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mother if she wished to forget him; and she must betake herself to the coarse, hard, but dutiful life of her brother's cabin.
Catherine went no more to White Cliffs or to Hardbargain; and when Mrs. Clifton sent for her to come and spend a day, she returned a gentle answer that she could not leave her grandfather.
THE BLACK SEAL.
THE evening was chilly-just chilly enough to make the novelty of the first fire of the season a luxury-and so Zuleime had ordered a bright little fire to be kindled in the parlour, and the tea-table set out there; and she had changed her white muslin dress for a fine crimson poplin one, and began to think of the pleasant autumn evenings, when all the family would gather around the hearth, with needlework, and books, and social chat; and, like a child, she was forgetting the threatening dangers that lay before her, and those she loved. Her father's trouble, Major Cabell's expected arrival, Frank's peril in distant warfare, the difficulties of her own positionall were for a while forgotten in the dream of cheerful fireside affection and comfort, as she moved about the room closing blinds, dropping curtains, and wheeling easy-chairs up near the fire, and thinking with what a fine smile of genial satisfaction her father would come in and look around upon the change before he dropped himself into that largest casy-chair. Mr. Clifton had ridden to the village, but was expected back to tea; and there sat the tea-table a little aside to be clear of the chair near the fireplace, and radiant with snowy damask and shining silver..
Carolyn came in, pacing softly, slowly; and, turning her eyes around the room with a look of languid approval, she sank into an arm-chair. Zuleime went to her immediately, and relieved her of the large shawl she had worn through the chilly passages, and closed her dressing-gown, and settled the lace-border of the delicate little cap, and placed the softest cushion under her feet, and then kissed her forehead, but did not speak. Carolyn repaid her with a silent look of affection. Since the departure of Catherine, Carolyn had sunk into a
sort of mute despondency, in spite of all the care and affection of her sister, for it was her moral nature that needed help, and the young Zuleime could not "minister to a mind diseased."
Mrs. Georgia Clifton entered and silently glided to her seat. Unconsciously, Georgia became a dark and terrible. picture she sat upon a low ottoman at the corner of the fireplace, her head supported by her hand, and all her glittering ringlets falling like a glory down each side of her darkly splendid face; and through that strong light and shadow her form palpitated, her bosom heaved and fell, her moist lips dropped apart, and her eyes gleamed with a set, steady fire, as though some passionate trance wrapt and spell-bound her soul.
Zuleime was moving about the room and giving directions to a servant who had brought in cakes and preserves; finally, she sat down and took out her knitting-it was a pair of white lamb's-wool socks for her father-and knitted while she waited. She had not long to wait.
The door swung open silently, and Mr. Clifton entered with a newspaper in his hand, but looking so shocked and troubled that all, with one accord, raised their eyes in silent inquiry.
"Poor Frank! poor Frank !" exclaimed the old man, as if he was ready to burst into a passion of tears.
"What-what of Frank?" asked a faltering, gasping voice, which he could not recognise as belonging to either of the three young women present, yet answered mechanically
"Those bloody Redskins !
Those ghastly, horrible savages!" he cried, throwing himself into a chair. There-there has been some fighting!
Is Tell me! tell me! You know what I want to know. Is Archer safe?" exclaimed Carolyn, bending forward; while, sallow and fierce, the eyes of Georgia gleamed the terror and anxiety she dared not express.
"Archer is safe!" said Mr. Clifton.
And the light of a sudden joy flitted across Georgia's dark face, and Carolyn sank back with a look of grateful relief. And no one noticed Zuleime, and no one knew that she had spoken.
Yes; Archer is safe, thank God! And a thousand times
thank God that Archer is safe! But Frank-poor Frank! My God, what a fate! Who shall tell his mother?"
"For Heaven's sake! what has happened to Mr. Fairfax ?" asked Georgia.
There, there! read for yourself," replied the old man, getting up and handing her the paper. He did not mean that she should read aloud, perhaps, but he forgot-he was confused with trouble.
And she took the paper and read: "FROM THE INDIAN FRONTIER. HORRIBLE MASSACRE NEAR FORT PROTECTION.-Despatches from our western frontier bring the most painful account of a horrible massacre of a part of our troops by the Indians in the vicinity of Fort Protection. On Monday, the 15th ultimo, a small reconnoitring party left the Fort, under the command of Lieutenant Fairfax. They had proceeded about a mile on their way when they fell into an ambuscade of Indians, and were cut to pieces in the most shocking manner. The body of Lieutenant Fairfax, in particular, was so horribly mutilated as to be scarcely recognisable. The full particulars of the massacre, given below, are copied from the National Sentinel."
