"Then I w^ill write to-morrow," said
Helen. "He cannot be there till the
day after, how anxious soever he may be
to obey the summons of his uncle, and
comfort his cousin," and Helen smiled.
"If you did not look so happy, my
child, I should say you were piqued,"
said Mrs. Melbourne, "but now I no
longer misunderstand you ; and I thank
God that I have been spared the misery
of seeing you married to a man you
could not love as I think a wife ought to
love. But for Lord Clive' s death," and
VOL. III. C
Mrs. Melbourne shuddered, ^^ you would
now have been a bride. Oh, Helen, how
nearly have you escaped. And I should
have been the cause of your misery."
" Hush, hush, dear Aunt, I am here, I
am Helen Murray, I am happy, very
happy," said her niece, "for I have a
pleasant work before me, the making two
people happy, who have for years been
" Well, Helen, they deserve something
good at your hands," said Mrs. Mel-
baume, " for you certainly have been the
cause of much of their late misery."
" The innocent one, and a most unwil-
ling one," said Helen. " Lord Leslie has
been most in fault. His mistake is quite
unaccountable. I wonder, Aunt, if he is
" Do you hope he is not, Helen r"
asked Mrs. Melbourne, with a mis-
" Why, if I must be candid," sighed
Helen, " and candid I always will be with
you from this moment^ I have a sort of
hope about it, Aunt ; and yet I have not
the sUghtest idea that it will at all signify
"No, my Helen, you must not, you
will not, I am sure, indulge any feehng of
preference in that quarter," said Mrs.
Melbourne. "Lord Leslie is quite out
of the question, married or unmar-
"To change the subject, aunt," said
Helen, "do you think the Heathdown's
beheved I was engaged when they left
" I have not a doubt of it now, love,"
replied Mrs. Melbourne. " I never
could understand Lady Heathdown's
funny affectionate little notes to you ; I
thought it was some joke of her own.
Perhaps, Helen, it is your fate to have
" And I might do much worse than
that, aunt," replied Helen gi^avely.
" If he were in health, I should say so
too/' observed Mrs. Melbourne. " I used
to think he Kked you, Helen."
" I am sure he did/' said Helen, " and
I hope you won't think me too candid by
this avowal, or a vain girl. I was very
glad, on this account when they went
abroad, Lewis will have forgotten me by
Helen heard from Chve on his arrival
in Scotland, and again on his reaching
Castle Davenant, just in time to attend
the funeral of his aunt, who was, of
course buried in the family vault at
Clive told Helen in his letter that he
should remain a few days with his uncle,
at Moreton Court, as Leslie had been
ordered to join his regiment at the Cape,
and he would have to set off immediately
after the funeral. Lady Agnes would
remain a few days at Castle Davenant as
Constance was ill, and dreadfully
depressed by the late events. He con-
cluded his hurried letter by saying, " I
hope you will be prepared to come soon
to Agnes ; she is impatient to know you,
and to love you, which I tell her she is
certain to do, not only for my sake, but
for your own. My uncle is especially
anxious that Agnes should like you. He
is much cut up by the death of his wife ;
though she teazed him a good deal, but
he was used to her, and he seems quite
lost now. Agnes is very unhappy. But
poor Constance is ill, quite ill ; I have
not seen her. And Leshe is much
distressed for her, and for himself, as he
is obhged to leave her. Certainly there
seems to be a dark cloud over our house
at present. Let us hope, dear Helen,
that it will disperse ; and remember that
beautiful adage, that "to every cloud
there is a silver lining." Write to me
at Moreton Court.
" Your s always,
" Then Lord Leslie is married, doubt-
less," said Helen.
''Oh, of course," observed Mrs.
Melbourne. "How sorry I am for his
"Yet to be Ms wife, dear Aunt,
appears to me such a privilege, that any
suffering might be borne."
" Indeed, Helen," exclaimed Mrs.
Melbourne. "You certainly have a
most exalted opinion of Lord LesHe."
" Oh, aunt, when you know him, you
will not wonder that I should," said
Helen. " I am very sorry he has to join
his Regiment. Perhaps he may now
be years abroad ; I thought I should
really have known him as I am to stay
at Moreton Court."
" It is well, Helen, that you should
not, perhaps," said Mrs. Melbourne.
"Oh, but now he is married I may
admire him as much as I please. Aunt.
It must be very harmless, surely ?" asked
Mrs. Melbourne smiled.
