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said Helen, as a blush of the most ingenuous simplicity just tinted her cheeks, "when I add, that I have visited with our friend the cottage of Simon Fraser ?"
"I cannot, my Helen," said Montchensey, extending his hand to her in the kindest manner; "nor do I wonder at your regard for that singular but amiable old man. Indeed, I take blame to myself for my late inattention towards him. But saw ye no one else there," he continued, assuming a solemn and somewhat reproachful manner, "in whose interest you could take a part?"
"No one, save Dorothy, my father; but I will freely own to you," she added, again slightly colouring, "for why should I conceal it, that I made some enquiries after poor Hubert Gray ?"
"If I am not much mistaken," he replied, "though I confess I am somewhat startled by the occurrence, I saw him but now in yonder part of the thicket," pointing to the spot in which he had been seen by Helen; "and I suspect that that rogue Morley, with whom he was ever a great favourite, has, instead of
searching after you, as I had directed, been engaged with him." Then, turning to Shakspeare, he added, "You have, doubtless, my friend, whither you have been this morning, heard the story of Hubert Gray; it is one of some peculiarity, and not without its share of mystery; and as it is possible you may have mentally blamed my conduct in the business, I could wish to enter into some exculpatory explanation with you on the subject. We will, therefore, if you please, adjourn to the library, and believe me, my dear Helen," he continued, observing the tears starting in her eyes, and taking her once more affectionately by the hand," believe me, when I add, that in all which concerns this poor youth, I know you have acted from the best and purest of motives."
They now hastily passed into the more open and artificial pleasure-grounds, Montchensey remarking, as they left the coverture, "You see, Master Shakspeare, that, following the recommendation of my Lord Verulam, I have adopted his plan of a heath or wilderness, ' framed as much as may be to a natural wild
ness;' and it is, indeed, the only addition which I have made to the gardens of my ancestors."
"It is one, my friend," observed the poet, as they were entering the flower-garden, "which does honour to your taste; and here too, I can perceive another proof of it, for, to use once more the language of our great contemporary, 'because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air, where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music, than in the hand,'* you have taken care, I see, to select all those flowers and plants that do best perfume its breezes."
The compliment was not unmerited, for nothing could, in fact, be more varied, rich, and delicate than the odours which were wafted from this paradise of sweets; a paradise, however, which was constructed in exact conformity to the costume of the sixteenth century, and abounding, therefore, in terrace-mounds, curiously figured parterres, shorn shrubs, alleys, arbours, clipped ever-green hedges, arched walks, and all the diversities of fillery and
* Vide Bacon's Essays, No. 46., of Gardens, p. 269. edit. of 1632.
pleach-work, and interspersed with statues, jets d'eau, and basons of water.
From this highly ornamented division of the pleasure-ground, and which opened at one extremity into a very extensive and loftily walled fruit garden, our party immediately passed into the court of the fountains formerly mentioned, and thence, through the hall, into the library, where some slight refreshment had been prepared for them from an early hour in the morning.
(To be continued.)
Who well acquainted with that commune plight
"My kind host," said Shakspeare, as they entered the library to which in our last number we had conducted the Montchenseys and their guest, and where, as was then mentioned, a few viands had been set out for their refreshment, "I have already this morning too sufficiently satisfied the demands of appetite with cottage fare, to admit of my partaking of your bounty, for the hospitality of Simon Fraser would allow of no denial; but here," he added, looking round him with great complacency," is a store of mental food that will require somewhat more time for digestion."