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a house in those parts. "Time enough to let you know it now," said he. "And did not my aunt know, either?" I asked. "That matters not," he evasively replied: "if she did, she would not object to your coming." I felt sure there was some concealment, and deception, on his part; else, why make a mystery of the circumstance? All this time we had been walking at a quick pace, and had advanced far into the wood without my noticing the path, being intent on our discourse; but now I paused, saying I would go no further, unless he would explain more clearly his motive for drawing me aside from the straight road, as I was certain he had done: to which he retorted, that I was not likely to know the road better than he did. I told him I should prefer taking my chance alone, or returning by the way I came. "Well, then," cried he, " to shew you that I do not want to compel you to come with me if you don't like it, I will go forward, and leave you in this shady grove, while I prepare the inmates of my house for your reception; for I still hope to find you here on my return, though I leave you free to follow your own inclinations." These words were accompanied by a smile, not like that of a kind and true friend, but expressive of sue
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cessful cunning, which did not tend to allay my apprehensions. Therefore, no sooner did the trees intercept him from my view, than I began to run, as fast as my wearied limbs would permit, in an opposite direction. But what was my dismay to find my speed quite unavailing, for the longer I ran, the more did I become entangled in a diversity of paths, none of which appeared likely to lead me back to the entrance of the wood: it was a complete maze! And now I perceived why the old man had made a show of leaving me at liberty; he knew well enough that I should not be able to find my way out, and therefore he had me secure, as in a trap. I cried out as loud as I could, but with slight hope of the sound reaching any casual passer-by, for every moment my voice became weaker from terror, fatigue, and the mortification of finding myself thus tricked; and I was on the point of fainting when you, cousin Paul, came so unexpectedly and opportunely to my aid.
Here ended Grace's narration, to which all the party listened with much interest, cordially testifying their joy at her escape; and thus Piety spake.
Piety. I have heard of this Master Social, who has of late been troubling the country, from a pil
grim whose son was once decoyed to his house. The youth was rash and inconsiderate, but not wicked; and when he found, before the close of the first day, that the persons collected there were a lawless set, and its master a wretched godless man, deceiving others, but most fatally himself, verging towards the confines of a future world, with all his thoughts "of the earth, earthy," he seized an opportunity of quitting the place unobserved, lamenting the thoughtless credulity that had ever led him there, and gladly retracing his steps to his fond and anxious parent.
Now the pilgrims began to talk of pursuing their journey, but their kind hostesses told them they could not part with them yet; so they willingly consented to stay longer, for they liked the place and their companions much, and the time passed pleasantly and profitably.
Not long after this I saw, in my dream, that Grace was, one fine morning, walking in a charming shrubbery near the house, when she saw Paul slowly advancing towards her, but without seeing her, for he was looking down on the ground, and appeared dejected; so, when they met, she asked him if any thing had happened to cause him sorrow?
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"And would my sorrow," said he, colouring as he spoke, " give you any concern?"
"Certainly it would," she replied, artlessly. "I am sure I should be very ungrateful if I did not feel for you, after all your kind exertions in my behalf."
"I know you could never be unfeeling to any one," answered Paul; "but / should have been so, had I not rendered you the service I did; and then I was but the instrument of a higher power. I only wish," continued he, with a sigh, "that I were as amiable as the noble-minded Philemon, who has, at least, an equal claim on your gratitude, inasmuch as your brother's welfare is dearer to you than your own."
Grace. True, I ought to be grateful to him too, and am so. But does that trouble you?
Paul. Only because I think you prefer him to me, which is not surprising.
Grace assured him she did not prefer him (estimable as he appeared) to her cousin, whom she had known so much longer, and considered almost as a second brother. Her modesty and humble-mindedness prevented her discovering the extent of Paul's regard for her till this conversation, when he tremulously declared it much exceeded that of mere relationship; and, in short, that unless she wished him to continue sorrowful, she must consent, at some time, to become his wife. Then was it her turn to blush; but, as far as I could judge, it was not in anger.
Paul added, that he hoped Luke would not object to a union that would serve to strengthen the brotherly affection and friendship that had ever existed between them; and he said, it was not so much the beauty of her person as of her mind that had attracted his admiration and esteem; and that, therefore, no diminution of the former, from age or accident, could at all affect his constant love.
Grace, who was undisguised in speech as in thought, affected not indifference when she felt preference; and, indeed, her cousin's conduct since their journey together, his meekness, and readiness to see and allow superiority in others (often less in reality than in his opinion), together with his zealous friendship for her brother, had endeared him to her more and more; so she candidly promised to grant his suit, if neither Luke nor the three virgins, whom he agreed to her consulting, saw any objection to it.
The walk back was a happy one, neither of them much fearing opposition from their mutual friends.