In frenzy Mr. Mordecai smote his breast, tore his silvery locks, and bowed in grief as the fatal letter fell from his trembling hand. The depths of his sorrow were stirred, and the tears that flowed from his burning heart left the fountain dry and shrivelled. Then, as the calm succeeds the storm, so, when this fierce tempest of emotion was passed, Mr. Mordecai regathered his strength, summoned the forces of his pride, revenge, and hatred, dispelled all traces of his sorrow, steeled himself for the duty before him, and with a heart of stone in a bosom of adamant, took up the letter and descended the stairs to the waiting family below. Untasted before them was the morning meal. With wild look and emphatic step Mr. Mordecai entered the breakfast-room, and stood before the family holding the letter aloft in his trembling hand. “See here,” said he, with a ringing voice, “read here the story of a child, that sought to break an aged father’s heart. But hear me first. Hear this my oath. This heart shall not break, I swear it shall not! Leah has gone-fled with a Christian dog, to become his wife. Read it for yourselves when I am gone; but hear me, you that remain. Sarah and Frederick. My blessing shall never rest upon her, living or dying. As she has chosen to bring sorrow upon the gray hairs of her father, so may God rain trouble upon her disobedient head. May her children wander, uncircumcised dogs, friendless, and neglected-as she has neglected me-upon the face of the earth, ever seeking bread, yet feeling constant hunger! Despised of her people, and rejected of her people’s God, may she ever feel the need of a friend, and yet find none! Her disobedience is cursed forever, so I swear it by the God of Israel! Mark my words, and remember my wrath!” he concluded, looking fiercely into the eyes of the two children who sat silent before him. “Read this for yourselves; and then burn it, and scatter the ashes to the winds.” No one made reply to that outburst of implacable, burning rage, that so consumed the father’s heart. They had never seen him in such a frenzy before. Mr. Mordecai then hurriedly left the house, and passing Mingo, at the porter’s lodge, went out without a nod of recognition. Urbanely bowing and smiling, Mingo let his master pass, wondering at this singular breach of his accustomed politeness.
As the lodge door closed after Mr. Mordecai had passed out, Mingo bethought him of something, and hastily pursuing his master, said:
“Here, master, is this your yourn?”
“What?” asked the master morosely.
“This book, sir; I found it in the lodge.”
Mechanically, Mr. Mordecai took it from the servant, and placed it in the inner pocket of his coat, and then passed on without a word. In the house, all were startled, all dismayed, at the disclosure in the letter; all, save Rebecca, were filled with sadness. She felt no regret. The brother and sister moved silently and sorrowfully about the house, and in and out of the vacated chamber, hardly realizing that their gentle sister had indeed gone.