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ther, while bestowing her best wishes “ in that very hollow of the fire, I can for a son's success, and endeavoring almost fancy I see my James on the to smile away her apprehensions of deck of the Mary, looking through bis what might befal, has looked upon glass to catch a glimpse of some dishim for the last time; he has depart- tant sail. Ah ! now it has fallen in, ed-hoping much, fearing little-ne- and all looks like a rough sea.-Poor ver more to be seen or heard of. fellow !” This was spoken in that
Folkstone, the scene of this tale, abstracted tone of voice, that monotois only relieved by the hereditary nous sound of melancholy, where good-nature of the inhabitants from a every word is given in one note, as if prevailing melancholy which every the speaker had not the spirit, or even where presents itself, as bereaved the wish, to vary the sound. mothers are pointed out to you, and " That's what I so repeatedly tell widowed homes marked in every you of,” said a fat old woman of the street.
group; “ you will have no other It was late one night in the month thought ; morning and night hear but of January, when the flower of the the same cry from you. Look at me young men of Folkstone were absent -is'n't it fifteen years ago, since my on the Winter Cruise, that four wo- William, rest his soul, was shot dead men were seated round a sea-coal while running his boat ashore on fire, listening to the heavy rain falling Romney Marsh ? and am I any the in the street, and the scolding wind worse for it? I loved him dearly ; as it echoed and rumbled in the chim- and when I was told of the bad news, ney of the warm fire-place. One of I did nothing but cry for whole days; the party-from her occupying the but then it was soon over-I knew low-seated, patchwork-covered chair, that fretting would'n't set him on his and the peculiar attention paid to her legs again; so I made the best of a by an indolent cat, who stretched, and bad berth, and thought, if I should purred, and quivered her nervous tail, have another husband, all well and while peering sleepily in her protec- good ; if not,-why I must live and tor's face-appeared to be the mistress die Widow Major-and there was an of the house. She was a young wo-end of it." man, about five-and-twenty, with all " Ah! neighbor,” replied the young the happy prettiness of a country woman, “ you knew the fate of your beauty-albeit an indulged grief had husband-you were acquainted with thrown a pale tinge over the clear red the worst-you had not to live in the that still shone in her cheek, as if cruel suspense I endure ; but if I knew struggling for mastery with an intrud- that he was dead”-(and her voice ing enemy. Her features, though grew louder, while the blood rushed somewhat irregular, if but carelessly into her fair cheek) " I should think viewed, failed not to secure the be- of him as much as I do now, and holder's stedfast observance, from the would think and think, and try to peculiar interest which a full blue eye bring thoughts every day heavier on and light arched brow lent to the my heart, till it sunk into the grave.” contour. She was resting her face This burst of affection for her husupon her hand, and looking at the red band was amen’d with a loud laugh coals in the stove before her ;-the by a young, black-eyed, round-faced others seemed to have just concluded girl, sitting in the opposite corner, a bit of country scandal, or the suc- who, leaning over to the speaker, laycess of the sale of a secreted tub of ing one hand on her knee, and looking hollands, from the pursing-up of their archly in her face, chuckled outlips, and the satisfaction with which “ Come, come ! she sha'nt take on each appeared to lean back in her so ; if her first husband is gone, Susan chair.
shall have a second to comfort her.” “ There," said the young woman, « A second husband, Anne !-No! no second husband for me. I could her brow. She trembled from head never wake in the morning, and look to foot-her companions stood like on a face sleeping on the pillow beside statues—the lock flew back, the door me, where had rested the head of one opened-nothing was seen but the I had loved, and who was dead. No black night, and the large drops of -I was asked three times in church, rain which sparkled in the beams of and married to him lawfully; and I the candle on the table.-" There is am certain that, when a couple are no one,” said she, panting for breath; once joined in marriage-and in true “but, as I stand here a living woman, love-their only separation is in death; 'twas his voice.- James ! James!" and that is but for a time-they will she cried, and put out her head to hereafter meet, and never, never part listen. She heard quick, heavy footagain.”-And then she looked up with steps hastily advancing at the end of her sweet blue eyes, and heaved such the street : presently a party of six or a sigh, and smiled such a smile, that seven blockade-men rushed by the proved to her gossips how confirmed door, dashing the wet from the pavewas her innocent belief.
