Surely, Ned. I am always at leisure. You know my constitution. Have you breakfasted?
Three hours ago.
What a very early dog! cried his father, contemplating him from behind the toothpick, with a languid smile.
The truth is, said Edward, bringing a chair forward, and seating himself near the table, that I slept but ill last night, and was glad to rise. The cause of my uneasiness cannot but be known to you, sir; and it is upon that I wish to speak.
My dear boy, returned his father, confide in me, I beg. But you know my constitutiondont be prosy, Ned.
I will be plain, and brief, said Edward.
Dont say you will, my good fellow, returned his father, crossing his legs, or you certainly will not. You are going to tell me
Plainly this, then, said the son, with an air of great concern, that I know where you were last nightfrom being on the spot, indeedand whom you saw, and what your purpose was.
You dont say so! cried his father. I am delighted to hear it. It saves us the worry, and terrible wear and tear of a long explanation, and is a great relief for both. At the very house! Why didnt you come up? I should have been charmed to see you.
I knew that what I had to say would be better said after a nights reflection, when both of us were cool, returned the son.
Fore Gad, Ned, rejoined the father, I was cool enough last night. That detestable Maypole! By some infernal contrivance of the builder, it holds the wind, and keeps it fresh. You remember the sharp east wind that blew so hard five weeks ago? I give you my honour it was rampant in that old house last night, though out of doors there was a dead calm. But you were saying
I was about to say, Heaven knows how seriously and earnestly, that you have made me wretched, sir. Will you hear me gravely for a moment?
My dear Ned, said his father, I will hear you with the patience of an anchorite. Oblige me with the milk.
I saw Miss Haredale last night, Edward resumed, when he had complied with this request; her uncle, in her presence, immediately after your interview, and, as of course I know, in consequence of it, forbade me the house, and, with circumstances of indignity which are of your creation I am sure, commanded me to leave it on the instant.
For his manner of doing so, I give you my honour, Ned, I am not accountable, said his father. That you must excuse. He is a mere boor, a log, a brute, with no address in life.Positively a fly in the jug. The first I have seen this year.
Edward rose, and paced the room. His imperturbable parent sipped his tea.
Father, said the young man, stopping at length before him, we must not trifle in this matter. We must not deceive each other, or ourselves. Let me pursue the manly open part I wish to take, and do not repel me by this unkind indifference.
Whether I am indifferent or no, returned the other, I leave you, my dear boy, to judge. A ride of twenty- five or thirty miles, through miry roadsa Maypole dinnera tete-a-tete with Haredale, which, vanity
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