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Title: The Adventures of Hugh Trevor
Author: Holcroft, Thomas, 1745-1809
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.

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_The Adventures of Hugh Trevor_

by

Thomas Holcroft



  --'TIS SO PAT TO ALL THE TRIBE
  EACH SWEARS THAT WAS LEVELLED AT ME.

  GAY



VOLUME I



PREFACE


Every man of determined inquiry, who will ask, without the dread of
discovering more than he dares believe, what is divinity? what is law?
what is physic? what is war? and what is trade? will have great reason
to doubt at some times of the virtue, and at others of the utility, of
each of these different employments. What profession should a man of
principle, who is anxiously desirous to promote individual and general
happiness, chuse for his son? The question has perplexed many parents,
and certainly deserves a serious examination. Is a novel a good mode
for discussing it, or a proper vehicle for moral truth? Of this some
perhaps will be inclined to doubt. Others, whose intellectual powers
were indubitably of the first order, have considered the art of novel
writing as very essentially connected with moral instruction. Of this
opinion was the famous Turgot, who we are told affirmed that more
grand moral truths had been promulgated by novel writers than by any
other class of men.

But, though I consider the choice of a profession as the interesting
question agitated in the following work, I have endeavoured to keep
another important inquiry continually in view. This inquiry is, the
growth of intellect. Philosophers have lately paid much attention
to the progress of mind; the subject is with good reason become a
favourite with them, and the more the individual and the general
history of man is examined the more proofs do they discover in
support of his perfectability. Man is continually impelled, by the
vicissitudes of life, to great vicissitudes of opinion and conduct. He
is a being necessarily subject to change; and the inquiry of wisdom
ought continually to be, how may he change for the better? From
individual facts, and from them alone, can general knowledge be
obtained.

Two men of different opinions were once conversing. The one scoffed at
innate ideas, instinctive principles, and occult causes: the other was
a believer in natural gifts, and an active fabricator of suppositions.
Suggest but the slightest hint and he would erect a hypothesis which
no argument, at least none that he would listen to, could overthrow.
So convinced was he of the force of intuitive powers, and natural
propensities, as existing in himself, that, having proposed to write
a treatise to prove that apple trees might bear oysters, or something
equally true and equally important, he was determined he said to
seek for no exterior aid or communication, from books, or things, or
men; being convinced that the activity of his own mind would afford
intuitive argument, of more worth than all the adulterated and
suspicious facts that experience could afford.

To this his antagonist replied, he knew but of one mode of obtaining
knowledge; which was by the senses. Whether this knowledge entered
at the eye, the ear, the papillary nerves, the olfactory, or by that
more general sense which we call feeling, was, he argued, of little
consequence; but at some or all of these it must enter, for he had
never discovered any other inlet. If however the system of his
opponent were true, he could only say that, in all probability, his
intended treatise would have been written in the highest perfection
had he begun and ended it before he had been born.

If this reasoning be just, I think we may conclude that the man of
forty will be somewhat more informed than the infant, who has but
just seen the light. Deductions of a like kind will teach us that
the collective knowledge of ages is superior to the rude dawning of
the savage state; and if this be so, of which I find it difficult
to doubt, it surely is not absolutely impossible but that men may
continue thus to collect knowledge; and that ten thousand years hence,
if this good world should last so long, they may possibly learn
their alphabet in something less time than we do even now, in these
enlightened days.

For these reasons, I have occasionally called the attention of the
reader to the lessons received by the principal character of the
following work, to the changes they produced in him, and to the
progress of his understanding. I conclude with adding that in my
opinion, all well written books, that discuss the actions of men, are
in reality so many histories of the progress of mind; and, if what I
now suppose be truth, it is highly advantageous to the reader to be
aware of this truth.



CHAPTER I


_My birth: Family dignity insulted: Resentment of my grandfather:
Parental traits of character_


There are moments in which every man is apt to imagine, that the
history of his own life is the most important of all histories. The
gloom and sunshine, with which my short existence has been chequered,
lead me to suppose that a narrative of these vicissitudes may be
interesting to others, as well as to myself.

In the opinion of some people, my misfortunes began before I was born.
The rector of ***, my grandfather, was as vain of his ancestry, as a
German baron: and perhaps with no less reason, being convinced that
Adam himself was his great progenitor. My mother, not having the
fear of her father before her eyes, forgetful of the family dignity,
disgraced herself, and contaminated the blood of her offspring, by
marrying a farmer's son. Had she married a gentleman, what that very
different being, which a gentleman doubtless must have generated,
might have been, is more than I, as I now am, can pretend to divine.
As it is, however low it may sink me in the reader's opinion, truth
obliges me to own, I am but of a mongrel breed.

The delinquency of my mother was aggravated by the daringness of her
disobedience; for the rector, having a foresight of what was likely to
happen, had laid his express command on her never to see Hugh Trevor,
my father, more, on the very night that she eloped. Add to which,
she had the example of an elder sister, to terrify her from such
dereliction of duty; who, having married a rake, had been left a
widow, poor, desolate, and helpless, and obliged to live an unhappy
dependent on her offended father. 'I'll please my eye though I break
my heart,' said my mother.

She kept her word. Young Hugh was an athletic, well proportioned,
handsome man; of a sanguine temper, prone to pleasure, a frequenter
of wakes and fairs, and much addicted to speculate; particularly in
cards, cocking, and horse-racing.

Discarded by the rector, who was obstinately irreconcileable,
my mother went with her husband to reside in the house of her
father-in-law. Folly visits all orders of men. Farmers, as well as
lords and rectors, can be proud of their families. The match was
considered as an acquisition of dignity to the house of Trevor; and
my mother, bringing such an addition of honour, was most graciously
received.

Here she remained something more than a year; and here, ten months
after the marriage, I was born. I had not openly assumed the form
which the vanity of man has dignified with divine above a fortnight,
before my grandfather, Trevor, died. He had been what is usually
called a good father; had lived in reputation, and had brought up
a large and expensive family. But as good in this sense usually
signifies indulgent, not wise, he had rather afforded his children the
means, and taught them the art, of spending money than of saving. His
circumstances were suspected, the creditors were hasty to prefer their
claims, and it soon appeared that he had died insolvent. The family
was consequently dispersed, and I, thus early, was in danger of being
turned, a poor, wailing, imbecil wanderer, on a world in which the
sacred rights of _meum_ and _tuum_ daily suffer thousands to perish.

Fortunately, considering the exigence of the moment, my father, who
was enterprising, adroit, and loquacious, prevailed on some friends
to lend him money to stock the farm, of the lease of which he was now
in possession. In this he succeeded the more easily, because he had
already acquired the character of an excellent judge of agricultural
affairs. He was known to be acute at driving bargains, could value
sheep, heifers, steers, and bullocks better than a Leicestershire
drover, was an excellent judge of horse flesh, and, during his
father's life, had several times proved he knew the exact moment of
striking earnest. Had fate sent him to a minister's levee instead of a
market for quadrupeds, he would have been a great politician! He would
have bought and sold with as much dexterity as any dealer in black
cattle the kingdom can boast!

At the first approach of misfortune, my mother had felt great
despondency; but when she saw her young husband so active, animated,
and fruitful in resource, her hopes presently began to brighten. The
parish where the rector resided was four miles from Trevor farm,
and the desolate prospect that at first presented itself to the
imagination of my mother had induced her to write, with no little
contrition, and all the pathos she could collect, to implore pardon
for her offence. But in vain. Her humiliation, intreaties, and dread
of want, excited sensations of triumph and obduracy, but not of
compassion, in the bosom of the man of God. The rector was implacable:
his pride was wounded, his prejudices insulted, and his anger rouzed.
He had, beside, his own money in his own pocket, and there he was
willing it should remain. Now we all know that pride, prejudice,
anger, and avarice, are four of the most perverse imps the _dramatis
personae_ of the passions can afford. The irreparable wrong done
to the family dignity, and the proper vengeance it became parental
authority to inflict, on such presumption as my father had been
guilty of, and such derogatory meanness as that of my mother, were
inexhaustible themes.

The severity of her father rendered the fortunate efforts of her
husband tenfold delightful. They mutually exulted in that futurity
that should enable them to set the unkind rector at defiance; and Hugh
often boasted he would prove, though but a farmer, that the blood
in his veins was as warm, and perhaps as pure, as that of any proud
parson's in the kingdom.

These were pleasant and flourishing but fleeting days. My father,
when he went to the fair to purchase his team, happened to see a fine
hunter on sale. It was a beautiful beast. Who could forbear to prefer
him and his noble form, high blood, and spirited action, to the
slouching dull and clumsy cart-horse? Hugh Trevor was not a man so
deficient in taste; he therefore, instead of a team of five, brought
home three horses for the plough, and this high bred hunter for his
pleasure. My mother herself, when she saw the animal, and heard her
husband's encomiums, could not but admire; nay she had even some
inclination to approve: especially when she listened to what follows.

'My dear Jane,' said my father to her, after alighting from the back
of his hunter, which he had walked, trotted, and galloped, to convince
her how perfect he was in all his paces, 'My dear Jane, we have an
excellent farm; the land is in good condition, the fences sound, and
the soil rich: no man in this county understands seeding, cropping,
and marketing better than I do: we shall improve our stock and double
our rent' (it was a hundred and fifty pounds per annum) 'the first
year. I shall soon meet with a smart nag, fit for the side saddle, and
shall easily make you a good horse woman; and then, when the seed is
in the ground, we may be allowed to take a little pleasure. Perhaps we
may ride by the rector's door, and if he should not ask us in we will
not break our hearts. Who knows but, in time, we may have cause to be
as purse proud as himself?'

My father, as it appears, was sanguine, high spirited, and not without
resentment. My mother, though her fancy was not quite so active, did
not think his reasoning much amiss; and recollected the jaunts they
were to take between seed time and harvest with complacency.



CHAPTER II


_Progress of my education, and conjectures on its consequences_


Bold in his projects, lucky in his bargains, and fertile in resources,
every thing, for a time, which my father undertook, seemed to prosper.

In the interim, I grew apace; and, according to the old phrase, was my
father's pride and my mother's joy. His free humour, and the delight
she took in exhibiting her boy, had occasioned me, in early infancy,
to be handed from arm to arm, and so familiarized to a variety of
countenances, as soon to be entirely exempted from the usual fears
of children. My father's bargains and sales brought me continually
acquainted with strange faces. He was vain of me, fond of having me
with him, and, as he called it, of case-hardening me. I became full
of prattle, inquisitive, had an incessant flow of spirits, and often
put interrogatories so whimsical, or so uncommon, as to make myself
remarkably amusing.

From inclination, indeed, and not from plan, my father took some
trouble in my education; which I suspect was productive of unforeseen
effects. He played with me as a cat does with her kitten, and taught
me all the tricks of which he was master. They were chiefly indeed of
a bodily kind; such as holding me over his head erect on the palm of
his hand; putting me into various postures; making me tumble in as
many ways as he could devise; pitching me on the back of his hunter,
and accustoming me to sit on full trot; with abundance of other
antics, at which he found me apt; yet, being accompanied with laughter
and shouts, and now and then a hard knock, they tended, or I am
mistaken, not only to give bodily activity, but to awaken some of the
powers of mind; among which one of the foremost is fortitude. Insomuch
that, since I have had the honour to become a philosopher, I have
begun to doubt whether, hereafter, when the world shall be wiser, the
art of tumbling may not possibly supercede the art of dancing? But
this by the by.

Nor was my mother, on her part, altogether deficient in activity.
Exclusive of providing me with a sister, who from some accident or
other was but a puling, wrangling, rickety young lady, she initiated
me in the mysteries and pleasures of the alphabet. The rector had
taken some trouble to make his daughters good English scholars; and
my mother, though she had retained much of his solemn song, could not
only read currently, and articulate clearly, but made some attempts to
understand what she read. It must be acknowledged, however, that her
efforts were but feeble.

I know not how it happened that I very early became in love with this
divine art, but such was the fact. I could spell boldly at two years
and a half old, and in less than six months more could read the
collects, epistles, and gospels, without being stopped by one word in
twenty. Soon afterward I attacked the Bible, and in a few months the
tenth chapter of Nehemiah himself could not terrify me. My father
bought me many tragical ditties; such as Chevy Chace, the Children in
the Wood, Death and the Lady, and, which were infinitely the richest
gems in my library, Robin Hood's Garland, and the History of Jack the
Giant-killer. To render these treasures more captivating, observing
the delight it gave me, he used sometimes to sing the adventures of
Robin Hood with me; whether to the right tunes, or to music of his own
composing, is more than I know.

By accidents of this and the like kind, I became so much my father's
play-thing, and toy, that, his affairs then going on prosperously,
he put me in breeches before I was four years old, bought me a pony,
which he christened Gray Bob, buckled me to the saddle for safety, and
with a leading rein used frequently to take me with him to markets,
fairs, and races.

But, before I proceed to relate more of my infantine adventures, it
will be necessary to introduce a kinsman of mine to the reader's
acquaintance; of whom, though the alliance were now of some standing,
he has yet never heard.



CHAPTER III


_Rational courtship, and prudent views of widowed lovers: A strange
doubt hinted: The husband's code: Laws are quickly prescribed, and Yes
is easily said_


I have already mentioned my aunt, her imprudent first marriage,
the rector's resentment, who used to pronounce himself the most
unfortunate of men, in undutiful children, and her irksome dependence
on his bounty. With this aunt Mr. Elford, a man of much worth,
considerable knowledge, and great integrity of intention, became
acquainted, and by a variety of motives was prompted to pay her his
addresses.

No people are so certain of the happiness of a state of wedlock as a
couple courting. Some difference however must be made, between lovers
who have never married, and lovers who, having made the experiment,
find it possible that a drop of gall may now and then embitter the
cup of honey. My aunt's first husband had been a man of an easy
disposition, and readily swayed to good or ill. She had seldom
suffered contradiction from him, or heard reproach. A kind of good
humoured indolence had accustomed him rather to ward off accusation
with banter, or to be silent under it, than to contend. His
extravagance had obliged her to study the strictest economy; she,
therefore, was the ostensible person; she regulated, she corrected,
she complained. She had a tincture of the rector in her composition,
and her husband's follies afforded sufficient opportunities for the
exercise of her office.

After his death, which happened early, the wrecks of his originally
small fortune, scarcely afforded her subsistence for a year. By
many humble but grating concessions on her part, and no less proud
upbraidings on the part of her father, she was first allowed a
trifling annuity, almost too scanty to afford the means of life, and,
as it were in resentment to the unpardonable conduct of my mother, was
afterward permitted to return to the parsonage house.

The state of subjection in which she was kept, the dissatisfaction
this evidently created, the gloom that was visible in her countenance,
and that seemed to oppress her heart, added to a disconsolate and
habitual taciturnity, soon occasioned Mr. Elford to consider her with
compassion: and the very question--can I not afford her relief? gave
birth to ideas of a still more tender nature.

These were seconded by a retrospect to his own situation. He had lost
a beloved wife, who had left him an infant daughter, in whose future
felicity he was strongly interested. He had often considered the
subject of education, and had become the determined enemy of
boarding-schools, where every thing is taught and nothing understood;
where airs, graces, mouth primming, shoulder-setting and elbow-holding
are studied, and affectation, formality, hypocrisy, and pride are
acquired; and where children the most promising are presently
transformed into vain, pert misses, who imagine that to perk up their
heads, turn out their toes, and exhibit the ostentatious opulence
of their relations, in a tawdry ball night dress, is the summit of
perfection.

Determined that his child should be sent to no such academy, he
considered a second marriage as necessary. Though an excellent
economist, he was utterly a stranger to avarice. My aunt was neither
rich, nor handsome, nor young; being, according to the rector's
account, on the debtor side of his books, of an adust complection,
atrabilarious in look and temper, thirty-four, and two years older
than Mr. Elford. But he imagined he could make her happy; or at least
could relieve her from a state little less than miserable. He likewise
supposed that she was well fitted to promote plans which he held to be
wise. Errors in moral calculations frequently escape undetected, even
by the most accurate.

But, as he was very sincere and honest in his intentions, he
thought proper, while paying his court to her, to explain what his
expectations were, and the reasons on which they were grounded. His
system was, there must be government; and, if government, there must
be governors. This by the by I believe to be a radical mistake in
politics; though I likewise believe there is not one man in fifty
thousand who would not scoff at me for the supposition. Proceeding
in his hypothesis, he concluded that the strongest understanding had
a prescriptive and inherent right to govern; and with great candour,
thus laying down the law to my aunt, he undisguisedly avowed a
conviction that his understanding was the strongest, and that to
govern would be his inherent right.

His words were so powerful, his arguments so excellent, his statement
of them so clear, and all his deductions so indubitable, that my aunt
had not the least objection to offer. 'That must be allowed--that
cannot be denied--nothing can be more reasonable'--were her continual
answers. The consequence of all this was a marriage: and my aunt
having been noted for her prudence, during the life of her first
husband, (though not indeed in having made him her husband) and Mr.
Elford's character, for propriety, rectitude and good intention, being
still more permanently established, there was not the least doubt
entertained, especially by the parties, but that this would be a happy
match.

Having thus brought the reader and Mr. Elford together, I must now
proceed to relate the manner in which I myself and my good uncle first
became acquainted.



CHAPTER IV


_My curiosity leads me into danger, but introduces me to a friend, who
discovers that he is my uncle_


In the month of August, and the city of *****, a fair is annually
held, in which, during those halcyon days of prosperity, my father was
an active trafficker. Thither the neighbouring gentry, yeomanry, and
dealers in general, repaired, as the best mart in the county, at which
to expend their money. It was fifteen miles from Trevor farm.

Curiosity is an incessant impulse to youth. I intreated to go, and my
petition was favourably received. When we were there, in consequence
of some bargain or sale, it happened that my father had occasion to
ride, with a farmer, to a place at some distance from the fair, and
in the interim to leave me in the care of the bar-maid of the inn, at
which we had put up.

He had not been long gone before I, eager to see what could be seen,
broke loose from my keeper, who was too busy to pay much attention
to me, and strolled into the throng. I wandered about, without any
suspicion of danger, from place to place, I know not how long, to
drink in all the knowledge that could enter at my eyes.

How I came there I cannot tell, but at last it appears I had rambled
into a coffee-house, put questions to the guests, who found amusement
in the novelty of my undaunted air, appearance, and prattle, and,
having taken up a newspaper and begun to display my talent, was placed
upon a table to read it aloud to the company.

The astonished farmers could scarcely believe their ears, so much was
I, a four-year-old child, their superior in learning. Some of them
were not certain that I was not an imp of Satan, so utterly did
my performance exceed credibility. My beauty too at this age was
uncommon; my limbs were straight and strong, my cheeks of the purest
red and white, and my full flaxen hair hung in short ringlets down my
neck. The mistress and bar-maid kissed me, the men gave me money, and
they all eagerly enquired who I was, where I was going, and how I had
come there.

In the height of this scene it happened that Mr. Elford came in, who,
though two years married to my aunt, till that time had never seen
me. Though his understanding prevented any stupid wonder, yet he felt
uncommon emotion for a child, unknown to everybody, yet happy and
fearless, and so attractive in manners, form, and intelligence. He
asked, what was my name? I answered, little Hugh. From whence did I
come? From home--Who brought me? Gray Bob.--Where was I going? To see
the fair.

In the midst of these interrogatories, a beggar, with a child at her
back, and another that she led, came into the coffee-room. In one hand
I had a cake, given me by one of the company, which I had begun to
eat; and in the other the money, that the kindness and amazement of my
auditors had forced upon me. The woman intreated piteously for relief;
and the landlord, angry that his guests should be disturbed, advanced
to turn her out. She again intreated with great earnestness for
charity. That she inspired me with some share of pity, seems certain
for I held out my hand with the money to her, and said--Here!

Pleased with my promptness, Mr. Elford bade her take it, and she
obeyed. The child at her back, seeing my cake, stretched out its arm;
I understood its language, and was going to give it the cake, but
checked myself, and said, No; you must not have all; your brother
must have a bit; and broke it between them. Seized with one of those
emotions, to which some few people are subject, Mr. Elford snatched me
in his arms, kissed me, and exclaimed--My good boy, I prophecy thou
wilt one day be a brave fellow!

Just as this was passing, the city bellman took his stand opposite the
coffee-house door; and, with his _O yes_, gave notice that I was lost;
concluding with a description of my age, dress, name, and place of
abode.

Mr. Elford immediately conjectured his business, went to listen, was
struck when he heard the particulars, and hastily returned to ask me
if my name was Hugh Trevor? I answered, yes; little Hugh. He instantly
ran after the bellman, told him the boy was found, and I was conducted
by Mr. Elford and the bellman, with a crowd in their retinue, back to
my terrified father; between whom and my uncle an acquaintance from
this time commenced.



CHAPTER V


_Benevolent stratagem of my uncle defeated by the unlucky and foolish
triumph of my father: The anger and oath of the rector_


Mr. Elford cultivated a small estate of his own, lying about ten miles
from Trevor farm, and beyond that village of which my grandfather was
the spiritual guide. The daughter for whose sake he had first been
prompted to marry again was dead, and this perhaps was one cause that
strengthened his affection for me. He frequently rode over to visit
us, made himself my play-mate and favourite, encouraged a greater
degree of intimacy between the sisters, who were not too cordially
inclined toward each other, and soon obtained permission to take me
home with him for a fortnight. The disposition he shewed to aid my
father, and the possibility that I might one day be his heir, readily
induced my parents to comply.

Mr. Elford, as his history will shew, was perhaps liable to greater
mistakes than might have been expected from a man of so much
understanding, ardour, and goodness of intention; but, though like
other men occasionally blind to his own errors, he could not but feel
pain at the obduracy of the rector's conduct toward my mother. For
this reason, on my first visit to his house, he concerted a plan by
which he hoped to effect a reconciliation. From the incidents that
occurred, I think it probable that he would have accomplished his
purpose, had it not been for a trick that my father played, by which
this well meant scheme was rendered abortive.

Squire Mowbray, the lord of the manor in which lay the village where
my grandfather lived, kept his coach and his post chariot. The rector,
who had a secret enmity to him, or rather to that influence by which
his own power was diminished, kept his coach and his post chariot too,
lest he should openly avow inferiority, and his dignity be called in
question. To add to these honours, he was drawn by a pair of bays.

It happened that one of these animals became unfit for service,
was sold, and another was wanting as his successor. A neighbouring
horse-breeder had one that was a good match, and for which the rector
had bidden money, but not enough. My father, in the mean time, had
purchased this and other horses of the owner; and the rector, when it
was too late, sent to offer the man his own price.

The breeder made application to my father to have the horse again,
with an allowance of profit; to which he consented, till he was
accidentally told for whom the horse was designed. Flushed with
temporary success and fallacious hopes, Hugh was happy to find an
opportunity of shewing that he could resent as well as the rector, and
exultingly swore he should not have the horse, if he would purchase
him at his weight in gold.

The message, with a due increase of insulting aggravation, was
conveyed to the divine; who was so exasperated by this audacious act
of insolence and gratuitous rebellion, that he went down on his knees,
and took a solemn oath never to forget or forgive the injury.

Whether this became an apostle of peace, or whether divines are all
and unexceptionably apostles of peace, are questions which I do not
here pretend to analyze.

Ignorant of this event, and glowing with the desire of affording me
a grandfather's protection, Mr. Elford pursued his little plot. The
rector had always wished for a male heir, the offspring of his own
loins; but in this he had not been indulged, by those powers that
regulate such matters. A son of his own being therefore past hope, Mr.
Elford imagined he might perhaps find consolation in the succedaneum
of a grandson.

Accordingly, a few days after my arrival at his house, where I was to
stay a fortnight, he invited the rector, who had never yet seen me, to
dinner. Without telling him who I was, my uncle made me so diverting,
by the art with which he knew how to manage me, that the old
gentleman, quite surprized, declared I was a very extraordinary child.

So fearless and free was my behaviour, that the rector and I presently
became familiar. I shook hands with him, sat on his knee, felt in his
pocket, gave him the history of Gray Bob, and asked for a penny to buy
me a whip. My request being granted, I wanted immediately to have a
horse saddled, that I might ride to market, and make my purchase; and
the good humour with which I received the information, that this was
a favour not to be obtained, further gained on the old theologian's
heart. I asked if he had a horse. He answered, yes, he had many
horses; and that if I would go home with him, he would let me ride
them all. Come, let us go, said I, taking hold of his hand, and
pulling him.

Mr. Elford, waiting for the proper moment, and interrupting me, asked
my grandfather--'If you, Sir, had but such a little fellow of your
own, what would you do with him?'--'Do!' exclaimed the rector: 'I
would make a man of him. Oh that he had been mine twenty years
ago!'--'And why not, O that he were mine now?' answered Mr. Elford--'I
could be well contented that he were.' As he said this, the rector,
strange to tell, sighed--'Your wishes then are gratified,' continued
Mr. Elford: 'he is your own.'--'How?'--'Your grandson!'

The reverend pastor was taken by surprise. Certain associations had
been set afloat, and the desire of realizing the vision had for a
moment obliterated the recollection of revenge. 'Go, Hugh,' said Mr.
Elford, 'and kiss your grandfather.' Without asking any questions,
or shewing the least token of reluctance, I went up to him, as I was
bidden, to give the kiss; but my good-humoured face, stretched out
arms, and projecting chin, were presented in vain: the words Hugh and
grandfather had conjured up the fiend, and the rector sat motionless.

Not accustomed to meet and therefore not expecting repulse, I climbed
up his chair, stayed myself by the breast of his coat, and sat down on
his knee. The recollection of his daughter's crime, his contaminated
blood, and the insufferable insolence of my father, came strongly upon
him. He scowled at me, seized me by the arms, flung me from him with
something like violence, and walked hastily out of the house.

The tide of passion ran so high that he would not stay to dine, but
departed, muttering anger at the conduct of Mr. Elford, and repeating
asseverations of eternal resentment and maledictions against undutiful
children.

Mr. Elford felt an emotion something stronger than grief, to see a
pastor of the flock of Christ thus cherish the spirit of persecution.
On me the scene made but little impression. I had no apprehension that
the day was coming, when this inflexible guide of Christians would
find his prayers effectual, and his prophecies of vengeance fulfilled.
How could I know that there was so hateful a vice as malignity? The
holy seer did not indeed indulge his wrath quite so far as Elisha, at
least not openly; he did not curse me in the name of the Lord, nor did
she-bears come out of the wood to devour me; but I soon enough had
my share of misfortune. Preachers of peace, it appears, were always
irritable: but to do them justice, I believe they are something less
so now than they were of old.



CHAPTER VI


_My different preceptors and early propensities: I ride to hunt with
my father, which is productive of a strange and terrible adventure_


My father's affairs still continued to wear the appearance of success,
and by the aid of Mr. Elford, he extended his speculations. For some
few years my time passed merrily away. Under the tuition of my father,
I gained health, strength, and intrepidity; and was taught to sip ale,
eat hung beef, ride like a hero, climb trees, run, jump, and swim;
that, as he said, I might face the world without fear. I grew strong
of muscle, and my thews and sinews became alert and elastic in the
execution of their office.

To my uncle I was indebted for hints and notions of a more refined
and elevated nature. By familiar instances, he endeavoured to make me
distinguish between resisting wrongs and revenging them; and to feel
the pleasure, not only of aiding the weak, but of pardoning the
vanquished.

From the books which I found in his house, I likewise early acquired
a religious propensity, which was encouraged by my aunt with all her
power, and seconded by my mother. Their education, and the dogmas they
had heard from the rector, had given them very high notions of the
dignity of the clerical character; in the superior presence of which,
temporal things, laymen, and civil magistracy itself, sunk into
insignificance. The perusal of Fox's Book of Martyrs, of which I was
so fond that I would sit with my aunt for hours, before I was eight
years old, and read it to her, aided their efforts: and this childhood
bias, as will be seen, greatly influenced my first pursuits in life.
We are all the creatures of the necessities under which we exist. The
history of man is but the history of these necessities, and of the
impulse, emotion, or mind, by them begotten. Of the incidents of my
childhood, that which made the deepest impression upon me I am now
going to relate.

The daring Hugh, my father, who feared no colours, had long been
accustomed, whenever he could find time, and often indeed when he
could not, to follow the fox hounds, and hunt with his landlord, the
Squire himself. Among his other bargains, he had lately bought one of
the Squire's brood mares, Bay Meg, that had been sold because she had
twice cast her foal. On the eve of my ninth returning birth-day, being
in a gay humour (he was seldom sad) he said to me, 'I shall go out
to-morrow morning with Squire Mowbray's hounds, Hugh; will you get
up and go with me?' My heart bounded at the proposal. 'Yes,' said I.
'Lord, husband,' exclaimed my mother, 'would you break the child's
neck?' 'There is no fear,' retorted I. 'Well said, Hugh', continued my
father; 'you shall ride Bay Meg; you are but a feather, she will carry
you with ease, and will not run away with you.' 'Never fear that,'
replied I, stoutly. My mother at first made some opposition, but
my father laughed, and I coaxed, intreated, and teazed, till she
complied; for this was by no means the first scene of the kind.

I went to bed with an overjoyed heart, and a head so full of the
morrow that I was up dressed and ready the first in the house. The
horses were brought out, my father and I mounted, we soon came up with
the sportsmen, and away we went in quest of a fox.

We were at first unlucky, and it was late in the day before Reynard
was found; but about noon the hounds opened, he started in view, and
the sport began.

The chace happened to be long, heavy, and continued for many miles. My
father was an eager sportsman. He valued himself both upon his hunter
and his horsemanship; and who should be first in at the death was
an honour that he would contend with the keenest sportsman in the
kingdom, though it were the Squire himself. The running was so severe
that Bay Meg became willing to lag. He looked behind, called after
me to push on, and I obeyed, and laid on her with whip and heel, as
lustily as I could. My father, anxious to keep sight of me yet not
lose the hounds, pulled in a little, and the hunted animal, in hopes
of finding cover, made toward a wood. Being prevented from entering
it, he skirted along its sides, and turning the corner, the hindmost
sportsmen followed by a short cut through the wood.

Keeping my eye on my father, I likewise struck into the wood, but,
taking a wrong direction, was presently entangled among the trees and
brambles, and entirely at a loss. I afterward learned that my father,
having lost sight of me for some minutes, stopped, hoping I should
come up; and then rode back to seek me, while I was spurring forward
in a contrary line.

After many efforts, stoppages, and windings, I at last made my way
through the wood, and came to the entrance of an extensive heath. The
hounds, though at a great distance, were still in hearing, and Bay
Meg, accustomed to the sport, erected her ears and listened after them
with great attention. For some time longer she obeyed the whip, and
increased her gallop, evidently with a desire to come up with them;
but after a while, finding they were out of hearing, she grew sulky,
slackened her pace, tired, and at last fairly stood still. I had been
so much used to horses that, perceiving her humour, I had the sagacity
to turn her head homeward, and she then went on again, though with a
sullen and sluggish pace.

On looking round however, and considering, my alarm began. I was in
the middle of an extensive heath, or moor, with no living creature,
house, or object in sight, except here and there a scattered shrub and
a few sheep. It was winter, and the day was far advanced: add to this
the wind had risen, and when I turned about, was in my face, and blew
a sharp sleet which then began to fall full in my eyes, half blinded
me and the mare, and offended her nostrils so much that she once more
wheeled about, and refused to proceed either one way or the other.

Not yet quite daunted, while I was making every effort to bring her
round, a gust of wind blew off my hat. Forgetting that Bay Meg was
tall and I short, and that there was neither gate nor mounting stone
to be seen, I alighted to recover my hat. Being down, to get up again
was impossible; my foot could not reach the stirrup.

The lowering sky, the approach of darkness, and the utter desert in
which I found myself at length conjured up the full distress of the
scene, which seized upon my imagination, and I burst into tears.

I continued sobbing, crying, and tugging at Bay Meg, till night had
fairly overtaken us. At last I found myself beside some white railing,
which was the boundary of a race course within the distance. This at
first seemed to promise me relief: with great difficulty I coaxed Bay
Meg up to it, climbed upon the railing, and hoped once more to mount.
But in vain; the perverse animal set her face to me, nor could any
language I was master of prevail on her to approach sideways; and if I
lifted my whip, she did but run backward and pull me down.

This contest continued I know not how long, till quite hopeless I gave
it up, and again proceeded to lead her, not knowing where or in what
direction I was going. After a time the moon appeared, and a very
indifferent afternoon was succeeded by a fine night. I continued
sobbing, but still proceeded, as fast as I could prevail on Bay Meg
to follow me, till propitious fortune brought me to a road, where the
wheels had cut deep ruts, and the tread of horses had left the ridges
high. Here I once again essayed to mount, and by the help of the
stirrup succeeded!

Still I knew not where I was, nor what to do; except that my only
chance was to go on.

I had not proceeded far before the traces of road began to diminish,
and I struck into another path that seemed more beaten. This gradually
disappeared, and I soon found myself on the level green-sward, without
any marks of footing for my guide. To relieve this new distress I
turned to the right, hoping again to recover the track I had lost;
instead of which, after riding on I know not how far, I found the
heath begin to grow marshy. Again I turned, but so unfortunately that
every step the mare set sunk her deeper and deeper in a bog, till
at last she could not drag herself out. My danger was extreme; but
I rightly conjectured the bog would support me singly, better than
it would me and the mare: I therefore jumped off, kept hold of the
bridle, which I threw over her head, and by shifting my ground
prevented myself from sinking very deep, while I continued my
endeavours to relieve the mare. She made a lucky plunge, and I,
turning her head in a different direction as much as possible, found
myself in part released from this danger: though I was obliged to
proceed every step with the utmost precaution.

Once more dismounted, wearied, and despairing, I had no resource but
to wander I knew not whither, or lie down perishing with cold on a
damp moor, while a severe frost was setting in. Great as my distress
was, I had too much courage to sink under it, and I went on, giving
some relief to my affliction by sobs and tears.

These various circumstances continued till the night began to be far
advanced; but after two or three hours of most tedious and weary
wandering I again came to a rising ground, by the help of which with
great efforts I once more contrived to mount. I was no sooner in the
saddle than I thought I saw a light at a distance, which sometimes
seemed to glimmer and as often disappeared. Toward this however I
determined to direct my course, and proceeded losing and recovering it
till I could catch sight of it no more.

Continuing in the same direction for some time, I came to a barn.
Benumbed, fatigued, and ready as I was to drop from the saddle, I
entered it as joyfully as a shipwrecked sailor climbs a barren rock.
I scarcely could dismount, and it was with great difficulty I could
unbuckle and take off the bridle of Bay Meg: but my hands were so
frost bitten and my perseverance so exhausted, that the saddle was
beyond my ability. I therefore shut the door, and left her to feed
on what she could find; while I went and laid myself down among some
trusses of straw, that were heaped on one side.

The pain of my thawing hands would not immediately suffer me to go to
sleep, and, just as it was beginning to decrease and I to slumber,
the door opened and a woman came in. My fears were again alarmed, for
as I listened I heard her weep bitterly. In no long time afterward
a man leaned forward, through the door, and said--'Mary! Art thou
there?'--To which she replied with a sob--'Yea, Tummas; I be here.'

My half frozen blood and my fears again afloat made me tremble through
every limb; and there was something in the grief of the woman, and
particularly in the voice of the man, which had no tendency to calm my
agitation. I could see distinctly, for the moon shone full in at the
door. He entered the barn, they sat down together, and after some
trifling questions I heard the following dialogue.

'And so, Mary, thou say'st thou beest with child?'

'Yea, Tummas, that I too surely be; the more is my hard hap.'

'And what dost thou mean to do?'

'Nay, Tummas, what doon you mean to do?'

'No matter for that--Thou threatest me, last night, that thou wouldst
swear thy bastard to me.'

'For shame, for shame, Tummas, to talk o'that'n! If it mun be a
bastard, thou well knowest it is a bastard of thy own begetting.'

'I know better.'

'Oh Christ! Tummas: canst thou look in my face and tell me that?'

'Yea, I can.'

'Thou art a base false man, Tummas!'

'Don't call names.'

'Thou knowest thou art. What canst thou hope for, after swearing so
wickedly as thou didst to be true to me and marry me, but that the
devil should come for thee alive?'

'No matter for that. If I must go to the devil, it shall not be for
nothing. But mayhap thou hadst a better a kept a good tongue in thy
head.'

'Thou hadst a better a kept an honest one in thine, Tummas.'

'I'll make thee repent taunting me, as thou hast done, afore folks;
and _threaping_ and _threating_ to lay thy bastard at my door.'

'Do thy worst! Thou hast brought me to shame and misery, and hast
sworn thyself to the bottomless pit: what canst thou do more?'

'Thou shall see.'

As he said this, he deliberately drew a knife from his pocket, and
began to whet it upon his shoe--I was breathless: my hair stood on
end--The woman exclaimed:

'Jesus God! Tummas; What dost thou mean?'

'Say thy prayers!'

'Merciful Saviour! Why, thou wilt not murder me, Tummas?'

'Thou shalt never go alive out of this place.'

'Christ have mercy upon my sinful soul!'

'I'll do thy business.'

'For the gracious love of the merciful heaven, Tummas, bethink
thyself!'

'I'll teach thee to swear thy ugly bastard brat to me!'

'I wunnot, Tummas; I wunnot! For Christ Jesus sake bethink thyself!
Dunnot murder me, Tummas! Oh, dunnot murder me! I'll never trouble
thee, Tummas, while I have breath; I'll never trouble thee! Indeed,
indeed, I wunnot!'

'I know thee better: tomorrow thou would'st tell all; this and all.'

'Never, Tummas: as God shall pardon my sins, never, never, never!'

The poor creature screamed with agony, while the determined fellow
kept whetting his knife. At last she made a sudden spring and
endeavoured to seize his arm; but, missing her aim, he immediately
struck her with his fist and began to stab her.

Unable to contain myself, I shrieked with no less horror and
vociferation than the poor mangled creature. The mare herself took
fright, and sprang, with the snorting of terror and clattering of
hoofs, with her shoulder against the door, endeavouring to get out.

This unexpected noise, aiding his guilt, inspired the murdering wretch
with instantaneous dread, and he immediately took to flight; leaving
the woman weltering in her blood, groaning, and, as I supposed,
expiring.

Impelled by my fears and the horror of the scene, I had no longer any
feeling of cold, or sense of debility. I ran to the door, shut it, and
finding a fork that stood beside it made as good a cross bar-fastening
as I was able. I then resolutely set my own shoulder to it, and there
remained, I know not how long, in momentary dread the murderer would
return. The woman's groans seemed to diminish, as if she were dying;
and I durst neither stir nor speak; for I feared to do any thing but
listen.

The energy of my terror was so great that it was very very long before
I was weary enough of my situation to be obliged to move. Fatigue, and
a dead silence without, at length however induced me first to change
my position, and after a time, gradually and with great caution, to
open the door and look out. Neither hearing nor seeing any thing, I
waited awhile, and then ventured so far as to walk round the barn;
though in the utmost trepidation, and possessed by the most horrid
fears, which were increased by a great increase of darkness; the moon
being then either descending or hidden behind the clouds.

Having made no discoveries, except that every thing was quiet, I
once more entered the barn, where all was still as death. The woman
had ceased to groan; nor could I, though I listened with the most
solicitous attention, hear her breathe. Horror returned in all its
force, and I stood immoveable, unknowing what to resolve on or what to
attempt. At length I took courage and exclaimed, 'In the name of God,
if you are alive, speak!'

The very sound of my own voice inspired unutterable terror; which
was augmented by a heavy and long confined groan, proceeding from
the woman. She had retained her breath, fearing the return of the
assassin. The answer that followed her groan was, 'If you are a
Christian soul, get me some help.' I told her I was lost, benighted,
and did not know where to go for any. She replied there was a town,
not half a mile distant, at the back of the barn; and named the very
place at which my aunt and uncle Elford lived.

As soon as surprise and joy would permit, I asked if she knew Mr.
Elford. Her answer was, 'I am his servant; and this is his barn.'

Various recollections immediately crouded upon me, and the scene and
the voice of poor Mary, to which a moment before I had been so utter
a stranger, became familiar to me. 'It is I, Mary; little Hugh,' said
I. 'Don't you know me?' A dismal 'Oh!' excited no doubt by the most
painful associations, was her answer. I desired her to be quiet and
patient, while I ran for aid; assuring her I would soon be back, for
that I now knew where I was, and was perfectly acquainted with the
road.

Accordingly away I ran, with all the speed I had, to my uncle's house;
where, when I arrived, I knocked at the door, pelted the window, and
called as vociferously as I could for them to rise. The house-dog
barked violently, and my uncle was soon at the window, with my aunt
at his back, demanding with surprise and dissatisfaction who I was,
and what I wanted? I exclaimed, 'Come down, uncle! A man has been
murdering your maid Mary! She will be dead if you do not make haste!'
'Good God!' cried my aunt, pressing forward; 'Child! Hugh Trevor!
Nephew! Is it you?' 'Yes, yes, aunt,' answered I: 'make haste and try
to save the poor creature's life!'

The astonishment excited by such a messenger, bringing such a message,
and at such an hour, may well be imagined. Master, mistress, and
servants, were immediately in motion, and the doors opened. Question
succeeded question; exclamations were incessant; and my answers
quickly communicated much of the terror I myself had felt.

Regulating his proceedings according to my account, Mr. Elford
dispatched a servant to the surgeon; and, having prepared a hurdle by
way of litter, went with me and two of his men to the barn.

My aunt was very loath I should return; but my spirits, by the various
incidents of the night, were much too active to suffer me to feel
either hunger, weariness, or want of sleep; and Mr. Elford recollected
I might be useful, in preventing the terrors of poor Mary at our
approach; for which reason he suffered me to run before, and inform
her that help was coming.

When I came to the barn, the moment I set my foot over the threshold,
my terrors of murder and of her having expired all returned. After a
short pause, I called with a trembling voice, 'Mary! Are you alive?'
and my heart bounded with joy to hear her, though dolefully, answer,
'yea.'

Mr. Elford and his attendants soon came up; and the remainder of
the story of poor Mary was, that, being removed and put to bed, her
wounds though deep and dangerous were found not to be mortal; that
she recovered in a few weeks, and by the influence of Mr. Elford was
retained in my aunt's service; to the great scandal of the place,
where it was affirmed that such hussies and their bastards ought to be
whipped from parish to parish, and so, as I suppose, whipped out of
the world; that in two months time she was delivered of a fine boy,
whom, when my uncle left the country, she maintained by her own hard
earnings; and that in the extremity of her distress, when she thought
herself at the point of death, she obstinately refused to declare who
was her intended murderer; and though, by his having been known to be
her _sweetheart_, and his flight from the country where he never more
appeared, people were sufficiently convinced who the man was, yet her
pertinacious theme was--_she would never be his accuser: if God could
pardon him, she could_.



CHAPTER VII


_Mistakes and family quarrels of Mr. and Mrs. Elford: His departure,
and exile: with the letters he wrote_


And now the period approached when the pleasures of the days of
childhood were to terminate, and when I was to experience an abundance
of those rude disasters under which the poor, the friendless, and the
fatherless, groan.

The first stroke which the malice of fortune aimed at me was the
voluntary banishment of my uncle. Though I have forborne to interrupt
my narrative by a recapitulation of the unhappy bickerings that took
place between Mr. Elford and my aunt, soon after their marriage, yet
these bickerings were very frequent, very bitter, and at last very
fatal. Instead of the happiness which they and every body had thought
so certain, they were completely wretched.

My youth had not prevented me lately from remarking, when at their
house, the steady and severe silence which Mr. Elford endeavoured
to preserve, and the fixed dissatisfaction and gloom of my aunt.
Notwithstanding the efforts they made, especially Mr. Elford, not
to suffer their unhappiness to extend beyond themselves, it became
frequently painful, even for me, to be in their company. He indeed was
often in part successful, in these efforts; but she seldom, or never.

Their mutual discontent was the more easily increased to misery,
because it happened between people who each had the character of
prudent; and whose partiality individually acquitted them of that
disorder, which the want of good temper alone had produced.

In making an estimate of the probable conveniences and inconveniences,
agreements and disagreements, that might happen between them, they had
reciprocally been deceived.

Mr. Elford had endeavoured to provide against this, by a plain
declaration of his sentiments and expectations; which Mrs. Elford had
too inconsiderately concluded she should continue to think rational
and just. She imagined there was no fear of violent quarrels, between
a man of so much understanding as Mr. Elford and a woman so disposed
to listen to reason as herself. She was ignorant of the power of
habit over her temper. The rector had taught her pride, marriage had
taught her misfortune, and pride and misfortune had made her fretful,
melancholy and moody. She had suffered no opposition from her first
husband; her will had been his law; and she knew not, till she had
made the trial, how difficult it is to concede with a good grace. The
least thing that offended her threw her into tears. The passions of
Mr. Elford and my aunt were mutually too much inflamed for either of
them to draw equitable and wise conclusions, and tears he held to be a
false, insulting, and odious mode of proclaiming him a tyrant: it was
to say, I dare not utter my complaints in words, but my tears I cannot
restrain! Too angry to doubt of or examine his reasons, convinced of
his own humanity, and his desire to see and make her happy, such an
accusation he considered so violently unjust as to be unpardonable.

It must be owned, she did not confine her grief to weeping; she
was often seized with fits of hysteric passion, in which the most
outrageous and false accusations were indulged. To reply to them,
or attempt to disprove what he knew to be so absurd, he thought
derogatory to innocence; and the world half suspected him to be the
tyrant he had been painted. This increased his sense of injury, and
consequently did not diminish the affliction of my aunt.

Of the happiness, indeed, which was to result from this marriage,
she had conceived romantic ideas; and when she found herself again
involved in the cares of a family, liable to the control of a man who
expected the utmost propriety and order, who looked with a strict eye
over every department, and whose opinion did not always coincide with
her own, she became constantly peevish, and her former gloom grew
ten fold more gloomy. She pined after that connubial affection which
their reciprocal conduct was calculated to destroy; and from the hasty
decisions of passion convinced herself, that no part of the blame
was justly her own. Mr. Elford was no less obstinate in the contrary
opinion. Taking philosophy such as he found it, he like his neighbours
too hastily concluded there were duties and affairs for which men were
fitted, but of which women were incapable. Blending much truth with
some falsehood, he thus argued:

'The leading features in the character of an amiable and good woman
are mildness, complacency, and equanimity of temper. The man, if he be
a provident and worthy husband, is immersed in a thousand cares: his
mind is agitated, his memory loaded, and his body fatigued. He returns
from the bustle of the world chagrined perhaps at disappointments,
angry at indolent or perfidious people, and terrified lest his
unavoidable connections with such people should make him appear to be
indolent or perfidious himself. Is this a time for the wife of his
bosom, his dearest most intimate friend, to add to his vexations and
increase the fever of an overburthened mind, by a contumelious tongue
or a discontented brow? Business, in its most prosperous state, is
full of anxiety, labour, and turmoil. Oh! how dear to the memory of
man is that wife who clothes her face in smiles; who uses gentle
expressions, and who makes her lap soft to receive and hush his cares
to rest. There is not in all nature so fascinating an object as a
faithful, tender, and affectionate wife!'

Had he wished for a wife who, instead of indulging the caprice of
indolence would have awakened him to energy, and have taught him to
be just not captious, his desires would have been more rational:
but, to a man who had formed a system of obedience to authority, and
not to reason, the arguments he used were irrefragable. To a woman
who imagined that obedience, in all cases, was the badge of abject
slavery, they were absurd. Thus opposite in principle and in practice,
their unhappy state of existence finally became so intolerable, to one
of them at least, as to occasion the violent measure and the painful
sensations described by Mr. Elford in the following letter.

'TO MRS. ELFORD,

'The bitterness of unjust reproach, the invectives of an ungoverned
tongue, the rancorous accusations of a stubborn heart, these, wretched
as they long have made me, to me are now no more. Forgetful man! No
more? You I can forsake; but where shall I fly to rid myself of them?
You have riveted them upon me, and while I have life they can never
die. With you I have travelled through the vale of tears: you, like
misery personified, have held the cup of sorrow; have fed me with
affliction, strewed thorns beneath my feet by day, and wound adders
round my pillow by night. Absence itself cannot afford a cure. Yes,
reconcile it to your conscience how you may, you have given my peace a
mortal wound.

'You cannot forget, when I first thought of you for a wife, the
plainness and sincerity with which I acted. I carefully stated that
my family was reputable but not rich, and that I was a younger
brother; that my wealth was not great; but that it was sufficient,
with industry and the character I had established, to gratify the
desires of people whose hearts were not vitiated, and whose wants
were bounded. I conscientiously repeated my ideas concerning the
regulations and economy of a well governed family; and of the parts
which it became the husband and the wife to take. That was the time
in which you ought to have made your objections: but then every thing
was just, every thing was rational; and from your ready acquiescence
to my proposals and the admiration with which you seemed to receive
them, I had no doubt of enjoying that serene that delightful state of
connubial happiness, so often desired and so seldom obtained.

'On such conditions and with such views, I confidently entered with
you into a partnership which unhappily cannot be dissolved. The
irrevocable contract was scarcely ratified before it was violated.
With a temper habitually gloomy and suspicious, and a mind incapable
of bending to those inevitable little anxieties and vexations which
occur in the most quiet families, you soon discovered your propensity
to repel every thing that your jealous and fanciful temper deemed an
infringement of your privileges.

'Let your own heart testify how long and how ardently I endeavoured,
by mildness and the most simple and convincing reasons, to bring you
back to your duty. But in vain: causes of disagreement became so
frequent, and injury succeeded injury so fast, that I was obliged to
proceed to those gentle severities which are all that a husband, who
preserves a proper respect for himself, can inflict. And gentle they
certainly were, when compared to the contumely by which they were
provoked. I forbore those tender and endearing epithets, by which
former affection should be continually revived. I then avoided and
indeed refused to converse with you, except in the company of a third
person or as far as necessity obliged me. Sorry am I to say that,
instead of warning you to shun the rocks of mischief, my efforts did
but aggravate your folly.

'It is true you had your hours of contrition, in which, with tears
and prayers and unbounded acknowledgments of the absurdity of your
conduct, together with solemn assurances of reformation, you have for
a moment recalled my lost love, and made me hope you would acquire
some power over the discordant passions that devoured you. But these
promises were so often repeated, and so continually forgotten, that at
length they afforded neither hope nor ease: they had only been gleams
of sunshine, foreboding that the tempest would soon return with
increasing violence. Yes, partial as I know you, and blind to your own
errors, you cannot deny that at last you approached the fury, rather
than the woman.

'To a man like me, of a delicate temper, quick at discovering errors
and eager to redress them, even in cases where they do not personally
affect myself but indefatigable where they do, this eternal discord,
these quarrels and despicable brawls are become insupportable. I have
endured the torture seven miserable years, and surely that is no
slight trial: surely that is sufficient to prove I have not wanted
patience or fortitude. To be a good husband and a provident father,
and to protect those that depend on me from injury and want, are
qualities which I believe the whole world will allow me, you alone
excepted. _You_ upbraid me with faults; _you_ accuse me of crimes;
_you_ proclaim me a tyrant. When I am gone, when your passions have
subsided, and when you feel the want of me, you will be more just. You
will then lament that nothing, short of this desperate proof, could
convince you of the criminality of your conduct.

'Where I shall seek, where find, or where endure existence, or to what
hospitable or inhospitable shore I shall wander, I know not yet: I
only know that in England it cannot, shall not be. We have lived long
enough in misery; which, everlastingly to avoid, seas or death shall
everlastingly divide us.

W. ELFORD.'

This letter, although it contained many marks of that impatience which
had increased his family misfortunes, could only have been written by
a man of virtue, whose very austerity had in it a preponderance of
benevolent intention. Such was my uncle; whose memory, though but a
child, I often had occasion to regret.

By various plausible pretexts, with the hope of forwarding a fortune
that was to descend to me, Mr. Elford had been prevailed on to lend
my father several sums of money, to the amount of seven hundred
pounds. My uncle too had found other occasions for the exercise of
his humanity. His property had been hastily sold, and therefore
disadvantageously, so that the sum with which he went to seek his
fortune on foreign shores was but small. He was enough acquainted with
my father's affairs to know that of the money lent to him there was
little hope.

To me he wrote a letter which will sufficiently shew how kind he would
have been, had he possessed the power. It was inclosed in one to my
father, with directions to suffer me to read it now, and that it
should be preserved and given to me when age should have matured my
understanding. The following were its contents.

'TO HUGH TREVOR.

'My dear boy: young as you are, I have conceived a friendship and
affection for you, which perhaps inflict as severe a pang, at the
present moment, as any one of the distressing circumstances that
occasion my flight. Had I wealth to leave, I would endeavour to secure
you from the baneful effects of poverty; as it is, accept all that
I have to give, my best wishes, my dearest love, and a little good
advice. Though your understanding is greatly above your years, yet
you cannot have experience and knowledge enough of sorrow to conceive
what my feelings are: but if hereafter you should remember me, and
if at that most serious moment when you enter on the marriage state
you should wish for a friend like me to advise with, let this letter
supply my place. The miseries I have endured, by my mistakes on the
subject, are so strongly imprinted on my mind, that I can think
of nothing else; and, inapplicable as it may seem to your present
course of thought, I cannot persuade myself but that it is the most
interesting of all topics, upon which I could write to you.

'Of the wisdom of entering into the marriage state, and of the virtue
of the institution, I have lately begun to entertain the most serious
doubts. Whether they are well founded, or are the consequences of my
own mistakes of conduct, I dare not at this moment determine: but,
while the present forms of society exist, should you arrive at manhood
the probability is that you will marry. If then you should ever think
of marriage, think of it as a duty; and not merely as the means of
self gratification, or the indulgence of some childish and irrational
passion, which irrational people dignify with the name of love. Let
the affection you conceive for woman be founded on the qualities of
her mind.

'But above all things first examine yourself, whether you can endure
opposition without anger; and next put the woman you intend to
marry to the same test; for, unless you are mutually unshaken in
your resolutions on this head, if you marry you are miserable. The
task of man and wife is reciprocally arduous. She should be mild,
good-humoured, cheerful and tender; he cool, rational, and vigilant;
without acrimony, devoid of captiousness, and free from passion. It is
mutually their duty to inspect and to expostulate, but to beware how
they reprove. Where gentleness and equanimity of temper are wanting,
happiness never can be obtained. Believe me, my dear boy, I have never
stood so low in my own opinion as when I have caught myself betrayed
into petulance, and descending to passion. The combats I have
maintained to overcome this weakness are inconceivable.

'Whether it be constitutional in me or habitual I cannot
determine'--[Had Mr. Elford been more a philosopher, he would have
known that frequent anger is merely a habit.]--'but I suspect that
to this I chiefly owe my present misfortunes, as I am half persuaded
there is no woman that may not be moulded into what form her husband
pleases, provided he possess a superior understanding and an entire
command of his temper. But Oh! how severe the task to preserve a
perfect equality in despite of the ill humour, caprice, or injustice
of a woman for whom you undergo a thousand difficulties, encounter
continual labours, and undauntedly expose yourself to every fatigue
and danger!--I blush to think I have sunk beneath the trial.--But we
have both gone too far to recede: we have mutually said and done what
never can be forgotten.

'As good temper is the basis of connubial felicity, means must be
taken by which it may be cultivated and preserved. From the first hour
of marriage, beware of too much familiarity, and of encouraging or of
taking liberties. Be as circumspect in your behaviour as if a stranger
were present, and dread deviating from that respect which is due from
man to woman, and from woman to man, in a single state. This does not
imply coldness, or formality, but the cheerful intercourse of good
sense. Behave as you would to a person from whom you are happy to
receive a visit, and with whose company you are delighted. Should you
indulge those ebullitions of passionate fondness which lose sight of
these limits, it is impossible to foretell to what they may lead. A
caress neglected, or supposed to be neglected, a kiss not returned
with the like warmth, or a fond pressure not answered with equal
ardour, may poison a mind which applauds itself for the delicacy of
its sensations.

'Do not expect to find your wife all perfection. I know the romance
of lovers: they read descriptions in which the imagination has been
exhausted, to depict enamoured youth superior to every terrestrial
being; and they are convinced that, above all others, the object
of their own particular choice has never yet been equalled. Such
fanciful and silly people, when time and experience have something
allayed their ardour, will often find their dainty taste offended at
discovering a mole on the bosom, or a yellow shade in the neck, or any
other trifling bodily blemish, which was as visible before marriage as
after, had they looked with the same scrutinizing eyes. Be resolute in
repelling every emotion of anger or disgust. Never permit a choleric
or bitter expression to escape you; for wedded love is but too often
of a tender and perishable nature, and such rude potions are its
poison.

'I look back at what I have been writing, and am astonished at the
subject I have chosen. But the torrent of my thoughts is irresistible:
they hurry me away, and persuade me that though young, it is yet
possible you may hereafter remember me, and at a time when perhaps
you shall have arrived at the exercise of many of those noble virtues
which are now only in the bud. I have a great affection for you, my
dear nephew, and should be glad that, if you then cannot think kindly,
you should at least think justly; and that you should possess some
faint picture of the present state of my feelings. Could you but know
all the emotions of my heart, you would bear witness to its honesty;
and would own that its efforts have been strenuous, unremitted, and
sincere, though unfortunate.

'Years pass quickly away: yet a little while and you will be an actor
in this busy world, of which at present your knowledge is small. I am
doomed never to see you more; but, while I have life and memory, I
shall never forget you.

W. ELFORD.'



CHAPTER VIII


_My father becomes a bankrupt: Flies the country: Lists for an East
India soldier, and dies on ship-board: Distress of my mother; and the
beginning of my misfortunes: I am bound apprentice: Characteristic
traits of my master: The dreadful sufferings I undergo; and my narrow
escapes with life_


Young as I was, I perfectly remember that the strange departure of my
uncle Elford produced a very sensible effect upon me. It may well be
imagined that, when my understanding was more mature, the perusal of
this affectionate letter, and the recollection of his kindness to me
in my days of childhood, excited no little emotion.

As for my aunt, prepared as she had been for some violent catastrophe
to their quarrelling, she was either so struck by the letter and
the remembrance of past follies, or so fearful of the comments and
scrutiny of the neighbourhood, that within a month after he was
missing she quitted the country, and went to reside at the city of
****, where in less than a year she died. Her departure was private,
and the place of her retreat was not known till her last illness;
when intelligence was sent to the rector, to whom she bequeathed such
property as she possessed.

The absence of my uncle contributed to hasten the approach of that
cloudy reverse at which I have already hinted. For some time the
ruin of my father's affairs had been prevented by the sums which his
eloquence had wrung from the well-meaning Mr. Elford. Hugh was no
contemptible orator on these occasions. Hope seldom forsook him, and
he built so securely on what he hoped might come to pass as sometimes
to assert the thing had already happened. Such convenient mistakes are
daily made. If indeed the good graces of fortune would but have kept
pace with his expectations, England would not have afforded a more
flourishing or gallant yeoman. But, like monopolizers in general,
he was apt to speculate a little too deeply. Eager to enjoy, he was
impatient to obtain the means of enjoyment. So that, at one time,
the turning up of the jack at all fours was to make his fortune; but
how provoking! it happened to be the ten: at another it depended
on a duck-wing cock, which (who could have foreseen so strange an
accident?) disgraced the best feeder in the kingdom, by running away:
and it more than once did not want half a neck's length of being
realized by a favourite horse; yet was lost, contrary to the most
accurate calculations which, as the learned in these matters affirm,
had been made from Wheatherby's Racing Calendar.

Thus to repeated disappointments in his bets and his bargains, and to
his neglect of his farming affairs, it was owing that, in anno domini
---- when I was nine years and a half old, after having expended
the property with which he had been supplied, and incurred debts to
the amount of little less than a thousand pounds, my father found
it prudent to depart by night in the basket of the stage coach for
London. And prudent it certainly was, for his effects had not only
been seized in execution of a bond and judgment, but the bailiffs from
all quarters were at his heels.

My mother at this time was pregnant; the sister I have mentioned was
dead; but I had a fine healthy brother about three years old, and it
was agreed that we should follow to the great city, as soon as he had
found employment; which, according to his notions, was the most easy
thing imaginable.

It so happened, however, that he had not been there a full month
before the trifling sum he and my mother had collected for his
immediate existence was lost, by the turn of a die; contrary to his
certain conviction that he had discovered, at a hazard table, the
ready way to repair all past mistakes.

To send for wife and children was now out of the question. Destitute
of support, without the means of obtaining another shilling, after
fasting a day and a half, his courage, that is his appetite, could
hold out no longer, and he enlisted for an East-India soldier; having
first convinced himself, by the soundest arguments, that he should
immediately be made a serjeant; which perhaps was no improbable
calculation; that he should then soon get a commission, and that he
should undoubtedly return a commanding officer, or general in chief,
to the surprise of his friends and the utter confusion of the rector,
and all those whom he accounted his persecutors.

That these great events might not actually have happened who shall
pretend to say? Miracles of old were plentiful; and even in these
unbelieving days strange things have come to pass. But all his
unbounded hopes, many of which he had stated in his last letter to
my mother, were unexpectedly subverted, by an accident to which it
appears men in general are subject. He caught a fever, while the ship
in which he was to be a passenger lay waiting in the Downs for a wind;
and, in spite of the surgeon and his whole chest of medicines, died:
of all which events there was a circumstantial account, transmitted by
one of his comrades to my mother.

The ruin of prospects so fair, the desolation of a house and homeless
woman, with two orphan children, and pregnant of a third, and the
loss of a husband, who at the worst of times had always kept hope
alive, were sufficient causes of affliction to my mother. Tears were
plentifully shed, and daily and nightly wailings were indulged.

Every resource was soon exhausted, and immediate relief became
necessary. To whom could she apply? To whom, but the rector? She wrote
to him in terms the most moving, the most humiliating, and indeed
the most abject, that her imagination could suggest. But in vain: no
prayers, no tears, no terrors, of this world or of the next, could
move him. The father, and the divine, were equally inexorable. He
pleaded his oath, but he remembered his revenge. After the first
letter he would receive no more, and when she wrote again and again,
with the direction in a different hand, and using other little
stratagems, he returned no answer.

From this extreme distress, and from the intolerable disgrace, as my
mother supposed it to be, of coming on the parish, we were relieved,
to the best of her ability, by a poor widow woman with four children;
who had formerly lived a servant in the Trevor family, and who,
after her husband's death, maintained herself and her orphans with
incredible industry, and with no other aid but the produce of a cow,
that she fed chiefly on the common where her cottage stood. The active
good sense with which she did every thing that was entrusted to her,
was the cause that she never wanted employment; and she exerted her
utmost attention to make her children, as they grew up, as useful as
herself.

By this woman's advice and aid, my mother applied herself to spinning;
and it was agreed that I should either drive the plough or be put
apprentice, as soon as I could find a master.

For my own part, all my sources of pleasure and improvement were at
once retrenched. That I had not horses to ride, a father to play with
and caress me, and a kind uncle to instruct and delight me, were among
the least of my misfortunes. Reading, that great field of enjoyment,
which was daily opening more amply upon me, was totally cut off. My
curiosity had been awakened, my memory praised, and my acuteness
admired: in an instant, as it were, all these joys were vanished.

Previous to my uncle's departure, I had found another mode of
obtaining knowledge, and applause. He was musical, and a few persons
of the like turn, scattered through the neighbouring hamlets, used
occasionally to meet at his house; where they exercised themselves
in singing, from the works of Croft, Green, Boyce, Purcell, Handel,
and such authors as they possessed. One of them played the bassoon,
another the flute, and a third the violin, I had a quick ear, was
attracted by their harmony, and began to join in their concerts. A
treble voice was a great acquisition; I was apt and they encouraged
me, by frequent praise and admiration. My uncle gave me Arnold's
Psalmody, in which I eagerly studied the rudiments of the science: but
this book, with the rest, was swept away in the general wreck; and I,
after having had a glimpse of the enchanted land of knowledge, was
cast back, apparently to perish in the gloomy deserts of ignorance. I
had no source of information, except my mother; and her stores, at the
best, were scanty: at present, labour left her but little leisure, and
the little she had was spent in complaint.

The poor widow, indeed, willingly did me every kindness in her power;
but that alas was small. With this honest-hearted creature I remained
eight months, going out to a day's work whenever I could get one, to
weed, drive the plough, set potatoes, or any thing else that they
would put me to: till at last a farmer, finding me expert, agreed to
take me as an apprentice; on condition that I should serve him till I
was one and twenty. The offer was joyfully accepted by my mother, and
I had spirit and understanding enough to be happy that I could thus
provide for myself.

I had soon reason to repent; my master was the most passionate madman
I ever beheld; and, when in a passion, the most mischievous. His
cattle, his horses, his servants, his wife, his children, were each of
them in turn the objects of his fury.

The accidents that happened from his ungovernable choler were
continual, and his cruelty, when in these fits, was incredible; though
at other times, strange to tell, he was remarkably compassionate. He
one day beat out the eye of a calf, because it would not instantly
take the milk he offered. Another time he pursued a goose, that ran
away from him when he flung it oats; and was so enraged, by the
efforts it made to escape, that he first tore off its wing and then
twisted its neck round. On a third occasion he bit off a pig's ear,
because it struggled and cried while he was ringing it. One of his
children was lamed, and, though nobody knew how it happened, every
body gave him credit for the accident. Yet he had his paroxysms of
fondness for his children, and for the lame boy in particular. Indeed
it was generally remarked that he was the most cruel to those for whom
he had the greatest affection. The perception of his own absurdity
did but increase his rage, till it was exhausted; after which he has
sometimes been seen to burst into tears, at the recollection of his
own madness and inhumanity.

One habit arising from his excessive vivacity was that, when he wanted
any thing done, he expected the person nearest to him should not
only instantly obey, but conceive what he meant from the pointing of
his finger, the turn of his head, or the motion of his eye, without
speaking a word; while the dread of his anger stupified and rendered
the person against whom it was directed motionless.

I continued for an unexampled length of time to be his favourite. The
family remarked, at first with surprise, and afterward either with a
sense of injustice or of enmity, the restraint he put upon himself,
and the great partiality with which he treated me. My superior
quickness excited his admiration; he held me up as an example, and
laid the flattering unction to his soul that he was no tyrant; on the
contrary, when people had but common sense, nobody was more kind.

But old habits, though they may suffer a temporary disguise, are
devils incarnate. The tide of passion at length broke loose, and with
redoubled violence for having suffered constraint. To add to the
misfortune, my thirst after knowledge was the cause, or at least the
pretext, of this change. It happened that an old book of arithmetic
fell in my way, and, as this was at that time the sole treasure of
instruction within my reach, I made it my constant companion, carried
it in my bosom, and pored over it whenever I could steal a moment to
myself. In the heinous act of reading this book I was twice detected,
by my moody master. The first time he cautioned me, with fire in his
eyes, never to let him catch me idling my time in that manner again;
and the second he snatched hold of my ear and gave me so sudden and
violent a pull that he brought me to the ground. He did worse, he took
away my book, and locked it up.

Hostilities having thus commenced, they soon grew hot, and were
pursued with bitterness, tyranny, and malignity. Proceeding from bad
to worse, after a while every thing I did was wrong. In proportion as
his frenzy became hateful or rather terrible to his own imagination,
his cruelty increased. He seemed, in my instance, to have the dread
upon him of committing some injury so violent as perhaps to bring him
to the gallows; and several times in his chafing fits declared his
fear.

This idea haunted him so much that he adopted a new mode of conduct
with me, and, instead of kicking me, knocking me down, or hurling the
first thing that came to hand at me, gave himself time enough to take
the horsewhip. Yet he could not always be thus cautious; and even when
he was, such infernal discipline, though less dangerous, was more
intolerable.

The scenes I went through with this man, the sufferings I endured, and
the stupifying terrors that seized me if I saw but his shadow, I can
never forget. Every thing I did was a motive for chastisement; one
day it was for having turned the horses out to graze, and the very
next for suffering them to stand in the stable. The cattle of his
neighbour, for whom he had a mortal enmity, broke into his field
during the night; and for this I was most unmercifully flogged the
next morning. The pretence was my not having told him that the fence
was defective. Rainy weather made him fret, and then I was sure of a
beating. If it were fine, he was all hurry, anxiety, and impatience;
and to escape the wicked itching of his fingers was impossible.

One effect that he produced might be thought remarkable, had we not
the history of Sparta in its favour; and did we not occasionally
observe the like in other boys, under tyrannical treatment. The
efforts I was obliged to make, to endure the terrible punishment
he inflicted and live, at last rendered me, to a certain degree,
insensible of pain. They were powerfully aided indeed by the indignant
detestation which I felt, and by the something like defiance with
which it enabled me to treat him.

This on one occasion exasperated him so much that, seeing me support
the lash without a tear and as if disdaining complaint, he franticly
snatched up a pitch-fork, drove it at me, and, I luckily avoiding it,
struck the prongs into the barn-door; with the exclamation, 'Damn your
soul! I'll make you feel me!' The moment after he was seized with a
sense of his own lunacy, turned as pale as death, and stood aghast
with horror! My supposed crime was that I had eaten some milk, the
last of which I myself had seen the dog lap. Perceiving the terror of
his mind, I took courage and told him, 'Jowler eat the milk: I saw
him, just as he had done. I would not tell you, because I knew if I
had you would have hanged the poor dog.' This short sentence had such
an effect upon him that he dropped on his knees, the tears rolling
from his eyes, and cried out in an undescribable agony, 'Lord have
mercy upon my sinful soul! I shall surely come to be hanged!'

The terror of this lesson remained longer than those who knew him
would have expected; but it insensibly wore away.

The efforts I made in the interval to conciliate and avoid wakening
the fiend were strenuous, but ineffectual. I shrunk from no labour,
and the business with which he intrusted me shewed the confidence he
placed in my activity and intelligence. At eleven years old I drove
the loaded team, to market or elsewhere, without a superintendant. I
was sent in every direction across the country, to bring home sheep,
deliver calves to the butcher, fetch cattle, cart coals, or any thing
else within my strength.

Various were the distresses in which these duties, and the distempered
choler of my master, involved me. On one occasion a wicked boy set
his dog at my sheep, and drove them into a turnip field; out of which
I could not get them but with great difficulty and loss of time, of
which my master demanded a severe account. A calf once broke from me
and foolishly tumbled into a water-pit, from which I delivered it at
the hazard of my life. Another time, when the roads were heavy, my
waggon was set fast in a clay rut, where I was detained above an hour;
two drivers refusing to give me a pull because they had both lived
with my malicious master; and a third being only prevailed on, for
this master of mine was generally hated, by my prayers and tears and
the picture I drew of my own distress.

At length the violence of his temper recovered its full elasticity;
which was a second time chiefly excited by my earnest longing after
knowledge. Notwithstanding that my book was taken from me, my mind
was often occupied with the arithmetic I had learned in better days,
which had been strongly revived by its contents. At the employment
this afforded me I was twice caught by my master; once multiplying
and dividing with a nail against the paling, and the second time
extracting the square root with chalk on the wall.

These misdemeanours were aggravated by another incident. I one morning
happened to find, by good luck as I thought, a half-crown piece
that was lying on the high road. The moment I was possessed of this
treasure, I began to consider how it ought to be expended. I was in
great want of shoes, stockings, and other things; but with those my
master was bound to provide me; and, if I attempted to supply myself,
the probability was that he would beat me, for not having given him
the money.

After pondering again and again on the necessaries I might obtain,
the luxuries in which I might indulge, and, what was infinitely more
tempting, the stores of learning with which such a sum would furnish
me, the recollection of my mother, brother, and sister, for so
the young one proved to be, and their distress, with that of the
benevolent poor creature who afforded them a shelter, seized me so
strongly that I thought it would be wicked not to send my half-crown
where it was so much wanted. But how to convey it thither? That was
the difficulty. I had no means, no messenger, no soul in whom I durst
confide. I therefore resolved for the present to conceal it by pinning
it in the lining of my waistcoat; and this was one of those unforeseen
events that are generally called lucky chances.

My master's devil was again let loose, and a most uncontrolable devil
he was. I had overslept myself, a very uncommon accident with me,
and had put him into one of his hateful humours. At breakfast, while
eating his bread and cheese, I was set to watch the milk that stood on
the fire to boil. By some accident I forgot my office; he saw it rise
in the pipkin, looked toward me, could not catch my eye, and, seized
with one of his unaccountably hellish fits, sprang forward just as the
milk began to boil over, and struck at me with a clasped knife that he
held in his hand!

Fortunately for me, the point found resistance, by the saving
intervention of my half-crown! The clasp gave way with the violence of
the blow, and shutting made a deep gash in his own hand.

Again he turned pale, and, as the blood smeared the floor, knew not I
believe whether it was mine or his own. My dame trembling called out,
'Are you hurt, Hugh?' for she too saw the blood, and knew not whose it
was. I answered, 'No:' but with a tremulous voice, being in dread of
more blows. They soon descended upon me, after he had discovered his
mistake, and it was with difficulty that I escaped being thrown behind
the fire.

This was not the end of the history of my half-crown. I kept it above
three months till I happened to be sent to the market town, with a
load of hay. Here, in passing through the street, my eye as usual was
attracted by the bookseller's window. I had not forgotten how rich
I was, and could not resist. I went in, examined some of the stores
the shop contained, and with great difficulty restrained myself to
the purchase of the Seven Champions of Christendom, which cost me a
shilling. The other eighteen pence I found an opportunity, it being
market day, of sending by a neighbour to my mother; with an injunction
that six-pence of it should be given to her poor hostess.

With what eagerness I read the valiant deeds of these valiant knights,
as I rode home in my empty cart, I will leave the reader to divine:
but he will probably pity me when I inform him that I was so deeply
engaged in my book as not to perceive the arrival of the cart at
my master's yard gate, and that he himself stood at the barn door,
contemplating me in the profound negligence of my studies.

Riding in the cart, neglecting the team, having a new book, and
reading in it, formed a catalogue of crimes too black to hope for
pardon. Not the horse but the cart whip was the instrument of
vengeance; and, after having tired himself and left weals of a
finger's breadth on my body, arms, legs, and thighs, he completed his
malice this time, not by locking up but by burning my book. I had
already lived a year and a half under the tortures of this demon, till
they became so intolerable that at last I determined to run away. I
was confirmed in this resolution by another dangerous incident, which
terrified me more even than any of the preceding, and convinced me
that if I stayed any longer with this villainous savage I could not
escape death.

I was one day driving the plough for him when a young horse, not half
broken in, was the second in the team. I used my utmost endeavours but
could not manage him, and the lunatic my master, who was as strong as
he was ferocious, caught up a stone and aimed it at the colt (at least
so from his manner at the moment I supposed) but struck me with it,
and knocked me down immediately in the furrow, where the plough was
coming. I saw the plough-share that in an instant was to cut me in
two; but the madman, with an incredible effort, started it out of
the earth and flung it fairly over me! Unable however to recover his
balance, he trod upon my forehead with his hob-nailed shoe, and cut a
deep gash just over my eye, and another in my skull: whether with the
same foot or in what manner I do not know. My eye was presently closed
up, and my hair steeped in the blood that flowed plentifully from both
wounds.

There I lay, stunned for a moment, while he was obliged to attend to
the frightened colt, which forced the other horses to run, and was
become wholly unmanageable. When I recovered I heard him holloa, and
saw him struggling with the horses at the farther end of the field;
but the impression of the danger I had just escaped was so strong that
my resolution of running away came upon me with irresistible force,
and, perceiving him so thoroughly engaged, I immediately put it in
execution.

I imagine it was some time before he missed me, and he then probably
conjectured I was gone home. Be it as it will, I used my legs without
molestation; and, committing myself to chance and the wide world, made
the best of my way.



CHAPTER IX


_My flight: Desponding thoughts: Adventure with a stranger on the
road: I am promised relief, but learn a fearful secret that again
plunges me in doubt and anxiety: I reveal myself to a near relation:
The struggles of passion_


The animation that fear gave me was so great that, though I felt my
shirt collar drenched in the blood that flowed from my wounds, I
continued to run for at least four miles; and though my pace at length
slackened into a walk I still hurried eagerly forward. The dread of
again falling into his power, after an attempt so audacious as this,
deprived me of any other sense of pain, afforded me strength, and made
me forget the completely desolate state to which I had reduced myself.
I had no money, no food, no friend in the world. I durst not return to
my mother; she was the first person of whom the tyrant would enquire
after me. To avoid him was the only plan I yet thought of, and thus
impelled I pursued my road.

So long as I was acquainted with the country through which I
travelled, I went on without hesitation; but as soon as I found
myself entirely beyond my knowledge, I began to look about me. The
questions--Where am I? Whither am I going? What am I to do?--inspired
a succession of rising fears, which the joy of my deliverance could
scarcely counterbalance. I regretted the rash haste with which I
had parted with my half-crown. I had not a farthing on earth, I had
nothing to sell, nothing to eat, no soul to give me a morsel. It was
noon, when I fled from the ploughed field; I had been hard at work
from three o'clock in the morning, had since travelled at least
twelve or fourteen miles, wounded as I was, and began to feel myself
excessively weary, stiff, and craving after food. Where I had got the
notion, whether from father, mother, aunt, or uncle, I know not, but
I had been taught that to beg was an indelible disgrace; and to steal
every body had told me was the road to Tyburn. Starve or hang; that is
the law. If I even asked for work, who wanted my service? Who would
give me any? Who would not enquire where I came from, and to whom I
belonged?

These and many more tormenting ideas were forced upon me by the
situation in which I found myself; till at last I was so overcome with
fears and fatigue that I sat down to debate whether it were not best,
or rather whether I should not be absolutely forced, to turn back.

Still, however, when I came to reflect on the sufferings I had
endured, the dangers I had escaped, and the horrible punishment that
awaited me if I returned, any expedient seemed better than that
terrific project. The distance too, exhausted as I thought myself, was
an additional fear, and for a moment I doubted whether I should not
lie down and die.

Young minds hold death in peculiar horror, and the very thought
inspired returning energy. Among my cogitations I had not forgotten
the rector: he was obdurate, hard hearted, and even cruel. But was
he so cruel as the fiend from whom I had escaped? From a latent and
undefined kind of feeling, I had made toward that side of the country
where his village lay; and was, as I supposed, within four or five
miles of it. The resolution of making an effort to gain his protection
came upon me, and I rose with some alacrity to put it in practice. He
kept horses, a coachman, and a stable-boy; he had a garden; he farmed
a little, for his amusement. In any of these capacities I could be
useful, and, if he would but give me bread, I would do whatever he
would put me to. He could not surely be so stony hearted as to refuse.
I was inexperienced, and knew not the force of rancour.

I pursued my way ruminating on these hopes, fears, and disasters,
toward a village that I saw at a distance, where I intended to inquire
the road I meant to take. Descending a hill I came to a bridge, over a
rivulet of some depth, with a carriage way through the water.

Just as I had passed it, I met a post-chariot that drove into the
stream. I was walking forward with my face toward the village, till
I suddenly heard a cry of distress, and looking behind me saw the
carriage overturned in the water. I ran with all speed back to the
brook: the body of the carriage was almost covered, the horses were
both down, and the postillion, entangled between them, called aloud
for help! or his master would be drowned. I plunged into the water
without fear, having, as I have elsewhere noticed, long ago learned to
swim. Perceiving the extreme danger of the person in the carriage, I
struck directly toward the door, which I opened and relieved him, or
confined as he was he must have been almost instantly suffocated. His
terror was exceedingly great, and as soon as he was fairly on his
feet, he exclaimed with prodigious eagerness, 'God for ever bless
you, my good boy; you have saved my life!'--The pallidness of his
countenance expressed very strongly the danger of perishing in which
he had felt himself.

We then both waded out of the water, he sat down on the side of the
bridge, and I called to some men in a neighbouring field to come
and help the postillion. I then returned to the gentleman, who was
shivering as if in an ague fit. I asked if I should run and get him
help, for he seemed very ill? 'You are a compassionate brave little
fellow,' said he; and, looking more earnestly at me, exclaimed, 'I
hope you are not hurt; how came you so bloody?' I knew not what to
say, and returned no answer. 'You do not speak, child?' said he. 'Let
me go and get you some help, Sir,' replied I--'Nay, nay, but are you
hurt?'--'Not more than I was before this accident'--'Where do you come
from?'--I was silent--'Who are you?'--'A poor friendless boy'--'Have
you not a father?'--'No'--'A mother?'--'Yes: but she is forsaken by
her father, and cannot get bread for herself?'--'How came you in this
condition?'--'My master knocked me down and trod on me'--'Knocked you
down and trod on you?'--'Yes: he was very cruel to me'--'Cruel indeed!
Did he often treat you ill?'--'I do not know what other poor boys
suffer, but he was so passionate that I was never safe.'--'And you
have run away from him?'--'I was afraid he would murder me'--'Poor
creature! Your eye is black, your forehead cut, and your hair quite
clotted with blood'--'I have a bad gash in my head; but I can bear
it. You shake worse and worse; let me go and get you some help; the
village is not far off.'--'I feel I am not well'--'Shall I call one of
the men?'--'Do, my good fellow.'

I ran, and the men came; they had set the carriage on its wheels, but
it was entirely wet, and not fit to ride in. The gentleman therefore
leaned on one of them, walked slowly back to the village, and desired
me to follow. I gladly obeyed the order. He had pitied me, I had saved
his life; if I could not make a friend I was in danger of starving,
and I began to hope that I had now found one.

The best accommodations that the only inn in the village afforded were
quickly procured. At first the gentleman ordered a post-chaise, to
return home; but he soon felt himself so ill that he desired a bed
might be got ready, and in the mean time sent to the nearest medical
man, both for himself and to examine my wounds. What was still better,
he ordered the people of the house to give me whatever I chose to eat
and drink, and told them he had certainly been a dead man at that
moment, if it had not been for me. But he would not forget me; he
would take care of me as long as he lived.

This was joyful news indeed; or rather something much more exquisite
than joyful. My heart melted when I heard him; I burst into tears, and
replied, 'I would willingly die to serve him.' He then went to bed,
and as evening came on the fever with which he was attacked increased.
The anxiety I felt was excessive, and I was so earnest in my
intreaties to sit and watch by him, that he was prevailed on to grant
my request. From what I can now recollect, I imagine the apothecary
gave him the common remedy, Dr. James's powders. When the medicine no
longer operated he fell into a sound sleep, about eleven o'clock, and
when he awoke the next morning found himself much refreshed and free
from fever.

