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. CHAPTER XXI.
« What say'st thon, Wise-One ?—that all powerful Love Can fortune's strong impediments remove.
Nor is it strange that worth should wed to worth, The pride of genius with the pride of birth."
V. Brown—I will not give at full length his thrice unhappy name—had been from infancy a ball for fortune to spurn at; but nature had given him that elasticity of mind, which rises higher from the rebound. His form was tall, manly, and active, and his features corresponded with his person; for, although far from regular, they had an expression of intelligence and good humour, and when he spoke or was particularly animated, might be decidedly pronounced interesting. His manner indicated a good deal the military profession which had been his choice, and in which he had now attained the rank of captain, the person who succeeded Colonel Mannering in his command having laboured to repair the injustice which Brown had sustained by that gentleman's prejudice against him. But this, as well as his liberation from captivity, had taken place after Mannering had left India. Brown followed at no distant period, his regiment being recalled home. His first enquiry was after the family of Mannering, and, easily learning their route northward, he followed it with the purpose of resuming his addresses to Julia. With her father he deemed he had no measures to keep; for, ignorant of the more venomous belief which had been instilled into the colonel's mind,'he-regarded him as an oppressive aristocrat, who had used his power as a commanding-officer to deprive him of the preferment due to his behaviour, and who had forced upon him a personal quarrel without any better reason than his atten* tions to a pretty young woman, agreeable to herself, and permitted and countenanced by her mothfer. 'H:e was determined, therefore, to take no rejection unless from the young lady herself, believing that the heavy misfortunes of his painful wound and imprisonment were direct injuries received from the father, which might dispense with his using much ceremony towards him. How far his scheme had succeeded when his nocturnal visit was discovered by Mr Mervyn, our readers are already informed.
Upon this unpleasant occurrence, Captain Brown absented himself from the inn in which he had resided under the name of Dawson, so that Colonel Mannering's attempts to discover and trace him were unavailing. He resolved, however, that no difficulties should prevent his continuing his enterprise, while Julia left him a ray of hope. The interest he had secured in her bosom was such as she had been unable to conceal from him, and with all the courage of romantic gallantry he determined upon perseverance. But we believe the reader will be as well pleased to learn his mode of thinking and intentions from his own communication to his special friend and confidant, Captain Delaserre, a Swiss gentleman, who had a company in his regiment
*f Let the hear from you soon, dear Delaserre—Remember I can learn nothing about regimental affairs but through your friendly medium, and I long to know what has become of Ayre's court-martial, and whether Elliot gets the majority—also how recruiting comes on, and how the young officers like the mess. Of our kind friend, the Lieutenant-Colonel, I need ask nothing; I saw him as I passed through Nottingham, happy in the bosom of his family. What a happiness it is, Philip, for us poor devils, that we have a little resting-place between the camp and the grave, if we can manage to escape disease, and steel, and lead, and the effects of hard living. A retired old soldier is always a graceful and respected character—he grumbles a little now and then, but then his is licensed murmuring—were a lawyer, or a physician, or a clergyman, to breathe a complaint of hard luck or want of preferment, a hundred tongues would blame his own incapacity as the cause. But the most stupid veteran that ever faultered out the thrice-told tale of a siege and a battle, and a cock and a bottle, is listened to with sympathy and reverence when he shakes hia thin locks, and talks with indignation of the boys that are put over his head. And you and I, Delaserre, foreigners both,— for what am I the better that I was originally a Scotchman, since, could I prove my descent, the English would hardly acknowledge me a countryman ?—we may boast that we have fought out our preferment, and gained that by the sword which we had not money to compass otherwise. The English are a wise people. While they 9