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one they shall be taken from you to serve my
purposes! You may look for them in vain,
until (he adc!od with a fiendish smile) you
read their names in the columns of the New-
gate Calendar."

That night, as latterly had been his custom,
he sallied forth about eight o'clock, leaving
his home and family without food or money.



GRACE HUNTLEY.



523



The cliildren crowded round their mother's
knee to repeat their simple prayers, and retired,
cold and hungry, to bed. It was near midnight
ere her task was finished; and then she stole
softly into her chamber, having first looked
upon and blessed her treasures. Her sleep
was of that restless, heavy kind which yields
no refreshment; once she was awakened by
hearing her husband shut the cottage-door;
again she slept, but started from a horrid dream
or was it, indeed, reality and had her hus-
band and her son Abel quitted the dwelling
together ? She sprang from her bed, and felt
on the pallet Gerald was there; again, she
felt she called she passed into the next room
"Abel, Abel, my child! as you value your
mother's blessing, speak!" There was no re-
ply. A dizzy sickness almost overpowered
her senses. Was her husband's horrid threat
indeed fulfilled and had he so soon taken their
child as his participator in unequivocal sin!
She opened the door and looked out upon the
night; it was cold and misty, and her sight
could not penetrate the gloom. The chill fog
rested upon her face like the damps of the grave.
She attempted to call again upon her son, but
her powers of utterance were palsied her
tongue quivered her lips separated, yet there
came forth no voice, no sound to break the
silence of oppressed nature; her eyes moved
mechanically towards the heavens they were
dark as the earth: had God deserted her?
would he deny one ray, one little ray of light,
to lead her to her child? Why did the moon
cease to shine, and the stars withhold their
brightness? Should she never again behold
her boy her first-born ? Her heart swelled
and beat within her bosom. She shivered
with intense agon}-, and leaned her throbbing
brow against the door-post, to which she had
clung for support. Her husband's words rang
in her ears ''One by one shall your children
be taken from you to serve my purposes!"
Through the dense fog she fancied that he
glared upon her in bitter hatred his deep-set
eyes flashing with demoniac fire, and his smile,
now extending, now contracting, into all the
varied expressions of triumphant malignity.
She pressed her hand on her eyes to shut out
the horrid vision ; and a prayer, a simple prayer,
rose to her lips: like oil upon the troubled
waters, it soothed and composed her spirit.
She could not arrange or even remember a form
of words; but she repeated again and again
the emphatic appeal, "Lord, save me; I perish!"
until she felt sufficient strength to enable her
to look again into the night. As if hope had
cot its beacon in the sky, calmly and brightly



i the moon was now shining upon her cottage.
With the sudden change, at once the curse and
blessing of our climate, a sharp east wind had
set in, and was rolling the mist from the
canopy of heaven; numerous stars were visible
where, but five minutes before, all had been
darkness and gloom. The shadow passed from
her soul she gazed steadily upwards her
mind regained its firmness her resolve was
taken. She returned to her bed-room dressed
and, wrapping her cloak closely to her bosom,
was quickly on her way to the Smiths' dwelling
on Craythorpe Common.

The solitary hut was more than two miles
from the village; the path leading to it broken
and interrupted by fragments of rocks, roots
of furze, and stubbed underwood, and at one
particular point intersected by a deep and
brawling brook. Soon after Grace had crossed
this stream she came in view of the cottage,
looking like a misshapen mound of earth;
and upon peering in at the window, which
I was only partially lined by a broken shutter,
Covey the lurcher uttered, from the inside,
a sharp, muttering bark, something between
reproof and recognition. There had, certainly,
been a good fire, not long before, on the capa-
cious hearth, for the burning ashes cast a lurid
light upon an old table and two or three
dilapidated chairs; there was also a fowling-
piece lying across the table; but it was evident
none of the inmates were at home; and Grace
walked slowly, yet disappointedly, round the
dwelling till she came to the other side, that
rested against a huge mass of mingled rock
and clay, overgrown with long tangled fern
and heather: she climbed to the top, and had
not been many minutes on the lookout ere
she perceived three men rapidly approaching
from the opposite path. As they drew nearer,
she saw that one of them was her husband;
but where was her son ? Silently she lay among
| the heather, fearing she knew not what yet
j knowing she had much to fear. The chimney
j that rose from the cabin had, she thought,
effectually concealed her from their view ; but
in this she was mistaken for while Huntley
and one of the Smiths entered the abode, the
other climbed up the mound. She saw his
hat within a foot of where she rested, and
fancied she could feel his breath upon her
cheek, as she crouched, like a frightened hare,
more closely in her form ; he surveyed the spot,
however, without ascending further, and then
retreated, muttering something about corbies
and ravens: and, almost instantly, she heard
the door of the hut close. Cautiously she crept
down from her hiding-place; and, crawling



