Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

to fly—she ran with feeble steps to reach the door-but, sitively ascertained, after a few months, by the mi ere she could effect her purpose, the long, bony arms of both lock and key. She and her nominal husband, the phantom fastened round her. Helena struggled vio. fore, never met except at the dueal table, where e lently to free herself, and, behold, he had disappeared : exchanged but the most unavoidable courtesies.

The room was silent, cold, and tenantless, as it had Duke on such occasions was invaluable, with : been a few hours before ; she was reclining on the sofa, cessant flow of what he chose benignantly to terin v precisely in the position which she had assumed to com- | cisms, as he thus engrossed to himself all the attes pose herself for sleep. IIad she been visited by some which might otherwise have been painfully drawn to fearful vision ? or was she merely duped by the phan- young people. Still, after the first blush of dia tasma of a vivid dream? She dared not at that moment ment, with the elasticity of spirits natural to her er pause to decide ; but, rising hastily, made towards the Helena turned her best efforts to make her situatie window, to see if day were yet far off, for she had no tolerable as she could. She found this the merzit means of ascertaining the hour. ller trembling hand that she considered it but as a temporary one; :: did not attempt to raise the heavy drapery ; but, gliding she made the best of her dull life, though dull epit behind its folds, she perceived the window opened upon it was. Her pleasures were fer, and drawn rate a balcony. There was such relief in the idea of breathing from the resources of her own innocent mind than $ the free air that she did not hesitate to open the window outward circumstances. Thus she caused a small in and step out. It overlooked the gloomiest part of the to be fixed within her favourite bay window, in sed. park, where stood in a clump the oldest, tallest, darkest manner as to draw it in or out at will, where trees, a place equally seldom trod by the foot of gardener wrote, and read, and drew, and sung to her game or visiter ; but the moon, which was in her last quarter, always in sight of those hills that had charmed shed her feeble light around, and though the sombre when first she beheld them, and whose changing dejtim firs looked more mysterious beneath her silver ray, and under the variations of light and shade which they are the spot was not a friendly one even in daylight, Helena constantly undergoing, nerer satel her delighted es was so glad to gaze on Nature, ever young and fresh in There was another pleasure cqual to this that of 87 comparison of the mouldiness of the past that oppressed solitary walk in the park, a footman being the only her within the bridal chamber, that she quarrelled not on her free movements when the old lady in wats. with the confined prospect, since she had a sight of whose duty it was to attend her, unable to follow be heaven's free vault.

rapid motions, rested herself in some pleasant box. Helena saw, or fancied she could see, lights still burn- and suffered the Princess to roam about, under the vi ing within some of the rooms of the palace. Who knows lant ere of her faithưil attendant, whom she had bronz not the comfort which lights, and the consciousness of with her from her own country. human beings near at hand, give to the timorous ? And She was truly happy then, when, with feet wingel's Helena felt so soothed, that, unmindful of the night air, the sense of freedom, she sought the loneliest parts d' she remained on the balcony until the first few faint the park, or even ventured beyond its boundaries in streaks of approaching day warned her from her post, the daisy-enamelled fields. She felt as light-heartai She drew the curtain back, however, to keep this con- and merry as a truant out of bounds ; nor did she risk soling fact in view, as she reluctantly returned to the any encounter more romantic than that of an artful hes chamber ; nor did she abandon the vicinity of the gar who had cunningly waylaid her path, and always friendly casement until the fresh summer morning broke found ready access to her purse ; or some nursery-mail in brightly over the glad earth. The sight made her whose pretty charge would often attract from her a list feel hcartily ashamed of her foolish terrors over night. look or caress. Sometimes, too, she would feed the The objects that had then looked so awful now assumed deer with her own hands; and as the forester's faret a milder aspect, and she reproached herself for having rite, a tame, sleek roe, with glistening brown coat and allowed a dream to disturb her so greatly.

