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   Chapter 26 JULIAN.

The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 4613

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


Next day, a fine summer afternoon, when our feeble convalescents had gone out together, they found the fresh air so invigorating, and themselves so much stronger, that they prolonged their walk half-way to Oxton. The pasture-meadows, rich and rank, were alive with flocks and herds; the blue sea lazily beat time, as, ticking out the seconds, it melodiously broke upon the sleeping shore; the darkly-flowing Mullet swept sounding to the sea between its tortuous banks; and upon that old high foot-path skirting the stream, now shady with hazels, and now flowery with meadow-sweet, crept our chastened pair.

Just as they were nearing a short angle in the river, the spot where Charles had been preserved, they noticed for the first time a rough-looking fisherman, who, unseen, had tracked their steps some hundred yards; he had a tarpaulin over his shoulder, very unnecessarily, as it would seem, on so fine and warm a day; and a slouching sou'-wester, worn askew, flapped across the strange man's face.

He came on quickly, though cautiously, looking right and left; and Emily trembled on her guardian's feeble arm. Yes-she is right; the fisherman approaches-she detects him through it all: and now he scorns disguise; flinging off his cap and the tarpaulin, stands before them-Julian!

"So, sir-you tremble now, do you, gallant general: give me the girl." And he levelled at his father one of those double-barrelled pistols, full-cock.

"Julian, my son, I forgive you, Julian; take my hand, boy."

"What-coward? now you can cringe, and fawn, eh? back with you!-the girl, I say." For poor Emily, wild with fear, was clinging to that weak old man.

Julian levelled again; indeed, indeed it was only as a threat; but his hand shook with passion-the weapon was full-cock, hair-triggered-shotted heavily as always-hark, hark!-And his father fell upon the turf, covered with blood!

When a wicked man tampers with unintended crime, even accident falls out against him. Many a one has richly merited death for many other sins, than that isolated, haply accidental one which he has hanged for.

Julian, horror-stricken, pale and trembling, flew instinctively to help his father: but Emily has circled him already with her arms; and listen, Julian-your dying father speaks to you.

"Boy, I forgi

ve-I forgive: but-Emily, no, no, cannot, cannot be-Julian-she-she is your sister!" and the old man swooned away, from loss of blood and the excitement of that awful scene.

Not a word in reply said that poor sinner, maddened with his life-long crimes, the fratricide in will, the parricide in deed, and all for-a sister. But growing whiter as he stood, a marble man with bristling hair, he slowly drew the other pistol from his pocket, put the muzzle to his mouth, and, firing as he fell, leapt into the darkly-flowing Mullet!

The current, all too violent to sink in, and uncommissioned now to save, hurried its black burden to the sea; and a crimson streak of gore marked the track of the suicide.

The old man was not dead; but a brace of bullets taking effect upon his feeble frame-one through the shoulder, and another which had grazed his head-had been quite enough to make him seem so. Forgetful of all but that dear sufferer, and totally ignorant of Julian's fate-for she neither saw nor heard any thing, nor feared even for her own imminent peril, while her father lay dying on the grass-Emily had torn off her scarf, and bound up, as well as she could, the ghastly scored head and broken shoulder. She succeeded in staunching the blood-for no great vessel had been severed-and so simple an application as grass dipped in water, proved to be a good specific. Then, to her exceeding joy, those eyes opened again, and that dear tongue faintly whispered-"Bless you."

Oh, that blessing! for it fell upon her heart: and fervently she knelt down there, and thanked the Great Preserver.

And now, for friendly help; there is no one near: and it is growing dusk; and she dared not leave him there alone one minute-for Julian-dreaded Julian, may return, and kill him. What shall she do? How to get him home? Alas, alas! he may die where he is lying.

Hark, Emmy, hark! The shouts of happy children bursting out of school! See, dearest-see: here they come homewards merrily from Oxton.

Thus, rewarded through the instrumentality of her own benevolence, help was speedily obtained; and Mrs. Sainsbury's invalid-chair, hurried to the spot by an escort of indignant rustics, soon conveyed the recovering patient to the comforts of his own home, and the appliances of medical assistance.

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