Page:What will he do with it.djvu/418

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4o8 WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?

bowed to a young lady, who, with one or two others, passed rapidly by in a barouche. It was that very handsome young lady to whom Lionel had seen him listening so attentively in the great crowd, for which Carr Vipont's family party had been deserted.

" Yes ; Lady Adela is one of the loveliest girls in London," said the Colonel, who had also lifted his hat as the barouche whirled by, " and amiable too : I have known her ever since she was born. Her father and I are great friends — an excel- lent man, but stingy. I had much difficulty in arranging the eldest girl's marriage with Lord Bolton, and am a trustee in the settlements. If you feel a preference for Lady Adela, though I don't think she would suit you so well as Miss Vipont, I will answer for her father's encouragement and her consent. 'Tis no drawback to you, though it is to most of her admirers, when I add, ' There's nothing with her ! ' "

" And nothing in her ! which is worse," said Darrell. " Still, it is pleasant to gaze on a beautiful landscape, even though the soil be barren."

Colonel Morley. " That depends upon whether you are merely the artistic spectator of the4andscape, or the disappointed proprietor of the soil."

" Admirable ! " said Darrell ; " you have disposed of Lady Adela. So ho ! so ho ! " Darrell's horse (his old high-mettled horse, freshly sent to him from Fawley, and in spite of the five years that had added to its age, of spirit made friskier by long repose) here put down its ears — lashed out — and indulged in abound which would have unseated many a London rider. A young Amazon, followed hard by some two or three young gen- tlemen and their grooms, shot by, swift and reckless as a hero at Balaklava. But with equal suddenness, as she caught sight of Darrell — whose hand and voice had already soothed the excited nerves of his steed — the Amazon wheeled round and gained his side. Throwing up her veil, she revealed a face so prettily arch — so perversely gay — with eye of radiant hazel, and fair locks half loosened from their formal braid — that it would have be- guiled resentment from the most insensible — reconciled to danger the most timid. And yet there was really a grace of humility in the apologies she tendered for her discourtesy and thoughtlessness. As the girl reined her light palfrey by Dar- rell's side — turning from the young companions who had now joined her, their hackneys in a foam — and devoting to his ear all her lively overflow of happy spirits, not untempered by a certain deference, but still apparently free from dissimulation —

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