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were now like images that move us in a light sleep, too indistinct to be imbodied, too fleeting to be remembered. No; there was yet passion, but no purity in the love of Lord Cleveland. What, then, so excited, what so enchained him, as to give an air of constancy to his affection, which rather raised than hurt him in the world? Let him who knows that world answer; Vanity! Pride! the pride of conquering difficulties ; a natural ardour and haughtiness wounded to the quick. All these would find consolation from success, in the end, quite sufficient to keep up the pursuit, though love had never been felt, or had changed (which it had not) into absolute disgust.
This, therefore, must explain, what we own requires explanation, the phenomenon, as it may be called, which closed the end of the letter to Lord Clanellan. For Lord Cleveland, from some or all of these causes, had never been able to banish Constance entirely from his mind; and he had conceived fresh hopes, from the important acquisition he had recently made.
He at least thought he had found an opportunity of appearing in a new character for generosity and disinterestedness, by the use he intended to make of it; or, if that should fail, it still remained an engine of terror, and, at worst, of vengeance. How all this was developed, how conducted, the changes it produced, and how it ended, remains to be seen.
THE MISTAKES OF PRIDE.
Nay, if the gentle spirit of moving words
UPON the receipt of Lord Cleveland's letter, Lord Clanellan, who had returned from Castle Mowbray, gave him the choice of the next six hours for the interview he had solicited. They met, and the first subject discussed ended in all the satisfaction to the earl which he could have hoped: for as he had not felt obliged to state to the
marquis the different hopes and wishes he had entertained in meeting Silverlock, or the exact views for himself which had afterward prompted the purchase of the deed, Lord Clanellan, in the most unqualified manner acquitted him of having tampered with a robber.
“Whether you were right,” said he, “in meeting this villain without greater precaution may be a question of prudence, but not of morality; and, having met him, I know not that you could have done otherwise. But your offer to restore the document to its true owner stamps the whole transaction with honour."
Lord Cleveland bowed, and waited with some interest for the marquis to proceed.
“ As to the consequences of this important discovery, as your lordship calls it, of a document which we must be permitted to assert no one ever attempted to conceal, there can be but one feeling," said Lord Clanellan, the part of Lady Constance-nainely, that justice should be done, and the law take its course.
“Spoken like yourself,” replied Lord Cleveland ; "yet the stake is immense. Full ten thousand a year, and possibly the arrears !"
“ Were it a hundred instead of ten,” returned Lord Clanellan," I should give the same answer.”
“And would you do nothing, recommend nothing, catch at nothing," said Lord Cleveland,“ for your ward to avoid so immense a loss ?"
“ To catch at any thing," returned the marquis, “implies something at least not becoming, and therefore not worthy your admirable kinswoman. But I would do every thing, and recommend every thing, not dishonourable, to preserve her from misfortune."
Lord Cleveland's cheek experienced a slight tinge at these words. He felt rebuked, and rebuke was not agreeable to him.
“ I should have hoped,” said he proudly, “ that I had credit enough with Lord Clanellan for these words to have been spared.”
The marquis assured him he meant not the least allusion, except to his own feelings; and Lord Cleveland proceeded.
May I hope, then, that any thing I may have to propose to avoid so great a blow to the interests of Lady Constance, as well as an éclat which I know must be unpleasant to her delicate mind, may be viewed with goodwill, if not with favour?"
“ As her guardian,” replied the marquis, with politeness, “I ain ready to listen, as becomes me, to any proposal which Lord Cleveland may think it right to make."
“But you are cold, marquis,” returned Lord Cleveland," and my proposals are not to be thrown away upon an unwilling heart. They emanate from feelings which ought at least to be respected, and I go not a step until I am assured that I am willingly heard."
“ If this mean,” replied the marquis, “any thing in the shape of menace
** The farthest in the world from it,” interrupted Cleveland, alarmed at his own haste ; " and you must forgive. any thing that may appear abrupt from one whose feeling is at this moment too anxious to be conveyed in terms very measured.” The marquis looked surprised, and Cleveland went on.
Know, then, that you see before you a man who, with all the efforts he has made to conquer himself, is still the lover of your admirable ward. She has resisted my advances more than once; and I know well what would be required of me by pride. But though I am not deficient in ihat respect” (and he forced a smile, which called up a real one in his hearer), “I own that I can feel none towards so gentle a creature.”
