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of the crash there would be, if two planets came in contact at the nodes of their orbits, as these flies did, every round they took. At last it occurred to him he was not in his usual bed ; in fact, it struck him very forcibly that he was at an inn at Conway—that he had come there to meet Winter—that he had, as well as he could recollect, gone to sleep in an arm-chair—had woke up feeling cold—had now got an headache, and so on. What his last night's conversation had been, he could not remember.
All he could recal was, that he had talked a great deal about Lady Eda. Then an indistinct notion of money matters occurred to him; and then a distinct reminiscence of signing a paper. But, whether this paper was a bill, or a check—he had no remembrance whatever. He was fresher after breakfast, and in exuberant spirits when he found himself rattling along in the chaise which took him back to Mona. They were all pleased to see him again, especially, as he thought, Lady Eda. She said she was so glad he was come, because she had made arrangements for a pic-nic next day at the Manor House. They were all to ride there to lunch: and after luncheon to fish for trout in the burn.
Accordingly, as had been settled, the horses were brought round next morning, and the party prepared for a start. It was arranged that Eda, under the chaperonage of Mr. Gregory, was to have command of the partyLady Dorothy and Miss Fitzbun were to drive in the pony-phaeton, and take charge of the fishing-rods and luncheon. More was to ride the Hornet, Lady Eda the Erl King, Arthur a hunter of his own, Mr. Gregory a gentle hack of his lordship’s, and Sir Andrew was (at his own request) furnished with a pet pony of my lady's, which she hardly ever rode, but which followed her like a dog when she went out walking.
The phaeton had started, and the rest of the party began to mount.
Sir Andrew, anxiously watching for the occasion, bustled up to Lady Eda, and begged her (Pierce could have
have knocked his head off for doing so) to place her foot in his hand, while he lifted her to her seat. She smiled good-naturedly, and replied he might make himself very useful, if he would hold the saddle on the other side. Before, however, he had time to get round, her ladyship, without the aid of any one, sprang from the ground, and turned to look at Fitzbun, whose brains had as near as possible been kicked out, in consequence of his having touched the Erl King's tail as he was passing behind.
Lady Eda laughed, and rode on with the other three gentlemen ; but Ginger, the pet pony, being over-eager to follow his stallmates, would not stand still for Sir Andrew to cross his back. After many unsuccessful
attempts—much to the amusement of the groom, who did his best to hold the
pony with one hand, and give the worthy baronet a lift with the other-Fitzbun was obliged to shout to the party ahead, to stop a minute till he was in his saddle. Lady Eda, seeing the cause of Ginger's obstreperous behaviour, turned back; and desired Arthur to get off and help him up. Arthur was soon at his side; and taking Sir Andrew by the leg, with the word, “Now then, together," gave this stout gentleman such a hoist, that, with the combined effects of his own elastic jump, the baronet was shot over the saddle, and landed (fortunately on the softest part of his person) the other side of the pony.
A man of his weight must, one would think, have been greatly shaken; but as Lady Eda was looking on, he treated the importunities of Arthur, and the rest of the party, with ineffable contempt. The next effort was more successful; and the cavalcade rode on, not a whit out of humour in consequence of the accident, which might have proved more serious.
The conversation mainly referred to the comparative merits of the different horses. Pierce was playfully bantering Lady Eda on the dullness of her animal as compared to the one he rode. In truth, the Hornet was a thoroughbred of the highest mettle ; and as he caracoled—prancing and lunging out his neck-showed himself off to advantage, and seemed proud of the perfect hand, and seat of his rider.
The Erl King is the better jumper of the two. The Hornet is too young, and rushes blindly at his work. See,” said Lady Eda, “here's a stiff little fence. I'll take the Erl King over it; watch how quietly he
Stop, let me go first,” said Pierce, “there may be a ditch the other side !” but before