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The Mother's Recompense, Volume I. by Grace Aguilar

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The domestic story of "Home Influence," and its Sequel, the present
volume, were written in the early part of the year 1836, and the entire
work was completed when its author was little above the age of nineteen;
and, although no portion of it was published till some years after its
composition, but little alteration was made in the original plan.

The labours of my dear child were unceasing, and from the hour when she
could read, it may truly be stated that she learned to write; her
contributions to the current literature of the day, her valuable works
upon religious subjects, and others of a lighter character, most of
which have been reprinted in other lands, all testify to a mind of no
common stamp; and here, in reply to numerous questions relative to her
literary remains, I may state that Grace Aguilar has left many excellent
works in manuscript, both in prose and verse; some of which may, at a
future day, be presented to the public.

I have been induced to publish "The Mother's Recompense," in compliance
with the repeated solicitations of many friends, but in doing so I feel
it incumbent on me to state that, unlike its predecessor, it has not
received the advantage of that correction, which later years and ripened
judgment would doubtless have cast around it. A long and fatal illness
prevented its revision for the press; the circumstances of which will be
found detailed in a short memoir, accompanying the last edition of "Home
Influence." The universal voice of praise, which attended the
publication of that work, it was not permitted her to enjoy,--an
all-wise Creator called her to himself.

It was ever my dear child's wish to aid, by the example of her pen, the
education of the Heart. It was her desire, in the truthful
exemplification of character, to point out to the youthful of her own
sex the paths of rectitude and virtue. The same kindly love--the same
heartfelt charity--the same spirit of devotion, which breathes through
every line in "Home Influence," will be found pervading the pages of the
present work.

If, then, the Home Education of the Hamilton Family be well traced and
faithfully delineated in "Home Influence, a Tale for Mothers and
Daughters," its _effect_ will be found illustrated in the "Mother's
Recompense;" there, as its dear author writes, will still further be
portrayed the cares, anxieties, and ultimate reward of maternal love.


_December_, 1850.




_From Emmeline Hamilton to Mary Greville_.

London, January, 18--

At length, dearest Mary, I may write to you; at length indulge my
long-controlled wishes. My conscience has given me permission now,
though I once thought I never could again. We parted in August, and it
is now January; and except during our little tour, you have not had one
line from me, but very many more than one from Caroline and Ellen. I
used to wrong them, but I am glad I adhered to mamma's advice and my
resolution, painful as it has been; for it did seem hard that I, who
consider myself even more my dear Mary's own friend, should not address
you when my sister and cousin did. And now to explain this riddle, for
though mamma has excused my silence to you, I am quite sure she has not
told you the real truth. She would not expose my silly weakness, and
therefore prepare yourself for a most humiliating confession, which
will, in all probability, lower me ten degrees in your estimation.
However, truth must he told, and so it shall be with all the necessary
regularity and precision. _You_ know, almost better than any one else,
how very much I disliked the thought of leaving dear happy Oakwood, and
residing any part of the year in London. You often used to warn me, when
I have thus spoken, against permitting such fancies to obtain too much
dominion; but I did not follow your advice, dear Mary, but indulged them
till, of course, they became so heightened that the last month of our
sojourn at Oakwood was embittered by the anticipation. I saw you thought
me foolish, and I knew that mamma and papa's plans could not be altered
to please my fancy, and that my confessed distaste to them would give
pain to both: therefore, I concealed my dislike, but instead of doing
all I could to conquer it, encouraged every gloomy anticipation to the
very utmost. I found, during our delightful tour through the south of
England, I could enjoy myself, but still the thoughts of London, and
masters, and strangers, and the fancy our style of living would be so
different in the metropolis to what it was in Oakwood, and that I should
not see nearly as much of mamma, all chose to come, like terrifying
spectres, to scare away the present pleasure.

We visited Oxford, although completely out of our way, in order that we
might see the residence of my brothers. There Percy's wild mirth and
eloquent descriptions partly banished my ill-humour, but as I neared
London all my fancied evils returned to me again. When we first arrived,
which was in September, this huge city was, comparatively speaking, a
desert; for all the fashionables were out ruralizing. Mamma was not, I
believe, sorry for this, for she wished us to have full six or seven
months' hard study before she entered at all into society. Ellen and I,
of course, will have more, but Caroline is to make her regular _entree_
in March or April, and therefore must be drilled accordingly. First-rate
masters were instantly engaged; indeed, papa had written to many before
we arrived, that no time should be lost, and as almost all their pupils
were from London, we had the choice of hours, which was very agreeable,
although at that time I did not feel inclined to think anything
agreeable, being accustomed to no instruction save that bestowed by Miss
Harcourt and mamma; professors of music, drawing, French, Italian,
German (which Caroline is seized with a violent fancy to acquire, and
which I deign to learn, because I should like to read Klopstock in the
original), and even what I term a lady professor of embroidery, which
Caroline has succeeded in tormenting mamma to let her have--_entre
nous_, it is only because she has taught Annie Grahame; all these, my
dear Mary, presented a most formidable array, and for the first month I
did not choose to profit by their instructions in the least. I gave full
vent to all the dislike I felt to them. I encouraged indolence to a
degree that frequently occasioned a reproof from Miss Harcourt. I could
not bear their mode of teaching; the attention so many things required
was in my present state a most painful exertion, and I almost made an
inward determination to show mamma that all her endeavours were lost on
me. I would not learn when everything was so changed. Do not throw away
my letter in despair of your friend, dearest Mary; only read to the end,
and perhaps my character may be in some measure redeemed. There was a
weight on my spirits I could not, because I would not, remove. I became
ill-tempered and petulant without cause; before papa and mamma I tried
to restrain it, but did not always succeed. Percy and Herbert both
spoke to me on this unwarrantable change; and I think almost for the
first time in my life I saw Percy seriously angry with me, for I had
even shown my irritation at his interference. I told him I had a right
to act and feel as I pleased. Herbert looked sorry, and desisted in his
reasonings when he found I would not listen. Percy's evident irritation
and the reproaches of my own conscience added not a little to my
uncomfortable feelings, as you may suppose. I looked back to what I had
been at Oakwood, and the contrast of my past and present self really
gave me much cause for misery. It was just before my brothers returned
to college I wrote to you a long, very long letter, in which I gave more
than enough vent to my silly, I should say sinful feelings. Several
hours I had employed in its composition, and to obtain these, neglected
my exercises, etc, for my masters, and caused more than one for several
days to make a formal complaint of my indolence and carelessness to Miss
Harcourt. Her remonstrances, I am ashamed to confess, only had the
effect of increasing my ill-temper. Well; I concluded at length my
epistle to you, which, had you received it, would have been a trial of
patience indeed; for it consisted of ten or twelve closely-written
pages, in which I had so magnified my feelings of discontent and
unhappiness, that any one must have fancied I had not one single
blessing left. I was folding and preparing to seal it, when mamma
entered my room. I must tell you that as yet I had not had one reproof
from her lips, though I am quite sure I deserved it long before; I used
to see her look very grieved at any burst of petulance from me, but she
had never spoken on the subject. I almost trembled when she appeared,
for I knew that morning Miss Harcourt had said she must inform her of
Mons. Deville and Signor Rozzi's continued complaints. Without entering
on that subject, however, she sat down by me, and with one of her own
sweet smiles, which reproached me a great deal more than words, she
asked me if I really were going to seal and send that long letter of
confidence to you without having shown or told any part of it to her.
She might well ask, dear Mary, for I had never written a line before
which I had kept from her; but my conscience told me she would not,
could not approve of this, and therefore I certainly did wish I could
have sent it without telling her anything about it. What deceit, too! I
hear you exclaim. Yes, dear Mary; and before this tale of shame is over,
you will see still more clearly how one fault makes many. I did not
answer her question, but remained sulkily silent.

"Will my Emmeline think me a harsh intruder on her private thoughts, if
I say I cannot let this letter go till I have seen at least some parts
of its contents?" she said very mildly, but so firmly I had no power to
resist her; and when she asked if I would not, as I always did, read her
some portions, I answered, pettishly, if she read any she might as well
read all. She looked deeply grieved, and my heart painfully smote me the
moment the words were said; but I was too proud at that moment to show
any marks of contrition, and all the time she was reading I continued
working myself up to increased ill-humour.

"Are you indeed so very unhappy, my dear Emmeline?" were the only words
mamma said, as she laid down, the last sheet and looked in my face,
with a tear trembling in her eye. I turned away, for I felt too
irritated and cross to give way to the emotion I always feel when I see
her grieved, and I was determined not to answer. "And do you prefer,"
she continued, "seeking the sympathy of a young girl like yourself to
that of a mother, who has always endeavoured not only to sympathise
with, but to soothe the sorrows of her children?" Still I would not
answer, and she added, mildly, "Do you not think, Emmeline, Mary would
have been better pleased if you had written to her rather in a lighter
strain? do you not think, if you were to try and shake off these painful
fancies, you could write another and less desponding letter--one that I
might give you my full and free permission to send, which, sorry as I am
to say it, I cannot with this?"

Mild as were her words and manner, the import of what she said put the
finishing stroke to my ill-temper. "If I may not write as I like, I will
not write at all," I passionately exclaimed, and seizing the sheet
nearest to me tore it asunder, and would have done the same with the
rest, had not mamma gently laid her hand on my arm, uttering my name in
an accent of surprise and sorrow; my irritable and sinful feelings found
vent in a most violent flood of tears.

Will you not think, dearest Mary, I am writing of Caroline, and not of
myself; does it not resemble the scenes of my sister's childhood? Can
you believe that this is an account of your Emmeline, whose sweetness of
temper and gentleness of disposition you have so often extolled? But it
was I who thus forgot myself--I, who once believed nothing ever could
make me passionate or angry, and in one minute I was both--had excited
myself till I became so even against my nature, and with whom?--even my
mother, my kind, devoted mother, who has ever done so much for me, whom
in my childhood, when I knew her worth much less than I do now, I had
never caused to shed a tear. Oh, Mary, I cannot tell you what I felt the
moment those passionate words escaped me. I may truly say I did not cry
from anger, but from the most bitter, the most painful self-reproach. I
think her usual penetration must have discovered this, for if she had
thought my tears were really those of passion, she would not, could not
have acted as she did.

She drew me gently to her, and kissed me without speaking. I threw my
arms round her neck, and in a voice almost choked by sobs, implored her
again and again to forgive me; that I did not mean to answer her so
disrespectfully--that I knew I had become a very wicked girl, but that I
really did feel very unhappy. For a few minutes she was silent, and I
could see was struggling to suppress the tears my unusual conduct had
occasioned. I will make no apology, dearest Mary, for entering on such
minute details; for I know how you love my mother, and that every word
she says is _almost_ as precious to you as to her own children--_quite_
it cannot be; and I give you this account also, that you may know me as
I am, and not imagine I am so free from faults as I know you once
believed me. Oh, when I have looked back on that day, I have felt so
painfully humiliated, I would gladly banish the recollection; but it is
better for me to remember it, lest I should fancy myself better than I
am. Every word she said in that gentle and persuasive tone was engraved
upon my heart, even as she spoke. She easily and fully convinced me of
my sinfulness in thus permitting imaginary evils to make me so
miserable: for that they were but imaginary it was easy to discover. Not
a single blessing could I say I had lost. All I loved were around me, in
health and happiness--every comfort of life was the same; and could it
be possible, mamma said, that the mere departure from a favourite
residence, and only for a few months, could render me so completely
blind to the many blessings my Heavenly Father had scattered around me.
As she spoke, a film appeared removed from my eyes, and the enormity of
my conduct stood for the first time in its true colours before me. I
saw--I knew how sinful I had been; and bitterly I regretted that I had
not confessed every feeling to mamma, instead of hiding them, as I had
done, in my own heart, and brooding on them till it became a kind of
pleasure to do so, and till fancied evils produced real ones. I wept
bitterly while she spoke, for to find how completely I had created
misery for myself was no agreeable matter of reflection, and my remorse
was heightened when mamma said, "You have disappointed us not a little,
my dear Emmeline; for I will no longer conceal from you that the little
tour we took on our way to London was originally planned by your father
and myself, to reconcile you to a change of residence. We saw how much
you regretted leaving Oakwood; nor did we wonder at it, for such
feelings were most natural to one of your disposition; and therefore,
instead of travelling direct, and suddenly changing the scenes of our
beautiful Devonshire for the confinement of this huge city, we hoped by
visiting various places, and giving you new objects of reflection, to
lessen your regret, and make the change of residence less painfully
abrupt." As well as I could, I expressed my sorrow and repentance, and
promised to use every endeavour to atone for the past, and become all
that she and papa wished me.

