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CHAPTER VIII.

Out of the hopes of these aspirings bold,
Have I collected language to unfold
Truth to my countrymen ; from shore to shore,
Doctrines of human power my words have told,
They have been heard, and men aspire to more
Than they have ever gain’d, or ever lost of yore.

SHELLEY's Revolt of Islam.

As the patient in his light-headed moods repeatedly mentioned the name of his father, and expressed an earnest wish to see him, Agatha suggested to Mr. Shelton the propriety of writing a cautious letter to Sir Miles Forester, who resided in the neighbourhood, to inform him of his son's alarming state. “Perhaps he may assist us in effecting his recovery and escape," she observed ;

perhaps they may have communi

cations to make to one another of an urgent and important nature ; at all events, we are scarcely warranted, considering the sufferer's precarious plight, in not affording him the consolation of an interview with his parent.”

“ I differ from you, my child,” said Mr. Shelton : " little attention is due to these delirious exclamations, nor do you know the character of Sir Miles Forester. Timid and avaricious, he dreads nothing so much as being compromised in any way by the machinations of his son, whom he has long since discarded, and with whom he so studiously refuses to hold communication, that if he recognizes his hand-writing in the address of a letter, he sends it unopened to the Government, not, however, from loyalty, but from a dastardly and sordid spirit. Nor would any circumstance induce him to visit Hales Court, for, alas ! he cherishes so blind and bitter a hatred against all of our persuasion, that he has been heard to declare he would rather lose a leg than cross the threshold of a Catholic. Public report has made me in some

degree acquainted with the character of his son, our unfortunate inmate, and all that I know heightens the deep commiseration he inspires, while it increases the imminency of the danger we incur by harbouring him. That he is possessed of every virtue of private life none seem to deny ; but even his friends admit that his enthusiasm for liberty and a reform of the government, hurries him into enterprises not only rash, but desperate ; while the generosity with which he is ever ready to sacrifice his own life to save that of his colleagues, has been termied romantic and extravagant. Young as he is, he has already experienced many hair-breadth 'scapes ; and God grant, for all our sakes, that the same good fortune may attend him in his present perils! Much, much would I have given to avoid his being brought beneath our roof; but being thus thrown upon our protection and mercy, I cannot, will not have his blood upon my head. We will perform our duty, and we must trust the rest to Heaven."

This description of Stanley Forester, (for we

som.

may henceforward assign to him his real name) rather enhanced than diminished the interest that Agatha and Edith had previously taken in his fate. The virtues conceded to him did not appeal in vain to their hearts, while his faults of an undue temerity in advancing schemes which he doubtless considered patriotic and salutary, and of an over-generosity in perilling himself to protect others, were delinquencies little calculated to find disfavour in a female bo

The fair friends could talk of nothing but his youth, his magnanimity, his perils, and his adventures, all of which being invested with a more extraordinary character from their contrast with his present deplorable and helpless situation, imparted a still tenderer interest to their feelings, and conferred a higher charm upon his society Their assiduities were now obliged to be almost unremitting, since the servants were not allowed to participate in them, though Mr. Shelton and Father Bartholomew, the latter of whom slept in the sick-room, took their full share in the fatigues of attendance.

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Arduous were their duties, great their anxieties, many their misgivings, sometimes amounting to a total abandonment of all hope in the patient's recovery; ineffable, therefore, was the delight of the whole party, when, after having been delirious for several days, he awoke one morning with recovered faculties, and such an amended pulse, that the good Father thought he might safely pronounce him out of all immediate danger. Edith, delicate as she was, had borne all the previous exertions of body and harass of mind without flinching, but when she witnessed this sudden confirmation of all lier hopes and wishes, when with a smile of grateful intelligence the convalescent took her hand and Agatha's, pressed them alternately to his lips, and called upon God to bless and reward them both, her feelings utterly overpowered her, she was obliged to hurry away to conceal her emotions, and upon reaching her own apartment was seized with one of those hysterical fits to which she was subject upon any vehement excitement. Agatha's self-possession did not desert her, but her

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