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Title:      The Invisible Girl
Author:     Mary Shelley
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
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Language:   English
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Date first posted:          July 2006
Date most recently updated: July 2006

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Title:      The Invisible Girl
Author:     Mary Shelley




This slender narrative has no pretensions to the regularity of a story,
or the development of situations and feelings; it is but a slight
sketch, delivered nearly as it was narrated to me by one of the humblest
of the actors concerned: nor will I spin out a circumstance interesting
principally from its singularity and truth, but narrate, as concisely as
I can, how I was surprised on visiting what seemed a ruined tower,
crowning a bleak promontory overhanging the sea, that flows between
Wales and Ireland, to find that though the exterior preserved all the
savage rudeness that betokened many a war with the elements, the
interior was fitted up somewhat in the guise of a summer-house, for it
was too small to deserve any other name. It consisted but of the
ground-floor, which served as an entrance, and one room above, which was
reached by a staircase made out of the thickness of the wall. This
chamber was floored and carpeted, decorated with elegant furniture; and,
above all, to attract the attention and excite curiosity, there hung
over the chimney-piece--for to preserve the apartment from damp a
fire-place had been built evidently since it had assumed a guise so
dissimilar to the object of its construction--a picture simply painted
in water-colours, which seemed more than any part of the adornments of
the room to be at war with the rudeness of the building, the solitude in
which it was placed, and the desolation of the surrounding scenery. This
drawing represented a lovely girl in the very pride and bloom of youth;
her dress was simple, in the fashion of the day--(remember, reader, I
write at the beginning of the eighteenth century), her countenance was
embellished by a look of mingled innocence and intelligence, to which
was added the imprint of serenity of soul and natural cheerfulness. She
was reading one of those folio romances which have so long been the
delight of the enthusiastic and young; her mandoline was at her
feet--her parroquet perched on a huge mirror near her; the arrangement
of furniture and hangings gave token of a luxurious dwelling, and her
attire also evidently that of home and privacy, yet bore with it an
appearance of ease and girlish ornament, as if she wished to please.
Beneath this picture was inscribed in golden letters, "The Invisible
Girl."

Rambling about a country nearly uninhabited, having lost my way, and
being overtaken by a shower, I had lighted on this dreary looking
tenement, which seemed to rock in the blast, and to be hung up there as
the very symbol of desolation. I was gazing wistfully and cursing
inwardly my stars which led me to a ruin that could afford no shelter,
though the storm began to pelt more seriously than before, when I saw an
old woman's head popped out from a kind of loophole, and as suddenly
withdrawn:--a minute after a feminine voice called to me from within,
and penetrating a little brambly maze that skreened a door, which I had
not before observed, so skilfully had the planter succeeded in
concealing art with nature I found the good dame standing on the
threshold and inviting me to take refuge within. "I had just come up
from our cot hard by," she said, "to look after the things, as I do
every day, when the rain came on--will ye walk up till it is over?" I
was about to observe that the cot hard by, at the venture of a few rain
drops, was better than a ruined tower, and to ask my kind hostess
whether "the things" were pigeons or crows that she was come to look
after, when the matting of the floor and the carpeting of the staircase
struck my eye. I was still more surprised when I saw the room above; and
beyond all, the picture and its singular inscription, naming her
invisible, whom the painter had coloured forth into very agreeable
visibility, awakened my most lively curiosity: the result of this, of
my exceeding politeness towards the old woman, and her own natural
garrulity, was a kind of garbled narrative which my imagination eked
out, and future inquiries rectified, till it assumed the following form.

Some years before in the afternoon of a September day, which, though
tolerably fair, gave many tokens of a tempestuous evening, a gentleman
arrived at a little coast town about ten miles from this place; he
expressed his desire to hire a boat to carry him to the town of about
fifteen miles further on the coast. The menaces which the sky held forth
made the fishermen loathe to venture, till at length two, one the father
of a numerous family, bribed by the bountiful reward the stranger
promised--the other, the son of my hostess, induced by youthful daring,
agreed to undertake the voyage. The wind was fair, and they hoped to
make good way before nightfall, and to get into port ere the rising of
the storm. They pushed off with good cheer, at least the fishermen did;
as for the stranger, the deep mourning which he wore was not half so
black as the melancholy that wrapt his mind. He looked as if he had
never smiled--as if some unutterable thought, dark as night and bitter
as death, had built its nest within his bosom, and brooded therein
eternally; he did not mention his name; but one of the villagers
recognised him as Henry Vernon, the son of a baronet who possessed a
mansion about three miles distant from the town for which he was bound.
This mansion was almost abandoned by the family; but Henry had, in a
romantic fit, visited it about three years before, and Sir Peter had
been down there during the previous spring for about a couple of months.

