Overcome by her emotion, the unfortunate woman suffered her aching head to droop upon the edge of the bed, and her sobbing became so painfully violent, that all who heard her expected, at every moment, some fatal termination to her immoderate grief. Charles de Haldimar was little less affected; and his sorrow was the more bitter, as he had just proved the utter inefficacy of any thing in the shape of appeal to his inflexible father.
“Mrs. Halloway, my dear Mrs. Halloway, compose yourself,” said Captain Blessington, now approaching, and endeavouring to raise her gently from the floor, on which she still knelt, while her hands even more firmly grasped that of De Haldimar. “You are ill, very ill, and the consequences of this dreadful excitement may be fatal. Be advised by me, and retire. I have desired my room to be prepared for you, and Sergeant Wilmot’s wife shall remain with you as long as you may require it.”
“No, no, no!” she again exclaimed with energy; “what care I for my own wretched life—my beloved and unhappy husband is to die. Oh God! to die without guilt—to be cut off in his youth—to be shot as a traitor—and that simply for obeying the wishes of the officer whom he loved!—the son of the man who now spurns all supplication from his presence. It is inhuman—it is unjust—and Heaven will punish the hard-hearted man who murders him—yes, murders him! for such a punishment for such an offence is nothing less than murder.” Again she wept bitterly, and as Captain Blessington still essayed to soothe and raise her:—“No, no! I will not leave this spot,” she continued; “I will not quit the side of Mr. de Haldimar, until he pledges himself to intercede for my poor husband. It is his duty to save the life of him who saved his brother’s life; and God and human justice are with my appeal. Oh, tell me, then, Mr. de Haldimar,—if you would save my wretched heart from breaking,—tell me you will intercede for, and obtain the pardon of, my husband!”