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him with a yearning pity, and, in the fulness of her woman's tenderness, soothed him with words of comfort.
He wept long and freely, but by degrees grew calm, and, looking up, said, in a much milder voice,
“I dare not refuse to listen when you speak to me in that name, But why would your honour be sacrificed were Sir Edward Rockhart brought to justice?”
“Because I voluntarily and solemnly promised not to procee against him, on condition that he gave me every information i respect to my parents. His part of the compact is fulfilled, an mine must not fail."
Richard pondered long and deeply. At last he said, with sigh, “For your sake and Henry's sake, I let this opportunity. pass."
“And will you not do it for my parents' sake likewise?" asked Diamond, with a sweet smile.
“ Your parents I do not know, and therefore cannot
“You do know them," replied Diamond; "and for their sakes not less than mine, you will be generous.”
“ Nay, that can scarcely be," rejoined Richard, shaking his head, and smiling sadly.
I know them.
ős But you say
" Those whom I am sure you already love-Mr and Mrs Gray." Again Richard started up, but this time with joyful surprise
. “Ha! then you are the child whose loss they have so long mourned!” he exclaimed, rapturously. “Are you sure of this? Have you proofs ? O, I trust you have. You are the very daughter they would desire."
Diamond replied by showing the bundle she had receired from Mrs Dogwood, and narrating the story that woman had told her.
“ It is clear, quite clear," observed Richard, when she had done. " I see it all, and see, too, why the baronet wished you to marry him. But, thank Heaven, his dark scheme is frustrated. Then Henry may yet call you his own. There, do not blush; I know it all, and how nobly you sacrificed yourself for a high principle. But your reward will yet come, and his heart will be made happy again. And your parents-o the joy that is in store for them! They have been long under a cloud; but it will be dispelled now, and happiness and peace will be their earthly portion.”
"You are well acquainted with my parents, then ?” remarked Diamond, while tears of joy and gratitude came into her eyes.
"I am," answered Richard, with enthusiasm. “To them am I indebted for continued life, and every joy that a life so blighted can endure. Your father found me at the lowest ebb of mental and physical prostration, with the dark, descended cloud of grief hang
ing over me. He rescued me from prison, took me to his own home, tended me as if I had been his son, and, together with his amiable partner, your gentle mother, wooed me, as it were, from the gates of death, and strove by every possible alleviation to shed å ray of sunshine over my desolate path. Under this kind treatment, my body grew strong again; nay, my mind could not resist the kindly fascination, and it bore its heavy grief with more composure.
When health returned, and the desire came to work a way for myself through life, your father procured for me honourable employment; and by his unwearied activity, too, this estate, of which I had been villanously defrauded, was restored to me. Judge, then, whether I am not eager to recompense these benefactors in some small measure.
I have longed to do it, especially as I knew they were meekly resting under a long, deep sorrow, caused by the loss of their infant child. I would have given even my life to have cast some light on that sad circumstance, and afforded them consulation by bearing to them tidings of the one they sought; and now, most unexpectedly, that power is given me.
We will go to them together; and I shall have the unspeakable pleasure of seeing their generous hearts spring into recovered freshness, and the settled shadow depart for ever from their countenances.”
A soft, radiant pleasure rested on Diamond's face as she listened to the young man's eloqnent words.
"I feel I am not worthy to become their daughter," she murmured.
“You alone are worthy, of all that I know," answered Richard. " And, now that I have got the key, I understand the strange feelings with which I used to regard you.
Whenever I looked upon you at Mrs Ford's, it was with the idea that I ought to know you --that I had seen you before, though I could not remember where. It must have been of your mother I was thinking, for you resemble her very closely. I can easily imagine that, at your age, she must have been your very image. But in this delightful talk we are forgetting that prompt action is before us. You doubtless wish to meet your parents this very day ?”
Diamond looked as if this was her strong desire. my Edinburgh friends, too
"Ah! very true," interrupted Richard; “their anxiety must be allayed as speedily as possible. But it may be advisable, for various reasons, to say nothing to them at present about what has occurred, or the singular and interesting discovery you have made. Although there is very little likelihood that there can be any mistake as to identification, it would be better that you met your parents, and be acknowledged as their daughter, ere you make any explanations to your
friends." “But would it not be wrong to protract their anxiety?” sug
66 And my
gested Diamond, her thoughts running towards Henry, and her imagination picturing the agony she knew he must be enduring.
“Undoubtedly," replied Richard, slightly smiling. “But I would suggest that you write a letter, assuring them of your safety and welfare, stating that they need not be in any further anxiety concerning you, and that very soon you will reappear, and explain all that now seems mysterious. This letter we can put into the post-office as we pass through to Newington."
Diamond at once assented to this plan; and while Richard went to prepare for the journey, she seated herself at a table, to write the conten plated letter,
Having given the necessary orders regarding the carriage, Mr Everly, on his way back to the library, was accosted by a servant
“Please, sir, Ned Oakham has been waiting for an hour or “Ah! yes; I forgot. Send him up immediately."
He waited in the lobby, and in a few minutes the gamekeeper appeared.
* Ned, my lad, give me your hand. I have been made acquainted with the whole of last night's proceedings, and cannot sufficiently thank you for your brave defence and protection."
“I-I only did my duty," said Ned, whose face glowed with pleasure, and grew crimson with a blush. “But I wish, sir," he added, looking up—“I wish we had not let him escape."
