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Burton, accompanied by Miss Delmont and his two cousins, lady Jane and Cecilia Evelyn, directed their route towards Exeter; and let not any one imagine that this description of the day is too highly coloured for the simple sentence that follows it, for who is there that can say that the smallest event of their life
may not be productive of the most important consequences ? and who is there that has not experienced how the fate of man seems to depend upon the merest trifle? Had that day not been fine but never mind. They turned their horses' heads towards Exeter: nor had they gone far when they were joined by a gentleman, dressed in military style, who seemed well known to both the ladies Evelyn; but it was to lady Jane that he seemed particularly to attach himself: nor did she appear to consider him any disagreeable addition to their party. I was riding to Şturford Abbey,” said
their new companion, " to deliver a letter I have for lady Delmont.”
“ I need not tell you, captain Malcolm,” replied lady Cecilia, with a grave look, " that we are there at present; I have no doubt that you are very well informed of that circumstance already.”
Captain Malcolm made no direct reply, but his looks seemed to admit that she was right. However, the convenient narrowness of the Devonshire roads soon gave him a pretext for detaching lady Jane from the rest, as to ride five abreast was impossible; and they remained a little behind during the rest of the way.
As they returned towards the Abbey, Miss Delmont took occasion to admire lord Burton's management of her horse, and wished that it was possible to see him leap. Frederic immediately complied with her half-expressed desire, and turned him into a field for the purpose of taking . a gate which presented itself. The horse leaped it with ease, and lord Burton turned
hím to repeat it, when his eye caught the figure of a man passing before him. What was the emotion that affected his mind,
PER none could tell; but he turned as pale as death, and putting one hand before his eyes, with the other reined in the horse so violently, as to cause him to strike the gate with his knee, and falling in the middle of the leap, he came with his rider to the ground.
Captain Malcolm, who, with lady Jane, had just come up, instantly dismounted from bis horse, and assisted the groom in raising lord Burton.
Lady Jane was by their, side in a moment.—“Oh, Frederic, I hope you are not hurt!” she exclaimed, with a look that spoke how much she felt what she said.
Not much, Jane," replied lord Burton
not so much as I thought;" but he evidently spoke with pain.
“ Send for the carriage, Charlotte,” said lady Jane to Miss Delmont.
Delmont. But lord Burton would not hear of it, and as it was
only a short distance to the Abbey, he did not find much difficulty in walking there, with the assistance of captain Malcolm, who shewed him a great deal of attention, with the kindness of a friend, and the promptitude of a soldier,
On their arrival lady Delmont made a most outrageous display of grief and concern, saying a great deal, and doing nothing, while captain Malcolm sprang upon his horse and galloped off to Exeter for a surgeon.
During his absence, lord Burton was not without assistance, for lady. Jane, with Miss Stanhope, managed to bandage up his arm (which was a good deal cut anda bruised) with no small surgical skill. “ You would make an excellent surgeon, Miss Stanhope,” said lady Jane, with a smile, " if your hand did not tremble so. -What do you intend to give us for our fee, Frederic?”
“I do not know indeed, Jane," replied lord Burton; “ I am afraid ham too poor
to find any adequate reward for you, but I am sure my thanks are due to Miss Stanhope for her kindness.”
In about an hour and a half captain Malcolm returned with a medical man from Exeter, and after replying frankly to the thanks lord Burton tendered him for his assistance, he left him with the surgeon, and went to present a letter of introduction which he had for lady Delmont, who received him with unusual affability, and begged that he would stay to dinner.
Captain Malcolm pointed to his dirty boots and morning dress, observing, that he was scarcely in fit attire for her ladyship’s drawing-room." But his objection, which he did not urge very forcibly, was soon overruled, and the invitation was accepted.
In the mean time lord Burton's knee, on which the horse had fallen, was found by the surgeon to be much more injured than his arm; and he was strictly prohibited from moving off the sofa more than