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CHAPTER III.

“ He was not like thy thought. Thus fancy oft
Builds up the airy fabric of the future;
From hier own stores her light materials brings,
Models, creates, enjoys : and when all's done,
What is it but a palace raised of snow,

That melts away before the sun of truth,
Nor leaves a vestige of its form behind ?"

The Tutor.

The vacancy occasioned by Mary's absence was more strongly felt by every member of sir Charles Melville's family as the day passed on, than it had been at the immediate moment of her departure. At first it had merely been the pain of parting for a time from an object of affec. tionate regard; but as time slipped on, each felt that, in some particular, she had been necessary to their happiness, in a

manner

manner that they had never estimated before; and the very gloom that this sensation cast upon them, made each the less capable of supplying her place to those around.

Sir Charles: Melville declared that the room looked quite solitary without her, and when at dinner he saw a knife and fork laid in the place where she used to sit, he turned, half grieved, half angry, to the butler, exclaiming—" Do not the people know that lady Mary is gone? I am sure they might have found out that by the dullness of the house. Take away that knife and fork." ;

Caroline's smiles were gone for the day; and though Charles was the only person who did not, or would not appear altered, yet, after tea, when the party had been accustomed to spend the evening with either vocal or instrumental music, his taste seemed suddenly to have got more critical than usual, for nothing that Caroline could sing or play would please him entirely, C 4

and

and he was always referring to the manner in which Mary used to sing a particular song, or execute some difficult passage.

“ Well, Charles,” said Caroline, “ you never used to praise Mary so much before her face. It is true, we never know how to esteem a person till we have lost them. Take care that it is not your case some day.”

“ You mistake me, Caroline,” replied her brother ; “ I always said, and I always thought, that Mary sang most exquisitely; but I have nothing to do with the schemes which other people choose to form, and I wish you would not speak to me on the subject.”

The next day was more dull than the former; and the third, sir Charles having invited a large party to dinner, chiefly composed of their country neighbours, whom Charles pronounced to be semi-barbarous, the drawing-room was pretty full, when Mr. Melville descended from his room. Dinner was not ready, and the

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heavy ten minutes seemed still more heavy to Charles, who felt himself obliged, in common politeness, to devote his attention to his father's guests, with most of whom he had not one subject in common.

At length the sound of a carriage drawing up announced the arrival of somebody more, and drawing near his sister, he whispered to her—" Caroline, I must certainly run away, for if that is a fresh reinforcement of Goths, our small body will be quite overpowered; you know what a coward I am.” .“ Nay, nay, for Heaven's sake stay, Charles !” replied Caroline, in the same under tone, “ for I do not know what to say to them; this old gentlemen has been talking to me of pointers for the last halfhour.” ; After a moment or two of suspense, the footman threw open the door, announcing -"Mr. Malden."

“Oh, with my tutor!" thought Charles, and prepared to see, in the person whom

Mr.

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Mr. Malden came to introduce, something tall, formal, and pedantic, with a coat five or six fashions behind, ungainly limbs, and hands that he did not know what to do with - “ So stiff, su starck, some statue, you would swear, Stalked from its pedestal to take the air":

The moment Mr. Malden's name was given, sir Charles Melville started up with his usual quickness, blew his nose heartily to compose his nerves, marched across the room, and took his new guest by the hand, who immediately introduced a gentleman that was with him by the name of Wilmot. . .

The young stranger advanced. He was · a man of very striking appearance tall,

graceful, elegant; he had that perfect ease, that calm, undisturbed quiet of demeanour, that nothing but good society can give. He was perfectly himself, though sir Charles seemed not quite so much so; for whether it was that he did not expect to see that sort of man or not, can hardly

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