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but this was the fault of her marked features. But little time or thought had Mr. Fairfax to bestow upon the mountain-girl; so, as soon as he caught sight of her, he turned in another direction, to avoid being recognised, saying, "By all that's fatal, my dearest love, we were near being detected! And, by all that's fortunate, we have escaped! Come this way; we will take a stroll down the glen and into the forest for a little while, until this girl is clear of the way."


Oh, but it will delay us so much; I shall not have time to go to Hardbargain, and assist Aunt Clifton, and get back home to dinner, as I promised."

"My dear," said Frank reproachfully, "do you grudge me these last few hours of your society, when we are about to be separated so far and so long? Besides, you know, you are my own dear wife now. Will you refuse ?"


No, no, I cannot! But, oh, let me return to fathermy dear, fond, confiding father as soon as I promised! Let me keep the word of promise to his ear, if I have broken it to his hope!" cried Zuleime, bursting into a passion of


Safe tears, and unobserved but by him who kissed them away; for already they had entered the thicket, and were veiled from the sight of Kate Kavanagh, who now dismounted before the door of the hut, and, taking from the horns of the saddle a basket and a bundle, entered the poor preacher's humble habitation. We will turn from the erring pair, and enter with her. None but God knew how much disinterested good the poor mountain-girl did in this world; even the minister, who loved and respected her, knew little beyond the good she did for him. He knew that she knit new stockings and darned old ones for him; that she took his scanty clothing every week, and mended, and washed, and ironed it for him; and that, when she brought it back, she would always bring him butter, cream, and cheese of her own making, and a fresh loaf of rising bread of her own baking, and often some little rural luxury besides, as a jar of honey or a piece of venison, and that she would stay and clean up his house before she left. He knew that she was his good spirit.

As Kate entered the room, the old man came and met her, and took the basket and the bundle from her hands and set them down, and set a chair for her, and made her sit down

in it, while he said, "My dear child, my excellent child, you do too much for me! You hurt yourself, Catherine, and make me too deeply your debtor!"

Kate waved her hand in that quick, short way peculiar to herself, silently beseeching him to stop.

I shall never

"But it is the truth, Catherine, my child. be able to repay you!"

It is I who am

"Oh, sir, you have reversed the case. your debtor. If I were not particularly your debtor for all the education, mental, and moral, and religious, that I have ever received, up to the time of my coming to Hardbargain, still I should be generally your debtor, as youth is the general debtor of age, owing it all the service it can give." Then, to change the subject, the girl laid off her straw hat, drew off her sheep-skin home-made mittens, and arose and uncovered her basket, saying, "Instead of a loaf of rising bread, Mr. Saunders, I have brought you some fresh biscuits; I thought they might be an agreeable change. There is also a fresh print of butter, and a bottle of cream, and a beef's tongue, boiled-I thought the last would give you an appetite--I think you have not had a good appetite, lately ?" And without more ado Catherine put the things away in the cupboard, setting the bottle of cream in a bowl of water, to keep cool, and wishing to herself that she had a piece of ice to put on the old man's print of butter. Next she unrolled the bundle, took the old man's nicely-washed and mended clothes, and put them neatly away in the chest of drawers. Then she set the empty basket aside, rolled up her sleeves, stooped down upon the hearth, and began to make the fire, saying, "You know I have come to dine with you to-day, Mr. Saunders."

"I know you have come to bring me many comforts, and to cook my dinner, and clean up my house, and make me very comfortable, you good girl, my dear little Brownie !"

Catherine moved about, in her quick and quiet way--filled and put on the kettle-for the old man would always have his cup of tea-and set the table, placing all the little rarities she had brought upon it. When all was ready, and they sat down, the old man found leisure to observe that Kate ate nothing, and looked pale and thoughtful.

"What is the matter, my dear Kate? You who are always serious are now positively sorrowful! What is it ?"

Kate, who was truth itself whenever she spoke, chose for that reason to give no answer.


The old man looked more and more disturbed, and, laying down his knife and fork, said, Nay, but Catherine, my dear child, there is something the matter! I do not wish to intrude on your confidence; but if you have any trouble that you think I may possibly be able to soothe, confide in me as if I were your own father, my child."

"Dear Mr. Saunders, don't trouble your good heart about my cloudy face. Sure and hasn't a poor girl the same right to her smoke that a wealthy young lady has to her vapours ?" said Kate, smiling.