824



GRACE HUNTLET.



along the ground with stealth and silence,
knelt before the little window, so as to observe,
through the broken shutter, the occupation of
the inmates. The dog alone was conscious of
her approach; but the men were too seriously
engaged to heed his intimations of danger.

Merciful powers! had Grace Huntley suf-
fered so long, so patiently, only to witness such
a scene! She almost wished that God in his
mercy had stricken her with blindness; she
prayed for insensibility for death for any-
thing save the knowledge now imparted with
such fearful truth. Would that it were a dream !
But no the horrid proofs were before her eyes
in her ears; and the one drop of comfort,
the only one, was the information that her
son had returned home by a shorter path
that the ruffians feared yet (oh, the import,
the dreadful import, that little word carried
with it!) that they feared yet to trust him
with all their secrets: they feared to bring him
yet to their den.

"Then there is hope for my poor child,"
she thought, "and I can I will save him!"
With this resolve, she stole away as softly and
as quickly as her trembling limbs would per-
mit. The depredators revelled in their fancied
security. The old creaking table groaned
under the weight of food and ardent spirits;
and the chorus of a wild drinking song broke
upon her ear as returning strength enabled
her to hasten along the rude path leading to
Craythorpe.

The first gray uncertain light of morning
was visible through the old church-yard trees,
as she came within sight of her cottage. She
entered quietly, and saw that Abel had not
only returned, but was sleeping soundly by
his brother's side.

Grace set her house in order took the work
she had finished to her employer came back,
and prepared breakfast, of which her husband,
having by this time also returned, partook.
Now he was neither the tyrant whose threat
still rung in her ears, nor the reckless bravo
of the common; he appeared that morning, at
least so his wife fancied, more like the being
she had loved so fondly and so long.

"I will sleep, Grace," he said, when their
meal was finished "I will sleep for an hour;
and to-morrow we shall have a better break-
fast." He called his son into the bed-room,
where a few words passed between them.
Immediately after, Grace went into the little
chamber to fetch her bonnet. She would not
trust herself to look upon the sleeper; but her
lips moved as if in prayer; and even her children
still remembered that, as she passed out of the



cottage-door, she had a flushed and agitated
appearance.

"Good morning, Mi's. Huntley," said her
old neighbour, Mrs. Craddock. "Have you
heard the news? Ah! bad people going "

"True, true!" replied poor Grace, as she
hurried onwards, "I know I heard it all "

Mrs. Craddock looked after her; surprised
at her abruptness.

" I was coming down to you, Grace," said
her father, standing so as to arrest her progress;
" I wished to see if there was any chance of
the child Abel's returning to his exercises; as
this is a holiday, I thought "

"Come with me," interrupted Grace, "come
with me, father; and we will make a rare
holiday."

She hurried the feeble old man along the
road leading to the rectory; but returned no
answer to his inquiries. The servant told her,
when she arrived at her destination, that his
master was engaged particularly engaged
could not be disturbed Sir Thomas Pureel
was with him; and as the man spoke, the study
door opened, and Sir Thomas crossed the
hall.

"Come back with me, sir!" exclaimed Grace
Huntley, eagerly; "I can tell you all you want
to know. "

The baronet shook off the hand she had laid
upon his arm, as if she were a maniac. Grace
appeared to read the expression of his coun-
tenance. "I am not mad, Sir Thomas Pureel,"
she continued, in a suppressed, tremulous voice;
"not mad, though I may be so soon. Keep
back these people and return with me. Mr.
Glasscott knows I am not mad."

