“Alas! I know not; but in some way I have displeased my mother; her looks—her words—her manner—all tell me how dissatisfied she is with me; while to my sister, and even to her very dogs-----Here Mary’s agitation choked her utterance.
“If you expect to be treated like a dog, you will certainly be disappointed,” said Lady Emily. “I wonder Mrs. Douglas did not warn you of what you had to expect. She must have known something of Lady Juliana’s ways; and it would have been as well had you been better prepared to encounter them.”
Mary looked hurt, and making an effort to conquer her emotion, she said, “Mrs. Douglas never spoke, of my mother with disrespect; but she did warn me against expecting too much from her affection. She said I had been too long estranged from her to have retained my place in her heart; but still—”
“You could not foresee the reception you have me with? Nor I neither. Did you, Adelaide?’
“Lady Juliana is sometimes so odd,” answered her daughter in her sweetest tone, “that I really am seldom surprised at anything she does; but all this fracas appears to me perfectly absurd, as nobody minds anything she says.”
“Impossible!” exclaimed Mary; “my duty must ever be to reverence my mother. My study should be to please her, if I only knew how; and oh! would she but suffer me to love her!”
Adelaide regarded her sister for a moment with a look of surprise; then rose and left the room, humming an Italian air.
Lady Emily remained with her cousin, but she was a bad comforter. Her indignation against the oppressor was always much stronger than her sympathy with the oppressed; and she would have been more in her element scolding the mother than soothing the daughter.
But Mary had not been taught to trust to mortals weak as herself for support in the hour of trial. She knew her aid must come from a higher source; and in solitude she sought for consolation.
“This must be all for my good,” sighed she, “else it would not be. I had drawn too bright a picture of happiness; already it is blotted out with my tears. I must set about replacing it with one of soberer colours.”
Alas! Mary knew not how many a fair picture of human felicity had shared the same fate as hers!
“They were in sooth a most
. . skilful to unite
With evil good, and strew with pleasure pain.”
Castle of Indolence.
IN writing to her maternal friend Mary did not follow the mode usually adopted by young ladies of the heroic cast, viz. that of giving a minute and circumstantial detail of their own complete wretchedness, and abusing, in terms highly sentimental, every member of the family with whom they are associated. Mary knew that to breathe a hint of her own unhappiness would be to embitter the peace of those she loved; and she