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Title: Delaware; - or, The Ruined Family Vol. 1
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Delaware; - or, The Ruined Family Vol. 1" ***

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Transcriber's Notes:
      https://archive.org/details/delawareorruined01jame
     (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

   2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].



EDINBURGH
PRINTED BY M. AITKEN, 1, ST JAMES's SQUARE.



DELAWARE;

OR

THE RUINED FAMILY.

A TALE.



IN THREE VOLUMES.
VOL. I.



EDINBURGH:
PRINTED FOR ROBERT CADELL, EDINBURGH;
AND WHITTAKER & CO., LONDON.
MDCCCXXXIII.



PREFACE.


Not many years ago, as the writer of this work was returning on
horseback to Castellamare, from a visit to the Lactarian Hills, he
overtook, just under the chestnut trees on the slope, which every one
who has visited that part of Italy must remember, two gentlemen with
their guide, who were on their way home after some expedition of a
kind similar to his own.

As the indefinable something told him at once that they were
Englishmen, he turned, as usual under such circumstances, to examine
them more critically in passing, and in one of them recollected a
person whom he had met more than once in London. He hesitated whether
he should claim the acquaintance; as, when he had before seen him, the
traveller had appeared to great disadvantage. A man of rank and
fortune, flattered, caressed, single, and set at, he had borne a sort
of sneering indifference on his countenance, which certainly did not
recommend him to a person who neither sought his friendship nor feared
his contempt. A few traits, indeed, had casually appeared, which
seemed to betray a better spirit beneath this kind of supercilious
exterior; but still the impression was unfavourable.

All hesitation, however, was put an end to by a bow and friendly
recognition on the part of the other; and either because the
annoyances of the society in which he had formerly been met, were now
removed, or because a general improvement had worked itself in his
demeanour and character, his tone was so different, and his aspect so
prepossessing, that all feelings of dislike were soon done away. He
instantly made his "dear, new-found friend" acquainted with his
companion; and informing him that he had left his wife and sister at
the Albergo Reale, invited him to join their party for the evening.

This was accordingly done, and now--having ridden the third person
long enough, as it is the roughest going horse in the stable--I will,
with the reader's permission, do the next ten miles on the first
person singular.

The acquaintance which was there renewed soon went on to intimacy; and
as I found that the party which I had met with, consisted of an odd
number, the unfortunate fifth being an old gentleman, who required
some one more of his own age than his four relations to converse with,
I ventured to propose myself as their companion in a visit to some
places in the neighbourhood, and as their cicerone to Pæstum. The
proposal was accepted; and, strange enough to say, our companionship,
which had commenced so suddenly, did not end till those I may now
boldly call my friends returned to England, nearly a year after,
leaving me to stupify at Lauzanne.

Amongst the many pleasures which I derived from their society in
Italy, none was greater than that which some account of their
preceding adventures gave me. This was first obtained in a casual
manner, by hearing continual reference made amongst themselves to
particular circumstances. "Do you remember, Henry, such and such an
event? Does not that put you in mind of this, that, or the other?" was
continually ringing in my ears; and thus I gathered part ere the whole
was continuously related to me. At length, I obtained a complete
narrative; and though it was told with many a gay and happy jest, and
many a reference to details which would not amuse the world in
general, I could not help thinking that the public might find it
nearly as interesting as it proved to me.

In the same sort of gossiping anecdotical style in which I received
it, I have here, with full permission, put down the whole story. In
what tongue under the sun I have written it, I do not very well know,
though the language I intended to employ is a sort of jargon, based
upon Anglo-Saxon, with a superstructure of the Norman corruption of
French, propped up by bad Latin, and having the vacancies supplied by
Greek. Taking it for granted, that into this refuge for destitute
tongues, any houseless stranger would be welcome, whenever I was not
able to find readily a word or expression to my purpose, I have either
made one for myself, or stolen one from the first language at hand;
and as this has been done in all ages, I make no apology for it here.

I have reason, however, to believe that I have more sins to answer for
amongst the technical terms, and other more important matters. My
worthy lawyer, Mr. W----, tells me that my law is not sound; that,
instead of _indicted_ I should have said _arraigned_; instead of
_action_ I should have used the word _process_--or the reverse, I
forget which. My gallant friend, Captain D----, has taken much pains
to explain to me the difference between a _yawl_ and a _Peter boat_,
and has utterly confounded me with a definition of _clinker built_;
and my noble friend. Lord A----, declares that I have certainly
painted both his foibles and his adventures in somewhat strong
colours; but if, by so doing, I make a better book of it--why, let it
pass.

For all this I apologize to the public in general, acknowledging that
I am neither lawyer nor physician, soldier nor sailor, scholar nor
philosopher, nor what the cant of a former day denominated a man of
wit about town. Whoever reads the book, will see all this at a glance;
but I trust they will also see that I have not drawn from things of
marble, but from flesh and blood.

To one portion of his Britannic Majesty's subjects I have particularly
to apologize. Since this book went to the press, I have discovered,
from Cary's Road-Book, that there is a real village, or hamlet, or
town, called Emberton; and I hereby most solemnly declare, that, in
fixing upon that name as the scene of my chief adventures, I believed
I was employing an entirely fictitious title, and did so for the sole
purpose of concealing the real place at which some of the events
occurred. Let it be remembered, therefore, by all persons who have
seen, heard, or known any thing of the village, town, or hamlet of
Emberton, that, in writing this book, I did not know that such a place
did truly exist, and that nothing herein contained, is in any way to
be understood or construed to apply to the real place called Emberton
or its inhabitants, referring solely to a different spot in a
different county, which shall, by the reader's good leave, be
nameless.

Innerleithen,
25_th May_, 1833.



DELAWARE;
OR,
THE RUINED FAMILY.



CHAPTER I.


Most cities are hateful; and, without any disposition to "babble about
green fields," it must be owned that each is more or less detestable.
Nevertheless, amongst them all, there is none to be compared as a
whole to London;--none which comprehends within itself, from various
causes, so much of the sublime in every sort. Whether we consider its
giant immensity of expanse--the wonderful intricacy of its internal
structure--the miraculous harmony of its discrepant parts--the grand
amalgamation of its different orders, classes, states, pursuits,
professions--the mighty aggregate of hopes, wishes, endeavours, joys,
successes, fears, pangs, disappointments, crimes, and punishments,
that it contains--its relative influence on the world at large--or the
vehement pulse with which that "mighty heart" sends the flood of
circulation through this beautiful land--we shall find that that most
wonderful microcosm well deserves the epithet _sublime_.

To view it rightly--if we wish to view it with the eye of a
philosopher--we should choose perhaps the hour which is chosen by the
most magnificent and extraordinary of modern poets, and gaze upon it
when the sun is just beginning to pour his first red beams through the
dim and loaded air, when that vast desert of brick and mortar, that
interminable wilderness of spires and chimneys, looks more wide, and
endless, and solemn, than when the eye is distracted by the myriads of
mites that creep about it in the risen day.

It may be asked, perhaps, who is there that ever saw it at that hour,
except the red-armed housemaid, washing the morning step, and letting
in the industrious thief, to steal the greatcoats from the hall; or
the dull muffin-man, who goes tinkling his early bell through the
misty streets of the wintry morning? Granted, that neither of
these--nor the sellers of early purl--nor the venders of saloop and
cocoa--nor Covent Garden market-women--nor the late returners from the
_finish_--nor he who starts up from the doorway, where he has passed
the wretched night, to recommence the day's career of crime, and
danger, and sorrow--can look upon the vast hive in which they dwell
with over-refined feelings; and perhaps, to them, may come home
unhappy Shelley's forcible line,


  "Hell is a city very much like London!"


The valetudinarian, too, who wakes with nervous punctuality to
swallow down the morning draught, prescribed by courtly Henry's
bitter-covering skill, may curse the cats that, perched upon the
tiles, salute their lady-loves with most discordant cries, and keep
him from repose; and, with all the virulence of Despréaux, may exclaim
upon the many hateful sounds of a town morning. But besides all these,
there are sometimes persons, who, rising five hours before their usual
time, come forth in all the freshness of the early day, stimulated by
the vast effort that roused them from their beds, proud of a
successful endeavour to get up, and excited by the novelty of the
circumstance and the scene, and who rush on, admiring all the beauties
as they go to take their places in the gay stage-coach.

Fully double the extent of ancient Athens in its days of greatest
splendour--at least if the calculation of Aristides be correct--London
lies in circuit more than one day's journey, and many a day's journey
may be taken in the interior without ever threading the same streets.
It would not matter much, therefore, in what corner of the town was
placed the coach-office, whence, at an early hour of every lawful day,
set forth a smart-looking vehicle, drawn by four fiery bays, for a
distant town in ----shire; but nevertheless, as it may be a
satisfaction to the reader's mind, it is but fair to state, that the
aforesaid four-inside light coach took its departure daily from that
wild scene of bustle and confusion, which, within the last century or
two, has usurped the site of what a modern writer of ancient romance,
terms "the sweet little village of Charing," and which is now
popularly called the Golden Cross, Charing Cross.

As the things that were, are now no more, and even three short years
have made sad havoc amidst the brick antiquities of dear Pall Mall, it
may not be amiss more particularly to commemorate the appearance--at
the time our tale commences--of that agglomeration of street corners,
Charing Cross, from which--on account I suppose of its beautiful
vagueness--all rogues and insolvent debtors were wont to date their
letters. But this commemoration had best be given in describing the
effect of the whole upon a young and unsophisticated mind.

From a place that they call a hotel, in Piccadilly--Think of a man
taking up his abode at a hotel in Piccadilly!--but he knew no
better--From a hotel, in Piccadilly, at about half-past five o'clock
on the morning of the last day of August, one thousand eight hundred
and something, set out a hackney coach, containing within its sphere
of rotten wood and rusty leather a small portmanteau on the front
seat, and the portmanteau's master on the other. He was a well-made
youth, of about five-and-twenty years of age, with firm, graceful, and
yet powerful limbs, and a fresh clear complexion--not villainous red
and white, but one general tone of florid health. His eye was blue and
bright, and the clustering curls of fair hair--as pure Saxon as Sharon
Turner's last new book--might have looked somewhat girlish, had it not
been for the manly features and the free dauntless look that they
overshadowed. At the same time, be it remarked, that there was
something of melancholy, if not of gloom, in his aspect; but that did
not prevent him--after the chambermaid had been satisfied, and the
waiter had been paid, and boots had had his fees, and the porter had
claimed more than his due; and, in short, all the exactions of an inn
had been played off upon him in succession--that did not prevent him,
when fairly rolling away towards the top of the Haymarket, from gazing
out upon the scene around him with a sufficient degree of open-eyed
curiosity to make the waterman stick his tongue into his cheek, and
mentally denominate him "_a raw_."

It may be necessary to inform the unlearned reader, that the sun
rises, in the end of August, a few minutes after five in the morning,
and at the time I speak of the great luminary was pouring a flood of
radiance through the loaded air of the vast city, filling the long
empty perspective of the streets with the golden mistiness of the
morning light. Closed within the dull boards which defend the precious
wares of many a careful tradesman from the cosmopolite fingers of the
liberal Many, the shops exhibited nothing but the names and
occupations of their various owners; but the wide streets, with all
their irregular buildings, in the broad light and shade, were not
without beauty of their own peculiar kind, distinct from all the
mighty associations connected with their existence.

The coach rolled at the statute pace along Piccadilly, unobstructed by
any thing, and, indeed, unencountered by any thing but two slow market
carts, wending heavily towards Covent Garden, and another fac-simile
of itself just overcoming--in order to take up some other early
passenger--the _vis inertiæ_ which had held it on the straw-littered
stand for the last hour. In the Haymarket, however, the progression
was more difficult; for there, already had congregated many a loaded
cart, the drivers of which, as usual, had, with skilful zeal,
contrived to place them as a regular fortification, obstructing every
step of the way. Gin and purl, too, were reeking up to the sky from
the various temples of the rosy god that line the west side of the
street; and amidst the bargainings of some early dealers, and the
p[oe]ans of the gin-drinkers, no one attended to the objurgations of
the embarrassed coachman. Nevertheless, all these difficulties were at
length removed by one means or another; and Cockspur Street opened
wide before the traveller, exposing at the end, black with the smoke
of fires innumerable, the famous Statue and the girthless horse. On
one side, wide and open, lay Whitehall, with all those offices whence
many a time has issued the destiny of the world; on the other hand,
dark and dingy, wound away the Strand, with the house of the Percys
maintaining still the last aspect of a feudal dwelling to be found in
London. The King's Mews, on which a violating hand had hardly yet been
laid, occupied all the space to the left; and the flaming ensign of
the Golden Cross, stuck up in front of a tall narrow-fronted house,
told that the place of many coaches was before the traveller's eyes.

He found, on alighting, that he had arrived at least ten minutes
before the time; and after having been cheated, as usual, by the
hackney coachman, and gazed about the dull desolate yard, shut in by
the high houses round, in the far shadows of which stood two or three
red, blue, and yellow vehicles, all unpacked and unhorsed, he once
more sauntered out through the low-browed arch which gave admission to
the court, and amused himself with the wider scene exhibited by the
street.

At that hour, one-half of Murillo's pictures find living
representatives in the streets of London; and when the young traveller
had moralized for a minute or two on some groups of beggar-boys
playing round the Statue--had marked the sage and solemn pace with
which an elderly waterman brought forth his breakfast to a coachman on
the stand--and had listened to the Solon-like sayings of each upon the
weather and the state of the nation--he was looking back to see
whether the coming of the coach was hopeless, when the rushing noise
of rapid wheels caught his ear, and he turned his eyes in the
direction of the sound.

If people would but remark, they would find that they have
presentiments of little events a thousand times more often than they
have presentiments of great ones; and the feeling of the gallant
Nelson was not more strong, that the sun of Trafalgar was the last
that was destined to shine upon his glory, than was at that moment the
conviction of the young traveller that those rolling wheels were about
to bring him a companion for the stage-coach. Nor, let me tell you,
gentle reader, is it a matter of small importance who is to be brought
in such close contact with one for the next ten hours. What is life
but a chain of those brief portions of eternity which man calls hours,
so inseparably linked together that the first and the last, and every
link throughout the series, have a mutual dependence and connexion
with each other! Oh, let no one despise an hour! It is fully enough to
change dynasties and overthrow empires--to make or mar a fortune--to
win high renown or stain a noble name--to end our being or to fix our
destiny here and hereafter, in time and through eternity. So awful a
thing is one hour--ay, one moment of active being!

The companion of the three hundred and sixty-fifth part of one out of
seventy years, is a person to whom we may well attach some importance;
and the young traveller looked with no small eagerness to see who was
about to fill that station in relation to himself. The first thing
that his eyes fell upon, as he turned round, was a dark brown
cabriolet, whirled along with the speed of lightning by a tall bay
horse, full of blood and action, and covered with harness, which,
though somewhat elaborate and evidently costly, was guarded by
scrupulous good taste from being gaudy. Behind the vehicle appeared a
smart active boy in groom's apparel, but with no distinctive livery to
designate him as the tiger of Colonel this, or the Earl of that,
though a cockade in his hat told that his master pretended to either
military or naval rank. Where the young traveller stood, the
appearance of the driver was not to be discerned; but, from the style
of the whole turn-out, he began to doubt that his anticipations in
regard to their approaching companionship were fallacious, when,
dashing up to the pavement, the horse was suddenly drawn up, the groom
sprang to the head, and the person within at length made his
appearance.

He was a young man of about seven-and-twenty, tall, and rather
gracefully than strongly made; but still with a breadth of chest, and
a sort of firm setting on his feet, which spoke a greater degree of
personal strength than appeared at a casual glance. His clothes were
all of that peculiar cut which combines the most decided adherence to
the prevailing fashion, with a very slight touch of its extravagance.
Every thing, however, in the whole of his apparel, was in good
keeping, as the painters call it; and though the colours that appeared
therein, were such as no one but a man of rank and station in society
would have dared to wear, the general hue of the whole was dark.

"He's a dandy!" thought the young traveller, with a somewhat
contemptuous curl of the lip as the other descended from the
cabriolet; but the moment after, hearing him bid the boy tell Swainson
not to forget to give Brutus a ball on Wednesday night--and to walk
Miss Liddy for an hour twice every day in the park, he concluded that
he was a gentleman horse-jockey--a thing, in his unsophisticated
ideas, equally detestable with a dandy. Scarcely had he come to this
conclusion--and his conclusions, be it remarked, were formed very
quickly--when the stranger strode rapidly past him. The cabriolet
drove away, and its owner--with a quantity of glossy black hair
escaping from under his hat, and mingling with whiskers more glossy
still--entered the inn-yard, and proceeded to the coach-office.

The other traveller followed, in hopes of seeing some signs of
approaching departure; and, as he did so, he heard the reply of the
book-keeper to something which the owner of the cabriolet had asked.
"No room outside, sir;--very sorry, indeed--got our full number,"--he
had got three more, by the way,--"plenty of room inside.--That 'ere
gentleman's going inside, 'cause he can't get room out."

"Well, inside be it then," replied the other.

The book-keeper began to write. "What name, sir?"

"Burrel!" replied the stranger.

"Any luggage?"

"None," answered Burrel.

"One pound ten shillings and sixpence, sir, if you please!" said the
book-keeper; and, as Burrel paid the money, the coachman's cry of,
"Now, gentlemen, if you please!" sounded through the yard.

In another minute the horses were dashing through that antique and
abominable arch, which, in days of yore, gave egress and regress to
the Golden Cross, while Burrel and the other traveller, seated side by
side, held their breath as the rough vehicle clattered over the London
stones. It has often been remarked, that it is wonderful how much
shaking together two Englishmen require before they speak to each
other; and, in setting out from a town like London, there is scarcely
any individual who has not too much to think of--either in parting
from well-loved friends--in quitting scenes of pleasure or of pain--in
self-congratulation on escaping from smoke and noise--in anticipation
of quiet and repose of joyful meetings and smiles of welcome--not to
court a few minutes' calm reflection as they leave behind them that
great misty den of feelings and events. Our two travellers then leaned
back in their respective corners without the interchange of a
word--the one, Burrel, apparently buried in deep thought; and the
other too proud, if not too shy, to begin any conversation himself,
even had he not had memories enough in his bosom to furnish him also,
with food for meditation. Such, however, he had; and--seeing that his
companion appeared wrapped up in that sort of gentlemanly reserve
which so often covers over a man's eyes, ears, and understanding, as
he goes through life, and leaves him, like the Grand Lama, with
nothing to speculate upon but his own perfections--the younger
traveller gave way also to his thoughts, and, ere they had reached
Brentford, had forgotten that there was any being in the coach but
himself.

His reflections did not seem very pleasant; for at Hounslow, what
appeared to be the first act thereof, ended in a sigh so long and
deep, that it attracted the notice of his fellow-traveller, who turned
his head, and, for the first time, examined him somewhat attentively,
as he sat looking out of the windows, with the objects as they passed
skimming hardly noted before his eyes. The second act of the young
man's thoughts did not seem quite so abstracted as the first; for when
the coach stopped for a few minutes at Staines, he put his head forth
from the window, and demanded the name of the place, addressing
Mynheer Boots, who gazed in his face and answered nothing.

"This is Staines," replied his hitherto silent companion, in a mild
gentlemanly tone, in which there was not the slightest touch of
_coxcombry_ or affectation; "perhaps you have never travelled this
road before?"

"I have, indeed," replied the other; "but the first time was many
years ago; and when last I passed, I had various things to think of,
which prevented my noting particularly the places through which I
travelled."

"Oh, any thing on earth to think of," replied Burrel, "of course
renders travelling out of the question. It is no longer travelling, it
is locomotion.--It becomes the act of a stage-coach, a steam-engine,
or any other machine, as soon as a person has one thought occupied by
either business or memory, or any one of the troublesome things of the
world. Before one sets out on a journey, one should shake out one's
mind, as the ancient pilgrims did their wallets, and leave no trace of
friends, or relations, or feelings, or prejudices, or remembrances of
any kind in short, to hang about it; but make all void and clear for
the new stock of ideas that are to be placed in it."

"Yours is a strange doctrine," replied his companion, "though I
believe it might be as well to practise it."

"Why, if a man carries about in his mind," continued Burrel, "his
uncles and aunts, and sisters and brothers, and all the luggage of
associations that they bring along with them, he might as well jog on
in the old family coach at the rate of forty mortal miles per day,
from the town house in Berkeley Square to the country house in
Staffordshire. But let a man resolve to forget every thing on earth
but the scenes through which he is passing, and he will find as much
to interest, and amuse, and excite him--ay, and as much to the purpose
of real information too--between London and Dorchester, as between
Paris and the Dardanelles."

His companion smiled, perhaps as much from surprise at the very
unexpected tone of his fellow-traveller's tirade, as from any
acquiescence in the tirade itself. "Nay, nay," he said; "surely you
won't deny that--putting all other advantages out of the question
between the two journeys you mention--there is still much more
picturesque beauty to be found between Paris and the Dardanelles than
between London and Dorchester?"

"I do not know that," replied Burrel. "There may be newer scenery, and
perhaps more sublime scenery; but whether the more sublime be
calculated to produce a finer or a sweeter effect upon man's heart and
mind than softer and gentler pictures, I much doubt. There is
something in an English landscape to be found nowhere else--an air of
rich, sweet, happy repose--of safe tranquillity and successful
industry, that is in itself almost sublime. Let your eye now run over
that view as the coach climbs the hill. Where did you ever behold a
scene on which sight can so pleasantly repose?--The rich scattered
wood in front, full of Old England's grand primeval oaks.--Then look
how, bending over a thousand slopes, in the true lines of beauty, the
hedgerows wind along, dividing wealthy field from field--now giving
skips and glances of fair towns and uplands, and now massing together,
till the eye believes them to be deep groves--then that catch of the
river, glistening under the hill, while the sunshine streams through
the valley, and that broad shadow of some cloud we do not see, passes
slowly on, at every change that it effects in the light and shade of
the landscape, bringing out some new beauty, as if it itself delighted
in the loveliness it produces. Then again, cast your eyes up yonder to
the village church hanging halfway down the hill, with its neat
parsonage embowered in tall elms; and looking, as it is, the abode of
peace and virtue. As good a man dwells there as the whole world can
produce, and a true representative of the great majority of the
much-belied English clergy. But say, did you ever see a fairer scene?"

"Seldom, indeed," replied his companion, whose attention, called to
the principal points of a purely English picture, found more beauties
in it than custom suffered him to see before. "But still," he added,
"I am fond of mountain scenery."

"And so am I," replied Burrel. "I am fond of every kind of scenery,
from the bold blue mountain with its purple heath, as bare, as naked,
and as wild as the banks of Loch Awe itself can show, to the rich and
undulating plains of Champagne, where soft line beyond line of faint
and fainter shadows, vanishing away in Claude-like sunshine, are all
that marks the wide extent over which the eye can roam. There is such
a thing as the economy of admiration; and by husbanding that faculty
properly, you will not find a scene in all the world on which you
cannot afford to bestow some small portion thereof."

The other traveller replied, not a little pleased to find that all the
fine sketches which he had been making of his companion's character,
during the earlier part of their journey, were as empty as a protocol;
and, with the very natural jump which man's heart takes when it finds
itself agreeably disappointed in the estimation it had formed of
another, perhaps the stranger now felt as much inclined to over-admire
his companion, as he had before been disposed to undervalue him. A
growing remembrance of his features, too, for some time made him fancy
that he had met with an old friend, whose face, like a worn piece of
money, though half obliterated by time, was still sufficiently plain
to tease memory--one of those provoking recollections, as tenacious as
remorse, and intactible as a soufflet. After some farther
conversation, and one or two thoughtful pauses--in which memory was so
busy in digging amongst the ruins of the past to see if she could find
the name of Burrel, that she would not even let the young traveller's
loquacious powers go on, for fear of disturbing her search--he
suddenly exclaimed, with that degree of frank simplicity which at once
spoke him but little a child of the great world, "Oh! now I remember
where it was; I saw you before!"

"Where?" demanded Burrel with a slight smile, which he instantly
repressed lest he should give pain.

But the young stranger was not of a nature to think there could be any
thing wrong or absurd in acknowledging whatever he felt, if what he
felt were pure and natural. "It was at the door of Lord Ashborough, in
Grosvenor Square," he replied at once. "You were coming out as I was
going in to call for his lordship. It was but yesterday; and yet I
have been searching through many long years to find out where it was I
had seen you before."

"Memory is like the philosophers," replied Burrel, "and often sends
out far to seek what she might stumble over at her own door. I now
remember your face also, and think I heard you give your name as
Captain Delaware."

"The same," answered his companion with somewhat of a sigh. "Do you
know Lord Ashborough well?"

"I have known him long," replied Burrel; "but to know a man well is a
very different thing; for I am afraid that all men have learned
now-a-days what Sallust regrets in the decline of the Romans--_magis
vultum quam ingenium, bonum habere_. Not that I mean to say it is so
with Lord Ashborough;--far from it. He bears a high character in the
world, and is esteemed upright, honourable, and talented, though
somewhat stern and haughty."

A grave and rather melancholy expression came over the countenance of
the other; and he replied, changing the subject abruptly, "You were
speaking of the Dardanelles. Were you ever there?"

"Never," answered Burrel, "though once within little more than a
hundred leagues. I should have been well pleased to have gone on; but
circumstances called me back to England."

"I have been there," replied the other; "and there is nothing
more delightful on earth than the sail from Corfu to
Constantinople--except, indeed, some parts of the coast of Sicily."

"You are a naval man, then, I presume?" said Burrel. The other
answered in the affirmative, and his companion proceeded.

----"For nothing on earth could be more disagreeable to me, and I
suppose to most landsmen, than a sail from any one given point of the
globe's surface to another. When you speak of Sicily, however, you
speak of a land that I too know well; and in regard to which I can
enter into your enthusiasm. There are few lands more fertile in
beauties of nature and association than Sicily, and Epicurean
Calabria, and the old Etruscan groves! You have of course visited
Italy, if you so well know Sicily?"

"I have done little more than cruise along the coast," replied Captain
Delaware; "but in Sicily I was landed, and remained some months for
the recovery of my health."

"Oh, the sweet coasts of the Mediterranean Sea!" said Burrel, "where
at every league there is some beauty and some memory--some pleasant
dream of the present or the past---from the Imperial City and its
wolf-suckled founder, to the grey majesty of Pæstum and the Calabrese
peasant with his long gun and his Mother Goose hat, caroling his gay
ditty as cheerfully as a pickpocket. In every other corner of the
world, I feel earth stuffed with stern realities; but in Italy I can
fully enter into the feeling of Metastasio, and exclaim, '_Sogno della
mia vita e il corso intero!_'"

"You are an enthusiast, I see," replied the other with a smile.

"When I am in company with one," answered Burrel laughing. His
companion coloured slightly, but good-humouredly, and the conversation
went on in the same easy manner in which it had commenced, through the
rest of their journey. It is unnecessary to give any farther details
thereof; for such light nothings, though very pleasant to while away
the hours in a stage-coach, are most excessively tiresome in the small
pages of an octavo. Let it suffice that Captain Delaware, surprised
and pleased with his companion, found the journey far shorter than he
had expected. Indeed, so captivated was he, that in the whole of
Burrel's deportment there was but one thing he thought might have been
altered to advantage, which was a certain air of taking every thing as
a matter of course--a tone of indifference which men of the world
acquire they know not well how, and which, in the present instance,
blended in an extraordinary manner with the high feeling of the
beautiful and the excellent which his conversation breathed
throughout.

That tone, however, is not without its advantages also, and the young
sailor found that it might be serviceable, when at Hartford Bridge a
person of a very different description was intruded upon them. He was
a short, broad made man, with long baboonish arms, and a face on which
nature had so plainly written the class to which it was to belong,
that had fortune in some of her freaks covered it either with the
coronet of a peer, or a peasants straw hat, his mother, or fortune, or
nature, would have had much to answer for. Some of the features were
good, however--the eyes were very tolerable, for instance; and the
nose was not bad. But then the cheek-bones!--Good God, such
cheek-bones! From Crim Tartary to Banff there is nothing to be seen
like them. The mouth, too, was worse--one of those fearful mouths,
whose broad, fat, wide-parted, irregular lips, seem to vaticinate the
fate of the owner with such distinctness that no person of common
foresight can see them without at once picturing the person who
possesses them--not as about to be hanged, but as actually hanging.
The skin that was over all was of that reddish, coarse, mottled kind,
which puts one in mind of a gross strawberry; and although, as before
said, the eyes in themselves were _goodish_ blue, meaningless eyes
enough, yet the place where there should have grown eyelashes, being
alone furnished with a red knotty line in their room, gave them a
ferret-like sharpness, without which they would have signified nothing
at all.

This Worthy, "_passant à joints pieds_" as Madame de Sevigné calls it,
over all ceremonies, was inclined to make himself so much at his ease,
that Captain Delaware--disgusted and offended, yet without any
absolute pretext for anger--felt strongly inclined to quarrel with,
and eject from the window, a person who interrupted a pleasant
conversation to substitute vulgar impertinence in its place. Burrel,
on the contrary, with cool indifference, amused himself for a moment
or two with the other's vulgarity, and then trode him into silence by
contempt. He then calmly resumed the conversation with his first
companion, from which there was something in his tone and manner that
irresistibly excluded the other, who to revenge himself looked out of
the window, and, like my Uncle Toby, whistled _lillebullero_.

Thus passed the remaining hours of their journey--Burrel every moment
increasing upon the esteem of his travelling companion, till at length
they approached, about six o'clock, a little village, which, though it
may bear a different name in the county map, we shall take the liberty
of calling Emberton. The sun had so far declined from the meridian,
that the shadows were getting long and blue; but still the sheeny
splendour of the summer's day was not at all decreased, though the
approach of evening had cleared away the hazy brightness which hangs
ever about a very hot and sunny noon. The coach wound on along the
road, every now and then passing various objects which gave notice
that it was approaching some place where the busy and improving emmets
that lord it over this ant-hill world, had congregated together, and
adorned their place of sojourn. Now came a neat gate and a detached
cottage, too miniature in all its proportions, from the little
turkey-carpet garden to the rustic porch, to be the country mansion of
any man of large property; and yet too neat, and one might perhaps say
too elegant, to be the dwelling of the poor. It was evidently the
house of the doctor or the lawyer, or the retired maiden lady of some
village near at hand, and it again was succeeded by a long clean
whitewashed wall, belonging to garden, or shrubbery, or semi-park,
between which and the coach road ran a fair gravel footpath, defended
by green posts and iron chains. The manifold paths and roads branching
to the right and left, clean and well kept, told the same tale of
man's habitation; and in a moment after, winding over a slight rise,
the coach reached the brow of the hill from which the whole village or
little town of Emberton was visible.

It lay in a country slightly undulating, but backed by some high hills
at the distance of about fifteen miles, and between them and the
elevation which the coach had reached, the expanse might rather be
called a plain than a valley. The village was close beneath the slope,
and had little to distinguish it from any other English country town,
having all that peculiar air of cleanness, of regularity, and of the
spirit of industry and cultivation, which is only to be seen in
England. Its greatest ornament was the river, which, clear, smooth,
and tranquil, ran through the town very nearly at the middle, and was
itself spanned over by a neat stone bridge of about fifty yards in
length. That bridge, however, was to be remarked for something more
than its light and elegant construction: its balustrade formed the
continuation of a low stone wall which separated the village from a
wide park on the right hand side, full of majestic trees, scattered in
groups of four or five over a fine undulating piece of ground. Through
the midst the river flowed gently on, reflecting the evening sky, and
two or three swans that floated on its bosom, the clear light of which
was only broken here and there by a fall of a few feet, which scarcely
increased the flow of the current. As one looked up the park from
the bridge--at the distance of about a third of a mile on either
hand--might be seen a grove of tall graceful trees, sufficiently
extensive to take the appearance of a forest, in some of the glades of
which the eye caught occasionally the remains of old summer-houses, in
the Charles the Second taste; and in the central point was seen the
mansion itself built of mingled gray stone and red brick, with small
innumerable windows. It bore the aspect of what it really had been--a
monastery erected early in the reign of Henry VIII. by a wealthy
community of friars. From them it was afterwards wrested by that pink
of reforming monarchs, tyrants, and plunderers, and bestowed upon some
minion of the day. The buttery of their time had become the lodge now,
and was a detached building in the same fashion as the house,
projecting into the high-road, and flanked by two large iron gates,
which, to say sooth, were somewhat rusty for the want of paint. In
what state of repair the dwelling-house itself was kept, could hardly
be discerned at that distance; but no kinds of deer were seen sporting
in the park, and sheep had evidently taken their place, as affording
probably a more profitable manner of employing the land.

"That seems a splendid park!" said Burrel, as his eye first lighted on
it. "Do you know what it is called?"

"Emberton Park," replied the young sailor briefly.

"And belongs to?"----said Burrel.

"Sir Sidney Delaware, my father," answered the young man with so deep
a sigh that Burrel asked no further questions.

After dragging the wheel, the coach ran rapidly down the descent, and
then rolling on, stopped at a neat clean house, with a small garden in
the front. At the little white gate were four fine setters, with a
servant out of livery; who instantly touched his hat to Burrel, and,
approaching the door, said, "This is the house, sir."

"Very well," answered Burrel; "and now farewell Captain Delaware," he
said, turning to his companion, and, giving him his hand with as much
frank good humour as if he had addressed an old acquaintance, "I doubt
not we shall meet again."

Delaware grasped his hand without reply, and the other alighted. All
his dogs sprang up to greet him with evident joy, much to the
detriment of his clothes, but not the least of his good humour, and
after gazing up and down the road for a moment as one does in a
strange place, he walked through the little gate and entered the
house, at the door of which stood a tidy old lady, evidently curtsying
to a new lodger.

The coach drove on; and then again stopped at the lodge of the park,
where Captain Delaware alighted also. His portmanteau was given to the
woman at the lodge; and he himself with a quick step walked up the
path which led to the mansion.



CHAPTER II.


Whether there be something inherent in the nature of things which
renders any object that man very much desires, thenceforth very
difficult to be obtained; or whether it be, that, by a certain
perversity in man's nature, he only desires those things that _are_
difficult to be obtained, I cannot tell; but one point is very clear
in every body's experience, that whenever we fix our heart upon one
particular object, and strive for it very ardently, however easy it
might seem before, we find a thousand difficulties and obstacles start
up upon our path, and overrule our wishes. Nevertheless, as there is
nothing upon earth half so tiresome--ay, and half so useless, too--as
a disquisition upon causes and effects, we will proceed with the
events which gave rise to the above sage observation, which, by
rights, should have followed this chapter as a corollary upon it,
instead of a sort of epigraph at its head.

