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old lady, as he entered, “
you have made your escape from one old person to encounter another, without you choose to go and escort your cousin back from the lodge at the other end of the park. The old woman who keeps the gate is ill, and our kind-hearted Mary would go to see her, though I am afraid she will catch cold: it is a very severe night.”
Charles very readily followed lady Anne's suggestion, and putting on his hat, set out for the lodge, which lay at the farther extremity of the park, surrounded by an acre or two of wood, through which the road was cut. It was a clear, frosty night, and the moon shining in great splendour, shewed the scenery round in those grand masses of light and shade which her beams so beautifully display: especially the wood which skirted the park in that direction to which Charles's steps were turned, it fell into large, heavy portions, unbroken, except by the dark glades into which the moonlight could
not penetrate, or every now and then where some elm, that time, or the lateness of the season, had stripped of its leaves, mingled with the more sombre, but more lasting firs, and lifted its unclothed branchés in' melancholy nakedness above their heads. Beyond and above the tops of the trees, where they descended into a low dell, from the height on which the mansion stood, a distant view of the sea was offered to the eye, and now glittering in the clear light of the planet, it looked like a molten ocean of silver poured into the centre of the dark and gloomy masses around.
Charles had scarcely got half way across the park, when he stopped, thinking he heard a distant scream : he heard it again more distinctly, and in a moment after he saw the figure of a man emerge from the wood, carrying a female form in his arms towards the part of the park nearest the
Whoever it was that he bore, she struggled violently to free herself from
his hold, and without hesitating, Charles darted forward to her assistance. The man ran hard, but he was burdened and obstructed; and Charles, naturally swift of foot, was up with him in a very few minutes. But what was his rage and surprise, to find, as he came near, that the person thus forcibly dragged away was his cousin Mary! The man finding that to detain her was now impossible, let her go, when Charles had come within a few yards, and then seemed to hesitate whether he should fly or turn upon his pur
But he had no time for long deliberation. Mr. Melville was up with him in a moment, and unfurnished with any other weapon than such as nature provides, he struck him a straight-forward blow that made him reel. But he recovered himself instantly, and grappled with his assailant, who then found that he had engaged with a man much stronger than himself; for though in struggling, both fell, Charles was below, and the grasp
the stranger on his throat almost suffocated him. He however managed to throw him off, and both regaining their feet, the stranger cast a glance towards the house, from which the servants were now seen coming out, alarmed by lady Mary's
This seemed to decide him; he was now free from Mr. Melville's hold, and darting into the wood, he was lost to their sight.
When Charles came up to his cousin, he found her, as may be supposed, in a state of great agitation.--" Oh, Charles," she exclaimed, “ you are hurt-I am sure you are hurt!" and leaning her head on his shoulder, what between one feeling and another, she burst into tears.
Mr. Melville assured her that he was quite uninjured; and the servants coming up, he directed them to search in the wood, and give information of what had happened in the neighbouring village, while he himself carried lady Mary in his arms back to the house, where he left her F 2
in the care of lady Anne Milsome, and hastened himself down to the town to endeavour to secure the perpetrator of such an act of daring outrage. But his inquiries were all in vain; he was not to be heard of, though Charles gave an accurate description of his person and appearance; før though it was by moonlight he had seen him, and that during the struggle of 'a moment, Mr. Melville had recognised him as the handsome and well-informed stranger with whom he had travelled the day before. But still his inquiries were in vain, though one of the towns people pointed to a large boat that was seen in the distance, cutting her silent way over the moonlight waters, and asked if he thought that the man who was the object of his inquiry was one of the smugglers?”
No, no, he is no smuggler,” replied Charles, shaking his head, and returned disappointed to the park. At the lodge he stopped to inquire of the old woman who kept the gate, whether she had re.