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a tale




Page 104


“Full many a miserable year hath past—
She knows him as one dead,—or worse than dead;
And many a change her varied life hath known,
But her heart none.”


Since her interview with the angler, which was interrupted
by the appearance of Fanshawe, Ellen Langton's
hitherto calm and peaceful mind, had been in a
state of insufferable doubt and dismay. She was imperatively
called upon—at least, she so conceived, to break
through the rules which nature and education impose upon
her sex, to quit the protection of those whose desire
for her welfare was true and strong,—and to trust herself,
for what purpose she scarcely knew, to a stranger,
from whom the instinctive purity of her mind would involuntarily
have shrunk, under whatever circumstances
she had met him. The letter which she had received
from the hands of the angler, had seemed to her inexperience,
to prove beyond a doubt, that the bearer was the
friend of her father, and authorized by him, if her duty
and affection were stronger than her fears, to guide her
to his retreat. The letter spoke vaguely of losses and
misfortunes, and of a necessity for concealment on her
father's part, and secrecy on her's; and to the credit of
Ellen's not very romantic understanding, it must be acknowledged,


Page 105
that the mystery of the plot had nearly prevented
its success. She did not, indeed, doubt that the
letter was from her father's hand; for every line and
stroke, and even many of its phrases, were familiar to
her. Her apprehension was, that his misfortunes, of
what nature soever they were, had affected his intellect,
and that, under such an influence, he had commanded
her to take a step, which nothing less than such a command
could justify. Ellen did not, however, remain
long in this opinion; for when she re-perused the letter,
and considered the firm, regular characters, and the
style—calm and cold, even in requesting such a sacrifice—she
felt that there was nothing like insanity here.
In fine, she came gradually to the belief, that there
were strong reasons, though incomprehensible by her,
for the secrecy that her father had enjoined.

Having arrived at this conviction, her decision lay
plain before her. Her affection for Mr. Langton was
not, indeed—nor was it possible—so strong, as that she
would have felt for a parent who had watched over her
from her infancy. Neither was the conception, she had
unavoidably formed of his character, such as to promise,
that in him she would find an equivalent for all she
must sacrifice. On the contrary, her gentle nature and
loving heart, which otherwise would have rejoiced in a
new object of affection, now shrank with something like
dread from the idea of meeting her father,—stately, cold,
and stern, as she could not but imagine him. A sense
of duty was, therefore, Ellen's only support, in resolving
to tread the dark path that lay before her.

Had there been any person of her own sex, in whom
Ellen felt confidence, there is little doubt that she would
so far have disobeyed her father's letter, as to communicate
its contents, and take counsel as to her proceedings.


Page 106
But Mrs. Melmoth was the only female—excepting, indeed,
the maid servant—to whom it was possible to
make the communication; and though Ellen at first
thought of such a step, her timidity and her knowledge
of the lady's character, did not permit her to venture upon
it. She next reviewed her acquaintances of the other
sex; and doctor Melmoth first presented himself, as,
in every respect but one, an unexceptionable confidant.
But the single exception was equivalent to many. The
maiden, with the highest opinion of the doctor's learning
and talents, had sufficient penetration to know, that in
the ways of the world, she was herself the better skilled
of the two. For a moment she thought of Edward Walcott;
but he was light and wild, and—which her delicacy
made an insurmountable objection—there was an untold
love between them. Her thoughts finally centered on
Fanshawe. In his judgment, young and inexperienced
though he was, she would have placed a firm trust, and
his zeal, from whatever cause it arose, she could not

If, in the short time allowed her for reflection, an opportunity
had occurred for consulting him, she would, in
all probability, have taken advantage of it. But the
terms on which they had parted, the preceding evening,
had afforded him no reason to hope for her confidence;
and he felt that there were others who had a better right
to it than himself. He did not, therefore, throw himself in
her way, and poor Ellen was consequently left without
an adviser.

The determination that resulted from her own unassisted
wisdom, has been seen. When discovered by doctor
Melmoth at Hugh Crombie's inn, she was wholly
prepared for flight, and but for the intervention of the
storm, would, ere then, have been far away.


