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Love pleaded for him. He won from her a confession of her affection, he held her trembling hand, he improvised a tale of deep passion and awful necessity for inviolable secrecy, till he could declare himself openly. This poor Annie promised. Alas! in such cases woman's heart is but too prone to conceal. Secrecy is the chosen nurse of first love. Annie was proud and happy, for she felt sure she had made a conquest of the man she loved ; De Villeneuve was proud and happy, for he felt sure he should easily make a victim of the woman who loved him.
“Let not woman e'er complain
Of inconstancy in love ;
Fickle man is apt to rove."
Meanwhile, Ellen and Miss Tibby drove to Pentonville. Miss Tibby's conversation consisted during her drive principally of records of the great fancies “auld people used to tak to her in her youth, and the vary discreet and canny manner in which she always conducted hersel'."
The Douglases, like too many of our dear northern land, were more remarkable for the length of their pedigree than of their purse. With that noblest pride which is the parent of honesty, they had sought a lodging suitable to their means, not their birth; at least, Miss Grizzy had done so, for Babie was, as her sister said, “a silly cratur, that didna ken the value o'siller.”
They had fixed during the stay which business obliged them to make in London on a row of houses, which seemed to have no advantage over several similar ones, except that it was called “ Aberdeen Row," and on a house which boasted no superiority to twenty such, except that it was called “ Bruce Cottage,” that two or three Scotch firs withered in the slip of ground before the house, some roots of dusty heath in boxes before the windows, and that the owner of the house was an old, lame, and rather stingy Mr. Mac Intyre, fra' “ bonny Dundee.”
But this was enough to give “ Bruce Cottage” a decided advantage in Grizzy's patriotic mind over “Spruce Cottage," next door, with a garden full of gay flowers, bright green jalousies, picture blinds, gaudy and cockney, like Mrs. Wheedle, its landlady, whose neatly-furnished rooms were some shillings
less the week than Mr. Mac Intyre's; but then it was said that she contrived by cribbing and extras to make hers the dearest in the end, while the auld Scotch landlord agreed, as he averred, “ for a gude penny at once, and scorned to tak’a farthing mair.”
As the carriage stopped at the gate, Ellen beheld Babie peeping with playful anxiety from behind a very dingy old brown holland blind. “ Puir Babie,” said Tibby, “she's a thoughtless flauntering young crater, I fear,” and in a moment Babie, spite of her lameness, came scuffling down in a plaid cap, with a smile that confirmed Tibby's opinion.
“Sister is vary anxious to see you," she said to Ellen ; “I shall show you to her room.”
“Can I na be admitted ?” asked Tibby. Baby shook her head, Tibby looked offended.
“Dinna be offended,” said Babie; “Grizzy's unco strange. I shall show Miss Ellen her room, and then, as I've got my wee bit cap on ready, and my plaid scarf here, let you and I, Tibby, gang and tak an airing in the bonny coach there. I lead sae dull a life here
for ain o' my age and spirit, I'm weel nigh moped to death."
Tibby, who rather liked the importance attendant on doing the honours of the car. riage, agreed, and Ellen was ushered by Babie into Grizzy's room.
Grizzy sate very erect by a very small fire, in a high-backed chair. On her head was a muslin pyramid, called a night-cap, bound by a broad plaid riband. She was in a white wrapper, with a plaid shawl thrown around her; and, with her gigantic height, aquiline nose, hollow cheeks, and sallow skin, she reminded Ellen of the description of Magdalen Graeme. She motioned Babie away with a long, bony hand, and then, rising courteously, she said
“Miss Ellen Lindsay, yer vary weelcome whenever ye can mak time to put away an hour or twa wi' me, ye'll be maist weelcome."
Ellen kindly said she would call frequently, and then she inquired after the old spinster's health.
“ I'm far fra weel, vary far fra weel,” re