made this strong impression. His features were, indeed, irregular, but they were by no means vulgar; and his keen dark eyes, and shaggy eyebrows, redeemed his face from the charge of commonplace ugliness. But there was in these eyes an expression of art and design, and, on provocation, a ferocity tempered by caution, which nature had made obvious to the most ordinary physiognomist, perhaps with the same intention that she has given the rattle to the poisonous snake. As if to compensate him for these disadvantages of exterior, Rashleigh Osbaldistone was possessed of a voice the most soft, mellow, and rich in its tones that I ever heard, and was at no loss for language of every sort suited to so fine an organ. His first sentence of welcome was hardly ended, ere I internally agreed with Miss Vernon, that my new kinsman would make an instant conquest of a mistress whose ears alone were to judge his cause. He was about to place himself beside me at dinner, but Miss Vernon, who, as the only female in the family, arranged all such matters according to her own pleasure, contrived that I should sit betwixt Thorncliff and herself; and it can scarce be doubted that I favoured this more advantageous arrangement.

“I want to speak with you,” she said, “and I have placed honest Thornie betwixt Rashleigh and you on purpose. He will be like—

Feather-bed ’twixt castle wall
And heavy brunt of cannon ball;

while I, your earliest acquaintance in this intellectual family, ask of you how you like us all?”

“A very comprehensive question, Miss Vernon, considering how short while I have been at Osbaldistone Hall.”

“Oh, the philosophy of our family lies on the surface—there are minute shades distinguishing the individuals, which require the eye of an intelligent observer; but the species, as naturalists I believe call it, may be distinguished and characterised at once.”

“My five elder cousins then, are, I presume, of pretty nearly the same character?”

“Yes, they form a happy compound of sot, gamekeeper, bully, horse-jockey, and fool; but as they say there cannot be found two leaves on the same tree exactly alike, so these happy ingredients, being mingled in somewhat various proportions in each individual, make an agreeable variety for those who like to study character.”

“Give me a sketch, if you please, Miss Vernon.”

“You shall have them all in a family-piece, at full length—the favour is too easily granted to be refused. Percie, the son and heir, has more of the sot than of the gamekeeper, bully, horse-jockey, or fool—My precious Thornie is more of the bully than the sot, gamekeeper, jockey, or fool—John, who sleeps whole weeks amongst the hills, has most of the gamekeeper—The jockey is powerful with Dickon, who rides two hundred miles by day and night to be bought and sold at a horse-race—And the fool predominates so much over Wilfred’s other qualities, that he may be termed a fool positive.”

“A goodly collection, Miss Vernon, and the individual varieties belong to a most interesting species. But is there no room on the canvas for Sir Hildebrand?”

“I love my uncle,” was her reply: “I owe him some kindness (such it was meant for at least), and I will leave you to draw his picture yourself, when you know him better.”

Come, thought I to myself, I am glad there is some forbearance. After all, who would have looked for such bitter satire from a creature so young and so exquisitely beautiful?

“You are thinking of me,” she said, bending her dark eyes on me, as if she meant to pierce through my very soul.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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