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Precaution, Vol. 1 by James Fenimore Cooper

Precaution, Vol. 1  Vol. 2

CHAPTER I.
CHAPTER II.
CHAPTER III.
CHAPTER IV.
CHAPTER V.
CHAPTER VI.
CHAPTER VII.
CHAPTER VIII.
CHAPTER IX.
CHAPTER X.
CHAPTER XI.
CHAPTER XII.
CHAPTER XIII.
CHAPTER XIV.
CHAPTER XV.
CHAPTER XVI.
CHAPTER XVII.
CHAPTER XVIII.
CHAPTER XIX.
CHAPTER XX.
CHAPTER XXII.
CHAPTER XXIII.
CHAPTER XXIV.
CHAPTER XXV.

CHAPTER I.

"I wonder if we are to have a neighbour in the Deanery soon," inquired Clara Moseley, addressing herself to a small party, assembled in her father's drawing room, while standing at a window which commanded a distant view of the mansion in question.

"Oh yes," replied her brother, "the agent has let it to a Mr. Jarvis for a couple of years, and he is to take possession this week."

"And who is the Mr. Jarvis that is about to become so near a neighbour to us?" asked Sir Edward Moseley of his son.

"Why, Sir, I learn he has been a capital merchant, that has retired from business with a large fortune; that he has, like yourself, sir, an only hope for his declining years in his son, who is an officer in the army; and, moreover, that he has a couple of fine daughters; so, sir, he is a man of family, you see. But," dropping his voice, "whetherhe is a man of family in your sense, Jane," looking at his second sister, "is more than I could discover."

"I hope you did not take the trouble, sir, to inquire on my account," retorted Jane, colouring slightly with vexation at his speech.

"Yes, but indeed I did, my dear sis, and solely on your account," replied the laughing brother, "for you well know, that no gentility, no husband; and it's dull work to you young ladies without at least a possibility of matrimony; as for Clara, she is——"

Here he was stopped by his youngest sister Emily placing her hand on his mouth, as she whispered in his ear, "John, you forget the anxiety of a certain gentleman, about a fair incognita at Bath, and a list of inquiries concerning her lineage, and a few other indispensables." John, in his turn, coloured, and affectionately kissing the hand which kept him silent, addressed himself to Jane, and by his vivacity and good humour soon restored her complacency.

"I rejoice," said Lady Moseley, "that Sir William has found a tenant, however; for next to occupying it himself, it is a most desirable thing to have a good tenant in it, on account of the circle we live in."

"And Mr. Jarvis has the great goodness of money, by John's account," dryly observed Mrs. Wilson, a sister of Sir Edward's.

"Let me tell you, madam," cried the rector of the parish, looking around him pleasantly, "that a great deal of money is a very good thing in itself, and that a great many very good things may be done with it."

"Such as paying tythes, ha! doctor," cried Mr. Haughton, a gentleman of landed property in the neighbourhood, of plain exterior, but great goodness of heart, and between whom and the rector subsisted the most cordial good will.

"Aye, tythes, or halves, as the baronet did here, when he forgave old Gregson one half his rent, and his children the other."

"Well, but my dear," said Sir Edward to his wife, "you must not starve our friends because we are to have a neighbour. William has stood with the dining room door open these five minutes——"

Lady Moseley gave her hand to the rector, and the company followed them, without any order, to the dinner table.

The party assembled on this day round the hospitable board of the baronet, was composed, beside the before-mentioned persons, of a wife of Mr. Haughton, a woman of much good sense and modesty of deportment; their daughter, a young lady conspicuous for nothing but good nature; and the wife and son of the rector——the latter but lately admitted into holy orders himself.

The remainder of the day was passed in that uninterrupted flow of pleasant conversationwhich was the natural consequence of a unison of opinions in all leading questions, and where the parties had long known and esteemed each other for those qualities which soonest reconcile us to the common frailties of our nature. On parting at the usual hour, it was agreed to meet that day week at the rectory, and the doctor, on making his bow to Lady Moseley, observed, that he intended, in virtue of his office, to make an early call on the Jarvis family, and that, if possible, he would persuade them to join the intended party at his house.

Sir Edward Moseley was descended from one of the most respectable of the creations of his order by James, and had inherited, with many of the virtues of his ancestors, an estate which placed him amongst the greatest landed proprietors in the county. But, as it had been an invariable rule never to deduct a single acre from the inheritance of the eldest son, and the extravagance of his mother, who was the daughter of a nobleman, had much embarrassed the affairs of his father, Sir Edward, on coming into possession of his estate, had wisely determined to withdraw from the gay world, by renting his house in town, and retiring altogether to his respectable mansion, about a hundred miles from the metropolis. Here he hoped, by a course of systematic, but liberal economy, to release himself from all embarrassments, and make such a provision for his younger children, the three daughters already mentioned, as he conceived their birth entitled them to expect. Seventeen years had enabled him to accomplish this plan; and for more than eighteen months Sir Edward had resumed the hospitality and appearance usual in his family, and had even promised his delighted girls to take possession the ensuing winter, of his house in St. James's Square. Nature had not qualified Sir Edward for great or continued exertions, and the prudent decision he had taken to retrieve his fortunes, was perhaps an act of as much forecast and vigour as his talents or energy would admit of; it was the step most obviously for his interests, and safest both in its execution and consequences, and as such had been adopted: but, had it required a single particle more of enterprise or calculation, it would have been beyond his powers, and the heir might have yet laboured under the difficulties which distressed his more brilliant, but less prudent parent.

The baronet was warmly attached to his wife; and as she was a woman of many valuable and no obnoxious qualities, civil and attentive by habit to all around her, and perfectly disinterested in her attachments to her own family, nothing in nature could partake more of perfection in the eyes of her husband and children than the conduct of this beloved relative; yet Lady Moseley had her failings,although few were disposed to view her errors with that severity which truth requires, and a just discrimination of character renders necessary. Her union had been one of love, and for a time, objected to by the friends of her husband, on the score of fortune; but constancy and perseverance had prevailed, and the protracted and inconsequent opposition of his parents, had left no other effects, than an aversion in their children to the exercise or even influence of parental authority, in marrying their own descendants, which, although equal in degree, was somewhat differing in effect. In the husband it was quiescent; but in the wife, slightly shaded with the female esprit du corps, of having her daughters comfortably established, and that in due season. Lady Moseley was religious, but hardly pious; she was charitable in deeds; but not always in opinions; her intentions were pure, but neither her prejudices or her reasoning powers suffered her to be at all times consistent; yet few knew her but loved her, and none were ever heard to say aught against her breeding, her morals, or her disposition.

The sister of Sir Edward had been married, early in life, to an officer in the army, who, spending much of his time abroad on service, had left her a prey to that solicitude to which her attachment to her husband necessarily exposed her; to find relief from which, an invaluable friend had pointed outthe only true course her case admitted of——a research into her own heart, and the employment of active benevolence. The death of her husband, who lost his life in battle, causing her to withdraw in a great measure from the world, gave her time for, and induced those reflections, which led to impressions on the subject of religion, correct in themselves, and indispensable as the basis of future happiness, but slightly tinctured with the sternness of her vigorous mind, and possibly at times more unbending than was compatible with the comforts of this world; a fault, however, of manner, and not of matter. Warmly attached to her brother and his children, Mrs. Wilson, who had never been a mother herself, had yielded to their earnest entreaties to become one of the family; and although left by the late General Wilson with a large income, she had since his death given up her establishment, and devoted most of her time to the formation of the character of her youngest niece. Lady Moseley had submitted this child entirely to the control of her aunt; and it was commonly thought Emily would inherit the very handsome sum left to the disposal of the General's widow.

Both Sir Edward and Lady Moseley had possessed a large share of personal beauty when young, and it had descended in common to all their children, but more particularly to the youngest daughters. Although a strong family resemblance, both in personand character, existed between these closely connected relatives, yet it existed with shades of distinction, that had very different effects on their conduct, and led to results which stamped their lives with widely differing degrees of happiness.

Between the families at Moseley Hall and the Rectory, there had existed for many years an intimacy, founded on esteem, and on long intercourse. Doctor Ives was a clergyman of deep piety, and very considerable talents; he possessed, in addition to a moderate benefice, an independent fortune in right of his wife, who was the only child of a distinguished naval officer. Both were well connected, well bred, and well disposed to their fellow creatures. They were blessed with but one child——the young divine we have mentioned, who promised to equal his father in all those qualities which had made the Doctor the delight of his friends, and almost the idol of his parishioners.

Between Francis Ives and Clara Moseley, there had been an attachment, which had grown with their years, from their childhood. He had been her companion in their youthful recreations——had espoused her little quarrels, and participated in her innocent pleasures, for so many years, and with such evident preference for each other in the youthful pair——that on leaving college to enter on the studies of his sacred calling with his father, Francis here rightly judged,that none other would make his future life so happy, as the mildness, the tenderness, the unassuming worth of the retiring Clara. Their passion, if so gentle a feeling could deserve the term, had received the sanction of their parents, and waited only the establishment of the youthful divine, to perfect their union.

The retirement of Sir Edward's family had been uniform, with the exception of occasional visits to an aged uncle of his wife's, and who, in return, spent much of his time with them at the Hall, and who had declared his intention of making the children of Lady Moseley his heirs. The visits of Mr. Benfield were always hailed as calling for more than ordinary gayety; for although rough from indulgence in his manner, and somewhat infirm from his years, the old bachelor, who was rather addicted to those customs he had indulged in in his youth, and was fond of dwelling on the scenes of former days, was universally beloved where he was intimately known, for his unbounded, though at times, singular philanthropy.

The illness of the mother-in-law of Mrs. Wilson had called her to Bath the winter preceding the spring our history commences, and she had been accompanied by her nephew and favourite niece. John and Emily, during the month of their residence in that city, were in the practice of making daily excursionsin its environs; and it was in one of these little tours that they were of accidental service to a very young and very beautiful woman, apparently in low health. They had taken her up in their carriage, and conveyed her to a farm-house where she resided, during a faintness which had come over her in a walk; and her beauty, air, and manner, altogether so different from those around her, had interested them both to a painful degree. They had ventured to call the following day to inquire after her welfare, and this led to a slight intercourse, which continued for the fortnight longer they remained there.

John had given himself some trouble to ascertain who she was, but in vain. All they could learn was, that her life was blameless, she saw no one but themselves, and her dialect raised a suspicion she was not English. To this then it was that Emily had alluded in her playful attempt to stop the heedless rattle of her brother, which was not always restrained by a proper regard for the feelings of others.

CHAPTER II.

On the morning succeeding the day of the dinner at the Hall, Mrs. Wilson, and all her nieces and her nephew, availed themselves of the fineness of the weather, to walk to the Rectory, whither they were in the frequent habit of such informal and friendly visits. They had just cleared the little village of B——, which lay in their route, as a rather handsome travelling carriage and four passed them, and took the road which led to the Deanery.

"As I live," cried John, "there go our new neighbours, the Jarvis's; yes, yes, that must be the old merchant muffled up in the corner, which I mistook at first for a pile of band-boxes; then the rosy-cheek'd lady, with so many feathers, must be the old lady——heaven forgive me, Mrs. Jarvis I mean ——ay, and the two others the belles."

"You are in a hurry to pronounce them belles, John," cried Jane; "it would be well to see more of them, before you speak so decidedly."

"Oh!" replied John, "I have seen enough of them, and"——he was interrupted by the whirling of a tilbury and tandem, followed by a couple of servants on horse-back. All about this vehicle and its masters, bore the stamp of decided fashion, andour party had followed it with their eyes for a short distance, when having reached a fork in the roads, it stopped, and evidently waited the coming up of the pedestrians, as if to make an inquiry. A single glance of the eye was sufficient to apprise the gentleman on the low cushion of the kind of people he had to deal with, and stepping from his carriage, he met them with a graceful bow, and after handsomely apologising for troubling them, he desired to know which road led to the Deanery. "The right, sir," replied John, returning his salutation.

"Ask them, Colonel," cried the charioteer, "whether the old gentleman went right or not."

The Colonel, in the manner of a perfect gentleman, but with a look of compassion for his companion's want of tact, made the desired inquiry; which being satisfactorily answered, he again bowed, and was retiring, as one of several pointers who followed the cavalcade sprang upon Jane, and soiled her walking dress with his dirty feet.

"Come hither, Dido," cried the Colonel, as he hastened to beat the dog back from the young lady; and again he apologised in the same collected and handsome manner—— when turning to one of the servants, he said, "call in the dog, sir," and rejoined his companion. The air of this gentleman was peculiarly pleasant; he was decidedly military, had he not been addressed as such by his younger and certainly less polished companion. The Colonel was apparently about thirty, and of extremely handsome face and figure, while his driving friend appeared several years younger, and of different materials altogether.

"I wonder," said Jane, as they turned a corner which hid them from view, "who they are?" "Who they are?" cried her brother, "why the Jarvis's to be sure; did'nt you hear them ask the road to the Deanery?"

"Oh! the one that drove, he may be a Jarvis, but not the gentleman who spoke to us——surely not, John; he was called Colonel you know."

"Yes, yes," said John, with one of his quizzing expressions, "Colonel Jarvis, that must be the alderman; they are commonly colonels of city volunteers: yes, that must have been the old gentleman who spoke to us, and I was right about the band-boxes."

"You forget," said Clara, with a smile, "the polite inquiry concerning the old gentleman."

"Ah! true; who can this Colonel be then, for young Jarvis is only a captain I know; who do you think he is, Jane?"

"How do you think I can tell you, John; but whoever he is, he owns the tilbury, although he did not drive it, and he is a gentleman both by birth and manners."

"Why, Jane, if you know so much, youmight know more, but it is all guess with you."

"No, it is not guess——I am sure of it."

The aunt and sisters, who had taken little interest in the dialogue, looked at her with some surprise, which John observing, he exclaimed, "Poh: she knows no more than we all know." "Indeed I do." "Poh, poh," continued her brother, "if you know, tell." "Why, the arms were different, then."

John laughed as he said, "that is a good reason, to be sure, for the tilbury being the colonel's property; but now for his blood; how did you discover that, sis, by his gait and movements?"

Jane coloured a little, and laugh'd faintly, as she said, "the arms on the tilbury had six quarterings." Emily now laughed, and Mrs. Wilson and Clara smiled, while John continued his teazing until they reached the rectory.

While chatting with the doctor and his wife, Francis returned from his morning ride, and told them the Jarvis family had arrived; he had witnessed an unpleasant accident to a gig, in which were Captain Jarvis, and a friend, Colonel Egerton; it had been awkwardly driven in turning in the deanery gate, and upset: the colonel received some injury to his ancle, nothing, however, serious he hoped, but such as to put him under the care of the young ladies probably for a few days. After the usual exclamations which followsuch details, Jane ventured to inquire of the young divine who Colonel Egerton was: "Why, I understood at the time from one of the servants, that he is a nephew of Sir Edgar Egerton, and a lieutenant-colonel on half-pay or furlough, or some such thing."

"How did he bear his misfortune, Mr. Francis?" inquired Mrs. Wilson.

"Certainly as a gentleman, madam, if not as a Christian," replied the young clergyman, smiling; "indeed, most men of gallantry would, I believe, rejoice in an accident which drew forth so much sympathy, as the Miss Jarvis's manifested."

"How fortunate you should all happen to be near," said Clara, compassionately.

"Are the young ladies pretty?" asked Jane, with something of hesitation in her manner.

"Why, I rather think they are; but I took very little notice of their appearance, as the colonel was really in evident pain."

"This, then," cried the doctor, "affords me an additional excuse for calling on them at an early day, so I'll e'en go to-morrow."

"I trust Doctor Ives wants no apologies for performing his duty," said Mrs. Wilson.

"He is fond of making them, though," said Mrs. Ives, speaking with a benevolent smile, and for the first time in the little conversation.

It was then arranged that the rector should make his official visit, as intended, by himself;and on his report, the ladies would act; and after remaining at the rectory an hour, they returned to the hall, attended by Francis.

The next day the doctor drove in, and informed them the Jarvis family were happily settled, and the colonel in no danger, excepting from the fascinations of the damsels, who took such evident care of him, that he wanted for nothing, and they might drive over whenever they pleased, without fear of intruding unseasonably.

Mr. Jarvis received his guests with the frankness of good feelings, if not with the polish of high life; while his wife, who seldom thought of the former, would have been mortally offended with the person who could have suggested that she omitted any of the elegancies of the latter. Her daughters were rather pretty, but wanted, both in appearance and manner, the inexpressible air of haut ton, which so eminently distinguished the easy but polished deportment of Colonel Egerton, who they found reclining on a sofa with his leg in a chair, amply secured in numerous bandages, but unable to rise; yet, notwithstanding the awkwardness of his situation, he was by far the least discomposed person of the party, and having pleasantly excused his dishabille to the ladies, appeared to think no more of his accident or its effects.

The captain, Mrs. Jarvis remarked, had gone out with his dogs to try the grounds around them, "for he seems to live only with his horses and his gun: young men, my lady, now-a-days, appear to forget that there are any things in the world but themselves; now I told Harry that your ladyship and daughters would favour us with a call this morning——but no: there he went as if Mr. Jarvis was unable to buy us a dinner, and we should all starve but for his quails and pheasants."

"Quails and pheasants," cried John, in consternation, "does Captain Jarvis shoot quails and pheasants at this time of the year?"

"Mrs. Jarvis, sir," said Colonel Egerton, with a correcting smile, "understands the allegiance due from us gentlemen to the ladies, better than the rules of sporting; my friend, the captain, has taken his fishing rod I believe, madam."

"It is all one, fish or birds," cried Mrs. Jarvis, "he is out of the way when he is wanted most, and I believe we can buy fish as easily as birds; I wish he would pattern after yourself, colonel, in these matters."

Colonel Egerton laughed pleasantly, but did not blush at this open compliment to his manners, and Miss Jarvis observed, with a look of something like admiration thrown on his reclining figure, "that when Harry had been in the army as long as his friend, he would know the usages of good society, she hoped, as well."

"Yes," said her mother, "the army is certainly the place to polish a young man;"and turning to Mrs. Wilson, "your husband, I believe, was in the army, ma'am?"

"I hope," said Emily hastily, "that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you soon, Miss Jarvis, at the Hall," and preventing the necessity of a reply from her aunt; the young lady promised to be early in her visit, and the subject changed to a general and uninteresting discourse on the neighbourhood, country, weather, and other ordinary topics.

"Now, John," cried Jane in triumph, as they drove from the door, "you must acknowledge my heraldic witchcraft, as you are pleased to call it, is right for once at least."

"Oh! no doubt, Jenny," said John, who was accustomed to use that appellation to her as a provocation, when he wished what he called an enlivening spirt; but Mrs. Wilson put a stop to it by a remark to his mother, and the habitual respect of both the combatants kept them silent.

Jane Moseley was endowed by nature with an excellent understanding, at least equal to that of her brother, but wanted the more essential requisites of a well governed mind. Masters had been provided by Sir Edward for all his daughters, and if they were not acquainted with the usual acquirements of young women in their rank in life, it was not his fault: his system of economy had not embraced a denial of opportunity to any of his children, and the baronet was apt to think all was done, when they were put where allmight be done. Feeling herself and parents entitled to enter into all the gayeties and splendour of some of the richer families in their vicinity, Jane, who had grown up during the temporary eclipse of Sir Edward's fortunes, had sought that self-consolation so common to people in her situation, which was to be found in reviewing the former grandeur of her house, and had thus contracted a degree of family pride. If Clara's weaknesses were less striking than those of Jane, it was because she had less imagination, and because that in loving Francis Ives she had so long admired a character, where so little was to be found that could be censured, that she might be said to have contracted a habit of judging correctly, without being able at all times to give a reason for her conduct or opinions.

CHAPTER III.

The day fixed for one of the stated visits of Mr. Benfield had now arrived, and John, with Emily, who was the old bachelor's favourite niece, went in the baronet's post chaise to the town of F——, a distance of twenty miles, to meet him, and convey him the remainder of his journey to the Hall, it being a settled rule with the old man, that his carriage horses should return to their own stables every night, where he conceited they could alone find that comfort and care, their age and services gave them a claim to. The day was uncommonly pleasant, and the young people in high spirits, with the expectation of meeting their respected relative, whose absence had been prolonged a few days by a severe fit of the gout.

"Now, Emily," cried John, as he fixed himself comfortably by the side of his sister in the chaise, "let me know honestly, how you like the Jarvis's and the handsome colonel."

"Then, John, honestly, I neither like nor dislike the Jarvis's or the handsome colonel, if you must know."

"Well, then, there is no great diversity in our sentiments, as Jane would say."

"John!"

"Emily!"

"I do not like to hear you speak so disrespectfully of our sister, and one I am sure you love as tenderly as myself."

"I acknowledge my error," said the brother, taking her hand affectionately, "and will endeavour to offend no more; but this Colonel Egerton, sister, he is certainly a gentleman, both by blood and in manners, as Jane"——Emily interrupted him with a laugh at his forgetfulness, which John took very good-naturedly, as he repeated his observation without alluding to their sister.

"Yes," said Emily, "he is genteel in his deportment, if that be what you mean; I know nothing of his family."

"Oh, I have taken a peep into Jane's Baronetage, and I find him set down there as Sir Edgar's heir."

"There is something about him," said Emily, musing, "that I do not much admire; he is too easy——there is no nature; I always feel afraid such people will laugh at me as soon as my back is turned, and for those very things they seem most to admire to my face. If I might be allowed to judge, I should say his manner wants one thing, without which no one can be truly agreeable."

"What's that?"

"Sincerity."

"Ah! that's my great recommendation," cried John, with a laugh; "but I am afraid I shall have to take the poacher up, with his quails and his pheasants indeed."

"You know the colonel explained that to be a mistake."

"What they call explaining away; but unluckily I saw the gentleman returning with his gun on his shoulder, and followed by a brace of pointers."

"There's a specimen of the colonel's manners then," said Emily, with a smile; "it will do until the truth be known."

"And Jane," cried her brother, "when she saw him also, praised his good nature and consideration, in what she was pleased to call, relieving the awkwardness of my remark."

Emily finding her brother disposed to dwell on the foibles of Jane, a thing at times he was rather addicted to, was silent; and they rode some distance before John, who was ever as ready to atone as he was to offend, again apologised, again promised reformation, and during the remainder of the ride, only forgot himself twice more in the same way.

They reached F——two hours before the lumbering coach of their uncle drove into the yard of the inn, and had sufficient time to refresh their own horses for the journey homeward.

Mr. Benfield was a bachelor of eighty, but retained the personal activity of a man of sixty. He was strongly attached to all the fashions and opinions of his youth, during which he had sat one term in parliament, andhad been a great beau and courtier in the commencement of the reign. A disappointment in an affair of the heart, had driven him into retirement, and for the last fifty years, he had dwelt exclusively at a seat he owned within forty miles of Moseley Hall, the mistress of which was the only child of his only brother. In his figure, he was tall and spare, very erect for his years, and he faithfully preserved in his attire, servants, carriages, and indeed every thing around him, as much of the fashions of his youth, as circumstances would admit of: such then was a faint outline of the character and appearance of the old man, who, dressed in a cocked hat, bag wig and sword, took the offered arm of John Moseley to alight from his coach.

"So," cried the old gentleman, having made good his footing on the ground, as he stopped short and stared John in the face, "you have made out to come twenty miles to meet an old cynic, have you, sir; but I thought I bid you bring Emmy with you."

John pointed to the window, where his sister stood anxiously watching her uncle's movements. On catching her eye, he smiled kindly, as he pursued his way into the house, talking to himself.

"Ay, there she is indeed; I remember now, when I was a youngster, of going with my kinsman, old Lord Gosford, to meet his sister, the Lady Juliana, when she first came from school, (this was the lady whose infidelityhad driven him from the world;) and a beauty she was indeed, something like Emmy there, only she was taller, and her eyes were black, and her hair too, that was black, and she was not so fair as Emmy, and she was fatter, and she stooped a little——very little; oh! they are wonderfully alike though; don't you think they were, nephew?" as he stopped at the door of the room; while John, who in this description could not see a resemblance, which existed no where but in the old man's affections, was fain to say, "yes; but they were related, you know, uncle, and that explains the likeness."

"True boy, true," said his uncle, pleased at a reason for a thing he wished, and which flattered his propensities; for he had once before told Emily she put him in mind of his housekeeper, a woman as old as himself, and without a tooth in her head.

On meeting his niece, Mr. Benfield, (who, like many others that feel strongly, wore in common the affectation of indifference and displeasure,) yielded to his fondness, and folding her in his arms, kissed her affectionately as a tear glistened in his eye; and then pushing her gently from him, he exclaimed, "come, come, Emmy, don't strangle me, don't strangle me, girl; let me live in peace the little while I have to remain here——so," seating himself composedly in an arm chair his niece had placed for him with a cushion, "so, Anne writes me, Sir William Harris has let the deanery." "O yes, uncle," cried John. "I'll thank you, young gentleman," said Mr. Benfield sternly, "not to interrupt me when I am speaking to a lady; that is, if you please, sir: then Sir William has let the deanery to a London merchant, a Mr. Jarvis; now, I knew three people of that name——one was a hackney coachman when I was a member of the parliament of this realm, and drove me often to the house; the other was valet-de-chambre to my Lord Gosford; and the third, I take it, is the very man who has become your neighbour. If it be the person I mean, Emmy dear, he is like——like——ay, very like old Peter, my steward." John, unable to contain his mirth at this discovery of a likeness between the prototype of Mr. Benfield himself in leanness of figure, and the jolly rotundity of the merchant, was obliged to leave the room; while Emily, smiling at the comparison, said, "you will meet him to-morrow, dear uncle, and then you will be able to judge for yourself."

"Yes, yes," muttered the old man to himself, "very like old Peter; as like as two peas;" and the parallel was by no means as ridiculous as might be supposed.

Mr. Benfield had placed twenty thousand pounds in the hands of a broker, with positive orders for him to pay it away immediately for government stock, bought by the former on his account; but disregarding this injunction, the broker had managed the transactionin such a way, as to postpone the payment, until, on his failure, he had given up that and a much larger sum to Mr. Jarvis, to satisfy what he called an honorary debt, a short time before his stoppage. It was in elucidating the transaction Mr. Jarvis had paid Benfield Lodge a visit, and restored the bachelor his property. This act, and the high opinion he entertained of Mrs. Wilson, with his unbounded love for Emily, were the few things which prevented his believing some dreadful judgment was about to visit this world, for its increasing wickedness and follies.

The horses being ready, the old bachelor was placed carefully between his nephew and niece, and in that manner they rode on quietly to the Hall, the dread of accident keeping Mr. Benfield silent the most of the way. On passing, however, a stately castle, about ten miles from the termination of their ride, he began one of his speeches with, "Emmy dear, does my Lord Bolton come often to see you?" "Very seldom, sir; his employment keeps him much of his time at St. James's, and then he has an estate in Ireland." "I knew his father well——he was distantly connected by marriage with my friend Lord Gosford; you could not remember him, I expect:" (John rolled his eyes at this suggestion of his sister's recollection of a man who had been forty years dead, as his uncle continued;) "he always voted with mein the parliament of this realm; he was a thorough honest man; very much such a man to look at, as Peter Johnson, my steward: but I am told his son likes the good things of the ministry——well, well——William Pitt was the only minister to my mind. There was the Scotchman they made a Marquis of, I never could endure him——always voted against him"——"right or wrong, uncle," cried John, who loved a little mischief in his heart.

"No, sir——right, but never wrong. Lord Gosford always voted against him too; and do you think, jackanapes, that my friend the Earl of Gosford and——and——myself were ever wrong? No, sir, men in my day were different creatures from what they are now: we were never wrong, sir; we loved our country, and had no motive for being in the wrong."

"How was it with Lord Bute, uncle?"

"Lord Bute, sir," cried the old man with great warmth, "was the minister, sir——he was the minister; ay, he was the minister, sir, and was paid for what he did."

"But Lord Chatham, was he not the minister too?"

Now, nothing vexed the old gentleman more, than to hear William Pitt called by his tardy honours; and yet, unwilling to give up what he thought his political opinions, he exclaimed, with an unanswerable positiveness of argument, "Billy Pitt, sir, was the minister, sir; but——but——but——he was our minister, sir."

Emily, unable to see her uncle agitated by such useless disputes, threw a reproachful glance on her brother, as she observed timidly, "that was a glorious administration, sir, I believe."

"Glorious indeed! Emmy dear," said the bachelor, softening with the sound of her voice and the recollections of his younger days, "we beat the French every where——in America——in Germany;——we took——(counting on his fingers)——we took Quebec——yes, Lord Gosford lost a cousin there; and we took all the Canadas; and we took their fleets: there was a young man killed in the battle between Hawke and Conflans, who was much attached to Lady Juliana——poor soul! how she regretted him when dead, though she never could abide him when living——ah! she was a tender-hearted creature!" For Mr. Benfield, like many others, continued to love imaginary qualities in his mistress, long after her heartless coquetry had disgusted him with her person: a kind of feeling which springs from self-love, that finds it necessary to seek consolation in creating beauties, that may justify our follies to ourselves; and which often keeps alive the semblance of the passion, when even hope or real admiration is extinct.

On reaching the Hall, every one was rejoiced to see their really affectionate and worthy relative, and the evening passed in the tranquil enjoyment of the blessings which Providence had profusely scattered around the family of the baronet, but which are too often hazarded by a neglect of duty, that springs from too great security, or an indolence which renders us averse to the precaution necessary to insure their continuance.

CHAPTER IV.

"You are welcome, Sir Edward," said the venerable rector, as he took the baronet by the hand; "I was fearful a return of your rheumatism would deprive us of this pleasure, and prevent my making you acquainted with the new occupants of the deanery; who have consented to dine with us to-day, and to whom I have promised in particular, an introduction to Sir Edward Moseley."

"I thank you, my dear doctor," rejoined the baronet, "I have not only come myself, but have persuaded Mr. Benfield to make one of the party; there he comes, leaning on Emily's arm, and finding fault with Mrs. Wilson's new fashioned barouche, which he says has given him cold."

The rector received the unexpected guest with the kindness of his nature, and an inward smile at the incongruous assemblage he was likely to have around him by the arrival of the Jarvis's, who, at that moment, drove to his door. The introductions between the baronet and the new comers had passed, and Miss Jarvis had made a prettily worded apology on behalf of the colonel, who was not yet well enough to come out, but whose politeness had insisted on their not remaining at home on his account; as Mr. Benfield, having composedly put on his spectacles,walked deliberately up to where the merchant had seated himself, and having examined him through his glasses to his satisfaction, took them off, and carefully wiping them, began to talk to himself as he put them into his pocket——"No, no; it's not Jack, the hackney coachman, nor my Lord Gosford's gentleman, but"——cordially holding out both hands, "it's the man who saved my twenty thousand pounds."

Mr. Jarvis, who a kind of shame had kept silent during this examination, exchanged his greetings sincerely with his old acquaintance, who now took a seat in silence by his side; while his wife, whose face had begun to kindle with indignation at the commencement of the old gentleman's soliloquy, observing that somehow or other it had not only terminated without degradation to her spouse, but with something like credit, turned complacently to Mrs. Ives, with an apology for the absence of her son. "I cannot divine, ma'am where he has got to; he is ever keeping us waiting for him;" and addressing Jane, "these military men become so unsettled in their habits, that I often tell Harry he should never quit the camp."

"In Hyde Park, you should add, my dear, for he has never been in any other," bluntly observed her husband. To this speech no reply was made, but it was evidently not relished by the ladies of the family, who were not a little jealous of the laurels of the onlyhero their race had ever produced. The arrival and introduction of the captain himself, changed the discourse, which turned on the comforts of their present residence.

"Pray, my lady," cried the captain, who had taken a chair familiarly by the side of the baronet's wife, "why is the house called the deanery? I am afraid I shall be taken for a son of the church, when I invite my friends to visit my father at the deanery."

"And you may add, at the same time, sir, if you please," dryly remarked Mr. Jarvis, "that it is occupied by an old man, who has been preaching and lecturing all his life; and like others of the trade, I believe, in vain."

"You must except our good friend, the doctor here, at least, sir," said Mrs. Wilson; and then observing her sister to shrink from a familiarity she was unused to, she replied to the captain's question: "The father of the present Sir William Harris held that station in the church, and although the house was his private property, it took its name from that circumstance, which has been continued ever since."

"Is it not a droll life Sir William leads," cried Miss Jarvis, looking at John Moseley, "riding about all summer, from one watering place to another, and letting his house year after year in the manner he does?"

"Sir William," said Dr. Ives gravely, "is devoted to his daughter's wishes, and since his accession to his title, has come into possessionof another residence, in an adjoining county, which, I believe, he retains in his own hands."

"Are you acquainted with Miss Harris?" continued the lady, addressing herself to Clara; and without waiting for an answer, added, "She is a great belle——all the gentlemen are dying for her."

"Or her fortune," said her sister, with a contemptuous toss of the head; "for my part, I never could see any thing so captivating in her, although so much is said about her at Bath and Brighton."

"You know her then," mildly observed Clara.

"Why, I cannot say——we are exactly acquainted," hesitatingly answered the young lady, and colouring violently as she spoke.

"What do you mean, by exactly acquainted, Sally?" cried her father with a laugh; "did you ever speak to, or were you ever in a room with her in your life, unless it might be at a concert or a ball?"

The mortification of Miss Sarah was too evident for concealment, and was happily relieved by a summons to dinner.

"Never, my dear child," said Mrs. Wilson to Emily, the aunt being fond of introducing a moral, from the occasional incidents of every-day life, "never subject yourself to a similar mortification, by commenting on the character of those you don't know: your ignorance makes you liable togreat errors; and if they should happen to be above you in life, it will only excite their contempt, should it reach their ears; while those to whom your remarks are made, will think it envy."

"Truth is sometimes blundered on," cried John, who held his sister's arm, waiting for his aunt to precede them to the dining room.

The merchant paid too great a compliment to the rector's dinner to think of renewing the disagreeable conversation, and as John Moseley and the young clergyman were seated next the two ladies, they soon forgot what, among themselves, they would call their father's rudeness, in receiving the attentions of a couple of remarkably agreeable young men.

"Pray, Mr. Francis, when do you preach for us?" asked Mr. Haughton; "I'm very anxious to hear you hold forth from the pulpit, where I have so often heard your father with pleasure: I doubt not you will prove orthodox, or you will be the only man, I believe, in the congregation, the rector has left in ignorance, of the theory of our religion, at least."

The doctor bowed to the compliment, as he replied to the question for his son; that on the next Sunday, they were to have the pleasure of hearing Frank, who had promised to assist him on that day.

"Any prospects of a living soon?" continued Mr. Haughton, helping himself bountifully to a piece of plumb pudding as he spoke.John Moseley laughed aloud, and Clara blushed to the eyes, while the doctor, turning to Sir Edward, observed with an air of interest, "Sir Edward, the living of Bolton is vacant, and I should like exceedingly to obtain it for my son. The advowson belongs to the Earl, who will dispose of it only to great interest, I am afraid."

Clara was certainly too busily occupied in picking raisins from her pudding, to hear this remark, but accidentally stole, from under her long eye-lashes, a timid glance at her father, as he replied:

"I am sorry, my friend, I have not sufficient interest with his lordship to apply on my own account; but he is so seldom here, we are barely acquainted;" and the good baronet looked really concerned.

"Clara," said Francis Ives in a low and affectionate tone, "have you read the books I sent you?" Clara answered him with a smile in the negative, but promised amendment as soon as she had leisure.

"Do you ride much on horseback, Mr. Moseley?" abruptly asked Miss Sarah, turning her back on the young divine, and facing the gentleman she addressed. John, who was now hemmed in between the sisters, replied with a rueful expression, that brought a smile into the face of Emily, who was placed opposite to him——

"Yes, ma'am, and sometimes I am ridden."

"Ridden, sir, what do you mean by that?"

"Oh! only my aunt there (he whispered) gives me a lecture now and then."

"Oh ho!" said the lady in the same tone, with a knowing leer, and pointing slily with her finger at her own father.

"Does it feel good?" said John in the same manner, and with a look of great sympathy: but the lady, who now felt awkwardly, without knowing exactly why, shook her head in silence as she forced a faint laugh.

