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on her death-bed, I fear, though I have known her but for a few weeks."
"It is new friends, then, who are so fortunate as to interest you. Perhaps the gentleman with whom I found you riding last evening was one of those happy beings whom you have not known long enough to despise !"
"On the contrary," said Caroline, “he is an old acquaintance, and a particular friend of my father's family."
"Oh! an old acquaintance and a family friend; very convenient relations, certainly! I presume you often claim his services as escort!"
"Mr. Avenard," said Caroline, with some touch of her natural spirit, though she was a little humbled by the consciousness that the gentleman had some right to complain, "I know not by what right you address yourself to me in this manner! I deny your claim to the slightest interference in my choice of society."
Caroline," he said, in a changed and mournful tone," do not drive me quite mad.
I am unhappy, wretched; and to you, at least, I looked for sympathy and kindness! Do not trifle with my despair, but tell me when you will give me an opportunity to converse with you without interruption. I am about to leave the country."
Caroline was keenly touched by the change in his manner. Her eyes filled with tears, and she was on the point of promising an early meeting, when she was called anxiously from the house, and, without an adieu to her companion, she was at the bedside of Mrs. Thurston in an instant.
Avenard waited as long as he decently could, and then, finding she did not return, he plunged into the wood and hovered about within sight of the cottage until he had seen Seymour dismount at the door and go in without ceremony.
Seymour had found an excellent necessity for calling at Mr. Ellingham's. Finding a number of letters lying at the postoffice for Mr. Thurston, he had judged it incumbent on him to ride over with them;
and, indeed, without this, he would have found it difficult to absent himself from a house where his services had been required daily for some time, and where he was always expected and often waited for with anxiety. Mr. Thurston was pacing the little garden with rapid steps, endeavouring to regain his wonted calmness after a night of watchfulness and great distress of mind. Mrs. Thurston was now sleeping quietly, and her physicians were awaiting with solicitude the result of her repose.
"Thou art very kind!" said Mr. Thurston, as he took the letters from the hand of his young friend; and from his lips these words were not words of course. As he read his letters his countenance exhibited surprise and emotion. When he had finished, he said to Seymour that he wished immediately to send one of those letters to Mr. Hay. Seymour, of course, offered to be the bearer, and Mr. Thurston said,
Then pray tell
"It is so like thee. friend Hay, that I am somewhat afraid of seeming intrusive; yet I feel as if I ought
not to conceal from him the intelligence contained in this letter. If I am mistaken, I trust he will excuse me."
And Seymour departed, having seen Caroline only for an instant in passing.
He was scarcely out of sight of Mr. Ellingham's when he was joined by Avenard. "Have you seen Miss Hay this morning?" asked the latter abruptly.
Seymour answered that he had just seen her, and he was vexed to think that, indifferent as he was, he should have uttered these few words with a flurried air. The sight of Avenard, he thought, seemed to cast a spell upon him.
"You seem to be a favoured visitor!" said the stranger, scornfully; "pray, may I ask by what right you intrude yourself upon Miss Hay at all hours?"
"When I know by what right you interfere with my movements," said Seymour in reply, "I may be disposed to answer such a question; not till then, certainly."
"Quite cavalier! Well, sir, if I should
inform you that I consider myself accepted by Miss Hay you will think, perhaps".
"That is a matter with which I have no concern," said Seymour abruptly; "but my visits at Mr. Ellingham's have another object, and my visits to Miss Hay will be regulated by herself." And he quickened his horse's pace, as if to escape further discussion of a point which seemed likely to lead to no pleasant results. Indeed the stranger seemed, by the disorder and impetuosity of his manner, to have a desire to pick a quarrel, which Seymour was determined to avoid, if possible, though his western blood had been stirred not a little by the New Yorker's impertinent air.
Before he reached Mr, Hay's, however, Avenard was again at his side, seeming hurried, as if to follow had been a recent thought.
"You are on your way to Mr. Hay's, I presume," said he, more civilly than before. "I wish to call on him, and I will trouble you to introduce me, as I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with him.