"I believe you, my own Emmeline," my kind mother said, as she again
kissed me, and her voice was no longer so sorrowfully grave as it had
been at first. "I am sure, now you know all the pain you were inflicting
on both your parents, every effort will be put in force to remove it."
Did I deserve this speech, dear Mary? I do not think I did; for I often
saw by mamma's countenance I had grieved her, and yet made no effort to
control myself, and so I told her. She smiled her own sweet, dear smile
of approbation, and thanking me for my candour, said--

"If I say that by indulging in these gloomy fancies and appearing
discontented, and repining when so many blessings are around you, my
Emmeline will be doing her mother a real injury, by rendering my
character questionable, not only in the eyes of the world, but of my
most valued friends, will she not do all in her power to become her own
light-hearted self again?"

"Injuring your character, dearest mother!" I exclaimed, with much
surprise; "in what manner?"

"I will tell you, my love," she replied; "there are many, not only of my
acquaintances, but my friends, those whose opinions I really value, who
believe I have been acting very wrongly all these years, in never having
permitted you and Caroline to visit London. They think by this strict
retirement I have quite unfitted you both for the station your rank
demands you should fill. That by constantly living alone with us, and
never mingling in society, you have imbibed notions that, to say the
least, may be old-fashioned and romantic, and which will make you both
feel uncomfortable when you are introduced in London. These fears never
entered my mind; I wished you to receive ideas that were somewhat
different to the generality of Fashion's dictates, and I did not doubt
but that the uncomfortable feeling, against which the letters of my
friends often warned me, would very quickly be removed. But since we
have been here--I do not wish to grieve you more, my dear Emmeline--I
must confess your conduct has been productive to me of the most painful
self-reproach. I thought, indeed, my friends were right, and that for
years I had been acting on an injudicious plan, and that instead of my
measures tending to future happiness, they were only productive of pain
and misery, which, had I done as other mothers of my station, might have
been avoided."

"Oh! do not, pray do not think so," I exclaimed, for she had spoken so
sorrowfully, I could not bear it. "I formed my own misery, dearest
mother; you had nothing to do with it."

"You think so now, my love," she answered, with her usual fondness; "but
if my friends see you gloomy and sad, and evidently discontented,
longing for pleasures which are not offered to you in London, only
dwelling on visions of the past, and notions tending to the indulgence
of romance, what will they think? will not my judgment be called in
question? and more, they know how very much I prefer a country to a
London life, domestic pleasures, to those of society, and they may
imagine, and with some probability, that to indulge my selfish wishes,
I have disregarded the real interests of my children."

"They cannot, they will not think so," I passionately said. "They can
never have known you who form such conclusions." Would you not have
agreed with me, dear Mary, and can you not fancy the wretchedness
mamma's words inflicted?

"My love," she replied, with a smile, "they will not fancy they do not
know me; they will rather imagine they must have been deceived in their
opinion; that I am not what I may have appeared to them some few years
ago. The character of a mother, my Emmeline, is frequently judged of by
the conduct of her children; and such conclusions are generally correct,
though, of course, as there are exceptions to every rule, there are to
this, and many a mother may have been unjustly injured in the estimation
of the world, by the thoughtless or criminal conduct of a wilful and
disobedient child. I have been so completely a stranger to London
society the last sixteen years, that my character and conduct depend
more upon you and Caroline to be raised or lowered in the estimation of
my friends and also of the world, than on any of the young people with
whom you may mingle. On which, then, will my Emmeline decide,--to
indulge in these gloomy fancies, and render herself ill both in health
and temper, as well as exposing her mother to censure and suspicion; or
will she, spite of the exertion and pain it may occasion, shake off this
lethargy, recall all her natural animation and cheerfulness, and with
her own bright smile restore gladness to the hearts of her parents?"

I could not speak in answer to this appeal, dear Mary, but I clung
weeping to mamma's neck. I never till that moment knew all my
responsibility, how much depended on my conduct; but at that moment I
inwardly vowed that never, never should my conduct injure that dear
devoted mother, who endeavoured so fondly to soothe my grief, and check
my bitter tears; who had done so much for me, who had devoted herself so
completely to her children. Mentally I resolved that nothing should be
wanting on my part to render her character as exalted in the eyes of the
world as it was in mine. I could not bear to think how ungratefully I
had acted, and I cried till I made my head and mamma's heart ache; but I
could not long resist her fond caresses, her encouraging words, and
before she left me I could even smile.

"And what am I to say," she said, with her usual playfulness, "of the
sad complaints that I have received the last few days from Miss
Harcourt, that she does not know what has come to you, from Mons.
Deville and Signer Rozzi? Now what am I to say or do to prove that this
Mademoiselle Emmeline does like Italian, and is not ill, as our polite
professors fancy? must I lecture as I did when she was an idle little
girl, and liked her play better than her studies? Suppose these
gentlemen are asked, which in all probability they certainly are, what
sort of pupils Mrs. Hamilton's daughters are; they ought to be something
out of the way, for we hear she has instructed them principally herself.
What answer will be given, what conclusions drawn, if you do not exert
yourself and prove that you can learn as well, when you like, as your
sister, and even quicker than your cousin?"

I felt so ashamed, dearest Mary, that I concealed my face on her
shoulder, and would not even look up to promise amendment, for I felt I
was not certain of myself; but when mamma spoke of my letter to you, and
asked me if I still wished to send it, or if I would not write another,
I made a desperate effort, and answered as well as I could--

"I will not write again to Mary, dear mamma, till I have conquered all
these silly and sinful feelings, and can write as usual; and to be quite
sure of myself, that I may not break my resolution, I promise you that
for six months I will not give myself the pleasure of addressing her,
and if even at the end of that time you do not think I have sufficiently
recovered my senses, which certainly appear to have deserted me, you
shall increase at your will my time of probation; I deserve some
privation for my ungrateful conduct, and the not writing to Mary now is
the greatest I can think of." I tried to appear very heroic as I made
this speech, but with all my efforts I completely failed. Mamma looked
at me a moment in surprise, but then, with more than usual fondness, she
strained me to her heart, and I felt a tear fall on my cheek.

"My own sweet child, my darling Emmeline!" she exclaimed, "I did not
expect this offered sacrifice, but I will accept it, my own love, and
let its pain he soothed to your affectionate heart by the knowledge that
in making it, you have given me the purest, most delicious sense of
pleasure you could bestow. We will not say six months," she added, more
playfully, "we will see what the middle or end of January brings. You
will then still have nearly four months to redeem your character. I have
not the slightest doubt that even before that period my Emmeline will be
herself." Oh, Mary, I felt so very happy as she thus spoke, that I
thought I must find it very easy to conquer myself, but I was mistaken,
painfully mistaken; I had encouraged despondency and gloom for so long a
period, that it required every exertion, in the very least, to subdue
it. I had chosen to waste my time, and be inattentive to all the means
of improvement which were offered me, and to command my attention
sufficiently to regain the good opinion of our sage professors was most
disagreeably difficult; but I was no longer afraid, to encounter mamma's
sorrowful or reproving glance, as I had been before, and her fond
encouragement and the marks of approval which both she and papa
bestowed, when I could not but feel I had done little to deserve them,
lightened the labour of my task, and by causing me to wish earnestly to
deserve their kindness, increased my efforts; and at length, dearest
Mary, these miserable feelings so completely departed from me, that I
was surprised to perceive how very nearly I could be as happy in London
as at dear Oakwood; quite as happy is impossible, because I feel more
and more how very much I prefer a quiet domestic life in the country to
London and society. You will perhaps smile as mamma does, and say I am
not introduced yet, and then I may change my mind; but I do not think I
shall. She prefers the country, so it will not be very strange if I
should; but when I see how completely, and yet how cheerfully, she has
given up her favourite residence and employments, for the interests and
happiness of her children, I feel ashamed at the egregious selfishness
which has been mine. Oh, Mary, when shall I ever be like mamma? when can
I ever be worthy of half, nay, one quarter of that respectful admiration
which is bestowed upon her, even by those whose principles and conduct
are directly opposite?

In her conversations with me she had spoken more of the opinion of the
world than she ever did at Oakwood, and one day venturing to notice it,
as being contrary to that which she so carefully instilled, that to God
and our conscience we should alone be answerable for our conduct, she
answered, with a smile--

"I have been long expecting this remark, my dear Emmeline, and I have
endeavoured to be prepared with an answer. To our Father in Heaven and
to our own conscience we must still look for our guide in life; that not
in one thing must we transgress the love and duty we owe our Maker, or
disregard the warning or reproaches of our hearts; but still, mingling
in the world as it is undoubtedly our duty to do--for as I have often
told you, we do not live for ourselves, but for others--we must have due
regard in minor things to the opinions of those with whom we associate.
When a woman has once set up for an Independent, when, scorning the
opinion of the world, she walks forth conscious in her own integrity and
virtue, though no stain may have sullied her conduct or name, though she
may be innately amiable and good, yet every gentler female will shrink
from such a character, and tremble lest they should become like her.
Women are dependent beings; in Infinite Wisdom it was thus ordained, and
why should we endeavour to be otherwise? When once we set up a standard
for ourselves, we have thrown aside our surest safeguard, and exposed
ourselves to censure and suspicion. When the ordinances of society do
not interfere with the higher principle of our lives they should be
obeyed, and in doing so we are following up the dictates of true
religion, by doing our duty as members of a community, as children of
one common father, which, if we stand selfishly apart, we cannot do. I
speak more of the opinion of the world," mamma then continued, "to you
than either to your sister or your cousin. Caroline I would rather check
in her perhaps too great regard for admiration; and Ellen is at present
too young, and in much too delicate health, to go out with me as much as
you will, even before you are what is termed introduced: besides which,
her natural reserve and timidity banish all fears on that account for
her. But for you, Emmeline, I do sometimes feel fearful that, in the
indulgence of uncontrolled feeling, you will forget you are not quite
such an independent being as you were at Oakwood. Many of your ideas are
quite contrary to those generally entertained by several with whom you
may associate; and I sometimes dread that by their unchecked expression,
or the avowed determination never to think as your companions do--that
you hate such confined ideas, or some such thing, which," and she
smiled, "if I know my Emmeline rightly, is not at all unlikely--you may
be exposing yourself to suspicion and dislike. I feel quite sure you
never will wilfully offend, or that you will really deserve such
censure; all I wish is that you will be a little more guarded and
controlled in your intercourse with strangers here, than you ever were
in the happy halls of Oakwood."

I did not answer, my dear Mary; for I do not know why, but there was
something in her words that caused my eyes to fill with tears. I think
it was because it seemed such a painful task to maintain such a
continued control over my words and feelings, and mamma as usual divined
the cause of my sadness, even before I could define it myself.

"Do not look so very sad, my sweet girl," she said so fondly, that like
a simpleton I cried the more. "I do not wish to see you changed, however
different you may be to others. I do not wish to chill one feeling in
this affectionate little heart, nor check one burst of enthusiasm. Your
character has been and is too great a source of unalloyed pleasure to
your mother, my Emmeline; it would be misery indeed to see it in any way
changed, though I do preach control so very much," she continued, more
playfully, but with that same fond affection which, while it made me
cry, appeared to soothe every painful emotion. "We shall not always be
in society, Emmeline; come to me as of old, and tell me every thought
and feeling, and all that has given you pain or pleasure. With me,
dearest, there must be no control, no reserve; if there be the least
appearance of either, you will inflict more pain on my heart than from
your infancy you have ever done, for I shall think my own counsels have
alienated from me the confidence of my child."

