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A TALE OF 1688.
AUTHOR OF “ BRAMBLETYE HOUSE,” &c. &c.
As You Like It.
In a short time, affairs at Orchard Place resunied their customary train, and although the death of Richard, his supposed apparition, and the somnambulism of Edith, formed, for some time, the prevalent subjects of conversation in the Colyton family, their effects ceased to be felt, sooner or later, according to the temperament of the different individuals. The Squire, who had
only been momentarily impressed with these occurrences, exhibited no diminution of his good spirits, taking his morning's ride as usual in his cavalier garb, with a silver whistle slung to his neck, and a whole troop of dogs at his heels, enjoying his dinner with the true relish of an epicure, quaffing his claret, smoking his pipe, singing snatches of Bacchanalian songs, whistling tunes, indulging in his afternoon's nap, and all the little personal selfish luxuries to which he had been so long habituated, while he occasionally varied his recreations by a practical joke upon Mapletoft, which he enjoyed the more, because the individual in question never suffered his calm, amiable, placid disposition to be ruffled for one moment, even by the coarsest freaks of his brother-in-law.
According to that beneficent provision of Nature, by which the mother's affections are more strongly directed towards the sickliest and most infirm of her offspring, as most needing the maternal offices, Mrs. Colyton had been tenderly attached to her son Richard, and had
been proportionably affected by his death, although she had long foreseen it; but time, that seldom fails to alleviate, if not to cúre, every human grief, soon abated her sorrows; and as Edith, whose health continued extremely delicate, now daily required more of her care and attention, she had little leisure for the indulgence of unavailing regrets. Mrs. Colyton too, fortunately for herself, was never happy unless when employed, possessing that sort of - mind which shakes off the corrosions of care by
its own mere activity, as the rotatory millwheel throws from its surface those cankering substances, which would soon gnaw into its heart were it to remain stationary and in stagnant waters. Notwithstanding the multiplicity of her avocations, she would often steal an hour or two for a theological controversy with a travelling sectarian minister, or non-conformist neighbour. This was an old Puritan practice, in which she took especial delight, not because she ever made any converts to her own particular opinions, for she piqued herself upon