.

"Have you told him I am here?" said I, turning very faint, alarmed now
the moment was come which I had so delightedly anticipated.

"No: I have told him nothing."

He now put the key into a door at the bottom of a long, narrow, dark
passage, and it turned on its heavy and grating hinges.

"Some one desires to see you," said Benoit gruffly, to hide his kind
emotion; and I stood before my long estranged husband. But where was the
look of gladness? where the tone of welcome, though it might be mingled
with that of less pleasant sensations? He started, turned pale, pressed
forward to meet me; but then exclaiming in a faltering voice, "Is it
you, Helen? Rash girl! why do I see you here?" he sunk upon his
miserable bed, and hid his face from me. I stood, pale, motionless, and
silent as a statue. Was this the scene which I had painted to myself?
True, I should have been shocked, if he had approached me with extended
arms, and as if he felt that I had nothing to forget: yet I did expect
that his eye would lighten up with joyful surprise, and his quivering
lip betray the tenderness which he would but dared not express. However,
for the first time in my life, indignation and a sense of injury were
stronger than my fond woman's feeling; and I seated myself in silence on
the only chair in the room, with my proud heart swelling as if it would
burst its bounds and give me ease for ever.

"Helen!" said he at length in a subdued and dejected tone, "your
presence here distracts me. This scene, this city, are no places for
you; and oh! how unworthy am I of this exertion of love! What! must a
wretch like me expose to danger such an exalted creature as this is?"

These flattering words, though uttered from the head more than from the
heart, were a sort of balm to my wounded feelings; but I coldly replied,
"That in coming to Paris, in order to be on the spot if any danger
happened to him, I had only done what I considered as the duty of a
wife; and that now my earnest wish was to be allowed to spend part,
if not the whole of every day with him in prison, as his friend and
soother."

"Impossible! impossible!" he exclaimed, becoming much agitated.

"Why so? Benoit is disposed to be my friend."

"No matter; but tell me who is with you in this nest of villains?"

I told him, and he thanked God audibly. I then entreated to know
something concerning his arrest, its cause, and what the consequences
were likely to be.

"Spare me!" cried he, "spare me! It is most painful to a man to blush
with shame in the presence of his wife. Helen! kind, good Helen! I know
you meant to sooth and serve me; but you have humbled me to the dust,
and my spirit sinks before you! Go and leave me to perish. In my very
best days I was wholly unworthy of you; but now--"

He was right; and my parading kindness, my intruding virtue were
offensive. I had humbled him: I had obliged him too much: I had towered
over him in the superiority of my character; and instead of attaching, I
had alienated him. This was human nature--I saw it, I owned it now, but
I was not prepared for it, and it overwhelmed me with despair. Still, it
softened my heart in his favour; for, if I had to forgive his errors, he
had to forgive my officious exhibition of romantic duty. I now at his
request told him all my plans, and every thing that had passed since I
came, not omitting to tell him that I had seen De Walden. Nor was I
sorry to remark, that at his name he started and changed colour.

"He here! Then you are sure of a protector," said he, "and I feel
easier. But, Helen! you are too young, too lovely to expose yourself to
the gaze of the men in power. I protest that you are at this moment as
beautiful as ever, Helen!"

"It is from the temporary embellishment of strong emotion only," replied
I, pleased by this compliment from him. I then turned the discourse to
the opportunity our shop gave us of hearing conversations; and I also
promised to bring him some of our commodities. He tried to smile, but
could not, and I saw that my presence evidently distressed instead
of soothing him. Benoit now came to say I must stay no longer, and
disappeared again; while, a prey to most miserable feelings, I rose to
depart.

"I shall come again to-morrow," said I; "shall I not?"

"If you insist upon it, you shall; but, you had better leave me, Helen,
to perish, and forget me!"

"Forget you! Cruel Seymour!" cried I, bursting into an agony of tears.

He now approached me, and, sinking on one knee, took my hand and kissed
it: then held it to his heart. A number of feelings now contended in my
bosom, but affection was predominant; and as he knelt before me I threw
my arms round his neck, mingling my tears with his, "_Mais vite donc,
citoyenne--dépêches tu!_"[17] said Benoit, just unclosing the door, and
speaking outside it. Pendarves rose, and led me to him; and scarcely
knowing whether pain or satisfaction predominated, I reached the gate,
Benoit kindly assuring me I might command his services to the utmost.

  [Footnote 17: Quick, make haste, female citizen!]

I found De Walden still talking with Juan. They both seemed to regard
me with very scrutinizing as well as sympathizing looks; and I still
trembled so much that I was glad to accept the support of De Walden's
arm. He attended me home; but we neither of us spoke during the walk.
When I reached the door, I said, "Come to me to breakfast to-morrow;
for to-day I am wholly unfitted for company." He sighed, bowed, and
departed; but not without assuring me that he would enquire concerning
the causes of my husband's arrest, and try to get him set at liberty.

"Well," cried Juan, "I have one comfort more than I had; Count De Walden
has declared that while you remain in Paris he will." And I also felt
comforted by this assurance.

