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THE

PASTOR'S FIRE-SIDE.

CHAP. I.

THE first thought that occurred to Louis next day, was a wish to enquire at the door of the Bavarian Palace, after the health of its noble inmates. The frank and ardent gratitude of the illustrious widow, had interested his feelings; and, adding to this, the undescribable attaching quality which lies in an obligation, such as that he had conferred on the Electress, seemed to draw him towards her with an irresistible attraction. Benefits and gratefulness, when interchanged by generous natures, are bonds, garlanded in paradise. They draw, by invisible

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cords, but their rivets are eternal. Gratitude looks up with endearing confidence to the bestower of its good; and the consciousness of yielding protection, like the divine source of all benevolence, fills the heart with a sweet tenderness towards its object.

With all this in his thoughts, Louis allowed prudence to put his wishes to si. lence; and he left it to accident, to inform him of the health or indisposition of them he had preserved.

His official duty of this morning passed with a deputation from the merchants of Ostend. He had received his father's commands to that purpose, to hold a conference with them respecting the sanction which the Spanish Monarch had granted to their Indian trade, to the great umbrage of the mercantile interests of Great Britain and Holland. The Emperor had insisted on this guarantee of Spain ; and the Queen, with her usual impatience, ordered it to be accorded without reserve.

But Ripperda, when he yielded to the temporary necessity, had guarded it with a clause in the privileges, to which Charles as well as themselves continued to object. To know the result of the Spanish minister's further deliberation was the cause of their present embassy.

When Louis had discussed the affair with the merchants, their president retired with the young negociator, to sign, in the name of the company, several papers, which Ripperda had left for that purpose. Louis and he were then alone. When the merchant had endorsed the deeds, he took two caskets of different sizes from under his vest. - He unclasped them, and laid them open on the table. They contained unset jewels, of a value that seemed incalculable.

“ These, my Lord;” said he, “are poor tributes of the high consideration in which we hold the able conduct of the Duke de Ripperda, and his secretary of legation, in this troublesome affair. I am

empowered by my colleagues to say, that the larger casket is worth 30,0001., and the lesser, 20,000l. But were they millions, they would be inadequate to repay our boundless obligations to the Ambassador of Spain : and on the renewal of our guarantee, every seven years, we will give the same.”

This kind of gratitude was so little foreseen by the Duke de Ripperda, he had not given his son any directions respecting it. Louis did not feel that he required any :- It was not the gratitude that softened and subdued his heart. He closed the caskets, and putting them back into the hands of the merchant. — " Sir," said he, “ the Ambassador of Spain, and his Secretary, are sufficiently repaid for the discharge of their duties to their country, and to the world in general, by the approbation and prosperity of those they serve. Rewards of any other kind, the cannot accept; as they neither understand, nor value thein."

The dignity with which Louis said this,

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