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“Every possible precaution, Nora, shall be taken to prevent it; and we will keep Compton always in readiness to act as your deputy, should the thriving offspring of the large lady attempt any thing of the kind. You will not refuse, Compton, to perform this vicarial service for your aunt?"

The boy coloured, tossed his handsome head, and yielded to the solicitations of his young cousin to return to the balcony, and set him climbing again.

“Where will you drive, Nora ?” inquired Mr. Stephenson, when the carriage was announced.

“ To see Agnes, and consult with her how best to guard against the inroads of this horde of savages.”

“ Do so, my dear, by all means. She will counsel you very discreetly, depend upon it.”

When the sisters met, there was, as usual, a very free exchange of confidential communication between them. Mrs. Stephenson declared that her curiosity being satisfied, she felt nothing but terror at the idea of any familiar intercourse with “Mrs. Donago;" and that somehow or other she must find means to prevent. To all this Agnes listened without surprise ; but when in her turn she dwelt

upon her own embarrassments from the same source, and related all the circumstances of the general's only half-playful warfare with Mrs. Compton on the subject, the feelings of Nora underwent a sudden change. Notwithstanding a firm foundation of genuine liking and goodwill, there was often a considerable difference of opinion on many subjects between the highminded and dignified, yet simple-mannered General Hubert, and the capricious and affected, though affectionate little beauty, his sister-inlaw.

She had quite sense and right feeling enough to be conscious of his high worth, and often in her graver moods, acknowledged his superiority to every body in the world, but her husband. Yet she dearly loved to contradict him, and to make him feel, in spite of all his wisdom, that the very folly of a pretty woman has power in it. She was, moreover, wont to declare, that his wife spoiled him, and that all he wanted to make him perfectly agreeable, was a little well-organized contradiction.

The tormenting process which the venerable Mrs. Compton seemed to be now making him undergo for the express purpose of proving that he had been wrong, secretly delighted Mrs. Stephenson. She listened to every word concerning it, with deep attention, comprehended perfectly the game which both parties were playing, and immediately determined, thoughtless of consequences, to eke out aunt Betsy's efforts to prove that the general had blundered by every means in her power. Of this new whim she gave no hint to Agnes, but parted from her with a gentle promise to endure the Donago infliction as patiently as she could.

Had it not been for this unfortunate vagary on the part of Mrs. Stephenson, it is probable that all serious annoyance from the O'Donagoughs would have gradually died away, from the positive difficulty of keeping up any thing like friendly intercourse between persons so every way incongruous. But for this, the ci-devant major's ambitious pro

jects would have gradually sunk into an humbler sphere, his wife would soon have preferred talking of her “darling Agnes,” to enduring the restraint of her presence. Aunt Betsy would have grown weary of the sport, and so would Master Compton too; while it can hardly be doubted that General Hubert himself would have gladly suffered the discordant connexion to be placed on a proper footing, according to Mrs. O'Donagough as much consideration as might be granted without inconvenience to his own family, but no more.

That all this was most devoutly to be wished, nobody felt so strongly as poor Agnes; but unfortunately in this case, neither her judgment nor her conduct could avail to check the mischief produced by the frolicsome thoughtlessness of Nora—the easy pliability of her husband, and the sort of compunctious weakness with which poor Mr. Willough by permitted himself to be persecuted by his first wife's sister, as a sort of atonement for his deeply-repented neglect of her child. All this worked together so effectually, that before the end of a fortnight, the mischief had got so far ahead of them, as to produce a perfectly good understanding on the subject between General Hubert and Mrs. Compton. Both cordially confessed they had been wrong, and most cordially united in deprecating the consequences of it; but unfortunately, they were no longer capable of stopping the movement they had put in action.

