Infomotions, Inc.Jane Sinclair; Or, The Fawn Of Springvale The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two / Carleton, William, 1794-1869



Author: Carleton, William, 1794-1869
Title: Jane Sinclair; Or, The Fawn Of Springvale The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): agnes; jane; osborne; sinclair; papa; jane sinclair; charles osborne; william
Contributor(s): Flanery, M. L. [Illustrator]
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Title: Jane Sinclair; Or, The Fawn Of Springvale
       The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two

Author: William Carleton

Illustrator: M. L. Flanery

Release Date: June 7, 2005 [EBook #16005]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK JANE SINCLAIR ***




Produced by David Widger





JANE SINCLAIR;

OR, THE FAWN OF SPRINGVALE.


By William Carleton




PART I.


If there be one object in life that stirs the current of human feeling
more sadly than another, it is a young and lovely woman, whose intellect
has been blighted by the treachery of him on whose heart, as on a
shrine, she offered up the incense of her first affection. Such a being
not only draws around her our tenderest and most delicate sympathies,
but fills us with that mournful impression of early desolation,
resembling so much the spirit of melancholy romance that arises from
one of those sad and gloomy breezes which sweep unexpectedly over the
sleeping surface of a summer lake, or moans with a tone of wail and
sorrow through the green foliage of the wood under whose cooling shade
we sink into our noon-day dream. Madness is at all times a thing of
fearful mystery, but when it puts itself forth in a female gifted with
youth and beauty, the pathos it causes becomes too refined for the
grossness of ordinary sorrow--almost transcends our notion of the
real, and assumes that wild interest which invests it with the dim and
visionary light of the ideal. Such a malady constitutes the very romance
of affliction, and gives to the fair sufferer rather the appearance of
an angel fallen without guilt, than that of a being moulded for mortal
purposes. Who ever could look upon such a beautiful ruin without feeling
the heart sink, and the mind overshadowed with a solemn darkness, as
if conscious of witnessing the still and awful gloom of that disastrous
eclipse of reason, which, alas! is so often doomed never to pass away.

It is difficult to account for the mingled reverence, and terror, and
pity with which we look upon the insane, and it is equally strange that
in this case we approach the temple of the mind with deeper homage,
when we know that the divinity has passed out of it. It must be from a
conviction of this that uncivilized nations venerate deranged persons as
inspired, and in some instance go so far, I believe, as even to pay them
divine worship.

The principle, however, is in our nature: that for which our sympathy is
deep and unbroken never fails to secure our compassion and respect, and
ultimately to excite a still higher class of our moral feelings.

These preliminary observations were suggested to me by the fate of the
beautiful but unfortunate girl, the melancholy, events of whose life
I am about to communicate. I feel, indeed, that in relating them,
I undertake a task that would require a pen of unexampled power and
delicacy. But it is probable that if I remained silent upon a history
at once so true, and so full of sorrow; no other person equally intimate
with its incidents will ever give them to the world. I cannot presume
to detail unhappy Jane's, calamity with the pathos due to a woe so
singularly deep and delicate, or to describe that faithful attachment
which gave her once laughing and ruby lips the white smile of a maniac's
misery. This I cannot do; for who, alas, could ever hope to invest a
dispensation so dark as her's with that rich tone of poetic beauty which
threw its wild graces about her madness? For my part, I consider the
subject not only as difficult, but sacred, and approach it on both
accounts with devotion, and fear, and trembling. I need scarcely inform
the reader that the names and localities are, for obvious reasons,
fictitious, but I may be permitted to add that the incidents are
substantially correct and authentic.

Jane Sinclair was the third and youngest daughter of a dissenting
clergyman, in one of the most interesting counties in the north of
Ireland. Her father was remarkable for that cheerful simplicity of
character which is so frequently joined to a high order of intellect and
an affectionate warmth of heart. To a well-tempered zeal in the cause
of faith and morals, he added a practical habit of charity, both in word
and deed, such as endeared him to all classes, but especially to those
whose humble condition in life gave them the strongest claim upon his
virtues, both as a man and a pastor. Difficult, indeed, would it be to
find a minister of the gospel, whose practice and precept corresponded
with such beautiful fitness, nor one who, in the midst of his own
domestic circle, threw such calm lustre around him as a husband and
a father. A temper grave but sweet, wit playful and innocent, and
tenderness that kept his spirit benignant to error without any
compromise of duty, were the links which bound all hearts to him. Seldom
have I known a Christian clergyman who exhibited in his own life so much
of the unaffected character of apostolic holiness, nor one of whom
it might be said with so much truth, that "he walked in all the
commandments of the Lord blameless."

His family, which consisted of his wife, one son, and three daughters,
had, as might be expected, imbibed a deep sense of that religion, the
serene beauty of which shone so steadily along their father's path
of life. Mrs. Sinclair had been well educated, and in her husband's
conversation and society found further opportunity of improving, not
only her intellect, but her heart. Though respectably descended, she
could not claim relationship with what may be emphatically termed the
gentry of the country; but she could with that class so prevalent in the
north of Ireland, which ranks in birth only one grade beneath them. I
say in birth;--for in all the decencies of life, in the unostentatious
bounties of benevolence, in moral purity, domestic harmony, and a
conscientious observance of religion, both in the comeliness of
its forms, and the cheerful freedom of its spirit, this class ranks
immeasurably above every other which Irish society presents. They who
compose it are not sufficiently wealthy to relax those pursuits of
honorable industry which constitute them, as a people, the ornament of
our nation; nor does their good-sense and decent pride permit them to
follow the dictates of a mean ambition, by struggling to reach that
false elevation, which is as much beneath them in all the virtues
that grace life, as it is above them in the dazzling dissipation
which renders the violation or neglect of its best duties a matter of
fashionable etiquette, or the shameful privilege of high birth. To this
respectable and independent class did the immediate relations of Mrs.
Sinclair belong; and, as might be expected, she failed not to bring all
its virtues to her husband's heart and household--there to soothe him by
their influence, to draw fresh energy from their mutual intercourse, and
to shape the habits of their family into that perception of self-respect
and decent propriety, which in domestic duty, dress, and general
conduct, uniformly results from a fine sense of moral feeling, blended
with high religious principle. This, indeed, is the class whose example
has diffused that spirit of keen intelligence and enterprise throughout
the north which makes the name of an Ulster manufacturer or merchant a
synonym for integrity and honor. From it is derived the creditable love
of independence which operates upon the manners of the people and the
physical soil of the country so obviously, that the natural appearance
of the one may be considered as an appropriate exponent of the
moral condition of the other. Aided by the genius of a practical and
impressive creed, whose simple grandeur gives elevation and dignity
to its followers;--this class it is which, by affording employment,
counsel, and example to many of the lower classes, brings peace and
comfort to those who inhabit the white cottages and warm farmsteads
of the north, and lights up its cultivated landscapes, its broad
champaigns, and peaceful vales, into an aspect so smiling, that even
the very soil seems to proclaim and partake of the happiness of its
inhabitants. Indeed, few spots in the north could afford the spectator
a better opportunity of verifying our observations as to the mild
beauty of the country, than the residence of the amiable clergyman whose
unhappy child's fate has furnished us with the affecting circumstances
we are about to lay before the reader.

Springvale House, Mr. Sinclair's residence, was situated on an eminence
that commanded a full view of the sloping valley from which it had
its name. Along this vale, winding towards the house in a northern
direction, ran a beautiful tributary stream, accompanied for nearly two
miles in its progress by a small but well conducted road, which indeed
had rather the character of a green lane than a public way, being but
very little of a thoroughfare. Nothing could surpass this delightful
vale in the soft and serene character of its scenery. Its sides,
partially wooded, and cultivated with surpassing taste, were not so
precipitous as to render habitation in its bosom inconvenient. They
sloped up gradually and gracefully on each side, presenting to the eye
a number of snow-white residences, each standing upon the brow of
some white table or undulation, and surrounded by grounds sufficiently
spacious to allow of green lawns, ornamented plantations, and gardens,
together with a due proportion of land for cultivation and pasture. From
Mr. Sinclair's house the silver bends of this fine stream gave exquisite
peeps to the spectator as they wound out of the wood which here and
there clothed its banks, occasionally dipping into the water. On the
loft, attached to the glebe-house of the Protestant pastor of the
parish, the eye rested upon a pond as smooth as a mirror, except where
an occasional swan, as it floated onwards without any apparent effort,
left here and there a slight quivering ripple behind it. Farther down,
springing from between two clumps of trees, might be seen the span of a
light and elegant arch, from under which the river gently wound away to
the right; and beyond this, on the left, about a hundred yards from the
bank, rose up the slender spire of the parish church, out of the bosom
of the old beeches that overshadowed it, and threw a solemn gloom upon
the peaceful graveyard at its side. About two hundred yards again to
the right, in a little green shelving dell beneath the house, stood Mr.
Sinclair's modest white meeting-house, with a large ash tree hanging
over each gable, and a row of poplars behind it. The valley at the
opposite extremity opened upon a landscape bright and picturesque,
dotted with those white residences which give that peculiar character of
warmth and comfort for which the northern landscapes are so remarkable.
Indeed the eye could scarcely rest upon a richer expanse of country than
lay stretched out before it, nor can we omit to notice the singularly
unique and beautiful effect produced by the numerous bleach-greens that
shone at various degrees of distance, and contrasted so sweetly with the
surface of a land deeply and delightfully verdant.

In the far distance rose the sharp outlines of a lofty mountain, whose
green and sloping base melted into the "sun-silvered" expanse of
the sea, on the smooth bosom of which the eye could snatch brilliant
glimpses of the snow-white sails that sparkled at a distance as they
fell under the beams of the noonday sun. The landscape was indeed
beautiful in itself, but still rendered more so by the delicate aerial
tints which lay on every object, and touched the whole into a mellower
and more exquisite expression.

Such was the happy valley in which this peaceful family resided; each
and all enjoying that tranquility which sheds its calm contentment over
the unassuming spirits of those who are ignorant of the crimes that
flow from the selfishness and ambition of busy life. To them, the fresh
breezes of morning, as they rustled through the living foliage, and
stirred the modest flowers of their pleasant path, were fraught with an
enjoyment which bound their hearts to every object around them,
because to each of them these objects were the sources of habitual
gratification. On them the dewy stillness of evening descended with
tender serenity, as the valley shone in the radiance of the sinking sun;
and by them was held that sweet and rapturous communion with nature,
which, as it springs earliest in the affections so does it linger about
the heart when all the other loves and enmities of life are forgotten.
Who is there, indeed, whose spirit does not tremble with tenderness, on
looking back upon the scenes of his early life? And, alas! alas! how few
are there of those that are long conversant with the world, who can take
such a retrospect without feeling their hearts weighed down by sorrow,
and the force of associations too mournful to be uttered in words.
The bitter consciousness that we can be youthful no more, and that
the golden hours of our innocence have passed away for ever, throws a
melancholy darkness over the soul, and sends it back again to retrace,
in the imaginary light of our early time, the scenes where that
innocence had been our playmate. Let no man deny that groves, and
meadows, and green fields, and winding streams, and all the other charms
of rural imagery, unconsciously but surely give to the human heart a
deep perception of that graceful creed which is beautifully termed
the religion of nature. They give purity and strength to feeling,
and through the imagination, which owes so much of its power to their
impressions, they raise our sentiments until we feel them kindled into
union with the lustre of a holier light than even that which leads our
steps to God through the beauty of his own works. For this reason it is,
that all imaginative affections are much stronger in the country than in
the town. Love in the one place is not only freer from the coarseness
of passion, but incomparably more seductive to the heart, and more
voluptuous in its conception of the ideal beauty with which it invests
the object of its attachment. Nor is this surprising. In the country
its various associations are essentially impressive and poetical.
Moonlight--evening--the still glen--the river side--the flowery
hawthorn--the bower--the crystal well--not forgetting the melody of
the woodland songster--are all calculated, to make the heart and
fancy surrender themselves to the blandishments of a passion that is
surrounded by objects so sweetly linked to their earliest sympathies.
But this is not all. In rural life, neither the heart nor the eye is
distracted by the claims of rival beauty, when challenging, in the
various graces of many, that admiration which might be bestowed on one
alone, did not each successive impression efface that which went before
it. In the country, therefore, in spring meadows, among summer groves,
and beneath autumnal skies, most certainly does the passion of love sink
deepest into the human heart, and pass into the greatest extremes of
happiness or pain. Here is where it may be seen, cheek to cheek, now
in all the shivering ecstacies of intense rapture, or again moping
carelessly along, with pale brow and flashing eye, sometimes writhing
in the agony of undying attachment, or chanting its mad lay of hope and
love in a spirit of fearful happiness more affecting than either misery
or despair.

Everything was beautiful in the history of unhappy Jane Sinclair's
melancholy fate. The evening of the incident to which the fair girl's
misery might eventually be traced was one of the most calm and balmy
that could be witnessed even during the leafy month of June. With the
exception of Mrs. Sinclair, the whole family had gone out to saunter
leisurely by the river side; the father between his two eldest
daughters, and Jane, then sixteen, sometimes chatting to her brother
William, and sometimes fondling a white dove, which she had petted and
trained with such success that it was then amenable to almost every
light injunction she laid upon it. It sat upon her shoulder, which,
indeed, was its usual seat, would peck her cheek, cower as if with a
sense of happiness in her bosom, and put its bill to her lips, from
which it was usually fed, either to demand some sweet reward for its
obedience, or to express its attachment by a profusion of innocent
caresses. The evening, as we said, was fine; not a cloud could be seen,
except a pile of feathery flakes that hung far up at the western gate
of heaven; the stillness was profound; no breathing even of the gentlest
zephyr, could be felt; the river beside them, which was here pretty
deep, seemed motionless; not a leaf of the trees stirred; the very
aspens were still as if they had been marble; and the whole air was warm
and fragrant. Although the sun wanted an hour of setting, yet from the
bottom of the vale they could perceive the broad shafts of light which
shot from his mild disk through the snowy clouds we have mentioned, like
bars of lambent radiance, almost palpable to the touch. Yet, although
this delightful silence was so profound, the heart could perceive,
beneath its stillest depths, that voiceless harmony of progressing life,
which, like the music of a dream, can reach the soul independently of
the senses, and pour upon it a sublime sense of natural inspiration.

Something like this appears to have been felt by the group we have
alluded to. Mr. Sinclair, after standing for a moment on the bank of the
river, and raising his eyes to the solemn splendor of the declining sun,
looked earnestly around him, and then out upon the glowing landscape
that stretched beyond the valley, after which, with a spirit of
high-enthusiasm, he exclaimed, catching at the same time the fire and
grandeur of the poet's noble conception--

     These are thy glorious works. Parent of good!
     Almighty! thine this universal fame--
     Thus wondrous fair--thyself how wondrous then--
     To us invisible, or dimly seen
     In these thy lowest works.

There was something singularly impressive in the burst of piety which
the hour and the place drew from this venerable pastor, as indeed
there was in the whole group, as they listened in the attitude of deep
attention to his words. Mr. Sinclair was a tall, fine-looking old man,
whose white flowing locks fell down on each side of his neck. His
figure appeared to fine advantage, as, standing a little in front of his
children, he pointed with his raised arm to the setting sun; behind
him stood his two eldest girls, the countenance of one turned with an
expression of awe and admiration towards the west; that of the other
fixed with mingled reverence and affection on her father. William stood
near Jane, and looked out thoughtfully towards the sea, while Jane
herself, light, and young, and beautiful, stood with a hushed face, in
the act of giving a pat of gentle rebuke to the snow-white dove on her
bosom. At length they resumed their walk, and the conversation took a
lighter turn. The girls left their father's side, and strolled in many
directions through the meadow. Sometimes they pulled wild flowers,
if marked by more than ordinary beauty, or gathered the wild mint and
meadow-sweet to perfume their dairy, or culled the flowery woodbine to
shed its delicate fragrance through their sleeping-rooms. In fact, all
their habits and amusements were pastoral, and simple, and elegant. Jane
accompanied them as they strolled about, but was principally engaged
with her pet, which flew, in capricious but graceful circles over her
head, and occasionally shot off into the air, sweeping in mimic flight
behind a green knoll, or a clump of trees, completely out of her sight;
after which it would again return, and folding its snowy pinions, drop
affectionately upon her shoulder, or into her bosom. In this manner they
proceeded for some time, when the dove again sped off across the river,
the bank of which was wooded on the other side. Jane followed the
beautiful creature with a sparkling eye, and saw it wheeling to return,
when immediately the report of a gun was heard from the trees directly
beneath it, and the next moment it faltered in its flight, sunk, and
with feeble wing, struggled to reach the object of its affection. This,
however, was beyond its strength. After sinking gradually towards the
earth, it had power only to reach the middle of the river, into the
deepest part of which it fell, and there lay fluttering upon the stream.

The report of the gun, and the fate of the pigeon, brought the
personages of our little drama with hurrying steps to the edge of the
river. One scream of surprise and distress proceeded from the lips of
its fair young mistress, after which she wrung her hands, and wept and
sobbed like one in absolute despair.

"Oh, dear William," she exclaimed, "can you not rescue it? Oh, save
it--save it; if it sinks I will never see it more. Oh, papa, who could
be so cruel, so heartless, as to injure a creature so beautiful and
inoffensive?"

"I know not, my dear Jane; but cruel and heartless must the man be that
could perpetrate a piece of such wanton mischief. I should rather think
it is some idle boy who knows not that it is tame."

"William, dear William, can you not save it," she inquired again of her
brother; "if it is doomed to die, let it die with me; but, alas! now
it must sink, and I will never see it more;" and the affectionate girl
continued to weep bitterly.

"Indeed, my dear Jane, I never regretted my ignorance of swimming
so much as I do this moment. The truth is, I cannot swim a stroke,
otherwise I would save poor little Ariel for your sake."

"Don't take it so much to heart, my dear child," said her father; "it
is certainly a distressing incident, but, at the same time, your grief,
girl, is too excessive; it is violent, and you know it ought not to be
violent for the death of a favorite bird."

"Oh, papa, who can look upon its struggles for life, and not feel
deeply; remember it was mine, and think of its attachment to me. It
has not only the pain of its wound to suffer, but to struggle with an
element against which it feels a natural antipathy, and with which the
gentle creature is this moment contending for its life."

There was, indeed, something very painful and affecting in the situation
of the beautiful wounded dove. Even Mr. Sinclair himself, in witnessing
its unavailing struggles, felt as much; nor were the other two girls
unaffected any more than Jane herself. Their eyes became filled with
tears, and Maria, the eldest, said, "It is better, Jane, to return
home. Poor mute creature! the view of its sufferings is, indeed, very
painful."

Just then a tall, slender youth, apparently about eighteen, came out of
the trees on the other bank of the river but on seeing Mr. Sinclair and
his family, he paused, and appeared to feel somewhat embarrassed. It
was evident he had seen the bird wounded, and followed the course of
its flight, without suspecting that it was tame, or that there was
any person near to claim it. The distress of the females, however,
especially of its mistress, immediately satisfied him that it was
theirs, and he was about to withdraw into the wood again, when the
situation of poor Ariel caught his eye. He instantly took off his hat,
flung it across the river, and plunging in swam towards the dove, which
was now nearly exhausted. A few strokes brought him to the spot, on
reaching which, he caught the bird in one hand, held it above the water,
and, with the other, swam down towards a slope in the bank a few
yards below the spot where the party stood. Having gained the bank, he
approached them, but was met half way by Jane, whose eyes, now sparkling
through her tears, spoke her gratitude in language much more eloquent
than any her tongue could utter.

[Illustration: PAGE 5-- Having gained the bank, he approached them]

The youth first examined the bird, with a view to ascertain where it
had been wounded, and immediately placed it with much gentleness in the
eager hands of its mistress.

"It will not die, I should think, in consequence of the wound," he
observed, "which, though pretty severe, has left the wing unbroken. The
body, at all events, is safe. With care it may recover."

William then handed him his hat and Mr. Sinclair having thanked him for
an act of such humanity, insisted that he should go home with them, in
order to procure a change of apparel. At first he declined this offer,
but, after a little persuasion, he yielded with something of shyness
and hesitation: accordingly, without loss of time, they all reached the
house together.

Having, with some difficulty, been prevailed on to take a glass of
cordial, he immediately withdrew to William's apartment, for the purpose
of changing his dress. William, however, now observed that he got pale,
and that in a few minutes afterwards his teeth began to chatter, whilst
he shivered excessively.

"You had better lose no time in putting these dry clothes on," said he;
"I am rather inclined to think bathing does not agree with you, that is,
if I am to judge by your present paleness and trembling."

"No," said the youth, "it is a pleasure which, for the last two years, I
have been forbidden. I feel very chilly, indeed, and you will excuse me
for declining the use of your clothes. I must return home forthwith."

Young Sinclair, however, would not hear of this. After considerable
pains he prevailed on him to change his dress, but no argument could
induce him to stop a moment longer than until this was effected.

The family, on his entering the drawing-room to take his leave, were
surprised at a determination so sudden and unexpected, but when Mr.
Sinclair noticed his extreme paleness, he suspected that he had got ill,
and that it might not be delicate to press him.

"Before you leave us," said the good clergyman, "will you not permit us
to know the name of the young gentleman to whom my daughter is indebted
for the rescue of her dove?"

"We are as yet but strangers in the neighborhood," replied the youth:
"my father's name is Osborne. We have not been more than three days in
Mr. Williams's residence, which, together with the whole of the property
annexed to it, my father has purchased."

"I am aware, I am aware: then you will be a permanent neighbor of ours,"
said Mr. Sinclair; "and believe me, my dear boy, we shall always be
happy to see you at Springvale; nor shall we soon forget the generous
act which first brought us acquainted."

Whilst this short dialogue lasted, two or three shy sidelong glances
passed between him and Jane. So extremely modest was the young man that,
from an apprehension lest these glances might have been noticed, his
pale face became lit up with a faint blush, in which state of confusion
he took his leave.

Conversation was not resumed among the Sinclairs for some minutes after
his departure, each, in fact, having been engaged in reflecting upon the
surpassing beauty of his face, and the uncommon symmetry of his slender
but elegant person. Their impression, indeed, was rather that of wonder
than of mere admiration. The tall youth who had just left them seemed,
in fact, an incarnation of the beautiful itself--a visionary creation,
in which was embodied the ideal spirit of youth, intellect, and grace.
His face shone with that rosy light of life's prime which only glows on
the human countenance during the brief period that intervenes between
the years of the thoughtless boy and those of the confirmed man: and
whilst his white brow beamed with intellect, it was easy to perceive
that the fire of deep feeling and high-wrought enthusiasm broke out in
timid flashes from his dark eye. His modesty, too, by tempering the
full lustre of his beauty, gave to it a character of that graceful
diffidence, which above all others makes the deepest impression upon a
female heart.

"Well, I do think," said William Sinclair, "that young Osborne is
decidedly the finest boy I ever saw--the most perfect in beauty and
figure--and yet we have not seen him to advantage."

"I think, although I regretted to see him so, that he looked better
after he got pale," said Maria; "his features, though colorless, were
cut like marble."

"I hope his health may not be injured by what has occurred," observed
the second; "he appeared ill."

"That, Agnes, is more to the point," said Mr. Sinclair; "I fear the boy
is by no means well; and I am apprehensive, from the deep carnation of
his cheek, and his subsequent paleness, that he carries within him the
seeds of early dissolution. He is too delicate, almost too etherial for
earth."

"If he becomes an angel," said William, smiling, "with a very slight
change, he will put some of them out of countenance."

"William," said the father, "never, while you live attempt to be witty
at the expense of what is sacred or solemn; such jests harden the heart
of him who utters them, and sink his character, not only as a Christian,
but as a gentleman."

"I beg your pardon, father---I was wrong--but I spoke heedlessly."

"I know you did, Billy; but in future avoid it. Well, Jane, how is your
bird?"

"I think it is better, papa; but one can form no opinion so soon."

"Go, show it to your mamma--she is the best doctor among us--follow her
advice, and no doubt she will add its cure to the other triumphs of her
skill."

"Jane is fretting too much about it," observed Agnes; "why, Jane, you
are just now as pale as young Osborne himself."

This observation turned the eyes of the family upon her; but scarcely
had her sister uttered the words when the young creature's countenance
became the color of crimson, so deeply, and with such evident confusion
did she blush. Indeed she felt conscious of this, for she rose, with
the wounded dove lying gently between her hands and bosom, and passed,
without speaking, out of the room.

"Don't you think, papa," observed Miss Sinclair, "that there is a
striking resemblance between young Osborne and Jane? I could not help
remarking it."

"There decidedly is, Maria, now that you mentioned it," said William.

The father paused a little, as if to consider the matter, and then added
with a smile--

"It is very singular, Mary; but indeed I think there is--both in the
style of their features and their figure."

"Osborne is too handsome for a man," observed Agnes; "yet, after all,
one can hardly say so, his face, though fine, is not feminine."

"Beauty, my children!--alas, what is it? Often--too often, a fearful,
a fatal gift. It is born with us, and not of our own merit; yet we are
vain enough to be proud of it. It is at best a flower that soon fades--a
light that soon passes away. Oh! what is it when contrasted with those
high principles whose beauty is immortal, which brighten by age, and
know neither change nor decay. There is Jane--my poor child--she is
indeed very beautiful and graceful, yet I often fear that her beauty,
joined as it is to an over-wrought sensibility, may, before her life
closes, occasion much sorrow either to herself or others."

"She is all affection," said William.

"She is all love, all tenderness, all goodness; and may the grace of her
Almighty Father keep her from the wail and woe which too often accompany
the path of beauty in this life of vicissitude and trial."

A tear of affection for his beautiful child stood in the old man's eyes
as he raised them to heaven, and the loving hearts of his family burned
with tenderness towards this their youngest and best beloved sister.

The sun had now gone down, and, after a short pause, the old man desired
William to summon the other members of the household in to prayers.
The evening worship being concluded, the youngsters walked in the lawn
before the door until darkness began to set in, after which they retired
to their respective apartments for the night.

Sweet and light be your slumbers, O ye that are peaceful and good--sweet
be your slumbers on this night so calm and beautiful; for, alas, there
is one among you into whose I innocent bosom has stolen that destroying
spirit which will yet pale her fair cheek, and wring many a bitter
tear from the eyes that love to look upon her. Her early sorrows
have commenced this night, and for what mysterious purpose who can
divine?--but, alas, alas, her fate is sealed--the fawn of Springvale
is stricken, and even now carries in her young heart a wound that will
never close.

Osborne's father, who had succeeded to an estate of one thousand
per annum, was the eldest son of a gentleman whose habits were
badly calculated to improve the remnant of property which ancestral
extravagance had left him.

Ere many years the fragment which came into his possession dwindled into
a fraction of its former value, and he found himself With a wife and
four children--two sons and two daughters--struggling on a pittance of
two hundred a year. This, to a man possessing the feelings and education
of a gentleman, amounted to something like retributive justice upon his
prodigality. His conflict with poverty, however, (for to him it might
be termed such,) was fortunately not of long duration. A younger brother
who, finding that he must fight his own battle in life, had embraced
the profession of medicine, very seasonably died, and Osborne's father
succeeded to a sum of twelve thousand pounds in the funds, and an income
in landed property of seven hundred per annum. He now felt himself more
independent than he had ever been, and with this advantage, that his
bitter experience of a heartless world had completely cured him of
all tendency to extravagance. And now he would have enjoyed as much
happiness as is the usual lot of man, were it not that the shadow of
death fell upon his house, and cast its cold blight upon his children.
Ere three years had elapsed he saw his eldest daughter fade out of life,
and in less than two more his eldest son was laid beside her in the
same grave. Decline, the poetry of death, in its deadly beauty came
upon them, and whilst it sang its song of life and hope to their hearts,
treacherously withdrew them to darkness and the worm.

Osborne's feelings were those of thoughtlessness and extravagance; but
he had never been either a libertine or a profligate, although the world
forbore not, when it found him humbled in his poverty, to bring such
charges against him. In truth, he was full of kindness, and no parent
ever loved his children with deeper or more devoted affection. The death
of his noble son and beautiful girl brought down his spirit to the
most mournful depths of affliction. Still he had two left, and, as
it happened, the most beautiful, and more than equally possessed his
affections. To them was gradually transferred that melancholy love which
the heart of the sorrowing father had carried into the grave of the
departed; and alas, it appeared as if it had come back to those who
lived loaded with the malady of the dead. The health of the surviving
boy became delicate, and by the advice of his physician, who pronounced
the air in which they lived unfavorable,--Osborne, on hearing that Mr.
Williams, a distant relation, was about to dispose of his house and
grounds, immediately became the purchaser. The situation, which had
a southern aspect, was dry and healthy, the air pure and genial, and,
according to the best medical opinions, highly beneficial to persons of
a consumptive habit.

For two years before this--that is since his brother's death--the health
of young Osborne had been watched with all the tender vigilance of
affection. A regimen in diet, study and exercise, had been prescribed
for him by his physician; the regulations of which he was by no means to
transgress.

In fact his parents lived under a sleepless dread of losing him which
kept their hearts expanded with that inexpressible and burning
love which none but a parent so circumstanced can ever feel. Alas!
notwithstanding the promise of life which early years usually hold
out, there was much to justify them in this their sad and gloomy
apprehension. Woeful was the uncertainty which they felt in
discriminating between the natural bloom of youth and the beauty of that
fatal malady which they dreaded. His tall slender frame, his transparent
cheek, so touching, so unearthly in the fairness of its expression; the
delicacy of his whole organization, both mental and physical--all, all,
with the terror of decline in their hearts, spoke as much of despair as
of hope, and placed the life and death of their beloved boy in an equal
poise.

But, independently of his extraordinary personal advantages, all his
dispositions were so gentle and affectionate, that it was not I in
human nature to entertain harsh feeling toward him. Although modest and
shrinking, even to diffidence, he possessed a mind full of intellect and
enthusiasm: his imagination, too, overflowed with creative power, and
sought the dreamy solitudes of noon, that it might, far from the bustle
of life, shadow forth those images of beauty which come thickly only
upon those whose hearts are most susceptible of its forms. Many a time
has he sat alone upon the brow of a rock or hill, watching the clouds
of heaven, or gazing on the setting sun, or communing with the thousand
aspects of nature in a thousand moods, his young spirit relaxed into
that elysian reverie which, beyond all other kinds of intellectual
enjoyment, is the most seductive to a youth of poetic temperament.

There were, indeed, in Osborne's case, too many of those light and
scarcely perceptible tokens which might be traced, if not to a habit of
decline, at least to a more than ordinary delicacy of constitution.
The short cough, produced by the slightest damp, or the least breath of
ungenial air--the varying cheek, now rich as purple, and again pale as a
star of heaven--the unsteady pulse, and the nervous sense of uneasiness
without a cause--all these might be symptoms of incipient decay, or
proofs of those fine impulses which are generally associated with quick
sensibility and genius. Still they existed; at one time oppressing the
hearts of his parents with fear, and again exalting them with pride. The
boy was consequently enjoined to avoid all violent exercise, to keep out
of Currents, while heated to drink nothing cold, and above all things
never to indulge in the amusement of cold bathing.

Such were the circumstances under which Osbome first appeared to the
reader, who may now understand the extent of his alarm on feeling
himself so suddenly and seriously affected by his generosity in rescuing
the wounded dove. His mere illness on this occasion was a matter of much
less anxiety to himself than the alarm which he knew it would occasion
his parents and sister. On his reaching home he mentioned the incident
which occurred, admitted that he had been rather warm on going into the
water, and immediately went to bed. Medical aid was forthwith procured,
and although the physician assured them that there appeared nothing
serious in his immediate state, yet was his father's house a house of
wail and sorrow.

The next day the Sinclairs, having heard in reply to their inquiries
through the servant who had been sent home with his apparel, that he was
ill, the worthy clergyman lost no time in paying his parents a visit
on the occasion. In this he expressed his regret, and that also of his
whole family, that any circumstance relating to them should have been
the means, even accidentally, of affecting the young gentleman's health.
It was not, however, until he dwelt upon the occurrence in terms of
approbation, and placed the boy's conduct in a generous light, that he
was enabled to appreciate the depth and tenderness of their affection
for him. The mother's tears flowed in silence on hearing this fresh
proof of his amiable spirit, and the father, with a foreboding heart,
related to Mr. Sinclair the substance of that which we have detailed to
the reader.

Such was the incident which brought these two families acquainted, and
ultimately ripened their intimacy into friendship.

Much sympathy was felt for young Osborne by the other members of
Mr. Sinclair's household, especially as his modest and unobtrusive
deportment, joined to his extraordinary beauty, had made so singularly
favorable an impression upon them. Is or was the history of that
insidious malady, which had already been so fatal to his sister and
brother, calculated to lessen the interest which his first appearance
had excited. There was one young heart among them which sank, as if the
Weight of death had come over it, on hearing this melancholy account
of him whose image was now for ever the star of her fate, whether for
happiness or sorrow. From the moment their eyes had met in those few
shrinking but flashing glances by which the spirit of love conveys its
own secret, she felt the first painful transports of the new affection,
and retired to solitude with the arrow that struck her so deeply yet
quivering in her bosom.

