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

Part 5 out of 6

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was not for Herbert alone he sorrowed, it was for his aunt. He knew how
devotedly she loved her son, and though she did not write much on the
actual loss she had sustained, yet every word seemed to reach his heart,
and Edward leaned his head upon the paper, and wept like a child.
Herbert, the bright, the good, the gentle companion of his boyhood, the
faithful friend of his maturer years, had he indeed gone--his place
would know him no more? And oh, how desolate must Oakwood seem. Percy,
though in affection for his parents and his family, in his devoted
attention to their comfort, equalled only by his brother, yet never
could he be to Oakwood as Herbert. He was as the brilliant planet,
shedding lustre indeed on all over whom it gleamed, but never still,
continually roving, changing its course, as if its light would be more
glittering from such unsteady movements; but Herbert was as the mild and
lucid star, stationary in its appointed orbit, gilding all things with
its mellow light, but darting its most intense and radiant lustre on
that home which was to him indeed the centre-point of love. Such was the
description of his two cousins given by Edward to his sympathising
companion, and Mordaunt looked on the young sailor in wondering
admiration. Eagerly, delightedly, he had perused the letters, which
Edward intrusted to him; that of Mrs. Hamilton was pressed to his lips,
but engrossed in his own thoughts, Edward observed him not. Sadness
lingered on Edward's heart during the whole of that voyage homeward; his
conversation was tinged with the same spirit, but it brought out so many
points of his character, which in his joyous moods Mordaunt never could
have discovered, that the links of that strangely-aroused affection
became even stronger than before. Edward returned his regard with all
the warmth of his enthusiastic nature strengthened by the manner in
which his letters from home alluded to Lieutenant Mordaunt as his
preserver; and before their voyage was completed, Mordaunt, in
compliance with the young man's earnest entreaty, consented to accompany
him, in the first place, to Richmond, whence Edward promised, after
introducing him to his family, and finding him a safe harbour there, he
would leave no stone unturned to discover every possible information
concerning Mordaunt's family. That same peculiar smile curled the
stranger's lips as Edward thus animatedly spoke, and he promised
unqualified compliance.

Having thus brought Edward and his friend within but a few weeks' voyage
to England, we may now leave them and return to Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton,
who were both rejoicing in the improved looks of their niece at

The delightful calmness of their beautiful retreat, the suspension of
all anxiety, the total change of scene which was around them, had done
much towards restoring peace, not only to Ellen but to her aunt. The
feeling that she was now indeed called upon to fulfil the promise she
had made to Herbert, that the enjoyment and cheerfulness of home
depended on her alone, had inspired exertions which had partially
enabled her to conquer her own grief; and every week seemed to bring
forward some new quality, of which her relatives imagined they must have
been ignorant before. Ellen's character was one not to attract at first,
but to win affection slowly but surely; her merits were not dazzling, it
was generally long before they were all discovered, but when they were,
they ever commanded reverence and love. In all her children Mrs.
Hamilton felt indeed her cares fully repaid, and in Ellen more, far more
than she had ventured to anticipate. Thus left alone in her filial
cares, Ellen's character appeared different to what it had been when one
of many. Steady, quiet cheerfulness was restored to the hearts of all
who now composed the small domestic circle of Mr. Hamilton's family;
each had their private moments when sorrow for the loss of their beloved
Herbert was indeed recalled in all its bitterness, but such sacred hours
never were permitted to tinge their daily lives with gloom.

They were now in daily expectation of St. Eval's return to England, with
Miss Manvers, who, at Mrs. Hamilton's particular request, was to join
their family party. An understanding had taken place between her and
Percy, but not yet did either intend their engagement to be known. The
sympathy and affection of Louisa were indeed most soothing to Percy in
this affliction, which, even when months had passed, he could not
conquer, but he could not think of entering into the bonds of marriage,
even with the woman he sincerely loved, till his heart could, in some
degree, recover the deep wound which the death of his only brother had
so painfully inflicted. To his parents indeed, and all his family, he
revealed his engagement, and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton anxiously anticipated
the return of Lord and Lady St. Eval, to introduce them to the intended
bride of their only son. Their intention was to remain at Richmond till
the spring, when Arthur and his wife would pay their promised visit at
Oakwood, instead of spending the Christmas with them--an arrangement
Emmeline had herself suggested; because, she said, if she and her
husband were away, the family party which had ever assembled at Oakwood
during that festive season would be broken up, and Herbert's absence be
less painfully felt. Mrs. Hamilton noticed it to none, but her
penetration discovered the cause of this change in Emmeline's
intentions, and tears of delicious feeling filled her eyes, as for a
moment she permitted that gentle and affectionate girl to occupy that
thought which she was about to bestow on Herbert.

"We have received interesting news this morning, my dear Arthur," Mrs.
Hamilton said, as her husband entered the parlour, where she and Ellen
were seated. "Lucy Harcourt is returning to England, and has requested
us to look out for a little cottage for her near Oakwood. The severe
illness, and finally the death of her cousin, Mr. Seymour, has been the
cause of my not hearing from her so long. Poor fellow, he has been for
so many years such a sad sufferer, that a peaceful death must indeed be
a blessed release."

"It was a peaceful death, Lucy writes, mournfully but resignedly; she
says she cannot be sufficiently thankful that he was spared long enough
to see his daughters would both be happy under her charge. That she had
gained their young affections, and that, as far as mortal eye could see,
by leaving them entirely under her guardianship and maternal care, he
had provided for their happiness. He said this almost with his last
breath; and poor Lucy says that, among her many consolations in this
trying time, this assertion was not one of the least precious to her

"No doubt it was. To be the friend and adopted mother of his children
must be one of the many blessings created for herself by her noble
conduct in youth. I am glad now my prophecy was not verified, and that
she never became his wife."

"Did you ever think she would, uncle?" asked Ellen, surprised.

"I fancied Seymour must have discovered her affection, and then
admiration on his part would have done the rest. It is, I own, much
better as it is; his children will love her more, regarding her in the
light of his sister and their aunt, than had she become their
stepmother. But why did you seem so surprised at my prophecy, Nelly? Was
there anything very impossible in their union?"

"Not impossible; but I do not think it likely Miss Harcourt would have
betrayed her affection, at the very time when she was endeavouring to
soothe her cousin for the loss of a beloved wife. She was much more
likely to conceal it, even more effectually than she had ever done
before. Nor do I think it probable Mr. Seymour, accustomed from his very
earliest years to regard her as a sister, could ever succeed in looking
on her in any other light."

"You seem well skilled in the history of the human heart, my little
Ellen," said her uncle, smiling. "Do you think it then quite impossible
for cousins to love?"

Ellen bent lower over her embroidery-frame, for she felt a tell-tale
flush was rising to her cheek, and without looking up, replied calmly--

"Miss Harcourt is a proof that such love can and does exist--more often,
perhaps, in a woman's heart. In a man seldom, unless educated and living
entirely apart from each other."

"I think you are right, Ellen," said her aunt. "I never thought, with
your uncle, that Lucy would become Mr. Seymour's wife."

"Had I prophesied such a thing, uncle, what would you have called me?"
said Ellen, looking up archly from her frame, for the momentary flush
had gone.

"That it was the prophecy of a most romantic young lady, much more like
Emmeline's heroics than the quiet, sober Ellen," he answered, in the
same tone; "but as my own idea, of course it is wisdom itself. But jokes
apart, as you are so skilled in the knowledge of the human heart, my
dear Ellen, you must know I entered this room to-day for the purpose of
probing your own."

"Mine!" exclaimed the astonished girl, turning suddenly pale; "what do
you mean?"

"Only that the Rev. Ernest Lacy has been with me this morning entreating
my permission to address you, and indeed making proposals for your hand.
I told him that my permission he could have, with my earnest wishes for
his success, and that I did not doubt your aunt's consent would be as
readily given. Do not look so terribly alarmed; I told him I could not
let the matter proceed any farther without first speaking to you."

"Pray let it go no farther, then, my dear uncle," said Ellen, very
earnestly, as her needle fell from her hand, and she turned her eyes
beseechingly on her uncle's face. "I thank Mr. Lacy for the high opinion
he must have of me in making me this offer, but indeed I cannot accept
it. Do not, by your consent, let him encourage hopes which must end in

"My approbation I cannot withdraw, Ellen, for most sincerely do I esteem
the young man; and there are few whom I would so gladly behold united to
my family as himself. Why do you so positively refuse to hear him? You
may not know him sufficiently now, I grant you, to love him, yet believe
me, the more you know him the more will you find in him both to esteem
and love."

"I do not doubt it, my dear uncle. He is one among the young men who
visit here whom I most highly esteem, and I should be sorry to lose his
friendship by the refusal of his hand."

"But why not allow him to plead for himself? You are not one of those
romantic beings, Ellen, who often refuse an excellent offer, because
they imagine they are not violently in love."

"Pray do not condemn me as such, my dear uncle; indeed, it is not the
case. Mr. Lacy, the little I know of him, appears to possess every
virtue calculated to make an excellent husband. I know no fault to which
I can bring forward any objection; but"--

"But what, my dear niece? Surely, you are not afraid of speaking freely
before your aunt and myself?"

"No, uncle; but I have little to say except that I have no wish to
marry; that it would be more pain to leave you and my aunt than marriage
could ever compensate."

"Why, Nelly, do you mean to devote yourself to us all your young life,
old and irritable as we shall in all probability become? think again, my
dear girl, many enjoyments, much happiness, as far as human eye can see,
await the wife of Lacy. Emmeline, you are silent; do you not agree with
me in wishing to behold our gentle Ellen the wife of one so universally
beloved as this young clergyman?"

"Not if her wishes lead her to remain with us, my husband," replied Mrs.
Hamilton, impressively. She had not spoken before, for she had been too
attentively observing the fluctuation of Ellen's countenance; but now
her tone was such as to check the forced smile with which her niece had
tried to reply to Mr. Hamilton's suggestion of becoming old and
irritable, and bring the painfully-checked tears back to her eyes, too
powerfully to be restrained. She tried to retain her calmness, but the
effort was vain, and springing from her seat, she flew to the couch
where her aunt sat, and kneeling by her side, buried her face on her
shoulder, and murmured, almost inaudibly,--

"Oh, do not, do not bid me leave you, I am happy here; but elsewhere,
oh, I should be so very, very wretched. I own Mr. Lacy is all that I
could wish for in a husband; precious, indeed, would be his love to any
girl who could return it, but not to me; oh, not to one who can give him
nothing in return."

She paused abruptly; the crimson had mounted to both cheek and brow,
and the choking sob prevented farther utterance.

Mrs. Hamilton pressed her lips to Ellen's heated brow in silence, while
her husband looked at his niece in silent amazement.

"Are your affections then given to another, my dear child?" he said,
gently and tenderly; "but why this overwhelming grief, my Ellen? Surely,
you do not believe we could thwart the happiness of one so dear to us,
by refusing our consent to the man of your choice, if he be worthy of
you? Speak, then, my dear girl, without reserve; who has so secretly
gained your young affections, that for his sake every other offer is

Ellen raised her head and looked mournfully in her uncle's face. She
tried to obey, but voice for the moment failed.

"_My love is given to the dead_" she murmured at length, clasping her
aunt's hands in hers, the words slowly falling from her parched lips;
then added, hurriedly, "oh, do not reprove my weakness, I thought my
secret never would have passed my lips in life, but wherefore should I
hide it now? It is no sin to love the dead, though had he lived, never
would I have ceased to struggle till this wild pang was conquered, till
calmly I could have beheld him happy with the wife of his choice, of his
love. Oh, condemn me not for loving one who never thought of me save as
a sister; one whom I knew from his boyhood loved another. None on earth
can tell how I have struggled to subdue myself. I knew not my own heart
till it was too late to school it into apathy. He has gone, but while
my heart still clings to Herbert only, oh, can I give my hand unto

"Herbert!" burst from Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton at the same instant, and
Ellen, turning from their glance, hid her flushing and paling cheek in
her hands; for a moment there was silence, and then Mrs. Hamilton drew
the agitated girl closer to her, and murmuring, in a tone of intense
feeling, "my poor, poor Ellen!" mingled a mother's tears with those of
her niece. Mr. Hamilton looked on them both with extreme emotion; his
mind's eye rapidly glanced over the past, and in an instant he saw what
a heavy load of suffering must have been his niece's portion from the
first moment she awoke to the consciousness of her ill-fated love; and
how had she borne it? so uncomplainingly, so cheerfully, that no one
could suspect that inward sorrow. When cheering himself and his wife
under their deep affliction, it was with her own heart breaking all the
while. When inciting Herbert to exertion, during that painful trial
occasioned by his Mary's letter, when doing everything in her power to
secure his happiness, what must have been her own feelings? Yes, in very
truth she had loved, loved with all the purity, the self-devotedness of
woman; and Mr. Hamilton felt that which at the moment he could not
speak. He raised his niece from the ground, where she still knelt beside
her aunt, folded her to his bosom, kissed her tearful cheek, and placing
her in Mrs. Hamilton's arms, hastily left the room.

