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

Part 4 out of 6

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"Nay, forgive me, my sweet Ellen. It is I who have given you pain, and
should ask your forgiveness. I thought not of such utter hopelessness. I
had hoped that, ere I departed, I might have seen the dawn of happiness
for you; but I see, I feel now that cannot be. My own Ellen, I need not
tell you the comfort, the blessed comfort of prayer."

For a few minutes there was silence. Ellen had clasped the hand of Mary,
and turned aside her head to conceal the tears that slowly stole down
her cheek. The entrance of Emmeline was a relief to both, and Ellen left
the room; and when she returned, even to Mary's awakened eyes, there
were no traces of agitation. Each week produced a visible change in
Mary; she became weaker and weaker, but her mind retained its energy,
and often her sorrowing friends feared she would pass from the detaining
grasp of love, ere they were aware of the actual moment of her
departure. One evening she begged that all the family might assemble in
her room; she felt stronger, and wished to see them altogether again.
Her wish was complied with, and she joined so cheerfully in the
conversation that passed around, that her mother and Herbert forgot
anxiety. It was a soft and lovely evening; her couch, at her own
request, had been drawn to the open window, and the dying girl looked
forth on the beautiful scene beneath. The trees bore the rich full green
of summer, save where the brilliantly setting sun tinged them with hues
of gold and crimson. Part of the river was also discernible at this
point, lying in the bosom of trees, as a small lake, on which the
heavens were reflected in all their surpassing splendour. The sun, or
rather its remaining beams, rested on the brow of a hill, which, lying
in the deepest shadow, formed a superb contrast with the flood of liquid
gold that bathed its brow. Clouds of purple, gold, crimson, in some
parts fading into pink, floated slowly along the azure heavens, and the
perfect stillness that reigned around completed the enchantment of the

"Look up, my Mary, and mark those clouds of light," said Herbert. "See
the splendour of their hues, the unstained blue beyond; beautiful as is
earth, it shows not such exquisite beauty as yon heaven displays, even
to our mortal sight, nor calls such feelings of adoration forth. What
then will it be when that blue arch is rent asunder, and the effulgent
glory of the Maker of that heaven burst upon our view?"

"Blessed, oh, how blessed are those who, conducted by the Lamb of God,
can share that glory," answered Mary, with sudden energy. "Who can speak
the unutterable love which, while the beauteous earth yet retains the
traces of an awful curse, hath washed from man his sin, and takes from
death its sting?"

"And is it this thought, this faith which supports you now, my Mary?"
demanded Herbert, with that deep tenderness of one so peculiarly his

"It is, it is," she answered, fervently, "My sins are washed away; my
prayers are heard, for my Saviour pleads, and my home is prepared on
high amid the redeemed and the saved. Oh, blessed be the God of truth
that hath granted me this faith"--she paused a minute, then added--"and
heard my prayer, my beloved Herbert, and permitted me thus to die in my
native land, surrounded by those I love!"

She leaned her head on Herbert's bosom, and for some time remained
silent; then looking up, said cheerfully, "Do you remember, Emmeline,
when we were together some few years ago, we always said such a scene
and hour as this only wanted music to make it perfect? I feel as if all
those fresh delightful feelings of girlhood had come over me again.
Bring your harp and sing to me, dearest, those words you read to me the
other day."

"Nay, Mary, will it not disturb you?" said Emmeline, kneeling by her
couch, and kissing the thin hand extended to her.

"No, dearest, not your soft, sweet voice, it will soothe and give me
pleasure. I feel stronger and better to-night than I have done for some
time. Sing to me, but only those words, dear Emmy; all others would
neither suit this scene nor my feelings."

For a moment Emmeline hesitated, and looked towards her mother and Mrs.
Greville. Neither was inclined to make any objection to her request, and
on the appearance of her harp, under the superintendence of Arthur,
Emmeline prepared to comply. She placed the instrument at the further
end of the apartment, that the notes might fall softer on Mary's ear,
and sung, in a sweet and plaintive voice, the following words:--

"Remember me! ah, not with sorrow,
'Tis but sleep to wake in bliss.
Life's gayest hours can seek to borrow
Vainly such a dream as this.

Ah, see, 'tis heaven itself revealing
To my dimmed and failing sight;
And hark! 'tis angels' voices stealing
Through the starry veil of night.

Come, brother, come; ah, quickly sever
The cold links of earth's dull chain;
Come to thy home, where thou wilt never
Pain or sorrow feel again.

Come, brother, come; we spread before thee
Visions of thy blissful home;
Heed not, if Death's cold pang come o'er thee,
It will but bid thee haste and come!

Ah, yes, I see bright forms are breaking
Through the mist that veils mine eyes;
Now gladly, gladly, earth forsaking,
Take, oh, take me to the skies.

The mournful strain ceased, and there was silence. Emmeline had adapted
the words to that beautiful air of Weber's, the last composition of his
gifted mind. Mary's head still rested on the bosom of Herbert, her hand
clasped his. Evening was darkening into twilight, or the expression of
her countenance might have been remarked as changed--more spiritual, as
if the earthly shell had shared the beatified glory of the departing
spirit. She fixed her fading eyes on Ellen, who was kneeling by her
couch, steadily and calmly, but Ellen saw her not, for in that hour her
eyes were fixed, as in fascination on the form of Herbert, as he bent
over his beloved. The dying girl saw that mournful glance, and a gleam
of intelligence passed over her beautiful features. She extended one
hand to Ellen, who clasped it fondly, and then she tried to draw it
towards Herbert. She looked up in his face, as if to explain the meaning
of the action, but voice and strength utterly failed, and Ellen's hand
dropped from her grasp.

"Kiss me, Herbert, I would sleep," she said, so faintly, Herbert alone
heard it. Their lips met in one long lingering kiss, and then Mary
drooped her head again upon his bosom, and seemed to sleep so gently, so
sweetly, her friends held their breath lest they should disturb her.
Nearly half an hour passed and still there was no movement. The full
soft light of an unclouded moon fell within that silent chamber, and
gilded the forms of Mary and Herbert with a silvery halo, that seemed to
fall from heaven itself upon them. Mary's head had fallen slightly
forward, and her long luxuriant hair, escaped from its confinement,
concealed her features as a veil of shadowy gold. Gently and tenderly
Herbert raised her head, so as to rest upon his arm; as he did so her
hair fell back and fully exposed her countenance. A faint cry broke from
his parched lips, and Ellen started in agony to her feet.

"Hush, hush, my Mary sleeps," Mrs. Greville said; but Mr. Hamilton
gently drew her from the couch and from the room. Her eyes were closed;
a smile illumined that sweet face, as in sleep it had so often done, and
that soft and shadowy light took from her features all the harsher tale
of death. Yes, she did sleep sweetly and calmly, but her pure spirit had


It was long, very long ere Mr. Hamilton's family recovered the shock of
Mary's death. She had been so long loved, living amongst them from her
birth, her virtues and gentleness were so well known and appreciated by
every member. She had been by Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton so long considered
as their child, by her betrothment with their Herbert, that they
sorrowed for her as if indeed she had been bound to them by that tender
tie; and her poor mother now indeed felt desolate: her only treasure,
her precious, almost idolized Mary, was taken from her, and she was
childless, for of Alfred she had long ceased to receive intelligence.
She bowed her head, earnestly striving for submission, but it was long,
long ere peace returned; soothed she was indeed by the tender kindness
of her friends; but what on earth can soothe a bereaved and doting
mother? Emmeline, Ellen, Herbert, even Arthur Myrvin, treated her with
all the love and reverence of children, but neither could fill the
aching void within. On Herbert indeed her spirit rested with more
fondness than on any other object, but it was with a foreboding love;
she looked on him and trembled. It was a strange and affecting sight,
could any one have looked on those two afflicted ones: to hear Herbert
speak words of holy comfort to the mother of his Mary, to hear him speak
of hope, of resignation, mark the impress of that heavenly virtue on
his pale features; his grief was all internal, not a word escaped his
lips, not a thought of repining crossed his chastened mind. The extent
of that deep anguish was seen alone in his fading form, in his pallid
features; but it was known only to the Searcher of all hearts. He had
wished to perform the last office to his Mary, but his father and
Archdeacon Howard conjured him to abandon the idea, and suffer the
latter to take his place. All were bathed in tears during that solemn
and awful service. Scarcely could Mr. Howard command his voice
throughout, and his concluding words were wholly inaudible. But no
movement was observable in Herbert's slight and boyish form; enveloped
in his long mourning robe, his features could not be seen, but there was
somewhat around him that created in the breasts of all who beheld him a
sensation of reverence. All departed from the lowly grave, but Herbert
yet remained motionless and silent. His father and Myrvin gently sought
to lead him away, but scarcely had he proceeded two paces, when he sunk
down on the grass in a long and deathlike swoon; so painfully had it the
appearance of death, that his father and friends believed for a time his
spirit had indeed fled to seek his Mary; but he recovered. There was
such an aspect of serenity and submission on his countenance, that all
who loved him would have been at peace, had not the thought pressed
heavily on their minds that such feelings were not long for earth.

These fainting fits returned at intervals, and Mrs. Hamilton, whilst she
struggled to lift up her soul in undying faith to the God of Love, and
resignedly commit into His hands the life and death of her beloved son,
yet every time she gazed on him, while lying insensible before her, felt
more and more how difficult was the lesson she so continually strove to
learn; how hard it would be to part from him, if indeed he were called
away. She compared her lot with Mrs. Greville's, and thought how much
greater was her trial; and yet she, too, was a mother, and though so
many other gifts were vouchsafed her, Herbert was as dear to her as Mary
had been to Mrs. Greville. Must she lose him now, now that the fruit she
had so fondly cherished, watched as it expanded from the infant germ,
had bloomed so richly to repay her care, would he be taken from her now
that every passing month appeared to increase his love for her and hers
for him? for Herbert clung to his mother in this dread hour of
affliction with increasing fondness. True, he never spoke the extent of
his feelings even to her, but his manner betrayed how much he loved her,
how deeply he felt her sympathy, which said that next to his God, he
leaned on her.

At first Mr. Hamilton wished his son to resign the Rectory and join his
brother and sister at Geneva, and then accompany Percy on his travels;
but mournfully yet steadily Herbert rejected this plan.

"No, father," he said. "My duties as a son and brother, as well as the
friend and father of the flock committed to my charge, will be far more
soothing and beneficial, believe me, than travelling in far distant
lands. My health is at present such, that my home and the beloved
friends of my infancy appear dearer to me than ever, and I cannot part
from them to seek happiness elsewhere. I will do all in my power, by the
steady discharge of my many and interesting duties, to preserve my
health and restore peace and contentment. I seek not to resign my charge
in this world till my Saviour calls me; His work has yet to be done on,
earth, and till He dismisses me, I will cheerfully perform it; till then
do not ask me to forsake it."

Mr. Hamilton wrung his son's hand in silence, and never again urged his

There was no selfishness in Herbert's sorrow; he was still the devoted
son, the affectionate brother, the steady friend to his own immediate
circle; and to the poor committed to his spiritual charge, he was in
truth, as he had said he would be, a father and a friend. In soothing
the sufferings of others, his own became less bitterly severe; in
bidding others hope, and watch, and pray, he found his own spirit
strengthened and its frequent struggles calmed. With such unwavering
steadiness were his duties performed, that his bodily sufferings never
could have been discovered, had not those alarming faints sometimes
overpowered him in the cottages he visited ere his duties were
completed; and he was thankful, when such was the case, that it occurred
when from home, that his mother was thus sometimes spared anxiety. He
would walk on quietly home, remain some little time in his own chamber,
and then join his family cheerful and composed as usual, that no one
might suspect he had been ill.

Arthur Myrvin often gazed on his friend with emotions of admiration,
almost amounting to awe. His love for Emmeline was the strongest feeling
of his heart, and when for a moment he fancied her snatched from him, as
Mary had been from Herbert, he felt he knew he could not have acted like
his friend: he must have flown from scenes, every trace of which could
speak of the departed, or, if he had remained, he could not, as Herbert
did, have attended to his duties, have been like him so calm.

In the society of his cousin Ellen, Herbert found both solace and
pleasure. She had been so devoted to the departed, that he felt he loved
her more fondly than he had ever done, and he would seek her as the
companion of a walk, and give her directions as to the cottages he
sometimes wished her to visit, with a portion of his former animation,
but Ellen never permitted herself to be deceived; it was still a
brother's love, she knew it never could be more, and she struggled long
to control, if not to banish, the throb of joy that ever filled her
bosom when she perceived there were times she had power to call the
smile to Herbert's pensive features.

