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The valet raised her half up, and dragged her towards the entrance.

“ Cast her out into the street," continued the maddened man. “ Remember my orders-into the street, and leave her there. If you dare to disobey me in the smallest, I discharge you on the spot."

His command was fulfilled to the very letter. The servant dragged her over the threshold just as consciousness returned; and when she opened her eyes, she was lying on the pavement, and the door was shut.

Dogwood returned to the room, which he found empty. Maddened, if not terrified, by his daughter's malediction, Sir Edward, the moment she was carried away, rushed into his bed-room, and threw himself upon a couch, burying his face in the yieldiog cushions.

The valet, looking cautiously round, and seeing that his master was gone, approached the table on which the open desk lay. Long had he wished to get a peep at those two documents, which he had observed Sir Edward so often examining, and now the opportunity presented itself.

Nervously he took up the letters, read them, and bounded with astonishment when he learned their contents.

“ Villain!" shouted a hoarse voice in his ear; and, turning round, he beheld his master, the very personification of consternation, rage, and alarm.

For some moments the horrified baronet glared at his valet in speechless anger; then, while the foam flew from his lips, he roared furiously,

Speak, sirrah, and tell me if you have read these papers!”.
“ I have, sir," answered Dogwood, with something like a glance
of triumph.

“ You have; and you know their contents. You know that-
that-
“ That your brother left a son and heir to his-

“ Then die!" exclaimed Sir Edward, plucking a dagger from his bosom, and aiming at Dogwood's heart.

The quick eye of the valet detected the motion, and he grasped bis master's arm in time to avert the stroke. Then the two powerful men wrestled in a life-and-death struggle, which terminated only when they both became breathless.

• What needs this violence, Sir Edward ?” exclaimed Dogwood, when they were forced to pause. “I have no intention of using the knowledge I have gained to your disadvantage."

“Do you swear this? Do you swear never to reveal to mortal the sccret you have discovered ?”

I swear it."

- Then I shall trust you," said Sir Edward, returning the dagger to his bosom,

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CHAPTER IV.

THE OATH,

RICHARD EVERLY was still bending over his dead boy, when the door of his cell opened, and Fanny entered, pale, woe-worn, and utterly exhausted.

Prostrated as her husband was by grief, he was startled by the fearful look of despair and utter misery which rested on her counte. nance. Hope, the last, longest, and best friend of the soul, had fled, for on her face it showed no ray; all was pale and death-like, as if she had listened to the knell of doom, and knew there was no respite.

One quick glance, in which this despair was conveyed, she cast on her horror-stricken husband, and sank down in a swoon.

Quickly he laid down the little corpse, and flew to the side of his wife.

“Fanny," he exclaimed, in accents of intense alarm, “what means this? Have you o'er-tasked yourself ? Look up,

look

up, and tell me what has happened.”

Alas! he spoke in ears that heard not, for Fanny was in the region of deep insensibility. Weakness and heavy, hopeless sorrow had pressed upon her heart with a force she could no longer resist, and the hand of death bad now come to complete the work.

Long did Richard hold her in his arms, and speak soothing yet meaningless words; for where had he comfort to impart, with that silent form lying in the bed? But even that bereavement was furgot, as he gazed on her closed eyes, and listened in vain for the coming and going of her breath.

She opened them at length, those deep blue orbs; but, О how wild and wandering was their stare! They rested on nothing with intelligence, not even on the loved features that hung agonizingly “Fanny, do you not know me?” whispered Richard, tenderly.

Mercy! mercy!" muttered the raving one, for the scene with her fatber was still before her mind. In a few minutes, and through the hurried utterances of delirium, her husband knew all that had passed; and he gnawed his lips with agony, and cursed the baronet through his clenched teeth. Then, as the poor mother reiterated in' her madness the doom she had pronounced on her father, his burning spirit echoed it fiercely back, and he, too, imprecated fearful Vengeance on the head of their murderers.

over her,

66

Exhausted by the excitement into which she had been throwit, Fanny sunk into silence, and Richard managed to place her on his bed, close to the dead child. Her breathing now became visible and regular, low enough in its energy, but still indicative of the return of mental quietude.

Again she opened her eyes, and this time she knew her husband, for she regarded him with a faint smile.

“Richard," she whispered, very faintly, "am I with you again? Alas! it was all in vain.

I know it,” said her husband, bitterly.
“ You know it?" echoed Fanny, with wonder.

“I know it all, dearest. Just now, in the wildness of delirium, you described the scene. But, cheer up; we shall yet be revenged, ay, terribly revenged."

“ Alas ! Richard, I am dying, fast dying,” replied Fanny, in 8 low, tremulous voice,

“Dying! no, no; do not speak thus, my girl," cried Richard, starting back, for never had he thought of this issue in her case.

“It is hard, very hard, for you, my husband," said Fanny tenderly; but-ah, me! I have not seen our boy : is he asleep?"

“Yes, he is asleep,said Richard, in a hoarse tone.
“But I must see him, and bless you both, before I depart."

“Fanny, this is terrible,” murmured the poor youth, covering his face with his hands.

Don't cry. Richard, don't cry. You and our boy will soon follow me.

He said so, only he said our child should die first. That was a mistake; for I shall be the first victim.”

“I shall go mad," said Richard, piteously. “For heaven's sake, talk not thus. Your are deluding yourself, and torturing me.

