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his mother, and in her right mind, that was gazing at him. He scarcely breathed. At length surprise and apprehension yielded before a gush of tenderness and love. With what an unutterable look was his mother at that moment regarding him! His lip quivered his eye overflowed-and, as he felt her fingers very gently compressing his own, his tears fell down. Gently leaning forward, he kissed her cheek, and sunk on one knee beside the bed.
"Is it you, my son?" said she, in a very low tone, but in her own voice, and it stirred up instantly a thousand fond recollections, almost overpowering him. He kissed her hand with fervent energy, but spoke not. She continued gazing at him with mingled solemnity and fondness. Her eye seemed brightening as it remained fixed upon him. Again she spoke, in a very low but clear voice- every thrilling word being heard by every
one around her-" Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern,- Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." It would be in vain to attempt to describe the manner in which these words were spoken; and which fell upon those who heard them as though they were listening to one from the dead.
"My mother!-my mother!" at length faltered Aubrey.
"God bless thee, my son!" said she, solemnly. "And Catharine, my daughter-God bless thee"
she presently added, gently turning round her head towards the quarter whence a stifled sob issued from Miss Aubrey, who rose, trembling, and leaning over, kissed her mother. "Agnes, are you here-and your little ones?- God bless" Her voice got fainter, and her eyes closed. Mr Whateley gave her a few drops of ether, and she presently revived.
"God hath been very good to you, madam," said Dr Tatham, observing her eye fixed upon him, "to restore you thus to your children."
"I have been long absent-long!I wake, my children, but to bid you farewell, for ever, upon earth."
"Say not so, my mother-my precious mother!" exclaimed her son, in vain endeavouring to suppress his emotions.
Weep not for
"I do, my son! me; I am old, and am summoned away from among you"-She ceased, as if from exhaustion; and no one spoke for some minutes.
"It may be that God hath roused me, as it were, from the dead, to comfort my sorrowful children with words of hope," said Mrs Aubrey, with much more power and distinctness than before. "Hope ye, then, in God; for ye shall yet praise him who is the health of your countenance, and your God!"
"We will remember, my mother, your words !" faltered her son.
"Yes, my son-if days of darkness be at hand"-She ceased. Again Mr Whateley placed to her white lips a glass with some reviving fluid-looking ominously at Mr Aubrey, as he found that she continued insensible. Miss Aubrey sobbed audibly; indeed, all present were powerfully affected. Again Mrs Aubrey revived, and swallowed a few drops of wine and water. A heavenly serenity diffused itself over her emaciated features.
"We shall meet again, my loves!I can no longer see you with the eyes of" Mr Whateley observing a sudden change, came nearer to her.
"Peace! peace!" she murmured, almost inarticulately. A dead silence ensued, interrupted only by smothered sobs. Her children sunk on their knees, and buried their faces in their hands, trembling.
Mr Whateley made a silent signal to Dr Tatham, that life had ceasedthat the beloved spirit had passed away. "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away blessed be the name of the Lord!" said Dr Tatham, with tremulous solemnity. Mrs Aubrey and Miss Aubrey, no longer able to restrain their feelings, wept bitterly; and, overpowered with grief, were supported out of the room by Dr Tatham and Mr Aubrey. As soon as it was known that the venerable mother of Mr Aubrey was no more, universal reverence was testified for
her memory, and sympathy for the afflicted survivors, by even those, high and low, in the remoter parts of the neighbourhood who had no personal acquaintance with the family. Two or three days afterwards, Mr Plume, the undertaker, who had received orders from Mr Aubrey to provide a simple and unexpensive funeral, subs
mitted to him a list of more than thirty names of the nobility and gentry of the country, who had sent to him to know whether it would be agreeable to the family for them to be allowed to attend Mrs Aubrey's remains to the grave. After much consideration, Mr Aubrey accepted of this spontaneous tribute of respect to the memory of his mother. 'Twas a memorable and melancholy day on which the interment took place-one never to be forgotten at Yatton. What can be more chilling than the gloomy bustle of a great funeral, espe cially in the country; and when the deceased is one whose memory is en shrined in the holiest feelings of all who knew her? What person was there, for miles around, who could not speak of the courtesies, the charities, the goodness of Madam Aubrey?
When the ear heard her, then it blessed her; and when the eye saw her, it gave witness to her:
Because she delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.
The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon her, and she caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.
She was eyes to the blind, and feet was she to the lame.
She was a mother to the poor.