“ That is done, and, in the circumstauces, cannot be helped," observed Everly, a shade of sternness passing over his brow." Ned," be continued, with wild, flashing eyes, “ I would give all I am worth to see that man ruined. You-you know why." “ I do, sir.
know that he was the cause ofSay no more, say no more. This chance we must forego; but mark me, Ned, if such another comes, he must not, shall not escape."
"I understand, sir. I only wish I could catch him again, that's all. O, sir, if you had only seen how his proud spirit writhed beneath the humiliation !”
" That was a sight I would have given much to see," said Richard, his eyes lighting up with a gleam of triumph. “But the time may, nay must, come still.”
“And I hope I shall help to bring it about, sir," said Ned, resolutely, “Just let me see, Mr Everly, how it may be done, and I shall do it."
Your service I shall accept, depend upon it, my good fellow, Meanwhile, keep perfect silence regarding this affair. I am going with the lady to Edinburgh immediately. Don't let the other servants see that any thing unusual has occurred, and likely hear further about the business by-and-by.”
Thus thanked and dismissed, Ned returned home, and Mr Everly entered the library, where Diamond had just finished her letter. It was to Andrew Pringle, and ran as follows:""MY DEAR, DEAR ANDREW,-To allay the anxiety which I know you must feel on my account, I send you this note. It is the very first moment I could do so since my departure. I trust you do not think me in any way unworthy. If I imagined that, I would be miserable indeed. I have been in great danger, but am in perfect safety now. Circumstances prevent me from saying more at present; but very, very soon I expect to see you, and tell you every thing. Let me assure you that I am quite happy and comfortable. So keep your mind perfectly easy, and be so good as show this note to Mrs Ford, and and all friends.--'With warmest regards to you and Henry, and every one, I remain, your loving
DIAMOND." This letter Richard deposited in his pocket-book; and, in a very few minutes more, amid the wonder of the servants, they departed in the carriage. It was a singularly interesting journey; and Richard, knowing well what tumultuous feelings must be rushing through the girl's mind, strove, by keeping her attention fixed on other things, to render her less excitable. Any object of interest which they passed was pointed out-any fine view was discanted on—a beautiful house or garden afforded topics of conversation, which the cultivated mind of Mr Everly knew how to lengthen, He purposely endeavoured to draw Diamond out, to get to know the features of her mind, the character of her tastes, and the nature of her ideas; and the fair girl, in the exuberance of her new-found joy, and animated by the bright gladness of a beautiful spring day, gave free utterance to her thoughts, disclosed the richness and elegance of her well-furnished mind, revealed her pure sentiments, and large womanly heart. Her companion was enchanted with her simple, unaffected remarks, the modest gracefulness of her expressions, the genuine poetry of her soul, and the pure gushings of her tender affections. She came like a flower upon his lonely path, as beautiful and as fragrant; and very grateful to him was the dew and the sunshine she wooed down to cherish him. For her parents' sake, he likewise rejoiced. Though hitherto denied the training she would have received at their hands, she did not come to them a being unworthy of their love. They dreaded that, if found at all, it would be among the depraved and the outcast of society; but how very different! She was every thing they could desire, and could be received to their hearts, not only without regret, but with full, unalloyed satisfaction.
About noon, the travellers entered on a wide, barren moor, very fat, and covered with a thick coating of whins and heather. Far on either side the eye could range to the horizon, for neither hill nor tree interrupted the prospect. The only object visible was a dark speck before them, and on this Diamond fixed her eyes most, simply because there was nothing else to gaze ate The road she
could see stretching out in the distance winded towards it; and, on nearer approach, she perceived it to be a house-an old thatched building standing by itself, and not another within sight.
“Ah!” she exclaimed, “ this must be the place at which we had refreshment, and changed horses on the night of our journey."
“ Very likely," replied Richard, in a gloomy tone. Most of this moor belongs to the Rockhart estate; and, no doubt, that house belongs to the baronet.”
When they came up, they found it closed, and no sign of human presence near. Diamond regarded it with peculiar interest as they whirled past, and felt thankful that her position was more satisfactory than when last she saw it, with the fire-light from the window glimmering out into the darkness.
When nearing Edinburgh, Diamond's excitement increased, and not all Mr Everly's efforts at conversation could call her from the thoughts of the anticipated meeting.
At some remark made by Richard, intended to elicit a laugh, the fair girl only smiled; and, with a troubled, yet frank expression, thus addressed him
“ I know your object, Mr Everly. You wish to save me from my naturally excited thoughts; but it is no use. I cannot possibly take my mind from the contemplation of what is before me."
“What! you are anxious about your reception, are you?” asked Richard, gaily. “Never distress yourself about that. Your identification is easily proved. The bundle you got from Mrs Dogwood is in itself sufficient; but you have something independent of this, and a something that, in your father's eyes, will be irresistible--your likeness to the wife of his youth."
“ It is not so much that which agitates me," answered Diamond. “ I conceive there will be little difficulty in making us feel that we are indeed parents and child; but, O Mr Everly, it is so strange, so bewildering to me to see my parents' for the first time, to call them by this name, to meet the caresses of those dear ones, whose faces I bave not yet seen!”
“I can easily imagine the feelings of your situation," rejoined her companion; “ but you have every thing to hope and expect.
Your parents are such as you can only esteem and love. See
, yonder are the steeples and monuments of the city. In another hour, you will be in your new home. We might get through by Lauristoll
, which is the nearest way; but, for the sake of having the letter despatched at once, we shall go round by Princes Street to the General Post-Office.”
They were now driving briskly along the western edge of Bruntsfield Links, and Diamond noticed the spot where the carriage took her up on the evening of her capture. Then they were rolling down the Lothian Road, past the West Kirk, and the splendid line