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The Angel's Whisper.
"Like to that frail and changeful flow'r,
From purple turns to snowy whiteness-
Grieving in tears when thou'rt away!"
"I will not bear this jesting!" at length exclaimed Harry, aroused out of his torpor : "such treatment is as heartless as it is natural!"
"Headstrong and foolish boy!" exclaimed the Major now in a passion; "do you still entertain your undutiful intention? Will you forget your blood, your kindred, and yourself so far, as to marry the daughter of such a plebeian race?"
"Aye, my father; is she not virtuous, amiable, un-accomplished? Is not her only fault in your eyes the condition in life of her parents? Aye, a thousand times aye! I can work for her, delve for her, yield up all for her!"
"And be the first of a family of proud lineage who would contaminate it with the admixture of base blood? Hear me: If your heart is so unalterably fixed, let me reveal to you my determination. Go forth depart! a beggar and an outcast! You shall inherit none of the family possessions, nor shall you ever receive aid from me from this time forth. Leave me! Your presence is like a dark cloud upon my sight; and be you in want, be you in sickness, never approach my roof again !"
He raised his hand aloft at first as if in the act of cursing his son, but dropping it convulsively, he rushed out of the room without uttering another word.
"Jesting?" replied his father, with a welldissembled look of surprise; "I beg your pardon, my dear Harry, I was never more serious in my life, as you will discover anon; but touching this," he added, pointing to the small piece of superfine Bath post he held in his hand, and speaking in the same ironical strain, "I must really congratulate you upon it: the simile in the second verse is quite eastern in its character, quite. What do you mean by that frail and changeful flower-eh, Harry? you do not mean the hollyhock or dandelion, do you? Ah, by-the-bye, here is a little note, which explains it-The Mexican violet.' Very pretty, very; quite an inspiration! And then scorched'just like a mediæval poet! But why did you not put in some compound words, Harry? They have a prodigious effect your sesquipedalian numbers, though they destroy the natural charm of poetry; but that is ever sacrificed to effect now-a-days. What say you, Sir Lyrist?" "I am at a loss, sir, to conceive," replied Harry, "what has given rise to your present display of sarcasm at my expense; but I would fain beg your serious attention for a few
"Oh, I will be as solemn as you can desire!" returned his father, who seemed to have lost all the passionate fury which might have been expected from him; and he watched Harry with the same complacency as an angler is supposed to feel when he has hooked one of the finny tribe, whose size and strength he calculates will afford him some sport, before-as it eventually must do -it succumbs to the artistical skill bestowed on its capture.
"It is needless for me to own," began Harry, "that I am deeply attached to Miss Grayson." "Quite," responded his father, smilingly, "to Miss Grayson!-hum! I overheard all that took place."
"Then it is only necessary," pursued the younger Hamilton, "for me to express my determination."
"Aye, indeed!" said the Major, in a supercilious tone.
Harry went on as if no interruption had occurred.
her lot may be, I dedicate the remainder of my existence. It may be that she will not listen to my prayers-it may be that we shall never meet again; but not the less do I feel that I shall love but her not the less do I determine to sacrifice my days for her!"
"The love of a girl so pure and high-minded as she is, would shed a radiant sunshine over life's longest span. Her disposition, her attainments, and her virtues would confer a lustre on nobility itself; and to her, to Mary Grayson, humble as
Harry stood rooted to the spot for a few minutes, while a deadly pallor and a reddened tinge played fitfully over his features. He then murmured, in a tone of fearful emotion, "It is well! I have, indeed, given up all for love and thee, Mary!"
