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Title: Tales of My Time, Vol. II (of 3) - Who Is She; The Young Reformers
Author: Scargill, William Pitt
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).


By the Author of Blue-Stocking Hall.

In Three Volumes.




Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley,
New Burlington Street.

J. B. Nichols and Son
25, Parliament Street.






 "Les vrais evènemens de la Vie sont quelquefois, beaucoup plus
 incroyable que ceux que l'Imagination presente à l'Esprit."


There are some whose lot it is to pace the dull and beaten round
of daily life like a sort of moral turn-spit, unconscious of the
stages by which they travel from the cradle to the tomb. To these the
extraordinary accidents and romantic coincidences, which occasionally
chequer and diversify the flat road of human existence in the history
of other men, appear incredible as the Arabian Nights' Entertainment;
yet Fiction, in her most fantastic mood, does not leave the common
average of events farther behind than reality is continually doing.
Zorilda's was no common fate, and it pursued her to the grave.

Rachel's schemes had prospered so entirely that, by the time that she
and her young mistress reached the great northern line, no farther
anxiety attended their progress, and they journied onwards without
apprehension. They stopped in the first large town, and found no
difficulty in procuring pecuniary supplies at the Bank. So far all
proceeded smoothly; but the pale cheek, and smileless eye, bore witness
to that grief which "doth not speak" but "whispers the o'erfraught
heart and bids it break."

There is sorrow which lies too deep for the landscape or the breeze.
Neither air nor scene can reach its dwelling; and the change of
both, which proves a sovereign balm to light afflictions, brought no
healing to Zorilda's heart. It had not been always thus. There was a
time when her glad eye hailed the rising sun with answering ray; and
her young spirit, all alive to the charms of undefined but sparkling
anticipation, which dresses the future in bright ideal glories, could
carol with the lark at early dawn. Alive, with more than common
enthusiasm, to the beauties of nature, every opening bud and blossom
had once inspired joy; but the charm was broken, sunshine and spring
only seemed now to mock her grief, while one exclusive torturing
thought occupied every avenue of sense. Algernon was false--Algernon
was unworthy--and the affection which could no longer flow in
unresisted tide towards him, returned with all the overwhelming force
of a back-water current into her bosom.

It is maintained by some writers that woman's love ought to cling
blindly to its object, and survive every trial. A true and devoted
attachment is indeed proof against every attack which can assail
it from without. The female breast can endure the rudest shocks of
adversity, and outlive the severest reverses of fortune--it can
preserve its bloom within the walls of a prison, and its warmth amid
Siberian snows--but it is a vulgar love which grasps at the empty
casket, after the gem which it contained is thrown away. Zorilda's soul
was incapable of harbouring any but pure and exalted sentiments, which
when driven from the cherished object on whom they rested, came back
with oppressive weight upon her widowed breast.

After a day's journey, which had been rendered particularly fatiguing
from bad horses, our travellers reached the town of----. They arrived
late, and found that every room at the inn was occupied. There was
no second, and upon inquiring for private lodgings, the landlady
of the Greyhound assured them that it was quite vain to hope for a
bed any where. Young Squire Macdonald had just come of age. He was
eldest son to Sir Herbert, and heir to immense estates. The great
house was undergoing repairs, and therefore a splendid ball, which it
was impossible to give on the present joyful occasion at the family
mansion, was to assemble all the surrounding gentry that night at
the inn. The company was to be as numerous as possible, to secure
popularity, and, "in fact," the landlady added, with a broad grin,
"our powers of accommodation are the only limits to Sir Herbert's
hospitality on this happy event."

What was to be done? Nothing in nature could be less accordant with
the feelings of Zorilda than the sound of mirth and revelry; but the
night was dark, and she feared to proceed any farther. The next stage
too was long, and lay over a dreary moor. The landlady also protested
that she had not a horse in the stables which was not nearly "jaded to

"Only allow me to remain under the protection of your roof," said
Zorilda, "I shall not require any care or attendance." "I am sure,"
replied the landlady, "I never was so puzzled in all my life. If it was
my sister, I could neither promise her a bed or a mutton chop. Even
now, while I stand talking, I assure you, Ma'am, that I am wanted in
half a dozen different places."

"I am sure of it," answered Zorilda; "but I can do without a bed and
mutton chop. Only take me in. Put me any where, but _pray_ do not
refuse me."

The landlady was mollified, and promised to do her best, but gave fair
warning that that _best_ would prove a sorry sort of welcome to weary

Zorilda drew her veil closely over her face, and wrapping Rachel's
large cloak round her person descended from the carriage, and following
the woman of the house through a long stone entry and up a wide
stair-case, which were lighted up and decorated with laurel branches,
was ushered into a miserable scrap of an apartment, if indeed such a
cage might be dignified with the style of one. There was neither table
nor chair in it, but both were to be brought in a few minutes.

"Here, Ma'am, is the only cranny that I have to offer you, and I am
very sorry for it," said the landlady. "I should not have even this to
give you but for an accident to one of our gutters, and you see this
wall is ruined by the deluge of water that came down upon it. I sent
to London for paper, which did not come in time, so here you perceive
I have been obliged to knock up a few boards, in the greatest hurry
you can imagine, into a sort of partition, which I have hung all over
with drapery, on the other side, to hide the new timber. There are
only a few gentlemen in the house, who are sitting at their wine below
stairs; and before the company assembles you could just step here into
the ball-room, and I think you will say that it is well contrived and

"I am obliged to you," answered Zorilda, "and am sure that all your
arrangements are made in the best manner, but I will take possession
of my quarters, and only wish that they were farther removed from the
gay revels which are soon to begin. This is a thin partition, I hope at
least that it is secure.

"Oh! bless you, yes, Ma'am. You will see nothing of the company. I wish
I could guard you as well from hearing them," answered the landlady,
whose houshold cares now "called her hence;" and who added, as she
tripped out of the room, "you will have little quiet or comfort, but
you can lock your door on the inside, and when the hurry of supper is
over, if I can, I will get you a mattress."

Zorilda cared little about want of comfort, but she wished herself far
from the riotous scene in which the sense of hearing, if not of sight,
was soon to be involved.

Rachel exerted herself to do as much for her mistress' accommodation,
as the case would admit. A small table and an arm-chair were provided,
and "now, my dear child," said the kind hearted creature, "that I have
at last seen you fairly seated, I will go and see if I cannot fetch
you a cup of hot coffee, and a nice dry toast." Carriages arrived, and
the company poured in like a torrent. A band of music began to play.
Zorilda had never heard so full a harmony of instruments since she
left her native country, and the effect was magical. The musicians
gave a popular Spanish air, to which, when an infant of three years
old, she had often danced with a little pair of castanets. The stores
of memory seemed suddenly unlocked. Her nurse, her cottage, the grove
of chestnuts, the kind visitor whom she called her father, all were
pictured in her mind's eye with the most vivid colouring, and as if
called by fairy wand from a world of shadows to live again on earth.

"Oh! why cannot I remember thee, beloved mother," she exclaimed, as
opening her precious packet which lay folded in her bosom, she pressed
the lovely image to her breast; "but no sound of melody can, with
mysterious power, strike upon that chord, and draw forth strains of
'linked sweetness.' I was too young when torn from this snowy pillow,
to see, to feel the heavenly mildness of that eye, the tender pathos of
that smile."

The rooms filled, and all the "laughter loving Gods" were busy in
producing such a din, that Zorilda's head ached from an uproar so
uncongenial with her spirits.

"Can this be pleasure?" said she, as she listened to the vapid jest,
the unmeaning laugh, the idle listless talk, which, penetrating the
thin screen that separated her from the throng, came upon her unwilling
ear. "Yes, these are the joys of which Algernon used to tell me, and
joys perhaps they might have seemed, if tasted in his society; but I
resemble the blind who live _within_, and imagination, which is most
active when things external are shut out, weaves her web of 'sweet and
bitter fancies,' which are little accordant with the world's opinions."

Rachel returned, but desirous to pursue her thoughts in solitude,
Zorilda sent her to amuse herself with staring at all the fine dresses
and equipages, which formed in her estimation, the most magnificent
spectacle she had ever looked upon; and much did she wish if possible,
to inspire her young mistress with a single spark of her own curiosity
to witness so splendid a pageant.

Once more alone in her cell, Zorilda endeavoured to abstract her mind
from the noisy scene. She took out her mother's diamond cross, and
having kissed, she pinned it to her breast.

"I will wear you always," said she, "next my heart, but it shall be
unseen. When I reach Drumcairn, I will have a ribband and suspend it
round my neck. This bracelet, too. These are _my_ jewels, and they are
gems of more worth than Potosi's mines could furnish, or Golconda has
ever sent forth."

She had laid aside her cloak and veil. Her beautiful hair, which
was only restrained by a tortoise-shell comb from falling over her
shoulders, curled in rich profusion over her ivory throat and
forehead. The air of evening had fanned a rose-bud tint upon her cheek,
and a black silk dress which folded across the bosom, formed the simple
costume of her, whom only the thickness of a half-inch board concealed
from that mirthful multitude, over whom in mingling, she would have
reigned queen paramount, in loveliness and grace.

Amongst the papers which lay before her, was the letter which she
had picked up in the walk at Henbury, when she had been startled by
a rustling in the bushes behind where she sat. The idea struck her
as she now looked over it again, with relation to other parts of her
history since developed, that a father's care might watch at distance
over her destiny. He was an English nobleman, perhaps, nay probably, a
married man, and withheld not only by a sense of the wrongs which he
had inflicted, but, also by existing family interests, from revealing
himself to his injured child. This conjecture was little soothing; on
the contrary, a cold tremor ran through her frame at thoughts of him
who basely deceived, and then deserted those to whom he was bound by
the most powerful ties of nature as well as moral obligation.

"Alas!" said she, "as my father, whoever, or wherever he may be, I owe
him reverence; but may I be spared the necessity of paying a tribute
which could never be animated by affection! Better remain the unknown,
despised 'Who is she?' than obtain a name and place in society at
the cost of incurring Heaven's displeasure by violating the first of
earthly duties."

As she uttered these words within her heart, her eyes were raised
upwards, and her hands clasped in a posture of supplication.

At this instant a heavy crash, as if one of the dancers had fallen with
great force against the weak partition, levelled the frail screen,
which went to pieces, and came in fragments to the ground.

What a scene was now unveiled! Zorilda narrowly escaped receiving on
her head a piece of the timber, which laid the table at which she had
been sitting prostrate at her feet, and together with it, the now
scattered contents of her sacred packet.

The male part of the assembly rushed simultaneously forward to offer
assistance, while, terrified and amazed, our heroine started from her
seat, the most beautiful object that had ever graced a ball-room,
revealing too

                  "the sparkling cross she wore,
    Which saints might kiss, and infidels adore."

One gathered up the loose sheets of the narrative; another found
the bracelets; and a third, who had seized the miniature, glancing
at it before he presented it to the owner, uttered an involuntary
ejaculation, and stood like one transfixed; but instantaneously
recovering his presence of mind, he advanced, and grasping the hand
which was extended to receive the portrait, with frenzied fervour,
restored the _treasure trove_, and darted out of the room. The words
which he had spoken, though probably not caught by others in the
confusion of the moment, reached Zorilda's ear, for her eyes were
intently fixed on him whom she saw take up her picture from the floor;
and the exclamation, "Oh! my daughter!" reverberating through every
nerve, she felt her knees refuse their office, and tottering backwards,
she fell into the arm-chair, almost bereft of sense; yet dreading the
effect of her emotion, and fearful of losing again any part of what
she prized more than life itself, she seemed suddenly invigorated, and
hastily folding her packet once more to her bosom, she waved her head
gracefully in acknowledgment of gratitude for polite attention, and
pressed towards the door, which was opened for her by one of the many
who were only anxious to try who should be foremost in affording aid.
Numberless arms were proffered to support her, but declined, and with
such an air of sincerity, as forbade all farther solicitations.

The waiters who had heard the crash, came running from all parts of the
house, and Rachel was not wanting in the train, who flew to inquire
what had happened. Zorilda seized her arm, and desired to be shown
immediately to the landlady's apartment. Thither she was conveyed,
quite exhausted.

"I must leave this place," said she, "before the dawn of day. Offer
any thing as a bribe for fresh horses, but procure me the means of
quitting this inn before the company break up; here I cannot stay,
and the repose which this dreadful uproar denies, may be found at no
great distance. I am not well, and my brain will become disordered if I
cannot find quiet. Dear Rachel use your best diligence."

Rachel left the room; and as there are few things which money cannot
procure, an offer of double fare soon produced the promise of as fine a
pair of horses as ever ran in harness, which it was now _recollected_
could be had at break of day. Ere long, she returned with the news, and
with a story to boot.

"Lord o' mercy, my dear, but I have had my own share of trouble since
I left you here, less than half an hour ago. There is all the whole
town, I believe, in a ferment about you. 'Who is she? Who is she?'
says one: 'Who is she? Where does she come from? Where is she going?'
says another. I thought they would tear me to pieces among them. 'Is
she a foreigner? Spanish, French, or Italian?' Now all along we forgot
to settle what name you should bear, and it came into my head, that
it would not be any way creditable to be without one, so when they
let me speak, I answered fair and softly, that you were Miss Gordon,
going home to your relations in Scotland; that you were in trouble
about one of them lately dead, and wished to be as private as could
be. I had fifty offers of carriages from both ladies and gentlemen,
and one and all they say, that such a beauty as yourself they never
beheld. One young gentleman followed after me, when I returned thanks,
and refused the rest; and sure I was ready to sink into the earth with
consternation when he called me by my own name, given me at my baptism
fifty-two years ago. 'Rachel,' says he, as plain as you ever spoke the
word: 'Rachel,' says he, 'your lady is not unknown to me. If I may have
the honour of seeing her, but for a moment, I will give her a letter
which she dropped in her way from the ball-room, and entreat her to
accept my best services in any manner that may be most useful.'

"'Sir,' says I, 'you have the advantage of me, but I am much obliged,
and will let my mistress know all you say;' so here's the message, and
I am to take back your answer; but like a noodle, I forgot to ask whose
compliments I was to bring you."

"Never mind, never mind;" answered Zorilda, in great agitation; "I do
not know any body; nor will I see any person. Go back; request the
gentleman to give you whatever letter of mine he has found, and decline
all farther communication. Be civil, but firm, and bring me no farther
offers of assistance, which I do not intend to accept."

Rachel saw that there was no use in attempting to alter this
determination, and though she would have been well pleased to convey
a more conciliatory reply, she thought it prudent to do as she was
desired without farther comment. The young gentleman waited her return,
and Rachel acquitted herself of her task, mitigating the severity of a
refusal, by assuring him how grateful her Lady felt for his politeness.

"Give her back her letter then," said the stranger, who, during the
interval of Rachel's absence, had asked for a sheet of paper, and
inclosed it with these words:

"For worlds I would not be thought an intruder by Zorilda, and
I therefore submit to her decision, which I anticipate. The
letter accidentally dropped in the hurry of her retreat is now
restored--extraordinary coincidence--by its writer; and he who now
returns it is no other than the unseen guardian, who has for some time
past watched unperceived, and been the fortunate means of saving much
disquiet to her, who, once seen, must be remembered _for ever_."

"Unaccountable, intricate, bewildering destiny!" exclaimed Zorilda.
"Can it be possible? Have I met my father? Was it he who grasped my
hand? Have I refused a parent's request; and is it he who returns the
letter, which, by a mysterious allotment of Providence (for who but the
infidel talks of chance) has been directed to his hand?"

"Put such a notion out of your head, my dear young lady," replied
Rachel, who stood behind, and of whose presence Zorilda was
unconscious when she spoke aloud. "No, no; the young gentleman who
gave me that letter for you might be your brother indeed, and not much
older than yourself; but as to being your father, you need not perplex
yourself on _that_ score. You have enough to be unhappy about, my poor
dear, without such fancies. If it was the poor gentleman who was taken
sick, and came out of the ball-room ready to faint, and drank a glass
of water, and ordered his carriage in the greatest hurry, and looked
like one possessed of an evil spirit; if _he_ was the person that gave
me the letter, it would be quite a different affair, for though a very
fine man, tall as a may-pole, and straight as an arrow, he could not
be less than forty, and a Lord into the bargain--Lord, Lord--something
beginning with----."

"Oh! no more guessing," interrupted Zorilda, "what have I to do with
any one? Make no inquiry, I charge you, I know enough. Hasten my

When Rachel disappeared to collect her luggage and pay the bill,
Zorilda, still pondering on the events of the evening, now
conjectured, that the young unknown, to whom she was indebted for some
unexplained benefit, must be the person against whose attempts to write
to, or speak with her, Algernon had given her an impressive caution
when he was going to Marchdale Court. "Alas!" said she, "he need not
have feared a rival; but it is past. These feverish uncertainties will
soon have an end; and my beloved friend, whose name is now my shield
and safeguard, will discover some retreat in which I may hide my head
and bury my sorrows."

The riot began to subside, the music ceased, the last carriage rolled
from the door, and a silvery streak along the eastern horizon gave
notice of the coming day, when Zorilda's post-chaise was ready to
receive her.

"Since I have been delayed till after the departure of these people,"
said she, "I will make a little alteration in my route in hopes to get
rid of them. You see this map, Rachel, look; we will turn into this
road. It cannot make the difference of more than five or six miles; and
_here_ you see we shall come again into the exact line of our journey
when all this crowd of revellers will have reached their several
homes." "You were always knowing in maps, and such like," answered
Rachel. "I know nothing but to desire the post-boy to drive whichever
way you bid me; only take care not to go into any bye place, where you
will not find a chaise or horses to take you on."

"We will lie by for the day then at the next stage," replied Zorilda,
"and perhaps it will be no harm to do so; at all events, Rachel, I am
very ill. Come, let us be gone."

So saying, she hurried down stairs along the squalid scene of departed
festivity, assailed at every step by an expiring lamp, or the remains
of a wassail bowl, at which the servants had been liberally plied. Sick
and weary, Zorilda threw herself into the carriage, and blessed the
morning air, which breathed "wooingly" upon her senses, and dispelled
the horrible atmosphere of the inn.

An officious hostler stood at the horses' heads to prove that their
fire required to be restrained; but the fact was, that it was with
difficulty they could be urged from the door. Zorilda desired that they
might not be pushed beyond their strength; and the postilion, making a
virtue of necessity, assuring her at the same time that his "cattle"
could easily go at the rate of ten miles an hour, condescended to let
them go at the only pace of which they were capable, a snail-slow walk,
by which, in course of time, they arrived at a house seven miles on the
stage of fifteen which they had to go. Here the horses were to bait;
and precisely as the driver flourished his whip, to bring his tired
beasts up to the door with some sort of _eclat_, a heavy waggon, which
had just descended a steep hill in the opposite direction, came in such
violent contact with the wheels of Zorilda's chaise as to overturn it
in an instant into a deep ditch by the road side.

The people of the house ran to assist the travellers; but Zorilda had
fainted from the agony of a dislocated wrist, and it was some time
before she could be extricated from her perilous situation. At length
she was conveyed into the house, and laid upon a bed; while Rachel,
almost distracted with apprehension, implored every body whom she met
to go for a surgeon. None was to be had nearer than the town which they
had left in the morning, and the only expedient was to send off a man
and horse, but there was no horse in the stable at this poor place, and
all that remained was to dispatch the post-boy with one of his tired
steeds back again. In the interim the dislocated joint might become
inflamed, and the greatest difficulty occur in replacing it. Zorilda
continued insensible; Rachel ran nearly frantic out of the house to way
lay the passengers, if any were haply going the road, who could assist
her in this distress. A horseman advanced.

"Thank God!" exclaimed Rachel; "I will tell him what has happened, and
he will be a swifter messenger, if he will undertake the thing, than
this looby and his jaded beast."

Running to meet the gentleman, who approached at a swinging trot, what
was the poor woman's joyful surprise to recognise the young man who
had restored the letter, and whom she left only a few short hours
preceding, at the inn where the ball had been given.

No time was lost, and even Rachel, loquacious as was her usual habit,
was brief on this occasion. The stranger alighted in an instant, and
only employing the precaution of charging Rachel on no account to
divulge either to Miss Gordon, or to any one whomsoever, her previous
acquaintance with him, flew to the apartment in which Zorilda,
suffering tortures of pain, had just opened her eyes on the women who
were rubbing her forehead, applying burnt feathers to her nostrils,
and trying whatever other scanty means the place supplied, to restore
animation. The young gentleman, whom the patient at once concluded to
be a medical practitioner, immediately pulled the injured limb, and
with a powerful and skilful effort replaced the joint. Then, calling
for vinegar and spirits, he bathed the hand and arm, which he bound,
and leaving Rachel to prepare for accompanying her mistress to his
father's house, which was, he said close at hand, and from whence he
would immediately despatch a carriage for her conveyance thither. He
re-mounted his horse with the rapidity of lightning, and disappeared in
an instant.

Before it was possible to imagine that he could have ridden a mile and
back again, he returned with the family coach, in which his sister had
brought cushions, shawls, pillows, and all sorts of accommodation for
the invalid, whose acute pain and fever, added to the tears of Rachel,
induced her to submit without resistance. Zorilda suffered herself to
be placed in the coach, and conveyed to Sir Godfrey Cecil's splendid
abode, where, leaving her under medical care, we must digress for a
little while to explain some circumstances connected with the family
amongst whom, she was now introduced by the singular course of her


                          "I was born so high
    Our eiry buildeth in the cedar top,
    And dallies with the winds, and scorns the sun."


Sir Godfrey Cecil derived De Lacy castle, with the immense estates
which descended to him along with this noble remnant of feudal pride,
through a long line of ancestors, whose gaunt effigies, clad in shining
mail, lined the great baronial hall, whose banners waved upon his
chapel walls, and whose proud escutcheons were engraved upon those last
records of departed grandeur which still proclaim amid all the pomp of
heraldry, that dust hath to dust returned.

Sir Godfrey had married early into the ancient house of the De Burgho's
and as he pored with constantly renewed delight over the pages of
Froissart, it was his favourite boast that every name distinguished by
that immortal chronicler, was allied to him or to his consort the Lady
Grace. In fine there were few failures in the moral code for which,
though himself a man of the correctest conduct, he could not have more
easily found excuse, than for obscurity of birth.

Lady Grace paid the same devotion to hereditary honours, and the
general bearing of her tastes and pursuits was in perfect accordance
with those of her husband. She knew the quarterings of every shield,
and there was not a crest throughout the land with the device and
history of which Lady Grace Cecil was unacquainted. Sir Godfrey and
his wife, therefore, lived in all the harmony of kind intercourse,
and mutual appeal upon those subjects which interested them both most
nearly; and were the best friends imaginable, till any accidental
occurrence produced, or led to competition between the merits of
a Cecil and De Burgho. Angry looks and taunting speech would then
interrupt domestic harmony; but, as such conflicts did not frequently
happen, Sir Godfrey and Lady Grace might be fairly called a very happy
couple. Making allowance for this single foible, they were deservedly
entitled to the character which they held for all those qualities which
ought to adorn exalted birth. They were people of lofty principle,
unsullied honour, and boundless munificence.

It was Sir Godfrey's rule that station makes the man, and one of the
first maxims which he endeavoured to impress on the minds of his
children was, that every individual whose fortune it was to be greatly
born, owed it to his pedigree not to disgrace the armorial bearings
committed to his safe custody, by a mean thought or sordid action.

It was an apparent anomaly at De Lacy castle that, though known to be
as proud as Lucifer, the affability of Sir Godfrey and his Lady was a
continual topic of popular praise. The truth was, that they were _real_
aristocrats. It was not the paltry distinction of a new title, nor the
accidental acquisition of wealth, which they held in esteem. Poverty
was no crime in their eyes. Alfred, turning the old woman's cakes at
the fire, was as truly great in their contemplation, as Alfred dressed
in ermined robes, and seated on his kingly throne; but woe to the
Parvenû who entered their presence, however studded over with stars and
garters. They would give gold to the needy, pity and protection to the
friendless, but honour was denied to all who could not boast of ancient
descent, and he who was not able to trace his lineage to at least the
time of William the Conqueror, had little chance of rendering himself a
welcome visitor, at the proud baronial residence to which we have just
introduced our readers.

Sir Godfrey and Lady Grace had an only son and daughter, and never were
two young persons more deserving of parental tenderness than Clara and
Lionel Cecil, who were at once "their father's pride and mother's joy."
The difficulties which raised a barrier to sending their affections
abroad, had the happy effect of concentrating them at home; and the
mutual attachment of this interesting brother and sister was a source
of unfailing delight to themselves, and of admiration to all who
witnessed its pleasing influence upon their manners and dispositions,
to which were added the attractions of fine talent and external beauty.

We are often led to observe how puny are the efforts of little man,
with all his free-will, to alter or disturb the general laws of
providence. If pride, for instance, always engendered pride, and
continued an increasing quality, this earthly theatre would soon be too
small for the pretensions of an inflated few, but fortunately excess of
every kind carries its antidote along with the bane, and re-action is
frequently as favourable to the growth of moral excellence as direct
example; hence a profligate father is not always permitted to entail
a curse upon his offspring, who, disgusted by his evil courses, start
into an opposite track themselves. The miser is often followed by a
liberal son. The spendthrift succeeded by one of economical habits.
An age of infidelity gives birth to a generation of believers; one of
fanaticism, to rational inquiry, and thus while we are still invariably
taught that _motives_ alone constitute virtue in individual character,
we perceive that limits are set to the consequences of human vice; and
all things are so ordered as to work together for good upon the great
scale of creation. A striking confirmation of this remark was exhibited
by the children of the house of Cecil, who, though they entertained
the sincerest veneration and affection for their parents, were rather
inclined to take the opposite extreme of family pride, and value too
little that which they heard so much overrated every day.

Lionel Cecil enjoyed every advantage which wealth could impart, and
repaid the care which was bestowed upon his education, by making a
distinguished figure both at Eton and Oxford. To a noble exterior, and
splendid abilities, he added all the lighter accomplishments, which
shine in mixed society. Full of youthful manliness and grace, the
natural gaiety of his spirits was tempered by such a gentleness of
disposition, as served to soften, without enervating his character.
Never having had a brother, Clara was the companion of his infant
sports, and the friend of riper years. The most perfect confidence
subsisted between these amiable young people who were twins in
affection, though Lionel was somewhat older than his sister.

Now it so happened that young Cecil made one of a shooting party, which
our readers may remember at Thornton Abbey; and dined at Henbury, in
company with the Marquis of Turnstock and a few others, invited thither
by Algernon Hartland. The exquisite beauty of Zorilda, heightened by
that shrinking timidity which shunned the admiration which it excited,
had struck a lively impression on his feelings, which time had not
effaced from memory. The little he had heard her speak, was addressed
to Mr. Playfair, but the pathetic sweetness of her voice lived on his
ear, as her image did in his heart. She looked unhappy, and Lionel
would have given a diadem to know the subject of her sorrows, and
remove it. As he gazed upon her perfections, he wished for those days
of chivalry, of which his father loved to tell the gallant feats
performed by his ancestors, and thought that no such lovely Lady as
Zorilda, had ever smiled upon true knight in the olden time.

The inquiries which were prompted by curiosity, met with such reply
as to stimulate romance in the moment of arresting hope. "Who is
she?" "Nobody knows." What an answer for the only son, heir, and
representative of the proudest family in England! "Whence comes she?"
"From a gipsey camp. How she got there no one can tell."

Lionel was too honourable to cherish an idea of clandestine love, and
too good to make his parents miserable. He must, therefore, banish the
idle vision, and shake off the sudden fascination which entangled his
heart. This determination was aided after his return to Oxford, by
certain observations on the manner of young Hartland, whenever Lord
Turnstock rallied him on the subject of Zorilda's beauty, which had not
been carelessly remarked by the Marquess as circumstances proved in the
sequel. From some indications which were exhibited on such occasions,
Lionel concluded that an engagement already subsisted between Algernon
and the charming Spaniard.

When this conviction stole upon his mind he gave a sigh, and could
not refrain from saying to himself, "How happy are those, who, free to
follow the bent of inclination, may taste the sweets of mutual love
unshackled by these bonds, these galling chains of feudal despotism!"

This sigh, however, was the last. Lionel resolved to hold no dalliance
with his duty, and with a manly resolution he plucked from his breast
the forbidden thought, and had forgotten the short-lived dream which,
for a time, murdered his repose, when Lord Turnstock arrived from the
Continent. Lionel had never liked him, and now less than ever; he spoke
of his former friend and ally Hartland in terms of unmeasured hatred
and contempt, and one evening let out in convivial openness, that he
was planning a good trick to vex him, adding, in a careless way, "by
the bye, can any one tell me of that Spanish girl, that handsome gipsey
who lives at Hartland's house? I have some business to transact with

These words were repeated accidentally to Cecil by one of the party,
who thought that he could perceive some connection between the "good
trick," and the Spanish gipsey. Cecil thought so too, and resolved, as
far as he was able, to avert danger from Zorilda by giving her such
warning as to put her effectually on her guard, till the arrival of her
lover should place her in security.

With this generous design, Lionel set out on a visit of a few days to
Thornton Abbey, having had the satisfaction of seeing Lord Turnstock
unexpectedly called in another direction by the death of a relation,
from whom he hoped for a legacy. Cecil justly surmised, that this
would give a new turn to the Marquess' thoughts, for a short time at
least, and afford him the desired opportunity of frustrating any scheme
inimical to Zorilda's safety. When he reached the neighbourhood of
Henbury he made himself acquainted with Zorilda's daily habits, and
conveyed the letter before mentioned in the manner already described.
Clara was the only person to whom he had ever spoken of Zorilda,
with whom his late meeting at the ball was purely accidental; and
for her sake, as well as his own, he now wished with scrupulous care
to suppress every hint of his having been the person who sent her a
message through Rachel at the inn. Such intelligence might produce
embarrassment on her part, and render her anxious to leave De Lacy
castle before her health was sufficiently re-established to encounter
a journey; and for himself, the slightest acknowledgment of former
acquaintance with, or interest concerning Zorilda, would infallibly
awaken alarm in the minds of Sir Godfrey and Lady Grace.

Secrecy being therefore determined upon, an able surgeon was
immediately sent for, who found his patient extremely feverish. After
bandaging the injured wrist, and administering a composing draught, he
ordered perfect quiet, and took his leave, promising to pay an early
visit on the following day. Nothing could surpass the kindness with
which the sick stranger was treated by the whole family, and she had
been nearly twelve hours under the roof before Lady Grace asked, "Who
is she?"

"Some Miss Gordon," answered Clara, "returning to her family in

"The name is a good one," replied Lady Cecil. "Did you hear, my love,
whether she is of the----"

"Her maid, I believe," said Miss Cecil, hastily, "is no genealogist.
She looks like an old heir-loom in the shape of a nurse, who has been
more conversant with swaddling-clothes than coats of arms; but I am
sure that Miss Gordon _must_ be of a good stock, she is so pretty and
so elegant."

"That is a fallacious test, as I have often told you," rejoined Lady
Cecil. "To be sure it little signifies when we are merely called upon
to relieve distress, what rank the sufferer holds in the Herald's
Court. We reserve _that_ inquiry for our friendships and alliances."

Clara being afraid of displeasing her mother by an ill-timed remark on
the possibility of giving one's confidence, and affection too, without
referring to her mother's favourite volume, entitled, "Norroy King at
Arms," contented herself with assenting to the first branch of her
proposition, while the latter was left undisputed, and went to inquire
whether there was any thing that she could do for her guest.

On the surgeon's return next day Zorilda's fever had greatly
increased, and the accident which she had met with only appeared its
accelerating, not original cause. Her mind was the real seat of malady.
The unkindness of Lady Marchdale, and the perfidy of her once beloved
Algernon, preyed upon her innocent heart, while the occurrence of such
strange events as she had lately experienced, confused her head. On the
third day of her illness she became delirious, and raved incessantly
of all that weighed upon her spirit, but so incoherently, that none
who was ignorant of her story could draw any collected evidence from
the wild and whirling words which she uttered. The name of Algernon,
however, escaped her lips so often as to convince young Cecil, to whom
his sister reported all she heard, that a deep attachment existed in
Zorilda's breast, of which Lord Hautonville was the object.

