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to make them assume, and by degrees their silent eloquence regained for her the power she had nearly lost within the last few minutes.
The party had now left the New Forest, and passed through Stock Bridge. As the carriages were to be left there, they prepared to alight and proceed on foot. - Lady Emily was the first to spring forth, like a bird from a cage, and, running to General Montgomery, gave him her arm as he was alighting. “Ah! there you are, dearest and best, ever ready to cheer and delight me; well, how looks the stream, Tom?” addressing Colonel Pennington.
“Never was in better order, by what I can see, than at this moment, General: it has gathered just enough weeds during winter, and not too many; see how they float upon the current_fine buoyant weeds ; none of your heavy scum, or standing mantling green.'
It was indeed a beautiful day for the sport they had chosen; clear, calm, not a sunbeam to drive the finny tribe to take shelter under the banks, and no lowering clouds to scare them; a light ripple just crimped the surface of the transparent stream, and the flies darted in multitudes along its surface; Old Walton himself would have been enchanted with such a day; and Colonel Pennington, who scarcely yielded to that-master-angler in his keenness for the sport, was in the highest spirits. “Now, my Lord Mowbray,” he exclaimed, “ follow me; here is your basket, and here,” taking out a complete set of flies from one of his many side-pockets,--" here is as fine a fly as ever was seen. Now this is the way in which I find it most convenient to strap on my basket:" and he proceeded to equip Lord Mowbray in all the honourable accoutrements of an angler. “Now, my Lord, follow me; you shall take your station down there, beyond these willows: there is a fine deep pool, in which it will be hard indeed if we do not catch some delicate trout. As to myself, I shall try my fortune at the eddy, just by that large black stone; for fish, like men, bave various tastes-some affect the shallows, and some the deeper waters. And
let us lose no more time. The General will, I dare say, take a rod himself ?” :66
- Thank you, Tom," replied the General, “but I have sport of my own to follow; I want to look at a field of lucerne, which the Duke of Godolphin's bailiff mentioned the other day; I should like to introduce it on my estate, if I find it answers. Do you
your craft while I follow mine. But what say the ladies ? must we leave them to pursue their own devices po
Lady Emily at once decided on accompanying her uncle towards the wood,
“Where grew the lily and the eglantine.”
“And you, my Queen,” said the General, turning to Lady Frances, “ so long a walk would weary you; neither you nor Miss Paterson, I suspect, are very keen anglers ; will you take one of the carriages and drive on to the Duke of Godolphin's ?”
“ No, uncle, thank you," replied Lady Frances, with a sentimental air; “it is such a sweet day, I think I will rove about here and look at the fishes; besides, I have brought a volume of poetry with me to read, and can sit very pleasantly under the shade of the willows till your sports are over."
! “Well,” cried Lady Emily, laughing, “I do not despair of you yet, sister. Sit by a stream and read poetry! This is the very first time in your life that you ever did any thing so romantic, I do believe.”
Though this was uttered in the unaffected surprise of the moment, Lady Frances did not relish the truth ; and answered her, by saying, that good company made many dull things palatable. Her eyes áppealed to Lord Mowbray to confirm this assertion; and his silence seemed to imply the approbation she sought; for there never yet was a man who did not like to be courted, and every man can pardon follies and faults committed in his own individual favour. “Do not be displeased, Frances,” said Lady Emily ;'“I did not mean to offend you. You know, I should enjoy staying with you of all things, were it not that you can do without, and that the lilies of the valley are waiting for me."
As she spoke with a kind of innocent archness, she looked so like one of the lilies she was going in quest of, that Lord Mowbray felt a divided admiration arise in his breast, as the childish eagerness of Lady Emily to follow her flowery sport contrasted strikingly with Lady France's evident desire to attract his attention. Lord Mowbray, however, presented his arm to the latter, though his eyes pursued the bounding step of Lady Emily, as she flew bither and thither, playfully sporting round her uncle; while General Montgomery, following her with eyes of beaming affection, seemed to grow young again in the contemplation of her artless delight. All this, Lord Mowbray saw and felt, as the fishing party strolled along the brink of the river, and the rest hastened across the plain to reach the beech-wood,
“ I mind the time when I could fly ow'r our Scottish braes just like Lady Emily yonder,” said Miss Macalpine, as she too, with an affectionate smile, gazed after the nymph-like figure which gradually lessened on their view. “Do you not remember, Colonel, those days when I was a lassie, at Heathersden, and we used to gang up to the Crag Point ?"
“Do I remember? to be sure I do,” replied the Colonel abruptly. “ I have not lost my memory! Sometimes I wish I had,” he added, in an under tone, and with a softened expression.
“Ah, well, those days are past and over ; I wish they had never been,” said Miss Macalpine.
“ And so do I, Miss Macalpine, perhaps ; but what then ?”
“ I'm thinking,” she went on to say, without heeding his ubservation_" I'm thinking it's hard we canna just remain young a' the days we hae to bide below, there's no' so mony o' them; I never could find the use o' growing auld."
" Ah !" rejoined Colonel Pennington, “we are not able to see the pleasure of growing old, I grant you ; but the use of it is another question."