The person who has figured before the reader during a long day's
journey in a stage-coach under the name of Burrel, entered the small
neat house we have before described; and, after having considered
attentively with his eyes all the proportions and dimensions of the
little parlour which was to be his sitting-room, he seated himself
before the antique, and somewhat obscure, mahogany table that it
contained, and addressed his servant--who had followed into the room,
together with the decent, respectable landlady--pronouncing those two
important, but somewhat laconic words, "Get dinner!"

The man bowed, and left the room without reply, and Burrel proceeded,
speaking to the landlady, who was beginning to fear, from certain
symptoms that she saw, that both master and man were equally taciturn.
"Well, my good lady," he said, "my man has doubtless arranged every
thing with you, and I hope you are satisfied with the bargain he has
made?"

"Oh dear, yes, sir!" replied Widow Wilson, as the good dame was
denominated. "There was but one word to that bargain, I can assure
you."

"I suppose so," said Burrel dryly, "if Harding concluded it. But tell
me--that is a beautiful park opposite the window; who does it belong
to?"

"Bless you, sir, that is Emberton Park!" replied the landlady, looking
unutterable things at Burrel's ignorance. "You must have heard tell of
Sir Sidney Delaware, Bart. of Emberton Park, surely?"

"I think I have heard the name," replied Burrel. "What family has he?"

"Why, Lord bless me, sir! you came down with his own son," answered
the old lady, more and more surprised at her lodger's ignorance of
village facts, and beginning greatly to undervalue his understanding.
"Why, I saw the Captain's head as plain as possible when you got out
of the coach."

"Indeed!" said Burrel, with gravity not to be shaken; "and is he an
only child?"

"Oh no, sir, no!" answered Mrs. Wilson. "Sir Sidney has a young lady,
too. Himself, his son, and his daughter--that is all of them, poor
people!"

"Poor people!" exclaimed Burrel; "I should think they were rich people
with such a fine estate as that?"

"Ah, sir, things that show best are not always as they look!" replied
the good woman. "They are as poor as church-mice, sir, and that's poor
enough. I wish to God they were richer--much good would they do! But I
have heard Lawyer Johnstone say, that, with all the fine estate, Sir
Sidney, when all is paid, has not four hundred a-year of his own; and
gentility without ability is like a pudding without plumbs. Then there
is the Captain's half-pay, you know; and if they could let the house
and park, it might bring something more. They tried one year, and went
and lived at a cottage down at Sidmouth--but it did not let, and the
place was going to ruin--and so they came back; for, though there are
not many of them, yet two or three in a house are better than none at
all."

"That is very true," said Burrel; "very true, indeed; and now, my good
lady, see if my man has taken up the hot water to the dressing-room."

The good woman took the hint and retired; and here it may be as well
to mention one or two circumstances which preceded the arrival of
Henry Burrel, Esq., at the neat little village of Emberton. These
circumstances were simply as follows:--Two days before that on which
we have thought fit to begin our tale, arrived by the coach--together
with four portmanteaus, four dogs, and a gun-case--the servant whom we
have seen waiting the traveller at the door of Mrs. Wilson's house.
After a few enquiries at the inn, all conceived in very laconic style,
he proceeded at once to Mrs. Wilson's, and, in words inexpressibly
brief, concluded a bargain for her apartments, as they were called,
for one month from that period, in the name of his master, Henry
Burrel, Esq. As soon as the important fact was generally known that a
gentleman possessing four portmanteaus, four setters, a gun-case, and
a man out of livery, was about to take up his residence for one month
in the village of Emberton, the wise may imagine the commotion that
was created. The object of his visit was evidently to shoot, otherwise
what could he do with four setters and a gun-case; but there were
various other matters to be ascertained by the young and old ladies of
the village; first and foremost, whether the shooter might not be shot
by Cupid's shaft--next, whether he were rich--next, whether he were
young or old--next, whether he were a bachelor or a widower--and next,
whether he had ever been in India. All these points, with the various
branches into which they spread, were matters of consideration to the
three classes of ladies that inhabit a small country town; namely,
those who will not, or cannot, marry at all, or any more--those who
will marry when it suits them--and those who, at any time, will marry
any thing, or anybody. However, not to enter into disagreeable
particulars, the surgeon and apothecary, well knowing the importance
of the case, the immense increase of influence he might acquire by
learning the whole facts and all the concomitant advantages which
might thence accrue, was the first to watch the servant out of the
house, after the rumour had spread, and--accosting him in an easy and
familiar way--to propound to him what the law people call leading
questions. But the servant was as taciturn and as guarded as a thrice
convicted Old Bailey witness _is_, or the ambassador's private
secretary's valet-de-chambre _should_ be; and nothing could the doctor
make of him. The lawyer tried him next, and then the innkeeper, but
all equally failed; and the consequence was, that at the hour the
coach was expected to arrive on the two subsequent days, all Emberton
was in a flutter. There were the Misses this and the Misses that, as
fine as--but there is no word for it--all taking their afternoon walk
along the line of road--and there was Mrs. the-other-thing, the fair
young widow, in such becoming weeds--buying some grey silk at the
mercer's opposite, which she found it necessary to examine by the
broader light of the street-door---just as the wheels came rattling
down the hill. The coach at length was seen to stop; and Burrel, who
had noticed no one on the face of the earth but his own servant at the
door of Mrs. Wilson's, walked into the house as we have before
described, while the fact spread like lightning through the place that
the gentleman at Mrs. Wilson's was young, handsome, dark, tall, and
exquisite, and undoubtedly unmarried--for, by a peculiar test, or sort
of instinct, which heaven has bestowed upon womankind, amongst their
many other excellences, the fair sex have an extraordinary gift of
discovering whether any male thing be married or single at the
distance of a hundred yards.

There was but one subject of conversation throughout Emberton during
the course of that evening. The old topic--the unhappy poverty of the
people at the Park, and the absurd pride which prevented them from
giving tea-parties, because they could not give dinners, with all the
little malice and tittle-tattle thereunto attached--was forgotten for
the time, and nothing was spoken of but Mrs. Wilson's lodger and his
silent manservant. Indeed, the latter, with his extraordinary and
unaccountable taciturnity, divided with his master the anxious
curiosity of the two tea-parties given that evening; and one lady even
went so far, as not to doubt that he was a foreigner, and could not
speak English, in proof of which she adduced his heavy black brows and
egregious whiskers--an argument which, combined with the man's
reserve, left one-half of her hearers nearly convinced.

In the meanwhile, however, Henry Burrel sat down to his dinner, which
he concluded with an excellent appetite, and in perfect silence,
totally unconscious of the restless moments he was giving to the
tongues of Emberton. This state of meditation continued unbroken till
the cloth disappeared, and the silent servant, placing the inviolate
bottle of comet claret before him--a supply of which, by the way, had
been sent down to the coach-office ten days before, arguing, the
lawyers would infer, a predetermination to lodge at Emberton--was
about to retire, when he was arrested by his master's voice.

"Have you yet," demanded Burrel, musing, "made the enquiries I
directed you, Harding?"

"Yes, sir," replied the man, and was again silent.

"Where does he live, then, this Mr. Tims?" asked his master. "How far
is it from the village?"

"About a mile and a half, sir," answered Harding, "down a back lane at
the end of the park--a very retired place, but easily found."

"And what else did you discover?" continued his master, "I mean, in
regard to the Delawares?"

"They visit no one, sir--in the village, at least," replied the man,
"and receive no one."

"Do any of the family shoot?"

"None, sir,--and they have often given leave to gentlemen staying at
the inn, for the mere asking."

"Very well," answered his master.--"Now, bring me my writing-desk, and
some books from the library--the greatest trash you can find."

The man disappeared, and returned with the desk, from which, while he
was again absent bringing the trash in quest of which his master had
despatched him, Burrel took out some notes and accounts, and
apparently went over the latter with the accurate attention of a man
of business. He then wrote a brief note, which he folded and sealed,
and, giving it to Harding on his return, bade him deliver it the next
morning early, and wait an answer. All this being completed, he took
up the first volume that had been brought him, cast himself back in
his chair, and skimmed the pages till bed-time.

The breakfast-table was laid out by the neat hands of Mrs. Wilson,
exactly at eight o'clock the next morning--the white table-cloth, the
jug of rich yellow cream, the two smooth rolls, somewhat browner than
the same article of food in London, but doubtless much more the
children of the corn--all bespoke a comfortable country breakfast; and
when, in about half an hour after, Burrel descended in shooting guise,
he looked round with that air of satisfaction which a man feels, after
a long London season, on waking and finding himself really in the
country. The hot water, not in the accursed lukewarm urn, but in a
kettle hissing hot from the fire, was brought in by Mrs. Wilson; but
in about ten minutes Harding himself appeared, and, with his usual
silence, presented his master with an answer to his note of the
evening before. It ran as follows, and explains both itself and the
one to which it replied:--


"_Emberton Park, Wednesday Morning_.

"Sir Sidney Delaware is happy to have the power of affording Mr.
Burrel any gratification; and begs to say, that he is perfectly at
liberty to shoot over any part of his property, with the exception of
the grounds in the immediate vicinity of the house, the game on which
he wishes to preserve."


"Hum!" said Burrel, shaking his head as he read the note; "Whom did
you see, Harding?"

"A maid-servant, sir," replied the man, "and the old gentleman
himself."

"Did he say nothing about calling on me?" demanded Burrel; "or being
happy to see me?"

"Nothing, sir," replied the man; and, with an injunction to get his
gun ready, and see that the old lady did not give the dogs any thing
to eat before they went out, his master dismissed him. "We must find
some means," said Burrel to himself when the servant was gone; "but I
am afraid it will be more difficult than I thought----But the young
man will call of course."

Now, though it would be very easy to look into the mind of Henry
Burrel, Esq. as he there stands pondering, with his hand leaning on
the table, yet it may be better to pursue him a little farther ere we
take such a liberty, and see him set forth upon his shooting
expedition, in the course of which he approached as near to the
mansion of Emberton Park as he decently could. His expedition was
solitary, however; and if he expected or hoped to meet any of the
family, he was disappointed. No one did he see but an occasional
shepherd, and a hedger and ditcher; and at three o'clock he returned
home, with nothing to repay his walk but ten brace of birds.

The following morning it was no better; but Burrel seemed resolved
upon another line of conduct, and, at the risk of seeming to intrude,
he called at the house itself as he passed, and, on finding that its
owner was from home, left a card with his compliments and thanks for
the permission which had been granted him. "They will perhaps think me
a presuming coxcomb," he thought; "but I care not." The next day, in
crossing the fields with his dogs and his gun as usual, he suddenly
met his stage-coach companion, Captain Delaware, with a young lady
leaning upon his arm, whom, from a certain family likeness, he at once
concluded to be the sister of his acquaintance. Her dress was as plain
as possible; but the model was good, and no one could have doubted
that she was a lady, though it is probable that the walking-dress of
the mercer's daughter at Emberton, was beyond comparison more
fashionable--in price. Her figure was extremely good, though heaven be
praised not at all sylphlike; and all that Burrel remarked was, that
she was a very pretty girl, and had a very pretty foot. Her brother
stopped for a moment; and with a countenance, in which various
emotions, strangely mingled, of pleasure and pain, called up an
eloquent glow, he hoped that Burrel had met with good sport,
introduced him to his sister Miss Delaware, and then, in a manner
somewhat abrupt and embarrassed, bade him good-by, and turned away.

Burrel walked on with his gun under his arm; and for a minute, as he
did so, he bit his nether lip, and his brow slightly contracted. The
moment after, however, he laughed, lightly murmuring, "Well, I must
have recourse to the old miser after all, though I hate his
instrumentality;" and, turning on his heel, he sauntered back towards
his own abode.

He was suffered to enter in peace; but his Manton was scarcely laid on
the table, and his dogs given into the charge of his servant, when, to
his horror and astonishment, Mr. Tomkins, the surgeon of the village,
was announced, and a smart dapper little man, of a pale and
gentlemanly aspect, made his appearance. Burrel was cool and civil;
for it was a part of his code to be civil to every one till they were
insolent; and, after the usual symphony concerning the weather, Mr.
Tomkins proceeded to the chief motive of his visit.

"He had always," he said, "proposed to call upon Mr. Burrel as soon as
his manifold occupations would permit; but he had that day been
charged with a commission, which gave so much additional pleasure to
his proposed visit, that he of course determined to pay it
immediately. The fact was," he added, "that he had that morning been
visiting Mrs. Darlington, the lady to whom that beautiful house and
those sweet grounds upon the hill belonged, and who, having heard of
Mr. Burrel's arrival in Emberton, though she could not of course call
upon him herself, had begged the identical Mr. Tomkins, then before
him, to say how much pleasure she would have to see him, if he would
do her the honour of dining with her on the following day."

She was a widow lady of a certain age, Mr. Tomkins implied, who had
all her life moved in the best society, and was the most charming and
good-tempered person in the world--"draws beautifully; has a great
taste for music; sees a good deal of company at her house, where the
cookery is excellent; does a great deal of good, and takes a vast deal
of interest in every thing that is doing in the village."

"What a disagreeable person!" thought Burrel. "Nevertheless, I may as
well amuse myself with her and hers, as walk about these fields from
breakfast till dinner-time, or read these idiotical romances from
dinner till bed-time." He replied, however, according to the letter of
the law of civility, "Mrs. Darlington does me a great deal of honour,
my dear sir," he said; "and I will do myself the pleasure of accepting
her invitation, which I will notify to her forthwith by my
servant--Pray, how far may be her house?"

"Oh, not above five miles certainly," replied the worthy chirurgeon.

"Five miles!" said Burrel; "that is a tremendous way to roll in any
thing but a cabriolet after eating. I shall certainly die of an
indigestion if I trust myself to a hack post-chaise in a state of
repletion."

The man of medicines grinned at what in his ears sounded something
very like a professional joke, but assured Burrel at the same time
that his apprehensions were vain, for that Mrs. Darlington's
invitations always implied a bed at her house.

"That alters the case," replied Burrel; "for I expect some horses down
to-night, and will ride over and dress before dinner."

The doctor, who felt that a vast accession of dignity would accrue, if
he could expose himself to the wondering eyes of Emberton, in close
companionship with the young and fashionable stranger, proposed to
drive him over in his pony chaise; but this honour Burrel declined,
replying quietly, that he would prefer riding; and, after one or two
faint efforts towards discovery of all the hidden things appertaining
to the young traveller, the surgeon, finding that the conversation
began to fall continually to the ground, took the hint and retired;
and Burrel proceeded to change his shooting-dress for one better
suited to the town.

Leaving him, however, to make this alteration, and to send off his
answer to Mrs. Darlington's invitation, we shall now beg leave to
follow home Captain Delaware and his sister, and--as every thing in a
tale like the present should be as clear as possible, without the
slightest mystery or absurd concealment--shall explain a few things
that may have hitherto appeared strange in the conduct of that family.

The spot at which Burrel had that morning met his travelling
companion, was not more than a quarter of a mile from the mansion, and
the brother and sister walked on directly towards one of the smaller
doors in the park wall, and, passing through, turned their steps
homewards. They proceeded, however, in silence; for there was
something evidently in their rencontre with Burrel unpleasant to them
both, nor was that unpleasant sensation perhaps relieved by the aspect
of their paternal dwelling, or the grounds that surrounded it. Without
entering into the painful details of a family's decay, it is
sufficient to say, that the whole place bore the character--not of
neglect--but of means incompetent to ward off the constant,
unremitting, insidious assaults of time. They passed a temple in the
park, which had been built in imitation of some famous specimen of
Grecian architecture, and now came nearer still to the original by its
decay. A large mass of the frieze had fallen, and over the green and
disjointed steps the brambles were shooting their long thorny arms.
The path itself, too, which wound on towards the house, was half
overgrown with grass; and where an effort to hoe it up had been begun,
it had speedily been abandoned, from the necessity of employing the
man in some more useful service. The mansion, too, more than half
closed, had about it all--not the aspect of ruin, for it had by no
means reached that pitch--but a look of desertion and of poverty which
contrasted painfully with the splendour of the original design.

To the eye of Miss Delaware and her brother, all this was customary;
but yet it struck them both, after their meeting with Burrel, perhaps
more forcibly than it had ever done before; and there was something
like a sigh escaped the lip of each, as, opening the large door, they
passed on into what had once been a splendid vestibule. The day was a
sultry one, and the door of a room, entering immediately upon the
hall, was open when Captain Delaware and his sister entered. The step
of Miss Delaware as she walked on caught the ear of some one within,
and a voice, in the tone of which there was the slightest possible
touch of impatience, was heard exclaiming "Blanche! is that you, my
love?"

The young lady, followed by her brother, immediately turned her steps
into the fine old library from which the sound proceeded, and found
reading, at a small table near one of the long many-paned windows, a
person who--however contrary to rule--deserves a more particular
sketch of his mental and corporeal qualities, and of his previous
history, than we may find it convenient to give of any other person
connected with this book.

Sir Sidney Delaware had set out in life a younger son. His father, Mr.
William Delaware, had been a man of great talents, and very little
common sense, who, by the help of his abilities, and considerable
family influence, had been raised to offices in the state, conferring
large revenues, which he squandered profusely. Mr. William Delaware,
however, kept up the appearance of a man of fortune; and as his uncle,
the then possessor of Emberton Park, was unmarried and advanced in
life, his prospects were admitted on all hands, even by Jews and
money-lenders, to be good. Be it remarked, nevertheless, that though
he was the direct male heir to his uncle's property, there were two
other persons who more than equally shared in his uncle's favour--his
own first cousins, and equally the nephews, (though by the female
line,) of the Sir Harcourt Delaware, who then held the lands of
Emberton. These were Lord Ashborough and his brother, the Honourable
Henry Beauchamp. However, he did not let any thing disturb him, but
continued to live splendidly and well; gave his eldest son a
commission in a crack regiment of cavalry, and sent his second son,
Sidney, to Christ Church.

At Christ Church there were two or three peculiarities observed in
Sidney Delaware;--With his scholastic education we shall have nothing
to do, being no scholars ourselves. The first of these peculiarities
was an uncommon degree of accuracy in paying his bills, and living
within his income; and his elder brother was wont to say, that Sidney
was so sick of seeing nobody paid at home, that he was resolved to pay
every one to the uttermost farthing. The next trait remarked by his
fellow-collegians, was his extraordinary good nature; for was any one
in difficulty or distress, Sidney Delaware would help them to the very
utmost of his power, though in many instances he was known to hate and
contemn the very men he assisted;--and the third quality was a talent
for satire, and a faculty of vituperation, which might have been
envied by Gifford amongst the dead, and two or three we could name
amongst the living.

The secret of his character, perhaps, was the combination of an
extraordinary sensibility of the absurd, with a high and severe moral
feeling. He studied for the church, however; and as he did so, many of
the injunctions of that divine book, to which his mind was naturally
turned continually, appeared so contrary to the asperity of his
sarcastic disposition, that he determined to make a powerful effort to
restrain the bitterness of speech and writing to which he had before
given way. Time and years too had their effect, and the biting satire
that used to hang upon his lip, remained hidden in silence, or only
broke forth casually, when he was off his guard. He tried to banish
from his heart that feeling of contempt and scorn which he experienced
whenever any thing mean, or false, or base, met his eyes; and perhaps
the very good-natured facility with which he could be induced to
assist any one, might spring from an apprehension lest the scorn he
felt for all that was pitiful in others, might affect his own actions,
and render him uncharitable himself. His elder brother died before he
himself was ordained; and, on the persuasion of his father, he
abandoned his purpose of entering the church, travelled for several
years, and then studied for the bar. His next step was to marry, and
he was a widower with two children at the time that his father
succeeded to Sir Harcourt Delaware. The baronet, however, in dying,
had given to his two nephews. Lord Ashborough and Mr. Beauchamp, who
had been very constant in their attentions, a far larger share of his
fortune than he left to him who was to inherit the baronetcy; and
thus, the latter, having counted largely on his future fortune, found
himself more embarrassed than relieved by the death of his uncle. The
estate that was left to him was also entailed by the will of the last
possessor; and his only resource to free himself from the most
pressing difficulties, was to engage his son to join him in raising
money upon annuity. Sidney Delaware consented with a heavy heart, and
the money was borrowed, much against his will, from his father's
cousin, Lord Ashborough, between whom and the young heir of Emberton a
quarrel had previously taken place, of a nature not likely to admit of
reconciliation. For the pitiful sum of twenty-five thousand pounds,
the estate of Emberton was charged with an annuity of two thousand per
annum; and scarcely had that sum been swallowed up by his father's
debts, when Sidney Delaware succeeded to a splendid name and a ruined
property.

Griefs and disappointments had impaired his health, had broken his
spirit and crushed his energies; and, dwelling almost in solitude, he
had given himself up to the education of his children, forgetting that
a time would come when the acquaintances which he was losing every
day, would become necessary to his children in the world. In
bitterness of heart, too, he often thought that his friends were
neglecting him, when in fact he was neglecting them; and exclaiming,
"Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos!" he shut his doors against
the world, believing that his poverty would meet with nothing but
contempt.

As time wore on, however, he found that he erred in not exerting his
abilities, in order to remove the encumbrances which his father had
incurred. His son grew up and entered the navy, and half the interest
of a small sum which had been his wife's fortune, afforded sufficient
to maintain the boy in that service. But it was when his daughter also
grew towards womanhood, that Sir Sidney Delaware felt most severely
that he had committed an error. His son, he thought, had an honourable
profession, and by his own high merits and activity was making rapid
progress. At the death of Lord Ashborough, too, the annuity which
swallowed up almost the whole rents of his estate would lapse, and his
heir would have enough. But Lord Ashborough was scarcely an older man
than himself; and when he gazed upon his daughter, and saw her growing
up with all her mother's beauty and grace, with every quality fitted
to charm and to attach, and at the same time remembered that she was
to live, cut off from society, during all those brighter days of youth
and hope which lie between sixteen and five-and-twenty, he would have
given his right hand to have recalled the years which, by active
exertion, he might have employed to remove the difficulties that held
him down. Now, however, he felt, or persuaded himself, that it was
impossible to seek society. He could not mingle with persons in his
own rank of life upon an equality, and he would not mingle with any
other class, or, with them, in any other manner. Few of these old
friends existed for him, on whose generous feelings he could
fearlessly rely, and feel certain, from a knowledge of their nature,
that no thought even would ever cross their minds, which could have
wounded him if spoken. Thus, he had no old channel of communication
with the world still open, and pride, rendered irritable by
disappointment, as well as the circumstances in which he was placed,
prevented him from seeking any new connexion with society. Could he in
any way have given his son and daughter the means of mingling with the
world, while he himself shunned it altogether, he would have snatched
eagerly at the opportunity; but that of course was out of the
question, and day went by after day, and found them all in the same
situation.

Such was still the case, at the time of my present tale; and when Miss
Delaware and her brother entered the library, in which their father
was, as usual, driving away thought by reading, they found him seated
near the open window with Pope's Essays in his hand. His hair, which
had once been dark brown, was now nearly white--in fact, much whiter
than his years would warrant. Yet, though the body was in some degree
broken _curis et laboribus_, still temperance and fine air had done
much to counteract even grief. His countenance was florid, his eye was
clear, and he appeared a hale, healthy man, though six or seven years
older than he really was.

Long conversations being, like love and marriage, excessively tiresome
to every one but those concerned, a summary of what followed will be
better than a chapter; and it is quite sufficient to say, that the
rencontre of the brother and sister with Mr. Burrel, soon became the
principal topic of conversation. Captain Delaware, whose loves were
very _first-sighty_, dashed at once into such an encomium of his
stage-coach companion, that an arch smile, at this pouring forth of
his well-known enthusiasm, played for a moment on the lip of Blanche
Delaware. Her father, however, looked grave, and said he was sorry
that they had met him at all. "This young man," he went on, "seems to
be a person of fortune and station, whom, in happier times, we might
have been delighted to see; but you are well aware, William, that
under our present circumstances, it is perfectly impossible to invite
a man of horses and dogs, and guns and servants, to this house.--Did
he seem so very charming to you, Blanche?"

Miss Delaware replied, that her brothers acquaintance had not
appeared either quite so handsome or quite so fascinating in his
shooting-jacket as her brother had described him in his travelling
costume,--"But at all events," she added, "his appearance savoured
nothing of arrogance or presumption."

"Alas! my dear Blanche," said her father, "you do not know what a man
of the world is. Every point in the situation of a poor gentleman is
painful, but none so much so, as the having to endure the compassion
of fools and puppies."

Captain Delaware turned to the window, and, after looking out for a
moment or two, left the room. Blanche remained, but dropped the
subject, and it was no more resumed.



CHAPTER III.


After having undergone the visit of the surgeon, Burrel, as we have
stated, changed his dress; and, having given some directions to his
servant, strolled out alone upon an expedition, in which it may be
necessary to follow him. Crossing the bridge--upon which he paused for
a moment to gaze up the long vista of the park--he proceeded to the
extremity of the wall which formed the enclosure, and then turning
through a shady lane, formed by that boundary on one side, and a steep
bank and hedge on the other, he strolled on with an air of absent
thoughtfulness, that made more than one milkmaid, whom he met
returning with her brimful pails from the neighbouring fields,
conclude, with the true sentimentality of a Molly, that "the gentleman
must be in love!"

Sad, however, to say, Burrel was not the least in love in the world;
and though of a somewhat enthusiastic and Quixotical character, he
would probably have been obliged, like the hero of La Mancha himself,
to think some time before he could possibly have discovered any one in
the sphere of his acquaintance, whom he would have considered worthy
of the honour and the trouble of falling in love with. Still more
melancholy to relate, so far from any fair image filling his mind with
dreams ambrosial, and making him stumble over the stones in his way,
he was at that moment thinking of money--base, unwholesome money. His
meditations were of Cocker; and many a sum, both of addition,
multiplication, and subtraction, together with various computations of
interest, and now and then a remote flash of vulgar fractions, passed
across his mind, in all of which he displayed a talent for accounts
somewhat more clear and accurate than that of Joseph Hume, thank
God--though not quite so neat and rapid as that of ever-lamented
Windham.

Thus he walked along under the wall of the park till the park wall
ended, and then taking a narrow and overhanging road, which descended
into a sweet wild valley--through which a brook meandered on, till it
lost itself in the sands upon the sea-shore, about five miles to the
east--he proceeded on his way without doubt or question, as if he had
known the whole country from his boyhood. The opposite bank of the
valley was thickly covered with trees and shrubs; and about half a
mile from the spot where the road entered it, the summit of what
seemed a tall old-fashioned farmhouse, of cold grey stone, rose above
this sort of verdant screen. Within a few hundred yards of this
building, the road climbed the bank, and passed before the door, which
was painted of a bluish gray, like that of a French country house, and
offered an aspect of untidiness and discomfort, not often seen in an
English dwelling. No roses decorated the porch, no clematis festooned
the windows; stone walls surrounded that which was, or had been
intended for, a garden; and the gruntings and squeaks which echoed
from within that boundary, spoke the character of the domestic animals
chiefly cultivated at Ryebury.

Undeterred, however, by the inhospitable appearance of the building,
or by the wailings of the beast that never chews the cud, Burrel
approached the door, and, laying his hand upon a bell, made sure that
if any one was within half a mile he must be heard; and then, turning
round to gaze upon the prospect, continued to hum "Dove sono," with
which he had been beguiling the way for the last ten minutes. While
thus employed, one of the high windows almost immediately above his
head was thrown open, and the upper part of a woman-servant, who would
have been pretty enough had she not been disguised in indescribable
filth, was protruded to reconnoitre the stranger's person. The moment
after, another head was added, almost as dirty, but neither pretty nor
young, being the dingy white superstructure of an old man's person,
who looked not at all unlike Noah, unwashed since the Flood.

A long and careful examination did these two respectable persons
bestow upon him who so disturbed the quiet of their dwelling, while
Burrel, though perfectly conscious, from the groaning of the upheaved
window-frame, that he was undergoing a general inspection, continued
indefatigably to hum "Dove sono," till opining that the inquisition
had continued sufficiently long, he again applied himself to the bell,
which once more responded to his will with "most miraculous organ."

"Run down, Sarah! Run down!" cried the elder phantom, "and open the
door.--Ask him who he is, and what he wants, and then come and tell
me.--But stay, I will go down with you to the parlour!"

The bell was once more in Burrel's hand, when the door yawned, and
displayed to his view a great part of the person and adjuncts
dependent upon the female head which had been criticising him from
above. It is scarcely necessary to say more than that she was a slut
of the first quality, with dirt, _ad libitum_, spread over the whole
person--various triangular tears in the printed cotton that covered
her--much white lining protruding through the chasms in her shoes--and
a cap as yellow as a pair of court ruffles. Without waiting for the
categories that were to be addressed to him, Burrel at once walked
into the house; and, telling the dirty maid to inform her master that
Mr. Burrel desired to speak with him, approached the door of the
parlour, where the person he sought--not confiding in his servant's
powers of recapitulation--was listening with all his ears to the
catechism he proposed that the stranger should undergo. As soon,
however, as he caught the name of Burrel, he emerged and met that
gentleman in the passage with many a bow. His dress was clean enough,
and in style and appearance was upon a par with that of a country
attorney's of about twenty or thirty years ago--black, jet-black from
head to heel, except the worsted stockings, which were dark grey. The
whole was well and economically worn, but his face evinced small
expense of soap, and his beard that he wore out no razors--upon his
chin at least. In person he was a short thin man, of about sixty-five
or six, with a reddish tip to a long nose, set on upon a pale
many-furrowed face. He stooped a little towards the shoulders, and
there was that sort of bending droop about the knees which betokens a
decrease of vigour. His clear grey eye, however, had something in it
both eager and active, and the heavy penthouse of long black and white
hair that overhung it, gave a sort of fierce intensity to its glance.

"Your name, sir, is Tims, I presume?" said Burrel, eyeing him with a
good deal of that cool nonchalance which is no doubt very
disagreeable. The other bowed to the ground, and his visiter
continued--"My name is Burrel, and Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson, my
solicitors, have doubtless written to you concerning"----

"Hush! Hush!" exclaimed the other in a subdued voice, at the same time
raising his eyebrows, and opening his eyes with a stare of wondering
deprecation. "We will speak about it presently, sir, if you please. I
received theirs in due course, and expected to have heard of your
coming sooner, sir; but shall be very happy, indeed, if we can do
business together. Do me the honour, sir, to walk in. Sarah, bring
this gentleman a glass of--of--wine," he added, after a moment's
hesitation and a glance at the stranger's dress; "but perhaps you
would prefer ale, Mr. Burrel, after your walk?"

"I take nothing, sir," answered Burrel, evidently to the great
satisfaction of the other, "and having but a few minutes to stay,
merely wish to speak with you concerning"----

But his host again cut across him, appearing to think that all matters
in which the very name of money was to be mentioned, had better be
talked of in private; and hurrying Burrel forward into the parlour, he
begged him to be seated, adding almost in the same breath--"Sad times,
indeed, sir, as you say--rate of interest falling terribly--hardly
four per cent to be got on good security,--sad times, indeed, sir, as
you say!"

"I do not say the times are bad at all, sir," replied Burrel gravely,
"nor that four per cent cannot be got for money on good security. You
must mistake me, I believe, for some more plaintive person. But to
the point, Mr. Tims. I think my solicitors wrote to you that I had
twenty-five thousand pounds lying uninvested, which I was willing to
lend at five or four and a half per cent. This sum they had heard you
were seeking for some gentleman in this neighbourhood who could give
good security--Sir Sidney Delaware, I think, was his name."

"Oh but, sir, I am afraid"--answered Mr. Tims, shaking his head, "I am
afraid that business is off. It won't do, sir, I am afraid--It won't
do--Can't manage matters there, I am afraid!"

"And pray why not, sir?" demanded Burrel. "I shall not feel very well
pleased if I have been brought down here by your report to examine the
matter myself, and am disappointed."

"Oh! no fear of that, sir," replied the other; "no fear of finding
plenty of others. Besides, I should think, with submission, that you
might make Sir Sidney pay--as you say--your expenses, loss of time,
&c. &c. He gave me full powers--and as you say"----

"I do not say any thing of the kind, sir," replied Burrel sternly. "Be
so good as not to put words into my mouth which I have never spoken.
Rather let me hear why, and how, the proposed arrangement cannot have
effect, and then we will consider other matters after we have fully
canvassed the first."

"Quite right, sir! Quite right!" replied Mr. Tims, not in the least
discomposed by Burrel's rebuke. "Quite right, indeed! Always right to
have every thing clear by itself! Why, you must know the simple fact
is this. The property of Emberton, as you say, is burdened with an
annuity to the amount of two thousand pounds per annum on the life of
the present Lord Ashborough, the sum given for which was only
twenty-five thousand pounds--and that nearly twenty years ago, when
Lord Ashborough was about forty, and his life was worth at least
twenty years' purchase. Well, having to speak with Sir Sidney some
time ago on some road business, the transaction came up, and I asked
him why he did not pay off the annuity, by raising money on mortgage,
which he could do at five per cent. His son, the Captain, too, was
present; and, as the entail ends with the Captain, the matter would be
easily done--though it had never struck them--always provided,
nevertheless, that the annuity was redeemable. The arrangement would
save them a thousand a-year you see, sir, and so they agreed to
give"----

"To give you how much, sir, for the job?" demanded Burrel.

"Only a fair commission for raising the money," replied the other;
"and as Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson, your worthy and excellent
solicitors, had been making enquiries about this very estate, as it
would happen--I cannot think how or why--I wrote to them about it,
and the matter was soon arranged; but then Captain Delaware was
obliged to go to London to speak with my Lord Ashborough--an
excellent gentleman--and on his return, it was found that the annuity
deed, by some strange accident, contained no clause of redemption.
Indeed, none could have been stipulated, for I know the person who
drew it, and who is as accurate as Duval."

"And pray, sir, who did draw it?" demanded Burrel.

"My own nephew, sir--my own nephew--Peter Tims, Esq." replied his
companion; "Peter Tims, who succeeded me in my chambers at Clement's
Inn; and who was fortunate enough to secure the patronage and
friendship of Lord Ashborough."

