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about me than she has revealed. Something prevents her from cautioning the lovely Bell against me. Bell is, therefore, thus far, unsuspecting
Yesterday I threw out a little policy which perhaps will lead pretty Clara off of her beat. She has steadily persevered in preventing any private talk between Bell and myself, from the moment we left New York. By a coup d'état, yesterday, I outgeneralled her. But for this Clara, I should have told my tale of love yesterday. For the purpose of quieting Miss Clara's mind, I merely talked nonsense. We shall soon see what effect this will produce. I am enjoying myself superbly. Frederick Mortimer is companionable, and change of scene you know to be my delight. I send to-day, per express, a white French rose, to add to your collection. If my memory serves me, it is not on your list. I got it at Auburn, while on a drive there yesterday P.M., with Fred. Until more happens, adieu.
Your affectionate nephew,
Clara Edgemonte's Mistake.
As the last was a lengthy chapter, this, for contrast, shall be short.
“Bell,” said Clara Edgemonte, “ you have not told me a word about your walk this morning, with Mr. Mordaunt. I have been making all the confessions. Come, fair coz, begin.”
“Oh! I had a splendid time! Be still—don't tell Charley Dickens what extravagant terms I employ. He says, in substance, that we Americans either boil over with ecstasy, or freeze into solid chunks of wisdom.' He is about right; but I don't believe in telling him I think so."
“ Come, come; please let the dickens take Charley Dickens, and tell me about James Mordaunt, Esq., Bell.”
In this playful way, Clara carefully drew from her cousin a full history of her walk with Mordaunt, conversation included. Clara saw that Mordaunt had not spoken of love. Her expectations, therefore, were not realized. She was puzzled. Again and again she adroitly questioned Bell, but nothing appeared to have occupied Mr. Mordaunt's thoughts beyond a gentlemanly effort to interest and amuse his companion.
"Well, I am surprised,” said Clara to herself, leaning her head upon her hand, in thought. “Mordaunt is an enigma too deep for me. Bell is, then, safe, and I have had my anxiety for nothing;" and Clara’s face began to wear a happier expression than since the hour she left New York. Mordaunt's skillful policy had completely succeeded. Clara no longer felt the necessity of watching over Bell's interviews with him. She concluded that her interpretation of his conduct was incorrect.
Melville's and Griswold's Tour-A true Hand and firm Seat always
come in Play.
“ MELVILLE, I don't fully like going through this piece of woods to-day.”
“Pshaw ! Tam, thou art brave; for I have tested thee under trying circumstances. It is now (looking at his watch) ten minutes after four. Look here,” (to the hostler) “how far is it to the next tavern ?"
“ It's about tin miles, yer honor,” replied a genuine son of Erin; “ through the wood all ov the way, and a gude taste ov bad road the fust four miles ov the tin sure."
Just then, two men, dressed in the garb of woodchoppers, entered the apology for a tavern, and going up to the bar, called for drinks. One of them, having a keen black eye, low forehead, short, coarse, and black hair, a little walnut-shaped head, dark complexion, rather below the medium height, but evidently a man of most powerful muscular development, after setting down his glass, approached Melville, and looking at him with a careless glance, and half respectful, half patronizing air, said
“Would you like to sell that grey ov your'n? He's worth a cool hundred and fifty. I'll give that, cash down, and risk his bein' sound.”
“ Four hundred would be no temptation, my good sir,” politely replied Melville.
“P'raps you've an idee I can't pay down. There's the chink, frind,” said the apparent horse-dealer, at the same time holding up a large roll of bank bills. “It won't do, sir," replied Melville.
“I am a traveller, and would be obliged to obtain another horse.”
“ Want to trade hosses, then? I'm your man for that, too. Jim, go git my bay.”
“No, sir, you need not; I cannot trade. Landlord, my bill, if you please," said Melville.
Melville and Griswold were soon mounted, and had entered the road already described, which led through a piece of woods for over ten miles. They were situated in the southern part of Alleghany county, and doubtless even at this day are still in existence, unless so much thereof as would make pine lumber fit for market.
“ Jim, them's gallus lads. They've both got piles of chink, and we ain't rum uns ef we let 'em pass."
“Bob, Hi sez hamen. You knows Hi'm a man hof work, and not hof words."
“Git out the nags, then, and we'll head 'em about 'alf and 'alf thro', at the pine stump," said the man called Bob.
Taking a cow-path through the woods, the highwaymen, for such was the true character of the pseudo wood-choppers, perfectly familiar with the ground, by urging their horses a short time, came out upon the forest road in advance of the two young men. About half-way through the forest, directly in the centre of the road, stood an immense pine stump. Here dismounting, the two worthies led their horses