gentle eyes, took the chesnut from her fair fingers, Thus passed the wedding night of the Prince and gently rubbed her head against the basket on her arm Princess ; and though the former took every precaution that contained more of them, Helena felt as happy as to keep its results secret, circumstances got bruited no princely trammels bound her. Those who came to about to which the Prince, since he dared not question contact with her praised her affability ; for she had his wife, had no clue, causing the Duke and Duchess kind smile for all. The military band that played every some distress of mind, which, however, for obvious rea- day from eleven to twelve in the palace yard was oita sons, they so carefully concealed from Helena, that she served to display more zeal than of yore, since the Foung never had an opportunity, had she even been so disposed, Princess was known to listen to their performances with to clear up the mystery. This was, namely, the appear- unfailing exactitude. ance of a white lady on the balcony of the bridal cham- Such were the pleasures of Helena's life; its bores were ber, who disappeared at cock-crow. Too many persons as regular in their recurrence.

Among these were her in the palace had deposed to having scen this vision with father-in-law's bon-mots, which she ever greeted, hoxtheir own bodily eyes for the fact to be doubted; it was, ever, with an indulgent smile, and sometimes with the therefore, universally believed, but differently construed, hearty laugh of youth, which, as we have seen, according to the prejudices of each.

her greatly to him from the first. The dinner was a Meanwhile the life of the Princess was sufficiently ways a tedious affair ; and though much less emku: monotonous ; she, indced, retained the apartment first rassed by their reciprocal position than the l'rince, kis assigned her, but we need hardly say that the private obvious restraint when he addressed her always clecken passage which led from the young Prince's apartment half-way her efforts at establishing an easier intercourse was never used ; a fact suspected from the first, but po- | between them. “ If he would but see in me," thung lut

endean

TIelena, “a temporary guest at his father's court, me- game of the Duchess, who was a most critical player, thinks he might be more friendly. Surely I do not de- or to be immersed in Serenissimo's oft-repeated whys, serve this distancel fetter him not-he is as free as whose novelty wore off but too soon upon her. Prince though I did not exist. I have not asked a single sacri- Henry seldom spent his evenings at the palace ; but, fice of taste or fancy at his hands, and yet my sight is when there, his presence was rather an additional o'lious to him. He can't forgive me for existing at all, weight than a relief, by the restraint he imposed on though my existence is no obstacle in his path-surely Helena, who had a double part to play with reference this is most unjust.”

to him, desirous as she was at once of evading the Thus thought the Princess, and would have given curiosity of others, and avoiding to raise his suspicions worlds to have expressed those thoughts to the Prince ; of the integrity of her resolve. but the fear that he might misconstrue her advances Solitude ripens the faculties of youthful minds, as inade her still more diffident in her manner towards him rest ripens the budding charms of the person. Thus than if she never had contemplated making any. This Helena, in the quiet of her own chamber, developed her girlish timidity on her part, and Prince Henry's mind by study ; whilst early hours, and the pure, marked avoidance of her, gave rise to the daily sur- bracing air she enjoyed, told advantageously in her mises of the whole household, and finally roused the looks, that mended, slowly and gradually, indeed, but doubts and curiosity of the old Duchess herself ; but sensibly. she did not consider matters sufficiently rife, as yet, to Prince Henry was far from exhibiting, or, indeed, call forth parental interference, which she had sense enjoying, such tranquillity. He still, it is true, often enough to feel was not very likely to avail in a case of mustered the troop of officers and handful of soldiers this kind. She was convinced it was her son who was that composed the army, in the court-yard of the averse from the Princess, and not the reverse, which palace ; but all his pleasure in this duty was evidently her pride could never have brooked or forgiven. She fast fading. He ceased to visit the library or the therefore pitied Helena, but was not angry with her, armoury, where he had been in the habit previously of and trusted to time to make her son renounce a preju- spending some hours of each day ; but riding, and dice which a closer study of her daughter-in-law's chiefly hunting, always a lively taste with him, seemed gentle nature rendered unaccountable to her. But, of late to have grown into an inordinate passion. The though thus sympathising with Helena, she never be- horses he rode were often unfit for service for many a trayed it by word or look.

