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Page 235


“L'habitude de vivre ensemble fit naître les plus doux sentimens
qui soient connus des hommes.”


Herbert's sleep was troubled with fragments
and startling combinations of his waking thoughts.
At one moment he was at Westbrook, making love
to Bessie, who seemed to be deaf to him, and intently
reading a letter in Jasper Meredith's hand;
while Helen Ruthven stood behind her, beckoning
to Herbert with her most seductive smile, which
he fancied he was not to be deluded by. Suddenly
the scene changed—he had a rope round his
neck, and was mounting a scaffold, surrounded
by a crowd, where he saw Washington, Eliot, his
father, mother, and Isabella—all unconcerned spectators.
Then, as is often the case, a real sound
shaped the unreal vision. He witnessed his own
funeral obsequies, and heard his father reading the
burial service over him. By degrees, sleep loosened
the chain that bound his fancy, and the actual
sounds became distinct. He awoke: a candle was
burning on the table, and he heard his father
in an adjoining apartment, to which it had always
been his habit to retire for his evening devotions.
He heard him repeat the formula prescribed


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by the church, and then his voice, tremulous
with the feeling that gushed from his heart,
broke forth in an extempore appeal to Him who
holds all hearts in the hollow of his hand. He
prayed him to visit with his grace his wandering
son; and to incline him to turn away from feeding
on husks with swine, and bring him home to his
father's house—to his duty—to his God. “If it
please thee,” he said, “humble thy servant in any
other form—send poverty, sickness, desertion, but
restore my only and well-beloved boy; wipe out
the stain of rebellion from my name. If this may
not be, if still thy servant must go sorrowing for
the departed glory of his house, keep him steadfast
in duty, so that he swerve not, even for his son,
his only son.”

The prayer finished, his door was opened, and
he saw his father enter without daring himself to
move. Mr. Linwood looked at the candle, glanced
his eye around the room, and then sat down at
the table, saying, as if in explanation, “Belle has
been here.” He covered his face with both his
hands, and murmured in a broken voice, “Oh,
Herbert, was it to store up these bitter hours that
I watched over your childhood—that I came every
night here, when you were sleeping, to kiss you
and pray over your pillow?—what fools we are!
we knit the love of our children with our very
heart-strings—we tend on them—we pamper them


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—we blend our lives with theirs, and then we are

“Never, never for one moment!” cried Herbert,
who with one spring was at his father's feet. Mr.
Linwood started from him, and then, obeying the
impulse of nature, he received his son's embrace,
and they wept in one another's arms.

The door softly opened. Isabella appeared, and
her face irradiating with most joyful surprise,
she called, “Mamma, mamma; here, in Herbert's
room!” In another instant, Herbert had folded his
mother and sister to his bosom; and Mr. Linwood
was beginning to recover his self-possession, and to
feel as if he had been betrayed into the surrender
of a post. He walked up and down the room, then
suddenly stopping and laying his hand on Herbert's
shoulder, and surveying him from head to
foot, “I know not, but I fear,” he said, “what
this disguise may mean—tell me, in one word, do
you return penitent?”

“I return grieving that I ever offended you, my
dear father, and venturing life and honour to see
you—to hear you say that you forgive me.”

“Herbert, my son, you know,” replied Mr. Linwood,
his voice faltering with the tenderness against
which he struggled, “that my door and my heart
have always been open to you, provided—”

“Oh, no provideds, papa! Herbert begs your
forgiveness—this is enough.”


Page 238

“I wish, sir, you would think it was enough,”
sobbed Mrs. Linwood.

“You must think so, papa; it is the sin and
misery of these unhappy times that divides you.
Give to the winds your political differences, and
leave the war to the camp and the field. Herbert
has always loved and honoured you.”

Mr. Linwood felt as if they were dragging him
over a precipice, and he resisted with all his might.
“A pretty way he has taken to show it!” he said,
“let him declare he has abandoned the rebels and
traitors, and their cause, and I will believe it.”

Herbert was silent.

“My dear father,” said Isabella.

“Nay, Isabella, do not `dear father' me. I
will not be coaxed out of my right reason. If you
can tell me that your brother abandons and abjures
the miscreants, speak—if not, be silent.”

“If it were true that he did abandon them, he
would be no son of yours, no brother of mine. If
he were thus restored to us, who could restore him
to himself? where could he hide him from himself?
Your own soul would spurn a renegado!—think
better of him—think better of his friends—they
are not all miscreants. There are many noble,

“What? what, Isabella?”

“As deluded as he is.”

“A wisely-finished sentence, child. But you
need not undertake to teach me what they are. I


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know them—a set of paltry schismatics—pet
tifogging attorneys—schoolmasters—mechanics—
half-starved, half-bred, ragged sons of Belial; banded
together, and led on by that quack Catiline, that
despot-in-chief, Washington. `No son of mine if
he abjures them!' I swear to you, Herbert, that
on these terms alone will I ever again receive you
as my son.” Again he paused, and after some reflection,
added, “You have an alternative if you
do not choose to avail yourself of Sir Henry's
standing proclamation, and come in and receive
your pardon as a deserter—you may join the corps
of Reformees. This opportunity now lost, is lost
for ever. Is my forgiveness worth the price I have
fixed? speak, Herbert.”

