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vacant stare on the countenance of the unfeeling speaker. And yet the man was but outwardly hardened by his hateful occupation. His heart was not insensible to the speechless horror of that harrowing gaze. His own eyes fell beneath it, and in softened tones of almost compassionate gentleness, he proceeded to explain, that in the execution of his duty, he must be permitted to make strict search over the cottage, and its adjacent premises, in some part of which it was naturally suspected the offender might have taken refuge, with the hope of remaining concealed till the first heat of pursuit was over. As he spoke, Andrew Cleaves gradually recovered from the first effects of that tremendous shock. His features relaxed from their unnatural rigidity, and by a mighty effort, subduing the convulsive tremor which succeeded for a moment, he regained almost his accustomed aspect of stern composure, and in low, but steady voice, calmly demanded for what infraction of the laws his son had become amenable to justice, The appalling truth was soon communicated. In the course of the past night, the counting house of Messrs. had been entered by means of skeleton keys-access to the cash drawer, the strong box, and other depositories of valuables, had been obtained by similar instruments, and considerable property, in notes, gold, and plate, abstracted by the burglars, who had escaped with their booty, and as yet no traces of their route had been discovered. Then came the dreadful climax, and the officer's voice was less firm as he spoke it, though every softened accent fell like an ice-ball on the father's heart-His son-his only child -his own Josiah, had been the planner-the chief perpetrator of the deed. A chain of circumstances already elicited-evidence irrefragable-left no shadow of uncertainty as to his guilt, and the measure of it; and though he was known to have had accomplices, perhaps to have been the tool of more experienced
villainy, his situation of trust in Messrs.s' firm, and the advantage he had taken of it in the perpetration of the robbery, deserv edly marked him out as the principal offender, after whom the myrmidons of justice were hottest iu pursuit. The miserable parent listened in silence to the officer's brief and not aggravated communication. He heard all in silence, with a steady brow, and a compressed lip, but with looks rooted to the ground, and when all was told, bowing down his head, he waved his hand with dignified submission, and calmly articulating, "It is enough, do your duty," seated himself in his old elbow-chair, from whence he stirred not, and neither by word, look, or gesture, gave further token of concern in what was going forward, while the ineffectual search was proceeding. When it was over, and the officers (after a few well-meant but unheeded words of attempted comfort) left him alone with his misery, he was heard to arise and close the cottage door, making it fast within with bar and bolt; and from that hour, no mortal being beheld Andrew Cleaves, till, on the third day from that on which his great sorrow had fallen upon him, he was seen slowly walking up the High Street of C, with an aspect as composed as usual, though its characteristic sternness was softened to a milder seriousness, as if the correcting hand of God had affixed that changed expression, and his tall athletic form, hitherto upright as the cedar, bent earthward with visible feebleness, as though, since he trode that pavement last, ten added years had bowed him nearer to the grave. His calamity was generally known, and as generally commiserated; for even those whose contracted hearts, and mean tempers, had taken unchristian delight in mortifying the pharisaical and parental pride of a man so arrogant in his prosperity, now that the hand of the Lord lay heavily on him, were affected by the sacredness of a sorrow, for which there was no balm in human sympathy, and were awed
by the quiet dignity of his silent resignation. As he passed on, many a hat was touched with silent respect, whose wearer he was personally unacquainted with, and many hands were extended to his, by persons who had never in their lives before accosted him with that kindly greeting.
