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to be essential to the ejaculation of sweet sounds in such a performance. However, the impression was that another Crichton had come to Blissfold, and we wondered and worshipped, and every thing went sweetly well, until a quotation made by Captain Cavendish Lorimer gave affairs a turn infinitely more delightful to Wells, and, which I confess, startled me. The occasion was this. “I remember,” said Captain Cavendish Lorimer, “that air once haunted me. I heard it sung by an extremely charming girl, now dead; but I declare there was something so fascinating in it to me, that I fell desperately in love with her, before she had finished it.” “What!” said Fanny, archly, but as I believe innocently, “is there really such a thing as love at first sight.” “This case,” said Captain Cavendish Lorimer, “ was one of love at first hearing ; but you don’t doubt, Miss Wells, the possibility of the other. Don't you know what La Bruyere says upon that subject ‘Love,’ says he, “seizes on us suddenly, without giving warning, and our disposition or weakness favours the surprise: one glance, one look from the fair, fixes and determines us. Friendship, on the contrary, is a long time in forming : it is of slow growth, through many trials and months of familiarity. How much wit, goodnature, indulgencies how many good offices and civilities are required among friends to accomplish, in some years, what a lovely face or fair hand does in a minute '''” Fanny looked foolish again : Wells again was pleased, and Captain Cavendish Lorimer again showed his white teeth most complacently. Mrs. Wells looked at me, as much as to say, “Well, that's pretty plain;” and Sniggs, from a dark corner of the room, was reconnoitring the Captain with his lass. g The time had now arrived when the supper was announced, so called by the “butler,” but to which Wells wished never to give a specific name. The moment Mrs. Wells whispered the soft intention to Captain Cavendish Lorimer, he appeared quite delighted; again offered her his arm, and again led her to the room which we seemed scarcely to have quitted. I again took Fanny. “Isn't he delightful ?” whispered she. “ Rather better than Merman,” said I. “Merman l’” said she : and that was all she said; but the tone and manner settled it.

“Isn't he capital " said Sniggs, who brought up the rear. “Capital, indeed,” said I. And on we walked; and there I saw the fac-simile of the never-to-be-forgotten table: everything nice and snug-grilled fowl—broiled bones—oysters—potted things of sorts—pickles and other condiments, and the huge set of case-bottles, all as usual; and Wells as agreeable as ever, the Captain delighted, Sniggs in better spirits, Fanny happy, her mother gay and cheerful, and every thing couleur de rose. Having despatched the edible part of the banquet, in came the huge reservoir of hot water, tumblers, sugar, lemons, and every device conducive to innocent conviviality, when the slightest possible hitch in our merriment occurred. “What shall I give you, Captain Lorimer 4” said Wells. “What is in those bottles 4” asked the Captain. “That,” said Wells, “is cherry-brandy.” “Oh!” said the Captain, bowing somewhat reverentially to the bottle, “that is rather beyond me. I suppose, Mr. Sniggs (addressing the unhappy apothecary who sat next him), you don't recommend cherry-brandy by way of a cure to your patients?” “No, no,” said Sniggs, falteringly, “certainly not.” And a dead silence followed. What Captain Cavendish Lorimer could have thought of the effect which his innocent and playful question produced I do not presume to surmise; but it effectually damped poor Sniggs, who, with the proverbial appropriativeness of small people, fancied the allusion personal to himself, and could not divest himself of the idea that the calamity which had befallen “Gunpowder Tom” had formed a subject of conversation before he arrived, and that in all probability he had been invited on purpose to be affronted. This littleness in little minds, which I have before noticed, and which is so well illustrated by Scrub in the “Beaux' Stratagem,” he could not conquer, and, consequently rolled himself up in his shell, and thereafter said nothing. To Wells this unsociability was no matter of regret, as it gave him an opportunity of rattling away in his best style; and when I saw the smoking kettle arrive, and the vast display for the “Spirit-mingling,” I said to myself, “now is my respectable connexion in his glory.” Soon after this, and when Captain Cavendish Lorimer, who to all the softer and more polished attributes of an agreeable companion, appeared to me to add a turn of conviviality, which in another twenty years, perhaps, may be considered wholly WOL. II. 16

