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the damage done to his 'crop or crops,' and soon afterwards quitted the scene of their rural sports,' laughing heartily at the mystification into which they had thrown the Macadamizing old square. toes,' through the instrumentality of old Andrews and the Grey Mare.
•When shall we three meet again ?'
COLIN CLIN K.
BY CHARLES HOOTON.
BOOK THE THIRD.
Wuther are we bound ?' demanded Woodruff. * To Kiddal Hall. My father, Mr. Lupton, charged me, in case we succeeded, to convey you there. I have provided a vehicle at a village over the forest: the moment we reach it, fear will be at an end.'
The night was dark, but clear and fresh. A healthy breeze swept across, and sighed through the trees.
“How I thank Heaven for this !' exclaimed Woodruff, and you, friendly strangers, whom I can never compensate, for the delight i feel in this liberty is beyond estimation.'
He stretched his hands to heaven, and sunk upon his knees, while our friends stood silently by until he had poured out his heart in thankfulness. Fearful of lingering, Colin used his influence to urge him onward, or he would have remained in this ecstasy of adoration. Accustomed to darkness, the night suited him ; individual flowers and leaves, which to his companions were fused into masses, he could see with separate distinctness; he plucked them with the eager de. light of a child.
This excitement and the unaccustomed exertion overcame him, after they had traversed two or three miles, and, notwithstanding his endeavours, Woodruff became incapable of proceeding. Under these circumstances, Calvert and Veriquear volunteered to carry him, a task which they performed, while Colin lingered behind to ascertain whether old Jerry had contrived to give any
alarm. This precaution proved not needless. As he crouched down, to bring the ground into a line horizontal with the sky, so as to enable him to detect whatever objects might present themselves, he fancied he beheld moving figures. Hereupon Colin requested his friends to hurry forwards, while he remained to reconnoitre. His suspicion proved just. The figures rapidly advanced, until he could distinctly discern five men, one of whom he instantly recognised as Jerry. He was exclaiming passionately, calling down imprecations on his own head, for having disabled him from following with the expedition which otherwise he could have used. His doubts satisfied, Colin had nothing to do but hurry his companions onward. This, however, their burden in part prevented; and Mr. Woodruff became excited to an extreme, and begged of them rather to let him be killed in resisting, than ever again see those horrible walls. Every effort was made to pacify him; but his long-lost liberty was now so dear, that the thought of being a second time deprived of it made him tremble like an infant.
As the pursuing party gained upon them, Colin recommended that they should turn aside amongst the brushwood, until the others should have passed; they soon found harbour beneath an elm, that bent down from bank at the foot of which lay a pool collected from the rains. While silently standing there, the parties approached,
and the voice of Jerry could distinctly be heard, as he swore that he thought his skull was broken ; while his discourse in other respects seemed to bespeak a disordered mind.
How the circumstance happened Colin never could distinctly ascertain; but scarcely were they congratulating themselves on the success of their stratagem, when a loud cry from Jerry Clink, accompanied by a wild rush upon them, announced their discovery. Mr. Woodruff had been seated against the bank, and before him the friends now stood, resolved to defend him to the last. A tremendous scuffle ensued, during which Calvert and Veriquear conducted themselves gallantly, and severely drubbed three of the assailants. Jerry, half frantic, yelled like a savage, till
, in the confusion, the old man re. ceived from some unrecognised hand, whether friend or opponent was never known, another blow, which completed the work the former had left undone. He was seen to stand a moment, as though stunned; he tried to utter a curse upon him who had struck the blow ; but exhausted nature refused the promptings of that savage spirit ; his tongue sunk for ever silenced, and old Jerry dropped sud. denly upon his back,-dead! · This event put a termination to the engagement. The body of Jerry was carried off by his associates, and those they had attacked were left to pursue their journey.
In due time the party arrived at the village, where the vehicle was provided, and they were driven off to the Hall.
As for old Jerry, a coroner's inquest was subsequently held over his body, when the facts of his having met his death in the manner above described being clearly established, the usual verdict was returned. His corpse was committed to the ground, and the matter gradually subsided until it became forgotten.
Mr. Lupton was at the hall when the party arrived. There was also awaiting Mr. Colin a letter from Miss Jenny, which went far to destroy that pleasure which else he could not have failed to experience from the success of the enterprise. But, before this be commented on, it is necessary to record certain other little matters.
The story of Woodruff's liberation soon became known ; and as "Rowel's imprisonment had created no little sensation, the presence of so important a character excited universal attention.
Colin caused a messenger to be despatched to Fanny Woodruff, for the purpose of informing her of the arrival of her father at the Squire's mansion, and to appoint an hour when her meeting with him should take place, it being deemed advisable to allow some time to elapse before that meeting was permitted.
To recapitulate the circumstances attendant on that meeting forms no part of my design. It is enough to state, that the feelings of each were wrought up to the extreme; and that night scarcely separated them without tears.
Some time after, when the condition of all parties would allow of it without pain, an entertainment upon a large scale was given at the Hall, at which every one of the individuals most interested were present, besides a number of the neighbouring gentry, whose sympathies had been aroused in that story of persecution of which Mr. Woodruff had been the victim.
