night's rest at a way-side inn; choosing rather to brook a little delay than to present myself worn, wild, and weatherbeaten before my mistress and her aunt, who would be astonished enough to see me without that. Next morning, therefore, I not only fortified myself with as substantial a breakfast as my excited feelings would allow me to swallow, but I bestowed a little more than usual time and care upon my toilet; and, furnished with a change of linen from my small carpet-bag, well brushed clothes, well polished boots, and neat new gloves,--I mounted `the Lightning,' and resumed my journey. I had nearly two stages yet before me, but the coach, I was informed, passed through the neighbourhood of Staningley, and, having desired to be set down as near the Hall as possible, I had nothing to do but to sit with folded arms and speculate upon the coming hour.

It was a clear, frosty morning. The very fact of sitting exalted aloft, surveying the snowy landscape and sweet, sunny sky, inhaling the pure, bracing air, and crunching away over the crisp, frozen snow, was exhilarating enough in itself, but add to this the idea of to what goal I was hastening, and whom I expected to meet, and you may have some faint conception of my frame of mind at the time--only a faint one though, for my heart swelled with unspeakable delight, and my spirits rose almost to madness--in spite of my prudent endeavours to bind them down to a reasonable platitude' by thinking of the undeniable difference between Helen's rank and mine; of all that she had passed through since our parting; of her long, unbroken silence; and, above all, of her cool, cautious aunt, whose counsels she would doubtless be careful not to slight again. These considerations made my heart flutter with anxiety, and my chest heave with impatience to get the crisis over, but they could not dim her image in my mind, or mar the vivid recollection of what had been said and felt between us--or destroy the keen anticipation of what was to be--in fact, I could not realize their terrors now. Towards the close of the journey, however, a couple of my fellow passengers kindly came to my assistance, and brought me low enough.

`Fine land this,' said one of them, pointing with his umbrella to the wide fields on the right, conspicuous for their compact hedgerows, deep, well-cut ditches, and fine timber-trees, growing sometimes on the borders, sometimes in the midst of the enclosure;--`very fine land, if you saw it in the summer or spring.'

`Ay,' responded the others gruff elderly man, with a drab great coat buttoned up to the chin and a cotton umbrella between his knees. `It's old Maxwell's I suppose.'

`It was his, sir, but he's dead now, you're aware, and has left it all to his niece.'


`Every rood of it,--and the mansion-house and all,--every hatom of his worldly goods!--except just a trifle, by way of remembrance to his nephew down in ---hire and an annuity to his wife.'

`It's strange, sir!'

`It is sir. And she wasn't his own niece neither; but he had no near relations of his own--none but a nephew he'd quarrelled with--and he always had a partiality for this one. And then his wife advised him to it, they say: she'd brought most of the property, and it was her wish that this lady should have it.'

`Humph!--She'll be a fine catch for somebody.'

`She will so. She's a widow, but quite young yet, and uncommon handsome fortune of her own, besides, and only one child--and she's nursing a fine estate for him in ------ There'll be lots to speak for her!-- 'fraid there's no chance for uz'--(facetiously jogging me with his elbow, as well as his companion)--`ha, ha, ha! No offence, sir, I hope?' (to me) `Ahem!--I should think she'll marry none but a nobleman, myself. Look ye sir,' resumed he, turning to his other neighbour, and pointing past me with his umbrella, `that's the Hall--grand park, you see--and all them woods--plenty of timber there, and lots of game--hallo! what now?'

This exclamation was occasioned by the sudden stoppage of the coach at the park gates.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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