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forted the poor orphan; your own benevolent and noble disposition led you to treat her with distinction and tenderness ; you loved her as a fond brother might have done, and as a sister you guided and instructed her. Sedley,” she continued, with downcast eyes, and burning blushes, replacing the deadly paleness which had hitherto overspread her features,—“Sedley, I was not worthy of such a blessed fate, for surely it should have been bliss sufficient to have been your sister, your chosen friend. But no, this wayward heart was not satisfied with such calm affection, and in it there grew and strengthened a presumptuous feeling, which at length became as strong, nay stronger than life itself. I dared to love you Herbert,” she added, with rapidity, and in extreme confusion, “and moreover, flattered myself that my love was returned, and that I was destined to the most enviable of earthly positions, that of your chosen wife.
But my dream was rudely broken - I found that compassion alone had induced your attentions to me, and that another possessed the affections I coveted and had fancied my own. Oh, the horrible agony of those days! May you never know such pangs — the conflict between pride and love, the fallacious hopes, born from trifles lighter than air — the fearful torments of jealousy—the misery of sitting by and witnessing that devotion lavished on another, which I should have so prized. You knew not Sedley, that every look of tenderness, every soft tone of interest, every low whisper directed to the one you loved, inflicted wretchedness on your poor Jessy; you would have grieved much had you known it, for you are kind and gentle,” she continued, seeing that Sedley was deeply affected and had buried his face in his hands;
you would have pitied me, and perhaps forborne to make me a witness of such attentions.
“My feelings are naturally violent, and, alas! I never knew how to govern them, therefore during the last few weeks before your marriage my sufferings were not to be guessed. At length that terrible day arrived, and I stood near you at the altar; think Herbert, what must have been my feelings, yet I played my part nobly, though when I returned home, and glanced at myself in the glass, I was shocked at the rigid despair of my expression ; but you were too happy to note that, and then when the carriage drove from the door, even now I shudder at the recollection" — here Jessy ceased abruptly and gave way to a flood of tears, the first she had shed since her dreadful crime-at length she resumed, “even your dear, kind mother, never perceived my grief, so carefully did I conceal it within my heart, and at last, actuated by feelings of a contradictory nature, and deeming it impossible to live under the same roof with you and your happy bride, on your return from the Continent, I-"here she paused, and her breath failed her, and she gasped convulsively, at length, by a desperate effort she articulated, I married Bently, and from that hour I have been doubly wretched.”
“ Do not be angry with me, dear Herbert, when I tell you that I have discovered your secret, I have seen your love for Teresa St. Jobn, the noblest and best of women. I have also marked your struggles to subdue your unhappy passion, but remember my last words, for this is our last interview in this world or the next, and fly from her; flight is the only sure remedy against such feelings as yours, therefore, promise me, Sedley, that you will leave the vicinity of Teresa."
" I had determined on so doing before you spoke,” replied Sedley in extreme emotion, but talk of yourself, dear Jessy, and explain to me your present appearance."
Jessy proceeded in an altered voice,-“ Last night you may remeniber my singing, and when I had finished and looked at you, I fancied I read in your eyes, the affection I had so ardently coveted, I cannot explain to you what were my feelings, for I believe I was not quite right in my brain even then, and during my drive home, fiends whispered their dreadful suggestions in my ear, and told me I might yet be happy. Oh, the horrors of that drive, my brain whirled, and my blood felt like fire in my veins, and I was entirely under the dominion of some evil spirit, we reached home at last and he went to rest,
Here she paused, and Sedley's blood turned cold at the sight of her horrible expression, and the working of her features ; at length, rising from her chair, and bending down to Sedley's ear, she whispered in a hoarse, yet distinct sound—“I murdered him as he slept, and he died without a groan or struggle.”
She then drew herself up to her full height, and folding her arms, stood calmly watching the effect of her words on Sedley. He was completely paralyzed with horror, but after a few moments, he began to hope that her evident insanity had caused her to fancy that she had perpetrated this fearful crime, he therefore ventured to raise his eyes to her face, but they quailed under her fixed stare, and the blood on her face made him shudder.
Sedley's feelings had been deeply affected by Jessy's address, and the tender pity he had