I now retired to my own room, and, throwing myself on the bed, entered
upon that severe task self-examination; and I learnt to doubt whether
my expedition to France were as truly and singly the result of pure
and genuine tenderness, and a sense of duty, as I had supposed it was.
For what had I done? I had certainly shone in the eyes of many at the
expense of my husband. I had, as he said, "humbled him in his own eyes,"
and I had chosen to run risks for his sake, which he could not approve,
and after all might not be the better for. In such reflections as these
I passed that long and miserable day; aye, and in some worse still;
for I felt that Pendarves no longer loved me--that he esteemed, he
respected, he admired me; but that his tenderness was gone, and gone
too, probably, for ever!

I had however one pleasant idea to dwell upon. Deputies, if not an
ambassador, were now expected from America, and De Walden had told Juan
he should claim their protection for us.

The next morning De Walden came; but his brow was clouded, his manner
embarrassed, and the tone of his voice mournful.

"Have you made the inquiries which you promised?"

"I have; and they have not been answered satisfactorily. My dear friend,
there are subjects which nothing but the emergencies of the case could
justify me to discuss with you. Will you therefore pardon me if I say--"

"Say any thing: at a moment like this it is my duty not to shrink from
the truth. I guess what you mean."

He then told me the cause of my husband's arrest, which I have already
mentioned; adding that the ostensible causes were so trifling, that they
could probably be easily gotten over; but that the true cause, jealousy,
was, he feared, not likely to be removed.

"But she left him," cried I, "left him as if for ever, and accompanied
her new lover in triumph!"

"Yes: but I fear that he will not get quit of her so soon."

My only answer to this unwelcome truth was a deep sigh; and for some
minutes I was unable to speak, while De Walden anxiously walked up and
down the room.

"Perhaps you would go and see Pendarves?"

"No: excuse me: an interview between me and him must be painful, and
could not be beneficial. The letter I had from him to inform me of a
certain mournful event was cold; and though I answered it kindly,--for I
thought of you when I wrote,--I was convinced that the less we met again
the better."

"Then what can you do?"

"I know not--I could not save my friend, you know."

"If money can do it, I possess the means."

"And so do I; but Robespierre is inaccessible to bribes, and so I have
found his creatures. I fear that I must seek Madame Beauvais herself."

"But she probably hates you?"

"True: but she does not hate Pendarves; and if I convince her that her
only chance of liberating him is by seeming to have ceased to love him,
the business may be done."

"And must he owe his liberty, and perhaps his life, to her? But be it
so, if he can be preserved no other way--in that case I would even be a
suitor to her myself."

"That I could not bear. But oh! dear inconsiderate friend, why did you
come hither?"

"Because I thought it my duty."

"And do you still think so?"

I was silent.

"Answer me: candid and generous Helen: do you not now see that it
was more your duty to stay in your own safe country, protected by
respectable friends, than to come hither courting danger, and the worst
of dangers to a virtuous wife? Believe me, the passive virtue of painful
but quiet endurance of injury was the virtue for you to practise. This
quixotic daring looked like duty; but was not duty, Helen, and could
only end in disappointment: for tell me, have you not found that you
have thus suffered and thus dared for an ingrate?"

My silence answered the question.

"Enough!" resumed De Walden; "and I feel that I have been cruel; but
mine has been the reproof of friendship, wrung from me by the indignant
agony of knowing that even I cannot perhaps protect you from the insults
which I dread. Oh! why did they let you come hither? I am sure your mind
was not itself when you thought of it."

"You are right. The idea had taken hold of my imagination then
unnaturally raised, and come I would. But my physician approved my
coming; for he thought it safer for me, and thought, if I was not
indulged, that my reason, if not my life, might suffer."

This statement completely overset De Walden's self-command; he blamed
himself for what he had said--accused himself of cruelty--extolled the
patient sweetness with which I had heard him, and had condescended to
justify myself. Then, striking his forehead, he exclaimed, "And I, alas!
am powerless to save a being like this! But save her, THOU," he added,
lifting his clasped hands to heaven.

The hour of my appointment at the prison now arrived again, and De
Walden accompanied me thither. I did not see Benoit; but I was admitted
directly, and my conductor, opening the door, said, "A female citizen
desires to see you."

"Indeed!" said Pendarves in a tone of joy; but he started, and looked
disappointed, when he saw me.

"Is it you, Helen?" said he.

"Did you expect it was any one else?"

"Not much," he replied, evidently disconcerted; "not much. It is only a
primitive old-fashioned wife like yourself who would follow an unworthy
husband to a prison."

"And to a scaffold, if necessary," cried I with energy.

"Helen!" said Pendarves in a deep but caustic tone, "spare me! spare me!
This excess of goodness--"

I smiled; but I believe my smile was as bitter as his accents.

What meetings were these between persons circumstanced as we once were
and were now! But it could not be otherwise, and all I now suffered I
had brought upon myself. In order to change the tone of our feelings, I
told him De Walden had breakfasted with me, and then asked him if he
would not like to see Juan.

He said "Yes," but carelessly, and then added, "So De Walden has been
with you?" and fell into a mournful reverie till our uncomfortable
interview was over.

I promised to send him by Juan all he wanted and desired, of linen,
clothes, and food; for Benoit had assured me he would allow him to
receive any thing for the sake of his good wife. He thanked me, shook
my hand kindly, and saw me depart, as I thought with pleasure.

