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thorough conviction common to most young men under his circumstances, that without the immense assistance which his country might derive from his talents when exhibited in parliament, it was impossible that any important measure for the benefit of the nation at large could prosper. This decision arrived at, he drove up to Grosvenor-square, his carriage filled with political pamphlets and his head stored with a complicated mass of impracticabilities, which he intended to bring forward and expound at the earliest opportunity next session.
But how often are our very best and apparently most important intentions frustrated! and such was to be the result of the
young nobleman's purpose in this instance, for, no sooner had he beheld his cousin, now transformed from the laughing child with whom it had been his daily occupation to pass his hours, into the tall and graceful figure before him, than all his long cherished visions of committee suffrages and supplies faded into thin air; and involuntarily he resolved to abandon chimerical pursuits, and sedulously devote himself to the more pleasing endeavour of propitiating the fair goddess, at whose shrine he already found himself a devotee.
Whether the feelings of the lady participated in an equal degree with the gentleman's affection thus revived into passion, we must leave for future development; but from no external appearance could it be gathered that any timidity or bashfulness prevented Emily Beecher from receiving her cousin with that kind cordiality which their earlier intimacy sanctioned, and which, as the son of her guardian, she justly considered he had a right to expect.
From that instant, every hour he could command was devoted to the society of his enchanting relative; and the opportunities afforded by dwelling under the same roof were necessarily numerous, and by him invariably taken advantage of.
The education bestowed on his ward by the careful attention of the marquis, left nothing wanting that the most fastidious could desire; while the angelic temper and sweet amiability of disposition which God had implanted in the heart of one of the fairest of his creatures, remained unruffled and uninjured, for grief and sorrow were to her unknown. Happily had sped her days, and the greatest woe recollection could embrace, was the childish sorrow caused by her first parting with her cousin.
Surely the season of happiness and delight to a young and beautiful woman must be, when first emerging from the trammels imposed upon girlhood, she commences her career in that bright and seemingly happy world from whence she anticipates so much felicity, but from which she is almost always certain to withdraw in disappointment. Up to that time no harrowing care or vexations disturb her thoughts; and perchance no domestic
calamity has thrown its dark though temporary shroud around her heart. The feelings which her new state of existence give rise to are bright as evanescent; she feels a buoyancy in every action; she finds novelty in every scene; and, if the mind be well regulated and unsullied, this, and this only, is the period allotted to woman for the enjoyment of unalloyed liappiness. In brief time, amid the many cares of life, comes the all-engrossing one of love, and of that most paramount passion, in the present instance, it is yet full time to trace the progress.
Indisputably the persons now occupied in conversation formed a peculiarly handsome picture; and the earnestness with which Lord Dropmore spoke, and the absorbing interest with which he hung on the replies of his companion, bade fair to keep the remembrance of his father's absence out of sight; and had not his cousin again uttered her anxiety that some inquiries might be made, he would in all probability have forgotten not only the marquis's delay in making his appearance, but also, what possibly he deemed of more moment, the protracted hour for the arrival of the dinner itself.
“I am beginning to feel extremely anxious about my uncle,” again exclaimed Emily, taking advantage of one of the few pauses in her cousin's brilliant conversation. Would it not he as well were you to ring and make inquiries, Dropmore? Possibly some message has arrived which has never been delivered, or, at all events, we can learn if the horses have as yet returned to the stables."
“Certainly,” replied Lord Dropmore, “I will go myself; but don't alarm yourself needlessly, Emily, for though it is not customary for my father to be so unpunctual as he has proved himself to-day, yet I cannot see any thing to be terrified at in his simply being somewhat late for dinner. But rather than you should suffer one moment's uneasiness,” he added, smiling, “I will search the metropolis till the truant be discovered;" and so saying, with a gay, laughing countenance, he quitted the apartmen, leaving the lady to resume the thread of her cogitations, which his entrance had previously disturbed.
Time passed away, and no one returning to relieve her mind, Emily Beecher became at length so seriously uncomfortable that, summon ng a domestic, she eagerly inquired if Lord Dropmore was in his father's apartments.
The information thus elicited was the reverse of satisfactory, the servant stating that when about half an hour previously Lord Dropmore entered the hall, and was making inquiries whether his father's horses had returned, a note was delivered by the porter, addressed in the marquis's hand-writing, upon perusing whic, his lordship instantly ordered the carriage, and, taking the messenger with him, left the house.
Thus it appeared beyond all doubt to Emily's now excited mind, that some danger or serious accident had happened to her uncle, which her affectionate disposition and gentle nature was momentarily augmenting with every species of imaginative aggravation that the doubt of the welfare of a beloved object could possibly conjure up.
In the meantime the carriage proceeded as rapidly as the high-spirited horses could convey it in the direction pointed out by the messenger, when, after various turns and windings down streets and lanes wholly unknown to him who for the first time threaded their mazes, the chariot stopped at the house of our old acquaintance, Dr. Glitzom.
Ready to receive the newly arrived personage, the worthy practitioner stood at the door; and, on Lord Dropmore's entering, requested him to be under no alarm, since all was progressing favourably, and doubtless in a very short time the marquis would be able to undergo the fatigue of being removed to his own house.