To those who addressed him with a few words of cordial but unavailing concern and sympathy, he replied without impatience, but with a brief and simple acknowledgment, or a lowly uttered" God's will be done;" and withdrawing himself as soon as possible, from the cruel kindness of his comforters, he betook himself with all the undiminished energy of his uncommon character to transact the business which had urged him forth into the haunts of men, in the first nakedness of his affliction. To satisfy the demands of tradespeople and other inhabitants of C, who had claims on his unhappy son, was his first concern, as it had been his intention before the last stroke of ruin; and that done, he repaired to the bankinghouse of Messrs. -, and having ascertained the actual loss those gentlemen had sustained by the late robbery; and setting aside even their own admission, that others had assisted in the perpetration, and partaken of the booty with his unhappy boy; he proceeded with unwavering inflexibility of purpose, to make over to them, without reservation or condition, the entire sum of his longaccumulating wealth, of which their house had been the faithful depository; and the first faint sensation of relief which enlightened the heart of the afflicted father, was that when he received into his hands, not an acquittance of his son's criminal abstraction, from which he well knew Messrs. could not legally absolve him, but an acknowledgment of such and such monies paid into the establishment, as due to it on account of his son Josiah. That payment reimbursed the firm within a trifle of their actual loss, and the
deficiency was made good to them in a fortnight, by the sale of a few acres of Andrew's paternal farm-the little patrimony he had tilled and cultivated with the sweat of his brow, in the natural and honest hope of transmitting it entire and unalienable to his descendants, though destined, in his fond anticipation, to form but an inconsiderable portion of the worldly wealth to which he aspired for his young Josiah. The greater part of the land in the occupation of Andrew Cleaves, was held on renewable leases, a term whereof expiring about the time of his great calamity, he resigned the whole into his landlord's hands.
The concern, though considerable, had hitherto been but the healthful and salutary occupation of his hale and vigorous age, and its annual bringings in were still added to the previous hoard, for him who was to inherit all. But that great stimulus was gone forever. For whom should he now toil?-for whom should he accumulate? For whom-to what, look forward? "To Heaven,” was the fervent response of his own heart, when the desolate old man thus mused within himself, but with earth what more had he to do?"Sweet are the lessons of adversity." His elder sin—his abstract covetousness -was dead within him. The few paternal acres with which he had begun the world, would more than furnish a sufficiency for his contracted wants, and even afford a surplus to reserve for future exigencies; and in calculating those, he thought far less of his own desolate old age, than of the wretched exile, whose cry might come from afar to the ear of his forsaken parent, should disease and misery come upon him, and the associates of his guilt leave him to perish in his helplessness. It was a miserable hope, but still it was hope, and it lent the old man energy and strength to ply his rural labours, in the r own contracted space, with almost undiminished activity.
Weeks slipped away,-weeksmonths-a year-four years. Four
years had come and gone since the day that left Andrew Cleaves a worse than childless father, the forlorn tenant of his paternal cottage, which, with its appendencies of barn, ou buildings, and a few fields, was all that then remained to him of his previous prosperity.
Four years had passed since then, and the old man still lived. The same roof still sheltered him,-the same small garden still yielded its produce to his laborious hands. But that small dwelling, and that poor patch of ground, and its adjoining slip of pasturage, a crazy cart, one cow, and one old horse,-(the favourite grey colt, now white with age,)-these were all the possessions that Andrew Cleaves could now call his own in the wide world. A cry had come from afar,—the appeal of guilt and misery,-and it came not unheeded. Again and again the father's heart was wrung, and his straitened means were drained to the uttermost, to supply the necessities, or, alas! the fraudulent cravings of the miserable supplicaut. And now and then professions of contrition, and promises of reform, served to keep up the parent's hope; and old and impoverished as he was, he would have taken up his staff and travelled uncounted leagues, to have thrown himself upon the outcast's neck, and received into his own bosom the tears of the repentant prodigal. But under various pretences, the wretched youth still evaded all propositions of this nature, though his communications became more frequent-more apparently unreserved,-more regular and plausible, and at last came such as, while he read them, blinded the old man's eyes with tears of gratitude and joy. It was an artfully constructed tale. The eloquence of an itinerant preacher had touched the stony heart. Then came the hour of conversion-of regeneration -of justification-of peace unspeakable! Pious friends had rejoiced over their converted brother had associated him in their labours,-deeming him a fit instrument to convince
