|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Soldier's Wife|
THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
SPEAK, gentlemen! If In your hearts and minds Ye hold the accused as guiltless, so declare;
If not, let Justice bending from her awful seat,
Condemn and sentence!
Justice as administered in the middle of the last century was not what it is now. It was once more rigorous and partial; added to which it was less enlightened. There was a coarse brutality in its execution—an unbending harsh- ness not only towards the guilty, but towards the accused (who should ever be presumed inno- cent till finally condemned), which rendered a court of justice in those days one of the most repulsive scenes in which a man of sensibility
Colonel Allan met with unflinching and dig- nified composure those who were in the first instance to examine him, and answered the vari- ous interrogatories with such coolness and utter absence of that confusion which guilt might have occasioned, that he was already acquitted in the opinion of all who witnessed the proceed- ings, though unhappily not of those who con- ducted them, and with whom lay the power of acquittal. The evidence was clearly against him; and, besides, a noble member of a powerful family had been in all probability cut off in the flower of his age (for there was little if any hope of Lord William's ultimate recovery), and the life of the rich and great is considered very
It was deposed that Colonel Allan had been seen kneeling down beside the wounded man; had been observed to withdraw his hands, reek- ing with blood, from his breast wherein the wound was found to be situated; that during the transaction his horse was tied up to the gate of the meadow in which the crime was perpe- trated. No one else had been perceived near the spot. Finally, the colonel, his clothes satu- rated with his victim's blood, had endeavored to make his escape, under pretence of gaining assistance. To all this the accused replied with calm dignity, by stating that he had seen the probable perpetrator of the deed escape from the meadow, and had even thought of pursuing him, though ignorant of the cause of that pre- cipitate flight. He admitted that the horse tied up to the gate was his, but could give no reason for his entering the meadow; he had been led thither by an impulse for which he could not account. Moreover, he stated that on discover- ing the wounded man he tried to stop the bleed- ing, and bound up the wound, in stanching which his hands and clothes became stained with blood, as seen at the time of his apprehen- sion. In conclusion he acknowledged that he had had previous acquaintance with Lord Wil- liam Harvey, and intercourse not of a friendly nature, but denied having had any ill-feeling to-
Among Colonel Allan's friends and supporters who attended at the trial were Mr. Pitt, Lord George Sackville (himself still smarting under the sting of an unjust sentence of court-martial which had declared him unfit ever again to serve in any military capacity), General Conway, and a considerable number of the prisoner's compa- nions in arms, all anxious to a man to stand for- ward in his defence, and to bear testimony to his unblemished honor and reputation as an officer and a man. But alas! they could say no more. None of those zealous friends could clear his
name from the mysterious accusation brought against him. Some even of his best wishers were forced to admit that an altercation had once taken place, and a challenge passed be- tween the accused and Lord William at a pre- vious period, they having been, as was supposed, rival suitors for the hand of the same lady. In fact, the evidence went so strongly against the colonel that a look of blank disappointment overspread the countenance of his friends. The accused alone remained firm and collected. There was one who listened with that intense agony which seemed capable of destroying life or reason—the young wife who had insisted on being present to watch the proceedings. She had remained quiet and unobtrusive while the examination lasted, and apparently calm, but for the quick restless brilliancy of her eye, which alternately sought her husband's face and those of the men who were prejudging him. There she sat motionless, with lips apart, and one hand pressed on her heart as if to command its throbbings to be still. By her side stood the kind-hearted Fitzmorris, more visibly agitated than herself, but still trying to support her spirits and inspire hope. Alas! the examina- tion concluded with the fearful sentence, "That George Allan be fully committed for trial, for an attempt to murder William Harvey, Esq., com- monly known as Lord William Harvey," &c.
The stillness of death pervaded the justice-
room; it seemed as though the last sentence of the law had been pronounced against him. The accused rose, and desired permission to speak a few words. The request was granted. He spoke that which carried conviction of his inno- cence to every bosom; acknowledged with manly frankness that circumstantial evidence was against him, and admitted the fairness of his examination, but entreated all who had been
witnesses of that day's proceedings to suspend
their judgment until Providence should bring the real author of the crime to light.
A murmur of applause went through the hall as the noble-looking soldier bowed and withdrew, attended by the officers of justice to his dismal dwelling-place. As he passed out his eye rested on Kate, and expressed a volume of mournful tenderness, and a proud pleasure, too, at the way in which she had that day upheld the character of a soldier's wife. His friends accompanied him in a body to the prison, all anxious to testify the sincerity of their devotion. A tear of gratitude trembled in the soldier's eye as he pressed the hands of those nearest to him, and then disappeared in the gloomy precincts. Fitzmorris alone remained behind for the pur- pose of conducting poor Kate, who, after a hasty visit to her boy (whom she had confided to the tender care of Mrs. Fitzmorris), once more repaired to the prison to spend an hour or two in consoling and strengthening her husband.