The same thoughts had likewise occupied the mind of her aunt, as Ellen
still seemed to cling to her for support and comfort; but they were
mingled with a sensation almost amounting to self-reproach at her own
blindness in not earlier discovering the truth. Why not imagine Ellen's
affections fixed on Herbert as on Arthur Myrvin? both were equally
probable. She could now well understand Ellen's agitation when Herbert's
engagement with Mary was published, when he performed the marriage
ceremony for Arthur and Emmeline; and when Mrs. Hamilton recalled how
completely Ellen had appeared to forget herself, in devotedness to her;
how, instead of weakly sinking beneath her severe trials, she had borne
up through all, had suppressed her own suffering to alleviate those of
others, was it strange, that admiration and respect should mingle with
the love she bore her? that from that hour Ellen appeared dearer to her
aunt than she had ever done before? Nor was it only on this account her
affection increased. For the sake of her beloved son it was that her
niece refused to marry; for love of him, even though he had departed,
her heart rejected every other love; and the fond mother unconsciously
felt soothed, consoled. It seemed a tribute to the memory of her sainted
boy, that he was thus beloved, and she who had thus loved him--oh, was
there not some new and precious link between them?

It was some time before either could give vent in words to the feelings
that swelled within. Ellen's tears fell fast and unrestrainedly on the
bosom of her aunt, who sought not to check them, for she knew how
blessed they must be to one who so seldom wept; and they were blessed,
for a heavy weight seemed removed from the orphan's heart, the torturing
secret was revealed; she might weep now without restraint, and never
more would her conduct appear mysterious either to her aunt or uncle.
They now knew it was no caprice that bade her refuse every offer of
marriage that was made her. How that treasured secret had escaped her
she knew not; she had been carried on by an impulse she could neither
resist nor understand. At the first, a sensation of shame had
overpowered her, that she could thus have given words to an unrequited
affection; but ere long, the gentle soothing of her aunt caused that
painful feeling to pass away. Consoling, indeed, was the voice of
sympathy on a subject which to another ear had never been disclosed. It
was some little time ere she could conquer her extreme agitation, her
overcharged heart released from its rigorous restraint, appeared to
spurn all effort of control; but after that day no violent emotion
disturbed the calm serenity that resumed its sway. Never again was the
subject alluded to in that little family circle, but the whole conduct
of her aunt and uncle evinced they felt for and with their Ellen;
confidence increased between them, and after the first few days, the
orphan's life was more calmly happy than it had been for many a long

The return of Lord St. Eval's family to England, and their meeting with
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, was attended with some alloy. Caroline and her
parents had not met since the death of Herbert, and that affliction
appeared at the first moment recalled in all its bitterness. The
presence of a comparative stranger, as was Miss Manvers, did much
towards calming the excited feelings of each, and the exertions of Lord
St. Eval and Ellen restored composure and cheerfulness sooner than they
could have anticipated.

With Miss Manvers Mrs. Hamilton was much pleased. Gentle and unassuming,
she won her way to every heart that knew her; she was the only remaining
scion of Mrs. Hamilton's own family, and she felt pleased that by her
union with Percy the families of Manvers and Hamilton would be yet more
closely connected. She had regretted much, at a former time, the
extinction of the line of Delmont; for she had recalled those visions of
her girlhood, when she had looked to her brother to support the ancient
line, and gilding it with naval honours, bid it stand forth as it had
done some centuries before. Mrs. Hamilton had but little of what is
termed family pride, but these feelings were associated with the brother
whom she had so dearly loved, and whose loss she so painfully deplored.

The season of Christmas passed more cheerfully than Ellen had dared to
hope. The scene was entirely changed; never before had they passed a
Christmas anywhere but at Oakwood, and that simple circumstance
prevented the void in that domestic circle from being so sadly felt.
That Herbert was in the thoughts of all his family, that it was an
effort for them to retain the cheerfulness which in them was ever the
characteristic of the season, we will not deny, but affliction took not
from the calm beauty which ever rested round Mr. Hamilton's hearth. All
appeared as if an even more hallowed and mellowed light was cast around
them; for it displayed, even more powerfully than when unalloyed
prosperity was their portion, the true beauty of the religious
character. Herbert and Mary were not lost to them; they were but removed
to another sphere, that eternal Home, to which all who loved them looked
with an eye of faith.

Sir George Wilmot was the only guest at Richmond during the Christmas
season, but so long had he been a friend of the family and of Lord
Delmont's, when Mrs. Hamilton was a mere child, that he could scarcely
be looked on in the light of a mere guest. The kind old man had sorrowed
deeply for Herbert's death, had felt himself attracted even more
irresistibly to his friends in their sorrow than even in their joy, and
so constantly had he been invited to make his stay at Mr. Hamilton's
residence, wherever that might be, that he often declared he had now no
other home. The tale of Edward's peril interested him much; he would
make Ellen repeat it over and over again, and admire the daring rashness
which urged the young sailor not to defer his return to his commander,
even though a storm was threatening around him; and when Mr. Hamilton
related the story of Ellen's fortitude in bearing as she did this
painful suspense, the old man would conceal his admiration of his young
friend under a joke, and laughingly protest she was as fitted to be a
gallant sailor as her noble brother.

On the character of the young heir of Oakwood the death of his brother
appeared to have made an impression, which neither time nor
circumstances could efface. He was not outwardly sad, but his volatile
nature appeared departed. He was no longer the same wild, boisterous
youth, ever on the look-out for some change, some new diversion or
practical joke, which had been his characteristics while Herbert lived.
A species of quiet dignity was now his own, combined with a devotedness
to his parents, which before had never been so distinctly visible. He
had ever loved them, ever sought their happiness, their wishes in
preference to his own. Herbert himself had not surpassed him in filial
love and reverence, but now, though his feelings were the same, their
expression was different; cheerful and animated he still was, but the
ringing laugh which had so often echoed through the halls of Oakwood had
gone. It seemed as if the death of a brother so beloved, had suddenly
transformed Percy Hamilton from the wild and thoughtless
pleasure-seeking, joke-loving lad into the calm and serious man. To the
eyes of his family, opposite as the brothers in youth had been, there
were now many points of Herbert's character reflected upon Percy, and
dearer than ever he became; and the love which had been excited in the
gentle heart of Louisa Manvers by the wild spirits, the animation, the
harmless recklessness, the freedom of thought and word, which had
characterised Percy, when she first knew him, was purified and
heightened by the calm dignity, the more serious thought, the solid
qualities of the virtuous and honourable man.

Lieutenant Fortescue was now daily expected in England, much to the
delight of his family and Sir George Wilmot, who declared he should have
no peace till he was introduced to the preserver of his gallant boy, as
he chose to call Edward. Lieutenant Mordaunt; he never heard of such a
name, and he was quite sure he had never been a youngster in his
cockpit. "What does he mean by saying he knows me, that he sailed with
me, when a mid? he must be some impostor, Mistress Nell, take my word
for it," Sir George would laughingly say, and vow vengeance on Ellen,
for daring to doubt the excellence of his memory; as she one day
ventured to hint that it was so very many years, it was quite impossible
Sir George could remember the names of all the middies under him. It was
much more probable, Sir George would retort, that slavery had
bewildered the poor man's understanding, and that he fancied he was
acquainted with the first English names he heard.

"Never mind, Nell, he has been a slave, poor fellow, so we will not
treat him as an impostor, the first moment he reaches his native land,"
was the general conclusion of the old Admiral's jokes, as each day
increased his impatience for Edward's return.

He was gratified at length, and as generally happens, when least
expected, for protesting he would not be impatient any more, he amused
himself by setting little Lord Lyle on his knee, and was so amused by
the child's playful prattle and joyous laugh, that he forgot to watch at
the window, which was his general post. Ellen was busily engaged in
nursing Caroline's babe, now about six months old.

"Give me Mary, Ellen," said the young Earl, entering the room, with
pleasure visibly impressed on his features. "You will have somebody else
to kiss in a moment, and unless you can bear joy as composedly as you
can sorrow, why I tremble for the fate of my little Mary."

"What do you mean, St. Eval? you shall not take my baby from me, unless
you can give me a better reason."

"I mean that Edward will be here in five minutes, if he be not already.
Ah, Ellen, you will resign Mary now. Come to me, little lady," and the
young father caught his child from Ellen's trembling hands, and dancing
her high in the air, was rewarded by her loud crow of joy.

In another minute, Edward was in the room, and clasped to his sister's
beating heart. It was an agitating moment, for it seemed to Ellen's
excited fancy that Edward was indeed restored to her from the dead, he
had not merely returned from a long and dangerous voyage. The young
sailor, as he released her from his embrace, looked with an uncontrolled
impulse round the room. All were not there he loved; he did not miss
Emmeline, but Herbert--oh, his gentle voice was not heard amongst the
many that crowded round to greet him. He looked on his aunt, her deep
mourning robe, he thought her paler, thinner than he had ever seen her
before, and the impetuous young man could not be restrained, he flung
himself within her extended arms, and burst into tears.

Mr. Hamilton hastened towards them. "Our beloved Herbert is happy," he
said, solemnly, as he wrung his nephew's hands. "Let us not mourn for
him now, Edward, but rather rejoice, as were he amongst us he would do,
gratefully rejoice that the same gracious hand which removed him in love
to a brighter world was stretched over you in your hour of peril, and
preserved you to those who so dearly love you. You, too, we might for a
time have lost, my beloved Edward. Shall we not rejoice that you are
spared us? Emmeline, my own Emmeline, think on the blessings still
surrounding us."

His impressive words had their effect on both his agitated auditors.
Edward gently withdrew himself from the detaining arms of his aunt; he
pressed a long, lingering kiss upon her cheek, and hastily conquering
his emotion, clasped Sir George Wilmot's extended hand, after a few
minutes' silence, greeted all his cousins with his accustomed warmth,
and spoke as usual.

There had been one unseen, unthought-of spectator of this little scene;
all had been too much startled and affected at Edward's unexpected burst
of sorrow, to think of the stranger who had entered the room with him;
but that stranger had looked around him, more particularly on Mrs.
Hamilton, with feelings of intensity utterly depriving him of either
speech or motion. Years had passed lightly over Mrs. Hamilton's head;
she had borne trials, cares, and sorrows, as all her fellow-creatures,
but her burden had ever been cast upon Him who had promised to sustain
her, and therefore on her it had not weighed so heavily; and years had
neither bent that graceful figure, nor robbed her features of their
bloom. Hers had never been extraordinary beauty, it had been the
expression only, which was ever the charm in her, an expression of
purity of thought and deed, of gentle unassuming piety. Time cannot
triumph over that beauty which is reflected from the soul; and Mordaunt
gazed on her till he could scarcely restrain himself from rushing
forward, and clasping her to his bosom, proclaim aloud who and what he
was; but he did command himself, though his limbs trembled under him,
and he was thankful that as yet he was unobserved. He looked on the
blooming family around him--they were children, and yet to them he was
as the dead; and now would she indeed remember him? Edward suddenly
recalled the presence of his friend, and springing towards him, with an
exclamation of regret at his neglect, instantly attracted the attention
of all, and Mordaunt suddenly found himself the centre of a group, who
were listening with much interest to Edward's animated account of all he
owed him, a recital which Mordaunt vainly endeavoured to suppress, by
declaring he had done nothing worth speaking of. Mrs. Hamilton joined
her husband in welcoming the stranger, with that grace and kindness so
peculiarly her own. She thanked him warmly for the care he had taken,
and the exertions he had made for her nephew; and as she did so, the
colour so completely faded from Mordaunt's sunburnt cheek, that Edward,
declaring he was ill and exhausted by the exertions he had made from the
first moment of their landing at Portsmouth, entreated him to retire to
the chamber which had been prepared for him, but this Mordaunt refused,
saying he was perfectly well.

