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of having been opened by some one who could not fold it again: it must have been Flounce. I have often observed her curiosity—and now I am completely in her power. What shall I do? After serious consideration, I think it the wisest plan to appear not to suspect her, and part with her the first good opportunity. I feel all over in a tremor, and can write no more.
Thursday.—Could not close my eyes for three hours after I got to bed; and when I did, dreamt of nothing but detections, duels, and exposures:—awoke terrified:—I feel nervous and wretched:— Flounce looks more than usually important and familiar—or is it conscience that alarms me? Would to Heaven I had never received that horrid note—or that I had recollected to take it to Almack's, and give it back to him. I really feel quite ill. Madame requested an audience, and has told me she can no longer remain in my family, as she finds it impossible to do my children justice unassisted by me. I tried to persuade her to stay another quarter, but she firmly, but civilly, declined. This is very provoking, for the children are fond of, and obedient to Madame, and I have had no trouble since she has been with them; besides, my mother recommended her, and will be annoyed at her going. I must write to Madame, and offer to double her salary; all governesses, at least all that I have tried, like money. I must lie down, I feel so fatigued and languid: —mamma is worse, and really I am unable to go to her; for I am so nervous that I could be of no use.
Friday.—I am summoned to my mother, and my lord says she is in the utmost danger. Madame, to add to my discomforts, has declined my offers: I feel a strong presentiment of evil, and dread I know not what ....
Good Heavens! what a scene have I witnessed—my dear and excellent mother was insensible when I got to her, and died without seeing or blessing me. Oh! what would I not give to recall the past, or to bring back even the last fleeting week, that I might atone, in some degree, for my folly—my worse than folly—my selfish and cruel neglect of the best of mothers! Never shall I cease to abhor myself for it. Never till I saw that sainted form for ever insensible did I feel my guilt. From day to day I have deceived myself with the idea that her illness was not dangerous, and silenced all the whispers of affection and duty, to pursue my selfish and heartless pleasures. How different are the resignation and fortitude of my sister- from my frantic grief!—she has nothing to accuse herself of, and knows that her care and attention soothed the bed of death. But how differently was I employed !—distraction is in the thought; I can write no more, for my tears efface the words.
Saturday.—My dear and estimable sister has been with me, and has spoken comfort to my afflicted soul. She conveyed to me a letter from my sainted parent, written a few hours before her death, which possibly this exertion accelerated. The veil which has so long shrouded my reason is for ever removed, and all my selfishness and misconduct are laid bare to my view. Oh! my mother—you whose pure counsel and bright example in life could not preserve your unworthy child—from the bed of death your last effort has been to save her. As a daughter, a wife, and a mother, how have I blighted your hopes and wounded your affections!
My sister says, that my mother blessed me with her last words, and expressed her hopes that her dying advice would snatch me from the paths of error. Those dying hopes, and that last blessing, shall be my preservatives. I will from this hour devote myself to the performance of those duties that I have so shamefully, so cruelly neglected. My husband, my children—with you will I retire from those scenes of dissipation and folly, so fatal to my repose and virtue; and in retirement commune with my own heart, correct its faults, and endeavour to emulate the excellencies of my lamented mother.
Oh! may my future conduct atone for the past—but never, never let the remembrance of my errors be effaced from my mind.
Tuet fell devoted, but undying;
So to imagination's eye
Look'd the stout chief of border story. Whose dwelling was some tower now rent
And desolate and hoary.
The blended recklessness and care Which an uncertain fate produces.
This in his countenance we read;
Also a high and generous spirit, Such as can bring its enemies
To love as well as fear it.
A wondrous versatility
Which makes all things in life seem equal: 'Tis he that in a murder finds
A merry sequel.
Perchance but now from strife of blood Return'd—with damsel of the mountain
She knows not that a cateran .
Is resting his blown steed beside her;
She'll tell at home, how down there rode
That the moss-trooper is at hand And using well the timeous warning,
He and his ambush'd men have fled;
He bans the maid, half-vexed, half-laughing, Whotrick'd him of his purposed raid,
And takes an oath 'gainst water-quaffing.