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have been seen on the Ruthersholm road, tearing along like a madman. He was just approaching the town, when an open car passed him quickly; but not ere he had recognised his Jessie seated in it, and by her side a constable. She saw him too, for her head, which had been raised for a second, sank down again on her bosom in an agony of grief and shame. Robin threw himself down by the roadside. The sound of the wheels died away in the distance. It seemed that his heart must burst with the misery, too big to find any ordinary vent. He remained thus for an hour, motionless and speechless; then suddenly starting up, strode as if frenzied towards Todlaw Mains. Arrived thither, he began to search, as if more than life depended on his labours, in the field which Jessie had indicated, for the gold brooch.

He had many companions in his enterprise; even Mrs Young herself joined the party. She said she would willingly give every ornament in her possession to find the missing brooch. And it was found at last, and by herself, sunk in the earth by the side of a large stone.

That night Mrs Young's own conveyance waited at the door of Prison for Helen Gray. As soon as the latter arrived at Todlaw Mains, Mrs Young assembled the whole household, and publicly acknowledged her innocence, apologising for the treatment she had received. In the evening, by appointment, Helen met Robin Rae, who, since the brooch was found, had become somewhat calmer. The result of this interview was, that Robin wrote to Jessie the following morning.

The unhappy girl, although she did not for a moment repent that she had done justice to Helen, had spent the whole night in weeping. Everything terrified and shocked her in her new situation. She prayed that, if it were God's will, her miserable life might be shortened. O how she longed through that long night for the sound of a kind voice-for one word of consolation and forgiveness! She was lying sunk and exhausted when Robin's letter was brought to her. Her eyes were so swollen with the tears she had shed, and so dim with those which still continued to flow, that it was with difficulty she read:

'MY JESSIE, MY AIN JESSIE-I dinna say ye have not sinned, for that wad not be true; but ye have repented. If I hae onything to forgie, I forgie ye; and O Jessie! forgie me for the hard, unchristian words that hindered ye frae telling me yer troubles. May God forgie us baith, my Jessie! I will not come to see ye where ye are, for I ken ye weel, Jessie, and that ye wadna like me to see ye there. But the gold brooch is found; and when ye are free aince mair, the first face ye shall see shall be that o' your ain ROBIN.'

Jessie wept different tears over this letter from those she had shed in the night; but she resolved not the less firmly that her lover should never share her disgrace. 'No,' she said to herself,

nae ane shall e'er hae't to say o' Robin Rae, that his wife was a thief.'

Slowly the weary weeks wore away to the poor prisoner; but sad though the time was, it was not profitless. Morally, her principles became clearer and stronger, and her spirit more resolute and more peaceful. She felt now that she should be able to endure the public trial with composure. During this period, she saw no one but her mother and Helen. Whether she ever convinced the former of the guilt of her conduct, still remains doubtful. There is nothing more certain, than that the continued indulgence of evil inclinations, whether in trifles or in greater things, blinds the understanding to a perception of their wickedness.

At last the dread day of trial arrived. Jessie pleaded guilty at once, and her counsel made a speech in extenuation of her conduct. The court was disposed to be lenient; Jessie's story, and her appearance, which was full of humility and ingenuous shame, having created an interest in her favour. She was sentenced to six weeks in Bridewell. Robin preferred an earnest request to see her before she was removed; but she positively refused. 'No,' she said to Helen, who was Robin's messenger-no, Helen. I can ne'er be the wife o' Robin Rae; and I wunna make it mair hard on myself by seeing him now. Tell him I pray for him nicht and morning, but I will never see him mair.'

Jessie's residence in Bridewell was not so miserable as she had feared it might have been. Her industry and good conduct gained the approbation of the superintendent, and attracted the notice of the lady-visitors. One of the latter, more especially, was so much interested in her, that she offered, on her being set free, to procure her a situation; but Jessie had already been offered one. Mrs Young, by way of making amends, in some measure, to Helen Gray, had promised to grant any request the latter should make. The generous and grateful Helen at once asked her to take back Jessie Gibson into her service, after the latter should be liberated from prison. I will answer for it with my life,' said Helen, 'that Jessie will never take a pin again that is not her own; and it is the best, if not the only way to restore her character.'

'But do you not think it will be an encouragement to vice, Helen?' asked Mrs Young, with whom the formerly disliked Helen was now a prime favourite. Mrs Young was a woman who neither felt nor acted by halves. Conscious of her former prejudice against poor Helen, and her consequent injustice, a complete revolution had taken place in her feelings. Further intercourse, too, with the object of her former distrust, had made her aware that the mind of the latter was much more highly cultivated than is common in her station. She now treated Helen rather as a friend than as a servant, and frequently consulted her on subjects beyond the limited sphere of the situation she held in the household.

