Lloyd will be so lonely if we all leave him at once."

- To be sure I shall,” said the unsuspicious old gentleman : “do, Lord Hastings, make the parsonage your abode for a little time longer, if you can put up with me and its fare.”

Lord Hastings looked particularly happy, when he assured Mr. Lloyd that he had never in his life spent so pleasant a week as the one he had passed at Glanheathyn.

“Will you believe that, Miss Clare ?" said Colonel Llewellen to Clare, as she entered the room, with one very pretty, wild rose, that was known to grow on a tree near the miller's cottage, in her bosom.

“What?" she said, blushing deeply, as Lord Hastings looked at her.

That the Earl never spent so happy week in his life as this, or the last : whi was it, Lord Hastingsp a s it to-e that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

misses of from eighteen to two-and-twenty, when they meet at night to prepare the papillottes for next day execution, and to brush and curl in company.

The cottage was but a small habitation, $0 Gwenthlean and Clare slept together. They certainly never talked scandal, for their range of fashionable acquaintance was small-but for love affairs ! if we may take that one night's conversation as a sample for the rest, they did exhaust themselves and their candle in Cupid's cause.

Clare knelt at Gwenthlean's confessional, breriary in hand. Told over all her sins, , and received most sisterly absolution, in the shape of almost as many kisses as she had given Gwenthlean on a former occasion. But shocking to say, they even made their mother a party to their lovetales, and she, in her turn, absolved her daughter Clare by kisses and blessings. ,

And what were Clare's sins and iniquities? They must have been heavy, if her

blushes and most beautiful confusion tell true. She was so astonished, she said-80. confounded--so taken by surprise, that sbe scarcely knew what to say or do. Lord Hastings had actually declared himself in love with her, and had proposed for her! He, the last man in the world that she considered an admirer. He had told her that he had long loved her, but that he had misunderstood her character until he had seen her under her mother's roof. Had thougbt her too proud and almost too heartless to return a genuine and disinterested passion. He had said that he now discovered the fault to be his own, and that it was his natural mistrust and reserve, that had made him fancy what were really excellences defects—and what was, the mere result of position and character, the perfection of art.

He had confessed himself in error from beginning to end, but rejoiced in that error, since it had enabled him to judge


more entirely of the virtues of one who he had admired in the height of her splendour and prosperity, and loved in the period of her comparative adversity. He had thrown himself upon her compassion for forgive. ness for his apparently contradictory conduct, as well as for much that she must have thought restrained and singular in his manner, and had entreated her not hastily to reject a heart that was wholly her own.

“ And what did you say, dear Clare ?" said Gwenthlean, in breathless anxiety. “I hope you-you-oh! he is so kindso yood. What did you say to him?"

“Why,” said Clare, blushing, and looking on the ground, " what could I say, dearest? but that I felt his generosityhis attachment_his proposal-to be much beyond my deserts—and that I merited all. that he had ever thought of me, and was not worthy of his improved opinion,


« VorigeDoorgaan »