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place him in the saddle, and to push his hobbyhorse into full career.
His laughing eye kindled with a sort of enthusiasm, which the ordinary folks of this world might have called crazed, while he dashed into the subject which he best loved to talk upon. ... Alas, alas ! my dear Mordaunt Mertounsilver is silver, and waxes not dim by use-and pewter is pewter, and grows the longer the duller. It is not for poor Claud Halcro to name himself in the same twelvemonth with the immortal John Dryden. True it is, as I may have told you before, that I have seen that great man, nay I have been in the Wits' Coffee-house, as it was then called, and had once a pinch out of his own very snuff-box. I must have told you all how it happened, but here is Captain Cleveland who never heard it.--I lodged, you must know, in Russel-street. I question not but you know Russel-street, Covent-Garden, Captain Cleveland ?”
“ I should know its latitude pretty well, Mr Halcro," said the Captain, smiling; " but I believe you mentioned the circumstance yesterday, and besides we have the day's duty in hand-you must play us this song which we are to study.”
“ It will not serve the turn now," said Halcro,
we must think of something that will take in our dear Mordaunt, the first voice in the island, whether for a part or solo. I will never be he will touch a string to you, unless Mordaunt Mera toun is to help us out.-What say you, my fairest Night?--what think you, my sweet Dawn of Day?” he added, addressing the young women, upon whom, as we have said elsewhere, he had long before bestowed these allegorical names.
“ Mr Mordaunt Mertoun," said Minna,“ has come too late to be of our band on this occasion -it is our misfortune, but it cannot be helped.
“ How? what?" said Halcro, hastily—“ too late-and you have practised together all your lives-take my word, my bonny lasses, that old tunes are sweetest, and old friends surest. Mr Cleveland has a fine bass, that must be allowed; but I would have you trust for the first effect to one of the twenty fine airs you can sing where Mordaunt's tenor joins so well with your own witchery–here is my lovely Day approves of the change in her heart.”
6 You were never in your life more mistaken, father Halcro,” said Brenda, her cheeks again reddening, more with displeasure, it seemed, than with shame.
Nay, but how is this ?” said the old man, pausing, and looking at them alternately. “What have we got here?-a cloudy night and a red morning ?-that betokens rough weather
- What means all this, young women?—where lies the offence ?--In me, I fear; for the blame is always laid upon the oldest when young folks like you go by the ears."
“ The blame is not with you, father Halcro,” said Minna, rising, and taking her sister by the arm, “ if indeed there be blame any where."
“ I should fear then, Minna," said Mordaunt, endeavouring to soften his tone into one of indifferent pleasantry,
“ that the new comer has brought the offence along with him.”
“ When no offence is taken,” replied Minna, with her usual gravity," it matters not by whom such may have been offered."
“ Is it possible, Minna!” exclaimed Mordaunt," and is it you who speak thus to me ?
And you too, Brenda, can you too judge so hardly of me, yet without permitting me one moment of honest and frank explanation?”
« Those who should know best,” answered Brenda, in a low but decisive tone of voice, “ have told us their pleasure, and it must be done.-Sister, I think we have staid too long here, and will be wanted elsewhere-Mr Mer toun will excuse us on so busy a day.”
The sisters linked their arms together. Halcro in vain endeavoured to stop them, making, at the same time, a theatrical gesture, and exclaiming,
“Now, Day and Night, but this is wondrous strange!"
Then turned to Mordaunt Mertoun, and added,
The girls are possessed with the spirit of mutability, shewing, as our master Spenser well saith, that
Among all living creatures, more or lesse,
Change still doth reign, and keep the greater sway.! Captain Cleveland,” he continued," know you any thing that has happened to put these two juvenile graces out of tune ?”
“He will lose his, reckoning” answered Cleveland, “ that spends time in inquiting why the
wind shifts a point, or why a woman changes her mind. Were I Mr Mordaunt, I would not ask the proud wenches another question on such a subject.”
“ It is a friendly advice, Captain Cleveland," replied Mordaunt," and I will not hold it the less so that it has been given unasked. Allow me to inquire if you are yourself as indifferent to the opinion of your female friends as it seems you would have me to be?”
Who, I ?” said the Captain, with an air of frank indifference. “I never thought twice upon such a subject.
I never saw a woman worth thinking twice about after the anchor was a-peak
con shore it is another thing; and I will laugh, sing, dance, and love, if they like it, with twenty girls, were they but half so pretty as those who have left us, and make them heartily welcome to change their course in the sound of a boatswain's whistle. It will be odds but I wear as fast as they can.”
A patient is seldom pleased with that sort of consolation which is founded on holding light the malady of which he complains'; and Mor