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You meaner beauties of the night,
Such was William Heathcote's impassioned soliloquy, as, after a long ramble in the beautiful woods of Denham, he sought as it were, to embody his thoughts into some visible reality, by industriously carving the trunk of a spreading elm, under whose protecting branches he was enjoying a respite from the noon-day sultriness : • What are you, indeed, when the sun, my queen of loveliness, comes forth ?”
He had already accomplished a deeply-graven R., and as he paused to gaze upon it, it seemed to more than satisfy him— to reassure him—to inspire him with confidence; for what effect cannot fancy produce on a young and heated imagination.
“No longer," murmured our hero ; “ no longer will I hesitate to declare my affection. In thee, at least, there can be no deceit,-thou art far, far above the cold
artifices of thy sex. That gentle bosom knows nothing of the mean vanity that can seek to win a heart whose love it cannot return; no, in thee may I safely confide.
Reassured as it should seem by his own eloquence, he returned to his employment, with an appearance, at least, of redoubled ardour. To account for the shadow which passed over his picture, we must inform the reader that it had fallen to his lot to meet with disappointment in his first love ;-his affections had been sported with by a heartless coquette, with an ingenuity of cruelty for which it is difficult to account. Three years had now elapsed, and, though the healing hand of time had softened the bitterness of his disappointment, and wounded pride had transformed love into dislike, there resulted to him two natural consequences of his withered feelings. A craving wish to fill the void in his breast with a more worthy object, and a distrust of all the daughters of Eve, how beautiful soever they might be.
Such was the state of his mind, when chance brought him to Denham Lodge, where, thrown into the society of two sisters, the only visiters at the house, he had ample means of acquainting himself with their characters and their singleness of mind, and of discovering qualities which, as it regarded one of these sisters, were destined to be the means of opening his heart to a second and more delightful impression than that of which he had so lately lamented the blight.