Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Mother's Recompense, Volume II. by Grace Aguilar

Part 2 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

profess and have proved for me are returned with equal force?" continued
this noble-minded and right-feeling girl, as they neared Mrs. Langford's
cottage, where she felt this interview must cease--she could sustain it
no longer. "I would not, I could not thus wound the kind and generous
heart of one, to whose care I feel I could intrust my earthly happiness;
but as it is, situated as we both are, we must submit to the decrees of
Him, who, in infinite wisdom and mercy, would, by this bitter trial,
evince our love for Him, and try us in the ordeal of adversity and
sorrow. He alone can know the extent of that love we bear each other;
and He, if we implore Him, can alone give us sufficient strength to
obtain the conquest of ourselves. We part, Arthur--and if not for ever,
at least till many years have passed. Forget me, Arthur; you have by the
honourable integrity of your conduct wrung from me a secret I had deemed
would have died with me; for I knew and felt, and so too must you, its
utter, utter hopelessness."

Her voice for the first time, faltered; audibly, but with a strong
effort, she rallied, "I do not ask from you an explanation of the
rumours to your discredit, which are flying about this neighbourhood,
for not one of them do I believe; you have some secret enemy, whose evil
machinations will, I trust, one day be clearly proved; perhaps you have
been neglectful, heedless, and I may have been the cause. But let not
this be, dear Arthur, let me not have the misery of feeling that an
ill-fated love for one thus separated from you has rendered reckless
that character which is naturally so good, so bright, and noble. Oh, for
my sake, yield not to despair; shake off this lethargy, and prove to the
whole world that they have wronged you, that the fame of Arthur Myrvin
is as stainless as his name."

Arthur moved not his eyes from her as she thus spoke, every word she
uttered increased the strong devotion he felt towards her; but as the
purity, the nobleness of her character was displayed even clearer than
ever before him, he felt himself unworthy to possess her, and yet that
such a being loved him, avowed her love, acknowledged that to him she
could intrust her earthly happiness without a single doubt, that
knowledge exalted him above himself, soothed that morbid sensitiveness
which had oppressed him, and, ere her sweet voice had ceased to urge him
on to exertion, to trust in Him who had ordained their mutual trial, he
had inwardly resolved to nerve himself to the task, and prove that she
was not deceived in him, that he would deserve her favourable opinion.
He gazed on her as if that look should imprint those fair and childlike
features on the tablet of his memory.

"I will obey you," he said at length, in a voice hoarse with contending
emotions. "We part, and when I return years hence, it may be to see you
the happy wife of one in all respects more suited to you; but then, even
then, although love for me may have passed away, remember it is you,
whose gentle voice has saved a fellow-creature from the sinful
recklessness of despair; you who have pointed out the path which, I call
heaven and earth to witness, I will leave no means untried till it is
trodden. Had you refused to hear me, had you scorned my affections, left
me in displeasure for my presumption, oh, Emmeline, I might indeed have
become that which I am believed; but now you have inspired me with a new
spirit. The recollection that you have not deemed me so utterly
unworthy, will never, never leave me; it shall cling to me, and if evil
assail me, that fond thought shall overcome temptation. The vain
longings for a more stirring profession shall no more torment me, it is
enough _you_ have not despised me; and however irksome may be my future
duties, they shall be performed with a steadiness and zeal which shall
procure me esteem, if it do no more, and reconcile my conscience to my
justly offended Maker. If, in future years, you chance to hear the name
of Arthur Myrvin spoken in terms of respect and love, you will trace
your own work; and oh, Emmeline, may that thought, that good deed, prove
the blessing I would now call down upon your head."

He paused in strong and overpowering emotion, and Emmeline sought in
vain for words to reply; they had reached the entrance to Mrs.
Langford's little garden, and now the hour had come when they must part.
"Farewell, dearest Arthur, may God bless you and give you peace! Leave
me now," she added, after a moment's pause. But Arthur could only fix
his eyes mournfully on her face, as though her last look should never
leave him; then, suddenly, he raised her hand to his quivering lip. One
moment, through blinding tears, he gazed on that dear being he loved so
well; yet another moment, and he was gone.

Emmeline leaned heavily against the little gate, a sickness as of death
for a moment crept over her and paralysed every limb; with a strong
effort she roused herself and entered the cottage, feeling greatly
relieved to find Mrs. Langford was absent. She sunk on a low seat, and
burying her face in her hands, gave way for the first time to a violent
burst of tears; yet she had done her duty, she had acted rightly, and
that thought enabled her to conquer the natural weakness which, for a
short time, completely overpowered her, and when Mrs. Langford returned,
no signs of agitation were evident, except a more than ordinary
paleness, which in her present delicate state of health, was easily
attributable to fatigue.

Now it so happened that Widow Langford possessed a shrewdness and
penetration of character, which we sometimes find in persons of her
class, but which was in her case so combined, from long residence in Mr.
Hamilton's family, with a delicacy and refinement, that she generally
kept her remarks very much more secret than persons in her sphere of
life usually do. It was fortunate for our poor Emmeline that it was so,
for the widow had chanced to be an unseen witness of Arthur's
impassioned farewell. She heard the concluding words of both, marked the
despairing glance of Arthur, the deadly paleness of her dear Miss
Emmeline, and connecting these facts with previous observations, she
immediately imagined the truth; and with that kindness to which we have
alluded, she retreated and lingered at a neighbour's till she thought
her young lady had had sufficient time to recover her composure, instead
of acting as most people would have done, hastened up to her, under the
idea she was about to faint, and by intrusive solicitations, and yet
more intrusive sympathy in such a matter, betrayed that her secret had
been discovered.

Mrs. Langford shrunk from acting thus, although this was not the first
time she had suspected the truth. She knew Emmeline's character well,
and doted on her with all the affection a very warm heart could bestow.
Having been head nurse in Mrs. Hamilton's family from Herbert's birth,
she loved them all as her nurslings, but Emmeline's very delicate health
when a baby, appeared to have rendered her the good woman's especial

At the time of Caroline's marriage, Miss Emmeline's future prospects
were, of course, the theme of the servants' hall; some of whom thought
it not at all improbable, that as Miss Hamilton had become a countess,
Miss Emmeline might one day be a marchioness, perhaps even a duchess.
Now Widow Langford thought differently, though she kept her own counsel
and remained silent. Miss Emmeline, she fancied, would be very much
happier in a more humble sphere, and settled down quietly near Oakwood,
than were she to marry some great lord, who would compel her to live
amidst the wear and tear of a gay and fashionable life. Arthur Myrvin
chanced to be a very great favourite of the widow's, and if he could but
get a richer living, and become rather more steady in his character, and
if Miss Emmeline really loved him, as somehow she fancied she did, why
it would not only be a very pretty, but a very happy match, she was
quite sure.

The good widow was, however, very careful not in the least to betray to
her young lady that she had been a witness of their parting; for, after
an expression of pleasure at seeing her there, an exclamation of
surprise and regret at her pale cheeks, she at once branched off into a
variety of indifferent subjects concerning the village, topics in which
she knew Emmeline was interested, and concluded with--

"And so our young curate is, indeed, going to start for Exeter to-night,
in the Totness mail. I am so very sorry, though I do not dare say so to
any of my uncharitable neighbours. I did not think he would go so soon,
poor dear Mr. Myrvin."

"It is not too soon, nurse, when every tongue has learned to speak
against him," replied Emmeline, calmly, though a sudden flush rose to
her cheek. "He must be glad to feel Mr. Howard no longer requires his

"But dear Miss Emmeline, you surely do not believe one word of all the
scandalous reports about him?" said the widow, earnestly.

"I do not wish to do so, nor will I, without more convincing proofs,"
replied Emmeline, steadily. "My father, I fear, is deeply prejudiced,
and that, in one of his charitable and kindly feelings, would tell
against him."

"My master has been imposed on by false tales, my dear young lady; do
not let them do so on you," said the good woman, with an eagerness which
almost surprised her young companion. "I am quite convinced he has some
secret enemy in the parish, I am pretty certain who it is; and I do not
despair one day of exposing all his schemes, and proving Mr. Myrvin is
as well disposed and excellent a young man as any in the parish. I know
who the villain is in this case, and my master shall know it too, one
day." Emmeline struggled to subdue the entreaty that was bursting from
her lips, but entirely she could not, and seizing the widow's hand, she
exclaimed, in a low agitated voice--

"Do so; oh, proclaim the falsehood, the cruelty of these reports, and
I--I mean Arthur--Mr. Myrvin will bless you. It is so cruel, in such
early youth, to have one's character defamed, and he has only that on
which to rest; tell me, promise me you will not forget this

"To the very best of my ability, Miss Emmeline, I promise you," replied
Mrs. Langford, more and more confirmed in her suspicions. "But do not
excite yourself so much, dear heart. Mr. Maitland said you were to be
kept quite quiet, you know, and you have fatigued yourself so much, you
are trembling like an aspen."

"My weakness must plead my excuse for my folly, dear nurse," answered
Emmeline, striving by a smile to control two or three tears, which,
spite of all resistance, would chase one another down her pale cheek.
"Do not mind me, I shall get well very soon. And how long do you think
it will be before you succeed in your wish?"

"Not for some time, my dear young lady, at present. I have only my
suspicions; I must watch cautiously, ere they can be confirmed. I assure
you, I am as anxious that poor young man's character should be cleared
as you can be."

A faint smile for a moment played round Emmeline's lips, as she pressed
the good woman's hand, and said she was satisfied. A little while longer
she lingered, then rousing herself with a strong effort, she visited, as
she had intended, two or three poor cottages, and forced herself to
listen to and enter with apparent interest on those subjects most
interesting to their inmates. In her solitary walk thence to Moorlands
she strenuously combated with herself, lest her thoughts should adhere
to their loved object, and lifting up her young enthusiastic soul in
fervent faith and love to its Creator, she succeeded at length in
obtaining the composure she desired, and in meeting her mother, at
Moorlands, with a smile and assumed playfulness, which did not fail,
even at Mrs. Hamilton's gentle reproof for her lengthened absence and
over fatigue, to which she attributed the paleness resting on her cheek,
and which even the return of Edward and Ellen to Oakwood, and the many
little pleasures incidental to a reunion, could not chase away.

Three weeks passed quietly on; Oakwood was once more the seat of
domestic enjoyment. The Earl and Countess St. Eval spent the week of
Christmas with them, which greatly heightened every pleasure, and Mr.
and Mrs. Hamilton, instead of seeking in vain for one dear face in the
happy group around them on the eve of Christmas and the New Year, beheld
beside their peaceful hearth another son, beneath whose fond and gentle
influence the character of Caroline, already chastened, was merging into
beautiful maturity, and often as Mrs. Hamilton gazed on that child of
care and sorrow, yet of deep unfailing love, she felt, indeed, in her a
mother's recompense was already given.

Edward's leave of absence was extended to a longer period than usual.
His ship had been dismantled, and now lay untenanted with the other
floating castles of the deep. Her officers and men had been dispersed,
and other stations had not yet been assigned to them. Nor did young
Fortescue intend joining a ship again as midshipman; his buoyant
hopes--the expectations of a busy fancy--told him that perhaps the
epaulette of a lieutenant would glitter on his shoulder. On his first
return home he had talked continually of his examination and his
promotion, but as the time neared for him to accompany his uncle to
London for the purpose, his volubility was checked.

Caroline and her husband returned to Castle Terryn, and scarcely four
weeks after Myrvin's departure, Emmeline received from the hands of Mrs.
Langford an unexpected and most agitating letter. It was from Arthur;
intense mental suffering, in the eyes of her it addressed, breathed
through every line; but that subject, that dear yet forbidden subject,
their avowed and mutual love, was painfully avoided; it had evidently
been a struggle to write thus calmly, impassionately, and Emmeline
blessed him for his care: it merely implored her to use her influence
with St. Eval to obtain his interference with his father on his
(Arthur's) behalf. Lord Malvern he had heard was seeking for a gentleman
to accompany his son Louis as tutor and companion to Germany; there, for
the two following years, to improve his education, and enable him to
obtain a thorough knowledge of the language and literature of the
country. Arthur had applied for the situation, and recognised by the
Marquis as the young clergyman he had so often seen at Oakwood, he
received him with the utmost cordiality and kindness. On being
questioned as to his reasons for resigning his curacy, he frankly owned
that so quiet a life was irksome to him, and a desire to travel had
occasioned the wish to become tutor to any nobleman or gentleman's son
about to do so. He alluded himself to the reports to his prejudice,
avowed with sorrow that neglect of parochial duties was indeed a just
accusation, but from every other, he solemnly assured the Marquis, his
conscience was free. Not one proof of vice or even irregularity of
conduct had been or could be brought against him. He farther informed
Emmeline, that not only the Marquis but the Marchioness and the whole
family appeared much disposed in his favour, particularly Lord Louis,
who declared that if he might not have him for a tutor, he would have no
one else, and not go to Germany or to any school at all. The Marquis had
promised to give him a decided answer as soon as he had consulted Lord
St. Eval on the subject. He knew, Myrvin concluded, that her influence
was great with the Earl, and it was for that reason and that alone he
had ventured to address her.

