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practice of associating. They lived up to the last cent With tremor and agitation, I threw my clothes about of their income, when, at the age of seventeen, they | me, descended to the door, and admitted him. We wedded their daughter to me. With habits contracted each drank off a glass of wine, he for the purpose of in such a sphere, Catharine found it infinitely difficult to guarding against the effects of his wetting, and myself, succumb to the common-sense-view of life and the world, 10 still the tumult of my mind, I then inquired the occawhich actuated her husband. What I considered respec-sion of his visit, at that unseasonable hour. table and praiseworthy, she would denounce as unfash He immediately entered upon a circumstantial detail ionable—and that word included in her ideas, all that of a series of manæuvres of a house in the West Indies, was worth living for. I idolized her, for, indeed, she with whom I had been in connection for several years, was a splendid woman, and I could not, for my life, but of frauds and villanies of a most astounding character, submit often to her caprices and fancies, when I was which, if true to the whole extent, would involve all my perfectly convinced of their impropriety. Had I acted wealth, even by husbanding it, to the best of my ability. in this according to my better judgment, happy would it As he proceeded with his tale, I filled and drank glass have been for us both !
after glass, until the decanter was emptied to the dregs. Early customs, with Mrs. Campbell, were not to be Though always temperate, this quantity appeared to broken, especially when it was in her power to indulge have no influence upon me; my system was steeled in all that her excited fancy pictured to her, of old asso-against ordinary consequences by this overwhelming ciations and pleasures. I purchased a large and elegant
misfortune. house in a fashionable neighborhood, and furnished it
I returned the next day to the city, nor did I visit my in a costly and superb manner. A rich and gorgeous country-seat again for a month-which was, to me, a establishment was in attendance, waiting her commands. month of agony. I gave the closest attention to my My house was devoted to elegance and pleasure. It affairs, striving to avoid for which, more than any other was a temple of splendor, and its appointments were in thing, I felt a secret horror-becoming a bankrupt. My keeping. My wife was the presiding genius, and never
worst forebodings, at the end of this time, were confirmed, was she in want of votaries at her shrine. There the though I escaped that severest atfliction. softest strains of music fell upon the delighted ear,
The most casual observer could perceive that I was a
From a lively disposition, in one whilst the eye was charmed by the chef d' cuvres of greatly altered man. the masters of the pencil and the chisel. Besides my short month, I had become grave almost to melancholy. city residence, I possessed a country seat upon the banks Some attributed this change, immediately, to the loss of of the noble Hudson, at a convenient distance, which my property. Although this was true, in a certain was the resort of our town acquaintances, where the sense, it was not from a miserly spirit, but from the inadissipated scenes of the winter, were almost uninter- bility of meeting my engagements punctually; it was rupted during the summer.
from the loss of my bright name-my honor. The
crisis called for action, decided and immediate action. I foolishly encouraged this manner of life, knowing it Nor was I of that kind of men, when the occasion calls afforded the highest gratification to my wife, but could I
for strenuous exertion, who flitter away precious moments, have led one less pretending, and more secluded, without | which, if properly employed, often lead to the overthrow paining her, it would have agreed better with my taste
of difficulties, which, before, seemed insurmountable. I and disposition.
was resolved to give up every thing to my creditors. I It was about midsummer at my villa, where I had felt that there were some short-sighted people who might remained for the last fortnight, absenting myself from blame me for doing so, but I had determined to act honothe counting-room, that the first indication of difficulties rably, though a painful trial would be the consequence. came to my knowledge. I was the last who retired to
I now sought my wife, for the first time since my bed that night. The air, during the evening, had been departure, after my apprisement of the evil tidings. I close and sultry, unusually so, for the location of my l hud kept her in ignorance of the extent of our misforhouse, high upon the banks of the river, and I expected tunes, hoping that the worst would prove less melanwe should have a heavy thunder-shower. I had not choly than the anticipation. heart bled as I entered been long in bed, when the rolling of the thunder began, her apartment, and seated myself by her side, for I was and the vivid and quickly-repeated flashes of lightning about to deprive her of luxuries, and even necessities, to was followed by the fall of the rain in torrents. I could which she had been long accustomed; but honor impelled not sleep. I turned from side to side in my bed-was the effort, and I hesitated not. restless and feverish. My mind was oppressed, as if
My dear Catharine," said I, taking her hand in coming evil had cast its shadow upon it. An hour mine, “what I am about to say, may not be wholly passed, and the rain was still pouring, whilst the artil- | unanticipated by you, but I fear that your imagination lery of the clouds still fearfully continued its uproar. In has not painted, in sufficiently deep colors, the dreadful an intermission of the noise of the elements, I heard a reality. We shall be necessitated to make great and knocking at the front door of the house. My blood | speedy alterations in our style of living. We shall have trickled through my veins, and a foreboding of evil, for greatly to retrench our expenses.” an instant, incapacitated me for a single movement.