"Who have we here?" cried Captain Jarvis, as he looked through a window which commanded a view of the approach to the house——"the apothecary and his attendant, judging from their equipage."

The rector threw an inquiring look on a servant, who told his master they were strangers to him.

"Have them shown up, doctor," cried the benevolent baronet, who loved to see every one as happy as himself, "and give them some of your excellent pasty, for the credit of your cook, I beg of you;" and as this request was politely seconded by others of the party, the rector bid them show the strangers in.

On opening the parlour door, a gentleman, apparently sixty years of age, appeared, leaning on the arm of a youth of five-and-twenty. There was sufficient resemblance between the two, for the most indifferent observer to pronounce them father and son; but the helpless debility and emaciated figure of the former, was finely contrasted by the vigoroushealth and manly beauty of the latter, who supported his venerable parent into the room, with a grace and tenderness, that struck most of the beholders with an indescribable sensation of pleasure. The doctor and Mrs. Ives rose from their seats involuntarily, and stood each for a moment as if lost in an astonishment that was mingled with grief. Recollecting himself, the rector grasped the extended hand of the senior in both his own, and endeavoured to utter something, but in vain; the tears followed each other down his cheeks, as he looked on the faded and careworn figure which stood before him; while his wife, unable to control her feelings, sunk back into a chair and wept aloud.

Throwing open the door of an adjoining room, and retaining the hand of the invalid, the doctor gently led the way, followed by his wife and son; the former having recovered from the first burst of her sorrow, and who now, regardless of every thing else, anxiously watched the enfeebled step of the stranger. On reaching the door, they both turned and bowed to the company in a manner of much dignity, mingled with sweetness, that all, not excepting Mr. Benfield, rose from their seats to return the salutation. On passing from the dining parlour, the door was closed, leaving the company standing round the table, in mute astonishment and commiseration, at the scene they had just witnessed. Not a word had been spoken, andthe rector's family had left them without apology or explanation. Francis, however, soon returned, and was followed in a few minutes by his mother, who, slightly apologising for her absence, turned the discourse on the approaching Sunday, and the intention of Francis to preach on that day. The Moseleys were too well bred to make any inquiries, and the Deanery family appeared afraid. Sir Edward retired at a very early hour, and was followed by the remainder of the party.

"Well," cried Mrs. Jarvis, as they drove from the door, "this may be good breeding, but for my part, I think both the doctor and Mrs. Ives behaved very rude, with their crying and sobbing."

"They are nobody of much consequence," cried her eldest daughter, casting a contemptuous glance on a plain travelling chaise which stood before the rector's stables.

"'T was sickening," said Miss Sarah, with a shrug; while her father, turning his eyes on each speaker in succession, very deliberately helped himself to a pinch of snuff, his ordinary recourse against a family quarrel. The curiosity of the ladies was, however, more lively than they chose to avow; and Mrs. Jarvis bade her maid go over to the Rectory that evening, with her compliments to Mrs. Ives; she had lost a lace veil, which her maid knew, and thought she might have left it at the Rectory.

"And Jones, when you are there, you can inquire of the servants; mind, of the servants ——I would not distress Mrs. Ives for the world; how Mr.——Mr.——what's his name—— Lud——I have forgotten his name; just bring me his name too, Jones; and it may make some difference in our party, so just find out how long they stay; and——and——any other little thing Jones, which can be of use, you know." Off went Jones, and within an hour returned again. With an important look, she commenced her narrative, the daughters being accidentally present.

"Why ma'am, I went across the fields, and William was good enough to go with me; so when we got there, I rung, and they showed us into the servants' room, and I gave my message, and the veil was not there. Lord, ma'am, there's the veil now, on the back o' that chair."——"Very well, very well, Jones, never mind the veil," cried her impatient mistress.

"So, madam, while they were looking for the veil. I just asked one of the maids, what company had arrived, but"——(here Jones looked very suspiciously, and shook her head significantly:) "would you think it, ma'am, not a soul of them knew. But, ma'am, there was the doctor and his son, praying and reading with the old gentleman the whole time—— and"——

"And what, Jones?"

"Why, ma'am, I expect he has been a greatsinner, or he would'nt want so much praying just as he is about to die."

"Die!" cried all three at once, "will he die?"

"O yes," continued Jones, "they all agree he must die; but this praying so much, is just like the criminals; I'm sure no honest person needs so much praying ma'am."

"No, indeed," said the mother: "no, indeed," responded the daughters, as they retired to their several rooms for the night.

CHAPTER V.

There is something in the season of Spring which peculiarly excites the feelings of devotion. The dreariness of winter has passed, and with it, the deadened affections of our nature. New life, new vigour, arises within us, as we walk abroad and feel the genial gales of April breathe upon us; and our hopes——our wishes, awaken with the revival of the vegetable world. It is then that the heart, which has been impressed with the goodness of the Creator, feels that goodness brought, as it were, in very contact with our senses. The eye loves to wander over the bountiful provisions nature is throwing forth in every direction for our comfort; and fixing its gaze on the clouds, which having lost the chilling thinness of winter, roll in rich volumes, amidst the clear and softened fields of azure so peculiar to the season, and leads the mind insensibly to dwell on the things of another and a better world. It was on such a day, the inhabitants of B—— thronged toward the village church, for the double purpose of pouring out their thanksgivings, and of hearing the first efforts of their rector's child, in the duties of his sacred calling.

Amongst the crowd, whom curiosity or a better feeling had drawn forth, were to be seen the modern equipages of the Jarvises,and the handsome carriages of Sir Edward Moseley and his sister. All the members of this latter family felt a lively anxiety for the success of the young divine. But knowing, as they well did, the strength of his native talents, the excellency of his education, and the fervour of his piety, it was an anxiety that partook more of hope than of fear. There was one heart, however, amongst them, that palpitated with an emotion that hardly admitted of control, as they approached the sacred edifice, and which had identified itself with the welfare of the rector's son. There never was a softer, truer heart, than that which now almost audibly beat within the bosom of Clara Moseley; and she had given it to the young divine with all its purity and truth.

The entrance of a congregation into the sanctuary will at all times furnish, to an attentive observer, food for much useful speculation, if it he chastened with a proper charity for the weaknesses of others; and most people are ignorant of the insight they are giving into their characters and dispositions, by such an apparently trivial circumstance as their weekly approach to the tabernacles of the Lord. Christianity, while it chasteneth and amends the heart, leaves the natural powers unaltered; and it cannot be doubted, that its operation is, or ought to be, proportionate to the abilities and opportunities of the subject of its holy impression——"untowhomsoever much is given, much will be required." And at the same time we acknowledge, that the thoughts might be better employed in preparing for those humiliations of the spirit and thanksgiving of the heart, which are required of all, and are so necessary to all; we must be indulged in a hasty view of some of the personages of our history, as they entered the church of B——. On the countenance of the baronet, was the dignity and composure of a mind at peace with itself and mankind. His step was rather more deliberate than common; his eye rested on the pavement, and on turning into his pew, as he prepared to kneel, in the first humble petition of our beautiful service, he raised it towards the altar, with an expression of benevolence and reverence, that spoke contentment, not unmixed with faith.

In the demeanour of Lady Moseley, all was graceful and decent, although nothing could be said to be studied. She followed her husband with a step of equal deliberation, that was slightly varied by an observance of a manner which appeared natural to herself, but might have been artificial to another: her cambric handkerchief concealed her face as she sunk composedly by the side of Sir Edward, in a style which showed, that while she remembered her Maker, she had not entirely forgotten herself.

The walk of Mrs. Wilson was quicker than that of her sister. Her eye directedbefore her, fixed, as if in settled gaze, on that eternity to which she was approaching. The lines of her contemplative face were unaltered, unless there might be traced a deeper shade of humility than was ordinarily seen on her pale, but expressive countenance: her petition was long; and on rising from her humble posture, the person was indeed to be seen, but the soul appeared absorbed in contemplations far beyond the limits of this sphere.

There was a restlessness and varying of colour, in the ordinarily placid Clara, which prevented a display of her usual manner; while Jane walked gracefully, and with a tincture of her mother's form, by her side. She stole one hastily withdrawn glance to the deanery pew ere she kneeled, and then, on rising, handed her smelling bottle affectionately to her elder sister.

Emily glided behind her companions with a face beaming with a look of innocence and love. As she sunk in the act of supplication, the rich glow of her healthful cheek lost some of its brilliancy; but, on rising, it beamed with a renewed lustre, that plainly indicated a heart sensibly touched with the sanctity of its situation.

In the composed and sedate manner of Mr. Jarvis, as he steadily pursued his way to the pew of Sir William Harris, you might have been justified in expecting the entrance of another Sir Edward Moseley in substance, ifnot in externals; but his deliberate separation of the flaps of his coat, as he comfortably seated himself, when you thought him about to kneel, and followed by a pinch of snuff, as he threw his eye around in examination of the building, led you at once to conjecture, that what at first you had mistaken for reverence, was the abstraction of some earthly calculation; and that his attendance was in compliance with custom, and not a little depended upon the thickness of his cushions, and the room he found for the disposition of his unwieldy legs.

The ladies of the family followed, in garments carefully selected for the advantageous display of their persons. As they sailed into their seats, where it would seem the improvidence of Sir William's steward had neglected some important accommodation, (for some time was spent in preparation to be seated,) the old lady, whose size and flesh really put kneeling out of the question, bent forward for a moment at an angle of eighty with the horizon, while her daughters prettily bowed their heads, with all proper precaution for the safety of their superb millinery.

At length the rector, accompanied by his son, appeared from the vestry. There was a dignity and solemnity in the manner in which this pious divine entered on the duties of his profession, which struck forcibly on the imaginations of those who witnessed it, and disposed the heart to listen, with reverenceand humility, to precepts that flowed from so impressive an exterior. The stillness of expectation pervaded the church; when the pew opener led the way to the same interesting father and son, whose entrance had interrupted the guests the preceding day at the rectory. Every eye was turned on the emaciated parent, bending into the grave, and, as it were, kept from it by the supporting tenderness of his child. Hastily throwing open the door of her pew, Mrs. Ives buried her face in her handkerchief; and her husband had proceeded far in the morning service, before she raised it again to the view of the congregation. In the voice of the rector, there was an unusual softness and tremor, that his people attributed to the feelings of a father, about to witness the first efforts of an only child in his arduous duties, but which in reality were owing to another and a deeper cause.

Prayers were ended, and the younger Ives ascended the pulpit; for a moment he paused ——and casting one anxious glance to the pew of the baronet, he commenced his sermon. He had chosen for his discourse the necessity of placing our dependence on divine grace for happiness here or hereafter. After having learnedly, but in the most unaffected manner, displayed the necessity of this dependence, as affording security against the evils of this life, he proceeded to paint the hope, the resignation, the felicity of a christian's death-bed.Warmed by the subject, his animation had given a heightened interest to his language; and at a moment, when all around him were entranced by the eloquence of the youthful divine, a sudden and deep-drawn sigh drew every eye to the rector's pew. The younger stranger sat motionless as a statue, holding in his arms the lifeless body of his parent, who had fallen that moment a corpse by his side. All was now confusion: the almost insensible young man was relieved from his burthen; and, led by the rector, they left the church. The congregation dispersed in silence, or assembled in little groups, to converse on the awful event they had witnessed. None knew the deceased; he was the rector's friend, and to his residence the body had been removed. The young man was evidently his child; but here all information ended. They had arrived in a private chaise, but with post horses, and without attendants. Their arrival at the parsonage was detailed, with a few exaggerations, by the Jarvis ladies, that gave additional interest to the whole event; and which, by creating an impression with those, gentler feelings would not have restrained, there was something of mystery about them; prevented many distressing questions to the Ives', that the baronet's family forbore putting on the score of delicacy. The body left B—— at the close of the week, accompanied by Francis Ives and the unwearied attentions of the interesting son. The doctor andhis wife went into deep mourning, and Clara received a short note from her lover, on the morning of their departure, acquainting her with his intended absence for a month, but throwing no light upon the affair. The London papers, however, contained the following obituary notice, and which, as it could refer to no other, was universally supposed to allude to the rector's friend.

"Died, suddenly, at B——, on the 20th instant, George Denbigh, Esq. aged 63."

CHAPTER VI.

During the week, the intercourse between Moseley-Hall and the Rectory had been confined to messages and notes of inquiry after each other's welfare; but the visit of the Moseleys to the Deanery had been returned; and the day after the appearance of the obituary paragraph, they dined by invitation at the Hall. Colonel Egerton had recovered the use of his leg, and was included in the party. Between this gentleman and Mr. Benfield, there appeared from the first moment of their introduction, a repugnance, which was rather increased by time, and which the old gentleman manifested by a demeanour, loaded with the overstrained ceremony of his day; and in the colonel, only showed itself by avoiding, when possible, all intercourse with the object of his aversion. Both Sir Edward and Lady Moseley, on the contrary, were not slow in manifesting their favourable impressions in behalf of this gentleman; the latter, in particular, having ascertained to her satisfaction, that he was the undoubted heir to the title, and most probably to the estates of his uncle, Sir Edgar Egerton, felt herself strongly disposed to encourage an acquaintance she found so agreeable, and to which she could see no reasonable objection. Captain Jarvis, whowas extremely offensive to her, from his vulgar familiarity, she barely tolerated on account of the necessity of being civil, and keeping up sociability in the neighbourhood. It is true, she could not help being surprised, that a gentleman, as polished as the colonel, could find any pleasure in an associate like his friend, or even in the hardly more softened females of his family; then again, the flattering suggestion would present itself, that possibly he might have seen Emily at Bath, or Jane elsewhere, and have availed himself of the acquaintance of young Jarvis to place himself in their neighbourhood. Lady Moseley had never been vain, or much interested about the disposal of her own person, previously to her attachment to her husband; but her daughters called forth not a little of her natural pride——we had almost said selfishness.

The attentions of the colonel were of the most polished and insinuating kind; and Mrs. Wilson several times turned away in displeasure at herself, for listening with too much satisfaction to nothings, uttered in an agreeable manner, or what was worse, false sentiments supported with the gloss of language and fascinating deportment. The anxiety of this lady on behalf of Emily, kept her ever on the alert, when chance, or any chain of circumstances, threw her in the way of forming new connexions of any kind; and of late, as her charge approached theperiod of life, her sex were apt to make that choice from which there is no retreat, her solicitude to examine the characters of the men who approached her, was really painful. In Lady Moseley, her wishes disposed her to be easily satisfied, and her mind naturally shrunk from an investigation she felt herself unequal to; while in Mrs. Wilson, it was the conviction of a sound discretion, matured by long and deep reasoning, acting upon a temper at all times ardent, and a watchfulness eminently calculated to endure to the end.

"Pray, my lady," cried Mrs. Jarvis, with a look of something like importance, "have you made any discovery about this Mr. Denbigh, who died in the church lately?"

"I did not know, madam," replied Lady Moseley, "there was any discovery to be made."

"You know, Lady Moseley," said Colonel Egerton, "that in town, all the little accompaniments of such a melancholy death, would have found their way into the prints; and I suppose it is to that Mrs. Jarvis alludes."

"O yes," cried Mrs. Jarvis, "the colonel is right;" and the colonel was always right with that lady. Lady Moseley bowed her head with dignity, and the colonel had too much tact to pursue the conversation; but the captain, whom nothing had ever yet abashed, exclaimed, "these Denbigh's couldnot be people of much importance——I have never heard the name before."

"It is the family name of the Duke of Derwent, I believe," dryly remarked Sir Edward.

"Oh, I am sure neither the old man or his son looked much like a duke, or so much as an officer either," cried Mrs. Jarvis, who thought the last the next dignity in degree below nobility.

"There sat, in the parliament of this realm, when I was a member, a General Denbigh," said Mr. Benfield with great deliberation; "he was always on the same side with Lord Gosford and myself. He and his friend, Sir Peter Howell, who was the admiral that took the French squadron, in the glorious administration of Billy Pitt, and afterwards took an island with this same General Denbigh: ay, the old admiral was a hearty old blade, a good deal such a looking man as my Hector would make." Hector was his bull dog.

"Mercy," whispered John to Clara, "that's your grandfather that is to be, uncle Benfield speaks of."

Clara smiled, as she ventured to say, "Sir Peter was Mrs. Ives' father, sir."

"Indeed!" said the old gentleman with a look of surprise, "I never knew that before; I cannot say they resemble each other much."

"Pray, uncle, does Frank look much like the family?" cried John, with an air of unconquerable gravity.

"But, sir," said Emily with quickness, "were General Denbigh and Admiral Howell related?"

"Not that I ever knew, Emmy dear," he replied. "Sir Frederic Denbigh did not look much like the admiral; he rather resembled (gathering himself up into an air of stiff formality, and bowing to Colonel Egerton) this gentleman here."

"I have not the honour of the connexion," observed the colonel, as he withdrew behind the chair of Jane.

Mrs. Wilson changed the conversation to a more general one; but the little that had fallen from Mr. Benfield gave reason for believing a connexion, in some way they were ignorant of, existed between the descendants of the veterans, and which explained the interest they felt in each other.

During dinner, Colonel Egerton placed himself next to Emily; and Miss Jarvis took the chair on his other side. He spoke of the gay world, of watering places, novels, plays—— and still finding his companion reserved, and either unwilling or unable to talk freely, he tried his favourite sentiments; he had read poetry, and a remark of his had lighted up a spark of intelligence in the beautiful face of his companion, that for a moment deceived him; but as he went on, to point out his favourite beauties, it gave place to that settledcomposure, which at last led him to imagine, the casket contained no gem equal to the promise of its brilliant exterior. After resting from one of his most laboured displays of feeling and imagery, he accidentally caught the eyes of Jane fastened on him, with an expression of no dubious import, and the soldier changed his battery. In Jane, he found a more willing auditor; poetry was the food she lived upon, and in works of the imagination, she found her greatest delight. An animated discussion of the merits of their favourite authors now took place; to renew which, the colonel early left the dining room for the society of the ladies; John, who disliked drinking excessively, was happy of an excuse to attend him.

The younger ladies had clustered together round a window; and even Emily in her heart rejoiced that the gentlemen had come to relieve herself and sisters from the arduous task of entertaining women, who appeared not to possess a single taste or opinion in common with themselves.

"You were saying, Miss Moseley," cried the colonel in his most agreeable manner, as he approached them, "you thought Campbell the most musical poet we have; I hope you will unite with me in excepting Moore."

Jane coloured, as with some awkwardness she replied, "Moore was certainly very poetical."

"Has Moore written much?" innocently asked Emily.

"Not half as much as he ought," cried Miss Jarvis. "Oh! I could live on his beautiful lines." Jane turned away in disgust; and that evening, while alone with Clara, she took a volume of Moore's songs, and very coolly consigned them to the flames. Her sister naturally asked an explanation of such vengeance.

"Oh!" cried Jane, "I can't abide the book, since that vulgar Miss Jarvis speaks of it with so much interest. I really believe aunt Wilson is right, in not suffering Emily to read such things;" and Jane, who had often devoured the treacherous lines with ardour, shrunk with fastidious delicacy from the indulgence of a perverted taste, when exposed to her view, coupled with the vulgarity of unblushing audacity.

Colonel Egerton immediately changed the subject to one less objectionable, and spoke of a campaign he had made in Spain. He possessed the happy faculty of giving an interest to all he advanced, whether true or not; and as he never contradicted or even opposed, unless to yield gracefully when a lady was his opponent, his conversation insensibly attracted, by putting others in good humour with themselves. Such a man, aided by the powerful assistants of person and manners, and no inconsiderable colloquial talents, Mrs. Wilson knew to be extremelydangerous as a companion to a youthful female heart; and as his visit was to extend to a couple of months, she resolved to reconnoitre the state of her pupil's opinion in relation to their military beaux. She had taken too much pains in forming the mind of Emily, to apprehend she would fall a victim to the eye; but she also knew, that personal grace sweetened a, benevolent expression, or added force even to the oracles of wisdom. She laboured a little herself, under the disadvantage of what John called a didactic manner; and which, although she had not the ability, or rather taste, to amend, she had yet the sense to discern. It was the great error of Mrs. Wilson, to attempt to convince, where she might have influenced; but her ardour of temperament, and great love of truth, kept her, as it were, tilting with the vices of mankind, and consequently sometimes in unprofitable combat. With her charge, however, this could never be said to be the case. Emily knew her heart, felt her love, and revered her principles too deeply, to throw away an admonition, or disregard a precept, that fell from lips she knew never spoke idly, or without consideration.

John had felt tempted to push the conversation with Miss Jarvis, and he was about to utter something rapturous respecting the melodious poison of Little's poems, as the blue eye of Emily rested on him in the fulnessof sisterly affection, and checking his love of the ridiculous, he quietly yielded to his respect for the innocence of his sisters; and as if eager to draw the attention of all from the hateful subject, put question after question to Egerton concerning the Spaniards and their customs.

"Did you ever meet Lord Pendennyss in Spain, Colonel Egerton?" inquired Mrs. Wilson with interest.

"Never, madam," replied he. "I have much reason to regret, that our service laid in different parts of the country; his lordship was much with the duke, and I made the campaign under Marshal Beresford."

Emily left the group at the window, and taking a seat on the sofa, by the side of her aunt, insensibly led her to forget the gloomy thoughts which had began to steal over her; as the colonel, approaching where they sat, continued by asking——

"Are you acquainted with the earl, madam?"

"Not in person, but by character," said Mrs. Wilson, in a melancholy manner.

"His character as a soldier was very high. He had no superior of his years in Spain, I am told."

No reply was made to this remark, and Emily endeavoured anxiously to draw the mind of her aunt to reflections of a more agreeable nature. The colonel, whose vigilanceto please was ever on the alert, kindly aided her, and they soon succeeded.

The merchant withdrew with his family and guest in proper season; and Mrs. Wilson, heedful of her duty, took the opportunity of a quarter of an hour's privacy in her own dressing room in the evening, to touch gently on the subject of the gentlemen they had seen that day.

"How are you pleased, Emily, with your new acquaintances?" commenced Mrs. Wilson, with a smile.

"Oh! aunt, don't ask me," said her niece, laughingly, "as John says, they are new indeed."

"I am not sorry," continued the aunt, "to have you observe more closely than you have been used to, the manner of such women as the Jarvis's; they are too abrupt and unpleasant to create a dread of any imitation; but the gentlemen are heroes in very different style."

"Different from each other, indeed," cried Emily.

"Which do you give the preference to, my dear?"

"Preference, aunt!" said her niece, with a look of astonishment; "preference is a strong word for either; but I rather think the captain the most eligible companion of the two. I do believe you see the worst of him; and although I acknowledge it to be bad enough, he might amend; but the colonel"——

"Go on," said Mrs. Wilson.

"Why, every thing about the colonel seems so seated, so ingrafted in his nature, so ——so very self-satisfied, that I am afraid it would be a difficult task to take the first step in amendment——to convince him of his being in the wrong."

"And is he in the wrong?"

Emily looked up from arranging some laces, with an expression of surprise, as she replied, "did you not hear him talk of those poems, and attempt to point out the beauties of several works? I thought every thing he uttered was referred to taste, and that not a very natural one; at least," she added with a laugh, "it differed greatly from mine. He seemed to forget there was such a thing as principle: and then he spoke of some woman to Jane, who left her father for her lover, with so much admiration of her feelings, to take up with poverty and love, in place of condemning her want of filial piety; I am sure, aunt, if you had heard that, you would not admire him so much."

"I do not admire him, child; I only want to know your sentiments, and I am happy to find them so correct. It is as you think; Colonel Egerton appears to refer nothing to principle: even the generous feelings of our nature, I am afraid, are corrupted in him, from too much intercourse with the surface of society. There is by far too much pliability about him for principle of any kind, unless indeed it be a principle to please, nomatter how. No one, who has deeply seated opinions of right and wrong, will ever abandon them, even in the courtesies of polite intercourse; they may be silent, but never acquiescent; in short, my dear, the dread of offending our Maker, ought to be so superior to that of offending our fellow creatures, that we should endeavour, I believe, to be more unbending to the follies of the world than we are."

"And yet the colonel is what they call a good companion——I mean a pleasant one."

"In the ordinary meaning of the words, he is certainly, my dear; yet you soon tire of sentiments which will not stand the test of examination, and of a manner you cannot but see is artificial. He may do very well for a companion, but very ill for a friend; in short, Colonel Egerton has neither been satisfied to yield to his natural impressions, or to obtain new ones from a proper source; he has copied from bad models, and his work must necessarily be imperfect"——and kissing her niece, she retired into her own room, with the happy assurance, that she had not laboured in vain; but that, with divine aid, she had implanted a guide in the bosom of her charge, that could not fail, with ordinary care, to lead her strait through the devious paths of female duties.

CHAPTER VII.

A month now passed in the ordinary avocations and amusements of a country life, and during which, both Lady Moseley and Jane manifested a desire to keep up the Deanery acquaintance, that surprised Emily a little, who had ever seen her mother shrink from communications with those whose breeding subjected her own delicacy, to the little shocks she could but ill conceal. And in Jane it was yet more inexplicable; for Jane had, in a decided way very common to her, avowed her disgust of the manners of these new associates on their first acquaintance; and yet Jane would now even quit her own society for that of Miss Jarvis, especially——if Colonel Egerton were of the party. The innocence of Emily prevented her scanning the motives which could induce such a change in the conduct of her sister; and she set seriously about an examination into her own deportment to find the latent cause, and wherever opportunity offered, to evince the tenderness of her own affections.

For a short time, the colonel had seemed at a loss where to make his choice; but a few days determined him, and Jane was now evidently the favourite. It is true, that in the presence of the Jarvis ladies, he was more guarded and general in his attentions; butas John, from a motive of charity, had taken the direction of the captain's sports into his own hands; and as they were in the frequent habit of meeting at the Hall, preparatory to their morning excursions, the colonel suddenly became a sportsman. The ladies would often accompany them in their morning rides; and as John would certainly be a baronet, and the colonel might not if his uncle married, he had the comfort of being sometimes ridden, as well as of riding.

One morning, having all prepared for an excursion on horseback, as they stood at the door ready to mount, Francis Ives drove up in his father's gig, and for a moment arrested their progress. Francis was a favourite with the whole Moseley family, and their greetings were warm and sincere. He found they meant to take the Rectory in their ride, and insisted that they should proceed. "Clara would take a seat with him;" as he spoke, the cast of his countenance brought the colour into the cheeks of his intended, who suffered herself to be handed into the vacant seat of the gig, and they moved on. John, who was at the bottom good-natured, and loved both Francis and Clara very sincerely, soon set Captain Jarvis and his sister what he called "scrub racing," and necessity, in some measure, compelled the equestrians to ride fast to keep up with the sports. "That will do, that will do," cried John, casting his eye back, and perceivingthey had lost sight of the gig, and almost of Colonel Egerton and Jane, "why you ride like a jockey, captain; better than any amateur I have ever seen, unless indeed it be your sister;" and the lady, encouraged by his commendations, whipped on, followed by her brother and sister at half speed.

"There, Emily," said John, as he quietly dropped by her side, "I see no reason you and I should break our necks, to show the blood of our horses. Now do you know, I think we are going to have a wedding in the family soon?" Emily looked at him in amazement, as he went on:

"Frank has got a living; I saw it the moment he drove up. He came in like somebody. Yes, I dare say he has calculated the tythes a dozen times already."

And John was right. The Earl of Bolton had, unsolicited, given him the desired living of his own parish; and Francis was at the moment pressing the blushing Clara to fix the day that was to put a period to his long probation in love. Clara, who had no spice of coquetry, promised to be his as soon as he was inducted, which was to take place the following week; and then followed those delightful little arrangements and plans, with which youthful hope is so fond of filling up the voids in future life.

"Doctor," said John, as he came out of the rectory to assist Clara from the gig, "the parson here is a careful driver; see, hehas not turn'd a hair." He kissed the burning cheek of his sister as she touched the ground, and whispered significantly, "you need tell me nothing, my dear——I know all—— I consent."

Mrs. Ives folded her future daughter to her bosom, as she crossed the threshold; and the benevolent smile of the good rector, together with the kind and affectionate manner of her sisters, assured Clara the approaching nuptials were anticipated as a matter of course. Colonel Egerton offered his compliments to Francis, on his preferment to the living, with the polish of high breeding, and not without the appearance of interest in what he said; and Emily thought him at that moment, for the first time, as handsome as he was reputed generally. The ladies undertook to say something civil in their turn, and John put the captain, by a hint, on the same track.

"You are quite lucky, sir," said the captain, "in getting so good a living with so little trouble; and I wish you joy of it with all my heart: Mr. Moseley tells me it is a capital good thing."

Francis thanked him for his good wishes, and Egerton paid a handsome compliment to the liberality of the earl; "he doubted not he found that gratification which always attends a disinterested act;" and Jane applauded the sentiment with a smile.

The baronet, when on their return he was made acquainted with the situation of affairs, promised Francis that no unnecessary delay should intervene, and the marriage was happily arranged for the following week. Lady Moseley, when she retired to the drawing room after dinner with her sister and daughters, commenced a recital of the ceremony and company to be invited on the occasion. Etiquette and the decencies of life were not only the forte, but the fault of this lady; and she had gone on to the enumeration of about the fortieth personage in the ceremonials, before Clara found courage to say, "that Mr. Ives and myself both wished to be married at the altar, and to proceed to Bolton Rectory immediately after the ceremony." To this her mother warmly objected; and argument and respectful remonstrance had followed each other for some time, before Clara submitted in silence, but with difficulty restrained her tears. This appeal to the best feelings of the mother triumphed; and she yielded her love of splendour, to her love for her offspring. Clara, with a lightened heart, kissed and thanked her, and accompanied by Emily, left the room. Jane had risen to follow them, but catching a glimpse of the tilbury of Colonel Egerton, re-seated herself, calmly awaiting his entrance: "he had merely driven over at the earnest entreaties of the ladies, to beg Miss Jane would accept a seat back with him; they had some little project on foot, and could not proceed without her assistance." Mrs. Wilson looked gravely at her sister, as she smiled acquiescence to his wishes; and the daughter, who but the minute before had forgotten there was any other person in the world but Clara, flew for her hat and shawl, in order, as she said to herself, the politeness of Colonel Egerton might not keep him in waiting for her. Lady Moseley resumed her seat by the side of her sister with an air of great complacency, as having seen her daughter happily off, she returned from the window. For some time, each was occupied quietly with her needle, for neither neglected their more useful employments in that way, in compliance with the fashions of the day, when Mrs. Wilson suddenly broke the silence with saying,

"Who is Colonel Egerton?"

Lady Moseley looked up for a moment in amazement, but recollecting herself, answered, "nephew and heir of Sir Edgar Egerton, sister." This was spoken in a rather positive way, as if it were to be unanswerable; yet as there was nothing harsh in the reply, Mrs. Wilson continued,

"Do you not think him attentive to Jane?" Pleasure sparkled in the yet brilliant eyes of Lady Moseley, as she exclaimed——

"Do you think so?"

"I do; and you will pardon me if I say, improperly so. I think you were wrong in suffering Jane to go with him this afternoon."

"Why improperly so, Charlotte; and if Colonel Egerton is polite enough to show Jane such attentions, should I not be wrong in rudely rejecting them?"

"The rudeness of refusing a request improper to be granted, is a very venial offence, I believe," replied Mrs. Wilson, with a smile; "and I confess I think it improper to allow any attentions to be forced on us, that may subject us to disagreeable consequences in any way; but the attentions of Colonel Egerton are becoming marked, Anne."

"Do you for a moment doubt their being honourable, or that he dares to trifle with a daughter of Sir Edward Moseley?" said the mother with a shade of indignation.

"I should hope not, certainly," replied her aunt, "although it may be well to guard against such misfortunes too; but I am of opinion it is quite as important, to know whether he is worthy to be her husband, as it is that he be serious in his intentions of becoming so."

"On what points, Charlotte, would you wish to be more assured? You know his birth and probable fortune——you see his manners and disposition; but these latter, are things for Jane to decide upon; she is to live with him, and it is proper she should be suited in these respects."

"I do not deny his fortune or his disposition, but I complain that we give him credit for the last and more important requisites,without evidence of his possessing them. His principles, his habits, his very character, what do we know of it? I say we, for you know, Anne, that your children are as dear to me as my own would have been."

"I believe you sincerely," said Lady Mosley; "but these things you mention are points for Jane to decide on; if she be pleased, I have no right to complain. I am determined never to controul the affections of my children."

"Had you said, never to force the affections of your children, you would have said enough, Anne; but, to controul, or rather guide the affections of a child, especially a daughter, is a duty in some cases, as imperious as it would be to avert any other impending calamity. Surely the time to do this, is before the affections of the child are likely to endanger her peace of mind."

"I have seldom seen much good result from this interference of the parents," said Lady Moseley, adhering to her opinions.

"True; for to be of use, it should not be seen, unless in extraordinary cases. You will pardon me, Anne, but I have often thought parents are generally in extremes; either determined to make the election for their children, or leaving them entirely to their own flattered vanity and inexperience, to govern not only their own lives, but I may say, leave an impression on future generations. And after all, what is this love?nineteen cases in twenty of what we call affairs of the heart would be better termed affairs of the imagination."

"And, is there not a great deal of imagination in all love?" inquired Lady Moseley, with a smile.

"Undoubtedly there is some; but there is one difference, which I take to be this: in affairs of the imagination, the admired object is gifted with all those qualities we esteem, as a matter of course, and there is a certain set of females who are ever ready to bestow this admiration on any applicant for their favours, who may not be strikingly objectionable; the necessity of being courted, makes our sex rather too much disposed to admire improper suitors."

"But how do you distinguish affairs of the heart, Charlotte?"

"Those in which the heart takes the lead—— these generally follow from long intercourse, or the opportunity of judging the real character——and are the only ones that are likely to stand the test of worldly trials."

"Suppose Emily to be the object of Colonel Egerton's pursuit, then, sister, in what manner would you proceed to destroy the influence I acknowledge he is gaining over Jane?"

"I cannot suppose such a case," said Mrs. Wilson, gravely, and then observing her sister to look, as if requiring an explanation, she continued——

"My attention has been directed to the forming of such principles, and such a taste, if I may use the expression, under these principles, that I feel no apprehension that Emily will ever allow her affections to be ensnared by a man of the evident opinions and views of Colonel Egerton. I am impressed with a two fold duty in watching the feelings of my charge; she has so much singleness of heart, such real strength of pure native feeling, that should an improper man gain possession of her affections, the struggle between her duty and her love would be weighty indeed, but should it have proceeded so far as to make it her duty to love an unworthy object, I am sure she would sink under it; but Jane would only awake from a dream, and, for a while, be wretched."

"I thought you entertained a better opinion of Jane, sister," said Lady Moseley, reproachfully.

"I think her admirably calculated by nature to make an invaluable wife and mother; but she is so much under the influence of her fancy, that it is seldom she gives her heart an opportunity of displaying its excellencies; and again, she dwells so much upon imaginary perfections, that adulation has become necessary to her. The man who flatters her delicately, will be sure to win her esteem; and every woman might then love the being possessed of the qualities she will not fail to endow him with."

"I do not know, that I rightly understand how you would avert all these sad consequences of improvident affections?" said Lady Moseley.

"Prevention is better than cure——I would first implant such opinions as would lessen the danger of intercourse; and as for particular attentions from improper objects, it should be my care to prevent them, by prohibiting, or rather impeding, the intimacy which might give rise to them. And, least of all," said Mrs. Wilson, with a friendly smile, as she rose to leave the room, "would I suffer a fear of being impolite to endanger the happiness of a young woman entrusted to my care."

CHAPTER VIII.