day ; nay, sometimes, truly injured by reckless riding. The after-dinners at the palace were, if possible, He would suffer no other attendants about him but a duller than the dinners. IIelena longed to trust hier- few favourites, and his aide-de-camp and confidant, self to the four splendid greys which the town had pre- whom he knew to be wholly devoted to his person, a bented her with on her marriage, to reach the dark youth who, from infancy upwards, had been his insepaforest and blue hills she loved to gaze on from her rable companion. At first, he had ridden up and down windows. But the rule was not to be broken through the public avenues of the town, along which many of Serenissimo went to his rooin, undressed completely, its inhabitants were in the habit of taking their walks ; and got to bed, whe he slept for several hours. In but, latterly, he directed his course towards the dark the meantime, there was cercle at the Duchess, balf a forest that extended along the base of the hills. The dozen old dowagers, whilst occupied with the knitting- old foresters of the Duke were in constant request, and needle, distilled the freshest reports floating about the tokens of the Prince's skill littered the passages and town to the Duchess at her tambour frame, who, in halls of the ducal residence—fresh antlers decorating turn, analysed the genealogy of neighbouring houses, or every nook where they could with any propriety be inexalted her own, read and commented on the various troduced. But soon this mania took another and a letters which it was the hour of receiving—for, like all graver turn. The Prince not only spent hours, but German grandees of that epoch, she was herself an in- days, in the forest ; and as the autumn drew on, and defatigable correspondent—was amazed at Countess the leaves fell, he became more and more absorbed in Augusta Amelia Felicitas such and such having wed this favourite pursuit, nor would he take the slightest ded Duke Kraft Ernest Judas Thaddeus Notger-read interest in any other. occasionally in the almanac ; but, though a woman of The family saw less and less of him ; and he could practical good sense in her own way, she was very scarcely curb his impatience at the trammels of home averse from reading in general ; and the only thing she even in the Duke and Duchess' presence. His temper was apt to regret was, that they had no theatre yet-a grew fretful and peevish ; he was so restless and thing, she hoped, her son would one day provide. moody, that Ilelena, generally unobservant of his ap

When the Duke, refreshed by a couple of hours' pearance, became struck with the circumstance ; but sound sleep, fresh powdered, and perfumed, and frizzled, she dared neither venture on the office of comforter, returned to the Duchess, then was the time allotted to nor yet inquire of those around the reason of so obvious pass into a larger saloon, where stood the card-tables, a change. Maternal eyes noted this change with more and the Duchess sat down to play until supper was an anxiety and less pity. For once, the Duchess connounced. Helena, after having sat for hours like a descended to inquire ; it was but too soon that she monument of patience in her mother-in-law's boudoir, solved the mystery so likely to blast all the fond hopes in appearance busy on a bit of fancy work, whose slow she and her husband had built upon his early marriage. progress did not escape the observation and comments The Prince had formed a serious attachment to the of all present—for she could not fix her mind either to lady who had captivated his fancy some short time the conversation of the dowagers or on the canvass be- previous to that unlooked-for event.. Some petty anfore her—had now no alternative but to attend to the noyances, and the dread of discovery, bad induced him

66

to remove her from town, and place her under the care “ Your Highness' counsels have borne som of one of the Duke's foresters, who dwelt in the thickest said Helena, with an arch smile; but scring the to part of the wood ; and whose humble roof had become pierce through the Duchess' triple armour of me. the magnet that had drawn the Prince thither for the pitied her anxiety, and gently added, “

