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about midnight by a suppressed groan. He started up and listened; it came from the apartment of Colonel Talbot, which was divided from his own by a wainscotted partition, with a door of communication. Waverley approached this door, and distinctly heard one or two deep-drawn sighs. What could be the matter? The Colonel had parted from him, apparently in his usual state of spirits. He must have been taken suddenly ill. Under this impression, he opened the door of communication very gently, and perceived the Colonel, in his night-gown, seated by a table, on which lay a letter and picture. He raised his head hastily, as Edward stood uncertain whether to advance or retire, and Waverley perceived that his cheeks were stained with tears.
As if ashamed at being found giving way to such emotion, Colonel Talbot rose with apparent displeasure, and said, with some sternness, “I think, Mr. Waverley, my own apartment, and the hour, might have secured even a prisoner against”.
“Do not say intrusion, Colonel Talbot; I heard you breathe hard, and feared you were ill; that alone could have induced me to break in upon you.”
“I am well,” said the Colonel, “perfectly well."
“But you are distressed,” said Edward: “is there any thing can be done?”
“Nothing, Mr. Waverley; I was only thinking of home, and some unpleasant occurrences there.
“Good God, my uncle !” exclaimed Waverley.
“No, it is a grief entirely my own. I am ashamed you should have seen it disarm me so much; but it must have its course at times, that it may be at others more decently supported. I would have kept it secret from you; for I think it will grieve you, and yet you can administer po consolation. But you have surprised
I see you are surprised yourself - and I hate mystery. Read that letter."
The letter was from Colonel Talbot's sister, and in these words:
“I received yours, my dearest brother, by Hodges. Sir E. W. and Mr. R. are still at large, but are not permitted to leave London. I wish to heaven I could give you as good an account of
matters in the square. But the news of the unhappy affair at Preston came upon us, with the dreadful addition that you were among the fallen. You know Lady Emily's state of health, when your friendship for Sir E. induced you to leave her. She was much harassed with the sad accounts from Scotland of the rebellion having broken out; but kept up her spirits, as, she said, it became your wife, and for the sake of the future heir, so long hoped for in vain. Alas, my dear brother, these hopes are now ended! Notwithstanding all my watchful care, this unhappy rumour reached her without preparation. She was taken ill immediately; and the poor infant scarce survived its birth. Would to God this were all! But although the contradiction of the horrible report by your own letter has greatly revived her spirits, yet Dr. apprehends, I grieve to say, serious and even dangerous consequences to her health, especially from the uncertainty in which she must necessarily remain for some time, aggravated by the ideas she has formed of the ferocity of those with whom you are a prisoner.
“Do, therefore, my dear brother, as soon as this reaches you, endeavour to gain your release, by parole, by ransom, or any way that is practicable. I do not exaggerate Lady Emily's state of health; but I must not dare not suppress the truth. Ever, my dear Philip: your most affectionate sister,
" LUCY TALBOT."
Edward stood motionless when he had perused this letter; for the conclusion was inevitable, that, by the Colonel's journey in quest of him, he had incurred this heavy calamity. It was severe enough, even in its irremediable part; for Colonel Talbot and Lady Emily, long without a family, had fondly exulted in the hopes which were now blasted. But this disappointment was nothing to the extent of the threatened evil: and Edward, with horror, regarded himself as the original cause of both.
Ere he could collect himself sufficiently to speak, Colonel Talbot had recovered his usual composure of manner, though his troubled eye denoted his mental agony.
“She is a woman, my young friend, who may justify even a
soldier's tears." He reached him the miniature, exhibitiog features which fully justified the eulogium: “and yet, God knows, what you see of her there is the least of the charms she possesses possessed, I should perhaps say - but God's will be done."
“You must fly - you must fly instantly to her relief. It is not - it shall not be too late."
“Fly? how is it possible? Tam a prisoner upon parole.”
“I am your keeper I restore your parole I am to answer for you."
“ You cannot do so consistently with your duty; nor can I accept a discharge from you, with due regard to my own honour - you would be made responsible.”
“I will answer it with my head, if necessary,” said Waverley impetuously. “I have been the unbappy cause of the loss of your child, make me not the murderer of your wife.”
