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CHAPTER XXXIX.

CLOSING SCENES.

Why should we linger now? After enduring many trials, and making brave, heroic sacrifices to duty, a time of reward had come, and our hero and heroine were free to experience the happy union, which such unflinching resolution and long-tried devotion merited. Nor, we may be sure, was the marriage-day long in being fixed, or fixed at a far-off period. Henry, like an ardent lover, was impatient; and no one could find any reasonable excuse for delay. Diamond herself could find none, either in her heart or in outward circumstances. Her parents, while loath to part so soon with their restored child, could find none, but in a spirit of selfishness, which they were too kind and gentle to cherish. Andrew, honest man, would have been the last to advise delay; for it had long been the dearest wish of his heart to see his darling united to the youth of her choice. Even Mrs Ford and Mr Everly counselled speed the former, because she liked to see people made happy, and the latter, because he wished to see his friend enter on that life of peace and tranquillity, which he had lost for ever. Poor Richard ! we cannot tell what a struggle was now going on in his soul, -a fierce, terrible struggle between friendship and revenge. He knew his foe was almost within crushing distance; and every faculty was absorbed in the contemplation of the sweet draught he was about to enjoy. But the better half of his nature had calls made upon it at the same time. He was called on to rejoice with those who rejoiced, and he had no desire to refuse the invitation; but he wished the season of peculiar joy over, that he might be free to be about his other sterner businessma business that lay even nearer to his heart and pressed heavier on his panting spirit. He had neither seen nor heard of Ned since he left him at the door of the bark; but he knew the faithful fellow was sacredly doing the duty laid upon him, and would, in a very little while, report that the victim was in the toils. He only longed that the gaities and festivities connected with the wedding might be over, ere the information he expected, and waited for with feverish impatience,

All persons and things thus conspiring to hurry forward the union between the young folks; we need not keep back the intelligence, that in six weeks after the young baronet took possession of his

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the arrange

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property, Diamomd became Lady Rockhart, and the mistress of Rockhart Hall-a position which, as the reader will recollect, was sought to be thrust on her at an earlier date, by the callous, selfishhearted Sir Edward. The honour did at length overtake her, but in a somewhat different manner from that originally intended. This time, however, she did not presume to oppuse ment, nor draw herself up in scorn, when asked to receive a baronet for her husband.

Mr Gray, in the fulness and largeness of his heart, threw his two largest rooms into one, in order to accommodate the

company invited to witness the ceremony; and never before, we believe, was a baronet's wedding graced by such a strangely-composed company. It was neither the great nor wealthy of the land that assembled to help by their presence the joy of the occasion, but a goodly company of honest-hearted men and women, viz., a large number of the pressmen and compositors of the King's Printing-House, and a few young girls, Diamond's late companions in the straw-bat manufactory on the South Bridge. The very bride's-maid had been chosen from among these industrious girls, and a worthy choice she

Isa Walls was a plump blooming maiden, who, in the fresh. ness and heartiness of her youth, might have been taken for a country girl, accustomed to mountain breezes and woodland rambles, instead of the daily occupant of a close city work-room; and her heart was as fresh and winning as her person;-warm and generous, ready to be loved by a worthy object, and to love truly and deeply in return. A very modest, yet animated bride's maid did she make to her friend, and honestly did she congratulate her on the brilliant prospects that opened up in her path.

The ceremony was performed at an early hour, in order that the travellers might reach Rockhart Hall in the evening. The latter at length departed, followed by cheers, prayers, and blessings. They rode in two travelling carriages—the newly-married couple, with the pair who assisted at the ceremony, in one, and Richard, Andrew, and Mrs Ford in the other,-every one apparently as happy as human hearts can be.

After a pleasant journey, they reached Rockhart Hall; were met at the opening of the avenue by the joyful tenants, who unyoked the horses, and pulled them with many huzzas to the door of the mansion, which they entered amid the deafening shouts of the assembled multitude.

Passing through the Hall, near the bottom of the grand staircase, & servant from Netherton thrust a letter into Richard's hand, with the words, “ It came yesterday, sir.“

- Ha !” exclaimed Richard, in a suppressed voice, and turned aside to where he could peruse it unseen: Tearing it wildly open,

he ran over its conteuts, and raỹs of fierce joy Aashed over his countenance,

“Good, good! The hour is now at hand,” he whispered, vehemently; then calling his servant, he ordered him to proceed to Netherton immediately, and have his best horse made ready for a journey.

To-night, sir?” said the groom, in surprise, looking with wonder at his excited master.

"Yes, to-night; I must go back to Edinburgh to-night. Ride smartly over, and I will follow immediately on foot across the fields.

He ran up stairs, and entering the room to which the party had gone, beckoned Henry to approach him.

“I must leave you," he whispered, eagerly. “I have this moment got a letter, which calls me hence.

Don't let my departure damp the happiness of the evening. Once I was full of faith, and hupe, and love, and joy, like you; now I am

-uever inind. I have a work before me- farewell !”

“Where are you going?” inquired Henry, in amazement. “ To London," was the startling answer. “London!" echoed his friend, opening his eyes wide in wonder. “ Yes, London. He is there, and -starving!" “And when do you return ?”

“ Return? I know not-not till-till she is avenged; and then ah, then!”

My poor friend, why hunt this man further?" said Henry, mildly. “ Leave him to his own conscience, to poverty, and the punishment of Heaven. Do notHush! I will not hear thee speak. You forget--you forget

You cannot understand it. You have no wife and child
Farewell! moments now are ages to me.