The case of our fair girl differed widely from that of many young
persons, in whose heart the passion of love lurks unknown for a time,
throwing its roseate shadows of delight and melancholy over their peace,
whilst they themselves feel unable in the beginning to develop those
strange sensations which take away from their pillows the unbroken
slumber of early life.

Jane from the moment her eyes rested on Osborne felt and was conscious
of feeling the influence of a youth so transcendently fascinating. Her
love broke not forth gradually like the trembling light that brightens
into the purple flush of morning; neither was it fated to sink calm and
untroubled like the crimson tints that die only when the veil of night,
like the darkness of death, wraps them in its shadow. Alas no, it sprung
from her heart in all the noontide strength of maturity--a full-grown
passion, incapable of self-restraint, and conscious only of the wild
and novel delight arising from its own indulgence. Night and day that
graceful form hovered before her, encircled in the halo of her young
imagination, with a lustre that sparkled beyond the light of human
beauty. We know that the eye when it looks steadily upon a cloudless
sun, is incapable for some time afterwards of seeing any other object
distinctly; and that in whatever direction it turns that bright image
floats incessantly before it--nor will be removed even although the eye
itself is closed against its radiance. So was it with Jane. Asleep or
awake, in society or in solitude, the vision with which her soul held
communion never for a moment withdrew from before her, until at length
her very heart became sick, and her fancy entranced, by the excess of
her youthful and unrestrained attachment. She could not despair, she
could scarcely doubt; for on thinking of the blushing glances so rapidly
stolen at herself, and of the dark brilliant eye from whence they came,
she knew that the soul of him she loved spoke to her in a language that
was mutually understood. These impressions, it is true, were felt in
her moments of ecstacy, but then came, notwithstanding this confidence,
other moments when maidenly timidity took the crown of rejoicing off her
head, and darkened her youthful brow with that uncertainty, which, while
it depresses hope, renders the object that is loved a thousand times
dearer to the heart.

To others, at the present stage of her affection, she appeared more
silent than usual, and evidently fond of solitude, a trait which they
had not observed in her before. But these were slight symptoms of what
she felt; for alas, the day was soon to come that was to overshadow
their hearts forever--never, never more were they and she, in the light
of their own innocence, to sing like the morning stars together, or to
lay their untroubled heads in the slumbers of the happy.

More than a month had now elapsed since the first appearance of Osborne
as one of the _dramatis personae_ of our narrative. A slight fever,
attended with less effect upon the lungs than his parents anticipated,
had passed off, and he was once more able to go abroad and take exercise
in the open air. The two families were now in the habit of visiting each
other almost daily; and what tended more and more to draw closer the
bonds of good feeling between them, was the fact of the Osbornes being
members of the same creed, and attendants at Mr. Sinclair's place of
worship. Jane, while Charles Osborne was yet ill, had felt a childish
diminution of her affection for her convalescent dove, whilst at the
same time something whispered to her that it possessed a stronger
interest in her heart than it had ever done before. This may seem a
paradox to such of our readers as have never been in love; but it is not
at all irreconcilable to the analogous and often conflicting states of
feeling produced by that strange and mysterious passion. The innocent
girl was wont, as frequently as she could without exciting notice, to
steal away to the garden, or the fields, or the river side, accompanied
by her mute, companion, to which with pouting caresses she would address
a series of rebukes of having been the means of occasioning the illness
of him she loved.

"Alas, Ariel, little do you know, sweet bird, what anxiety you have
caused your mistress--if he dies I shall never love you more? Yes, coo,
and flutter--but I do not care for you; no, that kiss won't satisfy me
until he is recovered--then I shall be friends with you, and you shall
be my own Ariel again."

She would then pat it petulantly; and the beautiful creature would sink
its head, and slightly expand its wings, as if conscious that there was
a change of mood in her affection.

But again the innocent remorse of her girlish heart would flow forth in
terms of tenderness and endearment; again would I she pat and cherish
it; and with the artless I caprice of childhood exclaim--

"No, my own Ariel, the fault was not yours; come, I shall love you--and
I will not be angry again; even if you were not good I would love you
for his sake. You are now dearer to me a thousand times than you ever
were; but alas! Ariel, I am sick, I am sick, and no longer happy. Where
is my lightness of heart, my sweet bird, and where, oh where is the joy
I used to feel?"

Even this admission, which in the midst of solitude could reach no other
human ear, would startle the bashful creature into alarm; and whilst her
cheek became alternately pale and crimson at such an avowal thus uttered
aloud, she would wipe away the tears that arose to her eyes whenever the
depths of her affection were stirred by those pensive broodings which
gave its sweetest charm to youthful love.

In thus seeking solitude, it is not to be imagined that our young
heroine was drawn thither by a love of contemplating nature in those
fresher aspects which present themselves in the stillness of her remote
recesses. She sought not for their own sakes the shades of the grove,
the murmuring cascade, nor the voice of the hidden rivulet that
occasionally stole out from its leafy cover, and ran in music towards
the ampler stream of the valley.

No, no; over her heart and eye the spirit of their beauty passed idly
and unfelt. All of external life that she had been wont to love and
admire gave her pleasure no more. The natural arbors of woodbine, the
fairy dells, and the wild flowers that peeped in unknown sweetness about
the hedges, the fairy fingers, the blue-bells, the cow-slips, with many
others of her fragrant and graceful favorites, all, all, charmed her,
alas, no more. Nor at home, where every voice was tenderness, and every
word affection, did there exist in her stricken heart that buoyant sense
of enjoyment which had made her youth like the music of a brook, where
every thing that broke the smoothness of its current only turned it
into melody. The morning and evening prayer--the hymn of her sister
voices--their simple spirit of tranquil devotion--and the touching
solemnity of her father, worshipping God upon the altar of his own
heart--all, all this, alas--alas, charmed her no more. Oh, no--no;
many motives conspired to send her into solitude, that she might in the
sanctity of unreproving nature cherish her affection for the youth whose
image was ever, ever before her. At home such was the timid delicacy of
her love, that she felt as if its indulgence even in the stillest depths
of her own heart, was disturbed by the conversation of her kindred, and
the familiar habits of domestic life. Her father's, her brother's, and
her sisters' voices, produced in her a feeling of latent shame, which,
when she supposed for a moment that they could guess her attachment,
filled her with anxiety and confusion. She experienced besides a sense
of uneasiness on reflecting that she practiced, for the first time in
their presence, a dissimulation so much at variance with the opinion she
knew they entertained of her habitual candor. It was, in fact, the first
secret she had ever concealed from them; and now the suppression of it
in her own bosom made her feel as if she had withdrawn that confidence
which was due to the love they bore her. This was what kept her so much
in her own room, or sent her abroad to avoid all that had a tendency
to repress the indulgence of an attachment that had left in her heart a
capacity for no other enjoyment. But in solitude she was far from every
thing that could disturb those dreams in which the tranquility of nature
never failed to entrance her. There was where the mysterious spirit
that raises the soul above the impulses of animal life, mingled with
her being--and poured upon her affection the elemental purity of that
original love which in the beginning preceded human guilt.

It is, indeed, far from the contamination of society--in the stillness
of solitude when the sentiment of love comes abroad before its passion,
that the heart can be said to realize the object of its devotion, and to
forget that its indulgence can ever be associated with error. This is,
truly, the angelic love of youth and innocence; and such was the nature
of that which the beautiful girl felt. Indeed, her clay was so divinely
tempered, that the veil which covered her pure and ethereal spirit,
almost permitted the light within to be visible, and exhibited the
workings of a soul that struggled to reach the object whose communion
with itself seemed to constitute the sole end of its existence.

The evening on which Jane and Charles Osborne met for the first time,
unaccompanied by their friends, was one of those to which the power of
neither pen nor pencil can do justice. The sun was slowly sinking among
a pile of those soft crimson clouds, behind which fancy is so apt to
picture to itself the regions of calm delight that are inhabited by the
happy spirits of the blest; the sycamore and hawthorn were yet musical
with the hum of bees, busy in securing their evening burthen for the
hive. Myriads of winged insects were sporting in the sunbeams; the
melancholy plaint of the ringdove came out sweetly from the trees,
mingled with the songs of other birds, and the still sweeter voice of
some happy groups of children at play in the distance. The light of the
hour, in its subdued but golden tone, fell with singular clearness upon
all nature, giving to it that tranquil beauty which makes every thing
the eye rests upon glide with quiet rapture into the heart. The moth
butterflies were fluttering over the meadows, and from the low stretches
of softer green rose the thickly-growing grass-stalks, laying their
slender ear's bent with the mellow burthen of wild honey--the ambrosial
feast for the lips of innocence and childhood. It was, indeed, an
evening when love would bring forth its sweetest memories, and dream
itself into those ecstacies of tenderness that flow from the mingled
sensations of sadness and delight.

It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to see on this earth a young
creature, whose youth and beauty, and slender grace of person gave her
more the appearance of some visionary spirit, too exquisitely ideal for
human life. Indeed, she seemed to be tinted with the hues of heaven, and
never did a mortal being exist in such fine and harmonious keeping with
the scene in which she moved. So light and sylph-like was her figure,
though tall, that the eye almost feared she would dissolve from before
it, and leave nothing to gaze at but the earth on which she trod. Yet
was there still apparent in her something that preserved, with singular
power, the delightful reality that she was of humanity, and subject to
all those softer influences that breathe their music so sweetly over the
chords of the human heart. The delicate bloom of her cheek, shaded
away as it was, until it melted into the light that sparkled from her
complexion--the snowy forehead, the flashing eye, in which sat the very
soul of love--the lips, blushing of sweets--her whole person breathing
the warmth of youth, and feeling, and so characteristic in the easiness
of its motions of that gracile flexibility that has never been known
to exist separate from the power of receiving varied and profound
emotions--all this told the spectator, too truly, that the lovely being
before him was not of another sphere, but one of the most delightful
that ever appeared in this.

But hush!--here is a strain of music! Oh! what lips breathed forth that
gush of touching melody which flows in such linked sweetness from the
flute of an unseen performer? How soft, how gentle, but oh, how very
mournful are the notes! Alas! they are steeped in sorrow, and melt away
in the plaintive cadences of despair, until they mingle with silence.
Surely, surely, they come from one whose heart has been brought low by
the ruined hopes of an unrequited passion. Yes, fair girl, thou at least
dost so interpret them; but why this sympathy in one so young? Why is
thy bright eye dewy with tears for the imaginary sorrows of another?
And again--but ha!--why that flash of delight and terror?--that sudden
suffusion of red over thy face and neck--and even now, that paleness
like death! Thy heart, thy heart--why does it throb, and why do thy
knees totter? Alas! it is even so; the Endymion of thy dreams, as
beautiful as even thou thyself in thy purple dawn of womanhood,--he
from whom thou now shrinkest, yet whom thou dreadest not to meet, is
approaching, and bears in his beauty the charm that will darken thy
destiny.

The appearance of Osborne, unaccompanied, taught this young creature
to know the full extent of his influence over her. Delight, terror, and
utter confusion of thought and feeling, seized upon her the moment he
became visible. She wished herself at home, but had not power to go;
she blushed, she trembled, and, in the tumult of the moment, lost all
presence of mind and self-possession. He had come from behind a hedge,
on the path-way along which she walked, and was consequently approaching
her, so that it was evident they must meet. On seeing her he ceased to
play, paused a moment, and were it not that it might appear cold, and
rather remarkable, he, too, would have retraced his steps homewards. In
truth, both felt equally confused and equally agitated, for, although
such an interview had been, for some time previously, the dearest wish
of their hearts, yet would they both almost have felt relieved, had they
had an opportunity of then escaping it. Their first words were uttered
in a low, hesitating voice, amid pauses occasioned by the necessity
of collecting their scattered thoughts, and with countenances deeply
blushing from a consciousness of what they felt. Osborne turned back,
mechanically, and accompanied her in her walk. After this there was
a silence for some time, for neither had courage to renew the
conversation. At length Osborne, in a faltering voice addressed her:

"Your dove," said he, "is quite recovered, I presume."

"Oh, yes," she replied, "it is perfectly well again."

"It is an exceedingly beautiful bird, and remarkably docile."

"I have had little difficulty in training it," she returned, and then
added, very timidly, "it is also very affectionate."

The youth's eyes sparkled, as if he were about to indulge in some
observation suggested by her reply, but, fearing to give it expression,
he paused again; in a few minutes, however, he added--

"I think there is nothing that gives one so perfect an idea of purity
and innocence as a snow-white dove, unless I except a young and
beautiful girl, such as--"

He glanced at her as he spoke, and their eyes met, but in less than a
moment they were withdrawn, and cast upon the earth.

"And of meekness and holiness too," she observed, after a little.

"True; but perhaps I ought to make another exception," he added,
alluding to the term by which she herself was then generally known. As
he spoke, his voice expressed considerable hesitation.

"Another exception," she answered, inquiringly, "it would be difficult,
I think, to find any other emblem of innocence so appropriate as a
dove."

"Is not a Fawn still more so," he replied, "it is so gentle and meek,
and its motions are so full of grace and timidity, and beauty. Indeed
I do not wonder, when an individual of your sex resembles it in the
qualities I have mentioned, that the name is sometimes applied to her."

The tell-tale cheek of the girl blushed a recognition of the compliment
implied in the words, and after a short silence, she said, in a tone
that was any thing but indifferent, and with a view of changing the
conversation--

"I hope you are quite recovered from your illness."

"With the exception of a very slight cough, I am," he replied.

"I think," she observed, "that you look somewhat paler than you did."

"That paleness does not proceed from indisposition, but from a far
different"--he paused again, and looked evidently abashed. In the course
of a minute, however, he added, "yes, I know I am pale, but not because
I am unwell, for my health is nearly, if not altogether, restored, but
because I am unhappy."

"Strange," said Jane, "to see one unhappy at your years."

"I think I know my own character and disposition well," he replied; "my
temperament is naturally a melancholy one; the frame of my mind is
like that of my body, very delicate, and capable of being affected by a
thousand slight influences which pass over hearts of a stronger mould,
without ever being felt. Life to me, I know, will be productive of much
pain, and much enjoyment, while its tenure lasts, but that, indeed,
will not be long. My sands are measured, for I feel a presentiment, a
mournful and prophetic impression, that I am doomed to go down into an
early grave."

The tone of passionate enthusiasm which pervaded these words, uttered
as they were in a voice wherein pathos and melody were equally blended,
appeared to be almost too much for a creature whose sympathy in all
his moods and feelings was then so deep and congenial. She felt some
difficulty in repressing her tears, and said, in a voice which no effort
could keep firm.

"You ought not to indulge in those gloomy forebodings; you should
struggle against them, otherwise they will distress your mind, and
injure your health."

"Oh, you do not know," he proceeded, his eyes sparkling with that
light which is so often the beacon of death--"you do not know the
fatal fascination by which a mind, set to the sorrows of a melancholy
temperament, is charmed out of its strength. But no matter how dark may
be my dreams--there is one light for ever upon them--one image ever,
ever before me--one figure of grace and beauty--oh, how could I deny
myself the contemplation of a vision that pours into my soul a portion
of itself, and effaces: every other object but an entrancing sense of
its own presence. I cannot, I cannot--it bears me away into a happiness
that is full of sadness--where I indulge alone, without knowing why, in
my feast of tears'--happy! happy! so I think, and so I feel; yet why
is my heart sunk, and why are all my visions filled with death and the
grave?"

"Oh, do not talk so frequently of death," replied the beautiful girl,
"surely you need not fear it for a long while. This morbid tone of mind
will pass away when you grow into better health and strength."

"Is not this hour calm?" said he, flashing his dark eyes full upon her,
"see how beautiful the sun sinks in the west;--alas! so I should wish to
die--as calm, and the moral lustre of my life as radiant."

"And so you shall," said Jane, in a voice full of that delightful spirit
of consolation which, proceeding from such lips, breathes the most
affecting power of sympathy, "so you shall, but like him, not until
after the close of a long and well-spent life."

"That--that," said he, "was only a passing thought. Yes, the hour is
calm, but even in such stillness, do you not observe that the aspen
there to our left, this moment quivers to the breezes which we
cannot feel, and by which not a leaf of any other tree about us is
stirred--such I know myself to be, an aspen among men, stirred into
joy or sorrow, whilst the hearts of others are at rest. Oh, how can my
foretaste of life be either bright or cheerful, for when I am capable of
being moved by the very breathings of passion, what must I not feel
in the blast, and in the storm--even now, even now!"--The boy, here
overcome by the force of his own melancholy enthusiasm, paused abruptly,
and Jane, after several attempts to speak, at last said, in a voice
scarcely audible--

"Is not hope always better than despair?"

Osborne instantly fixed his eyes upon her, and saw, that although her's
were bent upon the earth, her face had become overspread with a deep
blush. While he looked she raised them, but after a single glance, at
once quick and timid, she withdrew them again, a still deeper blush
mantling on her cheek. He now felt a sudden thrill of rapture fall upon
his heart, and rush, almost like a suffocating sensation, to his throat;
his being became for a moment raised to an ecstacy too intense for the
power of description to portray, and, were it not for the fear which
ever accompanies the disclosure of first and youthful love, the tears of
exulting delight would have streamed down his cheeks.

Both had reached a little fairy dell of vivid green, concealed by trees
on every side, and in the middle of which rose a large yew, around whose
trunk had been built a seat of natural turf whereon those who strolled
about the ground might rest, when heated or fatigued by exercise or the
sun. Here the girl sat down.

A change had now come over both. The gloom of the boy's temperament was
gone, and his spirit caught its mood from that of his companion. Each at
the moment breathed the low, anxious, and tender timidity of love, in
it purest character. The souls of both vibrated to each other, and felt
depressed with that sweetest emotion which derives all its power from
the consciousness that its participation is mutual. Osborne spoke low,
and his voice trembled; the girl was silent, but her bosom panted, and
her frame shook from head to foot. At length, Osborne spoke.

"I sometimes sit here alone, and amuse myself with my flute; but of
late--of late--I can hear no music that is not melancholy."

"I, too, prefer mournful--mournful music," replied Jane. "That was a
beautiful air you played just now."

Osborne put the flute to his lips, and commenced playing over again the
air she had praised; but, on glancing at the fair girl, he perceived
her eyes fixed upon him with a look of such deep and devoted passion as
utterly overcame him. Her eyes, as before, were immediately withdrawn,
but there dwelt again upon her burning cheek such a consciousness of her
love as could not, for a moment, be mistaken. In fact she betrayed all
the confused symptoms of one who felt that the state of her heart had
been discovered. Osborne ceased playing; for such was his agitation that
he scarcely knew what he thought or did.

"I cannot go on," said he in a voice which equally betrayed the state
of his heart; "I cannot play;" and at the same time he seated himself
beside her.

Jane rose as he spoke, and in a broken voice, full of an expression like
distress, said hastily:

"It is time I should go;--I am,--I am too long out."

Osborne caught her hand, and in words that burned with the deep and
melting contagion of his passion, said simply:

"Do not go:--oh do not yet go!"

She looked full upon him, and perceived that as he spoke his face became
deadly pale, as if her words were to seal his happiness or misery.

"Oh do not leave me now," he pleaded; "do not go, and my life may yet be
happy."

"I must," she replied, with great difficulty; "I cannot stay; I do not
wish you to be unhappy;" and whilst saying this, the tears that ran in
silence down her cheeks proved too clearly how dear his happiness must
ever be to her.

Osborne's arm glided round her waist, and she resumed her seat,--or
rather tottered into it.

"You are in tears," he exclaimed. "Oh could it be true! Is it not, my
beloved girl? It is--it is--love! Oh surely, surely it must--it must!"

She sobbed aloud once or twice; and, as he kissed her unresisting lips,
she murmured out, "It is; it is; I love you."

Oh life! how dark and unfathomable are thy mysteries! And why is it that
thou permittest the course of true love, like this, so seldom to run
smooth, when so many who, uniting through the impulse of sordid passion,
sink into a state of obtuse indifference, over which the lights and
shadows that touch thee into thy finest perceptions of enjoyment pass in
vain.

It is a singular fact, but no less true than singular, that since the
world began there never was known any instance of an anxiety, on the
part of youthful lovers, to prolong to an immoderate extent the scene
in which the first mutual avowal of their passions takes place. The
excitement is too profound, and the waste of those delicate spirits,
which are expended in such interviews, is much too great to permit the
soul to bear such an excess of happiness long. Independently of this,
there is associated with it an ultimate enjoyment, for which the lovers
immediately fly to solitude; there, in the certainty of waking bliss, to
think over and over again of all that has occurred between them, and to
luxuriate in the conviction, that at length the heart has not another
wish, but sinks into the solitary charm which expands it with such a
sense of rapturous and exulting delight.

The interview between our lovers was, consequently, not long. The secret
of their hearts being now known, each felt anxious to retire, and to
look with a miser's ecstacy upon the delicious hoard which the scene
we have just described had created. Jane did not reach home until the
evening devotions of the family were over, and this was the first time
she had ever, to their knowledge, been absent from them before. Borne
away by the force of what had just occurred, she was proceeding up to
her own room, after reaching home, when Mr. Sinclair, who had remarked
her absence, desired that she be called into the drawing-room.

"It is the first neglect," he observed, "of a necessary duty, and it
would be wrong in me to let it pass without at least pointing it out
to the dear child as an error, and knowing from her own lips why it has
happened."

Terror and alarm, like what might be supposed to arise from the
detection of secret guilt, seized upon the young creature so violently
that she had hardly strength to enter the drawing-room without support:
her face became the image of death, and her whole frame tottered and
trembled visibly.

"Jane, my dear, why were you absent from prayers this evening?" inquired
her father, with his usual mildness of manner.

This question, to one who had never yet been, in the slightest instance,
guilty of falsehood, was indeed a terrible one; and especially to a girl
so extremely timid as was this his best beloved daughter.

"Papa," she at last replied, "I was out walking;" but as she spoke
there was that in her voice and manner which betrayed the guilt of an
insincere reply.

"I know, my dear, you were; but although you have frequently been out
walking, yet I do not remember that you ever stayed, away from our
evening worship before. Why is this?"

Her father's question was repeated in vain. She hung her head and
returned no answer. She tried to speak, but from her parched lips not
a word could proceed. She felt as if all the family that moment were
conscious of the occurrence between her and her lover; and if the wish
could have relieved her, she would almost have wished to die, so much
did she shrink abashed in their presence.

"Tell me, my daughter," proceeded her father, more seriously, "has your
absence been occasioned by anything that you are ashamed or afraid to
mention? From me, Jane, you ought to have no secrets;--you are yet too
young to think away from your father's heart and from your mother's
also;--speak candidly, my child,--speak candidly,--I expect it."

As he uttered the last words, the head of their beautiful flower sank
upon her bosom, and in a moment she lay insensible upon the sofa on
which she had been sitting.

This was a shock for which neither the father nor the family were
prepared. William flew to her,--all of them crowded about her, and
scarcely had he raised that face so pale, but now so mournfully
beautiful in its insensibility, when her mother and sisters burst into
tears and wailings, for they feared at the moment that their beloved
one must have been previously seized with sudden illness, and was then
either taken, or about to be taken from their eyes for ever. By the
coolness of her father, however, they were directed how to restore her,
in which, after a lapse of not less than ten minutes, they succeeded.

When she recovered, her mother folded her in her arms, and her sisters
embraced her with tenderness and tears. Her father then gently caught
her hand in his, and said with much affection:

"Jane, my child, you are ill. Why not have told us so?"

The beautiful girl knelt before him for a moment, but again rose up, and
hiding her head in his bosom, exclaimed--weeping--

"Papa, bless me, oh, bless me, and forgive me."

"I do; I do," said the old man; and as he spoke a few large tears
trickled down his cheeks, and fell upon her golden locks.




PART II.


It is a singular fact, but one which we know to be true, that not only
the affection of parents, but that of brothers and sisters, goes
down with greater tenderness to the youngest of the family, all other
circumstances being equal. This is so universally felt and known, that
it requires no further illustration from us. At home, Jane Sinclair
was loved more devotedly in consequence of being the most innocent and
beautiful of her father's children; in addition to this, however, she
was cherished with that peculiar sensibility of attachment by which the
human heart is always swayed towards its youngest and its last.

On witnessing her father's tenderness, she concealed her face in his
bosom, and wept for some time in silence, and by a gentle pressure of
her delicate arms, as they encircled his neck, intimated her sense of
his affectionate indulgence towards her; and perhaps, could it have
been understood, a tacit acknowledgment of her own unworthiness on that
occasion to receive it.

At length, she said, after an effort to suppress her tears, "Papa, I
will go to bed."

"Do, my love; and Jane, forget not to address the Throne of God before
you sleep."

"I did not intend to neglect it, papa. Mamma, come with me." She then
kissed her sisters and bade good-night to William; after which she
withdrew, accompanied by her mother, whilst the eyes of those who
remained were fixed upon her with love and pride and admiration.

"Mamma," said she, when they reached the apartment, "allow me to sleep
alone tonight."

"Jane, your mind appears to be depressed, darling," replied her mother;
"has anything disturbed you, or are you really ill?"

"I am quite well, mamma, and not at all depressed; but do allow me to
sleep in the closet bed."

"No, my dear, Agnes will sleep there, and you can sleep in your own as
usual; the poor girl will wonder why you leave her, Jane; she will feel
so lonely, too."

"But, mamma, it would gratify me very much, at least for this night. I
never wished to sleep away from Agnes before; and I am certain she will
excuse me when she knows I prefer it."

"Well, my love, of course Jean have no objection; I only fear you are
not so well as you imagine yourself. At all events, Jane, remember your
father's advice to pray to God; and remember this, besides, that from
me at least you ought to have no secrets. Good-night, dear, and may the
Lord take care of you!"

She then kissed her with an emotion of sorrow for which she could
scarcely account, and passed down to the room wherein the other members
of the family were assembled.

"I know not what is wrong with her," she observed, in reply to their
enquiries. "She declares she is perfectly well, and that her mind is not
at all depressed."

"In that I agree with her," said William; "her eye occasionally sparkled
with something that resembled joy more than depression."

"She begged of me to let her sleep alone to-night," continued the
mother; "so that you, Agnes, must lie in the closet bed."

"She must, certainly, be unwell then," replied Agnes, "or she would
hardly leave me. Indeed I know that her spirits have not been so good of
late as usual. Formerly we used to chat ourselves asleep, but for some
weeks past she has been quite changed, and seldom spoke at all after
going to bed. Neither did she sleep so well latterly as she used to."

"She is, indeed, a delicate flower," observed her father, "and a very
slight blast, poor thing, will make her droop--droop perhaps into an
early grave!"

"Do not speak so gloomily, my dear Henry," said her mother. "What is
there in her particular case to justify any such apprehension?"

"Her health has been always good, too," observed Maria; "but the fact
is, we love her so affectionately that many things disturb us about her
which we would never feel if we loved her less."

"Mary," said her father, "you have in a few words expressed the true
state of our feelings with respect to the dear child. We shall find
her, I trust, in good health and spirits in the morning; and please the
Divine Will, all will again be well--but what's the matter with you,
Agnes?"

Mr. Sinclair had, a moment before, observed that an expression of
thought, blended with sorrow, overshadowed the face of his second
daughter. The girl, on hearing her father's enquiry, looked mournfully
upon him, whilst the tears ran silently down her cheeks.

"I will go to her," said she, "and stay with her if she lets me. Oh,
papa, why talk of an early grave for her? How could we lose her? I could
not--and I cannot bear even to think of it."

She instantly rose and proceeded to Jane's room, but in a few minutes
returned, saying, "I found her at prayers, papa."

"God bless her, God bless her! I knew she would not voluntarily neglect
so sacred a duty. As she wishes to be alone, it is better not to disturb
her; solitude and quiet will no doubt contribute to her composure, and
it is probably for this purpose that she wishes to be left to herself."

After this the family soon retired to bed, with the exception of
Mr. Sinclair himself, who, contrary to his practice, remained for a
considerable time longer up than usual. It appeared, indeed, as if the
shadow of some coming calamity had fallen upon their hearts, or that the
affection they had entertained for her was so mysteriously deep as to
produce that prophetic sympathy which is often known to operate in a
presentiment of sorrow that never fails to be followed by disaster. It
is difficult to account for this singular succession of cause to effect,
as they act upon our emotions, except probably by supposing that it is
an unconscious development of those latent faculties which are decreed
to expand into a full growth in a future state of existence. Be this
as it may, these loving relatives experienced upon that night a mood of
mind such as they had never before known, even when the hand of death
had taken a brother and sister from among them. It was not grief but a
wild kind of dread, slight it is true, but distinct in its character,
and not dissimilar to that fear which falls upon the spirits during one
of those glooms that precede some dark and awful convulsion of nature.
Her father remained up, as we have said, longer than the rest, and in
the silence which succeeded their retirement for the night, his voice
could be occasionally heard in deep and earnest supplication. It was
evident that he had recourse to prayer; and by some of the expressions
caught from time to time, they gathered that "his dear child," and "her
peace of mind" were the object of the foreboding father's devotions.

Jane's distress, at concealing the cause of her absence from prayers,
though acute at the moment of enquiry, was nevertheless more transient
than one might suppose from the alarming effects it produced. Her mind
was at the time in a state of tumult and excitement, such as she had
never till then experienced, and the novel guilt of dissimulation, by
superinducing her first impression of deliberate crime, opposed itself
so powerfully to the exulting sense of her newborn happiness, that both
produced a shock of conflicting emotions which a young mind, already so
much exhausted, could not resist. She felt, therefore, that a strange
darkness shrouded her intellect, in which all distinct traces of
thought, and all memory of the past were momentarily lost. Her frame,
too, at the best but slender and much enfeebled by the preceding
interview with Osborne, and her present embarrassment, could not bear
up against this chaotic struggle between delight and pain. It was, no
doubt, impossible for her relatives to comprehend all this, and hence
their alarm. She was too pure and artless to be suspected of concealing
the truth; and they consequently entertained not the slightest suspicion
of that kind; but still their affections were aroused, and what might
have terminated in an ordinary manner, ended in that unusual mood we
have described.

With a scrupulous attention to her father's precept, as well as from a
principle of early and sincere piety, she strove on reaching her bedroom
to compose her mind in prayer, and to beg the pardon of Heaven for her
wilful suppression of the truth. This was a task, however, to which
she was altogether unequal. In vain she uttered words expressive of her
sorrow, and gave language to sentiments of deep repentance; there was
but one idea, but one image in her mind, viz.: her beautiful boy, and
the certainty that she was the object of his love. Again and again she
attempted to pray, but still with the same success. It was to no purpose
that she resolved to banish him from her thoughts, until at least the
solemn act of her evening-worship should be concluded; for ere she had
uttered half a sentence the image would return, as if absolutely to mock
her devotions. In this manner she continued for some time, striving
to advance with a sincere heart in her address to heaven; again
recommencing with a similar purpose, and as often losing herself in
those visions that wrapped her spirit in their transports. At length she
arose, and for a moment felt a deep awe fall upon her. The idea that
she could not pray, seemed to her as a punishment annexed, by God to
her crime of having tampered with the love of truth, and disregarded
her father's injunctions not to violate it. But this, also, soon passed
away: she lay down, and at once surrendered her heart and thought and
fancy to the power of that passion, which, like the jealous tyrant of
the East, seemed on this occasion resolved to bear no virtue near the
heart in which it sat enthroned. Such, however, was not its character,
as the reader will learn when he proceeds; true love being in our
opinion rather the guardian of the other virtues than their foe.

The next morning, when Jane awoke, the event of yesterday flashed on her
memory with a thrill of pleasure that made her start up in a recumbent
posture in the bed. Her heart bounded, her pulse beat high, and a sudden
sensation of hysterical delight rushed to her throat with a transport
that would have been painful, did she not pass out of a state of such
panting ecstacy and become dissolved in tears. She wept, but how far
did she believe the cause of her emotion to be removed from sorrow? She
wept, yet alas! alas! never did tears of such delight flow from a source
that drew a young heart onward to greater darkness and desolation. Weep
on, fair girl, in thy happiness; for the day will come when thou will
not be able to find one tear in thy misery!

Her appearance the next morning exhibited to the family no symptoms
of illness. On the contrary, she never looked better, indeed seldom so
well. Her complexion was clearer than usual, her spirit more animated,
and the dancing light of her eye plainly intimated by its sparkling that
her young heart was going on the way of its love rejoicing. Her family
were agreeably surprised at this, especially when they reflected upon
their anxiety concerning her on the preceding night. To her distress
on that occasion they made not the slightest allusion; they felt it
sufficient that the beloved of their hearts was well, and that from the
evident flow of her spirits there existed no rational ground for any
apprehension respecting her. After breakfast she sat sewing for some
time with her sisters, but it was evident that her mind was not yet
sufficiently calm to permit her as formerly to sustain a proper part
in their conversation. Ever and anon they could observe by the singular
light which sparkled in her eyes, as with a sudden rush of joy, that her
mind, was engaged on some other topic, and this at a moment when some
appeal or interrogatory to herself rendered such abstracted enjoyment
more obvious. Sensible, therefore, of her incompetency as yet to
regulate her imagination so as to escape notice, she withdrew in about
an hour to her own room, there once more to give loose to indulgence.

