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6 You have not mentioned your suspicions to the young man, I trust, Mainwaring?” said Sir Hugh, uneasily.
“ Heaven forbid !” exclaimed the other. “I must confess, however, that I thought of taking him to Old Court, but I didn't know how you might like it."
“Bring him over to-morrow, Mainwaring. I have invited him to stay with me, and have prevailed upon him to give up his projected voyage to Melbourne.”
“The deuce you have !" cried Mainwaring. “Then perhaps you intend doing something for him?"
“That depends. I shall institute inquiries about him, and if he should turn out what we suppose him, I will do something for him.”
“Just like you, Sir Hugh—just like you. You are the soul of generosity, as I know from personal experience. It would be a thousand pities that such a fine young fellow should go to those infernal diggings."
“ He shall not need to go, if our surmises in regard to him prove correct,” rejoined Sir Hugh. “But I must be fully satisfied on that score. The investigation will be difficult, and I shall be glad of your assistance in making it, for I can trust you in the matter.”
"I will assist you with all my heart, Sir Hugh. As to my discretion, I will say nothing. It is not the first time you have trusted me."
“No, you have done much for me, my good friend. But the utmost caution must be observed with the young man till I am in a position to reveal the truth to him, should it be discovered. It would be cruel to awaken hopes that may never be realised.”
Very true—very true. Have you any clue to guide you in your inquiries, Sir IIugh, may I ask?”
“A slight clue, but I fear it won't conduct me far. However, we shall sec. To-morrow, you will bring him to me as arranged, and as soon as he is established at Old Court, you and I will commence the investigation. I will send the carriage for you. And now let Lightfoot fetch my horse."
While Lightfoot went on his errand, Mainwaring made many inquiries about Lucetta, who was a great favourite with him, and seemed delighted to learn that she was enjoying herself so much at Brighton.
"I am quite sure she will turn all the young men's heads," remarked the old gentleman, laughing.
“It will be lucky if her own is not turned as well,” remarked Sir Hugh, testily. “I am sorry I trusted her with Lady Danvers. The girl will be quite spoiled."
“ Not she!” cried Mainwaring. “Lucetta cannot be spoiled.”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Sir Hugh. “I fear she is spoiled already. Ever since he has been at Brighton she has been engaged in one incessant round of gaiety. I was going to order her back, but since this young fellow is coming to me, I shall let her remain a little longer with her aunt.”
“ By all means let her finish the season at Brighton, my good friend. A little gaiety will do her good.”
“A little gaiety !” echoed Sir Hugh. “I tell you she is out every night. Her letters speak of nothing but concerts, and dinners, and balls. I am sick to death of it."
“Do you mean to take her to town in the spring, Sir Hugh?”
6. Take her to town! No. When she comes back she must be quiet." “A pleasant prospect for a lively girl," thought the old gentle
“But I would take long odds that she does go to town.” Soon after this Lightfoot appeared with the horse, and Sir Hugh, having taken leave of his old friend, rode back to Old Court.
THE VISIT TO OLD COURT.
Next morning, as arranged, the carriage came over to Ridgmount, and Mr. Mainwaring and his young friend were driven to Old Court.
It was with emotions for which he could in no way account that Osbert approached the antique mansion. As the carriage entered the park, and pursued a winding road that led past the lake, now a vast sheet of ice, through a woody glen, and then gradually mounted the hill on which the old mansion was built, Mr. Mainwaring pointed out the most beautiful portions of the sylvan domain to his companion, whose quick eye, ranging over the prospect, had already taken in its charms. But when they passed through the old gateway, and the picturesque old structure stood right in front, Osbert gave full vent to his admiration.
Old Jodrell, who still remained with Sir Hugh, though he had become very infirm, being a martyr to gout, hobbled out of the porch with a younger footman, and respectfully saluting.Mr. Mainwaring, who good humouredly inquired after his health, ushered them into the entrance-hall, which was of great size, panelled with oak, and adorned with several suits of armour of different epochs, shields, spears, and swords. In the centre was a large carved oak table." Doors on either hand communicated with different rooms, while a grand oak staircase, ornamented with posts
sustaining the carved escutcheons of the family, led to a gallery above.
On setting foot in the hall, Osbert stood still and gazed around, deeply impressed by what he beheld. As he remained in this attitude, old Jodrell, who was talking to Mr. Mainwaring, chanced to notice him, and stared at him as if he beheld a ghost.
“Do you perceive a likeness in my young friend to anybody you have seen ?” inquired Mainwaring, in a low voice.
“Do I?” ejaculated the old butler. “Good gracious, sir! why he's the exact image of
“ Hush !” interrupted Mainwaring. “Be cautious, Jodrell. No remarks on the subject, if you wouldn't offend Sir Hugh.”
“Never fear me, sir," rejoined the old butler. “I know my master's ways. We shall hear what Mrs. Mansfield says presently. Sir Hugh is in the library. I'll take you to him.”
Just as he spoke, the library-door opened, and Sir Hugh came forth, and welcomed his guests
. Expressing in very kindly terms his pleasure at seeing Osbert, he desired the footman to show the young gentleman to his room, and while Osbert, preceded by his nimble attendant, mounted the noble staircase, Sir Hugh took Mainwaring into the library.
