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'I can't wish you joy of an ad "What?' asked Georgiana, eagerly. mirer who, but the day before yes Only you would never have the terday, presented me with that nose- resolution to adopt such a plan, still gay of forget-me-nots,' said Anna less to persevere in carrying it out,' Matilda, rising, and snatching the observed Miss Audley. "You would luckless flowers from the vase in melt like wax at the first word or which they were placed.
look Harry Clifford deigned to be• But I thought you did not care stow on you.' for Frank Blythwood ?' said simple “I don't think I should,' said Georgiana.
Georgiana, ‘for I'm very angry with * Whether I cared for him or not, him; and with Frank Blythwood that does not make his conduct less too, for his behaviour to you. But base,' said Miss Audley.
what plan do you mean? Not baser than Harry's,' said “I mean that, instead of trusting Georgiana ; 'and you said he was to to the shallow professions of lovers, be pitied if he had changed his affec- we should live for ourselves alonetions; so why is not Frank Blyth live for friendship instead of love. wood to be pitied ?
You have heard of Lady Eleanor Miss Audley could not say why, Butler and Miss Ponsonby, who but somehow what she thought lived in a cottage by themselves ? quite natural on Harry Clifford's Well, let's imitate them, and make part, seemed a heinous sin when ourselves independent of everycommitted against herself, and by body.' Frank Blythwood too. She there That would be delightful!' cried fore wisely held her tongue, but her Georgiana, who was always led away fingers were busily employed pick by anything her more enterprising ing the flowers to pieces.
friend proposed. But how can we Meantime, Georgiana was as in manage it?' tently occupied twisting her em It was easy enough for Miss Audbroidered handkerchief into all man- ley to follow all her whims, for not ner of shapes, till at length she broke only had she an independent income, the silence by a deep-drawn sigh, but she was of age; and though she and uttered this oft-repeated truism: had lived under her uncle's roof ever I'm afraid men are sad deceivers !' since she became an orphan in early
Men are all wretches, my dear!' infancy, his guardianship had ceased said Miss Audley, with flashing eyes. for the last three years, and she was For her thoughts had not been idle at perfect liberty to go wherever she during the lull in their conversation, pleased. She possessed a pretty and her anger at Frank Blythwood cottage in Monmouthshire, close to had been gradually rising to boil- her uncle's estate, which she thought ing point, and was about to overflow might serve them as a refuge. But like a lava stream overwhelming all how was Georgiana, who was only it met on its way. Strange to say, nineteen, to claim a similar privithe defection of the admirer she did lege? True, she was in possession not love in return, inflicted a wound of a small legacy bequeathed her by on her pride which not even Harry her mother; but would her father Clifford's unhoped-for homage could allow her to enter into any such roassuage. Besides, might it not be mantic scheme? some scheme concocted between Miss Audley had an answer ready them to back out of what they per- for every objection. She assured haps considered as mere flirtations ? her friend that her stepmother, hayand might not the two unsigned ing two daughters of her own, of the valentines be nothing but a skilful respective ages of seventeen and sixmanuvre in the warfare of love, teen, would be too glad of the recalculated but to create a diversion, moval of a pretty face just at the under cover of which they would season when her eldest was to come both desert their colours? And if out, not to prove her best advocate you felt as I do, Georgy,' resumed in overruling whatever objections Anna Matilda, 'I know what we Mr. Fletcher might entertain to the might do.'
proposed plan. Still, Georgiana de
clared she had not the courage to broach the subject to her family.
The imperious Anna Matilda smiled with conscious superiority as she assured her friend she would settle that matter. All that she required of Georgiana was to adhere to her resolution, and not to see Harry Clifford before they left town.
• How soon shall we leave?' asked Georgiana, half mistrustful of her
'As soon as we can pack up our things,' said Anna Matilda.
*But' hesitated Georgiana, ' have you not forgotten that we were to go to a ball on the twenty-eighth ?
I have not forgotten it,' said Miss Audley, 'any more than I have forgotten that we were to meet Frank and Harry that evening. Are you weak-minded enough to wish to see Mr. Clifford after the insult he has offered you, to try and make it up with him ?'
• Oh, no-no-no!' cried Georgiana, who dreaded being thought weak-minded, just because she was of a very yielding disposition. 'I have done with Harry, and as to Frank, I despise him for his conduct to you.
* That's right, and nobly spoken, said Anna Matilda, embracing her friend. “And now I'll put on my bonnet, and go home with you, and speak to your stepmother.'