Our readers may perceive that the position of Jane Sinclair, in her own
family, was not very favorable to the formation of a firm character.
The regulation of a mind so imaginative, and of feelings so lively and
susceptible, required a hand of uncommon skill and delicacy. Indeed her
case was one of unusual difficulty. In the first place, her meekness and
extreme sweetness of temper rendered it almost impossible in a family
where her own qualities predominated, to find any deviation from
duty which might be seized upon without harshness as a pretext for
inculcating those precautionary principles that were calculated to
strengthen the weak points which her character may have presented.
Even those weak points, if at the time they could be so termed, were
perceptible only in the exercise of her virtues, so that it was a matter
of some risk, especially in the case of one so young, to reprove an
excess on the right side, lest in doing so you checked the influence of
the virtue that accompanied it. Such errors, if they can be called so,
when occurring in the conduct of those whom we love, are likely to call
forth any thing but censure. It is naturally supposed, and in general
with too much truth, that time and experience will remove the excess,
and leave the virtue not more than equal to the demands of life upon
it. Her mother, however, was, as the reader may have found, by no means
ignorant of those traits a the constitution of her mind from which
danger or happiness might ultimately be apprehended; neither did he
look on them With indifference. In truth, they troubled him much, and
on more than one occasion he scrupled not fully to express his fears of,
their result. It was he, the reader perceives, who on the evening of her
first interview with Osborne, gave so gloomy a tone to the feelings
of the family, and impressed them at all events more deeply than they
otherwise would have felt with a vague presentiment of some unknown evil
that was to befall her. She was, however, what is termed, the pet of
the family, the centre to which all their affections turned; and as she
herself felt conscious of this, there is little doubt that the extreme
indulgence, and almost blameable tenderness which they exercised towards
her, did by imperceptible degrees disqualify her from undergoing with
firmness those conflicts of the heart, to which a susceptibility of the
finer emotions rendered her peculiarly liable. Indeed among the various
errors prevalent in domestic life, there is scarcely one that has
occasioned more melancholy consequences than that of carrying indulgence
towards a favorite child too far; and creating, under the slightest
instances of self-denial, a sensitiveness or impatience, arising from
a previous habit of being gratified in all the whims and caprices, of
childhood or youth. The fate of favorite children in life is almost
proverbially unhappy, and we doubt not that if the various lunatic
receptacles were examined, the malady, in a majority of cases, might be
traced to an excess of indulgence and want of proper discipline in early
life. Had Mr. Sinclair insisted on knowing from his daughter's lips the
cause of her absence from prayers, and given a high moral proof of the
affection he bore her, it is probable that the consciousness on her part
of his being cognizant of her passion, would have kept it so far within
bounds as to submit to the control of reason instead of ultimately
subverting it. This, however, he unhappily omitted to do, not because
he was at all ignorant that a strict sense of duty, and a due regard for
his daughter's welfare, demanded it; but because her distress, and the
childlike simplicity with which she cast herself upon his bosom, touched
his spirit, and drew forth all the affection of a parent who "loved not
wisely but too well."

Let not my readers, however, condemn him too harshly for this, for alas,
he paid, in the bitterness of a father's misery, a woeful and mysterious
penalty of a father's weakness. His beloved one went before, and the old
man could not remain behind her; but their sorrows have passed away, and
both now enjoy that peace, which, for the last few years of their lives,
the world did not give them.

From this time forth Jane's ear listened only to the music of a happy
heart, and her eye saw nothing but the beauty of that vision which shone
in her pure bosom like the star of evening in some limpid current that
glides smoothly between rustic meadows, on whose green banks the heart
is charmed into happiness by the distant hum of pastoral life.

Love however will not be long without its object, nor can the soul
be happy in the absence of its counterpart. For some time after the
interview in which the passion of our young lovers was revealed, Jane
found solitude to be the same solace to her love, that human sympathy is
to affliction. The certainty that she was now beloved, caused her heart
to lapse into those alternations of repose and enjoyment which above all
other states of feeling nourish its affections. Indeed the change was
surprising which she felt within her and around her. On looking back,
all that portion of her life that had passed before her attachment to
Osborne, seemed dark and without any definite purpose. She wondered at
it as at a mystery which she could not solve; it was only now that she
lived; her existence commenced, she thought, with her passion, and with
it only she was satisfied it could cease. Nature wore in her eyes a new
aspect, was clothed with such beauty, and breathed such a spirit of love
and harmony, as she only perceived now for the first time. Her parents
were kinder and better she thought than they had before appeared to her,
and her sisters and brother seemed endued with warmer affections and
blighter virtues than they had ever possessed. Every thing near her and
about her partook in a more especial manner of this delightful change;
the servants were won by sweetness so irresistible--the dogs were
more kindly caressed, and Ariel--her own Ariel was, if possible, more
beloved.

Oh why--why is not love so pure and exalted as this, more characteristic
of human attachments? And why is it that affection, as exhibited in
general life, is so rarely seen unstained by the tint of some darker
passion? Love on, fair girl--love on in thy purity and innocence! The
beauty that thou seest in nature, and the music it sends forth, exist
only in thy own heart, and the light which plays around thee like a
glory, is only the reflection of that image whose lustre has taken away
the shadows from thy spirit!

In the mean time the heart, as we said, will, after the repose which
must follow excitement, necessarily move towards that object in which it
seeks its ultimate enjoyment. A week had now elapsed, and Jane began to
feel troubled by the absence of her lover. Her eye wished once more to
feast upon his beauty, and her ear again to drink in the melody of
his voice. It was true--it was surely true--and she put her long white
fingers to her forehead while thinking of him--yes, yes--it was true
that he loved her--but her heart called again for his presence, and
longed to hear him once more repeat, in fervid accents of eloquence the
enthusiasm of his passion.

Acknowledged love, however, in pure and honorable minds places the
conduct under that refined sense of propriety, which is not only felt
to be a restraint upon the freedom of virtuous principle itself, but is
observed with that jealous circumspection which considers even suspicion
as a stain upon its purity. No matter how intense affection in a
virtuous bosom may be, yet no decorum of life is violated by it,
no outwork even of the minor morals surrendered, nor is any act or
expression suffered to appear that might take away from the exquisite
feeling of what is morally essential to female modesty. For this reason,
therefore, it was that our heroine, though anxious to meet Osborne
again, could not bring herself to walk towards her accustomed haunts,
lest he might suspect that she thus indelicately sought him out. He had
frequently been there, and wondered that she never came; but however
deep his disappointment at her absence, or it might be, neglect, yet in
consequence of their last interview, he could not summon courage to pay
a visit, as he had sometimes before, to her family.

Nearly a fortnight had now elapsed, when Jane, walking one day in a
small shrubbery that skirted the little lawn before her father's door,
received a note by a messenger whom she recognized as a servant of Mr.
Osborne's.

The man, after putting it into her hands, added:

"I was desired, if possible, to bring back an answer."

She blushed deeply on receiving it, and shook so much that the tremor
of her small white hands gave evident proof of the agitation which it
produced in her bosom. She read as follows:--

"Oh why is it that I cannot see you! or what has become of you? This
absence is painful to me beyond the power of endurance. Alas, if you
loved with the deep and burning devotion that I do, you would not thus
avoid me. Do you not know, and feel, that our hearts have poured into
each other the secret of our mutual passion. Oh surely, surely, you
cannot forget that moment--a moment for which I could willingly endure
a century of pain. That moment has thrown a charm into my existence that
will render my whole future life sweet. All that I may suffer will be,
and already is softened in the consciousness that you love me. Oh let
me see you--I cannot rest, I cannot live without you. I beseech you, I
implore you, as you would not bring me down to despair and sorrow--as
you would not wring my heart with the agony of disappointment, to meet
me this evening at the same place and the same hour as before.

"Yours--yours for ever,

"H. O.

"N.B.--The bearer is trustworthy, and already acquainted with the secret
of our attachment, so that you need not hesitate to send me a reply by
him--and let it be a written one."

After pursuing this, she paused for a moment, and felt so much
embarrassed by the fact of their love being known to a third person,
that she could not look upon the messenger, while addressing him,
without shame-facedness and confusion.

"Wait a little," she said at length, "I will return presently"--and
with a singular conflict between joy, shame, and terror, she passed with
downcast looks out of the shrubbery, sought her own room, and having
placed writing materials before her, attempted to write. It was
not, however, till after some minutes that she could collect herself
sufficiently to use them. As she took the pen in her hand, something
like guilt seemed to press upon her heart--the blood forsook her cheeks,
and her strength absolutely left her.

"Is not this wrong," she thought. "I have already been guilty of
dissimulation, if not of direct-falsehood to my father, and now I am
about to enter into a correspondence without his knowledge."

The acuteness of her moral sense occasioned her, in fact, to feel much
distress, and the impression of religious sanction early inculcated
upon a mind naturally so gentle and innocent as hers, cast by its solemn
influence a deep gloom over the brief history of their loves. She laid
the pen down, and covering her face with both hands, burst into a flood
of tears.

"Why is it," she said to herself, "that a conviction as if of guilt
mingles itself with my affection for him; and that snatches of pain
and melancholy darken my mind, when I join in our morning and evening
worship? I fear, I fear, that God's grace and protection have been
withdrawn from me ever since I deceived my father. But these errors,"
she proceeded, "are my own, and not Henry's, and why should he suffer
pain and distress because I have been uncandid to others?"

Upon this slender argument she proceeded to write the following reply,
but still with an undercurrent of something like remorse stealing
through a mind that felt with incredible delicacy the slightest
deviation from what was right, yet possessed not the necessary firmness
to resist what was wrong.

"I know that it is indelicate and very improper--yes, and sinful in me
to write to you--and I would not do so, but that I cannot bear to think
that you should suffer pain. Why should you be distressed, when you know
that my affection for you will never change?--will, alas! I should add,
can never change. Dear Henry, is it not sufficient for our happiness
that our love is mutual? It ought at least to be so; and it would be
so, provided we kept its character unstained by any deviation from moral
feeling or duty in the sight of God. You must not continue to write to
me, for I shall not, and I can not persist in a course of deliberate
insincerity to those who love me with so much affection. I will,
however, see you this day, two hours earlier than the time appointed in
your note. I could not absent myself from the family then, without again
risking an indirect breach of truth, and this I am resolved never to do.
I hope you will not think less of me for writing to you, although it be
very wrong on my part. I have already wept for it, and my eyes are even
now filled with tears; but you surely will not be a harsh judge upon the
conduct of your own

"Jane Sinclair."


Having sealed this letter, she hid it in her bosom, and after delaying
a short time to compose her features, again proceeded to the shrubbery,
where she found the servant waiting. Simple as was the act of handing
him the note, yet so inexpressibly delicate was the whole tenor of her
mind, that the slightest step irreconcilable with her standard of female
propriety, left behind it a distinct and painful trace that disturbed
the equilibrium of a character so finely balanced. With an abashed face
and burning brow, she summoned courage, however, to give it, and was
instantly proceeding home, when the messenger observed that she had
given him the wrong letter. She then took the right one from her bosom,
and placing it in his hands would again have hurried into the house."

"You do not mean, I suppose, to send him back his own note," observed
the man, handing her Osborne's as he spoke.

"No, no," she replied, "give it to me; I knew not--in fact, it was a
mistake." She then received Osborne's letter, and hastily withdrew.

The reader may have observed, that so long as Jane merely contemplated
the affection that subsisted between Osborne and herself, as a matter
unconnected with any relative association, and one on which the heart
will dwell with delight while nothing intrudes to disturb its serenity,
so long was the contemplation of perfect happiness. But the moment she
approached her family, or found herself on the eve of taking another
step in its progress, such was her almost morbid candor, and her timid
shrinking from any violation of truth, that her affection for this very
reason became darkened, as she herself said, by snatches of melancholy
and pain.

It is indeed difficult to say whether such a tender perception of good
and evil as characterized all her emotions, may not have predisposed her
mind to the unhappy malady which eventually overcame it; or whether, on
the other hand, the latent existence of the malady in her temperament
may not have rendered such perceptions too delicate for the healthy
discharge of human duties.

Be this as it may, our innocent and beautiful girl is equally to be
pitied; and we trust that in either case the sneers of the coarse and
heartless will be spared against a character they cannot understand. At
all events, it is we think slightly, and but slightly evident, that
even at the present stage of her affection, something prophetic of her
calamity, in a faintly perceptible degree may, to an observing mind, be
recognized in the vivid and impulsive power with which that affection
has operated upon her. If anything could prove this, it is the fervency
with which, previous to the hour of appointment, she bent in worship
before God, to beseech His pardon for the secret interview she was about
to give her lover. And in any other case, such an impression, full of
religious feeling as it was, would have prevented the subject of it
from acting contrary to its tendency; but here was the refined dread of
error, lively even to acuteness, absolutely incapable of drawing back
the mind from the transgression of moral duty which filled it with a
feeling nearly akin to remorse.

Jane that day met the family at dinner, merely as a matter of course,
for she could eat nothing. There was, independently of this, a timidity
in her manner which they noticed, but could not understand.

"Why," said her father, "you were never a great eater, Janie, but
latterly you live, like the chameleon, on air. Surely your health cannot
be good, with such a poor appetite;--your own Ariel eats more."

"I feel my health to be very good, papa; but--" she hesitated a little,
attempted to speak, and paused again; "Although my health is good," she
at last proceeded, "I am not, papa,--I mean my spirits are sometimes
better than they ever were, and sometimes more depressed."

"They are depressed now, Jane," said her mother.

"I don't know that, mamma. Indeed I could not describe my present state
of feeling; but I think,--indeed I know I am not so good as I ought
to be. I am not so good, mamma, and maybe one day you will all have to
forgive me more than you think."

Her father laid his knife and fork down, and fixing his eyes
affectionately upon her, said:

"My child, there is something wrong with you."

Jane herself, who sat beside her mother, made no reply; but putting her
arms about her neck, she laid her cheek against hers, and wept for many
minutes. She then rose in a paroxysm of increasing sorrow, and throwing
her arms about her father's neck also, sobbed out as upon the occasion
already mentioned:--

"Oh, papa, pity and forgive me;--your poor Jane, pity her and forgive
her."

The old man struggled with his grief, for he saw that the tears of the
family rendered it a duty upon him to be firm: nay, he smiled after a
manner, and said in a voice of forced good humor:

"You are a foolish slut, Jane, and play upon us, because you know we pet
and love you too much. If you cannot eat your dinner go play, and get an
appetite for to-morrow."

She kissed him, and as was her habit of compliance with his slightest
wish, left the room as he had desired her.

"Henry," said his wife, "there is something wrong with her."

For a time he could not speak; but after a deep silence he wiped away a
few straggling-tears, and replied:

"Yes! yes! do you not see that there is a mystery upon my child!--a
mystery which weighs down my heart with affliction."

"Dear papa," said Agnes, "don't forbode evil for her."

"It's a mere nervous affection," said William. "She ought to take more
exercise. Of late she has been too much within."

Maria and Agnes exchanged looks; and for the first time, a suspicion of
the probable cause flashed simultaneously across their minds. They sat
beside each other at dinner, and Maria said in a whisper:

"Agnes, you and I are thinking of the same thing."

"I am thinking of Jane," said her candid and affectionate sister.

"My opinion is," rejoined Maria, "that she is attached to Charles
Osborne."

"I suspect it is so," whispered Agnes. "Indeed from many things that
occur to me I am now certain of it."

"I don't see any particular harm in that," replied Maria.

"It may be a very unhappy attachment for Jane, though," said Agnes.
"Only think, Maria, if Osborne should not return her affection: I know
Jane,--she would sink under it."

"Not return her affection!" replied her sister. "Where would he find
another so beautiful, and every way so worthy of him?"

"Very true, Maria; and I trust in heaven he may think so. But how, if he
should never know or suspect her love for him?"

"I cannot answer that," said the other; "but we will talk more about it
by-and-by."

Whilst this dialogue went on in a low tone, the other members of the
family sat in silence and concern, each evidently anxious to develop the
mystery of Jane's recent excitement at dinner. At length the old man's
eye fell upon his two other daughters, and he said:

"What is this, children--what is this whispering all about? Perhaps some
of you can explain the conduct of that poor child."

"But, papa," said Agnes, "you are not to know all our secrets."

"Am I not, indeed, Aggy? That's pretty evident from the cautious tone in
which you and Mary speak."

"Well, but Agnes is right, Henry," said her mother: "to know the
daughters' secrets is my privilege--and yours to know William's--if he
has any."

"Upon my word, mother, mine are easily carried, I assure you."

"Suppose, papa," observed Agnes, good-humoredly, "that I was to fall in
love, now--as is not----

"Improbable that you may--you baggage," replied her father, smiling,
whilst he completed the sentence; "Well, and you would not tell me if
you did?"

"No indeed, sir; I should not. Perhaps I ought,--but I could not,
certainly, bring myself to do it. For instance, would it be either
modest or delicate in me, to go and say to your face, 'Papa, I'm in
love.' In that case the next step, I suppose, would be to make you the
messenger between us. Now would you not expect as much, papa, if I told
you?" said the arch and lively girl.

"Aggy, you are a presuming gipsy," replied the old man, joining in the
laugh which she had caused. "Me your messenger!"

"Yes, and a steady one you would make, sir--I am sure you would not, at
all events, overstep your instructions."

"That will be one quality essentially necessary to any messenger of
yours, Agnes," replied her father, in the same spirit.

"Papa," said she, suddenly changing her manner, and laying aside her
gayety, "what I said in jest of myself may be seriously true of another
in this family. Suppose Jane----"

"Jane!" exclaimed the old man;--"impossible! She is but a girl!--but
a child!" "Agnes, this is foolish of you," said her sister. "It is
possible, after all, that you are doing poor Jane injustice. Papa, Agnes
only speaks from suspicion. We are not certain of anything. It was I
mentioned it first, but merely from suspicion."

"If Jane's affections are engaged," said her father, "I tremble to think
of the consequences should she experience the slightest disappointment.
But it cannot be, Maria,--the girl has too much sense, and her
principles are too well established."

"What is it you mean, girls?" inquired their mother, in a tone of
surprise and alarm.

"Indeed, Agnes," said Maria, reprovingly, "it is neither fair nor
friendly to poor Jane, to bring out a story founded only on a mere
surmise. Agnes insists, mamma, that Jane is attached to Charles
Osborne."

"It certainly occurred to us only a few moments ago, I allow," replied
Agnes; "but if I am mistaken in this, I will give up my judgment in
everything else. And I mentioned it solely to prevent our own distress,
particularly papa's, with respect to the change that is of late so
visible in her conduct and manner."

Strange to say, however, that Mr. Sinclair and his wife both repudiated
the idea of her attachment to Osborne, and insisted that Agnes'
suspicion was rash and groundless.

It was impossible, they said, that such an attachment could exist;
Jane and Osborne had seen too little of each other, and were both of
a disposition too shy and diffident to rush so precipitately into a
passion that is usually the result of far riper years than either of
them had yet reached.

Mr. Sinclair admitted that Jane was a girl full of affection, and likely
to be extremely susceptible, yet it was absurd, he added, to suppose for
a moment, that she would suffer them to be engaged, or her peace of mind
disturbed, by a foolish regard for a smooth-faced boy, and she herself
not much beyond sixteen.

There is scarcely to be found, in the whole range of human life
and character, any observation more true, and at the same time more
difficult to be understood, than the singular infatuation of parents
who have survived their own passions,--whenever the prudence of their
children happens to be called in question.

We know not whether such a fact be necessary to the economy of life, and
the free breathings of youthful liberty, but this at least is clear to
any one capable of noting down its ordinary occurrences, that no matter
how acutely and vividly parents themselves may have felt the passion of
love when young, they appear as ignorant of the symptoms that mark its
stages in the lives of their children, as if all memory of its existence
had been obliterated out of their being. Perhaps this may be wisely
designed, and no doubt it is, but, alas! its truth is a melancholy
comment upon the fleeting character of the only passion that charms
our early life, and fills the soul with sensations too ethereal to be
retained by a heart which grosser associations have brought beneath the
standard of purity necessary for their existence in it.

Jane, as she bent her way to the place of appointment, felt like one
gradually emerging out of darkness into light. The scene at dinner
had quickened her moral sense, which, as the reader already knows, was
previous to that perhaps morbidly acute. Every step, however, towards
the idol of her young devotion, removed the memory of what had occurred
at home, and collected around her heart all the joys and terrors that in
maidenly diffidence characterize the interview she was about to give her
lover. Oh how little do we know of those rapid lights and shadows which
shift and tremble across the spirits of the gentle sex, when approaching
to hold this tender communion with those whom they love. Nothing that
we remember resembles the busy working of the soul on such occasions,
so much as those lucid streamers which flit in sweeps of delicate light
along the northern sky, filling it at once with beauty and terror,
and emitting at the same time a far and almost inaudible undertone of
unbroken music.

Trembling and fluttering like a newly-caught bird, Jane approached the
place of meeting and found Osborne there awaiting her. The moment he
saw the graceful young creature approach him, he felt that he had
never until then loved her so intensely. The first declaration of their
attachment was made during an accidental interview, but there is a
feeling of buoyant confidence that flashes up from the heart, when, at
the first concerted meeting of love we see the object of our affection
advance towards us,--for that deliberate act of a faithful heart
separates the beloved one, in imagination, to ourselves, and gives
a fulness to our enjoyment which melts us in an exulting tenderness
indescribable by language. Those who have doubted the punctuality of
some beloved girl, and afterwards seen her come, will allow that our
description of that rapturous moment is not overdrawn.

"My dear, dear Jane," exclaimed Osborne, taking her hand and placing her
beside him,

"I neither knew my own heart nor thee extent of its affection for
you until this meeting. In what terms shall I express--but I will not
attempt it--I cannot--but my soul burns with love for you, such as was
ever felt by mortal."

"It is my trust and confidence in your love that brings me here," she
replied; "and indeed, Charles, it is more than that--I know your health
is, at the best, easily affected, and your spirits naturally prone to
despondency; and I feared," said the artless girl, "that--that--indeed
I feared you might suffer pain, and that pain might bring on ill health
again."

"And I am so dear to you, Jane?"

Jane replied by a smile and looked inexpressibly tender.

"I am, I am!" he exclaimed with rapture; "and now the
world--life--nothing--nothing can add to the fulness of my happiness.
And your note, my beloved--the conclusion of it--your own Jane Sinclair!
But you must be more my own yet--legally and forever mine! Mine! Shall
I be able to bear it!--shall I? Jane?" said he, his enthusiastic
temperament kindling as he spoke--"Oh what, my dearest, my own dearest,
if this should not last, will it not consume me? Will it not destroy me?
this overwhelming excess of rapture!"

"But you must restrain it, Charles; surely the suspense arising from the
doubt of our being beloved is more painful than the certainty that we
are so."

"Yes; but the exulting sense, my dear Jane, to me almost
oppressive,--but I rave, I rave; it is all delight--all happiness! Yes,
it will prolong life,--for we know what we live for."

"We do," said Jane, in a low, sweet voice, whilst her eye fed upon his
beauty. "Do I not live for you, Charles?"

His lip was near her cheek as she spoke; he then gently drew her to him,
and in a voice lower, and if possible more melodious than her own, said,
"Oh Jane, is there not something inexpressibly affectionate--some wild
and melting charm in the word wife?"

"That is a feeling," she replied, evidently softened by the tender
spirit of his words, "of which you are a better judge than I can be."

"Oh say, my dearest, let me hear you say with your own lips, that you
will be my wife."

"I will," she whispered--and as she spoke, he inhaled the fragrance of
her breath.

"My wife!"

"Your wife!"

Sweet, and long, and rapturous was the kiss which sealed this sacred
and entrancing promise. The pathetic sentiment that pervaded their
attachment kept their passion pure, and seldom have two lovers so
beautiful, sat cheek to cheek together, in an embrace guileless and
innocent as theirs.

Jane, however, withdrew herself from his arms, and for a few moments
felt not even conscious, so far was her heart removed from evil, that an
embrace under such circumstances was questionable, much less improper.
Following so naturally from the tenderness of their dialogue, it seemed
to be rather the necessary action arising from the eloquence of their
feeling, than an act which might incur censure or reproof. Her fine
sense of propriety, however, could be scarcely said to have slumbered,
for, with a burning cheek and a sobbing voice, she exclaimed,

"Charles, these secret meetings must cease. They have involved me in a
course of dissimulation and falsehood towards my family, which I cannot
bear. You say you love me, and I know you do, but surely you could not
esteem, nor place full confidence in a girl, who, to gratify either her
own affection or yours, would deceive her parents."

"But, my dearest girl, you reason too severely. Surely almost all who
love must, in the earliest stages of affection, practice, to a certain
extent, a harmless deception upon their friends, until at least their
love is sanctioned. Marriages founded upon mutual attachment would be
otherwise impracticable."

"No deception, dear Charles, can be harmless. I cannot forget the
precepts of truth, and virtue, and obedience to a higher law even
than his own will, which my dear papa taught me, and I will never more
violate them, even for you."

"You are too pure, too full of truth, my beloved girl, for this world.
Social life is carried on by so much dissimulation, hypocrisy, and
falsehood, that you will be actually unfit to live in it."

"Then let me die in it sooner than be guilty of any one of them. No,
dear Charles, I am not too full of truth. On the contrary, I cannot
understand how it is that my love for you has plunged me into deceit.
Nay more, Charles," she exclaimed, rising up, and placing her hand
on her heart, "I am wrong here--why is it, will you tell me, that our
attachment has crossed and disturbed my devotions to God. I cannot
worship God as I would, and as I used to do. What if His grace be
withdrawn from me? Could you love me then? Could you love a cast-a-way?
Charles, you love truth too well to cherish affection for a being, a
reprobate perhaps, and full of treachery and falsehood. I am not such,
but I fear sometimes that I am."

Her youthful lover gazed upon her as she stood with her sparkling eyes
fixed upon vacancy. Never did she appear so beautiful, her features were
kindled into an expression which was new to him--but an expression so
full of high moral feeling, beaming like the very divinity of truth from
her countenance, yet overshadowed by an unsettled gloom, which gave to
her whole appearance the power of creating both awe and admiration in
the spectator.

The boy was deeply affected, and in a voice scarcely firm, said in
soothing and endearing accents, whilst he took her hand in his,

"Jane, my best beloved, and dearest--say, oh say in what manner I can
compose your mind, or relieve you from the necessity of practising the
deceit which troubles you so much."

"Oh," said she, bending her eye on him, "but it is sweet to be beloved
by those that are dear to us. Your sympathy thrills through my whole
frame with a soothing sensation inexpressibly delightful. It is sweet to
me--for you, Charles, are my only confident. Dear, dear Charles, how I
longed to see you, and to hear your voice."

As she made this simple but touching admission of the power of her love,
she laid her head on his bosom and wept. Charles pressed her to his
heart, and strove to speak, but could not--she felt his tears raining
fast upon her face.

At length he said, pressing his beautiful once more to his beating
bosom--"the moment, the moment that I cease to love you, may it, O God,
be my last."

She rose, and quietly wiping her eyes, said--"I will go--we will meet no
more--no more in secret."

"Oh, Jane," said her lover, "how shall I make myself worthy of you;
but why," he added, "should our love be a secret? Surely it will be
sanctioned by our friends. You shall not be distressed by the
necessity of insincerity, although it would be wrong to call the simple
concealment of your love for me by so harsh a name."

"But my papa," she said, "he is so good to me; they are all so
affectionate, they love me too much; but my dear papa, I cannot stand
with a stain on my conscience in his presence. Not that I fear him;
but it would be treacherous and ungrateful: I would tell him all, but I
cannot."

"My sweet girl, let not that distress you. Your father shall be made
acquainted with it from other lips. I will disclose the secret to my
father, and, with a proud heart, tell him of our affection."

It never once occurred to a creature so utterly unacquainted with the
ways of the world as Jane was that Mr. Osburne might disapprove of their
attachment, and prevent a boy so youthful from following the bent of his
own inclinations.

"Dear Charles," said she, smiling, "what a load their approval will
take off my heart. I can then have papa's pardon for my past duplicity
towards him; and my mind will be so much soothed and composed. We can
also meet each other with their sanction."

"My wife! my wife!" said Osborne, looking on her with a rapturous gaze
of love and admiration--and carrying her allusion to the consent of
their families up to the period when he might legitimately give her that
title--"My wife," he exclaimed, "my young, my beautiful, my pure and
unspotted wife. Heavens! and is--is the day surely to come when I am to
call you so!"

The beautiful girl hung her head a moment as if abashed, then gliding
timidly towards him, leant upon his shoulder, and putting her lips up to
his ear, with a blush as much of delight as of modesty, whispered--"My
husband, my husband, why should not these words, dear Charles, be as
sweet a charm to my heart, as those you've mentioned are to yours. I
would, but I cannot add--no, I will not suffer it," she exclaimed, on
his attempting, in the prostration of the moment, to embrace her. "You
must not presume upon the sincerity of an affectionate and ingenuous
heart. Farewell, dear Charles, until we can see each other without a
consciousness that we are doing wrong." Saying which, she extended her
hand to him, and in a moment was on her way home.

And was the day to come when he could call her his? Alas! that day was
never registered in the records of time.

Oh! how deeply beloved was our heroine by her family, when her moods of
mind and state of spirits fixed the tone of their domestic enjoyments
and almost influenced the happiness of their lives. O gentle and pure
spirit, what heart cannot love thee, when those who knew thee best
gathered their affections so lovingly around thee, the star of their
hearth--the idol of their inner shrine--the beautiful, the meek, the
affectionate, and even then, in consequence of thy transcendant charms,
the far-famed Fawn of Springvale!

In the early part of that evening, Jane's spirits, equable and calm,
hushed in a great measure the little domestic debate which had been
held at dinner, concerning the state of her affections. The whole family
partook of her cheerfulness, and her parents in particular, cast several
looks of triumphant sagacity, at Maria and Agnes, especially at the
latter.

"Jane," said her father in the triumph of his heart, "you are not aware
that Agnes is in love."

The good-humored tone in which this was spoken, added to the utterly
unsuspicious character of the innocent being to whom the words were
addressed, rendered it impossible for Jane to suppose that there was any
latent meaning in his observation that could be levelled at herself.
In truth, there was not, for any satire it contained was directed
especially to Agnes. There are tones of voice, the drift of which no
effort, however forced, or studied, can conceal, particularly from,
those who, by intimacy and observation, are acquainted with them, and
with the moods of mind and shades of feeling which prompt them. Jane
knew intuitively by the tone in which her father spoke--and by the
expression of his countenance, that the words were not meant to apply by
any direct analogy to herself. She consequently preserved her composure
and replied to the question, with the same good humor in which the words
were uttered.

"Agnes in love! Well, papa, and surely that is not unnatural."

"Thank you, Jane," replied Agnes. "Papa, that's a rebuff worth
something; and Jane," she proceeded, anxious still to vindicate her
own sagacity with respect to her sister, "suppose I should be in love,
surely I may carry on an innocent intercourse with my lover, without
consulting papa."

"No, Agnes, you should not," replied her sister, vehemently; "no
intercourse--no intercourse without papa's knowledge, can be innocent.
There is deceit and dissimulation in it--there is treachery in it. It is
impossible to say how gloomily such an intercourse may end. Only think,
my dear Agnes," she proceeded, in a low, but vehement and condensed
voice--"only think, dear Agnes, what the consequences might be to you if
such an attachment, and such a clandestine mode of conducting it, should
in consequence of your duplicity to papa, cause the Almighty God to
withdraw His grace from you, and that, you should thereby become a
cast-away--a castaway! I shudder to think of it! I shudder to think of
it."

"Jane, sit beside me," said Mr. Sinclair; "you are rather too hard upon
poor Agnes--but, still come, and sit beside me. You are my own sweet
child--my own dutiful and candid girl."

"I cannot, I cannot, papa, I dare not," she exclaimed, and without
uttering another word she arose, and rushed out of the room. In less
than a minute, however, she returned again, and approaching him,
said--"Papa, forgive me, I will, I trust, soon be a better girl than I
am; bless me and bid me good-night. Mamma, bless me you too, I am your
poor Jane, and I know you all love me more than you ought. Do not think
that I am unhappy--don't think it. I have not been for some time so
happy as I am to-night."

She then passed out of the room, and retired to her own apartment.

When she was gone, Agnes, who sat beside | her father, turned to him,
and leaned her I head upon his breast, burst into bitter tears. "Papa,"
she exclaimed, "I believe you will now admit that I have gained the
victory. My sister's peace of mind or happiness is gone for ever. Unless
Osborne either now is, or becomes in time attached to her, I know not
what the consequences may be."

