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"My aunt, O'Neile!"

"You know, Catherine, even with your experience of me, what a misanthrope I am. But perhaps you don't know that social ties, and all that makes home dear and attractive, has been a sealed book to me; although, for my sister's peace of mind, I have often assumed a character which is not mine. When the sorrowful

event, which closed upon her happiness in this world, summoned me back to the home I had left, in order to conceal the shadows and ennui that still clung to me, I gave myself up to an occupation to which I devoted most of my time and energies, that I might blind her, and have an excuse for being alone; as I was no companion for her when in my wayward moods, and cynical thoughts of mankind. What bitter hours have I not passed in that laboratory, when she believed that science had more attractions for me than her society! till a new light, a bright presence of youth and sym-. pathy, came across my path in your form. Three years have passed-how time flies! and fly it will, either in joy or sorrow--since you first came like a sunbeam, or a thunder-cloud, and awoke me from the state of apathy into which I had fallen. How I watched you, and learnt to read from your looks alone, the heart which your actions and remarks often belied! In your hours of reverie, when you thought no one was near, and when you seemed lost to all around, an expression of unutterable unhappiness would pass over your countenance; then how I longed, how I wished for the right and privilege to share your sorrow!"

Upon hearing this Catherine started, and exclaimed, with astonishment and indignation

"Was that honourable, Sir, to follow me like a spy, and watch my every movement, almost my every thought? you, whom I believed to be above such conduct? Shame!"


'I am making a clear confession, Catherine, although by so doing, I may for the moment lose your esteem.

You are wrong when you imagine that I was a spy upon your actions; Fate seemed to bring me near to you. When I began to wander about, I never thought of crossing your path, though long afterwards the longing would arise in my heart that I might meet you, or come near the place which your presence seemed to hallow. I had now, after an aimless existence of more than twenty years, an object to promote my best and truest interests, and in part remove the despondency that was weighing so heavily upon me. Catherine! she who can inspire and call forth such a change, must possess a germ-a saving influence in herself. I, whom till then, not anything seemed to have power to impress-I, who have seen and mixed in all phases of life, and with all kinds of people" He paused a moment, then continued-"I have now come to a point in my confession, which I know will arouse all your indignation; and yet I must tell you. That night, in Denis Connelly's cabin, I saw you watch beside the dying child. Unseen by you, I managed to remain unobserved amid the crowd, who, out of sympathy or curiosity, had congregated to watch the breath pass away from the little suffering body. I also watched your uncle's guest and kinsman, at first with a feeling of jealousy, as I saw his too expressive glances of admiration follow your every movement; and then with a feeling of pity, as I noticed your contemptuous reception of his proffered kindness; as if an Irish girl, and an O'Neile, were not safe where Erin's skies and Erin's sons surrounded her. When you left that night, I followed you--"

Catherine tapped quickly and impatiently with her foot upon the ground, and tried to speak, but the words died upon her lips, as she looked upon the man, always so calm and indifferent, but who was now speaking with eager and passionate accents.

"Yes, I followed, and saw, as Denis Connelly quitted you, that you remained undecided, till, looking upwards,

the falling star attracted your attention. In the uncertain light I could not see your face distinctly, yet my heart told me that your wish accompanied its downward course. Then how much I desired that my soul's aspirations could go with, and unite themselves to yours! I saw you go into the little chapel; and, actuated by an insurmountable feeling, I contrived to enter it from the other side, by a small aperture. When you prostrated yourself before the statue, and addressed it in the anguish and bitterness of your heart, I remembered her who had deceived me, and how she had erred through too much reliance and faith in images; and an irresistible desire rose in my mind to save you, if possible, from such false comfort as they could afford."

He paused to draw breath, while Catherine, with cheeks glowing with indignation and pride, said, in bitter tones

"I will hear no more! leave me, Mr. Maitland; with deep regret I am compelled to say, that the confession is truly worthy of the confessor. You, to whom I looked as to a superior being, to think, to know that you could have been guilty of this!-oh, it is too much!


Catherine, you must pardon me, and not regard this in any other light than the true one." There was reproach in his accents as he added—“ Believe me when I assure you that I had your welfare at heart, and no other motive. I wanted to satisfy myself, and for that purpose wished to see how far your credulity would lead you."


"Really, Sir, I don't know how I shall reward this particular, and I may add important, interest, that by your own avowal, you have evidently taken in my slightest actions. But continue, I have now listened so far that I can hear the end." She drew herself up, looking at him fixedly and contemptuously.

"I was enabled, by means of a stool placed behind the figure of the Virgin, to raise myself upon a level with it; and it was my lips which softly whispered


those words, the effect of which I did not at the time foresee. The next moment what would I not have given to have recalled them! I crept down noiselessly, and found you extended insensible upon the ground before the cold, white marble, whose aid you had but just invoked. I called you by your name, but in vain ; then, forgetful of the part I was acting, and of your indignation and surprise should you awake and discover methere are moments when one is reckless of all consequences-I rushed out to try and procure some water to sprinkle your face, but returned after a vain search. I then remembered that I always carried tincture of myrrh about with me, which I sometimes employed in my chemical operations; and, pouring out one or two drops upon a handkerchief, I applied it to your nostrils. a short time I saw that you were slowly returning to consciouness; then placing you against the base of the statue, I withdrew to the outside, but remained quite close to the entrance, so as to assure myself of your perfect recovery before leaving you alone at that silent hour of the morning; and in the darkness, I watched your astonishment as you sat up and looked around. How my heart reproached me, again and again, as I noted the deadly pallor of your face, and its awe-stricken expression! By a powerful control over myself, I turned from you, and slowly left the spot, yet stopped at intervals, and looked towards the little chapel. As you left it, I silently and watchfully followed, till I saw you safely within the gates of the park."

The expression of Catherine's face changed as she listened to this recital; a soft look came over it, in pity for the weakness, passion, and devotedness of the heart which thus unveiled itself to her. That heart, which to others was an enigma, she could now read; and she, who had awakened it to tenderness, had not one feeling of affection to give in return,-nothing but pity, and a sorrowful regret for the misery she must inflict, in destroying whatever hope had arisen in the man before

her. After a long pause, in which each looked far away from the other, he continued, in a more assured tone, and with a prouder bearing, because Catherine alone was the heroine of his speech

"You remember the night which followed? as I ever shall your brave and noble devotedness, and forgetfulness of self. When I returned, and heard the account related to me by the police-sergeant, my heart palpitated with emotion, not at the loss which I might have suffered, but with pride and delight to know that you had been the preserver of mine,-that in itself was a tie, a link that would bind us more closely-something which did not exist before. Could any voice have whispered to me that night, as I rode quietly home, my thoughts full of your image, that you were at that moment exposed to the violence of those ruffians, I don't know how time or space would have passed with me till I reached home. I am sure had the robbers come in contact with you! But let me not think of it!"

Catherine interrupted him, and said, slowly and coldly-" Do not mistake-they did, or rather, I came in contact with them."

She now saw that it was time for her to speak plainly, therefore she continued-"And I may say, of my own free-will too, for when I acquaint you, as I must, that I secreted the chief of the band, and afterwards helped him to escape, I imagine that such a confession will change your exalted opinion of my poor merits."

"Catherine!" was all he could say.


"Yes, I, at his instigation, contrived to hide him within the carved cabinet which is in the drawing-room." 'Ah, I see!"—and the cloud, that a moment before had settled itself upon his face, now cleared away"I understand your goodness of heart, even to such as those, when they appealed to it.”

"Say, rather, my weakness of heart, Sir," she said, in depreciating tones, and for the moment forgetting

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