Page images
PDF
EPUB

taught her pupils the inestimable happiness of imparting relief to a helpless fellow-being.

On leaving the cottage to return home, she perceived Sedley advancing towards them, and she would have hurried back again had she not feared to excite Catherine's suspicions. She was, therefore, compelled to remain, and she entreated her friend to let her fall behind and be unnoticed. She spoke with so much earnestness that Catherine promised to comply with her request, and accordingly the latter advanced gaily towards Sedley, and he, after shaking hands with her and the young Derbys, turned and walked beside her. What a situation for poor Teresa! she scarcely dared to breathe as she followed Catherine, and answered the remarks of her pupils in a tremulous whisper. Sedley, seeing a stranger of the party, had bowed slightly to her, but Catherine's incessant prattle kept him too much engaged to allow of his bestowing any farther notice on her. Teresa listened, with a beating heart, to the tones of that voice which had never ceased to haunt her, and glanced furtively at that fine profile so indelibly traced in her memory.

She had on a thick green veil and a close bonnet, by which means she contrived to conceal her face, and even had Sedley turned round and glanced casually at her, he could scarce have recognized her features.

At length they reached the house, and the young Derbys ran in through a glass door, which opened off the drawing-rooms on to the lawn. Catherine Brand asked Sedley to go in and rest himself; but he declined, and as she had caught a glimpse of Farquhar sitting in an adjoining room with her Aunt, she tripped joyously into the house, leaving Teresa to follow at her leisure. Sedley turned to depart, and, at the same instant, a gust of wind took Teresa's bonnet, and before she could catch hold of the strings, blew it off her head, leaving her beautiful face, crimsoned with blushes, exposed fully to Sedley's view.

Sedley was so overwhelmed with astonishment

and joy at this unexpected discovery, that speech and motion deserted him, and before he had sufficiently recovered his bewilderment address Teresa, she had caught up her bonnet and vanished through the glass door.

His first impulse was to follow her, but a moment's reflection convinced him of the impropriety of such a measure. It was evident that Teresa had powerful motives for thus sedulously concealing her vicinity from himself and his mother, and, therefore, being the least selfish of men, he felt that it would be highly indelicate to betray her secret, without her permission, to the Derby family.

He walked slowly home, reflecting deeply on Teresa's strange avoidance of him, now that all obstacles were removed, and she was so perfectly aware of his sentiments towards her. Her tears and irrepressible emotion at Como, when he spoke of leaving the neighbourhood, arose freshly in his recollection, and he marvelled the more at her present inconsistency.

Teresa, on parting from Sedley, ran direct to her room, and throwing herself across her bed, wept bitterly. Oh! what situation could surpass hers in wretchedness ? The expression of rapturous joy which had illumined Sedley's countenance, on first recognizing her, was ever before her, and she felt conscious that he would instantly seek a renewal of their acquaintance; but her resolution was unchanged, and all she feared was Catherine Brand's mistrust and displeasure, should she discover that she (Teresa) had been acting a part, in concealing her knowledge of Sedley

Teresa loved Catherine sincerely, and her good opinion and friendship were all she had left on earth,

On Sedley's return home, his most anxious fears were aroused on his mother's account. She had been seized with a fit during his absence, and, after being bled, had been ordered perfect quiet, It was, therefore, impossible for him to disturb her by the mention of his recent discovery, and he resolved at once to write to Teresa, and

VOL. III.

ascertain the cause of her strange avoidance. Accordingly, he addressed her as follows :

" DEAREST TERESA,

If you could only know what I have suffered on your account, the long and weary search I made for you, the sickening disappointments which I experienced, and the despair with which I abandoned that hopeless search, you might form some idea of the extent and constancy of my affection. I cannot bear to reflect on that time, when, from town to town, I hurried in restless anxiety. At length I obtained a trace of you in Genoa, (he here detailed the particulars of the rencontre at the theatre) and this slight and deceptive trace aroused my sinking hopes, and gave new energy to my pursuit. Thus did I alternately feel my spirits elated or depressed, till, at length, they sank into a settled melancholy, which nothing but the blessed event of this day could have dissipated.

“The only alloy which mingles with my

« PreviousContinue »