Francis, who laboured with the ardour of a lover, under the influence of newly awakened stimulus, soon completed the necessary arrangements and alterations in his new parsonage. The living was a good one, and as the rector was enabled to make a very considerable annual allowance from the private fortune his wife had brought him, and as Sir Edward had twenty thousand pounds in the funds for each of his daughters, her portion of which was immediately settled on Clara, the youthful couple had not only a sufficient, but an abundant provision for their station in life; and they entered on their matrimonial duties, with as great a prospect of happiness as the ills of this world can give to health, affection, and competency. Their union had been deferred by Dr. Ives until his son was established, with a view to keeping him under his own direction during the critical period of his first impressions in the priesthood; and, as no objection now remained, or rather, the only one he ever felt, was removed by the proximity of Bolton to his own parish, he united the lovers at the altar of the village church, in the presence of his wife and Clara's immediate relatives. On leaving the church, Francis handed his bride into his own carriage, which conveyed them to their new residence, amidst the good wishes of his parishioners, and the prayers of their relatives for their happiness. Dr. and Mrs. Ives retired to the rectory, to the sober enjoyment of the felicity of their only child; while the baronet and his lady felt a gloom, that belied all the wishes of the latter for the establishment of their daughters. Jane and Emily had acted as bridesmaids to their sister, and as both the former and her mother had insisted there should be two groomsmen as a counterpoise, John was empowered with a carte-blanche to make a provision accordingly; he at first intimated his intention of calling on Mr. Benfield in that capacity, but finally settled down, to the no small mortification of the before-mentioned ladies, into writing a note to his kinsman, Lord Chatterton, whose residence was then in London, and who, in reply, after expressing his sincere regret that an accident would prevent his having the pleasure, stated the intention of his mother and two sisters to pay them an early visit of congratulation, as soon as his own health would allow of his attending them. This answer arrived only the day preceding that fixed for the wedding, and at the very moment they were expecting his lordship in his proper person.

"There," cried Jane, in a kind of triumph, "I told you, you were silly in sending so far on so sudden an occasion; now, after all, what is to be done——-it will be so awkwardwhen Clara's friends call to see her——Oh! John, John, you are a Mar-plot."

"Jenny, Jenny, you are a make-plot," said John, as he coolly took up his hat to leave the room.

"Which way, my son?" said the baronet, as he met him on his own entrance.

"To the deanery, sir, to try to get Captain Jarvis to act as brides-maid——I beg his pardon, grooms-man, to-morrow——Chatterton has been thrown from a horse, and can't come."

"John!"

"Jenny!"

"I am sure," said Jane, indignation glowing in her countenance, "that if Captain Jarvis is to be an attendant, Clara must excuse my acting. I do not choose to be associated with Captain Jarvis."

"John," said his mother, with dignity, "your trifling is unseasonable; certainly Colonel Egerton is a more fitting person on every account, and I desire, under present circumstances, you ask the colonel."

"Your ladyship's wishes are orders to me," said John, gayly kissing his hand as he left the room.

As the colonel was but too happy in having it in his power to be of service in any manner, to a gentleman he respected as much as Mr. Francis Ives, he was the only person present at the ceremony, who did not stand within the bonds of consanguinity to either of the parties——He was invited by the baronetto dine at the hall, and notwithstanding the repeated injunctions of Mrs. Jarvis and her daughters, to return to them immediately with an account of the dress of the bride, and other important items of a similar nature, the colonel accepted the invitation. On reaching the hall, Emily retired to her own room, and on her entrance at dinner, the paleness of her cheeks and redness of her eyes, afforded sufficient proof, that the translation of a companion from her own to another family, was an event, however happy in itself, not unmingled with grief, to those who were losers by the change. The day, however, passed off tolerably well for those who are expected to be happy, when in their hearts they are really more disposed to weep than to laugh. Jane and the colonel had most of the conversation to themselves during dinner; even the joyous and thoughtless John, wore his gayety in a less graceful manner than usual, and was observed by his aunt, to look with moistened eyes at the vacant chair a servant had, from habit, placed where Clara had been accustomed to sit.

"This beef is not done, Saunders," said the baronet to his butler, "or my appetite is not as good as usual to-day——Colonel Egerton, will you allow me the pleasure of a glass of sherry with you?"

The wine was drank, and the beef succeeded by game; but still Sir Edward could not eat.

"How glad Clara will be to see us all the day after to-morrow," said Mrs. Wilson; "your new house-keepers delight so in their first efforts in entertaining their friends."

Lady Moseley smiled through her tears, and turning to her husband, said, "we will go early, my dear, that we may see the improvements Francis has been making before we dine;" the baronet nodded assent, but his heart was too full to speak; and apologising to the colonel for his absence, on the plea of some business with his people, left the room.

The attentions of Colonel Egerton to both mother and daughter were of the most delicate kind; he spoke of Clara, as if his situation as grooms-man to her husband, entitled him to an interest in her welfare——with John he was kind and sociable, and even Mrs. Wilson acknowledged, after he took his leave, that he possessed a wonderful faculty of making himself agreeable, and began to think that, under all circumstances, he might possibly prove as advantageous a connexion as Jane could expect to form. Had any one have proposed him as a husband for Emily, her affection would have quickened her judgment to a decision, true to the best, the only interest of her charge——the rejection of a man whose principles offered no security for his conduct.

Soon after the baronet left the room, a travelling carriage, with suitable attendants, drove to the door; the sound of the wheels drew most of the company to a window—— "a baron's coronet," cried Jane, catching a glimpse of the ornaments of the harness.

"The Chattertons," echoed her brother, as he left the room to meet them——The mother of Sir Edward was a daughter of this family, and sister to the grandfather of the present lord. The connexion had always been kept up with the show of cordiality between Sir Edward and his cousin, although their manner of living and habits in common were very different. The baron was a courtier and a place-man; his estates, which he could not alienate, produced about ten thousand a year, but the income he could and did spend; and the high perquisites of his situation under government, amounting to as much more, were melted away, year after year, without making the provision for his daughters, both his duty, and the observance of his promise to his wife's father, required at his hands. He had been dead a couple of years, and his son found himself saddled with the support of an unjointured mother and unportioned sisters. Money was not the idol worshipped by the young lord, nor even pleasure; he was affectionate to his surviving parent, and his first act was to settle during his own life, two thousand pounds a year upon her, while he commenced setting aside as much more for each of his sisters annually; this abridged him greatly in his own expenditures, yet as they made but one family, and the dowager was really a managing woman in more senses than one, they made a very tolerable figure. The son was anxious to follow the example of Sir Edward Moseley, and give up his town house, for at least a time, but his mother exclaimed with something like horror at the proposal.

"Why Chatterton, would you give it up at the moment it can be of the most use to us?" and she threw a glance at her daughters, that would have discovered her policy to Mrs. Wilson, but was lost on his lordship; he, poor soul, thinking she meant it as convenient to support the interest he had been making for the place held by his father; one of more emolument than service or even honour. The contending parties were so equally matched, that the situation was kept as it were in abeyance, waiting the arrival of some newcomer to the strength of one or other of the claimants——the interest of the peer had began to lose ground at the period we speak of, and his careful mother saw new motives for her activity in providing for her children in the lottery of life. Mrs. Wilson herself could not be more vigilant in examining the candidates for her daughter's favours, than was the dowager Lady Chatterton——it is true, the task of the former lady was by far the most arduous, as it involved a study of character and development of principle, while that of the latterwould have been finished by the development of a rent-roll——provided it contained five figures in the sum total of its amount. Sir Edward's was known to contain that number, and two of them were not cyphers. Mr. Benfield was rich, and John Moseley a very agreeable young man; weddings are the season of love, thought the prudent dowager, and Grace is extremely pretty. Chatterton, who never refused his mother any thing in his power to grant, and who was particularly dutiful, when a visit to Moseley Hall was in the question, suffered himself to be persuaded his shoulder was well, and they left town the day before the wedding, thinking to be in time for all the gayeties, if not for the ceremony itself.

There existed but little similarity between the persons and manners of this young nobleman and the baronet's heir. The beauty of Chatterton was almost feminine; his skin, his colour, his eyes, his teeth, were such as many a belle had sighed after; and his manners were bashful and retiring——-yet an intimacy had commenced between the boys at school, which ripened into a friendship between the young men at college, and had been maintained ever since, by a perfect regard for each others dispositions, and respect for each others characters. With the baron, John was more sedate than ordinary ——with John, Chatterton found unusual animation. But a secret charm, which John held over the young peer, was his profound respect and unvarying affection for his youngest sister Emily; this was common ground——and no dreams of future happiness, no visions of dawning wealth, crossed the imagination of Chatterton, in which Emily was not the Fairy to give birth to the one, or the benevolent disponser of the hoards of the other.

The arrival of this family, was a happy relief from the oppression which hung on the spirits of the Moseleys, and their reception, marked with the mild benevolence which belonged to the nature of the baronet, and that empressement of good breeding, which so eminently distinguished the manners of his wife.

The honourable Miss Chattertons were both handsome; but the younger was, if possible, a softened picture of her brother——there was the same retiring bashfulness, and the same sweetness of temper as distinguished the baron, and Grace was the peculiar favourite of Emily Moseley——Nothing of the strained or sentimental nature, which so often characterise what is called female friendship, had crept into the communications between these young women. Emily loved her sisters too well, to go out of her own family for a repository of her griefs or a partaker in her joys; had her life been checquered withsuch passions, her own sisters were too near her own age, to suffer her to think of a confidence, to which the holy ties of natural affection did not give a claim to a participation in. Mrs. Wilson had found it necessary, to give her charge very differing views on many subjects, from what Jane and Clara had been suffered to imbibe of themselves, but in no degree had she impaired the obligations of filial piety or family concord. Emily was, if any thing, more respectful to her parents, more affectionate to her friends, than any of her connexions; for in her the warmth of natural feelings was heightened by an unvarying sense of duty.

In Grace Chatterton she found, in many respects, a temper and taste resembling her own; she therefore loved her better than others who had equal claims upon her partiality from ordinary associations, and as such, she now received her with kindness and affection.

In Catherine, Jane, who had not felt satisfied with the ordering of providence for the disposal of her sympathies, and had felt a restlessness that prompted her to look abroad for a confiding spirit to communicate her—— secrets she had none her delicacy would suffer her to reveal——but to communicate the crude opinions and reflections of her ill-regulated mind to. Catherine, however, had not stood the test of trial. For a short time,the love of heraldry had kept them together, but Jane finding her companion's gusto limited to the charms of the coronet and supporters chiefly, abandoned the attempt in despair, and was actually on the look-out for a new candidate for the vacant station, as Colonel Egerton came into the neighbourhood——a really delicate female mind, shrinks from the exposure of its love to the other sex, and Jane began to be less uneasy, to form a connexion, which would either violate the sensibility of her nature, or lead to treachery to her friend.

"I regret extremely, my lady," said the dowager, as they entered the drawing room, "the accident which befel Chatterton, should have kept us until too late for the ceremony; but we made it a point to hasten with our congratulations, as soon as Astley Cooper thought it safe for him to travel."

"I feel indebted for your ladyship's kindness," replied her smiling hostess; "we are always happy to have our friends around us, and none more than yourself and family. We were fortunate, however, in finding a friend to supply your son's place, that the young people might go to the altar in a proper manner——Lady Chatterton, allow me to present our friend, Colonel Egerton"——and speaking in a low tone, and with a manner of a little consequence——" heir to Sir Edgar."

The colonel had bowed gracefully, and the dowager dropped a hasty curtsey at the commencementof the speech; but a lower bend followed the closing remark, and a glance of the eye was thrown in quest of her daughters, as if insensibly wishing to bring them to their proper places.

CHAPTER IX.

The following morning, Emily and Grace declining the invitation to join the colonel and John in their usual rides, walked to the rectory, accompanied by Mrs. Wilson and Chatterton. The ladies felt an irresistible desire to mingle their anticipation of future happiness to the new married couple, with those most interested in them; and Francis had promised his father to ride over in the course of the day. Emily longed to inquire after Clara, from whom she appeared already to have been separated a month. Her impatience, as they approached the house, hurried her on ahead of her companions, who waited the more sober gait of her aunt. She entered the parlour at the rectory without meeting any one; glowing with the unusual exercise of her speed, and her hair falling over her shoulder, released from the confinement of the hat she had, oppressed with the heat, thrown down hastily as she gained the door. In the room there stood a gentleman in deep black, with his back toward the entrance, intent on a book he held in his hand, and she concluded at once it was Francis.

"Where is dear Clara, Frank?" cried the beautiful girl, laying her hand affectionately on his shoulder; the gentleman turned suddenly, and presented to her astonished gaze, the well-remembered countenance of the young man whose parent's death would never be forgotten at B——.

"I thought——I thought, sir," said Emily, almost sinking with confusion, "Mr. Francis Ives——"

"Your brother has not yet arrived, Miss Moseley," replied the stranger, in a voice of peculiar tones, and the manner of a perfect gentleman——"I will acquaint Mrs. Ives with your visit;" and bowing, he delicately left the room.

Emily, who felt insensibly relieved by his manner, and the nice allusion to her connexion with Francis, as explaining her familiarity——immediately restored her hair to its proper bounds, and had recovered her composure by the time her aunt and friends joined her——she hastily mentioned the incident, laughing at her own precipitation, when Mrs. Ives came into the room.

Chatterton and his sister were both known to her, and both favourites; she was pleased to see them, and after reproaching the brother with compelling her son to ask a favour of a comparative stranger, she smilingly turned to Emily, and said——

"You found the parlour occupied, I believe?"

"Yes," said Emily, laughing and blushing, "I suppose Mr. Denbigh told you of my heedlessness."

"He told me of your attention in callingso soon to inquire after Clara, but said nothing more"-and a servant telling her Francis wished to see her, she excused herself and withdrew. In the door she met Mr. Denbigh, who made way for her, saying, "your son has arrived, madam," and in an easy, but respectful manner, took his place with the guests, no introduction passed, and none seemed necessary; his misfortunes appeared to have made him acquainted with Mrs. Wilson, and his strikingly ingenuous manner, won insensibly on the confidence of those who heard him. Every thing was natural, yet every thing was softened by education; and the little party in the rector's parlour, in fifteen minutes, felt as if they had known him for years. The doctor and his son now joined them——Clara was looking forward in delightful expectation of to-morrow, and wished greatly for Emily as a guest at her new abode. This pleasure Mrs. Wilson promised she should have as soon as they had got over the hurry of their visit. "our friends," she added, turning to Grace, "will overlook the nicer punctilios of ceremony, where sisterly regard calls for the discharge of more important duties. Clara needs the society of Emily just now."

"Certainly," said Grace, mildly, "I hope no useless ceremony on the part of Emily would prevent her manifesting her natural attachment to her sister——I should feel hurt at hernot entertaining a better opinion of us than to suppose so for a moment."

"This, young ladies, is the real feeling to keep alive esteem," cried the doctor, gayly; "go on, and say and do nothing that either can disapprove of, when tested by the standard of duty, and you need never be afraid of losing a friend that is worth the keeping."

"The removal of a young woman from her own home to that of her husband, must give birth to many melancholy reflections," observed Denbigh to Francis, with a smile, and the subject was dropped.

It was three o'clock before the carriage of Mrs. Wilson, which had been directed to come for them, arrived at the rectory; and the time had stolen away insensibly in free and friendly communications between the doctor's guests and his wife, for he himself had returned with his son to dine at Bolton some time previously. Denbigh had joined modestly, and with the degree of interest a stranger could be supposed to feel, in the occurrences of a circle he was nearly a stranger to; there was at times a slight display of awkwardness, both about himself and Mrs. Ives, for which Mrs. Wilson easily accounted by the recollections of his recent loss, and the scene that very room had witnessed; but which escaped the notice of the rest of the party. On the arrival of the carriage, Mrs. Wilson took her leave.

"I like this Mr. Denbigh greatly," saidLord Chatterton, as they drove from the door, "there is something strikingly pleasing in his manner."

"Ay, my lord, and in his matter too, judging of the little we have seen of him," replied Mrs. Wilson.

"Who is he, madam?"

"Why, I rather suspect he is some way related to Mrs. Ives; her staying from Bolton to-day, must be owing to Mr. Denbigh, and as the doctor has gone, he must be just near enough to them, neither to be wholly neglected, or a tax upon their politeness; I rather wonder he did not go with them."

"I heard him tell Francis," said Emily, "he would not think of intruding, and he insisted on Mrs. Ives going, but she had employment to keep her at home."

The carriage soon reached an angle in the road where the highways between Bolton Castle and Moseley Hall intersected each other, and on the estate of the former. Mrs. Wilson stopped a moment to inquire after an aged pensioner of her's, who had lately met with a loss in his business, she was fearful must have distressed him greatly. In crossing a ford in the little river between his cottage and the market-town, the stream, which had been unexpectedly higher than usual by heavy rains above, had swept away his horse and cart, loaded with the entire produce of his small field——-with much difficulty he had saved his own life. Mrs. Wilson had it not until now in her power to inquire particularly into the affair, and offer that relief she felt ever ready to bestow on proper objects. Contrary to her expectations, she found Humphreys in high spirits, showing his delighted grand-children a new cart and horse which stood at his door, as he pointed out the excellent qualities of both. He ceased on the approach of his benefactress on so many former occasions, and, at her request, gave a particular account of the affair.

"And where did you get the new cart and horse, Humphreys?" inquired Mrs. Wilson, when he had ended.

"Oh, madam, I went up to the castle to see the steward, and Mr. Martin just mentioned my loss to Lord Pendennyss, ma'am, and my lord ordered me this cart, madam, and this noble horse, and twenty golden guineas into the bargain, to put me upon my legs again——-God bless him for it for ever."

"It was very kind of his lordship, indeed," said Mrs. Wilson, thoughtfully, "I did not know he was at the castle."

"He's gone, madam; the servants told me, he called to see the earl, on his way to Lonnon, but finding he'd went a few days agone to Ireland, my lord went for Lonnon, without stopping the night even. Ah! madam," continued the old man, as he stood leaning on his stick, with his hat in his hand, "he's a great blessing to the poor; his servants say he gives thousands every year to the poorwho are in want——-he is main rich, too, some people say, much richer and more great like than the earl himself. I'm sure I have need to bless him every day of my life."

Mrs. Wilson smiled mournfully, as she wished Humphreys good day, and put up her purse, on finding the old man so well provided for; a display, or competition in charity, never entering into her system of benevolence.

"His lordship is munificent in his bounty," said Emily, as they drove from the door.

"Does it not savour of thoughtlessness, to bestow so much where he can know so little?" Lord Chatterton ventured to inquire.

"He is," replied Mrs. Wilson, "as old Humphrey says, main rich; but the son of the old man, and father of these children, is a soldier in the ——th dragoons, of which the earl is colonel, and that accounts to me for the liberality of the donation," recollecting, with a sigh, the feelings which had drawn herself out of the usual circles of her charities, in the case of the same man.

"Did you ever see the earl, aunt?" inquired Emily, gently.

"Never, my dear; he has been much abroad, but my letters were filled with his praises, and I confess my disappointment is great in not seeing him in this visit to Lord Bolton, who is his relation; but," fixing her eyes thoughtfully on her niece, "we shall meet in London this winter, I trust." Asshe spoke, a cloud passed over her features, and she continued much absorbed in thought, for the remainder of their ride.

General Wilson had been a cavalry officer, and commanded the same regiment now held by Lord Pendennyss; in an excursion near the British camp, he had been rescued from captivity, if not from death, by a gallant and timely interference of this young nobleman, then in command of a troop in the same corps. He had mentioned the occurrence to his wife in his letters, and from that day, his correspondence was filled with his praises ——his bravery——his goodness to the soldiery—— and when he fell, he had been supported from the field, and died in the arms of his youthful friend. A letter announcing his death, had been received by his widow from the earl, and the tenderness and affectionate manner of speaking of her husband, had taken a deep hold on her affections——All the circumstances together, had thrown an interest around him that had made Mrs. Wilson almost entertain the romantic wish he might be found worthy of, and disposed to solicit the hand of her Emily. Her inquiries into his character had been attended with such answers as flattered her wishes; but the service of the earl, or his private affairs, had never allowed a meeting; and she was now compelled to look forward to what John, laughingly termed, their winter campaign, as the only probable place where she could begratified with the sight of a young man to whom she owed so much, and whose image was connected with some of the most tender, although most melancholy recollections of her life.

Colonel Egerton, who now appeared almost domesticated in the family, was again of the party at dinner, to the no small satisfaction of the dowager, who, from proper inquiries in the course of the day, had learnt that Sir Edgar's heir was likely to have the necessary number of figures in the sum total of his revenue. While sitting in the drawing-room that afternoon, she made an attempt to bring her eldest daughter and the elegant soldier together over a chess-board; a game, the young lady had been required to learn, because it was one at which a gentleman could be kept longer than any other without having his attention drawn away by any of those straggling charms, which might be travelling a drawing-room, "seeking whom they may devour." It was also a game admirably suited to the display of a beautiful hand and arm; but the abilities of the mother had for a long time been staggered with discovering a way of bringing in the foot also. In vain her daughter hinted at dancing, an amusement she was passionately fond of, as the proper theatre for this exhibition. The wary mother knew too well the effects of concentrated force to leave it out of the combat. After a great deal of experimentizing in her ownperson, she endeavoured to correct Catherine for her manner of sitting, and by dint of twisting and turning, she contrived that her pretty foot and ancle should be thrown forward in such a way, that the eye dropping from the move, should rest on this beauteous object; thus giving, as it were, a Scylla and Charybdis to her daughter's charms.

John Moseley was the first person she undertook to try the effect of her invention upon a few months before; and after comfortably seating the parties, she withdrew to a little distance, to watch the effect.

"Check to your king, Miss Chatterton," cried John, early in the game——and the young lady thrust out her foot——"check to your king, Mr. Moseley," echoed the damsel, in triumph, and John's eyes wandered from hand to foot, and foot to hand. "Check king and queen, sir,"——"Check mate,"—— "did you speak?" said John, and looking up he caught the eye of the dowager fixed on him in triumph——"Oh ho," said the young man, internally, "mother Chatterton, are you there," and coolly taking up his hat he walked off, nor could they ever get him seated again.

"You beat me too easily, Miss Chatterton," he would say, when pressed to play, "before I have time to look up, it's checkmate——excuse me"——and the dowager settled down into a more covert attack, through Grace——but here she had two to contendwith——her own forces rebelled; and the war had been protracted to the present hour, with varied success, and no material captures, at least on one side.

Colonel Egerton entered on the duties of his dangerous undertaking, with all the indifference of fool-hardiness; and the game was played with tolerable ability by either party; but no emotions, no absence of mind could be discovered on the part of the gentleman——feet and hands were in motion, still the colonel played as well as usual ——he had answers for all Jane's questions, and smiles for his partner; but no checkmate could she obtain, until wilfully throwing away an advantage, he suffered the lady to win the game——and the dowager was satisfied nothing could be done with the colonel.

CHAPTER X.

The first carriages that rolled over the lawn to Bolton parsonage, on the succeeding day, were those of the baronet and his sister——the latter in advance.

"There, Francis," cried Emily, as she impatiently waited his removing some slight obstruction to her alighting, "thank you, thank you, that will do," and in the next moment she was in the extended arms of Clara; after pressing each other to their bosoms for a few moments in silence, Emily looked up, with a tear glistening in her eye, and first noticed the form of Denbigh, modestly withdrawing, as if unwilling to intrude on such pure and domestic feelings as the sisters exposed, unconscious of a witness—— her aunt and Jane, followed by Miss Chatterton, now entered, and cordial salutes and greetings flowed upon Clara from her various friends.

The baronet's coach had reached the door; in it were himself and wife, Mr. Benfield, and Lady Chatterton——Clara stood on the portico of the building ready to receive them, her face all smiles, and tears, and blushes, and her arm locked in that of Emily.

"I wish you joy of your new abode, Mrs. Francis"——-Lady Mosely forgot her form, andbursting into tears, pressed her with ardour to her bosom.

"Clara, my love," said the baronet, hastily wiping his eyes, and succeeding his wife in the embrace of their child——he kissed her and pressing Francis by the hand, walked into the house in silence.

"Well——well," cried the dowager, as she saluted her cousin, "all looks comfortable and genteel here, upon my word Mrs. Ives; grapery——hot-houses——every thing in good order too, and Sir Edward tells me the living is worth a good five hundred a-year."

"So, girl, I suppose you expect a kiss," said Mr. Benfield, as he ascended the steps slowly, to the entrance——"kissing has gone much out of fashion lately; I remember, on the marriage of my friend, Lord Gosford, in the year fifty-eight, that all the maids and attendants were properly saluted in order. The lady Juliana was quite young then, not more than fifteen, it was there I got my first salute from her——but so——kiss me," and he continued as they went into the house, "marrying in that day was a serious business; you might visit a lady a dozen times, before you could get a sight of her naked hand——who's that?" stopping short, and looking earnestly at Denbigh, who now approached them.

"Mr. Denbigh, sir," said Clara, and turning, she observed to Denbigh, "my uncle, Mr. Benfield."

"Did you ever know, sir, a gentleman of your name, who sat in the parliament of this realm in the year sixty?" said Mr. Benfield; and then, turning an inquiring look on the figure of the young man, he added, "you don't look much like him."

"That is rather before my day, sir," said Denbigh, with a smile, and respectfully offering to relieve Clara, who supported him on one side, while Emily held his arm on the other. The old gentleman was particularly averse to strangers, and Emily was in terror, lest he should say something rude——but after examining Denbigh again, from head to foot, he took the offered arm, and replied by saying——

"True, true, that was sixty years ago; you can hardly recollect so long——ah! Mr. Denbigh, times are sadly altered since my youth: people who were then glad to ride on a pillion, now drive their coaches; men who thought ale a luxury, now drink their port; aye! and those who went bare-foot, must have their shoes and stockings too. Luxury, sir, and the love of ease, will ruin this mighty empire; corruption has taken hold of every thing; the ministry buy the members, the members buy the ministry——-every thing is bought and sold; now, sir, in the parliament I had a seat, there was a knot of us, as upright as posts, sir; my Lord Gosford was one,and General Denbigh was another, although I can't say I always liked his ways; how was he related to you, sir?"

"He was my grandfather," replied Denbigh, with a benevolent smile, and looking at Emily. Had the old man continued his speech an hour longer, Denbigh would not have complained; he had stopped while talking, and thus confronted him with the beautiful figure that supported his left arm. Denbigh had contemplated in admiration, the varying countenance, which now blushed with apprehension, and now smiled in affection, or with an archer expression, as her uncle proceeded in his harangue on the times; but all felicity in this world has an end as well as misery; Denbigh retained the recollection of that speech, long after Mr. Benfield was comfortably seated in the parlour, though for his life he could not recollect a word he had said.

The Haughtons, the Jarvises, and a few others of their intimate acquaintances, now arrived, and the parsonage had the air of a busy scene; but John, who had undertaken to drive Grace Chatterton in his own phaeton, was yet absent; some little anxiety had begun to be manifested; when he appeared, dashing through the gates at a great rate, and with the skill of a member of the four-inhand.

Lady Chatterton had begun to be seriously uneasy, and was about to speak to her son togo in quest of them, as they came in sight; but now her fears vanished, and she could only suppose, that a desire to have Grace alone, could keep him so late, whose horses were so evidently fleet; accordingly she met them in great spirits, with——

"Upon my word, Mr. Moseley, I began to think you had taken the road to Scotland with my daughter, you staid so long."

"Your daughter, my Lady Chatterton," said John, cooly, "would neither go to Scotland with me, or any other man, or I am deceived in her character——Clara, my sister, how do you do," and he saluted the bride with great warmth.

"But what detained you, Moseley?" inquired his mother.

"One of the horses was restive, and broke the harness, and I stopped in the village while it was mended."

"And how did Grace behave?" asked Emily, laughing.

"Oh, a thousand times better than you would, sister; and as she always does, like an angel," said John, with fervour.

The only point in dispute between Emily and her brother, was her want of faith in his driving; while poor Grace, naturally timid, and unwilling to oppose, particularly the gentleman who then held the reins, had governed herself sufficiently to be silent and motionless; indeed, she could hardly do otherwise had she wished it; and John felt flattered toa degree, that, aided by the merit, the beauty, and the delicacy of the young lady herself, might have led to the very results her mother so anxiously wished to produce. But managers too often overdo their work. "Grace is a good girl," said her mother; "and you found her very valiant, Mr. Moseley?" "Oh, as brave as Cæsar," answered John, carelessly, and in a way that proved he was ironical. Grace, whose burning cheeks showed but too plainly, that praise from John Moseley was an incense too powerful for her resistance, now sunk back behind some of the company, endeavouring to conceal the tears that almost gushed from her eyes; as Denbigh, who had been a silent spectator of the whole scene, observed, that he had seen an improvement which would obviate the difficulty Mr. Moseley had experienced; John turned to the speaker, and was about to reply, for he had heard of his being at the rectory the day before, as the tilbury of Colonel Egerton drove to the door, containing himself and his friend the captain.

The bride undoubtedly received congratulations on that day, more sincere than what were now offered, but none were delivered in a more graceful and insinuating manner than those from Colonel Egerton; he passed round the room, speaking to his acquaintances, until he arrived at the chair of Jane, who was seated next her aunt; here he stopped, and glancing his eye round, and saluting with bows and smiles the remainder of the party, appeared fixed at the centre of all attraction to him. "There is a gentleman I have never seen before," he observed to Mrs. Wilson, casting his eyes on Denbigh, whose back was towards him in discourse with Mr. Benfield.

"Yes, it is Mr. Denbigh, of whom you heard us speak," replied Mrs. Wilson; and while she spoke, Denbigh faced them——Egerton started as he caught a view of his face, and seemed to gaze on the countenance, which was open to his inspection, with an earnestness that showed an interest of some kind, but such as was inexplicable to Mrs. Wilson, the only observer of this singular recognition, for such it evidently was; all was natural in the colonel——for the moment, his colour sensibly changed, and there was a peculiar expression in his face; it might be fear, it might be horror, it might be a strong aversion——-it clearly was not love; Emily sat by her aunt, and Denbigh approached them, making a cheerful remark; it was impossible for the colonel and him to avoid each other, had they wished it; and Mrs. Wilson thought she would try the experiment of an introduction——"Colonel Egerton——Mr. Denbigh;" both gentlemen bowed, but nothing striking was seen in the deportment of either, when the colonel, who was not exactly at ease, said hastily,

"Mr. Denbigh is, or has been, in the army too, I believe."

Denbigh now started in his turn; he cast a look on Egerton of fixed and settled meaning; and said carelessly, but still as if requiring an answer,

"I am, sir, yet; but do not recollect having the pleasure of seeing Colonel Egerton in the service."

"Your countenance is familiar, sir," replied the colonel, carelessly, "but at this moment, I cannot tax my memory with the place of our meeting," and he changed the discourse. It was some time, however, before either gentleman recovered his ease, and many days elapsed ere any thing like intercourse passed between them; the colonel attached himself during this visit to Jane, with occasional notices of the Miss Jarvises, who began to manifest symptoms of uneasiness, at the decided preference he showed to a lady they now chose to look upon, in some measure, as a rival.

Mrs. Wilson and her charge were, on the other hand, entertained by the conversations of Chatterton and Denbigh, with occasional sallies from the lively John. There was something in the person and manner of Denbigh, that insensibly attracted towards him those whom fortune threw in his way. His face was not strikingly handsome, but it was noble; and when he smiled, or was much animated with any emotion, it did not fail invariablyto communicate a spark of his own enthusiasm to the beholder; his figure was faultless——his air and manner, if less easy than that of Colonel Egerton, was more sincere and ingenuous, his breeding clearly high, and his respect rather bordering on the old school; but in his voice there existed a charm, which would make him, when he spoke of love that he felt, to a female ear, almost resistless; it was soft, deep, melodious.

"Baronet," said the rector, with a smile on his son and daughter-in-law, "I love to see my children happy, and Mrs. Ives threatens a divorce, if I go on in the manner I have commenced; she says I desert her for Bolton."

"Why, doctor, if our wives conspire against us, and prevent our enjoying a comfortable dish of tea with Clara, or a glass of wine with Frank, we must call in the higher authorities as umpires——what say you, sister; is a parent to desert his child in any case?"

"My opinion is," said Mrs. Wilson, with a smile, yet speaking with emphasis, "that a parent is not to desert a child, in any case, or in any manner."

"Do you hear that, my Lady Moseley," cried the baronet, good humouredly.

"Do you hear that, my Lady Chatterton," cried John, who had just taken a seat by Grace, as her mother approached them.

"I hear it, but do not see the application, Mr. Moseley."

"No, my lady! why there is the honourable Miss Chatterton, almost dying to play a game of her favourite chess with Mr. Denbigh; she has beat us all but him, you know."

And as Denbigh politely offered to meet the challenge, the board was produced; and the lady attended, with a view, however, to prevent any of those consequences she was generally fond of seeing result from this amusement; every measure taken by this prudent mother, being literally governed by judicious calculation——"Well," thought John, as he viewed the players, while listening with pleasure to the opinions of Grace, who had recovered her composure and spirits; "Kate has played one game without using her feet."

CHAPTER XI.

Ten days or a fortnight now flew swiftly by, during which, Mrs. Wilson suffered Emily to give Clara a week, having first ascertained that Denbigh was a settled resident at the rectory, and thereby not likely to be oftener at the house of Francis than at the hall, where he was a frequent and welcome guest, both on his own account, and as a friend of Doctor Ives——-Emily had returned, and brought the bride and groom with her; when, one evening as they were pleasantly seated at their various amusements, with the ease of old acquaintances, Mr. Haughton entered, at an hour rather unusual for his visits; throwing down his hat, after making the usual inquiries, he began,

"I know, good people, you are all wondering what has brought me out this time of night, but the truth is, Lucy has coaxed her mother to persuade me into a ball, in honour of the times; so, my lady, I have consented, and my wife and daughter have been buying up all the finery in B——, by the way, I suppose, of anticipating their friends. There is a regiment of foot come into the barracks, within fifteen miles of us, and to-morrow I must beat up for recruits among the officers ——-girls are never wanting on such occasions."

"Why," cried the baronet, "you are growing young again, my friend."

"No, Sir Edward, but my daughter is young, and life has so many cares, that I am willing she should get rid of as many as she can now, at my expense."

"Surely, you would not wish her to dance them away," said Mrs. Wilson; "such relief, I am afraid, will prove temporary."

"Do you disapprove of dancing, ma'am?" said Mr. Haughton, who held her opinions in great respect, and some little dread.

"I neither approve or disapprove of it——- jumping up and down, is innocent enough in itself, and if it must be done, it is well it were done gracefully; as for the accompaniments of dancing I say nothing——-what do you say, Doctor Ives?"

"To what, my dear madam?"

"To dancing."

"Oh! let the girls dance, if they enjoy it."

"I am glad you think so, doctor," cried Mr. Haughton; "I had thought I recollected your advising your son, never to dance or play at games of chance."

"You thought right, my friend," said the doctor, laying down his newspaper; "I gave that advice to Frank——-I do not object to dancing as innocent in itself, and as elegant exercise, but it is like drinking, generally carried to excess; and as a Christian, I am opposed to all excesses; the music and companylead to intemperance in the recreation, and it often induces neglect of duties——-but so may any thing else."

"I like a game of whist, doctor, greatly," said Mr. Haughton, "but observing you never play, and recollecting your advice to Mr. Francis, I have forbidden cards when you are my guest."

"I thank you for the compliment, good sir," replied the doctor, with a smile; "but I would much rather see you play cards, than hear you talk scandal, as you sometimes do."

"Scandal," echoed Mr. Haughton.

"Ay, scandal," said the doctor, coolly, "such as your own remark, the last time, which was yesterday, I called to see you——- that Sir Edward was wrong in letting that poacher off so easily as he did; the baronet, you said, did not shoot himself, and did not know how to prize game as he ought."

"Scandal, doctor——do you call that scandal; why, I told Sir Edward so himself, two or three times."

"I know you have, and that was rude."

"Rude! I hope, sincerely, Sir Edward has put no such construction on it;" and the baronet smiled kindly, and shook his head.

"Because the baronet chooses to forgive your offences, it does not alter their nature," said the doctor, gravely; "no, you must repent and amend; you impeached his motivesfor doing a benevolent act, and that I call scandal."

"Why, doctor, I was angry the fellow should be let loose; he is a pest to all the game in the county, and every sportsman will tell you so——-here, Mr. Moseley, you know Jackson, the poacher."

"Oh! a poacher is an intolerable wretch," cried Captain Jarvis.

"Oh! a poacher," cried John, with a droll look at Emily, "hang all poachers."

