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No. 962.-8 November, 1862.
1. Salem Chapel. Fart 9 Blackwood's Magazine, 242
2. Essayists, Old and New, .... North British lievicia, 260
Montaigne, 262. Steele and Addison, 263.
3. Battle at Harper's Ferry By a Woman who saw it, 273
4. The High Balloon Ascent J.F.W. Herschd and Punch, 286'
Poetry.—Coxwell and Glaisher, 286. The Story of an Oak-Tree, 287. Thoughts, 287. The Wishing Whistle, 288. St. Sebastian, 288. Mont Blanc, 288. Genera, 288. Trust and Rest, 288.
Shoet Articles.—Iron in the Lakes of Sweden, 282. Clandestine Journal published at Naples, 282.
NEW BOOKS. The Rebellion Record: a Diary of American Events, 1860—1862. Edited by Frank Moore Author of " Diary of the American Revolution." New York: G. P. Putnam. Part 22 contains portraits of Gen. S. P. Heintzclman and Ben McCullough. Part 23 contains portraits of Maj.-Gcn. Kearney and Stonewall Jackson. [All these four Generals were valiant men; men of renown.]
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PAST EC.—CHAPTER XXVUI.
Vincent put out his hand to seize upon the strange woman who confronted him with a calmness much more confounding than any agitation. But her quick eye divined his purpose. She made the slightest movement aside, extended her own, and had shaken hands with him in his utter surprise hefore he knew what he was doing. The touch bewildered his faculties, but did not move him from the impulse, which was too real to yield to anything. He took the door from her hand, closed it, placed himself against it. "You are my prisoner," said Vincent. He could not say any more, but gazed at her with blank eyes of determination. He was no longer accessible to reason, pity, any sentiment but one. He had secured her. He forgot even to be amazed at her composure. She was his prisoner—that one fact was all he cared to know.
"I have been your prisoner the entire morning," said Mrs. Hilyard, with an attempt at her old manner, which scarcely could have deceived the minister bad he preserved his wits sufficiently to notice it, but at the same time betraying a little surprise, recognising instinctively that here she had come face to face with those blind forces of nature upon which no arguments can tell. "You were in much less doubt about your power of saving souls the last time I heard you, Mr. Vincent. Sit down, please. It is not long since we met, but many things have happened. It is kind of you to give me so early an opportunity of talking them over. I am sorry to see you look excited—but after such exertions, it is natural, I suppose"
"You are my prisoner," repeated Vincent, without taking any notice of what she said. He was no match for her in any passage of arms. Her words fell upon his ears without any meaning. Only a dull determination possessed him. He locked the door, while she, somewhat startled in her turn, stood looking on; then he went to the window, threw it open, and called to some one below —he did not care who. "Fetch a policeman —quick—lose no time," cried Vincent. Then he closed the window, turned round, and confronted her again. At last a little agitation was visible in this invulnerable woman. For an instant her head moved with a spasmodic thrill, and her countenance changed. She gave a rapid glance round as if to see
whether any outlet was left. Vincent's eye followed hers.
"You cannot escape—you shall not escape," he said, slowly; "don't think it— nothing you can do or say will help you now."
"Ah !" said Mrs. Hilyard, with a startled, panting breath. "You have come to the inexorable," she said after a moment; "most men do, one time or another. You decline meeting us on our ground, and take to your own. Very well," she continued, seating herself by the table where she had already laid down one of the Salem hymnbooks; "till this arrival happens, we may have a little conversation, Mr. Vincent. I was about to tell you something which ought to be good news. Though you don't appreciate my regard for you, I will tell it you all the same. What noise is that? Oh, the boys, I suppose, rushing off for your policeman. I hope you know what you are going to say to that functionary when he comes. In the mean time, wait a little—you must hear my news."
