Mr. Hamilton was not satisfied, and, consequently, seeking an able solicitor, put the affair into his hands, and desired that he would use every means in his power to obtain the restoration of the papers. That Dupont had it in his power farther to injure the widow and child of the deceased he did not believe; he rather thought that his extreme desire to obtain them proceeded from a consciousness that they betrayed some of his own evil deeds, yet he could not feel easy till they were either regained, or he knew that they were destroyed. Mrs. Greville earnestly wished their recovery, for she feared they might, through the similarity of names, bring some evil on her son, towards whom her fond heart yet painfully yearned, though years had passed since she had seen, and many weary months since she had heard of him. Her fears on this head rendered both Mr. Hamilton and Percy still more active in their proceedings, and both determined on remaining at Paris even after Herbert and Mrs. Greville, with Mary, had left for England.
And what did Herbert feel as he looked on the fearful change in her he loved? Not yet did he think that she must die; that beaming eye, that radiant cheek, that soft, sweet smile—oh, could such things tell of death to him who loved? He held her to his heart, and only knew that he was blessed.
And Mary, she was happy; the past seemed as a dim and troubled vision; the smile of him she loved was ever near her, his low sweet voice was sounding in her ear. A calm had stolen over her, a holy soothing calm. She did not speak her thoughts to Herbert, for she saw that he still hoped on; they were together, and the present was enough. But silently she prayed that his mind might be so prepared, so chastened, that when his eyes were opened, the truth might not be so terrible to bear.
It was indeed a day of happiness that beheld the arrival of Mrs. Greville and Mary at Oakwood, unalloyed to them, but not so, alas! to those who received them. Mrs. Hamilton pressed the faded form of Mary to her heart, she kissed her repeatedly, but it was long before she could speak the words of greeting; she looked on her and on her son, and tears rose so thick and fast, she was compelled to turn away to hide them. Ellen alone retained her calmness. In the fond embrace that had passed between her and Mary, it is true her lip had quivered and her cheek had paled, but her agitation passed unnoticed.
“It was her voice, my Mary, that roused me to exertion, it was her representations that bade me not despair,” whispered Herbert, as he hung over Mary’s couch that evening, and perceived Ellen busily employed in arranging her pillows. “When, overwhelmed by the deep misery occasioned by your letter, I had no power to act, it was her ready thought that dictated to my father the course he so successfully pursued.” Mary pressed the hand of Ellen within both her own, and looked up gratefully in her face. A faint smile played round the orphan’s lips, but she made no observation in reply.