Self Control: A Novel

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They travelled slowly, and Laura's health seemed improved by the journey. The reviving breeze of early spring, the grass field exchanging its winter olive for a brighter green, the ploughman's cheerful labour, the sower whistling to his measured step, the larch trees putting forth the first and freshest verdure of the woods, the birds springing busy from the thorn, were objects whose cheering influence would have been lost on many a querulous child of disappointment. But they were industriously improved to their proper use by Laura, who acknowledged in them the kindness of a father, mingling with some cordial drop even the bitterest cup of sorrow.

The grief which had fastened on her heart she never obtruded upon her companion. She behaved always with composure, sometimes with cheerfulness. She never obliquely reflected upon Providence, by insinuating the hardness of her fate, nor indulged in splenetic dissertations on the inconstancy and treachery of man. Indeed, she never, by the most distant hint, approached the ground of her own peculiar sorrow. She could not, without the deepest humiliation, reflect that she had bestowed her love on an object so unworthy. She burnt with shame at the thought of having been so blinded, so infatuated, by qualities merely external. While she remembered with extreme vexation, that she had suffered Hargrave to triumph in the confession of her regard, she rejoiced that no other witness existed of her folly--that she had never breathed the mortifying secret into any other ear.

In this frame of mind, she repelled with calm dignity every attempt which Lady Pelham made to penetrate her sentiments, and behaved in such a manner that her aunt could not discover whether her spirits were affected by languor of body or by distress of mind. Laura, indeed, had singular skill in the useful art of repulsing without offence; and Lady Pelham, spite of her curiosity, found it impossible to question her niece with freedom. Notwithstanding her youth, and her almost dependent situation, Laura inspired Lady Pelham with involuntary awe. Her dignified manners, her vigorous understanding, the inflexible integrity which descended even to the regulation of her forms of speech, extorted some degree of respectful caution from one not usually over careful of giving offence. Lady Pelham was herself at times conscious of this restraint, and her pride was wounded by it. In Laura's absence she sometimes thought of it with impatience, and resolved to cast it off at their next interview; but whenever they met, the unoffending majesty of Laura effaced her resolution, or awed her from putting it in practice. She could not always, however, refrain from using that sort of inuendo which is vulgarly called talking at one's companions; a sort of rhetoric in great request with those who have more spleen than courage, and which differs from common scolding only in being a little more cowardly and a little more provoking. All her ladyship's dexterity and perseverance in this warfare were entirely thrown away. Whatever might be meant, Laura answered to nothing but what met the ear; and, with perverse simplicity, avoided the particular application of general propositions.

Lady Pelham next tried to coax herself into Laura's confidence. She redoubled her caresses and professions of affection. She hinted, not obscurely, that if Laura would explain her wishes, they would meet with indulgence, and even assistance, from zealous friendship. Her professions were received with gratitude, her caresses returned with sensibility; but Laura remained impenetrable. Lady Pelham's temper could never brook resistance; and she would turn from Laura in a pet--the pitiful garb of anger which cannot disguise, and dares not show itself. Laura never appeared to bestow the slightest notice on her caprice, and received her returning smiles with unmoved complacency. She would fain have loved her aunt; but in spite of herself, her affection took feeble root amidst these alternations of frost and sunshine. She was weary of hints and insinuations; and felt not a little pleased that Lady Pelham's fondness for gardening seemed likely to release her, during most of the hours of daylight, from this sort of sharpshooting warfare.

It was several days after their arrival at Walbourne before they were visited by any of the De Courcy family. Undeceived in his hopes of Laura's regard, Montague was almost reluctant to see her again. Yet from the hour when he observed Lady Pelham's carriage drive up the avenue, he had constantly chosen to study at a window which looked towards Walbourne. Laura, too, often looked towards Norwood, excusing to herself the apparent neglect of her friends, by supposing that they had not been informed of her arrival. Lady Pelham was abroad superintending her gardeners, and Laura employed in her own apartment, when she was called to receive De Courcy. For the first time since the wreck of all her hopes, joy flushed the wan cheek of Laura, and fired her eye with transient lustre. "I shall hear the voice of friendship once more," said she, and she hastened down stairs with more speed than suited her but half-recovered strength. "Dear Mr De Courcy!" she cried, joyfully advancing towards him. De Corcy scarcely ventured to raise his eyes. Laura held out her hand to him. "She loves a libertine!" thought he, and, scarcely touching it, he drew back. With grief and surprise, Laura read the cold and melancholy expression of his face. Her feeble spirits failed under so chilling a reception; and while, in a low tremulous voice, she inquired for Mrs and Miss De Courcy, unbidden tears wandered down her cheeks.

