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ANNE SHERWOOD:

OR, THR

SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ENGLAND.

"Il faut ôter les masques des choses, aussi bien que des personnes!"

"Per me si va nella città dolente:

Per me si va nell' eterno dolore:

MONTAIGNE.

Per me si va tra la perduta gente."-DAnte.

"Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at
ease, and with the contempt of the proud."-Ps. cxxiii., Bible Version.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

LONDON:

RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

1857.

249. V. 96.

LONDON:

SAVILL AND EDWARDS, PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET,

COVENT GARDEN.

ANNE SHERWOOD.

CHAPTER I.

AFTER reading Lord Claude's letter, the joyous light which had illuminated Annie's face died away, and she remained for a long time in a melancholy attitude, resting her head upon her hand. She saw indeed that Claude loved her, but she saw too that he had not courage for her sake to brave the world's opinion. Still the family pride, against which her mind would have revolted in any other in Claude excited neither anger person, nor indignation. Her partial fondness would not even allow her to qualify that pride as weakness, and she even went so far as to think it would be a derogation of his dignity

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to stoop to her. Never had Annie been so humble in her own eyes; she forgot, utterly forgot her fond dream, that successful genius might one day level the distinction between her noble lover and herself, and again and again she accused herself of madness and presumption. "And his love," she murmured, "is a fatal accident for Claude, but for me for me it is the crown of existence, even though it be destined to perish in the furnace of affliction. To be loved by Claude one day-one hour-might well be bought by years of suffering!"

Again and again the letter was read, and Annie pondered over Claude's remarks on Oswald; "he was too contemptibly weak to make his own happiness, in defiance of a world which could offer him nothing in exchange for the felicity he sacrificed on her tinselled altars!" When Claude wrote that, he meant to return to Annie; two months later, he remembered the gulf which separated them, and, perhaps, his already cooled passion made it easy for him to avoid one whose love would degrade him. "But he may change

again!" repeated Annie, “he may change again, he may yet return! Ah, shall I then have courage and strength to surmount or conceal my weakness, and show him that I too have pride? But what has pride to do with love? I will delay my departure; perhaps we may meet again-if we do, he shall see by my untroubled look that I am indifferent to him! Oh, that I were! Yet, no! Still let me love one so worthy of devotion. I will stay, and if he comes I can at least assure myself of his health; of that he says nothing! How little he knows the tortures of suspense I have suffered, while uncertain of his state! Ah, if he were like Richard! but no, I would not have him anything but what he is, that one bright, particular star' that I have dreamt of so long, nay, all my life, but never saw, till I knew Claude! the star to which I may look up with fond, yet unobserved idolatry! I wish Sydney were home; then I should at least, sometimes, hear his name pronounced: it is very sad never to hear him named!"

Soon after, Sydney came home for his

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