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´╗┐Title: Nature and Art
Author: Inchbald, Mrs., 1753-1821
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Nature and Art" ***

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Transcribed from the 1886 Cassell & Co. edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



NATURE AND ART


BY
MRS. INCHBALD.

CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED:
_LONDON_, _PARIS_, _NEW YORK & MELBOURNE_.
1886.



INTRODUCTION


Elizabeth Simpson was born on the 15th of October, 1753, one of the eight
children of a poor farmer, at Standingfield, near Bury St. Edmunds.  Five
of the children were girls, who were all gifted with personal beauty.  The
family was Roman Catholic.  The mother had a delight in visits to the
Bury Theatre, and took, when she could, her children to the play.  One of
her sons became an actor, and her daughter Elizabeth offered herself at
eighteen--her father then being dead--for engagement as an actress at the
Norwich Theatre.  She had an impediment of speech, and she was not
engaged; but in the following year, leaving behind an affectionate letter
to her mother, she stole away from Standingfield, and made a bold plunge
into the unknown world of London, where she had friends, upon whose help
she relied.  Her friends happened to be in Wales, and she had some
troubles to go through before she found a home in the house of a sister,
who had married a poor tailor.  About two months after she had left
Standingfield she married, in London, Mr. Inchbald, an actor, who had
paid his addresses to her when she was at home, and who was also a Roman
Catholic.  On the evening of the wedding day the bride, who had not yet
succeeded in obtaining an engagement, went to the play, and saw the
bridegroom play the part of Mr. Oakley in the "Jealous Wife."  Mr.
Inchbald was thirty-seven years old, and had sons by a former marriage.
In September, 1772, Mrs. Inchbald tried her fortune on the stage by
playing Cordelia to her husband's Lear.  Beauty alone could not assure
success.  The impediment in speech made it impossible for Mrs. Inchbald
to succeed greatly as an actress.  She was unable to realise her own
conceptions.  At times she and her husband prospered so little that on
one day their dinner was of turnips, pulled and eaten in a field, and
sometimes there was no dinner at all.  But better days presently
followed; first acquaintance of Mrs. Inchbald with Mrs. Siddons grew to a
strong friendship, and this extended to the other members of the Kemble
family.

After seven years of happy but childless marriage, Mrs. Inchbald was left
a widow at the age of twenty-six.  In after years, when devoting herself
to the baby of one of her landladies, she wrote to a friend,--"I shall
never again have patience with a mother who complains of anything but the
loss of her children; so no complaints when you see me again.  Remember,
you have had two children, and I never had one."  After her husband's
death, Mrs. Inchbald's beauty surrounded her with admirers, some of them
rich, but she did not marry again.  To one of those who offered marriage,
she replied that her temper was so uncertain that nothing but blind
affection in a husband could bear with it.  Yet she was patiently living
and fighting the world on a weekly salary of about thirty shillings, out
of which she helped her poorer sisters.  When acting at Edinburgh she
spent on herself only eight shillings a week in board and lodging.  It
was after her husband's death that Mrs. Inchbald finished a little novel,
called "A Simple Story," but it was not until twelve years afterwards
that she could get it published.  She came to London again, and wrote
farces, which she could not get accepted; but she obtained an increase of
salary to three pounds a week by unwillingly consenting not only to act
in plays, but also to walk in pantomime.  At last, in July, 1784, her
first farce, "The Mogul Tale," was acted.  It brought her a hundred
guineas.  Three years later her success as a writer had risen so far that
she obtained nine hundred pounds by a little piece called "Such Things
Are."  She still lived sparingly, invested savings, and was liberal only
to the poor, and chiefly to her sisters and the poor members of her
family.  She finished a sketch of her life in 1786, for which a
publisher, without seeing it, offered a thousand pounds.  But there was
more satirical comment in it than she liked, and she resolved to do at
once what she would wish done at the point of death.  She destroyed the
record.

In 1791 Mrs. Inchbald published her "Simple Story."  Her other tale,
"Nature and Art," followed in 1794, when Mrs. Inchbald's age was forty-
one.  She had retired from the stage five years before, with an income of
fifty-eight pounds a year, all she called her own out of the independence
secured by her savings.  She lived in cheap lodgings, and had sometimes
to wait altogether on herself; at one lodging "fetching up her own water
three pair of stairs, and dropping a few tears into the heedless stream,
as any other wounded deer might do."  Later in life, she wrote to a
friend from a room in which she cooked, and ate, and also her saucepans
were cleaned:--"Thank God, I can say No.  I say No to all the vanities of
the world, and perhaps soon shall have to say that I allow my poor infirm
sister a hundred a year.  I have raised my allowance to eighty; but in
the rapid stride of her wants, and my obligation as a Christian to make
no selfish refusal to the poor, a few months, I foresee, must make the
sum a hundred."  In 1816, when that sister died, and Mrs. Inchbald buried
the last of her immediate home relations--though she had still nephews to
find money for--she said it had been a consolation to her when sometimes
she cried with cold to think that her sister, who was less able to bear
privation, had her fire lighted for her before she rose, and her food
brought to her ready cooked.

Even at fifty Mrs. Inchbald's beauty of face inspired admiration.  The
beauty of the inner life increased with years.  Lively and quick of
temper, impulsive, sensitive, she took into her heart all that was best
in the sentiments associated with the teaching of Rousseau and the dreams
of the French Revolution.  Mrs. Inchbald spoke her mind most fully in
this little story, which is told with a dramatic sense of construction
that swiftly carries on the action to its close.  She was no weak
sentimentalist, who hung out her feelings to view as an idle form of self-
indulgence.  Most unselfishly she wrought her own life to the pattern in
her mind; even the little faults she could not conquer, she well knew.

Mrs. Inchbald died at the age of sixty-eight, on the 1st of August, 1821,
a devout Roman Catholic, her thoughts in her last years looking
habitually through all disguises of convention up to Nature's God.

H. M.



CHAPTER I.


At a time when the nobility of Britain were said, by the poet laureate,
to be the admirers and protectors of the arts, and were acknowledged by
the whole nation to be the patrons of music--William and Henry, youths
under twenty years of age, brothers, and the sons of a country shopkeeper
who had lately died insolvent, set out on foot for London, in the hope of
procuring by their industry a scanty subsistence.

As they walked out of their native town, each with a small bundle at his
back, each observed the other drop several tears: but, upon the sudden
meeting of their eyes, they both smiled with a degree of disdain at the
weakness in which they had been caught.

"I am sure," said William (the elder), "I don't know what makes me cry."

"Nor I neither," said Henry; "for though we may never see this town
again, yet we leave nothing behind us to give us reason to lament."

"No," replied William, "nor anybody who cares what becomes of us."

"But I was thinking," said Henry, now weeping bitterly, "that, if my poor
father were alive, _he_ would care what was to become of us: he would not
have suffered us to begin this long journey without a few more shillings
in our pockets."

At the end of this sentence, William, who had with some effort suppressed
his tears while his brother spoke, now uttered, with a voice almost
inarticulate,--"Don't say any more; don't talk any more about it.  My
father used to tell us, that when he was gone we must take care of
ourselves: and so we must.  I only wish," continued he, giving way to his
grief, "that I had never done anything to offend him while he was
living."

"That is what I wish too," cried Henry.  "If I had always been dutiful to
him while he was alive, I would not shed one tear for him now that he is
gone--but I would thank Heaven that he has escaped from his creditors."

In conversation such as this, wherein their sorrow for their deceased
parent seemed less for his death than because he had not been so happy
when living as they ought to have made him; and wherein their own outcast
fortune was less the subject of their grief, than the reflection what
their father would have endured could he have beheld them in their
present situation;--in conversation such as this, they pursued their
journey till they arrived at that metropolis, which has received for
centuries past, from the provincial towns, the bold adventurer of every
denomination; has stamped his character with experience and example; and,
while it has bestowed on some coronets and mitres--on some the lasting
fame of genius--to others has dealt beggary, infamy, and untimely death.



CHAPTER II.


After three weeks passed in London, a year followed, during which William
and Henry never sat down to a dinner, or went into a bed, without hearts
glowing with thankfulness to that Providence who had bestowed on them
such unexpected blessings; for they no longer presumed to expect (what
still they hoped they deserved) a secure pittance in this world of
plenty.  Their experience, since they came to town, had informed them
that to obtain a permanent livelihood is the good fortune but of a part
of those who are in want of it: and the precarious earning of
half-a-crown, or a shilling, in the neighbourhood where they lodged, by
an errand, or some such accidental means, was the sole support which they
at present enjoyed.

They had sought for constant employment of various kinds, and even for
servants' places; but obstacles had always occurred to prevent their
success.  If they applied for the situation of a clerk to a man of
extensive concerns, their qualifications were admitted; but there must be
security given for their fidelity;--they had friends, who would give them
a character, but who would give them nothing else.

If they applied for the place even of a menial servant, they were too
clownish and awkward for the presence of the lady of the house;--and
once, when William (who had been educated at the free grammar-school of
the town in which he was born, and was an excellent scholar), hoping to
obtain the good opinion of a young clergyman whom he solicited for the
favour of waiting upon him, said submissively, "that he understood Greek
and Latin," he was rejected by the divine, "because he could not dress
hair."

Weary of repeating their mean accomplishments of "honesty, sobriety,
humility," and on the precipice of reprobating such qualities,--which,
however beneficial to the soul, gave no hope of preservation to the
body,--they were prevented from this profanation by the fortunate
remembrance of one qualification, which Henry, the possessor, in all his
distress, had never till then called to his recollection; but which, as
soon as remembered and made known, changed the whole prospect of
wretchedness placed before the two brothers; and they never knew want
more.

Reader--Henry could play upon the fiddle.



CHAPTER III.


No sooner was it publicly known that Henry could play most enchantingly
upon the violin, than he was invited into many companies where no other
accomplishment could have introduced him.  His performance was so much
admired, that he had the honour of being admitted to several tavern
feasts, of which he had also the honour to partake without partaking of
the expense.  He was soon addressed by persons of the very first rank and
fashion, and was once seen walking side by side with a peer.

But yet, in the midst of this powerful occasion for rejoicing, Henry,
whose heart was particularly affectionate, had one grief which eclipsed
all the happiness of his new life;--his brother William could _not_ play
on the fiddle! consequently, his brother William, with whom he had shared
so much ill, could not share in his good fortune.

One evening, Henry, coming home from a dinner and concert at the Crown
and Anchor found William, in a very gloomy and peevish humour, poring
over the orations of Cicero.  Henry asked him several times "how he did,"
and similar questions, marks of his kind disposition towards his beloved
brother: but all his endeavours, he perceived, could not soothe or soften
the sullen mind of William.  At length, taking from his pocket a handful
of almonds, and some delicious fruit (which he had purloined from the
plenteous table, where his brother's wants had never been absent from his
thoughts), and laying them down before him, he exclaimed, with a
benevolent smile, "Do, William, let me teach you to play upon the
violin."

William, full of the great orator whom he was then studying, and still
more alive to the impossibility that _his_ ear, attuned only to sense,
could ever descend from that elevation, to learn mere sounds--William
caught up the tempting presents which Henry had ventured his reputation
to obtain for him, and threw them all indignantly at the donor's head.

Henry felt too powerfully his own superiority of fortune to resent this
ingratitude: he patiently picked up the repast, and laying it again upon
the table, placed by its side a bottle of claret, which he held fast by
the neck, while he assured his brother that, "although he had taken it
while the waiter's back was turned, yet it might be drank with a safe
conscience by them; for he had not himself tasted one drop at the feast,
on purpose that he might enjoy a glass with his brother at home, and
without wronging the company who had invited him."

The affection Henry expressed as he said this, or the force of a bumper
of wine, which William had not seen since he left his father's house, had
such an effect in calming the displeasure he was cherishing, that, on his
brother offering him the glass, he took it; and he deigned even to eat of
his present.

Henry, to convince him that he had stinted himself to obtain for him this
collation, sat down and partook of it.

After a few glasses, he again ventured to say, "Do, brother William, let
me teach you to play on the violin."

Again his offer was refused, though with less vehemence: at length they
both agreed that the attempt could not prosper.

"Then," said Henry, "William, go down to Oxford or to Cambridge.  There,
no doubt, they are as fond of learning as in this gay town they are of
music.  You know you have as much talent for the one as I for the other:
do go to one of our universities, and see what dinners, what suppers, and
what friends you will find there."



CHAPTER IV.


William _did_ go to one of those seats of learning, and would have
starved there, but for the affectionate remittances of Henry, who shortly
became so great a proficient in the art of music, as to have it in his
power not only to live in a very reputable manner himself, but to send
such supplies to his brother, as enabled him to pursue his studies.

With some, the progress of fortune is rapid.  Such is the case when,
either on merit or demerit, great patronage is bestowed.  Henry's violin
had often charmed, to a welcome forgetfulness of his insignificance, an
effeminate lord; or warmed with ideas of honour the head of a duke, whose
heart could never be taught to feel its manly glow.  Princes had flown to
the arms of their favourite fair ones with more rapturous delight,
softened by the masterly touches of his art: and these elevated
personages, ever grateful to those from whom they receive benefits, were
competitors in the desire of heaping favours upon him.  But he, in all
his advantages, never once lost for a moment the hope of some advantage
for his brother William: and when at any time he was pressed by a patron
to demand a "token of his regard," he would constantly reply--"I have a
brother, a very learned man, if your lordship (your grace, or your royal
highness) would confer some small favour on him!"

His lordship would reply, "He was so teased and harassed in his youth by
learned men, that he had ever since detested the whole fraternity."

His grace would inquire, "if the learned man could play upon any
instrument."

And his highness would ask "if he could sing."

Rebuffs such as these poor Henry met with in all his applications for
William, till one fortunate evening, at the conclusion of a concert, a
great man shook him by the hand, and promised a living of five hundred a
year (the incumbent of which was upon his death-bed) to his brother, in
return for the entertainment that Henry had just afforded him.

Henry wrote in haste to William, and began his letter thus: "My dear
brother, I am not sorry you did not learn to play upon the fiddle."



CHAPTER V.


The incumbent of this living died--William underwent the customary
examinations, obtained successively the orders of deacon and priest; then
as early as possible came to town to take possession of the gift which
his brother's skill had acquired for him.

William had a steady countenance, a stern brow, and a majestic walk; all
of which this new accession, this holy calling to religious vows, rather
increased than diminished.  In the early part of his life, the violin of
his brother had rather irritated than soothed the morose disposition of
his nature: and though, since their departure from their native
habitation, it had frequently calmed the violent ragings of his huger, it
had never been successful in appeasing the disturbed passions of a proud
and disdainful mind.

As the painter views with delight and wonder the finished picture,
expressive testimony of his taste and genius; as the physician beholds
with pride and gladness the recovering invalid, whom his art has snatched
from the jaws of death; as the father gazes with rapture on his first
child, the creature to whom he has given life; so did Henry survey, with
transporting glory, his brother, dressed for the first time in
canonicals, to preach at his parish church.  He viewed him from head to
foot--smiled--viewed again--pulled one side of his gown a little this
way, one end of his band a little that way; then stole behind him,
pretending to place the curls of his hair, but in reality to indulge and
to conceal tears of fraternal pride and joy.

William was not without joy, neither was he wanting in love or gratitude
to his brother; but his pride was not completely satisfied.

"I am the elder," thought he to himself, "and a man of literature, and
yet am I obliged to my younger brother, an illiterate man."  Here he
suppressed every thought which could be a reproach to that brother.  But
there remained an object of his former contempt, now become even
detestable to him; ungrateful man.  The very agent of his elevation was
now so odious to him, that he could not cast his eyes upon the friendly
violin without instant emotions of disgust.

In vain would Henry, at times, endeavour to subdue his haughtiness by a
tune on this wonderful machine.  "You know I have no ear," William would
sternly say, in recompense for one of Henry's best solos.  Yet was
William enraged at Henry's answer, when, after taking him to hear him
preach, he asked him, "how he liked his sermon," and Henry modestly
replied (in the technical phrase of his profession), "You know, brother,
I have no ear."

Henry's renown in his profession daily increased; and, with his fame, his
friends.  Possessing the virtues of humility and charity far above
William, who was the professed teacher of those virtues, his reverend
brother's disrespect for his vocation never once made him relax for a
moment in his anxiety to gain him advancement in the Church.  In the
course of a few years, and in consequence of many fortuitous
circumstances, he had the gratification of procuring for him the
appointment to a deanery; and thus at once placed between them an
insurmountable barrier to all friendship, that was not the effect of
condescension on the part of the dean.

William would now begin seriously to remonstrate with his brother "upon
his useless occupation," and would intimate "the degradation it was to
him to hear his frivolous talent spoken of in all companies."  Henry
believed his brother to be much wiser than himself, and suffered shame
that he was not more worthy of such a relation.  To console himself for
the familiar friend, whom he now perceived he had entirely lost, he
searched for one of a softer nature--he married.



CHAPTER VI.


As Henry despaired of receiving his brother's approbation of his choice,
he never mentioned the event to him.  But William, being told of it by a
third person, inquired of Henry, who confirmed the truth of the
intelligence, and acknowledged, that, in taking a wife, his sole view had
been to obtain a kind companion and friend, who would bear with his
failings and know how to esteem his few qualifications; therefore, he had
chosen one of his own rank in life, and who, having a taste for music,
and, as well as himself, an obligation to the art--

"And is it possible," cried the dean, "that what has been hinted to me is
true?  Is it possible that you have married a public singer?"

"She is as good as myself," returned Henry.  "I did not wish her to be
better, for fear she should despise me."

"As to despise," answered the dean, "Heaven forbid that we should despise
anyone, that would be acting unlike a Christian; but do you imagine I can
ever introduce her to my intended wife, who is a woman of family?"

Henry had received in his life many insults from his brother; but, as he
was not a vain man, he generally thought his brother in the right, and
consequently submitted with patience; but, though he had little
self-love, he had for his wife an unbounded affection.  On the present
occasion, therefore, he began to raise his voice, and even (in the coarse
expression of clownish anger) to lift his hand; but the sudden and
affecting recollection of what he had done for the dean--of the pains,
the toils, the hopes, and the fears he had experienced when soliciting
his preferment--this recollection overpowered his speech, weakened his
arm, and deprived him of every active force, but that of flying out of
his brother's house (in which they then were) as swift as lightning,
while the dean sat proudly contemplating "that he had done his duty."

For several days Henry did not call, as was his custom, to see his
brother.  William's marriage drew near, and he sent a formal card to
invite him on that day; but not having had the condescension to name his
sister-in-law in the invitation, Henry thought proper not to accept it,
and the joyful event was celebrated without his presence.  But the ardour
of the bridegroom was not so vehement as to overcome every other
sensation--he missed his brother.  That heartfelt cheerfulness with which
Henry had ever given him joy upon every happy occasion--even amidst all
the politer congratulations of his other friends--seemed to the dean
mournfully wanting.  This derogation from his felicity he was resolved to
resent; and for a whole year these brothers, whom adversity had entwined
closely together, prosperity separated.

Though Henry, on his marriage, paid so much attention to his brother's
prejudices as to take his wife from her public employment, this had not
so entirely removed the scruples of William as to permit him to think her
a worthy companion for Lady Clementina, the daughter of a poor Scotch
earl, whom he had chosen merely that he might be proud of her family,
and, in return, suffer that family to be ashamed of _his_.

If Henry's wife were not fit company for Lady Clementina, it is to be
hoped that she was company for angels.  She died within the first year of
her marriage, a faithful, an affectionate wife, and a mother.

When William heard of her death, he felt a sudden shock, and a kind of
fleeting thought glanced across his mind, that

"Had he known she had been so near her dissolution, she might have been
introduced to Lady Clementina, and he himself would have called her
sister."

That is (if he had defined his fleeting idea), "They would have had no
objection to have met this poor woman for the _last time_, and would have
descended to the familiarity of kindred, in order to have wished her a
good journey to the other world."

Or, is there in death something which so raises the abjectness of the
poor, that, on their approach to its sheltering abode, the arrogant
believer feels the equality he had before denied, and trembles?



CHAPTER VII.


The wife of Henry had been dead near six weeks before the dean heard the
news.  A month then elapsed in thoughts by himself, and consultations
with Lady Clementina, how he should conduct himself on this occurrence.
Her advice was,

"That, as Henry was the younger, and by their stations, in every sense
the dean's inferior, Henry ought first to make overtures of
reconciliation."

The dean answered, "He had no doubt of his brother's good will to him,
but that he had reason to think, from the knowledge of his temper, he
would be more likely to come to him upon an occasion to bestow comfort,
than to receive it.  For instance, if I had suffered the misfortune of
losing your ladyship, my brother, I have no doubt, would have forgotten
his resentment, and--"

She was offended that the loss of the vulgar wife of Henry should be
compared to the loss of her--she lamented her indiscretion in forming an
alliance with a family of no rank, and implored the dean to wait till his
brother should make some concession to him, before he renewed the
acquaintance.

Though Lady Clementina had mentioned on this occasion her _indiscretion_,
she was of a prudent age--she was near forty--yet, possessing rather a
handsome face and person, she would not have impressed the spectator with
a supposition that she was near so old had she not constantly attempted
to appear much younger.  Her dress was fantastically fashionable, her
manners affected all the various passions of youth, and her conversation
was perpetually embellished with accusations against her own
"heedlessness, thoughtlessness, carelessness, and childishness."

There is, perhaps in each individual, one parent motive to every action,
good or bad.  Be that as it may, it was evident, that with Lady
Clementina, all she said or did, all she thought or looked, had but one
foundation--vanity.  If she were nice, or if she were negligent, vanity
was the cause of both; for she would contemplate with the highest degree
of self-complacency, "What such-a-one would say of her elegant
preciseness, or what such-a-one would think of her interesting neglect."

If she complained she was ill, it was with the certainty that her languor
would be admired: if she boasted she was well, it was that the spectator
might admire her glowing health: if she laughed, it was because she
thought it made her look pretty: if she cried, it was because she thought
it made her look prettier still.  If she scolded her servants, it was
from vanity, to show her knowledge superior to theirs: and she was kind
to them from the same motive, that her benevolence might excite their
admiration.  Forward and impertinent in the company of her equals, from
the vanity of supposing herself above them, she was bashful even to
shamefacedness in the presence of her superiors, because her vanity told
her she engrossed all their observation.  Through vanity she had no
memory, for she constantly forgot everything she heard others say, from
the minute attention which she paid to everything she said herself.

She had become an old maid from vanity, believing no offer she received
worthy of her deserts; and when her power of farther conquest began to be
doubted, she married from vanity, to repair the character of her fading
charms.  In a word, her vanity was of that magnitude, that she had no
conjecture but that she was humble in her own opinion; and it would have
been impossible to have convinced her that she thought well of herself,
because she thought so _well_, as to be assured that her own thoughts
undervalued her.



CHAPTER VIII.


That, which in a weak woman is called vanity, in a man of sense is termed
pride.  Make one a degree stranger, or the other a degree weaker, and the
dean and his wife were infected with the self-same folly.  Yet, let not
the reader suppose that this failing (however despicable) had erased from
either bosom all traces of humanity.  They are human creatures who are
meant to be portrayed in this little book: and where is the human
creature who has not some good qualities to soften, if not to
counterbalance, his bad ones?

The dean, with all his pride, could not wholly forget his brother, nor
eradicate from his remembrance the friend that he had been to him: he
resolved, therefore, in spite of his wife's advice, to make him some
overture, which he had no doubt Henry's good-nature would instantly
accept.  The more he became acquainted with all the vain and selfish
propensities of Lady Clementina, the more he felt a returning affection
for his brother: but little did he suspect how much he loved him, till
(after sending to various places to inquire for him) he learned--that on
his wife's decease, unable to support her loss in the surrounding scene,
Henry had taken the child she brought him in his arms, shaken hands with
all his former friends--passing over his brother in the number--and set
sail in a vessel bound for Africa, with a party of Portuguese and some
few English adventurers, to people there the uninhabited part of an
extensive island.

This was a resolution, in Henry's circumstances, worthy a mind of
singular sensibility: but William had not discerned, till then, that
every act of Henry's was of the same description; and more than all, his
every act towards him.  He staggered when he heard the tidings; at first
thought them untrue; but quickly recollected, that Henry was capable of
surprising deeds!  He recollected with a force which gave him torture,
the benevolence his brother had ever shown to him--the favours he had
heaped upon him--the insults he had patiently endured in requital!

In the first emotion, which this intelligence gave the dean, he forgot
the dignity of his walk and gesture: he ran with frantic enthusiasm to
every corner of his deanery where the least vestige of what belonged to
Henry remained--he pressed close to his breast, with tender agony, a coat
of his, which by accident had been left there--he kissed and wept over a
walking-stick which Henry once had given him--he even took up with
delight a music book of his brother's--nor would his poor violin have
then excited anger.

When his grief became more calm, he sat in deep and melancholy
meditation, calling to mind when and where he saw his brother last.  The
recollection gave him fresh cause of regret.  He remembered they had
parted on his refusing to suffer Lady Clementina to admit the
acquaintance of Henry's wife.  Both Henry and his wife he now
contemplated beyond the reach of his pride; and he felt the meanness of
his former and the imbecility of his future haughtiness towards them.

To add to his self-reproaches, his tormented memory presented to him the
exact countenance of his brother at their last interview, as it changed,
while he censured his marriage, and treated with disrespect the object of
his conjugal affection.  He remembered the anger repressed, the tear
bursting forth, and the last glimpse he had of him, as he left his
presence, most likely for ever.

In vain he now wished that he had followed him to the door--that he had
once shaken hands and owned his obligations to him before they had
parted.  In vain he wished too, that, in this extreme agony of his mind,
he had such a friend to comfort him, as Henry had ever proved.



CHAPTER IX.


The avocations of an elevated life erase the deepest impressions.  The
dean in a few months recovered from those which his brother's departure
first made upon him: and he would now at times even condemn, in anger,
Henry's having so hastily abandoned him and his native country, in
resentment, as he conceived, of a few misfortunes which his usual
fortitude should have taught him to have borne.  Yet was he still
desirous of his return, and wrote two or three letters expressive of his
wish, which he anxiously endeavoured should reach him.  But many years
having elapsed without any intelligence from him, and a report having
arrived that he, and all the party with whom he went, were slain by the
savage inhabitants of the island, William's despair of seeing his brother
again caused the desire to diminish; while attention and affection to a
still nearer and dearer relation than Henry had ever been to him, now
chiefly engaged his mind.

Lady Clementina had brought him a son, on whom from his infancy, he
doated--and the boy, in riper years, possessing a handsome person and
evincing a quickness of parts, gratified the father's darling passion,
pride, as well as the mother's vanity.

The dean had, beside this child, a domestic comfort highly gratifying to
his ambition: the bishop of --- became intimately acquainted with him
soon after his marriage, and from his daily visits had become, as it
were, a part of the family.  This was much honour to the dean, not only
as the bishop was his superior in the Church, but was of that part of the
bench whose blood is ennobled by a race of ancestors, and to which all
wisdom on the plebeian side crouches in humble respect.