Then followed a long account of the catastrophe, with every revolting circumstance detailed with horrid distinctness. The old man heard and groaned at intervals; Carolyn shuddered and wept by turns; and even Georgia's voice broke down for pity and horror. But she-the wife, the widowshe, the fearfully bereaved-she sat and listened to all the murderous story.
She heard all, all how he had been set upon by six or seven; how he had singly battled with them when all his party were lying dead around him; how then he tried to escape such fearful odds; how he was felled and dragged down from his horse; the young, warm, beating heart was cloven through; the fair hair torn from the bleeding skull; the fingers chopped off for the sake of the ringFrank wore but one, a simple gold ring, with a coral setting that she had taken from her slender forefinger and contrived to squeeze past the joint and get it comfortably upon his little finger-and they had cut it off in their haste to get it. How real that trifle made the whole horror, that might else have seemed like a nightmare! She sat and heard it all; and no motion, no tear, no cry escaped her.
At last, when the reading was over, and they were released from the spell of horror, old Mr. Clifton thought of Zuleime, and feared its effect on her. He turned to look at her; at
first he saw nothing amiss.
She sat so naturally, though still, with her knitting in her hands, as though only stopped for an instant, and her face turned in a listening attitude towards Georgia, who had ceased to read.
"It is all over; there is no more to hear, Zuleime, my darling," said the old man.
But she did not move or speak. She seemed to look and listen intently.
Zuleime," said her father gently.
She remained perfectly still.
"Zuleime!" he exclaimed yet louder. She did not hear. "Zuleime!" he cried a third time, going towards her to seize her shoulder.
But he started back in affright. They were all gazing at her now.
My God! she is dead!" ejaculated the father. "She is mad!" exclaimed Georgia.
They gathered around her. She knew it not; she sat there as if frozen into that attitude-her face white and hard, her lips bloodless and stiff, and her eyes still fixed towards the spot from which Georgia had been reading, but beyond it -beyond it, into the far distance, as if fascinated by some spectacle there of unutterable horror.
"Zuleime, what are you looking at? Speak to me, my child!" cried her father in great distress.
He might as well have expected a statue to speak.
Carolyn took the knitting away, which, through all this, had dangled between her stiff, unconscious fingers. Georgia rubbed her hands; Carolyn bathed her face; the old man cried to her-all in vain! They might as well have performed these offices for the dead.
They lifted her up, and laid her on a sofa; her limbs hanging helplessly, like those of a dead or swooning girl. But she was neither dead nor swooning. Wherever they moved her, her eyes were still fixed, in that bright, burning, horrible stare, upon the distance, as though the vision of the ghastly spectacle that had been conjured up before her magination followed her wherever she was turned.
They took her up stairs, undressed, and put her to bed. All night long she lay in the same state.
In the morning there was no change, except that the muscles of the face had fallen, the cheeks sunken, the chin dropped, and that concentrated, intense gaze into vacancy was more burning bright than ever. It was as though a burning soul was consuming the unconscious flesh to death; or as if a body was turning to dust and ashes with the spirit still imprisoned in it.
"She is sinking, and must die, unless she can be moved to tears," said the doctor.
But what should move her to tears? on earth that she could weep for now? had knelt, weeping, by her bedside, and in anguish, without causing a single eyelash to quiver over that fixed, burning eye! What should make her weep? Plaintive music? She could not be made to hear it! The very songs that she and Frank had sung together? sound was drowned in the groans from that scene of blood!
Mrs. Clifton of Hardbargain had come over; but though she was a woman of great skill and experience, all her efforts failed to rouse the girl from that fearful trance, which seemed likely to end in death.
Was there anything Her old grey father torn his silver hair
"Send for Catherine! If anyone in the world can do her good now, it will be Catherine. There is, besides, a freemasonry between girls of the same age that makes them instinctively understand each other. If a child were in a stupor, I should certainly send its favourite playmate, another child, as the most likely being to rouse it," said Mrs. Clifton.
"Ah! My Lord! this is worse than any stupor! I wish to Heaven she would fall into a stupor," replied the father.
"I know it; for her mind is not dulled, but seems wrought up to the highest pitch, and intent upon some imaginary vision of horror. She must be brought out of it. She must be subdued. Send for Catherine.
Mr. Clifton went himself in the gig, to bring the kind girl. When Catherine arrived, and while she stood by the side of the stricken, insensible girl, Mr. Clifton said to her, “You see, my dear child Zuleime seems to have been very much attached to this poor young man; and the news of his