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surprised to find their contents so very
he said unintelligible to Charles's foreign ears, and with a grimace that made it like the chattering of an ape, at once strange and ridiculous.
Charles was a good French scholar, but unaccustomed to hear it spoken, especially with such an extraordinary velocity, he did not comprehend one word, and his first impulse was to laugh, in which the landlord joined very heartily, exclaiming at the same time." Mais oui! c'est bien drol! n'est ce pas, monsieur ?-Mourir d'amour_oh l'histoire !"
Mr. Wilmot raised his head at this discourse, and pointing to the papers-"You had better take them,” said he ; “ they may be curious; but what there is in the story to laugh at, I do not see.”
“ I was laughing at him,” replied Charles: “ I did not understand a syllable he said.”
He took the papers, however, and was
different from what he expected. They consisted of a piece of crabbed French
prose, followed by two or three English letters, apparently original; then again another piece of French, with a few bad Latin verses at the end. "I should think, said Wilmot, as Charles read part of the contents to him, “ that those two letters might be versified with some effect.”
“ I will try,” replied Charles; “ and if I can finish them while you are writing your letters, I will send them to Caroline; they will serve to amuse her for half an hour.”
“ You had better translate the French for her too,” replied Mr. Wilmot;." and that will be an exercise for you, and save her some trouble; for it seems as stiff a composition as ever was written.”
Charles accordingly sat down to his occupation; but finding the translation of the French more than he could accomplish, he threw it by; which Mr. Wilmot perceiving, took it up, with a smile, saying, he could not go on with his letter in peace till it was done, and accordingly soon
put it in an English form, while Charles, alternately walking up and down the room, and writing, managed to turn the letters into verse; after which, with all the enthusiasm of a young poet, he read aloud the production of their joint labour as follows:
" Lorenzo and Maria were the son and daughter of two rich and noble English houses: they were both alike beautiful in person, and amiable in disposition; and though the family of Lorenzo were Lutheran heretics, and the relations of Maria professed the Catholic faith, yet so good a will had they towards each other, that their marriage was agreed on with the approbation of all. However, before the time appointed for their union, a violent quarrel took place between their parents : the father of Lorenzo forbade his son to think of Maria; and the father of Maria commanded his daughter to accept the H 5
hand of another man. But love is headstrong. Lorenzo and Maria fled together, and for some way pursued their journey in safety. They were, nevertheless, overtaken : Maria was carried into the Low Countries, and placed in a convent, where in time she took the veil. Lorenzo, in the mean while, entered the British army, and followed Marlborough to his campaigns in Flanders; and here one of those accidents, by which the most improbable circumstances are often brought to pass, caused him to be stationed in the same town in which stood the convent of his fair Maria. He no sooner discovered her abode, than he contrived the means of writing to her, and receiving answers, by bribing a certain woman of the place to tell her at the grate, that if at a certain hour on any day following, when she was quite alone, she would throw three stones over the east angle of the wall of the convent garden, she would receive news of a person, she had loved. Accordingly, Lo
renzo had hardly presented himself at that place the next day, when the three stones were thrown oyer, and in return, he cast back the first of these letters.
« Lone, in the midst of multitudes and noise,