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CHAPTER XX. THE CLOUD GATHERS.
wishes. Ah! dear Madeline, will you let me act for you? Indeed, indeed, you have not
IDA finished her history;-tremblingly, and strength for this interview! Will you trust to scarce intelligibly, had she entered on the narra-me-will you give me leave to do what I think tion; she dared not look towards her friend, but best?"
sat with averted eyes, breathing short, and wait- Madeline sat down again and buried her face in ing in a kind of terror for her answer. Madeline her outspread hands. "What do you want to was silent so long that Ida, dreading she scarcely do?" murmured she. knew what, rose at last and went to her, putting her arms about her, and praying forgiveness as though she had committed some grievous offence. Then Madeline laid her pale, weary face upon that kind bosom, and answered her very gently, "Did you think, dearest, that this would be new to me?" "New! how, what do you mean?" rejoined Ida, astonished.
"I was prepared," replied her friend, "but I am so weak that I cannot speak of it as I ought. How should you guess what has been burning in my heart during these last few terrible days! From the moment in which I first recognized
She stopped, and was for a moment overcome; then she resumed hurriedly, in an altered, unnatural voice, "From that moment I knew what must be; I knew that the time was come, that the trial was at hand. You have seen the struggle, Ida, but I have brought my will to the altar, and the sacrifice shall be completed. No martyrdom; no, no! This poor tardy atonement may have the agony of martyrdom, but God forbid that I should claim the glory. That is reserved for such as have fought well; but the repentant traitor who is suffered to die for his sovereign has no fairer hope than that his name may be forgotten. I will act to God, not to man; yet from man comes my punishment. Oh, for a heart to forget earth and life altogether! Oh, for eyes blind to everything save the vision of the great white THRONE!"
'I want to show him the book which you gave me," replied Ida, kneeling beside her, and again winding her arms round her waist; "I want him to understand the past, to know you as you are. It is due to him; he has a right to demand it; he can do justice neither to you nor to himself now. And how could you show yourself to him, either in a letter or in conversation? You could not, you know you could not; pride, shame, grief, everything would be against you. He would still see you disguised, masked, an involuntary counterfeit of what you are not. You would fulfil the letter of your duty only to violate its spirit."
Madeline rose impatiently. "Never!" cried she, "never! you ask what is impossible. I cannot do it; no woman could. What! appeal to his pity, lay bare the shrinking wounds of my heart; beg as an alms what he withheld as a gift. At this moment he believes me as indifferent to him as-as he was to me, and I would sooner slay myself than suffer him to think otherwise. Nay, if I believed that I were capable of betraying myself by a glance or a gesture, I would hide myself in the depths of the earth sooner than encounter him. I am still a woman, though a most erring one, and the last poor lingering virtue of shame is still left me. Oh, Ida!"
All Ida's courage and self-possession seemed to have returned. She fixed her clear, deep, loving eyes upon Madeline's face, all glowing as it was with unsubdued passion and bitterness of soul, and asked earnestly and timidly, "What is it that you mean to do then?"
There was so much excitement in her manner, that Ida was terrified and knew not how to answer her. In a moment she perceived this, and taking "I mean," replied her friend, vehemently," to Ida's head caressingly between her hands, as if | do right, much as it costs me. I mean to submit she were a little child, she said, tenderly kissing myself to-to-his will; to confess that I have her forehead, "Don't be frightened, darling; it done grievous wrong, to give up the disposal of is hard indeed that you should have aught to do my future life into his hands." with these troubles and sins, my own timid, tender bird! I am quite calm and composed; there is no fear of the fever returning-you must make allowances for me. Even you, little as you know of the wayward disobedience which makes duty "I shall say," answered Madeline, hastily, agony, must feel that it is hard for me now to do" that it was a fit of passion; a character so unright, and I know you pity me. But it should be disciplined and self-willed as mine then was is done at once, should it not? I must not lose capable of everything." time. I will go to him directly. Where is he?"
She rose as she spoke, but paused ere she moved towards the door. "Is his feeling all anger?" asked she, turning away her face.
