Imatges de pÓgina

The crowd passed; Isabella was alone, and, as if petrified, in the attitude in which she stood when those heartsearching tones had reached her ear, even unto her heart, callous as it was become, they had pierced, and seemed to congeal her into marble.

She had been some time in her dressing-room when her brother came to her there. She had never before seen him look so sternly. With all her faults, she had redeeming points; proud, tyrannical, cruel as she was, she loved that brother, honoured him, cherished him, would have sheltered him from suffering as the mother-bird does her callow young, and been regardless of injury to herself, so she but spared it to him. She looked up; and her beautiful face, so usually expressive of imperial power, had all the meekness of the unweaned lamb; her form, generally so full of haughty grace, approached him, all ease and sweetness, ready to fall upon his bosom, or hang about his neck.


The purpose of reproach with which he came melted away before the power of her presence-before the moral power of the beautiful feeling with which she was animated.

'What moves you, Robert?' she asked, placing one hand on his shoulder, as with the other she caught the breast of his coat.

He did not immediately reply; but at length he said solemnly, as he gently disengaged himself from her hold, You know who was carried from your boudoir just now.' 'Yes-yes,' she stammered, 'I recollected him afterwards,'—and her eye sunk under the reproachful gaze of her brother, poor Hubert Walton.'


'Isabella, Isabella!' exclaimed Mr. Hervey, sinking into a seat, 'well may the poet describe your sex as

"Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear,

And best distinguished as black, brown, or fair." Love traces impressions on your hearts with some such pencil as paints the butterfly's wing: upon ours he works with a graver, and breaks the mould before the image that he has marked there can be marred.'

Isabella burst into a laugh at this estimate of the relative impressibility of the sexes. All her brother's sternness returned, and anger flashed in his eyes as he exclaimed,

'Forbear, unfeeling girl, forbear! Walton is dying—the victim of your caprice. Do not let your laugh be his deathknell.'

'I cannot believe you,' she rejoined, subduing her levity, yet still affecting more than she felt, for


Killing eyes and wounded hearts,

And all the artillery of darts

Are long ago exploded fancies,
And laughed at even in romances."

'Then let me tell Miss Hervey,' said her brother, ‘that you are likely to have, not a romance, but a tragedy, in this very house. Dr. Bassett has just left the unfortunate Mr. Walton, and gives little hope of him; he says he never beheld a being so reduced, except by famine.'

'But why attribute all this to me?' said Isabella. 'Seek no shelter in subterfuge,' rapidly replied her brother; I know all, from his mother-from his sisterfrom himself. I have gained my information piecemeal, but it is perfect and conclusive. If Walton dies, you are a murderess. Yes,' he continued, eager to work on her awakened feelings, he saw you; that you could not help. You caught his fancy-captivated his heart; neither, perhaps, was that your fault. But, when aware of your power, to go and hold the intoxicating cup of hope to his lip; to soothe him with the voice of love; to gladden him with

its smile; to let all this be with a predetermined resolution to dash and darken all with despair, was fiendish-devilish!' A silence followed this burst of indignation, which Mr. Hervey first broke.

'How,' he added, 'will you repair this wanton mischief? how atone for this vile cruelty? for the sleepless nights of lacerated feelings-the revulsion of disappointed hopes?' 'What can I do?' she exclaimed. Indeed I had no idea of such results as these.'

'Tush!' ejaculated Mr. Hervey, 'do not tell me this: the incendiary who fires one house, and brings down a whole neighbourhood, has just a valid a plea. No, Isabella, what I ask of you is to receive this as a lesson;-to reflect and reform; and if Walton should recover, and you can do so without violence to your own feelings, reward his love. I know he is a poor man; but all the mines upon the globe could not purchase you such a heart.'