Pale as death, the chief mourner, wrapped in his black cloak, is stepping into the mourning-coach. No one speaks to him: his face is buried in his handkerchief; his heart seems break ing. He thinks of her whose dear dust is before him ;-then of the beloved beings whom he has left alone in their agony till his return-his wife and sister. The procession is moving slowly on-long, silent rows of the tenantry and villagers, old and young, male and female-not a dry eye among them, nor a syllable spoken-stand on each side of the way; no sound heard but of horses' feet, and wheels crushing along the wet gravel-for the day is most gloomy and inclement. As they quit the gates, carriage after carriage follows in the rear; and the sorrowful crowd increases around them. Many have in their hands the bibles and prayer-books which had been given them by her who now lies in yonder hearse; and a few can recollect the day when the late lord of Yatton led her along from the church to the hall, his young and blooming bride, in pride and joy-and they are
now going to lay her beside him again. They enter the little churchyard, and are met by good Dr Tatham, in his surplice, bareheaded, and with book in hand; with full eye and quivering lip he slowly precedes the body into the church. His voice frequently trembles, and sometimes he pauses, while reading the service. Now they are standing bareheaded at the vault's mouth-the last sad rites are being performed; and probably, as is thinking the chief mourner, over the last of his race who will rest in that tomb!
Long after the solemn ceremony was over, the little churchyard re. mained filled with mournful groups of villagers and tenants, who pressed forward to the dark mouth of the vault, to take their last look at the coffin which contained the remains of her whose memory would live long in all their hearts. "Ah, dear old madam," quoth Jonas Higgs to himself, as he finished his dreary day's labours, by temporarily closing up the mouth of the vault," they might have turned thee, by-and-by, out of yonder hall, but they shall not touch thee here?"
Thus died, and was buried, Madam Aubrey; and she is not yet forgotten.
How desolate seemed the hall, the next morning, to the bereaved inmates, as, dressed in deep mourning, they met at the cheerless breakfast table! Aubrey kissed his wife and sisterwho could hardly answer his brief enquiries. The gloom occasioned throughout the hall, for the last ten days, by the blinds being constantly drawn down, now that they were drawn up, had given way to a staring light and distinctness, that almost startled and offended the eyes of those whose hearts were dark with sorrow as ever. Every object reminded them of the absence of one-whose chair stood empty in its accustomed place. There, also, was her Bible, on the little round table near the window. mourners seemed relieved by the entrance, by-and-by, of the children: but they also were in mourning! Let us, however, withdraw from this scene of suffering, where every object, every recollection, every association, causes the wounded heart to bleed afresh.
Great troubles seem coming upon them; and now that they have buried their dead out of their sight, and when time shall begin to pour his balm into their present smarting wounds, I doubt not that they will look those
troubles in the face, calmly and with fortitude, not forgetful of the last words of her for whom they now mourn so bitterly, and whom, beloved and venerable being! God hath mercifully taken away from the evil days
that are to come.
After much and anxious consideration, they resolved to go, on the ensuing Sunday morning, to church, where neither Mrs Aubrey nor Kate had been since the illness of her mother. The little church was crowded; almost every one present, besides wearing a saddened countenance, exhibited some outward mark of respect, in their dress-some badge of mourning-such as their little means admitted of. The pulpit and reading-desk were hung in black, as also was Mr Aubrey's pew -an object of deep interest to the congregation, who expected to see, at least some member of the family at the Hall. They were not disappointed. A little before Dr Tatham took his place in the reading-desk, the wellknown sound of the family carriage wheels were heard, as it drew up before the gate and presently Mr Aubrey appeared at the church door, with his wife and sister on either arm; all of them, of course, in the deepest mourning Mrs and Miss Aubrey's countenances concealed beneath their long crape veils. For some time after taking their seats, they seemed oppressed with emotion, evidently weeping. Mr Aubrey, however, exhibited great composure, though his countenance bore the traces of the suffering he had undergone. Mrs Aubrey seldom rose from her seat; but Kate stood up, from time to time, with the rest of the congregation; her white handkerchief, however, might be seen frequently raised to her eyes, beneath her black veil. As the service went on, she seemed to have struggled with some success against her feelings. To relieve herself for a moment from its oppressive closeness, she gently drew aside her veil; and thus, for a few minutes, exhibited a countenance inexpressibly beautiful. She could not, however, long bear to face a congregation, every one of whom she felt to be looking on her, and those beside her, with affectionate sympathy; and rather quickly drew her veil again over her face, without again removing it. There was one person present, on
NO. CCXCVI. VOL. XLVII.
whom the brief glimpse of her beauty had produced a prodigious impression. As he gazed at her, the colour gradually deserted his cheek; and his eye remained fixed upon her, even after she had drawn down her veil. He experienced emotions such as he had never known before. So that was Miss Aubrey!