"It will be well for Osborne, at all events, if he has not practised
upon her affections," said William; "that is, granting that the
suspicion, be just. But the truth is, I don't think Osborne has any
thing to do with her feelings. It is merely some imaginary trifle that
she has got into her foolish little head, poor girl. Don't distress
yourself, father--you know she was always over-scrupulous. Even the most
harmless fib that ever was told, is a crime in her eyes. I wish, for
my part, she had a little wholesome wickedness about--I don't mean
that sir, in a very unfavorable light," he said in reply to a look of
severity from his father, "but I wish she had some leaning to error
about her. She would, in one sense at least, be the better for it."

"We shall see," said his father, who evidently spoke in deep distress of
mind, "we shall consider in the course of the evening what ought to be
done."

"Better to take her gently," observed her mother, wiping away a tear,
"gentleness and love will make her tell anything--and that there is
something on her mind no one can doubt."

"I won't have her distressed, my dear," replied her father. "It cannot
be of much importance I think after all--but whatever it may be, her own
candid mind will give it forth spontaneously. I know my child, and will
answer for her."

"Why then, papa, are you so much distressed, if you think it of no
importance?" asked Maria.

"If her finger ached, it would distress me, child, and you know it."

"Why, she and Osborne have had no opportunity of being together, out of
the eyes of the family," observed William.

"That's more than you know, William," said Agnes; "she has often walked
out."

"But she always did so," replied her mother.

"She would never meet him privately," said her father firmly, "of that I
am certain as my life."

"That, papa," returned Agnes, "I am afraid, is precisely what she has
done, and what now distresses her. And I am sure that whatever is wrong
with her, no explanation will be had from herself. Though kind and
affectionate as ever, she has been very shy with me and Maria of
late--and indeed, has made it a point to keep aloof from us! Three or
four times I spoke to her in a tone of confidence, as if I was about to
introduce some secret of my own, but she always under some pretense or
other left me. I had not thought of Osborne at the time, nor could I
guess what troubled her--but something I saw did." Her father sighed
deeply, and, clasping his hands, uttered a silent ejaculation to heaven
on her behalf. "That is true," said he, "it is now the hour of evening
worship; let us kneel and remember her trouble, the poor child, whatever
it may be." "Had I not better call her down, papa," said Agnes.

"Not this evening," he replied, "not this evening--she is too much
disturbed, and will probably prefer praying alone."

The old man then knelt down, and after the usual form of evening
worship, uttered a solemn and affecting appeal upon her behalf, to Him,
who can pour balm upon the wounded spirit, and say unto the weary and
heavy laden, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." But when he went
on in words more particularly describing her state of mind, to mention,
and plead for "their youngest," and "their dearest," and "their best
beloved," his voice became tremulous, and for a moment he paused, but
the pause was filled with the sobbings of those who loved her, and
especially by the voice of that affectionate sister who loved her
most--for of them all, Agnes only wept aloud. At length the prayer was
concluded, and rising up with wet eyes, they perceived that the beloved
object of their supplications had glided into the room, and joined their
worship unperceived.

"Dear Jane," said her father, "we did not know you were with us."

She made no immediate reply, but, after a moment's apparent struggle,
went over, and laying her head upon his bosom, sobbed out--"Papa, your
love has overcome me. I will tell you all."

"Soul of truth and candor," exclaimed the old man, clasping her to his
bosom, "heroic child! I knew she would do it, and I said so. Go out now,
and leave us to ourselves. Darling, don't be distressed. If you feel
difficulty I will not ask to hear it. Or perhaps you would rather
mention it to your mamma."

"No--to you papa--to you--and you will not be harsh upon me, I am a weak
girl, and have done very wrong."

It was indeed a beautiful thing to see this fair and guiltless penitent
leaning against her indulgent father's bosom, in which her blushing
face was hid, and disclosing the history of an attachment as pure and
innocent as ever warmed the heart of youth and beauty. Oh no wonder,
thou sweetest and most artless of human beings, that when the heavy
blight of reason came upon thee, and thou disappearedst from his eyes,
that the old man's spirit became desolate and his heart broken, and
that he said after thy dissolution to every word of comfort uttered to
him--"It is vain, it is vain--I cannot stay. I hear her voice calling
me--she calls me, my beautiful--my pride--my child--my child--she calls
me, and I cannot stay." Nor did he long.

To none else did her father that night reveal the purport of this
singular disclosure, except to Mrs. Sinclair herself--but the next
morning before breakfast, the secret had been made known to the rest.
All trouble and difficulty, as to the conduct they should pursue, were
removed in consequence of Osborne's intention to ask his father to
sanction their attachment, and until the consequence of that step should
be known, nothing further on their part could be attempted. On this
point, however, they were not permitted to remain long in suspense,
for ere two o'clock that day, Mr. Osborne had, in the name of his son,
proposed for the hand of our fair girl, which proposal we need scarcely
say was instantly and joyfully accepted. It is true, their immediate
union was not contemplated. Both were much too youthful and
inexperienced to undertake the serious duties of married life, but it
was arranged that Osborne, whose health, besides, was not sufficiently
firm, should travel, see the world, and strengthen his constitution by
the genial air of a warmer and more salubrious climate.

Alas! why is it that the sorrows of love are far sweeter than its joys?
We do not mean to say that our young hero and heroine, if we may presume
so to call them, were insensible to this lapse of serene delight which
now opened upon them. No--the happiness they enjoyed was indeed such
as few taste in such a world as this is. Their attachment was now
sanctioned by all their mutual friends, and its progress was unimpeded
by an scruple arising from clandestine intercourse, or a breach of duty.
But, with secrecy, passed away those trembling snatches of unimaginable
transport which no state of permitted love has ever yet known. The
stolen glance, the passing whisper, the guarded pressure of the soft
white hand timidly returned, and the fearful rapture of the hurried
kiss--alas! alas!--and alas! for the memory of Eloiza!

Time passed, and the preparations necessary for Osborne's journey
were in fact nearly completed. One day, about a fortnight before his
departure, he and Jane were sitting in a little ozier summer-house in
Mr. Sinclair's garden, engaged in a conversation more tender than usual,
for each felt their love deeper and their hearts sink as the hour of
separation approached them. Jane's features exhibited such a
singular union of placid confidence and melancholy, as gave something
Madonna-like and divine to her beauty. Osborne sat, and for a long time
gazed upon her with a silent intensity of rapture for which he could
find no words. At length he exclaimed in a reverie--

"I will swear it--I may swear it."

"Swear what, Charles?"

"That the moment I see a girl more beautiful, I will cease to write to
you--I will cease to love you."

The blood instantly forsook her cheeks, and she gazed at him with wonder
and dismay.

"What, dear Charles, do you mean?"

"Oh, my pride and my treasure!" he exclaimed, wildly clasping her to
his bosom--"there is none so fair--none on earth or in heaven itself so
beautiful--that, my own ever dearest, is my meaning."

The confidence of her timid and loving heart was instantly restored--and
she said smiling, yet with a tear struggling through her eyelid, "I
believe I am I think I am beautiful. I know they call me the Fawn of
Springvale, because I am gentle."

"The angels are not so gentle, nor so pure, nor so innocent as you are,
my un-wedded wife."

"I am glad I am," she replied; "and I am glad, too, that I am
beautiful--but it is all on your account, and for your sake, dear
Charles."

The fascination--the power of such innocence, and purity, and love,
utterly overcame him, and he wept in transport upon her bosom.

The approach of her sisters, however, and the liveliness of Agnes, soon
changed the character of their dialogue. For an hour they ran and chased
each other, and played about, after which Charles took his leave of
them for the evening. Jane, as usual, being the last he parted from,
whispered to him,as he went--

"Charles, promise me, that in future you won't repeat--the--the words
you used in, the summer-house."

"What words, love?" "You remember--about--about--what you said you might
_swear_--and that, in that case, you would cease to love me."

"Why dearest, should I promise you this?" "Because," she said, in a low,
sweet whisper, "they disturb me when I think of them--a slight thing
makes my heart sink."

"You are a foolish, sweet girl--but I promise you, I shall never again
use them."

She bestowed on him a look and smile that were more than a sufficient
compensation for this; and after again bidding him farewell, she tripped
lightly into the house.

From this onward, until the day of their separation, the spirits of our
young lovers were more and more overcast, and the mirthful intercourse
of confident love altogether gone. Their communion was now marked
by despondency and by tears, for the most part shed during their
confidential interviews with each other. In company they were silent and
dejected, and ever as their eyes met in long and loving glances, they
could scarcely repress their grief. Sometimes, indeed, Jane on being
spoken to, after a considerable silence, would attempt in vain to reply,
her quivering voice and tearful eyes affording unequivocal proof of the
subject which engaged her heart. Their friends, of course, endeavored
to console and sustain them on both sides; and frequently succeeded
in soothing them into a childlike resignation to the necessity that
occasioned the dreary period of absence that lay before them. These
intervals of patience, however, did not last long; the spirits of our
young lovers were, indeed, disquieted within them, and the heart of each
drooped under the severest of all its calamities--the pain of loss for
that object which is dearest to its affections.

It was arranged that, on the day previous to Charles' departure,
Osborne's family should dine at Mr. Sinclair's; for they knew that the
affliction caused by their separation would render it necessary that
Jane, on that occasion, should be under her own roof, and near the
attention and aid of her friends. Mr. Osborne almost regretted the
resolution to which he had come of sending his son to travel, for he
feared that the effect of absence from the fair girl to whom he was so
deeply attached, might possibly countervail the benefits arising from a
more favorable climate; but as he had already engaged the services of an
able and experienced tutor, who on two or three previous occasions had
been over the Continent, he expected, reasonably enough, that novelty,
his tutor's good sense, and the natural elasticity of youth would soon
efface a sorrow in general so transient, and in due time restore him to
his usual spirits. He consequently adhered to his resolution--the day of
departure was fixed, and arrangements made for the lovers to separate,
as we have already intimated.

Jane Sinclair, from the period when Osborne's attachment and hers was
known and sanctioned by their friends, never slept a night from her
beloved sister Agnes; nor had any other person living, not even Osborne
himself, such an opportunity as Agnes had of registering in the record
of a sisterly heart so faithful a transcript of her love.

On the night previous to their leave taking, Agnes was astonished at the
coldness of her limbs, and begged her to allow additional covering to be
put on the bed.

"No, dear Agnes, no; only grant me one favor--do not speak to me--leave
my heart to its own sorrows--to its own misery--to its own despair; for,
Agnes, I feel a presentiment that I shall never see him again."

She pressed her lips against Agnes' cheek when she had concluded, and
Agnes almost started, for that lip hitherto so glowing and warm, felt
hard and cold as marble.

Osborne, who for some time past had spent almost every day at Mr.
Sinclair's, arrived the next morning ere the family had concluded
breakfast. Jane immediately left the table, for she had tasted nothing
but a cup of tea, and placing herself beside him on the sofa, looked
up mournfully into his face for more than a minute; she then caught his
hand, and placing it between hers, gazed upon him again, and smiled. The
boy saw at once that the smile was a smile of misery, and that the agony
of separation was likely to be too much for her to bear. The contrast at
that moment between them both was remarkable. She pale, cold, and almost
abstracted from the perception of her immediate grief; he glowing in
the deep carmine of youth and apparent health--his eye as well as hers
sparkling with a light which the mere beauty of early life never gives.
Alas, poor things! little did they, or those to whom they were so very
dear, imagine that, as they then gazed upon each other, each bore in
lineaments so beautiful the symptoms of the respective maladies that
were to lay them low.

"I wish, Jane, you would try and get up your spirits, love, and see and
be entertaining to poor Charles, as this is the last day he is to be
with you."

She looked quickly at her mother, "The I last, mamma?"

"I mean for a while, dear, until after his I return from the Continent."

She seemed relieved by this. "Oh no, not the last, Charles," she
said--"Yet I know not how it is--I know not; but sometimes, indeed, I
think it is--and if it were, if it were--"

A paleness more deadly spread over her face; and with a gaze of mute and
undying-devotion she clasped her hands, and repeated--"if it should be
the last--the last!"

"I did not think you were so foolish or so weak a girl, Jane," said
William, "as to be so cast down, merely because Charles is taking a skip
to the Continent to get a mouthful of fresh air, and back again. Why,
I know them that go to the Continent four times a year to transact
business a young fellow, by the way, that has been paying his addresses
to a lady for the last six or seven years. I wish you saw them part, as
I did--merely a hearty shake of the hand--'good by, Molly, take care of
yourself till I see you again;' and 'farewell, Simon, don't forget the
shawl;' and the whole thing's over, and no more about it."

There was evidently something in these words that jarred upon a spirit
of such natural tenderness as Jane's. While William was repeating them,
her features expressed a feeling as if of much inward pain; and when he
had concluded, she rose up, and seizing both his hands, said, in a tone
of meek and earnest supplication:

"Oh! William dear, do not, do not--it is not consolation--it is
distress."

"Dear Jane," said the good-natured brother, at once feeling his error,
"pardon me, I was wrong; there is no resemblance in the cases--I only
wanted to raise your spirits."

"True, William, true; I ought to thank you, and I do thank you."

Whilst this little incident took place, Mr. Sinclair came over and sat
beside Charles.

"You see, my dear Charles," said he, "what a heavy task your separation
from that poor girl is likely to prove. Let me beg that you will be as
firm as possible, and sustain her by a cheerful play of spirits, if you
can command them. Do violence to your! own heart for this day for her
sake."

"I will be firm, sir," said Osborne, "if I can: but if I fail--if
I--look at her," he proceeded, in a choking voice, "look at her, and
then ask yourself why I--I should be firm?"

Whilst he spoke, Jane came over, and seating herself between her father
and him, said:

"Papa, you will stay with me and Charles this day, and support us.
You know, papa, that I am but a weak, weak girl; but when I do a wrong
thing, I feel very penitent--I cannot rest."

"You never did wrong, darling," said Osborne, pressing his lips to her
cheek, "you never did wrong."

"Papa says I did not do much wrong; yet at one time I did not think so
myself; but there is a thing presses upon me still. Papa," she added,
turning abruptly to him, "are there not such things in this life as
judgments from heaven?"

"Yes, my dear, upon the wicked who, by deep crimes, provoke the justice
of the Almighty; but the ways of God are so mysterious, and the innocent
so often suffer whilst the guilty escape, that we never almost hazard
an opinion upon individual cases." "But there are cast-aways?" "Yes,
darling; but here is Charles anxious to take you out to walk. With such
a prospect of happiness and affection before you both, you ought surely
to be in the best of spirits."

"Well, I can see why you evade my question," she replied; but she added
abruptly, "bless us, papa, bless us." She knelt down, and pulled Charles
gently upon his knees also, and joining both hands together, bent her
head as if to receive the benediction.

Oh, mournful and heart-breaking was her loveliness, as she knelt down
before the streaming eyes of her family--a Magdeline in beauty, without
her guilt.

The old man, deeply moved by the distress of the interesting pair then
bent before him, uttered a short prayer suitable to the occasion, after
which he blessed them both, and again recommended them to the care of
heaven, in terms of touching and beautiful simplicity. His daughter
seemed relieved by this, for, after rising, she went to her mother and
said:

"We are going to walk, mamma. I must endeavor to keep my spirits up this
day, for poor Charles' sake."

"Yes, love, do," said her mother, "that's a good girl. Let me see how
cheerful and sprightly you'll be; and think, dear, of the happy days
that are before you and Charles yet, when you'll live in love and
affection, surrounded and cherished by both your families."

"Yes, yes," said she, "I often think of that--I'll try mamma--I'll try."

Saying which, she took Charles's arm, and the young persons all went out
together.

Jane's place, that evening, was by Osborne's side, as it had been with
something like a faint clinging of terror during the whole day. She
spoke little, and might be said rather to respond to all he uttered,
than to sustain a part in the dialogue. Her distress was assuredly deep,
but they knew not then, nor by any means suspected how fearful was its
character in the remote and hidden depths of her soul. She sat with
Osborne's right hand between hers, and scarcely for a moment ever took
her sparkling eyes off his countenance. Many times was she observed
to mutter to herself, and her lips frequently moved as if she had been
speaking, but no words were uttered, nor any sense of her distress
expressed. Once, only, in the course of the evening, were they startled
into a hush of terror and dismay, by a single short laugh, uttered
so loud and wildly, that a pause followed it, and, as if with one
consentaneous movement, they all assembled about her. Their appearance,
however, seemed to bring her to herself, for with her left hand she
wafted them away, saying, "Leave us--leave us--this is a day of sorrow
to us--the day will end, but when, when, alas, will the sorrow? Papa,
some of us will need your prayers now--the sunshine of Jane's life is
over--I am the Fawn of Springvale no more--my time with the holy
and affectionate flock of whom I was and am an unworthy one, will be
short--I may be with you a day, as it were, the next is come and Jane is
gone for ever."

"Father," said Osborne, "I shall not go;" and as he spoke he pressed her
to his bosom--"I will never leave her."

The boy's tears fell rapidly upon her pale cheeks, and on feeling them
she looked up and smiled.

The sobbings of the family were loud, and bitter were the tears which
the tender position of the young and beautiful pair wrung from the
eyes that looked upon them. "Your health, my boy," said his father, "my
beautiful and only boy, render it necessary that you should go. It is
but for a time, Jane dear, my daughter, my boy's beloved, it is only for
a time--let him leave you for a little, and he will return confirmed
in health and knowledge, and worthy my dear, dear girl, to be yours for
ever."

"My daughter," said Mr. Sinclair, "was once good and obedient, and she
will now do whatever is her own papa's wish."

"Name it, papa, name it," said she, still smiling.

"Suffer Charles to go, my darling--and do not--oh! do not take his
departure so much to heart."

"Charles, you must go," said she. "It is the wish of your own father and
of mine--but above all, it is the wish of your own--you cannot, you must
not gainsay him. What we can prosper which is founded on disobedience
or deceit? You know the words you once loved so well to repeat--I will
repeat them now--you must, you will not surely refuse the request of
_your own Jane Sinclair_."

The boy seemed for some time irresolute but at length he clasped her in
his arms, and, again, said, in a vehement burst of tenderness:

"No, father, my heart is resolved, I will never leave her. It will kill
me, it will lay me in an early grave, and you will have no son to look
upon."

"But you will see the heroic example that Jane will set you," said Mr.
Sinclair, "she will shame you into firmness, for she will now take leave
of you at once; and see then if you love her as you say you do, whether
you will not respect her so far as to follow her example. Jane, bid
Charles farewell."

This was, perhaps, pressing her strength too far; at all events, the
injunction came so unexpectedly, that a pause followed it, and they
waited with painful expectation to see what she would do. For upwards
of a minute she sat silent, and her lips moved as if she were communing
with herself. At length she rose up, and stooping down kissed her
lover's cheek, then, taking his hand as before between hers, she said in
a voice astonishingly calm.

"Charles, farewell--remember that I am your Jane Sinclair. Alas!" she
added, "I am weak and feeble--help me out of the room." Both her parents
assisted her to leave it, but, on reaching the door, she drew back
involuntarily, on hearing Osborne's struggles to detain her.

"Papa," she said, with a look inexpressibly wobegone and
suppliant--"Mamma!" "Sweet child, what is it?" said both. "Let me take
one last look of him--it will be the last--but not--I--I trust, the last
act of my duty to you both."

She turned round and gazed upon him for some time--her features, as she
looked, dilated into an expression of delight.

"Is he not," said she, in a low placid whisper, while her smiling
eye still rested upon him--"is he not beautiful? Oh! yes, he is
beautiful--he is beautiful."

"He is, darling--he is," said both--"come away now--be only a good firm
girl and all will soon be well."

"Very, very beautiful," said she, in a low contented voice, as without
any further wish to remain, she accompanied her parents to another room.

Such was their leaving-taking--thus did they separate. Did they ever
meet!




PART III.


In the history of the affections we know that circumstances sometimes
occur, where duty and inclination maintain a conflict so nicely balanced
so as to render it judicious not to exact a fulfillment of the former,
lest by deranging the structure of our moral feelings, we render the
mind either insensible to their existence, or incapable of regulating
them. This observation applies only to those subordinate positions
of life which involve no great principle of conduct, and violate no
cardinal point of human duty. We ought neither to do evil nor suffer
evil to be done, where our authority can prevent it, in order that good
may follow. But in matters where our own will creates the offence, it is
in some peculiar cases not only prudent but necessary to avoid straining
a mind naturally delicate, beyond the powers which we know it to
possess. We think, for instance, that it was wrong in Mr. Sinclair, at
a moment when the act of separating from Osborne might have touched, the
feelings of his daughter into that softness which lightens and relieves
the heart, abruptly to suppress emotions so natural, by exacting a proof
of obedience too severe and oppressive to the heart of one who loved as
Jane did. She knew it was her duty to obey him the moment he expressed
his wish; but he was bound by no duty to demand such an unnecessary
proof of her obedience. The immediate consequences, however, made him
sufficiently sensible of his error, and taught him that a knowledge of
the human heart is the most difficult task which a parent has to learn.

Jane, conducted by her parents, having reached another apartment, sat
down--her father taking a chair on one side, and her mother on the
other.

"My darling," said Mr. Sinclair, "I will never forget this proof of your
obedience to me, on so trying an occasion. I knew I might rely upon my
daughter."

Jane made no reply to this, but sat apparently wrapped up in an ecstacy
of calm and unbroken delight. The smile of happiness with which she
contemplated Osborne, on taking her last look of him, was still upon her
face, and contrasted so strongly with the agony which they knew she must
have felt, that her parents, each from an apprehension of alarming the
other, feared openly to allude to it, although they felt their hearts
sink in dismay and terror.

"Jane, why do you not speak to your papa and me?" said her mother;
"speak to us, love, speak to us--if it was only one word."

She appeared not to hear this, nor to be at all affected by her mother's
voice or words. After the latter spoke she smiled again, and immediately
putting up her long white fingers through the ringlets that shaded
her cheek, she pulled them down as one would pressing them with slight
convulsive energy as they passed through, her fingers.

"Henry, dear, what--what is the matter with her?" inquired her
mother, whose face became pale with alarm. "Oh! what is wrong with my
child!--she does not know us!--Gracious heaven, whats is this!"

"Jane, my love, wont you speak to your papa?" said Mr. Sinclair. "Speak
to me, my darling,--it is I,--it is your own papa that asks you?"

She looked up, and seemed for a moment struggling to recover a
consciousness of her situation; but it passed away, and the scarcely
perceptible meaning which began almost to become visible in her eye, was
again succeeded by that smile which they both so much dreaded to see.

The old man shook his head, and looked with a brow darkened by sorrow,
first upon his daughter, and afterwards upon his wife. "My heart's
delight," he exclaimed, "I fear I have demanded more from your obedience
than you could perform without danger to yourself. I wish I had allowed
her grief to flow, and not required such an abrupt and unseasonable
proof of her duty. It was too severe an injunction to a creature so mild
and affectionate,--and would to God that I had not sought it!"

"Would to heaven that you had not, my dear Henry. Let us try, however,
and move her heart,--if tears could come she would be relieved."

"Bring Agnes in," said her father, "bring in Agnes, she may succeed
better with her than we can,--and if Charles be not already gone, there
is no use in distressing him by at all alluding to her situation. She
is only overpowered, I trust, and will soon recover." The mother, on her
way to bring Agnes to her sister, met the rest of the family returning
to the house after having taken leave of Osborne. The two girls were
weeping, for they looked upon him as already a brother; whilst William,
in a good-humored tone, bantered them for the want of firmness.

"I think, mother," said he, "they are all in love with him, if they
would admit it. Why here's Maria and Agnes, and I dare say they're
making as great a rout about him as Jane herself! But bless me! what's
the, matter, mother, that you look so pale and full of alarm?"

"It's Jane--it's Jane," said Agnes. "Mother, there's something wrong!"
and as she spoke she stopped, with uplifted hands, apparently fastened
to the earth.

"My poor child!" exclaimed her mother,--"for heaven's sake come in,
Agnes. Oh, heaven grant that it may soon pass away. Agnes, dear girl,
you know her best--come in quick; her papa wants you to try what you can
do with her."

In a moment this loving family, with pale faces and beating hearts,
stood in a circle about their affectionate and beautiful sister.
Jane sat with her passive hand tenderly pressed between her
father's,--smiling; but whether in unconscious happiness or unconscious
misery, who alas! can say?

"You see she knows none of us," said her mother. "Neither her papa
nor me. Speak to her each of you, in turn. Perhaps you may be more
successful. Agnes,--"

"She will know me," replied Agnes; "I am certain she will know me;"--and
the delightful girl spoke with an energy that was baaed upon the
confidence of that love which subsisted between them. Maria and her
brother both burst into tears; but Agnes's affection rose above the mood
of ordinary grief. The confidence that her beloved sister's tenderness
for her would enable her to touch a chord in a heart so utterly her own
as Jane's was, assumed upon this occasion the character of a wild but
mournful enthusiasm, that was much more expressive of her attachment
than could be the loudest and most vehement sorrow.

"If she could but shed tears," said her mother, wringing her hands.

"She will," returned Agnes, "she will. Jane," she exclaimed, "Jane,
don't you know your own Agnes?--your own Agnes, Jane?"

The family waited in silence for half a minute, but their beloved
one smiled on, and gave not the slightest token of recognizing either
Agnes's person or her voice. Sometimes her lips moved, and she appeared
to be repeating certain words to herself, but in a voice so low and
indistinct that no one could catch them.

Agnes's enthusiasm abandoned her on seeing that that voice to which her
own dearest sister ever sweetly and lovingly responded, fell upon her
ear as an idle and unmeaning sound. Her face became deadly pale, and her
lip quivered, as she again addressed the unconscious girl. Once more she
took her hand in hers, and placing herself before her, put her fingers
to her cheek in order to arrest her attention.

"Jane, look upon me; look upon me;--that's a sweet child,--look upon me.
Sure I am Agnes--your own Agnes, who will break her heart if my sweet
sister doesn't speak to her."

The stricken one raised her head, and looked into her face; but it was,
alas! too apparent that she saw her not; for the eye, though smiling,
was still vacant. Again her lips moved, and she spoke so as to be
understood towards the door through which she had entered.

"Yes," she exclaimed, in the same low, placid voice, "yes, he is
beautiful! Is he not beautiful? Fatal beauty!--fatal beauty! It is a
fatal thing--it is a fatal thing!--but he is very, very beautiful!"

"Jane," said Maria, taking her hand from Agnes's, "Jane, speak to Maria,
dear. Am not I, too, your own Maria? that loves you not less than--my
darling, darling child--they do not live that love you better than your
own Maria;--in pity, darling, in pity speak to me!"

The only reply was a smile, that rose into the murmuring music of a low
laugh; but this soon ceased, her countenance became troubled, and her
finely-pencilled brows knit, as if with an inward sense of physical
pain. William, her father, her mother, each successively addressed her,
but to no purpose. Though a slight change had taken place, they could
not succeed in awakening her reason to a perception of the circumstances
in which she was placed. They only saw that the unity of her thought, or
of the image whose beauty veiled the faculties of her mind was broken,
and that some other memory, painful in its nature, had come in to
disturb the serenity of her unreal happiness; but this, which ought
to have given them hope, only alarmed them the more. The father, while
these tender and affecting experiments were tried, sat beside her, his
eyes laboring under a weight of deep and indescribable calamity, and
turning from her face to the faces of those who attempted to recall her
reason, with a mute vehemence of sorrow which called up from the depths
of their sister's misery a feeling of compassion for the old man whom
she had so devotedly loved.

"My father's heart is breaking," said William, groaning aloud, and
covering his face with his hands. "Father, your face frightens me
more than Jane's;--don't, father, don't. She is young,--it will pass
away--and father dear where is your reliance upon her--upon her aid!"

"Dear Henry," said his wife, "you should be our support. It is the
business of your life to comfort and sustain the afflicted."

"Papa," said Agnes, "come with me for a few minutes, until you recover
the shock which--which----"

She stopped, and dropping her head upon the knees of her smiling and
apparently happy sister, wept aloud.

"Agnes--Agnes," said William, (they were all in tears except her father)
"Agnes, I am ashamed of you;"--yet his own cheeks were wet, and his
voice faltered. "Father, come with me for awhile. You will when alone
for a few minutes, bethink you of your duty--for it is your duty to bear
this not only as becomes a Christian man, but a Christian minister, who
is bound to give us example as well as precept."

"I know it, William, I know it;--and you shall witness my fortitude, my
patience, my resignation under this--this-----. I will retire. But is
she not--alas! I should say, was she not my youngest and my dearest! You
admit yourselves she was the best."

"Father, come," said William.

"Dear father--dear papa, go with him," said Agnes.

"My father," said Maria, "as he said to _her_, will be himself."

"I will go," said the old man; "I know how to be firm; I will reflect; I
will pray; I will weep. I must, I must----"

He pressed the beautiful creature to his bosom, kissed her lips, and as
he hung over her, his tears fell in torrents upon her cheeks.

Oh! what a charm must be in sympathy, and in the tears which it sheds
over the afflicted, when those of the grey-haired father could soothe
his daughter's soul into that sorrow which is so often a relief to the
miserable and disconsolate!

When Jane first felt his tears upon her cheeks, she started slightly,
and the smile departed from her countenance. As he pressed her to his
heart she struggled a little, and putting her arms out, she turned up
her eyes upon his face, and after a long struggle between memory and
insanity, at length whispered out "papa!"

"You are with me, darling," he exclaimed; "and I am with you, too: and
here we are all about you,--your mother, and Agnes, and all."

"Yes, yes," she replied; "but papa,--and where is my mamma?"

"I am here, my own love; here I am. Jane, collect yourself, my treasure.
You are overcome with sorrow. The parting from Charles Osborne has been
too much for you."

"Perhaps it was wrong to mention his name," whispered William. "May it
not occasion a relapse, mother?"

"No," she replied. "I want to touch her heart, and get her to weep if
possible."

Her daughter's fingers were again involved in the tangles of her
beautiful ringlets, and once more was the sweet but vacant smile
returning to her lips.

"May God relieve her and us," said Maria; "the darling child is
relapsing!"

Agnes felt so utterly overcome, that she stooped, and throwing her arms
around her neck wept aloud, with her cheek laid to Jane's.

Again the warmth of the tears upon the afflicted one's face seemed
to soothe or awaken her. She looked up, and with a troubled face
exclaimed:--

"I hope I am not!--Agnes, you are good, and never practised deceit,--am
I? am I?"

"Are you what, love? are you what, Jane, darling?"

"Am I a cast-away? I thought I was. I believe I am--Agnes?"

"Well, dear girl!"

"I am afraid of my papa."

"Why, Jane, should you be afraid of papa. Sure you know how he loves
you--dotes upon you?"

"Because I practised deceit upon him. I dissembled to him. I sinned,
sinned deeply;--blackly, blackly. I shudder to think of it;" and she
shuddered while speaking.

"Well, but Jane dear," said her mother, soothingly, "can you not weep
for your fault. Tears of repentance can wipe out any crime. Weep, my
child, weep, and it will relieve your heart."

"I would like to see my papa," she replied. "I should be glad to hear
that he forgives me: how glad! how glad! That's all that troubles your
poor Jane; all in the world that troubles her poor heart--I think."

These words were uttered in a tone of such deep and inexpressible
misery, and with such an innocent and childlike unconsciousness of the
calamity which weighed her down that no heart possessing common humanity
could avoid being overcome.

"Look on me, love," exclaimed her father. "Your papa is here, ready to
pity and forgive you."

"William," said Agnes, "a thought strikes me,--the air that Charles
played when they first met has been her favorite ever since you know
it--go get your flute and play it with as much feeling as you can."

Jane made no reply to her father's words. She sat musing, and once or
twice put up her hand to her sidelocks, but immediately withdrew it, and
again fell into a reverie. Sometimes her face brightened into the fatal
smile, and again became overshadowed with a gloom that seemed to
proceed from a feeling of natural grief. Indeed the play of meaning and
insanity, as they chased each other over a countenance so beautiful, was
an awful sight, even to an indifferent beholder, much less to those who
then stood about her.

William in about a minute returned with his flute, and placing himself
behind her, commenced the air in a spirit more mournful probably than
any in which it had ever before been played. For a long time she noticed
it not: that is to say, she betrayed no external marks of attention to
it. They could perceive, however, that although she neither moved nor
looked around her, yet the awful play of her features ceased, and; their
expression became more intelligent and natural. At length she sighed
deeply several times, though without appearing to hear the music; and at
length, without uttering a word to any one of them, she laid her head I
upon her father's bosom, and the tears fell; in placid torrents down her
cheeks. By a signal from his hand, Mr. Sinclair intimated that for the
present they should be silent; and by another addressed to William, that
he should play on. He did so, and she wept copiously under the influence
of that charmed melody for more than twenty minutes.

"It would be well for me," she at length said, "that is, I fear it
would, that I had never heard that air, or seen him who first sent
its melancholy music to my heart. He is gone; but when--when will he
return?"

"Do not take his departure so heavily, dear child," said her father.
"If you were acquainted with life and the world you would know that a
journey to the Continent is nothing. Two years to one as young as you
are will soon pass."