No, no; it is vain to deceive you. I feel, I know that the band of death is upon me. In an hour at most, perhaps sooner, I shall be dead. Quick, dearest, give me my child, while I have strength to look upon him."

Fanny, I said he was asleep." “But I will hold him very gently, so that he shall not awake. O, a mother knows how to tend a sleeping child !"

Richard saw the truth must now be told.

“I do not fear that you will awake him, dearest,” he said, and tried to be calm. “Don't be shocked, love, don't be too much overcome; but his is a dreamless sleep, and it will know no waking.” He reached over for the body, and laid it gently in her arms.

Her dying eyes filled with tears; but no violent emotion troubled her, when she knew the sad truth.

“ He was right,” she murmured, kissing the cold lips. “I cannot weep, Richard. I cannot weep for our boy. He is at rest, and will welcome me when I come. How beautiful he looks! what a lovely,

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angelic smile! If this be death, it is not the dreadful thing we have thought. See, Richard, see, he smiles me away. I am coming, darling, I am coming! Kiss me, my husband, kiss me once again, and then I shall go to our boy, and tell him you will soon follow. Farewell, farewell.”

And the eyes closed, and the same sweet smile spread over the countenance, which the youth had seen already that day, and he knew it meant death. Passionately, he threw himself on the bed, and clasped the two forms to his heart, calling on them to return. Then, as he comprehended that all his prayers were unavailing, he started up, a fearful change passing over his countenance.

Terrible, 0 how terrible, was the glare of his eye, and the bollow depth of his voice, as be knelt down by the bed which contained the dead ones, and consecrated himself to a life of vengeance. By the most sacred name, he swore to devote every energy of his being to accomplish the ruin of him who had robbed him of his all. It seemed as if he buried, in that first hour of dark bereavement, the soft, and tender, and generous part of his nature, and gathered up into one central group the fiercer passions of his human soul. For one purpose he was henceforth to live, by one principle he would be governed, one pursuit would absorb his every faculty, and never would he rest till his oath was fulfilled-till his purpose was achieved till he had gotten his revenge. Then, that sacred duty done, he would quietly lie down and die, finding a peaceful resting-place by the side of those who had

gone

before. Having breathed this burning oath, exhausted nature could bear no more, and he fainted.

For weeks after, he lay betwixt death and life, in the embrace of braiu-fever.

CHAPTER V.

A MIDNIGHT SCENE.

It was midnight, and the wind howled fearfully among the trees which surrounded the mansion of Netherton, rocking their huge branches to and fro, and bending their heavy foliage hither and thither according to its wild, angry mood. A few light clouds scudded hastily along the sky, chased by the boisterous air, and the pale stars were hidden as they swept over their faces.

It was neither dark nor cold, for it was mid-summer, and all nature was in the heyday of life. Nevertheless, as the old, farspreading elms tossed their giant arms in the air, and the tall pines whistled shrilly, and as the wind struck wildly on the peaked gables

20

FRAUD AND FRIENDSHIP.

1

and towering chimneys of the building, and shook the window-sashes
with a rattling sound, one could not help feeling impressed with a
sensation approaching to fear.

Within the mansion, the sounds of the tempest were heard in all
their distinctness, and with a double awe. The wind roaring in the
chimney-tops, making the doors creak, the windows rattle, and the
bed-curtains move, produced an eariness on common minds which it
was in vain to resist. While the tempest raged, and called forth
the groans and moans of inanimate objects, the hearts of those who
were awake beat quicker, and they drew quiet, fearful breaths, as
they lay on their beds listening to the elemental commotion.

Many of the inmates of Netherton might be awake; but none were astir except Mrs Mason, the housekeeper, who sat by the bedside of her dying master. It was a lofty apartment in which the proprietor lay, grappling with the grim king, who had come to him both suddenly and unexpectedly, and in no part of the bouse was the noise of the hurricane more intrusive.

The white curtains of the bed were drawn, and revealed the form of Mr Everly, stretched out beneath the coverlet. His face, arms, and breast were bare, the clothes having either been folded down by the attentive housekeeper, or thrown off by the restless sufferer. The dying man presented a startling appearance. His eye

rolled wildly, and ever and anon he turned from side to side, or sat halfup in the attitude of impatient listening. Dark, vindictive passion sat upon his countenance, and his whole frame seemed labouring with anxious agitation.

He knew that he was dying, and this was the cause of his troubled aspect; bụt it was not a shrinking from his fate that his agitation meant. Of his solemn position and its dread realities, he thought not.

He had set before himself one act to be accomplished,
and he trembled lest he should die and leave it unfulfilled. This
act was one not of reparation or of mercy, but of cruelty and the
consummation of

revenge.
“Will they never come ?" exclaimed Mr Everly, in a fretful tone.

“Don't doubt it,” answered Mrs Mason, with something like a
bitter sadness in her voice, “ Frank is too deeply interested in his
mission to delay a moment unnecessarily. But, Mr Everly, it
would have been better to have sent for the minister-

“ I tell you not to plague me with such methodistical notions," said her master, angrily. « What have I to do with a minister ?”

" A great deal more than you have to do with a lawyer,” replied.
Mrs Mason, undauntedly,

“ Tush! you speak of a thing yon know nothing about," was the
peevish rejoinder, Once for all, cease your prating, and let me
follow my own way."
i6 I will not be silent, Mr Everly. I have been in the family for

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