Page images
PDF
EPUB

SER FREDERICK DERWENT.

233

and shrubs flourished quite uninjured in their new situation; while, above, a bare and ghastly chasm in the face of the rock displayed whence the part that had fallen had been forcibly rent away. He showed them sketches he had taken of this wild and singular scene.

His drawings, like his conversation, were full of vigorous simplicity. He seemed as much at home among the wonders of science, and the beauties of his native county, as he had done in the cottages of the lane; and told them more than they had yet heard of the distinguishing characteristics of the scenery. What he had loved as a boy, he now described with the language of a painter and a poet, roughly delineating on the blank pages of his book, as he went on, the places of which he spoke.

It was just the theme which suited with the bright sea-picture before them. The sands were now quiet and solitary, and the girls proceeded with their work, and listened to him undisturbed, even, by the recollection that Sir Frederick Derwent had probably been for some time waiting for them. Clarice remembered it first.

Lewis Pemberton looked grave when she reminded Laura of the necessity of returning. He was probably thinking how little chance existed of his seeing more of those with whom he had passed the last hour so pleasantly. He assisted them to collect their working materials, and walked with them across the sand and shingles ; but no farther. Though he had never had any personal disagreement with Sir Frederick, he did not wish to meet him. They left him standing on the shore; but his glance followed Laura's slight figure, till it was lost to sight.

Meanwhile, Sir Frederick had been seeking for them everywhere, except in their quiet resting-place among the rocks. He could not conceive any human beings remaining in one spot so long. He had enquired for them at the Inn, and at every shop in the place. He had fancied that he might find them at Mrs. Bingley's ;-as if the timid girls were not feeling far more at home on the beach, with the waves breaking gently at their feet, than in the drawing-room of a stranger. At last, it had occurred to him to drive down the lane and look for them.

He was now in such a hurry to get home in time for the cricket-playing, that he drove fast through the lanes, and neither of his companions liked to interrupt him, by mentioning their having seen Lewis Pemberton again. They both felt that this excuse for their delay would not put him in a better humour. As it was, he soon talked himself into perfect goodtemper, and explained to them that the present meeting was only one which took place weekly, in his grounds, for practising the game. There was not the slightest occasion, supposing that they felt tired, for them to trouble themselves about it; though, if they liked to look on, the players would, of course, at all times be gratified by their

presence.

CHAPTER XI.

SIR FREDERICK had met with no difficulty in persuading “Bingley's lads” to exchange books for cricket-bats, that evening. The grave curate and his pretty wife did not accompany them; but the latter had only consented to remain at home on condition of her husband's promising to bring her over to the match for which these informal practisings were to prepare the Maydwell eleven, and which was to come off, the first day of the ensuing month of August.

Not only the chosen few who were to uphold the honour of the recently-established club, were deeply anxious for the result of the proaching contest. The whole masculine population of Maydwell and Fordington looked upon it as the great event of the summer. The

the ap

« PreviousContinue »