|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
As time new on the friends of Lady Boe hamptuu thought and spoke with anxiety about her te-cntiance intosociety. Mr. Sidney Wilton had lent Gsydeno to her for the antnmn, when be always visited bcotland, and the winter hud passed away uninterruptedly, at a charming and almost unknown watering-place, where she seemed the only visitant, and where she wandered about in silence on the sands. Tne time was fast approaching when the inevitable year of aecluBion would expire, and Lady hoe hainpton gave no indication of any change in her life and habits. At length, after nuuy appeals, and expostulations, and entreaties, and little scenes, the second year of the wido vhood having advanced some months, it was decided that Lady hoehampton should re-enter society, and the occasion on which this was to take place
was no mean one.
Lady Mnntfort was to give a ball early in June, and Boyalty itself was to be her guests. The entertainments at Montfort House were always magnificent, but this was to exceed accustomed aplendour. Ail the world was to be there, and all the world, who were not invited, were in as much despair aa if they had lost their fortune or their character.
Lady lioehamptoD had a passion for light, provided the light was not supplied by gas or oil. Her saloons, even when alone, were always brilliantly illuminated. She held that the moral ettest of anch a oircumstance on her temperament was beneficial, and not alight. It iaa rare, but by no means a singular belief. TV ben she descended into her drawing-room on the critical night, its resplendence was some preparation for tne scene which awaited her. She stood for a moment before the tali mirror which refieoted her whole person. What were her thoughts ? What was the impression wat the fair vision conveyed ?
tier countenance mat grave, but it was not sad. Myra had now oompleted, or was on the point of completing, her thirtieth year. She was a woman of transoendent beauty; perhaps she might justly be described as the most beautiful woman then alite. Time had even improved her commanding mien, the graoefal sweep of her figure and the volumptuous undu lation of her shoulders; buttime also bad spared those charms which are more incidental to early youth, the splendour of her complexion, the whiteness of her teeth, and the lustre , of her violet eyes. She had eut off in her grief the profusion of her dark chestnut locks that once reached to ber feet, and she wore her hair as, what .was then and perhaps is now called, a crop, but it was luxuriant in natural quantity aid rich in ooloor, and most effectively set off her arched brow, and the oval of ber fresh and beauteous cheek. The crop was crowned to-night by a coronet of brilliants.
" Your carriage is ready, my lady," said a servant; " but there is a gentleman below who has brought a lhtter for your ladyship, and which, he says, he must personally deliver to
you, madam. I teld him your ladyship was , going ont and could not see him, but he put his card in this envelope, and requested that I would hand it to yon, madam. He says he will only deliver the letter to yoor ladyship, and net detain you a moment."
Lady Boehampton opened the envelope, and read the card, " The Dcxb of St. Abqelo."
" The Duke of St. Angelo 1" she murmured tu herself, and looked for a moment abstracted. Then turning to the servant, shesaid, "He most be shown up."
"Madam," said the Dukeaa he entered,and bowed with much ceremony. "I am ashamed of appearing to be an intruder, but my commands were to deliver this letter to your ladyship im mediately od my arrival, whatever the hour. I have only this instant arrived. We had a bad pasBsge. 1 know your ladyship's carriage is at the door. I will redeem my pledge and not trespass on your time for one instant. If yonr ladyship requires me, I am ever at your
"At Carlton Gardens t" " No; et our embassy."
" His Majesty, I hope, is well i"
"In every sense, my lady," and bowing to the ground the Duke withdrew.
She broke the seal of the letter while atill standing, and held it to a eeonoe that was on the mantelpiece, and then she read:—
"You were the only person I called upon when I suddenly left England. I had no hope of seeiDg yon, but it waa thahomage cf gratitude and adoration. Great events have happened since we last met. I have realised my droams, dreama which X sometimes faaeied you, and you alone, did not depredate or diiored[t,and,in the sweetness of yonr charity, would not have been sony were they accomplished.
"I have established what I believe to be a
« rang and just Government in a great kingdom. I have noi been uninfluenced by the leaaona of wiedom I gained in yoar illustrious land. I bave done some things which its waa a solace for me to believe you would not altogetner aia
" My enbjecta are anriona that the dynaaty I bave re-established should not be evanescent. Ia it too bold to hope that i may hud a com paniou in you to charm a -d to counsel me't I can offer you nothing equal to j our traosoeudeot merit, hut X can otter you the heart .aud the throve Of " i'LOKKSTAN."
Still holdiog the letter in one hand, she looted mound us it aome oue rnicht be pr.aeut. Her check waa acarlet, and there was for a moment sn expression of wilduess in her glance, Then she paced the aaloou with au agitated step, aod then she read the letter again and again, and still she paced the sainou. The venule history of her life revolved before her; every scene, every character, every thought, aud sentiment, aud passion. The brightness of her nursery days, aud Hurstley with all its miseries,. aud Uainault with its gardens, aud the critical honr. which had opened to her a futuro of sa;h unexpected lustre and happiness.
Ibe cluck lad struck more tban once during, this long and terrible soliloquy, whereiu she had to search and penetrate her inmost heart, aod now it struck tvo. Bhe started, aud huniedly
time the bell .
" I shall not want the carriage to-night,'' she - said, and when aeain elone, she sat down, "lid bu y ing her face in her alabaster arms, for a long.
time remained motionless.