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the barrel end. Clinton looked toward him, and was staggered by the wild and fierce glitter of the eye which met his. There was concentrated hatred, and deadly revenge in it.
Clinton rose to bis feet alarmed, and plucked from a breast-pocket a small sheathed dirk.
“ You travel armed, I see, Mr. Clinton," sneered the Settler. “ Your book larning wont protect you against robbers and Indians, you think.”
“I do travel armed, Farmer Joshua," returned Clinton, meaningly.
“ That's well. No one can have any objections to it, I suppose ? For my part I have only my tough old rifle to guard me,”-he knocked the end of the shaft on the ground. “But why do you stand flourishing your dirk before me as if I was a robber? If you have money I can tell you
I want none of it. I have money myself see,”—he emptied on the ground a purse containing sixty dollars, which he directly proceeded to pick up slowly and deliberately, and replace in the receptacle from which he had cast them.
Both he and Clinton had their backs to the door, therefore neither saw the swarthy visage of a gipsy thrust within it at this critical instant and withdrawn again.
A little ashamed of his hasty impression of alarm, Clinton sat down again. He knew well that the heart of the Settler was embittered against him, and he did not wonder at it; but he could not entertain the belief that any personal injury was meditated against him by the latter.
They now talked with a tolerable appearance of cordiality of Farmer Joshua's crops, and his other do
mestic affairs. Every one of his family Clinton inquired after by name, excepting only the wronged Dan.
At last Clinton could refrain no longer from asking after him.
“He is dead!" was the steady answer, though the voice was hoarse that pronounced it.
“ Never till this moment was I truly humbled !” suddenly ejaculated Clinton, breaking from a painful reverie, and speaking in broken accents. 56 Humbled before man and God! Until lately I have lived a life of continual error! Pleasure has been my sole pursuit ! And what have I gained ?-A conscience that is a perpetual vampire, drinking my life blood ! a devil staining every peaceful moment that arises for me with accursed images of past wickedness, and future retribution ! a scourge of scorpions in the hand of a pitiless fury! O, damned hours in which I yielded to temptation !”
As with passionate energy he thus spoke he pushed the chair back and paced the cabin, while the Settler's whole nature was gathered up in one terrible purpose of vengeance upon the destroyer of his son.
“ Have you ever done any thing to trouble your conscience, Mr. Clinton ?” he asked in affected wonder.
“ Yes, Farmer Joshua, I have !” firmly rejoined Clinton. “I falsely accused your son !-his tale was the true one-mine was false!"
“ Hell's curses on you, I know it !" thundered the Settler, breaking all at once from his assumed quietude. “ You gentleman-rogue you, I know it! The poor boy was broken hearted through your soft sounding lies! I turned him out of doors as a thief! and after he had wandered I don't know where like a vagabond for two
years or more, without a living soul to say a good word for him, he came back with hardly a rag on him! ill! dying! famished ! in the midst of a storm that I wouldn't have turned a cat out in ! and died as soon as he was inside my door!”
“ It is a dreadful story !" muttered Clinton, “and I have more right to the gallows than my father! Farmer Joshua, it is too late now to make a recompense to him whose peace and life it seems I have been the means of destroying, but if I could make you any kind of compensation, I should be but too happy. Trust me, I shall never, though I live a thousand years, be happy again! My punishment will be within! there, though outwardly I may appear perfectly at ease, will ever burn a flame of remorse, dreadful, unintermitting!”
" Will that restore Dan to the mother who bore him? to the brothers and sisters who have been bred up with him? to the home where he first saw light, and where he was happy for twenty years, until you—you poisonous snake!
thievish fox !-came? Will your remorse that you
talk about bring him out of his grave? Tell me that! If it wont, talk to nte no more!"
“ Your animosity against me is, 1 perceive, too deeply seated to be at all shaken with any thing I can say, quietly returned Clinton, so softened by late occurrences as not to be easily roused into pride or ire. “ I am sorry for it, but I cannot blame you. The injury I have done you is, I am quite ready to acknowledge, irreparable. Nevertheless, should you, or any of your family in time to come, be disposed to gratify me by accepting, individually or unitedly, a sum of money of any amount within the scope of a moderate fortune, you may have
it by application to me at the bankers of either Montreal or Toronto. More than this is not in my power; if it were, you should prove, beyond a doubt, that my sorrow for what is past is sincere and deep.”
your sorrow bring Dan out of his grave ?'' was the stern and forcible interrogation.
“ Would that it could !” exclaimed Clinton, with pathos.
“ So say 1!" echoed the Settler, speaking quick and short. “ But it wont-it wont! And dare you talk to me or mine of money? Whose money? Your money ? Our hand should rot to the bones and marrow before they should touch one cent piece of yours! Compensation to me too! Ha! ha! compensation! Harkye, Mr. Gentleman, talking of compensation, ('tis a long word and not often used in the settlements, but I understand it as it happens,) there was a time when law was not heard of among the people I consorted withyou have heard me speak of that time afore now-well, if you and I were now living in that time I should make myself a compensation in my own way, by choosing the stoutest hickory branch I could find and hanging you up on it! That's the only compensation will suit me!”
“ I pass over your violent language, Farmer Joshua," returned Clinton, about to quit the cabin, “in consideration of the provocation you have received. If we ever meet again, I hope it will be when I can render you some service. I had intended to stay here until light dawned, but now I shall press forward on my journey at once, for I cannot think of allowing you to bear, one moment longer, the society of an individual so abhorrent to you as myself.”
The instant Clinton disappeared, the Settler looked to the flint and priming of his rifle, and went out. The object of his hatred was already mounted and on his way back to the road.
“ There goes a vultur’screaming and wheeling round and round over his head," muttered the Settler. “That's a 'cute bird. It smells death in him already. Aye, there's something more than instinct in that cretur?.” Clinton looked up at it. “ Look again, my larned gentleman, the cretur' knows more than you do of what's coming on you afore to-morrow.”
Here he kneeled down on one knee, raised his rifle to his shoulder, and deliberately pointed it toward Clinton. The moon's crescent was in the middle of the heavens, sailing behind a rack of watery clouds, which ever and anon hid it from the view of earth. The Settler waited until one of these obscuring masses had been passed by the silver queen of night, who then shone out with the tender and chaste loveliness becoming her youth. Alas! that she should look down on such black deeds as the sons of men perpetrate! Alas! that she should look down on the most horrid and unnatural of all crimes—murder ! which generally chooses the period of her holy reign to stalk abroad. Perhaps she saw many hellish murders done this night; but it is certain she saw none more determined, more fearful, than that the Settler committed.