Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

length, finding they neither proceeded from impertinent curiosity, or a wish to press obligations upon him, he became more open towards me, and told me his tale of distress. I asked him what he intended to do.-'Go to the hospital for fools,' replied he, if there is such a place here.' I told him there was, and that if he would breakfast with me the next day, I would take him to see it. I had, shortly before, purchased a very pretty cottage about two leagues out of the town, and when he came, I ordered the carriage to drive there. I went over it with him, and prevailed on him to accept it as a loan during his life. I keep a gardener there, and by his means I contrive to give my old friend as much assistance as he will receive. - At first his pride stood much in the way; but now he has become more accustomed to it, and takes the little gifts I send him as a matter of course." “Oh! but a gift from you is not like an

obligation

obligation from any other man,” replied his sister.

“ Hush! hush! you will drive me away,” said lord Burton; " but in reality I must go to my banker's, to make some arrangements before I take my departure, and I shall be back by the time you ladies have settled your plans for the morning.”

“ Your brother is certainly the most excellent of men,” said lady Anne, after lord Burton had left them; “ but it is very odd his leaving us so soon after our arrival: it seems evident to me that he is engaged in some pursuit of which we are not aware.”

“ If he is,” replied Mary, “ it is something, I am sure, that will contribute to his honour, whatever it

“Ohl no doubt-erno doubt," answered ladyı Anne; " but I scarcely think it kind of Frederic towards you, to quit us so soon.”

“Oh, my dear aunt,” said lady Mary, " his reception of me spoke for itself.

Frederic,

may be.”

Frederic, I am sure, loves me as I love him, which is not a little. I own. I should like to know what it is makes him so ab; sent, for he looks ill, and it is easy to perceive that his mind is fully employed, and I am afraid, not pleasantly."

“ Then why do you not ask him, Mary?” said lady Anne; " or at least let him see that you wish to know. I am sure I marked my surprise strongly enough.”

“ I would not let him see that I wish to know in what he is occupied for the world,” answered lady Mary warmly ; " for he is always so kind and so frank, that he would most likely tell me, though it might be most disagreeable for him to do so; and I ought to be the last person to give poor Frederic a moment's pain."

“ Well, well, Mary," answered lady Anne, “ I am sure I have no curiosity upon the subject, only I don't like to see people uncomfortable without knowing what it is about. I dare say he is seeking for that Miss Travers and her family still,

for

for he never gives up'a thing till he has carried it through ; and the people about the place said that they were most likely gone to France, for they had heard nothing of them since they quitted that

neighbourhood.” ..: Lord Burton, as he had proposed, left

them early the next morning, and Mary, in fulfilment of his request, ordered the carriage to visit the old philosopher. Lady Anne was not very well, and declined going, and Mary accordingly proceeded alone." Early as it was in the season, the day was one of spring's loveliest; the air was túneful, the sky was without a cloud, and all nature seemed rejoicing in the sunshine and the light.

When they came near the end of their journey, and turning round the little road that led past the grounds surrounding the dwelling of the philosopher, lady Mary perceived that they were laid out in the English style, with high trees towards the

main

main road, which hid it from the windows of the house. * At the gate she descended from the carriage, and walked through a little shrubbery to the cottage. All the plants were beginning to put forth their leaves, and the spring flowers quite scented the air. The door opened into a small rustic portico, covered with clematis, scarcely yet in leaf, while the tender green of the foliage bore evidence of the renovating hand of spring

Lady Mary knocked several times ; but for some minutes nobody answered, though she could plainly hear the voice of some one speaking within. At length a woman-servant made her appearance, but seemed to bear a strange degree of confusion and anxiety in her countenance. Mary told her name, and asked if she could be admitted. The woman said she would go and see.—“Say it is lord Burton's sister," added Mary, “who wishes

to

« AnteriorContinuar »