In the interim my wounds had been dressed, and to make the truth of
my story evident, I took care to shew the bruises, and black and blue
marks, with which my body was plentifully covered. Every favourable
circumstance, every precaution, every effort was now indeed become
necessary; for, late in the evening, I accidentally learned a secret
of the most important and hope-inspiring, yet alarming nature. My all
was at stake, my very existence seemed to depend on the person who it
is true had promised to be my protector, but who, perhaps, when he
should hear who I was, might again become my persecutor. The man to
whom I had attached myself, whose life I had saved, and who had avowed
a sense of the obligation, was no other than my grandfather!

The moment I heard this terrific intelligence, it chilled and animated
me alternately; and, as soon as I could recollect myself, I determined
not to quit his apartment all night. No persuasions could prevail
on me; and when the chambermaid, who sat up with him, attempted to
use force, I was so violent in my resistance that she desisted, and
suffered me to remain in quiet.

When he awoke in the morning I trembled at the sound of his voice. I
remembered the oath he had sworn, which my mother had often affirmed
he would never break. He was totally changed, in my idea, from the
gentleman whose life I had saved the day before. There had not indeed
been any thing particularly winning in his aspect; but then there was
a strong sense of danger, and of obligation to the instrument of his
escape, who interested him something the more by being unfortunate.
But an oath, solemnly taken by a man of so sacred a character? The
thought was dreadful!

His curtains were drawn, and my trepidation increased. 'What, my good
boy,' said he, 'are you up and here already?' 'He has never been in
bed,' answered the chambermaid. 'We could not get him out of the
room.' I replied in a faint voice, such as my fears inspired, 'I hoped
he was better.' 'Yes, yes,' said he, 'I have had a good sleep, and
feel as if I wanted my breakfast; go, my girl, and let it be got
ready.'

The chambermaid obeyed his orders, and he continued--'Why did not you
go to bed, child?'--'It did not become me to leave you'--'How so?' 'I
hope I know my duty better'--'Your duty!'--'Yes, Sir'--'You seem to be
an extraordinary boy; you act with great spirit, and talk with more
good sense than I should expect from your poverty and education'--'So
I ought to do, Sir; though I am desolate, I have been brought up
better than most poor boys'--'Ay indeed!'

The apothecary entered, and, after having paid all necessary attention
to his patient, informed him of the state in which he had found me;
talked of my wounds and bruises, and the cruelty of the man that could
inflict them; repeated several of the anecdotes of his tyranny, which
I had told him, and concluded with remarks on my good fortune, in
having found so kind a protector.

'The boy has saved my life,' said my grandfather, 'and he shall not
want a friend.' 'Are you quite sure of that, Sir?' answered I, with
emphatical anxiety. 'Never, while I live,' replied the rector. 'Nay,
but are you quite quite positive?' 'Do you doubt my word, boy?'--'That
is very wrong of you indeed, child,' said the apothecary.--A thought
suddenly struck me. If he would but take an oath, said I to myself?
The oath, the oath! that was what I dreaded! An opposite oath seemed
to be my only safe-guard. I continued--'I swear, Sir, while I have
life never to forsake you, but to be dutiful and true to you'--'Swear
boy?'--'Yes, Sir, most solemnly.'--I spoke with great fervor--'You are
an unaccountable boy'--'Oh that _you_ would never forsake _me_'--'I
tell you I will not'--'Oh that you never would!'--'Won't you believe
me?'--'Oh that you never never would!'--'The boy I believe wants me to
swear too'--'Ay; do, Sir; take an oath not to disown me; and indeed
indeed I'll die willingly to deserve your favour'--'Disown you'--'Nay,
Sir, but take an oath. You say I saved your life; I would lay down
my own again and again to save it. Do not deny me, do not turn me to
starve, or send me back to be murdered by my barbarous master'--'I
tell you I will not'--'Nay but'--'Well then I swear, boy, I will
not'--'Do you indeed duly and truly swear?'--'Solemnly, boy! I take
heaven to witness that, if you are not guilty of something very
wicked, while I live I will provide for you.'--I fell on my knees,
caught hold of his hand, burst into tears, and exclaimed with
sobs--'God in heaven bless my dear dear good grandfather! He has
forgiven me! He has forgiven me!' 'Grandfather?' 'I am Hugh Trevor.'

Never did I behold so sudden a change in the human countenance! The
rector's eyes glared at me! There was something ghastly in the sunken
form of his features! My shirt was still red, and my coat spotted with
blood; the hair had been cut away from the wound on my head, which was
covered with a large plaister. My eye was black, and swelled up, and
my forehead too was plaistered above the eye-brow. My body he had been
told was covered with bruises, tears bathed my cheeks, and my face was
agitated with something like convulsive emotions. This strange figure
was suddenly changed into his grandson! It was an apparition he knew
not how to endure. To be claimed by such a wretched creature, to
have been himself the author of his wretchedness, to have had an
oath extorted from him, in direct violation of an opposite oath,
to feel this universal shock to his pride and his prejudices was a
complication of jarring sensations that confounded him. To resist was
an effort beyond his strength. For a moment he lost his voice: at last
he exclaimed, with a hoarse scream--'Take him away'--My heart sunk
within me. The apothecary stood petrified with astonishment. The
rector again repeated with increasing agony--'Take him away! Begone!
Never let me see him more!'

The pang I felt was unutterable. I rose with a feeling of despair that
was annihilating, and was going broken hearted out of the room. At
that instant the figure of my master started to recollection, and with
such terror as to subdue every other fear. I turned back, fell on my
knees again, and clasping my hands cried out, 'For God Almighty's
sake, do not send me back to my master! I shall never escape with
life! He will murder me! He will murder me! I'll be your servant as
long as I live. I will go of your errands; take care of your horses;
drive your plough; weed your garden; do any thing you bid me; indeed,
indeed I will.--Do not send me back to be murdered!'

The excess of my feelings had something of a calming effect on those
of the rector. He repeated, 'Go go, boy, go! I feel myself very ill!'
The apothecary recovered his tongue and added, 'Ay, my good child, you
had better go.'

The altered voice of the rector removed a part of the load that
oppressed me, and I left the room, though with no little sensation of
despondency. In about half an hour the apothecary came down. He had
had a conversation with the rector, who I found could not endure the
sight of me again, under my present forlorn or rather accusing form.
The remembrance however that I had saved his life was predominant. How
his casuistry settled the account between his two oaths I never heard;
on that subject he was eternally silent. He was probably ashamed of
having taken the first, and of having been tricked out of the second.
His orders were that I should go home with the apothecary, with whom
he had arranged matters, should be new clothed, wait till my wounds
were healed, and then, if he possibly could, he would prevail upon
himself to see me.



CHAPTER X


_Hopes in behalf of my mother: The arrival of the rector: I gain
his favour: Am adopted by him: And effect a family reconciliation.
Anecdotes of a school-fellow, and his sister: Grammatical and musical
studies: Causes of discontent between the Squire and the rector:
Tythes and law produce quarrels: The tragi-comic tale of the rats_


Six weeks had elapsed before my wounds, bruises, and black marks,
had totally disappeared; and the scar above my eye still retained a
red appearance. The alteration of my person however, aided as it was
by dress, was so remarkable as to excite surprise among my village
friends. The apothecary prided himself upon the change, persuading
himself that the rector would thank him for the present of so fine a
grandson. His art and care had wrought miracles, I was quite another
creature; the alteration was so prodigious since he had taken me that
he was sure there was not so fine a boy in all England.

In the mean time I had written to my mother, whose cottage was about
ten miles across the country, from the village where the apothecary
lived. He would not permit me to go to her, it might offend the
rector; but he agreed that, if she should by chance come to me, there
could be no harm in my speaking to my mother. He too understood
casuistry. She accordingly came to see me, and was overjoyed at what
had happened; it might lead to a general reconciliation: especially
now that my brother and sister were both dead. They had been carried
off by the small-pox; and she rightly enough conjectured that the
rector would not be the less prone to pardon her for being clear of
further incumbrance. She enjoined me to intercede in her behalf, and I
very sincerely promised to speak as soon as I dared.

The day at last came on which the rector was to pay his visit, and
examine how far I was fit to be his grandson. My terror by this time
had considerably abated: he having taken thus much notice of me, I
scarcely could believe myself in danger of being rejected. I was not
however without trepidation, and when the well known post chariot
drove up to the door my heart sunk within me.

The apothecary had two sons, one a year older, and the other some
months younger that I was. The eldest was deformed, and his brother
squinted abominably. Curiosity had brought them and the whole family
into the parlour, to be spectators of the interview. My grandfather
entered; I was dressed as genteelly as every effort of the village
taylor could contrive; an appearance so different from that of the
beaten, bruised, and wounded poor elf he first had seen, with clouted
shoes, torn stockings, and coarse coating, dripping with water, and
clotted with blood, was so great as scarcely to be credible. The
ugliness of my companions did but enhance the superiority of my look;
he could not be mistaken in which was his grandson, and the pleasure
my pre-eminence inspired excited a smile of no little approbation. For
my part I had conceived an affection for him; first I had saved his
life, then he had relieved me from distress, and now was come to own
me as his grandson. The change of my present situation from that in
which I had endured so much misery gave me ineffable pleasure. The
entrance of the rector, who had been the cause of this change, and the
smile with which he regarded me went to my heart. I kneeled, my eyes
flowing in tears, and begged his blessing. He gave it, bade me rise,
and thus made me one of the happiest creatures existing.

The rector stayed some time to settle accounts with the apothecary,
after which the postillion was called, leave was taken, and I found
myself seated beside my grandfather, in that fortunate post chariot
from which I had so happily extricated him.

How extreme are the vicissitudes of life! What a reverse of fortune
was here! From hard fare, severe labour, and a brutal tyrant, to
plenty, ease, and smiling felicity. No longer chained in poverty and
ignorance, I now had free access to the precious mines of knowledge.
Far from being restrained, I had every encouragement to pursue
inquiry; and the happiness of the change was at first so great as
almost to be incredible. But the youthful mind easily acquires new
habits, and my character varied with the accidents by which it was
influenced. Yet, to use my father's language, the case-hardening I
had received tempered my future life, and prepared me to endure those
misfortunes with fortitude which might otherwise have broken my
spirit.

From the day that I arrived at the rectory, I increased so fast in my
grandfather's favour that he scarcely knew how to deny me a request. I
was soon bold enough to petition for my mother; and though the pill at
first was bitter, my repeated importunities at length prevailed, and
the rector agreed that, when his daughter should have sufficiently
humbled herself, in terms suited to his dignity and her degradation,
she should be permitted to kneel at his footstool for pardon, instead
of perishing like an out-cast as she deserved.

It was not to be expected that my mother should object to the
conditions; the alternative was very simple, submit or starve. Beside
she had been too much accustomed to the display of the collective
authority, accumulated in the person of the rector, to think
of contest. His government was patriarchal, and his powers
plenipotentiary. He was the head of his family, the priest of the
parish, the justice of peace for the hundred, and the greatest man
of miles around. He had no rival, except the before-mentioned Squire
Mowbray, whom, if divines can hate, I certainly think he hated.

Of the claims of my late master over me, as his apprentice, I never
heard more. Perhaps there was no indenture, for I do not recollect
to have signed one; but if there were he certainly was too conscious
of his guilt to dare to enforce his right, now that he found me
acknowledged and protected by a man so powerful as my grandfather. It
is possible indeed that he should never have heard what became of me;
though I consider that as very improbable. While I was at Oxford, I
was informed that he died raving, with a fever in the brain.

I have mentioned the encouragement I received to pursue inquiry:
one of the first things the rector thought of was my education. Now
that he had owned I was indeed his grandson, it was fitting that
his grandson should be a gentleman. In the parish committed to his
pastoral guidance was a grammar school, that had been endowed, not
indeed by Squire Mowbray or his ancestors, but, by the family that
in times of yore had held the same estate. The pious founder had
vested the government not entirely in his own family, and its
representatives, but in that family and the rector for the time being.
This circumstance, and many others of a parochial nature, conduced to
a kind of partition of power, well calculated to excite contempt in
the wealthy Squire, who was likewise lord of the manor, and inflame
jealousy in heaven's holy vice-gerent, whose very office on earth is
to govern, and to detect, reprove, and rectify, the wanderings of us
silly sheep.

To this school I was immediately sent; and here, among other
competitors was the Squire's eldest son, Hector Mowbray. He was two
years older than I, and in the high exercise of that power to which he
was the redoubted heir. To insult the boys, seize their marbles, split
their tops, cuff them if they muttered, kick them if they complained
to the master, get them flogged if they kicked and cuffed in return,
and tyrannize over them to the very stretch of his invention, were
practices in which he daily made himself more and more expert. He was
the young Squire, and that was a receipt in full for all demands.

I soon came to understand that he was the son of a great man! a very
great man indeed! and that there was a prodigious difference between
flesh and blood of a squire's propagating, and that of ordinary breed.
But I heard it so often repeated, and saw it proved in such a variety
of instances, that I too was the grandson of a great man, ay so great
as openly to declare war against, or at least bid defiance to, the
giant power of Magog Mowbray (it was an epithet of my grandfather's
giving) I say, I was so fully convinced that I myself was the son
of somebody (pshaw! I mean the grandson) that no sooner did young
Hector begin to exercise his ingenuity upon me, than I found myself
exceedingly disposed to rebel. I had been bred in a hardy school.

At my first admission into this seminary, I did not immediately and
fully enter into the spirit and practice of the place; though I soon
became tolerably active. At robbing orchards, tying up latches,
lifting gates, breaking down hedges, and driving cattle astray, I
was by no means so great a proficient as Hector; nor had I any great
affection for swimming hedgehogs, hunting cats, or setting dogs at
boys and beggars; but at climbing trees, running, leaping, swimming,
and such like exercises, I was among the most alert.

My courage too was soon put to the proof, and my opponents found that
I entered on action with very tolerable alacrity; so that not to
mention sparrings and skirmishes, from which having begun I was never
the first to flinch, I had not been a year at school, before I had
been declared the conqueror in three set battles. The third was with
a butcher's boy, in defence of Hector, who for once instead of giving
had suffered insult, but who, though older and stronger than I was,
had not the courage to attack his hardy antagonist. My victory was
dearly earned, for the boy was considerably my superior in age and
strength, and bred to the sport. But this defence of him, and the fear
of having me for a foe, induced Hector to court my favour, and often
to invite me to Mowbray Hall.

Nor did the whole of my fame end here; the first day I entered the
school I was allowed to be the best English scholar, excepting one
Turl, a youth noted for his talents, and who while he remained there
continually kept his place in every class, as head boy. But this was
no triumph over me, for beside having been so long at school, he had
three or four years the advantage of me in point of age. Neither
did my thirst of inquiry abate, and I had now not only books but
instructors; on the contrary, my eagerness increased, and my progress
both in Latin and Greek was rapid. The rector was astonished at it,
and was often embarrassed by the questions which my desire of learning
impelled me to put.

Among my other acquirements, I became a practical musician. The rector
could strum the bass tolerably, and his friend the lawyer could play
the violin, in which however he was excelled by the clerk of the
parish. I retained some remembrance of what I had formerly studied,
and felt a great desire to learn; the rector encouraged it, and as the
clerk is always the very humble servant and slave of the parson, he
was inducted my music master. I loved the art, so that in less than
twelve months I had made a sufficient progress to join in Corelli's
and even Handel's trios, and thus to strengthen the parsonage-house
band.

People who hate each other do yet visit and keep up an intercourse,
according to set forms, purposely to conceal their hatred, it being a
hideous and degrading vice, of which all men are more or less either
ashamed or afraid. To preserve these appearances, or perhaps from the
impulse of vanity, the rector admitted of my excursions to Mowbray
Hall. For my own part, I found a motive more alluring than the society
of Hector, that frequently occasioned me to repeat these visits. His
sister, Olivia, two years younger than myself, was usually one of our
parlour playmates. Born of the same mother, living in the same family,
accustomed to the same manners, it is difficult to account for the
very opposite propensities of this brother and sister. Every thing the
reverse of what has been recited of Hector was visible in Olivia. He
was boisterous, selfish, and brutal; she was compassionate, generous,
and gentle: his faculties were sluggish, obtuse, and confined; hers
were acute, discriminating, and capacious: his want of feeling made
him delight to inflict torture; her extreme sensibility made her
fly to administer relief. The company of Olivia soon became very
attractive, and the rambles that I have sometimes taken with her, hand
in hand over Mowbray Park, afforded no common delight. She too was a
musician, and already famous for her fine voice and execution on the
harpsichord. I accompanied her on the violin, and sang duets with her
so as to surprize and even charm the Squire, and throw the visitors at
Mowbray Hall into raptures.

This sweet intercourse however was terminated by the bickerings,
back-bitings, and smothered jealousies, between the Squire and my
grandfather, which at length burst into a flame. The Squire had
succeeded to his estate and manor by the death of a very distant
relation, and by this relation the rector had been presented to his
living: he therefore considered himself as under no kind of obligation
to the Squire; while the latter on the contrary, the advowson being
parcel and part of the manor, held the manor, and himself as owner of
the manor, to be the actual donor.

To all this was added another very serious cause of discontent, that
of tythes; a cause that disturbs half the villages in the kingdom,
and that frequently exhibits the man who is sent to preach peace, and
afford an example of mild forbearance and Christian humility, as a
litigious, quarrelsome and odious tyrant; much better qualified to
herd with wolves than to be the shepherd of his meek master. It is
sufficiently certain that neither Christ nor his apostles ever took
tythes; and the esquires, farmers, and landholders, of this christian
kingdom, would in general be better satisfied, if their successors
were to follow so disinterested and laudable an example.

My grandfather had accepted his rectory at the same commutation that
the former incumbent had enjoyed it; and, while the patron to whom
he owed the presentation was living, he contented himself with his
bargain as well as he could: but, soon after the accession of Squire
Mowbray, considering that tie as no longer a clog to his conscience,
he began to inquire very seriously into the real value of his first
fruits and tythes, personal, predial, and mixed: that is, his great
tythes and his small. The calculation inflamed his avarice, and he
purchased and read all the books on the subject of tythes he could
collect. Being fond of power, and having discovered (as he supposed)
that the man who knows the most quirks in law has the greatest
quantity of power over his simple and ignorant neighbours, he was
a tolerably laborious and successful student of these quirks. I
say, tolerably; for it seldom happens that the rector is the most
industrious person in the parish.

It was thus that, after having made the whole hundred tremble at his
authority, in the exercise of his office of justice of the peace, he
next hoped to conquer the Behemoth, Magog Mowbray himself. His own
fears of being vanquished and the advice of his friends had indeed,
for years, prevented him from proceeding to an open rupture with his
parish, and the Squire at its head: but his irritability had been
gradually increasing ever since the departure of my uncle Elford. The
progress of his avarice at first was slow; but it gained strength as
it proceeded, and there was now no one whose opinion had sufficient
weight with him to keep it longer quiet. His friend the lawyer, it is
true, might have had some such influence over him; but the lawyer had
been duly articled to the most famous, that is the most litigious,
attorney in the country, and was himself his very famous successor; a
practitioner of the first repute.

The Squire, by a trick he thought proper to play, contributed not
a little to kindle the smothering embers. My grandfather having
announced his intention of demanding a commutation of nearly double
the sum, or of being paid his tythes in kind--first his tythes _de
jure_, and next his tythes by custom; enumerating them all and each;
corn, hay, hops and hemp; fruits, roots, seeds and weeds; wool, milk,
chickens, ducklings, and goslings, or eggs; corn rakings and pond
drawings; not forgetting agistment and _subbois_, or _sylva caedua_;
with many many more of the sweets of our prolific mother earth, which
I would enumerate if I did but recollect them, and for which men so
often have been and still are impleaded in Court Christian--these
particulars, I say, being recapitulated and set forth in terrible
array, by the rector, excited in the whole parish so much dread of the
rapacious vulture, who was coming with such a swoop upon them, that
high and low, young and old, rich and poor, all began to tremble.

The Squire was the only man, at first, who durst bid defiance to the
general ravager. The rector's deviation from his original commutation
agreement threw him into a rage, and he panted for an opportunity of
shewing the contempt in which he held my grandfather and his threats.

Malicious chance favoured his wishes. It happened, while his passions
were in full force, that a rat-catcher arrived at Mowbray Hall; which
at that time was greatly infested by the large Norway rats. The man
had the art of taking them alive, and was accordingly employed by the
Squire. While he was preparing to perform his business, the gentle
Olivia, very innocently and without any foresight of consequences,
chanced to say--'I do not think, papa, that our good rector, who
considers all things as tytheable, would be much pleased to have his
tythe of rats'--The Squire no sooner heard this sentence uttered
than he began to dance and halloo, like a madman; swearing most
vociferously--'By G----, wench, he shall ha' um! He shall ha' um! He
shall ha' um!'

His boisterous joy at this rare thought, which was indeed far beyond
the discovery of his own brain, could not be appeased; nor could
Olivia, sorry for what she had done, prevent him from most resolutely
determining to put it in practice. The ratcatcher was immediately
ordered to entrap as many of his best friends as he possibly could;
and a carpenter was set to work to make a covered box, for the
rector's tythe-rats, with a lifting door. Hector Mowbray was consulted
on the whole progress; and the fancies of father and son were tickled
to excess, by the happy prank they were about to play.

The rats were caught, the box was made, and the ratcatcher commanded
to select the finest, fattest and largest of them, and enclose them
in their cage. In order to heighten and secure their enjoyment, the
Squire and Hector chose four of the stoutest servants, gave the cage
into their custody, and ordered the ratcatcher to attend. Away they
then went in turbulent procession. They even wanted Olivia to go with
them to see the sport; and young Hector, probably with malice prepense
against me, when she refused, was for using force; but she was a
favourite with the Squire, and being very determined was suffered to
remain at home.

Arrived at the parsonage-house, they entered the hall. The Squire
loudly called for the rector. The noise and vociferation of their
approach had rouzed his attention, and he was not long in coming.
The servants too were collected, some without the door and others of
more authority within it, to hear and see what all this could mean.
I likewise was one of the company.--'Here! here! Mr. Rector,' bawled
the Squire, 'we ha' brought you your due. I'll warrant, for once, you
sha'n't grumble that we do not pay you your tythes!'

My grandfather, hearing this address, seeing the covered cage, and
remarking the malicious grins of the Squire and his whole posse, knew
not what to think, and began to suspect there was mischief in the
wind--'By the waunds! mister tythe taker,' continued the Squire, 'but
you shall ha' your own! Here, lads, lift up the cage: put it on the
table; let his reverence see what we ha' brought'n! Come, raise the
door!'

The men, with each a broad grin upon his countenance, did as they were
bidden: they lifted up the box, raised the door, and out burst above
twenty of the largest wildest rats the well stocked barns of Mowbray
Hall could afford. Their numbers, their squealing, their ferocity,
their attempts to escape, and the bounds they gave from side to side
struck the whole parsonage house community with a panic. The women
screamed; the rector foamed; the squire hallooed; and the men seized
bellows, poker, tongs, and every other weapon or missile that was at
hand. The uproar was universal, and the Squire never before or after
felt himself so great a hero! The death of the fox itself was unequal
to it!

This was but the first act of the farce, the catastrophe of which
had something in it of a more tragical cast. Servants partake of the
prejudices of their masters, and the whole parsonage-house, young and
old, male and female, felt itself insulted. No sooner therefore were
the rats discomfited than the rector, summoning all his magisterial
and orthodox dignity, commanded the Squire and his troop to depart.
Despising the mandate, Magog Mowbray continued his exultations and
coarse sarcasms; and, Oh frailty of human nature! the man of God
forgot the peaceful precepts of his divine mission, and gave the
signal for a general assault. Nay he himself, so unruly are the hands
and feet even of a parson in a passion, was one of the most eager
combatants. Age itself could not bind his arms.

The battle raged, fierce and dreadful, for sometime in the hall: but
heroism soon found it wanted elbow-room, and the two armies by mutual
consent sallied forth. Numbers were in our favour, for the very maids,
armed with mop-handles, broomsticks, and rolling pins, acted like
Amazons. I was far from idle, for I had singled out my foe. Hector,
whose courage example had enflamed to a very unruly height, had even
dared to begin the attack; and I was no less alert in opposition. But
though he was Hector, I as it happened was Achilles, and bestowed my
wrath upon him most unsparingly. In fine, valour, victory, and right,
were for once united, and we very fairly put the Squire, his heir, his
ratcatcher, and his beef-eaters to flight.

The rector, dreading a second attack from the enemy, began to fortify
his castle, provide ammunition, and arrange his troops. I acted as his
aide-de-camp, burning to be myself commander in chief. But the caution
was superfluous: the Squire, like his son, was rather revengeful than
valorous, and returned no more to the field.

In the parish however the fortune of the day might be said to wear a
very different face, for there was not a farmer who did not triumph at
the tythe in kind, which had been paid to the rector; and it became a
general threat to sweep the parish of moles, weazles, stoats, polecats
and vermin of every species, and tenant the rectory with them, if any
thing more was heard on the subject of tythes. Neither did detraction
forget to remind the rector of his age, and how shameful it was for
a man with one foot in the grave to quarrel with and rob the poor
farmers, whom he was hired to guide, console, and love. The poor
farmers forgot that, in the eye of the law, the robbery was theirs;
and the rector forgot that in the eye of justice and common sense, he
had already more than enough. The framers of the law too forgot that
to hire a man to love a whole parish is but a blundering kind of a
mode. But such mistakes are daily made.



CHAPTER XI


_Different accounts of the battle: Olivia offended: Legal
distinctions, and law-suits commenced_


The rumours of the village soon made it apparent that the history of
the battle royal, as given by the vanquished party, like many other
histories, deviated in various particulars from the strict truth.
Thus the Squire asserted that he and his myrmidons quitted the field
victoriously, drums beating and colours flying; after having driven
the enemy back into their citadel and strong holds, out of which they
durst not peep: and to the truth of what the Squire asserted his
trusty adherents made it a case of conscience to swear.

Encouraged by so good an example, Hector vaunted loudly of his own
high feats of arms; and by his narration made it appear, not only how
much he had the best of the battle with me, but that it was by kicking
him when up, kneeing him when down, striking him when rising, and
other such like cowardly foul and malicious acts, that he brought home
such a quantity of bruises (of which with all his valour he bitterly
complained) together with a pair of black eyes.

Knowing my partiality for his sister, and suspecting that Olivia
herself was not without her inclinations, he did not fail to repeat
these particulars when she was present; carefully adding such other
injurious accusations and epithets as might most effectually lower me
in her esteem. His efforts were successful: Olivia was offended, first
that her brother should be so cruelly beaten by one of whom she had
conceived so kindly, and next that it should be by such base and
dishonourable means. Thus one of my chief pleasures, that of visiting
at Mowbray Hall, admiring and sometimes mounting the Squire's hunters,
and straying through the gardens and grounds with the gentle Olivia,
was cut off.

Hector by this time had passed the age of sixteen, and the wrath of
the Squire rose so high that he would not suffer him any longer to go
to the same school with me: for which reason, it being a part of his
plan to send his heir to the university, that he might not only be a
Squire but a man of learning, and thus become greater even than his
father before him, preparations and arrangements were made something
sooner than had been intended, and not long afterward he was entered a
gentleman commoner of ****** college, Oxford.

It has been noticed that the farmers thought more of the vexation of
their case than of the law; but not so the rector; he thought first of
the law, and the law told him that the vexation of the case relative
to tythes, was all in his favour. Of the late affray with the Squire
indeed he had his doubts. As for the entrance upon his premises,
though it might be pleaded it was for a lawful purpose, namely, that
of paying tythes, yet, as rats were _feræ naturæ_, and therefore
things not tythable, it was very plain that this was a case of
trespass _ab initio_, and his action would lie for _a trespass vi et
armis_. But unfortunately passion had prevented him from waiting to
bring his action, and he had assumed the _vi et armis_ to himself in
the first instance, not having patience to attend the slow and limping
pace of the law. He was not indeed quite certain that, although he and
his party gave the first blows, an action of battery brought against
Mowbray might not be justified: for did he not come upon him in
full force; he, the rector, being in the peace of God and our Lord
the King? And did not he, the Squire, by shouting and oaths and
blasphemous words, put him, the rector, in bodily fear? And was not
the very act of turning ferocious animals, namely, Norway rats, loose
in his hall, to the danger of his face, eyes, and throat, a very
indubitable and sufficient assault? Was it not likewise clearly in
self defence, that the rector and his faithful servants did _molliter
manus imponere_ on the Squire and his crew?--The _molliter_ it is true
appeared rather doubtful: but then it was a term of law, and would
bear that exact signification which the circumstances of the case
required, and lawyers so well know how to give.

Thus, with law in his head, wrath in his heart, and money in his
pocket, away went the rector to hold consultations with his now
favourite friend the attorney; who has before been mentioned as so
thorough bred and far famed a practitioner; the result of which was
that an action of _trespass upon the case_, as the safest mode of
proceeding, should be brought against the Squire; and that public
information should be given that tythes in kind would in six months be
demanded from the whole parish; with a formal notice that as malicious
threatenings had been uttered against the rector, whom the laws,
civil, common, and ecclesiastical, would protect, if any such
threatenings should be put in execution actions against the offenders
would immediately be instituted.

It was the spring of the year when these resolutions were taken, and
before the end of the following November the rector, in consequence of
squabbles, insults, and frauds, had brought actions against more than
half his parishioners; by which the attornies, counsellors, and courts
were in the end the only gainers, while plaintiff and defendant most
ardently concurred and rejoiced in the ruin of each other. But so
it is: anger, avarice, and law are terrible things; and malice and
selfishness are indefatigable foes.



CHAPTER XII


_Progress of my studies: My predilection in favour of theology: The
decay of the rector: His testament, death, and funeral_


Three additional years passed away under the auspices of my
grandfather, during which he pursued his law-suits and I my studies;
though with very different success; he lost the dearest thing on earth
to him, his money; and I gained the dearest thing on earth to me,
knowledge. Among other superfluous appendages, superfluous to him for
he made but little use of it, he had a good library. Not of his own
collecting; he enjoyed it by descent. This was my daily resort. Its
treasures were inexhaustible, and my desire of information could
not be satiated. I spent many happy hours in it, and it is still
remembered by me with that sweet pleasure which its contents were so
well calculated to impart.

I had another accidental advantage. The usher of the school got
preferment, and his successor happened to be well read, both in the
dead and living languages. This person, whose name was Wilmot, was not
only a good scholar and an amiable man but an excellent poet. He had
an affection for me, and I almost worshipped him. He was assiduous to
teach me every thing he knew; and fortunately I was no less apt and
eager to learn. Having already made a tolerable proficiency in the
learned languages, the richness of the French in authors made me
labour to acquire it with avidity. The Italian poets were equally
inviting; so that, by his aid, I mastered the idioms and attained the
spirit of both those languages. The dialects of the Teutonic were
likewise familiar to him, and I made some progress in the German;
being desirous from his recommendation to read, among others, the
works of Lessing, Klopstock, Goethe, and Schiller. The acquirement of
knowledge is an essential and therefore a pure pleasure; and my time,
though laboriously spent, glided swiftly and happily away.

With respect to amusement, the violin became my favourite. My now
dearest friend, the usher, among his other attainments was a musician:
my affection for him had made him intimate at the parsonage-house, and
his aid greatly promoted our musical parties.

Finding knowledge thus delightful, my zeal to promulgate it was great.
I had as I imagined so much to communicate, that I panted for an
opportunity to address myself to multitudes. At that time I knew
no place so well calculated for this purpose as the pulpit; and my
inclination to be a preacher was tolerably conformable to the views
of the rector. Not but he had his doubts. Few men are satisfied with
their own profession; and though he had great veneration for church
authority, which he held to be infinitely superior from its very
nature to civil government, yet his propensity to dabble in the law
had practically and theoretically taught him some of the advantages of
its professors. In rank it was true that the Archbishop of Canterbury
was the second man in the kingdom, and in the rector's opinion ought
to have been indisputably the first. In days of yore, who so potent?
But obsolete titles are not equal to actual possessions. The Lord High
Chancellor, in this degenerate age, enjoys much more political power.
Neither does it in general die with him, like that of the Archbishop.
He seldom fails to bequeath an earldom, or a barony at least, to his
heir.

On these subjects I had frequent lectures from my grandfather, who
perceiving the enterprise of my temper and the progress of my studies,
began to entertain hopes that from his loins some future noble family
might descend: that is, provided I would follow the advice which he
so well knew how to bestow. In support of his argument, he would give
me the history of the origin of various Barons, Viscounts, and Earls,
which he could trace to some of the lowest departments of the law.

Thus, though he was convinced that the sacerdotal character claimed
unlimited authority by right divine, yet, from the perverse and
degenerate nature of man, it was most lamentably sinking into decay;
while that of the law was rising on its ruins. Had he been a man of
the world instead of the rector of a village, he would have heard of
another profession, superior to them both for the attainment of what
he most coveted, power, rank, and wealth; and would have known that
the lawyer only soars to the possession of these supposed blessings by
learning a new trade; that is, by making himself a politician.

The effect his maxims produced on me was a conviction that divinity
and law were two super-excellent things. But my mind from many
circumstances had acquired a moral turn; and, as I at that time
supposed morality and religion to be the same, the current of my
inclinations was strong in favour of divinity. Whoever imagines the
youthful mind cannot easily acquire such moral propensities has never
observed it, except when habit and example have already taught it
to be perverse. I speak from experience, and well know how much the
accounts I had read of Aristides, Epaminondas, Regulus, Cato, and
innumerable other great characters among the ancients inflamed my
imagination, and gave me a rooted love of virtue; so that even the
vulgarly supposed dry precepts of Seneca and Epictetus were perused
by me with delight; and with an emulous determination to put them in
practice.

My morality however was far from pure: it was such a mixture of
truth and error as was communicated to me by conversation, books,
and the incidents of life. From the glow of poetry I learnt many
noble precepts; but from the same source I derived the pernicious
supposition that to conquer countries and exterminate men are the
acts of heroes. Further instances would be superfluous: I mean only
to remark that, while I was gaining numerous truths, I was likewise
confirming myself in various prejudices; many of which it has been the
labour of years aided by the lessons of accident to eradicate; and
many more no doubt still remain undetected.

And now the period approached when I was to adventure forth into that
world of which I had experienced something, had heard so much, and
with which I was so impatient to become still better acquainted. The
weight of age began to press upon the rector and he had an apoplectic
fit, at which he was very seriously alarmed. He then thought it high
time to put his temporal affairs into the best order that his own
folly would admit; for, in consequence of his lawsuits, they were
so much in the hands and power of his friend, the lawyer, that
notwithstanding the plausibility and professions of the latter, he
trembled when he came to reflect how much they were involved. His
former parsimony had led him to hope he should leave great wealth
behind him; but, when he came to consult his friend concerning his
will, he had the mortification to find how much it had been diminished
by his litigious avarice.

The will however was made, but it was under this friend's direction
and influence. The lawyer was a lawyer, and, affecting the character
of disinterestedness, reminded the rector of the folly of youth, and
in how short a period money that had taken a life to acquire was
frequently squandered by a thoughtless heir. His advice therefore was
that the property should be left to my mother, and that she should
have a joint executor. This executor ought to be the most honest of
men and the dearest of friends, or he would never perform so very
arduous and unprofitable a task with fidelity and effect: a task as
thankless as it is laborious, and which nothing should prevail on him
to undertake, but the desire to serve some very dear and much esteemed
friend.

With respect to my mother and me, I was her darling, and there was no
danger that she should marry again; at least infinitely less than that
a young man should abuse wealth, of which he had not by experience
learned the value. By making me dependent, my assiduity would be
increased: but, that all might be safe, it might perhaps be well
to set apart a sum, for my maintenance at the university; and, if
I should decide for the church when I quitted it, another for the
purchase of an advowson; or, if for the law, to place me in the office
of some eminent practitioner.

This counsel was so much that of a man of foresight, and knowledge
of the world, that my grandfather heard it with pleasure. It was
literally followed. One hundred per annum for four years residence at
the university was allotted me; and a legacy of a thousand pounds was
added, which, though the purchase of an advowson was recommended, was
entrusted to my discretion, and when I should come of age left to my
own disposal. The will was then copied and signed, and the lawyer, at
the request of a dear and dying friend, was prevailed on to be joint
executor with my mother. This was the last legal act and deed of
the rector, for he died within a month; and with him died his few
friendships, his many enmities, and his destructive law-suits. His
spiritual flock was right glad that he was gone; and his funeral was
only attended by my mother, myself, the lawyer, the master and usher
of the grammar school, and a few visiting friends.

When the will was opened, I and my mother were necessarily present.
The rector had detailed the arguments which his friend had suggested:
he mentioned his fears of youthful folly, but spoke of me with
affection and hope, and seriously warned my mother, for my sake, to
beware of a second marriage; with which requisition she very solemnly
affirmed it was her determination to comply. I was young and high in
expectation; for Hugh the second was scarcely less sanguine of temper
than Hugh the first. Few people in the world, I was persuaded, were
possessed of such extraordinary abilities as myself. I had read, in a
thousand places, of the high rewards bestowed on men of learning, wit,
and genius; I was therefore eager to sally forth, convinced that I
need only be seen to be admired, and known to be employed. These ideas
were so familiar to my mind that I intreated my mother to lay no
restraint upon her inclinations, for I well knew how to provide for
myself: but she was wounded by the request, and begged I would not
kill her, by a supposition so cutting, so unaffectionate, and so
unamiable. The energy with which she expressed herself somewhat
surprized me: a kind of good humoured chearfulness, which resembled
indifference rather than sentiment, was the leading feature in my
mother's character. She was however on this occasion more sentimental,
because as I supposed more in earnest, than usual.



CHAPTER XIII


_Preparations for parting: A journey: More of education, or something
to be learned in a stage coach_


These solemn affairs being adjusted, and by the lapse of a few weeks
we the mourners more reconciled to our loss, it began to be necessary
for me to prepare for my removal to the university: for it was there
only, according to the wise laws of our wise fore-fathers (and who
will dare to suppose that our forefathers were foolish, or could make
foolish laws?) that a regular and incontestible induction can be
obtained to the holy ministry, of which I was ambitious.

It was determined I should enter of ****** college, Oxford; the same
at which Hector Mowbray had been admitted, and to which all the
scholars from the grammar school where I was educated repaired. But
there was a warm contest whether I should enter as a commoner, or a
gentleman commoner. My mother was eager for the latter, which the
lawyer opposed. She could not endure that her dear Hugh should, as it
were publicly, confess the superiority of his rival and sworn foe, the
insolent Hector. He contended that to affect to rival him in expence
were absurd, and might lead to destructive consequences. The lawyer
had the best of the argument, yet I was inclined to take part with my
mother. Inferiority was what I was little disposed to acknowledge;
I therefore consulted my friend the usher. Fortunately he had more
wisdom, and alledged some very convincing moral motives, which I too
much respected to disobey.

Previous to my departure, I endured much lecturing, which I considered
as exceedingly useless, and consequently little less than impertinent.
The lawyer reminded me of my youth, and warned me against the knavery
of mankind, who he affirmed are universally prone to prey upon one
another. This, miracles out of the question, must be the creed of a
lawyer. I had a better opinion of my fellow bipeds, of whom I yet knew
but little, and heard him with something like contempt. My mother
wearied me with intreaties to write to her at least once a week. She
should never be easy out of my sight, if she did not hear from me
frequently. The omission of a mail would throw her into the utmost
terrors: she should conclude I was sick, or dying, nay perhaps dead,
and she conjured me to respect her maternal feelings. I did respect
them, and promised all she required. She was desirous too that I
should continually be with her, during the vacations. The lawyer on
the contrary advised me to remain at college, and pursue my studies.

It will seem very unnatural to most mothers, and highly censurable to
many moralists, that the person whom I felt the greatest regret at
parting with was my instructor and friend, the usher. He was no less
affectionate. He too cautioned me against youthful confidence, and
hinted that men were not quite so good as they should be. I knew
him to be a little inclined to melancholy, and that he considered
himself as a neglected man, who had reason to complain of the world's
injustice. But, though the belief that this was true moved my
compassion, he did not convince me that men were constitutionally
inclined to evil. My own feelings loudly spoke the contrary. I had not
yet been initiated. I knew but little of those false wants by which
the mind of man is perverted. The credulity of youth can only be cured
by the experience of age: the prejudices of age can only be eradicated
by appealing to the feelings and facts of youth. Man becomes what the
mistaken institutions of society inevitably make him: his tendency is
to promote his own well being, and the well being of the creatures
around him; these can only be promoted by virtue; consequently, when
he is vicious it is from mistake, and his original sin is ignorance.

My books, clothes, and effects were forwarded to the next market town,
through which the coach that I was to travel in passed. That I might
meet it in time on Monday morning, it was necessary to set out the
evening before, and sleep at the inn. My mind was by no means free
from popular prejudices, when they were of a moral cast, and I was not
entirely satisfied at beginning my journey on a Sunday. I struggled
against the nonsense of ill omens, for I had read books in which they
were ridiculed; but I was not quite certain that the action was in
itself right. Things however were thus arranged, and my friends were
assembled to take leave of me. The lawyer's reiterated advice teased
me; my mother's tears gave me pain; but the pressure of the usher's
hand and his cordial 'God be with you!' went to my heart. However,
the sun shone, the month was May, the grass was green, the birds were
singing, my hopes were mantling, and my cares were soon forgotten. I
seemed to look back on my past existence as on a kind of imprisonment;
and my spirits fluttered, as if just set free to wander through a
world of unknown delights.

Fortune was disposed to favour the delusive vision; for at the inn
on the morrow, being roused from a sound sleep to pursue my journey,
after stepping into the coach, I found myself seated opposite to the
handsomest sweetest young lady I had ever beheld. I except Olivia; but
her I had only known as it were a child, and I looked back on those
as on childish days. The lovely creature was clothed in a sky-blue
riding-habit with embroidered button-holes, and a green hat and
feather, with suitable decorations. She had a delicate twisted
cane-whip in her hand, a nosegay in her bosom, and a purple cestus
round her waist. There were beside two gentlemen in the coach,
genteelly dressed; and they all appeared to know each other.

The young lady spoke to every body, without the least reserve or
pride, which did but increase the good opinion I had conceived of her.
The gentlemen likewise were easy and familiar; and, in spite of my
friend the lawyer, I already plainly perceived the world was a very
good humoured polite and pleasant world. The young lady was peculiarly
attentive and kind to me, and, I being but _a raw traveller_, insisted
that the gentleman next her should change places with me, that I might
sit with my face toward the horses, lest I should be sick by riding
backward. At this however my manly pride revolted, and I obstinately
kept my seat, notwithstanding her very obliging intreaties. The phrase
_raw traveller_ I did not think quite so politely and happily chosen
as the rest; but then it fell from such a pair of modest lips, that it
was impossible to conceive offence.

After a pleasant ride of three hours, we arrived at the breakfasting
place. The coach door was opened, and I, not waiting for the steps,
leaped out like a young grey-hound. The lady seemed half inclined to
follow me, but was timid. I placed myself properly, promised to catch
her, and she sprang into my arms. Suddenly recollecting herself, she
exclaimed,--'What a wild creature I am!' and ran away, hiding her
face with her hands. I blamed myself for having been too forward,
and inwardly applauded her quick sense of propriety. The gentlemen
laughed, walked into the breakfasting-room, and invited me to follow
them.

In about ten minutes, the young lady entered with apologies, and
hoping we knew the rules of travelling too well to wait. She seemed
improved in beauty. There was a kind of bloom spread over her
countenance, contrasted with a delicate pearl white, such as I had
never seen in the finest cherry cheeks of our village maidens. 'It is
the blush at the little incident of leaping from the coach', said I to
myself, 'that has thus improved her complexion.' She sat down to the
table, and, with the kindness that seemed native to her, poured out
my tea, sugared and creamed it just to my taste, and handed it to me
with sweetness that was quite seducing. I knew not how to return or to
merit her favours, and the attempt made me mawkishly sentimental. 'It
is delightful', said I, 'when amiable people live together in happy
society.' 'It is indeed,' said she, and her bosom appeared gently to
heave.

Our feelings seemed to vibrate in unison, but they were disturbed by
a sudden burst of coughing of one of the gentlemen, drinking his tea;
and were not much harmonized by a fit of laughing with which the other
was seized, who told his companion he was a _droll dog_. But what the
drollery could be, of a man choaked with swallowing too hastily, was
more than I could comprehend. The appellation of _droll dog_ however
was repeated, till the two gentlemen could appease their titillation.
I own I thought it a little rude; but they seemed neither of them so
well-bred as the lady, and I concluded they could be nothing more
than travelling acquaintance. I even supposed I saw them wink at
each other, as if there had been something strange or improper in my
behaviour.

I then thought it quite necessary to let them know who I was.
Accordingly I took an opportunity of succintly telling them whence
I came, where I was going, who my relations were, and what my
expectations. I let them understand that I had money in my purse, and
gave broad hints that I was neither fool nor coward. They were quite
civil, but still their looks to each other seemed very significant,
and to have more meaning than I knew how to develope. I was a little
piqued, but comforted myself with the assurance that I should show
them their mistake, if they conjectured any thing to my disadvantage.

Breakfast over, we returned to the coach, and, after handing the young
lady, I stepped in as lightly as I had stepped out. She again insisted
I should not ride backward, and I for my former reason refused to
change my place, till one of those abrupt gentlemen exclaimed.--'What,
my young buck, are you afraid of a petticoat?' 'Oh fie!' said the
young lady.

Rouzed by this insulting supposition, and despising every kind of
cowardice, I immediately crossed over and took my seat by her side.
'Men fellows are very rude horse-godmother kind of creatures,' said
the young lady.--The colour flushed in my face.--'Men fellows?
Horse-godmother?' It was strange! I was more than half afraid she
meant me.--'Not all of them I hope,' said I, as soon as I could
recollect myself--'No, not all of them,' answered the young lady, with
a gentle smile, and a glance that I thought had meaning.

My flow of spirits being somewhat checked by the behaviour of the
gentlemen, I sat silent, and they fell into conversation; by which
I learned that one of them was a gentleman of great fortune in
Wales, and the other a captain in the army, and that they were well
acquainted with London, Dublin, Bath, Brighthelmstone, and all places
of fashionable resort. The young lady too had not only been at each of
them, but had visited Paris, and mentioned many persons of quality,
with whom, as it appeared from her discourse, she was quite familiar.
It was evident, from all she said, that she knew how to distinguish
the well bred and the polite. She was immensely shocked at any
thing that was ungenteel _and low_: it was prodigiously horrid. The
whole discourse indeed convinced me that they were all people of
consequence; and that my supposition of ill breeding on the part of
the gentlemen must have been hasty.

One thing however surprised me, and particularly drew my attention.
I valued myself on my knowledge of languages, and the quickness of
my ear; yet, though they continually spoke English, they introduced
occasional words and phrases which to me were wholly unintelligible.
One especially of these phrases seemed so strange that I repeated
it to myself again and again. It was--_The kinchin will bite the
bubble_--I pondered, and fifty times questioned--'Who is _the
kinchin_? What is _bite the bubble_? I But in vain: it was
incomprehensible!

We did not stop to dine till between four and five o'clock, and then
the young lady at alighting was more circumspect. She having retired,
the gentlemen asked me if I would take a turn to the river side,
at the back of the inn; and I, to shew that I now understood their
characters better, willingly complied. As I was following them, the
landlord, who had attended while we were alighting, plucked me by the
skirt, and looking significantly after my companions whispered--'Take
care of yourself, young gentleman!' then hastily brushed by. The first
moment I thought it strange; the second I exclaimed to myself--'Ah,
ha! I guessed how it was: I soon found them out! But, if they have any
tricks to play, they shall find I am as cunning as they. The landlord
need not have cautioned me; I am not so easily caught.'

Thus fortified, I proceeded boldly; and we had not walked two hundred
yards before one of them who had stepped forward, stooped and picked
up a piece of paper, which he instantly began to read. 'S'death!'
exclaimed he, as we approached, 'here is a bill, at three days sight,
for fifteen guineas; drawn on Fairlamb and Company, bankers at Oxford.
You are acquainted with country bills, captain,' said he, presenting
it to his companion: 'do you think it a good one?' His companion
took it, examined it, upside and down, to the light and from it, and
replied--'As good as the bank! But we must share?' 'To be sure we
must,' said the finder. 'Why should you doubt it? 'Tis a trifle; five
guineas a piece; but it will serve to pay travelling expences.'

They laughed, and I was staggered at this honourable and generous
conduct. I have proceeded too hastily, thought I; and the landlord
is own cousin to our lawyer; he thinks every man a rogue. Their
liberality is proof sufficient in their favour.--'Come, give us our
five guineas a piece,' said the gentleman of Wales to the captain--'I
have no ready cash,' answered he. 'I never chuse, when I am
travelling, to have more money in my pocket than barely enough for
expences.'--'That is exactly my case,' replied the Welsh gentleman.
'But perhaps our young friend may be less cautious, and may have
loose cash sufficient.'--'I had twelve guineas,' said I, 'when I left
home.'--'Oh, that will just do,' answered the captain. 'We turn off
to-morrow morning for Cirencester; you are going to Oxford, otherwise
our luck would have been lost upon us, for we would not have gone a
mile out of our road for such a trifle.'

My hand was in my pocket, and the guineas were between my fingers,
when my heart smote me. The landlord's significant 'Take care of
yourself young gentleman!' my own sagacious conjectures when he gave
me this warning, and their strange phrase of _bite the bubble_, all
rose to my recollection. They shall not make a tool and a jest of me,
said I to myself.

The gentleman of Wales seeing me hesitate, jogged me by the elbow, and
said--'Come, come; we must dispatch: dinner is on the table by this
time, and the coach will not wait a minute.'--'Those who think me a
fool,' replied I, with something of indignation in my countenance,
'will find themselves deceived'--'What do you mean by that, Sir,'
retorted the captain--'Strange language, for a gentleman!'

I stopped a moment: my conscience smote me. If I should mistake the
character of these gentlemen, thought I, my behaviour will appear
contemptible--'Do you mean to insult us?' said the gentleman of
Wales.--The captain once more saw my hand in my pocket: I caught
his eye; he winked to his companion and said, 'No, no; the young
gentleman knows better.'--'Yes,' answered I, instantly fired; 'I
know better than to give my money to sharpers'--'Sharpers!' retorted
one--'Sharpers!' re-echoed the other, and began mutually to hustle
me--My valour was roused: I faced about, with the first blow laid the
gentleman of Wales sprawling, and with the second made the captain's
eyes strike fire. The attack was infinitely more vigorous and powerful
than they could have expected. The Welsh gentleman shook his ears;
the captain clapped his white handkerchief to his eyes. They swore
a few oaths in concert, but neither of them seemed desirous to
continue the combat. Such an attack from a stripling was quite out of
all calculation. If however I could guess their motives from their
manner, they were rather those of caution than of cowardice. Be that
as it will, I could better deal out hard blows than utter coarse
expressions, and I left them with a look of contempt.

Entering the dinner room, I found the young lady and told her the
story. She was all astonishment! Could not believe her ears! Was never
so deceived in her life! Was immensely glad that she now knew her
company! She had seen them at Bath, and had imagined them to be, as
they professed themselves, gentlemen: but people do not know who and
who are together at such public places! She was sorry to ride in the
same carriage with them; but dine with them she would not. I asked if
I might be permitted that honour; and she readily replied, 'Certainly,
Sir: you are a gentleman.'

Proud to be thus distinguished, after dinner, I insisted on paying the
bill, and she still more strenuously insisted I should not. She pulled
out her purse, which seemed well filled, and put down her quota, which
no entreaties could prevail on her to take back. It was her rule.

The horses being ready, we were summoned to our seats, which we took
in pairs: the gentleman of Wales and the captain sitting in sullen
silence, and the young lady not deigning to address a word to them.

At night we again paired off, and I was admitted to be her companion
at supper; she continuing to treat me, since their detection, with a
marked partiality.

Supper being over and the lady, unfortunately as she said for her,
being to travel the Cirencester road with those odious sharpers, I was
again exceedingly desirous to shew some trifling mark of respect, by
discharging the bill; which she again peremptorily refused to accept.
Unluckily however, going to draw her purse as before, she could not
find it!--'It was exceedingly strange!--Infinitely distressing! What
could have become of it? Thirty guineas were but a trifle, but to
lose them at such a moment was very tormenting!'--She felt again,
and having no better success her features assumed a very dismal and
tragical cast.

None but a heart of stone could endure, unmoved, the anxiety and
distress of so kind, so amiable, and so lovely a creature. I took my
eleven guineas, my whole store except a few shillings, told her it was
all I had, but intreated she would not put me to the pain of refusing
the little supply I had to afford.

She thanked me infinitely; recollected she had left her purse when
she retired after dinner to comb up her dishevelled hair, having
taken it out with the comb and totally forgotten it; repeated that
she was proceeding to London, for which a single guinea would perhaps
be sufficient; but unfortunately she was obliged to pass through
Cirencester, having a poor relation there, that was sick and in
absolute want, and to whom she had promised an immediate relief of ten
guineas, with an intention of further support. However she could not
think of accepting my offer: it had so strange an appearance! And
she would rather suffer any thing than forfeit the good opinion of
a gentleman: especially after having conversed with those good for
nothing men as if acquainted with them, but of whom she knew nothing,
and had therefore supposed no harm.

The debate was long, and managed on both sides with almost equal
ardour. At length however I prevailed on her to take ten of the eleven
guineas; but not till she had given me a draft on her banker, Signed
Harriet Palmer, which she assured me would be honoured the instant it
should be presented. I took it to satisfy her scruples, but I had read
the old romances, and too well understood the gallantry due from a
gentleman to a lady, to think of putting it to the use she intended.
I lingered and knew not how to take leave; but the coach would only
allow her three hours repose, I therefore reluctantly bade her good
night, and we parted with mutual admiration; hoping for some fortunate
opportunity of renewing our acquaintance.



CHAPTER XIV


_Morning thoughts: Conjectures and expectations. A specimen of Oxford
manners, being another new lesson_


Left by myself on the morrow, and revolving in my mind the events of
the preceding day, I had occasional doubts, which had I suffered them
to prevail, would have been exceedingly mortifying. The young lady
was certainly a beautiful lady: was modest too, and well bred. I had
seen nothing to impeach her virtue: on the contrary, it had been the
principal topic of our discourse. 'Tis true I had, as became me,
been too respectful to put her chastity to any proof. I was not so
discourteous a knight.

But then, that she should have been so intimate as she appeared to be
with those gentlemen sharpers, that she should be going the same road,
that she should lose her purse in so odd a manner, and that she should
accept my ten guineas, were circumstances that dwelt irksomely upon
my mind. Yet it was totally improbable that so sweet a young creature
should be trammeled in vice. What! be the companion of such men,
relate a string of falsehoods, give a forged draft on a banker, and
even shed tears at distress which, if it were not real, was a most
base and odious artifice? That she could act so cunning and so vile
a part, and I not detect her, was wholly incredible. I was very
unwilling to imagine I could be so imposed upon, so duped. _A raw
traveller_? If so, raw indeed! Of all suppositions, that was the most
humiliating. I endeavoured but in vain to banish suspicion. In fine,
whatever might be the cause, which I could not very well develope, I
found the soliloquies of the morning by no means so fascinating as the
visions of the preceding evening.

Wearied of this subject, I turned my thoughts into a new channel, and
endeavoured to conjecture what Oxford was, and what kind of people
were its inhabitants. I had heard it described, and remembered the
leading features; its expansive streets, aspiring turrets, noble
buildings, and delightful walks. The picture rose to magnificence; but
the wisdom learning and virtue of its sages, and their pupils, were
still more sublime. High minded and noble youths, thirsting after
knowledge, assembled under the auspices of philosophers whose science
was profound, and whose morals were pure. The whole fabric rising
in beautiful order: under-graduates, bachelors, masters, doctors,
professors, presidents, heads of colleges, high stewards, and
chancellors, each excelling the other in worth as in dignity! Their
manners engaging, their actions unblemished, and their lives spent
in the delightful regions of learning and truth. It must be the city
of angels, and I was hastening to reside among the blest! A band of
seers, living in fraternity, governed by one universal spirit of
benevolence, harmonized by one vibrating system of goodness celestial!
Among such beings evil and foolish men could find no admittance, for
they could find no society.

Theology too would here be seen in all her splendour; active energetic
and consolatory; not disturbed by doubt, not disgraced by acrimony,
not slumbering in sloth, not bloated with pride, not dogmatical, not
intolerant, not rancorous, not persecuting, not inquisitorial; but
diffusing her mild yet clear and penetrating beams through the soul,
where all could not but be light and life and love!--Oh Oxford, said
I, thou art the seat of the muses, thou art the nurse of wisdom, thou
art the mother of virtue!--I own my expectations were high.

My reveries concerning my old companion, Hector, were in the same
tone. I had heard that he had often been down at Mowbray Hall, during
vacation time; but the mutual interdiction of our families had
prevented our meeting. He cannot but be greatly altered, said I. It is
impossible he should have remained so long in this noble seminary, and
continue the same selfish, sensual, and half-brutal Hector Mowbray,
whom formerly I knew. I regretted our quarrel: he might now have
become an agreeable companion, perhaps a friend. Olivia, too?--She
had a sister's partiality for him before; she might now love him
infinitely, and justly.

While I sat ruminating, the coach continued rolling onward over hill
and dale, passing house, hedge row and heath, till the towers and
turrets of Oxford came in view. My heart bounded at the sight, and
active fancy industriously continued her fictions. We entered the city
and drove clattering along to one of the principal inns.

The moment the coachman pulled up, I stepped out of the carriage and
into the street. It was the eve of a new term; the gownsmen were
swarming, carriages and horsemen post haste were arriving, the bells
were ringing, waiters and footmen were hurrying to and fro, and all
was dazzle, all was life. Eager to mingle in the scene, I walked up
and down the high street, saw college after college, hall after hall,
and church after church. The arches the pillars the quadrangles rose
in incessant and astonishing succession. My eyes turned from building
to building, gazing with avidity, adding wonder to wonder, and filling
the mind with rapture. 'It is all that I had imagined,' said I, 'and
much much more! Happy city, happy people, and happy I, that am come to
be one among you! Now and now only I begin to live.'

Fearful of bewildering myself in this fairy land, I turned back to the
inn, but continued gazing with new amazement at every step. Just as I
came to the gate, I heard the galloping of horses behind me, looked
round, and there most unexpectedly saw Hector Mowbray, pulling up his
horse, with two livery servants, three grey-hounds, and a brace of
pointers at his heels! He had new boots, buckskin breeches, a buff
waist-coat, a scarlet coat with a green collar, and a gold button
and loop, tassel, and hat-band. I was within a yard of him when he
alighted. 'Bless me,' said I, 'Mr. Mowbray?'--'G---- d---- my blood!
Trevor! Is it you?'

The apostrophe startled me.

Hector gave three loud cracks with his whip, whistled his dogs, and
with a Stentor voice called after one of his servants--'Why holloa!
You blind blood of a w----! Why Sam! G---- shiver your soul, what are
you about? Uncouple Jerry Sneak and Jowler, and give limping Jenny's
ear a 'nointing--D---- my body, Trevor, I'm glad to see you! When did
you arrive? How did you come? In stile; a chaise and four; smoking the
road; raising a mist?'--I was ashamed of my stage-coach vehicle and
was silent.--'What, my buck, are you to be one of us?'--'I am'--'D----
my b---- that's right--Jack Singleton! Jack! G---- blunder your body!
Why don't you answer, you shamble shanked beggar's baby? Go to the
Bursar, and tell him to send supper for six and claret for sixteen;
served up to a minute. Do you hear?--D---- my body, I'm glad to see
you! We'll make a night ont! What, are you come to enter at our
college?'--'Yes'--'D---- my soul, I'm glad ont! D----n me, our college
will be the go! D----n me, we are a rare string already! D----n me, we
shall beat them all hollow, D----n me, now you're come, d----n me: we
shall, d----n me!--Holloa! Sam! Run, you blood of a w----! yonder's
Lord Sad-dog turning the corner in his phæton, four in hand: scamper
away and tell him, d----n me, he must sup with me to night. Tell him
by G---- he must; he and the jolly dog his tutor. Tell him we have
a new comer, a friend, a freshman, piping hot, d----n me, from our
village; and that we must make him free of Oxford to night, d----n me.
Do you hear?'

Astound, breathless, thunder-struck, at this intolerable profaneness,
I stood like an idiot, unable to speak or think. Hector took hold
of my arm and dragged me along. I obeyed, for I was insensible,
soul-less; and even when the return of thought came, it was all
confusion. Was this Oxford? Were these its manners? Were such its
inhabitants? Oaths twenty in a breath, unmeaning vulgar oaths;
ribaldry, such as till that hour I had never heard!

What could I do? I was a stranger. Were they all equally depraved, and
equally contemptible?--That, said I to myself, is what I wish to know,
and I suffered him to lead me wherever he pleased.

He took me to inns coffee-houses and halls, to call on one companion
and _beat up_ for another. I saw the buildings; the architecture
doubtless was the same, but the scene was changed! The beauties of
Oxford were vanished! I was awakened from the most delightful of
dreams to a disgusting reality, and would have given kingdoms to have
once more renewed my trance. The friends of Hector, though not all
of them his equals in turbulence profaneness and folly, were of the
same school. Their language, though less coarse, was equally insipid.
Their manners, when not so obtrusive, were more bald. They all cursed
blustered and behaved with insolence in proportion to the money
they spent, or the time they had been at the university. The chief
difference was that those who were less rich and less hardened than he
had less spirit: that is, had less noise, nonsense and swagger. But,
though the scene was not what I expected, it was new, and in a certain
sense enlivening, and my flowing spirits were soon at their accustomed
height.

The president had been written to and I was expected at college,
where, when we came and my arrival was announced, I found an apartment
prepared for my reception. Passing through the common room, I saw a
face which I thought I recollected. 'Is not that Turl?' said I to
Hector--'Pshaw, d----n me, take no notice of such a _raff_,' replied
he, and stalked away. I was too ignorant of college cant, at that
time, to know that _raff_ was the term of contempt for poverty.

As we passed through the quadrangle, the president, entering the gate,
saw Hector in his scarlet green and gold, and without his gown and
cap, and beckoned to him. Hector, to evade as I afterward learned
what he expected, introduced me. The president eyed me for a moment,
received me graciously, and desired me to call on him in the morning.
He then asked Mowbray why he left his chamber in that dress, and
without his gown? Hector answered he had only arrived the day before,
had been to take a ride, and had mislaid his cap, which was not to be
found; but he had a new one coming home in the morning. The president,
after saying--'Well, Sir, I request I may not meet you in this
manner again,' passed on. The story of the cap mislaid was a direct
falsehood: the old and new cap were both in his chamber, for he had
been trying them on and asking me which looked the best. Hector winked
his eye, lolled his tongue, and said to me--'That's the way, d----n
me, to hum the old ones.'

Supper time presently came, and Hector and his companions were
assembled. Beside Lord Sad-dog and his tutor, there was a senior
fellow, and a master of arts, all of our college and all of them the
prime bucks of the place. My late high expectations of learning and
virtue were entirely forgotten. There was novelty in every word they
uttered; and I listened to their conversation with the most attentive
ardour. Nor did I feel astonishment to hear that dogs, horses,
gluttony, drunkenness, and debauchery were the grand blessings of
life: Hector had prepared me to hear any thing with but little
surprise. The Lord and the Squire gloried in braving and breaking the
statutes of the college and the university; the tutor, fellow, and
master of arts in eluding them. The history they gave of themselves
was, that the former could ride, drive, swear, kick scoundrels, bilk
prostitutes, commit adultery, and breed riots: the latter could cant,
lie, act the hypocrite, hum the proctors, and protect their companions
in debauchery: in gluttony drunkenness and libidinous thoughts they
were all avowed rivals.

Hector descending to trifling vices, vaunted of having been five
times in one week _imposed_ (that is, reprimanded by set tasks)
for having neglected lectures and prayers, and worn scarlet, green
and gold; while the more heroic Lord Sad-dog told how he had been
twice privately _rusticated_, for an amour with the bar-maid of a
coffee-house whom he dared the vice-chancellor himself to banish
the city. Fearful of being surpassed, they exaggerated their own
wickedness and often imputed crimes to themselves which they had
neither the opportunity nor the courage to commit.

That I might appear worthy of the choice group among whom I was
admitted, Hector, by relating in a distorted manner things that had
happened, but attributing to me such motives as he imagined he should
have been actuated by had he been the agent, told various falsehoods
of my exploits. I had too great a mixture of sheepishness and vanity
to contradict him in such honourable society, and therefore accepted
praise at which I ought to have blushed.

During supper, while they were all gormandizing and encouraging me to
do the same, his lordship, addressing his tutor, asked--'D----n me,
Jack, can you tell me why it was I took you into my pay? What the
d--mn--t----n are you good for?'--'Tell you? To be sure I can! You
will not pretend that, when you first came under my tuition, you
were the man you now are? Who taught you to laugh at doctors, bully
proctors, stare the vice chancellor out of countenance, and parade the
streets of a Sunday in sermon time but I?'--'You!'--'Yes! I!'--'D----n
my body, well said, Jack!' roared Hector. 'D----n me you are a good
one! Go it! Keep it up! D----n me go it!' The tutor continued--'

Of whom did you learn to scout the gownsmen, cudgel the townsmen, kiss
their wives, frighten their daughters, and debauch their maids but I?
You were a mere tyro when I took you in hand; you did not so much as
know how to throw in a knock down blow!'--'Why you lying son of a
----'

I must not repeat his lordship's reply, or the continuation of the
dialogue; it was too gross to be read or written. I only intend
the above as a short specimen of what lords' private tutors at
universities sometimes are, and of the learning which their pupils
sometimes acquire.

While at supper, I was continually plied to drink; each pledging me in
turn; their intention being, as Hector had declared, to make me free:
that is, as drunk as possible. I had not the courage to incur their
ridicule by refusing my glass. Beside my spirits were raised, and my
appetite, which travelling had increased, was good. My constitution
too was strong; for it had been confirmed by exercise and a cheerful
mind, and never injured by excess. For these reasons I stood their
attacks far beyond their expectation, and my manhood received no
little applause.

The night advanced, and they grew riotous. The lord and his tutor were
for _sporting the door of a glum_: that is, breaking into the chamber
of a gownsman who loves study. Hector vociferously seconded the
motion, but the fellow and the master of arts cunningly endeavoured to
keep them quiet, first by persuasion, and, when that was ineffectual,
by affirming the students they proposed to attack _sported oak_: in
plain English, barred up their doors. Had they been without the walls
of the college, there would have been a riot; but, having no other
ventilator for their magnanimity, they fell with redoubled fury to
drinking, and the jolly tutor proposed a rummer round--'D----n me,'
said Hector, 'that's a famous thought! But you are a famous deep one,
d----n me!'

The rummers were seized, the wine poured out, and his lordship began
with--'D--mn--t----n to the flincher.' Who should that be? I,
the freshman? Oh, no! For that night, I was too far gone in good
fellowship.

This was the finishing blow to three of us. Hector fell on the floor;
his lordship sunk in his chair; and I, after a hurrah and a hiccup,
began to _cast the cat_: an Oxford phrase for what usually happens to
a man after taking an emetic. Happily I had not far to go, and the
fellow and the master of arts had just sense enough left to help me
to my chamber, where at day light next morning I found myself, on the
hearth, with my head resting against the fender, the pain of which
awakened me.



CHAPTER XV


_Morning reflections: The advice of a youth and the caution of a grave
senior: Another rencontre_


Discovering myself in this condition, recollecting the scene in
which I had so lately been an actor, and feeling my stomach and head
disordered and my whole frame burning with the debauch, looking round
too and seeing myself in a room where every object reminded me that
I was a stranger, and that the eyes of many strangers were upon me
and my conduct, I found but little cause of satisfaction, either in
myself, the acquaintance I had made, or the place to which I had come.

The more I reflected the more was my mind disturbed. I walked
about the chamber unable to rid myself either of my sickly qualms,
the feverish distemper of my blood, or the still more fevered
distemperature of my mind. It was a violent but I suspect it was a
useful lesson. After a while, cold water, washing, cleaning, and
shifting my dress, gave me a little relief.

The air I thought would be refreshing; but, as I opened the door to
descend the stairs, Turl was passing, and very kindly inquired after
my health, said he was happy to see me, and asked if I were come to
enter myself at the college. Neglecting, or rather at that moment
despising, Hector and his caution, I answered in the same tone and
invited him into my room.

Too much ashamed to avow the debauch of which I had been guilty, or
the painful feelings that were the result, I endeavoured by questions
to gain the information which might best appease my roused curiosity.
'I am but just arrived,' said I: 'will you be kind enough to give me
such intelligence as may aid me to regulate my conduct? What I have
hitherto seen has rather surprized and even disappointed me. I hoped
for perfection which I begin to doubt I shall not find. What are the
manners of the place?'--'Such as must be expected from a multitude of
youths, who are ashamed to be thought boys, and who do not know how
to behave like men.'--'But are there not people appointed to teach
them?--'No.'--'What is the office of the proctors, heads of houses,
deans, and other superintendants, of whom I have heard?'--'To watch
and regulate the tufts of caps, the tying of bands, the stuff and
tassels of which gowns are made: to reprimand those who wear red,
or green, and to take care that the gownsmen assemble, at proper
hours, to hear prayers gabbled over as fast as tongue can give them
utterance, or lectures at which both reader and hearers fall asleep.'
'What are the public rewards for proficiency in learning?'--'Few, or
in reality none.'--'Beside numerous offices, are not exhibitions,
fellowships, professors' chairs, and presentations bestowed?'--'Yes,
on those who have municipal or political influence; or who by
servility and effrontery can court patronage.'--'Surely you have some
men of worth and genius, who meet their due reward?'--'Few; very few,
indeed. Sloth, inanity, and bloated pride are here too often the
characteristics of office. Fastidiousness is virtue, and to keep the
poor and unprotected in awe a duty. The rich indeed are indulged in
all the licentious liberties they can desire.'--'Why do so many young
men of family resort hither?'--'Some to get what is to be given away;
others are sent by their parents, who imagine the place to be the
reverse of what it is; and a third set, intended for the church, are
obliged to go to a university before they can be admitted into holy
orders.'--'That rule I have heard is not absolute.'--'It is supposed
here to be little less.'--'Then you would not advise a young person
to come to this city to complete his education?'--'If he possess
extraordinary fortitude and virtue, yes: if not, I would have him
avoid Oxford as he would contagion.'--'What are its advantages, to the
former?'--'Leisure, books, and learned men; and the last benefit would
be the greatest, were it not publicly discountenanced by the arrogant
distance which both the statutes of the university and the practice of
the graduates and dignitaries prescribe. In my opinion, it has another
paradoxical kind of advantage: to a mind properly prepared, the very
vice of the place, by shewing how hateful it is, must be healthful.
Insolence, haughtiness, sloth, and sensuality, daily exhibited, if
truly seen, cannot but excite contempt.'--'You seem to have profited
by the lesson.'--'Oh! there is but little merit in my forbearance.
I am poor, and have not the means. I am a servitor and despised, or
overlooked. Those are most exposed to danger who have most money
and most credit; I have neither.' Charmed with his candour, our
conversation continued: he directed me in the college modes, and
I sent to the Bursar, and prevailed on Turl to breakfast with me.
I understood that he had obtained an exhibition, but that, having
expressed his thoughts too freely on certain speculative points, he
had incurred the disapprobation of his seniors, who considered it as
exceedingly impertinent in any man to differ with them in opinion, and
especially in such a youth.

It was now time I should visit the president, and we parted. This
college magistrate had formerly been acquainted with my grandfather,
and I had strong recommendations to him from my native village: he
therefore laid aside much of his dignity, and questioned me on various
subjects. He took but little notice of the reading and knowledge I
was ambitious to display, but gave me much advice and instruction,
concerning the college and university discipline, necessary to be
observed, which he very seriously admonished me not to neglect.

I endeavoured to find what his opinion concerning Hector Mowbray was,
and the lord to whom I had been introduced; but this he evaded, with a
caution to me however not to indulge in any imprudent expence.

I then mentioned the name of Turl, at which he seemed instantly
alarmed, and replied, 'he should be exceedingly sorry if Mr. Turl
were one of my acquaintance. He was a very dangerous young man, and
had dared not only to entertain but to make known some very heterodox
opinions. He had even proceeded so far as to declare himself an
anti-trinitarian, and should therefore certainly never receive his
countenance; neither he nor any of his connections. If he escaped
expulsion, he would assuredly never obtain his degrees.' I was too
orthodox myself not to be startled at this intelligence, and felt a
very severe pang that a young man, from whose conversation I had hoped
so much, should hold such reprobate doctrines. I had thought he would
prove both an instructive and pleasant companion, but I now positively
determined to shun his society. Of this I informed the president, and
he highly applauded my resolution.

I then proceeded to the ceremony of entering myself of the college,
and took the oaths: that is, I subscribed to the thirty-nine articles,
took an oath of allegiance and supremacy, an oath to observe the
statutes of the university, and another to obey every thing that was
contained in a certain huge statute book of the college, brought
out on this occasion, which I never saw either before or since. To
this hour, what its contents were is a thing to me unknown. What is
still more strange, the very persons who oblige you to take these
statute-book oaths publickly confess that to obey most of them is
impossible. They relate to obsolete customs, the very means of
practising which are wanting. Some for example swear to have mass said
for the soul of the founder of the college; and others, though men of
good estates, swear themselves not worth five pounds per annum. Of
these particulars however I was ignorant, and the whole was hurried
over so much in the way of form, and without inquiry of any kind,
that it seemed like the mere dictate of good manners to do what I was
bidden.

Warned by the information which Turl had communicated, and disgusted
by what I myself had seen and partaken of, I industriously for
sometime avoided Hector Mowbray, who as it happened was too much
engaged in his own pursuits to molest me. In about three weeks however
he came to me one morning, rallied me in his coarse way, asked if I
had entered myself of the glums, and insisted that I should go with
him and take a ride to Abingdon. The chaise would be ready in half an
hour, and he would introduce me to the finest girl in all England.
Thinking his language equivocal and suspecting his intentions, I
ventured to ask if she were a modest woman? He burst into a loud
laugh and exclaimed (I shall omit his oaths) 'Modest! to be sure!
as modest as any of her sex.' This did not satisfy me; I continued
to interrogate and he to laugh, but still swearing there was not a
modester woman in all England. A strong inclination to take exercise,
my own active curiosity, and the boisterous bawling and obstinacy of
Hector at length prevailed, and I yielded. I walked with him to the
inn, the chaise was ready, and we stepped into it and galloped away.

As we were driving on, the image of the gentle Olivia rose to my
recollection. Instantly the thought struck me, 'If it should be!
Why not? Who else could it be? Oh, it must! Yes, yes!' I was soon
convinced it could be no other than Olivia! the dear the divine
Olivia!

In less than forty minutes we were at Abingdon, and the postillion by
Hector's direction drove us on the back of the town till we came to a
neat newly painted house, at which he was ordered to stop. My heart
began to beat. Hector jumped out and thundered at the door. A female
threw up the sash, looked through the window, and instantly drew it
down again. Alas! it was not Olivia.

There was some delay: the impatient Hector cursed and knocked again,
and in a little while the door was opened.

Hector entered swearing, hurried up stairs, bad me follow him, dashed
open the door, and a young lady, _in a sky-blue riding-habit_, _with
embroidered button-holes, a nosegay in her bosom, and a purple cestus
round her waist--leaped into his arms_!--I stood in a trance! It was
she herself! That sweet lovely creature, who had lost her purse, given
a draft on her banker, and gone to relieve a poor sick relation at
Cirencester! It was the true and identical Harriet Palmer! She that
had been so attentive to me; had sugared my tea, suffered me to sup
in her company, and been so fearful lest I should be sick by riding
backward! The innocent soul, that had felt her delicacy so much
disturbed by the horse-godmother rudeness of the men-fellows!--'Bless
me!' said I.

She had not time to attend to me. 'What the d--mn--t----n is
the matter?' said Hector. 'Why was not I let in? Who have you
here?'--'Here!' answered the sweet creature. 'How can you suppose I
have any body here?'

There was a watch studded with diamonds lying on the sofa; it caught
the eye of Mowbray; he snatched it up, and with a volley of oaths
asked--'Whose watch is this?'--'Mine!' said Harriet. Hector looked
again. 'Yours? Set with diamonds? A man's gold chain? Here's the seal
of Lord Sad-dog! His arms engraved on it! I thought I saw one of his
fellows, as we turned the corner!'

There was another door, to an inner chamber; to that Hector, with all
his force, applied his foot. A loud laugh was heard within, the door
opened, and out came Lord Sad-dog in _propria persona_.

Miss Palmer, not knowing what better to do, joined his lordship in
the forced laugh. The surly Hector shewed every propensity to brutal
revenge, but had only the courage to bully; in which art the lord and
the lady soon shewed they were as great proficients as himself.

As for the feelings of the blooming Harriet and me, they were
reciprocal; we were equally averse to acknowledge each other for
acquaintance. I did not wish to be proclaimed the dupe of a courtezan,
nor she to pay back the ten guineas, or be sued for a fraud. Hector
was in no humour to stay, and we soon returned to Oxford; I ruminating
and even laughing, now at myself, now at him; he in high dudgeon, and
finding his choler and his courage increase in proportion as he was
driven farther from danger.



CHAPTER XVI


_Education still progressive: A widow's continence: Religious fervour:
A methodist sermon: Olivia in danger: Love dreams: Fanatic horrors:
Present disgrace, and honours delayed_


During the short period of my absence from my native home, I had been
taught two additional and essential lessons: the first, that men are
not all as good as they might be; and the second, that I was not quite
so wise as I had supposed myself. Having once been duped, the thought
occurred that it was possible I might be duped again, and I thus
acquired some small degree of what is called worldly caution. At once
to display one vice and teach another, to expose fraud and inspire
suspicion, is, to an unadulterated mind, a severe and odious lesson;
and, when repeated too often, is in danger of inculcating a mistake
infinitely more pernicious than that of credulity; that is, a
conviction that man is depraved by nature, and a total forgetfulness
that he is merely the creature of habit and accident.

Hitherto I had met disappointment; but I had found novelty; and though
it was not the novelty I expected, yet it was invigorating: it kept
me awake. The qualities for which I most valued myself no one indeed
seemed to notice. But the world was before me; I had seen but little
of it; my own feelings assured me genius and virtue had a real
existence, and sometime or another I should find them.

Among consolatory thoughts, the most animating was the recollection
of what Turl had said, that, to the possessor of fortitude and
virtue, Oxford was a place where study might be most advantageously
prosecuted; and, aided by this cheering hope, I applied myself to
books with courage and assiduity.

On the subject of reading however my mind had strong contentions with
itself: poetry, and the _belles lettres_, Homer, Horace, Virgil,
Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Dryden, Tasso, Ariosto, Racine, Molière,
Congreve, with a long and countless _et cætera_, were continually
tempting me to quit the barren pursuits of divinity and law, for
the study of which I had come to Oxford. Yet a sense of duty so far
prevailed that I went through a course of the fathers, pored over
the canonists, and made many resolute attacks upon the schoolmen.
Not only Aristotle but his doctors, the irrefragable, the angelic
or eagle-eyed, the subtile, the illuminated, and many more had
their peaceful folios vainly disturbed by my researches, and
my determination to understand what, alas, in its essence was
unintelligible.

In the very beginning as it were of these labours an event took place,
which gave a very serious aspect to my future fortunes, though, except
the first emotions of regret chagrin and surprise at my mother's
conduct, no present uneasiness to me. In despite of his law-suits,
my grandfather had left considerable property; which it was supposed
would descend to me. It had indeed the disadvantage of being left
under the executorship of a lawyer, who represented it to be in a
very involved and disorderly state: for, with respect to my mother,
though she had immediate possession, she declared that, agreeably
to the intention of the rector, her own subsistence excepted, she
held it only for my use. Thus, in several of her letters, she had
affectionately pressed me not to deprive myself of what was necessary
to my situation, to the appearance of a gentleman, or to the support
of the family character.

For the first two months we punctually wrote to each other once a
week. 'My dear dear Hugh' was the first phrase in all her letters;
and 'my kind and good mother' in mine: every maternal anxiety was
expressed by her, and by me every return of filial affection and duty.

At length a week came in which I received no letter. I was alarmed,
wrote to express my fears, and in a few days was answered, by the
lawyer, that my mother was in good health, but was from home on a
visit.

A month longer passed away in silence, at the end of which I wrote to
my mother, expressing my feelings and fears, and requesting an answer
under her own hand; otherwise I should come myself to see what was the
matter.

The answer arrived, I hastily opened it, and began to read. It was no
longer prefaced with 'my dear dear Hugh:' It was what follows.

'Dear Son,

'You seem impatient to hear from me, and so I sit down to write you
an account of something that has happened, which perhaps you will
think well of; I hope you will; I am sure you have no reason to think
otherwise; though, when one does things all for the best, one is not
always best thought of. But I dare say you will not think ill of your
mother, for that would not be dutiful, nor at all agreeable to what
your poor dear grandfather always taught. Nobody can suppose that I am
not come to years of discretion; and you very well know I have always
been a good and tender mother to you; and so I always shall be; and I
am sure you will not think hardly and improperly of my conduct in any
way, for that would be very unkind and unbecoming; and, if I have done
all for the best, to be hardly thought of afterwards would be very
improper indeed. Mr. Thornby [the lawyer] is a very prudent man, and
so I have acted by his advice, which you may well think cannot be
wrong; and his nephew, Mr. Wakefield, is a gentleman that nobody need
be ashamed of owning; and so, since you must be told, you may as well
be told at first as at last--I am married; which I hope and expect you
will think was a very prudent thing. I am sure when you come to know
Mr. Wakefield you will like him prodigiously. He sends his kind
blessing to you, and so I remain your ever loving mother

JANE WAKEFIELD.'

Little as I was attached to personal interest or fearful of being left
without a provision, I own this letter electrified me. Was this the
tone of affection? Had it vanished so instantly? After such strong and
reiterated professions for my sake never to have a second husband, not
only to marry but to cool intirely toward me, and to be only anxious,
in a poor selfish circumlocutory apology, for a conduct which she
herself felt to be highly reprehensible!