Miss Audley knew she would not find Mr. Fletcher at that time of day, as his mercantile affairs took him daily to the City,and she thought it a good stroke of diplomacy to prime his better half in the mean time, so that the worthy man should find himself unable to resist the volley of arguments that were to be poured forth by his three assailants. But it turned out that, like many other schemers, she wasted a deal of maneuvring where none was required. Mr. Fletcher, being a man of sense, was well aware that it is by thwarting a project that you give it importance--and that if parents did but understand to what an extent an immediate acquiescence cools down the most enthusiastic aspirations of all sorts, many a trip to Gretna Green, many a foolish match, might have been prevented,
by the lovers quarrelling, so soon as they had permission granted to bill and coo at their ease. By the same reason he argued that when two young ladies are determined to spite the world by withdrawing themselves from its admiration, the best thing is to open wide the doors, and say . Go'-opposition only acting as so much fuel, which tends to keep up a fire that would otherwise burn itself out in a few weeks.
He therefore gave Georgiana full leave to act as she pleased, on one condition, namely, that she was not to enter into any promise until she was of age, and then not without giving him warning.
For you must be aware, Georgy,' said he, “that if you prefer perpetual seclusion and celibacy, to living in the world, the sum I have set apart for your marriage portion will go to increase your sisters' portions—for I do not suppose Fanny or Isabella will have any such inclination.'
"Oh, no, papa!' cried sixteen-yearold Isabella- I mean to go to balls and pic-nics, and to marry. ..
"You talk like a child,' said Georgiana.
“It shall go to parties, and it shall have a husband; but all in good time,' said the father, stroking his youngest daughter's hair-adding, 'You little rogue! it is not you who will save me white kid shoes without end, and dozens of Houbigant's gloves, as your thrifty elder sister is about to do!'
No sooner had the point been thus settled, than Georgiana despatched the page with a pink-coloured note, to inform her friend she had been successful; and Miss Audley replied by a yellow-tinted note, requesting her to pack up immediately, and be ready to start on the following day.
Georgiana would have found it more difficult than she had anticipated, to take leave of her sisters, when the parting hour had come, had not the presence of her friend, before whom she would have been ashamed to appear to waver, and the recollection of Harry Clifford's perfidy, nerved her to the task. Still she felt singularly relieved when it was over, and they were scated in the railway
carriage, and whirled away by an for a year, before being sent to Monexpress train.
mouthshire. The young ladlies were accom- ‘For at the end of that time,' panied by Miss Audley's maid, and observed Miss Audley, we shall on reaching the cottage, they found have become so utterly indifferent everything put in order for their re- to our renegade lovers, that even ception by the housekeeper who the most passionate letters, if they always inhabited it, and who had wrote any such, would fail to cause heen apprised of her young mis- the slightest emotion.' tress's intended arrival, by a tele In addition to this injunction, the graphic despatch.
fair recluses entreated to have the The cottage was simply but ele- secrecy of their retreat kept ingantly fitted up, and most chari violate, lest any importunate persons ingly situated on the banks of the should invade their cherished soliWye, with a background of wooded tude. hills. It is true that at that season . This is just one of Matilda's abthe trees were little better than surd, romantic plans,' said her uncle, dried sticks; but it was easy for the as he flung aside her letter, with an imagination to clothe them with impatient. Pshaw!' verdure, to realize how lovely they "There is some love affair under would appear in spring. Georgiana all' this,' observed Mrs. Fletcher, was quite in raptures at her friend's with womanly clear-sightedness. retreat. Hitherto she only knew Having now settled that they the-country'in fashionable watering would henceforth live · The world places, where a tree is a rarity-and forgetting, by the world forgot,' the the genuine rusticity of the scene two fair hermits proceeded to unwas a delightful novelty to her. pack their things, and render their
"We shall be very happy here, abode as pleasant as need be. The observed Anna Matilda.
cottage already contained a piano, 'I am sure we shall,' echoed and a library well stocked with Georgiana, speaking in her usual novels; and Miss Audley had cheerful tone, for the first time since brought with her a whole arsenal of St. Valentine's morning.
implements for drawing, painting, 'We'll forget there are any Franks potichomanie, and Berlin wool work, or Harrys in the world,' said Anna besides the numerous appliances for Matilda. •Suppose we were to im- manufacturing all kinds of useless pose a forfeit on whichever of us articles, coming under the denomishall mention their names ?
nation of fancy work. You would lose too many for- The putting everything in order feits, Till,' said Georgiana, with un filled up several days very pleasantsuspecting raillery, for you name ly; and though the ground was too thein twice or three times to my wet to allow of their taking a walk, once.'