"It is long I have heard the voice of kindness in my native tongue--long
since English faces and English hearts have thus blessed me, and would
you bid me leave them, my young friend?"

His mournful voice thrilled to Mrs. Hamilton's heart, as he laid his
hand appealingly on Edward's arm.

"Not for worlds," replied the young sailor, cheerfully. "Sir George
Wilmot, my dear aunt, have you any recollection of my good friend here?
he says he knew you both when he was a boy."

Sir George Wilmot's eyes had never moved from Mordaunt since he had
withdrawn his attention from Edward, and he now replied somewhat

"Of the name of Mordaunt I have no recollection as being borne by any
youngsters on board my ship, but those features seem strangely familiar
to me. I beg your pardon, sir, but have you always borne that name?"

"From the time I can remember, Sir George; but this may perhaps convince
you I have been on board your ship. Was there not one amongst us in the
cockpit, a young lad whom you ever treated with distinguished favour,
whom, however unworthy, you ever held up to his comrades as a pattern of
all that was excellent in a seaman and a youth, whom you ever loved and
treated as a son? I was near him when he flung himself in the sea, with
a sword in his mouth, and entering the enemy's ship by one of the
cabin-windows, fought his way to the quarter-deck, and hauling down the
French standard, retained his post till relieved by his comrades; and
when the fight was over, hung back and gave to others the meed of praise
you were so eager to bestow. Have you forgotten this, Sir George?"

"No!" replied the Admiral, with sudden animation. "Often have I recalled
that day, one amongst the many in which my Charles distinguished

"And you told him he would rise to eminence ere many years had
passed--the name of Delmont would rival that of Nelson ere his career
had run."

The old Admiral looked on the stranger with increased astonishment and

"Delmont! you knew my brother, then, Lieutenant Mordaunt," Mrs. Hamilton
could not refrain from saying. "Many, many years have passed, yet tell
me when you saw him last."

"I was with him in his last voyage, lady," replied the stranger, in a
low and peculiar voice, for it was evidently an effort to retain his
calmness. Six-and-twenty years have gone by since the Leander left the
coasts of England never to return; six-and-twenty years since I set foot
in my native land."

"And did all indeed perish, save yourself? Were you alone saved? saw you
my brother after the vessel sunk?" inquired Mrs. Hamilton, hurriedly,
laying her trembling hand on the stranger's arm, scarcely conscious of
what she did. "He too might be spared even as yourself; but oh, death
were preferable to lingering on his years in slavery."

"Alas! my Emmeline, wherefore indulge in such fallacious hope?" said her
husband, tenderly, for he saw she was excessively agitated.

"Mrs. Hamilton," said Sir George Wilmot, earnestly, speaking at the same
moment, "Emmeline, child of my best, my earliest friend, look on those
features, look well; do you not know them? six-and-twenty years have
done their work, yet surely not sufficiently to conceal him from your
eyes. Have you not seen that flashing eye, that curling lip before? look
well ere you decide."

"Lady, Charles Manvers lives!" murmured the stranger, in the voice of
one whom strong emotion deprived of utterance, and he pushed from his
brow the hair which thickly clustered there and in part concealed the
natural expression of his features, and gazed on her face. A gleam of
sunshine at this instant threw a sudden glow upon his countenance, and
Mr. Hamilton started forward, and an exclamation of astonishment, of
pleasure escaped his lips, but Mrs. Hamilton's eyes moved not from the
stranger's face.

"Emmeline, my sister, my own sister, will you not know me? can you not
believe that Charles is spared?" he exclaimed, in a tone of excited

"Oh, God, it is Charles himself?" she sobbed, and sunk almost fainting
in his embrace; convulsively the brother pressed her to his bosom. It
seemed as if the happiness of that moment was too great for reality, as
if it were but some dream of bliss; scarcely was he conscious of the
warm greeting he received; the uncontrollable emotion of the old
Admiral, who, as he wrung his hand again and again, wept like a child.
His brain seemed to reel, and every object danced before his eyes, he
was alone sensible that he held his sister in his arms, that sister whom
he had loved even more devotedly, more constantly in his hours of
slavery, than when she had been ever near him. Her counsels, her example
had had but little apparent effect on him when a wild and reckless boy
at his father's house, but they had sustained him in his affliction; it
was then he knew the value of those serious thoughts and feelings his
sister had so laboured to inculcate, and associated as they were with
her, she became dearer each time he felt himself supported, under his
many trials, by fervent prayer and that implicit trust, of which she had
so often spoken.

In wondering astonishment the younger members of the family had regarded
this little scene some minutes before the truth had flashed on the mind
of Mrs. Hamilton. Both St. Eval and Percy had guessed who in reality the
stranger was, and waited in some anxiety for the effect that recognition
would have on Mrs. Hamilton, whom Edward had already considerably
agitated. With characteristic delicacy of feeling, all then left the
room, Sir George Wilmot and Mr. Hamilton alone remaining with the
long-separated brother and sister.

"My uncle Charles himself! Fool, idiot that I was never to discover this
before!" had been Edward's exclamation, in a tone of unrestrained joy.

A short time sufficed to restore all to comparative composure, but a
longer interval was required for Charles Manvers, whom we must now term
Lord Delmont, to ask and to answer the innumerable questions which were
naturally called forth by his unexpected return; much had he to hear and
much to tell, even leaving, as he said he would, the history of his
adventures in Algiers to amuse two or three winter evenings, when all
his family were around him.

"All my family," he repeated, in a tone of deep feeling. "Do I say this?
I, the isolated, desolate being I imagined myself; I, who believed so
many years had passed, that I should remain unrecognised, unloved,
forgotten. Reproach me not, my sister, the misery I occasioned myself,
the emotions of this moment are punishment enough. And are all those
whom I saw here yours, Hamilton?" he continued, more cheerfully. "Oh,
let me claim their love; I know them all already, for Edward has long
ere this made me acquainted with them, both individually and as the
united members of one affectionate family; I long to judge for myself if
his account be indeed correct, though I doubt it not. Poor fellow, I
deserve his reproaches for continuing my deception to him so long."

"And why was that name assumed at all, dear Charles?" inquired Mr.
Hamilton. "Why not resume your own when the chains of slavery were

"And how dare you say Mordaunt was yours as long as you can remember?"
demanded Sir George, holding up his hand in a threatening attitude, as
if the full-grown man before him were still the slight stripling he last
remembered him. "Deception was never permitted on my decks, Master

Mrs. Hamilton smiled.

"Nor have I practised it, Sir George," he replied. "Mordaunt was my
name, as my sister can vouch. Charles Mordaunt Manvers I was christened,
Mordaunt being the name of my godfather, between whom and my father,
however, a dispute arose, when I was about seven years old, completely
setting aside old friendship and causing them to be at enmity till Sir
Henry Mordaunt's death. The tale was repeated to me when I was about ten
years old, much exaggerated of course, and I declared I would bear his
name no longer. I remember well my gentle sister Emmeline's entreaties
and persuasions that I would not interfere, that I knew nothing about
the quarrel, and had no right to be so angry. However, I carried my
point, as I generally did, with my too indulgent parent, and therefore
from that time I was only known as Charles Manvers, for my father could
not bear the name spoken before him. Do you not remember it, Emmeline?"

"Perfectly well, now it is recalled, though I candidly own I had
forgotten the circumstance."

"But, still, why was Manvers disused?" Mr. Hamilton again inquired.

"For perhaps an unjust and foolish fancy, my dear friend. I could not
enjoy my freedom, because of the thought I mentioned before. I knew not
if my beloved father still lived, nor who bore the title of Lord
Delmont, which, if he were no more, was mine by inheritance; for
four-and-twenty years I had heard nothing of all whom I loved, they
looked on me as dead: they might be scattered, dispersed; instead of
joy, my return might bring with it sorrow, vexation, discontent. It was
for this reason I relinquished the name of Manvers, and adopted the one
I had well-nigh forgotten as being mine by an equal right; I wished to
visit my native land unknown, and bearing that name, any inquiries I
might have made would be unsuspected."

Surrounded by those whom in waking and sleeping dreams he had so long
loved, the clouds which had overhung Lord Delmont's mind as a thick
mist, even when he found himself free, dissolved before the calm
sunshine of domestic love. A sense of happiness pervaded his heart,
happiness chastened by a deep feeling of gratitude to Him who had
ordained it. Affected he was almost to tears, as the manner of his
nephew and nieces towards him unconsciously betrayed how affectionately
they had ever been taught to regard his memory. Rapidly he became
acquainted with each and all, and eagerly looked forward to the arrival
of Emmeline and her husband to look on them likewise as his own; but
though Edward laughingly protested he should tremble now for the
continuance of his uncle's preference towards himself, he ever retained
his place. He had been the first known; his society, his soothing words,
his animated buoyancy of spirit, his strong affection and respect for
his uncle's memory when he believed him dead, and perhaps the
freemasonry of brother sailors, had bound him to Lord Delmont's heart
with ties too strong to be riven. The more he heard of, and the more he
associated with him in the intimacy of home, the stronger these feelings
became; and Edward on his part unconsciously increased them by his
devotedness to his uncle himself, the manner with which he ever treated
Mrs. Hamilton, and his conduct to his sister whose quiet unselfish
happiness at his return, and thus accompanied, was indeed heightened,
more than she herself a few months previous could have believed


Our little narrative must here transport the reader to a small cottage
in the picturesque village of Llangwillan, where, about three months
after the events we have narrated, Lilla Grahame sat one evening in
solitude, and it seemed in sorrow. The room in which she was seated was
small, but furnished and adorned with the refined and elegant taste of
one whose rank appeared much higher than the general occupants of such a
dwelling. A large window, reaching to the ground, opened on a smooth and
sloping lawn, which was adorned by most beautiful flowers. It led to a
small gate opening on a long, narrow lane, which led to the Vicarage,
leaving the little church and its picturesque burying-ground a little to
the right; the thick grove which surrounded it forming a leafy yet
impenetrable wall to one side of the garden. There were many very pretty
tombs in this churchyard; perhaps its beauty consisted in its extreme
neatness, and the flowers that the vicar, Mr. Myrvin, took so much
pleasure in carefully preserving. One lowly grave, beneath a large and
spreading yew, was never passed unnoticed. A plain marble stone denoted
that there lay one, who had once been the brightest amid the bright, the
brilliant star of a lordly circle. The name, her age, and two simple
verses were there inscribed; but around that humble grave there were
sweet flowers flourishing more luxuriantly than in any other part of
the churchyard; the climbing honeysuckle twined its odoriferous clusters
up the dark trunk of the storm-resisting yew. Roses of various kinds
intermingled with the lowly violet, the snowdrop, lily of the valley,
the drooping convolvulus, which, closing its petals for a time, is a fit
emblem of that sleep which, closing our eyes on earth, reopens them in
heaven, beneath the general warmth of the sun of righteousness. These
flowers were sacred in the eyes of the villagers, and their children
were charged not to despoil them; and too deep was their reverence for
their minister, and too sacred was that little spot of earth, even to
their uncultured eyes, for those commands ever to be disobeyed. But it
was not to Mr. Myrvin's care alone that part of the churchyard owed its
beauty. It had ever been distinguished from the rest by the flowers
around it; but it was only the last two years they had flourished so
luxuriantly; the hand of Lilla Grahame watered and tended them with
unceasing care. In the early morning or the calm twilight she was seen
beside the grave, and many might have believed that there reposed the
ashes of a near and dear relation, but it was not so. Lilla had never
seen and never known the lovely being whose last home she thus
affectionately tended. It was dear to her from its association with him
whom she loved, there her thoughts could wander to him; and surely the
love thus cherished beside the dead must have been purity itself.