He was forbidden an interview with his mother, and was only allowed to give her a silent and final embrace. But with Clara he held a long and secret conference for above an hour, after which they both seemed more cheerful. His preparations were soon made, and with a heavy heart and a light purse, Harry bade adieu to the home of his fathers. His first object was to seek an interview with Mary Grayson at her father's cottage. This was not obtained without much difficulty, and the news of his expulsion from home added still further to Mary's grief, though she felt a secret joy at the depth of his devotion. He in vain endeavoured to extract from her a promise of her hand if he should claim it under happier auspices. He represented the fervour and sincerity of his love; he protested that it would suffer no change. But his entreaties were fruitless; for, though she confessed her reciprocation of his affection, she yet held out no hopes of their union being realized; and when Harry had vented his feelings in a passionate burst, she sorrowfully, but calmly replied, "It is best as it is I love you, Harry! and in owning it admit that which is wrong. You, however, will mix with the busy world, and its varied scenes of pleasure-you will meet with its disappointments as well as its joys, and these will chequer the path of existence, and will steal the mind for
a time from the contemplation of its suffering; it will lighten, invisibly, its load of sorrows. But my lot is far different; one of never-ceasing, -one of eternal pain! Do not, then, destroy the resignation I would fain enjoy, by those wild hopes and fantastic visions in the future; for they never, never can be realized!"
Best and most devoted!" returned Harry, in an impassioned tone, “you have conquered, you have inspired me with a holy faith, a deep joy, by your wondrous nobleness of soul. fill me with a sublime trust, though your words assume not the bright characters of hope: but I go with redoubled energy in my heart; for we shall be happy yet!"
A tearful shake of the head was the only response, and pressing his lips to Mary's with a passionate embrace, Harry turned away hurriedly to conceal his emotion, and waving his hand as he retreated, in a few moments was quite lost to sight.
I must now pass over a period of two years from the time Harry became an exile, during which time manifold changes had occurred in the destinies of all the personages of my narrative, the most important of which was the rise of Grayson from a state of comparative poverty to considerable affluence. How it occurred was thus: he had entered into a contract with Government for the supply of flour and other comestibles, and it was said that, by a lucky stroke in the former edible alone, he cleared upwards of fifty thousand pounds. His wife shortly afterwards died-it was reported from excess of joy be this as it may, for even the most learned disciples of Galen occasionally differ, she departed this vale of tears, and there is no doubt that the joyful event above narrated gave a shock to her system, which hastened, if it did not directly cause her end. But it will be as well to see the immediate effect Harry's departure created in the Major's family. Both Mrs. Hamilton and Clara seemed to suffer from depression and gloom, but from their frequent whisperings, and Clara's repeated visits to Mary, it was evident there existed a secret of some sort between them. But the Major, for the first month or two after that event, was supported by his pride; yet a father's feelings must have their natural sway, and he began to yield by degrees to their dominion. His anger was much softened, and even that pride which had been the immediate cause of Harry's dismissal was slowly vanishing before the grief which his heart experienced for his son's absence. He would have recalled him, but the little pride that still lingered in his breast forbade him to do so; and besides, he had heard no news of him whatever. It was about: ix months after this that Grayson became all at once the man of wealth and im
portance; and after the first impression of his wife's decease began to wear off-which was a trifle sooner than it ought to have been in a good husband-he proceeded to purchase land in the neighbourhood, and to build and improve everywhere. Drainage, inclosures, and tillage had been his delight, and his great experience was there
fore turned to immense account. He removed into one of the largest houses in Mitchamridiculously unsuitable for a family like his, consisting but of himself and Mary; but then he kept a large establishment of servants, and they, it is true, gave the old mansion the appearance of being inhabited. The most costly and lux. urious furniture soon graced the rooms; everything, in fact, that the most refined and expensive taste could wish-and it must be confessed that, through Mary's interference, the tout ensemble and general arrangements were remarkable for elegance and propriety. This sudden change in Grayson's prospects completed the final overthrow of Major Hamilton's opposition. After consulting with his wife and Clara as to his future intentions, he proceeded to unburthen himself to Mr. Christopher Gray, son. That suddenly elevated personage had been miraculously changed for the better by his success. Dressed in a fitting garb, he had really the appearance of a man of station; and as all the gentry around began to visit him, and invite him and Mary to their respective houses in return, as equals, and to treat him with considerable deference, Grayson imperceptibly imbibed the manners and bearings of society. He had never been an illiterate man, for he had received a tolerable education, and indeed had often acted the part of secretary to the Major, and in his latter days to the Major's father. On hearing the old soldier's proposal, Grayson was at first inclined to oppose it from a feeling of offended dignity; but remembering how deeply his daughter's happiness was at stake, and calculating the immense advantages of her marrying into a family of such rank and opulence, he at once consented to it. When Mary heard this, she was overpowered with joy and gratitude to heaven. The Major was then informed that the "three weaker vessels" knew the secret of his son's abode, and that within the last month both his wife and Clara had frequently enjoyed stolen interviews with him; though Mary had uniformly refused either to accompany them, or to allow him to see her, if, in the darkness of the night he stole down to breathe the same air that he knew Mary did, and to gaze for a few minutes on the spot where she dwelt, where his fancy might conjure up the form of the idol of his heart in all its angelic purity and grace.
