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obstinacy in refusing a submission which For the three ensuing days I was in a promised to give me freedom. He ob- state of anxiety to know what reception served, that the rest of my family was not my letter might meet with; but in the to be sacrificed to the peace of one child meantime was frequently solicited by my alone, and she the only one who had of- wife to submit to any conditions rather than fended me. Besides," added he, “I don't remain here, and every hour received know if it be just thus to obstruct the union repeated accounts of the decline of my of man and wife, which you do at present, daughter's health. The third day and the by refusing to consent to a match you can- fourth arrived, but I received no answer not hinder, but may render unhappy." to my letter: the complaints of a stranger
“Sir,” replied I, “ you are unacquainted against a favourite nephew were no way with the man that oppresses us. I am likely to succeed; so that these hopes soon very sensible that no submission I can vanished like all my former. My mind, make could procure me liberty even for an however, still supported itself, though hour. I am told that even in this very confinement and bad air began to make a room a debtor of his, no later than last visible alteration in my health, and my arm year, died for want. But though my sub- that had suffered in the fire grew worse. mission and approbation could transfer me My children, however, sat by me, and from hence to the most beautiful apartment while I was stretched on my straw, read he is possessed of, yet I would grant to me by turns, or listened and wept at my neither, as something whispers me that it instructions. But my daughter's health would be giving a sanction to adultery. declined faster than mine : every message While my daughter lives, no other mar- from her contributed to increase my ap. riage of his shall ever be legal in my eye. prehensions and pain. The fifth morning Were she removed, indeed, I should be the after I had written the letter which was basest of men, from any resentment of my sent to Sir William Thornhill, I was own, to attempt putting asunder those who alarmed with an account that she was wish for a union. No, villain as he is, I speechless. Now it was that confinement should then wish him married, to prevent was truly painful to me; my soul was the consequences of his future debauch- bursting from its prison to be near the pileries. But now, should I not be the most low of my child, to comfort, to strengthen cruel of all fathers to sign an instrument her, to receive her last wishes, and teach which must send my child to the grave, her soul the way to Heaven! Another merely to avoid a prison myself; and thus, account came: she was expiring, and yet to escape one pang, break my child's heart I was debarred the small comfort of weepwith a thousand ?”
ing by her.
My fellow-prisoner, some He acquiesced in the justice of this time after, came with the last account. answer, but could not avoid observing, that He bade me be patient : she was dead ! he feared my daughter's life was already too The next morning he returned, and found much wasted to keep me long a prisoner
. me with my two little ones, now my only “However,” continued he, “though you companions, who were using all their innorefuse to submit to the nephew, I hope you cent efforts to comfort me. They entreated have no objections to laying your case be- to read to me, and bade me not to cry, for fore the uncle, who has the first character I was now too old to weep. And is not in the kingdom for everything that is just my sister an angel, now, papa?” cried the and good.
I would advise you to send eldest ; “ and why, then, are you sorry for him a letter by the post, intimating all his her? I wish I were an angel out of this nephew's ill usage; and my life for it, that frightful place, if my papa were with me.” in three days you shall have an answer. · Yes," added my youngest darling, I thanked him for the hint, and instantly Heaven, where my sister is, is a finer set about complying; but I wanted paper, place than this, and there are none but and unluckily all our money had been laid good people there, and the people here out that morning in provisions : however, are very bad.” he supplied me.
Mr. Jenkinson interrupted their harmless
prattle by observing, that, now my daugh- young ladies, they might have been the ter was no more, I should seriously think most agreeable intercessors. of the rest of my family, and attempt to save “Well
, sir,” said I to my fellow-prisoner, my own life, which was every day declin- 'you now discover the temper of the man ing for want of necessaries and wholesome that oppresses me. He can at once be
He added, that it was now incum- facetious and cruel : but, let him use me bent on me to sacrifice any pride or re- as he will, I shall soon be free, in spite of all sentment of my own to the welfare of his bolts to restrain me. I am now draw. those who depended on me for support ; ing towards an abode that looks brighter and that I was now, both by reason and as I approach it: this expectation cheers justice, obliged to try to reconcile my my afflictions, and though I leave an helplandlord.
