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for some minutes almost insensible to all that was around her.
Mrs. Vaughan approached her tenderly. “Dear girl, look up; this event will fulfil all your wishes; you have nothing now but happiness to look forward to.
All will now he well. Learn to bear joy as well as you have borne sorrow.”
Catherine, aroused by her appeal, arose hastily. “Let me hear this delightful news at full length; I must know all that you can tell me." “I have a letter that will best explain all,” replied Philip; “my mission here is to request that you
will return instantly to Harley-street, there to await your father's arrival; and, if Mrs. Vaughan will for once desert her solitude, and accompany you, our pleasure will be so much the more increased”-putting at the same time a letter into the hands of each.
The letter to Mrs. Vaughan was from Mrs. Courtney,--that to Catherine from her father. In her agitation, she was scarcely able to decipher the characters. But she was struck by the date. 6. This letter has been singularly long in reaching me; it is dated eight months back.”
Courtney's countenance struck her. “Can you explain this delay ?" fixing her eyes inquiringly on him. Explain,-delay !” he murmured;
no, my air cousin,--thai is a task above me,-ac
6 We may
cuse the winds and waves." expect the General almost immediately ?" “ All is best as it is; the meeting will follow its announcement so speedily, that you will have no time for doubt or restlessness."
She again read the letter. “My father," resumed she, “I observe, complains of my silence; yet I have written letters innumerable; there is some strange neglect in this business.” “ Undoubtedly; but the mystery defies conjecture, and can be explained only by himself.”
"Excuse us for a while," said Mrs. Vaughan, smiling, and beckoning to Catherine to follow her. "Letters of so much importance are to be discussed only in a boudoir. I leave you better amusement till our return," pointing to a well-filled bookcase. “Books, my dear Madam," replied Courtney, “the resource of an exhausted mind; no, I am rather weary of my hasty journey. Honour me with the unlimited use of your sopha, and I will engage to sleep off my fatigue with first-rate expedition,"—at the same time flinging himself with fashionable indifference on a couch at the further end of the room.
In order to account for the delay in the delivery of General Greville's letter, it
may be necessary to state that it had been in Courtney's possession for above two months., Nor must its delay be attributed to neglect
or forgetfulness on his part; it was, on the contrary, a part of that ingenious policy which formed the striking feature of his character.
Colonel (now General) Greville had left England with a favourable remembrance of Philip, as a remarkably lively and intelligent boy,-50 favourable as perhaps, even at that early period, to have excited some vague notion of one day uniting him to his daughter.
The present letter had been enclosed in one to himself. When he found that the General, having amassed considerable wealth, was on the eve of returning to England, with the avowed intention of settling a handsome fortune upon his daughter at her marriage, and making her his heiress at his death, his former scheme presented itself in glowing colours.
But a sudden difficulty arose. Would not a being of her spirit and feeling penetrate at once into the motive which actuated him, shrink from attentions following so immediately the prosperous change in her circumstances, and reject his overtures with scorn ? As he revolved the business, and re-perused his letter, he perceived it was not the General's intention to quit India for three or four inonths more, and suddenly adopted the happy idea of withholding the intelligence for a
oné certain period, during which he should pay pole assiduous court to Catherine. His attentions Jis chi would thus have, at least, the merit, in her
eyes, of appearing wholly disinterested, and adla might, in the lucky interval of Vaughan's ab
sence, eventually prove successful.
Having thus worthily arranged his plan, here he lost no time in putting it in execution.
Deceived by the natural gentleness of Cathtof erine's manner, and perceiving that she had
almost forgotten her former cause of displeaedt sure, he flattered himself that he had brought
the matter to the point of triumph; and rode down full speed, overflowing with the utmost anxiety to communicate the newly-arrived and bappy tidings.
Who builds his hope in air of your fair looks,
MRS. VAUGHAN no sooner found herself alone with Catherine, than putting Mrs. YOL. II.
Courtney's letter into her hand, “ I cannot,"? she said, accept this invitation. Mrs. Courtney has always treated me with a marked and studied coldness. I would willingly keep up some appearance of friendship with her, remembering that she is my lamented husband's only sister ; but then so unlike him : no,-Mrs. Courtney has no heart. Read her letter, and judge for yourself. And yet there is grace and warmth in that letter; but, knowing her as I do, I can dive into the feelings which prompted it, as much as if I had dictated it. She would stand well with your father, and cannot, without producing inquiries, exclude from her invitation his daughter's friend."
“ It is all true," returned Catherine;" but, for my sake, overcome your reluctance,forgive, forget, for awhile. I shall be again among a world of strangers, or acquaintances as uncongenial.—Martha’s malicious smile, Seraphina's hypocritical tears,-Lady Lovemore's fashionable indifference,-Mrs. Courtney's heartless hauteur,—all rise in odious review; and what will become of me?" "But remember," said Mrs. Vaughan, smiling,
you are about to appear before them in a new character,-as an heiress. You will be courted, flattered, caressed." hut not deceived,” said Catherine pointedly; - I have had a peep behind the curtain,
" Perhaps so,