“No, my dear Edward,” said Talbot, taking him kindly by the band, “you are in no respect to blame; and if I concealed this domestic distress for two days, it was lest your sensibility should view it in that light. You could not think of me, hardly knew of my existence, when I left England in quest of you. It is a responsibility, Heaven knows, sufficiently heavy for mortality, that we must answer for the foreseen and direct result of our actions, for their indirect and consequential operation, the great and good Being, who alone can foresee the dependence of human events on each other, hath not pronounced this frail creatures liable."
“But that you should have left Lady Emily,” said Waverley, with much emotion, “in the situation of all others the most interesting to a husband, to seek a ”
“I only did my duty," answered Colonel Talbot, calmly, “and I do not, ought not, to regret it. If the path of gratitude and honour were always smooth and easy, there would be little merit in following it; but it moves often in contradiction to our interest and passions, and sometimes to our better affections. These are the trials of life, and this, though not the least bitter," (the tears came unbidden to his eyes, “is not the first which it has been
my fate to encounter - But we will talk of this to-morrow," he said, wringing Waverley's hands. “Good night; strive to forget it for a few hours. It will dawn, I think, by six, and it is now past two. Good night.”
Edward retired, without trusting his voice with a reply.
Exertion. WHEN Colonel Talbot entered the breakfast-parlour next morning, he learned from Waverley's servant that our hero had been abroad at an early hour, and was not yet returned. The morning was well advanced before he again appeared. He arrived out of breath, but with an air of joy that astonished Colonel Talbot.
“There," said he, throwing a paper on the table, “there is my morning's work. - Alíck, pack up the Colonel's clothes. Make haste, make haste.”
The Colonel examined the paper with astonishment. It was a pass from the Chevalier to Colonel Talbot, to repair to Leith, or any other port in the possession of his Royal Highness's troops, and there to embark for England or elsewhere, at his free pleasure, he only giving his parole of honour not to bear arms against the house of Stewart for the space of a twelvemonth.
“In the name of God," said the Colonel, his eyes sparkling with eagerness, “how did you obtain this ?”
“I was at the Chevalier's levee as soon as he usually rises. He was gone to the camp at Duddingston. I pursued him thither; asked and obtained an audience but I will tell you not a word more, unless I see you begin to pack.”
“Before I know whether I can avail myself of this passport, or how it was obtained?”
“O, you can take out the things again, you know. -- Now I see you busy, I will go on. When I first mentioned your name, eyes sparkled almost as bright as yours did two minutes since. 'Had you,' he earnestly asked, "shown any sentiments favourable to his cause?' 'Not in the least, nor was there any hope you would do so.' His countenance fell. I requested your freedom.
• Impossible,' he said; “your importance as a friend and confia dent of such and such personages, made my request altogether extravagant.' I told him my own story and yours; and asked him to judge what my feelings must be by his owi:. He has a heart, and a kind one, Colonel Talbot, you may say what you please. He took a sheet of paper, and wrote the pass with bis own hand. "I will not trust myself with my council,' he said; 'they will argue me out of wha is right. I will not endure that a friend, valued as I value you, should be loaded with the paioful reflections which must afflict you in case of farther misfortune in Colonel Talbot's family; nor will I keep a brave enemy a prisoner under such circumstances. Besides,' said he, I think I can justify myself to my prudent advisers, by pleading the good effect such lenity will produce on the minds of the great English families with whom Colonel Talbot is connected.'”
“There the politician peeped out," said the Colonel.
“Well, at least he concluded like a king's son: - "Take the passport; I have added a condition for form's sake; but if the Colonel objects to it, let him depart without giving any parole whatever. I come here to war with men, but not to distress or endanger women.'”
“Well, I never thought to have been so much indebted to the Pretend —”
“To the Prince," said Waverley, smiling.
“To the Chevalier," said the Colonel; “it is a good travelling name, and which we may both freely use. Did he say any thing more?".
“Only asked if there was any thing else he could oblige me in; and when I replied in the negative, he shook me by the band, and wished all his followers were as considerate, since some friends of mine not only asked all he had to bestow, but many things which were entirely out of his power, or that of the greatest sovereiga upon earth. Indeed, he said, no Prince seemed, in the eyes of his followers, so like the Deity as himself, if you were to judge from the extravagant requests which they daily preferred to him."
“Poor young gentleman," said the Colonel, “I sappose he