"Ha!" replied Burrel dryly; "so then you think the annuity cannot be
redeemed?"

"Afraid not, sir! Afraid not!" replied the retired lawyer, or, as he
was commonly called by the villagers, the miser. "Afraid not; but as I
was saying, there are plenty of other properties susceptible of
mortgage in this neighbourhood, and some," he added, closing one eye,
and fixing the other on Burrel's face with the look of a tame raven
that has just hidden a silver spoon, "and some where there is a strong
ultimate prospect of a foreclosure and sale at excessive reduction.
There is the estate of Sir Timothy Ridout--who wants now to borrow
twenty thousand pounds--well worth an hundred. By a little management
one might get hold of it, and"----

"I have no such views, sir," replied Burrel gravely; "and as the other
business cannot apparently be arranged, I shall invest the money in
other property. But, tell me, did Lord Ashborough refuse to redeem?"

"Yes, sir! Yes, flat, downright!" replied the miser; "and very right,
too. He could not get near the interest even now. But you had better
think of the business of Sir Timothy Ridout. Such a thing is not to be
got hold of every day."

"I shall never give it another thought," replied Burrel coldly; and,
rubbing his boot with his cane, unconscious of what he was about, he
remained for several minutes thinking deeply, while the miser sat upon
the edge of his chair, marvelling that any human being could let slip
the tempting bait of Sir Timothy Ridout's estate; and beginning to
entertain strong doubts as to whether Burrel was really a wealthy man,
from the indifference he showed to the prospect of increasing his
wealth. "I am sorry," he thought, "that I told that servant of his
that he might shoot over the Ryebury fields: I will write to Peter by
the next post, and make him fish out of Messrs. Steelyard and
Wilkinson whether he really has money. I might have made a cool five
hundred by that Ridout business."

While he thus thought, and Burrel's meditations continued, though of a
very different nature, a sudden ring of the bell roused them both from
their reveries; and, after a short _reconnoissance_ through the
window, the miser exclaimed, "It is Sir Sidney Delaware, I declare!"

"Then you will be so good, Mr. Tims," said Burrel, in a tone
sufficiently peremptory, "not to refer or allude to me, in any shape
or way, as the person who wished to lend the money."

"Oh, certainly not! certainly not!" replied the miser with a shrewd
glance; "it is a bad speculation that--but the Ridout business, if you
will but think over it--Will you see this Sir Sidney?"

"I have no objection," answered Burrel; and the miser bidding his
dirty maid show the gentleman in. Sir Sidney Delaware was ushered into
the parlour the moment after.

As soon as he saw that there was a stranger present, the baronet
paused, and for an instant seemed as if he would have drawn back,
saying, "You are engaged, Mr. Tims; I was not aware you had any one
with you."

"Not at all; not at all, my dear sir!" said Mr. Tims. "Sir Sidney, Mr.
Burrel--Mr. Burrel, Sir Sidney Delaware!"

"I am happy to have an opportunity, sir," said Burrel, "of returning
you my personal thanks for the permission to shoot over your grounds,
which you were kind enough to grant me."

"Where there is no obligation conferred, sir," replied the baronet
somewhat distantly, "there can be no occasion for thanks. I do not
shoot--my son has not this year taken out a license; and it is quite
as well that the game should be shot by you, who ask permission, as by
those who do not ask at all." He paused for an instant, while the
colour deepened in Burrel's cheek; but the baronet's heart instantly
reproached him for an uncourteous reply, and he added, "I hope you
have found sport."

"Plenty of game," answered Burrel; "but the birds are very wild."

"That is a very natural consequence," said Sir Sidney Delaware, "of
the immense number of persons whose notions of property are daily
growing more limited."

"I trust, indeed, that something may soon be done," replied Burrel,
"to correct the extensive system of poaching."

"Probably we shall soon have one of those beautiful pieces of
legislation on the subject," replied Sir Sidney, "which will prevent
people from committing the crime, by rendering it none in the eye of
the law--But, Mr. Tims, as I have a little business of a private
nature on which I must speak with you, I will probably call upon you
to-morrow if you are likely to be disengaged."

"No delay must take place on my account," said Burrel, rising. "My
business with this gentleman is over; and therefore I will leave you."

Thus saying, he turned, and, wishing the baronet good-morning, quitted
the house, ushered to the door by Mr. Tims; who, though still doubtful
as to the young stranger's wealth, followed him with many a lowly bow,
fearful of losing by any indiscretion the sums that might accrue from
the good management of the Ridout business. Burrel, in the mean time,
took his way once more through the valley, musing as he went upon his
late interview with Sir Sidney Delaware, with somewhat more deep and
curious speculation than entered into the thoughts he bestowed upon
the old miser, of whose general character he was before aware.

In the manner and tone of Sir Sidney Delaware, however, there was
something that he felt to be repulsive and unpleasant, which, to
a man of Burrel's character, was extremely painful. His first
determination--if that can be called a determination which, formed
upon impulse, does not last ten minutes--was to set out for London,
and forget that such a place as Emberton, or such a person as Sir
Sidney Delaware, was upon the face of the earth. Burrel, however, to
use Sterne's expression, was a great motive-monger, but with this
peculiarity, that he was fully as fond of examining his own motives as
those of other people; and, in the present instance, the small still
voice whispered something about offended pride, which made him enquire
into his own heart a little more strictly.

He found then, upon reflection, that however much he might fancy
himself perfectly indifferent, he was in fact angry, and the primary
cause of this anger was as usual mortified vanity. He--accustomed to
be courted and sought, to choose at will his acquaintances, and to
keep at arm's length all those he did not particularly like by a cool
tone of indifference, which had something in it of scorn--had come out
of his stronghold, and--as he could not but acknowledge--had gone as
far as he well could, to seek the acquaintance of Sir Sidney Delaware.
That gentleman was evidently not disposed to give it him; and though
Burrel felt in some degree the motives which might and did actuate
him, yet a knowledge of the degree of scorn which mingled with his own
coolness towards others, would not let him believe that some portion
of contempt did not also exist in the indifference with which Sir
Sidney Delaware treated his advances.

It is in general the natural refuge of mortified vanity, to persuade
itself that it retorts contempt upon those that show it, and to pass
off upon itself the anger it feels for the more dignified passion of
scorn. A slight touch of this sort of feeling had been experienced by
Burrel; for there are few bosoms, of whose passions we may not say,
_castigata remordent_; but his nature was too generous to entertain
such feelings long, and, before he had reached the door of good Mrs.
Wilson in Emberton, his first angry resolution was changed, and a more
firm determination adopted, to remain in the village the time he had
at first proposed, and without seeking any more an acquaintance which
was evidently withheld intentionally, to see whether chance might not
furnish him with some opportunity of gratifying a more generous
purpose.

"For the sake of that gallant lad," he thought, "I will not give it up
so easily."



CHAPTER IV.


On his return home, Burrel found that the horses which he expected
from London had arrived in high condition, having performed the
journey by slow and careful stages. The appearance of this new
accession to his dignity was not, of course, without its effect upon
the good people of Emberton, and "Have you seen Mr. Burrel's beautiful
horses?" was a general question amongst the male part of the
inhabitants; while all the ladies of the place, of course, were not in
the least anxious to see the tall, dark, handsome, mysterious stranger
ride forth upon some one of those three steeds whose fame already
filled the town.

Those who had such expectations, however, were long disappointed, for
during the whole of the following morning, Mr. Burrel never set foot
beyond his door; and it was near four o'clock when his servant, on
horseback, proceeded towards Mrs. Darlington's with a small travelling
portmanteau, thus giving notice that the master himself was soon to
follow. About half past four, or a quarter to five, a groom appeared
at the door with a splendid dark bay horse, and a moment after Burrel
himself came forth, looked at the girths, the stirrups, and the curb,
and then putting his foot in the stirrup, swung himself easily into
the saddle. The horse stood as still as marble till it felt, its
master's heel, and then, as if cut out of one piece, away went
both--without the slightest regard to high-road--straight across the
country towards Mrs. Darlington's house, which was seen crowning the
distant hill.

"Happy Mrs. Darlington!"--thought the ladies of Emberton as they gazed
out, and saw the horseman clear the fence at a bound, and then canter
lightly over the sloping fields that led away towards her dwelling.
"Happy Mrs. Darlington!" and Mrs. Darlington was a happy woman;--but
as there are at least a thousand ways, in this intellectual world, of
being happy, we shall take leave to give a slight sketch of _Mrs.
Darlington's way_.

Mrs. Darlington was a widow, and her happiness was farther increased
by being a widow with a large fortune. Nor was her fortune alone
derived from her ci-devant husband, for she had passed through all the
three stages of female felicity--that of co-heiress, heiress, and rich
widow with a very slight taste of the necessary purgatory preceding
the last happy climax. Who was her father matters not to this book; he
was dead, and his ancestors had him in the dust,--for as the Spectator
says, "He had ancestors just as well as you and I, if he could but
have told their names." This, however, it was supposed, from some
defect in the family memory, he could not do; but in regard to his
daughter, who was neither very handsome nor very ugly, the defect was
soon remedied. She had every sort of instruction that the known world
could produce; her father luckily died early; she had no relations to
make her vulgar; she married Mr. Darlington, a man of rank and
station--easily acquired the slang and ease of fashionable life; and
adopted boldly, and without remorse of conscience, the whole of her
husband's relations. Her husband found that his wife brought him
fortune, good luck, and no family. His affairs, to use the seaman's
term, righted, and after four years' marriage he died, leaving her out
of pure gratitude, widowhood, fortune, and his relations.

Mrs. Darlington, having penetrated into the arcana, and got all she
wanted--an introduction and a station in society--determined to taste
no more of matrimony herself; though with laudable zeal she was ever
willing to promote it amongst her friends and neighbours. She was
naturally of somewhat a sentimental turn, but mingled and kept down by
so sufficient a portion of small sensualities--I mean the eating, and
drinking, and soft-lying, and, in short, the comfortable sensualities,
nothing worse--that the sentimentality never became vulgar or
troublesome. Nay, indeed, I might say, it never became apparent, and
showed itself rather as a convenient sort of tender consideration for
the wishes and feelings of young people of suitable ages and
descriptions, and likely to fall in love with each other, than as any
thing personal. In most other things, she was one of those very
ordinary persons, perfectly ladylike and at their ease, with a small
degree of taste in the fine arts--drew tolerably, liked music, and
would sometimes play on the piano--was fond of fine scenery--spoke
French well, with the exception of a slight confusion in the
genders--had an idea or two of Italian, and had sketched the Coloseum.
Added to all these high qualities, she was extremely good-natured,
very fond of her friends and of herself; quiet, in no degree
obtrusive, with a sufficient share of vanity never to fancy herself
neglected, and yet not enough to run against the vanity of any one. A
little tiresome she was, it is true, from a potent mixture of
insipidity; but who is there so splenetic as not to forgive the only
evil quality over which one can fall sound asleep, and wake without a
headach?

Mrs. Darlington's common course of life was to travel during six
months of the year, accompanied by as many young marriageable friends
as she thought might do credit to her taste and kindness; and as she
had a very extensive circle of acquaintances, at whose dwellings she
was always welcome, these journeys were generally pleasant, and
sometimes fortunate. Of the other six months, two were spent in
London, where Mrs. Darlington, dressed by Carson, in the manner at
once the most splendid and the most becoming her age, figured at
dinner and evening parties, and was exceedingly useful both as a
chaperon and a fill-up; while the other four months were passed at her
estate near Emberton, with a house seldom entirely vacant, and dinner
parties renowned for the delicacy of the _manger_.

Such was the lady to whose house Henry Burrel, Esq. had received an
invitation, solely upon the strength of the gossip of the village, and
a vague report, that Captain Delaware had met him at the Earl of
Ashborough's. The fact indeed was, that Mrs. Darlington's house was
completely vacant at the time, or she might have felt some scruples as
to asking a stranger, without some farther information regarding his
station in society than could be derived from the panegyric of the
doctor, whose knowledge of him went no farther than the cut of his
coat. She did, indeed, feel a little apprehensive after she had
despatched the invitation, but the appearance of Burrel's servant, who
brought her his reply, the form of the note that contained it, and the
very handwriting, all convinced her that Henry Burrel must be a
gentleman, though it was in vain that she racked her imagination to
find out which of all the Burrels it could be.

When, about half-past four, Mr. Burrel's servant arrived, and
proceeded to prepare the room assigned to his master with a sort of
ceremonious accuracy, which argued the constant habit and custom
of ease and care, the footman, feeling for the anxiety of his
mistress--for footmen and lady's maids know every thing--communicated
to Mrs. Hawkins, his mistress's maid, the result of his own
observations; and Mrs. Darlington sat down, with a composed mind, to
finish a sketch of the west shrubbery walk, till Mr. Burrel should
arrive; while, of the rest of the guests she had invited, some had not
appeared, and some had retired to dress.

At length her eye caught from the window the apparition of some person
on horseback approaching the house, and in a few minutes Mr. Burrel
was announced. Graceful, easy, _posé_, Burrel's whole appearance
carried its own recommendation with it. He was one of those men who,
in speaking little, say much, and in a very few minutes he was in high
favour with Mrs. Darlington.

It now became necessary for him to dress, as he well knew that a lady
whose fondness for the good things of this life was so admitted as
Mrs. Darlington's, would not brook the spoiling of her dinner; and
accordingly he rang, and was shown to his room. His toilet, indeed,
was not very long; and a few minutes after six, the hour named, found
him entering the drawing-room.

There were four persons already assembled, of whom Mrs. Darlington
herself was one. The face of the young lady who sat by her on the
sofa, was, he thought, familiar to him; but it cost him more than one
glance, ere he recognized in the beautiful girl he now beheld, and who
was certainly as lovely a thing as ever the female part of creation
produced--It is saying a great deal, but it is true, nevertheless--It
required more than one glance, I say, before he recognized in her, the
lady he had seen hanging upon the arm of Captain Delaware on the
preceding day.

Burrel, however, never looked surprised; and his claim upon Miss
Delaware's acquaintance was immediately admitted with a degree of
frank and smiling kindness, which arose partly, perhaps, from the high
character her brother had drawn of his stage-coach companion, but more
still, in all probability, from feeling that her father's reserve
might have given pain and offence. While he was still speaking with
Mrs. Darlington and Miss Delaware, and was just at one of those
before-dinner pauses, in which the conversation flags, some one laid
his hand upon Burrel's arm, and turning round, he confronted a thin,
but hale elderly man, dressed in black, on whose fine gentlemanly
countenance was playing a smile, which had as much archness in its
composition as habitual gravity of expression would allow.

"My dear Henry," said the clergyman--for no one could look in his face
for a moment and doubt that he was a clergyman;--"my dear Henry, what
have you been doing with yourself this many a day?"

The first look had shown Burrel an old and dear friend, and he shook
his hand heartily as Dr. Wilton.--"I am still, I believe, acting as
one of what Tillotson calls '_fools at large_,'" replied the young
stranger, "and wandering about the world doing nothing."

"Nay, nay, Henry!" replied the other, "your report of yourself was
always less favourable than you deserved. You are not one to wander
about the world doing nothing--but speak to me a moment," and he drew
his younger companion gently towards the hollow of the bay window,
where they conversed for a few moments in a low tone, while one or two
of the neighbouring gentlemen and ladies were announced and entered
the room.

The dinner bell rang immediately after; and the doors being thrown
open, Burrel advanced and took in Mrs. Darlington, though he would,
perhaps, have preferred a nearer place to Miss Delaware. But Dr.
Wilton took the end of the widow's table, and laughingly secured the
younger ladies to himself; so that Burrel was obliged to content
himself with talking elaborate nonsense to Mrs. Darlington, which, to
do him all manner of justice, he executed with great gravity and
success.

"I do not like this Mr. Burrel," thought a sensible middle-aged county
woman, who sat next to him on the other hand. "He's a coxcomb!"
thought a rough, shrewd, wealthy proprietor opposite. The shy young
fox-hunter, who sat a little farther down, and whose ideas were
strangely confined to horses, and dogs, and fences, and five-barred
gates, was inclined to cry with Mungo, "D---- his impudence!" and, in
short, at the end of the table at which he himself sat, Burrel most
perversely contrived to give very general dissatisfaction to every one
but Mrs. Darlington. With her he ran over the slang of cookery, and
criticism, and ton, with the most wonderful emptiness.

There is certainly some strange perversity in the human heart, which
renders it so pleasant sometimes to make one's self disagreeable--ay,
and, for the express purpose of doing so, to assume a character
totally different from one's own. So, however, it is; and perhaps
Burrel was especially giving himself forth as a fop at the one end of
the table, because he very well knew that Dr. Wilton would not fail to
portray him differently at the other.

Such, indeed, was the fact. Blanche Delaware was a sort of pet of the
worthy clergyman; and he used to declare that he was always the
proudest man in the county when in company with her, for that he was
the only man she ever was known to flirt with. The affectionate term,
"My dear," which he always applied to Miss Delaware, was felt by her
as he intended it; and she looked up to him as, in some degree, a
second parent. His conversation with her almost immediately turned to
Burrel, whose appearance there had evidently surprised him.

"You seem an old friend of his?" said Miss Delaware, as soon as the
soup was gone, and a general buzz suffered her to ask the question
without particular notice. "Pray, is he so very admirable and charming
as he has convinced my brother he is, in a short journey of a hundred
miles?"

"He is something better than charming, my dear," replied Dr. Wilton.
"He is one of the noblest-hearted, finest-minded men in England."

At that very moment there was one of those unhappy breaks which make
low voices loud; and Burrel was heard descanting upon the merits of
Madeira after soup. "For Heaven's sake, never think of taking sherry,
my dear madam!" he exclaimed. "After soup or maccaroni, Madeira is the
only thing bearable."

Blanche Delaware looked up in Dr. Wilton's face with a smile full of
playful meaning. "Do not judge him by that," replied the clergyman,
speaking to the smile's purport. "Do not judge him by that--I have
known him from his boyhood. He was my pupil as a youth, and has been
my friend as a man--and"----

"And that is evidence beyond rejection that he is all that is good and
amiable?" said Miss Delaware seriously.

"Ay, and though he can talk her own kind of nonsense to a worthy lady
like that," replied Dr. Wilton, determined to revenge himself on Miss
Delaware for her smile, "he can talk nonsense equally agreeable to
younger and fairer ladies, my dear Blanche. So take care of your
little heart, my pretty dame."

Miss Delaware laughed gaily, in the full ignorant confidence of a
heart that had known no wound; and the conversation dropt as far as it
regarded Burrel. He himself prolonged the idle gossip with which he
was amusing himself for some time; but finding, or fancying, that the
elder lady who sat next to him possessed a mind that could appreciate
better things, he gradually led the conversation to matters of more
general interest than _pieds de cochons à la St. Menehould_, or the
portraiture of gravel walks.

It is the most difficult man[oe]uvre in the tactics of conversation,
and shows greater skill, when executed neatly, than any other
evolution whatever, to change at once from the flimsy and the foolish
to the substantial and the good, without deviating into the heavy--to
slide down the diapason from the high notes of commonplace chatter,
to the fine tenor of calm and sensible discourse, touching each
semitone and enharmonic difference as one goes, till the change is
scarcely felt, though the music may be richer. Burrel could do it when
he liked; but now he overdid it. From French dishes he speedily got to
France and the French people, and thence to the difference between the
French and English character, with an easy facility, that made the
alteration of the subject seem nothing strange; but then he went a
little beyond.

"The French," he said, in answer to a question from his neighbour,
"have nothing of that sort of thing that we would call national
modesty. They would look upon it as _mauvaise honte_ and each
Frenchman thinks himself fully justified in praising his own country
to the skies. It is they who believe it, that are foolish. They, the
French, call themselves the most civilized, well-informed people in
the world; and yet go into the provinces, and you will find a
peasantry more generally ignorant, than perhaps any other country can
show. I myself resided for many months in a part of one of the most
cultivated Departments of France, where the farmer on either hand of
the house in which I dwelt during the hunting season--each renting
many hundreds of acres of land--could neither read nor write. Where
could such a thing be found in England?"

"Ay, sir," cried the wealthy country gentleman opposite; "but
their laws, sir, their laws--their wise and equitable courts of
justice--their civil and political liberty, sir--a model for all
nations; and which I hope some day to see fully adopted in this
country."

"May God forbid!" cried Burrel. "As to their political liberty, we
cannot speak of it; for a thing that has never existed for ten years
together, without deviating into anarchy on the one hand, or sinking
before tyranny on the other, is something very like a nonentity. As to
civil liberty, they have no such thing; and may heaven avert the day
when an Englishman's house will be open to domiciliary visits at the
caprice of any man or body of men, or when he cannot ride for twenty
miles without being subjected to interruption, and a demand for his
passport!"

He now found that his conversation was getting too heavy, and would
fain have dropped it; but the other urged him somewhat warmly with,
"Their laws, sir--their laws! their courts of justice!" and Burrel
resolved that he should not rest even upon that.

"As to their courts," he replied, "I have been in many, and never did
I see the forms of justice so completely mocked. The judge renders
himself a party, and that party the accuser. The unhappy man who is to
be tried, placed on an elevated station in face of all the court, is
himself cross-examined, and tortured by interrogations without end;
every tittle of the evidence against him is urged upon him by the
judge; he is obliged to answer and to plead to the accusation of each
witness on the adverse part, and woe be to him if he trip in the
smallest particular. If ever there was a plan invented for condemning
the innocent and the timid, and letting the guilty and the daring
escape, it is that of a French trial. The only security is in the
individual integrity and discrimination of the judges--in general most
exemplary men."

"That may be all very true, sir," replied the other, who, like many of
our countrymen, had been talked into believing the French system very
fine, without ever taking the trouble of examining accurately what the
French system is, "That may be all very true; but yet their laws,
sir--their laws!"

"I think," replied Burrel more calmly than he had before spoken; for
the commonplace absurdity of the other's commendation of what he did
not understand, had thrown even his cool mind off its guard--"I think,
if you will take the trouble of reading the book which contains their
codes, you will find that it is confined both in scope and detail; and
to show how iniquitous as well as absurd their laws are, we have only
to look at their law of succession, which prevents a man from
disposing of his property at his death, according to his own judgment
and inclination, whether he have acquired it by his personal labour or
by inheritance."

"A foolish law it is indeed," said Dr. Wilton, who had been listening
attentively; "and would be a disgrace to the common sense of any
nation under the sun."

"Already," continued Burrel, "although the time since its enactment
has been so short--it is beginning to paralyze industry and commerce
in France--to degrade the higher orders, and to starve the lower."

"They must repeal it!" said Dr. Wilton; "They must repeal it, if they
be sane!"

"But there are some points, by dear sir, on which whole nations become
insane," replied Burrel laughing, "and none more than the French. One
thing, however, is evident. They must either repeal it, or it will
effect the most baleful change that country ever underwent. Already
one sees every where fields no bigger than a handkerchief, which in
the next generation will have to be divided again between three or
four sons. Every thing else is split in the same way; and the argument
which the French hold, that commerce and industry will remedy the
effects of this continual partition, is a vain absurdity; for the
natural tendency of the partition itself, is, by want of capital, to
ruin the commerce and paralyze the industry which they think will
remove its evils. Under its influence, the French must gradually
decline till they become a nation of beggars--universal beggary must
beget universal ignorance--and thus from a nation of beggars they must
become a nation of barbarians, with a country too small to support
their increased numbers, a fierce necessity of conquest, and the
concomitant hatred of better institutions than their own. Then woe
to Europe and the world! but beyond doubt--at least it is to be
hoped--they will change a law, the glaring absurdity of which strikes
every person of common understanding even in France."

"Why not let each individual control his property as he pleases?"
demanded Dr. Wilton. "Though I cannot but feel that entails are often
beneficial, let them be done away if they will but at least leave each
man to dispose of his property as he judges best in its immediate
transmission from himself to another."

"Nay, Mr. Burrel!" cried Mrs. Darlington, seeing him about to reply,
"Nay, nay! have pity, I beseech you, upon us poor women."

"I must indeed apologize," answered Burrel laughing; "but, in truth,
we live in such a scientific age, that railroads and steam-engines,
geology and legislation, now form the staple chit-chat of society; and
mathematics is the food of babes and sucklings."

"The matter has become perfectly absurd," said Dr. Wilton; "and
whether from ignorance or design I know not, but those who cater for
the lower orders in these things, instead of giving them those
instructions which may be useful to them in their station, which would
make them better, wiser, and more contented, choose for them alone
that species of knowledge which may make them discontented with their
state, without aiding to raise them honestly to a better."

"I will not be tempted any more to grave discussions, my dear sir,"
said Burrel laughing, and looking towards Mrs. Darlington; "yet I
cannot help adding, that the new-fashioned education of children is
just as ill adapted to children as the instruction forced upon
mechanics is unfitted for them. Lord deliver us from the little
pragmatical race of half-learned pedants that are springing up! I
understand that they have been obliged to dissolve one infant school
in London, because it was divided into two such furious parties of
Neptunists and Vulcanists; and the son of a cousin of my own talked to
me upon reform the other day so like Lord John Russell, that I asked
when the little legislator was to be breeched."

The conversation soon became more general, though the party consisted
of ten, that most inconvenient of all numbers; and Burrel soon
regained that middle strain, half playful half serious, which was
calculated to be more generally pleasing. This continued till the
ladies rose; and the few minutes that ensued ere the gentlemen
followed them, were passed by Burrel and Dr. Wilton in calling up
remembrances of old times, when they had lived together as pupil and
preceptor.

"Well, my dear doctor," said Burrel, "I always thought that your head
was fitted for a mitre; and I doubt not that we shall see it so
adorned erelong."

"Not for a world!" cried Dr. Wilton; "and you, my dear boy, do nothing
towards it, I insist. I would not change my present state, with all
the blessed sufficiency that attends it--its opportunities of doing
some good to my fellow-creatures in quiet and unassailed
obscurity--for the painful, anxious, ill-requited life of a bishop,
whom every rude, unprincipled, and vulgar churl dares to attack,
solely because he knows that the churchman can neither rail again, nor
chastise him as other men would do. I would not change it, I say, on
any account whatever. I am happy as I am here in the country, and I
want nothing more."

"Now I could understand that, Dr. Wilton," said the young fox-hunter,
"if you ever mounted a red coat and followed the hounds. But you never
hunt nor shoot; and, unless your magisterial capacity afford you some
amusement, I cannot conceive how you can like the country, which,
without hunting or shooting, is dull enough."

"Never dull to me!" replied Dr. Wilton; "never dull, and always
tranquil; and in it shall I be well contented to pass my life away,
saying with Seneca,


  'Sic cum transiêrint mei
   Nullo cum strepitu dies
   Plebeius moriar senex!'"


A Latin quotation was of course enough to put an end to the session,
and the whole party rose.

It would seem that the purpose of assembling to dine together, the
mere act and fact of which assimilates one to the hog--as somebody has
said before me--is solely with a view to familiarize people with each
other by the open submission to a general infirmity--teaching the most
conceited that he must gulp and guzzle like the rest, and showing the
most diffident that the brightest and the best he can meet with, is
but a beast of prey like himself. Men therefore assemble at dinner,
and then generalize best. After dinner--when the tea and the coffee,
and the various tables laid out with their various calls upon
attention, prompt people to break into smaller parties--then is the
time to choose your own little knot, and individualize.

It matters very little how or why--though the arrangement was made by
the simplest process imaginable--but after dinner, Henry Burrel found
himself seated, in the far part of the room, with a sofa-table, and
innumerable books of drawings and prints upon it before him, and by
the side of Blanche Delaware. It is wonderful what stepping-stones
prints and drawings and annuals are to pleasant conversation, even
though the first be not quite so well handled as the pictures of Prout
or Stanley, and the latter contain nothing half so beautiful as
Liddell's "Lines upon the Moors."

Burrel had managed his approaches well, though he did it
unconsciously. He first stooped over the book of drawings that Miss
Delaware was examining, to look at one of those fair Italian scenes
where the long sunshine seems to stream forth from a spot beyond the
picture, and pour onward, till one can absolutely see its wavy
softness skip from point to point in its advance. He then spoke a few
words, in a quiet everyday tone, upon Italian scenery. Miss Delaware
said, that she had never had an opportunity of visiting Italy, but had
often heard her brother speak of it, with all his own wild rapture.
Burrel instantly took up the topic of her brother, well knowing that
it was one, round which that tender-footed thing, a woman's heart,
could play at ease; and while he spoke of Captain Delaware, he glided
quietly into the vacant place by her side, and proceeded with a
conversation which was destined to wander far and wide before it
ended.

There was a kindly gentleness in Burrel's tone as he began, a sort of
dreamy enthusiasm, slightly touched by a more gay and laughing spirit
as he went on, together with a general leaven of the gentlemanly
feeling that springs from a noble heart, softening and tempering the
whole,--which united, addressed to Miss Delaware the most flattering
compliment that woman can receive, by showing that he knew her to be
worthy of very different conversation from that which he held with any
one else. Such conversation is the adulation of respect, esteem, and
admiration, expressed but not spoken.

Burrel's words were uttered with no particular emphasis--his eyes,
fine and expressive as they were, gave no peculiar meaning to his
sentences--the vainest beauty that ever grew old and ugly, could never
have persuaded herself that he was making love to her--and yet Blanche
Delaware could not but feel that there was a charm in the manners of
Henry Burrel, which might turn the head of many a one, with a heart
less cold and indifferent than her own. A cold and indifferent heart
in a girl of nineteen! Ye gods! Such, however, she fancied it to
be--and, consequently, she talked with Henry Burrel of poetry, and
painting, and beautiful scenes, and sweet music, and noble deeds, and
generous feelings, and all those whirling spots of brightness that
dance unconnected through the sunshine of enthusiastic minds, with all
the ardour of innocence and youth, and unblighted feelings, and never
dreamed of its becoming any thing more. Mrs. Darlington, for her part,
had soon perceived that Burrel and Miss Delaware were deep in what
seemed interesting conversation. She did not pretend to divine what
might happen--she prognosticated nothing--she took no notice, and let
things take their course--but she carefully abstained from giving any
interruption; and, by a few slight but skilful turns, prevented their
little _tête-à-tête_ from being broken in upon so soon as it otherwise
would have been.

It was Dr. Wilton, who, in the simplicity of his heart, dissolved it
for the night; for after having been talking earnestly for a few
minutes with the little surgeon of Emberton, about some of his poor
parishioners who were sick, his eye met that of Blanche Delaware, as
she still sat beside Burrel on the sofa, and it lighted up for a
moment with a glance of gay meaning, that called the blood into her
fair cheek. Burrel marked it all; and the next two answers which Miss
Delaware made to what he was saying were sufficiently _à travers_ to
show him that the conversation, on her part at least, rolled no longer
at its ease. To prolong it under such circumstances would be a crime,
as he well knew; and therefore he soon furnished her with an excuse to
join Mrs. Darlington.

The evening then proceeded as such evenings usually do, partly in
music and partly in idle gossip. Some stupid people played at whist;
and at ten o'clock the carriages of those who returned home were
announced. Dr. Wilton, who lived at twelve miles distance, and Blanche
Delaware, who lived at five, remained with Mrs. Darlington and Henry
Burrel; and the worthy clergyman, who felt himself in some degree
bound to prove his former pupil as charming as he had depicted him,
took care to lead the conversation to those subjects on which he well
knew Burrel would shine.

He did shine, too, but without striving to do it; and the evening wore
on, for another hour, as pleasantly as moments could fly. There is
something in the last hour of the day, if it have been itself a happy
one, which seems to concentrate all the pleasant things of the past.
It is like a fine evening sky, calm, and sweet, and full of rays, that
are all the rosier because they are the last.

I do not know whether it would be fair or proper to follow Blanche
Delaware to her bedroom, and investigate what were her thoughts while
she was undressing and falling asleep; but as no such considerations
forbid with regard to Burrel, we may, for a moment, intrude upon his
privacy, first premising, that his room entered very nearly at the top
of the great staircase, the landing-place of which formed a sort of
balustraded gallery, with a corridor running to the right and left.
His first thought, as he sat down for his silent servant to pull off
his shoes and stockings, it must be allowed, was of Blanche Delaware,
and he internally pronounced her a very charming girl. "It is not her
beauty," he thought, "though she is very beautiful; but it is that
freshness of mind, that fine unsophisticated heart, whose rapid
emotions, sparkling up unchecked to that sweet face, and animating
every movement of that fair form, give a thousand graces and
lovelinesses that art could never reach. One might very well fall in
love with such a girl as that. I must take care what I am about."

With this resolution to take care, Burrel would have dismissed the
subject; but still he thought of Blanche Delaware a good deal more
than was necessary; and, after having detained his servant full half
an hour longer than usual, went to bed, thinking of her still.



CHAPTER V.


Although there was a good deal of noise in the house for some time,
Burrel fell sound asleep in the midst of it. Whether he dreamed or
not, I cannot tell; but after he had been in the arms of slumber, for
a long while as it appeared to him, he awoke, and heard still some
sounds of moving to and fro, although less loud than before.
Moralizing upon that strange thing sleep, and its power of taking from
us all consciousness of time's passing, he turned himself round to
court the drowsy god again; but though the slight noises that had
roused him, ceased in a moment altogether, the charm was dissolved,
and he could not close an eye. His only resource was to think of Miss
Delaware; and although he was obliged to own that the blessing of
Heaven--in keeping her out of London and London life--had brought
forth all those natural graces and charms which he so much admired,
yet he could not but think it hard that such a flower should be born
to blush unseen; neither could he help fancying that it would be no
very unpleasant thing to transplant her to a more happy soil. Feeling
all this, and feeling that he was feeling it, Burrel saw better than
ever that it was necessary to take care what he was about; and, as the
first step, he applied himself vigorously to go to sleep again. The
night was oppressively warm, however, and it would not do. He began
also to fancy that there was a marvellous smell of wood smoke; and he
thought that, if Mrs. Darlington's housekeeper had begun already to
provide for the _manger_ of the next day, Mrs. Darlington's cook must
have a hard place of it. So, stretching out his hand, he reached his
watch, struck it, and found that it was just half-past two.