Year after year rolled on in pride and grandeur; the bishop and the dean
passing their time in attending levees and in talking politics; Lady
Clementina passing hers in attending routs and in talking of _herself_,
till the son arrived at the age of thirteen.

Young William passed _his_ time, from morning till night, with persons
who taught him to walk, to ride, to talk, to think like a man--a foolish
man, instead of a wise child, as nature designed him to be.

This unfortunate youth was never permitted to have one conception of his
own--all were taught him--he was never once asked, "What he thought;" but
men were paid to tell "how to think."  He was taught to revere such and
such persons, however unworthy of his reverence; to believe such and such
things, however unworthy of his credit: and to act so and so, on such and
such occasions, however unworthy of his feelings.

Such were the lessons of the tutors assigned him by his father--those
masters whom his mother gave him did him less mischief; for though they
distorted his limbs and made his manners effeminate, they did not
interfere beyond the body.

Mr. Norwynne (the family name of his father, and though but a school-boy,
he was called _Mister_) could talk on history, on politics, and on
religion; surprisingly to all who never listened to a parrot or
magpie--for he merely repeated what had been told to him without one
reflection upon the sense or probability of his report.  He had been
praised for his memory; and to continue that praise, he was so anxious to
retain every sentence he had heard, or he had read, that the poor
creature had no time for one native idea, but could only re-deliver his
tutors' lessons to his father, and his father's to his tutors.  But,
whatever he said or did, was the admiration of all who came to the house
of the dean, and who knew he was an only child.  Indeed, considering the
labour that was taken to spoil him, he was rather a commendable youth;
for, with the pedantic folly of his teachers, the blind affection of his
father and mother, the obsequiousness of the servants, and flattery of
the visitors, it was some credit to him that he was not an idiot, or a
brute--though when he imitated the manners of a man, he had something of
the latter in his appearance; for he would grin and bow to a lady, catch
her fan in haste when it fell, and hand her to her coach, as thoroughly
void of all the sentiment which gives grace to such tricks, as a monkey.



CHAPTER X.


One morning in winter, just as the dean, his wife, and darling child, had
finished their breakfast at their house in London, a servant brought in a
letter to his master, and said "the man waited for an answer."

"Who is the man?" cried the dean, with all that terrifying dignity with
which he never failed to address his inferiors, especially such as waited
on his person.

The servant replied with a servility of tone equal to the haughty one of
his master, "he did not know; but that the man looked like a sailor, and
had a boy with him."

"A begging letter, no doubt," cried Lady Clementina.

"Take it back," said the dean, "and bid him send up word who he is, and
what is his errand."

The servant went; and returning said, "He comes from on board a ship; his
captain sent him, and his errand is, he believes, to leave a boy he has
brought with him."

"A boy!" cried the dean: "what have I to do with a boy?  I expect no boy.
What boy?  What age?"

"He looks about twelve or thirteen," replied the servant.

"He is mistaken in the house," said the dean.  "Let me look at the letter
again."

He did look at it, and saw plainly it was directed to himself.  Upon a
second glance, he had so perfect a recollection of the hand, as to open
it instantaneously; and, after ordering the servant to withdraw, he read
the following:--

   "ZOCOTORA ISLAND, _April_ 6.

   "My Dear Brother William,--It is a long time since we have seen one
   another; but I hope not so long, that you have quite forgotten the
   many happy days we once passed together.

   "I did not take my leave of you when I left England, because it would
   have been too much for me.  I had met with a great many sorrows just
   at that time; one of which was, the misfortune of losing the use of my
   right hand by a fall from my horse, which accident robbed me of most
   of my friends; for I could no longer entertain them with my
   performance as I used to do, and so I was ashamed to see them or you;
   and that was the reason I came hither to try my fortune with some
   other adventurers.

   "You have, I suppose, heard that the savages of the island put our
   whole party to death.  But it was my chance to escape their cruelty.  I
   was heart-broken for my comrades; yet upon the whole, I do not know
   that the savages were much to blame--we had no business to invade
   their territories! and if they had invaded England, we should have
   done the same by them.  My life was spared, because, having gained
   some little strength in my hand during the voyage, I pleased their
   king when I arrived there with playing on my violin.

   "They spared my child too, in pity to my lamentations, when they were
   going to put him to death.  Now, dear brother, before I say any more
   to you concerning my child, I will first ask your pardon for any
   offence I may have ever given you in all the time we lived so long
   together.  I know you have often found fault with me, and I dare say I
   have been very often to blame; but I here solemnly declare that I
   never did anything purposely to offend you, but mostly, all I could to
   oblige you--and I can safely declare that I never bore you above a
   quarter of an hour's resentment for anything you might say to me which
   I thought harsh.

   "Now, dear William, after being in this island eleven years, the
   weakness in my hand has unfortunately returned; and yet there being no
   appearance of complaint, the uninformed islanders think it is all my
   obstinacy, and that I _will not_ entertain them with my music, which
   makes me say that I _cannot_; and they have imprisoned me, and
   threaten to put my son to death if I persist in my stubbornness any
   longer.

   "The anguish I feel in my mind takes away all hope of the recovery of
   strength in my hand; and I have no doubt but that they intend in a few
   days to put their horrid threat into execution.

   "Therefore, dear brother William, hearing in my prison of a most
   uncommon circumstance, which is, that an English vessel is lying at a
   small distance from the island, I have entrusted a faithful negro to
   take my child to the ship, and deliver him to the captain, with a
   request that he may be sent (with this letter) to you on the ship's
   arrival in England.

   "Now my dear, dear brother William, in case the poor boy should live
   to come to you, I have no doubt but you will receive him; yet excuse a
   poor, fond father, if I say a word or two which I hope may prove in
   his favour.

   "Pray, my dear brother, do not think it the child's fault, but mine,
   that you will find him so ignorant--he has always shown a quickness
   and a willingness to learn, and would, I dare say, if he had been
   brought up under your care, have been by this time a good scholar, but
   you know I am no scholar myself.  Besides, not having any books here,
   I have only been able to teach my child by talking to him, and in all
   my conversations with him I have never taken much pains to instruct
   him in the manners of my own country; thinking, that if ever he went
   over, he would learn them soon enough; and if he never _did_ go over,
   that it would be as well he knew nothing about them.

   "I have kept him also from the knowledge of everything which I have
   thought pernicious in the conduct of the savages, except that I have
   now and then pointed out a few of their faults, in order to give him a
   true conception and a proper horror of them.  At the same time I have
   taught him to love, and to do good to his neighbour, whoever that
   neighbour may be, and whatever may be his failings.  Falsehood of
   every kind I included in this precept as forbidden, for no one can
   love his neighbour and deceive him.

   "I have instructed him too, to hold in contempt all frivolous vanity,
   and all those indulgences which he was never likely to obtain.  He has
   learnt all that I have undertaken to teach him; but I am afraid you
   will yet think he has learned too little.

   "Your wife, I fear, will be offended at his want of politeness, and
   perhaps proper respect for a person of her rank: but indeed he is very
   tractable, and can, without severity, be amended of all his faults;
   and though you will find he has many, yet, pray, my dear brother
   William, call to mind he has been a dutiful and an affectionate child
   to me; and that had it pleased Heaven we had lived together for many
   years to come, I verily believe I should never have experienced one
   mark of his disobedience.

   "Farewell for ever, my dear, dear brother William--and if my poor,
   kind, affectionate child should live to bring you this letter,
   sometimes speak to him of me and let him know, that for twelve years
   he was my sole comfort; and that, when I sent him from me, in order to
   save his life, I laid down my head upon the floor of the cell in which
   I was confined, and prayed that Heaven might end my days before the
   morning."

This was the conclusion of the letter, except four or five lines which
(with his name) were so much blotted, apparently with tears, that they
were illegible.



CHAPTER XI.


While the dean was reading to himself this letter, his countenance
frequently changed, and once or twice the tears streamed from his eyes.
When it was finished, he exclaimed,

"My brother has sent his child to me, and I will be a parent to him."  He
was rushing towards the door, when Lady Clementina stopped him.

"Is it proper, do you think, Mr. Dean, that all the servants in the house
should be witnesses to your meeting with your brother and your nephew in
the state in which they must be at present?  Send for them into a private
apartment."

"My brother!" cried the dean; "oh! that it _were_ my brother!  The man is
merely a person from the ship, who has conducted his child hither."

The bell was rung, money was sent to the man, and orders given that the
boy should be shown up immediately.

While young Henry was walking up the stairs, the dean's wife was weighing
in her mind in what manner it would most redound to her honour to receive
him; for her vanity taught her to believe that the whole inquisitive
world pried into her conduct, even upon every family occurrence.

Young William was wondering to himself what kind of an unpolished monster
his beggarly cousin would appear; and was contemplating how much the poor
youth would be surprised, and awed by his superiority.

The dean felt no other sensation than an impatient desire of beholding
the child.

The door opened--and the son of his brother Henry, of his benefactor,
entered.

The habit he had on when he left his father, having been of slight
texture, was worn out by the length of the voyage, and he was in the
dress of a sailor-boy.  Though about the same age with his cousin, he was
something taller: and though a strong family resemblance appeared between
the two youths, he was handsomer than William; and from a simplicity
spread over his countenance, a quick impatience in his eye--which denoted
anxious curiosity, and childish surprise at every new object which
presented itself--he appeared younger than his well-informed and well-
bred cousin.

He walked into the room, not with a dictated obeisance, but with a
hurrying step, a half pleased, yet a half frightened look, an
instantaneous survey of every person present; not as demanding "what they
thought of him," but expressing almost as plainly as in direct words,
"what he thought of them."  For all alarm in respect to his safety and
reception seemed now wholly forgotten, in the curiosity which the sudden
sight of strangers such as he had never seen in his life before, excited:
and as to _himself_, he did not appear to know there was such a person
existing: his whole faculties were absorbed in _others_.

The dean's reception of him did honour to his sensibility and his
gratitude to his brother.  After the first affectionate gaze, he ran to
him, took him in his arms, sat down, drew him to him, held him between
his knees, and repeatedly exclaimed, "I will repay to you all I owe to
your father."

The boy, in return, hugged the dean round the neck, kissed him, and
exclaimed,

"Oh! you _are_ my father--you have just such eyes, and such a
forehead--indeed you would be almost the same as he, if it were not for
that great white thing which grows upon your head!"

Let the reader understand, that the dean, fondly attached to every
ornament of his dignified function, was never seen (unless caught in bed)
without an enormous wig.  With this young Henry was enormously struck;
having never seen so unbecoming a decoration, either in the savage island
from whence he came, or on board the vessel in which he sailed.

"Do you imagine," cried his uncle, laying his hand gently on the reverend
habiliment, "that this grows?"

"What is on _my_ head grows," said young Henry, "and so does that which
is upon my father's."

"But now you are come to Europe, Henry, you will see many persons with
such things as these, which they put on and take off."

"Why do you wear such things?"

"As a distinction between us and inferior people: they are worn to give
an importance to the wearer."

"That's just as the savages do; they hang brass nails, wire, buttons, and
entrails of beasts all over them, to give them importance."

The dean now led his nephew to Lady Clementina, and told him, "She was
his aunt, to whom he must behave with the utmost respect."

"I will, I will," he replied, "for she, I see, is a person of importance
too; she has, very nearly, such a white thing upon her head as you have!"

His aunt had not yet fixed in what manner it would be advisable to
behave; whether with intimidating grandeur, or with amiable tenderness.
While she was hesitating between both, she felt a kind of jealous
apprehension that her son was not so engaging either in his person or
address as his cousin; and therefore she said,

"I hope, Dean, the arrival of this child will give you a still higher
sense of the happiness we enjoy in our own.  What an instructive contrast
between the manners of the one and of the other!"

"It is not the child's fault," returned the dean, "that he is not so
elegant in his manners as his cousin.  Had William been bred in the same
place, he would have been as unpolished as this boy."

"I beg your pardon, sir," said young William with a formal bow and a
sarcastic smile, "I assure you several of my tutors have told me, that I
appear to know many things as it were by instinct."

Young Henry fixed his eyes upon his cousin, while, with steady
self-complacency, he delivered this speech, and no sooner was it
concluded than Henry cried out in a kind of wonder,

"A little man! as I am alive, a little man!  I did not know there were
such little men in this country!  I never saw one in my life before!"

"This is a boy," said the dean; "a boy not older than yourself."

He put their hands together, and William gravely shook hands with his
cousin.

"It _is_ a man," continued young Henry; then stroked his cousin's chin.
"No, no, I do not know whether it is or not."

"I tell you again," said the dean, "he is a boy of your own age; you and
he are cousins, for I am his father."

"How can that be?" said young Henry.  "He called you _Sir_."

"In this country," said the dean, "polite children do not call their
parents _father_ and _mother_."

"Then don't they sometimes forget to love them as such?" asked Henry.

His uncle became now impatient to interrogate him in every particular
concerning his father's state.  Lady Clementina felt equal impatience to
know where the father was, whether he were coming to live with them,
wanted anything of them, and every circumstance in which her vanity was
interested.  Explanations followed all these questions; but which,
exactly agreeing with what the elder Henry's letter has related, require
no recital here.



CHAPTER XII.


That vanity which presided over every thought and deed of Lady Clementina
was the protector of young Henry within her house.  It represented to her
how amiable her conduct would appear in the eye of the world should she
condescend to treat this destitute nephew as her own son; what envy such
heroic virtue would excite in the hearts of her particular friends, and
what grief in the bosoms of all those who did not like her.

The dean was a man of no inconsiderable penetration.  He understood the
thoughts which, upon this occasion, passed in the mind of his wife, and
in order to ensure her kind treatment of the boy, instead of reproaching
her for the cold manner in which she had at first received him, he
praised her tender and sympathetic heart for having shown him so much
kindness, and thus stimulated her vanity to be praised still more.

William, the mother's own son, far from apprehending a rival in this
savage boy, was convinced of his own pre-eminence, and felt an affection
for him--though rather as a foil than as a cousin.  He sported with his
ignorance upon all occasions, and even lay in wait for circumstances that
might expose it; while young Henry, strongly impressed with everything
which appeared new to him, expressed, without reserve, the sensations
which those novelties excited, wholly careless of the construction put on
his observations.

He never appeared either offended or abashed when laughed at; but still
pursued his questions, and still discovered his wonder at many replies
made to him, though "simpleton," "poor silly boy," and "idiot," were
vociferated around him from his cousin, his aunt, and their constant
visitor the bishop.

His uncle would frequently undertake to instruct him; so indeed would the
bishop; but Lady Clementina, her son, and the greatest part of her
companions, found something so irresistibly ridiculous in his remarks,
that nothing but immoderate laughter followed; they thought such folly
had even merit in the way of entertainment, and they wished him no wiser.

Having been told that every morning, on first seeing his uncle, he was to
make a respectful bow; and coming into the dean's dressing-room just as
he was out of bed, his wig lying on the table, Henry appeared at a loss
which of the two he should bow to.  At last he gave the preference to his
uncle, but afterwards bowed reverently to the wig.  In this he did what
he conceived was proper, from the introduction which the dean, on his
first arrival, had given him to this venerable stranger; for, in reality,
Henry had a contempt for all finery, and had called even his aunt's
jewels, when they were first shown to him, "trumpery," asking "what they
were good for?"  But being corrected in this disrespect, and informed of
their high value, he, like a good convert, gave up his reason to his
faith; and becoming, like all converts, over-zealous, he now believed
there was great worth in all gaudy appearances, and even respected the
earrings of Lady Clementina almost as much as he respected herself.



CHAPTER XIII.


It was to be lamented that when young Henry had been several months in
England, had been taught to read, and had, of course, in the society in
which he lived, seen much of the enlightened world, yet the natural
expectation of his improvement was by no means answered.

Notwithstanding the sensibility, which upon various occasions he
manifested in the most captivating degree, notwithstanding the seeming
gentleness of his nature upon all occasions, there now appeared, in most
of his inquiries and remarks, a something which demonstrated either a
stupid or troublesome disposition; either dulness of conception, or an
obstinacy of perseverance in comments and in arguments which were
glaringly false.

Observing his uncle one day offended with his coachman, and hearing him
say to him in a very angry tone,

"You shall never drive me again"--

The moment the man quitted the room, Henry (with his eyes fixed in the
deepest contemplation) repeated five or six times, in a half whisper to
himself,

"_You shall never drive me again_."

"_You shall never drive me again_."

The dean at last called to him.  "What do you mean by thus repeating my
words?"

"I am trying to find out what _you_ meant," said Henry.

"What don't you know?" cried his enlightened cousin.  "Richard is turned
away; he is never to get upon our coach-box again, never to drive any of
us more."

"And was it pleasure to drive us, cousin?  I am sure I have often pitied
him.  It rained sometimes very hard when he was on the box; and sometimes
Lady Clementina has kept him a whole hour at the door all in the cold and
snow.  Was that pleasure?"

"No," replied young William.

"Was it honour, cousin?"

"No," exclaimed his cousin with a contemptuous smile.

"Then why did my uncle say to him, as a punishment, 'he should never'"--

"Come hither, child," said the dean, "and let me instruct you; your
father's negligence has been inexcusable.  There are in society,"
continued the dean, "rich and poor; the poor are born to serve the rich."

"And what are the rich born for?"

"To be served by the poor."

"But suppose the poor would not serve them?"

"Then they must starve."

"And so poor people are permitted to live only upon condition that they
wait upon the rich?"

"Is that a hard condition; or if it were, they will be rewarded in a
better world than this?"

"Is there a better world than this?"

"Is it possible you do not know there is?"

"I heard my father once say something about a world to come; but he
stopped short, and said I was too young to understand what he meant."

"The world to come," returned the dean, "is where we shall go after
death; and there no distinction will be made between rich and poor--all
persons there will be equal."

"Aye, now I see what makes it a better world than this.  But cannot this
world try to be as good as that?"

"In respect to placing all persons on a level, it is utterly impossible.
God has ordained it otherwise."

"How! has God ordained a distinction to be made, and will not make any
Himself?"

The dean did not proceed in his instructions.  He now began to think his
brother in the right, and that the boy was too young, or too weak, to
comprehend the subject.



CHAPTER XIV.


In addition to his ignorant conversation upon many topics, young Henry
had an incorrigible misconception and misapplication of many _words_.  His
father having had but few opportunities of discoursing with him, upon
account of his attendance at the court of the savages, and not having
books in the island, he had consequently many words to learn of this
country's language when he arrived in England.  This task his retentive
memory made easy to him; but his childish inattention to their proper
signification still made his want of education conspicuous.

He would call _compliments_, _lies_; _reserve_, he would call _pride_;
_stateliness_, _affectation_; and for the words _war_ and _battle_, he
constantly substituted the word _massacre_.

"Sir," said William to his father one morning, as he entered the room,
"do you hear how the cannons are firing, and the bells ringing?"

"Then I dare say," cried Henry, "there has been another massacre."

The dean called to him in anger, "Will you never learn the right use of
words?  You mean to say a battle."

"Then what is a massacre?" cried the frightened, but still curious Henry.

"A massacre," replied his uncle, "is when a number of people are slain--"

"I thought," returned Henry, "soldiers had been people!"

"You interrupted me," said the dean, "before I finished my sentence.
Certainly, both soldiers and sailors are people, but they engage to die
by their own free will and consent."

"What! all of them?"

"Most of them."

"But the rest are massacred?"

The dean answered, "The number who go to battle unwillingly, and by
force, are few; and for the others, they have previously sold their lives
to the state."

"For what?"

"For soldiers' and sailors' pay."

"My father used to tell me, we must not take away our own lives; but he
forgot to tell me we might sell them for others to take away."

"William," said the dean to his son, his patience tired with his nephew's
persevering nonsense, "explain to your cousin the difference between a
battle and a massacre."

"A massacre," said William, rising from his seat, and fixing his eyes
alternately upon his father, his mother, and the bishop (all of whom were
present) for their approbation, rather than the person's to whom his
instructions were to be addressed--"a massacre," said William, "is when
human beings are slain, who have it not in their power to defend
themselves."

"Dear cousin William," said Henry, "that must ever be the case with every
one who is killed."

After a short hesitation, William replied: "In massacres people are put
to death for no crime, but merely because they are objects of suspicion."

"But in battle," said Henry, "the persons put to death are not even
suspected."

The bishop now condescended to end this disputation by saying
emphatically,

"Consider, young savage, that in battle neither the infant, the aged, the
sick, nor infirm are involved, but only those in the full prime of health
and vigour."

As this argument came from so great and reverend a man as the bishop,
Henry was obliged, by a frown from his uncle, to submit, as one refuted;
although he had an answer at the veriest tip of his tongue, which it was
torture to him not to utter.  What he wished to say must ever remain a
secret.  The church has its terrors as well as the law; and Henry was
awed by the dean's tremendous wig as much as Paternoster Row is awed by
the Attorney-General.



CHAPTER XV.


If the dean had loved his wife but moderately, seeing all her faults
clearly as he did, he must frequently have quarrelled with her: if he had
loved her with tenderness, he must have treated her with a degree of
violence in the hope of amending her failings.  But having neither
personal nor mental affection towards her sufficiently interesting to
give himself the trouble to contradict her will in anything, he passed
for one of the best husbands in the world.  Lady Clementina went out when
she liked, stayed at home when she liked, dressed as she liked, and
talked as she liked without a word of disapprobation from her husband,
and all--because he cared nothing about her.

Her vanity attributed this indulgence to inordinate affection; and
observers in general thought her happier in her marriage than the beloved
wife who bathes her pillow with tears by the side of an angry husband,
whose affection is so excessive that he unkindly upbraids her because she
is--less than perfection.

The dean's wife was not so dispassionately considered by some of his
acquaintance as by himself; for they would now and then hint at her
foibles: but this great liberty she also conceived to be the effect of
most violent love, or most violent admiration: and such would have been
her construction had they commended her follies--had they totally
slighted, or had they beaten her.

Amongst those acquaintances, the aforesaid bishop, by far the most
frequent visitor, did not come merely to lounge an idle hour, but he had
a more powerful motive; the desire of fame, and dread of being thought a
man receiving large emolument for unimportant service.

The dean, if he did not procure him the renown he wished, still preserved
him from the apprehended censure.

The elder William was to his negligent or ignorant superiors in the
church such as an apt boy at school is to the rich dunces--William
performed the prelates' tasks for them, and they rewarded him--not indeed
with toys or money, but with their countenance, their company, their
praise.  And scarcely was there a sermon preached from the patrician part
of the bench, in which the dean did not fashion some periods, blot out
some uncouth phrases, render some obscure sentiments intelligible, and
was the certain person, when the work was printed, to correct the press.

This honourable and right reverend bishop delighted in printing and
publishing his works; or rather the entire works of the dean, which
passed for his: and so degradingly did William, the shopkeeper's son,
think of his own homiest extraction, that he was blinded, even to the
loss of honour, by the lustre of this noble acquaintance; for, though in
other respects he was a man of integrity, yet, when the gratification of
his friend was in question, he was a liar; he not only disowned his
giving him aid in any of his publications, but he never published
anything in his own name without declaring to the world "that he had been
obliged for several hints on the subject, for many of the most judicious
corrections, and for those passages in page so and so (naming the most
eloquent parts of the work) to his noble and learned friend the bishop."

The dean's wife being a fine lady--while her husband and his friend pored
over books or their own manuscripts at home, she ran from house to house,
from public amusement to public amusement; but much less for the pleasure
of _seeing_ than for that of being seen.  Nor was it material to her
enjoyment whether she were observed, or welcomed, where she went, as she
never entertained the smallest doubt of either; but rested assured that
her presence roused curiosity and dispensed gladness all around.

One morning she went forth to pay her visits, all smiles, such as she
thought captivating: she returned, all tears, such as she thought no less
endearing.

Three ladies accompanied her home, entreating her to be patient under a
misfortune to which even kings are liable: namely, defamation.

Young Henry, struck with compassion at grief of which he knew not the
cause, begged to know "what was the matter?"

"Inhuman monsters, to treat a woman thus!" cried his aunt in a fury,
casting the corner of her eye into a looking-glass, to see how rage
became her.

"But, comfort yourself," said one of her companions: "few people will
believe you merit the charge."

"But few! if only one believe it, I shall call my reputation lost, and I
will shut myself up in some lonely hut, and for ever renounce all that is
dear to me!"

"What! all your fine clothes?" said Henry, in amazement.

"Of what importance will my best dresses be, when nobody would see them?"

"You would see them yourself, dear aunt; and I am sure nobody admires
them more."

"Now you speak of that," said she, "I do not think this gown I have on
becoming--I am sure I look--"

The dean, with the bishop (to whom he had been reading a treatise just
going to the press, which was to be published in the name of the latter,
though written by the former), now entered, to inquire why they had been
sent for in such haste.

"Oh, Dean! oh, my Lord Bishop!" she cried, resuming that grief which the
thoughts of her dress had for a time dispelled--"My reputation is
destroyed--a public print has accused me of playing deep at my own house,
and winning all the money."

"The world will never reform," said the bishop: "all our labour, my
friend, is thrown away."

"But is it possible," cried the dean, "that any one has dared to say this
of you?"

"Here it is in print," said she, holding out a newspaper.

The dean read the paragraph, and then exclaimed, "I can forgive a
falsehood _spoken_--the warmth of conversation may excuse it--but to
_write_ and _print_ an untruth is unpardonable, and I will prosecute this
publisher."

"Still the falsehood will go down to posterity," said Lady Clementina;
"and after ages will think I was a gambler."

"Comfort yourself, dear madam," said young Henry, wishing to console her:
"perhaps after ages may not hear of you; nor even the present age think
much about you."

The bishop now exclaimed, after having taken the paper from the dean, and
read the paragraph, "It is a libel, a rank libel, and the author must be
punished."

"Not only the author, but the publisher," said the dean.

"Not only the publisher, but the printer," continued the bishop.

"And must my name be bandied about by lawyers in a common court of
justice?" cried Lady Clementina.  "How shocking to my delicacy!"

"My lord, it is a pity we cannot try them by the ecclesiastical court,"
said the dean, with a sigh.

"Or by the India delinquent bill," said the bishop, with vexation.

"So totally innocent as I am!" she vociferated with sobs.  "Every one
knows I never touch a card at home, and this libel charges me with
playing at my own house; and though, whenever I do play, I own I am apt
to win, yet it is merely for my amusement."

"Win or not win, play or not play," exclaimed both the churchmen, "this
is a libel--no doubt, no doubt, a libel."

Poor Henry's confined knowledge of his native language tormented him so
much with curiosity upon this occasion, that he went softly up to his
uncle, and asked him in a whisper, "What is the meaning of the word
libel?"

"A libel," replied the dean, in a raised voice, "is that which one person
publishes to the injury of another."

"And what can the injured person do," asked Henry, "if the accusation
should chance to be true?"

"Prosecute," replied the dean.

"But, then, what does he do if the accusation be false?"

"Prosecute likewise," answered the dean.

"How, uncle! is it possible that the innocent behave just like the
guilty?"

"There is no other way to act."