It was the hour that Lilla usually sought the churchyard, but she came
not, and the lengthening shadows of a soft and lovely May evening fell
around the graceful figure of a tall and elegant young man, in naval
uniform, who lingered beside the grave; pensive, it seemed, yet scarcely
melancholy. His fine expressive countenance seemed to breathe of
happiness proceeding from the heart, chastened and softened by holier
thoughts. A smile of deep feeling encircled his lips as he looked on the
flowers, which in this season were just bursting into beautiful bloom;
and plucking an early violet, he pressed it to his lips and placed it
next his heart. "Doubly precious," he said, internally, "planted by the
hand of her I love, it flourished on my mother's grave. Oh, my mother,
would that you could behold your Edward now; that your blessing could be
mine. It cannot be, and thrice blessed as I am, why should I seek for
more?" A few moments longer he lingered, then turned in the direction of
the Vicarage.

Lilla's spirits harmonized not as they generally did with the calm
beauty of nature around her. Anxious and sorrowful, her tears more than
once fell slowly and unheeded on her work; but little improvement had
taken place in her father's temper. She had much, very much to bear,
even though she knew he loved her, and that his chief cares were for
her; retirement had not relieved his irritated spirit. Had he, instead
of retreating from, mingled as formerly in, the world, he might have
been much happier, for he would have found the dishonourable conduct of
his son had not tarnished his own. He had been too long and too well
known as the soul of honour and integrity, for one doubt or aspersion to
be cast upon his name. Lady Helen's injudicious conduct towards her
children was indeed often blamed, and Grahame's own severity much
regretted, but it was much more of sympathy he now commanded than scorn
or suspicion, and all his friends lamented his retirement. Had not
Lilla's spirits been naturally elastic, they must have bent beneath
these continued and painful trials; her young heart often felt breaking,
but the sense of religion, the excellent principles instilled both by
Mrs. Douglas and Mrs. Hamilton now had their full effect, and sustained
her amidst all. She never wavered in her duty to her father; she never
complained even in her letters to her dearest and most confidential

"Have you thought on the subject we spoke of last night, Lilla?" asked
her father, entering suddenly, and seating himself gloomily on a chair
some paces from her. His daughter started as she saw him, for the first
tone of his voice betrayed he was more than usually irritable and

"Yes, father, I have," she replied, somewhat timidly.

"And what is your answer?"

"I fear you will be displeased, my dear father; but indeed I cannot
answer differently to last night."

"You are still resolved then to refuse Philip Clapperton?"

Lilla was silent.

"And pray may I ask the cause of your fastidiousness, Miss Grahame? Your
burst of tears last night made a very pretty scene no doubt, but they
gave me no proper answer."

"It is not only that I cannot love Mr. Clapperton, father, but I cannot
respect him."

"And pray why not? I tell you, Lilla, blunt, even coarse, if you like,
as he is, unpolished, hasty, yet he has a better heart by far than many
of those more elegant and attractive sprigs of nobility, amongst which
perhaps your romantic fancy has wandered, as being the only husbands
fitted for you."

"You do me injustice, father. I have never indulged in such romantic
visions, but I cannot willingly unite my fate with one in whom I see no
fixed principle of action--one who owns no guide but pleasure. His heart
may be good, I doubt it not; but I cannot respect one who spends his
whole life in fox-hunting, drinking, and all the pleasures peculiar to
the members of country clubs."

"In other words, a plain, honest-speaking, English gentleman is not fine
enough for you. What harm is there in the amusements you have
enumerated? Why should not a fox-hunter make as good a husband as any
other member of society?"

Lilla looked at her father in astonishment. These were not always his
sentiments she painfully thought.

"I do not mean to condemn these amusements, my dear father, but when
they are carried on without either principle or religion. How can I
venture to intrust my happiness to such a man?"

"And where do you expect to find either principle or religion now? Not
in those polished circles, where I can perceive your hopes are fixed.
Girl, banish such hopes. Not one amongst them would unite himself to the
sister of that dishonoured outcast Cecil Grahame."

Grahame's whole frame shook as he pronounced his son's name, but
sternness still characterised his voice.

"Never would I unite myself with one who considered himself degraded by
an union with our family, father, be assured," said Lilla, earnestly.
"My hopes are not high. I have thought little of marriage, and till I am
sought, have no wish to leave this sequestered spot, believe me."

"And who, think you, will seek you here? You had better banish such idle
hopes, for they will end in disappointment."

"Be it so, then," Lilla replied, calmly, though had her father been near
her, he would have seen her cheek suddenly become pale and her eyelids
quiver, as if by the pressure of a tear. "Is marriage a thing so
indispensable, that you would compel me to leave you, my dear father?"

"To you it is indispensable; when once you have lost the name you now
hold, the world and all its pleasures will be spread before you, the
stain will be remembered no more; your life need not be spent in gloom
and exile like this."

"And what, then, will become of you?"

"Of me! who cares. What am I, and what have I ever been to either of my
children, that they should care for me? I scorn the mere act of duty,
and which of you can love me? no, Lilla, not even you."

"Father, you do me wrong; oh, do not speak such cruel words," said
Lilla, springing from her seat, and flinging herself on her knees by her
father's side. "Have I indeed so failed in testimonies of love, that you
can for one instant believe it is only the duty of a child I feel and
practise? Oh, my father, do me not such harsh injustice; could you read
my inmost heart, you would see how full it is of love and reverence for
you, though I have not always courage to express it. Ask of me any,
every proof but this, and I will do it, but, oh, do not command me to
wed Mr. Clapperton; why, oh, why would you thus seek to send me from

"I speak but for your happiness, Lilla;" his voice was somewhat
softened. "You cannot be happy now with one so harsh, irritable, cruel
as, I know, I am too often."

"And would you compare the occasional irritation proceeding from the
failing health of a beloved father, with the fierce passion and constant
impatience of a husband, with whom I could not have one idea in common,
whom I could neither love nor reverence, to whom even my duty would be
wretchedness? oh, my father, can you compare the two? Think of Mrs.
Greville: Philip Clapperton ever reminds me of Mr. Greville, of what at
least he must have been in his youth, and would you sentence me to all
the misery that has been poor Mrs. Greville's lot and her children's

"You do not know enough of Clapperton to judge him thus harshly, Lilla;
I know him better, and I cannot see the faults against which you are so
inveterate. Your sister chose a husband for herself, and how has she
fared? is she happy?"

"Annie cannot be happy, father, even if her husband were of a very
different character. She disobeyed; a parent's blessing hallowed not her
nuptials, and strange indeed would it be were her lot otherwise; but
though I cannot love the husband of your choice, you may trust me,
father, without your consent and blessing, I will never marry."

"Do not say you _cannot_ love Philip Clapperton, Lilla; when once his
wife, you could not fail to do so. I would see you united to one who
loves you, my child, ere your affections are bestowed on another, who
may be less willing to return them."

Grahame spoke in a tone of such unwonted softness, that the tears now
rolled unchecked down Lilla's cheeks. Her ingenuous nature could not be
restrained; she felt as if, were she still silent, she would be
deceiving him, and hiding her face in her hand, she almost inaudibly

"For that, then, it is too late, father; I cannot love Mr. Clapperton,
because--because I love another."

"Ha!" exclaimed Grahame, starting, then laying his trembling hand on
Lilla's head, he continued, struggling with strong emotion, "this, then,
is the cause of your determined refusal. Poor child, poor child, what
misery have you formed for yourself!"

"And wherefore misery, my father?" replied Lilla, raising her head
somewhat proudly, and speaking as firmly as her tears would permit.
"Your child would not have loved had she not deemed her affections
sought, ay, and valued too. Think not I would degrade myself by giving
my heart to any one who deemed me or my father beneath his notice. If
ever eye or act can speak, I do not love in vain."

"And would you believe in trifles such as these?" asked her father,
sorrowfully. "Alas! poor child, words are often false, still less can
you rely on the language of the eye. Has anything like an understanding
taken place between you?"

"Alas! my father, no; and yet--and yet--oh, I know he loves me."

"And so he may, my child, and yet break his own heart and yours, poor
guileless girl, rather than unite himself with the dishonoured and the
base. Lilla, my own Lilla, I have been harsh and cruel; it is because I
feel too keenly perhaps the gall in which your wretched brother's
conduct has steeped your life and mine; mine will soon pass away, but
the dark shadow will linger still round you, my child, and condemn you
to wretchedness; I cannot, cannot bear that thought!" and he struck his
clenched hand against his brow. "Why on the innocent should fall the
chastisement of the guilty? My child, my child, oh, banish from your
unsuspecting heart the hopes of love returned. Where in this selfish
world will you find one to love you so for yourself alone, that family
and fortune are as naught?"

"Why judge so harshly of your sex, Mr. Grahame?" said a rich and
thrilling voice, in unexpected answer to his words, and the same young
man whom we before mentioned as lingering by a village grave, stepping
lightly from the terrace on which the large window opened into the room,
stood suddenly before the astonished father and his child. On the latter
the effect of his presence was almost electric. The rich crimson mantled
at once over cheek and brow and neck, a faint cry burst from her lips,
and as the thought flashed across her, that her perhaps too presumptuous
hopes of love returned had been overheard, as well as her father's
words, she suddenly burst into tears of mingled feeling, and darting by
the intruder, passed by the way he had entered into the garden; but even
when away from him, composure for a time returned not. She forgot
entirely that no name had been spoken either by her father or by herself
to designate him whom she confessed she loved; her only feeling was,
she had betrayed a truth, which from him she would ever have concealed,
till he indeed had sought it; and injured modesty now gave her so much
pain, it permitted her not to rejoice in this unexpected appearance of
one whom she had not seen since she had believed him dead. She knew the
churchyard was at this period of the evening quite deserted, and almost
unconscious what she was about, she hastily tied on her bonnet, and with
the speed of a young fawn, she bounded through the narrow lane, and
rested not till she found herself seated beside her favourite grave;
there she gave full vent to the thoughts in which pleasure and confusion
somewhat strangely and painfully mingled.

"Can you, will you forgive this unceremonious and, I fear, unwished-for
intrusion?" was the young stranger's address to Grahame, when he had
recovered from the agitation which Lilla's emotion had called forth, he
scarcely knew wherefore. "To me you have ever extended the hand of
friendship, Mr. Grahame, however severe upon the world in general, and
will you refuse it now, when my errand here is to seek an even nearer
and a dearer name?"

"You are welcome, ever welcome to my humble home, my dear boy, for your
own sake, and for those dear to you," replied Grahame, with a return of
former warmth and cordiality. "More than usually welcome I may say,
Edward, as this is your first visit here since your rescue from the
bowels of the great deep. You look confused and heated, and as if you
would much rather run after your old companion than stay with me, but
indeed I cannot spare you yet, I have so many questions to ask you."

"Forgive me, Mr. Grahame, but indeed you must hear me first."

"I came here to speak to you on a subject nearest my heart, and till
that is told, till from your lips I know my fate, do not, for pity, ask
me to speak on any other. I meant not to have entered so abruptly on my
mission, but that which Mr. Myrvin has imparted to me, and what I
undesignedly overheard as I stood unseen on that terrace, have taken
from me all the eloquence with which I meant to plead my cause."

"Speak in your own proper person, Edward, and then I may perhaps hear
you," replied Grahame, from whom the sight of his young friend appeared
to have banished all misanthropy. "What I can, however, have to do with
your fate, I know not, except that I will acquit you of all intentional
eaves-dropping, if it be that which troubles you; and what can Mr.
Myrvin have said to rob you of eloquence?"

"He told me that--that you had encouraged Philip Clapperton's addresses
to Lil--to Miss Grahame," answered Edward, with increasing agitation,
for he perceived, what was indeed the truth, that Grahame had not the
least idea of his intentions.

"And what can that have to do with you, young man?" inquired Grahame,
somewhat haughtily, and his brow darkened. "You have not seen Lilla, to
be infected with her prejudices, and in what manner can my wishes with
regard to my daughter on that head concern you?"

"In what manner? Mr. Grahame, I came hither with my aunt's and uncle's
blessing on my purpose, to seek from you your gentle daughter's hand. I
am not a man of many words, and all I had to say appears to have
departed, and left me speechless. I came here to implore your consent,
for without it I knew 'twere vain to think or hope to make your Lilla
mine. I came to plead to you, and armed with your blessing, plead my
cause to her, and you ask me how Mr. Myrvin's intelligence can affect
me. Speak, then, at once; in pity to that weakness which makes me feel
as if my lasting happiness or misery depends upon your answer."

"And do you, Edward, do you love my poor child?" asked the father, with
a quivering lip and glistening eye, as he laid his hand, which trembled,
on the young man's shoulder.