Farewell! again, farewell!

He seized Henry's hand, gave him a deep, meaning look; then turning away, rushed down the stair, and out into the lawn. Henry followed; but ere he got outside, the frantic man had leapt the fence, and was following in fierce baste a straight course to Netherton. Henry watched till a plantation hid him from view, and then returned to the side of his young wife.

Hardly waiting for refreshment, Richard mounted the prepared horse, and galloped furiously away. Through all that night he rode; and having put the weary animal into a livery-stable in Leith Walk, with instructions that it might be well cared for, he hurried down to the dock. A vessel was leaving the barbour. She had quitted her berth, and was being towed out into the roads. Forward he rushed, sprang upon the pier, as the ship made her last near tack, and with a desperate leap alighted on deck.

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to avenge.

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The voyage to London was long and tedious to the impatient youth; but the vessel arrived at length, and when Richard sprang ashore, the first to greet him was Ned Oakham.

“It's all right, sir,” said Ned, in answer to his master's piercing look. They are sore knocked up now, and can't hold out long."

“ Is he in debt?inquired Richard, with gleaming eyes.

Over head and ears, sir, as the saying is. I hava got a list from the grocers and bakers; but hadn't you better come to my lodgings, sir, where we will be quiet, and you'll want refreshment?”

“I am refreshed, Ned. You words have refreshed me," replied his master. “ Nevertheless, let us go to your rooms; for I long to know all that has occurred since I last saw you."

The gamekeeper led the way through a great many narrow obscure streets, in a neighbourhood of the very poorest description.

“ Bless me, Ned! do you lodge here?" inquired his master, looking at the dingy houses on either side.

“I was forced to come, sir," answered Ned, « Unless I had done so, I would have lost sight of them. But I sought out the best room I could find; and it is not so very bad, when one is fairly into it. This way, sir-up this stair. Take care of your hat, sir. The door is rather low."

Piloted by Ned, Everly reached a small, but neat and not uncomfortable, apartment. Tea was instantly ordered, and the moment the landlady left the room, Everly exclaimed

Now, Ned—now for your story."

“Well, you know, sir, you left me standing at the bank. In a few minutes, Mr Rockhart came out, leaning on Dogwood's arm. I saw he was faint and very ill; but they managed to go along the Bridge, and down to the Cowgate, where they vanished in an entry. I learned that the house was kept by a cousin of Dugwood's; and suspecting that they meant to stay there, I took a room opposite, and watched them every day.

“They went out very seldom. I think they were ashamed to show themselves; for they were, as I heard, well-known in Edinburgh, and people had no sympathy for them. One day, about two weeks after the trial, I saw Dogwood go out, and I followed him. He went straight through Hunter Square, along the Bridge, and down the Walk to Leith. I kept my eye on him, till he went into a little wooden house, a ship office, as I saw it was. Here he stayed only a minute or two, and came out again. Thinks I, he must have been taken a passage for the two to London. I stept into the office, and found that this was the case; but he had given wrong names-George and William Ramsay. I took my passage also, giving likewise a wrong name~ Mr Fisher; by which, if you please, sir, I am known here. They had taken the steerage- I took the cabin, to be out of their way. Next day we sailed, and in three

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days reached London. I found it very difficult to keep them in view here; but I did do it, and saw them getting deeper into debt every day. They live in a garret-roum, up a court, just above this house a bit ;--you can see the entrance from my window. Nobody will trust them any more; and as I said in my letter, sir, they are starving. I have not seen Sir Edward for more than a week; but Dogwood is as thin as a wafer. I have seen him picking up bones in the street."

Everly listened to Ned's narrative with intense satisfaction. He had given his whole soul up to revenge now. All gentler emotions were stifled; the flames of passionate hatred and determination, ever slumbering, had burst out, not again to be suppressed, and Ned's recital was fraught to him with unbounded joy.

He asked for the list of debts which Ned had procured, and received it.

“Our work to-day must be to buy up all these," he said, looking up. The gamekeeper nodded, as if he had expected such an intimation.

"And I shall visit him to-night-this very night," added his master. "I shall visit him, and announce his duom. I shall see fear and the terror of death come over him. I shall see conscience and remorse gnawing at his heart. I shall hear him plead for mercy, and see him lie grovelling at my feet, only to be spurned, as he spurned her. O joy, joy, joy!”

Ned stared. Such vehemence and vindictive passion he could not quite understand; but thinking that nothing could be too severe for such a man, he made no remark.

Richard ate little or nothing. His strong excitement was keeping him up, and preventing the body from demanding its accustomed food. From the moment that he got Ned's letter, it appeared as if the forces of his nature became centralized—rushed towards one terrible point, and grew so eager in their determination as to scorn all aid from without. He had slept none, and eaten little, but seemed strong and energetic as ever, though the consumptive process was going on with tenfold haste.

The zeal of his revenge was eating him up.

He hurried Ned away with him to the various merchants whose names were in the list, and proposed to become the purchaser of the debt contracted by Mr Ramsay. The astonished grocers and bakers gladly transferred their right to incarcerate the body of the luckless debtor; and ere night came, Rockhart was in his son-in-law's power, for he owed him nearly twenty pounds, and had not a farthing to pay it. He who for years had thousands at his command, must rot in prison, because he could not command the sum of twenty pounds.

“Ah! little does he know the vial that is about to be poured on

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