remarks could elicit from me. At last, on her asking my opinion upon some immaterial point of discussion, I answered,--
`Why do you wish to talk to me, Lady Lowborough?--you must know what I think of you.'
`Well, if you will be so bitter against me,' replied she, `I can't help it;--but I'm not going to sulk for anybody.'
Our short drive was now at an end. As soon as the carriage door was opened, she sprang out, and went down the park to meet the gentlemen, who were just returning from the woods. Of course I did not follow.
But I had not done with her impudence yet:--after dinner, I retired to the drawing-room, as usual, and she accompanied me, but I had the two children with me, and I gave them my whole attention, and determined to keep them till the gentlemen came, or till Milicent arrived with her mother. Little Helen, however, was soon tired of playing, and insisted upon going to sleep; and while I sat on the sofa with her on my knee, and Arthur seated beside me, gently playing with her soft, flaxen hair,--Lady Lowborough composedly came and placed herself on the other side.
`To-morrow, Mrs. Huntingdon,' said she, `you will be delivered from my presence, which, no doubt, you will be very glad oft is natural you should;--but do you know I have rendered you a great service?--Shall I tell you what it is?'
`I shall be glad to hear of any service you have rendered me,' said I, determined to be calm, for I knew by the tone of her voice she wanted to provoke me.
`Well,' resumed she, `have you not observed this salutary change in Mr. Huntingdon? Don't you see what a sober, temperate man he is become? You saw with regret the sad habits he was contracting, I know; and I know you did your utmost to deliver him from them,--but without success, until I came to your assistance. I told him, in few words, that I could not bear to see him degrade himself so, and that I should cease too matter what I told him,--but you see the reformation I have wrought; and you ought to thank me for it.'
I rose, and rang for the nurse.
`But I desire no thanks,' she continued, `all the return I ask is, that you will take care of him when I am gone, and not, by harshness and neglect, drive him back to his old courses.'
I was almost sick with passion, but Rachel was now at the door: I pointed to the children, for I could not trust myself to speak: she took them away, and I followed.
`Will you, Helen?' continued the speaker.
I gave her a look that blighted the malicious smile on her face--or checked it, at least for a moment-- and departed. In the anteroom I met Mr. Hargrave. He saw I was in no humour to be spoken to, and suffered me to pass without a word; but when, after a few minutes" seclusion in the library, I had regained my composure, and was returning, to join Mrs. Hargrave and Milicent, whom I had just heard come down stairs and go into the drawing-room,--I found him there still, lingering in the dimly lighted apartment, and evidently waiting for me.
`Mrs. Huntingdon,' said he as I passed, `will you allow me one word?'
`What is it then?--be quick if you please.'
`I offended you this morning; and I cannot live under your displeasure.'
`Then, go, and sin no more," replied I, turning away.
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