• My dear Mr. Campbell," she replied, “ you know I After waiting a few moments, I was enabled to reach could very easily, nay, with all my heart, give up our the window, and make inquiry. It was my confidential country-seat. For some time, I have thought it not so clerk from the city.
pleasant as formerly-since those pretending mechanics
have built on each side of us—yes, Maurice, we will part' I descended to the spot, and found her lifeless-a manwith it, I shall not regret it in the least."
gled corpse, she lay upon the cold ground. “And, Catharine, our establishment, our servants, A long, long night followed that horrible event. How
dark, how terrible! My faculties were benumbed. The “Certainly, Maurice, we can part with one pair of world was vacant to me. I had no interest in the thouhorses, and the black coach, and two or three servants, | sand movements, which excited its myriads to action and the gardener-we can live very comfortably in town. and to strife. My mind would admit of but one idea, We shall not then compete with the H’s, but then there and that was the form of my disfigured wife as she lay are the Rodney's, and the White's, who keep but one dead, beneath the window. I was prostrated by this coach, and one pair of horses and only three servants, over excitement, and a tedious illness followed. beside the coachman, and footman."
When restored, I returned to business. I paid my While Mrs. Campbell was thus exhibitng her gene- debts to the utmost farthing, and was left penniless. I rosity and self-denial in our misfortunes, I could not bid felt not my poverty. In my case, honesty was its own her pause to undeceive and break down her dream at reward. It was, however, not the only reward I received
I sat speechless, steadily observing her counte- in acting correctly, for my creditors finding their demands nance, which betrayed neither anxiety nor agitation. As liquidated with scrupulous exactness, joined in a loan, she finished, I placed my hand upon my brow, and sat in which enabled me to commence business anew. I again this position for several minutes, considering the manner prospered, but my happiness had been nipped in the in which I should inform her of the worst of the cala- bud,' and wealth could not purchase its restitution. mity. Before I had deterinined upon what plan to pur- the loss of wealth, which I never prized for its own
A new passion seized upon me. I had suffered from sue, I was aroused by her saying:
“I trust, Mr. Campbell, your difficulties will not last sake. Now, the amassing of riches became an excitelong, and that we may soon return to our usual way of ment, a delirium of pleasure. The pursuit caused me living."
to forget my former sufferings, and I pressed on with You wofully misunderstand. Not long ? Our mis-' greater and greater zeal, for its attainment. Though fortunes, Catharine, are very—very great-in truth we
my successful business was gradually bringing in its are ruined."
thousands, and tens of thousands, it did not suffice to “What do you say, Mr. Campbell ? Ruined! what satisfy my inordinate desire of gain, can you mean? I do not understand.”