Mr. O'Donagough, without making the slightest attempt to lead Stephenson to play, contrived to discover that in the winter he had no sort of objection to it; and meanwhile contrived by innumerable devices to make himself useful and even agreeable to him. With as much genuine coarseness, he had infinitely more tact than his vulgar wife, and was in truth so able an actor, that with an object of sufficient importance before him, he was capable of sustaining many characters extremely foreigu to his own. Stephenson soon believed him to have been the most enthusiastic sportsman, the most enterprising naturalist, and the most benevolent speculator who had ever visited New South Wales, and listened to his unbounded lies with undoubting confidence, till at length he became fully convinced that despite the peculiarities of “the Barnaby," he had found a very valuable acquaintance in her husband; and that at the time when every body was talking of the country with interest, it was really very pleasant to have picked up a man who probably knew more about it than any one else in England. It was exactly the sort of thing Frederic Stephenson liked, enabling him to get in the van of information, without the bore of reading interminable books, and endless quarterly articles upon it; and in short, Mr. Allen O'Donagough was soon on such excellent terms with the rich Stephenson," that he dined with him twice in one week, and might most days be seen walking and talking with him on the pier for an hour together. This intimacy went on the more prosperously, because Mrs. Stephenson contrived, in her usual easy style, to perform her part of the mischief she was so thoughtlessly promoting, with very little inconvenience to herself. She called once or twice on Mrs. O'Donagough ; but as her carriage had two or three children in it, she could not leave them, and therefore only sent in her card, and when these visits were returned, it was poor Mr. Willoughby who had to converse with her. The inviting Mr. O'Donagough, to dinner, of course did not include the ladies of the family; yet the talking of it served extremely well to show the general that his friendly reception of his wife's aunt had already entailed the connexion upon them; and in addition to this, Nora more than once amused herself by inviting Patty to pass the evening when Compton was engaged to dine with them : a device which produced a display of coquetry on the part of the young lady, so comic, as repeatedly to make her forget her fine-ladyism in hearty laughter at the remembrance of it.

It was by dilating a little too maliciously upon this, in the presence both of General Hubert and Mrs. Compton, that the foundation of a perfect reconciliation between them was laid. No sooner did they find themselves alone together, or at least with Agnes only for a witness, than they both, as by common consent, pleaded guilty to great folly in permitting Compton to amuse himself in so objectionable a manner; and the ice once broken, nothing could be more frank than the sincerity with which each declared themselves to blame. But unfortunately, it was much easier to confess the fault than to remedy it; and so insidiously did Mrs. O'Donagough contrive to turn every accident to profit in promoting the intercourse between the cousins, that at length the old lady suddenly declared her intention of returning immediately to Compton Bassett, and taking her young heir with her for the purpose of giving him some shooting upon his own manor. This was conferring a degree of pre-eminent dignity upon the boy, which both father and mother, under other circumstances, would have been very likely to disapprove; but now no objection was made to it, and the scheme was immediately decided upon. The bright eyes of Miss Patty could by no means stand a competition with partridge-shooting with his own dogs, and the youthful Lothario, mounted on the coachbox of aunt Betsy's carriage, dashed passed the abode of his belle, and waved his hat so gaily to her and her mother who stood together at the open drawing-room window, that though little was said between them on the subject, both felt that “spiteful aunt Betsy' had achieved a tour de force, which disappointed many projects.

The mother consoled herself by remembering that “the horrid old woman could not live for ever," and the daughter found solace in a long recapitulation of Jack's love-making on board the Atalanta, during a long walk on the cliff with her faithful friend Matilda.

The departure of Compton, and to say truth, the departure of aunt Betsy also, were, under the present circumstances, a considerable relief to General Hubert; nevertheless, the O'Donagough plague was far from being put an end to by it. Agnes was still perpetually pained by witnessing the annoyance endured by her father under the persecutions of his affectionate sister-in-law.

It was Mr. Willoughby's habit to ramble out every morning, when at the sea-side, immediately after breakfast, sometimes leading one grandchild with him, and sometimes another. Mrs. O'Donagough soon became acquainted with this fact, and from that hour the unfortunate gentleman was never permitted to inhale the breeze he loved, without having her closely fastened to his side. Though neither his spirits nor his frame were particularly robust, he might, perhaps, have endured this daily annoyance with greater fortitude, had it been confined to the operations of her tongue as she walked beside him ; but always con

scious that of all those upon whom she hung for the gratification of her ambition, he was the one who would endure the demonstrations of her love most patiently, she never relaxed in her determination to make the most of him.

This led to such heavy hangings on his arm, such lusty tappings on the back, when she had hunted him into the public library, and so many other wearying tokens of affectionate familiarity, that though he complained to no one, his life positively became a burden to him; and it was only because he thought somebody or other would guess the reason, and think he was unkind to “poor Sophy's sister,” that he did not at once take to his bed in order to get rid of her.

