Old London Bridge, A Romance of the Sixteenth Century
Rodwell, G Herbert
THERE are few people, be they never so wise, who have not one time or another suffered their better sense to be led captive for awhile, by the recollections of a dream, and many a day has been rendered one of sadness or of joy, by the waking mind still clinging to the vision of the previous night. This was very powerfully exemplified in the case of the lovely Anne. She smiled at her own folly, as she called it, for thinking a second time of the nonsense of a dream; but strange to say, the more she endeavoured to banish the recollection from her mind, the more tenaciously would her thoughts hold on to the forbidden theme. It was very odd, but it was very true, that on the morrow, while all else were recounting some portions of their sleeping reveries, Anne alone was silent; perhaps she believed her own wild fancy of the midnight hour too absurd to be related; be that as it might, she certainly did not once touch upon the subject.
" Well," said Flora, "people may talk as they like about dreams, but I've known many and many a one come true; and I hope mine may; and then Master Hewet will be Lord Mayor of London town, and I shall see William, there, as gay as a robin red breast, with scarlet coat and glittering badge, lording it over the twenty rowers of the golden barge."
"And if ever I be Lord Mayor," replied Hewet, "William shall assuredly be my head bargeman, and shoot me - don't start, my Alyce dear, but shoot me he shall, not through the brain, but through the Bridge, just to prove he has not forgotten his old trade."
The merchant laughed heartily at his own miserable attempt at a joke, and all present for the moment seemed happy. No, there were two who although they compelled themselves to smile, did it so badly that it had better been left undone; these were Anne and Osborne. Flora, who was in a rather teazing humour, observing Edward's melancholy look, said- " Why, Master Edward, you really seem still in a dream; if so, let us hope it is ' the dream of Love, that sweetest dream, that ever haunts the midnight hour !"
Before half a dozen words had been pronounced, poor Osborne's face was all on fire. Why, those were the very words he had been repeating to himself half the live-long night; and words, too, that he believed he had himself written. Had he done as many a would-be poet has done before, taken another's thoughts, while thinking them his own ?
Flora saw the confusion she had caused in Edward's mind, and cruelly pursued her sudden mischievous fancy-" Yes," she said, " what a beautiful old song that is; it's very old, but that makes it not less to be
|admired." Every time she used the word old, a new blush came upon Edward's face. The Bridge-shooter, too, made horrible contortions by winking, and other little secret hints to Flora, to desist, but all to no purpose; on she would go-" I'll repeat the whole of it, although I have not heard it for many a year." Saying this, and not waiting for consent from any one, she went through the entire of Edward's first poetical effusion.|
As she came to the last line, he could bear it no longer, so starting up left the room; he hurried to his own; he seized his writing-case, and nearly broke the lock in his anxiety to open it. He became more and more perplexed, for there he found his treasure safe in its hiding-place- " Well," he said, is it possible that my memory should be so good as to retain another's words, and yet so bad as to forget they were another's ? It cannot be; and yet she repeated every word, every syllable as I have set it down here on this paper now before me." Again locking the case, he once more descended to the lower room, determined to take the first opportunity of solving the mystery, by speaking openly upon the subject when he should find Flora alone.
It had been settled on the previous night, that the merchant and the Bridge-shooter should return to London in the morning, leaving Edward at the cottage, to attend upon his former friend, the Cripple, who for certain reasons was to be kept out of sight, until matters should be more matured.
Osborne was delighted with the arrangement, for as yet he had not been made acquainted with all the strange causes that had brought the Cripple once more to England, and had placed him beneath the roof of him the Cripple had formerly held in detestation.
As the merchant intended to go by water, it was settled that Anne should accompany her father as far as the Ferry, being anxious to hear tidings of her young suffering friend, for as yet she knew not of Lillia's death.
As Osborne was to go with them, in order to escort her home again, the Cripple, who was as anxious to tell Edward all that had befallen him and his adored Eoline, as Edward was to hear the tale, determined to stroll along with them.
"Wonders will never cease, Master Edward," said the Cripple, " never, never! You must have been strangely surprised to have found the Cripple of the Bridge-gate-tower a guest of Master Hewet-were you not"
" That I was surprised to see you at the Cottage of the Heath, I cannot deny," replied young Osborne; "but that you should one day become the merchant's guest, I never expected would surprise me; for I knew his goodness and your good sense, and that time would remove whatever prejudices you had unjustly-for I was sure it would prove unjust-built up in your mind against him: but what first brought about the change ?"
