|Chapter Number||The Last Chapter|
|Chapter Title||The Destroyer|
|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842)|
|Trove Title||Passages from the Diary of a late Physician|
Passages from the Diary of a late
Physician.-The last Chapter..
(From Blackwoûd's Magasine, August, 183T._)
( Continued from our last.)
Mrs. St. Helen had not been in Lon- don half-a-year-, before Captain Alverley felt that he was triumphing-that his long-continued and deeply laid schemes .were conducting him to success. The first-the very first step, he had felt to be everything; it had gained him an inter- est,'however faint, in Tier feelings, and he cherished it with the most exquisite skill, the most -watchful assiduity. He kept himself even in the back-ground. He would excite her feelings with his generous and eloquent eulogies of Colonel St. Helen's conduct abroad; in the middle of one of them he suddenly became con-
fused, heaved a faint sigh, and resumed ! his conversation with ill-disguised em- barrassment. He busied himself- he took infinite pains- at least he led her to think so-in procuring the return home ' of Colonel St. Helen ; thus, in short,
and in a thousand other ways, he at length disarmed Mrs. St. Helen by lul- ling lier suspicions, or rather preventing their being excited. Consummately skilled in the workings of the female heart, he guided his conduct according ?to the indications he discovered. In
handing her one night to her carriage from the opera, he made a point of in- sulting a gentleman, who, with a lady on his arm, was hurrying on before Captain Alverley and Mrs. St. Helen. A hurried "whisper between the two genllemen satis-
fied Mrs, St. Helen thal there was mis- chief in preparation. " For Heaven's sake !" she whispered, in excessive trepi- dation,--but he gently forced her into the .carriage, and permitted it to drive off without his uttering a word. He gained liia end. The evening papers of the en- suing day duly announced an " affair of honour" between the Marquis of-," attended by, &c, and Captain A. B. C, attended, &c. " The meeting arose out of an elleged affront offered by the noble Marquis to a young and beautiful lady," &c. &c, whom the captain wit. conduct- ing to her carriage, &c. &c. Very strange to say, neither party did the other any Iiarm!-Captain Alverley, on the next opera night, found his way to her box.
" Captain Alverley ! how could you" -commenced Mrs. St. Helen very ear- nestly.
" My dear Mrs. St. Helen 1" was the only reply, with a look that none could gi ve but Captain Alverley. Ile knew the amount of his gain, and was in
In the progress of " the affair," Cap- tain Alverley's next step was to accustom Mrs. St. Helen to hear herself called a flirt, and to have his name, on such occa- sions, always judiciousty coupled with hers. The first time that ever she waltzed with him-which he justly regarded as
an open triumph-was in consequence of! a very heated altercation she had with Mrs. Ogilvie, who had freely charged her with culpable lightness of conduct with reference to Captain Alverley ; the con- sequence of which was, that Mrs. St: Helen went, as she had angrily threa- tened, te a ball, where, casting a look of defiance at her sister-in-luw, she instantly accepted Captain Alverley's invitation, infinitely to his astonishment. Ile saw his position, and behaved with prudence. After one or two rounds, he led her, with an air of the properest deference in the world, to a seat, and paid her no marked al tentions whatever during the evening. He perceived that her lynx-eyed sister watched his every movement ; and for upwards of a fortnight he suspended all but the most ordinary and casual civi- lities and attentions to Mrs. St. Helen. Why did not the infatuated woman at once break through all the meshes with which she was now conscious of being surrounded? Why did no sudden alarm of virtue-no TIeaven-inspired strength -enable her to " flee like a bird from the snare of the fowler?" Ala3, that I should have to write it! She did not norn wish to do so. Not that yet even she contemplated the idea of positive guilt-vastly far from it. She was so conscious of her own strength, as to pre- vent all apprehensions on that score. It is true she was occasionally sensible, with a heart-flutter and cheek suffused, of an interest in Captain Alverley, that was inconsistent v. iib the undivided affection due to her husband ; she went not further consciously, but how far was this !-**he consoled herself witli the notion that it
was certainly coquettish-and that was almost universal. The plain truth was, she began to indulge towards Captain Alverley feelings which she could no longer dare to scrutinize. Her vani- ty, again, would not suffer her to part with so gay and dazzling a follower " she was surely able to tako care of I
