ページの画像
PDF
ePub

to Mrs. Kitty," it was someut worse--you may guess whom I means."

This last was added in a lower tone, but Maurice's Irish blood was up, and Henry felt assured that even the presence of Mr. Dalben would not restrain him much longer within bounds. He therefore proposed that he should take the boy to his own room, and examine him there ; and Mr. Dalben, ordering the servants to set all things to rights, as well as they could, withdrew with Mr. Nash to the study, resolving to sit there till he had heard Maurice's confession, and every thing had been replaced in its proper

order. As Mr. Nash entered the study, he remarked, “ that Mr. Bonville must be a rare sleeper, to sleep through all the late noise.”

True," replied Mr. Dalben, “I had not thought of him; but his room is certainly more removed from the kitchen than any other in the

house,

CHAP. XXI.

Sundry particulars necessary to the History.

It was more han an hour before Henry appeared again ; and when he entered the study all gaiety had passed from his features, and his voice, as he told his uncle that he had made it all out, was indicative of considerable inward agitation. “Well, my boy, what does Maurice say?

?" said Mr. Dalben, Henry coughed, and tried to speak with un

Maurice," he said, “has received money at two different times, from the same person."

“ Ah !” said Mr. Dalben.

“ From the younger Hargraves," continued Henry. The first half-crown was when he held their horses at the gate. With that he bought fire-works; these being hid in his cupboard in the kitchen, accidentally took fire from a spark,

concern.

as Mrs. Kitty was endeavouring to light a candle-hence all the confusion we have witnessed to night. But this is not the worst part of the story." Here Henry stopped a moment, and then told the rest of Maurice's story, which I shall give in a few words.

Maurice, it seems, had been lounging in the lane about eight o'clock, when Tom Bliss, who had been looking for him some time, giving him half-a-crown from Mr. Hargrave, engaged him to carry a note privately to Edgar Bonville. This note was to persuade him to slip out of the house as soon as he could disengage himself from Mr. Dalben, and gallop off on a horse which was waiting for him in the lane, to Malvern, in order that he might accompany the party to the ball; Tom Bliss was to be with him on another horse, and to carry his portmanteau with his clothes for the ball.

The weakest part of Edgar's character was, that he had no power to resist any sort of temptation. There are some minds thus constituted; and when such characters fall into the hands of parents and teachers who want firmness, this defect of character is confirmed. A sort of strength may be given to an irresolute mind, by a firm guide in infancy and youth; but poor Edgar had not been blessed in such a

guide, and hence he was liable to be tossed to and fro by every capricious breath. But be it as it may, he yielded to the temptation, and hastily packing up a few things necessary for his appearance, he delivered it to Maurice, to carry it to Tom Bliss, not considering that he was giving the little Irishman a lesson of art, which, if duly followed up, would have effectually counteracted all that Henry and Mr. Dalben had ever done for him.

Any thing like a maneuvre, or trick was already too congenial with the feelings of the orphan boy, and he showed no small skill, in covering the evasion of young Bonville, accompanying him to the horses, and artfully leaving the window of his pantry open, in case he should find the doors of the house locked on his return; it was the return of Maurice, and the noise he had made in climbing into the window, which had disturbed Mrs. Kitty.

Such was the story told by Henry to Mr. Dalben; and as Henry had expected, his uncle was much hurt at those specimens of art, in two persons of whom he hoped better things. He caused Maurice to be called, and reprimanded him with a severity he had never used before, and then taking up a candle, he withdrew to his room; but it was nearly one o'clock before all the family were at rest. Maurice had promised that he would admit Mr. Bonville in the morning, and it had been agreed that the young gentleman should immediately retire to his room, and appear at breakfast as if nothing had happened; but before Henry went to rest, he told Maurice that he would himself be up to receive Edgar; and accordingly, having dozed uncomfortably for about three hours, he arose, dressed himself, and went down; he unbarred the shutters of the study, and opened the window. The morning was serene, and the rays of light were reflected from the drops of dew which spangled every leaf, and every blade of grass. The hum of rural sounds was heard in the distance; and the little birds, still unapprehensive of the approaching winter, were carolling in their bowers. Henry walked to the gate, and stood listening awhile---Lion came up to him, and presented his head to be patted.

“ Poor old Lion !” said Henry, “you were one of my first friends, and now you are got grey, and half blind, and soon you will die, and no one will remember you, perhaps, but me your poor, warm heart will then beat no longer.” The tears started in Henry's eyes as he spoke, for he was fatigued, and thoroughly vexed, and disappointed too, both in Edgar and Maurice.

« 前へ次へ »