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Capitola The Madcap by Emma D. E. N. Southworth

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master and gazed up in stupid astonishment.

"It's to be hoped, then, you've got her at last, captain," said
Demon Dick.

"No--heaven bless her!--she's in better hands. Now listen, lads, for
I must talk fast! I have already lost a great deal too much time. I
went first to the cave in the Punch Bowl, and, not finding you
there, came here at a venture, where I am happy to meet you for the
last time--for to-night we disband forever!"

"'Twas our intention, captain," said Hal, in a melancholy voice.

Black Donald then threw himself into a seat at the head of the
table, poured out a mug of ale, and invited his band to pledge him.
They gathered around the table, filled their mugs, pledged him
standing, and then resumed their seats to listen to the last words
of their chief.

Black Donald commenced and related the manner of his delverance by
Capitola; and then, taking from his bosom a bag of gold, he poured
it upon the table and divided it two into equal portions, one of
which he handed to "Headlong Hal," saying:

"There, Hal, take that and divide it among your companions, and
scatter to distant parts of the country, where you may yet have a
chance of earning an honest livelihood! As for me, I shall have to
quit the country altogether, and it will take nearly half this sum
to enable me to do it. Now I have not a minute more to give you! So
once more pledge your captain and away!"

The men filled their mugs, rose to their feet, and pledged their
leader in a parting toast and then:

"Good luck to you all!" exclaimed Black Donald, waving his hat
thrice above his head with a valedictory hurrah. And the next moment
he was gone!

That night, if any watchman had been on guard near the stables of
Hurricane Hall, he might have seen a tall man mounted upon
Capitola's pony, ride up in hot haste, dismount and pick the stable
lock, take Gyp by the bridle and lead him in, and presently return
leading out Fleetfoot, Old Hurricane's racer, upon which he mounted
and rode away.

The next morning, while Capitola was dressing; her groom rapped at
the door and, in great dismay, begged that he might speak to Miss
Cap one minute.

"Well, what is it, Jem?" said Capitola.

"Oh, Miss Cap, you'll kill me! I done been got up long afore day and
gone to Tip-Top arter Gyp, but somebody done been stole him away
afore I got there!"

"Thank heaven!" cried Capitola, to little Jem's unspeakable
amazement. For to Capitola the absence of her horse meant just the
escape of Black Donald!

The next minute Cap sighed and said:

"Poor Gyp! I shall never see you again!"

That was all she knew of the future!

That morning while they were all at breakfast a groom from the
stables came in with a little canvas bag in his hand, which he laid,
with a bow, before his master.

Major Warfield took it up; it was full of gold, and upon its side
was written, in red chalk:

"Three hundred dollars, to pay for Fleetfoot.--Black Donald,
Reformed Robber."

While Old Hurricane was reading this inscription, the groom said
that Fleetfoot was missing from his stall, and that Miss Cap's pony,
that was supposed to have been stolen, was found in his place, with
this bag of gold tied around his neck!

"It is Black Donald--he has escaped!" cried Old Hurricane, about to
fling himself into a rage, when his furious eyes encountered the
gentle gaze of Marah, that fell like oil on the waves of his rising

"Let him go! I'll not storm on my silver wedding day," said Major

As for Cap, her eyes danced with delight--the only little clouds
upon her bright sky were removed. Black Donald had escaped, to
commence a better life, and Gyp was restored!

That evening a magnificent old-fashioned wedding came off at
Hurricane Hall.

The double ceremony was performed by the bishop of the diocese (then
on a visit to the neighborhood) in the great salon of Hurricane
Hall, in the presence of as large and splendid an assembly as could
be gathered together from that remote neighborhood.

The two brides, of course, were lovely in white satin, Honiton lace,
pearls and orange flowers. "Equally," of course, the bridegrooms
were handsome and elegant, proud and happy.

To this old-fashioned wedding succeeded a round of dinners and
evening parties, given by the wedding guests. And when all these
old-time customs had been observed for the satisfaction of old
friends, the bridal party went upon the new-fashioned tour, for
their own delight. They spent a year in traveling over the eastern
continent, and then returned home to settle upon their patrimonial

Major Warfield and Marah lived at Hurricane Hall and as his heart is
satisfied and at rest, his temper is gradually improving. As the
lion shall be led by the little child, Old Hurricane is led by the
gentlest woman that ever loved or suffered, and she is leading him
in his old age to the Saviour's feet.

Clara and Traverse live at Willow Heights, which has been repaired,
enlarged and improved, and where Traverse has already an extensive
practice, and where both endeavor to emulate the enlightened
goodness of the sainted Doctor Day.

Cap and Herbert, with Mrs. Le Noir, live at the Hidden House, which
has been turned by wealth and taste into a dwelling of light and
beauty. As the bravest are always the gentlest, so the most high-
spirited are always the most forgiving. And thus the weak or wicked
old Dorcas Knight finds still a home under the roof of Mrs. Le Noir.
Her only retribution being the very mild one of having her relations
changed in the fact that her temporary prisoner is now her mistress
and sovereign lady.

I wish I could say "they all lived happy ever after." But the truth
is I have reason to suppose that even Clara had sometimes occasion
to administer to Doctor Rocke dignified curtain lectures, which no
doubt did him good. And I know for a positive fact that our Cap
sometimes gives her "dear, darling, sweet Herbert," the benefit of
the sharp edge of her tongue, which, of course, he deserves.

But notwithstanding all this, I am happy to say that all enjoy a
fair amount of human felicity.

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