He now began to think the smell of smoke odd as well as disagreeable;
and, raising himself on his arm, he found that it was more potent than
he had at first perceived. There was also a sort of faint rushing
sound, as of a draught of wind through long passages, and Burrel
thought he heard a crackling noise also, which, after listening for a
moment or two, determined him to rise and make a voyage of discovery.
To guard against all contingencies, he partly dressed himself, put on
his dressing-gown, and then opened the door. A loud roaring sound, and
a still greater volume of smoke, immediately met him; but he found
that there was yet another door between him and the corridor; and, as
he was seeking for the lock, it was thrown open, by his own servant,
so violently as almost to knock him down.

It wanted not the man's cry of "Sir, sir, the house is on fire!" to
show Burrel what had happened. A red fearful glare, of bright flame
shining through dense volumes of smoke, was seen below, from the edge
of the sort of gallery on which he stood, while along the cornices and
mouldings a number of detached spots of fire appeared running on
before the great body of the conflagration, like light troops thrown
forward to skirmish. The roaring and crackling too, which, as well as
the suffocating smoke, had been, in a great measure, excluded from his
bedroom by the double door, was now sufficiently distinct; and at one
glance he perceived that the whole foot of the great oak staircase,
near the top of which his apartment opened, was in flames. At the same
time, as he looked along the corridor to the left, he saw another door
open, which seemed to lead to the top of a different flight of steps;
for he could distinctly see two or three figures in every state of
dishabille running down as fast as possible, while his servant pulled
him that way, begging him to come to the stone stairs.

All this was gathered in a moment, and Burrel demanded, "Have you seen
any of the family?--Mrs. Darlington"----

"I saw her this moment, sir, running down with Dr. Wilton," replied
the man.

"And Miss Delaware?" demanded his master.

"I don't know, sir--I don't know!" replied the man, hastening away
himself. "The house will be down, sir, if you don't make haste."

A good sturdy housemaid, however, hurrying away from some of the
upstair rooms, caught Miss Delaware's name, and cried out--without
stopping in her flight, however--"Oh, dear! oh, dear! poor young
lady--she will be burned to a certainty!"

"Which is her room?" demanded Burrel. But it was not till he had
repeated his question in a still louder tone that the woman paused to
point with her hand, exclaiming, "Up there, at the end of the
wing!--she will be burned!--Oh, dear, she will be burned!"--and off
ran the housemaid.

Burrel ran along the corridor like light. It was evident that--as is
always the case in houses on fire--all the inhabitants had lost their
wits for the time, and no one had even thought of Miss Delaware.
Without ceremony, Burrel threw open the last door that he came to, in
the direction which the servant had pointed out, but the glare of the
flames was quite sufficient to show him that it had not been slept in
that night. He tried the next, and instantly perceived all the little
articles of a lady's toilet spread upon the table, while, by the drawn
curtains of the bed, he doubted not that the sleep of its fair tenant
had been undisturbed by the sounds which had woke himself.

The violence with which he threw open the door woke Blanche Delaware
from the first sweet sleep of innocence and youth; and her voice
demanding, in alarm, "Who is there?" immediately struck his ear.

He knew that not a moment was to be lost; and though he approached her
bedside with a feeling of real pain, from the shock he was about to
give her, there was but one course to be pursued; and, springing
forward, he drew back the curtains. "Forgive me!" he cried, "but the
house is on fire--not a moment is to be lost!--Your life is at stake,
and you must pardon me if I use but scanty ceremony!"

"Leave me! Leave me then, Mr. Burrel, and let me rise!" she exclaimed,
gazing in his face with all the wild surprise natural to one wakened
from their sleep by such tidings.

"Miss Delaware, moments are life!" replied Burrel hastily. "Even while
I speak our only chance may be cut off."

The gathering smoke and the rushing sound of the flames bore to his
own ear, as well as to that of the fair girl who lay pale and
trembling before him, the certainty that he spoke no more than truth;
and, without farther pause, he stooped over her, wrapped the
bedclothes round her as tenderly and delicately as a mother would wrap
her young infant from the wintry wind, and, catching her up in his
arms, he bore her out into the corridor. All before them was a scene
of mingled smoke and flame. The wainscoting of the corridor, the
balustrades, the cornices, were all charred, blackened, and catching
fire in a thousand places. The blaze was rushing up from below,
towards the skylight, which had unfortunately been left open, and gave
an additional draught. Wherever an open door presented itself, the
flames were seen rushing in, licking the door-posts and the
wainscoting; the heat was scorching; the smoke was suffocating; and
every step that Burrel took forward, he felt uncertain whether the
beams over which he trod would not give way beneath his feet. Still,
however, he strode on till he reached the spot where the flames were
rushing up the great staircase more furiously than any where else,
from the additional mass of fuel that there supplied the fire.--His
foot was on the edge of the landing, to cross over towards the stone
stairs; and he had just time--warned by a sudden crash--to draw back,
when the whole staircase and part of the corridor above it gave way,
and fell into the vestibule below. It was a fearful sight; but he was
not a man to leave any chance of safety to be snatched from him by
terror. The rest of the corridor beyond the gap appeared more sound
than that he had already past. He remembered having seen a side-door
in his own room, which he had just left behind; and retreading
his steps, he entered the chamber, drove in the door he had
remarked--which was but weakly fastened--with a single kick, and
running through a room, the tenant of which had made his escape, he
passed on into a dressing-room, and thence regained the corridor,
beyond the point where it had been connected with the great staircase.

The fall of so much lime and rubbish had in a degree deadened the
fire; and, striding on, Burrel reached the door which opened on the
stone staircase. The rush of cool air and the joy of escape revived
him, almost suffocated as he was with the heat and smoke; and, bending
down his head over his fair burden, he said--the most natural thing in
the world--"Dear girl, you are safe!"--Ay, though he had only seen her
twice in all his life!

Though they were now in comparative security, the fire had made
sufficient progress even there, to render haste imperative, and Burrel
lost not a moment till he reached a small door which led out upon the
lawn by some ascending steps. At about the distance of fifty or
sixty yards, were assembled the whole of the late inmates of the
dwelling--mistress, visiters, and servants, with twenty or thirty
country men and women--all engaged in the laudable occupation of
seeing the house burn.

Dr. Wilton was the only one in a state of activity; and he, in his
shirt and breeches, which, with the exception of his shovel hat, were
the only articles of apparel he had saved, was endeavouring to
instigate some of the servants and peasantry to get up a ladder to the
window of Miss Delaware's room, which--what between fear, wonder, and
stupidity--they were performing with extraordinary slowness. At the
same time, one of the Molly Dusters was corroborating to the rest of
the company the assertion of Burrel's servant, who informed them that
his master had gone to fetch Miss Delaware: and the very likely
consummation that they would both be burnt together, was prophesied
manfully, just as he was making his way across the green towards them,
to prove that he did not intend to participate in such a holocaust.

On seeing Burrel, and guessing what it was that he carried in his
arms, Mrs. Darlington, who was really a good-tempered woman, gave way
a great deal more to her feelings than her usual _bienseance_
permitted, and literally screamed for joy. Since her escape she had
found time to get cool in body if not in mind; and indeed the latter
part of the mixed whole, was by this time sufficiently tranquillized,
to admit the vision of a pretty little quiet romance to cross her mind
concerning Burrel and Blanche Delaware, and to suggest the propriety
of letting her house burn away in peace, while she took shelter, and
guarded against taking cold, in the cottages just below the lodge.
Thither, too, she requested Burrel, who would give up his fair burden
to no one, to follow her; and she herself led the way, with a thousand
encomiums on his heroic gallantry, mingled with thanks to heaven that
all her title-deeds were at the banker's, and manifold aspirations
concerning the fire-resisting powers of the plate-chests.

Burrel thought of nothing but her he carried in his arms. It was not
love he felt, but it was intense interest; and I will defy any man to
carry a beautiful girl that he has already admired and liked, through
dangers such as those, pressed close to his own bosom, and with her
heart beating against his, without feeling very different towards her
from what he ever did before. He had, however, a quality which few
young men possess much of--considerable delicacy of mind; and, as soon
as he had placed Miss Delaware in safety in the cottage, he left her
with Mrs. Darlington, without any of the troublesome enquiries about
her health and comfort which some foolish people might have made.

He then hastened back as fast as possible towards the house, with a
determination of doing all that he rationally could to save whatever
portion of it remained, but without the slightest intention in the
world of bringing his life into jeopardy, or enacting wonders worthy
of a demigod, either to preserve the property of a rich old widow lady
about whom he did not care a sixpence, or to astonish worthy Dr.
Wilton and half-a-dozen lackeys and cowherds who were looking on. When
he arrived at the spot, however, he found that the occupation which he
had proposed to himself, had been already seized by a stout agile
young fellow, in a sailor's jacket and trowsers, who had arrived on
the ground during his absence, and had inspired one or two of the
peasantry with some activity.

The efforts of this young man were energetic, bold, and cleverly
executed; but, from being ill directed, did little comparative good,
while his own life was every moment hazarded. Indeed, personal
security seemed the last thing that he considered; and perhaps this
somewhat superabundant display of daring, might do some good, if only
by stirring up the more slothful to a tolerable degree of activity.
Burrel paused and looked on for an instant, but not from either
over-prudence or laziness. What is best to be done may be always
better considered before doing any thing than after, provided too much
time is not bestowed upon it; and, in the single moment that Burrel
gave to consideration, he perceived that the young sailor was not only
doing no good, but running himself and others into certain
destruction, by continuing to labour at the centre of the house--the
interior of which was completely consumed, and the roof of which
threatened to fall--while, by cutting off the communication between
the _corps de logis_ and the wings, a considerable part of the
building might be saved. The moment his mind was made up, he entered
the principal door, and catching the young sailor by the arm, as he
stood in what had been the vestibule, he called upon him to desist.

The lad, for he was scarcely a man, turned round upon him for a moment
with a countenance, which haste, heat, and impetuosity of disposition,
rendered somewhat furious at the interruption; but a few calm,
reasonable words from Burrel, at once showed him the rationality of
what he proposed, and after a single oath, escaping, as it were, by
the safety valve of his tongue, he agreed to follow. Burrel then
hastened to get out of the stifling heat and smoke; but finding that
the other still lingered, he turned again at the door. The sailor had
paused to recover a bucket, and was at the very instant taking his
first step after Burrel, when a small quantity of heated rubbish came
pattering from above, and then, with a considerable crash, a thick
beam detached itself from the roof, caught upon the ruins of the
staircase, and swung blazing for a single instant above the vestibule.
The young man sprang forward towards the door; but he was too late to
escape entirely. The beam came thundering down--it struck him, and he
fell.

Something more was now at stake than the bed and table linen of an old
woman. A life is always worth the peril of a life, and Burrel at once
plunged in again, and dragged him out, though certainly at the risk of
much more than he would have hazarded to save Mrs. Darlington's abode,
or any inanimate thing it ever contained. He was scarcely clear of the
doorway when the roof fell in, and the rush and the roar, and the
subsequent silence, and the suddenly smothered flame, showed him what
he had escaped, and made him pause for an instant with a thankful
exclamation to that Being, before whose eyes, a sparrow falls not to
the ground unheeded.

Henry Burrel then drew the man he had rescued forward, beyond the
influence of the heat. I say drew, because he evinced a strange
inaptitude to voluntary locomotion, from which Burrel did not augur
very favourably; and being within an inch of six feet high, with a
very tolerable proportion of sinew and muscle, he was not quite so
portable in one's arms as Blanche Delaware.

"Now, my good friends," said Burrel, laying the lad down upon the
smooth turf of the lawn, and addressing those who crowded round, "if
you want really to render any assistance, get what axes, picks, crows,
and other things of the kind you can, and break down entirely yon
little gallery which lies between the house and the right wing. You
run no risk; for the fire has not yet caught the gallery, and you will
save the wing. Never mind this young man, I will attend to him. Here,
Harding," he added, speaking to his servant; "you are a cowardly
----. Take care of yourself, the next time I meet you in a house on
fire, that I do not throw you into the flames, to prevent your running
away when I want your assistance."

The man replied nothing, as usual, and his master proceeded, "Have you
a penknife in your pocket?"

"No, sir," answered the servant; but Dr. Wilton supplied the
deficiency.

"Here, here is one!" he cried, groping in his breeches pocket; "What
are you going to do, my dear Harry? The poor lad seems dead."

"Only stunned, I hope," replied Burrel; "but, at all events, the best
thing one can do for him is to cut the artery in the temple, and let
him bleed freely. If he be dead, it can do him no harm; if there be
any life left, it will recall it."

Thus speaking, with little ceremony, he drew the penknife sharply
across the artery, much to the wonder of the bystanders, some of whom
thought him a fine, bold gentleman; some, concluded that he was but
little troubled with that civil understrapping virtue of discretion.
The effect, however, soon became visible. The blood at first hardly
flowed, but, in a moment after, it burst forth with rapid jerks. A
deep sigh followed from the hurt man, and in an instant after he
looked faintly round.

"I thought I was gone!" he cried, raising himself on his hand, and
looking towards the fire. "My head's bad enough still; but I rather
think I owe you my life, sir. Well, there is an old woman down in the
village, will pray God bless you."

Burrel now endeavoured to stanch the blood; but, like many other
persons, he had not previously calculated all the consequences of what
he was going to do; and he might have found the undertaking somewhat
difficult, had it not fortunately happened that the flames of Mrs.
Darlington's villa had alarmed the whole of the little town and
neighbourhood of Emberton, and thus people were flocking up both on
foot and on horseback. Amongst the first that arrived, was of course
her late guest the village surgeon--one at least of the learned
professions being more peculiarly and unhappily obnoxious to
Rochefoucault's sneering assertion, that there is always something
pleasant to ourselves in the misfortunes of our friends. The surgeon
then was amongst the first of course, sparing not his horse's breath
in order to condole and sympathize, and look grave, and set a limb or
tend a bruise, or dress a burn, or, in short, perform any of those
small acts which are the sources of emolument, present or future, to a
country apothecary. His arrival happened at a fortunate moment for
Burrel's patient; and, after having ascertained that no one of more
consequence was hurt, he complimented the young stranger highly on his
prompt and skilful treatment of poor Wat Harrison, as he called him,
suffered the bleeding to continue for another moment, merely to show
how much he approved of what had been done, and then proceeded to stop
it.

The adventures of the night were now soon concluded. By Burrel's
directions, and the exertions of the peasantry, stimulated at last to
some degree of activity, one wing of the house, as well as the
stabling and offices, was saved; and, from the part thus preserved,
apparel was procured sufficient to clothe the half-naked bodies of
those who were its late denizens. This apparel, indeed, was of
somewhat an anomalous description, and the metamorphoses produced were
rather strange; for though Miss Delaware came out most beautifully, as
a pretty dairymaid; and Mrs. Darlington did not look ill, as a
housekeeper; yet Dr. Wilton had a somewhat fantastic air, when a
footman's great-coat was added to his black breeches, silk stockings,
and shovel hat. Burrel himself adhered to his own dressing-gown,
though many a hole was burnt in the gay flowers that covered it, and
many a stain and scorch obscured the original colours. A general
smile, which even the serious calamity that had reduced them to that
state could not repress, played upon the lips of the whole party, as
they met in such strange attire at the door of the cottages, just as
the pale light of the morning was pouring faint and bluish through the
air. On the countenance of Blanche Delaware, however, that smile,
mingled with a flickering blush as she answered Burrel's enquiries
concerning her health; and Burrel, though he could not but think it as
beautiful a thing as ever the eyes of the morning rested on, hastened,
by quiet and easy words of deep but unceremonious respect, to remove
the glow with the embarrassment that caused it.

By this time all sorts of chaises and vehicles had arrived from
Emberton, and Mrs. Darlington's own carriage and horses had been
brought up from the stables. Burrel handed the two ladies in to
proceed to the village, the inn of which place, Mrs. Darlington
declared, should be her abode for the next day or two. He declined,
however, a seat beside them; and bidding his servant take care of his
horses, and bring them down afterwards, he himself--the fire having
nearly expended itself--got into a hack chaise for Emberton, and,
accompanied by the young sailor who had been hurt, drove slowly down
into the valley.

Dr. Wilton, whose living lay at a considerable distance in a different
direction, had before taken leave of him with many a pressing
invitation to the rectory, and had preceded him in departing. One by
one, the people from the town returned, and the peasantry dropped
away; and, with one man left to keep watch, the ruins of Mrs.
Darlington's house remained smouldering in silent solitude, like the
history of a battle, which, full of fire, confusion, and destruction,
while it lasts, leaves, after the lapse of a few years, nothing but
vacancy, ruin, and the faint smoke of fame.



CHAPTER VI.


It is quite wonderful what a fund of conversation one has with one's
self, when one is left alone for a few minutes, after an hour or two
of that excitement, during which the mind at one moment has enough to
do in calculating what the body is to do the next. This conversation
is sometimes pleasant of course, and sometimes severe, according to
the circumstances of the case, and character of the person, or rather
of the persons concerned. I hold the plural to be the right number in
speaking of such conversation; for therein, more or less, the two
spirits which Araspus, and every other man felt and feels in his own
bosom, hold commune with each other; and--being two twin brothers,
who, though good and evil in their several natures, have still a bond
of kindred sympathy between them--although they wrangle and oppose
each other in the busy strife of the world, yet, when they thus calmly
meet in solitude and silence, to talk together over the past, there is
a strain of melancholy affection mingles with their intercourse, which
renders it always pleasing, though sometimes sad. The good spirit--for
it is his moment of power--rebukes his evil brother gently for every
abuse of his sway; and the evil one bows contrite, or playfully evades
the charge.

All this, however, has very little to do with Henry Burrel, (some
persons may think,) who, in companionship with a hurt lad, half
peasant half sailor, was slowly winding onward, in a creaking
post-chaise, towards the small town of Emberton. Nevertheless,
notwithstanding that fact--and whether any one understands some of the
foregoing sentences or not, which probably they will not do without
reading them over twice--Nevertheless, Henry Burrel's thoughts were
suffered to flow, hardly interrupted--for the young sailor was still
in a dozy, half lethargic state--and the two spirits, though the good
one could scarcely be said to have lost its ascendency during the
hours lately passed, had full leisure for conversation in his bosom.

"I must take care what I am about," thought Burrel, as soon as he had
fallen back in the chaise, after a few kindly words to his poor
companion, which remained half unanswered; "I must take care what I am
about," and it may hardly be necessary to inform the reader, that he
was thinking of Blanche Delaware. "And yet," he continued the next
moment, half smiling, "why should I take care?--whom have I to care
for but myself?"

That was one point gained at least! It was settled, thenceforth and
for ever, that there was no reason on earth why he should not fall in
love with Blanche Delaware, if he liked it. By the way, men very
seldom get so far as that without being somewhat in love already. Few
people think of attacking a fort without being in the army. The next
step to be taken by a reasonable man--and Burrel was one of those
people whose natural inclination to act by impulse was so strong, that
he was very anxious, on all occasions, to give impulse a good reason,
lest she should act without one, and then laugh at him for his
pains--The next step to be taken was to find some good and legitimate
cause, altogether independent of passion, why such a cool and
considerate person as Henry Burrel looked upon Henry Burrel to be--and
which he really was by habit, though not by nature--should fall in
love with Blanche Delaware; and as it is not very easy mathematically
to find a sufficient cause for falling in love at all, Burrel was
obliged to proceed cautiously in the matter, from axiom to postulate,
and so on.

He accordingly set himself to think over all he had seen of Blanche
Delaware; and he did not find it in the least difficult to imagine, to
assume, to demonstrate, that she had plenty of virtues and high
qualities, (independent of her beauty,) to make her a desirable wife
for any man. He next considered the question of marriage in the
abstract, and was naturally led to conclude, with St. Paul, as cited
by the Book of Common Prayer, that it is a state honourable among all
men. All these steps being taken, he next looked into his own
condition, and found that marriage might do him a great deal of good,
and could do him very little harm. Then putting the points already
gained in relative position with his own situation, he deduced the
following: Marriage is good and honourable in all men--marriage in his
own case was peculiarly advisable--and Blanche Delaware was peculiarly
eligible for any man as a wife.

So far all was fair and prosperous, and he was like a ship with full
sails and a favourable wind, dancing over a sunny sea towards the port
of matrimony; and a very comfortable port, too, let me tell you.
However, there was still one little obstacle to be got over, which the
reader unless he be an under-graduate, will never divine. The fact is,
that no man who has been long at either of the two learned
universities, can bear the idea of falling in love. He looks upon it
as a sort of disgrace; and Burrel, who was Christ Church, would not
admit for a moment that he was the least little bit in love in the
world. At the the time, with that sort of odd perversity, which, on
some subject or another, is to be found in the breast of every one, he
had no idea of any one marrying without being in love, unless, indeed,
some point of honour or propriety required it. This latter opinion
came of course from reading novels and romances, plays, poetry, and
such trash; and, in his course through the world hitherto, these
contending principles, always in opposition to each other, had kept
him safe, sound, and unmarried, up to the respectable period of
seven-and-twenty years. His Master of Arts degree, had acted as a
shield to his heart from the many arrows which had been directed
against it; and a romantic disposition had guarded him against that
sort of abstract matrimony which is undertaken without love.

"He was an odd man this Mr. Henry Burrel!"

"He was so, sir! Just such another bundle of contrarieties as you or
I, or any one else. We are all odd men, if you look at us closely."

The simple fact of Burrel's situation at that moment was merely
this--He was not over head and ears in love with Blanche Delaware. He
had not had time, sir! A man does not fall in love by steam! No; but
he had at least advanced two or three steps in that quagmire, and he
was not very likely to get out of it in a hurry. If any one who reads
this book--and pray heaven they may be many!--have ever ridden a
thorough-bred horse over a shaking moor, he will have seen that the
animal, at the first two or three steps over the boggy ground,
trembles at every limb, and if you let him, he will sink to a
certainty. Your only way is to stick your spurs into his sides, keep a
light hand and his head up, and gallop as hard as you can till you get
upon firm ground. Now Burrel felt very much inclined to gallop. He got
a little frightened at his situation, especially when he found himself
stringing together so many reasons for marrying Blanche Delaware, and
it was even betting, whether he staid to fall in love, or got into the
ten o'clock stage, and dined in London.

The way that Love got over it was as follows: Burrel began to think
about the events of the foregoing night, and the remembrance of saving
the life of Blanche Delaware; and carrying her out through the flames
in his arms, was, of course, too pleasant a little spot for memory,
not to pause upon it agreeably. The flickering blush, also, which had
risen in her cheek when she had seen him afterwards, rose up sweetly;
and his next thought was to consider whether it would be more delicate
again to apologize for entering her chamber in the middle of the
night, or to leave it in silence, and never mention it at all. That
was soon settled; but he then thought, "The story will, of course, be
told about the country--ay, and with additions and improvements, which
may very likely injure that sweet girl, and will, at all events, hurt
her feelings if she should hear them. I would not have it so for a
world--and yet what can one do to prevent it?"

At that moment, connecting itself with the blush, by one of those fine
invisible links of thought, which defy all grasp, for who can


  "Trace to its cloud the lightning of the mind?"--


At that moment, the few words he had spoken, at the top of the stone
staircase, when he first found they were in safety--the outpouring of
joy which had sparkled over the lip of the cup--the "Dear girl you are
safe!"--were gathered up by memory and held up to his sight; and
Burrel, who was a gentleman, and considered the point of honour more
sacred and more delicate towards a woman than even towards a man,
believed that he had said too much, not to say more, if he found that
to say it, would not offend.

"Doubtless she will forget it!" he said to himself; "Doubtless she
will never think of it more; but yet I have spoken what was either an
insult or a declaration, and for my own honour's sake I cannot quit
the country till I have pursued it farther."

Well done, Maître Cupidon! Strangely well managed for a little blind
gentleman, strongly suspected of being lame in one leg! But 'tis time
to give over gossiping, for I have a long story to tell, and very
little space to tell it in; and if we stop investigating every thing
that passes in the mind of all the principal personages in this tale,
we shall never get half through all the perils, and dangers, and
hairbreadth escapes, which have not yet begun.

Well, the chaise rolled on; but as, for the sake of his hurt
companion, Burrel had ordered it to roll slowly, his own thoughts
rolled a considerable deal faster, and he had got happily over the
above cogitations, and a great many more to boot, before the vehicle
entered the little town of Emberton. All the good folks in the place
were agog with the joy and excitement of a fire, and the misfortunes
of their fellow-creatures; and although it had been discovered, by the
arrival of Mrs. Darlington's carriage, that unfortunately no one had
been killed, yet every body looked out anxiously for the next comers
from the scene of action, in order to have the pleasure of hearing a
detailed account of the property destroyed. Good Lord! what a pleasure
and satisfaction it was to the ladies of Emberton to commiserate Mrs.
Darlington! There is certainly no affection of human nature half so
gratifying as commiseration! It raises us so infinitely above the
object we commiserate; and, oh! if that object have been for long
years a thing or person to be envied!--Ye gods! quit your nectar, for
it is not worth a sup, and learn to commiserate one another!

"Poor Mrs. Darlington! Only think how unfortunate to have her fine
place entirely destroyed!" cried Commiseration.--"She that was so
smart and gay, and held her head so high!" observed Envy.--"No great
harm; it will lower her pride!" said Hatred.--"They say all her
title-deeds are burned, and she is likely to lose the whole estate!"
whispered Malice.--"It was ill enough got, I dare say!" added All
Uncharitableness; "for no one could tell how her father made his
money!"--And thus the matter being settled to the satisfaction of
every one who had lungs to cry out, "Poor Mrs. Darlington!"  the good
people of Emberton waited anxiously for the next arrival, to see
whether it would afford them any thing equally new and pleasant to say
upon the subject.

The next arrival, as we before hinted, was that of Henry Burrel, Esq.,
carrying in the post-chaise along with him, "Poor Wat Harrison," as
the surgeon had called him; and this conjunction of two such very
opposite planets in one post-chaise, was wonderfully prolific of
agreeable speculations to the folks of Emberton. Some declared that
Poor Wat Hanison, or Sailor Wat, as he was called, had been detected
in plundering the house, and had been brought down in irons. Some
vowed that he had insulted Mr. Burrel, and had been knocked down by
that gentleman with a blow which had fractured his skull. One little
boy, who saw him pass with a bloody handkerchief round his head, ran
across to his father on the other side of the way, crying out, "Oh,
papa, they have brought home the widow's son, at the end of the lane,
with his throat cut! You used always to say he would be hanged!"

Besides this gentle vaticination of his ultimate destiny, various were
the reports that his appearance in Burrel's post-chaise produced.
Nevertheless, the chaise rolled on, and, passing through the town,
turned up the lane leading by the park wall towards the mansion-house,
and, after proceeding about a couple of hundred yards, stopped at the
door of a neat cottage, humble and small, but clean and decked with
flowers.

"Stay, and let me help you out!" said Burrel to his companion, as the
postilion opened the door.

"No, no!" cried the lad, rousing himself from the sort of dozing state
in which he had hitherto continued. "It will frighten her.--Let me get
out myself.--She has had frights enough already."

He was next the door, and he staggered down the steps with an effort;
but, before his foot touched the ground, a female figure appeared at
the entrance of the cottage. It was that of a woman of about forty
years of age, with traces of considerable beauty, less withered
apparently by time than by sorrow; for the braided hair upon her
forehead was but thinly mingled with gray, the teeth were fine and
white, the eye clear and undimmed. But there was many a line about the
mouth which seemed to hold every smile in chains, and there was an
expression of deep, habitual anxiety in the eyes, fine as they were,
that can only be fixed in them by care. They seemed always asking,
"What new sorrow now?" She was dressed in the garb of a widow--not
deep weeds--but those habiliments which might still be worn as marks
of the eternal mourning of the heart, after time and the world's
changes had banished the memory of her loss from every bosom but her
own. They were neat and clean, but plain and even coarse; and her
appearance--and it did not belie her state--was altogether that of a
person in the humbler class of life; but with a mind, and perhaps an
education, in some degree superior to those of her own station.

As the young man got out of the chaise, she took two or three quick
steps forward to meet him, exclaiming, with an anxious gaze at his
face, "Oh, my boy! what has happened now?"

"Nothing mother, nothing!" answered the young man, "A knock on the
head! That's all! Nothing at all! It will be well to-morrow;" and he
strove to pass into the house, as if to hide himself from the anxious
eyes which were scanning his pale face, dabbled as it was with blood.

Burrel sprang out of the chaise; and, putting his right hand under the
lad's elbow, so as to support him steadily, he gently displaced his
mother's hand by taking it in his own, and leading her on with them
into the cottage, saying, as he did so, "Your son, my good lady, has
had a severe blow on the head, from the falling of a beam, as he was
aiding gallantly to extinguish the fire at Mrs. Darlington's. We have
been obliged to bleed him; but, as you see, he is much better now; and
I doubt not, with care and good medical advice, will soon be quite
well."

By this time he had got the young man into the cottage, and seated him
on a wooden chair near the door; but the words of comfort that he
spoke seemed to fall meaningless on the ears of the widow, who stood
and gazed upon her son's face, with an expression of anxious care
which we must have all seen at some time or another, but which is
hardly describable. It was not only the sorrow and the anxiety of the
moment, but it was the crushed heart, prophesying many a future woe
from long experience of grief,--it was the waters of bitterness,
welling from the past, and mingling its gall with all things present
or to come.

Her son was her first thought, but she marked Burrel's words,
though she answered them not; for the next moment she said, as if
speaking to herself--for distress had done away with courtesy, for the
moment--"Where am I to get good medical advice?"

"That shall not be wanting, my good lady," replied Burrel kindly.
"Come, come, the matter is not so bad as you think it. Get your son to
bed, and as soon as Mr. Tomkins the surgeon returns, he shall have my
orders to give him every attention. He will soon be better, so set
your mind at ease."

"Oh sir!" answered the widow, looking, for the first time, at the
person who spoke to her, "I have not known what a mind at ease is, for
many a long year. But you are very good, sir, and I ought to have
thanked you before."

"That you ought mother," said the young man, "for he got me out of the
fire, and saved my life. God bless you, sir! I can be thankful enough
for a good turn, in spite of all that the people of this place may say
against me. They first drove me to do a wrong thing, and then gave me
a worse name for it than I ever deserved."

"I believe it is too often so," answered Burrel, laying his hand with
a gentle motion upon his arm; "and many a man like you, my poor
fellow, may be driven from small faults to great ones. But it is never
too late to correct one's mistakes; and as I will bear witness to your
gallant exertions to save Mrs. Darlington's property, you will now
have a good foundation to raise a better name for yourself than you
seem to say, you have hitherto obtained. Let this make a new beginning
for you, and I will take care you shall not want encouragement."

The young sailor suddenly grasped his hand, and wrung it tight in his
own. "God bless you, sir!" he said, "God bless you!" and Burrel fully
understood that the words of hope he had spoken, had found their way
straight to a heart that might have gone astray, but was not entirely
corrupted. After a few more kind words to the widow and her son, he
got into the chaise again, and returned to his lodging. His first care
was to provide medical aid for the young sailor, and he sent
immediately for Mr. Tomkins, the surgeon, who had by this time
returned. After giving full orders and authority to see the young man,
God willing, completely restored to health, with all the necessary
attendance and medicaments to be charged to his account, Burrel
learned from the apothecary the history of the young sailor, which is
as simple a one as ever was told.

His father and mother had married young, principally upon the strength
of that camelion fricasee--hopes and expectations; and his father had
settled in a small shop in Emberton, became bankrupt, and died. There
is nothing wonderful in that; for oxalic--nay, prussic acid itself,
has no advantage over broken hopes, except in being a quicker poison.
If one takes up the Gazette, and looks at the names of the great
bankers and merchants that have figured in its sad list during the
last twenty years, we shall find that two out of three, have not
survived their failure three years. Well, he died; and his widow did
hope that the liberal creditors would allow her the means of carrying
on her husband's trade again, or at least supporting herself and her
child. But no. The world is a very good world, and a liberal and
generous world, _et cetera, et cetera, et cetera_; but let no one, as
they value peace, count upon its kindness or generosity for a moment.
The liberal creditors left her not a shred on the face of the earth
that they could take, and turned her and her beggar boy into the
street. To the kindness of Sir Sidney Delaware she owed the small
cottage in which she dwelt; but Sir Sidney, God help him! had hardly
enough for himself; and though many a little act of comforting
kindness was shown by the poor family of the park to the poor family
in the cottage, yet that was not enough for support, and want was
often at the door. As the boy grew up, his heart burned at his
mother's need; and in an evil hour he became connected with a gang of
poachers--plundered the preserves of Sir Timothy Ridout--was
detected--resisted. The gamekeeper was struck and injured in the
affray, and poor Wat Harrison, as he was called, was nearly finding
his way to Botany Bay; when, by some kind management, he was allowed
to go to sea, and remained in Captain Delaware's ship till she was
paid off, a few months before the time of which I now write.

It has before been shown, however, that Wat Harrison had established
for himself a bad character in the little town which saw his birth. To
such a degree even had he done this, that the peculiar class of
wiseacres, who have a prepossession in favour of hanging, uniformly
agreed that poor Wat Harrison would be hanged. Such a reputation once
established, is not easily shaken off; and although, at his return, he
bore a high character from Captain Delaware, who reported him--what he
really was--a brave, active, gallant lad, somewhat rash and
headstrong, and with a disposition that, in good guidance, might be
led to every thing good and noble--still the wiseacres shook the
knowing head, and declared that all that might be very true, but that
bad company would soon make him as bad as ever.

Burrel listened to the story with some attention; but by this time he
had resumed his impenetrability, which had been a little shaken within
the last four-and-twenty hours, and the good doctor could by no means
discover what Henry Burrel intended to do in favour of poor Wat
Harrison, or whether he intended to do any thing.

It is not improbable that, as the surgeon was really a kind-hearted
man, he would have given what medical aid was required by the widow's
son, even had no pecuniary remuneration brightened with its golden
rays the horizon of a long attendance; but the unlimited order he
received to do every thing that was necessary for the youth's complete
recovery, inspired a new alacrity into all his movements; for there is
no charity which is half so active as that which is paid for. Away,
then, hied worthy Mr. Tomkins, undivided surgeon to the whole little
township of Emberton and its dependencies, to attend poor Wat
Harrison, with as much eager zeal as if the lad had been a Calender, a
king's son, instead of a poor widow's; and his prompt appearance, as
well as several mysterious "nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,"
which he joined to some mysterious words about her son having secured
a powerful protector, served greatly to soothe the heart of poor Widow
Harrison. In good truth, much did it need soothing; for her only child
had soon fallen into the same fearful drowsy state again, from which
his first arrival at her humble dwelling had roused him, and either
left her questions unanswered, or answered _à tort et à travers_. This
had terrified and alarmed her to a dreadful degree; and the assurances
of the surgeon, that her son would do well, joined to the hints he
gave, that her future prospects were brightening, brought the first
rays of the blessed daystar of joy to shine in upon her heart, which
had found their way through the casement of her cottage for many
a-year.

