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adjective" single."-" Delitiæ," in the Latin, he recollected, was always in the plural number,-and he considered the Romans a very sensible people. What a pity, that in those days, the march of mind was not sufficiently advanced to make it imperative on the ladies (and especially on Mary Peat) to understand Latin! In these, and similar vain regrets, time wore on. Mary smiled and sang as charmingly as ever, and Mr Peter Pearie-the heed o' the hoose-grew in fat and dignity with each revolving
One September, while affairs continued in this state, the house on the opposite side of the street from Mr Pearie's gave symptoms of some wonderful change. Its windows were new glazed, and pretty silk curtains hung round them; the door was new painted; paperers and other decorators at full work; and a long row of handsome stabling roofed in and finished in the lane at the other end of the premises. Furniture shortly after arrived; grooms and horses followed in due course; and large volumes of smoke were seen rising from morn till night from the numberless chimneys. Still there was no appearance of any inhabitant above the rank of a housekeeper-and it was only when the hunting season had fairly commenced, that a view was occasionally caught of a young man, dressed in a red coat, who galloped off from the door on an active hackney in the morning, or walked his jaded hunter slowly up the lane in the afternoon. Unless on these occasions nothing was seen of their new neighbours. And conjecture, after exhausting itself to discover who the mysterious stranger could he, fell fast asleep, and took no notice of him, either as he scoured along to covert, or glided noiselessly home to the stable. That he was handsome nobody could deny, who saw beauty in whiskers and moustaches of preter-human size;—a back of prodigious length, very thin legs, an upright seat on horseback, and a countenance of an impassive gravity worthy of a monk of La Trappe, suggested no slight reminiscences of Don Quixote-but the parallel was by no means sustainable in the article of horse-flesh, for it would have been difficult to believe that Rosinante belonged to the same species with the "souls made of fire, and
children of the sun," who pawed the ground impatiently, and showed their pure Arab blood in every toss of their lordly manes, as they waited for their master, and neighed proudly as he made his appearance.
In the first place, Charles was well aware of Mary's insane admiration of that noble animal the horse; in the next place, not even the vanity of a proprietor could blind him to the fact, that his little grey Galloway could bear no sort of comparison with the poorest hackney in the new-comer's stud; in the third place, he felt sure that admiration, once excited, is very expansive in its character, and he therefore concluded that it was highly probable that the manifest liking which Mary had taken to the longtailed barbs would imperceptibly widen and widen (like rings in water), till at last it included the long-whiskered owner of them in its circumference. And what was he to do to avert this calamity ?-Buy a horse of surpassing beauty, and conquer the rival at his own weapons? Alas! John Laing sent him from Edinburgh a descendant of the Godolphin Arabian, which had every excellence that a horse could possess, except the trifling one of allowing a saddle to be put on his back -and to complete his discomfiture, the high-born intruder left tokens of his remembrance among all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance during his week's sojourn at the Dene (so was Charles's villa called); for before John Laing's man had been recalled from the capital to lead the new purchase home again, it had broken two of Andrew Nevins' ribs, and lamed the grey Galloway, by a kick on the hind leg. Deprived of the services of Andrew Nevin, who had been groom to one or other of the partners beyond the memory of man, and also of those of the grey Galloway, Charles exhausted himself in imagining other means of gaining his object; and, like all other people excelling in the imaginative, he went on building castles in the air,-wishing, hoping, fearing, and-doing nothing.
"I maun gang ower and ca' on this new occupier," said Peter Pearie one day to his ward; "it's no right to let the lad live sae much by himsel'. Our bank was aye hospitable to a' comers, and I feel it my duty, as heed o' the hoose, to ask him to his kail."
"O, I'm so delighted to hear you say so," said Mary, "I have been wishing it for such a time,-'twill be delightful!"
Mr Peter Pearie looked at the animated countenance of his ward-and a strange cloud passed over his brow.
"The lassie's in a creel," he replied. "Is't such a grand thing to mak' an outcry about, that a man placed in my situation should gi'e a bit denner to an English fox-hunter that's come down a' the way to hunt wi' the Duke -what'll be delightful aboot it? eh?" "Oh, he'll tell me all about his horses; that beautiful black creature with the glossy mane-a Tartar of the Ukraine breed."
"Na, na," said Mr Pearie, who had not studied Mazeppa so deeply as Cocker," it seems a douce quiet bit beast, an' very clean in the skin. Chair lie Patieson's the lad for a Tartar. Yon was a real ane that cam' frae Embro-but in my een it's a temptin' o' Providence to hae ony thing but a blind powney that's a wee short o' the wind-for when they're blind they canna see ony thing to shy at, and if they're a wee asthmatic they canna rin very far, and that's the reason I'll hae nae ither horse but Dapple-nor you either, Mary; so say nae mair, say nae mair."