I found De Walden waiting for me with Juan. The latter by my desire
asked for Benoit, and begged to know of him at what hour that day or
evening he might be admitted to his master. Accordingly he went,
carrying with him the articles I mentioned. He was gone some time; and
anxious indeed was I for his return.

"I have seen her," said he.

"Seen whom?"

"That vile woman."

"Was she with him?" cried I, turning very faint.

"No, no: let the good Benoit alone for that. She desired to see the
Citoyen Pendarves, her husband;" on which Benoit scornfully answered,
"One wife is enough for any man: I allow him to see one of his every
day, but no more; so go away, and do not return again."

"What!" exclaimed the creature, in great agitation, "is she, is Helen
Pendarves in Paris?"

"Yes; _she_, the _true_ she,--the good wife is here; and _she_ alone
will Benoit admit to his prisoner. _Va-t en, te dis-je!_"

"And the creature went away," added Juan; "for I saw and heard it all,
giving him such a look!"

I could not help being pleased with this account; but I sent him
immediately to tell De Walden what had passed, that he might lose no
time in seeking La Beauvais, to prevent her going to the prison, and
thereby increasing the danger of Pendarves.--When Juan returned, I
asked for a minute detail of all that passed between my husband and
him.

"Oh! he is very wretched!" he replied: "but he told me nothing
concerning himself; he only walked up and down the narrow room, asking
me nothing but about you, and why they let you come, and if De Walden
came on purpose to guard you. In short, we talked of nothing else; and
then he did so wish you safe back in your own country!"

This account gave me sincere pleasure, and made me believe that
Seymour's heart was not so much alienated from me as I expected; and a
weight seemed suddenly taken from my mind. The next day I went again at
noon, and I found La Beauvais in high dispute with Benoit. As soon as he
saw me, he saw that I recognised her, and that my countenance bore the
hue of death, he caught my hand, saying, "_Vite! vite! entre donc:_
BELLE _et_ BONNE! _et toi, va-t en tout de suite!_"[18]

  [Footnote 18: Quick! quick! enter: fair and good! but you, go away
  directly!]

La Beauvais, provoked and disappointed, seized my arm. "Madame
Pendarves," she cried, "the same interest brings us hither: use your
influence over this barbarian to procure me admittance."

"The same interest!" I replied, turning round, throwing her hand from my
arm, and looking at her with all the scorn and abhorrence which I felt:
"_Madame, je ne vous connois pas._"[19]

  [Footnote 19: Madam! I do not know you.]

"It is well," she said. "Depend on it, I shall refresh your memory; and
soon too. I will be revenged, though my own heart bleeds for it."

She then hastened away; and I, feeling the rash folly I had committed,
and fearing I had irreparably injured my husband's cause, was forced to
let the kind jailor conduct me to his own apartment, in order that I
might recover myself before I went to Pendarves. I found him more
cheerful, and also more affectionate in his manner towards me. He had
been reading a letter, which he hastily put into his pocket; yet not so
soon but that my quick eye discovered in the address the hand of La
Beauvais. It was this renewal of intercourse, then, that had made him
cheerful! But why then was he more affectionate to me? I have since
resolved that question to my satisfaction.

No one likes to give up any power once possessed. Pendarves had
flattered himself La Beauvais fondly loved him; and his bitter grief
at her apparent desertion of him, arose from wounded pride, and the fear
of having lost his power over her, more than from pining affection.
But she had written to him; she was trying to gain admittance to his
prison:--his wounded vanity therefore was at rest on one point, and the
sight of me was grateful because it ministered to it in another.

But I did not, could not reason then: I only felt; and what with
jealousy, and what with my fears for his life, now, I thought,
endangered by me, I was ill and evidently wretched the whole time I
staid. But Seymour's manner to me was most soothing, and even tender. At
that moment I could better have borne indifference from him; for I was
conscious that I had weakly given way to the feelings of an injured
jealous woman, and had thereby probably given the seal to his fate!

Glad was I when the jailor summoned me; for I was anxious to tell De
Walden the folly which I had committed; and I saw that Seymour was hurt
at the cold and hurried manner in which I bade him farewell.

When I saw De Walden, he told me that he had called in vain on La
Beauvais hitherto; but would try again and again. On hearing what had
passed between us he became alarmed, but declared that he could not have
forgiven me if I had spoken or acted otherwise. That day some of the
tyrant's creatures were in our shop, and one of them desired to see the
other shop-woman, declaring Alice was not pretty enough to wait on them;
and that they were resolved the next time they came to see _la belle
Angloise_.--But every other fear was soon swallowed up in one.

Juan overheard that night in the Thuilleries gardens, that the
Englishman Pendarves would be brought before the tribunal the day after
the next, and there was no doubt of his being executed with several
others directly!!!

