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greatly as ourselves, must no longer remain ignorant of the glad tidings."
"She looked very hard at Diamond-I mean Miss Gray-when we made our appearance in the kitchen," said Richard. "I could see that the extreme likeness to Mrs Gray puzzled her not a little."
The bell was rung, and Betsey appeared.
"Come hither, Betsey," said her mistress. "I am going to introduce you to an old acquaintance. Do you recognise her?"
The servant looked in wonder first at her smiling mistress, and then at the girl.
"I-I can't say I do, ma'am. And yet," she added, gazing earnestly, "I ought to know the countenance. It struck me, the first moment I saw the lady, that she was like some one I once knew. But I don't think ever I saw her before."
"O yes; you have," continued Mrs Gray, while Diamond shyly looked with a blush and a smile, and the two gentlemen viewed the scene with great interest. "Look narrowly, and try to recognise her, for I assure you you have come in contact with her before,"
Betsey did look; and a curious process of mental calculation seemed to be going on in her mind, but without coming to any satis factory result, for the puzzled expression did not go from her face. Really, ma'am, I am quite at a loss. And yet it is so strange! That look and smile I should surely know."
"Perhaps you may know the shawl she wore when you last saw her," suggested her mistress, drawing forth the article from the sofa behind her.
Betsey's face brightened in a moment; nay, it actually glowed with an instantaneous gleam of intelligence.
"Good Heaven! Mrs Gray," she exclaimed, "where have you got that shawl? it was wrapped round the baby. And the dress, too? There is the white dress with the three tucks, and the flowers worked into
O, my dear mistress, have you heard any tidings of the child?" "Yes, Betsey, we have. I can keep you no longer in suspense. Here-here is our long-lost daughter."
Bewildered with delight, Betsey sprang forward, uttering a shrill cry of joy, and Diamond threw herself into her arms. Wildly, vehemently she strained her to her bosom, and wept and laughed by turns. "What became of you? where have you been? how have you been discovered?" were the questions she showered forth; and Mrs Gray was obliged to give her an outline of the circumstances.
"I have it now!" she suddenly exclaimed, with a loud laugh. My dear mistress, she is your very image, as you used to be eigh teen years ago. O, this is joy, joy! We shall all be happy now."
Thus, in unspeakable rapture and delight, passed the evening of that eventful day; and we question much if in another home in that large city so much felicity was concentrated.
A BURST OF SUNSHINE.
THE afternoon was done; the sun had gone down behind the Pentlands; the dim twilight was stealing down upon every thingupon the budding woods, the fields mantled with green, the silent mountains, the murmuring streams, church towers cleaving the darkening air, and the level surface of the mighty sea. On the city, too, as every where else, it was descending. Narrow lanes and alleys were already dark, and the windows that looked into them were lighted up with gas; while, in the more open streets, the lamplighters were running about touching the iron pillars into a flame. Gas, both in streets and houses, was at that time a novelty; and the perambulators stood in groups to watch the strange illumination.
In a little, neat, and very comfortable room in the Canongate, sat a young man looking silently into the fire. Twilight, deepening fast into darkness, was unmistakably here as elsewhere; but the tenant of that room did not appear to know that the light of day had departed. The hum and bustle of the street without were very audible, but these too seemed unheard by him; for he sat in perfect silence, in the attitude of one intensely absorbed in his own reflections. Presently the door opened, and the darkness was a little dispelled by a light from the passage.
"Preserve us a', Henry !" exclaimed a female voice, “hae ye no got the gas lichted yet? And, I declare, the fire's aboot oot tae. I'm shure it canna be warm sittin' in a room without a fire."
Saying this, Mrs Ford set down what she carried upon the table, took the poker, and having broken the coals into a blaze, lighted the gas above the mantel-piece. The room was now as bright as before it had been wrapt in obscurity, and the face of the young man was revealed. How very pale and haggard was Henry's countenance, once-and that only a week ago--so comely and blooming! Since then, lines of care had traced themselves upon it; deep marks of grief and anxiety had painted themselves in sombre hues on his broad brow; his hair, usually so glossy and curling, hung in disordered masses over his temples, and his whole person seemed given over to neglect.
"Now, Henry, my bairn, here's yer tea,” said the landlady, after she had drawn the blinds,
Henry roused himself with a sigh from his abstraction, looked slowly round, and muttered, "I cannot take any, Mrs Ford." "Nonsense, laddie!" observed Mrs Ford, with serious kindness. "Ye took nae denner; and didn't ye promise to tak' "But I am not hungry-indeed, I am not."
Houts, houts! I tell ye this wark will never dae. Ye're killin' yersel' as fast as ye can. I ken ye hae a heap to vex ye, but it's daein' nae guid to sit there broodin' ower it. Come, like a man, tak' yer tea, gang to bed and get a sleep, and rise to yer wark the morn."
"O God, that I knew what had come over her!" groaned Henry, hiding his wan face in his hands.
Mrs Ford sobbed too; for, in truth, she was little less grieved than Henry himself. But she was older, and knew that it was foolish to let grief have so much the mastery. She had got alarmed about Henry, seeing him so utterly prostrated, refusing food, and sitting silent all the day long; and this evening she had resolved to rouse him, if possible, from his lethargy.