ment in Susan's face. They passed “ How fast it rains !” ejaculated a with no other sound than that made shrivelled old woman, who had hither- by their feet, and were quickly out to remained silent. “How fast it of hearing. rains !"--and she drew her chair " I wish I may die,” said old Marcloser to the fire. “ It was just such gery, “but the blockade-men are a night as this when- What's chasing some poor fellow who has that-the wind ? Ah! 'tis a rough been obliged to drop his tubs; for I night; I suppose it must be near ele- saw the blade of a cutlass flash in my ven o'clock.--Now, I'll tell you a eyes, though I couldn't see the band story that shall make you cold as that held it." stones, though you crowd ever so « My bonnet! my bonnet !" cried close to this blazing fire. It was just Susan; “ there has more befallen this such a night as this "
night than any here can tell. 'Twas “Gracious Heaven !” cried Susan, his voice-stay in the house till I “ I hear a footfall coming down the come back-'twas his voice !"-and street so like that which I knew so she ran out through the still driving well,-listen !-No, all is silent.-- rain, in the direction of the party that Well, Margery, what were you going had just passed. They took the street to tell us ?”
that led to the cliffs ; not a light was “Eh ! bless us !” replied Margery, to be seen-lamps in a smuggling town “ you tremble terrible bad, surely ; being considered a very obnoxious what's the matter ?”
accommodation; and, though there “Nothing--nothing, dame,-go on.” may be a rate for watching, the inha.
“Well,” said the old woman, “it bitants take especial care there shall was just such a night as this
be none for lighting, inasmuch as a .“ Susan !” cried a voice at the lamplighter never yet breathed the door, in that tone which implies haste, air of Folkstone. Susan reached the and a fear of being heard—“ Susan ! cliffs ; the wind blew fresh and strong open the door."
off the sea, and the rain appeared For Good God !” shrieked Susan, abating. She thought she saw figures " that voice !”—and all the women descend the heights; and quickening rose at one moment, and stood staring her pace, stood on the edge, straining at the door, which Susan was unlock- her sight to distinguish the objects ing. « The key won't turn the lock fitting to and fro on the beach. She 'tis rusty ;-who's there?” she breath- heard a faint « balloo !”—the sound lessly exclaimed, as in the agony of thrilled through every nerve-it was suspense she tried to turn the key, the voice she had heard at her door. while the big drops stood quivering on She returned the salute; but the bule
fetting of the wind choked her timid sprang upwards at the response, and cry. The halloo was repeated; Su- exclaimedsan listened with her very eyes. Her “ Susan !" distended fingers seemed grasping to “James ! James !” she cried. He catch at sound. A sound did rise caught a large tuft of grass to assist above the roar of the breakers and the him in darting into her expanded arms, rushing of the wind : it was the report when the weed broke by the roots of a volley of carbines fired on the from the light sand in which it had beach. Susan screamed, and sunk on grown; a faint cry, and the fall of a the edge of the cliff, overpowered with body, with the rattling of earth and terror and anxiety. Quickly there stones, down the steep, were the was seen a flashing of lights along the sounds that struck terror, and madcoast, and men running from the Mar- ness, and dismay through the brain of tello-towers to the beach in disorder. poor Susan. Then was heard the curse for curse, She attempted to call for assistthe clashing of cutlasses and discharge ance, but her voice obeyed not the of arms, and the hoarse shout of some effort, and, in the delirium of the moof the smugglers, who had succeeded ment, she sprang down the cliff; but, in putting their boat off from the shore fortunately, alighting on a projection, with part of her cargo, which it appear- and at the same time instinctively ed they had been attempting to work. catching the long weeds, was saved
