The boy seemed for some time irresolute but at length he clasped her in his arms, and, again, said, in a vehement burst of tenderness:
“No, father, my heart is resolved, I will never leave her. It will kill me, it will lay me in an early grave, and you will have no son to look upon.”
“But you will see the heroic example that Jane will set you,” said Mr. Sinclair, “she will shame you into firmness, for she will now take leave of you at once; and see then if you love her as you say you do, whether you will not respect her so far as to follow her example. Jane, bid Charles farewell.”
This was, perhaps, pressing her strength too far; at all events, the injunction came so unexpectedly, that a pause followed it, and they waited with painful expectation to see what she would do. For upwards of a minute she sat silent, and her lips moved as if she were communing with herself. At length she rose up, and stooping down kissed her lover’s cheek, then, taking his hand as before between hers, she said in a voice astonishingly calm.
“Charles, farewell—remember that I am your Jane Sinclair. Alas!” she added, “I am weak and feeble—help me out of the room.” Both her parents assisted her to leave it, but, on reaching the door, she drew back involuntarily, on hearing Osborne’s struggles to detain her.
“Papa,” she said, with a look inexpressibly wobegone and suppliant—“Mamma!” “Sweet child, what is it?” said both. “Let me take one last look of him—it will be the last—but not—I—I trust, the last act of my duty to you both.”
She turned round and gazed upon him for some time—her features, as she looked, dilated into an expression of delight.
“Is he not,” said she, in a low placid whisper, while her smiling eye still rested upon him—“is he not beautiful? Oh! yes, he is beautiful—he is beautiful.”
“He is, darling—he is,” said both—“come away now—be only a good firm girl and all will soon be well.”
“Very, very beautiful,” said she, in a low contented voice, as without any further wish to remain, she accompanied her parents to another room.
Such was their leaving-taking—thus did they separate. Did they ever meet!
In the history of the affections we know that circumstances sometimes occur, where duty and inclination maintain a conflict so nicely balanced so as to render it judicious not to exact a fulfillment of the former, lest by deranging the structure of our moral feelings, we render the mind either insensible to their existence, or incapable of regulating them. This observation applies only to those subordinate positions of life which involve no great principle of conduct, and violate no cardinal point of human duty. We ought neither to do evil nor suffer evil to be done, where our authority can prevent it, in order that good may follow. But in matters where our own will creates the offence,