I never shall forget the impressive sadness with which she spoke these
words, dearest Mary, and clinging to her, I declared and with truth, as
long as I might speak and think and feel without control when with her,
I would be all, all she wished in society--that I never could be
unhappy,--and to be reserved with her, I felt sure I never, never could.
She embraced me with the utmost tenderness, and banished all my
remaining sadness by the earnest assurance that she believed me.

What a long letter have I written to you, my dearest friend; will you
not say I have atoned for my long silence? If I have not atoned to you,
I have at least gratified myself; for you know not how very often I
longed, after such conversations as I have recounted, to sit down and
write them all to you, as I had promised, when I could no longer tell in
speech all my kind mother's instructions.

I do not make any apology for writing so much of her and myself, for I
know to you it is unnecessary. I tried to write all she said, that you
may benefit by it likewise, and in doing so I assure you I give you the
sincerest proof of my affection; for to no one but my own Mary have I
thus related the precious conversations I had alone with mamma. I know
no one but you whom I deem worthy of them. How I wish in return you
could solve a riddle for me. Why do I _fear_ mamma so much, when I love
her so very dearly? When I do or even think anything that my conscience
tells me is wrong, or at least not right, I absolutely tremble when I
meet her eye, though she may know nothing for which to condemn me. I
have never heard her voice in anger, but its sorrowful tones are far
more terrible. I think sometimes, if I had been in Ellen's place
eighteen months ago, I should have been as ill from fear alone, as she
was from a variety of emotions, poor girl. Yet why should I feel thus?
Caroline does not even understand me when I speak of such an emotion.
She says she is always very sorry when she has displeased mamma; but
fear is to her unknown--we two certainly are complete opposites. I think
Ellen's character resembles mine much more than my sister's does. But
you will like to know how my time of probation is thus shortened. For I
should have kept my resolution and waited the six months, pain as it
was, but one day about a week ago, mamma chanced to enter our study at
the very instant that the poor man who so politely believed Mademoiselle
Emmeline was too ill to appreciate his lessons was praising me up to the
skies for my progress; that same day Signor Rozzi had informed mamma,
with all the enthusiasm of his nation, that he was delighted to teach a
young lady who took such pleasure in the study of poetry, and so capable
of appreciating the beauties of the Italian poets. "In truth, madam," he
said, "she should be a poet herself, and the Temple of the Muses graced
with her presence." There's for you, Mary! But jokes apart, I do love
Italian; it is, it must be the natural language of poetry; the
sentiments are so exquisitely lovely, the language, the words, as if
framed to receive them--music dwells in every line. Petrarch, Tasso,
Dante, all are open to me now, and I luxuriate even in the anticipation
of the last,--but how I am digressing. That night mamma followed me to
my room, as I retired to bed, and smiling, almost laughing, at the half
terror of my countenance expressed, for I fancied she had come to
reprove the wild spirits I had indulged in throughout the day, she said,
"Is not this little head half turned with the flattery it has received

"No," I instantly replied. "It is only the approbation of one or two
that can put me in any danger of such a misfortune."

"Indeed," she answered, again smiling; "I fancied it was the fine
speeches you had been hearing to-day that had excited such high spirits,
but I am glad it is not; otherwise, I might have hesitated to express
what I came here to do--my approbation of my Emmeline's conduct the last
few months."

I felt my colour rising to my very temples, dear Mary, for I did not
expect this, but I endeavoured to conceal all I felt by seizing her
hand, and imploring her, in a serio-comic, semi-tragic tone, not to
praise me, for she and papa were the two whose praises would have the
effect on me she feared.

"But you must endeavour to keep your head steady now," she continued,
"because papa sends a packet to Oakwood next week, and a long letter for
Mary from my Emmeline must accompany it; her patience, I think, must be
very nearly exhausted, and I know if you once begin to write, a frank
will not contain all you will have to say, will it?" she added, with an
arch but such a dear smile.

All my high spirits seemed for the moment to desert me, and I could not
answer her, except to cover her hand with kisses. I have told you what
she said in the way of reproof and advice, my dear Mary, but I cannot
coolly write all she said as encouragement and praise; it was much more
than I deserved, and all, therefore, that I can do, is to continue my
endeavours to feel one day rather more to merit it. I have risen every
morning an hour earlier, that I might tell you all I wished without
encroaching on my allotted hours of study; for I hope you will not
imagine I have written all this in one or two, or even three sittings;
and now do I not deserve a letter almost as long from you? If you do not
thus reward me, dread my vengeance, and write soon, for I long to have a
letter from you; of you I have heard often--but of and from, though
they may be both brothers of the family of the prepositions, are very
different in meaning. I have not written one word of Caroline or Ellen.
Am I not incurably egotistical? The former declares she is sure you will
have no time to read a letter from her, with such a volume as mine, and
Ellen says she has no time by this opportunity. I told her she ought to
get up as I did, she blushed, looked confused enough to awaken my
attention, and then said she supposed she was too lazy; and now I really
must say farewell. Mind you write all concerning yourself and your dear
mother, to whom present my very loving respects, and as for yourself,
dear Mary, let this long letter prove the sincere affection and perfect
confidence of your giddy friend,


P.S.--No young lady can write without a post-script. Mamma has
absolutely had the patience to read through my letter, and except that
she said so much of her was certainly needless, she approves of it
almost as much as she disapproved of my other, which she has just
compelled me to read. What a tissue of absurdity it contained,--worse,
it is sinful. I have had the pleasure of burning it, and I hope and
trust all my silly repinings are burnt with it. Once more, adieu.


_From Mrs. Hamilton to Miss Greville._

I cannot, my dear Mary, suffer Emmeline's long letter to be forwarded to
you without a few lines from me, to remove all lingering fears which you
may perhaps have had, that I do not approve of your correspondence.
Believe me, my dear girl, that to see you the chosen friend of my giddy
but warm-hearted Emmeline is still, as it has ever been from your
childhood, a source of real pleasure both to Mr. Hamilton and myself.
Female friendships are, I know, often regarded with contempt, not only
by men, but frequently by the sterner principles of our own sex; they
are deemed connections of folly; that the long letters which pass
between young ladies set down by the world as intimate friends, are but
relations of all the petty incidents they may hear or see. Such letters
are also considered tending to weaken the mind and produce false
sensibility, by the terms of affection they force into their
service--the magnified expression of momentary and fleeting emotions.
That such may sometimes be the tenor of some young people's
correspondence, I do not pretend to deny, and when that is the case, and
such letters are treasured up in secret and requested to be burnt, lest
any eyes save those for whom they are intended should chance to
encounter them, then, indeed, I too might disapprove of similar
intimacies, and it was to prevent this I would not permit Emmeline to
send the first letter to which she has alluded. Every feeling was
magnified and distorted, till you must have fancied--had not the real
cause been told--that some very serious evil had happened, or was
impending over her. I did not in the least doubt but that you would have
used all your influence to combat with and conquer this sinful repining;
but still I thought your very replies might have called forth renewed
ebullitions of sensibility, and thus in the frame of mind which she was
then indulging, your hinted reproaches, however gentle, might have been
turned and twisted into a decay of friendship or some such display of
sensitiveness, which would certainly have removed your affection and
injured herself. When, therefore, she so frankly acknowledged her error,
and offered to sacrifice the pleasure I knew it was to write to you, I
accepted it, spite of the pain which I saw she felt, and which to
inflict on her, you may believe gave her, and now I certainly feel
rewarded for all the self-denial we both practised, Emmeline is again
the same happy girl she was at Oakwood, although I can perceive there is
nothing, or at best but very little here, that can compensate for the
rural pleasures she has left. I do not wonder at this, for in such
feelings I trace those which, from my girlhood, were my own. I hope,
therefore, my dear young friend, that nothing in future will check your
intercourse with Emmeline, but that your correspondence may long
continue a source of pleasure to both of you. I love to see the perfect
confidence with which Emmeline has written, it proves she regards you as
you deserve to be regarded, as indeed her friend, not her companion in
frivolity and sentiment; and believe me, you may thus have it in your
power to improve and strengthen her perhaps rather too yielding
character. The manner in which, through the mercy of our compassionate
God, you have been enabled, young as you are, to bear your trials, which
are indeed severe, has inspired her with a respect for your character,
which the trifling difference in your ages might otherwise have
prevented, and therefore your letters will be received with more than
ordinary interest, and your good example, my dear girl, may do much
towards teaching her to bear those evils of life from which we cannot
expect her to be exempt, with the same patient resignation that
characterises you. Write to her therefore, as often as you feel
inclined, and do not, I beg, suppress the thoughts her candid letter may
have produced. I will not ask you to read her confession charitably, for
I know you will, and I assure you she has completely redeemed her fault.
The struggle was a very severe one to subdue the depression she had
encouraged so long; but she has nobly conquered, and I do not fear such
feelings of discontent ever again obtaining too great an ascendency.

Tell your dear mother, with my affectionate love, that she will be
pleased to hear Ellen's health is improving, and has not as yet suffered
in the least from the winter or the more confined air of London, which I
almost dreaded might be baneful to one so delicate as she was when we
left Oakwood. I think our little tour did her much good, though the idea
of the exertion at first appeared painful. She is ever cheerful, though
I sometimes wish she would be more lively, and cannot help fancying,
notwithstanding her melancholy as a child was remarkable, that her
sufferings, both bodily and mental, the last eighteen months have made
her the very pensive character she is. I had hoped before that
unfortunate affair she was becoming as animated and light-hearted as my
Emmeline, but as that cannot be, I endeavoured to be thankful for the
health and quiet, and, I trust, happiness she now enjoys. We receive,
every opportunity, from Edward very satisfactory and pleasing letters,
which, as you will believe, tend not a little to lessen the anxiety of
both his sister and myself. His new captain is a far sterner character
and even more rigid in discipline than was Sir Edward Manly; but our
young sailor writes that this is rather a source of pleasure to him, for
it will be the greater merit to win his regard, which he has resolved to
use every endeavour to maintain.

I must not forget, in thus writing of my family, to mention that Herbert
never writes home without inquiring after his favourite Mary, and if his
sisters do not answer such queries very particularly, they are sure in
the next letter to obtain as severe a reproach as can flow from his pen.
Will you not return such little tokens of remembrance, my dear girl?
Herbert has only lately changed the term by which in his boyhood he has
so often spoken of you--his sister Mary; and surely friends in such
early childhood may continue so in youth. The season has not, and will
not yet commence here. Caroline is anticipating it with a delight which
I could wish less violent. I certainly never observed the very striking
contrast between my daughters as I do now, though I always knew they
were very unlike. You, dear Mary, would, I think, even more than
Emmeline, shrink from the life which for a few months in every year we
must now lead, if we would do our duty in the station we are ordained to
fill. I think one season will prove to Caroline that it is not in gaiety
she will find true and perfect happiness, and if it do so, I shall join
in society next year with a less trembling heart. And now, adieu, my
dear young friend. If by Emmeline's long silence you have ever permitted
yourself to entertain a suspicion that I did not approve of your
correspondence, let this letter from me prove your error, and remember,
if ever sorrows in your young yet chequered life should assail you, and
you would conceal them from your revered parent, fearing to increase
her griefs, write to me without hesitation, without fear, and I will
answer you to the best of my ability; for sympathy, believe me, you will
never appeal to me in vain, and if you require advice, I will give it
you with all the affection I feel towards you. God bless you, my dear

Yours, most affectionately, E. HAMILTON.