Emmeline reflected long and deeply on this letter. Had she listened to
the powerful pleadings of her deep affection, she would have shrunk from
thus using her influence, however small, to send him from England,--yet
could she hesitate? had she indeed forgotten herself to follow that only
path of duty she had pointed out to him? Brief indeed were her moments
of indecision. She wrote instantly to St. Eval in Arthur's favour, but
so guardedly and calmly worded her letter, that no suspicion of any
kinder or more interested feeling than that of her peculiarly generous
and warm-hearted nature could have been suspected, either by St. Eval or
her sister. She excused her boldness in writing thus unadvisedly and
secretly, by admitting that she could not bear that an unjust and
unfounded prejudice should so cruelly mar the prospects of so young and,
she believed, injured a fellow-creature. She was well aware that her
father shared this prejudice, and therefore she entreated St. Eval not
to mention her share in the transaction.

Lord St. Eval willingly complied with her wishes. She had been, as we
know, ever his favourite. He loved her perfect artlessness and
playfulness, her very enthusiasm rendered her an object of his regard;
besides which, on this point, his opinion coincided with hers. He felt
assured young Myrvin was unhappy--on what account he knew not--but he
was convinced he did not deserve the aspersions cast upon him; and,
directly after the receipt of Emmeline's earnest letter, he came
unexpectedly to the parish, made inquiries, with the assistance of Mrs.
Langford, and returned to Castle Terryn, perfectly satisfied that it
would certainly be no disadvantage to his brother to be placed under the
care and companionship of Arthur Myrvin. He lost no time in imparting
this opinion to his father; and Emmeline very quickly learned that the
whole affair was arranged. Lord Louis was wild with joy that Arthur
Myrvin, whom he had liked at Oakwood, was to be his tutor, instead of
some prim formidable, dominie, and to this news was superadded the
intelligence that, the second week in February, the Rev. Arthur Myrvin
and his noble pupil quitted England for Hanover, where they intended to
make some stay.

Emmeline heard, and the words "will he not write me one line in farewell
ere he leaves England?" were murmured internally, but were instantly
suppressed, for she knew the very wish was a departure from that line of
stern control she had laid down for herself and him; and that letter,
that dear, that precious letter--precious, for it came from him, though
not one word of love was breathed,--ought not that to be destroyed? Had
she any right now to cherish it, when the aid she sought had been given,
its object gained? Did her parents know she possessed that letter, that
it was dear to her, what would be their verdict? And was she not
deceiving them in thus retaining, thus cherishing a remembrance of him
she had resolved to forget? Emmeline drew forth the precious letter; she
gazed on it long, wistfully, as if in parting from it the pang of
separation with the beloved writer was recalled. She pressed her lips
upon it, and then with stern resolution dropped it into the fire that
blazed upon the hearth; and, with cheek pallid and breath withheld, she
marked the utter annihilation of the first and last memento she
possessed of him she loved.

Mrs. Hamilton's anxiety on Emmeline's account did not decrease. She
still remained pale and thin, and her spirits more uneven, and that
energy which had formerly been such a marked feature in her character
appeared at times entirely to desert her; and Mr. Maitland, discovering
that the extreme quiet and regularity of life which he had formerly
recommended was not quite so beneficial as he had hoped, changed in a
degree his plan, and advised diversity of recreation, and amusements of
rather more exertion than he had at first permitted. Poor Emmeline
struggled to banish thought, that she might repay by cheerfulness the
tenderness of her parents and cousins, but she was new to sorrow; her
first was indeed a bitter trial, the more so because even from her
mother it was as yet concealed. She succeeded for a time in her wishes,
so far as to gratify her mother by an appearance of her usual
enthusiastic pleasure in the anticipation of a grand ball, given by
Admiral Lord N----, at Plymouth, which it was expected the Duke and
Duchess of Clarence would honour with their presence. Ellen anxiously
hoped her brother would return to Oakwood in time to accompany them. He
had passed his examination with the best success, but on the advice of
Sir Edward Manly, they both lingered in town, in the hope that being on
the spot the young officer would not be forgotten in the list of
promotions. He might, Edward gaily wrote, chance to return to Oakwood a
grade higher than he left it.


"Ellen, I give you joy!" exclaimed Emmeline, entering the room where her
mother and cousin were sitting one afternoon, and speaking with some of
her former cheerfulness. "There is a carriage coming down the avenue,
and though I cannot quite distinguish it, I have second sight sufficient
to fancy it is papa's. Edward declared he would not tell us when he was
coming home, and therefore there is nothing at all improbable in the
idea, that he will fire a broadside on us, as he calls it,

"I would willingly stand fire, to see him safe anchored off this
coast," replied Ellen, smiling. "Lord N----'s ball will lose half its
charms if he be not there."

"What! with all your enthusiastic admiration of her Royal Highness, whom
you will have the honour of seeing? For shame, Ellen."

"My enthusiastic admiration; rather yours, my dear Emmeline. Mine is so
quiet that it does not deserve the name of enthusiasm," replied Ellen,
laughing. "Nor could I have imagined you would have honoured me so far
as to give me an attribute in your eyes so precious."

"I am getting old and learning wisdom," answered Emmeline, making an
effort to continue her playfulness, "and therefore admire quietness more
than formerly."

"And therefore you are sometimes so silent and sad, to atone for the
past, my Emmeline," remarked her mother, somewhat sorrowfully.

"Sad, nay, dearest mother, do me not injustice; I cannot be sad, when so
many, many blessings are around me," replied the affectionate girl.
"Silent I may be sometimes, but that is only because I do not feel quite
so strong perhaps as I once did, and it appears an exertion to rattle on
as I used upon trifling subjects."

"I shall not be contented, then, my own Emmeline, till that strength
returns, and I hear you delighted, even as of old, with little things

"And yet you have sometimes smiled at my romance, and bade me think of
self-control, dearest mother. Must I be saucy enough to call you
changeable?" answered Emmeline, smiling, as she looked in her mother's

Mrs. Hamilton was prevented replying by Ellen's delighted exclamation
that it was her uncle's carriage, and Edward was waving a white
handkerchief, as if impatient to reach them, an impatience which was
speedily satisfied by his arrival, bounding into the room, but suddenly
pausing at the door to permit his uncle and another gentleman's
entrance, to which latter he respectfully raised his cap, and then
sprung forward to clasp the extended hands of his cousin and sister.

"Allow me to congratulate you, madam," said Sir Edward Manly, after
returning with easy politeness the courteous greeting of Mrs. Hamilton,
"on the promotion of one of the bravest officers and most noble-minded
youths of the British navy, and introduce all here present to Lieutenant
Fortescue, of his Majesty's frigate the Royal Neptune, whose unconquered
and acknowledged dominion over the seas I have not the very slightest
doubt he will be one of the most eager to preserve."

"Nor can I doubt it, Sir Edward," replied Mrs. Hamilton, smiling, as she
glanced on the flushing cheek of her gallant nephew, adding, as she held
out her hand to him, "God bless you, my dear boy! I do indeed rejoice in
your promotion, for I believe it well deserved."

"You are right, madam, it is well deserved," replied Sir Edward, with an
accent so marked on the last sentence that the attention of all was
arrested. "Hamilton, I have been silent to you on the subject, for I
wished to speak it first before all those who are so deeply interested
in this young man's fate. The lad," he added, striking his hand frankly
on Edward's shoulder, "the lad whose conscience shrunk from receiving
public testimonials of his worth as a sailor, while his private
character was stained, while there was that upon it which, if known, he
believed would effectually prevent his promotion; who, at the risk of
disappointment to his dearest wishes, of disgrace, want of honour,
possessed sufficient courage to confess to his captain that his
log-book, the first years of his seamanship, told a false tale--the lad,
I say, who can so nobly command himself, is well worthy to govern
others. He who has known so well the evil of disobedience will be firm
in the discipline of his men, while he who is so stern to his own faults
will, I doubt not, be charitable to those of others. The sword presented
to him for his brave preservation of the crew of the Syren will never be
stained by dishonour, while he looks upon it and remembers the past, and
even as in those of my own son, shall I henceforward rejoice in using my
best endeavours to promote the fortunes of Edward Fortescue."

The return of Edward, the honours he had received, the perfect happiness
beaming on his bright face, all caused Ellen to look forward to the ball
with greater pleasure than she had ever regarded gaiety of that sort
before; and Mrs. Hamilton would sometimes playfully declare that she and
Emmeline had for a time exchanged characters, although Edward's
never-failing liveliness, his odd tales and joyous laugh, had appeared
partly to rouse the latter's usual spirits, and dissipate slightly her
mother's anxiety.

The festive night arrived, and anticipation itself was not disappointed
in the pleasure it bestowed. All the nobility of the country, for miles
round, had assembled in respect to the royal guests who had honoured
the distinguished commander with their august presence; and Mrs.
Hamilton's natural feelings of pride were indeed gratified that night,
as she glanced on her Caroline, who now appeared in public for the first
time since her marriage, attired in simple elegance, yet with a richness
appropriate to her rank, attracting every eye, even that of their Royal
Highnesses themselves, by the graceful dignity of her tall and
commanding figure, by the quiet repose and polished ease which
characterised her every movement. If Lord St. Eval looked proud of his
young wife, there were few there who would have blamed him. The Lady
Florence Lyle was with her brother, enjoying with unfeigned pleasure, as
did Ellen, and to all appearance Emmeline, the scene before them.

The brilliant uniforms of the army, and the handsome but less striking
ones of the navy, imparted additional gaiety and splendour to the rooms,
forming picturesque groups, when contrasting with the chaste and elegant
costumes of the fairer sex. But on the fascinating scene we may not
linger, nor attempt to describe the happiness which the festivities
occasioned the entire party, nor on the gratification of Lieutenant
Fortescue, when Sir Edward Manly begged the honour of an introduction
for his young friend to his Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, who,
with his amiable consort, the Princess Adelaide, had honoured Lord
N----with their august presence. Upon one incident alone we must be
permitted to dwell, as affording a great and unexpected pleasure to our
friend Ellen.

Edward and Ellen were for some time perfectly unconscious that they were
objects of the most earnest, penetrating scrutiny of a lady, leaning on
the arm of a young and handsome man in regimentals, near them.

"It must be them; that likeness cannot be that of a stranger," were the
words, uttered in an earnest, persuading tone, addressed by the young
officer to the lady, who might be his mother, which were the first to
attract the attention of the little group, though the speaker appeared
quite unconscious he was overheard. "Let me speak to him, and at least
ask the question."

"No, no, Walter," the lady replied, in a low tone. "Changed as are our
situations now, I could not wish, even if it be them, to intrude upon
their remembrance."

An exclamation of suppressed impatience escaped from the lips of the
young man, but instantly checking it, he said, respectfully and

"Dearest mother, do not say so, if" (the name was lost) "grew up as she
was a child, she would be glad to welcome the friend of her father, the
companion of her childhood."

"But it cannot be, Walter; that beautiful girl is not like my poor
child, though her brother may strangely resemble those we have known."

"Have you not often told me, mother, we never change so much as from
childhood into youth? Ellen was always ill, now she may be well, and
that makes all the difference in the world. I am much mistaken if those
large, mournful eyes can belong to any but"--

He paused abruptly; for convinced that they must be the subject of
conversation, and feeling they were listening to language not meant for
their ears, Edward and Ellen turned towards the speakers, who to the
former appeared perfect strangers, not so to the latter. Feelings,
thoughts of her earliest infancy and childhood, came thronging over her
as a spell, as she gazed on the lady's countenance, which, by its
expression, denoted that sorrow had been her portion; it was changed,
much changed from that which it had been; but the rush of memory on
Ellen's young soul told her that face had been seen before. A night of
horror and subsequent suffering flashed before her eyes, in which that
face had beamed in fondness and in soothing kindness over her; that
voice had spoken accents of love in times when even a mother's words
were harsh and cold.

