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Catherine was shown to a chamber, and afforded the refreshments of a partial bath and food; after which she lay down on a sofa to rest, and await the return of the gentle and generous Ross.

In about half an hour she was summoned to the parlour, where she found him standing. He advanced to meet her, and said, “Mrs. Clifton, I have the pardon here; but I very much fear—” and his face clouded over—“ I very much fear it will be too late.”

"Too late!" echoed Catherine, sinking into a chair, as she repeated the saddest words in the language. “Too late. Is he dead?" she asked, covering her face with her hands.

"No, Mrs. Clifton; but he has been ordered for execution at eight o'clock to-morrow.'

"It is not too late!" exclaimed Catherine, starting up with electric energy. "Give me-oh! give me the pardon! I will take it there in time!"

"Lady, the distance is over forty miles; and the necessary delays and dangers that threaten a young female, travelling alone by night, through a country infested—”

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Oh, give me the pardon! give it me, I implore you! I will take it there safely, and in time! Heaven has protected me through dangers as great, and Heaven will protect me through these! Oh, for the love of Heaven, do not hesitate! Every moment is inestimable when a 'too late' threatens us! Give me the pardon !"

"Nay, lady, I can send a courier with the pardon, rather than you should go, for many reasons."

""

Oh, no, no, your courier would want to stop to eat and drink; or he might fall in with some of our people, and be killed or taken; or if he escaped through his explanation of his errand, why, that very errand would be rendered futile by the time lost in investigation. I shall pause for nothing. Heaven will protect and speed me. Oh, give me the pardon! Do not delay! All depends on promptitude. Alas! excuse my importunity; but give me the pardon !"

General Ross attempted to dissuade her, but neither arguments nor persuasions had the least effect upon her resolution. At last, overruled by her earnestness, vehemence, and faith, he yielded, handed her the pardon, and went out to see if he could procure her a fresh horse.

When he entered again, after a successful search, he found her equipped for her second night's journey, and standing in the midst of her astonished hosts. He informed her that her horse was ready, and also that he had provided her a guard to escort her beyond Bladensburg. Then she took a hasty and grateful leave of her amiable entertainers, and, accepting the arm of the Major-General, left the house.

As General Ross placed her in the saddle, and handed her the reins, he said, "Heaven protect and speed you, lady. Farewell, and sometimes remember me."

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"I will remember and pray for General Ross while I live,' said Catherine; and then she put whip to her horse, and rode away, upheld by a wonderful energy.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE GOAL.

INCALCULABLE is the power of the spirit over the flesh. In the intense absorption of her soul by one hope, Catherine was carried above all consciousness of the excessive exertion, and all sense of the extreme fatigue that was oppressing and harassing her bodily powers almost to dissolution. But a watchful Providence, that had already thrice arrested her dreadful journey, now a fourth time interposed to compel her to rest. She had parted with her escort when past the British outposts, beyond Bladensburg; and by the time she had reached Long Old Fields, the storm, that had been threatening all the evening, burst suddenly, with terrible violence, driving her for shelter into a farmhouse; and again wondering and compassionate hosts persuaded her to lie down and repose, and once more, as soon as her weary head dropped upon the pillow, deep sleep, like an irresistible mandate of the All Merciful, fell upon her, and, despite of pain of body and anguish of mind, she slept soundly for several hours; slept, as the prisoner sleeps the night before execution; slept, as the martyr sleeps in the intervals of torture upon the rack; slept, while the tempest raged with awful fury; while the rain fell in torrents, and the wind rushed through the forest, carrying destruction on its wings

while gigantic trees were twisted off, or torn up by the roots, and great rivers were swelled to floods; she slept the deep, dreamless sleep "God giveth His beloved." Probably to this providential sleep she owed the preservation of her life; for the spirit that can goad the flesh to exertion unto death cannot save it from dissolution.

When she awoke, the storm had passed, and the stars were shining dimly in the early dawn of day. She started up, remorseful and affrighted to find she had slept so long, and to recollect that her journey was not half over. It was now four o'clock, and she had yet nearly thirty miles to ride before eight, or all was lost! Her pitying hosts tried to persuade her to wait and partake of their early breakfast, which, they said, would be ready in half an hour; but finding her bent upon setting forward, they hastily got some refreshment together, and permitted her to mount her horse and depart; but she had not proceeded many yards before she found that the motion of her steed gave her great painpain so sharp as to force itself to be felt through all her intense mental abstraction. She checked her horse's trot, and put him into a gallop, whose smooth, wavy motion, somewhat relieved her distress.

The morning was sparklingly brilliant after the storm; the forest trees and the grass were spangled by the rain-drops; and the slanting rays of the rising sun, striking deep into the foliage, flecked all its green leaves with golden light. Her horse was fresh, his blood was up, and on they sped like an arrow through the woods.

