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At this moment of agitation and excitement, if one single glance had been exchanged between Sedley and Teresa, all would have been explained, and they would have read each other's hearts. But Teresa found it impossible to dare that glance, and though she would have given worlds to have been able to look at Sedley, an invincible power seemed to chain down her will.
One look from her would have brought Sedley to her side, but as it was he remained near Charlotte, and soon afterwards the carriage was again in motion, and the party returned homewards.
Nothing could exceed the beauty of the drive home. The distant sea so calm and majestic ; the mountains drawn so clearly against the sky; the bright verdure of the meadows and hedgerows, and the soft perfume of the breeze, were calculated to soothe almost any sorrow, save such sorrow as Teresa's. The harvest was wellnigh finished, and the corn-fields were studded with the picturesque sheaves ; gleaners were busily at work, picking up the fallen ears of corn, and as the carriages drove past, they looked up, and gazed with envy and admiration on the noble and fair company.
And Teresa gazed in return on their sunburnt features, and wondered if any of them would exchange places with her, should they be able to read her heart.
When she reached home she ran up stairs into her room, hoping to be unmolested till dinner time, but she had not been there many minutes when Catherine Brand joined her, and finding her sitting listlessly at the window, she said,
“ I cannot understand, Teresa, what makes you so sad and pensive,-what were you thinking about when I interrupted your reverie?"
Teresa smiled mournfully, and the tears stood in her eyes as she replied,
“I was thinking that if ever I had an opportunity, I should like to revisit all the scenes and places I have ever inhabited, especially my birthplace; I fancy it would soothe and comfort my heart much. I should wish to be alone—though
that would be impossible--for the mighty tide of recollections and emotions long-forgotten, would be overwhelming!”
She paused in emotion, and Catherine replied,
“ I have often felt the same desire ;-I would first visit the house where I was born. Oh! sweet innocent days of childhood that I could recall ye !-I am depressed to-day, Teresa,–I cannot account for it, but in the midst of my brightest hours, gloomy clouds gather over my spirit, and happiness seems about to desert me. -I feel a peculiar yearning towards the memory of the lost to-day. How affecting it would be to see again the nursery once peopled with so many dear little playfellows, and to remember where they now are.
“Some who were bold and beautiful, and promised fair to become all the heart could wish, sleep now under the cold turf, swept away — cut down untimely by the effects of reckless dissipation ;-others, whose wild spirits formed the life and soul of our infantine amusements, I saw pine in sorrow, faded and careworn, ere the grave closed over them; and I, the wildest and merriest of the whole group-what hare I suffered ?
“ Then I should fancy I saw again, in her accustomed corner, that kind, dear nurse, who reared us all, and whose departure from our family was my first grief-Oh! how I pined after her! Then the recollection of a smiling, affectionate mother, whose rounded form and smooth brow seem like a dream to me nowfor sorrow had been busily at work before she died.
“Oh! Teresa, there are griefs far unutterably beyond the pangs of slighted and outraged affection,-and such griefs have been mine!
“I would next visit the church-yards, far apart, where two dear ones sleep,-Oh! God, how dear to the last, though fallen and degraded ; and I would kneel on their graves and pray for their tender guardianship, (if
such things may be permitted) for if true, though tardy repentance be acceptable, they are now angels in Heaven.
“ Then the house from which I first went forth into the world, and first felt the magic of soft tones, and the witchery of admiring glances; when my young and joyous heart culled sweets from every flower without any alloy of bitterness. I love to pause on this blissful period ! The flame of happiness which had burned steadily, and illumined my days till this time, went suddenly out, and great darkness ensued. But I will not follow up the retrospection, for all that followed was wearisome and vexatious for a time.”
“But surely dear Catherine,” replied Teresa, “ the memory of your past griefs should fade away before the sunshine of your present prospects."
At this recurrence to her actual position, the shade of sorrow passed from Catherine's countenance, and embracing her friend affectionately, she flew away to dress for dinner.