"Why, then, if I were the innocent, I would do nothing at all sooner than
I would act like the guilty.  I would not persecute--"

"I said _prosecute_," cried the dean in anger.  "Leave the room; you have
no comprehension."

"Oh, yes, now I understand the difference of the two words; but they
sound so much alike, I did not at first observe the distinction.  You
said, 'the innocent prosecute, but the _guilty persecute_.'"  He bowed
(convinced as he thought) and left the room.

After this modern star-chamber, which was left sitting, had agreed on its
mode of vengeance, and the writer of the libel was made acquainted with
his danger, he waited, in all humility, upon Lady Clementina, and assured
her, with every appearance of sincerity,

"That she was not the person alluded to by the paragraph in question, but
that the initials which she had conceived to mark out her name, were, in
fact, meant to point out Lady Catherine Newland."

"But, sir," cried Lady Clementina, "what could induce you to write such a
paragraph upon Lady Catherine?  She _never_ plays."

"We know that, madam, or we dared not to have attacked her.  Though we
must circulate libels, madam, to gratify our numerous readers, yet no
people are more in fear of prosecutions than authors and editors;
therefore, unless we are deceived in our information, we always take care
to libel the innocent--we apprehend nothing from them--their own
characters support them--but the guilty are very tenacious; and what they
cannot secure by fair means, they will employ force to accomplish.  Dear
madam, be assured I have too much regard for a wife and seven small
children, who are maintained by my industry alone, to have written
anything in the nature of a libel upon your ladyship."



CHAPTER XVI.


About this period the dean had just published a pamphlet in his own name,
and in which that of his friend the bishop was only mentioned with thanks
for hints, observations, and condescending encouragement to the author.

This pamphlet glowed with the dean's love for his country; and such a
country as he described, it was impossible _not_ to love.  "Salubrious
air, fertile fields, wood, water, corn, grass, sheep, oxen, fish, fowl,
fruit, and vegetables," were dispersed with the most prodigal hand;
"valiant men, virtuous women; statesmen wise and just; tradesmen
abounding in merchandise and money; husbandmen possessing peace, ease,
plenty; and all ranks liberty."  This brilliant description, while the
dean read the work to his family, so charmed poor Henry, that he
repeatedly cried out,

"I am glad I came to this country."

But it so happened that a few days after, Lady Clementina, in order to
render the delicacy of her taste admired, could eat of no one dish upon
the table, but found fault with them all.  The dean at length said to
her,

"Indeed, you are too nice; reflect upon the hundreds of poor creatures
who have not a morsel or a drop of anything to subsist upon, except bread
and water; and even of the first a scanty allowance, but for which they
are obliged to toil six days in the week, from sun to sun."

"Pray, uncle," cried Henry, "in what country do these poor people live?"

"In this country," replied the dean.

Henry rose from his chair, ran to the chimney-piece, took up his uncle's
pamphlet, and said, "I don't remember your mentioning them here."

"Perhaps I have not," answered the dean, coolly.

Still Henry turned over each leaf of the book, but he could meet only
with luxurious details of "the fruits of the earth, the beasts of the
field, the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea."

"Why, here is provision enough for all the people," said Henry; "why
should they want? why do not they go and take some of these things?"

"They must not," said the dean, "unless they were their own."

"What, uncle! does no part of the earth, nor anything which the earth
produces, belong to the poor?"

"Certainly not."

"Why did not you say so, then, in your pamphlet?"

"Because it is what everybody knows."

"Oh, then, what you have said in your pamphlet is only what--nobody
knows."

There appeared to the dean, in the delivery of this sentence, a satirical
acrimony, which his irritability as an author could but ill forgive.

An author, it is said, has more acute feelings in respect to his works
than any artist in the world besides.

Henry had some cause, on the present occasion, to think this observation
just; for no sooner had he spoken the foregoing words, than his uncle
took him by the hand out of the room, and, leading him to his study,
there he enumerated his various faults; and having told him "it was for
all those, too long permitted with impunity, and not merely for the
_present_ impertinence, that he meant to punish him," ordered him to
close confinement in his chamber for a week.

In the meantime, the dean's pamphlet (less hurt by Henry's critique than
_he_ had been) was proceeding to the tenth edition, and the author
acquiring literary reputation beyond what he had ever conferred on his
friend the bishop.

The style, the energy, the eloquence of the work was echoed by every
reader who could afford to buy it--some few enlightened ones excepted,
who chiefly admired the author's _invention_.



CHAPTER XVII.


The dean, in the good humour which the rapid sale of his book produced,
once more took his nephew to his bosom; and although the ignorance of
young Henry upon the late occasions had offended him very highly, yet
that self-same ignorance, evinced a short time after upon a different
subject, struck his uncle as productive of a most rare and exalted
virtue.

Henry had frequently, in his conversation, betrayed the total want of all
knowledge in respect to religion or futurity, and the dean for this
reason delayed taking him to church, till he had previously given him
instructions _wherefore_ he went.

A leisure morning arrived, on which he took his nephew to his study, and
implanted in his youthful mind the first unconfused idea of the Creator
of the universe!

The dean was eloquent, Henry was all attention; his understanding,
expanded by time to the conception of a God--and not warped by custom
from the sensations which a just notion of that God inspires--dwelt with
delight and wonder on the information given him--lessons which, instilled
into the head of a senseless infant, too often produce, throughout his
remaining life, an impious indifference to the truths revealed.

Yet, with all that astonished, that respectful sensibility which Henry
showed on this great occasion, he still expressed his opinion, and put
questions to the dean, with his usual simplicity, till he felt himself
convinced.

"What!" cried he--after being informed of the attributes inseparable from
the Supreme Being, and having received the injunction to offer prayers to
Him night and morning--"What! am I permitted to speak to Power Divine?"

"At all times," replied the dean.

"How! whenever I like?"

"Whenever you like," returned the dean.

"I durst not," cried Henry, "make so free with the bishop, nor dare any
of his attendants."

"The bishop," said the dean, "is the servant of God, and therefore must
be treated with respect."

"With more respect than his Master?" asked Henry.

The dean not replying immediately to this question, Henry, in the
rapidity of inquiry, ran on to another:--

"But what am I to say when I speak to the Almighty?"

"First, thank Him for the favours He has bestowed on you."

"What favours?"

"You amaze me," cried the dean, "by your question.  Do not you live in
ease, in plenty, and happiness?"

"And do the poor and the unhappy thank Him too, uncle?"

"No doubt; every human being glorifies Him, for having been made a
rational creature."

"And does my aunt and all her card-parties glorify Him for that?"

The dean again made no reply, and Henry went on to other questions, till
his uncle had fully instructed him as to the nature and the form of
_prayer_; and now, putting into his hands a book, he pointed out to him a
few short prayers, which he wished him to address to Heaven in his
presence.

Whilst Henry bent his knees, as his uncle had directed, he trembled,
turned pale, and held, for a slight support, on the chair placed before
him.

His uncle went to him, and asked him "What was the matter."

"Oh!" cried Henry, "when I first came to your door with my poor father's
letter, I shook for fear you would not look upon me; and I cannot help
feeling even more now than I did then."

The dean embraced him with warmth--gave him confidence--and retired to
the other side of the study, to observe his whole demeanour on this new
occasion.

As he beheld his features varying between the passions of humble fear and
fervent hope, his face sometimes glowing with the rapture of
thanksgiving, and sometimes with the blushes of contrition, he thus
exclaimed apart:--

"This is the true education on which to found the principles of religion.
The favour conferred by Heaven in granting the freedom of petitions to
its throne, can never be conceived with proper force but by those whose
most tedious moments during their infancy were _not_ passed in prayer.
Unthinking governors of childhood! to insult the Deity with a form of
worship in which the mind has no share; nay, worse, has repugnance, and
by the thoughtless habits of youth, prevent, even in age, devotion."

Henry's attention was so firmly fixed that he forgot there was a
spectator of his fervour; nor did he hear young William enter the chamber
and even speak to his father.

At length closing his book and rising from his knees, he approached his
uncle and cousin, with a sedateness in his air, which gave the latter a
very false opinion of the state of his youthful companion's mind.

"So, Mr. Henry," cried William, "you have been obliged, at last, to say
your prayers."

The dean informed his son "that to Henry it was no punishment to pray."

"He is the strangest boy I ever knew!" said William, inadvertently.

"To be sure," said Henry, "I was frightened when I first knelt; but when
I came to the words, _Father_, _which art in Heaven_, they gave me
courage; for I know how merciful and kind a _father_ is, beyond any one
else."

The dean again embraced his nephew, let fall a tear to his poor brother
Henry's misfortunes; and admonished the youth to show himself equally
submissive to other instructions, as he had done to those which inculcate
piety.



CHAPTER XVIII.


The interim between youth and manhood was passed by young William and
young Henry in studious application to literature; some casual mistakes
in our customs and manners on the part of Henry; some too close
adherences to them on the side of William.

Their different characters, when boys, were preserved when they became
men: Henry still retained that natural simplicity which his early destiny
had given him; he wondered still at many things he saw and heard, and at
times would venture to give his opinion, contradict, and even act in
opposition to persons whom long experience and the approbation of the
world had placed in situations which claimed his implicit reverence and
submission.

Unchanged in all his boyish graces, young William, now a man, was never
known to infringe upon the statutes of good-breeding; even though
sincerity, his own free will, duty to his neighbour, with many other
plebeian virtues and privileges, were the sacrifice.

William inherited all the pride and ambition of the dean--Henry, all his
father's humility.  And yet, so various and extensive is the acceptation
of the word pride, that, on some occasions, Henry was proud even beyond
his cousin.  He thought it far beneath his dignity ever to honour, or
contemplate with awe, any human being in whom he saw numerous failings.
Nor would he, to ingratiate himself into the favour of a man above him,
stoop to one servility, such as the haughty William daily practised.

"I know I am called proud," one day said William to Henry.

"Dear cousin," replied Henry, "it must be only, then, by those who do not
know you; for to me you appear the humblest creature in the world."

"Do you really think so?"

"I am certain of it; or would you always give up your opinion to that of
persons in a superior state, however inferior in their understanding?
Would else their weak judgment immediately change yours, though, before,
you had been decided on the opposite side?  Now, indeed, cousin, I have
more pride than you; for I never will stoop to act or to speak contrary
to my feelings."

"Then you will never be a great man."

"Nor ever desire it, if I must first be a mean one."

There was in the reputation of these two young men another mistake, which
the common retailers of character committed.  Henry was said to be wholly
negligent, while William was reputed to be extremely attentive to the
other sex.  William, indeed, was gallant, was amorous, and indulged his
inclination to the libertine society of women; but Henry it was who
_loved_ them.  He admired them at a reverential distance, and felt so
tender an affection for the virtuous female, that it shocked him to
behold, much more to associate with, the depraved and vicious.

In the advantages of person Henry was still superior to William; and yet
the latter had no common share of those attractions which captivate weak,
thoughtless, or unskilful minds.



CHAPTER XIX.


About the time that Henry and William quitted college, and had arrived at
their twentieth year, the dean purchased a small estate in a village near
to the country residence of Lord and Lady Bendham; and, in the total want
of society, the dean's family were frequently honoured with invitations
from the great house.

Lord Bendham, besides a good estate, possessed the office of a lord of
the bed-chamber to his Majesty.  Historians do not ascribe much
importance to the situation, or to the talents of nobles in this
department, nor shall this little history.  A lord of the bed-chamber is
a personage well known in courts, and in all capitals where courts
reside; with this advantage to the inquirer, that in becoming acquainted
with one of those noble characters, he becomes acquainted with all the
remainder; not only with those of the same kingdom, but those of foreign
nations; for, in whatever land, in whatever climate, a lord of the bed-
chamber must necessarily be the self-same creature: one wholly made up of
observance, of obedience, of dependence, and of imitation--a borrowed
character--a character formed by reflection.

The wife of this illustrious peer, as well as himself, took her hue, like
the chameleon, from surrounding objects: her manners were not governed by
her mind but were solely directed by external circumstances.  At court,
humble, resigned, patient, attentive: at balls, masquerades,
gaming-tables, and routs, gay, sprightly, and flippant; at her country
seat, reserved, austere, arrogant, and gloomy.

Though in town her timid eye in presence of certain personages would
scarcely uplift its trembling lid, so much she felt her own
insignificance, yet, in the country, till Lady Clementina arrived, there
was not one being of consequence enough to share in her acquaintance; and
she paid back to her inferiors there all the humiliating slights, all the
mortifications, which in London she received from those to whom _she_ was
inferior.

Whether in town or country, it is but justice to acknowledge that in her
own person she was strictly chaste; but in the country she extended that
chastity even to the persons of others; and the young woman who lost her
virtue in the village of Anfield had better have lost her life.  Some few
were now and then found hanging or drowned, while no other cause could be
assigned for their despair than an imputation on the discretion of their
character, and dread of the harsh purity of Lady Bendham.  She would
remind the parish priest of the punishment allotted for female dishonour,
and by her influence had caused many an unhappy girl to do public penance
in their own or the neighbouring churches.

But this country rigour in town she could dispense withal; and, like
other ladies of virtue, she there visited and received into her house the
acknowledged mistresses of any man in elevated life.  It was not,
therefore, the crime, but the rank which the criminal held in society,
that drew down Lady Bendham's vengeance.  She even carried her
distinction of classes in female error to such a very nice point that the
adulterous concubine of an elder brother was her most intimate
acquaintance, whilst the less guilty unmarried mistress of the younger
she would not sully her lips to exchange a word with.

Lord and Lady Bendham's birth, education, talents, and propensities,
being much on the same scale of eminence, they would have been a very
happy pair, had not one great misfortune intervened--the lady never bore
her lord a child, while every cottage of the village was crammed with
half-starved children, whose father from week to week, from year to year,
exerted his manly youth, and wasted his strength in vain, to protect them
from hunger; whose mother mourned over her new-born infant as a little
wretch, sent into the world to deprive the rest of what already was too
scanty for them; in the castle, which owned every cottage and all the
surrounding land, and where one single day of feasting would have
nourished for a mouth all the poor inhabitants of the parish, not one
child was given to partake of the plenty.  The curse of barrenness was on
the family of the lord of the manor, the curse of fruitfulness upon the
famished poor.

This lord and lady, with an ample fortune, both by inheritance and their
sovereign's favour, had never yet the economy to be exempt from debts;
still, over their splendid, their profuse table, they could contrive and
plan excellent schemes "how the poor might live most comfortably with a
little better management."

The wages of a labouring man, with a wife and half a dozen small
children, Lady Bendham thought quite sufficient if they would only learn
a little economy.

"You know, my lord, those people never want to dress--shoes and
stockings, a coat and waistcoat, a gown and a cap, a petticoat and a
handkerchief, are all they want--fire, to be sure, in winter--then all
the rest is merely for provision."

"I'll get a pen and ink," said young Henry, one day, when he had the
honour of being at their table, "and see what the _rest_ amounts to."

"No, no accounts," cried my lord, "no summing up; but if you were to
calculate, you must add to the receipts of the poor my gift at
Christmas--last year, during the frost, no less than a hundred pounds."

"How benevolent!" exclaimed the dean.

"How prudent!" exclaimed Henry.

"What do you mean by prudent?" asked Lord Bendham.  "Explain your
meaning."

"No, my lord," replied the dean, "do not ask for an explanation: this
youth is wholly unacquainted with our customs, and, though a man in
stature, is but a child in intellects.  Henry, have I not often cautioned
you--"

"Whatever his thoughts are upon the subject," cried Lord Bendham, "I
desire to know them."

"Why, then, my lord," answered Henry, "I thought it was prudent in you to
give a little, lest the poor, driven to despair, should take all."

"And if they had, they would have been hanged."

"Hanging, my lord, our history, or some tradition, says, was formerly
adopted as a mild punishment, in place of starving."

"I am sure," cried Lady Bendham (who seldom spoke directly to the
argument before her), "I am sure they ought to think themselves much
obliged to us."

"That is the greatest hardship of all," cried Henry.

"What, sir?" exclaimed the earl.

"I beg your pardon--my uncle looks displeased--I am very ignorant--I did
not receive my first education in this country--and I find I think so
differently from every one else, that I am ashamed to utter my
sentiments."

"Never mind, young man," answered Lord Bendham; "we shall excuse your
ignorance for once.  Only inform us what it was you just now called _the
greatest hardship of all_."

"It was, my lord, that what the poor receive to keep them from perishing
should pass under the name of _gifts_ and _bounty_.  Health, strength,
and the will to earn a moderate subsistence, ought to be every man's
security from obligation."

"I think a hundred pounds a great deal of money," cried Lady Bendham;
"and I hope my lord will never give it again."

"I hope so too," cried Henry; "for if my lord would only be so good as to
speak a few words for the poor as a senator, he might possibly for the
future keep his hundred pounds, and yet they never want it."

Lord Bendham had the good nature only to smile at Henry's simplicity,
whispering to himself, "I had rather keep my--" his last word was lost in
the whisper.



CHAPTER XX.


In the country--where the sensible heart is still more susceptible of
impressions; and where the unfeeling mind, in the want of other men's wit
to invent, forms schemes for its own amusement--our youths both fell in
love: if passions, that were pursued on the most opposite principles, can
receive the same appellation.  William, well versed in all the licentious
theory, thought himself in love, because he perceived a tumultuous
impulse cause his heart to beat while his fancy fixed on a certain object
whose presence agitated yet more his breast.

Henry thought himself not in love, because, while he listened to William
on the subject, he found their sensations did not in the least agree.

William owned to Henry that he loved Agnes, the daughter of a cottager in
the village, and hoped to make her his mistress.

Henry felt that his tender regard for Rebecca, the daughter of the curate
of the parish, did not inspire him even with the boldness to acquaint her
with his sentiments, much less to meditate one design that might tend to
her dishonour.

While William was cautiously planning how to meet in private, and
accomplish the seduction of the object of his passion, Henry was
endeavouring to fortify the object of _his_ choice with every virtue.  He
never read a book from which he received improvement that he did not
carry it to Rebecca--never heard a circumstance which might assist
towards her moral instruction that he did not haste to tell it her; and
once when William boasted

"He knew he was beloved by Agnes;"

Henry said, with equal triumph, "he had not dared to take the means to
learn, nor had Rebecca dared to give one instance of her partiality."

Rebecca was the youngest, and by far the least handsome daughter of four,
to whom the Reverend Mr. Rymer, a widower, was father.  The other sisters
were accounted beauties; and she, from her comparative want of personal
charms, having been less beloved by her parents, and less caressed by
those who visited them, than the rest, had for some time past sought
other resources of happiness than the affection, praise, and indulgence
of her fellow-creatures.  The parsonage house in which this family lived
was the forlorn remains of an ancient abbey: it had in later times been
the habitation of a rich and learned rector, by whom, at his decease, a
library was bequeathed for the use of every succeeding resident.  Rebecca,
left alone in this huge ruinous abode, while her sisters were paying
stated visits in search of admiration, passed her solitary hours in
reading.  She not merely read--she thought: the choicest English books
from this excellent library taught her to _think_; and reflection
fashioned her mind to bear the slights, the mortifications of neglect,
with a patient dejection, rather than with an indignant or a peevish
spirit.

This resignation to injury and contumely gave to her perfect symmetry of
person, a timid eye, a retiring manner, and spread upon her face a placid
sweetness, a pale serenity indicating sense, which no wise connoisseur in
female charms would have exchanged for all the sparkling eyes and florid
tints of her vain and vulgar sisters.  Henry's soul was so enamoured of
her gentle deportment, that in his sight she appeared beautiful; while
she, with an understanding competent to judge of his worth, was so
greatly surprised, so prodigiously astonished at the distinction, the
attention, the many offices of civility paid her by him, in preference to
her idolised sisters, that her gratitude for such unexpected favours had
sometimes (even in his presence, and in that of her family) nearly
drowned her eyes with tears.  Yet they were only trifles, in which Henry
had the opportunity or the power to give her testimony of his
regard--trifles, often more grateful to the sensible mind than efforts of
high importance; and by which the proficient in the human heart will
accurately trace a passion wholly concealed from the dull eye of the
unskilled observer.

The first cause of amazement to Rebecca in the manners of Henry was, that
he talked with _her_ as well as with her sisters; no visitor else had
done so.  In appointing a morning's or an evening's walk, he proposed
_her_ going with the rest; no one had ever required her company before.
When he called and she was absent, he asked where she was; no one had
ever missed her before.  She thanked him most sincerely, and soon
perceived that, at those times when he was present, company was more
pleasing even than books.

Her astonishment, her gratitude, did not stop here.  Henry proceeded in
attention; he soon selected her from her sister to tell her the news of
the day, answered her observations the first; once gave her a sprig of
myrtle from his bosom in preference to another who had praised its
beauty; and once--never-to-be-forgotten kindness--sheltered her from a
hasty shower with his _parapluie_, while he lamented to her drenched
companions,

"That he had but _one_ to offer."

From a man whose understanding and person they admire, how dear, how
impressive on the female heart is every trait of tenderness!  Till now,
Rebecca had experienced none; not even of the parental kind: and merely
from the overflowings of a kind nature (not in return for affection) had
she ever loved her father and her sisters.  Sometimes, repulsed by their
severity, she transferred the fulness of an affectionate heart upon
birds, or the brute creation: but now, her alienated mind was recalled
and softened by a sensation that made her long to complain of the burthen
it imposed.  Those obligations which exact silence are a heavy weight to
the grateful; and Rebecca longed to tell Henry "that even the forfeit of
her life would be too little to express the full sense she had of the
respect he paid to her."  But as modesty forbade not only every kind of
declaration, but every insinuation purporting what she felt, she wept
through sleepless nights from a load of suppressed explanation; yet still
she would not have exchanged this trouble for all the beauty of her
sisters.



CHAPTER XXI.


Old John and Hannah Primrose, a prudent hardy couple, who, by many years
of peculiar labour and peculiar abstinence, were the least poor of all
the neighbouring cottagers, had an only child (who has been named before)
called Agnes: and this cottage girl was reckoned, in spite of the beauty
of the elder Miss Rymers, by far the prettiest female in the village.

Reader of superior rank, if the passions which rage in the bosom of the
inferior class of human kind are beneath your sympathy, throw aside this
little history, for Rebecca Rymer and Agnes Primrose are its heroines.

But you, unprejudiced reader, whose liberal observations are not confined
to stations, but who consider all mankind alike deserving your
investigation; who believe that there exists, in some, knowledge without
the advantage of instruction; refinement of sentiment independent of
elegant society; honourable pride of heart without dignity of blood; and
genius destitute of art to render it conspicuous--you will, perhaps,
venture to read on, in hopes that the remainder of this story may deserve
your attention, just as the wild herb of the forest, equally with the
cultivated plant in the garden, claims the attention of the botanist.

Young William saw in young Agnes even more beauty than was beheld by
others; and on those days when he felt no inclination to ride, to shoot,
or to hunt, he would contrive, by some secret device, the means to meet
with her alone, and give her tokens (if not of his love) at least of his
admiration of her beauty, and of the pleasure he enjoyed in her company.

Agnes listened, with a kind of delirious enchantment, to all her elevated
and eloquent admirer uttered; and in return for his praises of her
charms, and his equivocal replies in respect to his designs towards her,
she gave to him her most undisguised thoughts, and her whole enraptured
heart.

This harmless intercourse (as she believed it) had not lasted many weeks
before she loved him: she even confessed she did, every time that any
unwonted mark of attention from him struck with unexpected force her
infatuated senses.

It has been said by a celebrated writer, upon the affection subsisting
between the two sexes, "that there are many persons who, if they had
never heard of the passion of love, would never have felt it."  Might it
not with equal truth be added, that there are many more, who, having
heard of it, and believing most firmly that they feel it, are
nevertheless mistaken?  Neither of these cases was the lot of Agnes.  She
experienced the sentiment before she ever heard it named in the sense
with which it had possessed her--joined with numerous other sentiments;
for genuine love, however rated as the chief passion of the human heart,
is but a poor dependent, a retainer upon other passions; admiration,
gratitude, respect, esteem, pride in the object.  Divest the boasted
sensation of these, and it is not more than the impression of a twelve-
month, by courtesy, or vulgar error, termed love.

Agnes was formed by the rarest structure of the human frame, and destined
by the tenderest thrillings of the human soul, to inspire and to
experience real love: but her nice taste, her delicate thoughts, were so
refined beyond the sphere of her own station in society, that nature
would have produced this prodigy of attraction in vain, had not one of
superior education and manners assailed her affections; and had she been
accustomed to the conversation of men in William's rank of life, she had,
perhaps, treated William's addresses with indifference; but, in comparing
him with her familiar acquaintance, he was a miracle!  His unremitting
attention seemed the condescension of an elevated being, to whom she
looked up with reverence, with admiration, with awe, with pride, with
sense of obligation--and all those various passions which constitute
true, and never-to-be-eradicated, love.

But in vain she felt and even avowed with her lips what every look, every
gesture, had long denoted; William, with discontent, sometimes with
anger, upbraided her for her false professions, and vowed, "that while
one tender proof, which he fervently besought, was wanting, she did but
aggravate his misery by less endearments."

Agnes had been taught the full estimation of female virtue; and if her
nature could have detested any one creature in a state of wretchedness,
it would have been the woman who had lost her honour; yet, for William,
what would not Agnes forfeit?  The dignity, the peace, the serenity, the
innocence of her own mind, love soon encouraged her to fancy she could
easily forego; and this same overpowering influence at times so forcibly
possessed her, that she even felt a momentary transport in the
contemplation "of so precious a sacrifice to him."  But then she loved
her parents, and their happiness she could not prevail with herself to
barter even for _his_.  She wished he would demand some other pledge of
her attachment to him; for there was none but this, her ruin in no other
shape, that she would deny at his request.  While thus she deliberated,
she prepared for her fall.

Bred up with strict observance both of his moral and religious character,
William did not dare to tell an unequivocal lie even to his inferiors; he
never promised Agnes he would marry her; nay, even he paid so much
respect to the forms of truth, that no sooner was it evident that he had
obtained her heart, her whole soul entire--so that loss of innocence
would be less terrifying than separation from him--no sooner did he
perceive this, than he candidly told her he "could never make her his
wife."  At the same time he lamented "the difference of their births, and
the duty he owed his parents' hopes," in terms so pathetic to her partial
ear, that she thought him a greater object of compassion in his
attachment even than herself; and was now urged by pity to remove the
cause of his complainings.

One evening Henry accidentally passed the lonely spot where William and
she constantly met; he observed his cousin's impassioned eye, and her
affectionate yet fearful glance.  William, he saw, took delight in the
agitation of mind, in the strong apprehension mixed with the love of
Agnes.  This convinced Henry that either he or himself was not in love;
for his heart told him he would not have beheld such emotions of
tenderness, mingled with such marks of sorrow, upon the countenance of
Rebecca, for the wealth of the universe.

The first time he was alone with William after this, he mentioned his
observation on Agnes's apparent affliction, and asked "why her grief was
the result of their stolen meetings."

"Because," replied Williams, "her professions are unlimited, while her
manners are reserved; and I accuse her of loving me with unkind
moderation, while I love her to distraction."

