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They gave a long time to pure joy before either of them cared to put questions or compare notes. But at last he asked her, "Who was on the island besides her?"
"Oh," said she, "only my guardian angel. Poor Mr. Welch died the first week we were here."
He parted the hair on her brow, and kissed it tenderly. "And who is your guardian angel?"
"Why, you are now, my own papa; and well you have proved it. To think of your being the one to come, at your age!"
"Well, never mind me. Who has taken such care of my child?--this the sick girl they frightened me about!"
"Indeed, papa, I was a dying girl. My very hand was wasted. Look at it now; brown as a berry, but so plump; you owe that to him. And, papa, I can walk twenty miles without fatigue. And so strong; I could take you up in my arms and carry, I know. But I am content to eat you." (A shower of kisses.) "I hope you will like him."
"My own Helen. Ah! I am a happy old man this day. What is his name?"
"Mr. Hazel. He is a clergyman. Oh, papa, I hope you will like him, for he has saved my life more than once. And then he has been so generous, so delicate, so patient; for I used him very ill at first; and you will find my character as much improved as my health; and all owing to Mr. Hazel. He is a clergyman; and, oh, so good, so humble, so clever, so self-denying! Ah! how can I ever repay him?"
"Well, I shall be glad to see this paragon, and shake him by the hand. You may imagine what I feel to any one that is kind to my darling. An old gentleman? about my age?"
"Oh, no, papa"
"If he had been old I should not be here; for he has had to fight for me against cruel men with knives; and work like a horse. He built me a hut, and made me this cave, and almost killed himself in my service. Poor Mr. Hazel!"
"How old is he?"
"Dearest papa, I never asked him that; but I think he is four or five years older than me, and a hundred years better than I shall ever be, I am afraid. What is the matter, darling?"
"Nothing, child, nothing."
"Don't tell me. Can't I read your dear face?"
"Come, let me read yours. Look me in the face, now; full."
He took her by the shoulders, firmly, but not the least roughly, and looked straight into her hazel eyes. She blushed at this ordeal--blushed scarlet; but her eyes, pure as Heaven, faced his fairly, though with a puzzled look.
He concluded this paternal inspection by kissing her on the brow. "I was an old fool," he muttered.
"What do you say, dear papa?"
"Nothing, nothing. Kiss me again. Well, love, you had better find this guardian angel of yours, that I may take him by the hand and give him a father's blessing, and make him some little return by carrying him home to England along with my darling."
"I'll call him, papa. Where can he be gone, I wonder?"
She ran out to the terrace, and called:
"Mr. Hazel! Mr. Hazel! I don't see him; but he can't be far off. Mr. Hazel!"
Then she came back and made her father sit down; and she sat at his knee beaming with delight.
"Ah, papa," said he, "it was you who loved me best in England. It was you that came to look for me."
"No," said he, "there are others there that love you as well in their way. Poor Wardlaw! on his sickbed for you, cut down like a flower the moment he heard you were lost in the Proserpine. Ah, and I have broken faith."
"That is a story," said Helen; "you couldn't."
"For a moment, I mean; I promised the dear old man--he furnished the ship, the men, and the money to find you. He says you are as much his daughter as mine."
"Well, but what did you promise him?" said Helen, blushing and interrupting hastily, for she could not bear the turn matters were taking.
"Oh, only to give you the second kiss from Arthur. Come, better late than never." She knelt before him and put out her forehead instead of her lips. "There," said the general, "that kiss is from Arthur Wardlaw, your intended. Why, who the deuce is this?"
A young man was standing wonder-struck at the entrance, and had heard the general's last words; they went through him like a knife. General Rolleston stared at him.
Helen uttered an ejaculation of pleasure, and said, "This is my dear father, and he wants to thank you--"
"I don't understand this," said the general. "I thought you told me there was nobody on the island but you and your guardian angel. Did you count this poor fellow for nobody? Why, he did you a good turn once."
"Oh, papa!" said Helen, reproachfully.
"Why, this is my guardian angel. This is Mr. Hazel."
The general looked from one to another in amazement, then he said to Helen,
"This your Mr. Hazel?"
"Why, you don't mean to tell me you don't know this man?"
"Know him, papa! why, of course I know Mr. Hazel; know him and revere him, beyond all the world, except you."
The general lost patience. "Are you out of your senses?" said he; "this man here is no Hazel. Why, this is James Seaton--our gardener--a ticket-of-leave man."
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