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and ministered. The Man of Ross' is cited for benevolence, and Florence Nightingale for her devotion to the sick and wounded ; but among the thousands who, since the world began, might, if they would, have done deeds like theirs, the recorded names seem a scanty few indeed.
Sir Philip Thornleigh's unjustifiable crime against society was something more than a nine days' wonder. He had turned his wealth into a channel where, in his county at least, it could benefit no one. The time-honoured abode of his fathers would be no longer open to receive its former guests, nor would his son (the Sir Edgar pointed out by nature as the husband of one of their fair daughters) be in a position to fulfil the duties of his calling,
Sir Edgar had only his empty title to recommend him to their notice; what he had not was registered against him, while what the son of their old acquaintance was, few thought it worth their while to inquire.
• Quicquid sub terris est, in apricum proferet ætas ;
And now, waiving the customary apology for conducting the reader suddenly to another scene, we will take a glance at Philip's condemned wife, who, with her sister, still resided in the little château in Lower Brittany. They were not reduced to what could be called, in their rank of life, poverty: though Gertrude had refused the allowance which Thornleighthrough his solicitors—had pressed upon her; for they had the interest of their own small fortunes which amounted to about three hundred pounds a-year; and as the little Edgar had been adopted by his grandmother, who paid liberally for his education, this income was amply sufficient for their wants.
In outward appearance Gertrude was greatly changed, her auburn hair was streaked with grey, and the lines on her brow had become deeper and more numerous; for the possession of a secret is to many women a serious charge, even though that secret be not such an one as preyed upon the heart and conscience of Philip's wife.
Let us look at her now, as, in the deepest mourning, with low-bent head and eyes swollen with weeping, she creeps along beneath the trees that shade their dwelling. Alice is by her side, and is supporting her feeble footsteps with an arm that seems scarcely strong enough for the task.
It was the first time that they had left the house since the news came that one they loved was dead; and the fresh air, instead of reviving their drooping spirits, seemed but to open their wounds afresh. There were lofty fir trees where they walked; and they listened mournfully to the wail of the wind through the branches. The souls of both had sym
pathy with the sound. It was one that in happier days they had loved in their old home in England, and they shuddered involuntarily as memory whispered to them of the past.
I cannot bear it,' sobbed Gertrude; "there is such borror in my thoughts. I cannot imagine him as you say he is--dead-buried. It seems to me but yesterday that we were together, loitering-do you remember it, Alice ? in the wood where the children loved to playit was so dark and thick. And he was with us, and Edgar and Marie threw the gathered fir-cones at him in their sport. How happy he looked! How full of boyish spirits ?
Happy!' responded her sister, sadly; 'yes, he was happy then; and well do I remember how he looked that day: so high-hearted and so generous. Never, no never, will I believe that he died without
*Hush, Alice; do not speak of that. I warned you that it is more than I can endure.' And the weak woman's tears broke forth afresh, and choked her utterance.
Alice sighed heavily. She found it very hard to deal with her sister’s grief, embittered as she feared it was by her remorse; for Lady Thornleigh had never trusted the girl with her dark secret; and there were moments when that confiding heart almost feared the worst. Most true it was that the arrow that had struck at poor Gertrude's breast, was barbed by the reflection that death had claimed her husband ere he had forgiven her; and that now he was, perhaps, beyond the knowledge that her punishment was greater than she deserved. How often and how sadly did all the memories of her married life come crowding upon her; urging her to a longing (almost verging on the morbid cravings of insanity) to hold communion with him who was gone hence and would be no more seen. In weariness often, and in anguish of mind beyond description, did she repeat those saddest of all words “ Too late ;” and Alice sighed to hear the remorseful groan, breathed forth even in the stillness of the night.