" Let me hope, dear Helen^ that there
is a Lord Leslie yet in store for you," said
" 1 have no hope of the sort, Aunt
Melbourne," replied her niece, ^^and,
therefore, I profess my intention of being
an old maid, for I will never marry until
I meet with one."
" Beware of professions, my child.
They are easily made, but seldom at-
tended to. The world is full of them,
and they are the cause of more disap-
pointments and mortifications than they
are worth ; for I know not a more des-
picable character than a person who is
always professing, but never performing.
It is a bad habit, to speak the most cha-
ritably of it. It is a substitute of words
for actions. It is a kindly way of speak-
ing which costs a person nothing. Pro-
fessions innumerable are made from the
rich to the poor, and the people who
make them really think they are chari-
table. If every one was called upon to
make good his professions, how astonished
every one would be. It is not merely
in great things," continued Mrs. Mel-
bourne, "^ that people are thus deceptive,
but in the merest trifles ; and all this,
Helen, is very trying to the persons
" But surely, Aunt, there are people
in the world whose professions are not
mere words ?" said Helen.
''Decidedly, love," replied Mrs. Mel-
bourne. " But it behoves every one to
be cautious in making them, and still
more cautious in believing them. The
habit, I might say the sin, runs much
in families. I know one which was pro-
verbial for it. For some time it gave
them the credit of being the most gene-
rous and obliging people in the world.
You could not express a wish for any-
thing, or the want of anything, that they
did not immediately profess their inten-
tion of giving it to you ; but there it
ended. If they saw you they made a
point of hoping you would stay with
them ; but there it ended. At last their
professions were understood, and they
were appreciated accordingly."
" I hope," said Helen, " there are not
many such people in the world."
" It is a false hope, Helen," observed
Mrs. Melbourne, " which your youth and
inexperience makes natural. Only take
care, love, that you never become one
of the multitude in this respect. It is a
fault I have endeavoured to keep you
from, as I have also guarded you against
that blind belief in the professions of
others which invariably leads to disap-
pointment. But I will not detain you any
longer, Helen ; write to Clive, and tell
him I will spare you to Lady Agnes
whenever she desires it. I am going to
answer Lady Heathdown's last despatch,
and also to wTite to Mr. Fairfax, who will
expect to hear from me about you,
Helen. If he knew the truth he would
be annoyed, for I verily believe he got
us all to Naples to make up a match
between you and Clive. He is just the
man to intrigue, whether in the case of
individuals or of states. He, too, is a
'^ I wish he had not professed so much
anxiety and a determination to increase
my fortune," said Helen.
" In that instance he was more unfor-
tunate than blameable," observed Mrs.
Melbourne. " We shall see how far
his professions will be carried out when
the time comes for his knowing you will
never be Clive's wife. But go, love, and
write your letter ; we shall be late for
And Helen left her Aunt, having
placed before her the httle table con-
taining her writing materials.
Mrs. Brown, on paying Lady Dolman
a morning \dsit, found her at home, and
the Miss Maxwells were with her. They
were laughing and talking, and joking
Henrietta about the devotion of Mr.
Edward Fairfax. They had all been
staying at Avondale.
Lady Dolman inquired from her
mother where Matilda was r observing,
" I thought she would come to say good
bye to me."
" Perhaps she will/' said Mrs. Brown ;
'' for I know she is riding this afternoon.
At least Beard said he was going to
the Knoll to learn if she meant to keep
The Maxwells looked at each other,
and Henrietta said, " I wish, mamma,
that Matilda would not encourage Beard."
" Why you are not jealous of your old
lover, surely ?" asked her mother.
Lady Dolman tossed her head proudly,
and deigned not to answer.
" Here is Edward Fairfax, I declare,"
said Miss Maxwell. " How handsome
Lady Dolman blushed, and she had
not regained her accustomed paleness
when Mr. Edward Fairfax was announced.
He approached her with a most devoted
manner, and evidently wished her to
think he saw no one else in the room.
He threw his handsome person on a
couch, and then just bowing to Mrs.
Brown, he begged the Miss Maxwells a
thousand pardons â€” really he had not
These young ladies again looked at
each other^ which it may here be
observed^ is a bad habit that young
ladies are very apt to contract ; especially
where tliere are a number of sisters.
Mrs. Brown thought Edward Fairfax
a most conceited and disagreeable boy,
as she termed him, for he always treated
her with a degree of contempt which she
could ill brook from any one, especially
from a handsome man, and a man of
family. Mrs. Brown w^as determined to
be revenged on him this morning for his
coolness to her. She turned to Miss
Maxwell and asked her when Miss Mur-
ray was to be married to Lord Clive ?
