Imágenes de páginas

est feelings of filial reverence, she found herself perpetually called upon, either to sacrifice her own principles, or to act in direct opposition to her mother’s will; and, upon this occasion, she saw nothing but endless altercation awaiting her : for her heart revolted from the indelicacy of such measures, and she could not for a moment brook the idea of being bestowed in marriage. But. she had little time for reflection. They were now at Beech Park; and, as she alighted, a servant informed her, Lady Juliana wished to see her in her dressing room immediately. Thither she repaired with a beating heart and agitated step, She was received with greater kindness than she had ever yet experienced from her mother. “Come in, my dear,” cried she, as she extended two fingers to her, and slightly touched her cheek. “You look very well this morning—much better than usual. Your complexion is much improved. At the same time, you must be sensible how

few girls are married merely for their looks —that is, married well—unless, to be sure, their beauty is something d merveilleuse— such as your sister’s, for instance. I assure you, it is an extraordinary piece of good fortune in a merely pretty girl to make what is vulgarly called a good match. I know, at least, twenty really very nice young women at this moment who cannot get themselves established.” Mary was silent; and her mother, delighted at her own good sense, and judicious observations, went on— “That being the case, you may judge how very comfortable I must feel at having managed to procure for you a most excessive good establishment—just the verything I have long wished, as I have felt quite at a loss about you of late, my dear. When your sister marries, I shall, of course, reside with her; and, as I consider your liason with those Scotch people as complete. ly at an end, I have really been quite wretched as to what was to become of you. I can’t tell you, therefore, how excessively relieved I was when Mr. Downe Wright yesterday asked my permission to address you. Of course, I could not hesitate an instant; so you will meet him at dinner as your accepted. By the bye, your hair is rather blown. I shall send Fanchon to dress it for you. You have really got very pretty hair; I wonder I never remarked it before. O ! and Mrs. Downe Wright is to wait upon me to-morrow, I think; and then, I believe, we must return the visit. There is a sort of etiquette, you know, in all these matters: that is the most unpleasant part of it; but when that is over, you will have nothing to think of but ordering your things.” For a few minutes, Mary was too much confounded by her mother's rapidity to reply. She had expected to be urged to accept of Mr. Downe Wright; but to be told that was actually done for her was more than she was prepared for. At length she found voice to say, that Mr. Downe Wright was almost a stranger to her, and she must therefore be excused from receiving his addresses at present. “How excessively childish "exclaimed Lady Juliana, angrily. “I won’t hear of any thing so perfectly foolish. You know (or, at any rate, I do,) all that is necessary to know. I know that he is a man of family and fortune, heir to a title, uncommonly handsome, and remarkably sensible and well-informed. I can’t conceive what more you would wish to know !” “I would wish to know something of his character—his principles—his habits—temper, talents—in short, all those things on which my happiness would depend.” “Character and principles —one would suppose you were talking of your footman : Mr. Downe Wright's character is perfectly good. I never heard any thing against it. As to what you call his principles, I must profess my ignorance. I really can’t tell whether he is a Methodist ; but I know he is a gentleman—has a large fortune—is very good-looking—and is not at all dissipated, I believe. In short, you are most excessively fortunate in meeting with such a man.” “But I have not the slightest partiality for him,” said Mary, colouring. “It cannot be expected that I should, when I have not been half a dozen times in his company. I must be allowed some time before I can consent even to consider—” “I don’t mean that you are to marry tomorrow. It may probably be six weeks, or two months, before every thing can be arranged.” Mary saw she must speak boldly. “But I must be allowed much longer

« AnteriorContinuar »