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abroad, I went to her. The villa they were building was not yet finished, and she was still residing in their primitive loghut with Miss Volumnia. I was not, however, to be impeded by the presence of that young lady; so I found a way and method to get Mrs. Cockspur to take a seat with me on a pleasant bank, where the young men had raised a bench that overlooked the river; Miss Volumnia, in the mean time, having undertaken to prepare tea for us.
After some general discourse on divers topics, I told Mrs. Cockspur of the bank scheme, and of the confidence with which every body talked of the brisk fortune that awaited Judiville. In that manner I scooped out an opportunity to say,
“And, Madam, one of the many remarkable signs by which we are assured to expect great things of the place, is in the gentleman who is to manage the bank;" and I launched into a just encomium on Mr. Herbert's manifold virtues and excellent qualities, exhibiting as clear and distinct a description of the man as I could by words make manifest to the mind; adding, "But, maybe, you know him?"
"No," was her answer; "not that I am aware of.—What's his name?"
"Mr. Herbert ;" and I looked askance, to see what effect the name would have.
A slight effusion of bloom overspread her pale countenance, a gentle motion heaved her bosom, and she replied :-
"I once knew a gentleman of that name, to whom your description would, in many particulars, apply; but he has long been dead;" and a slow breathing, something as deep, but not so acute as a sigh, came, as it were, from a far-away region of her memory.
"Mr. Herbert," said I, "has been many years in this country; and he seems, at times, to bear a load upon his heart, as if he had long been a servitor to adversity."
"Poor man!" was her pitiful remark. "It was so with my friend: a man too lofty in his sentiments for the sordid world; his worth was known to few."
“I think it cannot be so said of our Mr. Herbert,” (I had a purpose in repeating the name,)" for no one can see him twice without acknowledging a sense of his worth.'
"How long did you say it was," inquired Mrs. Cockspur, "since he came to America?"
And there was a soft inflexion in her voice, as if it had been modulated by a tender remembrance; at the same time a tear oozed into her eye
"Mr. Herbert told me himself about ten years; and the occasion of his coming was wonderful-he escaped drowning in a singular manner."
She suddenly exclaimed with a voice thickened by agitation-
"Drowning! how did it happen? Strange! such was the fate of my poor Mr. Herbert."
"This gentleman," I replied calmly, "was at HastingsHastings!" said she, with fervour ; can it be possible? No-had he survived, he would have informed me. But it is an amazing coincidence. Living!-poor Herbert, thou canst not be!"
"Yes, Madam, he does live," said I, desirous to abridge her anxiety; "and we both talk of the same person. He has told me all his story, and much of yours."
At these words she laid her hand upon mine, and her tears began to flow, but with that temperance which becomes the educated feelings of a gentlewoman, and is more affecting than loquacious lamentation.
While we were thus tenderly conversing, I thought that once or twice I had observed the twinkling eyes of John Waft peeping at us from among the leaves of the neighbouring bushes. It was, however, only for a moment, for he speedily disappeared. But, without retiring from the scene, he had come slippingly behind us, and, just as Mrs. Cockspur laid her hand on mine, he put his head between us, and exclaimed, chuckling with delight,
"Will ye deny noo, Mr. Todd-will ye deny noo ?--haven't I catched you in the fact?"
Although, of all the manifold inbreakings of which that creature had been guilty, there was none so unapropos as this; yet the apparition of his head was so droll, and his winkings of waggery so comical, that a constraint of nature obliged me to laugh, as I said in rising, "The cloking hen was never so far off her eggs as ye're, Baillie."
"Weel, weel," cried he, in a kind of ecstasy-" weel, weel ---Oh, Mr. Todd, but that was a touching moment. Oh dear, it made my mouth water. But noo, Mr. Todd, were not ye long of coming to the point? Did na ye hesitate ?--that was ticklish--what a beating at the heart ye must have had--at the vibration of the catastrophe!—Madam, I wish-I declare she's off, and into the house."
It was so; Mrs. Cockspur, at the moment of the intrusion, rose and went into the house without saying a word; indeed,
she could not be otherwise than in consternation, being, as she was, totally unacquainted with the Baillie. However, I was not ill satisfied that he was so conglomerated about the true merits of the case, even while I saw that for a time I should be obliged to endure his satirical inflictions, because it would enable me to serve Mr. Herbert without suspicion or molestation. The better to carry on the plot, I took him by the arm, and led him towards the house where Miss Volumnia had got her tea-table prettily set out on the green sward before the door, begging him, as we went along, that he would not mention what he had discovered.
"It's very true," said I, "and I'll not affect to deny it, Mr. Waft, that ye have seen something; but, although there may be a degree of understanding between Mrs. Cockspur and me, yet it is by no means either a clear or a settled point.'
