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his duty, if he were to consider his self-gratification, in preference to the well being of the individual committed to his care, when he was assured by various circumstances, that the plan he had chalked out for him was not calculated to form the happiness he had intended. I do not disguise my objection to the army and navy; but I believe your taste inherent, as from childhood I have observed your predilection. But has any thing occurred to-day, to determine you so firmly to abandon the church ? Tell me openly, my dear boy, what it is, and I flatter myself you will not find me unwilling to listen to reason. My desire is your happiness, and whether the army or any other profession procure it, I shall be satisfied.” Conrad's flushed cheek, and sparkling eye, testified his delight at this unexpected and unhoped for declaration, as he replied,
“ Yes, dear sir, a circumstance of importance took place this morning, which decided me on making another appeal to your kindness. I believe Mr. Yorke introduced you to Major Taylor a few days since; that gentleman has been some time at Yorke Grove, and I have derived no small instruction and pleasure from his society. He soon discovered which way my taste inclined, but did not take much notice of my many hints how ardently I longed to be a military man, until this morning, when, being alone in the park, he questioned me closely upon my views: I told him exactly how the case stood, and he then offered, if I could gain your consent, to procure me an ensigncy. As he leaves for London to-morrow, it is necessary to give him an immediate answer, and I dare hope, sir, it may be a favourable one.”
“ Your hopes are very presumptuous, Conrad,” said Mr. Camden, smiling at the energy with which he spoke; “ but, in this instance, they will not belie you, for (and he laid his hand affectionately on the young man's shoulder, by whose side he was sitting) my free consent and best blessing are yours: if the proceeding be as fertile in advantages as you express and I hope, the sacrifice I now make will be amply compensated."
My thanks can never repay you for the value of your concession, dear sir; but it shall be my study to prove, at a future time, how highly I prize it, and to testify that a grateful heart, for inestimable benefits received, dwells as firmly in a soldier's breast as in that of any other."
“ I do not doubt it, my dear fellow; I have never had the slightest cause to repent receiving the orphan boy, and I have no fear for the future. To-morrow I will accompany you to the Grove, to see Major Taylor, and arrange the matter with him.”
The evening was consumed in the discussion of the projected plan; and, the following morning, Mr. Camden fulfilled his promise of waiting on Major Taylor, who expressed his satisfaction at the prospect of being able to forward the views of his young friend, of whom he spoke to the Rector in terms of the greatest interest. would, indeed, have been a pity, he said, to deprive your country of the services of so gallant a youth, and to confine so noble a spirit under the surplice of a country curate, at a time, too, when his talents are likely to be called into action. If possible, I will obtain him a commission in my own regiment; and in that case, or indeed in any case, while he does his duty, and I am not picked off, both you and he may rely upon his finding a steady friend in me.”
Mr. Camden acknowledged the value of this
promise, and expressed a hope and belief that Conrad would not forfeit either his good opinion or valuable protection. Of this, Major Taylor said he had no fear; and the gentlemen separated, mutually pleased with the success of their interview. The Major, as he shook Conrad by the hand, at parting, intimated how happy he was at the prospect of shortly addressing him as a brother officer.
Various sorrowful countenances assailed our hero, when his young friends became acquainted with his proposed departure: Emily, in particular, deplored the decision; for, in parting with the brother she almost adored, she doubly felt her orphan state. At the end of three weeks, Conrad was delighted by the receipt of a letter from Major Taylor, enclosing an ensign's commission in the regiment, which was under orders for foreign service.
After congratulating his young friend on the prospect of active employment, he informed him, it would be advisable to be in London in the course of the ensuing week, as his equipment would necessarily demand some time; adding, that during that time, both his house and advice were entirely at his service.
To this kind offer Blessington returned a grateful acceptance, and then prepared to spend the few intervening days in taking a long, perhaps a last, farewell of all he had known and loved from childhood. Every part of the Grove and Parsonage was visited, and found to possess a charm hitherto unknown. Each nook recalled some infantine pleasure, some by-gone amusement. In these rambles he was closely followed by the young Camdens and Yorkes, but his sister scarcely left his side; though she said but little, her countenance betrayed the distress his departure occasioned her. Sometimes her eyes would fill with tears, as she listened to his joyous anticipations, which she endeavoured to conceal by a forced gaiety; or her cheek would turn pale, when his probable danger presented itself to her mind. At such moments, Conrad would throw his arms round her neck, and gently chiding her weakness, say,
Why, dearest Emily, do you grieve? I am not going to leave you for very long; a few years, and I hope to return more worthy, and more capable of protecting a sister I dearly love. Your looks argue danger in my career, and of course I know that is true; but