Lifting Franconia in his arms, her hair falling loosely down, Marston lays her gently on the cot, and commences bathing her temples. He has nothing but water to bathe them with,—nothing but poverty’s liquid. The old negro, frightened at the sudden change that has come over his young missus, falls to rubbing and kissing her hands,—he has no other aid to lend. Marston has drawn his chair beside her, sits down upon it, unbuttons her stomacher, and continues bathing and chafing her temples. How gently heaves that bosom so full of fondness, how marble-like those features, how pallid but touchingly beautiful that face! Love, affection, and tenderness, there repose so calmly! All that once gave out so much hope, so much joy, now withers before the blighting sting of misfortune. “Poor child, how fondly she loves me!” says Marston, placing his right arm under her head, and raising it gently. The motion quickens her senses-she speaks; he kisses her pallid cheek-kisses and kisses it. “Is it you uncle?” she whispers. She has opened her eyes, stares at Marston, then wildly along the ceiling. “Yes, I’m in uncle’s arms; how good!” she continues, as if fatigued. Reclining back on the pillow, she again rests her head upon his arm. “I am at the mansion-how pleasant; let me rest, uncle; let me rest. Send aunt Rachel to me.” She raises her right hand and lays her arms about Marston’s neck, as anxiously he leans over her. How dear are the associations of that old mansion! how sweet the thought of home! how uppermost in her wandering mind the remembrance of those happy days!
Marston in prison.
While Franconia revives, let us beg the reader’s indulgence for not recounting the details thereof. The night continues dark and stormy, but she must return to her own home,—she must soothe the excited feelings of a dissolute and disregarding husband, who, no doubt, is enjoying his night orgies, while she is administering consolation to the downcast. “Ah! uncle,” she says, about to take leave of him for the night, “how with spirit the force of hope fortifies us; and yet how seldom are our expectations realised through what we look forward to! You now see the value of virtue; but when seen through necessity, how vain the repentance. Nevertheless, let us profit by the lesson before us; let us hope the issue may yet be favourable!” Bob will see his young missus safe home-he will be her guide and protector. So, preparing his cap, he buttons his jacket, laughs and grins with joy, goes to the door, then to the fire-place, and to the door again, where, keeping his left hand on the latch, and his right holding the casement, he bows and scrapes, for “Missus comin.” Franconia arranges her dress as best she can, adjusts her bonnet, embraces Marston, imprints a fond kiss on his cheek, reluctantly relinquishes his hand, whispers a last word of consolation, and bids him good night,—a gentle good night-in sorrow.