And if," said Ida, still in the same soft, deprecating, peaceful tones, "if he asks you, as he surely will, what it was that led you to leave him, how will you answer the question?"
"Will that answer be true?" inquired Ida. "True! yes, was it not an act dictated by the wildest passion?"
"Will it be THE TRUTH?" reiterated Ida, her voice faltering with earnestness. There was a 'No; indeed I do not think so," replied Ida, long silence, which was at last broken by Madeeagerly; "of course he was amazed and agitated; line, who, dropping upon a chair, gave way to a of course he felt himself injured; but I do not sudden outburst of unconquerable tears. Her think he spoke with bitterness, and he repeatedly powers seemed to be mastered in a moment by said that no constraint should be put upon your the agony which had so long vainly struggled
against them, and she wept and sobbed like a
"It is useless-I CANNOT do it!"
"Indeed, you do not understand!” cried Ida. child. Poor Ida dared not speak, but weeping" You never have understood, and I believe you too, she repeatedly kissed her friend's hands; never will understand her. You have thrown that silent expression of mere love was the only away a treasure of true affection, and you would consolation she could offer. She listened eagerly not even stoop to pick it up when it lay at your for the first words, and at length they came abrupt, feet. Wrong as she may have been in the past, resolute, inexorable. if her husband had understood her, if he had loved her, if his thoughts had not been exclusively centred and entirely occupied in himself, she might have been now a happy, honored wife. The ruin of a heart, the wreck of a life is your work; at least the guilt is half yours. The wrong which you did her in making her believe that she was beloved, though less palpable and less definite, perhaps less capable of being sentenced, less sure to be avenged, was full as deep and far more irreparable than that which she
And Ida ceased to urge the impossible; not that she ceased to think it right, but she felt that she had gone as far as she could-as she ought. With undiminished tenderness she soothed the agitated Madeline, and again offered to go to Mr. Tyrrell, to speak for her, to do anything, everything she might to spare or to serve her.
"Tell him that I am ready to see him-nowdirectly, if he so pleases."
"Dearest Madeline, are you fit? have you afterwards did you." strength?"
She paused, breathless, and, as soon as she paused, felt ashamed of her impetuosity, and
"I am as strong as I shall ever be," replied Madeline, sharply, almost peevishly; nothing afraid of its result. There is no truer nor more
can hurt me so much as delay or remonstrance."
Ida was at the door in an instant; she would have paused to express her fear of having given unnecessary pain, to ask forgiveness; but she felt that it was not a time to think of herself, or to expect Madeline to think of her, so she was withdrawing quietly and quickly, when her friend's voice checked her in an accent whose very feebleness made it the more impressive," Ida !-stop -you are to do what you think right. Leave me -quick-and say nothing!"
The injunction could not be disobeyed, for there was a pale and awful anguish in the face of her who gave it, which it would have been profaneness to contemplate. Once again, however, she recalled the departing Ida, hurrying after her with a momentary strength, the result of vehement agitation, and saying, rapidly, "Tell him that I place myself entirely in his hands, and only supplicate that he does not ask to see me !" She turned and flung herself on her knees, almost on her face, prostrate upon the floor, while Ida, merely bowing her head, in token that she understood and would fulfil the request, went from her even as she had come to her trembling, tearful, and speechless. She hurried in search of Mr. Tyrrell, feeling as though half an hour's unnecessary delay would be guilt. She found him awaiting her in the vestibule, with a countenance from which hé vainly sought to banish the signs of anxiety and emotion. Silently she placed the volume in his hands; he looked wonderingly and inquiringly at her.
universal law of woman's nature than that which gives fire to the gentlest, and boldness to the most timid, in the cause, not of herself, but of her affections; but it is a fire whereat the very hand which kindles it, trembles in sudden amazement.