Harry, it seems, had proceeded to London, and through the interest of a friend had ob tained a very excellent situation in the office of a merchant, where his ready command of the French and German languages rendered him peculiarly serviceable, and raised him at once to a post of considerable importance.
It was late in the afternoon when Major Hamilton and Clara reached Broad-street, and as they had come in his carriage, and attended by servants, they were at once received by the merchant with marks of deference and respect. Their mission was soon stated; but how great were their sorrow and astonishment when they were informed that he had suddenly disappeared
The Angel's Whisper.
nearly a month before! Mr. Cartwright could not account for it: he had caused every inquiry to be made about the fugitive. He at first feared some embarrassment in his accounts had driven him to seek refuge in flight; but no; his books were made up, and everything was found to be scrupulously correct. Altogether it was a very strange affair, and perplexed him not a little, Mr. Cartwright said. His fellow-clerks had perceived the day before his disappearance an unusual sadness and mysteriousness in his manner; but he had been always very reserved, and they had thought nothing of it till his absence was discovered. But he had left a sealed note in his desk, which was given to the Major, and bore the superscription, "To M-G-." It was hastily broken open, and the following few lines, traced with an unsteady hand, met their
"Farewell! Mary! you have refused to see me for well-nigh two long years! You have carried your rigid notions of rectitude beyond all bounds: you have slighted every demonstration of my love, and now I have nothing for which to live-despair has fixed on my soul, and I leave this country forever! Farewell! farewell! I do but seek my fate."
With silent, sorrowful hearts they returned home, and of course Mary was obliged to be informed of the issue of their visit to London. What she suffered when she read the lines he had addressed to her, may be more easily imagined than pictured. She now reproached herself a thousand times for her too severe denial and prostration of Harry's hopes; but yet she could not help feeling a secret consciousness of having acted aright, even though that compliance with the principle of duty had destroyed their mutual happiness in all probability for
returned; but this was destined to prove unfounded, when she heard the tones of the stranger's voice.
On entering the room, Clara was directly struck with his handsome and prepossessing exterior, and the ease and polish of his salutation, when he stepped a pace or two towards her, and said, at the same time bowing, ton, I presume?"
While Clara replied in the affirmative, the stranger earnestly surveyed her, but the fixedness of his gaze was but momentary, and untinctured with aught save the most polite respect; while at the same time his own forehead was overspread with a shade of seriousness that amounted almost to anxiety.
"But I am unaware," continued Clara, taking up the card which had been sent by the stranger, and reading the name of Mr. Arthur Doyle' engraved thereon, "I am unaware, or rather, I-I," and she hesitated.
his lips for a moment, which faded away almost Mr. Doyle suffered a slight smile to cross ere it could have been said to impart any action to the risible muscles, and he replied, reddening a little as he did so, "Miss Hamilton will forgive the gaucherie of this self-introduction, when she is informed of the object-of-but"-and he glanced perplexedly at Mrs. Hamilton, who sat looking at them both with a kind of indolent wonder; "but can I beg the favor of a few words with you alone?"
Clara merely answered, "That lady is my mother, sir, from whom I have no concealments!"
"For all that," he replied, "I must still beg you to grant me a few minutes as I desired. What I have to communicate"-he spoke this in a low tone, so as not to reach Mrs. Hamilton's ears-" might produce, if suddenly revealed, a dangerous effect on Mrs. Hamilton— your brother!"
