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wanted a little more time for observation at a distance.

"Is it possible to get employment in this place?" was his first question.

"Yes, possible enough, I take it,

"I would work that I may not starve," replied Charles.

cases, adopted the prudent resolution of never running the same risk again. But could he have seen himself, he would, at least, have confessed there was now something wild, romantic, and picturesque enough in his appearance. Charles for we have plenty of idle poor Coventry was tall for his years, here, who will rather starve than perhaps about five feet nine; slim, work." graceful in his carriage, and his figure a perfect model of symmetry; his hair, raven black, hanging in profuse natural curls over his forehead; his features decidedly handsome; of a manly cast of beauty; and their general expression denoting a haughty firmness of mind, softened only by a bewitching smile, that seemed to play perpetually round his mouth. In his gait he was erect, carrying his head far back, and stepping along with a bounding, elastic tread, as if the earth yielded to its pressure, but returned again, with force, to give it a more vigorous spring.

Such a rover, unbonneted, unattended, wandering the highways, like a denizen of their vagrant liberties, could not be expected to pass along and rouse no wonder; fortunately for him, he roused something more than wonder in one who saw him. He came to a small village, after a walk of nearly fifteen miles, so faint with hunger, that further he felt he could not go, and sat down upon a large stone, which seemed the fragment of some ancient cross, just at the entrance of it. He had wholly forgotten the singularity of his appearance, till it was recalled to his recollection by observing a group of children gazing at him from behind a barn-door, and by noticing the blacksmith, who had left his forge, and now stood midway between it and the footpath, with a horse-shoe, half red hot, in his pincers; the said horse-shoe therein not at all resembling the blacksmith's curiosity, which was at a white heat, to make out Charles, and his business. Charles beckon ed him to approach. He advanced with a lazy, loitering step, as if he

"Aye," responded the blacksmith, looking at him with a dubious eye, as though he thought he was likely enough to starve, notwithstanding, if he had nothing but his work to trust to for a dinner.

on the

"I have been robbed road," continued Charles. "Indeed! as how?" interrupted the Cyclops.

"While I slept."

"While you slept? Why, that's a bad look-out, young fellow; but you might expect as much, I think, in these parts, if you make the highways your bed; for we find enough to do to keep ourselves from being robbed with our eyes open."

"I am pennyless, and in want of food," added Charles; "but," fixing his eyes earnestly on the man, "I seek no charity-whatever hand supplies my necessities shall be repaid by my labor."

"I daresay it's all very true what you say; however, as you are a stranger to me, you'll not take it amiss if I don't interfere."

With these words the blacksmith hastened back to his forge, and began to ply his anvil with redoubled diligence. Charles covered his face with his hands, and felt at that moment more anguish of mind than he had ever known. He remained in this attitude, bitter forebodings crowding fast upon him, until he was roused from it by a soft female voice.

"Young man! If you please, my mistress wants to speak with you."

He looked up. A rosy-cheeked lass, with dove-like eyes, in a mob

cap, black stuff-gown, and a white apron, tucked up sideways, stood before him.

"And who is your mistress, pretty one?" said Charles, with that indescribable smile of his, for there was a something in the girl's manners and appearance which operated like a charm-"Who is your mistress, and where does she live?" "Over the way, if you please, sir. Her name is Mrs. Saville.' "I don't know her, my dear," replied Charles.

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"Quite sure, sir," she replied; "( Imy mistress said, 'Mary, do you see that poor young man sitting there?-he seems ill-go and tell him I want to speak with him.'-So I have come to tell you."

The innocence and simplicity of this mode of authenticating her embassy left no doubt upon Charles's mind, that Mrs. Saville, whoever she might be, did "want to speak with him ;" and he followed his conductress to a large, old-fashioned, but substantially-built mansion, which stood back twelve or fifteen yards from the public road. He was ushered into a spacious parlor, solidly rather than elegantly furnished, where he found Mrs. Saville. She was considerably advanced in years, somewhat below the middle height, with flaxen hair, and a remarkably pale, but delicately-transparent complexion. Her air was courteous and refined, and bespoke the gentlewoman of the old school. There was a clear silvery tone in her voice, coupled with a certain emphatic precision in her mode of talking, and a quiet ease in her stately unembarrassed manner, which forcibly reminded Charles of his own beloved mother; nor was 44 ATHENEUM, VOL. 5, 3d series.

this impression weakened by a peculiar character of benignity and goodness which dwelt upon her still interesting countenance.