The tears rushed into Mr. Hervey's eyes, in spite of his struggle to master his feelings: some compunctious pangs, but yet more sympathy with her brother, called answering tears into the eyes of Isabella. From that hour she joined her brother in nursing Walton; she watched with him beside the bed of delirium; heard the wild outpourings of thoughts, visions, feelings which had been too long pent under the condescending force of silence, secrecy, and unparticipated anguish, till, bursting forth like electric fire, they shattered the brain and bosom they had already ravaged, almost to dissolution.

Isabella closed her house, and had it given out that she was gone to a remote part of the country, thus to keep off the insects of idle curiosity. She invited Walton's mother and his sister to her house; and all that tenderness and care could suggest was essayed.

The patient's youth, the doctor's skill, and last, not least, the co-operation with him of intelligent nurses, slowly effected a triumph. Health came like a timid vestal and kissed the fever from Walton's brow; but strength, shaken as he had been, was slow of returning. When conscious light again came forth from his languid lid, his mother was the first to meet it. Never had the endearing name been sweeter to her ear, when first lisped forth to her by her first-born, than now when it reassured her she had still a son. In low murmurs, at intervals, he talked with his mother, till, leaning forward, he fell asleep upon her bosom. Dr. Bassett appeared the moment after. "Tis well!' he exclaimed softly; if he can sleep in that position, 'tis a sign he is getting strength.'

Isabella's ministry now ceased at the sick bed; but she still played the gentle and attentive friend to the afflicted relatives. This was the first lesson upon moral duties she had ever received, and a mind like hers needed but have a new region open to her to explore it-the walls of circumvallation, which she could not overleap, removed, to walk beyond them. Mrs. Walton was a high-minded woman, and soon impressed Isabella with respect and affection; who in return won upon the anxious mother's heart, making her half forgive the ruin she had caused.

'Mr. Hervey,' said Mrs. Walton one day, as leaning on his arm she walked round the garden, 'I have somewhere seen it said that it is a dangerous thing to employ a steamengine to turn a lathe at a toy-shop. Some such dangerous thing has been, and is being done, as regards female talent. Waste power will employ itself—if not for the purposes of good, for those of evil.'

'We see that every day,' said Mr. Hervey, in the misapplied energy and ingenuity of untaught, half-taught, and mistaught men.'

'Do not confine your views exclusively to men,' resumed Mrs. Walton.

'To women?' he asked with a smile.

"Neither so. Direct them to human nature, of which one sex is as important a part as the other. Human nature can only be understood by a perfect knowledge of both: human nature can only be served by an equal advancement of both. Much has to be put from our literature, institutions, laws, customs, and manners, to redeem man from the degrading marks of his own ignorant pride, as well as to raise woman from her miserable vassalage.'

'All this is new to me,' said Mr. Hervey, but I listen to you with pleasure.'

'To aspire is the privilege of humanity,' resumed Mrs. Walton, warming with her subject. The erect attitude, the perceptive powers, the reflective faculties, all attest how much man has the privilege of looking far beyond, far above himself; but the first aspiration of this sentiment (capable of illimitable expansion) was ignorant self-esteem -a vulgar desire of superiority, relatively, not really; finding it difficult to raise himself, he thought of the expedient of sinking woman, and so holding a comparative elevation at a safe and easy rate. Pitiful was the idea, and wretched have been the consequences! The same notion is present to the religious fanatic who fancies that he raises the Creator by the vilest abasement of himself. How little he knows of elevation who thinks that any crouching wretch can, even by contrast, increase another's altitude!-to know that there is a cowering, grovelling reptile is in itself lowering.'

Mr. Hervey smiled; as people are wont to do at those who feel strongly, and express themselves so. He felt acutely the miseries which women bring on men, but never paused to look into the causes for these inflictions; if he thought of remedy or relief, it was some such reproof as he had given his sister, followed by profound reflections and pathetic lamentations over the weakness and vileness of that unhappy compound-woman. It was, in fact, the dameschool business done in the drawing-room; the lecture and the lollipop, and leave to do mischief again.