The trial was considerably delayed in conse- quence of the state in which Lord William lay, his continued insensibility precluding any possi- bility of his deposition being taken. At length, though his wound had been considered mortal, he showed some token of improvement, and re- port at length said that he would ultimately re- cover. No one heard the nows with more generous pleasure than the man falsely accused on his account. Too confident in his wife's devoted affection for any feeling of jealousy to exist in his mind, he rejoiced, notwithstanding his own sad prospects, in tho hope that his enemy's life would be spared.
During Lord William's illness a lady frequently called at the door of the Earl of Bristol's mansion to inquire after his progress. She was
closely veiled, plainly attired, and always came on foot. It was only by her elegance of form
and demeanour that her station could be ascer- tained. When Lord William was at length pronounced out of danger she sought and obtained a private interview with him. It lasted perhaps half an hour; then the lady withdrew weeping; but her tears seemed more those of joy than of sorrow. Much of the im- petuosity of Lord William's character was gone, or at least subdued, As the lady slowly with- drew, he gazed after her with mournful regret; but he was calm, and his countenance showed that firm composure which an honorable resolu-
We know not what words the lady had addressed to him; but they had evidently wrought some change in his mind.
The day of trial came. The scene was awfully imposing. The court house was thronged from an early hour by numbers whom interest or curiosity had attracted. Yet so marvellously still were the assembled people that the beating of a heart might almost have been heard in that deep hush. Every eye sought the prisoner. He was attired in regimentals; his fine manly form erect and commanding; his open countenance raised, and expressive of con- fidence in the justice of his cause; but still serious and thoughtful. Not a heart, perhaps, in that wide assembly but breathed a prayer for his acquittal.
Conspicuous above the crowd sat England's late prime minister. He held a note-book, and listening with acute ear to every word that fell, freely spoke aloud, and pointed out any discre- pancy in the evidence which had escaped the lawyers, none venturing to check the seemingly unprecedented proceeding.
The evidence before heard was now repeated at greater length, and it seemed still more un- favorable to the accused. His defenders looked yet more anxious. What had they to oppose to such strong testimony of their client's guilt? Nothing, absolutely nothing but his word of honor, which all who know him would accept as faithful evidence, but which, alas, would not satisfy the inexorable law.
The evidence closed for the accusation, with- out the examination of Lord William Harvey. It was an irregular proceeding; but no matter, it was passed over, and now the witnesses for the defence were called. Their evidence was of course meagre and inconclusive; invention had been exhausted to place everything in the most favorable light; the most acute lawyers of the day had been retained; the most able pleaders. The former cross-questioned the witnesses with all the subtle reason they could command; the latter addressed the jury in so touching and eloquent an appeal that their hearts melted within them—even the hearts of those stern men; but, alas! their judgments remained un-
There was a pale face of agonised suspense just below where Mr. Pitt sat, and from time to time he had bent down and whispered a word of hope and comfort. Now he rather averted his face, and seemed to fear to look on her silent agony. Her eye sought not even her husband; it was fixed constantly on the en- trance of the court house. She seemed to see no object but the doors, and to listen to every footstep without with the intense interest of those who await their own sentence of life or death. There was a slight murmur in the throng; the crowd fell back on every side; one only knew the meaning of the omnious silence that instinctively pervaded the assembly. Kate stood up, and clasped her hands with feelings too full for utterance. She was obliged to lean on Mr. Pitt's arm for support. The pause—the breathless pause was prolonged, and a gentle- man entered, pale and delicate-looking, as though he had just risen from a bed of sickness. He seemed incapable of walking; but his atten- dants carried him in an arm-chair into the middle of the court, and placed him at a con- venient distance from the jurors. So altered was he, so plain in his attire, that few could have recognised the fashionable Lord William Harvey, the pride and model of the circles among who he had been accustomed to move. Stifled sobs were heard to burst from a solitary female habited in black, who stood leaning for support against one of the walls.
Lord William paused a moment to recover breath; he pressed his hand on his bosom as though to command his voice, but first bowed lowly to the bench; then turning gracefully, he saluted the prisoner at the bar, who courteously returned the salutation. His lordship then spoke in a low but distinct and clear voice, and requested to be heard by the court. The usual observances being gone through, his lord- ship's evidence was taken. He began by em- phatically declaring that the honorable gentle- man who stood at the bar accused of murderous intentions towards him was entirely guiltless of
A shout of applause rang through the court, and some minutes elapsed before order could be restored. His lordship then resumed, while a flush of proud pleasure swept over his fine fea- tures. He went on to say, that so far from ever having received injury of any kind at the hands of Colonel Allan, be must acknowledge that he had much to reproach himself with in his con- duct towards that gentleman, whom he con- sidered one of the bravest and most honorable that had ever borne sword in his Majesty's service.
