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With a good deal of work, Andrew got a candle lighted, and the postman handed him the letter. The old man looked at the address and the seal, and turned it back and forward in his hand.
“Why don't you open it?" asked the postman, a little impatiently.
“But you must open it, and see positively."
The man took it at once; and breaking the seal, unfolded the
“My dear, dear Andrew-
The reader glanced his eye at the foot of the page, to look at the
“What a curious name!” he muttered, as if speaking to himself. "I never heard of a woman named Diamond before.”
“ Diamond !” shrieked Andrew, so vehemently- that the postman started two paces backward. “ Did ye say Diamond ?"
“Yes, I think that is the name," he replied, coming again to the light.
“Mercifu' poors ! read the letter, read the letter," added the old
" Then it is for you after all ?".
Thus urged, the man read Diamond's note, which we gave to the
"She's safe! she's safe !". cried Andrew, hysterically; and sinking down on his knees by the side of a trunk, clasped his hands, and raised his streaming eyes in gratitude to Heaven. Then the full burst of joy which the tidings suddenly poured into his heart overcame him; and leaning his face on the hox, he gave way to a paroxysm of tears.
The postman was deeply touched by this manifestation. He had
“ Poor old man," he said, gently laying his hand upon Andrew's
“ This letter is to me like life frae the deed. O, ye
langhie from D:
Ot a la
The good-natured man read it over again, and Andrew listened with breathless attention.
• But where is she?” asked be, in wonder. “Does she no say where she is ?”
“No; she evidently wishes to keep that a secret at present, for there is no
te or place me ioned.' But I must go. I am glad the letter is of so much importance to you."
“Thank ye, sir. Mony thanks,” said Andrew, earnestly, as he shook the postman by the hand. Then, when the latter departed, he sought out his spectacles; and, sitting down, read the note over and over, till the form of every letter was familiar to him.
“ Guidness me! what an I sittin' here for?” he suddenly exclaimed. There's Henry as dowf and dowie as I was myseľ. What for am I keepin' him in anither moment's agony? And she tells me tae to inform them a', kind, thoughtfu' lassie! I sall awa doon this very moment.”
Saying this, he put the letter carefully into his pocket; and putting out the candle, and locking the door, hobbled down the stair as fast as his rheumatic limbs would carry him. Happy old man! he had at this moment a heart as light as a feather.
He knocked quickly at Mrs Ford's door, which that good lady
- Ye hae gotten news o' Diamond ?" she whispered, breathlessly.
66 Houts ! Ony body lookin' at that face o' yours might ken that
“ No just that; but I hae gotten a letter frae her. Where's Henry ?
“Whist!" said Mrs Ford, laying her hand on Andrew's mouth;
Mrs Ford cautiously opened the door of Henry's room.
He looked up, and smiled languidly as she entered. “I have
" But no opy bread, though," said the landlady, shaking her head “ Hooever, I see ye’ve dune even better than that. Ye've been at
Hae ye gotten ony comfort there ?"
on the table.
“Much, very much. I have been reading the hundred and twenty-first Psalm, and have now more faith in God.”
“That's richt, that's very richt, Henry, iny man; and I'm share ye'll no be disappointed, for nane yet pat their trust in Him, and was confounded. Wha kens but at this
may be rewarded.”
He looked quickly up, and saw a peculiar smile on Mrs Ford's face. “For Heaven's sake, tell me if you
any thing !* be exclaimed, wildly.
“Now, dinna be sae vehement, like a guid laddie.”
" Then you do know something? quick, 0 quick; let me know what it is.”
"I can thole this nae langer," cried Andrew, bursting into the room. “ Yes, Henry lad, we dae ken something. There's news o Diamond at last. Here's a letter I hae gotten frae her the nicht."
And Andrew fumbled in his pocket for the important document; but in his haste and excitement, he had forgot exactly where he had put it, and could not for some moments yet hold of it. These moments were dreadful ones to Henry, whose thrilling heart was in an agony of doubt as to its purport.
“ Confoond my trimmlin' fingers,” said Andrew, impatiently. “But dinna be distressed ony mair, lad. She's weel and safe, as ye'll see when I get haud othe letter. Ay, here it's noo. Tak and open it. Ye'll dae it suner than me.
Henry seized the letter; but his hands trerhled little less than those of the old man, and his eyes, in their very eagerness to see, could not at once discern the words.
Passing his hands hastily over them they became more steady, and he read the note aloud.
• Hurray!" shouted Andrew, seizing Mrs Ford by the arms, and dancing with her round the room.
“Losh, Andrew! are ye gaun daft ?” cried the not ungratified landlady, as they whirled about.
“I dinna ken but I am,” roared Andrew, with another whoop and a snap of his thumb. “Mind the rheumatism,“ suggested his laughing partner.
