« PreviousContinue »
I observed no wildness, that is, sir, not much, scarce any thing to speak of.”
“ Be so kind as go back to her, Miss Anderson,” said the Doctor, “and do not in the least oppose her humour. I will come to you in half a minute.'
Jane went ; but returned in alarm—“Miss Lee has fastened the door!”
The house was greatly disturbed. The Pastor knocked first, and besought his granddaughter to draw back the bolt, but received no answer. Then Arthur knocked, and entreated; then Jane; then the Doctor; and lastly, Deborah. The landing-place was filled with persons, one only of the inmates was not there, this was—Clinton, who was heard stalking the kitchen in horror of mind; presently, however, he was called to bring up some instruments to burst the door, and came on the instant; but just as they were about to be applied to the lock, its bolt gave way, and Lucy appeared, like a vision, completely dressed in white, with nicety and taste. Upon her arm was her little basket, filled with flowers, and a white rose, half withered, was fastened in her hair; the brightest scarlet rioted on her checks, and she stood upright, and smiling
“ Oh, you were in very great haste,” said she; on a dark winter morning, like this, one is not so quick to rise.” She then bade good morning to every one whom she saw, asked if the fire was kindled in the kitchen, if breakfast was prepared, and if the ice had broken. Opposition, the Doctor feared, would increase her disorder, and therefore dismissing every person quietly, except Jane and Arthur, he answered Lucy with easc, that the fire was not lit down stairs, for it was as
yet too early, and that he hoped she would allow the domestics and her friends to rest a little longer, at least until the sun was entirely up. To the reasonableness of this she agreed, but persisted in walking out to see what quantity of snow had fallen in the night, and put on her bonnet and gloves. The Doctor now assumed a different manner.
My dear Miss Lee,” said he, very imperatively, you must not attempt to go
out." “ And why not, Mr. Bathurst ?” said Lucy, taking the candle to the glass, and setting her bonnet in shape.
Why not, Miss Lee ?—why not?” cried the Doctor, with well-sustained firmness, “ why think you I would suffer my danghter to go out to see how much snow is on the ground—before daylight ?-No, no.-Indians may be about-rattlesnakes may have crept from their dens-bears may have come down from the mountains, there may be wolves, wild-bulls, wild-cats, and other fierce animals, of our wild regions abroad, and, those have no respect at all for young ladies, Miss Lee.”
“ You think your daughter, Sophia, would not go out now ?” said Lucy, dubious of her
purpose. “ I am confident of it, I would not allow her to go
Lucy sighed, looked at the window, and at Doctor Bathurst, then bursting into tears, allowed herself to be controlled. The Doctor whispered to Arthur to go and send Deborah to assist Jane in taking off Lucy's clothes as quickly as possible. Lucy remained passive, took a draught which was administered to her, and, while the Doctor waited on the landing outside, was again placed in bed. A dozen leeches were immediately applied to
her temples ; other active means were also resorted to, and the utmost stillness was maintained throughout the house.
The same morning it was known in the lodge that Clinton intended, almost immediately, to take leave of the valley. Here, as at Farmer Joshua's, he had been a favourite of the subordinate members of the family, and they all were grieved by the intelligence. They had expected that he would have been the husband of Miss Lee, and the announcement, therefore, that he was going to a distant part of America, would have exeited surprise and disappointment at any period—how much more, then, at the present! It was unaccountable to them, that, attached to Lucy as he had appeared to be, he should choose such a time for quitting her, and for quitting her, as it seemed-for ever.
• The grief that on my quiet preys,
That rends my heart—that checks my tongue,
But feel it will not last me long."
On the third evening of her illness, Lucy, still wandering in mind, contrived to elude the vigilance of her friends. She persuaded Jane, who sat with her, to go into an adjoining room, pretending that she wished to sleep, and could not while any one was in the room. No sooner, however, had Jane disappeared, than Lucy darted out of bed, and searched the room for her clothes, making no noise whatever. She was unable to find any of them, for they had been removed by the orders of the Doctor. She looked round bewildered and perplexed, until her eye chanced to light on a white morning dress, hanging on a nail. Instantly she took it down, put it on, and whispered, “ This will do--this will do ;" then tying the strings around her waist, said “ though it is Christmas, the wind is warm, and I know Clinton admires me in white.” She sighed twice, and sat down with an air of frenzied melancholy, taking into her hand a paper of verses which had been addressed to her by Clinton.
All at once she seemed to recollect where Jane was, and adroitly fastened her in, still without making any noise. Having performed this, she smiled, and, like a bird let loose, ran out to the landing, and listened there. It happened that no one was on the second story, and she went from room to room without being observed. She talked to herself, and seemed to enjoy her freedom. Occasionally, she laughed softly and joyously. Here she opened a window, and there she shut one. place she turned over a half-filled cask of apples, in another a box of seeds. She set chairs in their order, picked up from the straw-matting of the floors whatever bits of flue had escaped from the beds, then went down stairs, and passed out into the open air unperceived.
By cautiously choosing her way, she reached the Marble Fountain without interruption, and sat down, listening to the dash of the waterfall, and to the screaming of the birds fluttering about it. Her smiles ceased ; she dropped tears; she shook her head; she sighed; and spoke pathetically to the objects she saw.
Clinton had been wandering alone, over the valley, taking a final view of the principal beauties it contained, before preparing for his departure. He had reached a detached height by the cascade, on the top of which he now stood; the beautiful sheet of water leaped from crag to crag, almost within the reach of his hand; its last fall into the white marble basin below was fifty feet in depth, and coloured with brilliant tints as the sun shone on it., Hardly less beautiful than this fall, were the fine vapours, which congregated above it, and the dazzling white foam below.
Clinton held by a tree near the edge of a rock on