« ForrigeFortsæt »
shipwreck of his fortunes, estimated your sisterly affection.”
Henry, for God's sake, do not utter these words of insanity—of despair-all may be yet well. I came to warn you, and I came to counsel ; if you say truly, if you prize my happiness, grant me one request, and for life Constance Loftus holds herself your debtor." She raised her eyes, streaming in tears, and looked on him in speechless entreaty; she watched the changes of his face-it flushed, but speedily recovered its wan and marble hue.
" Alas! dear Constance, can one so desolate as I have aught to offer? Say, what are your wishes, and I swear, if it be possible, whatever you ask shall be done.” ..^ Then all will yet be well: if you are not · concerned in this horrible conspiracy, for your own sake, for mine, publicly announce your innocence; come with me to Loftus Hall—there one who loves you as a mother will bid you welcome; and my father and brother will be proud to restore to his Sovereign one whose name and talents would have been so formidable as an enemy. But, dearest Henry, if in
deed, you are connected with these desperate men, retire from this dreadful undertakingrenounce your associates—and all that grateful love can give—" (A deep blush coloured her cheeks, and when she ventured to lift her eyes never had fancy pictured any thing like the terrible character of the countenance which was turned upon her.) “ Gracious God! Henry, dear Henry, oh! look not thus—there is something too dreadful, too desperate for utterance.”
“ There is, indeed,” he solemnly replied. “ Poor girl, you little know the impossibility of your entreaty. Enemies may be reconciled
-acts of petty aggression be forgotten-Nature herself may change her course—and ani, mals renounce their habits and antipathies-but, until his vow of vengeance is paid to the very letter, never must Henry O'Harą enter into the haunts of men.” He rose abruptly and crossed the room to where the picture of his father hung, and gazed in gloomy silence on the canvass. Lady Constance followed him, and grasped his hand
“ Henry, I conjure you by all you once loved
,by your mother's memory-by your father's ashes—"
He started, and in a voice of desperate calmness, interrupted her" What would you ask me to become? Have I not sworn to avenge a father's murder? Have I not waited with Indian patience until the hour of retribution came? Have I not suffered the dreaming world to brand me as a dastard, and, Brutus like, under outward apathy, concealed the rage of hatred and revenge? And now, for what would I abandon the fixed purpose of my soul ?"
- Me! dearest Henry.” (Her arm for sup. port leaned upon his shoulder-her burning face reclined upon his breast.) “ Yes, Henry, despise me if you will, when with all a woman's madness, I own my weakness and my love. Let me go with you—whither, I care not if an exile, I will share your solitude ; if a wanderer, I will be your companion ; superior to my sex's softness, I will brave death and danger--cold or climate shall not deter me. Speak, Henry, speak my doom."
There was a long, a dreadful pause; and,
when O'Hara's voice broke this harrowing silence, it was to tell her that hope was blighted.
“ Constance, this last scene was only wanting to make my cup of misery flow over-it was but wanting to know that a heart which, might I possess the treasure, I would esteem the highest of human bliss was mine, and that I must reject its possession. Hear me, if what I am about to speak be not too horrible for gentle ears to listen to-hear and judge, fond girl, of him whose hand you would accept-of him whose destinies you would share-I am a devoted, desperate man; I have no heart to give you, for mine sorrow and suffering have seared to the core ; I have no hand to offer, for mine is plighted to the dead !” He paused to look on the forlorn being who trembled in his arms, . and continued—“ My course must be marked by blood and tears, and misery will walk in my footsteps; the bosom you rest upon is racked by anguish, and the arm which encircles you will soon be red with slaughter. Such is my dark destiny, and nothing earthly can avert it!"
“ And is there no hope left ?”
“ None! so pardon me, Heaven! In the hour of darkness I stood beside my father's bier-I pressed his cold and clammy lips with mine- I held his icy hand in my burning grasp, and swore that his blood should not call in vain for vengeance-I solemnly devoted his enemies to the grave, and Heaven and Hell were invoked to attest my oath !—and shall I forget it it-have I forgotten it? How long did the apostate Travers survive his victim ?"
“ And you-murdered him ?”
“ No, Constance, I have reserved myself for nobler objects, but I devoted him, and the deed was done !” At this moment a gleam of sparkling light flashed from the summit of an adjacent hill-O'Hara pointed to the blaze“ There, Constance, there is the signal, and the work of death begins ; and now, a long farewell --my own, adored Constance, adieu for ever." He madly strained to her breast. She felt his heart beat, and again and again his burning lips pressed hers. " It is the last kiss of desperate love,” he muttered ; and, as if afraid to trust his resolution, was rushing from the room, when suddenly the door opened, and the dark