incompatible with grace and elegance, had filled his glass, the sound of wheels announced the arrival of the carriage, bringing home Bessy, and which was to carry me home. Fanny heard it as well as I, and I never saw anxiety and perturbation more strongly marked on a countenance than in hers the moment it struck upon her ears. The certainty that she had caught a heart, or that she should catch it, if nothing intervened to break the present link of the snare, was suddenly marred by the dread of Bessy's appearance in the dinnerparlour, where the social board was spread. I saw that she felt something decisive must be done to prevent the possibility of the young beauty's intrusion to the probable demolition of all she had done during the course of the evening, in the siege upon Captain Cavendish Lorimer's admiration and affection. She was ready for action in a moment, and, jumping up, said to her mother in an audible whisper—“Hadn't I better go and see if dear Bessy would like to come and take some wine and water 1" Mamma was going in a straightforward way to desire her to sit down, for that Bessy would not come in ; but Wells, apprehending the real cause of Fan's solicitation to be the desire of “making assurance doubly sure,” and unequivocally preventing the irruption, nodded his head somewhat significantly at his better half, and said, “No, no, let her go and see,” which accordingly she did. And then did I not hear the pattering of feet over head along the passages to the bed-rooms, and did it not remind me of the deciding night of my life; and did not Captain Cavendish Lorimer look surprised at the mimic thunder which rolled over his head : “Ah " thought I, “little do you fancy the effect which that, to you, mysterious noise, has upon me.” Wells saw that the Captain's attention had been roused by the sound, and forthwith enlightened him on the subject, by remarking that in houses of that age and construction it was scarcely possible to stir without being heard, adding, that the present move was occasioned by the return home of one of his little girls from her sister's. * In the pause which Fanny's departure seemed to have caused in the conversation, and which Sniggs, whatever he did with his glass, did not seem at all inclined to fill up, Mrs. Wells, by way of making talk, expressed a hope that Captain Cavendish Lorimer found the rooms at Hickson's tolerably convenient. “Why, pretty well,” said the Captain, smiling; “I cannot

say much for them; but it does not signify, for the short time I shall occupy them.” “Short time !” said Wells, in a tone of surprise, and I thought of disappointment; “I thought you were fixed here for some time.” “So I am,” said the Captain, “but not there. I want more space, and my father's exceeding liberality enables me to do as I like; for, although, he insists on my following up my profession and being a soldier for good and all, to the end of the chapter, his allowances are on a scale calculated to soften down all the little rubs and désagrémens incidental to a military life when they are to be overcome. No; I was looking at a very nice place about a quarter of a mile further down the river which, I saw was to be let—a white house—with remarkably good stables, which is a great point with me. I forget what they call it.” “Slatfords !” said Mr. Wells, hesitatingly. “That is the name,” said the Captain. “There is one room, a bow-windowed room, the view from which, in the summer, must be beautiful.” “But, surely,” said Wells, “that will be more of a house than you want, Captain Lorimer ?” “No,” said the Captain, “I don't think so. I expect Mrs. Lorimer and the children here in a week or ten days, and I must get some place for them ready for their arrival.” The effect which these words produced upon the assembled party was something marvellous; it seemed as if sudden paralysis had seized the Rector and his wife—they sat, for the moment, transfixed. Sniggs looked at me—the Captain did not seem to notice the scene, and Wells was too much a man of the world to retain his fixed position more than an instant. “Oh!” said the Rector, playfully, “I did not know you were a Benedick, Captain: this is delightful—a family like yours will be indeed an acquisition in our quiet neighbourhood —umph-only think.” “Yes,” said Captain Cavendish Lorimer, “I have been married four years, and am the venerable parent of two daughters and a son.” “Well, to be sure " said Mrs. Wells recollecting the useless display of dinner, dessert, the pompous pillar, and all the rest of it, not to speak of her husband's cordial greetings, and her daughter's winning smiles. - In the midst of this embarras, Fanny returned, having evidently been re-touching her curls, re-smoothing her eyebrows, and re-biting her lips, and, resuming her seat, informed us that Bessy declined our offer of wine and water, and was gone to

“She might just as well have come in here,” said Mamma. “She is tired, Ma,” said Fan. “Poor girl,” said Wells. “Pray, Captain Lorimer,” said Fanny, “may I ask a great favour?” “It is granted already, Miss Wells,” said the Captain. “Will you let me keep your beautiful drawings for an hour or two to-morrow to show them to my sister 3 l have been talking of them to her, and she is so anxious—” “Oh pray keep them as long as you like,” said the Captain. “I must, however, leave my talisman in your custody too;” saying which the Captain once more drew from his finger the mystic ring, and handed it to his fair friend. Wells saw the game poor Fanny was playing, and felt ver anxious to put a stop to it, since it could be played to no end. “Pray,” said the Rector, “what do they ask for Slatfords?” “Two hundred a-year furnished,” said the Captain, “if taken by the year, and five guineas a week by the week, and for the spring or summer. I don't think it dear.” “What " said Fanny, who, in the true spirit of castle-building, saw;the great comfort and convenience of a residence so near the Rectory, also mixed up in her mind with a vision of something she could scarcely tell what. “Are you going to take Slatfords, Captain Lorimer ?” “I think so,” said the Captain. “I was very much pleased with it.” “But, I suppose,” said Wells, “you would hardly venture without Mrs. Lorimer's concurrence {" “Oh I assure you,” said the Captain, “I have no great fears of Fanny's difference of opinion.” This observation of her father's, and the Captain's answer, and the name of Fanny, puzzled my poor sister-in-law more than any thing that had preceded it. She knew, by experience, how rapidly he made up marriages, and the time and place which he generally selected for the performance, and as the dénouement had occurred during a very short absence on her part, she was perfectly bewildered. “What do you mean by Mrs. Lorimer ?” said Fanny, looking very archly at the Captain. “Why, my dear,” said Wells, “Captain Lorimer is mar


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