He ceased, and a solemn stillness reigned within the church. For a moment the young clergyman bowed his head in silent prayer upon his book, and then he raised his clasped hands on high, and, in a voice of almost unearthly sweetness and power, gave the parting benediction. The flush was observed to fade from his cheek, the lustre depart from his eye; he raised his hand languidly to his damp brow, and in another minute Mr. Hamilton darted from his seat, and received his son in his arms, in a long and deathlike swoon, That same evening beheld Herbert Hamilton, the beloved, the good, stretched on his couch a victim to the same fearful disease, to remove the sting of which he had so long and perseveringly laboured.
There was joy in the superb hotel at Frankfort-sur-Maine which served as the temporary residence of Lord St. Eval’s family, domestic joy, for the danger which had threatened the young Countess in her confinement had passed away, and she and her beautiful babe were doing as well as the fond heart of a father and husband could desire. They had been at Frankfort for the last two months, at which place, however, Percy Hamilton had not been stationary, taking advantage of this pause in St. Eval’s intended plans, by seeing as much of Germany as he could during that time; and short as it was, his energetic mind had derived more improvement and pleasure in the places he had visited, than many who had lingered over the same space of ground more than double the time. Intelligence that Caroline was not quite so well as her friends wished, aided perhaps by his secret desire to see again her gentle companion, Percy determined for a short time to return to Frankfort, till his sister’s health was perfectly restored, and they might be again enabled to travel together. His almost unexpected arrival added to the happiness of the young Earl’s domestic circle, and there was somewhat in his arch yet expressive glance, as he received his baby niece from the arms of Miss Manvers, and imprinted a light kiss on the infant’s sleeping features, that dyed her cheek with blushes, and bade her heart beat quick with an indefinable sense of pleasure.