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may not these be the wanderings of incipient delirium, rather than the self-betrayals of conscious guilt ?"
They may partake in some degree of both: if there be a single particle of the latter, it falls not within the scope of my profession, and I must therefore decline any farther visits to a patient of so equivocal and perilous a character. It is my business to save other people's lives, not to jeopardize my own; and I have seen, since Monmouth's affair, too many heads and quarters nailed against door-posts, to think it necessary that their number should be increased, particularly at my expense. Father Bartholomew, with such instructions as I shall give him, will be quite competent to take charge of the invalid, should you determine on retaining him at Hales Court ; but if
follow vice, you will immediately apprize the magistrates of what has happened, and let this mysterious personage be sent to some place of security, until he can give a satisfactory account of himself.”
“ How, Sir!" cried Mr. Shelton indignantly
remove the unfortunate man in his present critical and suffering state! Consign an innocent person, for such he may still prove, to the inquisition of magistrates, and the custody of a gaoler! Perish the thought! I would sooner give up the heart from my bosom than commit such an act of barbarity. The country is in a state of profound peace—I am not bound to conclude that there are traitors abroad, still less that this gentleman is one of them, or an offender of any sort. He may have valid reasons for concealing his name, and my having discharged towards him the common duties of humanity, which the merest outcast would equally have received at my hands, gives me no right to pry into his secrets."
“ You will follow your own course, Mr. Shelton, and I shall pursue mine. To Hales Court I return no more while it gives harbour to this mysterious inmate.”
“ Be it so, and I trust our assiduity may compensate to the patient for the want of your
better skill; but as he has expressed a wish, perhaps a very innocent one, that his abode here should remain as much as possible unknown, you would much oblige me by complying with his request.”
“On this you may depend. I shall be silent for my own sake, as well as yours and his."
The timid surgeon hastily withdrew, and Mr. Shelton, who, although he resolutely obeyed the dictates of his own humane heart, was by no means without apprehension that his guest might involve him in some perilous responsibility, went to communicate to Father Bartholomew all that he had heard, and to consult with him as to the most prudent course that it might become them to adopt,
Why, now you flatter." “ I never understood the word. Were you no king, and free from these moods, should I choose a companion for wit and pleasure, it should be you ; or for honesty to interchange my bosom with, it should be you; or wisdom to give me counsel, I would pick out you. Now I have spoke."
A King and No King.
We return to Walter Colyton, whom we left knocking at the door of the fair Incognita's house in St. James's Square, and who was rather embarrassed, when it was opened by a servant in a rich livery, as to the party for whom he should inquire, since he deemed it hardly decorous to give a literal obedience to his instructions by simply asking for Catherine.
Before he entered, therefore, he demanded to whom the house belonged, when the man replied that it was the mansion of the Countess of Dorchester. Walter knew enough of Court history to be aware that this lady bore the name of Catherine, that she was the daughter of the celebrated Sir Charles Sedley, and the mistress of the King, who had bestowed upon her the title by which she was now known, as well as the sumptuous mansion in which she resided. From her Christian name, as well as from the eccentricity, boldness, wit, or at least the flippant sprightliness by which public report had characterized the Countess of Dorchester, her present visitant could not doubt her identity with his fair unknown of Westbury; and although he was rather flurried at the thought of an interview with a lady not less eminent from her station, than famed for the unsparing poignancy of her satirical powers, he was at the same time sufficiently a man of the world to recollect that her influence and favour might prove infinitely more effectual than his own merits in pushing