"I saw," replied he, a little seriously, "that ye had your difficulties, Mr. Todd. It's a tough job to woo and win a widow, for widows are kittle cattle. But now that ye have given me your confidence, it's finger on lip with me, Mr. Todd -but ye must allow me to emit a wee bit jeerie now and then, suitable to the occasion, for it bodes a dull matrimony when the courtship's without a comicality.
By this time we were near Miss Volumnia; and Mrs. Cockspur having retired into the house, I left beauty and the bodie, and used the freedom to follow her. She was sitting in a corner, and her countenance still wore the signs of sadness; but when I told her of the misconception which the Baillie fained, she brightened, and coming out to the tea-table, invited him, in a most genteel manner, to partake.
This was an honour he little expected, and it confirmed him in his error; but the presence of Miss Volumnia, as well as being unaccustomed to the elegant manners of the ladies, perplexed him. It was plain he was fidgeting for an opportunity to throw a javelin both at Mrs. Cockspur and me, but he was awed by her serenity, and deterred by delicacy, lest it might disturb the young lady; for no mature Miss approves of her mother's marrying-so he sat between I would and I doubtan embarrassed man.
At this crisis, Mr. Bell, the Minister, taking his evening walk, passed by at a short distance; and the Baillie, forgetting he was himself but a guest, cried out to him to draw near. Miss Volumnia also beckoned to him to join us. Thus it happened, that in the bustle of making room for his accommodation, I had an opportunity of whispering to her, that the Baillie
had taken it into his head her mother and I were about to be married, and that I humoured his error. I thought this requisite to guard her feelings against his blethers, and it proved a judicious manœuvre. For, scarcely was the Minister seated, when the 'lectrifying bottle began to crackle and sparkle in his old way, saying,
"Mr. Bell, I would ask you a question in theology, concerning second marriages; what's your opinion of doings of that nature?"
The Minister looked at me with a smile, and then at Miss Volumnia, who endeavoured to put a bridle in the mouth of risibility, by biting her own lips.
"I think," replied Mr. Bell, "a great deal may be said on both sides of the question. What's your opinion, Mr. Waft?"
"I'm disposed to take a practical view of the subject," was the reply. "Suppose, for example, (I'm only putting the case, Mrs. Cockspur, as a suppose, for well I know nobody of your breeding would ever look on the likes of Mr. Todd,) that if he were to throw a sheep's-eye at you, and ye had a neb in your heart to pick it up, there would be nothing extraordinary in that. Now, Mr. Bell, to the point.
In turning round quickly to address the Minister, his knee struck the leg of the table from under the leaf next to him, and the full cups, which chanced to be on it, tumbled with their contents on his legs: scalded and screaming, he instantly fled the scene of confusion, and we had all a hearty laugh at the disaster.
Nor was the accident without its instruction to philosophy. Miss Volumnia, though in a round-about manner, was thus made to know that people did not think it an impossible thing. for her mother to marry, which was the beginning of a preparation for the event, especially as, after the disappearance of the Baillie, Mr. Bell and I had some solid discourse, in the presence of the two ladies, concerning second marriages, and marriages late in life; to both of which he expressed himself propitious, believing I was wiling him into the conversation for some intent with Mrs. Cockspur, notwithstanding the assurance I had given him to the contrary some time before.
แ "Daughter of Jove!-
On my return to Babelmandel, I had the grief to find a letter. from Mr. Ferret, written in a friendly and feeling manner, concerning the conduct of Robin my son. It could no longer be disguised, that the thoughtless lad had thrown the bridle on the neck of his passions, and was careering in a dangerous course. He had formed intimacies with a number of irreverent young men : "And though," said Mr. Ferret, “it cannot yet be alleged that he actually neglects his business, as he is regular in his attendance in the office; yet it is impossible, after the night has been wasted in dissipation, that he can bring a clear head in the morning to his duty :—moreover, there is reason," continued the worthy man, "to suspect that he is falling into debt. The amount, as far as I have been able to learn, is as yet inconsiderable; but still, as he has not been able to withstand the temptations of this city, I would advise you to send for him." He then expressed great sorrow for him, praising his natural talents, and commending exceedingly his acquirements, the fruit of the care and judicious tuition of Mr. Herbert.
This distressing letter for a time drove all lighter matters from my mind. I spent the watches of the night in anxiety and sorrow, and when I went forth in the morning, every thing around appeared faded and disconsolate. I went through the business of the day at the store, but my mind was absent from the work of my hands, and I only made confusion. Sometimes I thought of going to Mr. Bell for spiritual consolation; and then I reflected how, on a former occasion, he spoke with a severity against youthful follies, to which my heart could not accord. Mr. Hoskins was not a man to talk with on the subject at all, his notions of dissipation were of a coarser kind than religion would allow me to tolerate; indeed, all his ideas were wild and of the wilderness. My only visible refuge was in Mr. : Herbert, and I sent for him to condole with me.
As we were sitting together in the stoop, deliberating on VOL. II.-2