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feelings, its irradicable cherishings and irrepressible longings. If she refused to become Henry's wife, it was not because she did not love him-nay, may we not say it was because she loved him so purely and truly? Her self-sacrifice, then, was great, and all the greater because Henry had not fully recognised its necessity. The path she had taken was one not only exquisitely painful to herself, but it entailed agony on him she so devotedly loved; and this rendered it tenfold more distressing. Now, however, when a gleam of hope shone athwart it, when the possibility was presented of leaving it with all honour, and joining her lover, to go hand in hand along the sunny, flowery avenue which faith and fancy had mapped out to their young, hopeful eyes, she became full of strong, earnest, agonizing energy. Faint and feeble as the ray might be, she would follow it with unswerving eagerness, and cease not in the endeavour, till it either faded away and left her to fall back again into her silent sorrow, or led her by its brightening beams into the radiance of renewed life and joyful experience.
With her mind in a perfect whirl by reason of these rushing thoughts, she crossed the Links, and arrived at their western extremity. It was not very dark; for through the clear frosty air the sparkling gems in the raven hair of night emitted a double lustre, and revealed in dim yet sufficient outline the trees and bouses that were near.
The spot was, however, solitary and lonely, silent too, except from the bum of the neighbouring city, which by its very deadened, muffled sound, proclaimed the presence of isolation.
She paused, and looked around. No one was visible in the open park; but on the road which skirted it, she thought she saw a dark, square-looking object. Not deeming that this could have any connection with her appointment, she turned her head in every other direction, in search of the woman who had before accosted her.
At length, a form appeared coming as it were from the dark ohject she had discerned; and as it seemed to approach straight towards her, she ventured to advance and meet it. Ere they met, she was aware that it was the stranger who had set the tryst, and this discovery gave her considerable relief.
Ah! you are punctual to the appointment, I see," said the stranger, with apparent satisfaction. “I hope you have not confided to any one the direction you have taken, or the errand on which you have come ?”
“I have obeyed your injunction to the very letter,” replied Diamond.
"That is well," rejoined the other, with increased complacency.
“But why this secrecy ?” asked the girl, noticing for the first time this feature of the case. "It is imperatively necessary," answered the other.
6. The reason
for it, I cannot now give; but you will be satisfied about this, as well as all other things, soon. Yonder is a carriage waiting for you. Come, let us depart at once."
“A carriage !” echoed Diamond, in surprise. “Whither would you take me ?”
“ To your parents," was the impressive reply.
“ Are they not then in Edinburgh ?" she inquired, with doubt and suspicion.
No; they live at a little distance,” was the ready answer. Only a few miles out: we shall reach the end of our journey very
“I-I really cannot go on these terms,” said the girl, hesitatingly. “ The silence and secrecy you have enjoined, and this request to leave the town, look
- What! do you doubt me?” asked the woman, assuming an offended tone. “If I do, is it not natural ?" said Diamond.
6 You are quite a stranger to me, and may be imposing upon me.”
“But for what purpose, or with what motives?” asked the other.
Nay, that of course I know not. But they may be strong and sufficient enough, notwithstanding iny ignorance."
“ Well, I like your caution," observed the stranger, with a show of frankness and approval. “I like your caution; and, were it in my power, would show you that your fears are groundless. But I am bound to act according to instructions, whose instructions I need not say, but you may guess. I can assure you of this, however, that you are in no danger. The knowledge I have evinced of your history and position, should tend to obviate the suspicions you have formed. Unless I had been in connection with your parents, how could I have known that you are a foundling? What! still unconvinced? Nay, have more courage, and prove worthy of your name and birth.”
This artful speech impressed Diamond with other feelings, and she became more inclined to proceed in this strange adventure. The woman saw her advantage, and plied her with more arguments in the same strain, till at length she agreed to enter the carriage, the door of which was open, and the steps let down.
No sooner was she seated, than the woman stept in and sat down beside her, the door was shut with a bang, some one sprang on the box in front, and away they went at furious speed.
The lights in the suburbs of the city grew fewer and fainter, ceasing at length altogether, while before the travellers rose the dark mass of the Pentlands. In time they, too, were left behind, and the open country was reached.
Still the carriage rattled
For the first half-hour, the two occupants of the carriage maintained a profound silence. The new information just received by. Diamond, that her parents were not, as she expected, of the humbler ranks, changed in a measure the current of her thoughts, and opened up to her almost bewildered mind an entirely different field of contemplation. So long as she was impressed with the idea that she had been born amid the direst poverty, she could faintly understand the motive which prompted her parents to cast her forth; but now that she knew the contrary, she sought in vain to conjecture the cause of her desertion. A mystery there apparently was in the matter; for why should the occupants of wealth and station forsake the child that had been born to them, and leave it to be reared by the hand of charity? Then her parents seemed to have been keeping their eye upon her; for the woman who had accosted her seemed to have no difficulty as to identification. But it was in vain for her to puzzle her mind further with conjectures, which she had as yet no means of verifying. In a little, she would likely know all; and with her natural good sense, she concluded that it would be wiser to wait till the knowledge was imparted.
