“Saviour of my mother, for her sake, have mercy on her unworthy child! oh, save me from myself, restore me to my mother!” and sinking on her knees, the wretched girl buried her face in her hands, and minutes, which to her appeared like hours, rolled on in that wild burst of repentant and remorseful agony.
“Dearest mother, this is indeed like some of Oakwood’s happy hours,” exclaimed Emmeline, that same evening, as with childish glee she had placed herself at her mother’s feet, and raised her laughing eyes to her face, with an expression of fond confiding love.
She and Ellen were sitting alone with Mrs. Hamilton, Miss Harcourt being engaged at a friend’s, and Mr. Hamilton having been summoned after dinner to a private interview with his solicitor on the Myrvin affairs.
The lovely evening was slowly wearing on to twilight, and the sky, shadowed as it was by the towering mansions of Berkeley Square, yet bore all the rich hues which had attended the repose of a brilliant setting sun. The balcony of the drawing-room where they were sitting was filled with, flowers, and the window being thrown widely open, the gentle breeze of summer filled the room with their sweet fragrance. It was that hour of evening when even London is somewhat hushed. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton had been more at home since Caroline’s visit to Airslie, but yet not one evening had so vividly reminded Emmeline of her dear Oakwood as the present; it was thus in twilight she had often sought her mother, and given vent, by a thousand little innocent devices, to the warm emotions that filled her heart.
Ellen had been standing by the flowers, but on hearing her cousin’s exclamation, she too had established herself on the couch by her aunt, and added—
“You are right, dear Emmeline; it is indeed.”
There was an anxiety on Mrs. Hamilton’s heart, which she could not define; but was yet unable to resist the innocent happiness of her young companions, and twining her arm playfully round Ellen, she abandoned her other hand to Emmeline, and answered—
“I am very glad, my dear children, that such a simple thing as my company can afford you so much pleasure.”
“It is so very rare now to have you thus all alone, mamma, can it be otherwise than delight? I do not even want papa yet, we three make such a comfortable party.”
“You are exceedingly polite to my uncle, Emmeline. I have a good mind to tell him when he rejoins us,” said Ellen, laughing.
“Do so, my mischievous cousin, and I shall get a kiss for your pains. I know where mamma’s thoughts are, though she is trying to be as merry as we are; she wants another to make this Oakwood hour complete.”
“I ought not to wish for your sister, my love, she is happier where she is than she would be here, particularly to-night, for Lord D— gives a splendid fete at his beautiful villa, similar to that given by the Duchess ten days ago at which I should think Caroline must have been delighted, though she wrote but little of it.”