"Alas!" said Lionel, "the sweet girl has little knowledge of the man
to whom she has betrothed her guileless heart. Her pure mind arrays
the image of its devotion in the colours of her own glowing fancy,
and represents the object of her love as he should be, not as he is. I
would not have _you_, my Clara, married to Lord Hautonville though he
wore a crown imperial, and could trace his pedigree through a _forest_,
instead of a single _tree_."

"I neither love crowns nor pedigrees for myself," replied Clara; "but
we must not let the artless Zorilda be deceived. We must devise means
of snatching her from future misery, if you know the object of her
regards to be unworthy of them."

"It is a delicate task," answered Cecil, "but she may perhaps have
made discoveries, the pain of which now presses on her feeble frame.
I have questioned her attendant, who is a niggard of her information,
or ignorant of what I want to know. Yet still I can gather, that this
lovely creature has been harshly treated by Lady Marchdale, whose
aversion to the idea of her son's alliance with the friendless Zorilda,
I conclude to be the cause of a manner so contrary to her former
kindness. Perhaps the noble minded stranger may have set out upon this
journey to remove all solicitude from the minds of her benefactors,
and make a sacrifice of her own inclination to her sense of honour and
virtue; but what a man must he be, who, knowing himself in possession
of Zorilda's affections, can thus basely desert her?"

"He may not know of the sacrifice," said Clara. "Upon proposing to the
old nurse to write to Miss Gordon's friends, and inform them of her
present situation, she conjured me to preserve an inviolable secrecy
respecting her, alleging the probable speedy termination of her
illness, and the fear of alarming her relations, as the pretext for
silence; but so extraordinary was the poor woman's vehemence, so urgent
her entreaty, that I could not help feeling that 'more was meant than
met the ear.'"

A physician who was called concurred with surgeon Crump, that no
danger of contagion was to be dreaded, and Clara took advantage of
this assurance to bestow the tenderest care on her guest, frequently
stealing from her own room at night, to take Rachel's post and send her
to bed.

Zorilda's illness was both tedious and alarming, and several weeks
elapsed before her medical attendants pronounced their patient
convalescent. Such a time however arrived, and the benevolence which
offered asylum to distress now met its full reward. The doctors,
however, insisted particularly on the utmost caution, and to Zorilda's
earnest prayer to be told how soon she might resume her journey,
constantly replied, that as a relapse would probably be fatal, she owed
it to her friends as well as to herself to avoid the risk of one. She
was permitted however to leave her chamber, and enjoy the society of
her kind hosts in an adjoining dressing-room, where she received the
most friendly congratulations on her recovery. Sir Godfrey, who had
not seen his fair ward till now, was fascinated by her beauty, which
late illness had only rendered more touching: and whatever impression
was made by Zorilda's exterior form, was confirmed by her manners and
conversation. Gratitude called upon her for every exertion to repay
such kindness as she had found, and ere many days were past, that
which at first was effort, became inclination.

Armed with the honourable determination to preserve his heart from all
entanglement, under the full persuasion that Zorilda's was already
attached to another object, Lionel gave himself freely up to the charms
of an intercourse, rendered the more seductive from the supposed
security of the case, and Zorilda's dressing-room became the scene
of all that delicate attention and polished taste could devise for
her amusement. Clara had her harp and guitar transported thither, and
delighted her young friend by the sweetest music, when she feared that
conversation might exhaust her, while Lionel came laden with fresh
stores of books and fine prints with which to beguile the hours, which
flew on golden pinion.

One day, on the return of Clara and her brother from attending Sir
Godfrey and Lady Cecil in a visit of ceremony, Zorilda, who believing
them all absent had been singing some of her softest melodies to the
guitar, was surprised by her young friends, who stood for a long
time outside the door of her apartment, held in bondage there by the
captivation of her plaintive voice. This discovery opened a new source
of attraction, and Clara, who loved nothing in creation like Lionel,
began to grow uneasy lest society so congenial, and becoming each day
more and more ensnaring, should produce too much present gratification
for his future repose.

"I almost wish the day of parting were arrived," said she, as she held
her brother's arm in a stroll in the pleasure-grounds. "This Spanish
Syren will become too necessary to us, and we shall not know how to
live without her."

Lionel started, and seemed to feel the truth of Clara's apprehension,
but instantly repressing the emotion which her remark had excited, he
answered with an assumed firmness, which imposed upon his sister as
well as himself,

"She would indeed be a dangerous visitor here, were not the certainty
that her affections are pre-occupied a perfect safeguard against the
sorcery of such loveliness and modesty as never before appeared in
union with such various talents. Zorilda is a wonder of nature, but
I never look on her without repeating my _lesson_--that she belongs
to another; that with Lady Hautonville I have no other bond than that
which a singular coincidence of romantic circumstances has thrown in
my way. She is a stranger here, and will depart hence, leaving, it may
be, such a standard of female excellence in one's mind, as to increase
the difficulties of falling in love elsewhere; but as I am in no haste
to marry, and our good father has no _crotchet_ in his head for me, you
may set your anxieties to sleep, and let us not be over wise in our

Clara was satisfied and returned to Zorilda's dressing-room, lightened
of a weight which had oppressed her.

The security which Lionel only imagined, was real in Zorilda's
instance. Her soul was fortified by feelings of pain so deeply
seated, that though the happiness of companionship, and the sympathy
of kindness, such as she now experienced, had power to soothe, they
had none to change her heart, which was sealed, by her misfortunes,
to every impression of a dangerous sort; while the total absence of
vanity in her character, precluded all suspicion of that effect which
she produced on others. Increasing strength extended the permission of
indulgence, and the invalid was allowed to take the air.

The gardens and grounds around De Lacy castle were worthy of that
sumptuous edifice, which stood in the midst of scenery rendered
doubly delightful in Zorilda's eyes by her long confinement; and
the enthusiastic admiration which she bestowed upon the surrounding
landscape, flattered the pride of Sir Godfrey as much as it excited
a tenderer interest in the mind of his son. Time rolled on, and
Zorilda, who saw how genuine was the expression of sorrow in Clara's
countenance, whenever she spoke of departure, had refrained from
questioning her physician. Her hand was still too weak to hold a pen;
and she had, for obvious reasons, declined all offers of informing
her Scotch friends, through any other medium, of her situation. Nay,
she even rejoiced, on one account, that they were as ignorant of her
present retreat as the family of Henbury, since, should the latter
desire to pursue or recall her, what so natural as to apply for
information concerning movements to the only persons with whom she had
ever formed a bond of friendship?

But Zorilda was not insensible to the extraordinary appearance which
her neglected condition must wear in the eyes of her hosts, who did
frequently express their astonishment that no letters arrived for their
guest. At length our heroine, struggling to overcome the reluctance
with which she resolved on tearing herself from those whose truth and
tenderness had won upon her heart, producing the fullest return of all
that she had to give, imparted to Miss Cecil her fixed design to pursue
her purpose, and set out in a few days for Scotland, adding,

"My beloved Clara will not endeavour to dissuade me any longer from
doing what she would herself feel to be right and necessary, were our
situations reversed; what must Sir Godfrey and Lady Cecil think of a
deserted wanderer, thus apparently bereft of all the natural ties that
bind to house, to home, to kindred?"

"They have been prevented from wondering much upon this subject,"
answered Clara, "by my brother's care, and my own, to assure them
that you are incapable of any but the highest and the best motives
for concealment. That none but parents possess such rights as to make
it strange that, in default of their claims, of which perhaps death
may have deprived you, your silence respecting an accident which has
blessed us with your society during a few short weeks, has spared the
feelings of more distant relatives, who may expect with less solicitude
than would be a father or a mother's portion. Am I right? And if I am,
have we no claims to urge? Oh, Zorilda! I know not how to part with

"Dear generous being!" exclaimed Zorilda, embracing her friend. "Such
confidence must and shall be requited. Yes, you shall one day be made
acquainted with the mysterious circumstances."

At this moment, a tap at the dressing-room door, was followed by the
entrance of Lady Cecil, leaning on the arm of her son.

"I will ask Miss Gordon myself," said the former, as if in continuation
of preceding discourse with Lionel.

"We were just talking, my dear, of your uncommon name, which I maintain
is Spanish, and as you know that I am a bit of a genealogist, I have
been puzzling my brain to recollect how it happened to fall amongst
the Gordons. Now that you are able to speak without fatigue, you shall
tell us all about it. I dare say that there is some romantic tale of
other days which I shall delight to hear, though I much wonder that my
excellent friend of Drumcairn--"

"Drumcairn! Good Heavens do you know the Gordons of Drumcairn?"
interrupted Zorilda, whose sudden surprise sent a vivid blush into her
cheeks, which was followed by the lily's hue.

"To be sure I do. The Gordons of Drumcairn? They were here last summer.
Mr. Gordon is one of my oldest friends, one of the best families
in Europe. How is he related to you, my dear? I am so glad that I
happened to mention Drumcairn!"

"It is to Drumcairn that I am going," said Zorilda, deeply agitated.

"Well, well, this is really quite a _hit_," answered Lady Cecil, "and
I see that you are as much struck by the coincidence as I am. But
how can all this be? You are not niece to my good friend; for, if I
remember rightly, his brother left only two sons behind him. Then for
his sisters; the elder, Janet, married a Mackensie; and the younger
a Stuart. How do you stand, my dear, with respect to the Drumcairn
branch? I am quite charmed to find out who you are, and you have the
Gordon features too."

Zorilda never was formed for dissimulation of any kind, and, though she
met a glance of transport from Clara's eye, and felt an answering gleam
of joy from Lionel's countenance, she quickly dispelled both the one
and the other by confessing the truth.

"The family of Drumcairn are not related to me at all, except by the
tenderest friendship on their parts towards a solitary orphan,"
replied Zorilda.

Lady Cecil drew back, and with less beaming aspect, looked steadily at
her blushing guest.

"I beg your pardon, my young friend," said she, "perhaps I distress
you; but I _thought_ I knew every Gordon in the world," and with a
half disdainful, half incredulous air, added, "perhaps it is better
to inquire no farther; all people do not trouble their heads about
relationship after _my_ fashion, _you_ have no taste for heraldry I

So saying, Lady Cecil rose from her chair to leave the room, when
Zorilda caught her hand, and bursting into tears drew it towards her

"Accept, oh, accept the most grateful tribute of a broken heart. I have
no right to the name of Gordon, and never assumed it. You shall not be
deceived as the base return for all your goodness. Dear Madam, I am,
it is true, without a name, and know little of a science with which
I have no concern; but I have a glowing sense of all I owe to your
generous hospitality; and alas! I can only repay it by lowering myself
in your esteem. In two days I shall quit your princely abode, and may
never have the happiness of beholding you again. Before I leave De Lacy
castle Miss Cecil shall be put in possession of my sad, my romantic

Zorilda's emotion would scarcely permit her to utter these words. Lady
Cecil appeared agitated also. She was naturally enough shocked by any
appearance of deception in one whom she had harboured so long under the
roof with her only daughter. Yet the purity and candour of Zorilda's
whole deportment, seemed to repel all doubt. Again, she felt glad that
one day more would conclude the adventure, and while she rejoiced in
getting rid of one in whose station in society she was disappointed,
she felt it a pity to spoil preceding kindness by a cold farewell.

Perhaps the most awkward and angry feeling in Lady Cecil's mind, arose
at this instant from the recollection that she had laid herself open to
a smile of ridicule, by her discovery of that strong likeness to the
Gordon physiognomy, for which it now appeared there was no foundation.
In short, whatever were the combination, her feelings were not
pleasant, and beckoning to her son, whose countenance betrayed the deep
interest which he took in the scene, she slightly inclined her head,
and left the room.

"I have lost your mother's favour," said Zorilda, as she leaned on the
bosom of her weeping friend, "but I must not repine. "_Who is she?_"
was the brand set on the frontlet which bound my infant brows, and it
is indelible. Will Clara, too, cast me off, and hate me because I have
none other to love and shelter me?"

"I would give my life for you," replied her friend, "and so would--"
but, suddenly pausing, Zorilda entreated her to leave the apartment.
"My time is short," added she, "and I must set all things in order for
my departure. You shall have my narrative to-night, for I am resolved
to go to-morrow; read it to your family, and return it to me before you
retire to rest. I will avoid seeing Sir Godfrey and Lady Cecil again;
my presence can only distress them; but my gratitude will only end
with life, and memory, my Clara, will not be exercised in far distant
retrospects. My days will be few, and sorrowful: I feel it here (as she
laid her hand upon her heart), and Zorilda will soon have passed away
like an evening shadow."

A fond embrace was all the comfort which Clara could impart, and she
withdrew with feelings of wonder, sympathy, and admiration, too big for

Rachel received orders to prepare for the journey, and never felt
less inclined to obey than upon this occasion. She could have spent
the remnant of her days well pleased in the luxurious ease of De Lacy
castle, and had been long indulging a secret hope that two people,
so formed for each other as its young Lord and her gentle mistress,
should one day conclude the romance which brought them together in the
usual way, by a happy union. Rachel loved a novel, next to her tea,
better than any earthly solace, and had found rich stores of literary
food, as well as Congo, at the castle; but in all her reading she had
never stumbled upon a single instance in which faithful love was not
rewarded. Now, that Lionel loved Zorilda was her firm persuasion, not
only because Rachel could not imagine _any_ one secure against the
attractions of her mistress, but she had too much sagacity, not to
interpret the thousand kind attentions which she received herself from
Mr. Cecil, as well as the pleasure which he seemed to feel in talking
of Zorilda's improved health and appearance.

But Rachel buried these happy thoughts in her own breast, as, though
Zorilda's manners were of dove-like softness, there was a native
dignity in her demeanour which repelled all attempt at vulgar
familiarity; and Rachel had sufficient tact to know exactly how far
she might go, and where it was prudent to stop. She had never ventured
therefore upon the slightest allusion to her hopes, and now set about
the performance of her task with silent reluctance, while Zorilda
endeavoured to compose her thoughts, and throw together a few brief
outlines of her story, from the time of her removal from the gipsey
camp to Henbury, by way of supplement to the narrative communicated to
her by Mr. Playfair.

Nothing was suppressed in her artless and affecting sketch, except
the attachment between her and Algernon. This was a sacred theme. She
alleged no motives, therefore, for Lady Marchdale's changed regards,
and only stated, that having been conscious of altered feelings towards
her, she could no longer endure to be a burthen on the kindness of
her former friends, and had consequently resolved on sparing them all
farther solicitude on her account, though circumstances of a peculiar
nature prevented her from revealing her intentions, or informing her
late benefactors of her retreat, till her future way of life should
have assumed some fixed shape and character.

On leaving Zorilda, Clara had quitted the house to indulge in a
solitary ramble the grief with which she felt oppressed as she
contemplated the approaching separation from one who had become so
dear to her, and whom she was forced into the painful belief was
likely to prove a source of misery to her brother. "Alas!" said she,
soliloquizing as she wandered onwards, "he loves her, and the more
devotedly, because his generous soul disdained to acknowledge danger
while honour imposed silence on his wishes. He will be silent still,
but he will be unhappy."

While Clara pondered these melancholy forebodings, Lionel was seeking
for her, and at length overtook his sister, pale and breathless, with a
newspaper in his hand.

"Here, Clara," said he, "is something strange. It struck my father, who
brought it just now to me. I felt little appetite for news, but feared
to offend, if I refused to look at what excited his curiosity, and my
attention was soon arrested. I am certain that I know all the actors
in this horrible catastrophe, and that it is interwoven with Zorilda's

Clara snatched the paper, and read aloud the following paragraph:

"For obvious reasons of a delicate nature, we forbear from alluding
openly to the noble individuals who are involved in the tragical
circumstances at which we glanced in a former number. Subsequent
information, we regret to say, from an authentic source, leaves no
doubt as to the painful fact, that a young nobleman, Lord H., whose
family has been recently exalted by succession to the peerage, has
shot a nobleman, with whom not long since he was considered as being
closely _lié_, and who now lies dangerously ill at Brussels. The
cause of this lamentable occurrence continues to be wrapped in the
profoundest mystery, but immediately after the dreadful act, the
unhappy perpetrator made a voluntary surrender of himself to the
civil authorities, to abide his trial; and it is rumoured, that his
noble parents, of whom he is the only child, have set out for the
Netherlands, plunged in the severest affliction. As a little time must
fully develop this dark transaction, we shall abstain from any comment
upon it, under present circumstances."

"It is, indeed, a terrible story, if true; but what reference can it
have to Zorilda?" asked Clara, eagerly.

"I see it plainly," answered Lionel. "The recent succession; the former
intimate friendship, and present enmity; an only child; the letter H,
which is given as an initial; every circumstance, in short, to my mind,
points out Lord Hautonville as the unfortunate young gentleman who has
killed the Marquess of Turnstock."

"You may be wrong," said Clara, "and all these signs may belong to some
other persons. What does my father say?"

"Oh, nothing. He has no suspicion at all about the matter, and is
unacquainted with the actors in this tragedy altogether."

"And did you hint your own surmise?"

"No; I thought it better to conceal the entire from Zorilda, who,
as she does not dine below stairs, will not be liable to hear any
discussion which might alarm her. If the truth be as I suppose, nay, as
some unaccountable internal evidence assures me it is, she will soon be
made acquainted with the fatal particulars, but I wanted to consult you
on the possibility of detaining her here, by informing the _rulers_ of
my conjecture."

"Dismiss the idea from your mind," said Clara: "The greatest kindness
we can now show this dear girl, is to hasten her departure, or at least
not retard it. The tide has turned; my mother has infused her doubts
into my father's mind, and they are both restlessly impatient till she
is gone. I saw the whole train on fire before I left the house, though
there hardly seemed time to have put the match to it; but it is evident
that previous doubts only required the slightest grain of probability
to decide the question against our sweet forlorn Zorilda, and her
confession that she does not belong to the house of Gordon has ruined
her. My only hope is in the effect which may be produced by the recital
of her history, which we are to have this evening, and for which I am
myself burning with impatience. Who _can_ she be? and, who are the
parents who could cast such a creature on the merciless world?"

"I long to know as much as you can do," answered Lionel; "and believe
that you counsel prudently. We must let things work and wait the issue."

"She must go," replied Clara; "and it will be better for her--for us
all, that she should do so. We must not censure those, who with more
experience of life, and less enthusiasm than you and I possess, are
slower in deciding on merit. I would not have Zorilda stay for all the
indulgence of her society to myself. She would be looked on with an
evil eye, and watched with jealous apprehension."

"And would defy all scrutiny to detect one dissembled thought," said
Lionel, with warmth.

"Yes; but we must not detain her here to be suspected. We must let her
go to Drumcairn; and the attachment of the Gordons towards her will be
better proof of her deserts than all that you and I could assert in her

Lionel, seized with avidity on this view, which seemed to open into a
new vista of hope, that sparkled in his eye. "Come," said he, "let us
return. We must caution Rachel not to suffer a newspaper to fall in
her mistress' way till she reaches the end of her journey. Alas! that
journey! Oh Clara! we shall feel an aching void when she is gone!"

The brother and sister returned home, and instructed Rachel in her

Clara and her friend passed the greater part of the day together in
mutual regrets at parting--professions of unalterable attachment,
and promises of future correspondence. Lionel made but one attempt
to interrupt the _tête-à-tête_; and then exhibited so much emotion,
in spite of all his efforts at concealment, that Zorilda became
embarrassed; and Clara, dreading some painful _eclaircissement_,
prevailed on her brother, by a supplicating look, to leave the room.

When Lionel was gone, Zorilda, blushing violently, and taking Clara's
hand, entreated her to grant the request which she was going to make.

"Your kind brother and you will be desirous to perform the duties of
hospitality to the last hour; but you must indulge my wishes. I cannot
see either of you in the morning. _You_ will deliver the packet, which
I am to entrust to your care this evening, into my hands here in this
dressing-room before you go to bed; but I conjure you to prevent me
from seeing any of your family after they have become acquainted with
my history. I feel unspeakable pain at confiding the strange events
of my life to your parents; but I am impelled by gratitude to assure
them, as far as I can, that they have not thrown away their charity
upon an impostor. I feel it due also to myself to prove, that I am not
willingly or needlessly a young female adventurer, assuming an air of
mystery and romance to win upon curiosity or benevolence. Alas! I _am_
truly what I _seem_. I may be spurned with contempt, but I will try and
make myself believed. Promise--_faithfully_ promise, that I shall see
none but yourself after the reading of my narrative."

Clara felt the energy with which this petition was urged; and the
quickness of her penetration unravelled the true cause of Zorilda's
earnestness. Lionel's looks and manners, though guarded by the
strictest care, betrayed those feelings which are never more powerfully
expressed than when they most assiduously seek to avoid all expression.
Zorilda had long resisted every demonstration; but there is a language
which those who have felt the influence of a strong attachment within
their own breasts, cannot, if they would, misunderstand; and Zorilda
had been forced into a reluctant conviction, that she was dear to
Lionel. A conviction, the more painful, because he was, of all earthly
beings, the man in whose breast it was most agonizing to her heart
to plant a thorn. Lionel's was, in fact, of all human characters,
that which, most resembling Zorilda's, would have drawn upon every
sympathy of her nature, had not her pre-occupied affections been sealed
to every sentiment which might shake their rooted hold. She had, it
is true, too keen a sense of moral perfection not to perceive young
Cecil's merit in its full extent. She had sometimes caught herself in
making involuntary comparisons between Algernon and him. She had even
started from herself, as she had once mentally exclaimed, "Oh did he
but resemble Lionel!" The sentence was never finished, even in her
heart; and the aspiration so pure that angels might have witnessed it,
seemed, to the scrupulous sensibility of Zorilda's soul, a species of
inconstancy towards the idol whom she had worshipped from earliest,
happiest, purest infancy, for which she had found it difficult to
forgive herself. Algernon existed no longer for her, but his image was
enshrined in her memory; and though he had ceased to be worthy of her
love, she never dreamed of bestowing it upon another.

"Why did I refuse to tie myself by a vow?" would she sometimes say as
she mused on the past, "but because the free-will offering of a broken
heart is as certain as a sickly bond could make it."

But Zorilda began to perceive that Lionel loved her, and dreaded
nothing so much as a disclosure of feelings which she could not repay
in kind. She was therefore urgent in her entreaty to Clara, that
she might be allowed to glide away unnoticed, and her friend easily
promised for herself. The bitterness of a farewell, perhaps for ever,
was too deeply felt, to make her anxious to pronounce it.

The evening hour arrived, and Zorilda put her packet into the hands
of Miss Cecil, who hastened to the library where her father, mother,
and brother were assembled. The narrative was read; the diamond
cross examined, the miniature admired; the whole pondered; but very
different were the feelings which these interesting memoranda produced
in the minds of the old and the young. Sir Godfrey and his Lady were
evidently displeased, and though they did not refuse their pity, it was
mingled with distrust.

"The story is very extraordinary," said Lady Cecil, "and may be
correctly told; but there is something so undefined in the whole
narration, that after all the mind is left in utter confusion. After
all, we are not informed who she is, nor who her parents were; nor is
there any elucidation of her conduct in quitting the asylum of her
youth. There is a cloud hanging over her desertion of those tried
friends and early benefactors, which requires clearing up."

"Yes," answered Sir Godfrey, "the nature of her offence must have been
serious to call for a change of manner on the part of Lady Marchdale;
and I confess that my opinion of this wandering damsel is not improved,
though many charitable allowances may be made; but I fear there is
something of the gipsey about her still. I do not like these heroines,
and am very glad that without committing an act of harshness, we
shall get rid of her to-morrow. Clara, my love, you are young and
enthusiastic. I know how much you have been feeling for this stranger,
whose beauty has irresistibly inspired an interest in her favour, to
which perhaps she is not justly entitled. Your mother very properly
remarks that a cloud at present hangs over her character, and till we
learn what reception she meets with at Drumcairn, whither she says that
she is going, I must insist on your avoiding all sort of correspondence
with this giddy girl. If the Gordons continue their friendship towards
her, I shall have no objection to your writing to her now and then
hereafter, if you wish it."

Clara sighed, and bowed her head in token of submission to parental
authority; but Lionel, eager only to justify Zorilda, exclaimed, "What
Sir! must a helpless stranger be condemned unheard? Cannot a case be
easily imagined, which, far from imparting censure to the conduct of
your guest, raises every feeling of admiration for the noble principle
which governs her every thought, as well as action? Suppose, for a
moment that her uncommon attractions had inspired sentiments in the
breast of Lord Hautonville, more powerful than those which knit the
hearts of children at that early age when first the lovely little
Spaniard was brought home to be his play-fellow, may it not be that the
high minded Zorilda, fearing that those to whom she owed every thing
might not approve a union which the cold maxims of worldly prudence
calls unequal, has left the asylum of her youth--perhaps the scene of
her fondest affections, to give an exalted proof of gratitude, by the
sacrifice of all her earthly happiness. Such magnanimity would be in
perfect accordance with all that I know of Miss Gordon's character."

"Upon my word, Mr. Lionel," replied Sir Godfrey, "you are apparently a
practised advocate. Either you know more of _Miss Gordon's_ affairs,
or conjecture takes a wonderfully favourable turn for her acquittal."
The name of Gordon was pronounced with emphasis, while Sir Godfrey's
countenance wore an expression of the most bitterly sarcastic
scrutiny. Lionel coloured, and, hurried forward by his feelings,
would instantly have betrayed all that he knew of Henbury and its
inhabitants, if a beseeching look from Clara had not arrested the
recital. Suddenly recovering himself, he told his father that the laws
of the land required delinquency to be proved before guilt is imputed,
and that he had done no more than suggest a _probable_ case.

"A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind, they say," replied Sir
Godfrey, with a sneer. "I suppose that your own heart is the storehouse
of your _probabilities_. Lionel, this is not a subject to be trifled
with. I must have some serious conversation with you, and desire that
you will meet me here to-morrow after breakfast. In the meantime you
may consult your pillow upon some topics connected with this letter,
which I received to-day from the Duke of Kingsbury."

So saying, Sir Godfrey quitted the room, Lady Cecil retired, and Clara
employed a moment's interval before she followed her mother, in
pressing the necessity of secrecy and discretion on Lionel's mind, and
imploring him to recollect Zorilda's request that she might be suffered
to depart on the following morrow without observation.

"I will open the last gate of the great avenue, nothing shall prevent
me from taking our farewell look," said Lionel, "and so good night."

Clara having listened to a lecture from Lady Cecil on the folly of
yielding to benevolent feelings, without considering consequences,
and heard how severely she reproached herself for having permitted a
nameless wanderer to sleep a night beneath her roof, hastened to her
friend's apartment. Zorilda rose to meet her, and as Clara restored
the packet, a long and tender embrace conveyed more eloquently than
language is capable of doing, the impression which it had made upon her
heart. Not a word was spoken, but a thousand promises of unalterable
love were interchanged, in the tears which choked their utterance.

The earliest dawn, found Zorilda stealing softly along the little
velvet lawn which skirted Clara's garden, from which as she passed,
she gathered a wild honeysuckle which seemed to have strayed over the
paling on purpose to breathe its fragrant adieus at her feet.

"Balm of the wilderness! that floats upon the pilgrim's path! what
desert too revolting, what solitude too dreary for thy errant
charities? Emblem of the brief and honied dream of kindness here, too
sweet for more than passing breath upon the gale, thy farewell shall
exhale upon Zorilda's grateful bosom."

Thus apostrophizing the trailing wreath, she pulled one of its golden
flowers, which, placing next her heart, and casting one fond, lingering
look at the turrets of De Lacy, she reached the carriage, in which
Rachel was already seated, and ordering the postilion to keep along a
narrow green lane at the back of the castle, as if actuated by some
hidden impulse to avoid the great avenue, the travellers gained the
high road, at the distance of more than a mile from the principal
entrance, where Lionel waited their approach, with feelings of sorrow
and agitation not to be described. He loitered for an hour amongst the
cedars, which formed a dark screen round the porter's-lodge, before the
truth struck upon his mind. Starting then, as if from sleep, he dashed
across the park, and gaining the narrow lane by which Zorilda had left
his father's lordly abode, he needed not to ask a question. The fresh
traces of her recent departure told their own story; and a sensation of
inexpressible agony followed the assurance that Zorilda was gone. The
first impulse was to mount his horse, and pursue the lovely fugitive;
but Clara's anxious eye had watched her friend's device, and seen her
brother return from his fruitless endeavour to obtain a parting glimpse
of her whose image was engraven in his inmost heart; and she hastened
towards him.

"Beware, dearest Lionel," said his weeping sister; "intrude not on
Zorilda's grief. She has effected her retreat in this manner to avoid
giving and receiving pain; we must respect her purpose; remember what
affliction is yet in store for this young martyr when she knows the
horrible tidings of her lover's present situation."

Lionel shuddered involuntarily as Clara uttered the word "lover," and,
suffering himself to be led by Clara's arm, accompanied her in sullen
apathy towards the house.

"My father will expect you presently in the study. Have you looked at
the letter which he gave you last night?" said Clara.

Lionel had never bestowed a thought upon it, and now feeling in his
pocket, drew it out, and dashed it on the ground.

"I am in no humour to read letters; there! give it back to Sir Godfrey,
I cannot keep his appointment now." Saying these words, he disengaged
himself from his sister's hold, and would have turned into another
walk, but she seized, and, forcibly detaining him, entreated earnestly
for Zorilda's sake that he would be calm. "You may injure _her_ by this
violence," said Clara; "what, if my father, irritated by your altered
temper, should accuse, and wound her gentle spirit by some rude charge
of having practised on your affections?"

This argument had its effect. Lionel paused, and pressing Clara's hand,
"Be ever thus," said he, "my guardian angel; read this letter to me, I
will be advised by you, and curb this impetuous nature." Clara opened
and read a formal composition, announcing, with a good deal of the
_vieille cour_ pomp, that the duke and all his family were returned to
the country, and anticipated with pleasure a renewal of intercourse
with De Lacy castle. The concluding paragraph, in form of a postscript,
ran thus:

"I assure you that I have heard your son's praises loudly rung since I
had the good fortune to see you last, and beg that you will bring him
with you, when you visit Beaumont."

"My father thinks largely of my vanity, it would seem," said Lionel;
"what has this complimentary stuff to do with me? My head is not likely
to be made giddy with this sort of thing."

"The Duke has _daughters_, and my poor father's eye, like that of the
poet, 'in a fine frenzy-rolling,' glances from earth to heaven, and
beholds the arms of Beaumont quartered with those of De Lacy," replied

"Poetry, indeed! for he will be solely indebted to his imagination for
such a sight," answered Lionel; "but I hope that he has more common
sense than to buoy himself up with hope so absurd, upon the ground of
this piece of frothy ceremony."

"We shall see," said Clara; and the event proved that she was right.
Lionel repaired to his father's study, and found him pacing up and down
the room, with knit brow, and hands behind his back, as if pondering
some affair of weighty issue.

"Good morrow, Sir; you wished, I think, to see me here, and I am come
to return the letter, which kindly informs us that we may have the
notable privilege of leaving cards for the Duke of Kingsbury."

"Cease with your idle sarcasms, Lionel," said Sir Godfrey, "and sit
down while you hear what I have to say. I shall not dwell long upon the
past, nor sully an act of benevolence, by regretting that mine induced
me to give temporary shelter to a houseless stranger. We are not gifted
with second sight, and must be sometimes liable to err through the
impossibility of foreseeing consequences. This female adventurer has
shared our bounty, and I will not grudge her the services which have
been rendered, but rejoice that she is gone; and as you were yourself
the person to suggest a reason fully sufficient to account for her
elopement from Lord Marchdale's family, it is not my purpose, without
knowledge of the facts, to injure the character of one who has probably
no other reliance for support. It is enough for me, that if her noble
host did really anticipate so horrible a degradation as an attachment
on the part of their only son, towards the nameless foundling of
Hazlewood-moor; it is quite, I repeat, sufficient for me to be assured
that _you_ possess sense enough to enter into their feelings, and
perceive ground for such a change of manner towards the object of their
alarm, as to make her either from honour or policy, resolve on removing
herself from Henbury."

"Sir," answered Lionel, "I pretend not to combat your feelings, or
those of Lord Marchdale, if he concurs in your sentiments. I must only
declare against any participation in them myself, and assure you that
I consider Lord Hautonville much more honoured by, than honouring the
lovely companion of his youth, by any attachment which may subsist
between them."

