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should hail a hope, however distant, of becoming a protector to you, and a father and guardian to your sweet child? Forgive me, dearest Teresa, I feel that there is much to blame in this letter, much that ought not to have been said at such a period, but make allowance for my long represt feelings, and extend your indulgence to me.
“My mother shall go to you whenever you feel equal to see her. I shall still prosecute my former intention of making a tour, and shall await with intense anxiety accounts of your recovery from the effects of this great and unexpected shock. My mother will write to me constantly--farewell Teresa. “ Yours truly and devotedly,
HERBERT SEDLBY." When Sedley had finished and sealed this letter, he despatched it by a trusty messenger, and then returning to his study, anxiously conjectured the effect its contents might have on Teresa's mind. As to his own hopes of happiness, they were much fainter than he had allowed to appear in his letter. He knew and adored the refined delicacy, even to fastidiousness, of Teresa's mode of thinking, and he dared not flatter himself that, even when the first paroxysms of grief should be past, she would consent to contract new engagements during the life time of St. John.
Sedley was exacting, almost, on the subject of female delicacy, and he felt that he could scarcely wish Teresa to act in another manner from what he foresaw would be her line of conduct. It is true that bright hopes had at first arisen in his breast, and that he had allowed them to appear in his letter, but those hopes were short-lived, and had expired ere he sealed his despatch. But Sedley did not despair of joy, even in this world, and something whispered to his heart that happiness was yet in store for him.
Teresa had been far from well for some days past, and fever was in her veins. The shock she had experienced in the morning from Jessy's strange appearance, together with the appalling catastrophe communicated to her by Sedley, and
her emotion on hearing of his speedy departure, had hastened the developement of the disease which had for some time threatened her. It
was late in the afternoon when she received
Sedley's letter, and she was sitting at an open window, baring her fevered temples to the refreshing breeze, and striving by perfect repose to collect her scattered thoughts.
The moment she glanced at the letter she recognized Sedley's handwriting, and with a beating heart she ran over its contents. As she read the first few pages, containing the history of his love for her, surprise and indignation, grief and joy, all struggled in her bosom ; several times she threw it aside, condemning herself for enduring such declarations ; but at last her attention was rivetted by the story of Louisa and George Dallas—then came, in quick succession, the astounding truth. All her faculties became fixed on that one sentence which rendered her an outcast and her precious child illegitimate. The confusion of her brain increasing, she began to think that she must be delirious; and under
the influence of soine delusion; she pressed the letter to her face and bosom to ascertain its
reality, and still doubted the evidence of her senses. Suddenly, she heard approaching footsteps, and instinctively concealed the letter. It was St. John, he entered the room, and told Teresa that he should not dine at home as particular business called him away to Como. The fact was, that he wished to drown, in cheerful society, the recollection of the last night's tragedy. Teresa felt a cold shuddering run through her frame at sight of the wretch who had so cruelly injured her, so basely deceived her. But she did not attempt to articulate in reply to his speech, and hastily wishing her good night he left the room.
Teresa sat for hours in the same place, and almost in the same attitude, brooding over her wrongs ; every moment her brain grew more confused, and the fever burned more fiercely in her veins an unnatural beauty was imparted to her countenance by the brilliant eyes and dazzling flush of disease.
Her solitude was at length interrupted by the announcement of dinner, but she pleaded a head-ache as an excuse for not eating anything ; soon after this, the nurse, surprised at her unusual neglect sent to know if she wished to see her child before it went to sleep. She answered the servant petulantly, and desired that she might not be again disturbed.
The sun went down gorgeously, the breeze died away, and darkness fell upon the earth. The moon was shrouded by thick, black masses of clouds, which rolled, like moving mountains, along the sky. But Teresa heeded not the darkness or stillness, and remained in a species of stupefaction of sorrow, often the forerunner of severe sickness.
Suddenly the deep silence around was broken by a clap of thunder, which served as a signal for the commencement of a violent storm. At another time Teresa would have fled in terror, for she dreaded thunder ; but now the tempest within her breast rendered her callous to aught else ; and her beautiful hair, her fevered cheeks,