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"Go now, then, and prepare for your journey, while I write you a pass; and when you are quite ready, come to me, and I will give you farther directions about your journey."
Jack hastened out; and his mistress remained for a few minutes, with her hands pressed to her heart, repeating to herself, with agonising earnestness, "Would-oh, would to Heaven, I, too, might go!" Soon she started, as with sudden recollection, and hurried off to write the pass, and the directions about the road; and when, in less than half an hour, Jack appeared before her again, she was ready for him. "Here," she said, "is your pass, and written directions, lest you should forget what I tell
"Nebber fear me forgettin', mist'ess, dear."
"You must take the road to Alexandria, which is seventy miles from here. When you reach that town, take the ferryboat and cross the Potomac to the Maryland side. Then inquire your road to the village of Benedict, on the Patuxent, which is thirty or forty miles further down the country. When you reach the village, ask the way to St. Leonard's. Arrived at your journey's end, find Colonel Wadsworth, or Major Stuart, or Captain Miller; show your pass and tell your errand, and they will direct you where to find your master. Do you understand ?"
"All this that I have told you is written down here on this piece of parchment; take care of it, lest you should forget, and lose your way."
Yes, ma'am, I'll be berry cautiencious."
"And now listen to me, Jack.' Her voice broke down, some emotion seemed struggling in her bosom for expression -she quelled it and went on. "When you find your master, write to me at once; thank Heaven, I taught you to write! Write then to me at once, and tell me how he is. Will you promise me that ?"
Faithful, mist'ess, faithful."
And, Jack, when you have once found him, be faithful unto death to him. Never leave him. Nurse him, wait on him, watch over him day and night-do so, if you love him, Jack." Again the inward struggle choked her voice; and when she resumed, it was with broken and faltering accents. "And, Jack, attend-take this note; and when his fever is off-mind you, when he is calm-give it to him."
Yes, mist'ess, dear."
"That is all I have to say to you. Now hasten. Good bye; and may Heaven bless and speed you!"
THE NIGHT JOURNEY.
NEARLY a fortnight of extreme anxiety passed away, during which Catherine heard nothing from her messenger. On the evening of the thirteenth day of his departure, however, a letter was brought to her, directed in the wellknown, but, alas! not very familiar handwriting of Major Clifton. Oh, joy! He was living, then, and even well enough to write. With a fervent ejaculation of deep gratitude to Heaven, she broke the seal. But her face paled as she read.
"British Ship Albion, Aug. 21, 1814.
CATHERINE, Are you, then, destined to be for ever fatal, not only to me, but to every human creature that is faithful to me? See what your reckless disregard of other's lives has done-doomed a poor, fond, faithful creature to a felon's death! Attend, woman! to what I am about to write. I was not dangerously wounded, as the newspapers reported, but slightly hurt, and taken prisoner, and conveyed on board this the Admiral's ship as they did not report. Thus, the poor fellow whom you sent on this death's errand, not finding me in the American camp, and hearing that I was a prisoner on board the British fleet, true to your cominand to find and communicate with me, and reckless of his own danger, procured a boat at Benedict, and came out alongside this ship. You know the result, as well as I can inform you. The wretched boy was taken and put in irons as a spy, and has been doomed to be hanged at the yardarm. He only waits the Admiral's orders for execution. My own inconvenience is nothing beside his cruel fate; yet, nevertheless, I may as well inform you that I, who was upon parole when your messenger sought to communicate with me, have also to thank your interference for being put under arrest; and nothing but the relaxation of strict discipline,
incident upon the departure of the two commanders, and a mere fortuity, affords me the opportunity of writing_and sending this note. Admiral Cockburn and General Ross are now on their march to Washington City. And my object in writing to you is merely this: to assure you, by all my hopes of salvation, that unless you, in your unequalled machiavelism, find some way of saving this boy from death, I will never see or speak to you again.
Still clasping the letter, her hand and head fell with a gesture of utter despair.
"Why, what's de matter, Miss Kate, honey? no bad news, I trus'?" said Henny.
A deep, heart-breaking sob only answered her.
My goodness, Miss Kate, deary, what is it, den? is marster dead? Oh, deary me, Miss Kate, chile, don't keep on looking dat a way-'deed, you puts a scare on to me! -don't! 'Sider how it's de Lord's will, honey, an' let de tears come, let de tears come, chile! Do, honey! 'Deed, trouble's like de measles; ef it don't break out, it strikes in an' kills you dead."
A gasp from Catherine, and a gesture imploring silence, while she spanned her temples with both hands, and tried to think clearly.
"My gracious, Miss Kate, don't look so gashly, honeydon't. Is marster dead, sure enough ?”
