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along, for the horses were becoming acquainted with the weight of the honours of the season. “How very silly you are to let that pale-faced Alice Lemington know that she has any influence over Augustus Cunnington.”
Oh, mamma, pray spare me! you know that if we agree about the colour of a bonnet, we differ very materially on the subject of hearts. I loved Mr. Cunnington once—you know I did ; but he sought me, I did not make love to him. Foolish girl! I thought my affection was returned. Ah, you may smile, I mean it! it was not for his future title I loved him, it was for himself; a few short weeks have opened my eyes. Alice Lemington is the very being his imagination would have conjured up to love; Mr. Cunnington talked frivolously to please me—so much for fashionable levity, mamma ; but Alice Lemington
is a girl of sound sense, and far, very far, superior to what I am.
“I never heard you talk thus, Mary.”
“ Nor probably ever will again. There are more tales of disappointment read on a pensive brow than told in a gay laugh ; and I am too proud to let the world point at me, and say, 'poor Mary Grey, how she is pining for Mr. Cunnington !'
My dear Mary, you positively astonish me; I really wanted you to marry young Cunnington, but I had not the least idea it was an affaire de cour. I should have said you liked M. di Lucia, or the Prince di Lucia, as he is sometimes called.
“ I value young Di Lucia's esteem ; he is particularly gentlemanly, agreeable, and sincere ; but I would never marry a Roman Catholic--you know my aversion even to Puseyism.”
Lady Anne Grey was more and more
astonished. When she had married her cousin, Lord Grey, she had felt very little romance on the subject, and she had persuaded herself her eldest daughter was a very counterpart of her own character; and indeed it cannot be denied that it was a difficult task to read beneath the surface of Miss Grey's usual levity. Deep feelings strong principles—stern resolutions— rapturous love-or deep hate : such were the characteristic features of that strangely-concealed heart; but Miss Grey had been erroneously educated; and as she dared not brave the censure or open admiration of the world, she determined to wear a mask, and appear as light and frivolous as if her heart had not the most fastidious feelings.
“ My dear Mary, 1–”
to you like this.”
And Mary Grey gaily bowed to a party of equestrians who were entering the promenade. Wearing a face beaming with smiles, her pretty fair ringlets playing in the breeze, who would have imagined any tale of the heart existed in that apparently light bosom ?
Are you better, Clara ?” asked Lady Anne Grey, as she entered the drawingroom, and found her youngest daughter lying on the sofa.
“I am a little better, thank you, mamma; but I foolishly forgot to tell James I was not at home, and Lord Sevridge has increased my headache by talking very fast.”
“ Lord Sevridge been here !” said Lady Anne, taking off her shawl, evidently determined to continue some time before she went up stairs. “Tell me, child, what did he say?"
" I really cannot remember every word ; but, dear mamma, my head aches; what does it matter what Lord Sevridge said ? he never says anything very erudite to me, does he ?"
Perhaps not; but it is a passing whim of the moment; I should like to know if he told you any news.”
Very little; he spoke principally of Miss Lemington.”
“ Of Alice Lemington," said Lady Anne, why, I protest the little insignificant creature makes a positive sensation; I wonder she is so well received, for no one has ever heard of Mr. Lemington. The Cunnington's chaperonage, however, is powerful enough to cause a milkmaid to be received as if she were a titled lady."
Oh, mamma!” said Clara, “ you must not make such outré comparisons; the idea of comparing Miss Lemington to a milkmaid ; is it not very ridiculous, Mary?”
Very,” said Mary. “ And is she insignificant ?”