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seemed to know God. Who but him had | little thought what a terrible tale it would created that divine consciousness! The prove, or how long it would be before I whole human mother was roused in me for knew it. my uncle. I was a very tigress of love I ran down the stair with the vile mis. over him. I would die exulting to save sive in my hand. him from hurt! The dying would not " The wicked woman!” I cried. hurt me! The worm was welcome to she be John's mother, I don't care! She's swallow me if that would kill it. My be a devil and a liar!”. ing was a well of loving pity, pouring itself Hush, hush, little one!” said my out over that trembling hand.
uncle, with a smile in which the sadness He took up the letter, handed it to me, seemed to intensify the sweetness; "you and turned away his face with a groan. I do not know anything against her! You left the room in a strange exaltation do not know that she is a liar !.” the exaltation of merest love.
“ There are things, uncle, one knows I went to the study; no other place was without knowing !” fit; and there I read the letter.
“ What if I said she was not a liar?” Here it is. Having transcribed it I "I should say people can lie without shall destroy it.
telling lies; my uncle is not what she
says.' SIR; — If you persist in coming be
“ But men have repented, and grown so tween a woman and her son, who will
different blame the mother if she cast aside for
you would not know them ; how bearance! I would have spared you, as I may have been a bad man once and
can you tell it has not been so with me? hitherto; I will spare you no longer. You little thought who I was when
you me – how pear was the only one in the for what you think will be a shock, uncle,"
" I know you are trying to prepare me world in whose power you lay - she who I answered; but I want no preparing. could let the world know what you are! I would perish everlastingly rather than per
Out with your worst! I defy you !'
Ah, me, confident! But I had not to mit one of my blood to marry one of yours.
confidence. My words are strong; you are welcome to call them unladylike; but you shall not
My uncle gave a great sigh. There doubt what I mean. You know perfectly
seemed nothing for him now but tell all. that, if I went this moment and denounced He shrank visibly from the task.
He put his hand over his eyes, and said you as a murderer, I could prove what I said ; and as to my silence for so inany
slowly, years, that I am able thoroughly to ex- which you know next to nothing. Not
“ You belong to a world, little one, of plain. I shall give you no further warn. Satan only has fallen as lightning from ing. My son is gone to London; you heaven!” know where he is; if he is not in my house within two days, I shall take the
He lay silent so long that I was
strained to speak again. steps necessary to your arrest. I have
“ Well, uncle dear,” I said, “ made up my mind. “ LUCRETIA CAIRNEDGE."
not going to tell me?”
“ I cannot,” he answered. “A lie, as wicked as herself! My There was absolute silence for, I should uncle! The best and gentlest of men, a think, about twenty minutes. I could not murderer!”
and would not urge him to speak. What I laughed aloud in my indignation and right bad I to rouse a killing effort! He wrath.
was not bound to tell me anything! I But though the woman was a liar, she mourned only the impossibility of doing must have something to say with a show my best for him while in ignorance, poor of truth! Else how should she dare at- as that best might be. tempt intimidation with such a man? And “Do not think, my darling," he said at how, otherwise, could her threat have so last, and laid his hand on my head as I wrought upon my uncle? What could knelt beside him," that I have the least she have to say?' What was the some difficulty in trusting you ; it is only in thing on which she founded her lie? telling you. I would trust you with my That was what my uncle was going to tell eternal soul. You must understand there me! I was nowise alarmed at the thought is something terrible to tell, for would I of his story. I feared no revelation that not otherwise laugh to scorn the threat of would lower him in my eyes. No, thank that bad woman? There can hardly be God, I was not false to my uncle ! But I l on the earth one who has less right to say
what she knows. And I am compelled to all the trouble that what you read will share a secret with her! If I say more bring into your life and that of your husnow, iny heart will burst. But why should band - John being that husband. I have it not burst? It would be the easiest way tried to do my best for you. How much out of — yes, I think, out of all my trou- better I might have done with a clear ble! Believe me, little one, if any ever conscience, God only knows. It may be needed God, I need him. I desire from that I was the tenderer uncle that I could him the pardon that goes hand in hand not be a better one." with righteous judgment, the pardon of He hid his face in his hands, and burst him who alone is able to make lawful and into a tempest of weeping. right excuse."
