274 MOLLY BAWN.
of how intensely they have enjoyed their evening; though
when they reach their chambers a few of them give way to
such despair and disappointment as rather gives the Ue to
their expressions of pleasure.
Poor Molly in spite of her false gaiety—put on to mask
the wounded pride, the new sensation of blankness that
fills her with dismay—flings herself upon her bed and cries
away aU the remaining hours that rest between her and her
maid's morning visit—
Alas! how easily things go wrong:
A sigh too much or a kiss too long.
For how much less—for the mere suspicion of a kiss—have
things gone wrong with her! How meagre is the harvest
she has gathered in from all her anticipated pleasure, how
poor a fruition has been hers !
Now that she and her lover are irrevocably separated
she remembers, with many pangs of self-reproach, how
tender, and true, and honest he has proved himself in aU his
dealings with her; and though she cannot accuse herself of
actual active disloyalty towards him, a hidden voice reminds
her how lightly and with what persistent carelessness she
accepted all his love, and how indifferently she made return.
With a desire to ease the heartache she is enduring, she
tries—in vain—to encourasre a wrathful feeling towards
him, calling to mind how ready he was to believe her false,
how easUy he flung her off, for what, after aU, was but a
fancied offence. But the very agony of his face as he did so
disarms her, recollecting as she does every change and aU
the passionate disappointment of it.
O that she had repulsed Philip on the instant when first
he took her hand, as it had been in her heart to do !—but
for the misery he showed that for the moment softened her,
Mercy, on such occasions, is only cruel kindness—so she
now thinks—and has been her own imdoing. And besides,
what is his misery to hers ?
An intense bitterness, a positive hatred towards Shad¬
weU, who has brought aU this discord into her hitherto
happy life, gi-ows within her, fiUing her with a most unjust
longing to see him as wretched as he has unwittingly made
her; whUe yet she shrinks with ever increasing reluctance
from the thought that soon ^he must bring herself to look
.igain upon his dark but handsome face.