Drawing off her mind from this fruitless, though most natural and interesting speculation, she began to think of the time that had elapsed since they commenced their journey, and grew alarmed; for, judging by the period and the speed at which they had been going, she perceived that they must now be a considerable distance from the city. The doubts and suspicions which she formerly entertained returned with double force. "Might not the pretence under which she had been lured away be a false one ? and instead of going to her parents, as had been represented, she was perhaps being carried off to some intended harm. She shuddered as she imagined this; for she saw how utterly. defenceless she was, how unable to avert the evil of whatever nature, and bitterly reproached herself for having been so rashly imprudent.
Her. companion had been like herself, silent and motionless, and she wondered if she slept. She drew aside the blind from the window, and looked out; but it was so, dark, that she could see nothing except a few stars glimmering in the sky. On the earth, all was unbroken gloom; no light appeared near or in the distance,
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- nothing to indicate that help was at hand, if her fears should be realized.
“Are you getting uneasy?" said the woman, suddenly, in her strong, firm, yet not unkind voice.
Diamond started. “I must confess that I am,” she replied. “ It is now a long time since we set out, and there is no appearance of having reached our destination.”
“Then, in order to keep you from fretting, I may as well tell you that our journey is but begun," said the other, composedly. “ But begun!" echoed Diamond, in a tone of extreme surprise.
was the calm, unmoved answer. hours riding before us; in fact, it will be morning ere we arrive at the place to which we are going."
“ Then you have deceived me!” cried Diamond, warmly. "You said that we were going only a little distauce into the country. You have grossly deceived me.”
- I admit it," answered the stranger.
I knew there would be great difficulty in persuading you to accompany us. But do not be alarmed. You are quite safe, and have no cause for anxiety. See, here are cloaks; wrap yourself well up, for the night air is cold, and try to sleep for an hour or two."
“ But, tell me
“I can tell you nothing," interrupted the woman. "Pray, do not distress me and harass yourself, by asking questions which cannot be answered. I have already assured you
that no danger, but am not at liberty to give a further word of explanation."
Thus bluntly, if not frankly dealt with, Diamond had nothing for it, but to relapse into silence; and she strove, with all her might, to stay the fearful beatings of her heart. One thing assured her not a little. Her companion was, in every respect, civil and respectful, She did not, indeed, seem to sympathize much with the very natural fears of the young girl, but she evidently appeared to possess & stroog, emotionless nature.
Diamond, with her quick penetration, at once comprehended that she was not the weakest or softest of her sex, and therefore did not think her situation the more desperate, because she met with so little outward sympathy. If there was nothing like pity or affection in the cold tones of the woman's voice, neither was there positive harshness.
Composing herself then as well as she could, Diamond wrapped a thick cloak round her person, and lay back in the corner of the carriage, not to sleep, but to rest.
She was too decided in character to importune her companion with conversation after what she had just said. Possibly, she might be willing enough to converse op
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other matters; but the girl was too anxious and excited to think of any thing but her position, and felt it impossible to make or listen to any general remark. Silent, therefore, she resolved to remain, and her companion sought not to break in upon
repose. But though Diamond is thus ignorant of her parentage, and the direction and intention of her present journey, the reader is not; for he doubtless has perceived ere this, that she is the child so long mourned as lost hy Mr and Mrs Gray; that her companion is Mrs Dogwood; and that they are now on their way to Rockhart Hall, with a view to the accomplishment of the baronet's matrimonial scheme.
Seeing, then, that he knows so much, it may be as well at this point to give him a few particulars about Mrs Dogwood, and tell how she came to be intrusted with the infant, and the cause of her abandoning it. Her maiden name was Mary Bowland. She was a farmer's daughter; had got a good education; and in her young days possessed a bold beauty, which captivated the young squire, the son of her father's landlord. Being naturally gay and ambitious, she listened to his honied words, believed his fair promises, and eloped with him. He took her to Edinburgh, placed her in a little house, and for a time was as fond of her as she could wish; but, as might be expected, he soon grew tired, and deserted her. Bitter now was her regret, and very trying her situation; for she was about to become a mother, and was in the midst of strangers. Her child however, died; and it was at this juncture that Mr Gray's servant · brought the infant to her, she having been recommended by the neighbours. She gladly undertook to nurse the baby ; for her funds were getting low, and she had no prospect of receiving a further supply from her faithless seducer.
But heartless and dishonourable as he was, the young fellow did not forsake her utterly. He offered to give his valet, Dogwood, a handsome sum if he would marry the girl, and to procure a situation for both of them in the establishment of his friend, Sir Edward Rockhart. Dogwood, who, it may now be perceived, was no fastidious personage, readily consented, and forthwith proceeded to the little apartment in which Mary resided, to make his proposals. Bluntly and off-hand he acquainted her with his master's wish, stated his willingness to comply, and inquired how far she inclined to consent to it. By this time, the poor victim of the seducer knew her fate as regarded the squire-knew that he would dever return to her, or fulfil any of the promises he had made; she was, therefore, little shocked by the intelligence just brought. A few salt tears of regret and bitter sorrow she shed, because her bright hopes had departed; but hers was not a nature to be prostrated beneath the disappointment. Ambition had been the prevailing feature of her character, and in a heart so influenced, love cannot be