`It's nothing!' cried I, ready to stamp with vexation because the candle would not light. Then, suppressing my irritation, I added, `I've been walking too fast, that's all. Good night,' and marched off to bed, regardless of the `Walking too fast! where have you been?' that was called after me from below.

My mother followed me to the very door of my room with her questionings and advice concerning my health and my conduct; but I implored her to let me alone till morning; and she withdrew, and at length, I had the satisfaction to hear her close her own door. There was no sleep for me, however, that night, as I thought; and instead of attempting to solicit it, I employed myself in rapidly pacing the chamber--having first removed my boots lest my mother should hear me. But the boards creaked, and she was watchful. I had not walked above a quarter of an hour before she was at the door again.

`Gilbert, why are you not in bed--you said you wanted to go?'

`Confound it! I'm going,' said I.

`But why are you so long about it? you must have something on your mind--`'

`For Heaven's sake, let me alone, and get to bed yourself!'

`Can it be that Mrs Graham that distresses you so?'

`No, no, I tell you--It's nothing!'

`I wish to goodness it mayn't!' murmured she, with a sigh, as she returned to her own apartment, while I threw myself on the bed, feeling most undutifully disaffected towards her for having deprived me of what seemed the only shadow of a consolation that remained, and chained me to that wretched couch of thorns.

Never did I endure so long, so miserable a night as that. And yet it was not wholly sleepless: towards morning my distracting thoughts began to lose all pretensions to coherency, and shape themselves into confused and feverish dreams, and, at length, there followed an interval of unconscious slumber. But then the dawn of bitter recollection that succeeded--the waking to find life a blank, and worse than a blank--teeming with torment and misery--not a mere barren wilderness, but full of thorns and briars--to find myself deceived, duped, hopeless, affections trampled upon, my angel not an angel, and my friend a fiend incarnate--it was worse than if I had not slept at all.

It was a dull, gloomy morning, the weather had changed like my prospects, and the rain was pattering against the window. I rose, nevertheless, and went out; not to look after the farm, though that would serve as my excuse, but to cool my brain, and regain, if possible, a sufficient degree of composure to meet the family at the morning meal without exciting inconvenient remarks. If I got a wetting, that, in conjunction with a pretended over-exertion before breakfast, might excuse my sudden loss of appetite; and if a cold ensued, the severer the better, it would help to account for the sullen moods and moping melancholy likely to cloud my brow for long enough.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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