Benevolence and pity, when they are of the right quality, (equally remote from the parade of doing good, and the impertinence of worthless curiosity,) perform their task with a gentle impatience to hasten relief, by sparing the unfortunate every anxious feeling of suspense. Mrs. Saville, in a few kind words, informed Charles of her motive in sending for him. He was touched to the very heart. It seemed as if the years of his infancy and boyhood had returned; for, never since his mother's death, had the voice of man or woman reached his heart. It seemed, too, as if here were a being the heart might trust; one who would not fling upon its breathings the churlish spirit of a selfish world, nor interpret its desires by the cold cunning of sordid calculation; one whom even he, with all his proud scorn of unrequited benefits, could be coutent to call and feel his benefactor. He related what had befallen him on the road, and how it had hence chanced that he was in his present plight, But this was only half the tale; his expressive features, his natural grace, and the simple eloquence of ingenuous truth, told for him, while, as he partook of refreshments he so much needed, Mrs. Saville extracted in detail the "story of his life."

"You have spoken much of your mother," said Mrs. Saville; "but nothing of your father."

"I never knew him; he died when I was in my cradle."

"That was a sad mischance." "My mother felt it so," replied Charles; "for as often as she talked to me of him, it was with a grief as fresh as when he died."

"Then you know the manner of his death?" observed Mrs. Saville.

In answer to this question, Charles related all the circumstances of that event, as he had heard them from his mother. Mrs. Saville appeared

greatly interested with the narrative; for it partook of that deeptoned melancholy with which it was ever invested by her from whose lips alone he had listened to its recital.

"I do think," said she, when he had concluded, "it were a thousand pities you should not have a friend at this critical moment of your life." "It is a wide world, madam," replied Charles, thoughtfully," and there are paths enough for all who are in it sooner or later, I shall find my way into one of them.'

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"So I doubt not you will," answered Mrs. Saville; "but it is because the world is wide, because there are many paths, and because of those many, there be some that are very bad, that they who are entering upon it, and have their path to choose, stand in need of those who have gone before them to direct their steps."

"I have been the child of misfortune hitherto by decree," ," said Charles; henceforth, I elect myself the child of fortune by choice, and bind myself upon her wheel, the seeker of all its giddy turns."

His features brightened, and a bold daring flashed from his eyes, as the still fascinating vision of a troubled destiny dimly floated before his fancy.

"I will not seek to turn you from your choice," continued Mrs. Saville, with the same unperturbed and mild tone of expostulation she had all along maintained; "I would only ask to be permitted to give, myself, one of those turns of fortune's wheel, of which you are so enamored."

Charles was silent.

"Come, young man," added Mrs. Saville, "let me have power to persuade you, there is an overruling Providence that guides (and to fulfil its own inscrutable purposes) all the seeming chances of this life. Compare our journey through it, from the time when we commence it alone, to a traveller having to cross a broad and rapid

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river, by the aid of stepping-stones, placed at irregular, and sometimes hazardous, distances. You are that traveller; you have arrived at the margin of this river; you are considering how you shall cross it; let me place your foot on the first of these stepping-stones. How you are to reach the next, and the next, and the next, and whether you are to find them many or few, that so your passage shall be easy or difficult, nor you nor I can tell; but Fortune, your chosen goddess, offers you the first."

This unexpected and irresistible appeal, urged with such singular adroitness and delicacy, urged, too, in tones, and with a persuasive gentleness, that strangely recalled thrilling remembrances of his mother, overpowered the feelings of Charles. A thousand emotions struggled for utterance; but all he could say, or rather attempt to say, was a stammering acknowledgment of gratitude, without accepting or refusing the kindness that excited it.


"Your agitation," continued Mrs. Saville, after a short pause, vinces me I have struck the chord whose vibrations are in unison with my desires. I take your answer from the unerring oracle of awakened feelings which have no words, but express themselves in the trembling language of the eye, or the burning of the flushed cheek. You are my guest to-day. Tomorrow, you shall depart upon an errand that I dare promise myself will not disappoint mine or your hopes. Remain here," she added, rising from her chair, "I will return directly." With these words she left the room.

Before Charles could recover from the spell-trance into which this address had thrown him, Mrs. Saville re-entered the apartment, with an open letter in her hand.

"I feel assured," said she, "I am only fulfilling an appointed duty in what I have done, for these things are not the work of chance.

This is a letter to my brother. He is an excellent man, and has the power, where he sees the propriety, of befriending the friendless. If he take you by the hand, it must be your own fault should you not adequately benefit by the introduction. You shall hear what I have said, that you may know precisely the circumstances under which you will present yourself to him."

Mrs. Saville then read the letter. It was little more than a statement of the manner in which she had become acquainted with Charles and his history, and a simple, but earnest entreaty, that he would endeavor to complete what she had begun.

"Now," continued Mrs. Saville, "you shall depart with this early to-morrow. If you are at the first mile-stone, beyond the turnpike where the two roads meet, a little before five o'clock, the stage will pass in which you may proceed to London."

"I am utterly unable, madam" -exclaimed Charles, with an agitated voice

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Spare yourself and me," interrupted Mrs. Saville. "I should be sorry if you were able to say what it is natural you should feel, on an occasion like this. So here let us dismiss the subject. We shall not be at a loss, I dare say," she added, smiling, "for others;" and immediately led the conversation into various channels, till the excitement of Charles's mind gradually subsided. He then entered with animated freedom into discourse; and it was easy to perceive how her first favorable impressions were deepened, as she insensibly drew from him the authentic transcript of his mind.

