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- with an irrepressible emotion: he sobbed, gaspingly, clasped his son to his bosom, burst into tears, and fell back with him on the sofa, exclaiming

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Harry, my darling Harry!-my boy! my boy! my boy!"

As the vehemence of his agitation, which had found vent in this passionate weeping, subsided into a seeming exhaustion, the aunt entered the room, exclaiming, after she had affectionately embraced him

"Oh, Henry! if you were well enough to go down upon your knees, you should do so this moment to thank the squire for having saved your life, as he did our dear boy's! Surely, it was the mercy of Heaven that he happened to be in the church; for he it was, as they tell me, who picked you up and helped to bring you to his own house, and bled you with his own hand, and so brought you out of the fit which would otherwise have been the death of you."

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"Oh!" ejaculated the patient, with a groan of agony, "this is too much; it is more than I can bear. Am I in the house of Squire Middleton, and has he done all this for me?-for such a miscreant-such a villain-such a reprobate-such an ungrateful, hardened, damnable —— ! Oh! hide me, hide me! Away! away!-let him not see mebear me away from his house quickly, instantly!—I would rather die any where than here."

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In concluding these words he made a vain effort to rise from the sofa, when Middleton said in a soothing voiceMy good friend, why should you wish to quit my roof? You are not well enough to be moved. I have already sent for a surgeon; and, while you remain in my house, I will attend to you as carefully as if you were my own brother."

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"Oh, that voice! that voice! Those words of kindness,' groaned the man, as he struck his bosom in an agony of remorse, "they make me shudder with horror-they will kill me outright! The surgeon, did you say? It is all useless -I am a dead man; but I have much to confess before I die: it is the only atonement I can make my only chance of escaping eternal torment. Oh! no, no, no, there is not any chance for such a guilty wretch as I am!"

Middleton besought him to compose himself, urging that it was never too late to hope for mercy, and offering, if he desired religious consolation, to send for the minister whom he had just heard preaching. "Not now-not now," was

the reply; "to you, and you only do I wish to make my confession. Not for worlds would I let my boy hear me; take him away, and Mary too; let us be quite alone."

As the room was cleared in compliance with his wish, and he heard the door close, he again asked whether they were quite alone, and on receiving an answer in the affirmative, clasped his hands together, held them up imploringly, and, with a passionate energy, exclaimed, Mercy! mercy! mercy! will you, can you forgive me?"

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"I know not the nature of your offences," replied Middle"but whatever they may be, I forgive them as freely as I myself look for forgiveness from Heaven."

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"Bless you! God bless you! I do not deserve such generosity—l cannot believe it possible.-Will you swear not to recall your pardon after you have heard my confession?"

"I swear it," said Middleton, giving his hand to the blind man as a pledge of his truth; "nay more, I promise to pray with you that you may obtain forgiveness from Heaven, should your sins be of a nature to require it."

"They are they are! I fear that I have broken every commandment, except committing murder, and even that I have attempted; but if you can forgive me; if you can pray for me; you whom I have so cruelly wronged, I may yet hope for mercy from Heaven."

"Not only do I renew my pledge of pardon, but if your boy should be left fatherless, I promise to be a friend to him."

The blood suddenly rushed to the face of the wretched man, who strove eagerly to express the grateful feelings with which his heart was overflowing, but the words were choked by his emotion, and it seemed as if he would have been suffocated, had he not again burst into tears, and sobbed for some time like a child. Middleton, after this ebullition had somewhat subsided, desired him to compose himself, and then demanded, "Who are you? and how have you wronged me?"

Another struggle of violent emotion denied utterance to the sick man, but at length he subdued his organs to obedience, and, speaking with rapidity, as if anxious to get rid of the revolting subject as fast as possible, replied, "My name is Henry Clements; I am the villain who was employed to effect your murder in London; it was not my hand that struck you to the earth, but I engaged the ruffians who were to despatch you; and when we threw you into the

grave, none of us doubted that we had succeeded in our object. I am the wretch who wrote you the false and infamous letter crimiħating Miss Norberry, and you will now understand the cause of my remorseful agitation and sudden flight from Brookshaw, when, in the person whom I had thus atrociously outraged, I discovered the preserver of my dear boy's life." A deep groan concluded this part of his confession, and his whole frame shuddered, as if his inmost soul were revolted at the statement of his own monstrous villany.

"A new light flashes upon me," said Middleton, "and in spite of your disguise, methinks I now recognise the man who, when I was assaulted at Widow Allan's house, was addressed by his comrades as Gentleman Joe."

"I am that monster," groaned Clements, striking his forehead with his clenched fist.

"Monster, indeed!" cried his interrogator, recoiling with involuntary horror. “What injury had I done you to justify so ruthless and deadly a hatred ?"

“None-none-I knew you not-I had never seen you;— but I was in sharp distress-in danger; and a devil-a fiend in the likeness of a man, bribed me with gold to practise against your life."

"Gracious heavens! have I then another enemy still more cruel than yourself? Keep me not in suspense-his name? -his name?"

"Caleb Ball," said Clements, speaking through his closed teeth, and clutching his hands convulsively, as if the very mention of the words filled him with disgust and detestation.

"Impossible! utterly impossible! nothing shall persuade me to believe so monstrous a fiction. Caleb Ball! He is my cousin-my friend. I never did him an injury in my life. Pshaw! your brain is bewildered by your illness—you know not what you say."

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"There is indeed a fiery anguish in my brain, as if the pangs of death were upon me; but well, too well do I know what I am saying, and I repeat my words, it was your cousin, Caleb Ball, who set me on to murder you, who dictated the letter about Miss Norberry, and who has since attempted to poison you, though I was no party to that atrocious deed. I have more-more-more to tell you, but I am sinkingbrandy-let me have brandy that I may-that I may-Oh,

mercy-mercy-!" His lips still slowly moved, but without any articulate sound, and he fell back upon the sofa, utterly overcome by contending emotions, and the efforts he had made to tell his tale, shortly and imperfectly as he had been enabled to narrate it.

CHAPTER XV.

No; man is dear to man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life,

When they can know and feel that they have been
Themselves the fathers and the dealers out

Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this simple cause,
That we have all of us one human heart:

WORDSWORTH.

Certain it is, that whenever the future is hopeless, the mind is easily converted from the rugged to the criminal. E. L. BULWER.

MIDDLETON was still sitting by the sofa, reflecting upon the strange statement he had just heard, which he attributed, so far as it related to Caleb Ball, to mental aberration, when the medical man arrived, and, after feeling the pulse of the patient, recommended that he should be left perfectly undisturbed, as his present exhaustion would probably induce sleep, from which he would derive more benefit than from all the resources of art. This prediction was verified. He slept for several hours, and though, upon awaking, his ideas remained for some time perturbed and confused, his strength had evidently returned to him, and his bodily faculties had nearly recovered their pristine vigour. As his blindness, however, continued, he could not be persuaded that he was long to remain in a world from which he was thus shut out; the fear of immediate death was still strongly upon him: and, after inquiring with much tenderness for his boy and his sister, he addressed himself to Middleton, expressing an anxious desire to give a short account of

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