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this first will, Frederick was .entitled to ten thousand pounds: and I certainly think it but just that he should now receive this same legacy, and not, at any rate, be a loser by your father's too generous intentions towards him.”
Robert begged to be permitted to double the sum; but Mr. Day remarked that there was to be no appeal from his decision, and the matter was thus amicably and wisely arranged, Frederick, however, assuring Mr. Day that he should have been perfectly satisfied although he had not been one shilling the better for his uncle's will.
From that period I am happy to say that Sir Robert Lambert never forgot the obligation he owed to Frederick; and all uneasy feelings being removed, his admiration of his character and love of his excellent qualities seemed, with the divine blessing, to effect such a change in his heart as seemed to render him a new creature.
While things were thus happily proceeding at Lambert-Hall and the parsonage, and peace restored to the minds of the two cousins, (Frederick and Robert both having been brought to feel that in missing Augusta they had perhaps escaped a woman whose ambition might have rendered them miserable,) the death of Lady Frances had wrought a mighty change in the politics of Clifton Castle.
Lord and Lady V— found themselves completely baffled, and were made to feel that the very steps which they had taken to secure a particular situation for their daughter were the very means of her losing this situation. Lady Augusta, however, was still in the first bloom of her beauty, and might expect to marry a man of higher rank than Sir Robert Lambert: they therefore resolved to leave the country for a few months, and to try their daughter's fortune elsewhere, not recollecting or supposing it possible that Augusta might still retain such a regard for Frederick, (whom she had never even mentioned since he had refused to oblige her by sacrificing his integrity to her ambition,) as would render it impossible for her ever to think of another
person. But the truth was, that the noble and disinterested conduct of Frederick towards his cousin, and the anguish he expressed when compelled to sacrifice the object of
his tender regard to his sense of duty, had so raised him in her esteem, that she would now have given up every earthly prospect, had it been possible thereby to recal the past, and render herself loved and respected by him as she once had been.
“O Frederick, my Frederick," she would often say, when left to her own private reflections, “Oh, had I but shared with you the glorious sacrifice, how blessed, how loved, how honoured by all, should I now have been! and in what peace might I have dwelt with you in your humble yet fragrant dwelling, where, as in a second Eden, I should have employed myself in the presence of my beloved, the assistant and sharer in all his innocent labours and works of charity! But ambition and covetousness have proved my bane and destruction. O miserable, lost Augusta !” In this manner would the young lady bemoan herself; while she still could see no means of retracing her steps, or of making her present feelings known to Frederick, consistently with the delicacy of her sex. Thus did this fine young creature become
of secret sorrow: the colour faded from her cheeks; she grew silent and pensive in company; and, when unobserved, was continually in tears.
In the mean time, she was removed by her parents from Clifton Castle, and carried first to Bath, and afterwards to Town.
And now, weeks had rolled round, and nearly eight months had elapsed since the death of Sir Anthony. Robert had been established some time at the Hall, and habitually conducted himself in a manner which obtained for him the respect and love of all his dependents.
The months of spring at length arrived, and the gardens of the Hall and parsonage were beginning to look gay with the buds and blossoms of the renewed year; Mr. Day and his pupils were full of schemes of Christian love and benevolence; and the amiable. Frederick was preparing himself for priest's orders; when suddenly there appeared in him symptoms of that alarming disease which had twice before threatened his life.
To describe the anguish of Robert and Mr. Day on this occasion would be impossible. Frederick himself
was now the only one who could speak a word of comfort. My father, and my brother,” he said, recover as I have before done; I may overcome this attack, if the Lord permits, and live to be a hale old man: but if not, my Robert, if I must go, what then? I shall indeed be parted for a little while from you,
and from my adopted parent; but I shall be the gainer: I shall be there, where my home and my heart have long been, praised be He who drew that heart unto himself, and opened to my view such scenes of glory in a future world, as with the value of which no earthly possessions could admit of the least comparison.