It was terrible to see the man to whom May God himself be your judge, uncle, I had all my life looked with a reverence and neither man nor woman!
that prepared me for knowing the great “I don't think you would altogether father, weeping like a bitterly repentant condemn me, little one, much and greatly and self-abhorrent child. It seemed sacas I condemn myself — terribly as I de- rilege to be present. My eyes for seeing serve condemnation."
him thus, deserved the ravens to pick “ Condemn you, uncle ! I want to know them out. all just to show you that nothing can make I could not contain myself. I rose and the least difference with me. If you were threw my arms about him, got close to him as bad as that bad woman would have you, as a child to her mother, and, as soon as there is one of your own blood who knows the passion of my love would let me, what love means. But I know you are sobbed out, good, uncle, whatever you may have done. “Uncle ! darling uncle ! I love you ỉ know, too, that you never were wicked more than ever! I did not know before as that woman would make the world be that I could love you so much! I could lieve — out of hatred because I am yours kill that woman with my own hands! I and you take my part."
wish I had killed her when I had her down “Little one, you comfort me," sighed my that day! It is well to kill poisonous creauncle, “I cannot tell you this thing, for lures; she is worse than any snake !" when I had told it, I should want to kill He smiled a sad little smile and shook myself more than ever. But neither can his head. Then first I seemed to underI bear that you should not know it. I stand a little. A dull flash went through will not have a secret with that woman ! me. I have always intended to tell you every
I drew back a little and gazed at him. thing. I have the whole fearful story set My eyes fixed themselves on his, and I down for your eyes and those of any stared with my mouth open. He had you may wish to see it; I cannot speak ceased to weep, and was regarding me with the words into your ears. The paper I calm, responding eyes. will give you now; but you will not open
" You don't mean, uncle it until I give you leave.”
Yes, little one, I do. That woman “Certainly not, uncle."
was the cause, in great measure the con“If I should die before you have read scious and wilful cause of the action for it, I permit and desire you to read it. I which she threatens to denounce me. And koow your loyalty so well, that I believe you will marry her son, and be her daughyou would not look at it even after my ter-in-law !” death, if I had not given you leave before I sprang from him. My proximity was it. There are those who have so little a pollution to him while he believed such belief that their friends are alive. after a thing of me. I stood up and said, they are out of sight, that they treat them "Never, uncle, never ! Can you think as if they had no more right in anything, it of one who loves you as I love you ? I and at once do the thing they know that will denounce her! She will be hanged, of all things they disliked. They think and we shall all be comfortable.” they do not know it, and that is for them " And John ? " said my uncle. enough. They dismiss them - tell them “John must look after himself,” I cried to get away to Hades, and tra them fiercely. Because he chooses to have
But you would never be like such a mother, am I to bring my uncle a that to your uncle, little one! When hair's-breadth nearer to her? Not for any the time comes for you to read my story, man that ever was born! John must dis. remember that I now, in foresight and card his mother, or he and I are as we were. preparation for the knowledge that will He said she should never cross his threshgive you, ask you to pardon me then for old but at my invitation ; death will come
to her one day; my invitation never !, uncle's conscience, already overburdened, She is a hyena, a shark a monster ! Un- the misery of having kept two lovely love cle, she is a devil! – I don't care! It is ers apart? I will tell you what I have true ; and what is true is the right thing resolved upon. I will have no more se
I will go to her, and tell her the crets from you, Orba. Oh, how I thank truth to her face !"
you, dearest, for not casting me off !” I turned and made for the door. My I threw myself on my knees by his heart felt as big as the biggest man's. bed.
If she kill you, little one,” said my “Uncle," I cried, my heart ready to uncle quietly, “ I shall be left with nobody break with the effort to show itself, “ if I to take care of me!”
did not love you more than ever, I should I burst into fresh tears. I saw that I deserve to be cast out, and trodden under was a fool, and could do nothing. Then foot. What do you think of doing ? I thought of John.
“ I shall leave the country, not to re“ Poor fellow, to have such a mother !” turn while the woman lives.' I said. Then in a rage of rebellion I “ I'm ready, uncle. At least shall be in cried, “I don't believe she is his mother. a few minutes.” Is it possible now, uncle - does it stand “ But hear me out, little one,” he said, to reason, that such a pestilence of a with a smile of genuine pleasure ; “you woman should ever have borne such a don't know half my plan yet. How am I child as my John? I don't, I can't, I won't to live abroad, if iny property go to rack believe it!
and ruin? Listen, and don't say anything " I'm afraid there are other mysteries till I've done; I have no time to lose. I in the world quite as hard to explain,” must get up at once. As soon as I am replied my uncle. “I confess, if I had on board at Dover for Paris, you and known who was his mother, I should John must get yourselves married the first have been far from ready to yield to his possible moment, and settle down here wishes."