The boat did not make so much way as was expected; the breeze failed
them as they got out to sea, and they were fain with oar as well as
sail, to try to weather the promontory that jutted out between them and
the spot they desired to reach. They were yet far distant when the
shifting wind began to exert its strength, and to blow with violent
though unequal puffs. Night came on pitchy dark, and the howling waves
rose and broke with frightful violence, menacing to overwhelm the tiny
bark that dared resist their fury. They were forced to lower every sail,
and take to their oars; one man was obliged to bale out the water, and
Vernon himself took an oar, and rowing with desperate energy, equalled
the force of the more practised boatmen. There had been much talk
between the sailors before the tempest came on; now, except a brief
command, all were silent. One thought of his wife and children, and
silently cursed the caprice of the stranger that endangered in its
effects, not only his life, but their welfare; the other feared less,
for he was a daring lad, but he worked hard, and had no time for speech;
while Vernon bitterly regretting the thoughtlessness which had made him
cause others to share a peril, unimportant as far as he himself was
concerned, now tried to cheer them with a voice full of animation and
courage, and now pulled yet more strongly at the oar he held. The only
person who did not seem wholly intent on the work he was about, was the
man who baled; every now and then he gazed intently round, as if the sea
held afar off, on its tumultuous waste, some object that he strained his
eyes to discern. But all was blank, except as the crests of the high
waves showed themselves, or far out on the verge of the horizon, a kind
of lifting of the clouds betokened greater violence for the blast. At
length he exclaimed--"Yes, I see it!--the larboard oar!--now! if we can
make yonder light, we are saved!" Both the rowers instinctively turned
their heads,--but cheerless darkness answered their gaze.

"You cannot see it," cried their companion, "but we are nearing it; and,
please God, we shall outlive this night." Soon he took the oar from
Vernon's hand, who, quite exhausted, was failing in his strokes. He rose
and looked for the beacon which promised them safety;--it glimmered with
so faint a ray, that now he said, "I see it;" and again, "it is
nothing:" still, as they made way, it dawned upon his sight, growing
more steady and distinct as it beamed across the lurid waters, which
themselves be came smoother, so that safety seemed to arise from the
bosom of the ocean under the influence of that flickering gleam.

"What beacon is it that helps us at our need?" asked Vernon, as the men,
now able to manage their oars with greater ease, found breath to answer
his question.

"A fairy one, I believe," replied the elder sailor, "yet no less a true:
it burns in an old tumble-down tower, built on the top of a rock which
looks over the sea. We never saw it before this summer; and now each
night it is to be seen,--at least when it is looked for, for we cannot
see it from our village;--and it is such an out of the way place that no
one has need to go near it, except through a chance like this. Some say
it is burnt by witches, some say by smugglers; but this I know, two
parties have been to search, and found nothing but the bare walls of the
tower.

All is deserted by day, and dark by night; for no light was to be seen
while we were there, though it burned sprightly enough when we were out
at sea.

"I have heard say," observed the younger sailor, "it is burnt by the
ghost of a maiden who lost her sweetheart in these parts; he being
wrecked, and his body found at the foot of the tower: she goes by the
name among us of the 'Invisible Girl.'"

The voyagers had now reached the landing-place at the foot of the tower.
Vernon cast a glance upward,--the light was still burning. With some
difficulty, struggling with the breakers, and blinded by night, they
contrived to get their little bark to shore, and to draw her up on the
beach: they then scrambled up the precipitous pathway, overgrown by
weeds and underwood, and, guided by the more experienced fishermen, they
found the entrance to the tower, door or gate there was none, and all
was dark as the tomb, and silent and almost as cold as death.

"This will never do," said Vernon; "surely our hostess will show her
light, if not herself, and guide our darkling steps by some sign of life
and comfort."

"We will get to the upper chamber," said the sailor, "if I can but hit
upon the broken down steps: but you will find no trace of the Invisible
Girl nor her light either, I warrant."

"Truly a romantic adventure of the most disagreeable kind," muttered
Vernon, as he stumbled over the unequal ground: "she of the beacon-light
must be both ugly and old, or she would not be so peevish and
inhospitable."

With considerable difficulty, and, after divers knocks and bruises, the
adventurers at length succeeded in reaching the upper story; but all was
blank and bare, and they were fain to stretch themselves on the hard
floor, when weariness, both of mind and body, conduced to steep their
senses in sleep.

