« 前へ次へ »
heart was full of another, and into Augusta's head she had conveyed all her own contempt for foreign titles and foreign fortunes. She was very civil-nay, even affectionate in her manner to the count, when once she was certain on this point; for she knew his opinions were influential, not merely with Julian, but with a set of fashionables, whose fiat was important to the debutantes. His public devotion would set the stamp on the gold, and it would pass current in consequence.
Annie's passion, unsuspected by every one else, had not escaped the eye of the mental anatomist, De Villeneuve. His pride and vanity were gratified; he was of a keenheaded, but cold-hearted school; and he scrupled not to encourage what was a moment's amusement to him, and perhaps eternal misery to her. Augusta he flattered and trifled with, but Ellen was his real aim. His pride, his vanity were concerned in winning the calm, apparently unimpassioned girl. He suspected that at heart her wealthy uncle nourished for her a preference which, in a true
French spirit of calculation, he thought would shew itself in une dot énorme and, a rare mixture of vanity, interest, and passion, he privately smiled on the entranced Annie, and yet set all the powers of his mind to work to win the heart of Ellen.
We have said that Mr. Lindsay suspected both his nieces of a preference for Julian. Ellen, if she shunned him when present, which for some time she had done, was ever his warmest champion when he was absent. A disparaging word even from Miss Tibby brought blood to her cheek, and eloquence to her tongue. Mr. Lindsay began to wish the London season and his nieces' trials over; for he remarked that Ellen grew somewhat pale, her manner abstracted, and her voice less joyous. What could it be from, if not from love of Julian ? De Villeneuve evidently tried to please her, but Julian's father could never think that a Frenchman could have any chance by the side of his handsome son.
“ Heaven gives our years of fading strength
Indemnifying fleetness ;
It was the last evening they were to pass at Brighton. The Count De Villeneuve was of the party; and, in the midst of gay projects for the full enjoyment of the London season, all felt some regret at leaving a place where they had been so happy. For once, an evening passed without Rollin; for Augusta had conveyed the book away to be packed up; so Mr. Grunter had nothing to do but to mend pens (which he did almost unconsciously), and to correct Annie.
“ But you will soon join us in London,"
said Julian to Alphonse, who had been ex. pressing a most poetical and romantic regret at their approaching departure, in language which was aimed at Ellen's heart, but sunk only into poor Annie's. “My dear fellow, why should we not be equally happy there ?”
“Past happiness is the only happiness we are sure of. I have no faith in the future. The solitary joy of my life, that I have tasted among you dear friends, was born here; and, like a child pining for its native air, so will that one flower of my heart pine for these breezes, and this sweet, quiet fireside.”
“ The atmosphere of the heart is made by the kindness and affection of those around us," said Augusta, “and that will surround you in London as it has done here.”
“I'm sure I quite agree with the count," said Miss Tibby. “ The feelings depend very much on the climate; it's not so many years since I left Edinbro', but, I can truly say, I never feel as I did there, nor there, as I did some few years before, in the Highlands, when I was jist on a visit at the Brae, when I
used to tak a morning walk wi' Donald, the air was warmer and kindlier than I ever felt it; and, I'm sure, the warm hearts of auld Scotland, and the clear heads......"
“ Are not owing to the Scotch air, or the Scotch mists,” said Julian, laughing.
“ Mists, kinsman!” replied Miss Tibby; “ talk o'mists, indeed! I little knew what mists war till I left Scotland. Why, here I often canna see for the mists, and wi' spectacles to help me, too, and there I could see to read the smallest prent, and mark the finest linen by the threads. In those walks wi' Donald I could see the mountains mony miles awa' clearer than I can see your gimcrack chain-pier from this window. Mists indeed, kinsman !"
“ But, Miss Tibby, you forget you're not so young as you were then.”
“ You forget yourself, cousin, to remember a lady of her age—that does na credit to your foreign breeding; and I only wish you'd take pattern by the count. A very gude evening, and better manners to you !”