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the last. The father of his two attractions was required frequently by his affairs in London, where he spent weeks at a time, and their mother was generally confined by delicate health to her chamber. Thus Vibert's intimacy with them had but little ceremony to restrain its rapid advancement; and he soon felt, what has perhaps been felt by many, that the simple smile of the dignified and retiring, is more perilous than the brightest glance of wit and vivacity. Indeed, Edith was too gay to be suspected of any thought beyond that of amusement; but the actions of Marion were more measured, and her approbation was the more flattering. Vibert laughed when he encountered the first; but his pulse beat quicker at the sight of the last.

There seems in the affairs of the heart, to be an unaccountable intelligence, by which, without the use of external signs, the tremours of the one generally find their reverberation in the other. Often as Vibert entered to share in the morning amusements of the sisters, to give an account of the horse that he was breaking in for Marion, or the dog he was teaching antics for Edith, it was impossible for him to be insensible to an increasing flush of satisfaction at his appearance, and by degrees he gave up all other society, and had no pastime to which Marion was not a party. Both young, both interested in the other's happiness, it was not likely that they should reflect, how the brightest flowers may be the seat of poison, and the sweetest moments the parents of misery. Their intimacy became more confidential; and Edith left them more and more to themselves, to seek amusement elsewhere. Still there was no question of love. Vibert knew that without fortune or expectations, he could have no pretension to Marion ; and that the number of her young brothers and sisters must render it impossible for her father to remedy the deficiency. It was then that he felt the extent of the sacrifice he had made in devoting himself so entirely to his uncle. Had he adopted any profession, he might have obtained a home of his own, to say the least; and, however humble that home might have been, would Marion have shrunk from it? Would Marion have failed to make it the richest spot upon earth ? He was yet only of an age when many commence their career ; his mind was too active and too brilliant to suffer his habits to become so fixed but that he could apply them to any thing. He determined upon breaking the matter to his uncle: and, as Edith was now eighteen, and the sisters were just about to appear in public, there was no time to be lost. If Marion were not

go forth with a hand already engaged, what had he not to apprehend ? Fortunes and honours would be at her feet-friends would reason-parents might command, and what had she to reply? She loved an idler who lived upon another's bounty, and whose future means were something worse than precarious. He seized upon what he thought a good opportunity, the same evening. His uncle was enjoying his arm-chair and slippers beside


an ample fire, to which the pattering of a November storm gave additional comfort.

“ Vibert,” said he, “what have been your adventures to day?"

“I have been to Silvermere.”

“ Folks tell me you have been there every day for the last twelvemonth,— and who have you seen there?”

“ I have seen Marion.”

“ Well, nephew, she is good-looking, you say; and sensible, and all that. Why do not you marry her, and bring her home to make tea for us?”

“ Alas! I'would willingly do so, had I the means.”

“ We can get over that obstacle, I think, by doubling your allowance.”

• My dear Sir, you do not understand its full extent. Marion's family would never consent, unless she were to be the mistress of an establishment of her own."

“We can remedy that, too, Vibert. Divide the house with me at the middle of the cellar, and brick up the communications. Divide the stables and the horses, have new wheels and new arms to the old family rumbletumble, and make any farther arrangements you please. You have been a good boy, to bear with a crazy so long, and I should not like you to be a loser by it.”

My dear uncle, there was no need of this additional generosity to secure my gratitude and endeavours to

I did not speak for the purpose of placing any farther tax upon you, but merely to consult you whether

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it were not better that I thought of some profession, by which I might attain a position in life not liable to reverse."

A profession !-what, one that would call you away from Hazledell ?”

“I fear all professions would subject me to that affliction." The uncle's colour rose, and his brow darkened.

Vibert leave me in my old age, when I have become entirely dependent upon him! Vibert knock away the only crutch that props me up from the grave—bequeath me to the mercy of hired servants, with not a soul to exchange a word of comfort with me ?-What fortune could you obtain which would compensate for reflections like these?

“Stay, nephew, and see me into my grave—the reverse which you apprehend,—I never thought that


could so coldly contemplate my extinction ; but it is right and natural that you should do so. Only stay,—and I promise you that I will not keep you long,- I will curtail my expenses, banish my few old friends, dismiss my servants, and live upon bread and water, to save what I can for you from the estate. I cannot cause it to descend to you; but at all events, I can save for you as niuch as you would be likely to make by leaving

Yet, if it be your wish to go, e'en go; I had rather

you would leave me miserable, than stay to wish me dead.”



The old man had worked himself into a fit of childish agitation, and Vibert saw that argument was useless.

Uncle," he replied, with a look and voice of despair, “ make yourself easy. Marion will find another husband, who will perhaps render her happier than I could, and I will remain with you as I have done hitherto.”

From this time, Vibert spared no effort to overcome his ill-starred passion, as well for Marion's sake as for his own; seeking every possible pretext to render his visits less frequent, and to pay them in company. Marion perceived the change at the moment it took place, and, although she could not dispute its propriety, her sensibility was wounded to the quick. She commenced her first round of provincial gaiety with a fever at her heart, and an ominous presage of sorrow.

The appearance of the Silvermere party formed an epoch in the annals of the county,—and, as Vibert had foreseen, there was not a squire of the smallest pretensions who did not address himself sedulously to make the agreeable to them. They had little encouragement, however, in their attempts, excepting from Edith. Her heart was free, and her tongue was full of joy ; but Marion was looking for the return of Vibert; and the reserved glance of her eye kept flattery at a distance, and hope in fetters. Still he returned not-she never met him in society, but she constantly heard of his having been at balls and merry-makings where she was not. It was in the vain pursuit of his peace of mind; and she was too generous

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