The lad was by this time in bed, and a second bleeding relieved him;
but it was now discovered that the beam had struck his side as well as
his head, and there appeared some reason to fear inflammation from the
feverish state of his pulse. Cooling drinks and refrigerants of all
kinds were recommended; and as Mr. Burrel's orders had been dictated
in a spirit of liberality, to which the mind of the village surgeon
was averse to set bounds, yet afraid to give full course, he deemed it
best to wait upon that gentleman, and state what he thought necessary.

"In regard to medicines, and every thing of that kind, my dear sir,"
replied Burrel, who was found with half a dozen half-written letters
before him; "in regard to medicines, and every thing of that kind, I
must let him trust to you. As to diet, the _juvantia_ and _lædentia_
must be explained to my man, who shall have full orders to provide all
that is necessary for him."

The letters on the table were a sufficient hint to a man, a part of
whose profession it is to understand hints quickly; and after the
words of course, he took leave once more, and departed.

A short time after, Burrel's silent servant, Harding, appeared at the
cottage, bringing with him all that could make a sick man comfortable.
He himself was active and attentive; and, considering his wonted
reserve, Master Harding might be looked upon as loquacious. He showed
none of those airs which the servants of fine gentlemen sometimes
affect, when called upon to attend the poor or sick, in any of those
cases in which their masters find it convenient to do the less
pleasant parts of charity by deputy; but, sitting down by the bed of
the sick man, he asked kindly after his health--talked over
the accident which had occasioned the injury from which he
suffered--turned up his nose at his own master, when Widow Harrison
called down blessings on Burrel's head--declared that the time was
fast coming when such men would find their right level--and hoped in
his days to see the national debt wiped away with a wet spunge, and a
reasonable limit fixed to the fortunes of private men, so that no such
unequal distribution, of things that were naturally in common, should
take place.

Widow Harrison was silent from astonishment, and her son was ill, and
not logical; so that the oration of silent servant passed
unquestioned, and he returned to his master's lodging, where, to do
him all manner of justice, although he was perfectly respectful, his
lips did not overflow with any of those warm professions of attachment
and devotion which used to characterize the determined rascal in days
of old. It is to be remarked here, that the character of the
scoundrel, the pickpocket, and the thief, has changed within the last
five or six years most amazingly; and that the leaven of liberal
sentiments, of one kind or another, which has been so industriously
kneaded up with the dough-like and ductile minds of Englishmen, has
been naturally communicated in a greater proportion to the thieves,
pickpockets, cheats, and valets-de-chambre, than to any other class in
the state.

Far from finding fawning and cringing in the knavish valet--far from
meeting courtesy and gentleness in the highwayman--far from being
treated with urbanity and persiflage by the swindler--the first, when
about to steal his master's silver spoons, discusses the origin of the
idea of property; the second, when he lays you prostrate with a club,
or blows your brains out with a pistol, swaggers about the rights of
the people, while the swindler is sure to cheat you under the guise of
a lecture on political economy; and the man who meditates cutting your
throat in your bed, views you with cool indifference--reads Cato
before he goes to rest--and, ere he sets to work, lies down to take an
hour or two of sleep, and dream of Brutus. Oh, ye gods, it is a goodly
world! and those who see most of the march of intellect, begin to
suspect that its progression is somewhat like that of a crab.



CHAPTER VII.

About three o the clock of the day at which we are still pausing, the
sky began to show a strong disposition to weep. A heavy shower came
on, and if there were a spark left till then unextinguished amongst
the blackened remains of Mrs. Darlington's house, there certainly now
came down from above the wherewithal to drown it out effectually. The
whole heavens became black and gloomy, and for about an hour there was
nothing to be seen but a scanty allowance of prospect, half obscured
by the gray drizzle. Shortly after, however, a yellow break made its
appearance on the south-western edge of the horizon, and the rays of a
September sun, mingling with the falling shower, poured through the
streaks of rain, and seemed to fringe the cloud with an edging of spun
glass. Moving slowly onward, the heavy mass of vapours left room for
the evening sun to burst forth, and, while the rainbow waved its scarf
of joy in the air, the whole world sparkled up refreshed and
brightened by the past rain.

It was just about the same moment that Henry Burrel, rising up from a
desk at which he had been writing, closed it, rang the bell, and,
giving two letters to his servant for the post, ordered him to bring
his hat and stick.

It happened, of course, that at the very same time the whole of the
most gossiping heads in Emberton were at the windows of their several
dwellings, endeavouring to ascertain if it were going to turn out a
fine evening, and, of course, their speculations were soon confined to
Burrel, who was seen to walk slowly along the street, to stop for ten
minutes at the principal inn, either--as it was conjectured by the
spectators--for the purpose of giving some orders, or of enquiring
after the health of Mrs. Darlington, and then to proceed leisurely
across the bridge, turn the corner of the park, and approach the
widow's cottage.

The cottage itself being, as I have before said, two or three hundred
yards removed from the town, in the turnings of a narrow road, was out
of sight. But there was a house, which stood at the corner of the
bridge, on the opposite side to the park, commanding a view of a
considerable part of the grounds; and---from the windows of the first
floor, a female figure having been seen walking quickly down amongst
the trees on the left, while Burrel was pausing at the inn--Miss
Mildew, the fair tenant of that story--a lady of about fifty-nine, who
had exercised millinery, and had had her heart broken several times by
the perfidy of man--put on her bonnet, and ran across the street to
tell a congenial spirit, from whom she concealed nothing, that Miss
Delaware was just going down to give the strange gentleman a meeting
at the widow's cottage. Both held up their hands, and sighed
mournfully over the depravity of the world, and the sad decline of
female modesty in this latter day.

In the meanwhile Burrel pursued his way, and, entering the open door
of the cottage, knocked at that of the room in which he had before
seen the widow. Another door opposite, however, was immediately opened
by Widow Harrison, and Burrel, entering the room with that pleasant
and unpretending easiness of demeanour, which is always received as a
kindly compliment by the lower classes, found himself, to his
surprise, in the presence of Miss Delaware.

Although her mind was too little acquainted with evil in any shape to
lead Blanche Delaware to fancy for a single instant that any one would
put a wrong construction on her actions, yet there was something, she
knew not well what, in all that had passed between Burrel and herself
since their first meeting, that called up into her check a slight
blush, unconnected with any unpleasant feelings, as soon as she beheld
him--Those blushes are great tell-tales, and will often let out the
secret of a woman's heart, before she herself knows that there is any
secret in it; but we shall have more to say of them hereafter.

The blush instantly passed away, however; and, as Burrel advanced to
speak to her, it was all gone.

"I am delighted to see you, Miss Delaware," he said; "for I really had
hardly time to convince myself this morning that you had neither
suffered from cold nor from alarm in all the terrible adventures of
last night."

"Not in the least," answered Miss Delaware; "and I have to thank you,
Mr. Burrel, for life. For, certainly, had it not been for your prompt
and generous assistance, I must have perished by a miserable death. As
it was," she added with a smile, which was followed by a blush again,
"As it was, your assistance was so prompt, and I was so sound asleep,
that I had not time to be frightened till I was safe. However, I must
trust the expression of my gratitude to those who are more capable of
doing justice to it. My brother, I believe is now gone to call upon
you."

Widow Harrison had stood by, listening respectfully, but there was
many a shade of care removed from her face since the morning; and as
soon as Miss Delaware had ended, and there was a pause--for Burrel,
feeling that he would a thousand times sooner be thanked by her own
lips than by those of her brother, halted at his reply--the poor woman
joined in to express her gratitude too. A degree of embarrassment,
however, as to the manner, made her do it somewhat obliquely, and she
exclaimed, addressing Blanche Delaware:--"Oh, ma'am! this gentleman is
good and kind to every one! This is the gentleman I was telling you
brought home my poor boy, and sent Doctor Tomkins and his own servant
too; and has been so kind!"

Blanche Delaware looked up in Burrel's face with one of those
sparkling smiles--as brilliant and more precious than a diamond--the
beaming approbation of a good heart, at the sight of a good action.

Now, the good-natured world may say, if it list, that this chapter is
all about blushes and smiles; but let me tell it, that, rightly valued
and rightly read, there are not such beautiful or interesting things
on the earth. A dimple is fair enough on a fair face, but it means
little or nothing; but the smiles and the blushes of a fine and bright
mind, are lovely in all their shades and expressions: they are the
first touching tones of nature in her innocence--the sweet musical
language of the heart.

And Blanche Delaware's smile was the sweetest that it is possible to
conceive, and none the less so because it beamed upon as fair a
countenance as the eye of man ever rested upon. Altogether, it was
like the sunshine upon a beautiful country--lovely in itself, and
lovely by that over which it played. "I thought it was the same,
Margaret," she replied to the widow; "I thought it was the same,
because--because--there was no other stranger at the fire, that I
heard of at least."

Burrel might well ask his heart what it was about!--though it was a
day too late; for by this time it was determined to have its own way.
However, he knew more of the world than Blanche Delaware, and the
knowledge of good and evil has always the same effect that it had at
man's first fall. "And they knew that they were naked," says the Book
of Genesis; and in that simple record, the main motive and hidden
cause of all that class of weaknesses and follies is to be found which
teach man to conceal his actions, his thoughts, and his feelings--to
shrink from public censure, or fear the opinion of the world. The
knowledge of the good and evil that is in the world, teaches even the
noblest mind to know the proneness of all nature to wickedness, and
makes it hasten to clothe itself in a seeming not its own. Burrel knew
the world and its evil, and felt that, however pleasant it might be to
stay where he was, and enjoy the conversation of Blanche Delaware for
an hour, for her sake it would be better for him to refrain; and
therefore, after visiting the young sailor, who was in bed in the next
room, and bidding his mother ask frankly for every thing that was
necessary for his comfort or recovery, he took leave of Miss Delaware,
telling her that he would bend his steps homewards, in the hope of
meeting her brother.

Ere he had crossed the bridge, his hand was clasped in that of Captain
Delaware, who was, in fact, infinitely glad of an opportunity of
drawing closer the acquaintance which he formed with his stage-coach
companion. He thanked him animatedly and warmly for his gallant
conduct in saving his sister, and apologized for the fact of his
father not calling on him that night, on account of slight
indisposition, adding, however, that it was his purpose to do so on
the following morning.

To the latter annunciation Burrel merely bowed; but to the first he
replied, with a smile, that he believed he owed Miss Delaware an
apology more than she owed him thanks, for having so impudently walked
into her room in the middle of the night; although, he believed, they
would have been both burned if he had paused much longer to consider
of proprieties or improprieties.

Captain Delaware laughed. "Blanche," said he, "though even I, her
brother, cannot help owning that she is a very _witching_ little
person in her way, when she likes it, has no great desire to pass
through such a fiery ordeal as that from which you relieved her; but
if you will come with me to Widow Harrison's cottage she will thank
you herself."

"I have already had the pleasure of seeing her, and have been thanked
far more than necessary," replied Burrel; "for I certainly did no more
than I would have done to serve any lady in similar circumstances;
though I cannot deny that the merit of the action was greatly
decreased by the object of it being Miss Delaware."

Captain Delaware paused for a moment, and then, catching his
companion's meaning, replied, smiling at his momentary dulness, "Oh! I
understand you! I understand you! But indeed, my dear sir, you must
give me notice next time you intend to leave the complimentary part of
your speech implied rather than understood; for, at first, I
understood your meaning to be, that you would rather have served any
other person than my sister."

"Quite the contrary," replied Burrel. "The pleasure I felt in serving
your sister, took away all merit from the act--but compliments at all
times are very foolish things, so I will have done with them; and only
say most truly, that I was delighted to serve your sister.'"

"I understand you now," said Captain Delaware; and then added,
laughing, "but you are accustomed to fine speeches, and I am not; so,
forgive my first stupidity. I take your compliment at its proper
value; and will--as the merchants tell us when we put into a strange
port--discount it to my sister at the current exchange."

"Do not give her less than the amount," answered Burrel; and he spoke
so seriously, that even Captain Delaware, though he was not very
quicksighted in such matters, thought it better to let the subject
drop. However, there was something in Burrel's tone, that for the
first time made him think seriously of his sister's situation, and
made him feel a pang, which he had never before felt, at the low ebb
to which his house's fortunes had been reduced. Had there been in
Burrel's conversation one tittle of presumption--had the pride of
riches or of station shown itself by a word, by a very tone--pride,
irritated by poverty, might have risen up in his bosom, and taught him
to hold the stranger at arms-length, even though he had sacrificed
what he believed would prove one of the most agreeable acquaintances
he had ever made. But, on the contrary, though every thing in Burrel's
appearance, manners, and establishment, showed habitual affluence,
such a total disregard of the idle world's prosperity in others,
evinced itself in his whole conversation--he seemed so thoughtful of
wealth of mind and manners, and so disregardful of the poorer wealth,
that Captain Delaware, feeling himself by nature, education, and
habit, that noble thing--a gentleman--would not have hesitated to have
introduced Burrel to a cottage, and said, "This is my home;" convinced
that his companion would hardly see what was around him, provided some
weak vanity on his own part did not call his attention irresistibly to
the painful spectacle of pride endeavouring to hide poverty.

While such conversation had been passing between them, and such
thoughts had been busy in Captain Delaware's bosom, Burrel, without
any definite purpose, made a wheel upon the bridge; and, in a moment
after, they were walking through the town together, towards the lane
which led to the widow's cottage. Captain Delaware remained silent, as
he continued meditating for two or three minutes, till remembering
that the name of his sister--for whom he had a fund of deep love and
respect, which influenced all his actions, even without his knowing
it--had been the last upon their lips; and, feeling that some
inference of deeper moment might be drawn from his silence than he
could desire, he changed the subject, abruptly enough indeed, to make
his sudden fit of thoughtfulness more liable to remark than if it had
continued twice as long.

"Your servant," he said, "is certainly a descendant, not of [OE]dipus,
but of his friend the Sphinx--which, by the way, our sailors, when we
were at Alexandria, used always to call the Minx. I did not think I
showed any very impertinent curiosity, but he could neither tell me
where you had gone--which way you had turned when you left the
door--when you were to be back--or, in short, any other fact
concerning your movements this evening: for, feeling deeply indebted
to you on poor Blanche's account, I wished to unload my bosom of its
thanks."

"Oh, he is a discreet and sober personage, Master Harding," answered
Burrel. "One of those men who have a great idea of not committing
themselves; and I like him infinitely better than a plausible,
fair-spoken knave that I had lately, who would not, or could not,
loose my horse's girths, if the groom were out of the way, and who
left me because I did not allow my servants Madeira."

"I hope you threw him out of the window?" cried Captain Delaware,
giving way to a burst of honest indignation.

"Oh dear, no!" answered Burrel, "I saw him depart through the usual
aperture, with a degree of coolness and fortitude he did not expect;
and after trying another, whom I _did_ kick out, I was soon supplied
with the present rascal, who is useful, silent, and circumspect. He
cheats me in about the same proportion as the others, or rather less;
is so far more honest, that he never pretends to honesty; and I have
never yet discovered that he lets any other person cheat me besides
himself."

"No very high character, either!" answered Captain Delaware.

"I beg your pardon!" cried Burrel. "Sufficient for a prime minister,
and more than sufficient for a member of parliament.--But here we are
at the cottage; I wonder if I dare intrude again upon Miss Delaware's
presence?"

Captain Delaware made no difficulty, and a few minutes afterwards the
whole party were observed--with Blanche hanging upon her brother's
arm, and Burrel walking by her side, his handsome head bent down to
speak and hear with the more marked attention--walking slowly along
the lane under the park wall, till they reached the small door nearest
to the mansion. There Burrel raised his hat, and took his leave; and
while Miss Delaware and her brother entered the park, he drew up his
head, threw wide his shoulders, and, resuming his usual gait, returned
to the town.

The person who had observed all this, and who declared positively that
she had not walked that way on purpose, reported it all fully to the
honest folks of Emberton, who instantly prognosticated a marriage. How
desperately they were mistaken, remains to be shown.

Burrel returned to his house, dined without the slightest symptoms of
love being discernible in the removed dishes; and ended the day by
sleeping as devotedly as if he had been a sworn votary of Somnus,
first telling his servant to see that all the fires were put out, as
he had not the slightest inclination to be woke from his rest again. A
fire on two consecutive nights, however, is not a piece of good
fortune that happens to every man; and Burrel, after having slept one
third of the round dial undisturbed, woke the next morning, and sat
down to breakfast, asking himself, what was to occur next?

Every man must find that there come moments in the dull lapse of life,
when---as we feel that nothing can stand still--we are certain that
something must happen, however small and trifling in itself, to change
the monotonous course in which things are proceeding, and lead us to a
new train of events. Did you ever trace the current of a small stream,
reader, from its earliest gush out of the green swampy turf, or the
little rugged bank, to its confluence with some other water? Do! It is
amusing and instructive. At its first burst into existence, you will
find it generally rushing on in gay and bounding brightness, fretting
at all that opposes its course, and dashing over every obstacle that
would retard its progress. Gradually as one obstruction after another
meets and impedes its onward flow, slower and more slow becomes its
current, till a mere molehill will divert its course, and send it
wandering far in the most opposite direction to that which it
originally assumed. But, after all, I am stealing an image; for some
poet--I forget who--has said something very like it. Nevertheless, I
make no apology for the robbery. The illustration suits my purpose,
and I take it. Let every man steal as much as he likes; but put it in
inverted commas, and it is all according to act of parliament.

It matters not that the thought be old: the figure is fully as
appropriate as if it were new; and any one who has watched the
progress of a stream, must have said in his own heart--"This is life!"

Well, Burrel, as he sat down to breakfast, had just come to one of
those slow spaces in the current of existence, where he felt that some
bank, or stone, or molehill, must turn the stream; and, as I have
before said, his first thought was, What is to happen next?

Oh, that curious question, which has puzzled the wisest from the
beginning of the world, and will puzzle them still, till the last day
solves it for ever! What is to happen next?

It had scarcely passed, through Burrel's brain, when the door opened,
and Sir Sidney Delaware was announced. He entered the room slowly, as
was his custom; but, as he did enter, Burrel at once perceived that a
certain air of coldness--which, like the mithridate of the ancients,
defied all analysis from the multitude of ingredients that composed
it--was altogether gone, and in its room there was a frank bland
smile, as he greeted him, which unloaded the baronet's brow of the
wrinkles of full ten years.

"I have come to visit you, Mr. Burrel," said Sir Sidney Delaware, "at
an unusual hour, solely because I wished to see you; and, if you will
give me leave, I will take my coffee with you," Burrel rang the bell,
and the necessary additions to his breakfast-table were soon
completed, while he expressed politely, but neither coldly nor
cordially, his pleasure at the visit of Sir Sidney Delaware.

"My first task, Mr. Burrel," said the baronet mildly and kindly, "is
to express my gratitude for the salvation of my dear child; and allow
me to say, that no one who does not love her as I do, can feel what
that gratitude is."

When a poor man and a proud man condescends to pour forth his feelings
to his equal in mind and station, and his superior in more worldly
wealth, it is a compliment which deserves instant return, and
Burrel--though he had been unwilling to risk for a moment a fresh
advance, to be again repulsed--felt, from the whole tone and manner of
his companion, that the barrier was broken down between them. To have
held back would have been an insult, and he instantly replied, not in
the set form which means no more than a copy-line to a schoolboy, but
in those words and accents that conveyed fully to Sir Sidney Delaware,
that he had felt a real and personal pleasure in serving his daughter
in the manner that he had done. He spoke frankly, though guardedly,
of the charms and graces of Miss Delaware's conversation and
demeanour--he spoke more boldly and feelingly of the impression that
the blending of sailor-like candour with, gentlemanly feeling, in
Captain Delaware, had produced upon his mind--and although Burrel
alluded to these things in the tone of a man of the world, who had
found out a treasure in pure nature that he had never before
discovered, he did so without the slightest assumption of superiority;
and both his words and his manner expressed alone unfeigned pleasure
in the acquaintance he had made, and the service he had rendered.

"Enough, enough!" cried Sir Sidney Delaware, interrupting him as he
was going on in his encomiums. "I came here to thank you for what you
have done for one of my children, not to hear praises of both, that
might perhaps make my old eyes overflow. But, as you speak of my son,
I must not only confess that I owe you thanks, but an apology which I
have promised him to make you, for not calling on you before. In that
voluminous catalogue of lies, which, like hackney-coaches on a stand,
are ready at the beck of every one, I might find a hundred excuses
ready made to my hand, which you would be bound to receive as current;
but my principles do not admit of my making use of them, and when I
apologize at all, it must be by telling the truth. Unfortunate
circumstances, Mr. Burrel," he added in a grave and somewhat sad tone,
"have placed a painful disparity between the fortune and the station
of my family. For myself, I do not covet wealth, neither do my
children; but we have never sought, or even admitted, the society of
any one who was likely to differ from us in our estimation of our own
situation."

"Although such an apology is far more than I either deserve, or could
expect," replied Burrel; "yet I own I am glad to find that you did not
at all hate me for my own sake. As to my feelings and principles--if,
as I hope, this acquaintance stops not here--you will soon find, my
dear sir, that I am far too aristocratic in my own nature to dream
that wealth can make any addition to rank--far too liberal in my own
sentiments to dream that either wealth or rank can make any addition
to gentlemanly manners and a gentlemanly mind. Do not mistake me, Sir
Sidney Delaware," he added, seeing a slight shade come over the
baronet's countenance; "I have every reverence for the institutions of
society, and for those grades, which society can never be deprived of,
without sinking gradually into barbarism of manners, if not barbarism
of mind. All I mean to say, is, when I pay reverence to rank, it is a
tribute I render to society--when I pay reverence to the individual,
it is a tribute I offer to virtue, and that tribute will be offered to
either, under all circumstances, and at all times; but I have no idea
of bowing low to the purse in a man's pocket, or fawning upon the
bottle of Lafitte that graces his sideboard."

Sir Sidney Delaware smiled. "I am afraid, then," he replied, "you are
unlike the majority of our young men at present. The worst kind of
aristocracy--because it must always be too new a garment to sit
easily--the aristocracy of wealth, is springing up each day as the
idol for worship; and I am afraid every one who may be said to have a
golden calf in their house, will find plenty of our Israelites willing
to commit idolatry, though to the worship of wealth in others may be
applied the memorable words with which Sallust stigmatizes avarice
itself--'Ea quasi veninis malis imbuta, corpus animumque virilem
effæminat, semper infinita insatiabilis est; neque copiâ, neque inopiâ
minuitur.' My own race have been too little followers of the blind
god--I mean Plutus, not Cupid--and the effects you will see, if you do
me the favour of dining in my poor house to-morrow."

"If I see yourself and family there, Sir Sidney Delaware, I shall
certainly see nothing amiss, and probably nothing else; though," he
added, feeling that the subject was one which had better be led into
some other, as soon as possible, "though the house appears to be a
very perfect and beautiful specimen of the peculiar kind of
architecture to which it belongs."

"It is, indeed," replied the baronet, instantly mounting the hobby
that Burrel set before him; "it is, indeed, perhaps the most perfect
specimen of the architecture of the early part of Henry VIII. now in
existence. It shows the first step from the pure Gothic to the pure
Vandal, if I may so call it, which succeeded."

"Without pretending to be a connoisseur," replied Burrel, "I am
certainly a great lover of architectural antiquities of all sorts; and
I must endeavour to seduce you into pointing out all the peculiar
characteristics of the place."

"I shall be delighted!" exclaimed Sir Sidney Delaware. "Let me beg you
to come to-morrow early--come to breakfast--and give us your whole
day, if you can spare so much of your time, which is doubtless
valuable.

"Perfectly worthless!" replied Burrel. "So, remember if you find that
I take you at your word, and bestow my whole day of tediousness upon
you, it is your own fault; for you have invited me; and I shall look
jealously for every yawn."

"No fear, no fear, my dear sir!" said the baronet. "I do not know how,
Mr. Burrel, or why, but something in your aspect and manner makes me
feel as if you were an old friend."

"May you always feel so!" replied Burrel, with a smile of pleasure,
which vouched that the words were more than mere form.

"Even your face," continued Sir Sidney, "comes upon me like a dream of
the past, and I feel, in speaking with you, as if I had just got my
studentship at Christ Church, and were in those bright days again when
the boy, standing on the verge of manhood, grasps at the crown of
thorns before him, as if it were a diadem of stars. However, I feel
towards you like an old friend, and shall treat you as such, which
means--as one of the flippant books of the present day asserts--that I
shall give you a very bad dinner."

"Do! do!" cried Burrel, shaking the hand his guest held out to him as
he was about to depart. "Do! do! and I will find a way to avenge
myself without difficulty."

"How do you mean?" demanded the baronet, pausing.

"By coming for another very soon," answered his companion. "So, I dare
you to keep your word."

"I certainly shall," rejoined Sir Sidney Delaware, "if such be the
penalty;" and they parted with feelings entirely changed on both sides
since their meeting at the house of Mr. Tims.



CHAPTER VIII.


Whether the succeeding hours of the day on which Sir Sidney Delaware
first visited Henry Burrel, did or did not pass with any degree of
impatience, felt on the part of the latter, it is difficult to say.
Burrel had an habitual dislike to the display of what he felt and
except on special occasions, where the stirred-up feelings broke
through all customary restraint, there might be many far deeper things
passing in his bosom than the eye of a casual observer could discover
from his face.

The hours of that day seemed to fly in perfect tranquillity. He
visited the widow's cottage twice, and marked with pleasure that a
change for the better had taken place in her son; he called upon
Mrs. Darlington at the inn, gossiped over a thousand subjects of
tittle-tattle, and sketched out a plan for rebuilding her house--a
consideration which seemed to give the good lady so much pleasant
occupation, that Burrel could scarcely find it in his heart to regret
that her house had been burned at all. He then strolled home to write
letters, remarking with little farther comment, as he did so, that his
silent servant, Harding, was walking on the other side of the way, in
quiet conversation with the vulgar person who had been for a short
time one of his own companions in the London coach.

Nothing, in short, through the whole day, or the ensuing evening,
could betray that the hours were at all weary to Henry Burrel; and the
only circumstance which led his servant--who had eyes sufficiently
inquisitive and acute--to believe that his master looked upon the
approaching visit with more than ordinary interest, was, that the next
morning, instead of sleeping soundly as usual till he was called, he
rang his bell somewhat impatiently full five minutes before his
ordinary hour of rising.

Giving the necessary orders for his dressing apparatus to be brought
up to the mansion before dinner, Burrel sallied forth as soon as he
was dressed, and took his way towards the park gate. He paused upon
the bridge, however, and for a moment gazed up the long open space of
park lawn, broken by old elms and oaks, with the stream flowing calmly
on in the midst, and the swans dipping quietly into its waters, and
the whole, in the soft morning sunshine, bearing an air of peace, with
which even the gray building at the end of the vista harmonized full
well.

With what other thoughts there might be in Burrel's bosom--and there
were a good many different threads that ran across the web in various
directions--we will have nothing to do here, but will follow the one
continuous line which we began to trace before, and only consider the
psychological phenomena that were passing in his heart, as far as they
related to Blanche Delaware. That Burrel had thought of her a great
deal since last he saw her, there can be no doubt; and he had thought
of his own situation too, and what he was about, with a degree of
human perversity that was quite extraordinary in a hero of romance. As
the beginnings of love must always be imaginative, and as Burrel had
got into a bad habit of laughing at most things under the sun, by
feeling that few were worth considering seriously--from the effects of
which bad habit, be it remarked, he himself, his own mind and
peculiarities, were not at all exempt--as a consequence of all this,
he had chosen, in the present case, to image the predicament in which
he stood to his own fancy, under a thousand different forms, most of
them, indeed, ludicrous or trivial. He had been now the moth
fluttering round the light--now the trout rising to the hook--but,
more frequently still, he had painted himself to himself, as the fly
upon the edge of a plate of honey, tasting and retasting the tenacious
sweets till his feet become glued to the place, and he is forced to
remain and die amidst the plundered stores of the bee. There are
several great uses in thus learning to laugh at ourselves. In the
first place, we know all that the world--the good-natured world--may,
can, might, could, would, should, or ought to say of us. In the next,
we can flatter ourselves that we have looked at the most disagreeable,
that is to say, the sneering side of things; and lastly--the story of
galloping across the swamp, comes over again, and we get over a great
deal of ground easily, which it would not do to stay and examine
seriously.

Whether it was from any or all of these motives that Burrel acted,
or whether it was a mere affair of habit, does not much matter; for
when he set out on that morning to breakfast at Emberton Park, and
looked up the calm expanse towards the dwelling Blanche Delaware
inhabited--when he entered the old gates, and strolled leisurely up
amongst the shady trees--when he thought of how fair and how gentle
she was--and when he felt conscious that he was only walking up
those paths the first time out of many that fate, or love, destined
him to tread them--he perceived that the matter was somewhat more
serious--that it was too weighty to be raised upon the wings of a
light laugh, or rolled about by an idle sneer.

There was something startling in the sensation; and he felt that
where the happiness of the whole of that space out of eternity, which
we are destined to pass amidst the warm relationships of earth, is
concerned, the matter is grave when rightly considered, if not solemn.
But then, as he went on thinking--even though the morning, pouring
through the dim old trees, had something serious in its very gray
tranquillity--yet the object that connected itself with every idea,
the sweet form, the bright sunshiny smile of Blanche Delaware, came
flitting across his dreams, and cast a light from itself over the
whole future prospect. Then would Burrel look around him, and weave
many a fairy project of conferring happiness; and he would twine, in
fancy, many a jewel and a wreath to bind the fair brows of the fair
girl he thought of, and would lead her through scenes of splendour,
and of beauty, and of joy, to mansions of domestic happiness and
bowers of tranquil repose.

Thus went it on, till at length he woke up at the door of the
dwelling-house, and found himself as great an enthusiast at heart as
ever lived and loved. Ascending the steps from the terrace, he rang
the large bell, which was answered in a moment by the appearance of an
honest-faced country servant, who was the only male domestic in a
house which, had it been all inhabited, would have required a dozen at
least. A little to the man's surprise, Burrel, who was still thinking
of something else, and whose heart beat more than he thought proper,
walked directly forward to the door of the library, and was raising
his hand to open it too, when, recollecting himself, he paused, and
suffered the servant to announce him. His hand was cordially shaken by
Captain Delaware, almost as he entered; and there was a glow of
pleasure on the face of the young sailor, not only because he was
really glad to see a man whom he personally liked, but that what he
looked upon as a reproach to the hospitality of their house was wiped
away.

Sir Sidney Delaware was at the further end of the room, which was well
furnished--for books are always furniture--and they were many and
choice. He, too, immediately rose, and advanced to welcome his guest
most cordially; for the service that Burrel had rendered his child had
completely opened his heart; and, when it was once opened, there was
room enough within, though the door had been somewhat narrowed, in
order to shut out the cold air of the world.

Burrel's eyes ran round the library, but Blanche Delaware was not
there; and though he would have probably laughed, had any one called
him a modest man, yet he found that he could not enquire after her
with so easy an air as he might have done two or three days before,
and therefore he did not enquire after her at all, expecting every
instant to see her appear. He felt uncomfortable, however, when her
father at length proposed that they should go to the breakfast-room;
and he asked himself whether she could be absent from home.

Burrel's mind was put at ease the moment after; for, on passing
forward to the little breakfast-room--to which he seemed to find his
way instinctively, without his host having to say, "Turn here" or
"turn there!"--the first object that presented itself was Blanche
Delaware, on hospitable thoughts intent, making the tea, and--as
probably Eve was the most beautiful creature ever created--looking as
like Eve as possible.

But let us pause one moment, and expatiate upon an English
breakfast-room. There is nothing like it in all the world besides. It
is an emanation from the morning-heart of Englishmen.--It is a type of
the character of the people. Good Heaven! when one comes down on a
fine autumn morning, and finds the snowy table-cloth, the steaming urn,
the clean polished furniture, the simple meal, and all the implements
for dispensing it, shining in the morning sunshine, as if the Goddess
of Tidiness had burnished them; together with a rich English landscape
looking in at the windows, and, round the table, half a dozen smiling
faces, and fair forms, all arrayed in that undeviating neatness which
is also purely English, how the heart is opened to all that is good,
and kindly, and social--how it is strengthened, and fortified, and
guarded against the cares and labours and ills of the ensuing day!

Blanche looked up as Burrel entered, and there were one or two slight
circumstances which might have made him believe that his presence was
not unpleasant to her, had he been in a mood to remark any thing but
the simple fact of her being there. There was the same fitful blush,
the same sparkle of the eyes, that would not be repressed, the same
sweet smile, as he gave her the morning's greeting, which he had seen
separately before; but, what was more to the purpose, she withdrew the
tea-pot before she remembered to stop the urn, spilt the water on the
table-cloth, and got into some confusion both at her embarrassment and
at its cause. Captain Delaware smiled; and Blanche, though she knew
that her brother was not very, very learned in woman's heart,
attributed more meaning to his smile than it deserved, and would have
been more embarrassed still, had there not been a degree of warmth,
and a subdued tenderness in Burrel's manner, that was very consoling.
Now, had Blanche Delaware laid a systematic design against Burrel's
heart, and had she endeavoured to make herself appear the very wife
suited to him, from every thing she had seen of his character, she
would have taken great care not to let the urn deluge the table-cloth,
and would have believed her whole plan ruined for ever, if she had
done so; for Burrel had certainly, at Mrs. Darlington's, affected a
sort of fastidiousness--altogether in jest, but done seriously enough
to deceive--which would have rendered such a little accident fatal.
But Blanche Delaware had not the slightest idea of such a design in
the world. Burrel, it is true, was the handsomest man in person, and
the most elegant man in manners, that she had ever met with. His
character she had heard from Dr. Wilton--one she was accustomed to
reverence. His conversation had pleased, amused, and fascinated her.
At the risk of his own life he had carried her close to his heart,
through the midst of a tremendous fire. He had saved her life, and, in
the enthusiasm of doing so, had called her "Dear girl!" and had
perhaps pressed her a little closer to his bosom, when he found that
they were safe. Of the last particular, however, she was not quite
sure; but so much does the heart of man expand to those we protect and
save, that, even if he did, it was quite natural. All this had given
her different feelings towards Burrel, from those that she experienced
towards any other man; and though she kept a tight rein upon
imagination, and would not even suffer the sweet folly of
castle-building to enter her heart in this instance, yet she felt
sufficiently agitated and pleased by his presence, to become alarmed
at her own sensations, and to feel unwittingly consoled by the marked
difference between his manner to herself, and to others. She was
therefore vexed at the little accident it is true, but she was vexed
solely because she thought it might betray more agitation than she
believed that she felt; not because she feared, by a trifle, to lose a
heart for which she had set no traps, and of whose possession she was
determined not to dream at all.