She passed into the study with a resolute
step, and held the door for Sir Thomas to enter;
her father followed also, as a child traces its
mother's footsteps, and looked around him
and at his daughter with weak astonishment.
One or two of the servants, who were loitering
in the hall, moved as if they would have fol-
lowed.

"Back, back, I say," she repeated, "I need
no witnesses there will be enough of them
soon. Mr. Glasscott," she continued, closing
the door, "hear me while I am able to bear
testimony, lest weakness woman's weakness
overcome me, and I falter in the truth. In
the broom-sellers' cottage across the common,
on the left side of the chimney, concealed by
a large flat stone, is a hole there much of the
property taken from Sir Thomas Purcel's last
night is concealed."

" I have long suspected these men Smith,
I think they call themselves; yet they are but



GRACE HUNTLEY.



325



two. Now, we have abundant proof that three
men absolutely entered the house "

"There was a third," murmured Grace,
almost iuaudibly.

"Who?"

"My my my husband!" and, as she ut-
tered the word, she leaned against the chimney-
piece for support, and buried her face in her
hands.

The clergyman groaned audibly; he had
known Grace from her childhood, and felt
what the declaration must have cost her. Sir
Thomas Purcel was cast in a sterner mould.
"We are put clearly upon the track, Mr.
Glasscott," he said, "and must follow it forth-
with; yet there is something most repugnant
to my feelings in finding a woman thus herald
her husband to destruction

"It was to save my children from sin," ex-
claimed Grace, starting forward with an energy
that appalled them all: "God in heaven, whom
I call to witness, knows that though I would
sooner starve than taste of the fruits of his
wickedness, yet I could not betray the husband
of my bosom to to I dare not think what!
I tried I laboured to give my offspring honest
bread: I neither asked nor received charity;
with my hands I laboured, and blessed the
Power that enabled me to do so. If we are
poir, we will be honest, was my maxim and
my boast; but he my husband, returned; he
taught my boy to lie, to steal; and when I re-
monstrated when I prayed, with many tears,
that he would cease to train our ay, our child
for destruction, he mocked scorned told me
that, one by one, I should be bereaved of my
children, if I thwarted his purposes; and that
I might seek in vain for them through the
world, until I saw their names recorded in the
book of shame! Gentlemen, thia was no idle
threat last night Abel was taken from
me "

"I knew there must have been a fourth,"
interrupted Sir Thomas, coldly; "we must
have the boy also secured."

The wretched mother, who had not imagined
that any harm could result to her son, stood
as if a thunderbolt had transfixed her her
hands clenched and extended her features
rigid and blanched her frame perfectly erect,
and motionless as a statue. The schoolmaster,
during the whole of this scene, had been com-
pletely bewildered, until the idea of his grand-
child's danger or disappearance he knew not
which took possession of his mind; and filled
with the single thought his faculties had the
power of grasping at a time, he came forward
to the table at which Mr. Glasscott was seated;



and, respectfully uncovering his gray hairs,
his simple countenance presenting a strong
contrast to the agonized iron-bound features
of his daughter, he addressed himself to the
worthy magistrate:

" I trust you will cause instant search to be
made for the child Abel, whom your reverence
used kindly to regard with especial favour."

He repeated this sentence at least half-a-
dozen times, while the gentlemen were issuing
orders to the persons assembled for the appre-
hension of the burglars, and some of the females
of the family were endeavouring to restore
Grace to animation. At last Sir Thomas
Purcel turned suddenly round upon Abel
Darley, and in his stentorian tone bawled out,
"And who are you?"

"The schoolmaster of Craythorpe, so please
you, sir that young woman's father and
one whose heart is broken!"

So saying, he burst into tears; and his wail
was very sad, like that of an afflicted child.
Presently there was a stir among the little
crowd a murmur and then two officers
ushered Joseph Huntley and his son into the
apartment.

He walked boldly up to the magistrate's
table, and placed his hand upon it, before he
perceived his wife, to whom consciousness had
not yet returned. The moment he beheld
her, he started back, saying, " Whatever charge
you may have against me, gentlemen, you can
have none against that woman."

"Nor have we," replied Sir Thomas; "she
is your accuser!"

The fine features of Joseph Huntley relaxed
into an expression of scorn and unbelief. "She
appear against me! Not not if I were to ai-
tcmpt to murder her!" he answered firmly.

