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tressing thoughts naturally arising from the whole course of the Avenard affair. Between Seymour and herself there was a hopeful degree of constraint; for, in his account of the affray, he had unavoidably allowed it to be guessed that jealousy was the moving cause of the young man's fury, and this, presenting him in a new light to Caroline, forbade her feeling quite the ancient cool indifference, while Seymour, novice-like, was amusingly conscious.
Mr. Thurston now began to think of his return home, and he left nothing unsaid or undone to show his sense of the kindness with which he had been treated. He proposed to our friend Seymour to return with him to New York.
"We can do but little, my dear young friend," said he, "to show how we appreciate the kindness of all about us, but I hope thou wilt be willing to help us to do what we can. I think I see in thee all that I can desire as a companion in business. Now, if thou wilt go with us to town, I will make thee such proposals as cannot but prove very
advantageous to thy worldly interests, and such as will probably fix thee in the city permanently; and I am sure thou wilt not doubt that myself and my wife will do all in our power in return for thy great kindness to us in this our extremity. business is such as thou art well fitted for, and such as will make thy station in society all thou couldst desire. Now I have made thee a long discourse," concluded the good man with a smile, "and I hope thou wilt give me a short answer and one favourable to my wishes. But no!" he added, recollecting himself, "I did wrong to ask thee for a sudden answer. Affairs of importance should be better weighed. I was consulting my own wishes rather than thy good in this. Take a week for thy consideration of my proposal, and ask the counsel of thy friends. They will be better judges of thy real interest than I can be, for I am doubtless biassed by my desire to have thee with
Seymour gratefully acknowledged Mr. Thurston's generous kindness, and Mr. Hay
coming in at the moment, the proposition was submitted for his judgment.
"You would probably live and die a richer man, Seymour," said he, "in the city than in the country; whether you would be a happier one may be doubted. But you are young enough to make the trial, and you have good sense enough to give it up if you find yourself unfitted, by character or habit, for a city life." And here the matter rested for the present.
Mr. Hay, who had always been extremely active in his habits, was now somewhat failing in health, though he had hardly yet reached the age when "the strong men shall bow themselves." He had been among the earliest pioneers of the West, and the labours and privations of his younger days had left their traces in his constitution, producing a premature old age not uncommon among the settlers. His interest in the duties and occupations of his situation were in no wise diminished, yet he was frequently prevented from taking his usual active part in them; a state of things which affected
his spirits more than he was willing to
About the time of which we have been speaking, and particularly a day or two after Mr. Thurston's proposal to Seymour, Mr. Hay was quite indisposed, and more than usually depressed in spirits, in consequence of being unable to attend an election in which his old adjutant, Tom Rice, was much interested. Seymour, who observed his uneasiness, offered to go in his place, and supply the deficiency as well as he could; and Mr. Hay, though fearful that Seymour was not yet strong enough for the effort, permitted him to make it, and gave him the necessary instructions.
As he was going out, accoutred for the trip, he encountered Miss Hay in the hall. 66 Are you going to ride this morning?" said she.
"Yes, toto try to forward the election of your old friend, Tom Rice."
"My friend?" said the young lady with a scornful curl of the lip. "But you are not well enough; you look very pale.”
"Pale! do I?” said Seymour, the blood rushing to his face to supply the deficiency.
Caroline blushed most sympathetically; and, after an instant's awkward pause, and without another word spoken, Seymour mounted his horse and was off. He had not been in so good spirits for a long time. Perhaps the brilliant opening offered by Mr. Thurston inspired him; it certainly could not have been so slight a thing as a young lady's blush.
Arrived on the ground, he set about his second-hand canvassing with the very best intentions of fulfilling Mr. Hay's directions and wishes. His own partialities were certainly not in favour of Tom Rice, since we cannot always love our benefactors; and his view of Tom's character was a good deal clearer and cooler and less indulgent than Mr. Hay's, this latter gentleman being what may well be called a warm friend, though he could not justly be styled a bitter enemy.
Seymour found Tom already warmly engaged, and all the world shouting at the