The moment, the dreaded moment was now indeed at hand, and how was it
to be averted? De Walden heard this intelligence also, and came to me
immediately. But all hope seemed vain, because he was to be condemned to
satisfy private wishes, and not because any public wrong could be proved
against him; and he left me in utter despair. But he also left me to
reflect; and the result was a determination to act resolutely and
immediately, and to risk the event. Suffice, that I called my faithful
servants into my room, reminded them of that fidelity and obedience to
me which they had vowed to my poor mother on her death-bed, and told
them the hour for them to prove their attachment and fulfil their vow
was now arrived. This solemn adjuration was answered by as solemn
assurances to obey me in whatever I required of them. I first required
that they should keep all I was now going to say, and all they or I were
going to do, profoundly secret from De Walden. I saw Juan recoil at
this; but I was firm, and he swore himself to secrecy. I then unfolded
to them my scheme, and had to encounter tears, entreaties urged on
bended knee, that I would give up my rash design, and consider myself.
But they might as well have talked to the winds. "I feel," said I, "by
the suddenness of this proceeding, that my treatment of La Beauvais has
done this, and it is my duty, at all risks to myself, to save my husband
from the death to which I have hurried him." The faithful creatures were
silenced, but not convinced. Still, finding they could not prevent my
purpose, and that I declared I would cry "_Vive le Roi_," that I might
die with my husband, they prepared in mournful obedience to consult with
me on the best means of accomplishing my wishes.

My plan was this: I resolved to ask permission to take a last farewell
of Pendarves at night, after I had seen him in the morning, and then
change clothes with him, and remain in his stead.

"And as Benoit was ill in bed this evening, when you went," said I,
"there is no likelihood that he will be well to-morrow; so my plan
cannot injure him. Therefore, let us be prepared to execute what I have
designed, directly."

"Well! my comfort is," said Juan, "that my master will not consent to
risk your life to save his."

"Not willingly; but I shall force him to do it."

"Well! we shall see."

You may remember how I used to regret my great height, because Pendarves
did not admire tall women; but now how I valued it, as it made it more
easy for Pendarves to pass for me, and therefore might aid my efforts to
save his life!

We agreed that Alice and Juan should be in waiting with a covered
peasant's cart, at the end of the Luxembourg gardens; that then he
should drive him and her to our lodging in the Champs Elisées, which we
had again hired, where he was to pass for me, and still hide his face as
if in great affliction. The house was kept by a deaf, stupid old woman,
who was not likely to suspect any thing. And at day-break, Pendarves in
a peasant's dress, with Alice by his side, dressed like a peasant also,
with her hood over her face, was to drive on day and night when he had
passed the barrier, which we hoped it would be easy to do, till some
place of safe retreat offered itself on the road. And I knew that on
this road was the _chateau_ of a gentleman whom we had known and had
done kindnesses for in England, who had contrived like some others to
take no part in politics, and had retained his house and his land.

All was procured and ready as I desired; and, having written down my
scheme for my husband, conjuring him to grant my request, I went to the
prison in the morning with a beating heart, lest Benoit should be well
enough to be at his post. But he was not only unwell; he was dismissed
from his office. The _bon Benoit_, as he was called, was too good for
his situation.[20]

  [Footnote 20: An historical fact.]

Seymour beheld with wonder, and no small alarm, my cheek, now flushed,
now pale, my tremulous voice, and my abstracted manner; and I once more
saw in him that affectionate interest and anxiety so dear to my heart.

"You are ill, my beloved," said he at length.

"Beloved!" How the word thrilled through my heart! I never expected to
hear it again from his lips; and the sound overcame me. "I shall be
better soon," cried I, bursting into tears.

The surly jailor (Oh! how unlike Benoit!) who had taken his place, now
summoned me away, and I slided my letter into my husband's hands. "Read
it," said I, "and know that your doom is fixed for to-morrow; therefore
I conjure you by our past loves to grant the request which this letter
contains; and if you think I have deserved kindness from you, comply
with my wishes."

Seymour, who had heard nothing of his approaching fate, took the letter,
and listened to me with a bewildered air; and I hastened from the
prison. I had easily obtained permission to return to the prison at
night.

"It will be the last time. You will never come again," said the brutal
gaoler: "your husband will never come back when he goes to the tribunal
to-morrow, so come and welcome!"

I spent the intervening time in writing a letter to De Walden, inclosing
one for my uncle, which I begged him to forward; and I arranged every
thing as if death awaited me. Nay, how could I be assured that it did
not? but I kept all my fears to myself and talked of hope alone to my
poor servants, who wandered about, the pictures of grief.

When De Walden called that day I would not see him, but lay down on
purpose to avoid him; for I dreaded to meet his penetrating glance.

As it was now the middle of July, days were shortening, and by eight
o'clock twilight was gathering fast. My appointment was for half-past
seven; and by a bribe I obtained leave from Benoit's unworthy successor
to stay till half-past eight.

Then, summoning all my fortitude, I entered the cell of my husband. I
shall pass over the first moments of our meeting; but I shall never
forget them, and I am soothed and comforted when I recollect all that
escaped from that affectionate and generous, though misguided being.
Suffice, that all his arguments were vain to persuade me that he was not
worthy to be saved, at even the smallest risk to a life so precious as
mine.

"My life precious!" cried I: "a being without any near and dear ties!
with neither parent, child, nor husband, I may _now_ say," cried I,
thrown off my guard by the consciousness of a desolate heart.

"I have deserved this reproach," said Seymour; "you have indeed no
husband, therefore why should not I die? as, were I gone, Helen, I feel,
I know, that you would be no longer desolate!"

I understood his meaning, but did not notice it. Bitter was now the
anguish which I felt; nay, so violent was my distress, and so earnest
my entreaties that he would escape, as the idea that he refused me in
consequence of what I had just said, would, if he perished, drive me, I
was convinced, to complete distraction, that he at last consented to my
request.

