`Give me no thanks; it is not for your sake that I refrain. Neither is it an act of any forbearance: I have no wish to publish your shame. I should be sorry to distress your husband with the knowledge of it.'

`And Milicent? will you tell her?'

`No, on the contrary I shall do my utmost to conceal it from her. I would not for much that she should know the infamy and disgrace of her relation!'

`You use hard words, Mrs. Huntingdon--but I can pardon you.'

`And now Lady Lowborough,' continued I, `let me counsel you to leave this house as soon as possible. You must be aware that your continuance here is excessively disagreeable to me--not for Mr. Huntingdon's sake,' said I, observing the dawn of a malicious smile of triumph on her face--'you are welcome to him, if you like him, as far as I am concerned--but because it is painful to be always disguising my true sentiments respecting you, and straining to keep up an appearance of civility and respect towards one for whom I have not the most distant shadow of esteem; and because, if you stay, your conduct cannot possibly remain concealed much longer from the only two persons in the house who do not know it already. And, for your husband's sake, Annabella, and even for your own, I wish--I earnestly advise and entreat you to break off this unlawful connection at once, and return to your duty while you may, before the dreadful consequences--'

`Yes, yes, of course,' said she, interrupting me with a gesture of impatience.--'But I cannot go, Helen, before the time appointed for our departure. What possible pretext could I frame for such a thing? Whether I proposed going back alone--which Lowborough would not hear of--or taking him with me, the very circumstance itself, would be certain to excite suspicion-- and when our visit is so nearly at an end too-little more than a week--surely, you can endure my presence so long! I will not annoy you with any more of my friendly impertinences.'

`Well! I have nothing more to say to you.'

`Have you mentioned this affair to Huntingdon?' asked she, as I was leaving the room.

`How dare you mention his name to me!' was the only answer I gave.

No words have passed between us since, but such as outward decency or pure necessity demanded.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.