_From Emmeline Hamilton to Mary Greville._

A month, actually a whole month has elapsed, dearest Mary, since I wrote
to you last, and not a line from you. Granting it was nearly a week on
the way, three weeks are surely long enough for you to have written an
answer, when I entreated you to write so soon. What can be the cause of
this silence? I will not upbraid you, because I tremble when I think
what may perhaps have occasioned it. Mamma has become almost as anxious
as myself, therefore, as soon as you can, pray write, if it be but one
line to say you are well and at peace, I do not, will not ask more. I
scarcely like to write on indifferent subjects in this letter, but yet
as you have given me nothing to answer, I must do so to fill up my
paper; for if what I dread be not the case, you will not thank me for an
epistle containing but a dozen lines. London is becoming rather more
agreeable, and the fogs have given place to fine weather. The Court
arrived from Brighton yesterday, and they say the town will now rapidly
fill. Caroline is all joy, because early next month Mr. Grahame's family
leave Brighton. They have a fine house in Piccadilly not very far from
us, and Caroline is anticipating great pleasure in the society of Annie.
I wonder what my sister can find to like so much in Miss Grahame; to me
this friendship has been and is quite incomprehensible. She does not
possess one quality that would attract me; what a fortunate thing it is
we do not all like the same sort of people. Congratulate me, my dear
friend, I am overcoming in a degree my dislike to the company of
strangers. Some of papa and mamma's select friends and their families
have been calling on us the last month, and we have lately had rather
more society in the evening; not anything like large parties, but nice
little conversaziones, and really the lords and ladies who compose them
are much more agreeable than my fancy pictured them. They are so
intelligent, and know so much of the world, and the anecdotes they
relate are so amusing, and some so full of good-natured wit, that in one
evening I become more advanced in my favourite study, that of character,
than I do in weeks spent in retirement. Caroline is very much admired,
and I sometimes look at her with surprise; for she certainly looks much
better, and makes herself more agreeable among strangers than she
_always_ does at home. Mamma would call that perhaps an unkind
reflection, but I do not mean it for such; some people are more
fascinating out than at home. I am contented to remain in the shade, and
only speak when I am spoken to, like a good little girl; that is to say,
I converse with those who are good-natured enough to converse with me,
and many agreeable evenings have I passed in that way. There is her
Grace the Duchess D----, a very delightful woman, with elegant manners,
and full of true kindness. I like the way she speaks to her daughters,
at least her two youngest--the rest are married--Lady Anne and Lady
Lucy; they appear very nice young women, agreeable companions, as yet
we have but little conversation in common, though they appear to get on
remarkably well with Caroline. The Countess Elmore, a _nouvelle mariee_,
but a delightful creature, so exquisitely lovely--such eyes, hair,
teeth; and yet these rare charms appear entirely forgotten, or displayed
only for the Earl her husband, who is worthy of it all. He has talked to
me so often, that his wife also takes a great deal of notice of me, and
when they are of our party I always pass an agreeable evening. The Earl
is well acquainted with our beautiful Devonshire, dearest Mary; he
admires country as I do, and he asked so much about it one night last
week, that I quite forgot all my intentions about control, and actually
talked and apostrophised the Dart as I would to one of my own brothers.
I forgot everybody else in the room, till I caught mamma's glance fixed
earnestly on me, and then, my dear friend, I did not feel over
comfortable, however, I was soon at ease again, for I saw it was only
_warning_, not _reproving_; and the next morning, when I sought her to
tell her all my delight of the preceding evening, she shared in it all,
and when I asked her, half fearfully, if her glance meant I was passing
the boundary she had laid down, she said, "Not with the Earl of Elmore,
my dear Emmeline; but had you been talking in the same animated strain
to the Marquis of Alford, who, I believe, took you into supper, I should
say you had."

"But I did not with him," I exclaimed.

"No, my love," she answered, laughing at the anxiety that was, I felt,
imprinted on my face. "But why are you so terrified at the bare

"Because," I said, and I felt I blushed, "he is a single man; and I
never can speak with the same freedom to unmarried as to married men."

"And why not?" she asked, and fixed her most penetrating glance on my

I became more and more confused, dear Mary, for I felt even to my own
mother it would be difficult to express my feelings on that subject. I
managed, however, with some difficulty, to say that I had often heard
Annie say she hated assemblies where there were only married men, though
there might be some fun in endeavouring to excite the jealousy of their
wives; but it was nothing compared to the triumph of chaining young men
to her side, and by animated conversation and smiles make each believe
himself a special object of attraction, when, in reality, she cared
nothing for either. "Rather than do that," I exclaimed, starting from
the stool which I had occupied at mamma's feet, and with an energy I
could not restrain, "I would bury myself for ever in a desert, and never
look upon a face I loved; rather than play upon the feelings of my
fellow-creatures, I would--I know not what I would not endure. Mother,"
I continued, "mother, if ever you see me for one instant forget myself,
and by word or sign approach the borders of what is termed coquetry,
promise me faithfully you will on the instant prevent farther
intercourse, you will not hesitate one moment to tell me of it; even
though in your eyes it may appear but earnest or animated conversation.
Mother, promise me this," I repeated, for I felt carried so far beyond
myself, that when I look back on that conversation, it is with
astonishment at my own temerity. "Annie has laughed at me when I
expressed my indignation; she says it is what every woman of fashion
does, and that I am ridiculous if I hope to be otherwise. Mother, you
will not laugh at me. Spare me, spare me from the remorse that will
ensue, if such ever be my conduct."

"Fear not, my dear and noble child," she exclaimed (her voice I knew
expressed emotion), and she pressed me fondly to her heart; "I promise
all, all you wish. Retain these noble feelings, these virtuous fears,
and I shall never have occasion to do what you desire. Oh, that your
sister thought the same!" she added; and oh, Mary, I shall never forget
the tone of anxiety and almost distress with which those last words were

"She does, she will, she must," I said, vehemently, for I would have
given worlds to calm the anxiety I know she feels for Caroline, and I do
wish that on some points my sister thought as I do, not from vanity, my
dear Mary, believe me, but for her own happiness. I cannot describe each
member of our circle, dear Mary, in this letter, but you shall have them
by degrees. The Earl and Countess Elmore are my favourites. I was very
sorry mamma did not permit me to join a very small party at their house
last week; the Countess came herself to beg, but mamma's mandate had
gone forth long ago, and therefore I submitted I hope with a good grace,
but I doubt it. She wishes me only to join in society at home this year,
but next year I may go out with her as often as I please. Lord Henry
D'Este is one of the most amusing creatures I ever met with, he has
always some droll anecdote to relate that calls forth universal
merriment; but of single men, the Earl of St. Eval, eldest son of the
Marquis of Malvern, is the most agreeable. He is not particularly
handsome, but has an eloquent smile and persuading voice, very tall and
noble in his carriage. He has talked to me much of Oxford, where for
about six or seven months he was acquainted with my brothers, of whom he
spoke in such high terms, dear Mary, and quite regretted he could not
enjoy their society longer. He has since been on the Continent, and
relates so delightfully all he has remarked or seen among foreigners,
that it is evident he travelled really for pleasure and information, not
for fashion. He appears much attracted with Caroline. I am sure he
admires her very much, and I only wish she would be as pleased with him
as I am, but she always provokes me by saying he has not sufficient
_esprit_; nor is he quite handsome enough to please her; and yet she
never refuses his attentions or shrinks from his conversation, as, if I
disliked him (as when we are alone she appears to do), I know I should.
Do not tremble for my peace, dear Mary, as you read these flowing
descriptions. In society they are most agreeable, but as the partner of
my life, I have not yet seen one to whom, were the question asked, I
could with any hope of happiness give my hand. These scenes are well for
a time, but they are not those in which I would wish to pass my life. My
wishes are humbler, much humbler; but I do not yet understand them
sufficiently even to define them to myself. It is much the same with the
young ladies of rank with whom I now frequently associate; they are
agreeable companions, but not one, no, not one can supply your place,
dearest Mary. Not one can I love as I do you. We have no ideas in
common; amiable and good as in all probability they are, still, as my
intimate friends I could not regard them; and yet--strange contradiction
you will say--I wish Caroline could find one amongst them to supply the
place of Annie Grahame in her heart. Why am I so prejudiced against her,
you will ask. Mary, I am prejudiced, and I cannot help it. Something
tells me my sister will obtain no good from this intimacy, I never did
like her, and of late this feeling has increased. Ellen is pleased, too,
when her health permits her to join our agreeable little coteries. She
appears overcoming her very great reserve, but does not become more
lively. She looks always to me, as if she felt a stain yet lingers on
her character, and though mamma and papa treat her even more kindly than
they did before, if possible, still there are times when to me she
appears inwardly unhappy. Strangers would only pronounce her more
pensive than usual for her years; for her slight figure and very
delicate features, as well as retiring manner, make her appear even
younger than she is, but I sometimes fancy I read more. She is always
calm and gentle as she used to be, and I never can discover when
anything vexes her, except by her heightened colour, which is more
easily visible now than when her health was better.

I am summoned away, dear Mary, to go with mamma to ride, and as this
leaves to night, I must not write more now; but I intend teasing you
with letters every week till you write to me, if you are not well, in
the sincere wish to arouse you and draw your thoughts from what may be
unpleasing subjects: and if you are idle, to spur you to your task.
Adieu, my dearest friend.

Your ever affectionate EMMELINE.

_From Mary Greville to Emmeline Hamilton_.

Greville Manor, March 13.

How can I thank you sufficiently, my dearest Emmeline, for the
affectionate letters which I have received so regularly the last month.
I am still so weak that much writing is forbidden me, and therefore to
reply to them all as my affection dictates is impossible. But I know
your kind heart, my Emmeline; I know it will be satisfied, when I say
your letters have indeed cheered my couch of suffering; have indeed
succeeded not only in changing _my_ thoughts from the subject that
perhaps too much engrosses them, but sometimes even my poor mother's.
Your first long letter, dated January, you tell me you wrote to let me
know you as you are, that all your faults may be laid bare to my
inspection; and what is to be the consequence--that you are, as you said
you would be, lowered in my estimation? no, dear and candid girl, you
are not, and while you retain such ingenuousness of disposition, you
never can be. Wrong you certainly were to encourage such despondency,
when so very many blessings were around you; but when once you become
sensible of an error, it is already with you corrected. Mamma has, I
know, some weeks ago, written to Mrs. Hamilton, to tell her Greville
Manor is to be sold. We shall never return to it again; the haunts I so
dearly loved, the scenes in which I have spent so many happy hours, all
will pass into the hands of strangers,--it will be no longer our own; we
shall be no longer together, as for so many years we have been. In
changing my residence thus, I feel as if every tie I loved was torn