"Silly, silly," said Sir Godfrey, with an impatient tone; "I thought
such folly had been obsolete, and am sorry that a remnant of the old
leaven should be found under my roof. But let Lord Marchdale and his
son settle their own affairs; _we_ need not meddle in them. My business
with you at present is, I am happy to say, of a far different kind, and
I must, by way of preface, inform you, my dear boy, that much of the
comfort which your mother and I venture to look for during our future
life, depends on your coinciding with our views for your welfare. To be
brief, I have had it from undoubted authority, that no event could be
half so agreeable to the Duke and Duchess of Kingsbury, as an alliance
with De Lacy castle, nor can I wonder at this. The Duke has several
children, and small means to provide for them suitably in life, while
a union with my son would not only confer wealth upon his house, but
bring accession (Sir Godfrey drew up his shirt collar at both sides,
as he spoke) of those honours which every sensible man desires to see
added to his family escutcheon. In point of birth-right, I thank my
stars, I do not yield to any dukedom in Great Britain. Lady Jessie and
Lady Emmiline are charming persons; and I have, as I said before, solid
foundation for believing----."

"Pardon me, Sir, for interrupting you," said Lionel; "I cannot allow
you to proceed any farther in a speculation at which my mind revolts.
I will endeavour to meet your wishes in all reasonable requirements,
and hope that I shall never be tempted to bring dishonour on your
house; but I cannot consent to barter my liberty for the indulgence of
ambition, which, forgive me for saying, I despise. Were man created for
no higher purpose than to serve as a block on which to hang armorial
emblazonments, all his intellect, tastes, and affections are an affair
of cumbrous supererogation; but if happiness be his aim and object,
and if I cannot find mine in the Heralds' Office, I should certainly
be a fool to seek it there. It could never occur to my imagination to
interpret a civil letter from the Duke, as you have done; but believe
me, that were his Grace of Kingsbury to forget so far what is due to
his own pride and his daughter's delicacy, as to make an unequivocal
declaration in my favour, nothing could possibly be so repugnant to my
feelings as to act upon such a hint."

Just as Sir Godfrey, whose angry eye boded no very soft answer, was
going to reply, the footman announced his agent; and we may be allowed
to hope that the intelligence which he had to communicate of having let
some farms, which were out of lease, at an advance of several hundreds
a year, had the good fortune to act on the Baronet's temper like oil on
the troubled ocean's wave. Lionel was glad to adjourn; and would have
been well pleased had it been _sine die_, but another conference was
decreed by Sir Godfrey, the result of which we must leave in doubt to
attend Zorilda to Drumcairn, where she arrived without farther accident
or adventure.

As hills rise into height upon our approach, from what in the distance
had appeared a level plain, so did a thousand scruples occur to her
mind in drawing near to the residence of her friend, which till
then had never distressed her. Nothing but the journey thither had
previously perplexed our heroine in the thought of seeking an asylum at
Drumcairn; but she now questioned her title to the boon. She had not
announced her purpose, and was an unexpected visitor; perhaps might
prove an unwelcome intruder. She had few opportunities of corresponding
with Mrs. Gordon, who might have forgotten her general invitation.
Mr. Gordon, too, might not desire her company. Oppressed by such
reflections, Zorilda ordered the postilion to halt at a little village
within a mile of Drumcairn; and having alighted at a small neat quiet
inn, she wrote a note to Mrs. Gordon.

As soon as possible, after sending it off, she was folded in the arms
of that excellent woman, who flew to greet the travellers, accompanied
by her husband, whose salutations were fully as sincere, if not quite
so rapturous, as those of his partner.

The joy of this meeting was enhanced to Mrs. Gordon by the uneasiness
which she had felt since a few lines from Lady Marchdale had mentioned
Zorilda's departure, and made rather a haughty demand, whether she had
not directed her flight towards Aberdeenshire. Mrs. Gordon had answered
her sister's letter; and in much earnestness had begged for farther
particulars of an event so unaccountable; but Lady Marchdale was too
selfishly absorbed by her own cares to think of distant friends, and
not a line from Henbury, though repeatedly solicited, had thrown light
upon any thing which was passing there. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gordon had
seen the newspaper paragraph to which allusion was made at De Lacy
castle; but as they were only slightly acquainted with their nephew's
associates, and knew still less of his habits of life, it so happened
that they were never struck with any application of the direful
circumstances which were related in the public prints; and even had
suspicion attached to the story, the silence of the family at Henbury
would have completely banished it.

A few short hours put the friends mutually in possession of all that
either had to unfold. Zorilda's history made the liveliest impression
on the kind hearts to which it was revealed; and was followed by a
solemn proffer of the most affectionate adoption.

"Let me henceforward be the fond, though imperfect, representative of
that mother whom you have lost, while I shall find in my beloved Zoé
such a daughter as I have often vainly longed to press to my bosom,"
said Mrs. Gordon. Zorilda's heart was too full for the lips to speak,
but she looked all that a sinking spirit could express.

Though dreading pursuit, Zorilda had cherished a secret hope, that on
reaching Scotland she might hear of Henbury; and learn what effects had
been produced there by her sudden disappearance. This hope had greater
influence in supporting her exertions than she was aware of, till
disappointment crushed every energy of her soul. She had reached the
goal--she had arrived at that haven of rest which had long been the end
and aim of her desires, and now experienced the inefficacy of external
things to restore peace to the lacerated heart. Nothing which the
tenderest feeling could suggest was left undone, yet Zorilda drooped
in spite of every effort to repay the kindness of those around her, by
answering endeavours on her part.

Drumcairn was the very sum and centre of domestic bliss, and presented
a scene of happiness and concord, which seemed to realize the beautiful
vision of an earthly Elysium. The landscape without was wildly
picturesque; and within, whatever was best, wisest, and most tasteful,
lent its aid to diversify the social resources. How blessed could
Zorilda have felt in such a home; and what a gem would she have added
to its attractions were not the secret poison carrying on its latent
destruction, and gradually undermining health and strength!

When the first agitation of meeting was over, Mrs. Gordon invited her
young friend to assist her in the charitable labours which employed
much of her time. Zorilda learned, in these pious exercises, that
numbers of her fellow creatures were as miserable as herself. She
soon discovered that she was not the only houseless orphan; but that
thousands wept the bereavement of parents, lovers, friends. Her mind
at last began to taste a heavenly pleasure in her new occupations. To
pour the balm of comfort into the wounded spirit; to teach the young
to live, the sick and old to die, became her principal delight; and
her days were chiefly dedicated to those duties of active goodness, in
which the selfishness of sorrow gradually gives way to that peace which
is ever sure to spring from the pure source of practical religion. She
would often start from the recollections of past time, and rush to
employment from the stings of memory.

Sometimes it grieved her that no word of soothing friendship found its
way to her from De Lacy castle. A letter from Clara, to say that her
affection had not suffered diminution from acquaintance with the events
which she confided to her knowledge would have been a consolation; but
Zorilda was making rapid progress in the belief that there is no trial
of life which is not sent for some purpose of mercy, and her beloved
guide and instructress never failed to improve every opportunity of
tracing divine goodness in the bitterest dispensations.

We will now leave the young saint pursuing her celestial path, while we
travel back to look upon a very different scene.


    "I see with boding heart the near approach
    Of an ill-starred, unblessed catastrophe."


The consternation of Lord and Lady Marchdale was unutterable, when, on
awakening in the morning they learned that Lord Hautonville had taken
flight, leaving only a verbal message to say, that sudden business had
carried him to London, from whence he hoped speedily to return; and
not a little was the vexation of this abrupt departure aggravated in
the minds of his parents, by a persuasion that he had gone in quest of

What rage, anxiety, and confusion of counsels, succeeded, it is
impossible to describe. At length, after a stormy discussion,
embittered by much of mutual crimination, it was determined that the
whole family should pack up for the metropolis; but as more elaborate
preparations were necessary for the elders than was required by their
son, some days elapsed before Henbury was deserted by its inhabitants,
who little thought as they drove through the outer gate, that they were
destined to meet no more within its once cheerful precincts.

On reaching Marchdale-house, they learned that Lord Hautonville had
been there, but was gone: and all the information which his parents
could obtain respecting the object or motive of his short stay and
hurried departure, was from the housekeeper, an utter stranger to the
new comers, and one who appeared by no means overjoyed at the change.
This woman reported that the young lord seemed to be in the greatest
possible agitation, and that his sole care was to find the Marquess
of Turnstock, for whom he made inquiry with vehement solicitude;
but finding that his lordship had set out for the continent, Lord
Hautonville left town immediately, Mrs. Hobson could not tell with
what intent. It was some relief to the anxious parents to learn that
Lord Turnstock was the object of their son's pursuit; and though it
mortified them that he should absent himself without giving the
slightest intimation of his designs, and particularly at a period when
his presence was more than ever necessary at home, they endeavoured to
tranquillize their apprehensions, by the flattering unction which they
laid to their hearts, that he had only followed his friend into the
country upon some scheme of amusement.

Letters were dispatched to recall the truant, and the Earl and his
Countess were involved directly in all the bustle of legal affairs
and visits of etiquette. When the time had expired which ought in due
course to have brought an answer from Lord Hautonville, the arrival of
the post became a subject of restless inquiry, but no letter arrived;
and as it often happens that the most obvious measures do not occur to
our minds _first_ in the order of time, several days elapsed before
Lord Marchdale, applying in the right place, heard from the Marquess's
banker that he was gone to Brussels.

During this interval Lord Hautonville, who had taken his friend Col.
Clapham along with him, passed over to Ostend. On reaching Brussels
he was maddened almost to fury by finding that his enemy had gone
upon an excursion, and would not return for a few days. Feeding on his
meditated revenge, and suffering imagination to supply all the facts
which were necessary to goad him to the rashest acts of desperation,
every moment appeared a century, till Lord Turnstock unsuspectingly
drove to the door of the Hotel de Belle Vue, where he was saluted, as
soon as he alighted from his carriage, by a challenge from his quondam
ally, delivered by the hands of Col. Clapham.

Lord Hautonville had had his suspicions so convincingly corroborated
by the answers which he received to certain inquiries concerning the
Marquess, that he did not condescend to enter into the slightest
explanation relative to the nature of the supposed insult for which
he sought revenge; and the latter, in utter ignorance of the cause of
offence, could not suppress an involuntary smile, as he returned the
challenge to Colonel Clapham, and desired him to tell his friend that
it was not his custom to fight with madmen.

An answer so irritating, heightened by the sarcastic air with which
it was accompanied, was not calculated to appease; and as it lost
nothing in its transit (the second feeling himself now nearly as much
enraged as the principal), the message was conveyed in such exaggerated
colours, as to deprive Lord Hautonville, for the moment of all
self-control. He seized his pistols, rushed into the streets, arrived
at the Hotel de Belle Vue, darted into the room where the Marquess was
going to dine, and taking a deliberate aim, shot him through the body,
without uttering a word. The Marquess fell, the report of a pistol
brought numbers of people together; and before Colonel Clapham overtook
his friend, he was a prisoner. Surgical aid was immediately obtained,
the wounded man removed to bed, his wounds examined, dressed, and
pronounced dangerous.

Returning reason made Lord Hautonville speedily sensible of the awful
situation in which he had placed himself; rendered more horrible by the
assurance that he had no foundation for his conjectures, and therefore
not even the excuse of injurious treatment for the dreadful act which
he had perpetrated.

Colonel Clapham's first care was to write to England, and apprise
the unhappy parents of their son's condition; advising the utmost
secrecy respecting the circumstances of this tragical event, and their
immediate presence in Brussels, accompanied by whatever confidential
legal adviser they considered most likely to give a favourable turn to
the aspect of affairs.

The agonies of despair into which Lord and Lady Marchdale were thrown
by the dreadful intelligence, almost deprived them of life, and some
days elapsed before the unfortunate pair recovered sufficient bodily
strength to undertake their mournful expedition. This interval was long
enough to put them in possession of the fact that Lord Hautonville's
debts amounted to a much larger sum than he had any prospect of being
enabled to repay; and several of them revealed the truth that he was a
determined gambler, and lived amongst a set remarkable in every way for
habits of such dissipation as lead to inevitable destruction.

But who shall attempt to pourtray the feelings of the miserable
culprit, when informed by Colonel Clapham that his jealousy was
groundless as it had been vindictive; and that the marquess knew
nothing whatsoever respecting the elopement of Zorilda. Grief,
contrition, self-reproach, despair, took alternate possession of his
soul, and he would have laid down millions to insure that life of which
but a few hours before he was resolved, at the probable sacrifice of
his own, on the cruel extermination.

The solitude of a prison is a powerful preacher to the human soul!
Conscience now called up a grisly train of terrifying spectres; and a
review of the past rose in hideous contrast with the fate which might
have awaited him. Mr. Playfair's counsels, illustrated in the lovely
singleness and purity of Zorilda's character, came upon his memory and
made him tremble. What a difference between the beloved, the cherished
heir of a noble house, and the forlorn captive, whose ignominious end
was perhaps destined to pay the forfeit of a murderous deed. The cold
dews of death stood now upon that brow on which pride and pleasure were
wont to keep perpetual jubilee; and a livid paleness overspread that
cheek so lately animated by the flush of enterprize.

Of what avail were resolutions now? The accounts from hour to hour,
of the hapless victim's condition, though sufficiently fluctuating
to keep the balance trembling between hope and fear, afforded little
comfort. If a momentary ray cheered the prospect, it was extinguished
in the next instant. Amendment was not progressive, and those transient
gleams, which were quenched successively in thicker gloom, only added
poignance to despair. In the visions of horror which haunted the mind
of Algernon, thoughts of those afflicted parents who were on their way
to the scene of sorrow and humiliation continually mingled; and, as if
the cup of grief could not be full unless it overflowed, he was now
enlightened, and could explain Zorilda's disappearance. He was now able
to perceive in her secret departure, the same noble self-denying spirit
which had always distinguished every action of her life; and to curse
the ungoverned passion which had hurried him into irretrievable ruin. A
sudden frenzy would seize his frame, when scenes of early mutual love,
and childish innocence, glanced across memory in the prison's darksome
solitude, to torture his imagination--but more was still to be endured.

The marquess preserved his senses throughout the lingering agonies
which he was doomed to suffer--the most earnest supplication for
pardon on the one side, and assurance of forgiveness on the other,
were interchanged too late for any purpose connected with this world's
futurities. The horrors of suspense, operating on irritable nerves, and
temper unsubdued, were too powerful for successful conflict against
them; and Algernon Hartland, so lately the pride and boast of a noble
house, consumed by fever and tortured by remorse, breathed his last, in
the same hour which brought Lord and Lady Marchdale to the hotel which
contained the victim of their son's infuriate jealousy, apparently
languishing also on the confines of the tomb.

The veil of Timanthes must be drawn over feelings too terrible for
description. The die was cast. "Take me to the prison. I will see my
darling, and expire within his cell," said the wretched mother, who
would not listen to any attempt at dissuading her from the dreadful
purpose of visiting the remains of her son. Colonel Clapham conducted
her, and with preternatural firmness she hastened forward; but the
sight which burst upon her senses, when she reached the dreary chamber
in which he lay, was the last on which her tearless eyes ever rested.
The mother's heart had received its death dart, and her whole soul
appeared to undergo a sudden change. Not a cry escaped her. Kneeling
calmly down by the bed-side, and pressing to her bosom the clay-cold
hand of Algernon her beloved--once "beautiful and brave"--her
countenance assumed an unwonted expression of heavenly peace. Her
husband stood with folded arms, behind her, and groaned heavily. She
looked round, and taking his hand also, laid it upon that of her
departed child; then raising her eyes, she exclaimed with fervor, "Lord
forgive me--Thy will be done!" After uttering which word, one short
convulsive sigh set the spirit free.

Stunned and transfixed, the miserable survivor bent over the bed of
death, like one who had been petrified in that attitude, and scarcely
preserved consciousness of the scene which surrounded him. At this
awful moment, Mr. Playfair entered the chamber. That excellent man
had accidentally met with a friend who prevailed on him to alter his
original design of proceeding directly to Switzerland, and visit first
the far-famed plain of Waterloo. No sooner had he arrived at Brussels,
than the fearful tale which was in every mouth, met his ear. He quickly
recognised the _dramatis personæ_ in this horrible tragedy, and
hastened to inform himself of all its particulars. The case admitted
of no earthly comfort, and he wept with heartfelt bitterness over the
misfortunes of those unhappy parents whom he followed to the prison.

"Vain titles of worldly greatness! how little is it in your power to
confer happiness!" ejaculated this true friend, as he hastened after
the sufferers. What a spectacle presented itself when he reached the
gloomy pile, and gained the dismal scene of death just in time to hear
the pious aspiration which bore a mother's spirit to the eternal world!
He knelt, and prayed aloud for heaven's mercy on him who stood, like
the scathed oak of the forest, a sad monument of solitary existence,
when the pelting of the pitiless storm has levelled all things else in
desolation and destruction at its feet.

Lord Marchdale was removed insensible from the prison, and a shock of
paralysis for a time shed the poppies of oblivion over his senses, and
spared him for more tranquil days to come. Colonel Clapham, who was
deeply affected, and began to reproach himself as the principal actor
in the late catastrophe, now delivered into Mr. Playfair's hands two
letters with which his poor friend had entrusted him the day before his
death, when he felt his last hour drawing near. One was addressed to
his parents, the other to Zorilda; and he desired that they might be
safely conveyed when he should be no more.

"You will be the fittest medium for the performance of this charge.
How can I appear again in the presence of those from whom I might have
averted the calamity which bows them broken-hearted to the earth? Oh,
Mr. Playfair, had I not fanned the flame, which I might at least have
endeavoured to extinguish; had I not used all my influence to provoke
and aggravate the feelings of my poor friend, instead of trying to
assuage them, how different might not have been the result? But I am
punished as I deserve. His untimely end is my work, and I shall never
cease during my life, to be haunted by his dying image, when he called
upon the grim tyrant to terminate his misery, and relieve him from the
anguish of anticipating an ignominious end."

Mr. Playfair did not fail to improve the feeling which had been
awakened in Colonel Clapham's mind, not by laying flattering unction to
his criminal conduct, but by encouraging such repentance for the past
as should effectually guard, during the remainder of his life against
its recurrence. While he continued to take advantage of the opportunity
to impress wholesome truths upon a softened heart, a message was
brought from Lord Turnstock's apartment to say that the physicians who
had just been holding consultation, were of opinion that a favourable
crisis had taken place in the night; and it was the earnest desire
of the marquess to have the joyful tidings communicated, without a
moment's delay, to the prisoner. What indescribable rapture would the
intelligence have imparted a little week before! Then might it have
poured the balsam of returning health into the fevered veins--the balm
of stillness into the agitated breast--and whispered peace to the
withered spirit; but it came not till the dull cold ear was deaf to the
voice of the charmer--till the heart had ceased to beat, and the weary
pulses to flutter.

The mother and her son were laid in the same grave, and Mr. Playfair
and Colonel Clapham attended the sad procession as chief mourners.
It was a sight which struck upon all who witnessed it, and was not
soon forgotten. Lord Marchdale continued in a doubtful state, and
some time elapsed ere it was considered safe to move him. During
this interval the favourable change in Lord Turnstock's condition
was sufficiently confirmed to admit of his being visited by Colonel
Clapham, who gradually prepared his mind for the dreadful events
which had occurred. Informed, at length, of the whole truth, he
expressed an eager desire to see Mr. Playfair, who obeyed the summons
with readiness, anxious on his part to turn present circumstances to
account, and work a salutary impression on him, who of all people
living had exercised the most destructive influence on the character of
the departed.

The meeting was solemn and affecting. Though death seemed no longer in
immediate prospect, the marquess was assured by his medical attendants
that nothing short of the most patient temperance and long continued
caution, could afford the slightest hope of restoration, and he
therefore saw before him so much of uncertainty in the prospect as to
furnish scope for deep reflection.

It occurred to Mr. Playfair, that no language which he could possibly
employ, would be so efficacious in giving a right turn to meditation,
as the last words of one who had lived long enough to retract every
principle on which his actions had been governed, and he therefore
determined on seizing an opportunity which could never return, of
making Algernon speak from the tomb. Well assured that those to whom
the letters which he possessed were addressed, would approve such use
of their contents, he drew the packet which was unsealed from his
bosom, and read as follows:


"Alas! my parents; my soul sickens as I trace these empty titles, which
seem but 'unreal mockery' when applied to you. 'How are the mighty
fallen!' Oh! my father, my poor mother--here is the fulfilment of your
prophetic vision. Here, in this damp and chilly cell, is the end of all
your ambition. I feel as if you were now on your way to this place, but
you will come too late. The vapour is dissolved, the bubble bursts;
the halter and the block would present the only alternative for your
unhappy son were life prolonged; but Heaven has heard the captive's
prayer, and death approaches with friendly speed to save you from
shame, and restrain the hand of Algernon from self-destruction.

"Horrible idea! yet it might have been so. The same ungovernable
passions which raised the murderous blow against another's existence,
might have urged to suicide under increasing temptation. Weep not for
him who is taken from evil to come. My parents! had you been less
aspiring, had you known that true happiness, but--forbear, my pen!--I
leave no brethren to benefit by my dying counsels. My own impetuous
temper, my own devouring selfishness, have been my bane. Try to forget
that I have ever been. Recall that angel whom you have banished; she
will speak peace to your troubled souls. Farewell, my dear father; and
oh, my mother, may Heaven support you in this season of trial! prays
your expiring



"First and last beloved, I dedicate to you this solemn pause between
time and eternity. Life is ebbing fast. Oh! Zorilda, I die, and die for
you. However unworthy of your regard, however wandering and irregular
my course, you have still been the polar star towards which my
unsettled spirit ever returned, and no scheme for future happiness ever
occupied my thoughts, of which you were not the soul and centre. While
living in sin, I dreamed of a virtuous hereafter, when guided by you, I
should reform and taste of quiet bliss.

"Arrogant delusion! I leaned presumptuously on that love which I was
daily forfeiting, and dared to believe that Zorilda, whose soul was
all purity, would still bestow her affection on one who had ceased to
merit it. Alas! I know that you love me no longer. Why should I repine
in this sad hour? No, while life continued, I could ill endure to
relinquish the hold which I once possessed on that dear heart, and my
selfish endeavour to bind you by a vow to refuse all besides, that of
which I was myself undeserving, was justly punished by your refusal.

"Zorilda, beloved Zorilda! I feel my heart new opened, I see with
other eyes, and despise the thing I have been; resolution can now
avail me nothing in this world; but He who sees my tears of contrite
humiliation, will hear the suppliant's prayer, even in the eleventh
hour. Farewell! If the memory of our fond attachment in happy youthful
days, may shed kind influence on a last request, console I entreat you
those unfortunate beings who are soon to be left childless. Bid them
not grieve for me. I have requited their affection with ingratitude,
and leave them nothing in my bereavement but a hollow sounding name,
like those gorgeous plumes which wave their feathered honours on the
hearse to mock the dead. Oh! 'had I served my God with half the zeal'
that ministered to my guilty pleasures! but the past is buried with the
years beyond the flood. I have your prayers, I know I have, unworthy as
I am, and Zorilda's prayers will reach the throne of mercy.

"My sand is nearly run. The king of terrors beckons to me. A little
while, a few brief moments, and I shall awake in the invisible world,
from whose bourne none hath ever returned to unfold its mysteries.
Strength fails. Cold dews creep over my frame. Think of me sometimes.
First and last beloved, farewell for ever."

When Mr. Playfair ceased to read, he found Lord Turnstock drowned in
tears. His own flowed plenteously; and, taking the sick man's hand, "My
Lord," said he, "let us not be ashamed, and call this weakness. There
are tears which refresh the soul like dews of heaven. May yours be of
this blessed nature! May you expiate past error, by seeking your future
portion in a new course; and may our dear departed Hartland be the
Mentor of your youth; the guide of your pilgrimage; the beacon of your

"Will you henceforward be my friend?" answered the Marquess, with deep
emotion. "I have learned a lesson, but impressions wear away, and vows
made in pain are speedily forgotten. Let me be your pupil; direct me;
warn me; counsel me."

The bond was sealed. Lord Marchdale was pronounced capable of
undertaking a journey; and Mr. Playfair, who had surrendered all his
own plans to devote himself to the purposes of benevolence, accompanied
the poor solitary Earl to England; but his chief concern was for
Zorilda. "How shall I break these fatal tidings, without endangering
her life?" was a question continually present to the mind of her friend.

The travellers arrived at Henbury, and Mr. Playfair felt as a man of
humane and tender feeling would naturally do, in placing his charge
in that whilom abode of quiet cheerfulness, where its unfortunate
master had long enjoyed the happiness of domestic peace in private
life, under the care of an old servant, who had passed her youthful
days in his family. Lord Marchdale was spared such anguish, as more
acute sensibility could not have survived by the nature of his malady.
Naturally phlegmatic, disease now rendered him more than ordinarily
torpid; and he used to forget at times not only the extent of his
deprivation, but the manner. At such moments it was affecting to hear
him address his wife and son as if they were present, or speak of them
as if he expected their return from a ride or a walk. Influenced,
too, by the necromancy of association, he never passed by a shrub or
flower, which had been planted by Zorilda's hand, without muttering the
name of Zoé.

When Mr. Playfair had made all necessary arrangement for the bodily
comfort of the invalid, he set out for Scotland, meditating sorrowfully
as he proceeded, on the afflicting dispensations which it was his
painful task to communicate at Drumcairn. Arrived at the same village
where Zorilda had paused to consider of the reception which she was
likely to receive, he wrote to Mr. Gordon, requesting a private
interview at the inn. The dreadful particulars were soon unfolded;
and Mr. Playfair discovered that his tale of woe was not altogether
unexpected. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon had so repeatedly seen paragraphs in
the public prints, touching on late events at Brussells with more or
less obscurity, that their attention was at length awakened to some
fancied coincidences with the Henbury family, and anxiety was daily on
the increase, from Lady Marchdale's unusual silence. Her sister had
written over and over entreating a letter, but not a line was received
in reply.

The extreme delicacy of Zorilda's health made all excitement hazardous;
and though she secretly pined with solicitude to be informed of all
that passed in her absence, she could not bear to make inquiry, and
trusted to a voluntary mention of the next intelligence which might
arrive, trying to force her mind into tranquillity, but in vain. Her
cheek sometimes glowed with momentary bloom, and her eyes sparkled with
a transient ray of light and brilliancy; but it was fever which lighted
up these evanescent fires, consuming as they were vivid.

Her kind friends, who watched her tender frame with parental vigilance,
and perceived the silent progress of the destroying angel, resolved
on avoiding to impart their own apprehensions, or communicate the
suspicions which began to alarm them, to Zorilda, who, in addition to
her too evidently declining health, "has now to sustain," said Mr.
Gordon, "a trying scene, which as yet she has neither had strength nor
fortitude to encounter."

"Within the last two days," continued he, "she has received a
disclosure of the deepest interest from the rich and powerful Earl of
Pierrepoint, who turns out to be no other than Zorilda's father. I
have brought his letter in my pocket, knowing how affectionately you
participate in the concerns of our dear child."

Mr. Gordon then read as follows:

"Zorilda, these lines come from a parent's hand. Will you receive them
with feeling answering to that which now sues for your forgiveness,
and dictates a request that you will name the earliest moment for an
interview with one for whom you have had little reason to entertain any
sentiment save that of aversion. Since we last met, when an involuntary
exclamation on my part proclaimed the relation subsisting between you
and me, I have lost an amiable and high-born partner, who, after the
marriage of my two daughters, now advantageously settled, was the only
remaining bar to my acknowledgment of you. Had I claimed you before,
I must have revealed a part of my early history, which might have
injured others without benefiting you.

"Let me now taste the blessing of offering such expiation as is yet
in my power, to the manes of that angel who was your mother. You will
not withhold your aid in restoring the memory of her whose portrait
you bear, whose living image you are, to the rights and privileges of
a wife and mother, which can only be accomplished by your returning to
the protection of your father's house, and assuming his name. In the
eye of Heaven, as well as according to an accredited form of Christian
ritual, my marriage, of which you are the sole pledge, was duly
solemnized, and wanted only such circumstances to give it legality,
as I basely took advantage of, to desert the wife of my bosom, and
the child of my hopes. Urged to the unnatural deed by the unrelenting
voice of worldly ambition, I lent myself to the views of family
aggrandisement, and have been wretched all my life. United to another
before the death of her whom I shall never cease to mourn, I could not
adopt you as my legitimate offspring, without invalidating my second
engagement; and to have brought you forward as _less_ than my lawful
progeny, would have but added fresh insult to the wrongs which you had
already experienced at my hands.

"Zorilda, beloved child, a father supplicates forgiveness at your feet.
Will you refuse pardon to such a petitioner? I have sought you at De
Lacy castle, and sought you as my daughter. If my penetration do not
greatly err, there is one of that family to whom you are an object of
no common interest. Should my suspicions prove correct, to what joy
may I not yet look forward? I have already obtained my sovereign's
permission to add a title to your name; and twenty thousand pounds are
ready for my dear girl, when I may be called upon to bestow the hand
of Lady Zorilda Fitzhugh on Lionel Cecil, the man in all England most
worthy of her heart.

"Return me one line by the messenger, and say when you will see your


"This letter," said Mr. Gordon, "was immediately followed by one of
the most enraptured congratulations from Miss Cecil, who it appears
has been hitherto obliged to neglect her friend in compliance with Sir
Godfrey's commands. What a metamorphosis will not worldly consideration
effect! The despised, the slighted Zorilda receives homage now from the
proudest pair in Great Britain. Sir Godfrey and Lady Cecil condescend
to add their testimony to the merits of her who was so lately shaken
from their presence as unworthy of the least regard: and I agree
with Lord Pierrepoint in foreseeing that ere long an alliance will
be solicited. Oh; that I might live to witness a union which could
not fail of being blessed! But what a tale have you to impart! Alas,
Zorilda!--and my poor Eugenia too. However dissimilar the character
of Lady Marchdale and my wife, a sister and a nephew are not to be
relinquished without a cruel pang, in this case pointed with tenfold
acuteness from the awful manner of their death. Come, we have a
dreadful duty to perform, and must commence the task."

Mrs. Gordon, who had long anticipated some unknown ill, was gradually
informed of the terrible truth. Horror and astonishment at first forbid
the relief of tears, and sent a frightful tremor through her frame; but
tenderer feelings at length found vent, and a burst of natural sorrow
came to her aid, and eased the suffocating oppression of her heart. Too
habitually thoughtful of others' woe to indulge her own exclusively,
this excellent woman after a short silence exclaimed, "Oh! may I join
in the pious prayer of my dear departed sister, and say from the deep
of my heart, 'Thy will be done!' This blow will fall heavily on my poor
Zoé. It is to her that we should principally direct our attention, and
as her father is to be here to-morrow, my counsel is to delay breaking
this intelligence to her till after that so much dreaded interview.
In the mean time I will talk to her of my own fears and ominous

This advice was approved, and Mrs. Gordon subdued her own feelings
sufficiently to visit Zorilda's bed-chamber, in which she had
requested permission to remain all day, with calmness, and even an
appearance of tender cheerfulness, while she endeavoured to strengthen
a mind which had so much in prospect to endure.

"You must give a filial welcome to your father, my love, and bless
the Almighty, who has sent such a host of kindness and protection in
an hour of greatest need. He was beloved by the mother whose loss you
deplore, and if the temptations of wealth and power were too strong for
his wavering virtue to conquer, remember that he is now making all the
reparation which such a case as yours will admit, and your duty is not
only to receive the penitent with full pardon, but open your heart to
the gracious influence of parental affection."

"It is not the creature's part to murmur, I know, dearest friend,"
answered Zorilda; "but so mysteriously woven is the web of my fate,
that I am not allowed to _see and believe_, but _faith_ is continually
called upon, and much as I desire to stand firmly in the optimist's
creed, which you are always enforcing, I find my rebellious spirit too
frequently resisting conviction. I did indeed perceive how mercifully
was this blessed asylum opened to me; when obliged to leave De Lacy
castle I could not return to the home of my youth; but how can I
rejoice now in any event which is likely to remove me from you and this
peaceful retreat? How am I to bear the burthen of a sick and sorrowful
soul in a world of gay smiles, enter upon a new sphere for which I am
ill suited, encounter strangers whom I can never love, and give up
those employments in which, by being suffered to do some little good,
I learn submission to my own misfortunes? How can I leave this abode
of rest, and cease to hear your dear voice? How shall I mingle in the
scenes of what the world calls pleasure, with a breaking heart and
failing health; or learn the joyless task of dressing my poor face in
artificial gladness, while the asp is feeding on my life-blood? I have
tried to pray, but I can only weep."

