`Helen; I want you a moment,' said the distinct, low voice of my aunt, close beside us. And I left him, muttering maledictions against his evil angel.

`Well, aunt, what is it? bat do you want?' said I, following her to the embrasure of the window.

`I want you to join the company, when you are fit to be seen, returned she, severely regarding me; `but please to stay here a little, till that shocking colour is somewhat abated, and your eyes have recovered something of their natural expression. I should be ashamed for anyone to see you in your present state.'

Of course, such a remark had no effect in reducing the `shocking colour'; on the contrary, I felt my face glow with redoubled fires, kindled by a complication of emotions, of which indignant, swelling anger was the chief. I offered no reply, however, but pushed aside the curtain and looked into the night--or rather, into the lamp-lit square.

`Was Mr Huntingdon proposing to you, Helen?' enquired my too watchful relative.


`What was he saying then? I heard something very like it.'

`I don't know what he would have said, if you hadn't interrupted him.'

`And would you have accepted him, Helen, if he had proposed?'

`Of course not--without consulting uncle and you.'

`Oh! I'm glad, my dear, you have so much prudence left. Well now,' she added, after a moment's pause, `you have made yourself conspicuous enough for one evening. The ladies are directing enquiring glances towards us at this moment, I see. I shall join them. Do you come too, when you are sufficiently composed to appear as usual.'

`I am so now.'

`Speak gently then; and don't look so malicious,' said my calm, but provoking aunt. `We shall return home shortly, and then,' she added, with solemn significance, `I have much to say to you.'

So I went home prepared for a formidable lecture. Little was said by either party in the carriage during our short transit home wards; but when I had entered my room and thrown myself into an easy chair to reflect on the events of the day, my aunt followed me (hither, and having dismissed Rachel, who was carefully stowing away my ornaments, closed the door: and placing a chair beside me, or rather at right angles with mine, sat down. With due deference I offered her my more commodious seat. She declined it, and thus opened the conference:

`Do you remember, Helen, our conversation the night but one before we left Staningley?'

`Yes, aunt.'

`And do you remember howl warned you against letting your heart be stolen from you by those unworthy of its possession; and fixing your affections where approbation did not go before, and where reason and judgment withheld their sanction?'

`Yes, but my reason--'

`Pardon me--and do you remember assuring me that there was no occasion for uneasiness on your account; for you should never be tempted to marry a man who was deficient in sense or principle, however

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