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- The Children of the New Forest - 60/64 -
purpose, that he was so harsh. At the same time it must be admitted, that Mr. Heatherstone having obtained possession of Arnwood, rankled, no doubt, in the minds of both the brothers, and every act now, on the part of him or his family, was viewed in a false medium. But our feelings are not always at our control, and Edward was naturally impetuous, and Humphrey so much attached, and so much alarmed at his brother's danger, that he was even more excited. The blow fell doubly heavy, as it appeared that at the very same time Patience had rejected his brother, and taken possession of their property, which had been held by the family for centuries. What made the case more annoying was, that explanation, if there was any to offer on either side, was, under present circumstances, almost impossible.
Soon after Clara left him, Humphrey returned to his brother's room. He found him awake and talking to Oswald. Ardently pressing his brother's hand, Edward said--
"My dear Humphrey, I shall soon be well now, and able, I trust, to quit this house. What I fear is, that some explanation will be asked for by the intendant, not only relative to my sisters having left us, but also upon other points. This is what I wish to avoid without giving offense. I do not think that the intendant is so much to blame in having obtained my property, as he does not know that a Beverley existed; but I can not bear to have any further intimacy with him, especially after what has taken place between me and his daughter. What I have to request is, that you will never quit this room while I am still here unless you are relieved by Oswald; so that the intendant or any body else may have no opportunity of having any private communication with me, or forcing me to listen to what they may have to say. I made this known to Oswald before you came in."
"Depend upon it, it shall be so, Edward, for I am of your opinion. Clara came tome just now, and I had much trouble, and was compelled to be harsh, to get rid of her importunity."
When the surgeon called, he pronounced Edward out of danger, and that his attendance would be no longer necessary. Edward felt the truth of this. All that he required was strength; and that he trusted in a few days to obtain.
Oswald was sent over to the cottage, to ascertain how Pablo was going on by himself. He found that every thing was correct, and that Pablo, although he felt proud of his responsibility, was very anxious for Humphrey's return, as he found himself very lonely. During Oswald's absence on this day, Humphrey never quitted the room; and although the intendant came up several times, he never could find an opportunity of speaking to Edward, which he evidently wished to do.
To the inquiries made as to how he was, Edward always complained of great weakness, for a reason which will soon be understood. Several days elapsed, and Edward had often been out of bed during the night, when not likely to be intruded upon, and he now felt himself strong enough to be removed; and his object was to leave the intendant's house without his knowledge, so as to avoid an explanation.
One evening Pablo came over with the horses after it was dark. Oswald put them into the stable; and the morning proving fine and clear, a little before break of day, Edward came softly down stairs with Humphrey, and, mounting the horses, set off for the cottage, without any one in the intendant's house being aware of their departure.
It must not be supposed, however, that Edward took this step without some degree of consideration as to the feelings of the intendant. On the contrary, he left a letter with Oswald, to be delivered after his departure, in which he thanked the intendant sincerely for all the kindness and compassion he had shown toward him; assured him of his gratitude and kind feelings toward him and his daughter, but said that circumstances had occurred, of which no explanation could be given without great pain to all parties, which rendered it advisable that he should take such an apparently unkind step as to leave without bidding them farewell in person; that he was about to embark immediately for the Continent, to seek his fortune in the wars; and that he wished all prosperity to the family, which would ever have his kindest wishes and remembrances.
"Humphrey," said Edward, after they had ridden about two miles across the forest, and the sun had risen in an unclouded sky, "I feel like an emancipated slave. Thank God! my sickness has cured me of all my complaints, and all I want now is active employment. And now, Humphrey, Chaloner and Grenville are not a little tired of being mured up in the cottage, and I am as anxious as they are to be off. What will you do? Will you join us, or will you remain at the cottage?"
"I have reflected upon it, Edward, and I have come to the determination of remaining at the cottage. You will find it expensive enough to support one where you are going, and you must appear as a Beverley should do. We have plenty of money saved to equip you, and maintain you well for a year or so, but after that you may require more. Leave me here. I can make money now that the farm is well stocked; and I have no doubt that I shall be able to send over a trifle every year, to support the honor of the family. Besides, I do not wish to leave this for another reason. I want to know what is going on, and watch the motions of the intendant and the heiress of Arnwood. I also do not wish to leave the country until I know how my sisters get on with the Ladies Conynghame: it is my duty to watch over them. I have made up my mind, so do not attempt to dissuade me."
