« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
CHAPTER XX.THE CLOUD GATHERS.
wishes. Ah! dear Madeline, will you let me
act for you? Indeed, indeed, you have not Ida finished her history ;-tremblingly, and strength for this interview! Will you trust to scarce intelligibly, had she entered on the narra- me—will you give me leave to do what I think tion ; she dared not look towards her friend, but best ?” sat with averted eyes, breathing short, and wait- Madeline sat down again and buried her face in ing in a kind of terror for her answer. Madeline her outspread hands. " What do you want to was silent so long that Ida, dreading she scarcely do ?” murmured she. knew what, rose at last and went to her, putting “I want to show him the book which you gave her arms about her, and praying forgiveness as me," replied Ida, kneeling beside her, and again though she had committed some grievous offence. winding her arms round her waist ; “I want him Then Madeline laid her pale, weary face upon that to understand the past, to know you as you are. kind bosom, and answered her very gently, “Did It is due to him; he has a right to demand it; he you think, dearest, that this would be new to me?'' can do justice neither to you nor to himself now.
“New! how, what do you mean?" rejoined And how could you show yourself to him, either Ida, astonished.
in a letter or in conversation? You could not, “I was prepared,” replied her friend," but I you know you could not; pride, shame, grief, am so weak that I cannot speak of it as I ought. everything would be against you. He would still How should you guess what has been burning in see you disguised, masked, an involuntary counmy heart during these last few terrible days ! terfeit of what you are not. You would fulfil the From the moment in which I first recognized letter of your duty only to violate its spirit.”
She stopped, and was for a moment Madeline rose impatiently. “Never!” cried overcome ; then she resumed hurriedly, in an she, “never! you ask what is impossible. I altered, unnatural voice, “From that moment I cannot do it; no woman could. What! appeal knew what must be ; I knew that the time was to his piiy, lay bare the shrinking wounds of my come, that the trial was at hand. You have seen heart; beg as an alms what he withheld as a the struggle, Ida, but I have brought my will to gift. At this moment he believes me as indifferthe altar, and the sacrifice shall be completed. ent to hiin as—as he was to me, and I would No martyrdom ; no, no! This poor tardy atone-sooner slay myself than suffer him to think otherment may have the agony of martyrdom, but God wise. Nay, if I believed that I were capable of forbid that I should claim the glory. That is betraying myself by a glance or a gesture, I reserved for such as have fought well; but the would hide myself in the depths of the earth repentant traitor who is suffered to die for his sooner than encounter him. I am still a woman, sovereign has no fairer hope than that his name though a most erring one, and the last poor linmay be forgotten. I will act to God, not to man ; gering virtue of shame is still left me. Oh, Ida!” yet from man comes my punishment. Oh, for a All Ida's courage and self-possession seemed to heart to forget earth and life altogether! Oh, for have returned. She fixed her clear, deep, loving eyes blind to everything save the vision of the eyes upon Madeline's face, all glowing as it was great white THRONE!"
with unsubdued passion and bitterness of soul, There was so much excitement in her manner, and asked earnestly and timidly,“ What is it that that Ida was terrified and knew not how to answer you mean to do then?" her. In a moment she perceived this, and taking “I mean," replied her friend, vehemently,“ to Ida's head caressingly between her hands, as if do right, much as it costs me. I mean to submit she were a little child, she said, tenderly kissing myself 10—10—his will; to confess that I have her forehead, “Don't be frightened, darling ; it done grievous wrong, to give up the disposal of is hard indeed that you should have aught to do my future life into his hands." with these troubles and sins, my own timid, tender " And if,” said Ida, still in the same soft, depbird! I am quite calm and composed ; there is recating, peaceful tones, “if he asks you, as he no fear of the fever returning—you must make surely will, what it was that led you to leave allowances for me. Even you, little as you know him, how will you answer the question ?" of the wayward disobedience which makes duty “I shall say," answered Madeline, hastily, agony, must feel that it is hard for me now to do that it was a fit of passion ; a character so unright, and I know you pity me. But it should be disciplined and self-willed as mine then was is done at once, should it not? I must not lose capable of everything." time. I will go to him directly. Where is * Will that answer be true?" inquired Ida. he?"