"Child of my adoption," answered Zorilda's sweet comforter, "be still
and wait events. Is it nothing that your mother's fame is brought out
before mankind like 'unsmutched snow?' Nothing that the haughty souls
of De Lacy yield to evidence, and recognise the daughter of proud
Pierrepoint in the houseless adventurer, the _wandering_ gipsey? Is
there no balm in Clara's friendship, lately sealed, and now allowed to
flow towards you?--no soothing in the still tenderer accents of----"

"I am ungrateful, hard, unthankful, I know I am, for many goods; yet
could you look into this breast, and see all that passes there, you
would pity more than censure me," replied Zorilda.

"And will that Being, whose penetrating glance reads the inmost soul,
who knows all our frailty, all our weakness, pity less than I should
do? Believe it not. You will not be tried beyond the bounds of mercy,
though you know not how much is still to be endured. My mind misgives
me, and this long silence of my sister's fills me with vague, yet sad
prognostics; I dread the arrival of letters, and feel my mind almost
superstitiously inclined to evil augury."

"How unlike you!" said Zorilda, "If _you_ are scared by omens and
portents, what wonder that _I_ should tremble; dearest friend, tell me
your fears."

"They have no shape," answered Mrs. Gordon, "but come not the less
affrightingly because they are undefined. When I contemplate the
materials of which my family are composed, have I not continual reason
to dread the consequences of ungoverned passion, self indulgence, and
pride, now inflated by the prosperous gales of fortune? What may I not
apprehend as the result of Algernon's violent temper, unaccustomed to
restraint, and now let loose to tyrannize with wider scope, subduing
all things to his purposes? My poor sister, too, so blind in her
attachments, so precipitate in her aversions, so little calculated for
the enlarged sphere of action to which she is called, so ill prepared
to meet with disappointment, so soured by late occurrences; what
comfort should I have in considering the elevation of those for whom I
am so deeply interested, to a station which will only furnish increased
temptation to err, and render every fault and failing more conspicuous,
were it not for my firm trust in Him who rules our destinies, and who
alone is acquainted with the issue of events, after which we vainly
strain our short sighted organs?"

"Forgive me," replied Zorilda, "for the indulgence of my morbid
discontent. 'I will arise and go to my father,' I will try to _follow_,
not presumptuously _lead_, the ordinances of Providence; you shall not
find me deaf to your instructions. Dispose of me. The tide of strength
is ebbing in my veins, and perhaps the mind partakes of the body's
weakness, for I was not always thus, but in all things I will endeavour
to obey your counsels; guide, direct me; tell me all that I shall say
and do in this dread hour of meeting; yet if my father should prove an
austere man, I am afraid that it will little avail me to con over my

Zorilda knew nothing of Mr. Playfair's arrival, and it was resolved to
conceal his presence from her till after Lord Pierrepoint's visit.

The appointed hour drew near, and the flush of anxiety had lighted
up that cheek on which the lily had lately begun to usurp the rose's
dominion, and the blending of sorrow with timid solicitude, imparted
the most angelic expression to the countenance of her who now, with
beating heart, heard her father's carriage wheels approach the door.

Lord Pierrepoint's exterior was highly favourable; tall, graceful,
and still in the meridian of life, there was something singularly
prepossessing in his appearance. To fine features, was added that charm
of polished refinement without which no beauty can be attractive,
and accompanied by which, no physiognomy can be destitute of power
to please. A melodious voice, and insinuating gentleness of manner,
finished the impression which Lord Pierrepoint's first _abord_ never
failed to make upon strangers, but who shall attempt to describe
the effect of such a union of qualities in delightful contrast with
all that her fears had suggested, on the tender heart of his lovely
daughter? The scene of such a meeting can only be represented in the
imagination. Feelings so electric, transitions so rapid, silence so
eloquent, may be felt, but not pourtrayed.

Locked in each other's arms, one moment's embrace seemed to annihilate
an age of doubt, and banish from Zorilda's bosom every sentiment except
that of filial love and admiration; while the father hung spell-bound
over his treasure. Drawing her close to his breast, and then receding,
as if

                  "----to view,
    If such a bliss indeed were true,"

he continued to clasp her again and again to his heart in silent

When the first strong instinctive emotions of nature had in some degree
subsided, Lord Pierrepoint remarked, with much uneasiness, the delicacy
of his daughter's complexion, which underwent a thousand aspects,
mutable as the dolphin tints or the sun's varying hues upon the snows
of Mont Blanc.

"I must lose no time in snatching my darling," said the fond parent,
"from this northern climate. My Zorilda shall invoke the warmer beams
and softer breezes of an Italian sky. We will prepare immediately for
the voyage."

A deep hectic blush overspread Zorilda's face, as thoughts of leaving
Drumcairn flashed across her mind; but dreading to hurt her father's
feelings, by seeming averse to any scheme proposed by his affection,
she made no reply, except by a faint smile, like that transient glow
which glances hastily through the misty curtain on the grey mountain's
side, and is followed by a thicker veil, gathering as if to repel
the bright intrusion. But associations of another kind arose in Lord
Pierrepoint's mind, and pressing his daughter's hand, he added, "I do
not mean to hurry you, my love. You are, I grieve to see, not equal to
any great exertion. Farewell, dearest, I will return to-morrow, and
we will then consult upon the answer which you wish me to give to Sir
Godfrey Cecil."

So saying, he put a letter, of which the seal was broken, upon the
table, kissed his dear girl's alabaster forehead, and hastened out of
the room.

"All powerful force of nature?" exclaimed Zorilda, as she strained her
eyes towards the door which had closed upon her father, "who could
have believed this miracle? My heart follows him, and echoes every
retiring footstep. Is this the formidable being whose anticipated
presence banished sleep from my eyelids, whose dreaded voice arrested
every pulse, while yet it sounded only in the ear of fancy? What a
transformation in an instant of time! I can scarcely believe in my own
identity, as I reckon the hours till his return. Poor Sir Godfrey! Here
is the world--the cold heartless world, which encumbers with help when
there is no farther need of assistance. What have we here? No doubt a
complimentary address. Perchance an invitation to De Lacy castle--but I
must not forget that De Lacy's walls afforded me kind refuge in an hour
of adversity." Zorilda sighed, as she slowly unfolded the following


"Amongst the numberless congratulations which your Lordship may expect
to receive on the joyful event of reunion with your charming daughter,
none more sincere can be offered to your acceptance, than I have now
the honour to present from De Lacy castle. We have the good fortune
here to be acquainted with the perfections which it is your Lordship's
happy lot to possess in the Lady Zorilda Fitzhugh; and are therefore
enabled to judge of your feelings in receiving such a child to your
bosom, and restoring her to that exalted station in society which will
henceforward be adorned by her talents and virtue. Lady Cecil and I
have often said of our distinguished guest, that such a noble bearing
bespoke high birth, and we are not mistaken.

"It will not surprise your Lordship to learn that younger eyes have
been fascinated, and hearts impressed by attractions which even the
aged cannot behold unmoved. You know my son's pretensions, and if you
think them worthy of alliance with your Lordship's house, nothing
shall be wanting on my part to facilitate an event so desirable to me
as a union between our families. I have long been aware of my son's
deep admiration of the Lady Zorilda, but so entirely averse is he to
revealing his sentiments at the _present_ juncture, that I risk his
displeasure in making an avowal to which I am urged by the high sense
that I entertain of those qualifications which must render your
daughter an object of universal competition.

"I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship's sincere friend, and
most obedient humble servant,


"Pompous treachery!" exclaimed Zorilda, as she folded the letter. "How
grateful to his ear the tinkling bell of Ladyship, appended to this

  '----Jonah's Gourd,
  An overnight creation of court favour,
  With which an undistinguishable case
  Makes baron, or makes prince.'

"I hate this greedy haste which, fearful of forestalment, thus violates
all delicacy, and would compromise the feelings of his pure and
nobleminded son, to compass his proud ends--but we are going to Italy.
Perhaps, too, this is for the best. If I must leave dear Drumcairn, at
least it will be some recompense that I shall quit these harpies, who,
like Sir Godfrey, hover round the well spread board, and force their
unneeded praise where fortune smiles."

Mrs. Gordon's entrance interrupted this soliloquy. "I left you, my
dear one, to meet your trial alone, because my presence might have
embarrassed your father."

"Yes he _is_ my father. I feel the sacred bond drawn tight across my
heart, which almost beat itself to death, like a poor bird against its
prison wires, in terror of his approach. You say truly, my monitress,
that we are for ever prone to take trouble at interest. Aye, and
usurious interest too--we raise ghosts and then wonder that they haunt
us. But my dear father talks of Italy, and thinks that her classic
shores bear healing on their gales. Alas! he knows not how deep the
mine--how industrious the sappers. The 'sweet South' can do nought for
me. No breeze, however balmy, 'can minister unto the mind diseased.' I
have a longer journey before me than to Nice or Pisa."

Mrs. Gordon had hitherto controlled her feelings, but, overcome by the
prophetic melancholy which accompanied the last words of Zorilda, she
burst into tears, and, covering her face with her hands, remained for
some time unable to speak.

"Kindest, dearest friend," said Zorilda, "I meant only to familiarize
your mind to what I feel must come to pass ere long--but I am always
doing wrong. The idea of death is so welcome to me that I forget its
sorrowful effect on others, and have grieved my best and dearest Mrs.
Gordon. Oh think no more of my Cassandra propensities; let us speak of
something else. I did not hear my father's carriage drive from your
door. Surely he cannot still be here?"

"He is still here, my Zorilda, and listening to a tale of woe which
concerns us all; but my child, Heaven has sent you support in this
dear and newly found relation. May you rest on him as on a pillar of
strength, and be enabled to stand firm under divine assistance! I too
have been a Cassandra, but you must hear the dismal story from other
lips. I cannot tell it to you."

"You have given me a clue," said Zorilda, who turned as pale as ashes,
"which too fatally directs my imagination, though not perhaps through
every winding of the labyrinth. Speak, oh speak! you need not fear
to trust me; I can bear to hear. Yes, I can bear to hear even that
Algernon--my once loved----"

The words which Zorilda would have uttered died upon her lips, and she
fell senseless at Mrs. Gordon's feet.

When she recovered recollection, she found herself laid on a sofa,
while Mr. Playfair kneeled at her side, invoking heavenly mercy in her
behalf. He had put every one out of the room, and took upon himself the
task of preparing her for a full disclosure; but Zorilda's quick eye
and mind anticipated the conclusion, and she was in possession of the
whole ere it was designed that she should be informed of more than half
the direful narrative.

Mr. Playfair did not give Algernon's letter till after imagination
was so wrought upon, that even that dreadful document by realizing
the horrors of the scene which it exhibited, prevented reason from
deserting her throne to wander irretrievably into the wild regions of
maniac desolation.

"It is done!" said Zorilda; "it is finished. Lord, thou wouldst have
my whole heart, and it is thine! 'Whom have I in heaven but thee,
and whom do I desire on earth beside thee.' I can say this now--Hah!
killed by _his_ hand! a murderer! But he is pardoned. Oh say not that
forgiveness is impossible!

    'Between the death-deed and the ground
    He mercy sought and mercy found.'

Tell me not that he did not repent the act."

A violent shuddering came over her whole frame, from which suddenly
starting up, she gazed round the room, and asked for Mrs. Gordon, who
waited but the slightest movement in the apartment to open the door,
and heedless of her own affliction, fly to the aid of sorrow yet
greater than that which she suffered.

But there was now no longer any apparent weakness to combat--no excess
of feeling to assuage--all was still.

"My friend," said Zorilda, in a firm voice, as she held her hand to
Mrs. Gordon, "help me to shake off this lethargy. God has given me
duties to perform. I must no longer be a useless torpid thing. Where is
my father?"

Lord Pierrepoint had lingered to wait the event, and now stole
softly into his daughter's apartment. Surprised and delighted by
her unexpected fortitude, he determined to indulge every wish which
she might express, in the hope by doing so to restore her soon to a
sufficient measure of health and tranquillity for the undertaking
which he meditated. "A warm climate will strengthen, and a gradual
introduction to society, the charms of which are unknown to her, will
do the rest," said he in a whisper.

Mrs. Gordon shook her head, but did not contradict these visions of

"My father will not refuse his child's request," said Zorilda, who
raised her beautiful eyes as he drew near the couch on which she
leaned; "he will conduct me to the home of my youth. I have another
father there, who needs my consolation. Shall I not offer him all that
I have to bestow?"

"My Zorilda shall do every thing that may contribute to her peace,"
answered Lord Pierrepoint. "I will give immediate orders for the

A gleam of short-lived irradiation shot across the pale cheek of
Zorilda, who pressed her parent's hand in mute acknowledgment of his
goodness, but Mrs. Gordon interposed.

"My Zorilda," said she, "has other claims upon her heart, and she will
not neglect to fulfil them. _Something_ is due to her poor friends at
Drumcairn, and she will not desert them in this moment of heaviness.
I too must share with her the task of watching and comforting my poor
brother. Why not bring him here? The change of scene will assist our
cares for him, and my Zoé will recover faster in the repose of this
chamber than in the excitement of a journey, for the fatigues of which
she is not strong enough at present."

Zorilda sighed in silence, when she perceived by the expression of her
father's countenance how much he preferred this arrangement to her
plan. Mr. Playfair warmly seconded the measure proposed by Mrs. Gordon,
and offered to attend Lord Pierrepoint on the following day. They
commenced their route at an early hour, promising to return as quickly
as circumstances would admit; bringing their invalid charge along with
them to Scotland.

Zorilda's fervid bloom and tearless eye would have led an ignorant
observer to believe that some secret source of joy poured the soft
springs of consolation over her withered spirit, and that hope still
fluttered in the distance. Hope and faith were indeed whispering peace,
but they were not of this world; they were celestial visitants, and
Mrs. Gordon was not deceived. Zorilda had forced her friend to bed,
and entreated to be left in solitude herself. On entering her room in
the morning, Mrs. Gordon, who had not slept, found her beloved adopted
child already up, her head reclining on her hand, papers and writing
implements scattered around.

"My mother," said she, "I have been busy making my will. You must take
care of my poor pensioners. You will be my almoner. You know that I
have a little fortune in bank. I am setting my house in order, and long
to be gone."

Mrs. Gordon could not reply. Zorilda rose and threw her arms
affectionately round the neck of her who was truly a mother to her in
tenderness. "I will not afflict you any more," said she, "by touching
on these subjects which distress you. Yet were you to know how sweet
are the thoughts of death, you would not grieve. It was you too who
first imparted to my soul that strength in which I am now permitted
to pass through the dark valley; you taught me to lean on the staff
which is now sustaining my footsteps: and will you repent you of the
good you have performed, and mourn over the happy work which you have

"I cannot tell how it is, but I feel assured that the conflict will
speedily be ended. How simple, how beautiful is the religion which
teaches how to die! and how little does it resemble the eloquent
declamations, the fine spun arguments, the perplexing subtleties,
with which we puzzle comprehension and estrange the affections, while
'redolent of life' we waste our intellectual prime in the labyrinths of
metaphysical lore, and _talk_ ourselves far away from God. My mother,
I am about to depart, and shall soon be removed beyond the confines
of sense. Pray for me, not that I should tarry here, but be received
amidst the countless millions of the blessed."

Mrs. Gordon was called away upon urgent business, and Zorilda, having
thrown on a cloak, glided secretly down the back stairs, and passing
up a path lined with cypress, gained the church-yard, which had long
been her favourite haunt. It was a romantic spot, in which she loved
to listen to the sullen roar of the gathering storm, or the melancholy
sighing of the sea breezes as they whistled through the long wiry grass
which waved upon the walls of a ruined abbey overhung with ivy, that
still outlived the wreck of time, and stood a monument of former days.
An ancient yew tree, which tossed its old fantastic roots high in air,
with flattened crown, over which the northern blast from Kinnaird's
head swept nippingly, overshadowed a gloomy corner of this wild and
desolate cemetery. Thither Zorilda bent her steps. Pausing as she
approached the spot, the curlieu's plaintive wail struck upon her ear.

"Hah! that is my funeral knell! it is a gracious and a cheering sound;
a requiem of welcome omen."

  "I love to linger in the narrow field
  "Of rest--to wander round from tomb to tomb,
  "And think of some who silent sleep below."

She turned round an angle of the old building, as she mused, and
reaching her accustomed rocky seat, beneath the yew tree's matted
roof, "This," said she, "shall be my resting place! Ocean! thou image
of eternity! thy breath is balmy, and wafts freedom to my bosom. Here
will I trace the simple memorial which shall mark my grave. Ambition!
but for thee, how different had been my fate; but the pilot who guided
my bark, can never err. I have required long discipline to teach me;
but at last I see the heavenly scheme which comprehends a wider range
than this poor nether sphere can supply. Why is it so difficult to
justify the ways of God to man, but that we seek results on faith,
which are furnished only in a higher scene. My father, I acknowledge
my stubbornness and stupidity. Thou hast dealt with me thus, that we
might meet in the mansions of glory, where all tears shall be wiped
away. What are the brief enjoyments of this fleeting world, when
compared with the celestial communion of those who are purified in the
furnace of affliction! Yes, we shall meet father, mother, Algernon! Oh!
my burning brow; my beating heart. How I long for the green pastures
and refreshing waters, which are promised to the weary pilgrim! Had I
been what the world calls happy, I should have loved it too well, and
built my tabernacle on its unstable sands. My God resolved to bring me
home to more abiding felicity than I could have known below; there, I
grow faint: this feeble outline is all that I can sketch, but Lionel
shall finish it. That dear friend shall perform Zorilda's last earthly
purpose, and place this memento where she lies. Oh that I were already
laid beneath the verdant turf! but my tarrying will not be long--my
strength is exhausted."

She made an effort to rise, but her bending limbs refused their office.
Her eyes grew dim, and unable to recover herself, she fell back into
the arms of him, whose name she had just pronounced.

"Adored Zorilda! thy Lionel is here, and Clara is at this moment
seeking her best beloved friend at Drumcairn. Oh speak! Raise those
precious eye-lids, and look on one who is devoted to thee! Speak, oh
say but one word, and relieve this agony of dread!"

She heard not; saw not; felt not. She had fallen asleep to wake no
more, and at her feet the pencil lay, with which she had just traced an
urn, veiled in clouds, through which the name of Zorilda was faintly
discernible, and on its pedestal were engraved the words,

  "Who was she?"
  "What is she?"


  "Boys immature in knowledge
  Pawn their experience to their present pleasure,
  And so rebel to judgment."



On calling lately at the house of a friend who was indisposed, I found
him in his study wrapped in a dressing gown, and turning over, with
pensive air, the leaves of a dust-brown manuscript, which lay open
before him on the table.

"What have you got here? have you turned author, or are you revising
and correcting for another?" said I, arresting the arm of my friend, as
he was in the act of removing his papers.

"I have been," he replied, "looking over a cobwebbed memoir of my own
life, which has been one of no ordinary vicissitude. It is a melancholy
pleasure to retrace the path of existence through a faithful narrative
of its events; and compare ourselves with ourselves in different stages
of our progress. I have not glanced at this moth-eaten record for
upwards of twenty years, and feel, after closing it, as if I had been
conversing with the dead; but let me place it on its shelf again, and
we will talk on more agreeable subjects."

"Not till I have possession," said I, darting forwards and seizing
the manuscript. An intimacy of long standing pleaded excuse for this
abrupt measure. I took home my booty, read the memoir; and felt so
deeply interested in a story which I knew to be true, that I entreated
permission to give it to my printer. "I thought, at one time, of
publishing it," replied my friend, "but afterwards relinquished the
idea. The experience of one man never guides another. All people like
to purchase their own; but provided you change every name of place or
person which might inflict a wound in any breast, you may do as you
please with my tale of other times."

I promised, and have performed, so let no Reader, who happens to have
a taste either for genealogy or geography, seek acquaintance with any
character or locality introduced in the following pages.



"A bramble at the eye is larger than an oak at a distance," and thus
every man is of importance in his own view; and imagines that he could
communicate something of profit or pleasure by recounting the results
of his individual experience. But the most remarkable adventures, as
well as the sagest remarks, are forgotten, if they are merely the
subjects of fire-side reminiscence; and people are deterred from making
public the events of their own lives through the terror of imputed
egotism, however well they may feel inclined to impart a benefit to
their species. In this dilemma, between vanity and forgetfulness, much
useful warning is withheld from the world, since all agree that one
fact is more valuable than volumes of theory.

This train of meditation was awakened by unpacking a case, in which
a pile of journals, which I had kept from early youth, met my eye.
Many a bitter recollection rose upon my mind, as I arranged them
according to order; but _coute qui coute_, I resolved that I would
collect my scattered memoranda, and attempt a sketch of my own history.
The retrospect was painful; but if a single fellow-being might be
instructed by a narrative of my errors, I felt that I should be
rewarded; and even should no second person peruse these pages, a review
of the past will be good for my own heart.

Inspired by these reflections, I begin by saying, who I am and whence
I came. My name is Albert Fitzmaurice, and my birth-place the western
extremity of a certain county in Ireland. My father was a clergyman
of the Established Church, who, though born likewise in Ireland,
was of English parentage, and received an Oxford education, which
was a greater distinction in his day than it is at present, when
the intercourse between the Sister Kingdoms has softened down, or
obliterated so many national differences amongst their inhabitants.

Charles Fitzmaurice, for that was my father's name, was an accomplished
gentleman, according to that high standard which never varies in all
the changes of time and taste. Amiable, classical, and refined, he
sought a congenial partner to mitigate the horrors of the banishment to
which he was doomed at eight and twenty by his ecclesiastical patron;
and as the females of that period were distinguished from each other by
varieties not entirely comprehended under the endorsement of "black,
brown, and fair;" my father was fortunate enough to find a companion
whose fine understanding and heavenly sweetness of disposition
maintained a perpetual sunshine of the soul wherever she moved.

In the present artificial state of society, when rank and fortune are
generally considered necessary to refinement, I shall encounter the
curled lip and elevated eye-brow of disdain if I venture to assert that
my parents were amongst the happiest specimens of polished elegance,
though they could neither boast of wealth nor title. There is a dignity
of mind, which, borrowing nothing from the Proteus fashion of the day,
rises gracefully in its own strength, and is suited to all times,
because, proceeding from solid principles, it is not indebted to the
changeful caprices of the passing hour. Surely that politeness which
has its foundation in the heart, and which may be defined good nature
sent to school, is the only genuine sort, permanent in its influence,
and of universal application.

Such was the kind with which I was acquainted in the home of my early
existence. As the shores appear to glide by the skimming bark in
the sweet calm of a summer sky, while in reality they are fixed and
immoveable, so did the suavity of parental affection temper discipline
to such a degree, that commands put on the gentle aspect of request,
which none but demons could have resisted; and retirement, which
precluded any attempt at awkward imitation, imparted all that ease and
self-possession, which are the essence of good society.

Situated in a wild and thinly peopled district, though in one of the
most populous of all countries, this excellent pair began their wedded
career on the humble pittance of five hundred _per annum_, which sum,
however, it must be remembered, embraced a much wider proportion of
comfort than the same income could at present procure. During many
tranquil years my parents pursued "the noiseless tenor of their way,"
rich in each other's love, and happy because their mutual attachment
was built on sympathy in virtue, which wears brighter instead of being
destroyed by use. They lived, it is true, in what modern language
styles the deepest obscurity; but _really_ in the meridian light of
truth and contentment. A numerous tribe of olive branches sprang around
their table; and notwithstanding the straightened finances which
supplied their wants, each addition to the family group was hailed with
affection, which seemed to increase in fervor with every new direction
of its course.

The chief delight of my father and mother consisted in bestowing upon
their offspring every advantage which their own acquirements, and
whatever instruction they could attain at such a distance from the
capital, enabled them to impart. An excellent library lent its aid to
their efforts, but the quiet routine of a country life, in which each
day certified of another, however pleasingly diversified for the actors
in a domestic group, is too monotonous to interest such as may be
strangers to those endearing relations which produce, in breasts that
feel their influence, an unceasing supply of excitement; and therefore
my readers (if readers I should have) will readily dispense with all
the particulars of my childhood, and thank me for retarding their
introduction to the parsonage of Glendruid, in the wilds of the west,
till about the year ninety-seven, when I was a full grown youth of
eighteen, tall, active, and manly. Truth compels me, in thus declaring
how many summers I had numbered at the commencement of my story, to
destroy _in limine_ any romantic visions with which the fairer part of
creation may be inspired, if any amongst them should deign to turn my
title page in fond belief of meeting with a youthful hero, under the
not _unnovel_ like appellation which I bear. It is true that I _have
been_ young, giddy, and adventurous; and if I am no longer the Albert
of former days, it is because time will do his silent work without
regard to the prayer of beauty, and hurry his victim forward unmindful
of every entreaty preferred by either sex, to stay his merciless
career. But to my tale.

All who have lived as long as I have done, will recollect that the
epoch of which I write was one of violent commotion in the minds of
Irishmen. The revolutionary spirit of France had crossed the seas, and
while actively fermenting the population of my country, was as rapidly
decomposing the substance of religion and morals. What was called
a thirst of inquiry, a search after truth, liberality of opinion,
unprejudiced reason, and many such misnomers, was in fact, a burning
desire to demolish the entire structure of civilized institution, and
send mankind again into the woods as hunters and shepherds, to emerge
anew from the elements of natural society. Man differs not more from
the very antipodes of his own character in another person, than he does
from himself in distant periods of his life, and I almost doubt my
identity in retracing the days of my youth, when I was one of those who

    ----"Bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
    And still revolt when truth would set them free,
    License they mean when they cry liberty."

Glendruid Glebe was situated in one of the wildest spots of earth; and
the only old wood, though of dwarfish size, which the whole district
for many miles could boast, embellished the precipitous sides of a
ravine close to my father's dwelling, into which the Atlantic billows
rushed as impetuously as if they sought asylum in our sheltered creek
from some sea monster. The rocks which lined this mountain _gash_, were
chafed into fretwork, resembling honey-comb by the constant friction of
returning tides, and assumed a thousand fantastic forms along the shore
as far as the eye could reach. Surrounded by these rugged masses, it
was my delight, in childhood, to watch the seals as they lay basking in
the sunshine upon our rocks, or listen with charmed attention to the
"sob of the wave," as it struggled through those stony syphons which
had been perforated by the ocean waters. Seated under the blast-riven
trunk of a stunted oak, I used to weave the web of future fate while
yet a boy, and all my day-dreams were of happiness and virtue.

In the same nook, at a later period, did I plan the revolution of the
state, and trampling, by anticipation, all institutions, human and
divine, beneath my feet, revel in the wishes for success of anarchy and
scepticism. Alas! what a vapour is man throughout his seven ages, when
not governed by the spirit of God within his breast! How easy is the
transition from good to evil, and how ingenious that sophistry which
blends the most discordant elements into one favourite system!

Having briefly sketched the character of my parents, and set them down
amid the Irish Alps, I must proceed to speak of two other families by
whom our western wilderness was peopled, and who were unhappily the
only near neighbours of Glendruid, except a pair of ecclesiastics,
hereafter to be described.

John Talbot Esq. was a gentleman of fortune, that is to say, according
to an interpretation which would often be found to explain that title
in Ireland, he possessed a large tract of territory in fee, and
appeared the undisputed Lord of a widely spread though barren domain,
while his revenues were so circumscribed, that had it not been for the
high-ways and bye-ways of ocean, and a great subterranean vault in
which tobacco, tea, and brandy, found convenient hiding place, all but
the common necessaries of life would often have been wanting. He was
a man of education, just enough to be as mischievous as possible in
such a country as Ireland, where the materials of combustion are always
at hand, and only require a breath to blow them. Mr. Talbot was not a
scholar, and therefore perhaps it was that he held learning and science
in the profoundest contempt. He read, however, all the publications of
the day, and was well versed in the French school; while newspapers,
pamphlets, and reviews, light, loose, and in constant succession,
supplied him with stores for the furtherance of his daily purpose in
fanning discontent amongst the people.

His family had been originally Roman Catholic, but some intermarriage
introduced property and Protestantism at the same time into one of its
branches, of which he was the principal descendant, and he had never
gone to mass, though, unfortunately, he was not nearer to church on
that account. He was an infidel, and the bookcases at Ferney, a name
which, through admiration of Voltaire, Mr. Talbot had superinduced on
the ancient denomination of Kimahone, were filled with the voluminous
works of this favourite author, to which were added those of his
Gallic brethren, and the more recent trash of Godwin, Paine, Volney,
Wolstoncroft, and such like, of indigenous growth. From these sources
he drew his heavy artillery when required, but as I have stated, the
lighter productions of each day's publication furnished abundant
ammunition for a successful warfare against religion and loyalty in a
weekly meeting at St. Patrick's cross, where a few miserable huts,
built on the confluence of four mountain tracks, were dignified by the
style and title of town, and yclept Ballymaclashen.

One slated roof raised its head in solitary pre-eminence in the centre
of these mud-walled tenements, and was commonly called from this
distinguishing circumstance, the "_slat-house_." In front of this
edifice was a pole, the perpendicular position of which was preserved
by an immense _cairn_ of rude stones piled round its base, as though
it marked the grave of some renowned Milesian; and from this pole was
suspended by a pair of rusty hooks, a board, on which was daubed an
equestrian figure attired in patches of red and green, with a full
bottomed wig, and cocked hat. In my childhood this warrior was said to
represent "King George the Third _a hoss back_;" but in after time,
though no change of costume had been carried into effect on the sign
post, the same red man and white horse were ingeniously metamorphosed
by the landlord into Buonaparte mounted on his charger. Underneath
was inscribed, "Lisaned to cell Bere, Ail, & Portur, as likewize
pruf sperrets by Tim Carthy," while "entertenmant for Man and Hoss,"
flourished in a scroll at the bottom to allure the wayfarer who might
stand in need of refreshment in crossing the moor of Ballymaclashen.

Amongst the meaner habitations of this wretched hamlet, two or three
were distinguished from the rest by a thin lacquering of whitewash,
which mottled the clayey surface of the walls into a ground which
served to render legible the ill-spelt and apocryphal announcement,
traced with a burnt stick, that "dry lodgen" might be found within;
while a turf tied in a string, and fastened by a withy to the potato
stalks, which formed the thatch of these miserable dwellings, informed
travellers of humbler description that all the inspiration of that
witching herb which affords stimulus in such variety of charm, was not
confined to the elegant accommodations of Tim, but might be enjoyed
with uncostly "means and appliances." Smile not, ye sleek and pampered
sons of commerce, who gloat upon the wealth of nations, if I proceed
to shew that even the spirit of competition was not a stranger to the
desert scene which I am describing. On one of these freckled fronts,
was scrawled the following sentence, which I shall give in its original
orthography, "Lady ha'punce tuck within and no questions axed."

For the explanation of this singular inscription, be it known, that a
quantity of counterfeit copper had got into circulation, to the great
alarm of the country dealers, who became so suspicious of Hibernia's
effigy, that, seized with a panic, they refused for some time any thing
less than a silver tender, and preferred running on a doubtful score
with their customers, to risking their little property in exchange
for a base coin of more easy attainment; but the dread of non-payment
and avidity of gain, will submit to sacrifice, and the extraordinary
advertisement to which I have alluded, was the device hit upon by Larry
Connell, more crafty, and a bolder speculator than his fellows, for the
purpose of inviting, in the true spirit of monopoly, all the consumers
of his neighbourhood, and securing an exclusive interest which he
hoped might outlive the temporary inconvenience of this fraudulent
medium of exchange. "Nothing venture, nothing have," was Larry's motto,
and the event proved his sagacity, for all the "lady ha'punce" came to
his cabin to be bartered for snuff or illicit whiskey, during a season,
to his cost; but in process of time, when the base metal disappeared,
gratitude and habit confirmed a preference for our liberal trader,
who, like many of his betters, managed by a little splash and cunning,
to acquire a character for generosity, while thinking of no interest
except his own. Such is the race of man; varying in modes; in substance
ever the same.