"Forgive me, sir, but is not your name Fortescue?" inquired the young
man, somewhat hesitatingly, yet frankly, as he met Edward's glance.

"You have the advantage of me, sir," he replied, with equal frankness;
"such is my name, but yours I cannot guess."

"I beg your pardon, but am I speaking to the son of Colonel Fortescue,
who fell in India during a skirmish against the natives, nearly ten
years ago?"

"The same, sir."

"Then it is--it is Mrs. Cameron; I am not, I knew I could not be
mistaken," exclaimed Ellen, in an accent of delight, and bounding
forward, she clasped the lady's eagerly-extended hand in both hers, and
gazing in her face with eyes glistening with starting tears. "And would
you, could you have passed me, without one word to say my friend, the
wife of my father's dearest friend, was so near to me? you who in my
childhood so often soothed and tended my sufferings, dearest Mrs.
Cameron?" and tears of memory and of feeling fell upon the hand she
held, while young Cameron gazed on her with an admiration which utterly
prevented his replying coherently to the questions, the reminiscences of
former years, when they were playmates together in India, which Edward,
discovering by his sister's exclamation who he was, was now pouring in
his ear.

"I did not, could not think I should have been thus affectionately, thus
faithfully remembered, my dear Ellen, after a lapse of so many years,"
replied Mrs. Cameron, visibly affected at her young companion's warmth.
"I could not imagine the memory of a young child, such as you were when
we parted, would have been so acute."

"Then my niece must have been all these years mistaken, and you too did
not understand her, though she fancied you did," said Mrs. Hamilton,
with a smile, advancing to relieve Ellen's agitation, which the
association of her long-lamented father with Mrs. Cameron rendered
almost painful. "I could have told you, from the moment she was placed
under my care, that she never would forget those who had once been kind
to her. I have known you so long, from Ellen's report, that glad am I
indeed to make your acquaintance; you to whom my lamented sister was so
much indebted."

Gratified and soothed by this address, for the sight of Ellen had
awakened many sad associations, she too being now a widow, Mrs. Cameron
rallied her energies, and replied to Mrs. Hamilton, in her naturally
easy and friendly manner. Ellen looked on the black dress she wore, and
turned inquiringly to young Cameron, who answered hurriedly, for he
guessed her thoughts.

"Ask not of my father, he is beside Colonel Fortescue; he shared his
laurels and his grave."

An expression of deep sympathy passed over Ellen's countenance,
rendering her features, to the eager glance of the young man, yet more

"You have, I see, much to say and inquire, my dear Ellen," said her
aunt, kindly, as she marked her flushed cheek and eager eye. "Perhaps
Mrs. Cameron will indulge you by retiring with you into one of those
quiet, little refreshment-rooms, where you can talk as much as you
please without remark."

"Can I ask my dear young friend to resign the pleasures of the dance,
and agreeable companionship of the friends I see thronging round her, to
listen to an old woman's tale?" said Mrs. Cameron, smiling.

"I think you are answered," replied Mrs. Hamilton, playfully, as Ellen
passed her arm through that of Mrs. Cameron and looked caressingly and
persuadingly in her face.

Mrs. Cameron's tale was soon told. She had returned to England, for
India had become painful to her, from the many bereavements which had
there unhappily darkened her lot. Captain Cameron had fallen in an
engagement, two or three years after Mrs. Fortescue's departure; and out
of seven apparently healthy children, which had been hers when Ellen
knew her, only three now remained. It was after the death of her eldest
daughter, a promising girl of eighteen, her own health having suffered
so exceedingly from the shock, that her son Walter, fearing for her
life, effected an exchange, and being ordered to return with his
regiment to England--for he now held his father's rank of captain--he
succeeded in persuading his mother to accompany him with his sisters. He
was quartered at Devonport, where it appeared they had been residing
the last eight months, visited, even courted, by most of the military
and naval officers who had known and respected his father; amongst whom
was Lord N--, who had persuaded Mrs. Cameron to so far honour his ball
as there to introduce her daughter Flora, using arguments she could not
resist, and consequently delighting her affectionate children, by once
more appearing in public.

"And this is Walter, the kind Walter, who used ever to take my part,
though he did scold me for always looking so sad," exclaimed Ellen,
after hearing her friend's tale, and answering all her questions
concerning herself, looking up as she spoke on the young man, who had
again joined them, and blushing with timidity at her boldness in thus
speaking to one who had grown into a stranger.

The young man's heart throbbed as he heard himself addressed as Walter
by the beautiful girl beside him; and he found it difficult to summon
sufficient courage to ask her to dance with him; frankly, however, she

Ellen found pleasure, also, in renewing acquaintance with the timid
Flora, whom she had left a playful child of seven, and who was now
merging into bright and beautiful girlhood; eager to return her kindly
warmth in the delight of finding one of her own age among that
glittering crowd of strangers.

But few more incidents of note occurred that night; dancing continued
with unabated spirit, even after the departure of the royal guests, and
pleasure was the prevailing feeling to the last. The notice of the Duke,
and the benignant spirit of the Duchess, her gentle and kindly manners,
had penetrated many a young and ardent soul, and fixed at once and
unwaveringly the stamp of future loyalty within.

Once introduced to Mrs. Cameron, and aware that she resided so near
them, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton cultivated her acquaintance; speedily they
became intimate. In Mrs. Fortescue's broken and dying narrative, she had
more than once mentioned them as the friends of her husband, and having
been most kind to herself. Edward had alluded to Captain Cameron's care
of him, and parting advice, when about to embark for England; and Ellen
had frequently spoken of Mrs. Cameron's kindness to her when a child.
All those who had shown kindness to her sister were objects of
attraction to Mrs. Hamilton, and the widow speedily became so attached
to her and her amiable family, that, on Walter being suddenly ordered
out to Ireland (which commands, by the way, the young man obeyed with
very evident reluctance), she gladly consented to rent a small
picturesque cottage between Moorlands and Oakwood, an arrangement which
added much to the young people's enjoyment; while the quiet repose of
her present life, the society of Mrs. Hamilton and her worthy husband,
as also that of Mr. Howard, restored the widow to happiness, which had
not been her portion since her husband's death; and now, for the first
time, Mrs. Hamilton became acquainted with those minute particulars
which she had for the last nine years desired to know, concerning the
early childhood of those orphans then committed to her care. That her
sister had been partial, it was very easy to discover; but the extent of
the evil, and the many little trials Ellen's very infancy had to
encounter, were only subjects of conjecture, for she could not bear to
lead them to speak on any topic that might in the least have reflected
on the memory of their mother.

The intelligence therefore which she now obtained explained all that had
been a matter of mystery and surprise in Ellen's character, and rendered
clearer than ever to Mrs. Hamilton the painful feelings which had in
opening youth actuated her niece's conduct; and often, as she listened
to Mrs. Cameron's account of her infant sufferings and her mother's
harshness and neglect, did Mrs. Hamilton wish such facts had from the
first been known to her; much sorrow, she felt assured, might have been
spared to all. She would perchance have been enabled to have so trained
her and soothed her early-wounded sensibility, that all the wretchedness
of her previous years might have been avoided, but she would not long
allow her mind to dwell on such things. She looked on her niece as
dearer than ever, from the narrative she had heard, and she was thankful
to behold her thus in radiant health and beauty, and, she hoped, in
happiness, although at times there was still a deeper shade of
seriousness than she loved to see imprinted on her brow, and dimming the
lustre of her eye, but it caused her no anxiety. Ellen's character had
never been one of light-hearted glee; it would have been unnatural to
see it now, and she believed that appearance of melancholy to be her
natural disposition, and so too, perhaps, the orphan regarded it

A very few weeks after Lord N----'s ball, Edward again departed from
Oakwood to join his ship. He parted gaily with his friends, for he knew
his voyage was to be but a short one; and that now the first and most
toilsome step to promotion had been gained, he should have very many
more opportunities of taking a run home and catching a glimpse, he said,
joyously, of the whole crew who were so dear to him, on board that tough
old ship Oakwood; and Ellen, too, could share his gaiety even the night
previous to his departure, for this was not like either their first or
second parting. She had all to hope and but little to fear; for her
trust was too firmly fixed on Him who had guarded that beloved brother
through so many previous dangers and temptations to bid her waver now.
Even Mrs. Hamilton's anxious bosom trembled not as she parted from the
son of her affections, the preserver of her husband; and though Oakwood
felt dull and gloomy on the first departure of the mischief-loving,
mirthful sailor, it was not the gloom of sorrow. February passed, and
Mrs. Hamilton's solicitude with regard to Emmeline still continued.
There were times when, deceived by her daughter's manner, lively and
playful apparently as usual, she permitted herself to feel less anxious;
but the pale cheek, the dulled eye, the air of languor, and sometimes,
though not often, of depression, which pervaded every movement, very
quickly recalled anxiety and apprehension. Mr. Maitland could not
understand her. If for a moment he imagined it was mental suffering, her
manner was such the next time he saw her as entirely to baffle that
fancy, and convince him that the symptoms which caused Mrs. Hamilton's
alarm were, in reality, of no consequence. Determined to use every
effort to deceive him, lest he should betray to her parents the real
cause of her sufferings, Emmeline generally rallied every effort and
rattled on with him, as from a child she had been accustomed, therefore
it was no wonder the worthy surgeon was deceived; and often, very
often, did the poor girl wish she could deceive herself as easily. It
was now nearly three months since she and young Myrvin had so painfully
parted, and her feelings, instead of diminishing in their intensity,
appeared to become more powerful. She had hoped, by studiously employing
herself, by never indulging in one idle hour, to partially efface his
remembrance, but the effort was fruitless. The letters from Lady
Florence and Lady Emily Lyle became subjects of feverish interest, for
in them alone she heard unprejudiced accounts of Arthur, of whose
praises, they declared, the epistles of their brother Louis were always
full; so much so, Lady Emily said, that she certainly should fall in
love with him, for the purpose of making a romantic story. Sadly did
poor Emmeline feel there was but little romance in her feelings; cold
clinging despair had overcome her. She longed for the comfort of her
mother's sympathy, but his character was not yet cleared. Mr. Hamilton
evidently mistrusted the praises so lavishly bestowed on the young man
by Lord Malvern's family; and how could she defend him, if accused of
presumption towards herself? Presumption there had not been; indeed, his
conduct throughout had done him honour. She fancied her mother would be
displeased, might imagine she had encouraged the feeling of romantic
admiration till it became an ideal passion, and made herself miserable.
Perhaps an unknown yet ever-lingering hope existed within, spite of
despair; perhaps aerial visions would mingle in the darkness, and
Emmeline shrunk, unconsciously, from their utter annihilation by the
stern prohibition of her parents. Such was the constant tenour of her
thoughts; but one moment of excited feeling betrayed that which she had
deemed would never pass her lips.

But a very few days had elapsed since Edward's departure from Oakwood
when, one afternoon, Mr. Hamilton entered the usual sitting-room of the
family, apparently much disturbed. Mrs. Hamilton and Ellen were engaged
in work, and Emmeline sat at a small table in the embrasure of one of
the deep gothic windows, silently yet busily employed it seemed in
drawing. She knew her father had gone that morning to the village, and
as usual felt uneasy and feverish, fearing, reasonably or unreasonably,
that on his return she would hear something unpleasant concerning
Arthur; as she this day marked the countenance of her father, her heart
throbbed, and her cheek, which had been flushed by the action of
stooping, paled even unto death.

"What mishap has chanced in the village, that you look so grave, my dear
love?" demanded his wife, playfully.

"I am perplexed in what matter to act, and grieved, deeply grieved, at
the intelligence I have learned; not only that my prejudice is
confirmed, but that the knowledge I have acquired concerning that
unhappy young man places me in a most awkward situation."

"You are not speaking very intelligibly, my dear husband, and therefore
I must guess what you mean; I fear it is young Myrvin of whom you
speak," said Mrs. Hamilton, her playfulness gone.

"They surely have not been again bringing him forward to his discredit?"
observed Ellen, earnestly. "The poor young man is far away; why will
they still endeavour to prejudice you and Mr. Howard against him?"

"I admire your charity, my dear girl, but, I am sorry to say, in this
case it is unworthily bestowed. There are facts now come to light which,
I fear, unpleasant as will be the task, render it my duty to write to
Lord Malvern. Arthur Myrvin is no fit companion for his son."

"His poor, poor father!" murmured Ellen, dropping her work, and looking
sorrowfully, yet inquiringly, in her uncle's face.

"But are they facts, Arthur--are they proved? for that there is unjust
prejudice against him in the village, I am pretty certain."

