Edward Barnett; a Neglected Child of South Carolina, Who Rose to Be a Peer of Great Britain,—and the Stormy Life of His Grandfather, Captain Williams eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about Edward Barnett; a Neglected Child of South Carolina, Who Rose to Be a Peer of Great Britain,and the Stormy Life of His Grandfather, Captain Williams.
to hold the last communication on earth with him to whom the treasure of her young love had been given.  Joy at once more beholding her father mingled in painful intensity with her heart’s desolation when she contemplated the fearful position of her lover; and to her father’s assurances of rescuing him, of reclaiming him and of their union and a happy life in America, she only replied by a mournful feature, and pointing to her own emaciated form and hectic cheek.  Her beauty had now assumed an almost unearthly character.  The lustre of her dark blue eye and deathly paleness of her cheek told indeed her race was nearly run.  As they all stood together in the steward’s house on the morning of their visit, they formed a strange and touching group.  The bowed figure of the aged man whose life had been prolonged so far beyond the usual term of man’s existence, the strong form of the mariner, whose vigor was unabated although near sixty, and the wasted figure and sharpened features of his daughter, who though scarce more than past the threshold of womanhood, was yet closer to the dread abyss of eternity than either.  The old steward looked wistfully after them as they passed out into the wintry air.

Hunter’s passion for drink, his remorse for the officer’s death, his burning thirst for vengeance, and his own sense of self-abasement—­all conspired to add to the fever of his brain; and when Walter and his daughter were admitted to his cell, it was a gibbering maniac that rushed forward to meet them.  Walter removed his fainting daughter from the appalling spectacle, and returned with a sickening heart and terrible forebodings.  The shades of evening had given place to bright moonlight ere they reached the castle.  The driver used his utmost speed, but the snow hindered their progress, and just as they arrived at the castle gates, the horses swerved violently, and starting to the side of the road, stood snorting with terror.  Walter sprang out, and in the momentary strength caused by the excitement, his daughter followed him.  The Earl with some companions rode up at the moment of seeing the carriage stopped; but a more ghastly obstacle obstructed their path—­for there in the snow drift at the gates of the mansion where her seducer lived in splendor, lay the corpse of the once fair, gentle, and accomplished Ellen Hunter.

The Earl gazed upon the body of his victim for a moment, and even his callous heart was touched.  It was evanescent, however, for on one of his companions asking in a tone of coarse buffoonery, if he was contemplating that frozen carrion with a view to ornamenting his hall with it as a statue, he replied in the same strain, and was turning his horse’s head towards the gate, when he was arrested by the stern voice of the mariner.

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Edward Barnett; a Neglected Child of South Carolina, Who Rose to Be a Peer of Great Britain,—and the Stormy Life of His Grandfather, Captain Williams from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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