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approach your sedate matter-of-fact brother with a joyous countenance; clouds should never dim the brightness of your eyes. But, come," he added, as a faint smile flitted over her face, “our good friends will think we are doing the sentimental all this time: let us show them they are mistaken.” Conrad pressed the band she gave him, and, drawing her arm within his, returned to the parlour, where breakfast and a cordial welcome awaited them.
The morning passed happily: the young relatives had not enjoyed a period of such sweet and unalloyed intercourse for years, and they knew how to appreciate the fleeting hour. The afternoon brought the inmates of the Grove, all kind, affectionate, and solicitous for Conrad's health.
“ Well, my dear fellow," said Mr. Yorke, as he shook him heartily by the hand, “though I sincerely regret the cause of your visit, I cannot say but what I am delighted to see you again domiciliated among us; though I suppose you will be on the wing as soon as we have restored the bloom to your cheek, which I am sorry to see so pallid at present. Well, well! it is all very natural: youth is the season for action,
and your hot blood boils for distinction. Never fear, Conrad; love and country air will soon make a man of you again.”
6 I have no doubt of that, dear sir, with such capital nursing as I find here: I really think it is almost worth while to be ill, to know what kind and valuable friends I possess. I only fear, I can never be half so grateful as I ought; but I beg you all to remember, if I fail in this respect, it will not be from inclination to do right, but from inefficiency.”
“ A pretty speech, upon my word, Conrad; but I am we all believe it, and will willingly accept your good intentions. How long do you stay with us?”
“ That, sir, must depend on my wounds. I should wish to be off again in three months; otherwise I must have an extension of my leave, and that I would avoid if possible.”
6 Well! duty,” returned Mr. Yorke, smiling, “must certainly be considered before selfgratification; therefore we must make the most of you.”
A month elapsed in the enjoyment of home; every attention and care which affection could suggest was bestowed upon Conrad, whose
health and spirits rapidly improved. Again he became capable of accompanying his young friends in all their little parties of pleasure; his gaiety by degrees returned; and he would have been completely happy, had not Emily relapsed into her original gloom, as soon as the first ebullition of joy for her brother's return was over. All his caresses and arguments had hitherto failed to remove her hidden sorrow; and his own concerns soon prevented his thinking so exclusively of her. Constant and unrestrained intercourse with a young and delightful female, must ever be a dangerous situation for the susceptible heart and unbiassed affections of an amiable man, who has scarcely told his twenty-first year, to be placed in, particularly when that female performs the office of nurse. The dependant situation of the invalid, the offer and acceptance of those numerous little delicate attentions, induce an intimacy, an interest, a tenderness, I had almost said a love, on her side, which perhaps gratitude with him, in the first instance, causes him to return. The seeds of a kindness thus sown in the rich soil of two young and uncontaminated bosoms germinate rapidly, and spring up and flourish, under the bright influence of innocence
and contentment. Almost unconsciously, they run down with the stream, and never perceive the danger of their course, until they are cast into the whirlpool of passion. Thus it was with Agnes and Conrad: in infancy, they were playmates ; in youth, companions; and now, when they met in maturity, fraternal affection ripened, under the present circumstances, into a pure and holy love. Agnes was not beautiful, but her good-humoured smile betokened the contented and happy mind; elegant in manner and person, cultivated in mind, and amiable in disposition, it was almost impossible to suppose Conrad could fail to bow before the unseen influence of her superior merit. He had stood undaunted before a masked battery of Spanish eyes, but the soft blue ones of his early companion seemed to pierce his soul. Her conversation held him a willing captive for hours ; and though, when his strength returned, he devoted much of his time to Emily and the young Yorkes, still he felt more delight in making one of the party round Mr. Camden's peaceful hearth, than in the gay society at the Grove. Thus days slipped by, neither dreamed of love, while at every moment they sank deeper
in its toils, when at the end of two months Edward, Mr. Yorke's eldest son, who had been on a shooting excursion in Scotland, returned home: a few days only had passed, when he discovered the state of Conrad's and Agnes' feelings. He had for some time entertained the hope of obtaining her affection himself; he had admired her numerous good qualities, and had endeavoured to win her heart; but though she was ever kind, he had delayed the moment of soliciting her hand from fear of a refusal : besides, he thought he had plenty of time to woo her; and her father, he was sure, could not object to the connection: he was, therefore, in no haste to press his suit before he went to Scotland. Naturally timid, and infirm of purpose, till driven to the last extremity, he deferred the important question until his return; when all that he saw at the Parsonage alarmed him, and he resolved to hesitate no longer. But opportunity failed him for some days; and thus time ran on, until within a fortnight of Conrad's departure, when he set off one morning with the intention of putting his design really in execution. Meantime Conrad had observed a manifest coolness on Edward's part towards