On this occasion it was that the blunt and honest Roger Calvert first became acquainted with Fanny Woodruff. They were sufficiently near the same age to constitute, in that respect, a proper match. Fanny was by no means deficient in personal attractions, which were rather heightened than depreciated, by the delicate character her features had assumed since she made the painful discovery that the affection she had felt for Colin would never be returned. Grief and anxiety had spiritualised her looks, and attached a degree of interest to her appearance which it did not possess before; while the devotedness with which she watched her father conspired to stamp both her person and character with those requisites which recommend to the love of the discerning.
While Roger tarried at the Hall, he had frequent opportunities of remarking her character. So favourably did these interviews affect his sensitive bosom, that it soon became evident he meditated Jiming his twigs to catch the pretty bird. And though at the outset Fanny exhibited a reluctance to be wooed, yet at length her heart relented; she found, perhaps, in the disposition of Roger a better substitute for Colin than the chance of a thousand might give her : as those two gentlemen were by no means opposite to each other. A reason this for listening with more early favour to his suit than she could have done to that of another. At the same time she heard Colin express himself in such terms of his friend, as could not fail to have considerable influence in predisposing her in his favour. Then, too, there was that strongest tie, gratitude for the part he had taken in restoring a parent whom she had lost. This amour caused Mr. Cal. vert to prolong his stay considerably ; combined as it was with the solicitations of Mr. Lupton, who would not think of permitting so early a departure to the son of one of his dearest friends.
Fanny, it is almost unnecessary to relate, had declined the duties of Sylvester's house. The leisure thus afforded was taken advantag. of by Roger, whose attentions to his daughter were marked by Mi Woodruff with pleasure, that gentleman feeling that no reward in his power to bestow could ever return the service rendered him. Still the greatest in his power to give, had he possessed worlds, would in his estimation have been the hand of so dear a child, with such a portion as would place her in ease for life.
Thus sanctioned by the smiles of her father, it is no wonder that her estimation of Roger daily grew more favourable, until at length she fairly yielded to receive him as an accepted lover.
With respect to Colin's mother, our hero seized the earliest op. portunity to wait upon her with the assurance of his present happi. ness, as well as to convey to her a present of two hundred pounds. Mrs. Clink expressed herself in terms of satisfaction, but informed him that, as she could never enjoy a mother's highest delight and be a witness of her child's prosperity, it would be more congenial to her feelings to carry into execution a design she had formed of retiring to a distant part of the country, where, out of sight of all who might be to her, as she to them, a cause of unpleasant reflection, she could quietly pass the remaining portion of her life in humble endeavours to atone for the great error of her existence.
Colin wept over his mother. He saw too much good sense in her remarks to attempt to controvert them, although he strove as much as lay in his power to soften the asperity of the self-accusation with which they were intermingled. All he could promise was, that she should be made as happy as in this world we can hope to be ; and that he would omit nothing calculated to reconcile her to herself.
Not to return to this subject, it may here be stated that before those final adventures were gone through which placed Colin at the summit of his happiness, Mrs. Clink carried out her views. She retired with a respectable sufficiency to a village in Derbyshire, where she dwelt in peaceful seclusion.
Let us begin with that communication from Miss Jenny previously adverted to.
It ran as follows'Since Mr. Clink quitted our house my mother has had much to say to me. During your absence, it seems to have become fixed that I shall never be happy. She has expressed her desire that I would beg of you to forget me. I never slept, but cried, my dearest Colin, all night. I am very ill now, and can scarce do anything but weep.
Were l of that religion which permits such things, I would
a convent, where no eye could see how heart-broken a creature is so soon made of the wretched, but devotedly affectionate-J.C. .. I cannot better describe the effect produced upon Colin by this epistle, than by stating that within ten minutes he formed a dozen different determinations to rescue the lady. He laid Miss Calvert's letter before her brother, who at once declared that were it his case he would run away with her at once.
This suggestion wonderfully coincided with Colin's state of feel ing, and in all probability he would have done so within the shortest given space, had not an event occurred which for the present caused him to set his design aside. This was the arrival of Mrs. Lupton.
Colin chanced to be in the garden when the carriage drove up.
When it stopped, he saw that some lady descended from it, attended by two females, whose assistance appeared needful to enable her to walk into the house.
The sun shone brilliantly; and as her face was turned upwards Colin saw her eyes were not tearless, nor her heart at peace.
Our hero felt no doubt that he saw Mrs. Lupton. Nor he mistaken. As she entered the hall she regarded everything with that interest which any individual might be supposed to feel, who after many years should turn over anew some record, wherein was shown the past as now being ; save that it was a now which looked upon no future of possible joy, unless in that world which is beyond man's reach to darken or make sad.
As early after Mrs. Lupton's arrival as was consistent with the fa. tigue she had undergone, Mr. Lupton obtained an interview with her alone. In it, communications of deep interest must have been made, as the services of Mrs. Lupton's attendants were required to save her from fainting, while the eyes of her husband betrayed that on his part their conversation had not been conducted without tears.
That same evening Mr. Lupton conducted Colin to his lady, and presented him with the remark, · This, madam, is the young man of whom I have spoken. A gentle inclination seemed to mark that she 'understood what was said, though her reply betrayed that the years which had elapsed since last we saw her had produced no permanent restoration of the then partly overthrown mind. She looked at Colin without emotion ; and though she had never seen him before, remarked
I remember that face as well —nay better than any though it is more than twenty years since I saw it.'