Here a second shout was ready to burst forth, but the judge rose, and imperatively demanded silence. Lord William then stated that he came not by his wounds from the hands of a mur- derer, but from those of an unfortunate gentle- man who labored under a delusion with regard to him, and had challenged him to fight; that there was no resemblance whatever between Colonel Allan and that gentleman, who was now, he hoped and believed, safely landed on the shores of France; but, were it not so, he must declare that the fight had been fairly conducted, and if he had been the greater sufferer, it was doubtless owing to his own want of skill. He added, that so far from having received what might have been his death wound from Colonel Allan's hand, he gratefully acknowledged that he had saved his life; for without his provident care in binding up his wounds, he must inevi- tably have perished. He concluded by begging permission, on account of hisweakness, to with- draw, if the jury considered his testimony had been sufficient to establish the innocence of Colonel Allan; if not, he desired to be ex-
"We need no longer trouble your lordship,"
was the reply.
Lord William then expressed a wish to be carried into an ante-room, and the jury having carried into an ante-room, and the jury having following verdict:—"We are unanimous, my
lord, in finding the prisoner Not Guilty."
The shout which followed echoed to the roof of the building.
We will not attempt to describe the unutter- able joy with which Kate's heart was filled as she felt her husband's hand once more clasped in hers, when he stood beside her again free, and cleared from every aspersion on his honor- able name. They passed out through a long array of friends, who formed a barrier on each side, to keep back the pressure of the crowd. In the ante-room before mentioned, Lord Wil- liam Harvey awaited them, and the reconciled foes sealed the pledge of a life-long friendship by a silent but fervent pressure of each other's
On the following day, Kate, who could yet scarcely believe the reality of all that had occur- red, was surprised to receive the following
"KATE,—l will not say dear Kate, for it would be false. It is not in my nature to for- give. You have injured me as none other ever could. I had but one treasure—you took it from me. Yes, you stole from me the heart of the only man I ever loved! He whose name I bear, has, through my errors, been compelled to become a fugitive in a foreign land—a circum- stance which I much regret, for he was ever good and generous to me. I have but one way to expiate my guilt—to retire for ever from a world, where if I remained, my evil nature might make me do yet more wrong. Yet I was not always what I am; when he loved me I was another creature! When this reaches you I shall have crossed the seas. It is my intention to retire into a convent; not that I believe in any of the mummeries there practiced, but those walls will hide me from a world I detest. I was in the crowd yesterday; I saw your hus- band stand as a criminal before the judge; his noble countenance showed his innocence; even I felt for him! I saw, too, another there— one whom I had known in the noontide of glorious manhood—saw him, like one risen from the dead—pale, ghastly—but for your sake, at your prayer, moved by your tears, coming forward, exhausting his feeble strength to clear your hus- band's name and to restore him to your arms. I saw you, too, when the hour of danger had passed, clasp his hand in yours with inexpres- sible joy. Go to your father, Kate; yes, go! I have no motive now to separate you from him. What is fortune now to me? Nothing!—no- thing! If love cannot buy a heart, gold cannot. Yes, go to your father. You will find him at Castle Connor, which he has repurchased. You are its rightful heiress. You will settle down there with a beloved husband, and rear your fair children in its pleasant shades, while I shall have one comfort—I shall know you do not breathe the same air that Lord Harvey does; that will at least spare me one jealous pang.
Kate's astonishment on reading the above letter was only equalled by her joy on finding at last some certain information with regard to her father's residence. She hastened to impart the happy news to her husband, who she knew would rejoice with her.
Phelim's rapture was extravagant beyond measure. In his exuberant joy he felt inclined to shake hands with everyman, woman, and child he met, and inform them that he was going back to "dear ould Ireland, with Mis- thress Allan, the colonel, and all the other ladies of the family."
CHAPTER XXIV. AND if there be a human tear
From passion's dross refined and clear, 'Tis that which pious fathers shed Upon a duteous daughter's head; A tear so limpid and to meek,
It would not stain an angel's cheek.
CASTLE CONNOR was once more inhabited. The party who had purchased it from Mr. Don- lavy Balfour had found it far too gloomy for a dwelling, in fact had scarcely resided there at all; and after a few years it was again in the market. This occurred about the period when Kate's flight and her father's useless researches for her recovery had plunged him into a state
of melancholy, which induced him to fly for ever from scenes now become perfectly hateful to him; and by a strange revulsion of feeling he yearned for the home of his early youth. The unhappy associations connected with the old castle now teemed to him far preferable to the battle of the world, and he longed to revisit scenes from which he had once precipitately fled.
Mrs. Donlavy Balfour opposed her husband's wish for retirement; her natural element was the world; and a residence in what she was pleased to term "that barbarous Ireland" was almost if not quite as repugnant to her feelings as though she had been banished to the frozen regions of Siberia. But in vain she entreated; her husband was resolute, and having effected the repurchase of his own and his father's
home, he immediately broke up his establish- ment in London, and selling his town residence, crossed the sea, and settled down at Castle Con- nor, amid the gloom of its ivy-grown walls, before the lady of the domain had recovered from her surprise. And a great surprise it was. Mrs. Donlavy's worldly spirit but ill accorded with the scenes around her; she had nothing in common with the sights which met her eye. There was no ray of poetry in her nature to en-
able her to appreciate that wildly luxuriant country. Ireland has many more striking points of scenery than County Longford presents, but few spots where the landscape is so rich, and the vegetation so fresh and bright.