* * * * *

I thought I could have written calmly on this subject, my Emmeline, but
I believed myself stronger, both in mind and body, than I am. I have
been very ill, and therefore let that be my excuse. Plead for me with
your mother, Emmeline; tell her she knows not how I struggle to conceal
every pang from the watchful eyes of that mother who has hung over my
couch, with an agony that has told me plainer than words I am indeed her
only joy on earth. My spirit has been so tortured the three months of my
stern father's residence at home, that I feel as if I would--oh! how
gladly--flee away and be at rest: but for her sake, I pray for life, for
strength; for her sake, I make no resistance to the advice of Mr.
Maitland, that for a year or two we should live in Italy or Switzerland,
though in leaving England I feel as if I left I know not what, but
somewhat more than the mere love for my native land. Why, why is my
health so weak? why does it ever suffer when my mind is unhappy? Oh,
Emmeline, you know not the fierce struggle it is not to murmur; to feel
that it is in mercy my Father in Heaven afflicts me thus. If I might but
retain my health, my mother should never suspect my sufferings, I would,
I know I would, hide them from every eye; but she reads them in my
failing frame and pallid features, when I would by every means in my
power prove to her that while she is spared to me, I cannot be wholly
unhappy. It was not illness of body that prevented my replying to your
first long letter; but papa and Alfred were both at home, and my nerves
were so frequently shaken, that I knew it would be impossible to write
and therefore did not attempt it, even at the risk of offending, or at
least giving pain to you. I begged mamma to write to Mrs. Hamilton, and
tell her all that had occurred, on the receipt of your second, dated
February; for I thought while explaining our silence it would relieve
herself, which I think it did. It is six weeks since then and I am only
now allowed to write, and have been already obliged to pause more than
once in my task; so forgive all incoherences, my dearest Emmeline. The
Manor is to be sold in June: for my sake, mamma ventured to implore my
father to dispose of another estate, which has lately become his,
instead of this, but he would not listen to her; and I implored her not
to harrow her feelings by vain supplications again. Alfred is to go to
Cambridge, and this increased expense, as it is for him, papa seems to
think nothing of, but to my poor mother it is only another subject of
uneasiness, not so much for our sakes as for his own. Temptations of
every kind will be around him; his own little income will never be
sufficient to enable him to lead that life which his inclination will
bid him seek. Misfortune on every side appears to darken the future; I
cannot look forward. Pray for me, my dearest friend, that I may be
enabled to trust so implicitly in the Most High that even now my faith
should not for a moment waver. Oh! Emmeline, spite of all his harshness,
his coldness, and evident dislike, my heart yearns to my father. Would
he but permit me, I would love and respect him as fondly as ever child
did a parent, and when, after beholding his cruelty to my mother, my
heart has sometimes almost involuntarily reproached him and risen in
rebellion against him, the remorse which instantly follows adds to that
heavy burden which bows me to the earth. We leave England in May, if I
am sufficiently strong. I do not think we shall visit London, but travel
leisurely along the coast to Dover. I wish I could see you once more,
for I know not if we shall ever meet again, dear Emmeline; but perhaps
it is better not, it would only heighten the pain of separation. I
should like much to have written to your kind good mother with this, but
I fear my strength will not permit, yet perhaps, if she have one
half-hour's leisure, she will write to me again; her letters indeed are
my comfort and support. I thank your brother Herbert for his many kind
and affectionate messages; tell him all you will of our plans, and tell
him--tell him--his sister Mary will never forget the brother of her
childhood--the kind, the sympathising companion of her youth. To Percy,
too, remember me; and say all your own affection would dictate to
Caroline and Ellen. I would have written to the latter, but my weakness
will I know prove my best excuse. Before I quite conclude, let me say
how pleased I am to think that, although you still regret Oakwood, you
can find some pleasures in your present life. The society you describe
must be agreeable. I could scarcely, however, refrain from smiling at
your simplicity, my dear Emmeline, in imagining that all who visited at
your father's house would be as delightful and estimable as those whom
your second letter so eloquently described. Why are we so constantly
commanded to be charitable in our intercourse one with another? Must it
not be because our Great Master knew that we all had failings, some more
than others? if all were as worthy and virtuous as some appear, there
would be no need to practise such a virtue; but it is in a mixed society
it is more frequently called into play. More, would we preserve our own
virtue and piety, we must be charitable. We must look on the weaknesses
of our fellow-creatures with mercy and kindness, or how can we demand it
for ourselves? I am no advocate for seclusion in general, though my own
feelings prefer a quiet life. I think a life of retirement is apt to
render us selfish, and too positive in the wisdom and purity of our own
notions, too prejudiced against the faults of our fellows. Society is a
mirror, where we can see human character reflected in a variety of
shades, and thereby, if our minds be so inclined, we may attain a better
knowledge of ourselves. If, before we condemned others, we looked into
our own hearts, we are likely to become more charitable and more humble
at the same moment, and our own conduct necessarily becomes more
guarded. But with your mother, my Emmeline, and your open
heart--unsophisticated as it may be--you will never go far wrong. Mamma
is looking anxiously at me, as if she feared I am exerting myself too
much. I feel my cheeks are painfully flushed, and therefore I will obey
her gentle hint. Farewell, my Emmeline; may you long be spared the
sorrows that have lately wrung the heart of your attached and constant


_From Mrs. Hamilton to Miss Greville_.

London, March 20th.

Your letter to Emmeline, my dear young friend, I have read with feelings
both of pain and pleasure, and willingly, most willingly, do I comply
with your request, that I would write to you, however briefly. Your
despondency is natural, and yet it is with delight I perceive through
its gloom those feelings of faith and duty, which your sense of religion
has made so peculiarly your own. I sympathise, believe me, from my
heart, in those trials which your very delicate health renders you so
little able to bear. I will not endeavour by words of consolation to
alleviate their severity, for I know it would be in vain. In your
earliest youth I endeavoured to impress upon your mind that we are not
commanded to check every natural feeling. We are but told to pour before
God our trouble, to lean on His mercy, to trust in His providence, to
restrain our lips from murmuring, and if we do so, though our tears may
fall, and our heart feel breaking, yet our prayers will be heard and
accepted on high. It is not with you, my poor girl, the weak indulgence
of sorrow that ever prostrates you on a couch of suffering, it is the
struggle of resignation and concealment that is too fierce for the
delicacy of your constitution; and do you not think that strife is
marked by Him, who, as a father, pitieth His children? Painful as it is
to you, my dear Mary, your sufferings may be in a degree a source of
mercy to your mother. Agonizing as it is to the heart of a parent, to
watch the fevered couch of a beloved child, yet had she not that
anxiety, the conduct of your father and brother might present still
deeper wretchedness. For your sake, she dismisses the harrowing thoughts
that would otherwise be her own; for your sake, she rallies her own
energies, which else might desert her; and when you are restored to her,
when, in those intervals of peace which are sometimes your own, she sees
you in health, and feels your constant devotion, believe me, there is a
well of comfort, of blessed comfort in her fond heart, of which nothing
can deprive her. For her sake, then, my dearest Mary, try to conquer
this reluctance to leave England. I do not reproach your grief, for I
know that it is natural. But endeavour to think that this residence for
a few years on the Continent, may restore your mother to a degree of
peace, which, in England, at present she cannot know; and will not this
thought, my love, reconcile you to a short separation from the land of
your birth, and the friends you so dearly love? We shall all think of
and love our Mary, however widely parted. We will write very frequently,
and every information I can obtain of your brother shall be faithfully
recorded. Mr. Hamilton has ever felt for your mother as a brother would,
and for her sake, her misguided son will be ever an object of his
dearest care. Do not fear for him, and endeavour to soothe your mother's
anxiety on that head also. Herbert has written to you, I enclose his
letter; and he entreats most earnestly that you will not only permit him
to continue to write, but answer him, during your residence abroad. He
has been deeply grieved at the intelligence we have reported of you, and
I hope and think, if your mother do not disapprove of your
correspondence, that the humble yet fervent faith which breathes in the
religion of my son may long prove a source of consolation as well as
interest to you, who, from your childhood, could sympathise with all his
exalted feelings. Poor Emmeline has shed many bitter tears over your
letter; she cannot bear to think of your leaving England, but yet agrees
with me in believing it will be a beneficial change for both yourself
and Mrs. Greville, but her letter shall speak her own feelings. I will
not write more now, but will very soon again. Do not exert yourself too
much to answer either Emmeline or myself; we will not wait for regular
replies. I have written to your mother also, therefore this brief
epistle is entirely for yourself, as you wished it. Mr. Hamilton will
meet you at Dover, which will afford me much satisfaction, as I shall
know more than I could ever learn by a letter, and he will, I trust, be
enabled to set your mother's heart at rest on some points which must be
now subjects of anxiety. God bless you, my Mary, and restore you
speedily to health and peace.

Yours, with the warmest affection,



An early April sun was shining brightly through one of the windows of an
elegantly furnished boudoir of a distinguished-looking mansion, in the
vicinity of Piccadilly. There was somewhat in the aspect of the room, in
the variety of toys scattered on every side, in the selection of the
newest novels which were arranged on the table, and an indescribable air
which pervaded the whole, that might have aroused a suspicion, in any
keen observer who could discover character by trifles, that the lady to
whom that apartment belonged possessed not the very strongest or most
sensible mind. A taste which frivolous trifles could alone gratify
appeared evident; and the countenance of the lady, who was reclining
listlessly on the couch, would have confirmed these surmises. She did
not look above forty, if as much, but her features told a tale of
lassitude and weariness, at variance with the prime of life, which was
then her own. No intellect, no emotion was expressed on her countenance;
it never varied, except, perhaps, to denote peevishness or sullenness
when domestic affairs annoyed her, which appeared to be the case at
present. A volume of the last new novel was in her hand, in which she
appeared sufficiently interested as to feel still more annoyed at the
interruption she was constantly receiving from a young lady, who was
also an inmate of her room.

Striking, indeed, was the contrast exhibited in the features of the
mother and daughter, for so nearly were they connected, and yet to some
the inanimate expression of the former would have been far preferable to
the handsome but scornful countenance of the latter. She could not have
been more than eighteen, but the expression of the features and the tone
of character were already decided to no ordinary degree. There was an
air of fashion in her every movement; an easy assurance and independence
of spirit which might have made her mother respected, but which in one
so young were intolerable to all save those whom she had contrived to
make her devoted admirers. Spite of the natural beauty of her face,
haughtiness, pride, and some of the baser passions of human nature, were
there visibly impressed; at least whenever she appeared in her natural
character, when no concealed designs caused her to veil these less
amiable emotions in eloquent smiles and a manner whose fascination was
felt and unresisted, even by those who perhaps had been before
prejudiced against her. Various were the characters she assumed in
society--assumed to suit her own purpose, made up of art; even at home
she sometimes found herself seeking for design, as if it were impossible
to go straightforward, to act without some reason. We shall find,
however, as we proceed, that she had one confidant at home, to whom,
when exhausted by the fatigue of planning, she would confess herself,
and who was generally the hearer and abettor of the young lady's
schemes. This was a person who had lived for many years in the family as
governess; although that office with the elder of her charges had ever
been but nominal, and with the younger it was neglected for the office
of friend and confidant, which Miss Malison very much preferred.

It was evident this morning that the efforts of the young lady had not
succeeded quite so well as usual in veiling the discontent in which she
inwardly indulged. She was amusing herself at that moment in opening
every book on the table, glancing sulkily on their contents, and then
throwing them down again with a violence that not only had the effect of
making her mother start, but of disturbing the quiet repose of some of
the fragile toys in their vicinity, to the manifest danger of their

"I wish you would oblige me, Annie, by endeavouring to amuse yourself in
a quieter manner," observed her mother, in a very languid tone. "You
have no pity on my poor nerves. You know when I have these nervous
headaches, the least thing disturbs me."

"You may be certain, mamma, it is reading that makes them worse, not my
noise. You had much better put away the book, and then you have some
chance of being free from them."

"Will you read to me then instead? I assure you I should much prefer

"_I_ read aloud! I could not do it to please the most agreeable person
in the world; and as you are so very obliging to me in refusing so
decidedly to go with me to-night, you cannot expect I should oblige

Lady Helen Grahame's placid countenance gave no evidence of inward
disturbance at this undutiful speech; she was too much used to it, to
feel the pain it might otherwise have produced, and too indifferent to
be either indignant or displeased.

"You are very ungrateful, Annie," she replied, in that same languid
tone, but with the very little expression in her voice, no emotion was
visible. "I tell you I will send round to Lady Charlton or the Countess
St. Aubyn; either of them, I know, will be very happy to chaperon you.
Surely you can let me be quiet for one evening."

"Lady Charlton I cannot bear; she is the most detestable creature I
know. I would rather be buried alive in the country, than join in London
society under her care; with her long speeches of prudery and virtue,
and the modest reserve of young ladies, and a hundred other such
saint-like terms, when all the time she is doing all she can to catch
husbands for her three great gawky daughters, who in mamma's presence
are all simplicity and simper--sweet girls just introduced; when I am
very much mistaken if the youngest is not nearer thirty than twenty. And
as for Lady St. Aubyn, you know very well, mamma, papa declared I should
never go out with her again; it is just the same as if I were alone. She
has not a word or thought for any one but herself: she thinks she may
act with as much coquetry now as before she married. I do believe that
woman only married that she might be more at liberty and go out by

"Then, if you like neither of them, write a note to Mrs. Hamilton. Your
father would be better pleased if you were to go under her care, than of
any other."

"Mrs. Hamilton! I would not for worlds. Every pleasure I might
otherwise enjoy would vanish before the stern majesty of her presence. I
wonder how Caroline can bear the thraldom in which her mother holds
her--it is complete slavery."

"I will not hear a word against Mrs. Hamilton," exclaimed Lady Helen,
with more display of feeling than had yet been perceivable. "She is a
truer friend both to your father and myself than any of those with whom
we associate here."

"It is well you think so, my lady mother," replied Miss Grahame, in a
peculiar tone. "It is fortunate you are not troubled with jealousy, and
that this paragon of perfection, this Mrs. Hamilton, is your friend as
well as papa's. If I heard my husband so constantly extolling another
woman in my presence, I should not be quite so easy."

If a flush rose to Lady Helen's pale cheek at these words, it was so
faint as scarcely to be perceivable, and she took no notice, except to

"If your great desire to go to this ball is to be with Caroline the
first night of her _entree_, I should think Mrs. Hamilton was the best
chaperon you could have."