Gammon-for he it was, and he had gone thither under the expectation of seeing, for the first time, some of the Aubrey family-generally passed for a cold-blooded person; and in fact few men living had more control over their feelings, or more systematically checked any manifestations of them; but there was something in the person and circumstances of Miss Aubrey -for by a hurried enquiry of the person next to him he learned that it was she-which excited new feelings in him. Her slightest motion his eye watched with intense eagerness; and faint half-formed schemes, purposes, and hopes, passed in rapid confusion through his mind, as he foresaw that circumstances would hereafter arise by means of which
What was he
"Good God! how very-very beautiful she is !" said he to himself, as, the service over, her graceful figure, following her brother and his wife with slow sad step, approached the pew in which he was standing, on her way to the door. He felt a sort of cold shudder, as her black dress rustled past, actually touching him. doing and meditating against that lovely being? And for whom-disgusting reptile!-for Titmouse? He almost blushed with a conflict of emotions, as he followed almost immediately after Miss Aubrey, never losing sight of her till her brother, having handed her into the carriage, got in after her, and they drove off towards the Hall. The reader will not be at a loss to account for the presence of Gammon on this occasion, nor to connect it with a great trial at the approaching York assizes. As he walked back to Grilston to his solitary dinner, he was lost in thought; and on arriving at the inn, repaired at once to his room, where he found a copy of the Sunday Flash, which had, according to orders, been sent to him from town, under his assumed name "Gibson." He ate but little, and that mechanically; and
seemed to feel, for once, little or no interest in his newspaper. He had never paid the least attention to the eulogia upon Miss Aubrey of the little idiot Titmouse, nor of Snap, of whom he entertained but a very little higher opinion than of Titmouse. One thing was clear, that from that moment, Miss Aubrey formed a new element in Gammon's calculations; and for aught I know, may occasion very dif. ferent results from those originally contemplated by that calm and crafty person.
As it proved a moonlight night, he resolved at once to set about the important business which had brought him into Yorkshire; and for that purpose set off about eight o'clock on his walk to Yatton. About ten o'clock he might have been seen gliding into the churchyard, like a dangerous snake. The moon continued to shine --and at intervals with brightness sufficient for his purpose, which was simply to reconnoitre, as closely as possible, the little churchyard-to ascertain what it might contain, and what were its capabilities. At length he approached the old yew-tree, against whose huge trunk he leaned with folded arms, apparently in a reverie. Hearing a noise as of some one opening the gate by which he had entered, he glided further into the gloom behind him; and turning his head in the direction whence the sound came, he beheld some one entering the churchyard. His heart beat quickly; and he suspected that he had been watched yet there was surely no harm in being seen, at ten o'clock at night, looking about him in a country churchyard. It was a gentleman who entered, dressed in deep mourning; and Gammon quickly recognised in him Mr Aubrey-the brother of her whose beautiful image still shone before his mind's eye. What could he be wanting there?-at that time of night? Gammon was not kept long in doubt; for the stranger slowly bent his steps towards a large high tomb, in fact the central object, next to the yew-tree, in the churchyard-and stood gazing at it in silence for some time.
"That is, no doubt, where Mrs Aubrey was buried the other day," thought he, watching the movements of the stranger, who presently raised his handkerchief to his eyes, and for some moments seemed indulging in great
grief. Gammon distinctly heard either a sob or a sigh." He must have been very fond of her," thought Gammon; "Well, if we succeed, the excellent old lady will have escaped a great deal of trouble-that's all." "If we succeed!" That reminded him of what he had for a few moments lost sight of, namely, his own object in coming thither; and he felt a sudden chill of remorse, which increased upon him till he almost trembled, as his eye continued fixed on Mr Aubrey, and he thought also of Miss Aubrey-and the misery-the utter ruin into which he was seeking to plunge them both-the unhallowed means which they-which he-contemplated resorting to for that purpose.
