“When I require it, Lady de Clare, I will accept it. Do not, pray, vex me by the proposition. I have not much happiness as it is, although I am rejoiced at yours and that of your daughter.”
“Come, Lady de Clare, I must not allow you to tease my protege, you do not know how sensitive he is. We will now take our leave.”
“You will come soon,” said Cecilia, looking anxiously at me.
“You have your mother, Cecilia,” replied I; “what can you wish for more? I am a—nobody—without a parent.”
Cecilia burst into tears; I embraced her, and Mr Masterton and I left the room.
I return to the gay
world, but am not well received; I am quite
disgusted with it and honesty, and everything else.
How strange, now that I had succeeded in the next dearest object of my wishes, after ascertaining my own parentage, that I should have felt so miserable; but it was the fact, and I cannot deny it. I could hardly answer Mr Masterton during our journey to town; and when I threw myself on the sofa in my own room, I felt as if I was desolate and deserted. I did not repine at Cecilia’s happiness; so far from it, I would have sacrificed my life for her; but she was a creature of my own—one of the objects in this world to which I was endeared—one that had been dependent on me and loved me. Now that she was restored to her parent, she rose above me, and I was left still more desolate. I do not know that I ever passed a week of such misery as the one which followed a denouement productive of so much happiness to others, and which had been sought with so much eagerness, and at so much risk, by myself. It was no feeling of envy, God knows; but it appeared to me as if everyone in the world was to be made happy except myself. But I had more to bear up against.
When I had quitted for Ireland, it was still supposed that I was a young man of large fortune—the truth had not been told. I had acceded to Mr Masterton’s suggestions, that I was no longer to appear under false colours, and had requested Harcourt, to whom I made known my real condition, that he would everywhere state the truth. News like this flies like wildfire; there were too many whom, perhaps, when under the patronage of Major Carbonnell, and the universal rapture from my supposed wealth, I had treated with hauteur, glad to receive the intelligence, and spread it far and wide. My imposition, as they pleased to term it, was the theme of every party, and many were the indignant remarks of the dowagers who had so often indirectly proposed to me their daughters; and if there was anyone more virulent than the rest, I hardly need say that it was Lady Maelstrom, who nearly killed her job horses in driving about from one acquaintance to another, to represent my unheard-of atrocity in presuming to deceive my betters. Harcourt, who had agreed to live with me—Harcourt, who