“ But who,” added the young man, lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven, " who wrought this mighty work in me, and sent his Holy Spirit to dwell within this polluted temple, making his strength apparent in my weakness, and causing bis holiness to shine amidst the deepest natural corruption? Who, but that God who willed my salvation ere yet my body was fashioned out of the dust, or the spirit of life breathed into my nostrils? God the Father loved me, and prepared for my salvation, ere the foundations of this earth were laid, or the morning stars had sung together. That salvation was complete when my Saviour cried out, It is finished. And I trust that God the Holy Spirit has been fitting me, through many years past, for the glory provided for me, by his regenerating and sanctifying grace, although I long resisted him with the whole strength of a corrupt nature and an unconverted will.”
“Oh, my son, Mr. Day would reply, “my Frederick! God give me strength, if needful, to yield you up; for I feel that I cannot do it in my own strength.”
Robert could not speak on these occasions, but repeatedly, when Frederick spoke of the probability of his death, did he rise in haste, leave the room, and return again after a while, his eyes red with weeping, and with an expression of sorrow which he was unable to conceal.
Frederick's disease, which was upon the chest, had, in his two former attacks, been so acute, that, in a few weeks, the result in both cases was decisive; but on this occasion it operated much more slowly, and was more variable in its effects, favourable symptoms at times
presenting themselves, and again disappearing. The young man, in the mean time, grew daily more emaciated, his strength and appetite gradually declining, and his power of exertion growing less and less; while, however, the sweet peace which he continually enjoyed was habitually such that he declared himself as being only too happy. He described himself as enjoying an unshaken trust in his Saviour, and a bright hope of future blessedness, which was uniformly unclouded, though at the same time utterly independent of any idea of self-confidence. That noble act by which he had secured the admiration of all who knew him, he seemed at this time wholly to have forgotten, inasmuch as he never once adverted to it; and if any one hinted at the subject in his presence, he would reply, “How could a Christian, or even an upright moral man, have acted any otherwise than I did on that occasion ? You lower the tone of mere morality, my friend, by representing an act of this kind as any thing more than a common duty. Would you praise a man for not robbing on the highway, when I tell you that a common highwayman is a superior character to one who takes advantage of circumstances to deprive a neighbour, a distant relation, or a brother, of his just rights?”
I could with pleasure write many pages relative to the blessed state of mind of this truly noble and pious young man during the few last weeks of his life." His decay was so gradual, that even his nearest friends were not fully aware how soon they would be required to give him up. His last evening was spent in his favourite apartment, the library of the parsonage; where, as he lay on the sofa, with his beloved tutor and Robert seated by his side, the brilliancy of his eyes, and the hectic glow of his cheeks, added to the natural beauty of his features, rendered his aspect so far from deathlike, that, although his pulse throbbed violently, and his breath was alarmingly oppressed, the idea of his very speedy dissolution did not by any means occur to his anxious friends. The window of the room was open, it being summer, and some of the little children from his school at Farewell had come to bring him an offering of fruit.
When their little presents were brought, he took a
single strawberry from the basket; and, having eaten it, begged that the children might be ranged around, without the window, to sing a favourite hymn which he had taught them. His request was complied with; and while they sang, he seemed pleased, and even affected. “Ah, dear children, I shall never hear your voices again,” he said; “I shall never more visit your little village: but I thank God for the happy hours I have spent among you.” He then added these words:
". These are the joys he makes us know
On that very night, at twelve o'clock, this blessed young man finished his short but glorious course, in the arms of Robert Lambert, while his tutor, with several old servants, were kneeling round his bed.
Frederick Falconer's death took place exactly one year and six days after that of his uncle; and when, had he accepted the bequest of Sir Anthony, he might have been in possession of the estate precisely one year, wanting nine days.
Frederick Falconer had been laid out in the handsomest room of the parsonage about eight hours, and his fine features were settled in death, although the hectic glow had scarcely yet forsaken his lips and cheeks, while the most beautiful flowers from the greenhouse and hothouse, belonging to the Hall and his own garden, were profusely scattered over the sheet with which he was covered, when suddenly a carriage appeared at the gate, from which rushed the unhappy Augusta in a state little short of frenzy.
Robert Lambert met her as she entered the hall.
Her step was hurried; her hair disordered; and her cheeks were in a glow. “Where is my Frederick ?” she said, addressing Robert, but not seeming to know the person thus addressed.
Robert was silent, and seemed violently agitated at the sight of this young lady.
" Where is Mr. Falconer?” said Augusta, turning from Sir Robert to a servant who entered the hall.