Tempest and Sunshine (Chapter 6, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 6

Mr. Wilmot's death occurred on Tuesday morning, and the following Thursday
was appointed for his burial. It was the 1st of September, and a bright,
beautiful day; but its sunlight fell on many aching hearts, for though he
who lay in his low coffin, so cold and still, was a "stranger in a strange
land," there were many whose tears fell like summer rain for one who had
thus early passed away. He had during his lifetime been a member of the
Episcopal church, and his funeral services were to take place at Ascension

The house was filled to overflowing. Mr. Middleton, Mr. Miller, Dr. Lacey
and Fanny occupied the front seat, as principal mourners for the deceased.
Many searching eyes were bent on the fair young girl, whose white forehead
gleamed from under the folds of her veil, and whose eyelids, wet with
tears, drooped heavily upon her pale cheek. Madam Rumor had been busy with
her thousand tongues, and the scene at the deathbed had been told and
retold in twenty different forms, until at last it had become settled that
on Fanny's part there was some secret attachment, or she never would have
evinced so much interest in Mr. Wilmot. She, however, was ignorant of all
this, and sat there wholly unconscious of the interest she was exciting.

Julia was not there. She had again defied her mother's commands, and
resisted all Fanny's entreaties, that she would go to the funeral.

"You ought to see Mr. Wilmot," said Fanny. "He looks so calm, so peaceful
and," she added in a low voice, "so forgiving."

"So forgiving!" quickly repeated Julia. "I wonder what he has to forgive.
If I had continued to love him, 'twould not have saved his life."

Fanny sighed and turned away from the hard-hearted girl, who was left
alone with her thoughts during all the long hours of that day. But to do
her justice, we must say, that after her mother and sister were gone, a
feeling of sadness stole over her; her stony heart somewhat softened, and
in the solitude of her chamber she wept for a long time; but whether for
Mr. Wilmot's death, her own conduct toward him, or the circumstances which
surrounded her, none can tell.

Let us now return to Frankfort, and go back for a few moments in our
story. Just as the funeral procession had left the house and was
proceeding toward the church, the steamboat Diana, which plies between
Cincinnati and Frankfort, appeared round a bend in the river. She was
loaded with passengers, who were all on the lookout as they neared the
landing place. Just at that moment the tolling bell rang out on the air.
Its tones fell sadly on the ear of a tall, beautiful girl, who was
impatiently pacing the deck, and looking anxiously in the direction of the
city. The knell was repeated, and she murmured, "Oh, what if that should
be for Richard!" The thought overpowered her, and sitting down on a seat
near her she burst into tears.

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