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On a bed of straw, in the dark apartments | ized form, oh! Agnes, shall I not at least of a prison, sat a young man, leaning his hope for forgiveness at thy hand? But I head against the cold, damp wall. Barely must struggle with my feelings. Unchangesufficient light and air were admitted to shed able, lasting as time itself, will be my love one transient gleam of gladness upon his for her; and yet she, or her proud relatives, heart, or to cool his parched lips. His food shall never know it. Encompassed by foes, stood untasted by his side, and the burning groaning beneath unjust oppression, I will sense of wrong seared his brain; yet there bear my wrongs in silence. The chain which was within his bosom a soul which soared binds my hands galls not like that around above the bitterness of his lot. No person my heart. Were she but here; could I gaze, could enthral its aspirations, no fetters bind for a moment, on her sweet face, hear her it down. Beyond the narrow bounds of his voice, dearer than tones of music; could I lone cell the free spirit of the prisoner was but throw myself one instant at her feet, and roaming over the tented field, where his breathe forth the secret of my soul, she might brave compatriots were contending for their not pity her insane adorer, but he could exrights. A few short days before, and he pire in worship at her feet !" was of the foremost in that gallant array. “Louis !” whispered a voice at his side ; The taint of cowardice had never rested on “alas ! this is even worse than I anticipated.” him; and yet, was it a sense of degradation ? Starting to his feet, the young man gazed was it the whisperings of a troubled con- upon the shrouded figure before him, almost science, that caused him to press his aching doubting the evidence of his senses. He brow with his clasped hands, and curse the would have thrown himself at her feet, but hour he was born to misery and wo? “They Agnes—for it was indeed she-calmly laid think me mad,” he soliloquized,“ to indulge her hand upon his arm, and entreated him hopes that are likely to be frustrated, and to be composed, or she should leave the cell for which my life will have to atone. If I without revealing the errand upon which have lifted my thoughts to one so far above / she came. me, above mortality-for who could aspire “I fear you will despise me for thus forto equal her?—if I have almost borne the getting my station," said the young lady, in brand of cowardice, the taunt of shame, to an agitated tone of voice; "indeed, I was avoid rebuke from those dear lips, to ward not sure that it was yourself who was conoff the arm of Fate stretched over that idol- ' fined here like a common criminal, until a
“As soon the powers
few hasty lines from my brother informed felt how powerless were words to alleviate me of the peril in which
the sufferings of the heart. "Then it is only as her brother's friend At the sight of tears from her who had that I have excited the compassion of Agnes appeared to him only as a vision of light Fletcher,” said the prisoner, in a proud and and beauty, moving in a sphere so far rebitter tone.
moved from his, that it seemed folly to seek "You do me injustice, Louis,” replied to approach it, Louis could not restrain the Agnes, with an effort to repress her feelings. feelings which had been so long kept in sub“I have felt deeply for the unfortunate jection. He told her of his love, his longprisoners whom my uncle, in the strictness cherished, his hopeless love, and she listened of martial law, has seen fit to deprive of in silence, but without a frown, although their liberty. As I before told you, I was those precious tears fell faster and faster. ignorant that you were among the number, She knew it was a hopeless love. She felt, until my brother's hasty message arrived ; and he besought me to do all in my power
Of light and darkness can combine,
As he be linked with me or mine!" to alleviate the situation of his friend. If indifferent, should I now be here ! and oh! yet she sought not to prevent that passionmore than this—obliged to make a confi- ate avowal of affection. Louis did not ask, dent of a menial, who has been my com- he did not wish an answer to his pleading. panion and conductor hither!"
