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you from being thrown from your horse, and perhaps breaking your neck, this morning ?"
“Who is he?" said Augusta, “why Sir Anthony's nephew, Frederick Falconer.”
“And what kind of young man is he?" asked Lady Frances, carelessly.
“O, I don't know," replied Augusta, endeavouring to seem equally careless; • have you never seen him?” At that instant Augusta, perceiving that Robert stood behind her couch, stood up, and turning to him, said, “Sir, I hope you have been amused with our conversation."
“I have heard little of it,” replied Robert, somewhat sullenly.
“0, what you are there?” said Lady Frances, looking up to him from her seat on the sofa; “how long have
you been in the room? But you are the very person to satisfy my curiosity. Who is this Frederick Falconer, who saved Lady Augusta from that dreadful accident this morning ?”
“I have heard nothing of any accident," replied Robert; “it is strange that no one should have mentioned it to me:” and he looked at Augusta with an expression at once reproachful and suspicious.
Augusta replied, that she conceived every one must imagine that he would not feel much interested in an affair which could not concern him. “For even now, she added, "now that you are told of it, you never ask me whether I escaped unhurt.”
Robert endeavoured to recover his temper, and to make some polite enquiries, saying, that it was impossible for any one really to conceive that he was not deeply interested in every thing which affected Lady Augusta Clifton.
“Well, Sir,” said Augusta, with more assurance of manner than became so young a lady, “if you are so much interested in all that relates to me, you shall have an exact account of what happened this morning.” And she immediately recounted to him all the circumstances, as they had taken place, excepting some particulars of her conversation with Frederick.
As she proceeded, Robert reddened and appeared violently excited; notwithstanding which, he did not speak till Augusta had finished her story, and Lady Frances had added, “ Is it not wonderful, Mr. Lambert, that this knight-errant should have appeared at the very moment in which his presence was most needed ?”
“Probably,” returned Robert, “had the accident happened an hour sooner or an hour later, he might have been equally at hand.”
A glance of extreme contempt, was the only reply Lady Augusta made to this speech; and she was walking away, when Robert seized her hand and begged her pardon, uttering some incoherent expressions about sincere regard, which is always hasty.
“Sincere regard, Sir,” replied Augusta, “cannot exist without respect; and no man respects the woman whom he can suspect of dishonourable conduct."
Robert assured Lady Augusta that he never suspected her in the least.
Then, Sir,” said Augusta, “whose honour do you doubt? If it is Frederick Falconer's, you are mistaken; you never were more mistaken: for no man ever had a more faithful or a warmer friend than you have in Frederick."
“How do you know that, Madam?” said the impetuous Robert.
“I am not yet, I thank Heaven, compelled to answer every question you choose to put to me, Mr. Lambert, replied Augusta: “I am not yet your wife.”
Robert apologized again, expressed a hope that he had not yet offended past forgiveness, pleaded the unhappy warmth of his temper, and, in short, urged his suit with so much vehemence, that Augusta, who had not quite made up her mind to renounce all the splendours which might be procured by Sir Anthony's fortune, allowed him to suppose that he was forgiven, and, then walking to the other end of the room, placed herself so close to her mother, that it was impossible for him to intrude any further particular conversation upon
her. But although Robert supposed that he now stood as high, or nearly so, in Augusta's good graces as he had done before this unfortunate conversation, yet he felt so much irritated by the account of what had happened in the morning, -so filled with undefined ideas of jealousy and suspicion,--that he could scarcely command his
composure so long as it was necessary, in order to effect his
escape from the company; and when he found him. ·self alone in a retired walk in the shrubbery, in which he had taken refuge, he vented his indignation upon Frederick, in exclamations of no very specific tendency. However, as there were no other creatures besides naiads and wood-nymphs to hear these complaints, and as Echo was not at hand to repeat them, these murmurs of indignation passed away without effect, and Robert was returning in a more tranquil state to the Castle, when he overtook Lady Frances, who was walking alone and in a pensive attitude, apparently thinking as little of Robert as he was of her.. At the sight of him, she started with
well feigned astonishment, exclaiming, “Mr. Lambert, is it you? Why, did I not leave you in the drawing-room but a quarter of an hour ago ?”
“Impossible,” replied Robert, "for I have been to the very end of the shrubbery."
“Well," said Lady Frances, “then I never was more mistaken in my life.”