Susan well understood the import from the danger her perilous situation of these dreadful sounds, and reco- had threatened: but still she continued vering from her fright, was striving to her descent, stepping from tuft to ascertain from her station the position stone, reckless whether she found a of the parties, when a hard breathing footing, or was precipitated to the of some one, apparently exhausted, base; which the darkness concealing, arrested her attention. It seemed to all below looked like a black abyss. issue from beneath, and, looking over Susan alighted in safety on the beach: the summit of the cliff, she perceived an indistinct form lying on the shingle the shadow of a man cautiously as- met her view. cending. He had almost accomplish- "James ! James!”she cried,"speak! ed his task, and was grasping a jutting let me hear your voice-for mercy's fragment of stone, to enable him to sake tell me, are you hurt ?" rest a moment from the fatigue of his No answer was returned; she graspattempt. Susan heard him panting ed his hand, and felt his brow; but, for breath, and, in endeavoring to dis- on the instant, started from the form cover whether he wore the jacket or in horror-the hand was stiff, and the the smock-frock (the latter being the brow was deadly cold ; and then, as if usual working attire of the smugglers), all her powers of utterance had beheard him sigh heavily. She thought come suddenly re-organized, she broke it was a form she knew : she bent forth into such a cry of anguish, that over the edge, and held her breath in it pierced through the noises of the the very agony of hope and fear. The night like the scream of a wounded figure stood with his back to the cliff, eagle. A pistol-shot was heard; the and looking down on the beach, eja- ball whizzed past the ear of Susan, and culated, “Oh, God !” It was in one of harmlessly buried itself in the sand of those moans which betray the most the cliff. A party of the blockade acute suffering of mind, which thrill rushed toward the spot, and, by the through the hearer, and create that light of a torch, discovered the poor kindred overflowing of the heart's girl stretched on the body of a smugtears which makes the sorrow of the gler. They raised her in their arms afilicted more than our own. Susan —she was quite senseless; and holdheard the sound, and breathlessly an- ing the light in the face of the man, swered – Who is it?” The figure they saw that he was dead.
“She's a pretty young creature !” menced a practical argument for the said one of the men; “it's a pity she right of way by furiously attacking couldn't let her sweetheart come to the blockade. At the first fire, the the beach alone, for she seems almost ponderous bulk bearing the light foru as far gone as he is ;-what shall we of Susan reeled and fell with its burdo with her, Sir?”
then on the earth; and a smuggler This was addressed to a young man was seen to rush wildly through the of the group, wearing the uniform of a chaos of contending beings, bewing midshipman, and whose fushed and his passage with a short broad cutlass, disordered countenance proved that and apparently having but one object he had taken a considerable share in in view. A retreat of the smugglers, the late desperate encounter. and the consequent advance of their
« Take her to the tower, Tho- antagonists, brought him to the spot mas,” said he ; "she may assist with where Susan, still senseless, lay wound her evidence the investigation of this in the sinewy arm of the prostrate affair. The body of the man must man-of-war's man. He endeavored also be carried to our station, for I to disengage her from his grasp; and, dare say we shall grapple some of the on placing his hand on her neck, he rascals before the night's work is over. felt that his fingers were straying in Our lieutenant has ordered the boat warm and still oozing blood. He to be pursued that put off in the scuf- trembled, and gasped for breath :fle ; and, as some of the cargo is now there were two beings senseless before lying about the rocks here, we must him—one must be seriously wounded, look out for another squall.”
perhaps dying or dead. He dragged One of the sailors sustained the Susan from her thrall : the action was still senseless Susan in his arms, while followed by a groan from the mas, the corpse followed, borne by four who faintly rose upon his knees, and others on their carbines.
made a grasp towards the female with « This fun was not expected, In- one hand, and drawing a pistol from fant Joe,” said one of the men to the his belt with the other, discharged i! gigantic figure who carried Susan in at random, and again fell exhausted. one of his arms, with as much ease as The report was beard by some of the he would have conveyed a child, and still contending party, and forms were who, in mockery of his immense bulk, seen hastening to the spot; but the had been so nicknamed.
