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LONDON [Vol. II]
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ELLEN AND KATHERINE.
we now to the farm-house of the Bennets near Hounslow — the
residence of Katherine Wilmot.
The morning was dry and beautiful — one of
those mornings which sometimes cheer us towards the end of January, and give us
a short foretaste of the approaching spring.
It was nine o'clock, when the door of the farm-house
opened, and two young females came forth to enjoy the fresh air of a charming
These were Ellen Monroe — (for by her maiden
name must we continue to call her, as she herself, maintained it for the
present) — and Katherine Wilmot.
Never had Ellen appeared more beautiful; nor Katherine
more sweetly interesting.
They had evidently been conversing on a subject which
gave them pleasure; and they were both intent on continuing the same delightful
topic during their walk.
The subject of that discourse had inspired Ellen with
emotions of pride, as well as of joy. She walked with a dignity and yet an
elegance of motion which denoted the vigour of that vital system which was so
highly developed in her voluptuous style of beauty. The generous and noble
feelings of the heart shone in the light of her deep blue eyes, and in the
animation of that countenance where the fair and red were so exquisitely
blended. They were indicated, too, by the expression of that short and somewhat
haughty upper lip which belonged to the classic regularity of her features, and
in the dilation of the rose-tinted nostrils.
Ellen was a finer and far lovelier creature than
Katherine; — but the latter was characterised by more of that tender
sensibility and touching interest which physiologists deem the development of
the intellectual system. The eyes were intensely expressive; and over her
features a soft, pale, and modest light seemed to be shed. Her figure was
delicate and slight, and contrasted strongly with that luxuriant expansion which
constituted the fine and not less symmetrical proportions of Ellen.
"I shall really experience deep regret to leave
your dwelling-place, dear Katherine," observed Ellen, as they entered a
hard and dry pathway leading through the fields; "for even at this season,
it possesses many attractions superior to the vicinity of a great city."
"In the warmer months it is a beautiful spot,"
returned Katherine. "But you will not leave me today? Consider — you
have only been here a few hours — "
"Since yesterday morning," exclaimed Ellen,
with a smile; "and in that time we have formed a friendship which may
never, I hope, be interrupted."
"Oh! never," said Katherine warmly. "It
was so kind of you to come and find me out in my seclusion — so
considerate to make me acquainted with all those wonderful events which have
occurred to my benefactor — "
"Nay — neither kind nor
considerate," again interrupted Ellen. "Richard's letter, dated from
the city of Abrantani on the 10th, and received by my father the day before
yesterday, enjoined him to send me to see you — to make your
acquaintance — to assure myself that you are well and happy — and
to communicate to you tidings which Richard feels will be welcome to all his
"Oh! welcome indeed!" exclaimed Katherine with
grateful enthusiasm. "How much do I owe to him — and how worthy
is he of that rank which has rewarded his grand deeds! Such a man could not long
remain a humble individual: his great talents — his noble
heart — his fine qualities were certain to elevate him above the
sphere in which he was born."
"And now will the name of Markham go down to
posterity," said Ellen, proudly: "and the glory which Richard has
thrown around it, will be to some degree shared by all who bear it. Oh! this was
prophesied to me but a little while ago; — and yet, then how
far was I from suspecting that the realisation of the prediction was so near at
hand, especially too, as that prediction was not uttered with any reference to
Richard — but to another, — that other alluding to
Katherine cast a glance of surprise towards her
companion, whose last words were unintelligible to her; and Ellen, apparently
recollecting herself, hastened to add, "But I was speaking of matters which
are yet unknown — yet strange to you. Think no more of my
observations on that topic. There are times when the soul is lost and bewildered
in the contemplation of the world's strange events and marvellous vicissitudes;
and such has often been the case with me during the last few days. It was on the
16th of January that we received the letter which imparted us the tidings of
Richard's first exploit — the capture of Estella. Oh! how sincerely
I prayed for his success — and yet I trembled for him! My father,
too, had some misgivings; but we endeavoured to reassure each other, mutually
concealing our fears. Two or three days afterwards we received the news of his
triumphant entry into Villabella; — another interval of a few days,
and we had a letter from him, giving us a brief account of the Battle of Piacere.
Our fears were almost entirely dissipated by the tidings of this glorious
achievement; and if any doubts yet lingered, they were completely dispelled by
the news of the great victory of Abrantani. Oh! how well has he earned that
coronet which now adorns his brow! — how well does that proud title
of Marquis become the great, the generous, amid the good!"
"Would that his struggles were over, and that the
civil war was put an end to in Castelcicala!" exclaimed Miss Wilmot — for
the news of the great victory beneath the walls of Montoni were yet unknown in
"I have no fears for the result," said Ellen.
"a conqueror has he hitherto been — and a conqueror will be
remain! Heaven itself prospers him in this undertaking: the wise dispensations
of Providence are apparent throughout his career in the Grand Duchy. Had the
first expedition, which landed at Ossore, succeeded, there were great
chiefs — Grachia and Morosino — who would have taken the
lead in the State. But the enterprise failed — and those patriots
were numbered with the slain. The idea of releasing from their captivity his
companions in that fatal affair, led Richard to the attack of Estella. He
succeeded — and he stood alone at the head of the movement. There
was not a chief amongst the patriots to dispute his title to that elevated
"Yes — the finger of heaven was
assuredly visible in all those circumstances which led to my bene-[-207-]factor's
greatness," remarked Katherine. "Methinks that when I see him again, I
shall be strangely embarrassed in his presence: — instead of
addressing him by the familiar name of Mr. Markham, my lips must tutor
themselves to breathe the formal words 'My Lord,' and 'Your Lordship;'
and — "
"Oh! you wrong our noble-hearted friend — our
mutual benefactor," interrupted Ellen. "Rank and distinction — wealth
and glory cannot change his heart: he will only esteem them as the
elements of an influence and of a power to do much good."
