Margarita’s. The former pitied him for his sin and his deception the latter, because she had loved him, and was, by the laws of her country, his wife. The rest were burning with indignation. Mr. Lloyd scarcely understood what had passed ; but he uplifted his hands and eyes with astonishment, as the truth dawned upon him. Lord Hastings was shocked and distressed at having been so far deceived in one whom he, at least, thought honour able. Colonel Llewellen called him a coward and a villain, whilst Lady Llewellen looked horror-struck, and trembled. Clare was not astonished, for she had read Mr. Grant truly. She was deeply thankful. Herbert could only look at Gwenthlean, and wonder whether she had ever loved his rival. She was agitated, and very pale; but there was no appearance of any great anguish or disappointment in her face or manner. Colonel Llewellen went to her, and taking her hand kindly, whispered, with a half glance at Herbert, that all was

for the best ; and she smiled almost happily, though Herbert knew not why. He could not understand her feelings, and there was not time to probe them, for the gentlemen, as if by mutual consent, prepared to leave the cottage, feeling, that after so singular a scene, they must be sadly in the way.

Herbert shook hands with Gwenthlean ; but she did not look at him, and he wished her good morning with the feelings of a friend or brother. There might have been a fluttering hope at the bottom of his heart; but if he knew it to be there, he did not indulge it. Still he was happy again, and the bells that were ringing merrily, and the laughter that was sounding loudly, to welcome his return, made his eyes sparkle, and his spirit warm within him.

Gwethlean escaped up-stairs, and the first impulse of her soul, was to thank her God for so wonderfully making light to shine out of darkness. Then she stood by

[ocr errors]

her window, looking out upon the unruffled sea, and listening to the merry sounds without. Her heart bounded within her. She was overpowered by joyful emotion. The transition from doubt and misery to internal peace, was almost too sudden and too exquisite to bear. She shed tearstears of joy. A heavy weight had been taken from her heart, and Hope-blueeyed, light-winged, buoyant, fascinating Hope-once more Enchanting smiled, and waved her golden hair.

“I knew it-I told you so !” exclaimed Clare, bursting into the room, and seizing her sister in her arms. “Hurrah ! hurrah! happiness again for my sweet sister,” and she danced about the room as if she were distracted. Then she kissed Gwenthlean over and over again-said she knew that she never loved Mr. Grant—that they should do much better without himand that, in short, they would now be the happiest creatures in the world.

Gwenthlean was aware that there might be drawbacks to their happiness ; but she could not think of them. She knew that Mr. Grant might yet exercise his power for evil-but even this seemed secondary now Herbert was returned, and there were kind and rich friends about them. She could not-she scarcely wished to conceal from Clare, that her interrupted marriage had made her happy, and that it was no pain to her to renounce the prospect of luxury and fortune, to be the simple Gwenthlean of the cottage still. Neither Clare nor her mother, who entered, followed by Margarita, knew what had induced Gwenthlean to accept Mr. Grant ; but both saw the change that had taken place in her countenance. It was the removal of a cloud fram the sun-or, her face was like a rainbow, made bright by tears. She could have wished to have revealed to her friends the whole of Mr. Grant's proceedings, and his extracted promise ; but she still felt herself bound down to secresy.

When Margarita saw Gwenthlean's tears, she looked sorrowfully at Clare, and said that she hoped her disclosures had not been the cause of pain to her preserver; but that she had imagined, before she saw her and Mr. Grant together, that another had been affianced to her. Gwenthlean took Margarita's hand, and, smiling through her tears, told her not to be uneasy on her account.

“But if you loved him ;" said Margarita, with a sigh, “ as he must have loved you—you will suffer-Still there is one-oh, Signorina ! one so good-so kind -so true-who never forgot you-never. Who, in the wanderings of fever, breathed your name, and in moments of deepest agony and suffering, prayed for you, and blessed you. Oh! if you could—”.

Margarita paused, for the tears rolled faster than ever down Gwenthlean's cheek, and a crimson flush mounted to her face.

“Yes, she is very beautiful,” continued the Neapolitan. “I wonder not that he

« VorigeDoorgaan »