When night came, he took leave of Mrs. Saville. His farewell was imprinted on the hand extended to wards him, with a silent fervor that would have satisfied the excellent Mr. Cranfield his heart was indeed "in the right place." In his bedroom he found the letter lying on

the table, sealed and directed; and beside it a neat silken purse containing twenty guineas.

Charles sat down to think; to live over again the extraordinary day he had passed. He was too young and inexperienced to read its eventful history, by the sober light of reason. The world and its concerns, the human heart and its mysteries, the holy deeds of unobtrusive virtue, were to him all unknown. What had happened, therefore, seemed more like a tale of fairy-land, than that thing merely which men call good fortune; of which the instances are so many, that were they all recorded, we should cease to write romance, as less romantic than truth. Thought could not help him out of his perplexity. "View it how I will," he exclaimed, at the close of his medi tations, "it is a miracle; but at all events I will see the end of it."

With this declaration he retired to bed. In the morning he awoke refreshed and cheerful. When he descended from his room, the only person he saw was the pretty doveeyed lass, who had been the ambassadress of Mrs. Saville the preceding day. She looked as if she knew all that had happened, and rejoiced in her knowledge. A passing word of gallantry escaped his lips, as she opened the door for him; and hastening to the "first mile-stone beyond the turnpike-gate," the stage soon arrived in which he was conveyed to London.

It should be here mentioned, that when Charles entered the village, and seated himself upon the old stone, in the way already described, Julia Montague, a young lady in her eighteeth year, and the niece of Mrs. Saville, was standing at the parlor window, while her aunt was busy settling the accounts of the week in another part of the room, It is not meant to be insinuated, that if, instead of Charles Coventry, (and the reader remembers what sort of a looking person Charles Coventry was,) a poor, decrepid,

aged man, had rested his weary limbs on that same piece of antique stone, there would have been the least difference in Julia Montague's humanity. Be that as it may, however, it was entirely owing to her humanity, in the first instance, that Mrs. Saville saw Charles at all; for the weekly accounts were very long, and it is exceedingly probable he would have left his seat before they were finished, had not her niece been the first to pity his distressed condition. Oh, the unsearchable depths of woman's sensibility!

The letter which Charles carried with him was directed to Nicholas Howard, Esq., Thames Street. Thither he proceeded the moment he arrived in London. Mr. Howard was at home. He read the letter, and there was a smile upon his features, as if mentally exclaiming, "another of my good sister's benevolent whims !" Mr. Howard, however, though, as Mrs. Saville had said, an excellent man," was very much a man of the world. His reception of Charles, therefore, was marked by a degree of caution which appeared cold and repulsive. It was evident, too, from the questions he put, (and which Charles answered frankly but haughtily, because they were tacit impeachments of his veracity,) that he did, not quite believe the story of himself as related by Mrs. Saville. At the close of the interview, he said he must inquire further of Mr. Cranfield, before he could promise to attend to his sister's request, offering him, meanwhile, some small pecuniary aid, if he stood in need of it.

"I do not, sir," said Charles respectfully; "Mrs. Saville has placed me beyond the reach of immediate difficulties; but were it otherwise, I could not consider myself worthy of your bounty, till you thought me worthy of your confidence."

Mr. Howard smiled, as men in whom experience has worn off the

first fine edge of ingenuous feelings are apt to smile, when they listen to sentiments which they remember as once their own, and remember, too, how, like the perfume of a gathered flower, they are hastening to decay in the beaten paths of life. He named a day when Charles was to call again, and they separated.

"What a difference between brother and sister!" he exclaimed, as he left the house; ignorant that their hearts might be cast in the same mould, but that the brother knew the world, and the sister did not. "Nothing will come of this, I see," he added, "for he has suspicions of me, which I would rather sweep the streets than condescend to remove"-and his proud blood mantled into his cheek.

Charles repeated his visit at the appointed time, armed with premeditated dislike-almost with an irritable spirit of predetermined offence. Mr. Howard's altered manner dissipated in a moment the petulant humors of a week's nursing. He was a man of few words; but his words, like his dealings, were direct, and to a given purpose.

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"Mr. Coventry," said he, when Charles had taken a seat, "I can now give you my confidence. I have seen Mr. Cranfield; I have also, unexpectedly, had opportunities of making other inquiries; and the best proof of their result is, the offer I at once make of receiving you into my employment. What followed may be briefly described. The situation was one of small emolument; but to Charles, (who accepted it with silent contrition for his ungenerous suspicions of Mr. Howard at their first interview,) it was an estate, compared with his earnings in the service of Cranfield.

Years rolled on, and in each succeeding one Charles Coventry still found something to make it brighter than that which went before. There were no sudden bursts of prosperity: no charming windfalls, that "came pat like the catas

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