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natural to his character, described to Mary and lady Anne (who had been alarmed with the rest) the figure he had seen, the white clothing it had on, the deep stains of blood upon its garments, and the deadly paleness of its cheek; but remembering how painful such a detail must be to Frederic, he gradually let the subject drop, and pressed his cousin to take some wine.
To pass the remainder of the night alone, Charles easily conceived would be unpleasant to lord Burton, and little better would it be to have a servant sleep in his room. He therefore insisted on sleeping himself on the sofa in Frederic's dressingroom, merely, he said, to satisfy his curiosity, should such a thing occur again, without at all alluding to the painful remembrances he well knew this event must have recalled.
Lord Burton understood his motives ; and the kindly manner in which Charles entered into his feelings made a deep impression on his heart. His cousin's pre
sence, however, enabled him to pass the night in tolerable peace, and nothing again : occurred to disturb them. Lord Burton rose. very early the next morning; and before joining the rest of the party, he signified to Mr. Melville his intention of leaving Naples immediately.--" Charles,” said he, “ I am going to leave you. You are aware of a very melancholy circumstance in my life, and therefore cannot be surprised that I fly from a place, where all that I have been striving for years to banish from my remembrance has been recalled in so dreadful a manner.” .
"I am not surprised at that, Frederic,” , replied his cousin ; " but I am surprised that a man of your strong mind should suffer an event, purely accidental, but which, if it had been intentional, might have been well justified, to prey in this manner upon your health, and embitter the whole course of your life.”
"Oh, Charles," answered lord Burton, “ could the feelings of a man, stained with
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the blood of his fellow-creature, ever be fully laid open to mankind, could they for a moment enter into the agony of his heart, at those times when solitude permits the return of thoughts which society had banished, who is there that would dare to take that which he can never restore, to render his own fate and that of his victim equally irrevocable, and by sending another unprepared to his account, heap fire upon his own head for the weary term of existence ? None, Charles, none that could think.”
“ But supposing even that all men ought to think so,” said Mr. Melville, “ from all I have understood, with you, Burton, it was a mere accident, for which it is injustice to accuse yourself.” .
“ It was indeed a mere accident," replied lord Burton. “ I had determined not to return colonel Stanhope's fire; and I call Heaven to witness, that in raising my pistol, my sole intention was to discharge it in the air ; and when, by my
glove catching the trigger, it went off, and I beheld him fall, my surprise was only equalled by my horror. I have often .. tried to reason as you do. But what am
I to think now? This is no fantasy--now you have seen it as well as myself. Had · that not been the case, you might have supposed that I was the sport of a diseased imagination, to start like a schoolboy at my own shadow, or be frightened at a casual moonbeam; and I too might have thought that my conscience, brooding in remorse over the death of Stanhope, presented his image wherever I turned. But now, Charles, the reality is forced upon my mind with confirmation that I cannot eyen suspect.”
" But may it not have been some deception ?” said Charles.
« Oh no," answered his cousin, “you have yourself ascertained that it can be none. Besides, no one has any inducement to practise a deception upon me.. I am well aware, that wherever I go, the
same fatal occurrence is liable to overtake me ; but yet I cannot make up my mind to remain where it has once happened. It will be painful for me to leave my sister; but under lady Anne's kind guidance, and your protection, Charles, I have no fears for her; I feel the fullest confidence in your honour and affection, and I hope that you and Mary may be happy, when I perhaps am at rest.”
Charles pressed his cousin's hand warmly—“I shall see you happy yet, Frederic,” he replied ;." I am sure I shall.”
," I am so shadowed with disappointment myself,” replied lord Burton, that *I am almost afraid to wish for the good of any one, for fear the fate which attends all my hopes should follow them too."
“Oh, Frederic,” said Charles, “ do you consider the tendency of such feelings! Do they not appear like doubt of the mercy of that being, the immensity of whose works are right, though our mi