On his first return Mr. Donlavy wandered about the grounds once so trim and neat, but now
overgrown with weeds, without much desire of effecting any change or improvement, so dif- ferent did everything seem to him, while his heart was oppressed with sorrow, such as he had never known before; but by slow degrees the violence of his grief abated, and then he turned his attention to restoring Castle Connor,
as far as possible, to the aspect it had worn in happier days. It was an amusement to his
mind to direct the workmen and laborers in the house and grounds, though sometimes he would say to himself, "For whom am I doing this? for what? For the foot of the stranger to tread, the eye of the stranger to admire!"
Mrs. Donlavy hoped to induce her husband by degrees to draw a circle of guests around them from among their English or Irish friends; but he declared that he was no longer fit for the world, and in retiring from it, earnestly wished to leave all its associations behind him. The lady was therefore compelled, however reluc- tantly, to give up her point, and to solace herself by making her maid at once the depository of her griefs and ill-temper. Day after day her brocades and feathers and diamonds were spread out in melancholy array before her, reminding her of past scenes of gaiety, never perhaps to return. Nothing now remained for her to do but to retire into her closet, and to weep over her loss of the world and the world's pleasures. There were truly bagatelle boards, and an abun- dance of cards; but, alas, there was no one to play with her. Sometimes, out of pure com- plaisance, and a lingering feeling of pity at her distressed countenance, Mr. Donlavy would force himself to play for her amusement; but as they did not play for money there was
nothing to lose or win, and the excitement was not the same, consequently the games were abandoned. Mr. Donlavy suggested reading to while away the time; the poor lady took up a book, but soon laid it down again in disgust; she had never been anything beyond a beauty and a woman of fashion, and could not now turn to any solid resources for solace or pleasure.
Four years having passed away, Castle Con- nor, under its master's tasteful hand, assumed a charming appearance. The bereaved father wandered over his lands, rich in vegetation, and in all that culture could produce of added beauty, and he still sighed for his lost child. She had been the one sole bright spot in his existence, and in proportion to his early neglect and estrangement, had been his deep affection for her, when in the every-day intercourse of life he learnt how full her heart was of love, and all gentle, womanly feelings. Having con- trasted his innocent Kate, as he called her, with the women he had met with in the world, he by that comparison grew prouder still of her purity of heart and mind. Even her sudden disap- pearance, never as yet to him accounted for, had not shaken his faith in her. He believed her dead, but never would admit that she had any share in her own mysterious loss.
Mr. Donlavy was accustomed daily to visit the tomb of his first wife; no great compliment to the second perhaps; but still he went, and in so doing felt a melancholy pleasure. He found delight even in sitting down in what had been Norah's cabin, but which was now deso- late and uninhabited. There his child's infancy and childhood had been reared; there she had grown up in her young loveliness like one of the wild flowers that her foot had pressed; there too she had loved, and plighted her faith to the man of her choice, but her father knew not that. There was one that did though, and that one was the white-haired village priest, Father Peter, who had united George and Kate; and when he heard any of the household at the castle tell the story of their young mistress' strange disappearance, the old man was the only one who guessed the truth, though he dared not acknowledge the part he had taken in the secret marriage, to great was even Father Peter's dread of the lord of Castle Connor.
At first the old priest kept as far off as pos- sible from all the inmates of the castle, especi- ally as Mr. Donlavy Balfour followed the here- tic ways, which he had learnt among the stranger folk! But by degrees, the mild, amiable manners of that gentleman had wrought on the simple man so far, that he began to cherish the hope of a genuine conversion. That however was not to be; but Father Peter rested happy in the assurance, and pursued his labor of love, quite satisfied that Mr. Donlavy did not ve- hemently contradict him, he was becoming en- lightened, whereas frequently the poor gentle- man had not taken in one word of the argu- ment, to which from complaisance he had feigned to listen, and was as far off from the tenets of the Roman Church as he had ever been in his life, though he was too kind-hearted not to show the white-headed old man all the attention and kindness he could, rewarding his efforts for his spiritual advancement by sub- stantial returns in temporal comforts, of which Father Peter stood much in need.
Mr. Donlavy's charities were indeed exten- sive. He loved to make people happy, and was naturally too sensitive to witness distress with- out relieving it as soon as seen; but, alas! he had not energy enough to seek out the wretched, and unloose their burdens; he contented him- self with assisting those who came immediately under his own observation. Father Peter had so often listened to the tale of Kate's supposed abduction, and heard so much of her father's lamentation on the subject, that had he dared he would have given some hint which might sug- gest a ray of comfort to her father's mind, for he rightly surmised the cause of her flight.
