IN HIGH LIFE.
and I determined to unravel it. I seized every oppor¬
tunity that offered for conversing with her former
friends ; but they always spoke of her with a reserve
that left me more in doubt and more curious than be¬
In the .meantime, I had become well acquainted
with her maid, who, I knew, had been with'her a long
time, and was much attached to her. It was, how¬
ever, not until after much solicitation that I prevailed
on her to tell me the story.
" It has been more than fifteen years," she said,
" since I first became acquainted with my mistress.
She was, at that time, scarcely eighteen years old,
and was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever
seen; but, in her countenance, even at that age,
could be detected traces of that pride which has ever
been her ruling passion. Her mother had died when
Bhe was a child. Her father was engaged in a large,
and apparently very lucrative business. He had in
his employment, a young man some twenty-three or
twenty-four years of age, who frequently had occasion
to call at the house, to bring letters, messages, etc., to
Mr.----. This young man was tall and well-formed,
and although his features were not at all regular, still
he was very handsome. When he was in conversa¬
tion, there was a peculiar fascination in his manner,
which it was almost impossible to resist.
" I had been engaged in the house some months
before I observed any alteration in the manner of my
mistress. Whenever James came into her presence,
with any message for her father, she always had many
questions to ask him, and seemed anxious to prolong
his stay as much as possible. When he had gone,