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Not so with her brother, my former friend, now I feared, my estranged acquaintance. The words “ You will not succeed; to be fair with you, my father will be displeased,” and “ I have engaged her to my friend Sir Harry—" these words tingled in my ears, and
gave many a quick beat to my pulse; and though my
heart swelled as I beheld his sister with inimitable grace coming down the dance with a partner, it must be owned, very different from her awkward cousin, yet the renewed slight I felt her brother had put upon me, in his own and his father's name, made me survey Bertha herself with something like defiance.
Well, thought I, as she fitted by with the happy Sir Harry, let him plume himself upon his fashionable, and forget his Sedbergh friend-what is he, or even this sister of whom he is so chary, to
I would have said me (with whatever sincerity), when, as strange fortune would have it, an accident put a stop to all reflection, in calling upon me to exert myself to save the principal subject of it from (in a ball-room at least) an unpleasant situation ;--for the end of one of the ropes, which separated the dancers into two sets, having been heedlessly left on the floor, caught her light foot, and losing her balance, she would have fallen on her face, had not I, who with all my pride was anxiously watching her, caught the hand she stretched out for help, and, though not without effort, prevented an absolute fall.
What were not my sensations when I felt this hand necessarily pressing mine to restore her balance !
What, when I heard her, in the softest voice in the world, utter sweet words of thanks, and when Sir Harry, who had come up, observed how lucky it was that that gentleman was so vear, she replied to him, but with a look at me, which searched me“ lucky indeed ! and how kindly and nicely he saved me.”
The look and the words together put all my pride to flight, nor could I help wondering that she should with such emphasis call that help kind to her, which any one, the most indifferent, would in the same situation have received.
How did I not afterwards brood upon this! But though totally softened in regard to her, I was as punctilious as ever in my resolutions as to her family. These, hearing she had had an actual fall (report never loses in its progress), had now approached, and were eagerly asking if she was hurt.
“ If I am not,” replied she, “it is entirely owing to Mr. De Clifford, who was fortunately so near, and so cleverly saved me.”
Mr. Hastings gave me a bow, which, in truth, was one of hearty kindness, for much he loved his child, and Foljambe a look which I thought cold; and I was by no means flattered when young Mansell said, he wondered Sir Harry had not been more alert than to leave her for assistance to a stranger.
The indignation which this word created sank deep into my mind. It was ungracious, unkind, and even ungrateful, small as the service had been; at any rate it was insulting, and I vowed vengeance. My venge
I had re
ance, however, was only to resolve to leave the room and go home.
The room I left; but before I went home, unable to think of sleep, I wandered by the side of the Ouse, which lay in my way to my inn, and I did this in a frame of mind far from enviable. And yet ceived some little comfort even in the moment of quitting the assembly; for I passed Bertha as I retired, who exclaimed, in a tone which I thought (perhaps it was only thought) said more than the words expressed, “What, going! and so soon ? "
The nightingales which I have since heard in the moonlight south, in the same sort of wandering, never were to me half so musical as those few and simple words.
THE RESTLESSNESS OF A LOVER.
Is love a tender thing? It is too rough,
SHAKSPEARE. — Romeo & Juliet.
How sweet is the description of youth, which calls it “ the April of our years !" What delightful promises is not this month supposed by the poets to hold out ?
“ A day in April never comes so sweet,
“ Youth, the April of man's life.”
Calls back the lovely April of his prime."
“ Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.”
Milton; and so, or to the same tune, a variety of others.
Now, for the life of me, I never could discover, from my own experience at least, a reason for the similarity between April and youth, except that in both there are a great many fools and a great many tears; that in both is to be found a perpetual succession of hopes disappointed, expectations thwarted, the cup of Tantalus, or the friar's lanthorn of Puck.
Thus it was with me; for in this supposed genial period, my life had received its first shock, by the total darkness that followed so suddenly the little gleam of hope which shone for a moment over my renewed intercourse with Hastings.
I slept not the whole night of the ball, or if I dozed for a moment, the nymph-like step of Bertha responding to that of Sir Harry, or the cold, changed eye of Charles, like Macbeth, “ murdered sleep." I had read in Thomson of
“ The charming agonies of love,
Whose misery delights.” Never was anything, I thought, so false. I had agonies, but they were not charming ; misery, but it did not delight. Thomson, however, I found correct in other passages on the same subject. For the next day, to divert my thoughts, if possible, I had explored the libraries of York, and had accompanied my father to a public dinner, where persons of my own degree strove to make me converse. But, alas ! I found
“ Books were but formal dulness, tedious friends;
Lonely and inattentive.” In point of fact, though these companions of my father were exceedingly honest persons, to look at, hear, or join with them, made me unhappy, because neither their rank, nor manners, nor accomplishments, could bear a comparison with those who moved in the higher and more elegant circle which had charmed me, notwithstanding my resentment. Anything now that breathed not of that brilliant atmosphere which