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ON the morning following the events just narrated, Mrs. Arlington was seated
at breakfast in a sweet little parlour of the splendid mansion which the Earl of
Warrington had taken and fitted up for her in Dover Street, Piccadilly.
It was about eleven o'clock; and the Enchantress was attired in a delicious
deshabillé~. With her little feet upon an ottoman near the fender, and her fine
form reclining in a luxurious large arm-chair, she divided her attention between
her chocolate and the columns of the Morning Herald. She invariably prolonged
the morning's repast as much as possible, limply because it served to wile away
the time until the hour for dressing arrived. Then visits received, filled up
the interval till three or four o'clock, when the carriage came round to the
door. A drive in the park, or shopping (according to the state of the weather)
occupied the time until six or seven. Then another toilet in preparation for
dinner. In the evening a tete-a-tete with the Earl of Warrington, who had,
perhaps, arrived in time for dinner,- or a visit to a theatre, the Opera, or a
concert, - and to bed at midnight, or frequently much later.
Such was the routine of the Enchantress's existence.
The Earl of Warrington behaved most liberally towards her. On the first day
of every month he enclosed her a cheque upon his banker for two hundred guineas.
He supplied her cellar with wine, and frequently made her the most splendid
presents of jewellery, plate, cachmeres, &c. The furniture for her mansion
had cost fifteen hundred pounds; and all the bills were paid in her name. She
was not extravagant, as women in her situation usually are; and therefore, so
far from incurring debts, she saved money.
We cannot say that the Earl of Warrington positively loved her. His first
affections in life had experienced such a blight, that they might almost be said
to have been interred in the grave of defeated hopes and aspirations. He could
therefore never love again. But he liked Mrs. Arlington; and ho had every reason
to believe that she was faithful to him. He was charmed with her conversation
and her manners: he saw in her a woman who gave herself no airs, but, on the
contrary, exerted herself in every way to please him ;- she never attempted to
excite his jealousy, nor affected gusts of passion merely for the sake of
asserting her independence or of proving the hold which she possessed over him
;- and in her society ho forgot the cares of [-155-] politics (in which he was profoundly interested) and all those other little
annoyances, real or imaginary, to which every one in this world is subject, be his condition never so
And Diana was faithful to him. She was a woman naturally inclined to virtue
:- circumstances had made her what she was. She looked upon the Earl of
Warrington as a benefactor; and, although she did not actually love him more
than he loved her, she liked him upon pretty nearly the same principles that he
liked her. Her vanity was flattered by having captivated and being able to
retain a handsome man, whose wealth and high rank rendered him an object of
desire on the part of all ladies situated as was Diana; - she moreover found him
an agreeable companion, kind, and indulgent - and thus their liaison continued
upon a basis which nothing appeared to threaten, nor even to weaken.
They never spoke of love in reference to their connection. The earl was never upon his knees at the feet of his mistress; nor
did he repeat vows of constancy and fidelity every time he saw her. She acted
on the same principle towards him. There was a great amount of real friendship
and good feeling between those two ;- but not an atom of mawkish sentimentality.
The earl could trust Diana: he consulted her upon many of his plans and
proceedings, whether in regard to his political career or the management of his
estate; and she invariably tendered him the advice which appeared most
consistent with his interests. He therefore placed the fullest confidence in her
hence have we seen her carrying out all his generous plans with reference to
But to continue.
Mrs. Arlington was seated at breakfast, as we have before stated, when a
servant entered and informed her that Miss Sydney requested a few minutes'
conversation with her. Diana immediately ordered Eliza to be admitted.
"Pardon this early and unceremonious visit, my dear friend," said Elsa,
affectionately grasping the hand that was stretched out to welcome her.
"I am always at home to you, Eliza," answered the Enchantress. "But how
pale you are! Come - sit down here - close by me - and tell me in what way I can be of service to
"My dear friend," continued Eliza, "I have a secret to reveal to you
- and a deed of infamy to narrate "
"Oh! you alarm me, Eliza! Has any harm happened to yourself?"
"No, thank heavens! The compunction of one man saved me from disgrace
and ruin. But read this - it will explain all."
With these words, Eliza handed to Mrs. Arlington the letter which Stephens had thrust under the stair-carpet at the villa
on the preceding evening.
Diana perused the letter with attention; and a flush of indignation animated
her fine countenance, as she thus made herself acquainted with the atrocious
plot contrived by Greenwood against the honour of Eliza Sydney.
"Such is the villany of George Montague!" cried
Diana at the termination of the perusal of that letter.
"Forgive me, dearest friend," said Eliza, taking
the hand of Mrs.
Arlington and pressing it between her own ;- "forgive me if I have kept back one
secret of my life from your knowledge. That George Montague - I once loved
"You!"' exclaimed Mrs. Arlington in surprise.
"Yes, Diana - I once loved that man - before the fatal exposure which led to
my imprisonment;- but he behaved like a villain - he endeavoured to take
advantage of my
affection ;- and I smothered the feeling in my bosom!''
"Oh! you did well - you did well thus to triumph over a passion which
would have been fatal to your happiness ;- for never would your hopes have been
fulfilled - with honour to yourself," added Mrs. Arlington, sinking her voice
almost to a whisper.
"Alas! you are right! I stood upon the brink of a
precipice - I escaped ;- but Montague. or Greenwood, - whichever he may choose to call
pursues me with a view of accomplishing my dishonour."
"The crimes of that man are unlimited, and his perseverance is
unwearied," said Diana.
