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to rest, and Lizzie still slept profoundly. Gwenthlean alone watched and wept. Hour after hour sounded from the clock, and told of the regular march of time, which neither tarries nor hastens for grief or joy : yet she moved not from her meditations. She sat upon a low seat by the fire, with a dim night-lainp by her side, and Herbert's papers around her. Now she read a small, disjointed, half-illegible sentence; now she covered her face with her hands, and wept. She was attired in a loose dressing-gown, and her long hair fell in dishevelled luxuriance to her waist. Sometimes, she glanced towards the bed upon which lay her sister, to see whether the smothered sob that crept from her heart, had aroused her; and, sometimes, she clasped her hands, and upturned her eyes towards Heaven.
As she read the wandering effusions of Herbert's captivity, and saw how fondly he loved her still, she groaned in spirit, and inwardly pronounced herself the doomed
of Heaven. She was now another's. He had asked her of her mother, and was received as her accepted lover. He urged immediate marriage, upon plea of restoring Lizzie by taking her to Italy, and there was no loop-hole of escape. She had promised, nay, almost sworn to be his; and if she did not fulfil her promise, Mr. Lloyd was ruined.
She could not, dared not, break it.. And if she did, Herbert was probably, even then, no more, and could never, if alive, escape from that horrible prison. Her mind was racked with misery. There appeared nothing either present or future to afford a ray of comfort, but the hope of an early grave. She wished herself stretched, instead of her beloved sister, upon a dyingbed, and like her, rejoicing in the prospect of a happy eternity. Dearly as she loved that sister, she could not pray for her life. Existence had been so full of wretchedness to her, that to die young seemed perfect felicity. She had fought so long against her feelings, and against the pressure of poverty and anguish, that her spirit appeared broken, and she felt as if she could now only allow herself to be borne, like a withered leaf upon the river, unresistingly down the stream of fate.
One by one she read and re-read the fragments that had been given to her. There were many, but they were wholly unconnected, and evidently written at long intervals, and sometimes with much difficulty. A few of them may not be without interest to the reader, and we will take them up, as Gwenthlean did, and as they were placed, without date or design :
“ To GWENTHLEAN.”
“I think of you and pray for you always, my Gwenthlean. There is one little streak of light stealing through the cavern ; softly, quietly, mercifully. It is like you. A pure and heavenly minister
of comfort to the sick and wretched. It creeps towards my bed, like a friend, but stealthily, as if afraid of those dreadful men. So you would creep, my Gwenthlean; but love and christian charity would make you come.
Oppressive is this cavern's lonely gloom ;
Rise, then, my soul, nor let thy fleshly chains
Mount ever, like the grateful lark that sings
Poor Fido! thou art more pitiful than thy masters. The bandits' dog shares not the bandits' hate. Thou comest to lick my hand, and to fawn upon me. Thy soft, loving eyes look fondly on the lonely captive, and thy low whine seems to express pity for his hard fate. Like a true friend, thou dost not despise this wretched pallet, but visitest it often, as gladly as if it were a prince's resting place.
Margarita has brought me a wild-flower