Percy's letters were such as to soothe his brother by his affectionate
sympathy; to betray more powerfully than ever to Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton
how dear to each other were their sons, how pure and consoling was the
friendship subsisting between them, and on other points to give much
pleasure to all his family. Caroline's health was much improved; her
little son, Percy declared, was such a nice, merry fellow, and so
handsome, that he was quite sure he resembled in all respects what he,
Percy Hamilton, must have been at the venerable age of two years. He
said farther, that as Lord and Lady St. Eval were going to make the tour
of the principal cities of Europe, he should remain with them and be
contented with what they saw, instead of rambling alone all over the
world, as he had intended. At first Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton were somewhat
surprised at this decision, but knowing the nature of their son, began
to fancy that a certain Miss Manvers had something to do with it, the
sister of Lord Delmont, the Earl St. Eval's most intimate friend, and
the chosen friend of Mary Greville during her residence at Monte Rosa.
In Lord Delmont's will he had left the Earl guardian of his sister
during the year that intervened before her coming of age, an office
which rendered St. Eval still more intimate with the family. On his way
to Geneva he had heard from Miss Manvers of her mother's death, and that
she was residing with an English family on the banks of the Lake. The
information that her brother's friends, and indeed her own, with his
wife and family, intended spending some little time at Geneva, was a
source of so much pleasure, that after a little hesitation she accepted
the earnest invitation of both the Earl and his lady, and gladly and
gratefully consented to reside with them during their stay in
Switzerland, and then accompany them on their intended tour.

The strong affection Percy bore his brother rendered him long unable to
regain his usual mirth and flow of spirits, and he found the
conversation of Louisa Manvers even more pleasing than ever. Mary had
made her perfectly acquainted with Herbert, and therefore, though she
had never seen him, she was well enabled to enter into the deep
affliction the loss of his betrothed must have occasioned him. Percy
could speak to her as often as he pleased of his brother and Mary, and
ever found sympathy and interest attached to the subject. Thus the idea
of travelling alone, when his sister's family offered such attractions,
became absolutely irksome to him, and he was pleased to see that his
plan of joining them was not disagreeable to Miss Manvers. Mr. Hamilton
sent his unqualified approval of Percy's intentions, and Herbert also
wrote sufficiently of himself to satisfy the anxious affection of his

There was only one disappointing clause in Percy's plans, and he
regretted it himself, and even hinted that if his sister still very much
wished it, he would give up his intention, and return home in time to be
present, as he had promised, at her wedding. He wrote in his usual
affectionate strain both to Emmeline and Myrvin, but neither was selfish
enough to wish such a sacrifice.

At Herbert's earnest entreaty, the marriage of his sister was, however,
fixed rather earlier than she had intended. It was not, he said, as if
their marriage was to be like Caroline's, the signal for a long course
of gaiety and pleasure; that Emmeline had always determined on only her
own family being present, and everything would be so quiet, he was sure
there could be no necessity for a longer postponement.

"My Mary wished to have beheld your union," his lip trembled as he
spoke; "had not her illness so rapidly increased she wished to have been
present, and could she now speak her wishes, it would be to bid you be
happy--no longer to defer your union for her sake. Do not defer it, dear
Emmeline," he added, in a somewhat sadder tone, "we know not the events
of an hour, and wherefore should we delay? it will be such joy to me to
unite my friend and my sister, to pour forth on their love the blessing
of the Lord."

There was something so inexpressibly sweet yet mournful in his
concluding words, that Emmeline, unable to restrain the impulse, leaned
upon his neck and wept.

"Do not chide my weakness, Herbert," she tried to say, "these are not
tears of unmingled sadness; oh, could I but see you happy."

"And you will, my sweet sister: soon--very soon, I shall be happy,
quite--quite happy," he added, in a lower tone, as he fondly kissed her

Emmeline had not marked the tone of his concluding words, she had not
seen the expression of his features; but Ellen had, and a cold yet
indefinable thrill passed through her heart, and left a pang behind,
which she could not conquer the whole of that day. She understood it
not, for she _would_ not understand.

Urged on, however, a few days afterwards, during a walk with Herbert,
she asked him why he was so anxious the ceremony should take place
without delay.

"Because, my dear Ellen, I look forward to the performance of this
ceremony as a source of pleasure which I could not bear to resign to

"To another, Herbert; what do you mean? Do you think of following my
uncle's advice, and resigning your duties for a time, for the purpose of

"No, Ellen; those duties will not be resigned till I am called away;
they are sources of enjoyment and consolation too pure to be given up. I
do not wish my sister's wedding to be deferred, for I know not how soon
my Saviour may call me to Himself."

"May we not all urge that plea, my dear cousin?" said Ellen; "and yet in
your sermon last Sunday, you told us to do all things soberly, to give
due reflection to things of weight, particularly those in which temporal
and eternal interests were united; not to enter rashly and hastily into
engagements, not too quickly to put off the garb of mourning, and plunge
once more into the haunts of pleasure." She paused.

"I did say all this, Ellen, I own; but it has not much to do with our
present subject. Emmeline's engagement with Arthur has not been entered
on rashly or in haste. She does not throw off the garb of mourning to
forget the serious thoughts it may have encouraged; and though you are
right, we none of us can know how soon we may be called away, yet,
surely, it behoves those unto whom the dart has sped, the mandate been
given, to set their house in order for they shall surely die, and not
live the usual period of mortals."

"But who can tell this, Herbert? who are so favoured as to know the
actual moment when the dart has sped and how soon it will reach them?
should we not all live as if death were near?"

"Undoubtedly, we should so order our souls, as ever to be ready to
render them back to Him who gave them; but we cannot always so arrange
our worldly matters, as we should, did we know the actual moment of
death's appearance; our business may require constant care, we may have
dear objects for whom it is our duty to provide, to the best of our
power, and did we know when we should die, these things would lose the
interest they demand. Death should, indeed, be ever present to our
minds; it should follow us in our joy as in our sorrow, and never will
it come as a dark and gloomy shadow to those who in truth believe; but
wise and merciful is the decree that conceals from us the moment of our
departure. Were the gates of Heaven thus visible, how tame and cold
would this world appear; how few would be the ties we should form, how
insignificant would seem those duties which on earth we are commanded to
perform. No, to prepare our souls to be ready at a minute's warning to
return to their heavenly home is the duty of all. More is not expected
from those in perfect health; but, Ellen, when a mortal disease is
consuming this earthly tabernacle, when, though Death linger, he is
already seen, ay, and even felt approaching, then should we not wind up
our worldly affairs, instead of wilfully blinding our eyes to the truth,
as, alas! too many do? Then should we not 'watch and pray' yet more, not
only for ourselves, but those dearest to us, and do all in our power to
secure their happiness, ere we are called away?"

Ellen could not answer. She understood too well his meaning; a sickness
as of death crept over her, but with an effort she subdued that deadly
faintness; she would have spoken on other things, but her tongue was
parched and dry.

Engrossed in his own solemn feelings, in the wish to prepare his cousin
for the truth, Herbert perceived not her agitation, and, after a
minute's pause, continued tenderly--

"My own cousin, death to you is, I know, not terrible; why then should I
hesitate to impart tidings which to me are full of bliss? The shaft
which bore away my Mary, also entered my heart, and implanted in me the
disease which no mortal skill can cure. Do not chide me for entertaining
an unfounded fancy. Ellen, dear Ellen, I look to you, under heaven, to
support my mother under this affliction. I look to your fond cares to
subdue the pang of parting. You alone of her children will be left near
her, and you can do much to comfort and soothe not only her, but my
father; they will mourn for me, nature will speak, though I go to joy
inexpressible, unutterable! Ellen, speak to me; will you not do this, my
sister, my friend?"

"Give me but a moment," she murmured almost inaudibly, as, overpowered
by increasing faintness, she sunk down on a grassy bank near them, and
buried her face in her hands. Minutes rolled by, and still there was
silence. Herbert sat down beside her, threw his arm around her, and
pressed a brother's kiss upon her cold, damp brow. She started and would
have risen, but strength failed; for a moment her head leaned against
his bosom, and a burst of tears relieved her. "Forgive me, Herbert," she
said, striving at once for composure and voice. "Oh, weak as I am, do
not repent your confidence. It was unexpected, sudden; the idea of
parting was sharper than at the first moment I could bear, but it will
soon be over, very, very soon; do not doubt me, Herbert." She fixed her
mournful eyes upon his face, and her cheek was very pale, "Yes," she
said, with returning strength, "trust me, dear Herbert, I will be to my
aunt, my more than mother, ever as you wish. My every care, my every
energy shall be employed to soften that deep anguish which--" She could
not complete the sentence, but quickly added, "the deep debt of
gratitude I owe her, not a whole life can repay. Long have I felt it,
long wished to devote myself to her and to my uncle, and this charge has
confirmed me in my resolution. Yes, dearest Herbert, while Ellen lives,
never, never shall my beloved aunt be lonely."

Herbert understood not the entire signification of his cousin's words;
he knew not, that simple as they were to his ears, to her they were a
vow sacred and irrevocable. She knew she could never, never love
another, and there was something strangely soothing in the thought, that
it was his last request that consecrated her to his mother, to her
benefactress. To feel that, in endeavouring to repay the dept of
gratitude she owed, she could associate Herbert intimately with her
every action, so to perform his last charge, that could he look down
from heaven it would be to bless her.

Herbert knew not the intensity of Ellen's feelings, still less did he
imagine he was the object of her ill-fated affection. Never once had
such a suspicion crossed his mind; that she loved him he doubted not,
but he thought it was as Emmeline loved. He trusted in her strength of
character, and therefore had he spoken openly; and could Ellen regret
his confidence, when she found that after that painful day, her society
appeared dearer, more consoling to him than ever?

Although some members of her family could not be present at Emmeline's
wedding, a hasty visit from Edward was a source of joy to all. He was
about to sail to the shores of Africa in a small frigate, in which he
had been promoted to the second in command, an honour which had elevated
his spirits even beyond their usual buoyancy. He had been much shocked
and grieved at his sister's account of Mary's death, and Herbert's deep
affliction; but after he had been at home a few days, the influence of
his natural light-heartedness extended over all, and rendered Oakwood
more cheerful than it had been since the melancholy event we have

To Lilla Grahame it was indeed a pleasure to revisit Oakwood,
particularly when Lieutenant Fortescue was amongst its inmates. Edward's
manner was gallantly courteous to all his fair friends; a stranger might
have found it difficult to say which was his favourite, but there was
something about both him and Miss Grahame which very often called from
Ellen a smile.

It was an interesting group assembled in the old parish church on the
day that united our favourite Emmeline with her long-beloved Arthur, but
it was far from being a day of unmingled gladness. Deep and chastened as
was the individual and mutual happiness of the young couple, they could
neither of them forget that there was a beloved one wanting; that they
had once hoped the same day that beheld their nuptials would have
witnessed also those of Herbert and his Mary.

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton had looked with some degree of dread to this day,
as one of painful recollection to Herbert; but he, perhaps of all who
were around him, was the most composed, and as the impressive ceremony
continued, he thought only of those dear ones whose fate he thus united;
he felt only the solemn import of the prayers he said, and his large and
beautiful eyes glistened with enthusiasm as in former days. It would
have been a sweet group for a skilful painter, those three principal
figures beside the altar. Herbert, as we have described him; Emmeline,
in her simple garb of white, her slight figure and peculiarly feminine
expression of countenance causing her to appear very many years younger
than in reality she was; and Arthur, too, his manly features radiant
with chastened yet perfect happiness, seemed well fitted to be the
protector, the friend of the gentle being who so soon would call him
husband, and look to him alone for happiness. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton
rejoiced that their beloved child was at length blessed in the
gratification of her long-cherished, long-controlled hopes; that, as far
as human eye could penetrate, they had secured her happiness by giving
her to the man she loved. There was one other kneeling beside the altar
on whom Mrs. Hamilton looked with no small anxiety, for the emotion she
perceived, appeared to confirm the idea that it was indeed Arthur Myrvin
who had engrossed the affections of her niece. There are mysteries in
the human heart for which we seek in vain to account; associations and
sympathies that come often uncalled-for and unwished. Ellen knew not
wherefore the scene she witnessed pressed strangely on her heart; she
struggled against the feeling, and she might perhaps have succeeded in
concealing her inward emotions, but suddenly she looked on Herbert. She
marked him radiant, it seemed, in health and animation, his words
flashed across her mind; soon would the hue of death be on that cheek,
the light of that eye be dimmed, that sweet and thrilling voice be
hushed on earth for ever; that beautiful form bent down as a flower,
"the wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall
know it no more;" and thus would it soon be with him she loved. The gush
of feeling mocked all her efforts at control, Ellen buried her face in
her hands, and her slight frame shook, and the low choking sob was
distinctly heard in the brief silence that followed the words, "Those
whom God hath joined let no man put asunder."