Thus six weary months passed: every method had been used to discover traces of Harry, but "Hush! for heaven's sake, whispered Clara, they were of no avail; and so winter glided growing very pale, but endeavouring to hide her away, and the sweet spring began to unfold emotion from her mother's observation, and her tender blossoms once more. The sun succeeding in doing so. She then asked a few shed a more genial warmth on the yet frozen common-place questions as to the topics of the ground, till the cold bracing air began to par- day, to which she received suitable replies from take of its glowing beams. The wood-birds young Doyle, who perceived in an instant her told, as they poured forth their melodious songs object. After a few minutes of this desultory on every tree, that they, like the dolce primavera, conversation, Clara invented some plausible exhad returned to bright, bursting life. It was one cuse of showing him some of her curiosities, to of these evenings, when the deepened shades retire into the next drawing-room, which, though had begun to fall around, that a stranger on only separated by folding-doors from that they horseback was seen to make inquiries of some had left, was still, as they were both spacious, at stragglers in the village, and afterwards to ad- some distance from the fauteuil Mrs. Hamilton vance at a brisk pace towards the Grange. To occupied. It was then that Clara had to listen the servant who appeared at his summons he to the strange tale of Arthur Doyle, and in order made the inquiry, "Is Miss Hamilton at to render it free from prolixity, and the various home?" and on his receiving a reply in the interruptions which he met with from poor affirmative, gave his horse to the care of a Clara, who had a heavy task to conceal her groom, and was ushered into the drawing-room, bursting tears and acute grief, I will relate it as which was occupied only by Mrs. Hamilton, for simply and connectedly as is in my power. It Clara had hurriedly retired to her room on hear- was this Arthur Doyle was a junior partner in ing of the unexpected arrival. She had at first a large and old-established wine-merchant's firm hardly dared to breathe, for a wild hope whis-in London, the senior, and only other partner, pered her that it was Harry himself who had being his uncle. They were extensive growers
in different countries, and in consequence of
interview with Clara, alone, previously to making the sorrowful event known to the Major.
Such was the substance of his relation, save where, with the privilege of authors, I have dwelt for a minute space on the unwavering and noble care Arthur Doyle had lavished upon his friend-and to this Clara was compelled to listen, with tearful eyes and an aching heart; but no sob escaped her to betray to her mother that which would undoubtedly, had she overheard it, have been of serious consequence to her in her enfeebled state of health.
And so poor Clara stood silent under sublime grief, struggling to preserve her outward calmness; and with the true heart of woman-so boundless in its high and holy faith, so strong and noble in its purpose-apparently succeeded. "I am sorry papa is not at home," she said at length, when she dared trust herself to speak. But hark: that is his knock!" And in a minute he entered, and was as quietly as could be put in possession of the circumstances which Arthur Doyle had previously related. He immediately re-ordered his carriage, and in less than five minutes was proceeding rapidly to town, accompanied by Arthur.
In the mean time, Clara at first retired to her own chamber, and after giving relief to her sorrow by a copious libation of tears, she summoned sufficient courage to undergo the trial of revealing to her mother-by degrees, and with the most excessive care-the discovery. Yet she did not tell her that Harry's reason had entirely forsaken its temple; but veiled the truth by inducing her to believe that in consequence of the high fever from which Harry suffered, he, as yet, was unable to recognize persons or objects.
What were the feelings of the Major when he beheld his son's helplessness and unconsciousness, may be better conceived than described. He was brought home, and the best medical aid that could be procured from London (and in what other city in the world is the genius and knowledge of medicine so abundant as in dingy, dirty London) was called in, but it proved of no avail. They all agreed that it was most essential that Mary should not be informed of Harry's unfortunate state, and she was therefore in total ignorance of what had taken place.