Once or twice I called upon Mrs. St. Helen, in pursuance of the promise I made, but without seeing her, as she liad just gone ont. This might, or it might not "be true. If she was denying herself to me, it must have been on account of what had taken place on the occasion alluded to ; and was it that she was asham- ed of her frankness-of the extent of
lier admissions, or that she regretted having made them from other consider- ations ? 1 was driving, one afternoon, through the Park, on my way to a pa- tient near Cumberland Gate, when I happened to overtake the open carriage of Airs. St. Helen, driving very slow- ly, site being in conversation with an equestrian who walked his horse along- side, - and I soon detected in him Captain Alverley. I perceived with a hurried look in passing, that she ?was listening intently to what he was saying, - looking down, and slightly colouring. I felt sick at heart for her ! The next time I saw her at home, she seemed very calm, and sensibly colder in
her manner toward« me than I had ever seen her before. She made not-nor of course did I-the slightest allusion to our late deeply interesting conversation. In answer to my enquiries, she said she was in very good health, except that she did not now sleep so soundly as heretofore, and her appetite al«o declined -the usual consequences, I told her, of a life of
London dissipation-of irregular, hours,
excitement, and fatigue. ^
" As I feel rathor solitary m this large house," said she, "I have invited Miss Churchill, a distant relation., of the Colo- nel's, to pay me a visit. She s a very sweet good girl, and I have no doubt we shall be inseparable." While she said this, a slight colour mounted in her cheek, which set me speculating upon what she had just told mc. Was then her sum- mons to Miss Churchill a signal of dis- tress ? Was it that she began to feel her danger-that she wished a protector some one who should be indeed, as she
said, inseparable from her-ever by her side-whose presence might check, if not prevent the increasing ardour and atten- tions of Captain Alverley 1 Faint effort of endangered virtue'.-but it was an effort, and I rejoiced to see it made.
" When do you propose leavingtown?"
I enquired. ,
" Leaving town I" she exclaimed I quickly-" why, dear Doctor, sltould ^ I :
leave town ? The season is not yet at its | height even? Besides, I hate the coun- try-1 never heartily like it."
". I though, Mrs. St. Helen"- #
" Oh yes," she interrupted hastily,
I know what you mean. Densleigh | was certainly a pleasant place enough, but we've lost it." She paused for a mo- ment, and added-" but I suppose that about August we must go down Bome
where or other"
" The sea-air will do wonders for you,
and for the children."
" Yes-I daresay it would," she re- plied, with rather an indifferent air " but at present they are very well j I always have them taken to the Park
and where can there be a finer air ?" Here some visitors were announced, the servant at the same time laying down six or seven notes and cards of invitation upon one of the tables.
About a month afterwards, I received the following note from Mrs. St. Helen:
" Dear Doctor,-will you call in here, in the course of the morning, to see one of the children, who, I fear, is poorly ? Jones tells me she thinks it is the measles? I hope it is not any thing worse-the scarlet fever for instance, or small-pox. But yon can soon tell. I shall wait at home for you till two.
" Ever yours,
" E. ST. HELEN.
P. S.-I have never had either of these
horned complaints myself, and feel rather
-street, 10 o'clock"
What a dismal contrast this note af-
forded;! thought, laying it down with a sigh, to the eager, alarmed summons she
had sent on a former occasion from Hens- leigh ! A little after two o'clock I was at-Street, and shown up immediately into the nursery. Mrs. St. Helen's pony phostou was at the door, and slit; was sit- ting, ready dressed for a drive, on the corner of the bed in which lay her younger child. Her handkerchief, saturated with Eau de Cologne, was every now and then lifted to her face, as though she dreaded infection. She looked very beautiful her dress infinitely became her-and not particularly agitated.
" I was begining to get fidgety, Doc- tor ; I was afraid I should not see you," said she, rising to meet me. I assured her that I had been unexpectedly detained. " And what do you think of the little love ? I was afraid he was ailing a little yesterday - his eyes looked very heavy yesterday evening, didn't they, Jones ?" turning to the maid.
"Yes ma'am," she replied eagerly, directing an affectionate and anxious look to the child. " You may recollect ma'am, I asked you yesterday afternoon if we
hadn't better send for"
" Oh yes-I daresay-I think you did Jones," interrupted Mrs. St. Helen, quickly, and with rather a displeased air. " Jones is always terrified with every change in the child's face ! But do you think there is any thing really the mat- ter, Doctor?"