"But do you know any thing of this gentleman, his name, or whether he would like to be called upon ?" enquired the young lady.
"His name's no of sae much consequence when I ask him to his denner as if I was asking him to pit it on the back of a bill-and as to likin' to be called on, ye'll remember, Miss, that it's me that's going to do't-me, the representative o' the firm, and indeed heed o' the"
"Oh yes, I know all that," interrupted the young lady; " I only wish you could ask his horses along with him-such noble steeds.
At the Baron De Mowbray's gate was seen, A page with a courser black; There came out a Knight of noble mien, And he leapt on the courser's back; His eyes were bright, and his heart was light,
He sang this merry layOh merrily lives a fair young knight, He loves and he rides away.' "Does he so?" murmured Mr Pearie, as he gazed at the door through
which his volatile ward had disappeared, while her voice was still audible, going on with the ballad-" then by my certie the sooner he rides away the better-I wonder if this is some lover o' the lassie-if it is, and they've kept me in the dark, they'll find to their cost what it is to offend the heed o' the hoose. The gipsy! I maun tell Charles o' my suspicions, but in the mean time I'll hae the chap to his denner."
While this great resolve was agitating the bosom of Mr Pearie, and while the harp was thrilling beneath the touch of Mary Peat, who still sang the ballad of the Fair Young Knight, Charles Patieson glided into the room, looking so pale and miserable, that the fair performer suddenly broke off in the middle of a stanza, and asked if he had seen a ghost?
"I think I have, Mary," he replied, trying to smile.
"What was it like?-what was it of?-a bleeding nun-a murdered man oh, what was it? do tell."
"The Past, the buried Past! it haunts me still."
"Poor fellow," said Mary, turning over her music in search of another song, "you must be terribly ill since you have taken to quoting poetry, How are stocks to-day, Charles; are the funds looking up?"
"Three and a half," mechanically answered the lover," are same as yester-; but pshaw! hang the funds. Has Mr Pearie told you his intention about this hunting stranger?"
"Oh yes, he is to be asked to dinner -we shall get great friends, I hopepleasant acquisition in this dull place, won't it?"
"Oh very," replied Charles, in a tone of voice that did not quite accord with the sentiment. "He is an officer."
"Dear me! how charming!" interrupted Mary;" and his name, dear Charles, have you found out his name?" "Slasher. He is home on his three years leave from India."
"Oh what a nice neighbour he will be; what delightful stories he'll tell us of Ormus, and of Ind, Delhi, Bussorah, Damascus! The very names are enchanting as fairy tales; what day is he to be asked on ?"
"On Thursday," said Charles; "I am surprised Mr Pearie runs such a risk."
"Risk, Charles! he isn't going to ride hunting with him, is he?'
"Perhaps he is," replied the young man, shaking his head mysteriously, "and may find that he is thrown out.' "Thrown off, you mean, if you mean any thing," said Mary; "but what risk do you mean?"
"A rival," replied Charles, boldly, "a rival, Mary, in his own designs, though I conclude he feels pretty sure of what he is doing before he has taken such a step."
"His designs? You amaze me, What designs? What
Charles. rival ?"
"Oh! I can't pretend to offer you information on points you must be so much better acquainted with yourself. However, it would have been as well to have consulted me before going quite so far. You will remember that, as my father's representative, I also am one of your guardians."
Hoity toity," exclaimed the young lady, "what is the meaning of all this? You first begin looking dismal, talking of seeing a ghost, quoting poetry, and now tormenting my head with riddles. Speak out, man, and don't ride the high horse any longer. The tall steed you had from Edinburgh should have taught you better behaviour. What have you got to say?"
"Simply this; that Mr Pearie intends to marry you; he makes no secret of it; he told our new headclerk, Mr Dawson, who told it again to me; so there can be no mistake
A variety of colours passed over the beautiful brow and cheeks of Mary Peat, among which a bright scarlet soon gained the mastery, for her countenance was somewhat like a stormy sunset as she answered,
"Who has dared to say this? Has Peter Pearie, banker and bachelor, heed o' the hoose, and fifty-seven years of age? 'Pon my word, Charles, Charles, didn't you knock Mr Dawson down?"
"I had a great inclination to do it ; but determined to ascertain the truth of the report from your own lips."
"But what would be the use of my saying any thing?" continued Mary, in a different mood, with difficulty controlling a desire to laugh outright; you know, Charles, you are one of my guardians, and may refuse your consent. You wouldn't agree to it? Would you?"
"I would die sooner-ah! Mary, if it rested with me".
