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THE

LAST OF THE CAVALIERS.

Fare thee well, great heart !
Ill-weaved ambition, how much art thou shrunk !

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Thy ignomy sleep with thee in the grave,
But not remembered in thy epitaph.

KING HENRY THE FOURTH, Part I.

IN THREE VOLUMES.

VOL. III.

RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

1859.

249, 4, 40.

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THE

LAST OF THE CAVALIERS.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE KING'S HEAD.

Either I mistake your shape and meaning quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow.

MIDSUMMER Night's DREAM.

On the very day when tle destinies of a realm and a family of princes hung wavering in the balance, we again resume the interrupted thread of our heroine's story, which the reader will perhaps be inclined to accuse us (with some justice) of having neglected for less interesting and less immediately pertinent details.

As evening drew on, and Lord Glencarrig was preparing to enter upon his first independent adventure on the theatre of life, as soon as the friendly darkness should be thick enough to secure him from the prying observation of some who watched his kinsman's movements and his own too narrowly, our

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gentle Alice was entering the town almost at the opposite point to that by which he intended to leave it, and—had he but guessed it thinking, although not exclusively, of him.

She had walked out that afternoon with Janet to visit a poor family in the vicinity of Libberton, a hamlet about three miles south of Edinburgh, and was coming home alone, for the old dame had remained behind to nurse a sick woman, who had earnestly entreated the assistance of her charitable skill. Alice had proposed to share her watch, but upon this Janet had put a peremptory veto, for the young girl had been ailing slightly for several days past; so Janet bid her go quietly home and to rest early, promising to return with the first peep of day -and Alice had smilingly obeyed. On her

way

to the town she had turned a little out of the road to see her mother's pretty grave, now decked with the first blossoms of spring—an indulgence which the limited time at her disposal rendered rare and precious to Alice. She had spent a longer time than usual near the low green mound which sheltered her parent's remains; and, although she had shed but few tears over it—although her prayers had been peaceful and sweet—the visit had tended to depress her sensitive spirits, and she felt less able to rally than was her wont. She was tired, too, with her long excursion ; and something in the aspect of the country

- in the breath of the wind as it fanned her face-in the very perfume of the mild air, made her feel melancholy.

The spring was coming on very early, and at that delightful hour the prospect was exquisitely lovely ; the sky of that delicate greyish azure, which, far more than the most brilliant blue of winter, suggests to the eye the warmth and geniality of coming summer ; the trees, yet bare of leaves, held up their graceful interlaced branches as if invoking clear dews and bright days to swell their tiny buds; the hedges were already sprouting, the breeze was soft and fitful, the fresh ploughed earth, the springing grass and humid vegetation, loaded it with that faint aromatic scent no other season gives. Alice gazed and mused pensively, stopping every now and then to gather a solitary flower; for she loved, like Isaac, to meditate in the fields at even; but withal overcome by gushes of indescribable sadness, which, whether regret or foreboding, seemed always borne to her on the floating breeze, and to be mysteriously connected with it.

As she strolled slowly along, trying in all earnest simplicity to feel happy and unrepining, and to enjoy the beauty of the evening scene, she took from the little case which she wore about her Flora's letter, received a fortnight before, and read it over for the twentieth time. It was a transcript of Flora—that is to say, chaming, lively, gossiping, and diffuse; the merry spirit of the writer struggling at every line through the stiff formality which cramped the epistolary effusions of our great grandmothers, and brightening the four wide pages with the reflex of her pleasant self, just sobered the least bit in the world by an amusing attempt at matronly gravity, which was

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