It happened one day that the old man walked in the grass-grown churchyard, and stopping for a moment on the side of the burial-ground where poor Norah slept her last quiet sleep, he stood leaning on an iron cross that marked a grave, and was rather in the shade. At the same moment he discerned a man kneeling by the grave of Norah Doran, and as he knelt he wept. The priest approached, and recognised
"Arrah, shure, and it's Father Pater's silf!" he cried, starting up. "Faith, your riverance, and I was jist speaking a word of prayer for poor Norah, rest her sowl! And have ye said the masses for her, father? and is it long she'll be before she's out? (that is, out of purgatory.) Shure an' it's Misthress Allan's silf that will pay that same. Good luck to her, anyhow!"
"And she's not dead then, Phelim?" said the priest.
"Did!" exclaimed Phelim; "the saints in hiven forbid! No, father, it's alive she is this day; an' she an' the colonel are going up to Castle Connor to make themselves known to his honor, Mr. Donlavy Balfour, good luck to him! Only for the fear that he should be startled at first, it's his honor, the colonel, as is gone alone, and Misthress Allan an' the child are biding in the old cabin; but it's friends they'll be I'm shure; an' it's winnin' ways the colonel has of
his own, father."
"Oh, Phelim, what will become of me?" ex- claimed the old man, who mentally foresaw all the creature comforts vanishing, which had been provided for him by Mr. Donlavy's kind care.
"Arrah, father, an' his honor, hiven bless him, will niver forsake your gray hairs, for havin' been the manes of making his daughter happy. Faith, an' it's myself that should cry out and be fearful, if fear there was, and I have not a misgivin' on my mind, his honor will be so en- tirely plased an' delighted to see his daughter agin, that he'll have no room in his heart for anger agin any livin' soul of us," answered
Phelim, with confidence.
But the old man's fears were not to be allayed even by Phelim's rhetoric; he shook his head dismally, and returned home, and sat gazing on a fine flitch of bacon, which was a present from the castle, and forboded that its fellow would never hang from the rafters of his cabin.
He was, however, mistaken, for even after he discovered his by-gone delinquencies, Mr. Don- lavy's thoughtful presents were continued, and the old priest never wanted a friend in Kate, though he groaned over her heresy through many a long year.
We must follow Colonel Allan, however, to Castle Connor. He trod through the walk in which he and Kate first met with indescribable emotion. Man of the world as he now was, he felt uncertain how he should open his mission, when Mr. Donlavy entered the room into which he had been shown on asking for an interview with that gentleman.
Kate's father was greatly changed, mentally and physically, from what we saw him in the
outset of our tale. He looked considerably
older than his actual years, and wore an ap- pearance of melancholy dignity, which imme- diately interested and impressed his son-in-law. He bowed politely on seeing a stranger, but in silence, and with something in his countenance which showed that it was distressing and irksome to him to encounter any one from that outer world which he had long since quitted, and
wished to forget.
After a word of apology for his seeming in- trusion, Colonel Allan informed Mr. Donlavy, that travelling in that part of the world, and knowing him well by reputation, he had taken the liberty of paying him a visit, to give him news of his friends in England, who were all in- terested in his welfare and happiness.
"You are very good, sir, very good indeed," said Mr. Donlavy, "and I owe you many ex- cuses for this apparently cold welcome; but to speak truly, the world and I have nothing in common, and I have now been so long out of it, that I forget much of its ceremony. I left be- hind me in England some valuable friends, and many agreeable acquaintances; but at the time of my withdrawal from society I was smarting under so heavy an affliction in the mysterious loss of a beloved daughter, that I purposely cut myself off from whatever might remind me of a grief which I wanted fortitude to sustain. Even now, sir," he continued, "I cannot express to you the pang which the bare mention of that circumstance gives me."
"I have heard it spoken of in the world, sir," said George; "but have you never obtained any information with regard to your lost daughter?"
"None, sir, none!" said Mr. Donlavy, with a fresh burst of grief. "Pardon me, sir, but this conversation unmans me. She was the only flower in the dreary pathway of my life, the only one bright spot in my existence! And
now she is no more!"
"Perchance she lives, sir," said George, "and may yet return to comfort your declining years. Nay, I have some reason to believe
"Does she live, sir? Speak! I entreat you; does my child live?" cried Mr. Donlavy, grasp- ing the colonel's arm convulsively.
"She lives," he replied, "and will ere long re- turn, and entreat your pardon for her desertion."
"And she left me then willingly!" exclaimed Mr. Donlavy, in a tone of bitter grief. "She left her father, who lived but for her; and doubtless she left him for some stranger, some acquaintance of a day. Now then all my faith in human nature is overthrown! But let her come, sir; let her come! I am prepared to treat her with tenderness, and to forgive her. Perhaps she is in distress and sorrow; perhaps forsaken by him who lured her from the path of duty. If so, lot hor return ; hor futhor'a homo duty. If so, let her return; her father's home
"You are mistaken, sir," said George. "Your daughter is not situated as you suppose. She is neither in distress nor want. She is a happy wife and mother, and has no motive in seeking her father but to entreat the restoration of his parental affection, and to beseech him to pardon her."