to make the best of the little property you “What does it matter?” I said, with a can, and send me what you can spare. I sigh that seemed to tear my heart out. shall not want much to wait upon till it “Of course I shall not marry him!” please God to take me. I know you will
“ Not marry him, child ?” returned my be good to Martha." uncle. “ What are you thinking of ? Is “ John may take your place if he will. the poor fellow to suffer for, as well as by, It would be far better than going back to the sins of his mother?”
his mother. For me, I am going with my "If you think, uncle, that I will bring uncle. Why, uncle, I should be miserá. you into any kind of relation with that ble in John's arms, and you out of the horrible woman, if the worst of it were country for our sakes! Is there to be no. only that you would have to see her once body in the world but husbands, forsooth! because she was my husband's mother, I should love John ever so much more you are mistaken. Still less will I have away with you and my duty, than if I had her for my sake seek revenge on you. him with me, and you were a wanderer. She to threaten you if you did not send How happy I shall be, thinking of John, back her son, as if John were a horse you and taking care of you !” had stolen ! You have been the angel of He let me run on, and made no objec. God about me all the days of my life, but tion. When I stopped at length, even to please you, I cannot consent to “In any case,” he said, with a smile, despise myself."
we cannot do much till I am up and
to make what preparation I could for going “When she sees it can nowise serve her abroad with my uncle. I got out my purpose, she will hardly risk possible re- biggest box, and filled it with my best and prisals.
all the trifles I thouglit I could not do with“She will certainly not risk them when out. Still there was room, and I began she finds we have said good-bye.”
therefore to put in the things I could do “But how would that serve me, little well enough without which yet would be one? What! would you heap on your useful. Still there was room, and the
contents would shake about in the conti- I knew that what John would like, would nept. So I came at last to the things I be to leave everything behind him, and should like to have, but which on no pre. go with me and my uncle ; but then, as tence could I call either necessary or my '
uncle said, whence would come the useful. When I had got these in, my means? We could not live upon nothing box was full, and a little more than full. - least of all in a strange land. Martha, So some things had to be taken out again, to be sure, could manage well enough with and they were not always the useless that the bailiff, but could John, or I either, I determined on leaving behind me. This consent that he should live on my uncle process proved more difficult than those in idleness? I was like one lost on the ihat preceded, and some little time had dark mountains, not knowing where lay elapsed before I was able to say that my the door of the light, or what it might box at least was ready to start. Then I bring — bondage or release. If only John laid out my travelling clothes ready to be would come ! put on; I had not learned wbat train my With a sudden spasm of agonizing selfuncle meant to take.
reproach, I remembered that I had made As I made these preparations, I felt no attempt to overtake my uncle. It was mortified to think we should be so far in true I did not know, for nobody could tell the power of Lady Cairnedge that she me, in what direction he had gone; but could drive us from our home. But exile Zoe's instinct might have sufficed, where was escape from her. Very likely I should mine was useless, to follow and find Death. never marry John ; that I would not heed; It was hopeless now, but I could no longer he would be mine all the same; but to be still. I got Zoe, and fled to the moor. promise that I would not marry him, be- All the rest of the day I rode hither and cause it suited her plans to marry him to thither, nor saw a single soul on its wide some one else - that I would not do to expanse. The very life seemed to have save my life. I would have done it to gone out of it. save my uncle's, but our exile would ren- The twilight was deepening toward night der it unnecessary, and my heart was glad when I turned to ride home, a little comwithin me,
forted by the wide solitude. I had eaten I went to find my uncle, reproaching nothing since breakfast, and though not myself that I had spent so much time hungry, was thoroughly tired. Through over my packing ; I ought to have been the great dark hush, where was no sound helping him, for neither he nor his arm of water, though here and there like lurkwas quite strong yet. I went to his room ing live thing lay so much, I rode slowly therefore with a heartful of apology. He home. My short-sightedness, along with was not there, I went to the study, he my fasting, made everything in turn take was not there. I went all over the house, a shape that was not its own. I seemed then to the stable, but he was nowhere; to be haunted by shapes. And indeed I no one had seen him.
