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he has escaped from me, I should not be surprised if he were among the only live people I believe he prefers to me the rooks and crows.”'
“ Rooks and crows !" returned Tremaine, with an expression very like contempt; “ what can he possibly see in them to fill a mind like his, much less make up for such a daughter ?"'
“ Thank you,” said Miss Evelyn, “but I am almost as fond of them myself.”
“I hope some reason can be given for it."
“ Then, I think, you had better consult my father in person”, said she," for see, he is now at the bottom of the walk."
They sallied out together, Tremaine observing drily, “ that he supposed it market-day at Belford, which of course as a farmer, if not as a squire, the Doctor attended."
Georgina assured him he would have been right as to the attendance, had there been a market, but that this time he had gone on a little private business; “ which, though he has pretended to be anxious about it for this week past, I dare say, after all, he has not accomplished.”
May I venture to ask what it is ?” said Tremaine. “ Neither more nor less than the purchase of a bust, or a yase, for one of his book-cases," returned Georgina; "an assortment of which the crockery man at Belford sent him word he had just received.".
“Astonishing !" thought Tremaine, but he was silent.
By this time they had joined the doctor, who was sitting on a bench, with his eyes following his black subjects through a thousand airy circles; and his ears' seemingly delighted with what struck Tremaine as a horrible noise.
OCCUPATION AND RETIREMENT.
“ The crow makes wing to the rooky wood."
“ Will you sit down with me, and we two will rail against our “ mistress, the world, and all our misery."
AFTER the first salutation, “Well, papa," said Georgina smiling, “have you bought your bust ?"
6 No, my dear, I have not.”
“I really thought so," returned she, and her smile turned into a laugh'; “ I even said to Mr. Tremaine, that although you went on purpose for it, you would come back empty-handed.”
“You are at least a true prophetess; but why did you.prophesy ?”
“ I guessed."
“ Well, then, thy guess ?” asked Evelyn good-humouredly.
“ That you might have the pleasure of another ride for it to-morrow.”
“My girl knows me well,” said the delighted father. 66 If the weather is fine, and my mare carries me as well to-day, I shall, I dare say, overcome my objection, and return for the bust tomorrow."
“ And pray what was the objection ?" said Tremaine, with curiosity.
“ I thought it a shilling all too dear,” answered Evelyn.
“ A shilling! and with six or eight miles there and back, is it possible you could have hesitated for a shilling ?”
“Even so," said Evelyn, coolly; “nay, what is more, upon second thoughts, I think the thing cheap."
“ Then why not have bought it?"
“ I did not think so at the moment, and it was but going again.”
“ Good heavens !” said Tremaine, in a sort of triumph, s is this the value which you men of method put upon your time? To what must you practical people, after all, be reduced, when a trumpery piece of plaister, or perhaps a tex-cup, costs
two journeys, and a great deal of calculation, in a very wise head too, to get it?"
“ And very well bestowed,” answered Evelyn, “ for I assure you I have got already all I intended by it, and that was not a little.”
“ For heaven's sake, what?"
“ But I thought you never had the spleen ?' retorted Tremaine.
“ Not often ; but I cannot help my constitution, which generates bile; and all I have for it is to understand and cure its defects. I felt growing out of humour from a two-days' laziness ; and therefore endeavoured to make a little business, in order to be obliged to ride. The remedy has done wonders already; and, to complete my cure, I came to my friends the practical philosophers here.”
Just at these words, the rooks, at a seeming signal from a distant centinel who was flying aloof, became particularly clamorous, till all flew off. in several divisions to a neighbouring field, where they landed, and seemed (having first. again planted centinels around them) engaged in busy conclave, which lasted several minutes.
“ I would give something to make them out," said Evelyn.
“ And I to make you out," observed Tremaine,
“ for in truth such a compound of wisdom and trifling (excuse me) I never knew.”
Why the trifling of a wise man is always respectable you know,” said the doctor; “I only wish you would make out your first proposition, and prove my wisdom. But suppose this a mere bagatelle; one of the most acute of understandings once relied for happiness upon his famous maxim of vive la bagatelle.* Another, almost as shrewd, and full of wit and high breeding, spent at least an amused life professędly in trifles.t It is at least as good as counting the waves, after the manner of Cicero, when he was out of humour, like other patriots, because the state would not do as he would have it."
ó But I deny.” continued Evelyn, “ that my study of these creatures is either trifling or uninteresting.'
“ It will require all your wisdom to prove it otherwise," said Tremaine.
Why, as to the interest," answered Evelyn, " they and their ancestors seem to have belonged, or rather to have gone on as faithful companions, to me and mine for these two hundred years; and the heart must be a little obdurate which is not something touched even by thật circumstance alone. They seem to be a colony of kind dependents, who * Swift.
+ Horace Walpole.