"I beg your pardon," said Ida, humbly. Mr. Tyrrell did not do as he ought; very few men do in difficult circumstances. He did not take Ida by the hand, and say warmly, "For what? for speaking the truth to me?" It was. perhaps, quite as much as could be expected of him that he felt something like this in his heart, and that he demonstrated it outwardly by smiling kindly at her, as if he quite forgave her. He looked as though the eloquent rebuke were a specimen of not unamiable childish petulance, and this manner of patronizing and indulging the truth gave some small inexplicable satisfaction to the Man in him; at least, I suppose it must have been so, because this is such a common masculine habit. The frank avowals, the stately candors, the noble self-forgettings which we meet with in books, are very seldom met with anywhere else. When they are, let us guard them jealously, for they are the jewels of life; they should be the zone of the heart in its secret retirement, for it would seem that the air of heaven, or the gaze of man, may tarnish the delicacy of their brightness. There is a kind of allowable, and even necessary churlishness, so to speak, in true affection; we like to keep our friends not only for, but to ourselves. But to return.
"And I am to read this!" said Tyrrell, musHe put the book in his pocket, and stood still, looking strangely and awkwardly. "Is she alone?" asked he at last.
"I was to give you this," faltered she, "and to say-that-that she will submit to your deter-ingly. mination in everything, but that she earnestly beseeches you" Ida hesitated.
"What?" exclaimed he quickly.
"She wished to be left alone," replied Ida;
"Not to insist upon seeing her," added Ida, in "I shall go to her in a little while; but just now a low, abashed voice. I think it is better for her-she is terribly "A true woman's submission," observed Mr. agitated." Tyrrell, bitterly. "She will do whatever I de- He was silent; then, with a courteous little mand, and then she restricts my demands to what-bow, which seemed almost grotesque, so suddenly ever she pleases. I understand perfectly." did it introduce the formalities of daily conven
tionalism into the presence of those powers and passions by which conventionalism is shattered into fragments-he left her. Ida sought her own room, and sat down to think-not of Madeline, but of herself.
yet did the last so shelter and embrace the first that condemnation was lost in pity. The Puritan spirit which brands the offences of others is as different for the Christian spirit which watches tremulously for its own, as darkness is from light. Innocence, like Him from whom she comes, is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; it is hers not only to suffer long and be kind, but to be strong and patient in belief, prodigal and inexhaustible in hope. Ida's heart said no hard words to her either of Madeline or of Godfrey. She was, however, still too young, too unused to the business of life, to be able thoroughly to realize to herself what had happened. It seemed to her a mournful and pathetic vision, which brightened as she gazed upon it. She thought how dear she must be to Godfrey, since he had chosen her as the depository of his secret, and then she wept bitter tears of self-reproach in remembering that she had given him pain instead of consolation. But if it was in her power to wound, it must be in her power also to heal, and this poor logic comforted her greatly. Only she felt impatient to apply the balm at once; to let Godfrey know, without an instant's delay, that he had mistaken mere surprise and unconsciousness for horror, and that she was still the sister whom he had chosen for himself. Her heart beat quick, she felt feverish and confused; it was the natural result of the agitations of the day, yet she was almost afraid of meeting Godfrey till she should have become a little more composed. Twice she rose, moved to the door, and twice returned to her seat, spreading her hands over her lovely, troubled face, and striving, by a strong effort of will and an earnest self-com
So rapidly had events crowded upon each other that not till now had she leisure of thought for reviewing her last strange and painful conversation with Godfrey. It was there in her mind as a thing suppressed, shut up, not to be looked at for the time, yet undoubtedly existing and importunately present. She had only thrust it a little below the surface, and the moment the actual pressure was withdrawn it arose, and she could not shun the encounter. She recalled his tone, his look, his gestures, and the intense reality of them all was terribly convincing. It seemed strange that they should be more impressive in memory than in actual occurrence, but so it was. She hated and despised herself for her slowness of perception; she accused herself of cruelty, of coldness, of idiocy. Alas! she was only guilty of innocence. It is wonderful how soon, the first shock being over, the mind accustoms itself to the contemplation of new and terrific forms; it is