"You design to marry her, then?"

"How can you degrade me by the supposition?"

"Would it degrade you more to marry her than to make her your companion?
To talk with her for hours in preference to all other company?  To wish
to be endeared to her by still closer ties?"

"But all this is not raising her to the rank of my wife."

"It is still raising her to that rank for which wives alone were
allotted."

"You talk wildly!  I tell you I love her; but not enough, I hope, to
marry her."

"But too much, I hope, to undo her?"

"That must be her own free choice--I make use of no unwarrantable
methods."

"What are the warrantable ones?"

"I mean, I have made her no false promises; offered no pretended
settlement; vowed no eternal constancy."

"But you have told her you love her; and, from that confession, has she
not reason to expect every protection which even promises could secure?"

"I cannot answer for her expectations; but I know if she should make me
as happy as I ask, and I should then forsake her, I shall not break my
word."

"Still she will be deceived, for you will falsify your looks."

"Do you think she depends on my looks?"

"I have read in some book, _Looks are the lover's sole dependence_."

"I have no objection to her interpreting mine in her favour; but then for
the consequences she will have herself, and only herself, to blame."

"Oh!  Heaven!"

"What makes you exclaim so vehemently?"

"A forcible idea of the bitterness of that calamity which inflicts self-
reproach!  Oh, rather deceive her; leave her the consolation to reproach
_you_ rather than _herself_."

"My honour will not suffer me."

"Exert your honour, and never see her more."

"I cannot live without her."

"Then live with her by the laws of your country, and make her and
yourself both happy."

"Am I to make my father and my mother miserable?  They would disown me
for such a step."

"Your mother, perhaps, might be offended, but your father could not.
Remember the sermon he preached but last Sunday, upon--_the shortness of
this life_--_contempt of all riches and worldly honours in balance with a
quiet conscience_; and the assurance he gave us, _that the greatest
happiness enjoyed upon earth was to be found under a humble roof_, _with
heaven in prospect_."

"My father is a very good man," said William; "and yet, instead of being
satisfied with a humble roof, he looks impatiently forward to a bishop's
palace."

"He is so very good, then," said Henry, "that perhaps, seeing the dangers
to which men in exalted stations are exposed, he has such extreme
philanthropy, and so little self-love, he would rather that _himself_
should brave those perils incidental to wealth and grandeur than any
other person."

"You are not yet civilised," said William; "and to argue with you is but
to instruct, without gaining instruction."

"I know, sir," replied Henry, "that you are studying the law most
assiduously, and indulge flattering hopes of rising to eminence in your
profession: but let me hint to you--that though you may be perfect in the
knowledge how to administer the commandments of men, unless you keep in
view the precepts of God, your judgment, like mine, will be fallible."



CHAPTER XXII.


The dean's family passed this first summer at the new-purchased estate so
pleasantly, that they left it with regret when winter called them to
their house in town.

But if some felt concern in quitting the village of Anfield, others who
were left behind felt the deepest anguish.  Those were not the poor--for
rigid attention to the religion and morals of people in poverty, and
total neglect of their bodily wants, was the dean's practice.  He forced
them to attend church every Sabbath; but whether they had a dinner on
their return was too gross and temporal an inquiry for his spiritual
fervour.  Good of the soul was all he aimed at; and this pious
undertaking, besides his diligence as a pastor, required all his exertion
as a magistrate--for to be very poor and very honest, very oppressed yet
very thankful, is a degree of sainted excellence not often to be
attained, without the aid of zealous men to frighten into virtue.

Those, then, who alone felt sorrow at the dean's departure were two young
women, whose parents, exempt from indigence, preserved them from
suffering under his unpitying piety, but whose discretion had not
protected them from the bewitching smiles of his nephew, and the seducing
wiles of his son.

The first morning that Rebecca rose and knew Henry was gone till the
following summer, she wished she could have laid down again and slept
away the whole long interval.  Her sisters' peevishness, her father's
austerity, she foresaw, would be insupportable now that she had
experienced Henry's kindness, and he was no longer near to fortify her
patience.  She sighed--she wept--she was unhappy.

But if Rebecca awoke with a dejected mind and an aching heart, what were
the sorrows of Agnes?  The only child of doating parents, she never had
been taught the necessity of resignation--untutored, unread, unused to
reflect, but knowing how to feel; what were her sufferings when, on
waking, she called to mind that "William was gone," and with him gone all
that excess of happiness which his presence had bestowed, and for which
she had exchanged her future tranquillity?

Loss of tranquillity even Rebecca had to bemoan: Agnes had still more--the
loss of innocence!

Hal William remained in the village, shame, even conscience, perhaps,
might have been silenced; but, separated from her betrayer, parted from
the joys of guilt, and left only to its sorrows, every sting which quick
sensibility could sharpen, to torture her, was transfixed in her heart.
First came the recollection of a cold farewell from the man whose love
she had hoped her yielding passion had for ever won; next, flashed on her
thoughts her violated person; next, the crime incurred; then her cruelty
to her parents; and, last of all, the horrors of detection.

She knew that as yet, by wariness, care, and contrivance, her meetings
with William had been unsuspected; but, in this agony of mind, her fears
fore-boded an informer who would defy all caution; who would stigmatise
her with a name--dear and desired by every virtuous female--abhorrent to
the blushing harlot--the name of mother.

That Agnes, thus impressed, could rise from her bed, meet her parents and
her neighbours with her usual smile of vivacity, and voice of mirth, was
impossible: to leave her bed at all, to creep downstairs, and reply in a
faint, broken voice to questions asked, were, in her state of mind,
mighty efforts; and they were all to which her struggles could attain for
many weeks.

William had promised to write to her while he was away: he kept his word;
but not till the end of two months did she receive a letter.  Fear for
his health, apprehension of his death during this cruel interim, caused
an agony of suspense, which, by representing him to her distracted fancy
in a state of suffering, made him, if possible, still dearer to her.  In
the excruciating anguish of uncertainty, she walked with trembling steps
through all weathers (when she could steal half a day while her parents
were employed in labour abroad) to the post town, at six miles' distance,
to inquire for his long-expected, long-wished-for letter.

When at last it was given to her, that moment of consolation seemed to
repay her for the whole time of agonising terror she had endured.  "He is
alive!" she said, "and I have suffered nothing."

She hastily put this token of his health and his remembrance of her into
her bosom, rich as an empress with a new-acquired dominion.  The way from
home, which she had trod with heavy pace, in the fear of renewed
disappointment, she skimmed along on her return swift as a doe: the cold
did not pierce, neither did the rain wet her.  Many a time she put her
hand upon the prize she possessed, to find if it were safe: once, on the
road, she took it from her bosom, curiously viewed the seal and the
direction, then replacing it, did not move her fingers from their fast
grip till she arrived at her own house.

Her father and her mother were still absent.  She drew a chair, and
placing it near to the only window in the room, seated herself with
ceremonious order; then gently drew forth her treasure, laid it on her
knee, and with a smile that almost amounted to a laugh of gladness, once
more inspected the outward part, before she would trust herself with the
excessive joy of looking within.

At length the seal was broken--but the contents still a secret.  Poor
Agnes had learned to write as some youths learn Latin: so short a time
had been allowed for the acquirement, and so little expert had been her
master, that it took her generally a week to write a letter of ten lines,
and a month to read one of twenty.  But this being a letter on which her
mind was deeply engaged, her whole imagination aided her slender
literature, and at the end of a fortnight she had made out every word.
They were these--

   "Dr. Agnes,--I hope you have been well since we parted--I have been
   very well myself; but I have been teased with a great deal of
   business, which has not given me time to write to you before.  I have
   been called to the bar, which engages every spare moment; but I hope
   it will not prevent my coming down to Anfield with my father in the
   summer.

   "I am, Dr. Agnes,
   "With gratitude for all the favours you
   have conferred on me,
   "Yours, &c.
   "W. N."

To have beheld the illiterate Agnes trying for two weeks, day and night,
to find out the exact words of this letter, would have struck the
spectator with amazement, had he also understood the right, the delicate,
the nicely proper sensations with which she was affected by every
sentence it contained.

She wished it had been kinder, even for his sake who wrote it; because
she thought so well of him, and desired still to think so well, that she
was sorry at any faults which rendered him less worthy of her good
opinion.  The cold civility of his letter had this effect--her clear, her
acute judgment felt it a kind of prevarication to _promise to write and
then write nothing that was hoped for_.  But, enthralled by the magic of
her passion, she shortly found excuses for the man she loved, at the
expense of her own condemnation.

"He has only the fault of inconstancy," she cried; "and that has been
caused by _my_ change of conduct.  Had I been virtuous still, he had
still been affectionate."  Bitter reflection!

Yet there was a sentence in the letter, that, worse than all the
tenderness left out, wounded her sensibility; and she could not read the
line, _gratitude for all the favours conferred on me_, without turning
pale with horror, then kindling with indignation at the commonplace
thanks, which insultingly reminded her of her innocence given in exchange
for unmeaning acknowledgments.



CHAPTER XXIII.


Absence is said to increase strong and virtuous love, but to destroy that
which is weak and sensual.  In the parallel between young William and
young Henry, this was the case; for Henry's real love increased, while
William's turbulent passion declined in separation: yet had the latter
not so much abated that he did not perceive a sensation, like a sudden
shock of sorrow, on a proposal made him by his father, of entering the
marriage state with a young woman, the dependent niece of Lady Bendham;
who, as the dean informed him, had signified her lord's and her own
approbation of his becoming their nephew.

At the first moment William received this intimation from his father, his
heart revolted with disgust from the object, and he instantly thought
upon Agnes with more affection than he had done for many weeks before.
This was from the comparison between her and his proposed wife; for he
had frequently seen Miss Sedgeley at Lord Bendham's, but had never seen
in her whole person or manners the least attraction to excite his love.
He pictured to himself an unpleasant home, with a companion so little
suited to his taste, and felt a pang of conscience, as well as of
attachment, in the thought of giving up for ever his poor Agnes.

But these reflections, these feelings, lasted only for the moment.  No
sooner had the dean explained why the marriage was desirable, recited
what great connections and what great patronage it would confer upon
their family, than William listened with eagerness, and both his love and
his conscience were, if not wholly quieted, at least for the present
hushed.

Immediately after the dean had expressed to Lord and Lady Bendham his
son's "sense of the honour and the happiness conferred on him, by their
condescension in admitting him a member of their noble family," Miss
Sedgeley received from her aunt nearly the same shock as William had done
from his father.  _For she_ (placed in the exact circumstance of her
intended husband) _had frequently seen the dean's son at Lord Bendham's_,
_but had never see in his whole person or manners the least attraction to
excite her love_.  _She pictured to herself an unpleasant home_, _with a
companion so little suited to her taste_; and at this moment she felt a
more than usual partiality to the dean's nephew, finding the secret hope
she had long indulged of winning his affections so near being thwarted.

But Miss Sedgeley was too much subjected to the power of her uncle and
aunt to have a will of her own, at least, to dare to utter it.  She
received the commands of Lady Bendham with her accustomed submission,
while all the consolation for the grief they gave her was, "that she
resolved to make a very bad wife."

"I shall not care a pin for my husband," said she to herself; "and so I
will dress and visit, and do just as I like; he dare not be unkind
because of my aunt.  Besides, now I think again, it is not so
disagreeable to marry _him_ as if I were obliged to marry into any other
family, because I shall see his cousin Henry as often, if not oftener
than ever."

For Miss Sedgeley--whose person he did not like, and with her mind thus
disposed--William began to force himself to shake off every little
remaining affection, even all pity, for the unfortunate, the beautiful,
the sensible, the doating Agnes; and determined to place in a situation
to look down with scorn upon her sorrows, this weak, this unprincipled
woman.

Connections, interest, honours, were powerful advocates.  His private
happiness William deemed trivial compared to public opinion; and to be
under obligations to a peer, his wife's relation, gave greater renown in
his servile mind than all the advantages which might accrue from his own
intrinsic independent worth.

In the usual routine of pretended regard and real indifference--sometimes
disgust--between parties allied by what is falsely termed _prudence_, the
intended union of Mr. Norwynne with Miss Sedgeley proceeded in all due
form; and at their country seats at Anfield, during the summer, their
nuptials were appointed to be celebrated.

William was now introduced into all Lord Bendham's courtly circles.  His
worldly soul was entranced in glare and show; he thought of nothing but
places, pensions, titles, retinues; and steadfast, alert, unshaken in the
pursuit of honours, neglected not the lesser means of rising to
preferment--his own endowments.  But in this round of attention to
pleasures and to study, he no more complained to Agnes of "excess of
business."  Cruel as she had once thought that letter in which he thus
apologised for slighting her, she at last began to think it was wondrous
kind, for he never found time to send her another.  Yet she had studied
with all her most anxious care to write him an answer; such a one as
might not lessen her understanding, which he had often praised, in his
esteem.

Ah, William! even with less anxiety your beating, ambitious heart panted
for the admiration of an attentive auditory, when you first ventured to
harangue in public!  With far less hope and fear (great as yours were)
did you first address a crowded court, and thirst for its approbation on
your efforts, than Agnes sighed for your approbation when she took a pen
and awkwardly scrawled over a sheet of paper.  Near twenty times she
began, but to a gentleman--and one she loved like William--what could she
dare to say?  Yet she had enough to tell, if shame had not interposed, or
if remaining confidence in his affection had but encouraged her.

Overwhelmed by the first, and deprived of the last, her hand shook, her
head drooped, and she dared not communicate what she knew must inevitably
render her letter unpleasing, and still more depreciate her in his
regard, as the occasion of encumbrance, and of injury to his moral
reputation.

Her free, her liberal, her venturous spirit subdued, intimidated by the
force of affection, she only wrote--

   "SIR,--I am sorry you have so much to do, and should be ashamed if you
   put it off to write to me.  I have not been at all well this winter.  I
   never before passed such a one in all my life, and I hope you will
   never know such a one yourself in regard to not being happy.  I should
   be sorry if you did--think I would rather go through it again myself
   than you should.  I long for the summer, the fields are so green, and
   everything so pleasant at that time of the year.  I always do long for
   the summer, but I think never so much in my life as for this that is
   coming; though sometimes I wish that last summer had never come.
   Perhaps you wish so too; and that this summer would not come either.

   "Hope you will excuse all faults, as I never learnt but one month.

   "Your obedient humble servant,
   "A. P."



CHAPTER XXIV.


Summer arrived, and lords and ladies, who had partaken of all the
dissipation of the town, whom opera-houses, gaming-houses, and various
other houses had detained whole nights from their peaceful home, were now
poured forth from the metropolis, to imbibe the wholesome air of the
farmer and peasant, and disseminate, in return, moral and religious
principles.

Among the rest, Lord and Lady Bendham, strenuous opposers of vice in the
poor, and gentle supporters of it in the rich, never played at cards, or
had concerts on a Sunday, in the village, where the poor were spies--_he_,
there, never gamed, nor drank, except in private, and _she_ banished from
her doors every woman of sullied character.  Yet poverty and idiotism are
not the same.  The poor can hear, can talk, sometimes can reflect;
servants will tell their equals how they live in town; listeners will
smile and shake their heads; and thus hypocrisy, instead of cultivating,
destroys every seed of moral virtue.

The arrival of Lord Bendham's family at Anfield announced to the village
that the dean's would quickly follow.  Rebecca's heart bounded with joy
at the prospect.  Poor Agnes felt a sinking, a foreboding tremor, that
wholly interrupted the joy of _her_ expectations.  She had not heard from
William for five tedious months.  She did not know whether he loved or
despised, whether he thought of or had forgotten her.  Her reason argued
against the hope that he loved her; yet hope still subsisted.  She would
not abandon herself to despair while there was doubt.  She "had
frequently been deceived by the appearance of circumstances; and perhaps
he might come all kindness--perhaps, even not like her the less for that
indisposition which had changed her bloom to paleness, and the sparkling
of her eyes to a pensive languor."

Henry's sensations, on his return to Anfield, were the self-same as
Rebecca's were; sympathy in thought, sympathy in affection, sympathy in
virtue made them so.  As he approached near the little village, he felt
more light than usual.  He had committed no trespass there, dreaded no
person's reproach or inquiries; but his arrival might prove, at least to
one object, the cause of rejoicing.

William's sensations were the reverse of these.  In spite of his
ambition, and the flattering view of one day accomplishing all to which
it aspired, he often, as they proceeded on their journey, envied the
gaiety of Henry, and felt an inward monitor that told him "he must first
act like Henry, to be as happy."

His intended marriage was still, to the families of both parties (except
to the heads of the houses), a profound secret.  Neither the servants,
nor even Henry, had received the slightest intimation of the designed
alliance; and this to William was matter of some comfort.

When men submit to act in contradiction to their principles, nothing is
so precious as a secret.  In their estimation, to have their conduct
_known_ is the essential mischief.  While it is hid, they fancy the sin
but half committed; and to the moiety of a crime they reconcile their
feelings, till, in progression, the whole, when disclosed, appears
trivial.  He designed that Agnes should receive the news from himself by
degrees, and in such a manner as to console her, or at least to silence
her complaints; and with the wish to soften the regret which he still
felt on the prudent necessity of yielding her wholly up when his marriage
should take place, he promised to himself some intervening hours of
private meetings, which he hoped would produce satiety.

While Henry flew to Mr. Rymer's house with a conscience clear, and a face
enlightened with gladness--while he met Rebecca with open-hearted
friendship and frankness, which charmed her soul to peaceful
happiness--William skulked around the cottage of Agnes, dreading
detection; and when, towards midnight, he found the means to obtain the
company of the sad inhabitant, he grew so impatient at her tears and
sobs, at the delicacy with which she withheld her caresses, that he burst
into bitter upbraidings at her coyness, and at length (without
discovering the cause of her peculiar agitation and reserve) abruptly
left her vowing "never to see her more."

As he turned away, his heart even congratulated him "that he had made so
discreet a use of his momentary disappointment, as thus to shake her off
at once without further explanation or excuse."

She, ignorant and illiterate as she was, knew enough of her own heart to
judge of his, and to know that such violent affections and expressions,
above all, such a sudden, heart-breaking manner of departure, were not
the effects of love, nor even of humanity.  She felt herself debased by a
ruffian--yet still, having loved him when she thought him a far different
character, the blackest proof of the deception could not cause a
sentiment formed whilst she was deceived.

She passed the remainder of the night in anguish: but with the cheerful
morning some cheery thoughts consoled her.  She thought "perhaps William
by this time had found himself to blame; had conceived the cause of her
grief and her distant behaviour, and had pitied her."

The next evening she waited, with anxious heart, for the signal that had
called her out the foregoing night.  In vain she watched, counted the
hours, and the stars, and listened to the nightly stillness of the fields
around: they were not disturbed by the tread of her lover.  Daylight
came; the sun rose in its splendour: William had not been near her, and
it shone upon none so miserable as Agnes.

She now considered his word, "never to see her more," as solemnly passed:
she heard anew the impressive, the implacable tone in which the sentence
was pronounced; and could look back on no late token of affection on
which to found the slightest hope that he would recall it.

Still, reluctant to despair--in the extremity of grief, in the extremity
of fear for an approaching crisis which must speedily arrive, she (after
a few days had elapsed) trusted a neighbouring peasant with a letter to
deliver to Mr. Norwynne in private.

This letter, unlike the last, was dictated without the hope to please: no
pains were taken with the style, no care in the formation of the letters:
the words flowed from necessity; strong necessity guided her hand.

   "SIR,--I beg your pardon--pray don't forsake me all at once--see me
   one time more--I have something to tell you--it is what I dare tell
   nobody else--and what I am ashamed to tell you--yet pray give me a
   word of advice--what to do I don't know--I then will part, if you
   please, never to trouble you, never any more--but hope to part
   friends--pray do, if you please--and see me one time more.

   "Your obedient,
   "A. P."

These incorrect, inelegant lines produced this immediate reply

   "TO AGNES PRIMROSE.

   "I have often told you, that my honour is as dear to me as my life: my
   word is a part of that honour--you heard me say _I would never see you
   again_.  I shall keep my word."



CHAPTER XXV.


When the dean's family had been at Anfield about a month--one misty
morning, such as portends a sultry day, as Henry was walking swiftly
through a thick wood, on the skirts of the parish, he suddenly started on
hearing a distant groan, expressive, as he thought, both of bodily and
mental pain.  He stopped to hear it repeated, that he might pursue the
sound.  He heard it again; and though now but in murmurs, yet, as the
tone implied excessive grief, he directed his course to that part of the
wood from which it came.

As he advanced, in spite of the thick fog, he discerned the appearance of
a female stealing away on his approach.  His eye was fixed on this
object; and regardless where he placed his feet, he soon shrunk back with
horror, on perceiving they had nearly trod upon a new-born infant, lying
on the ground!--a lovely male child, entered on a world where not one
preparation had been made to receive him.

"Ah!" cried Henry, forgetting the person who had fled, and with a smile
of compassion on the helpless infant, "I am glad I have found you--you
give more joy to me than you have done to your hapless parents.  Poor
dear," continued he, while he took off his coat to wrap it in, "I will
take care of you while I live--I will beg for you, rather than you shall
want; but first, I will carry you to those who can, at present, do more
for you than myself."

Thus Henry said and thought, while he enclosed the child carefully in his
coat, and took it in his arms.  But proceeding to walk his way with it,
an unlucky query struck him, _where he should go_.

"I must not take it to the dean's," he cried, "because Lady Clementina
will suspect it is not nobly, and my uncle will suspect it is not
lawfully, born.  Nor must I take it to Lord Bendham's for the self-same
reason, though, could it call Lady Bendham mother, this whole village,
nay, the whole country round, would ring with rejoicings for its birth.
How strange!" continued he, "that we should make so little of human
creatures, that one sent among us, wholly independent of his own high
value, becomes a curse instead of a blessing by the mere accident of
circumstances."

He now, after walking out of the wood, peeped through the folds of his
coat to look again at his charge.  He started, turned pale, and trembled
to behold what, in the surprise of first seeing the child, had escaped
his observation.  Around its little throat was a cord entwined by a
slipping noose, and drawn half way--as if the trembling hand of the
murderer had revolted from its dreadful office, and he or she had heft
the infant to pine away in nakedness and hunger, rather than see it die.

Again Henry wished himself joy of the treasure he had found; and more
fervently than before; for he had not only preserved one fellow-creature
from death, but another from murder.

Once more he looked at his charge, and was transported to observe, upon
its serene brow and sleepy eye, no traces of the dangers it had passed--no
trait of shame either for itself or its parents--no discomposure at the
unwelcome reception it was likely to encounter from a proud world!  He
now slipped the fatal string from its neck; and by this affectionate
disturbance causing the child to cry, he ran (but he scarcely knew
whither) to convey it to a better nurse.

He at length found himself at the door of his dear Rebecca--for so very
happy Henry felt at the good luck which had befallen him, that he longed
to bestow a part of the blessing upon her he loved.

He sent for her privately out of the house to speak to him.  When she
came, "Rebecca," said he (looking around that no one observed him),
"Rebecca, I have brought you something you will like."

"What is it?" she asked.

"You know, Rebecca, that you love deserted birds, strayed kittens, and
motherless lambs.  I have brought something more pitiable than any of
these.  Go, get a cap and a little gown, and then I will give it you."

"A gown!" exclaimed Rebecca.  "If you have brought me a monkey, much as I
should esteem any present from _you_, indeed I cannot touch it."

"A monkey!" repeated Henry, almost in anger: then changing the tone of
his voice, exclaimed in triumph,

"It is a child!"

On this he gave it a gentle pinch, that its cry might confirm the
pleasing truth he spoke.

"A child!" repeated Rebecca in amaze.

"Yes, and indeed I found it."

"Found it!"

"Indeed I did.  The mother, I fear, had just forsaken it."

"Inhuman creature!"

"Nay, hold, Rebecca!  I am sure you will pity her when you see her
child--you then will know she must have loved it--and you will consider
how much she certainly had suffered before she left it to perish in a
wood."

"Cruel!" once more exclaimed Rebecca.

"Oh!  Rebecca, perhaps, had she possessed a home of her own she would
have given it the best place in it; had she possessed money, she would
have dressed it with the nicest care; or had she been accustomed to
disgrace, she would have gloried in calling it hers!  But now, as it is,
it is sent to us--to you and me, Rebecca--to take care of."

Rebecca, soothed by Henry's compassionate eloquence, held out her arms
and received the important parcel; and, as she kindly looked in upon the
little stranger,

"Now, are not you much obliged to me," said Henry, "for having brought it
to you?  I know no one but yourself to whom I would have trusted it with
pleasure."

"Much obliged to you," repeated Rebecca, with a very serious face, "if I
did but know what to do with it--where to put it--where to hide it from
my father and sisters."

"Oh! anywhere," returned Henry.  "It is very good--it will not cry.
Besides, in one of the distant, unfrequented rooms of your old abbey,
through the thick walls and long gallery, an infant's cry cannot pass.
Yet, pray be cautious how you conceal it; for if it should be discovered
by your father or sisters, they will take it from you, prosecute the
wretched mother, and send the child to the parish."

"I will do all I can to prevent them," said Rebecca; "and I think I call
to mind a part of the house where it _must_ be safe.  I know, too, I can
take milk from the dairy, and bread from the pantry, without their being
missed, or my father much the poorer.  But if--"  That instant they were
interrupted by the appearance of the stern curate at a little distance.
Henry was obliged to run swiftly away, while Rebecca returned by stealth
into the house with her innocent burthen.



CHAPTER XXVI.


There is a word in the vocabulary more bitter, more direful in its
import, than all the rest.  Reader, if poverty, if disgrace, if bodily
pain, even if slighted love be your unhappy fate, kneel and bless Heaven
for its beneficent influence, so that you are not tortured with the
anguish of--_remorse_.

Deep contrition for past offences had long been the punishment of unhappy
Agnes; but, till the day she brought her child into the world, _remorse_
had been averted.  From that day, life became an insupportable load, for
all reflection was torture!  To think, merely to think, was to suffer
excruciating agony; yet, never before was _thought_ so intrusive--it
haunted her in every spot, in all discourse or company: sleep was no
shelter--she never slept but her racking dreams told her--"she had slain
her infant."

They presented to her view the naked innocent whom she had longed to
press to her bosom, while she lifted up her hand against its life.  They
laid before her the piteous babe whom her eyeballs strained to behold
once more, while her feet hurried her away for ever.

Often had Agnes, by the winter's fire, listened to tales of ghosts--of
the unceasing sting of a guilty conscience; often had she shuddered at
the recital of murders; often had she wept over the story of the innocent
put to death, and stood aghast that the human mind could premeditate the
heinous crime of assassination.

From the tenderest passion the most savage impulse may arise: in the deep
recesses of fondness, sometimes is implanted the root of cruelty; and
from loving William with unbounded lawless affection, she found herself
depraved so as to become the very object which could most of all excite
her own horror!

Still, at delirious intervals, that passion, which, like a fatal
talisman, had enchanted her whole soul, held out the delusive prospect
that "William might yet relent;" for, though she had for ever discarded
the hope of peace, she could not force herself to think but that, again
blest with his society, she should, at least for the time that he was
present with her, taste the sweet cup of "forgetfulness of the past," for
which she so ardently thirsted.

