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know, about to speak upon has been thoroughly debated already. It is impossible that you or any other person can throw a new light upon it."
"You are not sure of that, sir," interposed my grandfather in his turn. "Human nature is fallible, even with the wisest and best. To throw a new light upon the matter is the object that has brought me hither this momentous morning: nor am I without hopes, and rational ones too, of being able to do so-a light, sir, which will have the effect -if I can make you see it clearly-of setting at rest-happily-happily, sir-at once and for ever, the difference which you design to bring this day to an issue cruel and most deplorable."
"Pray proceed, sir," said Richard, with a smile of incredulity.
"Are you sure, sir, that you have not yourself secreted that banknote, and forgotten where?"
"Sir," exclaimed Richard quickly, "that question has been asked and replied to, again and again. I repeat to you what I have told to fifty people-every pocket, every drawer, every fold of linen or of paper, every leaf of my books, every crevice of my bookcase-" "Then you have a bookcase?" eagerly interrupted my grand
"In our bedroom," replied Richard.
"And in your bedroom!
Merciful Providence, hast thou indeed, then, vouchsafed this interposition."
Richard stared at my grandfather, who now became pale with emotion.
"Let us go to your bedroom," said the latter.
And without waiting for Richard's acquiescence, but leading the way while he spoke, as though the house was his own, he ascended the stairs without stopping, till he came to the third floor, on the landing-place of which were three doors, opening into a corresponding number of apartments.
"This is your room, sir, is it not?" said my grandfather, proceeding directly to the last of the three doors.
"O Providence, mysterious, beneficent, omniscient!" again apostrophized my grandfather, now, from something more than the rapidity with which he had ascended the stairs, trembling from head to foot, and respiring with difficulty.
They entered the room, my grandfather still preceding; but scarcely was he within it, when, turning abruptly round to a recess which stood on the left-hand of the door, he suddenly clasped his hands and stood transfixed before a bookcase. His lips moved; but what they uttered was said to himself. His eye curiously examined the panels, the beading, the carving, the cornice-and, over and over again; his agitatation becoming every moment more intense. He now looked about him as if in quest of a chair, tottered towards the nearest, and throwing himself into it, and clasping his hands, again, sat motionless and silent for a time. Richard, too, neither spoke nor moved, but looked the image of inquiry and suspense, gazing upon my grandfather, and sympathizing, in no slight degree, in the feelings by which he was moved, though without any idea as to the cause which excited them.
"Open-that-book-case, young man," at length said my grandfather, articulating even that brief sentence with difficulty.
He was obeyed, and Richard instantly began to draw out paper after paper from the different compartments.
"There is not one of these," said he, "which has not been opened and examined scores of times; but, if you desire it, I am ready to overlook them again."
"No," said my grandfather, "I have nothing to do with the papers."
"The books, then-"
"Nor the books.
Let me see the drawers.”
"There is nothing in them. Every thing has been taken out of them."
"Never mind," said my grandfather, "open them every one."
"There!" said Richard," and there-and there!" as he opened drawer after drawer, till he had done.
"Have you opened them all?" inquired my grandfather. "All!" replied Richard.
My grandfather arose, approached the bookcase, not without perturbation, and one after one pushed in the drawers, first cursorily glancing into them, but he paused when he approached the last, and there stood mute, apparently engrossed in an examination of the keenest scrutiny.
"No, sir," said he at length, "you have not opened all the drawers!"
"All this is exceedingly strange," exclaimed Richard. "You show me the way over my own house-you conduct me to my own bedroom -you turn at once to the very spot where my bookcase stands; and, to my certain knowledge, until to-day, you have never yet been farther than my parlour."
"Never-until last night," said my grandfather.
"Last night!" echoed Richard.
"Sit down, young man, and give me your serious attention; though I need scarcely ask it, as you will speedily grant it of your own accord."
Richard sat down; my grandfather drew a chair directly opposite to him, and, fixing his eyes steadfastly upon those of the young man, proceeded, after a brief and impressive pause.
"Your father and I loved one another, young man, from our boyhood. Till the day of his death there was not a hope or a care that he did not confide to me. I had been unquestionably left your guardian had he not died as unexpectedly as suddenly. In fact we were brothers more in the spirit of that relationship than many who are rendered such by the ties of blood. You may believe that I never could be indifferent to the happiness of your father's son. I was not. Some years ago I offered you the proof, but you repulsed me. I do not mention it reproachfully. Young hearts feel seldom a strong predilection in favour of old ones-but let us return to your father. to me last night!"
"Came to you!"
"I was dreaming, no doubt; but still it had something more about
it than the air of a dream. He told me to get up and dress myselfand I did so; and while I was putting on my clothes he sat down in a chair into which he has often thrown himself in his lifetime-for I was not a very early riser, and he was; and he would often come and make me get up to go upon one excursion or another. Well, as I said, he sat down in that chair, while I dressed; and, talking to me, told me that he was very unhappy on your account; that, in consequence of an impression which you had not the slightest ground for entertaining, you were upon the point of casting from you the most exemplary and attached of women; and that, if I would accompany him, he would point out to me the means of disabusing you of your error, and thoroughly restoring you to confidence and happiness. I did not dress myself rapidly, I well recollect; somehow or another I had a feeling that it was not your father, in the condition of his earthly existence that was before me. I felt an awe of him, and kept a watch upon him, while I did as he directed; and, when I was ready, he rose, and went out of the room door and descended the stairs, and I followed him. I followed him into this house. I followed him up the staircase which we have just ascended-I followed him into this room: before opening the door of which he looked at me and pointed to it, as if to impress its position upon my memory-and when we had entered the room he turned direct to that book-case, and beckoned me to come up close to it.