Long and sound were the slumbers of the mariners. Vernon but forgot
himself for an hour; then, throwing off drowsiness, and finding his
roughcouch uncongenial to repose, he got up and placed himself at the
hole that served for a window, for glass there was none, and there being
not even a rough bench, he leant his back against the embrasure, as the
only rest he could find. He had forgotten his danger, the mysterious
beacon, and its invisible guardian: his thoughts were occupied on the
horrors of his own fate, and the unspeakable wretchedness that sat like
a night-mare on his heart.

It would require a good-sized volume to relate the causes which had
changed the once happy Vernon into the most woeful mourner that ever
clung to the outer trappings of grief, as slight though cherished
symbols of the wretchedness within. Henry was the only child of Sir
Peter Vernon, and as much spoiled by his father's idolatry as the old
baronet's violent and tyrannical temper would permit. A young orphan was
educated in his father's house, who in the same way was treated with
generosity and kindness, and yet who lived in deep awe of Sir Peter's
authority, who was a widower; and these two children were all he had to
exert his power over, or to whom to extend his affection. Rosina was a
cheerful-tempered girl, a little timid, and careful to avoid displeasing
her protector; but so docile, so kind-hearted, and so affectionate, that
she felt even less than Henry the discordant spirit of his parent. It is
a tale often told; they were playmates and companions in childhood, and
lovers in after days. Rosina was frightened to imagine that this secret
affection, and the vows they pledged, might be disapproved of by Sir
Peter. But sometimes she consoled herself by thinking that perhaps she
was in reality her Henry's destined bride, brought up with him under the
design of their future union; and Henry, while he felt that this was not
the case, resolved to wait only until he was of age to declare and
accomplish his wishes in making the sweet Rosina his wife. Meanwhile he
was careful to avoid premature discovery of his intentions, so to secure
his beloved girl from persecution and insult. The old gentleman was very
conveniently blind; he lived always in the country, and the lovers spent
their lives together, unrebuked and uncontrolled. It was enough that
Rosina played on her mandoline, and sang Sir Peter to sleep every day
after dinner; she was the sole female in the house above the rank of a
servant, and had her own way in the disposal of her time. Even when Sir
Peter frowned, her innocent caresses and sweet voice were powerful to
smooth the rough current of his temper. If ever human spirit lived in an
earthly paradise, Rosina did at this time: her pure love was made happy
by Henry's constant presence; and the confidence they felt in each
other, and the security with which they looked forward to the future,
rendered their path one of roses under a cloudless sky. Sir Peter was
the slight drawback that only rendered their tete--a--tete more
delightful, and gave value to the sympathy they each bestowed on the
other. All at once an ominous personage made its appearance in
Vernon-Place, in the shape of a widow sister of Sir Peter, who, having
succeeded in killing her husband and children with the effects of her
vile temper, came, like a harpy, greedy for new prey, under her
brother's roof. She too soon detected the attachment of the unsuspicious
pair. She made all speed to impart her discovery to her brother, and at
once to restrain and inflame his rage. Through her contrivance Henry was
suddenly despatched on his travels abroad, that the coast might be clear
for the persecution of Rosina; and then the richest of the lovely girl's
many admirers, whom, under Sir Peter's single reign, she was allowed,
nay, almost commanded, to dismiss, so desirous was he of keeping her for
his own comfort, was selected, and she was ordered to marry him. The
scenes of violence to which she was now exposed, the bitter taunts of
the odious Mrs. Bainbridge, and the reckless fury of Sir Peter, were the
more frightful and overwhelming from their novelty. To all she could
only oppose a silent, tearful, but immutable steadiness of purpose: no
threats, no rage could extort from her more than a touching prayer that
they would not hate her, because she could not obey.

"There must he something we don't see under all this," said Mrs.
Bainbridge, "take my word for it, brother,--she corresponds secretly
with Henry. Let us take her down to your seat in Wales, where she will
have no pensioned beggars to assist her; and we shall see if her spirit
be not bent to our purpose."