“ True! yes, was it not an act dictated by the She rose as she spoke, but paused ere she wildest passion ?" moved towards the door. “Is his feeling all “ Will it be THE TRUTH ?" reiterated Ida, her anger ?" asked she, turning away her face. voice faltering with earnestness.
There was a “No ; indeed I do not think so," replied Ida, long silence, which was at last broken by Madeeagerly ; “ of course he was amazed and agitated ; line, who, dropping upon a chair, gave way to a of course he felt himself injured ; but I do not sudden outburst of unconquerable tears. Her think he spoke with bitterness, and he repeatedly powers seemed to be mastered in a moment by said that no constraint should be put upon your the agony which had so long vainly struggled
against them, and she wept and sobbed like a “Indeed, you do not understand !” cried Idą. child. Poor Ida dared not speak, but weeping “ You never have understood, and I believe you too, she repeatedly kissed her friend's hands ; never will understand her. You have thrown that silent expression of mere love was the only away a treasure of true affection, and you would consolation she could offer. She listened eagerly not even stoop to pick it up when it lay at your for the first words, and at length they came abrupt, feet. Wrong as she may have been in the past, resolute, inexorable.
if her husband had understood her, if he had loved • It is useless—I CANNOT do it!”
her, if his thoughts had not been exclusively And Ida ceased to urge the impossible ; not centred and entirely occupied in himself, she that she ceased to think it right, but she felt that might have been now a happy, honored wife. she had gone as far as she could—as she ought. The ruin of a heart, the wreck of a life is your With undiminished tenderness she soothed the work ; at least the guilt is half yours. The agitated Madeline, and again offered to go to Mr. wrong which you did her in making her believe Tyrrell, to speak for her, to do anything, every- that she was beloved, though less palpable and thing she might to spare or to serve her. less definite, perhaps less capable of being sen
“ Tell him that I am ready to see him-now- tenced, less sure to be avenged, was full as deep directly, if he so pleases."
and far more irreparable than that which she “Dearest Madeline, are you fit ? have you afterwards did you." strength ?!!
She paused, breathless, and, as soon as she “I am as strong as I shall ever be,” replied paused, felt ashamed of her impetuosity, and Madeline, sharply, almost peevishly; “nothing afraid of its result. There is no truer nor more can hurt me so much as delay or remonstrance." universal law of woman's nature than that which
Ida was at the door in an instant; she would gives fire to the gentlest, and boldness to the most have paused to express her fear of having given timid, in the cause, not of herself, but of her affecunnecessary pain, to ask forgiveness ; but she felt tions; but it is a fire whereat the very hand which that it was not a time to think of herself, or to kindles it, trembles in sudden amazement. expect Madeline to think of her, so she was with- “I beg your pardon," said Ida, humbly. drawing quietly and quickly, when her friend's Mr. Tyrrell did not do as he ought ; very few voice checked her in an accent whose very feeble- men do in difficult circumstances. He did not ness made it the more impressive, “ Ida !--stop take Ida by the hand, and say warmly, “ For
-you are to do what you think right. Leave me what? for speaking the truth to me?" It was, -quick-and say nothing !”
perhaps, quite as much as could be expected of The injunction could not be disobeyed, for there him that he felt something like this in his heart, was a pale and awful anguish in the face of her and that he demonstrated it outwardly by smiling who gave it, which it would have been profaneness kindly at her, as if he quite forgave her. He to contemplate. Once again, however, she recalled looked as though the eloquent rebuke were a the departing Ida, hurrying after her with a mo- specimen of not unamiable childish petulance, and mentary strength, the result of vehement agila- this manner of patronizing and indulging the truth tion, and saying, rapidly, “ Tell him that I place gave some small inexplicable satisfaction to the myself entirely in his hands, and only supplicate Man in him ; at least, I suppose it must have that he does not ask to see me!” She turned been so, because this is such a common masculine and flung herself on her knees, almost on her face, habit. The frank avowals, the stately candors, prostrate upon the floor, while Ida, merely bowing the noble self-forgettings which we meet with in her head, in token that she understood and would books, are very seldom met with anywhere else. fulfil the request, went from her even as she had When they are, let us guard them jealously, for come to her—trembling, tearful, and speechless. they are the jewels of life ; they should be the She hurried in search of Mr. Tyrrell, feeling as zone of the heart in its secret retirement, for it though half an hour's unnecessary delay would be would seem that the air of heaven, or the gaze of guilt. She found him awaiting her in the vesti- man, may tarnish the delicacy of their brightness. bule, with a countenance from which hé vainly There is a kind of allowable, and even necessought to banish the signs of anxiety and emotion. sary churlishness, so to speak, in true affection ; Silently she placed the volume in his hands; he we like to keep our friends not only for, but to looked wonderingly and inquiringly at her. ourselves. But to return.