"He's not dead, he's not dead," said Catherine huskily, while she waved her hand for peace.
Well, den, honey, long as der's life der's hope, an' no 'casion for 'spair. Is he berry bad, honey?"
He's well-well," said Catherine in the same tone.
'Well, den, long as he's well, what 'casion you take on so, honey? O my Lor'! 'tain't-'tain't poor brother Jack as anything's happened to ?"
"O Henny! Your master and Jack have both been taken prisoners by Admiral Cockburn!”
"O Miss Kate! O my Lor', Miss Kate! An' dey do tell me how he eats his prisoners 'live!" exclaimed Henny, falling down into a chair, flinging her check apron over her head, and beginning to cry.
Almost heedless of her handmaid's violent demonstrations
of grief and terror, Catherine walked up and down the floor, with her hands clasped around her temples, in the very agony of thought. To save the boy from death-how was she, at that remote distance, to save him? Oh, it seemed a mockery, a snare, to put forgiveness upon such an impracticable condition! Yet she thought him no setter of snares. She thought over the whole of the letter, searching for a hint; she needed not to look at it again-every line and word was burned in upon her brain and heart-she thought over the whole of it, earnestly searching for a clue to action---she found it at length in the phrases, "He only waits the Admiral's orders for execution," and "Admiral Cockburn and General Ross are now on their march to Washington City."
She thought if she could see the Admiral, she might yet save his life of so little worth as a sacrifice to the enemy, but of such inestimable value to her. The date of the letter was the twenty-first-this day was the twenty-third. Oh, he is probably executed by this time," said Despondency. "But possibly not," said Hope. She tried to think clearly, to separate the dreadful chaos of thought and passion, and to weigh and adjust circumstances, so as she might decide and act promptly. Admiral Cockburn and General Ross must be near Washington, if they had not already reached the city. Washington was two full days' journey from her home; but every hour was precious, for life and death might hang upon it. She could perform the journey in a day and night. Her resolution was taken. Going up to where Henny sat crying, and rocking herself backward and forward, she said, "Rise, Henny, and go and tell James to saddle my horse, my rough-coated pony, Henny-he is the strongest and the fleetest-and bring him round to the door."
"O Miss Kate! does you think he'll eat 'em sure 'nough?" "What do you mean, Henny? are you crazy?"
"Admirable Cockbu'n, honey. Does you think he'll eat Marse Archy an' brother Jack, sure 'nough? I hopes not, 'cause you see, chile, brother Jack, he's so poor an' lean, an' Marse Archer, he mus' be tough an' stringy 'nough, too, long o' all dis yer warfarin'. But, Lor', 'haps he'll think der good 'nough for sojers' rations, and give 'em to dem."
Henny, that is all a notion."
"'Bout der eaten 'em, honey ?"
'Yes, yes-don't stop me now, Henny! Hasten, hasten!
quick! quick, Henny! hurry back to me."
"But, Miss Kate, are you sure?"
Yes, yes, I'm sure. Oh, hurry, hurry!”,
The woman went out, and Catherine then sat down and penned a hasty note to her new neighbour, the down-east tenant of Hardbargain, requesting him to give a slight supervision of affairs at White Cliffs during her absence for a few days. By the time she had sealed and directed it, Henny re-appeared.
"Go fetch my riding-dress, Henny," was her next prompt command.
My goodness, Miss Kate, where—”
Go, Henny, at once, and don't stay to question me." The maid obeyed, and her mistress rang the bell, and gave the note she had written to a boy, to carry immediately to Hardbargain.
As he left the room, Henny entered it with the ridinghabit.
Have my pony caught, and then
"Help me on with it at once, Henny," said Catherine, meeting her.
"My goodness, Miss Kate! you to be goin' out this time o' night, an' wi' dem in so much trouble. You didn't ax me
to tell nobody who wur to wait on you; but Jeemes, he's gettin' ready."
No, no, I don't want anybody."
"Dear me, mist'ess, honey, where's you gwine?"
Didn't I tell you? To Washington City."
"To Washington ?" exclaimed Henny, letting the dress fall from her hands, and looking up in stupor.
Yes, yes, didn't I tell you? to Washington, to see Admiral Cockburn, and save your brother. I do not believe of Cockburn-I never believe of any one as ill as is reported of them; and I think if I go and make a proper representation to him, I shall be able to save Jack."
Henny stood gazing at her mistress in the same distressful stupor.
"Come, come, Henny! give me the other sleeve round here," said Catherine impatiently.
Still Henny stood and stared in a stupor, until suddenly all her muscles and limbs gave way, and she sank down