The only answer Vincent made was to look out again from the window, under which a little group of gazers had already collected. His companion heard the sounds below with a thrill of alarm more real than she had ever felt before. She sat rigidly, with her hand upon the hymn-book, preserving her composure by a wonderful effort, intensely alive and awake to everything, and calculating her chances with a certain desperation. This one thing alone of all that had happened, the Back Grove Street needlewoman, confident in her own powers and influence, had not foreseen.
"Listen!" she cried, with an excitement and haste which she could not quite conceal. "That man is not dead, you know. Come here—shut the window! Young man, do you hear what I say to you? Am I likely to indulge in vain talk now? Come here—here! and understand what I have to say."
"It does not matter," said Vincent, closing the window. "What you say can make no difference. There is but one thing possible now."
"Yes, you are a man!" cried the desperate woman, clasping her hands tight, and struggling with herself to keep down all appearance of her anxiety. "You are deaf, blind! You have turned your back upon reason. That is what it always comes to. Hush! come here—closer; they make so much noise in the street. I believe," she said, with a dreadful smile, "you are afraid of me. You think I will stab you, or something. Don't entertain such vulgar imaginations, Mr. Vincent. I have told you before, you have fine manners though you are only a Dissenting minister. I have something to tell you—something you will be glad to know"
Here she made another pause for breath —merely for breath—not for any answer, for there was no answer in her companion's face. He was listening for the footsteps in the street—the steps of his returning messengers. And so was she, as she drew in that long breath, expanding her forlorn bosom with air, which the quick throbs of her heart so soon exhausted. She looked in his eyes with an eager fire in her own, steadily, without once shifting her gaze. The two bad changed places. It was he, in his iriexorableness, close shut up against any appeal or argument, that was the superior now.
"When you hear what I have to say you will not be so calm," she went on, with another involuntary heave of her breast. "Listen ! your sister is safe. Yes, you may start, but what I say is true. Don't go to the window yet. Stop, hear me! I tell you your sister is safe. Yes, it may be the people you have sent for. Never mind, this is more important. You have locked the door, and nobody can come in. I tell you again and again, your sister is safe. That man is not dead—you know he is not dead. And yesterday—hush ! nevermind !—yesterday," she said, rising up as Vincent moved, and detaining him with her hand upon his arm, which she clutched with desperate fingers, "he made a declaration that it was not she; a declaration before the magistrates," continued Mrs. Hilyard, gasping as her strength failed her, and following him, holding his arm as he moved to the window, "that it was not she—not she! do you understand me—not she! He swore to it. He said it was another, and not that girl. Do you hear me?" she cried, raising her voice, and shaking his arm wildly in the despair of the moment, but repeating her words with the clearness of desperation—" He said on his oath it was not she."
She had followed him to the window, not
pleading for herself by a single word, but with her desperate hand upon his arm, her face pinched and pale to the lips, and a horrible anxiety gleaming in the eyes which she never removed from his face. The two stood together there for a moment in that silent encounter; he looking down at the group of people below, she watching his face with her eyes, clutching his arm with her hand, appealing to him with a speechless suspense and terror, which no words can describe. Her fate hung upon the merest thread, and she knew it. She had no more power to move him in her own person than any one of the ragged children who stood gazing up at the window. There he stood, silent, blank, immovable ; and she, suffering no expression of her dreadful suspense to escape her, stood clutching his arm, seeing, as she had never seen before, a pale vision of prisons, .scaffolds, judgments, obscuring earth and heaven. She was brave and had dared them all wittingly in the crisis of her fate, but the reality caught the laboring breath from her lips, and turned her heart sick. This morning she had woke with a great burden taken off her mind, and, daring as she was, had faced the only man who had any clue to her secret, confident in his generous nature and her own power over him. But this confidence had failed her utterly, and in the very ease and relief of her mind —a relief more blessed and grateful than she would have acknowledged to any mortal— lo ! here arose before her, close and real, the spectre which she had defied. It approached step by step, while she gazed with wild eyes and panting breath upon the inexorable man who had it in his power to deliver her over to law end justice. She dared not say a word of entreaty to him; she could only watch his eyes, those eyes which never lighted upon her, with speechless dread and anxiety. Many evils she had borne in her life—many she had confronted and overcome —obstinate will and unscrupulous resolution had carried her oneway or other through all former dangers. Here for the first time she stood helpless, watching with an indescribable agony the face of the young man at whom she had so often smiled. Some sudden, unforeseen touch might still set her free. Her breath came quick in short gasps —her breast heaved—her fate was absolutely beyond her own control, in Vincent's hands.