"They are so far proved, that, by applying them to him, a mystery in the
village is cleared up, and also his violent haste to quit our
neighbourhood. You remember Mary Brookes?"

"That poor girl who died, it was said, of such a rapid decline?
Perfectly well."

"It was not a decline, my dear Emmeline; would that it had been. She was
beautiful, innocent, in conversation and manner far above her station.
There are many to say she loved, and believed, in the fond trust of
devotion, all that the tempter said. She was worthy to be his wife, and
she became his victim. His visits to her old grandmother's cottage I
myself know were frequent. He deserted her, and that wild agony broke
the strings of life which remorse had already loosened; ten days after
Myrvin quitted the village she died, giving birth to an unhappy child of
sin and sorrow. Her grandmother, ever dull in observation and sense, has
been silent, apparently stupefied by the sudden death of her Mary, and
cherishes the poor helpless infant left her by her darling. Suddenly she
has appeared awakened to indignation, and a desire of vengeance on the
destroyer of her child, which I could wish less violent. She implored
me, with almost frantic wildness, to obtain justice from the cruel
villain--accusing him by name, and bringing forward so many proofs,
which the lethargy of grief had before concealed, that I cannot doubt
for one moment who is the father of that poor babe--the cruel, the
heartless destroyer of innocence and life."

"But is there no evidence but hers? I wish there were, for Dame Williams
is so weak and dull, she may easily be imposed upon," observed Mrs.
Hamilton, thoughtfully. "It is indeed a tale of sorrow; one that I could
wish, if it indeed be true, might not be published, for did it reach his
father's ears"--

"It will break his heart, I know it will," interrupted Ellen, with an
uncontrolled burst of feeling. "Oh, do not condemn him without further
proofs," she added, appealingly.

"Every inquiry I have made confirms the old dame's story," replied Mr.
Hamilton, sadly. "We know Myrvin's life in college, before his change of
rank, was one of reckless gaiety. All say he was more often at Dame
Williams's cottage than at any other. Had he been more attentive to his
duties, we might have believed he sought to soothe by religion poor
Mary's sufferings, but we know such was not his wont. Jefferies
corroborates the old dame's tale, bringing forward circumstances he had
witnessed, too forcibly to doubt. And does not his hasty resignation of
a comfortable home, a promising living, evince his guilt more strongly
than every other proof? Why did he refuse to defend his conduct? Was it
not likely such a crime as this upon his conscience would occasion that
restlessness we all perceived, that extreme haste to depart? he would
not stay to see his victim die, or be charged with a child of sin. There
was a mystery in his sudden departure, but there is none now; it is all
too clear."

"_It is false!_" burst with startling almost overwhelming power from the
lips of Emmeline, as she sprung with the strength of agony from her
seat, and stood with the suddenness of a vision, before her parents, a
bright hectic spot burning on either cheek, rendering her usually mild
eyes painfully brilliant. She had sat as if spell-bound, drinking in
every word. She _knew_ the tale was false, but yet each word had fallen
like brands of heated iron on her already scorching brain; that they
should dare to breathe such a tale against him, whose fair fame she knew
was unstained, link his pure name with infamy; and her father, too,
believed it. She did not scream, though there was that within which
longed for such relief. She did not faint, though every limb had lost
its power. A moment's strength and energy alike returned, and she
bounded forward. "It is false!" she again exclaimed, and her parents
started in alarm at her agonized tone; "false as the false villain that
dared stain the fair fame of another with his own base crime. Arthur
Myrvin is not the father of that child; Arthur Myrvin was not the
destroyer of Mary Brookes. Go and ask Nurse Langford: she who hung over
poor Mary's dying bed; who received from her own cold lips the name of
the father of her child; she who was alone near her when she died. Ask
her, and she will tell you the wretch, who has prejudiced all minds
against the good, the pure, the noble; the villain, the cruel
despicable villain, who rested not till his base arts had ruined
the--the--virtuous; that Jefferies, the canting hypocrite, the wretched
miscreant, who has won all hearts because he speaks so fair, he, he
alone is guilty. Put the question to him; let Nurse Langford ask him if
the dying spoke falsely when she named him, and his guilt will be
written on his brow. Arthur Myrvin did visit that cottage; Mary had
confessed a crime, she said not what, and implored his prayers; he
soothed her bodily and mental sufferings, he robbed death of its
terrors, and his only grief at leaving the village was, that she would
miss his aid, for that crime could not be confessed to another; and they
dare to accuse him of sin, he who is as good, as pure, as--" For one
second she paused, choked by inward agony, but ere either her father or
mother could address her, she continued, in an even wilder tone,--"Why
did Arthur Myrvin leave this neighbourhood? why did he go hence so
suddenly--so painfully? because, because he loved me--because he knew
that I returned his love, and he saw the utter hopelessness that
surrounded us, and he went forth to do his duty; he left me to forget
him, to obtain peace in forgetfulness of one I may never see
again--forgetfulness! oh, not till my brain ceases to throb will that be
mine. He thought to leave me with his love unspoken, but the words came,
and that very hour we parted. He loved me, he knew I could not be his,
and it was for this his living was resigned, for this he departed; and
had he cause to blush for this? pure, honourable, as was his love, too
noble, too unselfish to urge aught that could bid Emmeline forget her
duty to her parents for love of him; bearing every calumny, even the
prejudice, the harshness of my father, rather than confess he loved me.
He is innocent of every charge that is brought against him--all, all,
save the purest, the most honourable love for me; and, oh, is that
indeed, indeed a crime?"

She had struggled to the very last to speak calmly, but now sobs, the
more convulsive because the more suppressed, rose choking in her throat,
and rendered the last words almost inaudible. She pressed both hands
against her heart and then her temples, as if to still their painful
throbbings, and speak yet more, but the effort was fruitless, and she
darted wildly, and fled as an arrow from the room.

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton looked on each other in painful and alarmed
astonishment, and Ellen, deeply affected, rose hastily, as if with the
intention of following her agitated cousin, but her aunt and uncle
entreated her not, alleging Emmeline would sooner recover alone, asking
her at the same time if she had known anything relative to the
confession they had just heard. She answered truly in the negative.
Emmeline had scarcely ever spoken of young Myrvin in her hearing; but as
the truth was now discovered, many little instances rose to the
recollection of both parents to confirm the avowal of their child, and
increase their now painfully awakened solicitude. Her agitation the
night of Edward's return, when Lord St. Eval laughingly threatened her
with marriage, rose to the recollection of both parents; her extreme
excitement and subsequent depression; her visibly failing health since
Arthur's departure, all, all, too sadly confirmed her words, and
bitterly Mrs. Hamilton reproached herself for never having suspected
the truth before, for permitting the young man to be thus intimate at
her house, heedless of what might ensue, forgetful that Emmeline was
indeed no longer a child, that her temperament was one peculiarly liable
to be thus strongly excited.

For a few minutes Mr. Hamilton felt pride and anger struggling fiercely
in his bosom against Arthur, for having dared to love one so far above
him as his child, but very quickly his natural kindliness and charity
resumed their sway. Could he wonder at that, love for one so fond, so
gentle, so clinging, as his Emmeline? Would he not have deemed Arthur
cold and strange, had her charms indeed passed him unnoticed and unfelt;
he remembered the forbearance, the extreme temper the unhappy young man
had ever displayed towards him, and suddenly and unconsciously he felt
he must have done him wrong; he had been prejudiced, misguided. If Nurse
Langford's tale was right, and Jefferies had dared to accuse another of
the crime he had himself committed, might he not in the like manner have
prejudiced the whole neighbourhood against Arthur by false reports? But
while from the words of his child every kindly feeling rose up in the
young man's favour, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton did not feel the less
painfully that Emmeline had indeed spoken rightly: hopelessness was her
lot. It seemed to both impossible that they could ever consent to behold
her the wife of Myrvin, even if his character were cleared of the
stigmas which had been cast upon it. Could they consent to expose their
fragile child, nursed as she had been in the lap of luxury and comfort,
to all the evils and annoyances of poverty? They had naturally
accustomed themselves to anticipate Emmeline's marrying happily in
their own sphere, and they could not thus suddenly consent to the
annihilation of hopes, which had been fondly cherished in the mind of

Some little time they remained in conversation, and then Mrs. Hamilton
rose to seek the chamber of her suffering child, taking with her indeed
but little comfort, save her husband's earnest assurance that he would
leave no means untried to discover Jefferies' true character, and if
indeed Arthur had been accused unjustly.

It was with a trembling hand Mrs. Hamilton softly opened Emmeline's
door, and with a heart bleeding at the anguish she beheld, and which she
felt too truly she could not mitigate, she entered, and stood for
several minutes by her side unnoticed and unseen.

There are some dispositions in which it is acutely painful to witness
sorrow. Those whom we have ever seen radiant in health, in liveliness,
in joy--so full of buoyancy and hope, they seem as if formed for
sunshine alone, as if they could not live in the darkening clouds of woe
or care; whose pleasures have been pure and innocent as their own bright
beauty; who are as yet unknown to the whispering of inwardly working
sin; full of love and gentleness, and sympathy, ever ready to weep for
others, though for themselves tears are unknown; creatures, whose warm
enthusiastic feelings bind them to every heart capable of generous
emotions; those in whom we see life most beautified, most glad. Oh, it
is so sad to see them weep; to feel that even on them sorrow hath cast
its blight, and paled the cheek, and dimmed the laughing eye, the
speaking smile, and the first grief in such as these is agony indeed:
it is the breaking asunder of every former joy. They shrink from
retrospection, for they cannot bear to feel they are not now as then,
and the future shares to them the blackened shadows of the hopeless
present. As susceptible as they are to pleasure so are they to pain; and
raised far above others in the enjoyment of the one, so is their grief
doubled in comparison with those of more happy, because more even
temperaments. So it was with Emmeline; and her mother felt all this as
she stood beside her, watching with tearful sympathy the first real
grief of her darling child. Emmeline had cast herself on her knees
beside her couch; she had buried her face in her hands, while the sobs
that burst incessantly from her swelling bosom shook her frail figure
convulsively; the blue veins in her throat had swelled as if in
suffocation, and her fair hair, loosened from its confinement by her
agitation, hung wildly around her.

"Emmeline," Mrs. Hamilton said, gently and falteringly, but her child
heard her not, and she twined her arm around her, and tried to draw her
towards her.

"My own darling Emmeline, speak to me; I cannot bear to see you thus.
Look up, love; for my sake calm this excited feeling."

"May I not even weep? Would you deny me that poor comfort?" burst almost
passionately from the lips of Emmeline, for every faculty was bewildered
in that suddenly-excited woe. She looked up; her eyes were bloodshot and
haggard, her cheek flushed, and the veins drawn like cords across her

"Weep: would your mother forbid you that blessed comfort and relief, my
Emmeline? Could you indeed accuse me of such cruelty?" replied Mrs.
Hamilton, bending over her as she spoke, and removing from those flushed
temples the hair which hung heavy with moisture upon them, and as she
did so Emmeline felt the tears of her mother fall thick and fast on her
own scorching brow. She started from her knees, gazed wildly and
doubtingly upon her, and tottering from exhaustion, would have fallen,
had not Mrs. Hamilton, with a sudden movement, received her in her arms.
For a moment Emmeline struggled as if to break from her embrace, but
then, with a sudden transition of feeling, clasped her arms convulsively
about her mother's neck, and burst into a long and violent but relieving
flood of tears.

"I meant never, never to have revealed my secret," she exclaimed, in a
voice almost inaudible, as her mother, seating her on a couch near them,
pressed her to her heart, and permitted some minutes to pass away in
that silence of sympathy which to the afflicted is so dear. "And now
that it has been wrung from me, I know not what I do or say. Oh, if I
have spoken aught disrespectfully to you or papa just now, I meant it
not, indeed I did not; but they dared to speak false tales, and I could
not sit calmly to hear them," she added, shuddering.

"There was nothing in your words, my own love, to give us pain with
regard to ourselves," said Mrs. Hamilton, in her most soothing tone, as
again and again she pressed her quivering lips to that flushed cheek,
and tried to kiss away the now streaming tears. "Do not let that thought
add to your uneasiness, my own darling."

"And can you forgive me, mother?" and Emmeline buried her face yet more
closely in her mother's bosom.

"Forgive you, Emmeline! is there indeed aught in your acquaintance with
Arthur Myrvin which demands my forgiveness?" replied her mother, in a
tone of anxiety and almost alarm.

