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Colin of the Ninth Concession
Chapter II - Colin’s English Parents

ON the death of our parents, my sister Eleanor and myself, then children, had been left to the guardianship of an uncle, a gentleman farmer in Warwickshire, England. Two small annuities comprised our whole fortune, and when, some years later, Edwin, eldest son of Lord Beaumont, was observed to pay marked attention to Eleanor, their acquaintance was frowned upon by both the earl and our guardian. When Edwin presented himself to Uncle Edward and asked for her hand, he was told that nothing of the sort would be thought of — at least for several years.

Two weeks later they fled together and went to the continent, Edwin hoping that in a few months his father would become reconciled to their union. The reconciliation was never effected. Four months after the marriage Edwin died of a fever caught in the city of Naples.

My sister returned to her guardian’s roof, and there her son Colin was born. A year later she went to reside at the country-seat of Lord Beaumont, who had represented that Colin should be brought up as became the heir to the title and estates. But after another two years, Lord Beaumont’s brother, the next in line of succession, came forward with a startling statement. The marriage of Edwin and Eleanor had, he alleged, been celebrated by a man who was not in reality a clergyman, but an impostor, and the marriage was therefore invalid. The witnesses and the other evidence he produced seemed conclusive. Smitten to the heart, and distracted with grief for her son, Eleanor returned to our guardian’s roof.

I was in London at the time. Eleanor was especially dear to me, and my heart bled for her when I received word of what had happened. Just one week later I received this message, "Come to me at once. Eleanor."

I did so. Colin had been abducted, and my poor Eleanor was in a pitiful state of prostration. But inquiries had already been set on foot and advertisements published We ascertained that a child answering to Colin’s description had been in the custody of a man in Liverpool on board the emigrant ship Oceanica, bound for the port of Montreal

Further than that we could learn nothing. I brought the news to my sister, and she entreated me to go at once to Montreal and restore her boy to

her. I prepared to depart the next day. Before we parted, she made me promise, in the most solemn and affecting manner, to care for her child.

The pledge was needless, for I believe I would cheerfully have died to relieve her terrible distress. I remember still, after the lapse of many years, the poignant grief, apprehension, and hope upon the sweet face that gazed into mine. But I gave my promise and I believe I have kept it.

Having arrived in Montreal, a week of enquiry resulted in learning that Colin had been seen with an English immigrant family named Wasby, who had left for "the Scotch Settlement." Having first written to my sister, I followed the Wasbys, going to Brockville Landing by boat, and the remainder of the way in an ox-cart. I found that a man named Wasby with a wife and family had indeed arrived, and that one of the children answered to the name of Colin.

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