142 TYLNEY HALL. ready to peril my body here and my soui here- after ; and for this, in the absence of her who bore you, your duty is due to myself. Yes, Walter Tyrrel, you must love me, honour me, and confide in me. You must listen to me—and you must obey me ! " " I cannot dispute your credentials," replied the Creole ; " neither will I rashly reject nor admit your rights over me : but I may reasonably protest against the mode in which they are proposed to be exercised. Granting such a connexion to be esta- blished between us as you have asserted, what possible reason can exist for letting it lie dormant, whilst we mutually suffer by imputation; you excuse me—as an equivocal character, and I under a stigma which you declare to be unfounded ? Your manners and language persuade me that you have occupied a station in life to which my uncle would gladly endeavour to restore you." " Never,*" said the woman, with energj^, " never will I become a dependent in any of its grades. A free will such as mine has been cannot stoop to be controlled, or even to be gainsaid by advice.
TYLNEY HALL. 143 Rather would I lead, as I now live, the life of a savage. With sufficient means to supply the wants of nature, I shall be contented to act as the guar- dian genius of Walter Tyrrel ; and to serve him well and truly I am willing to remain a nameless foreign wanderer, unshackled by any further communion with the world, and as unrestrained by its laws, customs, and prejudices, as the very queen of the wild vagrant tribe I am supposed to govern." " At least," said St. Kitts, who began to be touched by her devoted professions of attachment, " you will allow me to contribute to your personal comforts. INIy uncle's allowance is liberal, and, with my own small annuity, enables me to lay by a sum that I would cheerfully appropriate to your service. It would at least provide a decent lodg- ing." " I am lodged already,"" said the woman, " and have a home, such as befits my homely fare and my household habits. You shall have my secret, and I must know some of yours. We are met in the very spot for such divulgings ; where a change