Hang the rheumatism," replied the old man, getting more active in his skips and springs.
They grew breathless at length, and were obliged to give over. Mrs Ford threw herself panting into one chair, and Andrew into another; and there they sat looking at each other, and laughing till the tears came over their cheeks. Henry, meanwhile, had been reading the letter a second time, and was thinking much about its half revelations,
"Thank Heaven, she is safe now, at least, though she seems to
have been at oue time in great danger. But why write so ambiguously?"
" I dinna ken what ye ca' ambiguously,” said Andrew. “She tells us she is happy and comfortable, and to keep our minds easy; aud what mair wad ye be at?”
“A great deal more," said Henry. I want to know the particulars of her disappearance. There is evidently something very strange in it yet. She writes very guardedly, because of circonstances; and there is neither date nor place mentioned. It has been posted to-day at the General, so that she must be in town,"
“Weel, weel, dinna frate ony mair aboot it. She says she'll see us very suve, and tell us a'thing. Let us wait in patience till then. For my part, l'm sae glad that she's safe and weel, that I dinna care for hearin' ony thing else enow. What say ye, Mrs Furde?"
"I am just in your mind, Andrew. We may depend on it, that every
word o' that letter is true; and may be the morn or the next day she will come hersel'."
We cannot possibly describe the revulsion of feeling in Henry's mind, or indeed the minds of all three, which this letter of Diamond's produced. It was like a burst of sunshine let suddenly in upon a scene of gloom. Brightness came back to the eyes, smiles to the faces, and gladness to the hearts. Mrs Ford ran and prepared a nice supper, to which they sat down and did ample justice; and so long did they sit talking together, that it was considered too late for Andrew to go to James' Court that night, and he was easily prevailed upon to remain, and sleep in what was still copsidered Mr Everly's bed.
It was pretty late ere they rose on the following morning. In fact, St Giles' had rung out the hour of nine, accompanied by the deep bass of the Canongate clock, ere any of them were astir. Mrs Ford, as in duty bound, was the first to rise, that, like the virtuous woman of Solomon, she might give meat to her household. When breakfast was nearly ready, she tapped at Henry's door; but Henry was already up, and, quickly opening it, surprised the worthy woman by getting her in his arms, and giving her a hearty embrace.
Heaven bless ye, my bonny man," she said, earnestly, running her fingers through his hair, which had again passed under the comb, and clustered over his cleared brow and brightened eyes
. What a change has come ovre ye since last nicht !" she contiņued,
FRAUD AND FRIENDSHIP.
looking at his smiling face, which her own reflected.
« Man, ye're no like the same cratur.”
“I feel I am not,” returned Henry, gaily. “My heart is light, and my mind nearly free of care. In fact, every thing looks a thousand times brighter than they did yesterday."
“Sae muckle for the daein's o' love," rejoined the other. “ What 8 thing it maun be to lose a sweetheart and get her back again!"
“Nay," said Henry, with a sigh; “you forget that she had ceased to be my sweetheart ere she was lost. She is only my sister, you know."
· Fiddledidee! As if the warmest love can ever cool doon into mere sisterly affection! Dinna tell me that, Henry, lad. She's as muckle yer sweetheart as e'er she was.'
"I fear you are right," answered the youth, with another sigh. "I do indeed love her as ardently as ever; but fate has forbidden our union. We can be in reality to each other only as brother and sister."
" Houts! wha kens? But gang ben and tell Andrew that the breakfast's ready
Henry did as he was requested. He gently opened the door, and, looking in, saw the benevolent face of the old man lying upon the pillow in all the serenity of sleep. Henry stood and gazed at the calm, placid countenance, over which straggled a few grey hairs, reminding him that the snows of many years had passed over the head before him, and left their trace behind. Furrows, too, were on the cheek, ploughed there not by passion, but by the same slow, silent hand; but amid these evidences of decay, the counte nance was covered with a better bloom—the bloom of hupe and faith—a bloom which he knew would never fade, but, emerging from the invaded and conquered grave, would blossom out into full and perfect radiance in the garden of immortality.
"Good old man!" murmured Henry, as he looked. life be like thine; and if I am spared to reach thy years, your joy and peace
shall then be mine." Presently the slumberer stirred, as if about to awake, and the young man stept behind the curtains, through an opening of which he could behold unseen.
Andrew. opened his eyes, and looked in bewilderment at the objects before him.
" Losh preserve us! where am 1?" he ejaculated, rising to his elbow, and looking in amazement round the apartment.
6. This is no my hoose. Diamond, lassie, are ye there?”
Henry popped his face round the curtains, and laughed.
“Oho! I mind where I am noo," said the old man, whipping off his nightcap, and tossing it at Henry. “It's time I was up, I fancy. Man, what a soond sleep I hae gotten! And sic a saft
66 Let my