'I suppose,' said Mr. Hervey, taking the 'Paradise Lost' out of his pocket, 'in future editions of Milton we must strike out this line of the book, in which he speaks of the condition of the sexes:

"He for God only, she for God in him. " We must expunge from the character of Eve the flattering humility which makes her say,

"God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more

Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise." 'No, no;' said Mrs. Walton, touch not a line of John Milton's. I love him as a poet and a republican; but be there notes appended to the text, to enlighten the purblind as to the defects of his moral philosophy. Let every being go for himself, or herself, as much as possible to the fountain-head of knowledge-seek, and accept no mediums, if they can help it; the further from the fount the less likely is the stream to be pure; and, I assure you,' she added with a playfulness that reminded Mr. Hervey of her youth. I assure you, whatever you and Milton may think and say, I do not deem you the most transparent and speckless me

dium through which we may look “through nature up to nature's God."

The first day that Walton left his room, he was placed upon a sofa, and his mother had fondly contrived, in case he fell asleep, to fasten a curtain to a picture which hung over it. Gradually every prop to which he had been accustomed, or from which he could draw support, had been gathered round him; and he was become resigned, serene, and grateful. Emma, his sister, had taken her seat near the sofa to read to him: when she observed a reverie, into which he had fallen, melt into slumber, she gently drew the curtain and left him.

One hour of deep refreshing sleep was on him. and he woke with that sense of strength which sometimes visits the convalescent. He opened his eyes widely and suddenly; a figure as suddenly glided behind the curtain; he felt that he was awake, yet the figure of his dream had just flitted by his couch; he tore aside the curtains-Isabella stood before him!

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The colours of the May-time morning sky are less beautiful than were those which emotion threw upon his face. His luminous and dilating eye, his extending and collapsing nostril, alarmed her; she advanced to him-she put her hand into his. Hubert! I come to ask your forgiveness: to thank you for the love I have lost-lost deservedly.' 'Lost!' he repeated. When I am lost to all, and all is lost to me, then-only then-' He could utter no more; he would have sunk at her feet, but she forbade the effort, by folding him to her bosom,

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Walton's silence about Isabella had deceived even his mother. It was thought that he had conquered his passion, and assurances to this effect perhaps piqued Isabella; yet a sweet, a holy feeling had led her to his couch, and, before she quitted it, she pledged to him the tenderest vows. The probation she had suffered had not restored all her early acute sensibility, but it had opened her mind, and made it seize on true principles, and, what cannot be said of every coquette she did not carry that character into conjugal life.


The fiery mountains answer each other;

Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone;
The tempestuous oceans awake one another,
And the ice-rocks are shaken round winter's zone
When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown.

From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around,
Earthquake is trampling one city to ashes,

A hundred are shuddering and tottering; the sound
Is bellowing underground.

But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare, And swifter thy step than the earthquake's tramp; Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean; thy stare Makes blind the volcanos; the sun's bright lamp To thine is a fen fire damp.

From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast;
From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet, thy dawning is cast,—
And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.

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What an unjoyous, solid, rude, suffocating, deafening, head-ache giving thing a fair in the country is :-(let me just except Greenwich fair, if Greenwich be in the country -or rather the accidental adjunct of the noble old park, and the freaks it irresistibly inspires.) The street of the little village stuffed with people who will walk over you if you do not push them about as they do you: girls scrambling on by themselves, and men and lads by themselves; and no one laughing nor yet smiling, but on the contrary, the greater number either half-scowling at one another, or else looking nervously shy of having it appear that they are such fools as to allow themselves to be pleased. Peep into one of the inns, of which all the lower rooms are flung open to genteelish company, among the rows of happy creatures sitting on forms by the walls, drinking porter, or ale, brandy and hot water, and nearly all look discontented still; -peep into a dancing booth, as you pass by, and you will see, perhaps, a dozen girls exerting themselves to the utmost in a work-and-labour way, for the edification of three or four bumpkins, who walk from side to side among them with very disdainful faces, and now and then lift up their legs, and let them down again, one after another, as if they were plodding over a stubble-field, or at best turning the tread-mill at slow time. And how I abhor that smock frock into the bargain! the most unpicturesque, unmanly, unlovely, sheep-faced piece of costume in the world. Ay, and the close-laced bumpkin buskins, too, which, from constant pressure, impoverish the most considerable muscles of the leg, and leave an English peasant the worst-limbed peasant I have yet seen.