“My dear boy,” faintly uttered the peer, on seeing his son enter the room, “I thought it best to send for you, without communicating my accident to any one in Grosvenor-square, lest Emily might have taken alarm, and magnified my bruises into something worse than they really are—not, indeed, but that they might have assumed a more dangerous complexion, had it not been for the brave and timely aid I received from this young man beside me, who gallantly came to my assistance, and is consequently one to whom I owe, in all probability, the preservation of my life. But come forward, my young friend," continued the marquis; “let me make you acquainted with my son."
The person thus called upon, who, as may readily be surmised, was none other than Frederick Garston, now stood bashfully forward, and wholly disclaimed his right to the merits so lavishly bestowed by the marquis.
He had done nothing more, he affirmed, than what any other person similarly situated would have performed. The fact was, he had been walking but a few steps from the house they were then in, it being dusk, when he saw two men run into the road and seize a gentleman's horse by the bridle, while another fellow immediately pulled the rider to the ground. Their object was evidently plunder; and as in those days the spot in question was neither so populous, nor the police so efficient as in our more enlightened time, it is extremely probable that the attack would have proved successful, and might have ended in murder, had not the observer of the scene rushed to the spot, and added his weight in the balance against the stronger party.
Conscious guilt, ignorance as to how many new comers the
ruffians might have to contend against, together with some striking arguments from young Garston's stick, put the assaiiants to flight; and on helping the stranger to his benefactor's abode, the doctor deemed it advisable to produce his lancets, and never having had a marquis for a patient before, anxiously looked for some distinction in the flow of patrician from plebeian blood.
The rank of the sufferer was discovered by his directions when sending for his son, and his groom on coming up soon afterwards, having negligently lingered far behind, was loud in lamentations for the misfortune of his lord.
During the recital of this not over romantic tale, Lord Dropmore had scrutinzingly scanned the well-formed person, and handsome features of him to whom the marquis declared himself so much indebted. Neither was the object under his examination, unworthy of notice. The young noble, though too well satisfied with his own advantages to envy the appearance of any one else, could not fail in being struck with the manly and expressive countenance before him. Both were very young men.
There existed probably not more than one or two years difference in their ages. Both were well made, and each peculiarly well looking; but the soft and gentle expression which lit up every feature of Frederick Garston's face, though in a measure shaded with what some deemed a constitutional melancholy, was wholly wanting in that of the young nobleman; and although strict judges night have awarded the palm of manly beauty to Lord Dropmore, there were few who would not have felt more gratified at beholding the equally dignified but more softly modulated expression of the other.
It has already been said, that Lord Dropmore was the last man so constituted as to harbour jealousy of the personal advantages of any one, so confident and fully satisfied was he with himself; and to entertain any feeling of that nature, against whom ?-the son of a small apothecary in the Borough, would have been scouted from his mind as ridiculous indeed. What passed in his breast at the moment, it would be vain to enquire; but having heard the amount of the service rendered, as uttered by his father's lips, he at once threw off the air of reserve which he had till then worn, and advancing towards his new acquaintance, instantly proffered his hand, with many acknowledgments for his assistance; and uttered his expressions of praise in so fervent a manner, and with such an appearance of feeling, as proved beyond doubt, that supposing his lordship to have been wholly indifferent on the subject, be at least acted bis part to admiration.
The great object now was to convey the marquis home; and the bleeding having much alleviated the pain he received by the fall from his horse, together with the rough usage experi. enced at the hands of the robbers, the peer declared his ability to proceed, and to his son repeatedly urged their immediate departure, as he felt sure, that nothing save his actual presence could calm the fears which he was confident the affection of his niece was then encouraging in his behalf.
“ Many thanks, my good sir,” exclaimed the marquis to Doctor Glitzom, on stepping into his carriage, "very many thanks for your great kindness, and a thousand apologies for all the trouble I have given; to-morrow, with your permission, you shall hear from me ;-nor can I readily forget the obligation I am under to you and yours. And for you, my brave friend,” he continued, addressing himself to Frederick Garston, “ if your father has not any objection, and will allow you to call in Grosvenor-square, at any hour you please to appoint, I shall be most happy to see you again, and trust I may be so fortunate as to discover some means of being serviceable to you,” and again shaking hands with the apothecary-an honour which the latter for the
first and last time received — the carriage rolled away, and the doctor returned to his fire.
“ Your father!” involuntarily mused Garston, as he watched the carriage rapidly receding from his view, “ if your father has no objection !” Then he takes me for the apothecary's boy, and summons me to his noble mansion, probably to tender the offer of providing for me as some retail vender of drugs, and thus strike out the balance he supposes to exist between us. Yet, why not? Who am I? Better to be the son of
kind and generous protector, than an unknown outcast, who dare not even assert a right to the name he bears. What am I? and what can I ever expect to arrive at out of my present sphere? And why render my days unhappy, my nights wretched, in imagining vain things, which never can be realized ? Moreover, might I not have reason to be thankful that my origin is unknown? What guarantee have I that my birth was not infamous ?—my parents.- But no, no, that cannot have been: still it must be worse than fruitless for ever to be raising up these wild conjectures. They render my life a burden--my existence
Yet a time may come, when less shackled in the pursuit after that which my soul craves to attain, I may perchance gain some better clue than as yet I have been enabled to reach. But at present it cannot be. My friend grows daily more and more infirm. Old age is creeping fast upon him, and he who sheltered me, a stranger and an infant, shall never be deserted by him whom he saved from destruction and death. - No! no!