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sistent. And now, Thomas, state to us the precise spot in which you found Lord Bellamy."
Thomas Jefferies explained this matter very clearly.There is in the park a small point of land bulging out like a promontory over the valley; three sides of which are encompassed by the woods, the fourth side being skirted by low bushes, through which is a little footpath from a hamlet at the further end of the park the Hall; the ground near the path being in some places so sunk as to form a sort of ditch between the path and the smooth level grass on the summit of the knoll.
“It seems that my young Lord was walking on this path when he received the shot," said Thomas, and that he fell immediately into the ditch; for we found him lying with his head in a very awkward posture, and his arm bent under him."
“Can you point out the precise spot, Jefferies ?” said Dr. Simpson.
“Yes, Sir," replied Thomas, “I know it from this circumstance—there was a mountain-ash just above.”
“A mountain-ash ?" said Theodore; “I have a confused idea -."
Dr. Simpson interrupted him. "If you please, Mr. Westfield," he said, “we shall feel obliged if you will keep your confused ideas to yourself for the present: I don't doubt but that we shall set all your ideas in their right places very soon. Do you remember the chesnut tree, Lord Bellamy ?"
“I do, Sir," replied my eldest son.
“ Was that chesnut tree far from the place where you parted from your brother and Lord Seaforth ?" asked Dr. Simpson.
“It was, Sir," answered Lord Bellamy; "at least a quarter of a mile.”
“And permit me to ask you, what was your motive for walking forward in that direction, and up a very steep path, as I recollect? You are not accustomed, I think, to choose these difficult ways."
Lord Bellamy coloured, and replied, “ Really, Sir, I do not know that I had any particular reason for so doing.”
“Very good,” said Dr. Simpson smiling. “Then I
am to understand, that you had no reason for climbing a very steep rough ascent? I know the place well. But it seems that you did climb up in this direction; and that you remember the mountain-ash. Perhaps you stopped to rest under the tree ?!
"Perhaps I might,” said Lord Bellamy, impatiently.
Lady Roxeter was going to speak, but Dr. Simpson entreated her not to interfere.
“And now," said Dr. Simpson, addressing Theodore, and looking him very steadily in the face,“ do you, Mr. Westfield, wish me to proceed, or shall we leave the matter where it now is ?"
“Go on, go on, if you honour and love our family, Sir," replied Theodore; "ask me any question you wish; and, if you please, let an oath be administered to me: I am ready to tell all I know.”
“ Very well,” said Dr. Simpson : “then please to inform me, why did you part from your brother in the park, and walk away with Lord Seaforth?"
“Because I was a fool and a madman. I had promised Seaforth to give him my interest with my sister, and I was angry with my brother for opposing me.”
“You supposed then,” said Dr. Simpson, “that your sister was attached to Lord Seaforth, and that her happiness depended on the marriage ?"
Theodore blushed as he answered, “No, Sir, I had no such thought."
"Then we are to believe that your warmth in this cause was owing to your affection for Lord Seaforth, are we not, Mr. Westfield ?" asked the doctor.
Theodore hesitated; but Dr. Simpson silently awaited his answer, which came after a few seconds, and was a negative.
“Then I am to suppose,” said Dr. Simpson, that as your brother, to whom long walks are a great inconvenience, undertook to climb one of the steepest crags in the park without a motive, in like manner you quarrelled with this same brother, and sought to make yoạr sister unhappy also, without a motive ?"
“I had a motive for desiring my sister's marriage,” replied Theodore, reddening violently, and then turning very pale; “I owe Seaforth a large sum of money, and
my debt was to be cancelled as soon as the marriage took place."
Here was a new light shed on the subject. I bit my lips—I trembled from head to foot;
and we thought Lady Roxeter would have fainted. There was a dead silence in the room for more than a minute; at length Dr. Simpson spoke.
“You have done well, Mr. Westfield,” he said, “in speaking the truth so far. Where a wound has long rankled, it must be probed to the very bottom before the healing ointment can be administered. You have grieved us all, young man: you have brought your noble parents to death's door; but all, I am convinced, will be well finally." And he turned to Lady Roxeter, and said, “Dear lady, be comforted; your prayers have reached unto heaven: they will be accepted through Him in whom you have trusted ; and your husband and children will yet be blessed.” The good old gentleman then wiped his eyes, and went on with his examination.
