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MARY SEAHA M.

CHAPTER I.

She left her home with a bounding heart,

For the world was all before her ;
And felt it scarce a pain to part,

Such sun-bright beams came o'er her.

A. A. WATTS.

away, the

The wedding feast was cleared guests had departed, and the last joy peal with its varied chimes, and crashing cannons from the old church tower was sounding musically through the mountain valley.

Over the whole aspect of Glan Pennant was spread that air of almost desolation, ever, more

VOL. I.

B

or less, succeeding an event such as had, this day, been celebrated there.

The very servants, to whose festive entertainment the evening had been appropriated, whether able to carry out to the required extent the kind intentions of their employers, or reduced by the fatigue and excitement of the day to the condition of that establishment, Dickens has so ably and ludicrously described, at all events suffered not their notes of mirth to escape the precincts of their apartments. All was hushed as the sleeping beauty's palace in the superior portion of the mansion ; and if not quite deserted, to one entering the house at the moment of this opening chapter, it might almost have seemed that the same spell had been cast over its inmates.

Another moment, however, and there could have been distinguished the quick opening and shutting of an upper chamber door, and soon down the staircase, a young lady, divested of all bridal costume, in every day

walking attire, might be seen to glide, and passing along the oaken passage to the door of the library, enter that apartment. A profound stillness reigned therein, though the room was not devoid of living occupants.

An old gentleman had quietly yielded himself to the indulgence of an evening nap in a maroon-coloured leather chair; whilst on an opposite sofa an elderly lady had, it seemed, been overtaken by the same necessity, whilst to the murmur of the summer breeze she contemplated the satisfactory completion of the day's great event, over the large piece of worsted work, in which, as it now lay idly at her feet, a little terrier dog had made its nest.

Mary Seaham looked upon this scene and smiled to herself. Her quiet entrance had not disturbed the sleepers. It amused her perhaps for a moment to witness a placid forgetfulness, affording so strong a contrast to the eager bustle which had but so lately subsided.

But her smile, not exactly sorrowful, was gentle and subdued, harmonising entirely with the spirit of her movements, as well as with the whole character of the scene in which she seemed to play so solitary a part.

The smile, however, was soon chased by a slight sigh, and softly calling the little dog, who roused and shook itself at her summons, springing with alacrity to obey her call, she passed through the open window, and with a semblance of relief proceeded across the lawn, her spirit appearing to revive with every elastic step she took, beneath the influence of the fresh and open air.

The clock struck eight as she passed from the grounds, and skirting the village

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