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affection of her nature require no ordinary return, but one that
shall be deep and lasting. If I did not feel this, and know,
besides, that a changed behaviour in one she loved would break
her heart, I should not feel my task so difficult of performance,
or have to encounter so many struggles in my own bosom, when I
take what seems to me to be the strict line of duty.'
'This is unkind, mother,' said Harry. 'Do you still suppose that
I am a boy ignorant of my own mind, and mistaking the impulses of
my own soul?'
'I think, my dear son,' returned Mrs. Maylie, laying her hand
upon his shoulder, 'that youth has many generous impulses which
do not last; and that among them are some, which, being
gratified, become only the more fleeting. Above all, I think'
said the lady, fixing her eyes on her son's face, 'that if an
enthusiastic, ardent, and ambitious man marry a wife on whose
name there is a stain, which, though it originate in no fault of
hers, may be visited by cold and sordid people upon her, and upon
his children also: and, in exact proportion to his success in the
world, be cast in his teeth, and made the subject of sneers
against him: he may, no matter how generous and good his nature,
one day repent of the connection he formed in early life. And
she may have the pain of knowing that he does so.'
'Mother,' said the young man, impatiently, 'he would be a selfish
brute, unworthy alike of the name of man and of the woman you
describe, who acted thus.'
'You think so now, Harry,' replied his mother.
'And ever will!' said the young man. 'The mental agony I have
suffered, during the last two days, wrings from me the avowal to
you of a passion which, as you well know, is not one of
yesterday, nor one I have lightly formed. On Rose, sweet, gentle
girl! my heart is set, as firmly as ever heart of man was set on
woman. I have no thought, no view, no hope in life, beyond her;
and if you oppose me in this great stake, you take my peace and
happiness in your hands, and cast them to the wind. Mother,
think better of this, and of me, and do not disregard the
happiness of which you seem to think so little.'
'Harry,' said Mrs. Maylie, 'it is because I think so much of warm
and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.
But we have said enough, and more than enough, on this matter,
'Let it rest with Rose, then,' interposed Harry. 'You will not
press these overstrained opinions of yours, so far, as to throw
any obstacle in my way?'
'I will not,' rejoined Mrs. Maylie; 'but I would have you
'I HAVE considered!' was the impatient reply; 'Mother, I have
considered, years and years. I have considered, ever since I
have been capable of serious reflection. My feelings remain
unchanged, as they ever will; and why should I suffer the pain of
a delay in giving them vent, which can be productive of no
earthly good? No! Before I leave this place, Rose shall hear
'She shall,' said Mrs. Maylie.
'There is something in your manner, which would almost imply that
she will hear me coldly, mother,' said the young man.
'Not coldly,' rejoined the old lady; 'far from it.'
'How then?' urged the young man. 'She has formed no other
'No, indeed,' replied his mother; 'you have, or I mistake, too
strong a hold on her affections already. What I would say,'
resumed the old lady, stopping her son as he was about to speak,
'is this. Before you stake your all on this chance; before you
suffer yourself to be carried to the highest point of hope;
reflect for a few moments, my dear child, on Rose's history, and
consider what effect the knowledge of her doubtful birth may have
on her decision: devoted as she is to us, with all the intensity
of her noble mind, and with that perfect sacrifice of self which,
in all matters, great or trifling, has always been her
'What do you mean?'
'That I leave you to discover,' replied Mrs. Maylie. 'I must go
back to her. God bless you!'
'I shall see you again to-night?' said the young man, eagerly.
'By and by,' replied the lady; 'when I leave Rose.'
'You will tell her I am here?' said Harry.
'Of course,' replied Mrs. Maylie.
'And say how anxious I have been, and how much I have suffered,
and how I long to see her. You will not refuse to do this,
'No,' said the old lady; 'I will tell her all.' And pressing her
son's hand, affectionately, she hastened from the room.