“Have I not proved how inexpressibly dear it is
to me?”

“No faltering, young man! speak to the point.”

“Oh, my dear, dear son,” said his mother, “if
you but knew how much we have all suffered for
you, and how happy you can now make us, if you
only will, you would not hesitate, even if the rebel
cause were a good one: you are but as one man to
that, and to us you are all the world.”

This argumentum ad hominem (the only argument
of weak minds) clouded Herbert's perception.
It was a moment of the most painful vacillation;
the forgiveness of his father, the ministering,
indulgent love of his mother, the presence of


Page 240
his sister, the soft endearments of home, and all its
dear familiar objects, solicited him. He had once
forsaken them, but then he was incited by the
immeasurable expectation of unrebuked youth,
thoughts of high emprise, romantic deeds, and
strange incidents; but his experience, with few and
slight exceptions, had been a tissue of dangers
without the opportunity of brilliant exploits; of
fatigue without reward; and of rough and scanty
fare, which, however well it may tell in the past
life of a hero, has no romantic charm in its actual
details. He continued silent. His father perceived,
or at least hoped, that he wavered.

“Speak,” he said, in a voice of earnest entreaty,
“speak, Herbert—my dear son, for God's sake,

“It is right above all things to desire his forgiveness,”
thought Herbert, “and it is plain there is but
one way of getting it. I am in a diabolical hobble—
if I succeed in getting back to camp, what am I to
expect? Imprudence is crime with our general;
and after all, what good have I done the cause?—
and yet—”

“Herbert,” exclaimed Isabella, and her voice
thrilled through his soul, “is it possible you waver?”

He started as if he were electrified: his eye met
hers, and the evil spirits of doubt and irresolution
were overcome.

“Heaven forgive me!” he said, “I waver no


Page 241

“Then, by all that is holy,” exclaimed Mr. Linwood,
flushed with disappointment and rage, “you
shall reap as you sow; it shall never be said that
I sheltered a rebel, though that rebel be my son.”
He rang the bell violently; “Justice shall have its
course—why does not Jupe come!—you too to
prove false, Isabella! I might have known it when
I saw you drinking in the vapouring of that fellow
Lee to-day;” again he rang the bell: “you may
all desert me, but I'll be true so long as my pulse

No one replied to him. Mrs. Linwood, sustained
by Herbert's encircling arm, wept aloud. Isabella
knew the tide of her father's passion would have
its ebb as well as flow; she believed the servants
were in bed, and that before he could obtain a messenger
to communicate with the proper authority,
which she perceived to be his present intention, his
Brutus resolution would fail. She was however
startled by hearing voices in the lower entry, and
immediately Rose burst open the door, crying,
“Fly, Mr. Herbert—they are after you!”

The words operated on Mr. Linwood like a
gust of wind on a superincumbent cloud of smoke.
His angry emotions passed off, and nature flamed
up bright and irresistible. Every thought, every
feeling but for Herbert's escape and safety, vanished.
“This way, my son,” he cried; “through
your mother's room—down the back stairs, and out
the side gate.—God help you!” He closed the


Page 242
door after Herbert, locked it, and put the key in
his pocket. Isabella advanced into the entry to
meet her brother's pursuers, and procure a delay of
a few moments on what pretext she could. She
was met by two men and an officer, sent by Colonel
Robertson, the commandant. “Your pardon,
Miss Linwood,” said the officer, pushing by her
into the room where her father awaited him.

“How very rude!” exclaimed Mrs. Linwood,
for once in her life speaking first and independently
in her husband's presence; “how very rude, sir,
to come up stairs into our bedrooms without permission.”
The officer smiled at this pretended deference
to forms at the moment the poor mother
was pale as death, and shivering with terror. “I
beg your pardon, madam, and yours, Mr. Linwood
—this is the last house in the city in which I
should willingly have performed this duty; but you,
sir, are aware, that in these times our very best
and most honoured friends are sometimes involved
with our foes.”

“No apologies, sir, there's no use in them—you
are in search of Mr. Herbert Linwood—proceed
—my house is subject to your pleasure.”

The officer was reiterating his apologies, when
a cry from the side entrance to the yard announced
that the fugitive was taken. Mr. Linwood sunk
into his chair; but instantly rallying, he asked
whither his son was to be conducted.

“I am sorry to say, sir, that I am directed to
lodge him in the Provost.”


Page 243

“In Cunningham's hands! — the Lord have
mercy on him, then!”

The officer assured him the young man should
have whatever alleviation it was in his power to
afford him, until Sir Henry's further pleasure should
be known. He then withdrew, and left Mr. Linwood
exhausted by a rapid succession of jarring

Isabella retired with her mother, and succeeded
in lulling her into a tranquillity which she herself
was far enough from attaining.

The person whom, as it may be remembered,
Linwood met in passing down the lane to his
father's house, was an emissary of Robertson, who
had been sent on a scout for Captain Lee's attendant,
and who immediately reported to the commandant
his suspicions. He, anxious, if possible,
not to offend the elder Linwood, had stationed men
in the lane and in Broad-street, to watch for the
young man's egress. They waited till ten in the
evening, and then found it expedient to proceed
to the direct measures which ended in Herbert's