"But what has become of the power, or the will, or the zest for natural and innocent enjoyment of the villagers of Old England ?-merry Old England it used to be, we are told-can I call it so, at present? Why don't these hardworked, simple-minded poor fellows, take delight in the few holidays left open to them ?-for, as to Sunday, it has now become, to all outward appearance, the saddest day out of the seven. And, stop:-perhaps it is this very pharisaical observance of the sabbath, at first imposed upon them against their natures and wishes, and since grown into a sullen, sulky habit, which at length incapacitates them from relishing even their annual play days. At all events, Graves, you know my notions of old, as to the good sense, good feeling, nay, good religion, of making it criminal in a poor man or lad, to sing a harmless song, play at quoits or cricket, or be seen dancing with his sweetheart, or-if he and she like his arm round her neck of a Sunday. None of those acts would be in themselves unholy, and therefore would not break the command for keeping holy the sabbath. Farther I do sincerely believe that after due worship of God, or in the intervals of the different times set apart for His worship, on His own Day, a joyous and a contented heart giving vent, according to the common manifestations of human nature, to its joy and to its content, would not be odious in the sight of Him who loves His creatures with a surpassing love, and who has contrived a wondrous plan for even their earthly happiness. There is joy in Heaven,' where reigns an eternal sabbath :-and I WILL insist, that it was upon the first earthly sabbath day, after the 'foundations of the earth were laid,' and 'the corner stone there,' that the morning stars praised Him together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy!'

"As to the good feeling and good sense of compelling poor Johnny-raw to be triste and demure-looking upon the only day of the week that he is not bent double with labour, follow him for a good part of a Sunday, and draw your own conclusions. See him first, after church or chapel service, moping alone, or with a group of his own sex, at one side of the village street, or of a green field, while flocks of pretty, and, (if they durst) merry-hearted girls, move in a somewhat more active manner, at the other side: see him thus, and you pity his lot,-(pray do not fall into the mistake of always quarrelling with him for stupidity.) When he tires of his unenlivening lounge, stand near the Tap, and you will catch a glimpse of him, however, slipping into its ever open or only latched door, round a corner; and you do not greatly pity him now,-but how CAN you blame him? What are his means of enjoyment in the open air? And, if he had some means of enjoyment in the open air, would he be in the Tap-in it, at least, so often, or so long at a time? And-(take human nature as it is, as it has ever been, and as it ever must be)--which is the greatest breach of the sabbath, dancing happily on the green sod, ay, and with one of those nice village beauties before him, or spending his money on the heavy, stupifying national drink of England? (Graves, have not the porter and the ale of England, the light wines or the light beer of France, and the whiskey of Ireland, a point of impression upon the very different characters of the three people ?) And can this methodized avoidance of the cherry companionship of the other sex, openly, and in the face of heaven and of man, upon a sabbath-day-to say nothing of his self-control in different matters-be much better, very often, than a system of demoralizing hypocrisy? Ask the parish overseer, and he may, perhaps, tell you that more seeds of care and trouble to him are sown of a Sunday evening, take the seasons through)-than upon any other evening of the week. And does he, or do you expect it otherwise? I think, in my conscience, it is evident that the natural gallantry common to all men, gentle and simple, might, in seven cases out of ten, be diverted from concentrating itself into a downright breach of parish law, if it were allowed to evaporate, gradually, in the hundred harmless little courtesies which are matters of course amongst men and women, lads and girls, in less disciplined communities. This, however, you will say, is rather a stretching of my theory,-very well. Give me back our fine merry Old England national character, among the lower orders, ay, and some of the middle too, and that is what I want, and you may effect it as you like, and as you can. Make our smock-frocked compatriots look less unhappy, less jealous of a free-hearted, natural existence, less sulky while a charming girl of the same street and parish stops him, as he plods along, and almost by force detains him a few moments, while she tries her very best to tell him pleasant stories and anecdotes, and to look up, laughing into his face,-in fact-(inverted man that he is to suffer it!)-to court him. Let me finish my wandering chapter with a really serious sentence or two. Make your villagers enjoy their lives as their forefathers did theirs, or, at least, make them more moral than their forefathers were, as a set-off against their sad and sour pretensions to outward decorum. Convince them that-one thing with another they have more facilities for happiness than the people of any second country under the sun, and yet thatnot in seeming, merely, but in downright fact, and in their hearts, and livers, brains, spleens, and gall-bladders, they are the least joyous people under the same sun."

