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perceive much difference from his absence; but he soon began to feel a blank that he could not fill up, and would often pull out his watch, and count the time. Nor did he readily get accustomed to the want of his society. He missed him far more than he had imagined that he would, without being well able to tell why. It could scarcely be for his conversation, for though when he did speak, in addition to the deep information and strong thought he displayed, there was an elegance in his language, and an interest attached to liis manner, that enchained every power of attention; yet it was seldom that he so far overcame the gloom that hung over him, as to address any one, without first being spoken to. But the truth was, there was always something new about Mr. Wilmot; whatever he said or did was in some degree different from any thing Charles had been accustomed to; it was not commonplace; and in addition to the sincere feelings of attachment which he had towards him,
Mr. Melville always found in his character something to interest him, and to re
At length he returned ; and from the good spirits in which he appeared, Charles concluded the issue of his journey to have been favourable. Mr. Wilmot shook him frankly by the hand, and spake to him with a warmth of manner rather unusual with him. It was late in the day when he arrived, and during dinner he conversed freely and easily, but never alluded to the subject of his sudden call to Paris.
-“ It was lucky,” said he at length, “that I happened to call at the banker's, as there was a letter for each of us, which we might not have got for some time. I will get yours out of my portmanteau after dinner. Mine was from Mr. Malden, containing a great deal of chit-chat, and amongst the rest he tells me he has been paying a visit for a week to your father in London, where he heard that lady Mary Burton, your cousin, had been ill"
“ Ill!" interrupted Charles, anxiously; “ I hope not seriously.”
“ Yes, indeed he says very seriously,” rejoined Mr. Wilmot; “ but he adds that she is better."
“ I am sorry to hear this indeed,” said Charles ; " I should like much to know more about it. It is very strange they have never written to me on the subject. Do you know who the letter to me is from?"
“ Not in the least,” replied Mr. Wilmot; “ the hand in which it is directed is quite strange to me.”
After dinner, as he had promised, Mr. Wilmot brought down the letter, and gave it to Mr. Melville.
Oh, from my old schoolfellow, sir Harry Morley,” said Charles; “ this will give me no information, I am afraid,” and breaking the seal, he began to read it carelessly over; but as he proceeded he got more interested.-“ Yes, indeed it does though,” he said aloud; “it tells me Mary
has been very ill indeed, nearly dying, and they have never let me hear a word upon the subject. It is really cruel of them; but I know who to attribute that to: it is my amiable cousin, lord Burton, that has prevented my hearing of it. However, I will write to Morley directly, and ask him to get me all the news he can upon the subject."
“ You had better tell him then to direct to Milan," said Mr. Wilmot; “ for we shall be there by the time his letter can arrive.”
“How hard the customs of society are!" said Charles, thoughtfully; “ I have been brought up with Mary almost from infancy, and yet I cannot write to her, to ask after her health, even when I know she has been so very unwell. I am really almost tempted to do so.”
“I see no reason why you should not,” said Mr. Wilmot.
“I certainly would,” replied Charles, “ if had no one to deal with but herself;
for Mary is frankness itself, and would take my letter just as I meant it, and answer me as if I was her brother.”
“ But who then are you afraid of?” demanded Mr. Wilmot.
“Oh, of no one in particular,” answered Charles; “ but there are always people, the perversion of whose minds makes them think that no one else can act straight forwardly; they are always seeking for something under the apparent meaning, and suppose all they are concerned with as meanly political in their actions as they are themselves.”
« Well, Charles,” said his companion, 66 when the world and I are scarce catercousins, and I want a lesson on abusing it, I will apply to you."
“ Not so," replied Mr. Melville; “ I did not say that these people formed the bulk of the world; but, for all that, they lead it by the nose, and instead of asking ourselves before we act, .What will the world say?" it ought to be, 'What colouring can