" An angel," replied the Cripple, " a child of earth, but with a mind of heaven-Eoline."
" As you yourself have broached the subject," said Osborne; "tell me, Willy, what was your first cause of hatred to the merchant ?"
"This misshapen trunk," replied the Cripple, looking down upon his own deformity; " this, and a father's and a mother's death. I believed I owed all three to him; and all I panted for was the revenge of placing his head upon the Bridge-gate-tower. Often used I to picture to myself, when goaded to madness by the insult and mockery of the crowd, how I would one day laugh, as I danced around the withering head of him who had caused my wrongs. I was then a monster in mind as well as form, until the ray of Heaven shed its softening light upon my darkened soul, brought to it by the gentlest heart that ever beat within a mortal's breast. The moment I found a thing to love me, I was another being. What cared I for other's beauties! I was beloved-what else would I be ? From that moment one third of my hatred of Master Hewet found its grave. My deformities I had forgiven, for in spite of them I was beloved."
" But what mean you, Willy," enquired Osborne, " by laying to the merchant's charge your difference in form to other men ?"
" It were a sad tale, and a long, did I tell you all; but, to the end at once, and then you'll quickly feel why I should have held the merchant in such hate. The fiends who blasphemously called themselves the preachers of Christ's mercies, condemned my father to the flames, because his conscience saw not with eyes like theirs: he had read-had felt that God asked for thoughts, not words; that God demanded the prostration of our inward souls, not the mere bending of our outward bodies; that he was to be propitiated by penitence before himself, not by the intercession of some painted doll. For thoughts like these, he was condemned-for words like these he suffered. I see in your looks the question you would ask-I'll answer it unasked. I was ever taught by the poor demented being I called my mother, that merchant Hewet was the sole cause of our undoing. I know the error now, but of that anon; you cannot guess why I should lay at the merchant's door the cause of my deformity ? I'll tell you, why I did so. It was by those nearest to me believed, that from information given by William Hewet, then a mere boy, that my father was condemned for Heresy. Ha, ha ! ho, ho ! he he !" and the old malignant chuckling laugh, for once was again heard; for once again his thoughts were carried back to the time, when his only solace lay in the contempt with which he tried to laugh at all his more favoured fellow creatures. "Heresy, heresy !" and he repeated the word still more bitterly; " know you the meaning of the word, young Master Edward ? if not, I'll tell you. HERESY is in the not thinking as those think who are in power; gain but the power to punish, and then all are heretics who think not like yourself. Oh! powpowepower! how wondrous religious does it make us in our own conceit! Now mark the difference a few years have made; my father was deemed to be a child of Satan, and to Satan's fiery home was sent, as they believed, through fire; had he still lived he had now been almost worshiped as a saint, for he was truly good. All the arts that artful priests could bring to bear upon his health, his mind, his human feelings, were employed to bend him to their will; but all in vain: long was he kept in prison-starved-then tempted by all the promised luxuries that could tempt a starving man; but still his firmness failed him not.
|. The last hope to subdue him was my mother; they had not long been married; she loved my father as her life; his life was naught to him, compared to the love he felt for her; but his conviction in regard to the great TRUTH, was mightier than all his worldly hopes. Now came the last, the fatal scene. It was enacted in that place of fire, of torture, and of blood, Smithfield. There stood the pulpit, from which naught but charity and peace to all mankind should ever flow, but now erected to sanction the tortures of earthly flames, and to send to flames eternal, were it in the power of man to do so, the upright soul of one, who merely differed in outward form of worship of that God, whom he and his accusers both knelt before, and called all-merciful. When all else had failed to shake my poor father, in this dreadful moment of earthly trial, what did the miscalled holy fiends do then ? they brought his wife, my mother soon to be, the idol of his heart, the bliss or anguish of his every thought -they brought her to him while fastened to the stake- they forced her on her knees to pray of him to save his life, by renouncing, what they called his damning heresy; and when this last, this horrid attempt to subdue affrighted nature, failed, they placed a burning brand within her grasp, and then by force compelled the wife to fire the fatal pile, that was to consume in tortures her heart's adored-her husband. I have been told that at the first trial, the very faggots seemed, as by miracle, to refuse to burn; but the monster who had the welcome work in charge, soon subdued their obstinacy, by guiding her hand to those substances the most inflammable; the smoke ascended; the flames at last burst forth ; and amidst the cries of agony of a dying father, and the shrieks of a mother maddened by her anguish, I was untimely born !"|
As the poor Cripple had advanced more and more in his dreadful narrative, slower had become his pace; Edward and he were now alone, - and as he uttered the last words, he buried his head upon Osborne's shoulder and wept aloud.
