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black hair, which, though slightly mingled with grey, was worn uncovered. Indeed, cap or turban upon that noble head would have looked impertinent. She advanced into the room and greeted her son with affection, and welcomed Mr. Fairfax with courtesy, though her words were so few, and her manner was so calm, as to seem cool. Frank thought her a very noble-looking woman, though somewhat stiff and cold. Indeed, all strangers and superficial observers thought her cold and proud. Never was a greater misapprehension of character-never did a larger or more generous heart live in the bosom of woman-albeit, its pulsations were of the calmest and most regular character. She sat down and entered into an easy conversation with her son and his friend, inquiring into the particulars of their journey, and making comments as they were related. Once during the recital her cheek almost imperceptibly changed. It was at the telling of the hair-breadth escape at the brink of the Devil's Staircase, but upon that she made no observation whatever. She rang a little handbell, which was answered by the entrance of Hennie. She took a bunch of keys from her pocket, and, giving them to the girl, directed her to bring refreshments. Hennie left the room, but soon returned, bearing a large waiter with home-made wine, cake, and a basket of fine peaches and pears. While they regaled themselves upon these luxuries, she inquired after the health and well-being of the family of White Cliffs, and having received satisfactory answers, turned to Mr. Fairfax, and hoped that he was sufficiently well pleased with their neighbourhood to favour it with a long sojourn. Frank assured her that he should never grow weary of the delights of his visit, and should conclude it only when compelled to do so, and then with great regret. The conversation then became of more general interest. The weather, the condition of the roads, the health of the neighbourhood, &c., were discussed. And then the discourse took a higher tone, and the agricultural and political condition and prospects of the whole country, and the great probability of another speedy war with Great Britain, were debated; and Mr. Fairfax wondered at the extent of information, the strong grasp of mind, and the depth and justness of thought, displayed by this recluse lady upon subjects apparently so foreign to her daily experience.
They made quite a long morning visit; and before their departure, Captain Clifton took an opportunity—while Mr. Fairfax was walking around the room and staring at some old family pictures, among which hung a portrait, by, of Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector of England-to draw his mother aside, and say to her—
Madam, I have a proposition to make to you, or a favour to ask, as it may turn out."
"What is it, my son ?" gravely inquired the lady.
"You heard Mr. Fairfax speak of the young mountaingirl whom we met just before the storm, and who kindly conducted us to her grandfather's cabin ?"
It is of her that I would speak, and for her that I would enlist your sympathy and protection."
Go on, I attend, my son.
"You have given me some credit for insight into character. If my judgment is worthy of your consideration, this young girl is deserving of your kindest offices."
Does she deserve them ?"
Madam, she impressed me as being a child of high moral and mental endowments, and the trying experience of one night proved the truth of that impression.'
Does she need my good offices?"
Mother, with the finest intellectual capacities, she is nearly destitute of all opportunities of intellectual culture. That is bad-but not so deplorable as what follows. Kate Kavanagh-that is her name- is far removed from all of her own sex. Her young brother, her only protector, is absent from home from earliest dawn till late at night. Her only companion is an old man, an habitual drunkard, subject to frequent and furious fits of mania-a-potu. Her case, upon
iny showing, may not be so exigent; but if you had seen her as I did, it would seem so. Her brother, being best acquainted with the circumstances, is the best judge in the premises, and is very anxious upon his sister's account, and wishes to get her a place at service."
But if she is a girl of so excellent a nature as you have supposed, will she leave her aged relative ?"
"Not willingly, certainly; but I wish the opportunity of improving her condition afforded her—indeed, I promised her brother Carl that it should be presented."
"I know Carl Kavanagh-he worked for me during the last year. I formed a good opinion of him. If his sister is equal to him, she must be a meritorious girl."
"She is very superior to him, madam.
The lady was mistress of great promptitude and decision of action. With her eyes fixed upon the ground, she reflected for a few moments, then, lifting them, said, "Write to your friend Carl Kavanagh-"
"Not my friend, dear madam, an' it please you !" haughtily interrupted her son.
A slight shade of disapproval or of displeasure clouded the lady's brow for a moment, and she said, "Write, then, to your dependant, Carl Kavanagh, and let him know that I am willing to receive his sister into my own service on trial, and that he may bring her hither as soon as is convenient."
"Thank you, dearest madam. I will write to-day, and send a messenger with the letter. I am really pleased and grateful for this kindness," said Archer Clifton, pressing his lips to the cheek she offered to his salute.
The young men soon after took leave, being engaged to dine that day at home at White Cliffs.