"She has then some love left for me," said Mr. Donlavy,; "but she should not have left me for a mere stranger."
"She did not, sir," said George; "she left you only to join her husband."
"Her husband!" exclaimed Mr. Donlavy.
"Yes, sir, her husband," repeated George. "Forgive me if I remind you of a time when your affection for your daughtor did not appear what it afterwards proved to be; when in fact you appeared to have almost, if not quite, aban-
"Go on, sir." said Mr. Donlavy; "pray go on. I am ready to hear whatever you have to say."
"I will proceed, then," said the colonel. "In those days your child knew not the blessing of parental affection; she had no one to watch over her, no one to train her young heart's in- stincts but the ignorant though well-intentioned persons to whom you confided her childhood. With a soul overflowing with tenderness, she had no one on whom to lavish that rich store, and she believed her father utterly unmindful of her. Chance threw in her way one who no sooner saw her than he loved her—not alone for her surpassing beauty, but for the guilelessness which heightened her charms. He was a young soldier, sir; not wealthy—his only riches were his sword and unblemished honor; but he was well born, and a fitting match for Mr. Don- lavy's daughter. He took no advantage of her seemingly abandoned situation and of her un- guarded innocence, but wooed and won her honorably; and with one so loving and confid- ing, had not much difficulty in persuading her, as she seemed left to be the mistress of her own fate, to give him the name of husband.
"They were united; shortly after, the young husband was called away by the duties of his profession, and the youthful bride was suddenly and unexpectedly summoned to her father's presence. She obeyed that call in trembling ap- prehension, expecting to meet a stern ruler, and not a tender parent; but she was deceived, and soon leaned to love him devotedly, whom she had feared to approach. A thousand times was she on the point of falling at his feet, confessing her ties, and begging his blessing on them, but she could not summon resolution.
"At length you were desirous of uniting her to a nobleman, whose honorable and ardent attachment had won her gratitude, but could not tempt her to betray her faith. Perplexed and unhappy at having no other alternative than being untrue to her husband or forfeiting her father's confidence and affection, she turned for counsel and assistance to a seeming friend. Alas! sir, that friend proved to be the very re- verse of all she had appeared to be, and per- suaded the unfortunate girl, not only that her father would be stern and unforgiving in the event of her confessing her position to him, but also that he had the power, and was sure to exercise it, of dissolving her marriage, and forc- ing her into a union with Lord William Harvey.
"Having, for her personal motives, thus wrought on your daughter's fears, Miss Chambers, who was herself secretly attached to Lord William, and wished earnestly to remove so formidable a rival from his path, succeeded in persuading her to continue the concealment which she had so long been anxious to abandon, and to fly to her husband, who was then with his regiment in Germany. Miss Chambers pro- vided a disguise, arranged everything for the flight, and, thus persuaded and counselled, your child fled from your protection, divided between grief at leaving her indulgent father, and the hope of being once move restored to her hus-
"After a variety of adventures and difficul- ties, which you will one day, I hope, hear from her own lips, she succeeded in reaching her hus-
band almost on the eve of the battle of Minden. From that day forth she displayed more the spirit of a heroine than of a weak woman, ac- companied the partner of her fate with the tenderest devotion through scenes of difficulty and danger from which many a man would have shrunk; but during all that time her endeavors were as incessant as unavailing to obtain news of her father, whom she never forgot. Letter after letter did she address to him, but in vain.
"At last the peace permitted the return home of herself and husband. They hastened to England; and immediately on their arrival commenced a series of researches for you, sir; but all their attempts at discovering you were abortive. Only one person could have supplied information of your residence, and she cruelly refused to console your daughter's afflicted heart, by giving her the clue she sought with such unwearied assiduity. Mrs. Townley dis- claimed all acquaintance with her, refused even to acknowledge her identity, and treated her with insolence and contempt, asserting that were your child in reality to seek your presence, you would spurn her from you with unforgiving sternness and remorseless indignation.
"I will not, sir, dwell on the subsequent and painful trials which befel your daughter and her husband. Suffice it to say, that they were delivered from all of them by a kind Providence, which ever watches over the innocent, and that, moved by late remorse, or some other feeling, which they could not fathom, Mrs. Townley at length informed them by letter of your resi- dence at Castle Connor, previous to her with- drawing to the continent."
"She is gone, then?" said Mr. Donlavy.
"Yes, sir. Having become on bad terms with Mr. Townley, she has, if her declared intentions are really carried out, retired into a convent."
"Into a convent!" said Mr. Donlavy. "Whatever her errors, I have been to blame not to have inquired after her. This must be looked into. The unhappy woman must not be left to solitary grief; but at present my heart seems too full even to think of another's misfortunes. I shall immediately set out for London."
"For what purpose, may I ask, sir?" said George.
"That I may once more embrace my child, and assure her of my blessing and forgiveness."
"Stay, sir!" exclaimed George. "Moderate your agitated feelings, if possible, and you will soon see your daughter—sooner than you ex- pect."