"But, take notice," said he, "that I do it with this assurance, that, if
my escape puts you in peril, I will return and suffer for or with you;
and then you shall again find that you have a husband, Helen, and our
union shall be renewed in death, and cemented in our blood.--I say no
more. You command, and it is my duty to obey."

He then took off his _robe de chambre_ which he wore in prison; and I
dressed him in the loose gown I had made up for the occasion, and long
enough to hide his feet; and even when he had my bonnet on, I had the
satisfaction of seeing that he did not look much taller than I did. I
now wrapt his robe tight round me, put all my hair under his night-cap
and with my handkerchief at my eyes awaited the gaoler's summons; while
Pendarves dropped the veil, and covered his face with his handkerchief
as if in grief. But the anxious heavings of my bosom and the mournful
ones of his were only too real. Every thing favoured us; the wind was
high, and, by blowing the door to, blew out the lamp which the gaoler
held: therefore the only light was from a dim lamp in the passage. At
the door stood the trembling Juan.

"There, take care of her; for she totters as if she was drunk," said the
gaoler; "I warrant you she will never come again."

In five minutes more Seymour was in the cart, and very shortly after he
reached our cottage in safety, and was, as me, lying in my bed in the
Champs Elisées. I, meanwhile, went to bed, and made no answer, but by
groans to the "Good night" and brutal consolations of the gaoler, when
he came to lock me up, without the smallest suspicion who I was. But
when I heard myself actually locked up for the night, I threw myself on
my knees in a transport of devout gratitude.

The next morning I rose after short and troubled rest, seating myself
with my back to the door, that I might remain undiscovered as long as I
could, in order to give my husband more time to get away. But I could no
longer retard the awful moment; for my gaoler came to summon me before
the tribunal.

"I am quite ready!" said I, turning slowly round. I leave you to imagine
his surprise, his indignation, his execrations, and his abuse. I forgave
him, for the poor wretch feared for his place, if not for his life.

"Yes: you shall go before the tribunal," said he, seizing me with savage
fury. "But no, I must first send after your rascally husband."

He then locked me in; and I saw no more of him for two hours, when I
heard a great noise in the passage, down which my cell when open looked,
and presently the door was unlocked by the gaoler himself, who exclaimed
with a malignant smile, "Your husband is taken, and brought back! Look
out, and you will see him!"

I _did_ look out, I did see him, unseen by him at first, and I saw him
walking up the passage with La Beauvais weeping on his arm, and one of
hers thrown across his shoulder.

An involuntary exclamation escaped me; and I retreated back into the
cell. I have since heard that Henroit and his guards, De Walden and
Juan, were in the passage; but I only saw my husband and La Beauvais;
and leaning against the wall I hid my face in my hands, oppressed with a
thousand contending and bewildering sensations.

"There!" said the vindictive gaoler, ushering in Pendarves, as if he
felt how painful a _tête-à-tête_ between us now would be; "there,
citizen! I shall shut you up with your wife, till I know what is to be
done with her. But perhaps you would like the other _citoyenne_ better?"

"Peace!" cried Pendarves, "and leave us alone!"

"Helen!" said my husband.

"Mr. Pendarves!"

"I see how it is, Helen; nor can I blame you: appearances were against
me. But I must and will assure you, that that person's appearing at such
a time, and her behaviour, were as unexpected as they were unwelcome."

Still I spoke not: no, not even to inquire why I had the misery of
seeing him return; and ere I had broken this painful but only too
natural silence, and had only just resumed my woman's gown, the door was
again thrown open, and an officer of the National Convention came to
say, that I was allowed to return home for the present, till further
proceedings were resolved upon.

"Take notice, sir," said Pendarves, "that this lady's only fault has
been too great a regard for an unworthy husband; and that what you may
deem a crime, the rest of Europe will call a virtue."

The officer smiled; and wishing my husband good night, I followed where
he led.

At the gate I found De Walden, who accompanied me home, having first
been assured by the officer that I should be under surveillance.

"And is it thus, rash Helen, you use your best friends, and risk an
existence so valuable?" cried De Walden.

"Spare me, spare me your reproaches," said I: "I am sufficiently humbled
already."

"Not _humbled_--those only are humbled who could injure such a creature.
Helen, I was in the passage at the prison, and I saw all that passed.

"Now then, while this recollection is fresh on your mind, let me ask you
if you think yourself justified in staying here where you are now
exposed to insult and to danger, for the sake of one who at a moment
which would have bound another man more tenderly than ever, could so
meet and so offend your eyes?" I was still silent.

"Now then hear my proposal. I have the greatest reason to believe that
I can secure an escape both for you, Alice, and myself, through the
_barriere_ this very night on the road to Switzerland, There, my dear
friend, I offer you a home and a parent! My mother will be your mother,
my uncle your uncle; and well do I know, that could my revered Mrs.
Pendarves look down on what is passing here, she would be happier to see
you under the protection of my family than under any other protection on
earth!"

"No, my dear friend, no; your just resentment and your wishes deceive
you. My mother valued her child's fame and her child's virtues equal
with her safety."

