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“Nephew,” said Sir Henry, “ I will be frank with you. When you were last here, I thought you had stolen from me a precious pearl, which at one time it would have been my pride and happiness to have bestowed on you ; but which, being such as you have been of late, I would bury in the depths of the earth rather than give to your keeping. This somewhat chafed, as honest Will says, 'the rash humour which my mother gave me.' I thought I was robbed, and I thought I saw the robber before me. I am mistaken-I am not robbed; and the attempt without the deed I can pardon."
“ I would not willingly seek offence in your words, sir,” said Colonel Everard, “ when their general purport sounds kind ; but I can protest before Heaven, that my views and wishes towards you and your family are as void of selfish hopes and selfish ends, as they are fraught with love to you and to yours.”
“ Let us hear them, man ; we are not much accustomed to good wishes now-a-days; and their very rarity will make them welcome.”
“I would willingly, Sir Henry, since you might
not choose me to give you a more affectionate name, convert those wishes into something effectual for your comfort. Your fate, as the world now stands, is bad, and, I fear, like to be worse."
“ Worse than I expect it cannot be. Nephew, I do not shrink before my change of fortunes. I shall wear coarser clothes, I shall feed on more ordinary food,-men will not doff their cap to me as they were wont, when I was the great and the wealthy. What of that ? Old Harry Lee loved his honour better than his title, his faith better than his land and lordship. Have I not seen the 30th of January ? I am neither Philo-math nor astrologer ; but old Will teaches me, that when green leaves fall winter is at hand, and that darkness will come when the sun sets."
“ Bethink you, sir,” said Colonel Everard, “ if, without any submission asked, any oath taken, any engagement imposed, express or tacit, excepting that you are not to excite disturbances in the public peace, you can be restored to your residence in the Lodge, and your usual fortunes and perquisites there, I have great reason to hope
this may be permitted, if not expressly, at least on sufferance."
“ Yes, I understand you. I am to be treated like the royal coin, marked with the ensign of the Rump to make it pass current, although I am too old to have the royal insignia grinded off from. me? Kinsman, I will have none of this. I have lived at the Lodge too long; and let me tell you, I had left it in scorn long since, but for the orders of one whom I may yet live to do service to. I will take nothing from the usurpers, be their name Rump or Cromwell be they one devil or legion—I will not take from them an old cap to cover my grey hairs--a cast cloak to protect my frail limbs from the cold. They shall not say they have, by their unwilling bounty, made Abraham rich—I will live, as I will die, the Loyal Lee."
“ May I hope you will think of it, sir; and that you will, perhaps, considering what slight submission is asked, give me a better answer ?”
“ Sir, if I retract my opinion, which is not my wont, you shall hear of it. —And now, cousin, have you more to say? We keep that worthy clergyman in the outer room."
“Something I had to say-something touching my cousin Alice,” said Everard, with embarrassment; “ but I fear that the prejudices of both are so strong against me
“Sir, I dare turn my daughter loose to you— I will go join the good doctor in dame Joan's apartment. I am not unwilling that you should know that the girl hath, in all reasonable sort, the exercise of her free will."
He withdrew, and left the cousins together.
Colonel Everard advanced to Alice, and was about to take her hand. She drew back, took the seat which her father had occupied, and pointed out' to him one at some distance.
“ Are we then so much estranged, my dearest Alice ?” he said.
“We will speak of that presently,” she replied. « In the first place, let me ask the cause of your visit here at so late an hour."
“ You heard,” said Everard, “ what I stated to your father?”
" I did ; but that seems to have been only part of your errand-something there seemed to be which applied particularly to me.”
“ It was a fancy—a strange mistake,” answered Everard. “May I ask if you have been abroad this evening ?"
Certainly not," she replied. “ I have small temptation to wander from my present home, poor as it is ; and whilst here, I have important duties to discharge. But why does Colonel Everard ask so strange a question ?"
“ Tell me in turn, why your cousin Markham has lost the name of friendship and kindred, and even of some nearer feeling, and then I will answer
“ It is soon answered," she said. “When you drew your sword against my father's cause--almost against his person-I studied, more than I should have done, to find excuse for you. I knew, that is, I thought I knew, your high feelings of public duty-I knew the opinions in which you had been bred up; and I said, I will not, even for this, cast him off-he opposes his King because he is loyal to his country. You endeavoured to avert the great and concluding tragedy of the 30th of January; and it confirmed me in my opi.