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it ever does, and that it will never come to an end.
Charles Melville was thinking what he should do next, in which occupation he had been engaged for the last half hour, without having been in the least enabled to solve that very perplexing problem. Mary was in her own room, writing a long letter to his sister Caroline; lady Anne Milsome was with her; lord Burton had gone out with his friend, the baron de S; and Charles being solus, and in one of those moods of idle indecision which will at times fall upon all of us, walked up and down the room, determining what he should do for half an hour. He was relieved, at length, by the entrance of sir Philip Mason; there was haste in his
eyes, and Charles at once guessed that he came to ask him to ride to count Mori's, which proved to be his purpose. The proposal was agreed to as soon as made; and in going, sir Philip informed his companion, that he had settled every thing with the
count, who assured him that Biancha's af, fection was entirely his.
“ Ask her herself, Mason,” said Charles. “ Who would take a wife upon another man's word?”
“ I intend to ask her, of course,” replied the young baronet; “ and further, I intend to ask her to-night, if the count gets out of the way, which you may manage for me if
It was a beautiful evening, and nothing could be imagined more lovely than the country, which, tinted in all the brightest hues of nature, declined gradually to the sea, whose wide waters extended far beneath the eye, scarcely ruffled by a breeze, and enlivened by the light and frequent sails that skimmed gently along its bosom. Sir Philip Mason was sometimes talkative and sometimes absent; and the varying emotions of his mind would incline him to linger, with a hesitation he could not overcome. Those moments of doubt are the most painful of a man's life; Charles
knew it from experience, and rather hurried his friend on, thinking that whatever was the event, the sooner it was over the better.
On arriving at the villa, they found an addition to the usual party in a young and remarkably handsome man, with a soldierlike air, and riband at his buttonhole, and on being introduced as colonel Phe merely rose, bowed, and resumed his seat, continuing his conversation with the young lady, whose tell-tale eyes did not keep well the secret of her heart.
Sir Philip looked uneasy, and count Mori, after having for some time regarded his daughter and her lover (for such he evidently was) with a glance that would have done honour to a fiend, at length took advantage of a momentary pause, to say that he wished to speak with the young officer for a few minutes.
Colonel Pimmediately rose, and followed him out of the room; and the
countess not being there, Charles found himself in rather an awkward situation, knowing, as he did, the intentions of his friend: he however made an excuse to walk forward into a little colonnade before the house, which was divided from the garden by a slight trellis-work; covered with a variety of shrubs and plants; and here lie contrived to amuse himself with the flowers which were arranged between the pillars, remaining out of hearing of whatever passed in the saloon. He had not, however, remained here long, when he beheld count Mori and colonel P at a short distance in the grounds; the latter, by bis quick gesticulation and ve, hement speech, seemed much heated, while the count appeared to regard him with a cool, pitying smile. At length the young officer paused, and folding his arms on his breast, remained for a moment with his eyes fixed on the ground, and then starting, he struck his clenched hand violently, against his forehead, and darted
into the road which led from the villa, while the count turned upon his heel, and reentered the house.
Almost immediately after, Charles was joined by sir Philip Mason, who did not appear near so much disturbed as his friend had expected. He proposed to return to Naples ; and Charles assenting, they passed through the saloon, in which was count Mori alone, who, with his usual attention, conducted them to the door, and mounting their horses, they proceeded on their route.
With the frankness natural to his character, sir Philip scarcely had passed the villa, before he informed Mr. Melville, that signora Mori had cut short the communication he intended to have made, by telling him that she had written to him, from which the young baronet drew a favourable presage. Charles was not concerned, and he judged more correctly.
About a mile from the city the road divides; the right hand branch, which is