After he had somewhat recovered, he looked down upon his misshapen limbs, then turning to Edward, said-" Could I look upon these deformities, without remembering the dreadful cause that brought such a monster upon earth. I had always been led to believe that the merchant had been the denouncer of my father, and by that denunciation the digger of a mother's early grave. Every insult that an unfeeling world heaped upon me, engendered in my heart another drop of bitter gall, to poison my mind against Master Hewet. But I was wrong, as all are who foster hate. The merchant had never wronged me or mine ; this was by chance made clear to me by the Abbess of St. Clair."
At the mention of the Abbess, Edward stopped the Cripple in his narration, to ask concerning her fate; for strange to say, so full had his mind been upon other subjects, more near to his own heart, and so little had been the opportunities, as yet, of entering fully into the strange cause of the Cripple's sudden and unexpected appearance in England,- that hitherto her name had not been mentioned; but now it led to all that Osborne had still to learn.
It appeared that when Spikely had been found amongst the dead, and had been, as the reader is aware, taken to the dwelling of the Cripple, he had, when he believed himself upon the point of death, made a confession
|to the Abbess, of things of great importance to Eoline: amongst others he divulged, but this he did more out of hate towards Horton, than from a wish to serve the wronged, that Horton had stolen the documents that alone could prove the rights of Eoline, whatever they might be.|
"And, think of our surprise," said the Cripple, "to discover, concealed in the very mattress upon which we had conveyed Eoline to the ship, years ago, the treasure which the Abbess alone knew the value of, and which she had believed was for ever lost. Who the wounded soldier was, he never would disclose, or how he came to the knowledge which was of such worth to us. The instant he had recovered sufficiently to leave his couch, he departed from our house, and since that time we never heard more concerning him."
" Then it is to prosecute Eoline's claim," enquired Edward, " that has brought you here ? but who and what is she then ? She was always regarded as a poor orphan, kept at the convent out of charity."
Before the Cripple could reply, they heard a great shouting, from a crowd assembled in the little market-place, for they had now entered the town.
"What is the matter?" enquired the merchant, of one of the bystanders.
" Oh, no great matter," replied the man ; "only Master Blaze, the smith, going to sell a beggar; that is, if such a fool can be found as to buy such a lump of useless lumber; why, he's too old for anything but to eat." This the man said very loud, as if to depreciate the value of the article. " Why there is such a crowd, do ye see, is because this is the first beggar that has been sold since the passing of the act; there won't be many beggars soon, but there'll be lots of slaves." Then, in a whisper, he said, " I mean to buy him if I can."
"Then you want to prove there is one fool great enough to buy such a lump of useless lumber ?" said the Bridge-shooter.
Ah ! but I want him for a fancy of my own," replied the fellow.
" You see, my master, I'm a man of impulse-and so is my wife-that is, I mean, she's a woman of impulse; and when I'm cross, and when she's cross, we both feel that we must bang somebody. Now, if I bang her, she bangs me in return, and that's a game at which I'm sure to lose-or rather win-if getting more than I give, is to be called winning; so you see, my master, as the law allows us to beat our slaves if they won't work, and as I'm sure he can't work, it struck me that he'd be just the thing, as a sort of off-let to our ill humours, and will enable us to live as lovingly together as-as-but here he comes, and now for the fun."
As the fellow said this, he started off nearer to the spot where a sort of large table had been placed, and upon which the smith, the worthy Master Blaze, immediately mounted, attended by the same official whom Osborne had seen before in the smithy.
This official, or tip-staff, read in a loud voice, the new act-" Statute I, Edward VI., c. 3, laying great emphasis upon the words, which empowered the master to sell, bequeath, let out for hire, or give the service of their slaves to any person whomsoever, upon such conditions, and for
|. such term of years, as the said persons be adjudged to them for slaves, after the like sort and manner as they may do of any other of their moveable goods or chattels."|
The legal document having been read, Master Blaze began a long speech about the wonderful qualities of the human being he had to sell, "industry, willingness, and never-to-be-subdued strength," were but the faintest of the brilliant virtues possessed by the worthy creature he had to offer to their notice. On run his tongue, till the bystanders began to shew symptoms of weariness, and, in fact, called loudly to see the lot. When the bondsman did appear, a roar of laughter ensued, for instead of looking upon a perfect Hercules in strength-an Adonis in beauty, the crowd beheld the same poor old man whom Osborne had saved from ill- usage, by a large bribe to the smith.