Arthur, at Emmeline's own desire, conducted his bride at once to the
small yet comfortable home which had been prepared for her in his
vicarage on Lord St. Eval's estate. That her residence was so near them
was a great source of pleasure to both her parents, and the feeling that
her home was in the centre of all she loved, not only so near the
beloved guardians of her infancy but Caroline and St. Eval, would have
added to her cup of joy, had it not been already full to overflowing;
the pang of parting was thus soothed to both mother and child. Even more
than Caroline, Mrs. Hamilton felt she should miss the gentle girl, who
scarcely from her infancy had given her one moment's pain; but in the
happiness of her child she too was blessed, and thankfully she raised
her voice to Him whose blessing, in the rearing of her children, she had
so constantly and fervently implored, and the mother's fond and yearning
heart was comforted.

Though Ellen had smiled, and seemed to every eye but that of her
watchful aunt the same as usual the whole of that day, yet Mrs. Hamilton
could not resist the impulse that bade her seek her when all had retired
to their separate apartments. Ellen had been gone some time, but she was
sitting in a posture of deep thought, in which she had sunk on first
entering her room. She did not observe her aunt, and Mrs. Hamilton
traced many tears slowly, almost one by one, fall upon her
tightly-clasped hands, ere she found voice to speak.

"Ellen, my sweet child!"

Ellen sprung up, she threw herself into those extended arms, and hid her
tearful eyes on her aunt's bosom.

"I have but you now, my own Ellen, to cheer my old age and enliven our
deserted hearth. You must not leave me yet, dearest. I cannot part with

"Oh, no, no; I will never, never leave you. Your home shall be my home,
my more than mother; and where you go, Ellen will follow," she murmured,
speaking unconsciously in the spirit of one of the sweetest characters
the Sacred Book presents. "Do not ask me to leave you; indeed, indeed,
no home will be to me like yours."

"Speak not, then, so despondingly, my Ellen," replied Mrs. Hamilton,
fondly kissing her. "Never shall you leave me without your own full and
free consent. Do you remember, love, when I first promised that?" she
continued, playfully; for she sought not to draw from Ellen the secret
of her love, she only wished to soothe, to cheer, to tell her, however
unrequited might be her affections, still she was not desolate, and when
she left her, fully had she succeeded. Ellen was comforted, though she
scarcely knew wherefore.

Some few months passed after the marriage of Emmeline, and the domestic
peace of Oakwood yet remained undisturbed. There were times when Ellen
hoped she had been deceived, that Herbert had been deceived himself. But
Myrvin dared not hope; he was not with his friend as constantly as Ellen
was, and almost every time he beheld him he fancied he perceived an
alarming change.

About this time a malignant disease broke out in the neighbourhood of
the Dart, whose awful ravages it appeared as if no medical aid was
adequate to stop. In Herbert Hamilton's parish the mortality was
dreadful, and his duties were consequently increased, painfully to
himself and alarmingly to his family. A superhuman strength seemed,
however, suddenly granted him. Whole days, frequently whole nights, he
spent in the cottages of the afflicted poor. Soothing, encouraging,
compelling even the hardened and impenitent to own the power of the
religion he taught; bidding even them bow in unfeigned penitence at the
footstool of their Redeemer, and robbing death, in very truth, of its
sting. The young, the old, men in their prime, were carried off. The
terrible destroyer knew no distinction of age or sex or rank. Many a
young child would cease its wailing cry of suffering when its beloved
pastor entered the lowly cot, and with the fondness of a parent, with
that smile of pitying love which few hearts can resist, would seek to
soothe the bodily anguish, while at the same moment he taught the young
soul that death was not terrible; that it was but a few moments of pain
to end in everlasting bliss; that they were going to Him who had said
"Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of
heaven." From the old, Herbert would learn many a lesson of piety and
resignation, and feel that attendance on such beds of death was in truth
a blessing to himself.

Fearlessly, for her trust was fixed on the Rock of Righteousness, did
Ellen second the exertions of her cousin in this time of general
affliction. There were many who sought to deter her, for they whispered
the disease was contagious, but Ellen heeded them not, nor did Mrs.
Hamilton, herself so active in seasons of distress, seek to dissuade
her. "The arm of my God is around me, alike in the cottages of the dying
as in the fancied security of Oakwood," she said one day to Herbert, who
trembled for her safety, though for himself no fears had ever entered
his mind. "If it is His will that I too should feel His chastening rod,
it will find me though I should never leave my home; my trust is in Him.
I go in the humble hope to do His work, and He will not forsake me,

Herbert trembled for her no more, and an active and judicious assistant
did he find her. For six weeks the disease continued unabated; about
that time it began to decline, and hopes were entertained that it was
indeed departing.

There was moisture in the eyes of the young minister, as he looked
around him one Sabbath evening on the diminished number of his
congregation; so many of whom were either clad in mourning, or bore on
their countenance the marks of recent suffering, over the last victim
the whole family at Oakwood had sincerely mourned, for it was that kind
old woman whom we have mentioned more than once as being connected with
the affairs we have related. Nurse Langford had gone to her last home,
and both Ellen and Herbert dreaded writing the intelligence to her
affectionate son, who was now in Percy's service. She had been buried
only the day previous. Her seat was exactly opposite the pulpit, where
she had so often said it was such a blessing to look on the face of her
dear Master Herbert, and hear such blessed truths from his lips. She now
was gone. Herbert looked on her vacant seat, and it was then his eyes
glistened in starting tears. He had seen his cousin look towards the
same place, and though her veil was closely drawn down, he _felt_ her
tears were falling fast and thick upon her book. More than usually
eloquent was the young clergyman that day, in the discourse he had
selected as most appropriate to the feelings of those present. He spoke
of death, and, with an eloquence affecting in its pure simplicity, he
alluded to the loss of those we love. "Wherefore should I say loss, my
brethren?" he said, in conclusion. "They have but departed to mansions
of undying joy: to earth they may be lost, but not to us. Oh, no, God
cursed the ground for man's sake--it is fading, perishable! There will
be a new heaven and a new earth, but the spirit which God breathed
within us shall not see corruption. Released from this earthly shell, we
shall again behold those who have departed first; they will meet us
rejoicing, singing aloud the praises of that unutterable love that
redeemed and saved us, removing the curse pronounced on man, even as on
earth, making us heirs of eternal life, of everlasting glory! My
brethren, Death has been amongst us, but how clothed? to us who remain,
perhaps for a time in sadness; but to those who have triumphantly
departed, even as an angel of light, guiding them to the portals of
heaven. Purified by suffering and repentance, their garments white as
snow, they encircle the throne of their Saviour; and those whose lives
below were those of toil and long suffering, are now among the blessed.
Shall we then weep for them, my friends? Surely not. Let us think of
them, and follow in their paths, that our last end may be like theirs,
that we may rejoin them, never again to part!

"Are there any here who fear to die? Are there any who shrink and
tremble when they think they may be the next it may please the Lord to
call? My Christian brethren, think awhile, and such thoughts will cease
to appal you. To the heathen alone is death the evil spirit, the
blackening shadow which, when called to mind, will poison his dearest
joys! To us, brethren, what is it? In pain it tells us of ease; in
strife or tumult, that the grave is a place of quiet; in the weariness
of exhausted spirits, that the end of all these things is at hand. Who
ever found perfect joy on earth? Are we not restless, even in the midst
of happiness? Death tells us of a purer happiness, in which there is no
weariness, no satiety. When we look around on those we love, when we
feel the blessings of affection, death tells us that we shall love them
still better in heaven! Is death then so terrible? Oh, let us think on
it thus in life and health, and in the solitude and silence of our
chamber such thoughts will not depart from us. Let these reflections
pervade us as we witness the dying moments of those we love, and we
shall find even for us death has no sting; for we shall meet again in a
world where death and time shall be no more! Oh, my beloved brethren,
let us go home, and in our closets thank God that His chastening hand
appears about to be removed from us, and so beseech Him to enlighten our
eyes to look on death, and so to give us that faith, which alone can
make us whole, and give us peace, that we may say with the venerable
Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine
eyes have seen thy salvation.'"

He ceased, and a solemn stillness reigned within the church. For a
moment the young clergyman bowed his head in silent prayer upon his
book, and then he raised his clasped hands on high, and, in a voice of
almost unearthly sweetness and power, gave the parting benediction. The
flush was observed to fade from his cheek, the lustre depart from his
eye; he raised his hand languidly to his damp brow, and in another
minute Mr. Hamilton darted from his seat, and received his son in his
arms, in a long and deathlike swoon, That same evening beheld Herbert
Hamilton, the beloved, the good, stretched on his couch a victim to the
same fearful disease, to remove the sting of which he had so long and
perseveringly laboured.


There was joy in the superb hotel at Frankfort-sur-Maine which served as
the temporary residence of Lord St. Eval's family, domestic joy, for the
danger which had threatened the young Countess in her confinement had
passed away, and she and her beautiful babe were doing as well as the
fond heart of a father and husband could desire. They had been at
Frankfort for the last two months, at which place, however, Percy
Hamilton had not been stationary, taking advantage of this pause in St.
Eval's intended plans, by seeing as much of Germany as he could during
that time; and short as it was, his energetic mind had derived more
improvement and pleasure in the places he had visited, than many who had
lingered over the same space of ground more than double the time.
Intelligence that Caroline was not quite so well as her friends wished,
aided perhaps by his secret desire to see again her gentle companion,
Percy determined for a short time to return to Frankfort, till his
sister's health was perfectly restored, and they might be again enabled
to travel together. His almost unexpected arrival added to the happiness
of the young Earl's domestic circle, and there was somewhat in his arch
yet expressive glance, as he received his baby niece from the arms of
Miss Manvers, and imprinted a light kiss on the infant's sleeping
features, that dyed her cheek with blushes, and bade her heart beat
quick with an indefinable sense of pleasure.

The sisterly friendship of Louisa Manvers had been a source of real
gratification to both the Earl St. Eval and his Countess during their
travels, more particularly now, when the health of the latter required
such kindly tending. Mrs. Hamilton had deeply regretted the
impossibility of her being with her child at such a time; the letter
Lord St. Eval had despatched was, however, calculated to disperse all
her anxiety, the danger appearing after the letter had gone, and not
lasting sufficiently long to justify his writing again. They were
sitting round the breakfast-table the morning after Percy's return,
lengthening the usual time of the meal by lively and intelligent
conversation; Miss Manvers was presiding at the table, and Percy did not
feel the least inclined to move, declaring he would wait for his English
despatches, if there were any, before he went out. The post happened to
be rather late that morning, a circumstance, wonderful to say, which did
not occasion Percy annoyance. It came in, however, at length, bringing
several papers for Lord St. Eval and his wife, from the Malvern family,
but only two from Oakwood, one, in the handwriting of Ellen, to Percy,
and one for Robert Langford, evidently from Mr Hamilton.

"This is most extraordinary," Percy said, much surprised. "My mother
not written to Caroline, and none from Herbert to me; his duties are
increased, I know, but surely he could find time to write to me."

"Mrs. Hamilton has written to Caroline since her confinement, and so did
all her family four or five days ago," said Lord St. Eval, but his words
fell unheeded on the ear of Percy, who had hastily torn open his
cousin's letter, and glanced his eye over its contents. Engaged in his
own letters, the Earl did not observe the agitation of his friend, but
Miss Manvers saw his hand tremble so violently, that he could scarcely
hold the paper.

"Merciful heaven! Mr. Hamilton--Percy, what is the matter?" she
exclaimed, suddenly losing all her wonted reserve, as she remarked his
strange emotion, and her words, connected with the low groan that burst
from Percy's heart, effectually roused the Earl's attention.

"Hamilton, speak; are there ill news from Oakwood? In mercy, speak!" he
said, almost as much agitated as his friend.

