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pared ready for signature, and that, seeing the turn affairs were taking, the judge, before starting, had altered a bill of sale for the same property that he happened to have by him, at Ezra's suggestion it appeared, filling up the blanks with Mr. Ridley's name. He further told us that Mr. Ridley and the judge intended waiting all night at Ezra's, in the event of their not finding him at home. So now you understand of what importance it is that I should reach the farm before Ezra, who was in town when I left, should come home. Certainly,' said Ezra; “and it is only a pity we had not foregathered a little sooner, as I might have saved you a considerable distance. You'll have to go back, for you remember where the four roads meet. Well, you ought there to have turned to the left instead of taking this the middle road.' Why, they told me the middle road, when I was in town,' said the marshal. 'Of course they did,' replied Ezra, because a year or two ago it used to be the middle road, this road branching off from it about a mile down the way, and another road, now closed, that led to Lewis Egleane's farm, being on the extreme left.'
Oh! many thanks,' said the marshal. I understand now quite easily how the mistake inust have arisen in the directions that were given to me. Now, if I could only catch my horse, I'd be off at once.' About this moment Ezra's son, a lad of fourteen, came running out of the thicket at the roadside, and said, “Oh! father, we've been waiting for you all morning, theres- A wink and a look from Ezra sufficed to make the boy understand that he ought not to speak; but, as Ezra afterwards told me, the big drops of sweat rolled down his forehead when he saw that boy come. Yes,' says Ezra, • I guess you looked for me sooner, the more so as the brindled cow was expected to calve ; but I hope I'm all in time.'
Oh yes, father,' said the boy. Now, John, go and catch that gentleman's horse.' 'Oh! that would be difficult,' said John ; 'he's cut his knee pretty considerable, I reckon.' Well, never mind,' said Ezra ; “bring him here at once,' although all the time Ezra was thanking Heaven in his heart that the marshal's horse being thus lamed, he would be delayed in the ride he had to take, and that he hoped to have the bill of sale completed before he could retrace his steps to the farm.
"With many thanks, the marshal proceeded on his way back, and Ezra no sooner saw that he had turned the corner, than, to the amazement of his son, he plunged the rowels of his spurs in his horse's sides, and started off down the hill at full gallop. In a few minutes he had arrived at his own house, and long before the marshal could retrace his steps and come to it, which he did with all speed, Ezra's farm, stock, cattle, horses, &c., and all that was in his barns, not excepting a single thing, was my property. The marshal was at first inclined to take very ill the trick that had been played him; but he afterwards enjoyed the joke, and, as his horse was very much disabled by its fall, he remained all night at the farm, and drove to the town next day in Ezra's waggon with Ezra, Judge Parsons, and myself. I need not add that Ezra's creditors accepted with pleasure conditions very favourable to Ezra, whom, so soon as they were completed, I put again in possession of his property, nor that since then he has paid me every cent I advanced him, has his farm clear of all debt, and a very handsome balance at his bankers.
“Now, captain, begging your pardon for having stopped you so long, for my story has somehow spun out to an unconscionable length, I trust you will continue your interesting narrative."
“Wall, Mr. Ridley, that is a fust-rate story ov yourn, and I likes it 'cause it wur straight up and down, jūst as wall as 'cute. Now that man, if he hadn't had such a friend as you tu back him up, blowed if he wouldn't ha' been completely ruinationed, and no help neether. Oh! thar air some mortal cantankrous folks in this here world what don't care no more fur a man's feelins or his life than they du fur the feelins or life ov a tree-bug, seein' on'y and purvidin' they gains money. But a man as has tu du with a New Englander has considerable ov å edge tool tu play with, and gif he expecks tu shave him, I calkilate he'd need tu take a lessin frum that book ov Dickens the Artful Dodger's in, and go tu bed booted and spurred if he wishes tu git up before him. Thar ain't much green about the New Englanders : it's a colour they don't take tu kindly. I often thinks they must be born with spectacles on."
THE HAUNTED HOME.
By J. E. CARPENTER.
They told me of a haunted house,
But they had read, perchance,
That filled an old romance;
To prove such things may be,
Seems haunted now to me.
I mark the vacant chair,
The form that rested there;
And, when I pass the door,
That tended it of yore.
Steal through the window-pane,
That there so oft has lain;
Faint shadows round me cast,
Not haunted by the past ?
AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.*
WHAT PASSED BETWEEN OSBERT AND CONSTANCE IN THE SACRISTY. On the King's departure from the sacristy, as previously narrated, Constance immediately released Osbert from the ambry, and the unhappy lovers, rushing into each other's arms, forgot for a short space the perilous position in which they were placed. At last, Osbert, partially disengaging himself from the mistress of his heart, exclaimed with bitterness,
“What have we done that we should suffer thus severely? Heaven seems never weary of persecuting us. Yet we have committed no fault save that of loving each other.”
“Alas !” cried Constance, “it would seem that we are never to be united on earth, since we meet only for a moment, to be torn asunder. We must look for happiness beyond the grave.”
"That is but cold comfort, Constance,” cried Osbert. “I cling to life and hope. I yet hope to make you my bride, and to spend years in your society-happy, happy years, which shall make amends for all the misery we have undergone."