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'Richard Mayne was a wealthy yeoman of the old school, sturdy, boisterous, bold, and kind, always generous, and generally good-natured, but cross-grained and obstinate by fits, and sometimes purse-proud-after the fashion of men who have made money by their own industry and shrewdness. He had married late in life, and above him in station, and had now been for two or three years a widower with only one daughter, a girl of nineteen, of whom he was almost as fond as of his greyhound Mayfly, and for pretty much the same reason-that both were beautiful and gentle, and his own, and both admired and coveted by others—that Mayfly had won three cups, and that Lucy had refused four offers.

'A sweet and graceful creature was Lucy Mayne. Her mother, a refined and cultivated woman, the daughter of an unbeneficed clergyman, had communicated, perhaps unconsciously, much of her own taste to her daughter. It is true, that most young ladies, even of her own station, would have looked with great contempt on Lucy's acquirements, who neither played nor drew, and was wholly, in the phrase of the day, unaccomplished; but then she read Shakspeare and Milton, and the poets and prose-writers of the James's and Charles's times, with a perception and relish of their beauty very uncommon in a damsel under twenty; and when her father boasted of his Lucy as the cleverest as well as the prettiest lass within ten miles, he was not so far wrong as many of his hearers were apt to think him.

'After all, the person to whom Lucy's education owed most, was a relation of her mother's, a poor relation, who, being left a widow with two children almost totally destitute, was permitted by Richard Mayne to occupy one end of a small farm-house, about a mile from the old substantial manorial residence which he himself inhabited, whilst he farmed the land belonging to both. Nothing could exceed his kindness to the widow and her family; and Mrs. Owen, a delicate and broken-spirited woman, who had known Letter days, and was now left with a sickly daughter and a promising son, dependant on the precarious charity of relatives and friends, found in the free-handed and openhearted farmer and his charming little girl, her only comfort. He even restored to her the blessing of her son's society, who had hitherto earned his living by writing for an attorney in the neighbouring town, but whom her wealthy kinsman now brought home to her, and established as the present assistant and future successor of the master of a well-endowed grammar-school in the parish, farmer Mayne being one of the trustees, and all powerful with the other functionaries joined in the trust, and the then schoolmaster in so wretched a state of health as almost to ensure a speedy vacancy.

In most instances, such an exertion of an assumed rather than a legitimate authority, would have occasioned no small prejudice against the party protected; but George Owen was not to be made unpopular, even by the unpopularity of his patron. Gentle, amiable, true, and kind—kind, both in word and deed-it was found absolutely impossible to dislike him. He was clever, too-very clever—with a remarkable aptitude for teaching, as both parents and boys soon found to their mutual satisfaction; for the progress of one half-year of his instruction equalled that made in a

twelvemonth under the old regime. He must also, one should think, have been fond of teaching, for after a hard day's fagging at Latin and English, and writing and accounts, and all the drudgery of a boy's school, he would make a circuit of a mile and a half home in order to give Lucy Mayne a lesson in French or Italian. For a certainty, George Owen must have had a strong natural turn for playing the pedagogue, or he never would have gone so far out of his way just to read Fenelon and Alfieri with Lucy Mayne.