"Poacher, or no poacher, does not alter the scandal," said the doctor; "now let me tell you, good sir, I would rather play at fifty games of whist, than make one such speech, unless, indeed, it interfered with my duties——-now, sir, with your leave, I'll explain myself, as to my son——-There is an artificial levity about dancing, that adds to the dignity of no man; from some it may detract: a clergyman, for instance, is supposed to have other things to do, and it would hurt him in the opinions of those his influence is necessary with, and impair his usefulness; therefore clergymen should never dance——-In the same way with cards; they are the common instruments of gambling, and an odium attached to them, on that account; women and clergymen must respect the prejudices of mankind, in some cases, or hurt their influence in society."

"I did hope to have the pleasure of your company, doctor," said Mr. Haughton, hesitatingly.

"And if it will give you pleasure," cried the rector, "you shall have it, my good friend; it would be a greater evil to wound the feelings of such a neighbour as Mr. Haughton, than to show my face once at a ball——-as innocent as your's will be;" and rising, he laid his hand on his shoulder kindly. "Both your scandal and rudeness are easily forgiven; but I wished to show you the common error of the world——-that has attached odium to certain things, while it charitably overlooks others of a more heinous nature."

Mr. Haughton, who had at first been a little staggered with the attack of the doctor, recovered himself, with the view of his object, and laying a handful of notes on the table, hoped he should have the pleasure of seeing them all; the invitation was generally accepted, and the worthy man departed, happy if his friends did but come, and were pleased.

"Do you dance, Miss Moseley," inquired Denbigh of Emily, as he sat watching her graceful movements in netting a purse for her father.

"Oh yes! the doctor said nothing of us girls, you know; I suppose he thinks we have no dignity to lose," replied Emily, with a playful smile, and stealing a look at the rector.

"Admonitions are generally thrown away on young ladies, when pleasure is in thequestion," said the doctor, overhearing her as she intended, and with a look of almost paternal affection.

"I hope you do not seriously disapprove of it, in moderation," said Mrs. Wilson.

"That depends, madam, upon circumstances greatly; if it is to be made subsidiary to envy, malice, coquetry, vanity, or any other such little, lady-like accomplishment," replied the doctor, good-homouredly, "it certainly had better be let alone——-but in moderation, and with the feelings of my little pet here, I should be cynical, indeed, to object."

Denbigh appeared lost in his own ruminations during this little dialogue; and as the doctor ended, he turned to the captain, who was overlooking a game of chess, between the colonel and Jane, of which the latter had become remarkably fond of late, and played with her hands and eyes, instead of her feet, and inquired the name of the corps, in barracks at F——; "the——th foot, sir," replied the captain, haughtily, who neither respected him, owing to his want of consequence, or loved him, from the manner Emily listened to his conversation.

"Will Miss Moseley forgive a bold request I have to urge," said Denbigh, with some hesitation.

Emily looked up from her work in silence, but with some little flutterings at the heart, occasioned by his peculiar manner——"the honourof her hand for the first dance," said Denbigh, observing her in expectation he would proceed.

Emily laughingly said, "certainly, Mr. Denbigh, if you can submit to the degradation."

The London papers now came in, and most of the gentlemen sat down to their perusal. The colonel, however, replaced the men for a second game, and Denbigh still kept his place beside Mrs. Wilson and her niece. The manners, the sentiments, the whole exterior of this gentleman, were such as both the taste and judgment approved of——his qualities were those which insensibly gained on the heart, and Mrs. Wilson noticed, with a slight uneasiness, the very evident satisfaction her niece took in his society——-In Dr. Ives she had great confidence, yet Dr. Ives was a friend, and probably judged him favourably; and again, Dr. Ives was not to suppose, he was introducing a candidate for the hand of Emily, in every gentleman he brought to the hall; Mrs. Wilson had seen too often the ill consequences of trusting to impressions received from inferences of companionship, not to know, the only safe way was to judge for ourselves; the opinions of others might be partial——might be prejudiced——and many an improper connexion had been formed, by listening to the sentiments of those who spoke without interest, and consequently without examination; not a few matchesare made by this idle commendation of others, uttered by lips that command respect from a reputation for intelligence, and which are probably suggested by a desire to please the very listener who hears them. In short, Mrs. Wilson knew, that as our happiness chiefly interested ourselves, so it was to ourselves, or to those few whose interest was equal to our own, we could only trust those important inquiries, necessary to establish a permanent opinion of good or evil in a character. With Doctor Ives her communications on subjects of duty were frequent and confiding, and although she sometimes thought his benevolence disposed him to be rather too lenient to the faults of mankind, she entertained a profound respect for his judgment; it was very influential with her, if it were not always conclusive; she determined, therefore, to have an early conversation with him on the subject so near her heart, and be in a great measure regulated by his answers, in the immediate steps to be taken. Every day gave her, what she thought, melancholy proof of the ill consequences of neglecting our duty——in the increasing intimacy of Colonel Egerton and Jane.

"Here, aunt," cried John, as he ran over a paper, "is a paragraph relating to your favourite youth, our trusty and well beloved cousin, the Earl of Pendennyss."

"Read it," said Mrs. Wilson, with an interest his name never failed to excite.

"We noticed to day the equipage of the gallant Lord Pendennyss before the gates of Annandale-house, and understand the noble Earl is last from Bolton castle, Northamptonshire."

"A very important fact," said Captain Jarvis sarcastically; "Colonel Egerton and myself got as far as the village, to pay our respects to him, when we heard he had gone on to town."

"The earl's character, both as a man and a soldier," observed the colonel, "gives him a claim to our attentions, that his rank would not; it was on that account we would have called."

"Brother," said Mrs. Wilson, "you would oblige me greatly, by asking his lordship to waive ceremony; his visits to Bolton castle will probably be frequent, now we have peace; and the owner is so much from home, that we may never see him without some such invitation."

"Do you want him as a husband for Emily?" cried John, as he gaily seated himself by the side of his sister.

Mrs. Wilson smiled at an observation, which reminded her of one of her romantic wishes; and, as she raised her head to reply, in the same tone, met the eye of Denbigh fixed on her, with an expression that kept her silent: this is really an incomprehensibleyoung man in some respects, thought the cautious widow, his startling looks on the introduction to the colonel, crossing her mind at the same time; and observing the doctor opening the door that led to the baronet's library, Mrs. Wilson, who acted generally as soon as she had decided, followed him in silence. As their conversations were known often to relate to little offices of charity they both delighted in, the movement excited no surprise, and she entered the library with the doctor, uninterrupted by any one else.

"Doctor," said Mrs. Wilson, impatient to proceed to the point, "you know my maxim, prevention is better than cure: this young friend of yours is very interesting."

"Do you feel yourself in danger?" said the rector, smiling.

"Not very imminent," replied the lady, laughing good naturedly; and seating herself, she continued, "who is he? and who was his father, if I may ask?"

"George Denbigh, Madam, both father and son," said the doctor gravely.

"Ah, doctor, I am almost tempted to wish Frank had been a girl; you know what I wish to learn."

"Put your questions in order, dear Madam," said the doctor, in a kind manner, "and they shall be answered."

"His principles?"

"So far as I can learn, they are good——his acts, as they have come to my notice, are highly meritorious, and I hope originated in proper motives; I have seen but little of him of late years, however, and on this head, you are nearly as good a judge as myself; his filial piety," said the doctor, dashing a tear from his eye, and speaking with fervour, "was lovely."

"His temper——his disposition."

"His temper is under great command, although naturally ardent; his disposition eminently benevolent towards his fellow-creatures."

"His connexions."

"Suitable," said the doctor with a smile.

His fortune was of but little moment; Emily would be amply provided, for all the customary necessaries of her station; and Mrs. Wilson thanking the divine, returned to the parlour, easy in her mind, and determined to let things take their own course for a time, but in no degree to relax the vigilance of her observation.

On her return to the room, Mrs. Wilson observed Denbigh approach Egerton, and enter into conversation of a general nature; it was the first time any thing more than unavoidable courtesies had passed between them, and the colonel appeared slightly uneasy under his situation; while, on the other hand, his companion showed an anxiety to be on a more friendly footing than heretofore——there was something mysteriousin the feelings manifested by both these gentlemen, that greatly puzzled the good lady to account for; and from its complexion, she feared one or the other was not entirely free from censure; it could not have been a quarrel, or their names would have been familiar to each other; they had both served in Spain she knew, and excesses were often committed by gentlemen at a distance from home, their pride would have prevented where they were anxious to maintain a character. Gambling, and a few other prominent vices, floated through her imagination, until wearied of conjectures where she had no data from which to discover the truth, and supposing after all it might be her imagination only, she turned to more pleasant reflections.

CHAPTER XII.

The bright eyes of Emily Moseley, unconsciously wandered round the brilliant assemblage at Mr. Haughton's, as she took her seat, in search of her partner. The rooms were filled with scarlet coats, and belles from the little town of F——, and if the company were not the most select imaginable, it was disposed to enjoy the passing moment cheerfully, and in lightness of heart; as their good hearted host would sing, "to dance away care:"——e'er, however, she could make out to scan the countenances of the beaux, young Jarvis, decked in the full robes of his dignity, as captain in the—— foot, approached and solicited the honour of her hand; the colonel had already secured her sister, and it was by the instigation of his friend, Jarvis had been thus early in his application; Emily thanked him, and pleaded her engagement; the mortified youth, who had thought dancing with the ladies a favour conferred on them, from the anxiety his sisters always manifested to get partners; stood for a few moments in sullen silence; and then, as if to be revenged on the sex, he determined not to dance the whole evening; accordingly he withdrew to a room appropriated to the gentlemen, where he found a few of the military beaux, keeping alivethe stimulus they had brought with them from the mess-table.

As Clara had prudently decided to comport herself as a clergyman's wife, and had declined dancing in future; Catherine Chatterton was the lady entitled to open the ball, as superior in years and rank, to any who were disposed to enjoy the amusement. The dowager, who in her heart loved to show her airs upon such occasions, had chosen to be later than the rest of the family; and Lucy had to entreat her father to have patience, more than once, during the interregnum in their sports, created by Lady Chatterton's fashion; she at length appeared, attended by her son, and followed by her daughters, ornamented in all the taste of the reigning fashions. Doctor Ives and his wife, who came late from choice, soon appeared, accompanied by their guest, and the dancing commenced; Denbigh had thrown aside his black for the evening, and as he approached to claim his promised honour, Emily thought him, if not as handsome, much more interesting than Colonel Egerton, who passed them in leading her sister to the set. Emily danced beautifully, but perfectly like a lady, as did Jane: but Denbigh, although graceful in his movements, and in time, knew but little of the art; and but for the assistance of his partner, would have more than once gone wrong in the figure; he very gravely asked her opinion of his performance as he handedher to a chair, and she laughingly told him, his movements were but a better sort of march; he was about to reply, when Jarvis approached; he had, by the aid of a pint of wine and his own reflections, wrought himself into something of a passion; especially as he saw Denbigh enter, after Emily had declined dancing with himself; there was a gentleman in the corps who unfortunately was addicted to the bottle, and he fastened on Jarvis, as a man at leisure to keep him company, in his favourite libations; wine openeth the heart, and the captain having taken a peep at the dancers, and seen the disposition of affairs, returned to his bottle companion bursting with the indignity offered to his person; he dropped a hint, and a question or two brought the whole grievance from him.

There is a certain set of men in every service, who imbibe notions of bloodshed, and indifference to human life, that is revolting to humanity, and too often, fatal in its results; their morals are never correct, and what little they have sets loosely about them ——-in their own cases, their appeals to arms are not always so prompt; but in that of their friends, their perceptions of honour are intuitively keen, and their inflexibility in preserving it from reproach unbending——-and such is the weakness of mankind, their tenderness on points where the nicer feelings of a soldier are involved, that these machines of custom——these thermometers graduated to the scale of false honour——-usurp the place of reason and benevolence, and become, too often, the arbiters of life and death to a whole corps. Such, then, was the confidant to whom Jarvis communicated the cause of his disgust, and the consequences may easily be imagined. As he passed Emily and Denbigh, he threw a look of fierceness at the latter, which he meant as an indication of his hostile intentions; but which was lost on his rival, who, at that moment, was filled with passions of a very different kind from those which Captain Jarvis thought agitated his own bosom; for had his new friend let him alone, he would have quietly gone home and gone to sleep.

"Have you ever fought," said Captain Digby cooly to his companion, as they seated themselves in his father's parlour, whither they had retired to make their arrangements for the following morning.

"Yes," said Jarvis, with a stupid look, "I fought once with Tom Halliday at school."

"At school! my dear friend, you commenced young indeed," said Digby, helping himself, "and how did it end?"

"Oh! Tom got the better, and so I cried enough," said Jarvis surlily

"Enough! I hope you did not flinch," cried his friend, eyeing him keenly; "where were you hit?"

"He hit me all over."

"All over——did you use small shot? How did you fight?"

"With fists," said Jarvis, yawning; and his companion seeing how the matter was, rung for his servant to put him to bed, remaining himself an hour longer to finish the bottle.

Soon after Jarvis had given Denbigh the look big with his intended vengeance, Colonel Egerton approached Emily, asking permission to present Sir Herbert Nicholson, the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, and a gentleman who was ambitious of the honour of her acquaintance, and a friend of his own; Emily gracefully bowed her assent: soon after, turning her eyes on Denbigh, who had been speaking to her at the moment, she saw him looking intently on the two soldiers, who were making their way through the crowd to where she sat; he stammered, said something she could not understand, and precipitately withdrew; and although both herself and her aunt sought his figure in the gay throng that flitted around them, he was seen no more that evening.

"Are you acquainted with Mr. Denbigh," said Emily to her partner, after looking in vain to find his person in the crowd.

"Denbigh! Denbigh! I have known one or two of that name," replied the gentleman; "in the army there are several."

"Yes," said Emily, musing, "he is in thearmy;" and looking up, she saw her companion reading her countenance with an expression that brought the colour to her cheeks, with a glow that was painful. Sir Herbert smiled, and observed the room was warm——Emily acquiesced in the remark, for the first time in her life, conscious of a feeling she was ashamed to have scrutinized, and glad of any excuse to hide her confusion.

"Grace Chatterton is really beautiful to night," said John Moseley to his sister Clara; "I have a mind to ask her to dance."

"Do, John," replied his sister, looking with pleasure on her beautiful cousin; who observing the movements of John, as he drew near to where she sat, moved her face on either side rapidly, in search of some one who was apparently not to be found; the undulations of her bosom perceptibly increased, and John was on the point of speaking to her, as the dowager stepped between them. There is nothing so flattering to the vanity of a man, as the discovery of emotions in a young woman, excited by himself, and which the party evidently wishes to conceal ——there is nothing so touching——-so sure to captivate; or if it seem to be affected——-so sure to disgust.

"Now, Mr. Moseley," cried the mother, "you must not ask Grace to dance; she can refuse you nothing, and she has been up the two last figures."

"Your wishes are irresistible, Lady Chatterton," said John, as he coolly turned on his heel; on gaining the other side of the room, he turned to reconnoitre the scene. The dowager was fanning herself as violently as if she had been up the two last figures, instead of her daughter, while Grace sat with her eyes fastened on the floor, paler than usual——-"Grace"——thought the young man, "would be very handsome——-very sweet——- very, very every thing that is agreeable, if ——if it were not for mother Chatterton"——- and he led out one of the prettiest girls in the room.

Col. Egerton was peculiarly adapted to the ball room; he danced gracefully and with spirit; was perfectly at home with all the usages of the best society, and never neglectful of any of those little courtesies which have their charm for the moment; and Jane Moseley, who saw all those she loved around her, apparently as happy as herself, found in her judgment, or the convictions of her principles, no counterpoise against the weight of such attractions, all centred, as it were, in one effort to please herself;——-his flattery was deep——-was respectful ——-his tastes were her tastes——-his opinions her opinions——-On the formation of their acquaintance, they had differed in some trifling point of poetical criticism, and for near a month the colonel had maintained his opinion, with a show of firmness; but as opportunitieswere not wanting for the discussion, he had felt constrained to yield to her better judgment——her purer taste. The conquest of Colonel Egerton was complete, and Jane, who saw in his attentions the submission of a heart devoted to her service, began to look forward to the moment, with trembling, that was to remove the thin barrier that existed between the adulation of the eyes, and the most delicate assiduity to please, and the open confidence of declared love; Jane Moseley had a heart to love, and love strongly; her danger existed in her imagination; it was brilliant, unchastened by her judgment, we had almost said, unfettered by her principles;——principles such as are found in every day maxims and rules of conduct, sufficient to restrain her within the bounds of perfect decorum, she was furnished with in abundance; but that principle which was to teach her submission in opposition to her wishes, that principle that could alone afford her security against the treachery of her own passions, she was a stranger to.

The family of Sir Edward were among the first to retire, and as the Chattertons had their own carriage, Mrs. Wilson and her charge returned alone in the coach of the former. Emily, who had been rather out of spirits the latter part of the evening, broke the silence by suddenly observing, "Colonel Egerton is, or will soon be, a perfect hero." Her aunt, somewhat surprised, both with the abruptness and force of the remark, inquired her meaning——"Oh, Jane will make him one, whether or no." This was spoken with a show of vexation in her niece she was unused to; and Mrs. Wilson gravely corrected her for speaking in a disrespectful manner of her sister, one whom neither her years nor situation entitled her, in any measure, to advise or control——-there was an impropriety in judging so near and dear a relation harshly, even in thought. Emily pressed the hand of her aunt, as she acknowledged her error; but added, that she felt a momentary irritation at the idea, that a man of Colonel Egerton's character, should gain the command over feelings, such as her sister possessed. Mrs. Wilson kissed the cheek of her niece, while she inwardly acknowledged the probable truth of the very remark she had thought it her duty to censure; that the imagination of Jane would supply her lover with those qualities she most honoured herself, she took as a matter of course; and that, when the veil was removed she had helped to throw before her own eyes, she would cease to respect, and of course, cease to love him, when too late to remedy the evil, she greatly feared. But in the approaching fate of Jane, she saw new cause to call forth her own activity, in averting a similar, or what she thought would prove aheavier misfortune, from her own charge. Emily Moseley had just completed her eighteenth year, and was gifted by nature, with a vivacity and ardency of feeling that gave a heightened zest to the enjoyments of that happy age. She was artless, but intelligent; cheerful, with a deep conviction of the necessity of piety; and uniform in her practice of all the important duties required by her professions. The unwearied exertions of her aunt, aided by her own quickness of perception, had made her familiar with the attainments suitable to her sex and years——- For music she had no taste, and the time which would have been thrown away in endeavouring to cultivate a talent she did not possess, was dedicated, under the discreet guidance of her aunt, to works which had a tendency, both to qualify her for the duties of this life, and fit her for that which comes hereafter. It might be said, Emily Moseley had never read a book that contained a sentiment, or inculcated an opinion, improper for her sex, or dangerous to her morals; and it was not difficult for those who knew the fact, to fancy they could perceive the consequences in her guileess countenance and innocent deportment. Her looks——-her actions——her thoughts, wore as much of nature, as the discipline of her well-regulated mind, and softened manners could admit of; in person, she was of the middle size, exquisitely formed, graceful andelastic in her step, without the least departure from her natural movements; her eye was a dark blue, with an expression of joy and intelligence; at times it seemed all soul, and again all heart; her colour rather high, but varying with every emotion of her bosom; her feelings strong, ardent, and devoted to those she loved. Her preceptress had never found it necessary to repeat an admonition of any kind, since her arrival at years to discriminate between the right and the wrong.

"I wish," said Doctor Ives to his wife; the evening his son had asked their permission to address Clara, "Francis had chosen my little Emily."

"Clara is a good girl," replied his wife, "she is so mild, so affectionate, that I doubt not she will make him happy——-Frank might have done worse at the Hall."

"For himself, he has done well, I hope," said the father; "a young woman of Clara's heart, may make any man happy; but an union with purity——sense——principles, like those of Emily, would be more——-it would be blissful."

Mrs. Ives smiled at her husband's animation, as she observed, "you remind me more of the romantic youth I once knew, than of the grave divine before me. There is but one man I know, that I could wish, now, to give Emily to; it is Lumley——-if Lumley seesher, he will woo her; and if he woos, he will win her."

"And Lumley I believe to be worthy of her," cried the rector, as he retired for the night.

CHAPTER XIII.

The following day brought a large party of the military beaux to the Hall, in acceptance of the baronet's hospitable invitation to dinner. Lady Moseley was delighted; so long as her husband's or her children's interest had demanded a sacrifice of her love of society, it had been made without a sigh, almost without a thought. The ties of affinity in her were sacred; and to the happiness, the comfort of those she felt an interest in, there were few sacrifices of her own propensities, she would not cheerfully have made——-it was this very love for her offspring, that made her anxious to dispose of her daughters in wedlock; her own marriage had been so happy, she naturally concluded it the state most likely to insure the happiness of her children; and with Lady Moseley, as with thousands of others, who, averse or unequal to the labours of investigation, jump to conclusions over the long line of connecting reasons, marriage was marriage, a husband was a husband; it is true, there were certain indispensables, without which, the formation of a connexion was a thing she considered not within the bounds of nature; there must be fitness in fortune, in condition, in education and manners; there must be no glaring evil, althoughshe did not ask for positive good——a professor of religion herself, had any one told her it was a duty of her calling, to guard against a connexion with any but a christian, for her girls, she would have wondered at the ignorance that would embarrass the married state, with feelings exclusively belonging to the individual; had any one told her it were possible to give her child to any but a gentleman, she would have wondered at the want of feeling, that could devote the softness of Jane, or Emily, to the association with rudeness or vulgarity. It was the misfortune of Lady Moseley, to limit her views of marriage to the scene of this life, forgetful that every union gives existence to a long line of immortal beings, whose future welfare depends greatly on the force of early examples, or the strength of early impressions.

The necessity for restriction in their expenditures had ceased, and the baronet and his wife greatly enjoyed the first opportunity their secluded situation had given them, to draw around their board their fellow-creatures of their own stamp——in the former, it was pure philanthropy; the same feeling urged him to seek out and relieve distress in humble life;——-while in the latter, it was love of station and seemliness——-it was becoming the owner of Moseley Hall, and it was what the daughters of the Benfield family had done since the conquest.

"I am extremely sorry," said the good baronet at dinner, "Mr. Denbigh declined our invitation to day; I hope he will ride over in the evening yet."

Looks of a singular cast were exchanged between Colonel Egerton and Sir Herbert Nicholson, at the mention of Denbigh's name; which, as the latter had just asked the favour of taking wine with Mrs. Wilson, did not escape her notice: Emily had innocently mentioned his precipitate retreat the night before; and he had, when reminded of his engagement to dine with them that very day, and promised an introduction to Sir Herbert Nicholson by John, in her presence, suddenly excused himself and withdrew; with an indefinite suspicion of something wrong, she ventured to address Sir Herbert with,

"Did you know Mr. Denbigh in Spain."

"I told Miss Emily Moseley, I believe, last evening, that I knew some of the name," replied the gentleman, evasively; and then pausing a moment, he added with great emphasis, "there is a circumstance connected with one of that name, I shall ever remember."

"It was creditable, no doubt, Sir Herbert," cried young Jarvis sarcastically; but the soldier affecting not to hear the question, asked Jane to take wine with him; Lord Chatterton, however, putting his knife and fork down gravely, and with a glow of animation, observed with unusual spirit, "Ihave no doubt it did, sir;" Jarvis, in his turn, affected not to hear this speech, and nothing further was said, as Sir Edward saw the name of Mr. Denbigh excited a sensation amongst his guests he was unable to account for, and which he soon forgot himself.

After the company had retired, Lord Chatterton, however, related to the astonished and indignant family of the baronet, the substance of the following scene, which he had been a witness to that morning, while on a visit to Denbigh at the rectory: as sitting in the parlour by themselves over their breakfast, a Captain Digby was announced, and asked in.

"I have the honour of waiting upon you, Mr. Denbigh," said the soldier, with the stiff formality of a professed duellist, "on behalf of Captain Jarvis, but will postpone my business until you are at leisure," glancing his eye on Chatterton.

"I know of no business with Captain Jarvis," said Denbigh, politely handing the stranger a chair, "that Lord Chatterton cannot be privy to; if he will excuse the interruption." The nobleman bowed, and Captain Digby, a little lowered by the rank of Denbigh's friend, proceeded in a more easy manner.

"Captain Jarvis has empowered me, sir, to make any arrangement with yourself or friend, previous to your meeting, which he hopes may be as soon as possible, if convenient to yourself," replied the soldier cooly.

Denbigh viewed him for a moment with astonishment, in silence; when recollecting himself, he said mildly, and without the least agitation, "I cannot affect, sir, not to understand your meaning, but am at a loss to imagine what act of mine can have made Mr. Jarvis wish to make such an appeal."

"Surely Mr. Denbigh cannot think a man of Captain Jarvis's spirit can quietly submit to the indignity put upon him last evening, by your dancing with Miss Moseley, after she had declined the honour to himself," said the captain, with an affectation of an incredulous smile. "My Lord Chatterton and myself can easily settle the preliminaries, as Captain Jarvis is much disposed to consult your wishes, Sir, in this affair."

"If he consults my wishes," said Denbigh, smiling, "he will think no more about it."

"At what time, Sir," asked Digby, "will it be convenient to give him the meeting?" and then, speaking with a kind of bravado gentlemen of his cast are fond of assuming, "my friend would not hurry any settlement of your affairs."

"I cannot ever give a meeting to Captain Jarvis, with hostile intentions," replied Denbigh, calmly.

"Sir!"

"I decline the combat, Sir," said Denbigh, speaking with firmness.

"Your reasons, Sir, if you please," asked Captain Digby, compressing his lips, and drawing up in an air of personal interest.

"Surely," cried Chatterton, who had with difficulty restrained his feelings, "surely Mr. Denbigh could never so far forget himself, as to expose Miss Moseley by accepting this invitation."

"Your reason, my lord," said Denbigh with interest, "would at all times have its weight; but I wish not to qualify an act of what I conceive to be principle, by any lesser consideration——I cannot meet Captain Jarvis, or any other man, in private combat; there can exist no necessity for an appeal to arms, in any society where the laws rule, and I am averse to blood-shed."

"Very extraordinary," muttered Captain Digby, somewhat at a loss how to act; but the calm and collected manner of Denbigh prevented a reply; and after declining a cup of tea, a liquor he never drank, he withdrew, saying, he would acquaint his friend with Mr. Denbigh's singular notions.

Captain Digby had left Jarvis at an inn, about half a mile from the rectory, for the convenience of early information of the result of his conference. The young man had walked up and down the room during Digby's absence, in a train of reflections entirely new to him; he was the only son of his aged father and mother, the protector of his sisters, and he might say, the sole hope ofa rising family; and then, possibly, Denbigh might not have meant to offend him——he might even have been engaged before they came to the house; or if not, it might have been inadvertence on the part of Miss Moseley——that Denbigh would offer some explanation he believed, and he had fully made up his mind to accept it, as his fighting friend entered. "Well," said Jarvis, in a low tone.

"He says he will not meet you," dryly exclaimed his friend, throwing himself into a chair, and ordering a glass of brandy and water.

"Not meet me," cried Jarvis, in surprise; "engaged, perhaps."

"Engaged to his conscience," exclaimed Digby, with an oath.

"To his conscience! I do not know I rightly understand you, Captain Digby," said Jarvis, catching his breath, and raising his voice a little.

"Then, Captain Jarvis," said his friend, tossing off his brandy, and speaking with great deliberation, "he says that nothing—— understand me——-nothing will ever make him fight a duel."

"He will not!" cried Jarvis, in a loud voice.

"No, he will not," said Digby, handing his glass to a waiter for a fresh supply.

"He shall."

"I don't know how you will make him," said Digby, cooly.

"Make him, I'll——I'll post him."

"Never do that," said the captain, turning to him, as he leaned his elbows on the table, "it only makes both parties ridiculous; but I'll tell you what you may do——there's a Lord Chatterton takes the matter up with warmth; if I were not afraid of his interest hurting my promotion, I should have resented something that fell from him myself——he will fight, I dare say, and I'll just return and require an explanation of his words on your behalf."

"No——no," said Jarvis, rather hastily, "he——he is related to the Moseleys, and I have views there——-it might injure."

"Did you think to forward your views, by making the young lady the subject of a duel," asked Captain Digby sarcastically, and eyeing his companion with great contempt.

"Yes, yes," said Jarvis, "it would hurt my views."

"Here's to the health of His Majesty's gallant —— regiment of foot," cried Captain Digby, in a tone of irony, three quarters drunk, at the mess table, that evening, "and to its champion, Captain Henry Jarvis." One of the corps was present accidentally as a guest; and the following week the inhabitants of F—— saw the regiment in their barracks marching to slow time after the body of Horace Digby.

Lord Chatterton, in relating the part of the foregoing circumstances which fell under his observation, did ample justice to the conduct of Denbigh; a degree of liberality which did him no little credit, as he plainly saw in that gentleman he had, or soon would have, a rival in the dearest wish of his heart; and the smiling approbation with which his cousin Emily rewarded him for his candour, almost sickened him with the apprehension of his being a successful one. The ladies were not slow in expressing their disgust with the conduct of Jarvis, or backward in their approval of Denbigh's forbearance. Lady Moseley turned with horror from a picture in which she could see nothing but murder and bloodshed; but both Mrs. Wilson and her niece, secretly applauded a sacrifice of worldly feelings on the altar of duty; the former admired the consistent refusal of admitting any collateral inducements, in explanation of his decision; while the latter, at the same time she saw the act in its true colours and elevated principle, could hardly keep from believing that a regard for her feelings had, in a trifling degree, its influence in his declining the meeting. Mrs. Wilson saw at once what a hold such unusual conduct would take on the feelings of her niece, and inwardly determined to increase, if possible, the watchfulness she had invariably kept upon all he said or did, as likely to elucidate his real character, well knowing that the requisites to bring or keep happiness in the married state, were numerous and indispensable; and that the display of a particular excellence, however good in itself, was by no means conclusive as to character; in short, that we perhaps as often meet with a favourite principle, as a besetting sin.

CHAPTER XIV.

Sir Edward Moseley had some difficulty in restraining the impetuosity of his son from taking some hasty step, in resenting this impertinent interference of young Jarvis, in the conduct of his favourite sister; indeed, he only yielded to his profound respect to his father's commands, aided by a strong representation on the part of his sister, of the disagreeable consequences of connecting her name with a quarrel in any manner. It was seldom the good baronet felt himself called upon to act as decidedly as on the present occasion; he spoke to the merchant in warm, but gentleman-like terms, of the consequences which might have resulted to his own child, from the intemperate act of his son; exculpated Emily entirely from censure, by explaining her engagement to dance with Denbigh, previously to his application; and hinting the necessity, if the affair was not amicably terminated, of protecting the peace of mind of his daughters against similar exposures in future, by declining the acquaintance of a neighbour he respected as much as Mr. Jarvis.

The merchant was a man of few words, but great promptitude; he had made his fortune, and more than once saved it, by his decision; and coolly assuring the baronet heshould hear no more of it, at least in a disagreeable way, took his hat and walked home from the village where the conversation passed; on arriving at his own house, he found the family collected, for a morning ride, in the parlour, and throwing himself into a chair, he commenced with great violence by saying——

"So, Mrs. Jarvis, you would spoil a very tolerable book-keeper, by wishing to have a soldier in your family; and there stands the puppy who would have blown out the brains of a deserving young man, if the good sense of Mr. Denbigh had not denied him the opportunity."

"Mercy!" cried the alarmed matron, on whom Newgate, with all its horrors, floated, and near which her early life had been passed, and a contemplation of whose frequent scenes had been her juvenile lessons of morality——"Harry! Harry! would you murder."

"Murder!" echoed her son, looking askance, as if to see the bailiffs, "no, mother, I wanted nothing but what was fair; Mr. Denbigh would have had an equal chance to have blown out my brains; I am sure every thing would have been fair."

"Equal chance," muttered his father, who had cooled himself, in some measure, by an extra pinch of snuff, "no, sir, you have no brains to loose; but I have promised Sir Edward that you shall make proper apologiesto himself, his daughter, and Mr. Denbigh;" this was rather exceeding the truth, but the alderman prided himself on performing more than he promised.

"Apology," exclaimed the captain, "why, sir, the apology is due to me——ask Colonel Egerton if he ever heard of an apology being made by the challenger."

"No, sure," said the mother, who having now made out the truth of the matter, thought it was likely to be creditable to her child, "Colonel Egerton never heard of such a thing——did you, colonel?"

"Why, madam," said the colonel, hesitatingly, and politely handing the merchant his snuff-box, which, in his agitation, had fallen on the floor, "circumstances sometimes justify a departure from ordinary measures; you are certainly right as a rule; but not knowing the particulars in the present case, it is difficult for me to decide——Miss Jarvis, the tilbury is ready;" and the colonel bowed respectfully to the merchant, kissed his hand to his wife, and led their daughter to his carriage.

"Do you make the apologies?" asked Mr. Jarvis of his son, as the door closed behind them.

"No, sir," replied the captain, sullenly.

"Then you must make your pay answer for the next six months," cried the father, taking a signed draft on his banker from his pocket, coolly tearing it in two pieces,and carefully putting the name in his mouth, and chewing it into a ball.

"Why, alderman," said his wife, a name she never used, unless she had something to gain from her spouse, who loved to hear the sound of the appellation after he had relinquished the office, "it appears to me, that Harry has shown nothing but a proper spirit ——you are unkind——indeed you are."

"A proper spirit——in what way——do you know any thing of the matter?"

"It is a proper spirit for a soldier to fight, I suppose," said the wife, a little at a loss to explain.

"Spirit, or no spirit," observed Mr. Jarvis, as he left them, "apology, or ten and sixpence."

"Harry," said his mother, holding up her finger in a menacing attitude, "if you do beg his pardon, you are no son of mine."

"No," cried Miss Sarah, "it would be mean."

"Who will pay my debts?" asked the son, looking up at the ceiling.

"Why, I would, my child, if——if——I had not spent my own allowance."

"I would," echoed the sister, "but if we go to Bath, you know, I shall want my money."

"Who will pay my debts," repeated the son.

"Apology, indeed; who is he, that you, a son of Alderman——of——of Mr. Jarvis, of thedeanery, B——, Northamptonshire, should beg his pardon——a vagrant that nobody knows."

"Who will pay my debts," said the captain, drumming with his foot.

"Why, Harry," exclaimed the mother, "do you love money better than honour——a soldier's honour?"

"No, mother; but I like good eating and drinking——think, mother, its a cool five hundred."

"Harry," cried the mother, in a rage, "you are not fit for a soldier; I wish I were in your place."

I wish, with all my heart, you had been for an hour this morning, thought the son; and, after arguing for some time longer, they compromised, by agreeing to leave it to the decision of Colonel Egerton, who, the mother did not doubt, would applaud her maintaining the Jarvis dignity, a family his interest in was but little short of what he felt for his own——-so he had told her fifty times——-and the captain determined within himself, to touch the five hundred, let the colonel decide as he would; but the colonel's decision prevented this disobedience to the commands of one parent, in order to submit to the requisition of the other. The question was put to him by Mrs. Jarvis, on his return from the airing, with no doubt the decision would be favourable to her opinion; the colonel and herself, she said, never disagreed; andthe lady was right——for wherever his interest made it desirable to convert Mrs. Jarvis to his side of the question, Egerton had a manner of doing it, that never failed to succeed.

"Why, madam," said he, with one of his most agreeable smiles, "apologies are different things at different times; you are certainly right in your sentiments, as relates to a proper spirit in a soldier; but no one can doubt the spirit of the captain, after the stand he took in the affair; if Mr. Denbigh would not meet him, (a very extraordinary measure, indeed, I confess,) what can he do more? he cannot make a man fight against his will, you know."

"True, true," cried the matron, impatiently, "I do not want him to fight; heaven forbid! but why should he, the challenger, beg pardon?——I am sure, to have the thing regular——Mr. Denbigh is the one to ask forgiveness." The colonel felt at a little loss how to reply, when Jarvis, in whom the thoughts of his five hundred pounds had worked a mighty revolution, exclaimed——

"You know, mother, I accused him——that is, suspected him of dancing with Miss Moseley against my right to her; now you find that was a mistake, and so I had better act with dignity, and confess my error."

