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nington will return this evening, judge for yourself.”
“Nay,” said Eldrido, after a short period of silence, “ I am forced to go from town on business.”
“ Ha! you will go for the baron ?”
“ One need be in this world,” was the reply. “Oh! signor, I am more indignant at the conduct of the baroness, because she had a way about her which would have deceived the evil one himself. If you had heard her pray when her child was dying; if you had seen how lovely she was in her grief,—so unearthly beautiful, I scarce liked to intrude upon her! I really began to think the tales I had heard were false as shameful, when my mind was, as I have told you, toò fully convinced of the reality of the case.”
" And you say the baron is ever kind to her ?”
“Kind! he worships the ground on which she treads ; she is more beloved, more petted than many a virtuous woman who is proud only of her own goodness; but the baroness has a particular pride about her which seems to chain the gallants to her feet.”
“ Gallants ! good heavens, has she more than one lover?”
“ No, no, not exactly so; but the first season the baroness was seen, every one raved about her,—the papers described minutely her toilet; poets sent in their names, and begged to dedicate their books to her ; musicians called their scrolls ‘Anna waltzes ;' chapeaux à la Baronne Anna were the rage ; some said she was clever, others musical, others poetical, others enthusiastic, others sublime ; all agreed she was lovely, and the baroness received these adulations as if she were Queen Sheba.”
“ Astonishing !” said Eldrido; “for I know the baroness frequently refused the most brilliant invitations, preferring a quiet evening at home.”
“ C'est bien facile à croire,” said the soubrette; “ a téte-à-tête with Lord Cunnington in perspective.”
“ But the baron was there."
“ Oh, not always! he is a studious man, and passes those quiet evenings in the library."
“ By Santa Maria, it is horrible !”
“ Santa Maria has very little to do with it,” laughed the soubrette.
“Don't laugh, woman, don't laugh; my brain is on fire! .my senses are reeling ! Oh, hellish world in which we live ! oh, corruption of vows ! oh, corruption of hearts ! Divines may preach till they are hoarse, there is no virtue in the world.”
“Signor, you are jealous.”
silly words, tarry no more, I hate womankind! Jealous of a lord whose title is not worth the trouble of burdening it with sin ! never will I waste a thought on love! never will I believe in anything save vice, sin, and misery! Hark ye, Annette, take a lesson now, and if thou askest me of whom I am thinking, believe how sincere is the answer -of the injured baron. Let the blow come swiftly or tardily, come it will at last; even now from the far off soil on which his feet are treading, the knell of his happiness may be sounding ; what matters it how he has trusted ?—all will merge into one point, in the main he will learn he has been deceived."
Tears rolled down Eldrido's cheeks, sobs interrupted his language, but from the inmost recess of his heart, every thought was centred on one subject, every pulse was crying for revenge. The hot Spanish blood was burning, the brain was as quenchless fire, and the soubrette stood trembling by his side, astonished and afraid.
“Calm yourself,” said she, “ the baroness is not worth your sorrow.” At that moment a bell sounded," hark,” cried Annette, “ that is the drawing-room bell, I must go.” Eldrido mechanically followed the woman's steps, but he paused when he reached a boudoir which led into the drawing-room. He saw Annette advancing towards her mistress, and peeping through the door he looked sadly at that young and lovely countenance. A slight flush on the sufferer's cheek lighted up for a few moments her large full eyes, her hair disordered by long sleep fell around her graceful shoulders, and her taper fingers played listlessly through her raven tresses, as she bid Annette bind them up again.
.“ Bind them all up,” she said, “ all, all ; what care I for ornaments ? I have lost my