"I tell you, mother, I will not go with her. She has not bewitched me as
she has you and papa. If you would only be quiet for a few hours, I am
sure your head would be sufficiently well for you to go with me; and you
know I never do enjoy an evening so much as when you accompany me, dear
mamma," she continued, softening the violence with which she had at
first spoken into one of the most persuasive eloquence; and humbling her
pride and controlling the contempt with which she ever looked on her
weak but far more principled mother, she knelt on a low stool by her
side, and caressingly kissed Lady Helen's hand.

"Dear mamma, you would oblige me, I am sure you would, if you knew how
much your presence contributes to my enjoyment. A ball is quite a
different thing when I feel I am under your wing, and you know papa
prefers my going out with you to any one else."

Annie spoke truth, though her words appeared but flattery. The extreme
indolence of Lady Helen's natural disposition, which was now heightened
by the lassitude attendant on really failing health, rendered her merely
a chaperon in name. Annie felt very much more at liberty when with her
than with any other; she could act as she pleased, select her own
companions, coquette, talk, dance, without ever thinking of her mother
or being sought for by her, till the end of the evening. It was enough
she was with Lady Helen, to silence all gossiping tongues and to satisfy
her father, who, one of the most devoted members of the Lower House,
scarcely ever visited such places of amusement, and therefore knew not
the conduct of either his wife or daughter. He long since discovered his
authority was as nothing to his children; he felt most painfully his
sternness had alienated their affections, and he now rather shrunk from
their society; therefore, even at home he was a solitary man, and yet
Grahame was formed for all the best emotions, the warmest affections of
our nature. He was ignorant that his wife now very frequently suffered
from ill-health, for he had never seen her conduct different even when
in youth and perfectly well. Had he known this, and also the fact that,
though trembling at his sternness, she yet longed to receive some token
of his affection--that she really loved him, spite of the many faults
and the extreme weakness of her character, he might have been happy.

Deceived by her daughter's manner, Lady Helen began to waver in the
positive refusal she had given to accompanying her, and Annie was not
slow in discovering her advantage; she continued the persuasions she
knew so well how to use, concealing the inward struggle it was to veil
her discontent at this unwonted humiliation, and suppressing the
violence that was ready to break forth, at length succeeded. Though
really feeling too languid for the exertion, the wavering mother could
not resist the unusually gentle manner of the persevering daughter, and
Miss Grahame flew to her confidant to impart the joyful tidings.

Miss Malison was employed in endeavouring, by commands, exhortations,
and threats, to compel her pupil to practise a difficult sonata, which
her music-master had desired might be prepared by the time of his next
visit. Now it happened that Lilla Grahame had not the slightest taste
for music, and that Miss Malison did not possess the patient
perseverance requisite to smooth the difficulty of the task, nor the
gentleness necessary to render it more pleasing to her pupil; therefore,
in these practising lessons discord ever prevailed over harmony, and the
teacher was ever ready to seize the most trifling excuse to neglect her
office, and leave Lilla to practise or not as she pleased.

"Malison, _chere_ Malison," exclaimed Annie, in a tone of glee, as she
entered, "do leave that stupid girl and come with me; I have some
charming intelligence to communicate. And it really is no use boring
yourself with Lilla; she will never play, try as hard as she can."

"According to you, I shall do nothing," burst angrily from her sister's
lips, for her temper, naturally good, though somewhat hasty, had been
completely ruined by careless and mistaken treatment. "If I had been
properly taught, I should have done as others do: if Miss Malison had
chosen to take the same pains with me as Miss Harcourt does with
Emmeline and Ellen, I should have been a very different girl."

"Insolent, ungrateful girl! do you dare to say I have neglected my
duty?" exclaimed the _gouvernante_, enraged beyond bounds at this
display of insubordination in one whose spirit she had left no means
untried to bend to her will, and forgetting herself in the passion of
the moment, enforced her words by what is termed a sound box on the ear.

"Now go and tell mamma, pretty dear; or papa, if you like it better,"
Miss Grahame said, in a whining tone.

But Lilla answered her not. A crimson flush for the moment spread over
her very temples at the infliction of this indignity, which very quickly
gave way to a deadly, almost livid paleness, on which the marks of Miss
Malison's ready fingers were the only spots of red. Without a word in
reply, she hastily rose from the piano and left the room.

"Will she _blab_?" was the elegant question that was asked as the door

"Not she," replied Annie, laughing. "She dare not tell papa, and she
knows it is of no use appealing to mamma, who implicitly believes all
you tell her of Miss Lilla's excessive obstinacy, idleness, and
passionate temper in which she so constantly indulges; your deep regrets
that either of Lady Helen Grahame's daughters should be such a character
have succeeded so admirably. I have had such a struggle to obtain
mamma's promise to go with me to-night, that I really feel exhausted,"
and the young lady threw herself in a most graceful attitude of
listlessness on a sofa that stood invitingly beside lier.

"But have you succeeded?"

"Admirably! at length mamma thinks I am most amiable. My persuasions
were so eloquent, that the most obdurate person could not have resisted
them. I tried violence and sulkiness at first, thinking to frighten or
worry her into compliance; but finding both fail, I was compelled to
have recourse to humiliation and persuasion. If it had continued much
longer, I should have choked by the way; it is quite a relief to breathe
freely again. What do you think of her wishing me to go under the care
of Mrs. Hamilton to-night? I really could hardly control my horror at
the idea."

"Horrible, indeed! What would have become of all your plans, if you

"My dear creature, I would not have gone with her for worlds; but,
however, I think my plans are in too good training for one night spent
under her eyes to injure them. Caroline is beginning, I think, to feel
somewhat like a slave under this keen _surveillance_ of her paragon
mother, and to pine for the freedom of thought and act which I so
unboundedly enjoy. She only wants a little of my good advice and better
example, to become really a girl of spirit."

"But take care the spirit you are calling forth does not turn against
you," observed Miss Malison.

"Not at all likely, _ma chere_. I am careful only to excite it to serve
my own purposes. She likes me, I believe, and I can make her what I
please. Let her confidence in her mother be once destroyed, you will see
if she does not act as foolishly as I can desire. She has been buried in
the country so long, she is a mere infant with regard to all that
concerns a life of fashion; and, therefore, will be gladly led by one
she considers so completely _au fait_ at its mysteries as myself. I used
to like her in the country, because she always listened so eagerly to
all I said about London. I saw she envied me even when we were children,
and therefore fancied myself a most important personage."

"And do you like her now?"

"You are laughing at me, _chere_ Malison. You know I cannot bear a
rival, and this girl's dazzling beauty will completely cast me in the

"You don't mean to say her beauty can be compared to yours?" interrupted
Miss Malison.

"Perhaps not in the sterling worth of the two," replied Annie, glancing
complacently on a large mirror; "but she is new, Malison--quite new. Her
mother only kept her so long away that she might shine with greater
brilliancy when introduced. As for Caroline, I like her, as far as she
assists my plans, and by her silly, or, if that would serve me better,
criminal conduct, takes somewhat away from her mother's perfection, and
by the pain Mrs. Hamilton will feel, gratify my overpowering
detestation. Malison, you look delighted. Your assistance I am sure of,
if I require it; for you dislike this paragon of her sex almost as much
as I do."

"Indeed I do. I have never forgotten nor forgiven her presumption a year
or two ago, in hinting so broadly I was mistaken in my treatment of
Lilla, and that gentleness would have much better effect; gentleness
indeed, with a girl that would tire the patience of a saint. She is
always worse after having been with this Mrs. Hamilton, and I suppose it
will be all over again now. I wish, with your charming plans, my dear
Miss Grahame, you would find one to prevent all intercourse between the
Hamiltons and your sister."

"At present, _ma chere_, such a thing is out of my power, but we will
not despair; although the more you would say about Miss Lilla being
undeserving of such indulgence, the more papa would answer, let her go
and she will learn to be better there. I heard him give mamma peremptory
orders the other day, when we prevented her going, never to refuse
whenever Mrs. Hamilton invited her. Severity is a most admirable method,
my good Malison; you will break her spirit if you persevere,
notwithstanding all the amiable Mrs. Hamilton may do or say."

"I wish I may; but you have not told me all yet. How proceed your
schemes with Lord Alphingham?"

"To perfection! I have given Caroline a distaste for every other kind of
person. She has met him, you know, once or twice here, and that was
sufficient to fascinate her. She thinks him the handsomest and most
delightful man she ever knew. It is enough for Mr. Hamilton to see him a
friend of papa's to be attracted towards him; in all probability he will
be introduced at his house, and then my scheme will be still easier. It
will not be difficult to talk Caroline into fancying herself desperately
in love with him, and he with her--he is already attracted; and when I
see the aspect of affairs favourable, I will just get some kind friend
to whisper into Mrs. Hamilton's ear some of the pretty tales I have
heard of this Viscount, and you will see what will follow. These _on
dits_ are, fortunately for my plans, only known among my coterie. With
us, they only render Lord Alphingham more interesting; but with Mrs.
Hamilton they would have the effect of banishing him for ever from her
presence and from the notice of her daughter; the catastrophe, my dear
creature, shall be the perfection of diplomacy, but of that hereafter. I
owe Lord Alphingham a spite, which I will pay off one day, for his
desertion of me the moment Caroline appeared. I may do all I wish with,
one word. All my present intention is, by a gradual yet sure process, to
undermine Caroline's confidence in her mother, and make me her confidant
instead, and if I do that, the rest is easy."

"You know you have never failed in any scheme, therefore you may feel
secure in this," replied Miss Malison, with ready flattery; for she knew
Miss Grahame's love of designing, and really felt gratified at any plan
tending to injure Mrs. Hamilton, whom she detested with all the
malevolence of a mean and grovelling mind, which despised the virtue
that was too exalted for its comprehension.