After a little examination, I told her that I thought the child was sickening
for the measles.
" Is he indeed, sweet little lamb !" she exclaimed, looking really kindly at the child. " You don't think it's scarlet fever, now ? after a moment's pause, turning anxiously towards me, and gently ngitating her fragrant handkerchief.
" No," I replied-" at present I think it is decidedly the measles."
" Measles are not dangerous, are they?" - " La, ma'am ?" interrupted Jones, who was kneeling at the side of the bed, near the child-" excuse me, ma'am, but my poor sister's child died of them only a twelvemonth ago."
" Oh, nonsense, Jones-why do you try to alarm me in this way ? There's no such very great danger, Doctor, is there?" turning towards me with more interest in her manner than she had hitherto mani- fested.
" I sincerely hope not ! At present I can assure you there is every appearance of its being a mild attack."
" Only feel how hot his little hand is,
ma'am !" said Jones.
Mrs. St. Helen did not remove her gloves, but said to nie-"Of course he is rather feverish just now !"
After giving a lew directions concern- ing the temperature of the room, his food, and one or two other little matters, I left, and descended to the drawing-room, to write a prescription.
" I shall return home by four, Jones," said Mrs. St. Helen, also quitting the room, and following me-" be sure you pay every attention-Don't remove your eyes from him for a moment !"
" I'm quite delighted to find that there's no danger, Doctor," said she, seating herself beside me, as I began to
" Indeed, my dear madam," deter- mined not to let matters pass so very easily, " we must not be too sanguine. There are two forms of measles,-the one a mild, the other a very malignant. At present I cannot undertake to say with certainty which of the two it is." She continued silent for a fevf moments.-" I think I told you, in my note, that I be- lieved I had never had the measles ?" Are they really catching from a child to a grown-up person ~"
"Heavens!-I-I'llhave postiles burnt all over the house all day ? Dear me ! it would be dreadful if J were to catch it,-because" (she added hastily) " of
" Well we must hope for the best," said I, quietly folding up my prescription, and' requesting that it might be sent to the druggist's without delay; and hastily taking my leave, with a countenance that, had she been as sensitive as in former times, she might perceive somewhat clouded with disapprobation. Was the mother's heart, then, already so dulled towards her suffering offspring ? Could
I doubt the selfish nature qf her "anxie- ties? What infernal change had come over her ? Why did she not instantly order back her carriage, undress, and betake herself to the only place that then became her-the bedside of her child? But it was otherwise. A few minutes after I had quitted, she stepped into her carriage,, and drove into the Park. At my suggestion the elder child, Arthur, was sent off immediately to Mrs. Ogilyie's who resided some where in the neigh- bourhood of Chelsea; and I continued in daily attendance upon little George for about a week, during which time tho symptoms were of the milder description, and I anticipated the speedy recovery of my litl le patient. Mrs. St. Helen, when- ever I M'as present, evidently- at least I M'as uncharitable enough to admit the idea-acted the fond mother, appearing deeply interested in the progress of her child through his little perils. 1 had rea- son to believe, from one or two little circumstances that fell under my observa- tion, that she did not withdraw from the world of pleasure. The constant atten- dants upon little George M'ere-not his mother-but Miss Churchill and his nursery-maid Jones, both of them most anxious and affectionate nurses,-as, in- deed, I heard Mrs. St. Helen herself, in the blandest way acknowledge. -Well indeed, she might, having thus devoted the chiefest of her material duties upon the compainion she lind invited to par- take of her pleasures only.
I think it was about ten diiys after I had been first called in to attend upon littlo St. Helen, that I was suddenly summoned, about eight o'clock in the evening, to-street, with the intelli- gence that he had become very sudden- ly worse, and that Miss Churchill was much alarmed. Thither I repaired as quickly as possible, and found that ap- pearances justified her apprehensions. There was every symptom of the ac- cession of the malignant form of measles. He had just had a fit of spains, and was now breathing hard and quickly, and scorched up with fever. The symp- toms M*ere certainly serious.
