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might be the state of his sister's mind and health.
“ I need not say,” he continued, addressing Montchensey, “ for you yourself, my noble friend, have been a witness of it, that I have loved Hubert Gray, even as my own child, and that until this hour, when I find any further secrecy would be destructive to my master's house, I have kept the injunction which was laid upon me.” .
“ I know it, my worthy Fraser,” cried Montchensey, “and I honour you for your conduct; but let me ask you, if you never have had reason positively to conclude that Hubert Gray was the son of Raymond Neville ?”
“Certainly, never positively,” replied Simon; “ but I must confess that I had my suspicions as to this being the case, even from the first; and when Hubert grew up as it were the very image of his father, these suspicions amounted in my mind almost to conviction.” . .
5 And can you, I repeat, give us any information, Master Simon,” said Shakspeare, “ as to the existence or place of residence of the unfortunate Neville ; for my anxiety to discover him
is, if possible, encreased by finding that your account, though strongly corroborative of what we had concluded to be the fact, does not absolutely go so far as to identify Hubert Gray as the son of my friend ?”
“ I am sorry to say that I cannot,” he returned, “ for I have never held any direct communication with Raymond Neville since the night of my receiving the little Hubert; and, indeed, owing to the remittances having been withheld for the last two years, a circumstance which before that period had never taken place, I have unhappily been induced to think that he is no longer living.”
Here, Shakspeare, turning to his friend Montchensey, remarked, that until something more certain could be ascertained, he thought it would be better for both, to avoid a meeting with Hubert Gray. “ You, my kind friend, however," he added, addressing Simon, “will, in all probability, see him very soon, for he assured me when we parted, that he would speedily revisit your cottage. Tell him, then, without mentioning what we have just now disclosed, for I would not further excite hopes which it is yet possible
may not be realised, that I am earnestly engaged on his behalf, and that, I trust, it will not be long before we meet beneath your roof.” Then, after enquiring the name and residence of the banker with whom Simon had formerly communicated, he added, shaking the old man most cordially by the hand, “ And now, my noble-hearted Fraser, fare thee well! I go, high in hope, notwithstanding the slight disappointment which has met me here, that I shall yet once more see my long-lost friend, that I shall witness the reunion of the father and the son, and that the Hall of Montchensey and the Cottage at Wyeburne shall have reason to love the memory of Shakspeare !"
The heart of the minstrel glowed within him as he listened to these words, whilst Montchensey, almost equally moved, could only reply by imploring blessings on the head of one whom he had long known as the first and noblest of poets, but whom he had now to acknowledge as the best and kindest of men.
“ Not only we, but every distant age, shall love thee, bard of Avon !" cried the minstrel, with a prophet's enthusiasm, As Shakspeare, deeply affected, turned from the cottage at Wyeburne.
Here shall Contemplation imp Her eagle plumes; the Poet here shall hold Sweet converse with his Muse; the curious Sage, Who comments on great Nature's ample tome, Shall find that volume here. For here are caves, Where rise those gurgling rills, that sing the song Which Contemplation loves; here shadowy glades, Where thro’ the tremulous foliage darts the ray That gilds the Poet's day-dream : - Nor if here The Painter comes, shall his enchanting art Go back without a boon : for Fancy here, With Nature's living colours, forms a scene Which RUISDALE best might rival.
The distribution and contrast of the various scenes, gay or sombre, soothing or romantic, touching or sublime, which the art of picturesque gardening is adequate to the task of creating, and which we have seen as it were start into being during the preceding parts of the poem, now fix the attention of the reader, and con