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To this propo
air, scene, and society, might have the most beneficial effects upon her health. To this sal her father easily yielded his assent; when the Colytons and Hetty shortly after took their departure, Mapletoft, in spite of his sister's entreaties, persisting in remounting Dumpling, who, as if anxious to make atonement for his former misconduct, carried him back safely and quietly to Orchard Place.
I saw the bouncing Bellibone,
Hey, ho, Bonnybell!
She can trip it very well.
Hey, ho, bonny lasse!
The Shepheard's Calender.
MRS. COLYTON, who did not easily renounce her prejudices, had taken Edith apart before she consented to her remaining at Hales Court, and had strictly charged her, in a pious and prosing homily, to absent herself from the religious ceremonies of the family; above all, to return instantly to Orchard Place, should any attempts be made to convert her to popery.
In the bottom of the maternal heart there lurked a secret misgiving that this might be the real motive of the earnestness with which all had concurred in the invitation ; but if this were not an unnatural fear, considering the character of the bosom wherein it sprang, it was both an ungenerous and an unfounded one. None of the Sheltons, not even the old priest, entertained that miserable spirit of proselytism, which only worshiping self, while pretending to adore truth, feels its pride flattered by winning over others to its own narrow opinions, and gratifies its hateful passions, by denying the benefits of salvation to all who dissent from it. Although they were Catholics, the inhabitants of Hales Court, rising superior to the spirit of the times, disclaimed all such unchristian Christianity. They had too much delicacy to dream of introducing any theological subject, where their motives might be misapprehended, seeking rather to soothe and gratify the sensitive mind of Edith by alternate occupation and amusement, and by lavishing upon
her those minute attentions and ingratiating offices of friendship, which had marked their demeanour towards the deceased Richard, when for a short time he had been their inmate. Quietly and unobtrusively as these acts of unremitting kindness were ministered, not one of them was thrown away upon the quiek-sighted Edith, who felt them with a deep though silent gratitude, and whose health and spirits were manifestly improved by the society of her beloved Agatha, and her removal to a scene, which, from its embowered, romantic, and secluded character, possessed the charm of novelty, while it was, at the same time, singularly congenial to her disposition.
“We have nothing to offer you,” said Mr. Shelton, two or three mornings after her arrival—“ that may compete with the cheerfulness of Orchard Place, where the influx of visitors, the occupations of your family, and, above all, the presence of your merry father, for ever singing to his dogs, his horses, or to himself, supply a scene of constant animation.
Here we live like hermits, although involuntary ones, for I would gladly associate with the neighbours who now keep aloof, and who, I hope, will one day know us better; and as for Agatha, I often tell her, as she wanders amid the leafy cloisters of our groves and gardens, that she is a nun in every respect, except that of having taken the veil. But if the beauties of nature can make you any compensation for the pleasures of society, you will not perhaps have been a loser by your visit to Hales Court; and to prove to you that I do not boast in vain, I shall be happy to accompany you and Agatha in a walk through our grounds, which are but of moderate extent, although varied in their character."
“O Sir! talk not of my being a loser in any sense,” exclaimed Edith, with ardour-" Have I not here both social and natural pleasures united ? More enlightened minds, or affectionate hearts, I could never find, even in the bosom of my own family; and I cannot express to you how much I am enchanted, how