The lawyer too! His nephew? Not satisfied with the executorship, he
had engulphed the whole in his family, the stipend of a hundred a year
while I remained at college, and a thousand pounds for the purchase
of an advowson when I should leave it, excepted. I wondered, on
reflection, that he should even have advised the rector to this: but
it was by affecting disinterestedness that he could most effectually
secure the remainder.

But the pain these thoughts occasioned was neither debilitating nor
durable. My sanguine self-confidence, though sometimes apalled, has
all my life prevented me from being subject to fits of permanent
chagrin, or melancholy. The recollection of my mother's passionate
promises, the shortness of the time, the suddenness of the change,
the family into which she had married, and the instability of a woman
that was my mother, drew a few sighs from me, and in these my gloom
evaporated. I returned cheerfully to my books and determined to visit
home no more, but while a student to make Oxford my home, and not
incur the frequently well-merited reproach of being a _term-trotter_.

As for my companion, Hector, whatever the intentions of the Squire his
father might be, he considered Oxford only as a place of dissipation,
and loved it for nothing but because he was here first let entirely
loose, and here first found comrades that were worthy to be his peers.
Most of his time was now spent in London, or in parties such as
himself and his intimates planned. I suffered little interruption from
him: he now and then indeed gave me an indolent call; but, as there
was no parity of pursuit, nor unity of sentiment between us, there
could be but little intercourse.

Little farther remarkable happened during the three years and ten
months of my residence in this city, except the incident that
occasioned my removal. By being a constant spectator of the debauchery
of the young, and the sensuality of the old, I conceived an increasing
dislike of their manners, and sought the company of a few secluded
young men, who like myself were severe students. Toward the close
of this period I became acquainted with some who were tinged with
methodism; and, by frequently listening to their conversation, my
thoughts were turned into the same channel. The want of zeal in prayer
and every part of religious duty, the tedious and dull sermons heard
in the churches, and what methodists call preaching themselves and not
their Saviour, were the frequent topics of our animadversion.

This was a doctrine most aptly calculated to inflame an imagination
like mine, which was ardent and enthusiastic. Beside it relieved me
from a multitude of labours and cares, for, as I proceeded, Thomas
Aquinas and his subtilizing competitors were thrown by in contempt. I
had learned divinity by inspiration, and soon believed myself fit for
a reformer. The philosopher Aristotle with his dialectics and sophisms
were exchanged, for those of the philosopher Saint Paul; from whom
I learnt that he who had saving faith had every thing, and that he
who wanted it was naked of all excellence as the new born babe. This
nakedness I had discovered in myself, and in the language of the sect
was immediately clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus! I, in
common with my methodistical brethren, was chosen of the elect! My
name was inscribed in the book of life never to be erased! My sins
were washed away! Satan had no power over me; and to myself and my
new fraternity I applied the text, that 'the gates of hell could not
prevail against us!'

To these mysteries, which all the initiated allow are suddenly
unfolded, descending like lightening by the inspiration of the spirit
and illuminating the darkened soul, to these mysteries no man perhaps
was ever a more sudden or a more combustible kind of convert than
myself. I beamed with gospel light; it shone through me. I was the
beacon of this latter age: a comet, sent to warn the wicked. I mean, I
was all this in my own imagination, which swelled and mounted to the
very acme of fanaticism.

Under the impulse of these wild dreams, in which my soul delighted, I
was sometimes tempted to rise up a prophet, preach salvation to the
poor, and confound the wise. Persecution I must expect, but in that I
should glory: it was the badge of blessedness, the mark of election,
the signing of the covenant. Elevated to these celestial heights, with
what contempt did I look down on the doctors, proctors, and preachers
of Baal (for such were all the unenlightened) and on their dignities,
paraphernalia, and many coloured robes. What were these but the types
of Babylon? the ensigns of the scarlet whore? the purple tokens of the
beast? In the most extravagant eccentricities of mind it is remarkable
what a mixture there is of truth and falsehood, and how nearly and
frequently they approach each other.

During the height of this paroxysm, a famous gospel preacher, a divine
man, on his way from Shropshire to London, came to hold forth in the
vicinity of Oxford: not in churches, they were shut upon him, but in
the fields; not to the rich, not to the worldy wise, not to the self
righteous, they were deaf, but to the poor in spirit, to the polluted,
the hardened reprobate, who wished by faith and repentance, though
dyed in sin like scarlet, to be washed white as wool. To hear this
teacher of the word, who set up his stool near a village on the Witney
road, I repaired: I and many a moaning old woman beside; watchful,
with our chorus of amen and our sobs and groans at every divine
ejaculation, to aid the heaving motions of the spirit, and take heaven
by storm.

The elect were assembled, and with them a greater number of the
unconverted; heads were uncovered, a hymn was sung, and a long
extempore string of intercessions, praying that the Lord would lay
bare his arm and strike the guilty with terror; that Christ crucified
would be among them; that they might be washed in the blood of the
immaculate lamb; and that the holy spirit would breathe the God-man
Jesus into all hearts, with many more absurdities, was uttered.

The preacher then took his text, and chose for his subject the casting
of the buyers and sellers out of the temple. This was an opportunity
not to be lost by me. A gospel minister was indeed a _rara avis_, at
Oxford. I therefore took out my utensils and very industriously wrote
notes, that the divine breathings of the man of God might not be lost
upon me.--'Buyers and sellers,' said he, 'you must be cast out! The
tables of the money changers must be overthrown; you have defiled
the temple of the Saviour! In what do you trade? In vanity. In gold,
silver, iron, brass, houses, corn, cattle, goods, and chattels. But
gold and silver may be stolen; iron will rust; brass will break;
cattle will die; corn will mildew; houses will burn; they will tumble
about your ears! Repent, or you will quickly bring an old house over
your heads! Your goods and chattels will but kindle the fire in which
you are to burn everlastingly! What are your occupations? Why, to
hoard, and sell your souls for gain, that your heirs may squander and
buy a hot place in hell! I am not one of your fashionable fine spoken
mealy mouthed preachers: I tell you the plain truth. What are your
pastimes? Cards and dice, fiddling and dancing, guzzling and guttling!
Can you be saved by dice? No! Will the four knaves give you a passport
to heaven? No! Can you fiddle yourself into a good birth among the
sheep? No! You are goats, and goat like you may dance yourselves to
damnation! You may guzzle wine here, but you shall want a drop of
water to cool your tongue hereafter! You may guttle, while righteous
Lazarus is lying at your gate. But wait a little! He shall soon lie in
Abraham's bosom, while you shall roast on the devil's great gridiron,
and be seasoned just to his tooth!--Will the prophets say, "Come here
gamester, and teach us the long odds?"--'Tis odds if they do!--Will
the martyrs rant, and swear, and shuffle, and cut with you? No! The
martyrs are no shufflers! You will be cut so as you little expect: you
are a field of tares, and Lucifer is your head farmer. He will come
with his reapers and his sickles and his forks, and you will be cut
down and bound and pitched and carted and housed in hell. I will not
oil my lips with lies to please you: I tell you the plain truth: you
will go to hell! Ammon and Mammon and Moloch are head stoakers; they
are making Bethhoron hot for you! Prophane wretches, you daily wrangle
and brawl and tell one another--"I will see you damned first!"--But I
tell you the day will come when you will pray to Beelzebub to let you
escape his clutches! And what will be his answer?--"I will see you
damned first!'"

To this rhapsody of strange but impressive vulgar eloquence I
listened, with rapture, for nearly an hour; selecting and noting
down the passages that I thought most remarkable, many of which were
too extravagant, if repeated, to be believed. In the height of these
effusions, when the divine man was torturing his lungs to be heard by
the increasing croud, he on his stool, I seated uncapped in a cart by
his side, who should I see approach, in a phæton and pair, but Hector
Mowbray? And by his side--! Yes!--Olivia! The beauteous Olivia! no
longer a child, but tall, straight, perfectly formed; every limb in
the most captivating symmetry, every feature in the full bloom of
youth; intelligence in every look, grace in every motion, sweetness in
every smile! Attracted by curiosity, her brother arrested his course,
drew up, and placed the celestial vision full in view!

Oh, frailty of the flesh! My new made garb of righteousness dropped
from my shoulders! The old Adam, that had been dead in me, again
revived; the workings of the spirit ceased; I gazed on an apparition
which was indeed heavenly, and forgot the apostles the prophets and
the martyrs! The preacher himself was heard no more; nor more would
have been heard, had he not with all the effrontery of a fanatic
interrupted his discourse, to address himself personally to Hector
and Olivia, by which he excited sensations in me that were wholly
unexpected--'Jehu driveth furiously,' said he; 'but Jezebel was given
to the dogs! (My choler instantly began to rise) Sinners! drive not
so fast! The way is broad, and Tophet is gaping, where is weeping and
wailing and gnashing of teeth! You will be there, poor lost souls,
sooner than you expect! The way to heaven is narrow, much too narrow
for your large consciences; and, though the court is spacious, the
gate is too little for you to drive in with your coaches and six! No,
not even your vis a vis, nor your phætons neither, not so much as a
tumbril or a buggie can get past! But perhaps you think to ride up to
the gate, and there to cry, _peccavi_! and that then it will open, and
you will be admitted? But, no! no! I tell you, no! You shall never be
able to utter more than _pec, pec, pec_; and while with your mouths
open you are stammering and stuttering to get out _cavi_, Satan and
his blackguards shall come and peck you, even as crows peck carrion.
Yes, Jehu and Jezebel! Remember! I give you warning!'

If I, one of the preacher's disciples, could scarcely refrain from
falling upon him for his insolence, what must the choleric and brutal
Hector feel, hearing himself repeatedly laughed at by the delighted
unmannerly mob, during this impudent harangue? He dropped the reins,
jumped from the phæton, sprang through the croud, and began to
horse-whip the inspired man in the most furious manner.

And now an accident happened; which of all others that I can remember
gave me the most terror. Olivia sat alone In the phæton, the reins
were loose, and the fighting shouting and uproar of the divided mob
occasioned the horses to take fright They snorted, kicked, and set off
full speed; with the helpless Olivia screaming for aid! The moment
Hector left the carriage I saw what was likely to happen, leaped from
the cart where I sat, and flew like lightening after the frantic
animals. Few men were swifter of foot than I was, but they had the
start and were on the full gallop. The danger was imminent. On one
side of the road was a gravel pit, on the other the river, and before
them was a bridge, the walls of which were not breast high. A cart was
passing the bridge, and the mad horses, still on full speed, ran on
the wrong side, dashed the phæton against the cart, overturned it, and
threw Olivia over the wall into the river!

The freshes had lately come down, and the stream was both deep and
strong. I was at the foot of the bridge when she fell; and when I
reached the place she was still above water, and had passed the arch
on the other side. I instantly stripped off my coat cap and gown,
sprang into the eddy, made a few strokes, and, as happy fortune would
have it, just caught her as she was sinking!

Loaded with this precious burden, I had the strength of twenty men.
I stemmed the current and presently brought her into shallow water,
where I could find footing. I then bore her into the nearest house,
and every possible aid was immediately administered.

While I was thus employed Hector arrived, his rage boiling over anew,
at his lamed horses and broken phæton; for his inquiries concerning
his sister were short, as soon as he understood that she was not
drowned. I paid as little attention to him as he did to her, and was
disturbed only by my fears lest the fright should be productive of
fever, or still worse consequences.

Olivia had too much sincerity of heart, and too great a desire to
remove the anxiety of those around her, to be guilty of the least
affectation. She had received no injury, for the danger being over her
mind was too strong not to dispel her fears; and, after reposing an
hour and finding herself perfectly well, she insisted on coming down
and joining us at dinner. Her thanks to me in words were not profuse,
but they were emphatical. 'She was alive, and should never forget that
she owed that life to me.' This she three times repeated; once at
table, again in the post-chaise in which we returned to Oxford, and
once more when we took leave of each other in the evening.

To me this day was indeed a day of tumult. Nothing perhaps more aptly
prepares the mind for the passion of love than religious enthusiasm.
The subject of my conversation with Olivia was chiefly a revival
of former times, which seemed to be remembered by us mutually with
glowing regret, as the happiest moments of our existence: times which
I inwardly dreaded might never return.

Fanatical reveries excepted, this perhaps was the first desponding
thought I had known; at least it was the first I can distinctly
remember, and the pang that accompanied it was severe. Olivia was
so lovely, her form so enchanting, her manners so captivating, that
my eyes were riveted on her, my soul absorbed, and the faculty of
thinking arrested. Every look of her beaming eyes penetrated to the
heart, every motion of her moist coral lips gave exstacy, and every
variation of her features discovered new ineffable and angelic
beauties!

Why did the hours fly? Why was the day so short? She had only passed
through Oxford in her way to London, and was to depart in the morning.
I would gladly have persuaded her to regard her health, and not expose
herself so soon after the fright; but in vain. She felt no malady, nor
would acknowledge any; and the selfish Hector was rather inclined to
hurry her off than invite her to stay. It was years since I had seen
her, and to be torn thus suddenly from bliss unutterable? Never had I
felt a pang like this before!

In the evening, returned to my chamber and left in solitude, I sat
with my arms folded, disconsolate, motionless, and in a profound but
yet a most active trance. I remained thus for hours, ardently thinking
on Olivia, recollecting every incident of my past life in which she
had had the least part, placing all her divine perfections full in
view, and unable to detach my mind one moment from the beatific
vision.

At length by accident, I cast my eye on two books, that lay on the
mantle-piece before me: Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, and the
History of Francis Spira: two of the most terrific productions, to
such a mind at such a moment, that ever the ravings of fanaticism sent
forth. The impulse was irresistible; I opened them, read, and all
the horrors of hell came upon me. I was a backslider! Perdition was
certain! All the torments that Baxter described were devouring me, and
my soul was sinking, like the soul of Francis Spira, into sulphureous
flames, there to howl and be eternally tormented by the malignant
mocks and mows of inexorable fiends! I have since suffered many evils,
or what are called evils, and have known misfortunes such as are
supposed to be of the severest kind; but, of all the nights of my
life, not one can equal this. I fell on my knees, and attempted to
pray, but imagined the ear of mercy shut, and that I beheld the wicked
one stand ready to seize and fly away with me! My teeth began to
gnash, as if by irresistible impulse; my hair stood on end, and large
drops of sweat fell from my face! The eternal damnation, of which I
had read and heard so much, seemed inevitable; till at last, in a
torrent of phrenzy which I had not the power to controul, I began to
blaspheme, believing myself to be already a fiend!

It is by such horrible imagery that so many of the disciples of
methodism have become maniacs.

My dereliction of intellect fortunately was but of short duration:
overpowered and exhausted, I at length sunk to sleep, my head leaning
on the bed and I kneeling by its side. How long I remained thus I
cannot tell, but I awoke in a shivering fit from a dream of terror,
and found myself in the dark. I hastily undressed myself, got into
bed, and shrunk beneath the bed clothes, as if escaping from Satan,
whom imagination once more placed at my elbow, in forms inexpressibly
horrid.

The visions of the night had left too deep an impression not to be in
part revived in the morning. Thoughts however that had lately escaped
me were now called to recollection. I remembered having once believed
that God was the God of mercy; that for him to delight in the torture
of lost souls was impossible; and that I had even doubted of the
eternity of future torments. To this relief a more effectual one
was added: Olivia could not be forgotten, and my thoughts, by being
continually attracted and fixed on her, were relieved from despair,
which might otherwise have been fatal.

A week passed away in such kind of convulsive meditations, my
attachment to methodism daily declining, and at last changing into
something like aversion and horror. At the end of this period, I was
sent for in the morning by the president. The incident was alarming!
I had broken no college rules, neglected no prayers, nor been guilty
of any indecorum. I foreboded that he had heard of my methodistical
excursion. The conjecture was true: he told me it was too publicly
known to be passed over in silence; that the character of the
university had greatly suffered by this kind of heresy; that the vice
chancellor, proctors, and heads of houses had been consulted, and that
the gentlest punishment they could inflict was rustication for two
terms. It would have been much more severe, he said, but for the
respect he bore to the memory of my grandfather; who had been a doctor
of the university, a worthy pillar of the church, and his good friend.

Though I suspected my opinions, I was not so entirely convinced as
openly to renounce them, and I remained silent when he required me
to recant. But I requested him to tell me how the event had become
public? Not a gownsman was present, except Hector Mowbray; and surely
he was above the character of an informer? Especially, thought I,
in this instance! The president however was silent; I was suffered
to suppose what I pleased, and I left him with the sentence of
rustication confirmed, and my long expected academical honours
deferred. The only favour granted me was that the punishment should
not be made public.



CHAPTER XVII


_Disappointment: More marriage accidents: Preparations for a journey_


The delay of two terms was by no means pleasing to me. I had nearly
waited the stipulated time, had read _wall lectures_, and had _done
juraments_, and _generals_. Aristotle had been laid upon my head, and
I had been created a _Soph_. In fine, I had complied with all the
forms of the university; forms which once perhaps might have had a
meaning, but which are now offensively absurd. I expected the next
term to have obtained the degree of bachelor of arts, after which it
was my intention to have gone to London, there to have been ordained,
and to have sought a flock wanting a pastor, on whom the stores of my
theology and the powers of my elocution might have been well bestowed.

Traversed in this design, I determined to repair to the great city
immediately, and return to keep my terms at Oxford when the period of
rustication should have elapsed. But I had been obliged to furnish
myself with books and music, and had found the hundred pounds a year
allowed me scarcely sufficient; and, beside the charges of travelling
and removal, I was informed that London was an expensive place. It
was therefore necessary I should write to the country, for a supply.
The correspondence with my mother, though not pursued with all the
zeal in which it was begun, had been occasionally continued. At first
her letters abounded with eulogiums on her husband, but the subject
afterward began to cool with her, and she had lately forborne even to
mention his name. In answer to the letters which I wrote, to inform
her and lawyer Thornby of my plan and to request a supply, a part of
the truth appeared. Her husband was a young man, who, coming sooner
into the possession of money than of good sense, had squandered as
much of it as he could wrest from his uncle, the lawyer, who affirmed
the whole or nearly the whole was wasted; and, when he could obtain
no more, had left her to depend on Thornby's bounty and had gone to
London.

These disagreeable circumstances were in part communicated by my
mother and in part by Thornby, who had written to tell me that, if a
small advance were made, it must be deducted from the thousand pounds,
bequeathed as before mentioned. To this I willingly agreed, and,
giving him all the legal security he required, I received fifty
pounds; after which I made the necessary preparations for my intended
journey, and obtained letters of recommendation to a clergyman in
London, and to the Bishop of--to whom, when I should have taken my
bachelor's degree, I meant to apply for deacon's orders.


END OF VOLUME I



VOLUME II



CHAPTER I


_Retrospect and character: Afore taste of futurity: Entrance to
London, or where does it begin? All alive: A civil gentleman:
Curiosity cooled_


The period was now approaching in which I must fix on a profession for
life. My choice, as I imagined, was made. There was no place so worthy
of or so fit for the display of great talents as the pulpit. This
opinion I supposed to be too well founded for any possible arguments
to overturn, or even shake. I had heard much of theology from the
rector, but more at Oxford. To promote this branch of knowledge the
university was first established, and by it is still maintained;
consequently it is there the chief object of pursuit, and topic of
discourse. My hour of doubt was not yet arrived, and of the absolute
pre-eminence of the clerical office I was a bold and resolute
asserter.

Nor had my ambition been wholly bounded by the desire of fame: I
was in expectation of my full share of those advantages which the
world thinks more substantial; though this was but a subordinate
consideration. Under all points of view, my constant source of hope
was in the energy of my own mind. Among the numerous examples which I
had seen, of men who had gained preferment, many by the sole influence
of personal interest, and many more by the industry of intriguing
vice, there were some who had attained that end by the exertion of
extraordinary talents and virtue. It is true they were but few, very
few; yet on them my attention had been constantly fixed. Them I was
determined to emulate, exert the same powers, rise by the same means,
and enjoy the same privileges. Every example of successful genius
delighted, animated me, and fired my glowing imagination. The
histories of great men even when persecuted and distressed, a Galileo,
a Dryden, or an Otway, did but excite my admiration and my envy. Let
me but equal them and I could willingly live with them in poverty and
imprisonment, or die with them of misery, malady, and famine.

These were no transient feelings, but the daily emanations of desire.
From my infancy, the lessons and incidents of my life had rendered me
aspiring; and, however steep and rugged the rock might be described on
which the temple of fame stood, I was determined to ascend and enter.
I was possessed of that hilarity which, when not regulated by a strong
desire to obtain some particular purpose, shews itself in a thousand
extravagant forms, and is then called animal spirits; but, when thus
turned to the attainment of one great end, assumes the more worthy
appellation of activity of mind.

It must be acknowledged I was but little aware how much I had to
learn, and unlearn, or of the opposition I should meet from my own
prejudices, as well as from those of the world. But dangers never
imagined are never feared, and my leading characteristic was the most
sanguine hope. Were all the dangers of life to present themselves to
the imagination in a body, drawn up in battle array, the prospect
would indeed be dreadful; but coming individually they are less
formidable, and successively as they occur are conquered. Foreboded,
their aspect is terrific; but seen in retrospect, they frequently
excite present satisfaction and future fortitude: and this is the way
in which they have most frequently been seen by me.

Nor had my time been wholly consumed in gathering the sweets of
literature. I had long been exercising myself in writing, improving my
style, arranging my thoughts, and enabling myself to communicate the
knowledge I might amass. Of sermons I had written some dozens; and the
most arduous of the efforts of poetry had been attempted by me; from
the elegy to the epic poem, each had suffered my attacks. And, though
I myself was not so well satisfied with my performances as to complete
these daring labours, yet, I had so far familiarised myself to a
selection of words, and phrases, as to be able to compose with much
more facility than is usual at such an age.

Possessed, as I was well persuaded, of no common portion of merit, it
was a cheering thought that I was now going to bring it immediately
to market; at least into view. London I understood to be the great
emporium, where talents if exhibited would soon find their true value,
and were in no danger of being long overlooked. To London, which was
constantly pouring its novelties, its discoveries, and its effusions
of genius over the kingdom, I was going.

I did not, as at Oxford, expect to find its inhabitants all saints.
No: I had heard much of their vices. The subtle and ingenious arts, by
which they trick and prey upon each other, had been pictured to me as
highly dangerous; and of these arts, self confident as I was, I stood
in some awe. But fore warned, said I, fore armed: and that I was not
easily to be circumvented was still a part of my creed.

Such were my qualities, character and expectations, when I entered
the carriage that conveyed me toward the great city. It was early
in the month of February, the days were short, and evening came on
as we reached Hounslow. Brentford I imagined to be London, and was
disappointed to find myself again driven out of town. The lighted
lamps and respectable buildings of Turnham Green made me conclude that
to be the place, or at least the beginning, which Hammersmith did but
confirm; and my surprise, at once more finding myself in a noble road,
still lighted with lamps and with only here and there a house, was
increased.

At Kensington to me London actually began, and I thought myself
hurried nearly through it when the coach stopped at the Gloucester
Coffee-house, in Piccadilly. I had already for miles been driven
through streets, over stones, and never out of sight of houses, and
was astonished to be told that I was now only as it were at the
entrance of London.

The quantity of carriages we had passed, the incessant clattering of
hoofs and rolling of wheels over the pavement, the general buzz
around me, the hurry and animation of the people, and the universal
illumination of streets, houses, and shops, excited ideas which were
new, unexpected, and almost confounding! Imagination conjured up a
mass that was all magnificence! The world till now had to me been
sleeping; here only men were alive! At Oxford indeed, owing to
circumstances, I had felt some similar emotions. But that was a
transient scene that quickly declined into stillness and calm: here I
was told it was everlastingly the same! The mind delighted to revel in
this abundance: it seemed an infinitude, where satiety, its most fatal
and hated enemy, could never come.

I had questions innumerable to ask, and made fifty attempts to get
intelligence from the waiters, but in vain; they were too busy to
attend to me, and treated my interrogatories with impertinent neglect.
However, I was overflowing; talk I must, and I attacked various
persons, that were coming and going in the coffee-room. Still I could
get only short answers, and I wanted volumes.

Thus disappointed, I went and stood at the door, that I might divine
as much as I could for myself: for though it was night, in London
there is scarcely such a thing as darkness. While I was standing
here, a gentleman of a more complaisant temper came up and fell into
conversation with me, answered my inquiries, and informed me the
king's palace was at no great distance. The king's palace was indeed a
tempting object, and he good-naturedly offered to walk and shew it me.
This very obliging proposal I readily accepted, and away we went.

As we were going down St. James's-street, as I imagine, the thought
occurred 'If this gentleman now should be a sharper? He behaves with
great civility; it is very improbable; but who knows? Let him! There
is no trick he is master of shall prevail on me to part with the
little money I have in my pocket: of that I am determined.'

Scarcely had the idea passed through my mind, before two men ran with
such violence against me that they threw me flat on the pavement,
and hurt me considerably. My companion and another immediately came
to help me up; and the moment I was on my legs my friend and guide
requested me to stay there half a minute; he would see that the watch
should soon secure the rascals; and off he ran, full speed. The other
kind gentleman followed his example.

All this happened in an instant; and, while I was standing in a kind
of amazement, a passenger, who had seen the transaction at a distance,
came up and asked me--'Are you much bruised, Sir?'--'Not very
much.'--'Have you lost nothing?'--'Lost? [The question alarmed me] No:
I believe not!'--'Search your pockets.'

Going to do as I was desired and putting my hands down, I found my
breeches pockets were both turned inside out, and emptied of their
contents. I stood speechless and motionless, while I was informed
that it was a common-place trick for gangs of pickpockets to throw
unwary passengers down with violence, pretend to pity and give them
aid, pick their pockets while helping them up, and then decamp with
all possible expedition. But said I, with great simplicity, to my
informer, 'Will not the gentleman come back?'--'What! The man who ran
off?'--'Yes.'--'Back! No, no: you will never see his face more, I
promise you, Sir; unless you will take the trouble to visit Newgate,
or attend the Old Bailey.'

There was no remedy! I stared for a moment, looked foolish, and
returned toward the coffee-house; having taken care to mark the way
I went. On repeating this story afterward, I learned further that to
watch at inns and places where strangers arrive, and to play such
tricks as may best succeed with them, is a very frequent practice with
sharpers and pickpockets. My only consolation was the sum was small;
for I had been cautioned not to travel with much money about me, lest
we should meet robbers on the road; and the advice happened to be
serviceable. That I had not my watch in my pocket was another lucky
circumstance, or it would have disappeared. The fear of highwaymen had
induced me to pack it up in my trunk. As for my handkerchief, it was
gone, in the company of my purse.



CHAPTER II


_A journey in town: Good breeding and morality: A new order of
priests: A clerical character, or the art of pleasing: Episcopal
influence: More gazing: A strange adventure, and the first sight of a
play_


As soon as I had breakfasted in the morning, my first care was to
change my dress, powder my hair, put my watch in my pocket, inquire
my way, and deliver my letters of recommendation. I thought it
most prudent to apply first to the clergyman, and take his advice
concerning the best manner of appearing before a bishop.

My letters, for I had two, were addressed to the reverend Enoch
Ellis, Suffolk-Street, Middlesex Hospital. Which way I went I cannot
now tell, but I had so many sights to see, shops to examine, and
curiosities to admire, that, by the help of wandering perhaps a mile
or much more out of my road, I was at least two hours before I came to
my journey's end.

I knocked at the door, and was told by the servant that his master
was not at home; but was asked if I had any message? I replied I had
letters, which I wished to deliver into his own hand. The reverend
Enoch, who as it appeared was listening through an aperture left
purposely at the parlour door, put his head out, like a turtle from
his shell, and desired the servant to shew the gentleman in; he would
be with him in a moment. This was another phenomenon in morals! A
clergyman suffer, nay encourage, or, as it must be, command, his
servant to tell a lie? It was inconceivable! I knew nothing of
fashionable manners, and that being denied to people whom you do not
wish to see, instead of being thought insolent or false, was the
general practice of the well bred. At that time I understood no single
point of good breeding: I had it all to learn! But indeed, so dull am
I on such topics, that, to this hour, how it can be a clergyman's or
any honest man's duty or interest to teach servants to lie is to me
incomprehensible. The difficulty, as I have found it, is to teach both
them and all classes of people to tell the truth. What the morality of
the practice is cannot be a serious question.

Before I proceed with that part of my story in which the reverend
Enoch Ellis takes a share, it is necessary to remark that there has
sprung up in modern times a clerical order of men, very distinct in
manners and character from the subservient curate, or the lordly
parish priest. Houses in London have lately been built much faster
than churches. Yet, though the zeal of these times does not equal that
of ancient days, when our cities were divided into numerous small
parishes, when religion was the universal trade of mankind, and when
the temples of superstition reared their proud heads in every alley,
still men who know how to turn the penny have found it advantageous,
even in these days of infidelity, to build here and there a chapel,
and to let each of these chapels out to the best clerical bidder; who
in his turn uses all his influence to allure the neighbourhood to
hire, in retail, those bits and parcels, called pews, that, for the
gratification of pride, are measured off within the consecrated walls
which he has hired wholesale. In these undertakings, if the preacher
cannot make himself popular, it is at least his interest to make
himself pleasing.

Of one of these chapels Enoch Ellis was the farmer general; and
this necessary endeavour to please had produced in him a remarkable
contrast of character. He was a little man, with thin legs and thighs
and a pot belly, but precisely upright: an archbishop could not
carry himself more erect: his chest projecting; his neck stiff; his
head thrown back; his eyes of the ferret kind, red, tender and much
uncovered by the eyelid; his nose flat on the bridge, and at the end
of the colour and form of a small round gingerbread nut, but with
little nostril; his lips thin; his teeth half black half yellow; his
ears large; his beard and whiskers sandy; his hair dark, but kept
in buckle, and powdered as white as a miller's hat; his complexion
sallow, and his countenance and general aspect jaundiced and mean.

With these requisites, there was a continual struggle, between his
efforts to preserve his clerical solemnity and to make himself
agreeable. His formal manner of pursing up his face into smiles, for
this purpose, had produced a regular set of small wrinkles, folds, and
plies, that inevitably reminded those who were not accustomed to him
of the grinning of an ape; for he was so fearful of derogating from
his dignity that it was impossible for his smile to take the form of
meaning.

After waiting about ten minutes this reverend little gentleman, such
as I have described, entered, assumed one of these agreeable solemn
smiles, and bowed; but instantly recovered his full stature; as if he
had been then measuring for a grenadier.

I delivered my letters: one was from the tutor, and the other from a
regent master, who was one of the caput. He read them; and, as I was
desirous to gain friends in a city of strangers, I anxiously watched
his countenance; but I could not perceive that they produced any
remarkably favourable effect. Not but he assumed all his civility; was
vastly glad to hear his Oxford friends were in good health; should be
exceedingly happy to do any thing, that lay in his power, to serve a
gentleman of their recommendation. But the duties of his profession
were very laborious: they could not be neglected. His calls were
incessant: he had not a moment to himself. However, if I could point
out any way--that is--he should be prodigiously happy--prodigiously
indeed to give me any advice in his power.

I was by no means satisfied with the pauses, hems, and ha's with which
he delivered these apologies. However, not knowing what better to do,
I mentioned that I had letters to the Bishop of ----, and should be
glad if he could tell me which was the properest hour and manner of
gaining access to deliver them.

The mention of the bishop was electrical; it produced an immediate
and miraculous change in the countenance of the reverend Enoch Ellis.
The quantity of emphasis on his favourite epithet, prodigious, was
wonderfully increased. He was prodigiously glad to find I was so well
recommended! Was prodigiously happy to hear from his friends of *****
college! Should take prodigious satisfaction in serving a gentleman in
whose behalf they had written! Nothing could give him such prodigious
pleasure! And, that I might be under no difficulty, if I would permit
him, he would first make the necessary inquiries, and then attend me
in person, to pay my respects to the right reverend dignitary.

This relaxation in his manner flattered and pleased me. He now
perceived me to be somebody; my half-offended vanity was appeased, and
I accepted his offer with thanks.

To add to these obligations, finding that I was but just come to town,
of which I was entirely ignorant, and that I wanted a lodging, he very
obligingly told me his servant should inquire in the neighbourhood,
and provide me one by the morrow. I endeavoured to make a suitable
return to this _prodigious_ increase of courtesy by a pedantical, but
in my then opinion classical, quotation: _Dii tibi_,--&c. Virgil will
tell the rest.

These civilities being all acted and over, I bowed and took my leave,
appointing to call again the next morning; and he bowing in return,
and waiting on me to the door: I much better pleased with my reception
after the mention of the bishop than before; and he no less well
satisfied.

I had now nothing to do for the rest of the day but indulge my
curiosity, which made very large and imperious demands on all my
senses. I walked from street to street, examined object after object,
tasted the tarts of the pastry cooks, listened to the barrel organs,
bells, tambours de basque, and cymbals of Savoyards, snuffed ten
thousand various odours, gazed at the inviting splendour of shop
windows innumerable, and with insatiable avidity gazed again! All
the delights of novelty and surprise thrilled and tingled through
my veins! It was a world of such inexhaustible abundance, wealth,
and prosperity as to exceed the wildest of the dreams of fancy!
Recollecting what my feelings then were, it seems almost surprizing
that I can walk through the same tempting world of wonders, at
present, scarcely conscious that such things have any existence.

The sole draw-back I felt to these delights was the fear of sharpers,
and thieves; which, owing to my two unlucky adventures, of the lady
with the riding-habit and the obliging gentleman who took me to see
the king's palace, was so great that I never thought myself in safety.

Under these impressions, I happened in the afternoon to stray
through Brydges-street, and saw a croud of people gathered round the
play-house doors, who on inquiry I found were waiting to get in. The
play bills were pasted in large letters, red and black, against the
walls. I read them, and their contents told me it was one of my most
favourite tragedies, Rowe's Fair Penitent, and that Mrs. Siddons was
to act.

I had never yet seen a play in my life; for so licentious are the
manners and behaviour of the youth of Oxford, that the vice chancellor
dare not admit players into the city. This was an invitation to
enjoyment not to be resisted. I blessed my lucky stars, that had led
me by accident that way, and immediately took my stand among the
people who surrounded the pit door, and pressed forward to better my
situation as much as I could without ill manners.

Here I waited with the hope of pleasure exciting me to patience I know
not how long, till the hour of opening the doors approached, about
which time the croud was frequently put in motion. I observed that the
people around me had several times appeared to be watchful of each
other, and presently I heard a voice proclaim aloud--'Take care of
your pockets!'

My fears suddenly came upon me! I put my hand down to my fob, and
missed my watch! I eagerly looked round as well as I could, hemmed in
as I was, and fixed my eyes on!--astonishment!--on my conductor to
the palace! The blood mantled in my face. 'You have stolen my watch,'
said I. He could not immediately escape, and made no reply, but turned
pale, looked at me as if intreating silence and commiseration, and put
a watch into my hand. I felt a momentary compassion and he presently
made his retreat.

His retiring did but increase the press of the croud, so that it was
impossible for me so much as to lift up my arm: I therefore continued,
as the safest way, to hold the watch in my hand. Soon afterward the
door opened, and I hurried it into my waistcoat pocket; for I was
obliged to make the best use of all my limbs, that I might not be
thrown down and trodden under foot.

At length, after very uncommon struggles, I made my way to the money
door, paid, and entered the pit. After taking breath and gazing around
me, I sat down and inquired of my neighbours how soon the play would
begin? I was told in an hour. This new delay occasioned me to put my
hand in my pocket and take out my watch, which as I supposed had been
returned by the thief. But, good heavens! What was my surprize when,
in lieu of my own plain watch, in a green chagrin case, the one I was
now possessed of was set round with diamonds! And, instead of ordinary
steel and brass, its appendages were a weighty gold chain and seals!

My astonishment was great beyond expression! I opened it to examine
the work, and found it was capped. I pressed upon the nut and it
immediately struck the hour: it was a repeater!

Its value could not but be very great; yet I was far from satisfied
with the accident. It was no watch of mine; nor must I keep it, if the
owner could be found; of which there could be no doubt; and my own was
gone past all recovery.

I could not let it rest. I surveyed it again, inspected every part
more minutely, and particularly examined the seals. My former
amazement was now increased ten fold! They were the very same arms,
the identical seals, of the watch on the sopha, that had betrayed the
lovely creature in the blue riding habit to Hector Mowbray! The watch
too was in every particular just such another; had a gold chain and
was studded with diamonds! It must be the property of his lordship.

In vain did I rack invention to endeavour to account for so strange
an incident: my conjectures were all unsatisfactory, all improbable.
I looked round to see if I could discover his lordship in the house,
but without success: the numbers were so great that the people were
concealed behind each other. Beside it was long since I had seen his
lordship: perhaps his person was changed, as his title had been, by
the death of his father. He was now the Earl of Idford. My surmises
concerning this uncommon accident kept my mind in continual activity,
till the drawing up of the curtain; when they immediately ceded to
ideas of a much more captivating and irresistible kind. The delight
received by the youthful imagination, the first time of being present
at the representation of a play, is not I suspect to be equalled
by any other ever yet experienced, or invented. The propriety and
richness of the dresses, the deception and variety of the scenery, the
natural and energetic delivery of the actors, and the reality of every
incidental circumstance were so great as to excite incessant rapture!

To describe the effects produced on me by Mrs. Siddons is wholly
impossible. Her bridal apathy of despair contrasted with the
tumultuous joy of her father, the mingled emotions of love for her
seducer, disdain of his baseness, and abhorrence partly of her own
guilt but still more of the tyranny and guilt of prejudice, and the
majesty of mind with which she trampled on the world's scorn, defied
danger, met death, and lamented little for herself, much for those
she had injured, excited emotions in me the remembrance of which ages
could not obliterate!

It may here be worthy of remark that the difference between the
sensations I then had and those I should now have, were I present at
the same exhibition, is in many particulars as great as can well be
imagined. Not an iota of the whole performance, at that time, but
seemed to me to be perfect; and I should have readily quarrelled with
the man who should have happened to express disapprobation. The art
of acting I had little considered, and was ignorant of its extent and
degree of perfectibility. To read a play was no common pleasure, but
to see one was ecstacy. Whereas at present, the knowledge of how much
better characters might in general be performed occasions me, with
the exception of some very few performers, infinitely to prefer the
reading of a good play in the closet to its exhibition on the stage.

The curtain being dropped for the night, I stood for a while gazing at
the multitude in motion, unwilling to quit the enchanted spot; but the
house beginning to be empty and the lights put out, I thought it was
time to retire.

That I might feel no interruption from having so valuable a deposit
in my charge, for so I considered it to be, instead of putting the
repeater in my fob, I had dropped it securely under my ham; being much
rather willing to endure any slight disagreeable sensation it might
there excite than run any farther risk.

The precaution as it happened was prudent. As I left the pit, I
thought I saw the identical obliging guide and pick-pocket, who had
returned me this watch in mistake, for it could be no other way,
and, as I ascended the steps, two men who were standing at the door
immediately advanced before me, and spread themselves out to prevent
my passing; while a third came behind me, put his hand gently round
my waist, and felt for the chain. My mind was so alive to dangers of
this kind, just then, that I was immediately aware of the attempt, and
pushing the men aside with my whole force I sprang up the steps, of
which there were not more than half a dozen. I then faced about in the
door way, not being acquainted with the passages, nor thinking it safe
to run.

The moment I rushed by, one of them asked the other--'Have you
_nabbed_ it?' and was answered--'No. _Go it_!' Immediately one of them
darted toward me, but I stood above him, was greatly his superior
in size and strength, and easily knocked him down. A second made a
similar attempt, and met a similar reception.

Hearing the scuffle, one of the house constables who happened to be
standing at a little distance under the portico, and some of his
assistants, came up; but, before they had time to be informed of the
affair, the fellows had taken to their heels.

The constable uttered many exclamations against the rascals, and
said, they had become so daring that nobody was safe. They had that
very afternoon picked the pocket of the Earl of Idford of a repeater
studded with diamonds, under the Piazza, as he was coming out of the
Shakespeare, where he had been to attend an election meeting. By this
I learned, in five words, what, before the play began, my brain had
been ineffectually busied about for a full hour.

Being told that I was a stranger and did not know my road, the
constable informed me it would be safest to go home in a coach. I took
his advice: a coach was called, and I was once more conveyed to the
Gloucester Coffee-house.



CHAPTER III


_The advice of Enoch: Complaisance of a peer: A liberal offer and
Enoch's sensibility, or the favour doubly returned_


My health, appetite, and spirits suffered no check, from this tide of
novelty and tumult of accident. I eat heartily, slept soundly, and
rose chearfully. It is true, I came up to London with propensities
which, from my education, that is, from the course of former events,
would not suffer me to be idle; and in the space of a few hours I
had already received several important lessons, that considerably
increased my stock of knowledge.

Of these I did not fail to make an active use. They awakened
attention, and I began to look about me with quickness and with
caution. I had business enough for the day, and my first care was to
keep my appointment with the reverend Enoch, whose counsel concerning
the Earl of Idford and the repeater I once more thought it prudent to
ask.

Thither I repaired, was readily admitted, and told him my story.
It related to an Earl, and the ear of Enoch was attentively open.
Having heard the whole, he made application immediately to the court
calendar, to discover the Earl's town residence, and it was found to
be in Bruton street. But how to gain admission? His lordship would not
be at home, unless I were known? I replied that I had formerly been
acquainted with his lordship, at the university. 'Ay but,' answered
Enoch, 'is your face familiar to the servants?' 'No.'--'Then they will
not _let you in_. The best way therefore will be to write a note to
his lordship, informing him that you have particulars to communicate
concerning his repeater. He will then appoint an hour, and you will
certainly be admitted. I have enquired concerning my lord, the Bishop:
you cannot see him at present, for he is in the country, but will
return to town in less than a week, consequently you can wait on the
Earl at any hour. It is a lucky event! A prodigiously fine opportunity
for an introduction to a nobleman! Be advised by me, and profit by it,
Mr. Trevor. If you please, I will attend you to his lordship. You are
a young man, and to be accompanied by a clergyman has a respectable
look, and gives a sanction. You conceive me, Mr. Trevor?'

I had acuteness enough to conceive the selfishness of his motives,
which was more than he intended; but I acceded to the proposal, for I
was almost as averse to giving as to receiving pain: beside I was a
stranger, and he would be my conductor. The note to his lordship was
accordingly written, a messenger dispatched with it, and while he was
gone I again repeated the whole story of the watch, which in all its
circumstances still appeared to me very surprising, and asked the
reverend Enoch if he could account for them?

He replied that the Piazza, where the watch was stolen, was scarcely
two hundred yards from the door at which the croud was assembled; that
the thief probably thought this croud the best hiding place; that he
could not remain idle, and therefore had been busy with the pockets of
the people, and among the rest once again with mine; that his terror
and confusion, lest he should be detected with a diamond repeater in
his possession, might be much greater than usual; that, after having
delivered it to me and discovered his mistake, he was very desirous
to remedy the blunder, and therefore watched me into the pit; that,
seeing me seated, he then went in search of his companions; and that
what afterward followed was, first, their usual mode of stealing
watches, and, when that failed, a more vigorous attempt to recover a
prize of uncommon value.

These suppositions, which Enoch's acquaintance with the town and not
the efforts of his imagination had suggested, made the history of the
event tolerably probable, and I suppose were very like the truth.

The messenger quickly returned, with a note containing--'His
lordship's compliments; he was then at home, and if I should happen to
be at leisure would be very glad to see me immediately.'

I told you, said Enoch, that if you meant to play the sure game you
must mention the repeater. My vanity would willingly have given
another interpretation to his lordship's civility, and have considered
it as personal to myself; but the philosophy of my vanity did not in
this case appear to be quite so sound as that of the reverend Enoch,
and I was mute.

Neither I nor Enoch were desirous of delay, and in a few minutes we
were in Bruton street; where the doors opened to us as if the hinges
had all been lately oiled. His lordship, who had acquired much more
of the man of the world, that is, of bowing and smiling, than when I
first saw him at Oxford, instantly knew me, received me and my friend
graciously, and easily entered into conversation with us.

The first thing I did was to restore him his watch, and tell him the
whole story, with the comments of the constable and of the reverend
Enoch. He laughed as much as lords in general laugh, said it was a
whimsical accident, and paid me a number of polite compliments and
thanks; treated the watch as a trinket which, as he recollected, had
not cost him more than three hundred guineas; but the bauble had been
often admired, he was partial to it, and was very glad it was thus
recovered.

To this succeeded the smiles and contortions of Enoch to make himself
agreeable. His endeavours were very assiduous indeed, and to me very
ridiculous; but his lordship seemed to receive his cringing and abject
flattery as a thing rather of course, and expected, than displeasing
or contemptible.

Among other conversation, his lordship did not fail to inquire if I
were come to make any stay in town; and what my intentions and plan
were? On being informed of these, he professed a great desire to serve
me; and added that a thought had struck him, which perhaps might be
agreeable to me. If so, it would give him great pleasure. He wished
to have a friend, who during an hour of a morning might afford him
conversation. Perhaps he might occasionally trouble him to commit a
few thoughts to writing; but that might be as it happened. If I would
come and reside in his house, and act in this friendly manner with
him, he should be gratified and I not injured.

Enoch's open eyes twinkled with joy: sparkle they could not. He
foresaw through my means, intercourse with a peer, and perhaps
patronage! He was ready to answer for me, and could not restrain his
tongue from protesting that it was a prodigiously liberal, friendly
and honourable offer.

I had not forgotten his lordship's former jolly tutor, the terms
on which they had lived, or the treatment to which this tutor had
occasionally submitted. Yet I was not displeased with the proposal. I
spurned at the idea of any such submission, but the character of his
lordship seemed changed: and changed it certainly was, though I then
knew not why, or to what. Nor was it supposed that I was to act as his
menial. I therefore expressed my sense of his lordship's civility, and
owned the situation would be acceptable to me, as I was not at present
encumbered with riches, and living in London I found was likely to
prove expensive. I had desired to have a genteel apartment, and Enoch
had told me that one had been hired for me at a guinea and a half per
week, at which I had been not a little startled. The secret of want
of wealth a very cunning man would have concealed: a very wise man,
though from other motives, would have told it with the same unaffected
simplicity that I did.

Still the transports of Enoch, at his lordship's bounty, were
inexhaustible. They put me to the blush: but whether it was at being
unable to keep pace with him in owning this load of obligations, or
at his impertinent acknowledgment of feelings for me of which I was
unconscious, is more than I can tell. For his part, he did but speak
on the behalf of his young friend. I had come well recommended to him,
and he had already conceived a very singular affection for me. He had
no doubt but that I should be prodigiously grateful to his lordship
for all favours. His good advice should certainly never be wanting;
and patrons like his lordship could not, by any possible efforts, be
too humbly and dutifully served.

I did but feebly second this submissive sense of obligation, and these
overflowing professions for favours not yet received. Luckily however
he talked so fast, and was so anxious to recommend himself, that I had
scarcely an opportunity to put in a word. He took all the trouble upon
himself.

I ought to have mentioned that, before the proposal was made, his
lordship had taken care to inquire if I understood the living
languages? He spoke a few sentences in French to me himself, and
attempted to do the same in Italian, but succeeded in the latter very
indifferently. My answers satisfied him that I was no stranger to
these studies.

The fact was, his lordship found it necessary to keep a secretary,
to aid him in his politics not only to write but to think; and I
afterward learned, from his valet, that he had allowed a hundred a
year to one who had left his service that very day. His lordship was
doubtless therefore well satisfied with the meeting of this morning,
in which he not only recovered his diamond repeater but rewarded the
youth who brought it, by suffering him to do the same business gratis
for which he had before been obliged to pay.



CHAPTER IV


_Memento of an old acquaintance: Gentility alarmed: The family of
Enoch: Musical raptures and card-table good breeding_


By the order of his lordship, two chairmen with a horse were
dispatched for my effects; and possession was given me of the
apartment occupied by my predecessor. In this apartment a trunk, which
he had not removed, was left; and on it was a direction to Henry Turl.
This excited my curiosity: I inquired of the valet, and from his
description was confirmed in the conjecture, that my quondam school
and college acquaintance, Turl, had been his lordship's late
secretary.

Though at college I had considered his opinions as dangerous, yet
every thing that I had heard of his behaviour challenged respect. I
scarcely knew, at present, whether I wished to have any intercourse
with him or not; but the high opinion I had of his understanding made
me hope well of his morals, and wish him prosperity.

My good fortune was in danger of being immediately disturbed, by an
incident which to me was very unexpected. Instead of being treated as
the friend and companion of his lordship, when the dinner hour came
an invitation was sent up to me by the housekeeper, from which I
understood I was to dine at what is called the second table. At this
time I had much pride and little philosophy, and a more effectual
way to pique that pride could not have been found. I returned a
civil answer, the purport of which was that I should dine out, and
immediately wrote a short note to his lordship; informing him that 'I
took it for granted his housekeeper had mistaken his intentions, and
did not understand the terms on which I presumed I was to live in
his lordship's house. His lordship had said he wished me to be his
companion, and this distinction would certainly make me unfit to be
the companion of his housekeeper.'

The discharging my conscience of thus much vanity gave me immediate
relief, and was productive of the effect intended. His lordship
took the hint my spirited letter gave, and feigned ignorance of his
housekeeper's proceeding. My appearance, person, and understanding
he thought would not disgrace his table, at which consequently I was
afterward permitted to take my seat.

In the evening, I went by appointment to visit at the house of the
reverend Enoch; when I was introduced by him to his wife and daughter,
as a very accomplished young gentleman, an under-graduate of Oxford,
intended for the church, of prodigious connexions, recommended to a
bishop, patronized by an earl, and his very particular good friend.

I bowed and the ladies curtsied. Mrs. Ellis too had studied the art of
making herself agreeable, but in a very different way from Enoch. Her
mode was by engaging in what are called parties, learning the private
history of all her acquaintance, and retailing it in such a manner
as might best gratify the humours, prejudices, and passions of her
hearers. She had some shrewdness, much cunning, and made great
pretensions to musical and theatrical taste, and the belles lettres.
She spoke both French and Italian; ill enough, but sufficiently to
excite the admiration of those who understood neither. She had lately
persuaded Enoch to make a trip with the whole family to Paris, and she
returned with a very ample cargo of information; all very much at the
disposal of her inquisitive friends.

Her daughter, Eliza, was mamma's own child. She had an _immense deal_
of taste, no small share of vanity, and a tongue that could not tire.
She had caught the mingled cant of Enoch and her mamma, repeated
the names of public people and public places much oftener than her
prayers, and was ready to own, with no little self complacency, that
all her acquaintance told her _she was prodigious severe_.

In addition to these shining qualities, she was a musical amateur of
the first note. She could make the jacks of her harpsichord dance so
fast that no understanding ear could keep pace with them: and her
master, Signor Gridarini, affirmed every time he came to give her a
lesson, that, among all the dilettanti in Europe, there was not so
great a singer as herself. The most famous of the public performers
scarcely could equal her. In the bravura she astonished! in the
cantabile she charmed; her maëstoso was inimitable! and her adagios!
Oh! they were ravishing! killing. She indeed openly accused him of
flattering her; but Signor Gridarini appealed both to his honour and
his friends; the best judges in Europe, who as she well knew all said
the same.

Of personal beauty she herself was satisfied that the Gods had kindly
granted her a full share. 'Tis true, her stature was dwarfish: but
then, she had so genteel an air! Her staymaker was one of the ablest
in town. Her complexion could not but be to her mind, for it was of
her own making. The only thing that she could not correct to her
perfect satisfaction was a something of a cast with her eyes; which
especially when she imitated Enoch in making herself agreeable, was
very like squinting. Not but that the thought squinting itself a
pleasing kind of blemish. Nay there were instances in which she
scarcely knew if it could be called a blemish.

By these two ladies I was received with no little distinction. The
mother recollected the earl and the bishop; the daughter surveyed my
person, with which she was almost as well satisfied as with her own.
I heard her tell her female acquaintance, during the evening, that
she thought me _immense_ well bred; and that in her opinion I was
_prodigious_ handsome; and, when they smiled, she added that she spoke
with perfect _song fro_, and merely as a person of some critical
taste.

I could indeed have corrected her English grammar, and her French
pronunciation; but I was not at this time so fastidious; as to accuse
her of any mistake in judgment, in the opinion she gave of me.

My musical talents gained me additional favour. Miss Eliza was quite
in raptures to hear that I could accompany her in a concerto; or
take a part in an Italian duet. She vowed and protested again, to
her friends, that I was a most accomplished, charming man! She spoke
aside, but I was rather remarkably quick of hearing that evening. She
proposed a lesson of Kozeluch's immediately. I should play the violin
accompaniment, and her papa _as it was very easy_ would take the bass.

All voices, for there was _a prodigious large party_ by this time,
were loud in their assent. Every body was sure, before any body heard,
it would be _monstrous fine_; so there was no refusing. The fiddles
were tuned, the books were placed, the candles were snuffed, the chord
was struck, and off we went, _Allegro con strepito!_

We obeyed the composer's commands, and played with might and main
during the first thirty or forty bars, till the _obligato_ part came,
in which Miss was to exhibit her powers. She then, with all the
dignity of a _maéstro di capella_ directed two intersecting rays full
at Enoch, and called aloud, _piano_! After which casting a gracious
smile to me, as much as to say I did not mean you, Sir; she heaved up
an attitude with her elbows, gave a short cough to encourage herself,
and proceeded.

Her fears give her no embarrassment, thought I, and all will be well.
I could not have been more mistaken. The very first difficult passage
she came to shewed me she was an ignorant pretender. Time, tune,
and recollection were all lost. I was obliged to be silent in the
accompaniment, for I knew as little what was become of her as she
herself did. Enoch knew no more than either of us, but he kept
strumming on. He was used to it, and his ears were not easily
offended.

She certainly intended to have been very positive, but was at last
obliged to come to a full stop; and, again casting an indignant squint
at her father, she exclaimed 'Lord, Sir! I declare, there is no
keeping with you!' 'No: nor with you neither!' said Enoch. 'Will you
have the goodness to begin again, Mr. Trevor?' continued she. I saw no
remedy: she was commander in chief, and I obeyed.

We might have begun again and again to eternity, had we stopped
every time she failed: but as I partly perceived my silence in the
accompaniment, instead of continuing to make a discordant noise with
Enoch and herself, had chiefly disconcerted her, I determined to
rattle away. My ears were never more completely flayed! But what could
be done? Miss panted for fame, and the company wanted music!

We had the good luck to find one another out at the last bar, and gave
a loud stroke to conclude with; which was followed by still louder
applause. It was vastly fine! _excessive_ charming! Miss was a
ravishing performer, and every soul in the room was distractingly fond
of music! 'There!' said Enoch, taking off his spectacles. 'There,
ladies! Now you hear things done as they should be!'

Not satisfied with this specimen, we must next sing an Italian trio;
for Enoch, like Miss, could sing as well as he could play. But it was
the old story over again: 'things done as they should be.'

The company by this time were pretty well satisfied; though their
praise continued to be extravagant. Miss however would fain have
treated them with a little more; and, when she found me obstinate in
my negative, she, with a half reprimanding half applauding tap with
her fan, for we were by this time very familiar acquaintance, told me
that great performers were always tired sooner than their auditors!

While Miss had been thus busied, her mamma had not been idle. She and
her friends, who were so fond of music, had frequently in full gabble
joined the _con strepito_ chorus, and quite completed that kind of
harmony in which our concert excelled. Add to which there was the
rattling of the card tables, placed ready by her order during the
music; for she was too good an economist to lose time. But she
professed to have a delicate ear. Enoch had taught her to know when
things were done as they should be.

The concert being ended and the cards ready, I was invited to draw
for partners. One elderly lady was particularly pressing. I excused
myself, and Miss said pouting to her mamma, but looking traverse at
the elderly lady, 'Law mamma, you are so teazing! We have made up a
little _conversazione_ party of our own, and you want to spoil it by
taking Mr. Trevor from us! I declare,' continued she, turning her back
on the card tables and lowering her voice, 'that old Tabby is never
contented but when she is at her honours and her tricks! But let her
alone! She never goes away a loser! She has more tricks than honours!'

I presume it was not the first time that she had said this good thing;
at least it was not the last, for I heard it every time afterward that
the parties met on a like occasion. The old lady however contrived
before they broke up to weary me into compliance. I played a single
rubber, lost a guinea, and was asked for my half crown to put under
the candlestick. I say, asked; for I have before observed that I
came up to London ignorant of every point of good breeding. I could
not have surmised that the six packs of half dirty cards were to be
subscribed for by the company at half a crown a head.



CHAPTER V


_Politics and patriotism of a lord: A grand undertaking: Sublime
effusions, or who but I: Politics and taste of Enoch: The honey
changed to gall, or rules for fine writers_


The next day about noon, his lordship sent his compliments, informing
me he should be glad of my company. I hastened to him, eager to have
an opportunity privately to display, before a lord, my knowledge, wit,
and understanding.

After a short introductory dialogue, his lordship turned the
conversation on politics, and it so happened that, though my ideas
on this subject were but feeble and ill arranged, yet it had not
wholly escaped my attention. While I was at Oxford, the want of a
parliamentary reform had agitated the whole nation, and was too real
and glaring an evil not to be convincing to a young and unprejudiced
mind. The extension of the excise laws had likewise produced in me
strong feelings of anger; and the enormous and accumulating national
debt had been described to me as a source of imminent, absolute, and
approaching ruin.

These and similar ideas though all more or less crude I detailed, and
concluded my creed with asserting my conviction that government used
corrupt and immoral means, and that these were destructive of the end
which it meant to obtain.

His lordship was quite in raptures to hear me; and declared he could
not have expected such sound doctrine, from so young a man. 'Yes, Mr.
Trevor,' continued he, 'government is indeed corrupt! It has opposed
me in three elections; one for a county, the others for two popular
boroughs. The opposition has cost me fifty thousand pounds, and I lost
them all. Time was when the minister might have made me his friend;
but I am now his irreconcilable enemy, and I will hang upon his skirts
and never quit him, no, not for a moment, till he is turned out of
office with disgrace. He ought not to have angered me, for I and my
friends kept aloof: he knew I did, and he might--But now I have openly
joined the opposition, and nothing less than his ruin shall satisfy
me! I am exceedingly happy, Mr. Trevor, to find you reason so justly
on these subjects; and to say the truth I shall be very glad of your
assistance.'

I answered his lordship that I should be equally glad, if I could
contribute to the good government and improvement of mankind by
correcting their present errors; and that the vices I had mentioned,
and every other vice that I could discover, I should always think it
my duty to oppose.

'That,' answered his lordship, 'is right, Mr. Trevor! You speak
my own sentiments! Opposition, strong severe and bitter, is what
I am determined on! Your principles and mine are the same, and I
am resolved he shall repent of having made me his enemy! We will
communicate our thoughts to each other, and as you are a young man
whose talents were greatly esteemed at ---- college, and who know how
to place arguments in a striking form, I have no doubt of our success.
I will make him shake in his seat!'

His lordship then drew a whole length picture first of his own griefs,
and next of the present state of representation, and the known
dependence and profligacy of the minister's adherents, which highly
excited my indignation. My heart exulted in the correction which I
was determined to bestow on them all; and I made not the least doubt
but that I should soon be able to write down the minister, load his
partizans with contempt, and banish such flagitious proceedings from
the face of the earth.

With these all sufficient ideas of myself, and many professions of
esteem and friendship from the earl, I retired to begin a series of
letters, that were to rout the minister, reform the world, and convey
my fame to the latest posterity. I had already perused Junius as a
model of style, had been enraptured with his masculine ardor, and had
no doubt but that the hour was now come in which he was to be rivaled.

I could not disguise from myself that the motives of his lordship were
not of the purest kind: but I had formed no expectations in favour
of his morals; and, if the end at which he aimed was a good one, his
previous mistakes must be pardoned. He had engaged me in a delightful
task, had given me an opportunity of exerting my genius and of
publishing my thoughts to the world, and I sat down to my labours with
transport and zeal.

So copious was my elocution that in less than four hours I had filled
eight pages of paper; two of which at least were Greek and Latin
quotations, from Aristotle, Demosthenes, and Cicero. I meant to
astonish mankind with my erudition! All shall acknowledge, said I,
that a writer of wit, energy, and genius is at last sprung up; one
who is profoundly skilled too in classical learning. My whole soul
was bent on saying strong things, fine things, learned things, pretty
things, good things, wise things, and severe things. Never was there
more florid railing. My argument was a kind of pitiful Jonas, and my
words were the whale in which it was swallowed up.

I was quite enamoured of my performance, and was impatient for twelve
o'clock the next day, that his lordship might admire it! In the mean
time, to allay my insatiable thirst of praise, I took it to upright
Enoch. When the reverend little man heard that I was employed by his
lordship to write on affairs of government, he declared it as a thing
decided that my fortune was made: but he dropped his under lip when
told that I had attacked the minister--Was prodigiously sorry!--That
was the wrong side--Ministers paid well for being praised; but they
gave nothing, except fine, imprisonment, and pillory, for blame.

I heard him with contempt, but was too eager in my thirst of
approbation to make any reply, except by urging him to read. He put on
his spectacles and began, but blundered so wretchedly that I was soon
out of patience; and taking the paper from him began to read myself.

No one will doubt but that he was the first to be tired. However, he
said it was fine; and was quite surprised to hear me read Greek with
such sonorous volubility. For his part it was long since he had read
such authors: to which I sarcastically yielded my ready assent. He had
partly forgotten them, he said. Indeed! answered I. My tone signified
he never knew them--'but you think the composition good do you
not?'--'Oh, it is fine! Prodigiously fine!'

Fine was the word, and with fine I was obliged to be satisfied. As for
prodigious, it sometimes had meaning and sometimes none: it depended
on emphasis and action. I knew indeed that he was no great orator;
otherwise I should have expected an eulogium that might have rivaled
the French academy, the odes of Boileau, or even my own composition.

I was still hungry: my vanity wanted more food, much more, though I
knew not where to seek it. To write down a minister was such a task,
and I had begun it in so sublime a style, that rest I could not:
though it was with great difficulty, having done with Enoch, that I
could escape from Miss and her mamma.

They were dressed to go to a party, and they insisted that I should
go with them. It would give their friends such _monstrous_ pleasure,
and they should all be so _immense_ happy, that go I must. But their
rhetoric was vain. I was upon thorns; there were no hopes that the
party would listen to my manuscript; and as I could not read it to
others, I must go home and read it to myself.

As I was going, Miss followed me to the door, called up one of her
significant traverse glances, and told me she was sure I was a
prodigious rake! But no wonder! All the fine men were rakes!

I returned to my chamber, read again and again, added new flowers,
remembered new quotations, and inserted new satire. Enoch had told me
it was fine, yet I never could think it was fine enough.

Night came, but with it little inclination in me to sleep: and in the
morning I was up and at work, reading, correcting and embellishing my
letter before I could well distinguish a word. About nine o'clock,
while I was rehearsing aloud in the very heat of oratory, two chairmen
knocked at my door and interrupted my revery: they were come to take
away the trunk of Turl. The thought struck me and I immediately
inquired--'Is the gentleman himself here?' I was answered in the
affirmative, and I requested one of the men to go and inform him that
an old acquaintance was above, who would be very glad to speak a word
with him.

Mr. Turl came, was surprised to see me, and as I received him
kindly answered me in the same tone. At college he had acquired the
reputation of a scholar, a good critic, and a man of strong powers of
mind. The discovery of a diamond mine would not have given me so much
pleasure, as the meeting him at this lucky moment! He was the very
person I wanted. He was a judge, and I should have praise as much as I
could demand! The beauties of my composition would all be as visible
to him as they were to myself. They were too numerous, too strong,
too striking to escape his notice; they would flash upon him at every
line, would create astonishment, inspire rapture, and hold him in one
continual state of acclamation and extacy!

I requested him to sit down, apologized, told him I had a favour to
ask, took up my manuscript, smiled, put it in his hand, stroked my
chin, and begged him to read and tell me its faults. I had a perfect
dependence on his good taste, and nobody could be more desirous of
hearing the truth and correcting their errors than I was! Nobody!

I was surprised to observe that he felt some reluctance, and attempted
to excuse himself: but I was too importunate, and the devil of vanity
was too strong in me, to be resisted. I pleaded, with great eloquence
and much more truth than I myself suspected, how necessary it was
in order to attain excellence that men should communicate with each
other, should boldly declare their opinions, and patiently listen to
reproof.

Thus urged by arguments which he knew to be excellent, and hoping from
my zeal that I knew the same, he complied, took out his pencil, and
began his task.

He went patiently through it, without any apparent emotion or delay,
except frequently to make crosses with his pencil. Never was mortal
more amazed than I was at his incomprehensible coldness! 'Has he no
feeling?' said I. 'Is he dead? No token of admiration! no laughter! no
single pause of rapture!' It was astonishing beyond all belief!

Having ended, he put down the manuscript, and said not a word!

This was a mortification not to be supported. Speak he must. I endured
his silence perhaps half a minute, perhaps a whole one, but it was an
age! 'I am afraid, Mr. Turl,' said I, 'you are not very well pleased
with what you have read?'

The tone of my voice, the paleness of my lips, and the struggling
confusion of my eyes sufficiently declared my state of mind, and he
made no answer. My irritability increased. 'What, Sir,' said I, 'is it
so contemptible a composition as to be wholly unworthy your notice?'

I communicated much of the torture which I felt, but collecting
himself he looked at me with some compassion and much stedfastness,
and answered--'I most sincerely wish, Mr. Trevor, that what I have
to say, since you require me to speak, were exactly that which you
expected I should say. I confess, it gives me some pain to perceive
that you mistook your own motives, when you desired me to read
and mark what I might think to be faults. You imagined there were
no faults! forgetting that no human effort is without them. The
longer you write the less you will be liable to the error of that
supposition.'--'Perhaps, Sir, you discover nothing but faults?'--'Far
the contrary: I have discovered the first great quality of genius.'

This was a drop of reviving cordial, and I eagerly asked--'What is
that?'--'Energy. But, like the courage of Don Quixote, it is ill
directed; it runs a tilt at sheep and calls them giants.' 'Go on,
Sir,' said I: 'continue your allegory.'--'Its beauties are courtezans,
its enchanted castles pitiful hovels, and its Mambrino's helmet is no
better than a barber's bason.' 'But pray, Sir, be candid, and point
out all its defects!--All!'--'I am sorry to observe, Mr. Trevor,
that my candour has already been offensive to your feelings. If we
would improve our faculties, we must not seek unmerited praise, but
resolutely listen to truth.'--'Why, Sir, should you suppose I seek
unmerited praise.'

He made no reply, and I repeated my requisition, that he should point
out all the defects of my manuscript: once more, all, all! 'The
defects, Mr. Trevor,' said he, 'are many of them such as are common
to young writers; but some of them are peculiar to writers whose
imagination is strong, and whose judgment is unformed. Paradoxical as
it may seem, it is a disadvantage to your composition that you have
the right side of the question. Diffuse and unconnected arguments, a
style loaded with epithets and laborious attempts in the writer to
display himself, are blemishes that give less offence when employed
to defend error than when accumulated in the cause of truth, which is
forgotten and lost under a profusion of ornaments. The difficulties of
composition resemble those of geometry: they are the recollection of
things so simple and convincing that we imagine we never can forget
them; yet they are frequently forgotten at every step, and in every
sentence. There is one best and clearest way of stating a proposition,
and that alone ought to be chosen: yet how often do we find the same
argument repeated and repeated and repeated, with no variety except in
the phraseology? In developing any thought, we ought not to encumber
it by trivial circumstances: we ought to say all that is necessary,
and not a word more. We ought likewise to say one thing at once; and
that concluded to begin another. We certainly write to be understood,
and should therefore never write in a language that is unknown to a
majority of our readers. The rule will apply as well to the living
languages as to the dead, and its infringement is but in general
a display of the author's vanity. Epithets, unless they increase
the strength of thought or elucidate the argument, ought not to be
admitted. Of similes, metaphors, and figures of every kind the same
may be affirmed: whatever does not enlighten confuses. There are two
extremes, against which we ought equally to guard: not to give a dry
skeleton, bones without flesh; nor an imbecile embryo, flesh without
bones.'

'I understand you, Sir. What you have read is an imbecile
embryo?'--'Your importunity, Mr. Trevor, and my desire to do you
service have extorted an opinion from me. I must not shrink from the
truth: in confirmation of what I have already said, I must add, that
your composition is strong in language, but weak in argument.'--'Ha!
Much declamation, little thought?'

He was once more silent for a few seconds, and then assuming a less
serious tone, endeavoured to turn the conversation by inquiring if I
were come to reside in London, and to live with his lordship? I took
care to inform him that I considered myself as a visitor in the house;
and that I meant to take my degrees, be ordained, and devote myself to
the church.

I then attempted to bring him back to the manuscript; but
ineffectually: he seemed determined to say no more. This silence was
painful to both of us, and after I had inquired where he lived, and
made some professions, which formal civility wrung from me, that I
should be glad to see him again, we parted. We were neither of us
entirely satisfied with the other; and I certainly much the least.

The lesson however did me infinite service. The film was in part
removed from my eyes, in my own despite. I read again, but with a very
different spirit: his marks in the margin painfully met my eye, with
endless repetition. The rules he had been delivering were strong in my
memory, and I frequently discovered their application. After the clear
statement he had given of them, I could but seldom bring myself to
doubt of their justice.

The result was, I immediately went to work; and, disgusted with my
first performance, began another. In truth, my too much confidence and
haste had made me guilty of many mistakes; which I knew to be such,
the moment my vanity had been a little sobered into common sense. I
had often written before, and perhaps never so ill.

I now arranged my thoughts, omitted my quotations, discarded many of
my metaphors, shortened my periods, simplified my style, reduced the
letter to one fourth of its former length, and finished the whole by
one o'clock. His lordship was not so fastidious a critic as I thought
Turl had been; he was delighted with my performance. It is true he
made some corrections and additions, in places where I had not been
so personal and acrimonious, against the minister, as his feelings
required; but, as he accompanied them with praise, I readily
submitted; and, thus improved, my first political essay was committed
to the press.



CHAPTER VI


_Further efforts of critical improvement: Doubts of a serious kind
suggested: More politics and new acquaintance: A dissertation on
rakes_


The critical precepts of Turl were still tingling in my ears; and as
I meant to shew the bishop some of the sermons that I had written, or
in other words as many as he should be willing to read, they underwent
an immediate revisal. Though in general they were less faulty than my
post-haste political effort, yet I found quite enough to correct; and
was so far reconciled to the benefit I had derived from Turl as to
wish to meet him again.

In two or three days therefore, after having expunged, interlined,
and polished one of my best performances till I was tolerably well
satisfied with it, I visited him at his lodgings. I then owned to him,
that I had not received the castigation he gave me quite so patiently
as I ought to have done: but I had nevertheless profited by it, and
was come to request more favours of the same kind; though I could not
but acknowledge I had hopes that my present performance was not quite
so defective as the former.

He received me kindly, but took the manuscript I offered him with what
I again thought great coldness. He read two or three pages, without as
before drawing his pencil upon me, and then paused. 'You have enjoined
me a task,' said he, 'Mr. Trevor, which I do not know how to execute
to my own satisfaction. You are not aware of the truth, and if I
tell it you I shall offend.'--'Nay, Sir; I beg you will not spare
me. Speak!'--'You have not explicitly defined to yourself your own
motives: you think you are come in search of improvement; in reality,
you are come in search of praise.'--'Not unless praise be my
due.'--'Which you are convinced it is.'--'You see deeply into the
human heart, Mr. Turl.'--'If I do not, I am ill qualified to criticise
literary compositions.'--'And you think my divinity no better than my
politics?'--'You do not state the question as I could wish. Divinity
I must acknowledge is not a favourite subject with me.'--'I have
heard as much.'--'I am too sincere a friend to morality to encourage
dissention, quarrels, and enmity, concerning things which whoever
may pretend to believe no one can prove that he understands. As a
composition, from the little I have read, I believe your sermon to be
very superior to your letter; but from the exposition of your subject,
I perceive it treats on points of faith, asserts church authority, and
stigmatises dissent with reprobation. You tell me you are recommended
to a bishop: with him it will do you service! to me it is
unintelligible.'

His inclination to heresy, or, which is the same thing, his difference
with me in opinion, piqued me on this occasion even more than the
unsparing sincerity of his remarks. I answered, I was sorry he did not
agree with me, on subjects which I was convinced were so momentous;
and owned it was for that reason that, while he remained at the
university, I had avoided his society.

He replied, he doubted if it were right to avoid the vicious: and the
precaution which he himself thought necessary, on all such occasions,
was to inquire whether, in accusing another of vice, he were not
himself guilty of error. He considered his own opinions as eternally
open to revision; and if any man were to tell him that two and two did
not make four, he should have no objection to re-examine the facts,
with his opponent, on which his own previous conviction had been
founded. We ought to be ardent in the defence of truth; but we ought
likewise to be patient and benevolent.

I made some attempts to convince him of the impiety of his scepticism;
while he remained cool, but unshaken; and I left him with mingled
emotions of pity, for his adherence to doctrines so damnable; and
of admiration, at the amenity and philanthropy with which they were
delivered.

Thus catechised in criticism and theology, the ardour of my pursuits
would perhaps have found some temporary abatement, had it not been
rouzed anew. My letter had appeared, signed Themistocles, his
lordship's known political cognomen. It was the first in which he had
declared openly against the minister. His sentiments in consequence of
this letter were become public, and many of the minority, desirous of
fixing in their interest one whom they had before considered rather
as their opponent than their friend, came to visit and pay him their
compliments.

The resolute manner in which I had purposely and uniformly shewn him
that I must be treated as his equal had produced its intended effect:
I was dismissed with no haughty nod, but came and went as I pleased,
and frequently bore a part in their conversation. I had still an open
ear for vanity, which was not a little tickled by the frequent terms
of applause and admiration with which Themistocles was quoted. His
lordship did me the justice to inform his visitors that the letter
was written by me. We had indeed conversed together; they were his
thoughts, his principles, and it was true he had made such additions
and corrections as were necessary. Then, proceeding to invectives
against the minister, he there dropped me, and my share of merit.

The mortification of this was the greater because truth and falsehood
were so mingled that, however inclined I might be, I knew not which
way to do myself justice. But the praise, which they bestowed wholly
on his lordship and which his lordship was willing to receive, I very
unequivocally took to myself. It gave me animation; the pen was seldom
out of my hand, and the exercise was sanative.

Mean while Enoch and his agreeable family, who knew so well when
things were as they should be, were not neglected. I was careful to
inform them of my rising fame; and my new friends, for so I accounted
all those who paid their court to his lordship and his lordship's
favourite, were individually named, characterised, and celebrated.

The family heard me with avidity, each desirous of having a share in
a lord, and the friends of a lord. Enoch told me I was in high luck,
mamma affirmed I was a fine writer, and Miss was sure I must be a
_monstrous favourite_! I was a favourite with every body; and, for her
part, she did not wonder at it. 'Not but it is a great pity,' added
she, aside, 'that you are such a rake, Mr. Trevor.'

This repeated charge very justly alarmed my morality, and I very
seriously began a refutation. But in vain. I might say what I would;
she could see very plainly I was a prodigious rake, and nothing could
convince her to the contrary. Though she had heard that your greatest
rakes make the best husbands. Perhaps it might be true, but she did
not think she could be persuaded to make the venture. She did not know
what might happen, to be sure; though she really did not think she
could. She could not conceive how it was, but some how or another she
always found something agreeable about rakes. It was a great pity they
should be rakes, but she verily believed the women loved them, and
encouraged them in their seducing arts. For her part, she would keep
her fingers out of the fire as long as she could: but, if it were her
destiny to love a rake, what could she do? Nobody could help being in
love, and it would be very hard indeed to call what one cannot help a
crime.

In this key would she continue, without let or delay, whenever she
had me to herself, till some accident came to my relief: for the
philosophy of Miss Eliza, on the subjects of love and rakishness, was
exhaustless; and though it could not always convince, it could puzzle.
I often knew not how to behave, such a warfare did she sometimes
kindle between inclination and morality. My resource was in silence;
hers in talking. Notwithstanding her very great prudence, I suspect
there might have been danger, had I not been guarded by the three fold
shield of an unfashionable sense of moral right, strong aspirings
after clerical purity, and the unfaded remembrance of the lovely
chaste Olivia.



CHAPTER VII


_Enoch made acquainted with more of my perfections, which by his
advice are brought to market: A bishop's parlour: The bishop
himself, or a true pillar of the church: Heretical times and arduous
undertakings_


New honours awaited me. My lord the bishop was come to town, of which
Enoch had providently taken care to have instant notice. Among the
other good things I had related of myself, I had not forgotten to tell
Enoch of the several sermons I had written; nor to shew him that which
I had corrected and taken to Turl.

I had another attainment, of which too I did not neglect to inform
him; for it was one of which I was not a little proud. Much of my
time, during my residence at Oxford, had been devoted to the study
of polemical divinity, or the art of abuse, extracted from the
scriptures, the fathers, and the different doctors of different
faiths. The points that had most attracted my attention were the
disputes concerning the Athanasian creed, and the thirty-nine
articles. On both these subjects I had made many extracts, many
remarks, and collected many authorities; for I had subscribed the
thirty-nine articles, and consequently the Athanasian creed, and what
I had done it became me to defend. This is the maxim of all people,
who think it more worthy their dignity to be consistent in error than
to forget self, revere truth, and retract.

I had beside been well educated for this kind of pertinacity. The
rector, when living, was so sternly orthodox as to hold the slightest
deviation from church authority in abhorrence. What he meant by church
authority, or what any rational man can mean, it might be difficult to
define: except that church authority and orthodox opinions are, with
each individual, those precise points which that individual makes a
part of his creed. But as, unfortunately for church authority, no two
individuals ever had or ever can have the same creed, church authority
is like a body in motion, no man can tell where it resides. At that
time I thought otherwise, and then as now did not refrain from
speaking what I thought.

In addition to the other arts of pleasing, which the industrious Enoch
had acquired, that of maintaining orthodox doctrines in the presence
of orthodox people was one. He was glad to find me so deep a
proficient; for to what market could we so profitably carry such ware
as to the levee of a bishop?

The little man, scrupulously attentive to whatever might advance me
or him in the good graces of the right reverend, advised me to put my
corrected sermon in my pocket; which, with or without his advice, I
suspect I should have done. 'These particulars,' said the provident
Enoch, 'must every one of them be told. But be you under no concern;
leave all that to me. Merit you know is always modest.'

Though I had not on this occasion the courage to contradict him, I
doubted the truth of his apothegm. The good qualities I could discover
in myself I wished to have noticed; and if nobody else would notice
them I must. Like other people, I have too frequently been desirous to
make my principles bend to my practice.

Though the door was the door of a bishop and we had the text in
our favour, 'Knock and it shall be opened,' yet Enoch, no doubt
remembering his own good breeding, was too cautious to ask if his
lordship were at home. He bade the servant say that a clergyman of the
church of England and a young gentleman from Oxford, bringing letters
from the president of ---- college and other dignitaries of the
university, requested an audience.

The message was delivered, and we were ushered into a parlour,
the walls of which were decorated with the heads of the English
archbishops, surrounding Hogarth's modern midnight conversation. There
was not a book in the room; but there were six or eight newspapers.
With these we amused ourselves for some time, till the approach of the
bishop was announced by the creaking of his shoes, the rustling of his
silk apron, and the repeated hems with which he collected his dignity.

The moment I saw him, his presence reminded me of my old acquaintance,
the high-fed brawny doctors of Oxford. His legs were the pillars of
Hercules, his body a brewer's butt, his face the sun rising in a red
mist. We have been told that magnitude is a powerful cause of the
sublime; and if this be true, the dimensions of his lordship certainly
had a copious and indisputable claim to sublimity. He seemed born
to bear the whole hierarchy. His mighty belly heaved and his cheeks
swelled with the spiritual inflations of church power. He fixed his
open eyes upon me and surveyed me from top to toe. I too made my
remarks. 'He is a true son of the church,' said I.--The libertine
sarcasm was instantly repelled, and my train of ideas was purified
from such irreverend heresy--'He is an orthodox divine! A pillar of
truth! A Christian Bishop!' Thought is swift, and man assents and
recants before his eye can twinkle.

I delivered my credentials and he seated himself in a capacious chair,
substantially fitted to receive and sustain its burden of divinity,
and began to read. My letters were from men high in authority,
purple-robed and rotund supporters of our good _Alma Mater_, and met
with all due respect. Clearing his sonorous throat of the obstructing
phlegm, with which there seemed to be danger that he should sometime
or other be suffocated, he welcomed me to London, rejoiced to hear
that his good friends of the university were well, and professed a
desire to oblige them by serving me.

I briefly explained to him my intention of devoting myself to the
church, which he highly commended; and Enoch, who far from being idle
all this time had been acting over his agreeable arts, soon found
an opportunity of informing the right reverend father in God what
powerful connexions I had, how well skilled I was in classical
learning, how deeply I was read in theology, how orthodox my opinions
were, and to give a climax which most delighted me added that, young
as I was, I had already obtained the character of a prodigious fine
writer!

He did not indeed say all this in a breath; he took his own time, for
his oratory was always hide bound; but he took good care to have it
all said. His secret for being eloquent consisted rather in action
than in language, and now with the spiritual lord as before with
the temporal, he accompanied his speech with those insinuating
gesticulations which he had rarely found unsuccessful. He had such a
profound reverence for the episcopacy, [bowing to the ground] was so
bitter an enemy to caveling innovators, [grinning malignity] had so
full a sense of his own inferiority [contorting his countenance, like
a monkey begging for gingerbread] and humbled himself so utterly in
the presence of the powers that be that, while he spoke, the broad
cheeks of the bishop swelled true high church satisfaction; dilating
and playing like a pair of forge bellows.

My modesty was his next theme, and with it was coupled the sermons I
had written, not omitting the one I had brought in my pocket. But
his young friend was so bashful! was so fearful of intruding on his
lordship! as indeed every one must be, who had any sense of what is
always due to our superiors! Yet as the doctrines of his young friend
were so sound, and he was so true a churchman, it might perhaps happen
that his lordship would have the condescension to let one of his
chaplains read him the sermon of his young friend? He was sure it
would do him service with his lordship. Not but he was almost afraid
he had taken an unpardonable liberty, in intruding so far on his
lordship's invaluable time and patience.