"Oh, no, no! but you may believe I have encouraged these weak emotions;
that I have wilfully thought on them till I have made myself thus
miserable; that I have called for his love--given him encouragement:
indeed, indeed I have not. I have struggled hard to obtain
forgetfulness--to think of him no more, to regain happiness, but it
would not come. I feel--I know I can never, never be again the joyous
light-hearted girl that I was once; all feels so changed."

"Do not say so, my own love; this it but the language of despondency,
now too naturally your own; but permit it not to gain too much
ascendency, dearest. Where is my Emmeline's firm, devoted faith in that
merciful Father, who for so many years has gilded her lot with such
unchecked happiness. Darker clouds are now indeed for a time around you,
but His blessing will remove them, love; trust still in Him."

Emmeline's convulsive sobs were somewhat checked; the fond and gentle
tones of sympathy had their effect on one to whom affection never
pleaded in vain.

"And why have you so carefully concealed the cause of the sufferings
that were so clearly visible, my Emmeline?" continued her mother,
tenderly. "Could that fear which you once avowed in a letter to Mary,
have mingled in your affection for me? Could fear, indeed, have kept you
silent? Can your too vivid fancy have bid you imagine I should reproach
you, or refuse my sympathy in this sad trial? Your perseverance in
active employments, your strivings for cheerfulness, all must, indeed,
confirm your assertion, that you have not encouraged weakening emotions.
I believe you, my own, and I believe, too, my Emmeline did not give
young Myrvin encouragement. Look up, love, and tell me that you do not
fear your mother--that you do not deem her harsh."

"Harsh? oh, no, no!" murmured the poor girl, still clinging to her neck,
as if she feared something would part them. "It is I who am capricious,
fanciful, miserable: oh, do not heed my incoherent words. Mother,
dearest mother, oh, let me but feel that you still love me, and I will
teach my heart to be satisfied with that."

"But if indeed I am not harsh, tell me all, my Emmeline--tell me when
you were first aware you loved Arthur Myrvin; all that has passed
between you. I promise you I will not add to your suffering on his
account by reproaches. Confide in the affection of your mother, and this
trial will not be so hard to bear."

Struggling to obtain composure and voice, Emmeline obeyed, and
faithfully repeated every circumstance connected with her and Arthur,
with which our readers are well acquainted; touching lightly, indeed, on
their parting interview, which Mrs. Hamilton easily perceived could not
be recalled even now, though some months had passed, without a renewal
of the distress it had caused. Her recital almost unconsciously exalted
the character of Arthur in the mind of Mrs. Hamilton, which was too
generous and kind to remain untouched by conduct so honourable,
forbearing, and praiseworthy.

"Do not weep any more for the cruel charges against him, my love," she
said, with soothing tenderness, as Emmeline's half-checked tears burst
forth again as she spoke of the agony she in secret endured, when in her
presence his character was traduced. "Your father will now leave no
means untried to discover whether indeed they are true or false.
Insinuations and reports have prejudiced his judgment more than is his
wont. He has gone now to Widow Langford, to hear her tale against
Jefferies, and if this last base charge he has brought against Arthur be
indeed proved against himself, it will be easy to convict him of other
calumnies; for the truth of this once made evident, it is clear that his
base machinations have been the secret engines of the prejudice against
Myrvin, for which no clear foundation has ever yet been discovered. You
will not doubt your father's earnestness in this proceeding, my
Emmeline, and you know him too well to believe he would for one moment
refrain from acknowledging to Mr. Myrvin the injustice he has done him,
if indeed it prove unfounded."

"And if his character be cleared from all stain--if not a whisper taint
his name, and his true excellence be known to all--oh, may we not hope?
mother, mother, you will not be inexorable; you will not, oh, you will
not condemn your child to misery!" exclaimed Emmeline, in a tone of
excitement, strongly contrasting with the hopelessness which had
breathed in every word before; and, bursting from her mother's detaining
hold, she suddenly knelt before her, and clasped her robe in the
wildness of her entreaty. "You will not refuse to make us happy; you
will not withhold your consent, on which alone depends the future
happiness of your Emmeline. You, who have been so good, so kind, so
fond,--oh, you will not sentence me to woe. Mother, oh, speak to me. I
care not how many years I wait: say, only say that, if his character be
cleared of all they have dared to cast upon it, I shall one day he his.
Do not turn from me, mother. Oh, bid me not despond; and yet and yet,
because he is poor, oh, would you, can you condemn me to despair?"

"Emmeline, Emmeline, do not wring my heart by these cruel words,"
replied Mrs. Hamilton, in a tone of such deep distress, that Emmeline's
imploring glance sunk before it, and feeling there was indeed no hope,
her weakened frame shook with the effort to restrain the bursting tears.
"Do not ask me to promise this; do not give me the bitter pain of
speaking that which you feel at this moment will only add to your
unhappiness. You yourself, by the words you have repeated, behold the
utter impossibility of such an union. Why, why then will you impose on
me the painful task of repeating it? Could I consent to part with you to
one who has not even a settled home to give you, whose labours scarcely
earn sufficient to maintain himself? You know not all the evils of such
an union, my sweet girl. You are not fitted to cope with poverty or
care, to bear with that passionate irritability and restlessness which
characterise young Myrvin, even when weightier charges are removed. And
could we feel ourselves justified in exposing you to privations and
sorrows, which our cooler judgment may perceive, though naturally
concealed from the eye of affection? Seldom, very seldom, are those
marriages happy in which such an extreme disparity exists, more
particularly when, as in this case, the superiority is on the side of
the wife. I know this sounds like cold and worldly reasoning, my
Emmeline; I know that this warm, fond heart revolts in agony from every
word, but do not, do not think me cruel, love, and shrink from my
embrace. How can I implore you, for my sake, still to struggle with
these sad feelings, to put every effort into force to conquer this
unhappy love? and yet my duty bids me do so; for, oh, I cannot part with
you for certain poverty and endless care. Speak to me, my own; promise
me that you will try and be contented with your father's exertions to
clear Arthur's character from all aspersions. You will not ask for

There was a moment's pause. Mrs. Hamilton had betrayed in every word the
real distress she suffered in thus speaking, when the gentle pleading of
her woman's heart would have bade her soothe by any and every means her
afflicted child; Emmeline knew this, and even in that moment she could
not bear to feel her mother grieved, and she had been the cause. Filial
devotion, filial duty, for a few minutes struggled painfully with the
fervid passion which shook her inmost soul; but they conquered, and when
she looked up, her tears were checked, and only the deadly paleness of
the cheek, the quivering of the lip and eye, betrayed the deep emotion
that still prevailed within.

"Be not thus distressed for me, my dear, my too indulgent mother,"
replied Emmeline, in a voice that struggled to be composed and firm,
though bodily weakness defied her efforts. "I meant not to have grieved
you, and yet I have done so. Oh, let not my foolish words give you pain,
you whose love would, I know, seek to spare me every suffering. My brain
feels confused and burning now, and I know not what I say; but it will
pass away soon, and then I will try to be all you can wish. You will
not, I know you will not be so cruel as to bid me wed another, and that
knowledge is enough. Let but his character be cleared, and I promise you
I will use every effort to be content. I knew that it was hopeless. Why,
oh, why did I bid your lips confirm it!" and again were those aching
eyes and brow concealed on Mrs. Hamilton's shoulder, while the
despairing calmness of her voice sounded even more acutely painful to
her mother than the extreme suffering it had expressed before.

"May God in His mercy bless you for this, my darling girl!" escaped
almost involuntarily from Mrs. Hamilton's lips, as the sweet disposition
of her child appeared to shine forth brighter than ever in this complete
surrender of her dearest hopes to the will of her parents. "And oh, that
He may soothe and comfort you will mingle in your mother's prayers. Tell
me but one thing more, my own. Have you never heard from this young man
since you parted?"

"He wrote to me, imploring me to use my influence with St. Eval, to aid
his obtaining the situation of tutor to Lord Louis," answered Emmeline.
"He did not allude to what had passed between us; his letter merely
contained this entreaty, as if he would thus prove to me that his
intention to quit England, and seek for calmness in the steady
performance of active duties, was not mere profession."

"Then your representations were the origin of Eugene's interest in
Arthur?" said Mrs. Hamilton, inquiringly.

Emmeline answered in the affirmative.

"And did you answer his letter?"

"No, mamma; it was enough for me and for him, too, his wishes were
granted. I would not indulge my secret wish to do so. Neither you nor
papa, nor indeed any of my family, knew what had passed between us.
Determined as I was to struggle for the conquest of myself, I did not
imagine in keeping that secret I was acting undutifully; but had I
written to him, or cherished, as my weak fondness bade me do,
his--his--why should I hide it--his precious letter, my conscience would
have added its pangs to the sufferings already mine. While that was free
and light, I could still meet your look and smile, and return your kiss,
however I might feel my heart was breaking; but if I had so deceived
you, so disregarded my duty, as to enter into a correspondence with him,
unknown to you, oh, the comfort of your love would have flown from me
for ever."

"And had my Emmeline indeed sufficient resolution to destroy that
letter?" demanded Mrs. Hamilton, surprise mingling with the admiration
and esteem which, though felt by a mother for a child, might well be

"It was my duty, mother, and I did it," replied Emmeline, with a
simplicity that filled the eyes of her mother with tears. "Could I
indeed forget those principles of integrity which, from my earliest
infancy, you have so carefully instilled?"

Mrs. Hamilton clasped her to her bosom, and imprinted kisses of the
fondest affection on her colourless and burning forehead.

"Well, indeed, are my cares repaid," she exclaimed. "Oh, that my
affection could soothe your sorrows as sweetly as your gentle yet
unwavering adherence to filial love and duty have comforted me. Will
you, for my sake, my own love, continue these painful yet virtuous
efforts at self-conquest, which you commenced merely from a sense of
duty? Will you not glad your mother's heart and let me have the comfort
of beholding you once more my own cheerful, happy Emmeline?"

"I will try," murmured Emmeline, struggling to smile; but oh, it was so
unlike herself, so lustreless and faint, that Mrs. Hamilton hastily
turned away to hide emotion. The dressing-bell at that instant sounded,
and Emmeline looked an entreaty to which her lips appeared unwilling to
give words. Her mother understood it.

"I will not ask you to join us at dinner, love. Do not look so
beseechingly, you will recover this agitation sooner and better alone;
and so much confidence have you compelled me to feel in you," she added,
trying to smile and speak playfully, "that I will not ask you to make an
exertion to which you do not feel equal, even if you wish to be alone
the whole evening. I know my Emmeline's solitary moments will not be
spent in vain repinings."

"You taught me whom to seek for comfort and relief in my childish
sorrows, and I will not, I do not forget that lesson now, mother,"
answered Emmeline, faintly yet expressively. "Let me be alone, indeed, a
few hours, and if I can but conquer this feeling of exhaustion, I will
join you at tea."

Mrs. Hamilton silently embraced and left her, with a heart swelling with
fond emotion, as she thought on the gentle yet decided character of her
child, who from her infancy had scarcely ever caused her pain, still
less anxiety. Now indeed solicitude was hers, for it was evident, alas!
too evident, that Emmeline's affections were unalterably engaged; that
this was not the mere fervour of the moment, a passion that would pass
away with the object, but one that Mrs. Hamilton felt forebodingly would
still continue to exist. Emmeline's was not a disposition to throw off
feelings such as these lightly and easily. Often had her mother inwardly
trembled when she thought of such a sentiment influencing her Emmeline,
and now the dreaded moment had come. How was she to act? She could not
consent to an union such as this would be. Few mothers possessed less
ambition than Mrs. Hamilton, few were so indulgent, so devoted to her
children, but to comply with the poor girl's feverish wishes would be
indeed but folly. Arthur had engaged himself to remain with Lord Louis
Lyle during the period of his residence in Germany, which was at that
time arranged to be three years. The future to young Myrvin must, she
knew, be a blank; years would in all probability elapse ere he could
obtain an advantageous living and means adequate to support a wife and
family; and would it not be greater cruelty to bid Emmeline live on in
lingering and sickening hope, than at once to appeal to her reason, and
entreat her, by the affection she bore her parents, to achieve this
painful conquest of herself, as their consent could not be given. They
felt sad, indeed, thus to add to the suffering of their afflicted child,
yet it was the better way, for had they promised to consent that when he
could support her she should be his own, it might indeed bring relief
for the moment, but it would be but the commencement of a life of
misery; her youth would fade away in that sickening anguish of hope
deferred, more bitter because more lingering than the absolute
infliction of brief though certain suffering. The hearts of both parents
grieved as they thought on all she had endured, and for a brief period
must still endure, but their path of duty once made clear, they swerved
not from it, however it might pain themselves.