Gammon's condition was becoming every moment more serious; for vir tue, in the shape of Miss Aubrey, began to shine every moment in more radiant loveliness before him-and he almost felt an inclination to sacrifice every person connected with the enterprise in which he was engaged, if it would give him a chance of winning the favour of Miss Aubrey. Presently, however, Mr Aubrey, evidently heaving a deep sigh, bent his steps slowly back again, and quitted the churchyard. Gammon watched his figure out of sight, and then, for the first time, since Mr Aubrey's appearance, breathed freely. Relieved from the pressure of his presence, Gammon began to take calmer and juster views of his position; and he reflected, that if he pushed on the present affair to a successful issue, he should be much more likely than by prematurely ending it, to gain his objects. He therefore resumed his survey of the scene around him; and which presented appearances highly satisfactory, judging from the expression which now and then animated his countenance. length he wandered round to the other end of the church, where a crumbling wall, half covered with ivy, indicated that there had formerly stood some building apparently of earlier date than the church. Such was the fact; Gammon soon found himself standing in a sort of inclosure, which had once been the site of an old chapel. And here he had not been long making his observations, before he achieved a discovery of so extraordinary a nature; one so unlikely, under the circumstances, to have happened; one so
than to have got rid of it ?-why, they may still: what can that stupid fellow Parkinson have been about? Yet, is it because it has become unimportant, on account of their being in possession of other evidence? What can they have against so plain a case as ours is, with this evidence? Gad, I'll not lose one day's time; but I'll have half-a-dozen competent witnesses to inspect, and speak to that same tombstone in court." Such were some of the thoughts which passed through his mind as he hastened homeward; and on his arrival, late as it was-only the yawning ostler being up to let him in-he sat down to write a letter off to Mr Quirk, and made it into a parcel to go by the mail in the morning, acquainting him with the truly providential discovery he had just made, and urging him to set about getting up the briefs, for the trial, without delay; he, himself, purposing to stop at Grilston a day or two longer, to complete one or two other arrangements of an important nature. soon as Mr Quirk had read this letter, he devoutly thanked God for his goodness; and, hurrying to his strongbox, unlocked it, took out a small sealed packet, and committed it to the flames.
calculated to baffle ordinary calculations concerning the course of events, that the reader may well disbelieve what I am going to tell him, and treat it as absurdly improbable. In short, not to keep him in suspense, Gammon positively discovered evidence of the death of Harry Dreddlington in his father's lifetime; by means of just such a looking tombstone as he had long imaged to himself; and as he had resolved that old Quirk should have got prepared, before the cause came into court. He almost stumbled over it. 'Twas an old slanting stone, scarce two feet above the ground, partly covered with moss, and partly hid by rubbish and old damp grass. The moon shone brightly enough to enable Gammon, kneeling down, to decipher, beyond all doubt, what was requisite to establish that part of the case which had been wanting. For a moment or two he was disposed to doubt whether he was not dreaming. When, at length, he took out pencil and paper, his hands trembled so much that he felt some difficulty in making an exact copy of the inestimable inscription. Having done this, he drew a long breath as he replaced the pencil and paper in his pocket-book, and almost fancied he heard a whispering sound in the air "Verdict for the plaintiff.' Quitting the churchyard, he walked back to Grilston at a much quicker rate than that at which he had come, his discovery having wonderfully elated him, and pushed all other thoughts entirely out of his mind. But, thought he, doubt less the other side are aware of the existence of this tombstone-they can hardly be supposed ignorant of it; they must have looked up their evidence as well as we-and their attention has been challenged to the existence or non-existence of proof of the time of the death of Harry Dreddling ton:-well-if they are aware of it, they know that it cuts the ground from under them, and turns their conveyance, on which, doubtless, they are relying, into waste paper; if they are not, and are under the impression that that deed is valid and effectual, our proof will fall on them like a thunder bolt. Gad," he held his breath, and stopped in the middle of the road"how immensely important is this little piece of evidence! Why, if they knew of it-why, in Heaven's name is it there still? What easier
Mr Aubrey, as soon as he had recovered from the first shock occasioned by the communication by Mr Parkinson of the proceedings against him, set about acquainting himself, as minutely as he could, with the true state of the case. He had requested Mr Parkinson to obtain from one of the counsel in London, Mr Crystal, a full account of the case, in an elementary form, for his own guidance; and on obtaining a remarkably clear and luminous statement, and also consulting the various authorities cited in itsuch, at least, as could be supplied to him by Mr Parkinson-the vigorous practical understanding of Mr Aubrey, aided by his patient application, soon mastered the whole case, and enabled him to appreciate the peril in which he was placed. Since he could derive no title through the conveyance of Harry Dreddlington (which had been got in by Geoffry Dreddlington,) owing to the death of the former in his father's lifetime, as he (Mr Aubrey) understood from his advisers could be easily proved by the present claimant of the property; the right of accession