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ceeded each other so rapidly, that scarcely any of the party fully understood the other: they had all something to congratulate themselves upon, and all something for surprise.
Mary was astonished to find her brother so soon after her in Italy; but her wonder very greatly increased, when she learnt that he had been for long travelling with Charles Melville under the title of his tutor; and indeed, unacquainted as she was with the scheme which had been in agitatation for uniting her to her cousin, to her lord Burton's motives were perfectly incomprehensible. To Charles himself they were scarcely less so; and he had some matter for speculation, when he came to consider that his cousin's disguise had never been betrayed by any circumstance, either in France or England. But when we are without suspicion, a thousand occurrences pass us by unnoticed, which the slightest degree of jealousy would convert into positive proof.
Lord Burton himself was not a little surprised to find that his arrival had been as seasonable a relief to his sister as it had been to Charles, who was in reality the only person for whom he sought. :
On Mr. Melville's first encounter with the robbers, it may be remembered that he had with him both a guide and a servant, who instantly fled back over the mountains, bringing the news to lord Bur: ton, whom they looked upon as Charles's tutor. Blaming himself as the cause of all that had occurred, Frederic instantly. applied to the Austrian authorities, and found means to inspire some degree of speed into their operations. His hopes of finding Charles alive were but faint; but he immediately set out with the cavalry who were sent after the robbers, resolved at least to punish those who had injured him, without at all supposing that his sister was involved in the same accident.
Lord Burton, however, was one of those men who combine so quickly, that they . VOL. II.
right she would do; but, at present, she could see no means of effecting what he proposed. But when she was informed that the idea came from the chief of the robbers himself, she began to entertain greater hopes, and it was agreed that they should speak to his sister as soon as she returned. This, however, did not take place for nearly two hours; and in the mean time Charles felt the delicate situation in which Mary was placed, and endeavoured, by the most kind, affectionate, yet respectful behaviour, to relieve her from the embarrassment which she must necessarily have experienced; he even reproached himself for the warmth of manner into which he had been betrayed, by the pleasure of seeing her recover from the temporary insensibility into which she had at first fallen; not that he now at all doubted his own feelings, or the course he had in future to pursue, for in proportion as he had long deluded himself, in regard to his affection for her, now that he was
to get off, those gentlemen would no doubt compound for the rest.
Some difficulty was now met with in. procuring a conveyance to carry Mary to Pistoia. A sort of litter was however at length obtained, and they arrived at fhat town without any farther danger or adventure. The first thing that presented itself to their sight on reaching the inn, was the carriage of lady Anne Milsome, whose delight at seeing Mary return safe almost overpowered her; but the presence of Frederic, of whom she was equally fond, divided her attention, without lessening her pleasure. After the first tumult of her happiness was over, and a great many general questions had been asked, she insisted upon Charles giving her a detail of all that had happened.
Lady Anne entered into every incident that Charles recounted with keen interest, and wept, and looked frightened, and laughed, and smiled, and kissed Mary, embraced lord Burton, and shook hands I 2
honours of the meal, would have done cre. dit to the highest station of society.
Charles not knowing how long they might have her company, introduced the subject of their escape as speedily as possible; but as soon as she perceived to what his conversation tended, she stopped him, holding up her finger, and looking towards the door.—“ My brother has spoken to me about it,” said she, in a low voice; “ I have arranged it all in my own mind. Trust to me, but say no more about it at present; for you are amongst those that confide not in each other.”
Charles was, of course, immediately silent on the subject, and their new friend remained with them during the whole evening, relating to them a great many tales and anecdotes of circumstances and people she had seen, which she did with much point and great variety of language, sometimes speaking of the meaner vices of the world with keen and bitter satire, and sometimes of the faults and sorrows