still more wonderful how soon the heart learns to veil, to disguise, to beautify them with fair excuses. Ida had received, almost unconsciously, the idea of the dark truth which lay in Godfrey's narration, and she was now far more occupied with condemning herself as pitiless than with thinking of him as criminal. Indeed, she consigned the crime to some far unseen hiding-place. She took it for granted before the beginning of the history, and she began with the misery and the repentance. How intelligible was now all that wayward vari-mendation to God, to subdue the tumult within. ableness, which had so often wounded her in him; how touching an aspect did the close union beween the brothers now assume! It was the seal of a perpetual pardon, ever besought, never withheld. She went through, in fancy, the life of both; identifying herself with the struggles, the pangs, the keen and silent sufferings of Godfrey, with that vivid force so natural to an imaginative heart when the subject under contemplation is a friend, too proud, too shy, or too self-governed to ask for sympathy. The undemanded, often unsuspected tenderness which we lavish upon the woes of such an one, is, by some strange yet precious perverseness of our nature, a thousandfold more liberal, more delicate, and more vigilant, than the compassion which is charmed from us by tears or wrung from us by entreaties. We create anew for ourselves each trial that he has undergone, and assert a partnership in all; and with an involuntary reserve, different from his own, and yet the counterpart of it, we delight in thinking that we feel far more for him than he suspects or would believe-more even than he would ever confess that he has felt for himself. In love, yet more than in charity, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Then she began once more to build for the future; a happy family-picture grew up before her eyes, a group of many well-known and well-loved figures. Hand-in-hand with Godfrey she sat at the feet of her father, whose presence was as the presence of an angel, sanctioning and consecrating their affection; kind, gentle aunt Ellinor looked tenderly upon them, and dear uncle John peeped smiling from behind a screen. Some one else, too, was looking at them; some one who said, in low and thankful voice, "Oh! how can I ever use these restored eyes, except in looking at faces so beautiful and so beloved?" A fairy's wand had done it-the fairy of youthful, hopeful fancy. Those visions of earthly happiness are very puzzling; so pure, so perfect are they, and yet so different from all we dare conceive of the happiness of heaven. seems strange that, in the greater number of human hearts, there should be faculties which find no occupation, cravings which obtain no answer, conceptions to which there is no responding reality throughout Eternity. True, they will be all absorbed in the loftier capacities of risen and purified humanity; yet does it seem mysterious that they should have been, so to speak, created only to
Ida was growing rapidly familiar with the face of evil; sin and sorrow had started up before her,
More than an hour glided away unperceived, and by degrees she began to feel the necessity of
exchanging her dreams for action.
She could so, as it were, by main force, the following
not yet quite resolve to encounter Godfrey, so she | words :— went in search of Frederick, to whom she always MY DARLING IDA,-When I parted from you felt that she could speak with far less restraint. She found him in the library alone; a rare, but well knew myself, namely, that I was affected by I would not pain you by telling you what I then just now a most fortunate occurrence. She felt embarrassed—she did not know how to begin the a disorder which is-I must not conceal it—of subject, nor how far she could let him know what dangerous though not of hopeless character. had happened, without giving him pain; she had wished to save my precious child the anxiety of a kind of persuasion that he knew of Godfrey's after which concealment becomes unkindness and these months of separation, but there is a point intended confession, yet she could not feel sure distrust; and that point is now reached. I have of this, and so she hesitated, and doubted whether confidence in your courage; I have faith that God to speak of it or not. She sat down by his side, will support you. I am myself quite calm, and 1 put her hand into his, and asked him, with forced feel sure that you will aid me in maintaining my playfulness, of what he was thinking? calmness; I know you are capable of such an effort. Come to me, then, my darling; I owe those who out of weakness were made strong, this confidence. Come to me, remembering remembering also whose strength it was that was It is vouchsafed to perfected in their weakness.
“Of you, dear Ida," was his immediate reply, but the words were uttered in a tone so full of
melancholy that she directly felt sure he knew all, and was secretly reproaching her.
us also to suffer somewhat for our Lord.