In replying, Montague again turned, his eyes towards her; and, shocked at the paleness and dejection of her altered countenance, remembered only Laura ill and in sorrow. "Good Heavens!" he exclaimed, with a voice and manner of the tenderest interest, "Laura--Miss Montreville, you are ill--you are unhappy!" Laura, vexed that her weakness should thus extort compassion, hastily dried her tears. "I have been ill," said she, "and am still so weak that any trifle can discompose me." Montague's colour rose. "It is, then, a mere trifle in her eyes," thought he, "that I should meet her with coldness." "And yet," continued Laura, reading mortification in his face, "it is no trifle to fear that I have given offence where I owe so much gratitude." "Talk not of gratitude, I beseech you," said De Corcy; "I have no claim, no wish to excite it." "Ah! Mr De Courcy!" cried Laura, bursting into tears of sad rememberance, "has all your considerate friendship, all your soothing kindness, to him who is gone, no claim to the gratitude of his child?" Montague felt that he stood at this moment upon dangerous ground, and he gladly availed himself of this opportunity to quit it. He led Laura to talk of her father, and of his death; and was not ashamed to mingle sympathetic tears with those which her narrative wrung from her.

In her detail she barely hinted at the labour by which she had supported her father, and avoided all allusion to the wants which she had endured. If any thing could have exalted her in the opinion of De Courcy, it would have been the humility which sought no praise to recompense exertion--no admiration to reward self-denial. "The praise of man is with her as nothing," thought he, gazing on her wasted form and faded features with fonder adoration than ever he had looked on her full blaze of beauty. "She has higher hopes and nobler aims. And can such a creature love a sensualist!--now, too, when his infamy cannot be unknown to her! Yet it must be so--she has never named him, even while describing scenes where he was daily present. And why this silence, if he were indifferent to her? If I durst mention him!--but I cannot give her pain."

From this reverie De Courcy was roused by the entrance of Lady Pelham, whose presence brought to his recollection the compliments and ceremonial which Laura had driven from his mind. He apologised for having delayed his visit; and excused himself for having made it alone, by saying that his sister was absent on a visit to a friend, and that his mother could not yet venture abroad; but he warmly entreated that the ladies would waive etiquette, and see Mrs De Courcy at Norwood. Lady Pelham, excusing herself for the present on the plea of her niece's indisposition, urged De Courcy to direct his walks often towards Walbourne; in charity, she said, to Laura, who being unable to take exercise, spent her forenoons alone, sighing, she supposed, for some Scotch Strephon. Laura blushed; and Montague took his leave, pondering whether the blush was deepened by any feeling of consciousness.

"She has a witchcraft in her that no language can express, no heart withstand," said De Courcy, suddenly breaking a long silence, as he and his mother were sitting tete-a-tete after dinner.

"Marriage is an excellent talisman against witchcraft," said Mrs De Corcy, gravely; "but Miss Montreville has charms that will delight the more the better they are known. There is such noble simplicity, such considerate benevolence, such total absence of vanity and selfishness in her character, that no woman was ever better fitted to embellish and endear domestic life."

"Perhaps in time," pursued. De Courcy, "I might have become not unworthy of such a companion; but now it matters not;"--and suppressing a very bitter sigh, he took up a book which he had of late been reading to his mother.

"You know, Montague," said Mrs De Courcy, "I think differently from you upon this subject. I am widely mistaken in Miss Montreville if she could bestow her preference on a libertine, knowing him to be such."

Montague took involuntary pleasure in hearing this opinion repeated, yet he had less faith in it than he usually had in the opinions of his mother. "After the emotion which his presence excited," returned he; "an emotion which even these low people--I cannot think of it with patience," cried he, tossing away the book, and walking hastily up and down the room. "To betray her weakness, her only weakness, to such observers--to the wretch himself!"

"My dear Montague, do you make no allowance for the exaggeration, the rage for the romantic, so common to uneducated minds?"

"Wilkins could have no motive for inventing such a tale," replied De Courcy; "and if it had any foundation, there is no room for doubt."