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The firmness of resolve, that had impelled a timid
maiden upon such a step, was not likely to be broken by
one defeat; and Ellen, accordingly, confident that the
stranger would make a second attempt, determined that
no effort on her part should be wanting to its success.
On reaching her chamber, therefore, instead of retiring
to rest (of which, from her sleepless thoughts of the preceding
night, she stood greatly in need,) she sat watching
for the abatement of the storm. Her meditations
were now calmer, than at any time since her first meeting
with the angler. She felt as if her fate was decided.
The stain had fallen upon her reputation,—she was no
longer the same pure being, in the opinion of those
whose approbation she most valued.

One obstacle to her flight—and, to a woman's mind, a
most powerful one—had thus been removed. Dark and
intricate as was the way, it was easier, now, to proceed,
than to pause; and her desperate and forlorn situation
gave her a strength, which, hitherto, she had not

At every cessation in the torrent of rain that beat
against the house, Ellen flew to the window, expecting
to see the stranger form beneath it. But the clouds
would again thicken, and the storm re-commence, with
its former violence; and she began to fear, that the approach
of morning would compel her to meet the now
dreaded face of Doctor Melmoth. At length, however,
a strong and steady wind, supplying the place of the
fitful gusts of the preceding part of the night, broke
and scattered the clouds from the broad expanse of the
sky. The moon commencing her late voyage not long
before the sun, was now visible, setting forth like a
lonely ship from the dark line of the horizon, and touching
at many a little silver cloud, the islands of that aerial


Page 108
deep. Ellen felt that now the time was come;
and with a calmness, wonderful to herself, she prepared
for her final departure.

She had not long to wait, ere she saw, between the
vacancies of the trees, the angler, advancing along the
shady avenue that led to the principal entrance of Doctor
Melmoth's dwelling. He had no need to summon
her, either by word or signal; for she had descended,
emerged from the door, and stood before him, while he
was yet at some distance from the house.

`You have watched well,' he observed, in a low,
strange tone. `As saith the scripture, many daughters
have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.'

He took her arm, and they hastened down the avenue.
Then leaving Hugh Crombie's Inn on their right, they
found its master, in a spot so shaded that the moon-beams
could not enlighten it. He held by the bridle two horses,
one of which the angler assisted Ellen to mount. Then,
turning to the landlord, he pressed a purse into his
hand; but Hugh drew back, and it fell to the ground.

`No; this would not have tempted me, nor will it
reward me, he said. If you have gold to spare, there
are some that need it more than I.'

`I understand you, mine host. I shall take thought
for them, and enough will remain for you and me,' replied
his comrade. `I have seen the day when such a
purse would not have slipped between your fingers.
Well, be it so. And now, Hugh, my old friend, a shake
of your hand; for we are seeing our last of each

`Pray Heaven, it be so; though I wish you no ill,'
said the landlord, giving his hand. He then seemed
about to approach Ellen, who had been unable to distinguish
the words of this brief conversation; but his comrade


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prevented him. `There is no time to lose,' he observed.
`The moon is growing pale already, and we
should have been many a mile beyond the valley, ere
this.' He mounted, as he spoke, and guiding Ellen's
rein till they reached the road, they dashed away.

It was now that she felt herself completely in his
power; and with that consciousness, there came a sudden
change of feeling, and an altered view of her conduct.
A thousand reasons forced themselves upon her
mind, seeming to prove that she had been deceived;
while the motives, so powerful with her but a moment
before, had either vanished from her memory, or lost
all their efficacy. Her companion, who gazed searchingly
into her face, where the moonlight, coming down
between the pines, allowed him to read its expression,
probably discerned somewhat of the state of her thoughts.

`Do you repent so soon?' he inquired. `We have
a weary way before us. Faint not ere we have well
entered upon it.'

`I have left dear friends behind me, and am going I
know not whither,' replied Ellen tremblingly.

`You have a faithful guide,' he observed; turning
away his head, and speaking in the tone of one who
endeavours to smother a laugh.

Ellen had no heart to continue the conversation; and
they rode on in silence, and through a wild and gloomy
scene. The wind roared heavily through the forest, and
the trees shed their rain drops upon the travellers. The
road, at all times rough, was now broken into deep gullies,
through which streams went murmuring down, to
mingle with the river. The pale moonlight combined
with the grey of the morning to give a ghastly and unsubstantial
appearance to every object.


