the game he had killed. This sportsman was the ‘Squire’s chaplain, who had shot one of the blackbirds that so agreeably entertained us. So loud a report, and so near, startled my daughters; and I could perceive that Sophia in the fright had thrown herself into Mr Burchell’s arms for protection. The gentleman came up, and asked pardon for having disturbed us, affirming that he was ignorant of our being so near. He therefore sate down by my youngest daughter, and, sportsman like, offered her what he had killed that morning. She was going to refuse, but a private look from her mother soon induced her to correct the mistake, and accept his present, though with some reluctance. My wife, as usual, discovered her pride in a whisper, observing, that Sophy had made a conquest of the chaplain, as well as her sister had of the ‘Squire. I suspected, however, with more probability, that her affections were placed upon a different object. The chaplain’s errand was to inform us, that Mr Thornhill had provided music and refreshments, and intended that night giving the young ladies a ball by moon-light, on the grass-plot before our door. ‘Nor can I deny,’ continued he, ‘but I have an interest in being first to deliver this message, as I expect for my reward to be honoured with miss Sophy’s hand as a partner.’ To this my girl replied, that she should have no objection, if she could do it with honour: ‘But here,’ continued she, ‘is a gentleman,’ looking at Mr Burchell, ‘who has been my companion in the task for the day, and it is fit he should share in its amusements.’ Mr Burchell returned her a compliment for her intentions; but resigned her up to the chaplain, adding that he was to go that night five miles, being invited to an harvest supper. His refusal appeared to me a little extraordinary, nor could I conceive how so sensible a girl as my youngest, could
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