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It was a merry morning when the official document was extracted from the leathern post-bag—that leathern bag which for many a long year had dangled at Simon's back in its transit between Elleringay and the De Bohun Arms. Godfrey was not unacquainted with official documents, but the one in question inspired feelings different from those epistles which he had on divers occasions received. He bore it
into his study, as if, like the joiner in Aræteus, who is said to have been rational only in his own shop, and then he broke the seal and ran over the contents. It was Moreton's commission in the — regiment of cavalry!
Mrs. De Bohun and the young ladies were soon busied in the soldier's outfit, in the way
of those smaller articles which took some time in preparation. The father cogitated upon the best manner of raising a small loan, for the purpose of meeting this necessary outlay, and these cogitations terminated in a resolution to repair once more to his London solicitor, one Mr. Gideon Clincher, with whom he had previously effected mort
gages in preference to transacting such business nearer home. This loan was to be a thousand pounds, adding a few more links to that chain which had for a pretty long time bound the estate of Elleringay Manor to the will and interests of the said Mr. Gideon Clincher. The unpleasantness of such resolve Godfrey was fully aware of, and he hada sort of smothered hatred towards Mr. Clincher; but there was no alternative, the money was required-it was for Moreton, who would one day clear off the incubus hanging over his paternal inheritance.
The uniform arrived from London Moreton donned the scarlet and the helmet; and right well he became the martial costume. His erect figure, broad chest, muscular frame, tacitly evinced the fact, that nature had moulded Moreton De Bohun for the profession of arms. When he stepped over the floor, Godfrey's pulse beat high—a rich heiress dazzled--won the riddance of Clincher--and long prosperity to De Bohuns of Elleringay Manor, were the visions which flitted across Godfrey's mind.
Moreton embraced his mother and sisters, shook hands with his father, said in repetition, farewell ! and it was a trying moment. The old nurse, who was a sort of living fixture of the Manor House, wept when she bade her boy good-bye, and Simon shed a few maudlin tears when his young master took leave.
"Poor Master Moreton!” ejaculated Simon, “may be my old pate will be laid low when he returns, yet I know he'll be a general. He'll make a splendacious soldier, that he will. Bold sportsmen always do go, as I've heerd old Andrew say, who knowed so much about the history of the Dashover family, and who used on a winter evening to tell tales o'some on'em who were killed in
De Bohuns were soldiers before the Christian eery."
On Moreton's arrival at Canterbury, he was received by Colonel Sommerton with all that cordiality and sincere greeting so characteristic of his nature. He even now regarded his
young protegé with more than common concern, but he possessed too much
good sense, too much knowledge of the world, to evidence this partiality in the presence of the other officers.
The regiment received orders to embark for Canada. Godfrey hastened to bid his
a good-bye. Moreton heeded not whither he was commanded — he was in high spirits—in enthusiastic love with his new vocation.
It was an affecting sight to witness a thousand handsome fellows leave their native land, though with the majority it seemed a matter of the veriest indifference whether they were destined for Canada, Canton, or the Cape. Each was equipped with scrupulous exactness, and as neat and orderly as strict discipline could insure. Accoutrements glittered and clashed, hoofs resounded, banners proudly floated on the morning breeze, as they marched from the barracks. Here and there stood a weeping or deploring wife, uttering many an inward prayer for him who was so dear to her heart, and some there were whose streaming eyes, and pallid cheek, though bound not by ties of blood or wedlock, were as sorrowingly disconsolatethose who had listened to many an artless tale, heard many a vow from lips they ne'er might press again—and in such thought what agony was left !
The gay and would-be-light-hearted officers reined their fiery steeds and kissed their hands to many a pretty girl as they passed along the street, whilst the love-stirring strains of martial music thrilled, as Tyrtæus tells us it did the Spartan warrior in ancient daysthrilled every breast as attuned to the air of “The girls we left behind us!” Moreton was mounted on a tall and prancing warhorse, and he rode like a Don Cossack, on a wild and untamed charger fresh from the steppes of Asia. He was by the side of the ensign, and apparently as happy as is a Jumper when journeying to the Box Tree Hill. The bright rays of the morning sun danced on his shining casque, and his waving plume floated proudly on the wind. The father had grasped his hand, offered a thousand wishes for his weal-he stood a statue on the spot—his half unconscious lips