The young ladies paused in their conversation, because
two persons were approaching along the pathway.
A man muffled in a large cloak, and with a countenance
of cadaverous repulsiveness scowling above the collar, advanced first; and
behind him walked a female whose bowed form denoted the decrepitude of old age.
There was an interval of perhaps a dozen yards between them; for the woman was
unable to keep pace with the more impatient progress of the man.
"Is this the way, young ladies, to Farmer Bennet's?"
demanded the foremost individual, when he was within a few feet of Ellen and
"It is," replied Kate. "You may see time
roof appearing from the other side of yonder eminence. Mr. Bennet is not,
however, within at this moment: he has gone to a neighbouring village on
business, and will not return till two o'clock."
"Then you know Farmer Bennet!" exclaimed the
Resurrection Man — for he was the individual who had addressed the
But before Katherine could give any reply, an
exclamation of astonishment broke from the lips of Ellen, whose, eyes had just
recognised the countenance of the old hag.
"Well, Miss — do I have the pleasure of
meeting you once more?" said the detestable woman, with a leer
comprehensively significant in allusion to the past: then, as her eyes wandered
from Ellen's countenance to that of Katherine, she suddenly became strangely
excited, and exclaimed, "Ah! Miss Wilmot!"
"Is this Miss Wilmot?" demanded the
Resurrection Man, with an impatient glance towards Katherine, while he really
addressed himself to the old hag.
"My name is Wilmot," said Kate, in her soft
and somewhat timid tone. "Was it for me that your visit to time farm was
"Neither more nor less, Miss," answered the
Resurrection Man. "This person," he continued, indicating his horrible
companion, "has something important to say to you."
"Yes — and we must speak alone,
too," said the hag.
"No!" ejaculated Ellen, hastily and firmly
"that may not be. I am Miss Wilmot's friend — the friend, too,
of one in whom she places great confidence; and whatever you may have to
communicate to her cannot be a secret in respect to me."
And, as she uttered these words, she glanced
significantly at her young companion.
"Yes," said Kate, who understood the hint
conveyed in that look, although she was of course entirely ignorant of the
motives of Ellen's precaution "yes-whatever you may wish to communicate to
me must be told in the presence of my friend."
"But the business is a most delicate one,"
cried the Resurrection Man.
"Oh! I have no doubt of that," exclaimed
Ellen, with a contemptuous smile which the hag fully comprehended.
"Do you know this young lady?" asked the
Resurrection Man, in an under tone, of the old woman, while he rapidly indicated
"I know that young lady well," said the hag
aloud, and with a meaning glance: "I know you well — do I not,
"I am not disposed to deny the fact," replied
Ellen, coolly; "and I can assure you that my disposition is as resolute and
determined as you have always found it to be. Therefore, if you have aught to
communicate to Miss Wilmot, say it quickly or come with us to the farm, where
you will be more at your ease: but, remember, I do not quit this young lady
while you are with her."
"You will repent of this obstinacy, Miss-you will
repent of this obstinacy," muttered the hag.
"It may be so," said Ellen:
"nevertheless, menaces will not deter me from my purpose."
"If you thwart me, I can proclaim matters that you
would wish unrevealed," retorted the hag, but in a whisper apart to Ellen.
"Act as you please," exclaimed this young lady
aloud, and with a superb glance of contemptuous defiance. "Your
impertinence only convinces me the more profoundly of the prudence of my
resolution to remain with Miss Wilmot."
The hag made no reply: she knew not how to act.
Tidkins was not, however, equally embarrassed. He saw
that Ellen was acquainted with the old woman's character, and that she
entertained suspicions of a nature which threatened to mar the object of his
visit to that neighbourhood.
"Miss Monroe," he said, — "for
such, I learn, is your name, — I beg of you to allow my companion a
few moments' conversation with your young friend. They need not retire a dozen
yards from this spot; and your eye can remain upon them."
"No," returned Ellen, positively: "your
companion shall have no private conference with Miss Wilmot. Miss Wilmot's
affairs are no secret to me; — she has voluntarily made me
acquainted with her past history and her present condition — and she
cannot now wish me to remain a stranger to the object of your visit, however
delicate be the nature of that business."
"I am desirous that Miss Monroe should hear your
communications," added Kate.
"I will not speak to Miss Wilmot in the presence of
witnesses," said the old hag.
"Then we have nothing farther to prevent us from
returning to the farm immediately," exclaimed Ellen; and, taking
Katherine's arm, she turned away with a haughty inclination of her head.
"Neither need we remain here any longer, Mr Tidkins,"
said the hag.
"Tidkins!" repeated Ellen, with a convulsive
shudder — for the name reached her ear as she was leading her young
friend homeward: — "Tidkins!" she murmured, the blood
running cold in her veins; "my God! what new plot can now be
And she hurried Katherine along the path, as if a wild
beast were behind them.
"Do you know those people?" asked Miss Wilmot,
alarmed by her companion's tone and manner.
"Unfortunately," replied Ellen, in a low voice
[-208-] and with rapid utterance, — "unfortunately
I can attest that the woman whom we have just met, is the vilest of the vile;
and the mention of that man's name has revealed to me the presence of a wretch
capable of every atrocity — a villain whose crimes are of the
blackest dye-an assassin whose enmity to our benefactor Richard is as furious as
it is unwearied. Come, Katherine — come: hasten your steps; — we
shall not be in safety until we reach the farm."
And the two young ladies hurried rapidly along the path
towards the dwelling, every now and then casting timid glances behind them.
But the Resurrection Man and the old hag had not thought
it expedient to follow.
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