“Perfectly well, now it is recalled, though I candidly own I had forgotten the circumstance.”
“But, still, why was Manvers disused?” Mr. Hamilton again inquired.
“For perhaps an unjust and foolish fancy, my dear friend. I could not enjoy my freedom, because of the thought I mentioned before. I knew not if my beloved father still lived, nor who bore the title of Lord Delmont, which, if he were no more, was mine by inheritance; for four-and-twenty years I had heard nothing of all whom I loved, they looked on me as dead: they might be scattered, dispersed; instead of joy, my return might bring with it sorrow, vexation, discontent. It was for this reason I relinquished the name of Manvers, and adopted the one I had well-nigh forgotten as being mine by an equal right; I wished to visit my native land unknown, and bearing that name, any inquiries I might have made would be unsuspected.”
Surrounded by those whom in waking and sleeping dreams he had so long loved, the clouds which had overhung Lord Delmont’s mind as a thick mist, even when he found himself free, dissolved before the calm sunshine of domestic love. A sense of happiness pervaded his heart, happiness chastened by a deep feeling of gratitude to Him who had ordained it. Affected he was almost to tears, as the manner of his nephew and nieces towards him unconsciously betrayed how affectionately they had ever been taught to regard his memory. Rapidly he became acquainted with each and all, and eagerly looked forward to the arrival of Emmeline and her husband to look on them likewise as his own; but though Edward laughingly protested he should tremble now for the continuance of his uncle’s preference towards himself, he ever retained his place. He had been the first known; his society, his soothing words, his animated buoyancy of spirit, his strong affection and respect for his uncle’s memory when he believed him dead, and perhaps the freemasonry of brother sailors, had bound him to Lord Delmont’s heart with ties too strong to be riven. The more he heard of, and the more he associated with him in the intimacy of home, the stronger these feelings became; and Edward on his part unconsciously increased them by his devotedness to his uncle himself, the manner with which he ever treated Mrs. Hamilton, and his conduct to his sister whose quiet unselfish happiness at his return, and thus accompanied, was indeed heightened, more than she herself a few months previous could have believed possible.
Our little narrative must here transport the reader to a small cottage in the picturesque village of Llangwillan, where, about three months after the events we have narrated, Lilla Grahame sat one evening in solitude, and it seemed in sorrow. The room in which she was seated was small, but furnished and adorned with the refined and elegant taste of one whose rank appeared much higher than the general occupants of such a dwelling.