"Should he return to me," she thought in those paroxysms of delusion, "I
would to _him_ unbosom all my guilt; and as a remote, a kind of unwary
accomplice in my crime, his sense, his arguments, ever ready in making
light of my sins, might afford a respite to my troubled conscience."

While thus she unwittingly thought, and sometimes watched through the
night, starting with convulsed rapture at every sound, because it might
possibly be the harbinger of him, _he_ was busied in carefully looking
over marriage articles, fixing the place of residence with his destined
bride, or making love to her in formal process.  Yet, Agnes, vaunt!--he
sometimes thought on thee--he could not witness the folly, the weakness,
the vanity, the selfishness of his future wife, without frequently
comparing her with thee.  When equivocal words and prevaricating
sentences fell from her lips, he remembered with a sigh thy candour--that
open sincerity which dwelt upon thy tongue, and seemed to vie with thy
undisguised features, to charm the listener even beyond the spectator.
While Miss Sedgeley eagerly grasped at all the gifts he offered, he could
not but call to mind "that Agnes's declining hand was always closed, and
her looks forbidding, every time he proffered such disrespectful tokens
of his love."  He recollected the softness which beamed from her eyes,
the blush on her face at his approach, while he could never discern one
glance of tenderness from the niece of Lord Bendham: and the artificial
bloom on her cheeks was nearly as disgusting as the ill-conducted
artifice with which she attempted gentleness and love.

But all these impediments were only observed as trials of his
fortitude--his prudence could overcome his aversion, and thus he valued
himself upon his manly firmness.

'Twas now, that William being rid, by the peevishness of Agnes, most
honourably of all future ties to her, and the day of his marriage with
Miss Sedgeley being fixed, that Henry, with the rest of the house, learnt
what to them was news.  The first dart of Henry's eye upon his cousin,
when, in his presence, he was told of the intended union, caused a
reddening on the face of the latter: he always fancied Henry saw his
thoughts; and he knew that Henry in return would give him _his_.  On the
present occasion, no sooner were they alone, and Henry began to utter
them, than William charged him--"Not to dare to proceed; for that, too
long accustomed to trifle, the time was come when serious matters could
alone employ his time; and when men of approved sense must take place of
friends and confidants like him."

Henry replied, "The love, the sincerity of friends, I thought, were their
best qualities: these I possess."

"But you do not possess knowledge."

"If that be knowledge which has of late estranged you from all who bear
you a sincere affection; which imprints every day more and more upon your
features the marks of gloomy inquietude; am I not happier in my
ignorance?"

"Do not torment me with your ineffectual reasoning."

"I called at the cottage of poor Agnes the other day," returned Henry:
"her father and mother were taking their homely meal alone; and when I
asked for their daughter, they wept and said--Agnes was not the girl she
had been."

William cast his eyes on the floor.

Henry proceeded--"They said a sickness, which they feared would bring her
to the grave, had preyed upon her for some time past.  They had procured
a doctor: but no remedy was found, and they feared the worst."

"What worst!" cried William (now recovered from the effect of the sudden
intelligence, and attempting a smile).  "Do they think she will die?  And
do you think it will be for love?  We do not hear of these deaths often,
Henry."

"And if _she_ die, who will hear of _that_?  No one but those interested
to conceal the cause: and thus it is, that dying for love becomes a
phenomenon."

Henry would have pursued the discourse farther; but William, impatient on
all disputes, except where his argument was the better one, retired from
the controversy, crying out, "I know my duty, and want no instructor."

It would be unjust to William to say he did not feel for this reported
illness of Agnes--he felt, during that whole evening, and part of the
next morning--but business, pleasures, new occupations, and new schemes
of future success, crowded to dissipate all unwelcome reflections; and he
trusted to her youth, her health, her animal spirits, and, above all, to
the folly of the gossips' story of _dying for love_, as a surety for her
life, and a safeguard for his conscience.



CHAPTER XXVII.


The child of William and Agnes was secreted, by Rebecca, in a distant
chamber belonging to the dreary parsonage, near to which scarcely any
part of the family ever went.  There she administered to all its wants,
visited it every hour of the day, and at intervals during the night
viewed almost with the joy of a mother its health, its promised life--and
in a short the found she loved her little gift better than anything on
earth, except the giver.

Henry called the next morning, and the next, and many succeeding times,
in hopes of an opportunity to speak alone with Rebecca, to inquire
concerning her charge, and consult when and how he could privately
relieve her from her trust; as he now meant to procure a nurse for wages.
In vain he called or lurked around the house; for near five weeks all the
conversation he could obtain with her was in the company of her sisters,
who, beginning to observe his preference, his marked attention to her,
and the languid, half-smothered transport with which she received it,
indulged their envy and resentment at the contempt shown to their charms,
by watching her steps when he was away, and her every look and whisper
while he was present.

For five weeks, then, he was continually thwarted in his expectation of
meeting her alone: and at the end of that period the whole design he had
to accomplish by such a meeting was rendered abortive.

Though Rebecca had with strictest caution locked the door of the room in
which the child was hid, and covered each crevice, and every aperture
through which sound might more easily proceed; though she had surrounded
the infant's head with pillows, to obstruct all noise from his crying;
yet one unlucky night, the strength of his voice increasing with his age,
he was heard by the maid, who slept the nearest to that part of the
house.

Not meaning to injure her young mistress, the servant next morning simply
related to the family what sounds had struck her ear during the night,
and whence they proceeded.  At first she was ridiculed "for supposing
herself awake when in reality she must be dreaming."  But steadfastly
persisting in what she had said, and Rebecca's blushes, confusion, and
eagerness to prove the maid mistaken, giving suspicion to her charitable
sisters, they watched her the very next time she went by stealth to
supply the office of a mother; and breaking abruptly on her while feeding
and caressing the infant, they instantly concluded it was her _own_;
seized it, and, in spite of her entreaties, carried it down to their
father.

That account which Henry had given Rebecca "of his having found the
child," and which her own sincerity, joined to the faith she had in his
word, made her receive as truth, she now felt would be heard by the
present auditors with contempt, even with indignation, as a falsehood.
Her affright is easier conceived than described.

Accused, and forced by her sisters along with the child before the
curate, his attention to their representation, his crimson face, knit
brow, and thundering voice, struck with terror her very soul: innocence
is not always a protection against fear--sometimes less bold than guilt.

In her father and sisters she saw, she knew the suspicions, partial,
cruel, boisterous natures by whom she was to be judged; and timid,
gentle, oppressed, she fell trembling on her knees, and could only
articulate,

"Forgive me."

The curate would not listen to this supplication till she had replied to
this question, "Whose child is this?"

She replied, "I do not know."

Questioned louder, and with more violence still, "how the child came
there, wherefore her affection for it, and whose it was," she felt the
improbability of the truth still more forcibly than before, and dreaded
some immediate peril from her father's rage, should she dare to relate an
apparent lie.  She paused to think upon a more probable tale than the
real one; and as she hesitated, shook in every limb--while her father
exclaimed,

"I understand the cause of this terror; it confirms your sisters' fears,
and your own shame.  From your infancy I have predicted that some fatal
catastrophe would befall you.  I never loved you like my other children--I
never had the cause: you were always unlike the rest--and I knew your
fate would be calamitous; but the very worst of my forebodings did not
come to this--so young, so guilty, and so artful!  Tell me this instant,
are you married?"

Rebecca answered, "No."

The sisters lifted up their hands!

The father continued--"Vile creature, I thought as much.  Still I will
know the father of this child."

She cast up her eyes to Heaven, and firmly vowed she "did not know
herself--nor who the mother was."

"This is not to be borne!" exclaimed the curate in fury.  "Persist in
this, and you shall never see my face again.  Both your child and you
I'll turn out of my house instantly, unless you confess your crime, and
own the father."

Curious to know this secret, the sisters went up to Rebecca with seeming
kindness, and "conjured her to spare her father still greater grief, and
her own and her child's public infamy, by acknowledging herself its
mother, and naming the man who had undone her."

Emboldened by this insult from her own sex, Rebecca now began to declare
the simple truth.  But no sooner had she said that "the child was
presented to her care by a young man who had found it," than her sisters
burst into laughter, and her father into redoubled rage.

Once more the women offered their advice--"to confess and be forgiven."

Once more the father raved.

Beguiled by solicitations, and terrified by threats, like women formerly
accused of witchcraft, and other wretches put to the torture, she thought
her present sufferings worse than any that could possibly succeed; and
felt inclined to confess a falsehood, at which her virtue shrunk, to
obtain a momentary respite from reproach; she felt inclined to take the
mother's share of the infant, but was at a loss to whom to give the
father's.  She thought that Henry had entailed on himself the best right
to the charge; but she loved him, and could not bear the thought of
accusing him falsely.

While, with agitation in the extreme, she thus deliberated, the
proposition again was put,

"Whether she would trust to the mercy of her father by confessing, or
draw down his immediate vengeance by denying her guilt?"

She made choice of the former--and with tears and sobs "owned herself the
mother of the boy."

But still--"Who is the father?"

Again she shrunk from the question, and fervently implored "to be spared
on that point."

Her petition was rejected with vehemence; and the curate's rage increased
till she acknowledged,

"Henry was the father."

"I thought so," exclaimed all her sisters at the same time.

"Villain!" cried the curate.  "The dean shall know, before this hour is
expired, the baseness of the nephew whom he supports upon charity; he
shall know the misery, the grief, the shame he has brought on me, and how
unworthy he is of his protection."

"Oh! have mercy on him!" cried Rebecca, as she still knelt to her father:
"do not ruin him with his uncle, for he is the best of human beings."

"Ay, ay, we always saw how much she loved him," cried her sisters.

"Wicked, unfortunate girl!" said the clergyman (his rage now subsiding,
and tears supplying its place), "you have brought a scandal upon us all:
your sisters' reputation will be stamped with the colour of yours--my
good name will suffer: but that is trivial--your soul is lost to virtue,
to religion, to shame--"

"No, _indeed_!" cried Rebecca: "if you will but believe me."

"Do not I believe you?  Have you not confessed?"

"You will not pretend to unsay what you have said," cried her eldest
sister: "that would be making things worse."

"Go, go out of my sight!" said her father.  "Take your child with you to
your chamber, and never let me see either of you again.  I do not turn
you out of my doors to-day, because I gave you my word I would not, if
you revealed your shame; but by to-morrow I will provide some place for
your reception, where neither I, nor any of your relations, shall ever
see or hear of you again."

Rebecca made an effort to cling around her father, and once more to
declare her innocence: but her sisters interposed, and she was taken,
with her reputed son, to the chamber where the curate had sentenced her
to remain, till she quitted his house for ever.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


The curate, in the disorder of his mind, scarcely felt the ground he trod
as he hastened to the dean's house to complain of his wrongs.  His name
procured him immediate admittance into the library, and the moment the
dean appeared the curate burst into tears.  The cause being required of
such "very singular marks of grief," Mr. Rymer described himself "as
having been a few moments ago the happiest of parents; but that his peace
and that of his whole family had been destroyed by Mr. Henry Norwynne,
the dean's nephew."

He now entered into a minute recital of Henry's frequent visits there,
and of all which had occurred in his house that morning, from the
suspicion that a child was concealed under his roof, to the confession
made by his youngest daughter of her fall from virtue, and of her
betrayer's name.

The dean was astonished, shocked, and roused to anger: he vented
reproaches and menaces on his nephew; and "blessing himself in a virtuous
son, whose wisdom and counsel were his only solace in every care," sent
for William to communicate with him on this unhappy subject.

William came, all obedience, and heard with marks of amazement and
indignation the account of such black villainy!  In perfect sympathy with
Mr. Rymer and his father, he allowed "no punishment could be too great
for the seducer of innocence, the selfish invader of a whole family's
repose."

Nor did William here speak what he did not think--he merely forgot his
own conduct; or if he did recall it to his mind, it was with some fair
interpretations in his own behalf; such as self-love ever supplies to
those who wish to cheat intruding conscience.

Young Henry being sent for to appear before this triumvirate, he came
with a light step and a cheerful face.  But, on the charge against him
being exhibited, his countenance changed--yet only to the expression of
surprise!  He boldly asserted his innocence, plainly told the real fact,
and with a deportment so perfectly unembarrassed, that nothing but the
asseverations of the curate, "that his daughter had confessed the whole,"
could have rendered the story Henry told suspected; although some of the
incidents he related were of no common kind.  But Mr. Rymer's charge was
an objection to his veracity too potent to be overcome; and the dean
exclaimed in anger--

"We want not your avowal of your guilt--the mother's evidence is
testimony sufficient."

"The virtuous Rebecca is not a mother," said Henry, with firmness.

William here, like Rebecca's sisters, took Henry aside, and warned him
not to "add to his offence by denying what was proved against him."

But Henry's spirit was too manly, his affection too sincere, not to
vindicate the chastity of her he loved, even at his own peril.  He again
and again protested "she was virtuous."

"Let her instantly be sent for," said the dean, "and this madman
confronted with her."  Then adding, that as he wished everything might be
conducted with secrecy, he would not employ his clerk on the unhappy
occasion: he desired William to draw up the form of an oath, which he
would administer as soon as she arrived.

A man and horse were immediately despatched to bring Rebecca: William
drew up an affidavit as his father had directed him--in _Rebecca's name
solemnly protesting she was a mother_, _and Henry the father of her
child_.  And now, the dean, suppressing till she came the warmth of his
displeasure, spoke thus calmly to Henry:--

"Even supposing that your improbable tale of having found this child, and
all your declarations in respect to it were true, still you would be
greatly criminal.  What plea can you make for not having immediately
revealed the circumstance to me or some other proper person, that the
real mother might have been detected and punished for her design of
murder?"

"In that, perhaps, I was to blame," returned Henry: "but whoever the
mother was, I pitied her."

"Compassion on such an occasion was unplaced," said the dean.

"Was I wrong, sir, to pity the child?"

"No."

"Then how could I feel for _that_, and yet divest myself of all feeling
for its mother?"

"Its mother!" exclaimed William, in anger: "she ought to have been
immediately pursued, apprehended, and committed to prison."

"It struck me, cousin William," replied Henry, "that the father was more
deserving of a prison: the poor woman had abandoned only one--the man, in
all likelihood, had forsaken _two_ pitiable creatures."

William was pouring execrations "on the villain if such there could be,"
when Rebecca was announced.

Her eyes were half closed with weeping; deep confusion overspread her
face; and her tottering limbs could hardly support her to the awful
chamber where the dean, her father, and William sat in judgment, whilst
her beloved Henry stood arraigned as a culprit, by her false evidence.

Upon her entrance, her father first addressed her, and said in a stern,
threatening, yet feeling tone, "Unhappy girl, answer me before all
present--Have you, or have you not, owned yourself a mother?"

She replied, stealing a fearful look at Henry, "I have."

"And have you not," asked the dean, "owned that Henry Norwynne is the
father of your child?"

She seemed as if she wished to expostulate.

The curate raised his voice--"Have you or have you not?"

"I have," she faintly replied.

"Then here," cried the dean to William, "read that paper to her, and take
the Bible."

William read the paper, which in her name declared a momentous falsehood:
he then held the book in form, while she looked like one distracted--wrung
her hands, and was near sinking to the earth.

At the moment when the book was lifted up to her lips to kiss, Henry
rushed to her--"Stop!" he cried, "Rebecca! do not wound your future
peace.  I plainly see under what prejudices you have been accused, under
what fears you have fallen.  But do not be terrified into the commission
of a crime which hereafter will distract your delicate conscience.  My
requesting you of your father for my wife will satisfy his scruples,
prevent your oath--and here I make the demand."

"He at length confesses!  Surprising audacity!  Complicated villainy!"
exclaimed the dean; then added, "Henry Norwynne, your first guilt is so
enormous; your second, in steadfastly denying it, so base, this last
conduct so audacious; that from the present hour you must never dare to
call me relation, or to consider my house as your home."

William, in unison with his father, exclaimed, "Indeed, Henry, your
actions merit this punishment."

Henry answered with firmness, "Inflict what punishment you please."

"With the dean's permission, then," said the curate, "you must marry my
daughter."

Henry started--"Do you pronounce that as a punishment?  It would be the
greatest blessing Providence could bestow.  But how are we to live?  My
uncle is too much offended ever to be my friend again; and in this
country, persons of a certain class are so educated, they cannot exist
without the assistance, or what is called the patronage, of others: when
that is withheld, they steal or starve.  Heaven protect Rebecca from such
misfortune!  Sir (to the curate), do you but consent to support her only
a year or two longer, and in that time I will learn some occupation, that
shall raise me to the eminence of maintaining both her and myself without
one obligation, or one inconvenience, to a single being."

Rebecca exclaimed, "Oh! you have saved me from such a weight of sin, that
my future life would be too happy passed as your slave."

"No, my dear Rebecca, return to your father's house, return to slavery
but for a few years more, and the rest of your life I will make free."

"And can you forgive me?"

"I can love you; and in that is comprised everything that is kind."

The curate, who, bating a few passions and a few prejudices, was a man of
some worth and feeling, and felt, in the midst of her distress, though
the result of supposed crimes, that he loved this neglected daughter
better than he had before conceived; and he now agreed "to take her home
for a time, provided she were relieved from the child, and the matter so
hushed up, that it might draw no imputation upon the characters of his
other daughters."

The dean did not degrade his consequence by consultations of this nature:
but, having penetrated (as he imagined) into the very bottom of this
intricate story, and issued his mandate against Henry, as a mark that he
took no farther concern in the matter, he proudly walked out of the room
without uttering another word.

William as proudly and silently followed.

The curate was inclined to adopt the manners of such great examples: but
self-interest, some affection to Rebecca, and concern for the character
of his family, made him wish to talk a little more with Henry, who new
repeated what he had said respecting his marriage with Rebecca, and
promised "to come the very next day in secret, and deliver her from the
care of the infant, and the suspicion that would attend her nursing it."

"But, above all," said the curate, "procure your uncle's pardon; for
without that, without his protection, or the protection of some other
rich man, to marry, to obey God's ordinance, _increase and multiply_ is
to want food for yourselves and your offspring."



CHAPTER XXIX.


Though this unfortunate occurrence in the curate's family was, according
to his own phrase, "to be hushed up," yet certain persons of his, of the
dean's, and of Lord Bendham's house, immediately heard and talked of it.
Among these, Lady Bendham was most of all shocked and offended: she said
she "never could bear to hear Mr. Rymer either pray or preach again; he
had not conducted himself with proper dignity either as a clergyman or a
father; he should have imitated the dean's example in respect to Henry,
and have turned his daughter out of doors."

Lord Bendham was less severe on the seduced, but had no mercy on the
seducer--"a vicious youth, without one accomplishment to endear vice."
For vice, Lord Bendham thought (with certain philosophers), might be most
exquisitely pleasing, in a pleasing garb.  "But this youth sinned without
elegance, without one particle of wit, or an atom of good breeding."

Lady Clementina would not permit the subject to be mentioned a second
time in her hearing--extreme delicacy in woman she knew was bewitching;
and the delicacy she displayed on this occasion went so far that she
"could not even intercede with the dean to forgive his nephew, because
the topic was too gross for her lips to name even in the ear of her
husband."

Miss Sedgeley, though on the very eve of her bridal day with William,
felt so tender a regard for Henry, that often she thought Rebecca happier
in disgrace and poverty, blest with the love of him, than she was likely
to be in the possession of friends and fortune with his cousin.

Had Henry been of a nature to suspect others of evil, or had he felt a
confidence in his own worth, such a passion as this young woman's would
soon have disclosed its existence: but he, regardless of any attractions
of Miss Sedgeley, equally supposed he had none in her eyes; and thus,
fortunately for the peace of all parties, this prepossession ever
remained a secret except to herself.

So little did William conceive that his clownish cousin could rival him
in the affections of a woman of fashion, that he even slightly solicited
his father "that Henry might not be banished from the house, at least
till after the following day, when the great festival of his marriage was
to be celebrated."

But the dean refused, and reminded his son, "that he was bound both by
his moral and religious character, in the eyes of God, and still more, in
the eyes of men, to show lasting resentment of iniquity like his."

William acquiesced, and immediately delivered to his cousin the dean's
"wishes for his amendment," and a letter of recommendation procured from
Lord Bendham, to introduce him on board a man-of-war; where, he was told,
"he might hope to meet with preferment, according to his merit, as a
sailor and a gentleman."

Henry pressed William's hand on parting, wished him happy in his
marriage, and supplicated, as the only favour he would implore, an
interview with his uncle, to thank him for all his former kindness, and
to see him for the last time.

William repeated this petition to his father, but with so little energy,
that the dean did not grant it.  He felt himself, he said, compelled to
resent that reprobate character in which Henry had appeared; and he
feared "lest the remembrance of his last parting from his brother might,
on taking a formal leave of that brother's son, reduce him to some tokens
of weakness, that would ill become his dignity and just displeasure."

He sent him his blessing, with money to convey him to the ship, and Henry
quitted his uncle's house in a flood of tears, to seek first a new
protectress for his little foundling, and then to seek his fortune.



CHAPTER XXX.


The wedding-day of Mr. William Norwynne with Miss Caroline Sedgeley
arrived; and, on that day, the bells of every parish surrounding that in
which they lived joined with their own, in celebration of the blissful
union.  Flowers were strewn before the new-married pair, and favours and
ale made many a heart more gladsome than that of either bridegroom or
bride.

Upon this day of ringing and rejoicing the bells were not muffled, nor
was conversation on the subject withheld from the ear of Agnes!  She
heard like her neighbours; and sitting on the side of her bed in her
little chamber, suffered, under the cottage roof, as much affliction as
ever visited a palace.

Tyrants, who have embrued their hands in the blood of myriads of their
fellow-creatures, can call their murders "religion, justice, attention to
the good of mankind."  Poor Agnes knew no sophistry to calm _her_ sense
of guilt: she felt herself a harlot and a murderer; a slighted, a
deserted wretch, bereft of all she loved in this world, all she could
hope for in the next.

She complained bitterly of illness, nor could the entreaties of her
father and mother prevail on her to share in the sports of this general
holiday.  As none of her humble visitors suspected the cause of her more
than ordinary indisposition, they endeavoured to divert it with an
account of everything they had seen at church--"what the bride wore; how
joyful the bridegroom looked;"--and all the seeming signs of that
complete happiness which they conceived was for certain tasted.

Agnes, who, before this event, had at moments suppressed the agonising
sting of self-condemnation in the faint prospect of her lover one day
restored, on this memorable occasion lost every glimpse of hope, and was
weighed to the earth with an accumulation of despair.

Where is the degree in which the sinner stops?  Unhappy Agnes! the first
time you permitted indecorous familiarity from a man who made you no
promise, who gave you no hope of becoming his wife, who professed nothing
beyond those fervent, though slender, affections which attach the rake to
the wanton; the first time you interpreted his kind looks and ardent
prayers into tenderness and constancy; the first time you descended from
the character of purity, you rushed imperceptibly on the blackest crimes.
The more sincerely you loved, the more you plunged in danger: from one
ungoverned passion proceeded a second and a third.  In the fervency of
affection you yielded up your virtue!  In the excess of fear, you stained
your conscience by the intended murder of your child!  And now, in the
violence of grief, you meditate--what?--to put an end to your existence
by your own hand!

After casting her thoughts around, anxious to find some bud of comfort on
which to fix her longing eye; she beheld, in the total loss of William,
nothing but a wide waste, an extensive plain of anguish.  "How am I to be
sustained through this dreary journey of life?" she exclaimed.  Upon this
question she felt, more poignantly than ever, her loss of innocence:
innocence would have been her support, but, in place of this best prop to
the afflicted, guilt flashed on her memory every time she flew for aid to
reflection.

At length, from horrible rumination, a momentary alleviation came: "but
one more step in wickedness," she triumphantly said, "and all my shame,
all my sufferings are over."  She congratulated herself upon the lucky
thought; when, but an instant after, the tears trickled down her face for
the sorrow her death, her sinful death, would bring to her poor and
beloved parents.  She then thought upon the probability of a sigh it
might draw from William; and, the pride, the pleasure of that little
tribute, counterpoised every struggle on the side of life.

As she saw the sun decline, "When you rise again," she thought, "when you
peep bright to-morrow morning into this little room to call me up, I
shall not be here to open my eyes upon a hateful day--I shall no more
regret that you have waked me!--I shall be sound asleep, never to wake
again in this wretched world--not even the voice of William would then
awake me."

While she found herself resolved, and evening just come on, she hurried
out of the house, and hastened to the fatal wood; the scene of her
dishonour--the scene of intended murder--and now the meditated scene of
suicide.

As she walked along between the close-set tree, she saw, at a little
distance, the spot where William first made love to her; and where at
every appointment he used to wait her coming.  She darted her eye away
from this place with horror; but, after a few moments of emotion, she
walked slowly up to it--shed tears, and pressed with her trembling lips
that tree, against which she was accustomed to lean while he talked with
her.  She felt an inclination to make this the spot to die in; but her
preconcerted, and the less frightful death, of leaping into a pool on the
other side of the wood, induced her to go onwards.

Presently, she came near the place where _her_ child, and _William's_,
was exposed to perish.  Here she started with a sense of the most
atrocious guilt; and her whole frame shook with the dread of an
approaching, an omnipotent Judge, to sentence her for murder.

She halted, appalled, aghast, undetermined whether to exist longer
beneath the pressure of a criminal conscience, or die that very hour, and
meet her final condemnation.

She proceeded a few steps farther, and beheld the very ivy-bush close to
which her infant lay when she left him exposed; and now, from this minute
recollection, all the mother rising in her soul, she saw, as it were, her
babe again in its deserted state; and bursting into tears of bitterest
contrition and compassion, she cried--"As I was merciless to _thee_, my
child, thy father has been pitiless to _me_!  As I abandoned _thee_ to
die with cold and hunger, he has forsaken, and has driven _me_ to die by
self-slaughter."

She now fixed her eager eyes on the distant pond, and walked more nimbly
than before, to rid herself of her agonising sensations.

Just as she had nearly reached the wished-for brink, she heard a
footstep, and saw, by the glimmering of a clouded moon, a man
approaching.  She turned out of her path, for fear her intentions should
be guessed at, and opposed; but still, as she walked another way, her eye
was wishfully bent towards the water that was to obliterate her love and
her remorse--obliterate, forever, William and his child.

It was now that Henry, who, to prevent scandal, had stolen at that still
hour of night to rid the curate of the incumbrance so irksome to him, and
take the foundling to a woman whom he had hired for the charge--it was
now that Henry came up, with the child of Agnes in his arms, carefully
covered all over from the night's dew.

"Agnes, is it you?" cried Henry, at a little distance.  "Where are you
going thus late?"

"Home, sir," said she, and rushed among the trees.

"Stop, Agnes," he cried; "I want to bid you farewell; to-morrow I am
going to leave this part of the country for a long time; so God bless
you, Agnes."

