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casement, and the shutters were barred in an instant. The dash of a pair of oars in the water announced the retreat of the male person of the dialogue. Indeed, I saw his boat, which he sculled with great swiftness and dexterity, fly across the lake like a twelve-oared barge. Next morning I examined some of my domestics, as if by accident, and I found the gamekeeper, when making his rounds, had twice seen that boat beneath the house, with a single person, and had heard the flageolet. I did not care to press any farther questions, for fear of implicating Julia in the opinions of those at whom they might be asked. Next morning at breakfast, I dropped a casual hint about the serenade of the evening before, and I promise you, Miss Mannering looked red and pale alternately. I immediately gave the circumstance such a turn as might lead her to suppose that my observation was merely casual. I have since caused a watch-light to be burnt in my library, and have left the shutters open, to deter the approach of our nocturnal guest; and I have stated the severity of approaching winter, and the rawness of the fogs, as an objection to solitary walks. Miss Mannering acquiesced with a passiveness which is no part of her character, and which, to tell you the plain truth, is a feature about the business which I like least of all. Julia has too much of her own dear papa's disposition to be curbed in any of her humours, were there not some little lurking consciousness that it may be as prudent to avoid debate.
"Now my story is told, and you will judge what you ought to do. I have not mentioned the matter to my good woman, who, a faithful secretary to her sex's foibles, would certainly remonstrate against your being made acquainted with these particulars, and might, instead, take it into her head to exercise her own eloquence on Miss Mannering; a faculty, which, however powerful when directed against me, its legitimate object, might, I fear, do more harm than good in the case supposed. Perhaps even you yourself will find it most prudent to act without remonstrating, or appearing to be aware of this little anecdote. Julia is very like a certain friend of mine; she has a quick and lively imagination, and keen feelings, which are apt to exaggerate both the good and evil they find in life. She is a charming girl however, as generous and spirited as she is lovely. I paid her the kiss you sent her with all my heart, and she rapped my fingers for my reward with all hers. Pray return as soon as you can. Meantime rely upon the care of yours faithfully,
Arthur Mervvn." "P. S. You will naturally wish to know if I have the least guess concerning the person of the serenader. In truth, I have none. There is no young gentleman of these parts, who might be in rank or fortune a match for Miss Julia, that I think at all likely to play such a character. But on the other side of the lake, nearly opposite to Mervyn-Hall, is a d—d cake-house, the resort of walking gentlemen of all descriptions, poets, players, painters, musicians, who come to rave, and recite, and madden, about this picturesque land of ours. It is paying some penalty for its beauties, that they are the means of drawing this swarm of coxcombs together. But were Julia my daughter, it is one of those sort of fellows that I should fear on her account. She is generous and romantic, and writes six sheets a-week to a female correspondent; and it's a sad thing to lack a subject in such a case, either for exercise of the feelings or of the pen. Adieu once more—were I to treat this matter more seriously than I have done, I should do injustice to your feelings; were I altogether to overlook it, I should discredit my own."
The consequence of this letter was, that, having first dispatched the faithless messenger with the necessary powers to Mr 7 -<