« ПретходнаНастави »
ing all I held dearest upon earth. But the money:"-" I suppose, my dear,” cried he, night coming on, I put up at a little public- we shall have it all in a lump.”—“In a house by the road-side, and asked for the lump!” cried the other : "I hope we may landlord's company over a pint of wine. get it any way; and that I am resolved we We sat beside his kitchen fire, which was will this very night,, or out she tramps, the best room in the house, and chatted bag and baggage. 'Consider, my dear, on politics and the news of the country cried the husband, “she is a gentlewoman, We happened, among other topics, to talk and deserves more respect. As for the of young Squire Thornhill, who, the host matter of that,” returned the hostess, assured me, was hated as much as his uncle “gentle or simple, out she shall pack with Sir William, who sometimes came down a sussarara. Gentry may be good things to the country, was loved. He went on where they take; but, for my part, I never to observe, that he made it his whole saw much good of them at the sign of the study to betray the daughters of such as Harrow.” Thus saying, she ran up a narreceived him to their houses, and, after row flight of stairs that went from the a fortnight or three weeks' possession, kitchen to a room overhead; and I soon turned them out unrewarded and aban- perceived, by the loudness of her voice, doned to the world. As we continued our and the bitterness of her reproaches, that discourse in this manner, his wife, who no money was to be had from her lodger. had been out to get change, returned, and I could hear her remonstrances very disperceiving that her husband was enjoying tinctly: "Out, I say, pack out this mo. a pleasure in which she was not a sharer, ment! tramp, thou infamous strumpet, or she asked him, in an angry tone, what he I'll give thee a mark thou won't be the did there? to which he only replied, in an better for this three months. ironical way, by drinking her health. trumpery, to come and take up an honest "Mr. Symonds,” cried she, "you use me house without cross or coin to bless yourvery ill, and I'll bear it no longer. Here self with! Come along, I say!"
Oh, three parts of the business is left for me to dear madam,” cried the stranger, “pity me do, and the fourth left unfinished, while --pity a poor abandoned creature, for one you do nothing but soak with the guests night, and death will soon do the rest!” all day long; whereas, if a spoonful of I instantly knew the voice of my poor liquor were to cure me of a fever, I never ruined child Olivia. I flew to her rescue, touch a drop.”. I now found what she while the woman was dragging her along would be at, and immediately poured her by her hair, and I caught the dear forlorn out a glass, which she received with a wretch in my arms. "Welcome, any way courtesy; and, drinking towards my good welcome, my dearest lost one-my trea. health, “Sir," resumed she, “it is not so sure-to your poor old father's bosom! much for the value of the liquor I am Though the vicious forsake thee, there is yet angry, but one cannot help it when the one in the world that will never forsake house is going out of the windows. If the thee;though thou hadst ten thousand crimes customers or guests are to be dunned, all to answer for, he will forget them all!"the burden lies upon my back: he'd as lief “Oh, my own dear—" for minutes she eat that glass as budge after them himself. could say no more—“my own dearest good There, now, above stairs, we have a young papa! "Could angels be kinder? How woman who has come to take up her lodg- do I deserve so much? The villain, I hate ing here, and I don't believe she has got him and myself, to be a reproach to so any money, by her over-civility. I am much goodness! You can't forgive me, certain she is very slow of payment, and I I know you cannot.”—“Yes, my child, wish she were put in mind of it.”—“What from my heart I do forgive thee: only re. signifies minding her?" cried the host; "if pent, and we both shall yet be happy. We she be slow, she is sure.”—“I don't know shall see many pleasant days yet, my that,” replied the wife; “but I know that Olivia.". -“ Ah! never, sir, never. The I am sure she has been here a fortnight, rest of my wretched life must be infamy and we have not yet seen the cross of her abroad, and shame at home. But, alas!
6. This is
papa, you look much paler than you used but he can triumph in security; for he is to do. Could such a thing as I am give rich, and we are poor.
But tell me, my you so much uneasiness ? Surely you have child, sure it was no small temptation that too much wisdom to take the miseries of could thus obliterate all the impressions of my guilt upon yourself.”—“Our wisdom, such an education and so virtuous a disyoung woman,” replied I.-“ Ah, why so position as thine ?” cold a name, papa ?" cried she.