Evil communication corrupts good manners. I could not equal the
adulation of Enoch; but, when I afterward came to canvas my own
conduct, I found I had followed my leader in his tracks of servility
quite far enough.

His lordship, to indicate his approbation of our duplex harangue,
graciously accepted the sermon to peruse, informed me of his day and
hour of seeing company, and invited me and my friend to become his
visitors: with which mark of holy greeting Enoch and I, well pleased,
were about to depart.

The retailer of pews recollected himself: no man could be more
desirous than Enoch not to neglect an opportunity. After more bows,
cringes, and acknowledgments not to be expressed, he requested
permission to mention to his lordship that his young friend had
made a particular branch of theology his study, of which he thought
it his duty to acquaint his lordship. In these days of doubt, rank
infidelity, and abominable schism, the danger of the church was felt
by every good and pious divine; and her most active defenders were her
best friends. His lordship would therefore perhaps be glad to hear
that Mr. Trevor had particularly devoted himself to polemics, was
intimately acquainted with the writings of the fathers and the known
orthodox divines, and was qualified to be a powerful advocate and
champion of conformity.

'Indeed!' said his lordship, with open ears and eyes. 'I am very
glad to hear it! Have you written any thing, Mr. Trevor, on
these subjects?'--'I have made many references, memorandums, and
preparatory remarks, my lord.'--'Then you intend to write!'--I saw
the satisfaction with which the affirmative was likely to be received
and boldly answered, 'I do, my lord.'--'I am very glad to hear it!
I am very glad to hear it!'--'Shall I do myself the honour to bring
my manuscript, as soon as it is written, and consult your lordship's
judgment?'--'By all means, Mr. Trevor! By all means! These are weighty
matters. The church was never more virulently and scandalously
attacked than she has been lately! The most heretical and damnable
doctrines are daily teeming from the press! Not only infidels and
atheists, but the vipers which the church has nurtured in her own
bosom are rising up to sting her! Her canons are brought into
contempt, her tests trampled on, and her dignitaries daily insulted!
The hierarchy is in danger! The bishops totter on their bench! We are
none of us safe.'

To the reality of this picture I readily assented. 'But,' said I, 'my
lord, we have the instruments of defence in our own power: we have
the scriptures, the fathers, the doctors of our church and all the
authorities for us. The only thing we want is a hero, qualified to
bear this cumbrous armour, and to wield these massy weapons.'

The words, 'that hero am I,' quivered on my tongue; and, if my teeth
had not resolutely denied them a passage, out they would have bolted.

His lordship agreed that the truth was all on our side: and for his
part he wished it to be thundered forth, so as at once to crush and
annihilate all heretics, and their damnable doctrines!

'Since I am encouraged by your lordship,' said I, 'this shall be the
first labour of my life; and, though I grant it is Herculean, I have
little doubt of executing it effectually.' His lordship, though not
quite so certain of my success as I was, in the name of the church,
again gave his hearty assent; and we, with smiles, thanks, and bows in
abundance, took our leave: Enoch with a fine pisgah prospect of the
land of promise; and I another Caleb, bearing away the luscious grapes
I had been gathering, on which my fancy licentiously banqueted.



CHAPTER VIII


_Beatific visions: Irons enough in the fire: Egotism and oratory:
Hints on elocution_


This sudden elevation to fame and fortune, for I had not the smallest
doubt that so it was, this double-election of me, who alone perhaps
had the power to execute such mighty tasks, was more than even I,
sanguine as my expectations had been, could have hoped! To rout
politicians and extirpate heresy, to pull down a minister and become
the buttress of the church, to reform the state and establish the
hierarchy, was indeed a glorious office! Honour and power were
suspended over my head: I had but to cut the thread and they would
drop and crown me.

But which should I choose; to be the pillar of the state, or the head
of the hierarchy? a prime minister, or an archbishop? The question was
embarrassing, and it was not quite pleasant that I could not be both.

I did not however forget that I had first some few labours to perform;
to which therefore, with all my might, I immediately applied. My busy
brain had now fit employment, politics and divinity; but was puzzled
with which to begin. The table at which I wrote was richly strewed
with invectives, now hurled at state profligacy, now thundered against
the non-conforming crew. It was my determination to spare neither
friend nor foe. I often remembered the Zoilus Turl, and his heretical
opinions; and was ready to exclaim, in the language of the patient
Job, 'Oh that his words were now written! Oh that they were printed in
a book!' The dictatorial spirit of his reproof, for so I characterised
it, had wounded me deeply; and, though I was not depraved enough to
feel rancour, I ardently wished for the means to come, pen in hand,
to a fair combat; for I feared no mortal wight: if I had, he perhaps
would have been the man. It will hereafter be seen that my wish was
gratified.

Some days were wasted in this state of indecision; in which I did
little, except write detached thoughts and contemplate the sublime
and beautiful of my subjects; till I was rouzed from this lethargy of
determination by a hint from his lordship, that it was necessary for
Themistocles to appear abroad again; lest his enemies should say he
was silenced, and his friends fear he was dead.

A second political letter was then quickly produced; in which, with
the fear of Turl before my eyes and carefully conning over his whole
lesson, I profited by that advice which I half persuaded myself I
despised. I wrote not only with more judgment but with increasing
ardour, and the effects were visible: the second composition was much
better than the first.

The dish too was seasoned to the palate of him for whom I catered. I
peppered salted and deviled the minister, till his lordship was in
raptures! It was indeed dressed much more to the taste of the times
than I myself was aware. It was better calculated to gall, annoy, and
alarm a corrupt system than if I had produced a better composition.

Not only the satellites but the leading men of opposition began now to
pay their respects to his lordship. In his company I had the pleasure
of meeting several of them, and of being frequently surprised by the
readiness of their wit, the acuteness of their remarks, their depth of
penetration, comprehensive powers, and fertility of genius. Mr. ***
himself came occasionally to visit his lordship, so strenuous and
sincere did he appear to be in his political conduct.

During this intercourse, and particularly in these conversations, I
had sufficient opportunities of studying his lordship's character.
He was selfish, ignorant, positive, and proud: yet he affected
generosity, talked on every subject as if it were familiar to him,
asserted his claim to the most undeviating candour, and would even
affect contempt for dignities and distinctions, when they were not the
reward of merit. 'A nobleman might by accident possess talents; but
he was free to confess that the dignity of his birth could not confer
them. He would rather be Mr. *** (Mr. *** was present) than a prince
of the blood. He panted to distinguish himself by qualities that were
properly his own, and had little veneration for the false varnish of
ancestry. Were that of any worth, he had as much reason to be vain as
any man perhaps in the kingdom: his family came in with the Conqueror,
at which time it was respectable: it had produced men, through all its
branches, whose names were no disgrace to history.' Then summoning an
additional quantity of candor he added--'There have been many fools
among them, no doubt; and I am afraid some knaves; but what have I
to do with their knavery, folly, or wisdom? Society, it is true, has
thought fit to recompense me for their virtues: such is the order of
things. But I cannot persuade myself that I have received the least
tarnish from any of their vices. I am a friend to the philosophy
of the times, and would have every man measured by the standard of
individual merit.'

These liberal sentiments were delivered on the first visit he received
from the leader of the minority. Anger, self interest, and the desire
of revenge had induced him to adopt the same political principles:
anger, self interest, and the desire of revenge induced him to
endeavour after the same elevation of mind. Esop is dead, but his frog
and his ox are still to be found.

At this interview, the conversation turned on the last debate in both
houses, in which the merits of the speakers were canvassed, and
his lordship was severe to virulence against his opponents. He had
harangued in the upper house himself; but as his delivery, for it
could not be called elocution, was slow, hesitating, and confused, no
one ventured to mention his speech.

This was a severe mortification. Among his mistakes, that of believing
himself an accomplished orator was not the least conspicuous. Unable
any longer to support their silence, he quoted his speech himself:
though, with that candor which was continually at the tip of his
tongue, he acknowledged it was possible perhaps for him to have
delivered his sentiments in a more terse and pointed manner. 'But no
man', said he, addressing himself to Mr. *** 'no man knows better than
you, how arduous a task it is to speak with eloquence.'

Mr. *** was dumb: but the appellant and the appellee were relieved by
the less delicate intervention of one of the company; who declared,
perhaps with malicious irony, he never heard his lordship to
greater advantage. 'Do you think so,' said the peer, turning to his
panegyrist. 'No. I believe you are mistaken. I never can satisfy
myself! I am so fastidious in the choice of my phrases! I dislike this
word, I reject that, and do not know where to find one that pleases
me. I certainly think, for my part, that I spoke vilely. The duke
indeed and lord Piper both declared they never heard me greater: but I
cannot believe it. Though Sir Francis, who went to the house purposely
to hear me, positively swears it was the first speech I ever made: the
house had seldom, I believe he said, never heard its equal! Indeed
he called it divine; and some affirm he is one of the best judges of
elocution in the kingdom. But I am sure he is wrong. I know myself
better. I was not quite in the cue; had not absolutely the true feel,
as I may say, of my subject. Though I own I was once or twice a little
pleased with myself. There might perhaps be something like an approach
to good speaking; I dare not imagine it was great. It was not, I
believe, indeed I am sure, it was not every thing I could have wished.
I am not often satisfied with others, and with myself still seldomer.'

To all this self equity and abstinence, Mr. ***, to whom it was again
addressed, made no other answer than that he had not the pleasure to
hear his lordship. But the candid peer, in imitation of the poets of
the days of Louis XIV and Charles II continued to be the censurer and
eulogist of himself.

To change the dull theme, one of the company inquired, what is the
reason that many men, who are eloquent in the closet, should stammer
themselves into confusion and incapacity, when they attempt to
speak in public? To this Mr. *** returned the following acute and
philosophical reply.

'A happy choice of words, after we have obtained ideas, is one of the
most constant labours of the person who attempts to write, or speak,
with energy. This induces a habit in the writer or speaker to be
satisfied with difficulty. Desirous of giving the thought he has
conceived its full force, he never imagines the terms and epithets
he has selected to be sufficiently expressive. If, after having
accustomed himself to write, it be his wish to exert his powers as a
public speaker, he must counteract this habit; and, instead of being
severe in the choice of his words, must resolutely accept the first
that present themselves, encourage the flow of thought, and leave
epithets and phraseology to chance. Neither will his intrepidity, when
once acquired, go unrewarded: the happiest language will frequently
rush upon him, if, neglecting words, he do but keep his attention
confined to thoughts. Of thoughts too it is rather necessary for
him to deliver them boldly, following his immediate conceptions and
explaining away inaccuracies as they occur, than to seek severe
precision in the first instance. Hesitation is the death of eloquence;
and precision, like every other power, will increase by being
exercised. It is doubtless understood that I do not speak of orations
already written and digested; but of speeches in reply, in which any
laboured preparation is impossible.'

His lordship applauded the solution of the difficulty, and some of the
company observed the orator had given the history of his own mind.



CHAPTER IX


_Literary labours continued: The thermometer of hope still rising: The
sermon and the disappointed cravings of vanity_


To carry on two controversies at the same time was certainly
favourable to neither; except that abuse, or something very like it,
being the key common to both, the subjects were so far in unison.
Politics afforded me strong temptations, but theology was still
predominant. The thirty-nine articles consequently were not neglected.
Memory was taxed, my own manuscripts were examined, and authorities
were consulted. His lordship's library abounded in political
information, but not in theological, and I had recourse to that of the
British Museum.

I did not indeed compose with all the rapidity with which I wrote
my first political effusion; for I had not only been rendered more
cautious, but, exclusive of the conversations and employment which the
peer afforded me, a regular attention was to be paid to the levees of
the bishop.

To these the sedulous Enoch carefully accompanied me; for no man
pursued his own interest, as far as he understood it, with greater
avidity. Circumstances were unfavourable, or he would certainly have
been a bishop himself. Learning, talents, and virtue might have been
dispensed with, but not these and the total want of patronage.

The bishop, finding us thus continually paired, one day gave me a
hint that he should be glad to see me the next time alone. Without
suspecting the motive, I was careful to comply with the request; and
the ensuing morning, the right reverend dignitary, no other person
being present, gave me to understand that he had read my sermon with
satisfaction.

After this and various other circumlocutory efforts and hints, he at
last spoke more plainly. The subject was a good one, and he had an
inclination to deliver it himself, at one of the cathedrals where he
intended to preach. But then it must be in consequence of a positive
assurance, from me, that I should act with discretion. He did not want
sermons; he had enough: but this pleased him: though, if it were known
it were a borrowed discourse, especially borrowed from so young a man
not yet in orders, it might derogate from episcopal dignity.

Enraptured at the fund of self approbation which I collected from all
this, I ardently replied, 'I knew not how to express my sense of the
honour his lordship did me; that I could neither be so absurd as to
offend his lordship nor so unjust as to be insensible of his favours;
that I held the sacerdotal character to be too sacred to suffer any
man to trifle with it, much less to be guilty of the crime myself;
and that, if his lordship would oblige me by fulfilling his kind
intention, my lips should be irrevocably and for ever closed. The
honour would be an ample reward, and, whatever my wishes might be, it
was more than I could have hoped and greater perhaps than I deserved.'

It might well be expected that at this age I should fall into a
mistake common to mankind, and consider secrecy as a virtue; yet
I think it strange that I did not soon detect the duplicity of my
conduct, nor imagine there was any guilt in being the agent of deceit.
But this proves that my morality had not yet taught me rigidly to
chastise myself into truth; nor had it been in the least aided by the
example of the agreeable Enoch. Perhaps I did not even, at the moment,
suspect myself to be guilty of exaggeration.

Notwithstanding the caution given me, no sooner had I quitted the
ghostly governor than I hastened to my little upright friend. Tell him
indeed I must not: honour, shame, principle, forbade. Yet to keep the
good news wholly secret would be to render the severe covenant cruel.
What could be done?

Enoch perceived a part of my transport, and reproached me for not
having called to take him with me. This was too fair an opportunity to
miss. I answered the bishop had desired to see me alone that morning.
'Indeed!' said the suspicious pastor. 'What could be his lordship's
reason for that? Have I given offence?' 'No, no,' answered I, with a
condescending look to calm his fears; 'but I am not at liberty to tell
you the reason. There will be no breach of confidence however in my
informing you that his lordship is to preach, next Sunday sevennight,
at--cathedral. Many of the clergy, as I have gathered from him, are to
be present; and he intends to make doctrinal points the subject of his
discourse. He expects the attendance of his friends, no doubt, and I
shall be there.' 'And I too,' said Enoch, 'though I should be obliged
to pay a guinea at my chapel for a substitute.'

This point gained and my vanity thus disburthened, I left the divine
man, and hastened to Bruton-street, to defend subscription with ten
fold vigor. My young laurels were ripening apace: they were already
in bud, and were suddenly to bloom. Every new sprig of success burst
forth in new arguments, new tropes, and new denunciations. My margin
was loaded with the names of High Church heroes, and my manuscript
began to swell to a formidable size.

Mean while the day of exultation came, and I and Enoch, with Miss
and her Mamma, for I could not be satisfied with less than the whole
family, repaired early to the cathedral, bribed the verger, procured
ourselves places, and rallied our devout emotions as stedfastly as we
could, amid the indecent riot of boys, the monotony of the responses,
and the apathy of the whole choir.

In spite of all my efforts and aspirings, never was service more
tedious. The blissful minute at length came! His lordship, robed, in
solemn procession, moved magnificently toward the pulpit. The lawn
expanded, dignity was in every fold, and what had been great before
seemed immeasurable! Mamma blessed herself, at the spectacle of power
so spiritualized! Miss protested it was immense! Enoch was ready to
fall down and worship! I myself did little less than adore: but it was
the golden calf of my own creating; it was the divine rhapsody that
was immediately to burst upon and astonish the congregation.

The right reverend father in God began, and with him very unexpectedly
began my dissatisfaction. His voice was thick, his delivery
spiritless, and his candences ridiculous. His soul was so overlaid
with brawn and dignity that, though it heaved, panted, and struggled,
it could never once get vent. Speaking through his apoplectic organs,
I could not understand myself: it was a mumbling hubbub, the drone of
a bagpipe, and the tantalizing strum strum of a hurdy-gurdy! Never
was hearer more impatient to have it begin; never was hearer better
pleased to have it over! Every sentence did but increase the fever of
my mind. Enoch himself perceived it, though he could not discover the
cause. The orator indeed produced no emotion in him, but that was not
wonderful. The effect was quite as good as he expected! He had never,
I believe, been entertained at a sermon in his life; not even at his
own. He went to hear sermons sometimes, because it was decorous,
because he was a parson, and because it was his trade to preach them;
but never with any intention to enlarge his mind or improve his
morals.

His lordship however had no sooner descended than he was encircled by
as many flatterers as thought they had any right to approach; among
whom, to my shame be it spoken, I was one. I did not indeed applaud
either his discourse or his delivery; I was not quite so depraved, nor
so wholly forgetful of the feelings he had excited! but I laboured out
an aukward panegyric on the important duties he had to fulfil, and on
the blessing it was to a nation, when worthy persons were chosen to
fill such high offices. Thus endeavouring to quiet my conscience by
a quibble, and with a half faced lie make him believe what it was
impossible I could mean.

The discourse too was praised abundantly. It was divine! His lordship
had never delivered more serious and alarming truths! But though no
man could be better convinced that in reality this was all fact,
yet coming from them I knew it to be all falsehood. They could not
characterize what they could not hear; and the maukish adulation
curdled even upon my digestive stomach.

The lesson however certainly did me good, though it had yet but little
influence upon my conduct.



CHAPTER X


_The critic once more consulted in vain: The Bishop less fastidious:
The playhouse: Elbows and knees or virtue in danger: Mrs. Jordan_


It was possible I found, under the rose be it spoken, even for a
bishop to be a blockhead: but, if that bishop had sense enough to
discern my good qualities, I ought not to be the most unrelenting of
his censurers. My defence of the articles would indeed do its own
business: yet to come forth under episcopal auspices was an advantage
by which it was perhaps my duty to profit.

Politics necessarily had their interval; but, though this created
delay, my manuscript was at length finished, fairly recopied, and
impatient to be applauded.

Again the ghost of Turl haunted me. Not with terror! No: I had
prepared a charm, that could arrest or exorcise the evil spirit. Let
him but fairly meet me on this ground and I would hurl defiance at
him.

Refrain I could not, and to him I went. I was surprised to find him at
work, engraving! 'Does he,' said I, 'pretend to learning, taste, and
genius, yet stoop to this drudgery?'

It was a good prefatory pretext to introduce my main design, and I
asked his reason for chusing such an employment? He answered it was
to gain a living, by administering as little as he could to the false
wants and vices of men, and at the same time to pursue a plan, on
which he was intent.

This plan he did not voluntarily mention; and, as my eagerness was all
nestling in my manuscript, I made no further inquiry. It was presently
produced. 'I have two or three times,' said I, 'Mr. Turl, intruded
upon you, and am come to trouble you once more. I have been writing a
pamphlet, and should again be glad to have your opinion. I know before
you open it you are inimical to its doctrines, although I think them
demonstrable. But perhaps you will find arguments in it which you
might not expect: and if not, I still should be glad to have your
judgment of it, as a composition. It contains a defence of the
thirty-nine articles, and indisputable proofs of the duty of religious
conformity.'

Turl paused for a moment, and then replied: 'I would most willingly,
Mr. Trevor, comply with your desire, were I not convinced of its
absolute inutility. The question has long been decided in my mind.
No arguments can prove a right, in any man or any body of men, to
tyrannize over my conscience. To find a standard to measure space and
duration has hitherto baffled all attempts; but to erect a standard to
equalize the thoughts of the whole human race is a disposition that
is both hateful and absurd. Should you understand the sincerity with
which I speak as hostile to yourself, you will do me wrong. Were it in
my power to render you service, few men would be more willing; but on
this occasion it certainly is not.'

I replied with some pique, 'To condemn any man, any question, or
any cause unheard, Sir, is neither the act of a Christian nor of a
philosopher.'

'Christians, Mr. Trevor,' answered he, 'are so different from each
other, that what the act of a Christian may be is more than I know:
but, if I may speak as a philosopher, it is an immoral act to waste
time in doing any one thing, if there can be any other done that will
contribute more to the public good.'

'Do you think, Mr. Turl,' retorted I with indignation, 'that making
scratches, with a bit of steel on a bit of copper, is contributing
more to the public good than the examination of a question of so
much importance?'--'No, Mr. Trevor: but, I repeat, I have examined
the question; and whenever the public good shall make it my duty,
am willing to examine it again. I am not I think so called upon at
present, and I therefore must decline the task. I could wish you were
not to leave me in anger, for I assure you I have an affection for
your genius. But it may now be said to be in a state of ferment: when
it subsides, if I do not mistake, it will brighten, and contribute I
hope to the greatest and best of purposes.

'Upon my honour, Mr. Turl, you are a strange person!'

So saying, I hastily put my manuscript in my pocket and took my
leave: offended with his peremptory refusal, but half appeased by the
something more than compliment with which it was concluded.

This market always failed me; but I had one that was better calculated
for my ware, which was immediately open to me. I hastened to the
bishop, displayed my precious cargo, and did not fail to report
its value. I stated my principal arguments and boldly affirmed, in
conformity with the most approved leaders of our church, that the
articles were to be interpreted in an Arminian sense, and that
only; that is strictly in regard to the Trinitarian controversy,
and liberally in the questions of predestination and grace. Nothing
according to my reasoning could be more plain than that they were
purposely left ambiguous, in these matters, by the compilers;
in favour to men in their public capacity, who I admitted in
their private were treated by them as heretics, blasphemers, and
anti-christs. I allowed no quarter to those who fixed the standard
of orthodoxy a hair's breadth higher or lower than I had done;
and attacked, with a virulence that shewed I was totally blind to
the lameness of my own cause, the socinianizing clergy, who dared
subscribe in defiance of the grossness of their heresy, and the
Calvinists, who had the impudence to understand the articles in the
sense in which their authors wrote them.

Then I had a formidable army of authorities! The fathers: Tertullian,
Chrysostom, Austin, Jerome! The famous high church men: archbishops,
bishops, deans and doctors; from Whitgift to Waterland, from Rogers
to Rutherforth! Them I marshalled in dread array, a host invincible!
The church thundered by my lips! I created myself the organ of her
anathemas, and stood forth her self-elected champion.

All this I detailed to my right reverend patron, who heaved his
cumbrous eye-brows, and gazed approbation while I spoke. I was so full
of myself and my subject, repeated sounding names and apt quotations
with such volubility, and imparted my own firm conviction that this
was the death blow to non-conformity with such force, that the rotund
man felt some small portion of sympathy, looked forward to happy
times, and began to hope he might see the thrones dominions powers
and principalities of the church re-established, and flourishing once
more! Had this been his only motive, however false his tenets, he
would have acted from a virtuous intention; but he had another, with
which the reader will in due time be acquainted.

Thus favourably prepossessed, I left my manuscript for his perusal;
and he treated me with as much condescension as, for a client so
undignified, he could persuade himself to assume.

It must not be forgotten that Enoch was present: this my vanity and
his cunning required. He played his part. His congratulations of his
young friend, and his amazement at his lordship's most prodigious
goodness, would have risen to ecstacy, if ecstacy and Enoch could
possibly have been acquainted.

We hied back to Suffolk street, where our good news was as usual
related. I had my vanity to feed, and the family had their views.

Miss had been presented with two box tickets, for the benefit of a
capital performer. The inimitable Mrs. Jordan was to play the Country
Girl, and I was invited by the family and pressed by Miss to accept of
one of them, and accompany her to the theatre.

I was not of a saturnine and cold complexion; and, fearful and
guarded as Miss was against rakes, I had some latent apprehension
that the tempter might be at hand. But the play-house was the region
of delight. Mrs. Jordan I had never seen, and to reject a lady's
invitation was as cowardly as to refuse a gentleman's challenge.

I had not yet philosophy enough for either, and at the appointed hour
a hackney coach was in waiting, and I and Miss Eliza, accompanied
by Enoch who had business in the Temple, were driven to Drury Lane
Theatre.

Places were kept, we took our seats, and the play began. So intent was
I, on plot, incident, character, wit, and humour, that, had I been
left unmolested, I fear I should have totally forgotten Miss Eliza.
But that was no part of her plan: at least it was no part of her
practice. Our knees soon became very intimate, and had frequent
meetings of a very sentimental kind: for, she being courageous enough
to advance, could I be the poltroon to retreat? They were however very
good and loving neighbours, and the language they spoke was peculiarly
impressive. The whole subject before us was love, and intrigue,
and the way to torment the jealous. Whenever a significant passage
occurred, and that was very often, either the feet, or the legs, or
the elbows of Miss and me came in contact. Our eyes too might have
met, but that I did not understand her traverse sailing. Commentaries,
conveyed in a whisper, were continual. Her glances, shot athwart,
frequently exclaimed--'Oh la!' and the fan, half concealing their
significance, often enough increased the interjection to--'Oh fie!'
The remarks of Miss, ocular and oral, were very pointed, and it must
be owned that she was a great master of the subject. Whenever the tone
of libertine gallantry occurred, she was ready with--'There! That's
you! There! There you are again! Well, I protest! Was any thing ever
so like? That is you to a T!'

I must tell the truth, and acknowledge she created no little
perturbation in my inward man. My thoughts were attracted this way,
and hurried that. The divine Mrs. Jordan for one moment made me all
her own. Miss insisted on having me to herself the next. Then came
theology, a dread of Eve and her apple, supported by a still more
redoubtable combatant, virtue, with her fair but inflexible face!
And could Olivia, the gentle, the angelic, the beaming Olivia, such
as I remembered her in days of early innocence, such as I beheld her
reclining in my arms as I bore her from the dangerous waters, could
love be the theme and she forgotten? No! There was not a day in which
that phenomenon happened; and on such occasions never. Why I thought
on her, or what I meant, I seldom staid in inquire; for that was a
question that would have given exquisite pain, had I not remembered
that the world was soon to be at my command.

But Olivia was absent, and I had entered the lists with a very
different heroine. Through play and farce there was no cessation to
the combat; and, in spite of the fencing and warding of prudence,
before the curtain finally dropped I own I felt myself a little
breathed.

The foot-boy was to attend, with a hackney coach. I led my fair
Thalestris into the lobby, where Miss Ellis's carriage was
vociferated, from mouth to mouth, with as much eclat as if she had
been a dutchess.

The foot-boy made his appearance, but no carriage alas was there. Why
I was partly sorry and partly glad I leave the reader to divine. It
rained violently, and it was with difficulty that I could procure
a chair. Into this conveyance Miss Ellis was handed; I was left to
provide for myself, and a storm in the heavens fortunately relieved
the storm of the passions. The last flash of their lightening
exhausted itself in the squeeze of the hand, which I gave Miss before
the chairmen shut the door; or rather in that which she gave me in
return. Disappointed men often rail at accident, whereas they ought
to avow that what they call accident has frequently been the guardian
of what they call their honour. I returned home, where, full of the
delightful ideas which the fascinating Jordan had inspired, I retraced
those discriminating divine touches, by which she communicates such
repeated and uncommon pleasure. She is indeed a potent sorceress: but
not even her incantations could exclude the august and virgin spirit
of Olivia from again rising to view. As for Miss Eliza, keep her but
at a hair-breadth distance and she was utterly harmless.



CHAPTER XI


_Possibilities are infinite, or great events in embrio: A bishop's
dinner and a dean's devotion: A discovery: Clerical conversation: The
way to rise in the church_


By this time my political labours began to wear a respectable
appearance. A third letter had been published, and a fourth was
preparing. I was in high favour. Men of all ranks visited the earl;
and dukes, lords, and barons became as familiar to me as gowns and
caps had formerly been in the streets of Oxford. I stood on the very
pinnacle of fortune; and, proud of my skill, like a rope-dancer that
casts away his balancing pole, I took pleasure in standing on tiptoe.
Noticed by the leading men, caressed and courted by their dependants,
politics encouraging me on this hand, and theology inviting me
on that, the whole world seemed to be smiles and sunshine; and I
discovered that none but blockheads had any cause to complain of its
injuries and its storms.

Having eased myself for the present of my load of divinity, my fourth
letter required no long time to finish. I hastened with it to his
lordship, my spirits mounting as usual. He took it, but not with his
former eagerness; read it, praised it, but with less of that zeal
which interested hope supplies.

I remarked the change, and began to inquire what was my fault? 'None,'
replied his lordship. 'Your letter is excellent! charming! every thing
I could wish!'--'Then I may send it to the press?'--'No: I would wish
you not to do that.'--'My lord!'--'Leave it with me. Wait a few days
and perhaps you may hear of something that will surprise and please
you.'--'Indeed, my lord!'

I stood fixed, with inquiring eyes, hungry after more information. But
this was not granted; except that, with a significant smile, he told
me he had an engagement of importance for the morning: and with this
hint I retired.

It was impossible for me to hear so much, and no more, and to forbear
forming conjectures. There was going to be a new ministry! It could
not be otherwise!

Mr. *** soon afterward knocked at the door. I looked through the
window and saw his carriage. I went to the head of the stairs and
heard him received, by the earl, with every expression of welcome!

I had now no doubt but that a place, if I would accept it, would
incontinently be bestowed on me; and it was almost painful to think
that my future plans were of an opposite kind. Yet, why opposite?
Churchmen were not prohibited the circle of politics. My station would
be honourable, for they would not think of offering me trifles. And
why not step from the treasury bench to the bench of bishops? Let but
the love of the state and the love of the church be there, and neither
seat would suffer contamination.

A revolution of fortune was certainly at hand: what it was I could not
accurately foresee, but that it would be highly favourable no man in
his senses could have the least doubt: such was my creed.

The very next day I received a note from the bishop, inviting me to
partake of a family dinner, with him and his niece. So it is! And
so true is the proverb: it never rains but it pours! Good fortune
absolutely persecuted me! Honours fell so thick at my feet that I had
not time to stoop and pick them up! In the present humour of things,
I knew not whether I might not be invited, before the morrow came, to
dine with a party of prime ministers, and be elected their president.

Mean time however I thought proper to accept the bishop's invitation;
and, as nothing better did actually intervene, when the hour came I
kept my appointment.

Being there, the footman led me up to the drawing-room; in which were
a lady, who curtsying told me the bishop would soon be down, and the
Dean of ----, another rosy gilled son of the church. I have often
asked myself--'Why are butchers, tallow-chandlers, cook-maids,
and church dignitaries so inclined to be fat?' but I could never
satisfactorily resolve the question.

His lordship soon made his appearance; and, having first paid his
obedience to the dean, he took the lady by the hand, and presenting
her to me said--'This, Mr. Trevor, is my niece; who I dare say will be
glad to be acquainted with you.' Bows, curtsies, and acknowledgments
of honours conferred, were things of course.

Miss Wilmot, that was the lady's name, Miss Wilmot and I made attempts
to entertain each other. Her person was tall, her shape taper, her
complexion delicate, and her demeanour easy. Her remarks were not
profound, but they were delivered without pretension. She was more
inclined to let the conversation die away than to sustain it by that
flux of tongue, which afflicted the ear at the house of the Ellis's.
Her countenance was strongly marked with melancholy; and a languid
endeavour to please seemed to have been the result of study, and to
have grown into habit.

Our attention was soon called to another quarter. 'Dinner! dinner!
gentlemen,' exclaimed the right reverend father. 'Come, come; we must
not let the dinner get cold! Do any thing rather than spoil my dinner!
I cannot forgive that.'

Away we went. When a bishop has the happiness to be ready for his
dinner, his dinner is sure to be ready for him. Hunger three times
a day is the blessing he would first pray for. No remiss cooks, no
delays for politeness sake there. Nor is there any occasion: scandal
itself cannot tax the clergy with want of punctuality, at the hour of
dinner.

We sat down. The lady carved. There were three of us, for she ate
little. But, heaven bless me! she had work enough! It was like boys
fighting, one down and the other come on! I might wonder about the
fattening of butchers and tallow-chandlers as I pleased, but the last
part of my wonder was over. I was no mean demolisher of pudding and
pie-crust myself; but lord! I was an infant. 'You don't eat, Mr.
Trevor!' said the lady. 'You don't eat, Mr. Trevor!' said the dean.
'You don't eat, Mr. Trevor!' blubbered the bishop. Yet never had I
been so gorged since the first night at Oxford; and scarcely then.

I would have held it out to the last; for who would not honour the
cloth? But the thing could not be, and I fairly laid down my knife and
fork in despair. 'Lord! Mr. Trevor! why you have not done?' was the
general chorus. 'There is another course coming!'

It was in vain: man is but man. I fell to at first like the rest,
thinking that the engagement though hot would be soon over; but I
little knew the doughty heroes, with whom I had entered the lists.
The chiefs of Homer, with their chines and goblets and canisters of
bread, would have been unequal to the contest. I had time enough to
contemplate the bishop; I thought I beheld him quaffing suffocation
and stowing in apoplexy; and Homer's simile of the ox and Agamemnon
forced itself strongly upon me:

  So while he feeds, luxurious in the stall,
  The sov'reign of the herd is doom'd to fall.

Neither did their eating end with the second course. The table was no
sooner cleared of the cloth, and the racy wine with double rows of
glasses again placed in array, than almonds, raisins, olives, oranges,
Indian conserves, and biscuits deviled, covered the board! To it
again they fell, with unabating vigour! I soon found reason to leave
them, but I doubt whether for three hours their mouths were once seen
motionless! In the act of error its enormity escapes detection. I had
momentary intervals, in which I philosophised on the scene before me;
but not deeply. I was a partaker of the vice, and my astonishment at
it was by no means so great then as it is now.

But there was another circumstance at which it was even extreme, and
mingled with high indignation. I was ignorant of the clerical maxim,
that the absence of the profane washes the starch out of lawn.
Hypocrisy avaunt! They are then at liberty to _unbend_! I was soon
better informed. The bishop and the dean, Miss Wilmot being still
present, the moment the devil of gluttony would give them leisure,
could find no way of amusing themselves so effectually as by
attempting to call up the devil of lust. Allusions that were evidently
their common-place table talk, and that approached as nearly as they
durst venture to obscenity, were their pastime. With these they
tickled their fancy till it gurgled in their throats, applied to Miss
Wilmot to give it a higher gusto, and, while they hypocritically
avoided words which the ear could not endure, they taxed their dull
wit to conjure up their corresponding ideas. I must own that, in my
mind, poor mother church at that moment made but a pitiful appearance.

Disgusted with their impotent efforts to make their brain the common
sewer of Joe Miller, I at last started up, with difficulty bridled my
anger, and addressing myself to the lady said, 'Shall we retire to
your tea table, Miss Wilmot?' 'Ay, do, do!' replied the father in God.
'Try, Liddy, if you can entertain Mr. Trevor: we will stay by our
bottle.'

I led her out; and I leave the initiated to guess with what episcopal
reverence All saints and their Mother were introduced, the moment the
lady's back was turned.

In the course of conversation with the lady, I thought I remarked
many strong traits of resemblance between her and my former friend
and instructor, the usher of the grammar school, whose name also was
Wilmot. The name perhaps was the circumstance that turned my thoughts
into that channel; and the fancied likeness between them soon
increased upon me so forcibly, that I could no longer forbear to
relate all that I knew concerning him, and to inquire if he were her
relation?

While I spoke, she changed colour; and after some hesitation answered,
'he is my brother.'--'And the nephew of his lordship?'--

Her flushings and hesitation were increased. 'I am sorry, madam,'
said I, 'if I have been indiscreet.' She answered, in a feeble and
inarticulate manner, 'he stands in the same relationship to the bishop
that I do.'

The feelings of the lady turned my attention, and prevented me from
noticing the ambiguity of the reply. 'I respected and loved your
brother, madam,' continued I. 'His stay was but short after I left
the school, and I have not heard of him since. Is he in London?'--'I
believe so; but I do not know where.'

Every question gave additional pain, and I dropped the subject with
saying, that I was happy to be acquainted with the sister of a man who
had so essentially aided me in my education, and for whom I had the
highest esteem.

I thought I perceived the tears struggling to get vent, and to relieve
her I made a short visit to the dignitaries--who were--not drunk!
Beware of scandal! Calumny itself could not say that madeira, port,
and brandy mingled could make them drunk! Madeira port and brandy
mingled were but digestives. No: I found the bishop relating one
of the principal incidents of his life; which incident it was his
practice to relate every day after dinner.

'And so, Mr. Dean, it was the first day, after I had been consecrated
a bishop, that I appeared in my full canonicals. And so you know the
young gentlemen [He was speaking of the Westminster boys] had never
seen me in them; because, as I was a saying, it was the first day of
my putting them on. And so, Mr. Dean, as it was the first day of my
putting them on, they had placed themselves all of a row, for to see
me pass through them; because, as I say, it was the first day of my
putting them on. And you can't think, Mr. Dean, what an alteration it
made! Every body told me so! and the young gentlemen as I passed, I
assure you, when they saw me with my lawn sleeves and quite in full
decoration, being the first day of my putting them on, they all bowed;
and I assure you behaved with the greatest respect you can think. For
as I tell you it was the first day of my putting them on; so they had
never seen me in them before; so, I assure you, they bowed and behaved
with the greatest respect. They seemed quite surprized, I made such
an appearance! And so, I assure you, they bowed and behaved with the
greatest respect; for as I was a saying, it was the first day of my
putting them on. Perhaps, Mr. Trevor, you never heard the story of my
first appearing in my canonicals? I'll tell it you!'

His lordship then began the story again. He had not a single
circumstance to add; yet he would not be stopped in his career by my
assuring him that I had heard the whole.

His lordship and the dean then began a discourse concerning the clubs,
of which they were both members; with inquiries after and annotations
on prebends, archdeacons, and doctors, that had the honour to
gluttonize together on these occasions. This, though highly amusing to
them, was intolerable dulness to me, and I returned to Miss Wilmot.

At nine o'clock, the dean's carriage was at the door, and he departed.
He was a great lover of decorum.

I was preparing to follow his example; but his lordship joined us, and
desired me to sit down for half an hour; he had something to say to
me. Wondering what it could be, I readily complied.

He then began to ask me, how I liked his niece? and to talk of
this and the other young clergymen, who had risen in the church by
matrimony. Miss Wilmot I perceived was greatly embarrassed. I listened
to him with some surprise; for I had nothing to say. He concluded his
remarks with telling me, that we would talk more on these subjects
another time.

While the dean had been present, the turn of the conversation was such
that, though I made two or three aukward attempts, I could find no
opportunity of introducing my defence of the articles. I was now more
successful, and his lordship told me it was well written; certainly
very well written. He had read it himself, and had consulted two or
three very sound divines.

I had no doubt of the fact, yet was glad to hear it confirmed,
especially by testimonies that I persuaded myself must be good, and
expressed my satisfaction. 'Yes,' said his lordship; 'your defence
is very well written, Mr. Trevor; and I have something to say to you
about that matter. But I am a little drowsy at present. Ring for my
night cap, niece! If you will be with me to-morrow morning at ten
o'clock, Mr. Trevor, we'll talk the thing over.'

I then bade the lady and his lordship good night, and returned to
Bruton-street, with my brain swimming with cogitations concerning
bishops, nieces, deans, articles, sound divines, the church, the sons
of the church, sensuality, obscenity, and innumerable associating
but discordant ideas, that bred a strange confusion and darkness of
intellect.



CHAPTER XII


_The killing of the goose with the golden eggs_


The next morning my first business was with the bishop, and I took
good care to be punctual. I knew not very well why, but the ardour
of my expectations was in some sort abated. The preaching my sermon
clandestinely, the niece, and the young clergymen that made their
fortune by matrimony, were none of them in unison with the open and
just dealing which was requisite to my success. The forebodings at
which people have so often marvelled are, when they happen, nothing
more than perceptions of incongruity, that disturb the mind. Of this
kind of disturbing I was conscious.

I repaired however to my post, and was ushered up to the prelate. He
began with telling me what an orthodox divine the dean was, who dined
with us the day before; and how sure he was of rising in the church. I
could make no answer. Rise in the church he probably would; for facts
are facts; and I had sufficient proof before me.

My ready compliance with the first act of deceit, that he had required
from me, had not given him reason to suspect he should find me more
scrupulous than many others, whom he had made subservient to his
purposes. What measure had he for my conscience, but the standard that
regulated his own? The caution therefore that he practised with me was
only that which the routine of cunning had made habitual. Introductory
topics were soon discarded: he began to talk of his niece, and again
asked if I did not think her an agreeable handsome young lady? Of her
person and manners I had no unfavourable opinion, and replied in the
affirmative. 'I assure you, Mr. Trevor,' said he, 'she thinks very
well of you!'--'Nay, my lord, she has seen me but once.'--'Oh, no
matter for that. Who knows but you may come to be better acquainted?
especially if something that I have to say to you be taken _right_.
You are a likely young man, Mr. Trevor; and may be a promising young
man. I don't know: that is as things shall happen, and according as
you shall understand things, and be prudent.'

This was a vile preface: it contained more forebodings. But I was
so eager for an explanation that I had scarcely time for augury. He
continued--

'You have been to Oxford, Mr. Trevor, and you have studied. I was
at Oxford, and I studied, and read Greek, and the fathers, and the
schoolmen, and other matters: but all that there won't do alone, Mr.
Trevor. A young man must be prudent. I was prudent, or I should never
have been this day what I am now sitting here, nor what it may happen
I may be. But all that is as things shall happen to come to pass. We
have all of us a right to look forward; and so I would have you look
forward, Mr. Trevor. That is the only prudent way.'

More and more impatient, I answered his lordship, I would be as
prudent as I could; and again requested he would explain himself.

'Why yes, Mr. Trevor; that is what I mean. You are a young man. I
don't know you, but you come recommended to me, by my very learned
friends. You have not the cares of the church to trouble you, and
so you fill up your idle time with writing.'--'My lord!'--'Nay, Mr.
Trevor, you write very prettily. I could write too, but I have not
time. I never had time. I had aways a deal of business on my hands:
persons of distinction to visit, when I was young, and to take care
not to disoblige. That is a main point of prudence, Mr. Trevor; never
disoblige your superiors. But I dare say you have more sense: and so,
if that be the case, why you will make friends, as I did. I will be
one of them; and I will recommend you, Mr. Trevor, and introduce you,
and every thing may be to the satisfaction of all parties.'--

'Well, but how, my lord?'

'Why you have written a defence of the articles: now do you wish
to make a friend?'--'I wish for the friendship of all good men, my
lord.'--'That is right! To be sure! And you can keep a secret?'--'I
have proved that I can, my lord.'--'Why that is right! And perhaps
you would be glad to see your defence in print?'--'I should, my
lord.'--'Why that is right! And, if it would serve a friend to
put another name to the work--?'--'My lord!' 'Nay, if you have
any objection, I shall say no more!' 'I do not comprehend your
lordship?'--'A work, Mr. Trevor, would not sell the worse, or be
less read, or less famous, for having a dignified name in the
title-page.'--'Your lordship's, for example?'--'Nay, I did not
say that! But, if you are a prudent young man, and should have
no objection?'--'I find I am not the man your lordship has
supposed!--'Nay!'--'I will be no participator in falsehood, private or
public!'--'Falsehood, Sir! What interpretation are you putting upon my
words? I thought you had been a prudent young man, Mr. Trevor! I was
willing to have been your friend! But I have done!'--'My lord, I must
be free enough to declare, I neither understand the friendship nor the
morality of the proposition.'--'Sir! morality! Is that language, Sir?
Morality! I am sorry I have been deceived!'--'I have been equally so,
my lord, and am equally sorry! I wish your lordship a good morning.'

Away I came, and in my vexation totally forgot to redemand my
manuscript. I recollected it however while within sight of the door,
and turned back. I knocked, asked for his lordship, and was told
he was not at home! This profligate impudence exceeded belief, and
my choler became ungovernable. 'His lordship,' exclaimed I to the
footman, 'is a disgrace to the bench on which he sits!' The footman
thrust the door in my face, and epithets then burst from me, that were
a disgrace to myself.

I hurried homeward, determined to give vent to my feelings in a
letter, and half determined that it should be publicly addressed
to the rank hypocrite, signed by my own name. My angry imagination
teemed forth the biting taunts that should sting him to madness, and
the broad shame with which he was to be overwhelmed. Active memory
retraced each circumstance, that could blacken the object of my
present contempt and abhorrence; and every trait increased the
bitterness of my gall, and made my boiling blood more hot. Was this a
pastor of the church? a follower of Christ? a Christian bishop? The
question astonished and exasperated me almost to frenzy.

In this temper I arrived in Bruton-street, where another very
unexpected scene awaited me. The earl I was told, had inquired for me,
and desired to see me the moment I should be at home. The message, by
turning my thoughts into a new channel, gave relief to the impetuous
tide of passion. The gloomy scene instantly brightened into prospects
the most cheering and opposite. It was good to have two strings to
the bow, especially as this second was of so firm and inflexible a
texture.

All my favourable forebodings were confirmed, when, on entering, I
observed the smiles that played on his lordship's countenance! He was
in a most pleasant humour. 'I hinted to you, Mr. Trevor,' said he,
'that I should probably have something agreeable soon to communicate!'

His words gave certainly to expectation! They uttered volumes of
rapture in a breath! The fresh laurels of politics sprouted forth with
tenfold vigour, and the withered fig-tree of theology was totally
forgotten!

'There is likely to be a change in affairs then, my lord?' said I,
smiling in rapturous sympathy as I spoke--'There is.'--'Mr. ***
has been with your lordship several times, I think?'--'Yes, yes;
I am courted by all parties, at present'--'Indeed, my lord! Then
Themistocles has become formidable?'--'Yes, yes! I have made them
feel me!'--'I am glad that I have been instrumental.'--'Certainly,
Mr. Trevor; certainly. An architect cannot build palaces with his
own hands. But we will not talk of that: we must complete the work
we have begun'--'And publish our fourth letter?'--'By no means, Mr.
Trevor! that would ruin all!' For a moment I was speechless! At last I
ejaculated--'My lord!'--'Things at present wear a very different face!
we must now write on the other side. You seem surprised?' Well might
he say so! I was thunderstruck! 'But I will tell you a secret. The
minister and I are friends! I send four members into the house; and
if government had not expended five times the sum that it cost me, to
carry their elections, I should have sent three more. I have attacked
the minister in the house by my votes; I have attacked him in the
papers by my writings: so, finding I wielded my two edged sword with
such resolution and activity, he has thought proper to beat a parley.
He acknowledges that the fifty thousand pounds the election contest
cost me were expended in support of our excellent constitution, and
that I ought to be rewarded for my patriotism. His offers are liberal,
and peace is concluded. We must now vere about, and this was the
business for which I wanted you. A good casuist you know, Mr. Trevor,
can defend both sides of a question; and I have no doubt but that you
will appear with as much brilliancy, as a panegyrist, as you have
done, as a satirist.'

How long I remained in that state of painful stupefaction into which
I had been thrown, at the very commencement of this harangue, is more
than I can say: but, as soon as I could recover some little presence
of mind, I replied--'You, my lord, no doubt have your own reasons;
which, to you, are a justification of your own conduct. For my part,
when I wrote against the minister, it was not against the man. A
desire to abash vice, advance the virtuous, and promote the good of
mankind, were my motives!'--'Mr. Trevor, I find you are a young man:
you do not know the world'--The scene with the bishop was acting over
again, and I felt myself bursting once more with indignation. With
ineffable contempt in every feature of my face, I answered--'If a
knowledge of the world consists in servility, selfishness, and the
practice of deceit, I hope I never shall know it.'--'You strangely
forget yourself, Mr. Trevor!'--'I am not of that opinion, my lord. I
rather think, it was the man who could suppose me capable of holding
the pen of prostitution that strangely forgot himself!'

His lordship hemmed, rang his bell, hummed a tune, and wished me a
good morning; and I rushed out of his apartment and hurried up to
my own, where I found myself suddenly released from all my labours,
and at full leisure to ruminate on all the theological and political
honours that were to fall so immediately and profusely upon me.

And here it is worthy of remark that I did not accuse myself; for
I did not recollect that I had been in the least guilty. Yet when
the earl had asked me to write letters, that were to be supposed by
the public the production of his own pen, I had then no qualms of
conscience; and when the bishop invited me to favour falsehood, by
attributing my best written sermon to him, I concurred in the request
with no less facility. When deceit was not to favour but to counteract
my plans, its odious immorality then rushed upon me. Men are so
much in a hurry, to obtain the end, that they frequently forget to
scrutinize the means. As for my own part, far from supposing that I
had been a participator in guilt, I felt a consciousness of having
acted with self-denying and heroic virtue. This was my only armour,
against the severe pangs with which I was so unexpectedly assaulted.



CHAPTER XIII


_Gloomy meditations, or pills for the passions: More of Enoch's
morality: Turl improves, yet is still unaccountable and almost
profane: Consecrated things: Themistocles and vengeance: A love
scene: More marriage plots: And a tragi-comic denouement: The fate of
Themistocles: The manuscript in danger_


I shut the door upon myself, as it were to conceal my disgrace, and
for a considerable time traversed the room in an agony of contending
passions. Rage, amazement, contempt of myself, abhorrence of my
insidious patrons, and a thirst of vengeance devoured me. At length I
was seized with a bitter sense of disappointment, and a fit of deep
despondency. My calculations had been so indubitable, my progress so
astonishing, and my future elevation in prospect so immeasurable, that
to see myself thus puffed down, as it were, from the very pinnacle not
of hope but of certainty, was more than my philosophy had yet learned
to support with any shew of equanimity. I sunk on my chair, where I
sat motionless, in silence, gloom, and painful meditation; groaning
in spirit, as tormenting fancy conjured up the dazzling scenes, with
which she had lately been so actively familiar.

I was roused from my trance at last by the recollection that I was in
the house of the earl, and starting up, as if to spurn contamination
from me, I hurried out, to ease my heart by relating the whole story
in Suffolk street, and to procure myself an apartment.

Enoch, Mamma, and Miss were all at home. I had pre-informed the family
of my engagement to dine with the bishop, and they began a full chorus
of interrogatories. 'Who did I meet?' said Mamma. 'What did I think of
the niece?' asked Miss. 'What did his lordship say?' inquired the holy
man.

I stopped their inquisitive clamours by answering, my eyes darting
rage, 'His lordship said enough to prove himself a scoundrel!' 'Heaven
defend me!' exclaimed Enoch. 'Why, Mr. Trevor! are you in your
senses?'--'A pitiful scoundrel! A pandar! A glutton! A lascivious
hypocrite! With less honesty than a highwayman, for he would not only
rob but publicly array himself in the pillage, nay and impudently
pretend to do the person whom he plundered a favour!'

Enoch stood petrified. He could not have thought that frenzy itself
would have dared to utter language so opprobrious against a bishop.
It was treason against the cloth! The church tottered at the sounds!
But the fury I felt held him in awe--'Lords!' continued I. 'Heaven
preserve me from the society of a lord! I have done with them all.
I am come out to seek an apartment. Kingdoms should not tempt me to
remain another hour under the roof of a lord!'

If the eyes of Enoch could have stretched themselves wider, they
would. The females requested me to explain myself. 'A pandar?' said
Mamma. 'Ay,' added Miss; 'what did that mean, Mr. Trevor?'

The question sobered me a little: I recollected my friend the usher,
and the honour of Miss Wilmot, and evaded an answer. It was repeated
again with greater solicitation: scandal stood with open mouth,
waiting for a fresh supply. I answered that for many reasons, and
especially for a dear friend's sake, I should be silent on that head.
'A dear friend's sake?' exclaimed the suspicious matron. 'Who can that
be? Who but Mr. Ellis? Why Mr. ----!'

I interrupted her in a positive tone, not without a mixture of anger,
assuring her it was not Mr. Ellis; and then repeated that I was come
in search of a lodging.

At that moment the bishop's servant knocked at the door; I saw him
through the window; and a note was received by the foot-boy and
brought to Enoch. The instant he had read the contents, he hurried
away; telling me that an unexpected affair, which must not be
neglected, called him out immediately.

Young as I was, unhackneyed in the ways of men, having so lately left
the society of ignorant and inconsistent youth, till that hour I had
imagined, though I discovered no qualities in Enoch that greatly
endeared him to me, that he was sincerely my friend. His duplicity on
this occasion was in my opinion a heinous crime, and I rushed out of
the house, with a determination never again to enter the doors.

I precipitately walked through several streets, without asking myself
where I was going. At last I happened to think of Turl, and at that
moment he appeared to be the man on earth I would soonest meet. I
hastened to his lodgings, found him at home, labouring as before, and,
instead of feeling the same emotions of contempt for his employment, I
was struck with the calm satisfaction visible in his countenance, and
envied him.

I remembered his words: 'He worked to gain a living, by administering
as little as he could to the false wants and vices of men; and at
the same time to pursue a plan, on which he was intent'--A plan of
importance no doubt; perhaps of public utility.

It was sometime before I could relate my errand. I hesitated, and
struggled, and stammered, but at last said--'Mr. Turl, I yesterday
thought myself surrounded by friends: I now come to you; and should
you refuse to hear me, I have not a friend in the world to whom I can
relate the injustice that has been done me.'---Pray speak, Mr. Trevor.
If I can do you any service, I most sincerely assure you it will add
more to my own happiness, than you will easily imagine.'

These words, though few, were uttered with an uncommon glow of
benevolence. My heart was full, my passions, like the arrow in the
bent bow, were with force restrained, and I snatched his hand and
pressed it with great fervour. 'May you never want a friend, Mr.
Turl,' said I; 'and may you never find a false one! Your opinions
differ from mine, but I see and feel you are a man of virtue.'

I paused a moment, and continued. 'That you are a man of principle is
fortunate, because, in what I have to relate, the name and character
of a lady is concerned: the sister of a man whom, a very few years
since, I loved and revered.'--'You may state the facts without
mentioning her name.'--'I have no doubt of your honour.'--'I have no
curiosity, and it will be the safest and wisest way.'

I then gave him a succinct history of the whole transactions, between
me, Enoch, the bishop and the earl; for I was almost as angry with the
first as with the other two. He heard me to the end, and asked such
questions for elucidation as he thought necessary.

He then said--'Mr. Trevor, you are already acquainted with the
plainness, and what you perhaps have thought the bluntness, of my
character. I have but one rule: I speak all that I think worthy of
being spoken, and if I offend it is never from intention. What you
have related of these lordly men does not in the least astonish me.
Their vices are as odious as you have described them. Your great
mistake is in supposing yourself blameless. You have chiefly erred in
entertaining too high an opinion of your own powers, and in cherishing
something like a selfish blindness to the principles of the persons,
with whom you have been concerned. Your indiscriminate approbation
of all you wrote raised your expectations to extravagance. Your
inordinate appetite for applause made you varnish over the picture
which the earl gave you of himself; though it must otherwise have
been revolting to a virtuous mind: and your expectation of preferment
so entirely lulled your moral feelings to sleep, that you could be a
spectator of the picture you have drawn of the bishop, the day you
dined with him, yet go the next morning to accept, if not to solicit,
his patronage. You have committed other mistakes, which I think it
best at present to leave unnoticed. In the remarks I have made, I have
had no intention to give pain, but to awaken virtue. At present you
are angry: and why?'

'Why!' exclaimed I, with mingled astonishment and indignation. 'A
peer of the realm to be thus profligate in principle, and not excite
my anger!'--'What is a peer of the realm, but a man educated in
vice, nurtured in prejudice from his earliest childhood, and daily
breathing the same infectious air he first respired! A being to be
pitied!'--'Despised!'--'I was but three days in this earl's house. The
false colouring given me by his agent first induced me to enter it;
but I was soon undeceived.'--

'Well but, a churchman! A divine! A bishop! A man consecrated to one
of the highest of earthly dignities!' 'Consecrated? There are many
solemn but pernicious pantomimes acted in this world!'--'Suffer me to
say, Mr. Turl, that to speak irreverently of consecrated things does
not become a man of your understanding.' 'I can make no answer to
such an accusation, Mr. Trevor, except that I must speak and think as
that understanding directs me. Enlighten it and I will speak better.
But what is it in a bishop that is consecrated? Is it his body, or
his mind? What can be understood by his body? Is it the whole mass?
Imagine its contents! Holy? "An ounce of civet, good apothecary!" That
mass itself is daily changing: is the new body, which the indulgence
of gluttonous sensuality supplies, as holy as the old? If it be his
mind that is consecrated, what is mind, but a succession of thoughts?
By what magic are future thoughts consecrated? Has a bishop no unholy
thoughts? Can pride, lust, avarice, and ambition, can all the sins of
the decalogue be consecrated? Are some thoughts consecrated and some
not? By whom or how is the selection made? What strange farrago of
impossibilities have these holy dealers in occult divinity jumbled
together? Can the God of reason be the God of lies?'

There was so much unanswerable truth in these arguments, that I
listened in speechless amazement. At last I replied, 'I am almost
afraid to hear you, Mr. Turl.'--'Yes; it is cowardice that keeps
mankind fettered in ignorance.'--'Well but, this bishop? Does he not
live in a state of concubinage?'--'The scene of sensuality that you
have painted makes the affirmative probable.'--'And my defence of the
articles? I will publish it immediately; with a preface stating the
whole transaction.'--'You will be to blame.'--'Why so?'--You may be
better employed.'--'What! than in exposing vice?'--'The employment is
petty; and what is worse, it is inefficient. The frequent consequence
of attacking the errors of individuals is the increase of those
errors. Such attacks are apt to deprave both the assailant and the
assailed. They begin in anger, continue in falsehood, and end in fury.
They harden vice, wound virtue, and poison genius. I repeat, you may
be better employed, Mr. Trevor.'--'And is your rule absolute?'--'The
exceptions are certainly few. Exhibit pictures of general vice, and
the vicious will find themselves there; or, if they will not, their
friends will.'--'This Enoch, too!--'Is I believe a mean and selfish
character; though I by no means think the action at which you have
taken offence is the strongest proof of his duplicity. To decide
justly, we must hear both parties. He saw your passions inflamed. It
was probable you would have opposed his going to the bishop; though,
if he in any manner interfered, to go was an act of duty.'

The reasonings of Turl in part allayed the fever of my mind, but by no
means persuaded me to desist from the design of inflicting exemplary
disgrace on the earl and the prelate.

Though a stern opposer of many of my principles, his manners were
attentive, winning, and friendly. Being better acquainted with the
town than I was, he undertook to procure me a neat and cheap apartment
in his own neighbourhood, and in half an hour succeeded.

To this my effects were immediately removed. I was even too angry
to comply with the forms of good breeding so far as to leave my
compliments for the earl: I departed without ceremony, and retired to
my chamber to contemplate my change of situation.

After mature consideration, the plan on which I determined was,
immediately to publish the fourth letter of Themistocles, already
written; to continue to write under the same signature; and in
the continuation to expose the political profligacy of the earl.
Themistocles was accordingly sent that very day.

I next intended accurately to revise my defence of the articles,
as soon as I should recover the copy from the bishop; to turn the
conversation with Turl occasionally on that subject, that I might
refute his objections; and then to publish the work. For ordination I
would apply elsewhere, being determined never to suffer pollution by
the unholy touch of that prelate.

The next morning, my passions being calmed by sleep and I having
reflected on what Turl had said, a sense of justice told me that
I ought to visit Enoch at least once more; in which decision my
curiosity concurred. I went, and found him at home, but dressing.

The mother and daughter were at the same employment: but Miss,
imagining it was my knock, sent her attendant to inquire, and
immediately huddled on her bed-gown and mob-cap to come down to me.
Her tongue was eager to do its office.

'Lord! Mr. Trevor! We have had such doings! Papa and mamma and I have
been at it almost ever since! But don't you fear: I am your true
friend, and I have made mamma your friend, and she insists upon it
that papa shall be your friend too; and so he is forced to comply:
though the bishop had convinced him that you are a very imprudent
young gentleman; and my papa will have it you don't understand common
sense; and that you have ruined yourself, though you had the finest
opportunity on earth; and that you will ruin every body that takes
your part! You can't think how surprised and how angry he is, that you
should oppose your will to an earl, and a bishop, and lose the means
of making your fortune, and perhaps of making your friends' fortunes
too: for there it is that the shoe pinches; because I understand the
bishop is very kind to papa at present; and, if he should take your
part, papa says he will never see him again. But mamma and I argued,
what of that? Would the bishop give papa a good living, said mamma?
And what if he would, says I? Shall we give up those that we love best
in the world, because it is the will and pleasure of a bishop! No,
indeed! I don't know that bishops are better than other people, for
my part; and perhaps not so good as those that are to be given up. So
mamma told me to be silent; but she took my part, and I took yours,
and I assure you, for all what they both said, I did not spare the
bishop! So my papa fell into a passion, and pretended that I was too
forward; and I assure you he accused me of having my likings. I don't
know whether he did not make me blush! But I answered for all that,
and said well, and if I have, who can help having their likings? I
have heard you and my mamma say often enough that you both had had
your likings; and that you did not like one another; and that that was
the reason that you quarrel like cat and dog; and so if people will
be happy they must marry according to their likings. So said my mamma
well but, Eliza, have you any reason to think that Mr. Trevor has any
notions of marriage? So I boldly answered yes, I had; for you know,
Mr. Trevor, what passed between us at the play-house, and the kind
squeeze of the hand you gave me at parting with me: and so why should
I be afraid to speak, and tell the truth? And so mamma says it shall
all be cleared up!'

Her eagerness would admit of no interruption, till it was checked
for a moment by the entrance of Enoch, and the mamma. I suspected a
part of what was to come, and never in my life had I felt so much
embarrassment. 'Well Eliza,' said the matron, 'have you and Mr. Trevor
been talking? Have you come to an explanation?'

I would have answered, but Miss was an age too quick for me. 'Yes,
mamma; we have explained every thing to the full and whole. I have
told it all over to him just now, every syllable the same as I told it
to you, and he does not contradict a word of it.'

'Contradict?' interrupted Enoch. 'But does he say the same?' 'No,
Sir!' answered I with eagerness; that I might if possible, by a
single word, put an end to the eternal clack and false deductions
of this very loving young lady. 'Lord! Mr. Trevor!' exclaimed Miss,
her passions all flying to her eyes, part fire and part water.
'Sure you are not in earnest? You don't mean as you say?'--'I am
very serious, Miss Ellis; and am exceedingly sorry to have been so
misunderstood!'--'Why will you pretend to deny, Mr. Trevor, that all
that I have been rehearsing here, about the play-house; and about the
kindness with which you paid your addresses to me there, and indeed
elsewhere, often and before time; and about your leading me to the
chair; and then your tenderly taking my hand and squeezing it; and
then the look you gave with your eyes; and more than all the loving
manner in which you said good night? Not to mention as before all
that you said and did, sitting next to me in the play-house; enough
to win the affections of any poor innocent virgin! You are not such
a deceiver as that comes to I am sure, Mr. Trevor: you have a more
generous and noble heart!'

Here Miss burst into a flood of tears, and mamma exclaimed--'I am very
much afraid, Mr. Trevor, there have been some improper doings!'

Enoch's anger for once made him honest. 'No such a thing!' said he.
'It is the forward fool's own fault. This is neither the first,
second, nor third time she has played the same pranks.'

The mother and daughter instantly raised their pipes like fifty
ciphered keys in an organ, first against Enoch, then against all the
male kind, and lastly turned so furiously upon me that there seemed to
be danger of their tearing me piece-meal, like as the mad females of
Thrace did the disconsolate Orpheus.

At length I started up in a passion, and exclaimed--'Will you hear me,
ladies?' 'No! no! no!' screamed Miss. 'We won't hear a word! Don't
listen to him, mamma! He is a deceiver! A faithless man! I did not
think there could have been such a one in the whole world! and I am
sure I warned him often enough against it. And after the true friend
that I have been to you, Mr. Trevor! and have taken your part, tooth
and nail! Papa himself knows I have; and would take your part, through
fire and water, against the whole world! and to be so ungrateful, and
so false, and faithless to me in return! Oh shame, Mr. Trevor! Is that
a man? A fine manly part truly! to win a poor virgin's heart and then
to forsake her!'

Finding the sobs and the rhetoric of Miss inexhaustible and every
effort to elucidate fruitless, I rose, told Enoch I would explain
myself to him by letter, opened the door to go, was seized by the coat
by the young lady, and could not without violence, or leaving like
Joseph my garment behind me, have torn myself away, if I had not been
aided by Enoch; who, having according to his own story been probably
present at such scenes before, had sense enough I suppose to be
ashamed of his daughter's conduct.

I hurried home, snatched up my pen, and in an epistle to Enoch
instantly detailed, as minutely as I could recollect them, all the
circumstances of the heroine's behaviour; acknowledging that I had
listened, had suffered the intercourse of knees, legs, and feet, and
as she said had once pressed her hand; that for this I feared I might
have been to blame; but yet, if this were treachery, I knew not very
well how a young man was to conduct himself, so as not to be accused
of being either rude, ridiculous, or a traitor.

While I was writing this letter, it occurred to me that perhaps there
was no small portion of cunning, in the conduct of Miss; that she and
her mamma had remarked my youth, and entire ignorance of the world;
that Enoch himself, though more intent on what he thought deeper
designs, had entertained similar ideas; that Miss had probably been
never before so much delighted with the person of any man, whom she
might approach; and that the females had concluded I might have been
precipitately entangled in marriage, or marriage promises, by this
artful management. Be that as it may: I wrote my letter, eased my
conscience, and took my leave of the whole family.

Mean time, Themistocles had lain with the printer several days; while
I impatiently looked for its appearance, but in vain. I then began to
suspect the paper was under the influence of the earl, wrote to the
editor, and read the next day, among the answers to correspondents,
that the letter signed Themistocles could not be admitted in their
paper: they were friends to proper strictures, but not to libels
against government. My teeth gnashed with rage! I was but ill
qualified, at this period, to teach the benevolent philosophy which
priests of all religions affirm it is their trade to inculcate.

Neither could I procure the manuscript from the bishop. The scene in
Suffolk street had occasioned me to delay sending that evening, but
the next day I wrote a peremptory demand, for it to be delivered to
the bearer; and prevailed on Turl to be my messenger. He returned
with information, that the bishop was gone into the country! but that
the letter would be sent after him immediately, and an answer might
probably be received by the return of post.

I had no alternative, and three days afterward the manuscript was
sent, sealed up and labeled on the back--'To be delivered to the
author, when called for: his address not being known.'

Thus every new incident was a new lesson; unveiling a system, moral,
political and ecclesiastical, which without such experience I could
not have supposed to exist. My conversations with Turl came in aid of
this experience, and they combined to shake the very high opinion I
had conceived of the clerical order: but the finishing blow was yet to
come.



CHAPTER XIV


_The return to Oxford: A cold reception: Hector and more of his
inmates: Olivia and the drive to Woodstock: Symptoms of increasing
misfortune: An Oxford scholar brawl: The flight of hope_


The period of my rustication was expired, and the term immediately
preceding the summer vacation was on the point of beginning. I
resolved therefore to return to Oxford, and according to the claim
of rotation take my bachelor's degree. My plans of punishment and my
pursuit of fame must indeed lie dormant a few weeks; but I determined
they should both be revived with increasing ardour, at my return.

I found no inconsiderable pleasure in revisiting the turrets, groves,
and streams of Oxford. Long experience itself could scarcely weed the
sentiment from my mind that these were the sacred haunts of the muses.
It must be owned that such the fancy could easily make them, and that
it is a task in which the fancy delights.

I thought it my duty immediately to visit the president. With respect
to any mention of the letters of recommendation, I scarcely knew how
to behave. The bishop and the president might have been friends in
their youth. The president might have his prejudices. And might there
not even be cruelty in rudely tearing away the mask, and showing him
what a monster he had formerly taken to his bosom? Should he inquire,
I certainly must declare the truth: but should he be silent, what good
inducement had I to speak? The morality of this reasoning was more
questionable than I at that time suspected.

Silent however he was, on that subject. He received me coldly, asked
in a tone that did not wish for information how I liked London, and
concluded with saying he hoped I did not return to set the university
any more bad examples! Not well satisfied myself with my methodistical
paroxysm, I had not a word to offer in its defence. I answered, I
hoped I should set no bad examples, either to the university or the
world; but that I could only act to the best of my judgment, and if
that deceived me I must endure the consequences. 'Exactly so, Mr.
Trevor,' said the president, with a formal dismissing inclination of
the head; and so we parted.

When I had been at college about a week, Hector Mowbray called on me
one morning and told me his father was dead; that Mowbray Hall the
manor and its demesnes were all his own; that he had the best pack of
fox dogs in the county; hunters that would beat the world; setters as
steady as a rifle barrel gun; and coursers that would take the wind in
their teeth; and that he was going up to town with his sister, of whom
he was glad to be rid, to place her with an aunt. 'She would not let
me be quiet,' said Hector, 'but I must come, for she is as obstinate
as a mule, and bring our compliments and her special thanks for a
signal favour, that is her lingo, which she makes a plaguey rout
about; your methodist parson trick, you know, of taking her out of the
water; after your damned canting gang had frightened the horses and
thrown her into it. She says she should have been in her cold grave,
or I don't know what, but for you; but I tell her women and cats are
not so easily killed: and so to please her I agreed to come directly
and ask you to breakfast with us, and spend the day together. I love
Oxford! It was not above thirty miles out of the road, and I never
come within a long shot of it without having _a row_ with the boys and
the bucks. So if you will be one among us, come along. There _is_ tall
Andrews, spanking Jack as I call him, and three or four more of us,
that mean to meet at Woodstock.'

'And take Olivia?'

'To be sure! Andrews is sweet upon her, but she beats off; though he
is a fine fellow! a daring dog! all Christ Church can't beat him! and
when his father is off the hinges, which he swears will be within
these six months, he will make a famous wicked _dash_! I tell her she
is a fool for not taking him: but my talking is all spilt porridge!
she is as piggish as father himself was! So if you come, why come
along.'

This was the first pleasant proposal that had been made to me, since
the day of my dining with the bishop! My heart bounded while he spoke!
It was with difficulty I could contain my joy; and the effort must
have been much greater, had not the brother of Olivia been the dull
undiscerning Hector Mowbray.

He would have hurried me away immediately, but I insisted on
decorating my person, and fitting it to appear before the angelic
Olivia!

Impatience like mine would not admit of languor. I was soon equipped,
and flew to feast my senses with rapture ineffable! I staid not to
ask whether it were love, or friendship; or what were my intentions,
hopes, or fears. I felt a host of desires that were eager, tumultuous,
and undecided. The passions were too much in a hurry to institute
inquiry or to have any dread of consequences.

I knew indeed that I already had a lover's hatred of Andrews, and even
took pleasure to hear him characterised by traits so disgusting. That
Olivia should reject such a being was no miracle: and yet it gave me
inexpressible gratification!

As I ascended the stairs, strange sensations seized me; such as I had
never known before. The elastic bounds with which I had hurried along
sunk into debility; aspen leaves never trembled more universally than
I did, from head to foot; and as I opened the door my knees, like
Belshazzar's, 'smote one against the other.' A sickness of the stomach
came over me: I turned pale, and was pushed forward by Hector before I
had time to recover myself.

Olivia saw my confusion. In an instant, her sympathetic feelings
caught the infection: she feebly pronounced, 'I am glad to see you,
Mr. Trevor!' and with the hue of death on her countenance, snatched
her handkerchief, turned aside, and uttered two or three hysteric
sobs.

Andrews, my rival, Hector's spanking Jack, was present, and burst into
a loud laugh! It was a medicine that immediately recovered both of us.
The blood hurried back, flushed the cheeks of Olivia, and dyed them
with a deep but beautiful scarlet. 'I am a strange fool!' said she.
'You came upon me so suddenly, Mr. Trevor! and I never can see an old
friend, after long absence, without these sensations.'

'Long absence!' replied Andrews. 'Why I thought it was only three
or four months since the affair of the methodist preacher and the
drowning, that you were just now telling me about?' 'Pshaw!' exclaimed
Hector, 'if you pester your pate with her crotchets, you will have
enough to do. Come, come, where are the muffins? I begin to cry
cupboard. Beside I want to be off.'

While this dialogue passed I recovered sufficient courage to salute
Olivia; but affection and awe were so mingled that the burning kiss of
love expired in cold blooded constraint and reserve. We then sat down
to the tea table, I on one side of Olivia Hector on the other, with
his right leg on a vacant chair, his left thrown on Olivia's lap,
and Andrews extended sprawling his whole length on a sopha. The two
youths began a conversation in their own style, while I endeavoured
to entertain Olivia with my remarks on London. I related my principal
adventures, expectations, and disappointments, and she appeared to be
deeply interested by the narrative. The questions she put, her tone of
voice, her countenance, all expressed her feelings; and several times
a deep sigh was smothered and with difficulty passed away in a forced
hem.

The two youths were so deeply engaged in the pedigree of their
pointers, and so warmly contested whose were the best, that I doubt if
they knew the subject of our discourse. It was a fleeting but happy
hour!

Hector still drove his phæton, and breakfast being over it was waiting
at the door, attended by two grooms with two led saddle horses. 'I
will not go, brother,' said Olivia, 'if you drive.' 'He drive?'
replied Andrews. 'Never believe it! No, no Miss Mowbray, I will be
your Jehu. I will wheel you along, over velvet, every yard smooth as
sailing.' 'No Jack,' interrupted Hector, 'that won't do. Trevor is no
company, has nothing to say, or nothing that I want to hear. Sister
and he will match best. He will tell her what is Greek for a gauze
cap, and she will teach him how to make it up. You and I will pair
off together on the hunters, and I'll gallop you the last mile into
Woodstock for your sum: or, look you, the loser pay the expences of
the day.'

To this proposal, seasoned with oaths three at least to a sentence,
Andrews continued obstinately averse. As Hector did not drive he
would. Nor did he pay any more respect to the opinion of Olivia, who
remarked that he was booted and I was not. 'So much the better,' said
he; 'that is genteel.' 'Nay but really,' added Olivia, 'I shall not
think myself more safe with you, Mr. Andrews, than with my brother.'
Mr. Andrews was deaf; he rudely seized her by the wrists, hauled her
across the room, and swore if she would not go he would take her in
his arms and carry her. My fingers ached to catch him by the collar;
but I could not like him cast off all fear of offending Olivia.

Resistance must either have been violent, or in vain. Olivia
submitted, and I dared not oppose. We mounted, and Andrews drove, for
the first three miles, with some moderation. He then began to play
tricks; took a high quarter and a low one, where he could find them,
to shew his dexterity; whipped and fretted the horses, increased their
rate, and at last put them into a full gallop.

As soon as I perceived what he was doing, I rode full speed after him,
and in an authoritative tone called to him to drive with more care.
He was obliged to slacken his pace before he could understand what I
said. When he had heard me repeat my injunction, which I did with no
little vehemence, he looked at me first in astonishment, then with a
sneer, and was raising his whip to lash the horses forward with fresh
fury. Olivia caught him by the arm, and I immediately called with a
voice of thunder, 'By G----, Sir, if you either injure or terrify the
lady, I will pull you head long from your seat!'

He made no answer, and the contempt his countenance had exhibited the
moment before sunk into sheepishness. I immediately rode forward to
the head of the horses, kept a moderate pace, would not suffer him to
pass me, unless he meant to stake the horse I rode with the pole, and
continued thus for more than a mile, till I was convinced that he had
no more inclination to divert himself by terrifying and endangering
Olivia.

I rode the rest of the way with the heart burn of anxiety, fearful I
had angered Olivia, but not knowing how much. While I kept the lead
to oblige Andrews to temperance, he cursed and muttered. 'It was very
fine! Mighty proper behaviour to a gentleman! But he should see how
it was all to end!' He vented other menaces, which though in too low
a key distinctly to reach my ear were loud enough to produce their
effect on Olivia.

We arrived at Woodstock, and I dismounted and stood ready to receive
Olivia. Andrews followed the example, but she called to her brother
and noticed neither of us. He received her as she alighted, and I
perceiving her serious look said, 'I hope, Miss Mowbray, I have not
offended you?' She made no reply, but stood half a minute, as if to
recover being cramped by sitting. Andrews was then on our left, at
some distance, and I turned to the same side. She saw me and called,
'Mr. Trevor!' She said no more, but her look was too impressive to
be misinterpreted. Hard fate! it could not be obeyed. I pretended
indeed to walk away, but the moment she entered the door of the inn I
hastened back to Andrews and said, 'If you think yourself insulted,
Sir, you have only to inform me of it: I am at your service.'

His answer was--He did not know what I could mean! He had nothing to
say to me. I gave him a contemptuous glance, he followed the grooms,
and I went to seek Olivia.

I approached with trepidation. 'I perceive, Madam,' said I, 'my
conduct is not approved.' She fixed her eye upon me.--'You have been
speaking to Mr. Andrews?' I was silent. 'And a duel?' added she, with
increasing severity mingled with terror. I hastily interrupted her.
'No, Madam, Mr. Andrews is not a man to fight duels.'--'Mr. Andrews
has the more understanding.'

Though the intelligence gave her relief, she spoke in a tone that
petrified. 'Surely, Madam,' I replied, 'you cannot be angry with me
for protecting you from danger and insult?'--'The danger was trifling,
perhaps none; he would not endanger himself; and for insult I must be
left to judge in my own case both what it is, and when it deserves
notice. Men have little respect for women, when they are so ready to
suppose a woman is incapable of being her own protector.'--'Is it then
a crime, Miss Mowbray, to tremble for your safety? or to teach manners
to a brute?'--'Yes: at least, it is weakness to tremble without cause.
You must act as you please, in whatever relates to yourself, but it
is inexpressibly criminal to be ready, on every trifling occasion,
to take or to throw away life. If this be teaching, we have too many
teachers in the world, who have never themselves been to school. I am
personally concerned, and you have asked my opinion; otherwise, Mr.
Trevor, I should have been cautious of giving it.'

The energy with which this reproof, though severe, was begun denoted
what self-flattery might well have construed into affection; for
it proved the interest the lovely chider took in the rectitude of
my conduct. But the kindness of it seemed to be all killed, in the
formality and coldness of the conclusion. I stood speechless. She
perceived the effect she had produced, and in a soft and relenting
tone added--'I do not seek to wound your feelings, Mr. Trevor. Oh no!
Would I could'--The angel checked herself, but soon with returning
enthusiasm continued--'Ideas at this instant rush upon my mind
that'--Again she paused--'You saved my life--but'--The tears started
in her eyes, her voice faltered, she could not proceed. She had rung
to inquire for a dressing room, the damned maid entered, Olivia
followed, and I remained in speechless stupefaction, with the dreadful
_but_ reverberating in my ear.

Andrews and Hector came in. Had the former known my thoughts, he would
have rejoiced at such ample vengeance. He talked to Mowbray, but took
no notice of what had passed. They ordered dinner, and asked if I
would stroll with them to Blenheim house? I excused myself and away
they went.

I remained anxiously expecting that Olivia would come down; and,
having waited till the approach of dinner time, I sent the maid, with
my compliments, to inform her that I should be glad to speak a word to
her. The answer I received was that she should see me in half an hour.
I sent again, but to no purpose; I could not catch a glimpse of her
till the youths had returned, and dinner was on the table.

They brought two gownsmen of Christ Church with them, companions of
Andrews, who were quite as talkative and nearly as rude and boisterous
as themselves. Olivia had not perhaps all her accustomed vivacity, but
she behaved with infinitely more ease and chearfulness than I could
have wished, and I felt as if I were the only disconsolate guest.

The players were at Woodstock, and were to exhibit that afternoon.
They began at four o'clock, that the gownsmen might have time to
return to Oxford; hoping that would be a favourable circumstance for
them with the vice chancellor, who, as I have said, is generally
inimical to theatrical exhibition, and whose influence extends to
Woodstock. The party all voted for the play, except Olivia, who
observed their inclination to riot, and ineffectually attempted to
persuade them to return. I was glad to find them obstinate; it might
afford me an opportunity of speaking with her, for which I would
almost have given an eye. A servant was sent to keep places, in one of
the six boxes which the theatre, fitted up in a barn, contained.

The youths sat so late to enjoy the folly of their own conversation
that the play had begun before we came there, and inquiring for our
box we found it in the possession of four gownsmen, who had turned
the servant out and seized upon it for themselves. Hector and Andrews
began to swear outrageously! Tigers could not have appeared more
fierce. They entered the box, and addressed its usurpers in the gross
vulgar terms to which they had been accustomed. They were immediately
answered in their own language; and tall Andrews and the bulky Hector
each laid hold of his man, who were much their inferiors in strength
and size, to turn them out.

I was standing to guard Olivia, who seemed pleased that I should be
rather so engaged than more actively employed. But my aid was soon
necessary: Hector and Andrews each received a blow, which neither of
them had the courage to return, though their opponents were little
better than boys. Fired at their pusillanimity, I darted by and seized
the little gownsmen, one in one hand and the other in the other,
pressed my knuckles in their neck, shook them heartily, and dragged
them out of the box. The two other collegians of our squadron, seeing
this intrepid advance, followed up the victory; Hector and Andrews
again blustered and lent their aid, and the box was cleared.

This did not all pass in a moment: the Oxonians, and there were
numbers of them in the theatre, crouded to the spot; and it was with
difficulty a general riot, to which these youths are always prone,
could be prevented.

At last we made way to the box; but no words could persuade Olivia
to enter it. She insisted on returning to the inn. I interceded, her
brother swore, and Andrews attempted to hold her; but her resolution
was not to be shaken. 'I am in a society of mad boys!' said she.
'I hoped to have found one rational being among them, but I was
deceived.'

The sentence was short, but every syllable was an arrow that wounded
me to the heart. I was the supposed rational being, in whom she had
placed her hopes, and by whom she had been deceived. A second time
I had disregarded the benevolent wisdom with which she had vainly
endeavoured to inspire me, had acted in open defiance of her peaceful
morality, and had forfeited all claim to her esteem. I read my doom,
not only in her words but in her whole deportment.

