“Yes, yes,” said she, “I often think of that—I’ll try mamma—I’ll try.”
Saying which, she took Charles’s arm, and the young persons all went out together.
Jane’s place, that evening, was by Osborne’s side, as it had been with something like a faint clinging of terror during the whole day. She spoke little, and might be said rather to respond to all he uttered, than to sustain a part in the dialogue. Her distress was assuredly deep, but they knew not then, nor by any means suspected how fearful was its character in the remote and hidden depths of her soul. She sat with Osborne’s right hand between hers, and scarcely for a moment ever took her sparkling eyes off his countenance. Many times was she observed to mutter to herself, and her lips frequently moved as if she had been speaking, but no words were uttered, nor any sense of her distress expressed. Once, only, in the course of the evening, were they startled into a hush of terror and dismay, by a single short laugh, uttered so loud and wildly, that a pause followed it, and, as if with one consentaneous movement, they all assembled about her. Their appearance, however, seemed to bring her to herself, for with her left hand she wafted them away, saying, “Leave us—leave us—this is a day of sorrow to us—the day will end, but when, when, alas, will the sorrow? Papa, some of us will need your prayers now—the sunshine of Jane’s life is over—I am the Fawn of Springvale no more—my time with the holy and affectionate flock of whom I was and am an unworthy one, will be short—I may be with you a day, as it were, the next is come and Jane is gone for ever.”
“Father,” said Osborne, “I shall not go;” and as he spoke he pressed her to his bosom—“I will never leave her.”
The boy’s tears fell rapidly upon her pale cheeks, and on feeling them she looked up and smiled.
The sobbings of the family were loud, and bitter were the tears which the tender position of the young and beautiful pair wrung from the eyes that looked upon them. “Your health, my boy,” said his father, “my beautiful and only boy, render it necessary that you should go. It is but for a time, Jane dear, my daughter, my boy’s beloved, it is only for a time—let him leave you for a little, and he will return confirmed in health and knowledge, and worthy my dear, dear girl, to be yours for ever.”
“My daughter,” said Mr. Sinclair, “was once good and obedient, and she will now do whatever is her own papa’s wish.”
“Name it, papa, name it,” said she, still smiling.
“Suffer Charles to go, my darling—and do not—oh! do not take his departure so much to heart.”
“Charles, you must go,” said she. “It is the wish of your own father and of mine—but above all, it is the wish of your own—you cannot, you must not gainsay him. What we can prosper which is founded on disobedience or deceit? You know the words you once loved so well to repeat—I will repeat them now—you must, you will not surely refuse the request of your own Jane Sinclair.”