We were soon joined by Elizabeth. Time had altered her since I
last beheld her; it had endowed her with loveliness surpassing
the beauty of her childish years. There was the same candour,
the same vivacity, but it was allied to an expression more full
of sensibility and intellect. She welcomed me with the greatest
affection. "Your arrival, my dear cousin," said she, "fills me
with hope. You perhaps will find some means to justify my poor
guiltless Justine. Alas! who is safe, if she be convicted of
crime? I rely on her innocence as certainly as I do upon my own.
Our misfortune is doubly hard to us; we have not only lost that
lovely darling boy, but this poor girl, whom I sincerely love,
is to be torn away by even a worse fate. If she is condemned, I
never shall know joy more. But she will not, I am sure she will
not; and then I shall be happy again, even after the sad death
of my little William."
"She is innocent, my Elizabeth," said I, "and that shall be
proved; fear nothing, but let your spirits be cheered by the
assurance of her acquittal."
"How kind and generous you are! every one else believes in her
guilt, and that made me wretched; for I knew that it was
impossible: and to see every one else prejudiced in so deadly a
manner rendered me hopeless and despairing." She wept.
"Dearest niece," said my father, "dry your tears. If she is, as
you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our laws, and the
activity with which I shall prevent the slightest shadow of