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She comes to London.
racter is assailed, it is made a pretext, on every occasion, for capricious or purposed neglect.
That which generally causes the world to fall off, reduction of fortune, now bereft her of high and fashionable friends : the extravagant dissipation in which the Major and bis wife had lived, brought innumerable and heavy debts upon them, and an execution was lodged in their house.
A foreign nobleman, of high rank undertook the affairs of his friend, who was again re-establishcd, in some degree of comfort : But now the envenomed tongue of slander pointed its keenest darts against Mrs. Brereton, and even against the honourable principles of the Major, as conniving at the transgressions of his wife. He retired, in disgust, from the army; which, though a liberal school in itself, he often found retained both
Her ci-devant Governess.
tutors and apt pupils in the art of scandal. He had lost his friend, the Doctor, and the secret of who were the principal traducers of his wife, that fatal secret died with him.
The calumniated couple repaired to London ; but, as Mrs. Brereton could not give splendid entertainments, nor have very large parties, she was always spoken of with invective when absent, and treated with cold neglect when present.
She had a kind of equivocal friend; but she was one who attacked her insiduously. This woman was highly respected in the fashionable circles, though she had been only the Governess of that school, from whence Mrs. Brereton escaped just before her marriage. She always shook her head, in pity, at the detail of Mrs. Brereton's imprudences ; but destroyed that pity, by saying, “ Mrs. Brereton was really old enough to know
Retires to the Sea-shores.
better, and that great talents, like her's, when abused, rendered the possessor doubly criminal.” But she never was known to utter one sentence to extenuate or excuse her. When Mrs. Brereton first entered the army, she regularly corresponded with her. But Mrs. Brereton could not now make her accustomed figure in the world; and, rich herself, and loving riches and shew, the ci-devant Governess 'would rather countenance one, who had lived as a professed mistress to a Baronet during his wife's life-time; and now that she was become the Baronet's wife, and was possessed of a title and a carriage, she was her dearest bosom friend.
Mrs. Brereton found Lady Laura Pemberton invariably her friend; but the misfortunes which at that time assailed that angelic woman, afforded her not the power of raising her in the eyes of the world, and giving her that consequence she wished.
The Cloud clears up.
Major Brereton quitted London, and retired to a small village vear Weymouth, on the remains of his broken fortune. He had quitted the service, but its habits could not wholly be laid aside; where he found the military, he naturally associated with them; and the inhabitants of the village expressed their wonder to each other, who that fine-painted dashing keptwoman was, who was always walking about with the foreign officers that were quartered there..
This, however, was soon cleared up. The constant invitations she received and accepted of, to balls and concerts, where the first characters attended : her respectable friends and relations, well known, who called on her in their way to Weymouth, soon shewed Mrs. Brereton to be the honoured wife of a gentleman, and the beloved 'kins woman of some of the first families in the kingdom for nobility and virtue.
She goes to the East Indies.
Out of humour with her unkind and ungrateful country-women, she prevailed on her husband to permit her to accompany him to the East Indies, where a lu. crative situation was offered him; and where, after staying a few years, a distant relation to the Major's, of the name of Egerton, bequeathed him his immense fortune and his name.
Never could wealth have offered itself in a more welcome, nor in a more seasonable hour: They departed for England, with their minds tutored by a knowledge of the world, and their extravagant propensities checked by the experience of pecuniary embarrassment.
To the ardent vivacity of Mrs. Brereton, succeeded the soft resignation and equalised cheerfulness of Mrs. Egerton. Her eyes sparkled not with their wonted life and fire ; but they gleamed with a smile