Mr. Lambert then joined Lady Frances, who began to converse with him on the common topics of the day; being fully aware, from her knowledge of his character, that he would presently bring up the subject of his recent thoughts, namely, the affair in the wood, and his slight altercation with Lady Augusta. Neither was Lady Frances mistaken : Robert, soon breaking away
from all topics foreign to the late occurrences, came to the point in question; and, being drawn on by his artful companion, made a full and explicit avowal of his real feelings and sentiments respecting Augusta and Frederick.
This was precisely the object at which Lady Frances aimed, namely, to induce Robert to make her his friend and confidante; being well aware, that, if she could accomplish her end, he would frequently seek her society, and thereby abundant opportunity would be afforded for bringing him within the influence of her allurements.- But to return to Frederick.
There was nothing so very remarkable and opportune in the meeting of this young man with Lady Augusta in the wood, as should induce us to suppose that Frederick
was actually one of those heroes of romance who is always in the right place at the critical moment when he is required to be so: for the truth is, that Frederick had been in the habit, for some weeks past, of going every day, at a certain hour, to visit his little school at Forrell, and had been accustomed to take his books, and study as he went sauntering along. Of this circumstance Lady Augusta had been informed, and, we are sorry to add, that she had chosen the wood for her ride on that
very account. It was, therefore, by no miraculous intervention of supernatural agents that Frederick happened to be where he was expected to be, and where the young lady had purposely gone to meet with him. But Frederick was a pious young man, and, consequently, humble: he did not, therefore, entertain the slightest suspicion, on this occasion, derogatory to the honour of Lady Augusta; but represented the whole affair, as he walked home with his tutor, in a light entirely favourable to the young lady. “But, my dear Mr. Day,” he added, hesitating as he spoke," from what has happened this day, I have had such an insight into my own heart, that I conceive I should do well to leave this place till she is married. Sorry as I shall be to lose so much of your society, yet I think it would be best for me to be absent from this neighbourhood for the present."
Mr. Day highly commended this resolution of Frederick's; pointing out the wisdom of fleeing, rather than braving temptation; and, accordingly, the rest of the day was employed in arranging a little tour, which was to occupy Frederick for two months to come. Things of this kind admit of no delay: accordingly, Frederick set out early the next morning, intending to make his first stoppage at the house of a college friend in Yorkshire, and to proceed from thence to the Lakes.
On the morning of his pupil's departure, Mr. Day rode over to Clifton Castle, where he knew he might expect to find Sir Anthony and Mr. Lambert; being charged with a message
Falconer to his uncle, apologizing for his abrupt departure.
The family at Clifton Castle were at breakfast when Mr. Day arrived. He was received, as usual, with much cordiality by the earl and countess; but Robert looked sullen, and Augusta melancholy. “ You are on the
wing betimes, Mr. Day," said Sir Anthony; "this is a rare circumstance with you; for, I believe, you make a point of always devoting the first bours of the day to study."
“I have been up, Sir Anthony,” said Mr. Day, "ever since five o'clock; at which time I started Mr. Falconer for the north. He intends visiting the Lakes this summer, and I am come charged with his respectful remembrances to this noble party, and his particular enquiries respecting the health of Lady Augusta."
As Mr. Day expected, this news of the flight of Frederick excited no small sensation in many individuals of the polite circle which surrounded him. Robert Lambert's countenance spoke much, very much; Lady Augusta turned pale, and with difficulty appeared to be able to command her feelings in any tolerable degree; Lady V and the earl seemed resolved to express nothing, and, in consequence, primmed up their features and looked impenetrable; while the formal and slow-minded Sir Anthony was the only person who was at that moment able to remark on the intelligence which Mr. Day had communicated; and that he did to the following purpose: -- Frederick Falconer started this morning, you say, for the Lakes of Westmoreland, and without giving me the smallest notice of his intentions. I am amazed, Mr. Day; surely I ought to have been apprized! I am astonished ! But young people are so uncertain in all their motions, so hasty, rapid. But I am sorry. I have, you well know, Mr. Day, one of the best maps of Westmoreland now extant, and the Guide to the Lakes, with views of all the most beautiful scenes in the country. Frederick would have obtained many fine ideas if he had taken time to study these books before his departure."
In this manner the old gentleman descanted somewhat to the relief of the rest of the party: and, after breakfast, Mr. Day found means to reconcile him to this step of his nephew, by the simple statement which he made to him of the truth.
After the departure of Frederick, Mr. Day, who now went more frequently to Clifton Castle, found himself much puzzled to make out the manæuvres of the young people there; for, although he was very far from wanting penetration, yet their conduct was influenced by such