"Love her? oh, Mr. Grahame, she has been the bright beaming star that
has shone on my ocean course for many a long year. I know not when I
first began to love, but from my cousin Caroline's wedding-day the
thoughts of Lilla lingered with me, and gilded many a vision of domestic
peace and love, and each time I looked on her bright face, and marked
her kindling spirit, heard and responded inwardly to her animated voice,
I felt that she was dearer still; and when again I saw her in her
sorrow, and sought with Ellen to soothe and cheer her, oh, no one can
know the pain it was to restrain the absorbing wish to ask her, if
indeed one day she would be mine, but that was no time to speak of love.
Besides, I knew not if I had the means to offer her a comfortable home,
I knew not how long I might be spared to linger near her; but now, when
of both I am assured, wherefore should I hesitate longer? With the
title of captain, that for which I have so long pined, I am at liberty
to retire on half-pay, till farther orders; the adopted son and
acknowledged heir to my uncle, Lord Delmont, I have now enough to offer
her my hand, without one remaining scruple. You are silent. Oh, Mr.
Grahame, must I plead in vain?"

"And would you marry her, would you indeed take my child as your chosen
bride?" faltered Grahame, deeply moved. "Honoured, titled as you are, my
poor, portionless Lilla is no meet bride for you."

"Perish honours and title too, if they could deprive me of the gentle
girl I love!" exclaimed the young captain, impetuously. "Do not speak
thus, Mr. Grahame. In what was my lamented father better than
yourself--my mother than Lady Helen? and if she were in very truth my
inferior in birth, the virtues and beauty of Lilla Grahame would do
honour to the proudest peer of this proud land."

"My boy, my gallant boy!" sobbed the agitated father, his irritability
gone, dissolved, like the threatening cloud of a summer day beneath some
genial sunbeam, and as he wrung Captain Fortescue's hand again and again
in his, the tears streamed like an infant's down his cheek.

"_Will_ I consent, _will_ I give you my blessing? Oh, to see you the
husband of my poor child would be _too, too_ much happiness, happiness
wholly, utterly undeserved. But, oh, Edward, can Mr. Hamilton, can Lord
Delmont consent to your union with one, whose only brother is a
disgraced, dishonoured outcast, whose father is a selfish, irritable

"Can the misconduct of Cecil cast in the eyes of the just and good one
shadow on the fair fame of his sister? No, my dear sir; it is you who
have looked somewhat unkindly and unjustly on the world, as when you
mingle again with your friends, in company with your children, you will
not fail, with your usual candour, to acknowledge. A selfish, irritable
misanthrope," he added, archly smiling. "You cannot terrify me, Mr.
Grahame. I know the charge is false, and I dread it not."

"Ask me not to join the world again," said Grahame, hoarsely; "in all
else, the duties of my children shall be as laws, but that"--

"Well, well, we will not urge it now, my dear sir," replied the young
sailor, cheerfully; then added, with the eager agitation of affection,
"But Lilla, my Lilla. Oh, may I hope that she will in truth be mine? Oh,
have I, can I have been too presumptuous in the thought I have not loved
in vain?"

"Away with you, and seek the answer from her own lips," said Mr.
Grahame, with more of his former manner than he had yet evinced, for he
now entertained not one doubt as to Edward being the chosen one on whom
his daughter's young affections had been so firmly fixed. "Go to her, my
boy; she will not fly a second time, so like a startled hare, from your
approach; tell her, had she told her father Edward Fortescue was the
worthy object of her love, he would not thus have thrown a damp upon her
young heart, he would not have condemned him as being incapable of
loving her for herself alone. Tell her, too, the name of Philip
Clapperton shall offend her no more. Away with you, my boy."

Edward awaited not a second bidding. In a very few minutes the whole
garden had been searched, and Miss Grahame inquired for all over the
house, then he bounded through the lane, and scarcely five minutes after
he had quitted Mr. Grahame, he stood by the side of Lilla; the
consciousness that she had confessed her love, that he might have
overheard it, was still paramount in her modest bosom, and she would
have avoided him, but quickly was her design prevented. Rapidly, almost
incoherently, was the conversation of the last half hour repeated, and
with all the eloquence of his enthusiastic nature, Edward pleaded his
cause, and, need it be said, not in vain. Lilla neither wished nor
sought to conceal her feelings, and long, long did those two young and
animated beings remain in sweet and heartfelt commune beside that lowly

"What place so fitted where to pledge our troth, my Lilla, as by my
mother's resting-place?" said Edward. "Would that she could look upon us
now and smile her blessing."

Happily indeed flew those evening hours unheeded by the young lovers.
Grahame, on the entrance of his happy child, folded her to his bosom;
his blessing descended on her head, mingled with tears, which sprung at
once from a father's love and self-reproach at all the suffering his
irritability had occasioned her. And that evening Lilla indeed felt that
all her sorrows, all her struggles, all her dutiful forbearance, were
rewarded. Not only was her long-cherished love returned, not only did
she feel that in a few short months she should be her Edward's own, that
he, the brave, the gallant, honoured sailor, had chosen her in
preference to any of those fairer and nobler maidens with whom he had
so often associated, but her father, her dear father, was more like
himself than he had been since her mother's death. He looked, he spoke
the Montrose Grahame we have known him in former years. Edward had ever
been a favourite with him, but he and Lilla had been so intimate from
their earliest childhood, that he had never thought of him as a son; and
when the truth was known, so truly did Grahame rejoice, that the
bitterness in his earthly cup was well-nigh drowned by its present

Innumerable were the questions both Lilla and Grahame had to ask, and
Edward answered all with that peculiar joyousness which ever threw a
charm around him. The adventures of his voyage, his dangers, the
extraordinary means of his long-lost uncle being instrumental in his
preservation, Lord Delmont's varied tale, all was animatedly discussed
till a late hour. A smile was on Grahame's lip, as his now awakened eye
recalled the drooping spirits and fading cheek of his Lilla during those
three months of suspense, when Captain Fortescue was supposed drowned,
and the equally strange and sudden restoration to health and
cheerfulness when Ellen's letter was received, detailing her brother's
safety. Lilla's streaming eyes were hid on her lover's shoulder as he
detailed his danger, but quickly her tears were kissed away;
thankfulness that he was indeed spared, again filled her heart, and the
bright smile returned. He accounted for not seeking them earlier by the
fact that, while they remained at Richmond, his uncle, whose health from
long-continued suffering was but weakly established, could not bear him
out of his sight, and that he had entreated him not to leave him till
they returned to Oakwood. This, young Fortescue afterwards discovered,
was to give Lord Delmont time for the gratification of his wishes,
which, from the time he had heard the line of Delmont was extinct, had
occupied his mind. Many of his father's old friends recognised him at
once. His father's and his sister's friends were eager to see and pay
him every attention in their power. He found himself ever a welcome and
a courted guest, and happiness, so long a stranger from his breast, now
faded not again. To adopt Edward as his son, to leave him heir to his
title and estate, was now, as it had been from the first moment he
recognised his nephew, the dearest wish of his heart, "if it were only
to fulfil Sir George Wilmot's prophecy," he jestingly told the old
Admiral, who, with Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, warmly seconded his wishes.
The necessary formula met with no opposition, and the same day that gave
to Edward his promotion of captain, informed him of the secretly-formed
and secretly-acted-upon desire of his uncle.

In the time of Edward's grandfather, the Delmont estates, as some of our
readers may remember, were, from the carelessness of stewards and the
complete negligence of their lord, in such an embarrassed state, as
barely to return a sufficient income for the expenses of Lord Delmont's
establishment. Affairs, however, were not in a worse state than that a
little energy and foresight might remedy. The guardian of Henry Manvers,
who, as we know already, became Lord Delmont when only three years old,
had acted his part with so much straightforwardness and trust, that when
Manvers came of age he found his estates in such a thriving condition,
that he was a very much richer nobleman than many of his predecessors
had been. Well able to discern true merit, and grateful for the
services already rendered, his guardian, by his earnest entreaty,
remained his agent during his residence with his mother and sister in
Switzerland. There, living very much within his income, his fortune
accumulated, and by his early death it fell to the Crown, from which
Lord Delmont, on his return from his weary years of slavery, received it
with the title of earl, bestowed to prove that the tale of a British
sailor's sufferings and indignities had not fallen unheeded on the royal
ear. The long-banished seaman was presented to his Majesty by the Duke
of Clarence himself, and had no need to regret the gracious interview.
His intentions concerning the young officer Captain Fortescue met with
an unqualified approval. Ardently loving his profession, the royal Duke
thought the more naval heroes filled the nobility of his country the
better for England, and an invitation to Bushy Park was soon afterwards
forwarded, both to Lord Delmont and his gallant nephew.

Edward, already well-nigh beside himself by his unexpected promotion, no
longer knew how to contain the exuberance of his spirits, much to the
amusement of his domestic circle; particularly to his quiet, gentle
sister, who, as she looked on her brother, felt how truly, how
inexpressibly her happiness increased with his prosperity. She too had
wound herself round the heart of her uncle; she loved him, first for his
partiality to her brother, but quickly her affection was extended to
himself. Mrs. Hamilton had related to him every particular of her
history, with which he had been deeply and painfully affected, and as he
quickly perceived how much his sister's gentle firmness and constant
watchfulness had done towards forming the character of not only Edward
and Ellen but of her own children, his admiration for her hourly

A very few days brought Lord Delmont and his niece Ellen to Mr.
Grahame's cottage, and Lilla's delight at seeing Ellen was only second
to that she felt when Edward came. The presence, the cordial greeting of
Lord Delmont removed from the mind of Grahame every remaining doubt of
his approbation of the bride his nephew had chosen. As a faithful
historian, however, I must acknowledge the wishes of Lord Delmont had
pointed out Lady Emily Lyle as the most suitable connection for Edward.
Lady Florence he would have preferred, but there were many whispers
going about that she was engaged to the handsome young baronet Sir
Walter Cameron, who, by the death of his uncle Sir Hector, had lately
inherited some extensive estates in the south-west of Scotland. When,
however, Lord Delmont perceived his nephew's affections were irrevocably
fixed, and he heard from his sister's lips the character of Lilla
Grahame, he made no opposition, but consented with much warmth and
willingness. He was not only content, but resolved on being introduced
to Miss Grahame as soon as possible, without, however, saying a word to
Edward of his intentions. He took Ellen with him, he said, to convoy him
safely and secure him a welcome reception; neither of which, she assured
him, he needed, though she very gladly accompanied him.

A few weeks passed too quickly by, imparting happiness even to Ellen,
for had she been permitted the liberty of choosing a wife for her
Edward, Lilla Grahame would have been her choice. Deeply and almost
painfully affected had she been indeed, when her brother first sought
her to reveal the secret of his love.

"I cannot," he said, "I will not marry without your sympathy, your
approval, my sister--my more than sister, my faithful friend, my gentle
monitress, for such you have ever been to me," and he folded her in his
arms with a brother's love, and Ellen had concealed upon his manly bosom
the glistening tears, whose source she scarcely knew. "I would have you
love my wife, not only for my sake but for herself alone. Never will I
marry one who will refuse to look on you with the reverential affection
your brother does. Lilla Grahame does this, my Ellen; it was her girlish
affection for you that first attracted my attention to her. She will
regard you as I do; she will teach her children, if it please heaven to
grant us any, to look on you even as I would; her heart and home will be
as open to my beloved sister as mine. Speak then, my ever-cherished,
ever faithful friend; tell me if, in seeking Lilla, your sympathy, your
blessing will be mine."

Tears of joy choked her utterance, but quickly recovering herself, Ellen
answered him in a manner calculated indeed to increase his happiness,
and her presence at Llangwillan satisfied every wish.

Unable to resist the eloquent entreaties of all his friends and the
appealing eyes of his child, Grahame at last consented to spend the
month which was to intervene ere his daughter's nuptials, at Oakwood.
That period Edward intended to employ in visiting the ancient hall on
the Delmont estate, which for the last three months had been in a state
of active preparation for the reception of its long-absent master. It
was beautifully situated in the vicinity of the New Forest, Hampshire.
There Edward was to take his bride, considering the whole estate, his
uncle declared, already as his own, as he did not mean to be a fixture
there, but live alternately with his sister and his nephew. Oakwood
should see quite as much of him as Beech Hill, and young people were
better alone, particularly the first year of their marriage. Vainly
Edward and Lilla sought to combat his resolution; the only concession
they could obtain was, that when their honeymoon was over, he and Ellen
would pay them a visit, just to see how they were getting on.

