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Oh, what may man within him hide,
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour ! SHAKSPEARE.
THE result had been, indeed, as Edward and Adeline conjectured; for though the night was fine and clear, and the moon was beginning to cast her soft illumination over the scene, yet, as the hour was much beyond that which had usually terminated the excursions of Edward, and as both Mr. Walsingham and Lluellyn had naturally concluded, that his return would be earlier on account of his young companion, they began to suffer uneasiness from the delay. Lluellyn, especially, manifested a more than common anxiety; and when Mr. Walsingham, in order to allay his apprehensions, proposed going forth to meet them; observing, at the
same time, that tempted probably by the beauty of the evening, they should find them returning from their meditated visit to Helmsley; he, forgetful of his infirmity, declared his intention of accompanying him. "If any misfortune should happen to my child, Mr. Walsingham," he exclaimed," then, indeed, would the grey hairs of Lluellyn descend in sorrow to the grave.”
It was, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction, that, after walking for about half an hour, Mr. Walsingham, having recognized, though at a considerable distance, the approach of the wanderers, announced the pleasing intelligence to his aged friend. He had himself, indeed, though confident in the care and protection, and integrity of Edward, felt a more than usual degree of anxiety; for he was acquainted with the disguise which the daughter of Lluellyn had assumed; a circumstance, which her father very prudently and delicately had made known to him, when, on the morning after their arrival, they had received an invitation to remain at the cottage of the Rye; and he was desirous, on
many accounts, that for some time at least, it might not be broken through.
No sooner, however, had he joined his young friends, than he suspected, from the air of embarrassment which hung about them, that the secret had by some means or other transpired; a suspicion which was almost confirmed into fact, when he learnt, that the cause of their delay had been occasioned by an accident, arising from the incautious curiosity of Hoel in exploring the ruin. No further enquiries, however, were made at the moment; and all seemed forgotten in the pleasure of having once again met. Yet Mr. Walsingham took an opportunity, whilst on their return to the cottage, of suggesting his suspicions to Lluellyn; and it was agreed between them, that, should they be found correct, propriety and decorum would demand that Adeline should, as soon as possible, resume the dress peculiar to her sex.
Edward and his fair friend, meanwhile, had, from the best and purest of motives, separately and secretly concluded, that the discovery was one which should not be confined to their own
breasts. As soon, therefore, as they had reached home, the former, retiring with Mr. Walsingham, very frankly told him what had occurred; whilst the latter, with tears in her eyes, and with the blush of modesty yet burning on her cheeks, very artlessly related to her father the misfortune which had, unconsciously on her part, betrayed her to Edward.
"My beloved Adeline," replied the good old man, "be not alarmed. Your concealment was, as you well know, in the long and hazardous journey I was about to undertake, and with the deprivation under which I labour, necessary to your personal security; and when Providence led me hither, and I had agreed to remain for a while beneath the hospitable roof of my kind countryman, I took care that he should not be the subject of any deception, however innocent or convenient. He was acquainted with, and approved of our plan; not only as it might conduce to your safety on the expedition we had meditated, but in relation also to your residence here; and though Edward, my love, I admit, has been hitherto deceived, yet the necessity which has led to the imposition with respect to
him, will never, I am persuaded, injure you for a moment in his eyes."
"But, my dear father," said Adeline, "it is impossible, after what has passed, that I can remain any longer in this attire. I can never, indeed, re-appear in the presence of Edward until I have made the necessary alteration in my dress." At this moment, and as Lluellyn was about to speak, a gentle tap at the door was heard; and in an instant after, the voice of Mr. Walsingham, requesting an interview with his friend in the study.
"Well, Lluellyn," he exclaimed, as the old man entered the room, conducted thither by the housekeeper, who had been sent forward by Mr. Walsingham for that purpose, "it is as I suspected, and we must now consult upon the mode best calculated for carrying the plan we had agreed upon into execution. Presuming, however, that you have nothing prepared for the change we meditate, I have asked Mrs. Sedley's advice upon the occasion; and she tells me, that in three days at farthest, provided the habiliments required be unadorned and of the simplest description, she shall, with the aid of