These were questions that revolved themselves in the mind of the reasoner. Gladly would he do anything that would further the interest of his young friend, yet there might be a likelihood of stretching this prerogative if it in anywise interfered with the direct affairs of another. Whichever view of the matter was taken difficulty arose on every hand.
Let us hasten to the main point of the argument. That Lieutenant Trevelyan loved Lady Rosamond with a pure and ardent love was a matter beyond doubt. She was the ruling passion that influenced every action, guarded or unguarded. It was this knowledge that now gave the secretary so much perplexity. He entertained towards Lady Rosamond a kind and friendly regard; he was willing to serve her under any ordinary circumstances and in any friendly capacity. In the present instance Lady Rosamond was under the charge and protection of Lady Douglas, who would be, in a measure, responsible for any attachment thus formed while she remained her guest. On this point were many conscientious scruples to be overcome, which did not meet the approval of that course of honor which had hitherto characterized Mr. Howe’s principles and actions. He must not sacrifice these even at the great risk of gaining the happiness of a young and respected friend.
But the sight of the young lieutenant pleaded more eloquently than the most glowing and pathetic language. His thoughtful eyes, his pure white forehead, and clustering ringlets of chestnut hair, had a wealth of appeal hidden beneath, conveying more subtle beauty than the production of the countless volumes of mystic ages. Thus situated, the secretary felt the awkwardness of his position. It was not curiosity that prompted; it was a secret influence which the young lieutenant inspired—an influence that held the former bound and enchained with no means of escape at hand.
In a small but handsome reception room adjoining the library of Bereford Castle sat its stately mistress, with an impatient and eager look upon her countenance. Trifling with a pretty trinket which she has in her hand, her ladyship is apparently ill at ease. Something has given cause for annoyance and grave deliberation. An anxious and hasty glance towards the door, shows that a visitor is momentarily awaited.
Taking advantage of these moments, I will occupy them in dilating upon a few of the qualities and characteristics of the distinguished occupant. Lady Bereford was a woman of shrewdness and capacity, possessing a subtle weight of influence that bore with irresistible force, and was stoutly prepared to resist an opposing element in any quarter. The daughter of a London barrister of considerable reputation, her ladyship dwelt with pride upon her fond preference for the legal profession. Her conversation was frequently interspersed