WE, last few months. She was by many years his senior, yourself by dwelling on the Prince's youthful II and very experienced, for this was not by any means the time will correct him, and he may ret be all your first affair of the kind in which her naine had been in- " Ay!” said the Duchess, bitterly, my volved ; but this the Prince did not credit, and was retorted in mockery upon me! What you are wholly subjected by her fascinations. What a blow to sense if you had a fair bevy of sons around yo, all the ducal hopes! The Duchess determined, before it is, it is worse than mockery !” pursuing this affair farther, to sound the Princess on I did not mean it so," replied IIelena, soothing the subject ; trusting to extract from her inexperience “ You don't know," continued the Duche-s, *** more candid admissions on many points than the Duke creasing warmth, " that whole races, valiant in would be able to draw from his son. She accordingly illustrious in ancestry, the flower of the Empit bent her steps, with a beating heart, towards the thus been extinguished in the arms of a paranda Princess' dressing-room.

“ History has some sad records of the kied," Helena was in her beloved little retreat in the bay Helena ; " but I have often thought that the pre window, but unwilling to admit any one, even the that can alone shield us against our passions shz. Duchess, to a participation in its secret joys. She instilled early into our breasts, not brought forwan stepped forward, and met her on the threshold. The convenience's sake, at the mere moment of nerd.. Duchess sat beside the toilet-table, as she had done discarded when the danger is over." once before, and motioning Helena to take her place The Duchess was far from being quick enou, near her, she began with more show of affection and to comprehend Helena's meaning, and, like mets less pomposity than was her wont :

in such cases, preferred following her own peous : “I trust, my dear child, you still bear in mind the of thought to that suggested by another. “ Yes, advice I gave you, on this very spot, a short time pettishly remarked, “principles, indeed ; à fin since ?"

would, at the time being, be worth a world of the Helena felt no slight emotion at this exordium, but Helena shook her head in token of dissent. carefully concealed it under the air of passive attention “ You do not believe me ? " said the Duchess, which she had taught herself to adopt towards the “I am afraid I can't agree," replied Helena. “A Duchess, as the most likely to put her scrutiny at dents can influence some portion of, but cannot read fault. After her bowed assent, the Duchess resumed :- our lives as principles will. The former may belle

“ I little thought you would so soon be called upon to to the cornets, the latter to the fixed stars of the put it in practice; but I am convinced the storms of The appearance and results of the first are dear. wedlock had always best visit us in the first years of the latter we can always turn to at pleasure." marriage, when we have so many means of allaying An unusual cloud gathered on the Duchess' bruk," them, than later, when these means daily decrease.” she drew in her lips into their severest espre-sich, k

“ I do not understand your Highness," said the answered, “ You were always so silent at my after-do Princess, gravely, for reflection and reading had matured cercle, I never guessed that you were so ready with the child into the woman, able and ready to parry the thoughts. I dare say my son knew your blue fits bet direct and indirect attacks made upon her candour. -at least so the result would seem to show." The Duchess had not sought her confidence and love, IIelena coloured crimson under the reproof, for the when her counsels and protection had been most needed. she felt anything but ashamed at the turn for som Left to guide her bark alone through all difficulties, reading that she had taken in the solitude of her eben Helena would now permit no other hand but her own to ber, she at the same time felt indignant at having seize the rudder.

endure reproach for faults not her own, from thostol “ These things are so painful to tell,” said the Duchess, had shown her scarce any sympathy, and, glowing ! “ I could have wished some one had spared me the task ; indignation, she was about to commit herself by a hai, perhaps, however, it is proper that I alone should break reply, when the Duchess, unmindful of her agiasse such matters to you—who else dare take such a liberty ?" | continued :

“ No one," said Helena, with a smile, “ allows him- “ C'an I not make myself understood ? Must I self liberties here ; but, doubtless, madam, you will plainer ? Is there no chance of such a comet lights: kindly explain ?"