"By the by, Charles, have you heard this new ballad? Such a pretty thing, though the words are contemptible;" and striking the harp-strings, she trilled one of the commonplace chansons of the day so sweetly, that Charles thought it would be a sin to interrupt her; and by the time the song was finished, the head of Mr Peter Pearie was poked in at the door for a moment, and uttered the following words,
"I've ca'd on the chield over the way-he's coming at five o'clock on Thursday; so let us hae a good denner on that day, Mary, befitting our station in the town, and my position as heed o' the hoose. Pearie, Peat, and Patieson were aye famed for their five-year auld cheviots, and we've aye dealt wi' Bell and Rennie; so we needna turn our backs on the King."
After this discourse the head was withdrawn, but we grieve to say that, from our knowledge of Charles Patieson's character, we are afraid he never summoned courage to renew the conversation, and allowed Mary to sing song after song till it was time for him to return to the Dene, and spend his solitary evening in envying the senior partner his happiness in living in the same house, albeit he was somewhat comforted by the way in which the young lady had received his information respecting that gentleman's matrimonial designs.
A week, a month, a quarter of a year elapsed, and matters were not ostensibly much changed. Captain Slasher, indeed, was a frequent visitor, but, to ordinary eyes, his delicate attentions seemed exclusively devoted to
Mr Pearie's claret; his reminiscences of Oriental beauty were too lively to permit his attaching much value to the lilies and roses of Mary Peat; and, with a persevering gallantry worthy of a scientific old soldier, he persisted in
maintaining the footing he had gained in the worthy banker's family, even after it was abundantly evident that a retreat would have been agreeable to all parties, and particularly to the "heed o' the hoose." The "heed o' the hoose" was reduced to a very humble height in presence of the Indian soldier-his Cheeta shooting at Dhurwar-his steeple chases at Belgaumhis leopard-hunts at Bellary, threw the after-dinner boastings of Mr Peter Pearie, who in his day was considered a dead shot at a moorcock, completely into the shade; and it was with feelings of satisfaction, worthy of Milton's Satan, that Charles saw the fires of rage and jealousy slowly wasting away all the good-nature in his partner's bosom. In fact, it could no longer be concealed that Mr Pearie hated Captain Slasher, and it was also equally incapable of concealment that Captain Slasher didn't care three straws whether Mr Pearie hated him or not. Twice or thrice a-week, without any invitation, the gallant soldier stalked into the banker's diningroom just as dinner was announced, told all the feats of the day-the leaps, and falls, and other incidents-sent in his plate five or six times to the joint of beef, emptied his bottle of port and three tumblers of toddy, and concluded the evening by snoring an accompaniment to Mary's nicest songs.
Now, whether it were from the perversity that is said to be a constituent part of the feminine disposition, or from some other cause with which we are unacquainted, Mary did not appear to share in her guardian's dislike to the society of her new acquaintance. She delighted in his tales of wild Indian adventures, and his accounts of the noble deaths of the wild monsters of the desert. On days when the hounds did not meet, he generally wiled away an hour or two listening to Mary's music, or escorting her in her walks; in these respects supplying the place of Charles Patieson, who had gradually withdrawn himself from his former intimacy, and was endeavouring to wean himself from his foolish affection. One day when matters were in this state, -when the gallant Captain had escorted Mary to see the wax-work models of distinguished characters, which a provincial forerunner of Madame Tussand had brought into the town, VOL. XLIV. NO. CCLXXVIII,
with the additional recommendation of modelling correct likenesses, in a few hours, of any one who chose to be immortalized in wax—while Slasher, we repeat, was escorting Mary to this sight, Mr Pearie, after many ominous and mysterious nods with his sagacious head to his junior partner, commenced a lamentation in the following terms"Charles, hoo does it happen ye sae seldom stay to yer kail?" "You have other company, sir; I might perhaps be intrusive,"
"Deil a bit, deil a bit. Ah, Charles, if ither folk had a wee taste o' your way o' thinkin', it would be a' the better for my peace an' comfort. Charles, hospitality is a wearyin' o' the flesh. I wish I had never askit that lang neckit Indian savage to see the inside o' my hoose."
"He is an agreeable man, sir, I believe-full of anecdote "
"Lees, every word o't; but, for a' that, the smooth-tongued leear is gainin' his point. I had ither thochts for Mary; but a wilfu' man will hae his way-and so will a wilfu' woman.”