Their conversation was interrupted by a call from Lord Mowbray. “ Do come and support Lady Frances,” he cried, “ for her shoe has stuck in this muddy ground :" and at the same moment they beheld Lady Frances, with one foot in the air, and the delicate silk shoe covered with dirt and sticking in the mire. “ Hech, Sirs! the lassie's come out in a pair o'silk slippers to the fishing,” exclaimed Miss Macalpine; you ever see the like o' that ?”
“What made you do such a silly thing ?” cried Colonel Pennington angrily. “Here you are now without shoes; and somebody must walk back to get you a pair, and the day will be lost in going and coming : that is always the way when one has any thing to do with women."
Luckily one of the servats was within call, and he was despatched to buy a pair of shoes, such as could be found at the neighbouring village: in the mean time, Lord Mowbray spread his cloak upon the banks of the river; and on this, Lady Frances was obliged to repose, and take to her book with the best grace she could, in default of other amusement ; for, to her disappointment, Lord Mowbray, after paying her compliments on her poetical studies, betook himself, though without much alacrity, to his fishing station.
. “ I wish,” said Miss Macalpine, with a glance at Lady Frances's book, “that ye had brought a wiser-like companion wi' yo, my Lady;
yon chiel, wi' a' the glamer o' his genius, has turned more heads and hearts tapsalterie than eneugh.”
“ Pooh !" said Lady Frances, “ do not fall into the cant of old Reviews—he is divine—which of our poets is read with more pleasure P”
" And do you never read for peace and improvement ? Pleasure is a'e thing and profit's anilher; thae twa dinna whiles haud thegither; better a mutchkin o' the ane than a pint stoup o' t'ither.”
“Dear Miss Macalpine, a truce with truisms and moral sentences; I want something more than peace, if you please; I am not come to such a low ebb as to want peace. When I read, I read for pleasure : I like Lord Byron and Moore better than Young's Night Thoughts."
"Lady Frances,” replied Miss Macalpine, with infinity gravity, "I was young once mysel', and had aye a turn to the reading, when reading wasna in vogue as it is now; or rather I should
say, when ilka bodny didna think it needsu' to be ca'd a reader, let alane a writer; but this I ken, that if ye dinna read mair purpose-like works than yon, ye'll fare the waur when
ye 're an auld woman.” “When I am an old woman!” said Lady Frances, looking up.
Really, Miss Macalpine, you have such-a-a—very odd, abrupt way of expressing yourself--an old woman, indeed !"
“ Yes, we must e'en take up in that same, like it or no',” continued the simple-minded Miss Macalpine: “we never stand still ; mind or bodie, we ’re aye going back or fore: if ye dinna feel that every day, as it hurtles past, hasna put some good intill ye, be assured it has ta’en some awa. But ye luke tired-like, my bonnie birdie."
“I am very sorry,” said Lady Frances peevishly, “that I ever came at all upon this horrid expedition: I wonder how I could be such a fool!"
“ Hech, Sir!" cried Miss Macalpine, jumping up, “ if Lord Mowbray basna hooked a fine salmon!”
A fish he had, most certainly; and away went Miss Macalpine to see him bring it to land; while Lady Frances, thanks to her silk shoes, could not move a step, having lost the one, and the other being sent on by the servant as a pattern. There she was obliged to sit; and she had the mortification to behold Miss Macalpine standing by Lord Mowbray, and directing him how to let the fish run, and how to wind it up again: when, in the midst of her learned directions, crack went rod and line and all ! and the favourite fish
ing apparatus of Colonel Pennington, owing to Lord Mowbray's want of skill, was utterly destroyed.
Colonel Pennington, who had been an observer of what was going on, threw down his own rod, and came as fast as he could to Lord Mowbray's assistance, but all too late! so that when he saw the fragments of his famous tackle lying broken on the margin of the stream, he could not contain his vexation, but gave way to the natural ebullition of his temper. Why, my Lord, what have you been about here ?--Miss Marian, I thought I had instructed you better than that! and if he never went a-fisbing before, that at least you could have told him something better than to let him break my very best rod into a thousand pieces! Why in the name of common sense did you not let out your line? What a day's sport you have lost, and broken my very best rod ! the rod that played so beautifully, and would almost bear to have been bent double in skilful hands !
“My dear Colonel, pray forgive me! I never will put your patience to the test again : and I will write to town for the very best fishing-rod that can be made."
* Forgive you, my Lord ? that is not the question ; but it's enough to put a man in a passion to see people so foolish.”
He then gathered up the broken fragments, and went off grumbling something about women being always in the way, and always spoiling any rational scheme of amusement; and muttering something too about men being as bad, when they attempted what they knew nothing about.
Lord Mowbray, completely tired of the whole thing, felt really glad to take refuge by the side of Lady Frances ; and as the servant had now arrived with a pair of shoes for her, she was once more enabled to walk, which became doubly necessary, as the deceitful winds of an English spring had chilled her. “I am afraid, Lady Frances,” said Lord Mowbray, “ that you are suffering from cold. Suppose we take a quick walk and pursue General Montgomery; there cannot be a better method of warming yourself.”
Lady Frances, after a few exclamations against the clumsy substitutes she had found for her delicate shoes, acceded to the proposal ; and Lord Mowbray, offering one arm to her and the other to Miss Macalpine, set off with the two ladies at a quicker pace than Miss Macalpine thought it possible Lady Frances could ever have attained to.“ That's right; it's just a pity my Lady Frances badna your arm to gar her tak’a brisk walk every day o' her life," said