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But at length their captain, having cast many uneasy looks along the road, which was close by, told Charles that they could not remain any longer in that exposed situation, and Mr. Melville was obliged to raise his cousin in his arms, and carry her in the midst of the robbers, along a narrow path passing between the hill and the wood. Burdened with the weight of his cousin, Charles was now totally without defence, and had the banditti been so inclined, they might have murdered him without resistance; but the proverb, that there is honour amongst thieves, seemed to hold good, and their minds for a time at least seemed turned to other thoughts,
At the end of a mile they came to a house which bore the appearance of a solitary inn. It is true, there had been another house near it, the walls of which were still standing; but the windows, doors, and wood-work in general, had been long ago torn away, to patch up the dilapidated dwelling into which Charles was now con
ducted. When they were arrived at this miserable-looking place, they made him carry Mary up stairs into a large bedroom, which was entered by an anti-room; and here the captain, who followed him, locked the door, telling him, that in a few minutes he would send his sister to see if she could be of any assistance to his wife, which he concluded Mary to be; and Charles, thinking some advantage might be drawn from the mistake, took care not to correct it.
As soon as they were alone, he laid Mary gently on the wretched bed which the room contained, and again endeavoured to recall her to recollection. He was now more successful, for in about five minutes she began to revive, though slowly, and a slight degree of colour came back into her cheek. As soon as she had recovered herself, she raised her head, gazed wildly round her, and fixing her eyes upon Charles's face, seemed striving to remember.-—“ Charles !” exclaimed she at
length, “where am I? tell me what has happened? was it you, dear Charles, that saved me again ?"
Charles had for years been deceiving himself-he had been deceiving every one, with respect to his feelings towards Mary; but circumstances had opened his eyes, he could delude himself no longer, and yielding to all he felt, he pressed her to his bosom, telling her she was safe, and calling her by the fondest names that affection could suggest.
But Mary seemed scarcely to perceive the increased warmth of his manner. “Oh, Charles !” she replied, putting both her hands into his with her own sweet and peculiar look of innocent confidence, .“ what do I not owe you?”
“Nothing ! nothing, dearest Mary!” he replied, and a further answer was trembling on his lips, which would at once have explained to Mary the feelings of his heart; but at that moment he heard a foot on the stairs, and he had just time to inform his cousin that lady Anne Milsome was safe-that the robbers detained them till such time as the ransom should be paid-and that they took her for his wife, when some one unlocked the door of the antichamber.
There was something in the mistake which the robbers had made, with respect to her connexion with him, that called a slight blush into Mary's cheek, that came and went like the purple of an evening sunbeam. · Every expression of countenance is a sort of silent language which we all translate in our own hearts, but which the customs of the world forbid us to notice in the ordinary modes of speech, and Charles instantly interpreted his cousin's blush, and answered it, without thinking, by asking her not to discountenance the mistake, for that it might be of the greatest consequence to them both that it should continue. • The request made Mary blush again;
and the soft pressure with which Charles's hand closed upon hers that he had still retained, deepened the crimson upon her cheek and forehead..
There are some passions which are lost in danger and sorrow; but there is one which, if true, yields not to circumstances ; no, not for a moment. · It was a woman who entered the room, and, as Charles concluded, the sister of him who appeared the chief of the banditti. She had one time been very lovely, and indeed was so still ; nor was it time that had at all impaired her beauty, for she looked to be scarcely more than two or three and twenty; but it seemed as if both sorrow and crime had cast a shadow over her countenance, and wrought those strong lines in it that the recurrence of years had not been frequent enough to effect. The frown which hung upon her brow had much of melancholy, and little, though somewhat, of sullenness; and the curl that raised her lip, had more of the C':