Sir Peter consented, and they all three posted down to ,--shire, and
took up their abode in the solitary and dreary looking house before
alluded to as belonging to the family. Here poor Rosina's sufferings
grew intolerable:--before, surrounded by well-known scenes, and in
perpetual intercourse with kind and familiar faces, she had not
despaired in the end of conquering by her patience the cruelty of her
persecutors;--nor had she written to Henry, for his name had not been
mentioned by his relatives, nor their attachment alluded to, and she
felt an instinctive wish to escape the dangers about her without his
being annoyed, or the sacred secret of her love being laid bare, and
wronged by the vulgar abuse of his aunt or the bitter curses of his
father. But when she was taken to Wales, and made a prisoner in her
apartment, when the flinty mountains about her seemed feebly to imitate
the stony hearts she had to deal with, her courage began to fail. The
only attendant permitted to approach her was Mrs. Bainbridge's maid; and
under the tutelage of her fiend-like mistress, this woman was used as a
decoy to entice the poor prisoner into confidence, and then to be
betrayed. The simple, kind-hearted Rosina was a facile dupe, and at
last, in the excess of her despair, wrote to Henry, and gave the letter
to this woman to be forwarded. The letter in itself would have softened
marble; it did not speak of their mutual vows, it but asked him to
intercede with his father, that he would restore her to the kind place
she had formerly held in his affections, and cease from a cruelty that
would destroy her. "For I may die," wrote the hapless girl, "but marry
another--never!" That single word, indeed, had sufficed to betray her
secret, had it not been already discovered; as it was, it gave increased
fury to Sir Peter, as his sister triumphantly pointed it out to him, for
it need hardly be said that while the ink of the address was yet wet,
and the seal still warm, Rosina's letter was carried to this lady. The
culprit was summoned before them; what ensued none could tell; for their
own sakes the cruel pair tried to palliate their part. Voices were high,
and the soft murmur of Rosina's tone was lost in the howling of Sir
Peter and the snarling of his sister. "Out of doors you shall go,"
roared the old man; "under my roof you shall not spend another night."
And the words "infamous seductress," and worse, such as had never met
the poor girl's ear before, were caught by listening servants; and to
each angry speech of the baronet, Mrs. Bainbridge added an envenomed
point worse than all.

More dead than alive, Rosina was at last dismissed. Whether guided by
despair, whether she took Sir Peter's threats literally, or whether his
sister's orders were more decisive, none knew, but Rosina left the
house; a servant saw her cross the park, weeping, and wringing her hands
as she went. What became of her none could tell; her disappearance was
not disclosed to Sir Peter till the following day, and then he showed by
his anxiety to trace her steps and to find her, that his words had been
but idle threats. The truth was, that though Sir Peter went to frightful
lengths to prevent the marriage of the heir of his house with the
portionless orphan, the object of his charity, yet in his heart he loved
Rosina, and half his violence to her rose from anger at himself for
treating her so ill. Now remorse began to sting him, as messenger after
messenger came back without tidings of his victim; he dared not confess
his worst fears to himself; and when his inhuman sister, trying to
harden her conscience by angry words, cried, "The vile hussy has too
surely made away with herself out of revenge to us;" an oath, the most
tremendous, and a look sufficient to make even her tremble, commanded
her silence. Her conjecture, however, appeared too true: a dark and
rushing stream that flowed at the extremity of the park had doubtless
received the lovely form, and quenched the life of this unfortunate
girl. Sir Peter, when his endeavours to find her proved fruitless,
returned to town, haunted by the image of his victim, and forced to
acknowledge in his own heart that he would willingly lay down his life,
could he see her again, even though it were as the bride of his son--his
son, before whose questioning he quailed like the veriest coward; for
when Henry was told of the death of Rosina, he suddenly returned from
abroad to ask the cause--to visit her grave, and mourn her loss in the
groves and valleys which had been the scenes of their mutual happiness.
He made a thousand inquiries, and an ominous silence alone replied.
Growing more earnest and more anxious, at length he drew from servants
and dependants, and his odious aunt herself, the whole dreadful truth.
From that moment despair struck his heart, and misery named him her own.
He fled from his father's presence; and the recollection that one whom
he ought to revere was guilty of so dark a crime, haunted him, as of old
the Eumenides tormented the souls of men given up to their torturings.

His first, his only wish, was to visit Wales, and to learn if any new
discovery had been made, and whether it were possible to recover the
mortal remains of the lost Rosina, so to satisfy the unquiet longings of
his miserable heart. On this expedition was he bound, when he made his
appearance at the village before named; and now in the deserted tower,
his thoughts were busy with images of despair and death, and what his
beloved one had suffered before her gentle nature had been goaded to
such a deed of woe.

