To indifference he might for a time have remained insensible; because, though his feelings were strong, his perceptions were not acute. But the veil of illusion was now rudely withdrawn. He beheld himself detested where he imagined himself adored; and the anguish of disappointed affection was heightened by the stings of wounded pride and deluded self-love.
“What’s done, cannot be undone; to bed, to bed, to bed!”
Exit Lady Macbeth.
THE distance at which the whist party had placed themselves, and the deep interest in which their senses were involved while the fate of the odd trick was pending, had rendered them insensible to the scene that was acting at the other extremity of the apartment. The task of administering succour to the afflicted fair one therefore devolved upon Miss Becky, whose sympathetic powers never had been called into action before. Slowly approaching the wretched Lady Juliana as she lay back in her chair, the tears coursing each other down her cheeks, she tendered her a smelling-bottle, to which her own nose, and the noses of her sisters, were wont to be applied whenever, as they choicely expressed it, they wanted a “fine smell.” But upon this trying occasion she went still farther. She unscrewed the stopper, unfolded a cotton handkerchief, upon which she poured a few drops of lavender water, and offered it to her ladyship, deeming that the most elegant and efficient manner in which she could afford relief. But the well-meant offering was silently waved off; and poor Miss Becky, having done all that the light of reason suggested to her, retreated to her seat, wondering what it was her fine sister-in-law would be at.
By the time the rubber was ended her ladyship’s fears of Lady Maclaughlan had enabled her to conquer her feelings so far that they had now sunk into a state of sullen dejection, which the good aunts eagerly interpreted into the fatigue of the journey, Miss Grizzy declaring that although the drive was most delightful—nobody could deny that—and they all enjoyed it excessively, as indeed everybody must who had eyes in their head; yet she must own, at the same time, that she really felt as if all her bones were broke.