"You must never marry, Nelly, for I don't know what my sister will do
without you," said Lord Delmont, laughing.

"Be assured, uncle Charles, I never will. I love the freedom of this old
hall much too well; and, unless my aunt absolutely sends me away, I
shall not go."

"And that she never will, Ellen," said Lilla earnestly. "She said the
other day she did not know how she should ever spare you even to us; but
you must come to us very often, dearest Ellen. I shall never perform my
part well as mistress of the large establishment with which Edward
threatens me, without your counsel and support"

"I will not come at all, if you and Edward lay your wise heads together,
as you already seem inclined to do, to win me by flattery," replied
Ellen, playfully, endeavouring to look grave, though she refused not the
kiss of peace for which Lilla looked up so appealingly.

The first week in July was fixed for the celebration of the two
marriages in Mr. Hamilton's family. As both Edward and Percy wished the
ceremony should take place in the parish church of Oakwood, and be
performed by Archdeacon Howard, it was agreed the same day should
witness both bridals; and that Miss Manvers, who had been residing at
Castle Terryn with the Earl and Countess St. Eval, should accompany them
to Oakwood a few days previous. Young Hamilton took his bride to Paris,
to which capital he had been intrusted with some government commission.
It was not till the end of July he had originally intended his nuptials
should take place; but he did not choose to leave England for an
uncertain period without his Louisa, and consequently it was agreed
their honeymoon should be passed in France. It may be well to mention
here that Mr. Hamilton had effected the exchange he desired, and that
Arthur Myrvin and his beloved Emmeline were now comfortably installed in
the Rectory, which had been so long the residence of Mr. Howard; and
that Myrvin now performed his pastoral duties in a manner that reflected
happiness not only on his parishioners, but on all his friends, and
enabled him to enjoy that true peace springing from a satisfied
conscience. He trod in the steps of his lamented friend; he knew not
himself how often his poor yet contented flock compared him in their
humble cottages with Herbert, and that in their eyes he did not lose by
the comparison. Some, indeed, would say, "It is all Master Herbert's
example, and the society of that sweet young creature, Miss Emmeline,
that has made him what he is." But whatever might be the reason, Arthur
was universally beloved; and that the village favourite, Miss Emmeline,
who had grown up amongst them from infancy, was their Rector's
wife--that she still mingled amongst them, the same gentle, loveable
being she had ever been--that it was to her and not to a stranger, they
were ever at liberty to seek for relief in trouble, or sympathy in joy,
was indeed a source of unbounded pleasure. And Emmeline was happy,
truly, gratefully happy; never did she regret the choice she had made,
nor envy her family the higher stations of life it was theirs to fill.
She had not a wish beyond the homes of those she loved; her husband was
all in all to her, her child a treasure for which she could not be
sufficiently thankful. She was still the same playful, guileless being
to her family which she had ever been; but to strangers a greater degree
of dignity characterised her deportment, and commanded their involuntary
respect. The home of Arthur Myrvin was indeed one over which peace and
love had entwined their roseate wings; a lowly yet a beauteous spot,
over which the storms of the busy troubled world might burst, but never
reach; and for other sorrows, piety and submission were alike their
watchword and their safeguard. Lord St. Eval was the only person who
regretted Arthur's promotion to the rectory of Oakwood, as it deprived
him, he declared, of his chaplain, his vicar, and his friend. However,
he willingly accepted a friend of Mr. Hamilton's to supply his place, a
clergyman not much beyond the prime of life; one who for seven years had
devoted himself, laboriously and unceasingly, to a poor and unprofitable
parish in one of the Feroe Islands; in the service of Mr. Hamilton he
had been employed, though voluntarily he had accepted, nay, eloquently
he had pleaded for the office. To those of our readers who are
acquainted with the story of Home Influence, the Rev. Henry Morton is no
stranger. They may remember that he accompanied Mr. Hamilton on his
perilous expedition, and had joyfully consented to remaining there till
the young Christian, Wilson, was capable of undertaking the ministry. He
had done so; his pupil promised fair to reward his every care, and
preserve his countrymen in that state of peace, prosperity, and virtue,
to which they had been brought by the unceasing cares of Morton; and
that worthy man returned to his native land seven years after he had
quitted it, improved not only in inward peace but in health, and
consequently appearances. A perceptible lameness was now the only
remains of what had been before painful deformity. The bracing air of
the island had invigorated his nerves; the consciousness that he was
active in the service of his fellow-creatures removed from his mind the
morbid sensibility that had formerly so oppressed him; and Mr. and Mrs.
Hamilton perceived, with benevolent pleasure, that life was to him no
longer a burden. He had become a cheerful, happy member of society,
willing to enjoy the blessings that now surrounded him with a truly
chastened, grateful spirit: Oakwood and Castle Terryn were ever
enlivened when he was present. After the cold and barren living at
Feroe, exiled as he there had been from any of his own rank in life, the
Vicarage at Castle Terryn and the society those duties included, formed
to him indeed a happy resting-place; while his many excellent qualities
soon reconciled St. Eval and his Countess to Myrvin's desertion, as they
called his accepting the rectory at Oakwood. No untoward event occurred
to prevent the celebration of Percy and Edward's bridals as intended.
They took place, attended with all that chastened joy and innocent
festivity which might have been expected from the characters of those
principally concerned. No cloud obscured the happiness of the
affectionate united family, which witnessed these gladdening nuptials.
Each might, perhaps, in secret have felt there was one blank in every
heart, that when thus united, there was still a void on earth. In their
breasts the fond memory of Herbert lingered still. Mr. Grahame forgot
his moroseness, though he had resolved on returning to his cottage in
Wales. He could feel nothing but delight as he looked on his Lilla in
her chaste and simple bridal robes, and felt that of her he might indeed
be proud. Fondly he dried the tear that fell from her bright eyes, as
she clung to him in parting, and promised to see her soon, very soon at
Beech Hill.

It was the amusement of the village gossips for many a long evening to
discuss over and over again the various merits of the two brides; some
preferring the tearful, blushing Lilla, others the pale, yet composed
and dignified demeanour of Miss Manvers. Some said Captain Fortescue
looked much more agitated than he did when he saved his uncle's life off
Dartmouth, some years before; it was marvellously strange for a brave
young officer such as he, to be so flustered at such a simple thing as
taking a pretty girl for better or worse. And Mr. Percy Hamilton, some
said, was very much too serious for such a joyous occasion; if they had
been Miss Manvers they should not have liked it, and so unlike himself,

"Hold your tongue, silly woman," a venerable old man interposed, at this
part of the conversation, "the poor lad's thoughts were with his
brother, to whom this day would have been as great a source of joy as
to himself. He has not been the same man since dear Master Herbert's
death, and no wonder, poor fellow."

This observation effectually put an end to the remarks on Percy's
demeanour, and some owned, after all, marriage was somehow a solemn
ceremony, and it was better to be too serious at such a time than too

Percy and his bride stayed a week in London, and thence proceeded to
Paris, which place, a very short scrutiny convinced Percy was internally
in no quiet condition; some disturbance, he was convinced, was
threatening, though of what nature he could not at first comprehend. He
had not, however, left England a fortnight before his family were
alarmed by the reports which so quickly flew over to our island of that
extraordinary revolution which in three short days completely changed
the sovereign dynasty of France, and threatened a renewal of those
horrors which had deluged that fair capital with blood in the time of
the unfortunate Louis XVI. We have neither space nor inclination to
enter into such details; some extracts of a letter from Percy, which Mr.
Hamilton received, after a week of extreme anxiety on his account, we
feel, however, compelled to transcribe, as the ultimate fates of two
individuals, whose names have more than once been mentioned in the
course of these memoirs, may there perhaps be discovered.

"Your anxiety, my dearest mother, and that of my father and Ellen, I can
well understand, but for myself I had no fear. Had I been alone, I
believe a species of pleasurable excitement would have been the
prevailing feeling, but for my Louisa I did tremble very often; the
scenes passing around us were to a gentle eye and feeling heart terrible
indeed, and so suddenly they had come upon us, we had no time to attempt
retreat to a place of greater safety. Cannonballs were flying in all
directions, shattering the windows, killing some, and fearfully wounding
many others; for several hours I concealed Louisa in the cellar, which
was the only secure abode our house presented. Mounted guards, to the
number of six or seven hundred, were dashing down the various streets,
with a noise like thunder, diversified only by the clash of arms, the
shrieks of the wounded, and the fierce cries of the populace. It was
indeed terrible--the butchery of lives has indeed been awful; in these
sanguinary conflicts between desperate men, pent up in narrow streets,
innocent lives have also been taken, for it was next to impossible to
distinguish between those who took an active part in the affray, and
those who were merely paralysed spectators. In their own defence the
gendarmes were compelled to fire, and their artillery did fearful havoc
among the people.

* * * * *

Crossing the Quai de la Tournelle, at the commencement of the first day,
I was startled by being addressed by name, and turning round, beheld, to
my utter astonishment, Cecil Grahame at my elbow; he was in the uniform
of a gendarme, in which corps, he told me, with some glee, his
brother-in-law, Lord Alphingham, who was high in favour with the French
court, had obtained him a commission; he spoke lightly, and with that
same recklessness of spirit and want of principle which unfortunately
has ever characterised him, declaring he was far better off than he had
ever been in England, which country he hoped never to see again, as he
utterly abhorred the very sight of it. The French people were rather
more agreeable to live with; he could enjoy his pleasures without any
confounded restraint. I suppose he saw how little I sympathised in his
excited spirits, for, with a hoarse laugh and an oath of levity, he
swore that I had not a bit more spirit in me than when I was a
craven-hearted lad, always cringing before the frown of a saintly
father, and therefore no fit companion for a jolly fellow like himself.
'Have you followed Herbert's example, and are you, too, a godly-minded
parson? then, good day, and good riddance to you, my lad,' was the
conclusion of his boisterous speech, and setting spurs to his horse, he
would have galloped off, when I detained him, to ask why he had not
informed his family of his present place of abode and situation. My
blood had boiled as he spoke, that such rude and scurrilous lips should
thus scornfully have spoken my sainted brother's name; passion rose
fierce within me, but I thought of him whose name he spoke, and was
calm. He swore that he had had quite enough of his father's severity,
that he never meant to see his face again. He was now, thank heaven, his
own master, and would take care to remain so; that he had been a fool to
address me, as he might be sure I should tell of his doings, and bring
the old fellow after him. Disgusted beyond measure, yet I could not
forbear asking him if he had heard of his mother's death. Without the
least change of countenance or of voice, he replied--

"'Heard of it, man, aye, and forgotten it by this; why it is some
centuries ago. It would have been a good thing for me had she died years
before she did.'

"'Cecil Grahame!' I exclaimed, in a tone that rung in my ears some
hours afterwards, and I believe made him start, daring even as he was,
'do you know it is your mother of whom you speak? a mother whose only
fault towards you was too much love, a mother whose too fond heart your
cruel conduct broke; are you so completely devoid of feeling that not
even this can move you?'

"'Pray add to your long list of my good mother's perfections a weakness
that ruined me, that made me the wretch I am,' he wildly exclaimed, and
he clenched his hand and bit his lip till the blood came, while his
cheek became livid with some feeling I could not fathom. He spurred his
horse violently, the spirited animal started forward, a kind of spell
seemed to rivet my eyes upon him. There was a loud report of cannon from
the Place de Greve, several balls whizzed close by me, evidently fired
to disperse the multitude, who were tumultuously assembling on the Pont
de la Cite, and ere I could recover from the startling effects of the
report, I heard a shrill scream of mortal agony, and Cecil Grahame fell
from his horse a shattered corpse.

* * * * *

For several minutes I was wholly unconscious of all that was passing
around me. I stood by the body of the unfortunate young man, quite
insensible to the danger I was incurring from the shot. I could only see
him before my eyes, as I had known him in his boyhood and his earliest
youth, full of fair promises, of hopeful futurity, the darling of his
mother's eye, the pride of his father, spite of his faults; and now what
was he? a mangled corpse, cut off without warning or preparation in his
early youth. But, oh, worse, far worse than all, with the words of
hatred, of defiance on his lips. I sought in vain for life; there was no
sign, no hope. To attempt to rescue the body was vain, the tumult was
increasing fearfully around me; many gendarmes were falling
indiscriminately with the populace, and the countenance of Cecil was so
fearfully disfigured, that to attempt to recognise it when all might
again be quiet would, I knew, be useless. One effort I made, I inquired
for and sought Lord Alphingham's hotel, intending to obtain his
assistance in the proper interment of this unfortunate young man, but in
this was equally frustrated; the hotel was closely shut up. Lord and
Lady Alphingham had, at the earliest threatening of disturbances,
retreated to their chateau in the province of Champagne. I forwarded the
melancholy intelligence to them, and returned to my own hotel sick at
heart with the sight I had witnessed. The fearful tone of his last
words, the agonized shriek, rung in my ears, as the shattered form and
face floated before my eyes, with a tenacity no effort of my own or even
of my Louisa's could dispel. Oh, my mother, what do I not owe you for
guarding me from the temptations that have assailed this wretched young
man, or rather for imprinting on my infant mind those principles which,
with the blessing of our heavenly Father, have thus preserved me.
Naturally, my temper, my passions were like his, in nothing was I his
superior; but it was your hand, your prayers, my mother, planted the
seeds of virtue, your gentle firmness eradicated those faults which, had
they been fostered by indulgence, might have rendered my life like Cecil
Grahame's, and exposed me in the end to a death like his. What would
have availed my father's judicious guidance, my brother's mild example,
had not the soil been prepared by a mother's hand and watered by a
mother's prayers? blessings, a thousand blessings on your head, my
mother! Oh, may my children learn to bless theirs even as I do mine;
they cannot know a purer joy on earth.

* * * * *

"We have arrived at Rouen in safety. I am truly thankful to feel my
beloved wife is far from the scene of confusion and danger to which she
has been so unavoidably exposed. I am not deceived in her strength of
nerve, my dear mother; I did not think, when I boasted of it as one of
her truly valuable acquirements, I should so soon have seen it put to
the proof; to her letter to Caroline I refer you for all entertaining

* * * * *

"I have been interrupted by an interview as unexpected as it promises to
be gratifying. One dear to us all may, at length, rejoice there is hope;
but I dare not say too much, for the health of this unhappy young man is
so shattered, he may never yet embrace his mother. But to be more
explicit, I was engaged in writing, unconsciously with the door of my
apartment half open, when I was roused by the voice of the waiter,
exclaiming, 'Not that room, sir, if you please, yours is yonder.' I
looked up and met the glance of a young man, whom, notwithstanding the
long lapse of years, spite of faded form and attenuated features, I
recognised on the instant. It was Alfred Greville. I was far more
surprised and inconceivably more shocked than when Cecil Grahame crossed
my path; I had marked no change in the features or the expression of the
latter, but both in Alfred Greville were so totally altered, that he
stood before me the living image of his sister, a likeness I had never
perceived before. I was too much astonished to address him, and before I
could frame words, he had sprung forward, with a burning flush on his
cheek, and grasping my hand, wildly exclaimed, 'Do not shun me,
Hamilton, I am not yet an utter reprobate. Tell me of my mother; does
she live?"

"'She does,' I replied; instantly a burst of thanksgiving broke from his
lips, at least so I imagined, from the expression of his features, for
there were no articulate sounds, and a swoon resembling death
immediately followed. Medical assistance was instantly procured, but
though actual insensibility was not of long continuance, he is
pronounced to be in such an utterly exhausted state, that we dare not
encourage hopes for his final recovery; yet still I cannot but believe
he will be spared--spared not only in health, but as a reformed and
better man, to bless that mother whose cares for him, despite long years
of difficulties and sorrow, have never failed. In vain I entreated him
not to exhaust himself by speaking; that I would not leave him, and if
he would only be quiet, he might be better able on the morrow to tell me
all he desired. He would not be checked; he might not, he said, be
spared many hours, and he must speak ere he died. Comparatively
speaking, but little actual vice has stained the conduct of Greville.
Throughout all his career the remembrance of his mother has often, very
often mingled in his gayest hours, and dashed them with remorseful
bitterness. He owns that often of late years her image, and that of his
sister Mary, have risen so mildly, so impressively before him, that he
has flown almost like a maniac from the gay and heartless throngs, to
solitude and silence, and as the thoughts of home and his infancy, when
he first lisped out his boyish prayer by the side of his sister at his
mother's knee, came thronging over him, he has sobbed and wept like a
child. These feelings returned at length so often and so powerfully,
that he felt to resist them was even more difficult and painful than to
break from the flowery chains which his gay companions had woven round
him. He declared his resolution; he resisted ridicule and persuasion.
Almost for the first time in his life he remained steadily firm, and
when he had indeed succeeded, and found himself some distance from the
scenes of luxurious pleasure, he felt himself suddenly endowed with an
elasticity of spirit, which he had not experienced for many a long year.
The last tidings he had received of his mother and sister were that they
were at Paris, and thither he determined to go, having parted from his
companions at Florence. During the greater part of his journey to the
French capital, he fancied his movements were watched by a stranger,
gentlemanly in his appearance, and not refusing to enter into
conversation when Greville accosted him; but still Alfred did not feel
satisfied with his companionship, though to get rid of him seemed an
impossibility, for however he changed his course, the day never passed
without his shadow darkening Greville's path. Within eighty miles of
Paris, however, he lost all traces of him, and he then reproached
himself for indulging in unnecessary fears. He was not in Paris two
days, however, before, to his utter astonishment, he was arrested and
thrown into prison on the charge of forging bank-notes, two years
previous, to a very considerable amount. In vain he protested against
the accusation alleging at that time he had been in Italy and not in
Paris. Notes bearing his own signature, and papers betraying other
misdemeanours, were brought forward, and on their testimony and that of
the stranger, whose name he found to be _Dupont_, he was thrown into
prison to await his trial. To him the whole business was an impenetrable
mystery. To us, my dear father, it is all clear as day. Poor Mrs.
Greville's fears were certainly not without foundation, and when affairs
are somewhat more quiet in Paris, I shall leave no stone unturned to
prove young Greville's perfect innocence to the public, and bring that
wretch Dupont to the same justice to which his hatred would have
condemned the son of his old companion. Alfred's agitation on hearing my
explanation of the circumstance was extreme. The errors of his father
appeared to fall heavily on him, and yet he uttered no word of reproach
on his memory. The relation of his melancholy death, and the misery in
which we found Mrs. Greville and poor Mary affected him so deeply, I
dreaded their effect on his health; but this was nothing to his
wretchedness when, by his repeated questions, he absolutely wrung from
me the tale of his sister's death, his mother's desolation: no words can
portray the extent of his self-reproach. It is misery to look upon him
now, and feel what he might have been, had his mother been indeed
permitted to exercise her rights. There is no happiness for Alfred
Greville this side of the Channel; he pines for home--for his mother's
blessing and forgiveness, and till he receives them, health will not,
cannot return.

* * * * *

In prison he remained for six long weary months, with the consciousness
that, amidst the many light companions with whom he had associated,
there was not one to whom he could appeal for friendship and assistance
in his present situation, and the thoughts of his mother and sister
returned with greater force, from the impossibility of learning anything
concerning them. The hope of escaping never left him, and, with the
assistance of a comrade, he finally effected it on the 27th of July, the
confusion of the city aiding him far more effectually than he believed
possible. He came down to Rouen in a coal-barge, so completely
exhausted, that he declared, had not the thought of England and his
mother been uppermost, he would gladly have laid down in the open
streets to die. To England he felt impelled, he scarcely knew wherefore,
save that he looked to us for the information he so ardently desired.
Our family had often been among his waking visions, and this accounts
for the agitation I witnessed when I first looked up. He said he felt he
knew me, but he strove to move or speak in vain; he could not utter the
only question he wished to frame, and was unable to depart without being
convinced if I indeed were Percy Hamilton.

"'And now I have seen you, what have I learnt?' he said, as he ceased a
tale, more of sorrow than of crime.

"'That your mother lives,' I replied, 'that she has never ceased to pray
for and love her son, that you can yet be to her a blessing and

"Should he wish her sent for, I asked, I knew she would not demand a
second summons. He would not hear of it.

"'Not while I have life enough to seek her. What, bring her all these
miles to me. My mother, my poor forsaken mother. Oh, no, if indeed I may
not live, if strength be not granted me to seek her, then, then it will
be time enough to think of beseeching her to come to me; but not while a
hope of life remains, speak not of it, Percy. Let her know nothing of
me, nothing, till I can implore her blessing on my knees.'"

* * * * *

"I have ceased to argue with him, for he is bent upon it, and perhaps it
is better thus. His mind appears much relieved, he has passed a quiet
night, and this morning the physician finds a wonderful improvement,
wonderful to him perhaps, but not to me."

* * * * *

Percy's letters containing the above extracts, were productive of much
interest to his friends at Oakwood. The details of Cecil's death,
alleviated by sympathy, were forwarded to his father and sister. The
words that had preceded his death Mr. Hamilton carefully suppressed from
his friend, and Mr. Grahame, as if dreading to hear anything that could
confirm his son's reckless disposition, asked no particulars. For three
months he buried himself in increased seclusion at Llangwillan, refusing
all invitations, and denying himself steadfastly to all. At the
termination of that period, however, he once more joined his friends, an
altered and a happier man. His misanthropy had departed, and often Mr.
Hamilton remarked to his wife, that the Grahame of fifty resembled the
Grahame of five-and-twenty far more than he had during the intervening
years. Lilla and Edward were sources of such deep interest to him, that
in their society he seemed to forget the misery occasioned by his other
children. The shock of her brother's death was long felt by Lilla; she
sorrowed that he was thus suddenly cut off without time for one thought
of eternity, one word of penitence, of prayer. The affection of her
husband, however, gradually dispelled these melancholy thoughts, and
when Lord Delmont paid his promised visit to his nephew, he found no
abatement in those light and joyous spirits which had at first attracted
him towards Lilla.

Ellen, at her own particular request, had undertaken to prepare Mrs.
Greville for the return of her son, and the change that had taken place
in him. Each letter from Percy continued his recovery, and here we may
notice, though somewhat out of place, as several months elapsed ere he
was enabled fully to succeed, that, by the active exertions of himself
and of the solicitor his father had originally employed, Dupont was at
length brought to justice, his criminal machinations fully exposed to
view, and the innocence of Alfred Greville, the son of the deceased, as
fully established in the eyes of all men.

Gently and cautiously Ellen performed her office, and vain would be the
effort to portray the feelings or the fond and desolate mother, as she
anticipated the return of her long-absent, dearly-loved son. Of his own
accord he came back to her; he had tried the pleasures of the world, and
proved them hollow; he had formed friendships with the young, the gay,
the bright, the lovely, and he had found them all wanting in stability
and happiness. Amid them all his heart had yearned for home and for
domestic love; that mother had not prayed in vain.

Softly and beautifully fell the light of a setting sun around the
pretty little cottage, on the banks of the Dart, which was now the
residence of Mrs. Greville; the lattice was thrown widely back, and the
perfume of unnumbered flowers scented the apartment, which Ellen's hand
had loved to decorate, that Mrs. Greville might often, very often forget
she was indeed alone. It was the early part of September, and a
delicious breeze passed by, bearing health and elasticity upon its wing,
and breathing soft melody amid the trees and shrubs. Softly and calmly
glided the smooth waters at the base of the garden. The green verandah
running round the cottage was filled with beautiful exotics, which
Ellen's hand had transported from the conservatory at Oakwood. It was a
sweet and soothing sight to see how judiciously, how unassumingly Ellen
devoted herself to the desolate mother, without once permitting that
work of love to interfere with her still nearer, still dearer ties at
home. She knew how Herbert would have loved and devoted himself to the
mother of his Mary, and in this, as in all things, she followed in his
steps. Untiringly would she listen to and speak on Mrs. Greville's
favourite theme, her Mary; and now she sat beside her, enlivening by
gentle converse the hours that must intervene ere Alfred came. There was
an expression of such calm, such chastened thanksgiving on Mrs.
Greville's features, changed as they were by years of sorrow, that none
could gaze on her without a kindred feeling stealing over the heart, and
in very truth those feelings seemed reflected on the young and lovely
countenance beside her. A pensive yet a sweet and pleasing smile rested
on Ellen's lips, and her dark eye shone softly bright in the light of
sympathy. Beautiful indeed were the orphan's features, but not the
dazzling beauty of early youth. If a stranger had gazed on her
countenance when in calm repose, he would have thought she had seen
sorrow; but when that beaming smile of true benevolence, that eye of
intellectual and soul-speaking beauty met his glance, as certain would
he have felt that sorrow, whatever it might have been, indeed had lost
its sting.

"It was such an evening, such an hour my Mary died," Mrs. Greville said,
as she laid her hand in Ellen's. "I thought not then to have reflected
on it with feelings such as now fill my heart. Oh, when I look back on
past years, and recall the prayers I have uttered in tears for my son,
my Alfred, the doubts, the fears that have arisen to check my prayer, I
wonder wherefore am I thus blessed."

"Our God is a God of truth, and He promiseth to answer prayer, dearest
Mrs. Greville," replied Ellen, earnestly; "and He is a God of love, and
will bless those who seek Him and trust in Him as you have done."

"He gave me grace to trust in Him, my child. I trusted, I doubted not He
would answer me in another world, but I thought not such blessing was
reserved for me in this. A God of love--ay, in my hour of affliction. I
have felt Him so. Oh, may the blessings of His loving-kindness shower
down upon me, soften yet more my heart to receive His glorious image."

She ceased to speak, but her lips moved still as in inward prayer. Some
few minutes elapsed, and suddenly the glowing light of the sun was
darkened, as by an intervening shadow. The mother raised her head, and
in another instant her son was at her feet.

"Mother, can you forgive, receive me? Bid me not go forth--I cannot,
may not leave you."

"Go forth, my son, my son--oh, never, never!" she cried, and clasping
him to her bosom, the quick glad tears fell fast upon his brow. She
released him to gaze again and again upon his face, and fold him closer
to her heart, to read in those sunken features, that faded form, the
tale that he had come back to her heart and to her home, never, never
more to leave her.

In that one moment years of error were forgotten. The mother only felt
she hold her son to her heart, a suffering, yet an altered and a better
man; and he, that he knelt once more beside his mother, forgiven and



And now, what can we more say? Will not the Hamilton family, and those
intimately connected with them, indeed be deemed complete? It was our
intention to trace in the first part of our tale the cares, the joys,
the sorrows of parental love, during the years of childhood and earliest
youth; in the second, to mark the _effect_ of those cares, when those on
whom they were so lavishly bestowed attained a period of life in which
it depends more upon themselves than on their parents to frame their own
happiness or misery, as far, at least, as we ourselves can do so. It may
please our Almighty Father to darken our earthly course by the trial of
adversity, and yet that peace founded on religion, which it was Mr. and
Mrs. Hamilton's first care to inculcate, may seldom be disturbed. It
may please Him to bless us with prosperity, but from characters such as
Annie Grahame happiness is a perpetual exile, which no prosperity has
power to recall. We have followed Mr. Hamilton's family from childhood,
we have known them from their earliest years, and now that it has become
their parts to feel those same cares and joys, and perform those
precious but solemn duties which we have watched in Mrs. Hamilton, our
task is done; and we must bid farewell to those we have known and loved
so long; those whom we have seen the happy inmates of one home, o'er

"The same fond mother bent at night,"

who shared the same joys, the same cares, whose deepest affections were
confined to their parents and each other, are now scattered in different
parts of their native land, distinct members of society, each with his
own individual cares and joys, with new and precious ties to divide that
heart whose whole affection had once been centred in one spot and in one
circle; and can we be accused in thus terminating our simple annals of
wandering from the real course of life. Is it not thus with very many
families of England? Are not marriage and death twined hand in hand, to
render that home desolate which once resounded with the laugh of many
gleesome hearts, with the glad tones of youthful revelling and joy?
True, in those halls they often meet again, and the hearts of the
parents are not lone, for the family of each child is a source of
inexpressible interest to them; there is still a link, a precious link
to bind them together, but vain and difficult would be the attempt to
continue the history of a family when thus dispersed. Sweet and
pleasing the task to watch the unfledged nestlings while under a
mother's fostering wing, but when they spread their wings and fly, where
is the eye or pen that can follow them on their eager way?

Once more, but once, we will glance within the halls of Oakwood, and
then will we bid them farewell, for our task will be done, and the last
desires of fancy, we trust, to have appeased.

It was in the September of the year 1830 we closed our narrative. Let us
then, for one moment, imagine the veil of fancy is upraised on the first
day of the year, 1838, and gaze within that self-same room, which twenty
years before we had seen lighted up on a similar occasion, the
anniversary of a new year, bright with youthful beauty, and enlivened by
the silvery laugh of early childhood. But few, very few, were the
strangers that this night mingled with Mr. Hamilton's family. It was
not, as it had been twenty years previous, a children's ball on which we
glance. It was but the happy reunion of every member of that truly happy
family, and the lovely, mirthful children there assembled were, with the
exception of a very few, closely connected one with another by the near
relationship of brothers, sisters, and cousins. In Mr. and Mrs.
Hamilton, Mrs. Greville, Montrose Grahame, Lucy Harcourt, and Mr.
Morton, who were all present, time had comparatively made but little
difference; but it was in those who twenty years before had so well
acted the part of youthful entertainers to their various guests that the
change was striking, yet far, very far from being mournful.

On one side might be seen Percy Hamilton, M.P., in earnest yet
pleasurable conversation with Mr. Grahame. It was generally noticed that
these two gentlemen were always talking politics, discussing, whenever
they met, the affairs of the nation, for no senator was more earnest and
interested in his vocation than Percy Hamilton, but certainly on this
night there was no thoughtful gravity of a senator imprinted on his
brow; he was looking and laughing at the childish efforts of the little
Lord Manvers, eldest child of the Earl of Delmont, then in his seventh
year, to emulate the ease and dignity of his cousins, Lord Lyle and
Herbert and Allan Myrvin, some two or three years older than himself,
who, from being rather more often at Oakwood, considered themselves
quite lords of the soil and masters of the ceremonies, during the
present night at least. The Ladies Mary and Gertrude Lyle, distinguished
by the perfect simplicity of their dress, had each twined an arm in that
of the gentle, retiring Caroline Myrvin, and tried to draw her from her
young mother's side, where, somewhat abashed at the number that night
assembled in her grandfather's hall, she seemed determined to remain,
while a younger sister frolicked about the room, making friends with
all, in such wild exuberance of spirits, that Mrs. Myrvin's gentle voice
was more than once raised in playful reproach to reduce her to order,
while her husband and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton seemed to take delight in
her movements of elasticity and joy. The Countess St. Eval, as majestic
and fascinating in womanhood as her early youth had promised, one moment
watched with a proud yet softly flashing eye the graceful movements of
her son, and the next, was conversing eagerly and gaily with her brother
Percy and the young Earl of Delmont, who were standing near her; seven
years had wrought but little change in him, whom till now we have only
known by the simple designation of Edward Fortescue. Manhood, in his
prime, had rather increased than lessened the extreme beauty of his face
and form; few gazed on him once but turned to gaze again, and the little
smiling cherub of five years, whose soft, round arms were twined round
Miss Fortescue's neck, the Lady Ellen Fortescue, promised fair to
inherit all her father's beauty and peculiar grace, and endeared her to
her young mother's heart with an increased warmth of love, while the
dark flashing eyes of Lord Manvers and his glossy, flowing, ebon curls
rendered him, Edward declared, the perfect likeness of his mother, and
therefore he was the father's pet. Round Mr. Hamilton were grouped, in
attitudes which an artist might have been glad to catch for natural
grace, about three or four younger grandchildren, the eldest not
exceeding four years, who, too young to join in the dance and sports of
their elder brethren, were listening with eager attention to the
entertaining stories grandpapa was relating, calling forth peals of
laughter from his infant auditors, particularly from the fine
curly-headed boy who was installed on the seat of honour, Mr. Hamilton's
knee, being the only child of Percy and Louisa, and consequently the pet
of all. It was to that group Herbert Myrvin wished to confine the
attention of his merry little sister, who, however, did not choose to be
so governed, and frisked about from one group to another, regardless of
her graver brother's warning glances; one minute seated on Mrs.
Hamilton's knee and nestling her little head on her bosom, the next
pulling her uncle Lord St. Eval's coat, to make him turn round and play
with her, and then running away with a wild and ringing laugh.

"Do not look so anxious, my own Emmeline," Mrs. Hamilton said fondly,
as she met her daughter's glance fixed somewhat anxiously on her little
Minnie, for so she was generally called, to distinguish her from Lady
St. Eval's Mary. "You will have no trouble to check those wild spirits
when there is need to do so; her heart is like your own, and then sweet
is the task of rearing."

With all the grateful fondness of earlier years did Mrs. Myrvin look up
in her mother's face, as she thus spoke, and press her hand in hers.

"Not even yet have you ceased to penetrate my thoughts, my dearest
mother," she replied; "from childhood unto the present hour you have
read my countenance as an open book."

"And have not you, too, learned that lesson, my child? Is it not to you
your gentle, timid Caroline clings most fondly? Is it not to you Herbert
comes with his favourite book, and Allan with his tales of glee?
Minnie's mirth is not complete unless she meets your smile, and even
little Florence looks for some sign of sympathy. You have not found the
task so difficult, that you should wonder I should love it?"

"For those beloved ones, oh, what would I not do?" said Mrs. Myrvin, in
a tone of animated fervour, and turning her glistening eyes on her
mother, she added, "My own mother, marriage may bring with it new tics,
new joys, but, oh, who can say it severs the first bright links of life
between a mother and a child? it is now, only now, I feel how much you
loved me."

"May your children be to you what mine have ever been to me, my
Emmeline; I can wish you no greater blessing," replied Mrs. Hamilton,
in a tone of deep emotion, and twining Emmeline's arm in hers, they
joined Mrs. Greville and Miss Harcourt, who were standing together near
the pianoforte, where Edith Seymour, the latter's younger niece, a
pleasing girl of seventeen, was good-naturedly playing the music of the
various dances which Lord Lyle and Herbert Myrvin were calling in rapid
succession. In another part of the room Alfred Greville and Laura
Seymour were engaged in such earnest conversation, that Lord Delmont
indulged in more than one joke at their expense, of which, however, they
were perfectly unconscious; and this had occurred so often, that many of
Mrs. Greville's friends entertained the hope of seeing the happiness now
so softly and calmly imprinted on her expressive features, very shortly
heightened by the union of her now truly estimable son with an amiable
and accomplished young woman, fitted in all respects to supply the place
of the daughter she had lost.

And what had these seven years done for the Countess of Delmont, who had
completely won the delighted kiss and smiles of Minnie Myrvin, by
joining in all her frolics, and finally accepting Allan's blushing
invitation, and joining the waltz with him, to the admiration of all the
children. The girlish vivacity of Lilla Grahame had not deserted Lady
Dolmont; conjugal and maternal love had indeed softened and subdued a
nature, which in early years had been perhaps too petulant; had
heightened yet chastened sensibility. Never was happiness more visibly
impressed or more keenly felt than by the youthful Countess. Her
husband, in his extreme fondness, had so fostered her at times almost
childish glee, that he might have unfitted her for her duties, had not
the mild counsels, the example of his sister, Miss Fortescue, turned
aside the threatening danger, and to all the fascination of early
childhood Lady Delmont united the more solid and enduring qualities of
pious, well-regulated womanhood.

"I wonder Charles is not jealous," observed Mrs. Percy Hamilton,
playfully, after admiring to Lord Delmont his wife's peculiar grace in
waltzing. "Allan seems to have claimed her attention entirely."

"Charles has something better to do," replied his father, laughing, as
the little Lord Manvers flew by him, with his arm twined round his
cousin Gertrude in the inspiring galop, and seemed to have neither ear
nor eye for any one or anything else. "Caroline, do you permit your
daughter to play the coquette so early?"

"Better at seven than seventeen, Edward, believe me; had she numbered
the latter, I might be rather more uneasy, at present I can admire that
pretty little pair without any such feeling. Gertrude told me to-day,
she did not like to see her cousin Charles so shy, and she should do all
she could to make him as much at home as she and her brother are."

"She has succeeded, then, admirably," replied Edward, laughing, "for the
little rogue has not much shyness in him now. Herbert and Mary have got

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