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ways are not our ways, and He works as He thinks fit. Bless you, bless you, my Bessy, – and may your fond heart never be again put to such trial! Is she not beautiful, Tom ? just like a piece of cold marble. Thank Heaven, she is not dead, but sleepeth !"
I certainly never did look upon Bessy with so much interest; there was something so beautifully calm in her countenance as she lay there like an effigy on a tomb, hardly appearing to breathe; and when I thought of the courage and devotion shown but a few hours before by the present almost inanimate form, I bent over her with admiration, and felt as if I could kneel before the beautiful shrine which contained such an energetic and noble spirit. While this was passing through my mind, Bramble had knelt by the bed-side and was evidently in prayer: when he rose up he said, “ Come away, Tom; she is a maiden, and may feel ashamed if she awaken and find us men standing by her bed-side. Let me know when she wakes up, Mrs. Maddox, and tell her I have been in to see her; and now, Tom, let's go down;-I never felt the want of a pipe so much as I do now.”
A SCENE IN THE HOSPITAL, AND A STRANGE DISCOVERY.
In a very few days Bramble and Bessy were sufficiently recovered to resume their usual avocations ; but the former expressed no willingness to embark again, and Bessy's persuasions assisted to retain him at the cottage. With me it was different; I was still restless and anxious for change ; my feelings toward Bessy were those of admiration and esteem, but not yet of love ; yet I could not help recalling to mind the words of Bramble, “ Observe how she performs those duties which fall to her lot; if she is a good daughter she will make a good wife." I felt that she would make a good wife; and I wished that I could have torn from my bosom the remembrance of Janet, and have substituted the form of Bessy in her place. We had been at the cottage nearly a week, when I received a letter from Anderson ; he informed me that he had visited Old Nanny, who had made her will in due form, and confided it to him; and that he thought that she was more inclined to listen to him than she had before been ; that my father, and mother, and sister were well; and that Spicer had been obliged to go into the hospital, with an abscess in his knee, occasioned by running something into it; and that it was reported that he was very ill, and, in all probability, amputation must take place. I felt convinced that Spicer must have, in his hasty retreat, fallen over the iron railings which lay on the ground, and which had, as I mentioned, tripped me up; but with this difference, that, as the spikes of the railing were from me, and consequently I met with little injury, they must have been towards him, and had penetrated his knee : and thus it was that he had received the injury. Anderson also stated that they were very busy at the Hospital, receiving the men who had been maimed in the glorious battle of Trafalgar. Altogether, I made up my mind that I
I have pro
would take the first ship that was offered for pilotage up the river, that I might know more of what was going on; and, as we sat down to supper, I mentioned my intentions to Bramble.
“ All's right, Tom, you're young, and ought to be moving ; but, just now, I intend to take a spell on shore. mised Bessy, and how can I refuse her anything, dear girl! I don't mean to say that I shall never pilot a vessel again; but I do feel that I am not so young as I was, and this last affair has shaken me not a little, that's the truth of it. There's a time for all things; and when a man has enough he ought to be content, and not venture more. Besides, I can't bear to make Bessy unhappy ; so, you see, I've half promised — only half, Bessy, you know."
“ I think you would have done right if you had promised altogether," replied I; “ you have plenty to live upon, and are now getting a little in years. Why should you not stay on shore, and leave them to work who want the money ?”.
Bessy's eyes beamed gratefully towards me, as I thus assisted her wishes. “ You hear, father," said she, fondling him, “ Tom agrees
with me.” “ Ah!” replied Bramble, with a sigh, “ if ; but we cannot have all we wish in this world."
Bessy and I both felt what he would have referred to, and we were silent. She cast down her eyes, and appeared busy with her fork, although she was eating nothing. I no longer felt the repugnance that I had a short time before ; and I was in deep reverie, watching the changes of her beautiful countenance, when she looked up. Our eyes met; she must have read any thoughts in mine, for from that moment each hour increased our intimacy and confidence. We were no longer afraid of each other.
A day or two after this conversation an opportunity was given to me of going up the river, which I did not neglect; and having delivered up charge of the ship, I hastened down to Greenwich. I found every thing in statu quo at my mother's house, and Virginia much pleased at there being no lodgers. Anderson I met