So much for nothings! But as nothings are the small casters on which
the great machine of the world goes lumbering along, one may pause to
remark them for a moment, without a fault.--But now to more serious
matters. Burrel soon recovered that degree of ease which he had never
lost in the eyes of any other person, although he felt the loss
himself, and the breakfast past over in that sort of light and varied
conversation, which allows all to shine in turn who are capable of
shining.

It was about the time of some serious disturbances in France; and
those events naturally suggested themselves, at least to the three
gentlemen, as the most interesting topic of the day.

"What think you then, Mr. Burrel," demanded Sir Sidney Delaware, "of
La ---- coming forth in his old age to renew the scenes which, in his
youth, he first excited, and then lamented?"

"The great misfortune is," replied Burrel, "that his name should be
able to do so much, when he himself is unable to do any thing."

"You mean that he is in his dotage," said Captain Delaware. "Is it not
so?"

"I mean merely," replied Burrel, "that he is in that state of mental
decrepitude where the plaudits of a mob of any kind, either of porters
or peers, would make him commit any folly for the brief moment of
popularity. With poor old La ---- it is only now the fag-end of the
great weakness of his life, vanity--that sort of gluttonous vanity,
that can gorge upon the offal of base and ignorant applause."

"Ay, there lies the fault," replied Sir Sidney Delaware. "The man who
seeks the applause of the good, the wise, and the generous, is next in
honourable ambition to him who seeks the approbation of his God; but
he whose depraved appetite finds food in the gratulating shout of an
assemblage of the ignorant, the base, and the vicious--like--like--I
could mention many, but I will not--he, however, who does so, is a
moral swine, and only swills the filth of the public kennel in another
sense."

"Papa, papa!" cried Blanche Delaware. "In pity, let me finish
breakfast before you indulge in such figures of rhetoric. William, in
mercy change the subject! Cannot you tell us some of those pretty
stories about Sicily and its beloved _Mongibeddo_ with which you
charmed my ears when first you came from the Mediterranean?"

"Not I, indeed, Blanche!" replied her brother; "for, on the faith of
those stories, you had nearly persuaded my father to go abroad, which
would not suit my views of promotion at all."

"And did Miss Delaware really wish to visit foreign lands?" demanded
Burrel, "We should not easily have forgiven you."

"It was but to see all those things one dreams so much about!" replied
Blanche Delaware, "and to return to my own land after they were seen;
for I can assure you, I have neither hope nor wish, ever to find any
country half so fair in my eyes as our own England."

"That is both just and patriotic," answered Burrel; "more than
one-half of what we like in any and every land, is association, and
if, without one classic memory of the great past, you were to visit
Italy itself, half the marvels of that land of beauties would be lost.
The Colosseum would stand a cold brown ruin, cumbering the ground;
Rome, a dull heap of ill-assorted buildings; the Capitol a molehill;
and the Tiber a ditch. But under the magic wand of association, every
thing becomes beautiful. It is not alone the memories of one age or of
one great epoch that rise up to people Italy with majestic things; but
all the acts of glory and of majesty that thronged two thousand years,
before the eye of fancy, walk in grand procession through the land,
and hang a wreath of laurels on each cold ruin as they pass. Yet it is
all association; and where can we find such associations as those
connected with our native land?"

The question was tolerably general, but the tone and the manner were
to Blanche Delaware; and she replied, "It would be difficult, I am
afraid, to raise up for any country such as those you have conjured up
for Italy; but still I should never be afraid of forgetting England.
It is where I was born," she added, thinking over all her reasons for
loving it, and looking down at the pattern on the table-cloth, as she
counted them one by one; "I have spent in it so many happy hours and
happy days. Every thing in it is connected with some pleasant thought
or some dear memory; and the associations, though not so grand, would
be more sweet--though not so vast, would be more individual--would not
perhaps waken any very romantic feelings, but would come more home to
my own heart."

Burrel answered nothing; but when she raised her eyes, which had been
cast down while she spoke, they found his fixed upon her; and she felt
from that moment that she was beloved.

Blanche Delaware turned very pale, though the consciousness was any
thing but painful. It was so oppressive, however, that the agitation
made her feel faint; but her brother's voice recalled her to herself.

"Well spoken, my dear little patriot sister!" he said; "but if you had
been a sailor, like your brother, you would have added, that England
is not wanting in associations of glory and freedom, and noble actions
and noble endeavours; and in this view, the associations connected
with our native land are more extended than those of any other
country; for in whatever corner of the world an Englishman may be,
when he catches but a glimpse of the salt sea, the idea of the glory
of his native land rushes up upon his mind, and he sees, waving before
the eye of fancy, the flag that 'for a thousand years, has stood the
battle and the breeze.'"

Burrel smiled; but there was no touch of a sneer in it. "The song from
which you quote," he said, "must have been written surely under such
enthusiasm as that with which you now speak. I know scarcely so
spirit-stirring a composition in the English language. Indeed, all
Campbell's smaller poems are full of the same _vivida vis animi_."

"And yet," said Sir Sidney Delaware, "you, as well as I, must have
heard fools and jolterheads say, that Campbell is no poet, because now
and then, in his longer pieces, when he gets tired of the mere
mechanism, he suffers a verse or two to become tame--out of pure
idleness I have no doubt."

"Those who say he is no poet, do not know what poetry is," replied
Burrel, somewhat eagerly, "Scattered through every one of his poems
there are beauties of the first order; and almost all of his smaller
pieces stand perfectly alone in poetry. He has contrived sometimes to
compress into four or five of the very shortest lines that can be
produced, more than nine poets out of ten could cram into a long
Spenserian stanza with a thundering Alexandrine at the end."

"Do you know Mr. Campbell personally?" asked Miss Delaware.

"I do," answered Burrel laughing; "but do not suppose my praise of him
is exaggerated from personal friendship. On the contrary, I am bound,
by all the laws and usages of the world in general, to hate him
cordially."

"Indeed! and why so?" demanded Blanche, half afraid that she had
touched upon some delicate subject.

"Simply because we differ on politics," answered Burrel. "Can there be
a more mortal offence given or received?"

"As we are speaking of poets, however," continued Miss Delaware, "I
will ask you one more question, Mr. Burrel--Do you know Wordsworth?"

"I am not so fortunate," answered Burrel; "for, though we should as
certainly differ as we met, upon nine points out of ten, yet I should
much like to know him."

"Then you know and esteem his works, of course?" said Miss Delaware.

"I know them well," replied Burrel; "but I do not like them so much as
you do."

"Nay, nay!" said Blanche Delaware. "I have said nothing in their
favour. What makes you believe I admire them more than yourself?"

"Simply because every body of taste must esteem them highly," replied
Burrel; "and women who do esteem them, will always esteem them more
than men can do. A woman's heart and mind, Miss Delaware, by the
comparative freshness which it retains more or less through life, can
appreciate the gentle, the sweet, and the simple, better than a man's;
and thus, while the mightier and more majestic beauties of
Wordsworth's muse affect your sex equally with ours, the softer and
finer shades of feeling--the touches of artless nature and simplicity,
which appear almost weak to us, have all their full effect to you."

"But if you own that, and feel that," said Blanche Delaware, "why
cannot you admire the same beauties?"

"For this reason," replied Burrel, "man's mental taste, like his
corporeal power of tasting, gets corrupted, or rather paralyzed, in
his progress through the world, by the various stimulants he applies
to it. He drinks his bottle of strong and heady wine, which gradually
loses its effect, and he takes more, till at length nothing will
satisfy him but cayenne pepper."

"But if he appreciates gentler pleasures," said Captain Delaware, "he
must be able in some degree to enjoy them."

"Of course," replied Burrel, "there are moments when the cool and
pleasant juice of a peach, or the simple refreshment of a glass of
lemonade, will be delightful; and in such moments it is, that he feels
he has stimulated away a sense, and a delightful one. Thus with
poetry, and literature in general, the mind, by reading a great many
things it would be better without, loses its relish for every thing
that does not excite and heat the imagination--which is neither more
nor less than the mental palate;--and though there are moments when
the heart, softened and at ease, finds joys in all the sweet
simplicity which would have charmed it for ever in an unsophisticated
state, yet still it returns to cayenne pepper, and only remembers the
other feelings, as of pleasures lost for ever. With regard to
Wordsworth's poetry, perhaps no one ever did him more injustice than I
did once. With a very superficial knowledge of his works, I fancied
that I despised them all; and it was only from being bored about them
by his admirers, that I determined to read them every line, that I
might hate them with the more accuracy."

Blanche Delaware smiled, and her father spoke, perhaps, the feelings
of both. "We have found you out, Mr. Burrel," he said; "and understand
your turn for satirizing yourself."

"I am not doing so now, I can assure you," replied Burrel. "What I
state is exactly the fact. I sat down to read Wordsworth's works, with
a determination to dislike them, and I succeeded in one or two poems,
which have been cried up to the skies; but, as I went on, I found so
often a majestic spirit of poetical philosophy, clothing itself in the
full sublime of simplicity, that I felt reproved and abashed, and I
read again with a better design. In doing so, though I still felt that
there was much amidst all the splendour that I could neither like nor
admire, yet I perceived how and why others might, and would, find
great beauties and infinite sweetness in that which palled upon my
taste; and I perceived, also, that the fault lay in me far more than
in the poetry. The beauties I felt more than ever, and some of the
smaller pieces, I am convinced, will live for ages, with the works of
Shakspeare and Milton."

"They will, indeed," said Sir Sidney Delaware, "as long as there is
taste in man. Nevertheless, the poet--who is perhaps as great a
philosopher, too, as ever lived--has sacrificed, like many
philosophers, an immense gift of genius to a false hypothesis in
regard to his art; and has consequently systematically poured forth
more trash than perhaps any man living. His poems, collected, always
put me in mind of an account I have somewhere read of the diamond
mines of Golconda, where inestimable jewels were found mingled with
masses of soft mud. But you have long done breakfast, Mr. Burrel.
Come, Blanche, I am going to take Mr. Burrel to the terrace, and
descant most dully on all the antiquities of the house. Let us have
your company, my love; for we shall meet with so many old things, it
may be as well to have something young to relieve them!"

It required but a short space of time to array Blanche Delaware for
the walk round the terrace that her father proposed. In less than a
minute she came down in the same identical cottage bonnet--the ugliest
of all things--in which Burrel had first beheld her with her brother;
but, strange to say, although on that occasion he had only thought her
a pretty country girl, so changed were now all his feelings--so many
beauties had he marked which then lay hid, that, as she descended with
a smiling and happy face to join them at the door of the hall, he
thought her the loveliest creature that he had ever beheld in any
climate, or at any time.

The whole party sallied forth; and as people who like each other, and
whose ideas are not commonplace, can make an agreeable conversation
out of any thing, the walk round the old house, and the investigation
of every little turn and corner of the building, passed over most
pleasantly to all, although Blanche and her brother knew not only
every stone in the edifice, but every word almost that could be said
upon them. They were accustomed, however, to look upon their father
with so much affection and reverence; and the misfortunes under which
he laboured, had mingled so much tenderness with their love, that "an
oft told tale" from his lips lost its tediousness, being listened to,
by the ears of deep regard. Burrel, too, was all attention; and, while
Sir Sidney Delaware descanted learnedly on the buttery, and the wet
and dry larder, and the priors parlour, and the scriptorium, and
pointed out the obtuse Gothic arches described from four centres,
which characterize the architecture of Henry VIII., he filled up all
the pauses with some new and original observation on the same theme;
and though certainly not so learned on the subject as Sir Sidney
himself, yet he showed that, at all events, he possessed sufficient
information to feel an interest therein, and to furnish easily the
matter for more erudite rejoinder.

By the time the examination of the house itself was over, however, Sir
Sidney Delaware felt fatigued. "I must leave Blanche and William, Mr.
Burrel," he said, "to show you some of the traces of those antique
times which we have just been talking of, that are scattered through
the park, particularly on the side farthest from the town. I myself
think them more interesting even than the house itself, and wish I
could go with you; but I am somewhat tired, and must deny myself the
pleasure."

Burrel assured him that he would take nothing as a worse compliment
than his putting himself to any trouble about him; and, perhaps not
unwillingly, set out accompanied only by Blanche and her brother. It
would have been as dangerous a walk as ever was taken, had he not been
in love already. There was sunshine over all the world, and the air
was soft and calm. Their way led through the deep high groves and
wilder park scenery that lay at the back of the mansion, now winding
in amongst hills and dells covered with rich short grass, now
wandering on by the bank of the stream, on whose bosom the gay-coated
kingfishers and the dark water-hens were skimming and diving in
unmolested security. In the open parts, the old hawthorns perched
themselves on the knolls, wreathing their fantastic limbs in groups of
two or three; and every now and then a decaying oak of gigantic girth,
but whose head had bowed to time, shot out its long lateral branches
across the water, over which it had bent for a thousand years.

The whole party were of the class of people who have eyes--as that
delightful little book the Evenings at Home has it--and at present,
though there were busy thoughts in the bosoms, at least of two of
those present, yet perhaps they strove the more to turn their
conversation to external things, from the consciousness of the
feelings passing within. Those feelings, however, had their effect, as
they ever must have, even when the topics spoken of are the most
indifferent. They gave life, and spirit, and brightness to every
thing.

Blanche Delaware, hanging on the arm of her brother, and yielding to
the influence of the smiles that were upon the face of nature, gave
full way to her thoughts of external things as they arose; and,
together with spirits bright and playful, but never what may be called
_high_--with an imagination warm and brilliant, never wild--there
shone out a heart, that Burrel saw was well fitted to understand, and
to appreciate that fund of deeper feelings, that spring of enthusiasm,
tempered a little by judgment, and ennobled by a high moral sense,
which he concealed--perhaps weakly--from a world that he despised.

He felt at every step that the moments near her were almost too
delightful; and, before he had got to the end of that walk, he had
reached the point where love begins to grow terrified at its own
intensity, lest the object should be lost on which the mighty stake of
happiness is cast for ever.

Having proceeded thus far--which, by the way, is no small length; for
the great difficulty, as Burrel found it, was to place himself fairly
on a footing of friendship with Sir Sidney Delaware's family--we must
unwillingly abandon the expatiative; and, having more than enough to
do, leave the party on their walk, and turn to characters as
necessary, but less interesting.



CHAPTER IX.


In the house of Lord Ashborough--which is situated in Grosvenor
Square, fronting the south--there is a large room, which in form would
be a parallelogram, did not one of the shorter sides--which, being
turned to the north, looks out upon the little rood of garden,
attached to the dwelling--bow out into the form of a bay window. The
room is lofty, and, as near as possible, twenty-eight feet in length
by twenty-four in breadth. Book-cases, well stored with tomes in
lettered calf, cover the walls, and a carpet, in which the foot sinks,
is spread over the floor. Three large tables occupy different parts of
the room. Two covered with books and prints lie open to the world in
general, but the third, on which stand inkstands and implements for
writing, shows underneath, in the carved lines of the highly polished
British oak, many a locked drawer. Each chair, so fashioned that
uneasy must be the back that would not there find rest, rolls smoothly
on noiseless casters, and the thick walls, the double doors, and
bookcases, all combine to prevent any sound from within being caught
by the most prying ear without, or any noise from without being heard
by those within, except when some devil of a cart runs away in Duke
Street, and goes clattering up that accursed back street behind.

Such were the internal arrangements and appearance of the library at
Lord Ashborough's, on a morning in September of the same year, one
thousand eight hundred and something, of which we have been hitherto
speaking. The morning was fine and clear; and the sun, who takes the
liberty of looking into every place without asking permission of any
one, was shining strongly into the little rood of garden behind the
house. The languishing plants and shrubs that had been stuffed into
that small space, dusty and dry with the progress of a hot summer, and
speckled all over with small grains of soot--the morning benediction
showered down upon them from the neighbouring chimneys--no doubt
wished that the sun would let them alone; and, as through an open
passage-door they caught a sight of the conservatory filled with rich
exotics, all watered and aired with scrupulous care, one of the poor
brown lilacs might be heard grumbling to a stunted gray laburnum about
the shameful partiality of the English for foreigners and strangers.

About eleven o'clock Lord Ashborough himself entered the room; and
before any one else comes in to disturb us, we may as well sit down,
and take a full-length picture of him. He was a man of about
fifty-nine or sixty, tall and well-proportioned, though somewhat thin.
His face was fine, but pale, and there was a great deal of intellect
expressed on his broad brow and forehead, which looked higher than it
really was, from being perfectly bald as far down as the sutures of
the temples. From that point some thin dark hair, grizzled with gray,
spread down, and met his whiskers, which were of the same hue, and cut
square off, about the middle of his cheeks. His eyes were dark blue
and fine, but somewhat stern, if not fierce, and in the space between
his eyebrows there was a deep wrinkle, in which a finger might have
been laid without filling up the cavity; the eyebrows themselves,
though not very long, were overhanging; the nose was well-formed and
straight, though a little too long perhaps; but his mouth was
beautifully shaped, and would have appeared the best feature in his
face, had he not frequently twisted it in a very unbecoming manner, by
gnawing his nether lip. His chin was round, and rather prominent; and
his hand small, delicate, and almost feminine.

It is all nonsense that a man's dress signifies nothing. It is--if he
takes any pains about it; and if he takes none, it comes to the same
thing--It is the habitual expression of his mind or his mood; and in
the little shades of difference, which may exist with the most perfect
adherence to fashion, you will find a language much easier read than
any of those on the Rosetta stone. Lord Ashborough was dressed more
like a young than an old man, though without any extravagance. His
coat was of dark green, covering a double-breasted waistcoat, of some
harmonizing colour, while his long thin, rather tight-fitting
trowsers, displayed a well-formed leg, and were met by a neat and
highly polished boot. Round his neck he wore a black handkerchief,
exposing the smallest possible particle of white collar between his
cheek and the silk; and on one of his fingers was a single seal ring.
Taking him altogether he was a very good-looking man, rather like the
late Mr. Canning, but with a much less noble expression of
countenance.

Walking forward to the table, which we have noted as being well
supplied with locks, Lord Ashborough opened one of the drawers, and,
having rang the bell, sat down and took out some papers. The door
opened; a servant appeared;--"Send in Mr. Tims!" said Lord Ashborough,
and the man glided out. After a short pause, another person appeared,
but of very different form and appearance from the servant; and
therefore we must look at him more closely. He was a short stout
bustling-looking little man, of about thirty-eight or forty, perhaps
more, habited in black, rather white at the seams and edges. His
countenance was originally full and broad; but the habit of thrusting
his nose through small and intricate affairs, had sharpened that
feature considerably; and the small black eyes that backed it,
together with several red blotches, one of which had settled itself
for life upon the tip of the eminence, did not diminish the prying and
intrusive expression of his countenance. There was impudence, too, and
cunning, written in very legible characters upon his face; but we must
leave the rest to show itself as we go on.

As Mr. Peter Tims, of Clement's Inn, attorney-at-law--for such was the
respectable individual of whom we now treat--entered the library of
Lord Ashborough, he turned round and carefully closed the double door,
and then, with noiseless step, proceeded through the room till he
brought himself in face of his patron. He then made a low bow--it
would have been _Cow Tow_ if it had been desired--and then advanced
another step, and made another bow.

"Sit down, sit down, Mr. Tims!" said Lord Ashborough, without raising
his eyes, which were running over a paper he had taken from the
drawer. "Sit down, sit down, I say!"

Mr. Tims did sit down, and then, drawing forth, some papers from a
blue bag which he held in his hand, he began quietly to put them in
order, while Lord Ashborough read on.

After a minute or two, however, his lordship ceased, saying, "Now, Mr.
Tims, have you brought the annuity deed?"

"Here it is, my lord!" replied the lawyer; "and I have examined it
again most carefully. There is not a chink for a fly to break through.
There is not a word about redemption from beginning to end. The money
must be paid for the term of your lordship's natural life."

Lord Ashborough paused, and gnawed his lip for a moment or two. "Do
you know, Mr. Tims," he said at length, "I have some idea of
permitting the redemption? I am afraid we have made a mistake in
refusing it."

Mr. Tims was never astonished at any thing that a great man--_i. e_. a
rich man--did or said, unless he perceived that it was intended to
astonish him, and then he was very much astonished indeed, as in duty
bound. It was wonderful, too, with what facility he could agree in
every thing a rich man said, and exclaim, "Very like an ousel!" as
dexterously as Polonious, or a sick-nurse, though he had been
declaring the same question, "very like a whale!" the moment before.
Nor was he ever at a loss for reasons in support of the new opinion
implanted by his patrons. In short he seemed to have in his head, all
ticketed and ready for use, a store of arguments, moral, legal, and
philosophical, in favour of every thing that could be done, said, or
thought, by the wealthy or the powerful. In the present instance, he
saw that Lord Ashborough put the matter as one not quite decided in
his own mind; but he saw also that his mind had such a leaning to the
new view of the matter, as would make him very much obliged to any
one, who would push it over to that side altogether.

"I think your lordship is quite right," replied Mr. Tims. "You had
every right to refuse to redeem if you thought fit; but, at the same
time, you can always permit the redemption if you like; and it might
indeed look more generous, though, as I said before, you had every
right to refuse. Yet perhaps, after all, my lord"----

"Tush! Do not after all me, sir," cried Lord Ashborough, with some
degree of impatience, which led Mr. Tims to suspect that there was
some latent motive for this change of opinion, which his lordship felt
a difficulty in explaining: and which he, Mr. Tims, resolved at a
proper time to extract by the most delicate process he could devise.
"The means, sir," added Lord Ashborough; "the means are the things to
be attended to, not the pitiful balancing of one perhaps against
another."

"Oh, my lord! the means are very easy," replied Tims, rubbing his
hands. "You have nothing to do but to send word down that your
lordship is ready to accept, and any one will advance the means to
Sir"----

"Pshaw!" again interrupted Lord Ashborough. "You do not understand me,
and go blundering on;" and, rising from his chair, the peer walked two
or three times up and down the room, gnawing his lip, and bending his
eyes upon the ground. "There!" he cried at length, speaking with
abrupt rudeness. "There! The matter requires consideration--take up
your papers, sir, and begone! I will send for you when I want you."

Mr. Tims ventured not a word, for he saw that his patron had made
himself angry with the attempt to arrange something in his own mind
which would not be arranged; and taking up his papers, one by one as
slowly as he decently could, he deposited them in their blue bag, and
then stole quietly towards the door. Lord Ashborough was still walking
up and down, and he suffered him to pass the inner door without taking
any notice; but, as he was pushing open the red baize door beyond, the
nobleman's voice was heard exclaiming, "Stay, stay! Mr. Tims come
here!" The lawyer glided quietly back into the room, where Lord
Ashborough was still standing in the middle of the floor, gazing on
the beautiful and instructive spots on the Turkey carpet. His reverie,
however, was over in a moment, and he again pointed to the chair which
the lawyer had before occupied, bidding him sit down, while he himself
took possession of the seat on the other side of the table; and,
leaning his elbow on the oak, and his cheek upon his hand, he went on
in the attitude and manner of one who is beginning a long
conversation. The commencement, however, was precisely similar to the
former one, which had proved so short. "Do you know, Mr. Tims," he
said, "I have some idea of permitting the redemption? I am afraid that
we have made a mistake in refusing it;" but then he added, a moment
after, "--for the particular purpose I propose."

Mr. Tims was as silent as a mouse, for he saw that he was near
dangerous ground; and at that moment six-and-eightpence would hardly
have induced him to say a word--at least if it went farther than,
"Exactly so, my lord!"

The matter was still a difficult one for Lord Ashborough to get over;
for it is wonderful how easily men can persuade themselves, that the
evil they wish to commit, is right; and yet how troublesome they find
even the attempt to persuade another, that it is so, although they
know him to be as unscrupulous a personage as ever lived or died
unhung. Now Lord Ashborough himself had no very high idea of the rigid
morality of his friend Mr. Tims's principles, and well knew that his
interest would induce him to do any thing on earth; and yet, strange
to say, that though Lord Ashborough only desired to indulge a
gentlemanlike passion, which, under very slight modifications, or
rather disguises, is considered honourable, and is patronised by all
sorts of people, yet he did not at all like to display, even to the
eyes of Mr. Tims, the real motive that was now influencing him. As it
was necessary, however, to do so to some one, and he knew that he
could not do so to any one whose virtue was less ferocious than that
of Mr. Tims, he drew his clenched fist, on which his cheek was
resting, half over his mouth, and went on.

"The fact is, you must know, Mr. Tims," he said, "this Sir Sidney
Delaware is my first cousin--but you knew that before.--Well, we were
never very great friends, though he and my brother were; and at
college it used to be his pleasure to thwart many of my views and
purposes. There is not, perhaps, a prouder man living than he is, and
that intolerable pride, added to his insolent sarcasms, kept us
greatly asunder in our youth, and therefore you see he has really no
claim upon my friendship or affection in this business."

"None in the world! None in the world!" cried Tims. "Indeed, all I
wonder at is, that your lordship does not use the power you have to
annoy him!"

Mr. Tims harped aright, and it is inexpressible what a relief Lord
Ashborough felt--one of the proudest men in Europe, by the way--at
finding that the little, contemptible, despised lawyer, whom he looked
upon, on ordinary occasions, as the dust under his feet, had, in the
present instance, got the right end of a clue, that he was ashamed or
afraid to unwind himself. Besides, the way he put it, gave Lord
Ashborough an opportunity of _chucking_ fine and generous, as the
Westminster fellows have it; and he immediately replied--"No, sir, no!
I never had any wish to annoy him. My only wish has been to lower that
pride, which is ruinous to himself, and insulting to others; and I
should not have even pursued that wish so far, had it not been that a
circumstance happened which called us into immediate collision."

On finding that simple personal hatred and revenge--feelings that
might have been stated in three words--were the real and sole motives
which Lord Ashborough found it so difficult to enunciate, Mr. Tims
chuckled--but mark me, I beg--it was not an open and barefaced
cachinnation--it was, on the contrary, one of those sweet internal
chuckles that gently shake the diaphragm and the parietes of the
abdomen, and cause even a gentle percussion of the ensiform cartilage,
without one muscle of the face vibrating in sympathy, or the slightest
spasm taking place in the trachea or epiglottis. There is the anatomy
of a suppressed chuckle for you! The discovery, however, was of more
service than in the simple production of such agreeable phenomena. Mr.
Tims perceiving the motive of his patron, perceived also the precise
road on which he was to lead, and instantly replied, "Whatever
circumstance called your lordship into competition with Sir Sidney
Delaware, must of course have been very advantageous to yourself, if
you chose to put forth your full powers. But that, let me be permitted
to say, is what I should suspect, from all that I have the honour of
knowing of your lordship's character, you would not do. For I am
convinced you have already shown more lenity than was very consistent
with your own interest, and perhaps more than was even beneficial to
the object;--but I humbly crave your Lordship's pardon for presuming
to"----

Lord Ashborough waved his hand, "Not at all, Mr. Tims! Not at all!" he
said, "Your intentions, I know, are good. But hear me. We came in
collision concerning the lady whom he afterwards married, and made a
well-bred beggar of. He had known her, and, it seems, obtained
promises from her before I became acquainted; and though a transitory
fancy for her took place in my own bosom,"--and Lord Ashborough turned
deadly pale,--"yet of course, whenever I heard of my cousins
arrangements with her, I withdrew my claims, without, as you say,
exerting power that I may flatter myself"----

He left the sentence unfinished, but he bowed his head proudly, which
finished it sufficiently, and Mr. Tims immediately chimed in, "Oh,
there can be no doubt--If your lordship had chosen--Who the deuce is
Sir Sidney Delaware, compared"----&c. &c. &c. &c.

"Well, I forgot the matter entirely," continued Lord Ashborough, in a
frank and easy tone, for it is wonderful how the lawyer's little
insignificances helped him on. "Well, I forgot the matter entirely."

"But you never married any one else," thought the lawyer, "and you
remember it now." All this was thought in the lowest possible tone, so
that Satan himself could hardly hear it, but Lord Ashborough went on.
"I never, indeed, remembered the business more, till, on lending the
money to his father, I found from a letter which the late man, let me
see that the present man, had not forgiven me some little progress I
had made in the lady's affection. He said--I recollect the words very
well--He said, that he could have borne his father borrowing the money
at any rate of interest from any person but myself, who had
endeavoured to supplant him--and all the rest that you can imagine.
Well, from that moment I determined to bow that man's pride, for his
own sake, as well as other people's. I thought I had done so pretty
well too; but, on my refusing to suffer the redemption--which no one
can doubt that I had a right to do--he wrote me that letter;" and his
lordship threw across the table, to his solicitor, the letter which he
had taken out of the drawer, just as the other entered. It was in the
form of a note, and couched in the following terms:--


"Sir Sidney Delaware acknowledges the receipt of Lord Ashborough's
letter, formally declining to accept the offer he made to redeem the
annuity chargeable upon the estate of Emberton. The motives, excuses,
or apologies--whichever Lord Ashborough chooses to designate the
sentences that conclude his letter--were totally unnecessary, as Sir
Sidney Delaware was too well acquainted with Lord Ashborough, in days
of old, not to appreciate fully the principles on which he acts at
present.

 "Emberton Park, 1_st September_, 18--."


"Infamous! brutal! heinous!" cried Mr. Tims. "What does your lordship
intend to do? I hope you will, without scruple, punish this man as he
deserves. I trust that, for his own sake, you will make him feel that
such ungrateful and malignant letters as that, are not to be written
with impunity--ungrateful I may well call them! for what cause could
your lordship have to write to him at all, except to soften the
disappointment you conceived he would feel?"

"You say very true, Mr. Tims," replied Lord Ashborough, with a benign
smile. "You say very true, indeed; and I do think myself, in justice
to society, bound to correct such insolence, though, perhaps, I may
not be inclined to carry the chastisement quite so far as yourself."

"Nothing could be too severe for such a man!" cried Mr. Tims, resolved
to give his lordship space enough to man[oe]uvre in, "Nothing could be
too severe!"

"Nay, nay, that is saying too much," said Lord Ashborough, "We will
neither hang him, Mr. Tims, nor burn him in the hand, if you please,"
and he smiled again at his own moderation.

"A small touch of imprisonment, however, would do him a world of
good," said Mr. Tims, feeling his ground--Lord Ashborough smiled
benignly a third time. "But the mischief is," continued the lawyer,
"he pays the annuity so regularly that it would be difficult to catch
him."

"That is the reason why I say we have done wrong in refusing to allow
the redemption," rejoined the peer. "Do you not think, Mr. Tims, some
accident might occur to stop the money which he was about to borrow
for the purpose of redeeming; and if we could but get him to give
bills payable at a certain day, we might have him arrested, in
default?"

The lawyer shook his head. "I am afraid, my lord, if you had permitted
the redemption, the money would have been ready to the minute," he
said. "My uncle, I hear, was to have raised it for him; and, as he was
to have had a good commission, it would have been prepared to the tick
of the clock."

"And was your uncle to have lent the money himself, sir?" demanded
Lord Ashborough, with a mysterious smile of scorn. "Did your uncle
propose to give the money out of his own strongbox?"

"No, my lord, no!" replied Tims, eagerly, "No, no! He would not do
that without much higher interest than he was likely to have got. Had
he been the person, of course your lordship might have commanded him;
but it was to be raised from some gentleman connected with Messrs.
Steelyard and Wilkinson--a very respectable law house, indeed!"

"Some gentleman connected with Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson!"
repeated Lord Ashborough, curling his haughty lip; "and who do you
suppose that gentleman is, but my own nephew Harry Beauchamp?"

The lawyer started off his chair with unaffected astonishment, the
expression of which was, however, instantly mastered, and down he sat
again, pondering, as fast as he could, the probable results that were
to be obtained from this very unexpected discovery. Some results he
certainly saw Lord Ashborough was prepared to deduce; and he knew that
his only plan was to wait the developement thereof, assisting as much
as in him lay, the parturition of his patron's designs. But Lord
Ashborough having spoken thus far, found very little difficulty in
proceeding.

"The simple fact is this, Mr. Tims," he said; "Harry Beauchamp, full
of all the wild enthusiasm--which would have ruined his father, if we
had not got him that governorship in which he died--to my certain
knowledge has gone down to Emberton, with the full determination of
assisting these people, of whom his father was so fond. I have reason
to think even, that the coming up of that young man, the son, was at
Henry's instigation, although they affected not to know each other,
and I am told carried their dissimulation so far as to pass each other
in the hall as strangers. At all events, they went down together in a
stage-coach, and are now beyond all doubt laying out their plans for
frustrating all my purposes."

"Shameful, indeed!" exclaimed Mr. Tims.

"On Harry's part," replied Lord Ashborough, affecting a tone of
candour and moderation; "on Harry's part it is but a piece of boyish
enthusiasm--a touch of his father's folly. I love the boy, who, as you
know, will succeed me--when it pleases Heaven," he added piously--"to
remove me from this life. I love the boy, and I do not choose to see
him spend his splendid fortune, which will make a noble addition to
the family estates, upon a set of mean and designing beggars; and I
wish at once to punish them for their low and cunning schemes, and to
save my nephew from their snares. Can we not, Mr. Tims, do you think,
hit upon some plan by which this may be effected?"

"Why, my lord," replied Mr. Tims, hesitating slightly, for he was
totally unprepared either for the intelligence he had received, or the
demand that followed it; "why, my lord, your lordship's views are as
kind and generous as usual; and doubtless--doubtless we may soon
devise some means by which your lordship's nephew may be extricated
from this little entanglement--but it will, of course, require
thought--though perhaps your lordship's clear and perspicuous mind may
have already devised some project. Indeed, I cannot doubt it," he
added, seeing a slight but well satisfied smile cross the features of
the noble earl. "Your lordship has so much of what Burke used to call
creative talent, that I doubt not you have already discovered the
fitting means, and only require an agent in your most devoted
servant."