less family of orphans behind me, yet they “Heaven be praised," replied I, “there will not be utterly forsaken: some friend, is no pride left me now : I should detest perhaps, will be found to assist them for my own heart if I saw either pride or re- the sake of their poor father, and some sentment lurking there. On the contrary, may charitably relieve them for the sake of as my oppressor has been once my parish- their heavenly Father.” ioner, I hope one day to present him up Just as I spoke, my wife, whom I had an unpolluted soul at the eternal tribunal. not seen that day before, appeared with No, sir, I have no resentment now; and looks of terror, and making efforts, but unthough he has taken from me what I held able, to speak. “Why, my love,” cried dearer than all his treasures, though he I, “why will you thus increase my afflichas wrung my heart,- for I am sick almost tions by your own? What though no subto fainting, very sick, my fellow-prisoner, missions can turn our severe master, though -yet that shall never inspire me with he has doomed me to die in this place of vengeance. I am now willing to approve wretchedness, and though we have lost a his marriage: and, if this submission can darling child, yet still you will find comfort do him any pleasure, let him know that in your other children when I shall be no if I have done him any injury I am sorry more.”- “We have indeed lost,” returned
she, a darling child. My Sophia, my Mr. Jenkinson took pen and ink, and dearest is gone ; snatched from us, carried wrote down my submission nearly as I off by ruffians !”—“How, madam,” cried have expressed it, to which I signed my my fellow-prisoner, Miss Sophia carried
My son was employed to carry off by villains ! sure it cannot be ?” the letter to Mr. Thornhill, who was then She could only answer by a fixed look, at his seat in the country. He went, and, and a flood of tears. But one of the priin about six hours, returned with a verbal soners' wives who was present, and came
He had some difficulty, he said, in with her, gave us a more distinct acto get a sight of his landlord, as the ser- count: she informed us, that as my wife, vants were insolent and suspicious : but he my daughter, and herself were taking a accidentally saw him as he was going out walk together on the great road, a little way upon business, preparing for his marriage, out of the village, a post-chaise and pair which was to be in three days. He con- drove up to them, and instantly stopped ; tinued to inform us, that he stept up in the upon which a well-dressed man, but not humblest manner, and delivered the letter, Mr. Thornhill, stepping out, clasped ny which, when Mr. Thornhill had read, he daughter round the waist, and forcing her said that all submission was now too late in, bade the postilion drive on, so that and unnecessary; that he had heard of our they were out of sight in a moment. application to his uncle, which inet with “Now," cried I, “the sum of my miseries the contempt it deserved ; and, as for the is made up, nor is it in the power of any. rest, that all future applications should be thing on earth to give me another pang. directed to his attorney, not to him. He What! not one left!--not to leave me one! observed, however, that as he had a very - The monster !—The child that was next good opinion of the discretion of the two my heart !-she had the beauty of an angel,
and almost the wisdom of an angel.—But sister, and avenge our cause. But, thanks support that woman, nor let her fall. - Not be to Him that directs all things, it has to leave me one !"
miscarried, and I am at rest.”. -“Woman!" “Alas ! my husband,” said my wife, cried I, “thou hast done very ill, and, at "you seem to want comfort even more another time, my reproaches might have than I. Our distresses are great, but I could | been more severe. Oh! what a tremenbear this and more, if I saw you but easy. dous gulf hast thou escaped, that would They may take away my children, and all have buried both thee and him in endless the world, if they leave me but you.” ruin ! Providence, indeed, has here been
My son, who was present, endeavoured kinder to us than we to ourselves. It has to moderate our grief; he bade us take reserved that son to be the father and procomfort, for he hoped that we might still tector of my children when I shall be away. have reason to be thankful. “My child," How unjustly did I complain of being cried I, “look round the world, and see stripped of every comfort, when still I hear if there be any happiness left me now. Is that he is happy, and insensible of our not every ray of comfort shut out, while afflictions ; still kept in reserve to support all our bright prospects only lie beyond the his widowed mother, and to protect his
My dear father,” returned he, brothers and sisters ! But what sisters has I hope there is still something that will he left? He has no sisters now : they are give you an interval of satisfaction ; for I all gone, robbed from me, and I am unhave a letter from my brother George.”- done.”—“ Father," interrupted my son,
What of him, child ?" interrupted I; “I beg you will give me leave to read this does he know our misery? I hope my letter-I know it will please you." Upon boy is exempt from any part of what his which, with my permission, he read as wretched family suffers ?”—“Yes, sir,” follows : returned he, “he is perfectly gay, cheerful, and happy. His letter brings nothing HONOURED SIR,-I have called off my but good news ; he is the favourite of his imagination a few moments from the pleacolonel, who promises to procure him the sures that surround me, to fix it upon obvery next lieutenancy that becomes va- jects that are still more pleasing,—the dear cant.”