"Your fame could not suffer. I would not live even near you, Helen. I am
as jealous of your fame as any mother could be: besides that _principle_
would make me shun you.--No, Helen; I would see you safe in Switzerland,
and then sail for America."

"Generous man! But you shall not quit your country for my sake: besides,
I will not quit my husband in the hour of danger. No, whatever be the
fate of Pendarves, I stay to witness and perhaps to share it. The die is
cast: so say no more."

By this time we had reached my home. Alice came to meet me.

"O my poor, dear master!" said she: "but it was all his own seeking. We
had passed the barrier; but he would go back. He declared he could not,
would not escape till he knew you were safe: when just as I was got into
the house in the Champs Elisées, and he was holding the reins in his
hands, the officers seized him; and he said, 'I am he whom you seek--I
am quite willing to accompany you.'"

"This in some measure redeems his character with me," cried De Walden;
and _I_ did not feel it the less because I said nothing: but at length I
said, "Generous Seymour! He never told me this. He did not make a merit
of it with me."

Juan now came in, lamenting with great grief his poor master's return.
"O that vile woman!" cried he: "It was at her instigation that he was to
have been tried and condemned to-day; and then she repented, and came
to the prison to watch for his being led out, when she saw him brought
back, and then she had the audacity to hang upon him, weeping and making
such a fuss! while he, poor soul, tried to shake her off, assuring her
he forgave her, but never wished to see her more!"

"Did he act and talk thus?" cried I.

"He did indeed."

"And he came back from anxiety for me! O my dear friend, how glad am I
that I refused your proposal before I heard this!"--Sweet indeed was it
to my heart to have the conduct of Pendarves thus cleared up.

That evening we learnt that Pendarves was to go before the tribunal the
next day; and I was preparing to try to gain admittance to him, and to
see him as he came out, when an order for my own arrest came, and an
officer and his assistants to lead me to a prison. Juan instantly went
in search of De Walden; but I was led away before his return.

On the road we met the tyrant: "_Ah ha, ma belle!_" cried he, "where are
now your green spectacles?"

I haughtily demanded my liberty; but he said I was a dangerous
person--and to prison I was borne. To such a prison too! My husband's
cell was a palace to mine; but I immediately concluded that they wished
to make my confinement so horrible that I should be glad to leave it on
any conditions.

Two days after, and while I had been, I found, forbidden to see any
one, I received a letter informing me that my decree of arrest should
instantly be _cassé_, my husband set at liberty and sent with a
safe-conduct out of the frontiers, if I would promise to smile on a man
who adored me, and who had power to do whatever he promised, and would
perform it before he claimed one approving glance from my fine eyes.

I have kept this letter as a specimen of Jacobin love-making. It was not
signed with any name, except that of my _dévoué serviteur_; and I never
knew from whom it came.

It told me an answer would be called for _in person_ the day after the
next; and anxiously did I await this interview--await it in horrors
unspeakable. There was, however, one comfort which I derived from this
letter: till it was answered, I felt assured that my husband was safe.
Dreadful was the morrow: more dreadful still the day after it; for
hourly now did I expect the visit of the wretch. But that day, and the
next day passed, and I saw no one but my taciturn and brutal gaoler,
and heard nothing but the closing of the prison doors.

The next day too I expected him still in vain; but that night I marked
an unusual emotion, and, as I thought, a look of alarm in my gaoler;
and my wretched scanty meals were not given me till a considerable time
after the usual hour. That night too I and the other prisoners, I found,
were locked up two hours before the customary time.

All that night I heard noises in the street of the most frightful
description; and as my cell was near the front gates of the prison, I
could even distinguish what the sounds were; and I heard the horrible
tocsin sound to arms: I heard the report of fire-arms, I heard the
shouts of the people, I heard the cry of 'Liberty,' I heard 'Down with
the tyrant!' and all these mingled with execrations, shrieks, and, as I
fancied, groans; while I sunk upon my knees, and committed myself in
humble resignation to the awful fate which might then be involving him I
loved, and which might soon reach me, and drag me from the dungeon to
the scaffold!

At this moment of horrible suspense and alarm, and soon after the day
had risen on this theatre of blood, my door was thrown open, not by my
brutal gaoler, but by De Walden and Juan! My gaoler, one of the tools of
despotism, had fled; the twenty-eighth of July had freed the country
from the fetters of the tyrant; he was _then_ at that moment on his way
to the guillotine with his colleagues; and I, Pendarves, and hundreds
else, were saved!

Oh! what had not my poor servants and De Walden endured during the four
days of my imprisonment! Painful as that was, they feared worse evils
might ensue; while Pendarves, confined with the utmost strictness, was
not allowed to see even Juan!

But where was Pendarves? and why did I not see _him_, if he was indeed
at liberty? De Walden looked down and replied, "He is at liberty, I
know; but we have heard and seen nothing of him."

By this time we had reached my home, where I was received with tears of
joy by my agitated attendants. But, alas! my joy was changed into
mortification and bitterness: and when my happy friends called on me to
rejoice with them, I replied, in the agony of my heart, "I _am_
thankful, but I shall never rejoice again!" and for some minutes I laid
my head on the table, and never spoke but by the deepest sighs.

"I understand you," replied De Walden; "and if I can bring you any
welcome intelligence, depend on it that I will."

