S46 TYLNEY HALL. the world but my own. Poor Grace poor Grace Misery has heen running riot at old and young ! " " Till to-day," said the Magistrate, passing his hand across his " eyes, we had fears for her reason. That danger, according to the physicians, is gone by ; but, for my own part, I still tremble at her hallucinations. One whom I will not mention is too obviously in her thoughts; and indeed his name frequently escapes her in her extemporaneous whisperings." A flush of exquisite agony passed over the countenance of Sir Mark, as if at the sudden application of an unen- durable rack, extorting by torture a confession of the presumptuous emptiness of human schemes, and the utter hopelessness of their defeat. It seemed to the afflicted father, as if a divine jealousy of his designs against the dispensations of Providence, had required of him, like a unlike the second Abraham, the sacrifice of his son ; but, Patriarch, he had not averted the blow by a timely submission. In this spirit of humiliation he took the hand of the Magistrate, and addressed him in a style not the less serious or heartfelt that it was associated with old familiar images. " My good friend, it is through our own fault that we are so dreadfully thrown out what is past is past but we should have done better if we had listened to another voice than our own. It was my favourite cast towards Hawksley with Ringwood, but the Almighty forbids. I shall never meddle with match-making again. I am as good as down. No buck was ever hit more straight, straight through the heart. cleanly The world's done with me, but I would have the sun shine and the fawns play in it when I am gone. It may please God some day to turn men's hearts and bring back the wanderer to where he was roused and if he should come to his father's oldest f friend, and say " ? Let me be your son,' would you say him nay The Justice hesitated. That a murderer should go un- hanged was to his mind equivalent to a moral earthquake; but the proposal that the felon moreover should marry his daughter, he considered could only have come from a father " like KingJDavid, mad with grief;" and he was meditating
TYLNEY HALL. 347 a suitable answer when the door opened and Mrs. Hamilton entered, accompanied by the Creole and Squire Ned. The Baronet rose up, and with assumed firmness went to meet his sister, whom he embraced, and then placed her in a chair beside his own. " I know it all, Kate," he said ; " it is a cruel sentence, but I can bear it till I believe it. All the world to one is " long odds, but if I stand alone " No, not alone," said Mrs. Hamilton " ; my voice shall rise with yours for the mildest, kindest being that ever breathed. They are murderers that call him so." " That is true, Kate," said the Baronet " ; as well stab a man as his good name. It was never laid to us before. Bating in a field of battle or fair lists, a Tyrrel was never charged with bloodshed." " Except Sir Walter Tyrrel, who shot King Rufus," said the Squire ; and, as he spoke, he fixed his eye so intently on the Creole, that the latter winced under it. The solitary organ seemed to him as that one eye which painters sometimes use as a type of the Omniscient. It was a searching glance that penetrated his very soul ; and, from that instant, a new alarm was planted in a bosom already beset by all the anxious inquietude that belongs to con- scious guilt. The course of crime never did run smoother than that of true love ; it is equally subject to accidents and obstacles, to rumour, jealousy, suspicion, and detection. Thus, Ringwood was dead ; his brother was an outcast, and the father, by his own confession, had received his death-blow: the path to the goal the Creole aimed at seemed straight and open, but at each step unforeseen difficulties arose, unexpected dangers presented themselves, and parties never dreamt of threw themselves in the way in attitudes adverse to his success. Hence he proceeded en- vironed with terrors, like a man who is walking upon ice, which every now and then, by an audible crack, gives him warning of the insecurity of his foundation. It was not, therefore, without some internal shudderings and misgivings that he became the auditor of an earnest consultation, how his fugitive kinsman might be discovered and induced to return to a home where he would be received with open arms.