Page 110

The difficulties of the road had been so much increased
by the storm, that the purple eastern clouds gave
notice of the near approach of the sun, just as the travellers
reached the little lonesome cottage which Ellen
remembered to have visited several months before. On
arriving opposite to it, her companion checked his horse,
and gazed with a wild earnestness at the wretched habitation.
Then, stifling a groan that would not altogether
be repressed, he was about to pass on. But, at that
moment, the cottage door opened, and a woman, whose
sour, unpleasant countenance Ellen recognised, came
hastily forth. She seemed not to heed the travellers;
but the angler, his voice thrilling and quivering with
indescribable emotion, addressed her.

`Woman, whither do you go?' he inquired.

She started; but, after a momentary pause, replied,
`There is one within at the point of death. She struggles
fearfully, and I cannot endure to watch alone by
her bedside. If you are christians, come in with me.'

Ellen's companion leaped hastily from his horse,
assisted her also to dismount, and followed the woman
into the cottage, having first thrown the bridles of
the horses carelessly over the branch of a tree. Ellen
trembled at the awful scene she would be compelled to
witness; but, when death was so near at hand, it was
more terrible to stand alone in the dim morning light,
than even to watch the parting of soul and body. She
therefore entered the cottage.

Her guide, his face muffled in his cloak, had taken
his stand at a distance from the death-bed, in a part of
the room, which neither the increasing day light nor the
dim rays of a solitary lamp, had yet enlightened. At
Ellen's entrance, the dying woman lay still, and apparently
calm, except that a plaintive, half articulate sound
occasionally wandered through her lips.


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`Hush! For mercy's sake, silence!' whispered the
other woman to the strangers. `There is good hope
now, that she will die a peaceable death; but, if she is
disturbed, the boldest of us will not dare to stand by her

The whisper, by which her sister endeavoured to
preserve quiet, perhaps reached the ears of the dying
female; for she now raised herself in bed, slowly, but
with a strength superior to what her situation promised.
Her face was ghastly and wild, from long illness, approaching
death, and disturbed intellect; and a disembodied
spirit could scarcely be a more fearful object,
than one whose soul was just struggling forth. Her
sister, approaching with the soft and stealing step appropriate
to the chamber of sickness and death, attempted
to replace the covering around her, and to compose
her again upon the pillow. `Lie down and sleep, sister,'
she said; `and when the day breaks, I will waken you.
Methinks your breath comes freer, already. A little
more slumber, and tomorrow you will be well.'

`My illness is gone, I am well,' said the dying woman,
gasping for breath. `I wander where the fresh
breeze comes sweetly over my face, but a close and
stifled air has choked my lungs.'

`Yet a little while and you will no longer draw your
breath in pain,' observed her sister, again replacing the
bed-clothes, which she continued to throw off.

`My husband is with me,' murmured the widow.
`He walks by my side, and speaks to me as in old times;
but his words come faintly on my ear; cheer me and
comfort me, my husband; for there is a terror in those
dim, motionless eyes, and in that shadowy voice.'

As she spoke thus, she seemed to gaze upon some
object that stood by her bed-side, and the eyes of those


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who witnessed this scene could not but follow the direction
of hers. They observed that the dying woman's
own shadow was marked upon the wall, receiving a
tremulous motion from the fitful rays of the lamp, and
from her own convulsive efforts. `My husband stands
gazing on me,' she said, again; `but my son,—where
is he?—and as I ask, the father turns away his face.
Where is our son? For his sake I have longed to
come to this land of rest. For him I have sorrowed
many years. Will he not comfort me now?'

At these words, the stranger made a few hasty steps
towards the bed; but, ere he reached it, he conquered
the impulse that drew him thither, and, shrouding his
face more deeply in his cloak, returned to his former
position. The dying woman, in the meantime, had
thrown herself back upon the bed; and her sobbing and
wailing, imaginary as was their cause, were inexpressibly

`Take me back to earth,' she said; `for its griefs
have followed me hither.'

The stranger advanced, and, seizing the lamp, knelt
down by the bed-side, throwing the light full upon his
pale and convulsed features.

`Mother, here is your son,' he exclaimed.

At that unforgotten voice, the darkness burst away
at once from her soul. She arose in bed, her eyes and
her whole countenance beaming with joy, and threw her
arms about his neck. A multitude of words seemed
struggling for utterance; but they gave place to a low
moaning sound, and then to the silence of death. The
one moment of happiness, that recompensed years of
sorrow, had been her last. Her son laid the lifeless
form upon the pillow, and gazed with fixed eyes on his
mother's face.


