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THE AUTHORESS OF “ CONSTANCE” & “ ROSABEL.”
IN THREE VOLUMES.
SAUNDERS AND OTLEY, CONDUIT STREET.
THE LADY ANNABETTA.
Wherever sorrow is, relief would be."-SUAKSPEARE.
“Well, my lady !-Ay !—very good! vastly good! remarkably sensible-and-rational.”
These words, uttered with that ironical politeness which stings far more than unmeasured abuse, were deliberately, and with perfect good breeding, addressed by Major de Grey—a Major in one of our horse regiments some thirty years ago—to his wife, the Lady Annabetta de Grey, a lady of some note, who figured in her day, but whose fame, noble or ignoble, has now, these many summers since, been carried away by the tide of human affairs.
Major de Grey !-- Florence, my dear !" replied the lady, turning to her daughter, “ I appeal to you,—I appeal to all that is just, and fair, and honourable.” And then, with a sudden, vehement burst of passion, Lady Annabetta flung herself on a sofa near her, and buried her face in one of its cushions. Florence, her daughter, a girl of seventeen, who had been sitting, in apparent tranquillity, apart from her parents, her glossy locks shading her face as she sat at her framework, looked up now, and, seeing her mother's attitude of despair, sprang forwards, and, tenderly entwining Lady Annabetta in her arms, sat down by her in silence.
“- I wait your decision-your commands, Madam," resumed Major de Grey, in a manner so deferential, with a smile so bland, that his young daughter, looking up at him, was puzzled, as she had often before been puzzled, to know whether profound respect or profound hatred, two opposite qualities which sometimes wear the same aspect, actuated her father at that moment.
“ My decision !—My commands !" returned Lady Annabetta, raising her face, upon which no trace of tears was visible. “I,” she added, with a deep sigh, “the veriest slave alive. Oh, Florence ! - my dear, dear Florence ! My Florence !—my own, only treasure !"
“ Mamma !- My lady !-Mamma !” returned Florence, eager to soothe her, “I am your own,—you are my dear mamma ;—but I love papa too: and—” but, pressing her blooming cheek against the thin, furrowed face of her mother, she finished her sentence by endearment, not argument.
Often, too often, and indeed almost from childhood, called forth from youthful insignificance to be an umpire in these matrimonial disputes, poor Florence had learned, with the prudence that is taught even to the young by experience, to withdraw as much as possible from the chance of being appealed to ;-never to give a decision; and, hopeless of being able to effect
any real good, she had long perceived that to soothe, and to palliate, and to interpose the winning influence of her filial affection, was her only discreet part—her interest; for, with children, interest is learned before duty. Major de Grey, of a shattered frame, un