The only person who did guess the reason of his languid looks and altered spirits, was his daughter Agnes ; and the idea having once suggested itself there was no great difficulty in testing its truth, and convincing herself that it was well founded. As soon as she became quite sure of the fact, she pointed it out to her husband, who secretly reproached himself much more severely than he confessed, for having been so greatly the cause of it. These feelings d'un part, et d'autre soon led to the anticipation of a scheme, long ago projected, but not intended to take place till the following year.

General Hubert's eldest son had gone through Eton school with such brilliant rapidity as to be ready for college at least two years before his father wished to send him there. During this dangerous interval he had himself determined upon being his tutor, and by taking him on the continent with his mother and sisters, hoped to assist essentially the formation of his moral character, while giving him the advantage of modern languages, and extensive travelling.

In this scheme Mr. Willoughby had been always included, he had already repeatedly visited Italy, and had so uniformly found himself in better health on the continent, that nothing but his averseness to leave his daughters and their children, induced him to reside in England.

Had General and Mrs. Hubert wanted any confirmation on the subject of Mr. Willoughby's weariness of Brighton, they would have found it in the manner of his receiving their proposal for immediately leaving it for France.

When every member of a party is cordially desirous of promoting a scheme, and ample means exist to facilitate its being carried into execution, it is wonderful how much may be done in a little time. Mrs. Hubert, Miss Wilmot, and the two girls, with their attendants, almost immediately crossed to Dieppe, under the escort of Mr. Willoughby, while General Hubert, who it was settled should join them at Paris, returned to London, for the purpose of settling every thing previous to his leaving England, and arranging the movements of his son Montague upon his finally quitting school.

Old Mrs. Compton had been long prepared for this separation, and was comforted under it, by Compton Hubert's promising to make Compton Bassett, now become a very handsome residence, his principal home during the vacations; while to its taking place somewhat earlier than was intended, she was perfectly reconciled by the motive for it.

(To be continued.)

LETTERS FROM IRELAND.-NO, IX.*

BY JOHN CARNE, ESQ.

The

way from Glanmore was over a wild and mountainous region, almost untenanted : a home at long intervals at the foot of a crag, or on the beach beneath. The harbour of Kenmare on the right, looked like a mighty river, stretching nearly thirty miles inland, and superior in its scenery to the bay of Bantry. A range of barren mountains was on its either shore, and isles on its waters, whose windings were beautiful. It was a solitary land. About midway, the path led through a bold and narrow pass, and beneath was a softer country: fields here and there of good produce: none of those who tilled them were abroad. Turning at last to the left, the upland brought us on about a mile to Glen Begh: the evening was darkening on the lake to which we descended; it filled the deep hollow in the mountains, and seemed to have no shore. A track by its side led along the rocks, or across stepping-stones partly covered by the water: a little girl tripped by, her long hair loose on her shoulders, and a string of trout in her hand : a proof that a human abode could not be far off; but where, no ingenuity could tell. Both shores were high and rugged; but the opposite one was so steep, that the goat could not find a footing, or the eagle scarcely rest there. On suddenly rounding a point near the extremity, iwo farm-houses were seen within a few hundred yards of each other, each in the midst of its little domain, the only cultivated spot in the glen. No other shelter, even of the rudest kind, was within many miles. Beneath the nearest roof we were induced to stay : the farther one stood at the head of the waters, and at the foot of the precipices. A walk of eight miles, the coming on of a storm, the fierce solitude of the place, gave an almost loveliness to this strange little hamlet: its few fields of corn and flax, its cattle grazing in the pastures, its ample ricks in the yard between the rock and the water: its boat was moored beneath.

The family consisted of the widow, her son, and two daughters, with two handsome little boys, her grandchildren, dressed in clothes woven at home, from wool of the fock. The two young women were both good-looking, neatly dressed, and busied in weaving or knitting : it was a home of industry; how else could it have been wrested from this desert? The turf fire was piled high, the rich fuel could be had close at hand, for the mere trouble of seeking it: the recklessness with which it was cast on the hearth was refreshing.

It is a beautiful thing for a poor man to look on the rolling flames and the glowing heap beneath, without a sigh, and feel that it costs him little or nothing. Preparations for supper were begun, and we walked out to look at the glen, as the night was falling fast. The waters filled their funereal bed even to the foot of the mountains : the wind moaned dismally in the narrow confines, the clouds fleeted low and fast before it, the lone boat that bore part of the farmer's family was like the spectre-boat, the plash of its oars hollow and wild. What

Continued from No. ccxxi., page 127.

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