have sometimes thought whether the spirThe truth burst upon me: he was gone; its that love solitary places, may not deand no one was to know whither. He had light in appropriating, for embodiment given himself for my happiness! And his momentary and partial, such existing sacrifice was all in vain, for I could never shapes as fit their passing moods; so that be happy! To be in Paradise, however it is not mere gnarled, crone like hawthorn, much a paradise, without him, would not or misshapen rock, that comes suddenly be to be in Heaven,
between the wanderer and the pale sky, John was in London ; I could do noth- bringing him the sense of a presence. ing: I threw myself on my uncle's bed, The hawthorn, the rock, or the dead pine, and lay lost in despair. Even if John is there indeed, but perhaps not alone. were with me, and we had found hiin, Some such thoughts as these were in my what could we do? We could not hope mind as I rode homeward that evening, to persuade him from his deliberate re- faint and weary; when, about half-way solve. I knew it now as impossible for from home, I saw, towering between me him to separate us that he might be un- and the sky, something mounted on a huge molested, as it was for us to accept the horse. The air was too dark, and the fig. sacrifice of his life that we might be happy. ure too distant for conclusion concerning What he wanted, and, so far as lay with it; but my first thought, very naturally, him, was determined upon, was, that we was of my uncle, and the next of the great should marry in spite of John's mother, horse and his rider that John and shad and live on my uncle's land, until such both had reason to suspect as haunting time as John should be his own master. I the moor. I am so constituted, no thanks
was a woman.
to myself, as to be capable of feeling awe As I spoke her horse yielded, and sprang without a spark, or rather, without more across the little ditch at the wayside. than a spark of terror. The horse and his " You think to escape," she answered in rider drew nearer; they were on the same a clear voice, which yet had a feminine road, and coming to meet me! Something growl in it. “I am not one to be taken strange about their look was afterward ac- in by such as you !” counted for by the fact that I had the idea “ No," I answered ; "nobody will take of a man in my mind, as was most natural you in but yourself, thinking every one a in such a solitary place, whereas the rider liar !"
Then immediately I re- Her rejoinder was a cut with her whip called the adventure of my childhood with to her horse, which stood still the moment her who was now the source of all our he had taken his unwilling jump. I spoke trouble. Next I remembered, with a shoot to Zoe, and she bounded off like a fawn. of dismay, that John had told me his Pulling her up again, I looked back. mother always rode the biggest horse she She continued urging her horse. I heard could find; could that shape towering in and saw her whipping him, and thought the dark be indeed my deadly enemy? she was spurring him, too. She had lost My uncle had warned me she would kill her temper with him. me if she had the chance. A shoot of “ I tell you once more you had better fear, very different from the ghostly, went mind what you are doing !” I cried. through me. I hesitated for a moment She persisted, without reply. whether to turn and make for some covert, “ Then I must leave you to the conseuntil she should have passed from between quences,” I said ; and Zoe and I made for me and my home; but pride, perhaps the road, but at a point nearer home, cutsomething better, revolted. "If the wicked, ting off a bend of it. I thought, fee when no man pursueth, it Had she not been in a passion she would ill becomes the righteous to flee when the surely have had the better sense to rewicked pursue. I held straight on. By turn at once to the road, and try to inthis time the twilight had grown all but tercept us; but she did not know the night, and I had a vague hope of passing danger of the spot as I did. unquestioned. But the lady pulled up her We had not gone far when we heard great animal in the middle of the way, just behind us the soft plunging and sucking before we met. That she had a question of the big horse through the boggy to ask, was, I think, pure stratagem to ground. † looked over my shoulder. inake certain it was myself, and to secure There was the huge bulk, like Wordsthe advantage of having me at a stand. worth's peak, towering betwixt me and
Ah,” thought I, “what could Zoe do the stars. in a race with that terrible horse of the “Go, Zoe!” I shrieked. night?” For he seemed made of the
She bounded away:
The next moment darkness, and his head rose above us like a cry came from the horse behind us, the figurehead.of a frigate above a yacht. and I heard the woman say, “Good God !
She asked me if I could tell her the way I stopped, and peered through the dark. to Rising. The hard, bell voice was un- What I saw was no higher above the mistakable.
ground than myself. Terror seized me. I pointed in the right direction, forget. I turned and rode back within easy disting she could scantly see, and thinking tance of speech. only of escaping her recognition.
“ My stupid animal has bogged himSpeak,” she cried, in a voice of com- self,” she said quietly, while her horse mand, “or I will ride you down!” and every other moment gave fruitless she made her whip hiss through the air. plunge.
But her voice and her whip together so It was no time to tell her that not the startled Zoe, that she sprang aside, and horse but his mistress was stupid, bewas off the road a few yards before I could cause unbelieving, pull her up. Then I saw that she was “ For God's sake,” I cried, “get off, urging her horse to follow. I knew her your weight is sinking, the poor animal ! danger, and was not tempted to be silent. you will smother him!” I called to her. But I kept on the watch, " It will be no more than he deserves. ready to give the rein to Zoe, who would come here, and give me your hand.” get into no difficulty.
“ That you may smother me! I think " Mind what you are doing, Lady Cairn- I will not,” I answered.
“ You can get edge !” I cried. “ The ground here will out of the saddle well enough by your. not carry the weight of a horse like yours.” | self. I will ride home and fetch'help