“Indeed, madam,” cries Sophia, “your ladyship mistakes me, if you imagine I had any concern on his account.”

“On his account!” answered the lady: “You must have mistaken me; I went no farther than his dress;——for I would not injure your taste by any other comparison—I don’t imagine, my dear Sophy, if your Mr. Jones had been such a fellow as this—”

“I thought,” says Sophia, “your ladyship had allowed him to be handsome”——

“Whom, pray?” cried the lady hastily.

“Mr. Jones,” answered Sophia;—and immediately recollecting herself, “Mr. Jones!—no, no; I ask your pardon;—I mean the gentleman who was just now here.”

“O Sophy! Sophy!” cries the lady; “this Mr. Jones, I am afraid, still runs in your head.”

“Then, upon my honour, madam,” said Sophia, “Mr. Jones is as entirely indifferent to me, as the gentleman who just now left us.”

“Upon my honour,” said Lady Bellaston, “I believe it. Forgive me, therefore, a little innocent raillery; but I promise you I will never mention his name any more.”

And now the two ladies separated, infinitely more to the delight of Sophia than of Lady Bellaston, who would willingly have tormented her rival a little longer, had not business of more importance called her away. As for Sophia, her mind was not perfectly easy under this first practice of deceit; upon which, when she retired to her chamber, she reflected with the highest uneasiness and conscious shame. Nor could the peculiar hardship of her situation, and the necessity of the case, at all reconcile her mind to her conduct; for the frame of her mind was too delicate to bear the thought of having been guilty of a falsehood, however qualified by circumstances. Nor did this thought once suffer her to close her eyes during the whole succeeding night.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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