"It would, papa, if I loved him less. But my love for him--my love for
him--that now is my misery. I must, however, rely upon other strength
than my own. Papa, kneel down and pray for me,--and you, mamma, and all
of you; for I fear I am myself incapable of praying as I used to do,
with an un-divided heart."

Her father knelt down, but knowing her weak state of mind, he made
his supplication as short and simple as might be consistent with the
discharge of a duty so solemn.

"Now," said she, when it was concluded, "will you, mamma, and Agnes,
help me to bed; I am very much exhausted, and my heart is sunk as if it
were never to beat lightly again. It may yet; I would hope it,--hope it
if I could."

They allowed her her own way, and without any allusion whatsoever to
Charles, or his departure, more than she had made herself, they embraced
her; and in a few minutes she was in bed, and as was soon evident to
Agnes, who watched her, in a sound sleep.

Why is it that those who are dear to us are more tenderly dear to us
while asleep than while awake? It is indeed difficult to say but we
know that there are many in life and nature, especially in the and
affections, which we feel as distinct truths without being able to
satisfy ourselves they are so. This is one of them. What parent does
not love the offspring more glowingly while the features are composed
in sleep? What young husband does not feel his heart melt with a warmer
emotion, on contemplating the countenance of his youthful wife, when
that countenance is overshadowed with the placid but somewhat mournful
beauty of repose?

When the family understood from Agnes that Jane had fallen into a
slumber, they stole up quietly, and standing about her, each looked
upon her with a long gaze of relief and satisfaction; for they knew that
sleep would repair the injury which the trial of that day had wrought
upon a mind so delicately framed as her's. We question not but where
there is beauty it is still more beautiful in sleep. The passions are
then at rest, and the still harmony of the countenance unbroken by the
jarring discords and vexations of waking life; every feature then falls
into its natural place, and renders the symmetry of the face chaster,
whilst its general expression breathes more of that tender and pensive
character, which constitutes the highest order of beauty.

Jane's countenance, in itself so exquisitely lovely, was now an object
of deep and melancholy interest. Upon it might be observed faint traces
of those contending emotions whose struggle had been on that day so
nearly fatal to her mind for ever. The smile left behind it a faint and
dying light, like the dim radiance of a spring evening when melting into
dusk;--whilst the secret dread of becoming a cast-away, and the still
abiding consciousness of having deceived her father, blended into the
languid serenity of her face a slight expression of the pain they had
occasioned her while awake.

"Unhappy girl! There she lay in her innocence and beauty like a summer
lake whose clear waters have settled into stillness after a recent
storm; reflecting, as they pass, the clouds now softened into milder
forms, which had but a little time before so deeply agitated them.

"Oh, no wonder," said her father, "that the boy who loves her should
say he would not leave her, and that separation would break down the
strength of his heart and spirit. A fairer thing--a purer being never
closed her eyelids upon the cares and trials of life. Light may those
caros be, oh! beloved of our hearts; and refreshing the slumbers that
are upon you; and may the blessing and merciful providence of God guard
and keep you from evil! Amen! Amen!"

Maria on this occasion was deeply affected Jane's arm lay outside the
coverlid, and her sister observed that her white and beautiful
fingers were affected from time to time with slight starting twitches,
apparently nervous.

This, contrasted with the stillness of her face, impressed the girl
with an apprehension that the young mourner, though asleep, was still
suffering pain; but when her father spoke and blessed her, she felt her
heart getting full, and bending over Jane she imprinted a kiss upon her
cheek;--affectionate, indeed, was that kiss, but timid and light as the
full of the thistle-down upon a leaf of the rose or the lily. When she
withdrew her lips, a tear was visible on the cheek of the sleeper--a
circumstance which, slight as it was, gave a character of inexpressible
love and tenderness to the act. They then quietly left her, with the
excertion of Agnes, and all were relieved and delighted at seeing her
enjoy a slumber so sound and refreshing.

The next morning they arose earlier than usual, in order to watch
the mood in which she might awake; and when Agnes, who had been her
bed-fellow, came down stairs, every eye was turned upon her with an
anxiety proportioned to the disastrous consequences that might result
from any unfavorable turn in her state of feeling.

"Agnes," said her father, "how is she?--in what state?--in what frame of
mind?"

"She appears much distressed, papa--feels conscious that Charles is
gone--but as yet has made no allusion to their parting yesterday. Indeed
I do not think she remembers it. She is already up, and begged this
moment of me to leave her to herself for a little."

"'I want strength, Agnes,' said she, 'and I know there is but one source
from which I can obtain it. Advice, consolation, and sympathy, I may and
will receive here; but strength--strength is what I most stand in need
of, and that only can proceed from Him who gives rest to the heavy
laden.'

"'You feel too deeply, Jane,' I replied; 'you should try to be firm.'

"'I do try, Agnes; but tell me, have I not been unwell, very unwell?'

"'Your feelings, dear Jane, overcame you yesterday, as was natural
they should--but now that you are calm, of course you will not yield to
despondency or melancholy. Your dejection, though at present deep, will
soon pass away, and ere many days you will be as cheerful as ever.'

"'I hope so; but Charles is gone, is he not?'

"'But you know it was necessary that he should travel for his health;
besides, have you not formed a plan of correspondence with each other?'

"Then," proceeded Agnes, "she pulled out the locket which contained his
hair, and after looking on it for about a minute, she kissed it, pressed
it to her heart, and whilst in the act of doing so a few tears ran down
her cheeks.

"I am glad of that," observed her mother; "it is a sign that this heavy
grief will not long-abide upon her."

"She then desired me," continued Agnes, "to leave her, and expressed a
sense of her own weakness, and the necessity of spiritual support, as I
have already told you. I am sure the worst is over."

"Blessed be God, I trust it is," said her father; "but whilst I live, I
will never demand from her such a proof of her obedience as that which
I imposed upon her yesterday. She will soon be down to breakfast, and
we must treat the dear girl kindly, and gently, and affectionately;
tenderly, tenderly must she be treated; and, children, much depends upon
you--keep her mind engaged. You have music--play more than you do--read
more--walk more--sing more. I myself will commence a short course of
lectures upon the duties and character of women, in the single and
married state of life; alternately with which I will also give you a
short course upon _Belles-Lettres_. If this engages and relieves her
mind, it will answer an important purpose; but at all events it will be
time well spent, and that is something."

When Jane appeared at breakfast, she was paler than usual; but then the
expression of her countenance, though pensive, was natural. Mr. Sinclair
placed her between himself and her mother, and each kissed her in
silence ere she sat down.

"I have been very unwell yesterday,papa. I know I must have been; but I
have made my mind up to bear his absence with fortitude--not that it is
his mere absence which I feel so severely, but an impression that some
calamity is to occur either to him or me."

"Impressions of that kind, my dear child, are the results of low spirits
and a nervous habit. You should not suffer your mind to be disturbed by
them; for, when it is weakened by suffering, they gather strength, and
sometimes become formidable."

"There is no bearing my calamity, papa, as it ought to be borne, without
the grace of God, and you know we must pray to be made worthy of that. I
dare say that if I am resigned and submissive that my usual cheerfulness
will gradually return. I have confidence in heaven, papa, but none in my
own strength, or I should rather say in my own weakness. My attachment
to Charles resembles a disease more than a healthy and rational passion.
I know it is excessive, and I indeed think its excess is a disease. Yet
it is singular I do not fear my heart, papa, but I do my head; here is
where the danger lies--here--here;" and as she spoke, she applied her
hand to here forehead and gave a faint smile of melancholy apprehension.

"Wait, Jane," said her brother; "just wait for a week or ten days, and
if you don't scold yourself for being now so childish, why never call me
brother again. Sure I understand these things like a philosopher. I have
been three times in love myself."

Jane looked at him, and a faint sparkle of her usual good nature lit up
her countenance.

"Didn't I tell you," he proceeded, addressing them--"look; why I'll soon
have her as merry as a kid."

"But who were you in love with, William," asked Agnes.

"I was smitten first with Kate Sharp, the Applewoman, in consideration
of her charmin' method of giving me credit for fruit when I was a
school-boy, and had no money. I thought her a very interesting woman,
I assure you, and preferred my suit to her With signal success. I say
signal, for you know she was then, as she is now, very hard of hearing,
and I was forced to pay my suit to her by signs."

"Dear William," said she, "I see your motive, and love you for it;
but it is too soon--my spirits are not yet in tone for mirth or
pleasantry--but they will be--they will be. I know it is too bad to
permit an affliction that is merely sentimental to bear me down in this
manner; but I cannot help it, and you must all only look on me as a
weak, foolish girl, and forgive me, and pity me. Mamma, I will lie down
again, for I feel I am not, well; and oh, papa, if you ever prayed with
fervor and sincerity, pray for strength to your own Jane, and happiness
to her stricken heart."

She then retired, and for the remainder of that day confined herself
partly to her bed, and altogether to her chamber; and it was observed,
that from the innocent caprices of a sickly spirit, she called Agnes,
and her mother, and Maria--sometimes one, and sometimes another--and
had them always about her, each to hear a particular observation that
occurred to her, or to ask some simple question, of no importance to
any person except to one whose mind had become too sensitive upon the
subject which altogether engrossed it. Towards evening she had a long
fit of weeping, after which she appeared more calm and resigned.
She made her mother read her a chapter in the Bible, and expressed a
resolution to bear every thing she said as became one she hoped not yet
beyond the reach of Divine grace and Christian consolation.

After a second night's sleep she arose considerably relieved from the
gloomy grief which had nearly wrought such a dreadful change in her
intellect. Her father's plan of imperceptibly engaging her attention
by instruction and amusement was carried into effect by him and her
sisters, with such singular success, that at the lapse of a month she
was almost restored to her wonted spirits. We say almost, because it
was observed that, notwithstanding her apparent serenity, she never
afterwards reached the same degree of cheerfulness, nor so richly
exhibited in her complexion that purple glow, the hue of which lies like
a visible charm upon the I cheek of youthful beauty.

Time, however, is the best philosopher, and our heroine found that ere
many weeks she could, with the exception of slight intervals, look back
upon the day of separation from Osborne, and forward to the expectation
of his return, with a calmness of spirit by no means unpleasing to one
who had placed such unlimited confidence in his affection. His first
letter soothed, relieved, transported her. Indeed, so completely was she
overcome on receiving it, that the moment it was placed in her hands,
her eyes seemed to have been changed into light, her limbs trembled with
the agitation of a happiness so intense; and she at length sank into an
ecstacy of joy, which was only relieved by a copious flood of tears.

For two years after this their correspondence was as regular as the
uncertain motions of a tourist could permit it. Jane appeared to be
happy, and she was so within the limits of an enjoyment, narrowed in
its character by the contingency arising from time and distance, and the
other probabilities of disappointment which a timid heart and a pensive
fancy will too often shape into certainty. Fits of musing and melancholy
she often had without any apparent cause, and when gently taken to task,
or remonstrated with concerning them, she had only replied by weeping,
or admitted that she could by no means account for her depression,
except by saying that she believed it to be a defect in the habit and
temper of her mind.

His tutor's letters, both to Charles's father and hers, were nearly as
welcome to Jane as his own. He, in fact, could say that for his pupil,
which his pupil's modesty would not permit him to say for himself. Oh!
how her heart glowed, and conscious pride sparkled in her eye, when
that worthy man described, the character of manly beauty which time
and travel had gradually given to his person! And when his progress
in knowledge and accomplishments, and the development of his taste and
judgment became the theme of his tutor's panegyric, she could not listen
without betraying the vehement enthusiasm of a passion, which absence
and time had only strengthened in her bosom.

These letters induced a series of sensations at once novel and
delightful, and such as were calculated to give zest to an attachment
thus left, to support itself, not from the presence of its object, but
from the memory of tenderness that had already gone by. She knew Charles
Osborne only as a boy--a beautiful boy it is true--and he knew her only
as a graceful creature, whose extremely youthful appearance made it
difficult whether to consider her merely as an advanced girl, or as a
young female who had just passed into the first stage of womanhood. But
now her fancy and affection had both room to indulge in that vivacious
play which delights to paint a lover absent under such circumstances in
the richest hues of imaginary beauty.

"How will he look," she would say to her sister Agnes, "when he returns
a young man, settled into the fulness of his growth? Taller he will be,
and much more manly in his deportment. But is there no danger, Agnes, of
his losing in grace, in delicacy of complexion, in short, of losing in
beauty what he may gain otherwise?"

"No, my dear, not in the least; you will be ten times prouder of him
after his return than you ever were. There is something much more noble
and dignified in the love of a man than in that of a boy, and you will
feel this on seeing him."

"In that case, Agnes, I shall have to fall in love with him over again,
and to fall in love with the same individual twice, will certainly be
rather a novel case--a double passion, at least, you will grant, Agnes."

"But he will experience sensations quite as singular on seeing you, when
he returns. You are as much changed--improved I mean--in your person, as
he can be for his life. If he is now a fine, full-grown young man, you
are a tall, elegant--I don't, want to flatter you, Jane,--I need not say
graceful, for that you always were, but I may add with truth, a majestic
young woman. Why, you will scarcely know each other."

"You do flatter me, Agnes; but am I so much improved?"

"Indeed you are quite a different girl from what you were when he saw
you."

"I am glad of it; but as I told him once, it is on his account that I am
so glad; do you know, Agnes, I never was vain of my beauty until I saw
Charles?"

"Did you ever feel proud in being beautiful in the eyes of another,
Jane?"

"No, I never did--why should I?"

"Well, that is not vanity--it is only love visible in a different
aspect, and not the least amiable either, my dear."

"Well, I should be much more melancholy than I am, were not my fancy so
often engaged in picturing to myself the change which may be on him when
he returns. The feeling it occasions is novel and agreeable, sometimes,
indeed, delightful, and so far sustains me when I am inclined to be
gloomy. But believe me, Agnes, I could love Charles Osborne even if he
were not handsome. I could love him for his mind, his principles, and
especially for his faithful and constant heart."

"And for all these he would deserve your love; but you remember what you
told me once: it seems he has not yet seen a girl that he thinks more
handsome than you are. Did you not mention to me that he said when he
did, he would cease to write to you and cease to love you? You see he is
constant."

"Yes; but did I not tell you the sense in which he meant it?"

"Yes; and now you throw a glance at yourself in the glass! Oh Jane,
Jane, the best of us and the freest from imperfection is not without a
little pride and vanity; but don't be too confident, my saucy beauty;
consider that you complained to William yesterday, about the unusual
length of time that has elapsed since you received his last letter,
and yet he could, write to his fa---- What, what, dear girl, what's the
matter? you are as pale as death."

"Because, Agnes, I never think of that but my heart and spirits sink.
It has been one of the secret causes of my occasional depressions ever
since he went. I cannot tell why, but from the moment the words were
spoken, I have not been without a presentiment of evil."

"Even upon your own showing, Jane, that is an idle and groundless
impression, and unworthy the affection which you know, and which we all
know he bears you; dismiss it, dear Jane, dismiss it, and do not give
yourself the habit of creating imaginary evils."

"I know I am prone to such a habit, and am probably too much of a
visionary for my own happiness; but setting that gloomy presentiment
aside, have you not, Agnes, been struck with several hints in his
letters, both to me and his father, unfavorable to the state of his
health."

"That you will allow, could not be very ill, when he was able to
continue his travels."

"True, but according to his own admission his arrangements were
frequently broken up, by the fact of his being 'unwell,' and 'not in a
condition to travel,' and so did not reach the places in time to which
he had requested me to direct many of my letters. I fear, Agnes, that
his health has not been so much improved by the air of the continent as
we hoped it would."

"I have only to say this, Jane, that if he does not appreciate your
affection as he ought to do, then God forgive him. He will be guilty of
a crime against the purest attachment of the best of hearts, as well as
against truth and honor. I hope he may be worthy of you, and I am sure
he will. He is now in Bath, however, and will soon be with us."

"I am divided, Agnes, by two principles--if they may be called such--or
if you will, by two moods of mind, or states of feeling; one of them
is faith and trust in his affection--how can I doubt it?--the other is
malady, I believe, a gloom, an occasional despondency for which I cannot
account, and which I am not able to shake off. My faith and trust,
however, will last, and his return will dispel the other."

This, in fact, was the true state of the faithful girl's heart. From
the moment Osborne went to travel, her affection, though full of the
tenderest enthusiasm, lay under the deep shadow of that gloom, which was
occasioned by the first, and we may say the only act of insincerity she
was ever guilty of towards her father. The reader knows that even this
act was not a deliberate one, but merely the hurried evasion of a young
and bashful girl, who, had her sense of moral delicacy been less acute,
might have never bestowed a moment's subsequent consideration upon it.
Let our fair young readers, however, be warned even by this very
slight deviation from truth, and let them also remember that one act of
dissimulation may, in the little world of their own moral sentiments and
affections, lay the foundation for calamities under which their hopes
and their happiness in consequence of that act may absolutely perish.
Still are we bound to say that Jane's deportment during the period,
stipulated upon for Osborne's absence was admirably decorous, and
replete with moral beauty. Her moments of enjoyment derived from his
letters, were fraught with an innocent simplicity of delight in fine
keeping with a heart so fall of youthful fervor and attachment. And when
her imagination became occasionally darkened by that gloom which she
termed her malady, nothing could be more impressive than the tone of
deep and touching piety which mingled with and elevated her melancholy
into a cheerful solemnity of spirit, that swayed by its pensive dignity
the habits and affections of her whole family.

'Tis true she was one of a class rarely to be found amoung even the
highest of her own sex, and her attachment was consequently that of a
heart utterly incapable of loving twice. Her first affection was too
steadfast and decisive ever to be changed, and at the same time too
full and unreserved to maintain the materials for a second passion.
The impression she received was too deep ever to be erased. She might
weep--she might mourn--she might sink--her soul might be bowed down to
the dust--her heart might break--she might die--but she never, never,
could love again. That heart was his palace, where the monarch of her
affections reigned--but remove his throne, and it became the sepulchre
of her own hopes--the ruin, haunted by the moping brood of her own
sorrows. Often, indeed, did her family wonder at the freshness of memory
manifested in the character of her love for Osborne. There was nothing
transient, nothing forgotten, nothing perishable in her devotion to him.
In truth, it had something of divinity in it. Every thing past, and much
also of the future was present to her. Osborne breathed and lived at the
expiration of two years, just as he had done the day before he set out
on his travels. In her heart he existed as an undying principle, and the
duration of her love for him seemed likely to be limited only by those
laws of nature, which, in the course of time, carry the heart beyond the
memory of all human affections.

It would, indeed, be almost impossible to see a creature so lovely and
angelic as was our heroine, about the period when Osborne was expected
to return. Retaining all the graceful elasticity of motion that
characterized her when first introduced to our readers, she was now
taller and more majestic in her person, rounder and with more symmetry
in her figure, and also more conspicuous for the singular ease and
harmony of her general deportment. Her hair, too, now grown to greater
luxuriance, had become several shades deeper, and, of course, was much
more rich than when Charles saw it last. But if there was any thing
that, more than another, gave an expression of tenderness to her beauty,
it was the under-tone of color--the slightly perceptible paleness which
marked her complexion as that of a person whose heart though young had
already been made acquainted with some early sorrow.

Had her lover then seen her, and witnessed the growth of charms that
had taken place during his absence, he and she might both, alas, have
experienced another and a kinder destiny.

The time at length arrived when Charles, as had been settled upon by
both their parents, was expected to return. During the three months
previous he had been at Bath, accompanied of course by his friend
and tutor. Up until a short time previous to his arrival there, his
communications to his parents and to Jane were not only punctual and
regular, but remarkable for the earnest spirit of dutiful affection
and fervid attachment which they breathed to both. It is true that his
father had, during the whole period of his absence, been cognizant of
that which the vigilance of Jane's love for him only suspected--I
allude to the state of his health, which it seems occasionally betrayed
symptoms of his hereditary complaint.

This gave Mr. Osborne deep concern, for he had hoped that so long a
residence in more genial climates would have gradually removed from his
son's constitution that tendency to decline which was so much dreaded
by them all. Still he was gratified to hear, that with the exception of
those slight recurrences, the boy grew fast and otherwise with a healthy
energy into manhood. The principles he had set out with were unimpaired
by the influence of continental profligacy. His mind was enlarged, his
knowledge greatly extended, and his taste and manners polished to a
degree so unusual, that he soon became the ornament of every circle in
which he moved. His talents, now ripe and cultivated, were not only of
a high, but also of a striking and brilliant character--much too
commanding and powerful, as every one said, to be permitted to sink into
the obscurity of private life.

This language was not without its due impression on young Osborne's
mind; for his tutor could observe that soon after his return to England
he began to have fits of musing, and was often abstracted, if not
absolutely gloomy. He could also perceive a disinclination to write
home, for which he felt it impossible to account. At first he attributed
this to ill health, or to those natural depressions which frequently
precede or accompany it; but at length on seeing his habitual absences
increase, he inquired in a tone of friendly sympathy, too sincere to be
doubted, why it was that a change so unusual had become so remarkably
visible in his spirits.

"I knew not," replied Osborne, "that it was so; I myself have not
observed what you speak of."

"Your manner, indeed, is much changed," said his friend; "you appear to
me, and I dare say to others, very like a man whose mind is engaged upon
the consideration of some subject that is deeply painful to him, and of
which he knows not how to dispose. If it be so, my dear Osborne, command
my advice, my sympathy, my friendship."

"I assure you, my dear friend, I was perfectly unconscious of this.
But that I _have_ for some time past been thinking--more seriously than
usual of the position in society which I ought to select, I grant you.
You are pleased to flatter me with the possession of talents that you
say might enable any man to reach a commanding station in public life.
Now, for what purpose are talents given? or am I justified in sinking
away into obscurity when I might create my own fortune, perhaps my own
rank, by rendering some of the noblest services to my country. That
wish to leave behind one a name that cannot die, is indeed a splendid
ambition!"

"I thought," replied the other, "that you had already embraced views of
a different character, entered into by your father to promote your-own
happiness."

Osborne started, blushed, and for more than half a minute returned no
answer. "True," said he at last, "true, I had forgotten that."

His tutor immediately perceived that an ambition not unnatural, indeed,
to a young man possessing such fine talents, had strongly seized upon
his heart, and knowing as he did his attachment to Jane, he would have
advised his immediate return home, had it not been already determined
on, in consequence of medical advice, that he himself should visit Bath
for the benefit of his health, and his pupil could by no arguments be
dissuaded from accompanying him.

This brief view of Osborne's intentions, at the close of the period
agreed on for his return, was necessary to explain an observation made
by Agnes in the last dialogue which we have given between herself and
her younger sister. We allude to the complaint which she playfully
charged Jane with having made to her brother concerning the length of
time which had elapsed since she last heard from her lover. The truth
is, that with the exception of Jane herself, both families were even
then deeply troubled in consequence of a letter directed by Charles's
tutor to Mr. Osborne. That letter was the last which the amiable
gentleman ever wrote, for he had not been in Bath above a week when he
sank suddenly under a disease of the heart, to which he had for some
years been subject. His death, which distressed young Osborne very
much, enabled him, however, to plead the necessity of attending to his
friend's obsequies, in reply to his father's call on him to return to
his family. The next letter stated that he would not lose a moment in
complying with his wishes, as no motive existed to detain him from home,
and the third expressed the uncommon benefit which he had, during his
brief residence there, experienced from the use of the waters. Against
this last argument the father had nothing to urge. His son's health
was to him a consideration paramount to every other, and when he found
himself improved either by the air or waters of Bath, he should not
hurry his return as he had intended. "Only write to your friends," said
he, "they are as anxious for the perfect establishment of your health as
I am."

This latter correspondence between Mr. Osborne and his son, was
submitted to Mr. Sinclair, that it might be mentioned to serve as an
apology for Charles's delay in replying to her last letter. This step
was suggested by Mr. Sinclair himself, who dreaded the consequences
which any appearance of neglect might have upon a heart so liable to
droop as that of his gentle daughter. Jane, who was easily depressed,
but not suspicious, smiled at the simplicity of her papa, as she said,
in deeming it necessary to make any apology for Charles Osborne's not
writing to her by return of post.

"It will be time enough," she added, "when his letters get cool, and
come but seldom, to make excuses for him. Surely, my dear papa, if any
one blamed him, I myself would be, and ought to be the first to defend
him."

"Yet," observed William, "you could complain to me about his letting
a letter of yours stand over a fortnight before he answered it.
Jane--Jane--there's no knowing you girls; particularly when you're in
love; but, indeed, then you don't know yourselves, so how should we?"

"But, papa," she added, looking earnestly upon him; "it is rather
strange that you are so anxious to apologize for Charles. I cannot
question my papa, and I shall not; but yet upon second thoughts, it is
very strange."

"No, my love, but I would not have you a day uneasy."

"Well," she replied, musing--but with a keen eye bent alternately
upon him and William; "it is a simple case, I myself have a very ready
solution for his want of punctuality, if it can be called such, or if it
continue such."

"And pray what is it, Jane," asked William.

"Excuse me, dear William--if I told you it might reach him, and then he
might shape his conduct to meet it--I may mention it some day, though;
but I hope there will never be occasion. Papa, don't you ask me, because
if you do, I shall feel it my duty to tell you; and I would rather not,
sir, except you press me. But why after all should I make a secret
of it. It is, papa, the test of all things, as well as of Charles's
punctuality--for, of his affection I will never doubt. It is time--time;
but indeed I wish you had not spoken to me about it; I was not uneasy."

The poor girl judged Osborne through a misapprehension which, had she
known more I of life, or even reflected upon his neglect in writing
to her, would have probably caused her to contemplate his conduct in a
different light. She thought because his letters were nearly as frequent
since his return to England, as they had been during his tour on the
continent, that the test of his respect and attachment was sustained.
In fact, she was ignorant that he had written several letters of late to
his own family, without having addressed to her a single line; or even
mentioned her name, and this circumstance was known to them all, with
the exception of herself, as was the tutor's previous letter, of which
she had never heard.

It was no wonder, therefore, that her father, who was acquainted with
this, and entertained such serious apprehensions for his daughter's
state of mind, should feel anxious, that until Osborne's conduct were
better understood, no doubt of his sincerity should reach the confiding
girl's heart. The old man, however, unconsciously acted upon his own
impressions rather than on Jane's knowledge of what had occurred. In
truth, he forgot that the actual state of the matter was unknown to her,
and the consequence was, that in attempting to efface an impression that
did not exist, he alarmed her suspicion by his mysterious earnestness of
manner, and thereby created the very uneasiness he wished to remove.

From this day forward, Jane's eye became studiously vigilant of the
looks and motions of the family. Her melancholy returned, but I it was
softer and serener than it had ever been before; so did the mild but
pensive spirit of devotion which had uniformly accompanied it. The
sweetness of her manner was irresistible, if not affecting, for there
breathed through the composure of her countenance an air of mingled
sorrow and patience, so finely blended, that it was difficult to
determine, on looking at her, whether she secretly rejoiced or mourned.

A few days more brought another letter from Osborne to his father, which
contained a proposal for which the latter, in consequence of the tutor's
letter, was not altogether unprepared. It was a case put to the father
for the purpose of ascertaining whether, if he, Charles, were offered
an opportunity of appearing in public life, he would recommend him to
accept it. He did not say that such an opening had really presented
itself, but he strongly urged his father's permission to embrace it if
it should.

This communication was immediately laid before Mr. Sinclair, who advised
his friend, ere he took any other step, or hazarded an opinion upon
it, to require from Charles an explicit statement of the motives which
induced him to solicit such a sanction. "Until we know what he means,"
said he, "it is impossible for us to know how to advise him. That he
has some ambitious project in view, is certain. Mr. Harvey's (his tutor)
letter and this both prove it."

"But in the meantime, we must endeavor to put such silly projects out of
his head, my dear friend. I am more troubled about that sweet girl than
about any thing else. I cannot understand his neglect of her."

"Few, indeed, are worthy of that angel," replied her father, sighing;
"I hope he may. If Charles, after what has passed, sports with her
happiness, he will one day have a fearful reckoning of it, unless he
permits his conscience to become altogether seared."

"It cannot, happen," replied the other; "I know my boy, his heart is
noble; no, no, he is incapable of dishonor, much less of perfidy so
black as that would be. In my next letter, however, I shall call upon
him to explain himself upon that subject, as well as the other, and if
he replies by an evasion, I shall instantly command him home."

They then separated, with a feeling of deep but fatherly concern,
one anxious for the honor of his son, and the other trembling for the
happiness of his daughter.

Mr. Sinclair was a man in whose countenance could be read all the
various emotions that either exalted or disturbed his heart. If he felt
joy his eye became irradiated with benignant lustre, that spoke at once
of happiness; and, when depressed by care or sorrow, it was easy to
see by the serious composure of his face, that something troubled or
disturbed him. Indeed, this candor of countenance is peculiar to those
only who have not schooled their faces into hypocrisy. After his return
from the last interview with Mr. Osborne, his family perceived at a
glance that something more than usually painful lay upon his mind; and
such was the affectionate sympathy by which they caught each other's
feelings, that every countenance, save! one, became partially
overshadowed. Jane, although her eye was the first and quickest! to
notice this anxiety of her father, exhibited no visible proof of
a penetration so acute and lively. The serene light that beamed so
mournfully from her placid but melancholy brow, was not darkened by what
she saw; on the contrary, that brow became, if possible, more serene;
for in truth, the gentle enthusiast had already formed a settled plan
of exalted resignation that was designed to sustain her under an
apprehension far different from that which Osborne's ambitious
speculations in life would have occasioned her to feel had she known
them.

"I see," said she with a smile, "that my papa has no good news to tell.
A letter has come to his father, but none to me; but you need not fear
for my firmness, papa. I know from whence to expect support;
indeed, from the beginning I knew that I would require it. You often
affectionately chid me for entertaining apprehensions too gloomy; but
now they are not gloomy, because, if what I surmise be true, Charles and
I will not be so long separated as you imagine. The hope of this, papa,
is my consolation."

"Why, what do you surmise, my love, asked her father.

"That Charles is gone, perhaps irretrievably gone in decline; you
know it is the hereditary complaint of his family. What else could,
or would--yes, papa, or ought to keep him so long from home--from
his friends--from me. Yes, indeed," she added with a smile, "from me,
papa--from his own Jane Sinclair, and he so near us, in England, and the
time determined on for his return expired."

"But you know, Jane," said her father, gratified to find that her
suspicion took a wrong direction, "the air of Bath, he writes, is
agreeing with him."

"I hope it may, papa; I hope it may; but you may rest assured, that
whatever happens, the lesson you have taught me, will, aided by divine
support, sustain my soul, so long as the frail tenement in which it is
lodged may last. That will not be long."

"True religion, my love, is always cheerful, and loves to contemplate
the brighter side of every human event. I do not like to see my dear
child so calm, nor her countenance shaded by melancholy so fixed as that
I have witnessed on it of late."

"Eternity, papa--a happy eternity, what is it, but the brighter side of
human life--here we see only as in a glass darkly; there, in our final
destiny, we reach the fulness of our happiness. I am not melancholy, but
resigned; and resignation has a peace peculiar to itself; a repose which
draws us gently, for a little time, out of the memory of our sorrows;
but without refreshing the heart--without refreshing the heart. No,
papa, I am not melancholy--I am not melancholy; I could bear Charles's
death, and look up to my God for strength and support under it; but,"
she added, shaking her head, with a smile marked by something of a wild
meaning, "if he could forget me for another,--no I will not say for
another, but if he could only forget me, and his vows of undying
affection, then indeed--then--then--papa--ha!--no--no--he could not--he
could not."

This conversation, when repeated to the family, deeply distressed them,
involved in doubt and uncertainty as they were with respect to Osborne's
ultimate intentions. Until a reply, however, should be received to his
father's letter, which was written expressly to demand an explanation
on that point, they could only soothe the unhappy girl in the patient
sorrow which they saw gathering in her heart. That, however, which
alarmed them most, was her insuperable disrelish to any thing in the
shape of consolation or sympathy. This, to them, was indeed a new trait
in the character of one who had heretofore been so anxious to repose
the weight of her sufferings upon the bosoms of those who loved her.
Her chief companion now was Ariel, her dove, to which she was seen
to address herself with a calm, smiling aspect, not dissimilar to
the languid cheerfulness of an invalid, who might be supposed as yet
incapable from physical weakness to indulge in a greater display
of animal spirits. Her walks, too, were now all solitary, with the
exception of her mute companion, and it was observed that she never,
in a single instance, was known to traverse any spot over which she and
Osborne had not walked together. Here she would linger, and pause, and
muse, and address Ariel, as if the beautiful creature were capable of
comprehending the tenor of her language.

"Ariel," said she one day, speaking to the bird; "there is the yew tree,
under which your preserver and I first disclosed our love. The yew tree,
sweet bird, is the emblem of death, and so it will happen; for Charles
is dying, I know--I feel that he will die; and I will die, early; we
will both die early; for I would not be able to live here after him,
Ariel, and how could I? Yet I should like to see him once--once before
he dies; to see him, Ariel, in the fulness of his beauty; my eye to rest
upon him once more; and then I could die smiling."

