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reserve with which she should treat Middleton were instantly put to flight on her observing his languid, pale, and altered looks. Alike surprised at the suddenness of the change, and overcome by her feelings, the generous, warmhearted girl, expressed her sorrow for his sufferings and her anxiety for his recovery, with an ardent tenderness, so gratifying to its object, that it seemed, to judge by his delighted countenance, as if she possessed the power of instantly realizing her benevolent aspirations.

Partly with the interested motive of having more frequent interviews with Lucy, and partly in the hope of contributing to the recovery of his friend, by affording him as often as possible the cheering solace of Chritty's society, Hargrave conveyed the family from Maple Hatch two or three times a week, thus affording ample opportunities to the lovers of cementing their passion by the frequent sight of their mistresses. It appeared to Chritty that, by absenting herself upon these occasions, she should betray a consciousness of the passion she had inspired, and, perhaps, be suspected of coquetting. An air of self-possession and indifference, coupled with a guarded discountenance of any very pointed attentions that might be shown her, seemed the best mode of repressing a predilection which, with all her regard and esteem for Middleton, she could not fully reciprocate. But her coldness could not chill so rapidly, as her presence, her virtues, and her accomplishments kindled and increased the passion she had excited. Her lover's flame gathered strength and extended itself, until it resembled a conflagration, which is rather fed than checked by the puny streams of cold water thrown upon it. Middleton noticed, indeed, an occasional distance in her manner, but as he could not doubt the testimonies of regard that had escaped from her at the time of the accident, and attributed her present altered demeanour to a maidenly coyness and timidity, it only enhanced the admiration it was intended to re

press.

In a few days he was sufficiently recovered to quit the house, and stroll as far as the plantation, or even to the first field of what he termed his picture-gallery, where the balsamic air, and the beauties of the scenery, in which he had ever found a particular delight, invigorated his body, and produced a soothing effect upon his mind. Ever since his return to Brookshaw, he had been blessed with a complacent, we had almost said a happy, mood. The frightful and mysterious occurrence which had hastened his departure

from London, still haunted him at intervals, like an occasional nightmare; but his constant association with such redeeming specimens of human nature as Hargrave and the two sisters of Maple Hatch, had banished from his thoughts those disparaging notions of his fellow-creatures, which had so often darkened his mind till it sunk into a despondency approaching to despair.

Sitting one morning on an alcove of the plantation, indulging a grateful sense of the long respite he had enjoyed from these tormenting thoughts, he drew forth the miniature which was ever worn next his heart, pressed it respectfully to his lips and to his bosom, and continued gazing so intently upon it, while he ejaculated a few words of impassioned homage, that he did not immediately notice the entrance of a second person. It was Chritty, who, in wandering with her father through the grounds, had left him at a little distance behind. No sooner did Middleton recognise her, than he huddled the miniature into his bosom in evident confusion, and was about to speak, when he was anticipated by his visitant, who said formally, and with a slight reddening of the face, "I beg your pardon, Mr. Middleton, for this intrusion. My father, fatigued with walking, desired me to step forward to see whether you were in the alcove; but had I been aware- She paused, for she scarcely knew how to proceed, when Middleton took advantage of her embarrassment to exclaim, "My dear Miss Norberry, your presence can never be an intrusion, nor can you have observed any thing with which I would not wish you to be made fully acquainted, if you desire it. Will you allow me to explain that-"

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"O dear! by no means," interposed Chritty, "I desire nothing I have no right, no wish, not the least in the world -to look for an explanation. You are in your own domain, giving vent to the effusions of your own heart. It was only for me to explain how I came to intrude, most unintentionally, I can assure you, upon your privacy."

"Suffer me to repeat that I have no seclusion which will not ever be most welcomely, most delightfully dispelled by your appearance; and as to the feelings and effusions of my heart-O Miss Norberry! if you will allow me to lay bare that heart before you-if you will listen for a moment to an effusion that shall breathe its most cherished hopes and aspirations-if you will forgive the presumption

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"Nay, sir, you had an object for your effusions before my presence interrupted them. It does not become me to hear,

and still less to share them, but there is nothing to forgive on either side-here comes my father."

"Eugh!" growled Mr. Norberry, as he reached the alcove, "found you at last, have we? This comes of having grounds; playing at hide and seek with one another all day long,-tired as a dog. Why did you run away from me, Chritty? Ar'n't a penny-postman, to trudge all day a-foot; but nobody cares for me."

"You forget, sir, that you desired me to step forward and see whether Mr. Middleton were in the alcove."

"Didn't desire you to stay chatting with him, though! Come, let's get back to the house: hate walking through fields and woods-only meant for cattle. Ar'n't a horse, or an ass-eugh!"