" It grew by what it fed on." No, you do not understand—but now I tell you, Schemes of speculation now hurried me forward in the Catharine-we are beggars! we have not a single dollar chase. Bank, and the stocks of other incorporated we can call our own—all is gone-I am a bankrupt!" companies, absorbed my attention. I was upon the
Mrs. Campbell, on hearing this dreadful announce mart of business early and late, in sunshine and in rain, ment, went into hysterics. She fell back senseless, and and challenged all ways and all means, that would afford lay in that condition a few minutes, when she suddenly a profit. sprung upon her feet, laughing and screaming, alter These pursuits continued for three or four years. I nately. Her finger was pointed at me in derision, as she was considered, by the knowing ones, as one of the cried
wealthiest of the wealthy. Still I was not satisfied. “Not a dollar! not a dollar! a bankrupt! ha! ha! But a spare was fast forming, which, in a little while, ha!" Her eyes turned, and she ngain fell to the floor, enveloped me so securely, that it promised soon to hurl in convulsions so terrible, that with all my strength, Il me from my prosperity, and leave me helpless. could scarcely prevent her doing injury to herself. The One of those serious revulsions, which every now and convulsions continued an hour, when they ceased, nature then occur in the mercantile world, had begun, and in having exhausted itself. She was then carried to her its course, was prostrating houses considered the most apartment, and placed in bed. I could never forgive 'secure, with alarming rapidity. The growing difficulmyself for any incautious communication to her. The ties were severly felt by me, as a great portion of my blow was too sudden and powerful for her irritable tem-funds were invested in stocks, which fell to most ruinous perament to withstand, and disastrous consequences | quotations. Confidence appeared to have entirely abanfollowed. But it ended not here—my dear wise was to doned the community. I made great sacrifices to obtain be sacrificed by my misfortunes, and my stupidity. Her means to make my daily payments. I borrowed at usudelirium still continued with short intermissions, although rous interest, and resorted to means of every kind to the convulsions had ceased. During the night, as she relieve my present necessities, but all in vain. I was on seemed to be getting worse, I left her for a moment, to the verge of bankruptcy. call the servant, and in my absence, she leaped from the The panic had spread through the whole country. I bed, and rushed to the window. She had succeeded in could not collect debts due me, and all other resources opening it, and stood upon the sill, where I espied her, were cut off. The probability was now reduced to ceron my return to the room. A single glance was suffi- tainty, that my paper must be dishonored. To an cient to tell me her design, and in an instant I gained the honorable mind, such an alternative produces indescriwindow. I caught a slight hold of her dress, but it was bable sensations of pain, and this painful feeling is too late to save her-she escaped my grasp, and with a greatly exalted, when he considers that his difficulties single bound, fell a height of thirty feet. Horror-stricken are induced by no more praiseworthy motives, than an
immoderate thirst for acquiring sudden riches. I had At this time I had left my hiding-place, and stood launched into schemes which I did not fully understand, | motionless, and apparently unmoved, gazing upon the and lost thousands. Had I not swerved from my legiti- | demon-like work I had perpetrated-my arms were mate business operations, I could have weathered the doubled across my chest; one foot was in advance of storm, and still been wealthy. I should have remem the other; I scarcely breathed through my dilated nosbered that the gratification of a passion becomes crimi- | trils, for the air was too thin; my lips were closely nal, when that gratification clashes with prudence. compressed. Though I presented but little outward
My mind presented to me but one chance, which pro-show of feeling, my mind was excited, nearly to madness mised an escape from my difficulties-it was a hazardous -the agitation there, was like the fiery furnace I had and wild scheme, involving virtue, honor, and even life. I kindled. I had been used, of late, to excitement, but I was now a different individual—different in experience the present moment was one of agony in comparison. and in purpose, from when I first entered into life. My My conscience was now fully aroused to my horrible parents, though eminently moral themselves, had failed crime-my deep villany, my wreck of honor, at the to implant the principles of Christianity in my heart, | shrine of mammon, and the sense of my utter abasement, which are the only real safeguards against temptation in overpowered my guilty soul—I remember then a choakthe hour of the ordeal, and most lamentable was the ling in my throat, a quiver of my frame, and a trickling omission. I was now tempted and felland in that of blood from my nostrils, and no more! I had fallen fall, fame, honor, self-respect, were all buried in one upon the ground in unconsciousness. simultaneous ruin. My warehouse was filled with merchandise, for which
I was recognised upon the night of the fire, and carthere was no sale ; for those who still possessed money ried to my home. My sicknesss was long, and in my held it, as with a gripe of iron. This merchandise was delirium I had exposed my guilt to my attendants. In insured in various companies at its full value. In an
my ravings, I had repeatedly attempted my life, which evil hour, I determined to burn my store and contents, was prevented. My reason returned with my health, and thus to obtain money. The plan was suggested to but the deed which, harrows up my soul, is ever present my mind, and resolved upon in an instant. It would
All tranquillity of mind is for ever fed from my free me from my embarrassments, and I should still be bosom. In each one I meet, even my most tried and enabled to live with an unspotted name among men. In valued friends, I see an open or secret enemy, who has my own thoughts I said,
exposed me to the world, and is about to bring me to “ It is, I know, an act of the highest criminality! || punishment, as if the hell within my bosom were not But no matter, it shall be done-none will suspect me. enough! I am called the honorable, the just-oh, fie! 'tis nauseous, 'tis fullsomeness—none will suspect that I could do “ Am I a man, to bear this load of wretchedness to a deed so damnable! I cannot, I will not !-but hold, feel the poisonous venom creeping through every limb, must I again bite the dust in poverty? must my name and vein, and muscle, destroying this body by inches, be hooted at by the multitude ? must I again toil for || when, in a moment, a little moment, I can end all, allsubstance, and reap the empty air ?-it must, it shall tear myself from myself, and be at peace-peace! ah, be done, though it bring me to the halter!"
