Page images
PDF
EPUB

her tears strove to talk on indifferent subjects ; she commented on the fragrance and beauty of a bouquet which Catherine held in her hand. It was composed of rare exotics, and Catherine immediately said,

“Sir Herbert Sedley had the gallantry to present it to me, but as, had you been present, I should certainly have been overlooked, I beg you will accept it as your due.”

Teresa took the flowers, and secretly resolved to treasure them, and never to part from their withered remains, since they were all she had to recal Sedley's image-Alas! she needed no remembrancer!

“What a host of recollections may be awakened by the merest trifle,” exclaimed Catherine with emotion; “ the perfume of one of those sweet flowers has exerted a 'magical influence over me, causing me to forget years of pain, and the uninteresting present, and transporting me back to a bright ball-room, hung with festoons of flowers and brilliantly illuminated. I hear again the strains of most beautiful music; I see the large bay-window thrown open; I again lean against it and inhale the fresh sea-breeze, whilst through it is visible the unruffled summer sea, like a sheet of silver under the full moon, and innumerable boats in the harbour lie in the silence of midnight. Above is the dark blue sky, so pure and soothing, and mysterious; and he stands near me, and I tremble with happiness, and words few and unconnected, but conveying deep meaning fall from his lips, and enter far into my soul! I again breathe the mingled perfumes of rare exotics and sweet essences, which mock nature ; I gaze with affection on a guileless, lovely sister, whom all admire and follow ; I look proudly on a noble, distinguished brother ; I feel again the delicious throb called forth by looks of love ; I pant in the exultation of beauty and admiration ; I am once again the courted, caressed, light-hearted girl. All this, and more than this, is associated with that simple, lovely flower.

“You are wont to descant, Teresa, on the pleasures of memory-if you call memory a

are

blessing you cannot have known real sorrow. Will any one in their senses tell me it is pleasant for me to look on my faded face and altered, depressed heart, my broken spirits and changed feelings -- and then compare them with my bright former beauty, my gushing joyfulness, my generous confiding nature, and my fresh young feelings? If this be pleasure, if this be comfort, what in all this world is pain? There can be no such thing—it is but a name. Besides, my little stores of bygone happiness have been brought out and counted over fondly so many, many times, that I am beginning to grow tired of their sameness.” Teresa soothed and reasoned with the over-excited Catherine, who had worked herself up to a paroxysm of grief, and, at length, she succeeded in calming her feelings, and persuading her to return to the drawing-room.

Some weeks elapsed, and Teresa was continually compelled to hear the name of Sedley from all around her.

One night Catherine Brand came home from a dinner-party, in the neighbourhood, in more

VOL. III.

extravagant spirits than any Teresa had ever witnessed. She flew into her friend's room, and, locking the door, embraced her several times in the bewilderment of her joy.

“Oh! dearest Teresa,” she exclaimed, “I am the happiest creature in the world; but I will begin methodically to narrate the events of the evening. Nothing could be more unpromising than the appearance of things when we entered Mrs. Price's drawing-room, where some unfortunate men were huddled together in one corner, and a party of ladies at the other extreme of the room, looking like “ imitations of humanity." The dinner went off very heavily, owing to the incongruous manner in which we were placed at table. Mr. St. Leger, who is a great admirer of beauty, and a great conversationist, was seated between a very ugly old maid and a perfect stick of a man, whose mouth never opened excepting to yawn or admit provisions. seated between my aunt Derby and a man who was gifted with St. Vitus's dance; sometimes he bobbed into my lap, at others, slipped nearly

I was

under the table, and at another, when he was attempting to drink some wine with me, just as it reached his extended lips in safety, his head spun round, and a considerable portion of the vinous liquor was deposited in his ear-the rest on the sleeve of my white silk dress. Poor man! I sincerely pity him, and blame myself for ridiculing him. In the evening we had music, and I sang duets with our dear host, whom I love. But his children—what angels ! ! what Peris! what loves! I adore the family, wholesale. And then, so admirably are they brought up;—no clamour, no shrinking shyness, -but charming, soft, childish manners! Well, Teresa, so far you will see no cause for my bounding spirits ; but, now, listen to the sequel. Very soon after the appearance of the gentlemen in the drawing-room-just as I had finished a ballad which had charmed every one, and was leaning gracefully against my harp, receiving homage from all around, with bewitching modesty, the door was thrown open, and Mrs. Price's butler, in a stentorian voice, announced a name

« PreviousContinue »