« AnteriorContinuar »
line, and its banks gay with autumnal flowers and tufted brushwood. Beyond the lake lay a park, which stretched away to the South far as the eye could reach; the branching heads and elegant forms of its numerous herds of different kinds of deer were seen reposing on the banks of the lake, or reflected from its surface.
The whole scene was lighted up by the dazzling brilliancy of a declining sun; and Isabella, enraptured and enchanted, breathless with delight and wonder, could not find words in which to ex. press her feelings.
Oh! here indeed, thought she, I could live for ever! if Mr. Willoughby would live with me! The if sobered her ecstacy. Without him, thought she, even this paradise would be a dreary waste!
She embraced her boy; she dropped a tear on his cheek, nor was her own dry when the carriage stopped, and she saw herself surrounded by a group of domestics who were assembled to receive her, and to obey her orders. In every face she beheld respect and duty, but there was no affectionate gratulation, no recognition of past kindness. She came amongst them as a stranger, - and a stranger unsupported, and unaccompanied by the only individual from whom she could have derived a right to their attachment, or who could have recommended her to their favour. Even in entering her own house she felt herself an intruder. Why did Lady Rachel send me here? thought she and the sadness of her heart communicated itself to her countenance, and gave an air of languor and fatigue to every movement.
“Our rough hills have tired you, madam," said a respectable looking personage, whom Isabella had no difficulty in
assuring herself could be no one but Mrs. Evans; and she said it with a voice of so much kindness that Isabella felt that she had already a friend.
Yes," said she, “ I do feel tired; but I am sure that I shall find every thing here that I can wish or want.”
The good will became instantly reciprocal ; for the mild obligingness of Isabella went to Mrs. Evans's heart in a moment.
“ If Mr. Roberts or myself, madam, had left any thing undone that we could do to make every thing as it ought to be, I am sure we should be very wrong, and should have done very contrary to my master's orders. I hope, madam, my master is well ?”
Isabella's full heart would hardly allow her to answer in the affirmative. She diverted the current of her thoughts by saying, “that is Mr. Roberts, I am sure; and presently I must
learn from you two who all these good people are. I have no doubt bụt that we shall be very happy together.”
As she said this, she entered a large and highly ornamented hall, “ bedight" with painted windows and full-length pictures of a long line of ancestry.
Isabella stopped to gaze. She was surprised at the perfect order and preservation in all that she saw.
“ It all looks,” said she, “ as if Mr. Willoughby had only quitted it yesterday!"
" Ah, madam !” said Mrs. Evans, so it is a long time since my master was here, but we shall soon see him now, I am sure, and it will be a joyful day to all when he comes."
Isabella's heart glowed within her, on this testimony to the character of her husband. “ I see so much to admire,” said she, as she ascended the stairs, “ that I forget that I ought to
lose no time in putting my little boy to bed. Pray shew me where he is to sleep.”
“ I hope you will like the room I have prepared for him, madam," returned Mrs. Evans. “ It was my master's nursery, just by my lady's room. She never could have him too near her, and .so I thought it might be the
madam." “ Thank you for thinking so," said Isabella. “ You will see that you thought rightly.-Oh! what a beautiful room!-- and every thing that can be wanted, as if nothing had been displaced since Mr. Willoughby was a baby too!”
“ That is my master's crib,” said Evans. “ My lady worked the quilt and curtains with her own hands; but, perhaps, it is old-fashioned now, and you may have something that you will like better for your young gentleman.”