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was the 10th of July, 1843.
The bell upon the roof of Markham Place had just
proclaimed the hour of nine, and the morning was as bright and beautiful as the
cheerful sun, the cloudless sky, and the gentle breeze could render a
summer-day, — when a party of eight persons ascended the hill on
which stood the two trees.
Those emblems of the fraternal affection of early years
were green, verdant, and flourishing; and on the one which had been planted by
the hands of the long-lost brother, were the following inscriptions:-
Dec. 25, 1836.
May I7th, 1838.
March 6, 1841.
July lst, 1843.
This last inscription, as the reader will perceive, had
only been very recently added; and Richard regarded it as a promise-a pledge-a
solemn sign that the appointment would be kept.
It was nine o'clock in the evening when the parting
between the brothers took place in the year 1831; and, although it was
impossible to determine at what hour of the day on which the twelve years
expired, Eugene would return, nevertheless Richard, judging by his own anxiety
to clasp a brother in his arms, felt certain that this brother would not delay
the moment that was to re-unite them.
Accordingly, at nine o'clock on the morning of the 10th
of July, 1843, the Prince, repaired to the eminence on which he hoped — oh!
how fondly hoped — full soon to welcome the long-lost Eugene.
His seven companions were the Princess Isabella, Ellen,
Mr. Monroe, Katherine, Mario Bazzano, Eliza Sydney, and the faithful Whittingham.
Richard could not conceal a certain nervous suspense
under which he laboured; for although he felt assured of Eugene's appearance,
yet so long a period had elapsed since they had parted, and so many vicissitudes
might have occurred during the interval, that he trembled lest the meeting
should be characterised by circumstances which would give his brother pain.
The Princess Isabella, naturally anxious to become
acquainted with her brother-in-law, also looked forward to the return of the
long-lost one with emotions which enabled her to comprehend those that animated
her husband; and pressing his hand tenderly as they seated themselves on the
bench between the trees, she whispered, "Be of good cheer, Richard: your
brother will keep the appointment — and oh! what joy for us
On her side, Katherine was the prey to various
conflicting feelings, — anxiety to know a brother whom she had as
yet never seen — fear lest he should not come-and curiosity to be
convinced whether he were as amiable, as generous-hearted, and as deserving of
her sisterly love as Richard.
And Ellen — poor Ellen! — how
difficult for her was the task of concealing all the emotions which agitated her
bosom now! But she nevertheless derived much encouragement and hope from the
frequent looks of profound meaning which were directed towards her by Eliza
Bazzano endeavoured to soothe the anxiety of his beloved
Katherine; while Mr. Monroe and Whittingham shared to a considerable degree the
suspense which now animated them all.
It was about a quarter past nine o'clock, when Mr.
Greenwood halted by the road-side, at a spot which commanded a view of the
hill-top whereon stood the two trees.
He was on foot; and though he had so far recovered from
his recent accident as to exhibit only a very trifling lameness hi his gait,
still the short walk which he had taken from Islington to the immediate vicinity
of Markham Place, compelled him to pause and rest by the way-side.
He looked towards the hill, and could plainly
distinguish the number of persons who were stationed on that eminence.
A deadly pallor overspread his countenance; and tears
started from his eyes.
But in a few moments he exercised a violent effort over
his emotions, and exclaimed aloud, with a kind of desperate emphasis, "I
have promised her to go through the ordeal — and I must nerve
myself to do so! Ah! Ellen," he added, his voice suddenly changing to a
plaintive tone, "you have forced me to love you — you have
taught me to bless the affectionate care and solicitude of woman!"
This apostrophe to his wife seemed to arouse all the
better feelings of his soul; and without farther hesitation, he pursued his way
towards the hill.
In a few minutes he reached a point where the road took
a sudden turn to the right, thus running round all one side of the base of the
eminence, and passing by the mansion itself.
There he paused again; — for although the
party assembled on the hill were plainly perceived by him, he was yet unseen by
them — a hedge concealing him from their view.
"Oh! is the dread ordeal so near at hand?" he
exclaimed, with a temporary revival of bitterness of spirit. "Scarcely
separated from him by a distance of two hundred yards — a
distance so soon cleared — and yet — and yet — "
At that instant he caught sight of the figure of his
wife, who, having advanced a few paces in front [-420-]
of her companions, stood more conspicuously than they upon the brow of the hill.
"She anxiously awaits my coming!" he murmured
to himself. "Oh! why do I hesitate?"