up your conjugal heaven as the birth of a son and ki “ The Prince has a mistress," said the Duchess, in a Nay, more, there is a very painful question I h312 low, cautious tone, as if watching the effect of her dread make, but which I have a right to put. Has ther? announcement. Helena's start was so natural, there been a chance of such a contingency? I have heart, could be no doubt of her hearing this piece of news have observed in short, you must excuse my doubts.eu for the first time ; but, beyond the blush it called to relieve my mind.” her cheek, she showed no token of interest ; and, as the The Princess reddened this time with a difered Duchess continued silent, she merely said,

emotion than her previous one ; but she had long “ Well ?"

prepared herself for some such an interrogatory, and be “ Well !” repeated the indignant Duchess, “ Well ! her answer ready for any emergency. I do not know how modern wives feel, but I should have “Forgive my not entering into details, which respect felt–indeed I have felt very differently on such trying for all parties forbid ; but, believe me, madam, I ask occasions."

no doubt your son will one day or other become the best

66

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

of a family." This jesuitical reply but half satisfied the vet she was not willing to compromise any portion of her Duchess, who had too many grounds for suspicion thus future freedom, and present peace of mind, for persons lightly to lay them aside. She shook hier head doubt who, according to her peculiar views, had done so little fully, and added, in her most insinuating manner, or what to deserve her interest. Impressed by such consideran was meant as such, for the art of persuasion was not tions, she suddenly stopped short ; the Duchess' eager among her gifts, natural or acquired :

countenance, as she drank in every word, warning her • Well, my child, you know best ; but you might re- she had said but too much already. The Duchess, seepose some confidence in my experience. The matter is ing there was no chance of obtaining more at that time, more serious than you may believe. As long as the continued with increasing severity Duke lives, the Prince will seek to conceal from all of “It is a wife's duty to use every endeavour to save her us an attachment which will grow from the very re- husband from evil—to hold out a saving hand. Think, straints that surround. it. Fresh ties will spring up. Helena,” she continued, in softer accents, as she observed The day that makes him lord will then become that of a cold, sarcastic smile gather on the Princess' lip, “ if your expulsion and my voluntary exile. You,” con- recalled by no spell of conjugal endearment from this tinued the mother, made eloquent by the truthfulness and sinful and miserable affair—think of all the evils that strength of her feelings, “ you know not what is in store await him and us. You return to your own country ; for us!”

your contract secures your dowry under every circum* For me?" the Princess replied, with hauteur; “I am stance ; the law, perhaps, frees you from hated bonds, quite prepared to bear without a murmur, nay, without and you may become happy elsewhere, under more regret, any termination to my present situation which it favourable auspices--ay,” she added, with vehemence, may please Heaven and the Prince to decide upon.” “I have read your secret thoughts aright-you dare

“You have never loved him !" exclaimed the Duchess, not deny it.” with bitterness.

Helena's eyes sought the ground ; she was too · Has he loved me?" the Princess calmly replied. honest formally to disavow what was the real state of “But your vow ?”

the case.

Such the nature of those day-dreams with “ Did he abide by his ? I told you from the first, that which she had taught herself to support patiently the I, at least, did not understand, and would never submit tedium of her enforced sojourn at a place so little conto a contract that was binding but to one party. This genial. She was startled at her most secret hopes may be convenient to policy, but is abhorrent to morality being thus expounded by another ; she could not deny, and my own dignity."

she would not own the truth ; in silence, therefore, she “Oh !” exclaimed the Duchess, passionately, " that took her refuge. there had been a Princess, of suitable age, in my own “I have seen through her at last," said the family! I had been sure, at least, of an ally, of a Duchess, with a voice tremulous with passion. friend ; one who had entered into those views and maxims could—she might recall my son, and she will not !" to which I have ever been ready to sacrifice myself, the “ The Prince,” said Helena, soothingly, “ may, persupporting and preserving, under all trials, the dignity chance, one day meet with a consort more suited to his of the name I bear."

