« AnteriorContinuar »
marked any suspicious person about the park during the day?
“Oh dear, no, sir,” replied she," no suspicious person at all; there was a fine, handsome-looking gentleman stopped and spoke to me a long time in the morning : he saw I was ailing, and asked me a great deal about my health, just in the same kind way that my lady Mary does.”
“ And did he ask you nothing else ?" demanded Charles.
“ Oh dear, yes, sir," answered the old woman; " he asked me a great deal about the gentry round about, and when I told him how good my young lady was to me, he asked a great deal about her too.”
“ And what questions did he put to you about lady Mary?” inquired Charles.
“ Why, he asked me if she was good to the poor when they were sick, and if I was sure she was lord Burton's sister, and if she walked much about the park, and if I thought she would be down to see me that evening."
F 3 “ Scoundrel !"
“ Scoundrel !” exclaimed Charles, in a manner that startled the old woman.
Lord, sir,” exclaimed she, “ I am sure he was a very nice gentleman: it could never be he sure that the people say tried to rob my lady in the park, bless her beautiful eyes! Who would have supposed any body could think of hurting her ?”
Nobody, nobody could have thought such a thing possible,” replied Charles, abruptly, and returned to the house, where he found lady Mary scarcely recovered from the alarm she had undergone.
The only account she could give of the affair was as unsatisfactory as any that had been before received. In passing to the lodge, she met no one, and after having seen the object of her kindness, whom she found much recovered, she was returning slowly towards the house, when at a short distance from the place where the entrance road quitted the wood, a man of genteel appearance presented himself, and begging pardon for the intrusion, asked if he spoke
to lady Mary Burton ? She answered in the affirmative, and continued walking on; upon which he told her a story of a poor woman in the village being very ill, and much desiring to see her immediately. Though a good deal frightened, she replied calmly, that she was then engaged, but would come down in the morning ; and finding an opportunity of passing the stranger, she began running as fast as she could. On this, he followed, and without further word or ceremony, caught her in his arms, and made the best of his way across the park, to a spot where a break in the paling offered the means of escape, either towards the sea, or to the high road. It was at this moment that the screams of lady Mary brought her cousin to her assistance; but what were the views of the person who attacked her, or who he was, she was utterly ignorant of.
Charles asked if she would know him again ? She replied, that she would most decidedly; for that the moon shone upon F4
the road as he walked for some yards beside her, and she had a full view of his face several times.
“ And you have no remembrance of ever seeing him before ?” asked Charles.
“ None whatever,” replied his cousin; nor could he know me even by sight, or he would not have asked my name so pointedly.” " True,” answered Charles—"true; it
" is all very odd indeed; but I hope, Mary, you will not suffer from your fright.”
“ Oh no,” answered she, holding out her hand to him ; “ I owe you a great deal, Charles: you shall be my knight-errant.”
CHAP. CHAPTER VII.
How now, Horatio-you tremble and look pale !
It often happens, that when winter is fast following on the golden footsteps of autumn, shaking the last yellow leaves from the branches to which they cling, with a kind of lingering affection, and clouding the chill sky with the heavy presage of the storm it will often happen that a day will intervene as bright as any of its fairest predecessors, and, like joy, when it comes in the midst of misfortune, looking the lovelier for the gloom that surrounds it. Such was the morning on which lord