While I stood drawing these painful conclusions, motionless, or active
only in my fears, a messenger arrived whose coming gave a climax to my
ill fortune. He brought a letter, informing Olivia that her aunt, whom
she was on her journey to visit, was dangerously ill; and, if Olivia
desired to see her alive, she must hasten to London with all possible
speed. The news entirely put an end to the endeavours of Hector and
his companions to detain her at the play. A servant was sent forward
to prepare a post-chaise for Olivia, in which she insisted on
returning to Oxford by herself, and we all immediately proceeded back
to the inn. Just before we reached the inn, Hector and his companions
being engaged in noisy disputation, I said to Olivia in a half
whisper--'Have I then, Madam, forfeited all claims to your good
opinion?'--She paused for a moment and replied--'The incidents of
to-day, Mr. Trevor, have but confirmed the character which was long
since given me of you, and which I began to hope was not strictly
true. The benefit you have conferred on me I shall never forget: it
has induced me to be more prompt in my desire to prevent mischief than
you perhaps might think became me. Such a trial can scarcely occur
again, and if it should I will endeavour to use greater caution. Yet
suffer me, for the last time, earnestly to advise you to be less rash.
Were I your sister, Mr. Trevor, I should be in continual alarms, and
the most unhappy creature existing.'

Andrews heard her voice, and, prompted as I suppose either by jealousy
or malice, put an end to our dialogue. I would have given worlds, if
I had possessed them, to have continued it only five minutes; but
no such blessing could be obtained; Andrews was alert, and Olivia
appeared to avoid further parley. In a quarter of an hour the carriage
was ready, and Olivia stepped into it and was driven away full speed.

Andrews would have remained, to see the play; and Hector, had not I
shamed him into the contrary, would have consented; but in consequence
of my remonstrances they mounted, accompanied by the rest of their
clamorous comrades on horseback, and I was left to the melancholy
office of driving the phæton, with the seat vacant that had so lately
been occupied by Olivia.

We hurried off, helter skelter, no one respecting his neck, and I the
least (for Olivia was before) and rode and drove at such a rate that
we overtook the chaise a mile before it reached Oxford. What relief
was this to me! She sat concealed in the corner of the carriage, and
I could catch no glimpse of her. I durst not even drive past, lest
I should add to the mortal offence I had already given, and confirm
her in the belief that I was no better than a madman: or, in her own
emphatic language, a mad boy!

The pain of suspence was quickly over. We all soon arrived at Oxford.
A courier had been dispatched from Woodstock by the affectionately
impatient niece, with orders to have another chaise in readiness; and,
after briefly bidding her brother and the company adieu, she stepped
out of the carriage which brought her from Woodstock into the one
that was waiting, and again was driven off, while I stood gazing in a
trance of painful stupidity.

This was the last glance I had of her! and, rejecting the invitation
to supper of Hector and his party with more sullenness than I had ever
felt before, I returned to the college, burst into my room, locked
the door, and threw myself down on the boards, in a state of the most
wretched despondency.


END OF VOLUME II



VOLUME III



CHAPTER I


_Gloomy thoughts: Filial emotions: A journey to the country: A
lawyer's accounts not easily closed: Conscientious scruples: The
legacy received and divided: Return to Oxford: More disappointment:
Treachery suspected: Arrival at London: Difficulty in choosing a
profession_


My agitation of mind was too violent to be quickly appeased; it did
not end with the day, or with the week; but on the contrary excited
interrogatories that prolonged the paroxysm. Why was I disturbed? Why
angry with myself? Why did I accuse Olivia of being severe, or what
did the accusation mean? What were my views? From the tumultuous state
of my emotions, I could not disguise to myself that I had an affection
for her: but had she ever intimated an affection for me? Was the
passion that devoured me rational? She was of a wealthy family: of the
provision her father had made for her I was ignorant; but I knew that
her expectations from the aunt, said to be now dying, and from others
of her kindred, were great. Was I prepared to accept favours, make
myself a dependent, and be subservient to the unfeeling caprice of
Hector, or any other proud and ignorant relation? Did not such people
esteem wealth as the test and the measure of worth? What counterpoise
had I, but sanguine hopes? of the probable fallacy of which I had
already received strong proofs; and which did not, in the pictures
that fancy at present drew, burst upon me with those bright and
vivid flashes that had lately made them so alluring. My passions and
propensities all led me to seek the power of conferring benefits,
controlling folly, and of being the champion of merit, and the
rewarder of virtue. Ought I not either to renounce Olivia, or to
render myself in every respect her equal; and to disdain the degrading
insolence with which any pretensions of mine would otherwise be
received. Had I no reason to fear that Olivia herself was a little
influenced by personal considerations? Would she have been quite so
ready to disapprove, had the advantages of fortune been on my side?
Was this inferiority entirely disregarded by her? The doubt was
grating, but pertinaciously intrusive. Would not any proposal from me
be treated with the most sovereign contempt, if not by her, by Hector
and her other relations? Why then did I think of her? It was but a
very few days since the wealth and power that should have raised me,
far above the sphere of the Mowbray family, were supposed to be within
my grasp. How painful was the distance at which they now appeared! My
present debility was felt with intolerable impatience. To love and to
be unable to heap happiness on the object beloved, was a thought that
assailed me with excruciating sensations!

At this very period another event happened, that did not contribute to
enliven the prospect.

I had lately received intelligence from my mother, the tenor of which
was that she dreaded the approach of poverty; and about a fortnight
after the departure of Olivia, a letter came, by which I learned that
lawyer Thornby had refused all further supplies, affirming that my
grandfather's effects were entirely exhausted; except the thousand
pounds left by the rector at my own disposal. Of this I had already
received fifty pounds; and my mother urgently declared in her letter
that, if I did not apply part of the remainder for her support, she
should be left in the decline of life (the approach of which she was
now very ready to acknowledge) in imminent danger of want; nay, so as
perhaps even to come upon the parish. My pride revolted at the very
thought; and I was angry with her for having conceived or committed it
to paper.

Should I suffer my mother to want? No. To become a pauper? My heart
spurned at the base suggestion. I had been several years under the
tuition of the rector, and had acquired more than was good of his
family dignity. The picture before me was not a pleasing one, but I
would subject myself to any hardships, ay would starve on a grain a
day, rather than abandon my mother. My motives were mixed; some wrong
some right.

This affair made me resolve once more to visit my native country, and
my resolution was immediately put in practice. It was a relief, though
of a painful kind, to the more painful state in which my undecided
thoughts at that moment held me. The man whose contradictory impulses
goad him in a thousand different directions, without permitting him to
pursue any one, is happy to be put in motion.

My arrival was unexpected: my mother, who was but little inclined
to accuse herself, received me with much more satisfaction than
embarrassment.

The behaviour of Thornby was not quite so self-complacent. My
questions, concerning the receipt and disbursement of my grandfather's
property, were sometimes answered with the affectation of open
honesty; and at others with petulant ambiguity, so that I knew not
whether he meant to shun or to provoke inquiry. 'Executorship was a
very thankless office; it involved a man in continual trouble, for
which he could receive no recompence, and then subjected him to the
suspicions of people, who were unable or unwilling to look after their
own affairs. His very great friendship for the rector had induced him
to take this office upon himself, though he well knew the trouble and
tediousness attending it, and the ingratitude with which it was always
repaid. He had several times in his life played the fool in the same
way, and had always met with the same reward.'

Equivocation is the essence of law, and I believe he spoke truth.

'He should take care, however, not to involve himself in such
officious troubles for the future. As for the accounts, he was
ready at all times, and desirous to have them settled. He had been
plagued enough, and had even paid money out of his own pocket, which
he was sure, whenever a balance came to be struck, he should not
be reimbursed. But there were various affairs that he could not
immediately close; law accounts, bad debts, mortgages, and other
matters that required time. He had business of his own to which he
must attend, or be ruined; his clients would have good actions against
him, if it could be proved that their suits were lost by his neglect.
Indeed he was not bound to give me any account; but he always acted on
the square, and therefore defied scrutiny; nay, he wished it, for what
had an honest man to fear?'

He talked so much of his honesty that, if he did not quite persuade me
it was immaculate, he at least led me to doubt.

Beside, as he had reminded me, what claims had I? The property was
bequeathed to my mother; she had married, her husband had squandered
it away, and there was an end of it. Farther inquiry was but vexation
and loss of time. It is true, the supposed wealth of the rector had
quickly disappeared: but if the owner of it, my mother's husband, were
satisfied, what could be said?

She indeed hinted to me that Wakefield, finding he could wrest no more
from his uncle, unless by filing a bill in Chancery, or some other
process at law, for which he had no funds, not to mention the great
chance of his being cast in costs of suit, had been obliged to desist;
though convinced that the property was not one half expended. He had
a better hope. Thornby was old, had no children, and might soon leave
him the whole.

With most men this would have been a powerful motive; but the passions
of her young husband, my mother owned, were too impetuous to be
restrained by the cold considerations of prudence. At first she
censured him with reluctance; for to censure him was in reality to
adduce mementos of her own folly; but her resentment against him
for having deserted her presently overpowered her caution, and the
pictures she drew shewed him to be not only dissipated and prodigal
but unprincipled. He had even so far offended the law, that it was
doubtful whether his life were not in danger; and Thornby, whose plans
had been frustrated by his extravagance, had more ways than one of
ridding himself of his importunity.

In any case it was necessary to make some provision for my mother;
and, embroiled in doubt as I was, the most prudent way that I could
imagine was to consult Thornby.

He affected to be very conscientious, and scarcely knew what advice to
give. 'My mother was in want, and to desert her would be cruel; yet
the money that was devised me was my own: it was bequeathed for a good
purpose, and the pious will of the testator ought to be held sacred.
I was young, the grandson of a good man, an excellent man, and his
dear friend. I had great learning and good sense, and ought not to be
deprived of the means that had been left me of establishing myself in
life. But then my mother had been tenderly brought up, and a dutiful
son to be sure could not desert his parent. It was a difficult point.
To purchase a life annuity for her would be the best way of securing
her, against the miseries of poverty in old age; but then it would
sink deeply into the thousand pounds to make but a very moderate
provision of this kind; though he knew no other method in her case
that would be so safe.'

While I listened I resolved. To provide for my mother I held to be
an indispensable duty; and, notwithstanding my late disappointments,
my fears for myself were but few. People of a sanguine temper are
subject to temporary doubt and gloom; but the sky soon clears, and
though one bright star may shoot and fall, hope soon creates a whole
constellation. The earl and the prelate had both been unprincipled;
but the failure was in them, not in me. I could not but remember
the terror that Themistocles had excited in a prime minister; and
the avidity with which a prelate had endeavoured to profit by my
theological talents. How certainly and how soon could I bring these
talents into notice! How easy the task! I need but mount the rostrum,
I need but put pen to paper, and my adversaries would be brought to
shame, and mankind taught to do me justice. Incontrovertible facts
were in my favour; and to foster doubts and fears would be cowardice,
self-desertion, and folly! Such were my conclusions.

I determined therefore, without farther hesitation, to employ the sum
of five hundred pounds in the purchase of an annuity for my mother.
The remainder would amply supply me, till those rich mines should be
explored from the fertile veins of which I had already drawn such
dazzling specimens.

I continued in the country almost three weeks; but, as the purchase
could not instantly be concluded, I left the stipulated sum in my
mother's possession, drew the remainder of the thousand pounds in
bills and cash from Thornby, and, with more wealth than I ever bore
about me at one time before, returned to Oxford.

Though Olivia was daily and hourly remembered, I had recovered so far
by the business in which I had been engaged as to think seriously of
pursuing my studies; for by their aid I was to realize those splendid
projects on which, as I supposed, the happiness of man depends.

The learning, which the general forms of taking a degree require, is
so little that a man of genius is inclined to treat it with contempt:
but, if the candidate happen to be obnoxious to the heads of the
university, his examination may then be of a very different kind. I
had not much doubt; for, from the questions and answers I had so often
heard on these occasions, to reject me seemed to be almost impossible.
Yet I was not entirely without alarm. The disgrace of rustication
that I had suffered, the coldness of the reception I had met from the
president on my return to college, and the ambiguity which I conceived
I had since remarked in his manner, excited some fear; and my
preparatory efforts were so strenuous that I imagined I might defy
reproof.

I had been told indeed that malice had a very strange mode of exerting
itself, but which was so arbitrary and odious as to be but rarely
practised. Any member of convocation, or master of arts, without
assigning any cause for his conduct, may object, for two terms, to
a person who shall ask leave to take his degree! Nay, these terms
ended, another may object, and another! But this was a privilege so
disgusting that I had not the least apprehension it would be put in
practice against me.

To my utter astonishment, I was mistaken! On the day appointed to ask
leave, a master of arts actually did appear, and without supporting
his objection by reasoning, charge, or censure, exercised this
detestable university veto.

My surprize and indignation, at hearing him pronounce his negative,
were so great that I was deprived of utterance. I even doubted the
reality of what I heard: I stood gazing, till he was gone, and then
exclaimed, as if to a person present--'Me, Sir!--Do you mean me?'

A minute afterward, my interjections were not quite so inoffensive. A
torrent of passion burst from me, and he, whose malignity could not
justly assert I wanted learning, might, had he stayed, have collected
sufficient proofs of my want of philosophy.

My attention had been diverted from the accuser, by my amazement at
the accusation; but, as soon as I recovered my recollection, it seemed
to me certain that I knew his face. The idea was seized with so much
eagerness, and associations occurred so rapidly, that the figure of
one of my companions, on the night of the debauch when I first came
to Oxford, rose full before me; though he had been absent from the
university, so that till this day I had never seen him since. It was
the very tutor of the Earl of Idford!

A train of the most tormenting suspicions rushed upon me. I soon
learned, from inquiry, that he was intimate likewise with the
president. Was not this a combination? What could it be else? This
tutor was connected with the earl and the president; so was the latter
with the bishop!

The whole plot, in its blackest hues, seemed developed.

My agitation was extreme. I ran from college to college, wherever I
had acquaintance, repeating all I knew and much of what I suspected.
Nor did I merely confine myself to narrative. I added threats, which,
however impotent they might be, were not the less violent. One of my
first projects was to seek personal satisfaction of the vile tutor, or
if he refused to chastise him with inexorable severity; but this he
had taken care to elude, by keeping out of the way.

My denunciations soon reached the ear of the president, and I was
given to understand that, if I were not immediately silent, I should
be expelled the university; and that a degree would never be granted
me, till I had publicly retracted the opprobrious words I had uttered.
Distant consequences are easily defied. My blood was in a flame, and
despising the menace, I publicly declared that my persecutors were
as infamous as the tool they had employed; that I should think it a
disgrace to be a member of a body which could countenance proceedings
so odiously wicked; that I spurned at every honour such a body could
confer; and that, with respect to expulsion, I would myself erase my
name from the register in which it had unfortunately been entered.

How little is man aware that by intemperance he damns his own cause,
and gives the face of seeming honesty to injustice itself! Vicious as
the place is, I myself could not abhor such proceedings more than many
men in Oxford would have done, had they believed the tale.

Fortune still continued in her wayward mood. On the heel of one
perverse imp another often treads. While I remained at Oxford, which
was but a few days after this event, the retailing of my wrongs was my
chief employment; and in a coffee-room, to which I resorted for this
purpose, the following advertisement in a London newspaper met my
astonished eye!

THIS DAY IS PUBLISHED:

A DEFENCE OF THE THIRTY NINE ARTICLES

BY THE

RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD ******

LORD BISHOP OF ******

Injustice had by this time become so familiar to me that, scourged
even to frenzy as I was, I sat rather stunned than transfixed by the
blow. That this was the very defence of the articles I had written did
not, with me, admit of a moment's doubt. Every thing I had heard or
remarked, of this wicked but weak church governor, had afforded proof
of his incapacity for such a task; yet the injustice, effrontery and
vice of the act was what till seen could not have been believed!

Nor did its baseness end here. What could I suppose, but that the
bishop had been assiduously tampering with the president; that they
and the earl were in a conspiracy against me; that this was the cause
of the disgrace and insult put upon me; and that, having robbed me
of my writings, there was a concerted and fixed plan to render me
contemptible, take away my character, and devote me to ruin?

The longer I thought the more painful were the sensations that
assaulted me. I had already been complaining to the whole city. Some
few indeed seemed to credit me; but more to suspect; and none heard of
my treatment with that glowing detestation which my feelings required.
Were I to tell this new tale, incredibly atrocious as it was, what
would men think, but that I was a general calumniator, a frantic
egotist, and a man dangerous to society? The total inability that I
felt in myself, to obtain ample and immediate justice, almost drove me
mad.

I had previously determined to quit Oxford, and this new goad did but
quicken my departure. My preparations were soon made; and from some
vague, and to myself undefined ideas, partly of expedition, and partly
of letting the president, the college, and the whole university see
that I, Hugh Trevor, was no ordinary person, a chaise and four waited
my commands at the gate about noon the next day, behind which my goods
and chattels were buckled, and I, after taking leave of the two or
three friends who were thoughtless or courageous enough to acknowledge
me, threw myself indignantly into it, with more maledictions in my
heart than my impatient tongue could find energy to utter.

Arrived in London, it especially became me, as I supposed, to assume
that consequence which should teach my enemies respect. I had money in
my pocket, anger impelling me, and more pride than prudence. A waiter
was dispatched from the Gloucester coffee-house, and apartments for
myself and a valet were hired, in Half Moon Street, at three guineas
and a half per week. The valet was a sudden decision, originating in
the same false feelings that had lately taken possession of me. When I
consulted the mistress of the coffee-house concerning apartments, she
said, 'You have a servant to be sure, Sir?' 'Yes, madam;' replied my
alarmed vanity. 'No, madam;' instantly retorted my veracity, still
more alarmed; 'but I mean to hire one.' 'There,' continued she,
pointing to a smart well powdered young fellow that was talking to one
of the waiters, 'there stands one out of place, who I dare say will be
glad of a good master. Here, Philip!'

I was one of the fools who, right or wrong, imagine it behooves
them to be consistent. I was ashamed to retract, had not learned to
prevaricate, and Philip, to whom as a footman I could discover no
rational objection, was hired.

My effects were presently removed; my useless valet sent to loiter,
and improve himself in vice, as valets usually are, and I left to
meditate on the plan I had to pursue.

A little reflection induced me to renounce all thoughts of the church;
for which indeed the doubts that the conversation of Turl had inspired
me with, the inquiries to which these doubts led, and the disgust I
had conceived at the character and conduct of the bishop had well
prepared me.

For some time I sat perplexed in thought. During the life of the
rector, I had often been told that the law was the road to honour;
and when at the university, being eager to secure this said honour
to myself, I had laboriously read some of the civilians. I say
laboriously, for the task was far from inviting. The obscurity of
their terms, the contradictions I thought I discovered, and the
voluminous perplexity in which the whole was involved, were no
alluring pictures.

With what pleasure did the wearied intellect escape from this
wilderness of weeds and brambles, to rove through the paradise of
poetry. The minstrelsy of genius, sporting with the fancy rouzing the
passions and unfolding the secrets of the heart, could fascinate at
all times; while nothing could sooner create lassitude and repugnance
than the incongruous jargon of law.

But, alas, who ever heard of a poet being made Lord High Chancellor?
Appoint him to such a station and he would act like a madman! Instead
of employing his journeymen to dig through the rubbish of ignorance
for precedents, he would listen to the wants of the injured, and would
conceive that by relieving them only he could do justice! Did not the
history of the world proclaim that, he who would attain wealth and
power must turn the prejudices of mankind to their own harm?



CHAPTER II


_The play-house, and an old acquaintance: Satirical portraits:
Reception of a new comedy; or, of how much worth are praise and
blame?_


These were painful reflections, and, leaving the case undetermined
for the present, I escaped from them by shifting the scene to the
play-house. It happened to be the first night of a new comedy, and
here in the boxes I perceived an acquaintance, whom I had met at the
house of Ellis. His name was Glibly, and the moment he saw me enter he
advanced and accosted me with that familiarity which was essential to
his character.

Glad of company, in a city where I was so little known, I freely
entered into conversation with him; and the amusement he afforded me
well repaid my complaisance. He had long been what is called upon the
town, and was acquainted more or less with all orders of men. He was
intimate with authors, actors, and artists, of every kind and degree;
knew their private and public history, could give anecdotes of each,
and enumerate their various performances. Opera girls and their
keepers, musicians and musical dilletanti, connoiseurs and their
jackalls, (picture dealers and auctioneers) collectors, shell fossil
and fiddle fanciers, in short every class of idlers that I have
since found swarming in this miscellaneous town ranked among his
acquaintance.

He had long, as I afterward discovered, been a newspaper critic; had
written prologues, appeared in poet's corner, abounded in sarcastic
remarks, and possessed an Athenian loquacity. He had indeed a copious
vocabulary, an uncommon aptitude of phrase, though not free from
affectation, and a tide of tongue that was incessant.

He probably thought my personal appearance creditable, for he did
not quit me during the performance, but amused me with the satirical
portraits of various people, whom he pointed out to me in the house.

'Do you see that man,' said he, 'who is just entering; three boxes
distant on the right? He is handing two ladies to their seats, and is
followed by a youngster who is all pertness and powder. They make a
great shew, and on a first night give an appearance of good company.
That is Mynheer van Hopmeister, a Dutch dancing-master, with his
daughter, son, and a kept mistress. They live all together on very
good terms; and his own girl has preserved her character by her
ugliness, affectation, and ill breeding. He drives about in his
chariot, which passing in the street you would suppose belonged to
a Neapolitan Count, or a German Envoy at least. He gives dinners
occasionally of several removes, to which he invites all the fools and
fiddlers he can find, treats with French wines, and usually makes up a
quartet party for the evening, which he spoils by playing a principal
part himself. He is nearly two thousand pounds in debt; and, in all
things mimicking the great, has been obliged to put his affairs to
nurse. Except the booby his son, he is the most prating, forward,
ignorant coxcomb of my acquaintance; and that is a bold word. But his
impertinence makes him amusing: I will introduce you.'

I thanked my gentleman for his politeness, but declined the offer: and
he continued.

'Look at that man in brown, leaning against the pillar! He is a
painter, and a man of genius; but the greatest ass existing!'

'How? Of genius, and--!'

'Hear and judge for yourself. No man has studied his art with so much
assiduity and zeal, or practised it with greater enthusiasm; but,
instead of confining himself to portrait-painting, by which with half
the labour and one tenth of the talent he might have made a fortune,
he devoted all his youth to poverty and starving, and undertook a
series of paintings that would have immortalized a man under the
patronage of Leo. X. This task he was years in accomplishing, living
all the while on little better than bread and water, and that procured
by robbing his nights of the hours of rest; for his pride, which he
calls independence, is as great as his ambition, which he dignifies
with the title of a love of fame. But the most prominent trait in his
character is a jealous--'

Here my commentator, suddenly interrupting himself, pressed my arm,
and bade me turn to the left.

'There,' said he pointing, 'is a Mr. Migrate; a famous clerical
character, and as strange an original as any this metropolis affords.
He is not entitled to make a figure in the world either by his riches,
rank, or understanding; but with an effrontery peculiar to himself
he will knock at any man's door, though a perfect stranger, ask him
questions, give him advice, and tell him he will call again to give
him more the first opportunity. By this means he is acquainted with
every body, but knows nobody; is always talking, yet never says any
thing; is perpetually putting some absurd interrogation, but before it
is possible he should understand the answer puts another. His desire
to be informed torments himself and every man of his acquaintance,
which is almost every man he meets; yet, though he lives inquiring,
he will die consummately ignorant. His brain is a kind of rag shop,
receiving and returning nothing but rubbish. It is as difficult to
affront as to get rid of him; and though you fairly bid him begone
to-day, he will knock at your door, march into your house, and if
possible keep you answering his unconnected fifty times answered
queries tomorrow. He is the friend and the enemy of all theories and
of all parties; and tortures you to decide for him which he ought
to chuse. As far as he can be said to have opinions, they are crude
and contradictory in the extreme; so that in the same breath he
will defend and oppose the same system. With all this confusion of
intellect, there is no man so wise but he will prescribe to him how he
ought to act, and even send him written rules for his conduct. He has
been a great traveller, and continually abuses his own countrymen for
not adopting the manners and policy of the most ignorant, depraved,
and barbarous nations of Europe and Africa. He pretends to be the
universal friend of man, a philanthropist on the largest scale, yet is
so selfish that he would willingly see the world perish, if he could
but secure paradise to himself. Indeed he can think of no other being;
and his child, his canary bird, his cook-maid, or his cat, are the
most extraordinary of God's creatures. This is the only consistent
trait in his character. In the same sentence, he frequently joins
the most fulsome flattery and some insidious question; that asks the
person, whom he addresses, if he do not confess himself to be both
knave and fool. Delicacy of sentiment is one of his pretensions,
though his tongue is licentious, his language coarse, and he is
occasionally seized with fits of the most vulgar abuse. He declaims
against dissimulation, yet will smilingly accost the man whom--'Ha!
Migrate! How do you do? Give me leave to introduce you to Mr. Trevor,
a friend of mine; a gentleman and a scholar; just come from Oxford.
Your range of knowledge and universal intimacy, with men and things,
may be useful to him; and his erudite acquisitions, and philosophical
research, will be highly gratifying to an inquirer like you. An
intercourse between you must be mutually pleasing and beneficial, and
I am happy to bring you acquainted.'

This, addressed to the man whom he had been satirizing so unsparingly,
was inconceivable! The unabashed facility with which he veered, from
calumny to compliment, the very moment too after he had accused the
man whom he accosted of dissimulation, struck me dumb. I had perhaps
seen something like it before, but nothing half so perfect in its
kind. It doubly increased my stock of knowledge; it afforded a new
instance of what the world is, and a new incitement to ask how it
became so? The inquiry at first was painful, and half convinced me of
the truth of manicheism; but deeper research taught me that the errors
of man do not originate in the perversity of his nature, but of his
ignorance.

These however were most of them after thoughts, for Glibly did not
allow us any long pause.

'Yonder, in the green boxes,' said he, 'I perceive Mrs. Fishwife, the
actress. She should have played in the comedy we are come to see, but
threw up her part from scruples of conscience. It was not sufficiently
refined for her exquisite sensibility; it wounded her feelings,
offended her morals, and outraged her modesty. Yet in the Green-room,
she is never happy unless when the men are relating some lewd tale, or
repeating obscene jests; at every one of which she bursts into a horse
laugh, and exclaims--'Oh, you devil! But I don't hear you! I don't
understand a word you say!' To heighten the jest, her armours are as
public as the ladies on Harris's List.'

'But perhaps there is something violently offensive and immoral, in
the part she refused?'

'Not a syllable. The writer is too dull even for a _double entendre_,
as you will hear. Mere pretence. The author, who happens by some odd
accident to have more honesty than wit, and could not in conscience
comply with the present vicious mode of bestowing indiscriminate
praise on actors, when no small mixture of blame had been merited by
many of them, forbore to write a preface to his last piece; from which
she had thought herself secure of a large dose of flattery. This is an
offence she can never pardon.'

'I have heard,' said Migrate, 'that our actresses are become
exceedingly squeamish.'

'Oh ridiculous beyond belief. I have a letter in my pocket from a
young friend in a country company, the ladies of which have their
sensibility strung up to so fine a tone that he cannot take the
tragedy of King Lear for his benefit, because not one of them will
play either Regan or Goneril. If their feelings are so exquisite in
the country, where our wise laws treat players as vagabonds, what must
they be when loaded with all the legal, tragic, and royal dignity of a
London theatre?'

This was so incredible that I expressed my doubts of the fact; but
they were ill founded, for Glibly produced the letter.

A moment afterward two more of his acquaintance caught his eye.

'Look to the right,' said he; 'the box next the gallery. There they
sit! Mr. and Mrs. Whiffle-Wit! They are now in state! They have really
a capacious appearance! Were Rubens or Jordaens but here, we should
have them painted in all the riches of oil colours, grinning in
company with Silenus and his ass. Let the poor author beware; they are
prodigious critics! Madam can write a farce, or even a solution to an
enigma, with as little labour as any lady in the land; and her dear
Mr. Whiffle-Wit can set them both to music, with no less facility and
genius! Nothing can equal them, except his own jigs on the organ! They
never fail to attend the first night of a new play; and their taste
is so very refined that nothing less than writing it themselves could
afford them satisfaction. They never admire any nonsense but their
own. The manager and author have always to thank them for exerting
their whole stock of little wit, and abundant envy, to put the house
into an ill temper. The favour is the more conspicuous because
they are _orderly people_. But that perhaps is a phrase you do not
understand, Mr. Trevor? They never pay for their places; yet always
occupy a first row for themselves, and in general the rest of the box
for their friends; who they take good care shall be as well disposed
toward the house and the author as they are. You may be sure to meet
them to-morrow, very industriously knocking at every door where they
can gain admission, to tell their acquaintance what a vile piece it
was; and what a strange blockhead the manager must be, who had refused
farces of their writing, and operas of their setting, yet could dare
to insult the town with such trash! They have now continued for years
in this state of surprise, and there is no knowing when it will end.'

The satire of Glibly was incessant, till the tinkling of the
prompter's bell, and the rising of the curtain, put an end to his
remarks on persons, and turned them all on the piece. I cannot but
own the author opened an ample field for the effluvia of critic gall.
I know not whether Glibly might influence the tone of my mind, but I
think I never felt such ineffable contempt for any human production
as for the thing called a comedy, which I that night saw. Disjointed
dialogue, no attempt at plan or fable, each scene a different story,
and each story improbable and absurd, quibbles without meaning, puns
without point, cant without character, sentiments as dull as they were
false, and a continual outrage on manners, morals and common sense,
were its leading features. Yet, strange to tell, the audience endured
it all; and, by copious retrenchments and plaistering and patching,
this very piece had what is called a run!

How capricious a thing is public taste! It can regale on garbage, from
which Hottentots would turn with loathing, and yet, in the frenzy of
idiotism, could reject and condemn Congreve's 'Way of the World!'

Glibly treated the piece with unceasing contempt, yet clapped
every scene; and when, on two or three occasions, some few raised
their voices and called _off! off!_ he more loudly than the rest
vociferated, _Go on! go on!_ When it was over, he left me; saying it
was the most execrable piece he had ever beheld; but he had promised
to give it a good character, in the paper with which he was connected,
and this he must immediately go and write.



CHAPTER III


_Repetition of doubts: A very old acquaintance: Another pleasing
rencontre: Perplexity and suspense created_


The adventures of the evening sent me home with no very agreeable
reflections. What a world was this! How replete with folly, hypocrisy,
and vice! What certainly had the man of virtue that his claims should
be heard? Amid the tumultuous pursuits of selfishness, where all
were eager to gratify their own passions and appease the capricious
cravings of vanity, how might truth and worth ascertain success? The
comedy I had seen had convinced me that farce, inanity, and supreme
nonsense, might not only pass current but find partisans; yet proofs
in abundance were on record that genius itself had no security against
faction, envy, and mistaken opposition. I was at present in a state of
warfare: and were judges like these to give the meed of victory? How
many creatures had the powerful and the proud obedient to their beck;
ever ready to affirm, deny, say and unsay; and, by falsehood and
defamation, involve in ruin men whose souls were the most pure, and
principles the most exalted!

For some days I remained in a state of suspense, continually
determining to seek the satisfaction which I supposed my injuries
demanded, but undecided with respect to the method.

This delay was still prolonged by another event. My man Philip, one
morning when he brought my breakfast, told me that a woman in the
house, who lived with a young lady on the second floor, had asked him
various questions concerning me; saying she was sure she knew me, that
she loved me from her soul, for that I had once saved the life of her
and her dear boy, and that she wished very much to see me.

At first this account surprised me. A woman and a boy whose lives
I had saved? Where is she, said I? Below in the kitchen, answered
Philip. I bade him desire her to come up; and in a few minutes a woman
about the age of forty entered, but of whose countenance I had no
clear recollection. 'I beg pardon, Sir,' said she, 'for my boldness,
but your name I believe is Mr. Trevor?'

'It is.'

'Mr. Hugh Trevor?'

'The same.'

'God in his mercy bless and keep you! Since the night that you saved
my life, I never went to bed without praying for you. But you were
always a kind, dear, good child; and your uncle, Mr. Elford, was the
best of men!'

The epithet, child, and the name of Elford instantly solved the
riddle: it was poor Mary; and the boy, whose life I had saved, was the
child of which she was delivered, after the adventure of the barn.
Her features suddenly became as it were familiar to me. She revived a
long train of ideas, inspiring that kind of melancholy pleasure which
mind so much delights to encourage. I kissed her with sincere good
will: and in sympathy with my feelings the poor creature, yielding
to her affections, clasped me round the neck, pressed me to her
cheek, exclaimed 'God in heaven for ever bless you!' then, suddenly
recollecting herself, with that honest simplicity which was so
constitutionally her character, dropped on her knees, and added, 'I
humbly beg pardon, Sir, for being so bold!'

After some persuasion, I prevailed on her to sit down: but I could not
conquer her timidity and imaginary inferiority so far as to induce
her to partake of my breakfast. 'She knew her duty better; I was a
gentleman, once her dear young master, and she should always adore me,
and act as was befitting a poor servant, like her.'

We talked over former affairs, and she brought many scenes of my
early youth strongly to recollection. On inquiry, she told me she
had apprenticed her son to a printer; that till this period she had
fed, clothed, and educated him by her own industry; and that he was
now likely to be no longer burthensome to her, being an apt and
industrious boy, and already capable of supplying himself with clothes
by his over-work.

I farther learnt, from her discourse, that she lived with a young
lady, whom she affectionately loved; and there was something
mysterious occasionally in her phrases, that led me to imagine her
mistress had been unfortunate. 'She had been a kind mistress to her;
she loved her in her heart. Poor young lady! she did not deserve the
mishaps she had met with; and it was a shame that some men should be
so base as they were: but, though all the world should turn their
back on her, she would not be so wicked. Poor women were born to
be misused, by false-hearted men; and, if they had no pity for one
another, what must become of them?'

I asked if she had lived with the lady long? She answered, that first
and last she had known her ever since she left Mr. Elford's service.

'What! Was she of our county?'

'Yea.'

'Was I acquainted with her?'

Mary hesitated, and my curiosity was rouzed--'What was the lady's
name?'

'Miss Lydia Wilmot.'

'Wilmot? Wilmot? Surely, not Miss Wilmot, the niece of the bishop of
----?'

'No, no,' said Mary, ''a's not his niece, 'a has better blood in her
veins; thof mayhap 'a may have had her failings. God help us! who is
without 'em? A bishop? Lord ha' mercy on us! No Christian soul could
have believed there was so much wickedness in the world!'

My impatience increased, and I eagerly demanded--'Did she ever live
with the bishop?'

Poor Mary knew not what to answer; I perceived her confusion. 'Go,
Mary,' said I, 'and tell Miss Wilmot that Mr. Trevor presents his
compliments to her, and will be glad to speak to her the moment she is
at leisure.'

After a little hesitation Mary went, continued up stairs some time,
and at last returned with--'Miss Wilmot's compliments: she should be
glad to see me.'

I hurried to her apartment. My conjectures were too well founded to be
false: it was the same Miss Wilmot to whom I had been introduced by
the bishop, the sister of the guide of my studies and the friend of my
youth. Her embarrassment was considerable, she sunk on the sopha as
she curtsied, pointed to a chair, and faintly requested I would sit
down.

I exerted myself to assume the tone that should tranquilize her
feelings; and by asking and answering my own questions, and
endeavouring myself to sustain the conversation, brought her with some
little difficulty to join in it.

I was burning to interrogate her concerning the bishop, but was
restrained by the fear of wounding her sensibility. I inquired after
her brother, but him I found she had not lately seen. I forebore to be
minute, but it appeared that they knew not the place of each other's
abode. I sat with her an hour; but, notwithstanding my impatience,
perceiving she evaded the subject I wished to introduce, and turned
the discourse on the common place occurrences of the day. I was
too respectful of her delicacy to violate it, and left her with an
invitation to drink tea with me the following afternoon, which she
accepted.

I saw Mary again in the interim, had some discourse with her, and, by
several phrases which she once more let fall, was involved in greater
perplexity. A person of my family had _a ruinated_ Miss Wilmot of all
hope; she never could have justice and right done her now; that was
_impossable_. But mayhap all things _was_ for the best. The base man
had shewn that he was not worth having. She was sorry, both on her
ladyship's account and mine; but there was no help for it. God send
him a good end! but she feared it! Such wickedness could never
prosper.

This language was totally incomprehensible!--'A person of my family?
The base man? Sorry on my account?' What did she mean?

Mary was afraid she had said too much--'I dare not tell you, dear good
Sir,' continued she; 'only don't you be _cunsarned_; it is no blame of
yours; you will know soon enough.'

In this uncertainty she left me, impatiently hoping some farther
explanation from Miss Wilmot; of which I was not disappointed. The
afternoon came, Mary announced her mistress, we were left alone, and I
could no longer forbear expressing my desire of knowing her history.

At first she felt some reluctance, but, when I informed her how much
Mary had already told, she sighed deeply, and said, 'I find, Sir,
it is in vain to think of concealment; I will, therefore, since you
desire it, relate the few events that are remarkable in my unfortunate
life. I fear they are more blameable than extraordinary; for,
from what I hear and see in this great city, mine are no uncommon
misfortunes. I even fear I am hitherto less wretched and guilty than
thousands. God only knows for what I am reserved!'



CHAPTER IV


_The story of Miss Wilmot: Family misfortunes: A father's death: A
brother's disappointment: Intelligence that astonishes me: Wakefield
characterized: The death of Miss Wilmot's mother; and the dread of
fatal consequences: Piety and compassion of a bishop: Deep designs of
Wakefield: The good faith and affection of a poor adherent_


'My father was an officer in the army, in which, though he served all
his life, he only attained the rank of major. He was twice married,
the second time to my mother at the age of thirty, by whom he had
five children, who, except my brother and myself, did not arrive at
maturity. Being reduced to the income of half-pay, they retired into
their native county, where they lived with such strict oeconomy that
they contrived to educate us better perhaps than the children of
people of much larger fortune.

'My brother was the eldest child, and I the youngest, so that there
was an interval of fifteen years between us. My father had been well
educated, loved letters, and undertook to be my brother's instructor
himself to the age of fourteen. At this period my brother was admitted
a chorister at the cathedral of ----, at which city my parents had
fixed their residence. They were respected by all the inhabitants,
whose wealth, birth, and pride, did not place them at too great a
distance; and it was a severe mortification to be unable to provide
better for their son; but there was no remedy.

'The disappointments of my father's life had given him a melancholy
cast, with an aptitude to be dissatisfied; and this propensity was
strongly communicated to my brother. The danger of a war between
England and Spain called my father up to town, in the hope of being
once more put on actual service. But in this his hopes again were
frustrated; and expence without benefit was incurred. Early, however,
in the American war, he obtained his wishes; unhappily obtained them,
for, having been long unused to the baneful severity of camps, he and
many more brave men were carried off, by the damps of the climate to
which he was sent. This happened when I was but nine years old; and my
mother was left with what little their economy had collected, and such
scanty provision as is made for officers widows.

'My brother, however, who was truly affectionate, and active in
efforts to protect us, afforded my mother some aid. From being a
chorister, he had gained admission into the grammar-school; of which,
while he remained there, he was the pride and boast. Immediately after
our father's death, from the recommendation of his own merit and the
misfortunes of the family, he was appointed a Latin usher in the same
school; in which station he remained five years. The difference of
our age made him consider himself something rather like a father than
a brother to me: he loved me tenderly, took every method to improve
and provide for me, and expected in return something like parental
obedience. The manners of my mother were of the mild and pleasing
kind, with which qualities she endeavoured to familiarize me, and the
behaviour of the whole family gained general approbation and esteem.

'My brother was deeply smitten with the love of letters: his poetical
essays were numerous, many of them were sent up to London and readily
admitted into periodical publications.

'Anxious to place his family in that rank which he had been taught to
suppose it deserved, for my father and mother were both, though not
noble, well born, he did not rest satisfied with these attempts: he
wrote a tragedy, and, by the advice of people who pretended to have a
knowledge of such affairs, determined to go to London, that he might,
if possible, get it on the stage. From this my mother would fain have
dissuaded him, but his arguments and importunity at length prevailed.
He was then but nine and twenty, and I fourteen.

'I could ill describe to you the state of anxiety and suspence in
which his various literary efforts involved him, while he remained in
London: but in about two years he returned to the country, despairing
of that pleasure, profit, and fame, which hope had delusively taught
him to consider as his due. This was the period at which he once more
became an usher of the school where you were educated. This too was
the period at which my misfortunes began.

'And now, Mr. Trevor, I am coming to events in which you, without any
knowledge or interference of your own, may be said to be a partaker.'

She paused a moment: and I, with amazement, doubt, and increasing
ardour, requested she would proceed.

'The name of Wakefield must certainly be familiar to you?'

'It is: I am sorry to say it is the name my mother at present bears.'

'If you feel sorrow, Mr. Trevor, what must my feelings be? Mine! who,
had there been truth or honour in man, ought to have borne that name
myself. Mine! who, when I first heard of your mother's marriage,
should not have felt so severe a pang had a dagger been struck to my
heart. Mine! who from that moment, or rather from the fatal and guilty
moment when I confided in an unprincipled man, have never known that
cheerfulness and peace, which once were the inmates of my bosom!'

'You astonish me, madam! Wakefield?'

'Wakefield! Him have I to thank for loss of self-respect, a brother's
love, and perhaps a parent's life! I was my mother's companion,
consolation, and pride. How can I estimate a mother's grief? She died
within a year. Have I not reason to believe her days were shortened by
her daughter's guilt?'

The pain of recollection was agonizing. She burst into a flood of
tears: nor could every effort she made keep down the deep sobs that
for some minutes impeded speech. I used every endeavour to appease
and calm her mind: she seemed sensibly touched by that sympathy which
intensely pervaded me; and, as soon as she could recover herself, thus
continued.

'The kind part you take in my affliction, Mr. Trevor, affords me
greater relief than any that perhaps I have felt for years. It is
true the faithful Mary, good creature, has almost shed tear for tear:
but she herself is the daughter of misfortune, and from her, though
grateful, it is something like expected. You are a man; you perhaps
have been accustomed to the society of those whose pleasure is the
most exquisite when they can most contribute to the miseries of woman:
that you should be virtuous enough to contemn such instruction, does
more than sooth feelings like mine: and I think we esteem benefits the
more the less we expect them.'

'But where, madam, did you first meet with Mr. Wakefield?'

'In the city of ---- where he was bred, under his father, to the
profession of the law. From what I have seen of you, and from what I
have heard of your talents and understanding, I should have expected
you to have been the child of extraordinary parents; otherwise, I do
not much wonder at your mother's conduct, superior as she was to Mr.
Wakefield in years; for, of all the men I ever saw, he is the most
deceitful, plausible, and dangerous. Neither man nor woman are safe
with him; and his arts are such as to over-reach the most cautious. He
has words at will; and his wit and invention, which are extraordinary,
are employed to entrap, humiliate, degrade and ruin all with whom he
has intercourse. His ambition is to gratify his desires, by triumphing
over the credulity of the unsuspecting, whom he contemns for their
want of his own vices. It was he that, after having seduced me, placed
me in the family of the bishop, laid the plan that I should pass for
his lordship's niece, by various falsehoods cajoled me to acquiesce
(the chief of which was, that the project was but to save appearances,
till he could make me his wife) left me in that unworthy prelate's
power, then, returning to the country, plotted the marriage with your
mother, and, by his intimate knowledge of the weakness or vice of
each character, which he seems to catch instinctively, adapted his
scheme with such cunning to the avarice of his uncle as to gain his
concurrence and aid.

'It was my clandestine departure at this period, and the rumours and
suspicions to which it gave birth, that again drove my brother from
the country. For some months neither he nor my mother knew what was
become of me.

'At length her decline, and the extreme affliction of dying and
never hearing of me more, occasioned her to prevail on my brother to
advertise me in all the papers. This he did, by inserting the initials
of my name, and such other tokens as he knew must be intelligible to
me, should I read the advertisement; informing me at the same time of
the dying state of my mother.

'His plan so far succeeded as to come to my knowledge. I read the
paper, was seized with horror at the information, and immediately
wrote in answer. It was too late! My mother was dead! and I left in
that state of distraction to which by a single moment's weakness I had
been thus fatally conducted!

'Grief, despondency, and resentment, took firm possession of my
brother's mind. He wrote me a dreadful letter of the state of his
feelings; and, though he forebore explicitly to accuse me of my
mother's death, I could perceive the thought pervaded his mind. After
her funeral, he came up to London; but refused all intercourse with
me, once excepted. A few days only after that on which the bishop
introduced you to me, he came, knocked at the door, inquired if I were
at home, and sent up his name.

'Of all the moments of my life, that was the most awful! A death-like
coldness seized me! The sound of my brother's name was horror! I know
not what I said to the servant, but the feelings of Mr. Wilmot were
too racking for delay: he was presently before me, dressed in deep
mourning; I motionless and dead; he haggard, the image of despair; so
changed in form that, but for the sharp and quick sighted suspicions
of guilt, had I met him, I should have passed him without suspecting
him to be my brother.

'I can tell you but little of what passed. His sentences were
incoherent, but half finished, and bursting with passion that was
neither grief nor rage, nor reproach nor pardon, though a mixture of
them all. The chief impression that he left upon my mind was, that he
should soon be freed from the torment of existence: not by the course
of nature; he complained, with agony, that labour, disappointment,
injustice, and contamination itself could not kill him; but die he
would!

'From that day to this, I have never seen or heard word of him more.
The deep despair with which he uttered his last resolution has kept me
in a state of uninterrupted terror. I daily read all the papers I can
buy or borrow with the excruciating dread, every paragraph I come to,
of catching his name, and, Oh! insufferable horror! reading an account
of his death!

'My state of being seems wholly changed! I am no longer the same
creature! My faculties, which formerly compared to those of my brother
I thought slow even to stupidity, are now awakened to such keenness
of discernment that the world is multiplied upon me a million fold!
Sometimes it is all intelligence, though of a dark and terrific hue;
at other moments objects swarm so thick that they dance confusion, and
give me a foretaste of madness, to which I have now a constant fear
that I shall be driven. My own deep shame, the loss of the man whom
like an idiot I dearly loved, my mother's death, my brother's letter,
and particularly his last visit, have altogether given such an
impetuosity to my thoughts as I want the power to repel. Whither they
will hurry me God only knows. At one interval I imagine the earth
contains nothing but evil! At another, strange to tell! all is good!
all is wise! all harmonious! and I reproach my own extreme folly for
wanting happiness under so perfect a system!

'Nay, there are times in which I persuade myself I have been guilty
of no crime! that there is no such thing as crime! and that the
distinctions of men are folly, invented by selfishness and continued
by ignorance!

'Indeed, I know not whither my thoughts do not range. At one moment, I
seem as if I were actually free to penetrate the bowels of the earth,
dive into the deep, transport myself with a wish from planet to
planet, or from sun to sun, endure all extremes, overcome them, master
all resistance, and be myself omnipotent! The very next instant,
perhaps, I doubt if I have really any existence! if waking and
dreaming be not the same thing! and whether either of them are
definable or intelligible! At this very moment, I know not whither my
thoughts are wandering! or whether I ought not to snatch up this or
the other weapon of death, and instantly strike you breathless, for
having dared to listen to my shame!'

While she spoke, her eyes sparkled, and flashed with that wildness
which her tongue with such rapid imagery pictured forth. Had it
continued, the tumult might have been dangerous; perhaps fatal; but
fortunately the firmness and intrepidity of my mind were equal to
the scene. With a cool and collected benevolence of look, and with
a determined though not severe tone of voice I said: 'My dear Miss
Wilmot, be calm; pause a moment; recollect yourself; I am your friend,
I hope you will never find another man your foe.'

The idea suggested an opposite association to her active thoughts; in
an instant the fire vanished, her eyes were suffused, her features
relaxed, and she again burst into tears and sobs. I was careful not
to interrupt the tide of passion; it gave relief; and she presently
became more calm. Desirous as I was of hearing particulars concerning
the bishop, I gladly listened when, after a sufficient pause, she thus
resumed her tale.

'You must not wonder, Mr. Trevor, that I do not tell my story in a
connected manner. Whenever I think on the subject, the incidents I
have related press upon my mind, produce sensations I cannot command,
and for a time obliterate less momentous circumstances.

'The part which the bishop acted in this tragic drama is what I have
yet to relate. Mr. Wakefield's father, who let me here remark was an
unprincipled man and died insolvent, happened professionally, as a
lawyer, to have certain temporalities, in the county where he resided,
to manage for the bishop. This brought his son acquainted with the
character of the prelate. The relationship in which I stood to him'--I
interrupted her.

'To whom, madam?'

'The bishop.'

'I understood he was no relation of yours?'

'He is and is not.'

'Pray explain.'

'He is by marriage, twice removed; not the least by blood. His late
lady, a widow when he married her, was the half-sister of my father's
first wife; so that by the courtesy of custom he is called my uncle.
He is too artful not to have a shelter for his proceedings.--' She
continued:

'An adept which as I have before said Mr. Wakefield is, in reading the
weak and vicious inclinations of the human heart, he hoped not only
to have rid himself of importunity from me, but, by rendering me
subservient to this unholy bishop's vile propensities, to have played
a deeper game. This is his delight. The pleasure he receives in making
other men's follies, passions, and vices, administer to his own, is
the greatest he knows. Were he but the cunningest man on earth, he
would think himself the greatest.

'His character sympathized with that of the bishop, who was happy to
find so artful and so active an agent. It was not till I had been
in the prelate's family some time that the whole of their design
was explained to me. The bishop frequently used strange, and to me
unintelligible expressions; disgusting from any man, but from him
inexpressively offensive and odious; yet the full import of them I did
not so much as suspect.

'Nor did he omit to make the solemnity of his supposed character an
abettor to his hypocrisy. Feelings of compassion, moral affection, and
Christian forgiveness were assumed. When I first entered his house
he gave me to understand that he was acquainted with my crime; this,
after mentioning it as a serious sin, affecting pity, he qualified
away, and, as people in all such situations must, talked an incoherent
jargon; that God hated and loved such sinners; that religion was all
powerful, but that man was frail; that Christ died to save us, and
therefore though we should fall, as perhaps the best of us were
subject to back slidings, his mercy was all sufficient.

'But on this and every occasion, he was careful to say nothing open
and direct, by which he should be detected. If ever he ventured so far
as to excite serious questions from me, he was ever ready with evasive
answers, and had something like reasoning to offer, in defence of his
own manners and in ridicule of prudery. He began with caution, but
when he had accustomed me to such discourse, and after I had heard it
repeated even in the presence of his clerical companions, of which
you, Mr. Trevor, were once a witness, my surprize wore away; the pain
it gave me was diminished, and he became less and less reserved.

'Still however he did not venture openly to declare himself; and
Mr. Wakefield was too busy, in wasting your mother's fortune and
gratifying his own desires, to attend to those of the bishop. But his
prodigality, which is excessive, after a time brought him to London;
and the bishop imagined that, with his help, my scruples would at last
be conquered.

'The trial was made; not by the cautious bishop, but by Mr. Wakefield.
How such a proposition, coming from the man whom I had dearly loved,
and whose wife in justice I considered myself to be, was received,
you, who have a sense of the feelings of a highly injured and justly
indignant heart, may conceive!

'Yet, impassioned determined and almost frantic as I was, it was with
difficulty he could relinquish his plan. Till that hour, I never
believed him so utterly devoid of principle; but he then laid bare his
heart, hoping to make me a convert to its baseness. He exulted in the
power we should obtain over this sensual prelate, and the sums which
by these means we might extort. He looked with transport forward, to
the opening which this would afford for projects still much deeper.
The vices of the great, with which he might thus become intimate,
afforded a field ample as his own vice could wish. Nor could all the
impatience of indignation, with which I continually interrupted him,
impede that flow which the subject inspired.

'At length, disgusted beyond sufferance, I abruptly left him, and
sought relief from the racking sensations which he had excited. He
then entered into a correspondence with me, till I threatened to shew
his letters to the bishop. This induced him to desist, and for some
time I heard from him no more. At last he wrote once again, informing
me that you, Mr. Trevor, were come to London; characterizing you
as ignorant of the world and easily deceived; telling me that you
were intimate with the bishop; and advising me to promote a plan of
marriage between us, which he had proposed to the prelate as the best
way, in his own phrase, of making all things smooth!

'I hope the deep shame I felt, when the bishop introduced you and made
the experiment, was sufficiently visible to convince you how repugnant
my feelings were to such a crime!

'The bishop finding his first purpose thus defeated, and himself
encumbered by a kind of claimant, which his acknowledging me as a
niece had brought upon him, was determined at all events to rid
himself of me. Immediately before he left town, he wrote me a letter,
telling me that my loss of character was become too public for me to
receive any further countenance, from a man under the moral and divine
obligations which every bishop of the church of Christ must be; that
he was going on a visit to his diocese; that he could not think of
taking me, it was too flagrantly improper; and that he advised and
expected I should immediately return to my relations; further hoping
that I should see the enormity of my conduct, and reform.

'Oh! Mr. Trevor, what a world is this! Had he offered me money, I
should have rejected it with disdain! but he had not even that much
charity. I instantly quitted the house with a few shillings only in my
pocket.

'Mary had lived with me and my mother for some years before my
elopement: after my mother's death, my residence in the bishop's
family being known, I sent for her up to town and hired her. Her
artless affection made her my confidante; my situation required it;
and, when she heard the bishop's letter read, the kind creature with
honest anger instantly went and gave him warning.

'A quarter's wages was all her wealth; for the earnings of her labour
she had constantly expended on her boy, for whom she seems to have
more than a mother's affection. She has been my constant comforter.
Seeing the tears in my eyes, as we left the bishop's house, with a
look of mingled pity and indignation she exclaimed--"Do not grieve,
dear madam; though I work my fingers to the bone, you shall not
want."'

Miss Wilmot was proceeding with her narrative, when she was
interrupted by the hasty entrance of Mary. 'Oh madam,' said she, 'the
dear young lady and her maid are below. They were coming up stairs,
but I told them that you had a gentleman with you! Whereof at which
the young lady seemed a little in amaze; till I gave her to know that
it was only a friend of your brother's, a person from our own honest
country, and she would then a gone away, but as I said I was sure you
would be glad to see her, and would go up a purpose to your own room.
So do you go, madam, and I'll run down and tell her.'

Miss Wilmot immediately took her leave; and, though my curiosity was a
little awakened, a sense of decorum would not suffer me to endeavour
to see her visitor. I therefore shut the door, and, as soon as all was
silent on the stairs, I took my hat and walked out; that by changing
the scene I might dissipate a part of the melancholy which her story
had produced.



CHAPTER V


_Anger unabated: More news of the bishop: Deliberation on the mode of
my revenge: The articles answered; and new assailing doubts: A visit
to Turl: Advice given and rejected: And former feelings revived_


The next morning, when I came to reflect on all that I had heard, I
was surprised with the degree in which, by my mother's marriage with
Wakefield, I appeared to be implicated in the history. The character
of Wakefield, his prodigality, and total want of principle, were all
of a dangerous cast. Not satisfied with beggaring my mother, he had
projected to marry me to his mistress. The recollection of him roused
resentment, and cunning and inventive as he was described to be, I
wished for an opportunity of punishing his baseness, teaching him his
own insignificance, and treating him with the contempt he deserved. If
attacked, I had not yet learned the philosophy of forbearance. Though
I have been hurried forward too fast to narrate every little incident
as it occurred, yet it cannot be imagined that I all this while
neglected to peruse the defence of the articles published in the
bishop's name. No: it was my very first employment, on my arrival in
town; and though considerable trouble had been bestowed to disfigure
the work, as written by me, yet in substance I found it to be the
same. The wrongs of Miss Wilmot quickened my feelings, and, angry as I
was with Wakefield, I felt emotions of ten fold bitterness against the
bishop.

Association easily conjured up the earl, the president, the tutor,
Themistocles, and the injustice and disgrace I had suffered at Oxford.
The fermentation was so great that I was determined, immediately,
to expose them to the broad shame that should drive them from human
society.

In this benevolent project I was confirmed by another piece of
intelligence. One of the rich sees of the kingdom had become vacant.
The king's _congè d'elire_ was issued, and God's holy vicar the Bishop
of ***** himself was translated. What could I conclude, but that the
defence which I had written had been the cause? I had been made the
stepping stone of vice! I remembered the proceeding of the despot,
Frederic of Prussia, with the immortal Voltaire: the orange had been
squeezed, and the rind thrown to rot in the highway!

My teeth gnashed with the abundance of my wrath, and the impotence
of my means. I had hitherto forborne to write from a perplexity of
different plans. At one moment I determined to address my foes in the
public papers; at another I would concentrate the story, and relate
the whole in a pamphlet. Now it should be a history; anon a satirical
novel; Asmodeus in London, in which I would draw the characters in
such perfection that, without mentioning names, the persons should be
visible to every eye. But then this would not be sufficiently serious.
Thousands might mistake that for fiction which I wished all the world
to know was fact. To give them the least shelter was cowardly to
myself, treacherous to society, and encouragement to the criminal.

At last, the pamphlet was the mode on which I determined: and it was
begun with all the enthusiasm that the accumulating circumstances
could not but inspire, in a being constituted like me. Eager after
every species of aggravation, my anger could never be hot enough; the
gall of my ink was milk to that of my heart. The bitterness of my
feelings was tormenting; words that could burn, contempt that could
kill, shame that could annihilate, these and nothing less could
satisfy me. Could the serpent revenge fly, how would it dart and
sting! Happily for man it can only crawl. That I had been treated
with great injustice was true: but of justice my notions were very
inadequate; of revenge I had more than enough for a nation.

While hot in the pursuit of this task, I was diverted from it by
the publication of an answer to the articles. The moment I saw it
advertised, not sufficiently habituated to the vice of indolence
myself to recollect that I had an idle footman below, I hurried to
the publisher's, purchased it, and returned with a greyhound speed to
devour its contents.

Disgusted as I was with the members of the church, and beginning even
to doubt of the perfect orthodoxy of the church itself, I still had
too high an opinion of my own arguments to imagine the wit of man
could overturn them.

My haste had been so great that I had not taken off the paper, in
which the pamphlet was wrapped; and in the shop I had read no more
than the title-page. What was my surprise when snatching it from my
pocket and opening it, I discovered, at the conclusion of a short
preface, the name of Turl! it's author!

My emotions were confused. At one moment an answer from him was what I
wished; the next it was something like what I feared. In all argument,
I had hitherto found him so cool, so collected, and so clear, that, to
my imagination, he perhaps was the only man on earth fit to cope with
me. But the grating question, 'Was I fit to cope with him?' would
now and then recur. I could not but feel that I had, in a certain
manner, been subdued and cowed by his greater extent of knowledge,
perspicuity, and masculine genius. By thoughts like these my anxiety,
if not my ardour, was increased, and I began to read.

My forebodings were fulfilled. The impotence of my arguments was
exposed, their absurdity and self-contradiction ridiculed, their evil
tendency demonstrated, their falsehood rendered odious, and the author
of them treated like a child. My self respect was wounded at every
line, each paragraph was a death stab, and I never before felt myself
so completely ridiculous.

As a lesson of philosophy it was the most serious, salutary, and
impressive I ever received; for though, while reading, I affirmed to
myself that every thing urged against me was weak, or ill founded,
inconclusive, or absolutely false, yet the arguments returned with
increasing and reiterated force, haunting and oppressing me like a
painful dream from which I could not awake.

The evil tendency which he proved against my doctrines was the least
to be forgotten. As far as I understood myself, I had a sincere love
of truth, and an unfeigned desire to benefit, not mislead and oppress,
mankind. As the author of the defence, the heavy charge of immorality
was brought against me; not by personal attacks on my substitute, the
bishop, but by a detail of the consequences of such doctrines.

This event made me pause and consider, though with but little
propensity to candour, concerning the pamphlet on which I was then
engaged. Consideration however did but seem to confirm me in my
purpose. Let my defence be right or wrong, and I had by no means yet
decided in the negative, still the turpitude of the bishop and my
persecutors was no less flagitious. These incidents once more turned
my thoughts toward Turl, whom I knew not whether to admire, love, or
hate. I was not so entirely overwhelmed but that I had arguments,
at least I had words, at my command. Beside, I felt a wish to
communicate to him my projected attack, and perhaps read a part of my
pamphlet, that it might, as it certainly must, meet his approbation.
I felt satisfied that what he approved could not be wrong. And how
disapprove? On former occasions indeed my hopes, in this respect, had
been deceived; but now it was impossible! The case was so clear! In
the present instance, there could be but one opinion!

Feelings which were not the most honourable to myself, for their
source was egotism, had withheld me from visiting him since my return;
but these were now subdued, by others that were more imperious. I was
not satisfied with requiring his approbation of my plan of vengeance;
my choleric vanity challenged him to the lists, and the combat was
resolved upon.

As I was going, I recollected the shortness of the period in which his
answer had been composed and published, and this did but remind me of
the champion I had to encounter.

I found him, as before, tranquily pursuing his labours; except that
now he was writing, engaged as I imagined on the grand work he had
projected; though his copper and engraving tools lay dispersed by
his side. He received me as usual with calmness, but not without an
evident mixture of pleasure. Irritable as my feelings were, I had
always experienced something infinitely more dissatisfactory in being
angry with him than with any other person. In his countenance there
was a sedate undeviating rectitude, that, but for my impetuous disdain
of all restraint, would have inspired awe; yet, whenever his eye met
the eye of another, there was something so benevolent as almost to
disarm ill humour.

Replete with new arguments, as I supposed, but which in reality were
only a repetition of those I had already adduced, I burst upon him
with a multitude of words; defending my own defence of the articles
and attacking his answer. He made various ineffectual attempts to
arrest my career, and at last was obliged to suffer me to weary
myself; after which he calmly replied.

'The best answer I can give, to all you have urged, is to request
you will read the defence of the articles and my answer again, with
care. Either I am mistaken or you will find every thing you have said
already confuted.'

I endeavoured to divert him from this defence by reference, but he
continued to urge that he should only weaken his cause by answering
desultory arguments in a desultory way; which in the present case
would be folly, because his answer was already given in a clear and as
he believed conclusive manner.

Finding his purpose not to be shaken, I asked him if he were aware
that I was the author of the defence of the articles? He answered
that, seeing the bishop's name to the publication, he could not but
suppose the bishop himself had been intimately concerned in the
writing of the work: but, from what I had formerly told him, he had
suspected me to be a fellow-labourer.

'If so,' said I, 'Mr. Turl, how did it happen that you felt no
aversion to the confutation, as you suppose, of a man for whom you had
professed a regard?'

He replied, 'You, Mr. Trevor, are well acquainted with my answer:
"Socrates is my friend, Plato is my friend, but truth is more my
friend." If I myself had written falsehood yesterday, and now knew it
to be such, I would answer it to day. Would not you?'

It was a home question, and I was silent.

This subject ended, he made some kind and cordial inquiries
concerning my present pursuits, and these furnished the opportunity
of unburthening my heart. I related to him, with all the indignation
which resentment inspired, my whole history; and ended with informing
him of my determination to publish the vice and infamy of all the
parties to the world. On this a dialogue began.

'Which way will you publish them?'

'In a narrative, that I am now writing.'

'A sense of duty has obliged me to tell you that, in my opinion you
have been guilty of several mistakes already: you are now intent upon
another.'

'How so?'

'The excess of your anger perverts your judgment, and you cannot
write such a narrative without keeping your passions in a vitiated
state. Owing to the prejudices of mankind, you will impeach your own
credibility. Moderate men will think you rash, the precise will call
you a detractor, and the partisans, who are numerous, of the persons
you will attempt to expose will raise a cry against you, that will
infinitely overpower the equivocal proofs you can produce. It will
become a question of veracity, and yours will be invalidated by the
improbability, if not of the guilt, at least of the folly of your
persecutor's conduct. You cannot reform them, will do yourself much
harm, and the world no good. You will not only misemploy your time for
the present, but impede your power for the future.'

'If such be the consequences of honestly speaking the truth, what is
the conduct that I am to pursue? Am I to be a hypocrite, and listen
with approbation while men boast of their vices, glory in their
false principles, and proclaim the destructive projects they mean to
pursue?'

'No.'

'Is not silence approbation?'

'Yes.'

'Yet your system will not allow me to speak!'

'You accuse my system unjustly: it is the manner of speaking to which
it attends. The precaution of speaking so as to produce good, not bad,
consequences is the doctrine I wish to inculcate. He that should sweep
the streets of pea-shells, lest old women might break their necks,
would doubtless have good intentions; yet his office would only be
that of a scavenger. Speak, but speak to the world at large, not
to insignificant individuals. Speak in the tone of a benevolent
and disinterested heart, and not of an inflamed and revengeful
imagination! otherwise you endanger yourself, and injure society.'

'What, shall any cowardly regard to my own safety induce me to
the falsehood of silence? For is it not falsehood, of the most
contemptible and atrocious kind, to forbear publishing such miscreants
to the world? It is this base this selfish prudence, that encourages
men like these to proceed from crime to crime. Had they been exposed
in their first attempt, their effrontery could never have been so
enormous. No! I am determined! Were my life to be the sacrifice, I
will hold them up a beacon, alike to the wicked and the unwary! Will
paint them in the gross and odious colours that alone can characterize
their actions, and drive them from the society of mankind!'

'Do you conceive you are now speaking in the spirit of justice, or of
revenge?'

'Of both.'

He who is resolved not to be convinced does not wish to hear his last
argument answered. With this short reply, therefore, I rose, took my
hat, made some aukward apology, was sorry we were fated to differ so
continually in principle, but each man must act from his own judgment;
was obliged to him nevertheless for his sincerity and good intention,
and once more took my leave, more angry than pleased, much in the same
abrupt manner that I had formerly done. The similarity indeed forced
itself upon me as I was quitting the door, and I knew not whether to
accuse myself of pettishness, obstinacy, and want of candour; or him
of singularity, and an inflexible sternness of opposition. At all
events, my purpose of publishing my pamphlet as soon as it should be
written was fixed; and to that labour I immediately returned.



CHAPTER VI


_Story of Miss Wilmot concluded: Olivia not forgotten: A gaming-table
friend characterized: Modern magicians: Suspicious principles: The
friend's absence, and return: Allegorical wit, and dangerous advice_


Various causes induced me to take the first opportunity of again
visiting Miss Wilmot; her story had inspired compassion and respect.
She might be in want, and to relieve her would give me pleasure.
Beside which I had a number of questions to ask, especially concerning
this Wakefield; and some desire to know who and what the young lady,
who was so great a favourite with Mary, might be.

In the evening I saw Miss Wilmot; and, in offering her with as much
delicacy as possible pecuniary aid, she informed me that fortunately
she had found a friend; generous, beneficent, and tender; not less
prudent than kind; and, though very young, possessed of a dignity of
understanding such as she had never before met in woman. Miss Wilmot
spoke with so much enthusiasm that I, whose imagination readily caught
fire, felt a redoubled wish to see this angel.

I hinted it to Miss Wilmot, but with apologies; and she replied that
the young lady had expressly requested her visits might be private,
and her name concealed. I inquired how they had first become
acquainted, and learned that it was in consequence of the friendly
zeal of Mary, who had a countrywoman that lived servant in the family
of this young lady, and from whom she gained intelligence of the
liberal and noble qualities of her mistress. The first retreat of Miss
Wilmot, after leaving the house of the bishop, was to a poor lodging
provided by Mary. From this she was removed by the friendly young lady
to her present asylum, till she could find the means of maintaining
herself; and had since been supplied with necessaries through the same
channel. 'The favours she confers on me,' said Miss Wilmot, 'are not
so properly characterised by delicacy, as by a much higher quality;
an open and unaffected sensibility of soul; a benevolent intention
of promoting human happiness; and an unfeigned heart felt pleasure
which accompanies her in the performance of this delightful duty.
The particulars I have now related,' continued she, 'were all that
remained to be told when I was interrupted by Mary, at our last
meeting; and you are now acquainted with my whole story.'

Every conversation that I had with Miss Wilmot confirmed the truth of
her own remark, that her intellect had been greatly awakened by the
misfortunes in which her mistakes had involved her; and particularly
by the deep despondency of her brother. He, Wakefield, and the young
lady were the continual topics of her discourse; but her brother the
most and oftenest. I was several times a witness that the papers were
daily perused by her, with all those quick emotions of dread which she
had so emphatically described. The terror of his parting resolution
was almost too much for her, and it was with difficulty she preserved
her mind from madness. I saw its tendency, and took every opportunity
to sooth and calm her troubled spirit; and my efforts were not wholly
ineffectual.

In the mean time I did not forget that I was not possessed of the
purse of Fortunatus. On the contrary, I had a mighty task before me.
The image of Olivia incessantly haunted me. The ineffable beauty of
her form, the sweet and never to be forgotten sensibility that she
displayed when I first saw her in the presence of Andrews, at Oxford,
and the native unaffected dignity of her mind were my constant themes
of meditation. Must I behold her in the arms of another? The thought
was horror! Yet how to obtain her? If I studied the law, preliminary
forms alone would consume years. From the church I was banished. A
military life I from principle abhorred; even my half ripe philosophy
could not endure the supposition of being a hireling cut-throat.
Literature might afford me fame, but of riches gained from that source
there was scarcely an example.

From literary merit however men had obtained civil promotion; it must
not therefore be neglected. Of such neglect indeed my passionate love
of letters would not admit. With respect to law, though infinitely too
slow for the rapidity of my desires, still it was good to be prepared
for all events. I therefore entered myself of the Temple, and thus
began another snail-pace journey of term keeping.

Youth is a busy season, and, though occupations are forced upon it
of a nature too serious for its propensities, it fails not to find
time for amusement. In St. James's-street, near the palace, was
a billiard-table, to which when an inmate with Lord Idford I had
resorted. It was frequented by officers of the Guards, and other
persons who were chiefly supposed to be men of some character and
fashion. Among them I had met a young gentleman of the name of
Belmont, remarkable for the easy familiarity of his address, an
excellent billiard player, and who had in a manner attached himself to
me, by a degree of attention that was engaging. I thought indeed that
I discovered contradictory qualities in him; but the sprightliness of
his imagination, and the whimsicality of his remarks, compensated
for a looseness of principle, which was too apparent to be entirely
overlooked.

He frequently turned the conversation on the county of which I was a
native, having, as he informed me, and as his discourse shewed, many
acquaintance in that county. Since my return to town I had again met
him, and he had sought my company with increasing ardour.

Flattered by this preference, and often delighted with the flights
of his fancy, I returned his advances with great cordiality. His
appearance was always genteel, but from various circumstances I
collected that he was not at present rich. His expectations, according
to his own account, were great; and his familiar habits of treating
every man, be his rank or fashion what it might, seemed to signify
that he considered himself their equal.

When we first met, after my return to town, he was desirous I should
relate to him where I had been, and what had befallen me: and when he
heard that I had visited the county of--he became more pressing to
know all that had happened. To encourage me, he gave me the following
account of himself.

'For my own part, Mr. Trevor, I am at present under a cloud. I shall
sometime or another break forth, and be a gay fellow once again: nor
can I tell how soon. I love to see life, and I do not believe there
is a man in England of my age, who has seen more of it. Perhaps you
will laugh when I tell you that, since we last parted, I have been
_vagabondizing_. You do not understand the term? It offends your
delicacy? I will explain.'

He saw he had raised my curiosity, and with a loquacity that sat easy
on him, and a vivacity of imagery in which as I have said he excelled,
he thus continued.

'Perhaps you will think a gentleman degraded, by having subjected
himself to the denomination of a vagrant? Though, no; you have wit
enough to laugh at gray-beards, and their ridiculous forms and absurd
distinctions. Know then, there is a certain set or society of men,
frequently to be met in straggling parties about this kingdom, who,
by a peculiar kind of magic, will metamorphose an old barn, stable,
or out-house, in such a wonderful manner that the said barn, stable,
or out-house, shall appear, according as it suits the will or purpose
of the said magicians, at one time a prince's palace; at another a
peasant's cottage; now the noisy receptacle of drunken clubs and
wearied travellers, called an inn; anon the magnificent dome of a
Grecian temple. Nay, so vast is their art that, by pronouncing audibly
certain sentences which are penned down for them by the head or master
magician, they transport the said barn, stable, or out-house, thus
metamorphosed, over sea or land, rocks, mountains or deserts, into
whatsoever hot, cold, or temperate region the director wills, with as
much facility as my lady's squirrel can crack a nut. What is still
more wonderful, they carry all their spectators along with them,
without the witchery of broomsticks.

'These necromancers, although whenever they please they become
princes, kings, and heroes, and reign over all the empires of the vast
and peopled earth; though they bestow governments, vice-royalties,
and principalities upon their adherents, divide the spoils of nations
among their pimps, pages, and parasites, and give a kingdom for a
kiss, for they are exceedingly amorous; yet, no sooner do their
sorceries cease, though but the moment before they were reveling and
banqueting with Marc Antony, or quaffing nectar with Jupiter himself,
it is a safe wager of a pound to a penny that half of them go
supperless to bed. A set of poor but pleasant rogues! miserable but
merry wags! that weep without sorrow, stab without anger, die without
dread, and laugh, sing, and dance to inspire mirth in others while
surrounded themselves with wretchedness.

'A thing still more remarkable in these enchanters is that they
completely effect their purpose, and make those who delight in
observing the wonderful effects of their art laugh or cry, condemn or
admire, love or hate, just as they please; subjugating the heart with
every various passion: more especially when they pronounce the charms
and incantations of a certain sorcerer called Shakspeare, whose
science was so powerful that he himself thus describes it.

  --'I have oft be-dimm'd
  The noon-tide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds,
  And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault
  Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder
  Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak
  With his own bolt: the strong-bas'd promontory
  Have I made shake; and by the spurs pluck'd up
  The pine and cedar: graves, at my command,
  Have wak'd their sleepers; op'd, and let them forth
  By my so potent art.'

'I understand you,' said I; delighted with the picture he had drawn.
'Your necessities have obliged you to turn player?'

'Not altogether my necessities,' answered he: 'it was more from a
frolic, and to know the world. That is my study, Mr. Trevor. But can
you tell me why players, by following their profession, act in some
places contrary to all law, and are called strollers, vagabonds, and
vagrants, and in others are protected by the law, and dignified with
the high and mighty title of his Majesty's Servants?'--

'Indeed I cannot,' said I.

He continued: 'Mark my words; the day will come, Mr. Trevor, when you
will discover that there are greater jugglers in the world than your
players, wonderful as their art of transformation is. The world is all
a cheat; its pleasures are for him who is most expert in legerdemain
and cajolery; and he is a fool indeed who is juggled out of his share
of them. But that will not I be.'

He then turned the conversation to me, and what had happened during my
visit in the country. I was beginning my short narrative, but we were
interrupted by an acquaintance, who joined us; and we two or three
times met again in the billiard-room, before any opportunity presented
itself.

One evening however he followed me out, and required me to discharge
my promise. Accordingly I told him all that had occurred; but not
without those feelings of indignation which the subject always
awakened. He rather seemed diverted than to sympathize in my angry
sensations, and asked me 'whether I thought those men, whom the world
call swindlers, black-legs, and other hard names, were not at least as
honest as many of their neighbours?'

He paid most attention to my mother's story; and, I having
characterized Wakefield according to the traits my mother and Miss
Wilmot had given me, he observed that 'this Wakefield must certainly
be a cunning fellow, and of no mean abilities.'

'In my opinion,' I replied, 'he is an unprincipled scoundrel; and
indeed a greater fool than knave; for, with the same ingenuity that he
has exerted to make all mankind his enemies, he might have made them
all his friends.'

Belmont's answer was remarkable. 'You have this ingenuity yourself,
Mr. Trevor; talents which you have exerted, in your own way. Have you
made all men your friends?'

I was silent, and after a moment's pause he added--'Come, come! You
have spirit and generosity; I will tell you how you can serve me. I
have a relation, from whom I could draw a good supply at this moment,
if I had but a small sum for travelling expences. Lend me ten guineas:
I will be back in a week and repay you.'

The pleasantness of his humour, and the manner in which he had gained
upon me, were sufficient to insure him a compliance with this request.
I had the money in my pocket, gave it him, and we bade each other
adieu; with a promise on his part that 'he would soon be in town
again, new moulted and full of feather.'

I must not omit to notice that, having had occasion to hint at Miss
Wilmot, in the story I had told him, but without mentioning her name,
which he never indeed seemed desirous to know, he put many questions
relating to her. He inquired too concerning her brother; and, though
he gave no tokens of deep passion, was evidently interested in the
whole narrative. His queries extended even to the bishop, and the
earl; and he discovered a great desire to be minutely informed of all
that related to me. His interrogatories were answered without reserve,
for I understood them as tokens of friendship.

In less than a fortnight, I met him again, at the usual place:
for he had always been averse to visit me at my lodgings. This I
had attributed to motives of vanity; for example, his not having
apartments perhaps, such as he wished, to invite me to in return. His
appearance, the moment I saw him, spoke his success. His dress was
much improved, he sported his money freely, and being engaged at play
more than once betted ten pounds upon the hazard. He was successful
in his match, in high spirits, welcomed me heartily, and was full of
those flights in which his vigorous imagination was so happy.

'Life,' said he, 'Trevor,' putting on his coat after he had done play,
'life is a game at calculation; and he that plays the best of it is
the cleverest fellow. Or, rather, calculation and action are husband
and wife; married without a possibility of divorce. The greatest
errors of Mrs. Action proceed from a kind of headstrong feminine
propensity, which she has to be doing before her husband, Mr.
Calculation, has given her proper directions. She often pours a
spoonful of scalding soup into his worship's mouth, before the
relative heat between the liquid and the papillary nerves has been
properly determined; at which, in the aforesaid true feminine spirit,
she is apt, while he makes wry faces, to burst into a violent fit of
laughter.

'Not but that Mrs. Action herself has sometimes very just cause of
complaint against her spouse; as most wives have. For example: If, in
coming down stairs, Mr. Calculation have made an occasional error but
of a unit, and told her ladyship she had only one step more to descend
when she had two, she, coming with an unexpected jerk in the increased
ratio of a falling body, is very much alarmed; and when the tip of
her rose-coloured tongue has happened, on such occasions, to project
a little beyond the boundaries prescribed by those beautiful barriers
of ivory called her teeth, it has suffered a sudden incision; nay
sometimes amputation itself: a very serious mischief; for this is
wounding a lady in a tender part.

'What is error? Defect in calculation. What is ignorance? Defect in
calculation. What is poverty, disgrace, and all the misfortunes to
which fools are subject? Defect in calculation.'

By this time we were in the street, walking arm in arm toward the
park, and he continued his jocular allegory.--

'You tell me you have a mind to turn author; and this makes me suspect
you understand but little of the algebra of authorship. Could you but
calculate the exact number of impediments, doubts, and disappointments
attending the trade, could you but find the sum of the objections
which yourself, your friends, and your employers will raise, not only
against your book but against the best book that ever was or will be
written, the remainder would be a query, the produce of which would be
a negative quantity, which would probably prevent both Sir and Madam
from reading either the nonsense or the good sense, the poetry or the
prose, the simple or the sublime, of the rhapsodical, metaphorical,
allegorical genius, Hugh Trevor: for in that case I suspect Hugh
Trevor would find a more pleasant and profitable employment than the
honourable trade of authorship. I have read books much, but men more,
and think I can bring my wit to a better market than the slow and
tedious detail of an A, B, C, manufactory.'

I laughed and listened, and he presently broke forth with another
simile.

'In what is the maker of a book better than the maker of a coat?
Needle and thread, pen and ink; cloth uncut and paper unsoiled; where
is the preference? except that the tailor's materials are the more
costly. In days of yore, the gentlemen of the thimble gave us plenty
of stay-tape and buckram; the gentlemen of the quill still give us
a _quantum sufficit_ of hard words and parenthesis. The tailor has
discovered that a new coat will sit more _degage_, and wear better,
the less it is incumbered by trimmings: but though buckram is almost
banished from Monmouth-street, it is still on sale in Paternoster-row.

'I once began to write a book myself, and began it in this very
style: Fable, said I, is the cloth, and morality the lining; a
good diction makes an excellent facing, satire ensures fashion,
and humour duration; and for an author to pretend to write without
wit and judgment were as senseless as for a tailor to endeavour to
work without materials, or shears to cut them. Periods may aptly be
compared to buttons; and button holes are like--

'I could find no simile for button holes, and thank heaven! left off
in despair and never wrote another line.

'Take my advice, Trevor; quit all thoughts of so joyless and
stupifying a trade! Every blockhead can sneer at an author; the title
itself is a sarcasm; and Job, who we are told was the most patient of
men, uttered the bitterest wish that ever fell from lips: "Oh that
mine enemy had written a book!"

'Beside you are a fellow of spirit, fashion, form, and figure; and if
you will but keep company with me may learn a little wit. How many
fools are there with full purses, which if you be not as great a fool
as any of them, you might find the means to empty? He that is bound by
rules, which the rich make purposely to rob the poor of their due, is
like crows, scared from picking up the scattered corn by rags and a
manikin.'

This discourse gave me no surprise; it was what I imagined to be
a free loose mode of talking, that did not correspond with his
principles of action. I deemed it a love of paradox, a desire to
shew his wit and original turn of thought, and was confirmed in
the supposition by his ironical and ludicrous replies, whenever I
attempted a serious answer. Such was the history of the beginning of
an acquaintance of which the reader will hear more.



CHAPTER VII


_An important secret betrayed by Mary: Transporting intelligence: The
reverse, or rain after sunshine: The reader entrusted with a secret:
Strange behaviour of a false friend: Lover's vows_


I did not suffer a day to pass without either seeing or sending to
inquire after Miss Wilmot; so that our intercourse was continual. One
afternoon, being in my own room, after hearing as I thought footsteps
and female voices on the stairs, Mary knocked at my door, and,
entering as desired, shewed marks of eagerness on her countenance, the
meaning of which a question from me immediately caused her to explain.
'Lord! Sir,' said she, 'you cannot think what a hurry and flurry I be
in! And all about you!'

'Me, Mary?'

'You shall hear, Sir. My mistress is gone out to take a walk in the
park, as I _avised_ her to _divart_ her _mellicholy_; and so the dear
young lady has _bin_ here; Miss--! I had forgotten! I _munna_ tell her
name. But if ever there _wur_ an angel upon _arth_ she is one; she
says such kind things to my dear mistress, and does not blame her for
her fault; for, _thof_ she be as innocent herself as the child unborn,
she can pity the _misfortins_ of her own _sect_, when they a _bin_
betrayed by false hearted men; and all that she says is that we _mun_
take care to be more be-cautioned for the time to come: and then she
says it in so sweet, and yet so _serus_ a manner, that I am sure no
Christian soul if they'd a heard her would dare do other than as she
says. And as for a doing a good turn, I do verily believe she would
give the morsel out of her mouth afore a poor creature should be
driven to sin and shame for want--'

I interrupted her: she had raised some strong surmises, and I was
impatient--'But you forget, Mary; you mentioned something concerning
me?'

