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five minutes, I hope to have you outside the walls ; I shall run to Lumley, the Officer of the Guard, for the countersign, and, in my absence, don't open the door to any one ;" so saying he left the room.
When alone with the young female who had been so singularly made his companion, Henry remarked that her appearance was not that of low life; her face, although not beautiful, was very interesting, and her manners were easy and agreeable. Feeling for her situation, which was evidently one that required attention, he endeavoured to calm the agitation of her spirits, and evinced a sympathy which rendered the poor girl sensible of his kindness. Woman is ever grateful, and community of misfortune speedily unites the unfortunate-such was the case with Ellen and her supporter. She raised her eyes timidly, and tears rolled down her cheeks as she replied to her companion's inquiries. “ Yes, Sir, I feel much better; thanks to your humanity, I am well; and kind looks and gentle words are a cordial that Ellen Wilson has been unused to for years. Judge not too harshly of me, Mr. O'Hara, for indeed
I am to be compassionated. Those that are in the grave little imagined the fate that was reserved for their unhappy child; and oh! that I was with them, for they are at rest. My story is, indeed, an unfortunate one :-I was early bereft of my mother, and my father left the army on her decease, and settled in a wild and disturbed district in the South. His loyalty and zeal made him obnoxious to the Defenders who infested our neighbourhood, and one stormy night they surrounded the house in immense numbers ; never was man braver than Wilson--he sprang from his bed, and answered their demand for arms, by shooting the fore. most ruffian dead. A dreadful scene ensued the Insurgents kept up an incessant fire; and the crashing of the windows, as they splintered to pieces with the shot which hailed against them, joined to the hellish yells of the banditti, was sufficient to appal the boldest heart. . My father, cool and resolute in danger, from a window which had been made bullet-proof, and which commanded the only approach to the front, returned a constant and most destructive fire, and although the savages were desperate and drunk, they were beginning to give way. We had one servant on whom we relied much. He had been on the point of being drowned by the upsetting of a boat, and had been rescued from the waves by his master. On this dreadful night he was placed unarmed in the rear of the house to observe the rebels. The flint of my father's gun began to fail from constant use, and he called to Henessy for a fresh one. The wretch obeyed; and, on reaching the table where the arms lay, he raised a pistol and shot his master through the heart. What followed was terrific, and I can scarcely remember it distinctly. Henessy admitted the banditti; and, after plundering and destroying all the furniture, and gashing the dead body with an hundred wounds, they set the house on fire, and burned it to the ground. How I escaped I know not ; I was carried by some humane cottagers to the house of my aunt, who was the only relative I had in the world. From her unamiable disposition, and the bad character her husband bore, my father for years had avoided all intercourse with either. Cold was her reception to her destitute niece—desti
tute in every sense, for my father's support was the small pension which ceased with his life; and every thing (my wearing apparel not excepted) had perished in the flames. I was scarcely sixteen when I was thrown upon my aunt for shelter. One year I dragged over; none can tell what I suffered. Her husband was a depraved wretch; and her naturally bad temper became horrible with continual jealousy. The brute now began to distinguish me by his attentions, and I soon found I was an object of hatred to my unfortunate aunt. The farm we lived on was the property of Mr. Stamford's father, and as his domain was close to our house, I frequently saw the young gentleman as he passed our door. One evening I was alone in the garden, when my uncle returned intoxicated from a fair, and surprised me before I was aware of his approach; he seized me in his arms, and covered my cheeks with his loathsome kisses; at that moment my aunt stood before us—the drunkard slunk away, and left me to stand the torrent of her rage—it was dreadful, indeed—and, after every opprobrious name was exhausted, heedless of my protestations of innocence, she turned me out of the house, leaving me without a friend in the wide world. I had wandered until dark, when Mr. Stamford overtook me; he was alone, driving in a gig. Observing my distress, he stopped, and inquired what had happened ; I told him all, and he persuaded me to accompany him home, and shortly after I accepted of his protection. For the last six months I have resided with him; and oh! Mr. O'Hara, what a dread. ful life of apprehension do I lead. Do I not depend on the caprice of a thoughtless youth? Hitherto he has been kind and affectionate, but should he desert me, there is not a friend left from whom I might seek a refuge. Every hour I dread discovery or disaster. Stamford is the leader of the mad young men you supped with. With fine principles and many virtues, he is. rash and irritable, and his life is a wild career of danger and dissipation; his courage and cleverness have carried him through— but he comes!" and the key turned in the lock, and gave him entrance.