"Admitting the truth of all you have heard," resumed Mrs De Courcy, "I see no reason for despairing of success. If I know any thing of character, Miss Montreville's attachments will ever follow excellence, real or imaginary. Your worth is real, Montague; and, as such, it will in time approve itself to her."

"Ah, madam, had her affection been founded even on imaginary excellence, must it not now have been completely withdrawn--now, when she cannot be unacquainted with his depravity? Yet she loves him still—I am sure she loves him. Why else this guarded silence in regard to him? Why not mention that she permitted his daily visits--saw him even on the night when her father died?" "Supposing," returned Mrs De Courcy, "that her affection had been founded on imaginary excellence, might not traces of the ruins remain perceptible, even after the foundation had been taken away? Come, come, Montague, you are only four-and-twenty; you can afford a few years' patience. If you act prudently, I am convinced that your perseverance will succeed; but if it should not, I know how you can bear disappointment.

"I am certain that your happiness depends not on the smile of any face, however fair."

"I am ashamed," said De Courcy, "to confess how much my peace depends upon Laura. You know I have no ambition--all my joys must be domestic. It is as a husband and a father that all my wishes must be fulfilled; and all that I have ever fancied of venerable and endearing, so meet in her, that no other woman can ever fill her place."

"That you have no ambition," replied Mrs De Courcy, "is one of the reasons why I join in your wishes. If your happiness had any connection with splendour, I should have regretted your choice of a woman without fortune. But all that is necessary for your comfort you will find in the warmth of heart with which Laura will return your affection, the soundness of principle with which she will assist you in your duties. Still, perhaps, you might find these qualities in others, though not united in an equal degree; but I confess to you, Montague, I despair of your again meeting with a woman whose dispositions and pursuits are so congenial to your own--a woman, whose cultivated mind and vigorous understanding may make her the companion of your studies as well as of your lighter hours."

"My dear mother!" cried De Courcy, affectionately grasping her hand, "it is no wonder that I persecute you with this subject so near my heart; for you always, and you alone, support my hopes. Yet should I even at last obtain this treasure, I must ever regret that I cannot awaken the enthusiasm which belongs only to a first attachment."

"Montague," said Mrs De Courcy, smiling, "from what romance have you learnt that sentiment? However, I shall not attempt the labour of combating it, for I prophesy that, before the change can be necessary, you will learn to be satisfied with being loved with reason."

"Many a weary day must pass before I can even hope for this cold preference. Indeed, if her choice is to be decided by mere rational approbation, why should I hope that it will fall upon me? Yet, if it be possible, her friendship I will gain; and I would not exchange it for the love of all her sex."

"She already esteems you, highly esteems you," said Mrs De Courcy; "and I repeat that I think you need not despair of animating esteem into a warmer sentiment. But will you profit by my knowledge of my sex, Montague? You know, the less use we make of our own wisdom, the fonder we grow of bestowing it on others in the form of advice! Keep your secret carefully. Much of your hope depends on your caution. Pretensions to a pre-engaged heart are very generally repaid with dislike."

Montague promised attention to his mother's advice, but added, that he feared he should not long be able to follow it. "I am a bad dissembler," said he, "and on this subject it is alleged that ladies are eagle-eyed."

"Miss Montreville of all women living has the least vanity," returned Mrs De Courcy; "and you may always reinforce your caution, by recollecting that the prepossessions which will certainly be against you as a lover, may be secured in your favour as a friend."

The next day found De Courcy again at Walbourne; and again he enjoyed a long and private interview with Laura. Though their conversation turned only on indifferent subjects, De Courcy observed the settled melancholy which had taken possession of her mind. It was no querulous complaining sorrow, but a calm sadness, banishing all the cheerful illusions of a life which was still valued as the preparation for a better. To that better world all her hopes and wishes seemed already fled; and the saint herself seemed waiting, with resigned desire, for permission to depart. De Courcy's fears assigned to her melancholy its true cause. He would have given worlds to know the real state of her sentiments, and to ascertain how far her attachment had survived the criminality of Hargrave. But he had not courage to probe the painful wound. He could not bear to inflict upon Laura even momentary anguish; perhaps he even feared to know the full extent of those regrets which she lavished on his rival. With scrupulous delicacy he avoided approaching any subject which could at all lead her thoughts towards the cause of her sorrow, and never even seemed to notice the dejection which wounded him to the soul.

