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   Chapter 14 THE TETE-A-TETE.

The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 6139

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

No sooner had "dear Julian" recovered, which he really had not quite accomplished until the day had begun to wear away (so great a shock had that intelligence of Charles been to his guilty mind), than the gratified and prudent mother fancied this a famous opportunity to leave the young couple to themselves. It was after dinner, when they had retired to the drawing-room; and I will say that Emily had never seemed so favourably disposed towards that rough, but generous, heart before. So then, on some significant pretence, well satisfied her favourite was himself again, as bold, and black, and boisterous as ever, the masculine mother kissed her hand to them, as a fat fairy might be supposed to do, and operatically tripped away, coyly bidding Emily "take care of Julian till she should come back again."

The momentary gleam of good which glanced across that bad man's heart has faded away hours ago; his repentant thoughts had been occasioned more from the sudden relief he experienced at running now no risks for having murdered, than for any better feeling towards his brother, or any humbler notions of himself. Nay, a strong r?action occurred in his ideas the moment he had seen his brother's writing; and when he fainted, he fainted from the struggle in his mind of manifold exciting causes, such as these:-hatred, jealousy, what he called love, though a lower name befitted it, and vexation that his brother was-not dead. Oh mother, mother! if your poor weak head had but been wise enough to read that heart, would you still have loved it as you do? Alas-it is a deep lesson in human nature this-she would! for Mrs. General Tracy was one of those obstinate, yet superficial characters, whom no reason can convince that they are wrong, no power can oblige to confess themselves mistaken. She rejoiced to hear him called "her very image;" and predominant vanity in the large coquette extended to herself at second-hand; self was her idol substance, and its delightful shadow was this mother's son.

The moment Mrs. Tracy left the room, Julian perceived his opportunity: Charles, detested rival, far away at sea; the guardian gone to London; Emily in an unusual flow of affability and kindness, and he-alone with her. Rashly did he bask his soul in her delicious beauty, deliberately drinking deep of that intoxicating draught. Giving the rein to passion, he suffered that tumultuous steed to hurry him whither it would, in mad unbridled course. He sat so long silently gazing at her with the lack-lustre eyes of low and dull desire, that Emily, quite thrown off her guard by that amiable fainting for his brother, addressed him in her innocent kind-heartedness,

"Are you not recovered yet, dear Julian?"

The effect was instantaneous: scarcely crediting his ears that heard her call him "dear," his eyes, that saw her winning smile upon him, he started from his chair, and trembling with agitation, flung himself at her feet, to Emily's unqualified astonishment.

"Why, Julian, what's the matter?-unhand me, sir! let go!" (for he had got hold of he

r wrist.)

The passionate youth seized her hand-that one with Charles's ring upon it-and would have kissed it wildly with polluting lips, had she not shrieked suddenly "Help! help!"

Instantly his other hand was roughly dashed upon her mouth-so roughly that it almost knocked her backwards-and the blood flowed from her wounded lip; but by a preternatural effort, the indignant Indian queen hurled the ruffian from her, flew to the bell, and kept on ringing violently.

In less than half a minute all the household was around her, headed by the startled Mrs. Tracy, who had all the while been listening in the other drawing-room: butler, footmen, house-maids, ladies'-maids, cook, scullions, and all rushed in, thinking the house was on fire.

No need to explain by a word. Emily, radiant in imperial charms, stood, like inspired Cassandra, flashing indignation from her eyes at the cowering caitiff on the floor. The mother, turning all manner of colours, dropped on her knees to "poor Julian's" assistance, affecting to believe him taken ill. But Emily Warren, whose insulted pride vouchsafed not a word to that guilty couple, soon undeceived all parties, by addressing the butler in a voice tremulous and broken-

"Mr. Saunders-be so good-as to go-to Sir Abraham Tamworth's-in the square-and request of him-a night's-protection-for a poor-defenceless, insulted woman!"

She could hardly utter the last words for choking tears: but immediately battling down her feelings, added, with the calmness of a heroine-

"You are a father, Mr. Saunders-set all this before Sir Abraham strongly, but delicately.

"Footmen! so long as that wretch is in the room, protect me, as you are men."

And the stately beauty placed herself between the two liveried lacqueys, as Zenobia in the middle of her guards.

"Marguerite!"-the pretty little Fran?aise tripped up to her-"wipe this blood from my face."

Beautiful, insulted creature! I thought that I looked upon some wounded Boadicea, with her daughters extracting the arrow from her cheek.

"And now, kind Charlotte, fetch my cloak; and follow me to Prospect House, with what I may require for the night. Till the general's return, I stay not here one minute."

Then, without a syllable, or a look of leave-taking, the wise and noble girl-doubtless unconsciously remembering her early Hindoo braveries, the lines of matchlock men, the bowing slaves, the processions, and her jewelled state of old-marched away in magnificent beauty, accompanied in silence by the whole astonished household.

Mrs. Tracy and her son were left alone: the silly, silly mother thought him "hardly used." Julian, whose natural effrontery had entirely deserted him, looked like what he was-a guilty coward: and the mother, who had pampered up her "fine high-spirited son" to his full-grown criminality by a foolish education, really-when she had time to think of any thing but him-was excessively frightened. The general would be back to-morrow, and then-and then!-she dreaded to picture that explosion of his wrath.

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