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-But hell itself yawns wide to receive the murderess!"
Lord Eaglesholme groaned deeply as if with some strong internal suffering, excited by her words.
“ But why loiter here ?” continued the female, in a rapid and agitated manner.-“ Why, at least, loiter I here, while I have work to do? The dove e'en now hangs quivering in the talons of the remorseless vultures. I must fly like the swift merlin hawk through every covert, nor stoop my wing till my quest is sped.”
In concluding this sentence she sprang at once, with the bound of the light roebuck, from the elevated station she had occupied, to the grassy margin of the well. But instantly perceiving, between her and the sky, the group of figures standing at the upper part of the ravine, she whirled rapidly round, and to the great surprise of Cleaver, who kept his eyes fixedly upon her, and to the indescribable terror of his superstitious attendants, she disappeared in a manner as instantaneous, and as unaccountable, as if she had suddenly melted into air.
Lord Eaglesholme seemed to be so entranced
in the thoughts excited by her awe-inspiring words, that he remained looking upwards, as if unconscious of her absence. A spectator might almost have fancied that he was watching her track as she clove the liquid æther.
Cleaver was a good deal astonished with what he had seen and heard. But as it was disagreeable to remain longer as a spy on Lord Eaglesholme's actions, he prepared to pursue his way down the ravine, and was in the act of moving, when the terrified Thomas loudly exclaimed,
“ For gudeness sake, Captain Cleaver, dinna gang down amang thae bogles !"
Lord Eaglesholme started from his musing fit at the sound of a human voice; and hearing the name of Cleaver, which had been lately rendered familiar to him, he called out,
“Captain Cleaver !—is Captain Cleaver there? -Is Amherst-is Mr Oakenwold there ? speak, I entreat you, and relieve my racking anxiety !"
“ My Lord !” said Cleaver, bowing as he approached him—“ he who has the honour of addressing you is Captain Cleaver; as for Mr Oakenwold”_
“ Aye, Sir!" interrupted Lord Eaglesholme
with inexpressible eagerness, “ for Heaven's sake, what of him ?—is he with you ?" and he looked eagerly about, and cast his eyes upwards to the group above, as if with the hope of detecting the figure of Amherst.
“ No, my Lord, he is not with us,” said Cleaver calmly; “ he went this morning on an excursion of pleasure to the Highlands.”
“ Pleasure !” said Lord Eaglesholme; “pleasure did you say, Sir! Could Amherst Oakenwold take pleasure, so soon after his separation from Eliza Malcolm ? Then his is not the heart I had read it to be.”
“ My Lord,” said Cleaver, “ I have been led innocently to use an expression, which I see is calculated to injure my young friend in your estimation, and which I only employed in its general sense. Pleasure was, indeed, very far from his thoughts. His mind was plunged in the deepest melancholy by the issue of a conversation he had with your Lordship yesterday. It was that diseased state of mind, which induces the sufferer, he knows not why, vainly to attempt to flee from his sorrows. It was this, I say, added to the wish he felt to give full obe
dience to those implied engagements he had come under to your Lordship, and a dread lest the strength of his passion might have rendered it impossible to maintain his integrity, had he remained nearer the object of it;-it was, I may say, in obedience to your Lordship's own commands, that he forced himself away from the neighbourhood of Eaglesholme Castle !"
Lord Eaglesholme groaned audibly.—“ Incomparable Amherst !” said he; then looking upwards towards Heaven, “ Merciful powers ! how am I the sport of untoward fate! Would to God that Amherst were here! I would tell him!
-But, alas !" continued he, as if recollecting himself after a pause, and with an emotion that powerfully agitated him, “ Alas! the dear object of his hopes, and of my hopes, is no longer at Eaglesholme ! Eliza Malcolm has this very night been carried off by a band of unknown ruffians, who broke into the Castle."
• Good Heavens! Miss Malcolm carried away !” exclaimed Cleaver, petrified with amazement.
How-when-and in what manner, I beseech you?"
Lord Eaglesholme then proceeded to give
him a hasty outline of the mysterious affair ; but we must tell it more fully to the reader.
The information Amherst obtained from his servant in the grotto has already informed us of the affliction Miss Malcolm was thrown into, by those communications her uncle made to her after Amherst's departure from the Castle of Eaglesholme. Being carried to bed immediately after the conference, she remained all next day in a state of misery too dreadful for description. The good Madame Bossanville wept unceasingly, whilst, with the tenderest affection, she vainly endeavoured to console her beloved charge, though conscious that she possessed not the means of doing so. The hopes of Miss Malcolm were so cruelly crushed in the very setting of their blossom, and her heart was so torn, that much as she loved her uncle, she could not muster strength and resolution enough to join him at dinner, where her emotions must have necessarily been subjected to the observation and remarks of the domestics.
At Madame Bossanville's earnest entreaty, she exerted herself to move into the drawing-room in the evening, with the intention of receiving Lord