Mr. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another end of the
apartment while this hurried conversation was proceeding. The
former now held out his hand to Harry Maylie; and hearty
salutations were exchanged between them. The doctor then
communicated, in reply to multifarious questions from his young
friend, a precise account of his patient's situation; which was
quite as consolatory and full of promise, as Oliver's statement
had encouraged him to hope; and to the whole of which, Mr. Giles,
who affected to be busy about the luggage, listened with greedy
'Have you shot anything particular, lately, Giles?' inquired the
doctor, when he had concluded.
'Nothing particular, sir,' replied Mr. Giles, colouring up to the
'Nor catching any thieves, nor identifying any house-breakers?'
said the doctor.
'None at all, sir,' replied Mr. Giles, with much gravity.
'Well,' said the doctor, 'I am sorry to hear it, because you do
that sort of thing admirably. Pray, how is Brittles?'
'The boy is very well, sir,' said Mr. Giles, recovering his usual
tone of patronage; 'and sends his respectful duty, sir.'
'That's well,' said the doctor. 'Seeing you here, reminds me,
Mr. Giles, that on the day before that on which I was called away
so hurriedly, I executed, at the request of your good mistress, a
small commission in your favour. Just step into this corner a
moment, will you?'
Mr. Giles walked into the corner with much importance, and some
wonder, and was honoured with a short whispering conference with
the doctor, on the termination of which, he made a great many
bows, and retired with steps of unusual stateliness. The subject
matter of this conference was not disclosed in the parlour, but
the kitchen was speedily enlightened concerning it; for Mr. Giles
walked straight thither, and having called for a mug of ale,
announced, with an air of majesty, which was highly effective,
that it had pleased his mistress, in consideration of his gallant
behaviour on the occasion of that attempted robbery, to depost,
in the local savings-bank, the sum of five-and-twenty pounds, for
his sole use and benefit. At this, the two women-servants lifted
up their hands and eyes, and supposed that Mr. Giles, pulling out
his shirt-frill, replied, 'No, no'; and that if they observed
that he was at all haughty to his inferiors, he would thank them
to tell him so. And then he made a great many other remarks, no
less illustrative of his humility, which were received with equal
favour and applause, and were, withal, as original and as much to
the purpose, as the remarks of great men commonly are.
Above stairs, the remainder of the evening passed cheerfully
away; for the doctor was in high spirits; and however fatigued or
thoughtful Harry Maylie might have been at first, he was not
proof against the worthy gentleman's good humour, which displayed
itself in a great variety of sallies and professional
recollections, and an abundance of small jokes, which struck
Oliver as being the drollest things he had ever heard, and caused
him to laugh proportionately; to the evident satisfaction of the
doctor, who laughed immoderately at himself, and made Harry laugh
almost as heartily, by the very force of sympathy. So, they were
as pleasant a party as, under the circumstances, they could well
have been; and it was late before they retired, with light and
thankful hearts, to take that rest of which, after the doubt and
suspense they had recently undergone, they stood much in need.
Oliver rose next morning, in better heart, and went about his
usual occupations, with more hope and pleasure than he had known
for many days. The birds were once more hung out, to sing, in
their old places; and the sweetest wild flowers that could be
found, were once more gathered to gladden Rose with their beauty.
The melancholy which had seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious
boy to hang, for days past, over every object, beautiful as all
were, was dispelled by magic. The dew seemed to sparkle more
brightly on the green leaves; the air to rustle among them with a
sweeter music; and the sky itself to look more blue and bright.
Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts,
exercise, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who
look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark
and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are
reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real
hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision.
It is worthy of remark, and Oliver did not fail to note it at the
time, that his morning expeditions were no longer made alone.
Harry Maylie, after the very first morning when he met Oliver
coming laden home, was seized with such a passion for flowers,
and displayed such a taste in their arrangement, as left his
young companion far behind. If Oliver were behindhand in these
respects, he knew where the best were to be found; and morning
after morning they scoured the country together, and brought home
the fairest that blossomed. The window of the young lady's