others, himself a shining testimony of the power of grace,-and then points of worldly consideration were cautiously introduced. For him there was no safety in his native land. But other lands offered a refuge-a decent maintenance-above all, a spiritual harvest,—and thither, by many unquestionable tokens, he felt himself called, to labour in the vineyard. A little band of elect Christians were about to embark themselves and families for a distant mission. To them he was, as it were, constrained in spirit to join himself,-and then came the pith and marrow of the whole-the point to which these hypocritica details had tended-to his kind parent, his forgiving father, he looked for the pecuniary assistance necessary to fit him out for a long voyage and distant establishment. And there were references given to "Reverend gentlemen," and "serious Christians ;" and letters confirming Josiah's statement were actually addressed to Andrew Cleaves by more than one pious enthusiast, blessed with more zeal than discretion, whose credulity had been imposed on by the pretended convert. This well-concerted story was but too successful. All lurking doubts were discarded from Andrew's mind, when he succeeded in ascertaining that the letters addressed to him were actually written by the persons whose names were affixed as signatures. "Now may I depart in peace," was the old man's inward ejaculation, as, full of joyful gratitude, he despoiled himself of nearly his last earthly possessions, to forward what he believed the brightening prospects of his repentant child. The reversion of his cottage and garden and the small close, was promptly-and without one selfish pang-disposed of to a fair bidder, and an order for the sum it sold for as quickly transmitted to the unworthy expectant, together with a multifarious assortment of such articles as the deceived parent, in his simplici ty of heart, fondly imagined might contribute to the comfort and conve
had lately proceeded to an audacious extent in C and its vicinity; and that two houses had lately been broken open, under circumstances that evidenced the skilful practice of experienced thieves. The painful warning came not to an incredulous ear. That of the unhappy father was but too well prepared for the worst that might betide. But this vague perception of impending calamity-this indefinite anticipation of something near and terrible—was, of all his painful experiences, the most difficult to endure with christian equanimity. For many days and nights after he heard that frightful Day after day, the now comforted rumour, Andrew Cleaves knew not but anxious father, expected the an hour of peaceful thought, nor one coming letter of filial acknowledg- of quiet slumber. However employment. Day after day, procrastinated,-in his cottage-in his garden,— ing the tasks on which depended his if a passing cloud but cast a momenwhole subsistence, he was at C-tary shadow, he started from his task, by the hour of the mail's arrival, and and looked fearfully abroad for the evening after evening he returned to feet of those who might be swift to his solitary home, his frugal, alas! bring evil tidings. And in the sihis now scanty meal, sick at heart lence of night, and during the unrest with "Hope deferred," yet devising of his thorny pillow, the stirring of a plausible pretences for retaining the leaf-the creaking of the old vine blissful illusion. But at length its stems-the rustling of the martin on fading hues were utterly effaced-no her nest under the eaves-sounded word--no letter—no communication to his distempered fancy like steps, came; silence, chilling, withering, and whispers, and murmuring voices. deathlike silence held on its palsying And once, when the night-hawk course, and once more divested of dashed against his casement in her all earthly hope, Andrew Cleaves eccentric circles, he started from his leant wholly for support on the staff bed with the sudden thought (it came which faileth not in direst extremity. like lightning) "was it possible that But the fiery trial had not reached its he-the guilty one-the wretchedclimax. The gold was yet to be the forsaken, might have stolen near, more thoroughly refined, yea, proved under the shadow of night, to gaze to the uttermost. like the first outcast Cain, on the tents of peace, from which he was for ever exiled ?'—" Oh! not from hence -not from his father's roof!" was the old man's unconscious murmur, as, under the influence of that agitating thought, he flung open the cottage door, aud stept out into the quiet garden. There was no sign nor sound of mortal intrusion. No foot-print on the dewy herb-bed beneath the casement, betraying its pressure by the exhalation of 'unwonted fragrance. The old horse was grazing quietly in his small pas
