Page images
PDF
EPUB

Villa, to be a witness of her marriage with Mr. Audrew Bclfield. Violetta received the mandate with

[graphic]

surprise and bortur. • Great God! (she exclaimed) upon what infernal shore am I cast-into what society of demons am I fallen ? that a woman, whom by an act of honour I would have redeemed from misery and ruin, should have the insolence, the barbarity, to invite me to be a spectatress of her marriage with my own husband ?

It was now Patterson's turn to be surprised; an explanation took place-the mystery was elucidated; and Violetta accepted the invitation, anxious to clear the fame of her estimable benefactor ; though she could not redeem her own happiness.

Andrew Belfield made his appearance at Dove Villa to receive the hand of his lovely bì ide ; yet, though he looked gay and handsome in his bridal attire, none need have envied his feelings. Stung with remorse, ashamed of the deed he was about to do, yet goaded on by the denions of

and revenge to supplant his brother, whose presence was hateful to him, more especially after the injuries he had done him, he resolved to marry Sophia ; thougủ the moment which gave him her hand should doom

envy

him to endless perdition : but Violetta's image still 'haunted his imagination ; and the gay, splendid: bridegroom would almost have wished the earth to open and swallow, or a mountain to fall upon and crush him !

Sophia, in dreadful agitation, awaited the arrival of Patterson and Violetta. They came ; and their visit filled her with rapture. In the excess of her transport, she would have flown to the arms of young Belfield, who she knew was arrived to demand the fulfilment of her father's promise of a conversation with her ; but she restrained her joy: for she thought, as Andrew Belfield's conduct had been vile, his punishment should be severe.

Assuming therefore all the composure she was mistress of, she proceeded to the apartment where the parties were assembled :—Sir Benjamin and Lady Dove, the two Belfields, Captain Ironsides, and Mr. Pat erson.

On her entrance she presented her hand to Andrew, while Robert with modesty yet with firmness, demanded the favour of an explanation of her late sudden and violent displeasure. Sophia then replied he had an undoubted right to make that demand ; that she should freely answer it; and then be judged by all present whether or not she was justified in discarding him. She then accused him of being already married ; and proceeded to repeat the whole of Violetta's story ; only concealing her name, and place of birth ; appealing frequently during her story to Andrew Belfield, and requesting him to judge between her and his vile unprincipled brother. Andrew, during this explanation, suffered tortures. Conscience-struck by the recital of his brother's guilt, he formed his hasty determiration, which was to refuse the hand of Sophia, and immediately set sail for Portugal, in search of his injured yet still beloved Violetta ; and drawing Pat

terson to a corner of the room, told him his resolution ; owned his marriage, and authorized him to break it to the company in any way he thought proper !

In the mean time Sir Benjamin was enraged beyond all patience at Sophia's account ; and Lady Dove would fain have breathed a few words of abuse ; but Sir Benjamin silenced her. Captain Ironsides stood lost in thought, nodding his head, and stroking his chin ; while Robert remained unruffled. Sophia then appealed to the Captain, and asked what he thought of all this.

“ That it's a dd lie ! ma'am (replied he bluntly); don't believe a sentence of it; never found my boy out in a lie, don't think I ever shall, Speak my dear Bob, speak out, at once, and say it's all false.?

Nay Sir (interrupted Sophia), but the lady is in the house, there is proof positive ; I will bring

Andrew Belfield begged leave to retire, saying hc was ill; and that Mr. Patterson had a discovery to make respecting him, cqually surprising as that she had just made of his brother.

Nay-stay, sir, I beseech you stay, but for a moment;" then opening the door of an adjoining apartment, led forth the trembling Violetta. “My wife (exclaimed Andrew Belfield), my poor deserted Violetta ! Oh take me to your arms, and let me hide my guilt and shame in your soft bosom.” The lender Violetta then rushed into his arms, and wept tears of joy and forgiveness. Sophia now offered her hand to the astonished Robert : he caught her eagerly to his breast, and imprinted a kiss upon her ruby lips.

Andrew Belfeld further publicly acknowledged his injustice to his brother, and implored his pardon. Robert eagerly grasped his hand, pronounced

her.

his forgiveness, and universal harinony was restored.

Robert Belfield received at the altar the hand of his beloved Sophia, and his happiness exceeded all bounds. Andrew Belfieid's penitence was firm and sincere; the perpetual misery he had suffered, ever since he had trodden the crooked paths of guilt, led him to rejoice at the opportunity now offered of repentance and amendment. He also made all the restitution in his power to Lucy Waters, and the worthy Goodwins; yet it was long before he could enjoy tranquillity. Shame preyed upon his heart, and he fancied every eye was turned with scorn upon him. His terdor faithful wise watched over and soothed his perturbed mind with the sacred influence of religion, and the beneficence of an allmerciful God—who had, in his divine precepts, assured us that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.

The balmy sleep of innocence is sweet,
Tranquil, and undisturbed by sudden starts,
Such as distract the slumbers of the guilty :
And next to innocence, repentance stands
la the account of peace. The penance past,
Which the recording angel clains for sin
(The penance of remorse, and sighs, and tears,
And pray’rs, which purify the tainted soul),
The angel of forgiveness, floats around,
To raise the mind with hope of heavenly grace
Deputed from on high. Religion smiles
And points the path of happiness and peace
Which error had forsaken !-Now regain'd,
Like health returning to the fevered frame,
We counţ its value, by its recent loss,
And more the peerless blessing estimate.
So doth Repentance sooth th' afflicted soul,
And though 't were better far we had not erred,
"Tis the foretaste of Heaven when we repent
And humbly feel assured we are forgiven.

[merged small][graphic]

How cross the ways of life lie! wbile we think
We travel on direct in one high road,
And have our journey's end opposed in view,
A thousand thwarting paths break in upon us
To puzzle and perplex our wandering steps:
Love, friendship, hatred, in their turns mislead us,

And every passion has its separate interest.*** At that eventful period of English history, when the interests and happiness of the nation were disturbed by secret conspiracies or open factions, in the struggles for power between the rigid adherents of the catholic and protestant forms of faith; the death ot' Edward the Sixth--son of Herry the Eighth, by his third wife, Jane Seymour (who died in childbirth), occasioned much secret contention. Edward was only nine years of age, on the death of his father, and died himsell at the age of sixteen ; when, passing over his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, and the claims of Margaret, Queen Dowager of Scotland, his eldest aunt, and the claims of her issue, he bequeathed his crown and kingdom, by will, to his Cousin, tl.c Lady Jane Grey-daughter of the Mar

« PreviousContinue »