Mrs. Hamilton was right. Emmeline's solitary moments were not spent in
vain repinings; she struggled to compose her thoughts, to cast the
burden of her sorrows upon Him, who in love and mercy had ordained them;
and she did so with that pure, that simple, beautiful faith so
peculiarly her own, and a calm at length stole over her wearied spirit
and exhausted frame, soothing her, even to sleep, with the words of
prayer yet lingering on her lips. She awoke, after above an hour's
slumber, composed in mind, but still feverish in body. Prayer had
brought its blessed influence, but that calm was more the quiescence
proceeding from over-excitement than natural feeling; she felt it so,
and dreaded the return of mental agony, as bodily sufferers await the
periodical paroxysms of pain. She resolved not to give way to the
exhaustion she still felt. She rejoined the family at tea, pale indeed,
but perfectly composed, and even faintly smiling on her father, who,
hastily rising as she languidly and unexpectedly entered the room,
carried her tenderly in his arms to a couch, compelled her to lie down,
and bending over her with that soothing fondness which she so much
loved, retained his seat by her side all the evening, though
participating and frequently inducing her to join in the conversation on
various topics, which Mrs. Hamilton and Ellen seemed determined to
maintain. Once during that evening Emmeline had looked up beseechingly
in her father's face, and that touching, silent eloquence told all she
would have said, far more expressively than words.

"Justice shall be done, my Emmeline," he replied, gently drawing her to
him, and speaking in a tone that was heard by her alone. "I have been
harsh, prejudiced, as cruelly unjust as blindly imposed on by a
comparative stranger; but I promise you, all shall be impartially
considered. I have done this unfortunate young man much wrong, for I
should have recollected his father has many enemies, and this may be one
of them, seeking from revenge to injure him. I am grateful to Arthur
Myrvin for his forbearance towards myself, for his truly noble conduct
towards you--right principles alone could have dictated both. Mrs.
Langford has confirmed all you said, and informed me of many little
circumstances which if, on a strict examination, I find are founded on
truth, Jefferies' character and base designs will not be difficult to
fathom. Myrvin's character shall be cleared from suspicion, if it be in
my power, my dear girl; rest as confident on my promise to that effect,
as I do on yours, that, this accomplished, _you will ask no more_."

Emmeline's head rested on his shoulder; he had marked the relief, the
gratitude her sweet face expressed during his first words, but as he
ceased, her eyes were hid upon his bosom, and he could read no more. It
was well for the steadiness of his determination that it was so, for the
wretchedness imprinted on every feature, every line of her countenance,
at his concluding sentence, would have wrung his soul.

Though persuaded by her parents to retire early, Emmeline did not do so
till the usual hour of separation after prayers. To Ellen's
silently-observing eye she appeared to shrink from being alone, and this
thought haunted her so incessantly, that, instead of composing herself
to rest, she softly traversed the short distance which separated their
apartments, and entered her cousin's room.

Emmeline was alone, undressed, a large wrapping robe flung carelessly
over her night attire, but instead of reading, which at that hour, and
in that guise, she generally did, that the word of God might be the last
book on which she looked ere she sought her rest, she was leaning
abstractedly over the fire, seated on a low stool, her hands pressed on
her temples, while the flickering flame cast a red and unnatural glare
on those pale cheeks. Ellen advanced, but her cousin moved not at her
entrance, nor even when she knelt by her side, and twined her arms
around her.

"Will you not go to bed, dearest Emmeline? it is so late, and you have
been so fearfully agitated to-day. Look up and speak to me, my own dear
cousin, or I shall fancy you are hurt with me for permitting so many
hours to pass without coming near you, when I knew you were in
suffering. Oh, you know not how I longed to come, but my aunt said you
had entreated to be left alone. I stood for some minutes by your door,
but all was so still, I thought I should disturb you did I enter. You do
not accuse me of unkindness, Emmeline?"

Housed by her cousin's affectionate words and imploring voice, Emmeline
resisted not her embrace, but clung to her in silence.

"You are ill, you are very ill, dearest, dearest Emmeline; do not sit up
thus; for my sake, for your mother's sake, try if sleep will not ease
this aching head," exclaimed Ellen, much alarmed at the burning heat and
quick throbbing of Emmeline's forehead, as it rested on her shoulder.

"I cannot sleep, Ellen, it is useless to attempt it; I feel as if my
eyes would never close again; as if years had passed over my head since
last night. I thought I could not be more miserable than I was
when--when we parted, and as I have been since; but that was
nothing--nothing to this. I thought I had not indulged in hope, for I
knew that it was vain, but now, now I feel I must have done so, and it
is its utter, utter annihilation that bows me to the earth. Oh, why am I
so changed, I who was once so glad, so free, so full of hope and
happiness, looking forward to days as bright as those that fled; and now
what am I, and what is life? a thing from which all happiness has flown,
but clothed in darker shadows, from its contrast with the past."

"Oh, do not say so, dearest," replied Ellen, affected almost to tears by
the despairing tone in which these words were said. "The blessing, the
comfort of your parents, your brothers, of all who know you as you are,
do not say your life will be without joy; its most cherished flower, its
most precious gem may have passed away, but others will spring up in
time, to fill that yearning void. You, whose presence ever brings with
it such enjoyment to others, oh, you too will be blessed. You cannot
long continue miserable, when you feel the power you have of making so
many of your fellow-creatures happy. You are ill, exhausted now, and
therefore all around you looks so full of gloom and pain, yet when this
shall have passed, you will not reject the comfort that remains. Have
you not an approving conscience to support you, the consciousness that
you have proved your love and gratitude to the parents you so fondly
love? and think you He, who looks with an eye of favour on the faintest
effort of His creatures, made for His sake, and in His spirit, will
permit this strength to pass unaided? No, dearest, He will assist and
strengthen you; He can take even from this bitter trial its sting."

"I know it, I feel it," murmured Emmeline, still clinging to her cousin,
as if she found comfort in her presence and her words. "I know well that
this trial in itself is as nothing compared with those endured at this
very hour by thousands of my fellow-creatures, and knowing this makes me
the more wretched, for if I am thus repining and miserable, how dare I
hope my prayers will be heard?"

"Yet doubt it not, my own Emmeline; our Father in heaven judgeth not as
man judgeth. Man might condemn this appearance of weakness in you now,
but God will not, for he knows the individual strength of His creatures,
and in love and mercy chasteneth accordingly. He knoweth this is a
severe trial for one, young and gentle as you are; and with your heart
lifted up to Him, as I know it is, doubt not that your prayers will be
heard and this pang softened in His own time. I fear my words sound
cold; but oh, would that I could comfort you, dearest," and tears stood
trembling in Ellen's eyes.

"And you do comfort me, Ellen; oh, I do not feel so very wretched with
you near me as I do alone, though even you cannot guess this extent of
suffering; you know not what it is to love, and yet to feel there is no
hope; no--none," she repeated, in a low murmuring tone, as if to
convince herself that there was indeed none, as she had said; and it was
not strange that thus engrossed, she marked not that a slight shudder
passed through her cousin's frame at her last words; that Ellen's cheek
suddenly vied in its deadly paleness with her own; that the tears dried
up, as if frozen in those large, dark eyes, which were fixed upon her
with an expression she would, had she seen it, have found difficult to
understand; that the pale lip quivered for a few minutes, so as entirely
to prevent her speaking as she had intended.

"Go to bed, dearest Emmeline, indeed you must not sit up longer," Ellen
said at length, as she folded her arms fondly round her and kissed her
cheek. "When I was ill, you ever wished to dictate to me," she
continued, playfully, "and I was always good and obedient; will you not
act up to your own principle and obey me now? think of your mother,
dearest, how anxious she will be if you are ill. I will not leave you
till you are asleep."

"No, no, dear Ellen, I will not so abuse your kindness; I will go to
bed. I have been wrong to sit up thus, when I promised mamma to do all I
could to--but, indeed, you must not stay with me, Ellen. I feel so
exhausted, I may perhaps sleep sooner than I expect; but even if I do
not, you must not sit up."

"Never mind, my love, let me see you obedient, and I will perhaps learn
the same lesson," replied Ellen, playfully, though her cheek retained
its suddenly-acquired paleness. Emmeline no longer resisted, and Ellen
quickly had the relief of seeing her in bed, and her eyes closed, as if
in the hope of obtaining sleep; but after a few minutes they again
opened, and seeing Ellen watching her, she said--

"You had better leave me, Ellen, I shall not be able to sleep if I think
you are watching me, and losing your own night's rest. I am not ill, my
dear cousin, I am only miserable, and that will pass away perhaps for a
short time again, as it did this afternoon."

Ellen again kissed her and closed the curtains, obeying her so far as to
retire to her room, but not to bed; she was much too uneasy to do so.
Emmeline had been in very delicate health for some months, and it
appeared to her observant eyes and mind, that now the cause for her
exertion was removed, by the discovery of her long-treasured secret,
that health had really given way, and she was actually ill in body as
well as mind. The burning heat of her forehead and hand, the quick
pulsation of her temples, had alarmed her as predicting fever; and
Ellen, with that quiet resolution and prompt decision, which now
appeared to form such prominent traits in her character, determined on
returning to her cousin's room as soon as she thought she had fallen
asleep, and remain there during the night; that if she were restless,
uneasy, or wakeful, she might, by her presence, be some comfort, and if
these feverish symptoms continued, be in readiness to send for Mr.
Maitland at the first dawn of morning, without alarming her aunt.

"You are not formed for sorrow, my poor Emmeline," she said internally,
as she prepared herself for her night's visit by assuming warmer
clothing. "Oh, that your grief may speedily pass away; I cannot bear to
see one so formed for joy as you are grieved. My own sorrows I can bear
without shrinking, without disclosing by one sign what I am internally
suffering. I have been nerved from my earliest years to trial, and it
would be strange indeed did I not seem as you believe me. _I_ know not
what it is to love. _I_ know not the pang of that utter hopelessness
which bows my poor cousin to the earth. Ah, Emmeline, you know not such
_hopelessness_ as mine, gloomy as are your prospects; you can claim the
sympathy, the affection, the consolation, of all those who are dear to
you; there is no need to hide your love, ill-fated as it is, for it is
_returned_--you are beloved; and I, my heart must bleed in secret, for
no such mitigation attends its loss of peace. I dare not seek for
sympathy, or say I love; but why--why am I encouraging these thoughts?"
and she started as if some one could have heard her scarcely-audible
soliloquy. "It is woman's lot to suffer--man's is to _act_, woman's to
_bear_; and such must be mine, and in silence, for even the sympathy of
my dearest relative I dare not ask. Oh, wherefore do I feel it shame to
love one so good, so superior, so holy? because, because he does not
love me, save with a brother's love; and I know he loves another."

The slight frame of the orphan shook beneath that inward struggle; there
were times, in her hours of solitude, when such thoughts would come,
spite of every effort to expel them, and there was only one way to
obtain that self-control she so much needed, so continually exercised,
till it became a second nature. She became aware her feelings had
obtained undue ascendency, and, sinking on her knees, remained absorbed
in prayer, fervent and heartfelt, truly the outpourings of a contrite
and trusting spirit, confident in the power and mercy to which she
appealed. That anguish passed ere she arose, and every sign of agitation
had left her countenance and voice as she put her resolution into
action, and returned to her cousin.

Emmeline had awoke from her brief and troubled slumbers, more restless
and feverish than when she had first sought her couch; and, suffering as
she was from that nervous and anxious state peculiar to approaching
fever, the poor girl no longer resisted Ellen's evident determination,
and clasping her hand between her own, now burning with fever,
continually thanked her, in broken and feeble accents, for remaining
with her, assuring her she did not feel so ill or as unhappy as she
should have done had she been alone. Anxious as she was, Ellen would not
arouse her aunt, but at the first break of day she softly entered the
housekeeper's room, and succeeded in arousing without alarming her,
informed her of Emmeline's restless state, and implored her to send at
once for Mr. Maitland. Hastily rising, Ellis accompanied Ellen to her
cousin's room, and instantly decided on complying with her request. The
household were already on the alert, and a servant was speedily
despatched; but, relieved as she was on this point, Ellen would not
comply with the good housekeeper's request to repose herself for a few
hours; she had resolved not to relinquish her post by the bedside of the
young sufferer to any save her aunt herself. Ellis desisted, for a word
from her favourite, almost her darling, as Ellen from many circumstances
had become, was to her always sufficient.