He then hastily departed; and worn out with anxiety, want of sleep, and
sorrow, I retired to my bed, and fortunately sunk into a deep and quiet
slumber.

When I went down to breakfast the next day, I found De Walden waiting
for me. His cheek was pale, and his look dejected; but he smiled when I
entered the room, and told me he brought me tidings of my husband.

"Indeed!" cried I with eagerness.

"Yes; I have seen him. He is at a lodging on the Italian Boulevards--and
alone."

"Alone! And--and does he not mean to see me; to call and--"

"How could he? Have you forgotten how you last parted? You resenting
deeply his then only seeming delinquency; and he wounded by, yet
resigned to, your evident resentment."

"True, true: yet still--"

"No; I had a long conversation with Pendarves,--for after his late
behaviour, and being convinced that he was alone, I had no objection to
call on him,--and he received me as I wished. He even was as open on
every subject as I could desire; and I found him, though still
persecuted by the letters of La Beauvais, resolved never to renew any
correspondence with her."

"If so, and if sure of himself, why not write to me, if he does not like
to visit me? I am sure I have not proved myself unforgiving."

"Shall I tell you why? A feeling that does him honour; a consciousness
that, fallen as he is from the high estate he once held in your esteem
and that of others, he cannot presume to require of you, though you are
his wife, a re-instatement in your love and your society; and he very
properly feels that the first advance should come from you: for though,
as I told him, the relaxed principles of the world allow husbands a
latitude which they deny to wives; still, in the eyes of God, and in
those of nicely feeling men, the fault is in both sexes equal; and an
offender like Pendarves is no longer entitled, as he was before, to the
tenderness of a virtuous wife. Nay, Pendarves, penitent and self-judged,
agrees with me in this opinion, and is thereby raised in my estimation."

"What! does Pendarves feel and think thus?"

"Yes; therefore I will myself entreat for him entire forgiveness; but
not directly, and as if a husband who has so grossly erred were as dear
to you as one without error."

Here De Walden's voice failed him; but he soon after added, in a low
voice, "And I trust that to have aided in bringing about your re-union
will support me under the feelings which the sight of it may occasion
me."

"But does Pendarves think I shall be always inexorable?"

"He cannot think so; from your oft experienced kindness."

"Then why prolong his anxiety? Why not offer to return with him to
England directly?"

"Because I think there would be an indelicacy in offering so soon to
re-unite yourself to him. I would have you, though a wife, 'be wooed,
and not unsought be won;' but I should not dare to give you this advice,
were I not convinced that this is the feeling of Pendarves. Besides, I
also feel that he would be less oppressed by your superior virtue, if he
found it leavened by a little female pride and resentment."

"Well, well, I will consider the matter," said I.

The next day, and the day after, De Walden called and saw Pendarves. "He
is very unhappy," said he; "though he might be the envy of all the first
men in Paris. The most beautiful woman in it, who lives in the first
style, is fallen in love with him; but he refuses all invitations to
her house, does not answer her _billets-doux_, and rejects all her
advances."

"He does not love her, I suppose?" I replied, masking my satisfaction in
a scornful smile.

"No, Helen. He says, and I believe him, that he never really loved any
one but you; and for La Beauvais, who persecutes him with visits as well
as letters, he has a kind of aversion. Believe me, that at this moment
he has all my pity, and much of my esteem; and could I envy the man who,
having called you his, is conscious of the guilt of having left you, I
trust I should soon have an opportunity of envying Pendarves."

Oh! the waywardness of the human heart; or, was it only the waywardness
of mine? Now that I found my husband was anxious to return to me, I felt
less anxious for the re-union; and having gained my point, I began to
consider with more severity the faults which I was called upon to
overlook; and though I had reclaimed my wanderer, I began to consider
whether the reward was equal to the pains bestowed. And also I felt a
little mortified to find De Walden so willing to effect our union, and
so active in his endeavours to further it. These obliquities of feeling
were, however, only temporary; and I had actually written to Pendarves,
by the advice of De Walden, assuring him, all was so much forgiven and
forgotten, that I was prepared to quit Paris with him, and go with him
the world over--when the most dreadful intelligence reached me! even at
this hour I cannot recall that moment without agony. I must lay down my
pen--

       *       *       *       *       *

Pendarves continued to resist the repeated importunities of La Beauvais
to visit her; but at length she sent a friend to tell him she was dying,
and trusted he would not refuse to bid her farewell.--Pendarves could
not, dared not refuse to answer this appeal to his feelings, and he
repaired to her hotel; in which, though he knew it not, she was
maintained by one of the new Members of the Convention, whom she had
inveigled to marry her according to the laws of the republic. When he
arrived, he found her scarcely indisposed; and reproaching her severely
with her treachery, he told her that all her artifices were vain; that
his heart had always been his wife's though circumstances had enabled
her to lure him from me; that now I had shone upon him in the moments of
danger more brightly than ever; and that he conjured her to forget a
guilty man, who, though never likely perhaps to be happy again with the
woman he adored, yet still preferred his present solitary but guiltless
situation to all the intoxicating hours which he had passed with _her_.