“Indeed, sir," replied she," he owes all the first time you ever called me by so cold his triumph to the desire I had of making
"-"I ask pardon, my darling," him, and not myself, happy. I knew that returned I;“ but I was going to observe, the ceremony of our marriage, which was that wisdom makes but a slow defence privately performed by a popish priest, was against trouble, though at last a sure one. no way binding, and that I had nothing to The landlady now returned, to know if we trust to but his honour." “What!” in did not choose a more genteel apartment; terrupted I, “and were you indeed married to which assenting, we were shown a by a priest in orders ?”—“Indeed, sir, we room where we could converse more freely. were,” replied she, “though we were both After we had talked ourselves into some sworn to conceal his name.”—“Why then, degree of tranquillity, I could not avoid my child, come to my arms again; and now desiring some account of the gradations you are a thousand times more welcome that led her to her present wretched situ- than before; for you are now his wife to ation. “That villain, sir,” said she, "from all intents and purposes; nor can all the the first day of our meeting, made me laws of man, though written upon tables honourable, though private proposals.” of adamant, lessen the force of that sacred
· Villain, indeed !" cried I: “and yet it connexion.” in some measure surprises me, how a person “Alas, papa !" replied she, “ you are but of Mr. Burchell's good sense and seeming little acquainted with his villanies : he has honour could be guilty of such deliberate been married already by the same priest to baseness, and thus step into a family to six or eight wives more, whom, like me,
he has deceived and abandoned.” “My dear papa," returned my daughter, “Has he so?” cried I; “ then we must you labour under a strange mistake. hang the priest, and you shall inform Mr. Burchell never attempted to deceive against him to-morrow. “But, sir," reme: instead of that, he took every oppor- turned she, “will that be right, when I am tunity of privately admonishing me against sworn to secresy?”—“My dear," I replied, the artifices of Mr. Thornhill, who, I now “if you have made such a promise, I find, was even worse than he represented cannot, nor will I tempt you to break it. him.”—“Mr. Thornhill!” interrupted I; Even though it may benefit the public, you
can it be?”—“Yes, sir,"returned she, “it must not inform against him. In all human was Mr. Thornhill who seduced me; who institutions a smaller evil is allowed to proemployed the two ladies, as he called them, cure a greater good; as, in politics, a probut who in fact were abandoned women of vince may be given away to secure a kingthe town, without breeding or pity, to decoy dom; in medicine, a limb may be lopped us up to London. Their artifices, you may off to preserve the body: but in religion, remember, would have certainly succeeded, the law is written, and inflexible, never to but for Mr. Burchell's letter, who directed do evil. And this law, my child, is right; those reproaches at them which we all for otherwise, if we commit a smaller evil applied to ourselves. How he came to to procure a greater good, certain guilt have so much influence as to defeat their would be thus incurred, in expectation of intentions still remains a secret to me; but contingent advantage. And though the I am convinced he was ever our warmest, advantage should certainly follow, yet the sincerest friend."
interval between commission and advan. "You amaze me, my dear,” cried I ;“but tage, which is allowed to be guilty, may now I find my first suspicions of Mr. Thom- be that in which we are called away to liill's baseness were too well grounded : answer for the things we have done, and
the volume of human actions is closed for ever. But I interrupt you, my dear; go
Offences are easily pardoned, where there is Love “ The very next morning," continued she, “I found what little expectation I was The next morning I took my daughter to have from his sincerity. That very behind me, and set out on my return home. morning he introduced me to two unhappy As we travelled along, I strove, by every women more, whom, like me, he had de. persuasion, to calm her sorrows and fears, ceived, but who lived in contented prosti- and to arm her with resolution to bear the tution. I loved him too tenderly to bear presence of her offended mother. I took such rivals in his affections, and strove to every opportunity, from the prospect of a forget my infamy in a tumult of pleasures. fine country, through which we passed, to With this view I danced, dressed, and observe how much kinder Heaven was to talked; but still was unhappy:. The gen- us than we to each other; and that the tlemen who visited there told me every misfortunes of Nature's making were very moment of the power of my charms, and few. I assured her, that she should never this only contributed to increase my melan- perceive any change in my affections, and choly, as I had thrown all their power that, during my life, which yet might be quite away. Thus each day I grew more long, she might depend upon a guardian pensive, and he more insolent, till at last and an instructor. I armed her against the the monster had the assurance to offer me censure of the world, showed her that books to a young baronet of his acquaintance. were sweet unreproaching companions to Need I describe, sir, how his ingratitude the miserable, and that, if they could not stung me? My answer to this proposal bring us to enjoy life, they would at least was almost madness. I desired to part. teach us to endure it. As I was going, he offered me a purse;
The hired horse that we rode was to be but I fung it at him with indignation, and put up that night at an inn by the way, burst from him in a rage, that for a while within about five miles from my house; kept me insensible of the miseries of my and as I was willing to prepare my family situation. But I soon looked round me, for my daughter's reception, I determined and saw myself a vile, abject, guilty thing, to leave her that night at the inn, and to rewithout one friend in the world to apply to. turn for her, accompanied by my daughter Just in that interval, a stage coach hap- Sophia, early the next morning. It was pening to pass by, I took a place, it being night before we reached our appointed my only aim to be driven at a distance from stage ; however, after seeing her provided a wretch I despised and detested. I was set with a decent apartment, and having ordown here, where, since my arrival, my dered the hostess to prepare proper refreshown anxiety and this woman's unkindness ments, I kissed her, and proceeded towards have been my only companions. The home. And now my heart caught new hours of pleasure that I have passed with sensations of pleasure, the nearer I apmy mamma and sister now grow painful proached that peaceful mansion. As
Their sorrows are much ; but mine a bird that had been frighted from its are greater than theirs, for mine are mixed nest, my affections outwent my haste, and with guilt and infamy.'
