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views, sweetened my existence, given an interest to my life, which I before thought impossible? Yes, they have done all this, and more.”
These thoughts passed through her mind as she was putting on her walking dress, to go and take leave of her aunt Mrs. Hervey. Herbert had offered to walk there with her, and Lady Darcy's carriage was to go for her in the evening. Herbert offered her his arm, and they walked some way in silence, at length he said :
“ I wish you were not going—my dear cousin will miss you so much, and if it is of any value to you to know it, I, still more.”
“ You are very kind—I never can forget the kindness I have experienced from you—from all connected with you."
No,” said Herbert, “ if you speak of kindness, we are surely the debtors still. I owe you more kindness than I can ever repay -when will you come again ?"
“ I don't know-I believe I ought to stay more at home than I do. You are going to Dynvor after you leave London, I behere, and there is, I fear, little chance of your coming to Appin soon.”
“ I don't know,” he said thoughtfully, “ I should like it much ; if you ask me, I ril come.” This was said between joke and earnest, and Miss Stuart was silent.
“ Mary,” said Herbert, in a grave but pertectly calm tone; "your brother Henry told me of your great affliction ; I felt much for you then-you know mine—you have felt for me ; -you have done much, very much to comfort me. Might we not, by uniting our tried, but I trust not, exhausted hearts, contribute to each other's happiness. I can only say, that my heart, my hand, my name is may hope to gain your affection.”
“ Oh, Sir Herbert, do not speak thus to me—my fate, my fortunes are obscure. I feel grateful to you for admitting me as a friend
your friendship is, indeed, the great happiness of my life, but every thing forbids that you should think of me as more."
“ What forbids it, Mary?”
“ The difference in our condition-in my connexions, in fortune, in education.”
“Ah," said Herbert smiling, “ if that is all, I think I can convince you that is a Highland prejudice-a little of the Appin mist which can soon be dispersed. You are of the only caste, I value at all—that of true refinement, of goodness, of humility. You are worthy of a less shattered heart than mine; but, such as it is, it is offered with a full conviction, that it can be made once more happy by your affection.”
Miss Stuart's arm trembled within his, she could not speak-but it was a silence, which revealed all that he desired, and when they separated at her uncle's gate, she was too much astonished, too much confused, to do more than return the affectionate pressure of his hand. She, the poor, the once heartbroken Mary Stuart, the choice of Herbert Loraine—the noble Herbert, whom she had invested with a sort of romantic interest for years before she became acquainted with his family, and whose affliction had since occupied so large a portion of her thoughts !--yet it was not until now, that she discovered how much her own peace was involved in the declaration he had just made to her. How bright did Appin now appear to her, for Herhert would soon be there.
The little Herveys, with whom she was a great favourite, now crowded round her, and to conceal her own furried state of spirits, she entered, with more than her usual zeal, into their fun and merriment. Good Mrs. Ilervey could not conceal her surprise at Mary's uncommonly high spirits with the children instead of quietly telling them stories, she made them almost go into fits with laughing.
“ It is rather ungrateful of Mary, Mr. Her
vey, don't you think so, after she has received so much kindness from Lady Darcy, to be so glad to go away—but then she is going back to Appin, and I would have felt just as she does if you had not come in the way, Mr. Hervey."
Perhaps," said Mr. Hervey laughing, “ somebody may have come in the way for her too; I can't tell, but I'm sure if she is happy to go, Sir Herbert is doubly glad she should, for I met him near the gate with such a cheery look, it did my heart good to see him. I do like to see people look happy-good people especially—I have my own thoughts on the subject-but time will shew.”
And time did shew, for as all that Miss Stuart had to overcome, was the delicate distress, of bearing the dignity of being the lady of Delmer Hall, it may be supposed that this difficulty was soon vanquished, and they were united the following autumn. In the domestic happiness of Herbert and Mary, Lady Darcy found a new, and constant source of comfort,