"Something more, Mr. Tims, something more than a mere agent," replied
Lord Ashborough. "I require your legal advice. We must proceed
cautiously, and not suffer either zealous indignation, or regard for
my nephew, to lead us into any thing that is not quite lawful. A
slight scheme of the matter may, indeed, have suggested itself to my
mind, but I want you to consider it well, and legalize it for me, as
well as some of the details. Could we not, I say--could we not--it is
but a supposition you know, sir--could we not give notice to this Sir
Sidney Delaware, that we are willing to permit the redemption; and
even to give him time to pay the money, cancelling, in the mean time,
the annuity deed"----

"Not before you have got the amount!" exclaimed the lawyer, in
unutterable astonishment.

"Yes, sir, before I have got the amount," replied Lord Ashborough,
phlegmatically, "but not before I have got bills or notes of hand,
payable within a certain time, and with an expressed stipulation, that
unless those are duly paid, the annuity itself holds in full force."

"Ay; but if they be paid, my lord," cried Mr. Tims, "the annuity is at
an end; and then where is your lordship?"

"But cannot we find means to stop their being paid, Mr. Tims?" said
Lord Ashborough, fixing his eyes steadily upon the lawyer. "In all the
intricate chambers of your brain, I say, is there no effectual way you
can discover to stop the supplies upon which this Delaware may have
been led to reckon, and render him unable to pay the sum on the day
his bills fall due? Remember, sir, your uncle is the agent, as I am
led to believe, between this person and my nephew. Harry Beauchamp,
forsooth, has too fine notions of delicacy to offer the money in his
own person; but he is the man from whom the money is to come, and it
has been for some weeks lodged in the hands of Steelyard and
Wilkinson, his solicitors, awaiting the result--that is to say, the
whole of it except ten thousand pounds in my hands, which I have
promised to sell out for him to-morrow, and pay into their office. Are
there no means, sir, for stopping the money?"

"Plenty, plenty, my lord!" replied the lawyer. "The only difficulty
will be the choice of them. But, first, cannot your lordship refuse to
pay the ten thousand?"

"That will not do," answered the peer. "I know Harry well; and his
first act would be to sell out the necessary sum to supply the
deficiency. You must devise something else."

"Let us make the bills payable at Emberton, my lord," said the
attorney, "at the house of my uncle. Mr. Beauchamp must then either
come to town for the money, or send some one to receive it; and in
either case it may be staid."

"How so?" demanded Lord Ashborough. "If he come, the matter is
hopeless. He has sold out of the army too; so there is no chance of
his being called away there."

"Ay; but there is a little process at law going on against him, my
lord," replied the attorney, of which he knows nothing as yet. "Some
time ago, he threw the valet he had then, down stairs, head foremost,
for seducing the daughter of his landlady. The fellow has since
prosecuted him for assault, and served the process upon me, whom he
employed in the affair. I am not supposed to know where he is, so that
the matter may be easily suffered to go by default; and, one way or
another, we can contrive to get him arrested for a day or two, no
doubt--especially as it is all for his own good and salvation, I may
call it."

"Certainly, certainly!" answered Lord Ashborough. "I should feel no
scruple in doing so; for no one could doubt that I am actuated alone
by the desire of keeping him from injuring himself. But suppose he
sends, Mr. Tims?"

"Why, that were a great deal better still!" said the lawyer. "The only
person he could send would be his servant, Harding, who owes me the
place; and who, between you and I, my lord, might find it difficult to
keep me from transporting him to Botany Bay, if I chose it. He would
doubtless be easily prevailed upon to stop the money for a time, or
altogether, if it could be shown him that he could get clear off, and
the matter would be settled for ever."

There was a tone of familiarity growing upon the lawyer, as a natural
consequence of the edifying communion which he was holding with his
patron, that rather displeased and alarmed Lord Ashborough, and he
answered quickly, "You forget yourself, sir! Do you suppose that I
would instigate my nephew's servant to rob his master?"

Mr. Peter Tims had perhaps forgot himself for the moment; but he was
one of those men that never forget themselves long; and, as crouching
was as natural to him as to a spaniel, he was instantly again as full
of humility and submission as he had been, previous to the exposé
which had morally sunk Lord Ashborough to a level with Mr. Tims. "No,
my lord! No!" he exclaimed eagerly, "Far be it from me to dream for
one moment that your lordship would form such an idea. All I meant
was, that this servant might easily be induced to delay the delivery
of the money, on one pretext or another, till it be too late; and if
he abscond--which perchance he might do, for his notions concerning
property, either real or personal, are not very clearly defined--your
lordship could easily intend to make it good to Mr. Beauchamp."

"I do not know what you propose that I should easily _intend_ Mr.
Tims," replied Lord Ashborough; "but I know that it would not sound
particularly well if this man were to abscond with the money, and
there were found upon his person any authorization from me to delay
discharging his trust to his master."

"Oh, my lord, that difficulty would be easily removed!" answered Mr.
Tims. "The law is very careful not to impute evil motives where good
ones can be made apparent. It will be easy to write a letter to this
man--what one may call a fishing letter--to see whether he will do
what we wish, but stating precisely that your lordship's sole purpose
and view is to save your nephew from squandering his fortune in a weak
and unprofitable manner. We can keep a copy, properly authenticated:
then, should he abscond and be caught with the letter on him, your
lordship will be cleared; while if, on being taken, he attempt to
justify himself at your lordship's expense, the authenticated copy
will clear you still."

"That is not a bad plan," said Lord Ashborough, musing. "But what if he
draw for the money through your uncle, Mr. Tims? Do you think the old
man could be induced to detain the money, or to deny its arrival for a
day or two?"

"Why, I fear not, my lord," answered the other, shaking his head; "I
fear not--he was five-and-thirty years a lawyer, my lord, and he is
devilish cautious.--But I will tell you what I can do. I can direct
him to address all his letters, on London business, under cover to
your lordship, which will save postage--a great thing in his
opinion--and, as he holds a small share of my business still, I can
open all the answers. So that we will manage it some way."

Lord Ashborough paused and mused for several minutes, for though his
mind was comparatively at ease in having found his lawyer so eager and
zealous in his co-operation; yet a certain consciousness of the many
little lets and hindrances that occur in the execution of the best
laid schemes, made him still thoughtful and apprehensive. Did you ever
knit a stocking? No! nor I either--nor Lord Ashborough, I dare say,
either. Yet we all know, that in the thousand and one stitches of
which it is composed, if a single one be missed, down goes the whole
concatenation of loops, and the matter is just where it began, only
with a ravelled thread about your fingers and thumbs, which is neither
pleasant nor tidy. This consideration had some weight with the earl;
so, after thinking deeply for several minutes, he rejoined,--"The
matter seems clear enough, Mr. Tims, but I will put it to yourself
whether you can carry it through successfully or not--Hear me to an
end, sir--I will on no account agree to the redemption of the annuity,
if you are not certain of being able to bring about that which we
propose. So, do not undertake it unless you can do so. If you do
undertake it, the odds stand thus--You have five hundred pounds in
addition to your fees if you be successful, but, if you fail, you lose
my agency for ever."

"My lord," replied Tims, who was not a man to suppose that cunning
could ever fail. "I will undertake the business and the risk. But, of
course, your lordship must give me all your excellent advice, and your
powerful assistance. In the first place, you must allow me to bid my
uncle send all his letters, and direct all the answers to be sent
under cover to your lordship, and, in the next place, you must allow
me to write immediately to this man Harding in your name."

"Not without letting me see the letter!" exclaimed Lord Ashborough.
"But that of course; and if you succeed, the five hundred pounds are
yours."

"Your lordship is ever generous and kind," replied Peter Tims, "and I
will undertake to carry the matter through; but only"--and Mr.
Tims was honest for once in his life, from the fear of after
consequences--"but only I am afraid your lordship will not find the
result put this Sir Sidney Delaware so completely in your power as you
think."

"How so?" demanded Lord Ashborough, turning upon him almost fiercely.
"How so, sir? How so?"

"Why, my lord," replied Mr. Tims, in a low and humble tone, "even
suppose he is arrested, depend upon it, he will very easily find some
one to lend him the money on the Emberton estates, to take up the
bills he has given."

The earl's eye flashed, and the dark and bitter spirit in his heart
broke forth for the first time unrestrained. "Let me but have him in
prison!" he exclaimed, "Let me but have him once in prison, and I will
so complicate my claims upon his pitiful inheritance, and so wring his
proud heart with degradations, that the beggar who robbed me of my
bride, shall die as he has lived, in poverty and disappointment!" and
in the vehemence with which the long suppressed passion burst forth,
he struck his hand upon the table, till the ink-glasses danced in
their stand.

Mr. Tims could understand envy, hatred, and malice, and all
uncharitableness; but he was cowed by such vehemence as that into
which the bare thought of seeing his detested rival in prison, had
betrayed his noble patron. Feeling, too, that he himself was not at
all the sort of spirit to rule the whirlwind and direct the storm, he
said a few quiet words about preparing every thing, and waiting on his
lordship the next morning, and slunk away without more ado.



CHAPTER X.


This chapter shall be, I think, what that delightful wight, Washington
Irving, would call a Salmagundi, or as it should be, perhaps, a _Salmi
à la Gondi_; but having mentioned that name, Irving I dedicate this
book to you. It is long since we first met--long since we last
parted--and, it may be, long, long, ere we meet again. Nevertheless,
Heaven speed you, wherever you are, and send you forward on your
voyage, with a calm sea, and a swelling sail! In all the many that I
have known, and amongst the few that I have loved and esteemed, there
is not now a living man that can compete with you in that delightful
conversation, where the heart pours forth its tide; and where fancy
and feeling mingle together, and flow on in one ever sparkling stream.
The dim Atlantic, whose very name sounds like that of eternity, may
roll between us, till death close the eyes of one or the other; but
till the things of this world pass away, you shall not be forgotten.

Although we have now brought up the events in London nearly to the
same point as the events in the country, we must still leave Henry
Burrel strolling on through Emberton Park beside Blanche Delaware,
while we turn for a moment to his silent servant, who having, on the
same morning, walked with his usual slow and quiet step to the
post-office, brought home, and deposited upon his masters table, two
or three letters, after first gleaning every possible information that
their outside or their inside could furnish. He then proceeded to
inspect the contents of another epistle, which bore his own name and
superscription. The words therein written had a considerable effect
upon him, causing more twitches and contortions of the muscles of his
countenance, than was usually visible upon that still and patient
piece of furniture. The first expression was certainly full of
pleasure; but that soon relapsed into deep thought, and then a grave
shake of the head, and close setting of the lower jaw, might be
supposed to argue a negative determination. "No, no, Mr. Tims," he
muttered, "that wont do! If one could make sure of getting clear
off--well and good. But first, there is the chance of my not being
sent for the money--then you would take good care to have me closely
watched; and then, again, I do not know whether the chance here at
Emberton may not be worth ten of the other--and I may come in for my
share of the other too. No, no, Mr. Tims, it won't do!--so I will come
the conscientious upon you." And down he sat to indite an epistle to
Mr. Peter Tims, the agent of Lord Ashborough. It was written in one of
those fair, easy, but vacillating, running-hands, which bespeak a
peculiar and inherent gift or talent for committing forgery; and was
to the following effect:--


"Emberton, _September_, 18--

"Sir--Your honoured letter was duly received this morning; and I
hasten to reply, as in duty bound. I am very sure that such honourable
gentlemen as my lord the earl and yourself, would not undertake any
thing but upon good and reasonable grounds; but, hoping that you will
pardon my boldness in saying so much, yet I cannot imagine that I have
any other than a straightforward duty to perform--namely, when my
master sends me for any sum of money, or other valuable thing, to
hasten to give it up into his hands as soon as I have received it;
which I would certainly do, in case he should send me up to London,
although I do not think it probable he will. It is very true,
certainly, that I do think our notions of property are very confined
and wrong; and that no man should have at his disposal a
superabundance, while another man is wanting the necessaries or even
conveniences of life; and that, if things were equally distributed, a
better system must spontaneously arise. This much I have learned by
reading; and I heartily wish that the principles of regeneration,
which are at present in active existence amongst the operative
classes, may go on to complete a change of the old corrupt system.
Nevertheless, until such time as the intellect of the country in
general shall have worked such results, I can be doing no wrong in
following the laws and usages established; and shall, consequently,
abstain from acting upon the abstract principles of general utility,
until such time as the general welfare may require a physical
demonstration of popular opinion.

"In regard to certain passages of my past life, to which you are
pleased to refer; although I believe that I could perfectly justify
myself upon my own fixed principles for every thing that I have done
through life; yet I am sorry that any thing should have occurred to
make you for a moment doubt the integrity of a person you strongly
recommended to Mr. Beauchamp; and I am determined to do nothing that
shall confirm any evil opinion you may have unfortunately been led to
form, or to make my master regret having listened to the
recommendation which you formerly thought fit to give your very humble
and most obedient servant,
                             "Stephen Harding."


Having penned this delectable epistle, and read it over more than
once, with much genuine satisfaction at the skill with which he had
endeavoured to raise his own character, while rejecting the offers of
Mr. Tims, Harding sealed it up, and hastened to put it in the post. He
then sauntered slowly through the town; and having visited the widow's
cottage, and conversed for a few minutes with her son, he proceeded to
walk on in the same direction, which we have seen Burrel pursue upon a
former occasion, shortly after his first arrival at Emberton. The
purpose of the silent servant, however, was not to visit the old miser
of Ryebury in person; and, ere he had gone a quarter of a mile upon
the road, he was joined by the same bold vulgar personage who had,
during part of the journey, occupied a place in the stage-coach which
brought his master to Emberton.

They met evidently as old and familiar friends, and with that sort of
easy nonchalance which bespoke that their meeting was not unexpected.
The servant pursued his way, scarcely pausing to say the necessary
passwords of civility, and the other, turning onward upon the same
path, walked by his side, with his arms bent behind his back,
conversing, not exactly in an under voice, but rather in that
between-the-teeth sort of tone, which renders what is said more
difficult to be understood by any one not quite near, than even a
whisper.

The terms in which they spoke, also, were somewhat enigmatical, and
none, probably, but the initiated, could have discovered their views
or purposes by such terms as the following.

"I have just been thinking last night. Master Harding," said his new
companion, "that we had better get the other job done as soon as
possible. We are wasting time, I thinks, and it seems to me as how you
are growing something squeamish."

"You are a fool, Tony," replied Harding, civilly; "you are a fool for
thinking any thing of the kind. I'll tell you what, you may count
yourself extremely well off that you have fallen in with a man of
principle and education like myself, or you would have put your neck
in a noose long ago. You take no extended views of things; and,
instead of acting upon principle, which would always make you cautious
in regard to times and seasons, and means and methods, you go bolt on,
and would run your head into the stone pitcher, if I were not by to
pull you back by the heels."

"Well, I think you're a rum covey, now!" replied the other; and was
proceeding in the same strain, when he was stopped by his companion
exclaiming--"Hush, hush! Curse your slang, it will betray you as soon
as the mark of the hot iron would. Look here, now. I am no more
squeamish than you are. I always act upon principle; and as to the job
before us, considering the sum of general utility that is to be
gained, I see no objection to doing the matter completely--I mean,
making a finish of it. You understand? But where is the hurry? Let us
go cautiously to work, learn our ground, and get every thing
prepared.--I say, where's the hurry?"

"As to the matter of that," answered the other, "there mayn't be no
great hurry, to be sure. But we're both wasting our time somewhat;
and, besides, they are looking out sharp after that other job--you see
they have digged for the plate like mad--so that there is no use
staying longer nor necessary, you know?"

"Don't be afraid!" answered Harding, coolly, "They can make nothing of
that. Besides, look here, Smithson; if we wait four or five days
longer, there will be five-and-twenty thousand pounds down from
London."

"Whew!" whistled Mr. Anthony Smithson, laying one finger on the side
of his nose. "That is a go! But are you sure?"

"I never say any thing without being sure," answered Harding, with
laconic pomposity. "So make yourself easy on that score. I say there
will be five-and-twenty thousand pounds down in three or four days;
and, if I know the old man right, the larger half will be in gold.
Have you tried Sally the maid?"

"It won't do!" answered the other, with somewhat of a rueful face.
"She has lived long enough with that old fellow, to be as cautious as
a beak."

"Well, I suppose I must do that too!" answered the valet; "though it
is a little tiresome, Master Smithson, that all the hard work is to
fall upon me."

"Why, how the devil can I help it, Harding?" replied the other, "If
the girl will have nothing to say to me, what can I do, you know? No,
no, when it comes to the real hard work, you never find me behind!"

"Well, well," answered his worthy coadjutor, "I must come round her
myself somehow, though she be but a dirty trapesing slut, that a man
of gentlemanly feelings will find some difficulty in making love
to--but, nevertheless, when one acts upon principle, one learns to
overcome one's repugnance to such things, from a consideration of the
mass of general utility to be obtained by a trifling sacrifice."

His companion grinned, but he was too well accustomed to Mr. Harding's
method of reasoning to express any farther surprise. After a few words
more on both sides, however, as they judged it expedient to be seen
together as little as possible, those two respectable persons
separated, and, while Anthony Smithson returned to the town, Harding
pursued his way onward; and having, on the strength of the
communication he had received, determined to proceed to Ryebury, he
took the same path that Burrel had followed before him. The beauties
of nature occupied less of his thoughts than those of his master; and
while, with solemn steps and slow, he wandered on his way, his ideas
were much fuller of shillings and sixpences, and trips across the
Atlantic, than of the verdant mead and purling stream.

As I believe I have before said. Master Harding was by no means an
ugly person; and the charms of his good looks, together with a
marvellous sweet voice, and a good deal more eloquence of its own
peculiar kind than any one could have suspected him to possess from
his usual taciturnity, he was what the French render, with somewhat
profligate decency, by calling the persons so gifted, _un homme à
bonnes fortunes_. His expedition against the heart of Sally, the
miser's maid, was more successful than that of his companion had been,
and he returned home flattering himself on having made more progress
than he had anticipated. In fact, he had been fortunate in finding Mr.
Tims out, and Sally at home; but as the intrigues of a slattern and a
valet form no part of the staple of this book, we shall leave the
matter as it is, without any farther elucidation.

In the meanwhile, Burrel--for so we shall still call him--had
sauntered on, whiling away the golden minutes of a fair day, on the
early side of thirty, in sweet conversation beside a beautiful girl. I
have described what their conversation was like before, and I leave
every one who can remember what were the sensations he experienced,
when deep and fervent love just began to break upon his heart, to
imagine how sweet were the winged minutes as they flew. Even the
unspoken consciousness was not a burden, but a joy; and though Blanche
Delaware might be said to tremble at the feelings that were growing
upon her, yet there was a sort of vague internal conviction that those
feelings were reciprocal--that they could not thus have crept over her
heart unless some, nay, many of the signs of similar sentiments, on
his side, had been sufficiently displayed to make her feel secure that
she did not love unsought. Still there would every now and then
come a shrinking apprehension across her mind, that she might be
deceived--that it might be all, merely a courteous and engaging
manner, the same towards every one, which she in her ignorance had
vainly fancied particular to herself. But those thoughts were but for
a moment; and as Burrel walked onward by her side, there was in his
tone, in his manner, and still more in the current through which all
his thoughts appeared now to flow, a balmy influence that seemed to
soothe away every fear. She knew not well whence she derived that
balm; for had she tried, which, by the way, she did not, she could not
have found one particular word he spoke, which was more appropriate to
the vocabulary of love than to Johnson's Dictionary. It was,
perhaps--but she knew nothing about it--It was, perhaps, that pouring
forth of the soul upon every topic, which can never take place but in
conversation with one we love and esteem; for the hours of love are
like a sunshiny day in the midst of summer, and all the flowers open,
and the birds sing, and the bright things come forth through the
hearts universe. It was this, perhaps, more than ought else in
Burrel's manner, that made Blanche Delaware believe that she herself
was loved.

It is sometimes a very difficult thing to get two people to
acknowledge, in any language under the sun, the feelings that are
passing in their hearts. It is more especially difficult in a book;
for no author likes to tell how he and his managed the matter
themselves--at least, if he be not an ass or a coxcomb--and any thing
that is manufactured, is almost always "flat, stale, and
unprofitable." A true story canters one easily over all such
difficulties; and it so fortunately happened, that Henry Burrel and
Blanche Delaware acknowledged it all without the slightest idea in the
world that they were doing any thing of the kind.

There had been something spoken accidentally, that went too deep, and
both felt, perhaps, though almost unconsciously, that nothing more
could be said on that topic without saying more still; and as there
was a third person by, of course the matter dropt, and equally of
course, a long pause ensued, which grew unpleasant.

"I thought," said Burrel at length, "that we were to meet with some
antiquities--even more interesting than the house itself--at least,
your father said so;" and conscious that he had made an awkward
speech, and very little to the purpose, Burrel looked up and smiled,
though many other men would have looked down and coloured.

"You are not far from them," replied Captain Delaware--for Blanche's
eyes were fixed upon the ground, and her thoughts were--not at Nova
Zembla. "But surely you are not tired?"

"Nay, nay, any thing but tired," answered Burrel; "but your father
declared he would catechize me upon these ruins severely, and I was
only afraid that I should forget them altogether."

"A piece of inattention, which Blanche or I would excuse much more
readily than my father," replied the good-humoured sailor. "But we are
close upon them. You see those two wooded banks that fall across each
other, with the stream flowing out in foam from between them? They
form the mouth of a little glen, about a hundred yards up which,
stands the Prior's Fountain, and farther still the Hermit's Chapel. In
architecture, I believe, they are unique, and there is many a curious
tradition about both."

"Hush, hush, William!" cried his sister, seeing him about to proceed,
"Never tell the traditions but upon the spot. Oh, an old legend, in
these days of steam and manufactory, can never be properly told,
except under the gray stone and the ivy, where the memories of a
thousand years are carved by the chisel of time on every tottering
pinnacle and mouldering cornice, which vouch, by their unusual forms,
for the strange stories of their founders!"

"Oh, let us go on, by all means!" said Burrel, smiling; "an old legend
is worthy of every accessary with which we can furnish it.--But there
it is," he added, as they turned the angle of the bank, and, entering
the little glen, had before them a small Gothic building, covered with
the richest ornaments of the most luxurious age of Norman
architecture. "That, I suppose, is the Chapel?"

"No, that is the Prior's Fountain," answered Captain Delaware; "and
certainly the monks must have attached some peculiar importance to it,
from covering it over with so splendid a structure."

Another minute brought them near it, and Burrel found, that, under a
beautiful canopy of stone-work, supported by eight cluster pillars,
was placed a small stone fountain, full of the most limpid water,
which, welling from a basin somewhat like the baptismal font of a
Gothic church, poured through a little channel in the pavement, and
thence made a small sparkling stream, which joined the larger one ere
it had run fifty yards. Attached to the basin by an iron chain, was a
cup of the same metal, of very ancient date, though, perhaps, more
modern than the fountain. This cup, as soon as they approached.
Captain Delaware dipped into the water, and, laughing gaily, held it
to Burrel.

"You must drink of the Prior's Fountain, Mr. Burrel," he said; "but
listen, listen, before you do so. The monks, you know, having vowed
celibacy, found that the less they had to do with love the better; and
it being luckily discovered that the waters of this well were a
complete and everlasting cure for that malady, one of the priors
covered it over, as you see, and enjoined that, on commencing his
noviciate at Emberton, every pseudo monk should be brought hither, and
made to drink one cup of the water. It is added, that the remedy was
never known to fail, and now with this warning, Burrel, drink if you
will."

Burrel by this time had the cup in his hand, and for a single
instant his eyes sought those of Blanche Delaware. She was looking
down into the fountain, with one hand resting on the edge. There was
a slight smile upon her lip, but there was a scarcely perceptible
degree of agitation in her aspect, at the same time, which Burrel
understood--or, at least, hoped--might have some reference to himself,
although she might believe as little as he did in the efficacy of the
waters of the fountain.

"No, no!" he replied at once, giving back the cup to Captain Delaware,
and laughing lightly, as people do when they have very serious
feelings at their hearts, "No, no! I dare not drink of such waters.
They are too cold in every sense of the word to drink, after such a
walk as this.--The very cup has frozen my hand!" he added, to take out
any point that he might have given to his speech.

"He is actually afraid, Blanche!" cried her brother, laughing. "Come,
show him what a brave girl you are, and drain the cup to the bottom!"

"No, indeed!" answered Blanche Delaware. "Mr. Burrel is very right.
The water is a great deal too cold;" and, as she spoke, she blushed
till the tell-tale blood spread rosy over her fair forehead, and
tingled in her small rounded ear.

"Cowards both, as I live!" cried Captain Delaware, drinking off the
contents, and letting the cup drop.--"Cowards both, as I live!" and,
springing across the little streamlet, he took two or three steps
onward, towards the chapel.

"Let me assist you across!" said Burrel, offering his hand. As his
fingers touched those of Blanche Delaware, to aid her in crossing
the rivulet, they clasped upon her hand with a gentle pressure of
thanks--so slight that she could not be offended, so defined that she
could not mistake. The natural impulse of surprise was to look up;
and, before she could recollect herself, she had done so, and her eyes
met Burrel's. What she saw was all kind, and gentle, and tender; but
she instantly cast down her eyes, with another blush that was painful
from its intensity, and with a single tear of agitation--and perhaps
delight.



CHAPTER XI.


Sir Sidney Delaware was a peculiar character; and, if I had time, I
would go on and make a miniature of him. But I have not time; and
therefore, though there might undoubtedly be a great deal of pleasure
in investigating all the little complex motives which made him do this
thing or that thing, which seemed quite contrary to his general
principles--a great deal of pleasure in finding out the small fine
lines that connected together actions that appeared as opposite as
light and darkness--yet, having a long journey before me, and very
little time to spare, I must refrain from taking portraits by the
roadside, leaving every pleasant gentlemen of my acquaintance to say,
"That is not natural--this is out of character!" if he like.

One thing, however, I must notice, which was, that Sir Sidney Delaware
was in some degree an indolent man--there was a great deal of the _vis
inertiæ_ in his constitution. His mind was naturally active enough,
but the body clogged it, and even rendered it lazy too; and the
opposition between a keen and powerful moral constitution, and an idle
physical temperament, was the cause of many a contradiction in his
conduct.

Such had been the case in regard to his daughter's visits to Mrs.
Darlington. That good lady, when she first settled in the
neighbourhood, had determined upon visiting the people at the Park;
and though Sir Sidney for some time continued stiff, and cold, and
stern--ay, and even rude--Mrs. Darlington persevered, and Mrs.
Darlington carried her point.

The same now became the case with Burrel. He had been once received as
an intimate in the house of the Delawares, and the door was open to
him whenever he chose. There was something to be said, it is true,
upon the score of a great service rendered, which, of course, formed a
tie between him and every member of the Delaware family, which existed
in no other case. But still there was a great deal of habit in the
matter; and Burrel, having now his purpose to carry too, took care
that the good custom should not drop.

He became almost a daily visiter. Many a long-ramble he took with
Captain Delaware; many a sweet intoxicating walk beside Blanche. Many,
too, were the long and pleasant discussions he held with Sir Sidney,
upon every subject under the sun--the customs and manners of our
ancestors--the glorious works of past ages--the stores of classical
knowledge, or the beauties and perfections, follies and absurdities,
of our own and other lands.

As some French writer has said, "C'est dans les petites choses que
l'on temoigne son amitié. L'amour propre a trop de part à ce qu'on
fait dans les grandes occasions;" and it is this truth that makes
small attentions always pleasant to those who receive them--great
services often painful. Burrel felt that it was so; and took infinite
care to conceal that he had the slightest thought of relieving Sir
Sidney Delaware from his difficulties; but, at the same time, by the
display of elegant manners and a polished mind, and by the constant
outbreakings of a generous and a noble heart, he rendered himself both
so agreeable and so much esteemed, that Sir Sidney learned to think,
"If I required any great service, I would ask it of Henry Burrel
sooner than of any other man I know."

Very soon the worthy baronet began to look for his appearance shortly
after breakfast; and, as he had always something--perhaps of little
consequence--but still something on which he wished to speak with him,
he twice caught himself saying, when Burrel was a few minutes after
the usual hour, "I wish Mr. Burrel would come;" and then remembered,
with a sort of cynical smile, springing from very mixed feelings, that
he had no right to expect that he would come at all.

Burrel always did come, however; and, finding that he was ever made
most welcome by the baronet, greeted with a hearty shake of the hand
by Captain Delaware, and found a bright, though timid, smile on the
sweet lips of Blanche, he did not find it very difficult to assign
motives for his each day's visit, or to discover an excuse for the
call of the next morning. Sir Sidney Delaware soon began to give him
stronger marks of his esteem; and on more than one occasion, when
accidentally alone with Burrel, referred frankly to the state of his
own affairs, and the causes which had combined to produce their
embarrassment.

Burrel, on his part, of course found the subject difficult to converse
upon, and the more so, perhaps, from the previous knowledge, which he
did not choose to display. However, when on one occasion the baronet
directly mentioned the annuity granted to the Earl of Ashborough, he
replied--"But the interest is enormous, and the earl would, of course,
suffer you to redeem it."

"I am sorry to say, my young friend," replied Sir Sidney, "that at the
time you met William in the coach coming from London, the poor fellow
was returning full of disappointment from an unsuccessful attempt to
persuade Lord Ashborough to permit the repayment of the original sum.
But his lordship refused in the most peremptory manner; and, on the
deed being produced, no clause of redemption was found in it,
although, in the original letter of instructions for the preparation
of that instrument, the introduction of such a clause is expressly
enjoined."

"If I might advise, Sir Sidney," replied Burrel; but then breaking off
again, he added--"But perhaps I am taking too great a liberty with
you, in even offering advice upon your private affairs."

"Not in the least, my dear sir!" replied the baronet. "Speak, speak,
my dear sir! I have forgotten all my legal learning, and shall be very
glad of any advice upon the subject."

"I know nothing of law, either," answered Burrel smiling; "but I know
a little of Lord Ashborough, and I know the character he bears in the
world. Of his faults and failings, I do not pretend to speak; but his
lordship has, of course, his share. He has, however, always maintained
a grave and dignified name, and high character in society; and it is
very generally believed that his lordship values the reputation of a
just, stern, upright peer, more than"----

"The reality!" added Sir Sidney Delaware, with one of those sneers
which had made him many an enemy in his youth--Strange that a turn up
of the nostril should make men cut each other's throats!

"I was not going to be quite so severe," said Burrel, somewhat
gravely; "but I was going to add, that he values that reputation more
than any part of his estate; and I should think that if your son were
to go to London once more, and were to show him the letter of
instructions for the preparation of the annuity deed, pointing out to
him that the clause has been omitted, either by the mistake or the
fraud of a lawyer, and hinting at the publicity of a court of
justice--I think, I say--indeed I feel sure, that his lordship's care
for his reputation, coming in support of what I believe to be his
natural sense of equity, would make him at once accept the
redemption."

"Perhaps you are right in regard to his care for his reputation, Mr.
Burrel," replied Sir Sidney Delaware. "But I, who know him better
perhaps than you do, cannot reckon much upon his sense of equity. I
know him well--thoroughly! In early years, before these children were
born, Lord Ashborough and myself were unfortunately involved in a
dispute, which did not arise in any great demonstrations of a sense
of equity on his part; and since that time, I have reason to believe
that disappointment, added to a bitter quarrel, has caused him to
watch an opportunity of treading on the head of one, against whom Time
even--the great mollifier of all things--has not been able to abate
his rancour."

"I would fain believe that you do not quite do him justice," replied
Burrel. "May not a little personal dislike on your own part, my dear
sir, influence your mind against him?"

"No, indeed, Mr. Burrel! No, indeed!" answered Sir Sidney Delaware. "I
know him _intus et in cute novi_. He was, and is, and ever will be,
the same man. The cause of our quarrel now lies in the cold forgetful
dust, where all such dissensions cease. Besides, I was naturally the
least offended of the two, being the injured person. I also was
successful--he disappointed--notwithstanding all his arts; and
therefore the matter with me was soon forgotten, while with him it has
been, I am afraid, long remembered. Nevertheless," he added, "do not
for a moment fancy that I am saying all this because I do not intend
to follow your advice. Far from it--William shall go up. Indeed, I
should think myself very wrong, were I to leave any means untried to
remove those embarrassments which shut my children out from the
society to which by birth they are entitled."

Captain Delaware soon joined the conference; and, although he shook
his head at all idea of changing the determination of Lord Ashborough,
yet he undertook to try, with a readiness that the cold and haughty
demeanour which he described that nobleman to have maintained towards
him, rendered a little extraordinary. The resolution, however, once
taken, William Delaware was not a man, either by temperament or habit,
to lose a moment in putting it into execution, and his place was
instantly secured in the next morning's coach for London. Burrel
agreed to dine at the mansion, and the day passed over with that
additional drop of excitement, which renewed hope and expectation,
however faint, are still sure to let fall into the cup of life.

Either it was really so, or Burrel fancied it, that Blanche Delaware
was more lovely and more fascinating than ever; and, indeed, the
feelings that had been growing upon her for several days, had added an
indescribable and sparkling charm to all the attractions of youth, and
grace, and beauty. The soul always did much in her case to increase
the loveliness that nature had bestowed upon her face and form, and
Burrel could not help imagining--even long before--that the graceful
movement of each elegant limb, and finely modelled feature, was but
the corporeal expression of a bright and generous mind within. But now
the heart, too, was called into play, and all the warm and sunny
feelings of a young and ardent bosom, sparkled irrepressibly up to the
surface, calling forth new charms, both in their accidental flash, and
in the effort to suppress them.

All Burrel's enthusiasm, too--brought as he was by every circumstance
into nearer connexion with that fair being, than any other events
could possibly have produced--having been admitted to that intimate
friendship which no other man shared--having become the friend and
adviser of her father and brother, and having saved her own life--all
his own natural enthusiasm of character, therefore, unchained by any
opposing motive, broke through all the habitual restraints of the
state of life to which he had so long been accustomed; and during that
afternoon, Henry Burrel, with very little concealment of his feelings,
sat beside Blanche Delaware, full of that bright unaccountable
thing--love.