"What plan can I adopt," demanded Eliza, "to escape
What system can I pursue to avoid his persecution? Conceive my affright when
upon awaking this morning, I remembered that I had not retired to bed last
evening of my own accord - that I could think of nothing that had occurred since
supper-time! Then I found that the bell-rope in my sleeping-room was cut, and
that a weapon which I have been in the habit of keeping beneath my pillow ever
since I first dwelt in the villa, had disappeared! Oh! I was alarmed I
shuddered, although it was broad day-light, and every thing was calm and silent
around. At length I summoned the servant - and she entered, bearing a letter which
she had discovered a few moments before beneath the stair-carpet. That letter
is the one you read ere now ;- and it explained all. Tell me - tell me, Diana, how am I to avoid the persecution, and combat the intrigues
of this man?"
"Alas! my dear friend," replied Mrs. Arlington, after a few minutes'
consideration, "I know of no effectual method save that of leaving London."
"And if I leave London, I will leave England," said Miss Sydney. "But
I can do nothing without the consent of him to whom I am under such deep
"You mean the Earl of Warrington," observed Mrs. Arlington. "I
admire the sentiment of gratitude which animates you. The earl will do all he can to forward your
views and contribute to your happiness. You shall pass the day with me, Eliza,
here at least you are safe ;- and I will immediately write a note to the earl,
and request him to call upon me without delay."
"His lordship will be perhaps annoyed "
"Fear nothing, Eliza. I will see the earl in another room. And let not
this disinclination to meet you on his part, cause you pain: you well know the
motive of his conduct. The memory of your mother "
"I am well aware he can have no antipathy towards me, on my own
account," interrupted Elisa; "else he could not have acted towards me in a
way which claims all my gratitude!"
Mrs. Arlington dispatched the note to Lord Warrington, and then hastened to
dress to receive him.
In an hour the earl arrived.
He and Mrs. Arlington were then closeted together for a considerable time.
It was four o'clock when the nobleman took his departure, and Diana
returned to the room where she had left Eliza Sydney.
"The Earl of Warrington," said the Enchantress, whose countenance was
animated with joy, "has listened with attention to the tale of atrocity
which I have related to him in respect to George Montague Greenwood. His
lordship and myself - for he does me the honour to consult me - have debated
upon [-156-] the best means of ensuring your
tranquillity and safety; and we have decided that
you had better quit England for a time. The perseverance of that bold bad man,
backed by his wealth, may succeed in effecting your ruin - you yourself
remaining innocent of guilty participation! The earl has recommended Italy as
the country most likely to please you - and the more so because he himself
possesses a charming villa in the State of Castelcicala."
"How kind of his lordship!" exclaimed Eliza, tears of gratitude
starting into her eyes.
"Some years ago," continued Diana, "the earl set out upon a continental
tour, and passed two years at Montoni; the capital of the Grand Duchy of
Castelcicala. So charmed was he with that delightful city, that he purchased a
small estate in the suburbs, with the idea of spending the summer from time to
time amidst Italian scenery and beneath an Italian sky. The idea has, however,
been displaced by others arising from new occupations and fresh interests; and
for a long period has the villa at Montoni remained uninhabited, save by am old
porter and his wife. The house is situate upon the banks of the, river which
flows through Montoni, and commands the most delicious views. That villa is to
be your residence so long as it may be agreeable; and the earl will make
arrangements with his London, bankers so that your income may be regularly paid
you by their agents at Montoni. His lordship has moreover instructed me to
supply you with the necessary funds for your travelling expenses."
"Oh! my dearest friend, how can I ever testify my gratitude
"Not a word - not a word!" interrupted Mrs. Arlington, playfully closing
Eliza's lips with her hand. "The earl conceives that he is performing a
duty, sacred to the memory of his deceased uncle, in thus caring for you, who
are the offspring of that uncle's daughter; and, on my part, Eliza - on my part,
it is a pleasure to do you a service. But I have not yet finished. The earl
has gone straight to Richmond, to call upon a certain Count Alteroni - a noble
exile from the Grand Duchy of Castelcicala - with whom it appears the earl was acquainted in Italy. His object is to
obtain for you a few letters of introduction to some of the best families of
Montoni, so that you may not want society."
"I shall live in so retired a manner," said Eliza, that this additional
act of kindness was scarcely necessary.
"The earl will have his own way; and perhaps those letters may prove
useful to you - who can tell?" exclaimed Mrs. Arlington. " But I must
observe that I cannot think of parting with you any more until you leave England
altogether. In three or four days the necessary preparations for your journey
will be completed: meantime you must remain here as my guest. The earl himself
recommended this step ; that is," added Mrs. Arlington, "if my house be agreeable
to you, and my society "
"Oh! how can you entertain a doubt on that head? "cried Eliza,
embracing Diana with the most grateful fervour. "Ah! it is but a few hours since
I said how happy I
should be to call you by the endearing name of Sister?"
"And would you not blush, Eliza, to call me your sister? " said Mrs.
Arlington, in a tone deeply affected.
"Blush to call you my sister!" exclaimed Miss Sydney, as if she repelled
the idea with indignation: "Oh! no - never, never! You are the most noble-hearted of women, and as
such, I love - I revere you!"
"We will then be sisters in heart, although not in
blood," said Diana, warmly returning her friend's embrace; "and perhaps our
affection towards each other will be more sincere than that existing between
many who are really the offspring of the same parents."
Mrs Arlington gave directions to her servant that she was not "at home"
to a soul, save the Earl of Warrington; and the ride in the park - the
shopping - the theatre in the evening - all were sacrificed by Diana to the
pleasure of Eliza's society.
Miss Sydney dispatched a note to the villa at Upper Clapton, announcing her
intention of staying a few days with Mrs. Arlington. In the evening, Louisa, who
had just returned from the journey on which the fictitious letter written by
Stephens had sent her, made her appearance in Dover Street, with clothes,
&c. for her mistress, and she then received instructions relative to the
intended departure for the Continent.
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