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MRS. WILSON'S LETTER. With Lotty safely sequestered, Adelaide engaged in visiting (for of course she made all haste to join the Chumleighs, as soon as she had completed the little piece of business detailed in the last chapter, and in their company she afterwards went to town), with Herbert settled down in the sad conviction that his wife was dead, and Lady Grovelly closely devoting her life to her son's consolation, it may be imagined that there was now a time too flat and dull to interest the traveller through these pages. The feelings of the actors in my story, at this period, would afford a very pretty metaphysical study, no doubt; but as I should have to take in even our friend Wilson—that unhappy man, who really suffered more than any one else—the inquiry would be a little too comprehensive. The chorus in a play may be very instructive, but much chorus is a bore.
However, I cannot help wondering whether, when Miss Dacre's plan for disposing of Mrs. Herbert occurred to her, this also entered into the calculations of the young lady: that to place her obnoxious friend in the medico-paternal home of Mr. Carey was the surest way of hurling her clean over into the darkness of unreason, in whose twilight she already wandered. I can hardly think Miss Dacre encouraged such an idea, if it entered her mind ; and yet, when, a few weeks after Lotty's incarceration, Mr. Carey wrote to Adelaide, deploring that his poor young patient had fallen from bad to worse, the news did not at all shock our fair friend. But then she took her own view of it; and in that view she had reason to doubt whether all was not for the best. Oblivion, she said to herself, may sometimes be the purest good ; the dispensation under which Lotty had fallen would probably spare her many hours of anguish. Also Adelaide remembered that insanity would not only obliterate from Charlotte's memory much that was painful to herself, but certain circumstances which, should they happen to be related one day, might tell against Miss Dacre. Dead men tell no tales, and nobody heeds the tales that mad men tell.
No 14, VOL III.
We have been long absent now from Grovelly House; but, on the principle that no news is good news, mademoiselle will be glad to hear that, as week after week passed away, the family there learned the truth of what has been said a hundred times : there is no such thing as unmitigated evil, or, perhaps, unmitigated sorrow. Not only may one become used to the skeleton at last, and discover that it has done them many a good turn, by restraint or warning, in the trials and temptations of life, but there are cases in which memory and poetry render it, after many years, the most companionable thing a man may have. Of course the grief that filled Grovelly House with gloom was not old enough yet to take a mellow hue; it was a thing of months, not of years; still it did begin to soften, and then was seen its good result, in drawing together all the members of the family in a closer affection than had ever reigned amougst them before, perhaps. We may exclude Sir Thomas he was an old gentleman of far too fine & mould to have an affection which could, by any possibility, take a sentimental turn. Whatever of that sort of thing had ever existed in his ancient family had been washed out of it, along with good virile sense, before it came to his turn to take up the ancestral name, fame, and feebleness. But with Lady Grovelly, Herbert, and John, the change was remarkable enough; and nobody felt it more than Mr. John. Before, he had become very much neglected. Herbert was young and thoughtless, and could find no pleasure in his company; his mother was glad to escape the pain which the sight of him, in his bare, solitary lodgings, occasioned her; Sir Thomas was content sometimes to watch him as he moodily paced the little orchard-garden allotted for his exercise, out of everybody's sight-the good baronet thinking that to shed a tear over him in this way was as much as was required from a parent himself subject to such a variety of dangerous and cryptical diseases. Therefore Mr. John found himself many days alone (Grippermore does not count as company, or, if he does, it is the wrong way); and thongh the poor gentleman encouraged the idea that he had voluntarily gone into retirement for the sake of study, we do not know whether he did not originally impose this idea upon himself in some sad moment when the sense of seclusion and neglect pressed him for some satisfactory solution. If so, I think Lotty would have been consoled a little had she learned that her misfortunes had brought some comfort to this unhappy one, in the greater consideration shown for him by his mother and his brother, and his vague but deep enjoyment of it. By consideration I mean that he was taken more into their society, and treated more like a reasonable being. As for Herbert, since the interview at which he had told his story to his brother John, with so remarkable a sequel-or, rather, since his return from his wild search after Charlotte-he spent scarcely a day out of John's room. There was quite enough sense, quite enough of the world in their conversation to please Herbert; the half-witted philosophy in which John indulged, pursuing no end, circumscribed by no law, and unfettered by no results, gave Herbert to dream and not to think ; while he had the further satisfaction of remaining silent hour after hour in appropriate company, since in a certain sense) he, like John, bad lost his better part. It was not an unaffecting sight which these young men afforded many a silent afternoon—Herbert lying along in the window-seat, smoking a cigar, and dreamily watching the smoke as it curled out upon the air, and soared upward, and was lost, while John, sitting down to a piano, made rare inconsequential music-now low, now loud---now marching in grand procession, now