"Oh, by all means," cried the colonel, who saw the danger of an embarrassing rupture between the families otherwise, "delicacyto your sex requires that, ma'am, from your son;" and he accidentally dropped a letter as he spoke.

"From Sir Edgar, colonel?" asked Mrs. Jarvis, as he stooped to pick it up.

"From Sir Edgar, madam, and he begs to be remembered to yourself and family." Mrs. Jarvis bowed in what she intended for a graceful bend, and sighed——a casual observer might have thought, with maternal anxiety for the reputation of her child——but it was conjugal regret, that the political obstinacy of the alderman, had prevented his carrying up an address, and thus becoming—— Sir Timothy——. Sir Edgar's heir prevailed, and the captain received permission to do what he had done already.

On leaving the room, after the first discussion, and before the appeal, he had hastened to his father with his concessions. The old gentleman knew too well the influence of five hundred pounds, to doubt their effects in the present instance, and had ordered his carriage for the excursion——it came, and to the hall they proceeded; the captain found his intended antagonist there, and in a rather uncouth manner, made the required concession. He was restored to his former favour——no great distinction——and his visits to the hall suffered, but with a dislike Emily could never conquer, or at all times conceal.

Denbigh was standing with a book in his hand, when Jarvis commenced his speech to the baronet and his daughter, and was apparently much engaged with its contents, as the captain blundered through. It was necessary, the captain saw by a glance of his father's eyes, to say something to the gentleman, who had delicately withdrawn to a distant window. His speech was made here too, and Mrs. Wilson could not avoid stealing a look at them; Denbigh smiled and bowed in silence. It is enough, thought the widow; the offence was not against him, it was against his maker; he should not arrogate to himself, in any manner, the right to forgive, or require apologies——the whole is consistent.—— The subject was never afterwards alluded to; Denbigh appeared to have forgotten it; and Jane sighed gently as she hoped the colonel was not a duellist.

Several days passed, before the deanery ladies could forgive the indignity their family had sustained, sufficiently to resume their customary intercourse; like all other grievances, where the passions are chiefly interested, it was forgotten in time, and things put in some measure on their former footing. The death of Digby served to increase the horror of the Moseleys, and Jarvis himself felt rather uncomfortable, on more accounts than one, at the fatal termination of the unpleasant business.

Chatterton, who to his friends had not hesitated to avow his attachment to his cousin, but who had never proposed for her, as his present views and fortune were not, in his estimation, sufficient for her proper support; had pushed every interest he possessed, and left no steps unattempted an honourable man could resort to, to effect his object. This desire to provide for his sisters, had been backed by the ardour of a passion that had reached its crisis; and the young peer, who could not, in the present state of things, abandon the field to a rival so formidable as Denbigh, even to further his views to preferment, was waiting in anxious suspense the decision on his application: a letter from his friend informed him, his opponent was likely to succeed; that, in short, all hopes of his lordship's success had left him——Chatterton was in despair. On the following day, however, he received a second letter from the same friend, announcing his appointment; after mentioning the fact, he went on to say——"The cause of this sudden revolution in your favour is unknown to me, and unless your lordship has obtained interest I am ignorant of, it is one of the most singular instances of ministerial caprice I have ever heard of." Chatterton was as much at a loss as his friend, but it mattered not; he could now offer to Emily ——it was a patent office, to a large amount in receipts, and a few years would amply portionhis sisters; that very day he proposed, and was refused.

Emily had a difficult task to avoid self-reproach, in regulating her deportment to the peer. She was fond of Chatterton as a relation——as her brother's friend——as the brother of Grace, and even on his own account; but it was the fondness of a sister; his manner——his words, which although never addressed to herself, were sometimes overheard unintentionally, and sometimes reached her through her sisters, left her in no doubt of his attachment; she was excessively grieved at the discovery, and innocently appealed to her aunt for directions how to proceed; of his intentions she had no doubt, but at the same time he had not put her in a situation to dispel his hopes; encouragement, in the usual meaning of the term, she gave to him, or no one else. There are no little attentions that lovers are fond of showing to their mistresses, and which mistresses are fond of receiving, that Emily ever permitted to any gentleman——no rides——no walks——no tetê-a-têtes; always natural and unaffected, there was a simple dignity about her that forbade the request, almost the thought, in the gentlemen of her acquaintance; Emily had no amusements, no pleasures of any kind, in which her sisters were not her companions; and if any thing was on the carpet, that required an attendant, John was ever ready; he was devoted to her; the decided preference she gave him over every other man, upon such occasions, flattered his affections; and he would, at any time leave even Grace Chatterton, to attend his sister——all this was without affectation, and generally without notice. Emily so looked the delicacy and reserve she acted without ostentation, that not even her own sex had affixed to her conduct the epithet of squeamish; it was difficult, therefore, for her to do any thing, which would show Lord Chatterton her disinclination to his suit, without assuming a dislike she did not feel, or giving him slights neither good breeding or good nature could justify; at one time, indeed, she expressed a wish to return to Clara; but this Mrs. Wilson thought would only protract the evil, and she was compelled to wait his own time. The peer himself did not rejoice more in his ability to make the offer, than Emily did to have it in her power to decline it; her rejection was firm and unqualified, but uttered with a grace and tenderness to his feelings, that bound her lover tighter than ever in her chains, and he resolved on immediate flight as his only recourse.

"I hope nothing unpleasant has occurred to Lord Chatterton," said Denbigh, with great interest, as he reached the spot where the young peer stood leaning his head against a tree, on his route from the rectory to the hall.

Chatterton raised his face as he spoke; there were evident traces of tears on it, and Denbigh, shocked, was delicately about to proceed, as the baron caught his arm.

"Mr. Denbigh," said the young peer, in a voice almost choaked with emotion, "may you never know the pain I have felt this morning——Emily——Emily Moseley——is lost to me——forever."

For a moment, the blood rushed to the face of Denbigh, and his eyes flashed with a look that Chatterton could not stand; he turned, as the voice of Denbigh, in those remarkable tones which distinguished it from every other voice he had ever heard, uttered,

"Chatterton, my lord, we are friends, I hope——I wish it from my heart."

"Go, Mr. Denbigh——go; you were going to Miss Moseley——do not let me detain you."

"I am going with you, Lord Chatterton, unless you forbid it," said Denbigh, with emphasis, slipping his arm through that of the peer's.

For two hours they walked together in the baronet's park, and when they appeared at dinner, Emily wondered why Mr. Denbigh had taken a seat next her mother, instead of his usual place between herself and aunt. In the evening, he announced his intention of leaving B——for a short time with Lord Chatterton; they were going to London together, but he hoped to return within tendays. This sudden determination caused some surprise, but as the dowager supposed, it was to secure the new situation, and the remainder of their friends thought it might be business, it was soon forgotten, but much regretted for the time. They left the Hall that night to proceed to an inn, from which they could obtain a chaise and horses; and the following morning, when the baronet's family assembled around their social breakfast the peer and his companion were many miles on their route to the metropolis.

CHAPTER XV.

Lady Chatterton, finding that little was to be expected in her present situation, excepting what she looked forward to, from the varying admiration of John Moseley to her youngest daughter, determined to accept an invitation of some standing, to a nobleman's seat about fifty miles from the hall; and in order to keep things in their proper places, leave Grace with her friend, who had expressed a wish to that effect; accordingly, the day succeeding the departure of her son, she proceeded on her expedition, accompanied by her willing assistant in her matrimonial speculations.

Grace Chatterton was by nature retiring and delicate; but her feelings were acute, and on the subject of female propriety, sensitive to a degree, that the great want of it in a relation she loved as much as her mother, had possibly in some measure increased; her affections were too single in their objects to have left her long in doubt, as to their nature with respect to the baronet's son; and it was one of the most painful orders she had ever received, that compelled her to accept her cousin's invitation——her mother was peremptory, and Grace was obliged to comply. Every delicate feeling she possessed revolted at the step; the visit itself was unwished foron her part; but there did exist a reason which had reconciled her to it——the wedding of Clara; but now, to remain after all her family had gone, in the house where resided the man, who had as yet never solicited those affections she had been unable to withhold; it was humiliating——it was degrading her in her own esteem, and she could not endure it.

It is said that women are fertile in inventions to further their schemes of personal gratification, vanity, or even mischief; it may be——it is true——but the writer of these pages is a man——one who has seen much of the sex, and he is happy to have an opportunity of paying a tribute to female purity and female truth; that there are hearts so disinterested as to lose the considerations of self, in advancing the happiness of those they love ——that there are minds so pure, as to recoil with disgust from the admission of deception, indelicacy, or management——he knows, for he has seen it from long and close examination; he regrets, that the very artlessness of those who are most pure in the one sex, subjects them to the suspicions of the grosser materials which compose the other. He believes that innocency, singleness of heart, ardency of feeling, and unalloyed shrinking delicacy, sometimes exist in the female bosom, to an extent that but few men are happy enough to discover, and most men believe incompatible with the frailties of humannature. Grace Chatterton possessed no little of what may almost be called this ethereal spirit; and a visit to Bolton parsonage was immediately proposed by her to Emily. The latter, too innocent herself to suspect the motives of her cousin, was happy to be allowed to devote to Clara a fortnight, uninterrupted by the noisy round of visiting and congratulations which had attended her first week; and Mrs. Wilson and the two girls left the hall, the same day with the Dowager Lady Chatterton. Francis and Clara were happy to receive them, and they were immediately domesticated in their new abode. Doctor Ives and his wife had postponed an annual visit to a relation of the former, on account of the marriage of their son, and now availed themselves of the visit of Clara's friends to perform their own engagements. B——appeared in some measure deserted, and Egerton had the field almost to himself. Summer had arrived, and the country bloomed in all its luxuriance of vegetation; every thing was propitious to the indulgence of the softer passions; and Lady Moseley, ever a strict adherent to forms and decorum, admitted the intercourse between Jane and her admirer to be carried to as great lengths as those forms would justify; still the colonel was not explicit, and Jane, whose delicacy dreaded the exposure of her feelings that was involved in his declaration, gave or sought no marked opportunities for the avowal of hispassion; yet they were seldom separate, and both Sir Edward and his wife looked forward to their future union, as a thing not to be doubted. Lady Moseley had given up her youngest child so absolutely to the government of her aunt, that she seldom thought of her future establishment; she had that kind of reposing confidence in Mrs. Wilson's proceedings, that feeble minds ever bestow on those who are much superior to them; and she even approved of a system in many respects, which she could not endeavour to imitate; her affection for Emily was not, however, to be thought less than what she felt for her other children; she was in fact her favourite, and had the discipline of Mrs. Wilson admitted of so weak an interference, might have been injured as such.

John Moseley had been able, by long observation, to find out exactly the hour they breakfasted at the deanery; the length of time it took Egerton's horses to go the distance between that house and the hall; and on the sixth morning after the departure of his aunt, John's bays were in his phaeton, and allowing ten minutes for the mile and a half to the park gates, John had got happily off his own territories, before he met the tilbury travelling eastward——-I am not to know which road the colonel may turn, thought John——and after a few friendly, but rather hasty greetings, the bays were in full trot to Bolton parsonage.

"John," said Emily, holding out her hand affectionately, and smiling a little archly, as he approached the window where she stood, "you should take a lesson in driving from Frank; you have turned more than one hair, I believe."

"How is Clara," cried John, hastily, taking the offered hand, with a kiss, "and aunt Wilson?"

"Both well, brother, and out walking this fine morning."

"How happens it you are not with them," inquired the brother, throwing his eyes round the room; "have they left you alone?"

"No, Grace has this moment left the room."

"Well, Emily," said John, taking his seat very composedly, but keeping his eyes on the door, "I have come to dine with you; I thought I owed Clara a visit, and have managed nicely to give the colonel the go-by."

"Clara will be happy to see you, dear John," said Emily, "and so will aunt, and so am I"——-as she drew aside his fine hair with her fingers to cool his forehead.

"And why not Grace, too?" asked John, with a look of a little alarm.

"And Grace, too, I expect——-but here she is, to answer for herself."

Grace said but little on her entrance, but her eyes were brighter than usual, and she looked so contented and happy, that Emily observed to her, in an affectionate manner,

"I knew the Eau-de-Cologne would do your head good."

"Is Miss Chatterton unwell," said Moseley, with a look of interest.

"A slight head ache," said Grace, faintly, "but I feel better."

"Want of air and exercise; my horses are at the door; the phaeton will hold three easily; run, sister, for your hats," almost pushing Emily out of the room as he spoke. In a few minutes the horses might have been suffering for air, but surely not for exercise.

"I wish," cried John, with impatience, when at the distance of a couple of miles from the parsonage, "that gentleman had driven his gig out of the road."

There was a small group on one side of the road, consisting of a man, woman, and several children. The owner of the gig had alighted for some purpose, and was in the act of speaking to them, as the phaeton approached at a great rate.

"John," cried Emily, in terror, "you never can pass——-you will upset us."

"There is no danger, dear Grace," said the brother, endeavouring to check his horses; he succeeded in part, but not so as to prevent his passing at a spot where the road was narrow; his wheel hit violently against a stone, and some of his works gaveway; the gentleman immediately hastened to his assistance——-it was Denbigh.

"Miss Moseley!" cried he, in a voice of the tenderest interest, "you are not hurt in the least, I hope."

"No," said Emily, recovering her breath, "only frightened;" and taking his hand, she sprang from the carriage.

Miss Chatterton found courage to wait quietly for the care of John; his "dear Grace," had thrilled on her every nerve; and she afterwards often laughed at Emily for her terror when there was so little danger——-the the horses were not in the least frightened, and after a little patching, John declared all was safe. To ask Emily to enter the carriage again, was to exact no little sacrifice of her feelings to her reason; and she stood in a suspense that too plainly showed, the terror she had been in had not left her.

"If," said Denbigh, modestly, "If Mr. Moseley will take the ladies in my gig I will drive the phaeton to the hall, as it is rather unsafe for so heavy a load."

"No, no, Denbigh," said John, coolly, "you are not used to such mettled nags as mine——it would be unsafe for you to drive them; if, however, you will be good enough to take Emily into your gig——-Grace Chatterton, I am sure, is not afraid to trust my driving, and we might all get back as well as ever."

Grace gave her hand almost unconsciously to John, and he handed her into the phaeton,as Denbigh stood willing to execute his part of the arrangement, but too diffident to speak; it was not a moment for affectation, if Emily had been capable of it, and blushing with the novelty of her situation, she took her place in the gig; Denbigh stopped and turned his eyes on the little group with which he had been talking, and at that moment they caught the attention of John also; he inquired of Denbigh their situations; their tale was a piteous one——their distress evidently real; the husband had been gardener to a gentleman in a neighbouring county, and he had been lately discharged, to make way, in the difficulty of the times, for a relation of the steward, who was in want of the place, and suddenly thrown on the world with a wife and four children, with but the wages of a week for his and their support; they had travelled thus far on the way to a neighbouring parish, where he said he had a right to, and must seek, public assistance; their children were crying for hunger, and the mother, who was a nurse, had been unable to walk further than where she sat, but had sunk on the ground overcome with fatigue, and weak from the want of nourishment. Neither Emily or Grace could refrain from tears at the recital of their heavy woes; the want of sustenance was something so shocking in itself; and brought, as it were, immediately before their eyes, the appeal was irresistible. John forgot his bays——-forgot evenGrace, as he listened to the affecting story related by the woman, who was much revived by some nutriment Denbigh had obtained from a cottage near them, and to which they were about to proceed by his directions, as Moseley interrupted them; his hand shook ——his eyes glistened as he took his purse from his pocket, and gave several guineas from it to the mendicant; Grace thought John had never appeared so handsome as the moment he handed the money to the gardener; his face glowed with the unusual excitement, and his symmetry had lost the only charm he wanted in common——-softness. Denbigh, after waiting patiently until Moseley had bestowed his alms, gravely repeated his directions for their proceeding to the cottage, and the carriages moved on.

Emily revolved in her mind during their short ride, the horrid distress she had witnessed; it had taken a strong hold on her feelings; like her brother, she was warm-hearted and compassionate, if we may use the term, to excess, and had she been prepared with the means, the gardener would have reaped a double harvest of donations; it struck her at the moment, unpleasantly, that Denbigh had been so backward in his liberality——-the man had rather sullenly displayed half a crown as his gift, in contrast with the golden shower of John's generosity; it had been even somewhat offensive in its exhibition, and urged the delicacy of her brother to a more hasty departure, than under other circumstances he would, just at the moment, have felt disposed to. Denbigh, however, had taken no notice of the indignity, and continued his directions in the same mild and benevolent manner he had used during the interview. Half a crown was but little, thought Emily, for a family that was starving, though; and unwilling to judge harshly of one she had begun to value so highly, she came to the painful conclusion, her companion was not as rich as he deserved. Emily had not yet to learn that charity was in proportion to the means of the donor, and a gentle wish insensibly stole over her, that Denbigh might in some way, become more richly endowed with the good things of this world; until this moment her thoughts had never turned on his temporal condition——she knew he was an officer in the army; but of what rank, or even of what regiment, she was ignorant——he had frequently touched in his conversations on the customs of the different countries he had seen; he had served in Italy——in the north of Europe——in the West Indies——in Spain. Of the manners of the people, of their characters in their countries, he spoke not unfrequently, with a degree of intelligence, a liberality, a justness of discrimination, that had charmed his auditors; but on the point of personal service he had maintained a silence that was inflexible, and a little surprising; more particularly of that part of his history which related to the latter country; from all which, she was rather inclined to think his rank not as conspicuous as she thought his merit entitled him to, and that possibly he felt an awkwardness of contrasting it with the more elevated station of Colonel Egerton; the same idea had struck the whole family, and prevented from delicacy any inquiries which might be painful; he was so connected with the mournful event of his father's death, that no questions could be put with propriety to the doctor's family; and if Francis had been more communicative to Clara, she was too good a wife to mention it, and her own family possessed of too just a sense of propriety, to touch upon points that might bring her conjugal fidelity in question.

Denbigh appeared himself a little abstracted during the ride, but his questions concerning Sir Edward and her friends were kind and affectionate; as they approached the house, he suffered his horse to walk; after some hesitation, he took a letter from his pocket, and handing it to her, said,

"I hope Miss Moseley will not think me impertinent, in becoming the bearer of a letter from her cousin, Lord Chatterton; he requested it so earnestly, that I could not refuse taking what I am sensible is a great liberty, for it would be deception, did I affect to be ignorant of his admiration, or his generous treatment of a passion she cannot return——Chatterton," and he smiled mournfully, "is yet too true in his devotion to cease his commendations."

Emily blushed painfully, but took the letter in silence, and as Denbigh pursued the topic no farther, the little distance they had to go, was rode in silence; on entering the gates, however, he said, inquiringly, and with much interest,

"I sincerely hope I have not given offence to your delicacy, Miss Moseley——-Lord Chatterton has made me an unwilling confidant——-I I need not say the secret is sacred on more accounts than one."

"Surely not, Mr. Denbigh," replied Emily, in a low tone, and the gig stopping she hastened to accept the assistance of her brother to alight.

"Well, sister," cried John, with a laugh, "Denbigh is a disciple to Frank's system of horse-flash——-hairs smooth enough here, I see; Grace and I thought you would never get home." Now, John fibbed a little, for neither Grace or himself, had thought in the least about them, or any thing else but each other, from the moment they separated until the gig arrived.

Emily made no reply to this speech, and as the gentlemen were engaged in giving directions concerning their horses, she seized the opportunity to read Chatterton's letter.

"I avail myself of the return of my friend Mr. Denbigh to that happy family,from which reason requires my self-banishment, to assure my amiable cousin of my continued respect for her character, and to convince her of my gratitude for the tenderness she has manifested to feelings she cannot return; I may even venture to tell her what few women would be pleased to hear, but what I know Emily Moseley too well to doubt, for a moment, will give her unalloyed pleasure——that owing to the kind, the benevolent, the brotherly attentions of my true friend, Mr. Denbigh, I have already gained a peace of mind and resignation I once thought was lost to me for ever. Ah! Emily, my beloved cousin, in Denbigh you will find, I doubt not, a mind——principles congenial to your own; it is impossible that he could see you, without wishing to possess such a treasure; and, if I have a wish that is now uppermost in my heart, it is, that you may learn to esteem each other as you ought, and, I doubt not, you will become as happy as you deserve; what greater earthly blessing can I implore upon you!

Chatterton."

Emily, while reading this epistle, felt a confusion but little inferior to what would have oppressed her had Denbigh himself been at her feet, soliciting that love Chatterton thought him so worthy of possessing; and when they met, could hardly look in the face a man who, it would seem, had been so openly selected by another, as the being fittest to be her partner for life. The unaltered mannerof Denbigh himself, however, soon convinced her that he was entirely ignorant of the contents of the note he had been the bearer of, and greatly relieved her from the awkwardness his presence had at first occasioned.

Francis soon returned, accompanied by his wife and aunt, and was overjoyed to find the guest who had so unexpectedly arrived in his absence. His parents had not yet returned from their visit, and Denbigh, of course, would remain at his present quarters. John promised to continue with them for a couple of days; and the thing was soon settled to their perfect satisfaction. Mrs. Wilson knew the great danger of suffering young people to be inmates of the same house too well wantonly to incur the penalties; but her visit had nearly expired, and it might give her a better opportunity of judging Denbigh's character; and Grace Chatterton, though too delicate to follow herself, was well contented to be followed, especially when John Moseley was the pursuer.

CHAPTER XVI.

"I am sorry, aunt, Mr. Denbigh is not rich," said Emily to Mrs. Wilson, after they had retired in the evening, and almost unconscious of what she uttered. The latter looked at her neice in surprise, at the abrupt remark, and one so very different from the ordinary train of Emily's reflections, as she required an explanation. Emily slightly colouring at the channel her thoughts had insensibly stolen into, gave her aunt an account of their adventures in the course of their morning's ride, and touched lightly on the difference in the amount of the alms of her brother and Mr. Denbigh.

"The bestowal of money is not always an act of charity," observed Mrs. Wilson, gravely, and the subject was dropped; though neither ceased to dwell on it in their thoughts, until sleep closed their eyes.

The following day Mrs. Wilson invited Grace and Emily to accompany her in a walk; the gentlemen having preceded them in pursuit of their different avocations. Francis had his regular visits of spiritual consolation; John had gone to the hall for his pointers and fowling piece, the season for woodcock having arrived; and Denbigh had proceeded no one knew whither. On gaining the high-road, Mrs. Wilson desired hercompanions to lead to the cottage, where the family of the mendicant gardener had been lodged, and thither they soon arrived. On knocking at the door, they were immediately admitted to an outer room, in which was the wife of the labourer who inhabited the building, engaged in her customary morning employments. They explained the motives of their visit, and were told the family they sought were in an adjoining room, but she rather thought at that moment engaged with a clergyman, who had called a quarter of an hour before them. "I expect, my lady, its the new rector, who every body says is so good to the poor and needy; but I have not found time yet to go to church to hear his reverence preach, ma'am," curtseying and handing the fresh dusted chairs to her unexpected visiters; the ladies seated themselves——too delicate to interrupt Francis in his sacred duties, and were silently waiting his appearance; when a voice was distinctly heard through the thin petition, the first note of which undeceived them as to the person of the gardener's visiter.

"It appears then, Davis, by your own confession," said Denbigh, mildly, but in a tone of reproof, "that your frequent acts of intemperance, have at least given ground for the steward in procuring your discharge, if it has not justified him from what was his duty to your common employer.

"It is hard, sir," replied the man, sullenly,"to be thrown on the world with a family like mine, to make way for a younger man with but one child."

"It may be unfortunate for your wife and children," said Denbigh, "but just, as respects yourself. I have already convinced you, that my interference or reproof is not an empty one; carry the letter to the person to whom it is directed, and I pledge you, you shall have a new trial; and should you conduct yourself soberly, and with propriety, continued and ample support; the second letter will gain your children immediate admission to the school I mentioned; and I now leave you, with an earnest injunction to remember that habits of intemperance, not only disqualify you to support those who have such great claims on your protection, but inevitably leads to a loss of those powers which are necessary to insure your own eternal welfare."

"May Heaven bless your honour," cried the woman, with fervour, and evidently in tears, "both for what you have said and what you have done. Thomas only wants to be taken from temptation, to become a sober man again——an honest one he has ever been, I am sure."

"I have selected a place for him," replied Denbigh, "where there is no exposure from improper companions, and every thing now depends upon himself under Providence."

Mrs. Wilson had risen from her chair on the first intimation given by Denbigh of his intention to go, but had paused at the door to listen to this last speech; when beckoning her companions, she hastily withdrew, having first made a small present to the woman of the cottage, and requested her not to mention their having called.

"What becomes, now, of the comparative charity of your brother and Mr. Denbigh, Emily?" asked Mrs. Wilson, as they gained the road, on their return homeward. Emily was not accustomed to hear any act of John slightly spoken of, without at least manifesting some emotion, which betrayed her sisterly regard; but on the present occasion she chose to be silent; while Grace, after waiting in expectation that her cousin would speak, ventured to say timidly,

"I am sure, dear madam, Mr. Moseley was very liberal, and the tears were in his eyes, while he gave the money; I was looking directly at him the whole time."

"John is compassionate by nature," continued Mrs. Wilson, with an almost imperceptible smile. "I have no doubt his sympathies were warmly enlisted on behalf of this family; and possessing much, he gave liberally; I have no doubt he would have undergone personal privation to have relieved their distress, and endured both pain and labour, with such an excitement before him; but what is that to the charity of Mr. Denbigh;" and she paused.

Grace was unused to contend, and least of all, with Mrs Wilson; but unwilling to abandon John to such comparative censure, with increased animation, she said,

"If bestowing freely, and feeling for the distress you relieve, be not commendable, madam, I am sure I am ignorant what is."

"That compassion for the woes of others is beautiful in itself, and the want of it an invariable evidence of corruption from too much, and ill-governed, intercourse with the world, I am willing to acknowledge, my dear Grace," said Mrs. Wilson, kindly, "but the relief of misery, where the heart has not undergone this hardening ordeal, is only a relief to our own feelings——this is compassion; but christian charity is a higher order of duty: it enters into every sensation of the heart——disposes us to judge, as well as act favourably to our fellow creatures——is deeply seated in the sense of our own unworthiness——keeps a single eye in its dispensations of temporal benefits, to the everlasting happiness of the objects of its bounty ——is consistent——well regulated——in short," and Mrs. Wilson's pale cheek glowed with an unusual richness of colour, "it is a humble attempt to copy after the heavenly example of our Redeemer, in sacrificing ourselves to the welfare of others, and does, and must proceed from a love of his person, and an obedience to his mandates."

"And Mr. Denbigh, aunt," exclaimed.Emily, the blood mantling to her cheeks with a sympathetic glow, and losing the consideration of John in the strength of her feeling, "his charity you think to be thus."

"So far, my child, as we can attribute motives from the complexion of the conduct," said her aunt, with lessened energy, "such appears to have been the charity of Mr. Denbigh."

Grace was silenced, if not convinced; and the ladies continued their walk, lost in their own reflections, until they reached a bend in the road which would hide the cottage from their view. Emily involuntarily turned her head as they arrived at this spot, and saw that Denbigh had approached to within a few paces of them. On joining them, he commenced his complimentary address in such a way as convinced them the cottager had been true to the injunction given her by Mrs. Wilson. No mention was made of the gardener, and Denbigh commenced a lively description of Italian scenery, which their present situation reminded him of. The discourse was maintained with great interest by himself and Mrs. Wilson, on this subject, for the remainder of their walk.

It was yet early when they reached the parsonage, where they found John, who had driven to the hall to breakfast, already returned, and who instead of pursuing his favourite amusement of shooting, laid down his gun as they entered, observing, "it is rathersoon yet for the woodcocks, and I believe I will listen to your entertaining conversation, ladies, for the remainder of the morning." He threw himself upon a sofa at no great distance from Grace, and in such a position as enabled him, without rudeness, to study the features of her lovely face, while Denbigh read aloud to the ladies, at their request, Campbell's beautiful description of wedded love in Gertrude of Wyoming.

There was a chastened correctness in the ordinary manner of Denbigh which wore the appearance of the influence of his reason, and subjection of the passions, that, if any thing, gave him less interest with Emily than had it been marked by an evidence of stronger feeling; but on the present occasion, the objection was removed; his reading was impressive; he dwelt on those passages which had most pleased himself, with a warmth of eulogium fully equal to her own undisguised sensations. In the hour occupied in their reading this exquisite little poem, and commenting on its merits and sentiments, Denbigh gained more on her imagination than in all their former intercourse; his ideas were as pure, as chastened, and almost as vivid as the poet's; and Emily listened to his periods with intense attention, as they flowed from him in language as glowing as his ideas. The poem had been first read to her by her brother, and she was surprised to discover how she had overloked its beauties on that occasion; even John acknowledged that it certainly appeared a different thing now from what he then thought it; but Emily had taxed his declamatory power, in the height of the pheasant season; and some how or other, John had now conceited, that Gertrude was just such a delicate, feminine, warm-hearted domestic girl, as Grace Chatterton. As Denbigh closed the book, and entered into a general conversation with Clara and her sister. John followed Grace to a window, and, speaking in a tone of unusual softness, he said,

"Do you know, Miss Chatterton, I have accepted your brother's invitation to go into Suffolk this summer, and that you are to be plagued with me and my pointers again."

"Plagued, Mr. Moseley," said Grace, in a voice softer than his own, "I am sure——I am sure, we none of us think you, or your dogs ever a plague."

"Ah! Grace," and John was about to become what he had never been before——sentimental——as he saw the carriage of Chatterton, containing the dowager and Catherine, entering the parsonage gates.

Pshaw! thought John, there comes mother Chatterton——"Ah! Grace," said John, "there are your mother and sister returned already."——"Already!" said the young lady; and, for the first time in her life, she felt rather unlike a dutiful child; at least, five minutes could have made no great differenceto her mother, and she would have so liked to hear what it was John Moseley meant to have said; for the alteration in his manner, convinced her that his first "ah! Grace," was to have been continued in a something different language, from what his second "ah! Grace," was ended.

Young Moseley and her daughter standing together at the open window, caught the attention of Lady Chatterton, the moment she got a view of the house; and she entered with a good humour she had not felt since the disappointment of her late expedition on behalf of Catherine. The gentleman she had determined on for her object in this excursion had been taken up by another rover, acting on her own account, and backed by a little more wit, and a good deal more money, than what Kate could be fairly thought to possess. Nothing further in that quarter offering in the way of her occupation, she turned her horses' heads towards London, that great theatre, on which there never was a loss for actors. The salutations had hardly passed before turning to John, she exclaimed, with what she intended for a most motherly smile, "what not shooting this fine day, Mr. Moseley? I thought you never missed a day in the season."

"It is rather early yet, my lady," said John, cooly, and something alarmed by the expression of her countenance.

"Oh!" continued the dowager, in the same strain, "I see how it is, the ladies have too many attractions for so gallant a young man as yourself." Now, as Grace, her own daughter, was the only lady of the party who could reasonably be supposed to have much influence over John's movements——a young gentleman seldom caring as much for their own, as other people's sisters, this may be fairly set down as a pretty broad hint of the thoughts the dowager entertained of the state of things; and John saw it, and Grace saw it.——The former cooly replied, "why, upon the whole, if your ladyship will excuse the neglect, I will try a shot this fine day;" and in five minutes, Carlo and Rover were both delighted.——Grace kept her place at the window, from a feeling she could not define, and perhaps was unconscious of, until the gate closed, and the shrubbery hid the sportsman from her sight, and then she withdrew to her room to——weep.

Had Grace Chatterton been a particle less delicate——less retiring——blessed with a managing mother, as she was, John Moseley would not have thought a moment about her; but on every occasion when the dowager made any of her open attacks, Grace discovered so much distress, so much unwillingness to second them, that a suspicion of a confederacy never entered his brain. It is not to be supposed that Lady Chatterton's manÅ“uvres were limited to thedirect and palpable schemes we have mentioned; no——these were the effervescence, the exuberance of her zeal; but as is generally the case, they sufficiently proved the ground-work of all her other machinations; none of the little artifices of——-placing——-of leaving alone——-of showing similarity of tastes ——-of compliments to the gentlemen, were neglected; this latter business she had contrived to get Catherine to take off her hands; but Grace could never pay a compliment in her life, unless changing of colour, trembling, undulations of the bosom, and such natural movements can be called so; but she loved dearly to receive them from John Moseley.

"Well, my child," said the mother, as she seated herself by the side of her daughter, who hastily endeavoured to conceal her tears, "when are we to have another wedding? I trust every thing is settled between you and Mr. Moseley by this time."

"Mother! Mother!" said Grace, nearly convulsed with the bitterness of her regret, "Mother, you will break my heart, indeed you will;" and she hid her face in the clothes of the bed by which she sat, and wept with a feeling of despair.

"Tut, my dear," replied the dowager, not noticing her anguish, or mistaking it for shame, "you young people are fools in these matters, but Sir Edward and myself will arrange every thing as it should be." Thedaughter now not only looked up, but sprang from her seat, her hands clasped together, her eyes fixed in almost horror; her cheek pale as death; but the mother had retired, and Grace sank back in her chair with a sensation of disgrace, of despair, which could not have been surpassed, had she readily merited the heavy weight of obloquy and shame she thought about to be heaped upon her.

CHAPTER XVII.

The succeeding morning, the whole party, with the exception of Denbigh, returned to the Hall. Nothing had transpired out of the ordinary course of the colonel's assiduities; and Jane, whose sense of propriety forbad the indulgence of tete-a-tetes, and such little accompaniments of every-day attachments, was rejoiced to see a sister she loved, and an aunt she respected, once more in the bosom of her family.

The dowager impatiently waited an opportunity to effect, what she intended for a master-stroke of policy in the disposal of Grace. Like all other managers, she thought no one equal to herself in devising ways and means, and was unwilling to leave any thing to nature. Grace had invariably thwarted all her schemes, by her obstinacy; and as she thought young Moseley really attached to her, she determined, by a bold stroke, to remove the impediments of false shame, and the dread of repulse, which she believed alone kept the youth from an avowal of his wishes; thus, also, get rid at once of a plague that had annoyed her not a little——her daughter's delicacy.

Sir Edward spent an hour every morning in his library, overlooking his accounts, and other necessary employments of a similar nature; and it was here she determined to have the conference.

"My Lady Chatterton, you do me honour," said the baronet, handing her a chair, on her entrance.

"Upon my word, cousin," cried the dowager, "you have a very convenient apartment here," looking around her in affected admiration of all she saw. The baronet replied, and a short discourse on the arrangements of the whole house, insensibly led to the taste of his mother, the Hon. Lady Moseley, (a Chatterton,) until having warmed the feelings of the old gentleman, by some well-timed compliments of that nature, she ventured on the principle object of her visit. "I am happy to find, baronet, you are so well pleased with the family as to wish to make another selection from it; I sincerely hope it may prove as judicious as the former one."

Sir Edward was a little at a loss to understand her meaning, although he thought it might allude to his son, who he had some time suspected had views on Grace Chatterton, willing to know the truth, and rather pleased to find John had selected a young woman he really loved in his heart, he observed,

"I am not sure I rightly understand your ladyship."

"No!" cried the dowager, in well-counterfeited affectation of surprise, "perhaps after all my maternal anxiety has deceivedme then: Mr. Moseley could hardly have ventured to proceed without your approbation."

"I have ever declined influencing any of my children, Lady Chatterton," said the baronet, "and John is not ignorant of my sentiments; I hope, however, you allude to an attachment to Grace?"

"I did certainly, Sir Edward," said the lady hesitatingly; "I may be deceived, but you must know the feelings, and a young woman ought not to be trifled with."

"My son is incapable of trifling, I hope," cried Sir Edward with animation, "and least of all with Grace Chatterton. No, my lady, you are right; if he has made his choice, he should not be ashamed to avow it."

"I would not wish on any account, to hurry matters," said the dowager, "but the report which is abroad, will prevent other young men from putting in their claims, Sir Edward,"——(sighing)——I have a mother's feelings: if I have been hasty, your goodness will overlook it," and Lady Chatterton withdrew with her handkerchief at her eyes, to conceal the tears——that did not flow.