Some little time longer this amiable pair conversed, but their further
conversation it is needless to record. We have already seen that
Emmeline Hamilton's prejudice against Annie Grahame was not unfounded,
and that at present is enough. Before, however, we quit Lady Helen's
mansion, we may say a few words on the character of Lilla, in whom, it
may be recollected, Mrs. Hamilton had ever felt interest sufficient to
indulge a hope that she might render her one day a greater comfort to
her father than either of his other children. As a child, her temper was
naturally good, though somewhat hasty and self-willed; high-spirited,
but affectionate to a degree that would have made the task of training
and instruction easy to any one who possessed sufficient gentleness to
win her affection, and with patience, yet firmness, to guide her in the
right way. Unfortunately, Miss Malison possessed neither; extremely
passionate herself, where her interests did not interfere to control it,
she was not at all the person to guide a passionate child. Severity was
her weapon, and every means used to break the spirit, which she could
plainly perceive would soon endeavour to throw off her control. Lilla
revolted at this treatment, and many evil qualities were thus introduced
in her disposition, which, when they fell under her eye, Mrs. Hamilton
was convinced were completely the fruits of mistaken management. From
being merely hasty, her passionate anger and hatred of her governess had
now increased to such height, as to be really alarming not only to her
weak-minded mother, but to Mrs. Hamilton, who, however, was certainly
never aware of their extent; for before her Lilla was generally gentle
and controlled. Something always occurred to call forth these bursts of
passion in Lady Helen's presence, and consequently, the actual conduct
of Lilla confirmed the statement of Miss Malison, as to her violence and
other evil qualities. Mr. Grahame, too, was compelled to believe all
that was told him, and his sternness towards his unhappy child
frequently caused her to fly from his presence in dread; although her
warm heart yearned towards him with such deep affection, which could he
have guessed one-half of its extent, would have twined her fondly round
his heart, and forced him to examine more strictly than he did the
conduct of Miss Malison. Lilla's dislike to her more favoured sister was
almost as violent as that she bore to her governess; and the conviction
that all her mother's family looked on her as a passionate, evil-minded
girl, of course, increased every bitter feeling. Often, very often, did
Mrs. Hamilton long to implore Mr. Grahame to dismiss Miss Malison, and
place Lilla under the care of some lady more fitted for the task; but
she felt that such advice might be looked upon with some justice by Lady
Helen's friends as most unwarrantable interference. Miss Malison had
been most highly recommended to Lady Helen by her mother, the Duchess of
----, and as, in the opinion of that branch of the family, Annie
abundantly displayed the good effects of her management, it was very
naturally supposed that Lilla's opposite character proceeded from an
innate evil disposition, and not from any fault in her governess. She
was now nearly fourteen and each year Mrs. Hamilton's hopes for the
future worth of her character became fainter; yet still she determined
to do all in her power to counteract Miss Malison's plans, and subdue
Lilla's fearful passions, and those longings for revenge, not only on
her governess but her sister, which, by many little things, she could
perceive were lurking round her heart. Montrose Grahame had been, as we
already know, from his earliest youth the intimate friend of Mr.
Hamilton, and, notwithstanding the increasing cares of their respective
families, this friendship had continued and, if possible, increased, and
Mrs. Hamilton sharing the sentiments of her husband, the qualities of
Grahame speedily caused him to become her friend likewise. She had ever
seen with regret his sternness to his children, she saw also that he was
pained, deeply pained, as their characters became more matured; and,
spite of the difficulties of the task, her benevolent mind determined to
leave no means untried to make one child at least his comfort. Lilla's
affection for her was as violent as her other feelings, and on that she
resolved at first to work. It was strange too, how devotedly attached
this wild and headstrong girl became, to one, who of all others appeared
least suited to her, and that one the mild and pensive Ellen. It
appeared as if it were a relief to meet one so widely different to
herself, and therefore she loved her. The high spirits and animation of
Emmeline appeared less congenial to her affections than the gentle
sweetness of Ellen. Caroline was Annie's friend, and that was enough for
her; not even her being Mrs. Hamilton's daughter could make her an
object of interest. On the day we have mentioned, Lilla had sat for
above an hour in her room; indignation at the insult she had received
swelling in every vein, and longing with sickening intensity for some
means to free herself from such galling thraldom. She did not give vent
to her injured feelings in tears, but her countenance so clearly
expressed the emotions of her heart, that it actually startled a servant
who entered with a message--a request from Mrs. Hamilton, that her young
friend would spend that evening with her daughter and niece. Lilla
started up with a wild exclamation of delight, and the anticipation of
the evening hours enabled her to obey with haughty calmness the summons
of Miss Malison. Before, however, she departed on her visit, a fresh
ebullition had taken place between the sisters in the presence of their
mother, to the great terror of Lady Helen, whose irritation at Lilla's
violence increased, as she could perceive nothing in Annie's words or
manner to call for it. Had she been less indolent, she might easily have
discovered that her elder daughter never permitted a single opportunity
to escape without eliciting Lilla's irritability. As it was, she coldly
rejected the offered caresses the really affectionate girl would have
lavished on her, as she wished her good night, and therefore it was with
a heart bursting with many mingled emotions she sought the happy home of
her beloved friends.

There gladly will we follow her, for the scenes of violence and evil
passion we have slightly touched on are not subjects on which we love to


There was thought, deep thought, engraved on Mrs. Hamilton's expressive
countenance, as she sat beside a small table, her head leaning on her
hand, anxious, perhaps even painful, visions occupying her reflective
mind. The evening was gradually darkening into twilight, but still she
did not move, nor was it till a well-known tap sounded at the door, and
her husband stood before her, that she looked up.

"Will you not let your husband share these anxious thoughts, my
Emmeline?" he said, as he gazed earnestly on her face.

"My husband may perhaps think them silly and unfounded fancies," she
replied, with a faint smile.

"He is so prone to do so," answered Mr. Hamilton, in an accent of
playful reproach; "but if you will not tell me, I must guess them--you
are thinking of our Caroline?"

"Arthur, I am," she said, with almost startling earnestness; "oh, you
cannot tell how anxiously! I know not whether I am right to expose her
to the temptations of the world; I know her disposition, I see the evils
that may accrue from it, and yet, even as if I thought not of their
existence, I expose her to them. Oh, my husband, can this be right? can
I be doing a parent's duty?"

"We should not, my beloved, be fulfilling the duties of our station, did
we not sometimes mingle in society: all our duty is not comprised in
domestic life. It is when we retain our integrity unsullied, our
restraining principles unchanged in the midst of temptations, that we
show forth, even to the thoughtless, the spirit that actuates us, and by
example may do good. Besides, remember, dearest, we are not about to
enter into continued and incessant dissipation, which occupies the
existence of so many; we have drawn a line, and Caroline loves her
parents too well to expect or wish to pass its boundary. Remember, too,
the anxious fears which were yours when Percy was about to enter into
scenes of even stronger temptation than those which will surround his
sister; and have they had foundation? Has not the influence of his
mother followed him there, and restrained him even at the moment of
trial, and will not the influence of that mother do the same for

"Percy is, indeed, all my heart could wish," replied Mrs. Hamilton,
still somewhat sadly; "but his disposition is different to that of
Caroline's. I know his confidence in me is such, and his affection so
strong, that for my sake he would do more than those who but slightly
know him would imagine. When a son really loves his mother, it is a
different, perhaps a more fervid, feeling than that ever known by a
daughter. He feels bound to protect, to cherish, and that very knowledge
of power heightens his affections."

"You do not doubt your daughters' love, my Emmeline? must I accuse you
of injustice too?"

"No, dearest Arthur, I do not doubt their love; for my Emmeline I do not
tremble. Her confidence I shall never lose; her affections, however I
may be called upon to exert my authority, will never waver, and
completely opposite as are the feelings with which she and Percy regard
me, their love may be equally intense. But forgive me, my dear husband,
I may be unjust, and if I am may my child forgive me; I am not--oh, that
I were--equally confident in my Caroline. She loves me, but that
affection, I know, does not prevent her thinking me harsh and unkind, if
my wishes interfere with hers. My authority is not the same with her as
it is to her sister and cousin. She seeks another confidential friend
besides her mother, for she dreads my opinions differing from hers. I
have marked her thus in early childhood, and it still exists, though her
temper is more controlled, her disposition, more improved. The last few
years she has been thrown almost entirely with me, and not much above a
twelvemonth since she shrunk from the idea of confiding in any one as
she did in me."

"And while that confidence exists, my Emmeline, you surely have no
right to fear."

"But it is waning, Arthur. The last month I know, I feel it is
decreasing. She is no longer the same open-hearted girl with me as she
was so lately at Oakwood. She is withdrawing her confidence from her
mother, to bestow it on one whom I feel assured is unworthy of it."

"Nay, Emmeline, your anxiety must be blinding you; you are too anxious."

His wife answered him not in words, but she raised her expressive eyes
to his face, and he saw they were filled with tears.

"Nay, nay, my beloved!" he exclaimed, as he folded her to his bosom,
struck with sudden self-reproach. "Have my unkind words called forth
these tears? forgive me, my best love; I think I love my children, but I
know not half the depths of a mother's tenderness, my Emmeline, nor that
clear-sightedness which calls for disquietude so much sooner in her
gentle heart than in a father's. But can we in no way prevent the growth
of that intimacy of which I know you disapprove?"

"No, my dearest Arthur, it must now take its course. Pain as it is to
me, I will not rudely check my child's affections, _that_ will not bring
them back to me. She may, one day, discover her error, and will then
gladly return to that love, that tenderness, of which she now thinks but
lightly. I must endeavour to wait till that day comes, with all the
patience I can teach my heart to feel," she added, with a smile.
"Perhaps I am demanding more than is my due. It is not often we find
young girls willing to be contented with their mother only as a friend;
they pine for novelty, for companions of their own age, whom they
imagine can sympathise better in their feelings. A child is all in all
to a mother, though a parent is but one link in the life of a child; yet
my children have so long looked on me as a friend, that, perhaps, I feel
this loss of confidence the more painfully."

"But you will regain it, my Emmeline; our Caroline is only dazzled now,
she will soon discover the hollowness of Annie's professions of
everlasting friendship."

Mrs. Hamilton shook her head.

"I doubt it, my dear husband. The flattering warmth with which Annie
first met Caroline has disappointed me. I thought and hoped that here,
surrounded by all her fashionable acquaintances, she would rather have
neglected her former friends, and Caroline's pride taking umbrage, their
intimacy would have been at once dissolved. Instead of this, Annie never
fails to treat her with the most marked distinction, evidently appearing
to prefer her much above her other friends; and, therefore, as in this
instance Caroline has found my warnings and suspicions needless and
unjust, she is not likely to permit my opinion of Annie to gain much

"But deceived as we have been in this instance, my dear Emmeline, may we
not be so in other points of Annie's character? She is evidently devoted
to fashion and fashionable pleasures, but still there may be some good
qualities lurking round her heart, which her intimacy with Caroline may
bring forward."

"I hope it may be so," replied Mrs. Hamilton, fervently, though somewhat
doubtingly. "For her father's sake, as well as that of my child's, I
wish her disposition may be different to that which I, perhaps
uncharitably, believe it. You must give me a portion of your sanguine
and trusting hopes, my dearest Arthur," she continued, fondly laying her
hand in his.

Mr. Hamilton returned a playful answer, and endeavoured to turn the
thoughts of his wife to other and more pleasurable subjects. Anxiety
such as hers could not be entirely dispelled, but it was lessened, for
she had imparted it to her husband, and his watchful care would combine
with her own to guard their child.

Very different were Caroline's feelings on this important night. Mrs.
Hamilton's fears and Annie's hopes were both well founded. We have known
the character of Caroline from a child; and though the last three or
four years it had so improved, that at Oakwood, Mrs. Hamilton had
ventured to banish fear, and indulge in every pleasing hope, yet there
was a degree of pride still remaining, that revolted very frequently
from the counsels even of her mother; that high and independent spirit
sometimes in secret longed to throw off the very slight restraint in
which she felt held at home. She could not bear to feel that she was in
any way controlled; she longed for the exercise of power, and by the
display of that beauty, those qualities, she knew she possessed, force
herself to be acknowledged as a girl of far more consequence than she
appeared to be when in the quiet halls of Oakwood. There nothing ever
occurred to call these feelings forth, but they were only dormant, and
in London they obtained much greater sway. She felt more controlled than
ever by her mother. Secretly she pined to free herself from that which
she magnified into thraldom, but which was but the watchful tenderness
of a devoted parent; and when the representations, sympathy, and
persuasions of Annie were listened to, no wonder these feelings
increased. Cautiously Miss Grahame had worked: she continually spoke of
the freedom she enjoyed; she introduced her friend to some young ladies
who were continually speaking of the delights of independence both in
act and word. Once introduced, they said they were emancipated from the
labour of the schoolroom, they could employ themselves as they liked, go
out when they pleased, and their mothers never interfered with their
amusements, except to see that they were becomingly dressed, chaperon
them to balls, and second all their efforts at fascination.

The restraint which, when compared with these, Caroline could not but
feel was hers at home, of course became more and more intolerable. In
confidence, she imparted to Annie her discontent. For the first time she
confided in another, feelings she shrunk from imparting to her mother,
and once such a confidential intimacy commenced, she neither could nor
would draw back. Annie artfully appeared to soothe, while in reality she
heightened the discontent and even indignation of her friend. Yes;
Caroline by slow degrees became even indignant at the conduct of that
mother whose every thought, whose most fervent prayer was for the
happiness of her children; and she looked to this night as the beginning
of a new era, when she allowed herself to hope, with the assistance of
Annie, she would gradually escape from control, and act as other girls
of spirit did.

There was another subject on which, by the advice of Annie, Caroline
carefully refrained from speaking at home, and that was Lord Alphingham,
a handsome and elegant viscount, who it may be remembered had been
mentioned in Annie's conversation with Miss Malison; and yet it would
appear strange that such was Miss Grahame's counsel, when Mr. Hamilton
frequently spoke of the viscount with every mark of approbation due to
his public conduct; of his private little was known, and still less
inquired. He was famous in the Upper House--an animated and eloquent
speaker--seconding and aiding with powerful influence all Grahame's
endeavours in the Lower House, and rendering himself to the latter a
most able and influential friend. His brilliant qualities, both as a
member of parliament and of polite society, rendered him universally
courted; yet notwithstanding this, Mr. Hamilton had never invited him to
his house.

