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IN the evening Ellen retired early to her apartment, for she felt very unwell
; and certain sensations which she had experienced during the day had alarmed
A short time after she had withdrawn to the security of her
own chamber, the faithful and kindhearted Marian made her appearance.
"This is very good of you, Marian," said Ellen.
"I never felt the want of some one to talk to and console, so much as I do
"You look very pale and ill, Miss," observed the
servant: "had you not better retire to rest?"
"Yes," said Ellen. "I wish to struggle against
a sense of weariness and oppression which comes over me; and I cannot."
"Heavens, Miss! - If anything was to happen to you
"It cannot be that, Marian; but I feel very, very ill."
Marian aided Miss Monroe to divest herself of her garments; and the young
lady retired to her couch.
"How do you feel now, Miss ?"
"Alas! I am not better, good Marian. I feel - I feel "
"My God, Miss! you are about to become a mother this very night. Oh!
what is to be dome? what is to be done?"
"Save me, save me, Marian - do not suffer me to be exposed!" cried Ellen
"Why did I not speak to you before last night? We might have made some
arrangement - invented some plan : but now - now it is impossible!"
"Do not say it is impossible, Marian - do not take away every remaining
hope - for I am wretched, very wretched."
"Poor young lady !" said Marian, advancing towards the bed, and taking
"It is not for myself that I care so much," continued the unhappy girl;
"it is for my poor father. It would break his heart - oh! it would break
"And he is a good, kind old gentleman," observed
"And he has tasted already so deeply of the [-238-]
bitter cup of adversity," said Ellen, "that a blow like
this would send him to his grave. I know him so well - he would never survive my
dishonour. He has loved me so tenderly - he has taken such pride in me, it would
kill him! Do you hear, Marian? - it would kill him. Ah! you weep - you weep for
me, kind Marian!"
"Yes, Miss: I would do anything I could to serve you.
But now - it is too late "
"Say not that it is too late!
ejaculated Ellen distractedly: "say not that all chance of avoiding
exposure has fled! take compassion on me, Marian; take compassion on my poor old
father! .Ah! these pains "
"Tell me how I can serve you, Miss "
"Alas! I cannot concentrate my ideas, Marian; I am
bewildered - I am reduced to despair! Oh! if men only knew what bitter, bitter
anguish they entail upon poor woman, when they sacrifice her to their desires "
"Do not make yourself miserable, dear young lady,"
interrupted Marian, whose eyes were dimmed with tears. "Something must be
done! How do you feel now?"
"I cannot explain my sensations. My mental pangs are so
great that they almost absorb my bodily sufferings; and yet, it seems as if the
latter were increasing every moment."
"There can be no doubt of it, Miss," said Marian.
"Do you know that when I heard this morning of Mr. Markham's intended
departure for France it struck me at the moment that Providence interfered in
your behalf. I do not know why such an idea should have come across me; for I
could not foresee that you would be so soon overtaken with "
"I feel that I am getting worse, Marian; can nothing be
done? must my poor father know all? Oh! think of his grey hairs - his wrinkles!
Think how he loves me - his only child! Alas! can nothing be done to save me from
disgrace? How shall I ever be able to meet Mr. Markham again? Ah! Marian, you
would not desert me in such a moment as this?"
"No, dear young lady - not for worlds!"
"Thank you, Marian! And yet forgive me if I say again, do not
desert me - do not expose me! Oh! let me die rather than have my shame made
known. Think, Marian - do you not know of any means of screening me?"
"I am bewildered," exclaimed the poor woman. "How do
you feel now?"
"My fears augment, that "
"Ah! it is premature, you see, Miss! What is to be done?
what shall we do?"
"Marian, I beseech you - I implore you not to expose me
!" said Ellen, in a tone of such intense agony, that the good-hearted woman
was touched to the very soul.
A sudden idea seemed to strike her.
"I know a young surgeon in the village - who is just
married, and has only set up in business a few weeks - he is very poor - and he does
not know where I am now in service."
"Do anything you choose, Marian - follow the dictates of
your own mind - but do not expose me! Oh! my God! what misery - what misery is this!"
"Yes," continued Madam, musing, "there is no other
resource. But, Miss," she added, turning towards the suffering girl, "if I
can save you from exposure, you must part with your child, should it be born
"I am in your hands: save me from exposure - for my poor
old father's sake! This is all I ask."
"This, then," said Madam, "is the only alternative; there is nothing else to be done! And perhaps even he
will not consent "
"To whom do you allude?" demanded Ellen impatiently.
"To the young surgeon of whom I spoke But I must try: at
events his assistance must be had Miss, my plan is too long to tell you now: do
you think it is sate to leave you alone for three quarters of an hour?"
"Oh! yes - if it be for my benefit, kind - good
Ellen. "But I must not be exposed - even to the surgeon!"
"The room must then be quite dark," observed Madam.
"Do you mind that?"
Ellen shook her head.
"Then, take courage, Miss - and I think I can promise -
we shall see."
The servant then hastily extinguished the lights and left the
She hurried up to her own chamber, took from her box a purse
containing forty sovereigns - all her little savings, put on her bonnet and shawl,
concealed her face with a thick black veil, and then stole carefully down
All was quiet; and she left the house by the back door.
* * * * *
In three quarters of an hour two persons advanced together up
the garden at the back of the house.
One was a woman; and she led a man, whose eyes were
blindfolded with a black handkerchief.
"Your hand trembles," said Marian - for she was the female
"No," answered the surgeon. "But one word - ere I
"Speak - do not delay."
"You gave me forty pounds for this night's work. What
guarantee do you offer me that the child - should it survive - will not be left on
my hands, altogether unprovided for?"
