`I believe not,' I answered.--`Certainly not, if others are as little changed as I.' Her face glowed in sympathy with mine.

`And you really did not mean to call?' she exclaimed.

`I feared to intrude.'

`To intrude!' cried she with an impatient gesture.--`What'--but as if suddenly recollecting her aunt's presence, she checked herself and turning to that lady continued--`Why aunt, this man is my brother's close friend and was my own intimate acquaintance (for a few short months at least), and professed a great attachment to my boy--and when he passes the house, so many scores of miles from his home, he declines to look in for fear of intruding!'

`Mr. Markham is over modest,' observed Mrs. Maxwell.

`Over ceremonious rather,' said her niece--`over--well, it's no matter.' And turning from me, she seated herself in a chair beside the table, and pulling a book to her by the cover, began to turn over the leaves in an energetic kind of abstraction.

`If I had known,' said I, `that you would have honoured me by remembering me as an intimate acquaintance, I most likely should not have denied myself the pleasure of calling upon you, but I thought you had forgotten me long ago.'

`You judged of others by yourself,' muttered she without raising her eyes from the book, but reddening as she spoke and hastily turning over a dozen leaves at once.

There was a pause of which Arthur thought he might venture to avail himself to introduce his handsome young setter and show me how wonderfully it was grown and improved, and to ask after the welfare of its father Sancho. Mrs. Maxwell then withdrew to take off her things. Helen immediately pushed the book from her and after silently surveying her son, his friend, and his dog for a few moments, she dismissed the former from the room under pretence of wishing him to fetch his last new book to shew me. The child obeyed with alacrity; but I continued caressing the dog. The silence might have lasted till its master's return had it depended on me to break it, but, in half a minute or less, my hostess impatiently rose, and taking her former station on the rug between me and the chimney corner, earnestly exclaimed--

`Gilbert, what is the matter with you?--why are you so changed?--It is a very indiscreet question I know,' she hastened to add: `perhaps, a very rude one--don't answer it if you think so--out I hate mysteries and concealments.'

`I am not changed--Helen--unfortunately I am as keen and passionate as ever--it is not I, it is circumstances that are changed.'

`What circumstances? Do tell me!' Her cheek was blanched with the very anguish of anxiety--could it be with the fear that I had rashly pledged my faith to another?

`I'll tell you at once,' said I. `I will confess that I came here for the purpose of seeing you (not without some monitory misgivings at my own presumption, and fears that I should be as little welcome as expected when I came), but I did not know that this estate was yours, until enlightened on the subject of your inheritance by the conversation of two fellow passengers in the last stage of my journey; and then, I saw at once the folly of the hopes I had cherished and the madness of retaining them a moment longer; and though I alighted at your gates, I determined not to enter within them; I lingered a few minutes to see the place, but was fully resolved to return to M--- without seeing its mistress.'

`And if my aunt and I had not been just returning from our morning drive, I should have seen and heard no more of you?'

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