“ I was to give you this,” faltered she, “ and “ And I am to read this !” said Tyrrell, musto say—that—that she will submit to your deter- ingly. He put the book in his pocket, and stood mination in everything, but that she earnestly still, looking strangely and awkwardly. “Is she beseeches you—” Ida hesitated.
alone?" asked he at last. “ What?” exclaimed he quickly.
“She wished to be left alone,” replied Ida ; “ Not to insist upon seeing her,” added Ida, in " I shall go to her in a little while ; but just now a low, abashed voice.
think is better for her—she is terribly “ A true woman's submission," observed Mr. agitated.” Tyrrell, bitterly. “ She will do whatever I de- He was silent; then, with a courteous little mand, and then she restricts my demands to what- bow, which seemed almost grotesque, so suddenly ever she pleases. I understand perfectly." did it introduce the formalities of daily conventionalism into the presence of those powers and yet did the last so shelter and embrace the first passions by which conventionalism is shattered that condemnation was lost in pity. The Puritan into fragments—he left her. Ida sought her own spirit which brands the offences of others is as room, and sat down to think—not of Madeline, different for the Christian spirit which watches but of herself.
tremulously for its own, as darkness is from So rapidly had events crowded upon each other light. Innocence, like Him from whom she that not till now had she leisure of thought for comes, is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity ; it reviewing her last strange and painful conversa- is hers not only to suffer long and be kind, but to tion with Godfrey. It was there in her mind as a be strong and patient in belief, prodigal and inexthing suppressed, shut up, not to be looked at for haustible in hope. Ida's heart said no hard words the time, yet undoubtedly existing and importu- 10 her either of Madeline or of Godfrey. She nately present. She had only thrust it a little was, however, still too young, too unused to the below the surface, and the moment the actual business of life, to be able thoroughly to realize to pressure was withdrawn it arose, and she could herself what had happened. It seemed to her a not shun the encounter. She recalled his tone, mournful and pathetic vision, which brightened as his look, his gestures, and the intense reality of she gazed upon it. She thought how dear she them all was terribly convincing. It seemed must be to Godfrey, since he had chosen her as the strange that they should be more impressive in depository of his secret, and then she wept bitter memory than in actual occurrence, but so it was. tears of self-reproach in remembering that she had She hated and despised herself for her slowness given him pain instead of consolation. But if it of perception; she accused herself of cruelty, of was in her power to wound, it must be in her coldness, of idiocy. Alas! she was only guilty power also to heal, and this poor logic comforted of innocence. It is wonderful how soon, the first her greatly. Only she felt impatient to apply tho shock being over, the mind accustoms itself to the balm at once; to let Godfrey know, without an contemplation of new and terrific forms; it is still instant's delay, that he had mistaken mere surmore wonderful how soon the heart learns to veil, prise and unconsciousness for horror, and that she to disguise, to beautify them with fair excuses. was still the sister whom he had chosen for himIda had received, almost unconsciously, the idea self. Her heart beat quick, she felt feverish and of the dark truth which lay in Godfrey's narra- confused; it was the natural result of the agitation, and she was now far more occupied with tions of the day, yet she was almost afraid of meetcondemning herself as pitiless than with thinking ing Godfrey till she should have become a little of him as criminal. Indeed, she consigned the more composed. Twice she rose, moved to the crime to some far unseen hiding-place. She took door, and twice returned to her seat, spreading her it for granted before the beginning of the history, hands over her lovely, troubled face, and striving, and she began with the misery and the repentance. by a strong effort of will and an earnest self-comHow intelligible was now all that wayward