Suddenly she stopped and reeled backwards-that sharp pain again; it pierced her side and chest like a sword; it caught away her breath, and caused the drops of perspiration to burst from her pale forehead. But not for pain, or even for the fear of death, must she pause; she might perish, but her purpose must first be accomplished, if possible.

Bracing her nerves, and steeling her soul against the sense of suffering, she put whip to her horse, and flew on, as before the wind, leaving forest, meadow, and hamlet-farmhouse, field, and flood-far behind her. Again and again the sharp agony arrested her, like the hand of death-but in vain to stop her progress: each time the pang could only delay her a moment, and then on and on she sped, spurning the ground away in her desperate flight.

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Before her, in the distance, glimmered the blue Patuxent, the longed-for goal. Oh, that river! for an hour past it had seemed as near as now. Would she ever approach it? On and on she sped, while woods, and towns, and plains whirled behind her in a mad reel. A fearful change was coming over her. The sense of pain, with all other sense, had gradually left her. A stupor of weariness supervened; her brain reeled; her sight failed. Oh, that river! how it gleamed and disappeared, and gleamed again before her. Would she ever, ever be nearer to it? How dim the sunlight was, and how unsteady the ground; and the boundaries of the sky and earth were molten together and lost; and it was no longer the action of her horse, but the dreadful rocking and upheaving of the ground, that kept her moving, moving, moving for ever. Oh, that river! how it glimmered and sparkled, and sparkled and flashed into her brain. Would she ever, ever, ever reach it? or was she going round in a circle for ever? Reason was failing at last past, present, and future, things that were and things that seemed, swam thickly together upon brain and heart; surely the hour of dissolution had come, for dense darkness and heaviness were settling like grave-clods upon brain and heart. O God, that river! had she really reached it at last? or was it an illusion of delirium? Its waves rolled and flashed in silvery splendour at the foot of the hill, below her feet; but what was that? Angels in heaven! what was that ? A sight to call back ebbing life! Down in the dell, the glitter of bayonets and the glow of scarlet coats-an open square of British infantry, inclosing an executionscene! Clutching the pardon from her bosom, and holding it aloft at arm's length, she roused her fast-failing strength for a last effort, and hurled herself and steed furiously down the hill upon the scene of doom. The flash of steel around her, the gallows' tree, the cart, the prisoner, the fatal noose, and, more than all, close beside her, the form of him -her own, her Clifton-madly loved in life and death: and then darkness closed in upon her life, and all was lost.

As the reins fell from her powerless hands upon the horse's neck, the noble animal stood stock still. Had he lifted a leg, it must have been fatal to the swooning rider; but he stood like a statue, while her form swayed to and fro for a moment, and then Archer Clifton sprang forward and re

ceived her in his arms. He picked up the paper as it fell from her stiffening fingers, and, guessing its purport, passed it to the officer in command. Then he sank upon one knee, drew her insensible form to and supported it against his breast, while he untied her hat and loosened her spencer.

A little bustle ensued around him; but he did not heed it, bending over Catherine. The execution was stayed, the prisoner released; and poor Jack, half-dead with terror before, and half mad with joy now, had still strength, and sense, and affection enough left to run to a spring hard by, and dip up his hat full of water; and the next instant he was kneeling with it by the side of his mistress, to bathe her hands. "Who is she?" "Where did she come from ?" "What is her name?" "Who is the lady?" "Do you know her, sir ?" asked some of the officers, crowding around with offers of assistance.

This lady is my wife, gentlemen! Air! air, if you please!" exclaimed Archer Clifton, waving them off, and giving his sole attention to Catherine. "Kate!"

The sound of that thrilling voice, the clasp of those thrilling arms, had power to call back her spirit from the confines of the invisible world. Her pale, pale eyelids quivered.

"Kate!" he exclaimed again, raising her higher upon his breast.

A shuddering sigh convulsed her bosom-her languid eyes unclosed.

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"Kate!"

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'Yes, Kate!" she echoed, nodding her head with that quick, nervous, spasmodic gesture common to her.

"And why have you done this thing? Why have you placed yourself en scène like a third-rate opera-dancer ?"

She raised her fading eyes to his face pleadingly, murmuring, "Your wishes-the reprieve!"

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Well, what of that? Was there no one to bring it but yourself?"

Too feeble to enter upon the long explanation required, she only shook her head, murmuring at intervals, "Forgiveforgive-I could not see him die. Patience, patienceindeed I will not trouble you, love-I will go away again, far away! Maybe God will let me die!"

The last words were breathed forth in a long, deep sigh, and she sank away again into insensibility.

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