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perceived another carriage coming rapidly towards them. By the French law, each. vehicle should give up half of the paved, part of the road in the centre, to another in passing it. But at this time a complete thaw had succeeded to a very hard frost, and the unpaved sides of the road, which a few days before had been covered with snow, were now little better than quag. mires. In consequence of this, neither of the postilions chose to go farther off the firm part than he could help, and driving quickly along, the two carriages were dashed violently against each other. The English vehicle, being far the strongest, kept its ground, while the other was upset in a moment, which catastrophe was followed by a scream, evidently from female lips. Instead of attempting to render the least assistance, the postilions began to belabour each other with their whips, sputter. ing forth all manner of French oaths, while the servants employed themselves in parting them. But Mr. Wilmot was
out of the carriage in a moment, and be fore Charles had time to think, had drawn one poor terrified woman out of the wreck of the other conveyance; and Charles, following his example, with some difficulty extricated the other traveller, pale, terrified, and almost fainting; but, in Charles's eyes, one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. There was something perhaps in the situation which added to her loveliness in his eyes. Let people say what they will, there must be some feel ing of interest excited in our own bosoms before we can fully appreciate beauty; without, it is the mere perfection of a statue -of a picture; it is the most insipid part of beauty; but give it life, give it anima. tion, give it a claim upon our hearts, and it is beauty indeed! Oh, what would the Venus de Medicis be, if she could move if she could speak! The beauty of the stranger was great, without considering any thing farther than form and feature; but she was more lovely in Charles's eyes,
because she was a being to whom he had rendered some assistance. Her very terror was picturesque: he felt as much interested in her fear as he had done in her safety; and from that alone a tie seemed to be drawn between them. For a mo, ment or two after he had raised her from the carriage, she still continued to hold his arm, as if scarcely conscious, and then lifted her eyes to his, with an expression of gratitude that the little service he had done scarcely merited, and Charles felt al. most ashamed that he had not sayed her:
Charles, as well as all the rest of man, kind, was a physiognomist, and inclined to judge of a man's, habits at least, if not of his disposition, from countenance; but here he felt sure that he was not mistaken. -" If ever there was a bright soul," thought he, as she raised her glance to his, " depicted in the face of mortal, it shines conspicuous there." . The person that Mr. Wilmot had res
cued was evidently the suivante, and this as plainly the mistress; and in a minute the lady's maid had contrived to inform them that the lady was the baroness de S- , who was travelling to Lisle, with a variety of other particulars; nor is it known where she would have stopped in her history, had she not been interrupted by the baroness, who thanked the two gentlemen for their assistance in a faint voice, giving them at the same time the assurance that she was not hurt. She spoke in French, but with an accent that induced Mr. Wilmot to address her in German, which proved to be her native language, and in which she could express herself with greater fluency.
A new difficulty now presented itself : the berlin of the baroness was entirely shattered, and the other, though it had not been overturned, was too much damaged to admit an idea of proceeding in it as it was. St. Quentin, the nearest town, was two miles distant, and no other shelter
within reach; while the sober grey of the sky very plainly announced that night was at no great distance. There was no alternative but to walk to the town; and one of the servants being left with the carriages, Mr. Melville's valet squired the baroness's maid, and Mr. Wilmot, with Charles, supported the lady, who was scarcely able to proceed, from the fear and agitation she had suffered.
As soon as the activity which he had shewn at the moment of the accident was no longer necessary, Mr. Wilmot seemed to fall into double gloom; and though with the most gentlemanlike demeanour he shewed the baroness every attention, any conversation that was kept up till their arrival at St. Quentin, was between her and Charles. It was not till after several pauses, to enable their fair companion to rest, that they reached the city, and there, an apartment being prepared for the baroness, she took leave of them, VOL. I. . I