"I shall not, my dear Humphrey, as I think you have decided properly; but I beg you will not think of laying by money for me-a very little will suffice for my wants."
"Not so, good brother; you must and shall, if I can help you, ruffle it with the best. You will be better received if you do; for, though poverty is no sin, as the saying is, it is scouted as sin should be, while sins are winked at. You know that I require no money, and, therefore, you must and shall, if you Jove me, take it all."
"As you will, my dear Humphrey. Now then, let us put our horses to speed, for, if possible, we will, to-morrow morning, leave the forest."
By this time all search for the fugitives from Worcester had long been over, and there was no difficulty in obtaining the means of embarkation. Early the next morning every thing was ready, and Edward, Humphrey, Chaloner, Grenville, and Pablo set off for Southampton, one of the horses carrying the little baggage which they had with them. Edward, as we have before mentioned, with the money he had saved, and the store at the cottage, which had been greatly increased, was well supplied with cash; and that evening they embarked, with their horses, in a small sailing vessel, and, with a favorable, light wind, arrived at a small port of France on the following day. Humphrey and Pablo returned to the cottage, we need hardly now say, very much out of spirits at the separation.
"Oh, Massa Humphrey," said Pablo, as they rode along, "Missy Alice and Missy Edith go away-I wish go with them. Massa Edward go away--I wish go with him. You stay at cottage--I wish stay with you. Pablo can not be in three places."
"No, Pablo; all you can do is to stay where you can be most useful."
"Yes, I know that. You want me at cottage very much. Missy Alice and Edith and Massa Edward no want me, so I stay at cottage."
"Yes, Pablo, we will stay at the cottage, but we can't do every thing now. I think we must give up the dairy, now that my sisters are gone. I'll tell you what I have been thinking of, Pablo. We will make a large inclosed place, to coax the ponies into during the winter, pick out as many as we think are good, and sell them at Lymington. That will be better than churning butter."
"Yes, I see; plenty of work for Pablo."
"And plenty for me, too, Pablo; but you know when the inclosure is once made it will last for a long while; and we will get the wild cattle into it if we can."
"Yes, I see," said Pablo. "I like that very much; only not like trouble to build place."
"We shan't have much trouble, Pablo; if we fell the trees inside the wood at each side, and let them lie one upon the other, the animals will never break through them."
"That very good idea--save trouble," said Pablo. "And what you do with cows, suppose no make butter?"
"Keep them, and sell their calves; keep them to entice the wild cattle into the pen."
"Yes, that good. And turn out old Billy to 'tice ponies into pen," continued Pablo, laughing.
"Yes, we will try it."
We must now return to the intendant's house. Oswald delivered the letter to the intendant, who read it with much astonishment.
"Gone! is he actually gone?" said Mr. Heatherstone.
"Yes, sir, before daylight this morning."
"And why was I not informed of it?" said Mr. Heatherstone; "why have you been a party to this proceeding, being my servant?--may I inquire that?"
"I knew Master Edward before I knew you, sir," replied Oswald.
"Then you had better follow him," rejoined the intendant, in an angry tone.
"Very well, sir," replied Oswald, who quitted the room.
"Good Heaven! how all my plans have been frustrated!" exclaimed the intendant, when he was alone. He then read the letter over more carefully than he had done at first. "'Circumstances had occurred of which no explanation could be given by him.' I do not comprehend that --I must see Patience."
Mr. Heatherstone opened the door, and called to his daughter.
"Patience," said Mr. Heatherstone, "Edward has left the house this morning; here is a letter which he has written to me. Read it, and let me know if you can explain some portion of it, which to me is incomprehensible. Sit down and read it attentively."
Patience, who was much agitated, gladly took the seat and perused Edward's letter. When she had done so, she let it drop in her lap and covered all her face, the tears trickling through her fingers. After a time, the intendant said,
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