"The spring of her mind is for ever destroyed," said he to Mrs Do Courcy, "and yet she retains all her angelic benevolence. She strives to make pleasing to others the objects that will never more give pleasure to her." Mrs De Courcy expressed affectionate concern, but added, "I never knew of a sorrow incurable at nineteen. We must bring Laura to Norwood, and find employments for her suited to her kindly nature. Meanwhile do you exert yourself to rouse her; and, till she is well enough to leave home, I shall freely resign to her all my claims upon your time."

De Courcy faithfully profited by his mother's permission, and found almost every day an excuse for visiting Walbourne. Sometimes he brought a book which he read aloud to the ladies; sometimes he borrowed one, which he chose to return in person; now he wished to show Laura a medal, and now he had some particularly fine flower-seeds for Lady Pelham. Chemical experiments were an excellent pretext, for they were seldom completed at a visit, and the examination of one created a desire for another. Laura was not insensible to his attentions. She believed that he attributed whatever was visible of her depression to regrets for her father; and she was by turns ashamed of permitting her weakness to wear the mask of filial piety, and thankful that she escaped the degradation of being pitied as a love-sick girl.

But love had now no share in Laura's melancholy. Compassion, strong indeed to a painful excess, was the only gentle feeling that mingled with the pain of remembering Hargrave. Who that in early youth gives way to the chilling conviction that nothing on earth will ever again kindle a wish or a hope, can look without sadness on the long pilgrimage that spreads before him? Laura looked upon hers with resigned sadness, and a thousand times repeated to herself that it was but a point compared with what lay beyond. Hopeless of happiness, she yet forced herself to seek short pleasure in the charms of nature and the comforts of affluence; calling them the flowers which a bountiful hand had scattered in the desert which it was needful that she should tread alone. It was with some surprise that she found De Courcy's visits produce pleasure without requiring an effort to be pleased; and with thankfulness she acknowledged that the enjoyments of the understanding were still open to her, though those of the heart were for ever withdrawn.

In the meantime her health improved rapidly, and she was able to join in Lady Pelham's rambles in the shrubbery. To avoid particularity, De Courcy had often quitted Laura to attend on these excursions; and he rejoiced when her recovered strength allowed him to gratify, without imprudence, the inclination which brought him to Walbourne. It often, however, required all his influence to persuade her to accompany him in his walks with Lady Pelham. Her ladyship's curiosity had by no means subsided. On the contrary, it was rather exasperated by her conviction that her niece's dejection had not been the consequence of ill health, since it continued after that plea was removed; and Laura was constantly tormented with oblique attempts to discover what she was determined should never be known.

Lady Pelham's attacks were now become the more provoking, because she could address her hints to a third person, who, not aware of their tendency, might strengthen them by assent, or unconsciously point them as they were intended. She contrived to make even her very looks tormenting, by directing, upon suitable occasions, sly glances of discovery to Laura's face; where, if they found out nothing, they at least insinuated that there was something to find out. She was inimitably dexterous and indefatigable in improving every occasion of inuendo. Any subject, however irrelevant, furnished her with the weapons of her warfare. "Does this flower never open any farther?" asked Laura, showing one to De Courcy. "No," said Lady Pelham, pushing in between them; "that close thing, wrapped up in itself, never expands in the genial warmth--it never shows its heart." "This should be a precious book with so many envelopes," said Laura, untying a parcel. "More likely," said Lady Pelham, with a sneer, "that what is folded in so many doublings wont be worth looking into." "This day is cold for the season," said De Courcy, one day warming himself after his ride. "Spring colds are the most chilling of any," said Lady Pelham. "They are like a repulsive character in youth; one is not prepared for them. The frosts of winter are natural."