"Grace!" exclaimed her father, joyfully,
"here is the child Abel he is found!" and
seizing the trembling boy, with evident exul-
tation, he led him to her. The effect of this
act of the poor simple-minded man was electri-
cal the mother instantly revived, but turned
her face from her husband; and, entwining her
son in her arms, pressed him closely to her
side. The clergyman proceeded to interrogate
the prisoner; but he answered nothing, keeping
his eyes intensely fixed upon his wife and
child. In the meantime the officers of justice
had been prompt in the execution of their duty :
the Smiths were apprehended in the village,
and the greater portion of the property stolen
from Sir Thomas Purcel was found in the hut
where Grace had beheld it concealed.

When the preparations were sufficiently for-
ward to conduct the unfortunate men to prison,



326



GRACE HUNTLEY.



Joseph Huntley advanced to his wife. The
scornful, as well as undaunted, expression of
his countenance had changed to one of painful
intensity; he took her hand within his, and
pressed it to his lips without articulating a
syllable. Slowly she moved her face, so that |
their eyes at last encountered in one long
mournful look. Ten years of continued suffer-
ing could not have exacted a heavier tribute
from Grace Huntley 's beauty. No language
can express the withering effects of the few
hours' agony; her husband saw it, and felt,
perhaps for the first time, how truly he had
once been loved, and how much of happiness
he had sacrificed to sin.

"'Twas to save my children!" was the only
sentence she uttered, or rather murmured; and
it was the last coherent one she spoke for many
weeks. Her fine reason seemed overwhelmed.
It was a sight few could witness without tears.
The old father, tending the couch of his afflicted
daughter, would sit for hours by her bedside,
clasping the child Abel's hand within his, and
every now and then shaking his head when
her ravings were loud or violent.

About fifteen years after these distressing
events had agitated the little village of Cray-
thorpe, an elderly woman, of mild and cheerful
aspect, sat calmly reading a large volume she
supported against the railing of a noble vessel
that was steering its course from the shores of
"Merrie England," to some land far over sea.
The ocean was calm and clear so very calm
that it reflected, as if from a solid surface, every
vapour that floated along the heavens; it was
like sailing into a new world a creation whose
laws and boundaries must remain for ever
unknown to us. How exciting to imagination !
So many fantastic forms revelled beneath the
transparent crystal, huge rocks looking like
castles, exaggerated by the watery distance;
bleak Alpine landscapes stretching far away;
and then the monsters of the deep moving in
the solemn majesty of silence! living things,
without one .sympathy for the earth about them ;
without a single feeling that we can compre-
hend! it may be, if our eves do not weary,
that, in fancy, we gaze deeper clown, and strange
unearthly forms are succeeded by deeps on
deeps the very eternity of waters! where
we can see nothing but the blue abyss! down
down down! It is a fearful thing to pass
over their mysteries a great lesson this
teaching us how little we really know of what
exists around us of the marvels that "compass
us in on every side," of the mighty miracles
that are working day by day, night by night,



in the infinity of space. Many of the passengers
on board this vessel laughed and talked, and
speculated on the future, as if they already
grasped the wealth of the New World, or had
altogether forgotten the old : the solitary woman
continued to read, and yet there was a sweetness
and forbearance in the expression of her coun-
tenance which gave assurance that she would
close her book and repty, if any choose to
question or speak to her. Two gentlemen,
who were lounging on the quarter-deck, arm-
in-arm, frequently passed her. The elder, in
a peculiarly kind tone of voice, said, "You
bear the voyage well, dame!"

"Thank God, yes, sir!"

"Ah! you will soon wish yourself back in
Old England."

"I did not wish to leave it, sir; but duty
compelled me."

The gentlemen walked on.

"Who is she?" inquired the younger.

"A very singular woman. Her information
transported for life a husband whom she loved,
notwithstanding his crimes. She had, at that
time, three children, and the eldest had already
become contaminated by his father's example.
She saw nothing but destruction for them; her
warnings and entreaties being alike unregarded :
so she made her election sacrificed the hus-
band, and saved the children!"

"But what does she here?"

