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any end, rather than go back home to live under this new and frightful feeling of gloom and despair.
Until that long and wretched night Robert had scarcely known what real suffering was, but he had it then in its very essence.
Once when his fears for Hirell's life sickened him so that he could not remain still, he crept up the stairs, and listened near her door. He heard her voice and her father's talking very quietly, and he heard with a deep emotion his own name uttered by her. It calmed him wonderfully. He became filled with shame at his own self-pity, now that he knew she had a pitying thought for him.
Welcoming that one bit of sweet faint comfort in his heart. he went back, and sitting down at the long table, and laying his head on his arms, fell into a calm, dreamless sleep.
It had been very near dawn when he fell asleep, and in less than an hour the light and the twittering of the birds woke him.
At first the sight of brown bare oak everywhere he looked, made him fancy himself at the Hooded House; and the remem. brance of where he really was, and how he was to return home that day, came to him bitterly enough.
He heard steps on the stairs, and started, for he wondered what Kezia would say to him at finding he had been there all night.
As he rose and was looking towards the door, grasping his chair, he was filled with astonishment to see Elias come in holding Hirell's hand.
As he looked at them and saw them coming straight to. wards him-Hirell in one of the fresh light dresses his mother had made her wear at Brockhurst-Robert doubted if he were indeed fully awake.
'Robert Chamberlayne,' said Elias, ' my child and I have this night wrestled with her sorrow, as Jacob wrestled with the angel; we have talked of and considered with much prayer for divine guidance, how best we may bring back to her the peace of her mind, and the happiness of her heart, both of which have even thus early been lost to her. We have considered, too, that it will be well to save her from having her soul tempted to break a vow she has vowed before God never to marry the erring, but I trust repentant man you once called your friend, John Cunliff. We have considered, too, Robert, that you, having been faithful in your love for her as Jacob to Rachel, generous to her in her time of trouble and exile, as Boaz to Ruth-we have considered that to you more than any other should the work of comfort and cherishing belong; and to that end I give her to you, and she gives herself to you—not now with the love that you deserve, but in the full trust and belief that it will come.
She said to me, Robert, that last night when you rose even from addressing your Maker to answer her call, your voice went unto her heart with a strange warmth and comfort. Was it not so, Hirell?'.
Robert, as he listened to these words, had been looking upon the sweet chastened face of Hirell, with eyes that at first were doubting and perplexed; but that soon had vied with the early morning skies outside, in glistening light and depth.
When Elias said, Was it not so, Hirell ? 'he placed at the same time her hand in Robert's, and Hirell answered faintly, · Yes.'
Then Elias gently unwound the clinging fingers of her other hand from his, and drawing her nearer to Robert, said
Take her then, Robert, and be not impatient with her sorrow, which I have strong belief will only cover her soul for a time; therefore regard it only as the veil with which the women of the Scriptures veiled themselves when they were first brought before their husbands, even as Rebecca veiled herself when she beheld Isaac coming to meet her. I have judged it best that the marriage should be very soon, for the sake of both you and of another.'
Then Robert drew her to his heart and kissed her, and in his smile she seemed to see a reflection of the great peace and sunshine of that home of his, where she was to spend her life. As she closed her eyes upon his shoulder, a sense of rest came over her, she stretched her hand towards her father, and as he gave her his she held it close to hers and Robert's.
“You will love hirk very soon, Hirell, and dearly,' said Elias; he is not a gifted man, but he is what the Lord loves better, an honest man in whom there is no guile.'
Father, I know him.'
CHAPTER LX. LETTER FROM SIR JOHN CUNLIFF TO ELIAS MORGAN.
• Dolgarrog. * DEAR SIR,—I fear I am again going to make you angry—but shall be content if your anger does not also extend to my companion and friend, Hugh.
We have again met, and to me unexpectedly. I find he has come down here, hoping to be of service some way or other to me, and specially in undoing an impression that he fancies his letters may have given Hirell, about his disposition towards me. I was fortunate enough to meet him on his way to you, to convince him his errand was ended, and— .
• Why make a short story long? We understand each other too well in all things to be inclined just now to separate. I have made him abandon Tidman's, and promise to accompany me on a short tour abroad; hoping to send him back to you when we return, as sound of body as he is of mind; and prepared to enter on his vocation as a musician in a more earnest spirit, and with more deliberate care as to the means, than have hitherto been possible to him.