And, as he spoke, he was about to emerge from the shade
of the high hedge which concealed him, — about to turn the angle of
the road, whereby he would immediately be perceived by those who stood on the
hill, — when his attention was suddenly called elsewhere.
"For, no sooner had the words-"Oh! why do I
hesitate?" issued from his lips, than a post-chaise, which was dashing
along the road towards London at a rapid rate, upset only a few paces from the
spot where he had paused to glance towards the hill.
One of the fore-wheels of the vehicle had come off; and
the chaise rolled over with a heavy crash.
The postillion instantly stopped his horses; while a
man — the only traveller whom the vehicle contained — emerged
from the door that was uppermost, and which he had contrived to open.
All this occurred so rapidly that the traveller stood in
the road a few instants after the upsetting of the chaise.
Greenwood drew near to inquire if he were hurt: but,
scarcely had his eyes caught a glimpse of that man's features, when he uttered a
cry of mingled rage and delight, and sprang towards him.
For that traveller was Lafleur!
"Villain!" cried Greenwood, seizing hold of
the Frenchman by the collar: "to you I owe all my misfortunes! Restore me
the wealth of which you vilely plundered me!"
"Unhand me," exclaimed the ex-valet; "or,
by heaven — "
"Wretch!" interrupted Greenwood: 'it is for me
Lafleur gnashed his teeth with rage, and endeavoured to
shake off his assailant with a sudden and desperate effort to hurl him to the
But Greenwood, weakened though he was by illness,
maintained his hold upon the Frenchman, and called for assistance.
The postillion knew not whose part to take, and
therefore remained neutral.
Lafleur's situation was most critical; but he was not
the man to yield without a desperate attempt to free himself.
Suddenly taking a pistol from his pocket, he aimed a
furious blow, with the butt-end of the weapon, at the head of Greenwood, whose
hat had fallen off in the struggle.
The blow descended with tremendous force: and in the
next moment Greenwood lay senseless on the road, while Lafleur darted away from
the spot with the speed of lightning.
For an instant the postillion hesitated whether to
pursue the fugitive or attend to the wounded man; but he almost immediately
decided in favour of the more humane course.
Upon examination he found that Greenwood's forehead had
received a terrible wound, from which the blood was streaming down his temples.
He was moreover quite senseless; and the postillion,
after binding the wound with a handkerchief, vainly endeavoured to recover him.
"Well, it won't do to let the poor gentleman die in
this way," said the man to himself; and, after an instant's reflection, he
remembered that Markham Place was close at hand.
Depositing Greenwood as comfortably as he could on the
cushions which he took from the chaise, he hastened to the mansion, and related
to the servants all that had occurred.
Without a moment's hesitation, well knowing that their
conduct would be approved of by their excellent master, — three
stout footmen hastened, with the means of forming a litter, to the spot where
the postillion had left Greenwood.
On their arrival they found that he had to some extent
recovered his senses; and a cordial, which one of the footmen poured down his
throat, completely revived him.
But, alas! he was aroused only to the fearful conviction
that he had received his death-blow; for that mysterious influence which
sometimes warns the soul of its approaching flight, was upon him!
"My good friends," he said, in a faint and
languid tone, "I have one request to make — the request of a
"Name it, sir," returned the senior footman;
"and command us as you will."
"I conjure you, then," exclaimed Greenwood,
speaking with more strength and animation than at first, — "I
conjure you to remove me on that litter which your kindness has prepared, to the
spot where your master, his family, and friends are now assembled. You hesitate!
Oh! grant me this request, I implore you — and the Prince will not
The servants were well aware of the motive which had
induced their master and his companions to repair to the hill-top thus early on
this particular day; and the urgent request of Greenwood now excited a sudden
suspicion in their minds.
But they did not express their thoughts: there was no
time to waste in question or comment-for the wounded gentleman, who had
proffered so earnest a prayer, was evidently in a dying state.
Exchanging significant glances, the servants placed
Greenwood upon the litter; and, aided by the postillion, set out with their
burden towards the hill.
The angle of the road was passed; and the party bearing
the wounded man, suddenly appeared to the view of those who were stationed on
"Merciful heaven!" exclaimed Richard, with a
shudder: "what can this mean?"
"Be not alarmed," said Ellen: "it can
have no reference to Eugene. Doubtless some poor creature has met with an
accident — "
"But my own servants are the bearers of that litter
which is approaching!" cried the Prince, now becoming painfully excited.
"A man is stretched upon it — his head is bandaged — he
lies motionless-Oh! what terrible fears oppress me!"
