« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
a vent in tears. “But I am a miserable old man, and you think you can do what you like with me; but he shan't. He's a gulla fool. Old as I am, I am more than a match for him. He shan't insult me, nor trifle with your affections, for nothing. There, let me go,” he said, pushing aside his daughter, and leaving the room; then turning back, “I spoke in a passion, Mary,” he added; “ don't remember what I said. I spoke in a passion. I didn't mean to say you were ungrateful, child. No, no, I spoke too hastily. You need not be afraid of your father doing anything you would be ashamed of. No, no, he loves you too much, Mary. Come, kiss
I-I spoke in a passion. Forget what I said; forget all about it, Mary.”
So saying, he embraced his daughter, and left the room.
me, my child.
When alone, Mary's first act was an act of disobedience; but her disobedience was involuntary. For her own sake, as well as for her father's, she would gladly have forgotten all he had said; but she could not forget it.
His words, it was true, were spoken in anger, and in after calmness he had contradicted them; still they were words of such deep meaning, of such vast importance, that, whether true or not, they betrayed the existence of those thoughts from which they sprung—thoughts that had floated through Mary's mind before, but now were anchored there by the accidental confirmation of her father's angry and unguarded expressions.
His object on entering her room had been to seek an explanation of her sudden change with regard to Pierce More. She had refused to give this explanation-indeed, it was impossible she could have done otherwise. Her father had then interpreted her conduct from his own impressions, and had assigned reasons for it which both surprised and
wounded her. Above all, that which had most alarmed her, and had sunk deepest into her heart, were the threats her father had uttered, and the allusions he let fall concerning certain acts done, as he said, for her advantage, but to his dishonour.
Reviewing the conversation in the order of its occurrence, these interrogatories suggested themselves to her. Was it then so evident to her father that Mr. More had such intentions ? that he liked her so much? Was it the least probable that, in requesting the five minutes' interview, he had anything particular to say to her? or was it not more likely that her father should be right in his other
supposition, that Mr. More had been--not trifling, but had gone away determined never to come back, because he was too proud to marry an attorney's daughter ? Surely no thought of the kind ever entered his head ? Impossible !it was unjust! But how angry it had made her father! This it was that put him in such a passion, this it was that made him suppose Mr. More had insulted him, and then her trying to explain only irritated him ten times worse. Why did she say anything? How could she be so foolish, so inconsiderate ? She ought to have known how violent it made her dear father to contradict him ; still she felt sure he had accused Mr. More wrongfully; and if so, was it not her duty to speak? But what could her father mean by saying Mr. More had told him to his face that he suspected him of—”
Here Mary turned pale, and looked to see whether any one was in the room to detect her thoughts.
Oh, no! it could not be!" she said, shuddering as she remembered her father's words; “ I have done such things as would justify More's worst suspicions.' It could not be. My father knew not what he was saying—and such threats, too! 0 God! what dreadful meaning could he have ?”
Mary pressed her hands against her forehead, as if to drive away these terrible thoughts; but the more she tried to drive them away, the more forcibly they recurred to her.
They reminded her of Pierce's sudden astonishment and looks of suspicion when he read Winter's name on the piece of music; they reminded her of his saying her father