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CHAPTER VIII.

Wisdom in sable garb array'd,
Immersed in raptrous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend
Warm Charity, the gen’ral friend,
With Justice to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

POPE.

“ London is a strange place after all,” said young Cunnington, entering the drawing-room, about twenty minutes before the dressing-bell had sounded; " really I have not had one moment to myself to-day. Where is my mother, Miss Lemington ?"

“ She has this moment retired, as she has been very much fatigued to-day; I have advised her ladyship to rest until dinner, for Lord Sevridge will be here, and he will certainly be most political ; are you not frightened?"

“Not so much as I used to be, this Abolition Bill is a very engrossing topic ; Di Lucia and myself are very energetic on the subject, I can assure you. But pray what are you doing?”

"I am copying some fly pages which Lady Cunnington has written at various times ; when they are neatly transcribed we intend having them printed.”

“ My mother turned author, and what may be the subject of her pen?”

“ Letters addressed to the Negroes, which will be sent to various missionaries. I am glad to see you do not smile, Mr. Cunnington, for, I assure you, great good may result from your gentle mother's labours. Free

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dom would be a dangerous gift to the Negroes if they were not prepared to receive it.

“But they are not to be free until 1840. I wonder the British Government, if convinced of the rational tendency of freedom, cannot be magnanimous enough to give it without that tedious probational term of apprenticeship.”

“I am glad you have considered the question so far,” said Alice, “and as Lady Cunnington had to convince me on the subject, I will repeat to you my lesson. It seems that to give the Negroes their freedom at once would be like setting a number of lions at liberty to run through the streets of London ; during their apprenticeship they will be rationally instructed as to the amendment of their condition, and in the mean time the Abolition Bill is the great subject of consideration. Oh! Mr. Cunnington, when we think of those horrid slave markets, the degraded state of the human being sold to his fellow-man, the very idea of standing, with downcast eyes and shackled limbs, until some strange man buys the slave ; and his future life is at the mercy of a stranger ; is it not dreadful?”

“It is really very dreadful,” said Augustus, gazing with much admiration at Alice's very animated countenance.

“ How strange it is that you take an interest in politics,” said he, after a pause, “I suppose my mother has converted

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“ Not exactly; if I had no taste for politics she might have moved me by her eloquence, but that is all. Whereas, I think her ladyship has only encouraged a feeling which seems perfectly natural to me. I wonder you are not anxious to be

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come a politician ; to devote yourself to such a career is, to my female mind, an entertaining idea. Oh! Mr. Cunnington, how much preferable to the frivolous pursuits of idlers."

" You could not like an idler, Miss Lemington, could you ?”.

“No, I think not, at least ....I...."

“ You would strive to persuade him to enlist amongst politicians first, is it not so ?”

“ It is time to dress for dinner,” said Alice, blushing very deeply; “it would take me half an hour to answer your question fully.”

“No ; do let me detain you ten minutes.”

“Not a moment,” said Alice, and, hastily placing her writing in the drawer, she left the room.

Young Cunnington remained alone, and he asked himself a question young men

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