La Beauvais, who really loved him, was overcome with this solemn
renunciation, and fell back in a sort of hysterical affection on the
couch; and while he held her hand, and was bathing her temples with
essences, her husband rushed in, and exclaiming, "Villain, defend
yourself!" he gave a pistol into the hand of Pendarves; then firing
himself, the ball took effect; and while De Walden was waiting his
return at his lodgings to give him my letter of recall and of forgiving
love, he was carried thither a bleeding and a dying man! But he was
conscious; and while Juan, who called by accident, remained with him, De
Walden came to break the dread event to me, and bear me to the couch of
the sufferer.

He was holding my letter to his heart.

"It has healed every wound there," said he, "except those by conscience
made; and it shall lie there till all is over."

Silent, stunned, I threw myself beside him, and joined my cold cheek to
his.

"O Helen! and is it thus we meet? Is _this_ our re-union?"

"Live! do but live," cried I, in a burst of salutary tears; "and you
shall find how dearly I love you still; and we shall be so
happy!--happier than ever!"

He shook his head mournfully, and said he did not deserve to live, and
to be so happy; and he humbly bowed to that chastising hand which, when
he had escaped punishment for real errors, made him fall the victim of
an imaginary one.

The surgeons now came to examine the wound a second time, and confirmed
their previous sentence, that the wound was mortal; on which he desired
to be left alone with me, and I was able to suppress my feelings that I
might sooth his during this overwhelming interview.

These moments are some of the dearest and most sacred in the stores of
memory--but I shall not detail them; suffice that I was able, in default
of better aid, to cheer the death-bed of the beloved sufferer, and
breathe over him, from the lips of agonizing tenderness, the faltering
but fervent prayer.

That duty done, my fortitude was exhausted, I saw before me, not the
erring husband--the being who had blighted my youth by anxiety, and
wounded all the dearest feelings of my soul; but the playfellow of my
childhood, the idolized object of my youthful heart, and the husband of
my virgin affections! and I was going to lose him! and he lay pale and
bleeding before me! and his last fond lingering look of unutterable love
was now about to close on me for ever!

"She has forgiven me!" he faltered out; "and Oh! mayst Thou forgive my
trespasses against thee!--Helen! it is sweet and consoling, my only
love, to die here," said he, laying his cheek upon my bosom:--and he
spoke no more!

       *       *       *       *       *

Alas! I could not have the sad consolation, when I recovered my
recollection, to carry his body to England, to repose by those dear ones
already in the grave; but I do not regret it now. Since then, the hands
of piety have planted the rough soil in which he was laid; flowers bloom
around his grave; and when five years ago I visited Paris, with my own
hands I strewed his simple tomb with flowers that spring from the now
hallowed soil around.

Object of my earliest and my fondest love never, no never, have
forgotten thee! nor can I ever forget! But, like one of the shades of
Ossian, thou comest over my soul, brightly arrayed in the beams of thy
loveliness; but all around thee is dark with mists and storms!

To conclude.--I have only to add, that after two years of seclusion, and
I may say of sorrow, and one of that dryness and desolation of the
heart, when it seems as if it could love no more, that painful feeling
vanished, and I became the willing bride of De Walden; that my beloved
uncle lived to see me the happy mother of two children; and that my aunt
gossips, advises and quotes, as well and as constantly as usual; that on
the death of his uncle and his mother, my husband and I came to reside
entirely in England; that Lord Charles Belmour, with a broken
constitution and a shattered fortune, was glad at last to marry for a
nurse and a dower, and took to wife a first cousin who had loved him for
years,--a woman who had sense enough to overlook his faults in his good
qualities, and temper enough to bear with the former; and he grows every
day more happy, more amiable, and more in love with marriage.

For myself, I own with humble thankfulness the vastness of the blessings
I enjoy; and though I cannot repent that I married the husband of my own
choice, I confess I have never been so truly happy as with the husband
of my mother's:--for though I feel that it is often delightful to
forgive a husband's errors, she, and she alone, is truly to be envied,
whose husband has no errors to forgive.


THE END.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

Missing punctuation has been added and superfluous punctuation removed
(most frequently quotation marks). Period spellings have been retained,
although a number of obvious typographical errors were corrected.
Hyphenation is inconsistent throughout and a number of words occur
in various spellings.

The name of one historical figure appears both as Hebert and as Herbert
in the original, and has been changed to Hébert. Otherwise, no
corrections have been made to the French.


The following additional changes were made to the text; in each case,
the original is followed by the corrected version:

 I went to down dinner
   I went down to dinner

 We were asked to stay dinner
   We were asked to stay to dinner

 and as i If addressed an inferior
   and as if I addressed an inferior

 a mono-drame, a a ballet of action
   a mono-drame, a ballet of action

 the impractible Lord Charles
    the impracticable Lord Charles
 (NB impracticable here has its old meaning of unmanageable)

 were a tearful one fails
   where a tearful one fails

 as little attention as as I can
   as little attention as I can

One passage had a line of text out of sequence. The original reads:

 returned in much agitation from his walk, but I
 experienced at sight of Pendarves; and on inquiry
 saw it was of an opposite nature to that which he
 I found that he had, as he said, met that good
 young man, Count De Walden.

The corrected version runs:

 returned in much agitation from his walk, but I
 saw it was of an opposite nature to that which he
 experienced at sight of Pendarves; and on inquiry
 I found that he had, as he said, met that good
 young man, Count De Walden.





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