Imagens das páginas

darkness like breaks of the galaxy between parting clouds. I thrust the miniature next my heart, and held my hands crushed over it as a miser holds a rescued treasure. I was recalled to my recollection by an astonished smile from those around me. A few words to the counsel convinced them of my claim on the picture, and my interest in the disclosures to be made.” But Edward soon forgot even me, for stationed at the bar were two female figures familiar to his memory. It was impossible to mistake the vulgar air and face of Mrs. Philipson. As the various testimony was given in, her eyes rolled in uneasy impudence from side to side, her red hands were clenched in anger, or she gave an hysterical sob, half affectation, half alarm, and raised the cornen of her shawl to wipe pretended tears. But a deeper feeling absorbed him when he scrutinized the timid looking figure by her side. Her bonnet, a mixture of sorry finery, scarcely hid her face, but it was closely covered with both her hands.


She looked like one who would gladly have
called on the rocks to cover her, and a feeling
of shame could be seen in the very bend of her
figure as it crouched by the side of the bolder
Mrs. Philipson had committed a series of
thefts on the individual at whose charge she was
summoned, and it was proved but too clearly
that her young companion was her accomplice.
When Polly was requested to uncover her face,
she only pressed her hands upon it more closely.
The necessity was explained to her, and she
complied. It was pale as death, and care-worn
as though age had trampled over it. She gave
one frightened glance around, but that glance
took in the face of Edward, who was leaning
forward with harrowing interest. It was too
much for poor Polly. A scream of joy and
horror burst from her, and extending her arms
towards him, she fell senseless. He came for-
ward, and stating his relation to her, begged to
be allowed a few moments' conversation with

her in presence of counsel. The poor child

soon recovered, and shrinking from the baleful touch of her seducer, met Edward's compassionate eye, who spake soothingly to her, and she gathered courage. “It was first flattery, then fear, that ruined. me,” she said, in a low voice; “but I have never loved wickedness. I would have come back to you if I could, but that wicked woman frightened me, and gave me vile drinks, and then I did her bidding. I never stole for myself. She gave me these clothes,” continued she, earnestly, “they are all I own in the wide world. If it hadn't been for the picture, sir,” and she shuddered as she spoke, “I might have been worse. I hid it where she could not find it, and I knelt down and looked at it when I was afraid to pray to God, and it seemed to strengthen me, and make me bolder in the right. They took it from me, or I would give it to you, sir.” Here her voice was very mournful, but looking again terrified, she said, “Do you think they can hang me for this 1 I am sure I shall grow good again.” The trial closed, and Mrs. Philipson was

[ocr errors]

sentenced to the heaviest penalty of the law. Polly's youth and inexperience were mitigating circumstances, and her punishment was almost nominal.

About twilight on the evening of that day, Edward came home, as I thought, with a stranger. In a moment, Polly was at my feet, asking pardon through gushing tears. Her story was soon told, and I comforted the young penitent with Christian promises.

The next morning she came down with her calico frock and apron, her hair parted again with girlish simplicity, and hid her bashfulness in caresses of my Frederick.

She has been my tried and faithful friend, through joy and sorrow, for many years; and is now sitting in her low chair, with a plain, respectable looking cap over her hair, which is just revealing the first tread of time, while my grand-daughter Clarissa is roguishly trying on her new spectacles.




his aspect breathed repose,
And in sweet torpor he was plunged deep,
Ne could himself from ceaseless yawning keep.

It was winter when I returned to housekeeping, and installed Lydia, commonly pronounced Lyddy Pierce, as president of the dishcloth. She was of the demure sort, as silent and regular as the stars, past the heyday of youth, and had reached an age which the eagle-eyed housekeeper loves. I had restored Polly to full confidence. The sooner you trust in a generous mind after error, the more hold you possess over its returning rectitude, and the more it feels the practicability of virtue.

One of our visiters was Mr. Stockton, a gentleman of broken mercantile fortunes, about

thirty-five years of age. He had reserved from

« AnteriorContinuar »