"O, Frederick!" she replied, her eyes overflowing with tears, "do not be angry with me! I did not mean the least unkindness. I was so astonished, so pained, so shocked that I really did and I shall at least have the happiness of watchnot understand—and so I—I—I do so want to being and wiping away such tears as you cannot help shedding. Mr. Tyrrell will tell you all the friends with Godfrey! Do tell me where I can find him." particulars, for I am not allowed to write at great length. God bless you. "With Godfrey !" answered Frederick. “I have not seen him since the morning. I was not thinking of him."
"But I am thinking of him," rejoined Ida, quickly.
“It would make him very happy to hear that. But, dear Ida, let us forget him for a few moments. I have been wanting to speak to you about
-are you listening to me?"
"Yes, dear Frederick, I will listen," cried she, summoning up her attention, which, to say the truth, was not a little inclined to wander. "Only, Godfrey"
"Nay," interposed he, "it is a very grave matter of which I have to speak. Dearest Ida, you have known but little sorrow, and if I could fix the course of your future life, it should all run through pleasant pastures and under sunshiny skies; but God knows what is good for you better than I do. And in His eyes it has seemed good that you should taste affliction. Nay, do not look
Your affectionate father,
PERCY LEE. hour which fol
Let us pass over in silence the lowed the reading of this letter. At its close Ida was ready and the carriage was at the door. she issued from her room, her face pale and haggard, her eyes full of that desolation which knows not the softness of tears, little Arthur ran to meet her, buoyant and, uproarious in his childish glee. "I am going to see poor sick Mrs. Chester," cried he; "papa sent me, and he says I am to be very gentle to her."
Ida passed on without heeding him, or even understanding the import of his words. Unused to aught but tenderness from her, the little fellow stood still, wondering and displeased; but, speedily forgetting his wrath in eagerness to visit his new acquaintance, he betook himself to the door of Mrs. Chester's bedroom.
On the stairs poor awkward Agnes joined her so terrified," (pressing her hand earnestly between" Ida," said she, in a thick, broken voice, "I am his own,) no irrevocable blow has been struck-going with you. Pray let me ; aunt Ellinor canno irreparable misfortune has befallen you-there not leave Frederick, and Mrs. Chester is ill, and is still hope." you must have a woman with you. I am quite "Papa!" said Ida, trembling violently. She ready; I will give you no trouble, and I will try could articulate no more. to be a comfort to you if I can."
"I have a note for you from him," replied A silent pressure of the hand was the only Frederick, speaking very gently and deliberately. reply, and the two cousins entered the carriage "He gave it to Mr. Tyrrell, who was charged to together. Ida did not notice that Alexander took communicate it in the first instance to Mrs. Ches-his seat upon the box; she was almost unconter, and afterwards, if necessary, to you. It is scious of uncle John's hearty embrace and falnow necessary, and the task has fallen upon me. tered blessing as she ascended the steps; she had God knows, Ida, every tear you shed seems not remembered to take leave of Madeline; she wrung from my own heart. What shall I say to had even forgotten Godfrey. comfort you?"
She took the letter from his hand without speaking, and read, compelling herself to do
She did not know, for it had been thought better not to reveal it to her as yet, the immediate cause of the summons she had received. It was
necessary that Mr. Lee should undergo a very and at such a time, should seek to separate his dangerous operation, which might possibly restore child from him. Yet, while he was determined him to health, but which, if it failed, would not to allow her presence during the trial, he greatly accelerate the termination of his sufferings. wished also, if possible, to keep the knowledge of He felt that it would, indeed, be a needless and it from her till it was over, only securing that he irreparable cruelty disguising itself in the shape should at least see her once more, and that she of kindness, which, under such circumstances, should be present to close his eyes.