'Oh lord! yea; a mort o' questions a _bin_ asked; for she talks as
familiarity to me as if she _wur_ a poor body herself; which gives me
heart, so that I be not _afeard_ to speak. Whereof I could not help
telling her a great many things about you; as how, when little more
but a child, you saved my life; and _consarning_ your goodness and
kind offers to my dear mistress; and how soft hearted and well spoken
you _wur_ even to poor me; just for all the world as I said, like her
own dear good self. Whereupon it gladdened her heart to hear there
_wur_ another good creature, as good as herself. And so she asked
_ater_ your name; which, you know that being no secret, I told her,
and then it _wur_, if you had but a seen her! Her face _wur_ as pale
as my kerchief! and I asked what ailed her ladyship? And she replied
in a faint voice, Nothing. So that I thought there must for _sartinly_
be a _summut_ between you! for she sat down, and seemed to do so! as
if a struggling for breath. And I ran for a smelling bottle; whereupon
she _wur_ better, and said she did not need it. And so she asked how
long you had lived in the house, and whether you looked happy? And I
answered and said there _wur_ not a kinder happier creature breathing.
So she asked again if I _wur_ quite sure that you _wur_ happy? And I
said I _wur mortally sartin_ of it. So then she fetched a deep sigh
from the very bottom of her heart, and said she _wur_ glad of it, very
glad of it indeed. For, said she, my good Mary, for she often calls me
good, which I be very sure is her kindness and not my _desarts_, my
good Mary, said she, I don't wonder that you do love Mr. Trevor for
having a saved your life. He once saved my life; which, says she, I
shall remember the longest day I have to breathe: and--'

'It is she!' exclaimed I; for I could hold no longer. 'It is Olivia!
Benevolent angel! And does she deign to think of me? Does she inquire
after me? Am I still in her thoughts?'

'Anan!' said Mary. 'I hope I a betrayed no secrets? For surely, I ha'
not mentioned a word of her name.'

Just as I was continuing to question Mary farther, Miss Wilmot
returned. I earnestly requested she would come into my apartment,
related the discovery I had made, and spoke with all that enthusiasm
which the revival of hope and the ardour of passion could inspire.
Miss Wilmot sympathized with my feelings; and, with a fervour that
spoke the kindness of her heart, hoped she should one day see a pair
so worthy of each other blessed to the full accomplishment of their
wishes; but she confessed she had her fears, for she thought that the
remark, that lovers best calculated to make each other happy were
seldom united, was but too true.

I prevailed on her to take tea with me; Mary waited, and I put a
thousand questions to her; for my conversation was all on this
subject. I could think of nothing else. O how pure was the delight
of this discovery! That Olivia should quit the scenes of tumultuous
joy, and seek the forlorn and unfortunate, purposely to mitigate
their wants, and administer consolation to their woes, was knowledge
inexpressibly sweet to the soul! And that she should still remember
me! that my very name should raise such commotions in her bosom! that
she should delight to hear my praise, and recollect the fortunate
moment when I bore her from death with such affection!--It was rapture
unspeakable!

I learned from Mary that she lived with her aunt, a few streets
distant; and Miss Wilmot informed me that she constantly visited her
twice, and sometimes oftener, each week. How did my bosom burn with
the wish that she might return that very evening, or at least the next
day! In the impatience and ecstacy of hope, I forgot all impediments.
Let me but see her; let me but know that she was in the house, and
I supposed the moment of perfect bliss would then be come. Happy
evening! Never did seductive fancy paint more delicious dreams, or
raise up phantoms more flattering to the heart.

Pains and pleasures dance an eternal round. The very next day brought
sensations of an opposite kind. My mother had found no person of whom
to purchase an annuity in the country; for, the money being her own by
my free gift, she had not thought proper to venture it with Thornby;
lest under the pretext of monies advanced, he should make she knew
not what deduction. She had therefore written to me, soon after I
came to London, to find her a purchaser; and after some delay, which
the necessity of consulting persons better informed than myself had
occasioned, I had advertised the week before and had entered into a
negotiation.

Terms were agreed upon, and the rough copy of a deed for that purpose
was brought me the same morning that the following letter arrived.

'SIR,

'In spite of my caution, your mother has played the fool once more.
She was too suspicious to trust the money in my hands, though I warned
her to beware of accidents. I must say she is a very weak woman. Her
husband, Mr. Wakefield, has made his appearance, and has trumped up
some tale or another to impose upon her, which I am sorry to find is
no difficult thing. He has got the money you gave her; so what is to
become of her I do not know. She expects he will fetch her away within
a month, and keep her like a lady, on the profits of some place at
court, which, according to his account, a friend was to procure for
him if he could but raise five hundred pounds. You may think how
likely he is to keep his promise. I told her my mind in plain terms,
and I believe she begins to be in a panic. She dare not write to you,
on which I thought it best to let you know the truth at once; for, as
I said before, what is to become of her I do not know.

I am, &c.

NABAL THORNBY.'

The train of ideas which the strange contents of this epistle excited
was painful in the extreme. The idiot conduct of my mother tempted
me to curse, not her indeed, but, according to the narrow limits of
prejudice, God and her excepted, all things else! Yet, who but she was
the chief actor in this scene of lunatic folly? Was there a woman on
earth beside herself that would have been so grossly gulled?

As for her husband, the bitterness of gall was not so choaking as the
recollection of him. The sight or sound of his name excited disgust
too intense to be dwelt upon! To suffocate him as a monster, or a
sooterkin, seemed the only punishment of which he was worthy.

And here it is necessary I should inform the reader of a secret, of
which I was myself at that time and long continued to remain utterly
ignorant. Belmont, the man who had purposely thrown himself in my way,
industriously made himself my intimate, informed me as I supposed of
his private affairs and motives of action, inquired minutely into
mine, wormed every intelligence I could give that related to myself
out of me, designedly attached me to him by intellectual efforts of
no mean or common kind (for he saw they delighted me, and they were
familiar to him) Belmont, I say, possessed of a pleasing person, a
winning aspect, and an address that, though studied with the deepest
art, appeared to be open, unpremeditated, and too daring for disguise,
this Belmont was no other than the hated Wakefield! Yes, it was
Wakefield himself, that by a stratagem which drove me half mad, while
it made every drop of blood in his body tingle with triumph, had thus
circumvented me! He it was who borrowed the ten guineas from me, by
the aid of which he robbed me of five hundred; and then returned to
observe how I endured the goad, laugh at my restive antics, and revel
in the plunder which he had purloined with so much facility from
foolish Trevor, and his still more foolish mother!

But this was not the only trick he had to play me. Secure in the
resources of an invention that might have been occupied in pursuits
worthy of his powers, his perverted philosophy taught him to employ
these resources only for the gratification of passions which he
thought it folly to control, and to exult over men whose sordid
selfishness he despised, and whose limited cunning was the subject of
his derision. He professed himself the disciple of La Rochefoucault
and Mandeville, and his practice did not belie his principles.

From the tenor of his discourse, I am persuaded that, had he found me
apt at adopting his maxims, he would have unbosomed himself freely,
have initiated me in his own arts, and, by making me the associate of
his projects, have induced me to look back on the past rather with
merriment than anger. As it was, he reserved himself to act with me as
with the rest of mankind; to watch circumstances, and turn them to his
own purposes whenever opportunity should offer.

This was the man who was the hero of the letter I had just received!
A letter that I could neither read nor recollect without being stung
almost to frenzy; yet that I could neither forget nor forbear to
peruse!

During two hours I traversed my room, and chafed with something like
bursting anguish. A few weeks ago, when I had received my legacy of
the lawyer, I seemed to be encumbered with wealth. Reflection and the
expence at which I now lived, to the visible and quick consumption
of a sum I then thought so ample, had since taught me that I was in
imminent danger of being reduced to beggary. I had no profession, nor
any means of subsistence till a profession could be secured; at least
no adequate means, unless by retiring to some humble garret, and
confining myself to the society of the illiterate, the boorish, and
the brutal, between whose habits and mine there was no congeniality.
The very day before, Olivia, ecstatic vision, had risen in full view
of my delighted hopes, and, forgetting the tormenting distance which
malignant fate had placed between us, I almost thought her mine. The
recollection of her now was misery.

Restless, desponding, agonizing, when this thought occurred, I was
hastening to go and communicate the accursed news to Miss Wilmot; but
an idea started which, after a moment's reflection, induced me to
desist. If I told her, the story of Wakefield must again be revived.
Olivia too might be informed of circumstances concerning my silly
mother, which, selfishness out of the question, motives of delicacy
ought to conceal. Such were my arguments at that time: I had not then
the same moral aversion to secrecy that I now possess.

I could not however any longer endure the present scene, and to get
rid of it hurried away to the billiard table, where, as usual, I found
the then supposed Belmont. He was not himself at play, but was engaged
in betting. Impatient to unburthen my heart, for as far as my own
affairs were concerned I had now no secrets for him, I hurried him out
of the room immediately that the game was ended.

The moment we came into the park, I shewed him my letter, and desired
him to read. While he perused it, I saw he was more than once
violently tempted to laugh.

'Well!' said he, returning it and restraining his titillation, 'is
this all?'

'All!' answered I. 'What more would you have? Could the maleficent
devil himself do more to drive a man mad?'

He looked in my face! I returned the inquisitive gaze! I saw emotions
the very reverse of mine struggling to get vent. His opposing efforts
were ineffectual; he could contain himself no longer, and burst into a
violent fit of laughter!

Astonished at mirth so ill placed and offensive, I asked what it
meant? The tone of my interrogatory was rouzing, and recalled his
attention. 'Pshaw! Trevor,' replied he, with a glance of half
contemptuous pity, 'you are yet young: you are but at the beginning
of your troubles. Your over weening fondness for the musty morality
of dreaming dotards, or artful knaves who only made rules that they
might profit by breaking them, will be your ruin. I tell you again and
again, if you do not prey upon the world, the world will prey upon
you. There is no alternative. What! be bubbled out of your fortune by
a whining old woman? I am ashamed of you!'

'But that woman is my mother!'

'Yes! and a set of very pretty motherly tricks she has played you! Not
that in the first instance it was so much your fault, who were but a
boy, as that of your old fool of a grandfather. It is now high time
however that you should become a man.'

'My grandfather? Say rather it was the scoundrel Wakefield!'

'You seem very angry with this Wakefield! And why? He appears to me
to be a fellow of plot, wit, and spirit. Instead of resentment, were
I you, I should be glad to become acquainted with the man who so well
perceives the stupidity and folly of the animals around him, laughs at
their apish antics, and with so much facility turns their absurd whims
to his own advantage.'

'Acquainted! Intuitive rascal! I would cut off his ears! Drag him to
the pillory with my own hands! He is unworthy a nobler revenge.'

'Pshaw! Ridiculous! What did your mother want but the gratification
of her paltry passions? which were but the dregs and lees of goatish
inclination; for with her the pervading headlong torrent of desire was
passed. Did she think of morality? She would have sacrificed the youth
and high spirits of Wakefield to her own salacious doating. Why should
not he too have his wishes? Were his the most criminal; or the least
fitted for the faculties of enjoyment?'

'You have not heard me defend my mother's conduct: but his villany to
the young lady I formerly mentioned [meaning Miss Wilmot] deserves the
execration of every man!'

'That is, as she tells the story. Women, poor simple creatures, are
always to be pitied, never blamed! But a little more experience,
Trevor, will tell you the devil himself is not half so cunning! Men
are universally their dupes; nay their slaves, though called their
tyrants. Do not men consume their lives in toils to please them? Who
are the chief instigators to what you call vice and folly? Who are the
mischief makers of the world? Who incite us to plunder, rob, and cut
each other's throats? Who but woman? And is not a little retaliation
to be expected? Poor dear souls! Cunning as serpents, Trevor; but,
though fond of cooing, not harmless as doves. Crocodiles; that only
weep to catch their prey. I once was told of one that died broken
hearted; a great beauty, and much bewept by all the maudlin moralizers
that knew her. The cause of her grief was a handsome fellow, who of
course was a cruel perjured villain. The tale had great pathos, and
would have been very tragical, had it but been true. Ages before that
in which Jove laughed at them, lover's perjuries were the common topic
of scandal, and so continue to be. I have often been reproached in the
same way myself, and I once took the trouble to write an apology; for
which, as it will suit all true lovers, all true lovers are bound to
thank me. Here it is.'

  I

  Men's vows are false, Annette, I own:
  The proofs are but too flagrant grown.
  To Love I vow'd eternal scorn;
  I saw thee and was straight forsworn!

  II

  In jealous rage, renouncing bliss,
  When Damon stole a rapturous kiss,
  I took, with oaths, a long farewell;
  How false they were thou best can'st tell.

  III

  By saints I vow'd, and pow'rs divine,
  No love could ever equal mine!
  Yet I myself, though thus I swore,
  Have daily lov'd thee more and more!

  IV

  To perjuries thus I hourly swerve;
  Then treat them as they well deserve:
  Thy own vows break, at length comply,
  And be as deep in guilt as I.

'What think you; was not this a valid plea? Are not women apt to take
the advice here given them? Lovely hypocrites! They delight in being
forced to follow their own inclinations!'

There was no resisting the playfulness of his wit, and the
exhilarating whim of his manner. My ill humour soon evaporated;
and yielding to the sympathetic gaiety he had inspired, I said to
him--'You are a wicked wit, Belmont. But, though I laugh, do not
imagine I am a convert to your mandevilian system: it is false,
pernicious, and destructive of the end which it pretends to secure.'

'Do not abuse my system, or me either', replied he. 'I tell you I am
the only honest man of my acquaintance; and the first effort of my
honesty is, as it ought to be, that of being honest to myself.'

'I hear many men profess the same opinions, but I find them acting on
different principles.'

'You mistake. You are young, I tell you. Every man's actions are
strongly tinged by the principles he professes.'

My countenance became a little more serious--'Surely you do not avow
yourself a rascal?'

'Pshaw! Epithets are odious. I do not know the meaning of the word;
nor do you.'

Our conversation continued; it relieved me from a bitterness of
chagrin from which I was happy to escape. We dined together. His flow
of spirits and raillery were unabating; I combated his opinions, he
laughed at my arguments, rather than answered them, and, though I
even then conceived him to be a very bad moralist, I thought him a
delightful companion.



CHAPTER VIII


_Revenge not forgotten: The visit delayed: Wilmot and his poetical
powers: Dreadful intelligence: An appalling picture: A fruitless
search; followed by a surprising discovery_


Stimulated by the ridicule of Belmont, though I never had a thought
of abandoning my mother to want, still I determined, according to the
proverb, to let her bite the bridle. Instead of writing, therefore, I
waited till she should write to me.

Mean time my pamphlet was the grand object of present pursuit. When I
began it, I imagined it would scarcely have been the work of a day,
certainly not of a week. I was deceived. To a man who has any sense of
justice, who fears to affirm the thing that is not, yet is determined
to be inexorable in revenge, no task is so harrassing as that which I
had undertaken. Page after page was written, re-written, corrected,
interlined, scratched, blotted and thrown in the fire. The work had
been three times finished, and three times destroyed. It was a fourth
time begun, and still the labour was no less oppressive, irritating,
and thorny.

It was in this state at the time that Mary brought me the joyful
intelligence relating to Olivia. I had watched with unremitting
assiduity during those hours of the day when she had been accustomed
to visit Miss Wilmot; but my watchings were fruitless; she came no
more.

The fourth day after her last visit, she sent a note to Miss Wilmot,
informing her that her aunt was going to Bath for the recovery of her
health, to which place it was necessary that she should attend her.
The blow was violent, and would have been felt more violently even
than it was, had it not been for an event which I must now relate.

The alarms of Miss Wilmot concerning her brother had not been lightly
excited: they might rather be called prophetic. She had indeed
strongly communicated her terror to me. One morning I was meditating
on the subject, and recollecting those early days when gathering the
first fruits of genius, I was taught by him to distinguish and enjoy
the beauties of its emanations, and the sublimity of its flights. His
affection for me, though but a boy, had induced him to give me some
short poetical compositions of his own. I was reading them over, with
strong feelings, partly of sorrow and partly of indignation, at the
folly and injustice of a world that could overlook such merit. One
of them in particular, which I had always admired for the simple
yet pathetic spirit of poetry in which it was written, I was then
perusing. It was the following.

  I

  Ho! Why dost thou shiver and shake,
    Gaffer-Gray!
  And why doth thy nose look so blue?
    ''Tis the weather that's cold;
    'Tis I'm grown very old,
  And my doublet is not very new,
    Well-a-day!'

  II

  Then line thy worn doublet with ale,
    Gaffer-Gray;
  And warm thy old heart with a glass.
    'Nay but credit I've none;
    And my money's all gone;
  Then say how may that come to pass?
    Well-a-day!'

  III

  Hie away to the house on the brow,
    Gaffer-Gray;
  And knock at the jolly priest's door.
    'The priest often preaches
    Against worldly riches;
  But ne'er gives a mite to the poor,
    Well-a-day!'

  IV

  The lawyer lives under the hill,
    Gaffer-Gray;
  Warmly fenc'd both in back and in front.
    'He will fasten his locks,
    And will threaten the stocks,
  Should he ever more find me in want,
    Well-a-day!'

  V

  The squire has fat beeves and brown ale,
    Gaffer-Gray;
  And the season will welcome you there.
    'His fat beeves and his beer,
    And his merry new year
  Are all for the flush and the fair,
    Well-a-day!'

  VI

  My keg is but low I confess,
    Gaffer-Gray;
  What then? While it lasts man we'll live.
    The poor man alone,
    When he hears the poor moan,
  Of his morsel a morsel will give,
    Well-a-day!

In that precise state of mind which associations such as I have
described, and a poem like this could excite, when I was alike
bewailing the madness and turpitude of mankind, that could be blind to
the worth of a man such as Wilmot, while glowing I say and thrilling
with these sensations, my breakfast was brought and with it a paper--!
What shall I say?--It contained what follows! 'Yesterday a middle
aged man, of a genteel and orderly appearance, was seen to walk
despondingly beside the Serpentine river. A gentleman, who having met
him remarked the agitation of his countenance, suspected his design;
and, concealing himself behind some trees at a little distance,
watched him, and at last saw him throw himself into the water. The
gentleman, who was a good swimmer, jumped in after him; but could
not immediately find the body, which after he had brought it out was
conveyed to Mary-le-bone watch-house. A few shillings were found in
his pocket, but nothing to indicate his name, place of abode, or
other information, except a written paper, containing the following
melancholy account of himself.

'This body, if ever this body should be found, was once a thing which,
by way of reproach among men, was called an author. It moved about
the earth, despised and unnoticed; and died indigent and unlamented.
It could hear, see, feel, smell and taste with as much quickness,
delicacy, and force as other bodies. It had desires and passions like
other bodies, but was denied the use of them by such as had the power
and the will to engross the good things of this world to themselves.
The doors of the great were shut upon it; not because it was infected
with disease or contaminated with infamy, but on account of the
fashion of the garments with which it was cloathed, and the name it
derived from its fore-fathers; and because it had not the habit of
bending its knee where its heart owed no respect, nor the power of
moving its tongue to gloze the crimes or flatter the follies of men.
It was excluded the fellowship of such as heap up gold and silver;
not because it did, but for fear it might, ask a small portion of
their beloved wealth. It shrunk with pain and pity from the haunts of
ignorance which the knowledge it possessed could not enlighten, and
guilt that its sensations were obliged to abhor. There was but one
class of men with whom it was permitted to associate, and those were
such as had feelings and misfortunes like its own; among whom it was
its hard fate frequently to suffer imposition, from assumed worth
and fictitious distress. Beings of supposed benevolence, capable of
perceiving, loving, and promoting merit and virtue, have now and then
seemed to flit and glide before it. But the visions were deceitful.
Ere they were distinctly seen, the phantoms vanished. Or, if such
beings do exist, it has experienced the peculiar hardship of never
having met with any, in whom both the purpose and the power were fully
united. Therefore, with hands wearied with labour, eyes dim with
watchfulness, veins but half nourished, and a mind at length subdued
by intense study and a reiteration of unaccomplished hopes, it was
driven by irresistible impulse to end at once such a complication
of evils. The knowledge was imposed upon it that, amid all
these calamities, it had one consolation--Its miseries were not
eternal--That itself had the power to end them. This power it has
employed, because it found itself incapable of supporting any longer
the wretchedness of its own situation, and the blindness and injustice
of mankind: and as, while it lived, it lived scorned and neglected, so
it now commits itself to the waves; in expectation, after it is dead,
of being mangled, belied, and insulted.'

Oh God! what were my feelings while reading this heart appalling
story! It contained volumes; and sufficiently spoke the strength of
the mind that could thus picture its own sensations. It must be my
beloved Wilmot: it could be no one else; or even if it were, the man
who thus could feel and thus could write was no less the object of
admiration, grief, and a species of regret, of the guilt of which
every man partook! It was an act of attainder against the whole world,
in the infamy of which each man had his share!

Transfixed with horror as I was, I still had the recollection to
conceal the paper from the eye of Miss Wilmot, and that instant to go
in quest of the body. The utmost speed and diligence were necessary;
she must soon hear of the fatal event, and it was much to be dreaded
that this would not be the last act of the tragedy.

According to the indication given in the paper, I went immediately
to the watch-house; but was surprised to find that the body was not
there. They had heard something of a man throwing himself into the
Serpentine river, but could give no farther information.

I then ran to every bone-house and receptacle in the various adjoining
parishes; but without success. The only intelligence I could obtain
was that the gentleman, who leaped in after the man in order to have
saved his life, had taken the body home with him; but no one could
direct me where he lived.

The circumstance was distracting! My terrors for Miss Wilmot
increased. I knew not what course to pursue. At last I recollected
that Turl, from having lived some years in London being acquainted
with the manners of the place and possessing great sagacity, might
perhaps afford me aid. Personal knowledge of Wilmot he probably had
none, for he quitted the grammar school at *** just before Wilmot
became its head usher. But I knew not what better to do, and to this,
as a kind of last hope, I resorted, and hastened away to his lodgings.

It may well be supposed my tone of mind was gloomy. For a man like
Wilmot, with virtues so eminent, sensations so acute, and a mind so
elevated, to be thus impelled to seek a refuge in death was a thought
that almost made me hate existence myself, and doubt whether I might
not hereafter be driven to the same desperate expedient, to escape the
odious injustice of mankind. The distraction too which would seize
on Miss Wilmot haunted my thoughts; for I was convinced that the
intelligence, whenever it should reach her, would prove fatal.

Full of these dismal reflections, I arrived at the door of Turl,
knocked, and was desired to come in. Turl rose as I entered, and with
him a stranger, who had been seated by his side. A stranger, and yet
with features that were not wholly unknown to me. He seemed surprised
at the sight of me, examined me, fixed his eyes on me! Memory was very
busy! Associating ideas poured upon me! I gazed! I remembered! Heavens
and earth! What was my astonishment, what were my transports, when
in this very stranger I discovered Mr. Wilmot? Living! Pale, meagre,
dejected, and much altered; but living!

Turl was the gentleman in the park, who had observed the deep
melancholy visible in his countenance; had fortunately suspected
his intention; had brought him out of the water; had discovered
favourable symptoms; and, instead of either taking him home or to
the watch-house, had conveyed him to St. George's hospital; where he
immediately obtained medical aid, that had preserved his life! Turl
was the person whose courage, humanity, and wisdom, had prolonged
the existence of a man of genius; and who was now exerting all his
faculties to render that existence happy to the possessor, and
beneficial to the human race! Oh moment of inconceivable rapture! Why
are not sensations so exquisite eternal?



CHAPTER IX


_I secure Miss Wilmot against the danger of false alarm, and return to
hear the history of her brother_


Eager as I was to contribute all in my power to tranquilize the mind
of Mr. Wilmot, to renew my friendship with him, and to learn his
history from himself, I yet made but a short stay, and hastened home
to his sister. Fortunately the tragic tale had not reached her; and,
without relating circumstances that if abruptly told might have
excited alarm, I informed her that I had that moment parted from him,
and that now I had found him I should use my utmost endeavour to
reconcile him to her once more.

To hear that he was still in being gave an undescribable relief to her
mind. It beamed in her countenance, and called up thoughts that soon
made her burst into tears.

Having by this information, secured her against the ill effects which
might otherwise have followed, I escaped further question from her for
the present, by truly telling her I was impatient to return to her
brother.

I found the two friends still conversing for friends and sincere ones
they were become. The account given by Wilmot of himself had been
taken and sent to the newspaper, without the knowledge of Turl; but he
had read it, and it was a sufficient index of the mind of the writer:
and the behaviour of Turl through the whole affair, as well as the
sentiments he uttered in every breath, were enough to convince Mr.
Wilmot of his uncommon worth.

On my return, the latter was defending the right of man to commit
suicide; which Turl denied; not on the false and untenable ground of
superstition, but from the only true argument, the immoral tendency of
the act. He was delicate though decisive in his opposition; and only
requested Mr. Wilmot to consider, whether to effect the good of the
whole be not the true purpose of virtue? Ought not the good of the
whole therefore to be its only rule and guide? If so, can the man,
who possesses that degree of activity without which he cannot commit
suicide, be incapable of being farther useful to society?

Depressed and gloomy as his state of mind was, Mr. Wilmot testified
great satisfaction at our rencontre; and the interest which I
unfeignedly took in his welfare soon revived all his former affection
for me. My veneration for his virtues, love for his genius, and pity
for his misfortunes, tended to calm his still fluttering and agitated
spirits. Unfortunate as he himself had been, or at least had thought
himself, in his love of literature and poetry, it yet gave him
pleasure to find that the same passion was far from having abated
in me. He called it a bewitching illusion; Turl affirmed it was a
beneficial and noble propensity of soul.

We none of us had a wish to separate, for the imagination of each was
teeming with that sedate yet full flow of sentiment which, as Milton
has so beautifully described, melancholy can give. Mr. Wilmot had
supposed his sister was guilty with the bishop; and when I told her
story, with the addition of such probable circumstances as I myself
had collected, it afforded him very considerable relief to find that
the suspicions to which appearances gave birth had been false.

I did not conceal the desire I had to know by what train of accidents
he had been led into a state of such deep despondency; and he thus
kindly gratified my wish.


HISTORY OF MR. WILMOT

'The narrative given by my sister, which you, Mr. Trevor, have already
repeated, precludes the necessity of any detail concerning my origin.
Nor is origin in my opinion of the least moment, except as it displays
the habits and growth of mind, and shews how the man became such
as we find him to be. At what period of my existence that activity
of inquiry, and those energetic aspirings began, which to me were
afterward the source of the extremes of joy and sorrow, I cannot tell;
but I believe the quality of ardour, though probably not born with us,
is either awakened in early infancy or seldom if ever attains strength
and maturity. I could not only read with uncommon accuracy and ease,
while very young, but can remember I made efforts to reason with my
father, the major, on what I read, when I was little more than six
years old.

'He, though a man rather of irritable feelings than profound research,
was not destitute of literature; and encouraged a propensity in me
that was flattering to himself, as the father of a boy remarked
for his promising talents; which talents he supposed might lead to
distinctions that he had been unsuccessfully ambitious to obtain.

'He considered himself as one of the most unfortunate of men.
Imagining personal bravery to be the essence of the military
character, he had eagerly cherished that quality; and, having given
incontestible proofs that he possessed it in an eminent degree, to be
afterward overlooked was, in his judgment, too flagrant an instance of
public as well as private ingratitude to be ever pardoned. It was the
daily subject of his thoughts, and theme of his discourse; and I have
great reason to conjecture that the habitual discontent that preyed
upon his mind, and embittered his life, especially the latter part of
it, communicated itself to me. I was educated in the belief that the
world is blind to merit, continually suffers superior virtue to linger
in indigence and neglect, and is therefore an odious, unjust, and
despicable world.

'I own I have at some few intervals doubted of this doctrine; and
supposed in conformity to your opinion, Mr. Turl, that failure is
rather the consequence of our own mistakes, impatience, and efforts
ill directed, than of society: but the ill success of my own efforts,
aided perhaps by the prejudices which I received from my father,
have preponderated; and made me it may be too frequently incline to
melancholy, and misanthropy. What can be said? Are not the rich and
powerful continually oppressing talents, genius, and virtue? Is the
general sense of mankind just in its decisions?

'Beside, an appeal to the general sense of mankind is not always
in our power; and that the proceedings of individuals are often
flagrantly unjust cannot be denied. In the school where I was educated
I was a frequent and painful witness of honours partially bestowed;
and prizes and applause awarded to others, that were indubitably due
to me. When the rich and the powerful visited the seminary, the sons
of the rich and the powerful gained all their attention. Conscious as
I could not but be of my own superior claims, I was overlooked!

'Perhaps I felt the repetition of these and similar acts of injustice
too severely. Yet, are they not odious? I own the remembrance of them
ever has been, and is, intensely painful; and the pain is almost
unremittingly prolonged by what every man, who is not wilfully blind,
must daily see passing in the world. [Mr. Wilmot sighed deeply] Well
well! Would I could forget it!

'After many a bitter struggle in my boyish years to rise into notice,
few, very few indeed, of which were effectual, I still continued the
combat. In due time, as I was told, my efforts were amply rewarded!
But how? Instead of being forwarded in those more noble and beneficial
pursuits for which I think I had proved myself fitted, the effusions
of genius though known were never once remembered. Oh, no! I obtained,
with great difficulty and as an unmerited favour a charitable
condescension of power that knew not very well if it ought to be so
kind to a being so unprotected, yes, I obtained--the office of usher!
The honour of mechanically hearing declensions, conjugations, and
rules of syntax and prosody, repeated by beings who detested the
labour to which they were compelled, was conferred upon me! beings who
looked on me, not as a benefactor, but as a tyrant! And tyrants all
teachers indubitably are, under our present modes of education.

'Humbled and cowed as my genius was, by the drudgery and obscurity
to which it was consigned, I yet had the courage to continue those
labours by which alone mind is brought to maturity. Alive as I was to
a sense of injustice, I recollected that, even if my powers were equal
to all that I myself had fondly hoped from them, there were examples
of men with at least equal powers, who had been equally ill treated.
Equally did I say? Oh Otway! Oh Chatterton! What understandings, what
hearts, had those men who without an effort, without moving a finger
(not to do you justice, of that they were incapable, but) to preserve
you from famine, could suffer you to perish? It was needless to
repine! I consoled and reconciled myself to my fate as well as I was
able. I pursued my studies, read the poets of ancient and modern times
with unabating avidity, observed the actions and inquired into the
motives of men, and made unceasing attempts to develope the human
heart.

'Excluded as it were by the pride, luxury, and caprice of the world
from expanding my sensations, and wedding my soul to society, I was
constrained to bestow the strong affections that glowed consciously
within me upon a few. My mother and sister had a large share of them.
To skreen them from the indigence, obscurity, and neglect, to which
without my aid they must be doomed, was a hope that encouraged me in
the bold project I had conceived.

'I determined to dedicate myself to literature, poetry, and
particularly to the stage. Essays of the dramatic kind indeed had been
made by me very early. At length, I undertook a tragedy; as a work
which, if accomplished with the degree of perfection that I hoped it
would be, must at once establish my true rank in society, relieve the
wants of my family, and be a passport for me to every man of worth
and understanding in the world. How little did I know the world! Fond
fool! Over credulous idiot! What cares the world for the toils and
struggles, the restless days and sleepless nights of the man of
genius! I am ashamed to think I could be so miserably mistaken!

'The ardour with which I began my work, the deep consideration I gave
to every character, the strong emotions I felt while composing it,
the minute attention I paid to all its parts, and the intense labour
I bestowed in planning, writing, correcting, and completing it, were
such as I believed must insure success.

'Surely mankind can be but little aware of the uncommon anxieties,
pains, and talents that must contribute to the production of such
a work; or their reception of it, when completed, would be very
different! They would not suffer, surely they would not, as they so
frequently do, this or that senseless blockhead to frustrate the
labour of years, blast the poet's hopes, and render the birth of
genius abortive!

'My tragedy at length was written; and by some small number, whose
judgment I consulted, was approved: never indeed with that enthusiasm
which I, perhaps the overweening author, imagined it must have
excited; but it was approved. "I was a young man of some merit; it
was more than they had expected." Nay, I have met with some liberal
critics, who have appeared modestly to doubt whether they themselves
should have written better!

'Before I made the experiment, I had supposed that every man, whose
wealth or power gave him influence in society, would start up, the
moment it was known that an obscure individual, the usher of a school,
had written a tragedy; not only to protect and produce it to the
world, but to applaud and honour the author! Would secure him from
the possibility of want, load him with every token of respect,
and affectionately clasp him to their bosom! The indifference and
foolish half-faced kind of wonder, as destitute of feeling as of
understanding, with which it was received, by the persons on whom I
had depended for approbation and support, did more than astonish me;
it pained, disgusted, and jaundiced my mind!

'The only consolation I could procure was in supposing that the
inhabitants of the city were I resided, were deficient in literary
taste; and that at a more polished place, where knowledge, literature,
and poetry were more diffused, I should meet a very different
reception. Experience only can cure the unhackneyed mind of its
erroneous estimates!

'London however and its far famed theatres were the objects at which
my ambition long had aimed; and thither after various doubts and
difficulties it was decreed I should go. The profits of my place I had
dedicated to the relief of my family, and my mother's great fear was
that, going up to London so ill provided, I should perish there for
want. Of this I was persuaded there could be no danger, and at length
prevailed.

'The danger however was not quite so imaginary as I in the fervour of
hope had affirmed it to be. The plan I proposed was to get another
usher's place, in or near town, till I could bring my piece upon the
stage. This I attempted, and made various applications, which all
failed; some because, though I understood Greek, I could not teach
merchant's accounts, or spoil paper by flourishes and foppery, which
is called writing a fine hand; and others because, as I suppose,
persons offered themselves whose airs, or humility, or other
usher-like qualifications, that had no relation to learning, pleased
their employers better than mine.

'I soon grew weary of these degrading attempts and turned my
thoughts to a more attractive resource. While in the country, I had
frequently sent little fugitive pieces, to be inserted in periodical
publications; and now, on inquiry, I found there were people who were
paid for such productions. I made the experiment; and after a variety
of fruitless efforts succeeded in obtaining half a guinea a week
from an evening paper; which I supplied with essays, little poetical
pieces, and other articles, much faster than they chose to print them.

'In the interim, the grand object for which I had left the country
was not neglected. It is a common mistake to imagine that, to get a
piece upon the stage, it is necessary to procure a patron, by whom it
shall be recommended. To this I was advised; and, in consequence of
this advice, wrote letters to three different persons, whose rank in
society I imagined would insure a reception at the theatre to the
piece which they should protect. I supposed that every such person,
who should hear of a poet who had written a tragedy, would rejoice in
the opportunity of affording him aid, and instantly stand forth his
patron.

'In this spirit I wrote my three letters; and received no answer to
any one of them! Amazed at this, I went to the houses of the great
people I had addressed; but my face was unknown! Not one of them was
at home! I could gain no admission! When now and then suffered to wait
in the hall, I saw dancing-masters, buffoons, gamblers, beings of
every species that could mislead the head and corrupt the heart, come
and go without ceremony; but to a poet all entrance was denied; for
such chosen society he was unfit. The very rabble, with which these
pillared lounging places swarm, looked on him with a suspicious and
half contemptuous eye; that insolently inquired what business had he
there? Were the slaves and menials of Mæcenas such? Was it thus at the
Augustan court; when the lord of the conquered world sat banqueting
with Virgil on his right hand and Horace on his left?

'Why did I read and remember stories so seductive? Why did I foolishly
place all my happiness in the approbation of the great vulgar or
the small; forgetting that approbation neither adds to virtue nor
diminishes? Perhaps, and indeed I fear, my mind was warped. Yet surely
the neglect and even odium in which the unobtruding man of genius is
at present overwhelmed, is a damning accusation against the rich and
titled great.

'It was long however before I entirely disdained these abject and
fruitless efforts. On one occasion I was fortunate enough, as I
absurdly thought, to get introduced to a Marquis. It was an awful
honour, to which I was unused; and instead of addressing him with the
frothy and impertinent levity which characterized his own manners,
and which he encouraged in the creatures that were admitted to his
familiarity, I stood confounded, expecting he should have read my
play, which I had transcribed for his perusal, have understood the
value of the poet who could write it, and have been anxious to relieve
that acuteness of sensibility which overclouded and hid the man of
genius in the timid, abashed, and too cowardly author. He spoke to me
indeed, nay condescended to repeat two or three of the newest literary
anecdotes that had been retailed to him from the blue-stocking-club,
and then civilly dismissed me to give audience to a Dutch
bird-fancier, who had brought him a piping bulfinch. But I saw him no
more, he was never afterward at home. I was one of a class of animals
that a Marquis never admits into his collection. My tragedy when
applied for by letter was returned; with "sorrow that indispensible
engagements had prevented him from reading it; but requested a copy as
soon as it should appear in print." For which, should such a strange
event have come to pass, I suppose I should have been insulted with
the gift perhaps of one guinea, perhaps of five. And thus a Marquis
discharged a duty which his rank and power so well enabled him to
perform! But, patience! The word poet shall be remembered with
everlasting honour, when the title Marquis shall--Pshaw!

'On another occasion an actress, who, strange to tell, happened very
deservedly to be popular, and whom before she arrived at the dignity
of a London theatre I had known in the country, recommended me to a
dutchess. To this dutchess I went day after day; and day after day
was subjected for hours to the prying, unmannered, insolence of her
countless lacquies. This time she was not yet stirring, though it was
two o'clock in the afternoon; the next she was engaged with an Italian
vender of artificial flowers; the day after the prince and the devil
does not know who beside were with her; and so on, till patience and
spleen were at daggers drawn.

'At last, from the hall I was introduced to the drawing-room, where I
was half amazed to find myself. Could it be real? Should I, after all,
see a creature so elevated; so unlike the poor compendium of flesh and
blood with which I crawled about the earth? Why, it was to be hoped
that I should!

'Still she did not come; and I stood fixed, gazing at the objects
around me, longer perhaps than I can now well guess. The carpet was so
rich that I was afraid my shoes would disgrace it! The chairs were so
superb that I should insult them by sitting down! The sofas swelled
in such luxurious state that for an author to breathe upon them would
be contamination! I made the daring experiment of pressing with a
single finger upon the proud cushion, and the moment the pressure was
removed it rose again with elastic arrogance; an apt prototype of the
dignity it was meant to sustain.--Though alone, I blushed at my own
littleness!

'Two or three times, the familiars of the mansion skipped and glided
by me; in at this door and out at that; seeing yet not noticing me. It
was well they did not, or I should have sunk with the dread of being
mistaken for a thief; that had gained a furtive entrance, to load
himself with some parcel of the magnificence that to poverty appeared
so tempting!

'This time however I was not wholly disappointed: I had a sight of
the dutchess, or rather a glimpse. "Her carriage was waiting. She had
been so infinitely delayed by my lord and my lady, and his highness,
and Signora! Was exceedingly sorry! Would speak to me another time,
to-morrow at three o'clock, but had not a moment to spare at present",
and so vanished!

'Shall I say she treated me proudly, and made me feel my
insignificance? No. The little that she did say was affable; the tone
was conciliating, the eye encouraging, and the countenance expressed
the habitual desire of conferring kindness. But these were only
aggravating circumstances, that shewed the desirableness of that
intercourse which to me was unattainable. I say to me, for those who
had a less delicate sense of propriety, who were more importunate,
more intruding, and whose forehead was proof against repulse, were
more successful. By such people she was besieged; on such she lavished
her favours, till report said that she impoverished herself; for a
tale of distress, whether feigned or real, if obtruded upon her, she
knew not how to resist.

'What consolation was this to me? I was not of the begging tribe. I
came with a demand at sight upon the understanding, which whoever
refused to pay disgraced themselves rather than the drawer.

'She mistook my character, and the next day at three o'clock, instead
of seeing me herself, sent me ten guineas in a note, by her French
maitre d'hotel; which chinked as they slided from side to side, and
proclaimed me a pauper! My heart almost burst with indignation! Yet,
coward that I was! I wanted the fortitude to refuse the polluted
paper! I thought it would be an affront, and still fed myself with the
vain hope of procuring from her that countenance to my own labours
which I imagined they deserved, and which therefore I did not think it
any disgrace to solicit. The disgrace of reducing men of merit to such
humiliating situations was not mine.

'I went twice more; and was both times interrogated in French, by
the insolent maitre d'hotel, so as to convince me that he thought my
coming again so soon was a proof of no common degree of impudence.

'Oh Euripides! Oh Sophocles! Did not your sublime shades glide
wrathful by and menace the wretch in whom your divine art had been so
degraded? How did I pray, as I passed the scowling porter, for the
death of your great predecessor; that some eagle would drop a tortoise
on my head, and instantly crush me to atoms!

'I had been the more anxious after patronage, because I wished the
actress whom I have mentioned to play my heroine. There was no
tragedian whose powers were in the least comparable to hers. But
the difficulty of getting a piece on the stage, at the theatre to
which she belonged, all the town told me was incredible. It was a
chancery-suit, which no given time could terminate. The manager was
the most liberal of men, the best of judges, and the first of writers;
as void of envy as he was noble minded, and friendly to merit. Yes,
friendly in heart and act, when he could be prevailed on to act. But
his rare virtues and gifts were rendered useless, extinguished, by the
killing vice of procrastination. He never listened to a story that he
did not sympathize with the teller of it. The request must be a wild
one indeed which he did not feel an instant desire to grant. He would
promise with the most sincere and honest intentions to perform; but,
hurried away by new petitioners, or projects of a more grand and
important nature, he would with still greater facility forget. All who
knew him uniformly affirmed, a soul more expansive, more munificent,
could not inhabit a human form; yet, from this one defect, it was
frequently his fate where he intended an essential benefit to commit
an irreparable injury. He encouraged hopes that were never realized,
retarded the merit he meant to promote, and raised up personal enemies
who impeded his own utility; conspicuous and grand as this utility was
and is, it would otherwise have been unexampled.

'I speak the sentiments of men who I believe were incapable of
exaggeration. For my own part I have read his works, and I love him
almost to adoring.

'He is I know assaulted by an infinite number of affairs, that all
demand his attention. Many of them are totally beneath it, yet are
undertaken by him with a too ready compliance; averse as he is to give
the solicitor pain, and continually desirous to make every creature
happy. He can do but one thing at once. Of the multitude of things to
be done, not half are present to the memory at any one time; and, of
those that are remembered, what can he do but select the most urgent?
The mistake has often been rather in the too ready promise than in the
non-performance. If prevented by serious occupation, by love of the
chosen companions of his convivial hours, or by habits of forgetful
revery, from reading my tragedy and being just to me, I attribute
the neglect to its true cause; which certainly was not jealousy of,
or indifference to, the man of talents. How can he honour merit,
granting it to exist, with which he is unacquainted? Yet let me not be
misunderstood; though I love his comprehensive benevolence of soul, I
wish it were less undistinguishing:--I cannot applaud or approve the
errors into which it leads, both himself and those he means to serve.

'In a word, I could find no mode of securing his attention. I
endeavoured to fix it by the intervention of the great; who delighted
in his social qualities, did homage to his wit, and were ambitious of
his friendship. But in these attempts I likewise failed.

Hopeless therefore of aid from my favourite actress, I sent my play to
the other house. How was I relieved, after the delay I had endured
and the continual anxiety in which I had been kept, how delighted,
by hearing from the manager within a fortnight! He appointed an
interview, received me with affability, and immediately proceeded to
the business in question.

He began with telling me, he could have wished I had rather turned
my thoughts to the comic than the tragic muse; for tragedy was less
fashionable, and consequently less profitable both to the house and
the author, than comedy or opera. I sighed and answered, it was an ill
proof of public taste, when it could receive greater pleasure from
the unconnected scenes of an opera than from the fable, pathos, and
sublime emotions of tragedy. But I feared the fault was less in the
audience than in the poet; and added that the first fortunate writer
who should produce a tragedy such as had been written, and such as
I hoped it was possible again to write, would find audiences not
insensible to his merit.

'He replied, it may be so. I can only answer that each author
thinks himself the chosen bard you have described, and that each is
disappointed. I am pleased, Sir, continued he, with many parts of your
tragedy; but I think it has one great fault; it is too tragical: it
rather excites horror than terror. Whether the age be more refined or
more captious, more humanized or more effeminate than other ages have
been I will not pretend to determine; but you have written some scenes
that would not at present be endured. If you think proper to make such
alterations as shall soften and adapt them to the present taste, and
if I approve them when made, your piece shall then be performed.

'I knew not what to reply. The scenes to which he referred were
conceived, as I had imagined, in the bold but true stile of tragedy. I
intended them to produce a great effect; and was sorry to be informed,
as among other things I had been, that ladies would faint, fall into
hysterics, and be taken shrieking out of the boxes at hearing them. I
had no remedy but to submit, re-consider, and, by lowering the tone of
passion, perhaps spoil my tragedy!

'Oh what a tormenting trade is that of author! He that makes a chair,
a table, or any common utensil, brings his work home, is paid for his
labour, and there his trouble ends. It was quickly begun, and quickly
over; it excited little hope, but it met with no disappointment. The
author, on the contrary, has the labour of days, months, and years
to encounter. When he begins, his difficulties are immeasurable; and
while as he proceeds they seem to disappear, nay at the very moment
when he sometimes thinks them all conquered, he discovers that they
are but accumulated! Every part, every page, every period, have been
considered, and re-considered, with unremitting anxiety. He has
revised, re-written, corrected, expunged, again produced, and again
erased, with endless iteration. Points and commas themselves have been
settled with repeated and jealous solicitude.

'At length, as he thinks, his labour is over! He knows indeed that no
work of man was ever perfect; but, circumstanced as he is, the eager
prying of his own sleepless eye cannot discover what more to amend.
He produces the tedious fruits of incessant fatigue to the world, and
hopes the harvest will be in proportion to the unwearied and extreme
care he has bestowed. Poor man! Mistaken mortal! How could he imagine
that the sensations of multitudes should all correspond with his own?
Educated in schools so various, under circumstances so contradictory
and prejudices so different and distinct, how could he suppose
his mind was the common measure of man? Faultless? Perfect? Vain
supposition! Extravagant hope! The driver of a mill-horse, he who
never had the wit to make much less to invent a mouse-trap, will
detect and point out his blunders. All satisfied? No; not one! Not a
man that reads but will detail, reprove, and ridicule his dull witted
errors.

'Well! he finds he is mistaken, he pants after improvement, and
listens to advice. He follows it, alters, and again appears. What
is his success? Are cavilers less numerous? Absurd expectation! Do
critics unite in its praise? Ridiculous hope! If he would escape
censure, he must betake himself to a very different trade.

'It was the month of February when my tragedy was returned. The
season was far advanced: I had then been nearly twelve months held in
suspence; seeking the means of appearing before the public, soliciting
patronage, and indulging hope. My mother and sister depended much on
my aid. Out of the small pittance which the newspaper essays afforded,
I at first made a proportionate deduction; and lived, that is
contrived to exist, on the remainder.

'This could not long endure, and I sought other channels of emolument.
I wrote a novel, which I hawked about among the booksellers. Some of
them printed nothing in that way; others would venture to publish it,
and share the profits, but not advance a shilling. One of them offered
me five guineas for the two volumes, and told me it was a great price,
for he seldom gave more than three.

'At last, I was fortunate enough to obtain double the sum. It was
printed; but, being written in haste and in a state of mind entirely
adverse to that fine flow which is the token, the test, and the
triumph of genius, its success was less than I expected. Still however
it more than answered the hopes of the bookseller; and I think I may
safely affirm, it had marks of mind sufficient to excite applause,
mingled with the censure of just criticism.

'Did it obtain this applause? No--"A vulgar narrative of uninteresting
incidents"--was the laconic character given of it in that monthly
publication in which, from its reputed impartiality, I most hoped for
just and candid inquiry.

'Finding what a terrible animal a critic is, I determined to become
one myself. I made the first essay of my talents for censure on such
books as I could borrow, and sent my remarks to the magazines; into
which they were immediately admitted.

'Thus encouraged, I applied to the publisher of a new review, and
informed him of my course of reading, and of the languages and
sciences with which I was acquainted. My proposal was graciously
received, and I was admitted of that corps which has certainly done
much good, and much harm to literature.

'I entered on my new office with great determination; but I soon
discovered that, to a man of principle, who dare neither condemn nor
approve a book he has not read, it was a very unproductive employment.
It is the custom of the trade to pay various kinds of literary labour
by the sheet, and this among the rest. Thus it frequently happened
that a book, which would demand a day to peruse, was not worthy of
five lines of animadversion.

'This is the true source of feeble and false criticism; a task in
itself most difficult, and to which the chosen few alone are equal.
Deep investigation, scientific acquirement, an acute and comprehensive
mind, a correct and invigorating stile, and intelligence superior to
prejudice, and an undeviating conscientious spirit of rectitude, are
the rare endowments it requires. Its seat should be the summit of
mental attainment; for its office is to enlighten. It has to instruct
genius itself, and its powers should be equal to the hardy enterprise.
In fine, its object ought to be the love of truth; it is the lust of
gain. I need not expatiate on the consequences; they are self-evident.

Poor as the trade is, I exercised it with the scrupulous assiduity
of which I knew it to be worthy. My labour therefore was as great as
my emoluments were trifling; and, though I made no progress toward
fame and fortune, my efforts were unremitting. I mention these
circumstances to shew that my failure, in my attempts to gain what I
believe to be my true rank in society, did not originate either in
indolence, want of oeconomy, or any other neglect of mine. Day or
night, I was scarcely ever without either a book or a pen in my hand.
With the most sedulous industry and caution I endeavoured to render
justice as well to the works of others as to my own. My uniform study
was to increase knowledge, diffuse good taste, and, as I fondly hoped,
promote the general pleasure and happiness of mankind.

But, while I was anxiously caring for all, no one seemed to care for
me. I and my learning, taste and genius, if I possessed them, wandered
through the croud unnoticed; or noticed only to be scorned: insulted
by the vulgar, for the something in my manner which pretended to
distinguish me from themselves; and contemned by the proud and the
prosperous, because of the forlorn poverty of my appearance. Among
the fashionable and the fortunate, where I might have hoped to find
urbanity and the social polish of a civilized nation, I could gain
no admittance; for I had no title, kept no carriage, and was no
sycophant. The doors of the learned were shut upon me; for they were
doctors or dignitaries, in church, physic, or law. Of science they
were all satisfied they had enough: of profit, promotion, and the
other good things of which they were in full pursuit, I had none to
give. By my presence they would have been retarded, offended at the
freedom of my conversation, and by my friendship disgraced. They
sought other and far different associates.

'Bowed to the earth as I was by this soul-killing injustice, and
wearied by these incessant toils, I still did not neglect my tragedy
for an hour. I considered and reconsidered the objections that had
been made. I was convinced they were ill founded: but I was not left
to the exercise of my own judgment. I had no alternative. To lower the
tone of passion was in my opinion to injure my tragedy; but it must
be done, or must not be performed. The manager urged arguments that
were and perhaps could not but be satisfactory, to any man in his
situation: his experience of public taste was long and confirmed: the
nightly expences of a theatre made it a most serious concern: the risk
of every new piece was great, for the town was capricious. To obtain
all possible security against risk, therefore, was a duty.

'The reluctance with which alterations were made occasioned them to
be rather slow. At last however I finished them, as much to my own
satisfaction as could under such circumstances be expected; and a fair
copy, written as all the copies made of it were with my own hand, was
again sent to the manager.

'A week longer than in the former instances elapsed, before I heard
from him; and, when I did hear, the substance of his letter was that
he had a new comedy in preparation; which, it being then the middle of
March, would entirely fill up the remainder of the season!

'What could I do? No blame was imputable to him for the delay. It was
no fault of his that I was pursued by the malice of poverty; that I
was tormented with the desire of effectually relieving the necessities
of my family; that I had written to my mother and sister, in the
elated moment of hope, an assurance of being able to grant this relief
in a very few weeks; and that, buoyed up by these calculations, I had
indulged myself in procuring a suit of clothes and other necessaries,
of which I was in extreme need, on credit.

'Thou world of vice! thou iron-hearted senseless mass of madness
and folly! why did I ever dream that I had the power to arrest thy
headlong course, and fix thy bewildered wits, thy garish idiot eye
on me? On my weak efforts! my humble wishes! my craving wants! What
signs of luxury, what tokens of dissipation, what innumerable marks of
extravagant waste did I every where see around me, at the moment that
poverty was thus pinching me to the very bone! Here a vain mortal,
as insolent as uninstructed, drawn by six ponies; with a postillion
before and three idle fellows behind, pampered in vice, that he might
thus openly insult common sense, and thus publicly proclaim the folly
of his head to be as egregious as the insensibility of his heart was
hateful. There trifling and imbecile creatures, who, not satisfied
with the appellation woman, call themselves ladies, and expend
thousands on their routs, masked-balls, whipped creams, and other
froth and frippery, procured from the achs and pains and blood and
bones of the poor! Wretches more bent and weighed down by misery than
even I was!

'What need I to recall such pictures to your imaginations? Can
you look abroad and not behold them? Are not the vices of unequal
distribution to be met with in every corner, nook, and alley? Is not
the despotism of wealth, that is, of that property which the folly of
man so much reveres and worships, every where visible? Does it not
varnish vice, generate crime, and trample virtue and the virtuous in
the dust? Is the deep sense which I have entertained of the relentless
injustice of society all false?

'Impelled as I was by paltry yet pressing wants and debts that would
admit of no delay, I sought relief in endeavouring to raise money on
the presumptive profits of my tragedy. What can the wretch who is thus
besieged, thus hunted do, but yield? I had promised aid to my family;
and, depending on that promise which had been much too confidently
given, my mother was in danger of having her trifling effects seized;
my sister, whom I then tenderly loved, of being turned loose perhaps
into the haunts of infamy; and myself of being thrown into a loathsome
prison.

'My first attempt was a very wild one, and proved how little I yet
knew of mankind. I wrote a letter to a woman of great fame in the
literary world; the reputed writer of a work, the praises of which had
been often echoed, and whose wealth was immense. To such a person I
thought the appeal I had to make must come with resistless force. For
a man of literature, a poet, capable of writing a tragedy, that had
already been deemed worthy at least of attention from the theatre, and
of the merits of which she so well could judge, for such a man she
would be all kindness! all sensibility! all soul! What an incurable
dolt was I! Thus repeatedly to degrade the character of bard, and thus
too in vain. I blush!--No matter!

'I minutely detailed the circumstances of my case, to this female
leader of literature; and, assiduously endeavouring to avoid every
feature of meanness, requested the loan of one hundred pounds;
appealing for the probability of reimbursement to her own conceptions
of the rectitude of the mind that could produce the tragedy I sent,
and which I requested her first to read. She herself would judge of
the danger there might be of its condemnation. If she thought it would
fail, I then should be anxious that she should run no risk: but, if
not, the loan would be a most essential benefit to me, and perhaps a
pleasure to herself.

'Fool that I was, thus to estimate ladies' pleasures! Whether she
did or did not read my play I never knew; but this learned lady,
this patroness of letters, this be-prosed and be-rhymed dowager,
who professed to be the enraptured lover of poetry, wit and genius,
returned it with a formal cold apology, that was insulting by its
affected pity. "She was _extremely_ sorry to be obliged to refuse me!
_extremely_ sorry indeed! It would have given her _infinite_ pleasure
to have advanced me the sum I required; but she was then building
a _fine_ house, which demanded all the money she could _possibly_
spare."

'Why ay! She must have a fine house, with fifty fine rooms in it,
forty-nine of which were useless; while I, my mother, my sister, and
millions more, might perish without a hovel in which to shelter our
heads!

'Convinced at last of the futility of applications like these, I
sought an opposite resource. If men would not lend money to benefit
me, they would perhaps to benefit themselves. One of the actors,
with whom I became acquainted, informed me that there was a Jew, who
frequented all theatrical haunts, knew I had a play in the manager's
hands, and might possibly be induced to lend me the sum I wanted.
To this Jew I addressed myself, stated the merits of the case, and,
fearful of making too high a demand, requested a loan of seventy
pounds.

'His first question was concerning the security I had to give? I had
none! The Jew shook his head, and told me it was impossible to lend
money without security. I replied, that if making over the profits
of my tragedy to the amount of the principal and interest would but
satisfy him, to that I should willingly consent. Again he shrugged his
shoulders, and repeated it was very dangerous. Jews themselves, kind
as they were, could not lend money without security. Beside, money
was never so scarce as just at that moment. Indeed he had no such sum
himself; but he had an uncle, in Duke's Place, who, if I could but
get good _personal_ security, would supply me, on paying a premium
adequate to the risk.

'I must avoid being too circumstantial. I urged every incitement my
imagination could honestly suggest: he pretended to state the matter
to his uncle. The affair was kept in suspence, and I was obliged to
travel to Duke's Place at least a dozen times: but, at last I gave my
bond for a hundred pounds; for which I received fifty, and paid two
guineas out of it, on the demand of the nephew, for the trouble he
had taken in negociating the business; the uncle being the ostensible
person with whom it was transacted.

'Determined to secure my mother from want as far as was in my power,
I remitted the whole sum to her, except what was necessary to pay
my immediate debts; and blessed the Jew extortioner, as a man who,
compared to the learned lady, abounded in the milk of human kindness!

'By the continuance of my literary drudgery, the time passed away
to the middle of September; the season at which the winter theatres
usually open. I now felt tenfold anxiety concerning my tragedy. The
bond I had given at six months would soon become due; failure would
send me to prison, perhaps for life; it would disgrace me, would
distract my family, would cut short my hopes of fame, and the grand
progress which I sometimes fondly imagined I should make. Every way it
would be fatal! I trembled at its possibility. Success, which had so
lately appeared certain, seemed to become more and more dubious.

'During the summer, I had heard nothing from the manager. I now
inquired at the theatre, and was told he was at Bath, and would not
be in town in less than a fortnight. I waited with increasing fears,
haunted the play-house, and teazed the attendants at it with my
inquiries. Of these I soon perceived not only the sneers but the
duplicity; for, when the manager was returned to town, and, as I was
told by a performer, was actually in the theatre, they affirmed the
contrary! He had been, but was gone! I plainly read the lie in their
looks to each other. At that time it was new to me, and gave me
great pain; but I soon became accustomed though never reconciled to
their manners; which were characterized by that low cunning, that
supercilious mixture of insolence and meanness, that is always
detested by the honest and the open. A set of--Pshaw! They are
unworthy my remembrance.

'Finding the manager was now returned, I immediately wrote to him;
and a meeting was appointed three days after, at the theatre. He
then informed me there were still some few alterations, which he was
desirous should be immediately made; after which the tragedy should be
put into rehearsal, and performed in about three weeks.

This was happy news to me. I returned with an elated heart to make the
proposed corrections, finished them the same day, and again delivered
the piece into the manager's hands. He proceeded with a punctuality
that delighted me: the parts were cast, and the performers called to
the theatre to hear it read.

'This was a new scene, a new trial of patience, a new degradation.
Instead of that steady attention from my small audience which I
expected, that deep interest which I supposed the story must inspire,
suffusing them in tears or transfixing them in terror, the ladies and
gentlemen amused themselves with whispers, winks, jokes, titters, and
giggling; which, when they caught my attention and fixed my eye upon
the laughers, were turned into an affected gravity that added to the
insult. No heart panted! no face turned pale! no eye shed a tear!
and, if I were to judge from this experiment, a more uninteresting
soul-less piece had never been written. But the manager was not
present, and I was not a person of consequence enough to command
respect or ceremony, from any party. I complained to him of the total
want of effect in my tragedy, over the passions of the actors; but he
treated that as a very equivocal sign indeed, and of no worth.

'There was another circumstance, of which he informed me, that to him
and as it afterward proved to me was of a much more serious nature.
They had not been altogether so inattentive as I had imagined. Amid
their monkey tricks and common place foolery, their hearts had been
burning with jealousy of each other. Neither men nor women were
satisfied with their parts. I had three male and two female characters
of great importance in the play, but rising in gradation. Of the first
of these all the actors were ambitious; and one of them who knew his
own consequence, and that the manager could not carry on the business
of the theatre at that time without him, threw up his part.

'In vain did I plead, write, and remonstrate. No reasons, no motives
of generosity or of justice, to the manager, the piece, or the public,
could prevail; and his aid, though most essential, could not be
obtained. Had the part been totally beneath his abilities, his plea
would have been good; but it was avowedly, in the manager's opinion
and in the opinion of every other performer, superior to half of
those he nightly played. That it could have disgraced or injured him
partiality itself could not affirm.

'And is the poet, after having spent a life in that deep investigation
of the human heart which alone can enable him to write a play, whose
efforts must be prodigious, and, if he succeed, his pathos, wit, and
genius, rare, is he, after all his struggles, to be at the mercy of an
ignorant actor or actress? who, so far from deeply studying the sense,
frequently do not remember the words they ought to repeat!

'Every _mister_ is discontented with the character allotted him, each
envies the other, and mutters accusations against both author and
manager. Sir won't speak the prologue, it is not in his way; and Madam
will have the epilogue, or she will positively throw up her part.
One gentleman thinks his dialogue too long and heavy, and t'other
too short and trifling. This fine lady refuses to attend rehearsals:
another comes, but has less of the spirit of the author at the fifth
repetition than she had at the first. Of their parts individually
they know but very little; of the play as a whole they are absolutely
ignorant. On the first representation, by which the reputation of a
play is decided, they are so confused and imperfect, owing partly to
their imbecility but more still to their indolence, that the sense
of the author is mutilated, his characters travestied, and his piece
rather burlesqued than performed. The reality of the scene depends
on the passions excited in the actor listening almost as essentially
as in the actor speaking; but at the end of each speech the player
supposes his part is over: the arms, attitude, and features, all sink
into insignificance, and have no more meaning than the face of Punch
when beating Joan.

'Of the reality of this picture I soon had full proof. My tragedy,
after a number of rehearsals, during which all these vexatious
incidents and many more were experienced by me, was at length
performed. To say that the applause it received equalled my
expectations would be false: but it greatly exceeded the expectations
of others. It was materially injured by the want of the actor who
had refused his part. The reigning vice of recitation, which since
the death of Garrick has again prevailed, injured it more. The tide
of passion, which should have rushed in torrents and burst upon the
astonished ear, was sung out in slow and measured syllables, with a
monotonous and funeral cadence, painful in its motion, and such as
reminded me of the Sloth and his horrid cry: plaintive indeed, but
exciting strange disgust!

'My success however was thought extraordinary. The actors when the
play was over swarmed into the green-room, to congratulate me. The
actresses were ready to kiss me; good natured souls! The green-room
loungers, newspaper critics, authors, and pretended friends of the
house flocked round me, to wish me joy and stare at that enviable
animal a successful poet. One of them, himself an approved writer of
comedy, offered me five hundred pounds for the profits of my piece,
and as far as money was concerned I thought my fortune was made:
doubts and difficulties were fairly over, and the reward of all my
toils was at last secure. Sanguine blockhead, thus everlastingly to
embitter my own cup of sorrow! Secure? Oh no! The nectar of hope was
soon dashed from my lips.

'I must detail the causes of this reverse; they were various and
decisive.

'It had been the custom on the appearance of every new play to give
it what is called a run, that is to perform it without intermission
as many nights as the house should continue to be tolerably filled.
The managers of both theatres had at this time deemed the practice
prejudicial, and determined to reform it. Of this reform I was the
victim. My play was the first that appeared after the resolution
had been taken; and, in the bills of the day which announced the
performance of my tragedy for the Saturday evening, the public were
advertised that another piece would be acted on Monday. Ignorant of
the true reason, the town misinterpreted this notice into an avowal
that no favourable expectations were formed of my tragedy; and, as
the author was an obscure person whose name was totally unknown to
the world, none of that public curiosity on which popularity depends
was excited.

'This was but one of the damning causes. My play appeared about the
middle of October, when the season continued to be fine: the citizens
were all at the watering places, the court was at Windsor, the
parliament had not met, and the town was empty.

'To add to all this, one of the performers was taken ill on the second
night. Another of them thought proper to ride over to Egham races, on
the third; where he got drunk and absented himself from the theatre;
so that substitutes were obliged to be found for both the parts. In
fine though some few, struck as they affirmed with the merits of the
play, were just enough to attempt to bring it into public esteem, it
gradually sunk into neglect. My third night, after paying the expences
of the house, produced me only twenty pounds. On the sixth night, the
receipts were less than the charges, and it was played no more. The
overplus of the third night was little more than sufficient to defray
the deficiences of the sixth; and thus vanished my golden dreams of
profit, prosperity, and fame!

'The evil did not rest here. I was in danger of all the misfortunes I
had foreseen from the Jew, and the bond. There was not only hardship
and severity but injustice in my case, and I determined to remonstrate
to the manager. My mind was sore and my appeal was spirited, but
proper: it was an appeal to his equity.

'He listened to me, acknowledged I had been unfortunate, and said
that, though the theatre could not and ought not to be accountable
for my loss, yet some compensation he thought was justly my due. He
therefore gave me a draft on his treasurer for one hundred pounds, and
wished me better success in future.

'This it is true was of the most essential service to me; it relieved
me, not only from imprisonment, but from the degradation of having my
honesty questioned. It did not however restore me to the hope that
should have rouzed me to greater exertions.

'Some new efforts indeed I was obliged to make; for the time consumed
in revising my tragedy, and attending rehearsals, had occasioned me
to neglect other pursuits, and I was again some few pounds in debt.
No dread of labour, no degree of misery could induce me to leave
these debts unpaid. I therefore worked and starved till they were all
discharged: after which I returned to the country, and became usher at
the school where I first knew you, Mr. Trevor.

'To paint the family distresses that succeeded, the disgrace, the
infamy that attended them, the wretchedness that afterward preyed upon
me, till I could endure no more, were needless. I was satisfied that I
had a right to end a state of suffering, and to be rid of a world that
considers itself as burthened not benefited by such creatures as I am.
At torments after death, concerning which bigotry and cunning have
invented such horrid fables, accusing and blaspheming a God whom they
pretend to adore of tyranny the most monstrous, and injustice the most
abhorred, at tales like these I laughed.

'You, Mr. Turl, say you can shew me better arguments, moral motives
that are indispensable, why I ought to live. These are assertions, of
which I must consider. You have restored me to life: prove that you
have done me a favour! Of that I doubt! My first sensation, after
recovering my faculties, was anger at your officious pity: shew me
that it was ill timed and unjust. If you have reduced me to the
necessity of again debating the same painful and gloomy question, if
you cannot give that elasticity to my mind which will animate it to
despise difficulty and steel it against injustice, however good your
intentions may have been, I fear you have but imposed misery upon me.'



CHAPTER X


_Remarks on the mistakes of Mr. Wilmot, by Turl: Law, or important
truths discussed; to which few will attend, fewer will understand, and
very few indeed will believe_


The state of mind into which his mistakes had brought him rendered
Wilmot an object of compassion. The tone in which he concluded
testified the alarming errors into which he was still liable to fall.
For this reason, though Turl treated him with all possible humanity
and tenderness, he considered it as dangerous to him, and scarcely
less so to me, on whom he perceived the strong impression the
narrative had made, to be silent. With a voice and countenance
therefore of perfect urbanity, he thus replied.

'Do not imagine, Mr. Wilmot, that I have not been deeply penetrated
by your sufferings; that I am insensible of your uncommon worth, or
that I approve the vices of society, and the injustice and unfeeling
neglect with which you have been treated. Thousands are at this moment
subject to the same oppression.

'But the province of wisdom is not to lament over our wrongs: it is
to find their remedy. Querulous complaint (Pardon me, if my words
or expressions have any ill-timed severity: indeed that is far from
my intention.) Querulous complaint is worthy only of the infancy of
understanding. The world is unjust: and why? Because it is ignorant.
Ought that to excite either complaint or anger? Would not the energies
of intellect be more worthily employed in removing the cause, by the
communication of knowledge?

'You bid me restore the elasticity of your mind. Can you look round on
the follies and mistakes of men, which you have the power to detect,
expose, and in part reform, and be in want of motive? You demand
that I should communicate to you the desire of life. Can you have a
perception of the essential duties that you are fitted to perform, and
dare you think of dying?

'You have been brooding over your own wrongs, which your distorted
fancy has painted as perhaps the most insufferable in the whole circle
of existence! How could you be so blind? Look at the mass of evil, by
which you are surrounded! What is its origin? Ignorance. Ignorance is
the source of all evil; and there is one species of ignorance to which
you and men like you have been egregiously subject: ignorance of
the true mode of exercising your rare faculties; ignorance of their
unbounded power of enjoyment.

'You have been persuaded that this power was destroyed, by the
ridiculous distinctions of rich and poor. Oh, mad world! Monstrous
absurdity! Incomprehensible blindness! Look at the rich! In what are
they happy? In what do they excel the poor? Not in their greater
stores of wealth: which is but a source of vice, disease, and death;
but in a little superiority of knowledge; a trifling advance toward
truth. How may this advantage be made general? Not by the indulgence
of the desires you have fostered; the tendency of which was vicious;
but by retrenching those false wants, that you panted to gratify; and
thus by giving leisure to the poor or rather to all mankind, to make
the acquirement of knowledge the grand business of life.

'This is the object on which the attention of every wise man should
be turned. He that by precept or example shall prevail on community
to relinquish one superfluous dish, one useless and contemptible
trapping, will be the general friend of man. He who labours for
riches, to countenance by his practice their abuse, is labouring to
secure misery to himself, and perpetuate it in society. Who ought to
be esteemed the most rich? He whose faculties are the most enlarged.
How wealthy were you, had you but known it, at the moment your mind
was distracting itself by these dirges of distress.

'He that would riot in luxury, let him wait the hour of appetite; and
carry his morsel into the harvest field. There let him seat himself on
a bank, eat, and cast his eyes around. Then, while he shall appease
the cravings of hunger (not pamper the detestable caprice of gluttony)
let him remember how many thousands shall in like manner be fed, by
the plenty he every where beholds. How poor and pitiable a creature
would he be, were his pleasure destroyed, or narrowed, because the
earth on which it was produced was not what he had absurdly been
taught to call his own!

'You complain that the titled and the dignified rejected your
intercourse. How could you thus mistake your true rank? How exalted
was it, compared to the ridiculous arrogance you envied! Were you now
visiting Bedlam, would you think yourself miserable because its mad
inhabitants despised you, for not being as mighty a monarch as each of
themselves? But little depth of penetration is necessary, to perceive
that the lunatics around us are no less worthy of our laughter and our
pity.

'If I do not mistake, you, Mr. Trevor, are hurrying into the very
errors that have misled your noble minded friend and instructor.
Your active genius is busying itself how to obtain those riches and
distinctions on which you have falsely supposed happiness depends. You
are in search of a profession, by which your fortune is to be made.
Beware! Notwithstanding that I am frequently assaulted by the same
kind of folly myself, I yet never recollect it without astonishment!'

While Turl confined the application of his precepts to Wilmot, I
listened and assented with scarcely a doubt: but, the moment he
directed them against me, I turned upon him with all the force to
which by my passions and fears I was rouzed.

'What,' said I, 'would you persuade me to renounce those pursuits by
which alone I can gain distinction and respect in society? Would you
have me remain in poverty, and thus relinquish the dearest portion of
existence?'

Olivia was full in my thoughts, as I spoke.

'Of what worth would life be, were I so doomed? Rather than accept it
on such terms, were there ten thousand Serpentine rivers I would drown
in them all!'

Turl glanced significantly first at me and then at Wilmot. 'Do you
consider the danger, the possible consequences, of the doctrine you
are now inculcating, Mr. Trevor?'

Too much devoured by passion to attend to his reproof, in the sense
he meant it, I retorted in a still louder key. 'I can discover no ill
consequences in being sincere. I repeat, were there millions of seas,
I would sooner drown in them all! You are continually pushing your
philosophy to extremes, Mr. Turl.'

'You should rather say, Mr. Trevor, you are pushing your want of
philosophy to an extreme.'

'The self denial you require is not in the nature of man.'

'The nature of man is a senseless jargon. Man is that which he is made
by the various occurrences to which he is subjected. Those occurrences
continually differ; no two men, therefore, were ever alike. But how
are you to obtain the wealth and dignity you seek? By honest means?'

'Can you suppose me capable of any other?'

'Alas! How universal, how dangerous, are the mistakes of mankind! Your
hopes are childish. The law, I understand, is your present pursuit.
Do you suppose it possible to practise the law, in any form, and be
honest?'

'Sir!--Mr. Turl?--You amaze me! Where is the dishonesty of pleading
for the oppressed?'

'How little have you considered the subject! How ignorant are you of
the practice of the law! Oppressed? Do counsel ever ask who is the
oppressed? Do they refuse a brief because the justice of the case is
doubtful? Do they not always inquire, not what is justice, but, what
is law? Do they not triumph most, and acquire most fame, when they can
gain a cause in the very teeth of the law they profess to support and
revere? Who is the greatest lawyer? Not he who can most enlighten, but
he who can most perplex and confound the understanding of his hearers!
He who can best brow-beat and confuse witnesses; and embroil and
mislead the intellect of judge and jury. Yet the mischiefs I have
mentioned are but the sprouts and branches of this tree of evil; its
root is much deeper: it is in the law itself; and in the system of
property, of which law is the support.'

'Pshaw! These are the distempered dreams of reform run mad.'

'Are they? Consider! Beware of the mischief of deciding rashly! Beware
of your passions, that are alarmed lest they should be disappointed.'

'It is you that decide. Prove this rooted evil of law.'

'Suppose me unable to prove it: are its consequences the less real?
But I will endeavour.

'He, who is told that, "to do justice is to conduce with all his power
to the well being of the whole," has a simple intelligible rule for
his conduct.

'He, on the contrary, who is told that, "to do justice is to obey the
law," has to inquire, not what is justice! but, what is the law? Now
to know the law, (were it practicable!) would be not only to know
the statutes at large by rote, but all the precedents, and all the
legal discussions and litigations, to which the practitioners of law
appeal! Innumerable volumes, filled with innumerable subtleties and
incoherencies, and written in a barbarous and unintelligible jargon,
must be studied! Memory is utterly inadequate to the task; and reason
revolts, spurns at and turns from it with loathing.

'A short statement of facts will, in my opinion, demonstrate that law,
in its origin and essence, is absolutely unjust.

'To make a law is to make a rule, by which a certain class of future
events shall be judged.

'Future events can only be partially and imperfectly foreseen.

'Consequently, the law must be partial and imperfect.

'Let us take the facts in another point of view--The law never varies.

'The cases never agree.

'The law is general.

'The case is individual.

'The penalty of the law is uniform.

'The justice or injustice of the case is continually different.

'To prejudge any case, that is, to give a decided opinion on it while
any of the circumstances remain unknown, is unjust even to a proverb.
Yet this is precisely what is done, by making a law.'

'This is strange doctrine, Mr. Turl!'

'Disprove the facts, Mr. Trevor. They are indisputable; and on them
the following syllogism may indisputably be formed.

'To make a law is publicly to countenance and promote injustice.

'Publicly to countenance and promote injustice is a most odious and
pernicious action.

'Consequently, to make a law is a most odious and pernicious action.

'How unlimited are the moral mischiefs that result! To make positive
laws is to turn the mind from the inquiry into what is just, and
compel it to inquire what is law!

'To make positive laws is to habituate and reconcile the mind to
injustice, by stamping injustice with public approbation!

'To make positive laws is to deaden the mind to that constant and
lively sense of what is just and unjust, to which it must otherwise be
invariably awake, by not only encouraging but by obliging it to have
recourse to rules founded in falsehood!

'Each case is law to itself: that is, each case ought to be decided by
the justice, or the injustice arising out of the circumstances of that
individual case; and by no other case or law whatever; for the reason
I have already given, that there never were nor ever can be two cases
that were not different from each other.

'I therefore once more warn you, Mr. Trevor, that law is a pernicious
mass of errors; and that the practitioners of it can only thrive by
the mischiefs which they themselves produce, the falsehoods they
propagate, and the miseries they inflict!'

'This would be dangerous doctrine to the preacher, were it heard in
Westminster hall.'

'I am sorry for it! I am sorry that man can be in danger from his
fellow men, because he endeavours to do them good!'



CHAPTER XI


_Painful meditations: A new project for acquiring wealth: A journey to
Bath_


That the reader may judge of the arguments of Turl, I have been
anxious to state them simply; and not perplexed with the digressions,
commentaries, cavils, and violent opposition they met with from me.
Striking as they did at the very root of all my promised pleasures,
how could I listen and not oppose? Destroying as they did all my
towering hopes at a breath, what could I do but rave? When my
arguments and my anger were exhausted, I sat silent for a while,
sunk in melancholy revery. At length I recovered myself so far as to
endeavour to console Mr. Wilmot, offer him every assistance in my
power, and persuade him to an interview with his sister. Aided by
the benevolent arguments of Turl, this purpose was with some little
difficulty effected, and I returned home to relate to Miss Wilmot what
had happened.

In very bitterness of soul I then began to meditate on the prospect
before me. The sensations I experienced were at some moments
agonizing! Could I even have renounced fame and fortune, and patiently
have resigned myself to live in obscure poverty, yet to live, as in
such a case I must do, without Olivia would be misery to which no
arguments could induce me to submit. But how obtain her? Where were
all my bright visions fled? Poor Wilmot! What an example did he afford
of ineffectual struggles, talents neglected, and genius trampled in
the dust! Was there more security for me? Turl indeed seemed to resign
himself without a murmur, and to be happy in despite of fate. But he
had no Olivia to regret! If he had, happiness without her would be
impossible!

To attempt to repeat all the tormenting fears that hurried and
agitated my mind, on this occasion, were fruitless. Suffice it to
say, this was one of those severe conflicts to which by education and
accident I was subject; and it was not the least painful part of the
present one that I could come to no decision.

I persuaded myself indeed that, with respect to law, Turl's reasoning
was much too severe and absolute. It was true I could not but own
that law was inclined to debase and corrupt the morals of its
practitioners; but surely there were exceptions, and if I pursued the
law why should not I be one of them. If therefore the happiness at
which I aimed were attainable by this means, I asserted to myself that
I had heard no reasons which ought to deter me from practising the
law.

In the mean time, I had conceived a project that related to the
immediate state of my feelings; the acuteness of which I was obliged
to seek some method to appease. Olivia was gone to Bath, with her
aunt; and thither I was determined to follow her.

Full of this design, I dispatched Philip with orders that a post
chaise should be ready at the door by nine o'clock the next morning;
after which, to rid myself as much as possible of the thoughts that
haunted me, I once more went in search of the false Belmont.

I found him at the usual place engaged at play. The betting was high,
he appeared to be overmatched, and for a few games his antagonist,
who like himself was a first rate player, triumphed. My passions
were always of the touch-wood kind. Rouzed and tempted by the bets
that were so plentifully offered, the thought suddenly occurred how
possible it was for a man of penetration, who could keep himself
perfectly cool, as I was persuaded I could (What was there indeed
that I persuaded myself I could not do?) to make a fortune by
gambling! I did not indeed call it by the odious term gambling: it
was calculation, foresight, acuteness of discernment. My morality was
fast asleep; so intent was I on profiting by this new and surprisingly
certain source of wealth! and so avaricious of the means that at a
glance seemed to promise the gratification of all my desires!

I had not frequented a billiard table without have exercised my own
skill, learned the odds, and obtained a tolerable knowledge of the
game itself. So fixed was my cupidity on its object that I began with
the caution of a black-leg; made a bet, and the moment the odds turned
in my favour secured myself by taking them; hedged again, as the
advantage changed; and thus made myself a certain winner. I exulted in
my own clearness of perception! and wondered that so palpable a method
of winning should escape even an idiot!

The experience however of a few games taught me that my discovery was
not quite of so lucrative a nature as I had supposed. The odds did not
every game vary, from side to side; people were not always inclined
to bet the odds; and, if I would run no great risk, I even found it
necessary to bet them sometimes myself. Every man who has made the
experiment knows that the thirst of lucre, when thus awakened in a
young mind, is insatiable, impetuous, and rash. I was weary of petty
gains, and riches by retail. The ardour with which I examined the
players, and each circumstance as it occurred, persuaded me that there
were tokens by which an acute observer might discover the winning
party. I had on former occasions remarked that players but rarely win
game and game alternately, even when they leave off equal; but that
success has a tide, with a kind of periodical ebb and flow. This said
I may be attributed to the temper of the players; the loser is too
angry to attend with sufficient caution to his game; he persuades
himself that luck is against him, strikes at random, and does mischief
every stroke. After a while the winner grows careless, loses a game,
and becomes angry and conquered in turn.

Exulting in my prodigious penetration, and fortified in my daring by
reasoning so deep, I determined to hedge no more bets. Belmont, whose
notice my sudden rage for betting had by no means escaped, was at this
time losing, and I was backing his antagonist. To one of the bets I
offered, he said, 'Done;' and, though I felt a reluctance to win his
money, it seemed ungentlemanlike to refuse. I won the first three
bets; and, exulting in my own acuteness and certainty, intreated
him in pity to desist. He refused, and I pleaded the pain I felt at
winning the money of a friend. Beside, it was not only dishonourable
but dishonest; it was absolutely picking his pocket!

My triumph was premature. From this time fortune veered, and he began
to win. I was then willing to have taken the other side, but could
not procure a bet. He bantering bade me not be afraid of winning my
friend's money; it was neither dishonourable, dishonest, nor picking
his pocket. Piqued by his sarcasms, I continued till I had lost five
and twenty guineas; and then my vexation and pride, which almost
foamed at the suspicion of my own folly, made me propose to bet double
or quit. I lost again, again resorted to the same desperate remedy,
and met with the same ill success. My frenzy was such that I a third
time urged him to continue. Fortunately for me his antagonist would
play no more, and I was left to reflect that my calculations and
avaricious arts to rob fools and outwit knaves were as crude as they
were contemptible.

