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“ It is impossible that you can be serious, Lady Clere. Jand!” said he to her, shortly after his arrival. “ I am at a loss to conceive what can have occasioned the al. teration which I have long perceived with so much pain in that daughter, who, a short time ago, was the star of my ancient house. What is there here wanting to your happiness? If you are bent upon the eccentric plan of exiling yourself from London, why still there is all England before you, and Ireland, and Scotland, and Wales ! Wherever you are pleased to go in these kingdoms, our nobility will feel flattered by your residence among them. Reflect, my love! North America what a place for Lady Hester Cleveland to choose as her place of residence! If you had said Paris, or any other of the continental capitals, I might have been less surprised. But North America !-really, my love, you must excuse me if I treat such an idea with ridicule.”
“ What say you to New York, sir ?”
“ Ah, that city is not entirely beyond the pale of civilisation—there are some endurable persons there I believe ;-but still, Lady Cleveland knows better how to discriminate between the degrees of good society, than to dream of preferring to shine among an American aristocracy of citizens rather than among an English aristocrary, in whose veins flows no base blood, and who are confessedly the most refined people in the world!"
“My dear sir, I am in search of no society.' I do not mean to shine at all. As I told you formerly in Toronto, I have severed myself from fashionable life for the remainder of my days. I think you have seen mo act consistently with that resolve since I came back to England.”
“Well, Lady Cleveland, if you are wilful, I will give up the point.”
“ Not wilful, my dear sir, but only—”
“ Determined to go-so then it shall be. I certainly regret your determination-exceedingly regret it—especially as Lord R-, my friend, has more than hinted to me his wish to make proposals for your hand, if be could hope they would be accepted. He would be an excellent match, my love—he is about to become a member of the cabinet I have no doubt that he will be yet prime minister.”
“ Pardon me—I shall never accept his lordship.”
The earl knew well the decidedness of her character, and perceived by her manner that Lord R-- had not the shadow of a hope. With a sigh of vexation he ceased to debate the matter with her.
“Anl is it true, Hester, that you will leave me and papa ?” cried Letitia, springing into her sister's arms the same afternoon as the latter was dressing in her own room. Lady Hester sent away her maid, and embraced Letitia with fondness.
“ Do not weep, dearest Letty-nonsense now-what! I declare you are all in tears. Kiss me, my beloved sister and believe me it is no want of love for either of you that disposes me to leave England.”
“ You forget that I have no other sister beside yourself-you forget that mamma, as you have often told me, wished
to watch over me when I was brought out, as I shall be now very shortly-I never thought you could go from me Hester!" and the panting girl burst into a more passionate fit of tears.
My sweet Letty! Miss Gresham is an able and
better than I can. Why do you distress me by such grief, dearest? I did not think you loved me so much. Harken, my dear, and I will tel you the true source of my determination;" and so locking the door, she sat down on a chair, her sister throwing hersell' on a stool at her feet, and laying her arm across Lady Hester's lap, while she looked up in her face like an Hebe in tears. Letitia was now turned fifteen, tall for her age, slight and graceful, with long hair of a sunny yellow, such as the ancient Saxon ladies were wont to be represented as possessing ; her complexion was exquisitely fair, and her large, soft blue eyes, beamed with vivacity and sensibility.
“ Have you forgotten, Letty, the Captain who saved you from being drowned in Lake Erie ?" began Lady Ilester.
Letitia's face was doubly animated with the recollection :-“ Oh, no! indeed I can never forget him! Often bave I wished I could reward him! How could you think your Letty could be so ungrateful as to forget the man who risked his own life to save hers? Giddy as she is, she has a heart, Hester! When I am a little older I will certainly find some means of repaying him —though indeed that is not to be done either—for supposing I gave him all I was worth, the preservation of my life would still leave me in debt to him.”
“ You are right, Letty, to cherish a deep gratitude toward Captain Anderson; he nearly perished while exerting himself to rescue you. But do you remember one Mr. Clinton and Miss Anderson, who were in the same vessel ?:'
“ O yes, very well-Mr. Clinton seemed to know
“ He did know me, Letty,” said Lady Hester, dropping her voice, and colouring. “We were acquainted when I was little older than yourself. We were attached to each other, my Letty, but he was in dependent circumstances, and as soon as the Earl received a hint of the matter, he removed me beyond his reach."
“ I never heard any thing of this before, dearest Hester. I never imagined that you had been unhappy before you were married. But how was it papa did not know Mr. Clinton when he saw him in Toronto ?”
“ He had not seen him in England, Letty, nor, I believe, had he heard his name. It was a mere hint of the matter that he received, but that hint was sufficient for him. I trust, my dear, you may never be sacrificed to family suitableness as I have been.”
“ I will never marry one whom I do not love."
“ Do not be too sure, Letty; there are so many influences to rob one of courage in such circumstances. You cannot at present understand how much you may have to encounter in support of such a decision. But may you be spared the painful trial! Now, Letty, once as you know I have been sacrificed, and have known the intolerable misery of being the wife of one whom I could neither love nor respect, you cannot wonder, therefore, that I am bent upon bestowing myself on the man who won my first and lasting love-on Mr. Clinton. You look surprised, Letty ; now you see the motives for my seclusion from society since I came back to England—do you not? He is not possessed of one recommendation according to polite usage; he is neither
high-born, nor titled; he holds no place in the court or the camp; he is not distinguished in the republic of letters, or in the empire of politics; he is, as you know, the son of a plain Captain Anderson, of a private cruiser on an American lake; his sister is a plain Miss, who is neither a wit, a blue-stocking, an heiress, or a member of ton;—yet I mean to be his wife, and this is my errand abroad.”
At fifteen, young ladies are not generally disposed to view enthusiasm in love as a folly. Letitia entered into her sister's feelings with such readiness, and with so much fondness, that she was trebly endeared to Lady Hester afterwards. Within her own mind Letitia set her heart upon going with her sister, though of this she said nothing at present. Lady Hester's arrangements for departure were speedily concluded, and a second letter arrived from Clinton. He had not disclosed the change in his fortunes, but wrote as the wandering, penniless Clinton, of former days. Letitia's constitution had lately manifested many tokens of extreme delicacy, and her medical attendant frequently suggested that a change of air, and especially a sea voyage, would be of essential service. She tried
little manoeuvres with them to get them to pronounce that a second visit to America might answer, and having in a measure suc. ceeded, flew joyfully to apprise her father of the oracular decision. The Earl was not so unwilling as she expected to find him, and even consented, as parliament was prorogued, to take another voyage with his daughters across the Atlantic, especially as he had received the offer of a diplomatic mission in that quarter of the world.