Saying this, he stretched out his arm to shake her by the hand.

Her poor heart, trusting that his blessing, for want of more potent
offerings, might, perhaps, at this tremendous crisis ascend to Heaven in
her behalf, she stopped, returned, and put out her hand to take his.

"Softly!" said he; "don't wake my child; this spot has been a place of
danger to him, for underneath this very ivy-bush it was that I found
him."

"Found what?" cried Agnes, with a voice elevated to a tremulous scream.

"I will not tell you the story," replied Henry; "for no one I have ever
yet told of it would believe me."

"I will believe you--I will believe you," she repeated with tones yet
more impressive.

"Why, then," said Henry, "only five weeks ago--"

"Ah!" shrieked Agnes.

"What do you mean?" said Henry.

"Go on," she articulated, in the same voice.

"Why, then, as I was passing this very place, I wish I may never speak
truth again, if I did not find" (here he pulled aside the warm rug in
which the infant was wrapped) "this beautiful child."

"With a cord?--"

"A cord was round its neck."

"'Tis mine--the child is mine--'tis mine--my child--I am the mother and
the murderer--I fixed the cord, while the ground shook under me--while
flashes of fire darted before my eyes!--while my heart was bursting with
despair and horror!  But I stopped short--I did not draw the noose--I had
a moment of strength, and I ran away.  I left him living--he is living
now--escaped from my hands--and I am no longer ashamed, but overcome with
joy that he is mine!  I bless you, my dear, my dear, for saving his
life--for giving him to me again--for preserving _my_ life, as well as my
child's."

Here she took her infant, pressed it to her lips and to her bosom; then
bent to the ground, clasped Henry's knees, and wept upon his feet.

He could not for a moment doubt the truth of what she said; her powerful
yet broken accents, her convulsive embraces of the child, even more than
her declaration, convinced him she was its mother.

"Good Heaven!" cried Henry, "and this is my cousin William's child!"

"But your cousin does not know it," said she; "I never told him--he was
not kind enough to embolden me; therefore do not blame _him_ for _my_
sin; he did not know of my wicked designs--he did not encourage me--"

"But he forsook you, Agnes."

"He never said he would not.  He always told me he could not marry me."

"Did he tell you so at his first private meeting?"

"No."

"Nor at the second?"

"No; nor yet at the third."

"When was it he told you so?"

"I forget the exact time; but I remember it was on that very evening when
I confessed to him--"

"What?"

"That he had won my heart."

"Why did you confess it?"

"Because he asked me and said it would make him happy if I would say so."

"Cruel! dishonourable!"

"Nay, do not blame him; he cannot help _not_ loving me, no more than I
can help _loving_ him."

Henry rubbed his eyes.

"Bless me, you weep!  I always heard that you were brought up in a savage
country; but I suppose it is a mistake; it was your cousin William."

"Will not you apply to him for the support of your child?" asked Henry.

"If I thought he would not be angry."

"Angry!  I will write to him on the subject if you will give me leave."

"But do not say it is by my desire.  Do not say I wish to trouble him.  I
would sooner beg than be a trouble to him."

"Why are you so delicate?"

"It is for my own sake; I wish him not to hate me."

"Then, thus you may secure his respect.  I will write to him, and let him
know all the circumstances of your case.  I will plead for his compassion
on his child, but assure him that no conduct of his will ever induce you
to declare (except only to me, who knew of your previous acquaintance)
who is the father."

To this she consented; but when Henry offered to take from her the
infant, and carry him to the nurse he had engaged, to this she would not
consent.

"Do you mean, then, to acknowledge him yours?" Henry asked.

"Nothing shall force me to part from him again.  I will keep him, and let
my neighbours judge of me as they please."

Here Henry caught at a hope he feared to name before.  "You will then
have no objection," said he, "to clear an unhappy girl to a few friends,
with whom her character has suffered by becoming, at my request, his
nurse?"

"I will clear any one, so that I do not accuse the father."

"You give me leave, then, in your name, to tell the whole story to some
particular friends, my cousin William's part in it alone excepted?"

"I do."

Henry now exclaimed, "God bless you!" with greater fervour than when he
spoke it before; and he now hoped the night was nearly gone, that the
time might be so much the shorter before Rebecca should be reinstated in
the esteem of her father, and of all those who had misjudged her.

"God bless _you_!" said Agnes, still more fervently, as she walked with
unguided steps towards her home; for her eyes never wandered from the
precious object which caused her unexpected return.



CHAPTER XXXI.


Henry rose early in the morning, and flew to the curate's house, with
more than even his usual thirst of justice, to clear injured innocence,
to redeem from shame her whom he loved.  With eager haste he told that he
had found the mother, whose fall from virtue Rebecca, overcome by
confusion and threats, had taken on herself.

Rebecca rejoiced, but her sisters shook their heads, and even the father
seemed to doubt.

Confident in the truth of his story, Henry persisted so boldly in his
affirmations, that if Mr. Rymer did not entirely believe what he said, he
secretly hoped that the dean and other people might; therefore he began
to imagine he could possibly cast from _his_ family the present stigma,
whether or no it belonged to any other.

No sooner was Henry gone than Mr. Rymer waited on the dean to report what
he had heard; and he frankly attributed his daughter's false confession
to the compulsive methods he had adopted in charging her with the
offence.  Upon this statement, Henry's love to her was also a solution of
his seemingly inconsistent conduct on that singular occasion.

The dean immediately said, "I will put the matter beyond all doubt; for I
will this moment send for the present reputed mother; and if she
acknowledges the child, I will instantly commit her to prison for the
attempt of putting it to death."

The curate applauded the dean's sagacity; a warrant was issued, and Agnes
brought prisoner before the grandfather of her child.

She appeared astonished at the peril in which she found herself.
Confused, also, with a thousand inexpressible sensations which the dean's
presence inspired, she seemed to prevaricate in all she uttered.  Accused
of this prevarication, she was still more disconcerted; said, and unsaid;
confessed herself the mother of the infant, but declared she did not
know, then owned she _did_ know, the name of the man who had undone her,
but would never utter it.  At length she cast herself on her knees before
the father of her betrayer, and supplicated "he would not punish her with
severity, as she most penitently confessed her fault, so far as is
related to herself."

While Mr. and Mrs. Norwynne, just entered on the honeymoon, were sitting
side by side enjoying with peace and with honour conjugal society, poor
Agnes, threatened, reviled, and sinking to the dust, was hearing from the
mouth of William's father the enormity of those crimes to which his son
had been accessory.  She saw the mittimus written that was to convey her
into a prison--saw herself delivered once more into the hands of
constables, before her resolution left her, of concealing the name of
William in her story.  She now, overcome with affright, and thinking she
should expose him still more in a public court, if hereafter on her trial
she should be obliged to name him--she now humbly asked the dean to hear
a few words she had to say in private, where she promised she "would
speak nothing but the truth."

This was impossible, he said--"No private confessions before a
magistrate!  All must be done openly."

She urged again and again the same request: it was denied more
peremptorily than at first.  On which she said--"Then, sir, forgive me,
since you force me to it, if I speak before Mr. Rymer and these men what
I would for ever have kept a secret if I could.  One of your family is my
child's father."

"Any of my servants?" cried the dean.

"No."

"My nephew?"

"No; one who is nearer still."

"Come this way," said the dean; "I _will_ speak to you in private."

It was not that the dean, as a magistrate, distributed partial decrees of
pretended justice--he was rigidly faithful to his trust: he would not
inflict punishment on the innocent, nor let the guilty escape; but in all
particulars of refined or coarse treatment he would alleviate or
aggravate according to the rank of the offender.  He could not feel that
a secret was of equal importance to a poor as to a rich person; and while
Agnes gave no intimation but that her delicacy rose from fears for
herself, she did not so forcibly impress him with an opinion that it was
a case which had weighty cause for a private conference as when she
boldly said, "a part of _his_ family, very near to him, was concerned in
her tale."

The final result of their conversation in an adjoining room was--a charge
from the dean, in the words of Mr. Rymer, "to hush the affair up," and
his promise that the infant should be immediately taken from her, and
that "she should have no more trouble with it."

"I have no trouble with it," replied Agnes: "my child is now all my
comfort, and I cannot part from it."

"Why, you inconsistent woman, did you not attempt to murder it?"

"That was before I had nursed it."

"'Tis necessary you should give it up: it must be sent some miles away;
and then the whole circumstance will be soon forgotten."

"_I_ shall never forget it."

"No matter; you must give up the child.  Do not some of our first women
of quality part with their children?"

"Women of quality have other things to love--I have nothing else."

"And would you occasion my son and his new-made bride the shame and the
uneasiness--"

Here Agnes burst into a flood of tears; and being angrily asked by the
dean "why she blubbered so--"

"_I_ have had shame and uneasiness," she replied, wringing her hands.

"And you deserve them: they are the sure attendants of crimes such as
yours.  If you allured and entrapped a young man like my son--"

"I am the youngest by five years," said Agnes.

"Well, well, repent," returned the dean; "repent, and resign your child.
Repent, and you may yet marry an honest man who knows nothing of the
matter."

"And repent too?" asked Agnes.

Not the insufferable ignorance of young Henry, when he first came to
England, was more vexatious or provoking to the dean than the rustic
simplicity of poor Agnes's uncultured replies.  He at last, in an
offended and determined manner, told her--"That if she would resign the
child, and keep the father's name a secret, not only the child should be
taken care of, but she herself might, perhaps, receive some favours; but
if she persisted in her imprudent folly, she must expect no consideration
on her own account; nor should she be allowed, for the maintenance of the
boy, a sixpence beyond the stated sum for a poor man's unlawful
offspring."  Agnes, resolving not to be separated from her infant, bowed
resignation to this last decree; and, terrified at the loud words and
angry looks of the dean, after being regularly discharged, stole to her
home, where the smiles of her infant, and the caresses she lavished on
it, repaid her for the sorrows she had just suffered for its sake.

Let it here be observed that the dean, on suffering Agnes to depart
without putting in force the law against her as he had threatened, did
nothing, as it were, _behind the curtain_.  He openly and candidly owned,
on his return to Mr. Rymer, his clerk, and the two constables who were
attending, "that an affair of some little gallantry, in which he was
extremely sorry to say his son was rather too nearly involved, required,
in consideration of his recent marriage, and an excellent young woman's
(his bride's) happiness, that what had occurred should not be publicly
talked of; therefore he had thought proper only to reprimand the hussy,
and send her about her business."

The curate assured the dean, "that upon this, and upon all other
occasions, which should, would, or _could_ occur, he owed to his
judgment, as his superior, implicit obedience."

The clerk and the two constables most properly said, "his honour was a
gentleman, and of course must know better how to act than they."



CHAPTER XXXII.


The pleasure of a mother which Agnes experienced did not make her
insensible to the sorrow of a daughter.

Her parents had received the stranger child, along with a fabricated tale
she told "of its appertaining to another," without the smallest
suspicion; but, by the secret diligence of the curate, and the nimble
tongues of his elder daughters, the report of all that had passed on the
subject of this unfortunate infant soon circulated through the village;
and Agnes in a few weeks had seen her parents pine away in grief and
shame at her loss of virtue.

She perceived the neighbours avoid, or openly sneer at _her_; but that
was little--she saw them slight her aged father and mother upon her
account; and she now took the resolution rather to perish for want in
another part of the country than live where she was known, and so entail
an infamy upon the few who loved her.  She slightly hoped, too, that by
disappearing from the town and neighbourhood some little reward might be
allowed her for her banishment by the dean's family.  In that she was
deceived.  No sooner was she gone, indeed, than her guilt was forgotten;
but with her guilt her wants.  The dean and his family rejoiced at her
and her child's departure; but as this mode she had chosen chanced to be
no specified condition in the terms proposed to her, they did not think
they were bound to pay her for it; and while she was too fearful and
bashful to solicit the dean, and too proud (forlorn as she was) to
supplicate his son, they both concluded she "wanted for nothing;" for to
be poor, and too delicate to complain, they deemed incompatible.

To heighten the sense of her degraded, friendless situation, she knew
that Henry had not been unmindful of his promise to her, but that he had
applied to his cousin in her and his child's behalf; for he had
acquainted her that William's answer was--"all obligations on _his_ part
were now undertaken by his father; for that, Agnes having chosen (in a
fit of malignity upon his marriage) to apprise the dean of their former
intercourse, such conduct had for ever cancelled all attention due from
him to her, or to her child, beyond what its bare maintenance exacted."

In vain had Henry explained to him, by a second application, the
predicament in which poor Agnes was involved before she consented to
reveal her secret to his father.  William was happy in an excuse to rid
himself of a burthen, and he seemed to believe, what he wished to be
true--that she had forfeited all claim to his farther notice.

Henry informed her of this unkind reception of his efforts in her favour
in as gentle terms as possible, for she excited his deepest compassion.
Perhaps our _own_ misfortunes are the cause of our pity for others, even
more than _their_ ills; and Henry's present sorrows had softened his
heart to peculiar sympathy in woe.  He had unhappily found that the
ardour which had hurried him to vindicate the reputation of Rebecca was
likely to deprive him of the blessing of her ever becoming his proved an
offender instead of his wife; for the dean, chagrined that his son was at
length nephew, submitted to the temptation of punishing the latter, while
he forgave the former.  He sent for Henry, and having coldly
congratulated him on his and Rebecca's innocence, represented to him the
impropriety of marrying the daughter of a poor curate, and laid his
commands on him, "never to harbour such an intention more."  Henry found
this restriction so severe that he would not promise obedience; but on
his next attempt to visit Rebecca he met a positive repulse from her
father, who signified to him, "that the dean had forbidden him to permit
their farther acquaintance;" and the curate declared "that, for his own
part, he had no will, judgment, or faculties, but that he submitted in
all things to the superior clergy."

At the very time young Henry had received the proposal from Mr. Rymer of
his immediate union with his daughter, and the dean had made no objection
Henry waived the happiness for the time present, and had given a reason
why he wished it postponed.  The reason he then gave had its weight; but
he had another concealed, of yet more import.  Much as he loved, and
looked forward with rapture to that time when every morning, every
evening, and all the day, he should have the delight of Rebecca's
society, still there was one other wish nearer his heart than this one
desire which for years had been foremost in his thoughts, and which not
even love could eradicate.  He longed, he pined to know what fate had
befallen his father.  Provided he were living, he could conceive no joy
so great as that of seeing him!  If he were dead, he was anxious to pay
the tribute of filial piety he owed, by satisfying his affectionate
curiosity in every circumstance of the sad event.

While a boy he had frequently expressed these sentiments to both his
uncle and his cousin; sometimes they apprised him of the total
improbability of accomplishing his wishes; at other times, when they saw
the disappointment weigh heavy on his mind, they bade him "wait till he
was a man before he could hope to put his designs in execution."  He did
wait.  But on the very day he arrived at the age of twenty-one, he made a
vow--"that to gain intelligence of his father should be the first
important act of his free will."

Previously to this time he had made all the inquiries possible, whether
any new adventure to that part of Africa in which he was bred was likely
to be undertaken.  Of this there appeared to be no prospect till the
intended expedition to Sierra Leone was announced, and which favoured his
hope of being able to procure a passage, among those adventurers, so near
to the island on which his father was (or had been) prisoner, as to
obtain an opportunity of visiting it by stealth.

Fearing contention, or the being dissuaded from his plans if he
communicated them, he not only formed them in private, but he kept them
secretly; and, his imagination filled with the kindness, the tenderness,
the excess of fondness he had experienced from his father, beyond any
other person in the world, he had thought with delight on the separation
from all his other kindred, to pay his duty to him, or to his revered
memory.  Of late, indeed, there had been an object introduced to his
acquaintance, from whom it was bitter to part; but his designs had been
planned and firmly fixed before he knew Rebecca; nor could he have tasted
contentment even with her at the expense of his piety to his father.

In the last interview he had with the dean, Henry, perceiving that his
disposition towards him was not less harsh than when a few days before he
had ordered him on board a vessel, found this the proper time to declare
his intentions of accompanying the fleet to Sierra Leone.  His uncle
expressed surprise, but immediately gave him a sum of money in addition
to that he had sent him before, and as much as he thought might defray
his expenses; and, as he gave it, by his willingness, his look, and his
accent, he seemed to say, "I foresee this is the last you will ever
require."

Young William, though a very dutiful son, was amazed when he heard of
Henry's project, as "the serious and settled resolution of a man."

Lady Clementina, Lord and Lady Bendham, and twenty others, "wished him a
successful voyage," and thought no more about him.

It was for Rebecca alone to feel the loss of Henry; it was for a mind
like hers alone to know his worth; nor did this last proof of it, the
quitting her for one who claimed by every tie a preference, lessen him in
her esteem.  When, by a message from him, she became acquainted with his
design, much as it interfered with her happiness, she valued him the more
for this observance of his duty; the more regretted his loss, and the
more anxiously prayed for his return--a return which he, in the following
letter, written just before his departure, taught her to hope for with
augmented impatience.

   "MY DEAR REBECCA,

   "I do not tell you I am sorry to part from you--you know I am--and you
   know all I have suffered since your father denied me permission to see
   you.

   "But perhaps you do not know the hopes I enjoy, and which bestow on me
   a degree of peace; and those I am eager to tell you.

   "I hope, Rebecca, to see you again; I hope to return to England, and
   overcome every obstacle to our marriage; and then, in whatever station
   we are placed, I shall consider myself as happy as it is possible to
   be in this world.  I feel a conviction that you would be happy also.

   "Some persons, I know, estimate happiness by fine houses, gardens, and
   parks; others by pictures, horses, money, and various things wholly
   remote from their own species; but when I wish to ascertain the real
   felicity of any rational man, I always inquire _whom he has to love_.
   If I find he has nobody, or does not love those he has, even in the
   midst of all his profusion of finery and grandeur, I pronounce him a
   being in deep adversity.  In loving you, I am happier than my cousin
   William; even though I am obliged to leave you for a time.

   "Do not be afraid you should grow old before I return; age can never
   alter you in my regard.  It is your gentle nature, your unaffected
   manners, your easy cheerfulness, your clear understanding, the
   sincerity of all your words and actions which have gained my heart;
   and while you preserve charms like these, you will be dearer to me
   with white hairs and a wrinkled face than any of your sex, who, not
   possessing all these qualities, possess the form and features of
   perfect beauty.

   "You will esteem me, too, I trust, though I should return on crutches
   with my poor father, whom I may be obliged to maintain by daily
   labour.

   "I shall employ all my time, during my absence, in the study of some
   art which may enable me to support you both, provided Heaven will
   bestow two such blessings on me.  In the cheering thought that it will
   be so, and in that only, I have the courage, my dear, dear Rebecca, to
   say to you

   "Farewell!  H. NORWYNNE."



CHAPTER XXXIII.


Before Henry could receive a reply to his letter, the fleet in which he
sailed put to sea.

By his absence, not only Rebecca was deprived of the friend she loved,
but poor Agnes lost a kind and compassionate adviser.  The loss of her
parents, too, she had to mourn; for they both sickened, and both died, in
a short time after; and now wholly friendless in her little exile, where
she could only hope for toleration, not being known, she was contending
with suspicion, rebuffs, disappointments, and various other ills, which
might have made the most rigorous of her Anfield persecutors feel
compassion for her, could they have witnessed the throbs of her heart,
and all the deep wounds there imprinted.

Still, there are few persons whom Providence afflicts beyond the limits
of _all_ consolation; few cast so low as not to feel pride on _certain_
occasions; and Agnes felt a comfort and a dignity in the thought, that
she had both a mind and a body capable of sustaining every hardship,
which her destiny might inflict, rather than submit to the disgrace of
soliciting William's charity a second time.

This determination was put to a variety of trials.  In vain she offered
herself to the strangers of the village in which she was accidentally
cast as a servant; her child, her dejected looks, her broken sentences, a
wildness in her eye, a kind of bold despair which at times overspread her
features, her imperfect story who and what she was, prejudiced all those
to whom she applied; and, after thus travelling to several small towns
and hamlets, the only employer she could obtain was a farmer; and the
only employment to tend and feed his cattle while his men were in the
harvest, tilling the ground, or at some other labour which required at
the time peculiar expedition.

Though Agnes was born of peasants, yet, having been the only child of
industrious parents, she had been nursed with a tenderness and delicacy
ill suited to her present occupation; but she endured it with patience;
and the most laborious part would have seemed light could she have
dismissed the reflection--what it was that had reduced her to such a
state.

Soon her tender hands became hard and rough, her fair skin burnt and
yellow; so that when, on a Sunday, she has looked in the glass, she has
started back as if it were some other face she saw instead of her own.
But this loss of beauty gave her no regret--while William did not see
her, it was indifferent to her, whether she were beautiful or hideous.  On
the features of her child only, she now looked with joy; there, she
fancied she saw William at every glance, and, in the fond imagination,
felt at times every happiness short of seeing him.

By herding with the brute creation, she and her child were allowed to
live together; and this was a state she preferred to the society of human
creatures, who would have separated her from what she loved so tenderly.
Anxious to retain a service in which she possessed such a blessing, care
and attention to her humble office caused her master to prolong her stay
through all the winter; then, during the spring, she tended his yeaning
sheep; in the summer, watched them as they grazed; and thus season after
season passed, till her young son could afford her assistance in her
daily work.

He now could charm her with his conversation as well as with his looks: a
thousand times in the transports of parental love she has pressed him to
her bosom, and thought, with an agony of horror, upon her criminal, her
mad intent to destroy what was now so dear, so necessary to her
existence.

Still the boy grew up more and more like his father.  In one resemblance
alone he failed; he loved Agnes with an affection totally distinct from
the pitiful and childish gratification of his own self-love; he never
would quit her side for all the tempting offers of toys or money; never
would eat of rarities given to him till Agnes took a part; never crossed
her will, however contradictory to his own; never saw her smile that he
did not laugh; nor did she ever weep, but he wept too.



CHAPTER XXXIV.


From the mean subject of oxen, sheep, and peasants, we return to
personages; i.e., persons of rank and fortune.  The bishop, who was
introduced in the foregoing pages, but who has occupied a very small
space there, is now mentioned again, merely that the reader may know he
is at present in the same state as his writings--dying; and that his
friend, the dean, is talked of as the most likely successor to his
dignified office.

The dean, most assuredly, had a strong friendship for the bishop, and
now, most assuredly, wished him to recover; and yet, when he reflected on
the success of his pamphlet a few years past, and of many which he had
written since on the very same subject, he could not but think "that he
had more righteous pretensions to fill the vacant seat of his much
beloved and reverend friend (should fate ordain it to be vacated) than
any other man;" and he knew that it would not take one moment from that
friend's remaining life, should he exert himself, with all due
management, to obtain the elevated station when be should he no more.

In presupposing the death of a friend, the dean, like many other virtuous
men, "always supposed him going to a better place."  With perfect
resignation, therefore, he waited whatever change might happen to the
bishop, ready to receive him with open arms if he recovered, or equally
ready, in case of his dissolution, to receive his dignities.

Lady Clementina displayed her sensibility and feeling for the sick
prelate by the extravagance of hysteric fits; except at those times when
she talked seriously with her husband upon the injustice which she
thought would be done to him, and to his many pamphlets and sermons, if
he did not immediately rise to episcopal honour.

"Surely, dean," said she, "should you be disappointed upon this occasion,
you will write no more books for the good of your country?"

"Yes, I will," he replied; "but the next book I write for the good of my
country shall be very different, nay the very reverse of those I have
already written."

"How, dean! would you show yourself changed?"

"No, but I will show that my country is changed."

"What! since you produced your last work; only six weeks ago!"

"Great changes may occur in six days," replied the dean, with a
threatening accent; "and if I find things _have_ taken a new and improper
turn, I will be the first to expose it."

"But before you act in this manner, my dear, surely you will wait--"

"I will wait until the see is disposed of to another," said he.

He did wait: the bishop died.  The dean was promoted to the see of ---,
and wrote a folio on the prosperity of our happy country.



CHAPTER XXXV.


While the bishop and his son were sailing before prosperous gales on the
ocean of life, young Henry was contending with adverse winds, and many
other perils, on the watery ocean; yet still, his distresses and dangers
were less than those which Agnes had to encounter upon land.  The sea
threatens an untimely death; the shore menaces calamities from which
death is a refuge.

The affections she had already experienced could just admit of
aggravation: the addition occurred.

Had the good farmer, who made her the companion of his flocks and herds,
lived till now, till now she might have been secure from the annoyance of
human kind; but, thrown once more upon society, she was unfit to sustain
the conflict of decorum against depravity.  Her master, her patron, her
preserver, was dead; and hardly as she had earned the pittance she
received from him, she found that it surpassed her power to obtain the
like again.  Her doubtful character, her capacious mind, her unmethodical
manners, were still badly suited to the nice precision of a country
housewife; and as the prudent mistress of a family sneered at her
pretensions, she, in her turn, scorned the narrow-minded mistress of a
family.

In her inquiries how to gain her bread free from the cutting reproaches
of discretion, she was informed "that London was the only private corner,
where guilt could be secreted undisturbed; and the only public place
where, in open day, it might triumphantly stalk, attended by a chain of
audacious admirers."

There was a charm to the ear of Agnes in the name of London, which
thrilled through her soul.  William lived in London; and she thought
that, while she retired to some dark cellar with her offences, he
probably would ride in state with his, and she at humble distance might
sometimes catch a glance at him.

As difficult as to eradicate insanity from a mind once possessed, so
difficult it is to erase from the lover's breast the deep impression of a
_real_ affection.  Coercion may prevail for a short interval, still love
will rage again.  Not all the ignominy which Agnes experienced in the
place where she now was without a home--not the hunger which she at times
suffered, and even at times saw her child endure--not every inducement
for going to London, or motive for quitting her present desolate station,
had the weight to affect her choice so much as--in London, she should
live nearer William; in the present spot she could never hope to see him
again, but there she might chance to pass him in the streets; she might
pass his house every day unobserved--might inquire about him of his
inferior neighbours, who would be unsuspicious of the cause of her
curiosity.  For these gratifications, she should imbibe new fortitude;
for these she could bear all hardships which London threatened; and for
these, she at length undertook a three weeks' journey to that perilous
town on foot, cheering, as she walked along, her innocent and wearied
companion.

William--in your luxurious dwelling, possessed of coffers filled with
gold, relations, friends, clients, joyful around you, delicious viands
and rich wines upon your sumptuous board, voluptuousness displayed in
every apartment of your habitation--contemplate, for a moment, Agnes,
your first love, with her son, your first and only child, walking through
frost and snow to London, with a foreboding fear on the mother that, when
arrived, they both may perish for the want of a friend.

But no sooner did Agnes find herself within the smoke of the metropolis
than the old charm was renewed; and scarcely had she refreshed her child
at the poor inn at which she stopped than she inquired how far it was to
that part of the town where William, she knew, resided?

She received for answer, "about two miles."