While immersed in gloomy reverie, to which the monotonous roaring of the
sea made fit accompaniment, hours flew on, and Vernon was at last aware
that the light of morning was creeping from out its eastern retreat, and
dawning over the wild ocean, which still broke in furious tumult on the
rocky beach. His companions now roused themselves, and prepared to
depart. The food they had brought with them was damaged by sea water,
and their hunger, after hard labour and many hours fasting, had become
ravenous. It was impossible to put to sea in their shattered boat; but
there stood a fisher's cot about two miles off, in a recess in the bay,
of which the promontory on which the tower stood formed one side, and to
this they hastened to repair; they did not spend a second thought on the
light which had saved them, nor its cause, but left the ruin in search
of a more hospitable asylum. Vernon cast his eves round as he quitted
it, but no vestige of an inhabitant met his eye, and he began to
persuade himself that the beacon had been a creation of fancy merely.
Arriving at the cottage in question, which was inhabited by a fisherman
and his family, they made an homely breakfast, and then prepared to
return to the tower, to refit their boat, and if possible bring her
round. Vernon accompanied them, together with their host and his son.
Several questions were asked concerning the Invisible Girl and her
light, each agreeing that the apparition was novel, and not one being
able to give even an explanation of how the name had become affixed to
the unknown cause of this singular appearance; though both of the men of
the cottage affirmed that once or twice they had seen a female figure in
the adjacent wood, and that now and then a stranger girl made her
appearance at another cot a mile off, on the other side of the
promontory, and bought bread; they suspected both these to be the same,
but could not tell. The inhabitants of the cot, indeed, appeared too
stupid even to feel curiosity, and had never made any attempt at
discovery. The whole day was spent by the sailors in repairing the boat;
and the sound of hammers, and the voices of the men at work, resounded
along the coast, mingled with the dashing of the waves. This was no time
to explore the ruin for one who whether human or supernatural so
evidently withdrew herself from intercourse with every living being.
Vernon, however, went over the tower, and searched every nook in vain;
the dingy bare walls bore no token of serving as a shelter; and even a
little recess in the wall of the staircase, which he had not before
observed, was equally empty and desolate.

Quitting the tower, he wandered in the pine wood that surrounded it, and
giving up all thought of solving the mystery, was soon engrossed by
thoughts that touched his heart more nearly, when suddenly there
appeared on the ground at his feet the vision of a slipper. Since
Cinderella so tiny a slipper had never been seen; as plain as shoe could
speak, it told a tale of elegance, loveliness, and youth. Vernon picked
it up; he had often admired Rosina's singularly small foot, and his
first thought was a question whether this little slipper would have
fitted it. It was very strange!--it must belong to the Invisible Girl.
Then there was a fairy form that kindled that light, a form of such
material substance, that its foot needed to be shod; and yet how
shod?--with kid so fine, and of shape so exquisite, that it exactly
resembled such as Rosina wore! Again the recurrence of the image of the
beloved dead came forcibly across him; and a thousand home-felt
associations, childish yet sweet, and lover-like though trifling, so
filled Vernon's heart, that he threw himself his length on the ground,
and wept more bitterly than ever the miserable fate of the sweet orphan.

In the evening the men quitted their work, and Vernon returned with them
to the cot where they were to sleep, intending to pursue their voyage,
weather permitting, the following morning.

Vernon said nothing of his slipper, but returned with his rough
associates. Often he looked back; but the tower rose darkly over the dim
waves, and no light appeared. Preparations had been made in the cot for
their accommodation, and the only bed in it was offered Vernon; but he
refused to deprive his hostess, and spreading his cloak on a heap of dry
leaves, endeavoured to give himself up to repose. He slept for some
hours; and when he awoke, all was still, save that the hard breathing of
the sleepers in the same room with him interrupted the silence. He rose,
and going to the window,--looked out over the now placid sea towards the
mystic tower; the light burning there, sending its slender rays across
the waves. Congratulating himself on a circumstance he had not
anticipated, Vernon softly left the cottage, and, wrapping his cloak
round him, walked with a swift pace round the bay towards the tower. He
reached it; still the light was burning. To enter and restore the maiden
her shoe, would be but an act of courtesy; and Vernon intended to do
this with such caution, as to come unaware, before its wearer could,
with her accustomed arts, withdraw herself from his eyes; but,
unluckily, while yet making his way up the narrow pathway, his foot
dislodged a loose fragment, that fell with crash and sound down the
precipice. He sprung forward, on this, to retrieve by speed the
advantage he had lost by this unlucky accident. He reached the door; he
entered: all was silent, but also all was dark. He paused in the room
below; he felt sure that a slight sound met his ear. He ascended the
steps, and entered the upper chamber; but blank obscurity met his
penetrating gaze, the starless night admitted not even a twilight
glimmer through the only aperture. He closed his eyes, to try, on
opening them again, to be able to catch some faint, wandering ray on the
visual nerve; but it was in vain. He groped round the room: he stood
still, and held his breath; and then, listening intently, he felt sure
that another occupied the chamber with him, and that its atmosphere was
slightly agitated by an-other's respiration. He remembered the recess in
the staircase; but, before he approached it, he spoke:--he hesitated a
moment what to say. "I must believe," he said, "that misfortune alone
can cause your seclusion; and if the assistance of a man--of a
gentleman--"

