Page images

thrown together with such force that their faces came in violent contact.

There were the usual inappropriate dresses at this ball. Greeks, with strongly-developed Roman noses ; officers, who would have excelled Perrot's pirouetting had a gun been fired off at their ear; sailors, who had never even seen the sea but in a picture ; Leicesters who squinted; Hamlets with a broad, unceasing grin, and shepherds of most unpastoral dimensions.

Teresa was introduced, by Mrs. Alexander, to a nephew of her husband's, a Mr. Villiers. He was extremely agreeable and clever, and Teresa found him a most amusing companion. Villiers, on his part, thought Teresa the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, and, in the first hour of their acquaintance fell desperately in love with her.

At length Catherine came up to Villiers and Teresa, pale and agitated; she complained of illness, and expressed a wish to go home immediately.

Teresa was but too happy to escape from the

ball, and Mrs. Alexander thought of nothing but Catherine's indisposition.

They returned to Grosvenor Square in silence; Catherine leaned back in the carriage, and kept her hands pressed on her temples, as though suffering from an acute headache, and her companions did not speak for fear of disturbing her.

At length they reached home, and as Catherine declared that she was quite recovered, Mrs. Alexander left her for the night. She then ran into Teresa's room, and, throwing herself into her arms, sobbed as if her heart would burst. After some time she went to a glass, and looked at herself in it for a few moments, then, tearing the flowers from her hair, she threw them on the ground and stamped on them violently.

Teresa was alarmed by her vehemence, and repeatedly asked her the cause of her grief.

It was long before the unhappy girl could speak, at last she seized Teresa's hands, and looking wildly into her face, she said, Your consolations cannot reach my pre

sent sorrow, I am wretched. -Oh, God! what I have suffered during the last half hour! For pity's sake do not attempt to talk to me of resignation, if you do, you will drive me mad!"

Teresa pressed her hands affectionately, but spoke not. Catherine continued,

“I must out with it, Teresa, though the words are so terrible to me. He is going to be married immediately-I mean Farquhar.”

Teresa felt sincerely for her poor friend, but she saw that her wound was yet too recent to admit of comfort, she therefore wept with her, but uttered no word.

At length, after a long indulgence of violent grief, Catherine grew calmer, and said despondingly, yet gently to Teresa,

“Oh! I may well exclaim, Life is as weary as a twice told tale!' But I must not give way thus, can I not shake off this gloomy view of the future, this overwhelming sorrow which almost affects

my brain. Oh! that I could find peace! I ask not for joy, or love, or riches ;-I only ask for peace-peace!–God in his mercy grant it me !—You would tell me, Teresa, that happiness, at least peace must depend on ourselves ;—then point me the path to it and I will conquer all difficulties to enter it. Is it in indifference to the world? Then teach me how to school this ardent, wishing heart of mine. Is it in science ? I will embrace willingly the most abstruse, so that it will bestow on me sweet rest and peace.” Catherine grew so faint from exhaustion that Teresa insisted on her retiring to rest, and she sat by her bedside till the poor girl had fallen into a profound sleep, the result of overwrought feelings.

But in a few days Catherine recovered her usual sanguine frame of mind ; she endeavoured to persuade herself that the report of Farquhar's approaching marriage had originated in a mistake, and she still hoped on.

Teresa was now launched into all the turmoil and bustle of London life. The late hours, the frequent toilette, the unmeaning driving about the town, leaving cards on people who would

read the announcement of our death with unchanged countenances; the senseless parading up and down the Park; the crowded assemblies, the wearying balls. All these she experienced or participated, and wondered to herself how those around her could call this pleasure, and yet every one looked so happy, smiling, and amused, that she supposed they must find enjoyment in those things which sickened and fatigued her.

She was much admired and courted. Her beauty was universally acknowledged, and her expectations from the Alexanders were generally known, consequently, even those who had no sensibilities to be endangered by her loveliness, had hearts tremblingly alive to the charms of her prospective gold.

Amongst all her admirers none was so genuine, so enthusiastic, or so devoted as Frederick Villiers; he was ever at her side, and watched every turn of her countenance with intense anxiety. He was an only child, and had been indulged from infancy in every wish of his heart; when he

« PreviousContinue »