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Chapter li.
What man so wise, so earthly witt, so ware
As to descry the crafty cunning traine,
By which deceit doth maske in visour faire,
And cast her colours died deep in graine,
To seem like truth, whose shape she well can feigne.

Faery Queen.
O sooner had Mr Lyndsay seen Miss St Clair

safe within the castle walls, than he instantly

retraced his steps, with the intention of returning to the summer-house, for the purpose of extricating her, if possible, from the mysterious thraldom in which she seemed to be held by this person. At the midnight rencontre in the wood he had asserted a right over her, which although she herself had disclaimed with almost frantic wildness, her mother had tacitly acknowledged by not directly denying. In the short conversation he had held with Mrs St Clair, subsequent to that meeting, she had with tears implored his silence—his secrecy

-his forbearance—and, in broken and indirect terms, had given him to understand that this person had been engaged with her husband in certain money transac

A

tions, which, out of regard to his memory, she was desirous of keeping concealed ; and it was upon this ground he had asserted a claim upon Miss St Clair's fortune, which he had unwarrantably extended to her hand. This mangled and absurd account could not impose upon Lyndsay ; but, at that time, he was almost a stranger to Mrs St Clair, and did not conceive himself authorised to nterfere in her concerns. He, therefore, contented himself with mildly admonishing her on the impropriety of such clandestine meetings, and recommending to her to lay this person's claims before Lord Rossville, as : he proper protector of his brother's memory

and his nie .e's interest. In the meantime, he yielded to Mrs St Clair's entreaties, and gave her his promise not to divulge what had passed, upon her solemn assurance that the affair was in the way of being amicably adjusted, and that she had taken effectual means of ridding herself for ever of this person's importunity. This promise, it now appeared, had not been kept ; again Miss St Clair had been exposed to fresh insult in his presence, and he now thought himself entitled to interpose. With this purpose he walked quickly back, and had almost reached the summerhouse, when he was met by Mrs St Clair ; her countenance was agitated, and traces of tears were visible in

She did not, however, now seem to shun him ; for she stopped and extended her hand to him, saying— -“ You are the very person I most wish to see -give me your arm, and let us return together. I have much to say to you."

« But there is a person there to whom I also have much to say; and I cannot attend you till I have first spoken with him.” And he was passing on, when Mrs Śt Clair caught his arm, –

“I know whom you seek; but spare yourself the trouble-he is gone.

her eyes.

“Where ?- which way?” eagerly demanded he ; “ but I must ascertain that myself,” and he ran with all his speed to the summer-house. But it was deserted; and, though he looked long and keenly in all directions, not a trace of any one was to be seen. He was therefore obliged to retrace his steps, and soon overtook Mrs St Clair.

“You would not give credit to me, then?” said she, in a tone of reproach.

“I shall give credit to you now," answered he, “ if you will tell me where I am likely to find the person I left here half an hour ago.

“I cannot telland, if I could, perhaps I would not. No good could possibly result from your meeting. -Your wish, I know, is to befriend my daughter and myself; and, be assured, I am far from insensible of the value of such a friend. But, come with me, I have much to say to you, much to confide to you of my dearest Gertrude."

Mrs St Clair's hyperbolical jargon was always offensive to Mr Lyndsay's good taste and right feeling; but there was something absolutely revolting in it at this time—there was something so strained and unnatural in it-such a flimsy attempt at thus seeming to court explanation, that he felt armed against the duplicity he was aware would be practised upon him.

“ At another time I shall be ready to listen to any thing which concerns Miss St Clair,” said he, coldly; “but, at present, I wish to put a few questions to the person

« Pardon me; but I know all you would say, my dear Mr Lyndsay, and you must allow me to anticipate those questions by the confidential communication I am now about to make to you.

On
your

honour-on your secrecy, I know I may place the most unbounded reliance I therefore require no assurances to satisfy me.

“1 certainly can give none until I know how far secrecy may be compatible with honour.”

Mrs St Clair affected not to hear this implied doubt, but went on

“You have now had opportunities of becoming acquainted with my daughter-of forming your own opinion of her character-of-pardon a mother's vanity

-of appreciating her charms and her graces ;—but you know not_none but a mother can know, the treasures of her heart and mind.”

Mrs St Clair paused and sighed, and Mr Lyndsay was too much surprised at such an opening to make any reply.

Judge, then, at my grief and anguish at finding this gifted being, this idol of my affections, ensnared by the artifices of one every way unworthy of her, has been led to bestow her regardsPardon me, , cried Lyndsay;

66 but I can have no possible right to be made the depository of Miss St Clair's sentiments by any but herself. I must be excused from listening to any thing more on that subject-I simply wish to know where I am likely to find the person who has, twice in my presence, dared to insult her.”

“ Yet it is only by hearing me patiently, and suffering me to take my own way in divulging the circumstances of the case as I think best, that I can possibly make you acquainted with them—either my lips must be sealed as to the whole, or you must listen to the whole without interruption.—I am mistaken if I tell you any thing new when I allude to my daughter's misplaced partiality; still more mistaken, if her future happiness is a matter of indifference to you."

Lyndsay made no answer ; he felt that Mrs St Clair was weaving a web around him, but he could not bring himself to burst from its folds, and he suffered her to proceed.

“I will not attempt to paint to you the anguish of my heart at discovering that the innocent affections of my unsuspecting child had been thus artfully and insidiously worked upon by Colonel Delmour. I know him, and you know him, to be a selfish, mercenary, unprincipled man, as incapable of appreciating such a being as Gertrude, as she would have been of bestowing her affections on a character such as his, had not her imagination been dazzled and misled. But, alas! at nineteen, where is our judgment and discrimination? Yet at nine-and-twenty they will come too late—then, long before then, if she becomes the wife of Colonel Delmour, she will be the most wretched of women.

Formed to find her happiness solely in the being she loves-noble, generous, upright, sincere herself, what will be her feelings when the mask drops, as drop it will, from this idol of her fancy, and she beholds him in his native deformity !No,

-sooner than see her the wife of Colonel Delmour, I take Heaven to witness, I would rather look upon

her in her coffin.' Inflated as all this was, still there was truth and right feeling in it; and he insensibly forgot his suspicions, and listened with profound attention.

“ Yet I dare not express to Lord Rossville all that I feel, for neither can I accede to his views for the disposal of my daughter. Gertrude has too much taste and feeling—too much heart and soul, to be sacrificed to family pride and political influence ; in fact, as far as regards her happiness, there is but a choice of evils in these brothers; but there is one

” she stopped and hesitated—“there is one to whom I would, with pride and pleasure, have confided

my dearest treasure, in the certainty that, as her judgment matured, so her love and esteem would in

some

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