" It would, indeed, be bliss to dwell together as you say," replied Constance; “but fate opposes us, and to struggle against our destiny would be vain. The trials we experience are given us for our benefit, and ought to be borne cheerfully. At this very moment, within a short distance of us, a martyr is purchasing by a cruel death a crown of glory and a place in heaven. Hark to those cries!” she exclaimed, as shouts were heard without; “perchance he is now bound to the stake. I am thankful to be spared the frightful spectacle, but I can pray for him here.” And she knelt down on the pavement, and prayed aloud.
* All rights reserved. VOL. LIV.
those el death a che short distan.be borne the experience unele
While she was thus engaged, Osbert glanced anxiously around in search of some means of escape, but could discover none. The sacristy was lighted by two lancet-shaped windows, but they were narrow, and barred outside.
“Despair!” he exclaimed, in half-frenzied accents, as his search concluded. “Flight is impossible. We are lost."
But Constance's thoughts were with the martyr in Smithfield, and the appalling scene seemed to be passing before her eyes. Suddenly she shrieked out, “ The fire is kindled. I can see the red reflexion of the flames through yonder windows. Oh, it is horrible. Would I were back with the good Cardinal !”
“Would you were !” ejaculated Osbert. “But I fear you will never behold him more. The King will be here presently, and will require an answer. What will you say to him?”
“Say! What shall I say?" cried Constance, bewildered.
“ Ask me not,” rejoined Osbert, in a sombre voice. “Take this dagger,” he added, placing a poniard in her hand. “Conceal it about your person. You may need it.”
“This dagger!” she cried, regarding the weapon. “What am I to do with it?”
“Should the worst befal, plunge it in the King's heart, or your own," he rejoined.
“I cannot,” she replied, letting the poniard fall upon the pavement. “I will not commit a crime that would doom me to perdition. Were I, in a moment of desperation, to do as you suggest, all hope of our reunion in a better world would be over. Then, indeed, I should be lost to you for ever.”
“But this inexorable demon will be here anon," cried Osbert, picking up the dagger. “ The thought drives me mad. Would that these strong walls could crack asunder to let us pass, or the floor yawn and swallow us up. Anything to avoid him.”
“Fresh shouts! more light against yon windows! They are adding fuel to the fire!” cried Constance. « 'Twill be over soon."
“ And then the King will come hither,” said Osbert. “ Are you prepared for him?"
" Fully prepared,” she rejoined. “Return to your place of concealment, lest he should appear suddenly." .6 No, I will remain here, and brave his anger,” said Osbert.
“Oh, do not act thus rashly!” she exclaimed. “You can render me no aid, and will only place yourself in needless peril."
“I have no desire to live. Let the tyrant wreak his utmost vengeance upon me if he will. Ha! he comes," he cried, as the key grated in the lock, and the door opened.
It was not the King, however, but Rodomont Bittern, who entered.
“Just as I expected !” exclaimed Rodomont. “Prudence is not to be looked for in a lover. I was certain I should find you talking to your mistress, and therefore I came to warn you that the King will be here directly. Back to the ambry at once.”
“No more hiding for me," returned Osbert. “I shall remain where I am."
4 And be sent to the Tower, and have your head chopped off for your pains," observed Rodomont. “What service will that do to Mistress Constance?”
“ It will only tend to make me more wretched,” she rejoined. “If you love me,” she added to Osbert, “you will not expose yourself to this great danger.”
“There, you cannot resist that!” cried Rodomont. « Back to the ambry at once," he continued, pushing him towards it. “And as you value your head, do not stir till the coast is clear.”
"I cannot answer for myself,” remarked Osbert, as he got into the cupboard. “A word from the King will bring me forth."
“Then I'll answer for you,” said Rodomont, locking the ambry, and taking away the key. “That's the only chance of keeping him out of harm's way. Be not cast down, fair mistress,” he added to Constance. « The Cardinal will protect you."
“Were I with him I should have no fear,” she replied. “He would shield me against all wrong; but I am now in the King's power, and he has threatened to deliver me to Bishop Bonner.”
“And if his Majesty should so dispose of you, 'twill be but a brief confinement, for the Cardinal will speedily have you back. So be of good cheer. But hist! there is a stir within the church. The dread ceremony is over. I must leave you, or the King will find me here. Keep up your courage, I say."
With this he quitted the chamber, and made fast the door outside.
II. . HOW FATHER ALFONSO INTERPOSED IN CONSTANCE'S BEHALF.
AFTER a brief interval, but which appeared like an age to Con stance, the door was again thrown open, and Philip entered the sacristy. To judge by his looks, no one would have supposed that he was fresh from the terrible spectacle he had just witnessed.
“One would think that burning must be pleasant to those tainted with heresy," he observed. “The wretch who has just suffered for his contumacy smiled as the pile was lighted. But it was not to speak of him that I came here, but of yourself, Constance. Have you reflected?”
"I did not need to reflect, sire. My determination was instantly formed, and is unalterable."
“ You will regret it, Constance--bitterly regret it. Consider what you sacrifice life, and all that can render life attractivefor a solitary cell, and a fiery death in Smithfield.”