hovered round my little fireside with all “Have patience, my child," cried I,"and the rapture of expectation. I called up I hope things will yet be better. Take the many fond things I had to say, and some repose to-night, and to-morrow I'll anticipated the welcome I was to receive. carry you home to your mother and the I already felt my wife's tender embrace, rest of the family, from whom you will and smiled at the joy of my little ones. receive a kind reception. Poor woman! As I walked but slowly, the night waned this has gone to her heart; but she loves apace. The labourers of the day were all you still, Olivia, and will forget it," retired to rest; the lights were out in every
cottage; no sounds were heard but of the shrilling cock, and the deep-mouthed
watch-dog, at hollow distance. I ap- flames; and, after some time, began to proached my little abode of pleasure, and, perceive that my arm to the shoulder was before I was within a furlong of the place, scorched in a terrible manner. our honest mastiff came running to wel. therefore, out of my power to give my son
any assistance, either in attempting to save It was now near midnight that I came our goods, or preventing the flames spreadto knock at my door: all was still and ing to our corn. By this tinie the neighsilent: my heart dilated with unutterable bours were alarmed, and came running to happiness, when, to my amazement, I saw our assistance ; but all they could do was to the house bursting out in a blaze of fire, stand, like us-spectators of the calamity. and every aperture red with conflagration. My goods, among which were the notes I gave a loud convulsive outcry, and fell I had reserved for my daughters' fortunes, upon the pavement, insensible. This were entirely consumed, except a box with alarmed my son, who had, till this, been some papers that stood in the kitchen, and asleep; and he, perceiving the flames, two or three things more of little conseinstantly waked my wife and daughter; quence, which my son brought away in the and all running out, naked, and wild with beginning. The neighbours contributed, apprehension, recalled me to life with their however, what they could to lighten anguish. But it was only to objects of our distress. They brought us clothes, new terror; for the flames had, by this and furnished one of our outhouses with time, caught the roof of our dwelling, part kitchen utensils ; so that by daylight we after part continuing to fall in, while the had another, though a wretched dwelling family stood, with silent agony, looking to retire to. My honest next neighbour on, as if they enjoyed the blaze. I gazed and his children were not the least assi. upon them and upon it by turns, and then duous in providing us with everything looked round me for my two little ones; necessary, and offering whatever consolabut they were not to be seen. O misery! tion untutored benevolence could suggest. “ Where,” cried I, “where are my little When the fears of my family had sub
“ They are burnt to death in the sided, curiosity to know the cause of my flames,” said my wife, calmly," and I will long stay began to take place: having die with them.” That moment I heard therefore informed them of every partithe cry of the babes within, who were just cular, I proceeded to prepare them for the awaked by the fire, and nothing could reception of our lost one; and though we have stopped me. Where, where are had nothing but wretchedness now to immy children?” cried I, rushing through part, I was willing to procure her a wel. the flames, and bursting the door of the come to what we had. This task would chamber in which they were confined !- have been more difficult but for our recent “Where are my little ones?”—“Here, dear calamity, which had humbled my wife's papa, here we are,” cried they together, pride, and blunted it by more poignant while the flames were just catching the bed afflictions. Being unable to go for my where they lay. I caught them both in poor child myself, as my arm grew very my arms, and snatched them through the painful, I sent my son and daughter, who fire as fast as possible, while, just as I was soon returned, supporting the wretched got out, the roof sunk in. “Now,” cried delinquent, who had not the courage to I, holding up my children, now let the look up at her mother, whom no instrucflames burn on, and all my possessions tions of mine could persuade to a perfect perish. Here they are; I have saved my reconciliation; for women have a much treasure. Here, my dearest, here are our stronger sense of female error than men. ireasures, and we shall yet be happy.” We “Ah, madam," cried her mother, “this is kissed our little darlings a thousand times; but a poor place you are come to after so they clasped us round the neck, and seemed much finery. My daughter Sophy and I to share our transports, while their mother can afford but little entertainment to perlaughed and wept by turns.