Just then there came into the narrow street a sound of carriage-wheels. Instinctively Vincent started. The blank of his determination was broken by this distant noise. Somehow it came naturally into the silence of this room and woke up the echoes of the past in his mind; the past— that past in which Lady Western's carriage was the celestial chariot, and she the divinest lady of life. Like a gleam of light there suddenly dawned around him a remembrance of the times he had seen her here—the times he had seen her anywhere; the last time— the sweet hand she had laid upon his arm. Vincent's heart awoke under that touch. With a start, he looked down upon the hand which was at this moment on his arm,—not the hand of love,—fingers with the blood pressed down to the very tips, holding with desperation that arm which had the power of life and death. A hurried exclamation came from his lips; he looked at the woman by him, and read vaguely in her face all the passion and agony there. Vaguely it occurred to him that to save or to sacrifice her was in his hands, and that he had but a moment now to decide. The carriage-wheels came nearer, nearer, ringing delicious promises in his ears—nearer, too, came the servants of that justice he had invoked; and what plea was it, what strange propitiation, which his companion had put forth to him to stay his avenging hand? Only a moment now; he shook her hand off his arm, and in his turn took hold of hers ; he held her fast while she faced him in an agony of restrained suspense and terror. How her worn bosom panted with the quick-coming breath! Her life was in his hands.
"What was that you said ?" asked Vincent, with the haste and brevity of passion, suddenly perceiving how much had to bo done in this moment of fate.
The long-restrained words burst from his companion's lips almost before he had done speaking. "I said your sister was safe!" she cried; "I said he had declared her innocent on his oath. It was not she—he has sworn it, ail a man could do. To sacrifice another," she went on breathlessly with a strong momentary shudder, pausing to listen, "will do nothing for her—nothing? You hear what I say. It was not she; he has sworn upon his solemn oath. Do as you will. She is safe—safe !—as safe as— CHRONICLES OF CABLLNGFOKD. 16
as—God help me—as safe as my child;—
and it was for her sake"
She stopped—words would serve her no further—and just then there came a summons to the locked door. Vincent dropped her arm, and she recoiled from him with an involuntary movement; unawares she clasped her thin hands and gave one wild look in to his face. Not even now could she tell what he was going to do, this dreadful arbiter of fate. The key, as he turned it in the door, rang in her ears like thunder; and his hand trembled as he set open the entrance to the needlewoman's mean apartment. On the threshold stood no vulgar messenger of fate, but a bright vision, sad, yet sweeter than anything else in earth or almost in heaven to Vincent. He fell back without saying anything before the startled look of that beautiful face. He let in, not law and justice, but love and pity, to this miserable room.
"O Rachel! where have you been? have you seen him? have you heard of him? where have you been?" cried the visitor, going up to the pallid woman, whose eyes were still fixed on Vincent. Mrs. Hilyard could not speak. She dropped upon her knees by the table, shivering and crouching like a stricken creature. She leaned her head upon the hymn-book which lay there so strangely at variance with everything else around it. Pale with fright and horror, Lady Western appealed to Vincent. "She is ill, she is fainting—O Mr. Vincent, what have you been saying to her? She was not to blame," cried the new-comer, in her ignorance. Vincent attempted no reply, offered no help. In his heart he could have snatched away those beautiful hands which embraced and comforted his " prisoner," thus rescued out of his grasp. It was hard to see her touch that guilty, conscious woman whom his own heart refused to pity. He stood by, looking on, watching her still; the instinct of vengeance had been awakened within him. He was reluctant to let her go.