Arthur Doyle necessarily became a constant visitant at the Grange, and was as necessarily thrown much into the society of Clara by Harry's bedside. To Harry his cares and attentions were assiduous and untiring; and it was with the most poignant grief that they watched, day after day, with the most intense anxiety, for some, even the faintest glimmer of the dawn of reason; but the blessed light shone not. Their hopes, their fears, their attentions, centred in one dear object, is it surprising that both Clara and Arthur silently fostered a growing and mutual attachment? They both simultaneously discovered its existence, yet no word was spoken between them touching on it. The present afflic tion of Harry they both held too sacred to violate it by the expression of any selfish emotions; nor would Arthur for worlds have sought to turn
My Life's Best Day.
the current of her thoughts from the channel of almost bereft of the power to obey him; but her undivided care of her brother. But never-with a prodigious effort she raised herself up, theless there was a tacit and most expressive and could only whisper in his ear, "I am here, understanding shared by both, that they were Harry! and we shall be happy for evermore!" each dear-very dear to the other.
The WHISPER produced the effect which the shrill scream of mortal agony that had escaped her failed to do. Harry bent his look, as if searching from whence the voice he heard proceeded; and on its meeting Mary's upturned face, the full tide of consciousness returned to him, and with a fervent "Thank God!" he fainted.
One day-a momentous one to all the personages concerned in my narrative - Clara, Arthur, and the Major were holding conference with the physician, who had just left Harry, and were listening in silent sadness to the opinion he expressed as to the stubbornness of Harry's malady, when they were startled by a loud and prolonged scream, and in a moment afterwards by the sound as of a body falling down heavily in the room immediately above them, the room which Harry at present occupied, as being the most remote from his mother's chamber, and which was usually allotted to Mary when she was visiting at the Grange. Arthur immediately rushed up stairs, followed swiftly by the rest, and at once perceived the inanimate form of Mary Grayson lying on the floor, where she had swooned; and from her must have proceeded the cry that they had heard. They applied And so it came to pass, that when Arthur restoratives to her, which soon produced bene- | Doyle beheld the extensive preparations for the ficial effects, for Mary's bosom soon began to wedding of Harry and "the Angel," he sickpalpitate, and the colour mount into her cheek.ened with an unknown disease; but calling in When she opened her eyes, she gazed upon the Clara as his Esculapius, he obtained a prescripground round her with looks of bewilderment; tion from her, which, with merely the alteration but passing her hand across her brow with a of two small words on his part, effected, I am pained expression, and as recollection gradually happy to say, a radical cure; and he soon had returned, she turned her eyes towards the couch the satisfaction of receiving the Major and Mrs. on which Harry lay, and with another frantic Hamilton's assent to his espousal of the fair scream, if possible more heartrending than the Clara; and from Harry a most cordial congratufirst, she burst from them, and on her knees lation; and inasmuch as I believe the alteration rushed towards him, and threw her arms around I before spoke of in Clara's prescription was the his feeble and wasted neck. As she did so, she approximation only of the "auspicious day" exclaimed, with piercing accentsfrom one some months afterwards to that on which Harry was to wed Mary, this double ceremony accordingly came off; and really of the two
Harry! Harry! speak to me. Gracious Heaven, he does not remember me !" She buried her face amid the drapery of the" happy pairs," I should be extremely puzzled bed, and sobbed as if her heart was parting from its tenement.
to decide which proved the happiest, since both realized, even in the decaying years of life, the beauty and poetry of
"LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM."
"Who calls?" muttered Harry, in a hoarse and sepulchral voice, looking round the room with a stare of vacancy. "I heard a voice I once loved-a voice that was like soft music in my ears! Who spoke ?" he gasped, a faint ray illumining his features. "Mary! art thou returned to me once more-shall I behold you again again! In Mercy! answer me, Mary, or I die !"
A long and refreshing sleep followed, and he awoke perfectly conscious of everything -no cloud darkened the expanse of his intellect, though he was still weak and debilitated. Mary, to whom his recovery was solely and indisputably due, offered up a silent prayer to the Throne of Grace for such transcendant mercy, and in due time reaped the reward of so much constancy, and such high-principled devotion. She was, indeed, as the Major, Arthur, and the physician called her, AN ANGEL!