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daughter resided in London, and, devoted to the pleasures of society, preferred her own gay establishment to the dull tranquillity of the Hall. She sent her young daughter as a substitute to beguile her mother's solitude, and continually excused herself on the plea of her husband's constant engagements in town.

When Evelyn first beheld Violet Alsinger, she felt, for a moment, humbled and abashed, as she compared her own homely appearance and simple dress, with the elegant toilet, finished manners, and graceful mien of the lovely stranger. At this early age, Violet was celebrated for her surpassing beauty. Nature had been lavish of her favours, and all the assistance of art and education had been borrowed to increase her charms. Her mother, exulting in her loveliness, had spared no pains to render her fit, hereafter, to become the belle of belles-the queen of fashion. To the admiring eye of Evelyn, she seemed a paragon of beauty, and grace, and talent. The spoiled favourite of fortune was, at first, displeased at the thoughts of having a rival, even in her grandmother's love; but one glance at Evelyn assured her, that this was no rival for her to fear. Her evident admiration of herself, made her look kindly on the stranger; qualities so opposed as theirs, could have little

chance of interfering with each other, and the two girls became friends.

Evelyn was now quite happy: her time was almost entirely devoted to study. Moreham Hall contained an extensive library, furnished with every variety of books. More especially with works of history and politics, which had been favourite subjects with the late possessor. Evelyn was left in undisturbed enjoyment of the hitherto neglected room; here she passed hours of unequalled delight, communing with the "spirits of the mighty dead." Her habits of contemplation were not forgotten: she read much, but she thought more. Remembering her father's instructions, and recalling his animated accounts of the great men of the past, now she delighted to follow their career. She read history, more especially the history of her own country. How her cheek burned, while perusing the annals of tyranny; how her heart kindled at the glorious pages which told of true patriots and martyrs for the people's cause! Her father's invectives against oppression yet dwelt in her memory, and increased her own indignation against wrong; while the gentle lessons of her mother encouraged her natural sympathy with the suffering, and prompted her heart and hand to assist the poor and helpless.

Thus did those early seeds bring forth good fruit.

She wrote frequently to her aunt, who occasionally replied to her, but whose letters filled her with anxiety. Her husband's affairs were not as prosperous as hitherto, and he had now great difficulty in providing for his family. Evelyn wept for the sorrows of her friends, she longed to be with them; but she knew that now her presence would be a burthen, and she endured all the anguish which a generous heart can feel, on hearing of misfortune which it is powerless to alleviate. She could only pray for them; and she did so most earnestly.

Thus time passed on. Moreham Hall was annually aroused from its solitude and silence, to be the scene of feasting and gaiety. Every Christmas a large party assembled, and Evelyn, pleased with the variety, regarded the new comers with interest and attention. Violet was in her element amid the gay throng; her grace, her beauty, her lively, playful manner, combined to render her the admired of all admirers, and she exulted in the flattering distinction; while her less attractive friend, comparatively unnoticed, rejoiced in her obscurity, "Perceiving all, yet watching unperceived." She looked anxiously amid the varied groups to find any who might

She saw

resemble her unforgotten parents. lovely women, but her heart could not place them beside the gentle memory enshrined there. She listened to great, and good, and clever men, but could find no spirit like her gifted father's; at least, not to her perhaps partial judgment. She regarded Violet's parents with great interest, but she was hardly satisfied with the scrutiny. Lady Alsinger was a beauty, and a woman of fashion: her character might be summed up in those words. She was remarkable neither for any vice nor virtue; yet, as the absence of the former is supposed to constitute the latter, she was generally considered a very virtuous person. She fulfilled all the duties of her station with exemplary fidelity: loved her husband, and ever consulted his interests, whether by giving a splendid fête to increase his celebrity, or, by taking precedence of her neighbours, to support his dignity. She was an obedient wife too, when he let her have her own way, which was generally the case, for Sir Stephen, occupied with matters of importance, was satisfied to leave all minor arrangements to one so well qualified to direct them.

Sir Stephen's father had been distinguished for industry and perseverance; of humble origin, he had entered life as under-clerk, in a large



banking house; he had gradually gained the confidence of his employers, and eventually became principal partner in the establishment. He worked hard to the last, and raised the concern to a most prosperous condition.

His son inherited every thing, even his business habits: but he employed them for a different object: his chief ambition was to aggrandize his family. His father had left him not only wealth, but a title, having been created a baronet shortly before his death. The son took care to remember the title, yet seemed to forget the recent date of its creation. But even this did not satisfy his ambition anxious to mingle with the haute noblesse, he wished to be regarded as one of themselves. As a necessary step to preferment, he entered Parliament, and endeavoured to ingratiate himself with the Ministry. His father had been a staunch Tory, but no matter, the Whigs were in power, and his principles, if he had any, never stood in his way. He had additional claims to the favour of ministers, as a disinterested supporter, who gave up old connexions and family politics, for their sake.

Most luckily for him, indeed Sir Stephen considered it the most fortunate event in his whole life, he had not gone too far; he had been prevented from voting when he first in

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