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As he looked, the expression of enthusiastic joy, that
parting life had left upon the features, faded gradually
away, and the countenance, though no longer wild,
assumed the sadness which it had worn through a long
course of grief and pain. On beholding this natural
consequence of death, the thought perhaps occurred to
him, that her soul, no longer dependant on the imperfect
means of intercourse possessed by mortals, had communed
with his own, and become acquainted with all its
guilt and misery. He started from the bed-side, and
covered his face with his hands, as if to hide it from
those dead eyes.

Such a scene as has been described could not but
have a powerful effect upon any one, who retained
aught of humanity; and the grief of the son, whose
natural feelings had been blunted, but not destroyed, by
an evil life, was much more violent than his outward
demeanor would have expressed. But his deep repentance,
for the misery he had brought upon his parent,
did not produce in him a resolution to do wrong no more.
The sudden consciousness of accumulated guilt made
him desperate. He felt as if no one had thenceforth a
claim to justice or compassion at his hands, when his
neglect and cruelty had poisoned his mother's life, and
hastened her death. Thus it was that the Devil wrought
with him to his own destruction, reversing the salutary
effect, which his mother would have died, exultingly, to
produce upon his mind. He now turned to Ellen
Langton, with a demeanour singularly calm and composed.

`We must resume our journey,' he said, in his usual
tone of voice. `The sun is on the point of rising,
though but little light finds its way into this hovel.'


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Ellen's previous suspicions as to the character of her
companion had now become certainty, so far as to convince
her that she was in the power of a lawless and
guilty man; though what fate he intended for her, she
was unable to conjecture. An open opposition to his
will, however, could not be ventured upon; especially
as she discovered, on looking round the apartment, that,
with the exception of the corpse, they were alone.

`Will you not attend your mother's funeral?' she
asked, trembling, and conscious that he would discover
her fears.

`The dead must bury their dead,' he replied; `I have
brought my mother to her grave;—and what can a son
do more? This purse, however, will serve to lay her in
the earth, and leave something for the old hag. Whither
is she gone?' interrupted he, casting a glance round
the room in search of the old woman. `Nay, then, we
must speedily to horse. I know her of old.'

Thus saying, he threw the purse upon the table,
and without trusting himself to look again towards the
dead, conducted Ellen out of the cottage. The first
rays of the sun at that moment gilded the tallest trees of
the forest.

On looking towards the spot where the horses had
stood, Ellen thought that Providence, in answer to her
prayers, had taken care for her deliverance. They
were no longer there, a circumstance easily accounted for,
by the haste with which the bridles had been thrown
over the branch of the tree. Her companion, however,
imputed it to another cause.

`The hag! She would sell her own flesh and blood
by weight and measure,' he muttered to himself. `This
is some plot of hers, I know well.'

He put his hand to his forehead, for a moment's space,


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seeming to reflect on the course most advisable to be
pursued. Ellen, perhaps unwisely, interposed.

`Would it not be well to return?' she asked, timidly.
`There is now no hope of escaping; but I might yet
reach home undiscovered.'

`Return!' repeated her guide, with a look and smile
from which she turned away her face. `Have you
forgotten your father and his misfortunes? No, no,
sweet Ellen; it is too late for such thoughts as these.'

He took her hand, and led her towards the forest, in
the rear of the cottage. She would fain have resisted;
but they were all alone, and the attempt must have been
both fruitless and dangerous. She therefore trod with him
a path, so devious, so faintly traced, and so overgrown
with bushes and young trees, that only a most accurate
acquaintance in his early days could have enabled her
guide to retain it. To him, however, it seemed so perfectly
familiar, that he was not once compelled to pause,
though the numerous windings soon deprived Ellen of
all knowledge of the situation of the cottage. They
descended a steep hill, and proceeding parallel to the
river—as Ellen judged by its rushing sound—at length
found themselves at what proved to be the termination
of their walk.

