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CHAPTER II.

Now rede me, réde me, brother dear,

Throughout merry England,
Where will I find a messenger,
Betwixt us two to send.

Ballad of King Estmere.

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JULIAN's first rencounter, after re-entering the Castle, was with its young Lord, who received him with his usual kindness and lightness of hu

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66

" Thrice welcome, Sir Knight of Dames," said the Earl; “ here you rove gallantly, and at free will, through our dominions, fulfilling of appointments, and achieving amorous adventures; while we are condemned to sit in our royal halls, as dull and as immovable as if our Majesty was carved on the stern of some Manx smuggling drogger, and christened the King Arthur of Ramsay."

Nay, in that case you would take the sea,” said Julian, “and so enjoy travel and adventure enough."

“Oh, but suppose me wind-bound, or detained in harbour by a revenue pink, or ashore, if you like it, and lying high and dry upon the sand. Imagine the royal image in the dullest of all predicaments, and you have not equalled mine."

“I am happy to hear, at least, that you have had no disagreeable employment,” said Julian; “ the

, morning's alarm has blown over, I suppose?” 66 In faith it has, Julian; and our close inquiries can not find any cause for the apprehended insurrection. That Bridgenorth is in the island seems certain; but private affairs of consequence are alleged as the cause of his visit; and I am not desirous to have him arrested unless I could prove some mal-practices against him and his companions. In fact, it would seem we had taken the alarm too soon.

My mother speaks of consulting you on the subject, Julian; and I will not anticipate her solemn communication. It will be partly apologetical, I suppose; for we begin to think our retreat rather unroyal, and that, like the wicked, we have fled when no man pursued. This idea afflicts my mother, who, as a Queen-Dowager, a Queen-Regent, a heroine, and a woman in general, would be extremely mortified to think that her precipitate retreat hither had exposed her to the ridicule of the islanders; and she is disconcerted, and out of humour, accordingly. In the meanwhile, my sole amusement has been the grimaces and fantastic gestures of that ape Fenella, who is more out of humour, and more absurd, in consequence, than you ever saw her. Morris says, it is because you pushed her down stairs, Julian-how is that?"'

Nay, Morris has misreported me,” answered Julian; “ I did but lift her up stairs to be rid of her importunity; for she chose, in her way, to contest my going abroad in such an obstinate manner, that I had no other mode of getting rid of her.”

- She must have supposed your departure, at a moment so critical, was dangerous to the state of our garrison,” answered the Earl, “it shows how dearly she esteems my mother's safety, and how highly she rates your prowess.—But, thank Heaven, there sounds the dinner-bell. I would the philosophers, who find a sin and waste of time in good cheer, could devise us any pastime half so agreeable.'

The meal which the young Earl'had thus longed for, as a means of ridding him for a space of the time which hung heavy on his hands, was soon over; as soon, at least, as the habitual and stately formality of the Countess's household permitted. She herself, accompanied by her gentlewoman and attendants, retired early after the tables were left to their own company. Wine had, for the moment, no charms for either; for the Earl was out of spirits from ennui and impatience of his monotonous and solitary course of life, and the events of the day had given Peveril too much matter for reflection to permit his starting amusing or interesting topics of conversation. After having passed the flask in silence betwixt them once or twice, they withdrew each into a separate embrazure of the windows of the dining apartment, which, such was the extreme thickness of the wall, were deep enough to afford a solitary recess, separated, as it were, from the chamber itself. In one of these sate the Earl of Derby, busied in looking over some of the new publications which had been forwarded from London; and at intervals confessing how little power or interest these had for him, by yawning fearfully as he looked out on the solitary expanse of waters, which, save for the flight of a flock of sea-gulls, or of a solitary cormorant, offered so little of variety to engage his attention.

Peveril, on his part, held a pamphlet also in his hand, without giving, or affecting to give it, even his occasional attention. His whole soul turned upon the interview which he had had that day with Alice Bridgenorth, and with her father; while he in vain endeavoured to form any hypothesis which could explain to him why the daughter, to whom he had no reason to think himself indifferent, should have been so suddenly desirous of their eternal separation, while her father, whose opposition he so

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much dreaded, seemed to be at least tolerant of his addresses. He could only suppose, in explanation, that Major Bridgenorth had some plan in prospect, which it was in his own power to further or to impede; while, from the demeanour, and indeed the language, of Alice, he had but too much reason to apprehend that her father's favour could only be conciliated by something, on his own part, approaching to dereliction of principle. But by no conjecture which he could form, could he make the least guess concerning the nature of that compliance of which Bridgenorth seemed desirous. He could not imagine, notwithstanding Alice had spoken of treachery, that her father would dare to propose to him uniting in any plan by which the safety of the Countess, or the security of her little kingdom of Man, was to be endangered. This carried such indelible disgrace in the front, that he could not suppose the scheme proposed to him by any who was not prepared to defend with his sword, upon the spot, a flagrant insult offered to his honour. And such a proceeding was totally inconsistent with the conduct of Major Bridgenorth in every other respect; besides his being too calm and cold-blooded to permit of his putting a mortal affront upon the son of his old neighbour, to whose mother he confessed so much of obligation.

While Peveril in vain endeavoured to extract something like a probable theory out of the hints thrown out by the father and by the daughter-not without the additional and lover-like labour of endeavouring to reconcile his passion to his honour and conscience-he felt something gently pull him by the cloak. He unclasped his arms, which, in meditation, had been folded on his bosom; and withdrawing his eyes from the vacant prospect of seacoast and sea which they perused, without much consciousness upon what they rested, he beheld be

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side him the little dumb maiden, the elfin Fenella. She was seated on a low cushion or stool, with which she had nestled close to Peveril's side, and had remained there for a short space of time; expecting, no doubt, he would become conscious of her presence; until, tired of remaining unnoticed, she at length solicited his attention in the manner which we have described. Startled out of his reverie by this intimation of her presence, he looked down, and could not, without interest, behold this singular and helpless being.

Her hair was unloosened, and streamed over her shoulders in such length, that much of it lay upon the ground, and in such quantity, that it formed a dark veil, or shadow, not only around her face, but over her whole slender and minute form. From the profusion of her tresses looked forth her small and dark, but well-formed features, together with the large and brilliant black eyes; and her whole countenance was composed into the imploring look of one who is dubious of the reception she is about to meet with from a valued friend, while she confesses a fault, pleads an apology, or solicits a reconciliation. In short, the whole face was so much alive with expression, that Julian, though her aspect was so familiar to him, could hardly persuade himself but what her countenance was entirely new. The wild, fantastic, elvish vivacity of the features, seemed totally vanished and had given place to a sorrowful, tender, and pathetic cast of countenance, aided by the expression of the large dark eyes, which as they were turned up towards Julian, glistened with moisture, that, nevertheless, did not overflow the eyelids.

Conceiving that her unwonted manner arose from a recollection of the dispute which had taken place betwixt them this morning, Peveril was anxious to restore the little maiden's gaiety, by making her ser

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