“But stay, stay, yet a moment,” said Wilton, checking his horse; “how am I to hear of you, or to see you again?”
“Oh!” replied the stranger, in a gay tone, “I will contrive that, fear not!—Nevertheless, in case you should need it, you can ask for me at the tavern at the back of Beaufort House: the Green Dragon, it is called.”
“And your name, your name?” said Wilton, seeing the other about to ride away.
“My name! ay, I had forgot—why, your name is Brown—call me Green, if you like. One colour’s just as good as another, and I may as well keep the complexion of my good friend, the Dragon, in countenance. So you wont forget, it is Mister Green, at the Green Dragon, in the Green Lane at the back of Beaufort House; and now, Mister Brown, I leave you a brown study, to carry you on your way.”
So saying, he turned his horse’s head, and cantered easily over the upland which skirted the road to the left. After he had gone about a couple of hundred yards, Wilton saw him stop and pause, as if thoughtfully, for a minute. But without turning back to the road, he again put spurs to his horse, and was out of sight in a few moments.
Wilton then rode on to London, without farther pause or adventure of any kind; but it were vain to say that, in this instance, “care did not sit behind the horseman;” for many an anxious thought, and unresolved question, and intense meditation, were his companions on his onward way. Fortunately, however, his horse was not troubled in the same manner; and about five minutes before the hour he had proposed to himself, Wilton was standing before the house of the Earl in St. James’s-square. The servants were all rejoiced to see him, for, unlike persons in his situation in general, he was very popular amongst them; but the Earl, he was informed, had not yet risen, and the account the young gentleman received of his health made him sad and apprehensive.
In about an hour’s time, the Earl of Sunbury descended to breakfast; and he expressed no small pleasure at the unexpected appearance of his young protege.
“You were always a kind and an affectionate boy, Wilton,” he said; “and you have kept your good feelings unchanged, I am happy to find. Depend upon it, when one can do so, amongst all the troubles, and cares, and corrupting things of this world, we find in the feelings of the heart that consolation, when sorrows and disappointments assail us, which no gift or favour of man can impart. I believe, indeed, that within the last six months, with all the bodily pains and mental anxieties I have had to suffer, I should either have died or gone mad, had not my mind obtained relief, from time to time, in the enjoyment of the beauties of nature, the works of art, and the productions of genius. Nor have my thoughts been altogether unoccupied with you,” he added, after a moment’s pause, “and that occupation