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tising attitudes, or coquetting with her own figure in a large mirror, while she sang snatches of French songs. Her favourite resort, however, was the summer-house where she had first met her lover, and her principal recreation the perusal of amorous romances, of which she had just been fortunate enough to procure one that she had never before perused. “May I die, Helen," she exclaimed one morning to her sister, “ if it be not the sweetest work, the most spirituel and delicieur, the most full of verve, considering it is of English production, that I have yet encountered,”—and she put into her hand a ponderous tome, entitled, “ The Princess Cloria, or the Royal Romance, by a Person of Honour," inviting her to peruse it. Nay, then,” she continued, upon Helen's declining the offer, “ you must positively let me read to you the first sentence-only one paragraph, because it just describes the manner in which I should like to meet my own Arcadius, when we next encounter.” Without waiting permission, she opened the volume, and in an affected, theatrical manner read as follows:-“ Beautiful
bis resolutions; but long he had not contem-
Aurora had newly dressed the pearly morning
bed under the large canopy of a well-spread oak, where the night past he underwent an inconvenient lodging for want of better shelter, and being seated upon the root of that tree, that, however, had favourably contributed its best assistance towards his accommodation, with intention, according to his custom, to pay an early offering to his
whilst his page saddled his horse that procured more bountiful entertainment than his master, since the time of the
year vided plentiful provision for his appetite; of a sudden his ear was saluted with a well-tuned cry of deep-mouthed hounds that seemed to charm the air with a delightful harmony, which consequently gave the Prince some interruption to plated the pleasingness of the music, with a cer
complaints or attentiveness should receive more friendly welcome in his discontented bosom, before he might see a young gentleman in a hasty hand-gallop -."
“Hold, hold !" interposed Helen; “now that we have come to the young gentleman, who I suppose is the representative of your Arcadius, prythee spare me any more-you promised to limit yourself to one sentence."
“Je n'en disconviens pas, ma sæur, and I have not yet nearly completed the first.”
“It is the last, however, that I shall hear, for I have no patience for such interminable periods, and so I must beg leave to fly in the same manner that the stranger was seen to approach-in a hasty hand.gallop.”
“Eh, l'impertinente! voilà une obstination inouie,” said Adeline, betaking herself to her thick volume, and soon becoming deeply interested in the loves of Cloria and Narcissus, Orontes and Andromeda, and half-a-dozen inferior amourettes, all of which, however, finally gave way to her anxiety to know what had become of her dear Arcadius, and what was to
be the result of their mutual attachment, for she never doubted his reciprocating the passion that burnt so fervently in her own bosom. Divination with cards she had already tried, without having been able to elicit any very distinct augury from those equivocal oracles. Her dreams had been equally shadowy and inconclusive ; and in this dark incertitude she had been long weighing the practicability of consulting an old wizard residing in the neighbourhood, whose vaticinations were held to be infallible. This ancient seer, the identical person that had been consulted by the unfortunate Duke of Monmouth, tenanted a miserable hovel not far from Harpsden Hall, and was universally deemed guilty of witchcraft, upon the rather whimsical ground, that he was old and wretched, and had been tried for that offence forty years before and acquitted. By leaving the house early in the morning she might reach his abode, and return before the hour of breakfast; but it was necessary to conceal her expedition from Helen, whose ridicule she dreaded, and to find a companion. Grace Wardrop, who was now upon
her knees half the night long, and at occasional intervals during the day, praying that the young soldier of the Lord might be delivered from the hands of his enemies, would have been the fittest person to attend her in this adventure; for, with Adeline, every excursion received that name. But Grace was no favourite of hers: she was too much devoted to Helen not to communicate their proceedings to her ; and besides, she doubted her compliance with her request, and anticipated a pious dehortation from consulting false prophets and lying oracles. She accordingly applied to one of the inferior maids, an ignorant country girl, who, by the promise of an old hood and scarf, was easily induced to accompany her, and the following morning was fixed for their excursion.
Though the winter had now prematurely set in, it proved, luckily for the parties, to be one of those bright, clear, calm mornings which are so rare at this season. The sun was just rising as they set off, the sky was perfectly cloudless, and there was not a breath of wind to disturb a thin powdery snow, which had fallen in the VOL. II.