"Mary will soon be of age-she will have a right to choose"
"But is't no shocking she should leave the Bank, and settle in some wearifu' place wi' a name like Meritchgaum or Sholapoor? The lassie's an ass, and there's an end. Dogs on't! if I werena' sae braid in the waim, and gied ower fair a mark, I wad challenge him to fecht; or if I were a wee younger,-hoo auld are ye, Charles ?" "Three-and-twenty, sir,""Three-and-twenty! If I were three-and-twenty-ay, or twice threeand-twenty, I wad shoot him as I wad a pairtrick.
"My indignation is not quite so warm, sir," replied Charles.
"But it ocht to be, sir,-hot-boilin'. I tell ye this landlouper is going to break in on the customs of three generations. We've aye married thro' ither-an' Slasher wad be a grand name to pit into the firm! I'll no stand it-I'll gang through wi' my plan, and marry her in spite o' her teeth-there's nae consent needed but yours an' mine; we are her guardians-you'll consent, I'm sure; and as for hers".
"You, of course, have secured that," said Charles, with something of bitterness in his tone.
"I thocht I had; indeed, as heed o' the hoose, I thocht it my duty to use all my influence, if it had been for
naething but the sake o' the Bank; but deil hae this lang-backit ne'er-doweel, she seems to forget her auld freend and the kind o' promise she aince gave me❞——
"She gave you a promise? sir," enquired Charles; "I think she might have consulted me before going quite so far. In a matter like that my consent, I should think, is of some importance."
"What the deil, sir!—are ye dementit ? Do ye think, young man, that it wad be seemly in me-the heed o' this hoose, sir-to hae nae discretion in the marryin', or not marryin', o' Mary Peat? It's yer ain faut, sirye'll drive me to do something ye'll be sorry for I'll speak to this Captaininto this hoose he'll come no moreye'll repent it, sir; ye'll repent it, and that'll be seen and heard tell o'."
While Charles Patieson looked on, awestruck at the unexampled agitation of Mr Pearie, that gentleman, as if suddenly seized with some great resolve, snatched up his hat and stick, enquired where Miss Peat and the Captain were gone to, and followed them to the exhibition room of the wax-works.
"Slighted love is sair to bide,"
as Robert Burns sings—and as Charles Patieson felt. How lonely he seemed that long, long evening; reflecting, in every possible way, over the words and innuendoes of Mr Pearie. Dene had never appeared to him so dull; even the bright moonlight trembling into his drawing-room, through the glass of his conservatory, failed to soothe him; and, in a fit of desperation, he rushed out into the open air.
He wandered down the shelving banks of his beautiful villa to the river, which was brawling along beneath its overhanging rocks, sometimes hidden in darkness, sometimes, for a long expanse of its bright pure water, glimmering peacefully in the moonlight. Charles stood still beneath one of the great cliffs, for he thought, on the opposite side of the water, where the light was unobscured by trees, he heard the sound of distant voices; shortly afterwards he observed two figures emerge from the darkness, whom he easily recognised to be Mr Pearie, and Mr Dawson, the headclerk. They seemed to look round them very cautiously; and then they suddenly returned to the dark corner they had emerged from, and carried
between them an object, which at first the breathless spectator found it difficult to recognise. Lifeless and limber, without sign of voluntary motion or resistance, it was dragged along the ground by Mr Pearie and his assistant. With a thrill of unimaginable horror Charles recognised, in the long blue surtout, the top boots and breeches-and above all, in the long, pale face, with the prodigious whiskers and moustaches, the lifeless form of the unhappy Captain Slasher!-Horror kept him silent-in voiceless, motionless terror and surprise he watched the dreadful proceedings of the pair. They dragged the body to the river, and apparently fixing heavy stones to it to ensure its sinking, they dropt it slowly into the water-and rapidly retired.
Pale and agitated with a night of sleepless distress, Charles Patieson presented himself next morning at the house of Mr Pearie. He had come to the resolution to warn the unhappy man to flee for his life, for he could not bring himself to give his friend, and his father's friend, into the hands of the executioner. At the same time concealment of the awful secret was out of the question—and not a moment was to be lost.
Mary Peat received him. She was gayer and more friendly in her manner than she had been for a long time. "Dear Charles, I am so glad to sce you. You're come to breakfast?"
"I've no appetite, Mary," replied Charles,-" In fact"
"Oh! you've breakfasted alreadyMr Pearie will be so glad to see you." "I doubt that"- answered the young man, coldly.
"But he will, though-he told me so himself he told me that he was busied to a late hour last night in your service."
Charles shuddered as the dreadful scene recurred to him. "My service ?" he said—
"Yes-and do you know I think it must have had some connexion with Captain Slasher's departure."
"Departure!"echoed Charles, almost unconsciously.
"Oh! yes-he's away; quite suddenly-something or other carried him off."
"Mary," said Charles, solemnly taking her hand into his-" something has indeed carried him off; but something very different from what you suppose."