nience of the departing exile. A few good books were slipt into the package, and Josiah's own Bible and prayer book were not forgotten. Involuntarily the old man pausedas he was carefully enfolding the former in its green baize cover; involuntarily he paused a moment, and almost unconsciously opened the sacred volume, and on the few words written on the fly leaf 19 years before by his own hand, his eyes dwelt intently till the sight became obscured, and a large drop falling on the simple inscription, startled the venerabie writer from his fond abstrac
Three months had elapsed since the last day of Andrew's shortlived gladness, when a rumour reached him which had been for some time current at C; that his unhappy son had been seen in the neighbourhood, and recognised by more than one person, in spite of the real and artificial change which had taken place in his appearance; that he had been observed in company with suspected characters, some of whom were believed to be connected with a gang of horsestealers, whose depredations
ture. The garden gate close latched, and no objects visible on the common to which it opened, but the dark low pyramids of furze, distinct in the cloudless starlight. And soon that feverish fancy passed away from the old man's mind, as the balmy air played round his throbbing temples, and he inhaled the wafting of that thymy common, and listened to the natural tones of midnight's diapason, and gazed fixedly on the dark blue heaven, and its starry myriads,
"For ever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine.' "
Ten days had dragged on heavily, since Andrew Cleaves's mournful tranquillity had been thus utterly overthrown. During all that time he had not ventured beyond his own little territory. The weekly journey to C——————, with his cart-load of rural merchandize, (the produce of his garden and his dairy,) had been relinquished, though its precarious sale now furnished his sole means of subsistence. But towards the end of the second week, finding himself unmolested by fresh rumours, or corroborations, he began to take hope that the whispers of his son's re-appearance in the neighbourhood might have arisen on vague suspicion, or the slight ground of fancied or accidental resemblance. So reasoning with himself, the old man shook off, as far as in him lay, the influence of those paralysing apprehensions, and his morbid reluctance to re-enter the busy streets of C- where he felt as if destined to encounter some fresh and overwhelming misfortune. But though Andrew Cleaves's iron nerves and powerful mind had been thus enfeebled, by his late trial of torturing suspeuse, he was not one to encourage vague forebodings, or give way to pusillanimous weakness; so, girding up his loios for renewed exertions, he loaded his little cart with its accustomed freight, and, as cheerfully as might be, set off for C market. By the time he reached it, bodily exercise and mental exertion, co-operating with change of scene and variety of objects, had, in a great
measure, restored to him his usual firmness and self-possession, and he transacted his business clearly and prosperously-provided himself with such few articles of home consumption as he had been accustomed weekly to take back from C―, and once more set his face homeward, inwardly blessing God that he was permitted to return in peace.
As he turned the corner of Market Street, into that where stood the Court-house, in which the Magistrates were holding their weekly meeting, his progress was impeded by an unusual crowd, which thronged the doors of the building, with an appearance of uncommon excitation. Andrew was, however, slowly making way through the concourse, when two or three persons observed, and recognised him—and suddenly a whisper ran through the crowd, and a strange hush succeeded, and all eyes were directed towards him, as the people pressed back, as though, in sympathetic concert, to leave free passage for his humble vehicle. But the old man, instead of profiting by their spontaneous courtesy, unconsciously tightened his rems, and gazed about him with troubled and bewildered looks. Iu a moment he felt himself the object of general observation, and then his eyes wandered instinctively to the Court-house doors, from whence confused sounds proceeded, and at that moment one or two persons from within spoke with the eager listeners on the steps
and the words" Prisoner' and "committed," smiote upon Andrew's ear, and the whole flashed upon him. As if struck by an electric shock, he started up, and, leaping upon the pavement with all the agility of youthful vigour, would have dashed into the Justice Hall, but for a firm and friendly grasp which forcibly withheld him. Wildly striking down the detaining hand, he was rushing forward, when himself and all those about the doors were suddenly forced back, by a posse of constables and others descending the Court-house steps, and clearing the way for those