The matter was so evident, and indeed had been so evident for the last
two or three days, that the eyes of Captain Delaware himself--not very
clear upon such subjects--had been fully opened; and now, as Burrel
bent over his sister's drawing-frame with a look of tenderness and
affection that would bear but one interpretation, he turned his eyes
upon his father to see whether it were really possible that he did not
perceive the feelings that were kindling up before him.

No one perhaps had ever in his day felt more deep and sincere
love than Sir Sidney Delaware, yet--it is wonderful! quite
wonderful!--Burrel might almost, as the old romances term it, have
died of love at his daughter's feet, without his perceiving that any
thing was the matter. Burrel was bending over Blanche Delaware with a
look, and a tone, and a manner, that all declared, "Never, in the many
mingled scenes which I have trod, did I meet with any thing so
beautiful, so gentle, so graceful as yourself!" Captain Delaware, as I
have said, turned his eyes upon his father; but Sir Sidney, with his
fine head a little thrown back, a pair of tortoiseshell spectacles
upon his nose, and his face to the bookcases, was walking quietly
along, looking earnestly for Pliny.

Oh, had you not forgotten all your lessons in the natural history of
the heart, you might have marked much. Sir Sidney Delaware, that would
have given you more to study than could be found in Pliny, ay, or
Plato either!

"I must look to it myself," thought Captain Delaware. "Poor Blanche!
It would not do to have the dear girl's affections trifled with.--Yet,
I do not think he is one to play such a part either--Oh, no!--yet I
must speak to him!"

With this doughty resolution, and a thousand thoughts and difficulties
in regard to what he was to say when he did begin, Captain Delaware
sat down to dinner, somewhat absent and pensive; and after Blanche had
left them, and Sir Sidney had retired to his dressing-room to indulge
in a somewhat usual nap after dinner, the gallant officer invited his
friend to ramble through the park till tea-time, fully prepared to do
a great deal that a man of the world would never have thought of doing
at all. Burrel saw that something was weighing upon his companion's
mind; but as his own determinations in regard to Blanche were
completely formed, and he feared no questions upon the subject, he did
not anticipate any. He left Captain Delaware, however, to bring forth
his own thoughts at leisure, and walked on by his side as silent as
himself, though not quite so much embarrassed.

At length. Captain Delaware began--"I have wished," he said, "Mr.
Burrel"----

Burrel started, for the epithet _Mister_ had long been dropped towards
him by his companion, and he evidently perceived that something very
formal was working its way through his friend's mind.

"I have wished, Burrel," repeated Captain Delaware, correcting himself
on seeing the surprise expressed by the other's countenance--"I have
wished to speak with you about my sister;" and, as he mentioned that
dear name, a sense of deep affection for her made him proceed more
boldly, though his face glowed warmly as he spoke. "You have been much
with her of late, and perhaps may be so for some time longer. Now--do
not misunderstand me, Burrel--do not think 1 doubt you, or seek to
question you: but I wish first to put you in mind that she sees very
few persons besides yourself, and next to tell you--as most men of
station and fortune expect to receive some portion with their
wives--to tell you that the greater part even of the small sum which
Blanche and I inherited from our mother, is engaged to support as far
as possible, and that is little enough, our father's station in
society."

"And did you, my dear Delaware, suppose for a moment"--said Burrel, in
reply, "did you imagine, from what you have hitherto seen of my
conduct and sentiments, that so long as I had enough myself to offer
any woman I might love, I would consider her fortune for an instant?"

"No, no! I did not suppose you would," replied Captain Delaware,
hesitating in some degree how to proceed. "But the truth is, Burrel, I
have heard that women's hearts are delicate things, and as easily
wounded as the wing of a butterfly. However, let us say no more of it.
I begin to think that I have got out of my depth, and meddled with
matters I had better have left to themselves."

For some reason, or reasons--from some simple or complex motive, which
I do not know, and shall not stop to discover--men, however fully
their minds may be made up in such matters as that on which I write,
never like to be questioned upon the subject till they choose to
explain themselves; and, although Burrel was fully determined to offer
his hand to Blanche Delaware, as soon as he had convinced himself that
not a shadow of hesitation on her part would hurt his pride; and
though he completely understood Captain Delaware's feelings upon the
subject, and was amused at his straightforwardness, yet some internal
little devil of perversity made him feel almost offended at the
sentences we have just recorded. He resisted, however, and the devil
fled from him.

"My dear Delaware," he said, after a moment's pause, which he employed
in clearing his bosom of the enemy, "although no man likes to make a
declaration, except at his own choice and convenience, yet, situated
as you are, I can enter into all your feelings for your sister. Set
your mind at rest then," he added, laying his hand frankly and kindly
on his companion's arm. "Set your mind at rest then, as far as I am
concerned. It is my intention, as soon as I can entertain any hope of
success, to offer my hand to your sister. If she refuse me, it is not
my fault you know; but this much you will, I am sure, take upon my
word, that I would not presume for one moment to solicit the hand of a
daughter of Sir Sidney Delaware, unless in rank I could aspire to that
honour, and in fortune could maintain her in that circle which she is
calculated to adorn. Let us say no more upon the subject, if you can
trust me."

Captain Delaware grasped his hand warmly, "You have made me very
happy," he said.

"Well, then, keep my secret," added Burrel with a smile, "and let your
sister decide the rest."

William Delaware could well have told, at least he thought so, what
his sister's decision would be; but delicacy prevented him from
speaking his belief; and with a lightened heart he changed the
subject, and returned with Burrel to the mansion.



CHAPTER XII.


William Delaware set out from Emberton, and arrived in London. His
next step was to send a note to Lord Ashborough, informing him of his
being in town, and requesting an interview the following morning; and
in answer he received a very polite though somewhat formal billet,
inviting him to breakfast in Grosvenor Square, and promising as long
an audience after that meal as he might think necessary.

At the appointed hour--for Captain Delaware never considered that
appointed hours mean nothing--he approached Lord Ashborough's house,
and was ushered up stairs, where he found housemaids and empty
drawing-rooms enow; and, planting himself at a window that looked out
into the square, he gazed forth with somewhat unpleasant anticipations
occupying his mind, and rendering his eye sightless as to all that was
passing before it.

In a few minutes the housemaids withdrew from the farther rooms, and
the whole suit became vacant for some time, till a light step caught
Captain Delaware's ear, and, turning round, he beheld a young lady
whom he had seen there before, when last he had visited London. At
that time he had found her surrounded by a whole bevy of strangers,
whose gay appearance and supercilious manner had somewhat repelled the
young sailor, although Miss Beauchamp herself. Lord Ashborough's
niece, had spoken to him with frank kindness, and claimed relationship
with him at once.

Miss Beauchamp now advanced towards him, while he acknowledged her
approach by a bow, which was stiff though not awkward. The young lady,
however, held out her hand with a gay smile, and, as he took it,
added, in a tone of playful sharpness, "Tell me, sir, are you my
cousin, or are you not?"

"I believe I have some right to claim that honour," replied Captain
Delaware.

"Well, then," continued the young lady, "lay aside, immediately, all
that stiff, chilly reserve, or I will disown you henceforth and for
ever." Captain Delaware smiled, and she continued. "I know that this
house has a very icy atmosphere; but that does not extend to my part
of it, and while my noble and stately uncle may be as frigid as
the north pole in his peculiar territories, the library and the
dining-room, I must have a pleasanter climate in my domains, the
drawing-rooms and breakfast-room."

"Your own presence must always produce such an atmosphere," replied
Captain Delaware. "But you must remember. Miss Beauchamp, that I have
been but a short time within its influence, so that I have scarcely
had leisure to get thawed."

"Oh, I must unfreeze you quite, erelong, my good cousin," replied Miss
Beauchamp, laughing. "But now, listen to me for five minutes, for I
have a great deal more to say to you than you know any thing about.
Calculating that you would come early, when I heard that my uncle had
asked you to breakfast, I determined to rise a full hour sooner than
usual, on purpose to give you your lesson for the day."

Captain Delaware expressed his thanks as warmly as possible,
acknowledging, however, that his gratitude was somewhat mingled with
surprise, to find that his fair cousin was prepared to be interested
in behalf of one, who, though akin by blood, was nearly a stranger as
far as acquaintance went.

"That would be a severe reproach to my forwardness, William Delaware,"
replied the young lady, "if I had not a good motive _in petto_.
Besides, I find, that in days of yore, when we were all children, and
my good father was alive, that you and I and Blanche, and my brother
Henry, have had many a rude game of play amongst the old trees of
Emberton Park. But, let us speak to the point, as we may have little
time to speak at all--An old friend of yours and mine, good Dr.
Wilton, has written to me a long letter, two or three days ago, giving
me an account of all this unfortunate business between your father and
my uncle, and desiring me, if you ever came to town again, to do my
best to forward your views. Now, the truth is, I have no more
influence with Lord Ashborough than that screen."

"With a thousand thanks for your kind interest," replied Captain
Delaware; "I should still be sorry to owe, even to your influence,
what I could not obtain from justice."

"Pride! Pride!" cried Miss Beauchamp, "the fault of men and angels!
But let me tell you, my dear cousin, that no man or men have any right
to be proud in a woman's presence; for ye are a mere race of bullies
at the best, and bow like the veriest slaves whenever we chose to
tyrannize over you. But to the point.--Listen to my sage advice. I was
saying, that I had no more influence with my Lord Ashborough than that
screen.--I am a mere piece of household furniture; and, I dare say,
that I am to be found, written down in the inventory thus:--'Front
drawing-room--Three tables, four-and-twenty chairs, four sofas, three
chaises longues, _a niece_.'--I do believe, my uncle, when I refused
the Honourable Mr. What's-his-name, the other day, which mortally
offended his lordship, thought of having me transferred to the
schedule of _fixtures_ forthwith. But, nevertheless, as I am a hearing
and seeing piece of furniture, I have learned that the only way to
manage the Earl of Ashborough, is to be firm, steady, somewhat
haughty, and a good deal stern. Remember all this, my dearly beloved
cousin, and make use of the hint. But I hear his lordship's morning
step, when the neat boot is first, for that day, fitted on to the neat
foot. So I will to the breakfast-room; and do not forget, when you
meet me, to wish me good-morrow in set form, and civil terms, and take
care that you do not look conscious."

Thus saying, the gay girl ran lightly through the long suite of rooms,
leaving Captain Delaware standing nearly where she had found him, with
a good deal of admiration at her beauty, and a good deal of surprise
at the mingling of kindness both with levity, and with the slightest
possible spice of coquetry, which she had displayed in their brief
conversation.

Ere she was well out of sight, the step that had been heard above,
might be distinguished descending the stairs. There is not a little
character in a step, and the sound of Lord Ashborough's was peculiar.
Perhaps the enfeebling power of time--which, what with one aid or
another, was not very apparent in his person--marked its progress more
decidedly in his step than in any thing else. There was a certain
degree of creaking feebleness in it, especially at an early hour of
the morning, when he was just out of bed, which, joined with a slow
precision of fall, indicated a declension in the firm and sturdy
manhood. His lordship felt it, and in society he covered the slight
falling off by an affectation of grave and thoughtful dignity of
movement,--but his valet-de-chambre knew better.

Captain Delaware, however, did not; and as the earl entered the room,
with a roll of papers in his hand, like Talma in Sylla--he acted a
good deal, by the way--his young relative thought him a very grave and
reverend signor; and would rather have lain for an hour along side an
enemy's frigate, yard-arm to yard-arm, than have grappled with so
stern and thoughtful a personage, on so disagreeable a business as
that which he came to discuss. He had undertaken it resolutely,
however, and he was not a man to flinch before any coward
apprehensions, moral or physical.

The first expression of his lordship's countenance, when his eyes fell
upon his visiter, was not certainly of a nature greatly to encourage
him. For a moment--a single instant--nature got the better, and a
slight shade of that loathing dislike, with which one regards some
poisonous reptile, or the object of some peculiar antipathy, passed
over Lord Ashborough's features. It was gone as quickly; and with a
much more condescending and agreeable smile than he had bestowed upon
him on his former visit, the earl advanced, and welcomed him to
London.

Captain Delaware was of course very well disposed to welcome any show
of kindness; and he said a few words in regard to his regret at having
to trouble Lord Ashborough again.

"Oh! we will speak of all that after breakfast," said the earl. "When
last I saw you I was hurried and fretted by a thousand things, and had
no opportunity of showing you any attention. Indeed, I have but little
leisure now, the duties of my office--he held a sinecure post, which
required him to sign his name twice a-year--the duties of my office
claiming great part of my time. But you must really, as long as you
remain in London, spend your days here; and my niece, Maria, who has
nothing to do, will show you all over the world, under the fair excuse
of your cousinship. But let us to breakfast. Maria will not be down
for this hour; but I never wait for that lazy girl."

Lord Ashborough was not a little surprised to find his niece in the
breakfast-room, and praised her ironically on her habits of early
rising; but Miss Beauchamp answered at once, "Oh! I had a reason for
getting up soon to-day, otherwise I should certainly not have done so.
To contemplate my dear uncle for an hour, with one foot crossed over
the other, letting his coffee get cold, and reading the newspaper, is
too great a treat to be indulged in every morning."

"And pray, my fair niece," demanded Lord Ashborough, smiling at a
picture of himself, which was not without the cold sort of importance
he chose to assume; "and pray, my fair niece, what was the particular
cause of your infringing your ancient and beloved habits this
morning?"

"First and foremost, of course," replied Miss Beauchamp, with a
graceful bend of the head to her cousin, "to see Captain Delaware,
whose visit you yesterday evening led me to expect; but, in the next
place, my full resolution and determination was to take possession of
your lordship during breakfast, and tease you in every sort of way,
till you agree to leave this horrid place London, now that you are
positively the last gentleman remaining in it, except the men in
red-coats that walk up and down St. James's Street, and look
disconsolate from June till January. But they are forced to stay, poor
fellows! You are not."

"There is no use of going out of town, Maria, to come up again the
next day," replied Lord Ashborough. "Parliament will certainly sit for
a few days this month, and I must be present. But, in regard to your
cousin, I intend to make him over to you for the whole day, as I have
some business to transact; and, therefore, you see you would not have
been deprived of his visit."

"Sad experience making me doubtful," replied Miss Beauchamp laughing,
"in regard to how far your lordship's civility might extend to your
kindred, I did not know whether I might ever see Captain Delaware
again."

She spoke in jest, but it cut home, and Lord Ashborough, reddening,
took his coffee and the newspaper, and left his cousin and his niece
to entertain themselves, while he soon became immersed in the idle
gossip of the day. After breakfast, he led the way to the library with
renewed complacence, and, begging Captain Delaware to be seated, he
listened to him calmly and good humouredly, while he spoke of the
cause of his coming. He then read attentively the first instructions
for the annuity deed, and returning the paper, fell--or affected to
fall--into deep thought.

"Why, this certainly does make a great difference," he replied at
length; "and I am sure, Captain Delaware, you will exculpate me from
any desire to take advantage either of an accident or a misfortune. My
plan through life has been to do clear and simple justice to all, and
never to fall into the absurd error of mingling all the feelings of
private life with matters of business. Matters of business should be
transacted as matters of business, and without the slightest regard to
whether you be my cousin or a perfect stranger. I can be generous when
it is necessary, as well as other men; but you applied to me not on a
point of generosity, but on a point of right and of justice, and
therefore in that light did I consider and decline your last proposal.
In the same light do I consider your present statement; but the paper
you have produced, according to my present views, so far alters the
question, that without returning you any direct answer at present, I
will, in going out, call upon my solicitor, consult with him, and, if
you will see him to-morrow at eleven o'clock, he shall tell you my
final views, and, depend upon it, they shall be those of substantial
justice."

Captain Delaware was somewhat disappointed; for, from the first
impression which the production of the paper he had shown Lord
Ashborough, had made upon that nobleman, he had concluded that the
matter would be settled at once. He saw, however, that it would be
useless to press the subject farther at the time; and, after promising
to spend his days, though not his nights, at the house of his noble
kinsman, during his stay in London, he left him in possession of the
library.

Lord Ashborough almost immediately after mounted his horse, and rode
slowly on down all those filthy streets and long, which conduct to
Clement's Inn; in one of the dark and dusty staircases of which,
stinking of parchment and red tape, he met the identical Mr. Peter
Tims, of whom he was in search, and who led him instantly into the
penetralia. Their conversation was keen and long, but a few sentences
of it will be sufficient here. After relating Captain Delaware's
visit, the earl demanded eagerly, "Now, Mr. Tims, can the matter be
done? Have you seen to it?"

"I have, my lord, and it can be done," replied the lawyer. "I have
this morning been at the house of Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson.
Both partners are out of town, but their head clerk was there, and I
have made the following arrangement with him"----

"You have not compromised my name, I hope," interrupted the earl.

"Not in the least, my lord," replied the other. "I explained
to the clerk that you would sell out at this moment to a great
disadvantage--that fourteen days would in all probability alter the
position of affairs--and that therefore your lordship would give a
bill at that date for the ten thousand pounds which you were to pay
them for Mr. Beauchamp.

"But how will that forward the matter?" demanded the earl. "It will
seem as if I were shuffling with my nephew concerning his money
matters, and not promote the other purpose."

"Your pardon, my lord--your pardon!" cried the lawyer. "You shall
demand of Sir Sidney Delaware to give you bills for the whole sum at a
fortnight's date, and give him up the annuity deed at once, and we
will arrange it so that you shall be out of town when the draft on you
becomes due, so as to stop the ten thousand pounds at the very nick."

"Ay, but Harry will write up to know whether it be paid!" said the
earl.

"I will write to him as soon as you have given the bill, my lord,
telling him that the money is paid," answered the lawyer; "and I will
direct the letter to his house in John Street, to be forwarded. I have
a good excuse for writing, in regard to this business of the valet he
kicked down stairs--so there will be no suspicion."

"You know that he is a good man of business, Mr. Tims," replied the
earl, doubtingly. "Do you think he will take your word without writing
to enquire?"

"Oh yes, my lord!" answered the lawyer boldly. "You know your own
plans, and therefore think he may suspect them. That is the way with
all gentlemen, when they first do any little business of this kind.
They always fancy that other people know that we are wanting to keep
them in the dark. Remember Mr. Beauchamp has no suspicion.--He does
not know that you know where he is.--He is not aware that you have
heard he is going to squander away his money at all; still less, that
you are good enough to take such pains to prevent him. He will believe
it at once, that the money is paid, and will simply give a draft for
it on Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson when the money is wanted.
Besides, from all I can learn, although he be in general a good man of
business enough, I hear he has got hold of one of those pieces of
business that put every thing else out of a man's head altogether."

"What do you mean, sir?" demanded the earl, in a strong tone of
aristocratical pride; for there was a sort of sneer upon the
countenance of Mr. Tims, which he did not at all admire, coupled with
the mention of his rich nephew--and here, be it remarked, that it made
a great difference in Lord Ashborough's estimation, whether the person
spoken of was a rich or a poor nephew. He had a sort of indescribable
loathing towards poverty, or rather towards poor people, which was
only increased by their being his relations. He hated poverty--he
could not bear it--in his eyes it was a disease--a pestilence--a vice;
and therefore--although, had his nephew been poor, Mr. Tims might have
sneered at him to all eternity--as he was rich, Lord Ashborough felt
very indignant at the least want of reverence towards him. The tone in
which he demanded, "What do you mean, sir?" frightened Mr. Tims, who
hastened to reply, that he had heard from his respected and
respectable relative in the country, that the Mr. Burrel who had
proposed to lend the money to Sir Sidney Delaware, was now continually
at Emberton Park; and that it was very well understood in the country
that he was to be married immediately to Miss Delaware.

Lord Ashborough gazed in the face of the lawyer, with that mingled
look of vacancy and horror, which we may picture to ourselves on the
countenance of a person suddenly blinded by lightning. When he had
collected his senses, it was but to give way to a more violent burst
of rage, and, with clenched hands and teeth, he stamped about the
office of the attorney, till the clerks in the outer room began to
think that he was breaking the hard head of their master against
the floor. A few words, however, served to give vocal vent to
his fury. "The hypocritical, artful, despicable race of beggarly
fortune-hunters!" he exclaimed; and, turning out of Mr. Tims's office,
impelled by the sole impetus of passion, he was standing by his horse
almost ere the attorney knew he was gone. The groom held the stirrup
tight, and Lord Ashborough had his foot on the iron, when cooler
thoughts returned, and, walking back to the chambers, he again entered
the lawyer's room.

"Do all that you proposed, Mr. Tims," he said; "get the bills--retard
the payment--arrest the old reptile--manage it so that he may not get
bail; and the day you lodge him in the King's Bench--if it can be
done--you receive a draft for a thousand pounds.--They must be
crushed, Mr. Tims," he continued, grasping him tight by the arm; "they
must be crushed--ground down into the earth--till their very name
be forgotten;--but mark me," he added, speaking through his set
teeth--"mark me--if you let them escape, my whole agency and business
goes to another for ever."

"Oh! no fear, my lord, no fear!" replied Mr. Tims, in a sharp,
secure tone, rubbing his little, fat, red hands, with some degree of
glee. "No fear, if your lordship will consent to leave it to my
guidance.--But I will send for a bill stamp, and we will draw up the
bill directly, send it to Messrs. Steelyard and Wilkinson, and then I
will give due notice to Mr. Beauchamp that the money is paid--which,
indeed, it may be said to be, when your lordship has given your bill
for it--you know."

"I care not, sir!" exclaimed Lord Ashborough, vehemently, "whether it
may be said to be so or not. My nephew must be saved from this cursed
entanglement, by any means or all means. I will do my part--see that
you do yours. Crush these mean-spirited vipers, somehow or another,
and that as soon as may be;--but mind," he added more quietly, "mind,
you are to do nothing beyond the law!"

"I will take care to do nothing that the law can take hold of,"
replied the lawyer. "But you cannot think, my lord, how many things
may be done lawfully when they are done cautiously, which might treat
one with a sight of New South Wales, if they were to be undertaken
without due consideration--but I will send for the bill, my lord."

The bill was accordingly sent for, drawn, and signed by Lord
Ashborough; and the attorney, after having despatched it to Mr.
Beauchamp's solicitor, wrote to that gentleman himself a letter, upon
the business to which he had referred, while speaking to Lord
Ashborough; and in a postscript, mentioned that he had handed over to
his agents a note for ten thousand pounds, on behalf of Lord
Ashborough. That nobleman stood by while all this proceeding was
taking place, and marked, with a well pleased smile, the double
language of the lawyer, and the quiet and careless manner in which he
contrived to offer a false impression in regard to the payment of the
money. When all was concluded, he paced slowly to the vacant park,
calmed his disturbed feelings by a quiet ride round its dusty roads,
and then returned with renewed self-command, to shower upon William
Delaware civilities, in proportion to his increased detestation.



CHAPTER XIII.


Oh, if people would but take as much pains to do good as they take to
do evil--if even the well-disposed were as zealous in beneficence, as
the wicked are energetic in wrong--what a pleasant little clod this
earth of ours would be, for us human crickets to go chirping about
from morning till night!

The Right Honourable the Earl of Ashborough could think of but one
thing; and what between the active working of his own brain, and the
unceasing exertion of the pineal gland of Peter Tims, Esq., following
keenly the plans and purposes which we have seen them communicating to
each other, the scheme for ruining the family at Emberton was brought
to that degree of perfection which rendered its success almost
certain. Mr. Tims, indeed, did wonder that the noble earl had
forgotten to propose to him any plan for detaining Sir Sidney Delaware
in prison after his arrest, and for consummating the persecution so
happily begun. He concluded that it had slipped his lordship's memory;
but, as he foresaw that, of course, Mr. Beauchamp would immediately
come forward to liberate the baronet, and clear him of his
embarrassments, Mr. Tims revolved a thousand schemes for entangling
him still more deeply, in order to be found prepared as soon as his
noble patron should apply to him for assistance on this new occasion.

In truth, however, Lord Ashborough had calculated all; and from what
he had formerly known of Sir Sidney Delaware, as well as from what he
had lately heard of his impaired constitution, he felt assured that
even three or four days of imprisonment for debt would terminate
either life or reason, and thus leave his vengeance and his hatred
sated to the full.

It must not be always supposed that the motives and the feelings which
are here stated, in what is vulgarly called black and white, appeared
in their original nakedness before the minds of the various actors in
this my little drama. On the contrary, they came before their master's
eyes, like poor players on the stage, robed in gorgeous apparel that
little belonged to them. Revenge flaunted away before the eyes of Lord
Ashborough, clothed in princely purple, and calling itself noble
indignation. Mortified vanity, and mean delight in wealth, tricked out
in silks and satins, called themselves honest scorn for deceivers, and
careful consideration for his nephew's interest, "and so they played
their part;" while deadly enmity, which would have acted murder, had
it dared, now mocked the Deity, and impiously assumed the name of
retributive justice.

Nevertheless, there was in the bosom of Lord Ashborough at least so
much consciousness that all this was but a pageant, that he found it
necessary to redouble the careful guard he had put upon his feelings
towards Captain Delaware; and though he came back to dinner meditating
the destruction of his race and family, he showered on the young
sailors head civilities which might have raised doubts had he dealt
with one of the suspicious. Captain Delaware, however, was not one of
the suspicious. He had not acquired the quality of suspiciousness in
any of the three ways by which it reaches the human heart--neither by
the consciousness of evil designs in his own breast, by experience of
the world's baseness, or by the exhortations of others. He was
susceptible indeed, and easily perceived when a slight was intended,
or when the least approach to scorn was felt towards him or his; but
deeper and blacker feelings escaped his observation, if covered by
even a slight disguise. In the present instance he was completely
deceived. His drive out with his fair cousin in the morning had proved
so delightful, that he began to doubt the efficacy of the water of the
prior's fountain, and to feel that many such drives might make him
either very happy, or very much the contrary. But the kind attention
of Lord Ashborough, his changed demeanour, and the hopes to which it
gave rise, were all sources of unmixed pleasure. The evening passed
away in delight; and when, on visiting Mr. Tims next morning, he found
that he was prepared to concede every thing that he desired, on the
simple formality of his father giving a bill at a few days' date for
the money, his satisfaction was complete. Nor was it the less so, that
the necessity of awaiting an answer to his letter, communicating these
tidings, and of obtaining his father's signature to the bill, obliged
him, whether he would or not, to enjoy the society of Maria Beauchamp
for at least two days longer.

On the part of that young lady herself, no dislike was felt to her
cousin's society--every one else was out of town--she had no one with
whom she could dance, or flirt, or talk, and still less any one to
whom she could communicate any of the deeper and better feelings which
formed the warp of her character, and across which the threads of a
sparkling sort of levity were intimately woven. With Captain Delaware
she did all but the first, and probably she would have danced too, had
minuets still been in vogue. She laughed, she talked, she jested; and
there was a sort of simple candour about his nature, together with
fine feelings and gentlemanly habits, preserved, fresh and
unadulterated, by a life spent either on the green waters or in the
green fields--which altogether wooed forth those points in her own
character, which as things most estimable, lay hid in the deeper
casket of her heart.

In short, the two days that followed were two very pleasant days
indeed; and it was almost with a sigh that Captain Delaware opened his
father's letter, which arrived at the end of them, and found the bills
duly signed. Mr. Tims had before told him, that he had made the money
payable at Emberton, in order to save him or his father the trouble of
coming or sending again to London. That excuse, therefore, for either
prolonging his stay or returning, was not to be had; and, even if it
had still been ready, the lawyer also informed him gratuitously, that
Lord Ashborough's motive for settling the matter in the manner
proposed, was in order to spare himself all correspondence in the
country, to which he was immediately about to retire for the remainder
of the year. The simple fact was, that Mr. Tims--with the same over
anxiety of which he had accused Lord Ashborough to remove all
suspicion of a latent motive--had assigned these causes for his noble
patron's conduct, simply to account reasonably for his having demanded
a bill for the money, payable at Emberton, instead of following the
usual legal routine in such cases, accepting the redemption money when
ready, and then cancelling the deed. But Captain Delaware, with
constitutional susceptibility, instantly concluded that the whole was
intended as a hint to him, that any farther intimacy was not desired.

He could not feel indignant, because he felt that he had no right to
demand a continuance of the communication which had been accidentally
created between himself and the family of his wealthy cousin; but he
determined at once to show that there was no necessity for such
warnings; and, after having pleaded other engagements, in order to
absent himself from his cousin's house during the rest of his stay in
London, he took his place in the identical stage which had whirled him
down to Emberton on the preceding occasion. He did not, however, in
that sort of burning at the heart which people feel on such occasions,
neglect to take all those steps which, to the best of his judgment,
were necessary to secure his father, and to conclude the business on
which he had come to London. On the contrary, he demanded and
received, by the hands of Mr. Tims, an acknowledgement, on the part of
Lord Ashborough, that a promissory-note had been given by Sir Sidney
Delaware for the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds, which, when duly
taken up, would be received as a full and due redemption of the
annuity chargeable upon the Emberton estate.

When all this was concluded, and he had eaten in melancholy wise of
the dinner which the people of the pseudo hotel at which he lodged,
set before him, in that den of congregated discomforts, a public
coffee-room--when he had done this, and taken an idle walk round the
black thing that spits water by table-spoonfuls nearly opposite to
Devonshire House, for the purpose of digesting his dinner and his
vexation, he could not refrain; but returning home--or rather to the
place of his dwelling for the time--he dressed and walked to Grosvenor
Square.

Lord Ashborough was in his library; Miss Beauchamp was
alone--somewhat in low spirits, too, and looking none the worse for
being so. She was in one of those moods in which a man may make a
great deal of a woman in a short time--if he knows how--but,
unhappily, Captain Delaware did not know how. He talked sentimentally,
and she talked sentimentally; and they made tea between them, and
poured it out and drank it--but it all came to nothing--otherwise
Maria Beauchamp might, perhaps, have been William Delaware's wife
before the end of the volume. Never did a man who was bred and born a
sailor miss stays so completely as Captain Delaware did; and just
when, towards the close of the evening, he was making up his mind to
say something sensible and pertinent, in came Lord Ashborough, and the
whole went to the--budget.

Within half an hour after, William Delaware was on his way to his
hotel, and in the yellow of the next morning, he was once more rolling
away, to join the coach for Emberton. His journey was as dull as it
well could be. Two quaker ladies occupied one seat, and a deaf man
shared the other. Therefore--as it is a very laudable object to wind
up all sorts of matters here, in such a manner as to enable the
courteous reader to have done with the book at the end of this volume,
and to imagine, if he like, that the story is finished, when in fact
it is not begun--we shall give one paragraph to Mr. Tims, while
Captain Delaware rolls on.

The worthy and beneficent lawyer, full of zeal in the service of his
patron, set boldly to work to accomplish the object in view, and added
so many thoughtful means and contrivances to support those which we
have already seen him propose, that, at the end of eight days, there
was hardly a human possibility of his prey escaping him. As, in some
instances, he thought fit to prepare engines which went a little
beyond the clear limit of the law, he took good care to add a safety
valve for himself, by cautiously mingling Lord Ashborough's name with
all those particular matters which were most delicate and dangerous,
and thus insuring the whole power and influence of that nobleman's
rank and fortune to shield him, even if the blame itself did not fall
solely on the earl. He wrote, too, to his uncle, Mr. Tims, at Ryebury,
directing him on no account to advance money to the gentleman calling
himself Mr. Burrel, who was, in fact, Lord Ashborough's nephew; and he
added many a hint and caution, calculated to make the miser of Ryebury
throw every impediment in the way of a liquidation of the debts on Sir
Sidney Delaware's estate. At the same time, a vague threat of Lord
Ashborough's displeasure, in case of recusancy, was held out; and by
the end of the week, Mr. Tims, as we have said, sat down perfectly
certain of having drawn those spider toils round the family of
Emberton, which it would be impossible for them to evade.

In the mean time, William Delaware arrived at Emberton Park, and
found every thing precisely as he had left it. Burrel's visits were
still continuing daily. Indeed--during his son's absence, which
occasioned a sort of gap in the things to which Sir Sidney Delaware
was accustomed--the baronet had more than ever sought the presence of
Mr. Burrel to supply the want.

The affection of Burrel for Blanche Delaware, seemed exactly the
same--if any thing, there was perhaps an additional shade of
tenderness in his manner, towards her, which for a moment caused
Captain Delaware to believe, that his sister had been made acquainted
with her lover's feelings. But it was not so. On the contrary, during
her brother's stay in London, Blanche had lost many of those pleasant
hours which she had before spent in Burrel's society. Her long rambles
with him through the park and the neighbouring country, were of course
at an end for the time; and, although Mrs. Darlington took a house in
the immediate vicinity, and pressed Miss Delaware to join her there
for a few days--though Blanche, perhaps, might feel that there she
could, with propriety, hold freer intercourse with one who had
obtained so strong a hold of her affection, yet filial duty overcame
even the wish, and she refused to leave her father during her
brother's absence.

Captain Delaware's return, therefore, was a matter of joy and delight
to every one; and immediately after having heard all those _viva voce_
particulars, which a letter could not convey, Sir Sidney Delaware
visited Mr. Tims, who assured him that the money would be ready full
twenty-four hours before the stipulated time, and instantly began to
prepare the mortgage which was to secure the sum to the lender. The
tidings were, of course, communicated to Blanche, whose young heart
beat high, to think of even a part of the dark cloud which had so long
overshadowed her dear father's fate, being blown away for ever. If,
too, a thought crossed her mind, in regard to her own situation, and
the improvement of her relative position towards him by whom she was
beloved, who shall say a word of blame? It was but nature; and perhaps
that thought might take away the only thorn that she saw encumbering
the fate before her. All eyes sparkled--all hearts beat high at
Emberton. The news insensibly was spread abroad--The prospects of the
Ruined Family seemed brightening--Those to whom they had been kind,
even in their adversity, blessed the day that saw their changing
fortune--and those who had despised their poverty, began to bow down
and worship, now that the storms no longer hung above them.

Sir Sidney Delaware walked with a firmer step. His son felt that
one-half of the load of life was gone, and Blanche raised her eyes
timidly to meet those of Burrel, as if there had been some secret
voice which told her, that--how, or why, she knew not--all the
happiness that was growing up around them, was of his planting.

Oh, deceitful Fortune! why wilt thou often smile so sweetly, while
opening thy store of evils to pour upon the devoted head!



END OF VOLUME FIRST.



EDINBURGH:
M. AITKEN, 1, ST. JAMES'S SQUARE.





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