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The Tale Of Chloe: An Episode In The History Of Beau Beamish
by [?]

‘Have you heard of Chloe?’ said Mr. Beamish. ‘There you have an example of a young lady uncorrupted by this place–of which I would only remark that it is best unvisited, but better tasted than longed for.’

‘Chloe? A lady who squandered her fortune to redeem some ill-requiting rascal: I remember to have heard of her. She is here still? And ruined, of course?’

‘In purse.’

‘That cannot be without the loss of reputation.’

‘Chloe’s champion will grant that she is exposed to the evils of improvidence. The more brightly shine her native purity, her goodness of heart, her trustfulness. She is a lady whose exaltation glows in her abasement.’

‘She has, I see, preserved her comeliness,’ observed the duke, with a smile.

‘Despite the flying of the roses, which had not her heart’s patience. ‘Tis now the lily that reigns. So, then, Chloe shall be attached to the duchess during her stay, and unless the devil himself should interfere, I guarantee her Grace against any worse harm than experience; and that,’ Mr. Beamish added, as the duke raised his arms at the fearful word, ‘that shall be mild. Play she will; she is sure to play. Put it down at a thousand. We map her out a course of permissible follies, and she plays to lose the thousand by degrees, with as telling an effect upon a connubial conscience as we can produce.’

‘A thousand,’ said the duke, ‘will be cheap indeed. I think now I have had a description of this fair Chloe, and from an enthusiast; a brune? elegantly mannered and of a good landed family; though she has thought proper to conceal her name. And that will be our difficulty, cousin Beamish.’

‘She was, under my dominion, Miss Martinsward,’ Mr. Beamish pursued. ‘She came here very young, and at once her suitors were legion. In the way of women, she chose the worst among them; and for the fellow Caseldy she sacrificed the fortune she had inherited of a maternal uncle. To release him from prison, she paid all his debts; a mountain of bills, with the lawyers piled above–Pelion upon Ossa, to quote our poets. In fact, obeying the dictates of a soul steeped in generosity, she committed the indiscretion to strip herself, scandalizing propriety. This was immediately on her coming of age; and it was the death-blow to her relations with her family. Since then, honoured even by rakes, she has lived impoverished at the Wells. I dubbed her Chloe, and man or woman disrespectful to Chloe packs. From being the victim of her generous disposition, I could not save her; I can protect her from the shafts of malice.’

‘She has no passion for play?’ inquired the duke.

‘She nourishes a passion for the man for whom she bled, to the exclusion of the other passions. She lives, and I believe I may say that it is the motive of her rising and dressing daily, in expectation of his advent.’

‘He may be dead.’

‘The dog is alive. And he has not ceased to be Handsome Caseldy, they say. Between ourselves, duke, there is matter to break her heart. He has been the Count Caseldy of Continental gaming tables, and he is recently Sir Martin Caseldy, settled on the estate she made him free to take up intact on his father’s decease.’

‘Pah! a villain!’

‘With a blacker brand upon him every morning that he looks forth across his property, and leaves her to languish! She still–I say it to the redemption of our sex–has offers. Her incomparable attractions of mind and person exercise the natural empire of beauty. But she will none of them. I call her the Fair Suicide. She has died for love; and she is a ghost, a good ghost, and a pleasing ghost, but an apparition, a taper.