2021-04-17 12:53:53

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ENGLISH In the hope of finding a clue to the mystery, he took a position near her, when they rose from the table,leaning with an easy grace against the mantel, while she occupied the low window-seat,and the two were soon deep in a conversation of absorbing interest. Beginning with books, if slowly led, by the way of the morning's service and sermon, up to vital questions of duty and morals. In its course, it developed so many points of sympathy between the colloquists,such happy correspondence of opinion, without lifeless unanimity,so many dove-tailed segments of thought, glad to meet in close and completing union,that Mr. and Mrs. Bergan, listening, at first, with indulgent interest, finally began to exchange uneasy glances, and, at length, withdrew to the piazza for a hurried consultation.

On the way, his mind was illumined with a gleam of hope. Like all the negroes of the plantation, he had large faith in the occult power of old Rue. His present journey, he well knew, was mainly owing to her influence. If she could be made to see the propriety of his immediate return to Bergan's service, as he did, no doubt she could find a way to bring it to pass. And her conversion to his views could be effected, he shrewdly thought, by a skilful use of Bergan's confession of straitened circumstances, as well as a certain suggestive increase of gravity that he had observed in the young man's manner. His smile had not come quite so readily and brightly to his lips as in the old days at Bergan Hall. No doubt he was poor, lonely, and troubled. He needed some one to take care of him, and watch over him. And who so eligible to this position as himself? For Brick had inherited his grandmother's devotion to the Bergan blood, and believed that the chief end of his being was to live and die loyally in its service. Moreover, his young master had not only taken tenacious hold of his affections, but also of that still stronger faculty of the negro mindhis imagination. Though he might be a distressed knight, just at present, Brick's faith was firm that his time of triumph was not far off; and then, he wanted to be "there to see!"563 The king seemed to think it effeminate and a disgrace to him as a soldier ever to appear in a carriage. He never drove, but constantly rode from Berlin to Potsdam. In the winter of 1785, when he was quite feeble, he wished to go from Sans Souci, which was exposed to bleak winds, and where they had only hearth fires, to more comfortable winter quarters in the new palace. The weather was stormy. After waiting a few days for such a change as would enable him to go on horseback, and the cold and wind increasing, he was taken over in a sedan-chair in the night, when no one could see him. My dear General,While in Silesia I mentioned to you, and will now repeat in writing, that my army in Silesia was at no time so bad as at present. Were I to make shoemakers or tailors into generals, the regiments could not be worse. Regiment Thadden is not fit to be the most insignificant militia battalion of a Prussian army. Of the regiment Erlach, the men are so spoiled by smuggling they have no resemblance to soldiers; Keller is like a heap of undrilled boors; Hager has a miserable commander; and your own regiment is very mediocre. Only with Graf Von Anhalt, with Wendessen, and Markgraf Heinrich could I be content. See you, that is the state I found the regiments in, one after one. I will now speak of their man?uvring.

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He could now see that he stood in a wide and lofty entrance-hall, decorated with a profusion of carved woodwork; panels, cornices, and casements, being ornamented with garlands of oaken roses, or quaint heads of animals, stiff as petrifactions, and almost ebon-black with time and rubbing. The furniture consisted of a small table, a cumbrous cabinet, and ponderous, high-backed chairs, of the Elizabethan age, or perhaps earlier, brought from England, as heir-looms, by the first emigrant Bergan. There was also a tall, spectral clock, which, to Bergan's intense astonishment, suddenly began to fill the hall with a loud, monotonous tick, as if the march of time, long ago arrested in the deserted mansion, was now duly resumed:doubtless the rusty wheels had been jarred into spasmodic motion by the violent closing of the door. By way of decoration, there were a few dingy pictures, in dark, carved frames; and in two of the oaken panels hung complete suits of armor,helmets, cuirasses, gorgets, greaves, and gauntlets,memorials, not only of long-buried Bergans, but of long-vanished days.

"Ah, I see," said the landlord, in a tone which implied that he had suddenly been lifted to a point of observation at once wide and unpromising. And almost immediately he added,"On the whole, I believe I haven't got an eligible room to offer you. The one that I thought of at first is partially engaged; I cannot let it go till I know the gentleman's decision."

Rue turned again to Bergan. "You have been very patient with an old woman's talk, and an old woman's infirmity," said she, with a kind of natural dignity,"I will not trouble you any longer. Good night, and thank you, Masterwhat name shall I say?"

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"Yet you deny to yourself the credit of generous impulses!""I forgot to mention," said he, "that I did not walk quite the whole distance. A queer old character whom I overtook, insisted upon giving me a lift to Berganton."

Breaking off abruptly, he ascended the moss-grown steps, only to find that the vines which so heavily draped the portico, had woven a thick network across the door. It was plain that it had not been opened for months, perhaps years. Nevertheless, not to be easily daunted, he found and lifted the knocker. It fell with a dull lifeless sound, that smote the young man's heart like a sudden chill. A dreary reverberation came from within, and then died away into silence. He knocked again, and, listening intently, he fancied that he heard the sound of stealthy footsteps within, and a slight creaking of the floor. But so dead a silence followed upon these imaginary sounds, that he soon became convinced of his involuntary self-deception."But, massa Harry," remonstrated Brick, "don't you know I 'longs to you? I'se your nigger, sure as deff; ole massa gib me to you, an' tole me to wait on you, don' you 'member? An' how's I a goin' to wait on you, I'd jes' like to know, wid tree good miles atween us? 'Sides, I'd feel so mortify to go right back dar, like a dog dat don' own no massa, arter I done tole 'em all I's coming to lib wid you."Cathie was already Bergan's fast friend. During yesterday's work of arrangement, she had at first hovered around him at a distance; then, yielding to the unconscious fascination of the young man's look and smile, as well as the irresistible attraction of the litter of books and papers, she had drawn nearer; later on, she had eagerly favored him with the somewhat questionable help of her small fingers, and the amusing chatter of her tireless tongue; and she had ended by giving him all her childish confidence, and a large share of her freakish affections.

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Apr-17 12:53:53