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Lady Augusta took the flower, and admired it, though there was nothing remarkable in it; and, as the earl's carriage drew up at the moment, she was handed into it by Frederick, still holding the geranium in her hand.
There was nothing to a common observer in all this, but it was enough to awaken and engage the vigilance of Mr. Day. During the course of the next week, young
Falconer more than once asked Mr. Day to go with him to the Castle; but the careful tutor always found some exouse for putting off the visit.
In the mean time, he told Mr. Lambert, that if he still intended to bring about the marriage between Lady Augusta and Robert, he thought it would be best in a quiet way to keep Frederick from Clifton Castle. “Not in the least," added be, “because I doubt the honour of Frederick, or question the uprightness of his intentions: but human nature is weak, and Lady Augusta might perhaps be struck with his very pleasing manners and prepossessing appearance."
Although there was something implied in this speech which did not greatly tend to exalt Mr. Lambert's son, yet it caused the old gentleman to exult and rub his hands with a feeling of self-complacency, because he had, as he said, always foreseen that Robert would be eclipsed by Frederick: and nothing pleased him so much as any thing like a tribute paid to his sagacity; and the more unwilling this tribute was rendered, the better was he pleased, and the more complete was his triumph. “And so you are come round to my opinion at last, Mr. Day?" said he. “I could only wish that you
had seen the thing in the same light that I did years ago.
You are an excellent divine, no doubt, Mr. Day; but it is not by study, it is not from books that men acquire a knowledge of life: the world must be seen in order to be understood.
However, your advice,” added the old gentleman, with increasing pomposity, "your advice, on this occasion, is good, and I admire your prudence, Mr. Day. Let Frederick Falconer be kept away from Clifton Castle, since you now allow that in all inatters relative to the exterior, in all such things as strike a lady's eye, he is so much su
perior to Robert. Poor Robert! I wish I could see any thing in him like a manner, like the appearance gentleman. But I always foresaw that he would turn out just as he has done. I never could account, Mr. Day, for the strange pervicacity of his humour in rejecting every kind of refinement, bred up, as he was, under my eye, and with such pains as I took to break him of his low habits. Why, my good Mr. Day, Robert Lambert never will know either how to come into a room or to go out of one.”
“Robert has many excellent qualities, I still maintain,” said Mr. Day; "and may yet make a valuable
“I hope so," said Mr. Lambert; “I hope so; I hope the University will do something for him: he sees good company there.
I think he will be cured of his mauvaise honte, at least, at college. Most young men are, unless they are incurably awkward; eh, Mr. Day?"
“Sir," said Mr. Day, “you know that I was always an advocate for your son.
“I know it, I know it,” returned Mr. Lambert: "and let me tell you, Mr. Day, no person's opinion in the world has more weight with me than yours; and I much approve the advice you have given respecting Frederick Falconer, and shall, without loss of time, communicate your ideas on the subject to my sister, Lady V-.
Mr. Day felt his mind relieved in having acted thus openly with Mr. Lambert, and resolved, if he found it necessary, to deal as plainly with Frederick, and to point out to him the necessity of repressing his feelings of admiration for the destined wife of his patron's son and early friend. Frederick, however, never once mentioned the name of Augusta during the remainder of the week, and Mr. Day hoped it would not be necessary for him to mention the subject.
But when Sunday morning arrived, while the bells were ringing, more in token of the day, than actually to call the congregation to church, Mr. Day withdrew, as his custom was, to a retired grass walk in his garden, to meditate upon the subject of his discourse. He had not been long there, before he observed Frederick walking thoughtfully into that part of the garden especially appropriated to flowers, and which Mr. Day could see
from an opening between the trees which encompassed the grass walk. He saw him gathering several flowers, after which, the young man, still appearing to be lost in thought, drew nearer that side of the garden where his tutor was. Mr. Day went to meet him, and, seeing in his hand the bud of a beautiful moss rose, with a sprig of jessamine, elegantly arranged, he extended his hand to him, and said, “Frederick, will you give me those flowers?"
Frederick blushed, but presented his tutor with his elegant little bouquet.
Frederick," said Mr. Day, “you have always been open and sincere with your tutor: tell me, my boy, for whom did you make this beautiful assortment?”.
Frederick blushed again, and hesitated: but, as his tutor seemed determined to wait his answer, he, at length, said, “For Lady Augusta."
“ I thought so, Frederick," said Mr. Day, at the same time returning the flowers to him. “And now, my dear boy," he added, “consult your conscience, consult
your God; and do with these flowers what your Christian principles may dictate.”