She kept her eye on Edward Fairfax, and
she saw him change colour. Then it
was true he di^ Hke Helen. Such a
report had been mentioned, but not until
this minute had Mrs. Brown credited it ;
because she did not wish to believe it, as
she could not get over her jealousy of
Helen, though her daughter Hetty was
so well married, and married too, before
The Miss Maxwells, who were to be
two of the bridesmaids on this occasion,
in reply to Mrs. Brown's question, said,
" That no time was yet fixed, and, of
course, it would not take place at pre-
" How much Helen Murray is ad-
mired," observed Mrs. Brown. " Let me
see, how many men can I mention that
she has refused ? First, Lewis Pember-
ton ; then Jack ; next your spouse,
Hetty." She was not quite pleased
with her daughter this morning. " Then
the handsome Edward Fairfax."
" Really, madam," said Edward, " you
dp me too great an honor in classing me
amongst Miss Murray's lovers."
" No great honor, surely," interrupted
Mrs. Brown, " as I class you amongst
her discarded ones. You need not deny
it, Mr. Edward Fairfax. I know, as a
fact, that you have professed love to
Miss Murray, and that she preferred
CHve. A Httle bird told me that. Do
you remember one evening when in
Naples, returning home early from Prince
B's. ball, to enjoy a tete a tete with the
fair Helen r I see you do by that start,
and that boyish blush," continued Mrs.
Brown. " Well, well, I will take pity on
your confusion, and here is my hand,
fair sir, in token of friendship for the
future ;" and she whispered as she passed
him, '^ No man, old or young, ever
neglects me with impunity. It remains
with yourself to secure my friendship for
the future ;" and she left the room,
telling her daughter she was off to the
farm yard to look for Sir Trevor. She
kissed her hand to the Maxwells, and
sent her love to the dear Archdeacon.
The girls now took leave, and just as
Lady Dolman was hoping to pass a half
hour in listening to agreeable nothings
from the handsome young man, who
flattered himself that her ladyship was in
love with him, Matilda rushed in, followed
by Mr. Beard.
" Well, Hetty," she exclaimed, " you
are off to Cheltenham I understand.
How do you do, Mr. Fairfax ? Beard,
give me my handkerchief. Whose
carriage was that just gone from the
door ? Where is Trevor ? How dull
you look, child. Has he been in a
passion this morning ? I'll be hanged
if I would not now rather be Mrs. Powis
than Lady Dolman ; especially as Powis
is beyond seas, and Sir Trevor is here."
" And what are your commands with
me, Matilda?" said the Baronet, who
entered the room at that minute. " Hey,
you here, Edward?" continued Sir Trevor,
giving his hand, but scarcely touching
Mr. Fairfax. '^ Where are you staying ?"
" At home. Sir Trevor," replied
Edward, a little confused.
"A d â€” ish long ride too," said the
Baronet^ " and we are going out. Why
did you not drop a line to make certain
of us ?"
^^ I thought/' said Edward, with a smile
intended for Lady Dolman, who weU
understood its meaning, ^^ that I was
more likely to see you in this way ; and,
as you professed your dishke to form,
and begged I would come at any time,
I ventured to take you at your word, and
here I am. Sir Trevor."
*^ So I see," said the surly Baronet,
who did not half like his attentions
to his wife. Then turning to Beard, he
said, " Where did you buy that little
horse ? I think it would suit me.
What will you take for him ?"
'' It is disposed of," said Mr. Beard,
his red face and bald pate becoming
greatly redder than usual, as he spoke.
^' That pretty animal is mine, Sir
Trevor," said Matilda. ^^ Did you want
to buy it for Hetty ? If so, perhaps â€” "
and she winked at Beard, " I might be
induced to sell it to you, for of course
you won't mind price, as it is for your
" I am not the d â€” d fool you take me
for, Matilda," said the Baronet. " I am
not deceived by your apparent readiness
to part with Beard's gift," and now he
winked at both of them, "nor am I
thinking of buying a horse for Lady
Dolman to scamper over the country
with you, and your men."
Matilda laughed heartily, and telUng
Sir Trevor he was a savage, and she
would not be his wife for worlds, she
asked Hetty how long she was going to
be at Cheltenham.
"Ask Sir Trevor," said her ladyship.