Wrung as I was to the heart, I was ashamed of having it supposed that
the loss of my hundred guineas in the least affected me. Belmont
insisted that I should sup with him, and when I attempted to decline
his invitation bantered me out of my refusal, by asking if I had
parted with my hundred guineas to purchase the spleen. During supper
I informed him of my intended journey to Bath; and he immediately
proposed to accompany me, telling me that he had himself had the
same intention. On this we accordingly agreed, and I left him early
and retired to bed; but not to rest. The quick decay of my small
substance, the helpless state in which I found myself, the impatience
with which I desired wealth and power, and the increasing distance at
which I seemed to be thrown from Olivia by this last act of folly,
kept me not only awake but in a fever of thought.

The next day we set off, and arrived at Bath the same evening; where
the first inquiries I made were at the Pump-room, to learn where
Olivia and her aunt were lodged. So inconsiderate and eager were my
desires, that I endeavoured to obtain apartments in the same house;
but ineffectually, they were all let. I was recommended to others
however in Milsom-street, in which I fixed my abode. There was not
room for Belmont, and he got lodgings on the South Parade.



CHAPTER XII


_Desperate measures: Olivia and her aunt: A rash accusation; and its
strange consequences: Affairs brought to a crisis_


Before I proceed to the history of my Bath adventures, it is necessary
to take a brief retrospect of the state of my affairs. The total of
my expences, from the time that I received the four hundred and fifty
pounds of Thornby, to my arrival at Bath, was about two hundred and
forty pounds, including the sum I had lost at billiards, the money I
had paid for printing my pamphlet (the last sheet of which I corrected
before I left town) thirty pounds that in consequence of a letter from
my mother I remitted to her, and twenty for the purchase of a lottery
ticket; for, among other absurd and vicious ways of becoming rich,
that suggested itself to my eager fancy.

The quick decay of my very small inheritance lay corroding at my
heart, and prompted me to a thousand different schemes, without the
power of determining me to any. My general propensity however was
more to the desperate, which should at once be decisive, than to the
slow and lingering plans of timid prudence. In reality both seemed
hopeless, and therefore the briefest suffering was the best. At some
short intervals the glow of hope, which had lately been so fervid,
would return, and those powers of thought that seemed to be struggling
within me would promise great and glorious success; but these were
only flashes of lightening darting through a midnight sky, the texture
of which was deep obscurity; 'darkness visible.'

To one point however I was fixed, that of using every endeavour
to learn the true sentiments of Olivia respecting me; and, if any
possible opportunity offered, of declaring my own. To effect this I
resolved, since I knew not what better method to take, that I would
watch the few public places to which all the visitors at Bath resort.
I therefore immediately subscribed to the upper and lower rooms, and
traversed the city in every direction.

People, not confined to their chamber, are here sure to be soon met
with; and, on the second morning after my arrival, I discovered
Olivia, seated at the farther end of the Pump-room. She had an old
lady, who proved to be her aunt, by her side; and a circle round her,
in which were several handsome fellows, who my jealous eye instantly
discovered were all ambitious of her regard.

The moment I had a glimpse of her, I was seized with a trembling that
shook my whole frame, and a sickness that I with difficulty subdued.
I approached, stopped, turned aside, again advanced, again hesitated,
and was once more almost overcome by a rising of the heart that was
suffocating, and a swimming of the brain that made my limbs stagger,
my eyes roll, and deprived me of sight.

It was sometime before I could make another attempt. At length I
caught her eye. With the rapidity of lightening her cheek was suffused
with blushes, and as instantaneously changed to a death-like pale. It
was my habitual error to interpret every thing in my own favour; and
the conviction that she was suffering emotions similar to my own was
transport to me.

For some minutes I mingled with the croud, fearful of a relapse on my
own part and on hers, but keeping her in sight, and presenting myself
to her view, till I was rouzed by an apparent motion of the aunt to
rise. I then advanced, but still in an ague fit of apprehension. I
attempted to bow, and in a faltering and feeble voice pronounced her
name, 'hoped she was well, and'--I could proceed no farther.

My disease was infectious. She sat a moment, severely struggling with
her feelings, and then returned a kind of inarticulate complimentary
answer.

'What is the matter Olivia?' said the aunt. 'How strangely you look
child? Who is the gentleman?'

Olivia made another effort. '--It is Mr. Trevor, Madam; the grandson
of the rector of ***.'

'Oh ho! The young Oxonian that my nephew Hector tells the comical
story about; of the methodist preacher, and of his throwing you into
the water, and then taking you out again.'

The tone, form, and features of the old lady, with this short
introductory dialogue, gave me a strong, but no encouraging picture,
of her character. Her voice was masculine, her nose short, her mouth
wide, her brow bent and bushy, and the corners of her eyes and cheeks
deeply wrinkled. I attempted to enter into conversation, but my
efforts were aukward; the answers of the aunt were broad, coarse, and
discouraging; and Olivia, though embarrassed, I accused of being cold.
The manner of the old lady clearly indicated, that she suspected my
design; and an endeavour in me to prolong the conversation, by turning
it on my native county, drew from her the following animadversions.

'I have heard a great deal about your family, Mr. Trevor; and of the
ridiculous opposition which your grandfather pretended to make to my
late brother, Mowbray. Your mother, I think, was twice married, and,
as I have been told, both times very imprudently; so that the proud
hopes which the rector entertained of raising a family were all
overthrown. But that is always the case with clandestine matches.
Many families, of much greater consequence than ever yours was, Mr.
Trevor, have been brought low by such foolish and wicked doings. Young
girls that have indulged improper connections, and secret lovers,
have involved themselves, and all their relations, in ruin by their
guilty proceedings. You are but a petty instance of the base and
bad consequences of the crimes of such foolish young hussies. Come,
niece!'

They both rose to go. The dialogue that had just passed had no
listeners, though of that circumstance the aunt was evidently
regardless. The circle round Olivia had presently dispersed, as good
manners required, when I a stranger came up. The repugnant and ominous
behaviour of the aunt did but increase the impetuous haste that I felt
to know the worst, and addressing myself to Olivia, I asked with some
eagerness, 'If I might be permitted to pay her my respects while she
continued at Bath?'

The aunt fixed her eye on me, 'Look you,' said she, 'Mr. Trevor, you
are a handsome young fellow, and I do not want handsome young fellows
about my niece. I see too many of them: they have little fortune, and
less shame; they give me a deal of trouble; no good can come of their
smirking and smiling, their foppery and their forward prate. My niece
I believe has much more prudence than is usual with the young minxes
of the present day. But no matter for that: I am sure there is no
prudence in setting gunpowder too near the fire. I have heard her talk
of your taking her out of the water in a manner that, if I did not
know her, I should not quite like. So I must plainly tell you, Sir,
as I can see no good that can come of your acquaintance, I shall take
care to prevent all harm. Not that there is much fear, for she knows
her duty, and has always done it. Neither can you have entertained any
impertinent notions: it would be too ridiculous! Though what my nephew
and Mr. Andrews told me, I own, did seem as if you could strangely
forget yourself. But at once to cut matters short, I now tell you
plainly, and down right, her choice is made. Yes, Sir, her choice is
positively made; and so, though I do not suppose you have taken any
foolish crotchets, and improper whims into your head, for that would
be too impertinent, yet as you knew one another when children, and so
forth, it was best to be plain with you at once, because, though such
ridiculous nonsense was quite impossible, I hear on all hands you
are a bold and flighty young gentleman, and that you have no little
opinion of yourself.'

Dumb founded as I was by this undisguised refusal, this hard,
unfeeling reprimand, I made no attempt to reply or follow. The
flushings of Olivia's face indeed were continual; but what were they
more than indignant repellings of her aunt's broad surmises? Had they
been favourable to me why did she not declare them with the openness
of which she had so striking an example? She curtsied as she went; but
it was a half-souled compliment, that while I attempted to return my
heart resented.

They disappeared, and I remained, feeling as if now first made
sensible of the extreme folly, the lunacy of all my actions! The
dialogue I had just heard vibrated in my brain, burning and wasting it
with the frenzy of agonizing recollection. 'I was a forward prating
fop, of little fortune, and less shame! Bold and flighty, with no
little opinion of myself; again and again I was ridiculous, and
impertinent! My crotchets, whims, and nonsense were impossible!'

Nor was this all! There was another piece of intelligence; an
additional and dreadful feature of despair; the name of Andrews!
Detested sound! Racking idea! 'Her choice is made; positively made!'
Excruciating thought! Why then, welcome ruin! sudden and irrevocable
ruin!

As soon as I could recover sufficient recollection, I hurried home;
where I remained in a trance of torment, and disposed to a thousand
acts of madness that were conceived and dismissed with a rapidity of
pain that rendered my mind impotent to all, except the inflicting
torture on itself.

At last, the agony in which I sat was interrupted by the appearance of
Belmont. We had agreed to go to Lansdown races, he told me it was now
time, took me by the arm, and hurried me away.

Reckless of where I went, or what I did, I obeyed. The course was at
no great distance, a carriage was not to be procured, and we walked.
The steepness of the hill, the heat of the day, and above all
the anguish of my heart, threw me into a violent heat. The drops
rolled down my cheeks, and I put my handkerchief lightly into my
hat, to prevent its pressure. Lost in a revery of misery, I acted
instinctively, and breathed the dust, heard the hubbub, and saw the
confusion around me without perceiving them.

After the first heat there was a battle, toward which I was dragged by
Belmont. In the tumult and distraction of my thoughts, I scarcely knew
what happened; and feeling in my pocket for my handkerchief I missed
it. A croud and a pick-pocket was an immediate suggestion. Neither
coolness nor recollection were present to me. I saw a man putting up a
red and white handkerchief, which I supposed to be mine, and springing
forward, I caught him by the collar, and exclaimed, 'Rascal, you have
robbed me!' In an instant the mob flocked round us, and the supposed
pick-pocket was seized. 'Duck him! Duck him!' was the general cry; and
away the poor fellow was immediately hurried. Half awakened by the
unpremeditated danger into which I had brought him, I began to repent.
Belmont, who had lost sight of me, came up, and asked what was the
matter.

'A fellow has picked my pocket,' said I.

'Of what?'

'Of my handkerchief.'

'Your handkerchief? Is it not under your hat?'

I snatched it off, examined, and there the handkerchief was!--I was
struck speechless!

The man whom I had falsely accused made a violent resistance; the
mob was dragging him along, rending his clothes off his back, and
half-tearing him in pieces. The state of my mind was little short of
frenzy. In a tone of command, I bade Belmont follow, made my way into
the thickest of the croud, and furiously began to beat the people
who were ill-using the prisoner; calling till I was hoarse, 'Let him
alone! He is innocent! I am to blame!'

My efforts were vain. A mob has many hands but no ears. My blows were
returned fifty fold. I was inveloped by one mob myself, while the poor
wretch was hauled along by another. Not all my struggles could save
him. I could not get free; and the man, as Belmost afterward informed
me, was half drowned; after which he escaped, and nobody knew what was
become of him.

These were but a part of the accidents of the day. My mind was
maddening, and I was ripe for mischief. Belmont in the evening went
to the hazard table, and I determined to accompany him, to which
he encouraged me. The impetus was given, and, as if resolved on
destruction, I put all my money, except a ten pound note to pay my
Bath debts, in my pocket. Though ignorant of the cause of them,
Belmont discovered my inclinations. He took care to be at the place
before the company assembled.

An accomplice (as I afterward learned) was present, who displayed
guineas and bank notes sufficient to convince me that he was my man,
if I could but win them. I was as eager as they could desire, and to
increase my ardour was occasionally suffered to win a rich stake. My
success was of short duration; I soon began to lose and foam with
rage. In the midst of this scene, Hector Mowbray and tall Andrews came
in; who unknown to me were at Bath. They saw me close my accounts, and
by their looks enjoyed my fury. The whole company, which now began to
be numerous, understood that I left off play because I had no more
money to lose. The pigeon was completely plucked.

This was the climax of misery, at which I seemed ambitious to arrive.
During six hours, I sat in a state of absolute stupor; and echoed the
uproar and blasphemy that surrounded me with deep but unconscious
groans. I do not know that I so much as moved, till the company was
entirely dispersed, and I was awakened from my torpor by the groom
porter. I then languidly returned to my lodging, exhausted and unable
longer to support the conflicting torture.


END OF VOLUME III



VOLUME IV



CHAPTER I


_The pains and penalties of illicit attempts to become rich: The sleep
of a gamester: Morning meditations_


The pungency of extreme grief acts as a temporary opiate: for a short
time it lulls the sufferer to insensibility, and sleep; but it is only
to recruit him and awaken him to new torments.

When I reached my lodgings, I appeared to myself to have sunk into
a state of quiescent resignation. The die was cast. My doom was
irrevocable; and despair itself seemed to have lost its charm: the
animation, the vigour, of misery was gone. I was reduced to an
inevitable post-horse kind of endurance; and had only now to be
thankful if I might be permitted to exist. From an audacious and
arrogant confidence in my own strength, I had suddenly yet by
perceptible gradations declined, though with excruciating pangs at
every step, till I now at last found myself in a state of sluggish and
brute imbecility.

Staggering home in this temper, I undressed myself, went to bed with
stupid composure, and felt like a wretch that had been stretched on
the rack, and, having just been taken off, was suffered to sink into
lifeless languor, because he could endure no more. I was mistaken.
My sleeping sensations soon became turbulent, oppressive, fevered,
terrific, yet cumbrous, and impossible to awake from and escape.

It was seven in the morning, when I returned to my lodging. When I
went to bed, my heaviness was so great that I seemed as if I could
have slept for centuries; and, so multifarious and torturing were the
images that haunted me, that, the time actually appeared indefinitely
protracted: a month, a year, an age: yet it was little more than
two hours. The moment struggling nature had cast off her horrible
night-mares, and I had once more started into identity, the anguish
of the past day and night again seized me. Pains innumerable, and
intolerable, rushed upon me. Each new thought was a new serpent. Mine
was the head of Medusa: with this difference; my scorpions shed all
their venom inward.

Confusion of mind is the source of pain: but confusion is the greatest
in minds that are the seldomest subject to it; and with those the pain
is proportionably intense. The conflict was too violent to be endured,
without an endeavour to get rid of it. I rose, traversed my room I
know not how long, and at last rushed into the street; with a sort
of feeling that, when in the open air, the atmosphere of misery that
enveloped me would be swallowed up, and lost, in the infinite expanse.

The hope was vain: it wrapped me round like a cloak. It was a
universal caustic, that would not endure to be touched; much less
torn away. I groaned. I gnashed my teeth. I griped my hands. I struck
myself violent blows. I ran with fury, in circles, in zigzag, with
sudden turns and frantic bounds; and, finding myself on the banks of
the Avon, plunged headlong in.

I acted from no plan, or forethought; therefore was far from any
intention to drown myself; and, being in the water, I swam as I had
run, like a mad or hunted bull.

That unpremeditated sensation which enforces immediate action is
what, I suppose, Philosophers mean by instinct: if the word ever had
any definite meaning. Thousands of these instinctive experiments
are, no doubt, injurious to the animals that make them: but, their
number being unlimited, some of them are successful. The benefit is
remembered; they are repeated; and a future race profits by the wisdom
that becomes habitual. I am well persuaded that my immersion in
the stream was assuaging; and gamesters hereafter, or the faculty
themselves, may, if they please, profit by the experiment.

I have no distinct recollection of coming out of the water: though
I remember walking afterward, two or three hours, till my cloaths
were again entirely dry. My feelings, in the interval, were somewhat
similar to those of the preceding evening; declining from frantic
agitation to stupidity, and torpor.



CHAPTER II


_An unexpected rencontre; and a desperate contest: Victory dearly
bought_


Man is, or, which is the same thing, his sensations are, continually
changing; and it may be truly affirmed that he is many different
animals in the course of a day. A very unexpected, yet very natural,
incident again rouzed me, to a state of activity.

During my ramble, I had strayed among the new buildings, below the
Crescent. I know not whether I had any latent hope, or wish, of having
a distant sight of Olivia, walking there as is customary for air and
exercise: though I was certainly far too much degraded, in my own
opinion, to intend being seen myself, even by her; much less by any
of those proud beings, those ephemera; of fortune, with whom, while I
despised their arrogance, not to associate, not to be familiar, nay
not to treat with a sort of conscious superiority, was misery. We
all practise that haughtiness, ourselves, which, in others, is so
irritating to our feelings; and for which we pretend to have so
sovereign a contempt.

As I passed a number of workmen, my moody apathy, though great, did
not prevent me from hearing one of them exclaim, with a loud and
suddenly angry surprize, 'By G---- that is he!'

I was at some little distance. I heard the steps of a man running
speedily toward me. I turned round. He looked me full in the face;
and, with no less eagerness, repeated--'Yes! D--mn me if it is not!
Dick! Will! Come here! Run!'

I stood fixed. I did not recollect ever to have seen the exact
figure before me; but I had a strong and instantaneously a painful
impression, of the same form in a different garb. It was the man whom
I had accused, the day before, of picking my pocket: the poor fellow
who had been so unmercifully ducked, and ill treated, by the mob.

His impatience of revenge was furious. Without uttering another word,
he made a desperate blow at me. I was unprepared; and it brought me to
the ground. His foot was up, to second it with as violent a kick; but,
fortunately, the generous spirit of my opponent and the laws of mob
honour were mutually my shield. He recollected the cowardice as well
as the opprobrium of kicking a combatant, when down; and, in the tone
of rage, commanded me to get up.

I was not slow in obeying the mandate; nor he in repeating the
assault. I warded several of his blows, which were dealt with too much
thoughtless fury to be dangerous; but again and again called on him to
stop, for a moment, and hear me. I felt I had been the cause of much
mischief to the man; and had no alacrity to increase the wrong. My
behaviour was not that of fear; and his companions at length got
between us, and for a moment prevented the battle.

We were at the bottom of the hill: the beginning of the fray had been
seen, and the crowd was collecting in every direction. The beaus
descended from the crescent; and left the belles to view us through
their opera-glasses, and pocket-telescopes, while they came to collect
more circumstantial information. The Mowbray family had just arrived
at this public _promenade_. Hector and tall Andrews joined the mob:
the aunt and Olivia remained on the walk.

The story of the false accusation, the ducking, and the injuries
done to my antagonist, ran, varied and mangled, from mouth to mouth:
a general sensation of rage was excited against me; and Hector and
Andrews very charitably gave it every assistance in their power.
Not satisfied with this, they proposed the _Lex Talionis_; and
called--'Duck him!' 'Duck him!' They took care, however, to turn their
backs; imagining that, amid the hubbub, I should not distinguish their
voices.

My antagonist, though but a journeyman carpenter, had too much of the
hero in him to admit of this mean revenge. His anger could only be
appeased by chastising me with his own arm; and proving to me, as well
as to the crowd, how unworthy he was of that contemptible character
which my accusation had endeavoured to fix upon him. He was therefore
determined to oblige me to fight.

I never remember to have felt greater repugnance, than I now had, to
defend myself, by committing more hurt and injury upon this indignant,
but brave, fellow. I tried to expostulate, nay to intreat, but in
vain: my remonstrances were construed into cowardice, and fight I
must, or suffer such disgrace as my tyro-philosophy was ill calculated
to endure.

My antagonist was stripped in form; and, as the diversion of a battle
is what an English mob will never willingly forego, I found partisans;
who determined to see fair play, encouraged, instructed me, clapped
me on the back, and, partly by intreaty partly by violence, stripped
off my coat. They were vexed at my obstinate refusal to part with my
waistcoat and shirt.

With their usual activity, they soon made a ring; and I stood
undetermined, and excessively reluctant; not very willing to receive,
but infinitely averse to return the blows he now once more began to
deal!

The carpenter was an athletic and powerful man; famous for the battles
he had fought, and the victories he had gained. His companions, who
evidently had an affection for him, and who knew his prowess, had no
supposition that I could withstand him for five minutes: though the
hopes of those who were the most eager for the sport had been a little
raised, by the alertness with which I rose, after being at first
knocked down, and the skill with which I then stood on my defence.

The doubts that pervaded my mind imparted, I suppose, something of
that appearance to my countenance which is occasioned by fear; for my
adversary approached me with looks of contempt; and, as I retreated,
bade me stand forward and face him like a man. The crowd behind
seconded him; and, fearing it should be a run-away victory, was rather
willing to press upon and push me forward than to recede, and give
me any play. Hector and Andrews were all the while very active, as
instigators.

My indecision occasioned me to receive several severe blows, without
returning one; till, at length, I was again extended on the ground, by
a very desperate blow near the ear; which, for a few seconds, deprived
me of all sense and recollection.

This was no longer to be endured. As soon as I recovered, I sprang on
my feet, condescended to strip, and became in turn the assailant. The
joy and vociferation of the mob were immense. They thought it had been
all over; and to see me now rise, stand forward, and fight, as I did,
with so much determination and effect, was, to them, rapture. They
had discovered a hero. Their education had taught them, for such is
education, that the man who has the power to endure and to inflict the
most misery is the most admirable.

For six successive rounds, I had completely the advantage; during
which my brave foe had received five knock-down blows: for that is the
phrase. His companions and friends were astonished. The beau pugilists
were vociferating their bets; five pounds to a crown in my favour.

The carpenter was as hardy as he was courageous. He collected himself;
I had become less circumspect, and he threw in another dangerous blow
near my temple, with the left hand, that again felled me insensible to
the earth.

I now recovered more slowly, and less effectually. I had been severely
breathed, by the violence of exertion. The laws of pugilistic war will
not suffer a man to lie, after being knocked down, more than a certain
number of seconds. Hector had his stop-watch in his hand; and tall
Andrews joined him, to enforce the rule in all its rigour. I was
lifted on my feet before I had perfectly recovered my recollection;
and was again knocked down, though with less injury. While down, I
received a kick in the side; of which my partisans instantly accused
Andrews.

Meaning to do me mischief, he did me a favour. The wrangling that took
place gave me time to recover; and being again brought in face of
my opponent, I once more proposed a reconciliation; and, stretching
out my arm, asked him to shake hands. But, no. The ducking was too
bitterly remembered. 'He would beat me; or never go alive from the
ground.'

For a moment, the generous thought of acknowledging myself vanquished
suggested itself: but rising vanity, and false shame, spurned at the
proposal, therefore, since he was so desperate, I had no resource but
in being equally savage. Accordingly, I bent my whole powers to this
detestable purpose, brought him twice more to the ground, and, on the
third assault, gave him a blow that verified his own prediction; for
he fell dead at my feet, and was taken up lifeless from the place.

Agony to agony! Vice to vice! Such was my fate! Where, when, how, was
it to have an end? Were not my own personal sufferings sufficient?
Accuse an innocent man of theft; deliver him over to the fury of a
mob; and, not contented with that, meet him again to fight, beat,
murder him! And without malice; without evil intention! Nay, with the
very reverse: abhorring the mischief I had done him; and admiring the
intrepidity and fortitude he had displayed!

Nor did it end here: the intelligence that was instantly sent round
was horror indeed. He had left a wife and seven children!



CHAPTER III


_The kind behaviour of old friends: A joyful recovery: More
misfortunes: Patience per force_


Never were sensations more truly tragical than mine: yet, as is
frequent, they had a dash of the ridiculous; which resulted from the
machinations of my good friends, Hector and Andrews. To inspire others
with the contempt in which they held, or rather endeavoured to hold,
me, and to revenge the insults which they supposed themselves to have
received from me, were their incentives. They knew I had been stripped
of my money at the gaming-table: they mingled with the partisans of
the carpenter; and, informing them that I was a pretended gentleman,
advised them to have me taken before a magistrate; for that the law
would at least make me provide for the widow and children. Perhaps it
would hang me: as I deserved. They farther proposed a subscription, to
begin with me; and accordingly they came up to me, as by deputation,
with the murdered man's hat.

The mortification they intended me had its full effect. I was
pennyless; and the epithets which generous souls like these
appropriate, to such upstart intruders upon their rights and
privileges as myself, were muttered with as much insolence as they had
the courage to assume.

I was not yet tamed. I could not endure this baiting. I hated,
almost abhorred, Andrews. He dared to pretend love to Olivia: he had
brought me into disgrace with her; nay was soon to rob me of her
everlastingly; and, recollecting the kick he had bestowed upon me when
down, I called him a scoundrel; and accompanied the coarse expression
with a blow.

In a moment, the mob were again in agitation, expected another battle,
admired my hardy valour, and called for a ring. Andrews knew better:
he saved them the trouble; and shuffled away; followed though scouted
even by Hector himself, for his cowardice. Mowbray remembered the
battle of the rats; and, by comparison, found himself a very hero.

The moment I was permitted, I enquired to what place the poor
carpenter had been taken; and followed with infinite terror, but with
a faint degree of hope; some affirming that he was dead, others that
he was not. I was attended by several of my admirers.

It would be vain to attempt any picture of what my feelings were,
when, coming into his dwelling, I found him alive! sitting surrounded
by his wife, children, and companions! I fell on my knees to him. I
owned all the mischief I had done him. I conjured him, for God's sake,
to forgive me. I was half frantic; and the worthy fellow, in the same
free spirit with which he had fought, stretched out his hand, in token
of his forgiveness and friendship.

His unaffected magnanimity prompted me instantly to execute a design
which I had before formed. 'Stay where you are, my good friends,'
said I, to the people that stood round him. 'I will be back in a few
minutes. The little reparation that I can make I will make: to shew
you that it was from error, and not ill intention, that I have done
this brave man so much injury.'

So saying, I ran out of the house, directed my course to my lodgings,
and hastened to my trunk; to take out the ten-pound note, which I had
reserved to pay my Bath debts. My passions were too much in a hurry to
admit of any enquiry how these debts were to be paid, when I should
have given the bank-note to the carpenter. I was determined not to
enquire; but to appease my feelings, rescue my character, and bestow
it on him.

Where were my troubles to end? The persecuting malice of fortune was
intolerable. Philip, the footman whom I had hired, but scarcely ever
employed, had disappeared: having previously broken open my trunk, and
taken, with the ten pounds, such of my linen and effects as he could
carry under his cloaths, and in his pockets, without being seen.

This was a stroke little less painful than the worst of the accidents
that had befallen me: yet, so harassed was my mind, and so wearied
with grieving, that I did not feel it with half the poignancy.

Act however I must. But how? I had left the carpenter and his family
in suspense. Must I talk of favours which I could not confer? or
mention remuneration that would but seem like mockery? This was
painful: but not so painful as falsehood.

I therefore returned, related the story of the robbery, and added
that 'my intentions were to have endeavoured to afford some small
recompence, for the unintentional injury I had committed. I was sorry
that, at present, this accident had deprived me of the power: but I
hoped I should not always be so very destitute. I certainly should
neither forget the debt I had incurred, nor the noble behaviour of
the man who had suffered so much from me. At present I was very
unfortunate: but, if ever I should become more prosperous, I should
remember my obligation, and in what manner it would become me to see
it discharged.'

I was heard with patience, and with no disappointment. My auditors,
though poor, were far from selfish. Beside, as I had not previously
declared what I had intended, I had excited little expectation. My
vanquished opponent, whose name was Clarke, was soothed by the justice
I did him, in defending his innocence and praising his courage; and
said 'I had given him the satisfaction of a man, and that was all he
asked.' He rather sympathized with my loss than felt a loss of his
own; and gave various indications of a generous spirit, such as is
seldom to be found among persons who would think themselves highly
disgraced by any comparison between them and a poor carpenter. I own I
quitted him with a degree of esteem, such as neither the lord nor the
bishop I had once been so willing, or rather so industrious, to revere
had the good fortune to inspire.

Having said every thing I could recollect, to remove the doubts which
the whole transaction might have excited against me, I was eager to
return to my lodging, and consider what was best to be done.

The probability of tracing my footman and recovering the bank note,
a considerable portion of which by the bye was due to him for wages,
suggested itself. I recollected that when I rose, after my two hours
sleep, he had brought the breakfast; and had manifested some tokens
of anxiety, at perceiving the perturbation of my mind. I had hastily
devoured the bread and butter that was on the table, and drank a
single bason of tea; after which he enquired as I went out, when I
should be back? And I had answered, in a wild manner, 'I did not know.
Perhaps never.'

From the degree of interest that he had shewn, the robbery appeared
the more strange; and the remembrance of his enquiring and
compassionate looks made me the less eager to pursue, and have him
hanged: though, at that time, I considered hanging as a very excellent
thing.

Beside, I had not the means of pursuit: I had no money. He had
probably taken the London road; and, profiting by the first
stage-coach that passed, was now beyond my reach.

But how was I to act? How discharge my debts? What was to become of
me? I could find no solution to these difficulties. I was oppressed
by them. I was wearied by the excess of action on my body, as well as
mind. I sunk down on the bed, without undressing or covering myself,
and fell into a profound sleep.



CHAPTER IV


_A fever: Bad men have good qualities: More proofs of compassion: A
scandalous tale does not lose in telling: Farewell to Bath_


The emptiness of my stomach (for I had eaten nothing except the
bread and butter I mentioned, since the preceding day at dinner) the
heats into which my violent exertions had thrown me, and the sudden
reverse of cold to which my motionless sleep subjected me, produced
consequences that might easily have been foreseen: I awoke, in the
dead of the might, and found myself seized with shivering fits, my
teeth chattering, a sickness at my stomach, my head intolerably heavy,
and my temples bruised with the blows I had received, and having a
sensation as if they were ready to burst. To all this was added the
stiffness that pervaded the muscles of my arms, and body, from the
bruises, falls, and battering they had received.

It was with difficulty I could undress myself, and get into bed;
where, after I had lain shaking with increasing violence I know not
how long, my agueish sensations left me; and were changed into all the
soreness, pains, and burning, that denote a violent fever.

During this paroxysm, I felt consolation from its excess; which
persuaded me that I was now on my death bed. I remembered all the
wrongs, which I conceived myself to have suffered, with a sort of
misanthropical delight; arising from the persuasion that, in my loss,
the world would be punished for the vileness of its injustice toward
me. Perhaps every human being conceives that, when he is gone, there
will be a chasm, which no other mortal can supply; and I am not
certain that he does not conceive truly. Young men of active and
impetuous talents have this persuasion in a very forcible degree.

All that I can remember of this fit of sickness, till the violence and
danger of it were over, is, that the people of the house came to me
in the morning, I knew not at what hour, and made some enquiries. A
delirium succeeded; which was so violent that, at the beginning of my
convalescence, I had absolutely lost my memory; and could not without
effort recollect where I was, how I had come there, or what had
befallen me. The first objects that forcibly arrested my attention,
and excited memory, were the honest carpenter, Clarke, and his wife
sitting by my bedside, and endeavouring to console me.

The particulars which I afterward learned were, that Belmont had come,
the first day of my illness; had seen me delirious; had heard the
account of my having been robbed, and had left a twenty-pound note for
my immediate necessities.

So true is it that the licentious, the depraved, and the unprincipled
are susceptible of virtue; and desirous of communicating happiness.
The most ignorant only are the most inveterately brutal: but nothing
less than idiotism, or madness, can absolutely deprive man of his
propensity to do good.

I was further informed that a sealed paper, addressed to Mr. Trevor,
had been received, and opened in the presence of the physician,
containing another twenty-pound bank-bill; but the paper that inclosed
it was blank: and that Clarke, unable to go immediately to work, and
reflecting on what he had heard from me concerning the destitute state
in which I, a stranger in Bath, was left by the robbery of my servant,
had walked out the next day, had come with fear and diffidence to
enquire after me, and that, finding me in a high fever, his wife had
been my first nurse.

Her own large family indeed prevented her from watching and continuing
always with me; and therefore another attendant was obliged to be
hired: but she was by my bed side the greatest part of every day; and
her husband the same till he was again able to work; after which he
never failed to come in the evening.

He was a generous fellow. I had won his heart, by my desire to do him
justice; and my condescension excited a degree of adoration in him,
when he found that I was really what the world calls a gentleman. He
had visited me before Belmont had left the money; and, hearing the
landlady talk of sending me to the hospital, had proposed to take me
to his home; that he and his wife might do a Christian part by me, and
I not be left to the mercy of strangers.

And here, as they are intimately connected with my own history, it is
necessary I should mention such particulars as I have since learned,
concerning Olivia.

Hector and Andrews had been busy, in collecting all the particulars
they could, relating to me, from the mob; among whom the strangest
rumours ran: of which these my fast friends were predisposed to select
the most unfavourable, and to believe and report them as true. All
of these they carried to Olivia, and her aunt; and the chief of them
were, that I had falsely accused a man of theft, had seized him by the
collar, dragged him to the water, and had been the principal person
in ducking him to death. The brother of this man had discovered who I
was; and had followed me, with his comrades, to have me taken before a
magistrate: but I had artfully talked to the people round me, had got
a part of the mob on my side, and had then begun to beat and ill use
the brother. They added that I had stripped like a common bruiser,
of which character I was ambitious; that the brother had fought with
uncommon bravery; that he had been treated with foul play, by me and
my abettors; and that, in conclusion, I had killed him: that, in
addition to this, I had prevented a subscription, for the widow and
_nine_ young children, which had been proposed by them; that I had
insulted them, struck at Andrews, and challenged him to box with me,
for this their charitable endeavour to relieve the widow and her
children; and that, having lost my last guinea at the gaming table the
night before in their presence, I should probably run away from my
lodgings, or perhaps turn highwayman; for which they thought me quite
desperate enough.

It may well be imagined what effect a story like this would produce,
on the mind of Olivia: corroborated as it was, though not proved in
every incident, by the circumstances which she herself had witnessed
from the crescent, by those which she gathered on enquiry from other
people, by her own experience of my rash impetuosity, and these all
heightened by the conjectures of an active imagination, and a heart
not wholly uninterested. She hoped indeed that I had not actually
killed two men: but she had the most dreadful doubts.

The impression it made upon her did not escape the penetration of the
aunt; and she determined to quit Bath, and take Olivia with her, the
very next day. Terrified by the possibility that the predictions of
Hector and Andrews should be fulfilled, Olivia ventured secretly to
instruct her maid to search the book in the pump room, and find my
address, and afterward to send her with the twenty-pound bank-bill:
hoping that this temporary resource might have some small chance of
preventing the fatal consequences which she feared.

Had they returned to London, by the aid of Miss Wilmot and Mary, she
might have made further enquiries: but the cautious aunt directed her
course to Scarborough.

I was excessively reduced by the fever. According to the physician
and apothecary, my life had been in extreme danger; and eight weeks
elapsed before I was able to quit Bath. The expences I had incurred
amounted to between eight and nine and twenty pounds. I was fully
determined to bestow the ten pounds I had originally intended on
Clarke. Thus, after distributing such small gifts among the servants
as custom and my notion of the manners of a gentleman demanded, the
only choice I had was, either to sell my cloaths, or, with four and
sixpence in my pocket, to undertake a journey to London on foot.

I preferred the latter, sent my trunk to the waggon, returned for
the last time to my lodging, inclosed a ten pound note in a letter,
in which I expressed my sense of the worth of Clarke, and my sorrow
for the evil I had done him, and, sending it by the maid-servant, I
followed, and watched her to his dwelling.



CHAPTER V


_The pain of parting: The prospect before me: Poor men have their
affections and friendships_


During my recovery, I had conversed freely on my own affairs, with
Clarke and his wife. They gradually became acquainted with my whole
history; and discovered so much interest in the pictures I drew,
and entered so sympathetically and with such unaffected marks of
passion into all my feelings, that I found not only great ease but
considerable delight, in narrating my fears, hopes, and mishaps.

Clarke had a strong understanding; and was not entirely illiterate.
His wife was active, cleanly, and kind. Their children were managed
with great good sense: the three eldest were put out, two to service,
and the other an apprentice; and, large as their family was, they had,
by labour and economy, advanced a considerable step from the extreme
poverty to which such persons are too often subject.

When I went to take leave of them, I could perceive, not only that
they were both very much affected, but that Clarke had something
more on his imagination. He had a great respect for my gentility,
and learning; and was always afraid of being too familiar. At some
moments, he felt as it were the insolence of having fought with me:
at others a gleam of exultation broke forth, at his having had that
honour. He had several times expressed an earnest wish that he might
be so happy as to see me again; and, when I assured him that he should
hear from me, his feelings were partly doubt, and partly strong
delight.

Just as I was prepared to bid them farewell, he gave a deep sigh; and
said 'he thought he should soon come to London. He wished he knew
where I might be found, and, if he should leave the country, it would
be a great favour done him if he might but be allowed to come and ask
me how I did. If I would allow him that honour, it would make his
heart very light. He had been many years in his present employ; and
perhaps his master would be sorry, if he were to leave him; but he had
given him fair notice. At one time, he did not believe he ever should
have left him; but he thought now he should be much happier in
London.'

His tone was serious, there was a dejectedness in his manner, and
with it, as was evident, much smothered emotion in his heart. I was
affected; and taking his hand, earnestly assured him that, if ever
fortune should smile on me, I would not forget what had happened
at Bath. His parting reply was, 'God be with you, wherever you go!
Perhaps you may see me again sooner than you think for.'

This was the temper in which we took leave, previous to my sending the
maid with the ten-pound note: and, as I passed within sight of his
door, I felt the regret of quitting a human being whose attachment
to me was manifestly so strong and affectionate. But I had no
alternative; and I pursued my road.

Winter was advancing: the weather was rainy: the roads were heavy. The
cloudy sky sympathised with the gloom of the prospect before me. I
had wasted my patrimony, quarrelled with my protectors, renounced the
university, had no profession, no immediate resource, and had myself
and my mother to provide for: by what means I knew not.

The experience of Wilmot seemed to prove how precarious a subsistence
the labours of literature afford; and Wilmot was indisputably a man of
genius.

I had not quite concluded against the morality of the practice of
the law: but I remembered, in part, the objections of Turl; and they
were staggering. Had it been otherwise, where would have been the
advantage? I had entered of the Temple: but I had neither the means
of keeping my terms nor the patience to look forward, for precarious
wealth and fame, to so distant a period.

All this might have been endured: but Olivia?--Where was
she?--Perhaps, at that moment, the wife of Andrews!--Or if not, grant
she were never to be his, she never could be mine. Yet mine she must
be! Mine she should be! I would brave the despotism of her odious
enslavers! I would move heaven and earth! I would defy hell itself to
separate us!

Such were the continual conflicts to which I was subject: and, while
the fogs of despondency rose thick and murky around me, with them
continually rose the _ignis fatuus_ of hope; dancing before my eyes,
and encouraging me step after step to follow on.

Considering how wild and extravagant the desires of youth are, it is
happy for them that they calculate so ill; and are so short-sighted.
Their despair would else be frequently fatal.

I did not forget, as a supposed immediate means of relief, that my
pamphlet against the Earl and the Bishop was printed; and I thought
the revenge more than justifiable: it was a necessary vindication of
my own honour and claims. I was indeed forty pounds in debt: twenty
to Belmont; and twenty more to I knew not whom: though I suspected,
and partly hoped partly feared, it was Olivia. I hoped it, because it
might be affection. I feared it, lest it should be nothing more than
pity; for one whom she had known in her childhood, but whom, now he
was a man, she might compassionate; but must contemn. To have been
obliged even to Olivia, on these terms, was worse than starving. Such
were my meditations through the day; which was a little advanced when
I left Bath.

I was eager to perform my journey, and had walked at a great rate. A
little before twilight, I heard a distant call, two or three times
repeated. At last, I turned round, saw a hat waving, and heard my own
name.

I stopped; and the person approached. It was Clarke. I was surprised;
and enquired the reason of his following me. He was embarrassed; and
began with requesting I would go a little slower, for he had run and
walked till he was half tired, and he would tell me.

Clarke was an untaught orator. He had very strong feelings; and a
clear head; which are the two grand sources of eloquence. 'You know,'
said he, 'how much mischief I have done you; for it cannot be denied.
I struck you first, and knocked you down when you _was_ off your
guard. I set every body against you. I refused to shake hands with
you, over and over, when you had the goodness to offer to forgive me.
And, last of all, you may thank me for the fever; which brought you
to death's door. You forgave me this, as well as the rest. But that
was not all. That would not content you. Because I had been used ill,
without any malice of yours, nothing would satisfy you but to strip
yourself of the little _modicum_ that you had, and give it to me. So
that, I am sure, you have hardly a shilling to take you up to London.
And, when you are there, you are not so well off as I am: you have no
trade. I can turn my hand to twenty things: you have never been used
to hard work; and how you are to live God Almighty knows! For I am
sure I cannot find out; though I have been thinking of nothing else
for weeks and weeks past.'

'Why should you suppose I have no money?'

'Because I am sure of it. I asked and found out all that you had to
pay. The servants too told me how open-hearted you _was_; so that you
had given away all you had. Shame on 'em for taking it, say I! You are
not fit to live in this world! And then to send me ten pounds, who
have a house and home, and hands to work! But I'll be damned if I keep
it!'

'Nay but, indeed you must.'

'I will not! I will not! I would not forswear myself for all the money
in the world! And I have sworn it, again and again. So take it! Nay,
here, take it!--If you don't, I'll throw it down in the road; and let
the first that comes find it; for I'll not forswear myself. So pray
now, I beg, for God's sake, you will take it!'

I found it was in vain to contend with him: he was too determined, and
had taken this oath in the simplicity of his heart, that it might not
be possible for him to recede. I therefore accepted the money: but I
endeavoured, having received it to satisfy his oath, to persuade him
to take a part of it back again. My efforts were fruitless. 'He had
three half crowns,' he told me, 'in his pocket; which would serve his
turn, till he could get more: and he had left five guineas at home; so
that there was no fear his wife and children should want.'

Happy, enviable, state of independance! When a man and his wife and
family, possessed of five guineas, are so wealthy that they are in no
fear of want!

Having complied, because I found, though I could equal him in bodily
activity, I could not vanquish him in generosity, I requested him
to return to the place we just had passed through, and take up his
lodging.

He replied, 'To be sure he was a little tired; for he had set out a
good hour after me, and I had come at a rare rate. Not but that he
could keep his ground, though I was so good a footman; but that it did
not become him to make himself my companion.'

'Companion!' said I. 'Why are not you going back to Bath?'

'No: I have taken my leave of it. I shall go and set up my rest in
London. I have not been sharking to my master. I thought of it some
time since, and gave him fair notice; and more than that, I got him
another man in my room; which is all he could demand: and I hope he
will serve him as honestly as I have done.'

'What, would you forsake your wife and children?'

'Forsake my wife and children!'

[There was a mixed emotion of indignant sorrow and surprize in his
countenance.]

'I did not think, Mr. Trevor, you could have believed me to be such a
base villain.'

'I do not believe it! I never could believe it! I spoke thoughtlessly.
I saw you were too happy together for that to be possible.'

'Forsake my dear Sally, and our Bill, and Bet, and ----? No! I'd
sooner take up my axe and chop off my hand! There is not another man
in England has such a wife! I have seen bad ones enough; and, for the
matter of that, bad husbands too. But that's nothing. If you will do
me the favour, I should take it kind of you to let me walk with you,
and keep you company, now night is coming on, to the next town; and
then you may take some rest, and wait for the stage in the morning.
I shall make my way; and find you out, I suppose, fast enough in
London.'

'Are you then determined to go to town?'

'Yes: it is all settled. I told Sally; and she did cry a little to be
sure: but she was soon satisfied. She knows me; and I never in my life
found her piggish. God be her holy keeper!'

'Why then, come along. We'll go together. If I ride, you shall ride:
if you walk, so will I.'

'Will you? God bless you! You know how to win a man's heart! There is
not so good or so brave a fellow, I mean gentleman, upon the face of
the earth, damn me if there is! I beg your pardon! Indeed I do! But
you force it out of one! One can't remember to keep one's distance,
with you. However, I will try to be more becoming.'

The manner of Clarke was more impressive than his words: though they,
generally speaking, were not unapt.

We pursued our way together, mutually gratified by what had passed.
Perhaps there is no sensation that so cheers, and sooths the soul, as
the knowledge that there are other human beings, whose happiness seems
knitted and bound up with our own; willing to share our fate, receive
our favours, and, whenever occasion offers, to return them ten fold!
And the pleasure is infinitely increased, when those who are ambitious
of being beloved by us seem to feel, and acknowledge, that we have
more amply the power of conferring than even of receiving happiness.



CHAPTER VI


_A foolish guide, and a gloomy night: The fears and dangers of
darkness: Casual lights lead to error, and mishap_


While we had been discussing the above points, we had sat down; and
rose to pursue our journey, as soon as we had brought them to a
conclusion. We were on the borders of a forest. As we proceeded, we
came up with a countryman; who, enquiring where we were going, told us
that, by striking a little out of the road, we might save half a mile.
We had nine miles to travel, to the inn at which the stage coaches
stopped; and were very willing, Clarke especially, to shorten the
way. The countryman said he was going part of the road; and that the
remainder was so plain it could not be mistaken. Accordingly, we put
ourselves under his guidance.

The sun had been down, by this time, nearly an hour and a half. The
moon gave some light; but the wind was rising, she was continually
obscured by thick swift-flying clouds, and our conductor advised us to
push on, for it was likely to be a very bad night.

In less than a quarter of an hour his prophecy began to be fulfilled.
The rain fell, and at intervals the opposing clouds and currents of
air, aided by the impediments of hills and trees, gave us a full
variety of that whistling, roaring, and howling, which is heard in
high winds.

The darkness thickened upon us, and I was about to request the
countryman to lead us to some village, or even barn, for shelter, when
he suddenly struck into another path; and, bidding us good night,
again told us 'we could not miss our road.' We could not see where he
was gone to; and, though we repeatedly called, we called in vain: he
was too anxious to get shelter himself to heed our anxiety, and was
soon out of hearing.

So long as we could discern, the path we were in appeared to be
tolerably beaten: but we now could no longer trace any path; for
it was too dark for the ground to have any distinct colour. We had
skirted the forest; and our only remaining guide was a hedge on our
left.

In this hedge we placed our hopes. We followed its direction, I know
not how long, till it suddenly turned off, at an angle; and we found
ourselves, as far as we could conjecture, from the intervening lights
and the strenuous efforts we made to discover the objects around us,
on the edge of some wild place, probably a heath, with hills, and
consequently deep vallies, perhaps streams of water, and precipices.

We paused; we knelt down, examined with our eyes, and felt about with
our hands, to discover whether we yet were in a path; but could find
none.

We continued our consultation, till we had begun to think it advisable
to return, once more guided by the hedge. Yet this was not only
very uncertain, but the idea of a retrograde motion was by no means
pleasant.

While we were in this irresolute dilemma, we thought we saw a light;
that glimmered for a moment, and as suddenly disappeared. We watched,
I know not how long, and again saw it twinkle, though, as we thought,
in something of a different direction. Clarke said it was a Will o'the
whisp. I replied, it might be one, but, as it seemed the only chance
we had, my advice was to continue our walk in that direction; in hopes
that, if it were a light proceeding from any house or village, it
would become more visible as we approached.

We walked on, I know not how far; and then paused; but discovered no
more of the light. We walked again; again stood still, and looked on
every side of us, either for the light or any other object; but we
could see nothing distinctly. The obscure forms around us had varied
their appearance; and whether they were hills, or clouds, or what
they were, we could not possibly discover: though the first we still
thought was the most probable.

By this time, we had no certain recollection of which way we had come;
or to what point we were directing our course. We were continually in
doubt: now pausing; now conjecturing; now proceeding.

We continued to wander, we knew not whither. Sometimes it appeared
we went up hill; and sometimes down. We had stepped very cautiously,
and therefore very slowly; had warned each other continually to be
careful; and had not dared to take twenty steps at a time, without
mutually enquiring to know if all were safe.

We continued, environed as it were by the objects that most powerfully
inspire fear; by the darkness of night, the tumult of the elements,
the utter ignorance of where we were or by what objects surrounded,
and the dejectedness which our situation inspired. Thieves and
assassins might be at our back, and we could not hear them: gulphs,
rocks, or rivers, in our front, or on either side, and we could
not see them. The next step might plunge us, headlong, we knew not
whither.

These fears were not all imaginary. Finding the ground very uneven on
a sudden, and stumbling dangerously myself, I stood still--I did not
hear my companion!--I called--I received no answer! I repeated, in a
louder tone, 'Clarke! Where are you?'--Still no answer!

I then shouted, with all the fear that I felt, and heard a faint
response, that seemed to be beneath me, and at a prodigious distance.
It terrified; yet it relieved. We had spoken not three minutes before.
I stood silent, in hopes he would speak again: but my fears were too
violent to remain so long. I once more called; and he replied, with
rather a louder voice which lessened the apparent distance, 'Take
care! You'll dash yourself to pieces!'

'Are you hurt?' said I.

'I hope not much,' returned he. 'For God's sake take care of
yourself!'

'Can you walk?'

'I shall be able presently, I believe.'

'How can I get to you?'

'I don't know.'

'Stay where you are, and I will try.'

'For God in heaven's sake don't! You'll certainly break your neck! I
suppose I am in a chalk pit, or at the bottom of a steep crag.'

'I will crawl to you on my hands and knees.'

'Good God! You will surely kill yourself!'

'Nothing can be more dangerous than to lie here on the wet ground. We
must only take care to keep within hearing of each other.'

While I spoke, I began to put my crawling expedient in practice; still
calling to Clarke, every half minute, and endeavouring to proceed in
the direction of his voice.

I found the rough impediments around me increase; till, presently, I
came to one that was ruder than the rest. I crawled upon it, sustained
by my knees and right hand, and stretching forward with my left. I
groped, but felt nothing. I cautiously laid my belly to the ground and
stretched out my other arm. Still it was vacancy. I stretched a little
more violently; feeling forward, and on each side; and I seemed to be
projected upon a point, my head and shoulders inclining over a dark
abyss, which the imagination left unfathomable.

I own I felt terror; and the sensation certainly was not lessened,
when, making an attempt to recover my position and go back, my support
began to give way. My effort to retreat was as violent as my terror:
but it was too late. The ground shook, loosened, and, with the
struggle I made carrying me with it, toppled headlong down. What the
height that I fell was I have no means of ascertaining; for the heath
on which we were wandering abounds with quarries, and precipices; but
either it was, in fact, or my fears made it prodigious.

Had this expedient been proposed under such circumstances, as the
only probable one of bringing me and Clarke together again, who would
not have shuddered at it? Yet, though it is true I received a violent
shock, I know of no injury that it did me. As soon as I recovered my
presence of mind, I replied to Clarke; whose questions were vehement;
he having heard me fall. After mutual enquiry, we found we were both
once more upon our legs, and had escaped broken bones. Though they had
been severely shaken: Clarke's much the most violently.

But where were we now? How should we discover? Perhaps in a stone
quarry; or lime pit. Perhaps at the edge of waters. It might be we had
fallen down only on the first bank, or ridge of a quarry; and had a
precipice ten fold more dreadful before us.

While we were conjecturing, the stroke of a large clock, brought
whizzing in the wind, struck full upon our ear. We listened, with the
most anxious ardour. The next stroke was very, very faint: a different
current had carried it a different way: and, with all our eager
attention, we could not be certain that we heard any more.

Yet, though we had lost much time and our progress had been
excessively tedious, it could not be two o'clock in the morning. It
might indeed very probably be twelve.

The first stroke of the clock made us conjecture it came from some
steeple, or hall tower, at no very great distance. The second carried
our imaginations we knew not whither. We had not yet recovered courage
enough to take more steps than were necessary to come to each other;
and, while we were considering, during an intermitting pause of the
roaring of the wind, we distinctly heard a cur yelp.

Encouraged by this, we immediately hallooed with all our might. The
wind again began to chafe, and swell, and seemed to mock at our
distress. Still we repeated our efforts, whenever the wind paused:
but, instead of voices intending to answer our calls, we heard shrill
whistlings; which certainly were produced by men.

Could it be by good men? By any but night marauders; intent on
mischief, but disturbed and alarmed? They were signals indubitably;
for we shouted again, they were again given, and were then repeated
from another quarter: at least, if they were not, they were
miraculously imitated, by the dying away of the wind.

In a little while, we again heard the cur yelp; and immediately
afterward a howling, which was so mingled with the blast, that we
could not tell whether it were the wind itself, the yelling of a dog,
or the agonizing cries of a human voice: but it was a dreadfully
dismal sound. We listened with perturbed and deep attention; and it
was several times repeated, with increasing uncertainty, confusion and
terror.

What was to be done? My patience was exhausted. Danger itself could no
longer detain me; and I told Clarke I was determined to make toward
the village, or whatever the place was, from whence, dangerous and
doubtful as they were, these various sounds proceeded.

Finding me resolute, he was very earnest to have led the way; and,
when I would not permit him, he grasped me by the hand, and told me
that, if there were pitfalls and gulphs, and if I did go down, unless
he should have strength enough to save me, we would go down together.



CHAPTER VII


_Difficulties and dangers in succession: A place of horrors its
inmates: A dialogue worthy of the place_


As we were cautiously and slowly taking step by step, and, as new
conjectures crossed us, stopping to consider, we again saw a dancing
light; but more distinctly, though, as we imagined, not very near. We
repeated our calls; but, whether they were or were not heard, they
were not answered. We ventured, however, to quicken our pace; for we
continued, at intervals, to catch the light.

Presently, we saw the light no more; and a considerable time again
elapsed, which was spent in wandering as this or that supposition
directed us; till at last, suddenly and very unexpectedly, we
perceived lines and forms, that convinced us they appertained to
some house, or mansion; and, as it appeared to us, a large one. We
approached it, examined, shouted, and endeavoured to discover which
was the entrance. But all was still, all dark, all closed.

We continued our search on the outside; till, at length, we came to
a large gate that was open; which we entered, and proceeded to some
distance till we arrived at a door, that evidently belonged to an
out-house or detached building. It was shut; and, feeling about,
we found that the key was in the lock. We had little hesitation in
profiting by the accident. We had been shelterless too long, and the
circumstances pleaded too powerfully, for us to indulge any scruples;
and accordingly we entered.

We had no sooner put our heads within the door but we found ourselves
assaulted with a smell, or rather stench, so intolerable as almost
to drive us back: but the fury of the elements, and perhaps the less
delicate organs of Clarke, who seemed determined to profit by the
shelter we had obtained, induced us to brave an inconvenience which,
though excessively offensive at first, became less the longer we
continued.

Groping about, we discovered some barrels, and lumber; behind which
there was straw. Here we determined to lie down; and rest our bruised
and aching bones. Our cloaths had been drenched and dried more than
once, in the course of the night; and they were at present neither wet
nor dry.

We had scarcely nestled together in our straw, before we again heard
the yelping of the cur, and presently afterward the same dismal
howls repeated. To these, at no great distance, succeeded the shrill
whistling signals. Our imaginations had been so highly wrought up that
they were apt at horrible conjectures; and, for my part, my own was at
that moment very busily employed in conjuring them up.

In the very midst of this activity, we heard the voices of men,
walking round the building. They again whistled, with a piercing
shrillness; and, though we heard nothing distinctly, yet we caught
tones that were coarse, rude, and savage; and words, that denoted
anger and anxiety, for the perpetration of some dark purpose no doubt
corresponding to the fierce and threatening sounds we heard.

They approached. One of them had a lanthorn. He came up to the door;
and, finding it open, boisterously shut it; with a broad and bitter
curse against the carelessness of some man, whose name he pronounced,
for leaving it open; and eternally damning others, for being so long
in doing their business.

We were now locked in; and we soon heard no more of the voices.

In spite of all these alarms, the moment they ceased our condition,
comparing it with the tempest and difficulties without, seemed to be
much bettered; and we once more prepared ourselves for sleep, while
fear gave place to fatigue.

Our rest was of short duration. We began indeed to slumber; but I
was presently disturbed by Clarke, whom I found shaking in the most
violent agitation and horror that I ever witnessed in any human being.

I asked 'What is the matter?'

He replied with a groan!

I was awakened from wild slumbers of my own, and strongly partook of
his sensations; but endeavoured however to rouze him to speech, and
recollection. Again and again I asked 'What have you heard? What ails
you?'

It was long before he could utter an articulate sound. At last,
shaking more violently as he spoke, and with inexpressible horror in
his voice, he gasping said--'A dead hand!'--

'Where?'--

'I felt it!--I had hold of it!--It is now at my neck.'

For a moment I paused: not daring to stretch out my arm, and examine.
I trembled in sympathy with him. At length I ventured.

Never shall I forget the sensation I experienced, when, to my full
conviction, I actually felt a cold, dead, hand, between my fingers!

I was suffocated with horror! I struggled to overcome it: again it
seized me; and I sunk half entranced!

At this very instant, the shrill sound of the whistle rung, piercing,
through the dismal place in which we were imprisoned. It was answered.
The same hoarse voices once more were heard: but in tones fifty fold
more dire.

One terror combated the other, and we were recalled to some sense
of distinguishing and understanding. We lay silent, not daring to
breathe, when we heard the door unlock. Our feelings will not readily
be conceived, while the following dialogue passed. 'What a damned
while you have kept us waiting, such a night as this!'

'What ails the night? It is a special good night, for our trade.'

'What the devil have you been about?'

'About? Doing our business, to be sure: and doing it to some purpose,
I tell you. Is not the night as bad for us as for you? Who had the
best of it, do you think? What had you to do, but to keep on the
scout?'

'How came you to leave the door open, and be d--mn'd to you?'

'Who left the door open, Jack Dingyface? We left the key in it,
indeed; for such lubbers as you to pass in and out: while we had all
the work to do, and all the danger to boot.'

'Who do you call lubber, Bull-calf? We have had as much to do as
yourselves. There has been an alarm given; for we have heard noises
and hallooing all night. For my part, I don't much like it. We shall
be smoked: nay it is my belief we are already; and I have a great mind
to decamp, and leave the country.'

'You are always in a panic. Who is to smoke us?'

'Well, mark my words, it will come upon us when we least think of it.'

'Think of ----! Hold up the lanthorn. Come, heave in the sack--We were
d--mn'd fools, for taking such a hen-hearted fellow among us. Lift
the sack an end. Why don't you lend a hand, and keep it steady, while
I untie it? Do you think a dead man can stand on his legs? D--mn my
body, the fool is afraid he should bite.'

'You are a hardened dog, Randal, bl--st me!'

'Come, tumble the body out. Lay hold! Here! Heave this way. So: that
will do. We may leave him. He will not run away. His journey is over.
He will travel no farther, to-night. He can't say however but we have
provided him with a lodging.'

'D--mn me, where do you expect to go to?'

'To bed. It's high time.'

'I never heard such a dare devil dog in all my life!'

'Don't let that trouble you; for you will never be like me.'

'What is that?'

'What is what?'

'I saw a head.'

'Where?'

'Behind the tub.'

'What then? Is there any wonder in seeing a head, or a body either, in
this place?'

'Nay, but, a living head!'

'A living ass!'

'I am sure, I saw the eyes move.'

'Ah! white-livered lout! I wonder what the devil made such a quaking
pudding poltroon think of taking to our trade! Come: I am hungry: let
us go into the kitchen, and get some grub; and then to bed. Pimping
Simon, here, will see his grandmother's ghost, if we stay five minutes
longer.'



CHAPTER VIII


_The scene continued; and our terrors increased: An interesting
dialogue, that unravels the mystery: The beginning of a new
acquaintance_


Here to our infinite ease they quitted us, went through an inner door
that led to the house, locked it after them, and left us, not only
with the dead hand, not only with the dead body, but in the most
dismal human slaughterhouse that murder and horror ever constructed,
or ever conceived. Such were our impressions: and such, under the same
circumstances, they would have been, perhaps, of the bravest man, or
man-killer, that ever existed. Alexander and Cæsar themselves would
have shook, lying as we lay, hearing what we heard, and seeing what we
saw: for, by the light of the lanthorn, we beheld limbs, and bones,
and human skeletons, on every side of us. I repeat: horror had nothing
to add.

The dancing lights we had seen, the shrill signals and the dreadful
howls that we had heard, were now no longer thought mysterious. It
was no _ignis fatuus_; but the lanthorn of these assassins: no dog or
wolf, baying the moon; but the agonizing yells of murder!

The men were four in number. The idea of attacking them several times
suggested itself. Nor was it so much overpowered by the apprehension
of the arms with which I concluded such men must be provided, as that
my mind was rendered irresolute by the dreadful pictures, real and
imaginary, which had passed through my mind.

Clarke, brave as he was, had lost all his intrepidity in this
golgotha, this place of skulls; the very scent of which, knowing
whence it proceeded, was abhorrent.

No: it was not their arms, nor their numbers, but these fears that
induced me, when he that saw my eyes move was in danger of giving
the alarm, to close them; and, profiting by the fellow's sympathetic
terror, counterfeit the death by which I was environed.

Here then we were. And must we here remain? To sleep was impossible.
Must we rise and grapple with the dead; trample on their limbs, and
stumble over their unearthed bones, in endeavouring to get out?

Neither could we tell what new horrors were in store for us. Who
had not heard of trap doors, sliding wainscots, and other murderous
contrivances? And could they be now forgotten? Impossible. All the
phantoms memory could revive, or fancy could create, were realized and
assembled.

Of the two, I certainly had more the use of my understanding than
Clarke; but I was so absorbed, in the terrors which assailed me,
on every side, that I was intent on them only; and forgot, while
the lanthorn glimmered its partial and dull rays, to consider the
geography of the place; or to plan the means of escape, till the
moment the men were departing; when I caught a glimpse of what I
imagined to be a window facing me.

As soon as our fears would permit us, we began, in low and cautious
whispers, to communicate our thoughts. Clarke was pertinaciously
averse to rise, and hurtle in the dark with the bones of the dead. By
the intervening medium of the straw, he had pushed away the terrific
hand; and was determined, he said, to lie still; till day-light should
return, and prevent him from treading, at random, on the horrible
objects around him; or stumbling over and being stretched upon a
corpse.

I had as little inclination to come in contact with dead hands,
cadaverous bodies, and dissevered joints, as he could have; yet was
too violently tormented to remain quiet, and suffer myself to be
preyed on by my imagination. Had I resigned myself to it, without
endeavouring to relieve it by action, it would have driven me frantic.
I half rose, sat considering, ventured to feel round me and shrunk
back with inexpressible terror, from the first object that I touched.
Again I ruminated, again ventured to feel, and again and again
shivered with horrible apprehensions.

Use will reconcile us to all situations. Experience corrects fear,
emboldens ignorance, and renders desire adventurous. The builder will
walk without dread on the ridge of a house: while the timid spectator
standing below is obliged to turn his eyes away, or tumble headlong
down and be dashed to pieces in imagination. Repeated trials had a
similar effect on me: they rendered me more hardy; and I proceeded, as
nearly as I could guess, toward the window; touching, treading on, and
encountering, I knew not what; subject, every moment, to new starts of
terror; and my heart now sinking, now leaping, as the sudden freaks
and frights of fancy seized upon me.

After the departure of the desperadoes, we had heard various noises,
in the adjoining house; among others the occasional ringing of a
chamber bell. While I was thus endeavouring to explore my way,
arrested by terror at every step, as I have been describing, we again
heard sounds that approached more nearly; and presently the inner-door
once more opened, and a livery servant, bearing two lighted candles,
came in; followed by a man with an apron tied round him, having a kind
of bib up to his chin, and linen sleeves drawn over his coat.

The master, for so he evidently was, had a meagre, wan, countenance;
and a diminutive form. The servant had evidently some trepidation.

'Do not be afraid, Matthew,' said the master. 'You will soon be
accustomed to it; and you will then laugh at your present timidity.
Unless you conquer your fears, you will not be able to obey my
directions, in assisting me; and consequently will not be fit for your
place; and you know you cannot get such good wages in any other.'

'I will do my best, sir,' said the servant: 'but I can't say but, for
the first time, it is a little frightful.'

'Mere prejudice, Matthew. I am studying to gain knowledge, which will
be serviceable to mankind: and that you must perceive will be doing
good.'

'Yes, sir.'

'Reach me those instruments--Now, lift up the body; and turn the head
a little this way--Why do you tremble? Are you afraid of the dead?'

'Not much, sir.'

'Lift boldly, then.'

'Yes, sir.'

As the servant turned round, half stupefied with his fears, he beheld
me standing with my eyes fixed, watchful and listening with my whole
soul, for the interpretation of these enigmas. The man stared, gaped,
turned pale, and at last dropped down; overcome with his terrors.

The master was amazed; and, perceiving which way the servant's
attention had been directed, looked round. His eye caught mine. He
stood motionless. His pale face assumed a death-like hue; and, for a
few moments, he seemed to want the power of utterance.

Clarke had remained, astonished and confounded, a silent spectator
of the scene. But there was now light; and, though the objects of
horror were multiplied in reality, they were less numerous to the
imagination. Seeing the fear of the servant, observing his fall, and
remarking the gentle and feeble appearance of the master, armed though
he was with murderous instruments, Clarke was now rising; determined
to come to action. His proceeding disturbed our mutual amazement.
He was on his legs; and, as I perceived, advancing with hostile
intentions.

The dialogue I had heard, and the objects which I had distinctly seen
and examined, had, by this time, unravelled the whole mystery. I
discovered that we were in the dissecting-room of an anatomist. Clarke
was clenching his fist and preparing to direct a blow at the operator;
and I had but just time to step forward, arrest his arm, and impede
its progress. 'Be quiet,' said I, 'Clarke; we have been mistaken.'

'For God's sake, who are you, gentlemen?' said the owner of the
mansion: recovered in part from his apprehensions, by my pacific
interference.

'We are benighted travellers, sir,' answered I; 'who got entrance into
this place by accident; and have ourselves been suffering under false,
but excessive, fear. Pray, sir, be under no alarm; for we are far from
intending you injury.'

He made no immediate reply, and I continued.

'Fear, I find, though she has indeed a most active fancy, has no
understanding: otherwise, among the innumerable conjectures with which
my brain has been busied within this hour, the truth would certainly
have suggested itself. But, instead of supposing I was transported to
the benignant regions of science, I thought myself certain of being in
the purlieus of the damned; in the very den of murder.'

My language, manner, and tone of voice, relieved him from all alarm;
and he said, with a smile, 'This is a very whimsical accident.'

'You would think so, indeed, sir,' replied I, 'if you knew but half
of the horrible images on which we have been dreaming. But it was
distress that drove us to take shelter here; and if there be any
village, or if not, even any barn, in which we could take a little
rest till daylight, we should be exceedingly obliged to you for that
kind assistance which, from your love of science, and from the remarks
I have heard you make to your servant, I am persuaded, you will be
very willing to afford.'

By this time, the servant was recovered from his fright; and on his
legs. 'Go, Matthew,' said the master, 'and call up one of the maids.'

And turning to me he added, 'Be kind enough to follow me, sir, with
your companion. I doubt if you could procure either lodging or
refreshment, within three miles of the place; and I shall therefore be
very happy in supplying you with both.'


We obeyed; I highly delighted with the benevolent and hospitable
manner of our host; and Clarke most glad to escape, from a scene which
no explanation had yet reconciled to his feelings, or notions of good
and evil.



CHAPTER IX


_A review of emotions and mistakes: Repose after fatigue: Singular
thoughts concerning property: Benevolence on a large scale. A proposal
accepted; which greatly alters the face of affairs: Sketches of war:
The hero: The raptures of a poet: Projects and opinions, relative to
law. Thoughts on the science of surgery_


In the relation of this adventure, I have given a picture, not of
things as they were afterward discovered to be, but, as they appeared
to us at the time; reflected through the medium of consternation and
terror. We had been powerfully prepared for these, by the previous
circumstances. Our imaginations had been strongly preyed upon by
our distress, by the accidents of falling, and by the mingled
noises we had heard: proceeding from the church-yard robbers, from
the village-dogs and curs disturbed by them and us, and from the
whistling, roaring, and howling which are so common to high gusts
of wind; and so almost distracting to a mind already in a state of
visionary deception and alarm. There was indeed enough to excite that
wild and uncontroulable dread, which rushed upon us every moment.
Mingled as they were with darkness, ignorance, and confusion, the
succeeding objects were actually horrible.

Thus the discourse and dialect, as well as the voices, of the men
employed to furnish dead bodies, were gross and rude; and the timidity
and prejudices of those, who probably were young in the employment,
contrasted with the jokes, vulgar sarcasms, and oaths, of the
boisterous and hardened adepts, though habitual to such people, gave
a colouring to the preceding circumstances, that so confirmed and
realized our fears as not to allow us the leisure to doubt. To repeat
such coarse colloquies and vulgar ribaldry is no pleasing task; except
as a history of the manners of such men, and of the emotions with
which on this occasion they were accompanied. These indeed made the
repetition necessary.

It is likewise true that, in their own opinion, these men were more or
less criminal: and guilt always assumes an audacity, and fierceness,
which it does not feel. They were not intentionally acting well:
but were doing that which they supposed to be a deed of desperate
wickedness, for selfish purposes. Had the consent of any one of them
when dying been asked, to have his body dug up and dissected, he would
have heard the proposal with detestation. Consequently, they deceived
us the more effectually: for they had the manners of that guilt which,
as far as intention was concerned, they actually possessed.

Add to this the spectacle of a dissecting-room; seen indistinctly by
the partial glimmerings of a lanthorn. Whoever has been in such a
place will recognise the picture. Here preparations of arms, pendent
in rows, with the vessels injected. There legs, feet, and other limbs.
In this place the intestines: in that membranes, cartilages, muscles,
with the bones and all their varieties of clothing, in every imaginary
mangled form. These things ought not to be terrible: but to persons of
little reflection, and not familiarized to them, they always are.

Escaped from this scene, restored as it were to human intercourse,
and encouraged by the kindness of our host, whose name was Evelyn,
our pulses began to grow temperate; and our imaginations to relax
and gravitate toward common sense. We took the refreshment that was
brought us, and conversed during the meal with Mr. Evelyn: partly on
the incidents of the night, and partly in answering a few questions;
which he put with a feeling that denoted a desire rather to afford us
aid than to gratify his own curiosity. After which, as we were weary
and he disposed to pursue his nocturnal researches, we immediately
retired to rest. Clarke was full to overflowing with cogitation:
but, for the present, it was too large, or rather too confused, for
utterance; and it soon overpowered and sunk him into sleep.

For my own part, my mind was too much alive to be immediately overcome
by fatigue. I lay revolving in thought the incidents of the night;
which led me into reveries on the singular character of Mr. Evelyn, on
my own forlorn state, on the bleak prospect before me, and on Olivia.

This last train of thinking was not easily dismissed. At length,
however, both mind and body were so overwearied that I fell into an
unusually profound sleep; from which I did not awake till Clarke, who
had risen two hours before, came between nine and ten o'clock and
rouzed me, to inform me that breakfast was waiting, and that our host
expected my company.

While I was dressing, he told me that Mr. Evelyn had been making
many enquiries concerning me; and apologized himself, with marks of
apprehension lest he should have done wrong, while he owned that he
had answered these interrogatories, by relating such particulars as he
knew.

We then went down; and, among other conversation at breakfast, Mr.
Evelyn remarked that he understood, from Clarke, we had no urgent
business which would make a day sooner or a day later of any material
consequence; and he therefore particularly requested we would delay
our departure till the next morning. The reason he gave was a kind
expression of interest, which what he had heard from my companion had
excited; and a desire, not of inquisitive prying but evidently of
benevolence, to be as fully informed of my history as I should think
proper to make him.

There was something soothing both in the request and in his manner,
which induced me to readily comply. Poor Clarke excepted, I seemed as
if no human being took any concern in my fate; and to discover that
there was yet a man who was capable of sympathizing with me was like
filling a painful vacancy of the heart, and afforded something of an
incoherent hope of relief.

Not that I was prepared to ask or even to accept favours. I had rather
entertained a kind of indignant sense of injury, against any one who
should presume to make me his debtor: or to suppose I was incapable
of not rather enduring all extremities than so to subject and
degrade myself as, in my own apprehension, I should do by any such
condescension.

After breakfast, Mr. Evelyn desired me to walk with him; that we might
converse the more freely when alone. He then repeated what Clarke
had told him, gave a strong and affecting picture of the overflowing
kindness and compassion with which my companion had related all he
knew, and proceeded afterward to speak of himself in the following
terms.

'I am a man, Mr. Trevor, engaged in a trust which I find it very
difficult conscientiously to discharge. I have an estate of fifteen
hundred a year, and am a creature whose real wants, like those of
other human creatures, are few. I live here surrounded by some
hundreds of acres; stored with fruits, corn, and cattle; which the
laws and customs of nations call mine. But what is it that these laws
and customs mean? That I am to devour the whole produce of thus much
land? The thing is impossible!'

'Why impossible? You may convert a hundred head of oxen into a service
of gold plate. Liveries, laces, equipage, gilding, garnishing, and
ten thousand other modes or fashionable wants, which if not gratified
render those that have them miserable, would eat up all that ten
thousand acres, if you had them, could yield. Are you an Epicure? You
may so stew, distill, and titillate your palate with essences that a
hecatomb shall be swallowed at every meal. The means of devouring are
innumerable, and justified by general usage.'

'General usage may be an apology, but not a justification. Happiness
is the end of man: but it cannot be single. On the contrary, the more
beings are happy the greater is the individual happiness of each: for
each is a being of sympathies, and affections; which are increased by
being called into action. It is the miserable mechanism of society
which, by giving legal possession of what is called property to the
holders, puts it absolutely and unconditionally in their disposal.'

'Why the miserable mechanism? Are you a friend to the Agrarian
system?'

'By no means. I was incorrect: The mechanism is defective enough, but
I rather meant to have said the miserable moral system of society;
which allows every man to exercise his own caprice, and thinks him
guilty of no crime though he is in the daily habit of wasting that
which might render numbers happy, who are in absolute want.'

'This is an evil of which the world has for ages been complaining: but
for which I see no remedy.'

'You mean no remedy which laws or governments, by the inflicting of
pains and penalties, can afford: at which, to do them justice, they
have been much too often aiming; but have as continually failed.'

'And you imagine, sir, you are possessed of a more effectual
prescription?

'I dare not prescribe: it would be an arrogant assumption of wisdom.
But I may advise a regimen which has numerous probabilities in its
favour. Yet what I must advise has been so many thousand times advised
before that it seems impertinence to repeat it; if not mockery. To
tell the rich that they seek enjoyment where it is not to be found,
that the parade by which they torment themselves to gain distinction
renders them supremely ridiculous, that their follies, while they are
oppressive and hateful to the poor, are the topics of contempt and
scandal even in their own circles, and that the repetition of them
inevitably proves that they bring weariness, disgust, ruin, pain, and
every human misery, is mere common-place declamation.

'But there is one truth of which they have not been sufficiently
reminded. They are not, as they have too long been taught to suppose
themselves, placed beyond the censure of the multitude. It is found
that the multitude can think, and have discovered that the use
the wealthy too often make of what they call their own is unjust,
tyrannical, and destructive.

'This memento will come to them with the greater force the oftener
they are made to recollect that the spirit of enquiry is abroad,
that their voluptuous waste is daily becoming more odious, and that
simplicity of manners, a benevolent economy, a vigorous munificence,
and a comprehensive philanthropy, can alone redeem them; and preserve
that social order which every lover of the human race delights to
contemplate, but of which they arrogate to themselves the merit of
being the sole advocates.

'It is the moral system of society that wants reform. This cannot be
suddenly produced, nor by the efforts of any individual: but it may
be progressive, and every individual may contribute: though some much
more powerfully than others. The rich, in proportion as they shall
understand this power and these duties, will become peculiarly
instrumental: for poverty, by being subjected to continual labour, is
necessarily ignorant; and it is well known how dangerous it is for
ignorance to turn reformer.

'Let the rich therefore awake: let them encourage each other to
quit their pernicious frivolities, and to enquire, without fear or
prejudice, how they may secure tranquillity and promote happiness;
and let them thus avert those miseries at which they so loudly and so
bitterly rail, but into which by their conduct a majority of them is
so ready to plunge.

'The intentions of those among them who think the most are excellent:
to assert the contrary is equally false and absurd. But, when they
expect to promote peace and order by irritating each other against
this or that class of men, however mistaken those men may be, and
by disseminating a mutual spirit of acrimony between themselves and
their opponents, they act like madmen; and, if they do not grow calm,
forgiving, and kind, the increasing fury of the mad many will overtake
them.'

'They are like the brethren of Dives. They pay but little regard to
Moses and the prophets.'

'Well, Mr. Trevor, you will own at least that, since I can talk
with all this seeming wisdom, a small share of the practice will be
becoming in me; and what you and all mankind would expect.'

'I may: but not all mankind. There are some who pretend to be so
learned, in what they call the depravity of human nature, that, after
having heard you speak thus admirably in favour of virtue, they would
think it more than an equal chance that you are one of the wickedest
of men.'

'Oh, with respect to that, some of my very neighbours do not scruple
to affirm that I am so. But, I repeat, I have what I consider as a
large estate in trust; and it is a serious and a sacred duty imposed
upon me to seek how it may be best employed. I seldom am satisfied
with the means which offer themselves; and am therefore always in
quest of new.'

'I wonder at that, sir, with your system. Have you no poor in the
country?'

'O yes: enough to grieve any penetrable heart. But I know no task
more difficult than that of administering to their wants, without
encouraging their vices. Of these wants I consider instruction as the
greatest; and to that I pay the greatest attention. Food, cloathing,
and disease are imperious necessities; and to leave them unprovided
would be guilt incredible to speculation, did we not see it in hourly
practice. But the poor are so misled, by the opinions they are taught
to hold and the oppressions to which they are subject, that, by
relieving these most urgent wants we are in danger of teaching them
idleness, drunkenness, and servility. I do them the little good that
I can, most willingly: but I consider the diffusion of knowledge, by
which that which I call the moral system of mankind is to be improved,
as the most effectual means of conferring happiness. Are you of that
opinion?'

'I certainly am.'

'Then I cannot but think you intend to promote this beneficial plan.'

'I scarcely know my own intentions. They are unsettled, incoherent,
and the dreams of delirium; rather than the system of a sage, such as
you have imagined.'

'I wish we had been longer acquainted and were intimate enough to
induce you to relate your history, and confide your thoughts to me, as
to a friend; or, if you please, as to one who holds it a duty to offer
aid, whenever he imagines it will answer a good end.'

'To offer aid is kind: but there are very few cases in which he that
receives it is not mean and degraded. You however are actuated by
a generous spirit; and, as you are inclined to listen, I will very
willingly inform you of the chief incidents of a life that has already
been considerably checkered, and the future prospects of which are
sufficiently gloomy.'

After this preface, I began my narrative; and succinctly related the
principal of those events with which the reader already is acquainted.
Nor did the state of my feelings and the strong sense of injury which
was ever present to my imagination, when I came to recapitulate my
adventures since I first left college, suffer me to colour with a
negligent or a feeble hand.

Some of the incidents necessarily induced me to mention Olivia, and
betray my sentiments in part: which the questions of Mr. Evelyn, put
with kindness, delicacy, and interest that was evidently unaffected,
induced me at length wholly to reveal, with all the tenderness and the
vehemence of passion.

I was encouraged or rather impelled to this confidence by the emotions
which Mr. Evelyn betrayed, in his countenance, voice, and manner. His
hopes, his fears, and his affections, were so much in unison with my
own, his eye so often glistened and his cheek so frequently glowed,
that it was impossible for the heart not to open all its recesses, and
pour out not only its complaints but its very follies.

Of all the pleasures in which the soul of man most delights that of
sympathy is surely the chief. It can unite and mingle not only two
but ten millions of spirits as one. Could a world be spectators of
the sorrows of Lear, a world would with one consent participate in
them: so omnipotent is the power of sympathy. It is the consolation of
poverty, it is the cordial of friendship, it is the essence of love.
Pride and suspicion are its chief enemies; and they are the vices that
engender the most baneful of the miseries of man.

Mr. Evelyn remained, after I had ended, for some time in deep
meditation; now and then casting his eyes toward me and then taking
them away, as if fearful of offending my sensibility and again falling
into thought. At length, fixing them more firmly and with an open
benignity of countenance, he thus broke silence.

'I have been devising, my noble young friend, allow me to call you so,
by what means I should best make myself understood to you; and how
most effectually prevail on you to contribute to my happiness, and to
those great ends for which souls of ardour like yours are so highly
gifted. I have already sketched my principles, concerning the use
and abuse of property. One of those rare occasions on which it may
be excellently employed now presents itself. You are in pursuit of
science, by which a world is to be improved. To the best of my ability
I follow the same track: but I have the means, which you want. You
have too little: I have too much. It is my province, and, if you
consent, as I hope and trust you will, it will be my supreme pleasure
to supply the deficiency. I am acquainted with the delicacy of your
sentiments: but I am likewise acquainted with the expansion of your
heart, and with its power of rising superior to the false distinctions
which at present regulate society. I might assume the severe tone of
the moralist, and urge your compliance with my request as a duty: but
I would rather indulge what may perhaps be the foible of immature
virtue, and follow the affectionate impulse which binds me to you as
my friend and brother. Beside these are vibrations with which I am
persuaded your warm and kindred heart will more readily harmonize.
In youth, we willingly obey impetuous sensations: but reluctantly
listen to the slow and frigid deductions of reason, when they are
in contradiction to our habits and prejudices. I therefore repeat,
you are my friend and brother; and I conjure you, by those generous
and magnanimous feelings of which your whole life proves you are so
eminently susceptible, not to wound me by refusal. Do not consider me
as the acquaintance of a day; for, by hearing your history, I have
travelled with you through life, and seem as if I had been the inmate
of your bosom even from your years of infancy. No: far from being
strangers, we have been imbibing similar principles, similar views,
and similar affections. Our souls have communed for years, and rejoice
that the time at length is come in which that individual intercourse
for which they may most justly be said to have panted is opened. If
you object, if you hesitate, if you suspect me, you will annihilate
the purest sensations which these souls have mutually cherished: you
will wrong both yourself and me.'

There was an emanating fervor in the look, deportment, and the very
gestures, of Mr. Evelyn that was irresistible. It surpassed his
language. It led me out of myself. It hurried me beyond the narrow
limits of prejudices and prepossessions, and transported me wherever
it pleased. I was no longer in mortal society; surrounded by
selfishness, cunning, and cowardly suspicions. He had borne me on his
wings, and seated me among the Gods; whose ministers were wisdom and
beneficence. I burst into exclamation.

'I own it, you are my friend! you are my brother! I accept your
offers, I will receive your benefits, but I will retaliate.'