'So for two happy years matters continued. At the expiration of that time, just as the old schoolmaster, who declared that nothing but George's attention had kept him alive so long, was evidently on his death-bed, farmer Mayne turned Mrs. Owen, her son, and her sick daughter out of the house, which by his permission they had hitherto occupied; and declared publicly, that whilst he had an acre of land in the parish, George Owen should never be elected master of the grammar-school—a threat which there was no doubt of his being able to carry into effect. The young man, however, stood his ground; and sending off his mother and sister to an uncle in Wales, who had lately written kindly to them, hired a room at a cottage in the village, determined to try the event of an election, which the languishing state of the incumbent rendered inevitable.

'The cause of farmer Mayne's inveterate dislike to one whom he had so warmly protected, and whose conduct, manners, and temper had procured him friends wherever he was known, nobody could assign with any certainty. Perhaps he had unwittingly trodden on Mayfly's toe, or on a prejudice of her master's-but his general carefulness not to hurt any thing, or offend anybody, rendered either of these conjectures equally impossible;-perhaps he had been found only too amiable by the farmer's other pet-those lessons in languages were dangerous things!-and when Lucy was seen at church with a pale face and red eyes, and when his landlord Squire Hawkins's blood hunter was seen every day at farmer Mayne's door, it became currently reported and confidently believed, that the cause of the quarrel was a love affair between the cousins, which the farmer was determined to break off, in order to bestow his daughter on the young lord of the manor.

Affairs had been in this posture for about a fortnight, and the old schoolmaster was just dead, when a fire broke out in the rick-yard of Farley Court, and George Owen was apprehended and committed as the incendiary! The astonishment of the neighbourhood was excessive; the rector and half the farmers of the place offered to become bail ; but the offence was not bailable; and the only consolation left for the friends of the unhappy young man, was the knowledge that the trial would speedily come on, and their internal conviction that an acquittal was certain.

As time wore on, however, their confidence diminished. The evidence against him was terribly strong. He had been observed lurking about the rick-yard with a lanthorn in which a light was burning, by a lad in the employ of farmer Mayne, who had gone thither for hay to fodder his cattle, about an hour before the fire broke out. At eleven o'clock the hay-stack was on fire, and at ten Robert Doyle had mentioned to James White, another boy in farmer Mayne's service, that he had seen Mr. George Owen behind the great rick. Farmer Mayne, himself, had met him at half-past ten (as he was returning from B. market) in the lane leading from the rick-yard towards the village, and


had observed him throw something he held in his hand into the ditch. Hepton Harris, a constable employed to seek for evidence, had found the next morning a lanthorn, answering to that described by Robert Doyle, in the part of the ditch indicated by farmer Mayne, which Thomas Brown, the village shopkeeper, in whose house Owen slept, identified as having lent to his lodger in the early part of the evening. A silver pencil, given to Owen by the mother of one of his pupils, and bearing his full name on the seal at the end, was found close to where the fire was discovered; and to crown all, the Curate of the village, with whom the young man's talents and character had rendered him a deserved favourite, had, unwillingly, deposed that he had said 'it might be in his power to take a great revenge on farmer Mayne,' or words to that effect: whilst a letter was produced from the accused to the farmer himself, intimating that one day he would be sorry for the oppression which he had exercised towards him and his. These two last facts were much relied upon as evincing malice, and implying a purpose of revenge from the accused towards the prosecutor: yet there were many who thought that the previous circumstances might well account for them, without reference to the present occurrence, and that the conflagration of the ricks and farm-buildings might, under the spirit of the time, (for fires were raging every night in the surrounding villages) be merely a remarkable coincidence. The young man himself simply denied the fact of setting fire to any part of the property or premises; enquired earnestly whether any lives had been lost, and still more earnestly after the health of Miss Lucy; and on finding that she had been confined to her bed by fever and delirium occasioned, as was supposed, by the fright, ever since that unhappy occurrence, relapsed into a gloomy silence, and seemed to feel no concern or interest in the issue of the trial.