"His public character, as far at least as it meets our eye, is
unquestionably worthy of admiration," he had said one day to his wife,
"but I know nothing more; of his private character and conduct I am and
must remain ignorant, and therefore I will not expose my children to the
fascination of his society in the intimacy of home."

Mrs. Hamilton had agreed with him, but it required not the "intimacy of
home" to give Annie an opportunity of persuading Caroline towards
secretly accepting his attentions, and making an impression in his
favour on her heart; and the latter looked to her _entree_ with the more
pleasure, as she hoped, and with some justice, it would give her many
more opportunities of meeting him than she now enjoyed. She saw before
her, in imagination, a long train of captives whom she would enslave,
still Lord Alphingham in all stood pre-eminent; and visions of varied
nature, but all equally brilliant, floated before her eyes, as she
prepared for the grand ball which, for the first time in her life, she
was about to join.

The business of the toilette was completed, and we might forgive the
proud smile of exultation which curled round her lip, as she gazed on
the large pier glass which reflected her whole figure. The graceful
folds of the rich white silk that formed her robe suited well with the
tall and commanding form they encircled. The radiant clasp of diamonds
securing the braid of pearls which twined the dark glossy hair,
glittered with unusual brilliancy on that noble yet haughty brow, and
heightened the dazzling beauty of her countenance. The dark eyes
sparkling with animation, her cheek possessing the rose of buoyant youth
and health, the Grecian nose, the lip, which even pride could not rob of
its beauty, all combined to form a face lovely indeed. Fanny had gazed
and admired her young lady with suppressed exclamations of delight,
which were strangely at variance with the sigh that at that instant
sounded on Caroline's ear; she turned hastily and beheld her mother, who
was gazing on her with looks of such excessive tenderness, that a
strange pang of self-reproach darted through her heart, although it was
instantly banished by the fancy, that if it was with a sigh her mother
regarded her on such a night, how could she look for sympathy in the
pleasure then occupying her mind. At Oakwood every feeling, every
anticipation would have been instantly imparted, but now she only longed
to meet Annie, that to her all might be told without restraint. Painful,
indeed, was this unwonted silence of a child to the fond heart of Mrs.
Hamilton, but she refused to notice it. Much, very much, did she wish
to say, but she saw by the countenance of her daughter it might be
considered mistimed; yet to launch the beautiful girl she saw before her
into the labyrinth of the world, without uttering one word of the
thoughts which were thronging on her mind, she felt was impossible. They
might not have the effect she wished, yet she would do her duty.
Desiring Fanny to take her young lady's shawl down stairs, she gently
detained Caroline as she was about to follow her.

"Listen to me but for a few minutes, my love," she said, in that
affectionate yet impressive tone, which seldom failed to arrest the
attention of her children, "and forgive me, if my words fall harshly and
coldly on your excited fancy. I know well the feelings that are yours,
though you perhaps think I do not, by the involuntary sigh you heard,
and I can sympathise with them, though lately you have refused to seek
my sympathy. Bright as are your anticipations, reality for a time will
be still brighter. Brilliant will be the scenes of enchantment in which
you will mingle,--brilliant indeed, for you are beautiful, my
Caroline--and admiration on all sides will be your own. Why should you
look on me with surprise, my child? that beauty on which perhaps my
heart has often dwelt too proudly, is not my gift nor of your creation.
The Great Being who has given you those charms of face and form will
mark how His gift is used; and oh, forget not for one moment His
all-seeing eye is as much upon you in the crowded ball as in the
retirement of your own room. You will be exposed to more temptations
than have yet been yours; the most dangerous temptations, adulation,
triumph, exciting pleasures of every kind, will be around you. The
world in radiant beauty will loudly call upon you to follow it alone, to
resign all things to become its votary; the trial of prosperity will
indeed be yours. Caroline, my child, for my sake, if not for your own,
resist them all. My happiness is in your hands. Seek your God in this
ordeal, even more than you would in that of adversity; there the spirit
naturally flies from earth, here it clings tenaciously to the world.
Pray to Him to resist the temptations that will surround--implore him to
teach you the best use of those charms He has bestowed on you. Forsake
him not; Caroline, I conjure you, be not drawn away from Him. Do not let
your thoughts be so wholly engrossed by pleasure as to prevent your
bestowing on Him but one hour of your day. Let me clasp my child to my
heart, when we return to Oakwood, unsullied, untouched by the stains of
the world. Let me have the blessed comfort of seeing my Caroline return
to the home of her childhood the same innocent happy being she was when
she left. I have ever endeavoured to make you happy, to give you those
pleasures you naturally desire, to form your character not only for the
happiness of this world, but for that of the next; then if you are ever
tempted to do wrong, if no higher consideration bids you pause, think on
your mother, Caroline; remember my happiness or misery greatly depends
on you, and, oh, if you have ever loved me, pause ere you proceed."

"Mother, do not doubt me; Caroline Hamilton will never sully the name
she bears," replied Caroline, her eye flashing, and speaking proudly, to
conceal the emotion her mother's words had involuntarily produced.

Mrs. Hamilton gazed on the haughty and satisfied security the features
of her child expressed. A more softened feeling would at that moment
better have pleased the yearning heart of the mother, but she checked
the rising sigh of disappointment, and folding Caroline to her bosom,
she imprinted a fond kiss on her noble brow, and murmuring, "God in
heaven bless you, my child, and grant you sufficient strength," they
descended the stairs together.

Brilliant indeed was the scene that met the dazzled eyes of Caroline, as
she entered the elegant suite of rooms of the Duchess of Rothbury. The
highest rank, the greatest talent, the loveliest of beauty's daughters,
the manliest and noblest of her sons, were all assembled in that flood
of light which every apartment might be termed. Yet could the varied
countenances of these noble crowds have clearly marked the character
within, what a strange and varied page in the book of human life might
that ball have unfolded.

But various as are the characters that compose an assemblage such as
this, the tone is generally given by the character and manner of the
lady of the house, and her Grace the Duchess of Rothbury was admirably
fitted for the position she filled. A daughter of fashion, bred up from
her earliest years in scenes of luxury and pomp, she had yet escaped the
selfishness, the artificial graces, which are there generally
predominant. She had married early in life, a marriage _a la mode_, that
is to say, not of love, but of interest on the part of her parents, and
on her own, dazzled, perhaps, by the exalted rank of the man who had
made her an offer of his hand. They were happy. The highly-principled
mind of the Duchess revolted from that conduct which would, even in the
_on dit_ of a censorious world, have called the very faintest whisper
on her name; and her husband, struck by the unwavering honour and
integrity of her conduct, gradually deserted the haunts of ignoble
pleasures which he had been wont to frequent, and paid her those marks
of consideration and respect, both in public and private life, which she
so greatly deserved. A large family had been the fruits of this union,
all of whom, except her two youngest daughters and two of her sons, were
married, and to the satisfaction of their parents. There was a degree of
reserve, amounting to severity, in the character of the Duchess, which
prevented that same affectionate confidence between her and her children
as subsisted in Mr. Hamilton's family. Yet she had been a kind and
careful mother, and her children ever proved, that surrounded as she
constantly was by the fashionable and the gay, she had presided over the
education of her daughters, and been more than usually particular in the
choice of governesses. Violent as she might be considered in her
prejudices for and against, yet there was that in her manner which alike
prevented the petty feelings of dislike and envy, and equally debarred
her from being regarded with any of that warm affection, for which no
one imagined how frequently she had pined. She stood alone, respected,
by many revered, and she was now content with this, though her youth had
longed for somewhat more. Her chosen friend, spite of the difference of
rank, had been Mr. Hamilton's mother, and she had watched with the
jealousy of true friendship the object of Arthur Hamilton's love.

A brief yet penetrating survey of Emmeline Manvers' character she took,
and was satisfied. The devotion of Mrs. Hamilton, for so many years, to
her children she had ever admired, and frequently defended her with
warmth when any one ventured before her to condemn her conduct. Mr. and
Mrs. Hamilton regarded her with reverence and affection, and were
gratified at that kindness which insisted that the _entree_ of Caroline
should take place at her house.

The Earl and Countess Elmore were also pre-eminent among the
guests--young, noble, exquisitely lovely, the latter at once riveted all
eyes, yet by the graceful dignity of her manner, repelled all advances
of familiarity. She might have been conscious of her charms, she could
not fail to be, but she only valued them as having attracted towards her
the man she loved. She only used them to endear him to his home; and it
was when alone with the Earl, that the sweet playfulness of her
character was displayed to its full extent, and scarcely could he then
believe her the same being who in society charmed as much by her dignity
and elegance, as by her surpassing beauty. The family of the Marquis of
Malvern were also present; they had been long known to Mr. and Mrs.
Hamilton, who were glad to resume an intimacy which had been checked by
their retirement, but which had ever been remembered with mutual
pleasure. The Earl of St. Eval, eldest son of the Marquis, might have
been thought by many, who only knew him casually, as undeserving of the
high renown he enjoyed; and many young ladies would have wondered at
Emmeline Hamilton's undisguised admiration. Handsome he certainly was
not; yet intelligence and nobleness were stamped upon that broad
straight, brow, and those dark eyes were capable at times of speaking
the softest emotions of the human heart. But it was only when he
permitted himself to speak with energy that his countenance was
displayed to advantage, and then the bright rays of intellect and
goodness which gilded every feature, aided by the eloquent tones of his
full rich voice, would have made the most careless turn and look again,
and ask why they admired; but such times were few. Reserved, almost
painfully so, he was generally prone in such scenes as this to stand
alone, for few indeed were those of either sex with whom the soul of
Eugene St. Eval could hold commune; but this night there was more
animation than usual glittering in his dark eyes. He was the first of
the admiring crowd to join Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's party, and petition
for the hand of Caroline in the next quadrille. It was with a smile of
proud satisfaction her father relinquished her to the young man, for she
had consented, although the watchful eye of her mother observed her
glance round the room, as if in search for some other, and a shade of
disappointment pass over her brow, that said her search was fruitless;
that feeling was but momentary, however. She joined the festive throng,
and her young heart beat quicker as she met the many glances of
undisguised admiration fixed constantly upon her. Seldom had Mr.
Hamilton been so beset as he was that night by the number of young men
who pressed forward to implore him for an introduction to his beautiful
daughter; and Caroline's every anticipation of triumph was indeed
fulfilled. Her mother was right. Reality was in this case far more
dazzling than even imagination had been. There were many in that
splendid scene equally, perhaps even more beautiful than Caroline
Hamilton, but she possessed the charm of which almost all around her
were deprived, that of novelty. She was, indeed, a novice amid scenes of
fashion, and the genuine pleasure her countenance expressed, appeared a
relief when compared to many around her. The name of Hamilton had never
been entirely forgotten in London. Their singularity in living so long
in unbroken retirement had been by many ridiculed, by others condemned,
as an attempt to appear better than their neighbours; and many were the
speculations as to whether the saintly Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton would
really do such a wicked thing as introduce their daughters into society,
or whether they would keep the poor girls in the country like nuns, to
be moped to death. Great, therefore, was the astonishment of some, and
equally great the pleasure to others, when Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton
reappeared amongst their London friends; and that night the warm
greetings of many old friends who thronged around them, eager to
introduce to their notice the young members of their families, afforded
a pleasing satisfaction to the heart of Mrs. Hamilton, whose gentle
courtesy and winning smile they found had not in the least deserted her.
The feelings of a mother swelled warmly within her as she gazed on her
child; her fond heart throbbed with chastened pride, as she marked the
unfeigned and respectful admiration Caroline received, and these
emotions, combined with the pleasure she felt at beholding again
well-remembered faces, and hearing the glad tones of eager greeting,
caused this evening to be equally as pleasurable to her, though in a
different way, as it was to Caroline.

The attentions of Eugene St. Eval to Miss Hamilton continued as
unintermitting as they were respectful the whole of that night; and
Caroline, if she did not encourage, certainly forbade them not. She
listened to him with more attention; she appeared more animated with him
than with any of her other partners, one perhaps, alone excepted, and
yet she had taught her young heart to receive impressions to his

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