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business and things of importance. It was to be feared now, when his children were arriving at man and womanhood, that he would have concerns of more weighty reflection. He revolved the question of the sudden and mysterious disappearance of the occupants of the cottage, and determined on finding out their place of destination. An incident occurred which put his sagacity on the scent of intelligence.
Mrs. Parkins, the occupant of the cottage, like many single ladies of declining life, entertained a peculiar regard for her little property, and was most solicitous for the safety of her goods and chattels. She was wont to make an unnecessary fuss about little things; and now, when so far away, had divers dreads relative to robbers and dampness ; she fancied the moths were ruthlessly perforating the cashmeres and sarcenets she had left behind; that her geraniums and hydrangeas were as dead and sapless as if stuck in the sands of Sahara; and dreamt that her tortoise-shell cat had come to an untimely end! In this melancholy "condition of delusiveness she indited an epistle of inquiry to the woman with whom she had entrusted the key of the dwelling, and who, for a consideration, had engaged to look after robbers and mildew, the moths and the tortoise-shell cat. This person unfortunately could not read, and as a letter was of little interest when its contents were unknown, she very rationally sought the learned aid of the schoolmaster, who was the great referee in such matters, not only with her, but with the majority of this little community. The hamlet Theophrastus noted well the address of the writer; and, ere many days, the secret was blown to at least half a dozen confidentials.
It is quite tenable to suppose that in a small village like Elleringay the precipitate departure of any of its inhabitants, was certain to give rise to divers comments and conjectures. From a right recollection of the young lady's many estimable qualities, her charities, her readiness to relieve the poor, her urbanity, her beauty, and the probability there was of her one day being the young squire's wife, much concern was entertained for her welfare. The matter had several times been discussed over the ample fire of the Plough, at which place of public entertainment the schoolmaster, twice every week, with marvellous punctuality, OCcupied the capacious arm-chair in the corner; when, for the edification of the assembly, he scanned politics, told stories, and ever and anon quoted scraps of lore.
One evening afterwards, when presiding in his leathern throne, the question of Mrs. Parkins's whereabouts was again discussed. “ Have you heard where the old lady has gone ?” asked a ruddy tiller of the earth, of a square-built, brawny Van Twiller looking mortal, who sat and smoked in silence.
“Don't know," briefly articulated the interrogated, without removing the pipe from his mouth.
“Strange— very strange!” observed a third.
“Folks say,” slowly enumerated the wight of Van Twiller conformation, still without taking the pipe from his lips, “ that the young squire has married Miss Aylett; but folks in Elleringay often say what is not true.” Then was emitted a huge volume of opaque smoke which contorted itself into fantastic writhings and melted away.
" I think I could mention where they are," remarked the Theophrastus, on his leathern throne, at the same time nictating his left eye, and giving a cunning nod to the man of burgomaster make.
This statement of the village sage reached the ears of the old squire. Now, Godfrey was his patron, it was he who appointed him to be the Busby of the hamlet. He sent for the teacher, and the latter freely communicated the contents of the letter, and wrote down the address. Godfrey called to mind having, at Edinburgh, an old military friend, who, in early life, had acquired a notoriety for his intrigues and dissipation. To ferret out particulars of this kind was a piece of business quite in keeping with his tastes. He soon corresponded with the anxious De Bohun, and told him all he could ascertain. Godfrey resolved to be politic, and if they were not married, matters might still be managed. He contrived to intercept the letters.
They who have been separated from those they love, can alone know the real pleasure which a letter brings. At the accustomed hour of the postman's visit, Emily's pulse beat quicker—she listened with eagerness for the welcome ring. Day after day sped away, and no intelligence from Moreton. Three weeks-a month got over-he still had not written! Every disappointing post brought fresh tears—conjecture, doubt, hope, fear, blame, confidence, tumultuously warred in her bosom. Mrs. Parkin, in all the consoling arguments of her benign nature, essayed to find one excuse and then another for this very unaccountable silence. He might be ill—he might have been hurried abroad—the letter might have been lost no, no! he could not be cruel—he could not betray!
An epistle was addressed to Moreton from an anonymous friend, saying how Emily had quickly recovered from her