An exclamation interrupted him; a voice from the grave spoke his
name--the accents of Rosina syllabled, "Henry!--is it indeed Henry whom
I hear?"

He rushed forward, directed by the sound, and clasped in his arms the
living form of his own lamented girl--his own Invisible Girl he called
her; for even yet, as he felt her heart beat near his, and as he
entwined her waist with his arm, supporting her as she almost sank to
the ground with agitation, he could not see her; and, as her sobs
prevented her speech, no sense, but the instinctive one that filled his
heart with tumultuous gladness, told him that the slender, wasted form
he pressed so fondly was the living shadow of the Hebe beauty he had
adored.

The morning saw this pair thus strangely restored to each other on the
tranquil sea, sailing with a fair wind for L--, whence they were to
proceed to Sir Peter's seat, which, three months before, Rosina had
quitted in such agony and terror. The morning light dispelled the
shadows that had veiled her, and disclosed the fair person of the
Invisible Girl. Altered indeed she was by suffering and woe, but still
the same sweet smile played on her lips, and the tender light of her
soft blue eyes were all her own. Vernon drew out the slipper, and shoved
the cause that had occasioned him to resolve to discover the guardian of
the mystic beacon; even now he dared not inquire how she had existed in
that desolate spot, or wherefore she had so sedulously avoided
observation, when the right thing to have been done was, to have sought
him immediately, under whose care, protected by whose love, no danger
need be feared. But Rosina shrunk from him as he spoke, and a death-like
pallor came over her cheek, as she faintly whispered, "Your father's
curse--your father's dreadful threats!" It appeared, indeed, that Sir
Peter's violence, and the cruelty of Mrs. Bainbridge, had succeeded in
impressing Rosina with wild and unvanquishable terror. She had fled from
their house without plan or forethought--driven by frantic horror and
overwhelming fear, she had left it with scarcely any money, and there
seemed to her no possibility of either returning or proceeding onward.
She had no friend except Henry in the wide world; whither could she
go?--to have sought Henry would have sealed their fates to misery; for,
with an oath, Sir Peter had declared he would rather see them both in
their coffins than married. After wandering about, hiding by day, and
only venturing forth at night, she had come to this deserted tower,
which seemed a place of refuge. I low she had lived since then she could
hardly tell;--she had lingered in the woods by day, or slept in the
vault of the tower, an asylum none were acquainted with or had
discovered: by night she burned the pine-cones of the wood, and night
was her dearest time; for it seemed to her as if security came with
darkness. She was unaware that Sir Peter had left that part of the
country, and was terrified lest her hiding-place should be revealed to
him. Her only hope was that Henry would return--that Henry would never
rest till he had found her. She confessed that the long interval and the
approach of winter had visited her with dismay; she feared that, as her
strength was failing, and her form wasting to a skeleton, that she might
die, and never see her own Henry more.

An illness, indeed, in spite of all his care, followed her restoration
to security and the comforts of civilized life; many months went by
before the bloom revisiting her cheeks, and her limbs regaining their
roundness, she resembled once more the picture drawn of her in her days
of bliss, before any visitation of sorrow. It was a copy of this
portrait that decorated the tower, the scene of her suffering, in which
I had found shelter. Sir Peter, overjoyed to be relieved from the pangs
of remorse, and delighted again to see his orphan-ward, whom he really
loved, was now as eager as before he had been averse to bless her union
with his son: Mrs. Bainbridge they never saw again. But each year they
spent a few months in their Welch mansion, the scene of their early
wedded happiness, and the spot where again poor Rosina had awoke to life
and joy after her cruel persecutions. Henry's fond care had fitted up
the tower, and decorated it as I saw; and often did he come over, with
his "Invisible Girl," to renew, in the very scene of its occurrence, the
remembrance of all the incidents which had led to their meeting again,
during the shades of night, in that sequestered ruin.


THE END




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