smuggler had safely ascended the - No," was the laconic reply. cliff with Susan, and sitting on the
"I think," continued the other, summit, wiped the drops of agony and “ 'twas your pistol settled that poor toil from his brow, and placed his fellow, for he lay in the very point of trembling hand upon her heart. At the woman's scream when you fired." the first he could discover no pulsation;
" Yes,” said Joe, with a grin, he pressed his hand former against her “ mayhap it was ; and I wish each of side, and with a cry of joy sprang up. my bullets could search twenty of on his feet-he felt the principle of 'em at once as surely and as quickly.” life beat against his palm. He agam
“ Halt!” cried the officer who was clasped her in his arms, and, with the conducting the party ; « if I mistake speed of a hound, ran across the hel not, I perceive a body of men, creep- leading from the edge of the cllus, ing on their hands and knees, at the darted through the church-yard, and foot of the cliff. Out with your his quick step was soon heard on la torches, or we may be fair marks for stones of the paved street. The !! a bullet.”
habitants were at their doors and winThe men instantly obeyed, and at dows, anxious to catch the slightest the same moment discovered that their word that might give them some progress was interrupted by a gang of telligence of the conflict ; lor, armed smugglers, who instantly com- reports of the fire-arms had bec
beard in the town, and all there was waited till Sugan should break the sianxiety and agitation : but the quick lence that had now followed the conquestions were unanswered, the sa- fusion of cries, tears, and wonder. lutes were unnoticed-the form that But she seemed to have no other wish rushed by them was beard to gasp on earth-she was in her husband's hardly for breath, and they were satis- arms-beneath their own roof-and fied that something desperate had ta- that was question, and answer, and ken place. The smuggler gained the everything to her. James appeared street Susan had set out from ; the restless, and attempted to rise; but women, and others who had joined the motion was followed by the close them, were gathered round the door winding of Susan's arins round his of the house, waiting with breathless neck. Then, as if suddenly resolved, impatience her return, and various and chiding himself for some neglect, were the conjectures of the night's he started from his seat. events; when a voice, whose tones all " Susan,” said he, “ you are better knew, was heard to exclaim" Stand now; keep yourself still till I return o one side there; a chair! a chair!" I shall be gone but a few minutes.” They made way for him in an instant; “ No, no," cried Susan, grasping he darted into the house, placed Susan his arm with both her hands-“ pot in the arm-chair, and dropped on the again-go not again. I shall be able floor, with his forehead resting on his to speak to you presently; don't leave arm.
me now, James.” « James !" the women cried, “ are “You mus'n't persuade me to stay,” you hurt ?”
replied he; “I left the crew fighting They received no reply ; but his with the blockade when I saw you in convulsive panting alarmed them : they that fellow's arms; but I must go raised him from the ground, while one back again, for life and death are in of the women lighted a candle. At this night's business. One of us has that moment a scream of dismay es- been shot, poor Peter Cullen drowned caped from all : those who had stood -he would drink in spite of our orlistening at the door rushed in, and ders, and fell overboard. I tried to were horror-struck on beholding poor save him; but I'm afraid he lies dead Susan lying apparently lifeless in the under the cliff, just where I first saw chair, her face and neck dabbled with you, Susan, when I lost my footing. blood; but she breathed, and not a But I must go back, and see the end moment was to be lost. Restoratives of it-now don't gripe me so hard, Suwere applied to both, the blood was san-I must go. I dare say all's lost cleansed from Susan, and, to the joy of --but I must go.” all, not a wound could be perceived. He struggled to release himself from James had now sufficiently recovered to Susan, when a smuggler rushed into stand and bathe her temples : he kissed the house, pale and exhausted; he her cold quivering lips—she slowly flung himself into a chair, and throwopened her eyes—the first object they ing a brace of pistols on the ground, rested upon was her husband ! She exclaimedstarted from the chair, and gazed at « The boat's taken the tubs we him with a mingled expression of ter- had worked to the foot of the cliffs are ror and delight. James, seeing the ef- seized too : we fought hard for it, but fect his appearance produced, pressed it was of no use ;"_and then he her in his arms, where she lay laugh- breathed a bitter curse in that low, ing and crying, and clasping him round withering tone, which seems to recoil the neck, till the shock had subsided, upon the head of the curser, and when she sat like a quiet child on his clings only to him that utters it. knee, reposing her head upon his « Well, it can't be helped," said shoulder. None had as yet ventured James, calmly seating himself; “it's to ask a question, but all impatiently no use repining now--words and sighs
53 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.