Well! Ballymaclashen would seem but an unprofitable theatre for the
exertion of oratory; but Cæsar thought it better to be first in a
village than second at Rome, and Mr. Talbot, who was of the same
opinion, did not disdain to wear the bays which were placed on his
brow, to crown him Anacharsis Cloots of the "Slat House." There he
held his political orgies, and there unrivalled, uttered many a
bold harangue to the admiring multitude of red-haired, raw-boned,
open-mouthed, and bare-legged peasants, who flocked from all the
adjacent districts to hear arguments which there was no adversary to
oppose; swallow statements which no one started up to contradict;
and applaud declamations, one half at least of which they did not

Paddy, however, is a quick intelligent animal, and as Mr. Talbot was
largely gifted with natural eloquence, and studied to use language of a
popular _savour_, seasoning the graver topics in his speeches with that
dry humour which to Irish minds is an irresistible _sauce piquante_,
his auditors were enabled to catch, and carry away, a good deal of the
matter which he propounded, and returned to their homes discoursing
all the way, with inflated spirits, of liberty and equality; the
downfall of tithes; the destruction of kingly government; the partition
and recovery of forfeited estates, with all the other themes of
disaffection then afloat, in their own phraseology, and with much zeal
in these subjects of discussion.

Mr. Talbot had a wife and family, who were all bitten by the mania of
the day, and all practised according to sex and age, the doctrines
which they had imbibed. The children were taught from their cradle
to abhor an orange dye, as the livery of Satan, and I well remember
that the first exhibition of prowess manifested by these youngsters,
consisted in an attack with broad swords made of wood, on all the
lilies of that hue, which could be found in the neighbouring gardens.
A horse-leech which had been caught in a pool by a plough-boy, and
brought as a curiosity to the young gentlemen, underwent a merciless
_auto da fe_ for the crime of being spotted with a proscribed colour;
and an old woman narrowly escaped being ducked in an adjacent pond,
for the offence of bringing a basket of fish to the door, in which the
plaice appeared with forbidden tints. All this, and much more, was
encouraged as wit, and while the children were in their infancy, the
unfortunate servants, who were condemned to endure the effects of their
undisciplined self-will and lawless fancies, were the only victims of
that misrule in which they were brought up; but as time advanced,
and energies expanded, the nursery became an arena too confined for
the exercise of _freemen_, and a mob of untutored democrats were now
let loose upon the common, to talk of equal rights, and wield unequal
power, and, like a second deluge of Goths and Vandals, issue forth the
terror and the curse of all around, to barbarise the human race anew.

As the young Talbots grew to man's estate, the only practical evidence
which they gave of sincerity in their professions, was discoverable
in their love of low company, not preferred with the view, it must
be added, of exerting any benevolence towards their inferiors, but
for the pleasure of drilling, dictating to, and domineering over, all
the slavish crew whom poverty and ignorance, hope or fear, induced to
submit to the tyranny of their control.

Dogs, horses, fishing-rods, were soon disregarded for the more
animating amusement of training soldiers for the field. At first a
harmless host, armed with bulrushes, assembled on the green; but
these innoxious weapons were ere long exchanged for more destructive
instruments, and the day-light parade gave place in time, to nocturnal
meetings, to which the mystery of darkness and silence lent an
irresistible attraction. Albinia Talbot, an Amazonian girl of sixteen,
tall, masculine, and uncommonly handsome, furnished all her aid to
these martial exercises, and attended her brothers in all their nightly
excursions. Dressed in a green habit, and mounted on her pony, she
would appear at the rendezvous, and by her presence add the charm of
gallantry to that of prowess.

Albinia's adoption of the rebel politics and uniform, was the hinge
upon which my obedience turned, and I resolved to be deterred no longer
by any authority from following the bent of inclination. I had been
strictly prohibited by my father from joining in any of the exploits
of our young neighbours, of which he received information through some
secret channel; and though strongly tempted by the love of adventure
to transgress the order, I did not yield till my imagination was fired
by the example of a beautiful female, who, imitating the Semiramises
and Hersilias of antiquity, laid aside the timidity of her sex, and
spurning the distaff, rushed forth, inspired by patriotic ardour in her
country's cause.

"What!" said I, "shall it be said that the young and lovely Albinia
disdains inglorious ease, and braves the midnight blast, the fatigues
of the field, and the risk of detection, while I am lying supinely
taking my repose? Shall I be indifferent to the wrongs of that island
which gave me birth, while this noble minded girl, regardless of self,
devotes every energy to the freedom and happiness of a suffering

The bonds of filial submission had long been gradually relaxing. I now
determined on slipping the noose, and delivering myself at once from
the restraint by which I had hitherto been withheld. I had been often
solicited to accept a commission in "_the regiment_," which name the
young Talbots gave to the rabble rout which they were dragooning into
military array; but I had refused, much as I envied them, and wished
to join in the enterprize. Albinia however, as I have said, turned the
balance, and to the next mountain muster I promised to go. While I
live I shall never forget the rapture which, notwithstanding all the
anxiety incident to concealment, and the dread of discovery, I felt at
finding myself not only a spectator, but an actor in a scene so novel
and inspiring, as broke upon my sight, on the first time of keeping my

I had several miles to ride to the place of meeting, at which, when
arrived, I found some hundreds of fine young fellows assembled, who
were regularly marshalled, and put through several evolutions (which
they executed with astonishing precision) by a man who the Talbots
informed me was a deserter, and in their service. The place selected
for these clandestine meetings, was admirably calculated for the
purpose, and presented a _coup d'oeil_ singularly picturesque as well
as imposing. A mixed and confused remembrance of every thing romantic
which I had ever read, occurred to my imagination as I approached the
scene. Gil Blas, the Pretender, and a thousand other recollections
rushed upon my memory, and poured such a tide of the most delightful
visions on my mind, that when united to a dream of Brutus, and the
Scipios, with the more recent names of those who were now endangering
life and property for their country's good, nothing was wanting to
complete the enthusiasm with which I made a vow on the altar of
liberty, that night, to devote my services to the goddess of popular

The spot on which I met my friends was deeply embosomed within a
circular barrier of mountains, the outlines of which gracefully
intersected each other, and seemed to close entirely round a small lake
of water, pure and clear, but dark as Erebus. In the middle of this
lake rose a little green island, beautifully tufted with elder, yew,
and a few withered stumps of oak, which seemed to tell of better days.

This sequestered patch of earth appeared to have been a favourite haunt
of various orders of worshippers, for a gigantic Cromlech reared its
Druid head at no great distance from the remains of a ruined abbey,
furnishing a powerful contrast between the durability of its form and
materials, unaltered in the lapse of ages, and the mouldering fragments
which spoke the vanity of man's best efforts to perpetuate his fleeting

From the main land to the island, a rude causeway of enormous stones,
narrow, but of massy structure, was the _via sacra_ by which thousands
of poor pilgrims, led by the most benighted superstition, annually
visited this vestige of monastic times. I had often heard of the
striking effect produced by the reflection of St. John's fires from
the lake, on the eve of that saintly vigil when the votaries of papal
dominion used to assemble here and perform their religious rites; but
what is always within our reach we generally neglect to seek, and so it
was in the present instance.

As I drew near, the pale and tranquil moonbeams fell upon the
commanding form of Albinia, who, standing on the Cromlech's height,
and arrayed in her vestment of green, addressed the troop who were
listening with devoted zeal, as though she had been another Joan of
Arc, to every word uttered by her lips. She had adorned her hat with
a branch of the mountain ash, to the beautiful scarlet fruit of which
Scotland has given the name of rowan berries; and such was the romance
with which I gazed on her figure, that she seemed no other in that
moment to my eyes, than the genius of Erin awakening from a tedious
slumber to invoke the justice of Heaven on her beloved country. I wept
as I mused on the scene of enchantment before me, while a projecting
crag still kept me out of view, but the tears which I then shed, were
the last that bedewed my cheeks for many a day. I was about to enter
the labyrinth of that false philosophy which hardens the heart, and
every remnant of tender feeling was attacked with such ridicule by my
new advisers, who set their faces against _sentiment_ of whatever kind,
that, under their tuition, I quickly learned to despise all natural
impulses of the human breast.

After pausing for a few minutes to contemplate the assembly, I left my
screen, and appeared in full front of the band. I was received with
such welcome and applause as flattered my vanity to intoxication. No
hero, ancient or modern, could have felt himself more elevated by the
well-earned clang of triumph than I did at hearing my praises sounded
by a mob of deluded peasants. Albinia appointed me immediately to a
company in the corps; she seemed to act as _generalissima_ on the
occasion, and to exercise unlimited control over this rebel multitude,
who looked upon her as inspired.

I was informed by my fair commandant, that she expected much from my
skill, bravery, and judgment; and I resolved to repay the confidence
thus reposed, by the most entire submission to my lovely chief, and the
most perfect devotion to the cause which she supported. I longed for
some distinguishing badge of favour, and would gladly have received a
scarf, or glove, or even the rowan wreath, which would have turned to
amaranth in my keeping, but I am obliged to confess that Albinia was
not a gentle Dulcinea; abrupt almost to coarseness, she shook me rather
roughly by the hand, and presenting me a pistol and powder-horn, said,
"There! I commit these to you, and as you see that as yet we are but
slenderly provided with either arms or ammunition, I request you to
make good use of what is now entrusted to your care."

Our _regiment_ was composed, as I have mentioned, of some hundred fine
brawny youths. They were all dressed in linen shirts which they wore
over their ragged clothes. This garb had the double advantage of giving
an air of uniformity, and also of being easily slipped off in case of a
surprise, against the occurrence of which we endeavoured to guard, by
always keeping a watch in the passes which led to our rendezvous. Our
band were armed with clubs of white-thorn, elder, or whatever else they
could procure. A few of them had old military belts and feathers, which
served to mark the corporals and sergeants; the officers being supplied
from the houses of Ferney and Painesville.

So infatuated was I by these martial exercises, that in spite of the
repugnance which I knew my parents felt to an intimacy on my part
with the Lovetts and Talbots, I gave myself up to them; and, though
by stealth, contrived to be a punctual attendant on the musters. A
brisk correspondence, in which my brothers had been, as I discovered,
employed long before I was called upon to join, existed between us and
all the _mauvais sujets_ in the country. Military tactics formed but a
part of the schemes on foot. As an auxiliary branch of united Irishmen,
we had our committees, secretaries, treasurers, and central offices,
to which we communicated whatever information we had been enabled to
collect, and which we considered likely to advance our schemes.


Such was the state of affairs at the period of which I write, as
touching our _public_ functions; but the condition of private life
remains to be unfolded; and as the inhabitants of Glendruid were not
the leaders, but the led, I will begin with causes before I proceed
to effects, and describe the situation of affairs at _Painesville_,
formerly known by the appellation of Lovett-lodge, and exhibiting
a complete pandemonium at the time in which my tale may be said to
commence. Looking back on Mr. Lovett's family with the sobered views of
forty-five, I must own that nothing could be more preposterously absurd
than the inversion of all natural order in his house.

Mr. and Mrs. Lovett were pupils of that school which directly sprang
from the French revolution, though they had not drank so deeply of
the poisoned chalice as to be openly professed advocates of irreligion
or immorality. They were republicans; and held all the incompatible
doctrines which contradict each other, and the unfortunate consequences
of which are precisely as apparent under a single roof as in a nation.
Of such nature were the dogmas of liberty and equality, so utterly
at variance with the constitution of created things, that were they
introduced by the divine fiat over the face of the whole globe in
perfect balance at the moment of its formation, one generation
could not pass away without witnessing the destruction of a state
inconsistent with the unequal proportions of strength and intellect
awarded by our Maker to his creatures, and therefore never designed to
be continued amongst them.

The uproar of a democracy met the eye and ear on crossing the threshold
of the door at Painesville, where eight children were permitted, from
the earliest age, to exercise their several talents for disputation
without the slightest restraint. Assertion passed for argument,
roughness was styled sincerity, and contempt of all authority was
called the light of reason. When first I became acquainted with manners
so dissimilar from those to which I had been used at Glendruid, I
was struck with an unfavourable impression, and felt like one who
is suddenly introduced from a purer atmosphere into one that is
contaminated; but the moral and physical senses become alike accustomed
to vitiated air, and we learn to breathe freely where suffocation
seemed to threaten. I soon imbibed enough of the popular _Malaria_ to
be quite at home; and though conscious that paradoxes were imposed upon
my understanding, against which the unbiassed mind revolted, I speedily
adopted the nomenclature, and learned to call things by names which
were foreign to their nature; right and wrong often changed places,
and I became an adept in the language of "natural justice--tyranny of
the laws--folly of legislation--wickedness of power--sovereignty of
reason," and the disgusting farrago of a period now gone by, but which,
though its grosser errors are disclaimed by the more judicious, has
left much of its leaven behind.

At Painesville there was nothing but incessant discussion,
replication, rejoinder, mooting of futile questions, and disrespectful
contradiction. Talents were held to be the one thing needful; and
though the heads of the family did not carry matters to such lengths
as to pronounce that religion and morals were of no value, yet the
whole bearing of conversation tended to loosen all existing ties with
either the one or the other. Every subject was tried by the test
of reason; not meaning the reason of the wise, the informed, the
experienced--but of the young, the pert, and superficial. The rapid
conclusions of ingenuity put to flight the sober maxims of truth and
knowledge. Whatever was rendered venerable by the sanction of time
was _litigated_, and brought to the bar anew, to be tried by a self
impanelled jury. At Painesville it was decreed that, "relationship was
a mere accident, which ought not to infringe on the liberty of the
subject, by conveying any right. Children, it was argued, were not
consulted as to their choice--they did not give consent to be brought
into the world; consequently there was no covenant. Nature declared
for equality, in the inferior creation, as soon as animals acquired
physical power to take care of themselves. Why should man be the only
exception to a law thus general, and with superior endowments be
excluded from the charter enjoyed by every other living creature?"

It is painful, even now, to retrace, at this distance of time, the
dicta of a philosophy which has become nearly obsolete, and the very
remembrance of which ought to be expunged; but I am giving the history
of my own times; and facts which I must narrate require a retrospect of
those modes of thinking which gave them birth. The intelligent reader,
who is aware of the moral confusion which followed, upon the adoption
of those principles introduced by the French revolution, will easily
fill up the rough sketch which I have attempted of the Lovett family,
and be enabled to anticipate, in idea, all the consequences exhibited
in the minuter detail of their lives. Such a reader will easily guess,
that on the part of the parents was presented a wild assumption of
those destructive principles which led to the dismemberment of that
country from which they were unhappily imported; while the offspring,
as might naturally be expected, found too much that was gratifying
both to pride and vanity, in the lessons which they were taught, not
to seize them with avidity; and Painesville accordingly exhibited a
saturnalia where the rulers and the ruled exchanged places.

All was chaos and usurpation; Mr. and Mrs. Lovett boasted of the
equality which reigned in their family, and rejected every idea of
governing their children by means of parental discipline. Fear was
decided to be a slavish sentiment, which was not allowed place amongst
the motives which ought to actuate rational beings. "Man was born
free, and judgment was given as the only guide of action. Affections
were mere instincts unworthy of swaying the conduct; and duty was an
imposition on the privileges of the human race."

The young people were not long in convincing their father and mother
that the relation of equal fraternity, once substituted for that
of parent and child, it is no easy matter to retrace the path, and
when the evils of misrule become intolerable from the numbers and
the strength of those whom it influences, to exchange them for the
blessings of legitimate control. The colt too long at large will not
readily submit to bit and bridle; and that rider who would attempt
to enforce the unwonted restraint, will soon be rendered practically
sensible of his mistake.

At Painesville all the members of the family talked together, which
seemed the only symptom of concert amongst them. They quoted Rousseau,
D'Alembert, Gibbon, Hume, Volney, at every sentence. With these authors
I was not acquainted, as they made no part of the study furniture at
Glendruid; but, as I have said already, though conscience winced in the
outset from doctrines so little in unison with those of home, I was an
apt pupil, and speedily adopted a new system of thinking.

My two brothers, who were senior to me, had entered the University
in the year that preceded that of the Irish rebellion; and though
they never remained more than a few days at each examination in the
metropolis, yet my father's parochial duties frequently interfering
with his power of accompanying them, these short visits in Dublin were
sufficient to bring them acquainted with all that was in progress, such
was the activity that characterized at that juncture the republican
energies in Ireland.

The elder of these youths, whose name was Harold, was particularly
amiable, and became the victim of designing men, who worked
successfully on his generosity to draw him into their snares. He took
up the theory of Godwin, and believed, with more sincerity than his
master, in the infinite perfectibility of the human race. Ascribing all
the evil which he beheld under the sun to the various corruptions of
administration, and the venality of governors, benevolence was in fact
the destroying angel of _his_ mind; and he would gladly have prostrated
princes in the dust, and overthrown their seats of empire, in order to
secure "_the people_" in the enjoyment of every good.

Short-sighted politicians, who, rejecting the light of experience,
fell into the error of expecting universal order, out of particular
derangement, and general virtue, as the result of individual crime!
Harold's was a benign spirit, which wished well to every thing that
breathed; but he was not proof against the seductions of the popular
creed, and became completely entangled in speculations worthy of the
source from which they emanated. His temper, which had been naturally
sweet, and open as the morning breeze, changed to dark, sullen, and
secretive. He had been, deservedly, a darling with the best of mothers,
and her grief at his altered deportment may be more easily conceived
than described. It was not that he designed, "as of malice prepense,"
to behave uncourteously, but his mind was absolutely absorbed. The
amusements which had hitherto delighted, no longer afforded interest.
His favourite dog--his garden--his collection of shells and minerals,
were all neglected. Harold, who used to wander for miles along the
sea-shore in quest of specimens with which to enrich his store, and who
hastened to bring the fruits of his labour to that gentle being, the
kindness of whose smile might have warmed the breast of an anchorite,
and whose ready participation in whatever gave pleasure to others
rendered her in better times the beloved friend as well as mother of
her children--lived now immured in his bed-chamber, the door of which
he kept locked while he was within it, and the key was always put into
his pocket when he left the house.

How he was employed no one could tell, as no trace of book, pen,
ink, or writing was discoverable at those times when old Margaret, a
faithful domestic who lived in my family during several years, had
access to his apartment. One day, however, in sweeping the room, she
discovered a small bit of paper which had been torn from a larger
piece, and escaped the flames to which it had been probably destined.
"Central Committee," "Western District," "French Forces," were the only
words from which any surmise could be collected; and these were enough
to alarm her, to whom they bore evident testimony of league in those
treasonable plots which were threatening to involve the country in
civil discord, and endanger the lives and property of thousands.

Margaret, who was well acquainted with the anxious state of my mother's
mind, took the fragment to her, and the latter, watching an opportunity
to remark the effect which it might produce upon her son, fixed her
eyes steadily upon him as he entered the room where she sat, saying,
"Harold, is not this your hand-writing?"

"I am sure it is hard to tell; perhaps it may be," was my brother's
reply; uttered so coldly, so carefully, as to baffle inquiry, and
convince my mother that any further scrutiny would lead but to a more
artful avoidance of the truth, as well as more cunning contrivance
for future concealment. She therefore refrained from asking another
question, but heaved a sigh as she quitted her seat to gain the
sanctuary of her closet.

There _had_ been a time when that sigh would have agonized the soul
of Harold, could he have believed himself to be the cause of drawing
it forth; but his affections were seared, and he saw his mother
turn from him with a breaking heart, undisturbed by the slightest
emotion. My second brother possessed neither Harold's talents, nor
my romance. He was more phlegmatic and common-place than any of the
family. Yet he, too, was infected by the distemper of the times, and
had his part assigned him, in which he was more useful than if he had
been considered equal to higher purposes. He had ever been fond of
shooting and fishing, and as these sports were continued as usual, he
was not suspected of taking much concern in political matters, and was
therefore employed as a safe ambassador, frequently leaving our once
peaceful abode, loaded with despatches which were to be deposited in
the ivied wall of a ruined castle, at some distance from Glendruid. All
who met him supposed that lines, flies, and sandwiches, constituted
the entire freight of a wicker basket which, strapped upon his back,
was in reality the vehicle of a correspondence, the discovery of which
would have doomed its authors to inevitable destruction. The plans thus
carried on were, it is true, carefully wrapped in the concealment of
cypher, but a key is easily found to the most cunning contrivance of
this kind; and in fact at a later period, our devices were all brought
to light.

I have said that my father's circumstances were very limited, and
I should not revert to a subject which involves the remembrance of
privations as humiliating to pride as distasteful to sense, were it
not to preserve a recollection of our real situation in the minds of
such as may read my story, and furnish some excuse for the wanderings
of youth, debarred as we were from the enjoyment of those advantages
which depend upon wealth. Books we had, and a great many of them, but
they had ceased to charm. The standard works of a former day were not
in vogue; the new philosophy had extinguished the wisdom of antiquity,
and reduced it to a dead letter, and the flippant apothegms of the day,
whether applied to religion, morals, or politics, were accounted the
only knowledge worth possessing.

I had no money to procure the modern publications, but the Talbots
and Lovetts were bountifully supplied, and always ready to lend. I
devoured, therefore, with famished appetite, all that I could beg or
borrow, and conveyed my treasure to that rocky recess which I have
described, where, with industry worthy of a better object, I used
to read whatever was recommended by my evil instructors. My poor
father, who was an excellent scholar, found himself at length deserted
in his study, from which his sons retired one by one, leaving this
affectionate parent to mourn over the shipwreck of a sanguine spirit,
which had delighted to anticipate with prophetic zeal the honours
of his children, and wreathe their brows with academic glory; but a
"killing frost" was preparing to nip the tender germ of hope, and
destroy every shoot from which the chaplet of future fame might be

Those who have never been parents cannot, I believe, form an adequate
conception of the sorrow reserved for those who, after having passed
one half of life in expectation, are doomed to spend the other in
disappointment, and reap a blighted crop in return for devoted love and
unslumbering solicitude.

We were no doubt unlucky in the society which chequered the domestic
sameness of our home; not that intercourse with archangels would have
deterred us in all probability from joining in the general frenzy,
but our course was perhaps accelerated by the want of a stronger
counteracting influence than any which opposed our progress. The
adjoining parishes were under the superintendence of two clergymen,
both intimates at Glendruid. They frequently visited at our house,
and were good men, but in no way calculated to control the spirit of
insubordination which was in movement, nor stem the torrent of that
voluble disaffection which was always ready to pour forth abuse upon
every thing really valuable and of sound repute.

Mr. Hill, who lived within a mile of Glendruid, and had the parish
adjoining ours, was a gentleman in education, descent, and manners.
He was at once genteel, moral, and zealous in the performance of what
he believed to be his duty; but he was a weak man, a _tête bornée_,
a formalist. Though his age did not exceed forty years when I left
home, he had a face so long-drawn that it looked as if the grand
inquisitors had got hold of it, and put his features _to the question_.
His countenance was solemn, but not from power or depth of mind, and
presented the oddest mixture imaginable of gravity and imbecility. The
physiognomy tallied exactly with the structure of his mind, which was a
union of _sounding_ sense, with the veriest impotence of reason which I
have ever happened to witness.

Even at this distance of time, I can still fancy that I hear his
long-winded harangues, and listen to his well-turned periods,
unenlivened by a single ray of mental illumination, though uttered
with grammatical accuracy, and the truest attention to accent and
emphasis. Whether the conversation related to a mouse or a mammoth,
the same laborious correctness of diction, the same flaccid sternness
of expression, marked his dull observations on either the one or the
other. If church matters were the subject of discussion, he would
treat with equal gravity the divine right of tithes or the bleaching
of a surplice; and seemed quite incapable of seeing any gradation of
sin between an atheist and a dissenter from the rubric of our English
Prayer-book. He would no more have altered the shape of his band,
than he would have changed his creed, and would have been nearly as
much shocked by seeing the pulpit of his church transplanted to the
opposite side of the building, as to have encountered a denial of the
thirty-nine articles.

From such a man little aid to a sinking cause was to be expected, and
I well remember the uneasiness of my father whenever Mr. Hill entered
the lists of theological controversy, from the unfortunate hand which
he made of an argument. There was enough of importance, however, in the
bearing of the man, to prevent his being summarily put down, though
every topic of human inquiry withered into nothing in his nerveless
grasp. In short, he was a pompous nonentity, who, like an empty cart,
made more noise than a full one; and a rumbling succession of sounds
supplied the place of sense, covering the deficiency of his faculties
from the view of stupid people with whom he passed for an oracle. We
of the new school resolved all the inflated emptiness of this good
man into the absurdity of his profession, and, as is usual with the
scoffing fraternity, visited on religion whatever lack of skill we
discovered in her advocates.

Such was our clerical neighbour on one side, while on the other resided
the Reverend Mr. Stockdale, a man in every way different from him
already pourtrayed. Tall and muscular of frame, commanding in aspect,
and powerful in understanding, but irritable of temper, Mr. Stockdale
resented with vivacity the rapid inroads which a shallow but impetuous
torrent of new fangled doctrines was daily making upon all the solid
bulwarks of ancient authority. He was a person of strong intellect
and great erudition; but the powers of his mind were precluded
from assisting him in debate, through the impatience of his honest
indignation; galled and provoked at the changes which he beheld working
destruction all around, he was not calm enough to contend with a callow
brood of upstarts, who offered perpetual resistance, in every word
which they uttered, to that creed established in unmolested sway within
his breast, during a ministry of thirty years. During this long lapse
of time not a doubt had troubled his repose, not a single adversary
till now, had ever disputed the grounds of his faith.

When this excellent man made his appearance occasionally at Painesville
or Ferney, he was attacked on all sides with rude disregard of
his sacred calling, and though primed and loaded with ammunition,
a moderate dose of which would have frittered the puny opponents
arrayed against him to atoms, yet unluckily it was not _ready_ for the
conflict. Long disuse had rusted over a fine piece of ordnance; the
_cannon_ missed fire, and not only required to be rubbed up, but to
be set to a lower level, to make it available. Thus it unfortunately
happened that a set of reasoning coxcombs, who owed their apparent
triumph to pertness and audacity, often seemed for a time masters of
the field; and, silenced by the presumption of these tyro combatants,
the worthy pastor was frequently surprised into excitement of temper,
and returned discomfited to his rectory-house, bewailing, as he
regained the mountain fastness, the flood of infidelity which had burst
upon the land, and his own incapacity to arrest its desolating progress.

The rebel crew were not slow to find out here again, that religion
could not be of celestial origin, because Mr. Stockdale, pushed
to extremity by the taunts of arrogance, was not endued with that
unalterable coolness which the indifference of scepticism can assume at
will. He could not always curb, as prudence dictated, the ebullitions
of a holy zeal which lighted spontaneously into flame, when all that
he possessed on earth, or desired in heaven, was assailed with wanton
disrespect and indecency. He wore also a large cauliflower wig, a deep
shovel hat, long waistcoat pockets descending to his knees, and leaned
on a cane, with a head of battered gold. This costume served to sharpen
our ridicule, and increase the vexation which awaited our friendly
neighbour, whenever he quitted the protection of his upland dwelling.

At Glendruid I might ever behold the influence of piety in preserving
the most beautiful equanimity of temper under the provocations which
every hour produced; but I had been too well taught to give credit to
any thing under the paternal roof. Parents in _my_ day were held in
contempt, as mere instruments by which being was conferred on another
generation, and the opinion of a father or mother was so far from
giving a bias to the conduct of their offspring, that their approval
of any person, book, or sentiment, principle, or mode of action, was
considered by us of the philosophic school as _primâ facie_ evidence
against whatever was so applauded.

The restricted society of our house received occasional addition
likewise from the visits of two elderly ladies, who were first cousins
of my father. The Misses Cresswell were frequent members of our family
circle, and served to whet my genius as well as excite my spleen. They
were women of real virtue and high principle, but doggedly tenacious.
They thought together upon every matter of judgment, and would not
give up an iota upon any one subject of debate. I hated, and used to
take delight in stirring them to opposition, by an assault on some of
their favourite tenets. They piqued themselves on their orthodoxy,
and were what is called high church; _so_ high, that I detested
steeples for their sakes. They lived in the "Black North," and were but
slenderly provided for, yet ever employed in doing good; and nothing
distressed my parents so much as to see them ill-treated.

The quaint wardrobe of these two old women, was another source of
merriment. They seemed as if newly shaken out of lavender whenever
they came to Glendruid, and I preferred the savour of garlick to the
perfume of that fragrant herb, which was associated with the idea of my
cousins Cresswell. I have been since reminded of my own unwarrantable
prejudice, by hearing a friend of mine declare, that he could not
endure the works of a celebrated author, because he always found
a volume of them open on the table of his dentist, and the finest
passages were combined in his memory with some piercing pang or
awkward chasm in his jaws.

_My_ imagination had no such train of cause and effect to urge in
defence of my rude conduct towards these my harmless relations, and as
they are dead and gone they will know nothing of my repentance; but
their blind deference to names and forms was to be lamented. Provided
that a man wore lawn sleeves, it little mattered whether he was wise
or foolish, learned or unlearned: he was a _Bishop_, and, according
to their creed, whatever he uttered must necessarily be law and
gospel. "My dear, the Reverend Mr. Smiler had it from his Lordship's
own mouth," was an unanswerable reply to an objector against any fact
related in the presence of these good souls.

One day I ventured to retort to this invincible argument, "And what
care I for the bench of Bishops, if they talk nonsense? Many of them
hide asses ears under their great wigs."

Such a speech was the acme of impropriety, and was repeated with
uplifted hands and eyes: my iniquity was then considered at its
height, and every day furnishing new cause for animadversion, the
visits of our cousins became at first less frequent, and were then

My brother Charles and I rejoiced that we had frightened away the
musty lavender bags, and should hear no more quotations from Saint
Chrysostom. I have not yet mentioned my sisters, the number of whom was
reduced by death from five to two. I had been deeply attached to Maria,
the younger of those who remained; and till the demon of democracy
chased every amiable feeling from my heart, we had lived in the most
entire harmony and confidence. Notwithstanding the unceasing efforts
of my brothers and me, to warp the minds of these dear girls, they
resisted every evil impression. It was sufficient for them to know that
their parents disapproved, to turn them from any temptation, however
alluring; but their virtuous resolution obtained the character of
"inflexible obstinacy, narrow bigotry," or some such equally unkind and
inappropriate appellation.

Had it not been for the soothing tenderness of their daughters, I
know not how my unhappy father and mother could have sustained their
accumulated afflictions. The loss of their children had weighed heavily
on their spirits, but these trials, distressing as they were felt to
be, were sent from Heaven, and did not agonize their disconsolate
hearts like the disunion of those who were spared. They bowed with
resignation to the will of Him who gives and takes away, and believed
that every sorrow from the Almighty came on an errand of love, to warn
or wean the souls of His creatures. It was the machinations of the
foolish and the bad, that subdued their minds, and bent them down to
the earth. The events which they saw occurring daily, confounded their
penetration, but with patient, though broken spirits, they strove
to await the end, baffled as they were in every attempt to avert or
restrain the tide of opinion, which had become too strong for control.


Such was the gloomy state of affairs at home; while abroad all was
wrapped in a cloud of mysterious uncertainty. Day after day we met
each other in melancholy estrangement. No joyous open countenance
smiled upon the social board. No cheerful conversation seasoned the
frugal repast. A deadly silence knew no interruption except from some
endeavour at dry uninteresting common place, which, like a doubtful
light that serves but to "render darkness visible," had the effect of
saddening, rather than enlivening our domestic group. My father was
afraid to trust himself with uttering a syllable which might lead to
discourse upon exasperating topics, while grief appeared to choke my
mother's voice. Her changing form proclaimed the undermining work which
was going on within, and sapping the vital holds of her constitution.
Oh! and her unnatural sons were so insensible to her decline, that
though witnessing its progress, we neither tried to mitigate the
symptoms, nor to console, though it might not be permitted us to
remedy. No length of life can abate the pain with which I cast my eyes
back upon that angelic being; nor can the penance of self-reproach
extract the sting which is fixed in my breast by the memory of
ingratitude towards a matchless parent, now no more.