"Clifton!" said Mr. Fairfax, as they rode along, 66 excuse me for telling you freely how highly I honour your mother. Yes! you may stare! I-the irreverent, the rash-said, excuse me for telling you how highly I honour your mother; for, by my faith, she is a lady whom to praise is presumption! But, my dear Clifton, how is it that she resembles so closely that old portrait of Oliver Cromwell, which hangs, besides, between two family portraits. It is not possible you claim descent from him?"
"My mother does, by the female line. I do not think I have much of his nature. In his time I should have been a royalist. My mother venerates his character very highly." By my soul! she is like him enough in feature." "Yes; and in many points of character she is strikingly like him."
In conversation such as this the friends reached White Cliffs; and Mr. Fairfax retired to his chamber to dress for dinner, and Captain Clifton entered the library for the purpose of writing a letter to Carl Kavanagh.
THE TIDE OF FATE.
CAPTAIN CLIFTON had written to Carl Kavanagh, informing him of the situation he had procured for the sister of the latter, at Hardbargain; and within this letter he had inclosed a longer one to Kate, filled with good counsels and urgent reasons why she should yield to the wishes of her brother, and accept the place offered to her. After having despatched these letters by a boy, who left White Cliff's that afternoon on horseback, he delivered himself up to the delights of Miss Clifton's society, forgetting all about the mountain-girl, until the next day, when, being seated in the library, his messenger returned, entered his presence, and handed him a packet. It was a letter from Carl Kavanagh, inclosing one from Kate. He read Carl's epistle first. It began by expressing much gratitude to his benefactor for his kindness in having procured a situation for his sister, and went on by expressing much sorrow that he could not prevail upon Kate, either by intreaties or threats, to accept it, and unbounded indignation at what he called the girl's wicked stubbornness. The letter closed by reiterating the thanks of the writer. Captain Clifton held the letter open in his hand, and, lifting his head, fell into deep thought. It was strange how much this little matter depressed him. Account for it, any philosopher that can. Some proud people have a proclivity to patronage-Captain Clifton was very proud, and perhaps he was piqued at being prevented playing the patron. Perhaps it was really disappointed benevolence. Only it is certain that Archer Clifton did not possess that quality to an immoderate degree; and, having once done his duty of charity, would be likely to content himself with any result. Perchance he felt a deeper interest in the rugged little mountaineer than he would have acknowledged, even to himself. Perhaps it was prescience-the shadow of coming events. Be that as it may, Archer Clifton walked up and down the floor in silent thought, occasionally broken by a slight sigh. It was wonderful how much the knowledge that he should not have this child at home in his mother's house vexed his soul.
At length he recollected Kate's own letter, yet unopened. But of what avail to read it? It would certainly be the counterpart of Carl's. He opened it. It was not, however. In the first place, the paper was perfectly clean; and, in the second, the writing, spelling, and style were rather better. She acknowledged the goodness of Captain Clifton, in taking thought of her humble wants-expressed regret that she could not avail herself of his kindness-could not leave her grandfather, who needed her services, and subscribed herself Captain Clifton's obliged and grateful servant. It was very much like Carl's, after all. But here is a postscript. What more can she have to say, after what she has said? thought Clifton, as he turned it over. It read thus
"P.S.I hope Captain Clifton will pardon me, if he thinks that I am doing wrong; but it has come into my head that, as Captain Clifton is about to marry, and reside in future at White Cliffs, and as Mrs. Clifton of Hardbargain will then be quite alone, and as she is not so young, or active, or able to ride about her plantation, overseeing her field-hands as formerly-perhaps she will be thinking of getting a farm-manager. If so, will Captain Clifton kindly remember my brother Carl, and speak a favourable word for him to the lady of Hardbargain, who already knows and trusts him? If Carl gets a situation as overseer, I can keep house for him, and we can both take care of our grandfather. Indeed, I am afraid Captain Clifton will be justly angry with me for this liberty."
"What a letter !" exclaimed Archer Clifton, as his face alternately lighted up with satisfaction, or became clouded with thought. "What a letter for a rustic girl of fourteen! Yet characteristic of her and of her situation; showing the germs of reflection, forethought, courage, and promptitude, the gifts of nature, mingled with that frankness bordering upon presumption which belongs to total ignorance of the world. To dare to speak familiarly of our domestic affairs! But yet how naïvely she deprecates my displeasure, at what she feels may be received as presumption !"
So deeply did Captain Clifton study Kate and her letter: Kate's remarkable countenance, with its breadth of brow and gentleness of eyes, haunted him.
He was a man of prompt decision and action; so, having once admitted the idea that his mother needed an overseer,