HAD the safety of Marchmont been certain, had his letters removed, even temporarily, the continual fears that on his account oppressed the hearts of his mother and his sisters, as well as that of Althea, who, though she said nothing, was by no means the least agitated among them, their days would have passed in more tranquillity and comfort than, after all the former had suffered, they could ever expect. But the vague and uncertain reports which continually reached them from that part of the continent where they believed Marchmont still to be, the histories of horror that every day met their eyes in the newspapers, and his not having written since he first found protection with the English at Toulon,2 formed together so much ground for apprehension on the part of those who loved him, that their days were overclouded by continual anxiety; they all often, without daring to communicate their sentiments to each other, felt that the dread is often more difficult to support than the certainty of an evil, and that it deprived them of every enjoyment of life.