Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

proved that she was grieved for having offended her aunt. She soon dried them, feeling angry with herself for shedding them, when she considered the heartless selfishness of her for whom they fell. The more she thought over the unnatural harshness of the Countess's conduct, the more disgusted she became, and the more reconciled she felt to her own share in the proceedings. As far as self was concerned, she knew she should be happier with her mother and sister than with her aunt, but still she regretted leaving one who had been kind to her, in the perfect solitude of her own luxury, which, though affording every merely personal comfort, could give no real happiness. Not that she imagined her aunt to be a person who would deeply regret any loss that merely concerned her feelings, if she could reconcile it to her pride. This she would, doubtless, manage to do in the present instance, by throwing the blame upon her niece, and charging

her with ingratitude. She asked herself whether she could make any further effort to reinstate herself in her aunt's favour, but every feeling of her soul revolted from the attempt. She could not, would not, stoop to one who had acted as she had done.

Whilst Clare sat and thought, and thought over her past conduct and its consequences, the principal sensation she experienced was that of joy-joy at the prospect of living for ever with those she could love and esteem, and who would, in return, love, if they could not esteem, her. She indulged, for some time, in this pleasant dream; but, as is the case in all visions, there was a sudden change; or rather a shadow passed over the brightness of the sunshine she was picturing. It was a shade, and a gloomy one, from the changing and uncertain orb of love. Even as the shadow of the wandering moon will, sometimes, come between us and the constant sun, to obscure his brightness, so did this shadow eclipse, for a moment, the happiness of Clare. She must bid farewell, for ever, to Lord Hastings ; and in this period of uncertainty, he presented himself to her mind, dearer, far dearer, than he had ever been before. Yet she had declared to her aunt that those friends were worthless who would value her, merely for her position in society and supposed fortune; and she had thought so then ; but how fluctuating is the tide of human sentiment. Now she deeply regretted that he, the only person whose opinion or regard she had cared for, for some time past, would be estranged from her, by the very circumstances in which she gloried. He might think unkindly of her too, which was worse than all-he might hear of her as an ungrateful, unfeeling girl ; and without knowing the true reasons for her conduct, might add her to those worthless characters of whom she had often heard him speak with disgust. And she had no means of undeceiving him. Besides, were he to see her conduct in its real light, she would be as far removed from him as ever, since the poor, fatherless child of the Mrs. Llewellen of Craigyvellyn, and the sister of the Welsh harpress, would be soon forgotten by the noble Earl of Hastings. It was cruel, she thought, that it must be so, and her heart felt a bitter pang, when she figured to herself the distance that now lay between the proud nobleman, and the humble Clare Llewellen.

She would have died rather than that any one should know why those slow, creeping, languid, but melancholy tears overflowed her brilliant eyes. She would have suffered ten thousand deaths rather than that the Earl of Hastings should ever know their source ; yet they flowed for him. They were to be the first and last. She dashed them from her eyes, and drew

en

herself up in maiden dignity and pride, as Clare Llewellen was wont to do.

“ Have I not found a mother and sisters, and shall I care to lose one who is, perhaps, scarcely my friend ?" she said.

Oh! what resolutions does the breast of woman undergo! and who knows, who can see, what that poor solitary hiding place of the feelings and affections, so often encloses?

Again Clare was aroused by a tap at the door, and the voice of Louise. She said she could not admit her.

A pote from Miladi, Mademoiselle,” said Louise.

Clare half unclosed the door, took the note, and said she would ring for Louise when she required her services. The note was short and explicit. It said

“ The Countess Sforza's carriage and servants will be at Miss Llewellen's service whenever she wishes to leave

« VorigeDoorgaan »