vari- mendation to God, to subdue the tumult within. ableness, which had so often wounded her in him; Then she began once more to build for the future ; how touching an aspect did the close union be- a happy family-picture grew up before her eyes, a ween the brothers now assume ! It was the seal group of many well-known and well-loved figures. of a perpetual pardon, ever besought, never with- Hand-in-hand with Godfrey she sat at the feet of held. She went through, in fancy, the life of her father, whose presence was as the presence of both ; identifying herself with the struggles, the an angel, sanctioning and consecrating their affecpangs, the keen and silent sufferings of Godfrey, tion; kind, gentle aunt Ellinor looked tenderly upon with that vivid force so natural to an imaginative them, and dear uncle John peeped smiling from heart when the subject under contemplation is a behind a screen. Some one else, too, was looking friend, too proud, too shy, or too self-governed to at them; some one who said, in low and thankful ask for sympathy. The undemanded, often un- voice, “Oh! how can I ever use these restored suspected tenderness which we lavish upon the eyes, except in looking at faces so beautiful and woes of such an one, is, by some strange yet so beloved ?" A fairy's wand had done it—the precious perverseness of our nature, a thousand- fairy of youthful, hopeful fancy. Those visions fold more liberal, more delicate, and more vigilant, of earthly happiness are very puzzling ; so pure, than the compassion which is charmed from us by so perfect are they, and yet so different from all tears or wrung from us by entreaties. We create we dare conceive of the happiness of heaven. It anew for ourselves each trial that he has under-seems strange that, in the greater number of hugone, and assert a partnership in all; and with an man hearts, there should be faculties which find involuntary reserve, different from his own, and no occupation, cravings which obtain no answer, yet the counterpart of it, we delight in thinking conceptions to which there is no responding reality that we feel far more for him than he suspects or throughout Eternity. True, they will be all abwould believe—more even than he would ever sorbed in the loftier capacities of risen and purified confess that he has felt for himself. In love, yet humanity; yet does it seem mysterious that they more than in charity, it is more blessed to give should have been, so to speak, created only to than to receive.
Ida was growing rapidly familiar with the face More than an hour glided away unperceived, of evil; sin and sorrow had started up iafore her, and by degrees she began to feel the necessity of
exchanging her dreams for action. She could so, as it were, by main force, the following not yet quite resolve to encounter Godfrey, so she words :went in search of Frederick, to whom she always felt that she could speak with far less restraint.
MY DARLING IDA,—When I parted from you She found him in the library alone ; a rare, but well knew myself, namely, that I was affected by
I would not pain you by telling you what I then just now a most fortunate occurrence. She felt embarrassed—she did not know how to begin the a disorder which is—1 must not conceal it of subject, nor how far she could let him know what dangerous though not of hopeless character. I had happened, without giving him pain; she had wished to save my precious child the anxiety of a kind of persuasion that he knew of Godfrey's after which concealment becomes unkindness and
these months of separation, but there is a point intended confession, yet she could not feel sure of this, and so she hesitated, and doubted whether distrust ; and that point is now reached. I have to speak of it or not. She sat down by his side,
confidence in your courage; I have faith that God put her hand into his, and asked him, with forced will support you. I am myself quite calm, and I playfulness, of what he was thinking?
feel sure that you will aid me in maintaining my “Of you, dear Ida,” was his immediate reply,
calmness ; I know you are capable of such an
effort. but the words were uttered in a tone so full of
Come to me, then, my darling ; I owe melancholy that she directly felt sure he knew all, ihose who out of weakness were made strong,
you this confidence.