On the present occasion, Helen said, in reply to her patroness: 'No, ma'am, I do not think it would be an encouragement to vice. If I thought so, I would not ask you even for the sake of the person who saved my own life. Jessie has been punished very severely, both in the eyes of the world and in what she has suffered in her own heart. Don't you think, ma'am, it might be an encouragement to repentance, to shew it is possible to regain a character after having lost it? O ma'am, I know by what I have sometimes felt myself, that it is hard, hard to be honest when one is starving and disgraced, as poor Jessie must be if no one will have compassion on her and give her a chance.'

Mrs Young said no more, but only signified her intention of complying with Helen's request. The latter went herself to communicate the good news to Jessie.

Jessie was at first much distressed at the idea of returning to the scene of her disgrace; but she herself, as well as her friend, the lady-visitor, perceived at once the advantage it would be to her character; and with heartfelt gratitude to Mrs Young and Helen, she accepted the offer.

At last the day of her liberation arrived. Jessie's heart, though touched with a sensation of that joy which a restoration to freedom naturally bestows, was full of emotion at parting with her kind prison-friends, while a feeling of shame pressed heavily on her spirit as she thought of those she should meet without the walls, and of the cold, strange looks she must encounter on every side. Helen Gray came to take her away at the appointed hour.

The prison was a little out of the town. It was a pleasant autumn day, cheerful and sunny, with the yellow corn waving in the fresh breeze, and the reapers talking merrily, as they cut it down with their glittering sickles. As Jessie stood once more beneath the broad free sky, and gazed on the trees and the harvestfields, the face of nature seemed more friendly than the face of man. She would fain not have been obliged to go through the town. She had only proceeded a few steps when she met Robin Rae-instantly she covered her face with her hands; but he drew them asunder, and with gentle force placed one of them within his own arm. 'I ha' come to take ye hame, Jessie,' he said hoarsely. 'No, no,' she answered quickly, her face becoming crimson with shame and distress; 'ye maunna be seen wi' the like o' me!' But Robin persevered, and Helen took his part. 'Jessie,' she said, 'I am sure you mean to be an honest woman all the rest of your life.'

"O yes, yes!' sobbed the poor girl, turning away her head to avoid meeting Robin's eye.

"Then Robin is right, Jessie. You need not be ashamed to accept his kindness, knowing that as he knows it too.'

I pass over Jessie's return: even supported by the presence of Helen and Robin it was terrible without them, she felt it must

have been unbearable. At first, Mrs Young treated Jessie very coldly and severely: she trusted her with nothing, and locked cupboards and chests before her face, as if to shew her she had no confidence in her. This treatment was very trying to poor Jessie; but she bore it meekly, for she felt it was only what she deserved. By degrees, however, her mistress relented, as she observed the sincerity of her repentance. Jessie was trusted once more with the keys, and was placed almost on the same footing of confidence as Helen.

About the end of a year, Robin renewed his addresses; but for many months Jessie would not listen to them. She didna deserve sic happiness. Robin's wife should ne'er be pointed at wi' the finger of shame.' But at last, when she became convinced, by the persuasions of all, that Robin could be happy in no other way, she consented, but with the humble protest: 'She didna deserve sic happiness.'

And to the present hour, when occasion offers, she continues to express the same opinion.





ERHAPS there is no name in the annals of notable women so suggestive of agreeable ideas as that of Madame de Sévigné. We read of many who, endowed with a higher heroism than hers, have won for themselves a deathless reputation-of women of much more brilliant genius, who have left us sayings of wit and wisdom with which our enriched minds will never grow unfamiliar; and of acts of deeper and far sterner devotedness in the noble army of the martyrs,' the recollections of which will help to exalt the souls and revive the sinking courage of sufferers who are yet unborn. All such records have, no doubt, their high and important uses. They are as the thews and sinews by the strength of which Progress is enabled to push aside the great impeding obstacles which beset her path. But it is not by strength alone that she moves in beauty and harmony, without haste or rest. Life, to be really life, must be cheered and sweetened, as well as sustained and braced. For several virtues have we loved several women;' and to take our heroine for all in all, we aver that in no one woman will be found so rare a combination of the lovable with the respectable, of sense with sensibility, of earnestness of mind with the most charming gaiety of temperament; so nice a balance, in short, of all the qualities which seem best to fit their happy possessor for the full enjoyment at once of the earth to which we belong, and of the heaven to which we aspire. Of the whole bright sisterhood, therefore, no one who has lived within the last two hundred years commends herself so heartily to our good-will and affection as this gay and amiable Frenchwoman. The most delightful of letter-writers, the most tender and devoted of mothers, and the kindest of friends, she was the ornament of a brilliant and corrupt court, all the bad elements of which, though she often ventured to play with them-even to use them as helps and incitements to her wit and vivacity-her bon naturel or healthy moral nature enabled her to throw from her, when she felt them dangerous to virtue, as easily, almost as unconsciously, as the sea-bird from his wing the water-drops which would impede his upward flight.

In these days of multiplied and lengthy biographies, it seems strange to think of the difficulty there is to find any authentic details of the early days of one who, in her inseparable character

No. 4.


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