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that I could suffer Mrs. Nesbitt to per. suade me to such a folly? How could I for a moment believe that such an act of vanity and extravagance could make me more amiable in the eyes of my husband? When he prepared the feast, I was happy: now I have made it a piece of management, to entrap, as it were, his admiration, I am disappointed and mortified. There must be some error in her reasoning. Her plan may do with some men, but it will never succeed with Mr. Willoughby; he has been too well used to all that adorns life to give much credit to the talents that produce such common effects. They may furnish him with a theme for flattery to the happy woman whom he admires, but cannot recommend a wife to his affection. Alas! what can? How kind and how fond he has been! and how indulgent does he continue to be! Ought I not to
be satisfied ? Mamma, I know, would scold me if I were to complain. How often has she told me that a husband's love would not outlive the honeymoon; but that, if I were discreet, I might always secure iny husband as my best friend. I have read such things, too, in some French moralists ; but if the husband's love is so evanescent, how comes it that the wife feels so differently? Oh! no: I cannot believe it. There are charms, there are qualities, that can secure the heart of a husband for life. Were I more attractive, were I more like Lady Charlotte, Mr. Willoughby would love me now exactly as he did during those happy, happy weeks that we passed in Hertfordshire. The fault must be in me, not in him ; for still he is very kind. He would have me happy, but he cares not that I should be only happy through him ; and that must be because he can be happy otherwise than by me.
The sadness of these reflections made Isabella forget that her breakfast was untasted before her. It had remained untouched to a very late hour, when Mrs. Nesbitt ran into the room to her.
“My dearest creature, I have been in despair! I thought I never should get to you. I thought that you must have been gone out these fifty hours ago. What a little philosopher you are, to be able to sit solitarily at home, when you could not have shown yourself any where without having been crowned with laurels. Such a sensation! Never did a ball answer so well.”
“Answer!" repeated Isabella : “My dear Mrs. Nesbitt, in what respect did it answer? Could any thing be more declared than Mr. Willoughby's exclusive admiration of Lady Charlotte? Could any thing be more evident than that he did not care a pin for all the ingenious contrivances and expensive decorations you suggested, and which you so kindly wished to give me the credit of?”
“ What have you been dreaming of, my dear Mrs. Willoughby?” said Mrs. Nesbitt, “and what have you been thinking of since you awoke, to take things à travers thus, to make you look so sad? And I verily believe that you have not yet breakfasted! No wonder that your heart faints within you. After all the delightful excitations of last night, it is of course that you should feel exhausted; but then, my dear, you should take some means to recruit yourself. Let me give you a cup of coffee. Bless me, it is cold! May I ring the bell ? Pray, Sir, bring Mrs. Willoughby some hot
coffee. As you drink it, my dear, I will tell you such things!-things that will be more restorative than all the coffee in the world."
“I wish you could tell me," said Isabella, “ that I had not played the fool.”
Played the fool, indeed!" returned Mrs. Nesbitt;
yes, as David did, and saved his life by it. Now I call that playing the wise man ; and you will have been the wise woman too, and I trust will continue so. Nothing more marked than Mr. Willoughby's exclusive admiration indeed! Why, my dear, they absolutely quarrelled !true as I 'm alive! - and quarrelled about you ! - Mr. Willoughby said you were so beautiful, and so lovely, and so all soul, and I don't know what; and Lady Charlotte was ready to box 'his ears ; for she will always have it that you have no spirit, and