BLTC Press Titles


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The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


Montalbert Volume I

by Charlotte Smith

Excerpt:

MONTALBERT.

CHAPTER L

I

N one of those villages, immediately under the ridge of chalky hills, called the South Downs; .where the foil changing suddenly to a strong clay, renders the country deep, and the roads bad; there dwelt, a few years since, the rector of a neighbouring parish, of the name of Lessington. In the village where he lived he was only the curate; chusing his residence there, because the house was larger .and more commodious, than that which belonged to his own living three miles distant. His samily consisted of a wife, two sons, and tour daughters.

One of the sons had a fellowship at Oxford ; the other, was a younger partner in a respectable tradesman's house in London. Vol. I. * The

The daughters were reckoned handsome ; the two eldest had been for some years the toasts at the convivial meetings in the next market towns; the third was now a candidate for an equal share of rustic admiration, and her claims were generally allowed; but the youngest, who was about eighteen, when this narrative commences, though she was still considered as a child by her sisters, and treated as such by her mother; was thought by some of the few persons who happened to fee her, to be much the handsomest of the four, though her beauty was of a very different character from that of her sisters.

Perhaps in these days of resinement, the imagination might be in some degree assisted, by the romantic singularity of her name; she was called Rosalie at the request of a lady of the Catholic religion, the wife of a man of very large fortune, who sometimes inhabited an old samily seat, about three miles sarther from the hills: Mrs. Lessington had been for some years her most intimate friend, and accepted with pleasure her offer of answering for, and giving her name, to the youngest of her girls. Mrs. Vyvian, the daughter of

an

an illustrious Catholic samily, being born at Naples, bad received the name of the female saint so highly venerated in the two Sicilies; and before her marriage, had lived a good deal alone with an insirm sather at Holmwood House, which having descended to her mother from noble ancestors, became hers, and was part of the great fortune she brought to Mr. Vyvian.

During the solitary years when she attended the couch of a parent, the victim of complicated diseases, the society of Mrs. Lessington had been her greatest consolation. It continued so till her marriage—a marriage which she was compelled to consent to, by her sather's peremptory commands. Mrs. Vyvian asterwards passed some years on the continent with her husband, and returned to England mother of three children, a son and two daughters. And whenever this samily inhabited the old mansion-house of Holmwood, Rosalie passed all her time with them. When young Vyvian was about thirteen, his sillers twelve and eleven, the young ladies were so much attached to their companion, that Mrs. Vyvian, to indulge them, took her B 2 with

with them to London, and asterwards to their estate in the North. Young Vyvian, the only son of the samily, being sent abroad, Rosalie remained with his mother and sisters above two years, making only short visits at home. At the end of that period, Mr. Vyvian thought proper to have his daughters introduced into the world, and in a stile of life to which Rosalie could have no pretensions j she therefore returned to the parsonage, and though she could not but be sensible of the great change in her situation; her good sense, and die peculiar mildness of her disposition, enabled her, if not to conquer her regret, at least so sar to conceal it, that though generally pensive, she was neither sullen nor melancholy, and enteed with placid resignation into a way of life, so different from that to which she had (she now thought unfortunately) been accustomed.— Her mother, who probably remembered that she had been. sensible of something like the same uneasy sensation when she bade adieu to the society os her friend, then Miss Montalbert, to marry Mr. Lessington, seemed to


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