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as she despised the idle flatterers who flocked around her-much as she turned aside with abhorrence from the thought of uniting herself to any one of them for life, she was secretly pleased by the attention-by the preference, which they showed to her, and still more pleased by the knowledge of the envy which she had excited in her own sex. Every woman is delighted with the idea of having made a conquest of even an unoccupied heart; but how much greater the conquest—how much keener the delight, when a heart already occupied, is led cap tive, and the old tenant dispossessed. It is possible that Augusta Sweetenham may have felt something of this she was made up of inconsistencies, of good and bad qualities commingled--and so inextricably commingled, that it were difficult to say where the good and where the bad predominated—whether good or evil were at the source of the many strange acts she committed. There are many such characters in the world, and dangerously brilliant characters they are sometimes to such poor moths as Pere grine Pultuney.
And with that young gentleman vanity had its full sway, even more than with Augusta Sweeten. ham, it was not that he took any particular pleasure in being talked of as the favoured one of the prettiest girl in India--it was not that he felt any ela tion of spirit in out-rivalling all the youth of Calcutta—those were small pleasures-petty vanities only worthy of fools and foplings-deeper-seated
far were the thrilling transports of delight, which the flattered vanity of our hero excited. He knew that he was listened to-esteemed that his advice was taken, his words remembered. He knew that his companionship had wrought a change in the character of Augusta Sweetenham, or at all events in the outward manifestations of that character. He had often hinted to her that it was a sad pity-a very sad pity indeed—that she had suffered herself to be spoken of as a flirt—as a wild, vain, and heartless girl, when she might so easily have commanded the respect and admiration of all; and one day, it was at a pic-nic in the Botanical Gardens, beneath the spreading branches of that huge banana tree, which is one of the noticeable things in that noticeable spot, he had opened his mind to her fully and freely, and told her how much he regretted that she did not exhibit the better parts of her character more prominently in public, how sorry he was that she had suffered foolish people, who had not the ability to comprehend her, to think of her as something so very different from what she in reality was. From that day a marked difference of demeanour was perceptible in Augusta Sweetenham-she became more sober, more subdued, more decorous and Peregrine both observed the change himself, and heard others observe upon it. Either his advice, or his society, or both, had effected this wonderous change, and could he feel otherwise than flattered by it?
Experienced people may ask how it was that Augusta Sweetenham's uncle and aunt did not observe the growing intimacy between Peregrine and his niece, or observing, why they did not put a stop to it. To this we answer, that Mr. Sweetenham, being at his duftry-khana (or office) during the whole of the day, knew very little indeed about the matter; and that Mrs. Sweetenham, though she knew very well that the young people were sincerely attached to one another, never thought that the attachment was any thing else than the brotherly and sisterly league, which they professed it to be. She had several times spoken to her niece on the subject, and once or twice broached the subject to Peregrine; but had every time received such full assurances that the friendship of the young people was quite pure and platonic, that she had at last settled down into a full belief, that there was no possible harm in their intimacy, and, with this belief strong in her mind, she had rather sought to encourage than to break off the connexion, for she not only loved her niece dearly, but was very partial to Peregrine Pultuney, whom, in a little time, she regarded quite as a son, and treated with true maternal kindness. As for Mr. Sweetenham-good, easy man – he thought that Peregrine was a capital fellow, and as long as he could get him to listen to his stories and drink his claret, he was perfectly contented
But let us have done with these explanations
which, though very necessary indeed to this part of our history are, we know, oftentimes heavy and fatiguing. We have established a character, we think, in these last few pages, for the possession at least of a little knowledge of the human heart, and as they are the only ones of the sort in our history, we trust that we shall be fully forgiven for these brief passages of attempted mental analysis. Time was when we thought that these passages could not be too numerous or too lengthy; but we have grown a little wiser in this sort, and dwell now upon the outward and palpable.
It was the month of May-hot, grilling, unbearable May, and Peregrine was where he always was, when he could escape from Dum Dum, in Mrs. Sweetenham's well-furnished drawing-room. The old lady had gone out to pay a visit, and Peregrine, who was a privileged person, was left with his beautiful sister. Many a morning had they spent thus together, sometimes reading, sometimes drawing, sometimes singing, and sometimes, we are afraid, doing little more than looking into one another's eyes, and thinking that they were very happy.
They sat together on a sofa, those young lovers, and Peregrine's arm was precisely where it should not have been-encircling Augusta's waist.
" What a very excellent contrivance this is," said Peregrine, " for pulling the punkah from the room below. The inventor of it deserves a pen
sion, I am sure, as a public benefactor of the first class."
“ Why so ?" asked Augusta Sweetenham.
" Because it does suffer us sometimes to be alone," replied Peregrine; “ it is such a comfort to sit in a room unsurrounded by a swarm of servants of black eyes watching one's every movement. It is such a pleasure to be, as now, alone.”
"And why?" asked Augusta, smiling. To this Peregrine made no verbal answer; but he looked with a most significant tenderness at the young lady by way of a response.
“ And so,” said Augusta, “ we are really to see Mrs. Pultuney at the beginning of the cold weather."
“My mother?” exclaimed Peregrine.
" Your wife-your betrothed—your little girl,' as you used to call her.”
“Oh!" said Peregrine Pultuney.
“Oh!" repeated Augusta Sweetenham, who, to do her justice, was constantly talking to Peregrine about his little girl, much more constantly, indeed, than he liked—" what right have you to groan about it, pray? But you are a sad hypocrite, my dear brother-a very sad hypocrite, indeed.”
“In what way?" asked Peregrine Pultuney. “ Pretending to take it all so coolly," said Au