Mrs. Hamilton and Mr. Maitland met at Emmeline's door, to the
astonishment and at first alarm of the former--an alarm which subsided
into comparative relief, as she listened to Ellen's hurried tale,
although anxiety to a very high degree remained, and with some reason,
for Ellen's fears were not unfounded. Emmeline's fever rapidly and
painfully increased, and for a week her parents hung over her couch
almost despairing of her recovery; their fond hearts almost breaking, as
they heard her sweet voice, in the wild accent of delirious intervals,
calling aloud on Arthur, and beseeching their consent and blessing to
restore her to health; and scarcely less painful was it in her lucid
hours to see her clasp her mother's hands repeatedly, and murmur, in a
voice almost inarticulate from weakness--

"Do not be anxious or grieved for me, my own dear mamma, I shall soon
get well, and be your happy Emmeline again. I cannot be miserable, when
I have you and papa and Ellen to love me so tenderly," and then, she
would cling to her mother's neck, and kiss her till she would sink to
sleep upon her bosom, as in infancy and childhood she had so often done;
and dearer than ever did that gentle girl become, in these hours of
suffering, to all who had loved her so fondly before; they had deemed it
almost impossible that affection could in any way be increased, and yet
it was so. Strange must be that heart which can behold a being such as
Emmeline cling to it, as if its protection and its love were now all
that bound her to earth, and still remain unmoved and cold. Affection is
ever strengthened by dependence--dependence at least like this; and
there was something peculiarly touching in Emmeline's present state of
mental weakness. Her parents felt, as they gazed on her, that they had
occasioned the anguish which had prostrated her on a bed of sickness;
and yet their child clung to them as if, in the intensity of her
affection for them, and theirs for her, she would strive to forget her
unhappy love, and be once more happy.

Time rolled heavily by, and some few weeks passed, ere Emmeline was
sufficiently convalescent to leave her room, and then her pallid
features and attenuated form were such constant and evident proofs of
that mental as well as bodily fever, that Mrs. Hamilton could not look
on her without pain. She was still inwardly restless and uneasy, though
evidently struggling for cheerfulness, and Mr. Maitland, to whom some
necessary particulars of her tale had been told, gave as his opinion,
that some secret anxiety still rested on her mind, which would be much
better removed; the real cause of that solicitude her parents very
easily penetrated. Mr. Hamilton, fearing the effects of excitement in
her still very delicate state, had refrained from telling her all he had
accomplished in young Myrvin's favour during her sickness, but on
hearing Mr. Maitland's report, her parents both felt assured it was for
that information she pined, and therefore determined on instantly giving
her relief.

It was with the utmost tenderness and caution Mr. Hamilton alluded to
the subject, and seating himself by her couch, playfully asked her if
she would promise him to get well the sooner, if he gratified her by the
pleasing intelligence that Arthur Myrvin's character was cleared, that
his enemy had been discovered, his designs exposed, and himself obliged
to leave the village, and the whole population were now as violently
prejudiced in Arthur's favour, as they had formerly been against him;
provoked also with themselves for their blind folly in receiving and
encouraging the idle reports propagated against him, not one of which
they now perceived were sufficiently well founded to stand before an
impartial statement and accurate examination.

Had her parents doubted what had weighed on Emmeline's mind, the sudden
light beaming in those saddened eyes, the flush kindling on those pale
cheeks, the rapid movement with which she caught her father's hand, and
looked in his face, as if fearful he would deceive her, all these minute
but striking circumstances must have betrayed the truth. In a voice
almost inarticulate from powerful emotion, she implored him to tell her
every particular, and tenderly he complied.

He had followed, he said, her advice, and confronted Nurse Langford with
the unprincipled man who had dared accuse a fellow-creature of a crime
in reality committed by himself, and reckless as he was, he had shrunk
in guilt and shame before her accusation, which was indeed the
accusation of the dying, and avowing himself the real perpetrator of the
sin, offered her a large bribe for secrecy, which, as might be expected,
the widow indignantly refused. It was easy to perceive, his arts had
worked on the old woman, Mary's grandmother, to believe him her friend
and Arthur her foe; the poor old creature's failing intellect assisted
his plans, while the reports he had insidiously circulated against the
unfortunate young man also confirmed his tale. Little aware that the
Widow Langford had been almost a mother to the poor girl his villainy
had ruined, and that she was likely to have heard the truth, being quite
unconscious she had attended her dying moments, he published this
falsehood, without any feeling of remorse or shame, hoping by so doing,
effectually to serve his employers, effect the disgrace of Myrvin, and
completely screen himself. Mrs. Langford now found it was time indeed
for her to come forward and perform her promise to Emmeline by proving
young Myrvin's innocence, but hesitated how to commence. She was
therefore both relieved and pleased at the entrance and inquiries of Mr.
Hamilton, and promised to obey his directions faithfully, only imploring
him to clear Mr. Myrvin's character, and expel Farmer Jefferies from the
village, which, from the time of his settling there, she said, had been
one scene of anarchy and confusion; frankly avowing, in answer to a
question of Mr. Hamilton, that it was for Miss Emmeline's sake she was
so anxious; she was sure she was interested in Mr. Myrvin's fate, and
therefore she had mentioned the unhappy fate of poor Mary Brookes, to
prove to her the young man had attended to his duty. Many other
startling proofs of Jefferies' evil conduct had the good widow, by
silent but watchful attention, been enabled to discover, as also
convincing evidence that the young curate had not been so neglectful or
faulty as he had been reported. All her valuable information she now
imparted to her master, to be used by him in any way his discretion
might point out, promising to be ever ready at the slightest notice to
prove all she had alleged. Mr. Hamilton carefully examined every
circumstance, reflected for a brief period on his mode of action, and
finally, assembling all the principal inhabitants around him, in the
public school-room of the village, laid before them all the important
facts he had collected, and besought their impartial judgment. He owned,
he said, that he too had been prejudiced against Mr. Myrvin, whose
life, while among them, many circumstances had combined to render
unhappy, but that now, he heartily repented his injustice, for he felt
convinced the greater part of what had been alleged against him was
false. Those evil reports he proved had all originated from the
machinations of Jefferies, and he implored them to consider whether they
could still regard the words of one, against whom so much evil had now
been proved, as they had formerly done, or could they really prove that
their young curate had in truth been guilty of the misdemeanours with
which he had been charged.

Mr. Howard, who was present, seconded his words, acknowledging that he
too had been prejudiced, and adding, that he could not feel satisfied
till he had avowed this truth, and asked his young friend's pardon for
the injury he had done him.

Nothing is more sudden and complete than changes in popular feeling. The
shameful act of Jefferies, in casting on the innocent the stigma of
shame and crime which was his own, was quite enough for the honest and
simple villagers. At once they condemned themselves (which perhaps they
might not have been quite so ready to do, had not Mr. Hamilton and their
rector shown them the example), and not only defended and completely
exculpated Myrvin, but in an incredibly short space of time, so many
anecdotes of the young man's performance of his duty were collected,
that had not Mr. Hamilton been aware of the violent nature of popular
feeling, those defects which still remained, though excused by the
recollection of the mental tortures Myrvin had been enduring, would
undoubtedly have departed, as entirely as every darker shade on his
character had done.

Convinced that Arthur's attention to parochial affairs, as well as his
conduct in other matters, had been very opposite to that which had been
reported, neither Mr. Howard nor Mr. Hamilton could feel satisfied till
they had written to him, frankly avowing their injustice, and asking his
pardon and forgetfulness of the past, and assuring him that, if his
conduct continued equally worthy of approbation as it was at the present
time, he should ever find in them sincere and active friends.

Mr. Hamilton felt he had much, very much to say to the young man; but in
what manner to word it he was somewhat perplexed. He could not speak of
his daughter, and yet Myrvin's conduct towards her had created a feeling
of gratitude and admiration which he could not suppress. Many fathers
would have felt indignation only at the young man's presumption, but Mr.
Hamilton was neither so unreasonable nor so completely devoid of
sympathy. It was he himself, he thought, who had acted imprudently in
allowing him to associate so intimately with his daughters, not the
fault of the sufferer. Myrvin had done but his duty indeed, but Mr.
Hamilton knew well there were very few young men who would have acted as
he had done, when conscious that his affection was returned with all the
enthusiasm and devotedness of a disposition such as Emmeline's. How few
but would have played with those feelings, tortured her by persuasions
to forget duty for the sake of love; but Arthur had not done this, and
the father's heart swelled towards him in gratitude and esteem; even
while he knew the hopelessness of his love, he felt for the anguish
which his sympathy told him Arthur must endure. After more deliberation
and thought than he could have believed necessary for such a simple
thing as to write a letter, Mr. Hamilton did achieve his object,
retaining a copy of his epistle, to prove to his child he had been
earnest in his assurances that Arthur's character should be cleared.
Painfully agitated by the tale she had heard, and this unexpected
confidence of her father, Emmeline glanced her eye over the paper, and
read as follows:--

"_To the Rev. Arthur Myrvin, Hanover_.

"MY DEAR MYRVIN.--You will be no doubt astonished at receiving this
letter, brief as I intend it to be, from one with whom you parted in no
very friendly terms, and who has, I grieve to own, given you but little
reason to believe me your friend. When a man has been unjust and
prejudiced, it becomes his peremptory duty, however pride may rebel, to
do all in his power to atone for it by an honourable reparation, both in
word and deed, towards him he may have injured. Such, my young friend,
is at present our relative position, and I am at a loss to know how best
to express my sense of your honourable conduct and my own injustice,
which occasioned a degree of harshness in my manner towards you when we
separated, which, believe me, I now recall both with regret and pain.
Circumstances have transpired in the parish once under your care, which
have convinced not only me, but all those still more violently
prejudiced against you, that your fair fame was tarnished by the secret
machinations and insidious representations of an enemy, and not by the
faulty nature of your conduct; and knowing this, we most earnestly
appeal to the nobleness of your nature for forgetfulness of the past,
and beg you will endeavour henceforward to regard those as your sincere
friends whom you have unhappily had too much reason to believe

"For myself, my dear Myrvin, I do not doubt that you will do this, for
candidly I own, that only now I have learned the true nature of your
character. When I first knew you, I was interested in your welfare, as
the chosen friend of my son, and also for your father's sake, now it is
for your own. The different positions we occupy in life, the wide
distance which circumstances place between us, will, I feel sure,
prevent all misconception on your part as to my meaning, and prevent
your drawing from my friendly words conclusions opposite to what I
intend, therefore I do not hesitate to avow that I not only esteem, but
from my heart I thank you, Myrvin, for your indulgence of those
honourable feelings, that perfect integrity which bade you resign your
curacy and depart from Oakwood. I did you wrong, great wrong; words can
but faintly compensate injury, though words have been the weapon by
which that injury has been inflicted, yet I feel confident you will not
retain displeasure, natural as it was; you will consent once more to
look on and appeal, if you should ever require it, to the father of
Herbert as your willing friend. Believe me, that if it be in my power to
assist you, you will never appeal in vain. Lord Malvern, I rejoice to
find, is your staunch friend, and nothing shall be wanting on my part to
render that friendship as permanent as advantageous. Mrs. Hamilton begs
me to inform you, that in this communication of my feelings, I have
transcribed her own. Injustice indeed she never did you; but
admiration, esteem, and gratitude are inmates of her bosom as sincerely
as they are of my own. Continue, my young friend, this unwavering regard
to the high principles of your nature, this steady adherence to duty,
spite of prejudice and wrong, if indeed they should ever again assail
you, and the respecs of your fellow-creatures will be yours as warmly,
as unfeignedly, as is that of

"Your sincere friend,


No word, no sound broke from the parched lips of Emmeline as she ceased
to read. She returned the paper to her father in that same silence, and
turning from his glance, buried her face in her hands. Mr. Hamilton
guessed at once all that was passing in that young and tortured heart;
he drew her to him, and whispered fondly--

"Speak to me, my Emmeline. You do not think he can mistake my feelings.
He will not doubt all prejudice is removed."

"Oh, no, no," she replied, after a severe struggle for composure; "you
have said enough, dear, dear papa. I could not have expected more."

