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to the specious, artful, and worthless. You know how I have jested with her about her soft melancholy, and lonely walks at morning before any one is up, and in the moon-light when all should be gone to bed, or set down to cards, which is the same thing. The incident which follows may not be beyond the bounds of a joke, but I had rather the jest came from you than me.
“ Two or three times during the last fortnight, I heard, at a late hour in the night, or very early in the morning, a flageolet play the little Hindu tune to which your daughter is so partial. I thought for some time that some tuneful domestic, whose taste for music was laid under constraint during the day, chose that silent hour to imitate the strains which he had caught up by the ear during his attend. ance in the drawing-room. But last night I sat late in my study, which is immediately under Miss Mannering's apartment, and to my surprise, I not only heard the flageo. let distinctly, but satisfied myself that it came from the lake under the window. Curious to know who serenaded us at that unusual hour, I stole softly to the window of my apartment. But there were other watchers than 1. You may remember, Mis Mannering preferred that apartment on account of a balcony which opened from her window upon the lake. Well, sir, I heard the sash of her window thrown up, the shutters opened, and her own voice in conversation with some person who answered from below. This is not
Much ado about nothing ;' I could not be mistaken in her voice, and such tones, so soft, so insinuating-And, to say the truth, the accents from below were in passion's tenderest cadence too-But of the sense I can say nothing. I raised the sash of my own window that I might hear something more than the mere murmur of this Spanish rendezvous, but, though I used every precaution, the noise alarmed the speakers.; down slid the young lady's
casement, and the shutters were barred in an instant. The dash of a pair of oars in the water, announced the retreat of the male person of the dialogue. Indeed, I saw his boat, which he sculled with great swiftness and dexterity, fly across the laké like a twelve-oared barge. Next morning I examined some of my domestics, as if by accident, and I found the gamekeeper, when making his rounds, had twice seen that boat beneath the house, with a single person, and had heard the flageolet. I did not care to press any farther questions, for fear of implicating Julia in the opinions of those at whom they might be asked. Next morning at breakfast, I dropped a casual hint about the serenade of the evening before, and I promise you, Miss Mannering looked red and pale alternately. I immediately gave the circumstance such a turn as might lead her to suppose that my observation was merely casual. I have since caused a watch-light to be burnt in my library, and have left the shutters open, to deter the approach of our nocturnal guest; and I have stated the severity of approaching winter, and the rawness of the fogs, as an objection to solitary walks. Miss Mannering acquiesced with a passiveness which is no part of her character, and which, to tell you the plain truth, is a feature about the business which I like least of all. Julia has too much of her own dear papa's disposition to be curbed in any of her hu. mours, were there not some little lurking consciousness that it may be as prudent to avoid debate.
“ Now my story is told, and you will judge what you ought to do. I have not mentioned the matter to my good woman, who, a faithful secretary to her sex's foibles, would certainly remonstrate against your being made acquainted with these particulars, and might, instead, take it into her head to exercise her own eloquence on Miss Mannering; a faculty, which, however powerful when directed against me, its legitimate object, might, I fear, do more harm than good in the case supposed. Perhaps even you yourself will find it most prudent to act without remonstrating, or appearing to be aware of this little anecdote. Julia is very like a certain friend of mine; she has a quick and lively imagination, and keen feelings, which are apt to exaggerate both the good and evil they find in life. She is a charming girl, however, as generous and spirited as she is lovely. I paid her the kiss you sent her with all my heart, and she rapped my fine gers for my reward with all hers. Pray return as soon as you can. Meantime rely upon the care of yours faithfully,