The old minister did not press his question, but resumed his knife and fork with a look of mortification that worried Catherine, so that she said


"I will tell you, then, what troubles me. My dearest, best friend and patron, Captain Clifton, has bidden me good-bye, and departed for the frontier. That is bad-oh, yes! very bad. But that is not the worst. He has gone away very unhappy. I might as well tell you what everybody will soon know his marriage is broken off! He has gone away in anger with his promised bride. away so wretched! Mr. Saunders, when I saw him last night looking so pale, and stern, and proud, and knew the haughtiness and the anguish of his heart, I thought I could have died to have restored peace and joy between him and her he loved so strongly."

He has gone

"Merciful Heaven! those Cliftons! This is another instance of their fatal subjection to passion! Do you know, my dear child, what caused this quarrel ?"

"I know nothing but this-the marriage is broken off for the present. I do not know wherefore.


"Some jealous suspicion of one party or the other! Those Cliftons all have Spanish blood in them, and the Spanish character is uppermost in their nature. They are all haughty, reserved, jealous, suspicious."


Ah, but they are full of courage, magnanimity, and benevolence," said Catherine.

"Archer Clifton is of a very jealous and suspicious nature -was his betrothed inclined to coquetry ?"

"Oh, I do not know, sir; but the misunderstanding did not originate in any charge against Miss Clifton.

It was

something of which Miss Clifton accused him, but of what I do not know; he did not say. My dear Mr. Saunders, I told you what troubled me, to satisfy your kind heart, and allay your benevolent anxiety on my account; and now please forgive me for beseeching you not to question me farther upon the subject. They-the parties, I mean—are far removed above my sphere of thought and action; and the investigation of their motives of action by me seems to involve a certain indelicacy-I fear, even impertinence of interference," said Catherine gently.

"Yet, far above your sphere of thought and action as you say they are, they are not-at least one of them is not-above your sphere of sympathy and emotion. His sorrow affects you with sorrow!"

The blood rushed to Kate's brow, and she remained silent. The old man and the maiden soon after arose from the table. She washed up the dishes, tidied up the house, and collected the poor preacher's soiled and broken clothes, and tied them in a bundle to take away with her to wash and mend. Then she tied on her hat, and took leave of him; the old man calling her back, again and again, with vague, prophetic meaning, to repeat over and over, "God bless you, my child! God bless you It was his dying benediction.


A poor mountaineer that called early the next morning, to get the poor minister to the poor to come and bury his wife, found the old man dead.



ALL the forenoon, Carolyn Clifton sat in the same place and in the same attitude in which we left her, affecting to read, but really watching the mountain-path with heart-sickening anxiety. Every distant sound of a horse's hoofs that struck upon her ear sent an electric shock to her heart, causing her to start violently, tremble, and turn deadly sick and faint, with accelerated hope and fear, until its nearer approach revealed some neighbour going on his way, or some negro coming from the mill or the village, to her despairing

sight. Even the sound of carriage-wheels, as they occasionally rolled by, made her heart pause in its pulsations until it passed, and proved to be some family going on a visit or a shopping errand; for still she hoped that, if he did not come down the mountain-path on horseback, he might come round the road with his mother in her carriage. He came not. And, oh, the wedding-day was almost over! No one saw the strife of hope and fear, like the struggle of life and death, going on silently in her bosom. Mrs. Georgia Clifton spent the whole forenoon in her own apartment, professing to be engaged with many elegant preparations for the evening, but really full of triumph for the success of her wicked scheming, and anxiety and wonder for the events of the evening, and dark regret also for the absence of him who, if lost to Carolyn for ever, was lost to herself for a time at least. With all these passions and emotions striving in her bosom, she dared not show herself, lest her conscious heart and conscious face should betray her-for Georgia was yet young in wickedness.

The Misses Cabell were in their own chamber, putting a few finishing touches to their dresses for the evening; for they, with Zuleime, were to be the bridesmaids.

Zuleime herself had not yet returned, although it was

near noon.

Old Mr. Clifton had been out, as was his daily habit of a forenoon, riding around his plantation.

He came in to-day a little earlier than usual; and finding his daughter exactly where he left her, but looking still more pale, haggard, and anxious than in the morning, he sat down by her side, put his arm tenderly around her waist, and gazed lovingly into her whitened and sharpened countenance, before he said interrogatively, "Not come yet, Carolyn ?"

"No, sir!" answered the young lady, rising and putting off her father's caressing arm, and her own humiliating despondency, with a proud and queenly air.

"Well !" said the old man, with sudden energy, "I WILL certainly now ride up to Hardbargain and know the reason. Dandy, my horse, there! Bring him back! I've not done with him !"

"Father!" said Carolyn, seizing his hand, and detaining him, while she raised her head and looked and spoke in a

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