She then sat down under the tree, and in a voice replete with exquisite
pathos and melody sang the plaintive air which Osborne had played on
the evening when the first rapturous declaration of their passion was
made. This incident with the bird also occurred much about the same hour
of the day, a remembrance which an association, uniformly painful to her
moral sense, now revived with peculiar power, for she started and became
pale. "My sweet bird," she exclaimed, "what is this; I shall be absent
from evening worship again--but I will not prevaricate now; why--why
is this spot to be fatal to me? Come, Ariel, come: perhaps I may not be
late."

She hastened home with a palpitating heart, and unhappily arrived only
in time to find the family rising from prayer.

As she stood and looked upon them, she smiled, but a sudden paleness
at the same instant overspread her face, which gave to her smile an
expression we are utterly incompetent to describe.

"I am late," she exclaimed, "and have neglected a solemn and a necessary
duty. To me, to me, papa, how necessary is that duty."

"It is equally so to us all, my child," replied her father; "but," he
added, in order to reconcile her to an omission which had occasioned her
to suffer so much pain before, "we did not forget to pray for you, Jane.
With respect to your absence, we know it was unintentional. Your mind
is troubled, my love, and do not, let me beg of you, dwell upon minor
points of that kind, so as to interrupt the singleness of heart with
which you ought to address God. You know, darling, you can pray in your
own room."

She mused for some minutes, and at length said, "I would be glad to
preserve that singleness of heart, but I fear I will not be able to do
so long."

"If you would stay more with us, darling," observed her mamma, "and talk
and chat more with Maria and Agnes, as you used to do, you would find
your spirits improved. You are not so cheerful as we would wish to see
you."

"Perhaps I ought to do that, mamma; indeed I know I ought, because you
wish it."

"We all wish it," said Agnes, "Jane dear, why keep aloof from us? Who in
the world loves you as we do; and why would you not, as you used to do,
allow us to cheer you, to support you, or to mourn and weep with you;
anything--anything," said the admirable girl, "rather than keep your
heart from ours;" and as she spoke, the tears fell fast down her cheeks.

"Dear Agnes," said Jane, putting her arm about her sister's neck, and
looking up mournfully into her face; "I cannot weep for myself--I cannot
weep even with you; you know I love you--how I love you--oh, how I love
you all; but I cannot tell why it is--society, even the society of them
I love best, disturbs me, and you know not the pleasure--melancholy
I grant it to be, but you know not the pleasure that comes to me from
solitude. To me--to me there is a charm in it ten times more soothing to
my heart than all the power of human consolation."

"But why so melancholy at all, Jane," said Maria, "surely there is no
just cause for it."

She smiled as she replied, "Why am I melancholy, Maria?--why? why should
I not? Do I not read the approaching death of Charles Osborne in the
gloom of every countenance about me? Why do you whisper to each other
that which you will not let me hear? Why is there a secret and anxious,
and a mysterious intercourse between this family and his, of the purport
of which I am kept ignorant--and I alone?"

"But suppose Charles Osborne is not sick," said William; "suppose he was
never in better health than he is at this moment--" he saw his father's
hand raised, and paused, then added, carelessly, "for supposition's sake
I say merely."

"But you must not suppose that, William," she replied, starting, "unless
you wish to blight your sister. On what an alternative then, would
you force a breaking heart. If not sick, if not dying, where is he?
I require him--I demand him. My heart," she proceeded, rising up and
speaking with vehemence--"my heart calls for him--shouts aloud in its
agony--shouts aloud--shouts aloud for him. He is, he is sick; the malady
of his family is upon him; he is ill--he is dying; it must be so; ay,
and it shall be so; I can bear that, I can bear him to die, but never
to become faithless to a heart like mine. But I am foolish," she added,
after a pause, occasioned by exhaustion; "Oh, my dear William, why, by
idle talk, thus tamper with your poor affectionate sister's happiness? I
know you meant no harm, but oh, William, William, do it no more."

"I only put it, dear Jane, I only put it as a mere case,"--the young man
was evidently cut to the heart, and could not for some moments speak.

She saw his distress, and going over to him, took his hand and.
said, "Don't, William, don't; it is nothing but merely one of your
good-humored attempts to make your sister cheerful. There," she added,
kissing his cheek; "there is a kiss for you; the kiss of peace let it
be, and forgiveness; but I have nothing to forgive you for, except too
much affection for an unhappy sister, who, I believe, is likely to be
troublesome enough to you all; but, perhaps not long--not long."

There were few dry eyes in the room, as she uttered the last words.

"I do not like to see you weep," she added, "when I could have wept
myself, and partaken of your tears, it was rather a relief to me than
otherwise. It seems, however, that my weeping days are past; do not, oh
do not--you trouble me, and I want to compose my mind for a performance
of the solemn act which I have this evening neglected. Mamma, kiss me,
and pray for me; I love you well and tenderly, mamma; I am sure you know
I do."

The sorrowing mother caught her to her bosom, and, after kissing her
passive lips, burst out into a sobbing fit of grief.

"Oh, my daughter, my daughter," she exclaimed, still clasping her to her
heart, "and is it come to this! Oh, that we had never seen him!"

"This, my dear," said Mr. Sinclair to his wife, "is wrong; indeed, it is
weakness; you know she wants to compose her mind for prayer."

"I do, papa; they must be more firm; I need to pray. I know my
frailties, you know them too, sir; I concealed them from you as long
as I could, but their burden was too heavy for my heart; bless me now,
before I go; I will kneel."

The sweet girl knelt beside him, and he placed his hand upon her
stooping head, and blessed her. She then raised herself, and looking up
to him with a singular expression of wild sweetness beaming in her eyes,
she said, leaning her head again upon his breast,

"There are two bosoms, on which, I trust, I and my frailties can repose
with hope; I know I shall soon pass from the one to the other--

"The bosom of my _father_ and my _God_, will not they be sweet, papa?"

She spoke thus with a smile of such unutterable sweetness, her beautiful
eyes gazing innocently up into her father's countenance, that the heart
of the old man was shaken through every fibre. He saw, however, what
must be encountered, and was resolved to act a part worthy of the
religion he professed. He arose, and taking her hand in his, said, "You
wish to pray, dearest love; that is right; your head has been upon my
bosom, and I blessed you; go now, and, with a fervent heart, address
yourself to the throne of grace; in doing this, my sweet child, piously
and earnestly, you will pass from my bosom to the bosom of your God.
Cast yourself upon Him, my love; above all things, cast yourself with
humble hope and earnest supplication upon His. This, my child, indeed is
sweet; and you will find it so; come, darling, come."

He led her out of the room, and after a few words more of affectionate
advice, left her to that solitude for which he hoped the frame of mind
in which she then appeared was suitable.

"Her sense of religion," he said, after returning to the family, "is
not only delicate, but deep; her piety is fervent and profound. I do
not therefore despair but religion will carry her through whatever
disappointment Charles's flighty enthusiasm may occasion her."

"I wish, papa," said Agnes, "I could think so. As she herself said, she
might bear his death, for that would involve no act of treachery, of
falsehood on his part; but to find that he is capable of forgetting
their betrothed vows, sanctioned as they were by the parents of
both--indeed, papa, if such a thing happen----"

"I should think it will not," observed her mother; "Charles has, as you
have just said, enthusiasm; now, will not that give an impulse to his
love, as well as to his ambition?"

"But if ambition, my dear, has become the predominant principle in his
character, it will draw to its own support all that nourished his other
passions. Love is never strong where ambition exists--nor ambition where
there is love."

"I cannot entertain the thought of Charles Osborne being false to her,"
said Maria; "his passion for her was more like idolatry than love."

"He is neglecting her, though," said William; "and did she not suppose
that that is caused by illness, I fear she would not bear it even as she
does."

"I agree with you, William," observed Agnes; "but after all, it is
better to have patience until Mr. Osborne hears from him. His reply
will surely be decisive as to his intentions. All may end better than we
think."

Until this reply should arrive, however, they were compelled to remain
in that state of suspense which is frequently more painful than the
certainty of evil itself. Jane's mind and health were tended with all
the care and affection which her disinclination to society would permit
them to show. They forced themselves to be cheerful in order that she
might unconsciously partake of a spirit less gloomy than that which
every day darkened more deeply about her path; Any attempt to give her
direct consolation, however, was found to produce the very consequences
which they wished so anxiously to prevent. If for this purpose
they entered into conversation with her, no matter in what tone of
affectionate sweetness they addressed her, such was the irresistible
pathos of her language, that their hearts became melted, and, instead
of being able to comfort the beloved mourner, they absolutely required
sympathy themselves. Since their last dialogue, too, it was evident
from her manner that some fresh source of pain had been on that occasion
opened in her heart. For nearly a Week afterwards her eye was fixed from
time to time upon her brother William, with a long gaze of hesitation
and enquiry--not unmingled with a character of suspicion that appeared
still further, to sink her spirits by a superadded weight of misery.

Nearly a fortnight had now elapsed since Charles Osborne ought to have
received his father's letter, and yet no communication had reached
either of the families. Indeed the gradual falling off of his
correspondence with Jane, and the commonplace character of his few last
letters left little room to hope that his affection for her stood the
severe test of time and absence. One morning about this period she
brought William into the garden, and after a turn or too, laid her hand,
gently upon his arm, saying,

"William, I have a secret to entrust you with."

"A secret, Jane--well, I will keep it honorably--what is it, dear?"

"I am very unhappy."

"Surely that's no secret to me, my pool girl."

She shook her head.

"No, no; that's not it; but this is--I strongly suspect that you all
know more about Charles than I do."

She fixed her eyes with an earnest penetration on him as she spoke.

"He is expected home soon, Jane."

"He is not ill, William; and you have all permitted me to deceive myself
into a belief that he is; because you felt that I would rather ten
thousand times that he were dead than false--than false."

"He could not, he dare not be false to you, my dear, after having been
solemnly betrothed to you, I may say with the consent of your father and
his."

"Dare not--ha--there is meaning in that, William; your complexion is
heightened, too; and so I have found out your secret, my brother. Sunk
as is my heart, you see I have greater penetration than you dream of.
So he is not sick, but false; and his love for me is gone like a dream.
Well, well; but yet I have laid down my own plan of resignation. You
would not guess what it is? Come, guess; I will hear nothing further
till you guess."

He thought it was better to humor her, and replied in accordance with
the hope of I his father.

"Religion, my dear Jane, and reliance on God."

"That was my first plan; that was my plan in case the malady I suspected
had taken him from me--but what is my plan for his falsehood?"

"I cannot guess, dear Jane."

"Death, William. What consoler like death? what peace so calm as that of
the grave? Let the storm of life howl ever so loudly, go but six inches
beneath the clay of the church-yard and how still is all there!"

"Indeed, Jane, you distress yourself without cause; never trust me again
if Charles will not soon come home, and you and he be happy. Why,
my dear Jane, I thought you had more fortitude than to sink under a
calamity that has not yet reached you. Surely it will be time enough
when you find that Charles is false to take it so much to heart as you
do."

"That is a good and excellent advice, my dear William; but listen, and I
will give a far better one: never deceive your father; never prevaricate
with papa, and then you may rest satisfied that your heart will not be
crushed by such a calamity as that which has fallen upon me. I deceived
papa; and I am now the poor hopeless cast-away that you see me. Remember
that advice, William--keep it, and God will bless you."

William would have remonstrated with her at greater length, but he saw
that she was resolved to have no further conversation on the subject.
When it was closed she walked slowly and composedly out of the garden,
and immediately took her way to those favorite places among which she
was latterly in the habit of wandering. One of her expressions, however,
sunk upon his affectionate heart too deeply to permit him to rest under
the fearful apprehension which it generated. After musing for a little
he followed her with a pale face and a tearful eye, resolved to draw
from her, with as much tenderness as possible, the exact meaning which,
in her allusion to Osborne's falsehood, she had applied to death.

He found her sitting upon the bank of the river which we have already
described, and exactly opposite to the precise spot in the stream from
which Osborne had rescued Ariel. The bird sat on her shoulder, and he
saw by her gesture that she was engaged in an earnest address to it. He
came on gently behind her, actuated by that kind curiosity which knows
that in such unguarded moments a key may possibly be obtained to
the abrupt and capricious impulse by which persons laboring under
impressions so variable may be managed.

[Illustration: PAGE 44-- Spot which would have been fatal to you]

"I will beat you, Ariel," said she, "I will beat you--fie upon you. You
an angel of light--no, no--have I not often pointed you out the spot
which would have been fatal to you, were it not for him--for him! Stupid
bird! there it is! do you not see it? No, as I live, your eye is turned
up sideways towards me, instead of looking at it, as if you asked why,
dear mistress, do you scold me so? And indeed I do not know, Ariel. I
scarcely know--but oh, my dear creature, if you knew--if you knew--it is
well you don't. I am here--so are you--but where is he?"

She was then silent for a considerable time, and sat with her head on
her hand. William could perceive that she sighed deeply.

He advanced; and on hearing his foot she started, looked about, and on
seeing him, smiled.

"I am amusing myself, William," said she.

"How, my dear Jane--how?"

"Why, by the remembrance of my former misery. You know that the
recollection of all past happiness is misery to the miserable--is it
not? but of that you are no judge, William--you were never miserable."

"Nor shall you be so, Jane, longer than until Charles returns; but
touching your second plan of resignation, love. I don't understand how
death could be resignation."

"Do you not? then I will tell you. Should Charles prove false to
me--that would break my heart. I should die, and then--then--do you not
see--comes Death, the consoler."

"I see, dear sister; but there will be no necessity for that. Charles
will be, and is, faithful and true to you. Will you come home with me,
dear Jane?"

"At present I cannot, William; I have places to see and things to think
of that are pleasant to me. I may almost say so; because as I told you
they amuse me. Let misery have its mirth, William; the remembrance of
past happiness is mine."

"Jane, if you love me come home with me now?"

"If I do. Ah, William, that's ungenerous. You are well aware that I
do, and so you use an argument which you know I won't resist. Come,"
addressing the dove, "we must go; we are put upon our generosity; for of
course we do love poor William. Yes, we will go, William; it is better,
I believe."

She then took his arm, and both walked home without speaking another
word; Jane having relapsed into a pettish silence which her brother felt
it impossible to break without creating unnecessary excitement in a mind
already too much disturbed.

From this day forward Jane's mind, fragile as it naturally was, appeared
to bend at once under the double burden of Osborne's approaching death,
and his apprehended treachery; for wherever the heart is found to choose
between two contingent evils, it is also by the very constitution of our
nature compelled to bear the penalty of both, until its gloomy choice
is made. At present Jane was not certain whether Osborne's absence and
neglect were occasioned by ill health or faithlessness; and until she
knew this the double dread fell, as we said, with proportionate misery
upon her spirit.

Bitterly, indeed, did William regret the words in which he desired her
"to suppose that Charles Osborne was not sick." Mr. Sinclair himself saw
the error, but unhappily too late to prevent the suspicion from entering
into an imagination already overwrought and disordered.

Hitherto, however, it was difficult, if not impossible, out of her own
family, to notice in her manner or conversation the workings of a mind
partially unsettled by a passion which her constitutional melancholy
darkened by its own gloomy creations. To strangers she talked
rationally, and with her usual grace and perspicuity, but every one
observed that her cheerfulness was gone, and the current report went,
by whatever means it got abroad, that Jane Sinclair's heart was
broken--that Charles Osborne proved faithless--and that the beautiful
Fawn of Springvale was subject to occasional derangement.

In the meantime Osborne was silent both to his father and to her, and
as time advanced the mood of her mind became too seriously unhappy
and alarming to justify any further patience on the part either of his
family or Mr. Sinclair's. It was consequently settled that Mr. Osborne
should set out for Bath, and compel his son's return, under the hope
that a timely interview might restore the deserted girl to a better
state of mind, and reproduce in his heart that affection which appeared
to have either slumbered or died. With a brow of care the excellent man
departed, for in addition to the concern which he felt for the calamity
of Jane Sinclair and Charles's honor, he also experienced all the
anxiety natural to an affectionate father, ignorant of the situation
in which he might find an only son, who up to that period had been, and
justly too, inexpressibly dear to him.

His absence, however, was soon discovered by Jane, who now began to give
many proofs of that address with which unsettled persons can manage to
gain a point or extract a secret, when either in their own opinion is
considered essential to their gratification. Every member of her own
family now became subjected to her vigilance; every word they spoke was
heard with suspicion, and received as if it possessed a double meaning.
On more than one occasion she was caught in the attitude of a listener,
and frequently placed herself in such a position when sitting with her
relations at home, as enabled her to watch their motions in the glass,
when they supposed her engaged in some melancholy abstraction.

Yet bitter, bitter as all this must have been to their hearts, it was
singular to mark, that as the light of her reason receded, a new and
solemn feeling of reverence was added to all of love, and sorrow, and
pity, that they had hitherto experienced towards her. Now, too, was
her sway over them more commanding, though exercised only in the woeful
meekness of a broken heart; for, indeed, there is in the darkness of
unmerited affliction, a spirit which elevates its object, and makes
unsuffering nature humble in its presence. Who is there that has a
heart, and few, alas, have, that does not feel himself constrained to
bend his head with reverence before those who move in the majesty of
undeserved sorrow?

Mr. Osborne had not been many days gone, when Jane, one morning after
breakfast, desired the family not to separate for about an hour, or
if they did, to certainly reassemble within that period. "And in the
meantime," she said, addressing Agnes, "I want you, my dear Agnes, to
assist me at my toilette, as they say. I am about to dress in my very
best, and it cannot, you know, be from vanity, for I have no one now to
gratify but yourselves--come."

Mr. Sinclair beckoned with his hand to Agnes to attend her, and they
accordingly left the room together.

"What is the reason, Agnes," she said, "that there is so much mystery in
this family? I do not like these nods, and beckonings, and gestures, all
so full of meaning. It grieves me to see my papa, who is the very soul
of truth and candor, have recourse to them. But, alas, why should I
blame any of you, when I know that it is from an excess of indulgence to
poor Jane, and to avoid giving her pain that you do it?"

"Well, we will not do it any more, love, if it pains or is disagreeable
to you."

"It confounds me, Agnes, it injures my head, and sometimes makes me
scarcely know where I am, or who are about me. I begin to think that
there's some dreadful secret among you; and I think of coffins, and
deaths, or of marriages, and wedding favors, and all that. Now, I can't
bear to think of marriages, but death has something consoling in it;
give me death the consoler: yet," she added, musing, "we shall not die,
but we shall all be changed."

"Jane, love, may I ask you why you are dressing with such care?"

"When we go down stairs I shall tell you. It's wonderful, wonderful!"

"What is, dear?"

"My fortitude. But those words were prophetic. I remember well what I
felt when I heard them; to be sure he placed them in a different light
from what I at first understood them in; but I am handsomer now, I
think. You will be a witness for me below, Agnes, will you not?"

"To be sure, darling."

"Agnes, where are my tears gone of late? I think I ought to advertise
for them, or advertise for others, 'Wanted for unhappy Jane Sinclair'"--

Agnes could bear no more. "Jane," she exclaimed, clasping her in her
arms, and kissing her smiling lips, for she smiled while uttering the
last words, "oh, Jane, don't, don't, my darling, or you will break
my heart--your own Agnes's heart, whom you loved so well, and whose
happiness or misery is bound I up in yours."

"For unhappy Jane Sinclair!--no I won't distress you, dear Agnes; let
the advertisement go; here, I will kiss you, love, and dry your tears,
and then when I am dressed you shall know all."

She took up her own handkerchief as she spoke, and after having again
kissed her sister, wiped her cheeks and dried her eyes with childlike
tenderness and affection. She then, looked sorrowfully upon Agnes, and
said--"Oh, Agnes, Agnes, but my heart is heavy--heavy!"

Agnes's tears were again beginning to flow, but Jane once more kissed
her, and hastily wiping her eyes, exclaimed in that sweet, low voice
with which we address children, "Hush, hush, Agnes, do not cry, I will
not make you sorry any more."

She then went on to dress herself, but uttered not another word until
she and Agnes met the family below stairs.

"I am now come, papa and mamma, and William, and my darling Maria--but,
Maria, listen,--I won't have a tear, and you, Agnes,--I am come now to
tell you a secret."

"And, dearest life," said her mother, "what is it?"

"What made them call me the Fawn of Springvale?"

"For your gentleness, love," said Mr. Sinclair.

"And for your beauty, darling," added her mother.

"Papa has it," she replied quickly; "for my gentleness, for my
gentleness. My beauty, mamma, I am not beautiful."

While uttering these words, she approached the looking-glass, and
surveyed herself with a smile of irony that seemed to disclaim her own
assertion. But it was easy to perceive that the irony was directed to
some one not then present, and that it was also associated with the
memory of something painful to her in an extreme degree.

Not beautiful! Never did mortal form gifted with beauty approaching
nearer to our conception of the divine or angelic, stand smiling in the
consciousness of its own charms before a mirror.

"Now," she proceeded, "I am going to make everything quite plain. I
never told you this before, but it is time I should now. Listen--Charles
Osborne bound himself by a curse, that if he met, during his absence,
a girl more beautiful than I am--or than I was then, I should say,--he
would cease to write to me--he would cease to love me. Now, here's my
secret,--he has found a girl more beautiful than I am,--than I was then,
I, mean,--for he has ceased to write to me--and of course he has
ceased to love me. So mamma, I am not beautiful, and the Fawn of
Springvale--his own Jane Sinclair is forgotten."

She sat down and hung her head for some minutes, and the family,
thinking that she either wept or was about to weep, did not think it
right to address her. She rose up, however, and said:

"Agnes is my witness: Did not you, Agnes, say that I am now much
handsomer than when Charles saw me last?"

"I did, darling, and I do."

"Very well, mamma--perhaps you will find me beautiful yet. Now the case
is this, and I will be guided by my papa. Let me see--Charles may
have seen a girl more beautiful than I was then,--but how does he know
whether she is more beautiful than I am now?"

It was--it was woful to see a creature of such unparalleled grace and
loveliness working out the calculations of insanity, in order to sustain
a broken heart.

"But then," she added, still smiling in conscious beauty, "why does he
not come to see me now? Why does he not come?" After musing again for
some time, she dropped on her knees in one of those rapid transitions of
feeling peculiar to persons of her unhappy class; and joining her
hands, looked up to Agnes with a countenance utterly and indescribably
mournful, exclaiming as she did it, in the same words as before:--

"Oh Agnes, Agnes, but my heart is heavy!"

She then laid down her head on her sister's knees, and for a long time
mused and murmured to herself, as if her mind was busily engaged on some
topic full of grief and misery. This was evident by the depth of
her sighs, which shook her whole frame, and heaved with convulsive
quiverings through her bosom. Having remained in this posture about ten
minutes, she arose, and without speaking, or noticing any of the family,
went out and sauntered with slow and melancholy steps about the place
where she loved to walk.

Mr. Sinclair's family at this period, and indeed, for a considerable
time past were placed, with reference to their unhappy daughter in
circumstances of peculiar distress. Their utter ignorance of Osborne's
designs put it out of their power to adopt any particular mode of
treatment in Jane's case. They could neither give her hope, nor prepare
her mind for disappointment; but were forced to look passively on,
though with hearts wrung into agony, whilst her miserable malady every
day gained new strength in its progress of desolation. The crisis was
near at hand, however, that was to terminate their suspense. A letter
from Mr. Osborne arrived, in which he informed them that Charles had
left Bath, for London, in company with a family of rank, a few days
before he reached it. He mentioned the name of the baronet, whose
beautiful daughter, possessing an ample fortune, at her own disposal,
fame reported to have been smitten with his son's singular beauty and
accomplishments. It was also said, he added, that the lady had prevailed
on her father to sanction young Osborne's addresses to her, and that
the baronet, who was a strong political partizan, calculating upon his
preeminent talents, intended to bring him into parliament, in order to
strengthen his party. He added that he himself was then starting for
London, to pursue his son, and rescue him from an act which would stamp
his name with utter baseness and dishonor.

This communication, so terrible in its import to a family of such
worth and virtue, was read to them by Mr. Sinclair, during one of those
solitary rambles which Jane was in the habit of taking every day.

"Now, my children," said the white-haired father, summoning all the
fortitude of a Christian man to his aid,--"now must we show ourselves
not ignorant of those resources which the religion of Christ opens to
all who are for His wise purposes grievously and heavily afflicted. Let
us act as becomes the dignity of our faith. We must suffer: let it be
with patience, and a will resigned to that which laid the calamity upon
us,--and principally upon the beloved mourner who is dear, dear--and
oh! how justly is she dear to all our hearts! Be firm, my children--and
neither speak, nor look, nor act as if these heavy tidings had reached
us. This is not only our duty, but our wisest course under circumstances
so distressing as ours. Another letter from Mr. Osborne will decide all
and until then we must suffer in silent reliance upon the mercy of God.
It may, however, be a consolation to you all to know, that if this young
man's heart be detached from that of our innocent and loving child, I
would rather--the disposing will of God being still allowed--see her
wrapped in the cerements of death than united to one, who with so little
scruple can trample upon the sanctions of religion, or tamper with the
happiness of a fellow-creature. Oh, may God of His mercy sustain our
child, and bear her in His own right hand through this heavy woe!"

This affecting admonition did not fall upon them in vain,--for until the
receipt of Mr, Osborne's letter from London, not even Jane, with all
her vigilance, was able to detect in their looks or manner any change
or expression beyond what she had usually noticed. That letter at length
arrived, and, as they had expected, filled up the measure of Osborne's
dishonor and their affliction. The contents were brief but fearful. Mr.
Osborne stated that he arrived in London on the second day after his
son's marriage, and found, to his unutterable distress, that he and
his fashionable wife had departed for the continent on the very day the
ceremony took place.

"I could not," proceeded his father, "wrench my heart so suddenly out of
the strong affection it felt for the hope of my past life, as to curse
him; but, from this day forward I disown him as my son. You know not, my
friend, what I feel, and what I suffer; for he who was the pride of my
declining years has, by this act of unprincipled ambition, set his seal
to the unhappiness of his father. I am told, indeed, that the lady is
very beautiful--and amiable as she is beautiful--and that their passion
for each other amounts to idolatry;--but neither her beauty, nor her
wealth, nor her goodness could justify my son in an act of such cruel
and abandoned perfidy to a creature who seems to be more nearly related
to the angelic nature than the human."

"You see, my children," observed Mr. Sinclair, "that the worst, as far
as relates to Osborne, is before us. I have nothing now to add to what I
have already said on the receipt of the letter from Bath. You know
your duty, and with God's assistance I trust you will act up to it.
At present it might be fatal to our child were she to know what has
happened; nor, indeed, are we qualified to break the matter to her,
without the advice of some medical man, eminent in cases similar to that
which afflicts her."

These observations were scarcely concluded when Jane entered the room,
and as usual, cast a calm but searching glance around her. She saw that
they had been in tears, and that they tried in vain to force their faces
I into a hurried composure, that seemed strangely at variance with what
they felt.

After a slight pause she sat down, and putting her hand to her temple,
mused for some minutes. They observed that a sorrow more deep and
settled than usual, was expressed on her countenance. Her eyes were
filled, although tears did not come, and the muscles of her lips
quivered excessively; yet she did not speak; and such was the solemnity
of the moment to them, who knew all, that none of them could find voice
sufficiently firm to address her.

"Papa," said she, at length, "this has been a day of busy thought with
me. I think I see, and I am sure I feel my own situation. The only
danger is, that I may feel it too much. I fear I have felt it--(she
put her hand to her forehead as she spoke)--I fear I have felt it too
deeply already. Pauses--lapses, or perhaps want of memory for a certain
space, occasioned by--by------" she hesitated. "Bear with me, papa,
and mamma; bear with me; for this is a great effort; let me recollect
myself, and do not question me or--speak to me until I------. It is, it
is woeful to see me reduced to this; but nothing is seriously wrong with
me yet--nothing. Let me see; yes, yes, papa, here it is. Let us not be
reduced to the miserable necessity of watching each other, as we have
been. Let me know the worst. You have nearly broken me down by suspense.
Let me know the purport of the letter you received to-day."

"To-day, love!" exclaimed her mother. "Yes, mamma, to-day. I made John
show it me on his way from the post-office. The superscription was Mr.
Osborne's hand. Let me, O let me," she exclaimed, dropping down upon
her knees, "as you value my happiness here and hereafter, let me at
once know the worst--the very worst. Am I not the daughter of a pious
minister of the Gospel, and do you think I shall or can forget the
instructions I received from his lips? Treat me as a rational being, if
you wish me to remain rational. But O, as you love my happiness here,
and my soul's salvation, do not, papa, do not, mamma, do not, Maria, do
not, Agnes, William,--do not one or all of you keep your unhappy sister
hanging in the agony of suspense! It will kill me!--it will kill me!"

Suppressed sobs there were, which no firmness could restrain. But in a
few moments those precepts of the Christian pastor, which we have before
mentioned, came forth among this sorrowing family, in the same elevated
spirit which dictated them. When Jane had concluded this appeal to her
father, there was a dead, silence in the room, and every eye glanced
from, him to her, full of uncertainty as to what course of conduct he
would pursue. He turned his eyes upwards for a few moments, and said:

"Can truth, my children, under any circumstances, be injurious to----"

"Oh no, no, papa," exclaimed Jane; "I know--I feel the penalty paid for
even the indirect violation of it."

"In the name of God, then," exclaimed the well-meaning man, "we will
rely upon the good sense and religious principle of our dear Jane, and
tell her the whole truth."

"Henry, dear!" said Mrs. Sinclair in a tone of expostulation.

"Oh papa," said Agnes, "remember your own words!"

"The truth, my papa, the truth!" said Jane. "You are its accredited
messenger."

"Jane," said he, "is your trust strong in the support of the Almighty?"

"I have no other dependence, papa."

"Then," said he, "this is the truth: Charles Osborne has been false to
you. He has broken his vows;--he is married to another woman. And
now, my child, may the God of truth, and peace, and mercy, sustain and
console you!"

"And He will, too, my papa!--He will!" she exclaimed, rising up;--"He
will! He will!--I--I know--I think I know something. I violated truth,
and now truth is my punishment. I violated it to my papa, and now my
papa is the medium of that punishment. Well, then, there's a Providence
proved. But, in the mean time, mamma, what has become of my beauty?
It is gone--it is gone--and now for humility and repentance--now for
sackcloth and ashes. I am now no longer beautiful!--so off, off go the
trappings of vanity!"

She put her hands up to her bosom, and began to tear down her dress with
a violence so powerful, that it took William and Maria's strength to
prevent her. She became furious. "Let me go," she exclaimed, "let me go;
I am bound to a curse; but Charles, Charles--don't you see he will
be poisoned: he will kiss her lips and be poisoned; poisoned lips for
Charles, and I too see it!--and mine here with balm upon them, and peace
and love! My boy's lost, and I am lost, and the world has destroyed us."

She wrought with incredible strength, and attempted still, while
speaking, to tear her garments off; put finding herself overpowered, she
at length sat down and passed from this state of violence into a mood
so helplessly calm, that the family, now in an outcry of grief, with the
exception of her father who appeared cool, felt their very hearts shiver
at the vacant serenity of her countenance.

Her mother went over, and, seizing her husband firmly by the arms,
pulled him towards her, and with an ashy face and parched lips,
exclaimed, "There, Charles--all is now over--our child is an idiot!"

"Oh do not blame me," said the brokenhearted father; "I did it for the
best. Had I thought--had I thought--but I will speak to her, for I think
my voice will reach her heart--you know how she loved me."

"Jane," said he, approaching her, "Jane, my dearest life, will you not
speak to your papa?"

She became uneasy again, and, much to their relief, broke silence.

"I am not," said she, calmly; "it is gone; I was once though--indeed,
indeed I was; and it was said so; I was called the Fawn of--of--but it
seems beauty passes like the flower of the field."

"Darling, speak to me, to your papa."

"I believe I am old now; an old woman, I suppose. My hair is gray, and
I am wrinkled; that's the reason why they scorn me; well I was once both
young and beautiful; but that is past. Charles," said she, catching
her father's hand and looking into it, "you are old, too, I believe.
Why--why--why, how is this? Your hair is long and white. Oh, what
a change since I knew you last. White hair! long, white, venerable,
hair--that's old age--

     "Pity old age within whose silver hairs
     Honor and reverence evermore do lie."

"Thank God, dear Henry," said her mother, "she is not at all events an
idiot. Children," said she, "I trust you will remember your father's
advice, and bear this--this----." But here the heart and strength of
the mother herself were overcome, and she was sinking down when her son
caught her ere she fell, and carried her out in his arms, accompanied by
Maria and Agnes.

It would be difficult for any pen to paint the distraction of her
father, thus placed in a state of divided apprehension between his
daughter and his wife.

"Oh, my child, my child," he exclaimed, "Perhaps in the midst of this
misery, your mother may be dying! May the God of all consolation support
you and her! What, oh what will become of us!"


