Lady Juliana looked in upon her as she passed to dinner. She was in a better humour, for she had received a new dress which was particularly becoming, as both her maid and her glass had attested.
Again Mary’s heart bounded towards the being to whom she owed her birth; yet afraid to give utterance to her feelings, she could only regard her with silent admiration, till a moment’s consideration converted that into a less pleasing feeling, as she observed for the first time that her mother wore no mourning.
Lady Juliana saw her astonishment, and, little guessing the cause, was flattered by it. “Your style of dress is very obsolete, my dear,” said she, as she contrasted the effect of her own figure and her daughter’s in a large mirror; “and there’s no occasion for you to wear black here. I shall desire my woman to order some things for you; though perhaps there won’t be much occasion, as your stay here is to be short; and of course you won’t think of going out at all. Apropos, you will find it dull here by yourself, won’t you? I shall leave you my darling Blanche for companion,” kissing a little French lap-dog as she laid it in Mary’s lap; “only you must be very careful of her, and coax her, and be very, very good to her; for I would not have my sweetest Blanche vexed, not for the world!” And, with another long and tender salute to her dog, and a “Good-bye, my dear!” to her daughter, she quitted her to display her charms to a brilliant drawing-room, leaving Mary to solace herself in her solitary chamber with the whines of a discontented lap-dog.
“C’est un personnage illustre dans son genre, et qui a porte le talent de se bien nourrir jusques ou il pouvoit aller; . . . il ne semble ne que pour la digestion.”—LA BRUYERE.
IN every season of life grief brings its own peculiar antidote along with it. The buoyancy of youth soon repels its deadening weight, the firmness of manhood resists its weakening influence, the torpor of old age is insensible to its most acute pangs.
In spite of the disappointment she had experienced the preceding day, Mary arose the following morning with fresh hopes of happiness springing in her heart.
“What a fool I was,” thought she, “to view so seriously what, after all, must be merely difference of manner; and how illiberal to expect every one’s manners should accord exactly with my ideas; but now that I have got over the first impression, I daresay I shall find everybody quite amiable and delightful!”
And Mary quickly reasoned herself into the belief that she only could have been to blame. With renovated spirits she therefore joined her cousin, and accompanied her to the breakfasting saloon. The visitors had all departed, but Dr. Redgill had returned and seemed to be at the winding up of a solitary but voluminous meal. He was a very tall corpulent man, with a projecting front, large purple nose, and a profusion of chin.