deep groan seemed to issue from it. The long
low musical laugh he had heard before sounded in the
room. The next moment he hardened himself and
began to read them over. They consisted of the
letters mentioned before, his father’s marriage
certificate, and the addition of a still more important
document—a statement drawn up by his father
a little before his death, in which he acknowledged
Captain Piercy, the name his son had been known by,
prayed for forgiveness for the wrong he had done his
mother, and fully acknowledged his marriage with the
fair Italian. This was the document which had
led the countess to persecute Captain Williams, and
her son to murder his brother’s widow. He
read them slowly through, and taking them in his hand
walked towards the fireplace; he was about to cast
them in, when the same low mocking voice sounded so
close him—he turned and beheld an appalling
spectacle. The picture of his own mother, that
had occupied a large compartment of the room, had
entirely disappeared, although but the instant before
he had seen it—and in its place appeared
the figures of a man in a full dress naval uniform,
and a lady in the costume of the one he had murdered
in distant America. He gave one wild shriek and
fell senseless on the floor. To seize the papers
was to Edward, whom our readers will easily guess to
have personated the lady, but the work of a moment;
he regained the panel and swung it to just as the
domestics were hurrying up; not however before he
had fixed upon the toilet with a penknife of the Earl’s,
a paper with the word “doomed!” in large
characters traced upon it.
The agent’s punishment.
The village bells tolled mournfully, and the stout
farmers looked with Saddened faces at each other on
the morning which was to consign to earth the remains
of Mary Waters. Matrons held their aprons to their
eyes as they followed the melancholy procession.
She was laid by her own request in the same grave
with Ellen Hunter. The old clergyman who had
loved her as his daughter, faltered as he read the
solemn words, “I am the resurrection and the
life,” and when the ceremony was concluded,
there was not an eye that was not filled with tears.
When the old steward heard the earth fall upon the
coffin lid, his frame was seen to quiver, he fell
forward, and his spirit had departed. They laid
him by the side of his grand daughter the next day;
and it was soon ascertained that he had left the bulk
of his savings to the poor children of Johnson, and
that Mrs. Alice Goodfellow was appointed sole executrix.
Rumors now began to circulate about the Earl—a
claim had been laid in due form by Edward—and
the tumult which raged in his heart was indescribable.
Yet he dared to think of vengeance, and swore an oath
to have the heart’s blood of those who had humbled
him. As he approached the house of the agent
he determined to ask his aid in carrying out his schemes.
Mr. Lambert, however, had no intention of being dragged
down into the vortex, and received him coldly.