Sir Edward thought all was natural and as it should be, and he sought an early conference with his son.

"John," said the father, ta kng his hand kindly, "you have no reason to doubt my affection or compliance to your wishes; fortune is a thing out of the question with a young man of your expectations;" and Sir Edward, in his eagerness to smooth the way, went on: "you can live here, or occupy my small seat in Wiltshire. I can allow you five thousand a year with much ease to myself. Indeed, your mother and myself would both straighten ourselves, to add to your comforts; but it is unnecessary——we have enough, and you have enough." Sir Edward would in a few minutes have settled every thing to the dowager's perfect satisfaction, had not John interrupted him, by the exclamation of, "what do you allude to, father?" in a tone of astonishment.

"Allude to," said Sir Edward simply, "why Grace Chatterton, my son."

"Grace Chatterton, Sir Edward; what have I to do with Grace Chatterton?" cried his child, colouring a little.

"Her mother has made me acquainted with your proposals," said the baronet, "and"——

"Proposals!"

"Attentions I ought to have said; and you have no reason to apprehend any thing from me, my child."

"Attentions!" said John haughtily; "I hope Lady Chatterton does not accuse me of improper attentions to her daughter."

"No, not improper, my son," said his father, "she is pleased."

"She is," cried John impatiently, "but I am displeased, that she undertakes to putconstructions on my acts, that no attention or words of mine will justify."

It was Sir Edward's turn now to be surprised. He had thought he was doing his son a kindness, when he had only been forwarding the dowager's schemes: but averse to contention, and wondering at his cousin's mistake, which he at once attributed to her anxiety, he told John he was sorry there had been any misapprehension, and left him. "No, no," said Moseley internally, as he paced up and down his father's library, "my lady dowager, you are not going to force a wife down my throat. If you do, I am mistaken; and Grace, if Grace"——and John softened and began to feel unhappy a little, but his anger prevailed.

From the moment Grace Chatterton conceived a dread of her mother's saying any thing to Sir Edward, her whole conduct was altered. She could hardly look any of the family in the face, and her most ardent wish was, that they might depart. John she avoided as she would an adder, although it nearly broke her heart to do so.

Mr. Benfield had staid longer than usual, and now wished to return. John Moseley eagerly seized the opportunity; and the very day after the conversation in the library, he went to Benfield Lodge as a dutiful nephew, to see his venerable uncle safely restored once more to the abode of his ancestors.

Lady Chatterton now perceived, when toolate, she had overshot her mark, and at the same time she wondered at the reason of such a strange result, from such well digested and well conducted plans; she determined never again to interfere between her daughter and the baronet's heir; concluding, with a nearer approach to the truth than always accompanied her deductions, that neither resembled ordinary lovers, in their temperament or opinions.

Perceiving no further use in remaining any longer at the Hall, she took her leave, and accompanied by both her daughters, proceeded to the capital, where she expected to meet her son.

Dr. Ives and his wife returned to the rectory on the same day, and Denbigh resumed his abode under their roof immediately. The intercourse between the rector's family and Sir Edward's was renewed, with all its former friendly confidence.

Col. Egerton began to speak of his departure also, but hinted his intentions of visiting L—— at the period of the baronet's visit to his uncle, before he proceeded to town in the winter.

L—— was a small village on the coast, within a mile of Benfield Lodge; and from its natural convenience, had been resorted to by the neighbouring gentry, for the benefit of sea bathing. The baronet had promised Mr. Benfield his visit should be made at an earlier day than usual, in order to gratify Janewith a visit to Bath, before they went to London, and at which town they were promised by Mrs. Jarvis the pleasure of her society, and that of her son and daughters.

Precaution is a word of simple meaning in itself, but various are the ways adopted by different individuals in this life to enforce its import; and not a few are the evils which are thought necessary to guard against. To provide in season against the dangers of want, personal injury, loss of character, and a great many other such acknowledged misfortunes, has become a kind of instinctive process of our natures. The few exceptions which exist, only go to prove the rule: in addition to these, almost every man has some ruling propensity to gratify, to advance which, his ingenuity is ever on the alert——or some apprehended evil to avert, which calls all his prudence into activity. Yet how seldom is it exerted, in order to give a rational ground to expect permanent happiness in wedlock.

Marriage is called a lottery, and it is thought, like all other lotteries, there are more blanks than prizes; yet is it not made more precarious than it ought to be, by our neglect of that degree of precaution, which we would be ridiculed for omitting in conducting our every day concerns? Is not the standard of testing the probability of matrimonial felicity, placed too low? Ought we not to look more to the possession of principles than to the possession of wealth? Or is it at all justifiable in a christian to commit a child, a daughter, to the keeping of a man who wants the very essential they acknowledge most necessary to constitute a perfect character? Most men revolt at infidelity in a woman——and most men, however licentious themselves, look for, at least, the exterior of religion in their wives. The education of their children is a serious responsibility; and although seldom conducted on such rules as will stand the test of reason, is not to be entirely shaken off: they choose their early impressions should be correct——their infant conduct at least blameless. And are not one half mankind of the male sex? Are precepts in religion, in morals, only for females? Are we to reverse the theory of the Mahommedans, and though we do not believe it, act as if men had no souls? Is not the example of the father as important to the son, as that of the mother to the daughter? In short, is there any security against the commission of enormities, but a humble and devout dependance on the assistance of that Almighty Power, which is alone able to hold us up against temptation.

Uniformity of taste, is no doubt necessary to what we call love, at least to think so; but is not taste acquired? Would our daughters admire a handsome deist if properly impressed with a horror of its doctrines, sooner than they now would a handsome Mahommedan? We would refuse our children to a pious dissenter, to give them to impious members of the establishment; we make the substance less than the shadow.

Our principal characters are possessed of these diversified views of the evils to be averted. Mrs. Wilson considers christianity an indispensible requisite in the husband to be permitted to her charge, and watches against the possibility of any other gaining the affections of Emily. Lady Chatterton considers the want of an establishment, as the one sin not to be forgiven, and directs her energies to prevent this evil; while John Moseley looks upon a free will as the birthright of an Englishman, and is at the present moment anxiously alive to prevent the dowager's making him the husband of Grace, the thing of all others he most desires.

CHAPTER XVIII.

John Moseley returned from L——within the week, and appeared as if his whole delight consisted in knocking over the inoffensive birds. His restlessness induced him to make a Jarvis his companion; for although he abhorred the captain's style of pursuing the sport, being in his opinion both out of rule and without taste, yet he was a constitutional fidget, and suited his own moving propensities at the moment. Egerton and Denbigh were both frequently at the Hall, but generally gave their time to the ladies, neither being much inclined to the favourite amusement of John.

There was a little arbour within the walls of the park, which had been for years the retreat from the summer heats to the ladies of the Moseley family; even so long as the youth of Mrs. Wilson it had been in vogue, and she loved it with a kind of melancholy pleasure, as the spot where she had first listened to the language of love, from the lips of her late husband; into this arbour the ladies had one day retired during the warmth of a noon-day sun, with the exception of Lady Moseley, who had her own engagements in the house. Between Egerton and Denbigh there was maintained a kind of courtly intercourse,which prevented any disagreeable collision from their evident dislike. Mrs. Wilson thought on the part of Denbigh, it was the forbearance of a principled indulgence to another's weakness; while the colonel's otherwise uniform good-breeding, was hardly able to conceal a something, amounting to very near repugnance, with which he admitted the association. Egerton had taken his seat on the ground, near the feet of Jane; and Denbigh had stationed himself on a bench placed without the arbour, but so near as to have the full benefit of the shade of the noble oak, whose branches had been trained, so as to compose its principal covering. It might have been accident, that gave each his particular situation; but it is certain they were so placed, as not to be in sight of each other, and so that the Colonel was convenient to hand Jane her scissors, or any other little implement of her work that she occasionally dropped, and so that Denbigh could read every lineament of the animated countenance of Emily as she listened to his description of the curiosities of Egypt, a country in which he had spent a few months while attached to the army in Sicily. In this situation we will leave them for an hour, happy in the society of each other, while we trace the rout of John Moseley and his companion, in their pursuit of woodcock, on the same day.

"Do you know, Moseley," said Jarvis, whobegan to think he was a favourite with John, "that I have taken if into my head, this Mr. Denbigh was very happy to plead his morals for not meeting me; he is a soldier, but I cannot find out what battles he has been in."

"Captain Jarvis," said John coolly, "the less you say about that business the better; call in Rover." Now another of Jarvis's recommendations was a set of lungs that might have been heard a half a mile with great ease on a still morning.

"Why," said Jarvis rather humbly, "I am sensible, Mr. Moseley, I was very wrong as regards your sister; but don't you think it a little odd in a soldier not to fight when properly called upon."

"I suppose Mr. Denbigh did not think himself properly called upon," said John; "or perhaps he had heard what a great shot you were."

Six months before his appearance in B——, Captain Jarvis had been a clerk in the counting room of Jarvis, Baxter Co. and had never held fire-arms of any kind in his hand, with the exception of an old blunderbuss, which had been a kind of sentinel over the iron chest for years. On mounting the cockade, he had taken up shooting as a martial exercise, inasmuch as the burning of gunpowder was an attendant of the recreation. He had never killed but one bird in his life, and that was an owl, of whom he took the advantage of day-light and his stocking feet,to knock off a tree in the deanery grounds very early after his arrival. In his trials with John, he sometimes pulled trigger at the same moment with his companion; and as the bird generally fell, why he had certainly an equal claim to the honour. He was fond of warring with crows, and birds of the larger sort, and invariably went provided with small balls fitted to the bore of his fowling piece for such accidental rencontres. He had another habit, which was not a little annoying to John, and who had several times tried in vain to break him of, that of shooting at marks. If birds were not plenty, he would throw up a chip, and sometimes his hat, by the way of shooting on the wing.

As the day was excessively hot, and the game kept close, John felt willing to return from such unprofitable labour. The captain now commenced his chip firing, which in a few minutes was succeeded by his hat.

"See, Moseley, see, I have hit the band," cried the captain, delighted to find he had at last wounded his old antagonist; "I don't think you can beat that yourself."

"I am not sure I can," said John, slipping a handful of gravel in the muzzle of his piece slily, "but I can do as you did, try."

"Do," cried the captain, pleased to get his companion down to his own level of amusement, "are you ready?"

"Yes, throw."

Jarvis threw, and John fired; the hat fairlybounced——"Have I hit it?" asked John coolly, while reloading the barrel he had discharged.

"Hit it?" said the captain, looking ruefully at his hat, "it looks like a cullender; but Moseley, your gun don't scatter well; here must have been a dozen shot have gone through in a place."

"It does look rather like a cullender," said John, as he overlooked his companion's observations on the state of his beaver, "and by the size of some of the holes, one that has been a good deal used."

The reports of the fowling pieces announced to the party in the arbour the return of the sportsmen; it being an invariable practice with John Moseley, to discharge his gun before he came in, and Jarvis had imitated him, from a wish to be, what he called, in rules.

"Mr. Denbigh," said John archly, as he put down his gun, "Captain Jarvis has got the better of his hat at last." Denbigh smiled without speaking; and the captain, unwilling to have any thing to say to a gentleman to whom he had been obliged to apologize for his five hundred pounds, went into the arbour to show the mangled condition of his head-piece to the colonel, on whose sympathies he felt a kind of claim, being of the same corps. John complained of thirst, and went to a little run of water, but a short distance from them, in order to satisfy it. Theinterruption of Jarvis was particularly unseasonable. Jane was relating, in a manner peculiar to herself, and in which was mingled that undefinable exchange of looks lovers are so fond of, some incident of her early life to the colonel, that greatly interested him; knowing the captain's foibles, he pointed with his finger, as he said,

"There is one of your enemies, a hawk."

Jarvis threw down his hat, and ran with boyish eagerness to drive away the intruder. In his haste, he caught up the gun of John Moseley, and loading it rapidly, threw in a ball from his usual stock; but whether it was that the hawk saw and knew him, or whether it saw something else it liked better, it made a dart for the baronet's poultry yard at no great distance, and was out of sight in a minute. Seeing his mark had vanished, the captain laid the piece where he had found it, and recovering his old train of ideas, picked up his hat again.

"John," said Emily, as she approached him affectionately, "you were too warm to drink."

"Stand off, sir," cried John playfully, having taken up his gun from against the body of the tree, and dropping it towards her——

Jarvis had endeavoured to make an appeal to the commiseration of Emily, in favour of his neglected beaver, and was within a few feet of them; at this moment, recoiling from the muzzle of the gun, he exclaimed, "it is loaded." "Hold," cried Denbigh, in a voice of horror, as he sprang between John and his sister. Both were too late; the piece was discharged. Denbigh turning to Emily, and smiling mournfully, gazed for a moment at her, with an expression of tenderness, of pleasure of sorrow, so blended, that she retained the recollection of it for life, and then fell at her feet.

The gun dropt from the nerveless grasp of young Moseley. Emily sunk in insensibility by the side of her preserver. Mrs. Wilson and Jane stood speechless and aghast. The colonel alone retained a presence of mind so necessary to devise the steps to be immediately taken. He sprung to the examination of Denbigh; his eyes were open, and his recollection perfect: they were fixed in intense observation on the inanimate body which laid by his side.

"Leave me, Colonel Egerton," he said, speaking with difficulty, and pointing in the direction of the little run of water, "assist Miss Moseley——your hat——your hat will answer."

Accustomed to scenes of blood, and not ignorant that time and care were the remedies to be applied to the wounded man, Egerton flew to the stream, and returning immediately, by the help of her sister and Mrs. Wilson, soon restored Emily to life. The ladies and John had now begun to act.The tenderest assiduities of Jane were devoted to her sister, while Mrs. Wilson, observing her niece to be uninjured by any thing but the shock, assisted John in supporting the wounded man.

He spoke, requesting to be carried to the house; and Jarvis was despatched for help: within half an hour, Denbigh was placed on a couch in the mansion of Sir Edward, and quietly waiting for that professional aid, which could only decide on his probable fate. The group assembled in the room, were waiting in fearful expectation the arrival of the surgeons, in pursuit of whom messengers had been sent, both to the barracks in F—— and to the town itself. Sir Edward sat by the side of the sufferer, holding one of his hands in his own, now turning his tearful eyes on that daughter who had so lately been rescued as it were from the certainty of death in mute gratitude and thanksgiving; and now dwelling on the countenance of him, who, by barely interposing his bosom to the blow, had incurred in his own person, the imminent danger of a similar fate, with a painful sense of his perilous situation, and devout and earnest prayers for his safety. Emily was with her father, as with the rest of his family, a decided favourite; and no reward would have been sufficient, no gratitude lively enough, in the estimation of the baronet, to compensate the defender of such a child. She sat betweenher mother and Jane, with a hand held by each, pale and opprest with a load of gratitude, of thanksgiving, of wo, that almost bowed her to the earth. Lady Moseley and Jane were both sensibly touched with the deliverance of Emily, and manifested the interest they took in her by the tenderest caresses, while Mrs. Wilson sat calmly collected within herself, occasionally giving those few directions which were necessary under the circumstances, and offering up her silent petitions in behalf of the sufferer. John had taken horse immediately for F——, and Jarvis had volunteered to go to the rectory and Bolton. Denbigh inquired frequently and with much anxiety for Dr. Ives; but the rector was absent from home on a visit to a sick parishioner, and it was late in the evening before he arrived. Within three hours of the accident, however, Dr. Black, the surgeon of the——th, reached the Hall, and immediately proceeded to the examination of the wound. The ball had penetrated the right breast, and gone directly through the body; it was extracted with very little difficulty, and his attendant acquainted the anxious friends of Denbigh, the heart had certainly, and he hoped the lungs had escaped uninjured; the ball was a very small one, and the danger to be apprehended was from fever: he had taken the usual precautions against it, and should it not set in with a violence greaterthan he apprehended at present, the patient might be abroad within the month; "but," continued the surgeon with the hardened indifference of his profession, "the gentleman has had a narrow chance in the passage of the ball itself; half an inch would have settled his accounts with this world." This information greatly relieved the family, and orders were given to preserve a silence in the house that would favour the patient's disposition to quiet, or, if possible, sleep.

Dr. Ives now reached the Hall. Mrs. Wilson had never seen the rector in the agitation, or want of self-command he was in, as she met him at the entrance of the house—— "Is he alive?——is there hope?——where is George?"——cried the doctor as he caught the extended hand of Mrs. Wilson; she briefly acquainted him with the surgeon's report, and the reasonable ground there was to expect Denbigh would survive the injury.——- "May God be praised," said the rector, in a suppressed voice, and he hastily withdrew into a parlour. Mrs. Wilson followed him slowly and in silence, but was checked on her opening the door, with the sight of the rector on his knees, and the big tear stealing down his venerable cheeks in quick succession. "Surely," thought the widow, as she drew back unnoticed, "a youth capable of exciting such affection in a man like Dr. Ives, as he now manifests, cannot be an unworthy one."

Denbigh hearing of the arrival of his friend desired to see him alone: their conference was short, and the rector returned from it with increased hopes of the termination of this dreadful accident. He immediately left the hall for his own house, with a promise of returning early on the following morning.

During the night, however, the symptoms became unfavourable; and before the return of Dr. Ives, Denbigh was in a state of delirium from the height of his fever, and the apprehensions of his friends renewed with additional force.

"What, what, my good sir, do you think of him?" said the baronet to the family physician, with an emotion that the danger of his dearest child would not have exceeded, and within hearing of most of his children, who were collected in the anti-chamber of the room Denbigh was placed in. "It is impossible to say, Sir Edward," replied the physician, "he refuses all medicines, and unless this fever abates, there is but little hopes of his recovery."

Emily stood during this question and answer, motionless, pale as death, and with her hands clasped together; betraying by the workings of her fingers in a kind of convulsive motion, the intensity of her interest; she had seen the draught prepared, which it was so desirable for Denbigh to take, and it now stood rejected on a table inview through the open door of his room ——-almost breathless she glided to where it was put, and taking it in her hand, she approached the bed, by which sat John alone, listening with a feeling of despair to the wanderings of the sick man; Emily hesitated once or twice, as she drew near to Denbigh; her face had lost the paleness of anxiety, and glowed with some other emotion.

"Mr. Denbigh——-dear Denbigh," said Emily, with energy, and unconsciously dropping her voice into the softest notes of persuasion; "will you refuse me?——me, Emily Moseley, whose life you have saved?" and she offered him the salutary beverage.

"Emily Moseley!" repeated Denbigh, after her, and in those tones so remarkable to his natural voice, "is she safe? I thought she was killed——-dead;" and then, as if recollecting somewhat, he gazed intently on her countenance——-his eye became less fiery——-his his muscles relaxed——-he smiled, and took without opposition the prescribed medicines from her hand. He still wandered in his language, but his physician, profiting by the command Emily possessed over his patient, increased his care, and by night his fever had abated, and before morning he was in a profound sleep. During the whole day, it was thought necessary to keep Emily by the side of his bed; but at times it was notrifling tax on her feelings to remain there; he spoke of her by name in the tenderest manner, although incoherently, and in terms that restored to the blanched cheeks of the distressed girl, more than the richness of their native colour. His thoughts were not confined to Emily, however; he talked of his father——-of his mother, and frequently spoke of his poor deserted Marian——-the latter name he dwelt on in the language of the warmest affection——-condemned his own desertion of her——and, taking Emily for her, would beg her forgiveness——-tell her, her sufferings had been enough, and that he would return and never leave her again. At such moments, his nurse would sometimes show, by the paleness of her cheeks again, her anxiety for his health, and then, as he addressed her by her proper appellation, all her emotions appeared absorbed in a sense of the shame his praises overwhelmed her with, as he became more placid with the decrease of his fever. Mrs Wilson succeeded her in the charge of the patient; and she retired to seek that repose she so greatly needed. On the second morning after receiving the wound, he dropped into a deep sleep, from which he awoke perfectly refreshed and collected in his mind. The fever had left him, and his attendants pronounced, with the usual caution to prevent a relapse, his recovery certain. It were impossible to have communicatedany intelligence more grateful to all the members of the Moseley family; for Jane had even lost sight of her own lover, from her sympathy in the fate of a man she supposed to be her sister's.

CHAPTER XIX.

The recovery of Denbigh was as rapid as the most sanguine expectation of his friends could justify; and in ten days from the accident, he left his bed, and would sit for an hour or two at a time in his dressing room, where Mrs. Wilson, accompanied by Jane or Emily, would come and read to him, such books as they knew he was fond of; and it was a remark of Sir Edward's game-keeper, that the woodcocks had become so tame, during the time Mr. Moseley was shut up in attendance on his friend, that Captain Jarvis was at last seen bringing home one.

As Jarvis felt something like a consciousness, that but for his folly, the accident would not have happened; and also something very like shame, for the manner he had shrunk from the danger Denbigh had met, he pretended a recal to his regiment then on duty near London, and left the deanery. He went off as he came in——-in the colonel's tilbury, and accompanied by his friend and his pointers. John, who saw them pass from the windows of Denbigh's dressing-room, fervently prayed he might never come back again——-the chip-shooting poacher.

Colonel Egerton had taken leave of Jane the evening preceding, with the assurance of the anxiety he should look forward to themoment of their meeting at L——, wither he intended repairing, as soon as the corps he belonged to had gone through its annual review. Jane had followed the bent of her natural feelings too much, during the period of Denbigh's uncertain fate, to think much on her lover, or any thing else but her rescued sister and her preserver; but now the former was pronounced in safety, and the latter, by the very re-action of her grief, was if possible happier than ever. Jane dwelt in melancholy sadness on the perfections of the man who had taken with him the best affections (as she thought) of her heart——with him, all was perfect; his morals were unexceptionable, his manners showed it; his tenderness of disposition manifest——-they had wept together over the distresses of more than one fictitious heroine; his temper, how amiable! he was never angry——-she had never seen it; his opinions——-his tastes, how correct! they were her own; his form, his face, how agreeable, her eyes had seen it, and her heart acknowledged it; besides, his eyes confessed the power of her own charms; he was brave, for he was a soldier——in short, as Emily had predicted, he was a hero——-for he was Colonel Egerton.

Had Jane been possessed of less exuberance of fancy, she might have been a little at a loss to have identified all those good properties with her hero, or had she possessed a matured or well regulated judgmentto have controlled that fancy, they might possibly have assumed a different appearance. No explanation had taken place between them, however; Jane knew, both by her own feelings, and the legends of love, from its earliest days, that the moment of parting was generally a crisis in affairs of the heart; and with a backwardness, occasioned by her modesty, had rather avoided, than sought an opportunity to favour the colonel's wishes. Egerton had not been over anxious to come to the point, and every thing was left as heretofore——neither, however, appeared to doubt in the least the state of the other's affections; and there might be said to exist between them, one of those not unusual engagements, by implication, which it would have been (in their own estimation) a breach of faith to have receded from, but which, like all other bargains that are loosely made, are sometimes violated, if convenient. Man is a creature that, experience has sufficiently proved, it is necessary to keep in his proper place in society, by wholesome restrictions; and we have often thought it a matter of regret, that some well-understood regulations did not exist, by which it became not only customary, but incumbent on him, to proceed in his road to the temple of hymen—— we know that it is ungenerous, ignoble, almost unprecedented, to doubt the faith, the constancy, of a male paragon; yet, somehow, as the papers occasionally give us asample of such infidelity——-as we have sometimes seen a solitary female brooding over her woes in silence, and with the seemliness of feminine decorum, shrinking from the discovery of its cause and its effects she has in vain hoped to escape; or which the grave has revealed for the first time; we cannot but wish, that either the watchfulness of the parent, or a sense of self-preservation in the daughter, would for the want of a better, cause them to adhere to those old conventional forms of courtship, which requires a man to speak to be understood, and a woman to answer to be committed.

There was a little parlour in the house of Sir Edward Moseley, that was the privileged retreat of none but the members of his own family; it was here that the ladies were accustomed to withdraw into the bosom of their domestic quietude, when occasional visiters had disturbed their ordinary intercourse, and many were the hasty and unreserved communications it had witnessed from the sisters, in their stolen flights from the gayer scenes of the principal apartments; it might be said to be sacred to the pious feelings of the domestic affections. Sir Edward would retire to it when fatigued with his occupations, certain of finding some one of those he loved to draw his thoughts off from the cares of life to the little incidents of his children's happiness; and Lady Moseley, even in the proudest hours of her reviving splendour, seldom passed the door without looking in, with a smile, on the faces she might find there; it was, in fact, the room in the large mansion of the baronet, expressly devoted, by long usage and common consent, to the purest feelings of human nature. Into this apartment Denbigh had gained admission, as the one nearest to his own room, and requiring the least effort of his returning strength to reach, and, perhaps, by an undefinable feeling of the Moseleys which had begun to connect him with themselves—— partly from his winning manners, and partly by the sense of the obligation he had laid them under.

One warm day, John and his friend had sought this retreat, in expectation of meeting his sisters, who they found, however, on inquiry, had walked to the arbour; after remaining conversing for an hour by themselves, John was called away to attend to a pointer that had been taken sick, and Denbigh throwing a handkerchief over his head to guard against the danger of cold, quietly composed himself on one of the comfortable sofas of the room, with a disposition to sleep; before he had entirely lost his consciousness, a light step moving near him, caught his ear; believing it to be a servant unwilling to disturb him, he endeavoured to continue in his present mood, until the quick, but stifled breathing, of some one nearer to him than before, roused his curiosity; hecommanded himself. however, sufficiently to remain quiet; a blind of a window near him was carefully closed; a screen drawn from a corner and placed so as sensibly to destroy the slight draught of air in which he laid himself from the excessive heat; and other arrangements were making, but with a care to avoid disturbing him, that rendered them hardly audible——presently the step approached him again, the breathing was quicker though gentle, the handkerchief moved—— but the hand was withdrawn hastily as if afraid of itself——another effort was successful, and Denbigh stole a glance through his dark lashes, on the figure of Emily as she stood over him in the fullness of her charms, and with a face, in which glowed an emotion of interest he had never witnessed in it before; it undoubtedly was gratitude. For a moment she gazed on him, as her colour increased in richness. His hand was carelessly thrown over an arm of the sofa; she stooped towards it with her face gently, but with an air of modesty that shone in her very figure——Denbigh felt the warmth of her breath, but her lips did not touch it. Had Denbigh been inclined to judge the actions of Emily Moseley harshly, it were impossible to mistake the movement for any thing but the impulse of natural feeling——there was a pledge of innocence, of modesty in her countenance, that would have prevented any misconstruction; and he continuedquietly awaiting what the preparations on her little mahogany secretary were intended for.

Mrs. Wilson entertained a great abhorrence of what is commonly called accomplishments in a woman; she knew that too much of that precious time, which could never be recalled, was thrown away in endeavouring to acquire a smattering in what, if known, could never be of use to the party, and what can never be well known but to a few, whom nature, and long practice, have enabled to conquer; yet as her mind had early manifested a taste for painting, and a vivid perception of the beauties of nature, her inclination had been indulged, and Emily Moseley sketched with great neatness and accuracy, and no little despatch. It would have been no subject of surprise, had admiration, or some more powerful feeling, betrayed to the maid, the deception which the young man, whose features she was now studying, was practising on her unsuspicion. She had entered the room from her walk, warm and careless; her hair, than which none was more beautiful, had strayed on her shoulders, freed from the confinement of the comb, and a lock was finely contrasted with the rich colour of her cheek, that almost burnt with the exercise and the excitement——her dress, white as the first snow of the winter; her looks, as she now turned them on the face of the sleeper, andnow betrayed by their animation the success of her art, formed a picture in itself, that Denbigh might have been content to have gazed on forever. Her back was to a window, that threw its strong light on the paper; whose figures were reflected, as she occasionally held it up to study its effect in a large mirror, so fixed that Denbigh caught a view of her subject——he knew it at a glance——the arbour——the gun——himself, all were there; it appeared to have been drawn before——it must have been, from its perfect state, and Emily had seized a favourable moment to complete his resemblance. Her touches were light and finishing, and as the picture was frequently held up for consideration, he had some time allowed for studying it. His own resemblance was strong; his eyes were turned on herself, to whom Denbigh thought she had not done ample justice——but the man who held the gun, bore no likeness to John Moseley, except in dress. A slight movement of the muscles of the sleeper's mouth, might have betrayed his consciousness, had not Emily been too intent on the picture, as she turned it in such a way, that a strong light fell on the recoiling figure of Captain Jarvis——the resemblance was wonderful——Denbigh thought he would have known it, had he seen it in the academy itself. The noise of some one approaching closed the port-folio——it was only a servant; yet Emily did not resume her pencil. Denbigh watched her motions, as she put the picture carefully in a private drawer of the secretary——reopened the blind, replaced the screen, and laid the handkerchief, the last thing, on his face, with a movement almost imperceptible to himself.

"It is later than I thought it," said Denbigh, looking at his watch, "I owe an apology, Miss Moseley, for making so free with your parlour; but I was too lazy to move."

"Apology! Mr. Denbigh," cried Emily, with a colour varying with every word she spoke, and trembling, at what she thought the nearness of detection, "you have no apology to make for your present debility; and surely——surely, least of all to me."

"I understand from Mr. Moseley," continued Denbigh, with a smile, "that our obligation is at least mutual; to your perseverance and care, Miss Moseley, after the physicians had given me up, I believe I am, under Providence, indebted for my recovery."

Emily was not vain, and least of all addicted to a display of any of her acquirements; very few even of her friends knew she ever held a pencil in her hand; yet did she now unaccountably throw open her port-folio, and offer its contents to the examination of her companion; it was done almost instantaneously, and with great freedom, though not without certain flushings of the face, andheavings of the bosom, that would have eclipsed Grace Chatterton in her happiest moments of natural flattery. Whatever might have been the wishes of Mr. Denbigh, to pursue a subject which had begun to grow extremely interesting, both from its import and the feelings of the parties it would have been rude to have declined viewing the contents of a lady's port-folio. The drawings were, many of them, interesting, and the exhibiter of them now appeared as anxious to remove them in haste, as she had but the moment before been to direct his attention to her performance. Denbigh would have given much to have dared to ask for the paper so carefully secreted in the private drawer; but neither the principal agency he had himself in the scene, nor delicacy to his companion's evident wish for concealment, would allow of the request.

"Doctor Ives! how happy I am to see you," said Emily, hastily closing her portfolio, and before Denbigh had gone half through its contents, "you have become almost a stranger to us, since Clara has left us."

"No, no, my little friend, never a stranger, I hope, at Moseley Hall," cried the doctor, pleasantly; "George, I am happy to see you look so well——you have even a colour—— there is a letter for you from Marian."

Denbigh took the letter eagerly, and retired to a window to peruse it——his hand shook as he broke the seal, and his interest inthe writer or its contents, could not have escaped the notice of any observer, however indifferent.

"Now, Miss Emily, if you will have the goodness to order me a glass of wine and water, after my ride, believe me, you will do a very charitable act," cried the doctor, as he took his seat on the sopha. Emily was standing by the little table, deeply musing on the qualities of her port-folio; for her eyes were fixed on its outside intently, as if she expected to see its contents through the leather covering.

"Miss Emily Moseley," continued the doctor, gravely, "am I to die of thirst or not, this warm day."

"Do you wish any thing, Doctor Ives," said Emily, as he passed her in order to ring the bell.

"Only a servant to get me some wine and water."

"Why did you not ask me, my dear sir," said Emily, as she threw open a cellaret, and handed him what he wanted.

"There, my dear, there is a great plenty," said the doctor, with an arch expression, "I really thought I had asked you thrice——but I believe you were studying something in that port-folio." Emily blushed, and endeavoured to laugh at her own absence of mind; but she would have given the world to know who Marian was.

CHAPTER XX.

As a month had elapsed since the receiving of his wound, Denbigh took an opportunity one morning at breakfast, where he was well enough now to meet his friends, to announce his intention of trespassing no longer on their kindness, but of returning that day to the rectory; the communication distressed the whole family, and the baronet turned to him in the most cordial manner, as he took one of his hands, and said, with an air of solemnity,

"Mr. Denbigh, I could wish you to make this house your home; Doctor Ives may have known you longer, and may have ties of blood upon you, but I am certain he cannot love you better; and are not the ties of gratitude as binding as those of blood?"

Denbigh was affected by the kindness of Sir Edward's manner, as he replied,

"The regiment I belong to, Sir Edward, will be reviewed next week, and it has become my duty to leave here; there is one it is proper I should visit, a near connexion, who is acquainted with the escape I have met with, and wishes naturally to see me; besides, my dear Sir Edward, she has many causes of sorrow, and it is a debt I owe her affection to endeavour to relieve them." It was the first time he had ever spoken of his family, orhardly of himself; and the silence which prevailed, plainly showed the interest the listeners took in the little he uttered.

That connexion, thought Emily, I wonder if her name be Marian. But nothing further passed, excepting the affectionate regrets of her father, and the promises of Denbigh to visit them again before he left B——, and of joining them at L——immediately after the review he spoke of. As soon as he had breakfasted, John drove him in his phaeton to the rectory.

Mrs. Wilson, like the rest of the baronet's family, had been too deeply impressed with the debt they owed to this young man, to interfere with her favourite system of caution, against too great an intimacy between her niece and her preserver. Close observation, and the opinion of Dr. Ives, had prepared her to give him her esteem; but the gallantry, the self-devotion he had displayed to Emily, was an act calculated to remove heavier objections than she could imagine as likely to exist, to his becoming her husband——that he meant it, was evident from his whole deportment of late. Since the morning the portfolio was produced, Denbigh had given a more decided preference to her niece. The nice discrimination of Mrs. Wilson would not have said his feelings had become stronger, but that he laboured less to conceal them—— that he loved her niece, she suspected from the first fortnight of their acquaintance, andit had given additional stimulus to her investigation into her character——but to doubt it, after stepping between her and death, would have been to have mistaken human nature. There was one qualification, she would have wished to have been certain he possessed; before this accident, she would have made it an indispensible one; but the gratitude—— the affections of Emily, she believed now to be too deeply engaged to make the strict inquiry she otherwise would have done, and she had the best of reasons for believing that if Denbigh were not a professing Christian, he was at least a strictly moral man, and assuredly, one who well understood the beauties of a religion, she almost conceived it impossible for any impartial and intelligent man to resist long; perhaps Mrs. Wilson, owing to circumstances without her control, had in some measure interfered with her system——like others, had, on finding it impossible to conduct so that reason would justify all she did, began to find reasons for what she thought best to be done under the circumstances. Denbigh had, however, both by his acts and his opinions, created such an estimate of his worth, in the breast of Mrs. Wilson, that there would have been but little danger of a repulse, had no fortuitous accident helped him in his way to her favour.

"Who have we here," said Lady Moseley; "a landaulet and four——the Earl of Bolton,I declare;" and Lady Moseley turned from the window, with that collected grace she so well loved, and so well knew how to assume, to receive her noble visiter. Lord Bolton was a bachelor of sixty-five, who had long been attached to the court, and had retained much of the manners of the old school; his principle estate was in Ireland, and most of that time which his duty at Windsor did not require, he gave to the improvement of his Irish property; thus, although on perfectly good terms with the baronet's family, they seldom met——with General Wilson he had been at college, and to his widow he always showed much of that regard he had invariably professed to her husband. The obligation he had conferred, unasked, on Francis Ives, was one conferred on all his friends; and his reception was now warmer than usual.

"My Lady Moseley," said the earl, bowing on her hand, "your looks do ample justice to the air of Northamptonshire. I hope your ladyship enjoys your usual health;" and then waiting her equally courteous answer, he paid his compliments, in succession, to all the members of the family; a mode undoubtedly well adapted to discover their several conditions, but not a little tedious in its operations, and somewhat tiresome to the legs.

"We are under a debt of gratitude to your lordship," said Sir Edward, in his simple andwarm-hearted way, "that I am sorry it is not in our power to repay more amply than by our thanks."

The earl was, or affected to be, surprised, as he required an explanation.

"The living at Bolton, my lord," said Lady Moseley, with dignity. "Yes," continued her husband; "your lordship, in giving the living to Frank, did me a favour, equal to what you would have done, had he been my own child——and unsolicited too, my lord, it was an additional compliment."