"Herbert," was all Percy could articulate, "Herbert, my brother; oh God,
he is dying, and I am not near him. Read, St. Eval, for pity; I cannot
see the words. Is there yet time--can I reach England in time? or is
this only a preparation to tell me he is--is dead?"

"He lives, Percy; there may be yet time, if you set off at once,"
exclaimed the Earl, who saw the necessity of rousing his friend to
exertion, for the sudden blow had bewildered his every faculty. He
started up wildly, and was darting from the room, when he suddenly

"Keep it from Caroline--tell her not now, it will kill her," he cried.
"May God in heaven bless you for those tears!" he continued, springing
towards Louisa, and clasping her hands convulsively in his, as the sight
of her unfeigned emotion caused the hot tears slowly to trickle down his
own cheek, and his lip quivered, till he could scarcely speak the words
of parting. "Oh, think of me; I go to the dying bed of him, whom I had
hoped would one day have been to you a brother--would have joined--" He
paused in overwhelming emotion, took the hand of the trembling girl,
raised it to his lips, and darted from the apartment.

St. Eval hastily followed him, for he saw Percy was in no state to think
of anything himself, and the letter Robert had received, telling him of
the death of his mother, rendered him almost as incapable of exertion as
his master; but as soon as he heard the cause of Percy's very visible
but at first incomprehensible agitation, his own deep affliction was at
once subdued; he was ready and active in Percy's service. That Mr.
Hamilton should thus have written to him, to alleviate the blow of a
parent's death, to comfort him when his own son lay on a dying bed,
penetrated at once the heart of the young man, and urged him to

Day and night Percy travelled; but we must outstrip even his rapid
course, and conduct our readers to Oakwood, the evening of the second
day after Percy's arrival at Ostend.

Herbert Hamilton lay on his couch, the cold hand of Death upon his brow;
but instead of robing his features with a ghastly hue, it had spread
over them even more than usual beauty. Reduced he was to a mere shadow,
but his prayers in his days of health and life had been heard; the
delirium of fever had passed, and he met death unshrinkingly, his mind
retaining even more than its wonted powers. It was the Sabbath evening,
and all around him was still and calm. For the first two days after the
delirium had departed, his mind had still been darkened, restless, and
uneasy. Perseveringly as he had laboured in his calling, he had felt in
those darker days the utter nothingness of his own works, how wholly
insufficient they had been to secure his salvation; and the love of his
God, the infinite atonement in which he so steadily believed, shone not
with sufficient brightness to remove this painful darkness. Death was
very near, and it no longer seemed the angel of light he had ever
regarded it; but on the Saturday the mist was mercifully dispelled from
his mind, the clouds dispersed, and faith shone forth with a brilliancy,
a lustre overpowering; it told of heaven with an eloquence that banished
every other thought, and Herbert's bodily sufferings were felt no
longer; the confines of heaven were gained--but a brief space, one
mortal struggle, and he would meet his Mary at the footstool of his God.

With solemn impressiveness, yet affecting tenderness, Archdeacon Howard
had administered the sacrament to him, whom he regarded at once as
pupil, friend, and brother; and the whole family of the dying youth, at
his own particular request, had shared it with him. Exhausted by the
earnestness in which he had joined in the solemn service, Herbert now
lay with one hand clasped in his mother's, who sat by his side, her head
bent over his, and her whole countenance, save when the gaze of her son
was turned towards her, expressive of tearless, heart-rending sorrow,
struggling for resignation to the will of Him, who called her Herbert
to Himself. Emmeline was kneeling by her mother's side. Mr. Hamilton
leaned against the wall, pale and still; it was only the agonized
expression of his manly features that betrayed he was a living being. On
the left side of the dying youth stood Arthur Myrvin, who, from the
moment of his arrival at Oakwood, had never once left Herbert's couch,
night and day he remained beside him; and near Arthur, but yet closer to
her cousin, knelt the orphan, her eyes tearless indeed, but her whole
countenance so haggard and wan, that had not all been engrossed in
individual suffering, it could not have passed unobserved. The tall,
venerable figure of the Archdeacon, as he stood a little aloof from the
principal figures, completed the painful group.

"My own mother, your Herbert is so happy, so very happy! you must not
weep for me, mother. Oh, it is your fostering love and care, the
remembrance of all your tenderness from my infancy, gilding my boyhood
with sunshine, my manhood with such refreshing rays--it is that which is
resting on my heart, and I would give it words and thank and bless you,
but I cannot. And my father, too, my beloved, my revered father--oh, but
little have I done to repay your tender care, my brother and sisters'
love, but my Father in heaven will bless--bless you all; I know, I feel
He will."

"Percy," repeated the dying youth, a gleam of light kindling in his eye
and flushing his cheek. "Is there indeed a hope that I may see him, that
I may trace those beloved features once again?"

He closed his eyes, and his lips moved in silent yet fervent prayer,
that wish was still powerful within; it was the only thought of earth
that lingered.

"Tell him," he said, and his voice sounded weaker and weaker, "tell him,
Herbert's last prayer was for him, that he was in my last thoughts; tell
him to seek for comfort at the foot of that Throne where we have so
often knelt together. Oh, let him not sorrow, for I shall be happy--oh,
so happy!"

Again he was silent, and for a much longer interval; but when he
reopened his eyes, they were fixed on Ellen.

"My sister, my kind and tender nurse, what shall I say to you?" he said,
languidly, but in a tone that thrilled to her aching heart. "I can but
commend you to His care, who can take from grief its sting, even as He
hath clothed this moment in victory. May His spirit rest upon you,
Ellen, and give you peace. May He bless you, not only for your
affectionate kindness towards me, but to her who went before me. You
will not forget, Ellen." His glance wandered from his cousin to his
mother, and then returned to her. She bowed her head upon his extended
hand, but her choking voice could speak no word. "Caroline, too, she
will weep for me, but St. Eval will dry her tears; tell them I did not
forget them; that my love and blessing is theirs even as if they had
been around me. Emmeline, Arthur,--Mr. Howard, oh, where are you? my
eyes are dim, my voice is failing, yet"--

"I am here, my beloved son," said the Archdeacon, and Herbert fixed a
kind glance upon his face, and leaned his head against him.

"I would tell you, that it is the sense of the Divine presence, of love,
unutterable, infinite, inexhaustible, that has taken all anguish from
this moment. My spirit rises triumphant, secure of eternal salvation,
triumphing in the love of Him who died for me. Oh, Death, well may I
say, where is thy sting? oh, grave, where is thy victory? they are
passed; heaven is opening. Oh, bliss unutterable, undying!" He sunk back
utterly exhausted, but the expression of his countenance still evinced
the internal triumph of his soul.

A faint sound, as of the distant trampling of horses, suddenly came upon
the ear. Nearer, nearer still, and a flush of excitement rose to
Herbert's cheek. "Percy--can it be? My God, I thank thee for this

Arthur darted from the room, as the sound appeared rapidly approaching;
evidently it was a horse urged to its utmost speed, and it could be none
other save Percy. Arthur flew across the hall, and through the entrance,
which had been flung widely open, as the figure of the young heir of
Oakwood had been recognised by the streaming eyes of the faithful
Morris, who stood by his young master's stirrup, but without uttering a
word. Percy's tongue clove to the roof of his mouth; his eyes were
bloodshot and haggard. He had no power to ask a question, and it was
only the appearance of Myrvin, his entreaty that he would be calm ere
Herbert saw him, that roused him to exertion. His brother yet lived; it
was enough, and in another minute he stood on the threshold of Herbert's
room. With an overpowering effort the dying youth raised himself on his
couch, and extended his arms towards him.

"Percy, my own Percy, this is kind," he said, and his voice suddenly
regained its wonted power. Percy sprung towards him, and the brothers
were clasped in each other's arms. No word did Percy speak, but his
choking sobs were heard; there was no movement in the drooping form of
his brother to say that he had heard the sound; he did not raise his
head from Percy's shoulder, or seek to speak of comfort.

"Speak to me, oh, once again, but once more, Herbert!" exclaimed Percy.
Fearful agony was in his voice, but, oh, it could not rouse the _dead_:
Herbert Hamilton had departed. His last wish on earth was fulfilled. It
was but the lifeless form of his beloved brother that Percy held in the
stern grasp of despairing woe. It was long ere the truth was known, and
when it was, there was no sound of wailing heard within the chamber, no
cry of sorrow broke the solemn stillness. For him they could not weep,
and for themselves, oh, it was a grief too deep for tears.

* * * * *

We will not linger on the first few weeks that passed over the inmates
of Oakwood after the death of one we have followed so long, and beheld
so fondly and deservedly beloved. Silent and profound was that sorrow,
but it was the sorrow of those who, in all things, both great and small,
beheld the hand of a God of love. Could the faith, the truth, which from
her girlhood's years had distinguished Mrs. Hamilton, desert her now?
Would her husband permit her to look to him for support and consolation
under this deep affliction, and yet not find it? No; they looked up to
their God; they rejoiced that so peaceful, so blessed had been the death
of their beloved one. His last words to them came again and again on the
heart of each parent as soothing balm, of which nor time nor
circumstance could deprive them. For the sake of each other, they
exerted themselves, an example followed by their children; but each felt
years must pass ere the loss they had sustained would lose its pang, ere
they could cease to miss the being they had so dearly loved, who had
been such a brilliant light in their domestic circle--brilliant, yet how
gentle; not one that was ever sparkling, ever changing, but of a soft
and steady lustre. On earth that light had set, but in heaven it was
dawning never to set again.

For some few weeks the family remained all together, as far at least as
Arthur's ministerial duties permitted. Mr. Hamilton wished much to see
that living, now vacant by the death of his son, transferred to Myrvin,
and he exerted himself towards effecting an exchange. Ere, however,
Percy could return to the Continent, or Emmeline return to her husband's
home, the sudden and alarming illness of Mrs. Hamilton detained them
both at Oakwood. The fever which had been raging in the village, and
which had hastened the death of Herbert, had also entered the household
of Mrs. Hamilton. Resolved that no affliction of her own should
interfere with those duties of benevolence, to exercise which was her
constant practice, Mrs. Hamilton had compelled herself to exertion
beyond the strength of a frame already wearied and exhausted by
long-continued but forcibly-suppressed anxiety, and three weeks after
the death of her son she too was stretched on a bed of suffering, which,
for the first few days during the violence of the fever, her afflicted
family believed might also be of death. In this trying time, it was to
Ellen that not only her cousin but even her uncle turned, by her example
to obtain more control and strength. No persuasions could induce her to
leave the side of her aunt's couch, or resign to another the painful yet
soothing task of nursing. Young and inexperienced she was, but her
strong affection for her aunt, heightened by some other feeling which
was hidden in her own breast, endowed her at once with strength to
endure continued fatigue, with an experience that often made Mr.
Maitland contemplate her with astonishment. From the period of Herbert's
death, Ellen had placed her feelings under a restraint that utterly
prevented all relief in tears. She was never seen to weep; every feature
had indeed spoken the deep affliction that was hers, but it never
interfered with the devoted care she manifested towards her aunt.
Silently yet perseveringly she laboured to soften the intense suffering
in the mother's heart; it was on her neck Mrs. Hamilton had first wept
freely and relievingly, and as she clasped the orphan to her bosom, had
lifted up her heart in thanksgiving that such a precious gift was yet
preserved her, how little did even she imagine all that was passing in
Ellen's heart; that Herbert to her young fancy had been how much dearer
than a brother; that she mourned not only a cousin's loss, but one round
whom her first affections had been twined with an intensity that death
alone could sever. How little could she guess the continued struggle
pressing on that young mind, the anguish of her solitary moments, ere
she could by prayer so calm her bursting heart as to appear the composed
and tranquil being she ever seemed before the family. Mrs. Hamilton
could only feel that the comfort her niece bestowed in this hour of
affliction, her controlled yet sympathising conduct, repaid her for all
the care and sorrow Ellen once had caused. Never had she regretted she
had taken the orphans to her heart and cherished them as her own; but
now it was she felt the Lord had indeed returned the blessing tenfold in
her own bosom; and still more did she feel this in the long and painful
convalescence that followed her brief but severe attack of fever, when
Ellen was the only one of her children remaining near her.

Completely worn out by previous anxiety, the subsequent affliction, and,
finally, her mother's dangerous illness, Emmeline's health appeared so
shattered, that as soon as the actual danger was passed, Myrvin insisted
on her going with him, for change of air and scene, to Llangwillan, a
proposal that both her father and Mr. Maitland seconded; trembling for
the precious girl so lately made his own, Arthur resisted her entreaties
to remain a little longer at Oakwood, and conveyed her at once to his
father's vicarage, where time and improved tidings of her mother
restored at length the bloom to her cheek and the smile to her lip.