It was our custom to separate directly after dinner, each desirous to
shorten a period of restraint, and pursue individual occupation or
device. When the weather was fine, we were generally out of doors, and
contrived to avoid the tea-table, family prayers, and "good night;"
a parting wish now reduced to lifeless form by the absence of that
affection which, where it grows, imparts and receives a new spring at
each recurring assurance of its existence. Our evenings were sometimes
employed in secretly furthering the United Irish Correspondence;
at others in galloping over moorland and mountain, according to
appointment with our fellow conspirators, with whom we had clandestine
meetings almost every day.

Every hour was big with rumour; and suspicion of treasonable designs
began to fall on many of the higher classes. Informations poured
continually into the castle of Dublin. The lower ranks were universally
disaffected, while numbers of the gentry were paralyzed by vague and
painful terrors of the coming explosion. The co-operation of the French
was hoped for by one party, as it was dreaded by the other; and all
believed that the first successful landing which was effected on our
coasts, would prove the signal for a simultaneous rising of the people.
Many were secretly departing from their homes to wait the issue in a
place of safety. Others, unable to quit their local property, or desert
their duty, were employed in using precautionary means to meet the
threatened danger. Revolt and massacre were talked of. Servants were
unfaithful to their masters. Tenants conspired against their landlords.
The kind "good morrow" of the passing rustic was converted into a
sullen scowl; and all the friendly courtesy of intercourse between
high and low was exchanged, at this awful juncture, for distrust on
one side, and hatred on the other. Our moral condition resembled that
in the physical world which precedes the horrible visitation of an
earthquake--darkness and the silence of death pervaded the scene of
former life and occupation; and imagination fabricated a thousand
spectres still more terrific than those perils by which the loyal part
of the community were really surrounded.

It was the evening of the 10th of February, 1798, when the weather,
which had been unusually mild for the time of year, became suddenly
tremendous. The sky lowered; and torrents of rain broke loose from the
clouds, as if a water-spout had that moment burst over Glendruid. Such
was the unremitting violence of this deluge that no one could quit the
shelter of a roof, and the whole family found themselves in the unusual
situation of being imprisoned for several hours together beneath its

The consciousness of having done wrong is as powerful a separatist in
morals, as the principle of caloric in physics; and though confined
within a space of not very wide dimensions, we contrived to keep aloof
from each other. Sensible of the deep wounds which we had inflicted,
my brothers and I had no inclination to encounter the reproach which
we justly deserved, and therefore avoided giving an opportunity for
accusation. Not as yet visited by remorse, we had no desire to make
reparation, and therefore sought to escape the scrutiny which we
resolved should not be satisfied.

The unceasing drench, however, which I have mentioned, prevented us
from leaving the house, and we were at last obliged to assemble, not
having any excuse to allege for resisting a summons to that effect.
Tea being finished, and night closing fast upon the dejected circle,
they drew their chairs involuntarily round a sullen fire, which none of
the party appeared inclined to stir, lest a cheerful blaze might seem
too strongly contrasted with the gloomy features on which it played.
The wind began to rise, howling at first a piteous wail and moaning
through every crevice which gave it vent. After a solemn pause, it
would then burst at intervals into gusts which threatened to sweep the
earth and its inhabitants away.

What a being is man! This tempest, heightened at length to fury, was
the first occurrence which roused within my breast the long unawakened
sense of our deplorable state. There is something in a violent strife
of elements which forces itself upon the most obdurate spirit, and
strikes conviction of human weakness on the mind. As I glanced from
time to time on the pale and agitated countenances around me, I felt
oppressed by a sensation which was not easy to define. It was neither
fear nor affection, but it was a mixture of repentance, with that
desire of communion natural to most mortals under the influence of
extraordinary excitement. The billows roared tremendously, and every
dash of the sea against the dark and frowning cliffs which beetled over
the flood, came rolling on like thunder. The convulsions of the country
rendered the storm awfully impressive; the ear was held in fearful
tension, while uncertain sounds mingled in the blast like shouts of
human voices, approaching and receding, rising and dying away again.

It was a dreadful night; but as no enemy advanced, and imagination
seemed more busy than reality, in threatening danger, the family
retired a little later than usual to their several apartments. When
I reached mine, overcome by the struggle of feelings which too often
slumbered, I threw myself into an old arm-chair near the head of my
bed, and would have given more than I possessed, that tears such as I
once could shed, had come to my relief, but tears would not flow.

"Good God," I exclaimed, "can this hardening of the heart--this
stifling of natural sympathies--this close, secretive, frigid
philosophy--be the road to happiness? Are those who have thrown off
the ties of religion, and learned to contemn the commandments of their
Creator, in the path of peace and virtue?"

These and other self-directed questions were put to my heart in the
stillness of solitary examination, and the answer of conscience
appalled me. I prostrated myself on my knees, and I, who would
not give my parents the satisfaction of thinking that I ever sent
up a petition to heaven, now fell instinctively into the language
of supplication, and broke into an agony of prayer. A few minutes
more, and I firmly believe that I should have been found weeping on
my mother's neck. How she would have clasped the penitent to her
bosom! But in the very instant when I was rising from the ground, the
door of my room was gently opened, and she who had little reason to
love or care for me, urged by all that powerful impulse of maternal
solicitude which never sleeps, put in her head to assure herself that
her ungracious child was safely protected by the shelter of his chamber
from the hurricane which denied her repose.

This unexpected apparition worked a sudden revolution in my
feelings. Ashamed and mortified at having been caught in a posture
of humiliation, my wretched pride regained its empire, and I rudely
inquired of my mother what she wanted.

"Only to see that you were here, Albert; God bless you," was her soft

She closed the door, and my contrition was at an end; the yearnings
of returning affection were given to the winds, and locking my door
with an angry violence, which I intended should say, "I will not again
suffer such intrusion," I extinguished my candle in a rage, and plunged
into my bed, but not to rest. To sleep was not so easy; the storm
increased every moment, and though I had never been wanting in the
animal boldness called courage, I had a chill at heart that night as if
the phials of Almighty wrath were pouring out upon a guilty world, and
the judgment of God preparing punishment for the wicked.

In spite of all the sophistry with which my tongue had become familiar,
conscience was not silenced, but forced the reluctant confession, that
my associates and I were mischievously engaged in aiding a rebellion
which would probably terminate in much bloodshed and misery, while
_true_ patriotism was the last motive that influenced our conduct.
The fact was, that like all agitators we were impelled by motives as
various as the several characters on which they operated, and were
kept together by an imaginary bond to which, for the convenience of
compact, we gave a name very foreign from our real purposes, and in
reality little connected with the welfare of our country. I knew even
at the time when I was most closely leagued with the Talbots and
Lovetts, that they were both selfish and violent. These young men
governed the rest of our confederacy with despotic sway, to which, with
all our boasted independence, we implicitly submitted.

Thus are we cajoled in every stage of our existence. Perpetually
deceiving ourselves, we applaud or revile not the principle but its
application, and the same conduct which is the theme of our reprobation
becomes that of our praise and adoption, when happening to chime in
with our prejudices or our wishes.

I was in a musing vein, and notwithstanding the riot of conflicting
elements abroad, I lay pondering mournfully and restlessly, when my
cogitations were interrupted by a gun. I started up, and by the time
that I groped my way to the lobby, I found the whole family assembled.
My mother stood in a listening attitude, holding a little lamp, which
she always kept burning at night, in her hand, and ere we had time to
interchange a sentence, the sound of a second shot put an end to all
uncertainty, and the only point left to conjecture was the cause of
this firing. Some thought that we were going to be invaded by a rebel
party, while others feared that a ship had foundered in the bay.

As the latter belief preponderated, it was suggested that we should
instantly sally forth to the cliffs, and try whether it might not be
possible to render assistance to the sufferers. Here was a crisis which
broke through the reserve which had become habitual amongst us, by
one of those forcible appeals to humanity that bear down whatever is
not in unison with their own prompt and virtuous impulse. All memory
of bitterness was now suspended in the common interest excited by the

Reader, have you ever known the unaccountable perverseness of a
stubborn soul, in the pride of unsubdued passion, resolved to be
miserable rather than abate a high spirit, though you longed, with
gasping impatience, for any event which, without your own intervention,
might place you once more at ease with those whom you had offended? If
you have, my sensations at this moment will not seem strange to you. I
had not expressed any sorrow for the past, nor lowered my dignity by
any promise of amendment for the future; yet here I was on a sudden,
running to and fro, and talking familiarly with father, mother,
brothers, and sisters, as if harmony had never been disturbed. Those,
on the other hand, who have never experienced the perversion of mind of
which I am giving a history, will find it difficult to comprehend how
this hour of dismay and anxiety should have been the happiest which I
had known for a long time, resembling what a man feels on the removal
of a burthen which had pressed with intolerable weight on every muscle
of his frame.

An old Scotchman, who had grown grey in our service, was one of the
first who appeared in the group, and lighting a candle, which he put
into the great stable-lanthorn, he called Harold, Charles, and me, to
accompany him. Away we flew, and many minutes did not elapse before we
reached the steepest part of the headland which overhung our bay.

What a scene presented itself! The rain had ceased, but it blew a
perfect hurricane; the scud drove furiously across the sky, while
now and then the broken beams of an angry moon darted on the ocean
a wild and scattered light from under dense masses of the blackest
clouds, which sped athwart the heavens as if bent on some message of
destruction; the waves rolled mountains high, and dashed with wild
impetuosity upon the rocks, roaring in thunder as they approached
the shore. Gun after gun was fired, but at such a distance that we
despaired of being useful. We knew not how or whither to direct our
efforts, but stood close together, trying to resist the force of the
tempest, and endeavouring to catch any sound that might guide us to the
scene of distress, when the shriek of a female voice, borne distinctly
upon the blast, afforded dreadful assurance of shipwreck near at hand.
The cries were repeated with increased agony, and were louder or
fainter as the wind rose or fell.

With one accord we hurried down the rocks as fast as the irregular
crags over which we had to scramble would permit. As we descended, a
fearful scream of anguish met our ears, after which we heard no more.
All but the raging of the storm then died away, and by the time that we
reached the bottom of the cliff no sound of human woe mingled in the

A poor fisherman and his family lived at a little distance in a cavity
amongst the rocks, and thither we next directed our steps. I was the
first to gain this miserable hut, the door of which I found wide open,
swinging to and fro on its crazy hinges. We called aloud to Kelly, his
wife, and sons, but received no answer. M'Farlane, the old Scotchman,
proposed that we should go farther down along the shore to a little
creek, in which Kelly's boat was usually moored. When arrived at the
spot, there was no boat there. We hallooed again, but in vain; no
living being seemed within hearing; all was silent save the winds and
waves. As the tide was rapidly retiring we groped along the sands,
holding the lanthorn close to the ground, and searching, as carefully
as its uncertain glimmer would allow, for any vestige of the wreck,
which we concluded that day-light would but too fully exhibit.

While thus employed, Harold's foot struck against something soft which,
on examination, proved to be a small spaniel with a collar round its
neck. The poor animal was quite dead, and holding it up to the light,
we read the name of Henry Talbot. The shock of this discovery was
indescribable. A thousand vague, yet terrible surmises rushed upon my
imagination, and before we were able to retrace our path to Kelly's
hut, where we determined to wait the break of day, an oar over which I
stumbled, and which we found branded at one end with the letters D. K.
afforded awful conviction that a dreadful catastrophe had involved the
unfortunate fisherman, and perhaps others, in a watery grave.

We took up the oar on our shoulders, and on reaching Kelly's cabin,
which had been empty when we first visited it, we were not a little
surprised to find his wife lying flat without signs of life upon
the clay floor. We raised her, and perceiving that she was not dead,
placed her gently on the wretched trestle, which, covered with straw,
and a blanket, served for a bed in this lowly habitation; and taking
the candle from our lanthorn lighted a few dry sticks which were piled
in a corner. We then removed poor Norah to the fire, took off her old
water-soaked cloak, and began to rub her hands and feet with all our
strength. We discovered a bundle of rushes too, which having been
dipped in grease, serve the poor Irish in place of candles, and were
glad to avail ourselves of their feeble aid, not only for presenting
some sort of beacon to any vessel which might be nearing the rocks, but
also to assist our search for any thing with which to moisten the lips
of the dying woman.

At length I discovered a bottle which held a remainder drop of whisky,
and seizing on this treasure, we hastened to try its life-restoring
powers on our patient. While my brothers and I were thus busily
occupied, M'Farlane drew from the corner cupboard, in which I had
found the bottle, a small bit of soiled paper folded up, on which, when
opened, the following words appeared written in _printing_ characters,
apparently for the purpose of disguising the hand that traced them.

"Be sure not to fail us. You know the place, and the hour. A vessel
will lie to, off the Bay. Let nothing tempt you to betray him. A better
reward than money will crown fidelity. Finish the good work which you
have begun. I depend also on Norah and the boys. If we succeed in
getting _him_ safely out of the country, all will be well. She will see
him on board, which I am sorry for, as the weather is unpromising. We
must land at the Black Point, after doing our job. This goes by a sure
hand. Be prepared early; read, and burn.

  "Yours, truly ----"

"Hah, hah!" cried M'Farlane. "I see plainly enough now how it is. Here
is a plot, and the plotters are taken in their own snare. A heavy
judgment from Heaven is come upon them."

I sprang towards him, and snatched the paper from his hand, anxious
to prevent him from getting hold of information not intended for him;
but he had read all the contents; and though there was neither name nor
date to apprise us of the actors, it was plain enough that Kelly and
his sons had been employed with their boat to convey some mysterious
personage from the coast; while it was equally manifest that the writer
of the billet, whoever he might be, and the female to whom he alluded,
designed to return, after executing their trust, and placing their
charge securely on board a vessel ready to steer, in all probability,
for France or America.

M'Farlane could never be induced to take part in any of our schemes,
and had lavished much useless advice to deter me and my brothers from
joining in what he called "the wicked folly of the times." He was hence
a person of whom we stood in some awe, and with whom we held very
little communion, considering him, as we did, no better than a spy; and
I felt exceedingly vexed and annoyed at his having been set on spelling
and putting together these few dark words, which told sufficient to
excite curiosity.

I turned and twisted the paper which had been crumpled up, and was
probably reserved for lighting Kelly's pipe, in performing which
office, the poor fellow seemed to think it would be time enough to
obey the injunctions of his correspondent by destroying it. The words
already noticed were written with pen and ink, but on minuter scrutiny,
I deciphered on the outside, scrawled with a pencil, and nearly
illegible, a sentence which was apparently designed as a postscript to
the note.

"Take care, and let not a syllable escape your lips _up the hill_. Many
matters now afloat, must be kept secret from _that quarter_."

What is the meaning, thought I to myself, of "up the hill?" and
it instantly flashed across my mind, that Glendruid was the place
indicated by this expression, and that I was one of those to be kept
in the dark respecting all proceedings. We who had toiled early and
late, sacrificed food and rest, frequently hazarded life and liberty;
and spent every shilling which we could command, were to be treated as
aliens, as enemies!

Is this gratitude? exclaimed I. I hastily resolved to separate myself
immediately from men thus undeserving of confidence; such treachery was
intolerable, and I longed for an opportunity of resenting it, though
caution would be necessary, lest I might injure my cause with Albinia
by renouncing all future league with her brothers. My resolution was
not the result of good feeling, it was only the effervescence of
sudden indignation, and events succeeded which prevented its practical
steadiness from being brought to the test.

During the short interval in which I was engaged by these reflections,
my brothers continued their efforts to revive the cold-stricken Norah.
After many fruitless efforts, they at length accomplished their object.
A few drops of the cordial whisky were swallowed, and in a little time
she opened her eyes, which she rolled wildly round, and starting from
her bed, shrieked aloud--

"Oh Dan a Vourneen, where are you? Where is Jack? Where is Timsey?"

Her eyes lighting on _our_ faces, not those of her husband and
children, she relapsed into another swoon, long and deep, from which we
had great difficulty in recovering her.

At last she sat up, and clasped her sun-burned hands together in an
agony of grief, rocking her body backwards and forwards to a piteous
wail, which the Irish call Ullagone; the dirge music in which they
mourn their dead. She gave no answer to our entreaties that she would
try and compose herself. In vain did we inquire what had happened, and
ask how we could possibly afford her any relief. She did not reply to
a single question, but rolling her tearless eyes in their sockets,
staring now at one of us, and then at another, but without appearing to
take notice of any, the hapless creature continued her melancholy howl,
beating her breast and tearing her hair.

At the expiration of an hour's ineffectual effort to obtain the
slightest information from Norah, we determined on removing her from a
scene so dreadful as that of her now lonely abode, leaving M'Farlane
behind to watch the fire till our return. Just as we were going to
take Norah from her cabin, the sagacious Scotchman bethought him
of an expedient which operated like magic on the wretched mourner.
He recollected the national superstition, and exclaimed, in an
expostulatory tone, "Oh then, is it like a fond wife or mother, to say,
that you'd let their ghosts roam for ever and ever, without rest or
quiet, rather than tell where we might look for the bodies, and bury
'em like Christians?"

This idea roused Norah's torpid senses. She started as if she had been
shot, and would have rushed out of the house, if we had not fastened
the door in the instant that she was about to dart through it.

"Yes, Norah," said the persevering Scot, "they will wander, and be
unhappy, if you do not tell all you know, and let us try and find them,
that they may be _waked_ properly, and buried with their people."

"God bless you; God bless you;" reiterated the frenzied Norah; "Go to
the Black Pint; och, 'tis the Black Pint."

"What took them to the Black Point at this unseasonable hour, and in
such a storm?"

"What else but the boat, gramachree," answered Norah.

"What were they doing in such weather as this?"

"Fishen, dear, fishen," was the poor creature's lying answer.

"No, that is impossible, Norah," said I; "you must not deceive those
who would befriend you. Dan Kelly knew too well when it was coming on
to blow hard. He would not venture his own life or that of his sons in
such a night as this. It is no fishing time. Tell what you can of the
affair and every help shall be given you."

"I knows nauthen, asthore. For the honour o' God, dear, ax me no more,
for I can't tell any thin but only that they war strugglen home agin
the tide, and were maken straight for Black Pint when a big wave (oh
then, oh then, oh then!) hised away the boat and capsized it. There's
no more to be tould, only my darlens is gone, holy Mary mark 'em to
glory, and 'tis I that's dissolit to day." Norah wept bitterly as she
uttered these words. I besought her to tell me who, beside her husband
and sons, had been buffeting the billows in the boat on that awful

"How does your honour think I can tell! 'Tis enough for me, that them
that's gone, _is_ gone. Oh! cuishla machree, Timsey, my darlen of all
my darlens."

Mac Farlane, perceiving that I made no great way in my catechism,
brought forward the little dog, which had lain by in a dark corner
of the cabin, and carelessly turning it with his foot, said, in a
soliloquizing manner, "Poor little brute! you are more lucky than your
master. He is gone, to be sure, with the rest of 'em, and will be
without christian burial too, while you will be laid in the ground as
if you had a soul to be saved. I wonder, Mr. Albert, whether the party
in the boat were lost before they reached the ship, or whether they
ever were able to put the stranger on board." Norah had not till now
seen either the oar or the dead dog, and fell into the most extravagant
lamentations at sight of them. Terrified at finding M'Farlane, as she
now believed, in the secret, she fell on her knees, and in a tone of
the most earnest supplication entreated that he would not divulge a
single particular.

"Some of 'em may be alive yet. May be all wouldn't be drownded, and if
they war, the sperrets o' the dead, Misther Mickfaarlin, would never
laive you alone if you spaik. Oh! Sir, and the widdy's blessen on you,
don't be villeefyen them that's gone. Laive 'em quite any way, for
they've enough to trouble 'em without _that_."

"I wouldn't harm the dead, woman," said M'Farlane, "any more than you.
'Tis a pitiful case. Only tell his name, and her name who was with him,
and your fortune is as good as made. If you speak truth, my master will
send an account of it all to the castle o' Dublin, and you'll be sure
of a purse o' gold that will keep you in comfort for the rest o' your

"I'll tell nauthen but what you know," replied the sobbing Norah; "and
there's no use in axing me, for I'll die before I tells upon 'em. What
do I want of cumfurt now? If money would make tell-tales of any that
lived in this cabin, as poor as it is, would'nt we be riden in a coche
and six long ago fur spaiken plain, but though they're down in the salt
sai, I'll not fret 'em, I'll hould my tongue, and Misther Mickfaarlin,
if you war'nt a sassenah (no offence, Sir), you would'nt be the one to
turn the harts o'the dead frum me. Oh then! oh then! a wee-nough Dan,
and Tom, and Timsey asthore! If 'tis a thing that they braiks every
bone in my body, or cuts out my tongue, they'll get no good o' me, for
the sorra a word I'll spaik, no more than the dead himself."

No cunning of M'Farlane's could elicit farther, and though so strongly
prompted by curiosity, which triumphed over every other feeling, that
I had endeavoured myself to come at the bottom of the melancholy tale,
I admired the noble devotedness of this affectionate woman, upon whom
no sordid motive had the slightest influence. She would willingly
have laid down her life, rather than betray the cause to which she
had sworn fealty. Oh! how the generous heroism of poor Norah, and her
enthusiastic fidelity even to the shades of those who had been dear
to her, put to shame all who, without a spark of disinterested zeal,
first involved, and then abandoned a people, many of whom gave proofs
like this of the tenderest and most unselfish attachment. Norah,
suddenly recollecting that the removal of the dog might damp the spirit
of investigation, seized a spade which stood in the hut against the
wall, and turning up the clay floor within the hurdle which served as a
partition between the outer division of her hut, and the interior where
she slept, deposited the little animal, collar and all, filling the
hole, and stamping the ground with her feet to make all smooth as it
was before. In this labour of love towards the memory of the departed,
her grief seemed forgotten in her anxiety to conceal whatever might
injure any survivor whose cause her husband and children had espoused.


We succeeded at length in detaching Norah from the scene of her loss,
and having left her in the care of my sisters, we repaired again with
the dawn to the beach, which we diligently searched for miles along the
shore, and found covered with mounds of oar-weed-timber, rope ends,
and other indications of the last night's storm. A weather-beaten hat,
which bore no mark to ascertain who had been its owner, was all that we
picked up which told that human being had been on the seas that night.

The kindest attention was shewn at Glendruid to the unhappy Norah,
and as she continued to persist in pleading ignorance of every thing
beyond the misfortune which deprived her of all she loved on earth, she
was spared after the first examination. But the "hundred tongues of
rumour," were soon unbound.

In the course of the following day, a report was industriously
circulated that Albinia Talbot and Richard Lovett had gone off upon a
matrimonial adventure to Gretna Green. The two families affected to be
much displeased; and as their consternation was sincere, though not
proceeding from the alledged cause, they were enabled to act their part
with specious appearance. On pretence of being severely shocked by the
event, access was denied to visitors both at Painesville and Ferney, so
that all communication was suspended for the present moment. My father,
however, though not in the habit of calling at either house, conceived
himself called upon as a pastor to offer kind condolence, if he could
do no more, and on the third day after the reported elopement, he set
out on a ride over the mountain to try whether he might not be able to
mitigate the wrath which he heard had been excited against the young
people, and prevail with their respective families to forgive an act
which could not be recalled.

His road lay through Ballymaclashen, where there was a post office
at M'Carthy's public house, which he was to pass, and calling for
letters, he was presented with an enormous government packet, filled
with printed proclamations, which were forwarded to him from the
castle, with an official requisition to have them posted in the most
conspicuous situations. These printed papers, minutely described by
name, dress, and personal appearance, the very young man whom I knew to
be my brother Harold's dearest friend and ally, offering a large reward
for his apprehension, and stating that he was known to have taken
refuge in our mountains, from whence it was supposed that he meant to
escape across the seas. My father read the proclamation aloud at the
chapel door, as well as that of the church, and ordered the old sexton
to get some wafers and stick up the notices throughout this village.
Imagining that this new circumstance might throw some light on the
story of the Gretna fugitives, he hastened his steed and pushed forward
towards Ferney.

When arrived at Mr. Talbot's, he learned that on the preceding morning,
before daylight, the whole family had set off to Dublin in the greatest
speed to try and overtake their daughter. This intelligence was
received from a cowherd, who seemed the only person left about the
place, and my father having expressed his concern that any thing should
have occurred to give pain to his neighbours, added a hope that the
young gentlemen were all safe.

"We have been uneasy," said he, "lest any fatal accident had happened
on Tuesday night, when Mr. Henry's dog, you know, was found at
Glendruid. We all feared that he might have been in poor Dan Kelly's
boat, when he and his sons were drowned."

"Och no! for what I know they're all safe enough," answered the
cowherd: "Croppy follied Dick Lovett, who lost him as he was comen
home, and the dog was swamped, they say, among the rocks."

"Good day to you then," said my father; "I shall call and ask how the
family at Painesville are this morning."

"You may spare yourself that throuble, Sir," rejoined Bat Higgins; "all
the Lovetts are gone full cry afther the young couple to some place in
Scotland; I think where they say that a blacksmidth is all as one as
the clargy, and buckles the people as tight as the best of 'em."

As it was growing late, and the country had long been unquiet, my
father, fearful of alarming my mother by being out after sunset, turned
his horse into the homeward path, little pleased with the gruff,
unceremonious manners of the cowherd, and pondered the altered style of
the peasantry, and the mysterious departure of his neighbours, as he
rode along. In passing again through Ballymaclashen he found that the
proclamations were all torn down, in the short period of his absence.
He inquired, but could not learn who had shown such disrespect to
Government and to him; and observing a sullen uncivil deportment in
the people, who neither touched their hats, nor said a courteous word
as they had been wont to do, he thought it prudent to advance without
irritating them by farther interrogations; so, sighing as he ascended
the heathy barrier which lay between the village and his once cheerful
home, he ruminated, as he said, on his return, upon the evil days,
which it was God's will that he should encounter, and prayed for a
divine blessing to sustain him against whatever ills might be yet in

As he wound down a rocky pathway, lying between gigantic stones,
loosely piled together so as to form a sort of rude wall on either
side, a man suddenly glided from behind, and seized his horse's bridle.
My father was unarmed, and supposing the person who stopped him to be
one of a gang, determined on his destruction, believed his last moment
to be at hand; but ere he had power to speak, the man, first looking
affectionately at him, and next casting a hasty glance all round, to
make sure that he was not observed, whispered softly the following
words, as rapidly as possible:

"Plase your Riverence, dont be angry to me for stoppen ye. 'Tis to do
ye a good turn, for myself does be in danger of limb and life while
I am spaiken; but sure 'twas you and yours that often kep me and mine
from starvation, when we were all lien down togither, in the agee,
and why would I see a hair of your Rivirence's head hurted if I could
help myself? These are bad times, and your sons ought to take care o'
themselves. May be they might be afther knowen more about the boat that
was racked the other night, and consarnen them papers too, in your
Rivirence's hand, than they ought to do for their own safety and yours.
Take the warnen, and God bless your Honour's Rivirence, and never tell
to man or mortial who tould you this much, though sure in the main time
I tould you nothen at all that would bring any one into throuble. I'd
scorn _that_ any how!"

So saying, the apparition vanished, and was out of sight in a moment.

My father, as may be concluded, returned home in great agitation. We
sat down to dinner, and immediately after the cloth was removed, he
detailed the particulars which I have related in the presence of my
mother and sisters; and making a solemn appeal to our sincerity,
calmly and affectingly called upon my brothers and me, by all that we
held most sacred, to reveal truly and without prevarication, all that
we knew respecting the events of Tuesday night. It happened, as I have
already stated, that though deeply implicated in other matters, we
were really ignorant of this sad story, and not thinking it necessary
to volunteer in answering to any thing beyond the scope of the precise
interrogatory, we replied with that degree of boldness and promptitude
which bespeaks truth, that we were not acquainted with a single
circumstance relating to the catastrophe of the storm, which was not
equally known to all the country, and as to the proclamations, we had
never heard of their contents till my father brought them home, and
could not afford any clue to the discovery of the person sought for.

When we had given this assurance, my mother, in tears, threw her arms
about our necks, and I shall never forget the thrilling tenderness with
which she exclaimed, "My beloved children, let the dangers by which
we are encompassed be a bond of union amongst us--let the warnings
of this day teach us wisdom--let domestic love bless our family
circle--and let us pray earnestly for the protection of Him who can
alone guard us through the perils which seem to beset our path. If
happiness and peace be in store for us, will they not be doubly enjoyed
in concert? If misfortune be our doom, what care or sorrow is not
alleviated by sympathy?"

Alas! I _suffered_ my mother's embrace. I did not repay it; and from
the cold demeanour of Harold and Charles, it appeared that her maternal
affection met with no kinder reception from them. We were metamorphosed
by the spirit of the _Times_, and pride would not permit even a tacit
acknowledgment that we had been in the wrong. A retractation of the
opinion which had been adopted in our school would have been considered
unpardonable weakness. My mother looked chilled to the heart. Her fond
love was repelled, and the returned tide seemed almost to deprive her
of breath. Yet she upbraided not, but shook her head in silence. My
father said something to which I paid little attention, and the group
dispersed as was their usual custom.

The stimulus of late events began to wear off. Day after day glided
by in gloomy stillness, rendered oppressive by the anxiety which was
common to us all. The dark reports in circulation--the mysterious
departure of the Talbots and Lovetts, perplexed us painfully. Yet,
at the present juncture, to have indulged curiosity by taking such
steps as might lead to information, was full of peril, and the
restraint which we found it necessary to impose upon ourselves
became intolerable. I had an additional torment to endure, which was
exclusively my own, and I suffered the most intense mortification which
wounded self-love could experience.

Jealousy was a strong feature of my character. I had attached myself
with enthusiasm to Albinia Talbot, and now felt roused like a lion
from its den, and could find no solace except in perpetually wandering
along the shore, and gazing on the ocean, as if I expected that the
waves of the sea would speak and divulge all that I desired to learn. A
sort of invincible attraction led me continually to the cliffs, there
to muse on the faithless Albinia. It was certain that, under other
circumstances than those in which I had been placed, she would not
have been the goddess of my adoration. Her beauty was dazzling, but it
wanted softness. She might have represented Bellona, and seemed formed
to command--to conquer--but with the gentle graces of female loveliness
Albinia had no relation. The limited circle however of my acquaintance
afforded very slender means of comparison, and imagination supplied
all that reality denied to decorate the object of my devotion with
perfections which only exist in the Poet's dream.

I made verses, and used to "mar every tree" with writing love-songs in
their bark. The name of Albinia had mounted on every breeze, and was
returned by the echoes of our caverned beach. I had never, it is true,
_told_ my love, and had therefore no right to conclude that it was
reciprocal; but youth is full of confidence and credulity. Albinia's
manners were abrupt, but then she was a _patriot_, and her mind was
engrossed by the wrongs of her country. "When the public ferment
subsides," thought I, "will be fit time for disclosing my sentiments. I
shall then,

          '---------- tell my tale
    Under the hawthorn in the vale,'

and no doubt be favourably received." In the mean time I excused
all the coldness, rudeness, and undutifulness of my own conduct
at home on the plea of this delirium of my brain. I dignified the
exclusive surrender of my affection to Miss Talbot by the character
of _concentration_, and rather piqued myself upon being savage to all

"Great souls," said I, "disdain the paltry interchange of mere civility
and benevolence. They soar above such tame observances, and refusing to
be bound by the slavish ties of kindred--love and hate _grandly_."

How little did I then know of that ennobling passion, which softens
and refines while it occupies the heart--or reflect that brutality
to parents, and neglect of sisters, evinced the spurious nature of
my attachment for Albinia! But could it be possible that this queen
of my homage--this theme of my muse--this idol of my devotion; she
who nerved my arm to anticipated deeds of glory--who absorbed my
thoughts by day, and stole upon my nightly visions, had eloped with the
unpoetical Richard Lovett, who had nothing but a handsome face and form
to recommend him; Lovett, who had never held a "descant to the moon,"
nor breathed a "sonnet to a lady's eye-brow." Unheedful of my feelings,
ungrateful for my worship, had Albinia laughed at my woes, and deceived
my penetration?

Fevered by these questions which I could not solve, I used to seek
the cooling zephyrs from the bay, and withdraw from the scrutinizing
observation of my father and mother, who were, I remarked, at this
time anxiously watching the post in expectation of letters; but I was
too much engrossed by my own affairs to make inquiry, or feel any
solicitude which did not come home to self.