And as he uttered these words, Richard sank back almost
fainting upon the seat.
The gallant warrior, whose heart had never failed in the
thickest of the battle-whose courage was so dauntless when bullets were flying
round him like hail — and whose valour had given him a name amongst
the mightiest generals of the universe, — this man of a chivalrous
soul was subdued by the agonising alarm that had suddenly menaced all his fond
fraternal hopes with annihilation!
For so ominous — so sinister appeared to be
the approach of a litter at the very moment when he was anxiously awaiting the
presence of a long-lost brother, that his feelings experienced a revulsion as
painful as it was sudden.
And now for a few moments the strange spectacle [-421-]
of the litter was forgotten by those who crowded round our hero in alarm at the
change which had come over him.
Even Ellen turned away from the contemplation of that
mournful procession which was toiling up the hill; — for she had
seen Greenwood on the preceding evening — she had left him in good
health — she had raised his spirits by her kind attentions and her
loving language-and she did not for one moment apprehend that he could be
the almost lifeless occupant of that litter!
"Pardon me, sweet Isabella — pardon me,
dear Kate — and you also, my devoted-friends," said Richard, at
the expiration of a few minutes: "I am grieved to think that this weakness
on my part should have distressed you — and yet I cannot be
altogether ashamed of it!"
"Ashamed!" repeated Isabella, tenderly:
"Oh! no, Richard — that word can never be associated with act
or feeling on your part! For twelve years you have been separated from your
brother — that last inscription on his own tree promises his
return — and your generous heart is the prey of a suspense easily
aggravated by the slightest circumstance of apparent ill omen."
"You describe my feelings exactly, dearest
Isabel," said Markham, pressing with the tenderest warmth the band of his
lovely young wife.
"Because I know your heart so well," answered
the Princess, with a sweet smile.
"Let us not believe in omens of an evil
nature," said Katherine. "Some poor creature has met with an
accident — "
"But wherefore should the servants bring him
hither?" asked Richard.
This question produced a startling effect upon all who
heard it: and no wonder that it did so — for the consideration which
it involved had escaped all attention during the excitement of the last few
"Oh! heavens — now I am myself
alarmed!" whispered Ellen to Eliza Sydney. "And yet it is
foolish — "
At that moment the litter had approached so near the
brow of the hill, that as Ellen glanced towards it while she spoke, her eyes
obtained a full view of the countenance of him who lay stretched upon that
A piercing shriek burst from her lips; and she fell
back, as if suddenly shot through the heart, into the arms of Eliza Sydney.
Richard sprang forward: a few steps brought him close by
the litter, which the bearers now placed upon the ground beneath the foliage
of the very tree whereon the inscriptions were engraved!
One look — one look was sufficient!
"Eugene — my brother Eugene!"
exclaimed our hero, in a tone of the most intense anguish, as he cast himself on
his knees by the side of the litter, and threw his arms around the dying man.
"Oh! my God — is it thus that we meet? You are wounded, my
dearest brother: but we will save you — we will save you! Hasten for
a surgeon-delay not a moment — it is the life of my brother which is
"Your brother, Richard!" cried Isabella,
scarcely knowing what she said in that moment of intense excitement and profound
astonishment: "your brother, my beloved husband? Oh! no — there
is some dreadful mistake — for he whom you thus embrace is Mr.
George Montague Greenwood!"
"Montague — Greenwood!" ejaculated
Richard, starting as if an ice-bolt had suddenly entered his heart.
"No — no-impossible, Isabella! Tell me — Eugene — tell
me-you cannot be he of whom I have heard so much?"
"Yes, Richard — I am that
villain!" answered Eugene, turning his dying countenance in an imploring
manner towards his brother. "But do not desert me — do not
spurn me-do not even upbraid me now!"
"Never — never!" cried the Prince,
again embracing Eugene with passionate — almost frantic warmth.
"Upbraid you, my dearest brother! Oh no — no! Forget the past,
Eugene-let it be buried in oblivion. And look up, my dear-dear brother: they are
all kind faces which surround you! Here is Katherine — our sister,
Eugene-yes, our sister — "
"I am acquainted with all that concerns her,
Richard," said Eugene. "Come to my arms, Katherine — embrace
me, my sweet sister; — and say — can you also forgive a
brother who has done so much ill in the world, and whose name is covered with
"Speak not thus, my dearest Eugene!" cried
Kate, also falling on her knees by the side of her brother, and embracing him
"And you, too, Isabella — for you
also are my sister now," continued Eugene, extending his hand towards her:
"do you pardon him who once inflicted so much injury upon your
"You are my husband's brother — and you
are therefore mine, Eugene," answered the Princess, tears trickling down
her countenance. "None but affectionate relatives and kind friends now
surround you; and your restoration to health shall be our earnest care!"
