"Away! thou art the slave of a base thought,
And hast no will of truth. I scorn thee now,
With my whole soul, as once, with my whole soul,
I held thee worthy."
BUT Bess Matthews was not left to solitude, though left by her lover. A new party came upon the scene, in the person of Hugh Grayson, emerging from the neighbouring copse, from the cover of which he had witnessed the greater portion of the interview between Harrison and the maiden. This unhappy young man, always a creature of the fiercest impulses, in a moment of the wildest delirium of that passion for Bess which had so completely swallowed up his better judgment, not less than all sense of high propriety, had been guilty, though almost unconscious at the time of the woful error, of a degree of espionage, for which, the moment after, he felt many rebukings of shame and conscience. Hurried on, however, by the impetuous impulse of the passion so distracting him, the fine sense, which should have been an impassable barrier, rising up like a wall in the way of such an act, had foregone its better control for the moment, and he had lingered sufficiently long under cover to incur the stigma, as he now certainly felt the shame, of having played the part of a spy. But his error had its punishment even in its own progress. He had seen that which contributed still more to increase his mortification, and to embitter his soul against the more successful rival, whose felicities he had beheld — scarcely able to clench the teeth in silence which laboured all the while to gnash in agony. With a cheek in which shame and a purposeless fury alike showed themselves, and seemed struggling for mastery, he now came forward; and approaching the maiden, addressed her as he did so with some common phrase of formal courtesy, which had the desired effect of making her pause for his approach. He steeled his quivering muscles into something like rigidity, while a vain and vague effort at a smile, like lightning from the cloud, strove visibly upon his features.
" It is not solitude, then,"said he,
" that brings Miss Matthews into the forest. Its shelter — its secrecy alone, is perhaps its highest recommendation."