Upon this information, she thought that she would keep in reserve, till
some new sorrow befell her, the consolation of passing his door
(perchance of seeing him) which must ever be an alleviation of her grief.
It was not long before she had occasion for more substantial comfort.  She
soon found she was not likely to obtain a service here, more than in the
country.  Some objected that she could not make caps and gowns; some that
she could not preserve and pickle; some, that she was too young; some,
that she was too pretty; and all declined accepting her, till at last a
citizen's wife, on condition of her receiving but half the wages usually
given, took her as a servant of all work.

In romances, and in some plays, there are scenes of dark and unwholesome
mines, wherein the labourer works, during the brightest day, by the aid
of artificial light.  There are in London kitchens equally dismal though
not quite so much exposed to damp and noxious vapours.  In one of these,
underground, hidden from the cheerful light of the sun, poor Agnes was
doomed to toil from morning till night, subjected to the command of a
dissatisfied mistress; who, not estimating as she ought the misery
incurred by serving her, constantly threatened her servants "with a
dismission;" at which the unthinking wretches would tremble merely from
the sound of the words; for to have reflected--to have considered what
their purport was--"to be released from a dungeon, relieved from
continual upbraidings, and vile drudgery," must have been a subject of
rejoicing; and yet, because these good tidings were delivered as a
menace, custom had made the hearer fearful of the consequence.  So, death
being described to children as a disaster, even poverty and shame will
start from it with affright; whereas, had it been pictured with its
benign aspect, it would have been feared but by few, and many, many would
welcome it with gladness.

All the care of Agnes to please, her fear of offending, her toilsome
days, her patience, her submission, could not prevail on her she served
to retain her one hour after, by chance, she had heard "that she was the
mother of a child; that she wished it should be kept a secret; and that
she stole out now and then to visit him."

Agnes, with swimming eyes and an almost breaking heart, left a
place--where to have lived one hour would have plunged any fine lady in
the deepest grief.



CHAPTER XXXVI.


Agnes was driven from service to service--her deficiency in the knowledge
of a mere drudge, or her lost character, pursued her wherever she went--at
length, becoming wholly destitute, she gladly accepted a place where the
latter misfortune was not of the least impediment.

In one of these habitations, where continual misery is dressed in
continual smiles; where extreme of poverty is concealed by extreme of
finery; where wine dispenses mirth only by dispensing forgetfulness; and
where female beauty is so cheap, so complying, that, while it inveigles,
it disgusts the man of pleasure: in one of those houses, to attend upon
its wretched inhabitants, Agnes was hired.  Her feelings of rectitude
submitted to those of hunger; her principles of virtue (which the loss of
virtue had not destroyed) received a shock when she engaged to be the
abettor of vice, from which her delicacy, morality, and religion shrunk;
but persons of honour and of reputation would not employ her: was she
then to perish?  That, perhaps, was easy to resolve; but she had a child
to leave behind! a child, from whom to part for a day was a torment.  Yet,
before she submitted to a situation which filled her mind with a kind of
loathing horror, often she paced up and down the street in which William
lived, looked wistfully at his house, and sometimes, lost to all her
finer feelings of independent pride, thought of sending a short petition
to him; but, at the idea of a repulse, and of that frowning brow which
she knew William _could_ dart on her petitions, she preferred death, or
the most degrading life, to the trial.

It was long since that misfortune and dishonour had made her callous to
the good or ill opinion of all the world, except _his_; and the fear of
drawing upon her his increased contempt was still, at the crisis of
applying, so powerful, that she found she dared not hazard a reproof from
him even in the person of his father, whose rigour she had already more
than once experienced, in the frequent harsh messages conveyed to her
with the poor stipend for her boy.

Awed by the rigid and pious character of the new bishop, the growing
reputation, and rising honours of his son, she mistook the appearance of
moral excellence for moral excellence itself, and felt her own
unworthiness even to become the supplicant of those great men.

Day after day she watched those parts of the town through which William's
chariot was accustomed to drive; but to see the _carriage_ was all to
which she aspired; a feeling, not to be described, forced her to cast her
eyes upon the earth as it drew near to her; and when it had passed, she
beat her breast, and wept that she had not seen _him_.

Impressed with the superiority of others, and her own abject and
disgustful state, she cried, "Let me herd with those who won't despise
me; let me only see faces whereon I can look without confusion and
terror; let me associate with wretches like myself, rather than force my
shame before those who are so good they can but scorn and hate me."

With a mind thus languishing for sympathy in disgrace, she entered a
servant in the house just now described.  There disregarding the fatal
proverb against "_evil communications_," she had not the firmness to be
an exception to the general rule.  That pliant disposition, which had
yielded to the licentious love of William, stooped to still baser
prostitution in company still more depraved.

At first she shuddered at those practices she saw, at those conversations
she heard, and blest herself that poverty, not inclination, had caused
her to be a witness of such profligacy, and had condemned her in this
vile abode to be a servant, rather than in the lower rank of mistress.
Use softened those horrors every day; at length self-defence, the fear of
ridicule, and the hope of favour, induced her to adopt that very conduct
from which her heart revolted.

In her sorrowful countenance and fading charms there yet remained
attraction for many visitors; and she now submitted to the mercenary
profanations of love, more odious, as her mind had been subdued by its
most captivating, most endearing joys.

While incessant regret whispered to her "that she ought to have endured
every calamity rather than this," she thus questioned her nice sense of
wrong, "Why, why respect myself, since no other respects me?  Why set a
value on my own feelings when no one else does?"

Degraded in her own judgment, she doubted her own understanding when it
sometimes told her she had deserved better treatment; for she felt
herself a fool in comparison with her learned seducer and the rest who
despised her.  "And why," she continued, "should I ungratefully persist
to contemn women who alone are so kind as to accept me for a companion?
Why refuse conformity to their customs, since none of my sex besides will
admit me to their society a partaker of virtuous habits?"

In speculation these arguments appeared reasonable, and she pursued their
dictates; but in the practice of the life in which she plunged she proved
the fallacy of the system, and at times tore her hair with frantic
sorrow, that she had not continued in the mid-way of guilt, and so
preserved some portion of self-approbation, to recompense her in a small
degree, for the total loss of the esteem of all the reputable world.

But she had gone too far to recede.  Could she now have recalled her
innocence, even that remnant she brought with her to London, experience
would have taught her to have given up her child, lived apart from him,
and once more with the brute creation, rather than to have mingled with
her present society.  Now, alas! the time for flying was past; all
prudent choice was over, even all reflection was gone for ever, or only
admitted on compulsion, when it imperiously forced its way amidst the
scenes of tumultuous mirth or licentious passion, of distracted riot,
shameless effrontery, and wild intoxication, when it _would_ force its
way, even through the walls of a brothel.



CHAPTER XXXVII.


Is there a reader so little experienced in the human heart, so forgetful
of his own, as not to feel the possibility of the following fact?

A series of uncommon calamities had been for many years the lot of the
elder Henry; a succession of prosperous events had fallen to the share of
his brother William.  The one was the envy, while the other had the
compassion, of all who thought about them.  For the last twenty years,
William had lived in affluence, bordering upon splendour, his friends,
his fame, his fortune, daily increasing, while Henry throughout that very
period had, by degrees, lost all he loved on earth, and was now existing
apart from civilised society; and yet, during those twenty years, where
William knew one happy moment, Henry tasted hundreds.

That the state of the mind, and not outward circumstances, is the nice
point on which happiness depends is but a trite remark; but that
intellectual power should have the force to render a man discontented in
extraordinary prosperity, such as that of the present bishop, or
contented in his brother's extreme of adversity, requires illustration.

The first great affliction to Henry was his brother's ingratitude; but
reasoning on the frailty of man's nature, and the force of man's
temptations, he found excuses for William, which made him support the
treatment he had received with more tranquillity than William's proud
mind supported his brother's marriage.

Henry's indulgent disposition made him less angry with William than
William was with him.

The next affliction Henry suffered was the loss of his beloved wife.  That
was a grief which time and change of objects gradually alleviated; while
William's wife was to him a permanent grief, her puerile mind, her
talking vanity, her affected virtues, soured his domestic comfort, and,
in time, he had suffered more painful moments from her society than his
brother had experienced, even from the death of her he loved.

In their children, indeed, William was the happier; his son was a pride
and pleasure to him, while Henry never thought upon _his_ without
lamenting his loss with bitterest anguish.  But if the elder brother had
in one instance the advantage, still Henry had a resource to overbalance
this article.  Henry, as he lay imprisoned in his dungeon, and when, his
punishment being remitted, he was again allowed to wander, and seek his
subsistence where he would, in all his tedious walks and solitary resting-
places, during all his lonely days and mournful nights, had _this
resource_ to console him--

"I never did an injury to any one; never was harsh, severe, unkind,
deceitful.  I did not merely confine myself to do my neighbour no harm; I
strove to do him service."

This was the resource that cheered his sinking heart amidst gloomy
deserts and a barbarous people, lulled him to peaceful slumber in the hut
of a savage hunter, and in the hearing of the lion's roar, at times
impressed him with a sense of happiness, and made him contemplate with a
longing hope the retribution of a future world.

The bishop, with all his comforts, had no comfort like this; he had _his_
solitary reflections too, but they were of a tendency the reverse of
these.  "I used my brother ill," was a secret thought of most powerful
influence.  It kept him waking upon his safe and commodious bed; was sure
to recur with every misfortune by which he was threatened to make his
fears still stronger, and came with invidious stabs, upon every
successful event, to take from him a part of his joy.  In a word, it was
_conscience_ which made Henry's years pass happier than William's.

But though, comparatively with his brother, William was the less happy
man, yet his self-reproach was not of such magnitude, for an offence of
that atrocious nature as to banish from his breast a certain degree of
happiness, a sensibility to the smiles of fortune; nor was Henry's self-
acquittal of such exquisite kind as to chase away the feeling of his
desolate condition.

As he fished or hunted for his daily dinner, many a time in full view of
his prey, a sudden burst of sorrow at his fate, a sudden longing for some
dear associate, for some friend to share his thoughts, for some kind
shoulder on which to lean his head, for some companion to partake of his
repast, would make him instantaneously desist from his pursuit, cast him
on the ground in a fit of anguish, till a shower of tears and his
_conscience_ came to his relief.

It was, after an exile of more than twenty-three years, when, on one
sultry morning, after pleasant dreams during the night, Henry had waked
with more than usual perception of his misery, that, sitting upon the
beach, his wishes and his looks all bent on the sea towards his native
land, he thought he saw a sail swelling before an unexpected breeze.

"Sure I am dreaming still!" he cried.  "This is the very vessel I last
night saw in my sleep!  Oh! what cruel mockery that my eyes should so
deceive me!"

Yet, though he doubted, he leaped upon his feet in transport, held up his
hands, stretched at their length, in a kind of ecstatic joy, and, as the
glorious sight approached, was near rushing into the sea to hail and meet
it.

For awhile hope and fear kept him in a state bordering on distraction.

Now he saw the ship making for the shore, and tears flowed for the
grateful prospect.  Now it made for another point, and he vented shrieks
and groans from the disappointment.

It was at those moments, while hope and fear thus possessed him, that the
horrors of his abode appeared more than ever frightful.  Inevitable
afflictions must be borne; but that calamity which admits the expectation
of relief, and then denies it, is insupportable.

After a few minutes passed in dreadful uncertainty, which enhanced the
wished-for happiness, the ship evidently drew near the land; a boat was
launched from her, and while Henry, now upon his knees, wept and prayed
fervently for the event, a youth sprang from the barge on the strand,
rushed towards him, and falling on his neck, then at his feet, exclaimed,
"My father! oh, my father!"

William! dean! bishop! what are your honours, what your riches, what all
your possessions, compared to the happiness, the transport bestowed by
this one sentence, on your poor brother Henry?



CHAPTER XXXVIII.


The crosses at land, and the perilous events at sea, had made it now two
years since young Henry first took the vow of a man no longer dependent
on the will of another, to seek his father.  His fatigues, his dangers,
were well recompensed.  Instead of weeping over a silent grave, he had
the inexpressible joy to receive a parent's blessing for his labours.
Yet, the elder Henry, though living, was so changed in person, that his
son would scarcely have known him in any other than the favourite spot,
which the younger (keeping in memory every incident of his former life)
knew his father had always chosen for his morning contemplations; and
where, previously to his coming to England, he had many a time kept him
company.  It was to that particular corner of the island that the captain
of the ship had generously ordered they should steer, out of the general
route, to gratify the filial tenderness he expressed.  But scarcely had
the interview between the father and the son taken place, than a band of
natives, whom the appearance of the vessel had called from the woods and
hills, came to attack the invaders.  The elder Henry had no friend with
whom he wished to shake hands at his departure; the old negro servant who
had assisted in young Henry's escape was dead; and he experienced the
excessive joy of bidding adieu to the place, without one regret for all
he left behind.

On the night of that day, whose morning had been marked by peculiar
sadness at the louring prospect of many exiled years to come, he slept on
board an English vessel, with Englishmen his companions, and his son, his
beloved son--who was still more dear to him for that mind which had
planned and executed his rescue--this son, his attentive servant, and
most affectionate friend.

Though many a year passed, and many a rough encounter was destined to the
lot of the two Henrys before they saw the shores of Europe, yet to them,
to live or to die together was happiness enough: even young Henry for a
time asked for no greater blessing--but, the first glow of filial ardour
over, he called to mind, "Rebecca lived in England;" and every exertion
which love, founded on the highest reverence and esteem, could dictate,
he employed to expedite a voyage, the end of which would be crowned by
the sight of her.



CHAPTER XXXIX.


The contrast of the state of happiness between the two brothers was
nearly resembled by that of the two cousins--the riches of young William
did not render him happy, nor did the poverty of young Henry doom him to
misery.  His affectionate heart, as he had described in his letter to
Rebecca, loved _persons_ rather than _things_; and he would not have
exchanged the society of his father, nor the prospect of her hand and
heart, for all the wealth and splendour of which his cousin William was
the master.

He was right.  Young William, though he viewed with contempt Henry's
inferior state, was far less happy than he.  His marriage had been the
very counterpart of his father's; and having no child to create affection
to his home, his study was the only relief from that domestic incumbrance
called his wife; and though, by unremitting application there (joined to
the influence of the potent relations of the woman he hated), he at
length arrived at the summit of his ambitious desires, still they poorly
repaid him for the sacrifice he had made in early life of every tender
disposition.

Striding through a list of rapid advancements in the profession of the
law, at the age of thirty-eight he found himself raised to a preferment
such as rarely falls to the share of a man of his short experience--he
found himself invested with a judge's robe; and, gratified by the exalted
office, curbed more than ever that aversion which her want of charms or
sympathy had produced against the partner of his honours.

While William had thus been daily rising in fortune's favour, poor Agnes
had been daily sinking deeper and deeper under fortune's frowns: till at
last she became a midnight wanderer through the streets of London,
soliciting, or rudely demanding, money of the passing stranger.
Sometimes, hunted by the watch, she affrighted fled from street to
street, from portico to portico; and once, unknowing in her fear which
way she hurried, she found her trembling knees had sunk, and her wearied
head was reclined against the stately pillars that guarded William's
door.

At the sudden recollection where she was, a swell of passion, composed of
horror, of anger, of despair, and love, gave reanimated strength to her
failing limbs; and, regardless of her pursuer's steps, she ran to the
centre of the street, and, looking up to the windows of the mansion,
cried, "Ah! there he sleeps in quiet, in peace, in ease--he does not even
dream of me--he does not care how the cold pierces, or how the people
persecute me!  He does not thank me for all the lavish love I have borne
him and his child!  His heart is so hard, he does not even recollect that
it was he who brought me to ruin."

Had these miseries, common to the unhappy prostitute, been alone the
punishment of Agnes--had her crimes and sufferings ended in distress like
this, her story had not perhaps been selected for a public recital; for
it had been no other than the customary history of thousands of her sex.
But Agnes had a destiny yet more fatal.  Unhappily, she was endowed with
a mind so sensibly alive to every joy, and every sorrow, to every mark of
kindness, every token of severity, so liable to excess in passion, that,
once perverted, there was no degree of error from which it would revolt.

Taught by the conversation of the dissolute poor, with whom she now
associated, or by her own observation on the worldly reward of elevated
villainy, she began to suspect "that dishonesty was only held a sin to
secure the property of the rich; and that, to take from those who did not
want, by the art of stealing, was less guilt, than to take from those who
did want, by the power of the law."

By false yet seducing opinions such as these, her reason estranged from
every moral and religious tie, her necessities urgent, she reluctantly
accepted the proposal to mix with a band of practised sharpers and
robbers, and became an accomplice in negotiating bills forged on a
country banker.

But though ingenious in arguments to excuse the deed before its
commission, in the act she had ever the dread of some incontrovertible
statement on the other side of the question.  Intimidated by this
apprehension, she was the veriest bungler in her vile profession--and on
the alarm of being detected, while every one of her confederates escaped
and absconded, she alone was seized--was arrested for issuing notes they
had fabricated, and committed to the provincial jail, about fifty miles
from London, where the crime had been perpetrated, to take her trial
for--life or death.



CHAPTER XL.


The day at length is come on which Agnes shall have a sight of her
beloved William!  She who has watched for hours near his door, to procure
a glimpse of him going out, or returning home; who has walked miles to
see his chariot pass: she now will behold him, and he will see her by
command of the laws of their country.  Those laws, which will deal with
rigour towards her, are in this one instance still indulgent.

The time of the assizes, at the county town in which she is imprisoned,
is arrived--the prisoners are demanded at the shire-hall--the jail doors
are opened--they go in sad procession--the trumpet sounds--it speaks the
arrival of the judge--and that judge is William!

The day previous to her trial, Agnes had read, in the printed calendar of
the prisoners, his name as the learned justice before whom she was to
appear.  For a moment she forgot her perilous state in the excess of joy
which the still unconquerable love she bore to him permitted her to taste
even on the brink of the grave!  After-reflection made her check those
worldly transports, as unfit for the present solemn occasion.  But alas!
to her, earth and William were so closely united that, till she forsook
the one, she could never cease to think, without the contending passions
of hope, of fear, of joy, of love, of shame, and of despair, on the
other.

Now fear took place of her first immoderate joy--she feared that,
although much changed in person since he had seen her, and her real name
now added to many an _alias_--yet she feared that same well-known glance
of the eye, turn of the action, or accent of speech, might recall her to
his remembrance; and at that idea shame overcame all her other
sensations--for still she retained pride, in respect to _his_ opinion, to
wish him not to know Agnes was that wretch she felt she was!  Once a ray
of hope beamed on her, "that if he knew her, he recognised her, he might
possibly befriend her cause;" and life bestowed through William's
friendship seemed a precious object!  But again, that rigorous honour she
had often heard him boast, that firmness to his word, of which she had
fatal experience, taught her to know, he would not for any unproper
compassion, any unmanly weakness, forfeit his oath of impartial justice.

In meditations such as these she passed the sleepless night.  When, in
the morning, she was brought to the bar, and her guilty hand held up
before the righteous judgment seat of William--imagination could not form
two figures, or two situations more incompatible with the existence of
former familiarity, than the judge and the culprit--and yet, these very
persons had passed together the most blissful moments that either ever
tasted!  Those hours of tender dalliance were now present to _her_ mind.
_His_ thoughts were more nobly employed in his high office; nor could the
haggard face, hollow eye, desponding countenance, and meagre person of
the poor prisoner, once call to his memory, though her name was uttered
among a list of others which she had assumed, his former youthful, lovely
Agnes!

She heard herself arraigned with trembling limbs and downcast looks; and
many witnesses had appeared against her before she ventured to lift her
eyes up to her awful judge.  She then gave one fearful glance, and
discovered William, unpitying but beloved William, in every feature!  It
was a face she had been used to look on with delight, and a kind of
absent smile of gladness now beamed on her poor wan visage.

When every witness on the part of the prosecutor had been examined, the
judge addressed himself to her--"What defence have you to make?"

It was William spoke to Agnes!  The sound was sweet; the voice was mild,
was soft, compassionate, encouraging!  It almost charmed her to a love of
life!--not such a voice as when William last addressed her; when he left
her undone and pregnant, vowing never to see or speak to her more.

She could have hung upon the present words for ever!  She did not call to
mind that this gentleness was the effect of practice, the art of his
occupation: which, at times, is but a copy, by the unfeeling, from his
benevolent brethren of the bench.  In the present judge, tenderness was
not designed for the consolation of the culprit, but for the approbation
of the auditors.

There were no spectators, Agnes, by your side when last he parted from
you: if there had, the awful William had been awed to marks of pity.

Stunned with the enchantment of that well-known tongue directed to her,
she stood like one just petrified--all vital power seemed suspended.

Again he put the question, and with these additional sentences, tenderly
and emphatically delivered--"Recollect yourself.  Have you no witnesses?
No proof in your behalf?"

A dead silence followed these questions.

He then mildly, but forcibly, added--"What have you to say?"

Here a flood of tears burst from her eyes, which she fixed earnestly upon
him, as if pleading for mercy, while she faintly articulated,

"Nothing, my lord."

After a short pause, he asked her, in the same forcible but benevolent
tone--

"Have you no one to speak to your character?"  The prisoner answered--

A second gush of tears followed this reply, for she called to mind by
_whom_ her character had first been blasted.

He summed up the evidence; and every time he was compelled to press hard
upon the proofs against her she shrunk, and seemed to stagger with the
deadly blow; writhed under the weight of _his_ minute justice, more than
from the prospect of a shameful death.

The jury consulted but a few minutes.  The verdict was--

"Guilty."

She heard it with composure.

But when William placed the fatal velvet on his head, and rose to
pronounce her sentence, she started with a kind of convulsive motion;
retreated a step or two back, and, lifting up her hands, with a scream
exclaimed--

"Oh! not from _you_!"

The piercing shriek which accompanied these words prevented their being
heard by part of the audience; and those who heard them thought little of
their meaning, more than that they expressed her fear of dying.

Serene and dignified, as if no such exclamation had been uttered, William
delivered the fatal speech, ending with, "Dead, dead, dead."

She fainted as he closed the period, and was carried back to prison in a
swoon; while he adjourned the court to go to dinner.



CHAPTER XLI.


If, unaffected by the scene he had witnessed, William sat down to dinner
with an appetite, let not the reader conceive that the most distant
suspicion had struck his mind of his ever having seen, much less
familiarly known, the poor offender whom he had just condemned.  Still
this forgetfulness did not proceed from the want of memory for Agnes.  In
every peevish or heavy hour passed with his wife, he was sure to think of
her: yet it was self-love, rather than love of _her_, that gave rise to
these thoughts: he felt the lack of female sympathy and tenderness to
soften the fatigue of studious labour; to sooth a sullen, a morose
disposition--he felt he wanted comfort for himself, but never once
considered what were the wants of Agnes.

In the chagrin of a barren bed, he sometimes thought, too, even on the
child that Agnes bore him; but whether it were male or female, whether a
beggar in the streets, or dead--various and important public occupations
forbade him to waste time to inquire.  Yet the poor, the widow, and the
orphan, frequently shared William's ostentatious bounty.  He was the
president of many excellent charities, gave largely, and sometimes
instituted benevolent societies for the unhappy; for he delighted to load
the poor with obligations, and the rich with praise.

There are persons like him, who love to do every good but that which
their immediate duty requires.  There are servants who will serve every
one more cheerfully than their masters; there are men who will distribute
money liberally to all except their creditors; and there are wives who
will love all mankind better than their husbands.  Duty is a familiar
word which has little effect upon an ordinary mind; and as ordinary minds
make a vast majority, we have acts of generosity, valour, self-denial,
and bounty, where smaller pains would constitute greater virtues.  Had
William followed the _common_ dictates of charity; had he adopted private
pity, instead of public munificence; had he cast an eye at home before he
sought abroad for objects of compassion, Agnes had been preserved from an
ignominious death, and he had been preserved from--_Remorse_--the
tortures of which he for the first time proved, on reading a printed
sheet of paper, accidentally thrown in his way, a few days after he had
left the town in which he had condemned her to die.

   "_March the_ 12th, 179-

   "The last dying words, speech, and confession; birth, parentage, and
   education; life, character, and behaviour, of Agnes Primrose, who was
   executed this morning, between the hours of ten and twelve, pursuant
   to the sentence passed upon her by the Honourable Justice Norwynne.

   "AGNES PRIMROSE was born of honest parents, in the village of Anfield,
   in the county of ---"  [William started at the name of the village and
   county]; "but being led astray by the arts and flattery of seducing
   man, she fell from the paths of virtue, and took to bad company, which
   instilled into her young heart all their evil ways, and at length
   brought her to this untimely end.  So she hopes her death will be a
   warning to all young persons of her own sex, how they listen to the
   praises and courtship of young men, especially of those who are their
   betters; for they only court to deceive.  But the said Agnes freely
   forgives all persons who have done her injury, or given her sorrow,
   from the young man who first won her heart to the jury who found her
   guilty, and the judge who condemned her to death.

   "And she acknowledges the justice of her sentence, not only in respect
   of the crime for which she suffers, but in regard to many other
   heinous sins of which she has been guilty, more especially that of
   once attempting to commit a murder upon her own helpless child, for
   which guilt she now considers the vengeance of God has overtaken her,
   to which she is patiently resigned, and departs in peace and charity
   with all the world, praying the Lord to have mercy on her parting
   soul."

   "POSTSCRIPT TO THE CONFESSION.

   "So great was this unhappy woman's terror of death, and the awful
   judgment that was to follow, that when sentence was pronounced upon
   her, she fell into a swoon, from that into convulsions, from which she
   never entirely recovered, but was delirious to the time of her
   execution, except that short interval in which she made her confession
   to the clergyman who attended her.  She has left one child, a youth
   about sixteen, who has never forsaken his mother during all the time
   of her imprisonment, but waited on her with true filial duty; and no
   sooner was her fatal sentence passed than he began to droop, and now
   lies dangerously ill near the prison from which she is released by
   death.  During the loss of her senses, the said Agnes Primrose raved
   continually on this child; and, asking for pen, ink, and paper, wrote
   an incoherent petition to the judge recommending the youth to his
   protection and mercy.  But notwithstanding this insanity, she behaved
   with composure and resignation when the fatal morning arrived in which
   she was to be launched into eternity.  She prayed devoutly during the
   last hour, and seemed to have her whole mind fixed on the world to
   which she was going.  A crowd of spectators followed her to the fatal
   spot, most of whom returned weeping at the recollection of the
   fervency with which she prayed, and the impression which her dreadful
   state seemed to make upon her."

No sooner had the name of "Anfield" struck William than a thousand
reflections and remembrances flashed on his mind to give him full
conviction whom it was he had judged and sentenced.  He recollected the
sad remains of Agnes, such as he once had known her; and now he wondered
how his thoughts could have been absent from an object so pitiable, so
worthy of his attention, as not to give him even a suspicion who she was,
either from her name, or from her person, during the whole trial!

But wonder, astonishment, horror, and every other sensation was absorbed
by--_Remorse_:--it wounded, it stabbed, it rent his hard heart, as it
would do a tender one.  It havocked on his firm inflexible mind, as it
would on a weak and pliant brain!  Spirit of Agnes! look down, and behold
all your wrongs revenged!  William feels--_Remorse_.



CHAPTER XLII.