It was strange to observe the difference of character which opposite
circumstances and opposite treatment in their infant years had made in
these two cousins. Emmeline and Ellen, had they been brought up from
babes together, and the same discipline extended to each, would, in all
probability, have in after years displayed precisely the same
disposition; but though weak indulgence had never been extended to
Emmeline, prosperity unalloyed, save in the affair with Arthur Myrvin,
had been her portion. Affection and caresses had been ever lavished
almost unconsciously upon her, but instead of cherishing faults, such
treatment had formed her happiness, and had encouraged and led her on
in the paths of virtue. Every thought and feeling were expressed without
disguise; she had been so accustomed to think aloud to her mother from
childhood, so accustomed to give vent to her little vexations in words,
her sorrows in tears, which were quickly dried, that as years increased,
she found it a very difficult task either to restrain her sentiments or
control her feelings. Her mind could not be called weak, for in her
affection for Arthur Myrvin, as we have seen, when there was a
peremptory call for exertion or self-control, it was ever heard and
attended to. Her health indeed suffered, but that very fact proved the
mind was stronger than the frame; though when she marked Ellen's
superior composure and coolness, Emmeline would sometimes bitterly
reproach herself. From her birth, Ellen had been initiated in sorrow,
her infant years had been one scene of trial. Never caressed by her
mother or those around her, save when her poor father was near, she had
learned to bury every affectionate yearning deep within her own little
heart, every childish sentiment was carefully concealed, and her
father's death, the horrors of that night, appeared to have placed the
seal on her character, infant as she was. She was scarcely ten when she
became an inmate of her aunt's family, but then it was too late for her
character to become as Emmeline's. The impression had been made on the
yielding wax, and now it could not be effaced. Many circumstances
contributed to strengthen this impression, as in the first portion of
this history we have seen. Adversity had made Ellen as she was, and
self-control had become her second nature, long before she knew the
meaning of the word.

The intelligence of Herbert's death, though deferred till St. Eval
thought his wife enabled to bear it with some composure, had, however,
so completely thrown her back, that she was quite unequal to travel to
England, as her wishes had instantly dictated, and her husband was
compelled to keep up a constant system of deception with regard to her
mother's illness, lest she should insist, weak as she was, on
immediately flying to her aid. As soon as sufficient strength returned
for Mrs. Hamilton to express her wishes, she entreated Percy to rejoin
his sister, that all alarm on her account might subside. The thought of
her child was still uppermost in the mother's mind, though her excessive
debility compelled her to lie motionless for hours on her couch,
scarcely sensible of anything passing around her, or that her husband
and Ellen hardly for one moment left her side. The plan succeeded,
Caroline recovered soon after Percy's arrival; and at the earnest
message Percy bore her from her mother, that she would not think of
returning to England till her health was quite restored, she consented
leisurely to take the celebrated excursion down the Rhine, ere she
returned home.

It would have seemed as though no other grief could be the portion of
Ellen, but another sorrow was impending over her, which, while it
lasted, was a source of distress inferior only to Herbert's death.
Entering the library one morning, she was rather surprised to find not
only Mr. Maitland but Archdeacon Howard with her uncle.

The former was now too constantly a visitor at the Hall to occasion
individually much surprise, but it was the expression on the
countenances of each that created alarm. Mr. Hamilton appeared
struggling with some strong and painful emotion, and had started as
Ellen entered the room, while he looked imploringly towards the
Archdeacon, as if seeking his counsel and assistance.

"Can we indeed trust her?" Mr. Maitland said, doubtingly, and in a low
voice, as he looked sadly upon Ellen. "Can we he sure these melancholy
tidings will be for the present inviolably kept from Mrs. Hamilton, for
suspense such as this, in her present state of health, might produce
consequences on which I tremble to think?"

"You may depend upon me, Mr. Maitland," Ellen said, firmly, as she came
forward. "What new affliction can have happened of which you so dread my
aunt being informed? Oh, do not deceive me. I have heard enough to make
fancy perhaps more dreadful than reality, Mr. Howard. My dear uncle,
will you not trust me?"

"My poor Ellen," her uncle said, in a faltering voice, "you have indeed
borne sorrow well; but this will demand even a greater share of
fortitude. All is not yet known, there may be hope, but I dare not
encourage it. Tell her, Howard," he added, hastily, shrinking from her
sorrowful glance, "I cannot."

"Is it of Edward you would tell me? Oh, what of him?" she exclaimed.
"Oh, tell me at once, Mr. Howard, indeed, indeed, I can bear it."

With the tenderness of a father, Mr. Howard gently and soothingly told
her that letters had that morning arrived from Edward's captain,
informing them that the young lieutenant had been despatched with a
boat's crew, on a message to a ship stationed about twelve miles
southward, towards the Cape of Good Hope; a storm had arisen as the
night darkened, but still Captain Seaforth had felt no uneasiness,
imagining his young officer had deemed it better remaining on board the
Stranger all night, though somewhat contrary to his usual habits of
promptness and activity. As the day, however, waned to noon, and still
Lieutenant Fortescue did not appear, the captain despatched another boat
to know why he tarried. The sea was still raging in fury from the last
night's storm, but the foaming billows had never before detained Edward
from his duty. With increasing anxiety, Captain Seaforth paced the deck
for several hours, until indeed the last boat he had sent returned. He
scanned the crew with an eye that never failed him, and saw with dismay,
that neither his lieutenant nor one of his men were amongst them.
Horror-stricken and distressed, the sailors related that, despite every
persuasion of the captain of the Stranger, Lieutenant Fortescue had
resolved on returning to the Gem the moment his message had been
delivered and the answer given; his men had seconded him, though many
signs denoted that as the evening advanced, so too would the impending
storm. Twilight was darkening around him when, urged on by a mistaken
sense of duty, the intrepid young man descended into the boat, and not
half an hour afterwards the storm came on with terrific violence, and
the pitchy darkness had entirely frustrated every effort of the crew of
the Stranger to trace the boat. Morning dawned, and brought with it some
faint confirmation of the fate which all had dreaded. Some spars on
which the name of the Gem was impressed, and which were easily
recognised as belonging to the long-boat, floated on the foaming waves,
and the men sent out to reconnoitre had discovered the dead body of one
of the unfortunate sailors, who the evening previous had been so full of
life and mirth, clinging to some sea-weed; while a hat bearing the name
of Edward Fortescue, caused the painful suspicion that the young and
gallant officer had shared the same fate. Every inquiry was set afloat,
every exertion made, to discover something more certain concerning him,
but without any effect. Some faint hope there yet existed, that he might
have been picked up by one of the ships which were continually passing
and repassing on that course; and Captain Seaforth concluded his
melancholy narration by entreating Mr. Hamilton not to permit himself to
despair, as hope there yet was, though but faint. Evidently he wrote as
he felt, not merely to calm the minds of Edward's sorrowing friends, but
Mr. Hamilton could not share these sanguine expectations. Mystery had
also enveloped the fate of his brother-in-law, Charles Manvers; long,
very long, had he hoped that he lived, that he would yet return; but
year after year had passed, till four-and-twenty had rolled by, and
still there were no tidings. Well did he remember the heart-sickening
that had attended his hopes deferred, the anguish of suspense which for
many weary months had been the portion of his wife, and he thought it
almost better for Ellen to believe her brother dead, than to live on in
the indulgence of hopes that might have no foundation; yet how could he
tell her he was dead, when there was one gleam of hope, however faint.
Well did he know the devoted affection which the orphans bore to each
other. He gazed on her in deep commiseration, as in unbroken silence she
listened to the tenderly-told tale; and, drawing her once more to his
bosom as Mr. Howard ceased, he fondly and repeatedly kissed her brow,
as he entreated her not to despair; Edward might yet be saved. No word
came from Ellen's parched lips, but he felt the cold shudder of
suffering pass through her frame. Several minutes passed, and still she
raised not her head. Impressively the venerable clergyman addressed her
in tones and words that never failed to find their way to the orphan's
heart. He spoke of a love and mercy that sent these continued trials to
mark her as more peculiarly His own. He told of comfort, that even in
such a moment she could feel. He bade her cease not to pray for her
brother's safety; that nothing was too great for the power or the mercy
of the Lord; that however it might appear impossible to worldly minds
that he could be saved, yet if the Almighty's hand had been stretched
forth, a hundred storms might have passed him by unhurt; yet he bade her
not entertain too sanguine hopes. "Place our beloved Edward and yourself
in the hands of our Father in heaven, my child; implore Him for strength
to meet His will, whatever it may be, and if, indeed, He hath taken him
in mercy to a happier world, He will give you strength and grace to meet
His ordinance of love; but if hope still lingers, check it not--he may
be spared. Be comforted, then, my child, and for the sake of the beloved
relative yet spared you, try and compose your agitated spirits. We may
trust to your care in retaining this fresh grief from her, I know we

"You are right. Mr. Howard; oh, may God bless you for your kindness!"
said the almost heart-broken girl, as she raised her head and placed her
trembling hands in his. Her cheeks were colourless as marble, but the
long dark fringes that rested on them were unwetted by tears; she had
forcibly sent them back. Her heart throbbed almost to suffocation, but
she would not listen to its anguish. The form of Herbert seemed to flit
before her and remind her of her promise, that her every care, her every
energy should be devoted to his mother; and that remembrance,
strengthened as it was by Mr. Howard's words, nerved her to the painful
duty which was now hers to perform. "You may indeed trust me. My Father
in heaven will support me, and give me strength to conceal this
intelligence effectually, till my beloved aunt is enabled to hear it
with composure. Do not fear me, Mr. Maitland; it is not in my own
strength I trust, for that I feel too painfully at this moment is less
than nothing. My dearest uncle, will you not trust your Ellen?"

She turned towards him as she spoke, and Mr. Hamilton felt the tears
glisten in his eyes as he met the upturned glance of the afflicted
orphan--now indeed, as it seemed, so utterly alone.

"Yes I do and ever will trust you, my beloved Ellen," he said, with
emotion. "May God grant you His blessing in this most painful duty. To
Him I commend you, my child; I would speak of comfort and hope, but He
alone can give them."

"And He _will_," replied Ellen, in a low, steady voice; and gently
withdrawing her hand from Mr. Howard's, she softly but quickly left the
library. But half an hour elapsed, and Ellen was once more seated by her
aunt's couch. The struggle of that half hour we will not follow; it was
too sacred, too painful to be divulged, and many, many solitary hours
were thus spent in suffering, known only to herself and to her God.

"You have been long away from me, my Ellen, or else my selfish wish to
have you again near me has made me think so," Mrs. Hamilton said that
eventful morning.

"Have you then missed me, my dear aunt? I am glad of it, for comfort as
it is to be allowed to remain always with yon, it is even greater
pleasure to think you like to have me near you," replied Ellen.

"Can I do otherwise, my own Ellen? Where can I find a nurse so tender,
affectionate, and attentive as you are? Who would know so well how to
cheer and soothe me as the child whose smallest action proves how much
she loves me?"

Tears glistened in the eyes of Ellen as her aunt spoke, for if she had
wanted fresh incentive for exertion, those simple words would have given
it. Oh, how much encouragement may be given in one sentence from those
we love; how is every effort to please lightened by the consciousness it
is appreciated; how is every duty sweetened when we feel we are beloved.

Mrs. Hamilton knew not how that expression of her feelings had fallen on
the torn heart of her niece; she guessed not one-half Ellen endured in
secret for her sake, but she felt, and showed she felt, the full value
of the unremitting affectionate attentions she received.

Days, weeks passed by; at length, Mrs. Hamilton's extreme debility began
to give place to the more restless weariness of convalescence. It was
comparatively an easy task to sit in continued silence by the couch,
actively yet quietly to anticipate her faintest wish, and attend to all
the duties of nurse, which demanded no exertion in the way of talking,
and other efforts at amusement; there were then very many hours that
Ellen's saddened thoughts could dwell on the painful past.

