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tries to make him believe that as you only married him because mamma apa pointed it, so you don't care a rush for him. But it would not do last night; - it is all quite true; - I was told it all by one who heard the very words.”
" You astonish me!" said Isabella. Why should he say such things to Lady Charlotte, and appear to me to feel them so little ?"
“Oh! my dear, you never will do yourself justice. How could he forbear from saying such things, when every body was saying them all around him ? And this Lady Charlotte could not bear, and so, of course, said something depreciating; and then it was that he grew so warm, and praised you more than any body did ; and Lady Charlotte was so provoked that she looked like a fury."
“When could all this happen?" said Isabella. They were never sepa
rated during the whole evening, and I left them in the room, and Mr. Wil. loughby went out this morning before I awoke."
“ All very likely," returned Mrs. Nesbitt; "for after the fracas he made her dance; on purpose, my informer thought, to show how inferior she was to you, for she certainly dances like a cow; and you, my dear,—but I have no words to say how you dance ; Jephthah's daughter would have been nothing to you ; — and so they continued together, sometimes squabbling, sometimes dancing: but that cruel head-ache of yours prevented you from seeing any thing of all this; and what more kind than that Mr. Willoughby should not disturb you before he went out?
“ I wonder he did not wish to know that my head-ache was better," said Isabella, with a sigh.
“ Oh! it was sure to be better, my dear," returned Mrs. Nesbitt; "all head-aches are better. Nothing more than a little heat and a little fatigue. Most heads would have done more than ached; they would have been turned by such a buzz of admiration as you had about
you last night; and if you kept your own steady, there were many that were turned, I can tell you. . I have been all round the town, my dear, just to pick up what I could learn of how things went off; but all the glory of the rooms was lost in your glory. Never did I hear such encomiums !-such raptures !-one should have thought that you had never been seen before. But you were divinely dressed, that's the truth of it. You see I was quite right as to the superbe.' I knew the point from whence you would be seen to advantage. Lord Thomas himself said that no
thing was ever more lovely, - more captivating !"
“ He is the last man in the world that I should wish to speak of me at all,” said Isabella; “ I always shun him as if he were the plague.”
“ You will be very clever if shun him now," said Mrs. Nesbitt ; s for I warn you that he has marked you. And what harm?
The more you look down upon, the more Mr. Willoughby will look up to you.”
“ If I thought I should find Mr. Willoughby in the Park,” said Isabella, “ I would drive there directly.”
“ Oh! drive there, by all means," said Mrs. Nesbitt.
66 I will send my carriage home; it has been out all morning. You shall take me with you, and set me down afterwards ; and as we go I will tell you more of the effects of last night.”
Of some of these effects Isabella had
already experienced too much.
It was not possible that all the arrows which Mrs. Nesbitt shot so plentifully from her adulation bow should all fall harmless. Isabella knew that the most flattering things which she repeated could not wholly be her own invention, for they had been too frequently addressed to her own ears. She therefore easily persuaded herself that what was reported as having passed between Lady Charlotte and Mr. Willoughby might also be true. Perhaps then, after all, Mrs. Nesbitt might be right; the way to Mr. Willoughby's heart might be through the admiration that she should excite in others. She thought that she could judge whether this were the case or no, if she could see him while the impression that was said to be given was recent. She felt impatient to throw herself in his way, and