For a moment she clung to his neck, and covered his cheek with kisses,
then gently withdrawing herself from his arms, quietly but hastily left
the room. For about an hour she might have remained absent, and Mrs.
Hamilton would not disturb her; and when she returned there was no trace
of agitation, pale she was indeed, and her eye had lost its brightness,
but that was too customary now to be deemed the effect of excited
emotion, and no further notice was taken, save that perhaps the manner
of her parents and Ellen towards her that night was even fonder than

Once again Mr. Hamilton mentioned Arthur Myrvin; to speak of the
pleasing and satisfactory letters both he and Mr. Howard had received
from him. He addressed himself to Ellen, telling her, Arthur had written
in a manner tending to satisfy even her friendly feelings towards him.
Emmeline joined not in the conversation. Her father did not offer to
show her the letter, and she stilled the yearnings of her young and
loving heart. From that hour the name of Arthur Myrvin was never heard
in the halls of Oakwood. There was no appearance of effort in the
avoidance, but still it was not spoken; not even by Percy and Herbert,
nor by Caroline or her husband. Even the letters of Lady Florence and
Lady Emily Lyle ceased to make him their principal object. Emmeline knew
the volatile nature of the latter, and therefore was not surprised that
she had grown tired of the theme; that Lady Florence should so
completely cease all mention of the tutor of her favourite brother was
rather more strange, but she did so perhaps in her letters to Ellen, and
of that Emmeline had not courage to ask. St. Eval would speak of Lord
Louis, expressing hopes that he was becoming more steady; but it so
chanced that, although at such times Emmeline, spite of herself, ever
longed for somewhat more, the magic name that would have bidden every
pulse throb never reached her ears, and her excited spirit would sink
back in despondency and gloom, increased from the momentary excitement
which expectation had vainly called forth.

Astonished indeed had Arthur Myrvin been at the receipt of his letters
from Oakwood and the Rectory. Mr. Howard's was productive of
gratification alone; that of Mr. Hamilton afforded even greater
pleasure, combined with a more than equal measure of pain. He had hoped
Emmeline would have answered his letter. She did not, but he knew her
influence had been exercised in his favour; and agony as it was, he
acknowledged she had acted wisely. There was too much devotedness in
Emmeline's character for Myrvin to encourage one lingering doubt that
his affections were returned; and as he thought on her steady discharge
of filial duty, as he recalled their parting interview, and felt she had
not wavered from the path she had pointed out, his own energies,
notwithstanding that still lingering, still acute suffering, were roused
within him, and he resolved he would obey her. She should see her appeal
had not been made in vain; she should never blush for the man she had
honoured with her love; he would endeavour to deserve her esteem, though
they might never meet again. He felt he had been too much the victim of
an ill-fated passion; he had by neglect in trifles encouraged the
prejudice against him, lost himself active and willing friends; this
should no longer be, and Myrvin devoted himself so perseveringly, so
assiduously to his pupil, allowing himself scarcely any time for
solitary thought, that not the keenest observer would have suspected
there was that upon the young man's heart which was poisoning the
buoyancy of youth, robbing life of its joy, and rendering him old before
his time.

That Mr. Hamilton, the father of his Emmeline, that his feelings should
have thus changed towards him, that he should admire and esteem instead
of condemn, was a matter of truly heartfelt pleasure. Hope would have
shook aloft her elastic wings, and carried him beyond himself, had not
that letter in the same hour dashed to the earth his soaring fancy, and
placed the seal upon his doom. He could not be mistaken; Mr. Hamilton
knew all that had passed between him and Emmeline, and while he
expressed his gratitude for the integrity and forbearance he (Myrvin)
had displayed, he as clearly said their love was hopeless, their union
never could take place.

Myrvin had known this before, then why did his heart sink in even
deeper, darker despondency as he read? why were his efforts at
cheerfulness so painful, so unavailing? He knew not and yet struggled
on, but weeks, ay, months rolled by, and yet that pang remained
unconquered still.

And did Emmeline become again in looks and glee as we have known her?
Was she even to her mother's eye again a child? Strangers, even some of
her father's friends, might still have deemed her so; but alas! a
mother's love strove vainly thus to be deceived. Health returned, and
with it appeared to come her wonted enthusiasm, her animated spirits.
Not once did she give way to depression; hers was not that pining
submission which is more pain to behold than decided opposition, that
resignation which has its foundation in pride, not in humility, as its
possessors suppose. Emmeline's submission was none of these. Her duties
as daughter and sister and friend, as well as those to the neighbouring
poor, were, if possible, more actively and perseveringly performed than
they had even been before. Not one of her former favourite employments
was thrown aside. The complete unselfishness of her nature was more
clearly visible than ever, and was it strange that she became dearer
than ever to those with whom she lived? Her parents felt she was twining
herself more and more around their hearts, and beheld, with
inexpressible anguish, that though her young mind was so strong, her
fragile frame was too weak to support the constant struggle. She never
complained; there was no outward failing of health, but there was a
nameless something hovering round her, which even her doting parents
could not define, but which they felt too forcibly to shake off; and
notwithstanding every effort to expel the idea, that nameless something
brought with it alarm--alarm defined indeed too clearly; but of which
even to each other they could not speak.

Time passed, and Herbert Hamilton, as the period of his ordination was
rapidly approaching, lost many of those painfully foreboding feelings
which for the last three years had so constantly and painfully assailed
him. He felt stronger in health than he had ever remembered to have
done, and the spirit of cheerfulness, and hope, and joy breathing in the
letters of his Mary affected him with the same unalloyed feelings of
anticipated happiness; sensations of holiness, of chastened thanksgiving
pervaded his every thought, the inward struggle appeared passed. There
was a calm upon his young spirit, so soothing and so blessed, that the
future rose before him unsullied by a cloud; anticipation was so bright,
it seemed a foretaste of that glorious heaven, the goal to which he and
his Mary looked--the home they sought together.

Percy had also obtained honourable distinction at Oxford; his active
spirit would not have permitted him to remain quiet in college so long,
had he not determined to see his brother ordained ere he commenced the
grand tour, to which he looked with much zest, as the completion to his
education, and render him, if he turned it to advantage, in all respects
fitted to serve his country nobly in her senate, the point to which he
had looked, from the first hour he was capable of thought, with an
ardour which increased as that long-desired time approached.

The disgraceful expulsion of Cecil Grahame from Cambridge opened afresh
that wound in his father's heart which Annie had first inflicted, but
which the conduct of Lilla had succeeded in soothing sufficiently to bid
her hope it would in time be healed. The ill-directed young man had
squandered away the whole of his mother's fortune, and behaved in a
manner that rendered expulsion inevitable. He chose to join the army,
and, with a painfully foreboding heart, his father procured him a
commission in a regiment bound for Ireland, hoping he would be exposed
to fewer temptations there than did he remain in England.

Lady Helen, as her health continued to decline, felt conscience becoming
more and more upbraiding, its voice would not be stilled. She had known
her duty as a mother; she had seen it beautifully portrayed before her
in Mrs. Hamilton, but she had neglected its performance, and her
chastisement she felt had come. Annie's conduct she had borne, she had
forgiven her, scarcely appearing conscious of the danger her daughter
had escaped; but Cecil was her darling, and his disgrace came upon her
as a thunderbolt, drawing the veil from her eyes, with startling and
bewildering light. She had concealed his childish faults, she had petted
him in every whim, encouraged him in every folly in his youth; to hide
his faults from a severe but not too harsh a judge, she had lowered
herself in the eyes of her husband, and achieved no good. Cecil was
expelled, disgracefully expelled, and the wretched mother, as she
contrasted his college life with that of the young Hamiltons, felt she
had been the cause; she had led him on by the flowery paths of
indulgence to shame and ruin. He came not near her; he joined his
regiment, and left England, without bidding her farewell, and she felt
she should never see him more. From that hour she sunk; disease
increased, and though she still lingered, and months passed, and there
was no change for the worse, yet still both Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton felt
that death was written on her brow, that, however he might loiter on his
way, his destined victim would never again feel the blessedness of
health; and all their efforts were now directed in soothing the
affliction of Grahame, and lead him to console by tenderness the
remaining period of his unhappy wife's existence. They imparted not to
him their fears, but they rested not till their desire was obtained, and
Lady Helen could feel she was not only forgiven but still beloved, and
would be sincerely mourned, both by her husband and Lilla, in whom she
had allowed herself at one time to be so deceived.

Having now brought the affairs of Oakwood, and all intimately connected
with it, to a point, from which no subject of interest took place for
above a year, at that period we resume our narrative.


It was a fine summer morning. The windows of a pretty little
sitting-room were thrown wide open, and the light breeze, loaded with
the perfume of a thousand flowers, played refreshingly on the pale cheek
of our young friend Emmeline, who, reclining on a sofa, looked forth on
beautiful nature with mingled sadness and delight. More than a year had
elapsed since we last beheld her, and she was changed, painfully
changed. She still retained her childish expression of countenance,
which ever made her appear younger than in reality she was, but its
ever-varying light, its beautiful glow were gone; yet she complained
not. The smile ever rested on her lips in the presence of her parents;
her voice was ever joyous, and no sigh, no repining word, betrayed the
breaking heart within. She recognised with a full and grateful heart the
blessings still surrounding her, and struggled long and painfully to be
content; but that fond yearning would not be stilled, that deep love no
effort could dispel. Still there were times when those who had never
known her in former years would have pronounced her well, quite well in
health; and Emmeline would smile when such remarks reached her, and
wonder if her parents were so deceived. Sometimes she thought they were,
for the name of Arthur Myrvin was no longer suppressed before her. She
heard of him, of his devotion to his pupil, of the undeviating integrity
and steadiness which characterised him, and promised fair to lead Lord
Louis in the same bright paths; she had heard of Arthur's devoted care
of his pupil during a long and dangerous illness, that he, under Divine
goodness, had been the instrument of saving the youth's life, and
restoring him to health; and if she permitted no sign to betray the
deep, absorbing interest she felt, if her parents imagined he was
forgotten, they knew not the throbbings of her heart.

She was conversing this morning with Mrs. Cameron, who had learned to
love Emmeline dearly; from being very often at Oakwood, she and her
daughters were looked on by all Mr. Hamilton's children as part of the

"Is not Flora delighted at the idea of again seeing her brother?"
Emmeline asked, in answer to Mrs. Cameron's information that Walter was
returning with his regiment to England, and in a very few weeks would be
once more an inmate of her home. She answered cheerfully in the
affirmative, and Emmeline again inquired--"Was Captain Cameron at all
acquainted with Cecil Grahame? Did he know the cause of his having been
so disgracefully cashiered?"

"Their regiments were quartered in such different parts of Ireland,"
replied Mrs. Cameron, "that I believe they only met on one occasion, and
then Walter was glad to withdraw from the society of the dissolute young
men by whom Lieutenant Grahame was always surrounded. The cause of his
disgrace appears enveloped in mystery. Walter certainly alluded to it,
but so vaguely, that I did not like to ask further particulars. I
dreaded the effect it would have on Mr. Grahame, but little imagined
poor Lady Helen would have sunk beneath it."

"I believe few know how she doted on that boy. It was misguided, but
still it was love that caused her to ruin him as she did in his
childhood. From the hour he was expelled from Cambridge, she never held
up her head; it was so cruelly ungrateful of him to set off for Ireland
without once seeking her; and this last stroke was too much for her to
bear. She still hoped, despite her better judgment, that he would in the
end distinguish himself, and she could not meet the disappointment."

"Did she long survive the intelligence?"

"Scarcely four-and-twenty hours. Mr. Grahame, feeling unable to command
himself, requested mamma and Lilla to impart to her the distressing
information, which they did most tenderly; but their caution was
entirely fruitless. Her constant inquiry was relative to his present
situation, and when she heard that he had not been seen since he was
cashiered, she sunk into a state of insensibility from which she never

"And Mr. Grahame?"

"The shock rendered him almost distracted, for it was so sudden. Lady
Helen had become so altered lately, that she was devotedly loved both by
her husband and child; she had been so long ailing, that both Lilla and
her father fondly hoped and believed she would be spared to them still
some years longer, though she might never entirely recover her health.
Mr. Grahame's feelings are stronger than most people imagine, but his
misfortunes have bowed him down even more than I could have believed

"They appeared so united and happy, that I do not wonder at it,"
observed Mrs. Cameron. "I have seldom seen such devotedness as Lady
Helen received from both her husband and child; she always welcomed
their affectionate attentions as if she felt herself undeserving of
them. I was interested in her, she bore her sufferings so meekly."

"And poor Lilla, how is she?"

"She suffers much, but behaves admirably. Ellen says her self-control is
extraordinary, when we remember she was one of those beings who could
never conceal a single feeling. Her poor father seems to look to her now
as his sole blessing and support; she soothes his sorrow so quietly, so
tenderly, and ever tries to prevent his thoughts dwelling on the stigma
which Cecil's disgraceful conduct has cast upon his name. I trust time

Book of the day: