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now, sir," he continued, “ with your permission, we will speak no more of him, as his name is not very pleasing to my ears."
The colour rose in Charles's cheek; but as the stranger had said nothing really of fensive of his cousin, he thought it best to let the subject drop; and after a desultory discussion of some other topics, the conversation gradually sunk into silence, which continued with little interruption to the conclusion of their journey.
The arrival of Mr. Melville at the seat of lady Anne Milsome, caused not a little surprise and pleasure. The mistress of the mansion herself received him with the greatest kindness; and the warm glow on lady Mary Burton's cheek, and the sparkle of her eyes, when she first met him, bade him equally welcome; but he soon began to fancy there was a coldness in her manner, as the day passed on, which astonished and disappointed him; for the usual frankness of Mary's character
did not admit of the least reserve; and he felt sure that nothing but some unexpected and disagreeable event could have rendered her different from the cheerful, mild being she appeared at all other times. At length, however, his suspense was ended, by Mary saying, after a moment's hesitation-“I am sorry, Charles, that you did not come a day or two before.”
“ And why so, Mary?” demanded he; am I not welcome now?"
“ You know, Charles, that you are quite welcome,” replied his cousin ; " but I am obliged to go to Sturford Abbey tomorrow, for my brother is arrived in England, and has met with a fall from his horse; and though Jane Evelyn writes me word that he is not at all seriously hurt, I cannot of course be easy till I see him.”
“Of course not,” replied Charles; “ but indeed. I am sorry to hear of this, Mary : when did it happen?" “Oh, it is nothing, my dear Charles,”
replied lady Anne Milsome; “ Frederic has sprained his knee; but Mary is so anxious, that she must go over to see him, though of course he will come here as soon as he is well.”
- But what takes lord Burton to Sturford Abbey at all ?” demanded Charles : we had no idea that he was in England.” “ Nor I either,” replied lady Anne: but it is Frederic's benevolence that has brought him over here. You know that doctor Wilson, who held the living Burton has given to Mr. Malden, left a niece that he had brought up, quite unprovided for by his death : her name was Travers; and at her uncle's death she went back to her family, who once used to live in great style near Exeter; but now they are none of them to be heard of; for it seems they have lost all their fortune, poor things! by some lawsuit, and have either or into Wales, or somewhere, and Burton is now making every inquiry, for he cannot bear the idea of any of the family of
his old friend, doctor Wilson, being in uncomfortable circumstances. I remember Miss Travers very well running about the' rectory in my poor brother's time, and the most beautiful child she was that I ever saw. Poor thing! she was then quite
every one. Charles merely said what was due to general kindness in regard to the necessity of Mary being absent during his visit to lady Anne Milsome, but he looked grave and disappointed; and lady Mary's anxiety for her brother having taken away a great deal from her usual cheerfulness, the hours passed on rather heavily till dinner-time, when they were joined by an old gentleman of the neighbourhood, who, with themselves, formed their dinnerparty. He was a country gentleman of the old school; still rode his horse with the foremost in the field at a fox-hunt; told the stories of his youth by the fireside, and regularly finished his couple of bottles after dinner. Charles drank little
wine himself, and when the ladies had retired, he found himself obliged to do penance, by sitting and seeing his companion drink, which he did with great perseverance for half an hour, sending the bottle over to Charles when he had filled himself, and taking it back again when his glass was empty, without perceiving that his companion had never touched it. At length, however, this seemed to strike him.-" Mr. Melville,” said he, not drink.” Charles bowed.
Well, well,” he continued, 66 don't let me detain you: I am an old friend of lady Anne's, and she knows my ways; she never expects me to come up and drink slop out of ceremony."
Charles was very glad to avail himself of his politeness, and leaving him with his bottle, as much the most suitable companion for him, he went himself to the drawing-room, where, however, he found lady Anne alone.-—" Well, Charles," said the