Page images

“ Perhaps not,” returned Evelyn, “but you don't know unless you had tried, and at any rate the intention

“ It was, unfortunately, but intention," interrupted Tremaine, with a strong emotion of selfblame," for I was personally unknown.”

66 That's a fault that may mend, if you please," returned Evelyn.

“ Shall I own to you that even my good intentions were, I fear, not pure-not unmixed ?”'

66 As how?" asked Evelyn, surprised.

“ I had heard of Georgina's interest in these poor people, and I wished to please her, as well as relieve them."

Bon !" said Evelyn ; " but a good deed is not the less so because it please a pretty girl as well as our consciences ! You must at least shew these poor people how willing you were to have served them; and I apprehend your breakfast will not be eaten with the less appetite for this little exertion, even though it be at Bachelor's Hall, and not of the very best Spanish chocolate. Jack waits for us by this, for he must be returned from Belford, whither I sent him ; so as soon as I have carried Mary up to her father, I'll join you."

Tremaine just waited to make himself known to Christmas and his wife, to whom he promised every protection, and then proceeded to Jack's, whom he

found occupied in placing part of a cold round of beef with his own hands on the table.

“ This is what I never expected,” said Careless, staring, yet shaking him by the hand; you surely cannot be come to breakfast with me."

“ Why not ?” asked Tremaine, " as well as your coming to breakfast with me?”

“ Deuced lucky, I can tell you, if you are; for it is past ten, and if the Doctor had not sent me over to Belford to old Qui Tam, whom I was engaged in pounding, I should have been breakfasted two hours ago."

“ I'm the more fortunate," answered Tremaine; “ but pray what do you mean by pounding, and who is Qui Tam?"

6 Why who should it be but the attorney? His name, indeed, is Vellum, but I always call him Qui Tam. He is queer about it, but I don't

“ But what do you mean by pounding him?" asked Tremaine.

« Oh ! keeping him a little on the jaw about my brother's affairs, that he might not make that rogue Giles's will till the Rector had seen him again. The Doctor, I know, would have been angry if I had told him my design, so I did it of my own head, and you must not peach. Indeed, I believe it was neck or nothing.”

Tremaine was struck with this new instance of

[ocr errors]


Jack's activity in the cause of benevolence, and began to think of him with less comparative selfsuperiority

“ But come,” said Jack, " you are as glum as if you were really hungry. I'll get you some eggs not half an hour old, for I have just took them myself; and the Doctor will be here in a moment. I hope he has succeeded for poor Molly though, and then he'll eat like a coach-horse."

Tremaine was informing him of the result, when Evelyn came in, and told them he had left Mary by the bedside of her father, who was apparently more comfortable for being reconciled, though still very anxious to know if he might not yet live.

At that instant Vellum rode by, in a pair of kneetopt boots, such as are worn by dignitaries of the church ; and his pockets were full of papers. Jack instantly darted out upon him, and from his wall told him how things were.

$6 You'll lose all your labour," cried Jack.

" I hope I am not too late,'' said the attorney, pulling up.

“ Oh! but you are though,” returned Jack ; “ and besides, he has changed his mind.”.

“ Impossible, Sir," replied Vellum; "it was but yesterday he sent me a note, which I have here in my breeches’-pocket.”

At this moment Evelyn and Tremaine appeared

at the porch door, and beckoned him: a call which Vellum, great as he was in the market-place at Belford, could not disobey; for he was neither more nor less than steward, and held their courts, baron and leet, for them both.

Upon being informed of the circumstances, the cautious Vellum observed it was quite impossible to doubt their honours, particularly Dr. Evelyn.

“ That is,” hastily proceeded the man of law, perceiving the mistake he had made, “ as the Doctor has himself heard the party, as it were, in articulo; for without that, God forbid I should make a distinction between two such worthy gentlemen, and, for that matter, worshipful magistrates. By the way, give me leave, Squire Tremaine, to congratulate you

on your appearance at the last Quarter Sessions; long may you be the same ornament that your grandfather was to that great court."

Here he smiled with great self-complacency, and all the other gentlemen smiled too; which the attorney mistaking, he went on with assumed dignity: “ but I crave your pardon, Doctor Evelyn, although I am as sure as I am here and there that the old man has changed his mind, if only because you say it, and Squire Tremaine for that matter confirms it (bowing to both), yet you will excuse me” (bowing still lower)

“ What the devil ! do you question it ?" said Jack.

you are

“ Heaven forbid, I say,” proceeded Vellum;

only as I received the positive instruction of the party himself, I should, I conceive, ill deserve the reputation, though I say it, of being principal solicitor in such a place as Belford, and being steward to so many great gentry" (bowing again)“ if-" -but interrupting himself, “ but I beg pardon, gentlemen; I must be minding my business, and go to the dying man.

Tremaine, glad to get rid of him, assured him they did not wish to detain him; and observed to Evelyn, as the lawyer remounted his horse, that he seemed such a fool, he thought his courts could not be safe in such hands: he felt inclined to take them from him.

“ No! my dear friend, you must not commit such injustice.”

“ But is he not a fool ?”' asked Tremaine.

“ By no, means, professionally," said Evelyn; “ his caution at this moment, in not, as he says, legally believing us, demonstrates that; and if he is uncouth in general manners, it is because he has sacrificed them to professional knowledge, and has not mind enough for both. His integrity is unblemished—and depend upon it he will hold your courts as well as any, and better than most.”,

In about half an hour the man of law returned, and found the friends together, listening to an ac

« PreviousContinue »