Page images

present joy is, your unaccountable avoidance of myself and my kind mother. It is in vain that I strive to conjecture the cause, and with the utmost anxiety shall I await your answer to this letter. Assured of your affection, no power on earth should prevent my claiming you instantly, but I respect your feelings, whatever they may be, sufficiently to wait patiently till you have yourself thrown off your disguise. We have both suffered much, Teresa, and joy is a strange and new thing to us. The blessing of

The blessing of your love appears to me almost too great to fall on me, but I will not despair. A presentiment of reunion with you has supported me throughout all my wanderings, and, even under the terrible thought of your untimely death, something whispered to me that we should meet again, and I ardently hope that now we shall part no


“I inclose you a miniature and some lines, which are your property, and which my mother found amongst your papers after your flight. This miniature has revealed to her that you are related to our family, but that could add nothing to our love for you. My poor mother is at this moment seriously ill, but I can answer for the delight with which she will hail the news of your vicinity. I have not said half, what I intended, or what is in my heart, but my impatience to ascertain your feelings is uncontrollable, and induces me to reserve all that is unwritten, till the delightful moment when I shall be permitted to express it personally. Do not keep me in suspense, for I have too long endured its torments.

“ Your's devotedly,


Having sent off this letter to its destination, Sedley walked out into the grounds, and strove to calm the perturbation of his spirits, and to wait calmly for Teresa's auswer.

There was a pretty cottage on Sedley's estate, which was occupied by the widow of a man of large fortune ; but from some oversight on the part of her friends, the jointure which had been settled on her, was scarcely adequate to her wants. Sedley was strolling past her house when he saw her watering the flowers in her little garden. She had been handsome, and was still a fine woman, and her countenance wore a beautiful expression of quiet resignation and settled pensiveness. Sedley contemplated her for some time unobserved, and the calm placidity of this childless, lone widow, did much towards quelling the impatience of his spirit. He passed on, and returning home, awaited quietly the decision of Teresa.

There is something mournful in the contemplation of a childless widow, driven by impoverished circumstances to seek a residence far from her former happy home. She was once blessed by a husband's tender love and assiduous attentions. She is now lone, and, perhaps, unloved ; and indebted to mercenaries for the services required in sickness or languor. The proud mansion in the extensive park is exchanged for a confined cottage, with a little slip of garden ; and she is suddenly deprived of many comforts and elegancies which had become almost requisites to her. But then if her trials are great, she is not without advantages. The cords which attached her to life, and which rendered it so dear and precious, are all severed, and she feels that her home is not here, consequently, her thoughts are continually fixing themselves on that bright place, where she may find the loved the lost. Her affections, having no occupation here, entwine themselves around the image of Him who has promised her a reunion with those dear ones.

With such feelings as these, there is no situation in life, however painful or desolate, wherein we can be utterly wretched.

Fortunately for Teresa, she was alone when Sedley's letter was brought to her. She had expected it, and yet wanted resolution to break the seal; but when she opened it and read its contents, she felt hurt and grieved that Sedley should so little appreciate the delicacy of her character, as to express surprise at her avoidance of him. She had judged otherwise of Sedley, conceiving that he would at once understand her motives. Had she been acquainted with the circumstance of Sir Edward St. John's death, with what fond delight she would have perused the letter, which, owing to her ignorance on that subject, wounded and almost offended her. She was much touched and gratified on learning the relationship existing between herself and the Sedleys, and she, too, felt that such ties were not wanting to strengthen her affection.

But Sedley's letter required an immediate answer, and summoning all her courage, she wrote as follows:

“I am indeed sincerely grieved to find that you have suffered so much on my account, and it shall be my constant prayer that you may lose the memory of all past sorrow in long years of happiness. But your future must be viewed without any reference to me. Circumstances of an imperative nature separate us, and my resolution is unalterably fixed to receive no

« PreviousContinue »