"Well, well," his daughter went on; "life's a fearful thing that can
work such anges; but why may we not as well pass at once from youth to
old age as from happiness to misery? Here we are both old; ay, and if we
are gray it is less with age than affliction--that's one comfort--I am
young enough to be beautiful yet; but age, when it comes prematurely on
the youthful, as it often does--thanks to treachery and disappointment,
ay, and thanks to a thousand causes which we all know but don't wish to
think of; age, I say, when it comes prematurely on the youthful, is
just like a new and unfinished house that is suffered to fall into
ruin--desolation, naked, and fresh, and glaring--without the reverence
and grandeur of antiquity. Yes--yes--yes; but there is another cause;
and that must be whispered only to the uttermost depths of silence--of
silence; for silence is the voice of God. That word--that word! Oh,
how I shudder to think of it! And who will pity me when I acknowledge
it--there is one--one only--who will mourn for my despair and the fate,
foreordained and predestined, of one whom he loved--that is my papa--my
papa only--my papa only; for he knows that I am a _castaway_---A
CAST-AWAY!"

These words were uttered with an energy of manner and a fluency of
utterance which medical men know to be strongly characteristic of
insanity, unless indeed where the malady is silent and moping. The
afflicted old man now discovered that his daughter's mind had, in
addition to her disappointment, sunk under the frightful and merciless
dogma, which we trust will soon cease to darken and distort the
beneficent character of God. Indeed it might have been evident to him
before that in looking upon herself as a castaway, Jane's sensitive
spirit was gradually lapsing into the gloomy horrors of predestination.
But this blindness of the father to such a tendency was very natural
in a man to whose eye familiarity with the doctrine had removed its
deformity. The old man looked upon her countenance with an expression
of mute affliction almost verging on despair; for a moment he forgot the
situation of his wife and everything but the consequences of a discovery
so full of terror and dismay.

"Alas, my unhappy child," he exclaimed, "and is this, too, to be added
to your misery and ours? Now, indeed, is the cup of our affliction full
even to overflowing. O God! who art good and full of mercy," he added,
dropping on his knees under the bitter impulse of the moment, "and who
wiliest not the death of a sinner, oh lay not upon her or us a weight
of sorrow greater than we can bear. We do not, O Lord! for we dare not,
desire Thee to stay Thy hand; but oh, chastise us in mercy, especially
her--her--Our hearts' dearest--she was ever the child, of our loves; but
now she is also the unhappy child of all our sorrows; the broken idol of
affections which we cannot change. Enable us, O God, to acquiesce under
this mysterious manifestation of Thy will, and to receive from Thy hand
with patience and resignation whatsoever of affliction it pleaseth Thee
to lay upon us. And touching this stricken one--if it were Thy blessed
will to--to--but no--oh no--not our will, oh Lord, but Thine be done!"

It was indeed a beautiful thing to see the sorrow-bound father bowing
down his gray locks with humility before the footstool of his God, and
forbearing even to murmur under a dispensation so fearfully calamitous
to him and his. Religion, however, at which the fool and knave may sneer
in the moments of convivial riot, is after all the only stay on which
the human heart can rest in those severe trials of life which almost
every one sooner or later is destined to undergo. The sceptic may indeed
triumph in the pride of his intellect or in the hour of his passion;
but no matter on what arguments his hollow creed is based, let but the
footstep of disease or death approach, and he himself is the first to
abandon it and take refuge in those truths which he had hitherto laughed
at or maligned. When Mr. Sinclair arose, his countenance, through all
the traces of sorrow which were upon it, beamed with a light which no
principle, merely human, could communicate to it. A dim but gentle and
holy radiance suffused his whole face, and his heart, for a moment,
received the assurance it wanted so much. He experienced a feeling for
which language has no terms, or at least none adequate to express its
character. It was "that peace of God which passeth all understanding."

In a few minutes after he had concluded his short but earnest prayer,
Agnes returned to let him know that her mamma was better and would
presently come in to sit with Jane, whom she could not permit, she said,
to regain out of her sight. Jane had been silent for some time, but the
extreme brilliancy of her eyes and the energy of her excitement were too
obvious to permit any expectation of immediate improvement.

When her mother and Maria returned, accompanied also by William, she
took no note whatsoever of them, nor indeed did she appear to have an
eye for anything external to her own deep but unsettled misery. Time
after time they spoke to her as before, each earnestly hoping that some
favorite expression or familiar tone of voice might impinge, however
slightly, upon her reason, or touch some chord of her affections. These
tender devices of their love, however, all failed; no corresponding
emotion was awakened, and they resolved, without loss of time, to see
what course of treatment medical advice recommend them to pursue on her
behalf. Accordingly William proceeded with a heavy heart to call in the
aid of a gentleman who can bear full testimony to the accuracy of our
narrative--we allude to that able and eminent practitioner, Doctor
M'Cormick of. Belfast, whose powers, of philosophical analysis, and
patient investigation are surpassed only by the success of the masterly
skill with which he applies them. The moment he left the room for this
purpose, Jane spoke.

"It will be hard," she said, "and I need not conceal it, for my very
thought has a voice at the footstool of the Almighty; the intelligences
of other worlds know it; all; the invisible spirits of the universe
know it; those that are evil rejoice, and the good would murmur if
the fulness of their own happiness permitted them. No--no--I need not
conceal it--hearken, therefore--hearken;" and she lowered her voice to
a whisper--"the Fawn of Springvale--Jane Sinclair--is predestined to
eternal misery. She is a _cast-away_. I may therefore speak and raise my
voice to warn; who shall dare," she added, "who shall dare ever to part
from the truth! Those--those only who have been foredoomed--like me. Oh
misery, misery, is there no hope? nothing but despair for one so young,
and as they said, so gentle, and so beautiful, Alas! alas! Death to me
now is no consoler!"

She clasped her beautiful hands together as she spoke, and looked with
a countenance so full of unutterable woe that no heart could avoid
participating in her misery.

"Jane, oh darling of all our hearts," said her weeping mother, "will you
not come over and sit beside your mamma--your mamma, my treasure, who
feels that she cannot long live to witness what you suffer."

"The Fawn of Springvale," she proceeded, "the gentle Fawn of Springvale,
for it was on the account of my gentleness I was so called, is
stricken--the arrow is here--in her poor broken heart; and what did she
do, what did the gentle creature do to suffer or to deserve all this
misery?"

"True, my sister--too true, too true," said Maria, bursting into an
agony of bitter sorrow; "what strange mystery is in the gentle one's
affliction? Surely, if there was ever a spotless or a sinless creature
on earth, she was and is that creature."

"Beware of murmuring, Maria," said her father; "the purpose, though
at present concealed, may yet become sufficiently apparent for us to
recognize in it the benignant dispensation of a merciful God. Our duty,
my dear child, is now to bear, and be resigned. The issues of this sad
calamity are with the Almighty, and with Him let us patiently leave
them."

"Had I never disclosed my love," proceeded Jane, "I might have stolen
quietly away from them all and laid my cheek on that hardest pillow
which giveth the soundest sleep; but would not concealment," she added,
starting; "would not that too have been dissimulation? Oh God help
me!--it is, it is clear that in any event I was foredoomed!"

Agnes, who had watched her sister with an interest too profound to
suffer even the grief necessary on such an occasion to take place, now
went over, and taking her hand in one of hers, placed the fingers of the
other upon her sister's cheek, thus attempting to fix Jane's eyes upon
her own countenance--

"Do you not know who it is," said she, "that is now speaking to
you?--Look upon me, and tell me do you forget me so soon?"

"Who can tell yet," she proceeded, "who can tell yet--time may retrieve
all, and he may return: but the yew tree--I fear--I fear--why, it is
an emblem of death; and perhaps death may unite us--yes, and I say he
will--he will--he will. Does he not feel pity? Oh yes, in a thousand,
thousand cases he is the friend of the miserable. Death the Consoler!
Oh from how many an aching brow does he take away the pain for ever? How
many sorrows does he soothe into rest that is never broken!--from how
many hearts like mine, does he pluck the arrows that fester in them, and
bids them feel pain no more! In his house, that house appointed for all
living--what calmness and peace is there? How sweet and tranquil is the
bed which he smoothes down for the unhappy; there the wicked cease
from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Then give me Death the
Consoler?--Death the Consoler!"

A sense of relief and wild exultation beamed from her countenance,
on uttering the last words, and she rose up and walked about the room
wringing her hands, yet smiling at the idea of being relieved by Death
the Consoler! It is not indeed unusual to witness in deranged persons,
an unconscious impression of pain and misery, accompanied at the same
time by a vague sense of unreal happiness--that is, a happiness which,
whilst it balances the latent conviction of their misery does not,
however, ultimately remove it. This probably constitutes that pleasure
in madness, which, it is said, none but mad persons know.

At length she stood, and, for a long time seemed musing upon various and
apparently contrasted topics, for she sometimes smiled as a girl at play,
and sometimes relapsed into darkness of mood and pain, and incoherency.
But after passing through these rapid changes for many minutes, she
suddenly exclaimed in a low but earnest voice, "Where is he?"

"Where is who, love?" said her mother.

"Where is he?--why does he not come?--something more than usual must
prevent him, or he would not stay away so long from 'his own Jane
Sinclair.' But I forgot; bless me, how feeble my memory is growing!
Why this is the hour of our appointment, and I will be late unless I
hurry--for who could give so gentle and affectionate a being as Charles
pain?"

She immediately put on her bonnet, and was about to go abroad, when
her father, gently laying his hand upon her arm, said, in a kind but
admonitory voice, in which was blended a slightly perceptible degree of
parental authority--

"My daughter, surely you will not go out--you are unwell."

She started slightly, paused, and looked as if trying to remember
something that she had forgotten. The struggle, however, was vain--her
recollection proved too weak for the task it had undertaken. After a
moment's effort, she smiled sweetly in her father's face, and said--

"You would not have me break my appointment, nor give poor Charles pain,
and his health, moreover, so delicate. You know he would die rather than
give me a moment's anxiety. Die!--see that again--I know not what puts
death into my head so often."

"Henry," said her mother, "it is probably better to let her have her own
way for the present--at least until Dr. M'Cormick arrives. You and Agnes
can accompany her, perhaps she may be the better for it."

"I cannot refuse her," said the old man; "at all events, I agree with
you; there can, I think, be no possible harm in allowing her to go.
Come, Agnes, we must, alas! take care of her."

She then went out, they walking a few paces behind her, and proceeded
down the valley which we have already described in the opening of this
story, until she came to the spot at the river, where she first met
Osborne. Here she involuntarily stood a moment, and putting her hand
to her right shoulder, seemed to miss some object, that was obviously
restored to her recollection by an association connected with the place.
She shook her head, and sighed several times, and then exclaimed--

"Ungrateful bird, does it neglect me too?"

Her father pressed Agnes's arm with a sensation of joy, but spoke not
lest his voice might disturb her, or break the apparent continuity of
her reviving memory. She seemed to think, however, that she delayed here
too long, for without taking further notice of anything she hurried on
to the spot where the first disclosure of their loves had taken place.
On reaching it she looked anxiously and earnestly around the copse or
dell in which the yew tree, with its turf seat stood.

[Illustration: PAGE 52-- How is this?--how is this?--he is not here!]

"How is this?--how is this?"--she murmured to herself, "he is not here!"

Both her father and Agnes observed that during the whole course of
the unhappy but faithful girl's love, they never had witnessed such
a concentrated expression of utter woe and sorrow as now impressed
themselves upon her features.

"He has not come," said she; "but I can wait--I can wait--it will teach
my heart to be patient."

She then clasped her hands, and sitting down under the shade of the yew
tree, mused and murmured to herself alternately, but in such an evident
spirit of desolation and despair, as made her father fear that her heart
would literally break down under the heavy burden of her misery. When
she had sat here nearly an hour, he approached her and gently taking her
hand, which felt as cold as marble, said--

"Will you not come home, darling? Your mamma is anxious you should
return to her. Come," and he attempted gently to draw her with him.

"I can wait, I can wait," she replied, "if he should come and find me
gone, he would break his heart--I can wait."

"Oh do not droop, my sweet sister; do not droop so much; all will yet be
well," said Agnes, weeping.

"I care for none but him--to me there is only one being in life--all
else is a blank; but he will not come, and is it not too much, to try
the patience of a heart so fond and faithful."

"It is not likely he will come to-day," replied Agnes; "something has
prevented him; but to-morrow--"

"I will seek him elsewhere," said Jane, rising suddenly; "but is it not
singular, and indeed to what strange passes things may come? A young
lady seeking her lover!--not over-modest certainly--nay, positively
indelicate--fie upon me! Why should I thus expose myself? It is unworthy
of my father's daughter, and Jane Sinclair will not do it."

She then walked a few paces homewards, but again stopped and earnestly
looked in every direction, as if expecting to see the object of her
love. Long indeed did she linger about a spot so dear to her; and often
did she sit down again and rise to go--sometimes wringing her hands in
the muteness of sorrow, and sometimes exhibiting a sense of her neglect
in terms of pettish and indirect censure against Osborne for his delay.
It was in one of those capricious moments that she bent her steps
homewards; and as she had again to pass that part of the river where the
accident occurred to the dove, Agnes and her father observed that
she instinctively put her hand to her shoulder, and appeared as if
disappointed. On this occasion, however, she made no observation
whatever, but, much to their satisfaction, mechanically proceeded
towards Springvale House, which she reached without uttering another
word.

Until a short time before the arrival of Dr. M'Cormick, this silence
remained unbroken. She sat nearly in the same attitude, evidently
pondering on something that excited great pain, as was observable by her
frequent startings, and a disposition to look wildly about her, as if
with an intention of suddenly speaking. These, however, passed quickly
away, and she generally relapsed into her wild and unsettled reveries.

When the doctor arrived, he sat with her in silence for a considerable
time--listening to her incoherencies from an anxiety to ascertain,
as far as possible, by what she might utter, whether her insanity was
likely to be transient or otherwise. The cause of it he had already
heard from report generally, and a more exact and circumstantial account
on that day from her brother William.

"It is difficult," he at length said, "to form anything like an exact
opinion upon the first attack of insanity, arising from a disappointment
of the heart. Much depends upon the firmness of the general character,
and the natural force of their common sense. If I were to judge, not
only by what I have heard from this most beautiful and interesting
creature, as well as from the history of her heart, which her brother
gave me so fully, I would say that I think this attack will not be a
long one. I am of opinion that her mind is in a state of transition not
from reason but to it; and that this transition will not be complete
without much physical suffering. The state of her pulse assures me of
this, as does the coldness of her hands. I should not be surprised if,
in the course of this very night she were attacked with strong fits.
These, if they take place, will either restore her to reason or confirm
her insanity. Poor girl," said the amiable man, looking on her whilst
his eyes filled with tears, "he must have been a heartless wretch to
abandon such a creature. My dear Jane," he added, addressing her, for
he had been, and still is, familiar with the family; "I am sorry to find
you are so unwell, but you will soon be bettor. Do you not know me."

"It was sworn," said the unhappy mourner; "it was sworn and I felt
this here--here "--and she placed her hand upon her heart; "I felt this
little tenant of my poor bosom sink--sink, and my blood going from my
cheeks when the words were uttered. More beautiful! more beautiful! why,
and what is love if it is borne away merely by beauty? I loved him
not for his beauty alone. I loved him because he--he--because he loved
me--but at first I did love him for his beauty; well, he has found
another more beautiful; and his own Jane Sinclair, his Fawn of
Springvale, as he used to call me, is forgotten. But mark me--let none
dare to blame him--he only fulfilled his destined part--the thing was
foredoomed, and I knew that by my suppression of the truth to my papa,
the seal of reprobation was set to my soul. Then--then it was that I
felt myself a cast-away! And indeed," she added, rising up and laying
the forefinger of her right hand, on the palm of her left, "I would at
any time sacrifice myself for his happiness; I would; yet alas," she
added, sitting down and hanging her head in sorrow; "why--why is it
that I am so miserable, when he is happy? Why is that, Miss Jane
Sinclair--why is that?" She then sighed deeply, and added in a tone of
pathos almost irresistible--"Oh that I had the wings of a dove, that I
might flee away and be at rest."

She had scarcely spoken, when, by a beautiful and affecting coincidence,
Ariel entered the room, and immediately flew into her bosom. She put her
hand up and patted it for some time rather unconsciously than otherwise.

"Ah, you foolish bird," she at length said; "have you no better place
of rest, no calmer spot to repose upon, than a troubled and a broken
heart?"

This incident of the dove, together with the mournful truth of this
melancholy observation, filled every eye with tears, except those of
her father, who now exhibited a spirit of calm obedience to what he
considered an affliction that called upon him to act as one whose faith
was not the theory of a historic Christian.

"But how," added Jane, "can I be unhappy with the Paraclete in my bosom?
The Paraclete--oh that I were not reprobate and foredoomed--then indeed,
he might be there--all, all by one suppression of truth--but surely my
papa pities his poor girl for that, there is, I know, one that loves me,
and one that pities me. My papa knows that I am foredoomed, and cannot
but pity me: but where is he, and why does he delay so long. Hush! I
will sing--

     The dawning of morn, the daylight's sinking,
     The night's long hours still find me thinking
     Of thee, thee--only thee!"

She poured a spirit into these words so full of the wild sorrow of
insanity, as to produce an effect that was thrilling and fearful upon
those who were forced to listen to her. Nay, her voice seemed, in
some degree, to awaken her own emotions, or to revive her memory to a
confused perception of her situation. And in mercy it would appear that
Providence unveiled only half her memory to reason; for from the effect
which even that passing glimpse had upon her, it is not wrong to infer
that had she seen it in its full extent, she would have immediately sunk
under it.

After singing the words of Moore with all the unregulated pathos of a
maniac, she wrung her hands, and was for a considerable time silent.
During this interval she sighed deeply, and after a pause of half an
hour arose suddenly, and seizing her father by the breast of the coat,
brought him over, and placed him on the sofa beside her. She then looked
earnestly into his face, and was about to speak, but her thoughts were
too weak for the task, and after putting her hand to her forehead, as
if to assist her recollection, she let it fall passively beside her, and
hung-her head in a mood, partaking at once of childish pique and deep
dejection.

The doctor, who watched her closely, observed, that in his opinion the
consequences of the unhappy intelligence that day communicated to her,
had not yet fully developed themselves. "The storm has not yet burst,"
he added, "but it is quite evident that the elements for it are fast
gathering. She will certainly have a glimpse of reason before the
paroxysms appear, because, in point of fact, that is what will induce
them."

"How soon, doctor," asked her mother, "do you think she will have to
encounter this fresh and woeful trial?"

"I should be disposed to think within the lapse of twenty-four hours;
certainly within forty-eight."

The amiable doctor's opinion, however, was much more quickly verified
than he imagined; for Jane, whose heart yearned towards her father with
the beautiful instinct of an affection which scarcely insanity itself
could overcome, once more looked earnestly into his face, with an eye in
which meaning and madness seemed to struggle for the mastery. She gazed
at him for a long time, put her hands upon his white hair, into which
she gently twined her long white fingers; once or twice she smiled, and
said something in a voice too low to be heard: but all at once she gave
a convulsive start, clasped her hands wofully, and throwing herself on
his bosom, exclaimed:

"Oh papa, papa--your child is lost: pray for me--pray for me."

Her sobs became too thick and violent for further utterance; she panted
and wrought strongly, until at length she lay with locked teeth and
clenched hands struggling in a fit which eventually, by leaving her,
terminated in a state of lethargic insensibility.

For upwards of three days she suffered more than any person unacquainted
with her delicacy of constitution could deem her capable of enduring.
And, indeed, were it not that the aid rendered by Dr. M'Cormick was so
prompt and so skilful, it is possible that the sorrows of the faithful
Jane Sinclair might have here closed. On the fourth day, however, she
experienced a change; but, alas, such a change as left the loving and
beloved group who had hung over her couch with anxious hopes of her
restoration to reason, now utterly hopeless and miserable. She arose
from her paroxysms a beautiful, happy, and smiling maniac, from whose
soul in mercy had been removed that susceptibility of mental pain, which
constitutes the burthen and bitterness of ordinary calamity.

The first person who discovered this was her mother, who, on the fourth
morning of her illness, had stolen to her bedside to see how her beloved
one felt. Agnes, who would permit no other person to nurse her darling
sister, lay asleep with her head reclining on the foot of the bed,
having been overcome by her grief and the fatigue of incessant watching.
As her mother stooped down to look into the sufferer's face, her heart
bounded with delight oh seeing Jane's eyes smiling upon her with all the
symptoms of recognition.

"Jane, my heart's dearest," she said, in a soothing, low inquiry, "don't
you know me?"

"Yes, very well," she replied; "you are my mamma, and this is Agnes
sleeping on the foot of the bed. Why does she sleep there?"

The happy mother scarcely heard her child's question, for ere the words
were well uttered she laid her head down upon the mourner's bosom, in
a burst of melancholy joy, and wept so loudly that her voice awakened
Agnes, who, starting up, exclaimed:

"Oh, mother, mother--what is this? Is--?" she said, "No, no--she must
not--she would not leave her Agnes. Oh mother--mother, is it so?"

"No, no, Agnes love; no--but may the mercy of God be exalted for ever,
Jane knows her mamma this morning, and she knows you too, Agnes."

That ever faithful sister no sooner heard the words, than a smile of
indescribable happiness overspread her face, which, however, became
instantly pale, and the next moment she sunk down, and in a long swoon
forgot both the love and sorrow of her favorite sister. In little more
than a minute the family were assembled in the sickroom, and heard from
Mrs. Sinclair's lips the history, as she thought, of their beloved one's
recovery. Agnes was soon restored, and indeed it would be impossible
to witness a scene of such unexpected delight, as that presented by the
rejoicing group which surrounded the bed of the happy--alas, too happy,
Jane Sinclair.

"Is it possible, my dear," said her father, "that our darling is
restored to her sense and recollection?"

"Try her, Henry," said the proud mother.

"Jane, my love, do you not know me?" he asked.

"To be sure, papa; to be sure," she replied smiling.

"And you know all of us, my heart's treasure?"

"Help me up a little," she replied; "now I will show you: you are my
papa--there is my mamma--that is William--and Maria there will kiss me."

Maria, from whose eyes gushed tears of delight, flew to the sweet girl's
bosom.

"But," added Jane, "there is another--another that must come to my bosom
and stay there--Agnes!"

"I am here, my own darling," replied Agnes, stooping and folding her
arms about the beautiful creature's snow-white neck, whilst she kissed
her lips with a fervor of affection equal to the delight experienced at
her supposed recovery.

"There now, Agnes, you are to sleep with mo to-night: but I want my
papa. Papa, I want you."

Her father stood forward, his mild eyes beaming with an expression of
delight and happiness.

"I am here, my sweet child."

"You ought to be a proud man, papa; a proud man: although I say it,
that ought _not_ to say it, you are father to the most beautiful girl in
Europe. Charles Osborne has traveled Europe, and can find none at all
so beautiful as the Fawn of Springvale, and so he is coming home one of
these days to marry me, because, you know, because he could find none
else so beautiful. If he had--if he had--you know--you may be assured, I
would not be the girl of his choice. Yet I would marry him still, if it
were not for one thing; and that is--that I am foredoomed; a reprobate
and a cast-away; predestined--predestined--and so I would not wish to
drag him to hell along with me; I shall therefore act the heroic part,
and refuse him. Still it is something--oh it is much--and I am proud
of it, not only on my own account, but on his, to be the most beautiful
girl in Europe! I am proud of it, because he would not marry if I were
not."

Oh unhappy, but affectionate mourners, what--what was all you had yet
suffered, when contrasted with the sudden and unexpected misery of this
bitter moment Your hearts had gathered in joy and happiness around the
bed of that sweet girl, the gleams of whose insanity you had mistaken
for the light of reason; and now has hope disappeared, and the darkness
of utter despair fallen upon you all for ever.

"I wish to rise," she proceeded, "and to join the morning prayer; until
then I shall only dress in my wrapper: after that I shall dress as
becomes me. I know I have nothing to hope either in this world or the
next, consequently pride in me is not a sin: the measure of my misery
has been filled up; and the only interval, of happiness left me, is that
between this and death. Dress me, Agnes."

The pause arising from the revulsion of feeling, occasioned by the
discovery of her settled insanity, was indeed an exemplification of that
grief which lies too deep for tears. Sone of them could weep, but
they looked upon her and each other, with a silent agony, which far
transcended the power of clamorous sorrow.

"Children," said her father, whose fortitude, considering the nature of
this his great affliction, was worthy of better days; "let us neither
look upon our beloved one, nor upon each other. There," said he,
pointing upwards, "let us look there. You all know how I loved--how I
love her. You all know how she loved me; but I cast--or I strive to
cast the burthen, of my affliction upon Him who has borne all for our
salvation, and you see I am tearless. Dress the dear child, Agnes, and
as she desires it, let her join us at prayer, and may the Lord who has
afflicted us, hearken to our supplications!"

Tenderly and with trembling hands did Agnes dress the beloved girl,
and when the fair creature, supported by her two sisters, entered the
parlor, never was a more divine picture of beauty seen to shine out of
that cloud, with which the mysterious hand of of God had enveloped her.

At prayer she knelt as meekly, and with as much apparent devotion as she
had ever done in the days of her most rational and earnest piety. But it
was woful to see the blighted girl go through all the forms of worship,
when it was known that the very habit which actuated her resulted from
those virtues, which even insanity could not altogether repress.

When they had arisen from their, knees, she again addressed Agnes in
a tone of cheerful sweetness, such as she had exhibited in her happier
days.

"Agnes, now for our task; and indeed you must perform it with care.
Remember that you are about to dress the most beautiful girl in Europe.
What a fair cast-away am I, Agnes?"

"I hope not a cast-away, Jane; but I shall dress you with care and
tenderness, notwithstanding."

"Every day I must dress in my best, because when Charles returns, you
know it will be necessary that I should justify his choice, by appearing
as beautiful as possible."

"Give the innocent her own way," said her father; "give her, in all that
may gratify the child, her own way, where it is not directly wrong to do
so."

Agnes and she then went up to her room, that she might indulge in that
harmless happiness, which the fiction of hope had, under the mercy of
God, extracted, from the reality of despair.

When the ceremony of the toilette was over, she and her sister returned
to the parlor, and they could notice a slight tinge of color added to
her pale cheek, by the proud consciousness of her beauty. The exertion,
however, she had undergone, considering her extremely weak and exhausted
state of of health was more than she could bear long. But a few minutes
had elapsed after her reappearance in the parlor, when she said--

"Mamma, I am unwell; I want to be undressed, and to go to bed; I am very
faint; help me to bed, mamma--and if you come and stay with me, I shall
tell you every thing about my prospects in life--yes, and in death, too;
because I have prospects in death--but ah," she added, shuddering, "they
are dark--dark!"

Seldom, indeed, was a family tried like this family; and never was the
endurance of domestic love, and its triumph over the chilling habit of
affliction, more signally manifested than in the undying tenderness of
their hearts and hands, in all that was necessary to her comfort, or
demanded by the childish caprices of her malady.

On going upstairs, she kissed them all as usual, but they then
discovered, for the first time, in all its bitterness, what a dark and
melancholy enjoyment it is to kiss the lips of a maniac, who has loved
us, and whom we still must love.

"Jane," said William, struggling to be firm, "kiss me, too, before you
go."

"Come to me, William," said she, "for I am not able to go to you. Oh, my
brother, if I did not love you, I would be very wicked."

The affectionate young man kissed her, and, as he did, the big tears
rolled down his cheeks. He wept aloud.

"I never, never gave her up till now," he exclaimed; "but"--and his face
darkened into deep indignation as he spoke, "we shall see about it
yet, Jane dear. I shall allow a month or two--she may recover; but if
I suffer this to go unav----" he paused; "I meant nothing," he added,
"except that I will not despair of her yet."

About ten days restored her to something like health, but it was obvious
that her constitution had sustained a shock which it could not long
survive. Of this Dr. M'Cormick assured them.

"In so delicate a subject as she is," he added, "we usually find that
when reason goes, the physical powers soon follow it. But if my opinion
be correct, I think you will have the consolation of seeing her mind
clear before she dies. There comes often in such cases what the common
people properly, and indeed beautifully, term a light before death, and
I think she will have it. As you are unanimous against putting her
into a private asylum, you must only watch the sweet girl quietly,
and without any appearance of vigilance, allowing her in all that is
harmless and indifferent to have her own way. Religious feeling you
perceive constitutes a strong feature in her case, the rest is obviously
the result of the faithless conduct of Osborne. Poor girl, here she
comes, apparently quite happy." Jane entered as he spoke, after having
been dressed as usual for the day, in her best apparel. She glanced for
a moment at the glass, and readjusted her hair which had, she thought,
got a little out of order; after which she said, smiling,

"Why should I fear comparisons? He may come as soon as he pleases. I am
ready to receive him, but do you know I think that my papa and mamma are
not so fond of me as they ought to be. Is it not an honor to have for
their daughter a girl whose beauty is unsurpassed in Europe? I am not
proud of it for my own sake, but for his."

"Jane, do you know this gentleman, dear?" said her mother.

"Oh yes; that is Dr. M'Cormick."

"I am glad to see that your health is so much improved, my dear," said
the doctor.

"Oh yes;" she replied, "I am quite well--that is so far as this world is
concerned; but for all so happy as I look, you would never guess that
I am reprobate. Now could you tell me, doctor, why it is that I look so
happy knowing as I do that I am foredoomed to misery?"

"No," he replied, "but you will tell us yourself."

"Why it is because I do know it. Knowing the worst is often a great
consolation, I assure you. I, at least, have felt it so."

"Oh what a noble mind is lost in that sweet girl!" exclaimed the worthy
physician.

"But it seems, mamma," she proceeded, "there is a report gone abroad
that I am mad. I met yesterday--was it not yesterday, Agnes?--I met a
young woman down on the river side, and she asked me if it were true
that I was crazed with love, and how do you think I replied, mamma? I
said to her, 'If you would avoid misery--misery, mark--never violate
truth even indirectly.' I said that solemnly, and would have said more
but that Agnes rebuked her for speaking, and then wept. Did you not
weep, Agnes?"

"Oh no wonder I should," replied her sister, deeply moved; "the
interview she alludes to, doctor, was one that occurred the day before
yesterday between her and another poor girl in the neighborhood who
is also unsettled, owing to a desertion of a still baser kind. It was
becoming too affecting to listen to, and I chid the poor thing off."

"Yes, indeed, she chid her off, and the poor thing as she told me, about
to be a bride to-morrow. She said she was in quest of William that they
might be married, and asked me if I had seen him. If you do, she added,
tell him that Fanny is waiting for him, and that as everything is ready
she expects he'll come and marry her to-morrow as he promised. Now,
mamma, Agnes said, that although she chid her, she wept for her, but
why should you weep, Agnes, for a girl who is about to become a bride
to-morrow? Surely you did not weep because she was going to be made
happy? Did you?"

"All who are going to become brides are not about to experience
happiness, my dear," replied her sister.

"Oh, I should think so certainly, Agnes," replied Jane. "Fie, fie, dear
sister Agnes, do not lay down such doctrine. Did you not see the happy
girl we met yesterday--was it yesterday? But no matter, Agnes, we shall
not quarrel about it. Come and walk. Good-by, my mamma; doctor, I wish
you a good morning," and with a grace that was inimitable, she made him
a distant, but most respectful curtsey.

"Oh!" said she, turning back, "if any stranger should arrive during my
absence, mamma, send for me immediately; or stay do not--let him meet me
at the place appointed; I will be there."

She then took Agnes's arm, for Agnes it was who attended her in all her
ramblings, and both proceeded on their every-day saunter through the
adjoining fields.

A little time, indeed, proved how very accurate had been the opinion of
Dr. M'Cormick; for although Jane was affected by no particular bodily
complaint, yet it appeared by every day's observation that she was
gradually sinking. In the meantime, three or four months elapsed without
bringing about any symptom whatsoever of improvement. Her derangement
flashed out into no extraordinary paroxysm, but on the contrary assumed
a wild and graceful character, sometimes light and unsettled as the
glancing of sunbeams on a disturbed current, and occasionally pensive
and beautiful as the beams of an autumnal moon. In all the habits of the
family she was most exact. Her devotional composure at prayer appeared
to be fraught with the humblest piety; her attendance at Meeting was
remarkably punctual, and her deportment edifying to an extreme degree.
The history, too, of her insanity and its cause had gone far and wide,
as did the sympathy which it excited. In all her innocent ramblings with
Agnes around her father's house, and through the adjoining fields, no
rude observation or unmannered gaze ever offended the gentle creature;
but on the contrary, the delicate-minded peasant of the north would
often turn aside from an apprehension of disturbing her, as well perhaps
as out of reverence for the calamity of a creature so very young and
beautiful.

Indeed, many affecting observations were made, which, could her friends
have heard them, would have fallen like balm upon their broken spirits.
Full of compassion they were for her sore misfortune, and of profound
sympathy for the sorrows of her family.

