Page images
PDF
EPUB

shall see you no more. The chaise in which I came bither, is waiting near. Every moment I linger exposes me to a fearful risk. Adieu ; ---your gift I return; I have forfeited you, and your money I cannot take." The lady's agitation was extreme, but with true patrician dignity, she forcibly restrained the outward expression of it. Her face, however, became white as marble.

“ Clinton,” she said, “ if you will restore the money, and remain in England, I will undertake you shall be provided for respectably; and then,” she added, after a slight hesitation, “ I shall go to Italy, and reside there permanently.”

He dropped upon his knee before her, and she gave him her hand, which he held between both his. " It is in vain,” said he, “ bright lady, it is in vain! my presence shall not pollute the air of the land in which you dwell ; and yet, you shall not be compelled to forsake your native clime, in order to avoid me. Dwell here, innocent and blessed as you are. By this time, all London knows of the loss of the money. Another twenty-four hours must see me on my way to a foreign hemisphere.” He produced a small brown paper parcel, and laid it on the seat before her, with her check upon it; “Here,” said he,

are three-thirds of the money. You would do me a great service, if you could find any means of restoring it privately to the owners.” “ I know one of the partners," said the lady;

"I will order my carriage this very afternoon, and make up the amount they have lost from my private purse.

· My heart is unutterably grateful to you,” said Clinton; “ but now, all that I feel must be concentrated in one brief and terrible word-Adieu.”

66

U

“ Adieu !” exclaimed Lady Hester; “ heaven grant you may live more wisely and happily, than you have lived here, in the scenes to which you are going!” Her fortitude began to yield, she drew her hand away, and Clinton eight hours after was on board a North American ship. During this voyage, he lost all he had, even to his clothing, excepting only the articles he wore. The vessel, as our readers already know, was purposely cast away by the mate, and part of the crew. The unfortunate Captain Barry perished, and Clinton, and three other passengers, narrowly escaped losing their lives.

“ Have I,” said Clinton, “ fulfilled that part of Lady liester's wish, which it was in my power to fulfil-have I lived wiser since I left England ?” The grave of Lucy answered him in the negative; recollections of the lost peace of mind of the Settler's son, lost through his artifice, also answered him in the negative. He sighed; conscience bitterly reproached him.

“ Some demon must be propelling me on to my ruin," said he, walking quicker. He paused, and then resumed, “ I was once told by those relations on whom I depended, that my father had been wild and worthless, and my mother a woman of sorrow, so I suppose I inherit from him, my erratic disposition, and from her, my sufferings.

“I am now,” he proceeded, “ in the country of which I was told my father was a native, and in which my mother died. Scanty has been the history I have received of them in England, and who in Canada can I find to fill up the meagre outlines? Where shall I look for my mother's grave? where shall I learn whether my father be alive or dead. He was a seaman-he may have been swallowed up in the ocean, or may

[ocr errors]

Like me,

be sailing thousands of miles from the spot where his son now is. My imagination clings to him, whatever he may have been.

he
may

have made himself an alien from all who valued him. Had we met, we might have battled with scorn and reproach together. My mother left an abundant home, I have been told, to go with him on the world of waters. He deserted her, and her infant, my erring self, in a foreign land ; and she returned broken-hearted and alone to her country, and her early friends. But an innocent sorrow is better to be endured than a guilty one. He may have been the least to be envied of the two. My poor mother when she parted from me, with the presentiment, I have been led to understand, that she should never see me more in this world-left with the relatives to whom she entrusted me, her endeared picture. That I lost on board the ship in which I was wrecked, and never did article more regretted pass from my possession. Had I a mine of gold, I would barter it to regain that picture; but I fear it is in the custody of the greedy waves, which would be deaf to all the offers I could make. As yet, I have heard nothing of those two cousins of mine, that I used to be told dwelt in North America ; my mother's father, who had taken them out with him from England, my uncle heard, had died shortly after the decease of my mother.”

His reveries were interrupted by Jacob, who accosted him with a graver salutation than usual, and said that he had come to see if the rain that had fallen in the night, had washed down any of the mould from the sides of the grave. Clinton walked with him to the cypress trees ; some of the loose earth had fallen into the cavity which had been dug between them. The American threw his

spade in, and stooping, rested one hand

upon the ground and sprang in after the implement. While he was employed in throwing up the light, fragrant soil, Clinton observed the approaching funeral procession—if so pompous a name might be given to a spectacle so simple and unaffected. The coffin had been placed before the house, where a hymn was sung around it, and as soon as the sun began to ascend the west, between the horizon and mid-heaven, four men belonging to the farm, took it on their shoulders—six young ladies, attired in pure white, bore up the pall, and the funeral slowly advanced.

There were no mutes, no crape head-bands, no blackhoods, no plumed hearse. The persons who preceded the coffin, were the principal members of the Pastor's chapel, and were all in their ordinary sabbath dresses. The Pastor leaning on his grandson's arm, followed next to the body. The former, wore his English clerical dress, precisely as he had always worn it, and his benevolent countenance looked serene and resigned ; the latter, in dark brown clothes, neat and manly, also seemed to have strengthened himself for this melancholy hour. Jane and Miss Bathurst were two of the pall-bearers. Deborah in slate-coloured stuff, and a plain silk bonnet of the same hue, followed, with her fellow-servants, after the Doctor and Farmer Joshua, with a train of other mourners.

When the path the procession was upon, which was the same Clinton had pursued, began to descend, the sobs of Jane, and of Deborah, broke the silence that

prevailed. On each side were stumps of trees—which are always seen on ground rot entirely cleared, being the roots and trunks, which latter have been sawn through

breast-high, the upper parts of the trees having been consumed by fire, or taken away for use, and the lower parts left standing. On two of these stumps that were almost covered with bright green moss, the coffin was rested, while the men who bore it, changed sides. Arthur covered his face until again the procession set forward.

One of the persons who walked first, now commenced a hymn, which sounded very sweetly and solemnly in that solitude, among the rocks and hills. By the time it was finished, the burying ground was nigh. Clinton, not wishing to be seen, had gone to that side of the enclosure where the mountain rose like a wall, and stood behind a large detached stone, to view the lowering of the body into its dark and final abode.

No sooner had the Pastor entered the enclosure than he opened a prayer-book which he held, and with a faltering step, attended by the kindest sympathy of all present, went to the head of the procession, and began to read the burial service of the Church of England. At first, his unequal voice could scarcely be heard a few yards from him, but soon it became firmer and more distinct; and seldom have words fallen more impressively on human ear, than those of that service, on the ears of the mourners present.

The coffin was not immediately lowered into the grave, but rested close by it on a board supported by two logs, while the Pastor, placing his hand on the lid, read the sublime lesson from the fifteenth chapter of the epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians.

When all was over, and the last look had been taken of the coffin, Arthur lost his self-possession, and yielded to violent grief.

« PreviousContinue »