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pressed feelings, and the horror excited by the sudden sparkle of her ring, her betrothing ring, as a sunbeam piercing the trees fell upon it, she threw herself on the ground, and wept bitterly.
It was at this moment that Julian, who had sought her in the wood, suddenly perceived her; his footsteps were unheeded on the soft and velvet-like grass, and, before she knew he was near, he was at her feet.
At those feet another had knelt a few minutes before, and as Augusta remembered this, and felt Julian's arm around her waist, she, for a moment, felt herself sunk beneath those wretches, whose necessities induce them to tolerate from more than one those caresses which are so valueless and degrading, if not exclusive.
“You weep: you are miserable, my own beloved one !” said Julian, wildly embracing her, “ and you would fain hide your anguish lest you should increase mine. May Heaven reward you ! my chosen, my true one !"
“ Leave me! leave me, Julian! This most not be; it is wicked, it is sinful !” And she tore herself from his embrace.
“Why so, sweet love? It is true, this sad revolution in my father's affairs may delay, but it cannot prevent our union. We shall be rich only in love, Augusta, I need no other wealth, my darling! Oh, it will be pride and joy to me to toil for you! I have health, energies—rusted by self-indulgence, perhaps, but not destroyed; talents neglected, but which love shall revive. I fear nothing, I care for nothing, now that I see that you love me still. I have a thousand plans, : thousand hopes. Idol of my heart ! true, constant, generous one! you know not half the tenderness the wealth of love called forth by my father's ruin and your sublime constancy ! No dangers can daunt, no distress overwhelm, no disappointments deter me. I will not pass my time now, even in the beguiling comfort of your presence. I go to struggle with men,
but I cannot fail, your love has made me so strong. I shall soon come back to ask you to bless a cottage-home.”
During this impassioned outpouring of the young lover's heart, Augusta at first had gazed on his graceful form, and the animated beauty of his perfect face, and contrasted it with the plebeian figure and snub features of her "affianced lover.” As he proceeded, she hid her face in his hands, and wept violently.
Her tears were all of tender regret and self-reproach, until the words “cottage-home” reminded her of the real state of affairs. Then came back upon her mind the Evelyns' “ cottage-home.” Poverty, not in its graceful and poetical, but in its real and disgusting form—the sneers of others, the humiliation of her own ambitious heart, her mother's disappointment — yes, in that brief moment passed before her mind even the wretched repast, the miserable toilet, the gloom, the discomfort, and the hopelessness of a poor
man's wife—no station, no rank, no carriage, on foot in all weathers. Alas ! for a cottagehome !"
“ Julian,” she said, in a firm tone, “ for your sake, as well as mine, all must be at an end between us. I love you, or rather I have loved you too sincerely, selfishly to cling to you when my doing so must drag you into the fathomless abysses of poverty, and prevent your ever rising again. Had I wealth, it should be yours; but, as it is, our engagement is ruin to both, and must be broken off. Reared in luxury, Julian, you have no experience of what poverty is. I have early recollections. Julian, let us part friendsall must end in that word !”
Julian started to his feet; he stood, pale, with clenched hands; and tears, he would have given his life to check, fast filling his eyes.
He asked, in a voice of suppressed emotion, “ Did you ever love me, Augusta ?”
“How can you ask so cruel a question ?"
said Augusta. “Perhaps if I had loved you less, I should be more ready to encourage you to your ruin.”
“You loved me, and you desert me at such an hour as this ! You are the first to teach me the dark moral and the cruel lesson of life. You leave me to struggle alone !—you withdraw (while all darkens around me) the lamp of Hope, held by the atoning angel of life-First Love! Be it so ; farewell for ever! But weep not, kneel not, mourn not now, and keep for a wealthy hand, for one which can fill yours with treasures, that treacherous one I have so loved to call mine (she had sunk on her knees and offered her hand). Away, woman! you never loved me! Augusta, you are a hypocrite, that worst, that most accursed of hypocrites — a coquette!
“Other hypocrites smile, and fawn, and lie, and fondle, to win our wealth, our influence, our favour ; but a coquette—she is a blacker hypocrite still, for she dissembles and