no!-thou art never to be mine more! never more can It was a cold night in the month of January, that I | I know thee-we are henceforth strangers for ever!" had determined upon to put my nefarious project in exe I have lifted myself to a sitting position upon the sofa cution. It was a beautiful night, indeed, too beautiful where I have been lying. My face is pale and haggard ; to be desecrated by a deed so foul. An inch of snow my eyes are sunken in their sockets, and shoot forth an lay upon the ground. There was no moon shining, but | unnatural fire; and my lips are purple. the clear sky was lustrous with stars whose light being “ It is to die but once-death must come to all, a little reflected by the snow, developed objects at a conside- || sooner, or a little later—what signifies this brief span ! rable distance with some distinctness. About midnight How many days, and months, and years, do men spend I escaped stealthily from my store, having lighted the frivolously! ay, mischievously for good—better had they brand, and crossed to the opposite side of the street, not lived at all. For myself-far better had I not been where I secreted myself from observation within an un- | born! This life is but a burden-a heavy, heavy load to finished building. After a short interval I saw a smoth-bear. I am tired of it, and thus, thus I end it!" ered light through the small window over the door of my
It gradually grew more distinct, and in a few The wretched man had discharged a pistol through minutes I could hear the crackling of the flames. I his head, and was found dead upon the floor. Directly after, an alarm of fire was cried, by a passing Thus ended a painful tragedy—a tragedy achieved by watchman. The bells pealed, and a crowd gathered that unholy lust for sudden riches, which has, within a The rattling engines came, but all was to no purpose. I few years past, so engrossed too many of all classes in It was a grand and fearful sight! the crackling of the our country, and upon which, at this moment, hangs a fire-the noise of the heavy timbers and walls falling-cloud, that should be to the present and future generathe large columns of flame wreathing high in the heavens tions, like the fiery cloud of old, upon the deserts of the -the working of the engines, and the buzz and uproareast, a warning and a sign for ever! of the immense mass of human beings, made it awful to Nero-York, 1840. behold!
BY ANN S. STEPHENS.
rate doors. The burying-place at the back, in which MY FIRST SCHOOL-MISTRESS. slept some member of almost every family in the village,
all are mingled with the first memories of childhood.
The interior of the building was solemn and imposing
-opposite the southern entrance, a huge box pulpit “He hung his head-each noble aim,
monopolized half that end of the building, backed by an And hope and feeling which had slept
arched window, crowded with small panes of greenish From boy hood's hour, that instant came Fresh o'er him, and he wept--he wept!
glass, and surmounted by a wooden canopy, venerable Blest tears of soul-felt penitence,
with dust, and heavy carved work. Beneath this pile of In whose benign, redeeming flow, Is felt the first, the only sense
unpainted wood, and along the whole paneled front, ran of guiltless joy that guilt can know."
the deacon's seat, with doors opening near the foot of I could not have been more than six years of age each set of winding pulpit stairs, and before the whole, when she died, and yet I remember my first school
mis- | stood the communion table of cherry-wood. Two broad tress as distinctly as the faces that passed before me an aisles crossed each other at right angles, dividing the hour since. She was a quiet, gentle creature, that won body of the house into four distinct portions, each filled the love of every living thing that looked upon her. In re with low square pews, edged with a carved resemblance pose, her face was sad, sweet, and full of thought, but not of lattice work. The galleries were deep, heavy, and bandsome; though, when lighted up by a smile, it seemed dimly lighted, and in the brightest day, was insufficient beautiful as an angel’s. I was a mere child, but my to relieve the shadowy gloom that for ever hung about heart yearned toward her with clinging tenderness when- || the old building. I shall never forget the thrill of awe, ever she bent those large loving eyes on my face, as if with which we gazed in each others faces, on the first she had been my own mother, or a dear elder sister. | morning we entered its ponderous doors, and heard the When she laid her small hand on my hair, and praised | sound of our footsteps, as we crept timidly up the aisle, my work, her low voice would send a thrill of strange reverberating through the empty galleries. Our mispleasure through my veins, and I returned her care with tress, too, looked pale and death-like, for a greenish a love that lingers round my heart even yet, though light was shed over her from the arched window, and years have swept over her grave, and her name is almost her naturally delicate features took the hue of marble. forgotten.