" I have nothing to do with these
arrangements. " It would be quite too
"Oh, oh," thought Matilda, "has the
Baronet so soon subdued my handsome
sister ? It is true then, I am sure, that
she is unhappy ; one so wilful could not
give way to anybody from desire/* and
Mrs. Powis hugged herself on her own
freedom from restraint, even at the
sacrifice of the good name of her
" Have you seen mamma, Sir Trevor ?"
asked Henrietta, in a most subdued
^^ No, is she here too ?" demanded the
Baronet; ^^I am sure. Lady Dolman,
you have most attentive relations and
friends," and he looked at Edward Fair-
fax, who _still kept his seat by her
Lady Dolman was evidently not at
her ease, and she asked Matilda if she
would like to see her last new parrot,
which Sir Trevor had kindly given her.
" Oh yes," said Mrs. Powis, " where
does it live ?"
" In my boudoir " answered her lady-
ship. '' It is the best talker I ever
" And has the best memory, recollect.
Lady Dolman/' observed the Baronet,
as the sisters left the room.
Mrs. Brown joined the gentlemen at
that moment, and when Matilda and Lady
Dolman returned, they found an empty
drawing room, as the whole party had
gone off with the Baronet to look at a
new plough which had just arrived; so
they were told by Mr. Edward Fairfax,
who made his escape and returned to
"How very unfortunate I am. Lady
Dolman ; I suppose I may be your
guest for this one evening, at all
" If you wish it," sighed her Ladyship.
Matilda had walked into the inner
" Wish it. Lady Dolman," exclaimed
the youth, "you know very well how
much I desire it ; and may I flatter
myself it will be agreeable to you, I
should do so."
"I will not answer that question,
Edward/' said her ladyship. "You are
too vain abeady."
"And what is it makes me so ?" inquired
Fairfax. " Surely Lady Dolman I have
reason to be so," and Edward looked, in
the opposite mirror, and then at her
Ladyship, and he was satisfied.
" To be sure," said Henrietta, " you
are very handsome. But is it true you
offered to Helen Murray ?"
" Edward declared he had never given
her a thought. " Of course, when she
was our guest in Naples," said he, " we
were much thrown together, but she is
not at all the person I admire. She has
no soul, no love for the beautiful," and
again he glanced at the mirror. " She
never seemed to appreciate it when in
every day contact with it."
" Oh, how unworthy," said Lady
Dohnan, "to have had the privilege of
six months residence in charming Italy.
However, Helen won't allow this absence
of delight in the beautiful, for she has
talked to me by the hour of the scenery
about Naples, and she has promised to
shew me her sketches, and Lord Chve's
to." " Oh, very Ukely," observed
Edward, " Miss Murray has a decided
taste for landscape. She knows nothing
of beauty, as regards figure and counte-
nance, at least, she has a pecuUar taste,
and not a good one. I suppose Chve is
her beau ideal of the beautiful."
" I'm not so certain of that, Mr.
Edward Fairfax," said Lady Dolman.
" Depend upon it that's a marriage
of convenience. Poor Helen !" and
her ladyship sighed.
'^And are not all marriages, or most
of them at least," inquired Edward,
made up by papas and mammas ?
"Mine was certainly," almost whispered
Henrietta. " Oh, that I were free,
" And what then, my dear Lady
Dolman?" said Fairfax, taking her hand
and raising it to his lips.
"I would remain free, that's all,"
sighed Lady Dolman.
" Free from the shackles of matrimony,
perhaps," said Edward. "But not free
from passion," and he sat down beside
her. " Suppose," he continued, " you
were now Henrietta Brown, might I
tell you what I think, and not fear
offending you ? Might I hope that
your admiration of my person would
become a warmer feeling, and that, if
I loved, you could return it ?"
"We had better not suppose impos-
sibiUties, Mr. Fairfax, I think," said Lady
Dolman ; who, though she did certainly
think Edward very handsome, and Hked
his devotion to her, was rather disgusted
with his excessive vanity, for he did
not attempt to conceal from her his
conviction that she was in love with
him, and though this came very near
the truth, it was not pleasant to have
it set before her by the object who
"True, true/' said Edward, who was
quite unconscious that he was losing
ground with Lady Dolman, and who
imagined she was only very cautious,
as he saw, through the folding doors
that Matilda had been joined by Mr.
Beard, who was followed into the room
by Sir Trevor himself.