" You must not, however, be too much alarmed, Mrs. St. Helen," said I, hastily turning round-forgetting, at the moment, that she, the most interested, was not present. The child had been going on as M'ell as usual,-rapidly recovering, in fact, till six o'clock that evening ; about which time Mrs. St. Helen, after making particular enquiries about the child, went off to dinner at Lady-'s, where she had ordered the carriage to call for her about nine, and convey her to the opera. In their fright, Miss Churchill and the servants forgot all this, and instinctively sent off for me. After giving such directions as appeared proper, I quitted the room, beckoning out for a moment
" Dear, sweet little love ! I'm afraid he's very ill," she exclaimed, much agi- tated, and bursting into tears, as she stepped with me for a moment into another room. I nclcowledgod to her that I considered the child to be in dangerous circumstances : Have you sent after Mrs. St. Helen ? she ought to be
" Dear ! we have boen all so flurried
but we'll enquire," she replied, running down stairs before me. " I really don't think she's been sent for-but I will immediately. Let me sec-nine o'clock. She'll be at the opera hy this time."
" Then I willdrive thither immediately, as my carriage is here, and bring her back with me. It will not do to alarm
her too suddenly, and in such a place. Let me see : on which side of the house is her box ?"
" Number-, on the left hand side of the stage. I think, at least, that you will find her in that box, which is the Duchess of-'s, and she called here to-day to offer it to Mrs. St. Helen." I drove off immediately, and had a twofold object in doing so-to acquaint her as soon as possible with au event of such serious importance as the dangerous illness of her child, and to endeavour, in doing so, to startle her out of the infatuation into which I feared she had fallen-to remind her again of the high and holy duties she was beginning to disregard. The sight of her dying oliild would rouse, I thought, the smothered feelings of the mother, and those would soon excite an agonizing recollection of her distant hus- band. On arriving at the opera-house, I made my way, in my hurry, to the ivjong side. 1 -went into one or two empty boxes before J discovered my mis- take ; and when at length I perceived it, I determined to stay for a few moments where I was, and endeavour to see what was going on in the Duchess of -'s box. There sate, sure enough, in the corner of the box, her face directed to- wards the stage, Mrs. St. Helen, dressed with her usual elegance, and looking ex- tremely beautiful. Her left hand slowly moved about her fan, and she was evi- dently occasionally conversing with some one standing far back in the box. I
contemplated her with real anguish, when I thought of her husband-if, indeed, she were not non a widow-and of, perhaps, her dying child. My'heart almost failed me, and I began to regret having under- taken the painful duty which had brought me where I was. I stretched myself as far forward as I could, to discover, if possible, who was in the box with her, but in vain. Whoever it was that she was talking to -her fan now and then fluttering hurriedly-he, or she, kept as far out of sight as possible. Just as I was quitting my post of observatiou, however, a sudden motion of a red arm, displaying the feather of an officer's cap, satisfied me that her companion was the execrable Alverley. I now felt an addi
¡tional repugnance to go through with
what I had undertaken; but I hurried round to the other side of the house, and soon stood knocking at the door of the Duchess's box. I knocked, and it was immediately opened by-Captain Alver-
" Is Mrs. St. Helen here?" I whis- pered. He bowed stiffly, and admitted me. Mrs. St. Helen, on seeing me, reddened violently. Rising from her seat, and approaching me, ehe suddenly grew pale, for she could not but perceive that my features were somewhat discom-
* " Good God ! Doctor, what brings you here?" she-enquired, with increasing trepidation.
" Permit me to ask, sir," said Captain Alverley, interposing with an air of haughty curiosity, " whether any thing has happened to justify- the alarm which
Mrs. St. Helen"
" I don't wish you to be frightened," said I, addressing her, without noticing her companion, or what he had said-1 could not overcome my repugnance to him-" but I think you had better return home with me ; my carriage is waiting for you."
" Oh my child ! my child !" she ex- claimed faintly, sinking into her seat again ; " what has happened, for Gods sake?"
" He is rather worse -suddenly worse -but I think he was better again before I left." She looked eagerly at me, while her countenance seemed blanched to the hue of the white dress she wore. She began to breathe shortly and hurriedly ; and I Mas glad that the loud and merry music which was playing, would, in some measure, drown the shriek I every moment expected her to utter. I suc- ceeded, however, with Captain Alverley's assistance, in conveying her to my carriage, which. I ordered on to -. Street as fast as possible, for Mrs. St.
