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HEIRESS OF HAUGHTON;
THE MOTHER'S SECRET.
THE AUTHOR OF
“EMILIA WYNDHAM,” “TWO OLD MEN'S TALES, &c."
IN THREE VOLUMES.
THE HEIRESS OF HAUGHTON.
In him alone 'twas natural to please;
It was a beautiful evening.
The day had been warm, and the sun, now sinking towards the tufted hills of Windsor Forest, shed a rich golden light upon the tops of those fine trees, which adorn the Playing Fields of Eton.
The Thames, smooth as a mirror, and of the deepest blue, was seen at a little distance, gleaming with his green aits, through the foliage
and between the noble and columnar trunks of these secular trees—whilst the rooks were slowly wending their homeward flight towards the hoary towers of that castle, which overhangs and adorns this beautiful scene--its western windows glittering in the sunbeams.
In short, it was one of those perfectly delightful English evenings which are the glory of our English summers. The Playing Fields were quieter than usual, for the hubbub of the day was over; or, perhaps, the still influence of the evening was felt by those imaginative English lads there loitering and wandering about—for imaginative, English boys may most especially be called; and there is something within them that seems most peculiarly responsive to the sweet influences of Nature.
Groups of boys, from little fellows of nine to ten years old, to youths upon the verge of manhood, were scattered about in these beau
tiful playing grounds. Some sauntering in idle conversation with one or two others; some strolling alone, lost in boyhood's teeming thoughts; others, sitting upon the benches beneath the trees with books, which they were reading with avidity-not lesson-books, you may be sure, but novels; perhaps, in their way, quite as improving ;-and ministering high and generous food to the hearts and imaginations of these young, ardent lads. Some little fellows were playing hockey; some of the magnates were resting upon their batsthe last game of cricket having terminatedall in their several ways enhancing the interest and beauty of the scene, without disturbing the tranquillising effect of this sweet evening.
Among the groups we distinguish two boys of somewhat unequal height. The arm of the taller one is thrown over the shoulders of the other. They are walking alone together, and seem engaged in that close, confidential conversation which is the delight of those united by the strong, fervent ties of a boy's friendship.