« PreviousContinue »
cringed, and smiled their vile, abject smiles, fell away in the frosts of adversity.
“ I saw the fair and goodly branches of my house one by one fall and wither away, till I stood alone — some by painful and lingering diseases, others by broken heart; and one by shipwreck.
“ I have wept over their insensible forms, and seen them, one after the other, carried from my home; and even that home—the home of my childhood—is gone, passed into the hands of cold strangers. I have been scorned and insulted by the rich and fashionable, I have found friendship a breath, and love-out upon the word! love is a fable here below. But I thought it true love -and found it false, empty, cold, calculating!
“ I have endeavoured with all my soul to be patient, and to bear unrepiningly my own misfortunes ; but, oh! Teresa, it is terrible agony to see the loved ones around us suffer, those whose blood runs also in our veins, and to be unable to comfort them,
“ But you can never appreciate the poignancy of my feelings—there is no touch of bitterness in your beautiful nature; I also was naturally warm-hearted, and kindly disposed towards every human being, till the ingratitude and selfishness of the world mingled gall with my blood.”
Catherine was in one of her moments of excitement, and, therefore, Teresa forebore to argue with her, but comforted her by sweet, soothing words.
There was a touching tenderness in the tones of Teresa's voice, which never failed to reach the heart.
“Oh! ye beloved, come home! the hour
Of many a greeting tone,
On the night of his rencontre with Teresa at the Opera, Sedley had returned to his hotel with lacerated feelings. Vainly did he strive to conjecture the cause of her manner towards him.
After a long meditation, he came to the conclusion, that whatever might have been her feelings, they were now those of perfect indifference towards him, and that she preferred even a dependent station to marriage with him,
This was a bitter reflection for the warmhearted Sedley, and he felt a desire to fly from the country containing her, wbich he resolved immediately to gratify. Accordingly, in a very few days he was in Paris, and from thence he proceeded to Switzerland, and travelled through almost every part of it.
But Sedley was not selfish even in his grief, and no man reprobated more than he did the system of abandoning fine estates for years to the superintendence of agents. He felt, that as a country gentleman of large property, he filled an important station in society, and ought to be the dispenser of much good.
He therefore returned to England, and arrived in London in the middle of November. The day on which he arrived was densely foggy, one of those days when every object wears a dingy orange hue.
There is perhaps, nothing so depressing to the spirits as a fog in London, and as Sedley sat listlessly at a window in his hotel, and looked out at the dusky figures in the street, he felt peculiarly desolate and gloomy.
He thought of the home to which he was going; he thought of days long gone by, when he had chased butterflies through the grounds, or tried his fairy ship on the lake, or galloped his poney across the green sward; he thought of the parents, especially the mother, whose bright smile of love had ever greeted him on his return after any little absence from home. He thought of Jessy Bently as he had first seen her under his mother's roof, young, innocent and affectionate, and he thought of what she became afterwards.
And above all these thoughts, arose the memory of a sweet dream he had once had of Teresa as his loved wife, presiding with grace and dignity over his numerous household, gliding gently through his paternal halls, receiving him on his return with the calm smile of deep affection, warmer, yet as holy as that of his mother, and making his home a blessed place.