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taken on very private business. The baron was not ignorant of the illiberal rumours which had found their way in society respecting me; and it seems that he concluded the only way to refute the accusations was for me to settle in life. At first I recoiled from listening to his words, but the gentle one whose hand I had once sued, and who had refused me from motives which do not concern my trial, was a woman such as we love to think possess much of the spirit of the pure angels whose perfection they can at least aim at, and though I little deserved such happiness, still it was my lot—the love of the good and gentle .... and the friendship of the Baroness de Scala. A few days after my return from Cunnington Abbey, I received news of the affliction the Baroness de Scala was enduring: she loved her babe with more than common fervour ; it was the life of her life, the joy
of her joy, the link which made her see duty, love, and friendship in the true colouring in which they ought to be viewed. My mother drove with me to the baroness, and left me there, and when I saw the porter shake his head and hesitate I brushed past him, and soon found myself by the side of the baroness ; she was shockingly altered, and seemed to wander. For a few moments my visit gave her pleasure, but the next she imagined I was her husband, she spoke of her babe, she leant her head against my shoulder, and she wept. I had often heard how beneficial tears are when the brain is seared with sorrow, and for some ten minutes I allowed those warm tears to flow. Suddenly the baroness raised her head, she looked at me so vacantly that I knew she was still wandering, and she said, “ leave me, baron, what have you to love ?' It was perfectly useless to reason
with the baroness, and I involuntarily humoured the train of her own thoughts, I allowed her to think her husband was answering her, and I said the exact words Annette Plessy has repeated, “I have you to love.'—I did not notice the baroness's maid spoke satirically, but now I remember I thought her somewhat taciturn : I did mention my intention of returning in the evening, and it was exactly the hour named by her when I arrived. I found the baroness rather more calm ; this time she did not address me as her husband, she spoke very sensibly, but not as if she had ever known me in happier days, she seemed to speak to me as she would to her confessor ; she said she was sorry she had ever formed any ties on earth — ties which death so remorselessly severs, and she more than once expressed a wish of going to Italy and burying herself in a convent. At ten o'clock the servants entered with cake and wine, the baroness poured it out herself, and I was astonished to find how calm she was, because it seemed forced, as she was more cold to me than our long acquaintance warranted. Presently she took a small box and opened it carefully, it was crowded with articles which to her was sacred. There was a coral necklace, a riband rosette, a pair of tiny shoes, and several locks of golden-coloured hair. These belonged to the babe, cried the weeping mother, and she rushed out of the room, opening a door, and rapidly passing three or four rooms until I saw her reach one which appeared a bed-room. I hesitated—I knew I ought not to follow, and yet I was afraid to leave the baroness alone ; but before I had determined how to act she returned, looking ghastly pale ;— if I had not taken a glass of water,' she said, 'I should have
fainted.' Again she placed the treasured articles in the box, and she spoke much of the convent. I gradually grew warm in my disapprobation of a monastic life. I told her my horror of women plunging themselves in such solitude ; I told her that never dying are the regrets of those who, in a moment of vexation, leave a world they are fitted to adorn; I told her the ills of life are oftentimes as passing as those clouds which sweep the sky, and leave it purer, bluer, brighter. As I spoke the baroness seemed to grow like herself again; some thought of past hours when sorrow was unknown, flitted across her imagination, for suddenly she smiled,—a cold, a strange smile, and then she sunk in hysterics in my arms. I was alarmed, and my first idea was not to ring the bell, but to carry or rather drag the baroness into the chamber where she had once be.