Anne, who until that moment had not looked towards the disgusting scene, now raised her eyes, and suddenly clinging to her father's arm, exclaimed-" Gracious Heavens! 'tis the poor old man !-father, father, 'tis he !"
" Whom mean you, child ?" enquired the merchant, not comprehends ing why she could be thus suddenly moved.
"'Tis he, I say ! 'tis, 'tis he !" she repeated, still more agitated than before.
"I know him not," said the merchant.
"But I do," replied Anne, and then, as if half choking to find words to explain her meaning, she exclaimed-" 'tis the-the-old devil !" for that one instant her whole mind had flown back to her childhood's miseries. She saw before her the only being who had made those miseries endurable; she would have sprang forward to have embraced her never-to-be-forgotten saviour, had not the merchant held her back.
"Hush," whispered her father; be calm; all will be well yet." What a strange mixture of bewildring thought now flew through Anne's excited mind, as she gazed upon the poor old man, mounting upon the platform; the last few years had seemed to add an age to his former venerable mien. His locks were thinner, and whiter too; his steps were far more tottering than they were, when last she had seen him turning away, as she lay concealed in the Tyboum Tree, and had then heard his feeble voice calling upon Heaven to bless her. Not an incident of that miserable eventful portion of her life, but now stood before her mind in all the vivid colouring of a frightful dream.
The merchant himself could not resist a powerful emotion, that seemed to fly from his very heart into his throat. He, too, was in his mind looking upon a scene of years gone by; that scene of bliss, wherein he beheld his long-lost child, as by a miracle, restored to his longing arms. The very words he had then uttered, upon hearing that to this poor old man he had owed the restoration of his child, now flew to his tongue, and he once again exclaimed, " God's blessing light on him! he shall be happy if wealth can make him so !"
He whispered something into the ear of the Cripple, who, mixing with the crowd, approached very near to the platform, or rather heavy table For some time no bidding was offered, until the man to whom the mer
|chant and the Bridge-shooter had talked, appeared to think the proper moment had arrived to secure a bargain, offered a hundred pence.|
The Cripple, to Anne's delight, now offered double. The crowd, seeing the strange figure of the last bidder, began to jeer and laugh; and one, more impudent than the rest, repeated his words, and then his limping gait; upon which the Cripple placed his iron grasp behind the fellow's neck, and then, with resistless force, sent him sprawling at full length amongst the crowd at the other side of the open space about the platform. The laugh now was turned upon the discomfited jester, and then the sale proceeded.
There were but two bidders-the man with the dreaded wife, and the Cripple. The smith, seeing the determination of the Cripple to have the slave, gave a knowing wink to the first bidder, whom he knew right well; and this being taken as it was intended, up ran the biddings, until the man, beginning to be fearful that he might have misunderstood the smith's wink, and thus be saddled with a bargain the wrong way, at last refused to bid on, and the Cripple thus became the purchaser.
"For what have you bought me ?" said the old man, as the Cripple took hold of the iron chain, which was attached to the ring around his neck; for what have you bought me at this fearful price ? I'm old and weak-I can't work-I only wish to die."
" I've bought you for a lady's toy," replied the Cripple, smiling, "and for one who could, an' she would, make a thousand better men then you or I her slaves; and that you'll own, when you shall see your mistress."
The Bridge-shooter now advanced, bringing the merchant's purse.
The money being paid-the receipt lawfully drawn out-and then a handful of small coin being thrown amongst the crowd, a scramble ensued, in the midst of which the Cripple, unnoticed, bore away his purchase.
The old man eyed with astonishment the Cripple as he led him away by the chain, as men were then accustomed to lead about the dancing bears; but his astonishment was a thousand times augmented, when turning into a secluded spot, a lovely girl sprang forward, and throwing her arms around his neck, kissed him with all the affection of a child. He held her from him, as if bewildered; he gazed upon her lovely face; he looked around as asking a solution of this dream-like scene; but he soon felt that no dream was there, when Anne exclaimed-" Grandfather, grandfather, have you indeed forgotten little Anne, the child you loved-the child you saved at Tybourne Tree ? Look at me! I am older now: altered I must be, since you know me not-altered in all, but in the feelings of gratitude towards you, the poor child's only friend !"
