“I do wrong to keep you up so long, Faith. You should be bright and well for an excursion I intend to take with you to-morrow. You will go with me, will you not?”
“I shall be delighted. The clear sky,” she added, walking to the window, “promises a fine day.”
“Upon how many new-made graves will to-morrow’s sun shine? I wish mine was one of them”
“O, do not say so. You will break my heart.”
“Not willingly. O! I do not pain you willingly. You were not born to suffer much pain. Living or dying, you will be a pure offering to your Maker, my daughter.”
“Father, how strangely you talk! You are ill.”
“As well as I shall be in this life. But do not be troubled. To-morrow will make a change.”
He was near the door when he uttered the last words; and now, as if not daring to trust himself in a longer conversation, he hastily opened it, and proceeded to his chamber. Faith followed his example, pondering sadly over the conversation. It did not escape her, that it was more incoherent than usual, but she had seen persons before under great religious distress of mind, whose peace was afterwards restored, and she doubted not that, in like manner, her father’s doubts would be solved, and his spirit calmed. With, her heart full of him, and her last thought a petition on his behalf, she fell asleep.
To which the gods must yield; and I obey,
Till I redeem it by some glorious way.
BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.
The next morning was beautiful, like most June mornings. Armstrong, who had not closed his eyes during the whole night, rose with the dawn to wander through his garden, which was a favorite resort. His walk, at first rapid and irregular, as if he were trying to work off a nervous excitement, gradually slackened, until it became a firm, composed step. With folded arms and compressed, resolved lips, he paced up and down the paths. He was living in an interior world. He heard not the singing of the birds, which, in great numbers, frequented the spacious gardens and orchards lying around; he saw not the beautiful flowers, burdening the air with sweetness; nor the young fruit, whose progress, through the various stages of its growth, he had once watched with so much pleasure. His mind went back to the time when he was a school-boy with his brother George; when they slept in the same bed, and associated in the same sports; it then advanced to their college days, and the face of the beautiful girl, who became his wife, flitted by him. He thought of that fair face now for many a long day, mouldering in the grave, into which he had seen the coffin lowered; then his thoughts reverted to his brother George, so brave, so generous, so strong once, but who presented himself to his vision now, a livid corpse, dripping with water. Next came his mother,