« PreviousContinue »
But his views lie still farther north, and he is at present absent on a tour in Scotland, looking, I believe, for some purchase of land which may suit him as a residence. He is partial, from early recollections, to that country. So, my dearest Matilda, I must be yet farther removed from you before I be established in a home And O how delighted shall I be when I can say, come, Matilda, and be the guest of your faithful Julia !, * :.. Live:
"I am at present the inmate of Mr and
Mrs Mervyn, old friends of my father. 11. The first is precisely a good sort of wo-,
man-lady-like and housewifely—but for accomplishment or fancy-good lack, my dearest : Matilda, your friend might as well seek sympathy from Mrs Teach'em, --you see I have not forgot school nicknames. Mervyn is a different quite a different being from my father, yet he amuses me and endures, me-he is fat and good-humoured, gifted with strong shrewd sense, and some powers of humour
-I delight to make him scramble to the top of eminences and to the foot of waterfalls, and am obliged in return to admire his turnips, his lucerne, and his timothy grass. He thinks me, I fancy, a simple romantic Miss, with some--(the word will be out) beauty, and some good-nature; and I hold that the gentleman has good taste for the female outside, and do not expect he should comprehend my senti. ments farther. So he rallies, hands, and hobbles, (for the dear creature has got the gout too,) and tells old stories of high life, of which he has seen a great deal, and I listen, and smile, and look as pretty and as pleasant as I can, and we doʻvery well. ...“ But, alas ! my dearest Matilda, how would time pass away, even in this paradise of romance, tenanted as it is by a pair assorting so ill with the scenes around them, were it not for your fidelity in replying to my uninteresting details ? Pray do not fail to write three times a-week at least-you can be at no loss what to say.”
" How shall I communicate what I have now to tell !--My hand and heart still flutter so much that the task of writing is almost impossible.—Did I not say that he lived ? did I not say that he was faithful? did I not say I would not despair? How could you suggest, my dear Matilda, that my feelings, considering I had parted from him so young, rather rose from the warmth of my imagination. than of my heart?-0 I was sure that they were genuine, deceitful as the dictates of our bosom so frequently are-But to my tale
let it be, my friend, the most sacred, as it is the most sincere pledge of our friendship.
“Our hours here are early earlier than my heart, with its load of care, can compose itself to rest. - I, therefore, usually
take a book for an hour or two after re. tiring to my own room, which I think I have told you opens to a small balcony, looking down upon that beautiful lake, of which I attempted to give you a slight sketch. Mervyn Hall, being pattly an ancient building, and constructed with a view to defence, is situated on the verge of the water. A stone dropped from the projecting balcony plunges into water deep enough to float a skiff. I had left my window partly unbarred, that, before I went to bed, I might, according to my custom, look out and see the moon-light shining upon the lake; I was deeply en. gaged with that beautiful scene in the merchant of Venice, where two lovers, describing the stillness of a summer night, enhance upon each other its charms, and was lost in the associations of story and of feeling which it awakens, when I heard upon the lake the sound of a flageolet. I have told you it was Brown's favourite instrument. Who could touch it in a night which, though still and serene, was too cold, and too late in the year, to invite forth any wanderer for mere pleasure. I drew yet nearer the window, and hearkened with breathless attention--the sounds paused a space, were then resumed-paused again -and again reached my ear, ever coming nearer and nearer. At length, I distinguished plainly that little Hindu air which you called my favourite I have told you by whom it was taught me the instru. ment, the tones were his own--was it
earthly music, or notes passing on the · wind to warn me of his death?
? It was some time ere I could summon courage to step on the balcony--nothing could have emboldened me to do so but the strong conviction of my mind, that he was still alive, and that we should again meet -but that conviction did embolden me, and I ventured, though with a throbbing heart. There was a small skiff with a sin