« PreviousContinue »
by the nobility and gentry, the party at Rossfirth agreed to go.
The day arrived, and the sky was cloudless; every one was in good humour, and the carriages came round to the door, and the horses tossed their heads, champed their bits, and pawed the ground with impatience.
Teresa was seated in the Beverlys' carriage in compliance with Charlotte's request. Charlotte found her a most delightful companion on sucl occasions, as she never attempted to interfere with her flirtations, and was quite content to talk to Mrs. Beverly.
Teresa found herself most unpleasantly situated, as Sedley was riding on the other side of the carriage, listening to Charlotte's incessant prattling, and yet she dare not glance that way for fear of encountering his eyes, though she heard every word he uttered.
There is, perhaps, no sight more exhilarating than a fair on a brilliant day, when the spirits are high and the mind disengaged. The innumerable booths, stored with everything that can
tempt the eye; the happy, merry faces of children; the delighted countenances of the young maidens, who on the arms of their favoured swains, laugh, and coquette, and torment them alternately. The incessant sound of music, the hum of voices, and the glitter of equipages and well-dressed people, all combined, excite the spirits and rejoice the heart.
But to one who suffers, how sad is the mockery of such a scene! The gaiety around sickened and wearied poor Teresa, the music distracted her brain, and the frequent bursts of laughter from merry groups, fell gratingly and harshly on her ear.
The carriage drew up on a little eminence, that the party inside might command a view of the poney-races about to take place. Sedley was still beside Charlotte Beverly, endeavouring to still the caperings and curvetings of his spirited charger, who was excited to an almost unmanageable pitch by the din and uproar around. But Sedley was a finished equestrian,
and with a skilful firm hand he reined in the fine animal, and managed to keep near the carriage.
A gypsey had stationed herself near Teresa, and was teazing her to show her hand. With all the cunning of her race she had observed that although Miss Beverly engrossed all Sedley's conversation, yet his glances were frequently directed towards Teresa, and she formed her conclusions accordingly.
At length Charlotte Beverly espied the gypsey, and immediately exclaimed laughingly, “Oh! I must positively insist that we all have our fortunes told; we will begin with Miss Cellini-now, my dear girl, pray make haste and display that pretty hand of yours." Teresa in great confusion attempted to excuse herself, She felt that Sedley's eyes were fixed on her changing countenance, and the idea of listening to the gypsey's nonsense before him was intolerable to her. But Charlotte was absolute, and would hear no excuse, and Teresa was obliged
to comply. With burning cheeks she pulled off her glove, and placed her beautiful, snowy hand in the woman's dark fingers.
The gypsey affected to study the delicate lines in the palm for some time, and every one was silent. Sedley watched the woman's countenance as though he firmly believed in the truth of her oracles, and awaited them with the most intense anxiety.
At length the gypsey raised her head, and shaking back the raven curls from her forehead, whilst a bright smile parted her lips, displaying teeth like polished ivory, she began a long tirade of nonsense in the usual jargon of her tribe, but the substance of it overwhelmed Teresa with confusion, and caused Sedley to tremble with emotion.
She told Teresa that she had had many great crosses and wearisome trials, but that her future prospects might be bright and happy unless she marred them herself; — that a gentleman who loved her truly - a fair, tall, and handsome gentleman was rendered miserable by her
cruelty, -and she concluded by warning her against a continuance
continuance of such inhumanity towards him.
The gypsey had looked so pointedly at Sedley, at her allusions to Teresa's lover, that Charlotte Beverly's eyes followed the direction of her's, and she observed with astonishment and mortification, the expression of tenderness and deep emotion with which he contemplated Teresa's beautiful and glowing countenance. She could not at all understand it; -he scarcely ever spoke to Teresa, on the contrary, seemed to avoid her—then what did this unequivocal gaze of admiration mean?
Charlotte was thoroughly annoyed and out of temper; she had really begun to like Sedley, and the idea of his preferring the spiritless, moping Teresa to her brilliant, fascinating self, was truly mortifying to her proud spirit. She therefore changed her mind suddenly, and refused to hear her fortune told, and during the remainder of the day she was absent and silent,