“ Your lordship but properly appreciates her,” said Lord Clanellan, somewhat softening towards him.
The earl then proceeded to explain all his wishes, which, never suppressed, had rekindled, he said, upon the prospects which what he still called his discovery had opened.
" I felt,” said the earl, “ all the advantages it gave me, but"
“ You must give me leave to stop you,” cried the marquis, interrupting him; “I know of no advantage you can have derived from your new situation over the pure and disinterested being whom you seek, even were all your supposed claims already confirmed. But I need not point out to you that we acknowledge no claims, nor even know of any that can affect our commonest interests, much less influence a heart which you have yourself described as delicate."
“I confess myself wrong," said the earl, with a vexed air, “ and acknowledge you have reason in what you say. I had better, therefore, come at once to the point; which is, that I had far rather owe what may devolve upon me to Lady Constance's own bounty, by giving me her hand, than to any decision of the law, even supposing it were now ready to be pronounced.”
“I am to understand, then," said the marquis, “that you still love Lady Constance; and that, provided your hand is accepted, these supposed claims will be suppressed."
“Exactly so, and I desire your frank answer to my proposals.
Frankly, then, as guardian, I shall think myself bound to lay them before Lady Constance.”
“ I conclude so. But is that all ? Have you no opinion upon my offers ? No advice?"
“ None in the world.” “ And why not ?"
“Because not only is it an affair which concerns the lady alone, but I know not a person in the world who could form a better opinion of it than Lady Constance herself."
Lord Cleveland did not like this fencing on the part of Lord Clanellan; and, coming to close quarters, fairly asked his own sentiments upon his chance of success; “ for sentiments I suppose you must have,” said he.
“If I must give them,” answered Lord Clanellan, “you will not be offended, I hope, if I say, I think you will not succeed. Excuse me if I compare your proceedings to the rough addresses of Henry VIII. when he sought Mary of Scotland for his son. He made war, and the Scots,' says the historian, “resisted the more, because they did not like this rough way of wooing.""
“Do you blame me, then, for expressing my opinion of
my legal rights ?"
“ By no means : but I blame you for offering to compromise their suppression,"
Lord Cleveland absolutely started at this accusation; a tempest gathered on his brow, while the marquis, not noticing it, coolly went on.
“If I know any thing of Lady Constance, had she no preconceived opinions, nay, if they were in your fa
“Which it seems they are not,” cried the earl with petulance: “but go on;" and he folded his arms in a
listening posture, but turned away to hide the impression which the marquis's implied supposition had made upon his spirit.
My lord,” answered Lord Clanellan, “let us not hurry one another. The situation you place me in is always a delicate, in this instance a difficult one. It were easy for me to parry it, by merely saying that your lordship is of far too much consequence for me not to lay your proposals before my ward; and with this I might cease. But you have also pressed me for my own opinion, which, excuse me if I say, you ought not to demand.”
Cleveland admired his placidity, yet wished himself under ground for having put his wishes in his power. But he was too far gone to recede, and summoned all his patience while Lord Clanellan resumed.
“I have observed to you, that even if Lady Constance had prejudices in your favour (of which I know nothing), this novel, and again I will call it rough mode of wooing would, I think, determine her against you. If her feel. ings are against you already"
“Of which you know something," again interrupted the petulant earl.
My lord," said Lord Clanellan," it is fit we break off. You must excuse me if I content myself with saying that I shall certainly lay your proposals before Lady Constance, with all the offered advantages, and also the threats, with which they have been accompanied."
“I have used no threats," replied Lord Cleveland, with vehemence; “ and I throw myself upon your consideration, not to let my eagerness to succeed prejudice me, as I perceive it will. I therefore entreat you to commend my suit, without the accompaniment of the threat which you think I have held out. Annihilating that word between us, conceive that I have merely opened to you what I have so lately learned of my claims in law, without the intimation that I mean to enforce them."
“ You ask an impossibility,” returned Lord Clanellan. 6 Were I only the friend of Lady Constance, to conceal her danger would be false tenderness. As her guardian, it would be treason."
“Surely you are too honourable,” said Lord Cleveland, “ to take advantage of an imprudence which you must perceive has arisen from the anxiety of love alone ?"
•I am distressed," answered Lord Clanellan, “but not VOL. II.-21