Abbildungen der Seite

after several fruitless attempts to conciliate the exasperated spirit of his father-' in-law, retired from town with his young and lovely wife to a small paternal estate which he possessed in Yorkshire, that was rendered peculiarly agreeable by its contiguity to the extensive demesne and fplendid mansion of the Honourable Mr. Fitz-horton; the latter was about thirty years of age, elegant in perfon, insinuating in his manners, and remarkable for his hospitality and affable demean

[ocr errors]


Such was his wordly character, but different, very different were his real principles. Hackneyed in the paths of seduction and vice, he considered religion with contempt, although he fometimes yielded to its external forms; he

[blocks in formation]

was ever ready to punish rigorously the culprit who was caught shooting a bird on his demesne, although two acquaintances had fallen by his hand in that licensed murder, duelling.

During Mr. Lenox's residence at Oatlands, Fitz-horton had always diftinguifhed him with the most attentive politeness; and on Mrs. Lenox's presenting her husband with a son, offered himself as fponfor, which was gratefully accepted. Fitz-horton's frequent visits to Oatlands, under pretence of visiting his god-fon, at length began to be noticed through the neighbourhood, but the general esteem which Mrs. Lenox juftly claimed at that period, prevented any credit to be attached to these reports.


One day Lenox, having business to transact with a gentleman who lived some miles distant, rode out, but not finding him at home, returned earlier than he intended; as he came flowly up the little avenue which led to his house, he was surprised to see Fitz-borton hurrying through the garden, and, climbing over the wall, walk haftily towards his own park; a momentary suspicion arose in his mind at a circumstance so unexpected, but suspicion is never the welcome inmate of a candid heart, and Lenox hastily banished the painful intruder. On entering the parlour he beheld his wife seated on a sofa with little Henry by her side; her eyes seemed red and swoln with weeping. Every vestige of unkindness died in his bosom at the fight :

A 5

« What

“ What has happened to discompose

you, my Clara ?” he demanded tenderly. Nothing particular; I have “ been in low spirits all day.”- “ Was “ Fitz-borton here fince my departure ?" “ No," said she, vainly endeavouring to conceal a deep blush that crimsoned her face at this question ; a negative fo unexpected astonished him, but as he never had cause to question her veracity, he made no farther inquiry.

[ocr errors]

“ Lionel,” said Mrs. Lenox, the next morning, “ I must go to York to-day; I want to purchase fome articles of “ dress for the ensuing race-ball.” “ And cannot I accompany you, Clara?” “ No, I shall dine with my old schoolfriend, Harriet Byron, where there

« will

at will be only a female party."

A high flush that seemed more the effect of mental confufion than the clear fhade of natural complexion, fuffused her cheek as he handed her into the carriage ; he thought she never before looked fo beautiful." You did not kiss me, mamma,” ' faid little Henry, looking wishfully in her face-she pulled the side glass up without replying and drove off. About four o'clock the chaise returned empty. Why did you not wait for


miltress, John ?” said Lenox, surprised.

My mistress ordered me to return, sir," replied the poftillion, “ as she proposed

coming home in Mrs. Barton's coach.” For the whole evening Lenox was tortured with the most distressing uneasiness, which increased to agony when twelve o'clock arrived without any tidings of


A 6

« ZurückWeiter »