Helen's excitement threatened to become violent. Shosobbedhysterically. "What a cruel, cruel wretch, I have been, she murmured, in brokeu accents, " to be at the-the opera-when my darling is dying !"
" Come, come, Mrs. St. Helen, it is useless to afflict yourself with vain re- proaches. You thought, as we all thought, that he M'as recovering fast, when you bet
" Oh, but I t-hould never-never have left his bedside ! Oh, if I should lose him ! I shall never be able to look my" -Thus she proceeded, till, overcome with e\haustion, she leaned back, sobbing heavily. As wo entered the street in which she lived, she M'hispered, with evidently a great effort to overcome her agitation, " Dearest Doctor-I see -I know what you must think-but I assure you -I-I-Captain Alverley had but that moment come into the box, quite unexpectedly to me, and I was extremely vexed and annoyed."
1 was glad that the carriage stopping spared me the pain of replying to her. Miss Churchill came running to the carriage, as soon as the hall-door had been opened-and almost . received Mrs. St. Helen into her arms-for she could hardly stand, her agitation became so suddenly increased.
" Emma«-Emma ! I do assure you he is better-much-a great deal better !" said Miss Churchill, hurrying her along
" O Jane-I shall die!-I am very ill ! I cannot bear it-can you forgive
" Hush ! hush ! what nonsense you are talking-you rave !" exclaimed Miss Churchill, as we forced Mrs. St. Helen into the diningroom, where it was some time before she was restored to any thing like a calmness. Mr. -, the well known apothecary, coming at length into tlie room, to take his departure, strenu- ously assured us that the child was very greatly relieved, and that he did not now apprehend danger. This I was happy in being; able to corroborate, after having stepped up stairs to satisfy my own anx- iety ; and I left her for the night, hoping, but faintly, that a great effort had been made to snap asunder the infernal bands in which Satan, in the shape of Alverley, had bound her. It seemed, however, as though my hopes were justified ; for morning, noon, and night beheld Mrs. St. Helen at her child's bedside-his zealous, watchful, and loving attendant for upwards of a week. She gave him all his medicine ; with her own hands she rendered him all the little services his situation required ; ordered a peremp- tory " not at home" to be answered to all comers except Mrs. Ogilvie; and doubtless banished from her busied bosom
all thoughts of Captain Alverley !
The morning after I had brought her home, as I have described, from the opera, on stepping into my carriage I saw some paper lying between the cushions of the seat. Supposing it to be some memorandum or other of my own, I took it up, and with unutterable feel- ings read the following, hastily written, in pencil :
" Will you, angel ! condemn me to a distant admiration of your solitary beauty? I am here fretting in old-'s box ; for mercy's sake rescue me. Only look down and nod, when you have read this, at-'s box-I shall understand-and rely upon it, will not abuse your kind-
ness." * * * -~»~
I tore it with fury into a hundred fragments, and then, recollecting myself, regretted that I had not enclosed " it to Mrs. St. Helen in an euvelope, with " my compliments," so that she might
be sensible of the extent to which I was aware of her guilty secrets. Could there be now any doubt in my mind of the nature of the attentions this villain was paying Mrs. St. Helen, and which she permitted? On reading this infernal missive, she must have " looked and nodded," and so summoned the fiend to her side. And now I recollected the falsehood she had had presence of mind, in the midst of all her agitation, to in- vent, in order to explain away his being with her-that it was " unexpected" to her, and " vexed and annoyed her." I long debated with myself whether I should communicate to her the nature of the discovery I had made ; but at length, fur many reasons, thought it better to
take no notice of it. I looked at her with
totally different feelings to those with
which I had ever before regarded her.
