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his cousin Carolyn-the forged letter that had brought such bitter sorrow to himself and Catherine. All was confessed and deplored. Finally, she supplicated his forgiveness, as he hoped to be forgiven of God.
The subtle self-love of a man can pardon much in a woman whose motive of action is a strong passion for himself. Great as her wickedness had been, great as the suffering it had caused him, he bore no malice to the dead Georgia. He even after a time resolved to cover her sin from all eyes-to bury it in the grave with her. But merciful as he was in judging Georgia, he was stern enough in condemning himself for so readily believing his innocent wife to be guilty; and he divided his broken exclamations between severe self-upbraidings and rejoicings at her full acquittal-Frank watching him with curiosity and strong
Oh, fool! fool! fool!"
"What is it, Clifton? Who is a fool ?"
Oh, fool! thrice-sodden fool that I've been! Thank Heaven! Oh, thank Heaven!"
Thank Heaven that he's a thrice-sodden fool! That's new cause for thanksgiving. What's it all about, Archer ?" "Oh, folly! blindness! madness! Heaven be praised! Oh, Heaven be praised!"
"Heaven be praised for folly, blindness, and madness! Well, Heaven be praised for all things! But what the deuce is it, Clifton ?"
"Mole! mole ! O God! how grateful, how rejoiced I
"O Lord! how grateful and rejoiced he is that he's a mole! Clifton, what's the mischief? Don't keep on striding about, talking to yourself, with your hand clapped to your forehead like a walking gentleman in a melodrama, which you always detested. Besides, you know there is no legitimate dramatic reason for a married hero to stride about and obstreperate, excepting only jealousy-and you're not jealous? Come, cease starting and vociferating, and tell me the cause-the cause, my soul !'"
Frank, I've been a fool!"
That's no news.
"And a brute !"
"Who doesn't know that ?"
"And a cursed villain."
"Nay, 'I wouldn't hear your enemy say that.' "O Frank! Frank! what shall I do?"
"I am sure I don't know, unless you tell me the premises of action."
"I cannot, Frank-dear Frank, I cannot.
of the dead should be sacred, so should the differences ofI cannot tell you, Frank."
'Hist! Here's the doctor."
Old Doctor Shaw at this moment passed through the parlour, on his way to visit his patient.
Major Clifton accompanied him up stairs to her chamber. When they reached her bedchamber, he noticed that the smile had departed from her lips, and the colour from her cheeks. The old physician put on his spectacles, and looked scrutinisingly at her face and hands, laid his hand upon her forehead and bosom, to get the temperature, felt her pulse, felt her hands and feet, and finally pronounced her to be doing very well.
May she not be wakened up, sir?" asked Clifton, almost selfish in his impatience for a reconciliation.
"By no means.
She must be let alone. Nature is her best physician, and the sleep she prescribes her best medicine.'
"But, sir, I have something of vital importance to communicate to her!" persisted Clifton.
Sir, it may be of vital importance to you, but it would be of fatal importance to her, should you rouse her to communicate it, whatever it is.'
Major Clifton was obliged to restrain his eagerness. physician departed, leaving only one simple direction-that as soon as she awoke she should be put in a warm bath.
Archer Clifton was then summoned down stairs to join the family at supper. There he found a lively, witty, eccentric personage, who was introduced to him as "Our neighbour Mr. Perry." And when the evening was over, this gentleman took an opportunity of drawing the officers aside, and confidentially informing them that the ladies of Greenwood were very much crowded with the company of some relations that were staying with them just then; and that, although they would certainly press their guests to remain all night, the latter could not do so without putting their kind hostess to
much inconvenience; he concluded by offering, and heartily pressing upon the gentlemen the accommodations of his own house. Thanking Mr. Perry for his kindness, they accepted his proffered hospitality, and prepared to accompany him home.
Major Clifton went up stairs, intending only to press a parting kiss upon the lips of his now doubly-beloved Catherine; but when he reached her chamber, he seemed to forget everything but her, and sat down by her bedside, watching the sweet, pale, majestic countenance in its death-like repose.
Ay! gaze on, Archer Clifton; for when you have once turned your eyes away, sharp heart-pangs must be yours ere you look upon that sculptured face again!
He remained until summoned by Mr. Perry; then pressing a fond kiss upon the calmed lips, he departed with a tacit promise to be at her side early in the morning.
In the morning!
