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Miss Macalpine; " that would put a rose in her cheek! There's nothing in the world like air and exercise for that."
When they joined Lady Emily, she displayed what she called her treasures—a basket which Rose could scarcely carry, laden with lily roots.
“ I fear me,” (said Miss Macalpine, shaking her head) they'll no' do : this is no' the season for transplanting.”
Nay, dear Alpinia, say not so: I will make it the season. You know the French maxim, ce qui est differé est perdu ! To plant a flower or a pleasure, give me the present moment! What do you say, Lord Mowbray?” she added gaily.
To a mind not wholly sophisticated, there was something delightful in this wholesome appetite for innocent enjoyment; and Lord Mowbray felt it renovate his being, as he replied, "Well, Lady Emily, I must confess that I should like to sun myself in the atmosphere of your happy nature! But” (turning to Lady Frances) " these are only the susceptibilities of the moment :--they cannot last.”
Lord Mowbray did not know that, on the contrary, they were the healthful principles of an innocent mind; susceptibilities indeed they were, arising out of a much more stable source than he dreamt of in all his philosophy.
“What nonsense!" said Lady Frances, shrugging her shoulders.
“ I am not so sure of that either,” rejoined Lord Mowbray: “I only regret my inability to share the feeling."
“ Indeed!” rejoined Lady Frances coldly; and, at the same time, Sir Richard Townley and the General appeared in sight.
“ Well," said the good General, “ what have you been about, and what sport have you had ? Frances has doubtless read her book twice over, and Lord Mowbray has caught me a famous dish, of fish.”
Both parties yielded guilty of omission, but assigned many weighty circumstances in extenuation ; Lady Frances was frozen with the cold; Lord Mowbray had certainly caught fish—but then the fish had broken his rod, and thus put a final end to his attempts for that day. “Oh! it's all just as it should be,” exclaimed the General; “ we have had a day's harmless diversion; and if it has tried my honest friend Tom Pennington's temper, that's all the harm, in fact, that has been done. I beg France's pardon though; I forgot her fine shoes! And now it is time that we return home, for more sweet hours have been wiled away than we have taken ac
count of. The happy, they say, never count the hours; yet that is not my opinion either; we grow misers, I am certain, of our treasures, and learn a wonderful precision, on the contrary, in our estimate of time, in proportion as we truly enjoy it.”
“Oh yes! dear uncle,” said Lady Emily; “ I have been asking every moment what o'clock it was, I was so afraid that we should not have been able to have dug up the lilies; but we have effected every thing that I wanted to do, and the day has completely answered to me.”
“ I wish every day may so answer to you, my dearest and best !"
“ A kind, kind wish!” replied Lady Emily; " and one that I am sure will be fulfilled, so long as you love me!" And thus saying, she passed the General's aru through her own, and the whole party took the road to the carriages.
When they reached them, it was found that Colonel Pennington still loitered behind; and after waiting a full hour for him, he sent word that he had booked a fine salmon trout; and were he to attempt to land it in a hurry, he should break another rod. He begged the party, therefore, to return home, and promised to follow as soon as he had finished his day's sport.
The pony phaeton was accordingly left to convey him, and the produce of his skill, back to the hall; while the remainder of the party, being disposed of in the other carriages, commenced their route homewards.
Awake! the morning shines, and the fresh field
Milton's Par. Lost.
NOTWITHSTANDING the fatigues of the preceding day, Lady Emily, “ with spirits pure, and slumbers light, that fly the approach of morn," was early up. “ April showers bring May flowers,” 'tis said; “and so they have,” cried she, opening her window, and looking out at a scene not less fresh and fair than herself. "Come,
Frances, rise ! it is a shame to lose this beautiful morning. Sister! sister! awake!" as she undrew the curtains of her bed. What ! still asleep, or only feigning? I think I see your eyelids twinkling.
' And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes ;
My lady sweet, arise ! »
" Oh! how tiresome you are, Emily; you have just awakened me from the nicest dream;-do close the bed-curtain, and let me dream it over again."
“Oh, no! I will not for the world. I want to take you from the nicest dream to the sweetest reality. It is the last day of May, and it is a day worthy to be enjoyed in the clear, cool hour of prime : haste, Frances, haste! let us bring my uncle home a lapful of violets, before he breakfasts; you know how much he enjoys the fragrance of those wild flowers."