" Great Heaven !" he exclaimed, " and have my prayers been heard; and do my old eyes once again gaze upon the poor wronged thing, that I so loved-so often prayed to see once more ?"
'Tis I, indeed, grandfather," replied Anne; " and here stands my real father, him of whom I used to tell such tales about, when I thought he was no father to poor Anne; and here is Edward, too: you remember Edward. Oh, yes, you must remember him; for don't you recollect, I used to tell you how kind he had always been to me ; and had saved my
|life; and-but you must remember him; and here is the Bridge-shooter, who taught Edward to swim, and thus to rescue me; and this is the - I mean Willy of the Bridge-gate-tower, that we used to talk about so much.|
The old man looked from one to the other, as Anne pronounced their names, but seemed completely lost; then fixing his eyes intently upon her face, began to examine every feature-" Yes, yes," he at last exclaimed, " it is, it is the poor wronged child, the little Anne that I so loved !"
It was soon explained to him why he had been purchased; and the ring was speedily removed from around his neck.
The merchant now told him that for years he had been endeavouring to discover the protector, the saviour of his darling child; and that having, as by a miracle, at last found him, he should no more want a protector, or a home.
He was now placed under the care of the Cripple, to convey him up to the Cottage on the Heath. The merchant's affairs compelling him to hasten to London, he, with the Bridge-shooter, hurried to the Ferry, as Anne, after taking a kind farewell of her newly-found old friend, placed her arm within that of Edward, and then, with a light step and a lighter heart, proceeded towards the little Inn.
The joy she felt, at the discovery she had just made, was, alas ! of short duration, for the closed Ferry-house told her too plainly the tale of death. The people about the place informed her, that from the moment Lillia had died, her father had not spoken a single word; that the village doctor had ordered no one to disturb him in his sorrow; and had further stated that so powerfully had the shock acted upon his mind and frame, that unless nature received some speedy relief, from a source beyond the power of earthly skill, the same grave would, in all probability, close upon both the father and the child.
Anne wept bitterly at hearing this sad account of her she had loved with a sister's love, the poor Lilly of the inn.-" Oh, Edward!" she exclaimed, as they began slowly to retrace their steps towards their home, "this world seems made up of disappointment and of sorrow; the few happy moments permitted to poor mortals, are even at their birth robbed of half their brightness, from the too well-grounded fear, that ere they can be fairly siezed on, the dark cloud that is ever rolling in their wake, will overtake, and with its shadow dim all their promised lustre. How happy the discovery of my old grandfather, as I used to call him in my days of suffering, had now made me, but for this sad, sad event !"
Edward would willingly have given the sweet girl by his side some little consolation, if he could, but so full of melancholy was his own mind, that all he said rendered her still more wretched.
"Let us not hurry home, Edward," said Anne, as they came to a road that turned to the upper part of the heath; "for I would not carry my sadness there; and after a time I shall be more myself: let us stroll through this lovely lane, and do you tell me something, anything, to change my present unhappy thoughts."
" I am but in a poor mood," replied Osborne, " to talk cheerfully, for my whole thoughts are bent upon a subject, that when you shall learn
|the end to which it leads, I think you will own that I have cause for being unhappy."|
"What cause can you have, Edward, that your sister knows not of?"
As she pronounced the word sister, Osborne involuntarily bit his lip, and then pointedly replied-" If a sister had ever been kind, ever devoted to a brother, should not that brother feel a bitter pang, if he found that fate had made it necessary that they should part for ever ?"
"What mean you, dear Edward ?" exclaimed Anne, his words filling her with surprise ; " surely, such a speech as that cannot apply to us !"
"Alas, too truly, does it !" continued young Osborne, turning aside, not daring to trust himself to gaze upon her, while he revealed his intention. "Anne," he said, "I have been long wishing to ask your advice-nay, not that-for when the mind is determined, it were useless to seek advice; but I have wished to tell you the plans I have formed for my future life. Do not be surprised at, nor for the present divulge to mortal, what I shall now tell you. You know the great interest your good father possesses abroad amongst the merchants there. I have discovered that ere long the manager of the English Factory at Antwerp, will leave that station, and 'tis my intention to solicit it, through your father's means. It will be a bitter parting when I leave all I ever loved, to seek my fortune in a foreign land; but, since my mind has taken a turn, unknown to all but myself, I feel it would prove, oh, far more bitter still, were I to remain! Do not ask me the cause of this determination, for I will never breathe the secret to mortal ear: do not attempt to persuade me to alter my fixed resolve; it would but add another pang, without even shaking my now firmly-rooted intention. When I do leave England-it will be for ever."