taste than it has been my fortune to be—why not build The Duchess spoke warmly, because from the very your hopes on so probable an event ?" inmost depths of her soul. But this pride of birth, the “ Because," said the Duchess, “ because it will then fountain-head of all her merits, vibrating so loudly in be too late! No sooner will he be his own master than her own bosom, touched no responsive chord in that of he will quarrel with the States about this—this woman,” Helena, . She listened unmoved, unconvinced. The she added with contemptuous emphasis—"will insult Duchess, for the first time in her life opposed to a nature his officers—dismiss his counsellors—fail in respect to different to her own, and conscious of the impossibility his mother-scorn the discontent of his people, to eleto control, guide, or force it, felt herself powerless, and vate her and hers to an illusory position--to enrich them had recourse, by instinct, to the only arms of the impo- with moneys robbed—ay, robbed from the State and tent-prayer. The mother and the woman, for once, his country. Finally, he may be deposed, after a life of triumphed completely over the Duchess. See,” she misery and strife-or, like many another

the same said, with a look and tone strangely at variance with her predicament, forgetful of everything, and chiefly of his usual mode of address, " the fate of a whole family is in name and his honour, he will sell his patrimony to swell your hands in this moment, Helena—of an ancient house. the possessions of some mightier Prince, and nothing I know my son has not shown you love, but have you will remain to him except his shame! Oh! Helena, sought to win it? No! You have withdrawn within that I were in my grave ere I see that day !—my son yourself. Your voice is sweet ; you sing well—at least, despised—laughed at-duped by a woman :-duped, beso your ladies say—has he ever heard you ? Ilave your cause there never is—there never can be sincerity in such eyes ever sought his ? Has a blush, a smile, ever be contracts. But,” she added, rising in some disorder, trayed your consciousness of his presence ? Have you " but I am speaking to one who has no ears to hearever watched him as he rode from the court ? listened no eyes to see—no heart to feel for us or our concernswith pleased attention when he spoke ?"

whose hopes are not our hopes—whose fears are not our "Madam!” exclaimed Helena, with an indignant blush, fears—who lengs for the hour when she may leave a "would you have me lower myself to that extent ?”—but tottering house." Saying this, the Duchess flung hershe paused and blushed deeper still; for this was admit- self from the room, leaving Helena breathless at the reting more than she had desired. She felt how strange, velations of every kind she had made, and, above all, in her supposed relation to the Prince, her unfeigned with the passionate nature of her appeal, whom she had indifference to all that concerned him must seem ; and / erroneously judged to be callous on all

, because callous

« She

on most points. The life spot in that marble being had kept up, although it was felt to be but the calm thai been touched, and lo ! the springs of feeling were open, precedes the storm. Like all such calms, there was se and down gushed the living waters to the amazement of thing forced in it which made every one aware of its her who suspected not their hidden existence. She hollowness. could not but be moved by the mother's sorrow ; but Helena, from this interview with her mother-in-law, was shocked at the profound egotism that referred all felt a change growing upon herself, for which she was things to her son's welfare and happiness, but made no in some respects able, and in some others unable, s account whatever of her own.

account. Thus, now the Duchess had herself ioru away Helena's curiosity being awakened by what had the veil from before the Princess' sentiments and intepassed, her ladies were shortly after summoned into her tions, she felt relieved, like one who throws away a tatpresence, and with an indirectness that did credit to her some disguise. Her position, with regard to the court, feminine instinct, since of experience she was devoid, she was now defined—her presence there clearly understand managed to bring the Prince's delinquencies on the to be but conditional and temporary—she no longer fedt tapis. She had, hitherto, so carefully abstained from as it were, one of the family, and was, therefore, all the mentioning him in any way, that this new feature of the more inclined to maintain the dignity of her own ; et case amazed the dowagers ; however, as they had long sidering herself at liberty to follow the bent of her as since been dying to relate that about which they were inclinations, and by no means bound to a slavish olss. now not only licensed to speak, but actually questioned, vance of those of others. soon all they knew, or supposed, was communicated to From that day forth, therefore, she appeared less ft her, with sundry compassionate, though veiled, personal quently in the Duchess' cercle, and spent more of the comments, intended as consolations, at the same time evening hours in her own apartment. She visited the taking malicious notes of her calm unmindfulness of riding-school of the palace, and even ventured bere. what should have touched her so nearly.

