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the day of his departure. He then set out, accompanied by Mr. Day: but when arrived at the Castle, they unexpectedly met Sir Anthony Lambert in the hall, who, seizing hold of Mr. Day, conveyed him into a private room, to communicate certain intelligence relative to Robert; and Frederick was, in consequence, obliged to go alone to seek the family, and say adieu.
The footman ushered him into the room that was usually occupied by the family during the morning: but it was empty. Frederick, accordingly, took a book, and sat down to read. This apartment, which was entirely in the Gothic style, opened into a kind of wilderness of flowering shrubs, beyond which were seen the higher regions of the park, crowned with clusters of trees, which seemed almost coeval with the Castle itself. The distant cawings of the rooks in the summits of these trees, and the gentle murmur of the breeze through the strings of a harp standing before the window, were the only sounds which broke the silence. Frederick had taken up a book, and had opened it; but though he held it in his hand, he had not paid the smallest attention to its contents: on the contrary, he was deeply engaged in meditation, and not unfrequently occupied in short mental prayer and earnest supplication, that assistance might be afforded him to resist the temptations with which he was surrounded.
While thus engaged, he heard a step, and, turning his head, he saw Augusta, who had advanced a considerable way into the room without observing him; but who, when, at length, she did discover him, manifested such natural and lovely expressions of delight, that he, for a moment forgetting all his tutor's cautions, sprang from his seat, seized her hand, and uttered he knew not what; but which proved, however, to be certain words of a tendency so unequivocal, that the young lady was no longer left in doubt of the impression she had made on his heart.
Her reply was, also, such as encouraged him, and led him on to add more to the same purpose; and, in consequence, when a moment of reflection returned, he was astonished to find that he had already committed himself so far, that it.no longer depended on himself to reject this alliance. He, however, on this occasion, was
not forsaken of Him on whom he had recently called with so much earnestness; but was enabled to see, now that he had thus incautiously involved his fate with that of the young lady, what next was best to be done upon the occasion. “Lady Augusta,” said he, “I have been impelled, by circumstances, to make an avowal of feelings which but a moment before I had resolved not to acknowledge: but, since it is so, permit me now to open to you the whole of my heart; to explain the motives of my conduct for some years past; and to point out certain difficulties whicho I even now, in this moment of ecstacy, but too plainly foresee lying in the way of our being happy with each other.”
Lady Augusta blushed, and seemed uneasy; but allowed Frederick, however, to lead her out of the room into the shrubbery, where they hoped to be enabled to converse some time without interruption.
Having reached a sequestered spot in the pleasureground, they sat down on a garden-seat, when Frederick entered into a full explanation of his views and plans of life, of his determination, with the divine aid, to devote himself to the service of God, and to reject the vanities and pomps of this life, though he expressed himself as intending not to renounce the real elegancies and charms of society; and concluded by representing to Augusta, that, unless she could resolve to adopt his views, to turn away from all mere earthly pleasures, to repress ambitious views, and to endeavour to obtain and cherish a serious sense of the obligations of religion, he believed it would be better that he should resolve never to see her more, than that both of them should be rendered unhappy by a union of hands and hearts where the tastes and feelings were so irreconcileable.
I do not pretend to repeat the words of Frederick on this occasion, but merely to convey his sentiments; doubting not that he would know how to clothe these sentiments in language at once elegant, affectionate, and decisive.
Lady Augusta Clifton heard him throughout without interruption, but, at the same time, with such feelings of enthusiasm towards the speaker, that she felt, for a moment, that, had he asked her to live with him in a cottage on bread and water, she could joyfully have yielded her assent.
When he urged upon her the duty and importance of a serious attention to religion, her admiration of his character increased, and his impressive manner affected her. The tears trembled in her sparkling eyes, and made their way down her glowing cheek; and, at length, overcome by a variety of emotions, she gave way to a burst of tears, and exclaimed, “0, Frederick! dear Frederick! I will, indeed, endeavour to do, to learn, to be,-all you can desire."
Thus terminated this scene; and Frederick and Augusta, as they walked towards the Castle, resolved to wait till his final return from the University before the affair should be mentioned to Lord and Lady V-: and this was proposed, not from any motive of deceit on the part of Frederick, but because he wished that further time should be allowed Augusta for due reflection on the step which she was about to take; and by which she would sink in the estimation of the fashionable world, and enter within a sphere of life totally different from every thing with which she had been hitherto conversant.
