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of the Peninsula, or, possibly, heading the company you are so anxious about.”
“ You are an excellent guesser in general, Agnes, but this time you are quite at fault; they were concentrated in that one spot of earth ycleped Home! which, however distant or contracted, is sweet to the heart of an Englishman. Whether in happiness or misery, affluence or poverty, health or sickness, home is his comfort and delight. Duty, pleasure, or necessity, may deprive him of its joys for a season, but there is always a balm in the name, which produces a thrill of satisfaction and comfort to every soul. My home, Agnes, has been one of peculiar happiness; and though I left it the first time with an apparently light heart, I keenly felt its loss, and joyfully hailed my re-approach to it. My duty again calls me away, but I cannot quit it with a similar indifference. Its attractions are tenfold increased; and when I think that fate may separate me for years - perhaps for ever --from it and them, I am almost tempted to curse myself for not yielding to your father's desire for me to be a clergyman.'
“Oh, Conrad, do not say so: your calling is an honourable one, and that your gallant spirit adapted you for; and you surely would not wish your home less happy, or your friends less fond, because your profession obliges you to quit them?"
“ No, Agnes, no! that would be quite wicked and ungrateful towards the Almighty in vouchsafing them to me. I only regret that I cannot enjoy them more. One thing, alone, can alleviate my pain in abandoning this country for a time; and that, dear girl ! is in your power, and yours alone. You will not deny me the only boon I will ask you to grant. I am going, Agnes, to scenes of war, danger, and bloodshed; and I go cheerfully, because duty imperatively calls me: but dared I hope your feelings responded to mine, I should leave you joyfully, in the hope that I may distinguish myself, and return still more worthy of a love I aspire to. Tell me, my sweet friend, I may look to your affection as the reward of my endeavours.” During this speech Agnes had withdrawn her arm from that of Conrad: her pallid cheek and streaming eye told her emotion, but her tongue refused to answer his appeal; and after a few moments, drawing her to him, Conrad continued : “ You will not rob me of the hopes on which I depend for future years of bliss.
of bliss. I live but in your society, I trust to you for happiness; and surely my dearest Agnes will not blight my fond anticipations by refusing to be mine. "Nay, do not turn from
listen to me for a moment, I may not have another opportunity. Only tell me that I may hope !” He took her hand and pressed it fervently.
6 Oh, Conrad," she exclaimed, while her tears fell still faster, “you know how justly dear you are to me as a friend and brother, as the hope and pride of my beloved father; but, indeed, I cannot, dare not, say more."
“ Do not give me to understand, Agnes, I am indifferent to you - esteemed but as your parent's adopted son. Do not drive me to despair. You know not the happiness or misery you may confer by a few words only. I feel I never can be happy without you; and if you cannot, or will not, give me any encouragement to hope, my life will henceforth be a burden. I will bless the hour when the glorious death I will seek shall find me! and the Peninsula shall be Conrad Blessington's laurelled grave! But, perhaps," he continued, in a bitter tone, releasing her from his pressure, and darting an angry
look towards her, —"perhaps your affections are placed elsewhere: if so, tell me at once, and Conrad will withdraw his suit; he is not the man to seek the destruction of another's hopes for his own advantage.”
“ Oh, Conrad, dear Conrad,” replied Agnes, as she covered her face with her hands, now totally overcome by his looks and manner,
you are cruel to talk thus: I have never given you cause to suppose I preferred any being in the world to yourself. Your affection is my ambition, but you must forgive my hesitation, in declaring the sentiments hitherto scarcely known to myself.” She turned an imploring look towards him, while the blood rushed into her face.
In an instant Conrad's flash of anger vanished, and throwing one arm round his fair companion, «« Pardon, dearest girl,” he said, “ pardon my unkindness; I ought to have made allowance for your delicacy: but you are my own in heart and hand I am sure, whether
proclaim it or not, and here I swear, Agnes ”
“ Hush, dear Conrad; do not make any vow, it is dangerous.”
- Not between two fond hearts, Agnes ; mine
cannot, and yours will not, change: we are bound together by dear and early ties, and one word from you will form a bond of love which no power on earth shall break. I love you with the most ardent affection. Oh, tell me it is reciprocal. One word, Agnes, are you mine alone?"
“ Yes, Conrad,” replied she, in so low a tone that it was scarcely audible.
“ Bless you !” exclaimed the enraptured youth : “may the God of heaven bless, protect, and reward you! I call heaven and earth to witness my promise; and swear by the God who made me, that I will never cease to love and cherish you, until I can return and claim your gift, or that life shall have deserted this frail tenement.”
6 Amen !” ejaculated Agnes with fervour, as she offered her hand to Conrad. It need not be told with what ecstasy he received this pledge of sincerity, or to detail the subsequent conversation, which, though interesting to the lovers, would be insipid to indifferent ears. Happy as they felt in the assurance of each other's affection, still the approaching separation could not fail to cast a shade of sad