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gentleman, that was never heard of in the rebel camp, might not even be breathed to a third person, without risk of the speaker's a life.
Thus nothing beyond assertions, seemingly groundless, floated around Treverderet respecting its heir : but Susannah ceased not to repeat them by way of cheering her sad lady; whilst, at the same time, she pressed her, with respectful arguments, on the score of her duties to herself and others.
Miss Trevanion was more easily made to acknowledge, than to perform these. The fashion of the times, however, exacting their strict execution from all well-ordered mistresses, and her father's change of habits requiring the exercise of housemanagement to a much greater extent than formerly, she was obliged at last to break up the depths of her thoughts, and direct them to a variety of ordinary, yet needful matters.
Sir Fulk had proposed reopening his gates to his neighbours, by a general entertainment ; for which much preparation was . necessary. And though his daughter was pronounced incapable of going through the
fatigue of doing the honours upon this occasion, she was forced to find strength and consideration for issuing orders, and seeing them obeyed.
This expected house-opening was understood to be given in honour of Colonel Trevanion's return to parliament ; an event which had just taken place by the concerted retirement of a member sitting for an open borough, in which the Trevanion interest had so invariably foiled that of Lord Carraton.
Colonel Trevanion himself, modestly as it seemed, contradicted the report ; ascribing the reopening of Treverderet to his uncle's desire of showing that his secession from public life, during the late reign, had been to mark his just resentment against the sovereign who had done him such a wrong as permitting sentence to be passed in the matter of the Chascawen Barony upon inconclusive grounds. That he came forward now, as an active country gentleman, to prove both his willingness to be useful, and to mark his entire confidence in the new king. The artful orator took care to impress his hearers with an idea of Sir Fulk's intention to try the great cause over again ; and thus sowed the seed of a report which at length grew into an expectation, and in that shape continually met the notice of the knight wherever he turned.
From the moment Colonel Trevanion reached Treverderet his purpose was fixed, of speeding on his settlement in the heirship, by every engine in his power. One of these was, effacing, if possible, by his merits, the memory of his cousin's. No one indeed could court popularity more artfully, or practise the tricks of conciliation with a better grace than he did.
than he did. He went about amongst the gentry, with that mask of thoughtless good humour, that readiness to meet reproof for small as for great levi- . ties, which at once disarmed displeasure and bespoke indulgence. The grave heads of families began to think, that if his political principles were too much inclined towards court measures, it was only because he had not yet taken time to study the true interests of his country; that, perhaps, the glory and gratification of teaching him how to fill worthily the high post of a British representative might be the lot of one of them. Thus the elder men were emulous of tutoring him upon national objects,
the younger enjoyed his companionship in their sports, exercises, and pleasures; for Dunbar's habits imposed no restraints; and many a prudent mother, foreseeing an end to the rumoured match between him and his moping cousin, winked at her daughter's anxiety for attracting his attention.
The heir of Rohesia disgracefully disposed of, there was, in fact, no other young unmarried man of such prospects as Colonel Trevanion. A specious show of prosperity was thrown over his uncle's fortune at present : part of the money Sir Fulk had raised from the felling of timber, and the sale of his deer, was pompously returned from the treasury, after the quick extinction of civil war; the official post bestowed upon him had a fine income attached to it; and the marked favour of the reigning monarch held out numberless brilliant perspectives to himself and his suc
Dunbar failed not to pamper his uncle's passion for consequence, by exaggerating, not only the state of depreciation into which the rival family had fallen, but the confident expectation of the barony's restoration to its rightful owner, provided the
injured person would take courage, and try the cause again, even upon the old ground.
The effect of such subtle representations may be imagined : Sir Fulk felt his honour almost engaged to renew the contest; and it was to this point Dunbar sought to draw him ; trusting that certain terms would then bind him to certain sacrifices, which would at once ensure the heirship to his nephew, let what would arise afterwards; and set the latter free from the hated engagement to marry his cousin.
At present, Dunbar had little to fight against : the unhappy Aura was contented to shun him, under cover of her dispiriting illness; so that his distance from her, when they met now and then at meals, or in the sunny arbour of the winter garden, appeared only like very respectful concern, and remained, as yet, unquestioned by her father. Sir Fulk himself was walking in a state of unnatural excitement. The distempered desire of appearing unmoved by the outlawry of a discarded son, buoyed him up to a monstrous height ; yet this could not long uphold him, and certainly would soon have failed, had not new matter, to