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ladian mansion, and turning out on close inspection to be the shop of an aesthetically-minded butcher. No! the houses like the inhabitants were highly respectable: the general run somewhere about a century and a half old, neither gloomily antiquated, nor spic and span new eyesores. The straggling village street ended in a shady lane, which skirted the park, and led up the downs at the back, the favourite haunt of our heroine.
These downs, though in so fertile a county, were themselves very far from fertile, and were yet in as uncultivated a state as they had been for the past thousand years. A few sheep fed on the grass which grew on the hill side, but the chief portion of the land was covered by dense clumps or rather forests of juniper, with here and there a little wood of yew, or a few gnarled oaks. In some places the downs sloped off to a sheer precipice, and you looked far down below on to a wide extent of country dotted with villages clustering round the church spire, where the river winds through the trees like a silver ribbon.
When wearied out with the pedantic prosings of her father, and the vapours of her mother, it was Miss Dormer's pleasure to escape here and feel herself a sort of Alexander Selkirk. In vain her father urged the impropriety of her going out to this wild place with no companion but her spaniel: "It was her pleasure," she said. Her mother "could not imagine why with such a lovely park Julia would roam about a nasty heath like a gipsy." "The park was very well," her daughter said, "but it was laid out by a gardener, and she liked to commune with nature face to face;" and then out poured such a stream of quotations that poor Lady Dormer was forced to make a treaty of peace by letting the wilful girl do as she pleased.
Even when Charles came it was no better, and to her mother's dismay she persisted in going out by herself, and not giving up her usual habits for "a mere visitor." So every day after sparring with Charles to her heart's content, she darted off with Dash, and mounted the hill behind the house.
One afternoon she stood on the highest terrace of the downs, her fingers in a volume of Tennyson, looking and listening. Looking on the valley, "deep meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns;" listening to the cries of laughter that rose borne on the breeze from the hayfields down below, sounding clear through the perfect stillness of the air. Nearer, the tinkle of the sheep bells struck her ear, and the chirp, chirp of the grasshopper, rejoicing in the sultry sun. As she gazed she felt, as who that is one step removed from a clod does not feel on such an occasion, a yearning emotion of joy and gratitude, and her eye brightened, and her cheek flushed, and she said out loud, "Where's the coward would not die for such-"
"Aint you afraid, Miss, to be out alone in such a soli-, tary place as this?" said a rough voice behind, rudely breaking her soliloquy, and turning the current of her thoughts. Such a ruffian the speaker looked! not even a strong-minded lady could have resisted a slight cxclamation. A great black beard concealed the lower part of the ruffian's face, a red handkerchief was bound turban-wise round his ruffianly head, and one of his eyes was concealed by a black patch; a great pistol was stuck in his belt, and he grasped a knotted cudgel in his hand.
"I-I-really don't—that is, not often-I mean not very," stammered Julia. If she had been the strongminded female I before alluded to, she would no doubt
have answered his question calmly and fully, perhaps eventually subduing the savage nature of the intruder by her fearless demeanour. But this lady, though so fierce to her cousin, and so fond of insinuating cowardice in him, was herself a very lamb in real danger; or perhaps it was that a perception of her cruelty to Charles flashed across her mind just then, in the time of danger (as they say that drowning people see all the events of their past life), and this remembrance took away her courage, as we know on the best authority, that "'tis conscience that makes cowards of us all."
Poor Julia did not know what to do or say, and looked to Dash to help her. But Dash after making one snap at the intruder's legs, in return for which he got a kick that sent him flying several yards through the air, retired to a distance and lay howling on the ground. His mistress was on the point of falling on her kness and beseeching the robber (for such she felt sure he was,) in piteous accents to spare her life, when he saved her any further indecision by stating that her purse would benefit him more than her. The purse was surrendered without dispute, and the watch and rings kept it company. Their new owner then took out an extraordinarily large yellow handkerchief, with which he was proceeding to tie Julia's hands, when—a loud shout was heard from the clump of oaks just behind. Dash set up a fresh yelling, and Charles Dormer, Esq., Coldstream Guards, &c., &c., appeared upon the scene. Two steps brought him across the grass, and one blow of his fist laid the ruffian on the ground, and then it were surely labour thrown away to describe the heartfelt accents in which the lady said, "Oh! dear Charles! how glad I am you have come" how he tenderly supported her, with
his arm round her waist, to prevent her from falling when overcome by the fright: how carefully he guarded her home through the wilds which Lady Dormer had been so justly afraid of,-thinking it better to take care of his cousin than to attempt to arrest the robber, who thus escaped!
All this and a great deal more happened, for Charles was so successful in soothing her mind that she was enabled to appear that evening, as if she had not met with so terrible an adventure, and in fact seemed to think so little of it that she not only forbore to tell her parents, but begged her cousin not to do so. Before she retired to rest she took the opportunity of again thanking Charles in words so expressive that she quite blushed when she thought over them afterwards. But upon mature consideration she decided that she had been quite mistaken in her estimate of him, and that though he had seen no active service, he was a very courageous fellow.
The lieutenant next day had not much difficulty in divining his cousin's thoughts, and so profited by the advantage he had gained, that at the end of a week he brought her to confess that notwithstanding the tyranny her parents had exercised in forcing a husband upon her, she could not entirely disapprove of their choice.
So they were engaged to be married, and married they were to the great delight of their respective parents. But the bride discovered the day before the wedding something which she said almost made her resolve to withdraw even then. This was the something. Among the wedding presents which were showered on them from all quarters, was a very pretty Arabian mare, which came from her future father-in-law. Of course the new acquisition was to be
inspected forthwith, and she went out under Charles's guardianship for that purpose. The mare was very pretty and was duly admired, but Julia did not look at it so much as she ought, for she could not keep her eyes off a large handkerchief with which one of the grooms in the stables (whom we will charitably suppose had a slight attack of hay fever) was continually covering his face. It seemed something she had seen before, though where she could have seen a yellow cotton handkerchief with the history of Moses on it, puzzled her. But when the fortunate possessor of this work of art returned it to his pocket, her perplexity was increased. Surely she had seen him before, and in connection with that handkerchief. "It must be! no, surely the other had a beard! My dear Charles," said she in an agitated whisper, " that groom I am sure is the man who robbed me on the downs, and that handkerchief is the one he was going to tie my hands with." Why that's my servant, my groom Bob," said Charles, who seemed however much embarrassed in giving even this simple answer. This was more inexplicable also, and Julia looked from one to the other in mute amazement, which was not diminished when Charles said, "Well I will confess all, and throw myself humbly on your mercy." The confession that he made, the acute reader has no doubt anticipated, namely, that Bob at his master's instigation dressed himself up and robbed the young lady, only that her admirer might knock down the ruffian, and by rescuing her, lay her under a great obligation.
As we have before hinted, the marriage was not interrupted on this discovery, but when Lady Dormer, who after the engagement had been informed of Charles's