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unforsaken. The life that is forfeited will then be taken, and my soul, our souls, may be spared for heaven. You have heard me speak. I thank you, and have done. What is your answer ?” Colonel Kirk looked at her full in the face, and answered in a tone of calm decision by one word—“ No.” Rose said nothing more. She arose at once from her knees, and stood before him, with her head bowed upon her bosom. Colonel Kirk now spoke again of his infamous proposal; he named an hour of appointment for that night, and Rose said not a word of refusal, She took at once the key which he gave into her hand, and she listened with apparent calmness to his directions. “And my brother shall not die," said she, when he had finished speaking, “ let me hear you promise thus again.”—" He shall not die,” replied Colonel Kirk, in a solemn and deliberate voice. “ Thank God! thank God!" said the poor bewildered girl, clasping her hands together. “One more favour,” she exclaimed, sinking again at his feet, " allow me to see him; let me go to him immediately"_" This request I must refuse for many reasons,” said he ; “ to-morrow he will be at liberty; wait till then; you shall certainly see him to-morrow morning."-Rose Aleyn returned to the apartment where she had left her friend. Mrs. Langland was touched to the heart by the anguish too visible in her countenance; and as Rose approached, she held out her arms to her, and the poor maiden sunk upon her bosom without speaking. “ Alas!" said Mrs. Langland, “I had not dared to hope you need not tell me, for I see too well how fruitless this visit has been.” Rose could not lift up her face, but she said with a faint and faltering voice, “my agitation has misled you; Frank Aleyn is spared : to-morrow morning he will be at liberty."
They returned home, and the lively joy of her friends almost agonized the miserable girl. At first Mrs. Langland and Winifred wept with the agitation of unrestrained delight; but they soon began to ask an explanation, to question her about her interview with Colonel Kirk. Rose knew not how to answer them.“ Do not ask me any more questions,” she said at length, “ do not ask me till to-morrow, I beseech you, for I must not reply. Then you will know why I cannot reply at present; then my own brother will be free.” They began to speak of happiness, and they smiled with calm delight as they spoke. Poor Rose tried to smile also ; but her secret pressed like a deadening weight on her heart, and she could not speak of happiness. She withdrew herself as frequently as possible from their society; but she was almost maddened with the distraction of her feelings, when the hour arrived of separation for the night. Another hour had passed away, and Rose, unsuspected and undiscovered, had quitted the house. It was a mild and moonlight night, when she stole along the streets on the side where the shadows lay dark and broad. She soon turned away into a narrow lane, closed in on each side by high walls; and with both her trembling hands, she unlocked a small door on the left side. How often had Rose played, in the happy carelessness of childhood, about the beautiful garden which she now entered. Many recollections which would once have brought delight with them, came, blighted and dead, over her heart, and she hurried swiftly onward; but when she reached the door, she stopped a little while before she could enter the house. She turned away, and looked back upon the garden and the fields beyond, now all reposing in the silvery moonshine ; and as she stood gazing there, she half resolved to flee away far over the quiet fields, and never return again to those whom she loved; so that she might never hear of her brother again, and never see him, till all doubt and terror had passed away, and they were both in a less miserable world.-Many strange thoughts and wild wishes passed over her mind, and once, in the hopelessness of her agony, she called aloud upon God for help; but she then shuddered with terror at her impiety, for the bare idea of prayer from her, situated as she then was, seemed an insult to the God of purity. She returned to the door—it closed upon her. Who shall attempt to imagine the horrors of that night? Ere it passed away, the poor heartbroken girl heard a sound of knocking, which seemed to proceed from the close beneath the chamber windows ; the noise roused her, but she had not then the power of thinking. Once only she unclosed her eyes; it was morning; for rays of rich light streamed into the chamber through the crevices of the closed shutters. She wished for a perpetual night, and turning her face to the pillow, she slept. In her dreams, she heard again that loud knocking; and, without understanding why, it wrung her very heart. Then slow and martial music seemed to rise all around, and her brother's voice called out to her; she strove to get near him, but although he called more and more loudly, she saw him not. She seemed to be surrounded by thick and dark clouds, and as they unrolled and gathered around her, she beheld before her a crowd of soldiers, from the midst of whom her brother's voice seemed to proceed. Rose in vain attempted to force herself through the crowd. At last one man came forward to assist her; she tried to disengage herself from the violence of his grasp, for she beheld his face, and it was that of Colonel Kirk. Roughly he dragged her forward—the crowd opened. Rose Aleyn awoke with a start—her arm was indeed roughly grasped, and the voice of her brutal ravisher commanded her to rise. Half dressed he stood by the bed-side, and the expression of his face was at once frightful and inexplicable. The room was in a blaze of sunshine, and Rose felt the fresh air of morning blow
