Page images
PDF
EPUB

22

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Here are old trees, tall oaks, and gnarled pines,

That stream with gray-green mosses; here the ground
Was never trenched by spade, and flowers spring up unsown,
And die ungathered.

But hark! What voice, as thunder loud,
Now shakes the wilderness profound?

BRYANT.

CRYSTALINA.

ill

MRS. THURSTON was so i that night, and seemed so dreadfully prostrated in the morning, that it was feared she could not survive the day. Caroline, absorbed in grief and anxiety, had scarcely thought of her promise to Avenard, and, when he appeared to claim it, she met him at the gate, and declared it impossible to leave her friend.

"You seem to have found very dear friends here, Miss Hay," said he, bitterly.

[ocr errors]

"So dear," she replied, "that I feel that I could almost lay down my own life to save that of the one I am now attending on her death-bed I fear though I have known her but for a few weeks." "It is new friends then who are so fortunate as to interest you! Perhaps the gentleman with whom I found you riding last evening was one of those happy beings whom you have not known long enough to despise !"

"On the contrary," said Caroline, "he is an old acquaintance, and a particular friend of my father's family."

."Oh! an old acquaintance and a family friend! very convenient relations, certainly! I presume you often claim his services as escort!"

"Mr. Avenard," said Caroline, with some touch of her natural spirit, though she was a little humbled by the consciousness that the gentleman had some right to complain, "I know not by what right you address yourself to me in this manner! I deny your claim to the slightest interference in my choice of society."

"Caroline!" he said, in a changed and mournful tone, "do not drive me quite mad. I am unhappy, -wretched, and to you at least I looked for sympathy and kindness! Do not trifle with my despair, but tell me when you will give me an opportunity to converse with you without interruption. I am about to leave the country."

Caroline was keenly touched by the change in his manner. Her eyes filled with tears, and she was on the point of promising an early meeting, when she was called anxiously from the house, and without an adieu to her companion, she was at the bedside of Mrs. Thurston in an instant.

Avenard waited as long as he decently could, and then, finding she did not return, he plunged into the wood, and hovered about within sight of

the cottage until he had seen Seymour dismount at the door and go in without ceremony.

[blocks in formation]

Seymour had found an excellent necessity for calling at Mr. Ellingham's. Finding a number of letters lying at the post-office for Mr. Thurston, he had judged it incumbent on him to ride over with them; and indeed, without this, he would have found it difficult to absent himself from a house where his services had been required daily for some time, and where he was always expected, and often waited for with anxiety.、

Mr. Thurston was pacing the little garden with rapid steps, endeavoring to regain his wonted calmness, after a night of watchfulness and great distress of mind. Mrs. Thurston was now sleeping quietly, and her physicians were awaiting with solicitude the result of her repose.

"Thou art very kind," said Mr. Thurston, as he took the letters from the hand of his young friend; and from his lips these words were not words of course. As he read his letters, his countenance exhibited surprise and emotion. When he had finished, he said to Seymour that he wished immediately to send one of those letters to Mr. Hay. Seymour of course offered to be the bearer, and Mr. Thurston said,

"It is like thee, for thou art kind. Tell friend

[ocr errors]

Hay, please, that I am somewhat afraid of seeming intrusive, yet I feel as if I ought not to conceal from him the intelligence contained in this letter. If I am mistaken, I trust he will excuse me."

And Seymour departed, having seen Caroline only for an instant in passing.

He was scarcely out of sight of Mr. Ellingham's when he was joined by Avenard.

"Have you seen Miss Hay this morning? asked the latter abruptly.

Seymour answered that he had just seen her, and he was vexed to think that, so indifferent as he was, he should have given these few words a flurried air. The sight of Avenard, he thought, seemed to cast a spell upon him.

"You seem to be a favored visitor!" said the stranger scornfully; "pray, may I ask by what right you intrude yourself upon Miss Hay at all hours?"

"When I know by what right you interfere with my movements," said Seymour in reply, “I may be disposed to answer such a question, not till then certainly."

"Quite cavalier! well, sir! if I should inform you that I consider myself accepted by Miss Hay, you will think perhaps "

"That is a matter with which I have no concern," said Seymour abruptly; "but my visits at Mr. Ellingham's have another object, and my visits to Miss Hay will be regulated by herself." And

[blocks in formation]

he quickened his horse's pace as if to escape further discussion of a point which seemed likely to lead to no pleasant results. Indeed the stranger seemed, by the disorder and impetuosity of his manner, to have a desire to pick a quarrel, which Seymour was determined to avoid if possible, though his Western blood had been stirred not a little, by the Newyorker's impertinent air.

Before he reached Mr. Hay's, however, Avenard was again at his side, seeming hurried, as if to follow had been a recent thought.

"You are on your way to Mr. Hay's, I presume," said he, more civilly than before. "I wish to call on him, and I will trouble you to introduce me, as I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with him. Miss Hay was not at liberty to leave her friend this morning."

Seymour bowed coldly, as if not well pleased with the office; but they presently found themselves at the gate.

Mr. Avenard was, as we have said, handsome and prepossessing; and though his manners lacked that quietness and retenue which bespeak a mind at ease, he pleased Mr. Hay exceedingly, and the old gentleman's scrutiny was by no means an indifferent one, since rumors of Caroline's "Newyork beau" had already reached his ears.

Seymour was ill at ease, and vexed with himself for being so; and he took the earliest opportunity to call Mr. Hay aside, to give him Mr. Thurston's

« PreviousContinue »