It was just a fortnight after the fatal hurricane, when one grey
and lowering morning I sought my usual haunt, and hastened after
breakfast to leave the house, and brood over my misfortunes in the
solitude of my favourite cave, amongst the rocks. As I sat, more than
commonly depressed, "chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy," and
like all selfish natures believing that my lot was marked by peculiar
and unmerited severity--that I was decreed by fate, or providence, or
whatever power ruled the destinies of men, to suffer more than any of
my fellow beings; I wasted many precious moments in angry repinings,
while a volume of Homer, which I never opened, lay at my side, to
give me an air of occupation should I be surprised in my retreat. I
gazed vacantly on the sea, and know not how long my reverie might have
wrapped every sense in forgetfulness of passing time, if my attention
had not been caught by some unusual appearance floating on the surface
of the water. At first I took it for a mass of oar-weed, but as it
approached the shore a vague apprehension crossed my mind that it
was a human form; and, hastily descending the rocks, I watched with
breathless emotion till the tide washed it slowly into the creek,
directly beneath my feet. What language is capable of conveying, even
in the faintest degree, an idea of the horror which thrilled through my
frame at the sight of Albinia Talbot so changed, so disfigured, that
her dress alone proclaimed her identity!

I grew sick, and staggered unconsciously to a projecting point of the
cliff, for support. My head seemed to turn round, my sight failed me;
and fully a quarter of an hour elapsed before I recovered my senses
sufficiently to make farther examination. At last I ventured once more
to approach the body, round which the well known green habit, her
beautiful hair, and the tangled sea weed, interlaced, to form Albinia's
shroud. So terrible to the mind of man is the awful transformation
wrought by death, that a cold dew crept over me as I attempted to clear
away the sedge from features so lately lighted up by the fire of health
and animation. Good God, what a spectacle was unfolded to my view!

But I will arrest the shocking description, and not press on any other
memory than my own that appalling recollection which will only be
erased with my latest breath. As I took a half averted glance at the
deceased object of my affection, I perceived a ribbon which passed
round the neck, and to which some trinket appeared to be suspended. I
disengaged the band with desperate resolution, and pulling it from the
habit which adhered closely to poor Albinia's breast, drew out a small
flat enameled case, which opened with a spring. A ring, swivel-seal,
and little piece of folded paper, fell upon the ground. I hastily
collected these reliques, and retiring from the water's edge, hid
myself behind the rocks to examine them more attentively.

The ring was of gold, with a plait of hair, and the letter P. carefully
concealed within a simple hoop. The seal was of a beautiful Irish
amethyst, and finely engraved; its device, Hibernia dashing down a
crown with one hand, and receiving a dagger from heaven with the
other, while a harp, with some of its strings broken, stood by her. On
unfolding the paper which had on one side two or three monograms, and
an alphabet in cipher, I read on the other the following words, in
an unknown and apparently feigned hand writing: "I hope that you will
not be mad enough to think of seeing me on board the----. The weather
is threatening, and the sea-faring people expect a gale. I implore you
to beware of risking your safety. I send you the _key_. Give the ring
which accompanies it to Ladhor. You will forward the seal according to
our arrangement. Farewell. I trust that ere long we shall meet again.
Though clouds may occasionally obscure the horizon of our hopes, the
cause in which we are engaged must finally triumph."

The whole mystery appeared now unravelled. The possession of that seal
which I knew to be the one used in sealing the rebel despatches sent
to France, marked a _chief_, and I had no doubt that it was consigned
to Albinia's care by the person described in the late proclamation.
I discovered him also to be no other than the friend of my eldest
brother, by decyphering the name of Harold in the transposition of
the letters which formed Ladhor. It also seemed evident that the
necessity for rapid flight had prevented my brother from either meeting
or hearing from his friend, whom, by the bye, I had never seen, and
who it would appear, had in some accidental manner met with Albinia,
and entrusted her with these commissions, to be executed after his

Here, then, was the melancholy truth, and the Gretna-green expedition
was a mere feint, to cover the mournful reality, and prevent suspicion
from attaching to the families of Ferney and Painesville. Whether
Richard Lovett had been on board the boat or not, seemed uncertain,
but whoever accompanied the ill-fated Albinia had probably shared her
sorrowful fate. The object had plainly been to put a rebel leader
safely out of the reach of those emissaries who were endeavouring to
apprehend him, and those strenuous partizans in the cause of freedom
had lost their lives in accomplishing the enterprize.

My jealousy was now for ever hushed to sleep. Alas! had I not been
enabled to explain the conduct of her who had excited it, the sight
on which my eyes had rested, furnished an all-powerful remedy for the
passion which had been an inmate of my bosom. I have since learned by
experience, that the tenderest affection may survive, after the tomb
has closed upon those beings most dear to our souls; but the hand
of death, in common cases, deals gently with our sorrows, and casts
a veil over the objects of whom he deprives us ere yet the living
memory of the beloved form is impaired. No love could stand the test
by which mine was now tried; nor outlive the shock which it had just
sustained. No impression remained to mingle with my pity except that
of horror and amazement. I lingered for some time, unable to remove
myself from the scene which had nearly deprived me of power to exert a
muscle. At length I wrapped up the enamel-case, and its contents, in my
handkerchief, which, putting into my pocket, I resolved to keep secret.
If I spoke of finding these things, I should be obliged to bring them
forward at an inquest. I therefore determined to mention the body only,
without farther particulars, and at a distant day I might contrive
some unsuspected mode of conveying the ring, which was his property, to

My next step was to place a great stone on the extremity of poor
Albinia's outer garment, to secure the corpse from being carried out
again to sea with the ebbing tide. After this precaution, I ran as
quickly as I could; pale and faint; to tell my story at the house.

My father lost no time in taking measures for the usual form of
inquiry, but no witnesses appeared to give additional information.
"Accidental death" was returned by the coroner; and poor Albinia's
earthly remains were attended to the grave by all the family of
Glendruid, who, in this act of tender feeling towards the dead,
forgot how little they had ever approved her living conduct. Norah
was a principal figure in the melancholy procession, and bewailed her
misfortunes afresh; but as nothing appeared to contradict the story of
a clandestine union, the rumour still maintained its ground, and it was
conjectured that the parties, desirous to elude pursuit, instead of
proceeding directly by land, intended to cross the bay, and make their
way through bye roads to Dublin.

The political ferment was daily increasing, and indications of
rebellion were continually alarming the well affected.

In about a week after the funeral of Albinia, a packet of letters
arrived one morning by the bare-footed messenger who acted as post-boy
at Glendruid. As my father had written to Mr. Talbot informing him of
all that had happened, directing his letter to Dublin, on the chance
of its reaching its destination, I thought it probable that the packet
just arrived might be from my Ferney friends, and loitered accordingly
in the room where we had breakfasted, hoping to hear some tidings of
the absentees.

None being communicated, however, I stole away as usual to the sea
side. My heart was dreadfully oppressed. Restless and aspiring by
nature, I had no means of gratifying either my activity or my ambition.
The transient dream of love which had filled my imagination, and
furnished materials for many an air-built castle, which served to
beguile the passing hours, had vanished. The blank which my mind
experienced was insupportable. I would willingly have done any thing
to change the scene, and give a new current to my thoughts. I envied
the weather-beaten ploughman who toiled for his daily bread, and would
gladly have engaged in the most laborious occupation which might detach
my memory from recent events. The spectre of Albinia, arrayed in all
the horrors of the deep, was present everywhere; and the particulars of
that frightful picture disturbed my sleep. I could not read; if I fixed
my eyes but for a moment on a book, I found them wandering; and if I
compelled myself to finish a page, I had no impression of its contents,
on which the outward sense had only been employed, while attention
strayed and resisted all control. Sadly and listlessly lounging in my
rocky recess, I heard M'Farlane's voice calling my name. I started up,
and advancing to meet him, was informed that my father and mother had
gone to the Glyn, whither they desired that I should follow.

I felt little satisfaction in obeying this summons, conscious as I was
of not meriting any agreeable communication at the meeting, and always
fearful of scrutiny into my conduct.

What misery is the portion of those who quit the path of duty! but
I made no such comment _then_, though I practically experienced its
truth, and writhed under its influence.

When I reached the rustic seat in the Glyn, where my parents awaited
my coming, a mingled sensation of sullenness and shame produced
awkwardness on my part, the pain of which I still remember. How
beautiful the youthful glow of artlessness and affection! I could not
look up, yet disdained to cast down my eyes, and attempting to brave
feelings which I could not escape, sent round a furtive unmeaning
glance, which dared not rest on any object, but spoke the perturbation
of my soul, while it affected the ease of indifference. My mother's
eyes were swollen with weeping, and my father's cheek was blanched with
inward corrosion of heart.

"Albert," said he, "sit down, and listen to a determination which
concerns you. Your mother and I have resolved on accepting the kind
offer of your uncle, who long since desired to have one of our sons
sent to Quebec; but we declined the proposal. There was a time in
which we fondly hoped to see our children provided for nearer home.
None of you wished to engage in commerce, and your happiness"--here my
poor father's voice faltered--"having ever been our dearest earthly
object, you were indulged at the expense of worldly prudence, and I
gratefully refused for you all, my brother's kind invitation. Your
uncle remonstrated; censured my weakness; and foretold that a day of
repentance would come. Such a day has arrived, but to propitiate a near
and dear relation who felt wounded by the rejection of his services,
appeared a difficult task. It was very doubtful too, whether in times
like these, he would incur the hazard of taking into his house a person
of your age, who might not be found easily trainable, and who might
also, perhaps, carry along with him the unwelcome contagion of that
fatal epidemic which is desolating Ireland. The matter, however, is
accomplished; your mother has succeeded; the lot falls on you, and
we shall lose no time in making the necessary preparations for your
departure to Liverpool, whence you are to embark for Canada. I do not
give you any option. You have ceased to be a child, it is true, but
you have acted too like a mischievous one to be allowed any farther
latitude. We have no fortune. Our sons must depend upon their own
exertions for independence. Though I fear that you care no longer for
our affection, you will nevertheless have our prayers; and may He who
alone can soften your heart make you sensible of your errors, and guide
you in the paths of virtue."

My mother could not utter a word, but she held her hand to me; I took,
and pressed it with some energy, but my sudden animation was caused by
the joy of seeing a prospect opened for quitting home. This was truly
emancipation, let it come in what form it might, as the breaking up
of Painesville and Ferney had destroyed the local interests, which
I had mistaken for a more comprehensive principle; and the tragical
termination of my romance with poor Albinia, had left a chasm
impossible to be described. I hated the idea of being a merchant, but
the distant evil merged in the present good. My fears for the future
were undefined, while the rapture of leaving Glendruid was certain.
Hope was soon busy in weaving a gay tissue of things to come. The deep
affront which had been conveyed in the paper discovered by Macfarlane,
rankled in my breast, and in fact had served to turn me from the party
who had acted with such dissimulation as disgusted my self-love, though
it had not the effect of converting me to better views.

My uncle was a stranger to me; I had never seen him, but he was
accounted a sensible man. No doubt he was a modern philosopher, or
if not, my eloquence would soon persuade him. America was a soil in
which the tree of liberty already flourished. I should breathe an
atmosphere of inspiration, I should detail with all the ardour of young
enthusiasm those scenes which I left behind, and paint with raptured
glow the noble struggle for freedom which was in progress. Unfettered,
unconstrained, I should revel in the wilds of intellectual expansion;
and if catching fire from the reflection of my own fervor, I were to
transgress the dull limits of _mere fact_, and embellish my story in a
good cause, there would be no troublesome truth-teller at hand to shake
his head at me. Listening crowds would admire, and my uncle, proud of
his nephew, would encourage the exhibition of my powers. My fame would
extend. It would soon be discovered that talents like mine were suited
to higher purposes than penning consignments of cotton and indigo; and
that my abilities were somewhat above the farrago of "sugars dull, rums
looking up, pimento flat, coffees lively, tobacco smart," and all the
vulgar gibberish of trade. I should first be my uncle's idol, next his
heir, and conclude by performing a conspicuous part when I returned on
the theatre of Europe.

These idle fantasies are tedious to record, but passed with such
rapidity through my mind, that after a short pause, during which my
silence was perhaps attributed to contrition for the past, I assured
my parents of my entire willingness to acquiesce in their plans; and
arrangements were immediately commenced.

Time, which had crept slothfully with me, now trimmed his wing. My days
were no longer spent in moping along the beach, nor my mind evaporized
in fertile reverie; I was employed from sun-rise to sun-set, in
examining maps, exploring Gazetteers, collecting whatever newspapers
and magazines I could find to aid my future exploits in oratory,
and making all the preparation within my slender means for my great


At length the welcome day arrived, "big with the fate of Cato and of
Rome;" and on a brilliant dawn, the sun shining brightly as though in
harmony with all mankind, did I bid adieu to the home of my youth. I
was not so completely lost to every good feeling, as to take leave of
my mother without emotion. I could not forgive my father for being a
clergyman, nor my sisters for not adopting my political speculations,
but my mother, that kindest of mothers, was fading sensibly away. Her
sinking spirits and wasted form, bespoke a saddened soul; and when I
felt her tears bedew my cheek, something like affection glowed at my
heart, and I embraced her with a transient gleam of contrite tenderness.

Oh! could I have foreseen that I should never behold that face again,
perhaps my obdurate nature would have yielded to the softening
influence of maternal love; but I broke through the scene, and hurried

I was to cross the Bay, and embark in a little boat from the Black
Point of stormy memory. Though I traversed the waters in the same
direction which had been fatal to that unfortunate little band, not
one of whom it was supposed had survived to relate the terrors of a
night which had exchanged for them the warm realities of this busy
world for the "cold obstruction" of death, my mind was too elate for
reflection. Though I was bidding, perhaps, a last farewell to all that
I once loved, the buoyancy of my spirit was more subdued by dread of
any obstacle which might impede my flight than by thoughts so naturally
calculated to awaken sorrowful remembrance. I pressed onwards with
eager speed. Maria had slipped a packet into my hand as I pushed
from the shore, and my brief supplies being all comprised in a small
portmanteau and a bag, I was soon on board, and gazing with new-born
transports on the receding landscape.

Such was my anxiety to quit the scene of early days, that I did
not breathe freely till having shaken hands with my brothers, who
accompanied me to the opposite side, I saw them splash their oars
again, on their return to Glendruid. I then placed my luggage on the
shoulders of a bare-legged youth, whom curiosity to see the landing,
had attracted to the strand, and set out on foot for the little town,
from whence I hoped to find speedy conveyance to the capital.

I walked fifteen miles on that day, and Irish miles are not of the
shortest, nor the smoothest, but I felt as if they had been only so
many yards. Arrived at the wretched tenement, styled, through courtesy,
an inn, I asked for refreshment, and thought a tough fowl, with its
accompaniment of rancid bacon, both barbarously dressed, and worse
served up, the most delicious morsel I had ever tasted. Exhilarated
by my repast, I became more gladsome every moment, and sallying forth
into the miserable stable-yard of this obscure place, I collected
round me a set of raggamuffins, who are always to be found idle and
lounging in such situations, and beginning with a few of the favourite
watch-words of the time, delivered an harangue by way of experiment to
the delighted rabble.

I talked with loud voice; expounded political doctrines; praised free
trade, and free thinking; abused the Protestant ascendancy; assured
the people, who only wanted employment, that they were groaning under
a vicious administration; informed them, that though they were free
to go to mass every Sunday, and receive every rite of their Church
from the hands of their priests, they might, notwithstanding, rely
on the fact, that they were suffering martyrdom from persecution on
account of their faith, interspersing my oration with such palatable
incitements to exertion for the recovery of rights which had, I
maintained, been wrested from them by the hand of lawless strength,
that my audience became frantic with applause; but I own that I was
confounded by a practical illustration of my remarks on the shamefully
unequal distribution of property, which now awaited me, and furnished
the comment on my text. My new travelling cloak which I could ill
replace, had disappeared while I was addressing the mob. "Ungrateful
miscreants," said I to the landlord, "only imagine such an act, at the
very moment when I was wearing my lungs out in their cause!"

An old man, who had reached the inn on horseback, with his valise
behind him, and enormous spatterdashes buttoned up his legs, just as I
arrived, smiled complacently at me as he listened to this apostrophe,
and stepping up, said with a kind, yet sarcastic air:

"Young gentleman, you should be proud of your eloquence, which has
proved itself so fruitful. No doubt, as you have a coat, which in all
likelihood the thief had not, he thought that you might dispense with
your cloak, upon the principle of equalization which you had been
propounding. If you will do me the favour of drinking tea with me this
evening, I will try what I can do for the recovery of your property,
through the aid of a few maxims very different from those which you
would instil. I am a magistrate, and it is my duty to translate the
little words _meum_ and _tuum_ for the poorest as well as the richest,
who come within my jurisdiction."

I would fain have avoided the tea-drinking, but my cloak was not
to be relinquished without an effort, and fearing to offend my new
acquaintance by a rejection of his invitation, I accompanied him to a
little shabby room, with sand-sprinkled floor, where a coarse apparatus
of delft covered with all colours of the rainbow, was arranged on a
small oak table, while a kettle, black as soot, was singing merrily on
a turf fire.

As the reader may imagine, I was not asked to this _tête-à-tête_
for the pleasure or profit which Mr. Vicars (for that was his name)
expected to derive from my company. His benevolent purpose was to
admonish me upon the folly of my conduct, which he did with excellent
sense and discretion; and though his advice produced no beneficial
result at the time when he gave it, I have often thought of his counsel
since that accidental meeting. When the clock struck nine, I wished him
good night, alleging my intention of being early on the road the next
day, as a good excuse for retiring, and getting rid of a conversation
for which I had no taste. Mr. Vicar's took from his pocket a little
bible, and I have not forgotten what he said as he put it into my hand.

"Young man, you profess your love of independence. Here is a volume,
which if you will accept from me, and study with care, will secure
you in the possession of that peace which 'the world can neither give
nor take away.' Look round you at all the finest schemes of earthly
contrivance. They are all rendered abortive without the co-operation of
numbers. Of what use is the most ingenious invention, if people will
not use it; or the best theory, if men will not reduce it to practice?
There is the science of political economy, which is just beginning to
emerge from darkness; you will find much evil, if I mistake not, grow
hereafter out of the application of its principles, not because the
wisdom of Smith and Turgot is no longer wisdom, but because the very
best _human_ scheme ever devised, carries its own infirmity along with
it; and if England cannot prevail on all the countries of Europe to
accord with her view's, and join in her reforms, it is in vain for her
to set up for free trade. If she should do so, she will only succeed
so far as she is able to render the adoption of her principle general
over the countries in commercial relation with her; but the guide which
I give you, will pilot you through the roughest weather, and carry you
safely into port, though all around were one universal wreck; here is
the only real independence."

I thanked the worthy man for his good intentions, but declined his
gift, saying, that as I was born of pious parents, I concluded I should
find, when I opened my trunk, that spiritual food had been provided for

"Then," resumed Mr. Vicars, "I have only to hope that you may inwardly
digest it, and so farewell."

My cloak was irretrievably gone, notwithstanding every effort made to
regain it, and I resolved not to harangue the people in a stable-yard
again on the equal partition of property, without better securing my

Before I went to bed, I broke the seal of the packet which my sister
had given me at parting, but seeing that it contained a letter from my
mother, which I concluded was a lecture, accompanied only by a note in
Maria's hand-writing, I folded them up again, not feeling in a humour
for farther exhortation after the dose which I had received from the
stranger. The ardour of the morning had been damped, and I was not too
well pleased with the latter events of the day; however, a good night's
sleep, I thought, would restore my temper, but I had horrible dreams.
I saw Albinia's graceful form, her rowan berry wreath, and green habit
just as they appeared when she addressed our troop from the Cromlech;
I heard shouts of triumph, then a shriek of despair; now lights were
flickering along the cliffs, and Kelly's boat next appeared in the act
of sinking.

"Hang this web of tangled fancies, the fruit of that prosing man's
strong tea," said I, as at break of dawn, I rose from my uneasy

A common country car, was the only vehicle I could procure, "_the
chay_" being in the hands of a wheelwright five miles off; so ordering
this humble conveyance to be tackled, and filled with straw, I desired
my luggage to be stowed to the best advantage, which done, the
machine was driven on by a stout mountaineer, who sometimes walked,
and sometimes sat on the shaft of his car, as circumstances invited.
I varied my journey too in like manner, and enjoyed anew the ethereal
atmosphere of liberty, when I found myself on the top of a high hill,
snuffing the "unchartered air," and free from all human bondage.

"What are the gaudy trappings of wealth but so many shackles imposed by
luxury! What the ceremonies of a court but fetters inflicted by tyrant
fashion to restrain the will, and destroy mental energy!"

Thus did I reason while crossing the barren waste that lay over the
broad heath-covered height, which my rustic charioteer assured me was
the nearest short-cut to the great city. The morning was balmy, and
the air breathed into my heart. The perfume of Nature was delicious;
the song of innumerable birds exhilarated every sense, and I was
in such harmony with all terrestrial things, that happiness seemed
scarcely capable of increase. The pure, invigorating breezes, which
played around my head, appeared to minister a flattering unction to
my pride, in giving fresh activity, and imparting added clearness to
every faculty of my understanding. The vexations of the preceding day
were forgotten, and the world seemed to lie before me glittering in the
brightest perspective. I could have addressed a senate, led an army, or
done any thing that depended on strength and elasticity, in that hour
of inspiration.

But the path was rough, the way was wearisome, my horse grew tired; a
few biscuits and water from the spring, afforded but scanty sustenance,
and by the evening, as we descended to the beaten track of men, and
saw the wide mail coach road stretching before us, the poor peasant,
whose uncultivated intellect I had deplored, in comparing his untutored
phrase with my own glow of fluent language, had now his moment of
triumph. Calm and untired, he plodded over the craggy declivity;
smoking his pipe with as little excitement as had accompanied his
setting out, while my sand had run down, and I was exhausted with
fatigue. Unused to refinements of any kind, my poor driver knew no
want beyond what the simplest accommodation might remove, while I had
already learned that I was _not_ travelling on a bowling-green, and
that I _was_ travelling in a carriage without springs.

As I approached the high-way, I began to feel something like a sense
of shame creeping over me while I contemplated the possibility of
meeting any one in my own condition of life. "It is never ungenteel
to walk," thought I, and therefore, weary as I am, I will keep at a
little distance from my unsightly equipage, and enter the little town
at which we are to halt, on foot. Along the king's high road then, I
made the best speed that I was able to do, lowered as was the tone of
my spirits since first meeting the morning gale on the mountain top. My
philosophy, too, had taken a more humble level, and much of my boldness
had evaporated.

Proceeding slowly, and with fallen crest, I heard a rumbling noise,
and turning round espied a rattling, tattered, post-chaise advance.
As it gained upon me, I heard my name roared from one of its broken
windows, and stop! stop! shouted from another. Two young men stepped
out--a joyous shake hands ensued. They belonged to our mountain muster,
and were going up to College examinations. A few minutes settled
the transfer of my luggage, and placed me between them. This was a
delightful omen, in my mind, of prosperous fortune. All were pleased
with the unexpected meeting, and the poor bony beasts that drew us were
the only dissentients to the new arrangement. Their opposition was
overruled however, and away we went.

Four delectable days were passed in Dublin, with these young men and
their associates; but the sinews of pleasure, like those of war, reside
in the purse, and mine was too ill provided for longer dalliance. I was
obliged to sail most reluctantly, but not till I had laid in a store
of sedition, bought all the cheap prints of the day, and established
correspondences, by which I was to learn all the news from Ireland.

On reaching Liverpool, which was a new world to me, I went in quest
of the gentleman to whom I was consigned. I found him in a princely
residence surrounded by all that wealth could purchase. Mr. Arnold
received me with most friendly hospitality. He was a man of high
character in his dealings, and regarded all things in this sublunary
sphere with more or less respect as they were connected with commerce,
which in his opinion was the _summum bonum_ of earth. Considering, as
he did, the Hibernian disturbances with the most profound contempt,
he was more amused than shocked by details of our civil warfare;
and seemed greatly diverted by my pompous accounts of marching and
countermarching, attack, and defence. Any attempt at interrupting the
established order of Church and State, was, in his eyes, the grossest
absurdity, and to be put down, _vi et armis_, by the strong hand of
power. He never troubled himself with history, and therefore was not
aware of former revolution, or at least despised the Irish so entirely
that he did not apprehend any resistance which millions of them could
make. I used to burn with anger at hearing him say, "Sir, I would hang
them every one, or, if I could, I would tie a stone to the Island and
sink it like a dog in the sea."

Numbers of people were flocking, about this time, to Liverpool for
refuge. Some, through fear of the rebels, and many from dread of being
considered such themselves, and treated accordingly. Mr. Arnold was a
single man, and of convivial habits. His custom was to give the whole
morning to business, and relax at four o'clock, with a few friends, at
an excellent dinner, of which several of my countrymen were happy to
partake, and pay for "solid pudding with empty praise;" and the most
exaggerated descriptions of "hair-breadth scapes, and fights of flood
and field," to the great diversion of their host. Some of these men had
been obliged to fly with nothing more than the clothes on their backs,
but such was the kind feeling excited for the refugees that they were
received with the most liberal hospitality, not only by the wealthy
traders, but into a society, which at that period could boast of being
distinguished for literary taste, talents, and acquirement.

It was wonderful to observe the fascination in which a company,
composed of highly gifted and enlightened individuals, were often held
by the dramatizing mountebanks, who came in droves amongst them; one of
whom I particularly recollect, a coarse and vulgar man, but a master
in the art of producing _effect_. His eye was quick as the lightning's
flash, and could discern, with such celerity, the various expressions
of countenance around, that he felt, with the rapidity of intuition,
who, how, and when he was moving by his eloquence.

I remember his affecting a numerous audience one day by a story which
furnished a good specimen of his manner. It was of a boy who had
suffered death for treason. The particulars of his trial and execution
were similar to other details, of which the orator had recounted so
many, that attention ceased to hang upon his words, and he began to
feel that eyes and ears were dropping off. When, suddenly rising from
his chair, and pointing as if to the fatal tree, he exclaimed,

"Behold, my friends! see the accursed agents of despotism bearing that
child to an ignominious death! Look at the little ruffled collar which
plays to the breeze on that innocent neck which is presently to feel
the hangman's murderous gripe--and sigh over your fallen country!"

The "little ruffled shirt collar" achieved the desired end, and not a
cheek in the room remained unbedewed, so well did this man understand
the power of minute and incidental circumstances in working on the
human soul.

Like grammar rules, which are amassed in the memory long before they
are understood or applied, my observations were made, because I had
leisure to look on, but without affording any salutary deductions till
a far subsequent period. My youth, and the retirement in which I had
lived, gave me perhaps an awkward air, and though treated with the
utmost good nature, I was not brought forward, which wounded my vanity,
and afforded me much more time than I wished, for meditation upon many
subjects, though I had not then sense enough to turn the remarks which
forced themselves on my view to my own advantage.

One conversation however struck me, and inspired caution, absurd and
wrong-headed as I was. A question was asked, in my presence, of the
orator to whom I have just alluded, whether, in case that a certain
insurrectionary attempt, instead of failing, had succeeded, the persons
who had been principals in the design would have been rewarded with the
chief situations, civil and military, under a new order of government.
The answer imparted a new light to my mind.

"Pooh, pooh! Not at all. They _thought_ so, and therefore worked hard
in the cause; but they would neither have become consuls nor dictators
I promise you. They were not half bold enough for popular esteem.
These half-measure men are very useful; nay, indeed, necessary, in
the commencement of a general revolution. While events are doubtful
they serve to tranquillize the timid and restrain the impetuous, but
when matters are ripe for action, these fair and softly folks are
sacrificed, as a forlorn hope, to make way for those who come after,
and rush to the battle when a breach is effected. When the _people_
are in commotion no gradual reform will satisfy. The mob, including
all violent men of whatever class, do not desire to have grievances
redressed; and are disappointed, like Lydia Languish in the play,
when, instead of the dear ladder of ropes, chaise and four, and Gretna
Green--the consent of parents and friends leaves nothing in prospect
but a peaceable hum-drum marriage. Calm tempers, rational purposes,
and moral systems, are very well for _beginners_ and are valuable
instruments. They cajole the unwary, and gain time for the desperate;
but the advocates of tame projects will always be sent overboard as
soon as they have performed their part. In fact they are nothing more
than stepping-stones, and when the factions have, through their aid,
safely forded the river, they are voted to be impediments to the free
flow of the stream, and removed accordingly."

I was deeply attentive to this exposé, and forcibly impressed with
the baseness of men who could requite the services of unsuspecting
adherents with cold blooded treachery, using their best friends merely
as scaffolding, to be thrown aside on the completion of the building.
The scrap of paper found by Macfarlane in Kelly's cottage recurred
to my mind, and brought home (comparing small things with greater) a
parallel to my remembrance in the conduct of the Talbots and Lovetts
towards me and my brothers.

"All men who will not go to every length, are looked upon, I perceive,"
said I, "as mere tools, and thus do the cunning repay their partizans."

Disgusted and depressed, I sat ruminating at my fire side instead of
retiring to rest. The truth was, that, piqued by the want of attention
which I had experienced, I was out of humour, and mistook my chagrin
for a fit of moral philosophy. In this mood I took my mother's letter,
which, till then, remained unopened, broke the seal, and read as

"Albert, I am going, with a sorrowful heart, to address to you the
last lines which you will perhaps ever receive from my pen. I write
them for your sake, not my own. My days are drawing to a close, and if
you do not destroy this paper, the words which it contains, deriving
a sacredness of character from death, may hereafter inspire you with
feelings which, while here, I have little hope to see impressed on your
heart. Oh! Albert! my once dearly loved, I cannot tear you from this
bosom, nor forget that you are my child!

"Though I shall not live to witness a change, I do not despair of its
taking place, and if it be permitted to a departed spirit, after its
separation, still to mingle in the dearest concerns of earth, mine
will hover round my Albert's head, and mark every repentant throe
which shall agitate his breast; for repentance will yet have its
day, and a time will come, when, throwing off the coils which now
entangle, you will think for yourself and _be free_. Your soul abhors
restraint; yet you have only changed masters, in abandoning the mild
legitimate control of your natural protectors for the despotic sway
of self-constituted authority, and this you call liberty, and are the
dupe of a sound, while in reality you are held under coercion the most

"It is the cant of your party, that the world was benighted till now,
and is at present emerging into day, from the obscurity of ignorance
and barbarism. It is part of the same silly creed that man is capable
of "infinite perfectibility," and is in the high road to attain it. It
is not so; history supplies us with materials for a juster decision.
Man, born to evil thoughts, and following mischief with a tendency
inherent in an imperfect nature, will devise unholy schemes, and
exercise selfish views in all periods of the world's existence; and one
age is often employed in little more than overturning the institutions
of that which preceded. In private life, the miser hoards; his son is
probably a spendthrift; the third generation, perhaps, suffering by
the errors of profusion, takes to amassing again, and so on. Nations
are but larger families, still composed of men, imperfect, erring men;
some better, some wiser, than the rest, but all liable to mistake,
because all seeing through a glass darkly, and all unable to produce
any plan in which evil is not a constituent ingredient. One government
is established on the basis of wisdom and virtue, while another is
grounded on the brutal law of force. The former becomes corrupt through
confidence in its stability; establishments foster indolence; indolence
produces luxury, and luxury enervates and debases the species; the
latter, resting securely in its power, casts its galling fetters on
all who are so unfortunate as to be subject to its domination, and the
demons of prerogative and infraction stay not their merciless career
till despair inspires resistance, and the yoke is thrown off.

"Reform is wanting in both these instances; but, alas! it is always
attempted by the young, the bold, the impetuous, and generally
unprincipled; hence it is that improvement is not progressive. Bad
passions mingle in, if they do not entirely actuate, new schemes. One
man of more impudence or more courage than his fellows assumes to lead,
and the multitude, who abhorred the wholesome restraint of the laws,
follow the usurper with willing and slavish submission till fresh
chains are forged more oppressive than those which had been discarded.

"Even admitting, what is far from being true, that all innovations were
the fruit of genuine patriotism, and that common sense, which perceives
error, the inventor of new projects is still prone to mistake, as the
sparks fly upward. Old prejudices are assailed by youthful theories,
in which imagination, which is more active than judgment, and feeling,
which is more prompt than discretion, achieve the victory. Whatever
are the evils of any given state of society, they operate on those
individuals who compose it sufficiently to prevent the reformer from
being always competent to rectify the abuses of which he complains; and
here is another reason why old errors are so commonly only exchanged
for new.

