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a short excursion to Helmsley, be fully prepared."
"My good and generous friend," answered the aged minstrel, his voice faultering with emotion," how shall I thank you for this unexampled kindness; how apologize to you for the great and unexpected trouble I am thus giving?" Say, no more Lluellyn," cried Mr. Walsingham; "but rest assured, that all that I can do for yourself and for Adeline, who, by the bye," he added, with a smile, "has become a prodigious favourite of mine, shall be done."
It was then agreed that Adeline, who had sent a petition by her father to that purpose, and which had met with the decided approbation of Mr. Walsingham, should remain in her own room until Mrs. Sedley should have procured what was requisite for the intended change; and that, in the meantime, every further arrangement should take place in the family, which this resumption of the female character, and the necessary attendance of the daughter on her blind and aged father, might demand. The re-appearance of Adeline was, as might be expected, very impatiently waited for by
Edward, on whose heart and imagination every thing which had lately taken place had been such, in fact, as to produce an impression as durable as it was romantic and exciting.
It was on the morning of the fourth day from the occurrence of the accident at Helmsley castle, that, as he and his guardian were just sate down to an early breakfast, and were momentarily expecting the arrival of Lluellyn under the escort of Mrs. Sedley, the door suddenly opening, presented to their view the blind and grey-haired bard leaning on the arm of his daughter. Though dressed as plain as possible, having nothing on more ornamental than a white robe, edged with black, and a white ribband in her hair, there never was, perhaps, a more lovely and interesting figure than that which Adeline now exhibited to their delighted senses. A blush just kindling on her cheek, had given added lustre and animation to her dark blue eyes, in which there seemed to dwell an expression of mingled archness, simplicity, and tenderness, while on her lips, a smile but half-repressed, and struggling to break forth, still further lighted up a countenance where
beauty, blending with every varied trait of sensibility and pure affection, breathed, as it were, a spell, against the fascination of which, not even the age and experience of Mr. Walsingham were proof.
The gentlemen, indeed, rose to receive her, not only with admiration, but astonishment in their looks; for the stripling Hoel, who had, apparently, seen not more than fourteen or fifteen years, seemed suddenly expanded before their eyes into the elegant and matured figure of one of the most lovely young women they had ever beheld, and who appeared to be about the age of eighteen! Such, in truth, had been the magic effect of this change of dress, that the stature which had looked in male attire as but accordant with the character of a boy, was now found, in size and symmetry, to be that which an artist would have chosen as the full and perfect model of the female form.
So great, in fact, was the surprise both of Mr. Walsingham and his pupil on this occasion, that before they recollected themselves sufficiently to speak, Adeline had, with a smile of
the most bewitching sweetness, and with the tear of gratitude yet trembling in her eyes, offered her hand to the former of these gentlemen. "My dear Adeline," he exclaimed, taking it with the utmost courtesy and kindness, "though in some degree prepared for the result which a return to female attire must necessarily produce in your appearance, I had, I confess, no conception of the vast alteration which seems to have been effected by it. In truth, had you not stood before us accompanied by your father, well as I believed myself to be acquainted with the features of that arch little fellow Hoel, I should have doubted of your identity. But I see the astonishment which you have excited," he continued, smiling, "is by no means confined to my own breast; for, if I am not much mistaken, Edward finds an equal difficulty in recognizing the companion of his late excursion to Helmsley."
A multitude of conflicting sensations were then, indeed, passing through the bosom of Edward, and as the eyes of the party were turned upon him in consequence of this appeal, his cheek became flushed, and his manner some
what hurried and confused. The effect, however, was but transient, and he soon recovered himself sufficiently to express in very eloquent terms his feelings of wonder and delight.
These were emotions, in short, which very rapidly spread from the roof of Mr. Walsingham to every part of the immediate neighbourhood; and before the sun had gone down, there was not a cottage in the village of Rivaulx in which the unexpected disclosure had not been the theme of discussion and praise. Much, in fact, as Hoel had won upon the hearts of the villagers by the interest attending on his first appearance among them, and by his subsequent kindness and affability, the change now effected was one which roused their sympathy and admiration in a still higher degree, and rendered Adeline, in reward of her filial piety and affection, an object of universal love and esteem.
It may readily be conjectured, therefore, that under the circumstances which we have now recorded, and with the temperament and disposition which we have ascribed to Edward, an attachment for Adeline, as ardent as it should be indissoluble, would be on the part of this young