From the Christian Advocate and Journal. We here allow our old friend to speak out his WHAT AMUSEMENTS ARE ADMISSIBLE. whole heart; and now will proceed to give him I SEE some of our good people writing in the
“ plain and flat-footed answers." First, we must Advocate on the subject of Methodist schools and inform our readers that the signature of our corretheatricals, and what is, and is not, innocent amuse- spondent is not his real name-so no one must ment; but none of them appear to me to be suffi- identify him with our excellent father Kent, of ciently plain and clear. I like, on all such matters, New England. for writers to be what we old folks sometimes call
To the first four questions, we answer, all plain and flat-footed, that all who read may understand ; and as it does seem to me that of late years wrong. To the fifth, we answer, not wrong when there does seem to be too much rope given, I circumstances make it expedient—we go for music thought I would ask you a few plain questions, to in its place. To the sixth, we answer, undoubte which I must insist on your giving equally as plainedly wrong. As to the seventh, we say, “ shooland flat-footed answers; and I will begin with the ing fire crackers” is mean business, and “ playing membership; and, 1. Is it wrong to go out and see the horses run? bad tendencies. In answer to the eighth question,
checkers,” &c., should be discouraged as having 2. If not, is it wrong to bet on them? 3. Is it right to go to theatres, and deal in lot- we say, we think skating an innocent and healthy tery tickets?
exercise for boys; but rather dangerous on thin ice. 4. Is it right to play at cards, even for amuse-We would not enjoin “ reading the Bible, or some ment?
other good book," as an amusement. It should 5. Is it right to purchase or play on any musical have its place, but should be considered a devoinstrument, from the accordeon up to the piano ortional, or at least a serious duty. To the ninth organ?
question, we answer, no—and this answers the 6. If it is, is it wrong to dance to the sound thereof?
tenth. 7. Is it right to suffer our children to be shoot
We were educated under the Puritanic regimen, ing their fire-crackers, playing checkers, dominoes, and not being very young, may be supposed, from and others of kin?
habit, strongly prepossessed against fashionable 8. Is it right to purchase skates, and go and follies. We are not, however, quite so rigid as amuse themselves on the ice, instead of doing it our friend Kent. We are not old enough to recolby reading the Bible, or some other good book ? 9. Is it right to go to balls, or to ball-yards— amused themselves in “ reading the Bible, or some
lect the time when the children of Methodists alleys ?
10. If so, is it wrong to partake of the amuse- other good book.” When a boy, we were indulged ments ?
in all sorts of innocent and healthy amusements, These amusements were once all cried down. and we have allowed our own children the same Has the rope stretched, or unwound? As to the latitude. While we must contend for the right ministry, I would fain hope they are not chargeable. and necessity of this course to the young, we have Would that I could also say it of the membership! Our fathers, where are they? Wesley, Asbury,
no fellowship for anything demoralizing, or having Whatcoat, Pickering, Everett, Sharp, and a host a tendency to debase the intellect or heart. of others, who cried all these things down? They are gone where we have got to follow them. Would Law of Storms.—Captain Handley, of the to God they had left their mantle, and more of Sultany, has recently most successfully tested the their spirit with us who are left behind. There is truth of the law which regards tropical iornadoes as a great want of money to fill the missionary treas-cyclones, or revolving masses of air travelling ury, Bible treasury, and provide for the worn-out along certain curved lines. The edge of the cypreachers. Well, I go in for all these things. clone referred to was thirty degrees, at least, froin But if those who purchase pianos, and other mu- Bombay, Calcutta, and Aden, and its effects were sical instruments, as well as skates, would put that felt at the distance of 2,000 miles. The course of money these things cost into the Lord's treasury, the ship Sultany was south-west, when, overtaken it would there do much good; and, instead of tri- by the storm, Captain Handley says, in his log, he fling away their time with those worse than foole- “ furled top-sails and fore-sails, and rounded the ries, if they spent it on their knecs, and reading ship to, with her head to the eastward, as I have some good books, it would certainly be much better every reason to believe I am on the edge of a for the church generally.
hurricane.” The storm passed onward to the southBut perhaps I am now doing wrong. I did not west ; and thus, by laying to, and steering to the intend to intimate any opinion. But to these ques- eastward, Captain Handley, no doubt, saved his tions you will do me the favor to give me a candid ship and 300 coolies on board. This triumph of
Kent. scientific observation cannot be too widely known. Dec. 27, 1849.