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Heartsease or Brother's Wife

Chapter III.5
E'en in sleep, pangs felt before,
Treasur'd long in memory's store,
Bring in visions back their pain,
Melt into the heart again.
By it crost affections taught
Chastened will and sobered thought.--AESCHYLUS.--Anstice
Arthur did not succeed in eluding Lady Elizabeth. She called the day after the
funeral, begging especially to see Mrs. Martindale. She looked absent and
abstracted, while Lord Martindale was talking to her, and soon entreated Violet to
come with her for a short drive.
No sooner were they in the carriage than she said, 'Violet, my dear, can you or
Arthur tell me anything of this Mr. Gardner?'
'I know very little of him personally,' said Violet, for he was too much an associate
of her husband's for her to be willing to expose him; 'but are you sure we mean
the same person?'
'Quite sure. Did you not hear that Arthur met him at Gothlands?'
'No; I have had very little talk with him since he came back, and this fire has put
everything out of our minds.'
'Of course it must, my dear. However, Arthur came with Mr. Herries to dine there,
and met Mr. Gardner as an old friend; so he must be the same, and I am
particularly anxious for some account of him. I must tell you why--I know I am
safe with you--but you will be very much surprised, after all her declarations--'
'O, Lady Elizabeth, it cannot be that.'
'I have always been prepared for something of the sort. But what, my dear?'
seeing her agitation, and quickly infected by it.
'O, don't let her,' was all Violet could utter.
'Tell me! what is he?--what do you know of him? They spoke of him as once
having been extravagant--'
Violet drew a long breath, and tried to speak with composure. 'He is a dreadful
man, gambling, betting, dissipated--such a person that Arthur never lets him
come near me or the children. How could he dare think of her?'
'Can it be the same?' said Lady Elizabeth, infinitely shocked, but catching at the
hope. 'This man is Lady Fotheringham's nephew.'
'Yes, he is,' said Violet sadly. 'There is no other cousin named Mark. Why, don't
you remember all the talk about Mrs. Finch?'
So little had Lady Elizabeth heeded scandal, that she had hardly known these
stories, and had not identified them with the name of Gardner. Still she strove to
think the best. 'Arthur will be able to tell me,' she said; 'but every one seems fully
satisfied of his reformation--the curate of the parish and all. I do not mean that I
could bear to think of her being attached to a person who had been to blame. Her
own account of him alarmed me enough, poor dear child, but when I hear of the
clergyman, and Theresa Marstone, and all admiring his deep feeling of
repentance--'
 
 
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