Ellen now recollected a remark of Edward Walcott's,
respecting the wild and rude scenery, through which the
river here kept its way; and, in less agitating circumstances,
her pleasure and admiration would have been
great. They stood beneath a precipice, so high that
the loftiest pine tops (and many of them seemed to soar
to Heaven) scarcely surmounted it. This line of rock
has a considerable extent, at unequal heights and with
many interruptions, along the course of the river, and it
seems probable, that, at some former period, it was the


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boundary of the waters, though they are now confined
within far less ambitious limits. The inferior portion
of the crag, beneath which Ellen and her guide were
standing, varies so far from the perpendicular as not to
be inaccessible by a careful footstep; but only one person
has been known to attempt the ascent of the superior
half, and only one the descent, yet steep as is the
height, trees and bushes of various kinds have clung to
the rock, wherever their roots could gain the slightest
hold,—thus seeming to prefer the scanty and difficult
nourishment of the cliff, to a more luxurious life in the
rich interval that extends from its base to the river.
But, whether or no these hardy vegetables have voluntarily
chosen their rude resting place, the cliff is indebted
to them for much of the beauty that tempers its
sublimity. When the eye is pained and wearied by the
bold nakedness of the rock, it rests with pleasure on the
cheerful foliage of the birch, or upon the darker green
of the funereal fire. Just at the termination of the accessible
portion of the crag, these trees are so numerous,
and their foliage so dense, that they completely shroud
from view a considerable excavation, formed, probably,
hundreds of years since, by the fall of a portion of the
rock. The detached fragment still lies at a little
distance from the base, grey and moss-grown, but corresponding,
in its general outline, to the cavity from
which it was rent.

But the most singular and beautiful object in all this
scene, is a tiny fount of chrystal water, that gushes forth
from the high, smooth forehead of the cliff. Its perpendicular
descent is of many feet; after which it finds its
way, with a sweet, diminutive murmur, to the level


Page 117

It is not easy to conceive, whence the barren rock
procures even the small supply of water, that is necessary
to the existence of this stream; it is as unaccountable,
as the gush of gentle feeling which sometimes proceeds
from the hardest heart; but there it continues to flow
and fall, undiminished and unincreased. The stream is
so slender, that the gentlest breeze suffices to disturb
its descent, and to scatter its pure sweet waters over the
face of the cliff. But, in that deep forest, there is seldom
a breath of wind: so that, plashing continually upen
one spot, the fount has worn its own little channel of
white sand, by which it finds its way to the river. Alas,
that the Naiades have lost their old authority; for what
a Deity of tiny loveliness must once have presided

Ellen's companion paused not to gaze either upon
the loveliness or the sublimity of this scene, but assisting
her where it was requisite, began the steep and
difficult ascent of the lower part of the cliff. The
maiden's ingenuity in vain endeavoured to assign reasons
for this movement; but when they reached the
tuft of trees, which, as has been noticed, grew at the
ultimate point where mortal footstep might safely tread,
she perceived through their thick branches the recess
in the rock. Here they entered; and her guide pointed
to a mossy seat, in the formation of which, to judge
from its regularity, art had probably a share.

`Here you may remain in safety,' he observed, `till I
obtain the means of proceeding, In this spot you need
fear no intruder; but it will be dangerous to venture
beyond its bounds.'

The meaning glance that accompanied these words,
intimated to poor Ellen, that, in warning her against
danger, he alluded to the vengeance with which he would


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visit any attempt to escape. To leave her thus alone,
trusting to the influence of such a threat, was a bold,
yet a necessary and by no means a hopeless measure.
On Ellen, it produced the desired effect; and she sat
in the cave as motionless, for a time, as if she had herself
been a part of the rock. In other circumstances,
this shady recess would have been a delightful retreat,
during the sultry warmth of a summer's day. The dewy
coolness of the rock kept the air always fresh, and the
sunbeams never thrust themselves so as to dissipate the
mellow twilight through the green trees with which the
chamber was curtained. Ellen's sleeplessness and agitation,
for many preceding hours, had perhaps deadened
her feelings; for she now felt a sort of indifference
creeping upon her, an inability to realize the evils of her
situation, at the same time that she was perfectly aware
of them all. This torpor of mind increased, till her eyelids
began to grow heavy, and the cave and trees to
swim before her sight. In a few moments more, she
would probably have been in dreamless slumber; but,
rousing herself by a strong effort, she looked round the
narrow limits of the cave, in search of objects to excite
her worn-out mind.