But, before I proceed with the narration, I must pause to make one remark, which is this,—that I have often considered that there is not a greater benefactor to society, nor one who has larger means of usefulness, than a pious, skilful, and intelligent physician. Such an one is admitted into families in the hours of sickness and afiliction, when the hearts of men are susceptible and humble, and prepared for the admission of such counsel as may administer to the comfort of the soul in this life and in that which is to come. But to proceed with our trial.
“I am to understand by your late confession, Mr. Westfield,” said Dr. Simpson, as he proceeded to question Theodore, “that you felt yourself to be in a certain degree under the power of Lord Seaforth, and, therefore, followed as he led. I understand that he is not attached by any means to Lord Bellamy. I can perceive, also, that he would be displeased at the opposition made by him to his marriage. This is all natural ; but I wish to know whether you can recollect what passed between him and yourself when you parted from your brother.”
“I have a very indistinct recollection of what happened then,” replied Theodore," for I was inflamed with VOL VII.
passion : but I remember suggesting to him, that, as several members of the family were much opposed to the marriage, it, perhaps, might be as well to think no more of it.”
“And what happened then ?" asked Dr. Simpson. 6. We had high words. I don't remember what either of us said ; but we became more calm after a time.”
“And in what direction did you walk ?" said Dr. Simpson.
“We walked over the knoll,” replied Theodore.
Even Dr. Simpson started at this answer; and we, the unhappy parents of the young man, were ready to expire. Thomas Jefferies looked sternly; and Lord Bellamy hid his face in his pillow.
“You walked over the knoll; and what did you do there ?” said Dr. Simpson: “did you go straight forward ?"
“We did not,” replied Theodore, who became more agitated as he proceeded.
Dr. Simpson was going to speak again, when I interrupted him. “We have had enough,” I said ; “I can hear no more. Theodore, my best advice to you is, to leave this country. Your wants shall be amply supplied. Money you shall have, if that can make you happy: but let me never see your face, or hear your name again. I knew it, I knew it," I added, turning wildly to Dr. Simpson; "I knew how it would turn out;" and, a sudden frenzy taking place of the natural calmness with which I had commenced my speech, I was only prevented, by Dr. Simpson and Thomas Jefferies, from falling furiously on my son and felling him to my feet.
Theodore had shrunk to the furthest end of the room; where, as soon as he could be heard, he begged for a little delay of his sentence. “I
am myself puzzled and confounded,” he said ;“ but that I had any intention to murder my brother, I deny most solemnly. The events of that awful day seem to me as a confused and fearful dream. And yet, I think, were I more cool, less agitated, less miserable; did I but see my parents more composed ; I might be able to un. ravel this clue—this dreadful clue.” And then, addressing Dr. Simpson, he entreated him to go on with hiş.
questions. Let me be heard, at least, let me be heard," he said, “ And 0, my dear brother,” he added, “if you have any love, any pity for me, tell us all you know. And now I do recollect another circumstance; I remember it well; I did let off my piece upon the knoll, and I directed my aim towards a high tree which intercepted the view of the valley."
Ay,” said Thomas Jefferies, “the mountain-ash.” “Peace!” said Dr. Simpson, who again addressed Theodore. Do you recollect, Mr. Westfield, wherefore you directed your piece towards the high tree ?"
“Because we had sprung a bird,” replied Theodore, 6 who flew directly across the lawn to that tree.”
And you saw the bird ?" said Dr. Simpson.
Yes, over my head, I am sure I did,” replied the young man. “But in the tree ?" asked the doctor.
I scarcely know," he replied; "but I fired in that direction."
“Were you mad, or were you intoxicated, young man ?" I exclaimed.
“Not mad, Sir,” said Lord Bellamy, “but intoxicated. He was intoxicated that morning."
We all turned to Lord Bellamy; and Dr. Simpson said, “Come, Sir, now is your turn to speak. You can do no harm now by any thing you can say: your silence cannot serve your brother any longer. It is very plain that it was by his hand that you were wounded, and the story, at best, is an awkward one, as you are his elder brother. But I will do Mr. Westfield the justice to believe that he had no intention to injure you when he thus scattered death in the bushes. You had certainly been a dead man, had he aimed his piece an inch higher; but this is nothing now to the purpose: the question is—to prove, for the satisfaction of all who love the family, whether Mr. Westfield did or did not intend to injure you. He says that he did not. I believe him; and all here would wish to believe him also; but belief, even in common matters, is not in a man's own power."
“Sir,” replied Lord Bellamy, “I am now convinced that my silence can be of no avail ; I am willing, therefore, to answer every question you choose to put to me.