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Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress — Volume 2 by Fanny Burney

Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress — Volume 2 by Fanny Burney

Author:Fanny Burney [Burney, Fanny]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: Unread
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Published: 2004-11-30T16:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER vi.

A MYSTERY.

For two days, in consequence of violent colds caught during the storm, Lady Honoria Pemberton and Cecilia were confined to their rooms. Cecilia, glad by solitude and reflection to compose her spirits and settle her plan of conduct, would willingly have still prolonged her retirement, but the abatement of her cold affording her no pretence, she was obliged on the third day to make her appearance.

Lady Honoria, though less recovered, as she had been more a sufferer, was impatient of any restraint, and would take no denial to quitting her room at the same time; at dinner, therefore, all the family met at usual.

Mr Delvile, with his accustomed solemnity of civility, made various enquiries and congratulations upon their danger and their security, carefully in both, addressing himself first to Lady Honoria, and then with more stateliness in his kindness, to Cecilia. His lady, who had frequently visited them both, had nothing new to hear.

Delvile did not come in till they were all seated, when, hastily saying he was glad to see both the ladies so well again, he instantly employed himself in carving, with the agitation of a man who feared trusting himself to sit idle.

Little, however, as he said, Cecilia was much struck by the melancholy tone of his voice, and the moment she raised her eyes, she observed that his countenance was equally sad.

"Mortimer," cried Mr Delvile, "I am sure you are not well: I cannot imagine why you will not have some advice."

"Were I to send for a physician, Sir," cried Delvile, with affected chearfulness, "he would find it much more difficult to imagine what advice to give me."

"Permit me however, Mr Mortimer," cried Lady Honoria, "to return you my humble thanks for the honour of your assistance in the thunder storm! I am afraid you made yourself ill by attending me!"

"Your ladyship," returned Delvile, colouring very high, yet pretending to laugh; "made so great a coward of me, that I ran away from shame at my own inferiority of courage."

"Were you, then, with Lady Honoria during the storm?" cried Mrs Delvile.

"No, Madam!" cried Lady Honoria very quick; "but he was so good as to leave me during the storm."

"Mortimer," said Mr Delvile, "is this possible?"

"O Lady Honoria was such a Heroine," answered Delvile, "that she wholly disdained receiving any assistance; her valour was so much more undaunted than mine, that she ventured to brave the lightning under an oak tree!"

"Now, dear Mrs Delvile," exclaimed Lady Honoria, "think what a simpleton he would have made of me! he wanted to persuade me that in the open air I should be less exposed to danger than under the shelter of a thick tree!"

"Lady Honoria," replied Mrs Delvile, with a sarcastic smile, "the next tale of scandal you oblige me to hear, I will insist for your punishment that you shall read one of Mr Newbury's little books! there are twenty of them that will explain this matter to you, and such reading will at least employ



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