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the warmth of Frederic's manner dispelled all his fears.
Lady Anne Milsome was soon informed of what had taken place; nor was her full approval less readily given than had been lord Burton's, only her delight was more warmly expressed, and she declared that it was the most fortunate thing that had ever happened, that they should come to Italy just at that moment.
Charles put her in mind of the misadventures on the road, the robbers in the Apennines, &c. declaring that they had been his best friends in Italy.
“ Well, well, Charles,” said lady Anne, "I won't call them any friends of mine," and she shuddered at the bare recollection; " but, no doubt, like every thing else which occurs to us in this world, it was all for the best. Through a long life, I have always found that what I considered a great misfortune at one time of my existence, has proved, by its consequences, VOL. II.
к : a Proa Providence-either an actual blessing, or an escape from evil.”
Charles looked at Mary, and his mind wandering back over the incidents lately passed, acknowledged the practical justice of lady Anne's observation.
When any casual circumstance recalls our thoughts to scenes passed by, our remembrance strays amidst the feelings and objects of those days, the hopes and pleasures which were then bright, but have long lost all the lustre and animation of young existence, and traces them all, like some traveller, who, returning to the home of his fathers, the dwelling of his early years, and finding nothing but desolation to welcome him, fondly pauses on the spot where it has been, views the neglected ruins and altered fabric, and fills up the blanks that time has made, with all those objects that memory still holds dear. Such, however, was not the case with Charles; he looked at Mary, while he thought of other times; and he
thanked his stars that his own obstinate blindness had not been suffered to place an insurmountable barrier between them. He could, nevertheless, scarcely yet trust that his happiness would be durable; and he took care, in the first place, to make an agreement with all parties, that they were to travel through Italy without any separation; and stipulated with Mary, that she was to give him her hand immediately on their return to England.
Mary promised she would do so; nor was any objection made by lord Burton, towards whom Charles had now no reserve. The melancholy which he had observed in Wilmot was now fully account. ed for. The death of colonel Stanhope still hung on Frederic's mind, and would often overshadow him.
Charles could now well enter into the admiration which all those who knew him bore towards his cousin; and though he could scarcely agree with Mary, that he was hardly fallible, or, with lady Anne, K 2
seem to comprehend almost by intuition; and before Mary and Charles had time to tell him their story, he appeared at once to understand how they met, and stopped them to ask what had become of lady Anne Milsome.
Charles soon satisfied him upon that point, as, in fact, lady Anne had been far the most fortunate of the whole party; and it was agreed that all the minor details should be reserved till they could enter into them more fully. . • In the mean while the Austrians had - been pursuing the robbers; and whether
it was by accident or connivance, matters little, but the banditti, though burdened with their wounded companion, contrived to make good their retreat, the troopers riding up and down the paths, appearing to look for them, and giving them a great many abusive epithets, calling them cowardly bloodsuckers and dastardly carbonari, and a great many opprobrious names beside; but as they suffered the robbers friends, is in itself a political body, and its interests being minute in proportion to its size, more nicety is required in deciding upon them, though such dangerous consequences do not proceed from a mistake, as where the more extended arrangements of a nation are concerned. And had the protocol of their conference been put into writing, it would merely have stated, that it was agreed by all parties, that they should proceed to Naples forthwith; that a month was to be the extent of their stay in that country—that the baron de S- , who was present, should accompany them thither; and farther, that all parties being subjects of Great Britain, should return to that country before the expiration of the month of October.