She now perceived, wherever the smooth rock afforded
place for them, the initials, or the full length names,
of former visitants of the cave. What wanderer on
mountain-tops, or in deep solitudes, has not felt the influence
of these records of humanity, telling him, when
such a conviction is soothing to his heart, that he is not
alone in the world? It was singular, that, when her
own mysterious situation had almost lost its power to
engage her thoughts, Ellen perused these barren memorials
with a certain degree of interest. She went on
repeating them aloud, and starting at the sound of her


Page 119
own voice, till at length, as one name passed through
her lips, she paused, and then, leaning her forehead
against the letters, burst into tears. It was the name
of Edward Walcott; and it struck upon her heart,
arousing her to a full sense of her present misfortunes
and dangers, and, more painful still, of her past happiness.
Her tears had, however, a soothing, and at the
same time a strengthening effect upon her mind; for,
when their gush was over, she raised her head and began
to meditate on the means of escape. She wondered at
the species of fascination that had kept her, as if chained
to the rock, so long, when there was, in reality, nothing
to bar her path-way. She determined, late as it was,
to attempt her own deliverance; and for that purpose
began slowly and cautiously to emerge from the cave.

Peeping out from among the trees, she looked and
listened with most painful anxiety, to discover if any
living thing were in that seeming solitude, or if any
sound disturbed the heavy stillness. But she saw only
nature, in her wildest forms, and heard only the plash
and murmur (almost inaudible, because continual) of
the little waterfall, and the quick, short throbbing of her
own heart, against which she pressed her hand, as if to
hush it. Gathering courage, therefore, she began to
descend; and, starting often at the loose stones that
even her light footstep displaced and sent rattling down,
she at length reached the base of the crag in safety.
She then made a few steps in the direction, as nearly
as she could judge, by which she arrived at the spot;
but paused, with a sudden revulsion of the blood to her
heart, as her guide emerged from behind a projecting
part of the rock. He approached her deliberately, an
ironical smile writhing his features into a most disagreeable
expression, while in his eyes there was something


Page 120
that seemed a wild, fierce joy. By a species of sophistry
of which oppressors often make use, he had brought
himself to believe that he was now the injured one, and
that Ellen, by her distrust of him, had fairly subjected
herself to whatever evil it consisted with his will and
power to inflict upon her. Her only restraining influence
over him, the consciousness in his own mind that
he possessed her confidence, was now done away.
Ellen, as well as her enemy, felt that this was the case.
She knew not what to dread; but she was well aware
that danger was at hand, and that, in the deep wilderness,
there was none to help her, except that Being,
with whose inscrutable purposes it might consist, to
allow the wicked to triumph for a season, and the innocent
to be brought low.

`Are you so soon weary of this quiet retreat?' demanded
her guide, continuing to wear the same sneering
smile. `Or has your anxiety for your father induced
you to set forth alone, in quest of the afflicted old

`Oh, if I were but with him!' exclaimed Ellen. `But
this place is lonely and fearful, and I cannot endure to
remain here.'

`Lonely, is it, sweet Ellen?' he rejoined, `am I not
with you? Yes, it is lonely—lonely as guilt could wish.
Cry aloud, Ellen, and spare not. Shriek, and see if
there be any among these rocks and woods to hearken
to you!'

`There is—there is one,' exclaimed Ellen, shuddering
and affrighted at the fearful meaning of his countenance.
`He is here—He is there.' And she pointed
to heaven.

`It may be so, dearest,' he replied. `But if there be
an ear that hears, and an eye that sees all the evil of the


Page 121
earth, yet the arm is slow to avenge. Else why do I
stand before you, a living man?'

`His vengeance may be delayed for a time, but not
forever,' she answered, gathering a desperate courage
from the extremity of her fear.

`You say true, lovely Ellen; and I have done enough,
ere now, to insure its heaviest weight. There is a pass,
when evil deeds can add nothing to guilt, nor good ones
take anything from it.'

`Think of your mother,—of her sorrow through life,
and perhaps even after death,' Ellen began to say. But
as she spoke these words, the expression of his face
was changed, becoming suddenly so dark and fiend-like,
that she clasped her hands and fell on her knees before

`I have thought of my mother,' he replied, speaking
very low, and putting his face close to hers. `I remember
the neglect—the wrong—the lingering and miserable
death, that she received at my hands. By what
claim can either man or woman henceforth expect mercy
from me? If God will help you, be it so; but by
those words you have turned my heart to stone.'

At this period of their conversation, when Ellen's
peril seemed most imminent, the attention of both was
attracted by a fragment of rock, which, falling from the
summit of the crag, struck very near them. Ellen
started from her knees, and, with her false guide, gazed
eagerly upward; he in the fear of interruption, she in the
hope of deliverance.