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As to his establishment, he had hardly settled its extent, nor had he quite fixed the colour of his liveries, but upon one thing he had fully determined his own saddle-horse, and his wife's, and the carriage horses besides, should all be grey, for he knew that Hetty preferred that colour to any other. Delusive reveries! but who that is young has not indulged similar day-dreams, and who that is old would not be happy to renew them ?
It was with an elated heart that Walter knocked at the door of Clarendon House, where he found instant admission, the porter having been instructed to that effect. He was escorted with the same ceremony as before, through a file of glittering servants, to the Mercury-chamber, where after having waited some time he was joined by the illustrious master of the mansion.
“I owe you an apology,” said the Peer, after having cordially welcomed his visitant, “ for disappointing you last night; but my business at Powis House detained me later than I had expected, and when I returned to Or
monde-street, I found you had just taken your departure. However, I dare say you readily excuse my absence ; I know at least that, when I was a gay young spark like yourself, I should have desired no interruption to a tête-à-tête with such a truly captivating creature as my friend Helen,-not the 'bis rapta pellex' of the ancients, not the Paridis adultera conjux,' but a chaste and highly-gifted maiden, who only resembles her namesake in beauty and attraction. From the few words that she would allow herself to utter upon this point, for she scolded me severely for leaving you alone together, and dismissed me most unceremoniously from her door, I think I may fairly congratulate you, Captain Colyton, on the progress you have made in ob taining her favour. Yes, yes, I see clearly that Major Ravenspur is doomed to be the unsuccessful candidate, and I am really glad of it, though I know it will vex Lady Sunderland. But you must be quick, Sir, quick and bold, • Audentes fortuna juvat.'
You must push your fortune, and carry off the prize before
another rival starts up, to ensure which you must keep your designs silent-silent as the grave."
“Really, my Lord, I have entertained no such designs—I have never thought—"
Then, Sir, it is time you should begin to think. What is the meaning of this trifling and indecision ? If you seek my influence that it may secure wealth and advancement, you must follow the path chalked out for you. I speak to you with frankness and sincerity, for I abhor a double face. This was uttered in a stern dictatorial tone, and Walter, recollecting Seagrave's cautions as to the certainty of offending the minister by any declared opposition to his wishes, was in some embarrassment what to say, when the peer continued with a more complacent look“ Surely you were not disappointed in the lady's attractions--you can have no reason to complain of your reception.”
“ None--none whatever," cried Walter eager to change the subject of conversation—"but with my entertainment after I left the house, I
have little cause to be gratified, and I have thought it my duty to lose no time in apprising your Lordship of the occurrence.”
He accordingly proceeded to state the attack that had been made upon him in the fields, -a relation which he had no sooner commenced than his auditor, starting and turning suddenly pale, fixed his eyes upon the speaker and listened to him with profound attention until he had concluded, when he eagerly demanded in an almost breathless voice
" What, what was it the villains uttered ? You are sure there were two of them ?”
“ There was but one at first, who, as well as I could gather in the agitation of the moment, pronounced the name of Helen Audley, and swore that I should expiate her wrongs."
“Ha! said he so? I suspected it-I suspected it and the second ruffian ?"
“ Called upon his companion to dispatch me, observing that even assassination was justifiable when the wrong doer was too high to be reached by other means."
“ The blood-thirsty, desperate cut-throat! cried the Earl, walking hastily up and down the room in the greatest perturbation—"what is our police about that such murderous wretches are suffered to be at large? Where is Seagrave ? You were mistaken for some one else, they took you for "
“ Another, my Lord, beyond all doubt, but whom I cannot conjecture, being a total stranger in London."
“ And you have not even a suspicion of the victim intended to be sacrificed in this atrocious ambuscade ?"
“ None whatever, my Lord.”
“ Are you quite sure that no name was mentioned ?"
“ I heard none, except that one of the bravoes called his comrade by the name of Caleb."
“ How-Caleb ! Caleb, did you say ?-then it is clear, palpable beyond all possibility of doubt ;-where is Seagrave? I must see him instantly. You will oblige me, Captain Colyton,