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his delight was to tease his aunts and cousins; yet, like all madcap youngsters, he was a universal favourite
the women. The most interesting couple in the dance was the young officer and a ward of the Squire's, a beautiful blushing girl of seventeen. From several shy glances which I had noticed in the course of of the evening, I suspected there was a little kindness growing up between them; and, indeed, the young soldier was just the hero to captivate a romantic girl. He was tall, slender, and handsome, and, like most young British officers of late years, had picked up various small accomplishments on the continent-he could talk French and Italian- drew landscapes—sing very tolerably-dance divinely; but, above all, he had been wounded at Waterloo :—what girl of seventeen, well read in poetry and romance, could resist such a mirror of chivalry and perfection!
The moment the dance was over, he caught up a guitar, and lolling against the old marble fire-place, in an attitude which I am half inclined to suspect was studied, began the little French air of the Troubadour. The Squire, however, exclaimed against having any thing
on Christmas eve but good old English; upon which the young minstrel, casting up his eye for a moment, as if in an effort of memory, struck into another strain, and with a charming air of gallantry, gave Herrick's « NightPiece to Julia; »
Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light,
And when I shall meet
Thy silvery feet,
The song might or might not have been in.
tended in compliment to the fair Julia, for so I found his partner was called; she, however, was certainly unconscious of any such application, for she never looked at the singer, but kept her eyes cast upon the floor. Her face was suffused, it is true, with a beautiful blush, and there was a gentle heaving of the bosom, but all that was doubtless caused by the exerçise of the dance; indeed, so great was her indifference, that she was amusing herself with plucking to pieces a choice bouquet of hothouse flowers, and by the time the song was concluded the nosegay lay in ruins on the floor.'
The party now broke up for the night with the kind-hearted old custom of shaking hands, As I passed through the hall, on my way to my chamber, the dying embers of the yule clog still sent forth a dusky glow, and had it not been the season when « no spirit dares stir abroad,» I should have been half tempted to steal from my room at midnight, and peep whether the fairies might not be at their revels about the hearth. My chamber was in the old part
of the mansion, the ponderous furniture of which might
have been fabricated in the days of the giants. The room was pannelled, with cornices of heavy carved work, in which flowers and grotesque faces were strangely intermingled; and a row of black-looking portraits stared mournfully at me from the walls. The bed was of rich though faded damask, with a lofty tester, and stood in a niche opposite a bow window. I had scarcely got into bed when a strain of music seemed to break forth in the air just below the window. I listened, and found it proceeded from a band, which I concluded to be the waits from some neighbouring village. They went round the house, playing under the windows. I drew aside the curtains to hear them more distinctly. The moon-beams fell through the upper part of the casement, partially lighting up the antiquated apartment. The sounds, as they receded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed to accord with the quiet and moon-- light. I listened and listened they became more and more tender and remote, and, as they gradually died away, my head sunk upon the pillow, and I fell asleep.
Why does the chilling winter's morne
When I woke the next morning, it seemed as if all the events of the preceding evening had been a dream, and nothing but the identity of the ancient chamber convinced me of their reality. While I lay musing on my pillow, I heard the sound of little feet pattering outside of the door, and a whispering consultation. Presently a choir of small voices chanted