swore he thought a young fellow had better be thrice drunk in one day, than sneak sober to bed like a Presbyterian, and leave a batch of honest fellows and a double quart of claret. And to back this consolatory speech, he poured out a large bumper of brandy, exhorting me to swallow “a hair of the dog that had bit me.”

“Never mind these lads laughing, nevoy,” he continued; “they would have been all as great milksops as yourself, had I not nursed them, as one may say, on the toast and tankard.”

Ill-nature was not the fault of my cousins in general; they saw I was vexed and hurt at the recollections of the preceding evening, and endeavoured, with clumsy kindness, to remove the painful impression they had made on me. Thorncliff alone looked sullen and unreconciled. This young man had never liked me from the beginning; and in the marks of attention occasionally shown me by his brothers, awkward as they were, he alone had never joined. If it was true, of which, however, I began to have my doubts, that he was considered by the family, or regarded himself, as the destined husband of Miss Vernon, a sentiment of jealousy might have sprung up in his mind from the marked predilection which it was that young lady’s pleasure to show for one whom Thorncliff might, perhaps, think likely to become a dangerous rival.

Rashleigh at last entered, his visage as dark as mourning weed, brooding, I could not but doubt, over the unjustifiable and disgraceful insult I had offered to him. I had already settled in my own mind how I was to behave on the occasion, and had schooled myself to believe, that true honour consisted not in defending, but in apologising for, an injury so much disproportioned to any provocation I might have to allege.

I therefore hastened to meet Rashleigh, and to express myself in the highest degree sorry for the violence with which I had acted on the preceding evening.

“No circumstances,” I said, “could have wrung from me a single word of apology, save my own consciousness of the impropriety of my behaviour. I hoped my cousin would accept of my regrets so sincerely offered, and consider how much of my misconduct was owing to the excessive hospitality of Osbaldistone Hall.”

“He shall be friends with thee, lad,” cried the honest knight, in the full effusion of his heart; “or d—n me, if I call him son more!—Why, Rashie, dost stand there like a log? Sorry for it is all a gentleman can say, if he happens to do anything awry, especially over his claret.—I served in Hounslow, and should know something, I think, of affairs of honour. Let me hear no more of this, and we’ll go in a body and rummage out the badger in Birkenwood Bank.”

Rashleigh’s face resembled, as I have already noticed, no other countenance that I ever saw. But this singularity lay not only in the features, but in the mode of changing their expression. Other countenances, in altering from grief to joy, or from anger to satisfaction, pass through some brief interval, ere the expression of the predominant passion supersedes entirely that of its predecessor. There is a sort of twilight, like that between the clearing up of the darkness and the rising of the sun, while the swollen muscles subside, the dark eye clears, the forehead relaxes and expands itself, and the whole countenance loses its sterner shades, and becomes serene and placid. Rashleigh’s face exhibited none of these gradations, but changed almost instantaneously from the expression of one passion to that of the contrary. I can compare it to nothing but the sudden shifting of a scene in the theatre, where, at the whistle of the prompter, a cavern disappears, and a grove arises.

My attention was strongly arrested by this peculiarity on the present occasion. At Rashleigh’s first entrance, “black he stood as night!” With the same inflexible countenance he heard my excuse and his father’s exhortation; and it was not until Sir Hildebrand had done speaking, that the cloud cleared away at once, and he expressed, in the kindest and most civil terms, his perfect satisfaction with the very handsome apology I had offered.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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