its precincts, with few attendants, and these of her at The whole of the Court, and the town itself, was selecting ; and, above all, entertained a very active caragitated that day, by the scene said to have taken place respondence with her own distant friends, taking gre at the palace. It was affirmed at the former, that care to whom her letters were entrusted. On the other Serenissima had been seen to leave the Princess' cham- hand, she invariably, and formally, though gent, ber with unsteady steps, flushed cheeks, and dim eyes, refused the many petitions with which her path wa hurrying to her own apartment, in which she had shut waylaid, though her heart often bled at the sight e herself up for hours. This, coupled with the young veterans who were discarded, pensionless, from service, Princess' sudden and most unusual interest in the under pretence of a reduction in the army, but mere Prince's movements, and the subsequent event—for such on account of their age and growing infirmities ; e trifles are events to those who lead a dull, trifling exist- young men whom want of figure and address, or aners ence—of the Princess absenting herself from the Court try, debarred from all chance of bettering their fortunes, cercle that afternoon, and, under pretence of indisposi- when mothers and sisters depended on them for support tion, keeping altogether to her own apartment for some But she felt how little right her real position and see days after the interview—all these were facts which, resolves gave her to interfere in any matters concernia: when compared and united, showed that a discussion of the Court of Imminghausen ; and though pained at the some sort had arisen between the ladies. That the harsh inferences which the afflicted would be sure w Prince's amours had been the subject of it, and that the draw from the conduct of her in whom they faneied the Princess resented her mother-in-law's interference, was beheld their future Landesmutter—though aware te the general impression about the affair and universal Duke would hardly refuse anything to so great a farutregret was felt and expressed that the choice of the rite as she had become with him—she scrupulously so ducal family had fallen on a Princess so tame and spirit- hered to what she considered a point of propriety in her less, although, in other respects, Ilelena was allowed to own behaviour. be unexceptionable.

But whilst thus anxious to preserve her own inde In the town, however—especially among those who pendence in the present and the future—whilst premur cannot be supposed to know how such things are managed ing at the very first opportunity to slip the yoke this. by the great-it was bruited about that the Duchess still lay on her-her thoughts, which, from the first : had had a violent quarrel with the Princess, her daughter- only interview she had with the Prince, had never again in-law-had bestowed on her some very disagreeable reverted to him, or only in a fugitive and careless way, epithets ; and, being of a very hasty temper, had allowed now turned more frequently towards him. The firs herself such latitudes that she left the room with dis- fruits of the Duchess' appeal had been awakened carit hevelled hair and disordered attire, and the Princess sity—the next was an impulse of feminine ranity. The had been unable to leave her chamber ever since. A Duchess had thought she could, if she would, compete grave shake of the head and a sigh closed such remarks, with one who had been described to her as eminentky and all parties were blamed as a matter of course. beautiful, though by many years Prince Henry's senis.

The Duke alone was left in ignorance of what was She, for the first time, interrogated her glass vici passing around him ; for, dreading to irritate her son, womanly feelings, and the image it reflected was such as and drive him to a still more decided course by too ! to call forth a well-pleased smile. In fact she was strong an opposition, the Duchess had not only been greatly changed since she beheld herself in ber bridal silent herself, but imposed silence on others ; and a salu-wreath and veil, so awkward and unformed. She tary fear of offending the future sovereign bad tied thought her tall, slender figure graceful in its outline, tongues even more than compliance with her wishes ; so and her features, she knew enough of drawing te kms, that, for a time at least, a show of domestic peace was were correct ; but there was a want of strength of ex

« AnkstesnisTęsti »