"Alas the day, my bonnie lady! My Heart is sair to see sae lovely a
thing gliding about sae unhappy. Black be his gate that had the heart
to leave you, for rank and wealth, my winsome lassie. Weary on him, and
little good may his wealth and rank do him! Oh wha would a thocht that
the peerless young blossom wad hae been withered so soon, or that the
Fawn o' Springvale wad hae ever come to the like o' this. Alas! the
day, too, for the friends that nurst you, Ay bonnie bairn!" and then the
kind-hearted matron would wipe her eyes on seeing the far-loved Fawn of
Springvale passing by, unconscious that the fatal arrow which had first
struck her was still quivering in her side. The fourth month had
now elapsed, and Jane's malady neither exhibited any change nor the
slightest symptom of improvement. William, who had watched her closely
all along, saw that no hope of any such consummation existed. He
remarked, too, with a bitter sense of the unprincipled injury inflicted
on the confiding girl, that every week drew her perceptibly nearer and
nearer to the grave. His blood had in fact long been boiling in
his veins with an indignation which he could scarcely stifle. He
entertained, however, a strong reverence for religion, and had Jane,
after a reasonable period, recovered, he intended to leave Osborne to be
punished only by his own remorse. There was no prospect, however, of her
being restored to reason, and now his determination was finally taken.
Nay, so deeply resolved had he been on this as an ultimate step in the
event of her not recovering, that soon after Mr. Osborne's return from
London, he waited on that gentleman, and declared his indignation at the
treachery of his son to be so deep and implacable that he requested of
him as a personal favor, to suspend all communication with the unhappy
girl's family, lest he might be tempted even by the sight of any person
connected with so base a man, to go and pistol him on whatever spot he
might be able to find him. This, which was rather harsh to the amiable
gentleman, excited in his breast more of sorrow than resentment. But it
happened fortunately enough for both parties that a day or two before
this angry communication, Dr. M'Cormick had waited upon the latter, and
gave it as his opinion that any intercourse between the two families
would be highly dangerous to Jane's state of mind, by exciting
associations that might bring back to her memory the conduct of his son.
The consequence was, that they saw each other only by accident, although
Mr. Osborne often sent to inquire privately after Jane's health.

William having now understood that Osborne and his wife resided in
Paris, engaged a friend to accompany him thither, for the purpose of
demanding satisfaction for the injuries inflicted on his sister. All
the necessary arrangements were accordingly made; the very day for
their departure was appointed, and a letter addressed to Agnes actually
written, to relieve the family from the alarm occasioned by his
disappearance, when a communication from Osborne to his father, at once
satisfied the indignant young man that his enemy was no longer an object
for human resentment.

This requires but brief explanation. Osborne, possessing as he did,
ambition, talent, and enthusiasm in a high degree, was yet deficient in
that firmness of purpose which is essential to distinction in public or
private life. His wife was undoubtedly both beautiful and accomplished,
and it is undeniable that his marriage with her opened to him brilliant
prospects as a public man. Notwithstanding her beauty, however, their
union took place not to gratify his love, but his ambition. Jane
Sinclair, in point of fact, had never been displaced from his affection,
for as she was in his eye the most beautiful, so was she in the moments
of self-examination, the best beloved. This, however, availed the
unhappy girl but little, with a man in whose character ambition was the
predominant impulse. To find himself beloved by a young and beautiful
woman of wealth and fashion was too much for one who possessed but
little firmness and an insatiable thirst after distinction. To
jostle men of rank and property out of his path, and to jostle them
successfully, when approaching the heart of an heiress, was too much for
the vanity of an obscure young man, with only a handsome person and
good talents to recommend him. The glare of fashionable life, and the
unexpected success of his addresses made him giddy, and despite an
ineffaceable conviction of dishonor and treachery, he found himself
husband to a rich heiress, and son-in-law to a baronet. And now was he
launched in fall career upon the current of fashionable dissipation,
otherwise called high life. This he might have borne as well as the
other votaries of polished profligacy, were it not for one simple
consideration--he had neither health nor constitution, nor, to do the
early lover of Jane Sinclair justice, heart for the modes and habits
of that society, through the vortices of which he now found himself
compelled to whirl. He was not, in fact, able to keep pace with the
rapid motions of his fashionable wife, and the result in a very
short time was, that their hearts were discovered to be anything
but congenial--in fact anything but united. The absence of domestic
happiness joined to that remorse which his conduct towards the
unassuming but beautiful object of his first affection entailed upon a
heart that, notwithstanding its errors, was incapable of foregoing
its own convictions, soon broke down the remaining stamina of his
constitution, and before the expiration of three months, he found
himself hopelessly smitten by the same disease which had been so fatal
to his family. His physicians told him that if there were any chance
of his recovery, it must be in the efficacy of his native air; and his
wife, with fashionable apathy, expressed the same opinion, and hoped
that he might, after a proper sojourn at home, be enabled to join her
early in the following season at Naples. Up to this period he had heard
nothing of the mournful consequences which his perfidy had produced
upon the intellect of our unhappy Jane. His father, who in fact still
entertained hopes of her ultimate sanity, now that his son was married,
deemed it unnecessary to embitter his peace by a detail of the evils he
had occasioned her. But when, like her brother William, he despaired of
her recovery, he considered it only an act of justice towards her and
her family to lay before Charles the hideousness of his guilt together
with its woful consequences. This melancholy communication was received
by him the day after his physicians had given him over, for in fact the
prescription of his native air was only a polite method of telling him
that there was no hope. His conscience, which recent circumstances
had already awakened, was not prepared for intelligence so dreadful.
Remorse, or rather repentance seized him, and he wrote to beg that his
father would suffer a penitent son to come home to die.

This letter, the brief contents of which we have given, his father
submitted to Mr. Sinclair, whose reply was indeed characteristic of the
exalted Christian, who can forget his own injury in the distress of his
enemy.

"Let him come," said the old man; "our resentments have long since
passed away, and why should not yours? He has now a higher interest to
look to than any arising from either love or ambition. His immortal soul
is at stake, and if we can reconcile him to heaven, the great object of
existence will after all be secured. God forbid that our injuries should
stand in the way of his salvation. Allow me," he added, "to bring this
letter home, that I may read it to my family, with one exception of
course. Alas! it contains an instructive lesson."

This was at once acceded to by the other, and they separated.

When William heard the particulars of Osborne's melancholy position,
he of course gave up the hostility of his purpose, and laid before
his friend a history of the circumstances connected with his brief and
unhappy career.

"He is now a dying man," said William, "to whom this life, its idle
forms and unmeaning usages, are as nothing, or worse than nothing. A
higher tribunal than the guilty spirit of this world's honor will demand
satisfaction from him for his baseness towards unhappy Jane. To that
tribunal I leave him; but whether he live or die, I will never look upon
my insane sister, without thinking of him as a villain, and detesting
his very name and memory."

If these sentiments be considered ungenerous, let it be remembered
that they manifested less his resentment to Osborne, than the deep and
elevated affection which he bore his sister, for whose injuries he felt
much more indignantly than he would have done for his own.

Jane, however, from this period forth began gradually to break down, and
her derangement, though still inoffensive and harmless, assumed a more
anxious and melancholy expression. This might arise, to be sure, from
the depression of spirits occasioned by a decline of health. But from
whatever cause it proceeded, one thing was evident, that an air of deep
dejection settled upon her countenance and whole deportment. She would
not, for instance, permit Agnes in their desultory rambles to walk by
her side, but besought her to attend at a distance behind her.

"I wish to be alone, dear Agnes," she said, "but notwithstanding that, I
do not wish to be without you. I might have been some time ago the Queen
of beauty, but now, Agnes, I am the Queen of Sorrow."

"You have had your share of sorrow, my poor stricken creature," replied
Agnes, heavily.

"But there is, Agnes, a melancholy beauty in sorrow--it is so sweet to
be sad. Did. you ever see a single star in the sky, Agnes?"

"Yes, love, often."

"Well, that is like sorrow, or rather that is like me. Does it not
always seem to mourn, and to mourn alone, but the moment that another
star arises then the spell is broken, and it seems no more to mourn in
the solitude of heaven."

"Agnes looked at her with sad but earnest admiration, and exclaimed in a
quivering-voice as she pressed her to her bosom,

"Oh Jane, Jane, how my heart loves you!--the day is coming, my
sister--our sweetest, our youngest, our dearest--the day is coming when
we will see you no more--when your sorrows and your joys, whether
real or imaginary--when all the unsettled evidences of goodness,
which nothing could destroy, will be gone; and you with all you've
suffered--with all your hopes and fears, will be no longer present for
our hearts to gather about. Oh my sister, my sister! how will the old
man live! He will not--he will not. We see already that he suffers, and
what it costs him to be silent. His gait is feeble and infirm is and
head bent since the' hand of afiliction has come upon you. Yet, Jane,
Jane, we could bear all, provided you were permitted to remain with us!
Your voice--your voice--and is the day so soon to come when we will
not hear it? when our eyes will no more rest upon you? And"--added
the affectionate girl, now overcome by her feelings, laying her calm
sister's head at the same time upon her bosom, "and when those locks so
brown and rich that your Agnes's hands have so often dressed, will be
mouldering in the grave, and that face--oh, the seal of death is upon
your pale, pale cheek, my sister!--my sister!" She could say no more,
but kissed Jane's lips, and pressing her to her heart, she wept in a
long fit of irrepressible grief.

Jane looked up with a pensive gaze into Agnes's face, and as she calmly
dried her sister's tears, said:--

"Is it not strange, Agnes, that I who am the Queen of Sorrow cannot
weep. I resemble some generous princess, who though rich, gives away her
wealth to the needy in such abundance that she is always poor herself. I
who weep not, supply you all with tears, and cannot find one for myself
when I want it. Indeed so it seems, my sister."

"It is true, indeed, Jane--too true, too true, my darling."

"Agnes, I could tell you a secret. It is not without reason that I am
the Queen of Sorrow."

"Alas, it is not, my sweet innocent."

"I have the secret here," said she, putting her hand to her bosom, "and
no one suspects that I have. The cause why I am the Queen of Sorrow
is indeed here--here. But come, I do not much like this arbor somehow.
There is, I think, a reason for it, but I forget it. Let us walk
elsewhere."

This was the arbor of osiers in which Osborne in the enthusiasm of his
passion, said that if during his travels he found a girl more beautiful,
he would cease to love Jane, and to write to her--an expression which,
as the reader knows, exercised afterwards a melancholy power upon her
intellect.

Agnes and she proceeded as she desired, to saunter about, which they did
for the most part in silence, except when she wished to stop and make an
observation of her own free will. Her step was slow, her face pale, and
her gait, alas, quite feeble, and evidently that of a worn frame and a
broken heart.

For some time past, she seemed to have forgotten that she was a
foredoomed creature, and a cast-away, at least her allusions to this
were less frequent than before--a circumstance which Dr. M'Cormick said
he looked upon as the most favorable symptom he had yet seen in her
case.

Upon this day, however, she sauntered about in silence, and passed from
place to place, followed by Agnes; like the waning moon, accompanied by
her faithful and attendant star.

After having passed a green field, she came upon the road with an
intention of crossing it, and going down by the river to the yew tree,
which during all her walks she never failed to visit. Here it was that,
for the second time, she met poor Fanny Morgan, the unsettled victim of
treachery more criminal still than that which had been practised upon
herself.

"You are the bonnie Fawn of Springvale that's gone mad with love," said
the unhappy creature.

"No, no," replied Jane, "you are mistaken. I am the Queen of Sorrow."

"I am to be married to-morrow," said the other. "Everything's ready,
but I can't find William. Did you see him? But maybe you may, and if you
do--oh speak a word for me, but one word, and tell him that all's ready,
and that Fanny's waiting, and that he must not break his promise."

"You are very happy to be married tomorrow."

"Yes," replied the other smiling--"I am happy enough now; but when we
are married--when William makes me his wife, people won't look down on
me any longer. I wish I could find him, for oh, my heart is sick, and
will be sick, until I see him. If he knew how I was treated, he would
not suffer it. If you see him, will you promise to tell him that all's
ready, and that I am waiting for him?--Will you, my bonnie lady?"

"I could tell you a secret," said Jane--"they don't know at home that
I got the letter at all--but I did, and have read it--he is coming
home--coming home to die--that's what makes me the Queen of Sorrow. Do
you ever weep?"

"No, but they took the baby from me, and beat me--my brother John did;
but William was not near to take my part?"

"Who will you have at the wedding?"

"I have no bride's maid yet--but may be you would be that for me,
my bonnie lady. John said I disgraced them; but surely I only loved
William. I wish to-morrow was past, and that he would remove my shame--I
could then be proud, but now I cannot."

"And what are you ashamed of? It is no shame to love him."

"No, no, and all would be well enough, but that they beat me and took
away the baby--my brother John did."

"But did William ever swear to you, that if he mot a girl more
beautiful, he would cease to love you, and to write to you?"

"No, he promised to marry me."

"And do you know why he does not?"

"If I could, find him he would. Oh, if you see him, will you tell him
that I'm waiting, and that all's ready?"

"You," said Jane, "have been guilty of a great sin."

"So they said, and that I brought myself to shame too. But William will
take away that if I could find him."

"You told an indirect falsehood to your father--you concealed the
truth--and now the hand of God is upon you. There is nothing for you now
but death."

"I don't like death--it took away my baby--if they would give me back my
baby I would not care---except John--I would hide from him."

"William's married to another and dying, so that you may become a queen
of sorrow too--would you like that--sorrow is a sweet thing."

"How could he marry another, and be promised to me?"

"Is your heart cold?" inquired Jane.

"No," replied the other smiling, "indeed I am to be married to-morrow?"

"Let me see you early in the morning," said Jane--"if you do, perhaps
I may give you this," showing the letter. "Your heart cannot be cold
if you keep it--I carry it here," said she, putting her hand to her
bosom--"but I need not, for mine will be warm enough soon."

"Mine's warm enough too," said the other.

"If William comes, you will find poison on his lips," said Jane, "and
that will kill you--the poison of polluted lips would kill a thousand
faithful hearts--it, would--and there is nothing for treachery but
sorrow. Be sorrowful--be sorrowful--it is the only thing to ease a
deserted heart--it eases mine."

"But then they say you're crazed with love."

"No, no--with sorrow; but listen, never violate truth--never be guilty
of falsehood; if you do, you will become unhappy; and if you do not, the
light of God's countenance will shine upon you."

"Indeed it is no lie, for as sure as you stand there to-morrow is the
day."

"I think I love you," said the gentle and affectionate Jane. "Will you
kiss me? my sister Agnes does when I ask her."

"Why shouldn't I, my bonnie, bonnie lady? Why shouldn't I? Oh! indeed,
but you are bonnie, and yet be crazed with love! Well, well, he will
never comb a gray head that deserted the bonnie Fawn of Spring-vale."

Jane, who was much the taller, stooped, and with a smile of melancholy,
but unconscious sympathy, kissed the forlorn creature's lips, and after
beckoning Agnes to follow her, passed on.

That embrace! Who could describe its character? Oh! man, man, and woman,
woman, think of this!

Agnes, after Jane and she had returned home, found that a search had
been instigated during their absence for the letter which Charles had
written to his father. Mr. Sinclair, anxious to return it, had missed
it from among his papers, and felt seriously concerned at its
disappearance.

"I only got it to read to the family," said he, "and what am I to say,
or what can I say, when Mr. Osborne asks me, as he will, to return it?
Agnes, do you know anything of it?"

Agnes, who, from the interview between Jane and the unsettled Fanny
Morgan, saw at once that it had got, by some means unknown to the
family, into her sister's hands, knew not exactly in what terms to
reply. She saw too, that Jane looked upon the possession of the letter
as a secret, and in her presence she felt that considering her sister's
view of the matter, and her state of mind, she could not, without
pressing too severely on the gentle creature's sorrow, inform her father
of the truth.

"Papa," said the admirable and considerate girl, "the letter I have no
doubt will be found. I beg of you papa, I beg of you not to be uneasy
about it; it will be found."

This she said in a tone as significant as possible, with a hope that her
father might infer from her manner that Jane had the letter in question.

The old man looked at Agnes, and appeared as if striving to collect the
meaning of what she said, but he was not long permitted to remain in any
doubt upon the subject.

Jane approached him slowly, and putting her hand to her bosom, took out
the letter and placed it upon the table before him.

"It came from him," said she, "and that was the reason why I put it next
my heart. You know, papa, he is dying, and this letter is a message of
death. I thought that such a message was more proper from him to me than
to any one else. I have carried it next my heart, and you may take it
now, papa. The message has been delivered, and I feel that death is
here--for that is all that he and it have left me. I am the star of
sorrow--Pale and mournful in the lonely sky; yet," she added as she did
on another occasion, "we shall not all die, but we shall be changed."

"My sweet child," said Mr. Sinclair, "I am not angry with, you about the
letter; I only wish you to keep your spirits up, and not be depressed so
much as you are." She appeared quite exhausted, and replied not for some
time; at length she said:

"Papa, mamma, have I done anything wrong? If I have tell me. Oh, Agnes,
Agnes, but my heart is heavy."

"As sure as heaven is above us, Henry," whispered her mother to Mr.
Sinclair, "she is upon the point of being restored to her senses."

"Alas, my dear," he replied, "who can tell? It may happen as you say. Oh
how I shall bless God if it does! but still, what, what will it be but,
as Dr. M'Cormick said, the light before death? The child is dying, and
she will be taken from us for ever, for ever!"

Jane, whilst they spoke, looked earnestly and with a struggling eye
into the countenances of those who were about her; but again she smiled
pensively, and said:

"I am--I am the star of sorrow, pale and mournful in the lonely sky.
Jane Sinclair is no more--the Fawn of Springvale is no more--I am now
nothing but sorrow. I was the queen, but now I am the star of sorrow.
Oh! how I long to set in heaven!"

She was then removed to bed, whore with her mother and her two sisters
beside her, she lay quiet as a child, repeating to herself--"I am the
star of sorrow, pale and mournful in the lonely sky; but now I know
that I will soon set in heaven. Jane Sinclair is no more--the Fawn of
Springvale is no more. No--I am now the star of sorrow!" The melancholy
beauty of the sentiment seemed to soothe her, for she continued to
repeat these words, sometimes aloud and sometimes in a sweet voice,
until she fell gently asleep.

"She is asleep," said Agnes, looking upon her still beautiful but
mournful features, now, indeed composed into an expression of rooted
sorrow. They all stood over the bed, and looked upon her for many
minutes. At length Agnes clasped her hands, and with a suffocating
voice, as if her heart would break, exclaimed, "Oh mother, mother," and
rushed from the room that she might weep aloud without awakening the
afflicted one who slept.

Another week made a rapid change upon her for the worse, and it was
considered necessary to send for Dr. M'Cormick, as from her feebleness
and depression they feared that her dissolution was by no means distant,
especially as she had for the last three days been confined to her bed.
The moment he saw her, his opinion confirmed their suspicions.

"Deal gently with her now," said he; "a fit or a paroxysm of any kind
would be fatal to her. The dear girl's unhappy race is run--her sands
are all but numbered. This moment her thread of life is not stronger
than a gossamer." Ere his departure on that occasion, he brought Mr.
Sinclair aside and thus addressed him:

"Are you aware, sir, that Mr. Osborne's son has returned."

"Not that he has actually returned," replied Mr. Sinclair, "but I know
that he is daily expected."

"He reached his father's house," continued the doctor, "early yesterday;
and such a pitiable instance of remorse as he is I have never seen, and
I hope never shall. His cry is to see your daughter, that he may hear
his forgiveness from her own lips. He says he cannot die in hope or in
happiness, unless she pardons him. This, however, must not be--I mean
an interview between them--for it would most assuredly prove fatal to
himself; and should she see him only for a moment, that moment were her
last."

"I will visit the unhappy young man myself," said her father; "as for an
interview it cannot be thought of--even if they could bear it, Charles
forgets that he is the husband of another woman, and that, consequently,
Jane is nothing to him--and that such a meeting would be highly--grossly
improper."

"Your motives, though perfectly just, are different from mine," said the
doctor--"I speak merely as a medical man. He wants not this to hurry him
into the grave--he will be there soon enough."

"Let him feel repentance towards God," said the old man
heavily--"towards my child it is now unavailing. It is my duty, as it
shall be my endeavor, to fix this principle in his heart."

The Doctor then departed, having promised to see Jane on the next
day but one. This gentleman's opinion, however, with respect to his
beautiful patient, was not literally correct; still, although she
lingered longer than could naturally be anticipated from her excessive
weakness, yet he was right in saying that her thread of life resembled,
that of the gossamer.

In the course of the same evening, she gave the first symptom of a lucid
interval; still in point of fact her mind was never wholly restored to
sanity. She had slept long and soundly, and after awaking rang the bell
for some one to come to her. This was unusual, and in a moment she was
attended by Agnes and her mother.

"I am very weak, my dear mamma," said she, "and although I cannot say
that I feel any particular complaint--I speak of a bodily one--yet I
feel that my strength is gone, and that you will not be troubled with
your poor Jane much longer."

"Do not think so, dear love, do not think so," replied her mother; "bear
up, my darling, bear up, and all may yet be well."

"Agnes," said she, "come to me. I know not--perhaps--dear Agnes----"

She could utter no more. Agnes flew to her, and they wept in each
other's arms for many minutes.

"I would be glad to see my papa," she said, "and my dear Maria and
William. Oh mamma, mamma, I suspect that I have occasioned you all much
sorrow."

"No, no, no--but more joy now, my heart's own treasure, a thousand times
more joy than you ever occasioned us of sorrow. Do not think it, oh, do
not think it."

Her father, who had just returned from visiting Charles Osborne, now
entered her bedroom, accompanied by William and his two daughters--for
Agnes had flown to inform them of the happy turn which had taken place
in Jane's malady. When he entered, she put her white but wasted hand
out, and raised her head to kiss him.

"My dear papa," said she, "it is so long, I think, since I have seen
you; and Maria, too. Oh, dear Maria, come to me--but you must not weep,
dear sister. Alas, Maria,"--for the poor girl wept bitterly--"Oh, my I
sister, but your heart is good and loving. William"--she kissed him, and
looking tenderly into his face, said,

"Why, oh, why are you all in tears? Imitate my papa, dear William. I am
so glad to see you! Papa, I have been--I fear I have been--but, indeed,
I remember when I dreaded as much. My heart, my heart is heavy when I
think of all the grief and affliction I must have occasioned you; but
you will all forgive your poor Jane, for you know she would not do so
if she could avoid it. Papa, how pale and careworn you look! as, indeed,
you all do. Oh, God help me. I see, I see--I read on your sorrowful
faces the history of all you have suffered on my account."

They all cherished, and petted, and soothed the sweet creature; and,
indeed, rejoiced over her as if she had been restored to them from the
dead.

"Papa, would you get me the Bible," she continued. "I wish if possible
to console you and the rest; and mamma, you will think when I am gone of
that which I am about to show you; think of it all of you, for indeed an
early death is sometimes a great blessing to those who are taken away.
Alas! who can say when it is not?"

They assisted her to sit up in the bed, and after turning over the
leaves of the Bible, she read in a voice of low impressive melody the
first verse of the fifty-seventh chapter of Isaiah.

"The righteous perisheth, and no man taketh it to heart; and merciful
men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away
from the evil to come. He SHALL ENTER INTO PEACE."

"Oh! many a death," she continued, "is wept for and lamented by friends
and relatives, who consider not that those for whom they weep may be
taken away from the evil to come. I feel that I am unable to speak much,
but it is your Jane's request, that the consolation to be found, not
only in this passage, but in this book, may be applied to your hearts
when I am gone."

This effort, slight as it was, enfeebled her much, and she lay silent
for some time; and such was their anxiety, neither to excite nor
disturb her, that although their hearts were overflowing they restrained
themselves, so far as to permit no startling symptoms of grief to be
either seen or heard. After a little time, however, she spoke again:---

"My poor bird," said she, "I fear I have neglected it. Dear Agnes would
you let me see it--I long to see it." Agnes in a few minutes returned
and placed the bird in her bosom. She caressed it for a short time, and
then looking at it earnestly said--

"Is it possible, that you too, my Ariel, are drooping?"

This indeed was true. The bird had been for some time past as feeble
and delicate as if its fate were bound up with that of its unhappy
mistress--whether it was that the sight of it revived some recollection
that disturbed her, or whether this brief interval of reason was as much
as exhausted nature could afford on one occasion, it is difficult to
say; but the fact is, that after looking on it for some time, she put
her hand to her bosom and asked, "Where, where is the letter?"

"What letter, my darling?" said her father.

"Is not Charles unhappy and dying?" she said.

"He is ill, my love," said her father, "but not dying, we trust."

"It is not here," she said, searching her bosom, "it is not here--but it
matters nothing now--it was a message of death, and the message has been
delivered. Sorrow--sorrow--sorrow--how beautiful is that word--there is
but one other in the language that surpasses it, and that is mourn. Oh!
how beautiful is that too--how delicately expressive. Weep is violent;
but mourn, the graduated tearless grief that wastes gently--that
disappoints death, for we die not but only cease to be. I am the star
of sorrow, pale and mournful in the lonely sky--well, that is one
consolation--when I set I shall set in heaven."

They knew by experience that any attempt at comfort would then produce
more evil than good. For near two hours she uttered to herself in a low
chant, "I am the star of sorrow, etc.," after which she sank as before
into a profound slumber.

Her intervals of reason, as death approached, were mercifully extended.
Whilst they lasted, nothing could surpass the noble standard of
Christian duty by which her feelings and moral sentiments were
regulated. For a fortnight after this, she sank with such a certain
but imperceptible approximation towards death that the eyes even of
affection could, scarcely notice the gradations of its approach.

During this melancholy period, her father was summoned upon an occasion
which was strongly calculated to try the sincerity of his Christian
professions. Not a day passed that he did not forget his own sorrows,
and the reader knows how heavily they pressed upon him--in order to
prepare the mind of his daughter's destroyer for the awful change
which death was about to open upon his soul. He reasoned--he prayed--he
wept--he triumphed--yes, he triumphed, nor did he ever leave the
death-bed of Charles Osborne, until he had succeeded in fixing his heart
upon that God "who willeth not the death of a sinner."

A far heavier trial upon the Christian's fortitude, however, was soon to
come upon him. Jane, as the reader knows, was now at the very portals of
heaven. For hours in the day--she was perfectly rational; but again she
would wander into her chant of sorrow,--as much from weakness as from
the original cause of her malady; for upon this it is difficult if not
impossible to determine.

On the last evening, however, that her father ever attended Charles
Osborne, he came home as usual, and was about to inquire how Jane felt,
when Maria come to him with eyes which weeping had made red, and said--

"Oh papa--I fear--we all fear, that--I cannot utter it--I cannot--I
cannot--Oh papa, at last the hour we fear is come."

"Remember, my child, that you are speaking," said this heroic Christian,
"remember that you are speaking to a Christian father, who will not set
up his affections, nor his weaknesses, nor his passions against the will
of God."

"Oh! but papa--Jane, Jane"--she burst into bitter tears for more than a
minute, and then added--"Jane, papa, is dying--leaving us at last!"

"Maria," said he, calmly, "leave me for some minutes. You know not, dear
child, what my struggles have been. Leave me now--this is the trial I
fear--and now must I, and so must you all--but now must I----Oh, leave
me, leave me."

He knelt down and prayed; but in less than three, minutes, Agnes,
armed with affection--commanding and absolute it was from that loving
sister--came to him.

She laid her hand upon his arm, and pressed it. "Papa!"--

"I know it," said he, "she is going; but, Agnes, we must be Christians."

"We must be sisters, papa; and ah, papa, surely, surely this is a moment
in which the father may forget the Christian. Jesus wept for a stranger;
what would He not have done for a brother or a sister?"

"Agnes, Agnes," said he, in a tone of sorrow, inexpressibly deep, "is
this taxing me with want of affection for--for--"

She flung herself upon his breast. "Oh, papa, forgive me, forgive me--I
am not capable of appreciating the high and holy principles from which
you act. Forgive me; and surely if you ever forgave me on any occasion,
you will on this."

"Dear Agnes," said he, "you scarcely ever required my forgiveness, and
less now than! ever--even if you had. Come--I will go; and may the Lord
support and strengthen us all! Your mother--our poor mother!"

On entering the room of the dying girl, they found her pale cheek laid
against that of her other parent, whose arms were about her, as if
she would hold them in love and tenderness for ever. When she saw them
approach, she raised her head feebly, and said--"Is that my papa? my
beloved papa?" The old man raised his eyes once more to heaven for
support--but for upwards of half a minute the muscles of his face worked
with power that evinced the full force of what he suffered--

"I am here, I am here," he at length said, with difficulty.

"And that is Agnes?" she inquired. "Agnes, come near me; and do not be
angry, dear Agnes that I die on mamma's bosom and not on yours."

Agnes could only seize her pale hand and bathe it in tears. "Angry with
you--you living angel--oh, who ever was, or could be, my sister!"

"You all love me too much," she said. "Maria, it grieves me to see your
grief so excessive--William, oh why, why will you weep so? Is it because
I am about to leave the pains and sorrows of this unhappy life, and; to
enter into peace, that you all grieve thus bitterly. Believe me--and I
know this will relieve my papa's heart--and all your hearts--will it not
yours, my mamma?--it is this--your Jane, your own Jane is not afraid to
die. Her hopes are fixed on the Rock of Ages--the Rock of her salvation.
I know, indeed, that my brief existence has been marked at its close
with care and sorrow; but these cares and sorrows have brought me the
sooner to that place where all tears shall be wiped from my eyes. Let my
fate, too, be a warning to young creatures like myself, never to suffer
their affection for any object to overmaster their sense and their
reason. I cherished the passion of my heart too much, when I ought to
have checked and restrained it--and now, what is the consequence? Why,
that I go down in the very flower of my youth to an early grave."

Agnes caught the dear girl's hands when she had concluded, and looking
with a breaking heart into her face, said--

"And oh, my sister, my sister, are you leaving us--are you leaving
us for ever, my sister? Life will be nothing to me, my Jane, without
you--how, how will your Agnes live?"

"I doubt we are only disturbing--our cherished one," said her father.
"Let our child's last moments be calm--and her soul--oh let it not be
drawn back from its hopes, to this earth and its affections."

"Papa, pray for me, and they will join with you--pray for your poor Jane
while it is yet time--the prayer of the righteous availeth much."

Earnest, indeed, and melancholy, was that last prayer offered up on
behalf of the departing girl. When it was concluded there was a short
silence, as if they wished not to break in upon what they considered the
aspirations of the dying sufferer. At length the mother thought she
felt her child's cheek press against her own with a passive weight that
alarmed her.

"Jane, my love," said she, "do you not feel your soul refreshed by your
father's prayer?"

No answer was returned to this, and on looking more closely at her
countenance of sorrow, they found that her gentle spirit had risen on
the incense of her father's prayer to heaven. The mother clasped her
hands, whilst the head of her departed daughter still lay upon her
bosom.

"Oh God! oh God!" said she, "our idol is gone--is gone!"

"Gone!" exclaimed the old man; "now, oh Lord, surely--surely the
father's grief may be allowed," and he burst, as he spoke, into a
paroxysm of uncontrollable sorrow.

"And what am I to do--who am--oh woe--woe--who was her mother?"

To the scene that ensued, what pen could do justice--we cannot,
and consequently leave it to the imagination of our readers, whose
indulgence we crave for our many failures and errors in the conduct of
this melancholy story.

Thus passed the latter days of the unhappy Jane Sinclair, of whose
life nothing more appropriate need be said, than that which she herself
uttered immediately before her death:

"Let my fate be a warning to young creatures like myself, never to
suffer their affection for any object to overmaster their sense and
their reason. I cherished the passion of my heart too much, when I ought
to have checked and restrained it--and now, what is the consequence?
Why, that I go down in the very flower of my youth to an early grave."

On the day after her dissolution, an incident occurred, which threw the
whole family into renewed sorrow:--Early that morning, Ariel, her dove,
was found dead upon her bosom, as she lay out in the composure of death.

"Remove it not," said her father; "it shall be buried with her;" and it
was accordingly placed upon her bosom in the coffin.

Seldom was a larger funeral train seen, than that which attended her
remains to the grave-yard; and rarely was sorrow so deeply felt for any
being so young and so unhappy, as that which moved all hearts for the
fate of the beautiful but unfortunate Jane Sinclair--the far-famed Fawn
of Springvale.

One other fact we have to record: Jane's funeral had arrived but a
few minutes at the grave, when another funeral train appeared slowly
approaching the place of death. It was that of Charles Osborne!

The last our readers may have anticipated. From the day of Jane's death
the heart of the old man gradually declined. He looked about him in vain
for his beloved one. Night and day her name was never out of his mouth.
It is true he prayed, he read, he availed himself of all that the pious
exercises of a Christian man could contribute to the alleviation of his
sorrow. But it was in vain. In vain did his wife, son, and daughters
strive to soothe and console him. The old man's heart was broken. His
beloved one was gone, and he felt that he could not remain behind her.
A gradual decay of bodily strength, and an utter breaking down of his
spirits, brought about the consummation which they all dreaded. At the
expiration of four months and a half, the old man was laid in the same
grave that contained his beloved one--and he was happy.





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