A few momentary cessations from the pangs of a guilty conscience were
given to William, as soon as he had despatched a messenger to the jail in
which Agnes had been communed, to inquire after the son she had left
behind, and to give orders that immediate care should be taken of him.  He
likewise charged the messenger to bring back the petition she had
addressed to him during her supposed insanity; for he now experienced no
trivial consolation in the thought that he might possibly have it in his
power to grant her a request.

The messenger returned with the written paper, which had been considered
by the persons to whom she had intrusted it, as the distracted dictates
of an insane mind; but proved to William, beyond a doubt, that she was
perfectly in her senses.

   "TO LORD CHIEF JUSTICE NORWYNNE.

   "MY LORD,--I am Agnes Primrose, the daughter of John and Hannah
   Primrose, of Anfield.  My father and mother lived by the hill at the
   side of the little brook where you used to fish, and so first saw me.

   "Pray, my lord, have mercy on my sorrows; pity me for the first time,
   and spare my life.  I know I have done wrong.  I know it is
   presumption in me to dare to apply to you, such a wicked and mean
   wretch as I am; but, my lord, you once condescended to take notice of
   me; and though I have been very wicked since that time, yet if you
   would be so merciful as to spare my life, I promise to amend it for
   the future.  But if you think it proper I should die, I will be
   resigned; but then I hope, I beg, I supplicate, that you will grant my
   other petition.  Pray, pray, my lord, if you cannot pardon me, be
   merciful to the child I leave behind.  What he will do when I am gone,
   I don't know, for I have been the only friend he has had ever since he
   was born.  He was born, my lord, about sixteen years ago, at Anfield,
   one summer a morning, and carried by your cousin, Mr. Henry Norwynne,
   to Mr. Rymer's, the curate there; and I swore whose child he was
   before the dean, and I did not take a false oath.  Indeed, indeed, my
   lord, I did not.

   "I will say no more for fear this should not come safe to your hand,
   for the people treat me as if I were mad; so I will say no more, only
   this, that, whether I live or die, I forgive everybody, and I hope
   everybody will forgive me.  And I pray that God will take pity on my
   son, if you refuse; but I hope you will not refuse.

   "AGNES PRIMROSE."

William rejoiced, as he laid down the petition, that she had asked a
favour he could bestow; and hoped by his protection of the son to
redress, in some degree, the wrongs he had done the mother.  He instantly
sent for the messenger into his apartment, and impatiently asked, "If he
had seen the boy, and given proper directions for his care."

"I have given directions, sir, for his funeral."

"How!" cried William.

"He pined away ever since his mother was confined, and died two days
after her execution."

Robbed, by this news, of his only gleam of consolation--in the
consciousness of having done a mortal injury for which he never now by
any means could atone, he saw all his honours, all his riches, all his
proud selfish triumphs fade before him!  They seemed like airy nothings,
which in rapture he would exchange for the peace of a tranquil
conscience!

He envied Agnes the death to which he first exposed, then condemned, her.
He envied her even the life she struggled through from his neglect, and
felt that his future days would be far less happy than her former
existence.  He calculated with precision.



CHAPTER XLIII.


The progressive rise of William and fall of Agnes had now occupied nearly
the term of eighteen years.  Added to these, another year elapsed before
the younger Henry completed the errand on which his heart was fixed, and
returned to England.  Shipwreck, imprisonment, and other ills to which
the poor and unfriended traveller is peculiarly exposed, detained the
father and son in various remote regions until the present period; and,
for the last fifteen years, denied them the means of all correspondence
with their own country.

The elder Henry was now past sixty years of age, and the younger almost
beyond the prime of life.  Still length of time had not diminished, but
rather had increased, their anxious longings for their native home.

The sorrows, disappointments, and fatigues, which, throughout these
tedious years, were endured by the two Henrys, are of that dull
monotonous kind of suffering better omitted than described--mere
repetitions of the exile's woe, that shall give place to the transporting
joy of return from banishment!  Yet, often as the younger had reckoned,
with impatient wishes, the hours which were passed distant from her he
loved, no sooner was his disastrous voyage at an end, no sooner had his
feet trod upon the shore of Britain, than a thousand wounding fears made
him almost doubt whether it were happiness or misery he had obtained by
his arrival.  If Rebecca were living, he knew it must be happiness; for
his heart dwelt with confidence on her faith, her unchanging sentiments.
"But death might possibly have ravished from his hopes what no mortal
power could have done."  And thus the lover creates a rival in every ill,
rather than suffer his fears to remain inanimate.

The elder Henry had less to fear or to hope than his son; yet he both
feared and hoped with a sensibility that gave him great anxiety.  He
hoped his brother would receive him with kindness, after his long
absence, and once more take his son cordially to his favour.  He longed
impatiently to behold his brother; to see his nephew; nay, in the ardour
of the renewed affection he just now felt, he thought even a distant view
of Lady Clementina would be grateful to his sight!  But still, well
remembering the pomp, the state, the pride of William, he could not rely
on _his_ affection, so much he knew that it depended on external
circumstances to excite or to extinguish his love.  Not that he feared an
absolute repulsion from his brother; but he feared, what, to a delicate
mind, is still worse--reserved manners, cold looks, absent sentences, and
all that cruel retinue of indifference with which those who are beloved
so often wound the bosom that adores them.

By inquiring of their countrymen (whom they met as they approached to the
end of their voyage), concerning their relation the dean, the two Henrys
learned that he was well, and had for some years past been exalted to the
bishopric of ---.  This news gave them joy, while it increased their fear
of not receiving an affectionate welcome.

The younger Henry, on his landing, wrote immediately to his uncle,
acquainting him with his father's arrival in the most abject state of
poverty; he addressed his letter to the bishop's country residence, where
he knew, as it was the summer season, he would certainly be.  He and his
father then set off on foot towards that residence--a palace!

The bishop's palace was not situated above fifty miles from the port
where they had landed; and at a small inn about three miles from the
bishop's they proposed (as the letter to him intimated) to wait for his
answer before they intruded into his presence.

As they walked on their solitary journey, it was some small consolation
that no creature knew them.

"To be poor and ragged, father," the younger smilingly said, "is no
disgrace, no shame, thank Heaven, where the object is not known."

"True, my son," replied Henry; "and perhaps I feel myself much happier
now, unknowing and unknown to all but you, than I shall in the presence
of my fortunate brother and his family; for there, confusion at my ill
success through life may give me greater pain than even my misfortunes
have inflicted."

After uttering this reflection which had preyed upon his mind, he sat
down on the road side to rest his agitated limbs before he could proceed
farther.  His son reasoned with him--gave him courage; and now his hopes
preponderated, till, after two days' journey, on arriving at the inn
where an answer from the bishop was expected, no letter, no message had
been left.

"He means to renounce us," said Henry, trembling, and whispering to his
son.

Without disclosing to the people of the house who they were, or from whom
the letter or the message they inquired for was to have come, they
retired, and consulted what steps they were now to pursue.

Previously to his writing to the bishop, the younger Henry's heart, all
his inclinations, had swayed him towards a visit to the village in which
was his uncle's former country-seat, the beloved village of Anfield, but
respect to him and duty to his father had made him check those wishes;
now they revived again, and, with the image of Rebecca before his eyes,
he warmly entreated his father to go with him to Anfield, at present only
thirty miles distant, and thence write once more; then again wait the
will of his uncle.

The father consented to this proposal, even glad to postpone the visit to
his dignified brother.

After a scanty repast, such as they had been long inured to, they quitted
the inn, and took the road towards Anfield.



CHAPTER XLIV.


It was about five in the afternoon of a summer's day, that Henry and his
son left the sign of the Mermaid to pursue their third day's journey: the
young man's spirits elated with the prospect of the reception he should
meet from Rebecca: the elder dejected at not having received a speedy
welcome from his brother.

The road which led to Anfield by the shortest course of necessity took
our travellers within sight of the bishop's palace.  The turrets appeared
at a distance; and on the sudden turn round the corner of a large
plantation, the whole magnificent structure was at once exhibited before
his brother's astonished eyes.  He was struck with the grandeur of the
habitation; and, totally forgetting all the unkind, the contemptuous
treatment he had ever received from its owner (like the same Henry in his
earlier years), smiled with a kind of transport "that William was so
great a man."

After this first joyous sensation was over, "Let us go a little nearer,
my son," said he; "no one will see us, I hope; or, if they should, you
can run and conceal yourself; and not a creature will know me; even my
brother would not know me thus altered; and I wish to take a little
farther view of his fine house, and all his pleasure grounds."

Young Henry, though impatient to be gone, would not object to his
father's desire.  They walked forward between a shady grove and a purling
rivulet, snuffed in odours from the jessamine banks, and listened to the
melody of an adjoining aviary.

The allurements of the spot seemed to enchain the elder Henry, and he at
length sauntered to the very avenue of the dwelling; but, just as he had
set his daring yet trembling feet upon the turf which led to the palace
gates, he suddenly stopped, on hearing, as he thought, the village clock
strike seven, which reminded him that evening drew on, and it was time to
go.  He listened again, when he and his son, both together, said, "It is
the toll of the bell before some funeral."

The signals of death, while they humble the rich, inspire the poor with
pride.  The passing bell gave Henry a momentary sense of equality; and he
courageously stepped forward to the first winding of the avenue.

He started back at the sight which presented itself.

A hearse--mourning coaches--mutes--plumed horses--with every other token
of the person's importance who was going to be committed to the earth.

Scarcely had his terrified eyes been thus unexpectedly struck, when a
coffin borne by six men issued from the gates, and was deposited in the
waiting receptacle; while gentlemen in mourning went into the different
coaches.

A standard-bearer now appeared with an escutcheon, on which the keys and
mitre were displayed.  Young Henry, upon this, pathetically exclaimed,
"My uncle! it is my uncle's funeral!"

Henry, his father, burst into tears.

The procession moved along.

The two Henrys, the only real mourners in the train, followed at a little
distance--in rags, but in tears.

The elder Henry's heart was nearly bursting; he longed to clasp the dear
remains of his brother without the dread of being spurned for his
presumption.  He now could no longer remember him either as the dean or
bishop; but, leaping over that whole interval of pride and arrogance,
called only to his memory William, such as he knew him when they lived at
home together, together walked to London, and there together almost
perished for want.

They arrived at the church; and, while the coffin was placing in the
dreary vault, the weeping brother crept slowly after to the hideous spot.
His reflections now fixed on a different point.  "Is this possible?" said
he to himself.  "Is this the dean, whom I ever feared?  Is this the
bishop, of whom within the present hour I stood in awe?  Is this William,
whose every glance struck me with his superiority?  Alas, my brother! and
is this horrid abode the reward for all your aspiring efforts?  Are these
sepulchral trappings the only testimonies of your greatness which you
exhibit to me on my return?  Did you foresee an end like this, while you
treated me, and many more of your youthful companions, with haughtiness
and contempt; while you thought it becoming of your dignity to shun and
despise us?  Where is the difference now between my departed wife and
you?  Or, if there be a difference, she, perchance, has the advantage.
Ah, my poor brother! for distinction in the other world, I trust, some of
your anxious labours have been employed; for you are now of less
importance in this than when you and I first left our native town, and
hoped for nothing greater than to be suffered to exist."

On their quitting the church, they inquired of the bystanders the
immediate cause of the bishop's death, and heard he had been suddenly
carried off by a raging fever.

Young Henry inquired "if Lady Clementina was at the palace, or Mr.
Norwynne?"

"The latter is there," he was answered by a poor woman; "but Lady
Clementina has been dead these four years."

"Dead! dead!" cried young Henry.  "That worldly woman! quitted this world
for ever!"

"Yes," answered the stranger; "she caught cold by wearing a new-fashioned
dress that did not half cover her, wasted all away, and died the
miserablest object you ever heard of."

The person who gave this melancholy intelligence concluded it with a
hearty laugh, which would have surprised the two hearers if they had not
before observed that amongst all the village crowd that attended to see
this solemn show not one afflicted countenance appeared, not one dejected
look, not one watery eye.  The pastor was scarcely known to his flock; it
was in London that his meridian lay, at the levee of ministers, at the
table of peers, at the drawing-rooms of the great; and now his neglected
parishioners paid his indifference in kind.

The ceremony over, and the mourning suite departed, the spectators
dispersed with gibes and jeering faces from the sad spot; while the
Henrys, with heavy hearts, retraced their steps back towards the palace.
In their way, at the crossing of a stile, they met a poor labourer
returning from his day's work, who, looking earnestly at the throng of
persons who were leaving the churchyard, said to the elder Henry--"Pray,
master, what are all them folk gathered together about?  What's the
matter there?"

"There has been a funeral," replied Henry.

"Oh, zooks! what! a burying!--ay, now I see it is; and I warrant of our
old bishop--I heard he was main ill.  It is he they have been putting
into the ground! is not it?"

"Yes," said Henry.

"Why, then, so much the better."

"The better!" cried Henry.

"Yes, master; though I should be loth to be where he is now."

Henry started--"He was your pastor, man!"

"Ha! ha! ha!  I should be sorry that my master's sheep, that are feeding
yonder, should have no better pastor--the fox would soon get them all."

"You surely did not know him!"

"Not much, I can't say I did; for he was above speaking to poor folks,
unless they did any mischief--and then he was sure to take notice of
them."

"I believe he meant well," said Henry.

"As to what he meant, God only knows; but I know what he _did_."

"And what did he?"

"Nothing at all for the poor."

"If any of them applied to him, no doubt--"

"Oh! they knew better than all that comes to; for if they asked for
anything, he was sure to have them sent to Bridewell, or the workhouse.
He used to say, '_The workhouse was a fine place for a poor man_--_the
food good enough_, _and enough of it_;' yet he kept a dainty table
himself.  His dogs, too, fared better than we poor.  He was vastly tender
and good to all his horses and dogs, I _will_ say that for him; and to
all brute beasts: he would not suffer them to be either starved or
struck--but he had no compassion for his fellow-creatures."

"I am sensible you do him wrong."

"That _he_ is the best judge of by this time.  He has sent many a poor
man to the house of correction; and now 'tis well if he has not got a
place there himself.  Ha, ha, ha!"

The man was walking away, when Henry called to him--"Pray can you tell me
if the bishop's son be at the palace?"

"Oh, yes! you'll find master there treading in the old man's shoes, as
proud as Lucifer."

"Has he any children?"

"No, thank God!  There's been enow of the name; and after the son is
gone, I hope we shall have no more of the breed."

"Is Mrs. Norwynne, the son's wife, at the palace?"

"What, master! did not you know what's become of her?"

"Any accident?--"

"Ha, ha, ha! yes.  I can't help laughing--why, master, she made a
mistake, and went to another man's bed--and so her husband and she were
parted--and she has married the other man."

"Indeed!" cried Henry, amazed.

"Ay, indeed; but if it had been my wife or yours, the bishop would have
made her do penance in a white sheet; but as it was a lady, why, it was
all very well--and any one of us, that had been known to talk about it,
would have been sent to Bridewell straight.  But we _did_ talk,
notwithstanding."

The malicious joy with which the peasant told this story made Henry
believe (more than all the complaints the man uttered) that there had
been want of charity and Christian deportment in the whole conduct of the
bishop's family.  He almost wished himself back on his savage island,
where brotherly love could not be less than it appeared to be in this
civilised country.



CHAPTER XLV.


As Henry and his son, after parting from the poor labourer, approached
the late bishop's palace, all the charms of its magnificence, its
situation, which, but a few hours before, had captivated the elder
Henry's mind, were vanished; and, from the mournful ceremony he had since
been witness of, he now viewed this noble edifice but as a heap of
rubbish piled together to fascinate weak understandings, and to make even
the wise and religious man, at times, forget why he was sent into this
world.

Instead of presenting themselves to their nephew and cousin, they both
felt an unconquerable reluctance to enter under the superb, the
melancholy, roof.  A bank, a hedge, a tree, a hill, seemed, at this
juncture, a pleasanter shelter, and each felt himself happy in being a
harmless wanderer on the face of the earth rather than living in
splendour, while the wants, the revilings of the hungry and the naked
were crying to Heaven for vengeance.

They gave a heartfelt sigh to the vanity of the rich and the powerful;
and pursued a path where they hoped to meet with virtue and happiness.

They arrived at Anfield.

Possessed by apprehensions, which his uncle's funeral had served to
increase, young Henry, as he entered the well-known village, feared every
sound he heard would convey information of Rebecca's death.  He saw the
parsonage house at a distance, but dreaded to approach it, lest Rebecca
should no longer be an inhabitant.  His father indulged him in the wish
to take a short survey of the village, and rather learn by indirect
means, by observation, his fate, than hear it all at once from the lips
of some blunt relater.

Anfield had undergone great changes since Henry left it.  He found some
cottages built where formerly there were none; and some were no more
where he had frequently called, and held short conversations with the
poor who dwelt in them.  Amongst the latter number was the house of the
parents of Agnes--fallen to the ground!  He wondered to himself where
that poor family had taken up their abode.  Henry, in a kinder world!

He once again cast a look at the old parsonage house: his inquisitive eye
informed him there no alteration had taken place externally; but he
feared what change might be within.

At length he obtained the courage to enter the churchyard in his way to
it.  As he slowly and tremblingly moved along, he stopped to read here
and there a gravestone; as mild, instructive conveyers of intelligence,
to which he could attend with more resignation, than to any other
reporter.

The second stone he came to he found was erected _To the memory of the
Reverend Thomas Rymer_, Rebecca's father.  He instantly called to mind
all that poor curate's quick sensibility of wrong towards _himself_; his
unbridled rage in consequence; and smiled to think; how trivial now
appeared all for which he gave way to such excess of passion!

But, shocked at the death of one so near to her he loved, he now feared
to read on; and cast his eyes from the tombs accidentally to the church.
Through the window of the chancel, his sight was struck with a tall
monument of large dimensions, raised since his departure, and adorned
with the finest sculpture.  His curiosity was excited--he drew near, and
he could distinguish (followed by elegant poetic praise) "_To the memory
of John Lord Viscount Bendham_."

Notwithstanding the solemn, melancholy, anxious bent of Henry's mind, he
could not read these words, and behold this costly fabric, without
indulging a momentary fit of indignant laughter.

"Are sculpture and poetry thus debased," he cried, "to perpetuate the
memory of a man whose best advantage is to be forgotten; whose no one
action merits record, but as an example to be shunned?"

An elderly woman, leaning on her staff, now passed along the lane by the
side of the church.  The younger Henry accosted her, and ventured to
inquire "where the daughters of Mr. Rymer, since his death, were gone to
live?"

"We live," she returned, "in that small cottage across the clover field."

Henry looked again, and thought he had mistaken the word _we_; for he
felt assured that he had no knowledge of the person to whom he spoke.

But she knew him, and, after a pause, cried--"Ah!  Mr. Henry, you are
welcome back.  I am heartily glad to see you, and my poor sister Rebecca
will go out of her wits with joy."

"Is Rebecca living, and will be glad to see me?" he eagerly asked, while
tears of rapture trickled down his face.  "Father," he continued in his
ecstasy, "we are now come home to be completely happy; and I feel as if
all the years I have been away were but a short week; and as if all the
dangers I have passed had been light as air.  But is it possible," he
cried to his kind informer, "that you are one of Rebecca's sisters?"

Well might he ask; for, instead of the blooming woman of seven-and-twenty
he had left her, her colour was gone, her teeth impaired, her voice
broken.  She was near fifty.

"Yes, I am one of Mr. Rymer's daughters," she replied.

"But which?" said Henry.

"The eldest, and once called the prettiest," she returned: "though now
people tell me I am altered; yet I cannot say I see it myself."

"And are you all living?" Henry inquired.

"All but one: she married and died.  The other three, on my father's
death, agreed to live together, and knit or spin for our support.  So we
took that small cottage, and furnished it with some of the parsonage
furniture, as you shall see; and kindly welcome I am sure you will be to
all it affords, though that is but little."

As she was saying this, she led him through the clover field towards the
cottage.  His heart rebounded with joy that Rebecca was there: yet, as he
walked he shuddered at the impression which he feared the first sight of
her would make.  He feared, what he imagined (till he had seen this
change in her sister) he should never heed.  He feared Rebecca would look
no longer young.  He was not yet so far master over all his sensual
propensities as, when the trial came, to think he could behold her look
like her sister, and not give some evidence of his disappointment.

His fears were vain.  On entering the gate of their little garden,
Rebecca rushed from the house to meet them: just the same Rebecca as
ever.

It was her mind, which beaming on her face, and actuating her every
motion, had ever constituted all her charms: it was her mind which had
gained her Henry's affection.  That mind had undergone no change; and she
was the self-same woman he had left her.

He was entranced with joy.



CHAPTER XLVI.


The fare which the Henrys partook at the cottage of the female Rymers was
such as the sister had described--mean, and even scanty; but this did not
in the least diminish the happiness they received in meeting, for the
first time since their arrival in England, human beings who were glad to
see them.

At a stinted repast of milk and vegetables, by the glimmering light of a
little brushwood on the hearth, they yet could feel themselves
comparatively blest, while they listened to the recital of afflictions
which had befallen persons around that very neighbourhood, for whom every
delicious viand had been procured to gratify the taste, every art devised
to delight the other senses.

It was by the side of this glimmering fire that Rebecca and her sisters
told the story of poor Agnes's fate, and of the thorn it had for ever
planted in William's bosom--of his reported sleepless, perturbed nights;
and his gloomy, or half-distracted days; when in the fullness of
_remorse_, he has complained--"of a guilty conscience! of the weariness
attached to a continued prosperity! the misery of wanting an object of
affection."

They told of Lord Bendham's death from the effects of intemperance; from
a mass of blood infected by high-seasoned dishes, mixed with copious
draughts of wine--repletion of food and liquor, not less fatal to the
existence of the rich than the want of common sustenance to the lives of
the poor.

They told of Lady Bendham's ruin, since her lord's death, by gaming.  They
told, "that now she suffered beyond the pain of common indigence by the
cutting triumph of those whom she had formerly despised."

They related (what has been told before) the divorce of William, and the
marriage of his wife with a libertine; the decease of Lady Clementina,
occasioned by that incorrigible vanity which even old age could not
subdue.

After numerous other examples had been recited of the dangers, the evils
that riches draw upon their owner; the elder Henry rose from his chair,
and embracing Rebecca and his son, said--"How much indebted are we to
Providence, my children, who, while it inflicts poverty, bestows peace of
mind; and in return for the trivial grief we meet in this world, holds
out to our longing hopes the reward of the next!"

Not only resigned, but happy in their station, with hearts made cheerful
rather than dejected by attentive meditation, Henry and his son planned
the means of their future support, independent of their kinsman
William--nor only of him, but of every person and thing but their own
industry.

"While I have health and strength," cried the old man, and his son's
looks acquiesced in all the father said, "I will not take from any one in
affluence what only belongs to the widow, the fatherless, and the infirm;
for to such alone, by Christian laws--however custom may subvert them--the
overplus of the rich is due."



CHAPTER XLVII.


By forming a humble scheme for their remaining life, a scheme depending
upon their _own_ exertions alone, on no light promises of pretended
friends, and on no sanguine hopes of certain success, but with prudent
apprehension, with fortitude against disappointment, Henry, his son, and
Rebecca (now his daughter), found themselves, at the end of one year, in
the enjoyment of every comfort with such distinguished minds knew how to
taste.

Exempt both from patronage and from control--healthy--alive to every
fruition with which Nature blesses the world; dead to all out of their
power to attain, the works of art--susceptible of those passions with
endear human creatures one to another, insensible to those which separate
man from man--they found themselves the thankful inhabitants of a small
house, or hut, placed on the borders of the sea.

Each morning wakes the father and the son to cheerful labour in fishing,
or the tending of a garden, the produce of which they carry to the next
market town.  The evening sends them back to their home in joy: where
Rebecca meets them at the door, affectionately boasts of the warm meal
that is ready, and heightens the charm of conversation with her taste and
judgment.

It was after a supper of roots from their garden, poultry that Rebecca's
hand had reared, and a jug brewed by young Henry, that the following
discourse took place.

"My son," said the elder Henry, "where under Heaven shall three persons
be met together happy as we three are?  It is the want of industry, or
the want of reflection, which makes the poor dissatisfied.  Labour gives
a value to rest which the idle can never taste; and reflection gives to
the mind a degree of content which the unthinking never can know."

"I once," replied the younger Henry, "considered poverty a curse; but
after my thoughts became enlarged, and I had associated for years with
the rich, and now mix with the poor, my opinion has undergone a total
change; for I have seen, and have enjoyed, more real pleasure at work
with my fellow-labourers, and in this cottage, than ever I beheld, or
experienced, during my abode at my uncle's; during all my intercourse
with the fashionable and the powerful of this world."

"The worst is," said Rebecca, "the poor have not always enough."

"Who has enough?" asked her husband.  "Had my uncle?  No: he hoped for
more; and in all his writings sacrificed his duty to his avarice.  Had
his son enough, when he yielded up his honour, his domestic peace, to
gratify his ambition?  Had Lady Bendham enough, when she staked all she
had, in the hope of becoming richer?  Were we, my Rebecca, of
discontented minds, we have now too little.  But conscious, from
observation and experience, that the rich are not so happy as ourselves,
we rejoice in our lot."

The tear of joy which stole from her eye expressed, more than his words,
a state of happiness.

He continued: "I remember, when I first came a boy to England, the poor
excited my compassion; but now that my judgment is matured, I pity the
rich.  I know that in this opulent kingdom there are nearly as many
persons perishing through intemperance as starving with hunger; there are
as many miserable in the lassitude of having nothing to do as there are
of those bowed down to the earth with hard labour; there are more persons
who draw upon themselves calamity by following their own will than there
are who experience it by obeying the will of another.  Add to this, that
the rich are so much afraid of dying they have no comfort in living."

"There the poor have another advantage," said Rebecca; "for they may defy
not only death, but every loss by sea or land, as they have nothing to
lose."

"Besides," added the elder Henry, "there is a certain joy of the most
gratifying kind that the human mind is capable of tasting, peculiar to
the poor, and of which the rich can but seldom experience the delight."

"What can that be?" cried Rebecca.

"A kind word, a benevolent smile, one token of esteem from the person
whom we consider as our superior."

To which Rebecca replied, "And the rarity of obtaining such a token is
what increases the honour."

"Certainly," returned young Henry, "and yet those in poverty, ungrateful
as they are, murmur against that Government from which they receive the
blessing."

"But this is the fault of education, of early prejudice," said the elder
Henry.  "Our children observe us pay respect, even reverence, to the
wealthy, while we slight or despise the poor.  The impression thus made
on their minds in youth is indelible during the more advanced periods of
life; and they continue to pine after riches, and lament under poverty:
nor is the seeming folly wholly destitute of reason; for human beings are
not yet so deeply sunk in voluptuous gratification, or childish vanity,
as to place delight in any attainment which has not for its end the love
or admiration of their fellow-beings."

"Let the poor, then," cried the younger Henry, "no more be their own
persecutors--no longer pay homage to wealth--instantaneously the whole
idolatrous worship will cease--the idol will be broken!"





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