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heard a gentle tap at the outer door, and listening attentively, he heard it repeated more loudly. Arthur was the only person in the house at the moment, therefore rising hastily, he went out and unfastened the door, but could see no one. He asked who was there, and received no answer; he repeated his question, when he distinctly heard loud, hysterical sobs, and at the same time a female figure advanced from behind some shrubs and staggered towards him. Suddenly the sobs ceased, and she would have fallen to the ground, had not Arthur caught her in his arms and carried her into the house ; the light fell full on her face, and in the sunken cheeks, sallow complexion, and pinched features, Arthur traced the wreck of his once beautiful wife.
His frame shook with powerful emotion at the discovery; but his first impulse was, to bless God that the lost one was restored, and had left her sinful course. With the gentlest tenderness he administered restoratives to her, and in a few minutes she recovered her consciousness.
She then threw herself on her knees before Arthur, and refused to rise till she had asked his pardon for her boldness in daring to contaminate his dwelling by her presence. She told him how she had lost the affections of Ellis, who had at length added insult to indifference, and how she had left his house by stealth, disdaining to bring away any thing belonging to him, and had begged her way to her native village. She told him that her first intention had been to go to her father's, but, on passing the vicarage, an irresistible impulse had urged her to seek admittance. Her only wish now was, to lay her weary
head beneath her father's roof, and having received his forgiveness, and that of her injured husband, to quit this world where she had so deeply sinned.
Arthur listened with breathless attention to her recital which was frequently interrupted by tears and sighs, and at its conclusion, he knelt beside her and prayed fervently that God would forgive her as he did, and then throwing his arms around her he wept aloud.
For some seconds the Christian husband and
penitent wife remained locked in a silent embrace. Arthur was the first to speak, and to conjure Hannah to seek the rest she so much needed; but Hannah declared she could not sleep till she had seen her father.
Arthur's was then the painful task to inform her of the old man's death, which he did in the most soothing and careful manner.
He was surprised at the appearance of calmness with which she received the intelligence. One fearful start she gave,-then all was still. She made no comment on it, but expressed a desire to retire to rest. Every comfort was provided for her, and she was left alone for the night. The moment she found herself undisturbed by the living, the dead arose to torture her. The idea that she had murdered her father, the father of her fondest love-the father who had gloried in her, assailed her brain in the darkest shapes. She felt that her reason was tottering under the horrible thought ; her blood curdled in her veins, an icy weight impeded her respiration,the confinement of the room grew intolerable,
and, at length, opening a window near the ground, she dropped from it and fled wildly along the country.
Her fearful frenzy increased with every moment, and her rapid course flagged not till she reached the edge of the river. She then paused abruptly, and glared around her with the terrible look of insanity.
The wind had gone down, and the clear, frosty moon shone out in the heavens; the trees glittered in their white dresses, and even the birds. of night were still. All nature seemed to pause around her, and there she stood, the wretched maniac,-once so innocent, -so beautiful,-so fondly cherished. Suddenly she uttered a shriek, so loud and piercing that the hills rang with the echo, and the terrified birds screamed in chorus, and even the wind, awakened by it, swept fitfully over the snow-wreaths, and the moon hid her bright face behind a dark cloud ; and there was a plunge in the calm waters; and then again all was still; and the moon looked out-
and the birds went to roost—and the guilty one was gone to her long home.
Arthur had frequently returned to the door of the chamber containing one still dear to him, and as he heard no sound, he trusted that sleep had lulled her sorrows to forgetfulness. Morning came, and with it a rapid thaw. The sun shone out warmly—the birds rejoiced in songs at the genial change, and the little streamlets, unlocked from their long imprisonment, murmured gently in their several courses. After waiting till a late hour in the breakfast-room for Hannah, Travers was about to steal softly to her door, when his attention was arrested by seeing a concourse of people approaching the vicarage bearing something among them. They came close to the gate, and paused for a moment as if consulting together. A dreadful thought or presentiment flashed across Arthur's soul-he flew to the spot, and there, with the long, sunny hair, dabbled in mud, and entangled with weeds, the face swoln and discoloured, he