THE Confidential communication made by Mr. Perry was probably a ruse on the part of the eccentric gentleman, for the purpose of obtaining the assistance of the officers in "making a night of it over at his house. Certainly, on reaching the home of their host, they found company awaiting their arrival, and they passed the evening in the jolly festivity of country hospitality. A luxurious supper was served late at night, from which they did not separate until the "small hours." Thus many of the guests overslept themselves the next morning, which delayed the family breakfast several hours. Therefore it was after ten o'clock before Major Clifton, very much against the will of his odd entertainer, bade him farewell, and set out to return to Greenwood. It was eleven o'clock when he reached the farmhouse. The ladies were all in their sitting-room, engaged in their various domestic occupations of netting, sewing, knitting, &c., when he entered, and gave them the morning salutation. And then
"How is Mrs. Clifton this morning, ladies? Can I see her immediately ?"
"Mrs. Clifton, sir!" said the eldest lady, looking up in surprise. "Mrs. Clifton is gone, sir. Did you not know it?" "Gone?" repeated Archer Clifton incredulously. "Yes, sir."
"Gone?" he reiterated in amazement.
"Yes, sir. her departure."
We certainly thought that you were aware of
"Most certainly not! Gone! When? how? Excuse me, madam, but where has she gone?"
"We do not know, sir, indeed, since you cannot tell us. We thought that she had gone to join you at Mr. Perry's. We were very sorry, but-"
How did she go? Pardon
"We partake of your anxiety, sir. Mrs. Clifton left us about four hours since-at seven o'clock, immediately after breakfast; she went away on the horse that was brought here yesterday as her own. She left us very much against our arguments and persuasions. We would gladly have detained her."
"How long since she left? my vehemence, dear madam."
"Gone! Good heavens! was she able to go! ?" "No, sir, assuredly she was not."
Archer Clifton sank into a chair, exclaiming, "Pray tell me, dear madam, the circumstances of this departure, and all that occurred from the time I left until she went away."
'Why, sir, after you left, she continued in the same deep sleep until nearly nine o'clock, when she began to show symptoms of awakening. I sent out and ordered the hot bath to be prepared, and sat down to watch her. As she drew near to consciousness, her face lost that look of profound repose which had previously marked it, and began to assume an expression of suffering. Her brows folded, and her lips sprang apart and quivered, as with a spasm of sharp pain, and her eyes flared open suddenly, and she was awake. I asked her how she felt; but she shook her head and closed her eyes again, and shut her teeth tightly, like one trying to bear silently some sharp, inward pain. The bath was then prepared by the bedside, and we began to get her ready for it; but, on the slightest attempt to move her, she groaned so deeply that we scarcely dared to lift her for some minutes. I knew then how it was-that her muscles were stiff and painful, from the severe exertion of such a long equestrian
journey; and I knew also that the hot bath would relieve her; and the doctor's directions had been peremptory, so we tried again, and placed her in the bath; and very soon the hot water seemed to alleviate her sufferings. And when we put her comfortably to bed again, she thanked us very sweetly. I asked her how she found herself. She answered, 'Better;' adding that she thought, by her hard exercise, she had hurt some part of her chest or side, which had given her great pain, but which was now partially relieved."
“Did she seem very much better? Was her voice strong in speaking?"
"No, it was very weak and faint, and frequently broken, as by some inward pain, as I said."
Go on, dear lady."
"We brought her a cup of tea and a plate of toast, of both of which she partook slightly. It was then after nine o'clock, and she begged that she might not disturb us, that we would retire to bed, and said that she was better, and would try to sleep again. She then composed herself to rest, and the girls all left the room. I remained watching until I thought she slept, and then I lay down to rest on the other bed in the same room. I think she passed a good night, for I could not divest myself of uneasiness upon her account; and so I could not get to sleep until after midnight, and during all that time I never heard her move or sigh. After I did get to sleep, however, I slept very soundly till near six o'clock; and when I awoke, what was my surprise to see her up and dressed, as for a journey. She looked very pale, and ill, and sorrowful; and, in fastening her habit, she frequently stopped and leaned against the bed-post for support. I arose quickly and questioned her wishes, and begged her to lie down again; but she only waved her hand against me with a mute, imploring gesture. I expostulated with her, but arguments and persuasions were alike in vain-she only answered, 'I must go.
O Heaven! Where, where did she wish to go! "We do not know. She was not communicative, and we
did not like to question her."
Forgive me, dear madam. Indeed, I fear my questionings must appear almost rude, but my great anxiety must be
"Your anxiety is very natural, sir, and we share it."