Mary would have felt rather uneasy at his intelligence, had she believed it possible for her sister to be in love; but she had ever appeared to her so insensible to every tender emotion and generous affection, that she could not suppose even love itself as capable of making any impression on her heart. When, however, she saw them together, she began to waver in her opinion. Adelaide, silent and disdainful to others, was now gay and enchanting to Lord Lindore, and looked as if she triumphed in the victory she had already won. It was not so easy to ascertain the nature of Lord Lindore’s feelings towards his cousin, and time only developed them.
“Les douleurs muettes et stupides sont hors d’usage; on pleure, on recite, on repete, on est si touchee de la mort de son mari, qu’on n’en oublie pas la moindre circonstance.”
“PRAY put on your Lennox face this morning, Mary,” said Lady Emily one day to her cousin, “for I want you to go and pay a funeral visit with me to a distant relation, but unhappily a near neighbour of ours, who has lately lost her husband. Lady Juliana and Adelaide ought to go, but they won’t, so you and I must celebrate, as we best can, the obsequies of the Honourable Mr. Sufton.”
Mary readily assented; and when they were seated in the carriage, her cousin began—
“Since I am going to put you in the way of a trap, I think it but fair to warn you of it. All traps are odious things, and I make it my business to expose them wherever I find them. I own it chafes my spirit to see even sensible people taken in by the clumsy machinery of such a woman as Lady Matilda Sufton. So here she is in her true colours. Lady Matilda is descended from the ancient and illustrious family of Altamont. To have a fair character is, in her eyes, much more important than to deserve it. She has prepared speeches for every occasion, and she expects they are all to be believed—in short, she is a show woman; the world is her theatre, and from it she looks for the plaudits due to her virtue; for with her the reality and the semblance are synonymous. She has a grave and imposing air, which keeps the timid at a distance; and she delivers the most common truths as if they were the most profound aphorisms. To degrade herself is her greatest fear; for, to use her own expression, there is nothing so degrading as associating with our inferiors—that is, our inferiors in rank and wealth—for with her all other