over her heated face; she struggled to free herself from him, and to hide her head beneath the bed-clothes. Just then, music, the same music which Rose had heard in her dream, sounded beneath the window; she started up, and sprung instantly from the bed. The crowd beneath the window had been all occupied with one dreadful sight—the execution of young Frank Aleyn. Five minutes before, the fatal rope had been twisted round his throat; and his fine manly form was swinging slowly in the struggles of death from the lofty gallows. The music, which had ceased when he was turned off, had commenced again at the command of the inhuman Kirk; but far louder burst one long heart-rending shriek, so loud, so thrilling was it, that it seemed to proceed from no human creature. Every eye was turned to the casement from whence it came. The face which met the view was like that of a corpse that had died in strong convulsions. Every feature was strained, and fixed in one expression of rigid horror. The mouth and eyes were widely opened, and the hair, long and disordered as it was almost stood up from the brow. Still every one gazed upon that fair yet fearful countenance; but at once, the figure raised its naked arms, and clapped its hands, and shouted with a burst of exulting laughter. There came forward a man to that casement, and a groan of execration rose from the crowd as he appeared. He attempted to drag his victim away, but she wound her arms round the window frame, and clung there, hugging it with all her force, and gazing with a look of wild and greedy earnestness on her brother's body. At length the blood gushed from her mouth and nostrils, her arms relaxed their hold, and she fell back lifeless into the arms of Colonel Kirk,
Rose Aleyn did not die, although for many weeks her life was despaired of. She lay a long time in a heavy stupor, almost resembling death. At last Winifred heard her speak again. It was about midnight, and she was sitting by the bed-side of her friend, and watching her pale and wasted countenance. Rose unclosed her eyes, and a smile played faintly about her lips. She murmured a few indistinct words, and then sunk into a sweet and refreshing sleep. Soon after day-break she awoke again, she looked up at her friend, and smiled upon her, and spoke to her, but Winifred's heart died within her as she listened ; she had waited, in the joyful stillness of hope, to see her beloved companion awake from that quiet sleep, and she did wake with a tint like that of returning health upon her cheek, with calm words, and gentle smiles, but, alas, they were the words of an idiot. The whirlwind of woe and overwhelming horror had passed entirely away; but it had left a blank, a vacancy, in the intellect of the poor maiden.
Thought and memory were gone, and surely their absence was a blessing left by a merciful and gracious God. Winifred soon learned to think so, and to bless her Heavenly Father, for the change which she at first lamented. Rose could not recollect her, but she seemed to love her better than before. They could never converse again on the memories of their youthful days, and Winifred wept to think that those days were better forgotten. In her mind Frank Aleyn was connected with almost every joy of their childhood. He had loved her as
sister; but she had felt for him, unknown to every one, the full and devoted affection of a wife. Her secret was never known, for to most observers she appeared one of those cold and gentle beings who are pronounced incapable of strong feeling. The shrine of passion was deep within her heart, but the flame did not burn less ardently because its light was never seen. The trial of Winifred had been severe, and she had often wept over it in secret, but she prayed also in secret; and she learned humbly and heartily to join praises to her prayers;
to feel how good it was for her to be in sorrow; to be at first resigned and then happy.
The aged grandmother of Frank Aleyn had died within a few days after his execution; and Mrs. Langland took the helpless and unconscious Rose to be unto her as a daughter. After her recovery, they left Taunton, and Winifred became the constant companion of her friend. The gentle Rose lived on in a calm of enjoyment; pleased with the sounds and sights of nature, the song of birds, the colours and the fragrance of flowers. Her smiles often made Winifred melancholy, but others loved to see them; and the villagers where she lived would say, when they gazed upon her calm and beautiful countenance, “ who would guess that yon fair maiden has suffered enough to break
human heart?” Her ways were ever gentle; she seldom spoke but to her friend, whose mere presence was ą delight to her, and whom she would follow as a loving and docile child.
The only thing_that agitated the poor girl was the sound of music, which Rose had once loved; it now terrified her. It might have been that some remembrance of the music heard on one dreadful morning still clung to her mind; but so it was, that, if music sounded near her, her smiles vanished, tears started into her eyes, and she fled trembling with horror to her friend Winifred. For some years the gentle Rose lived in the bloom of apparent health ; but in her twenty-third year her slight strength began to fail, and she faded away like a flower broken on its stalk. The colour departed from her cheek and lips, and a languid heaviness gathered about her soft eyes. She could soon only walk when supported by her beloved
Winifred, and at last she was carried out into the flowergarden on mild warm mornings, for she could not bear to remain in her chamber; she loved the light and the sweet summer air.
It was a morning in June ; much such a morning as that on which Rose set out on her last hopeless visit to Taunton. Winifred was sitting on a green bank near the house, partly shaded by the branches of a large rose tree. She had often, in the presence of Rose, read aloud in the Book of God, with a hope which she dared not confess to herself, that her words might be at last understood. She was now reading from the Epistles of St. John; and Rose, with her face leaning on her friend's bosom, lay reclining in her arms. She had finished reading, when Rose lifted up her face, and gazed earnestly on the sky. Winifred saw that a sudden change had come over her countenance; she saw Rose raise her clasped hands, and a few faint words were breathed from her lips. A thrill of rapture darted through the heart of Winifred, for those words were the clear language of thoughtful and connected prayer; the light of intelligence shone for an instant in her eyes, and then the fair lids closed over them. Still the lips moved, but her words were now like sighs, and Winifred listened to them in vain. She pressed her lips to those of the dying maiden, and a smile broke like sun-light over the pallid features ; gradually its lustre died away; --for the spirit of life was gone.
C. B. T.
A LYRICAL POEM.
Since yesternight I've dreamt a dream,
Delicate maid, of love and thee;
Oh! let it still upon my spirit smile !
To-day- perhaps to-morrow,