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despatch farther intelligence, expecting to reach his native village almost as soon as a letter. A favourable passage of ten days brought the white cliffs of “merry England” in sight, and Conrad lost no time in availing himself of the first opportunity of going on shore; and in as short a time as possible he found himself in the town of G-distant about six miles from his home. He misdoubted his powers of walking that distance, fatigued as he was with his journey; he therefore ordered a chaise, and proceeded towards his destination.
It was a beautiful evening in September; the last glories of an abundant harvest were being housed; and the song and merry whistle of the countryman, mingled with the bark of the distant watch dog, and the hum of infant voices, were frequently borne upon the balmy air from the surrounding hamlet. Conrad noted all this, and in his impatience to meet those friends he alone loved, he cursed the dilatoriness of his driver, who was neither inclined to fatigue himself nor his cattle by any extraordinary haste. An additional shilling produced wonders; the horses were pushed into a gallop; the chaise rattled through the quiet village, to the astonishment of the inhabitants, who ran from their cottages, and desisted from their occupations, to gaze at the passing meteor, and finally dashed up to the Parsonage door with frightful rapidity. Having brought Conrad thus far, we believe we must act so uncourteous a part as to keep him seated in the chaise a few minutes, while we inform the reader that, on the evening in question, the good Rector was reading the latest news from the Peninsula to his daughters, who were engaged with their needles, when the unusual sound of a carriage drew the attention of the whole party to the window, just as the conveyance, to their infinite surprise, drew up at their own abode.
The thought of his beloved Conrad flashed across Mr. Camden's mind, and he rushed to the door; but a deep sigh escaped him, and the idea vanished, when he saw, through the twilight, a pale, sickly-looking figure, wrapped in an ample cloak, slowly advance up the little gravel walk to the house. He retreated to the parlour, where, backed by his daughters, he stood prepared to receive the untimely stranger.
Conrad, afraid of alarming his kind friends by a sudden discovery of his changed and disabled appearance, had nearly enveloped himself in his cloak, now entered the room leaning on a stick <; a deadly sickness came over him, and he sunk on a chair by the door, as the looks of all convinced him he was unknown. Mr. Camden, in surprise, demanded his business at so unseasonable an hour; and Conrad, perceiving the dim twilight added to his incognito, inwardly upbraiding his weakness, by an effort rallied his spirits, and rising let fall his concealment, saying, in an agitated voice, “ My best friend, do you not know me?” The words acted like an electric shock upon
all. “ Conrad ! my own brave boy !” exclaimed the good man, clasping him in his arms, “ do I live to behold you again ? Pardon me, my dear son, for not recognising you by this light; you are so altered :” he sighed deeply, and Conrad felt the warm tears of his protector drop upon his hand, as he released him from his affectionate embrace. “ My dearest girls,” said he, turning to Agnes and Lucy, who returned his embrace with sisterly affection, “ had you, too, forgotten Conrad?”
66 Only for the first moment, dear Conrad,” answered Agnes: “ before my father spoke, I
recognised the pallid countenance, as that of a long absent brother, but surprise checked my words. How thankful we ought to be, you are still spared to make my dear father happy; he has suffered great anxiety on your account, it being so long since we had heard any thing of you.” A tear sparkled in her soft blue eye; 6 but,” she continued, “ since you are once more among us, all our uneasiness is forgotten, and our care, I hope, will soon divest you of your ill health.” “ No doubt of that, Agnes; home will speedily
I could almost fancy the sight of you all has done me good already.”
Lights being demanded, a more minute view was taken of our hero, who they had scarcely ventured to hope yet lived. Seated in the oldfashioned arm chair, with his foster family around him, he anxiously enquired for his sister.
6 She is still at the Grove, my dear fellow," returned Mr. Camden; “ but I think we had better not apprise her of your arrival until the morning, for I doubt if you be fit for the exertion of seeing her now, and the last half year her health has been none of the strongest : but you must have suffered greatly, my poor
Conrad. When and how did all this sad affair take place?”
“ Did you not receive a letter from me, of last July, dear sir ?"
“ No, indeed; if I had, I should not have been so uneasy; we all thought you were killed or taken prisoner : the last letter bears date 3d of May.”
66 Indeed! I do not wonder you were unprepared for the change you must see in me,” said Conrad, looking round with a smile at each of his friends, whose whole souls seemed wrapped in him. 66 I have had a narrow escape
my life; but it is too long a story for to-night, and I am anxious about Emily. What is the matter with her? You must recollect I have ne received a line from you the last four months, and did not know she was ill.”
66 You shall be informed of every thing, Conrad, as soon as you have taken some refreshment: I dare say you have not dined.”
“ Indeed, my dear sir, I have; but I should not object to some tea, if Agnes will permit me to infringe upon the established rules,” (turning towards her).
“ Certainly, Conrad,” replied she, “ I would