Osbert was shown into a large antiquated bed-chamber, with windows looking upon the garden, and commanding a side view of the venerable little church amid the trees. In the room was a great old walnut bedstead, with twisted posts as black as ebony, a large canopy, and stiff curtains. The walls were covered with grim old tapestry, which added to the sombre character of the apartment. Over the mantelpiece, which was dark walnut, like the bed, there was the portrait of a beautiful but very delicate-looking woman, with an infant on her !ap. This was Lady Chetwynd, and had been painted only a week before her death. It was a picture full of touching sentiment, and Osbert had heard enough of Sir Hugh's family from Mr. Mainwaring to guess whom it represented. But this was not the only picture that attracted his attention. In another part of the room there was a portrait in which the same features seemed to be represented, but far younger and more blooming. On examining the latter picture more carefully, Osbert perceived that it was of much more recent date than the one first looked at, and he soon found out that it had not been long painted. He came, therefore, to the conclusion that it must represent Sir Hugh's daughter Lucetta, whose beauty he had heard extolled by Mr. Mainwaring. The artist had evidently been inspired by his subject
, and had caught all Lucetta's grace and vivacity. Osbert took up a position favourable for examining this charming portrait, and then sat down to contemplate it at his leisure. The eyes seemed to fascinate him, and the longer he looked
at them the more powerful became the influence, until he ended by becoming half enamoured.
At last he arose, exclaiming, “What a fool I am to be enthralled in this way! Why should I think of this beautiful creature? She is not for me.'
On quitting the room, he found the old butler and Mrs. Mansfield in the corridor. The latter curtseyed to him respectfully as he passed, and exchanged a significant look with Jodrell.
Being informed that Sir Hugh and Mr. Mainwaring had gone out into the garden, Osbert repaired to the library, where he was afterwards joined by Mainwaring, who brought Sir Hugh's excuses, stating that the baronet did not feel equal to society that day, and had deputed him to play the host. With this apology. Osbert was fain to be content.
The day passed pleasantly enough. Mainwaring and the young man dined together in an immense room hung round with family portraits ranging over three centuries, which Osbert regarded with admiration akin to awe.
The dinner was excellent, and Mr. Jodrell most attentive. After dinner he produced a bottle of Sir Christopher's port, which Mr. Mainwaring pronounced perfect. A few glasses rendered him very chatty, and he talked in rapturous terms of Lucetta's beauty. Osbert listened to her praises with newly awakened interest. But though in a very communicative mood, the old gentleman for bore to allude to Clarence Chetwynd, and carefully avoided that subject.
When they separated for the night, Mainwaring said to his young friend, “By-the-by, Osbert, you won't see me to-morrow. Í am going to Maidstone with Sir Hugh on business—on very particular business, my boy. Possibly we shan't be back till late on the following day, but you will have the whole place to yourself—the garden-the park-and the church—and old Jodrell will take good care of you." “Oh! I shall do very well,” replied the young man.
6 Don't mind me. Good night?”
Before seeking his stately couch, Osbert gazed at the picture of the young girl, and a vision of beauty haunted his dreams.
A ROUGH TRAMP OVER THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS,
AND CANOE VOYAGE DOWN THE FRASER TO CARIBOO.
By BARRINGTON BEAVER.
I will not describe how I wintered at a fort some hundred miles west of Red River-how I pushed across the fertile belt, and found myself with several companions at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. My party consisted of an old friend, Jack Trevor, a lad whose life I had saved by picking him out of the water, Peter Stubble by name, my faithful dog Ready, two hunters from Red River, Stalker and Garoupe, and two Indians, Ugly-mug and Long-nose-a number not so great as to excite the suspicions of the Indians as to our intentions, and yet sufficient to resist wanton aggression. We had four carts, we were all mounted, and we had a led horse apiece, so that we formed a no inconsiderable cavalcade. We pushed on as fast as the nature of the ground, wet from the melting of the snow, would allow, till we came to the north bank of the Saskatchewan river. For two days we continued along it, till it became necessary to cross for the sake of the more beaten track on the
opposite side. How was this to be accomplished ? The water was far too cold to make swimming pleasant.
I bethought me, therefore, of bringing my nautical knowledge into play. Having seen an abundant supply of dry rushes in a creek a little way off, we unloaded a cart and sent the men to bring it full of them. I, meantime, employed myself in making a framework of green willows and in well greasing a buffalo hide, so as to prevent the water getting through it. While I worked at the boat, Trevor manufactured a pair of paddles, and a third for steering. By the time the cart returned we had done so much, that all that remained was to make the rushes up into bundles, and to fasten them outside the framework on which I had stretched the buffalo skin. In this somewhat frail though buoyant canoe we conveyed all our goods across the river, though, with a very moderate freight, it would only carry two people at a time. The carts, which were entirely of wood, floated easily, and were towed across at the tails of the horses. All the party having got safe across, we again loaded and pushed on for another ten miles over a well-beaten track, till we camped for the night. The difficulties we encountered in travelling across the country were wonderfully few, and Trevor was constantly exclaiming:
"What a pity people at home don't know of this. A few thousand hardy fellows like us, who can stand cold and heat, would soon change the face of the country, and make comfortable homes for themselves into the bargain."
We stopped for two days at Edmonton, the largest trading port or fort of the Hudson's Bay Company in that part of the country. It stands on high ground above the Saskatchewan, is formed of rough palisades, with flanking towers sufficiently strong to resist an attack of Indians, and contains a windmill, a blacksmith's forge and carpenter's shop, and some thirty families, while attached to it is a large body of hunters, employed