Georgiana could not cease admiring Anna Matilda coloured slightly, the pretty view to be seen from as she observed— Perhaps it is every window in the house. better to go on talking about them 'Whatever can Miss Audley have for a while, that we may the sooner brought so many things for?' asked get tired of the subject.'
the housekeeper of Martha. For This motion was carried without generally, in her flying visits to the clissent. But in order to provide cottage, her young mistress's whole against any possible relenting on the luggage consisted of one portmanpart of the weaker vessel,' as Miss teau. Audley deemed her friend to be, she Martha could not tell; but it set insister they shoukl decline receiving her a-wondering, and she deterany letters from town, with the mined to try and solve the puzzle. single exception of those coming Accordingly she took a favourable from their respective families. Word opportunity of asking Miss Audley, was therefore written that same whether she was to re-trim one of evening to London, that all letters her dresses for the ball on the 28th, addressed to them, were to be kept or whether she had given her orders . VOL. 1.—NO. II.
to Madame Marabout, previous to leaving town? Miss Audley merely shook her heaul by way of detail, leaving Martha as wis as before. After the lapse of several days, Vartha renewed the attack, by inquiring when she was to pack up to return to town, hinting that it were well the young ladies should reach London in time to rest from the fatigue of the journey, before the day appointed for the ball. We're not going to return to town,' sud Miss Judev, curtiv.
Not going to--' began Vartha, when she was suddenly checked by a frown from her imperious mistress.
Martha left the room much discomfited, while the young ladies en joyed a good laugh at her expense.
. Poor Martha has no taste for the picturesque,' said Miss Audley; * London servants always abhor the country.'
A few fine days succeeded, which enabled the two recluses to walk out, and Anna Matilla showed her friend the garden and the beehives, and expatiated on the future delights of spring and summer, till Georgiana grew as enthusiastic as herself, for the moment. But it happened on the 28th, that there was a heavy fall of rain in the morning, and that the sky was gloomy and overcast all day long. Poor Georgiana's spirits fell to freezing point. Everything seemed to go wrong-the third volume of a novel of “thrilling' interest was not to be found, and the little dog threw down the glass vase she had half converted into porcelain by the process of potichomanie, and there her work lay in shivers on the floor. To complete the list of petty annoyances, Martha came to inform her mistress that although she was of course 'much attached to her, and all that,' still the short and the long of it was, that she had no intention to bury herself in the country, and give Tom the policeman time to make love and get married to the cook in the neighbouring square. I Miss Audley suggested that it was very likely Tom had already done what she feared, when Martha interrupted her with: Oh, dear!
Miss, you wouldn't say so if you liul seen the valentine he sent me!
mi Matilda tossed her head disdainfully, teiling Martha she was free to leave her when she pleased, since she was fool enough to believe in the promises of a valentine.
I t is proverbially the last drop that causes the vase to overflowthe last feather that breaks the camel's back—and perhaps nothing could have better contributed to put poor Georgy's spirits still further out of tune, than Martha's sudden secession, coupled with the pastoral simplicity of her faith in the policeman. It was mortifying to have to own to herself, that the Danons and Phillises of the kitchen kept their troth better than those of the druwing-room. It was in vain Miss dudley put forth all her conversational powers to amuse and enliven her companion- guiety and raillery were alike unavailing to rouse her; and it seemed quite a relief when candles were at length brought in and the curtains drawn, shutting out the dreary prospect.
When the hissing urn was placed on the table, and they sat by a cheerful fire and took their tea, the room wore such an air of comfort, that Anna Matilda could not help remarking that one might be just as pleasantly off in bad weather in the country as in town.
Only you can't go out shopping, in a fly, as you can in London,' observed Georgiana. You can soon get through a day with that.'
Evidently the day had been an unusually heavy one to get through! When the tea-things were removed, Georgiana requested Matilda to play some of the pianoforte music sho had brought with her, and meaniwhile she lolled on the sofa to listen.
Matilda was rather a dashing player, and willingly treated her to an elaborate fantasia by one of her favourite composers.
"But that's not amusing,' said Georgiana, peevishly, when she had finished; 'do play me some polkas, there's a dear girl.'
Matilda was nothing loth, and presently launched forth into one of Strauss's most dance - provoking tunes. To this succeeded a bril