The earl sat rather uneasy during this speech, but the love of truth prevailed, for he had been too much round the person of our beloved sovereign, not to retain all the impressions of his youth; and after a little struggle with his self love, answered,

"Not unsolicited, Sir Edward. I have no doubt had my better fortune allowed me the acquaintance of my present rector, his own merit would have obtained, what a sense of justice requires I should say was granted to an applicant, the ear of royalty would not have been deaf to."

It was the turn of the Moseleys now to look surprised, and Sir Edward ventured to ask an explanation.

"It was my cousin, the Earl of Pendennyss, who applied to me for it, as a favour done to himself; and Pendennyss is a man not to be refused any thing."

"Lord Pendennyss," exclaimed Mrs. Wilson, with animation, "and in what way came we to be under this obligation to his lordship?"

"He did me the honour of a call, during my visit to Ireland, madam," replied the earl, "and on inquiring of my steward after his old friend, Doctor Stevens, learnt his death, and the claims of Mr. Ives; but the reason he gave me, was his interest in the widow of General Wilson," bowing with much solemnity to the lady as he spoke.

"I am gratified to find the earl yet remembers us," said Mrs. Wilson, struggling to restrain her tears; "are we to have the pleasure of seeing him soon?"

"I received a letter from him yesterday, saying he should be here in all next week, madam;" and turning pleasantly to Jane and her sister, he continued, "Sir Edward, you have here rewards fit for heavier services, and the earl is a great admirer of female charms."

"Is he not married, my lord?" asked the baronet, with great simplicity.

"No, baronet, nor engaged; but how long he will remain so after his hardihood in venturing into this neighbourhood, will, I trust, depend on one of these young ladies."

Jane looked grave——for trifling on love was heresy in her estimation; but Emily laughed, with an expression in which a skilful physiognomist might have read——if he means me, he is mistaken.

"Your cousin, Lord Chatterton, has foundinterest, Sir Edward," continued the peer, "to obtain his father's situation; and if reports speak truth, he wishes to become more nearly related to you, baronet."

"I do not well see how that can happen," said Sir Edward, with a smile, and who had not art enough to conceal his thoughts, "unless he takes my sister, here."

The cheeks of both the young ladies now vied with the rose; and the peer observing he had touched on forbidden ground, added, "Chatterton was fortunate to find friends able to bear up against the powerful interest of Lord Haverford."

"To whom was he indebted for the place, my lord?" asked Mrs. Wilson.

"It was whispered at court, madam," said the earl, sensibly lowering his voice, and speaking with an air of mystery, a lord of the bed-chamber is fonder of, than a lord of the council-board, "that His Grace of Derwent threw the whole of his parliamentary interest into the scale on the baron's side—— but you are not to suppose," raising his hand gracefully, with a wave of rejection, "that I speak from authority; only a surmise, Sir Edward——only a surmise, my lady."

"Is not the name of the Duke of Derwent, Denbigh?" inquired Mrs. Wilson, with a thoughtful manner.

"Certainly, madam——Denbigh," replied the earl, with a gravity with which he always spoke of dignities, "one of our most ancientnames, and descended on the female side, from the Plantagenets and Tudors."

He now rose to take his leave, and on bowing to the younger ladies, laughingly repeated his intention of bringing his cousin (an epithet he never omitted) Pendennyss to their feet.

"Do you think, sister," said Lady Moseley, after the earl had retired, "that Mr. Denbigh is of the house of Derwent?"

"I cannot say," replied Mrs. Wilson, musing, "yet it is odd——Chatterton told me of his acquaintance with Lady Harriet Denbigh, but not with the duke." As this was spoken in the manner of a soliloquy, it received no answer, and was in fact but little attended to by any of the party, excepting Emily, who glanced her eye once or twice at her aunt as she was speaking, with an interest the name of Denbigh never failed to excite. Harriet was, she thought, a pretty name, but Marian was a prettier; if, thought Emily, I could know a Marian Denbigh, I am sure I could love her, and her name too.

The Moseleys now began to make their preparations for their departure to L——, and the end of the succeding week was fixed for the period at which they were to go; Mrs. Wilson urged a delay of two or three days, in order to give her an opportunity of meeting with the Earl of Pendennyss, a young man in whom, although she had relinquishedher former romantic wish of uniting him to Emily, in favour of Denbigh, she yet felt a deep interest, growing out of his connexion with the last moments of her husband, and his uniformly high character.

Sir Edward accordingly acquainted his uncle, that on the following Saturday he might expect to receive himself and family, intending to leave the hall in the afternoon of the preceding day, and reach Benfield Lodge to dinner; this arrangement once made, and Mr. Benfield notified of it, was unalterable, the old man holding a variation from an engagement a deadly sin. The week succeeding the accident, which had nearly proved so fatal to Denbigh, the inhabitants of the hall were surprised with the approach of a being, as singular in his manners and dress, as the equipage which conveyed him to the door of the mansion——the latter consisted of a high-backed, old-fashioned sulky, loaded with leather and large headed brass nails; wheels at least a quarter larger in circumference than those of the present day, and wings on each side, large enough to have supported a full grown roc, in the highest regions of the upper air——it was drawn by a horse, once white, but whose milky hue was tarnished, through age, with large and numerous red spots, and whose mane and tail did not appear to have suffered by the shears during the present reign. The being who alighted from this antiquated vehicle, was tall and excessively thin, wore his own hair drawn over his almost naked head, into a long thin cue, which reached half way down his back, closely cased in numerous windings of leather, or skin of some fish. His drab coat was in shape between a frock and close-body——close-body, indeed, it was; for the buttons, which were in size about equal to an old-fashioned China saucer, were buttoned to the very throat, and thereby setting off his shapes to peculiar advantage; his breeches were buckskin, and much soiled; his stockings blue yarn, although it was midsummer; and his shoes provided with buckles of dimensions proportionate to the aforesaid buttons; his age might have been seventy, but his walk was quick, and the movements of his whole system showed great activity both of mind and body. He was ushered into the room where the gentlemen were sitting, and having made a low and extremely modest bow, deliberately put on his spectacles, thrust his hand into an outside pocket of his coat, and produced, from under its huge flaps, a black leather pocket-book, about as large as a good sized octavo volume; after examining the multitude of papers it contained carefully, he selected a letter, and having returned the pocket-book to its ample apartment, read aloud——"For Sir Edward Moseley, bart. of Moseley Hall, B——, Northamptonshire——with care and speed, by the hands of Mr. Peter Johnson, steward ofBenfield Lodge, Norfolk;" and dropping his sharp voice, he stalked up to where the baronet stood, and presented the epistle, with another reverence.

"Ah, my good friend Johnson," said Sir Edward, as soon as he delivered his errand, (for until he saw the contents of the letter, he had thought some accident had occurred to his uncle,) "this is the first visit you have ever honoured me with; come, take a glass of wine before you go to your dinner ——drink that you hope it may not be the last."

"Sir Edward Moseley, and you honourable gentlemen, will pardon me," replied the steward, in his solemn keys, "this is the first time I was ever out of his majesty's county of Norfolk, and I devoutly wish it may prove the last——Gentlemen, I drink your honourable healths."

This was the only real speech the old man made during his visit, unless an occasional monosyllabic reply to a question could be thought so. He remained, by Sir Edward's positive order, until the following day; for having delivered his message, and received its answer, he was about to take his departure that evening, thinking he might get a good piece on his road homeward, as it wanted a half an hour yet to sundown. On the following morning, with the sun, he was on his way to the house in which he had been born, and which he had never left fortwenty-four hours at a time, in his life. In the evening, as he was ushered in by John (who had known him from his own childhood, and loved to show him attentions) to the room in which he was to sleep, he broke, what the young man called, his inveterate silence, with, "young Mr. Moseley——young gentleman——might I presume——to ask——to see the gentleman."

"What gentleman?" cried John, in astonishment, both at the request, and his speaking so much.

"That saved Miss Emmy's life, sir." John now fully comprehended him, and led the way to Denbigh's room; he was asleep, but they were admitted to his bed-side; the steward stood for good ten minutes, gazing on the sleeper in silence; and John observed, as he blew his nose, on regaining his own apartment, his little gray eyes twinkled with a lustre, that could not be taken for any thing but a tear.

As the letter was as characteristic of the writer, as its bearer was of his vocation, we may be excused giving it at length.

"Dear Sir Edward and Nephew,

"Your letter reached the lodge too late to be answered that evening, as I was about to step into my bed; but I hasten to write my congratulations; remembering the often repeated maxim of my kinsman Lord Gosford, that letters should be answered immediately; indeed, a neglect of it had very nigh brought about an affair of honour between the earl and Sir Stephens Hallett. Sir Stephens was always opposed to us in the house of commons of this realm; and I have often thought it might have been something passed in the debate itself, which commenced the correspondence, as the earl certainly told him as much, as if he were a traitor to his king and country.

"But it seems that your daughter Emily, has been rescued from death, by the grandson of General Denbigh, who sat with us in the house——Now I always had a good opinion of this young Denbigh, who reminds me every time I look at him, of my late brother, your father-in-law, that was; and I send my steward, Peter Johnson, express to the hall, in order that he may see the sick man, and bring me back a true account of how he fares; for should he be wanting for any thing within the gift of Roderic Benfield, he has only to speak to have it; not that I suppose, nephew, you will willingly allow him to suffer for any thing, but Peter is a man of close observation, although he is of few words, and may suggest something beneficial, that might escape younger heads—— I pray for——that is, I hope, the young man will recover, as your letter gives great hopes, and if he should want any little matter to help him along in his promotion in the army, as I take it he is not over wealthy, youor a life of service, could entitle me to receive." The baronet smiled his assent to a request he already understood, and Denbigh withdrew.

John Moseley had insisted on putting the bays into requisition to carry Denbigh for the first stage, and they now stood caparisoned for the jaunt, with their master in a less joyous mood than common, waiting the appearance of his companion.

Emily delighted in their annual excursion to Benfield Lodge; she was beloved so warmly, and returned the affection of its owner so sincerely, that the arrival of the day never failed to excite that flow of spirits which generally accompanies anticipated pleasures, ere experience has proved how trifling are the greatest enjoyments the scenes of this life bestow. Yet as the day of their departure drew near, her spirits sunk in proportion, and on the morning of Denbigh's leave-taking, Emily seemed any thing but excessively happy; there was a tremour in her voice, and redness about her eyes, that alarmed Lady Moseley with the apprehension she had taken cold; but as the paleness of her cheeks were immediately succeeded with as fine a brilliancy of colour, as the heart could wish, the anxious mother allowed herself to be persuaded by Mrs. Wilson, there was no danger, and accompanied her sister to her own room for some purpose of domestic economy. It was at this moment Denbighentered; he had paid his adieus to the matrons at the door, and been directed by them to the little parlour in quest of Emily.

"I have come to make my parting compliments, Miss Moseley," said he, in a tremulous voice, as he ventured to hold forth his hand; "may heaven preserve you," he continued, holding it in fervour to his bosom, and then dropping it, he hastily retired, as if unwilling to trust himself any longer to utter all he felt. Emily stood a few moments, pale, and almost inanimate, as the tears flowed rapidly from her eyes, and then sought a shelter in a seat of the window for her person and her sorrows. Lady Moseley, on returning, was again alarmed lest the draught would increase her indisposition; but her sister, observing that the window commanded a view of the road, thought the air too mild to do her injury.

The personages who composed the society at B——, had now, in a great measure, separated, in pursuit of their duties or their pleasures. The merchant and his family left the deanery for a watering place. Francis and Clara had gone on a little tour of pleasure in the northern counties, to take L—— in their return homeward; and the morning arrived for the commencement of the baronet's journey to the same place. The carriages had been ordered, and servants were running in various ways, busily employed in their several occupations, when Mrs. Wilson, accompanied by John and his sisters, returned from a walk they had taken to avoid the bustle of the house. A short distance from the park gates, an equipage was observed approaching, creating by its numerous horses and attendants, a dust which drove the pedestrians to one side of the road; an uncommonly elegant and admirably fitted travelling barouche and six rolled by, with the graceful steadiness of an English equipage; several servants on horseback were in attendance, and our little party were struck with the beauty of the whole establishment.

"Can it be possible, Lord Bolton drives such elegant horses," cried John, with the ardour of a connoisseur in that noble animal; "they are the finest set in the kingdom."

Jane's eye had seen, through the clouds of dust, the armorial bearings, which seemed to float in the dark glossy pannels of the carriage, and answered, "it is an earl's coronet, but they are not the Bolton arms." Mrs. Wilson and Emily had noticed a gentleman reclining at his ease, as the owner of the gallant show; but its passage was too rapid to enable them to distinguish the features of the courteous old earl; indeed, Mrs. Wilson remarked, she thought him a younger man than her friend.

"Pray, sir," said John, to a tardy groom, as he civilly walked his horse by the ladies, "who has passed us in the barouche?"

"My Lord Pendennyss, sir."

"Pendennyss!" exclaimed Mrs. Wilson, with a tone of regret, "how unfortunate!" she had seen the day named for his visit pass without his arrival, and now, as it was too late to profit by the opportunity, he had come for the second time into her neighbourhood. Emily had learnt by the solicitude of her aunt, to take an interest in the young peer's movements, and desired John to ask a question or two of the groom.

"Where does your lord stop, to-night?"

"At Bolton Castle, sir, and I heard my lord tell his valet that he intended staying one day hereabouts, and on the day after the morrow he goes to Wales, your honour."

"I thank you, friend," said John; and the man spurred his horse after the cavalcade. The carriages were at the door, and Sir Edward had been hurrying Jane to enter, as a servant, in a rich livery, and well mounted, galloped up and delivered a letter for Mrs. Wilson, who on opening it read the following:

"The Earl of Pendennyss begs leave to present his most respectful compliments to Mrs. Wilson, and the family of Sir Edward Moseley——Lord Pendennyss will have the honour of paying his respects in person at any moment that the widow of his late invaluable friend, lieutenant-general Wilson, will please to appoint.

"Bolton Castle, Friday evening."

To this note Mrs. Wilson, bitterly regretting the necessity which compelled her to forego the pleasure of meeting her paragon, wrote in reply a short letter, disliking the formality of a note.

"My Lord,

"I sincerely regret, that an engagement which cannot be postponed, compels us to leave Moseley Hall within the hour, and must, in consequence, deprive us of the pleasure of your intended visit. But as circumstances have connected your lordship with some of the dearest, although the most melancholy events of my life, I earnestly beg you will no longer consider us as strangers to your person, as we have long ceased to be to your character. It will afford me the greatest pleasure to hear that there will be a prospect of our meeting in town this winter, where I may find a more fitting opportunity of expressing those grateful feelings so long due to your lordship, from your sincere friend,

"Charlotte Wilson. "Moseley Hall, Friday morning."

With this answer the servant was despatched, and the carriages moved on. John had induced Emily to trust herself once more to the bays and his skill; but on perceiving the melancholy of her aunt, she insisted on exchanging seats with Jane, who had accepted a place in the carriage of Mrs. Wilson. Noobjection being made, Mrs. Wilson and her niece rode the first afternoon together in her travelling chaise. The road run within a quarter of a mile of Bolton Castle, and the ladies endeavoured in vain to get a glimpse of the person of the young nobleman. Emily was willing to gratify her aunt's propensity to dwell on the character and history of her favourite, and hoping to withdraw her attention gradually from more unpleasant recollections, asked several trifling questions relating to those points.

"The earl must be very rich, aunt, from the style he maintains."

"Very, my dear; his family I am unacquainted with, but I understand his title is an extremely ancient one; and some one, I belive Lord Bolton, mentioned that his estates in Wales alone, exceeded fifty thousand a year."

"Much good might be done," said Emily thoughtfully, "with such a fortune."

"Much good is done," cried her aunt with fervour. "I am told by every one who knows him, his donations are large and frequent. Sir Herbert Nicholson said he was extremely simple in his habits, and it leaves large sums at his disposal every year."

"The bestowal of money is not always charity," said Emily with an arch smile and slight colour. Mrs. Wilson smiled in her turn as she answered, "not always, but it is charity to hope for the best." "Sir Herbert knew him then?" said Emily——"Perfectly well; they were associated together in the service for several years, and he spoke of him with a fervour equal to my warmest expectations." The Moseley arms in F——, was kept by an old butler of the family, and Sir Edward every year, going and coming to L——, spent a night under its roof. He was received by its master with a respect that none who ever knew the baronet well, could withhold from his goodness of heart and many virtues."

"Well, Jackson," said the baronet kindly as he was seated at the supper table, "how does custom increase with you——I hope you and the master of the Dun Cow are more amicable than formerly."

"Why, Sir Edward," replied the host, who had lost a little of the deference of the servant in the landlord, but none of his real respect, "Mr. Daniels and I are more upon a footing of late than we was, when your goodness enabled me to take the house; then he got all the great travellers, and for more than a twelvemonth I had not a title in my house but yourself and a great London doctor, that was called here to see a sick person in the town. He had the impudence to call me the knight, barrowknight, your honour, and we had a quarrel upon that account."

"I am glad, however, to find you are gaining in the rank of your customers, and trust,as the occasion has ceased, you will be more inclined to be good-natured to each other."

"Why, as to good-nature, Sir Edward, I lived with your honour ten years, and you must know somewhat of my temper," said Jackson, with the self-satisfaction of an approving conscience; "but Sam Daniels is a man who is never easy unless he is left quietly at the top of the ladder; however," continued the host, with a chuckle, "I have given him a dose lately."

"How so, Jackson?" inquired the baronet, willing to gratify the man's evident wish to relate his triumphs.

"Your honour must have heard mention made of a great lord, one Duke of Derwent; well, Sir Edward, about six weeks agone he past through with my Lord Chatterton."

"Chatterton!" exclaimed John, interrupting him, "has he been so near us again, and so lately?"

"Yes, Mr. Moseley," replied Jackson with a look of importance; "they dashed into my yard with their chaise and four, with five servants, and would you think it, Sir Edward, they had'nt been in the house ten minutes, before Daniel's son was fishing from the servants, who they were; I told him, Sir Edward ——-dukes don't come every day."

"How came you to get his grace away from the Dun Cow——chance?"

"No, your honour," said the host, pointing to his sign, and bowing reverently to hisold master, "the Moseley Arms did it. Mr. Daniels used to taunt me with having worn a livery, and has said more than once he could milk his cow, but that your honour's arms would never lift me into a comfortable seat for life; so I just sent him a message by the way of letting him know my good fortune, your honour."

"And what was it?"

"Only that your honour's arms had shoved a duke and a baron into my house——-that's all."

"And I suppose Daniels' legs shoved your messenger out of his house," said John with a laugh.

"No, Mr. Moseley; Daniels would hardly dare do that: but yesterday, your honour, yesterday evening, beat every thing. Daniels was seated before his door, and I was taking a pipe at mine, Sir Edward, as a coach and six, with servants upon servants, drove down the street; it got near us, and the boys were reining the horses into the yard of the Dun Cow, as the gentleman in the coach saw my sign: he sent a groom to inquire who kept the house; I got up your honour, and told him my name, sir. Mr. Jackson, said his lordship, my respect for the family of Sir Edward Moseley is too great not to give my custom to an old servant of his family."

"Indeed," said the baronet; "pray who was my lord?"

"The Earl of Pendennyss, your honour.Oh, he is a sweet gentleman, and he asked all about my living with your honour, and about madam Wilson."

"Did his lordship stay the night," inquired Mrs. Wilson, excessively gratified at a discovery of the disposition manifested by the earl towards her.

"Yes, madam, he left here after breakfast."

"What message did you send the Dun Cow this time, Jackson?" cried John laughing. Jackson looked a little foolish, but the question being repeated, he answered——"Why, sir, I was a little crowded for room, and so your honour, so I just sent Tom across the street, to know if Mr. Daniels could'nt keep a couple of the grooms."

"And Tom got his head broke."

"No, Mr. John, the tankard missed him; but if——-"

"Very well," cried the baronet, willing to change the conversation, "you have been so fortunate of late, you can afford to be generous; and I advise you to cultivate harmony with your neighbour, or I may take my arms down, and you may lose your noble visiters——-see see my room prepared."

"Yes, your honour," said the host, and bowing respectfully, he withdrew.

"At least, aunt," cried John pleasantly, "we have the pleasure of supping in the same room with the puissant earl, albeit there be twenty-four hours difference in the time."

"I sincerely wish there had not been that difference," observed his father, taking his sister kindly by the hand.

"Such an equipage must have been a harvest indeed to Jackson," remarked the mother; and they broke up for the evening.

The whole establishment at Benfield Lodge were drawn up to receive them on the following day in the great hall, and in the centre was fixed the upright and lank figure of its master, with his companion in leanness, honest Peter Johnson, on his right.

"I have made out, Sir Edward and my Lady Moseley, to get as far as my entrance to receive the favour you are conferring upon me. It was a rule in my day, and one invariably practised by all the great nobility, such as Lord Gosford——-and——-and——-his sister, the lady Juliana Dayton, always to receive and quit their guests in the country at the great entrance; and in conformity——-ah, Emmy dear," cried the old gentleman, folding her in his arms as the tears rolled down his cheek, and forgetting his speech in the warmth of his feeling, "you are saved to us again; God be praised——-there, that will do, let me breathe——-let let me breathe"——-and then by the way of getting rid of his softer feelings, he turned upon John; "so, youngster, you would be playing with edge tools, and put the life of your sister in danger. No gentlemen held a gun in my day; that is, no gentlemen about the court. My Lord Gosford had never killeda bird in his life, or drove his horse; no sir, gentlemen then were not coachmen. Peter, how old was I before I took the reins of the chaise, in driving round the estate——-the time you had broke your arm; it was——"

Peter, who stood a little behind his master, in modest retirement, and who had only thought his elegant form brought thither to embellish the show, when called upon, advanced a step, made a low bow, and answered in his sharp key:

"In the year 1798, your honour, and the 38th of his present majesty, and the 64th year of your life, sir, June the 12th, about meridian." Peter had dropped back as he finished; but recollecting himself, regained his place with a bow, as he added, "new style."

"How are you, old style?" cried John, with a slap on the back, that made the steward jump again.

"Mr. John Moseley——-young gentleman"——-a a term Peter had left off using to the baronet within the last ten years, "did you think——-to to bring home——-the goggles?"

"Oh yes," said John gravely, and he produced them from his pocket, most of the party having entered the parlour, and put them carefully on the bald head of the steward——- "There Mr. Peter Johnson, you have your property again. safe and sound."

"And Mr. Denbigh said he felt much indebted to your consideration in sendingthem," said Emily soothingly, as she took them off with her beautiful hands.

"Ah Miss Emmy," said the steward with one of his best bows, "that was——-a noble act; God bless him;" and then holding up his finger significantly, "but the fourteenth codicil——-to master's will," and Peter laid his finger alongside his nose, as he nodded his head in silence,

"I hope the thirteenth contains the name of honest Peter Johnson," said the young lady, who felt herself uncommonly well pleased with the steward's conversation just then.

"As witness, Miss Emmy——-witness to all——-but but God forbid," said the steward with solemnity, "I should ever live to see the proving of them; no, Miss Emmy, master has done for me what he intended, while I had youth to enjoy it. I am rich, Miss Emmy——-good good three hundred a year." Emily, who had seldom heard as long a speech as the old man's gratitude drew from him, expressed her pleasure to hear it, and shaking him kindly by the hand, left him for the parlour.

"Niece," said Mr. Benfield, having scanned the party closely with his eyes, "where is Colonel Denbigh?"

"Colonel Egerton, you mean, sir," interrupted Lady Moseley.

"No, my Lady Moseley," replied her uncle with great formality, "I mean Colonel Denbigh. I take it he is a colonel by this time,"looking expressively at the baronet; "and who is fitter to be a colonel or a general, than a man who is not afraid of gunpowder."

"Colonels must have been scarce in your youth, sir," cried John, who had rather a mischievous propensity to start the old man on his hobby.

"No, jackanapes, gentlemen killed one another then, although they did not torment the innocent birds: honour was as dear to a gentleman of George the second's court, as to those of his grandson's, and honesty too, sirrah——ay, honesty. I remember when we were in, there was not a man of doubtful in, tegrity in the ministry, or on our side even; and then again, when we went out, the opposition benches were filled with sterling characters, making a parliament that was correct throughout; can you show me such a thing at this day?

CHAPTER XXII.

A few days after the arrival of the Moseleys at the lodge, John drove his sisters to the little village of L——, which at that time was thronged with an unusual number of visiters. It had among other of its fashionable arrangements for the accommodation of its guests, one of those circulaters of good and evil, a public library. Books are, in a great measure, the instruments of controlling the opinions of a nation like ours. They are an engine, alike powerful to save as to destroy. It cannot be denied, that our libraries contain as many volumes of the latter, as the former description; for we rank amongst the latter, that long catalogue of idle productions, which, if they produce no other evil, lead to the misspending of time, our own perhaps included. But we cannot refrain expressing our regret, that such formidable weapons in the cause of morality, should be suffered to be wielded by any indifferent or mercenary dealer, who undoubtedly will consult rather the public tastes than their private good; the evil may be remediless, yet we love to express our sentiments, though we should suggest nothing new or even profitable. Into one of these haunts of the idle then, John Moseley entered with a lovely sister leaning on either arm. Books were the entertainers of Jane, and instructorsof Emily. Sir Edward was fond of reading of a certain sort——that which required no great depth of thought, or labour of research; and like most others who are averse to contention, and disposed to be easily satisfied, the baronet sometimes found he had harboured opinions on things not exactly reconcilable with the truth, or even with each other. It is quite as dangerous to give up your faculties to the guidance of the author you are perusing, as it is unprofitable to be captiously scrutinizing every syllable he may happen to advance; and Sir Edward was, if any thing, a little inclined to the dangerous propensity. Unpleasant, Sir Edward Moseley never was. Lady Moseley very seldom took a book in her hand: her opinions were established to her own satisfaction on all important points, and on the minor ones, she made it a rule to coincide with the popular feeling. Jane had a mind more active than her father, and more brilliant than her mother; and if she had not imbibed injurious impressions from the unlicensed and indiscriminate reading she practised, it was more owing to the fortunate circumstance, that the baronet's library contained nothing extremely offensive to a pure taste, or dangerous to good morals, than to any precaution of her parents against the deadly, the irretrievable injury, to be sustained from ungoverned liberty in this respect to a female mind. On the other hand, Mrs. Wilson had inculcated thenecessity of restraint, in selecting the books for her perusal, so strenuously on her niece, that what at first had been the effects of obedience and submission, had now settled into taste and habit; and Emily seldom opened a book, unless in search of information; or if it were the indulgence of a less commendable spirit, it was an indulgence chastened by a taste and judgment that lessened the danger, if it did not entirely remove it.

The room was filled with gentlemen and ladies; and while John was exchanging his greetings with several of the neighbouring gentry of his acquaintance, his sisters were running hastily over a catalogue of the books kept for circulation, as an elderly lady, of foreign accent and dress, entered, and depositing a couple of religious works on the counter, inquired for the remainder of the set. The peculiarity of her idiom, and nearness to the sisters, caused them both to look up at the moment, and to the surprise of Jane, her sister uttered a slight exclamation of pleasure. The foreigner was attracted by the sound, and after a moment's hesitation, respectfully curtsied. Emily advancing, kindly offered her hand, and the usual inquiries after each other's welfare succeeded. To the questions asked after the friend of the matron, Emily learnt with some surprise, and no less satisfaction, that she resided in a retired cottage, about five miles from L——, where they had been for the last six months, and where theyexpected to remain for some time, "until she could prevail on Mrs. Fitzgerald to return to Spain, a thing, now there was peace, she did not despair of." After asking leave to call on them in their retreat, and exchanging good wishes, the Spanish lady withdrew; and as Jane had made her selection, was followed immediately by John Moseley and his sisters. Emily, in their walk home, acquainted her brother, that the companion of their Bath incognita had been at the library, and that for the first time she had learnt their young acquaintance was, or had been, married, and her name. John listened to his sister with the interest which the beautiful Spaniard had excited at the time they first met; and laughingly told her, he could not believe their unknow friend had ever been a wife; to satisfy this doubt, and to gratify a wish they both had to renew their acquaintance with the foreigner, they agreed to drive to the cottage the following morning, accompanied by Mrs. Wilson, and Jane, if she would go; but the next day was the one appointed by Egerton for his arrival at L——, and Jane, under a pretence of writing letters, declined the ride. She had carefully examined the papers since his departure; had seen his name included in the arrivals at London, and at a later day had read an account of the review by the commander in chief of the regiment to which he belonged. He had never written to any of her friends of his movements, but judging from her own feelings, she did not in the least doubt he would be as punctual as love could make him. Mrs. Wilson listened to her niece's account of the unexpected interview in the library with pleasure, and cheerfully promised to accompany them in their morning's excursion, as she had both a wish to alleviate sorrow, and a desire to better understand the character of this accidental acquaintance of Emily's.

Mr. Benfield and the baronet had a long conversation in relation to Denbigh's fortune the morning after their arrival; and the old man was loud in his expression of dissatisfaction at the youngster's pride. As the baronet, however, in the fulness of his affection and simplicity, betrayed to his uncle his expectation of an union between Denbigh and his daughter, Mr. Benfield became contented with this reward; one fit, he thought, for any services;——on the whole, "it was best, as he was to marry Emmy, he should sell out of the army, and as there would be an election soon, he would bring him into parliament—— yes——yes——it did a man so much good to sit one term in the parliament of this realm——to study human nature; all his own knowledge in that way, was raised on the foundations laid in the house." To this, Sir Edward cordially assented, and the old gentleman separated, happy in their arrangements to advance the welfare of two beings they so sincerely loved.

Although the care and wisdom of Mrs. Wilson had prohibited the admission of any romantic or enthusiastic expectations of happiness into the day-dreams of her charge; yet the buoyancy of health, of hope, of youth, of innocence, had elevated Emily to a height of enjoyment, hitherto unknown to her usually placid and disciplined pleasures. Denbigh certainly mingled in most of her thoughts, both of the past and the future, and she had strode on the threshold of that fantastic edifice, in which Jane ordinarily resided. Emily was in that situation, perhaps the most dangerous to a young female christian: her heart, her affections, were given to a man, to appearance, every way worthy of possessing them, it is true; but she had admitted a rival in her love to her Maker; and to keep those feelings distinct, to bend the passions in due submission to the more powerful considerations of endless duty, of unbounded gratitude, is one of the most trying struggles of christian fortitude. We are much more apt to forget our God in prosperity, than adversity;——the weakness of human nature drives us to such assistance in distress, but vanity and worldly mindedness, often induce us to imagine we control the happiness we only enjoy.

Sir Edward and Lady Moseley could see nothing in the prospect of the future but lives of peace and contentment for their children. Clara was happily settled, and her sisterswere on the eve of making connexions with men of family, condition and certain character; what more could be done for them? they must, like other people, take their chances in the lottery of life; they could only hope and pray for their prosperity, and this they did with great sincerity. Not so Mrs. Wilson; she had guarded the invaluable charge entrusted to her keeping with too much assiduity, too keen an interest, too just a sense of the awful responsibility she had undertaken, to desert her post at the moment her watchfulness was most required. By a temperate, but firm and well-chosen conversation, she kept alive the sense of her real condition in her niece, and laboured hard to prevent the blandishments of life, supplanting the lively hope of enjoying another existence; she endeavoured, by her pious example, her prayers, and her judicious allusions, to keep the passion of love in the breast of Emily, secondary to the more important object of her creation, and by the aid of kind and Almighty Providence, her labours, though arduous, were crowned with success.

As the family were seated round the table after dinner, on the day of their walk to the library, John Moseley, awaking from a reverie, exclaimed suddenly to his sister——

"Which do you think the handsomest, Emily, Grace Chatterton or Mrs. Fitzgerald?"

Emily laughed aloud as she answered,"Grace, certainly; do you not think so, brother?"

"Why, sometimes; don't you think Grace looks like her mother at times?"

"Oh no, she is the image of Chatterton."

"She is very like yourself, Emmy dear," said Mr. Benfield, who was listening to their conversation.

"Me, dear uncle; I have never heard it remarked before."

"Yes, yes, she is as much like you as she can stare; I never saw as great a resemblance excepting between you and Lady Juliana——Lady Juliana, Emmy, was a beauty in her day; very like her uncle, old Admiral Griffin——you can't remember the admiral—— he lost an eye in a battle with the Dutch, and part of his cheek in a frigate when a young man fighting the Dons. Oh, he was a pleasant old gentleman; many a guinea has he given me when I was a boy at school."

"And he looked like Grace Chatterton, uncle, did he?" cried John with a smile.

"No, sir, he did not; who said he looked like Grace Chatterton, jackanapes?"

"Why, I thought you made it out, sir; but perhaps it was the description that deceived me——his eye and cheek, uncle."

"Did Lord Gosford leave children, uncle?" inquired Emily, and throwing a look of reproach at John.

"No, Emmy dear; his only child, a son, died at school; I shall never forget the griefof poor Lady Juliana. She postponed a visit to Bath three weeks on account of it. A gentleman who was paying his addresses to her at the time, offered then, and was refused ——indeed, her self-denial raised such an admiration of her in the men, that immediately after the death of young Lord Dayton, no less than seven gentlemen offered and were refused in one week. I heard Lady Juliana say, that what between lawyers and suitors, she had not a moment's peace,"

"Lawyers!" cried Sir Edward, "what had she to do with lawyers?"

"Why, Sir Edward, six thousand a year fell to her by the death of her nephew; and there were trustees and deeds to be made out ——poor young woman, she was so affected, Emmy, I don't think she went out for a week ——all the time at home reading papers, and attending to her important concerns. Oh! she was a woman of taste; her mourning, and liveries, and new carriage, were more admired than those of any one about the court. Yes, yes, the title is extinct; I know of none of the name now. The Earl did not survive his loss but six years, and the countess died broken-hearted, about a twelvemonth before him."

"And Lady Juliana, uncle," inquired John, "what became of her, did she marry?"

The old man helped himself to a glass of wine, and looked over his shoulder to see ifPeter was at hand. Peter, who had been originally butler, had made it a condition of his preferment, that whenever there was company, he should be allowed to preside at the sideboard, was now at his station. Mr. Benfield seeing his old friend near him, ventured to talk on a subject he seldom trusted himself with in company.

"Why, yes——yes——she did marry, it's true, although she did tell me she intended to die a maid; but——-hem——-I suppose——-hem——-it was compassion for the old viscount, who often said he could not live without her; and then it gave her the power of doing so much good, a jointure of five thousand a year added to her own income: yet——-hem——-I do confess I did not think she would have chosen such an old and infirm man——-but——-Peter give me a glass of claret." Peter handed the claret, and the old man proceeded.—— "They say he was very cross to her, and that, no doubt, must have made her unhappy, she was so very tender-hearted."

How much longer the old gentleman would have continued in this strain, it is impossible to say; but he was interrupted by the opening of the parlour door, and the sudden appearance on its threshold of Denbigh. Every countenance glowed with pleasure at this unexpected return to them of their favourite; and but for the prudent caution in Mrs. Wilson, of handing a glass of water to her niece, the surprise might have proved too much forher. His salutations were returned by the different members of the family, with a cordiality that must have told him how much he was valued by all its branches; and after briefly informing them that his review was over, and that he had thrown himself into a chaise and travelled post until he had rejoined them, he took his seat by Mr. Benfield, who received him with a marked preference, exceeding what he had shown to any man who had ever entered his doors, Lord Gosford himself not excepted. Peter removed from his station behind his master's chair to one where he could face the new comer; and after wiping his eyes until they filled so rapidly with water, that at last he was noticed by the delighted John to put on the identical goggles which his care had provided for Denbigh in his illness. His laugh drew the attention of the rest to the honest steward, and when Denbigh was told this was Mr. Benfield's ambassador to the Hall on his account, he rose from his chair, and taking the old man by the hand, kindly thanked him for his thoughtful consideration for his weak eyes.

Peter took the offered hand in both his own, and after making one or two unsuccessful efforts to speak, he uttered, "thank you, thank you, may Heaven bless you," and burst into tears. This stopt the laugh, and John followed the steward from the room, while his master exclaimed, wiping his eyes, "kind and condescending; just such another as my old friend, the Earl of Gosford."