It was long before we could settle ourselves to the simThe humble district school-house, which stood on the ple studies allotted to us, or could shake off the gloom summit of a very beautiful hill overlooking our village, flung over our young spirits by the vast solitude of the had given place to a smart academy, with a belfry and place. But custom soon wore off this sombre feeling; green blinds, and which claimed the dignity of a male we soon found out that nothing on earth could be better teacher the year round. Now it was not to be expected calculated for a game of hide and seek, after schoolthat a graduate of Yale College—a man who taught | hours, than the host of pews, and the heavy, old rumbling Latin and spoke French, could manage to teach the galleries. The deacon's seat became an excellent recep"little girls' class” how to knit worsted and sew patch-tacle for our sun-bonnets and dinner-baskets, and the work, or that the smaller boys would make very great lower pulpit stairs made capital seats for the sewing progress in their long lessons. So, after various meetings class, for they received the benefit of extra light from and consultations held by the committee, it was decided the arched window; beside, the stairs were carpeted, that the younger twigs, comprising some twenty children, and the benches were not, although our removal to the all under ten years—should be cut off from that mother old meeting-house rendered us far more comfortable and tree of learning—the academy, and placed under the happy than we had been with our learned master of the charge of a woman teacher, who was expected to bend academy. We had no older scholars to amuse themand cultivate them, so that in due season they might selves with our imperfect pronounciations; and if the again be gathered beneath the shadow of that august academy bell did sometimes drown the bumble rat-tatinstitution. I have said that the district school-house tat of our mistress' ruler against the heavy door-post of had been levelled to make room for the new building, so, the old meeting house, with its aristocratic clamor, then as the meeting-house, which stood opposite, but in a ten minutes play-time, thus gained, more than compensaless exalted situation, was only used on Sundays, it was ted for the lack of dignity. As far as out-door conveniences deemed advisable that our young ideas should be taught went, we certainly had the advantage of our lofty neighto shoot in that sacred and ancient building. It was a bors. The sweep of heavy green-sward, which fell from venerable if not very imposing pile-a solitary survivor the old building to the highway, with a scarcely percepof the old-fashioned Presbyterian meeting-houses, now, tible descent, afforded us a delightful play-ground, and we fear, departed from the bosom of Connecticut for we had the benefit of an old patriarch apple-tree, always ever. Dignified by its own simple antiquity, the old full of robins' nests, and heavy with blossoms in the meeting-house rises before my mental vision. Its three spring season, and which afforded us a delicious assortheavy doors opening to the south, east, and west, itsment of fine green apples during the summer. narrow windows and weather-beaten front, that had teacher was sent for from a distant town; and if she was braved the storms of a hundred winters--the footpaths, | not so well versed in the dead languages, and general worn smooth and hard, branching from the highway up sciences as the student across the way, she had one of the the gentle acclivity through the greew-sward to the sepa- best hearts and sweetest tempers that ever brooded in a
female bosom. There was not a child in her little || been left open to admit a free circulation of air through school, who did not love her. It was beautiful to see the old building. My seat was near the pulpit, directly the little girls gather about her chair on a morning, with opposite the northern door, which commanded a view of their simple offerings. One would bring a cluster of red the highway. I was gazing idly at the sunshine which cherries, and with the thanks of her kind teacher, causing lighted up a portion of the lawn in beautiful contrast her little heart to leap, and her eye to brighten, would with the thick grass which still lay in the shade, glittering return to her seat and hold up her book to hide the with rain-drops—for there had been a shower during the happy smiles, which spring up so naturally to the face of night-when a strange horseman appeared, galloping a child at each pleasurable emotion. Another brought along the road. He checked his horse, and after sura handful of damask roses, and was made happy if for veying the old meeting-house a moment, turned into the that day one of the half-open buds shed its fragrance on footpath leading to the southern door. the bosom or amid the curls of " the mistress." It was Seldom have I seen a more lofty carriage or imposing marvellous bow soon the affectionate creatures learned il person, than that of the stranger as he rode slowly across to study her taste, and to read the expression of her the lawn. His face, at a first view, appeared eminently eyes. Though she seldom displayed a preference for handsome; but on second perusal, a close observer any one of our little gifts, but received all kindly, and might have detected something daring and impetuous, with her own sweet, grateful smile; there was not a which would have taught him to suspect impudence, child in school who could not have named her favorite if not want of principle in the possessor. flower, or who would have dreamed of bringing any mounted on a noble horse, and his dress, though carething overblown or gorgeous for her.
