“What have I to fear now, when I have gone so far? I abide now by your wishes in all matters, henceforth and forever. I am ready.”
In a moment the bishop was summoned. By the light of a dimly burning lantern, he drew forth the Prayer Book, and read the impressive marriage ceremony of his church. The responses were solemnly uttered, the benediction invoked, and at that midnight hour, in the stillness of the porter’s lodge, Emile Le Grande and the young Jewess were pronounced “man and wife.” Driving quickly to the vessel that was ready to depart for the tropical port with the first appearance of the morning sun, Emile soon safely ensconced his bride in the comfortable cabin, and with a feeling of joy, tinged only with a shadowy apprehension, he bade adieu to the kind bishop, who had accompanied them thither.
As the morning sun rose, bright and ruddy, from its eastern bed, the vessel’s gun, giving the signal for departing, sounded beyond the foaming bar, and the newly wedded lovers were adrift, alike upon the ocean of life and upon the blue expanse that surrounded them-adrift to suffer a dismal shipwreck, or to anchor safely within some remote harbor of love and security.
Anxious and nervous from the expected sorrow of the coming day, Mr. Mordecai rose early from his couch of restless slumber. Restlessly he walked the library floor backward and forward, awaiting the appearance of his daughter Leah. At length he said to his wife, as she summoned him to the morning meal, “It’s very late. I wonder why Leah does not come down. I’ll just step to her room, and see if she is ready; fatigue and anxiety may have caused her to sleep later than usual this morning. I’ll join you in the breakfast-room in a moment.”
After a moment had elapsed, Mr. Mordecai stood gently tapping at his daughter’s chamber door. There was no response. He gently opened it. The room was vacant. Not a sound or a voice greeted his entrance. Stiff and well-arranged, the elegant furniture stood mutely against the cold, cheerless walls. The ominous tidiness of the deserted bed-chamber bespoke a fearful story. The father stood for a moment in amazement, silently surveying the apartment, his heart half trembling with a vague fear; then he said, in a hoarse, frightened tone, “Leah, my daughter, where are you?” There came no reply, but the faint echo of his whispered words, “Where are you?”
Stepping forward softly into the room, he paused again, and then with slow, uncertain step approached the casement that looked out upon the front garden. There was nothing without but the sunshine and the breeze, and the passing crowd already beginning to throng the streets. Again he turned, with anxious heart, away from the crowd without, to the deserted room within. “Where’s my daughter? Leah, dear Leah, where are you?” A folded scrap of paper upon the escritoire caught his eye, and springing forward he seized it, half hopefully, half fearfully, and tremblingly unfolded it. These are the words it contained: