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THE

TWIN SISTERS.

CHAPTER 1.

" Fancy and Pride seek things at vast expence,
" Which relish nor to reason, nor to sense."

YOUNG.

W

HEN nearly five years old, Ellen and Anna Stanley, twin sisters, were left to the care of an 'aunt,-not from the death of their parents, but owing to their removal from England to the East Indies, being allured by the hope of obtaining some of those riches which have too often drawn the inhabitants of this island thi. ther, and made them abandon their children to the care of less affectionate guardians than these little girls found in Mrs. Irvin.. It might have been supposed that, having only these two children, Mr. and Mrs. Stanley could not have admitted a thought of a separation from them, and that whilst they could have promised thembelves the satisfaction of leaving them a handrome fortune, they would have endeavoured, by Attending to their education, to have instructed

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them in the proper use of it: but such was not the conduct of these votaries of dissipation. They had lived among those whose riches seemed the only means of procuring happiness; and whilst Mr. Stanley daily saw his wealthy neighbours enjoying new amusements, he had not the wisdom to reflect, that none of their pursuits could afford them lasting pleasure; or why would they be so often changed for others? He thought, that variety is the chief source of happiness, which in a thinking mind will cause a doubt of its reality. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stanley were fond of society, and lived much beyond their income in endeavouring to keep, what is called, the best company. Whilst this was the case, it cannot be imagined that they could behold with much pleasure those children whom they were confessedly injuring, in what they deemed the most essential requisite of life, their fortune, and to obtain an increase of which they afterwards parted from them for so long a time.

It was just before this separation that Mrs. Irvin, the sister of Mrs. Stanley, after having refused many former invitations, came to town. She had lived for several years in the country, with an husband whom she much valued and esteemed, and whose death she had mourned the last

she would say,

two years. Having no family of her own, and blest with an ample income, she followed his example in considering the neighbouring poor as her peculiar charge; nor did she find so much gratification in any pleasure the world could offer her, as in contributing to their welfare. Such sentiments as these, frequently expressed in her letters to her sister, excited her surprise, especially after Mr. Irvin's death, when she expected she would declare herself tired of the uniform life she had led with him, and impatient to return to society. “ Whilst he lived,”

66 she did not so much wonder at her sister's wish to avoid the world, as he was so strange and unaccountable a man, that he could make no figure in it; but that for two years after his death she should remain in solitude, was a circumstance that she could not account for."

The truth was, nothing but the wish of seeing the children of her sister could have induced Mrs. Irvin' once more to have visited London; but when she considered, that they were now old enough to be instructed in many things, and yet found no mention made of them in any of their mother's letters, and that the general answer to all her enquiries was, that they were

very well,” while every other part was filled with accounts of balls, routs, and dining parties, in which she was continually engaged, she thought it her duty to endeavour, by every means in her power, to promote their education.

On her arrival in Portman-square, where Mr. and Mrs. Stanley then resided, she was struck with the alteration she perceived in the latter, whose dress and manners were in the extremity of the fashion; and, highly painted as she was, she could scarcely discover any traces of the sister she had twelve years before parted from with so much regret. At that time, Mrs. Stanley was between eighteen and nineteen, and lived with this her only sister, who was several years older than herself, and had then been married some time to Mr. Irvin. While under their roof, she received an invitation to town for the first time in her life, and, new as all its pleasures were to her, she earnestly entreated her sister's consent to accept of it. Mr. and Mrs. Irvin were then her only guardians, as their father had died soon after the marriage of his eldest daughter. Unable to refuse her request, they parted from her with visible reluctance, yet unwilling to express their disapprobation; while she, though attached to her sister from childhood, could not now feel regret at leaving her, to taste of enjoyments she had long eagerly wished for, and to enter on a scene of life in which she had been taught to expect their daily increase. Full of pleasing anticipations, she came to London, and by the mistaken kindness of her friends, was immediately plunged into all its gaieties. At one-and-twenty, she married Mr. Stanley, with whom she continued the same round of dissipation, unconcerned at what her sister, whom she had formerly thought her best adviser, might think of her, and to whose remonstrances she paid but little attention. The embarrassment of their affairs would now and then cause a sigh of regret in Mrs. Stanley, till the fear of reflection made her enter still deeper into the pursuits of fashionable life; so that when Mrs. Irvin again met her sister, she found her'a complete fine lady, insensible to any affection which terminated not in self ; negligent or idi Vietan, the mask of happiness, concealing the uneasiness which, notwithstanding all her endeavours to avoid, would often arise in her mind, when conscience, whose voice will and must be heard by all, whispered to her that she was wrong.

As Mrs. Irvin came in her own carriage, she was two days on the road, and reached the house of her sister before their usual dinner-hour. She was received by Mrs. Stanley, without the emotions my readers would suppose so long an ab

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