"She is here, then!" cried Mr. Donlavy. "She is here! I entreat you, sir, if you enter into a father's feelings at such a moment as this, speak—relieve me of this cruel uncer- tainty!"
"She has arrived at Longford," said George. "Then I will go and meet her," said Mr. Donlavy.
"Nay, sir, she will probably arrive before you could set out," replied George; "but I entreat you to compose yourself, that you may be en- abled to meet her without too distressing a
"I will, sir; I will, said Mr. Donlavy, suf- fering himself to be led to a chair; " but tell me, I beseech you, sir, who are you, to whom I owe so much for the information you have this day brought me?"
"Your dutiful son, sir," said George, kneeling before him; "if you will receive and bless him
Mr. Donlavy clasped his arms round the brave soldier, and replied in a stifled, voice, "Yes, I do bless you, my Kate's husband—my son!"
Even while he spoke those words, the door opened, and Kate, still too much like herself not to be immediately recognised, rushed into her happy father's arms, and mingled her joyful tears with his, while her husband stood by re- garding the scene, and holding his boy in his arms, waiting anxiously to present him to his grandfather's attention.
Never did stepmother receive a daughter-in- law with more delight that did Mrs. Donlavy Balfour hers on that day. She actually wept with joy at Kate's return; and her tears were sincere; for with her she looked also for the re- turn of pleasure and festivity.
CHAPTER XXV., AND LAST.
Visions that I have conjured from the past—
The past of long ago—a last farewell!
Fade and dissolve before my mental gaze,
"And leave no wreck behind!"
IT was towards the close of the autumn of 1766 that a merry party assembled at Castle Connor, which seemed to have returned to all the gladsome festivities of bygone days. The master of the castle walked among the throng of assembled guests, with a glad heart and thankful spirit, while bright-faced children clung to his hands, and looked up into his face, ever and anon addressing some word of childish fondness to him, which made his heart beat with happiness unspeakable.
There was to be a dance at the castle that evening, which was to extend out over the smooth lawns, that all the tenants might share in the merry-making and in the hospitality of Mr. Donlavy, for the festivities were to celebrate the sixth birthday of George Allan the younger, and the fourth of his little sister Kate, which fell on the same day, and united two glad festivals in one. There, conspicuous in the gay throng, stood our old friend George, wearing the uniform of a general, and looking as animated and happy, and almost as young, as when we first introduced him to our readers. Beside him was Kate, the same bright radiant creature she had ever been, none of the fashionable follies of the day dis- guising or disfiguring her loveliness, but her golden ringlets still flowing (unpowdered and unshackled, except by a wreath of flowers) like a rich veil of gold around her. On her right hand sat an elderly gentleman, privileged, as a great invalid, to appear in dishabile. He wore a loose black velvet gown, and beside him rested a pair of crutches; but he had the same majesty of countenance, the same eagle eye "to threaten and command," though tempered by benevol- ence. It was the godfather of little Kate, the newly-created Earl of Chatham, who had just merged the immortal name of Pitt in the splen- dor of a title, which on him, however, could confer no dignity.
There was one also present whom few would, a short time previously, have expected to meet in that mansion—the graceful and now dignified Lord William Harvey. On his arm leant a lady who listened to his elegant words with a blush and a downcast eye, which showed that he spoke of love. He had, by manly resolution, struggled with and overcome the passion which had so long usurped the empire of reason, and his heart's new choice was the very reverse of all that Kate had been. The lady's hair and eyes were dark, and she was as tall as woman well could be without overstepping the limits of grace. Lord William's countenance was serene and happy, but serious and thoughtful; and
perhaps at that moment—when he gazed on the lovely being beside him, who bore a strong re- semblance to what Matilda Chambers was before disease had marred her beauty, and while he still loved her—perhaps his memory recurred to the wrong he had done her, and dwelt on what she might have been but for the shadow he had
thrown over her existence.
Meanwhile the music struck up a merry na- tional air, and the ball was opened by Mr. Don- lavy Balfour and his sprightly granddaughter Kate. The next couple that followed was Lord William Harvey and Kate the elder. The third, General Allan and Isabella Moncrief, a beautiful Scotch heiress, and the destined bride of Lord William Harvey. The fourth, Colonel
and Mrs. Fitzmorris.
A lady walked complacently through some figures with little George. She wore a crimson and gold brocade dress, and sufficient diamonds to furnish out a court birthday. Perhaps the thought on an absent and unhappy daughter; for the erring and unfortunate Mrs. Townley had resisted the kindest entreaties and over- tures of her stepfather and Kate to leave the convent to which she had retired, and where she still brooded over her sorrows. But if Mrs. Donlavy's thoughts recurred at all to her only child, her countenance betrayed no emotion but that of pleasure, and she soon sat down to cards, almost as cheerfully as if she had been at Rane- leigh.
