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Esther hoped better things ; she doubted
not that her father had business in the town ;
but he must know how anxious they would be
to see him, and he would surely come soon.
Yet, hour after hour slipped by, and he came
not. One went to the door, then the other,
then the first again, and so on ; but no
George Hammond appeared. At length, when
it was getting quite dusk, they did discern
somebody coming towards them with an
unsteady stepthey saw the figure reel as it
approached, before they could distinguish the
features, and they turned sick at heart.
Hannah groaned, and Esther grasping her
arm, said, " Oh mother ! mother ! "

But when the person drew near, they
perceived that it was not Hammond, but Jackson;
and, for a moment, the sight of him,
unwelcome object as he was, almost gave them
pleasure; it was a relief to find it was not
George. But he would come, no doubt, and
presently; was probably not far off; and
there was the tempter waiting for him.

Angry and disgusted, the two women went
into the house, and shut the door. After
an irrepressible burst of tears, Hannah
bethought herself of sending a lad they kept
as ostler, along the road, to try and meet
Hammond, and to smuggle him into the house
by the back way. The boy went; but, after
walking until he was tired, returned, saying he
had been to the town, but could see nothing
of master. He had, however, met Mr. Harry,
who had promised to go in search of him, and
bring him home. Finding Jackson sound
asleep, and not likely to move, Hannah sent
her daughter, and the maid, and the boy to
bed, resolving to sit up herself, that she might
be ready to admit George when he came.
Alas! in what state would he arrive?

To-morrow was his daughter's wedding-day;
and as Hannah thought of all they had
suffered, the lovethat had been flooding from
her woman's heart towards her husband
returning to her, as she had fondly hoped, to
live purely and virtuously the rest of their
dayswas turned into bitterness and wrath.

It was a weary night as she sat listening to
the ticking of the clock, and the slow hours
as they struck, until the dawn broke, and then
she peeped out to see if Jackson were still at
the door. Yes, there he was fast asleep. A
pretty condition he would be in to go to
church with his son! However, he would be
sober when he awoke; and sick at heart, and
sad, she went up stairs and stretched herself
on the bed beside her daughter.

But she could not sleep; her mind was
anxious, and her ears were on the stretch for
her profligate; and by-and-by the sparrows on
the house-top began to chirp, and the market-
carts rolled by on their way to the town, and
the labourers' heavy shoes tramped along to
the fields where their work lay; and still
there was no George! No George! and so,
at length, she fell asleep.

She had slept about a couple of hours when
she was awakened by Esther's voice. "Mother!"
cried the girl,  "there's father at the door.
You 'd better go yourself and let him in !
"I will ! " said Hannah, hastily getting out
of bed and throwing on some clothes—"I
will ; " and she folded her lips with an
expression of bitterness.

" Don't be too hard upon him, mother,"
said Esther—" it's the last time, for Jackson
will be gone to-morrow;" and while her
mother descended the stairs, the young girl
arose with her heart full of love and happiness
for how could she be sad when that very
day was to make her Harry's wife? Her
wedding finery was all laid out ready to put
on, and she was inspecting it with the innocent
vanity of eighteen, when she was startled
by a screamanother and anotherand it
was her mother's voice! Pale and transfixed
with terror, she stood with her hands pressed
upon her bosom, to still her heart's beating.
What could have happened? Then she heard
other voices belowmen's voices; and with
trembling hands, she tried to dress herself,
that she might go down and inquire.
Suddenly, one cried out, "Where's Esther?
Where 's my sister?"  There was a hasty
foot upon the stairs, and George, her brother,
pale as death, haggard, dishevelled, rushed
into the room.

Then, there was the tramp of many feet
below, and Esther rushed to the door; but
George caught her in his arms.

"Wait! " he said, " and I'll tell you all.
Jackson got hold of my father last night and
made him drink—— "

"We know it; butHarry! Oh, where's
Harry?"

"Harry heard of it, and told me; and we
went to seek him, he one way, I another. It
was not till about two hours ago, I heard
that father had not long left the Plough, in
James Street, and that Harry had been there
directly afterwards, and gone in pursuit of
him; so, being very anxious, I thought I
would come on here to see if he was arrived."
And here the poor boy's sobs choked his
utterance.

"And has anything happened to my father?"
said Esther.

"When I got near the Mill-dam," continued
George, " I saw two or three of the millers
looking into the water—"

"My poor father! He's drowned! " said
Esther, clasping her hands.

"Yes," said George, hesitating; "whether
he was seized with delirium, or whether
remorse got the better of him, and he was
ashamed to come home, there's no telling—"

"But where's Harry?" cried the girl; for
George hesitated again.

"He must have overtaken my father, and
seen the accidentor must have been trying
to prevent his throwing himself in the water
for poor Harry—! " And then there was
the tramp of more feet below, and another
weight was carried through the passage. " I

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