"Providence has so ordered, however, that in the _great_ scheme all
works together for good: discussion sharpens sagacity, opposition
provokes research, heresy kindles devotion, war leads to peace, as
storms purify and tranquillize the physical elements; but this is not
_our_ doing: this consequence is the ordinance of Him who overrules
our follies, our eccentricities, our vices; and, giving them free scope
within a limited space, precludes them from affecting the balance of
the universe by straying beyond the bounds originally prescribed to
the exercise of their activity. As the miser is not more benevolent
because another gives in charity what his avarice heaped together,
neither is an atheist, nor a rebel, a virtuous member of society
because the unbelief of the one, and the insubordination of the other,
increases the piety or the loyalty of a looker-on. The good of which we
are permitted to be the humble instruments comes from _example_; that
which the Almighty works out of our vices proceeds from _contrast_. The
effect of the former is to sanctify the _means_ as well as the end, and
bless him who teaches virtue to those around; that of the latter is to
sacrifice the _vehicle_, though God may not suffer the brand which it
rolls flaming along to consume aught but itself.

"Consider these things, my son. The world is not of yesterday. What
you and your companions are fanning as the sparkling scintillations
of genius, now lighting on our globe for the first time to illumine
its surface, are only the dying embers of a former age, revived but to
perplex mankind with fitful glare. Quit your philanthropic delusions,
and be assured, that however paradoxical such a maxim may sound in your
ears, it is _true_, that he best loves _all_, who loves well a _few_;
wide generalities are thin and diluted, whether in religion, politics,
or affection, and the charities which profess to be universal are too
frequently the offspring of laxity and indifference. It is the sunshine
of domestic love which pours its gladdening ray to distant regions; it
is the strong nerve of godlike _duty_ which braces resolution for grand
and comprehensive enterprize. My Albert, begin at _home_. Happiness and
independence may be yours, if you do not reject the means of obtaining

"Farewell, my child. Despise not the words of truth because they are
breathed by my voice addressed to you by my pen. Neither shall I long
remain to molest you: a killing blight has passed over my soul, and
scattered the sweet blossoms of hope. But it is good for me to be
afflicted. Before I was troubled I went wrong.

"May the Almighty bless you, my Albert; and should you ever discover
that there is soothing in a mother's heart, ere mine has ceased to
beat, knock, and it shall be opened to you.



A soul not entirely dead to all good feeling would have been touched
by this letter. Mine was affected, but not in the degree required for
any permanent good. I folded it up, resolving that I would answer it
affectionately, and lay a foundation for better times to come. The
morning, however, brought other occupation, and the letter was put into
my trunk.

Mr. Arnold took me to breakfast with a gentleman who lived at Bootle,
not far from Liverpool, and who had a son just preparing to sail for
America. It was soon arranged that the young man and I should go
together in the Washington, which was to weigh anchor in a few days;
and my shipmate, whose name was Clarke, was invited by Mr. Arnold to
return, and dine at his house with us. This youth was about my own
age, and we had not interchanged many sentences before I discovered, to
my infinite satisfaction, that he was Irish, and a rebel. We cemented
a league of the closest amity, mutually attracted by these sympathies,
and became inseparable.

I now made the _amende honorable_ to my powers of oratory for the
abstinence which they had suffered since my arrival in England, by
opening their sluices copiously on my new associate, who, I found,
had drank more deeply by far than I had myself done at the poisoned
stream, and was quite _au fait_ in all the new doctrines. We discoursed
of the persecuted people, of selfishness, and pride, tenacity to old
systems, blind prejudices against improvement; abused the old and the
experienced as incumbrances and impediments; talked of the clergy, who
made traffic of superstition, and kept mind in bondage to serve their
secular purposes; of learning as a dead weight on the active energies;
and agreed that a democracy and an altar "to the unknown god" comprised
our highest ideas of government and religion. All were decreed to be
knaves or dunces who dissented from our opinions, and were scoffed at
accordingly. Precious specimen of that toleration which we boasted!

The ship in which we were to sail was delayed, but I rejoiced in any
circumstances which protracted my stay in Liverpool, where I found many
congenial spirits. Clarke introduced me to several of his acquaintances
who were of our own stamp, and political sympathy being quite a
sufficient bond to friendship, we became as intimate as brothers in
a fortnight's intercourse. How gregarious are bad principles! Is it
because vice is cowardly, and dares not stand alone, while virtue,
in its boldness, finds independence? My mother's letter occasionally
disturbed my peace, but each day weakened the impression, and increased
the difficulty of an answer, which was at length postponed _sine die_.

The hour of departure arrived. Mr. Arnold had taken no interest in
my choice of companions. His attentions, though full of kindness and
civility, were rather of a mercantile than friendly character. He had
accepted me like a bill; I was indorsed and negotiated in form; _now_
shipped, invoiced, consigned, and exported like a parcel of hardware.
Accompanying me to the wharf, he recommended me to the captain's care,
shook hands, wished me a pleasant passage, and, with all the alacrity
of a haberdasher, whipped off to his counting-house.

A favouring breeze filled our sails, and we were soon launched on the
broad Atlantic. In Europe if you praise a man, you are asked whether
you have ever had a money-dealing with him. In India, on like occasion,
the inquiry is, "Have you taken a voyage in his company?" To the former
interrogatory I should have had no experience to assist my reply, my
pecuniary transactions affording me small insight into human character;
but I now learned that the Indian test was no bad criterion, and ere
many hours elapsed after I left the river Mersey, I began to find that
the _concentration_ of a trading vessel brings many qualities into
a focus, which had previously been too widely diffused to make one
sensible of their existence.

Clarke, who had a keen look out after comfort in the most comfortable
sense of that snuggest of English words, had made the most careful
provision for mitigating the _desagrémens_ incident to our situation.
There was nothing wanted to complete his arrangements for the
voyage. Captain Conroy was to supply my necessities by agreement
with Mr. Arnold, but my friend Clarke, with a telescopic prescience
of ship's fare, had laid in a store of luxuries which, adding the
force of contrast to what of its own nature required none to render
it abominable, certainly blackened my salt beef into as unpalatable
a morsel as I had ever eaten. Clarke had brought new laid eggs,
potted cream, sweetmeats of every description, and all varieties of
pickles and _sauces piquantes_, while his well-fed goat chewed the cud
contentedly below, and poultry of various sorts gabbled in their coops.

Had my purse been better furnished I should not have profited in this
manner by its abundance, for I was a reckless swain, and when politics
did not engross my mind, it was given to poetry and romance, while
the _de quoi vivre_ seldom presented itself to my attention till urged
by necessity; and as we are said to "take no note of time but from
its loss," so I never thought of food till I was hungry. Thus, till I
saw the delicate cates which were displayed by my messmate, I did not
recollect that such things were, and the second thought which crossed
my mind was, that they would be common property. "It would be so, were
they mine, and of course it will be so, as matters stand," quoth I to
myself; but I reckoned without my host, and received my first practical
lesson on the difference between savings and doings.

I had hitherto seen Clarke either at his father's house or at the
hospitable board of Mr. Arnold; but now that he drew upon his own
resources, I found the case considerably altered. We talked politics,
indeed, as usual, but my companion suppressed the tirades against
worldliness, and calculation, with which he used to interlard his
discourse; and muttered a hint that charity begins at home, and that
liberality might be carried too far, upon a request for a little
goat's milk for a sick sailor. In short, a more narrow minded niggardly
being could not exist than Clarke, and I was glad to have discovered
his character _au fond_, before we touched _terra firma_.

During the voyage, I pleased myself afresh, with visions of the scene
upon which I was soon to enter. My vexations in Liverpool did not
extinguish my hope of being thought a shining light at Quebec. Vanity
is an elastic quality and will bear many rebuffs. She, with ever ready
unguents, poured soothing on the bitter waters of disappointment,
and whispered that though I failed in Boeotia, I should flourish
at Athens. Though Liverpool might be absorbed by vulgar traffic, the
glorious field of America was in prospect, and _there_ I should be more
justly appreciated.

Youth stands many a shock ere it is discouraged, and ignorance is
not easily foiled in its anticipations. I was all elate, and when
we entered the St. Laurence upbraided time with taking a nap, so
slowly did it appear to travel, till we cast anchor. My uncle, whose
physiognomy impressed me very favourably, gave me the kindest
reception. In high spirits at finding myself on shore, I accompanied
him to his house, which was pleasantly situated, and was speedily made
acquainted with the map of the interior; but I must confess that I
felt my vivacity somewhat checked at the sight of a room not more than
twelve or fourteen feet square, furnished with a deal writing-desk
painted oak colour, shelves divided into compartments alphabetically
numbered, and a few rush-bottom chairs.

This I was informed was to be my _sanctum_, and I certainly did not
fall in love with it, neither did I feel much overjoyed at hearing,
that on the following day I was to be regularly installed in office,
and introduced to ledgers and letter-books. My uncle's dinner hour was
three o'clock, and as I went to prepare for our primitive repast, I
laid my little plan for making a figure in our first _tête-à-tête_, and
securing his good opinion. I meditated what I should say, and resolved
to give him a highly interesting account of our Irish proceedings; but
when the bell rang, I was excessively mortified to find that a West
Indian Captain was to be of our party.

Nothing could be more _mal-a-propos_. Since we were not to be alone, a
few cheerful people would have been second best, but the number three,
which is at all times and in all places considered unlucky in point of
society, was peculiarly so upon the present occasion. I was totally
excluded, and sat silently listening to the most tiresome discussion
respecting freights and cargoes, unenlivened by a single remark in
which I could participate. Captain Thompson was a square built stump
of a man, who seemed to care very little about modes of government,
provided that the carrying trade were not injured. He talked
incessantly of crops and colonies, and my uncle, though evidently a
man of superior intellect, seemed not averse to indulge his guest, by
allowing him to start his own topics and dwell upon them as long as he

When Marplot took his departure it was bedtime. Candles were called
for, and as my uncle bid me good night, he added, "Albert, I fear
that this was a dull day for you, but I could not avoid asking Captain
Thompson. He is a worthy man, and sails to-morrow, so I had no other
opportunity of shewing him some civility." I was glad to hear that I
should see no more of the Captain, and retired to my chamber with a
heavy heart.

It is amazing how we deceive ourselves at a distance from the objects
of our contemplation! But as we go on doing so to the end of our lives,
it was no great wonder that my fancy had been engaged, at between
eighteen and nineteen, in drawing pictures very unlike the truth. I
was now in that land of strangers which, till the present moment, had
been a region of imagination. The vague rapture which I had painted to
myself in the novelty of a foreign clime had dissolved in air, and I
found nothing to stimulate curiosity, or justify an excitement, which
was now followed by the antagonist feeling of chill and dislike. The
notions of young people are seldom of a negative kind, because while
life is in its spring, pain has not taught them that its mere absence
is a pleasure. All their ideas of good are positive, and therefore
the more vivid anticipation, the more certain is disappointment. In
this sanguine temperament, I suppose that I expected to see the goddess
of liberty seated on a triumphal car, and the Canadians running about
_delirious_ with freedom.

Whatever were the phantoms raised by my enthusiasm, the reality bore
no resemblance to them; and I was surprised by the common-place manner
in which the inhabitants of Quebec appeared to be employed in pursuing
vulgar interests like other men. I read my mother's letter again, and
passed a miserable night.

On meeting next morning, my uncle accosted me with much good nature,
and after breakfast, conducting me to a very well furnished library,
said, "Here, Albert, you will find a tolerable collection of the best
standard works in all the European languages, and you need not forget
your Greek and Latin, as I have got a capital edition of the Classics.
I do not desire that you should, in becoming a merchant, cease to be a
gentleman. You shall therefore have free ingress here, as often as you
like to look in upon your old friends."

"They would be new acquaintances, not old friends, Sir," answered I. "I
have read very little of late, and scarcely know any of these authors
who adorn your book shelves."

"And pray," said my uncle, "may I beg to ask what you _do_ know. I
should have thought that you were at _home_ in literary matters. Your
parents inform me that you had been designed for a learned profession."

"Why, Sir," replied I, "history and the belles lettres are very well
when one has leisure for them, but matters have been ripening into
action with us in Ireland. The march of mind has been making rapid
progress, and is performing wonders amongst our brave and gifted
people. It is not easy, as I am sure you will acknowledge, to sit down
amid a heap of musty volumes, filled with antiquated learning, when
the living energies of a nation invite our sympathies. The truth is,
that politics have occupied my head and heart so entirely that I have
thought of little else."

"The subject is one of deep interest and importance," answered my
uncle; "though I am at a loss to know what a boy at your age, who
is not in the army, can have to do with active measures, as much as
it puzzles me to imagine how any but statesmen or journalists find
employment in the science of government. All indeed may read the
newspapers, and whoever considers the features of the present time with
attention, has cause for inquietude. The age we live in is big with
event, and many of its presages are alarming to a sober mind. But, my
young friend, what have _you_ to do with national affairs, and where
did you discover that men may jump into political knowledge without
reading, though remember I do not say in '_musty volumes_.' I do not
advocate mildew. I love a clean cover."

I felt a little annoyed by this half satirical, half jocular, mode
of treatment, but throwing back my head and shoulders, with what I
intended should be a dignified air, and express confidence in my
strength, I replied, "The reign of authority you know, Sir, is past,
and the enfranchised mind, disdaining to be held in thrall by the
shackles of prescription, has burst the fetters which retained it in
captivity. Mysteries are abolished. We are not imposed on by sounds--we
must have sense; we have banished the cumbrous machinery of learning,
which, like the heavy horse of Prussia, served only to impede, not
assist the operations of a campaign--precedent is out of date, monopoly
is abolished. The unchartered intellect ranges at liberty, and we have
thrown open the barriers; words no longer deceive--we study _things_;
freedom has provided _short cuts_ through the wearisome wastes of
religion and morals--utility is our test; and men may worship the Deity
as they please. Priestcraft is exposed, the altars of superstition are
razed to the dust, and the temple of nature is held to be our only
sanctuary. Religion is thus stripped of her mask, while morals have
undergone a similar reform. The jargon of the old school is declared to
be obsolete, and the absurd doctrine of restraint is superseded. The
master spirits of France have also carried the genius of reform into
the social compact, and simplified our political views. The rubbish of
antiquity is shovelled away. We no longer require folios of worm-eaten
erudition to teach us, but justice, with her even scales, is accessible
to all. It is the folly of learning which has obscured her decisions,
and rendered that which is plain and straight forward crooked and
complicated. We do not now inquire how our ancestors understood such
and such points, for the mists of darkness are clearing away, and the
human mind, borne upward by conscious strength, will rise into the
glorious sunshine of liberty and become a law unto itself. What has a
Cæsar or an Alexander to do with us? What need have we to wade through
the jargon of the economists, and break down the soaring spirit to the
low level of sordid calculation? Why should we revive the old fashioned
stuff of national resources, balance of power, and such useless
nonsense? Reason, Heaven descended, has resumed her sway, and man dares
to be free."

A hearty fit of laughter, accompanied by "well done, bravo," somewhat
disconcerted me, and my uncle's reply when his merriment would
allow him to speak, was not encouraging. "Come," said he, seeing
me look confused, "I must remember that ridicule is not the test
of truth, though we have heard the contrary. We will be serious.
My idea of judgment is, that it depends on comparison, and facts
are requisite to this process. I confess myself a sceptic as to the
merit of many new inventions, and cannot avoid auguring ill of their
consequences. Believe me, nephew, that some of the opinions which,
unhappily for yourself, you have adopted, lead to every species of
disorganization--but do not suppose that I mean to say, of either
things or people, that they must necessarily be good _because_ they are
old. Let youthful genius bud forth and blossom. I love to see young
intellect aspiring, and would do all in my power to assist its flight.
Fancy, too, has its charms, and the flowers of eloquence are worthy of
cultivation; but the wisdom of experience may be allowed its place,
though these lighter graces have their play. Nature performs all things
in season, and the swelling pride of spring is as lovely in its own
time as the ripened stores of autumn at a later period--but beware of
what you are doing. These raw politicians will effect much harm, but no
good. Only that you tell me you are no reader, I might ask whether you
are acquainted with a verse in a certain volume which warns us against
breaking yokes of wood and making in their stead yokes of iron?

"If you doubt," said I, "that the son of a clergyman has read the
bible, may I not hope that it is because you approve that liberty of
conscience which I uphold?"

"I uphold liberty of conscience, my young friend, _perhaps_, as much as
you do," answered Mr. Fitzmaurice. "Let _conscience_ be the supplicant,
and I could trust freedom in her hands. 'In all that may become a man,'
I would protect the exercise of free will, but your schemes are founded
upon license, not liberty, and so far from imparting power, would soon
circumscribe its energies within a straightened compass. One of _your_
freemen would require shackles to be placed on many, ere scope and
verge sufficient could be found for his restless activities. I tell
you, young man, that you must surrender a part of your natural liberty
to preserve the rest, in every civilized state of society. Your modern
republicans are playing a sad game."

"But, Sir, surely there is no magic in the word 'King:' kings may be
fools, and where there is no monarchy of mind, idols of wood and stone
are more convenient and less costly than those of flesh and blood." I
spoke with vehemence, and met with a rebuke which my flippancy well

"Nephew, I cannot waste my time in talking nonsense. When you take the
trouble of qualifying yourself for debate, I shall be happy to enter
upon an argument with you. In the meantime you must excuse me if I
decline what I consider 'vain jangling,' and assure you that I should
no more dream of taking your present opinion on law and politics, than
on a cargo of sugars; you must study the one, and the other, before I
abide by your counsel."

My uncle spoke well, and delivered his sentiments with a calm force
which overawed me. There was neither foaming at the mouth nor any of
the gesticulations to which I had been accustomed in our harangues of
the "_Slat house_," where the principal orators were Mr. Talbot and
Mr. Lovett. I felt abashed, yet trying to rally, I ventured to add
something about intellect being given for individual exertion, and that
grateful for the boon we should employ our own, and not trust to other

"I am not apt," replied my uncle, "to look for gratitude as the fruit
of pertness; and as for authority, I shall take leave to prefer
_my_ oracles to yours. You refer to Paine and Volney; I have other
standards, and I believe were the measure of our obsequiousness
weighed, you might be found as implicit a subject to _your_ rulers, as
I am to mine; but come, Sir, _tret_ and _tare_ must have its day, and
my political, poetical, and oratorical nephew must be nailed to the
desk for the next three hours."

Though not an angry frown was scowled upon me, I felt that there was a
sober firmness in the manner of these half playful words, which left
me no option; so, like a sheep to the slaughter, I was led away, and
ordered to my post.

The conversation which I have detailed put the finishing stroke to
all my castle-building, and brought my palmy hopes to the dust. My
favourite creeds had not only been opposed, but in such a way as forbid
any farther trial on my part to sustain them. The contempt with which
my opinions were treated, irritated my temper, and galled my spirit,
beyond expression. There was a something like pity in my uncle's eye
under which I writhed and fretted a thousand times more than if I had
been met with ferocious conflict, and been called upon to summon all
my strength. I was humbled; my self-love was wounded, and a sullen
despondency succeeded my presumptuous elevation.

Deprived of my old companions, and cut off from my former pursuits,
I was denied the blessing of solitude, in which I might have mourned
my fate without spectators. A few feet of that rocky precipice at
Glendruid from which I used to chide the heavy hours, and wish that
every sail would bear me away, seemed now the Paradise of memory, and
the whole world would I have given to transport myself once more to the
craggy cliffs of my birth-place.

I was immured in an apartment or office in which six other desks ranged
with mine, and as many clerks, who seemed not to possess a single idea
beyond the bounds of their occupation, were seated in rank and file, as
I took my station. While busied at home in forwarding insurrection, I
used to associate familiarly with the neighbouring peasants, and never
felt the dignity of a gentleman compromised in such intercourse. There
was nothing lowering to pride in such communion, because the _end_
appeared to ennoble the means, and the grandeur of the purpose in which
all were concerned, gave a character to the actors which did not belong
to them in a private capacity.

So I argued at least, but _these_ men were mere accountants; little
better than machines of wood, and divested of every pretension to
the distinguishing type of gentleman. I could not bear to hold the
slightest fellowship with them, and after a cold salutation, which was
answered by each with, "Good morrow, Sir," I was accustomed to take my
seat close to a window which looked out upon an immense paved yard,
surrounded by storehouses. A monstrous watchdog was sole tenant of
this inclosure, and the entrance or departure through its gateway, of
sledges filled with merchandise, the only variety which its dismal area

What a scene to be contrasted daily with the magnificent expanse of
ocean over which my eye was used to wander from my native shores! How
different my present prison from the rocky caves in which I was wont to
contemplate the sea's ebb and flow, soothed by the curlieu's wild wail,
and refreshed by the fragrant breezes wafted from the heath-covered
hills, or the gardens of the deep! The towers of La Trappe would have
been a welcome prospect to my imagination in comparison with the
destiny upon which I had fallen. "In that desert region of eternal
silence," said I, "thought would at least be free, and my wretchedness
would be allowed repose."

Tears which had ceased to flow from tenderness of heart, now nightly
moistened my pillow. I was without resource; the stimulus of activity
no longer braced my nerves, and the excitement of vanity had ceased to
operate on my spirits. I found my boasted patriotism beginning to flag
for want of sympathy; and I had so long depended upon its animating
influences, that I could not force my mind into any new occupation.

Those only who have felt the horrors of vacuity can enter into the
sufferings which I endured. There is something more repugnant to the
mind in being despised than hated, and more painful in the absence of
every excitement than the presence of great misfortune. A thousand
times did I form the resolution of snapping my chain, but whither
should I fly; how subsist? To return home would have been, if possible,
worse than to remain at Quebec, and I could not expect to be received,
laden with the weight of my uncle's displeasure. The only alternative
was an endeavour to submit to my fate.

At first the effort was intolerable, and for some time attended
with little success; but time was beginning to familiarize me to my
situation, and I plodded for some hours of every day at my unwelcome
task, more like an automaton than a sentient being, when all my former
energy was revived by an accidental circumstance.


It may easily be imagined that with my feelings I had not much
inclination for the society of my uncle. I did not, it is true, dare to
offend, but I tried as much as possible to avoid him; and have often
wondered since at the kindness of his forbearance. When the business of
the day was over, it was my only comfort to take long walks, in which
I enjoyed the luxury of ruminating unmolested on the events of my past
life. I had been several months in America, when I asked permission to
avail myself of two or three holidays in the counting-house, to visit
the celebrated falls of La Chaudière. Leave was granted; and I set out
by myself, carrying a small basket, containing such refreshment as
might enable me to take the longest advantage of my _furlough_.

Having left the boat in which I was conveyed up the river, at a
convenient distance, I quickly gained the deepest recesses of the dark
massy woods that surround that beautiful cataract, to see which was
my ostensible motive for this excursion; my real object was to give a
free course to my sorrows, and obtain a short interval of undisturbed
leisure, to consider whether there existed any practicable mode of
relieving them. The grandeur of the pines, and the solemn cadence of
the waters soothed my mind, and brought consolation, without suggesting
a remedy for my unhappiness. In the depth of this leafy seclusion, I
poured out my complaints, without dread of interruption, and repined
aloud at the severity of my lot.

"Why," murmured I, "am I gifted with talents which must remain
unexercised? Why endowed with activity which is to lie dormant? Why
have birth, habits, and education, formed me for higher things, while
I am condemned to the vulgar cares of loss and gain, in which I have
no interest, and obliged to confine my understanding to the sordid
purposes of accumulating wealth, which is to line the coffers of
another, and not even reward my labours by enriching me?"

Tired at length by self-directed questions such as these, which I could
not answer to my satisfaction, I lay down under the shelter of a hut
formed with stakes and covered with branches, which had been probably
raised by some artist, who perhaps remained at the Chaudière, to take
sketches, beyond the necessary time for seeing the water-fall.

Here I fell asleep, and dreamed of home. I thought that I had landed
in the Bay, and had toiled my way over the cliffs to Kelly's cottage,
where I found my mother pale and weeping, as she gazed on the ocean,
and exclaimed, "Better is it to shed tears over the grave of those we
love, than mourn the living!" The voice which seemed to pronounce these
words was so faithfully echoed by memory, that I started up, and broke
into a passionate invocation to my country: "Oh, my dear native skies!
beloved Island of the emerald's hue! nursery of freedom, land of the
generous and the brave, when shall I revisit your coasts? Glendruid,
thou lovely scene of infant joys, shall I ever look upon thy rocky
shore again?"

As I uttered these words, a slight rustling amongst the leaves behind
me caught my ear; but ere I had time to turn round, my arm was seized
with an eager grasp, and my eyes were met by those of Henry Talbot. No
language could convey the rapture and astonishment of this unexpected
meeting. A second figure, which had been concealed by the thick foliage
from my view, now advanced, and I perceived a youthful stranger, of the
most prepossessing appearance.

Such was the agitation caused by this sudden, this unlooked for
rencounter, that Talbot and I stood mute and breathless from emotion,
and during some minutes were incapable of speaking. Such was the
impetuosity of my feelings, that I was quite overwhelmed, and for a
short space resisted the evidence of my senses, determined rather
to believe that a vision had appeared to my disordered fancy than
that what I saw could indeed be true. At length we recovered from our
surprise, and mutual inquiry quickly followed.

I now learned that the stranger who accompanied my Captain of the
Mountain Muster, was the person for whose apprehension so much
diligence had been employed, and such large rewards offered. So
critical was his escape, that the violence of that storm under which
he embarked, alone prevented the activity of his pursuers from being
successful, and Kelly, whose secret services had often been useful,
confiding in his skill, volunteered in conveying the fugitive to a
vessel which lay off the bay hovering on the coast to receive him.
Talbot had no design of accompanying the stranger's flight, but the
melancholy catastrophe which occurred on the return of the boat towards
the land, altered his purpose. He swam on shore, and aware of the
consequences which would ensue from investigation, resolved to make his
way to Dublin, travelling by night, and lying in concealment all day.
From thence he easily contrived, with the aid of people who were ready
to abet every scheme that favoured the cause of rebellion, to procure a
passage on board an American trader, and it so chanced that the young
man who now stood before me, did not arrive till after Talbot had
reached Quebec.

Ferney had been for some weeks the place of this young man's retreat
before he left Ireland. He had suffered the greatest bodily fatigue,
as well as agonizing uneasiness of mind, and even after he had taken
refuge in the mountains, could not venture to rest his weary limbs
in the same cavern for two successive nights. The last preceding his
departure, had been passed in the rock-surrounded cottage of poor
Kelly, and the following witnessed that sad catastrophe which it was
supposed had engulphed its inhabitants, together with Albinia Talbot,
who would not be deterred from the enterprize, her youngest brother,
and Richard Lovett, in the depths of ocean!

The two friends whom it was my fortune to meet this day, were now
preparing to return secretly to Ireland, and were to leave Quebec on
the next day. They obtained from me a promise of the most profound
silence respecting our interview. We agreed to correspond, and I
engaged their warmest interest in endeavouring to procure my liberation
from a profession which was irksome to me beyond measure. The young
stranger was deeply affected at sight of the seal and ring which I
restored to him along with the case in which I found them.

The impression made by this interesting youth upon my mind was
indelible. Brief as was my acquaintance with that ill fated, but
highly gifted being, the memory of it will never be effaced from my
heart, and even now, when my whole character has undergone a change,
I recollect him with the same vivid enthusiasm which this romantic
meeting inspired. He and I appeared to be drawn towards each other by
some mutual attraction, which brought us at once into contact, while
I observed that towards Talbot there was an involuntary restraint of
manner which seemed to say, "leagued as we are by similar fortunes, and
bound as I am in chains of gratitude, we cannot unite in the bonds of
friendship, so different are the materials of which we are formed."

Truth had placed her throne on that countenance, which wore a noble
expression of mildness and sincerity. A natural grace marked every
movement, while candour and moderation characterized every word which
flowed from the lips of one, who in this transient glimpse, when I
beheld him for the first moment in my life, infused into my soul such
assurance of his worth, that I would have followed him to the limits
of creation, and trusted more implicitly to a "yes" or "no" pronounced
by his lips, than to all the oaths which could have been sworn upon a
thousand altars. "Here," said I to myself, "is the effect of integrity.
Here is the triumph of a _single_ heart over all the arts and ingenuity
of dissimulation."

I did not wonder now at my brother's devotion to such a leader, whose
judgment only led him astray. My leave of absence drew to a close,
and every moment was so precious to the fugitives as well as so
dangerous while we lingered together, that taking a hasty farewell we
parted, with a promise to meet if possible at night on the heights of
Montmorenci. I regained my boat in a state of spirits very unlike that
in which I had left it. My mind was filled with bright hopes, and my
uncle, mistaking my cheerfulness for the effect of beautiful scenery
and healthful recreation, rejoiced benevolently in the indulgence which
he had granted, while I encouraged the error that I might profit by it

The vessel in which my friends were to sail was delayed for some days
by contrary winds. During this interval of anxiety they dared not
appear abroad in day-light; but we held a nightly congress, and I gave
myself much credit for the skill with which, as I imagined, I evaded
all suspicion in my various contrivances for quitting our house after
the doors and windows were barred and bolted, but I deceived myself, as
I had often done before.

At length the parting scene approached, and my feelings were not to
be envied when I bid farewell for ever to one who had taken complete
possession of my mind, and who professed the warmest attachment to me
not only for Harold's sake but my own. He promised to see my family
when he conveyed the ring to my brother, and I gazed on the sail which
bore him away till it was lost in distance.

An aching void now succeeded, I became absent and abstracted, blotted
the letters which I was desired to copy, made mistakes in the accounts
which I was ordered to look over, and manifested in every way how far
my thoughts were wandering from the work of my hands. One day I had
been more careless than usual, and after committing several shameful
blunders, was going as usual to ruminate in a solitary walk, when
my uncle entered the room, and with an air of gravity which marked
displeasure, addressed me in the following words:

"Albert, your nightly meetings with two young Irishmen on the heights
of Montmorenci, are known to me. I am not a spy, but it is my duty
to watch over your conduct while you remain under my charge. Take
my advice. The choice is placed before you, between honourable
independence and destruction. The puny attempts of an undisciplined
rabble, and their hot-headed leaders, will recoil upon the agitators
who will not subvert the Empire, but be crushed themselves in ruin.
Begin your reforms in the right way, each with himself, and you will
find work enough to do, I promise you. We have more talent than
principle, now-a-days; virtue is becoming a mere theatrical quality;
modern patriotism is a scenic display; our liberality consists in
profusion of words; and feelings are cultivated for the sake of a
passive impression, not for practical use. The noble exertions, and
still nobler privations arising from self-denial, which elevate man
in the scale of existence, are rarely to be found, and will be more
scarce, I fear, every day. The present fermentation will be suppressed,
but there is a secret adversary silently, yet busily, at work in the
minds of men, which will carry on its operations unseen, till all the
mass is leavened, if the enemy be not exposed before the mischief is
completed. Seek contentment and respectability where they may be found.
I am going, if you will, to make trial of your ability in rather a
delicate business, and send you to Delaware, where I have reason to
think that a man who has possessed himself of some property belonging
to me, is hiding at present. He has stolen papers of great importance,
and if on my explaining the particulars of your mission, you have a
mind to undertake it, and acquit yourself satisfactorily, I shall be
glad to reward your zeal. Perform the journey promptly and diligently,
and it may be the earnest of future advantage to you. To-morrow morning
every thing will be ready, and you will be provided with all the
necessary instructions for your guidance."

I had taken leave of my friends, and as some time must elapse before
I could benefit by their exertions to release me, I was glad of this
temporary diversion to my thoughts, and with my usual self-conceit
resolved immediately on making a great character for cleverness and
dispatch, which might bring pecuniary recompense, and thus set me free.
The person who had absconded, and taken some deeds of consequence
belonging to my uncle away with him, owed him also a large sum of
money. If successful in recovering the booty, I might be presented
with part of it for my pains. Overjoyed with this prospect, fancy set
her loom again at work, and soon wove a golden tissue, which reanimated
my hopes.


 J. B. Nichols, and Son, 25, Parliament-street.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

  Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained
  except in obvious cases of typographical errors.

  A Table of Contents was not included in the original text. This has
  been added.

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