His friends, nevertheless, took kind and zealous measures for his defence,-engaged counsel, sifted testimony, and used every possible means, in the assurance of his innocence, to trace out the true incendiary. Nothing, however could be discovered to weaken the strong chain of circumstantial evidence, or to impeach the credit of the witnesses, who, with the exception of the farmer himself, seemed all friendly to the accused, and most distressed at being obliged to bear testimony against him. On the eve of the trial the most zealous of his friends could find no ground of hope, except in the chances of the day; Lucy, for whom alone the prisoner asked, being still confined by severe illness.

The judges arrived, the whole terrible array of the special commission; the introductory ceremonies were gone through; the cause was called on, and the case proceeded with little or no deviation from the evidence already cited. When called upon for his defence, the prisoner again asked if Lucy Mayne were in court? and hearing that she was ill in her father's house, declined entering into any defence whatsoever. Witnesses to character however pressed forward-his old master, the attorney, the rector and curate of the parish, half the farmers of the village, everybody, in short, who ever had an opportunity of knowing him, even his reputed rival, Mr. Hawkins, who, speaking, he said, on the authority of one who knew him well, professed himself confident that he could not be guilty of a bad action-a piece of testimony that seemed to strike and affect the prisoner more than any thing that had passed;evidence to character crowded into court;-but all was of no avail against the strong chain of concurrent facts; and


the judge was preparing to sum up, and the jury looking as if they had condemned, when suddenly a piercing shriek was heard in the court, and pale, tottering, disheveled, Lucy Mayne rushed into her father's arms, and cried out with a shrill despairing voice, that she was the only guilty; that she had set fire to the rick; and that if they killed George Owen for her crime, they would be guilty of


'The general consternation may be imagined, especially that of the farmer, who had left his daughter almost insensible with illness, and still thought her light-headed. Medical assistance, however, was immediately summoned, and it then appeared that what she said was not true; that the lovers, for such they were, had been accustomed to deposit letters in one corner of that unlucky hay-rick; that having seen from her chamber-window George Owen leaving the yard, she had flown with a taper in her hand to secure the expected letter, and, alarmed at her father's voice, had run away so hastily, that she had, as she now remembered, left the lighted taper amidst the hay; that then the fire came, and all was a blank to her, until recovering that morning from the stupor succeeding to delirium, she had heard that George Owen was to be tried for his life for the effect of her carelessness, and had flown to save him she knew not how!'

'The sequel may be guessed: George was of course acquitted every body, even the very judge, pleaded for the lovers; the young landlord and generous rival added his good word; and the schoolmaster of Farley and his pretty wife are at this moment one of the best and happiest couples in his Majesty's dominions.


'I listened to her and looked at her in silence. Her manner was calm, and her voice firm. She appeared so convinced of the success of her plan, that it was sometime before I dared to reply. I looked, however, upon the whole as a mad undertaking. I was at last obliged to tell her so; but she interrupted me at the first word by saying: 'I will hear of no objections. I die if you die. Do not therefore reject my plan. I know it will succeed. I feel that God supports me!' 'What will they do,' I said, when they discover that I am gone? These brutes, in their blind rage, will they not forget themselves and perhaps strike you?' I was going on, but I soon saw, by the paleness of her countenance and the movements of convulsive impatience that were beginning to agitate her, that I ought to put an end to all objections. I remained silent for a few minutes, at the end of which I continued thus: Well, then, I shall do as you please; but if you want to succeed, permit me to make at least one observation. The cabriolet is too far off. I shall be scarcely gone when my flight will be discovered, and I shall most undoubtedly be stopped in the chair, for near an hour is required to go to the Rue des St. Peres. I cannot escape on foot with your clothes.' This reflection seemed to strike her. 'Change,' I added, that part of your plan. The whole of to-morrow is still at our disposal I promise to do to-morrow all you wish, and in the manner you wish it. This promise made her easy, and we separated.


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