He read it in those drooping eyelids, those With passionate fervor did the captive silent tears. In a moment the whole curyouth plead for the forgiveness of her whom rent of his life was changed. The dim, dark he felt he had judged too harshly. The cell became to him a paradise, and he could tenderness of her speech, the compassionate scarcely realize that the whole was not a glance of her beautiful eyes, so long the mere illusion of the senses, until the voice “ starlight of his loyhood,” won their way of Agnes roused him to consciousness. to the inmost recesses of his heart. Almost "Is there no way," she asked, " of freeing choking with mingled emotions, he replied: you from this gloomy place? My brother
“Captivity I could bear with firmness ; mentioned that an exchange of prisoners but to be caged in a jail, like a common might be effected, and that he should use all felon—debarred from the light of heaven, his influence to bring it about. I am sure and the privileges of my rank and station, he would be shocked to learn that his early is it not enough to change every warmer playmate was in such a place as this.” feeling of my soul to gall and bitterness ?" | Louis rose, and paced the floor with rapid
The tears of Agnes fell fast—but what steps. consolation had she to offer? She was con
" That might have been done, as your scious that her uncle acted with undue brother suggests, Miss Fletcher, but, alas ! I severity to those who were so unfortunate have involved myself too deeply. I fear as to fall into his power; and often had her they will exchange any other in preference." gentle heart bled in secret over their misfor- Agnes looked up in surprise. "You have tunes. To pity, to sympathize with them, not been so unguarded as to expose yourself was all she could do. But now, when one to any serious danger, Mr. Bradford ?" whose memory had lingered around her ** That will be as the lenient General solitude, whose image could not be erased Howe sees fit to decide,” replied the young from her heart, and whose destiny seemed
“An unfortunate letter of mine has interwoven with that of her idolized brother been intercepted; it may be the cause of iny
-now that he was the victim, it was agony imprisonment for months; perhaps my life indeed! She had visited the cell to speak will be the forfeit!” consolation to her brother's friend, but she Agnes turned pale with terror. Her lover
started to her side, and clasping her unre- of Mr. Fletcher was a gentleman by the sisting bands in both his own: “Yes, Agnes," name of Bradford, who had met with imsaid he, in a melancholy tone of voice, “my mense losses in the French war, and whose rash love for you has been my ruin. To estate had been sold piecemeal, Mr. Fletcher convey to you assurance of your brother's being the principal purchaser. The children safety after the battle in which he was of the two families had been early associated, wounded and left to my care, I passed the and Louis Bradford and Edward Fletcher pickets of the enemy, and, thinking myself became bosom friends. Mr. Bradford did unobserved, held a conversation with a man not encourage this intimacy, for, prouder in who has been long known as a spy. This misfortune than he even was in prosperity, person I employed to convey the letter to he could not bear the idea that his children your hands. We were overheard, Agnes ! should feel their obligations to the Fletcher He was put to death in a cruel manner, and family. But when he looked upon the frank without examination. What became of the and open brow of Edward Fletcher, he felt letter I know not, but the consequences you that his poor Louis would never have aught see in my present situation. I am here, of taunt or insult to fear from him. The
able to justify my conduct, and without two boys were united in every pursuit, and doubt my blood alone can satisfy your stern the beautiful little Agnes was the object of relative."
