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ing, I am sure Mr. Cunnington would have carried away the prize for the most perfect damask rose.”
“But what did Augustus say?" continued Lady Cunnington, with much earnestness.
" He stammered very much,” answered the truthful Miss Grey; "and he said that table conversation was often as silly and light as the froth of the sparkling Champagne. At all events he called himself rash for giving his opinions at all, and left me as much displeased with himself as if he had been shriving his conscience at the Lord of Lorraine's feet."
“Dear Augustus !” exclaimed Lady Cunnington.
“ My dear Lady Cunnington, what is there so beautiful in Mr. Augustus saying one thing to-day, and contradicting it the next? Did you hear Caradori sing? Are
you fond of morning concerts, Miss Lemington?” But Alice was stooping down to pick up her embroidery, which had fallen from her hands.
“What a beautiful colour she has,” said Miss Grey, looking very archly at Alice ; "pray allow me—" (for the work had again fallen).
“ All country girls have pretty colours," replied Lady Grey.
“ Yes, yes, I know they have,” said Miss Grey; “ I had a very pretty colour oncea very strange colour, too; it came and went, as if some magic fountain sent it to play round my cheek; a name was a powerful and never failing stimulus.”
Alice blushed more deeply.
“ Exactly so," continued the pretty tormentor ; “ my colour used to go and come --born by a thought—dying by a sigh ; but now it comes no more.”
"Nay, I must contradict you, lady fair,” cried Lady Cunnington ; “your blushes at this present moment are very beautiful;" and, so saying, Lady Cunnington extended her hand towards Alphonzo di Lucia, who at that moment was announced.
“How is Lord Elphin this morning ?” she asked.
“He has passed a very restless night,” replied Alphonzo.
“I am very sorry to hear it.”
“I can assure your ladyship it grieves me most sincerely; for I can never forget Lord Elphin protected my helpless infancy, and I fear I shall not be able to watch his declining years, as I fain would have done.”
“Then there is no hope of his recovery?” “Very little, indeed.”
There was a pause. Lady Anne Grey was wondering whether a young man could possibly care for the death of an old noble
man who was going to leave him all his property. Lady Cunnington knew Alphonzo was sincere, and she was also busily engaged in thought.
Soft as Miss Grey's well-trained voice generally sounded, there was something singularly in harmonious when, suddenly turning to Alphonzo, she said,
“Are you going to Lady Cassel's ball to-morrow night?”
“Are you mocking me, Miss Grey ?” was the answer.
“No, no, no, indeed, I had forgottenforgive me,” and Miss Grey extended her hand.
Alphonzo, however, took no notice of the action ; probably he hardly perceived it ; his voice was lower than usual as he said,
“Those who are gay and happy know not how to understand duller feelings; my benefactor is, as you know, dangerously ill.”
Miss Grey probably repented having talked of her feeting colour ; for Alice, who was exactly opposite her seat, happened to look up, and she saw Miss Grey's face suffused with the richest tint imaginable.
It was very unusual for Miss Grey to be reproved; for there existed a sort of understanding between mother and daughter ; they both spoke as they pleased, and never alluded to their conversation afterwards ; Lady Anne, therefore, remained much longer than Miss Grey thought agreeable, for she had not even heard her daughter's last words.
At length the visit was over ; and when Miss Grey pressed Alice Lemington's hand, sbe bent her tall figure until her head was exactly on a level with her young companion's; and she whispered, “Take care, Alice, days of triumph are very soon over.”
“Mary, Mary, how very silly you are!" said Lady Anne, as the carriage rolled lazily