“I suppose, Charles, you have not forgotten the cause that separated us?”
“No, uncle, I have not?”
“And do you still adhere to your old determination?”
“Well, I have repented of my rashness, and I hope you will forgive me.”
“I have nothing to forgive, but much to be thankful for.”
“I was very cruel, for I had set my heart on the marriage, and it was a deeper disappointment to me than you could well imagine; but it is over now, and I am satisfied all has turned out for the best, seeing you did not love each other. I have finally arranged my affairs, and my will bequeathes ten thousand dollars to Ida, and the rest, about fifty thousand, to yourself. I may not live long, or I may linger for years; but whether I go soon or remain long, be a friend to Ida and her mother when I am taken from them.”
“I could not be otherwise, my dear uncle; it will be truly a pleasure to serve and protect them. But now let me thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your kindness. I am unworthy to become your heir, but if it so please Providence and you to permit me to become the recipient of your bounty, I shall make it my endeavor to use and not abuse your wealth.”
“God help you there, my boy! It is a difficult thing to make good use of riches.”
We shall not dwell to narrate all that transpired. In a few days Ida and her mother came home, and learning the situation of their friends, immediately installed themselves as nurses to the sick.
Hadley was now relieved from the weight of care and duty he had assumed, and took more rest.
His meeting with Ida was cordial, and it was not many hours till they were mutual confidants, and Ida said:
“So, you see, I do thank you for your firmness. But, oh, I so much wish to see Eveline. You must go back soon. She may need your aid.”
And he did go soon. Mr. Scofield soon began to convalesce; his mother was out of danger, and bidding all an affectionate adieu, with the hope soon to meet again, he started in the early dawn of a beautiful morning for the scene of his hopes and fears.
On the second day of his journey, a sad presentiment of impending evil took possession of his mind. Ah! had he known the situation of his beloved at that hour, how his heart would have died within him, and his soul burned to inflict merited retribution on the heads of her enemies. But the dark fate that hung over her at that hour was vailed from his view, and hope mingled with fear in his bosom. Fear, however, kept increasing, and before the close of the third day, a voice seemed to Whisper:
“Haste, Hadley, haste! Wings of lightning can scarcely bear thee swift enough to the rescue of her thou lovest so dearly!”
THE UNKNOWN LISTENER.