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returned with two letters to Mr. Melville.
Sir Harry Morley had not failed him, and Charles eagerly tore open 'that which bore bis hand-writing on the direction. The contents seemed to affect Charles deeply; the colour came and went in his cheek as he read, and as he concluded, he threw it down on the table, with an angry impetuous motion, which shewed him not very well pleased at the information it brought..
“May I ask what is the matter ?” said Mr. Wilmot. “ Your cousin is not worse, I hope?"..,; ... i
5* Oh no," answered Charles. “But I am both surprised and disappointed, Wik mot. Morley, here informs me that Mary is much better, but that she is coming to Italy for her health ; and my lord Burton has pointed out for her the very contrary route from what he supposes me going to travel. His lordship will find himself mistaken though, if he thinks I will not see my cousin, after her being so ill, if all
the lord Burtons on earth stood in the
« But what do you think of doing then ?” demanded the other, regarding his emotion with a quiet kind of smile.
“ Oh,” replied Charles, “ it will be easily managed. I will meet her at Florence, taking that city in my way as I go, instead of returning. But let me see what my sister says. This letter is from her.-Not a word, by Heavens!" continued he, as he ran through Caroline's epistle. “ She just touches upon Mary's illness, and then telling me she is better, drops the subject. But I suppose Caroline is schooled, or else is so much occupied with Mr. Malden, who, she says, has been paying a visit to my father, that she thinks of nothing else.” i “ You seem very much interested about your cousin,” observed Mr. Wilmot.
“ Certainly I am," answered Charles, with an affectation of frankness that he did not know himself guilty of: but he was deceiving himself, and might be par
and culling the blossoms he has crushed or neglected! Memory, it is true, furnishes us with a pair of wings, like the worm that has become a butterfly; but these either carry us at such a distance above the objects we regret, that we only see them, without the possibility of tasting them, or else brings us back to them, only to find their hues faded, and their perfume exhaled.
Early days of youth! oh, did but man know all the freshness, the zest, that pertains to ye, how would he treasure up every joy that time, in passing, scatters from his horn of plenty, and, like a gleaner, would follow after his scythe, to gather the flowers he mows before they wither! But Nature only lends us her blessings; and though she kindly trusts us with them, one after another, she soon recals the loan of each; nor can they ever be tasted again, when once they have passed away from us. In almost every thing once gone forward, we can never return.
Such, Such, however, is not the case with the novelist; he can skip backwards and forwards in the field of time, and has the enviable privilege of carrying on at once the past and the present. But this very privilege, as is sometimes the case, may prove embarrassing, and difficult to be managed ; for though he can easily fly back himself, it is not always so easy to take along with him the thoughts of his readers to that precise point where he wishes to pause.
Be it then remembered, that at the time Mr. Melville left England for France, lady Mary Burton was resident with her aunt, . lady Anne Milsome, near Ilfracombe; and be it known, that shortly after the departure of lord Burton from Sturford Abbey, the seat of lady Delmont, the ladies Jane and Cecilia Evelyn also quitted it to return to their father, the earl of Ainsfield, who was at that time in London.
The remonstrance of lord Burton had so far produced an effect on lady Jane, that she made her conduct more circum
pleases; but Mary, is to be consulted too, and sure I am she will not give her hand where her heart is not given. In all probability she has never seen this man; and it is not at all unlikely that her choice may not exactly fall where her brother chooses to point."
Charles then began to convince himself that he had no personal feeling in the business—that he was merely sorry lord Burton had not behaved more candidly on the subject. His father, he was sure, would be much offended; but then when he came to reflect, he fancied, from many parts of his father's conduct, as well as that of his sister Caroline, that they must be both aware already of lord Burton's intentions. His thoughts then turned upon who it could be that was to be thus highly favoured; but he had no data for his reasoning; and after thinking over every one he knew, he could fix on no one with the least probability. At the same time, without knowing it, he looked upon Mary,