“ Nonsense, Emily! as if the gardener could not gather those which grow in the garden. They are infinitely sweeter, and one has no trouble; besides, I do not care about flowers-they are so insipid as every thing is that pertains to the country. Give me a splendid equipage, such as I was driving in, in idea, and in which one appears to so much advantage, precisely like a fine picture in a handsome frame; there is no situation in which a lady's beauty is so well displayed; while a thousand hovering beaux pace around, waiting for a look, a nod, a smile, though they affect to have their eyes fixed on vacancy, and die with envy when the favoured flirt leans his gloved hand upon the carriage-door, perfumed with the last essences imported from Paris, which are superior to all the mawkish natural sweets in the world; and then the soft nothings addressed to one's ear, that are so vivifying and so new, because it is impossible to remember of what they consist—all this is only to be found in dear London. And of all this you cruelly deprived me, by waking me with your dull, prozy, school-girl sentiment about a ditch, and nettles, and violets, and dry sticks in a half-green hedge-oh! it is provoking : do draw the curtains—the light puts my eyes out. Go, go like a good girl to your violets, and Rose Delvin, the farmer's daughter; she will suit you much better than I shall; and leave me to dream, since” (with a yawn and a sigh) " it is all one can do here." And Frances buried her face in the down of the pillow.
Emily sighed as she obeyed her sister; but when she walked into
the garden, a sense of delight came over her that banished reflection, and she bounded along as gay as the insect that courted the sunbeam. From the formal-dressed garden, Emily passed on to an open grove, and thence into the chase (as it was still called), overspread with wild flowers of a thousand hues. “Though I am no longer a child,” said she, as she stooped to gather a knot of crimson-tipped daisies, “I think I love them as much as when I used to fill my frock with them long years ago." And she went on and on, culling as she went, till she came to the boundary of the inclosure. Here a row of willows bordered a streamlet that divided the chase from the road; but when 'she reached the spot, where a little wooden bridge usually afforded passage to the neighbouring villagers, she found it broken down and impassable, and several of the trees hacked and hewn in a merciless manner around it.
“ How is this ?" said Emily to herself, and pausing; “what has occasioned all this mischief? how is this, and how shall I pass " and she half-sprung forward to leap the streamlet ; then checked herself, seeing the attempt would be fruitless; when, looking and perceiving no one nigh, she hastily drew off her shoes, and then her stockings, and prepared to ford the water. In another moment she put in one foot, then the other, its coldness catching her breath; but, in she went, notwithstanding; and, as she saw her white feet shining through the current of the limpid water, she laughed in gaiety of her heart—it might be at their beauty, it might be at doing a thing she had never done before, Who can account for the mirth of a youthful, innocent spirit ?
" What would Frances say now, if she saw me?”
“ She would say that you are surely very adventurous, Lady Emily,” cried a voice which was familiar to her.
Emily started, looked around, and beheld, sauntering behind the willows, their guest Lord Mowbray! She coloured, dropped her garments in the water, and, hastening to the opposite bank, sat down. “My Lord! pray leave me," she exclaimed, breathless with surprise and confusion; “ I request you to leave me directly."
" Accident alone brought me here ; I can only beg a thousand pardons for my unintentional intrusion,” replied Lord Mowbray, bowing as he spoke. He took the path towards the hall, but not, as Emily observed, till he had gathered up the flowers she had dropped.
This accidental meeting greatly discomposed her and disturbed the
promised pleasure of her walk; but, replacing her dress, she made an effort to forget its occurrence, and hastened on to Delvin's cottage. When she lifted the latch of the garden-door, Emily beheld Ambrose Philips, a young farmer, who, to use a village phrase, kept company with Rose, leaning over the low wicket, and holding her hand in his. So deeply were they engaged in conversation that they did not perceive her approach.— Rose, Rose, good morning, Rose !!was several times repeated in vain : at last Ambrose started and turned round ; down rolled his hat; he pulled his thick brown locks with one hand in token of respect, while he sprawled with the other for the falling hat, and bowing,
Why, Rose," said Lady Emily, smiling, “ I am afraid I am come at an unlucky moment; I am earlier than you expectedwhere is your mother and Andrew ?” ..
Very true, my Lady; I did not expect your Ladyship quite so soon; but we are always glad to see you-won't you come in and rest a bit, my Lady? But, bless me, here is all the tail of your Ladyship's gown daggled up to the knees; well, it is lucky we have got a spark of fire, for I was just going to boil father's milk for his breakfast :" but when Rose turned to the large fire-place, there was none.
" You have been engaged with other sparks, I believe, Rose, and forgot the milk."
Sparks !" repeated Rose with a conscious blush; " what does your ladyship mean ? I'am only engaged to Ambrose ; your Ladyship knows it is all fixed. Farmer Philips has promised to give up bis farm to his son; and so father and mother have given their consent, and we're to be married next Midsummer, my Lady, if you please.”
" It pleases me very much, indeed, Rose, for your sake; every body says Ambrose is a good industrious young man. Remember, Rose, I will give you your wedding-gown.”
Your Ladyship is always good and kind; but, excuse my freedom, I wish we could hear of you buying your own !”
“ All in good time, Rose; but I am so happy now, that I do not wish for any change; I can fancy none happier than my present lot!”
“ No, sure! well your ladyship must be right;—but I thought every body liked to be married—that is,--but dear me, how wet you are!” she added wringing the gown.