Зображення сторінки

waiting the appearance of Mr. Waldegrave. “ He who hunts two hares, loses one, and leaves the other! Oh, fool, fool!" she said, “ thus with the substance in my hand, still to turn, to cling to the shadow !"

She could not mistake the feelings with which the unexpected sight of Mr. Bracken had inspired her. She longed to slip from her noose, and fly down the bank towards him; to fly from one she respected, -she esteemed more than any one on earth ! She could understand her feelings, but she could not account for them. She even went so far as to balance in her mind which she would take of the two objects of her secret inclination, if both were proposed to her ? It required not a moment's hesitation! She would take Mr. Waldegrave, Philip Waldegrave, Esquire, of Winston Hall, her own esteemed friend and guardian.

“ And yet—” what yet ? there was something, some duty first to be done. She must

go, and prove to herself, to Mr. Bracken, and to all, that her feelings had been false, misunderstood. She had to trace back, and untie all the bands that she had formed, to give back,-elle frémit,—she trembled, she had nothing but kisses to give back! and those so cold and so calm, they seemed to have prognosticated the leave they were taking of each other.

It was something of a satisfaction to her that the servant came in to say, Mr. Waldegrave had passed a bad night, and would take his breakfast in his own apartment.

Oh, how naughty she felt ! how deserving of being punished! And what punishment could be greater than the one inflicted ? Dejected and solitary she sat, the chair opposite her vacant. She traced his features, his form, in her remembrance; so noble, so commanding, so worthy of being put above all !

She then, in imagination, placed Mr. Bracken

there, in Banquo's chair! and then she was vexed at the thrill of delight she felt, even as a smile passed over her face; and she said, recollecting his absorbed look, his visionary ideas,

“ It would never do! His place certainly is the study. As master here, I could make nothing of him!”

And again her mind turned with a placid satisfaction to Mr. Waldegrave; and she questioned whether he would be flattered in being assimilated in her mind with one so different, and yet so like him! Often was she ready to exclaim with the boy in the story, “Gracious Heaven ! are there two of you ? ” when some intonation of the voice, some peculiar sentiment, would make her believe she was realiy talking to Mr. Bracken. And then she remembered that Lady Oglander had put her in mind of him also ! and then with a smile at her own weakness, she asked if anybody else had put

her in mind of him ? but she shook her head ; no one but Mr. Waldegrave; and he certainly would at times speak and look exactly the same! As Luther said in his letter to Spalatin, “ It is a song formed of a single note, with no variation but what is produced by the pleasing contrast of young and old voices.”

But is he old ? she asked herself. And then she thought of her own age; and then she settled there was some disparity! And then she thought of Mr. Bracken, so young, so very young. Spring— Winter !

But it was easy to decide, that Winter would best suit her ; and she would set about getting rid of all thought of Spring, --cold, careless Spring !

In the midst of these reflections Winter made his appearance ; oh how unjustly so called ! He came and seated himself by her at the table.

“ It was a feint, then," she said, “that you were ill ?

You wanted me to pity you; and I

my breakfast.



to induce me to take You have got me into habits," and she pointed to her full cup and her plate," you see I cannot take it without company.

His face looked sad; but he gave her one of his own peculiar smiles, as he replied,

“Don't cheat yourself, Rosalind, into a kindness you do not feel for me; I am not yet in the position in your heart, in which I wish to be. I believe I am weakly anxious about your good opinion ; and in proportion to my anxiety, it will, out of mere perverseness, be denied me."

She sought to speak ; but he said, with an attempt at playfulness in his manner, and a kindness not to be concealed, " Take your breakfast, dear child, and let me talk to you. As to myself, all opposite caprices and duties have ever been required of me,-sensitiveness, and unruffled patience; and each to stop where it answered the purpose of others. Thus mak

« НазадПродовжити »