"Trust to paternal affection, sir," answered
"I can promise you that the child will not even remain long with you."
"Well, I will venture it," said the surgeon. "Your
money will save me from being compelled to shut up my establishment after an unsuccessful struggle of only a few weeks; and I ought not to ask too many
"And you remember your solemn promise, sir, not to
attempt to obtain any clue to the place to which I am conducting you."
"On my honour as a man - on my solemn word as a gentleman."
"Enough, sir. Let us proceed."
Marian let the surgeon onward, and admitted him into the
house by the back door.
All was still quiet.
We have said on a previous occasion that the mansion was a
spacious one. Ellen's apartment was far removed from that on which her father
slept; and the rooms occupied by Whittingham and Holford were on the uppermost
storey. There consequently existed little chance of disturbing any one.
Marian led the surgeon very cautiously up the staircase to
Ellen's chamber, which they entered as noiselessly as possible.
Upon advancing into the room, which was quite dark, the
surgeon struck against a chest of drawers, and uttered a slight ejaculation of
pain; but not loud enough to reach the ears of those from whom it was necessary
to conceal this nocturnal proceeding.
[-239-] Ellen was in the pangs of maternity when
Marian and the
surgeon came to her assistance; and in a few moments after their arrival, she
was the mother of a boy.
Oh! who can express her feelings when the gentle cry of the
child fell upon her ears - that child from whom she was to part in a few minutes,
perhaps for ever?
* * * * *
Half an hour afterwards Marian and the surgeon were again
threading the garden ;- but this time their steps led them away from the house.
Beneath her thick shawl, carefully wrapped up, the servant
carried Ellen's child.
She conducted the surgeon to within a short distance of his
own abode, placed the child in his arms, and hurried rapidly away.
She returned to the Place, and ascended to Ellen's chamber
without disturbing the other inmates.
"Ah! Marian," said Ellen, "how can I ever sufficiently
thank you for your kindness of this night?"
"Silence, my dear young lady. Do not mention it! You
must keep yourself very tranquil and quiet; and in the morning I must say that you are too unwell to rise."
"And that surgeon "
"I know what you would ask, Miss," interrupted Madam.
"All is safe and secret - the bandage was never raised from the surgeon's
eyes from the moment he left his own house until he was far away from here
again; nor did he once catch a glimpse of my face, for when I first went to
explain the business to him and engage his assistance, he came down from his
bed-chamber and spoke to me in the passage where it was quite dark. Moreover,
I had taken my thick black veil with me by way of precaution. Therefore, he can
never know me again."
"But the means of securing his assistance? how did you
contrive that, Marian?"
"Well, Miss, if you must know," said the servant, after
some hesitation, "I had saved up forty pounds "
"And you gave him all!" exclaimed Ellen "Oh! this
was truly noble! However - I shall know how to repay you fourfold."
"We will speak of that another time, Miss," answered
Marian. "You must now endeavour to obtain some sleep;- and I shall sit with
you all night."
"Tell me one thing, Mariam," said Ellen, with tears in her
eyes ; - "the child "
"Will be well taken care of, Miss. Do not alarm yourself
about that. And now you must try and obtain some repose."
In a few moments the young mother was overtaken by a profound
sleep - the first she had enjoyed for many, many weeks. But even this slumber was
not attended by dreams of unmixed pleasure: the thoughts of her child - her
new-born child, entrusted to the care of strangers, and severed from the
maternal bosom - followed her in her visions.
She awoke, considerably refreshed, at about seven o'clock in
The faithful Marian was still watching by her side, and had
prepared her some refreshment, of which Ellen partook.
The young mother then asked for writing materials; and, in
spite of the remonstrances of Marian, sate up in her bed, and wrote a letter.
When she had sealed and addressed it, she spoke in the
I have now one favour to ask you. You have already given me such proofs of friendship and
fidelity, that I need not implore you to observe the strictest secresy with
respect to the request that I am about to make. At the same time, I shall feel
more happy if you will promise me, that under any circumstances - whether my shame
remain concealed, or not - you will never disclose, without my consent, the name
of the person to whom this letter is addressed, and to whom you must carry it as
speedily as possible."
"You know, Miss, that I will do anything I can to make
you happy. Your secret is safe in my keeping."
"Thank you, Marian! My father would curse me - Mr. Markham
would scorn me, did they know that I held communication with this man;" -
and she showed the address upon the letter to Marian.
"Mr. Greenwood!" exclaimed the servant. "Ah! now I
recollect - Whittingham has told me that he is the person who ruined your poor
father, and robbed Mr. Markham of nearly all his property."
"And yet, Marian," said Ellen, "that man -
Mr. Greenwood, who reduced my poor father to beggary, and plundered Mr. Markham
- that very same individual is the father of my child!"
"Ah Miss, now I understand how impossible it was for you to
reveal your condition to your father, or to Mr. Markham. The blow would have
been too severe upon both!"
"Yea, Marian - Mr. Greenwood is the father of my child;
and more than that - he is - but no matter," said Ellen, suddenly checking herself.
"You now know my secret, Madam; and you will never reveal it?"
Miss, I promise you most solemnly."
"And you will take this letter to him to-day - and you
will wait for his reply."
"I will go this afternoon, Miss; and will obey your
wishes in every way."
"And now, Marian, hasten to tell my father that I am
unwell; and resist any desire on his part to obtain medical assistance."
"Leave that to me, Miss. You already appear so much
better that the old gentleman will easily be induced to suppose that a little
rest is all you require."
"Ah! Marian - how can I ever reward you for all your
goodness towards me?"
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