little fireside at home. My fancy draws “ And are you sure of all this?” cried that harmless group, as listening to every my wife;
“are you sure that nothing ill line of this with great composure. I view has befallen my boy?”—“Nothing, in- those faces with delight, which never felt deed, madam," returned my son ; you the deforming hand of ambition or distress! shall see the letter, which will give you But, whatever your happiness may be at the highest pleasure ; and if anything can home, I am sure it will be some addition to procure you comfort, I am sure that will.” | it to hear, that I am perfectly pleased with
But are you sure,” still repeated she, my situation, and every way happy here. “that the letter is from himself, and that Our regiment is countermanded, and is he is really so happy?”—“ Yes, madam,” not to leave the kingdom. The colonel, replied he, “it is certainly his, and he who professes himself my friend, takes me will one day be the credit and support of with him to all companies where he is our family.”—“Then, I thank Provi- acquainted, and, after my first visit, dence,” cried she, “that my last letter to I generally find myself received with him has miscarried. Yes, my dear," con increased respect upon repeating it. I tinued she, turning to me, “I will now danced last night with Lady G and, confess, that though the hand of Heaven could I forget you know whom, I might is sore upon us in other instances, it has be perhaps successful. But it is my fate been favourable here. By the last letter still to remember others, while I am myself I wrote my son, which was in the bitter- forgotten by most of my absent friends ; ness of anger, I desired him, upon his and in this number, I fear, sir, that I must mother's blessing, and if he had the heart consider you; for I have long expected the of a man, to see justice done his father and pleasure of a letter from home, to no purpose. Olivia and Sophia too promised in the midst of ruin ! May ail the curses to write, but seem to have forgotten me. that ever sunk a soul fall heavy upon the Tell them they are two arrant little bag. murderer of my children ! May he live, gages, and that I am, at this moment, in like me, to see a most violent passion with them; yet still, “Hold, sir!" replied my son, “or I shall I know not how, though I want to bluster blush for thee. How, sir! forgetful of a little, my heart is respondent only to your age, your holy calling, thus to arrosofter emotions. Then, tell them, sir, that, gate the justice of Heaven, and fling those after all, I love them affectionately ; and curses upward that must soon descend to be assured of my ever remaining
crush thy own grey head with destruction ! Your dutiful Son. No, sir, let it be your care now to fit me
for that vile death I must shortly suffer ; “In all our miseries,” cried I, “what to arm me with hope and resolution ; to thanks have we not to return, that one at give me courage to drink of that bitterness least of our family is exempted from what which must shortly be my portion.” we suffer ? Heaven be his guard, and keep “My child, you must not die : I am sure my boy thus happy, to be the support no offence of thine can deserve so vile a of his widowed mother, and the father of punishment. My George could never be these two babes, which is all the patrimony guilty of any crime to make his ancestors I can now bequeath him! May he keep ashamed of him.” their innocence from the temptations of Mine, sir,” returned my son, "is, I want, and be their conductor in the paths fear, an unpardonable one. When I reof honour !” I had scarce said these ceived my mother's letter from home, I words, when a noise like that of a tumult immediately came down, determined to seemed to proceed from the prison below : punish the betrayer of our honour, and it died away soon after, and a clanking of sent him an order to meet me, which he fetters was heard along the passage that answered, not in person, but by despatchTed to my apartment. The keeper of the ing four of his domestics to seize me. I prison entered, holding a man all bloody, wounded one who first assaulted me, and wounded, and fettered with the heaviest I fear desperately ; but the rest made me irons. I looked with compassion on the their prisoner. The coward is determined wretch as he approached me, but with to put the law in execution against me; horror, when I found it was my own son. the proofs are undeniable : I have sent a “My George ! my George ! and do I be challenge, and as I am the first transgressor hold thee thus? Wounded-fettered! Is upon the statute, I see no hopes of pardon. this thy happiness? is this the manner you But you have often charmed me with your return to me? Oh that this sight could lessons of fortitude ; let me now, sir, find break my heart at once, and let me die!” them in your example."
