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mother was a person of low birth and low cunning, and by scheming, got into the good graces of your father and grandfather; and finally, by her extravagance, ruined her busband. I vowed then, never to notice her again, and I never will—nay more, if any person connected with me, holds any correspondence with her, I will renounce her also, and nerer see her
Clare's face turned from red to pale, as her aunt spoke, and when she ceased, she felt oppressed and bewildered. Here was a crisis, when she had hoped to have laid the foundation for a reconciliation. But she understood her powers ill ; she was too determined and independent herself to conciliate, and would not yield, indeed did not know how to yield, when her feelings wore concerned. She looked at her aunt's flushed face, and remembered that her anger was not only unjust, but that she had been, herself, the cause of it. She did not love her aunt though she was grateful to her; and she believed that her aunt's feelings for her were more those of gratified pride than affection. She knew that it would wound her in her tenderest part that of her family pride—were she to do anything derogatory to her station, and therefore did not imagine that she would keep ber word so as to send her away. But she did not know that selfishness and vanity will do anything to gain their own ends ; and the Countess would rather have seen her favourite niece in poverty than have acknowledged her rival, Lady Llewellen, or re-adınitted her into her family.
Clara sat a few moments silent, as if to regain composure herself, or to allow her aunt to do so; then she said
“I scarcely understand you, aunt. You certainly cannot mean to asperse a mother's character in the presence of her daughter, much less to threaten to renounce that daughter for acknowledging her own mother.”
" I mean exactly what I say," was the reply, "and since you come more closely to the point, I beg to add, that you may choose between an aunt who has educated and brought you up like a princess, and a mother who first ruined you, and now, I dare say, wishes to pr judice you against me ; for there is nothing too bad for her art or deceit,"
Clare could not bear this. She rose from lier chair with dignity, and standing a fow minutes before her aunt, spoke with agitation, but firmness.
"You are mistaken," she said. “My mother spoke of you very differently froin what you imagino, recommending me to be dutiful and grateful to you. I would be both, but you forbid me. Nothing ; no arguments, no persuasions, no interest, could ever make me renounce my mother. I would gladly keep my two mothers, but you say you will not allow me—that you will never see me more. If there is no alternative"-here she paused, but the Countess said nothing—“If there is no alternative, I must share the fate, even though it be worse than it is, of my mother and sisters. I must dwell with themwork with them-starve with them, if it must be somanything rather than give them up. I am told to 'honour my father and mother,' and surely you would not have me break God's commandments? I thank you, from my heart I thank you, for all you have done for me. I grieve to repay you thus ; but you no longer leave it in my power to prove my gratitude. If I have spoken rudely, I beg your pardon, but I cannot hear my mother insulted with impunity. I do not love her the less because I have only just discovered her: She will receive me, and love me--therefore I have a home, and a happy one in prospect ; still I should be thankful if I could go thither, with, at least, your good wishes."
strained it, however, and motioning Clare to the door, merely said, with cold politeness
“ You have made your choice : I have no more to say. My carriage and servants shall convey you home, if you desire it but I have no wish to see you again."
She bent stiffly, and Clare returned her salute, as stiffly, for her aunt's want of feeling, steeled her heart, and she even wished that she had not conceded as much as she had done. Indeed, had she not promised her mother to act with consideration and that mother and her words were before her during the past sceneshe would scarcely have spoken as calmly as she did; but would, at once, have deeply resented her aunt's conduct. She now walked slowly out of the room, withou speaking again, and retired to meditate upon what course she had better pursue.
When she reached her own room, and had bolted herself in, her over-wrought feelings gave way, and a flood of tears