Billeder på siden

on turning about, perceived Edwards was deeply affected. He leaned against the wall behind him, with his face buried in his hands ; while, in the simple language of his sect, the old man continued his relation.

They bore him in the morning to the house where Rachel sojourned with her kindred. Blood flowed from his breast, and the hand of death seemed to be hard upon him. Oil was poured into his wounds, and he lay upon the softest bed. She, who is now at rest, was lovely to the eye, and the stranger had a stately form. Often did the damsel sit by his side, and minister to his wants, for her brethren and kindred laboured daily in the fields. The warrior told the maiden of his love, and entreated her to leave the house of her fathers, and flee with him from the fold of the faithful. Long did she refuse; but, at last, consented to become

One day, he who served him brought a letter, saying, "He who commandeth thy band hath written.' He was yet weak, and he besought the damsel to read to him what was therein contained. She consented, and read. The letter was from his betrothed

his spouse.

Her parents,

wife. Her senses fled, and she swooned away; but when she revived, she hastened from his presence, and never saw him more! Shame struck him to the quick, he arose and left the house, and went I know not whither. Rachel wept in her chamber, but her tears were in secret; she pined, and none knew wherefore. She smiled not by day, neither in the night season did she slumber. sorrowing, arose and carried her hither, that those skilled in medicine might minister to her cure; but it was in vain ! She departed the night before last, praying while her breath remained for the Gentile youth who had deceived her."

Ere the little narrative had concluded, Edwards, uttering a cry of horror, rushed from the room.

The scene was melancholy !-Mrs. O'Hara wept over the untimely fate of poor Rachel with unaffected sorrow. In a short time after, approaching footsteps were heard. It was the funeral. A number of serious-looking people, of both sexes, advanced, carrying a simple bier, on which a plain, unornamented coffin rested. It was now twilight, and objects could not be seen with distinctness. Low and smothered sobs were heard, indicating that the mourners were endeavouring to conceal the grief they could not conquer. As the grave gradually filled up, the lament of Rachel's brothers grew more difficult to stifle ; till at length the melancholy business was completed, and the attendants departed silently. One, an elderly person, and probably her father, lingered for a few moments behind the others, apparently engaged in mental devotion. He bowed his head with deep humility, and pronouncing in a low but steady voice, “ He gave, and He hath taken away,” retired, and the gate was fastened.

Mrs. O'Hara daily expected to be confined ; and every young female at that period must be apprehensive for her safety: her character was naturally of a timid cast, and the fate of the youthful Quakeress had depressed her spirits. “ I feel," she said, as she hid her tearful cheek in her husband's bosom, “ that it is great cruelty to you to yield thus to despondency-I cannot avoid it, for something whispers me

that this ominous country will be fatal to our happiness. You, O'Hara, will unnecessarily expose yourself,—your forwardness and striking figure will fatally distinguish you, and

you will fall by the rifle of some nameless republican. The fears I entertain for myself are small, for I trust that God will support me in my approaching trial; should it be otherwise ordained,-and, Heaven pardon me, I would be most unwilling to part from my beloved Frederic,-lay me beside poor Rachel, fly from this devoted country, and in the peaceful scenes we quitted, sometimes remember the woman who adored you."

O'Hara, in great agitation, caught her to his bosom: “Oh! Fanny! talk not in such melancholy words—all will yet be well, and we shall be happy; on your account, I would act every part but the coward's but now to draw back, to leave my regiment on service, and return ingloriously to degrading obscurity -no, the name of O'Hara was never coupled with reproach, and I will not be the first to stain it."

“ Frederic, I would not ask you; my hus

band must be still a gentleman and a soldier ; but if we live to return once more to dear Ireland, will you abandon this terrible profession? Your property suffers by the absence of its master; for my sake, for the sake of your expected infant, leave, when you can with honour, a profession which destroys the happiness of your wife, and militates against the future fortunes of your offspring.”—He kissed fondly the tears from her cheek, “ Who could withstand your smiles ? but your tears are unanswerable. Yes,-I agree ; I will consent to your wishes, but you must wait till I can do it as an O'Hara ought-but, poor Edwards, my erring, unfortunate kinsman, from my heart I pity him. I know his hasty disposition might prompt him to some act of rashness. I must go and stay with him for a short time, and at supper, let my darling Fanny be once more cheerful.” The Captain affectionately kissed his smiling wife, and left her apartment to seek that of his repentant friend.

« ForrigeFortsæt »