felt as if lier presence polluted the cham- ber of suffering innocence. Her uncom- mon beauty had. thenceforth no attrac- tions for my eyo ; I felt ' no gratification in her gentle and winning manners. ' I did not regret the arrival of the day fixed for both the childi'en, accompanied by herself, to go to the sea-side ; it would relieve mo from the presence of one whose perfidious conduct daily excited my in
ignation and disgust. She returned from the sea-Bide, 1 understood, as soon as she had seen her children settled ; I say understood;- for I had no knowledge of the, fact. She gave me no intimation either of the safe arrrival of her children at the sea-side, or of her own return, or how they M'ere going on. On our casu- ally meeting in Oxford Street she cer- tainly nodded, as our carriages met, but it was not the cordial recognition which 1
had been accustomed to receive from her. I saw that she did. not look in good health-her face seemed clouded with anxiety. As, however, she had vouch sa'ed me no intimation of her return to
toM'n beyond the sudden and casual re- cognition just mentioned, of course I ab- stained from calling upon her. I won- dered whether it had ever occurred to her as being possible that the note received from Alverley had been dropped in my carriage, and so come under my notice ? She might have recollected that she did not destroy it, but rather, perhaps, deter- mined not to destroy it ; she might have asked Captain Alverley if he had seen it -they might have searched the box - and then Mrs." St. Helen's guilty soul may have alarmed and worried her with the possibility that such a document might have found its way into my hands ,-and if it had, could I then do nothing to ex- tricate her from the perilous circum- stances in which I conceived her to be
placed ? What right had I to interfere, however keen my suspicions, however sincere my attachment to her - as she was -and to her husband ? But might I not endeavour to communicate with General
or Mrs. Ogilvie on the subject? Yet I knew nothing whatever of him, and her I had seen but seldom, and only at Mrs. St. Helen's ; and besides, from the evi- dent recrimination that I had interrupted between the sisters-in-law on a former occasion, it was plain that Mrs. Ogilvie must be aware of the light conduct of Mrs. St. Helen-probably she knew and feared far more than I-and so my com- munication M'ould not appear incredible. Still it might be taken ill-and I resolved not to attempt so dangerous an experi- ment. As for annonymous letters, that odious system was my abhorrence Sup- pose 1 Mere to M'rite directly to Mrs. St. Helen, braving all chances, and faith- fully expostulating with her on the dread- ful course upon which she was too evi- dently bent ? - but with what benefit had my former attempts been attended ? Suppose she should return my letter with indignation, or even, in a fever of fury, lay it before Captain Alverley. So seeing no possible way of interfering success- fully between the victim and the distroyer, I withdrew from the prdnful spectacle, and endeavoured to discharge it from my thoughts. Still, however, in my inter- course with society, I was from time to time pained by hearing rumours of the most distressing description concerning the degree of intimacy subsisting between Captain Alverley and Mrs. St. Helen. Scandal was indeed busy with their names-which at length found their way into the papers of the day.' Could, for instance, the following be mistaken! "The eccentric conduct of the lovely wife of a gallant officer is beginning to attract much notice in the beau monde. It is rumoured to be such as to call forth an intimation from a very high quarter," &c. &c. ; while in one or two less scru- pulous neM'spapers her name, connected with that of Captain Alverley, was men- tioned in the eoursest and mostdisgustiug
Alas, poor Colonel St. Helen!-if in- deed, the chances of war had yet spared you - was this the fond and lovely wife you left with such an agony of grief the mother of your children-she to whom you had confided so much-from whom you were expecting so enthusiastic a welcome after all your brave, and dan- gerous, and glorious toils ? Better would it be for you to fall glorious!}' before yon grisly array of muskets-amidst the bel- lowing of your country's cannon-than survive to meet the dismal scenes which seem prepared for you !
Alas, that I should have to record it ! -Mrs. St. Helen at length grew so reck- less-the consequences of her infamous conduct became so evident-that even some of the less fastidious of the circles in which she moved, found it necessary to exclude her. Public propriety could not be so outraged with impunity.
It was a lovely Sunday morning in May l8-, on which, returning from an early visit to a patient in the neighbour- hood of Kensington, I ordered the coach- man to walk his horses, that 1 might en-
joy the balmy freshness of every thing around, and point out to my little son, who had accompanied rae for the drive's sake, the beauty of Hyde Park, at that point leading off to Kensington Gar- dens. I could almost have imagined my- self fifty miles off in the country. The sun shone serenely out of the blue ex- panse above upon the bright green shrubs and trees, yet cool and fresh with the morning dew. With the exception of one gentleman who had cantered past us a few minutes before, and a tidy old country-looking dame sitting on one of the .benches to rest herself from a long walk to town, we encountered no one. My little chatterer was making some sa- gacious observations upon the height and number of trees in Kensington Gardens, when a rumbling heavy noise indicated the approach of a vehicle at a rapid rate. It proved to be a chariot and four, coming towards us in the direction of Cumberland Gate-tearing along as fast as the postilions could urge their horses. The side-blinds were- drawn down, but those in front were up, and en- abled mo to see-Mrs. St. Helen and , Captain Alverly! She was evidently vio Ô lently agitated, her white dress seemed to h have been put on in haste and disorder, tu her luir was dishevelled-she was wring
ng her hands, and weeping passionately. |
Ho was so absorbed with his attempts to1 pacify her, as not to have observed me. I draw my breath with difficulty for some moments, the shock of such a dreadful apparition had been so sudden. It seemed as though I had met Satan hur- rying away with a fallen angel !