She struggled to behold heaven's mercy in affliction, and rapidly, more
rapidly than she was herself aware of, was this young and gentle girl
progressing in the paths of grace. Had Herbert and Mary both lived and
been united, Ellen would, in all probability, have at length so
conquered her feelings, as to have been happy in the marriage state, and
though she could not have bestowed the first freshness of young
affection, she would ever have so felt and acted as to be in very truth,
as Lord St. Eval had said, a treasure to any man who had the felicity to
call her his. Had her cousin indeed married, Ellen might have felt it
incumbent on her as an actual duty so to conquer herself; but now that
he was dead she felt it no sin to love, in devoting herself to his
parents in their advancing age, partly for his sake, in associating him
with all she did for them, and for all whom he loved; there was no sin
now in all this, but she felt it would be a crime to give her hand to
another, when her whole heart was thus devoted to the dead. There was
something peculiarly soothing to the grateful and affectionate feelings
with which she regarded her aunt and uncle; that she perhaps would be
the only one of all those who had--

Beneath the same green tree,
Whose voices mingled as they prayed
Around one parent knee"--

would remain with nothing to divert her attention from the pleasing task
of soothing and cheering their advancing years, and her every effort was
now turned towards making her _single_ life, indeed, one of
_blessedness_, by works of good and thoughts of love towards all with
whom she might associate; but in these visions her brother had ever
intimately mingled. She had pictured herself beholding and rejoicing in
his happiness, loving his children as her own, being to them a second
mother. She had fancied herself ever received with joy, a welcome inmate
of her Edward's home, and so strongly had her imagination become
impressed with this idea, that its annihilation appeared to heighten the
anguish with which the news of his untimely fate had overwhelmed her. He
was gone; and it seemed as if she had never, never felt so utterly
desolate before; as if advancing years had entirely lost the soft and
gentle colouring with which they had so lately been invested. It seemed
but a very short interval since she had seen him, the lovely, playful
child, his mother's pet, the admiration of all who looked on him; then
he stood before her, the handsome, manly boy she had parted with, when
he first left the sheltering roof of Oakwood, to become a sailor. Then,
shuddering, she recalled him when they had met again, after a lapse of
suffering in the young life of each; and her too sensitive fancy
conjured up the thought that her fault had not yet been sufficiently
chastised, that he was taken from her because she had loved him too
well; because her deep intense affection for him had caused her once to
forget the mandate of her God. In the deep agony of that thought, it
seemed as if she lived over again those months of suffering, which in a
former pages we have endeavoured to describe.

Humbled to the dust, she recognised the chastising hand of her Maker,
and as if it had only now been committed, she acknowledged and repented
the transgression a moment's powerful temptation had forced her to
commit. Had there been one to whom she could have confessed these
feelings, whose soothing friendship would have whispered it was needless
and uncalled-for to enhance the suffering of Edward's fate by such
self-reproach, Ellen's young heart would have been relieved; but from
that beloved relative who might have consoled and alleviated her grief,
this bitter trial she must still conceal. Mr. Hamilton dared not
encourage the hope which he had never felt but his bosom swelled with
love and almost veneration for the gentle being, to whose care Mr.
Maitland had assured him the recovery of his beloved wife was, under
Providence, greatly owing. He longed to speak of comfort; but, alas!
what could he say? he would have praised, encouraged, but there was that
about his niece that utterly forbade it; for it silently yet
impressively told whence that sustaining strength arose.

It was when Mrs. Hamilton was beginning to recover, that still more
active exertions on the part of Ellen were demanded. Every effort was
now made to prevent her relapsing into that despondency which
convalescence so often engenders, however we may strive to resist it.
She was ready at a minute's notice to comply with and often to
anticipate her aunt's most faintly-hinted wishes; she would read to her,
sing her favourite airs, or by a thousand little winning arts
unconsciously entice the interest of her aunt to her various pursuits,
as had been her wont in former days. There was no appearance of effort
on her part, and Mrs. Hamilton insensibly, at first, but surely felt
that with her strength her habitual cheerfulness was returning, and
fervently she blessed her God for this abundant mercy. No exertion on
her side was wanting to become to her husband and household as she had
been before the death of her beloved son; she felt the beauteous flower
was transplanted above; the hand of the reaper had laid it low, though
the eye of faith beheld it in perfect undying loveliness, and though the
mother's heart yet sorrowed, 'twas a sorrow now in which no pain was

One evening they had been speaking, among other subjects, of Lilla
Grahame, whose letters, Mrs. Hamilton had observed, were not written in
her usual style. Too well did Ellen guess the reason; once only the poor
girl had alluded to Edward's supposed fate, but that once had more than
sufficiently betrayed to Ellen's quickly-excited sympathy the true
nature of her feelings towards him. As Lilla had not, however, written
in perfect confidence, but still as if she feared to write too much on
emotions she scarcely understood herself, Ellen had not answered her as
she would otherwise have done. That her sympathy was Lilla's was very
clearly evident, but as the secrecy preserved towards Mrs. Hamilton had
been made known to her by Emmeline, she had not written again on the
subject, but yet Ellen was not deceived; in every letter she received
she could easily penetrate where Lilla's anxious thoughts were
wandering. Of Cecil Grahame there were still no tidings, and, all
circumstances considered, it did not seem strange she should often be
sorrowful and anxious. On dismissing this subject, Mrs. Hamilton had
asked Ellen to sing to her, and selected, as a very old favourite, "The
Graves of the Household." She had always forgotten it, she said, before,
when Ellen wished her to select one she preferred. She was surprised
that Ellen had not reminded her of it, as it had once been an equal
favourite with her. For a moment Ellen hesitated, and then hastened to
the piano. In a low, sweet, yet unfaltering voice, she complied with her
aunt's request; once only her lip quivered, for she could not sing that
verse without the thought of Edward.

"The sea, the blue lone sea, hath one,
He lies where pearls lie deep;
He was the loved of all, yet none
O'er his low bed may weep."

Mr. Hamilton unobserved had entered the room, and now stood with folded
arms and mournful glance, alternately regarding his wife and niece. Mr.
Maitland had that morning told him there was not now the slightest
danger remaining, and he rather advised that Mrs. Hamilton should be
informed of what had passed, lest the painful intelligence should come
upon her when quite unprepared. He had striven for composure, and he now
entered expressly to execute this painful task; he had marked the
suffering imprinted on his niece's face, and he could continue the
deception no longer. On the conclusion of her song, Ellen reseated
herself on the stool she had occupied at her aunt's feet, her heart too
full to speak.

"Why are you so silent, my dear husband?" Mrs. Hamilton said, addressing
him, and who almost started at her address. "May I know the subject of
such very deep thought?"

"Ellen, partly," he replied, and he spoke the truth. "I was thinking how
pale and thin she looks, and how much she has lately had to distress and
cause her anxiety."

"She has, indeed, and therefore the sooner we can leave Oakwood for a
few months, as we intended, the better. I have been a long and
troublesome patient, my Ellen, and all your efforts to restore me to
perfect health will he quite ineffectual unless I see the colour return
to your cheek, and your step resume its elasticity."

"Do not fear for me, my beloved aunt; indeed I am quite well," answered
Ellen, not daring to look up, lest her tears should be discovered.

"You are right, my Emmeline," suddenly exclaimed Mr. Hamilton, rousing
himself with a strong effort, and advancing to the couch where his wife
sat, he threw his arms around her. "You do not yet know all that our
Ellen has in secret borne for your sake. You do not yet know the deep
affliction which is the real cause of that alteration in her health,
which only now you are beginning to discover. Oh, my beloved wife, I
have feared to tell you, but now that strength is returning, I may
hesitate no longer; for her sake you will bear these cruel tidings even
as she has done. Will you not comfort her? Will you--" The sudden
opening of the door arrested the words upon his lips. Touched by
indefinable alarm, Mrs. Hamilton's hand grasped his without the power of
speech. Ellen had risen, for she felt she could not hear those sad words
again spoken.

It was James the footman who entered, and he placed a letter in her
hand. She looked at the direction, a faint cry broke from her lips; she
tore it open, gazed on the signature, and sunk senseless on the floor.
She who had borne suffering so well, who had successfully struggled to
conceal every trace of emotion, when affliction was her allotted
portion, was now too weak to bear the sudden transition from such
bitter grief to overwhelming joy. Mr. Hamilton sprung forward; he could
not arrest her fall, but his eye had caught the well-known writing of
him he had believed lay buried in the ocean, and conquering her own
extreme agitation, Mrs. Hamilton compelled herself to think of nothing
but restoring the still senseless girl to life. A few, very few words
told her all. At first Mr. Hamilton's words had been almost inarticulate
from the thankfulness that filled his heart. It was long ere Ellen awoke
to consciousness. Her slight frame was utterly exhausted by its
continued conflict with the mind within, and now that joy had come, that
there was no more need for control or sorrow, her extraordinary energy
of character for the moment fled, and left her in very truth the weak
and loving woman. Before she could restore life to Ellen's inanimate
form, Mrs. Hamilton had time to hear that simple tale of silent
suffering, to feel her bosom glow in increasing love and gratitude
towards the gentle being who for her sake had endured so much.

"Was it but a dream, or did I not read that Edward lived, was
spared,--that he was not drowned? Oh, tell me, my brain seems still to
swim. Did they not give me a letter signed by him himself? Oh, was it
only fancy?"

"It is truth, my beloved; the Almighty mercifully stretched forth His
arm and saved him. Should we not give Him thanks, my child?"

Like dew upon the arid desert, or healing balm to a throbbing wound, so
did those few and simple words fall on Ellen's ear; but the fervent
thanksgiving that rose swelling in her heart, wanted not words to render
it acceptable to Him, whose unbounded mercy she thus acknowledged and

Mrs. Hamilton pressed her closer to her bosom, again and again she
kissed her, and tried to speak the words of affectionate soothing, which
seldom failed to restore Ellen to composure.

"You told me once, my Ellen, that you never, never could repay the large
debt of gratitude you seemed to think you owed me. Do you remember my
saying you could not tell that one day you might make me your debtor,
and are not my words truth? Did I not prophesy rightly? What do I not
owe you, my own love, for sparing me so much anxiety and wretchedness?
Look up and smile, my Ellen, and let us try if we can listen composedly
to our dear Edward's account of his providential escape. If he were near
me I would scold him for giving you such inexpressible joy so suddenly."

Ellen did look up and did smile, a bright beaming smile of chastened
happiness, and again and again did she read over that letter, as if it
were tidings too blessed to be believed, as if it could not be Edward
himself who had written. His letter was hasty, nor did he enter into
very many particulars, which, to render a particular part of our tale
intelligible, we must relate at large in another chapter. This epistle
was dated from Rio Janeiro, and written evidently under the idea that
his sister had received a former letter containing every minutiae of his
escape, which he had forwarded to her, under cover to Captain Seaforth,
only seven days after his supposed death. Had the captain received this
letter, all anxiety would have been spared, for as he did not write to
Mr. Hamilton for above a week after Edward's disappearance, it would
have reached him first; it was therefore very clear it had been lost on
its way, and Edward fearing such might be the case, from the uncertain
method by which it had been sent, wrote again. He had quite recovered,
he said, all ill effects from being so long floating in the water on a
narrow plank; that he was treated with marked kindness and attention by
all the crew of the Alma, a Spanish vessel bound to Rio Janeiro and
thence to New York, particularly by an Englishman, Lieutenant Mordaunt,
to whose energetic exertions he said he greatly owed his preservation;
for it was he who had prevailed on the captain to lower a boat, to
discover what that strange object was floating on the waves. He
continued, there was something about Lieutenant Mordaunt he could not
define, but which had the power of irresistibly attracting his respect,
if not affection. His story he believed was uncommon, but he had not yet
heard it all, and had no time to repeat it, as he was writing in great
haste. Affectionately he hoped no alarm amongst his friends had been
entertained on his account, that it would not be long before he returned
home; for as soon as the slow-sailing Spaniard could finish her affairs
with the ports along the coast of Spanish America and reach New York,
Lieutenant Mordaunt and himself had determined on quitting her, and
returning to England by the first packet that sailed. A letter to New
York might reach him, but it was a chance; therefore he did not expect
to receive any certain intelligence of home--a truth which only made him
the more anxious to reach it.

Quickly the news that Edward Fortescue lived, and was returning home in
perfect health, extended far and wide, and brought joy to all who heard
it. A messenger was instantly despatched to Trevilion Vicarage to
impart the joyful intelligence to Arthur and Emmeline, and the next day
saw them both at Oakwood to rejoice with Ellen at this unexpected but
most welcome news. There was not one who had been aware of the suspense
Mr. Hamilton and Ellen had been enduring who did not sympathise in their
relief. Even Mrs. Greville left her solitary home to seek the friends of
her youth: she had done so previously when affliction was their portion.
She had more than once shared Ellen's anxious task of nursing, when Mrs.
Hamilton's fever had been highest; kindly and judiciously she had
soothed in grief, and Mrs. Greville's character was too unselfish to
refuse her sympathy in joy.

