“I trust all is well with sweet Mistress Eveline,” said the lady.
“All well, may it please you, madam, save for the injurious durance which, in despite of his promise, and regardless of all honor as a man, the villain Spikeman, who calls himself her guardian, imposes on her.”
“He will relent,” said the lady. “It may be he desires only to try the strength of thy devotion. The flame of thy love will burn the brighter for the trial.”
“I have no hope of such result, Arundel. He is so wedded to evil, that to do a good action would be to him a pain.”
“Nay,” said the lady, “it cannot be there is a creature who loves evil for its own sake. That were quite to extinguish the heavenly spark. Judge not unhappy Master Spikeman so harshly. Commend me to the love of Mistress Eveline,” she added, rising, “when you see her, and say that I wear her sweet image in my heart.”
So saying, she bowed and left the apartment, preceded by the little girl, the others rising, and remaining standing as long as she was in sight.
Thinkest thou that I could bear to part
From thee and learn to halve my heart?
Years have not seen, time shall not see,
The hour that tears my soul from thee.
BRIDE OF ABYDOS.
It was early on the morning of the next day when Arundel started on his way to Boston, whither the message delivered by the soldier had somewhat hastened his return. There was, indeed, to one not in love, nothing in it to require such haste, and the explanation of his departure is to be found only in the natural desire of a lover to be near his mistress. Something might happen; he would seek an occasion to see her; perhaps a plan might be devised; at least, his wishes could not be promoted by keeping himself at a distance. While the young man, musing on sweet hopes and vague unformed designs, is threading his way through the forest, we will take advantage of the opportunity to explain in a few words what the reader, as yet, only imperfectly suspects.
Two years previous to the time when our story commences, Edmund Dunning, a landholder and gentleman of consideration, in the county of Devon, in England, having recently adopted the creed and practice of the Puritans, (as a sect dissenting from the Church of England, somewhat in doctrine, and wholly in outward observances, was called; from asserting, as it was thought, pretentions to superior purity of belief and strictness of living,) left the shores of his native island with an only child, a daughter, then between seventeen and eighteen years of age, to seek that freedom for his faith in the new world, which, as he conceived, was denied him in the old. His whole family consisted of this daughter, Eveline, his wife having deceased several years previously. His departure was hastened by a circumstance which had for some time occasioned