sons who have kept company only with I now stood a calm spectator of the people of distinction, Yes, Miss Livy,
your poor father and I have suffered very formed for continuing, and she was the much of late; but I hope Heaven will for- only person of our little society that a week give you.” During this reception, the did not restore to cheerfulness. She now unhappy victim stood pale and trembling, lost that unblushing innocence which once unable to weep or to reply: but I could taught her to respect herself, and to seek not continue a silent spectator of her dis- pleasure by pleasing. Anxiety now had tress; wherefore, assuming a degree of se- taken strong possession of her mind; her verity in my voice and manner, which was beauty began to be impaired with her conever followed with instant submission, “Istitution, and neglect still more contributed entreat, woman, that my words may be to diminish it. Every tender epithet be. now marked once for all : I have here stowed on her sister brought a pang to brought you back a poor deluded wan- her heart, and a tear to her eye; and as derer; her return to duty demands the re- one vice, though cured, ever plants others vival of our tenderness. The real hard where it has been, so her former guilt, ships of life are now coming fast upon us; though driven out by repentance, left jealet us not, therefore, increase them by dis- lousy and envy behind. I strove a thousension among each other. If we live sand ways to lessen her care, and even harmoniously together, we may yet be con- forgot my own pain in a concern for hers, tented, as there are enough of us to shut collecting such amusing passages of hisout the censuring world, and keep each tory as a strong memory and some reading other in countenance. The kindness of could suggest. Our happiness, my dear, Heaven is promised to the penitent, and I would say, “is in the power of One who let ours be directed by the example. can bring it about a thousand unforeseen Heaven, we are assured, is much more ways, that mock our foresight. If example pleased to view a repentant sinner, than be necessary to prove this, I'll give you a ninety-nine persons who have supported a story, my child, told us by a grave though course of undeviating rectitude. And this sometimes a romancing historian. is right; for that single effort by which “ Matilda was married very young to a we stop short in the down-hill path to per- Neapolitan nobleman of the first quality, dition, is itself a greater exertion of virtue and found herself a widow and a mother than a hundred acts of justice.”
at the age of fifteen. As she stood one
day caressing her infant son in the open CHAPTER XXIII.
window of an apartment which hung over None but the Guilty can be long and completely the river Volturna, the child with a sudmiserable.
den spring leaped from her arms into the SOME assiduity was now required to flood below, and disappeared in a momake our present abode as convenient as ment. The mother, struck with instant possible, and we were soon again qualified surprise, and making an effort to save him, to enjoy our former serenity. Being dis- plunged in after ; but far from being able abled myself from assisting my son in our to assist the infant, she herself with great usual occupations, I read to my family difficulty escaped to the opposite shore, just from the few books that were saved, and when some French soldiers were plunderparticularly from such as, by amusing the ing the country on that side, who immeimagination, contributed to ease the heart. 'diately made her their prisoner. Our good neighbours, too, came every day, As the war was then carried on between with the kindest condolence, and fixed a the French and Italians with the utmost time in which they were all to assist at inhumanity, they were going at once to repairing my former dwelling. Honest perpetrate those two extremes suggested Farmer Williams was not last among these by appetite and cruelty. This base resovisitors; but heartily offered his friendship. | lution, however, was opposed by a young He would even have renewed his addresses officer, who, though their retreat required to my daughter; but she rejected him in the utmost expedition, placed her behind such a manner, as totally repressed his him, and brought her in safety to his native futurę solicitations. Her grief seemed city. Her beauty at first caught his eye;