A few weeks after the receipt of that letter, Mr. Hamilton, his wife,
and Ellen removed to a beautiful little villa in the neighbourhood of
Richmond, where they intended to pass some of the winter months. A
change was desirable, indeed requisite for all. But a short interval had
passed since the death of their beloved Herbert, and there were many
times when the parents' hearts yet painfully bled, and each felt
retirement, the society of each other, and sometimes of their most
valued friends, the exercise of domestic and religious duties, would be
the most efficient means of acquiring that peace of which even the
greatest affliction cannot deprive the truly religious mind. At
Christmas, St. Eval had promised his family should join them, and all
looked forward to that period with pleasure.


Although we are as much averse to retrospection in a tale as our readers
can be, yet to retrace our steps for a short interval is a necessity.
Edward had written highly of Lieutenant Mordaunt, but as he happens to
be a personage of rather more consequence to him than young Fortescue
imagined, we must be allowed to introduce him more intimately to our

It was the evening after that in which Lieutenant Fortescue had so
rashly encountered the storm, that a Spanish vessel, of ill-shaped bulk
and of some hundred tons, was slowly pursuing her course from the coast
of Guinea towards Rio Janeiro. The sea was calm, almost motionless,
compared with its previous fearful agitation. The sailors were gaily
employed in their various avocations, declaring loudly that this respite
of calm was entirely owing to the interposition of St. Jago in their
favour, he being the saint to whom they had last appealed during the
continuance of the tempest. Aloof from the crew, and leaning against a
mast, stood one apparently very different to those by whom he was
surrounded. It was an English countenance, but embrowned almost to a
swarthy hue, from continued exposure to a tropical sun. Tall and
remarkably well formed, he might well have been supposed of noble birth;
there were, however, traces of long-continued suffering imprinted on his
manly face and in his form, which sometimes was slightly bent, as if
from weakness rather than from age. His dark brown hair was in many
parts silvered with grey, which made him appear as if he had seen some
fifty years at least; though at times, by the expression of his
countenance, he might have been thought full ten years younger.
Melancholy was the characteristic of his features; but his eye would
kindle and that cheek flush, betraying that a high, warm spirit still
lurked within, one which a keen observer might have fancied had been
suppressed by injury and suffering. It was in truth a countenance on
which a physiognomist or painter would have loved to dwell, for both
would have found in it an interest they could scarcely have defined.

Thus resting in meditative silence, Lieutenant Mordaunt's attention was
attracted by a strange object floating on the now calm ocean. There were
no ships near, and Mordaunt felt his eyes fascinated in that direction,
and looking still more attentively, he felt convinced it was a human
body secured to a plank. He sought the captain instantly, and used every
persuasion humanity could dictate to urge him to lower a boat. For some
time he entreated in vain. Captain Bartholomew said it was mere folly to
think there was any chance of saving a man's life, who had been so long
tossed about on the water, it would be only detaining him for nothing;
his ship was already too full either for comfort or profit, and he would
not do it.

Fire flashed from the dark eyes of Mordaunt at the captain's positive
and careless language, and he spoke again with all the spirited
eloquence of a British sailor. He did not spare the cruel recklessness
that could thus refuse to save a fellow-creature's life, merely because
it might occasion a little delay and trouble. Captain Bartholomew looked
at him in astonishment; he little expected such a burst of indignant
feeling from one whose melancholy and love of solitude he had despised;
and, without answering a word, led the way to the deck, looked in the
direction of the plank, which had now floated near enough to the ship
for the body of Edward to be clearly visible upon it, and then instantly
commanded a boat to be lowered and bring it on board.

"It will be but taking him out of the sea to plunge him back again,
Senor," he said, in Spanish, to the Lieutenant, who was now anxiously
watching the proceedings of the sailors, who, more active than their
captain, had carefully laid the plank and its burden at the bottom of
the boat, and were now rapidly rowing to the ship. "Never was death more
clearly imprinted on a man's countenance than it is there, but have your
own will; only do not ask me to keep a dead man on board, I should have
my men mutiny in a twinkling."

Mordaunt made him no answer, but hastened towards the gangway, where the
men were now ascending. They carefully unloosed the bonds that attached
the body to the plank, and laid him on a pile of cushions where the
light of the setting sun shone full on his face and form. One glance
sufficed for Mordaunt to perceive he was an English officer; another
caused him to start some paces back in astonishment. As the youth thus
lay, the deadly paleness of his countenance, the extreme fairness of his
throat and part of his neck, which, as the sailors hastily untied his
neckcloth and opened his jacket, were fully exposed to view, the
beautifully formed brow strewed by thick masses of golden curls gave him
so much the appearance of a delicate female, that the sailors looked
humorously at each other, as if wondering what right he had to a
sailor's jacket; but Mordaunt's eyes never moved from him. Thoughts came
crowding over him, so full of youth, of home and joy, that tears gushed
to his eyes, tears which had not glistened there for many a long year;
and yet he knew not wherefore, he knew not, he could not, had he been
asked, have defined the cause of that strong emotion; but the more he
looked upon that beautiful face, the faster and thicker came those
visions on his soul. Memories came rushing back, days of his fresh and
happy boyhood, affections, long slumbering, recalled in all their
purity, and his bosom yearned towards home, as if no time had elapsed
since last he had beheld it, as if he should find all those he loved
even as he had left them. And what had brought them back? who was the
youth on whom he gazed, and towards whom he felt affection strangely and
suddenly aroused, affection so powerful, he could not shake it off?
Nothing in all probability to him; and vainly he sought to account for
the emotions those bright features awakened within him. Rousing himself,
as symptoms of life began to appear in the exhausted form before him, he
desired that the youth might be carried to his own cabin. He was his
countryman, he said; an officer of equal rank it appeared, from his
epaulette, and he should not feel comfortable were he under the care of
any other. On bearing him from the deck to the cabin, a small volume
fell from his loosened vest, which Mordaunt raised from the ground with
some curiosity, to know what could be so precious to a youthful sailor.
It was a pocket Bible, so much resembling one Mordaunt possessed
himself, that scarcely knowing what he was about, he drew it from his
pocket to compare them. "How can I be so silly?" he thought; "is there
anything strange in two English Bibles resembling each other?" He
replaced his own, opened the other, and started in increased amazement.
"Charles Manvers!" he cried, as that name met his eye. "Merciful
heaven! who is this youth? to whom would this Bible ever have been
given?" So great was his agitation, that it was with difficulty he read
the words which were written beneath.

"Edward Fortescue! oh, when will that name rival his to whom this book
once belonged? I may be as brave a sailor, but what will make me as good
a man? This Sacred Book, he loved it, and so will I." Underneath, and
evidently added at a later period, was the following:

"I began to read this for the sake of those beloved ones to whom I knew
it was all in all. I thought, for its own sake, it would never have
become the dear and sacred volume they regarded it, but I am mistaken;
how often has it soothed me in my hour of temptation, guided me in my
duties, restrained my angry moments, and brought me penitent and humble
to the footstool of my God. Oh, my beloved Ellen, had this been my
companion three years ago as it is now, what misery I should have spared

Other memorandums in the same style were written in the blank leaves
which appeared attached for the purpose, but it so happened that not one
of them solved the mystery which so completely puzzled Mordaunt. The
name of Fortescue was utterly unknown to him, and increased the mystery
of the youth's having produced such a strange effect upon his mind.
There were many names introduced in these memorandums, but they
explained nothing; one only struck him, it was one which in his hours of
suffering, of slavery, ever sounded in his ear, the fondly-remembered
name of her whom he longed to clasp to his aching heart--it was
_Emmeline_; and as he read it, the same gush of memory came over him as
when he first gazed on Edward. In vain reason whispered there were many,
very many Emmelines in his native land; that name only brought one to
his remembrance. Though recovering, the youth was still much too weak
and exhausted to attempt speaking, and Mordaunt watched by his couch for
one day and two nights, ere the surgeon permitted him to ask a question
or Edward to answer it. Often, however, during that interval had the
young stranger turned his bright blue eyes with a look of intelligence
and feeling on him who attended him with the care of a father, and the
colour, the expression of those eyes seemed to thrill to Mordaunt's
heart, and speak even yet more forcibly of days gone by.

"Let me write but two lines, to tell Captain Seaforth I am safe and
well," said Edward impetuously, as he sprung with renewed spirits from
the couch on which he had been so long an unwilling prisoner.

"And how send it, my young friend? There is not a vessel within sight on
the wide sea."

Edward uttered an exclamation of impatience, then instantly checking
himself, said, with a smile--

"Forgive me, sir; I should think only of my merciful preservation, and
of endeavouring to express in some manner my obligations to you, to
whose generous exertions, blessed as they were by heaven, I owe my life.
Oh, would that my aunt and sister were near me, their gratitude for the
preservation of one whom they perhaps too fondly and too partially love,
would indeed be gratifying to feelings such as yours. I can feel what I
owe you, Lieutenant Mordaunt, but I cannot express myself sufficiently
in words."

"In the name of heaven, young man, in pity tell me who you are!" gasped
Mordaunt, almost inarticulately, as he grasped Edward's hand and gazed
intently on his face; for every word he spoke, heightened by the
kindling animation of his features, appeared to render that
extraordinary likeness yet more perfect.

"Edward Fortescue is my name."

"But your mother's, boy,--your mother's? I ask not from idle curiosity."

"She was the youngest daughter of Lord Delmont, Eleanor Manvers."

Mordaunt gazed yet more intently on the youth, then hoarsely murmuring,
"I knew it,--it was no fancy," sunk back almost overpowered with
momentary agitation. Recovering himself almost instantly, and before
Edward could give vent to his surprise and sympathy in words, he asked,
"Is Lord Delmont yet alive? I knew him once; he was a kind old man." His
lip quivered, so as almost to prevent the articulation of his words.

"Oh, no; the departure of my mother for India was a trial he never
recovered, and the intelligence that his only son, a noble and gallant
officer, perished with the crew of the Leander, finally broke his heart;
he never held up his head again, and died a very few months afterwards."

Mordaunt buried his face in his hands, and for several minutes remained
silent, as if struggling with some powerful emotion, then asked, "You
spoke only of your aunt and sister. Does not your mother live?"

"She died when I was little more than eleven years old, and my sister
scarcely ten. My father, Colonel Fortescue, dying in India, she could
not bear to remain there, but we were compelled to take refuge off the
coast of Wales from the storms which had arisen, and then she had only
time to give us to the care of her sister, for whom she had sent, and
died in her arms."

"And is it her sister, or your father's, of whom you spoke just now?"

"Hers--Mrs. Hamilton."

"Hamilton, and she lives still! you said you knew her," repeated
Mordaunt, suddenly springing up and speaking in a tone of animation,
that bewildered Edward almost as much as his former agitation. "Speak of
her, young man; tell me something of her. Oh, it is long since I have
heard her name."

"Did you know my aunt? I have never heard her mention your name,
Lieutenant Mordaunt."

"Very likely not," he replied, and a faint smile played round his lip,
creating an expression which made young Fortescue start, for the
features seemed familiar to him. "It was only in my boyhood that I knew
her, and she was kind to me. We do not easily forget the associations of
our boyhood, my young friend, particularly when manhood has been a
dreary blank, or tinged with pain. In my hours of slavery, the smile and
look of Emmeline Manvers has often haunted my waking and my sleeping
dreams; but she is married--is in all probability a happy wife and
loving mother; prosperity is around her, and it is most likely she has
forgotten the boy to whom her kindness was so dear."

"Hours of slavery?" asked Edward, for those words had alone riveted his
attention. "Can you, a free and British sailor, have ever been a slave?"

"Even so, my young friend; for seven years I languished in the
loathsome dungeons of Algiers, and the last sixteen years have been a

Edward grasped his hand with an uncontrollable impulse, while at the
same moment he clenched his sword, and his countenance expressed the
powerful indignation of his young and gallant spirit, though words for
the moment he had none. Lieutenant Mordaunt again smiled--that smile
which by some indefinable power inspired Edward with affection and

"I am free now, my gallant boy," he said; "free as if the galling
fetters of slavery had never bowed down my neck. Another day you shall
hear more. Now gratify me by some account of your aunt; speak of
her--tell me if she have children--if her husband still lives. If Mrs.
Hamilton is still the same gentle, affectionate being--the same firm,
unflinching character, when duty called her, as the Emmeline Manvers it
was once my joy to know."