* So, then, this was her ELOPEMENT that I had been fated to see ! Yes, the final step had been taken which separated that miserable and guilty being for ever from all that was honourable, virtuous, and Drecious in life ; which plunged her into infamy irretrievable ;-and her husband -liter children !-Fiend, thou hadst triumphed !
My exh laration of spirits, occasioned by the beaufy and calmness of the morn- ing, instantly disappeared. It seemed as though a cloud darkened the heavens, and filled my soul with oppressive gloom. "Papa!" exclaimed my little son, rous- ing me from the reverie into which I had fallen-" what are you thinking about? Are you sorry for that lady and gentle- man ? I wonder who they are ! Why was she crying? Is she ill, do you think?" His questions at length at- tracted my attention ; but I could not answer him, for he reminded me of little Arthur St. Helen, who was just about his age ! Poor children ! Innocent off- spring of an infamous mother, what is to become of yon ? What direful asso- ciations will ever hereafter hang around the name you bear !
About eleven o'clock I drove through
Street, and on approaching Mrs. St. Helen's house, perceived indi- cations, even in the street, of something unusual having happened. On drawing up at the door,-for I dertermined to call, it only to mention what I had seen,-I saw that theie were several persons in the drawingroom, evidently agitated. The servant who opened the door seemed quite bewildered. I was requested to walk up stairs as soon as he had taken up my name, andsoon found myself in the drawing-room, in the presence of Miss Churchill, and General and Mrs. Ogilvie, the Earl and Conntess of Hetheringham, and several
other relatives and connexions of Colonel
and Mis. St. Helen. They were all evi- dently labouring under great excitement. Mr>. Ogilvie was perfectly frantic, walk- ing to and fro, and wringing her hands, the picture of despair. I addressed my- self first to Miss Churchill, who stood nearest me. She took my hand, but suddenly quitted it, overcome with her
feelings, and turned away.
" My dear Countess." said I, ap- proaching the Countess of Hetheringham, who was sitting on the sofa, conversing with a lady, her handkerchief now and then raised towards her eyes, but her manner be ng still somewhat stately and composed-" I fear I can guess what has hap | ened! ' taking a chair opposite to her.
" Eloped, Doctor ! she has positively ! We are all thundeistruck," she answered in 'a low tone. " We were preparing to go to church when the painful news reached us. We came oft' hither, and have been here ever since. I have not told any of my daughters."
" H er companion, I suppose"
" Of course that wretch Captain Al verly. It is a pity he is to succeed to the title and estates. The Earl, by the way, talks of calling him out, and so forth. I'll take care he does no such thing, how- ever. Don't you think General Ogilvie should do so, if any one ?"
" How and when did she go ?" I enquired, affecting not to hear her la3t observations. " I called to say that I suspected what has happened, since I met them this morning early in the
'. Herbert !" exclaimed the Countess, in a less drawling tone than usual, addres- sing the Earl of Hetheringham, who was conversing with General Ogilvie and another gentleman in a low earnest tone,
at the further end of the room- " Doctor
says that he met the fugitives this morning in the Park."
" Indeed !" exclaimed the Earl, ear_ nestly, as they all three approached us" I told them what I had seen- and they,
listened in silence.
" Do you think we could mention the affair at the Horse-Guards?" enquired the Earl, turning to General Ogilvie. " I have a great mind to call on the Com mander-in-Chief to-morrow, and repre- sent the infamous conduct of his aide-de-
camp towards a distinguished brother officer !" The General and his compa- nion shook tbeir heads, and the three presently walked away again to a distant part of the draM'ingroom, where they ap- peared to resume the conversation which the Conntess's summons had interrupted.
(To be Continued.)