Mrs. Brown appeared, also, at that
moment in the very drawing room they
were occupying. She ran to Henrietta,
whispered something in her ear, and in
an instant Lady Dolman had left the
room. She took her daughter's place on
the couch by the side of Mr. Edward
Fairfax, as the party entered from the
" Where is Henrietta ?" asked Sir
Trevor. No one spoke or seemed to
hear him. Mrs. Brown, in a low voice,
said to Edward, " Accept my invitation ?"
and she immediately asked Sir Trevor to
dine at the Knoll that day at seven
" I should like it well enough, Madam
Brown, but I have a guest," said the
Baronet ; and he nodded at Edward.
" Oh, of course I invite Mr. Fairfax
too," said Mrs. Brown. " Will you come
to us ?"
"With pleasure," replied Edward. "Of
course Lady Dolman is of the party ?"
Sir Trevor trembled with rage, and
was on the point of uttering an oath, for
he seldom spoke without one, when Mrs.
Brown said, " Oh, no, Hetty prefers
remaining quietly at home. I have been
talking to her about it. She will be
quite thankful to spend this evening
alone. Indeed, it is to please her that
I propose your coming to us, Mr. Edward
Fairfax, not that we shall not be very
glad to see you at all times."
Edward bowed, and wished himself at
Avondale, or anywhere else but at Deer-
fold, and engaged to dine at the Browns.
However, he saw no help for it, and
VOL. III. D
Mrs. Brown, turning to Matilda, asked
her just to wait five minutes whilst she
spoke to Lady Dolman. " I will make
good your retreat, Matilda, you need not
come." And away went the manoeuvre-
ing mother, to explain the events of the
last few minutes to her daughter.
She found Henrietta in tears. " Why,
child, how ridiculous," said Mrs. Brown.
" Edward Fairfax is not leaving you from
choice, but necessity. You are both so
imprudent, it is well I am here."
" My tears are not for Edward Fairfax,
mamma," said Henrietta.
" Why, what else can make you cry
so ?" asked her mother.
" I am miserable, mamma," said Lady
Dolman, rising from her seat and pacing
" Nonsense, girl," exclaimed Mrs.
Brown. " I will not listen to you. How
can you be miserable ? Have you not
everything to make you happy } Rank,
fortune, youth, beauty. Are you not
admired by the men and envied by the
women ? Come, come, Lady Dohnan ;
this is babyishâ€” this is unworthy of you.
For heaven's sake don't expose yourself
in this way. To me it don't much
matter. But I beseech you let no one
else guess your folly. The whole city
would leap for joy, malicious joy, to
know you were unhappy in the high
station fate has placed you in ; and the
aristocracy of the county would, indeed,
look down upon you, and declare you
unworthy of a place amongst them."
Lady Dolman had dried her tears, but
her mamma's tirade had made little im-
pression on her. '' I am not going," she
proudly said, " to disgrace myself by
shewing my plebeian descent in useless
complaints to the world. But I had
hoped that my own mother would have
felt for me, and perhaps mingled her
tears with mine over the wrecked hap-
piness of her child. But I see, mamma,
that you are made up of self. Vanity is
uNivERsrn? 0^ Â»*^'^**
your besetting sin, and ambition is little
less powerful in you. The first has almost
robbed you of your respectabihty, the
last has induced you to sacrifice your
daughter at its shrine."
" Hetty," said Mrs. Brown, " are you
mad to talk to me in this way ? I would
not bear it, were you Queen of England."
Fortunately, Lady Dolman was exces-
sively good tempered, and seeing that
her mother was in a towering passion,
she remained silent, and allowed her to
expend her wrath in W'Ords, idle words,
which her daughter did not even listen
to. When she was silent, Lady Dolman
quietly said, " Will you tell me, mamma,
why you wished me to leave the drawing
room just now r"
'' To prevent an exposure of your
husband's treatment of you, Hetty," said
Mrs. Brown. " When Sir Trevor per-
ceived that Mr. Edward Fairfax was not
of the party to the farm yard, which for
the first quarter of an hour he had not
observed, being deeply interested in his
new plough, he swore to me, for fortu-
nately we stood apart from Beard, that
that young coxcomb should be turned
out of his house, as it was plain enough
to see that he had sufficient vanity to
imagine himself acceptable to any
woman; and that no doubt he had re-
turned to the house to have a flirtation
with you, Hetty. However, I managed
to cool Sir Trevor, and I assured him
that you were excessively annoyed and
bored by Mr. Fairfax attentions, and
that you had gone to your own room,
wearied of the boy. He told me I was
mistaken, and that we should find you
together ; and then he swore again that
if he did, he would expose your conduct
to the world â€” and a thousand other
lover-like expressions, my dear Hetty ;
for you must be aware that it's all jea-
lousy, and there is no true love with-