"Her eldest son is now established in a
small business, and respected by all who know
him; her second boy, and a father whom her
misfortunes reduced to a deplorable state of
wretchedness, are dead; her daughter, a village
belle and beauty, is married to my father's
handsome new parish-clerk; and Mrs. Huntley,
having seen her children provided for, and by
her virtues and industry made respectable in
the Old World, is now on her voyage to the
New, to see, if I may be permitted to use her
own simple language, 'whether she can con-
tribute to render the last days of her husband
as happy as the first they passed together.' It
is only justice to the criminal to say, that I
believe him truly and perfectly reformed."

"And on this chance she leaves her children
and her country?"

"She does! She argues that, as the will of
Providence prevented her from discharging
her duties together, she must endeavour to
perform them separately. He was sentenced
to die; but, by my father's exertions, his sen-
tence was commuted to one of transportation
for life; and I know she has quitted England
without the hope of ever again beholding ita
white cliffs."



BEHAVIOUR.



827



ODE ON MELANCHOLY.

BY JOHN KEATS.

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist

Wolf s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine ;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd

By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine ;
Make not your rosary of yew berries,

Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be

Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries ;

For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul

But when the melancholy fit shall fall

Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,

And hides the green hill in an April shroud ;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,

Or on the rainbow of tho (alt sand-wave,

Or oil the wealth of globed peonies ;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,

Imprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with beauty Beauty that must die;

And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu ; and aching Pleasure nigh,

Turning to poison while the bee mouth sips:
Ay. in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous

tongue

Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine ;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.



LIFE'S CHASE.
(FROM THE GERMAN OF SCHULTZE.)

The chief of the huntsman is Death, whose aim

Soon levels the brave and the craven ;
He crimsons the field with the blood of his game,

But the booty he leaves to the raven.
Like the stormy tempest that flies so fast,
O'er moor and mountain he gallops fast;
Man shakes
And quakes
At his bugle blast.

But what boots it, my friends, from the hunter to flee ;

Who shoots with the shafts of the grave?
Far better to meet him thus manfully,

The brave by the side of the brave !
And when against us he shall turn his brand,
With his face to his foe let each hero stand,
And await
His fate
From a hero's hand.



ALTHO' THOU MAUN NEVER BE
MINE.

BY BOBERT BURNS.

Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear,

Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear ;
Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet,

And soft as their parting tear Jessy !

Altho' thou maun never be mine,

Altho' even hope is denied ;
'Tis sweeter for thee despairing.

Than aught in the world beside Jessy I

I mourn thro' the gay, gaudy day.

As, hopeless, I muse on thy charms;
But welcome the dream o' sweet slumber,

For then I am lockt in thy arms Jessy I

I guess by the dear angel smile,
I guess by the love-rolling e'e ;
But why urge the tender confession
'Gainst fortune's fell cruel decree Jessy !
Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear,

Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear ;
Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet,
And soft as their parting tear Jessy !



BEHAVIOUR.

BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON. 1

Grace, Beauty, and Caprice

Build this golden portal ;

Graceful women, chosen men

Dazzle every mortal:

Their sweet and lofty countenance

His enchanting food ;

He need not go to them, their forma

Beset his solitude.

He looketh seldom in their face,

His eyes explore the ground,

The green grass is a looking glass

Whereon their traits are found.

Little he says to them,

So dances his heart in his breast.

Their tranquil mien bereaveth him

Of wit, of words, of rest.

Too weak to win, too fond to shun

The tyrants of his doom.

The much deceived Endymion

Slips behind a tomb.

The soul which animates Nature is not less
significantly published in the figure, move-
ment, and gesture of animated bodies, than in
its last vehicle of articulate speech. This silent



1 See the Library, p. 211, vol. i. A reviewer in Slack-
vo'id snys, "A more independent and original thinker
can nowhere in this age be found."



328



BEHAVIOUR.



and subtile language is Manners; not what,
but how. Life expresses. A statue has no
tongue, and needs none. Good tableaux do
not need declamation. Nature tells every
secret once. Yes, but in man she tells it all
the time, by form, attitude, gesture, mien,
face, and pai'ts of the face, and by the whole
action of the machine. The visible carriage
or action of the individual, as resulting from
his organization and his will combined, we call



Online LibraryUnknownThe library of choice literature : poetry and prose selected from the most admired authors (Volume 4) → online text (page 63 of 75)