lessly worn, was both rich and elegant. He had ridden Miss Bishop had not been among us a fortnight, before close to the door, and was dismounting, when Miss we knew that she was not happy. The color on her Bishop looked up. A slight cry burst from her lips, delicate cheek was unsteady, and sometimes far, far too and starting from her seat, she turned wildly toward the brilliant. There were times when she would sit and side door as if meditating an escape; but the stranger gaze through the window into the grave-yard, with her had scarcely set his foot within the building, when she large melancholy eyes surcharged with a strange light, | moved down the aisle, though her face was deadly pale, as if she were pondering on the time when she, also, || and there was a look of mingled terror and grief in her might lie down in the cold earth and be at rest. She eyes. The stranger advanced to meet her with a quick, was not gloomy-far from it; at times she was gay and eager step, and put forth his hand. At first she seemed child-like as ourselves. On a rainy day, when the grass about to reject it, and when she did extend hers, it was was wet, and we were obliged to find amusement within tremblingly and with evident reluctance. He retained doors, I have known her join in our little games with a her hand in his, and bending forward, as if about to mirth as free as that which gushed up from the lightest salute her. She shrunk back, shuddering bencath his heart among us.
At such times, she would sing to us gaze; and we could see that deep crimson flush dart over by the hour together, till the galleries and the old arch her cheek like the shadow of a bird, flitting across the seemed alive with bird music. But her cheerfulness was sun's disk. The stranger dropped her hand, and set bis not constant ; it seemed to arise more from principle and lips hard together, while she wrung her hands and uttera strong resolution to overcome sorrow, than from a ed some words, it seemed, of entreaty. He looked bard spontaneous impulse of the heart.
in her face as she spoke, but without appearing to heed It is strange what fancies will sometimes enter the her appeal, he walked a few paces up the aisle, and minds of children-how quick they are to perceive, and taking off his hat, leaned heavily against a pew door how just are the deductions they will often draw from which chanced to be open. His was a bold counteslight premises. It was not long before the sorrow which nance! I have seldom looked on a forehead so massive evidently hung over our young mistress, became a sub- and full of intellect. Yet the dark kindling eye, the ject of speculation and comment in our play-hours. One haughty lip, bespoke an untamed will, and passions yet morning she came to the house rather later than usual. to be conquered, or to be deeply repented of in reWe were all gathered about the door to receive her; morse and in tears. As he stood before that timid girl, and when she waved her hand in token that we should she shrunk from, and yet seemed almost fascinated by take our places, there was a cheerful strife which should the extraordinary power of expression that passed over obey the signal first. Never do I remember her so his face. His dark eyes grew misty and melting with beautiful as on that morning. The clear snow of her tenderness as he took her hand again, reverently between forehead, and that portion of her slender neck, exposed both his, and pleaded with her as one pleading for his by her high dress, mingled in delicate contrast with the last hope in life. We could not hear his words, but damask brightness on her cheek and lips. An expression there was something in the deep tones of his voice, and of contentinent, subdued the sometimes painful bril- in that air of mingled pride, energy and supplication, liancy of her eyes, and with a beautiful smile, beaming which few women could have resisted. But she did over that face in thanks for the offering, she took a resist, though even a child might have seen that the half-open white rose, with a faint blush slumbering in effort was breaking her heart. Sadly, and in a voice its core, from the hand of a little girl, and twined it full of suppressed agony and regret, she answered him, among her hair, just over the left temple, before taking her small hands were clasped imploringly, and her her seat. The morning was warm, and all the doors had sweet face was lifted to his with the expression of a