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more than a minute after they had been extricated from the coach, before they found them. They were both in the bottom of a ravine, sitting in the dust, and rubbing their heads as if they were not quite sure whether they were quite safe on their shoulders.
“Your servant, gentlemen,” said Henry; "I hope you find yourselves in perfect preservation.”
“ And entirely at your ease, Mr. Wellings,” added Edgar.
“But, seriously, Wellings, are you hurt ?” asked Henry; "are you hurt, Clayton?”
“ Hurt,” replied Mr. Clayton ; “I sha'n't be my own man again for one while."
“ Get up, and shake yourself then,” said Henry; " shall I help you ?”
“ Stand off, Milner,” said Mr.Clayton—" and don't you be sniggering there, Wellings. I'll tell you what, man, I am quite competent to give you
what you want, and that is, a sound drubbing;" and with that he rose, and began to set himself in one of the attitudes of the bruiser.
“ None of you jaw, Clayton,” replied Wellings, rising too, and shaking himself—« I'll tell you
Henry and Edgar heard no more, but returning to the two ladies, they each offered one an arm to assist her towards Worcester, from which they were not very distant. They had not proceeded very far, before they came up with Mr. Nash, who was not a little surprised to see them thus accompanied. And thus terminated all the remarkable adventures of that day; for when Henry and Edgar had taken leave of the ladies at the Henwick turnpike, they walked quietly home by the side of Mr. Nash's horse, and were at home in time for a comfortable supper.
I venture to say, that my reader wonders how it should have happened that Maurice's little packet of combustibles should have remained so quietly as they had done for some weeks past; but the truth is, that certain rats had made a hole in the
corner of Maurice's depository of treasures; and that these same squibs, and crackers, &c. had slipped into this hole, and this hole being again covered with rubbish, when Maurice went next to look for his treasure, he was not able to find it; and imagining that Mrs. Kitty had discovered and abstracted it in which case, as he knew that all complaints would be useless, he thought it best to put up with the misfortune in silence. This supposed loss of the squibs had taken place about a week after they had been brought to the house, and by this time Maurice had almost forgotten that such things ever had been.
Whilst Nr. Nash and the young men were absent, Mr. Dalben received a visit from Lord F_, who came with a very pressing invitation to Edgar and Henry Milner to dine with the family on the Monday following, and to accompany them in the evening to a ball. Where this ball was to be, Mr. Dalben had forgotten to ascertain; but it was to be something superlatively delightful, and wonderfully grand and tonish, and all that sort of thing. He was thoroughly made to understand also, that Lady — had undertaken to beat up for young gentlemen, it being apprehended that there might be a deficiency in the right wing of the corps of dancers. Mr. Dalben at once declined the invitation, on the part of Henry, whom he considered too young to be introduced into mixed societies; and so formed his answer, as it regarded Edgar, that he might extricate himself without embarrassment from the engagement, if such were his wish. Neither did Mr. Dalben hesitate, when he delivered the message ro Edgar, to state to him, that he thought he would be acting very imprudently in this his last month of the vacation, to enter into engagements which he had declined successfully in the former
two months; reminding him of that which awaited him, viz. the important examination on which so much depended. “ Consider, Mr. Bonville,” said the old gentleman, " that even supposing your learning to be sufficient for the exigency, yet, in order to enable you to meet that exigency with most advantage, you ought to avoid all things which may distract or disturb your mind for some time previous to the trial.”
Mr. Nash took up the affair where Mr. Dalben left it, and said a great deal to Edgar to induce him to decline the invitation, without loss of time. Neither did he touch the subject with a finger as delicate as that used by Mr. Dalben, but told Edgar, with very little circumlocution or selection of words, that every wise man would consider him as a great blockhead if he went gallanting and dancing about the country, in circumstances such as he then stood in.
The end of all this was, that although Edgar had a most vehement desire to be present at this ball, he wrote an apology to Lord F-; and Henry took care to dispatch this same note by a very careful hand. And thus, as was supposed, this matter was at an end, although Edgar on the occasion exhibited certain symptoms of restlessness, which were more apparent to Henry than