So unlooked for was the revelation she had heard, that for a mement, the astonished girl could not utter a word; and when she did she scarcely knew what she said.
"Oh, Edward, Edward !" at last she exclaimed; "were not your words too cruel for a jest, I would not, could not think you serious. Leave us ! your home ! your country ! and for ever !-impossible ! What says my father to this wild, this unfeeling scheme ?"
"As yet, he knows not of my wishes," replied Edward, "and the only reason I have for doubting the wisdom of my plan, is the disinclination, the almost dread I have of disclosing it to him. He will ask my reasons, and he is the last on earth that I would reveal them to."
" eveal them, then, to me !" ejaculated Anne, as she gazed imploringly into his eyes, as though she would through them read the secret of his inmost soul; "confide all your cares, all your sorrows to me; for I fear you have cares, and sorrows too, Edward, that we little dream of."
"Whatever they may be, Anne," he replied, "and I own I have troubles; but they are such, that none but he that suffers beneath their weight, can ever comprehend the pangs that they inflict"
"Then they are troubles of the mind," she replied, "the weightiest of all to bear; we have had a sad proof of this, but now."
"What mean you?" enquired Osborne.
"You know, dear Edward, that unlike you, I never keep a secret, at least from you, my brother." Osborne groaned. "The poor child Lillia, has died I fear-nay, I am certain, from having allowed her mind to eat away her life. Young and innocent as she was, she had deceived herself, and loved."
"And was rejected !" exclaimed Edward.
No," continued Anne; " but believing that she had betrayed her own affection, to one by whom her love was not returned, she drooped and died."
"Then she was too proud," said Edward, " to ask the truth, and sought the grave, rather than hazard a rejection. She was right; were I to love, I would suffer a thousand deaths, before I would- "
"Would what ?" said a very pretty voice close to his ear.
Both he and Anne started at the sound, and were then greeted by a laugh from Flora, who was looking at them, from one of the windows of the ruins of the chapel, near which they were now passing.
" I hope I've not disturbed you," said she, "for really so absorbed did you both appear with each other's conversation, that, had I not known that freezing Master Edward, and chilly Mistress Anne, had been chiselled out of stone, I should really have believed I had been gazing upon two living lovers-stone did I say ! I ought to have said ice, for ice is colder than stone; and yet that would have been a bad comparison, for ice will melt in time, and run away; therefore, ice and lovers are not so unlike as one would at first believe- are they ?"
Both Anne and her companion attempted to smile, but failed; so Flora thinking it a bad time to jest further, told them that Dame Alyce and the lovely Eoline were in the ruins. Osborne felt rather relieved at the interruption which had broken off a conversation that he began to fear would lead him to betray his secret to her, of all others he would have concealed it from. "No !" thought he, "where there is no hope there should be silence; if he had been so mad as to allow himself to look upon Anne with other than a brother's eyes, he deserved to pay the penalty his own folly had brought upon him; it was evident to him that Anne's feelings were very different to what his own had lately become, but independent of her lack of that warmest of all affections, love, there appeared to him a barrier quite as insurmountable as her coldness-that was his belief in the merchant's proud notions with regard to the future settlement of his daughter; so that the more he reflected upon the subject, the more necessary did it appear to him that he should not delay one unnecessary moment in flying from the enchantment in which he had suddenly found himself; an enchantment-that with hope, would have made this world to him an earthly paradise, but without that sweetest food of love, it was a spell of endless torture."
When they had joined Alyce and Eoline, they had much to say, first about the death of poor Lillia, the news of which shocked Alyce greatly; then concerning the strange discovery of the old man, to whom Anne had really owed her restoration to her home and adoring parents. Alyce hearing that by that time he would be at the cottage, hastened away with Eoline and Edward, leaving Anne and Flora to follow them. As they strolled home, Flora made several attempts to be sprightly, hoping
|by these means to cheer up her young mistress; but all her efforts proved unavailing, so that long before they reached the cottage, the two had become perfectly silent. Was Anne ruminating upon the uncertainty of human life, exemplified in the unlooked-for death of her sweet young friend Lillia; or were her thoughts suddenly turned into a rapid channel, which until that day she knew not had existence, and even now dreamt not from whence it flowed, or to what smooth or troubled sea it might carry her away ?|