CHAPTER XXIII.

At the appointed hour, the carriage of Mrs. Wilson was ready to convey herself and niece to the cottage of Mrs. Fitzgerald. John was left behind, under the pretence of keeping Denbigh company in his morning avocations, but really because Mrs. Wilson doubted the propriety of his becoming a visiting acquaintance at a house, tenanted as the cottage was represented to be. John was too fond of his friend to make any serious objections, and was satisfied for the present, by sending his compliments, and requesting his sister to ask permission for him to call in one of his early morning excursions, in order to pay his personal respects.

They found the cottage a beautiful and genteel, though very small and retired dwelling, almost hid by the trees and shrubs which surrounded it, and its mistress on its little piazza, expecting the arrival of Emily. Mrs. Fitzgerald was a Spaniard under twenty, of a melancholy, yet highly interesting countenance; her manners were soft and retiring, but evidently bore the impression of good company, if not of high life. She was extremely pleased with this renewal of attention on the part of Emily, and expressed her gratitude to both ladies for this kindness in seeking her out in her solitude. She presentedher more matronly companion to them, by the name of Donna Lorenza; and as nothing but good feelings prevailed, and useless ceremony was banished, the little party were soon on terms of friendly intercourse. The young widow (for such her dress indicated her to be) did the honours of her house with graceful ease, and conducted her visiters into her little grounds, which, together with the cottage, gave evident proofs of the taste and elegance of its occupant. The establishment she supported she represented as very small; two women and an aged man servant, with occasionally a labourer for her garden and shrubbery. They never visited; it was a resolution she had made on fixing her residence, but if Mrs. Wilson and Miss Moseley would forgive her rudeness in not returning their call, nothing would give her more satisfaction than a frequent renewal of their visits. Mrs. Wilson took so deep an interest in the misfortunes of so young a female, and was so much pleased with the modest resignation of her manner, that it required little persuasion on the part of the recluse to obtain a promise of repeating her visit soon. Emily mentioned the request of John, and Mrs. Fitzgerald received it with a mournful smile, as she replied that Mr. Moseley had laid her under such an obligation in their first interview, she could not deny herself the pleasure of again thanking him for it; but she must be excused if she desiredthey would limit their attendants to him, as there was but one gentleman in England whose visits she admitted, and it was seldom indeed he called; he had seen her but once since she had resided in Norfolk.

After giving a promise not to suffer any one else to accompany them, and promising an early call again, our ladies returned to Benfield Lodge in season to dress for dinner. On entering the drawing-room, they found the elegant person of Colonel Egerton leaning on the back of the chair of Jane. He had arrived during their absence, and sought out immediately the baronet's family; his reception, if not as warm as that given to Denbigh, was cordial from all but the master of the house; and even he was in such spirits by the company around him, and the prospects of Emily's marriage, (which he considered as settled,) that he forced himself to an appearance of good will he did not feel. Colonel Egerton was either deceived by his manner, or too much a man of the world to discover his suspicion, and every thing in consequence was very harmoniously, if not sincerely, conducted between them.

Lady Moseley was completely happy: if she had the least doubts before, as to the intentions of Egerton, they were now removed. His journey to that unfashionable watering-place, was owing to his passion; and however she might at times have doubted as to Sir Edgar's heir, Denbigh she thought a manof too little consequence in the world, to make it possible he would neglect to profit by his situation in the family of Sir Edward Moseley. She was satisfied with both connexions. Mr. Benfield had told her, General Sir Frederic Denbigh was nearly allied to the Duke of Derwent, and Denbigh had said the general was his grandfather. Wealth, she knew Emily would possess from both her uncle and aunt; and the services of the gentleman had their due weight upon the feelings of the affectionate mother. The greatest care of her maternal anxiety was removed, and she looked forward to the peaceful enjoyment of the remnant of her days in the bosom of her descendants. John, the heir to a baronetcy, and 15,000 pounds a year, might suit himself; and Grace Chatterton she thought would be likely to prove the future Lady Moseley. Sir Edward, without entering so deeply into anticipation of the future as his lady, experienced an equal degree of contentment; and it would have been a difficult task to have discovered in the island a roof, under which there resided at the moment more happy countenances than at Benfield Lodge; for as its master had insisted on Denbigh's becoming an inmate, he was obliged to extend his hospitality in an equal degree to Colonel Egerton: indeed, the subject had been fully canvassed between him and Peter the morning of his arrival, and was near being decided against his admission,when the steward, who had picked up all the incidents of the arbour scene from the servants, (and of course with many exaggerations,) mentioned to his master that the colonel was very active in his assistance, and that he even contrived to bring water to revive Miss Emmy a great distance in the hat of Captain Jarvis, which was full of holes, Mr. John having blown it off the head of the captain without hurting a hair, in firing at a woodcock. This molified the master a little, and he agreed to suspend his decision for further observation. At dinner, the colonel happening to admire the really handsome face of Lord Gosford, as delineated by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and which graced the dining room of Benfield Lodge, its master, in a moment of unusual kindness, gave the invitation; it was politely accepted, and the colonel at once domesticated.

The face of John Moseley alone, at times, exhibited evidences of care and thought, and at such moments, it might be a subject of doubt, whether he thought the most of Grace Chatterton or her mother: if the latter, the former was sure to lose ground in his estimation, a serious misfortune to John, not to be able to love Grace without alloy. His letters from her brother, mentioned his being still at Denbigh castle, in Westmoreland, the seat of his friend the Duke of Derwent; and John thought one or two of his encomiums on Lady Harriet Denbigh, the sister of his grace, augured that the unkindness of Emily might in time be forgotten. The dowager and her daughters were at the seat of a maiden aunt in Yorkshire, where, as John knew no male animal was allowed admittance, he was tolerably easy at the disposition of things. Nothing but legacy-hunting, he knew, would induce the dowager to submit to such a banishment from the other sex; but that was so preferable to husband-hunting, he was satisfied. "I wish," said John mentally, as he finished the perusal of his letter, "mother Chatterton would get married herself, and she might let Kate and Grace manage for themselves: Kate would do very well, I dare say, and how would Grace make out." John sighed, and whistled for Dido and Rover.

In the manners of Colonel Egerton there was the same general disposition to please, and the same unremitted attention to the wishes and amusements of Jane; they had renewed their poetical investigations, and Jane eagerly encouraged a taste which afforded her delicacy some little colouring for the indulgence of an association different from the real truth, and which in her estimation was necessary to her happiness. Mrs. Wilson thought the distance between the two suitors for the favour of her nieces, was if any thing increased by their short separation, and particularly noticed on the part of the colonel an aversion to Denbigh that at times painfully alarmed her, by exciting apprehensions forthe future happiness of the precious treasure she had prepared herself to yield to his solicitations, whenever properly proffered. In the intercourse between Emily and her preserver, as there was nothing to condemn, so there was much to admire. The attentions of Denbigh were pointed, although less exclusive than those of the colonel; and the aunt was pleased to observe, that if the manners of Egerton had more of the gloss of life, those of Denbigh were certainly distinguished by a more finished delicacy and propriety: the one appeared the influence of custom and association, with a tincture of artifice; the other, benevolence, with a just perception of what was due to others, and with an air of sincerity when speaking of sentiments and principles, that was particularly pleasing to the watchful widow: at times, however, she could not but observe an air of restraint, if not of awkwardness, about him, that was a little surprising. It was most observable in mixed society, and once or twice her imagination pictured his sensations into something like alarm. These unpleasant interruptions to her admiration of the manners and appearance of Denbigh, were soon forgotten in her just appreciation of the more solid parts of his character——these appeared literally unexceptionable; and when momentary uneasiness would steal over her, the remembrance of the opinion of Dr. Ives, his behaviour with Jarvis, his charity, and chiefly his self-devotionto her niece, would not fail to drive the disagreeable thoughts from her mind. Emily herself moved about, the image of joy and innocence——if Denbigh was near her, she was happy; if absent, she suffered no uneasiness; her feelings were so ardent, and yet so pure, that jealousy had no admission: perhaps no circumstances existed to excite this never-failing attendant of the passion; but as the heart of Emily was more enchained than her imagination, her affections were not of the restless nature of ordinary attachments, though more dangerous to her peace of mind in the event of an unfortunate issue. With Denbigh she never walked or rode alone. He had never made the request, and her delicacy would have shrunk from such an open manifestation of her preference; but he read to her and her aunt; he accompanied them in their little excursions; and once or twice John noticed that she took the offered hand of Denbigh to assist her over any little impediment in their course, instead of her usual unobtrusive custom of taking his arm on such occasions. "Well, Miss Emily," thought John, "you appear to have chosen another favourite," on her doing this three times in succession in one of their walks; "how strange it is, women will quit their natural friends for a face they have hardly seen." John forgot his own——"there is no danger, dear Grace," when his sister was almost dead with apprehension. But John loved Emily too well towitness her preference to another with satisfaction, even though Denbigh was the favourite, a feeling which soon wore away by custom and reflection. Mr. Benfield had taken it into his head, that if the wedding of Emily could be solemnised while the family was at the lodge, it would render him the happiest of men, and how to compass this object, was the occupation of a whole morning's contemplation. Happily for Emily's blushes, the old gentleman harboured the most fastidious notions of female delicacy, and never in conversation made the most distant allusion to the expected connexion. He, therefore, in conformity with these feelings, could do nothing openly; all would be the effect of management, and as he thought Peter one of the best contrivers in the world, to his ingenuity he determined to refer the arrangement. The bell rang——"send Johnson to me, David;" in a few minutes the drab coat and blue yarn stockings entered his dressing room with the body of Mr. Peter Johnson snugly cased within them. "Peter," commenced Mr. Benfield, pointing kindly to a chair, which the steward respectfully declined, "I suppose you know that Mr. Denbigh, the grandson of General Denbigh, who was in parliament with me, is about to marry my little Emmy." Peter smiled as he bowed his assent. "Now, Peter, a wedding would of all things make me most happy; that is, to have it here in the lodge: it would remindme so much of the marriage of Lord Gosford, and the bridemaids——I wish your opinion how to bring it about before they leave here: Sir Edward and Anne decline interfering, and Mrs. Wilson I am afraid to speak to on the subject." Peter was not a little alarmed by this sudden requisition on his inventive faculties, especially as a lady was in the case; but as he prided himself on serving his master, and loved the hilarity of a wedding in his heart, he cogitated for some time in silence, when having thought a preliminary question or two necessary, he broke it with saying,

"Every thing, I suppose, master, is settled between the young people?"

"Every thing, I take it, Peter."

"And Sir Edward and my lady?"

"Willing; perfectly willing."

"And Madam Wilson, sir."

"Willing, Peter, willing."

"And Mr. John and Miss Jane?"

"All willing; the whole family willing, to the best of my belief."

"There is the Rev. Mr. Ives and Mrs. Ives, master."

"They wish it, I know; don't you think they wish others as happy as themselves, Peter?"

"No doubt they do, master: well then, as every body is willing, and the young people agreeable, the only thing to be done, sir, is——"

"Is what, Peter?" exclaimed his impatient master, observing him to hesitate.

"Why, sit, to send for the priest, I take it."

"Pshaw! Peter Johnson, I know that myself," replied the dissatisfied old man; "cannot you help me to a better plan?"

"Why, master," said Peter, "I would have done as well for Miss Emmy and your honour, as I would have done for myself: now. sir, when I courted Patty Steele, your honour, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, I should have been married but for one difficulty, which your honour says is removed in the case of Miss Emmy."

"What was that, Peter," asked his master in a tender tone.

"She was'nt willing, sir."

"Very well, poor Peter," replied Mr. Benfield mildly, you may go; and the steward, bowing low, withdrew. The similarity of their fortunes in love, was a strong link in the sympathies which bound the master and man together, and the former never failed to be softened by an allusion to Patty; his want of tact, on the present occasion, after much reflection, he attributed to his never sitting in parliament.

CHAPTER XXIV.

Mrs. Wilson and Emily, in the fortnight they had been at Benfield Lodge, had paid frequent and long visits to the cottage; and each succeeding interview left a more favourable impression of the character of its mistress, and a greater certainty that she was unfortunate; she, however, alluded very slightly to her situation or former life; she was a protestant, to the great surprise of Mrs. Wilson; and one that misery had made nearly acquainted with the religion she professed. Their conversations chiefly turned on the customs of her own, as contrasted with those of her adopted country, or in a pleasant exchange of opinions, which the ladies possessed in complete unison. One morning John had accompanied them and been admitted; Mrs. Fitzgerald received him with the frankness of an old acquaintance, though with the reserve of a Spanish lady. His visits were permitted under the direction of his aunt, but no other of the gentlemen were included amongst her guests. Mrs. Wilson had casually mentioned, in the absence of her niece, the interposition of Denbigh between her and death; and Mrs. Fitzgerald was pleased at the noble conduct of the gentleman so much as to express a desire to see him; but the impressions of themoment appeared to have died away, as nothing more was said by either lady on the subject, and was apparently forgotten. Mrs. Fitzgerald was found one morning, weeping over a letter she held in her hand, and the Donna Lorenza endeavouring to console her. The situation of this latter lady was somewhat doubtful; she appeared neither wholly a friend or a menial; in the manners of the two there was a striking difference; although the Donna was not vulgar, she was far from the polish of her more juvenile friend, and Mrs. Wilson considered her in a station between a housekeeper and a companion. After hoping that no unpleasant intelligence occasioned the distress they witnessed, the ladies were about delicately to take their leave, but Mrs. Fitzgerald intreated them to remain.

"Your kind attention to me, dear madam, and the goodness of Miss Moseley, give you a claim to know more of the unfortunate being your sympathy has greatly assisted to attain her peace of mind; this letter is from the gentleman you have heard me speak of, as once visiting me, and though it has struck me with an unusual force, it contains no more than I expected to hear, perhaps no more than I deserve to hear."

"I hope your friend has not been unnecessarily harsh; severity is not the best way, always, of effecting repentance, and I feel certain that you, my young friend, can have been guilty of no offence that does not rather require gentle than stern reproof," said Mrs. Wilson.

"I thank you, dear madam, for your indulgent opinion of me, but although I have suffered much, I am free to confess, it is a merited punishment; you are, however, mistaken as to the source of my present sorrow; Lord Pendennyss is the cause of grief, I believe, to no one, much less to me."

"Lord Pendennyss!" exclaimed Emily, in surprise, unconsciously looking at her aunt.

"Pendennyss!" reiterated Mrs. Wilson, with animation, "and is he your friend too?"

"Yes, madam; to his lordship I owe every thing——honour——comfort——religion——and even life itself."

Mrs. Wilson's cheek glowed with an unusual colour, at this discovery of another act of benevolence and virtue, in the young nobleman whose character she had so long admired, and whose person she had in vain wished to meet.

"You know the earl then," inquired Mrs. Fitzgerald.

"By reputation, only, my dear," said Mrs. Wilson; "but that is enough to convince me a friend of his must be a worthy character, if any thing were wanting to make us your friends."

The conversation was continued for some time, and Mrs. Fitzgerald saying she did notfeel equal just then to the undertaking, would the next day, if they would honour her with another call, make them acquainted with the incidents of her life, and the reasons she had for speaking in such terms of Lord Pendennyss. The promise to see her then, was cheerfully made by Mrs. Wilson, and her confidence accepted; not from a desire to gratify an idle curiosity, but a belief that it was necessary to probe a wound to cure it; and a correct opinion, that herself would be a better adviser for a young and lovely woman, than even Pendennyss; for the Donna Lorenza she could hardly consider in a capacity to offer her advice, much less dictation. They then took their leave, and Emily, during their ride, broke the silence with exclaiming,

"Wherever we hear of Lord Pendennyss, aunt, we hear of him favourably."

"A certain sign, my dear, he is deserving of it; there is hardly any man who has not his enemies, and those are seldom just; but we have met with none of the earl's yet."

"Fifty thousand a year will make many friends," observed Emily, with a smile.

"Doubtless, my love, or as many enemies; but honour, life, and religion, my child, are debts not owing to money, in this country, at least."

To this remark Emily assented, and after expressing her own admiration of the character of the young nobleman, dropped into a reverie;——how many of his virtues sheidentified with the person of Mr. Denbigh, it is not, just now, our task to enumerate; but judges of human nature may easily determine——and that without having sat in the parliament of this realm.

The same morning this conversation occurred at the cottage, Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis, with their daughters, made their unexpected appearance at L——. The arrival of a post-chaise and four, with a gig, was an event soon circulated through the little village, and the names of its owners reached the lodge just as Jane had allowed herself to be persuaded by the colonel to take her first walk with him unaccompanied by a third person—— walking is much more propitious to declarations than riding; whether it was premeditated on the part of the colonel or not, or whether he was afraid that Mrs. Jarvis, or some one else, would interfere, he availed himself of his opportunity, and had hardly got out of hearing of her brother and Denbigh, before he made Jane an explicit offer of his hand; the surprise was so great, that some time elapsed before the distressed girl could reply; this she, however, at length did, but incoherently; she referred him to her parents, as arbiters of her fate, well knowing that her wishes had long been those of her father and mother; with this the colonel was obliged to be satisfied for the present. But their walk had not ended, before he gradually drew from the confiding girl, an acknowledgment that should her parents decline hisoffer, she would be very little less miserable than himself; indeed, the most tenacious lover might have been content with the proofs of regard that Jane, unused to control her feelings, allowed herself to manifest on this occasion. Egerton was in raptures; a life devoted to her, would never half repay her condescension; and as their confidence increased with their walk, Jane re-entered the lodge with a degree of happiness in her heart, she had never before experienced; the much dreaded declaration——her own distressing acknowledgments, were made, and nothing further remained but to live——to be happy. She flew into the arms of her mother, and hiding her blushes in her bosom, acquainted her with the colonel's offer and her own wishes. Lady Moseley, who was prepared for such a communication, and had rather wondered at its tardiness, kissed her daughter affectionately, as she promised to speak to her father for his approbation.

"But," she added, with a degree of formality and caution, which had better preceded than have followed the courtship, "we must make the usual inquiries, my child, into the fitness of Colonel Egerton, as a husband for our daughter; and once assured of that, you have nothing to fear."

The Baronet was requested to grant an audience to Colonel Egerton, who now appeared as determined to expedite things, as he had been dilatory before. On meeting Sir Edward, he made known his pretensions and hopes. The father, who had been previously notified by his wife, of what was forthcoming, gave a general answer, similar to her speech to their daughter, and the colonel bowed in acquiescence.

In the evening, the Jarvis family favoured the inhabitants of the lodge with a visit, and Mrs. Wilson was struck with the singularity of their reception of the colonel——Miss Jarvis, especially, was rude to both him and Jane, and it struck all who witnessed it, as a burst of jealous feeling for disappointed hopes; but to no one, excepting Mrs. Wilson, did it occur, that the conduct of the gentleman could be at all implicated in the transaction. Mr. Benfield was happy to see again under his roof, the best of the trio of Jarvises he had known, and something like sociability prevailed in the party. There was to be a ball, Miss Jarvis remarked, at L——, on the following day, which would help to enliven the scene a little, especially as there were a couple of frigates lying at anchor, a few miles off, and the officers were expected to join the party; this intelligence had but little effect on the ladies of the Moseley family, yet as their uncle desired that, if invited, they would go, out of respect to his neighbours, they cheerfully assented. During the evening, Mrs. Wilson observed Egerton in familiar conversation with Miss Jarvis, and as she had been been notified of his situationwith respect to Jane, she determined to watch narrowly into the causes of so singular a change of deportment in the young lady. Mrs. Jarvis retained her respect for the colonel in full force, and called out to him across the room a few minutes before she departed——

"Well, colonel, I am happy to tell you I have heard very lately from your uncle, Sir Edgar."

"Indeed, madam," replied the colonel, starting, "he was well, I hope."

"Very well, the day before yesterday; his neighbour, old Mr. Holt, is a lodger in the same house with us at L——, and as I thought you would like to hear, I made particular inquiries about the baronet"——the word baronet was pronounced with emphasis, and a look of triumph, as if it would say, you see we have baronets as well as you; as no answer was made by Egerton, excepting an acknowledging bow——the merchant and his family departed.

"Well, John," cried Emily, with a smile, "we have heard more good, to day, of our trusty and well-beloved cousin, the Earl of Pendennyss."

"Indeed," exclaimed her brother; "you must keep Emily for his lordship, positively, aunt, she is almost as great an admirer of him as yourself."

"I apprehend it is necessary she should bequite as much so, to become his wife," said Mrs. Wilson.

"Really," said Emily, more gravely, "if all one hears of him be true, or half even, it would be no difficult task to admire him."

Denbigh was standing leaning on the back of a chair, in a situation where he could view the animated countenance of Emily as she spoke, and Mrs. Wilson noticed an uneasiness and changing of colour in him, that appeared uncommon from so trifling an excitement. Is it possible, she thought, Denbigh can harbour so mean a passion as envy; he walked away, as if unwilling to hear more, and appeared much engrossed with his own reflections for the remainder of the evening; there were moments of doubting, which crossed the mind of Mrs. Wilson, with a keenness of apprehension proportionate to her deep interest in Emily, with respect to certain traits in the character of Denbigh; and this, what she thought a display of unworthy feeling, was one of them. In the course of the evening, the cards for the expected ball arrived and were accepted; as this new arrangement for the morrow interfered with their intended vist to Mrs. Fitzgerald, a servant was sent with a note of explanation in the morning, and a request that on the following day the promised communication would be made; to this the recluse assented; and Emily prepared for the ball with a recollection ofmelancholy pleasure, of the consequences which grew out of the last one she attended; melancholy at the fate of Digby, and pleasure at the principles manifested by Denbigh on the occasion. The latter, however, with a smile, excused himself from the party, telling Emily he was so awkward, that he feared some unpleasant consequences to himself or his friends would arise from his inadvertencies, did he venture again with her into such an assembly.

Emily sighed gently, as she entered the carriage of her aunt early in the afternoon, leaving Denbigh in the door of the lodge, and Egerton absent on the execution of some business; the former to amuse himself as he would until the following morning, and the latter to join them in the dance in the evening.

The arrangement included an excursion on the water, attended by the bands from the frigates, a collation, and in the evening a ball. One of the vessels was commanded by a Lord Henry Stapleton, a fine young man, who, struck with the beauty and appearance of the sisters, sought an introduction with the baronet's family, and engaged the hand of Emily for the first dance. His frank and gentlemanlike deportment was pleasing to his new acquaintances; the more so, as it was peculiarly suited to their situation at the moment. Mrs. Wilson was in unusual spirits, and maintained an animatedconversation with the noble sailor, in the course of which, he spoke of his cruising on the coast of Spain, and by accident mentioned his having carried out to that country, upon one occasion, Lord Pendennyss; this was common ground between them, and Lord Henry was as enthusiastic in his praises of the earl, as Mrs. Wilson's partiality could hope for. He also knew Colonel Egerton slightly, and expressed his pleasure, in polite terms, when they met in the evening in the ball-room, at being able to renew his acquaintance. The evening passed off as such evenings generally do——in gayety——listlessness——dancing——gaping, and heart-burnings, according to the dispositions and good or ill fortune of the several individuals who compose the assembly. Mrs. Wilson, while her nieces were dancing, moved her seat to be near a window, and found herself in the vicinity of two elderly gentleman, who were commenting on the company; after making several common-place remarks, one of them inquired of the other——"Who is that military gentleman amongst the naval beaux, Holt?"

"That is the hopeful nephew of my friend and neighbour, Sir Edgar Egerton; he is here dancing and mis-spending his time and money, when I know Sir Edgar gave him a thousand pounds six months ago, on express condition, he should not leave the regiment or take a card in his hand for a twelvemonth." "He plays, then?" "Sadly; he is, on the whole, a bad young man." As they changed their topic, Mrs. Wilson joined her sister, dreadfully shocked at this intimation of the vices of a man so near an alliance with her brother's child; she was thankful it was not too late to avert part of the evil, and determined to acquaint Sir Edward, at once, with what she had heard, in order that an investigation might establish the colonel's innocence or guilt.

CHAPTER XXV.

They returned to the lodge at an early hour, and Mrs. Wilson, after meditating upon the course she ought to take, resolved to have a conversation with her brother that evening after supper; accordingly, as they were among the last to retire, she mentioned her wish to detain him, and when left by themselves, the baronet taking his seat by her on a sofa, she commenced as follows, willing to avert her unpleasant information until the last moment.

"I wished to say something to you, brother, relating to my charge, and other matters; you have, no doubt, observed the attentions of Mr. Denbigh to Emily?"

"Certainly, sister, and with great pleasure; you must not suppose I wish to interfere with the authority I have so freely relinquished to you, Charlotte, when I inquire if Emily favours his views, or not?"

"Neither Emily or myself, my dear brother, wish ever to question your right, not only to inquire into, but control the conduct of your child;——she is yours, Edward, by a tie nothing can break, and we both love you too much to wish it. There is nothing you may be more certain of, than that, without the approbation of her parents, Emily wouldaccept of no offer, however splendid or agreeable to her own wishes."

"Nay, sister, I would not wish unduly to influence my child in an affair of so much importance to herself; but my interest in Denbigh is little short of what I feel for my daughter."

"I trust," continued Mrs. Wilson, "Emily is too deeply impressed with her duty to forget the impressive mandate, 'to honour her father and mother;' yes, Sir Edward, I am mistaken if she would not relinquish the dearest object of her affections, at your request; and at the same time, I am persuaded she would, under no circumstances, approach the alter with a man she did not both love and esteem."

The baronet did not appear exactly to understand his sister's distinction, as he observed, "I am not sure I rightly comprehend the difference you make, Charlotte."

"Only, brother, that she would feel, a promise made at the altar to love a man she felt averse to, or honour one she could not esteem, as a breach of a duty, paramount to all earthly ones," replied his sister; "but to answer your question——Denbigh has never offered, and when he does, I do not think he will be refused."

"Refused!" cried the baronet, "I sincerely hope not; I wish, with all my heart, they were married already."

"Emily is very young," said Mrs. Wilson, "and need not hurry; I was in hopes she would remain single a few years longer."

Well," said the baronet, "you and Lady Moseley, sister, have different notions on this subject of marrying the girls."

Mrs. Wilson replied, with a good-humoured smile, "you have made Anne so good a husband, baronet, she forgets there are any bad ones in the world; my greatest anxiety is, that the husband of my niece may be a christian; indeed, I know not how I can reconcile it to my conscience, as a christian, myself, to omit this important qualification."

"I am sure, Charlotte, both Denbigh and Egerton appear to have a great respect for religion; they are punctual at church, and very attentive to the service;" Mrs. Wilson smiled, as he proceeded, "but religion may come after marriage, you know."

"Yes, brother, and I know it may not come at all; no really pious woman can be happy, without her husband is in what she deems the road to future happiness himself; and it is idle——it is worse——it is almost impious to marry with a view to reform a husband; indeed, she greatly endangers her own safety thereby, for few of us, I believe, but what find the temptation to err as much as we can contend with, without calling in the aid of example against us, in an object we love; indeed, it appears to me, the life of such a woman must be a struggle between conflicting duties."

"Why," said the baronet, "if your plan were generally adopted, I am afraid it would give a deadly blow to matrimony."

"I have nothing to do with generals, brother, I am acting for individual happiness, and discharging individual duties; at the same time I cannot agree with you in its effects on the community. I think no man who dispassionately examines the subject, will be other than a christian; and rather than remain bachelors, they would take even that trouble; if the strife in our sex was less for a husband, wives would increase in value."

"But how is it, Charlotte," said the baronet pleasantly, "your sex do not use your power and reform the age?"

"The work of reformation, Sir Edward," replied his sister, gravely, "is an arduous one indeed, and I despair of seeing it general, in my day; but much, very much, might be done towards it, if those who have the guidance of youth, would take that trouble with their pupils, that good faith requires of them, to discharge the lesser duties of life."

"Women ought to marry," observed the baronet, musing.

"Marriage is certainly the natural and most desirable state for a woman," rejoined his sister; "but how few are there who, having entered it, know how to discharge its duties; more particularly those of a mother. On the subject of marrying our daughters, for instance, instead of qualifying them to makea proper choice, they are generally left to pick up such principles and opinions as they may come at, as it were by chance; it is true, if the parent be a christian in name, certain of the externals of religion are observed; but what are these, if not enforced by a consistent example in the instructor?"

"Useful precepts are seldom lost, I believe, sister," said Sir Edward, with confidence.

"Always useful, my dear brother; but young people are more observant than we are apt to imagine, and are wonderfully ingenious in devising excuses to themselves for their conduct. I have often heard it offered as an excuse, that father or mother knew it, or perhaps did it, and therefore it could not be wrong; association is all-important to a child."

"I believe no family of consequence admits of improper associates, within my knowledge," said the baronet.

Mrs. Wilson smiled as she answered, "I am sure I hope not, Edward; but are the qualifications we require in companions for our daughters, always such as are most reconcilable with our good sense or our consciences; a single communication with an objectionable character is a precedent, if known and unobserved, which will be offered to excuse acquaintances with worse ones; with the other sex especially, their acquaintance should be very guarded and select."

"You would make many old maids, sister," cried Sir Edward, with a laugh.

"I doubt it greatly, brother; it would rather bring female society in demand. I often regret that selfishness, cupidity, and a kind of strife, which prevails in our sex, on the road to matrimony, have brought celibacy into disrepute; for my part, I never see an old maid, but I am willing to think she is so from choice or principle, and although not in her proper place serviceable, by keeping alive feelings necessary to exist, that marriages may not become curses, instead of blessings."

"A kind of Eddystone, to prevent matrimonial shipwrecks," said the brother gayly.

"Their lot may be solitary, baronet, and in some measure cheerless, but infinitely preferable to a marriage that may lead themselves astray from their duties, or give birth to a family, which are to be turned on the world——without any religion but form——without any morals but truisms——or without even a conscience which has not been seared by indulgence. I hope that Anne, in the performance of her indulgent system, will have no cause to regret its failure."

"Clara chose for herself, and has done well, Charlotte; and so I doubt not will Jane and Emily; and I confess I think it is their right."

"It is true," said Mrs. Wilson, "Clara has done well, though under circumstances of but little risk; she might have jumped into your fishpond and escaped with life, but the chances are she would drown; nor do I dispute their right to choose for themselves; but I say their rights extend to their requiring us to qualify them to make their choice. I am sorry, Edward, to be the instigator of doubts in your breast of the worth of any one, especially as it may give you pain." Here Mrs. Wilson took her brother affectionately by the hand as she communicated what she had overheard that evening. Although the impressions of the baronet were not as vivid or deep as those of his sister, his parental love was too great not to make him extremely uneasy under the intelligence; and after thanking his sister for her attention to his children's welfare, he kissed her, and withdrew; in passing to his own room, he met Egerton, that moment returned from escorting the Jarvis ladies to their lodgings; a task he had undertaken at the request of Jane, as they were without any male attendant. Sir Edward's heart was too full not to seek immediate relief, and as he had strong hopes of the innocence of the colonel, though he could give no reason for his expectation, he returned with him to the parlour, and in a few words acquainted him with the slanders which had been circulated at his expense; begging him by all means to disprove them as soon as possible. The colonel was struck with the circumstance at first, but assured Sir Edward, it was entirely untrue——he neverplayed, as he might have noticed, and that Mr. Holt was an ancient enemy of his——he would in the morning take measures to convince Sir Edward, that he stood higher in the estimation of his uncle, than Mr. Holt had thought proper to state. Much relieved by this explanation, the baronet, forgetting that this heavy charge removed, he only stood where he did before he took time for his inquiries, assured him, that if he could convince him, or rather his sister, he did not gamble, he would receive him as a son-in-law, with pleasure. The gentlemen shook hands and parted.

Denbigh had retired to his room early, telling Mr. Benfield he did not feel well, and thus missed the party at supper; and by twelve, silence prevailed in the house. As usual, after a previous day of pleasure, the party were late in assembling on the following, yet Denbigh was the last who made his appearance. Mrs. Wilson thought he threw a look round the room as he entered, which prevented his making his salutations in his usual easy and polished manner; in a few minutes, however, his awkwardness was removed, and they took their seats at the table. At the moment the door of the room was thrown hastily open, and Mr. Jarvis entered abruptly, and with a look bordering on wildness in his eye——"Is she not here?" exclaimed the merchant, scanning the company closely.

"Who?" inquired all in a breath.

"Polly——my daughter——my child," said the merchant, endeavouring to control his feelings; "did she not come here this morning with Colonel Egerton?"

He was answered in the negative, and he briefly explained the cause of his anxiety—— the colonel had called very early, and sent her maid up to his daughter, who rose immediately; they had left the house, leaving word the Miss Moseleys had sent for her to breakfast for a particular reason. Such was the latitude allowed by his wife, that nothing was suspected until one of the servants of the house said he had seen Colonel Egerton and a lady drive out of the village that morning in a post-chaise and four. Then the old gentleman first took the alarm, and proceeded instantly to the lodge in quest of his daughter; of their elopement there now remained no doubt, and an examination into the state of the colonel's room, who had been thought not yet risen, gave assurance of it. Here was at once sad confirmation that the opinion of Mr. Holt was a just one. Although every heart felt for Jane, during this dreadful explanation, no eye was turned on her excepting the stolen and anxious glances of her sister; but when all was confirmed, and nothing remained but to reflect or act upon the circumstances, she naturally engrossed the whole attention of her fond parents. Jane had listened in indignation to the commencementof the narrative of Mr. Jarvis, and so firmly was Egerton enshrined in purity within her imagination, that not until it was ascertained that both his servant and clothes were missing, would she admit a thought injurious to his truth. Then indeed the feelings of Mr. Jarvis, his plain statement, corroborated by this testimony, struck her at once as true; and as she rose to leave the room, she fell senseless into the arms of Emily, who observing her movement and loss of colour, had flown to her assistance. Denbigh had drawn the merchant out, in vain efforts to appease him, and happily no one witnessed this effect of Jane's passion but her nearest relatives. She was immediately removed to her own room, and, in a short time, in bed with a burning fever; the bursts of her grief were uncontrolled and violent. At times she reproached herself——her friends——Egerton:——in short, she was guilty of all the inconsistent sensations that disappointed hopes, accompanied by the consciousness of weakness on our part, seldom fails to give rise to; the presence of her friends was irksome to her, and it was only to the soft and insinuating blandishments of Emily's love, that she would at all yield; perseverance and affection at length prevailed, and as Emily took the opportunity of some refreshments to infuse a strong soporific, Jane lost her consciousness of misery in a temporary repose. In the mean time, a more searchinginquiry had been able to trace out the manner and direction of the journey of the fugitives.

It appeared the colonel left the lodge immediately after his conversation with Sir Edward; he slept at a tavern, and caused his servant to remove his baggage at day-light; here he had ordered a chaise and horses, and then proceeded, as mentioned, to the lodgings of Mr. Jarvis——what arguments he used with Miss Jarvis to urge her to so sudden a flight, remained a secret; but from the remarks of Mrs. Jarvis and Miss Sarah, there was reason to believe that he had induced them to think from the commencement, that his intentions were single, and Mary Jarvis their object; how he contrived to gloss his attentions to Jane, in such a manner as to deceive those ladies, caused no little surprise; but it was obvious it was done, and the Moseleys were not without hopes his situation with Jane would not make the noise in the world such occurrences seldom fail to excite. In the afternoon a letter was handed to Mr. Jarvis, and by him immediately communicated to the baronet and Denbigh, both of whom he considered as among his best friends:——it was from Egerton, and written in a respectful manner; he apologised for his elopement, and excused it on the ground of a wish to avoid the delay of a license, or the publishing of bans, as he was in hourly expectation of a summons to his regiment; with many promisesof making an attentive husband, and an affectionate son;——they were on the road to Scotland, whence they intended immediately to return to London, and wait the commands of their parents. The baronet, in a voice trembling with emotion at the sufferings of his own child, congratulated the merchant that things were no worse; while Denbigh curled his lips as he read the epistle, and thought settlements were a greater inconvenience than the bans——for it was a well known fact, a maiden aunt had left the Jarvises twenty thousand pounds between them.