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Fresh Mischief in Meditation against our Hero.
W H EN Sir Roger and his friend entered
the apartment of the ladies, they found the young people distributed into pairs; Cary in high talk, and sitting by his cousin; Henry in no talk at all, but fairly pounded in a corner of the room by the manoeuvre of Fanny Claypole, who was fo pofted as to cut him off from all chance of an escape : she had feated herself in a chair with her back to one side of the room and her knees to the other, so as to form the exact hypothèneuse of a triangle, and Henry in the area of it. There were many fortunate circumstances concurring with the position she had taken to favour her operations; the size of the room was enormous, and the little share of light, that only two candles could have beftowed upon her at that distance, she fairly intercepted by sitting with her back to them, and suffering no one ray to fall upon the person of her prisoner; he also was not the less attuned to her purpose, for being somewhat fustered by
the the many toasts he was obliged to pledge by Cary's strict attention to discipline, which he took care to exact with the utmost impartiality towards all under his command, unless he could be faid to favour Henry as a volunteer, by thrusting him into the thickest of the fire. To this circumstance only it was owing, that our hero, contrary to his natural good breeding, suffered himself to be so long detached from the rest of the company. .
Something or other had discomposed Ifa- : bella's spirits, and all Cary's efforts could not rally them, The presence of her father was a relief to her, and, upon his entrance, Henry started from his corner, and joined the circle ; Claypole placed himself next to him, and drew him into talk about Blachford and his trepan. Henry, with a good deal of humour, related Ezekiel's account of that gentleman's state of conscience, and his mode of comforting him on the bed of sickness. Claypole observed upon this with some degree of asperity, and hinted, that he should consider Ezekiel as a dangerous enthusiast amongst his parishioners. This led Henry to speak of him in a more feri
ous stile, and to give such a delineation of his • character as turned all hearts in his favour,
especially that soft charitable heart, which Ilabella wore in her bosom.-" I should do him. injustice,” said Henry, “ if I were only to bring forward his oddities, and keep his virtues out of sight; I acknowledge that my friend, in fome instances, has a super-abundancy of zeal; but it is not that zeal, without knowledge or difcernment, which would betray him to intrude where there is no call for his services; he is only a shepherd to the stragglers of the flock; at Crowbery he had full employ, here he will find none."-" I hear,” said the divine, “he has been preaching out of trees.”-“ I don't doubt it,” replied Henry, “ and to the trees if he thought it would edify a fingle leaf upon their branches.”_" And is it true," resumed the said divine, « that he address’d a funeral sermon at the foot of the gibbet to the effigy of justice Blachford ?"_" Perfectly true," quoth Henry, “ and I honour him for it, for his heart was right, tho' the mistake was otherwise ridiculous enough."-" I perceive he is a favourite of your's,” repeated Claypole.-« And with me a very great one,” said Ifabella, with some quickness. Claypole faid no more. When Cary understood, from Henry's difM 4
course, that he had been living in the same cottage with Ezekiel, it struck him that he must be the very person, who had been represented to him by Captain Crowbery as an idler and a vagrant, proper to be pressed into his ship, and upon a fuller explanation of what had paffed on that occasion, there was no doubt that he conjectured rightly. This was a new discovery of another plot, unkhown to Henry,
though not unnoticed by this history, which - that base junto, of which Lord Crowbery was the head, had contrived against him. His countenance upon the developement underwent a change, that shewed the struggle he had within himself to repress the angry emotions of his mind; nevertheless, he commanded himfelt before the ladies, and fimply 'enquired of Cary if he was acquainted with Captain Crowbery: the answer was, that he had ferved in the same ship with him fonie years ago, when'hé hiinself was a youngster and Crowbery a lieutenant of marines.-" I shall find an opportunity, perhaps,” said Henry, « to convince the gentleman that I want no presling into a ship, when I can have the honour of fighting under the eye of fo gallant a commander.” This was at best equivocal, and Isabella turned pale.
_ My quarter-deck is at your service,” cried Cary, « and, if occasion calls upon me, I will do my best to preserve the good opinion you conceive of me.”. This made matters not a whit the better in Isabella's sense of them.“ Don't talk of fighting,” cried Fanny Claypole, who had stolen a glance at Isabella, “for if you do, some of us will faint; look, if you have not already turn’d Miss Manstock as pale as a lilly.” The remark was true, but cruelly ill-timed; Isabella's countenance suddenly changed to the other extreme, and was scarlet with blushes. Henry bit his lips with rage, but had the prudence to keep silence; Claypole gave his niece a reprimanding frown, but to no purpose. “I dare say,” added 'she, “Mr. Henry is too wise to put himself into any post of danger, where it is not his duty to be.” « Pardon me," said Cary, with a kind design to turn the attention of the company from Isabella, “ that does not appear, for I think I have just now seen my friend in a post of the greatest danger, and I am mistaken if it was duty, and not choice, that brought him there.” This sally brought all parties home; 'Fanny tittered, but seemed rather piqued that Henry had no speech upon the occalion: Isabella in the mean M5