"Here,' said your father,
we shall find what I have brought you
"Whereupon he opened the book-case, and drew out drawer after drawer, as you have done, and every one of the drawers was empty. There were eight drawers.
"You see there is nothing in any one of these,' said your father.'"
Here my grandfather rose, and Richard followed his example, but with a start, so thoroughly absorbed was he in listening. My grandfather approached the book-case, Richard mechanically following, and continued.
"But here,' said your father, we shall find the solution of the difficulty-here where you see those two parallel, apparent cracks in the veneering, under the last drawer. My son, with an over-caution not uncommon in a drunken man, bethought him of secreting the money which, he remembered, he had about him, proceeded to do so; in the act of opening this drawer became giddy: to support himself, leaned with his hands upon the base below it; pressed with the ends of his fingers a spring of the existence of which he was ignorant; a secret drawer sprung forth, which, when he had partly recovered himself, he mistook for the common one, and accordingly closed again, having previously deposited in it the missing bank-note!'
Saying which," continued the good old man, his countenance lighting up with confident expectation, not unmixed with a strong expression of awe, "saying which your father pressed his thumb upon this spot-"
"Powers of mercy!" exclaimed Richard, a drawer which he had never dreamed of before sprung out, revealing the bank-note crumpled up within it!
He tottered back to a chair; and my grandfather, almost as powerfully affected by this extraordinary coincidence, did the same. After a long silence,
"I recollect now," said Richard, "I recollect faintly, now, the horrible sensation of the room running round with me-of my catching at something for support, and leaning upon it for some time, in momentary expectation of dropping-but I remember nothing else. Oh, sir, what is the meaning of this? Is it Heaven? Has Heaven spoken to me through your dream? Is it the note, sir? Is it the hundred pounds?"
"Oh, my father's friend!-my father's old, loved and honoured friend, what shall I say to you? Nothing! for nothing that I can say can atone-nay, keep the note, sir, till we go down stairs. I shall be ready to accompany you in a few minutes."
In two or three minutes they descended to the parlour, upon entering which, followed by my grandfather, Richard stopped and stood stock still. There were several persons present besides Charlotte and her father. No one broke silence for a time.
"Richard," said at length a sweet, soft voice, "Richard, by the love which I know you still bear me, by the love which I still bear you, whether you know it or not,-let this fatal business be concluded without further delay; for indeed, indeed, I cannot bear up much longer. I should have signed the deed which is to separate us for ever, and gone home-for I am ill-very ill-but I could not be the first to put my hand to that which I should be the last to wish accomplished. 0, Richard, how willingly, at this moment, would I exchange, for death, the life that enables me to set my seal to that deed!"
"Villain!" ejaculated Richard, striking his forehead with his clenched hand, you are unworthy of such a treasure. Relinquish it! Affix your own signature to the proof of your own baseness!" He snatched up the pen, and driving it into the inkstand wrote, rapidly, or rather furiously, one brief sentence at the foot of the legal instrument, which lay upon the table-then approaching my grandfather, and snatching the note from his hand,
"Give me," cried he, "the evidence of my brutality towards this angelic woman, whose strong, unconquerable, unalienable love induced her to confide her happiness to the protection of a DRUNKARD!"
Then turning to Charlotte, and rushing up to her, he dropped on his knees before her, holding the note to her, open with one hand, while with the other he presented the deed of separation.
For a moment or two she appeared at a loss what to understand. At last a light seemed to break upon her-her breast began to heave rapidly and irregularly.
"You have found it ?" she faltered out, as if she had just strength enough left to give utterance to that little sentence.
"Where I myself unconsciously deposited it!" replied Richard. She made an effort to throw her arms about Richard's neck, but nature gave way, and she sunk upon it in a swoon.
Restoratives soon set all to rights. The best, Richard himself had administered-though so powerful was it that for a time the chances
whether it would kill or cure were even; but it cured. And Richard, too was cured. He became from that period a pattern of sobriety and conjugal devotion. The whole party were too much excited for explanations at the time. It was agreed that they should meet again at dinner. At dinner they met. My venerable, beloved progenitor had some need of self-command that day. He was pledged and pledged by every one-even by the fair mistress of the house, through his instrumentality triumphantly restored to the seat which she honoured. It was winter time. As soon as the repast was over the fire was replenished; the crackling blaze danced cheerily; bright was the room with candlestick and lustre; and towards the chimney-corner chair, most worthily occupied, were every eye and every ear directed, while the rest of the party listened to the relation of My Grandfather's Dream.
My heart's right merry when I hear the wind
A creek or crevice for his wit to pass !