She approached him, as he lay with his head bent upon the table, and tenderly placing her arm round his neck, said, soothingly,
"And wha kens but God will hear and answer that prayer, if ye yield yersel' to His wull? What ever ye dae, Henry lad, ye maun never lose faith in Him. He kens where Diamond is, and naething can happen her or ony o' us withoot His permission. It's a strange thing, nae doot-a very unaccountable thing; but we hae dune every thing we can to find her, without success. Let us leave her now in God's hands, and wait His time and way to unravel the mystery.
"O, Mrs Ford, do you think she will be restored to us?" cried Henry, looking eagerly up.
"I hope-I sincerely hope she may," answered the other. "It is far from impossible."
"But her disappearance was so sudden and unaccountable, and we have not been able to discover the slightest trace."
"True, a' things seem against us, but the darkest nicht has an end; and wha kens, but in the lift abune, a star may yet shine through, for as mirk as it is. Come, my ain laddie; let me see ye tak' a cup o' tea. I've toasted the bread for ye.”
Henry promised to try; and, Mrs Ford quitting the room, he was again left alone.
In another room more humble, yet not less neat and tidy, sat an old man alone, sad and sorrowful as Henry, and on the same account. It was Andrew Pringle, grieving in bitter desolation for the loss of the foundling whom he had protected from infancy. Diamond had been for many years the sun of his existence; the bright, joyous thing that illuminated his otherwise lonely home; the object round
which his old heart had twined itself, with a strength which contemplated the term of his earthly life. All his hopes and enjoyments for time rested on her. He had found her already the cheerer of his toilsome, working way, the consolation of his sickness and decaying strength; and he had looked forward to her soothing presence in that solemn hour, when he was called on to do battle with death, and so far as mortal life was concerned to sustain defeat in the combat. He thought the last object he would have to look upon would be her sweet, lovely face, growing fainter and dimmer as the shadows of the dark valley deepened around him, and shut out for ever the earthly view; that the last sounds he would hear, ere all sounds beside were lost in the roar of the swellings of Jordan, would be the silvery accents of her loved voice; that he would hold her hand in his, as it stiffened and relaxed its grasp of all material things, and slumber into the mysterious experience of another life, with the freshest dews of earth upon his spirit. This had been the fascinating anticipation of his gathering day-dream, getting more settled and vivid as his natural sun verged towards the west; but suddenly, in a moment, he had been bereft of this idol he had set up in his heart, and all was dark, comfortless, and dreary. For himself, then, he grieved, deeply grieved, but not for himself alone. For Diamond's sake, he even sorrowed more. What strange misfortune had befallen her? Was she alive, or was she dead? If dead, she had only gone before him to the spirit-land; and, instead of journeying with him to the edge of the thick darkness, and smiling to him her farewell adieu, she would be on the other side among the angels, waiting to welcome him to the home of rest. But, if still living, with what dangers might she not be surrounded? What hardships, what privations, what fearful wrongs might she not be enduring? This, this was the chief source of his agony; and as he brooded over it in that solitary room, where every thing reminded him of the lost one, the gnawing grief was eating its sure way into the temple of his life.
All unheeded the darkness stole on, the fire burned down, 'and nothing was heard in the apartment but the sighs and moans which rose from his aged heart-aged more by grief than years. The very ticking of the clock in the corner had ceased, for its owner had neglected to pull up the weights.
A step was heard in the stairs-a heavy step, and therefore Andrew heeded it not. If it had been a light, girlish tread, he would have listened to it with eager expectation; for a hundred times during the past week, he had ran to the door when a light step was heard in the stair, and waited till it ceased at one of the lower flats, or till the person came in sight, and caused him to return with sad disappointment. But it was a strong, manly, energetic footstep, and, moreover, it stopt far down, evidently at the first door,
and knocked imperiously. Soon, however, it began again, and came
Still the old man gave no heed to it. He was too much bowed down by grief to take any notice of such a matter. In another moment the footstep began again, and sounded firmer and heavier as it came nearer. On the landing it stopped, and a thundering knock came to Andrew's door.
"Come in," cried the inmate, listlessly, without moving, and immediately the door was opened.
"Is there any body here?" exclaimed a rough, official voice, quite in keeping with the footstep.
"Yes, I'm here. Wha are ye? what dae ye want?" said Andrew, answering and asking at the same time.
"I'm the postman. Is there one Mr Pringle lives here?" "No, I dinna think there's ane o' that name in a' this stair," replied Andrew, altogether oblivious of the fact that he might himself fairly lay claim to it. He had been called nothing but Andrew all his life, and the sound of Pringle was not at all familiar to him; but even if it had, the Mr prefixed, would have effectually prevented him from considering that he had any connection with it. "Does any one live above you?" asked the postman, turning
"Ay, twa or three folk; but ye needna gang up, for there's nae Maister Pringles amang them."
"I must try, though," muttered the official, closing the door, and leaving Andrew to his ruminations. He had not been gone two minutes, when he returned; and again thrusting his head into the darkened room, exclaimed,
"What is your name, friend?"
"Andrew," responded the other, laconically. "Andrew what?" he demanded.
"O, just Andrew. Naebody ever ca's me ony ither thing."
"Me!" ejaculated Andrew, in surprise. "What for did ye no say sae then? Ye axed for ane Maister Pringle."
"Well, and are not you Mr Pringle?"
"No, I'm Andrew Pringle."
"Well, well, it's all the same," said the postman, laughing. "Here is a paid letter for you. Get a light, and take it from me.' "It canna be for me," rejoined Andrew. "I never got a letter life. It maun be for some ither body."
"Get a light, at least, and let us see," requested his Majesty's official.