In a small but exquisitely furnished apartment in Government House sat a young and beautiful lady. The room commanded a north-west view, showing a bright and silvery sheet of rippling water. This was the private apartment of Lady Rosamond. It is the hour when she is occupied in writing letters and attending to the many little matters demanding her attention. An open letter lies upon her lap. Lady Rosamond is listlessly leaning against a dressing-table, with one hand partially shading her beautiful face. Quickly turning round to look at some object beyond gives a full view, which reveals a tender sadness resting in the depths of those powerful dark eyes. Lady Rosamond is in a deep study—one which is not of an agreeable nature—one which she is not most likely to reveal. Alternate shades of displeasure, rebellion and defiance, flit across her brow, which remain, in quiet and apparently full possession, until reluctantly driven forth by the final ascendancy of reason, at the cost of many conflicting feelings of emotion and deep despondency.
Again Lady Rosamond reads the letter very slowly, as though to find, in each word and sentence, some other meaning which might allay her present distracting thoughts. Vainly did the reader search for relief. The diction was plain, clear and definite. No chance to escape. No fond smiles from Hope’s cheering presence. Hope had fled, with agonizing gaze, as Lady Rosamond once more read that letter. Every word was stamped upon her heart in characters of bold and maddening outline. Heaving a deep sigh she folded the letter, placed it within her desk, and mechanically stood gazing upon the quiet river, peaceful and calm, save the little ripple on the surface. Lady Rosamond contrasted the scene with her troubled depths and superficial quiet exterior.
Quietly opening the window the cool sharp breeze of an October morning was grateful to the feverish flush partially visible upon the cheeks of Lady Rosamond. She was usually pale, save when an occasional blush asserted its right. Standing here in such a state of mind Lady Rosamond was indeed beautiful—a lovely picture with delicate expression and coloring. While she is thus engaged let us intrude upon the privacy of her feelings by taking forth the letter from its hiding place, and examining its contents. It seems a sacrilegious act, but it is in our great sympathy and interest on behalf of Lady Rosamond that we yield to the temptation.
The writing is in a bold, masculine hand, clear, legible, and uniform. If there be such a thing as judging the character of the writer by the chirography in the present instance, there was decision, firmness, bordering on self-will, and resistance to opposition. The letter ran thus:—
Chesley Manor, Surrey, Oct. 4th, 1824.
My Dear Child: