• Alice
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Alice by Baron lytton 


IT was towards the evening of a day in early April that two ladies were seated

by the open windows of a cottage in Devonshire. The lawn before them was gay

with evergreens, relieved by the first few flowers and fresh turf of the reviving

spring; and at a distance, through an opening amongst the trees, the sea, blue and

tranquil, bounded the view, and contrasted the more confined and home-like

features of the scene. It was a spot remote, sequestered, shut out from the

business and pleasures of the world; as such it suited the tastes and character of

the owner.

That owner was the younger of the ladies seated by the window. You would

scarcely have guessed, from her appearance, that she was more than seven or

eight and twenty, though she exceeded by four or five years that critical

boundary in the life of beauty. Her form was slight and delicate in its

proportions, nor was her countenance the less lovely because, from its gentleness

and repose (not unmixed with a certain sadness) the coarse and the gay might

have thought it wanting in expression. For there is a stillness in the aspect of

those who have felt deeply, which deceives the common eye,—as rivers are

often alike tranquil and profound, in proportion as they are remote from the

springs which agitated and swelled the commencement of their course, and by

which their waters are still, though invisibly, supplied.

The elder lady, the guest of her companion, was past seventy; her gray hair

was drawn back from the forehead, and gathered under a stiff cap of quaker-like

simplicity; while her dress, rich but plain, and of no very modern fashion, served

to increase the venerable appearance of one who seemed not ashamed of years.

"My dear Mrs. Leslie," said the lady of the house, after a thoughtful pause in

the conversation that had been carried on for the last hour, "it is very true;

perhaps I was to blame in coming to this place; I ought not to have been so


"No, my dear friend," returned Mrs. Leslie, gently; "selfish is a word that can

never be applied to you; you acted as became you,—agreeably to your own

instinctive sense of what is best when at your age,—independent in fortune and

rank, and still so lovely,—you resigned all that would have attracted others, and

devoted yourself, in retirement, to a life of quiet and unknown benevolence. You are in your sphere in this village,—humble though it be,—consoling, relieving,

healing the wretched, the destitute, the infirm; and teaching your Evelyn

insensibly to imitate your modest and Christian virtues." The good old lady

spoke warmly, and with tears in her eyes; her companion placed her hand in Mrs.


"You cannot make me vain," said she, with a sweet and melancholy smile. "I

remember what I was when you first gave shelter to the poor, desolate wanderer

and her fatherless child; and I, who was then so poor and destitute, what should I

be, if I was deaf to the poverty and sorrows of others.......... Download Now to read more about " Alice " by Baron lytton 

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