Frederick took the flowers, and presently threw them, with force, over a neighbouring hedge into a narrow lane on the other side.
“You have done right, Frederick," said Mr. Day: “and so may the Almighty give you grace to repel all temptations, and thus to overcome the powers of dark
Mr. Day then proceeded, in a plain and simple manner, to set before Frederick that line of conduct which it became him to pursue with respect to Lady Augusta Clifton. He first pointed out to him the strong obligations under which he lay to his uncle, who, when he was deprived of his parents, made up the loss to him in the kindest. manner, having provided not only for his education, but also for his future respectability in society; he then proceeded to display the baseness and ingratitude of his conduct, should he attempt by any means to deprive his uncle's son of that amiable and accomplished wife who had been purposed for him from his infancy.
“I did not intend, I had no thought," replied Frederick, hesitatingly.
“I do not suspect you of having had any evil intentions,” said Mr. Day; “I cannot suppose that such a thought as that of supplanting your cousin has yet entered your mind: but what, my son, has been the tendency of my instructions to you from your infancy, but to point out the depravity of the human heart, and to shew that there is no crime, however atrocious, into which it may not betray its possessor. The inclinations of the heart may be understood by the divine injunctions given by Him who knows the secrets of every heart, and by the commands which are laid upon us to beware of such and such offences. He, therefore, who thinks himself to be in no danger of committing idolatry, murder, or theft, charges his Maker with ignorance, and says to Him, as Hazael said to Elisha, “Is thy servant a dog, That he should do this great thing?' (2 Kings viii. 13.)
“The sin of theft, my dear Frederick, is deemed a low and contemptible one, and is commonly believed to be committed only by the most needy and most despicable individuals in society.
But this is a serious error; and I fear that, at the last day, it will be found that many are deeply involved in this crime, who would scorn to number themselves with the common housebreaker and highwayman. Whoever, Frederick, either by force, by address, or by dissimulation, obtains that which is or ought to be, the property of another, is guilty of this crime. Augusta Clifton is not yet, it is true, the wife of your cousin; but the marriage has long been determined by the parents on both sides. Robert Lambert, I have reason to think, desires it. You have known of this intended marriage for years: and if you feel within yourself the slightest reluctance to see this union take place, you are already under the power of temptation ; and if you are a Christian, you will fly the trial, as you would the resentment of an angry God.”
Frederick answered again, as he had done before, “I did not think, I never intended, I have never considered."
Mr. Day waited till he should finish his sentence; but, as he added no more, the good tutor proceeded :—“I repeat to you, my boy, that I have not the slightest suspicion that as yet the idea has entered your head, of standing in the way of poor Robert Lambert; you are,
suppose, that if
therefore, to be excused, since you have erred only through ignorance. I have now stated the case to you in plain language, and you can, therefore, no longer err in this matter from ignorance: and I must, consequently,
you do not now adopt every means in your power to shun the danger which I have pointed out to you, you have not that horror of sin which I have hitherto ever believed you to possess.
Oh, Mr. Day!” exclaimed Frederick.
" withdraw to your
closet; make this affair a matter of prayer; and return in half an hour, to declare to me the result of your application to the throne of grace.
I have already said, that the parish of which Mr. Day was the incumbent was a very large one; and there was at one remote extremity of it, among some woods belonging to the Earl of V a little village called Farewell Village. Here, on a small rising ground, was a chapel of ease, served by a curate of Mr. Day's, and here he had established a Sunday-school.
On returning to his tutor, Frederick still appeared somewhat thoughtful, but the expression of his countenance was placid, and he thus addressed his instructor:-“While Lord V is in the country, I will attend Farewell Church.”
Give me your hand, my beloved boy,” said Mr. Day. “Always act in this way, and the Lord will bless you.'
From that moment, Frederick recovered his usual animation; and, taking his favourite volume (viz. Herbert's Country Parson) from his pocket, he set off to walk slowly to Farewell, or, as the country people call it, Forrell, occupying himself in reading, as he wound his way through many a shadowy glade and embowered path, till he reached the place of his destination.
It does not appear what Lady Augusta thought, when she looked in vain for Frederick and his little offering of fowers, as soon as the church service was finished; but certain it is, that, when she went home, and had reached her own dressing-room, she put fresh water to the sprigs of myrtle and geranium which he had given to her the last Sunday, aud sent them, early on Monday morning, to the gardener, with an order that he should