« ElőzőTovább »
he said, “but don't let yourself be dragged about too much by that old woman ; she's as strong as a horse, and can stand anything, but you'll soon lose your beauty, if you get jaded and fagged night after night."
“Do you see Mrs. Dashington ?” I said, “I think she sees you.
“Don't doubt it: but where is she? la belle Dashington—Ah! I see her-graceful pose she's in, just now; look at it—it's quite a study.” Are you
not going to speak to her ?” “Eh ?-no, not to-night.”
“Very odd," I thought, “such intimate friends as they are.
As we stood in the crush-room on leaving, Charles Compton joined me, and expressed much pleasure at our meeting.
“I heard you were coming to town,” he said, “and my aunt and Leila will be delighted to hear of your arrival ; they are in Park Lane—won't you introduce me to your friend ? I think I've met her at
aunt's.' I did so; and Lady Ravensden received him very graciously.
“ To be sure—know you ? of course,
couldn't forget a fine young fellow like you, mind you come and see me very soon.'
“Who is that man ?” said my guardian, when Mr. Compton left us; I told him, and noticed a look of suspicion on his face as his eye rested on me, but Fitz Booby joining him at the moment, he said nothing.
What was it then that riveted my attention in so absorbing a manner?”
What eyes are those which have met mine, and cause the crimson blood to dye my cheek and brow ?_no, no, it cannot be—those eyes are far, far, away-I know not where, and it will be long before I see them again—if ever. What a strange fancy of mine, and what will that gentleman think of my odd behaviour ! But drawn as in a vortex of attraction, I steal another glance, there is no mistake, it is not fancy, living, or dead, in the spirit or out of the spirit, one only can be the owner of those pernetrating orbs. And how did their glance meet mine ?—coldly, O! so coldly ; it was quite unaccountable ; there was recognition, it is true, but so distantly polite, that far from being flattering, it was painful ; and my heart sank within me, and I almost
wished myself back again at the great, gloomy Castle.
How had I offended him ? was this a lesson in life ? was I learning the hollowness of friendship ? was this a sample of what I had to expect from the kindness of the world ?
The nodding crest of some jewel-bedecked dowager now came between us, and I saw him no more; the shout of “ Lady Ravensden's carriage stops the way !" caused a bustle in our neighbourhood ; there was an offering of arms, a parting in the crowd, and somehow or other, I discovered myself, ere I was aware of it, rattling over the stones, and replying to my chaperon's question of “how had I enjoyed myself?” by saying, “thank you, very much, indeed ;” and with a sigh and a shiver, falling back in the carriage, and feeling very cold and miserable.
Thus ended my first day's pleasure.
My pillow was wet with tears that night, thinking of the cold glance from those mysterious eyes ;
it haunted me strangely, and sadly ; it was like the breath of the north wind upon my heart, it seemed to chill
warm, young feelings, and to nip in the bud, a tender slip of hope, which my weakness had planted there.
A ray of gladness, however, struggled in ; he was not “ far away,” as I had imagined him to be ; he had stood near me, I had seen him, and perplexing as the fact of his being in England at all, seemed, after what I had heard, it was a pleasant knowledge, nevertheless; and, no doubt, some opportunity would arise for an explanation between us.
Yes, an explanation would make everything plain between us our old relations would be re-established, and how delightful it would be to have the enjoyment of his society once more; to listen to his pleasant chat, to be able to accept his attentions, so delicately and thoughtfully paid—even to receive chidings for my faults from his lips, would be a pleasure.
The gaieties which I had in anticipation, were tinted more brightly, couleur de rose, in thinking that they would be shared with him, and I had to check my propensity for painting glowing pictures in imagination.
Soon after breakfast, the following morning, Lord D’Arville made his appearance. Lady Ravensden had not left her room, so I was obliged to receive his lordship alone.
“Well, Isola,” he began, “how do you feel this morning? You don't look quite the thing."
I replied that I did not feel completely recovered from the fatigue of the preceding day.
“Then you must keep quiet. After being for some time in the country, you will feel the excitement of town life a little at first. You had better not go showing yourself in the park to-day as you're looking seedy. Where's the old lady?”
“She has not yet left her room.
“Why isn't she up? but old women are always in the way when they're not wanted, and never to be found when they are, which, thank goodness, is seldom. I can't wait, so you must say something civil for me.
Good morning !"
He shook hands with me, and was going, when he turned quickly round.
By the bye, Isola,” he said, “ you did not tell me how you became acquainted with that young man you spoke to last night.”