Taking his daughter's arm, Mr. Norberry returned towards the Lodge, Middleton walking beside them, and endeavouring by the most courteous attentions to dispel the reserve that still chilled the countenance of his fair companion. If no man be a hero to his valet de chambre, still less can any female be a perfect heroine to the author who is conversant with her most secret thoughts. Candour obliges us to confess that, upon this occasion, Chritty Norberry did not display so perfect a magnanimity as we could have wished. Having made up her mind to reject Middleton as a husband, she ought not to have felt hurt that any other woman should possess his affections, even supposing the miniature he had pressed so tenderly to his heart and to his lips to have been that of a beloved mistress; a presumption only jnstified by appearances, since she had not sought to obtain any glimpse of the painting. In the first moment of calm reflection that succeeded to this surprise of her feelings, she accused herself of having harboured an unworthy sentiment, and sought her vindication by a species of sophistry in which we are all subtle, when we are special pleaders for ourselves, "jealousy!" she mentally ejaculated, "there can be none where there is no love, and I cannot be said to love a man whose sentiments I do not altogether approve, and whose hand, were it instantly proffered to me, I should feel it my duty to reject. No-it is the duplicity that would delude me by the tokens of a preference and regard which he evidently lavishes upon another; it is his double-dealing which has offended me. From the generous, the kind-hearted Middleton, whom I deemed the very soul of truth and honour, I could never have expected deceit, and it is natural that I should resent an unworthiness which I had so little

reason to anticipate." Alas! had Middleton been indifferent to her, Chritty would not have conceived so keen a displeasure against his supposed duplicity; it was her attachment that made her suspicious; and the indignation which she attributed to an injured sense of rectitude, was but the pique of disappointed love. Her reserve was maintained during the remainder of the visit, and when she took her departure from the Lodge, it was with a secret determination never to return to it.

The surprise to which Middleton had been exposed in the alcove, and the misconstructions it might occasion, induced him to form a resolution diametrically the reverse, and to decide that Chritty should return to the Lodge in the quality of its mistress. As his passion had been receiving a daily accession of strength, and he had previously made up his mind to offer his hand, he saw in the awkward affair of the miniature a reason for hastening his declaration, as the most effectual method of dispelling erroneous impressions. He had been on the point of removing all doubt upon the subject by satisfactory explanations, when the inopportune appearance of Mr. Norberry prevented him. Nothing now remained but to seize an opportunity of formally doing so, and, as he could not bear to remain longer than was absolutely necessary, under an unmerited suspicion, he resolved to put his purpose in execution on the following day.

Diffident, sensitive, timid, and penetrated with an intimate conviction that the happiness or misery of his life would depend on the result of his offer, Middleton, after taking long and anxious counsel with his thoughts, resolved to make his proposal in writing, instead of seeking a personal interview. It was much easier, however, to decide upon writing, than to please himself in the composition of his letter. Five or six were destroyed before he was sufficiently satisfied to sign, seal, and deliver, his amended epistle into the hands of Robin, with strict orders for its instant and careful conveyance to Maple Hatch. Of its contents, precious as every sentence might perchance be deemed by some of our fair readers, we can only furnish a brief outline. Af ter pledging himself to a full and satisfactory explanation on the subject of the miniature, the writer solemnly protested that his whole undivided heart and affections were irrevocably devoted to Miss Norberry, whose virtues and talents formed the subject of an ardent but not intemperate eulogy. He then entered into a frank detail of his circumstances, made a formal offer of his hand, stated that her acceptance

of it, should he be deemed worthy of an honour and happiness so inappreciable, would scarcely separate her from her own family, since it was his determination to reside permanently at the Lodge; and concluded with a passionate entreaty that she would not plunge him into despair by the rejection of his suit.

Of the intense anxiety with which he awaited the return of his messenger, they only can judge who have been placed in a similar state of suspense. It was little likely that an answer requiring such mature deliberation on her own part, and a probable appeal to the sanction of her father, would be immediately despatched: but it was just possible that Robin might be kept waiting till a reply could be framed; and this idea, improbable as it was, fixed him immoveably at the window, commanding the road by which his servant, would return. While thus straining his eyes, and converting every animate and not a few inanimate objects into a likeness of the desiderated harbinger of pleasant tidings, he saw advancing towards the house, from the side entrance of the garden, a group, consisting of the boy whose life he had been instrumental in saving, his aunt, and a third person, whom, from his coachman's appearance, he concluded to be the father of the child. He was a short, florid, and rather corpulent man, attired in a very handsome livery; his shining flaxen side-curls trimly arranged under his large cocked hat; his countenance open and smiling; and his whole substantial comfortable appearance conveying the impression that he served a family where there was plenty of good cheer and no very severe duties to perform. On the door being opened by Madge, for Middleton had given general orders that all visitants, however humble their station, should be ushered into the parlour, the woman entered first, holding the child by the hand, and, after dropping a deep courtesy, turned to the man behind, and said, "Come forward, Henry, and fall upon your knees, and call for the blessing of God on the gentleman who saved your dear boy's life."

The man advanced accordingly, smoothing down his shining hair with his right hand; but he had no sooner caught sight of Middleton, than, suddenly starting back with every demonstration of utter amazement and dismay, while his staring eyes remained riveted upon the object before him, he ejaculated in a hoarse whisper, You! you! is it you who saved my boy's life at the risk of your own? Oh! this

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