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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. In 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.”
6 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 the secret which she had not thought of disclosing“for it was weakness !"-this she repeated as if talking to herself—" for know, Mr. Maitland, that he whom I assisted, was the friend and companion I had loved from childhood.”
Catherine was a long time speaking these words, while the hitherto pale face now flushed crimson, and the eyes sought the ground, as if they (even in the uncertain light which was now throwing its shadow upon all around) feared to encounter the glance of him, whom she felt this acknowledgment would precipitate from heaven to earth.
Edward Maitland advanced a step, and tried to seize her hand, but she drew it quickly away. He came closer to her, and, bending forward, endeavoured to look into the averted face, while he said, in a strange voice
Catherine, what mean those words ? speak more plainly, and if you have any pity in you, do not hesitate; you see I cannot bear this suspense any longer.” He had taken off his hat, and now raised his hand to his forehead, as if to still its throbbing.
“Can it be possible, Mr. Maitland, that you never knew-never guessed the secret of my life of my actions ? Must I speak more plainly, and lay the whole terrible truth before
?” She hesitated, as if waiting for a reply, but he remained silent.
“Know, then, that I have loved, and still love, my cousin, Pierce O'Neile, and that we are betrothed."
Had a thunderbolt fallen at their feet, he to whom this disclosure was made, could not have started back more suddenly, as he uttered the exclamation
“ Pierce O'Neile !” He repeated the name with sorrowful and bitter emphasis. " It wanted but that name, and the confirmation it brings with it, to tell me all I would know. For the second time in my life it comes between me and happiness—the happiness of a riper, steadier growth-a happiness which I, visionary that I have been, imagined grew out of itself, and not out of the dreadful false past, that turned my youth into bitterness, and caused disbelief of all that was good or ennobling in human nature. All might have been retrieved, for youth is a phenix which can cast off the worst part of itself, and rise up, from the ashes of its deceived aspirations and dreams, to better things. It might have been thus with me, but all that is past now; for in the autumn of my days, what can give me back the hopes, the wishes, the resolves, that this one short moment in my life's span has taken from me ? Her son, too !” and he moved away from the spot, regardless of Catherine's presence.
All her sympathies were now awakened as she looked upon the suffering man, and running up and bending before him, she sought to calm and appease the evil spirit that was struggling within.
“Oh, Mr. Maitland, hear me! Do not condemn Pierce O'Neile-do not judge him because of the past. If you knew how he has suffered, what he has gone through ;how he had been disowned, disinherited, and almost forgotten by all but me ;-left, too, to his own resources and wild untutored ways by his mother, who idolised him, but whose weak love encouraged and concealed all his unrestrained youthful follies ;-surely you would not be so bitter in your denunciation. Oh, think, there is much to forgive in him, for it may be truly said, 'that he has been more sinned against than sinning. And now he is far away, fighting in the cause of liberty and justice; but he will yet return, and redeem the sad past, which will then seem as a storm which has cleared away, after having caused, it is true, much destruction in its passage, yet once over, a clearer, purer, and fresher atmosphere results from it. His baser self he has left behind, his better he has taken with him. Believe me, that he is not so unworthy as you deem. He and I may never meet again on earth, yet I will not be false to his memory-to the one steadfast feeling
of my life; for if I cannot be his, I will never be to another what I would have been to him. It may be, that I shall remain alone to lament and regret him, for grief does not always kill. In the years which are before me one consolation will always be mine, that is-in retirement and meditation to remember him and you.
“ You have suffered much; believe me that I esteem, that I honour, and that I shall ever think of you as my best friend. Friendship, you know, has its claims as well as love, and perhaps the higher and nobler, and more disinterested of the two, is the former, because it is more rare. Princes and rulers inspire, and even command, love, but they seldom or ever enjoy friendship, which doubles joy and lessens sorrow.”
He turned, as he addressed her—“Miss O'Neile, you speak of what you do not comprehend. Friendship may be all you represent, yet it is but a shadow, which the glowing sunshine of love effaces and ignores. Love is God's first and best blessing given to man, and there can be no greater when we regard it as it was, in its first pure sense, before man's wickedness of heart perverted it, and lowered it to his own nature. And thus does it appear to us when we seek to obtain, and think we possess it.
“But I only speak in vain. How well and eloquently you can plead for him! Does he know how blest he is ? Answer me one question,
one question, Catherine O'Neile-Should fate, should time, release you from your vow, would you then look favourably upon my suit?"
“ There is nothing but death can release me in the manner you mean; and, according to what I believe, that would only make the tie more binding. But let us be friends, firm, fast friends ”—and she put out her hand—" wherever or however divided we may become; and think the best of him, if not for his sake, at least for mine. Rest assured, Mr. Maitland, that if it were