Page images

du Saint, smiling, 'for you are a little madcap.'

“I shall pass over three years, in which nothing material happened at the convent; Lady Julia was in continual expectancy of being sent for home. For me, I knew I had more than a year to stay, from the money advanced by Mrs. Masters; how much longer was uncertain, and would to me have been immaterial, had Julia remained but I looked forward to her departure with the utmost regret.

“ At length the dreaded time arrived: the Countess of Melville came to Abbeville, her son attending her; he was on his route to Paris, but had gained permission to see his sister in his way. Lady Melville purposed returning to England in three weeks with her daughter; and, that she might not be separated from her son, before be set out for Paris, hired an hotel ready furnished. My friend Julia took her leave of the convent the day after her arrival; the sorrow of both parties

so violent, and Lady Melville so warmly entreated Madame du Saint, that she gave permission I should pass the days with Julia at their hotel, when they did not come to the convent.

“ Lady Julia and myself made good use of the permission obtained; we were never asunder. The day of my first visit, Lady Melville happened to be out with a lady she formerly knew in the


had seen

convent, and Julia introduced me to her brother.

Augustus,' said she, 'receive your other sister; though last, do not let her be least in


affection.' He saluted me respectfully. "Your request is easily granted, Julia ; would Miss Villars deign to favor me with her friendship, on my part it could not be secondary.' Totally unused to the conversation of men, I stammered out, you do me honor, my Lord,' and remained silent. Lady Melville entered almost immediately; and, after common compliments, observed I was grave. "I'll give you the reason, Madam,' said Julia, she is ashamed before my brother; I know by myself, when I was in England, and for years no man but our old jolly priest who used to say mass to the nuns, I was afraid to look


father in the face; and his cross looks did not decrease my fear,' continued she, whispering her brother, too low to be heard by the Countess, who had taken my hand. “Peace! wild girl: I wish Louisa had some of your spirits; she is too much affected at losing such a madcap: but, my dear girl, turning to me, 'should your friends take you from the protection of Madame du Saint, as doubtless by your age they soon will, and things in England should not answer your wishes, in Lady Melville shall you find realised the tender appellation you formerly honored me with.'Lord Gray joined us ere I could answer; he had

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

been at the window with Julia, and I could only thank the Countess with a look, which, had it spoke my soul, meant respect and everlasting gratitude. 'Do you know, Madam,' said he,

you possess a treasure without knowing it ? Miss Villar's picture.'-' It is without knowing it, indeed, Augustus, if I have it.'— Then, Madam, when you return to West Park, look in the gallery at that inimitable picture of Hope, and if you do not allow the justice of what I advance, I will submit never to give my opinion of likenesses again.'- Really on recollection,' said she, it is a strong resemblance; but now you talk of pictures, Louisa and Julia shall exchange portraits before they part: Louisa's will remind you, Julia, how well gravity sits on a young woman; and yours will, I hope, remind Louisa, that she has a sister'

“Lady Melville took us, in the afternoon, to the house of a painter, to whom we sat, on his promising to finish the miniatures in a fortnight. As the day was fine, we all preferred walking to the use of the carriage : just as we reached home, two English gentlemen, whom the Countess knew, overtook us; and, as they expressed a desire to see Lord Gray before his departure, she entreated their company to tea.

Augustus, said Lady Melville, 'I bring you two welcome visitants, Lord Castlebrook and Mr. Danvers.'

[ocr errors]

• Castlebrook, I rejoice to see you; Mr. Danvers, you do me honor,' replied Lord Gray:--Gentlemen, give me leave to introduce you to my sisters.'

- I have ever heard,' said Mr. Danvers, ' Lady' Melville spoke of, as possessing the most extensive humanity; common report for once was true; for nothing but the general peace of mankind could have induced her to hide two such divinities so long in a cloister. I saw the blush which warmed my cheeks at this compliment reflected on Julia's, and the timidity she laughed at in the morning, she felt in the evening.

The gentlemen remained at Lady Melville's till the time I returned to the convent: when that lady ordered the coach to be ready to take me home, our visitors seemed extremely surprised. 'I beg pardon, Madam,' said Mr. Danvers, 'but does not this young lady return to England with you?-No,' said she, her friends wish her to remain some time longer in France.'

“ I soon after wished them a good night, and returned home, attended by the Countess's woman and Lord Gray, who insisted on accompanying us to the convent gate.

“I had scarcely paid my devoirs to Madame du Saint in the morning, when the Countess's coach arrived for me; it was not too soon for my wishes; I hastily entered it, and in a quarter of an hour embraced Julia, Lady Melville was

[ocr errors]

rather indisposed, and had desired not to be disturbed; Lord Gray and his sister were at breakfast alone. "I know not how,' said Julia, “I am to live in that foggy climate where I am going, without you, Louisa; for in this pure air I scarcely exist in your absence.' Affection, my dear Julia, makes every air salutary,' replied 1: you have Lady Melville ;—but what remains for me, when with yourself you take from me all that makes life desirable? You are unjust to give all your gentle wishes to England,' said Lord Gray; 'reserve a small portion for the continent; they shall be repaid with interest, I assure you.'—' I must ever esteem every one related to Julia, my Lord, in whatever clime heaven may place either them or me.'-'Happy they, Miss Villars,' replied his lordship, 'who possess your esteem; but doubly blessed they, who, like Julia, can boast your affection.' Lady Melville soon joined us; and shortly after the servant announced Lord Castlebrook and Mr. Danvers : those gentlemen remained with us all day. The former, when he addressed Julia, it was with an emotion, that, unexperienced as we were, was not lost upon us. When we were alone, I mentioned it. It is very true,' said she, 'I observed it, and am pleased he is to remain abroad two or three years; I should not choose to be continually in company with such an amiable man; perhaps I might

« PreviousContinue »