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answered his inquiries regarding her visit.
But how vain it is to endeavour to support a conversation on indifferent subjects when the heart is full of other thoughts! the sigh from his own bosom, echoed spontaneously by as deep a one from his gentle companion, recalled many ideas to Cunnington's breast.
He remembered when, seeking each other's gaze, both felt how dear they were to each other,—he remembered the despair he had felt when he had been refused,—he recalled the day when, kneeling by Alice's side in God's lofty temple, he had all inadvertently discovered that he was loved.
Sadly Cunnington had heard that Alice now might be his bride ; but how unworthy he felt of claiming that hand! though he endeavoured to hope he might never again see Anna di Lucia, it was, indeed, an
endeavour to breathe such a hope; for, wherever he was, of whatever he talked, the too delightful apparition of the Italian girl was ever crossing his mind.
“Alice,” he said, in a choked hollow voice; “ Alice, how you must despise me! but pity me; pity the fire which reigns within my bosom, the guilty weakness which is consuming my happiness, the stunning blow which enfeebles my energyI should never be worthy of woman's love."
The tears gathered in his young companion's eyes,—she could have loved him in his joyous hours of mirth, but to see him in sadness, only augmented tenfold her tenderness—her heart throbbed, and her swelling throat could not give utterance to the words of comfort she fain would speak; her whole frame shook convulsively, her cheeks grew pale, and she feared, yet longed to hear her rival's name.
At length, commanding herself by an effort worthy of the tuition of Lady Cunnington, she said, very calmly, though almost in a whisper,
“Cunnington, my silly tears are dried, and they shall ever, if I have strength, be dried when I can command my own thoughts. You need not tell me that which I anticipate,—you no longer love me, and you fear to tell me of it; is that your
“It is wrong of you to say I no longer love you,” replied Cunnington ; “it is impossible to be near you and not do so; but do you remember, you once talked of another love ?"
“Of friendship,” said Alice, with a faint smile ; “ but you then made use of the bard's words, and you said
L'amitié est l'amour sans ses aîles.'
Well, be it so, Cunnington ; that friendship was offered once ; it is ever, shall ever be yours. But what ails you, Cunningtonwho .... who .... is my rival ?”
"Do not ask me, or rather conclude that as I cannot tell you, my love is illbestowed.”
“I will make her love you if you will only tell me her name, Cunnington ; can you not confide in me?”.
“ Teach a married woman how to love me !" replied Cunnington, in a hollow voice.
“Good heavens, is it possible !" said Alice, wringing her hands ; “ Cunnington, how dare you make me the confidante of such a crime? How dare you think I could pity you ?”
“Spoken like women speak,” said Cunnington, the dark shade of anger gathering on his brow. “Go now, Alice, and tell my mother; go, tell her how her son will
bring disgrace upon her name ; go, tell her all—hear my dying father curse mesee my despair— my degradation, and be revenged !"
“I have no more to do with revenge than with lawless love,” cried Alice ; the blush of shame for the weakness of the only man she had ever loved mantling her young brow; but her voice faltered as she looked at Cunnington,—so young, so handsome ; the scion of a noble house, contemplating, hoping for that from which virtue recoils. “ Upbraid me not!” said she, at length; " I may be guilty of pitying you more than I ought, but I will never, never betray your confidence. Tell me, Cunnington, can there be happiness in such love ?”
“ There is madness, wretchedness, and despair !" was the dreadful answer.
“ Then turn before it be too late ; do not wish her to love you ; do not tell me her