Forgive him, then, if he needs forgiveness. As to myself, I shall wait till you see what the next few months do for him before asking an opinion on my conduct.
'I know, sir, and respect your fear; but I have not been so successful in tampering with my own faith to be at all inclined to repeat the process with another. That which has made him -you-Kezia-Hirell-what you all are, I bend before in true humility; and would rather ask that your belief might be im. parted to me—were that possible_than mine infused in him. If that, then, be your only fear-as I cannot but hope it may be-dismiss it, I entreat you, as baseless.
•You will hear from Hugh shortly. He will keep you regularly informed of all our movements, so that it will not be at all difficult for you to answer some, at least, of the letters he. proposes to write you weekly. Before this reaches you we shall have started. Farewell.
'J. C. 'Hugh has written to his friend the Rev. Ephraim Jones.'
DIES IRÆ. AVOIDING the ostentation of a carriage, Sir John walked the distance to Dola' Hudol, and on reaching the mansion, sent in his card.
A painful incident occurred. The servant had gone away, and he was mechanically reclosing his card-case, when some memorandum on the back of one of the cards attracted his eye. He turned the card, and saw written, 'Mr. John Rymer,'-and felt once more, in all their bitterness, the sad degrading incidents that had brought him to this place. A sudden passion of disgust overmastered him, and he tore the card to pieces. Then he prayed in his soul for patience, to face the dreadful ordeal before him.
The servant returned instantly, and bowing with marked respect, led him to the drawing-room.
There he sat for some minutes, before the door opened, and Mr. Rhys entered ; stiff, and stately; but with a kind of emphasized courtesy in the reception of his visitor, which agreeably surprised Cunliff, as soon as he realized the fact.
After the first formal greeting, and Mr. Rhys's request that Sir John would be seated, a request which was unattended to, there was a pause, a very painful one to Cunliff; and Mr. Rhys was sufficiently accommodating to begin to speak words of congratulation on his accession to-when he was interrupted.
Congratulations, sir, of any kind, are out of place to me here, and from you. Allow me to explain my presence. When a man is conscious of wrong-doing, and has reason to fear that others have been deeply injured by his acts, I beg you, sir, to tell me how he may best discharge his duty, and ease his conscience. Tell me that, sir, and I shall, if it be humanly possible, make you the amends you yourself appoint. Meantime, I beg to express iny most profound regret; and to say that I know few things henceforward that I more care to obtain than your forgiveness.
He ceased. Mr. Řhys gazed at him, as a man gazes who lacks faith in the exterior presented, and is tiying to see behind the screen, while doing it politely.
He then handed Cunliff a lady's card, on which he saw written with a pencil in a handwriting so tremulous that it thrilled him to see, words to the effect that Mr. and Mrs. Rhys, having heard of Sir John Cunliff's presence in the neighbourhood, would feel obliged by a call at his leisure.
Knowing not what to make of all this, except that it seemed to say Mrs. Rhys was better, and, probably, reconciliation come to, Cunliff felt a great spirit of thankfulness in his heart, and waited in silence.
“Would you like to see my wife ? ? asked Mr. Rhys, with the same calm manner.
Sir John hesitated to reply. He could hardly say no, and yet his judgment and feeling alike warned him there could be no good in such an interview, and might be danger to his secret resolves, his new impulses, the altogether new life he desired to enter upon when he repassed this terrible threshold.
"I may remark, Sir John, that this is probably the last time my wife is likely to receive you,' said Mr. Rhys.
She is no worse, I trust? ' asked Cunliff, casting about him for some mode of escape.
'I hope not; I believe not. But you shall judge for yourself who have known her in health. Will you go with me?'
Mr. Rhys hardly waited for an answer, but passed to another door, leading to a corridor that was strangely darkened. “Will you step in, Sir John ?'
Is he going to murder me?' was Cunliff's agitated impulse of inquiry, but he was angry with himself a moment afterwards that he was not more even in mood. The peace he yearned for, alas, had not yet come.
He did not hesitate, but walked on into the darkened corridor, Mr. Rhys closely following him, and so they walked right through to its end.
Again Mr. Rhys, with formal politeness, opened the door, bowed, and waited for his visitor to go in first.
The moment he had entered the room, he turned fiercely upon Mr. Rhys who was still closely following him, and seemed as if he would fly at his throat.
But the terror that had seized him soon froze the blood it bad sent rushing so hotly to his brain.