Page:A New England Tale.djvu/267

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ter on a new voyage, he wished to lighten his soul of as much of its present cargo of sin as possible. He stated, and we believe with sincerity, that he had intended, if it ever became necessary, to assert Jane's innocence; but that, as long as no one believed her guilty, he had thought it fair to slip his neck out of the yoke; and now, that every body might know how good she was, he wished Mr. Lloyd to make known all the particulars of the transaction. He then went on to detail as much as he knew of her visit to the mountain, which had led to her subsequent involvement. He expressed no remorse for the past, no hope of the future. His wish to exculpate Jane had arisen from a deep feeling of her excellence, and seemed to be the last ray of just or kindly feeling that his dark, guilty spirit emitted.

Jane had scarcely finished reading the letters, when her attention was called to her aunt, who had been thrown into a state of agitation almost amounting to frenzy, by the perusal of her son's farewell letter to herself, which Mr. Lloyd had placed on the pillow beside her, believing that it merely contained such account of David's escape and plans, as would have a tendency to allay the anguish of her mind, which he still supposed arose solely from her apprehensions for her son's life. But Mr. Lloyd was too good even to conceive of the bitterness of a malignant exasperated spirit, wrought to madness, as Wilson's was, by his mother's absolute refusal to make any effort to save his life.