As soon as Frederick Falconer was alone with Mr. Day, he related all that had passed between himself and Lady Augusta.
Mr. Day was sorry that things had gone so far, although he could not blame the young people; and he felt that, if Lady Augusta could resolve to sacrifice her ambition and lay aside her loftiness of manner, for the sake of Frederick, she would indecd render herself worthy of him.
The next day, Frederick took leave of his uncle and Mr. Day, and proceeded to the University; where he remained till he had passed his examination, and was admitted to deacon's orders. In the mean time, Lord and Lady V
were in Town for some months, but they returned into the country about the time when Frederick Falconer was expected home.
It was the general report, that Lady Augusta had refused a very advantageous match in London; but what reason she assigned to her parents for so doing was not known. When she revisited the country, Mr. Day thought that she looked exceedingly amiable. She treated him with marked affection, borrowed several re
ligious books from him, and was known to take an interest in the welfare of the poor, and to engage in serving them with an activity which she had never before evinced.
When it was known that Frederick's ordination was over, and while his friends in the country were eagerly looking for his return to their society, notice was suddenly brought them, that he was so seriously ill as not to be able to leave his bed; and the intelligence was the more alarming, inasmuch as his complaint was of the same nature with that which had terminated the life of his mother, and had already brought himself, when a child, to the borders of the grave.
Sir Anthony expressed more feeling and less selfishness on this occasion than he was supposed to be capable of; and Lady Augusta was so violently affected, that she had no longer power to conceal her attachment for Frederick from those about her.
continually while the least danger continued, and, as her mamma reported the case, she was constantly engaged
It is always a good sign when affliction leads an individual to prayer; but it is much to be lamented, when that individual ceases to pray as soon as the affliction is withdrawn.
Mr. Day had hastened to his beloved pupil immediately on receiving the account of his illness, and he remained with him till he was able to be removed, and brought home to his house.
In the mean time Lord and Lady V-had had sundry private discussions with Sir Anthony, which were held, it was supposed, on the subject of the attachment now known to be subsisting between Frederick and Lady Augusta: and though the result of these discussions could not be precisely ascertained, yet they were considered to be of a tendency favourable to the marriage, as Lady V-, not many days after the return of Mr. Day, with his pupil, to the parsonage, appeared, in her open carriage, with her daughter, at the gate of the garden.
Mr. Day no sooner saw the carriage, than he hastened to the gate, and invited Lady V to alight. The lady consented, and, followed by her daughter, was led through the well-ordered shrubbery and wide old-fashi
oned hall of the parsonage, into a large room with an extensive bow-window, which supplied the double office of a dining-room and study; the books being arranged, with great neatness, in their proper places, while certain fine old busts and prints constituted the only ornaments of the apartment. Frederick was extended on a sofa, near the fire, when the ladies were introduced. dressed in black, and, though considerably reduced, he never looked handsomer, the reflection of the crimson window-curtain giving a glow to his complexion which alınost resembled the flush of health. He arose with haste to meet his noble guests, and, as he extended his hand to Lady Augusta, she burst into tears; when, so far from meeting with a reproof from her mother, she consoled her in these terms“Why weep now, Augusta? Our Frederick is restored to us, and we may soon hope to see him in perfect health."
All this appeared so fair, so open, and so disinterested, on the part of Lord V. -'s family, that even Mr. Day was pleased, and said to Frederick, “I rejoice to see the high notions of our old friends, Lord and Lady Vmo, giving way, and that they appear willing to make their daughter happy at the expence of their own magnificent earthly prospects."
This visit of Lady Augusta and her mother seemed to refresh and exhilarate Frederick so much, that he rapidly regained his health, and, as the spring advanced, was enabled, as usual, to visit his uncle and the family at Clifton Castle. And now prosperity seemed to attend Frederick on
He appeared to have been daily growing more and more dear to Sir Anthony since the delinquency of
poor Robert. He was the favourite of all at Clifton Castle; and though Lord V— had never given him a decided promise of his daughter, he was considered by every one as an accepted suitor, and permitted to enjoy Augusta's company whenever he pleased.
About this time, Mr. Falconer was deprived of the society of Mr. Day, who, hearing that Robert Lambert and his lady were going on in a very heedless manner at Paris, resolved to undertake a journey to see his pupil, that he might endeavour in person to profit him by his advice.