Lady Pelham was not satisfied with using the occasions that presented themselves; she invented others. When the weather confined her at home, and she had nothing else to occupy her, she redoubled her industry. "Bless me, what a sentiment!" she exclaimed, affecting surprise and consternation, though she had read the book which contained it above twenty times before. "'Always live with a friend as if he might one day become an enemy!' I can conceive nothing more detestable. A cold-hearted suspicious wretch ! Now, to a friend I could not help being all open and ingenuous; but a creature capable of such a thought could never have a friend." Lady Pelham ran on for a while, contrasting her open ingenuous self with the odious character which her significant looks appropriated to her niece, till even the mild Laura was provoked to reply. Fixing her eyes upon her aunt with calm severity, "If Rochefoucauld meant," said she, "that a friend should be treated with suspicious confidence, as if he might one day betray, I agree with your ladyship in thinking such a sentiment incompatible with friendship; but we are indebted to him for a useful lesson, if he merely intended to remind us that it is easy to alienate affection with proceeding to real injury, and very possible to forfeit esteem without incurring serious guilt." The blood mounted to Lady Pelham's face, but the calm austerity of Laura's eye imposed silence, and she continued to turn over the pages of her book, while her niece rose and left the room. She then tossed it away, and walked angrily up and down, fretting between baulked curiosity and irritated pride.

Finding every other mode of attack unsuccessful, she once more resolved to have recourse to direct interrogation. This intention had been frequently formed, and as often defeated by the dignified reserve of Laura; but now that Lady Pelham felt her pride concerned, she grew angry enough to be daring. It was so provoking to be kept in awe by a mere girl--a dependent! Lady Pelham could at any time meditate herself into a passion; she did so on the present occasion; and accordingly resolved and executed in the same breath. She followed Laura to her apartment, determined to insist upon knowing what affected her spirits. Laura received her with a smile so gracious, that, spite of herself, her wrath began to evaporate. Conceiving it proper, however, to maintain an air of importance, she began with an aspect that announced hostility, and a voice in which anger increased intended gravity into surliness. "Miss Montreville, if you are at leisure, I wish to speak with you."

"Quite at leisure, madam," said Laura, in a tone of the most conciliating good humour, and motioning her aunt to a seat by the fire.

"It is extremely unpleasant," said Lady Pelham, tossing her head to escape the steady look of inquiry which Laura directed towards her; "it is extremely unpleasant (at least if one has any degree of sensibility) to live with persons who always seem unhappy, and are always striving to conceal it, especially when one can see no cause for their unhappiness."

"It must indeed be very distressing," returned Laura, mentally preparing for her defence.

"Then I wonder," said Lady Pelham, with increased acrimony of countenance, "why you choose to subject me to so disagreeable a situation. It is very evident that there is something in your mind which you are either afraid or ashamed to tell."

"I am sorry," said Laura, with unmoved self-possession, "to be the cause of any uneasiness to your ladyship. I do not pretend that my spirits are high, but I should not have thought their depression unaccountable. The loss of my only parent--and such a parent!--is reason for lasting sorrow, and my own so recent escape from the jaws of the grave, might impose seriousness upon levity itself."

"I have a strong notion, however, that none of these is the true cause of your penseroso humours. Modern misses don't break their hearts for the loss of their parents. I remember you fainted away just when Mrs Harrington was talking to me of Colonel Hargrave's affair; and I know he was quartered for a whole year in your neighbourhood."

Lady Pelham stopped to reconnoitre her niece's face, but without success; for Laura had let fall her scissors, and was busily seeking them on the carpet.

"Did yon know him?" inquired Lady Pelham.

"I have seen him," answered Laura, painfully recollecting how little she had really known him.

"Did he visit at Glenalbert?" resumed her ladyship, recovering her temper, as she thought she had discovered a clue to Laura's sentiments.

"Yes, madam, often," replied Laura, who having with a strong effort resumed her self-possession, again submitted her countenance to inspection.

"And he was received there as a lover, I presume?" said Lady Pelham, in a tone of interrogation.

Laura fixed on her aunt one of her cool commanding glances. "Your ladyship," returned she, "seems so much in earnest, that if the question were a little less extraordinary, I should almost have thought you expected a serious answer."

Lady Pelham's eyes were not comfortably placed, and she removed them by turns to every piece of furniture in the apartment. Speedily recovering herself, she returned to the charge. "I think, after the friendship I have shown, I have some right to be treated with confidence."

"My dear madam," said Laura, gratefully pressing Lady Pelham's hand between her own, "believe me, I am not forgetful of the kindness which has afforded me shelter and protection; but there are some subjects of which no degree of intimacy will permit the discussion. It is evident, that whatever proposals have hitherto been made to me, have received such an answer as imposes discretion upon me. No addresses which I accept shall ever be a secret from your ladyship--those which I reject I am not equally entitled to reveal."

