Page images
PDF
EPUB

nes

alarmed and almost made prisoner by another troop of these plunderers. She was quickly released by a party of our cavalry; but I cannot disguise from myself, that the incidents of this fatal morning gave a se. vere shock to health already delicate. The confession of Archer, who thought himself dying, that he had invented some cir. cumstances, and, for his purposes, put the worst construction upon others, and the full explanation and exchange of forgiveness which this produced, could not check the progress of her disorder. She died within about eight months after this inci. dent, bequeathing me only the girl, of whom Mrs Mervyn is so good as to undertake the temporary charge. Julia was also extremely ill, so much so, that I was in. duced to throw up my command and return to Europe, where her pative air, time, and the novelty of the scenes around her, have contributed to dissipate her dejec. tion, and to restore her health.

“ Now that you know my story, you

will no longer ask me the reason of my melancholy, but permit me to brood upon it as I may. There is, surely, in the above narrative, enough to embitter, though not to poison, the chalice, which the fortune and fame you so often mention had prepared to regale my years of retirement.

“ I could add circumstances which our old tutor would have quoted as instances of day fatality-you would laugh were I to mention such particulars, especially as you know I put no faith in them. - ¥et, since I have come to the very house from which I now write, I have learned a singular coincidence, which, if I find it truly established by tolerable evidence, will serve us hereafter for subject of curious discussion. But I will spare you at present, as I expect a person to speak about a purchase of property now open in this part of the country. It is a place to which I have a foolish partiality, and I hope my purchasing may be convenient to those who are parting with it, as there is a plan

for buying it under the value. My respectful compliments to Mrs Mervyn, and I will trust you, though you boast to be so lively a young gentleman, to kiss Julia for me.--Adieu, dear Mervyn.-Thine ever,

“GUY MANNERING."

., Mr Mac-Morlan now entered the room. The well-known character of Colonel Mannering at once disposed this gentleman, who was a man of intelligence and probi. ty, to be open and confidential. He explained the advantages and disadvantages of the property. “It was settled," he said, "the greater part of it at least, upon heirs. male, and the purchaser would have the privilege of retaining in his hands a large proportion of the price, in case of the reappearance, within a certain limited term, of the child who had disappeared." ...“ To what purpose, then, force forward a sale?" said Mannering. .::· Mac-Morlan smiled. “Ostensibly,” he said, " to substitute the interest of money, instead of the ill-paid and precarious rents of an unimproved estate; but chiefly, it was supposed, to suit the wishes and views of a certain intended purchaser, who had become a principal creditor, and forced himself into the management of the affairs by means best known to himself, and who, it was thought, would find it very convenient to purchase the estate without paying down the price.”

Mannering consulted with Mr MacMorlan upon the steps for thwarting this unprincipled attempt. They then conversed long upon the singular disappearance of Harry Bertram upon bis fifth birth-day, verifying thus the random prediction of Mannering, of which, however, it will readily be supposed he made no boast. Mr Mac-Morlan was not himself in office when that incident took place; but he was well acquainted with all the circumstances, and promised that our hero should have them detailed by the sheriff

depute himself, if, as he proposed, he should become a settler in that part of Scotland. With this assurance, they parted well satisfied with each other, and with the evening's.conference: .

On the Sunday following, Colonel Mannering attended the parish church with great decorum. None of the Ellangowan family were present; and it was under. 'stood that the old Laird was rather worse than better. Jock Jabos, once more dispatched for him, returned once more with: out bis errand. Next day Miss Bertram hoped he might be removed.

« PreviousContinue »