, "You have been saying something to her," said Lady Western, with tears in her eyes;
"and how could she be to blame? Rachel I Oh, I wonder, I wonder if she loved him after all P" cried the beautiful creature, in the bewilderment of her innocence and ignorance. She stood bending over the kneeling figure, troubled, perplexed almost more than her strange sister-in-law had ever yet perplexed her. She could not account for this extraordinary access of agitation. It was nohow explainable, except upon that supposition which opened at once the warmest sympathies of the gentle young woman's heart.
"Rachel, dear!" she cried, kissing softly the thin hands worn with toil that covered Mrs. Hilyard's face—" he is still living, there is hope; perhaps he will get better; and he is showing a better mind too," she added, after a little tremulous pause. "I came to tell you; he has sworn that it was not—O Mr. Vincent, I sent you word immediately when I got the message—he says it was not your sister; she had nothing to do with it, he says. Now I can look you in the face again. The first thing he was able to do when he came to himself was to clear her; and now she will get better—and your dear mother ?"—said Lady Western, looking wistfully into the young man's face. In that moment, while her attention was directed otherwise, Mrs. Hilyard rose up and took her seat again; took her seat because she was not able to stand, and scarcely able, by all the power of her will, to compose the nerves which, for the first time in her life, had utterly got the better of her. She wiped off the heavy moisture from her face with a furtive hand before the young Dowager turned her eyes again that way. She grasped fast hold of the only thing on the table, the Salem hymn-book, and with a vast effort regained some degree of selfcommand. For that precious moment she was free from observation, for nothing in the world could have prevented Vincent from returning with his own fascinated eyes the look which Lady Western turned upon him. While the two looked at each other she was safe; she collected her scattered forces in that invaluable instant. She was herself again when Lady Western looked round, somewhat nervous and embarrassed from the gaze of passion with which her look of deprecation and sympathy had been met. If a slight shiver now and then thrilled over Mrs. Ililyard's figure, it was as like to be cold as emotion. Otherwise, she sat with her arm resting on the table and her hand clenched upon the hymn-book, her thin lips clinging spasmodically to each other, and her face pallid, but to an uncritical observer
scarcely changed from the gray and vigilant composure of her usual appearance. So many storms had passed over that countenance, that the momentary agony of horror and fright, from which she bad scarcely yet emerged, did not tell as it would have done on a face less worn. Her voice was sharp and strained when she spoke, and she watched Vincent's eye with a keenness of which he was vividly conscious; but Lady Western, who did not go deep into looks and meanings, found nothing very unusual in what she said.
"I think Mr. Vincent was doubtful of my information," she said. "I heard it this morning from Langridge, the groom, who once belonged to my family, you know, Alice; and—and lets me know if anything more than usual happens," she said, abruptly stopping to draw breath. "Mr. Vincent was doubtful of me. Now this matter is cleared up, I dare say he will understand me when I say that I never could have allowed things to go further. I am only a needlewoman, and live in Back Grove Street," continued Mrs. Hilyard, recovering gradually as she spoke; "but I have certain things still in my power. Mr. Vincent will understand what I mean," she went on, fixing her eyes upon him, and unable to re* press an occasional gasp which interrupted her words, ,, when I say that I should not have suffered it to go further. I should not have shrunk from any sacrifice. My dear, I have been a little shaken and agitated, as you perceive. Mr. Vincent wants to keep iiis eye upon me. Take me with you, Alice," said the bold woman, once more looking Vincent full in the face; "take charge of me, keep me prisoner until all this is cleared up. I am about tired of living a disguised princess. Send up your people for my possessions here, and take me with you. You will find roe safe, Mr. Vincent, when you happen to want me, with Lady Western in Grange Lane."
"O Rachel, I am so glad!" cried Lady Western; "I cannot for my life imagine what you mean by keeping you my prisoner, and all that; but Mr. Vincent may be very sure you will be safe with me;—since he has so much interest in your movements," continued the young Dowager, turning her perplexed eyes from one to the other. She had not the remotest idea what it all meaut.