Come to me, remembering and was secretly reproaching her. “0, Frederick !" she replied, her eyes over
remembering also whose strength it was that was flowing with tears, “ do not be angry with me! I perfected in their weakness. It is vouclisafed to did not mean the least unkindness. I was so and I shall at least have the happiness of watch
us also to suffer somewhat for our Lord. Come, astonished, so pained, so shocked that I really did not understand and so I–I–I do so want to be ing and wiping away such tears as you cannot friends with Godfrey! Do tell me where I can
help shedding. Mr. Tyrrell will tell you all the find him."
particulars, for I am not allowed to write at great “With Godfrey !" answered Frederick. “I length. God bless you.
Your affectionate father, have not seen him since the morning. I was not
Percy LEE. thinking of him."
“ But I am thinking of him," rejoined Ida, Let us pass over in silence the hour which folquickly.
lowed the reading of this letter. At its close Ida “It would make him very happy to hear that. was ready and the carriage was at the door. As But, dear Ida, let us forget him for a few mo- she issued from her room, her face pale and hag
I have been wanting to speak to you gard, her eyes full of that desolation which knows about- -are you listening to me?"
not the softness of tears, little Arthur ran to meet “Yes, dear Frederick, I will listen,” cried she, her, buoyant and, uproarious in his childish glee. summoning up her attention, which, to say the “I am going to see poor sick Mrs. Chester,” truth, was not a little inclined to wander. “Only, cried he ; "papa sent me, and he says I am to bo Godfrey
very gentle to her.” “ Nay,” interposed he, “it is a very grave Ida passed on without heeding him, or even matter of which I have to speak. Dearest Ida, understanding the import of his words. Unused you have known but little sorrow, and if I could to aught but tenderness from her, the little fellow fix the course of your future life, it should all run stood still, wondering and displeased ; but, speedthrough pleasant pastures and under sunshiny ily forgetting his wrath in eagerness to visit his skies; but God knows what is good for you better new acquaintance, he belook himself to the door than I do. And in His eyes it has seemed good of Mrs. Chester's bedroom. that you should taste affliction. Nay, do not look On the stairs poor awkward Agnes joined her 80 terrified,” (pressing her hand earnesily between “ Ida,” said she, in a thick, broken voice, “ I am his own,) " no irrevocable blow has been struck- going with you. Pray let me ; aunt Ellinor canno irreparable misfortune has befallen you—there not leave Frederick, and Mrs. Chester is ill, ano is still hope.”
you must have a woman with you. I am quite “Papa !” said Ida, treinbling violently. She ready; I will give you no trouble, and I will try could articulate no more.
to be a comfort to you if I can." “I have a note for you from him," replied A silent pressure of the hand was the only Frederick, speaking very gently and deliberately. reply, and the two cousins entered the carriage " He gave it to Mr. Tyrrell, who was charged to together. Ida did not notice that Alexander took communicate it in the first instance to Mrs. Ches- his seat upon the box ; she was almost unconter, and afterwards, if necessary, 10 you. It is scious of uncle John's hearty embrace and falnow necessary, and the task has fallen upon me. tered blessing as she ascended the steps ; she had God knows, Ida, every tear you shed seems not remembered to take leave of Madeline ; she wrung from my own heart. What shall I say to had even forgotten Godfrey. comfort you?”
She did not know, for it had been thought She took the letter from his hand without better not to reveal it to her as yet, the immediate speaking, and read, compelling herself to do cause of the summons she had received. It was
necessary that Mr. Lee should undergo a very and at such a time, should seek to separate his dangerous operation, which might possibly restore child from him. Yet, while he was determined him to health, but which, if it failed, would not to allow her presence during the trial, he greatly accelerate the termination of his sufferings. wished also, if possible, to keep the knowledge of He felt that it would, indeed, be a needless and it from her till it was over, only securing that he irreparable cruelty disguising itself in the shape should at least see her once more, and that she of kindness, which, under such circumstances, should be present to close his eyes.