"Alas! there is no hope of recovery! "murmured
"Yes — there is hope, my dearest
husband!" exclaimed Ellen, who, having regained her consciousness through
the kind attentions of Eliza Sydney, now flew to the litter.
"Your husband, Ellen!" cried Mr. Monroe and
Richard as it were in the same breath.
"Yes — Eugene is my husband — my
own, much-loved husband!" ejaculated Ellen: "and now you can divine
the cause which led to the maintenance of that secret until this day!"
"And you, Mr. Monroe," said Eugene, a
transient fire animating his eyes, as he clasped Ellen in his arms, "may be
proud of your daughter — you also, Richard, may glory in her as a
sister-for she has taught me to repent of my past errors — she has
led me to admire and worship the noble character of Woman! But our child,
Ellen — where is my boy — my darling Richard?"
"We will remove you into the house, Eugene,"
said his wife, bending over the litter with the tenderest solicitude; "and
there you shall embrace your boy!"
"No — no — leave me
here!" exclaimed her husband: "it is so sweet to lie beneath the
foliage of this tree which bears my own name, and reminds me of my youthful
days, — surrounded, too, by so many dear relatives and kind
"Amongst the latter of whom you must now reckon
me," said Eliza Sydney, approaching the couch, and extending her hand to
Eugene, who wrung it cordially. "Hush!" added Eliza, perceiv-[-422-]ing
that he was about to address her: "no reference to the past! All that is
unpleasant is forgotten: — a happy future is before us!"
"Admirable woman!" cried Eugene, overpowered
by so many manifestations of forgiveness, affection, and sympathy as he had
received within the last few minutes.
Mario Bazzano was then presented to his brother-in-law.
"May God bless your union with my sister!"
said Eugene, in a solemn tone. "For a long time I have known that I
possessed a sister — and much have I desired to see her. Richard, be
not angry with me when I inform you that I was in a room adjacent to that
apartment wherein the explanations relative to Katherine's birth, took place
between your self and the Marquis of Holmesford; — be not angry with
me, I say, that I did not discover myself and rush into your arms, — but
I was then the victim of an insatiable ambition! Do not interrupt me-I have much
to say. Let some one hasten to fetch my child; and do you all gather round me,
to hear my last words!"
" Your last words!" shrieked Ellen: "Oh!
no — you must recover!"
Yes — with care and attention, dearest
Eugene," said Richard, his eyes dimmed with tears, "you shall be
restored to us."
Katherine and Isabella also wept abundantly.
A servant had already departed to fetch a surgeon: a
second was now despatched to the house for the little Richard and the young
It was at length Whittingham's turn to go forward; and,
whimpering like a child, he pressed Eugene's hand warmly in his own. The old man
was unable to speak — his voice was choked with emotion; but Eugene
recognised him, and acknowledged his faithful attachment with a few kind words
which only increased the butler's grief.
"Listen to me for a few minutes, my dearest
relatives — my kindest friends," said Eugene, after a brief
pause. "I feel that I am dying — I have met my fate at the
hands of the villanous Lafleur who plundered me more than two years and a half
ago, and whom I encountered ere now in my way hither. Alas! I have pursued a
strange career a career of selfishness and crime, sacrificing every
consideration and every individual to my own purposes — raising at
one time a colossal fortune upon the ruin of thousands! I was long buoyed up by
the hope of making myself a great name in the world, alike famous for wealth and
rank, — that I might convince you, my brother, how a man of talent
could carve out his way without friends, and without capital at the beginning!
But, alas! I have for some months been convinced — thanks to the
affectionate reasoning of that angel Ellen, and to the contemplation of your
example, Richard, even from a distance-that talent will not maintain prosperity
for ever, unless it be allied to virtue! And let me observe, Richard — as
God is my witness! — that with all my selfishness I never sought to
injure you! When you were ruined by the speculations of Allen, I knew not that
it was your wealth of which I was plundering him: I had not the
least suspicion that Mr. Monroe was even acquainted with that man! The truth was
revealed to me one day at the dwelling of Isabella's parents: and heaven knows
how deeply I felt the villany of my conduct, which had robbed you! Do not
interrupt me-I conjure you to allow me to proceed! Many and many a time did I
yearn to hasten to your assistance when misfortune first overtook you,
Richard: — but, no-the appointment had been made for a certain
day — and I even felt a secret pleasure to think that you might
probably be reduced to the lowest state of penury, from which in one moment,
when that day should come, I might elevate you to an enjoyment of the half of my
fortune! But that I have ever loved you, Richard, those inscriptions on the tree
will prove; and, moreover, I once penetrated into the home of our
forefathers — the study-window was not fastened — I
effected an entrance — I sought your chamber-I saw you sleeping in
your bed — "
"Oh! then it was not a dream!" exclaimed
Richard. "Dearest Eugene, say no more-we require no explanations — no
apology for the past! Here is your child, Eugene — and mine also:
your son and your little nephew are by your side!"