their joint care and affection, while the name “Oh, say not so!” exclaimed the distressed of “ brother” was given as freely to Louis as girl; “I will plead for you. I will"—tell to Edward. Time, however, wrought other all, she would have said, but she checked changes. The two fathers were no more. herself, and a burning blush overspread her The heirs of Mr. Fletcher were resigned to beautiful face. At this moment her attend the guardianship of their English relative, apt opened the door of the cell, and reminded and the portionless Louis and his two her that the sentinel would soon go the brothers, who were yet too young to feel rounds, and they must instantly retreat. | their dependence, took up their abode with Hastily concealing her tearful face in her a maiden aunt in Boston. At the commantle, Agnes rose, and, scarcely conscious, mencement of the Revolution, Edward suffered her lover to clasp her for an instant | Fletcher was made a lieutenant in the British to his heart, and then, taking the arm of her | army, while his youthful friend received the companion, she returned to her own apart | title of captain, under the banner of General ment, from which she was soon after sum- Washington. Agnes was placed at a female moned to the presence of her uncle. seminary in Boston, and Louis and herself
Agnes Fletcher was the descendant of a had met frequently in society. But the noble English family, whose members had young soldier felt that she was “Sister perished, one by one, till a younger brother Agnes” no longer. A gulf seemed placed and herself were the only ones remaining between them, which he, at least, considered During the settlement of Massachusetts, her impassable. Agnes felt otherwise. Not all father, enchanted by the natural scenery of the adulation of the great, not all the disthe New World, and with the faint hope of tinctions of wealth and rank, could banish saving the lives of his two motherless chil the image of Louis from her heart. Yet, dren, by removing them to another climate, accustomed to conceal her real feelings under purchased an estate near the town of Fram- the cold garb of indifference, he whom she ingham, and removed thither in 1774. He thus preferred in secret was met, in public, lived but to complete the arrangements of with the same formality as others, and he his lovely residence, and at his death confided had never dreamed of a return to his longhis orphan children to the care of their ma- cherished and hopeless passion. Louis and ternal uncle, Gen. Howe. The only neighbor | Edward, though obliged to meet in hostile array on the field of battle, had never en- turn thence. These close streets, and this tirely broken the tie of friendship so early continual tumult, are no preservatives of formed; and the kind care of Bradford, beauty and bloom. Your mother was of when his former companion fell into his the true English blood, and never fainted in hands, wounded and a prisoner, had strength- her life; but you are all nerves and sensiened their affection. Louis was now in the bility. Then, too, the commotion caused hands of the implacable Howe, and Edward by the arrival of these prisoners may determined to return the kind services ren- have agitated you. Have you seen them, dered to him, by effecting his restoration to Agnes ?" liberty. For this purpose he wrote to his “I saw the unfortunate men as they sister, mentioning the name of the captive, entered the court-yard,” replied Agnes in a and consigning him to her care, while de- low voice. tained by the General. It was with some
“Unfortunate! Umph! Pity they were difficulty that the young lady obtained an not all strung up as they deserve, and Mr. interview with the prisoner. She faintly Washington along with them. Their leaders hoped that her brother was mistaken in his merit the gallows as much as they do, for person, and it was principally to assure her- they have led them into error." self of his identity, that she visited the prison. “But they do not consider that they are She left it with renewed fears for his safety; committing an error in fighting for their but happy thoughts were mingled with those liberty, uncle." fears. She was beloved! He had risked his “Tut, tut, girl; you know not what you life for her; and she prepared to meet her are talking about. It would be a mercy to uncle with the resolution of effecting the the country if all these troublesome misescape of Bradford, no matter what the con- creants were exterminated, that we might sequences might be to herself.
breathe in peace once more." Agnes entered the room, trembling with " No one would rejoice more than myapprehension. Her uncle greeted her with self, uncle, at the restoration of peace-a a smile.
blessing so long denied to my unhappy “I have sent for you, Agnes, to mention country !” a proposition which I have just received for “Ha!" exclaimed General Howe, turning your hand. My friend, Captain Chester, of sharply upon her; “I trust you insinuate the Royal Guards, has my permission to no rebellion by that expression “unhappy address you. He is a fine fellow, and loyal country. England is your country, child, to his king—a great recommendation in and as Captain Chester's wife, I hope to see these times of rebels and traitors. He was you settled there yet, in all the splendor of chiefly instrumental in arresting that young your ancestors." rascal, whose head is likely to pay the pen- “I have no wish to marry, uncle." alty of his folly.-But what ails the girl! "The usual language of romantic girls ! Hester! a glass of water; your mistress is When you become better acquainted with fainting !
the gallant Captain, you will change your "I am well, quite well, uncle," said Agnes, mind." sensible that every thing depended upon "My mind is already made up with reher composure, and that to avoid suspicion gard to the Captain,” said Agnes. “If I she must assume indifference, if she did not ever marry at all, it will be him, most asfeel it.
suredly!" “ You are pining for the fresh air of the General Howe dropped the paper from country, child. I must send you to Canada his hands in undisguised amazement, at this to recruit your spirits. I have observed sudden and almost unfeminine acceptance that you have drooped ever since your re- of his proposed suitor. Agnes noticed the