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him to allow me to accompany young Leroy
in his boat, to fish in the Channel one calm
and bright summer morning, he peremptorily
answered, "No! I do not wish you to learn
to be a smuggler." But then, he instantly
checked himself, and afterwards was more
anxious and kind to me than ever. Still
Richard and I continued playfellows until we
grew up, and both admired Charlotte. He
would have made a formal proposal for her
hand, if the marked discouragement of her
family had not shut out every opportunity.
This touched his pride, and once made him
declare, in an off-hand way, that it would cost
him but very little trouble to land such a
light cargo as that, some pleasant evening, in
France, or even on one of the Azore Islands,
if orange groves and orange blossoms were
what my lady cared about. It is
wonderful how far, and how swiftly, heedless
words do fly when once they are uttered. Such
speeches did not close the breach, but instead,
laid the first foundation for one of those
confirmed estrangements which village
neighbourhoods only know. The repugnance
manifested by Charlotte's friends was partly
caused by the mystery which hung to
Richard's ample means. The choice was
unhesitatingly made in my favour. In consequence,
as a sort of rejected candidate, Richard Leroy
really did lie, amongst us, under an
unexpressed and indefinite ban, which was by no
means likely to be removed by the roystering,
scornful air of superiority with which he
mostly spoke of, looked at, and treated us.

Charlotte and I took leave of my father on
that grey September evening with the full
conviction that every blessing was in store for
us which affection and wealth had the power
to procure. Over the green, and up the
lime-tree avenue, and then, good-night, my
lady-love! Good-night, thus parting, for the
very last time. To-morrowah! think of
to-morrow. The quarters of the church
clock strike half-past nine. Good-night,
dear mother-in-law. And, once more, good-
night, Charlotte!

It was somewhat early to leave; but my
father's plans required it. He desired that
we should be married, not at the church of
tne village where we all resided, but at one
distant a short walk, in which he took a
peculiar interestwhere he had selected the
spot for a family burial-place, and where he
wished the family registers to be kept. It
was a secluded hamlet; and my father had
simply made the request that I would lodge
for a while at a farm-house there, in order
that the wedding might be performed at the
place he fixed his heart upon. My duty and
my interest were to obey.

"Good night, Charlotte," had not long
been uttered, before I was fairly on the way
to my temporary home. Our village, and its
few scattered lights, were soon left behind,
and I then was upon the open down, walking
on with a springing step. On one side was
spread the English Channel: and from time
to time I could mark the appearance of
the light at Cape Grinez, on the French
coast opposite. There it was, coming and
going, flashing out and dying away, with
never-ceasing coquetry. The cliff lay between
my path and the sea. There was no danger;
for, although the moon was not up, it was
bright starlight. I knew every inch of the
way as well as I did my father's garden walks.
In September, however, mists will rise; and,
as I approached the valley, there came the
offspring of the pretty stream which ran
through it, something like a light cloud
running along the ground before the wind. Is
there a night-fog coming on? Perhaps there
may be. If so, better steer quite clear of the
cliff, by means of a gentle circuit inland. It
is quite impossible to miss the valley; and,
once in the valley, it is equally difficult to
miss the hamlet. Richard Leroy has been
frequently backward and forward the last few
evenings: it would be strange if we should
chance to meet here, and on such an occasion.

On, and still on, cheerly. In a few minutes
more I shall reach the farm, and then, to pass
one more solitary night is almost a pleasurable
delay, a refinement in happiness. I could
sing and dance for joy. Yes, dance all alone,
on the elastic turf! There: just one foolish
caper; just one——

Good God! is this not the shock of an
earthquake? I hasten to advance another
step, but the ground beneath me quivers and
sinks. I grasp at the side of a yawning pitfall,
but grasp in vain. Down, down, down, I fall
headlong.

When my senses returned, and I could look
about me, the moon had risen, and was shining
in at the treacherous hole through which
I had fallen. A glance was only too sufficient
to explain my position. Why had I always
so foolishly refused to allow the farmer to
meet me half way, and accompany me to his
house every evening; knowing, as I did know,
how the chalk and limestone of the district
had been undermined in catacombs, sinuous
and secret for wells, flint, manure, building,
materials, and other purposes? My poor
father and Charlotte!

Patience. It can hardly be possible that
now, on the eve of marriage, I am suddenly
doomed to a lingering death. The night
must be passed here, and daylight will show
some means of escape, I will lie down on
this heap of earth that fell under me.

Amidst despairing thoughts, and a hideous
waking nightmare, daylight slowly came.

The waning moon had not revealed the
extremity of my despair; but now it was
clearly visible that I had fallen double the
height I supposed. But for the turf which
had fallen under me, I must have been killed
on the spot. The hole was too large for me
to creep up, by pressing against it with my
back and knees; and there were no friendly
knobs or protuberances visible up its smooth

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