Eugene raised himself, by Ellen's aid, upon the litter,
and embraced the two children with the most unfeigned tenderness.
For a few moments he gazed earnestly upon their innocent
countenances: then, yielding to a sudden impulse, as the incidents of his own
career swept through his memory, he exclaimed, "God grant that they prove
more worthy of the name of Markham than I!"
Richard and Ellen implored him not to give way to bitter
reflections for the past.
"Alas! such counsel is offered as vainly as it is
kindly meant!" murmured Eugene. "My life has been tainted with many
misdeeds — and not the least was my black infamy towards that
excellent man, who afterwards became your friend, Richard — I mean
"He forgave you — he forgave you,
Eugene! — exclaimed time Prince.
"Ellen has informed me that you have in your
possession a paper which he gave you on his deathbed — "
"Amid which is to be opened this day," added
Then, drawing forth the document, he broke the seal.
A letter fell upon the ground.
"Read it," said Eugene: "all that
concerns you is deeply interesting to me."
The Prince complied with his brother's request, and read
the letter aloud. Its contents were as follow:-
"I have studied human nature to little purpose, and
contemplated the phases of the human character with small avail, if I err in the
prediction which I am now about to record.
"Richard, you will become a great man — as
you are now a good one.
"Should necessity compel you to open this document
at any time previously to the 10th of July, 1843, receive the fortune to which
it refers as an encouragement to persevere in honourable pursuits. But should
you not read these words until the day named, my hope and belief are that you
will be placed, by your own exertions far beyond the want of that sum, which, in
either case, is bequeathed to you as a testimonial or my sincerest regard and
"Signor Viviani, banker at Pinalla, in the State of
Castelcicala, or his agents, Messrs. Glyn and Co., bankers, London, will pay
over to you, on presentation of this letter, the sum of seventy-five thousand
pounds, with all interest, simple and compound, accruing thereto since the month
of July. 1839, at which period I placed that amount in the hands of Signor
[-423-] "One word
more, my dear young friend. Should you ever encounter an individual who speaks
ill of the memory of Thomas Armstrong, say to him, 'He forgave his enemies!'
And should you ever meet one who has injured me, say to him, 'In the name of
Thomas Armstrong, I forgive you!
"Be happy, my dear young friend — be
It would be impossible to describe the emotions awakened
in the breast of all those who heard the contents of this letter.
"Now, my dearest brother," exclaimed Richard,
after a brief pause, "in the name of Thomas Armstrong, you are forgiven
the injury which you did to him!"
"Thank you, dear brother, for that assurance: it
relieves my mind of a heavy load! And, Richard," continued Eugene, in a
voice tremulous with emotions and faint with the ebb of life's spirit,
"the, prediction is verified — you are a great man! The world
is filled with the glory of your name — and you are as good as you
are great! The appointment has been kept: — but how! We meet beneath
the foliage of the two trees — you as the heir apparent to a
throne — I as a ruined profligate!"
"No — no!" exclaimed the Prince;
"you shall live to be rich and prosperous — "
Eugene smiled faintly.
"Merciful heavens! he is dying!" ejaculated
And it was so!
Terrible was the anguish of those by whom he was
Mr. Wentworth, the surgeon, appeared at this crisis; but
his attentions were ministered in vain.
Eugene's eyes grew dim — still he continued
sensible; and he knew that his last moments were approaching.
Richard — Ellen — Katherine-Eliza
Sydney — the two children — Mario Bazzano — Isabella — Mr.
Monroe — and the faithful Whittingham, — all wept
bitterly, as the surgeon shook his head in despair!
"My husband — my dearest husband!"
screamed Ellen, wildly: "look upon me — look upon your
child — Oh! my God — this day that was to have been so
Eugene essayed to speak — but could not: and
that was his last mortal effort.
In another moment his spirit had fled for ever!
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