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“ 0, insupportable! O, heavy hour!
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse
Should yawn at alteration."-Shakspeare.
That you convey me to his breathless trunk,
At the close of the last chapter the reader was left to imagine the fearful death of Clinton by the hand of an assassin. Prematurely he passed from this mortal life to
" The undiscovered country
From whose bourn no traveller returns." As the mother of Sisera looked out of the lattice wondering why tarried her son's chariot wheels, so the bride of Clinton, a second time widowed in an appalling manner, but ignorant of the dire event, watched away the weary hours at her window, looking eagerly and fondly, for him who would never return more.
“ I had an impression of evil upon my mind when he went away,” said she to Jane, who had endeavoured to persuade her that he must now be close at hand,
“ Last night was the time he appointed for his return, now it is nearly eleven of the forenoon, and still he is not come.
Where! oh, where is he !" She clasped her hands in an agony of apprehension on her knees, her face still turned to the window.
“ He will be here soon,” said Jane, encouragingly, passing her arm in an affectionate manner around the swan-like neck of the peeress.
“O, Jane, feel how my temples throb! and how my heart beats !” She took the hand of her sister-in-law as she spoke, raised it to her hot forehead, and lowered it to her left side.
They do indeed!” exclaimed Jane in the softest tones of sympathy.
“ But, my dearest Lady Hester! suffer me to entreat you to be calm. Heaven can witness how I love my brother!”—tears gushed into her eyes. “If I could entertain one serious fear that any harm had happened to him, do you think I could look thus ? and speak thus? But we must dismiss the shocking idea altogether. My poor father demands all my thoughts." Her voice was choaked by emotion.
“ You are gifted with an extraordinary degree of patience, or I should have received a much stronger reproof,” said Lady Hester, turning to embrace her. “ Here am I inflicting upon you my foolish fears, founded upon nothing probable, while you are weigheủ down with real distress. There, I have shut the blinds again. I will not sit here longer conjuring up all sorts of frightful ideas to torment myself and you. Nay now, my dear Mrs. Lee! where is your fortitude ?" for Jane was sobbing with her face buried in her hands.
• In the Word of God, not in myself,” replied Jane,
devoutly, wiping her streaming eyes.
My nature is too weak to bear the sorrows which are before me without strength imparted from above."
Happy should I be," exclaimed Lady Hester, forcibly, “ if I could receive some of that heavenly strength! I feel that I may yet need it much! But there again, I am indulging in weak fears as before.”
“ Cast them, with my sorrows, on Him who careth for us !” ejaculated Jane.
It was just then that four Indians, bearing a litter of branches with a body stretched thereon, stopped at a door under the window at which Lady Hester had been keeping watch. Before the melancholy and darkvisaged group the curious passers by beheld a venerable English clergyman, with woe-stricken features, mounted on a small horse, and by him the gaunt, slouching figure of a backwoodsman, with a grim and wild countenance spotted with blood, his hands tied behind his back, his arms secured by ropes passed many times around his body, and his feet made fast to the saddle girths of the ragged pony he was upon. The rear was brought up by a male gipsy on foot, and two servants of the clergyman, farming men as they seemed.
A crowd rapidly collected, and a dreadful whisper was speedily circulated—“ found murdered in St. Antony's forest!”
• Who is he?" was then heard from a hundred subdued but excited voices“ Who is he?"
• The only son of the condemned Marquis of Rougemont,” was the answer to this query, while the inmates of the house before which the small procession halted were coming out to inquire what had happened.
“ Holy Mother be the consolation of his poor young widow then !” cried a female in the crowd.
" He was only married a fortnight ago!"
“ Poor thing! poor thing !” ejaculated another woman, mournfully, shaking her head. « This will be a dismal sight for her. Jesu Maria! what a shocking thing! The Marquis to be hung next Monday, and his son murdered to-day !"
“ Hush Frances !” said a baker's wife beside her, " there's the window opening, perhaps that beautiful lady is his wife.
Intensely curious is human nature at all times to know what passes in its kind under circumstances of strong interest, hence principally are places of execution thronged, and hence, on the present occasion, there was a hasty pressure of the eager crowd toward the front of the house as soon as the sash began to be raised.
A piercing cry from the lady thrilled through every heart, as she glanced down upon the leafy bier beneath. A coarse Indian blanket was thrown over it, concealing the person of the murdered, but her heart told her too plainly that no other lay beneath its folds than her own husband. A moment her white hands were elevated in horror, and her eyes flashed in distraction, before the pitying multitude.
Then down stairs she rushed, screaming to Jane to follow her. The hostess at the door in vain strove to hold her back. She sprang out over the threshold, animated with unquenchable love.
“ Set down the bier!” she commanded, confronting the Indians with a manner that admitted of no denial.
The Pastor threw himself from his horse in a mo. ment, and took hold of her arm.
“You were the wife of my grandson I believe,” he stammered, “ Pastor Wilson is my name.”
“ Were the wise, sir !" she franticly repeatad, “ I am his wise !—Clinton's wife! He left me three days ago to fetch you hither.”
“. The providences of God are sometimes mysterious," observed the Pastor in a voice full of solemn pathos. “ His ways are past finding out. But, my dear lady, let the men enter the house before you look at him who has been taken from you so awfully and suddenly.”
“ Then it is my love whom these men are bearing ?” gasped Lady Hester-“ it is him ?” The latter were lowering the bier to carry it into the house, she sprang close to it, raised the blanket, and, with a harrowing shriek, fell insensible on the pavement.
A carriage was proceeding along the street at a slow pace on account of the throng, at the moment when Lady Hester shrieked so piercingly in the first distraction of her discovery. An aristocratic English gentleman put his head out of the window, and inquired of the bystanders what had happened. A youthful female face, expressive of concern, also appeared as a reply was made in French.
“ Good God !” exclaimed the Earl of Wilton, for he was the English aristocrat.
6 Good God! the son of the Marquis of Rougemont found murdered !” and he sank back on bis seat, looking at his daughter with horror and amazement in his
eye. The blood curdled in Letitia's veins. For a moment she was dumb; then violently pulling the check string; she seized the handle of the carriage door, and threw it open.