“Where, sir, is your fortitude?" returned And, my son, you shall find them. I my son, with an intrepid voice. “I must am now raised above this world, and all suffer; my life is forfeited, and let them the pleasures it can produce. From this take it.”
moment I break from my heart all the ties I tried to restrain my passions for a few that held it down to earth, and will preminutes in silence, but I thought I should pare to fit us both for eternity. Yes, my have died with the effort.-"Oh, my boy, son, I will point out the way, and my soul my heart weeps to behold thee thus, and I shall guide yours in the ascent, for we will cannot, cannot help it. In the moment take our flight together. I now see, and that I thought thee blest, and prayed foram convinced, you can expect no pardon thy safety, to behold thee thus again ! here ; and I can only exhort you to seek Chained-wounded; and yet the death of it at that greatest tribunal where we both the youthful is happy. But I am old, a very shall shortly answer. But, let us not be old man, and have lived to see this day! To niggardly in our exhortation, but let all see my children all untimely falling about our fellow-prisoners have a share :-Good me, while I continue a wretched survivor gaoler, let them be permitted to stand here
while I attempt to improve them.” Thus destroy each other ; for, if life is a place saying, I made an effort to rise from my of comfort, its shortness must be misery, straw, but wanted strength, and was able and if it be long, our griefs are protracted. only to recline against the wall. The pri- Thus philosophy is weak ; but religion soners assembled themselves according to comforts in a higher strain. Man is here, my directions, for they loved to hear my it tells us, fitting up his mind, and precounsel: my son and his mother supported paring it for another abode. When the me on either side ; I looked and saw that good man leaves the body, and is all a none were wanting, and then addressed glorious mind, he will find he has been them with the following exhortation. making himself a heaven of happiness
here ; while the wretch that has been CHAPTER XXIX.
maimed and contaminated by his vices,
shrinks from his body with terror, and The equal dealings of Providence demonstrated finds that he has anticipated the vengeance with regard to the Happy and the Miserable here below. That, from the nature of Pleasure
of Heaven. To religion, then, we must and Pain, the wretched must be repaid the hold, in every circumstance of life, for our balance of their sufferings in the life here- truest comfort: for if already we are happy, after.
it is a pleasure to think that we can make “My friends, my children, and fellow- that happiness unending ; and if we are sufferers, when I reflect on the distribution miserable, it is very consoling to think of good and evil here below, I find that that there is a place of rest. Thus, to the much has been given man to enjoy, yet fortunate, religion holds out a continuance still more to suffer. Though we should of bliss ; the wretched, a change from examine the whole world, we shall not pain. find one man so happy as to have nothing “But though religion is very kind to all left to wish for; but we daily see thousands men, it has promised peculiar rewards to who by suicide show us they have nothing the unhappy : the sick, the naked, the left to hope. In this life, then, it appears houseless, the heavy laden, and the prithat we cannot be entirely blest, but yet we soner, have ever most frequent promises in may be completely miserable.
our sacred law. The Author of our religion Why man should thus feel pain; why everywhere professes himself the wretch's our wretchedness should be requisite in the friend, and, unlike the false ones of this formation of universal felicity; why, when world, bestows all his caresses upon the all other systems are made perfect by the forlorn. The unthinking have censured perfection of their subordinate parts, the this as partiality, as a preference without great system should require for its perfec- merit to deserve it. But they never reflect, tion parts that are not only subordinate to that it is not in the power even of Heaven others, but imperfect in themselves—these itself to make the offer of unceasing felicity are questions that never can be explained, as great a gift to the happy as to the and might be useless if known. On this miserable. To the first, eternity is but a subject, Providence has thought fit to elude single blessing, since at most it but inour curiosity, satisfied with granting us creases what they already possess. To motives to consolation.
the latter, it is a double advantagel; In this situation man has called in the for it diminishes their pain here, and friendly assistance of philosophy; and rewards them with heavenly bliss here. Heaven, seeing the incapacity of that to after. console him, has given him the aid of re- “But Providence is in another respect ligion. The consolations of philosophy are kinder to the poor than to the rich ; for very amusing, but often fallacious: it tells as it thus makes the life after death more us, that life is filled with comforts, if we desirable, so it smoothes the passage there. will but enjoy them; and, on the other The wretched have had a long familiarity hand, that though we unavoidably have with every face of terror. The man of miseries here, life is short and they will sorrows lays himself quietly down, without soon be over. Thus do these consolations possessions to regret, and but few ties to