From the Christian Advocate and Journal. We here allow our old friend to speak out his WHAT AMUSEMENTS ARE ADMISSIBLE. whole heart; and now will proceed to give him I see some of our good people writing in the
plain and flat-footed answers.” First, we must Advocate on the subject of Methodist schools and inform our readers that the signature of our corretheatricals, and what is, and is not, innocent amuse- spondent is not his real name—so no one must ment; but none of them appear to me to be suffi- identify him with our excellent father Kent, of ciently plain and clear. I like, on all such matters, New England. for writers to be what we old folks sometimes call
To the first four questions, we answer, all plain and flat-footed, that all who read may understand ; and as it does seem to me that of late years wrong. To the fifth, we answer, not wrong when there does seem to be too much rope given, I circumstances make it expedient—we go for music thought I would ask you a few plain questions, to in its place. To the sixth, we answer, undoubtwhich I must insist on your giving equally as plain edly wrong. As to the seventh, we say, “ shootand flat-footed answers; and I will begin with the ing fire crackers” is mean business, and“ playing membership; and, 1. Is it wrong to go out and see the horses run? bad tendencies. In answer to the eighth question,
checkers,” &c., should be discouraged as having 2. If not, is it wrong to bet on them?
3. Is it right to go to theatres, and deal in lot- we say, we think skating an innocent and healthy tery tickets?
exercise for boys; but rather dangerous on thin ice. 4. Is it right to play at cards, even for amuse-We would not enjoin “ reading the Bible, or some ment?
other good book," as an amusement. It should 5. Is it right to purchase or play on any musical have its place, but should be considered a devoinstrument, from the accordeon up to the piano or tional, or at least a serious duty. To the ninth organ?
6. If it is, is wrong to dance to the sound question, we answer, no—and this answers tho thereof?
tenth. 7. Is it right to suffer our children to be shoot
We were educated under the Puritanic regimen, ing their fire-crackers, playing checkers, dominoes, and not being very young, may be supposed, from and others of kin?
habit, strongly prepossessed against fashionable 8. Is it right to purchase skates, and go and follies. We are not, however, quite so rigid as amuse themselves on the ice, instead of doing it our friend Kent. We are not old enough to recolby reading the Bible, or some other good book? 9. Is it right to go to balls, or to ball-yards— amused themselves in “ reading the Bible, or some
lect the time when the children of Methodists alleys?
10. If so, is it wrong to partake of the amuse- other good book.” When a boy, we were indulged ments ?
in all sorts of innocent and healthy amusements, These amusements were once all cried down. and we have allowed our own children the same Has the rope stretched, or unwound? As to the latitude. While we must contend for the right ministry, I would fain hope they are not chargeable. and necessity of this course to the young, we have Would that I could also say it of the membership no fellowship for anything demoralizing, or having
Our fathers, where are they? Wesley, Asbury, Whatcoat, Pickering, Everett, Sharp, and a host a tendency to debase the intellect or heart. of others, who cried all these things down? They are gone where we have got to follow them. Would Law of STORMS.-Captain Handley, of the to God they had left their mantle, and more of Sultany, has recently most successfully tested the their spirit with us who are left behind. There is truth of the law which regards tropical tornadoes as a great want of money to fill the missionary treas-cyclones, or revolving masses of air travelling ury, Bible treasury, and provide for the worn-out along certain curved lines. The edge of the cypreachers. Well, I go in for all these things. clone referred to was thirty degrees, at least, from But if those who purchase pianos, and other mu- Bombay, Calcutta, and Aden, and its effects were sical instruments, as well as skates, would put that felt at the distance of 2,000 miles. The course of money these things cost into the Lord's treasury, the ship Sultany was south-west, when, overtaken it would there do much good; and, instead of tri- by the storm, Captain Handley says, in his log, he fling away their time with those worse than foole- " furled top-sails and fore-sails, and rounded the ries, if they spent it on their knecs, and reading ship to, with her head to the eastward, as I have some good books, it would certainly be much better every reason to believe I am on the edge of a for the church generally.
hurricane.” The storm passed onward to the southBut perhaps I am now ing wrong. I did not west ; and thus, by laying to, and steering to the intend to intimate any opinion. But to these ques- eastward, Captain Handley, no doubt, saved his tions you will do me the favor to give me a candid ship and 300 coolies on board. This triumph of answer.
scientific observation cannot be too widely known. Dec. 27, 1849.