It was a brilliant scene to gaze on, that festi- val at Castle Connor, with those beautiful women and their gay partners—the lights that flashed down upon them, the flowery wreaths that garlanded the walls, and scattered their rich petals beneath the dancers' feet. And one privileged old man looked on, and brushed away the glad tears that sprang to his eyes, while he breathed a blessing on all, but especially on her, his foster-child, Kate, who looked up at him and smiled with as much affection in her beaming face as when he carried her a happy child in his
But even while we write the wand of the en- chanter seems to sweep away those merry dancers, to extinguish the lights, and to hush the enlivening music. The scene is changed.
An old woman, on whose still graceful head the snows of a hundred winters have fallen, sits in an arm-chair, surrounded by her descendants of the third generation, and amusing them with tales (which make their young hearts dance) of battles and sieges, and stirring eventful scenes in foreign lands, such as an old soldier would have related. Her eye is still bright, her voice
soft and tuneable, her step graceful, when she rises to show her great-grandchildren how she had walked minuets in the courts of George the Second and his grandson. Yes, Kate is the same she ever was—the same high spirit, the same warm heart. The writer of this tale (one of her descendants) thus remembers her as the last survivor of the Battle of Minden.
A GOOD sign—One that will stand the weather a good many years without the paint rubbing off.
BECAUSE horses aro used to reins, it does not follow that they are unaffected by wet weather.
"ACCORDING TO COCKER."—If forty perches make one rood, how many are required to make one polite?
AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION.—The unmarried woman is rated herself. The married woman's rating falls on her husband.
A SCOTCHMAN puts the postage stamp the wrong way upon his letters, and calls it, with tender feeling—turning a penny.
A man cannot entor into a legal agreement with his wifo; but they often outer into disugreo monta whioh uro thoroughly mutual.
MARK TWAIN says that the Sandwich Islands dish of plain dog "is only our cherished American sausage with the mystery removed."
THAT'S THE DIFFICULTY.—A wise master or mistress will not, on light provocation merely, fall out with a good servant; but the great difficulty is to fall in with one, now-a-days.
A CONTEMPORARY speaks of the Fenian raid as a "Twopenny-halfpenny war." We have never yet become familar with this term, though we have frequently heard of a threepenny peace.
A COUNTRY paper wants to know whether any of the cases of spontaneous combustion can be accounted for on the supposition that the vic- tims were in the habit of drinking gunpowder
There aro two reasons why somo peoplo don't mind thoir own business. Ono is that thoy haven't any business, and tho second is that they would have no mind to bring to it if they
TWO brothers, who were very successful dentists, built a large and handsome house, the appearance of which was thought to resemble a large molar tooth. It was a common remark, "See what brothers can do when they pull together!"
MRS. PARTINGTON says that progress must be a very bad fellow, for whenever she takes up a newspaper to look at the "Parliamentary pro- ceedings," she finds that the individual in ques- tion is invariably being "reported."
A YOUTH asked Count Montroud, the memoir writer, to teach him the art of succeeding in society. "Oh, it is simple enough," said the Count. "Talk to tho middle-aged and young ladies, and listen when the old ones talk to you.
A LITTLE boy was relating a story he had heard one day. His ideas becoming confused in some way, he could find no words to express his meaning; at last he said, "Well, I know enough big words, but I don't know where to put them in."
A GENTLEMAN who was once interceding with Bishop Blomfield for a clergyman who was constantly in debt, and had more than once been insolvent, but who was a man of talents and eloquence, concluded his eulogism by saying, "In fact, my lord, he is quite a St. Paul." "Yes," replied the bishop, drily, "in prisons
AT a meeting of the Board of Guardians of a workhouse in Licolnshire, in reading the items of one of the accounts, the word "Chlorodyne" occurred us having been supplied for the use of the inmates. "Collared ryne!" exclaimed one of the guardians; "it's scandalous. Collared ryne for paupers—why, it's a luxury!"
"IF you do not close that window, waiter, I shall die from the draught," said a lady dining at the Crystal Palace. "And if you do close it I shall die from the heat in this hot weather!" exclaimed a stouter fair lady. Then there was a giggle among the diners at the dilemma of the waiter, when a literary gentleman present said, "My good fellow, your duly is clear; close the window and kill one lady, then open it and kill the other lady.
COMPLETE SATISFACTION.—Incledon, the ballad singer, was apt on some occasions to give offence by his brusque and almost rude deportment. Being called on by a person for "satisfaction" for an affront—probably unin- tended by Incledon—he found him at breakfast. Having heard his business, Incledon took a posture, and executed "Black-eyed Susan" in his unequalled style. " There," he said to his audi- tor, who stood in breathless surprise and admi- ration, " if that does not satisfy you, you are one of the most unreasonable fellows I ever met with, for it has given complete satisfaction to
WE are not all blind, but all subject to dis- tempers of the mental sight, differing in kind and in degree; thus, though all men are in error, they are not all in the same error, nor at the same time; from which it follows that each may possibly heal the other, even as two or more physicians, all diseased in their general health, yet under the immediate action of the disease on different days, may remove or alleviate the complaints of each other.—Coleridge.