The penitent wife of Captain Hunsden did not long survive to enjoy her new home. Two weeks after their arrival she lay upon her death-bed. Nothing could save her. She had been doomed for months—life gave way when the excitement that had buoyed her up was gone.
By night and day Harriet watched by her bedside, and the repentant Magdalen’s last hours were the most blessed she had ever known.
“I do not deserve to die like this,” she said. “Oh, my darling, your love makes my death-bed very sweet!”
They laid her in Greenwood, and once more Harriet’s desolation seemed renewed.
“I am doomed to lose all I love,” she thought, despairingly—“father, husband, mother—all!”
She drooped day by day, despite the tenderest care. No smile ever lighted her pale face, no happy light ever shone from the mournful dark eyes.
“Her heart is broken,” said Uncle Hugh; “she will die by inches before our very eyes!”
And Uncle Hugh’s prediction might have been fulfilled had not a new excitement arisen to stimulate her to renewed life and send her back to England.
MR. PARMALEE TURNS UP TRUMPS.
Mr. G. W. Parmalee went down to Dobbsville, Maine, and reposed again in the bosom of his family. He went to work on the paternal acres for awhile, gave that up in disgust, set up once more a picture-gallery, and took the portraits of the ladies and gentlemen of Dobbsville at fifty cents a head.
Mr. Parmalee was fast becoming a misanthrope. His speculation had failed, his love was lost; nothing lay before him but a long and dreary existence spent in immortalizing in tin-types the belles and beaus of Dobbsville.
Sometimes a fit of penitence overtook him when his thoughts reverted to the desolate young creature, worse than widowed, dragging out life in New York.
“I’d ought to tell her,” Mr. Parmalee thought. “It ain’t right to let her keep on thinking that her husband murdered her. But then it goes awfully against a feller’s grain to peach on the girl he meant to marry. Still——”
The remorseful reflection haunted him, do what he would. He took to dreaming of the young baronet, too. Once he saw him in his shroud, lying dead on the stone terrace, and at sight of him the corpse had risen up, ghastly in its grave clothes, and, pointing one quivering finger at him, said, in an awful voice:
“G. W. Parmalee, it is you who have done this!”
And Mr. Parmalee had started up in bed, the cold sweat standing on his brow like a shower of pease.
“I won’t stand this, by thunder!” thought the artist next morning, in a fit of desperation. “I’ll write up to New York this very day and tell her all, so help me Bob!”
But “l’homme propose”—you know the proverb. Squire Brown, who lived half a mile off, and had never heard of Harriet in his life, altered Mr. Parmalee’s plans.