With an animation that again riveted the eyes of Lieutenant Mordaunt on
his countenance, Edward eagerly entered on the subject. No other could
have been dearer to him; Mordaunt could have fixed on few which would
thus have called forth the eloquence of his young companion. Sailor as
he was, truly enthusiastic in his profession, yet home to Edward still
possessed invincible attractions, and the devoted affection, gratitude,
and reverence he felt for his aunt appeared to increase with his years.
Neither Percy nor Herbert could have loved her more. He spoke as he
felt; he told of all he owed her, and not only himself but his orphan
sister; he said that as a mother she had been to them both, that never
once had she made the slightest difference between them and her own
children. He painted in vivid colours the domestic joys of Oakwood, the
affectionate harmony that reigned there, till Mordaunt felt his eyes
glisten with emotion, and ere that conversation ceased, all that
affection which for many a long and weary year had pined for some one on
which to expend its force, now centred in the noble youth of whose
preservation he had been so strangely and providentially an instrument.
To Edward it was not in the least strange, that any one who had once
known his aunt, it mattered not how many years previous, should still
retain a lively remembrance of her, and wish to know more concerning
her, and his feelings were strongly excited towards one, whose interest
in all that concerned her was evidently so great. His first letter to
his family, which he enclosed in one to his captain, spoke very much of
Lieutenant Mordaunt, wondering that his aunt had never mentioned one who
remembered her so well. This letter, as we know, was never received, and
the next he wrote was too hurried to enter into particulars, except
those that related to himself alone. When he again wrote home, he had
become so attached and so used to Mordaunt, that he fancied he must be
as well known to his family as himself, and though he mentioned his name
repeatedly, he did not think of inquiring anything concerning him.

The able activity as a sailor, the graceful, courteous manner of Edward
as a man, soon won him the hearts of Captain Bartholomew and all his
crew. Ever the first when there was anything to be done on board or on
shore, lively, high-spirited, and condescending, his appearance on deck
after any absence was generally acknowledged with respect. The various
characters thus presented to his notice in the Spanish crew, the many
ports he touched at, afforded him continual and exciting amusement,
although his thoughts very often lingered on his darling "Gem," with the
ardent desire to be once more doing his duty on her decks. But amid all
these changing scenes, Edward and his friend, diverse as were their ages
and apparently their dispositions, became almost inseparable. An
irresistible impulse urged Edward repeatedly to talk to him of his home,
till Mordaunt became intimately acquainted with every member of the
family. Of Herbert, Edward would speak with enthusiasm; he little knew,
poor fellow, that the cousin whose character he almost venerated was
gone to his last home, that he should never see him more. Letters
detailing that melancholy event had been forwarded to the Gem, arriving
there just one week after the young sailor's disappearance; and, when
informed of his safety, Captain Seaforth, then on his way to England,
had no opportunity of forwarding them to him. His repeated mention of
Herbert in his letters home, his anxious desire to hear something of
him, were most painful to his family, and Ellen was more than ever
anxious he should receive the account ere he returned.

Among other subjects discussed between them, Mordaunt once asked Edward
who now bore the title of Lord Delmont, and had appeared somewhat
agitated when told the title was now extinct, and had become so from the
melancholy death of the promising young nobleman on whom it had

"Sir George Wilmot is out in his prognostication then," he observed,
after a pause. "I remember, when a youngster under his command, hearing
him repeatedly prophesy that a Delmont would revive the honour of his
ancient house by naval fame. Poor Charles was ever his favourite amongst

"You were my uncle's messmate then," said Edward, in a tone of surprise
and joy. "Why did you not tell me this before, that I might ask all the
questions I long to know concerning him?"

"And what have you heard of Charles to call for this extreme interest?"
replied Mordaunt, with his peculiar smile. "I should have thought that
long ere this my poor friend had been forgotten in his native land."

"Forgotten! and by a sister who doted on him; who has never ceased to
lament his melancholy fate; who ever held him up to my young fancy as
one of those whom it should be my glory to resemble. Did you know my
aunt, as, by two or three things I have heard you say, I fancy you must,
you could never suspect her of forgetting one she loved as she did her
brother. My uncle Charles is enshrined in her memory too fondly for time
to efface it."

Tears rose to Mordaunt's eager eyes at these words; he turned aside a
moment to conceal his agitation, then asked if Sir George Wilmot ever
spoke of Manvers. Animatedly Edward related the old Admiral's agitation
the first night he had seen him at Oakwood; how feelingly he had spoken
of one, whom he said he had ever regarded as the adopted son of his
affections, the darling of his childless years, his gallant, merry
Charles. Mordaunt twined his arm in Edward's, and looked up in his face,
as if to thank him for the consolation his words imparted. Again was
there an expression in his countenance, which sent a thrill to the young
man's heart, but vainly he tried to discover wherefore.

We may here perhaps relate in a very few words Mordaunt's tale of
suffering, which he imparted at different times to Edward. The wreck of
the vessel to which he belonged had cast him, with one or two others of
his hapless companions, on the coast of Morocco and Algiers. There they
were seized by the cruel Moors, and carried as spies before the Dey, and
by his command immured in the dungeons of the fortress where many
unhappy captives were also confined, and had been for many years. For
eight years he was an inmate of these horrible prisons, a sickening
witness of many of those tortures and cruelties which were inflicted on
his fellow-prisoners, and often on himself. All those at all acquainted
with the bombardment of Algiers, so ably carried on by Admiral Sir
Edward Pellew, afterwards Viscount Exmouth, an entreprise which was
entered on to avenge the atrocious indignities practised by the Dey on
all the unfortunate foreigners that visited his coast, can well imagine
the sufferings Mordaunt had not only to witness but to endure. On the
first report of a hostile fleet appearing off the coast of Barbary, the
most active and able of the prisoners were marched out to various
markets and there sold as slaves. Mordaunt was one of these:
imprisonment and suffering had not quenched his youthful spirit, nor so
bowed his frame as to render him incapable of energy. Scarcely twenty
when this cruel reverse of fortune overtook him, the tortures of his
mind during the eight, nearly nine, years of his captivity may be better
conceived than described. He had entered prison a boy, with all the
fresh, elastic buoyancy of youth, he quitted it a man; but, oh, how was
that manhood's prime, to which in his visions of futurity he had looked
with such bright anticipation as the zenith of his naval fame, now
about to pass? as a slave; exposed to increased oppression and indignity
on account of his religion, which he had inwardly vowed never to give
up. He secured the Bible, which had first been a treasure to him merely
as the gift of a beloved sister, and throughout all his change of
destiny it was never taken from him. To submit calmly to slavery,
Mordaunt felt at first his spirit never could, and various were the
schemes he planned, and in part executed, towards obtaining his freedom,
but all were eventually frustrated by the observation of his masters,
who were too well accustomed to insubordination on the part of their
slaves for such attempts to cause them much trouble or uneasiness. Still
Mordaunt despaired not; still was the hope of freedom uppermost in his
breast, even when he became the property of a Turk, who, had he been but
a Christian, Mordaunt declared, must have commanded his reverence if not
his affection. Five times he had been exposed for sale, and each master
had appeared to him more cruel and oppressive than the last. To relate
all he suffered would occupy a much larger portion of our tale than we
could allow, but they were such that any one but Mordaunt would have
felt comparative contentment and happiness when changed for the service
of Mahommed Ali, an officer of eminence in the court of Tunis. He was
indeed one who might well exemplify the assertion, that in all religions
there is some good. Suffering and sorrow were aliens from his roof,
misery approached not his doors, and Mordaunt had, in fact, been
purchased from motives of compassion, which his evident wretchedness,
both bodily and mental, had excited; to cure his bodily ills no kindly
attention was spared, but vainly Mahommed Ali sought to lessen the load
of anguish he saw imprinted on the brow of his Christian captive.
Mordaunt's noble spirit was touched by the indulgence and kindness he
received, and he made no effort to escape, for he felt it would be but
an ungenerous, dishonourable return--but still he was a slave. No
fetters galled his limbs, but the fetters of slavery galled his spirits
with a deep anguish; no taskmaster was now set over him with the knotted
whip, to spur on each slackening effort; but the groan which no bodily
suffering could wring, which he had suppressed, lest his persecutors
should triumph, now burst from his sorrowing heart, and scalding drops
stole down his cheeks, when he deemed no eye was near. Slavery, slavery
seemed his for ever, and each fond vision of his native land and all he
loved but added to the burden on his soul.

Mahommed at length became so deeply interested in his Christian slave,
that he offered him freedom, wealth, distinction, his own friendship and
support, all on the one, he thought, simple and easy condition of giving
up his country and his faith, and embracing the one holy creed of
Mahomet. In kindness was the offer made, but mournfully, yet with a
steadiness that gave no hope of change, was it refused; vainly Mahommed
urged the happiness its acceptance would bring, that he knew not all he
so rashly refused; still he wavered not, and Ali with a weary heart gave
up the attempt. Time passed, but its fleeting years reconciled not
Mordaunt to his situation, nor lessened the kindly interest he excited
in the heart of the good old man; and when at length it happened that
Mordaunt, almost unconsciously to himself, became the fortunate
instrument of reconciling some affairs of his master, which were in
confusion, and had been so for years, when, among many other unexpected
services which it had been in his power to perform, he rescued the
favourite son of Mahommed from an infuriated tiger, which had
unexpectedly sprung upon him during a hunting expedition, the old man
could contain his wishes no longer, but gave him his freedom on the
spot. Unconditional liberty to return to his native land was very soon
after accorded, and loading him with rich gifts, Ali himself accompanied
him to the deck of the Alma, which was the only vessel then starting
from the coast of Guinea, where Mahommed in general resided. Mordaunt
was too impatient to wait for an English vessel, nor did he wish to
incur the risk of encountering any hostile to his interests, by crossing
the country and embarking from Algiers or Tunis. While in Africa he felt
that the chain of slavery still hovered round his neck. He could not
feel himself once more a freeborn Briton till he was indeed on the
bounding ocean.

Once on the way to Europe, there was hope, even though that way was by
America. He parted from his former master, now his friend, with a
feeling of regret; but the fresh breezes, the consciousness he stood on
deck free as the wind, free as the ocean that bore him onward to his
native land, removed from his mind all lingering dread, and filled his
soul with joy; but the human heart is not now in a state to feel for any
length of time unchecked happiness. Four-and-twenty years had elapsed
since Mordaunt had been imagined dead; six-and-twenty since he had
departed from his native land, and had last beheld his friends he so
dearly loved. He might return, and be by all considered an intruder,
perhaps not recognised, his tale not believed; he might see his family
scattered, all of them with new ties, new joys, and with no place for
the long-absent exile. The thought was anguish, but Mordaunt had weakly
indulged it too long to enable him at first to conquer it, even when
Edward's tale of the fond remembrance in which his uncle was held by all
who had loved him, unconsciously penetrated his soul with a sense of the
injustice he had done his friends, and brought consolation with it.

These facts, which we have so briefly thrown together, formed most
interesting subjects to Edward many times during his voyage to New York.
Edward hung as in fascination on the stranger's history, innate
nobleness was stamped in every word. More than once the thought struck
him that he was more than what he appeared to be, but Edward knew he had
a slight tendency towards romance in his composition, and fearful of
lowering himself in the estimation of his newfound friend by the avowal
of such fanciful sentiments, he kept them to himself.

At length the wished-for port to both the Englishmen (New York) was
gained, and their passage secured in the first packet sailing for
England. Edward's heart beat high with anticipated pleasure; he longed
to introduce his new friend to his family, and his bright anticipations
shed a kindred glow over the mind of Mordaunt, who had now become so
devotedly attached to the youth, that he could scarcely bear him out of
his sight; and had he wanted fresh incentive to affection, the deep
affliction of the young sailor on receiving the intelligence of his
cousin Herbert's death, would have been sufficient. Edward had one day
sought the post-office, declaring, however, that it was quite
impossible such increased joy could be in store for him, as a letter
from home. There were two instead of one: one from his aunt and uncle,
the other from his sister; the black seal painfully startled him.
Mourning for poor Mary is over long ere this, he thought, and scarcely
had he strength to break the seal, and when he had read the fatal news,
he sat for some time as if overwhelmed with the sudden and unexpected

Mordaunt's words of consolation fell at first unheeded on his ear; it

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