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" I would I were as sure of a good dinner.”
TREMAINE's reply (if he had one) to the question propounded at the close of our last chapter, was spared, by the appearance of a man crossing the lawn, in a single-breasted coat, and long gaiters. He came from the stables, and was followed by all Evelyn's dogs, who seemed eager for his notice, and all of whom he did notice by their names.
“ Hilloa ho!” cried Evelyn, putting his head out of window, while Tremaine was astonished both at his hilarity and familiarity with the stranger; whom however he rightly judged to be Careless, and who was about to return a sort of view halloo, when he was stopped by Georgina. She had hastily gone out to meet him, and putting her arm within his, carried him immediately off into a walk at a short distance, where they seemed in earnest conversation,
Something like jealousy actually struck Tremaine, on seeing this; and he could not help exclaiming, in a tone between surprise, envy, and disapprobation, “ This Will Wimble is a happy man, Dr. Evelyn!”
Why yes,” observed the Doctor, 6 if being just the best-natured creature in the world can make a man happy, he is so.”
" I mean," said Tremaine, broodingly, “ in the favour he seems to enjoy, and the influence he seems to be allowed in this family. It is not only the dogs that court him, and the master that loves him, but the master's daughter-”
“ Loves him too,” finished the Doctor; “ and well she may, for I much question if he has not been a sixty-miles ride to serve her, in a point on which her heart was much set.”
Tremaine looked more than surprised : “ her heart !” exclaimed he.
“ Yes,” answered the Doctor, “and he is now, I perceive, giving an account of his commission."
“ Is it fair to ask what commission ?” said Tremaine, with a strange sort of anxiety.
“ Why neither more nor less than this,” replied Evelyn: “ an old widow, whom she loves very much, sent us word two days ago, that her only son had been pressed at Hull, though no seafaring man, and that she was fearful he might enter, which
would break her heart. I was not at home, nor expected for some hours, and perhaps should have been too flinty myself to have gone so far to save an idle rogue. What does Miss Evelyn but send to Bachelor's Hall for her humble servant there, who came over in a trice, takes her instructions, rides to Hull, five-and-twenty miles, thence to the widow's, ten miles farther, with this cub of a son, whom he had got released; and having delivered him to his mother, is now.come back to relate the result.”
Tremaine's heart beat high—it filled both towards Careless and Georgina.--His jealousy, if an unintelligible sensation of interest can be called so, was by no means cured, yet he had the generosity to feel the greatest admiration for Careless's active kindness, and, for the first time in his life, found there was an object whom he thought he might envy.
And yet he wondered at himself for doing so; for Careless, being now come back, and presented to him, the man of refinement, in his distant bow and dignified air, could not help drawing a comparison between himself and the homely plainness of the little Squire, not at all to the advantage of the latter.
In truth, the elegance of Tremaine's manner had always, from the first, struck Georgina herself; and the superiority of his abord, over even one she so highly valued as Careless, was now particularly con
spicuous to eyes which were always alive to whatever was stampt with the mark of gentleman. This discernment and sensibility to ease and
gracey so natural to all bosoms of feeling, could not but make her properly appreciate whatever belonged to the air noble; and whenever she saw Tremaine, and thought of his acquirements of mind, set off by the ease of his conversation and the polish of this advantageous manner, though a country girl, her own nature was responsive to it, and the disparity of their years did not prevent her from thinking him, not only the finest gentleman, but the most interesting person she had ever seen.
Careless, on the contrary, who had round shoulders, and a slouch in his air, contracted by being almost always in the saddle, had, in mere personal appearance, nothing but the jollity of his countenance to recommend him; and though this latter spoke the highest good-nature, it must be owned it was not remarkable for any particular intelligence.
“ I find," said Tremaine, shaking hands with his new friend, “I had the pleasure of being at school with you before I went to Eton, and I now recollect the same good-natured features which were once (we won't say how long ago) familiar to me.”
“ You fine town gentlemen,” observed Careless, making him a country bow, “ are ashamed of your
ages sometimes; but us plain Yorkshires wear well enough not to need disguising them.”
Tremaine reddened (which Careless not perceiving, he added kindly), “ I'm sorry, however, to see you don't look in health, and fear this always comes of running away from home; I heard you had passed many years in foreign parts.”
6 Yet I have been home these four years," said Tremaine.
“ But not in Yorkshire," observed Careless, looking significantly at Evelyn.
“ Don't mind him," said the Doctor," for with his good-will, no man would ever go beyond Bawtry, and scarcely into the Bishoprick.
“ Why,” answered Careless, “ I see no reason, when a man is well, that he should wish to be better, at the hazard (ten to one) of being a great deal worse.
I have now lived, man and boy, sevenand-thirty years in Yorkshire, have been but twice in London in my life, and never across the salt seas as they say; and yet I believe I am as happy and content as any that have.”
“ Excellent philosophy,” said Tremaine.
“ No philosophy at all,” replied Careless, “but mere taste, that was born with me, like that for Dr.
* The county of Durham, always called by the true indigenous neighbourhood, the Bishoprick.