"By which I understand you to say, that you have rejected Colonel Hargrave?" said Lady Pelham.

"By no means," answered Laura, with spirit; "I was far from saying so. I merely intended to express my persuasion, that you are too generous to urge me on a sort of subject where I ought not to be communicative."

"Very well, Miss Montreville," cried Lady Pelham, rising in a pet, "I comprehend the terms on which you choose that we should live. I may have the honour of being your companion, but I must not aspire to the rank of a friend."

"Indeed, my dear aunt," said Laura, in a voice irresistibly soothing, "I have no earthly wish so strong as to find a real friend in you: but," added she, with an insinuating smile, "I shall never earn the treasure with tales of luckless love."

"Well, madam," said Lady Pelham, turning to quit the room, "I shall take care for the future not to press myself into your confidence; and as it is not the most delightful thing in the world to live in the midst of ambuscades, I shall intrude as little as possible on your more agreeable engagements."

"Pray, don't go," said Laura, with perfect good humour, and holding upon her delicate fingers a cap which she had been making; "I have finished your cap. Pray have the goodness to let me try it on."

Female vanity is at least a sexagenaire. Lady Pelham sent a side-glance towards the cap. "Pray do," said Laura, taking her hand, and coaxingly pulling her back. "Make haste, then," said Lady Pelham, sullenly, "for I have no time to spare." "How becoming!" cried Laura, as she fixed on the cap; "I never saw you look so well in any thing. Look at it;" and she held a looking-glass to her aunt. The ill humour which had resisted the graces of the loveliest face in the world, could not stand a favourable view of her own; and Lady Pelham quitted Laura with a gracious compliment to her genius for millinery, and a declaration that the cap should be worn the next day, in honour of a visit from Mr De Courcy and Harriet.

The next day the expected guests dined at Walbourne. As Harriet had just returned from her excursion, this was the first time that she had seen Laura, and the meeting gave them mutual pleasure. Harriet seemed in even more than usual spirits; and Laura, roused by the presence of persons whom she loved and respected, showed a cheerfulness more unconstrained than she had felt since her father's death. Montague, who watched her assiduously, was enchanted to perceive that she could once more smile without effort; and, in the joy of his heart, resumed a gaiety which had of late been foreign to him. But the life of the party was Lady Pelham; for who could be so delightful, so extravagantly entertaining, as Lady Pelham could be when she pleased? And she did please this afternoon; for a train of fortunate circumstances had put her into high good humour. She not only wore the becoming cap, but had hit, without difficulty, the most becoming mode of putting it on. The cook had done her office in a manner altogether faultless; and the gardener had brought in such a salad! its like had never been seen in the county.

Miss De Courcy was extremely anxious that Laura should pass a few days at Norwood. But Laura, remembering the coolness which had of late subsisted between herself and Lady Pelham, and unwilling to postpone her endeavours to efface every trace of it, objected that she could not quit her aunt for such a length of time. Harriet immediately proposed to invite Lady Pelham. "I'll set about it this moment, while she's in the vein," said she. "This sunshine is too bright to last." Laura looked very grave, and Harriet hastened to execute her purpose. There is no weakness of their neighbours which mankind so instinctively convert to their own use as vanity. Except to secure Laura's company, Harriet had not the slightest desire for Lady Pelham's. Yet she did not even name her friend while she pressed Lady Pelham so earnestly to visit Norwood, that she succeeded to her wish, and obtained a promise that the ladies should accompany her and her brother home on the following day.

When at the close of an agreeable evening Laura attended her friend to her chamber, Harriet, with more sincerity than politeness, regretted that Lady Pelham was to join their party to Norwood. "I wish the old lady would have allowed you to go without her," said she; "she'll interrupt a thousand things I had to say to you. However, my mother can keep her in conversation. She'll be so delighted to see you, that she'll pay the penalty without a grudge." "I shall feel the more indebted to your mother's welcome," said Laura, with extreme gravity, "because she will extend it to a person to whom I owe obligations that cannot be repaid." Harriet, blushing, apologised for her freedom; and Laura, accepting the apology with smiles of courtesy and affection, the friends separated for the night.

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This presentation of Self Control: A Novel, by Mary Brunton is Copyright 2003 by P.J. LaBrocca. It may not be copied, duplicated, stored or transmitted in any form without written permission. The text is in the public domain.