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Bohun during the sunniest days of his existence, ere those darkling clouds had gathered which had now shed over his soul a changeless gloom; he had known him when they were both merry and lighthearted, whilst their onward path was cheering and full of promise, before the cankerworm of care had gnawed the heart, and before misfortunes and sorrows had dashed wormwood in his cup.
Sommerton was now descending the arc of life, yet in all human probability he had many years to live. Mentally and physically he was admirably fitted for the harass and hardihood of his profession. Of cool and collected understanding, he never, even in the moments of danger, lost self-possession; and in that lion heart craven fear could find no place. In person he was slightly above the middle height, with broad chest, compact and muscular limbs, with step of firmness, and frank features, in which ingenuousness and good sense were not to be mistaken. The intelligent eye, rapid as an eagle's in its glance, yet thoughtful and placid in composure; the expanded and lofty brow, partially hid by the luxuriant clusters of hair which time had not thinned but rendered of snowy whiteness, were the predominating outlines of no common personage, and the seemed like one of those who have been called nature's everlastings.
The moment Captain de Bohun entered the room, the colonel hurried towards him, and grasped his hand in all the heartiness of unforgotten friendship.
“De Bohun," said he, in energy of tone, “I am indeed delighted to see you! How many tedious years is it since we parted ? I have often thought of you, and I trust, though, the business and circumstances of the world, so obliterating as they generally are to friendships, have not wholly erased those feelings of intimacy that once existed between us. And pray, who is the young gentleman whom I have the honour of also being my visitor ? It must be a De Bohun face, eh ?” exclaimed the colonel, steadfastly gazing on Moreton, and then for a moment remaining silent.
“This is my son, Sommerton,” returned Godfrey, with an evident air of paternal pride.
The soldier grasped cordially the youth's hand, expressed
expressed his pleasure at their acquaintance, then gazed once more on that young and glowing countenance, was for a moment abstracted, his voice altered, and that ample bosom heaved quicker than its wont.
“De Bohun,” said he, after a brief pause, “be seated, and forgive the transitory confusion of my manner. You are a happy man. I once had two sons and was happy too !”
He precipitately gave a turn to the conversation, and seemed with an effort to banish an unwelcome remembrance.
For some time the conversation in interrogative and answer flowed freely. It was long to look back upon, and with both there was much to be asked. The colloquy would have still continued, had not a subaltern come with a message. The colonel put on his cap, linked his arm in Godfrey's, and passed along the corridor towards the courtyard, where the soldiers were drawn up on parade.
“Our hour of mess is precisely at six, mind—and, Moreton, no excuse, now, with regard to yourself.”
Godfrey assured him they would have infinite pleasure in joining them that evening.
"By the way, captain, before I forget, we have been so busy talking, I should not omit to thank you for your well-filled hamper of —shire game."
66 You are indebted to Mr. Moreton's cor. rect aim," replied Godfrey, “ rather than to me."
“Then I beg to repeat my acknowledgments to Mr. Moreton, and let me tell you such never can come untimely to the larder of a garrison. I only wish Elleringay were a little nearer Canterbury, and I should often encourage you
carry on a brisk cannonade against the hares and pheasants."
In the court-yard a squadron was drawn up, and each man and horse seemed so part and piece of one another that they might have been likened unto centaurs. Every movement was performed with the most disciplined unison of action. The colonel inspected the troops with criticising glance, and evidently gave proofs of inward delight in having the command of such fine and warlike fellows, whose boast was, no enemy had ever seen their backs.
Whatever may be said of Capt. De Bohun's failings and oddities, of his present circumstances and the straits he had in latter years been put to, he was in all his actions and deportment a gentleman. Throughout life he had associated with good society, and the impress of refinement and better breeding was at once obvious. At Elleringay, when none save his own family assembled at his table, he never omitted dressing for dinner, and was as scrupulous with respect to the ladies as if they had every day sat down with guests of distinction. He never forgot that gentle manners, easy politeness, and propriety of behaviour, are the inseparable characteristics of gentility-in fine that he was a De Bohun. Pecuniary difficulties had precluded the possibility of fully carrying out his aristocratic ideas, but no reverses