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Again her tears streamed down her face, and Conrad replied,
ask how he will love
you? Why, fondly, as I believe he does at present. He would be a fool to doubt the proof of your affection. Have
not suffered both bodily and mentally for him ? and more than that, he has not done for you."
“ But Mr. Yorke, dear Conrad, Mr. Yorke is too inflexible ever to consent. But do not let Ernest come here; indeed, I cannot see him.”
“ He will not return at present, Emily ; meantime, you must permit me to speak to Mr. Yorke: let me try to influence him.”
“ Well, Conrad,” said Emily, after a moment's pause, affectionately taking his hand, “ I do permit you to do so. Tell him that I cannot love Frank Mason; tell him that, when I thought my love was for ever lost to me, I reluctantly consented to his will, but that now it is impossible. I would sooner die than forswear myself! - Yet, perhaps, this will only irritate him; tell him, dear brother, whatever you judge best; I will give you carte blanche.”
“ Then, dear girl, I shall take the earliest opportunity of explaining myself to him, and you must encourage hope, that little commodity, without which our struggles in life would be languid indeed.”
“ How often has my Ernest told me the same thing! But, alas! why do I call him mine ? am I not plighted to another ?” she said, mournfully; “but I will not marry him, Conrad; you will save me from such a fate.”
She turned, and imprinted a fond kiss on her brother's brow, who, fearing, from her flushed countenance, he had already exceeded the bounds of prudence, in maintaining so agitating a conversation, replied, hastily, — “ Yes, yes; rely upon me and keep yourself quiet; on that depends your speedy recovery. going out with Mr. Camden, and will send Agnes up to you."
Having obtained a clear perception of his sister's feelings, Conrad soon made Mr. Yorke acquainted with them; at the same time informing him of his father's wish. He listened to all Conrad had to say; and when he had finished, said, “ Conrad, you know I refused my consent
“ You did, sir," replied Conrad, “and I think you were right in doing so then; but I
entreat you to be less harsh now; or, if you will not, at least leave her free. You alone should annul this projected marriage, so hateful to my poor sister, and cruel to your nephew; and I trust, for both their sakes, you will consent to do so. But if you still refuse to see them united, I can at least prevent Emily from consummating her own misery here and hereafter, by taking the vow of fealty to one man, while she is bound heart and soul to another.”
Softly, Conrad; you are quite at liberty to prevent the marriage, as I have not the power over Emily's actions that I had while you were absent: therefore Ernest and she must do as they please. Besides, my daughter Louisa has been sought in marriage by Lord Townley; therefore, I have no intention of her being united to Ernest.”
A slight smile curled Conrad's lip, as he detected Mr. Yorke's desire for rank supersede his long maintained promise to his sister; but that gentleman did not appear to notice it, and continued: “ You have, perhaps, been surprised at your sister's not knowing that I heard from my nephew. I thought it useless to tell her, as she was engaged to Mason ; for I should not think of breaking off the match.”
“ Ah !” thought Conrad, “ Lord Townley had not fallen in love with your daughter then ; and from that circumstance alone I must trace your present insouciance.” He, however, felt satisfied in having gained a tacit consent, and prepared to take leave. He was accordingly returning to consult Mr. Camden, when, to his no small suprise, he met Ernest in a postchaise.
Why, Ernest, by all that 's miraculous ! What brings you here?” exclaimed Conrad, as the former called to the postillion to stop, and let him out of the carriage.
“ Conrad, my boy, how happy I am to see you look so cheerful !" Bonner pressed his friend's hand as he spoke; then ordering the chaise to the Grove, he took Conrad's arm, saying; 6 You are surprised to see me, Conrad; yet, after telling me in your last letter Emily was ill, which of course my fears magnified into danger, how the d--l could you suppose a desperate fellow like myself could practise patience, and wait for your nod ?”
“ I confess,” said Conrad, laughing, “ I gave you credit for more self-denial than you seem to possess. I thought you had more faith in my generalship than to take me by surprise, and supersede me in my command.
But, joking apart, I really wish you had not come
“ Soon, Conrad? — hang me, if it be not a month, within a few days, since you left me; and you call it soon.” Very true; yet it is too soon for
me, as you will see, when I tell you how I am situated.”
- What, is not all explained yet ? I thought you told me you were all in all at the Parsonage again."
“ Yes, but it is on your account that I wished you to keep quiet a little longer.”
“ Well, I am sorry I have been such a refractory pupil; but pity my anxiety, and tell me how Emily is ?”
“ Better, my good friend, though still very weak. I really feared we should have lost her at one time.” Conrad then informed him of all that had happened, concluding with Mr. Yorke's recent concession. Joy at the latter circumstance could not conquer Ernest's indignation, at his uncle's endeavours to deprive him for ever of