I paused. I felt the egotism of my own thoughts, but could not subdue
the torrent. I continued inwardly to vow, with the most vehement
asseverations, that I would repay every mark of kindness he should
bestow fifty fold. The heart of man will not rest satisfied with
inferiority, and has recourse to a thousand stratagems, a thousand
deceptions, to relieve itself of any such doubts; which it entertains
with impatience, and pain.

My own enthusiasm however was soon inclined to subside; and I became
ready to tax myself with that meanness and degradation which I had
felt, and expressed, at the beginning of the discussion. Of this
the quick penetration of Mr. Evelyn seemed to be aware; and he so
effectually counteracted these emotions that, at length, I abandoned
all thoughts of resistance; or of betraying those jealousies which
would now have appeared almost insulting, to a man who had displayed a
spirit so disinterested.

This subject being as it were dismissed, our conversation recurred to
my present affairs, and future prospects; and, while we discoursed on
these, that which might well at this period be called the malady of my
mind exhibited itself. Though I had as it were lost sight of Olivia,
though I knew not but she might at that time be a wife, and though,
whatever her condition might be, I had sufficient reason to fear that
if she thought of me it was with pain, not with love, still that she
must and should be mine was a kind of frantic conclusion with which
I always consoled myself. But for this purpose riches presented
themselves as of the first necessity; and riches themselves would be
useless, unless obtained with the rapidity rather of enchantment than
by the ordinary progress of human events.

I did not conceal this weakness from my friend, and ventured to
propose a plan on which I had previously been ruminating; though I
had foreseen no means of putting it in practice. Every man had heard
of the fortunes acquired in the east, and of the wealth which had been
poured from the lap of India. The army there was at all times open
to men like myself; youthful, healthy, and of education. 'Tis true I
had been of opinion that there were strong moral objections to this
profession: but these my more prevalent passions had lulled me into a
forgetfulness of, and I stated this as the most probable scheme for
the accomplishment of my dearest hopes.

Mr. Evelyn, anxious not to wound me where I was most vulnerable,
began by soothing my ruling passion; and then proceeded to detail the
physical chances of a ruined constitution, of death, and of failure;
and afterward to represent, with unassuming but with stedfast energy,
the moral turpitude first of subjecting myself to the physical evils
he had recited, and next of hiring myself to enmity against nations
I had never known, and of becoming the assassin of people whom I had
never seen, and who had not had any possible opportunity of doing me
an injury, or even of giving me an offence.

The objections I started, partly to defend the opinions I had begun
with, and partly because I felt myself loth to relinquish a plan by
which my imagination had been flattered, soon became very feeble: but
the interesting nature of the subject prolonged the discussion till it
was nearly dinner time.

In the course of this enquiry, Mr. Evelyn delineated the contemptible
yet ridiculous arts which are employed to entrap men into the military
service; pourtrayed the inevitable depravity of their morals, and gave
a history of the feelings worthy of fiends which are engendered, while
they are trained to fix their bayonets, load their pieces, level them,
discharge them at men they had never seen before, strike off the heads
of these strangers with furious dexterity, stab the ground in full
gallop on which they are supposed to have fallen and to lie helpless,
and commit habitual and innumerable murders in imagination, that they
may be hardened for actual slaughter.

He afterward gave an enlightened and animated sketch of the abject
condition of those who command these men, of the total resignation
which each makes of his understanding to that of the next in rank
above him, and of the arrogant, the ignorant, the turbulent, the
dangerous and the slavish spirit which this begets. He finished the
picture with a recapitulation of the innumerable and horrid miseries
which everlastingly mark the progress of war; which he painted with
such force and truth that I recoiled from the contemplation of it with
abhorrence.

My feelings had been so agitated by this discourse that my imagination
was thoroughly rouzed. My former ideas, concerning the enormous vices
of war, had not only been revived but increased; and, though I began
with debating the question, I soon ceased to oppose: so that my
thoughts were rather busied in filling up the picture, and collecting
all its horrors, than in apologizing for or denying their existence.
This was the temper of mind in which Mr. Evelyn, attending to his
own concerns, left me for a short time; and my heart was so agonized
by the recollection that this was a system to which men were still
devoted, and of which they were still in the headlong and hot pursuit,
that I then immediately, and perhaps with less effort than I ever made
on a similar occasion, produced the following poem:

  THE HERO

  All hail to the hero whom victory leads,
  Triumphant, from fields of renown!
  From kingdoms left barren! from plains drench'd in blood!
  And the sacking of many a fair town!

  His gore-dripping sword shall hang high in the hall;
  Revered for the havoc it spread!
  For the deaths it has dealt! for the terrors it struck!
  And the torrents of blood it has shed!

  His banners in haughty procession shall ride,
  On Jehovah's proud altars unfurl'd!
  While anthems and priests waft to heaven his praise,
  For the slaughter and wreck of a world!

  Though widows and orphans together shall crowd,
  To gaze as at heaven's dread rod,
  And mutter their curses, and mingle their tears,
  Invoking the vengeance of God:

  Though, while bloated Revelry roars at his board,
  Where surfeiting hecatombs fume,
  Desolation and Famine shall howl, and old Earth
  Her skeleton hordes shall intomb:

  All ghastly and mangled, from fields where they fell,
  With horrible groanings and cries,
  What though, when he slumbers, the dead from their graves
  In dread visitation shall rise:

  Yet he among heroes exalted shall sit;
  And slaves to his splendor shall bend;
  And senates shall echo his virtues; and kings
  Shall own him their saviour, and friend!

  Then hail to the hero whom victory leads,
  Triumphant, from fields of renown!
  From kingdoms left barren! from plains drench'd in blood!
  And the sacking of many a fair town!

I was too full of my subject, and poet like too much delighted with
the verses I had so suddenly produced, not to shew them immediately to
Mr. Evelyn.

He seemed to do them even more than justice: he read them again
and again, and each time with a feeling now of compassion, now of
amazement, and now of horror, that shewed how strongly the picture had
seized upon his soul. The associations of misery which his imagination
added were so forcible that tears repeatedly rolled down his cheeks.
To this more soothing trains of thought succeeded. The pain of the
past and the present was alleviated by a prospect of futurity. Our
minds rose to a state of mutual rapture, excited by a foresight
that the time was at length come in which men were awakening to a
comprehensive view of their own mad and destructive systems; that
their vices began to be on the decline and no longer to be mistaken
for the most splendid virtues, as they had formerly been; and that
truth was breaking forth upon the world with most animating force and
vigour.

There have been few moments of my life in which I have experienced
intellectual enjoyment with a pleasure so exquisite. Clarke himself,
unused as his thoughts had been to explore the future and wrest
happiness to themselves by anticipation, partook of our emotions; and
seemed in a state similar to those religious converts who imagine they
feel that a new light is broke in upon them. It was a happy afternoon!
It was a type of those which shall hereafter be the substitutes of
the wretched resources of drinking, obscene conversation, and games
of chance, to which men have had recourse that they might rouze their
minds: being rather willing to suffer the extremes of misery than that
dullness, and inanity, which they find still more insupportable.

This incident united me and Mr. Evelyn more intimately, and
powerfully, than all that had passed. The warmth with which he spoke,
of the benefits that society must receive from talents like mine,
dilated my heart. Every man is better acquainted with his own powers
and virtues than any other can possibly be; and, when they are
discovered, acknowledged, and applauded, instead of being denied or
overlooked as is more generally the case, the pleasure he receives is
as great as it is unusual.

Our conversation after dinner reverted to the plans I was to pursue.
The law necessarily came under consideration; and Mr. Evelyn, not
having considered the subject under the same points of view as Turl
had done, was strongly in favour of that profession. He foresaw in
me a future Judge, whose integrity should benefit and whose wisdom
should enlighten mankind. He conceived there could be no function more
honourable, more sacred, or more beneficial. An upright judge, with
his own passions and prejudices subdued, attentive to the principles
of justice by which alone the happiness of the world can be promoted,
and by the rectitude of his decisions affording precedent and example
to future generations, he considered as a character that must command
the reverence and love of the human race.

My imagination while he spoke was not idle. I helped to fill up the
picture. It placed me on the judgment seat. It gave me the penetration
of Solomon, the benevolence of Zaleucus, and the legislative soul of
Alfred. As usual, it overstepped the probable with wonderful ease and
celerity. Not only the objections of Turl disappeared, but the jargon
of the law, its voluminous lumber with which I had been disgusted
when reading the civilians at college, and all my other doubts and
disgusts, vanished.

Our inquiries accordingly ended with a determination that I should
continue my journey to town, should keep my terms at the Temple, and
should place myself, as is customary, under one of the most eminent
barristers.

This necessarily brought me to consider the expence; and the moment
that subject recurred I felt all the pain which could not but assault
a mind like mine. I had nurtured, not only the haughtiness of
independance, but the supposition that, in my own extraordinary powers
and gifts, I possessed innumerable resources; and, at moments, had
encouraged those many extravagant flights with which the reader is
already well acquainted.

However, after all that had passed, and for the reasons that had been
sufficiently urged, I found it necessary to submit: though by the
concession my soul seemed to be subdued, and its faculties to be
shrunk and half withered. It was an oppressive sensation that could
not be shaken off, yet that must be endured. Such at least was my
present conclusion.

In the course of the evening, Mr. Evelyn at my request stated his
reasons for pursuing his own course of studies; and instanced a
variety of facts which convinced me of the benefits to be derived
from the science of surgery, of the rash conclusions to which modern
theorists and enquirers have been led, and of the necessity there is
that some practitioner, equally well informed with themselves but
aware of the evil of false deductions, should demonstrate the mischief
of hasty assertion, and that things which are only conjectural ought
not to be given as indubitable.

Of this nature he considered their hypotheses relating to the
brain, the nervous system, the lymphatic fluid, and other subjects;
concerning which many curious but hitherto equivocal facts have been
the discovery of modern research.

Mr. Evelyn not only read all the best authors, but went to London,
every winter, and assiduously maintained an intercourse with the most
able men, attended their lectures, was present at their operations,
and fully informed himself of their differences both in opinion and
practice.

But his frame was delicate, a too long abode in London always
occasioned pulmonary symptoms, and experience taught him that his
native air was more healthful and animating than any other. The
difficulties attending his studies were greatly increased by his
residence in the country; but they were surmounted by his precaution,
and by the general favour which his benevolence secured to him among
the neighbouring people. Though there were not wanting some who
considered him as a very strange, if not a dangerous and a wicked,
man.

It is curious yet an astonishing and an afflicting speculation that
men should be most prone to suspect, and hate, those who are most
unwearied in endeavouring to remove their evils. That a surgeon
must be acquainted with the direction, site, and properties, of the
muscles, arteries, ligaments, nerves, and other parts, before he
can cut the living body with the least possible injury, and that
this knowledge can only be acquired by experience, is a very plain
proposition. It is equally self-evident that a dead body is no longer
subject to pain; and that it certainly cannot be more disgraced by the
knife of a surgeon than by the gnawing of worms. When will men shake
off their infantine terrors, and their idiot-like prepossessions?



CHAPTER X


_The departure: Ejaculations: Present pleasures and future hopes: A
strange dialogue in the dark; and a generous and beautiful defender_


The pleasure I this day received in the company of Mr. Evelyn was
uncommon, the friendship with which he had inspired me was pure,
and the respect that my heart paid to his virtues was profound. But
eagerness of pursuit was my characteristic. My plan being formed,
every moment of delay would have been torment; and he, entering into
all my thoughts and sympathising with all my wishes, prompted me to
follow my bent. It was therefore agreed that I and my companion should
depart by one of the coaches which would pass an inn at some distance
in the morning. A messenger was accordingly dispatched to take places
in the first vacant coach, arrangements for money-matters were made
with every possible delicacy by my friend, the night passed away, day
returned, and we departed.

I will leave the reader to image to himself the crowding sensations
that pressed upon my heart on this occasion, the tumult of thought
which incidents so sudden and unexpected produced, and the feelings
which mutually passed between me and my noble benefactor. I shall
live, said I, to acknowledge this in my old age. I shall have a story
to tell, a man to describe, and a friend to revere, that will astonish
and render common hearers incredulous. But this was the language of my
heart: not of my tongue. That was dumb. A pressure of the hand, with
eyes averted, was all the utterance I had.

A child and its mother were the only passengers beside ourselves. The
coach, which was to be in London at ten that night, rolled along, they
were asleep, I was silent, and poor Clarke was full of ejaculation.

'If there be a good man on God's earth, that gentleman is one! He will
find his road to heaven safe enough! He will be among the sheep, and
sit on the right hand of God! I hope I shall be in his company! Though
that can't be. I am unworthy. I may think myself happy to sit far
enough lower down. Not that I can say; for I find the best people have
the least pride. Perhaps as it is in earth so it may be in heaven.
God send us all safe there together! For my part, I think that within
these few weeks I am a different kind of a creature. But what can a
poor carpenter do? He must not speak to gentlefolk, unless in the
way of his work: so he can have no sociability, but with his poor
neighbours. And though some of them to be sure be as good-meaning
people as any on earth, they are no better learned than himself: so
they can teach him nothing. But I have happened on good luck, so I
have no right to complain. And I am very sure, in my own mind, that
there is good luck in store for us all: for providence else would not
have brought us and guided us where it did, by such marvellous means;
so that, while we thought we were breaking our necks and falling into
the hands of murderers, and being frightened out of our senses by the
most shocking sights I must say that ever were seen, we were all the
while going straight on as fast as we could to good fortune! So that
it is true enough that man is blind, but that God can see.'

What pleasure does the mind of man take in solving all its
difficulties! How impatient is it that any thing should remain
unexplained; and how ready to elevate its own ignorance into mystery
and miracle!

To have remained longer silent, while the honest heart of my companion
was thus overflowing with kindness, would have been no proof of the
same excellent and winning quality in myself. I encouraged his hopes,
in which I was very ready to participate. My own pleasing dreams
revived in full force; and I presently ranged my cloud-constructed
castles, which I built, pulled down and rebuilt with admirable
facilty, and lorded it over my airy domains at will. 'Tis a folly to
rail at these domains: for there are no earthly abodes that are half
so captivating.

Nothing worth mentioning happened on the road till we came to the
last stage but one, where we changed horses; at which time it was
quite dark. Our female companion and her child had been set down at
Hungerford; and two new passengers, both ladies, as soon as the horses
were put to, were shewn to the carriage.

They had a footman, who mounted the box; and we soon learned from
their discourse that they had been waiting for the nephew of the elder
lady, who was to have taken them in his phæton, but that they had
been disappointed. They had been on a visit, and had been brought to
Salt-hill in a gentleman's carriage; which they had sent back. While
the coach had stopped, I had fallen into a doze; but awoke when
it began to move again, and when I heard the voices of females
conversing.

The old lady spoke most, and complained of the rudeness of her nephew
in subjecting them to the inconvenience of a stage-coach, or of
waiting they knew not how long till post-horses should come in, which
as they were informed would be tired and unfit for more work: it
happening that there was a great run at that time on the Bath road.

The reader will presently understand that they were people of real
fashion; and the eldest lady spoke of persons and things which denoted
that high life was familiar to her. This gave Clarke a new opportunity
of wondering how he, a poor carpenter, came into such company: which
he directly expressed to me, with the simplicity and undisguise that
are common to such characters.

The old lady, who had before signified her chagrin at the expedient
to which her nephew had reduced her, did not find her pride soothed
when she learned that she was in company with carpenters: for it
soon appeared that she considered me and my companion as familiar
acquaintances of the same rank.

Her young friend was likewise led into this error; and, when the
former began to express her disgust too freely to accord with the
feelings of the latter, she interrupted her with saying '_Ayez la
bonté, madame, de parler François_? 'Be kind enough, madam, to speak
French.'

The old lady complied; and a conversation ensued which certainly will
neither surprise nor move the reader so much as it did me. Should
he ask how I, as a man of honor, could suffer them to remain in the
deception of imagining I did not understand them, let him wait till
he knows enough to surmise what the emotions were that were in a
moment kindled in my bosom. At first, indeed, they were but dark and
improbable conjectures: but, dark as they were, they shook my whole
frame.

The dialogue that ensued soon testified that the old lady was in no
very complacent temper of mind. Her beginning sentences expressed
dissatisfaction, were sarcastic, and evidently glanced at her young
companion, whose replies were mild and conciliating. But, not
satisfied with indirect reproach, her assailant, still speaking
French, continued her interrogatories to the following effect.

'And are you still determined, Miss, to persist in your obstinate
refusal of his lordship?'

'Let me intreat you, dear madam, not to enter on that subject again.'

'Oh, to be sure! You very kindly intreat me to torment myself as much
as I please, so that I do not trouble you!'

'How can you, madam, accuse me of such cruelty? Is it just? Am I
indeed of such a nature?'

'Yes, indeed are you, Miss: however you may flatter yourself. It is
nothing but perversity that can make you trifle with the honor and
happiness of your family--Now you are silent! Your fine spirit no
doubt disdains to reply!'

'What can I say?'

'Say that you are a headstrong girl; acknowledge your fault, and
consent to be the wife of a peer--Silent again!'

'I could wish, madam, not to make you more angry.'

'No, indeed; there is no occasion for that! You have been doing
nothing else for many weeks past. For my part, I cannot conceive what
your objection can be! Had that desperado been living, for whom since
his death you have acknowledged what you call your weak prepossession,
I should have known very well to what cause to attribute your
stubbornness: but, as it is, I cannot conceive either your motives or
your meaning. Nothing however is to be wondered at, in a young lady
of your character. No prudent person would have dared to indulge a
thought in favour of a mad adventurer, whose actions were as rash as
they were insolent, whose family was mean yet had dared to oppose
and even make ridiculous attempts to rival that from which you are
descended, and who yet was himself an outcast of that family.'

'It is cruel, madam, to disturb the ashes of the dead!'

This was the first word of retort that had escaped the chidden
sufferer; and this was uttered in a voice half suffocated with
passion.

'Cruel, indeed! Every thing is cruel that contradicts the wishes of
young ladies, whose melting tenderness is ruinous to themselves and to
every body that ought to be most dear to them.'

'You must pardon me, madam, for again and again repeating, in my own
defence, that there is no part of my conduct which can justify such an
accusation.'

'How, Miss! Is an avowed partiality for a fortune-hunter no proof? Is
it no stain on the character of a modern young lady? Is it no insult
to her family?'

'It was a partiality which had never been avowed, till death had put
an end to hope. It was produced and counteracted by very extraordinary
circumstances: but, however strong it might be at some moments, which
I acknowledge it was, for I disdain falsehood, it was not indulged. I
needed no monitor to shew me there were too many reasons why it ought
not to be.'

'I have not patience. A runagate! A vagabond! A gambler! A prize
fighter! One of the lowest and most contemptible of adventurers!
who had betrayed his patrons, who had flown in the face of his
benefactors, who was capable of every kind of malice and mischief, and
who had not a single virtue!'

'Madam, I cannot listen to such an assertion as that, however I may
offend you, without continually protesting it is unfounded; and that
you have been greatly misinformed. I scorn to apologise for his
mistakes: but I know that he had virtues which those who have given
you this character of him are never likely to possess. How he could be
guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused I cannot conceive.
Even when a boy, I have heard him express sentiments which I shall
never forget; and which have since been confirmed by his actions. You
were acquainted with none of them. You speak from report; and from
report which I am sure was false, and wicked. His heart I know to have
been compassionate, his principles such as no mean mind could have
conceived, and his courage blameably great; though it saved my life.
[Tears half choaked her utterance.] But for him I should have been
where he now is: a different train of events might have taken place,
and he perhaps might have been living. I owe him my life, and you must
forgive me if I cannot sit patiently and hear his memory traduced
without the least occasion: for, [Her sobbing could not be stifled.]
since he is dead, you can no longer think him dangerous.'

Oh Olivia!

Gracious God! What were the throbs the thrillings, the love, the
indignation, the transports, of my soul! How did a few moments raise
and allay in me the whirlwind of the passions! How did my frame
tremble, and madden, and shiver, and burn! How were my lips at once
bursting with frenzy and locked in silence! It was my guardian angel
that protected me, that pleaded for me, that awed me to patience, and
that repaid by her seraphic praise the virtue she had inspired!

Oh, yes, it was Olivia! It was she herself that had the justice, the
fortitude, and the affection, to assert the dignity of truth, to
controvert an overbearing aunt whom she revered, for this aunt had her
virtues, and to speak in defiance of that hypocrisy which inculcates
the silence that intends to deceive, and which teaches females that
sincerity is an unpardonable vice.



CHAPTER XI


_False conclusions rectified: A lover's reveries: The dangers of a
stage-coach, in a dark night and a fog: The discovery of more old
acquaintances, and the journey pursued_


It has been truly remarked that the most serious and even the most
dignified emotions are sometimes mingled with the most ludicrous. When
the divine Olivia had ended, there was a momentary pause; and Clarke,
meditating no doubt on the advantages of which he had been deprived,
and to the enjoyment of which every man feels he has a right,
directing his remark to me, suddenly exclaimed--'What would I give now
if I understood all that these ladies were saying as well as you do!'

'_Est-ce donc que Monsieur sçait parler François?_--What, sir! Can you
speak French?' said the aunt with a burst of surprise.

'Yes, madam,' answered I; in a low and tremulous voice.

'_Gesù Maria! Chi l'avrebbe pensato! Parliamo Italiano, Signora._ Good
God! who could have thought it! Let us speak Italian, Miss,' continued
she: but, suddenly recollecting herself, added--'Perhaps, sir, you
speak that language, too?'

'Yes, madam.'

A dead silence ensued; which was only once or twice interrupted by
an exclamation of discontent from the aunt. Each became busied with
their own thoughts: mine were distracted by doubts and apprehensions,
concerning the manner in which I ought to act. I could come to no
determination. To be seen by the aunt would not only have wounded her
pride, and if possible have rendered her more implacably my mortal
enemy than she had been, but it would have subjected Olivia, toward
whom my heart was bursting with affection, to a series of new assaults
and persecutions. Nay the sudden sight of me might overpower her, and
even have dangerous effects. Such at least were the whisperings either
of my tenderness or my vanity. And yet to miss this opportunity, to
acquaint her with none of those overwhelming sensations that were all
thankfulness, love, and adoration, and not so much as to inform her
that I was still living, still perhaps capable of all the good that
she had ever supposed of me, was in every view of it tormenting. How
had she struggled to conceal her emotions when she mentioned my death,
and that I had saved her life! Should I deserve this tenderness, if I
could leave her to grieve a moment longer? Such unkindness were not
only unworthy of me, but might be dangerous: it might even risk her
compliance to the proposed match.

And here a torrent of painful anxieties and surmises rushed upon me.
The hateful subject was brought fully to my recollection. Andrews was
no longer the rival I had to dread. A lord had entered the lists: a
peer of the realm had sued for Olivia. Who could he be? Was it likely
that she should long withstand the solicitations of her aunt, endure
her bitter upbraidings, and suffer the rude taunts of her brother,
while rank and splendor were courting her acceptance, while coronets
were crouching at her feet and supplicating her compassion? Which of
our ancient barons could he be? How should I learn? Was he young,
handsome, courteous, engaging? Had he the virtues and the high
qualities which imagination is so apt to attach to the word noble?

Another train of conjecture seized upon my thoughts. How did it happen
that they should believe me dead? Who were the authors of this false
report? It must surely be intentional deceit; perhaps of the aunt,
perhaps of Hector; invented to induce her to comply with their wishes,
and ally them to the peerage. I must not suffer it to continue. The
aunt appeared to believe it; and that Olivia had no doubt of it was
certain. My fears confirmed me in the suspicion that it was a family
artifice.

I was at length awakened from these reveries by the aunt; who
expressed her surprise and impatience at the slow driving of the
coachman. It seems it had continued for some time, though not remarked
by me; and it was not long before the coach stopped, when I perceived
that we were in an uncommonly thick fog. Olivia was still silent, but
the aunt was alarmed by the voices of men; and, as the darkness and
mist prevented all danger of my being known, I opened the coach-door
and jumped out; and Clarke followed my example.

I found on enquiry we were passing Cranford-bridge at the beginning of
Hounslow-heath, that a broad-wheeled waggon had approached, and that
the coachman unable to distinguish the road had alighted to lead his
horses, lest we should be overturned. He had trusted the reins to the
footman who remained on the box.

By the caution of the coachman, the waggon was safely passed, and he
thought proper to mount his box again: but he durst not venture to
drive fast; and, as I was alarmed for the safety of Olivia, I and
Clarke continued beside the horses.

We had not gone fifty yards before we were again entangled with a
timber carriage; the driver of which, embarrassed by the fog, had
turned it across the road.

The waters, which lie in the hollows on the Hounslow-side of the
bridge, had been greatly increased by the late tempests, and heavy
rains. The coach horses began to snort with more vehemence; for they
had for some time been disturbed with fright; and one of them, running
against the projecting timber, plunged, and terrified the rest: so
that the two fore-horses, quitting the road, dashed into the water,
dragged the coach after them in despite of the driver, and the
near-wheels were hurried down the bank.

It fortunately happened that the declivity was not steep enough
immediately to overturn the coach; otherwise Olivia and her aunt would
probably have lost their lives.

Bewildered by the fog, neither I nor Clarke could act with that
promptitude which we desired. I however got to the horses' heads,
myself above the knees in water, and stopped them just in time. I
called to Clarke to come to me; and, as I knew him to be both strong
and determined, I committed the horses to him and ran to support the
carriage, lest it should overturn.

The coachman sensible of his danger, took care to alight on the
off-side. The footman did the same; and I, with an air of authority
which the circumstances inspired, ordered them to come to me and
support the coach. They obeyed. I hastened round to the other side,
opened the door, first took out the aunt, and then accomplished the
wish of my heart: I held the lovely Olivia once more in my arms, and
once more pressed her to my bosom, without the least alarm to her
delicacy.

For how many rapturous moments are lovers indebted to accident! Mine
indeed would have been a single bliss, and therefore unworthy the
name, had not the tenderness and the truth of Olivia so lately been
manifested. But this addition made the transport undescribable! To
be in my arms yet not to know me, but to suppose me dead, to feel
my embrace and to have no suspicion that it was the embrace of
love, to be once more safe and I myself once more her protector, oh
Imagination! Strong as thou art, thy power is insufficient for the
repetition of such a scene, for the complete revival of such ecstacy!

I was unwilling to part with my precious burthen, which I had no
longer any pretence to retain. 'Pray, sir, put me down,' said the
angel; with a sweet, a gentle, and a thankful voice. 'We are very safe
now: for which both I and my aunt are infinitely indebted to you.'

I could make no reply: but I pressed her hand with something of that
too ardent rashness of which the aunt had accused me.

The old lady too did not forget her acknowledgments. She had no doubt
now that I was a gentleman. My behaviour proved it. She should be very
proud to thank me, in a more proper place, for my civilities; and
would endeavour to repay the obligation if I would do her the favour
to call in Hertford-street.

Olivia was not one of those who think only of themselves. 'Having been
so good, sir,' said she, 'as to take us out of danger, perhaps you
could be serviceable to the poor coachman.'

'Let me first see you back to the inn, ladies.'

'Some accident may happen in the mean time. The horses are unruly. We
will stay here till all is safe.'

The advice was just, and it came from Olivia. I obeyed and hastened to
the coachman; who was busied in loosing the traces, and relieving the
horses from the carriage. This was presently done; and the coach was
left, till proper aid and more light could be obtained.

I then returned to Olivia; and, when the coachman came up, the aunt
enquired if their danger had been great?

'I don't know, madam, what you may call great,' answered he; 'but,
if that gentleman had not stopped the cattle, and if the near wheels
had gone one yard nay two feet farther I should have had an overturn;
and then how either you or I could have got out of that gravel pit
is more than I can tell. For my own part, I know, I thank him with
all my heart; and the other gentleman too: for it is not often that
your gentleman are so handy. Instead of helping, they generally want
somebody to help them. I hope they'll be civil enough to take a
glass with me. By G---- they shall go to the depth of my pocket, and
welcome.'

'If that be the case,' replied the aunt, 'we are all very much obliged
to them indeed! But I will take care never to travel in a fog again.'

Just as this was passing, we heard at a distance, and as if coming
from the inn, a shouting of 'Hollo! Hoix! Coachee! Coach! where are
you all?'

'I declare,' said the aunt, 'that is my nephew's voice! This is very
lucky! He will now take us in his phæton.'

'Surely, madam,' exclaimed I, 'you would not trust yourself and this
young lady in a phæton such a night as this; when you see the most
experienced drivers are liable to such accidents?'

'If the lady does,' continued the coachman as he was going, 'why I
shall suppose she does not value a broken neck of a farthing.'

We then proceeded back to the inn, and were presently joined by
Hector; whom the aunt immediately began to rate.

While she was thus employed, I, endeavouring to disguise my voice, as
I had before done in the few sentences I had uttered, and addressing
myself to Olivia, said, 'I should be exceedingly concerned, madam,
if I thought you would suffer Mr. Mowbray to drive you home till day
light shall appear.'

'I certainly shall not, sir;' answered she. 'But do you know my
brother?'

'Madam!'

'You are acquainted with his name; and I don't recollect that it has
been mentioned.'

I hesitated, Hector turned upon us, we were approaching the light,
and, with a suddenness which fear and passion inspired, knowing that
Mowbray did not understand Italian, I said in an under voice--'_Il
Signer Hugo Trevor non é morto, bellissima Signora_; Mr. Trevor is not
dead, dearest lady'--At the same instant I snatched her hand, pressed
it, was about to raise it to my lips, but recollecting myself, turned
short round, and added, '_Addio!_'

Clarke was at my back; and I plucked him by the coat, and
whispered--'Come with me.'

But what of Olivia? Was she dead to feeling at this strange mysterious
moment? Did no rushing torrent of ideas suddenly overwhelm her? The
man whose loss she had lamented not in his grave; that man again her
saviour, her guardian genius in the dark hour of dread and danger;
acquainted in a way the most extraordinary with her thoughts, and
favourable wishes; or, as she was too severely inclined to term it,
her passion and its folly; a witness that she did not credit all
which malice could urge against him, nor listen in base silence when
her perhaps too partial heart pleaded in his behalf; nay more, that
man the protector of her aunt, by whom he had been so often and so
bitterly reviled; that man travelling in obscurity; in familiar
society with a carpenter, yet braving peril in her behalf, and
shunning the thanks which the uncommon services he had rendered might
boldly make him claim; avoiding them most certainly because of the
mean condition to which he was reduced; faithful in his affection; for
such his behaviour spoke him; but unfortunate, depressed, despised;
sinking under poverty; languishing away his youth; or crushed
by accumulating disasters!--Did no such fears, no such tender
recollections, assail her bosom?--I have described her ill indeed if
that could be supposed. I must pursue my narrative: for how can I
picture what most indubitably must have passed in her heart, since I
feel myself so very incapable of delineating my own!

This adventure did not entirely end here. I wished to have gone
forward on foot to Hounslow without delay: but Clarke interceded, for
a glass of brandy. He said the water had chilled him; and he was still
more importunate with me to take the same preventative. I had no fear
for myself; for I had no such feeling: but, as I did not think I had
any right to trifle with his health, I returned with him; taking the
precaution to go through the passage to the kitchen door.

Here, just as we came to the threshold, who should be coming in face
of us, carrying a pair of candles, but my quondam servant, Philip!

The instant he beheld me, he turned pale, trembled, set down the
lights, stood aghast for a moment, and then took to his heels.

Though not so terrified, I was almost as much surprised as he; and
suffered him to escape before I had the presence of mind to know how
to act. As however it was my plan to avoid being known myself for the
present, I thought proper to make no other enquiry than to ask whose
servant he was? and was answered that he came with the ladies, who had
just returned from the coach.

Various conjectures instantly crossed my imagination; all of which
were associated with the sudden flight from Bath, the robbery he had
committed, the seeming honesty and even affection of his character
previous to that event, his now being in the service of Olivia, for I
understood him to be her own valet, and the story of my death. But,
though my curiosity was greatly excited, the present was not the
time in which these mysteries could be unravelled. We therefore took
Clarke's prescription against cold; and, leaving Cranford bridge,
pursued our road to Hounslow: where we arrived about eleven o'clock,
and put up at an inferior inn lest any accident should bring us again
in company with the aunt and the nephew.



CHAPTER XII


_Meditations on what had passed: The condolence of Clarke: Arrival at
London: The meeting of former friends: Law arrangements_


It may be well supposed that the incidents of this night were not
easily driven from my imagination. While we were walking, the care we
were obliged to take, and the gloom around us, prevented any thing
from escaping me sufficiently marked to attract the notice of my
companion. But, when we were seated in a room with lights, and my mind
was no longer diverted by other objects, the reveries into which I
fell, the interjections that broke from me, the hasty and interrupted
manner in which I ate and drank, the expressions of extreme joy which
altered my countenance at one moment, and the solemn seriousness which
it assumed the next, with my eyes fixed, while the tears rolled down
my cheeks, at last so agitated poor Clarke that he exclaimed--'For
God's sake, Mr. Trevor, what is the matter with you?'

My silence, for I was unable to speak, did but increase his
alarm--'Are you taken ill? What has befallen you? Won't you open your
mind to me? If I could do you any good, I hope you don't think I
should be backward? Are you unhappy?'

'No, no.'

'I am very glad of that. But something uncommon I am sure has happened
to you: though it may not be fit perhaps that I should hear what. And
I don't want to be a busy body; though I must say I should be more at
ease, if I was quite sure that all was right. That's all. I have no
other curiosity.'

'All is not right: but yet I hope it will be. I know not by what
means. It seems indeed impossible! And perhaps it is; and yet I hope!
I hope! I hope!'

'Well, well: I am glad of that. We should all hope. We are bid to
hope. God help us if we did not. Perhaps I can't give you any help?
I suppose that is beyond me. I am sorry for it. But what can a poor
carpenter do, in the way of befriending a gentleman?'

'A poor carpenter can have a kind heart; and I do not know whether
that is not the most blessed thing on earth! Did you ever hear me
repeat the name of Olivia?'

'Yes; when you were light-headed, I heard the name many a time and
often. And the nurse said you raved of nobody else. But we could none
of us find out who she was. Though, I must say, I have often enough
wished to ask: but that I did not think it became me to seem to be at
all prying.'

'That is the lady you have been in company with to-night. It is she
whom you have helped me to save. I was sufficiently indebted to you
before: but what am I then at present?'

'Well, that to be sure is accidental enough! I could not have thought
it! How oddly things do fall out! But I am glad of it with all my
heart!'

'I could not see much of her, to be sure; though I looked with all the
eyes I had: but I thought somehow she seemed as fine a young creature
as I had ever beheld since the hour I was born; which the mildness of
her voice did but make the more likely. I thought to myself, I never
in my days heard any living soul so sweet-spoken. So that I must say
things have fallen out very strangely.

'I always said to my Sally, there must be something between you and
the gentlewoman the name of _which_ was on your tongue's end so often,
while you were down in the fever; and I am glad to the heart that you
have happened on her again so unexpectedly: though I can see no good
reason, now you have found her, why you should be in such a hurry to
get away.'

The unaffected participation of Clarke in all my joys and sorrows, the
questions which his feelings impelled him to put, and the fidelity of
his nature, as well as the impulse which passion gave me to disburthen
my mind, were all of them inducements to speak; and I informed him of
many of those particulars which have already been recited.

The more intimately he became acquainted with my history, the more
powerfully he seemed imbued with my hopes and fears; and the better
satisfied I was with the confidence I had reposed in him. I am unable
to paint the honest indignation of his feelings and phraseology
at the injustice which he as well as I supposed had been done me,
the depression of his countenance when I dwelt on the despair and
wretchedness which the almost impossibility of my obtaining Olivia
inspired, and the animation with which he seemed as it were to set
his shoulders to the wheel, when my returning fervor led me to the
opposite extreme, and gave me confidence in my own powers and the
strenuous exertions on which I was resolved.

The conversation continued long after we retired to rest; so that our
sleep was short: for we were up again very early, before it was light,
and continued our journey to London; where we arrived a little after
nine in the morning.

I immediately proceeded to the lodging of Miss Wilmot; whom I found
where I had left her, and who was truly rejoiced to see me. Clarke
had never been in London: I therefore took him with me, gave a proper
account of him to Miss Wilmot, and we all breakfasted together,
while Mary waited; whose features as well as her words sufficiently
testified the unexpected pleasure of the meeting, and who artlessly
related the apprehensions of herself and my few friends, at not
hearing from me.

My first enquiries were concerning Wilmot and Turl; and I was
delighted to learn that Wilmot, whom I left in a sickly state of mind
that was seriously alarming, had been awakened by Turl to a more just
sense of human affairs; and had recovered much of the former vigour
and elasticity of his talents.

His sister told me that he was at present engaged in a periodical
publication; and had beside composed a considerable part of a comedy:
of which Turl, as well as herself, conceived the greatest hopes.

The reader scarcely need be told that this intelligence gave me great
pleasure. It led me to revolve mighty matters in my own mind, created
emulation, and inspired me with increasing confidence and alacrity.
Yes, said I, exultingly, genius may safely encounter and dare
difficulties. Let it but confide in itself and it will conquer them
all.

While we were conversing Wilmot came in.

I must leave the imagination to paint the welcome we gave each other.

I was surprised at the change which had taken place in his form and
physiognomy; and at the different aspect they had assumed. Not that
the marks of melancholy were quite eradicated: but, when I considered
his whole appearance, he was scarcely the same person.

I produced surprise in him of a contrary kind. There was neither the
wonted freshness of my complexion nor the fashionable ease of my air
and dress, which he had remarked but a few months before; and he took
the first private opportunity that offered to enquire, with great
earnestness, if there were any means by which he could be of service?

Under the general selfishness which our present institutions inspire,
such questions are wonderfully endearing. I answered him that I had
found a friend, whose principles were as liberal and enlarged as they
were uncommon; and that I would take an early occasion to give him an
account of my present designs, and the posture of my affairs.

He informed me that the severe application of Turl had enfeebled his
health, and had induced him to reside for a few weeks at a small place
by the sea-side, that he might enjoy the benefits of bathing and the
fresh breezes; for which purpose he had left London the week before:
that neither Wilmot nor Turl himself considered his case at present as
the least dangerous, but that they had both agreed this was a prudent
step; and that he had received a letter from Turl, informing him of
his safe arrival; and that he thought he had already derived benefit
and animation from the journey.

Turl was not a man to be known and to be thought of with apathy. The
intelligence Wilmot gave me, softened as it was by the circumstances
attending it, produced a very unpleasant feeling. The possibility
of the loss of such a man, so wise, so benevolent, and so undaunted
in the cause of truth, was a sensation for which I have no epithet.
Wilmot perceived what passed in my mind, and again assured me of his
thorough persuasion that there was not any danger.

We passed as much of the morning together as Wilmot could spare from
his occupations; after which we parted, and each proceeded on his own
concerns: I to enquire after a dwelling-place; and he to his literary
engagements: while Clarke, instructed by Mary, went in search of a
lodging for himself through those streets that were most likely to
afford him one at a reasonable rate.

Mr. Evelyn had a relation of a younger branch of the family in the
law, whose name was Hilary, to whom I was recommended; and from whom
I received the utmost attention, in consequence of the letters I
brought. This gentleman was an attorney of repute, a practitioner of
uncommon honesty, assiduous and capable as a professional man, a firm
defender of freedom even to his own risk and detriment, a sincere
speaker, a valuable friend, and in every sense a man of worth and
principle.

Happy at all times to oblige, he willingly undertook the task assigned
to him by Mr. Evelyn's recommendation; and, in pursuance of his
advice, I hired an apartment in the neighbourhood of Queen's-square
Bloomsbury: that I might be within a convenient distance of the inns
of Court, yet not entirely buried in the noise and smoke of the
disagreeable part of the town.

I likewise informed Mr. Hilary of my determination not to be a dumb
barrister; and having, from my appearance and mode of enunciation
as well as from the letters of Mr. Evelyn, conceived rather a high
opinion of my talents, he applauded my plan: in pursuance of which he
recommended me to place myself with Counsellor Ventilate; a man of
high situation in the law. I readily consented; and it was agreed that
he should speak to that gentleman immediately on the subject, and
appoint a meeting.



CHAPTER XIII


_More meditations relating to Olivia; concluding with a love-letter:
Doubts concerning its conveyance_


It cannot be supposed that Olivia was out of my thoughts. Knowing her
kindness toward Miss Wilmot, I carefully took the first opportunity
to inform the latter of the chief incidents that had passed; and to
concert with her some means, if possible, of obtaining an interview.

Miss Wilmot no longer received any pecuniary aid from Olivia. Wilmot
considered it as a duty to provide for his sister; and had too lofty
a sense of independance to admit the repetition of these favours. Yet
how far that pride of heart, which teaches us, not only that we should
not submit to receive pecuniary assistance from any human being except
from our relations, but that these relations can accept of no relief,
however much they may be in need of it, without tarnishing our honor,
is a question which deserves to be seriously examined. Not but, at
that time, it squared very aptly with my opinions. It may be further
remarked of relations that, as they sometimes think they ought only to
receive aid from each other, so, they most of them imagine that, from
each other, they may unblushingly extort all they can. The generous
Wilmot indeed was in no danger of this last mistake.

But though money was no longer a motive for intercourse, between the
gentle Olivia and Miss Wilmot, there was no danger that either of
the friends would forget the other; and the latter was too sincerely
interested in the happiness both of me and Olivia not to be willing to
promote that happiness, by every means in her power.

What these means should be was the difficulty we had to solve. To use
any kind of stratagem would offend the delicate and justly-feeling
Olivia. To come upon her by surprise, even if the opportunity should
offer itself, would not be a manly and dignified proceeding.

I had always thought highly of that courage which, mild as her manners
were, she never failed to exert on trying occasions. Her defence of me
in the coach was a proof that I had not overestimated her fortitude.
It likewise shewed that she was under mistakes concerning me that
were dangerous, should they remain unexplained; and that, whenever
I thought of them, which was but too often, excited my utmost
indignation.

Bold however as she was in my defence when she supposed me dead, very
different sensations might assail her when she should be convinced
(if she still doubted) that I was living. Her submission to her aunt
seemed to be unlimited, as long as she supposed that to comply would
be less productive of harm than to resist: but I had witnessed that
she would not consent to actions of great moment, which her heart
disapproved.

These facts made it improbable that she would grant me an interview,
without her aunt's knowledge. What then was to be done? A letter, that
should fully explain my thoughts, my plans, my determination, and my
hopes and fears, appeared to be the most eligible mode. Were I to
prompt her to a clandestine correspondence, I was well aware that I
should highly and justly offend her. She would consider it as little
less than an insult. Her conduct was open, her mind superior to
deceit; and to be ignorant of this would be to shew myself unworthy
of her. The lover should disdain to excite his mistress to any action
which he would disapprove in a wife; and this was a rule not to be
infringed, by him who should aspire to the noble-minded Olivia.

To write then I resolved; and in such a manner as to open my whole
soul to her, awaken her affections, call forth her admiration, agitate
her with pity and love, and ensure her perseverance.

Alas! I took the pen in hand, but was miserably deceived. I
had undertaken an impossible task. Thought was too rapid, too
multifarious, too complicate; and the tracing of letters and words
infinitely too slow, and frigid. At last however, after repeated
attempts, I determined on sending the following: with which when
written I was very far from satisfied; but of that I despaired.

       *       *       *       *       *

'To the woman whom my soul adores how shall I address myself?
Tumultuous thoughts, hopes that vanish, and fears that distract, are
ill fitted for such a talk. Governed by feelings which will admit of
no controul, I can only claim your pardon on the plea of inability to
preserve that silence which it is temerity, or something worse, to
break. My thoughts will have passage, will rush into your presence,
will expose themselves to the worst of calamities, your reproof and
anger. Distracted as I am by a dread of the dangers that may result
from my silence, I persuade myself that these dangers are more
immediate and threatening, though scarcely more painful, than your
disapprobation.

'You have supposed me dead; though by what strange accident I cannot
divine. Under that supposition, it was my miraculous fortune, my
ecstatic bliss, to hear you, with a purity of heart and a dignity
of sentiment such as none but a heart like yours could conceive or
express, avow a former partiality in favour of one who, whatever may
be his other faults, would gladly resign his life to secure your
happiness: of one who, in his over-weening affection has fondly and
foolishly cherished the persuasion that this happiness is inseparable
from his own: nay who partly hopes and partly believes, so blind is
his egotism, that he is the only man on earth who fully comprehends
your wonderful worth and matchless virtues; and who is pursuing the
fixed purpose of his soul, that of finally deserving you, from the
conviction that he through life will be invariable in that admiration,
that tenderness, and that unceasing love without which the life of
Olivia might perhaps be miserable. These may be the dreams of vanity,
and folly: yet, if I do not mistake, they are the dreams of all
lovers. They are indeed the aliment or rather the very essence of
love. What delight can equal that of revelling, in imagination, on the
happiness we can bestow on those who have bliss so ineffable to bestow
upon us?

'What then if I were to see this Olivia mated with a man so dull of
faculty as soon to lose all sense of the wondrous treasure in his
possession: who never perhaps had any discriminating knowledge of
its worth; and who shall be willing to barter it for any vile and
contemptible gewgaw that may allure his depraved taste, or sickly
appetite? Is there no such man? Are these fears wholly groundless?

'At what an immeasurable distance do I seem cast from the enjoyment of
that supreme bliss to which, perhaps, the frenzy only of imagination
could make me aspire! There is but one means by which I can be happy.
Either I am to be the most favoured of mankind, or I am nothing.
Either I rise into godlike existence, or I sink unknown and never to
be remembered. Either we are made for each other, or--I dare not think
on the reverse. It is too distracting.

'Yet I have no hope! What I now write is presumption, is madness! And
why? It is not your beauty, your virtues, or the supreme qualities
of your mind that would raise this gulph of misery between us. No.
Avarice, vanity, and prejudice are my enemies. It is they that would
sacrifice you at their altars. That you will persevere in your refusal
is my only hope.

'How shall I palliate, what I cannot defend, my behaviour while I
overheard you and your aunt? In vain do I plead that I was asleep,
when you came into the coach; and that I first discovered you by the
sound of your voice and the turn of the conversation; that I dreaded
exciting any sudden alarm in you: perhaps it was a vain dread: and
that, when I ought most to have spoken, when I became the subject
of the discourse, I was then chained in silence by unconquerable
emotions. Yet to be a listener? Indeed, indeed, it is a thing that my
soul disdains! But I have done many such things; not knowing, while
they passed, what it was that I did.

'My destiny now is to study the law; and to this my days and nights
shall be devoted: but the distance at which I see myself from the goal
is a thought which I am obliged, by every possible effort, to shut out
of my memory.

'I am in want of consolation; but since your society is denied me, I
know not where it may be found. I own, there are moments in which I
am fearfully agitated. Yet I do not solicit an answer. Let me rather
perish than prompt you to an action of the propriety of which even
I am obliged to doubt; since it cannot I suppose be done without
concealment. Oh that you knew every thought of my heart! You would
then perceive the burning desire I have to make myself every way
worthy of that unutterable bliss to which I aspire.

'Madman! I aspire?

'With what contempt would such daring be treated, by those whom custom
and ties of blood have taught you to revere! I confess this is a
thought which I cannot endure. Yet I can less endure to relinquish
my impossible hopes. Could you conceive what these contradictory and
tormenting sensations are, you would perhaps be induced to pardon some
of the extravagant acts which I heard you so mildly, yet so justly,
censure.

'To be yours then is the end for which I live; and yet my pride and
every other feeling revolts, to think I should entreat you to accept a
pauper, either in wealth or principle. Well, then, I will not waste
my time, in complaint. Let me become worthy of you, or let me perish!
Fool! That is impossible. But if fall I must, I will endeavour to make
my ruin respectable.

'Suffer me to inform you that I have lately acquired a friend whose
virtues are beyond my praise, and who has urged me to accept his aid,
in forwarding my studies and pursuits, as an act of duty incumbent
on us both. Our acquaintance has been short; and so, considering
the serious nature of the subject, was the debate that led to this
conclusion: yet his arguments seemed unanswerable, and I hope I have
not yielded too lightly. Oh that it was allowed me to consult your
exquisite sense of right and wrong! But wishes are vain.

'Thus far I have intruded, yet know not how to end. My only hope that
you will take no offence at what I have written is in the conscious
respect that my heart feels for you; which I think cannot have
misguided my pen; and the knowledge that you are too just lightly to
attribute mean or ill motives to me.

'How languid is all that I have written! Am I so impotent that I can
present none of the images that so eternally haunt me, that wing me
into your presence, furnish me with innumerable arguments which seem
so all-persuasive, melt me in tenderness at one moment, supply me with
the most irresistible elocution the next, and convince you while they
inspire me with raptures inexpressible? Are they all flown, all faded,
all extinct? Where is the fervor that devours me?

'I would pray for your happiness! I would supplicate heaven that no
moment of your bliss should be abridged! Shall it then be disturbed by
me? Oh no. Unless authorised by hopes, as different as they are wild
and improbable, pardon but this, and you shall never more be subject
to the like importunity from

HUGH TREVOR.'

       *       *       *       *       *

Having written my letter, I had to devise the means of having it
delivered. If it were addressed directly to her, what certainty had I
that it would not be opened by the aunt? Nay was not that indeed the
most probable? And would it in that case ever be seen by Olivia? In my
apprehension certainly not.

I had then to chuse whether I would send a messenger, who should wait
about the house and take some opportunity to deliver it clandestinely;
or commit it to the care either of Mary or Miss Wilmot.

The messenger was a very objectionable expedient: it was mean, and
liable to detection. The medium of Mary was something of the same
kind; and the friendship and intelligence of Miss Wilmot rendered her
intervention much the most desirable.

It was a delicate office to require of her. But she could speak the
truth: she could say that it was to relate some facts which Olivia
might even desire to know, that it contained nothing which I myself
should wish her to conceal, if she thought fit to shew it; that it did
not invite her to any improper correspondence; and that it was the
only one which, under the present circumstances, I meant to obtrude
upon her.

That Miss Wilmot might be convinced I had neither deceived myself nor
her in this account, which I should instruct her to give of it, I
hastened with it to her lodgings, and requested her to read it before
it was sealed. Having ended, she was so well satisfied with the
propriety both of writing and delivering it that she readily undertook
the latter office; and, with her I left it, hoping that Olivia would
soon call, would read it in her presence, and that I should quickly
learn what might be the sensations it should produce.



CHAPTER XIV


_Counsellor Ventilate and the law: Raptures excited by the panegyric
of Blackstone: Dialogues legal and political, with characteristic
traits_


Meantime the appointed interview between me and Counsellor Ventilate
took place. This gentleman was characterized by those manners, and
opinions, which the profession of the law is so eminently calculated
to produce. He had a broad brazen stare, a curl of contempt on his
upper-lip, and a somewhat short supercilious nose. His head was
habitually turned upward, his eye in the contrary direction, as if on
the watch in expectation to detect something which his cunning might
turn to advantage, and his half-opened mouth and dropping jaw seemed
to say, 'What an immense fool is every man I meet!'

His whole manner and aspect appeared to denote that he was in a
continual revery; and that he imagined himself in a court of law;
brow-beating a witness, interrogating an idiot, or detailing cases
and precedents, to shew the subtlety with which he could mislead and
confound his hearers. A split-hair distinction without a difference
gave him rapture; and whenever it happened to puzzle, which was
but too often, he raised his left shoulder and gave a hem of
congratulation to himself: denoting his conviction that he was
indisputably the greatest lawyer in the world! And, if the greatest
lawyer, he was as certainly, according to his own creed, the greatest
man! For the rest of mankind, if put in competition with lawyers, what
were they? What but poor, silly, imbecile creatures?

One standard, by which he delighted to measure his own talents, was
the length to which he could drawl out a reply. Was there a man to be
found who could speak eight hours unceasingly? He would surpass him.
When his turn came, nine should not suffice. He would be more dull,
contradictory, and intolerable, than his rival by an hour, at least.
He would repeat precedents, twist sentences, misconstrue maxims, and
so perplex and entangle his own intellect that his hearers had no way
of getting rid of the pain he excited; except by falling a-sleep,
or determining not to listen. It must be owned however he had some
charity for them; for to sleep he gave them a very sufficient
provocative.

Being one of the retainers of government, he had a seat in the House
of Commons: where he used to rise in his place and address the
Speaker, with no less logic, love of justice, and legislative wisdom,
than he was wont to display when pleading in the courts.

It was in vain that he exposed himself to the ridicule of this
most discerning body, not less witty than virtuous. Of shame he
was incapable. He would again and again rise in his place, totally
forgetful of past flagellation, and again and again convince Mr.
Speaker and the honorable members: persisting to labour, in the hope
of making them all as profound reasoners as himself. No matter that
the thing was impracticable: he would get up and do his duty, and sit
down and receive his own applause.

To mention shame in this case was indeed absurd. How should a man
blush at reproof which he cannot comprehend? His skull was so
admirably fortified, by nature, that it was equally impenetrable
to the heavy batteries of argument or the skirmishing artillery
of wit. Let the cannon roar: he heard it not. He was abstractedly
contemplating those obscure depths in which he remained for ever
seated; and where he had visions innumerable, though he saw nothing.

One favourite and never-failing object, on these occasions, was to
instruct the house in law. And here the devil, who is himself a kind
of lawyer, for he devours his best friends, the devil I say chose
these opportunities to vent his choicest malice. He did not set a
lawyer to confound a lawyer: that were but a stale device. He humbled
him out of the mouths of men who had occasionally read law-books, it
is true: but who had read them without a lawyers' obliquity; and had
enquired what was the simple unadulterated intention of their authors.
Now law, which in all its stages has a quibble in either eye, that
may mean good or may mean ill, is every where, except in a Court
of Justice, capable of a good interpretation. This is not a rule
without an exception: but in many cases at least, law has something
intentionally beneficial in its principle.

For this beneficent vital-spark every body, but a lawyer, is in
search; and it is what every body, but a lawyer, is delighted to
find. No wonder therefore that a lawyer should meet discomfiture, and
confusion, when he pretends to discuss the abstract nature of justice,
in any place except in these aforesaid Courts of Justice.

Thus it happened that Mr. Ventilate was, on all such occasions,
confounded in that honorable house, of which he was an honorable
member: which indeed, when we remember who were his opponents, was
less miraculous than the immaculate conception--Pshaw! I mean the
transmigrations--of Vishnoo.

Much of the conceit and ridicule of the character of Mr. Ventilate was
apparent, even to my eye, at our first meeting. But he was a person
of great practice, and had the reputation of a sound lawyer: which
signifies a man who has patience to read reports, and a facility at
quoting them. Beside, I was in haste; and rather inclined to leap over
an obstacle than to go round it.

Accordingly our arrangements were made, and the next day I attended
at his chambers; with a firm and as I supposed not to be shaken
determination to become one of the greatest lawyers the world ever
beheld.

The first book I was advised to read, as a historical introduction to
and compendium of law, was Blackstone's Commentaries. This author had
acquired too much celebrity for any man of liberal education to be
ignorant of his fame. I therefore began and continued to read him
with all the prepossession that an author himself could wish in his
favour. The panegyric he makes on English laws, and the Constitution
of Britain, gave me delight and animation. The reproof he bestows,
on gentlemen who are ignorant of this branch of learning, and on the
perplexities introduced into our statute-law by such 'ill-judging and
unlearned legislators,' and his praise of the capacity they would
acquire for administering justice, to which sacred function they are
so often called, were this ignorance removed, gave dignity to the
study I was about to pursue.

Then the account given of Servius Sulpicius! who, according to my
learned author, 'left behind him about a hundred and four-score
volumes of his own compiling!' How wonderfully did it move my
admiration! I previously knew that in most countries, which are
denominated civilized, law was voluminous: but I had never till then
imagined that one man could himself compile a hundred and fourscore
volumes! And, as it seems, could compile them at his leisure too:
for his chief business was that of oratory! Beside which it lives on
record that, being a firm patriot, he was a wise and indefatigable
senator! But it appears that Sulpicius could devour law with greater
ease than Milo, or perhaps even than Cacus himself, could oxen.

Neither was it recorded that this prodigy of legal learning began
young. And should I then despair of equalling him? No, no: get me into
one of my trances and, had he compiled as many thousands of volumes, I
should scarcely have suspected that I could not compile as fast as he.

As I read on, how did I deplore the quarrel between Vicarius and his
opponents: or, in other words, between the pandects and the common law
of England: with the ignorance that had nearly been the result! How
rejoice in the institution of those renowned hot-beds of law, the Inns
of Court: by the aid of which, had not the rage for enacting laws kept
pace with the rage for studying them, there were hopes that the whole
kingdom would in time have been so learned in the science that every
man might indeed have become his own lawyer.

How did I regret that I had not studied common-law while at college!
How sympathetic with my author, when he exclaims--'That a science,
which distinguishes the criterions of right and wrong; which teaches
to establish the one, and prevent, punish, or redress the other; which
employs in its theory the noblest faculties of the soul, and exerts in
its practice the cardinal virtues of the heart: a science, which is
universal in its use and extent, accommodated to each individual, yet
comprehending the whole community; that a science like this should
ever have been deemed unnecessary to be studied in a university, is a
matter of astonishment and concern!'

How did I bless the memory of Mr. Viner, who had found a remedy for
this evil, by establishing an Oxford professorship; and how promise
to make myself master of his abridgment, till I had every case it
contained at my tongue's end! What were four and twenty volumes in
folio? Compared to Sulpicius, it was a trifle!

The eulogium that I next came to on a university education, how
grateful was that to my heart! I was not, as my oracle described,
though one of the 'gentlemen of bright imaginations, to be wearied;
however unpromising the search.' Neither was I to be numbered among
those 'many persons of moderate capacity, who confuse themselves at
first setting out; and continue ever dark and puzzled during the
remainder of their lives.' The law being itself so luminous, there
was no fear of that with me.

I met indeed with one overwhelming assertion. 'Such knowledge as is
necessary for a judge is hardly to be acquired by the lucubrations of
twenty years!'

But this to be sure must be meant of dull fellows. As to the limits of
genius, they were unknown.

My pleasure revived in full force, when I arrived at my author's
definition of law: which he states to be--'a rule of civil conduct,
prescribed by the supreme power in a state; commanding what is right,
and prohibiting what is wrong.' What will you say to that, friend
Turl? exclaimed I: putting down the book, and pausing. Can any thing
be more provident, more wise, more desirable?

In short, I found the writer so clearly understood and satisfactorily
explained the nature of law, and the benefits arising from it, that,
for my own part, I began to be ashamed of my former stupidity. It
was all so self-evident that it seemed disgraceful not to know it
as it were by intuition. I was in that precise temper of mind which
renders conviction an easy task: for I was in haste to be rich, and
famous; and the desire of wealth and fame are two of the strongest
provocatives to faith that the sagacity of selfishness has ever yet
discovered.

While I was in the midst of all these admirings, my attention
was roused by a dialogue that passed between two of my senior
fellow-pupils, whose names were Rudge and Trottman, which the former
thus began.

'That was a d---- rascally cause we were concerned in yesterday.'

'Rascally enough. But we got it.'

'I can't say but I was sorry for the poor farmer.'

'Sorry! Ha, ha, ha! You remind me of an unfleshed-recruit: or a young
surgeon, who has just begun to walk the hospitals. Frequent the
Courts, and you will soon learn to forget commiseration, and attend to
nothing but law. Docking of entails gives the lawyer as little concern
as the amputation of limbs does the surgeon: they are both of them
curious only about the manner, and dexterity of the operation.'

'I suppose it will ruin the man.'

'He was a fool for making it a criminal prosecution. He should have
brought an action for damages.'

'It is an aggravating thing for a man to have his daughter seduced, be
beaten himself because he was angry at the injury, and, when he sues
for redress, not only be unable to obtain it, but find his fortune
destroyed, as well as his daughter's character, and his own peace.'

'The law knows nothing concerning him, or his fortune, character,
peace, or daughter. It is and ought to be dead to private feeling.
It must consider nothing but the public benefit: nor must it ever
condescend to vary from its own plain and literal construction.'

'That is strange: for its origin seems to have been in those very
feelings, to which it is so dead.'

'Undoubtedly. But it provides for such feelings each under its
individual class; and if a man, seeking redress, shall seek it under a
wrong head, that is his fault; and not the fault of the law.'

'It is a fault, however, that is daily committed.'

'Ay to be sure: or there would be but few lawyers.'

'How so?'

'Why, if a man doing wrong was certain, or almost certain, of being
detected and exposed, the chances would be so much against offenders
that offences would of course diminish.'

'Then the prosperity of lawyers seems to result from the blunders
which they themselves commit?'

'No doubt it does; and, as the blunders are innumerable, their
prosperity must be in proportion.'

'There seems to be something wrong in this; though I cannot tell what
or why.'

'Ha, ha, ha! You have no cause to complain: you are a lawyer, and your
own interest must teach you that every thing is right. Except indeed
that the classes or heads I mentioned, and consequently the blunders,
are not numerous enough. But, thank heaven, we have a remedy for that:
for our statute-books are daily swelling.'

'Why, yes! Some people say they are pregnant with mischief: of which
it is further asserted that they are daily delivered.'

'Ay, certainly; and to the great joy of the parents.'

'Who are they?'

'Enquire for the father at St. Stephen's; and for the mother at
Westminster-hall. I assure you they are both enraptured at their own
offspring. The old lady sits in state, and daily praises her babes
with the most doating loquacity. And she does this with so grave a
face that it is impossible to forbear laughing, when you hear her. She
is so serious, so solemn, so convinced that every thing she utters is
oracular, and so irascible if she does but so much as smell a doubt
concerning the beauty and perfection of her brats, that there is no
scene in the world which tickles my imagination so irresistibly as to
watch her maternal visage during her eulogiums, while the big-wigs are
nodding approbation; or the contortions of her physiognomy, when any
cross incident happens to impede the torrent of her fondness. With
all due respect to her motherly functions, she is a very freakish and
laughable old lady.'

'You have a turn for ridicule: but I confess, if I thought your
picture were true, I do not believe my sensations would be so pleasant
as yours appear to be.'

'And why, in the name of common sense?'

'How can one laugh at the mistakes and miseries of mankind?'

'For a very simple reason: because it is the only way that can
render them endurable. None but a fool would cry at what cannot be
corrected.'

The colloquy between my companions here took another direction, less
interesting to me, and left me to pause and ruminate. This picture,
said I, is satirical I own: but surely it is unjust. Blackstone,
beyond all doubt, understood the science profoundly; and his account
of it is very different indeed.

I turned back to the passage I have quoted.

'It distinguishes the criterions of right and wrong; teaches us to
establish the one and prevent punish or redress the other; employs
in its theory the noblest faculties of the soul, and exerts in its
practice the cardinal virtues of the heart: it is universal in its use
and extent, is accommodated to each individual, and yet comprehends
the whole community.'

How just, how ennobling, how sublime is this praise! To compare it to
the doatings of an old woman is extremely false: nay is pernicious;
for, by exciting laughter, it misleads the judgment.

My companions being silent, I was impelled to address myself to
Trottman. 'I wonder, sir,' said I, 'that you should be such an enemy
to law.'

'I an enemy! You totally mistake. I am its fast friend. And with good
reason: I find it a very certain source of ease and affluence even to
the most stupid blockheads, if they will but drudge on; and of riches,
honours, and hereditary fame, to men of but very moderate talents.
I may surely expect to come in for my share; and therefore should
be a rank fool indeed were I its enemy. I leave that to innovating
fanatics. Let them dream, and rave, and write: while I mind my own
affairs, take men as they are and ever must be, profit by supporting
present establishments, and look down with contempt on the puppies who
prate philosophy, and bawl for reform.'

I was stung. Conscious of the turn my own thoughts had taken, I
suspected that he had divined this from some words which I might
have dropped, and that his attack was personal: I therefore eagerly
replied--'Your language, sir, is unqualified.'

'I meant no offence. If you are a reformer, I beg your pardon. I
never quarrel about what I have heard certain pompous gentlemen call
principles.'

'Then all those persons, who differ in opinion from you, are puppies;
and pompous gentlemen?'

'Oh dear, no, sir! Only all those that are absent. The company, you
know, according to the received rule, is excepted.'

There was something impudently humble and satirical in his look, while
he uttered this: yet so contrived as to make the man appear a pettish
angry blockhead, who should take offence at it; and I certainly was
not inclined to quarrel with my new comrades, the first day of our
acquaintance.

Beside, Trottman was a little insignificant man, in appearance;
pot-bellied, of a swarthy complexion, but with keenness, cunning, and
mockery in his eye; and whose form and figure, as well as his turn
of mind, must have made it ridiculous to have quarrelled with him. I
therefore waited for some more fortunate opportunity, to repay him
in his own coin: for I was as unwilling to be vanquished by wit, and
satire, as by force of argument, or of arms.

Rudge, whose temper was more placid but who had an enquiring mind,
said, 'You do not know my friend Trottman yet, Mr. Trevor. He cares
but little who has the most reason, so that he may have the most
laughter.'

'Life is a journey,' added Trottman; 'and, if I can travel on terra
firma, with a clear sky, and a smiling landscape, let those that
please put to sea in a butcher's tray, and sail in quest of foul
weather.'

'Yes, sir, but the search of ease is the loss of happiness; and to fly
from danger is the likeliest way to meet it: that is, when you either
seek or fly without a guide.'

'And who is this guide to safety?'

'It is, what you appear to hold in contempt, Principle.'

'Ha, ha, ha! Right! The blind leading the blind. Conjure up one
phantom to seek for another. How prodigiously we improve!'

'From what you have said, I am not surprised that you should consider
principle as a phantom. But you only quarrel with the word: for, as
principle can mean nothing more than a rule of action, deduced from
past experience and influencing our present conduct, you, certainly,
like other men, act from principle. It is a moral duty to shun pain,
and keep your fingers out of the fire.'

'Not if I want to sear up a wound.'

'You are excellent at a shifting blow. But why would you apply the
cautery? Because principle, guided by experience, has previously told
you that to cauterize is in some cases the way to heal.'

'But empirics, who cauterize without healing, are daily multiplying
upon us.'

'Were that granted, it is but empiric opposed to empiric. Men have
been groaning under their sufferings for ages; and, since ages have
proved that the old prescriptions were insufficient, I can neither see
the danger nor the blame of following new.'

'Zeal may be purblind, and perhaps could not see a guillotine: but her
neck might chance to feel it.'

'Then you think a guillotine a more terrible thing than a halter, an
axe, or perhaps even a rack?'

'It will do more work in less time.'

'And you suppose it to be principle, or if you please innovation, that
has given this machine its momentum?'

'Suppose! Is there any doubt?'

'Infinite. I imagine it to be given, if we may be allowed to
personify, neither by Innovation nor Establishment; but by the
rashness and ill temper with which these heroines have mutually
maintained their positions. Innovation struck the ball at first too
impetuously: but Establishment took it at the rebound, and returned
it with triple violence. Brunswickian manifestoes, and exterminating
wars, were not ill adapted to raise the diabolical spirit of revenge.
An endeavour to starve a nation, which it was found difficult to
exterminate by fire and sword, was not a very charitable act in Madam
Establishment. Her swindling forgeries were little better; and that
her turn should come, to be starved and swindled, is not miraculous:
though it is deplorable. Heaven avert her claims to the guillotine!'

My antagonist had no immediate reply; and Rudge exclaimed, with some
satisfaction, 'Why, Trottman, you have met with your match!'

'Not I, indeed,' answered he, peevishly. 'I am only lost in a
labyrinth of words; and am waiting for Principle to come and be my
guide. But I am afraid she carries a dark lanthorn, which will but
blind those that look.'

'I suspect, sir,' said I, 'you are less at loss for a joke than an
argument; and that you prefer bush-fighting. For my own part, I love
the fair and open field of enquiry.'

'As this is a field that has no limits, nor any end to its cross
roads, I am content, as you say, to sit down under my hedge and be
quiet.'

'No, no; I did not say that: for I see you love to draw a sly bow at
passengers.'

'I have now and then brought down a gull, or an owl.'

'Have you shot any of those birds to-day?'

I felt no compunction in making this triumphant retort to his sneer.
And here our dialogue ended. Though it was a kind of declaration of
war; I mean a war of words; which, as we became more acquainted, was
occasionally waged with some asperity.

But, in one respect, Trottman was my superior. To sneer was habitual
to him: but it was always done in a manner which seemed to indicate
that he himself had no suspicion of any such intent. So that he
continually appeared to keep his temper; and never triumphed so
effectually as when he could provoke me to lose mine. On which
occasions his additional conciliatory sarcasms, accompanied with
smiles denoting the enjoyment of his victory, never failed to make
me feel my own littleness. And this is a lesson for which I consider
myself as very highly in his debt.

I now pursued my reading; and employed the rest of the day in
beginning to copy the manuscript precedents, that were to capacitate
me for the practice of law: for the number of which, that were in his
possession, Mr. Ventilate was famed.

My ardour however had felt some trifling abatement, by the very
different picture and panegyric of the law as given by Trottman,
opposed to that I had been contemplating. But I had this very powerful
consolation: that, as Trottman knew very little of what I supposed to
be the true principles of politics, it was highly probable he was no
better acquainted with those of law.



CHAPTER XV


_Former resentments revised: Doubts protracted: Conjectures on the
sincerity of a delicate yet firm mind_


Above a fortnight passed away, during which I received no word
of intelligence concerning Olivia. At some moments I felt great
affliction from this suspense: at others I collected myself and
determined to pursue my plan with all the vigour in which it had been
conceived.

In the interval, I wrote several times to Mr. Evelyn. To this I was
prompted from the very nature of my engagements and situation. Beside
which I had not forgotten my pamphlet against the Earl and the Bishop,
that lay ready for publication; though the acrimony of my feelings was
much abated. The propriety of making the world acquainted with this
affair was one of the subjects of my correspondence with Mr. Evelyn:
to whom I had the candour to state my own opinions and sensations, on
one part; and, on the other, the objections that had been urged by
Turl.

In the history I had given Mr. Evelyn of myself, I was impelled,
as well by inclination as necessity, to delineate the character of
Turl, with which he could not but be charmed; and with his arguments
and dissuasions on this subject. With these the ideas of Mr. Evelyn
entirely coincided. He wrote delightful letters; full of animation,
feeling, and friendship; and his persuasion therefore had the greater
effect.

Wilmot concurred in the opinion of both; and, being thus pressed by
the men whom I most loved and revered, I endeavoured to consign my
resentment and its effusions to oblivion, and to dismiss the subject
entirely from my mind.

At length, my suspense concerning Olivia found some, though far from a
satisfactory, relief.

As she had paid no visit to Miss Wilmot, the latter of course had
found no opportunity to deliver my letter. One evening, however, as I
was sitting after tea with Miss Wilmot and her brother, a note came of
which the following were the contents.

'Miss Mowbray presents her kind and tenderest respects to Miss Wilmot,
and informs her that she has been in town for some short time. Assures
her that her not having called is far indeed from any decline of
former friendship, the sincerity of which is invariable: but that
there are motives which prevent her, for the present, from the
enjoyment of that satisfaction. She would have been most happy to have
communicated her thoughts to Miss Wilmot in person: but she is the
slave of circumstances which, for family reasons and indeed from other
motives; she is forbidden to explain; and to which she is obliged
to submit. She confides in the goodness and friendship of Miss
Wilmot, who she is well assured will not misinterpret that which
is unavoidable; and, cherishing the hope of a more favourable
opportunity, wishes her all possible happiness: requesting that, if by
any means in her power it can be increased, Miss Wilmot will acquaint
her with those means: that she may have the wished-for occasion of
proving the ardour and sincerity of her affections.

'Hertford-street, Nov. 17th'

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Wilmot gave me this note to read; and the commentary I
immediately made was that, finding I was alive, the fear of a
rencontre with me was the obstacle to her visits.

They agreed that this was a very probable supposition: but how far
the aunt was any way concerned in it was matter of more uncertain
conjecture. Miss Wilmot knew that Olivia had informed her aunt of the
visits she was before accustomed to make; and, as her ideas concerning
sincerity were delicately strict, it was more than probable that she
had disdained to conceal any of the circumstances with which she
herself was acquainted. I therefore thought it almost indubitable that
she had been no less frank on the present occasion than was habitual
to her on others; and time afterward discovered that my conclusions
were right.

'With what unequal weapons,' exclaimed I, 'do the lovers of truth and
the adherents of hypocrisy contend!'

'They do indeed,' replied Wilmot. 'But, contrary I believe to your
supposition, the former have infinitely the advantage: for the latter
systematically deceive themselves.'

What was to be done? Was I to pursue some covert mode of conveying
my letter? Should I send it openly? Or ought I to let it remain,
and patiently wait the course of events, which, by endeavouring to
forward, I might but retard? Wilmot, who, though he had too much
sympathy to communicate all his fears, had but little expectation,
judging from the failure of his own plans of the success of mine,
advised me to the latter; and, perplexed as I was with doubt and
apprehension, I followed this advice.


END OF VOLUME IV



VOLUME V



CHAPTER I


_A cursory glance at law fictions: Legal suppositions endless: The
professional jargon of an attorney: An enquiry into the integrity of
barristers and the equity of decisions at law: A. and B. or a case
stated: A digression from law to philosophy_


In the mean time, my application to the law was incessant; and
consequently my intercourse with lawyers daily increased. I
endeavoured to load my brain with technical terms and phrases, to
understand technical distinctions, and to acquaint myself with the
history of law fictions, and the reasons on which they had been
founded.

To these subjects my attention had been turned by Mr. Hilary; who,
being a Solicitor, was well acquainted with the value of them, to the
man who meant to make himself a thorough lawyer.

The consideration of this branch of law staggered my judgment.
Trottman and Hilary were intimate. The latter had invited us and other
friends to dinner; and, as I found the acuteness of Trottman useful to
me in my pursuits, I took this and every occasion to put questions:
which he was very ready to answer. As it happened, my enquiry on the
subject of law fictions brought on the following dialogue: which was
supported by Trottman entirely in his own style.

'According to your account then,' said I, in answer to a previous
remark, 'in _Banco Regis_ the King is always _supposed_ to be
present.'

'No doubt, what question can there be of that? One invisible kind of
being can as easily be supposed as another. And I hope you will not
dispute the actual presence of that pleasant gentleman called the
devil, in any one of our courts?'

'By no means!'

'As for his majesty, he, God bless him! by the nature of his office is
_hic et ubique_: here, there, and every where. He is borne in state
before each Corporation Mayor, whether Mr. or My Lord; and reposes
peacefully in front of Mr. Speaker, or the Lord High Chancellor:
investing them by his sacred presence with all their power.'

'How so?'

'How so! Do you forget the mace upon the table?'

'Authority then has that virtue that, like grace divine into a wafer,
it can be transfused into wood.'

'Yes. A lord's white wand, a general's baton; a constable's staff. It
is thought necessary, I grant, in some of these cases that the block
should be carved and gilded.'

'Well, the position is that, in _Banco Regis_, the King is always
present.'

'So says the law.'

'But the law, it appears, tells a lie; and, from all that I have
heard, I wish it were the only one that it told.'

'Could the law hear, sir, it would take very grave offence at your
language. It only assumes a fiction.'

'John Doe and Richard Roe, who are the pledges of prosecution, are
two more of its _supposes_, or lies. I beg pardon. I should have said
fictions.'

'Why, yes: considering that John Doe and Richard Roe never made their
personal appearance in any court in the kingdom, were never once met,
in house, street, or field, in public, or in private, nay had never
yet the good luck to be born, they have really done a deal of
business.'

'They resemble Legion, entering the swine: they plunge whole herds
into the depths of destruction.'

'Or, if you will, they are a kind of real yet invisible hob-goblins:
by whom every human being is liable to be haunted. It must however be
allowed of them that they are a pair of very active and convenient
persons.'

'To lawyers. But God help the rest of mankind! Are there many of these
fictions?'

'More than I or any man, I believe, can at one time remember.'

'From the little I have read, this appears to be a very puzzling part
of the profession.'

'Not at all; if we will take things as we find them, and neither be
more curious nor squeamish than wise. I will state the process of a
suit to you; and you will then perceive how plain and straight-forward
it is. We will suppose A the plaintiff: B the defendant. A brings his
action by bill. Action you know means this: '_Actio nihil aliud est
quam jus prosequendi injudicium quod sibi debelur_:' or, 'a right of
prosecuting to judgment, for what is due to one's self.' B is and was
_supposed_ to be in the custody of the Marshal. Observe, _supposed to
be_: for very likely B is walking unmolested in his garden; or what
not. B we will say happens to live in Surrey, Kent, or any other
county, except Middlesex; and is _supposed_ to have made his escape,
though perhaps he may have broken his leg, and never have been out of
his own door. And then the latitat _supposes_ that a bill had issued,
and further _supposes_ that it has been returned _non est inventus_,
and moreover _supposes_ it to have been filed. B lives in Kent, you
know; and this latitat is addressed, in _supposition_, to the Sheriff
of the county, greeting; though as to the Sheriff he neither sees,
hears, nor knows any thing concerning it; and informs him that B
(notwithstanding he is confined to his bed by a broken leg) runs up
and down, in _supposition_, and secretes himself in the Sheriff's
county of Kent: on which--'

'I beg your pardon: I cannot follow you through all this labyrinth of
_supposes_.'

'No! Then you will never do for a lawyer: for I have but just begun. I
should carry you along an endless chain of them; every link of which
is connected.'

'And which chain is frequently strong enough to bind and imprison both
plaintiff and defendant.'

'Certainly: or the law would be as dead in its spirit as it is in its
letter.'

'I fear I shall never get all the phrases and forms of law by rote.'

'Why, no. If you did, heaven help you! it would breed a fine confusion
in your brain. You would become as litigious and as unintelligible as
our friend Stradling.'

'Mr. Stradling,' said Hilary, 'is one of my clients: an unfortunate
man who, being a law-printer, has in the way of trade read so many
law-books, and accustomed himself to such a peculiar jargon, as to
imagine that he is a better lawyer than any of us; so that he has
half-ruined himself by litigation. He is to dine with us, and will
soon be here.'

'I will provoke him,' continued Trottman, 'to afford you a sample of
his gibberish; you may then examine what degree of instruction you
suppose may be obtained from a heterogeneous topsy-turvy mass of law
phrases.'

'But why irritate your friend?'

'You mistake. He has it so eternally on his tongue that, instead of
giving him pain to shew the various methods in which he supposes
he could torment an antagonist at law, it affords him the highest
gratification.'

'Our friend Hilary here is better qualified for the task of
instruction; but he feels some of your qualms; and is now and then
inclined to doubt that there is vice in the glorious system which
regulates all our actions.'

'I deny that it regulates them,' said Hilary. 'If people in general
had no more knowledge of right and wrong than they have of law, their
actions would indeed be wretchedly regulated!'

This was a sagacious remark. It made an impression upon me that was
not forgotten. It suggested the important truth that the pretensions
of law to govern are ridiculous; and that men act, as Hilary justly
affirmed, well or ill according to their sense of right and wrong.

Mr. Stradling soon after came; and Trottman very artfully led him into
a dispute on a supposed case, which Trottman pretended to defend, and
aggravated him, by contradiction, till Stradling roundly affirmed his
opponent knew nothing of conducting a suit at law.

The volubility of this gentleman was extraordinary; and the trouble I
thought myself obliged to bestow, at that time, on the subject could
alone have enabled me to remember any part of the jargon he uttered,
in opposition to Trottman: which in substance was as follows.

'Give me leave to tell you, friend Trottman, you know nothing of the
matter; and I should be very glad I could provoke you to meet me in
Westminster-hall. If I had you but in the Courts, damn me if you
should easily get out!'

'I tell you once more I would not leave you a coat to your back.'

'You! Lord help you! I would _traverse_ your indictment, _demur_ to
your plea, bring my _writ of error, nonsuit_ you. Sir, I would _ca sa
fi fa_ you. I would _bar_ you. I would _latitat_ you, _replevin_ you,
_refalo_ you. I would have my _non est inventus_, my _alias_, and
_pluries_, and _pluries_, and _pluries, ad infinitum_. I would have
you in _trover_; in _detinue_; I would send your loving friend Richard
Roe to you. I would _eject_ you. I would make you _confess lease entry
and ouster_. I would file my _bill of Middlesex_; or my _latitat_
with an _ac etiam_. Nay, I would be a worse plague to you still: I
would have my bill filed in B.R. I would furnish you with a special
original for C.P. You talk! I would sue out my _capias_, _alias_, and
_pluries_, at once; and outlaw you before you should hear one word of
the proceeding.'

Bless me, thought I, what innumerable ways there are of reducing a man
to beggary and destruction according to law!

Trottman thus provokingly continued.

'My dear Mr. Stradling, your brain is bewildered. You go backward and
forward, from one supposition to another, and from process to process,
till you really don't know what you say. If I were your opponent, in
any Court in the kingdom, I should certainly make the law provide you
a lodging for the rest of your life.'

'Bring your action! That's all! Bring your action, and observe how
finely I will _nonpros_ you: or reduce you to a _nolle prosequi_. You
think yourself knowing? Pshaw. I have nonsuited fifty more cunning
fellows, in my time; and shall do fifty more.'

God help them! thought I.

'I have laid many a pert put by the heels. You pretend to carry an
action through the Courts with me! Why, sir, I have helped to ruin
three men of a thousand a year; and am in a fair way, at this very
hour, of doing as much for a Baronet of five times the property.'

I listened in astonishment.

'And do you take a pleasure in remembering this?' said Hilary.

'Pleasure!' answered Stradling; staring. 'Why, do you think, Mr.
Hilary, I should have taken a pleasure in ruining myself? What did
I do but act according to the laws of my country? And, if men will
oppose me, and pretend to understand those laws better than I do, let
them pay for their ignorance and their presumption. Let them respect
the law, or let their brats go beg.'

'The law I find, sir,' said I, 'has no compassion.'

'Compassion, indeed! No, sir. Compassion is a fool; and the law is
wise.'

'In itself I hope it is: but I own I doubt the wisdom of its
practice.'

'But this practice, you must know,' said Trottman, with a wink to
Stradling, 'Mr. Trevor means to reform.'

'Oh,' replied Stradling, 'then I suppose, when the gentleman is at
the bar, he will never accept a brief, till he has first examined the
equity of the case.'

'That, sir,' I replied, 'is my firm intention.'

'Ha, ha, ha! Mr. Trevor, you are a young man! You will know better in
time.'

'And do you imagine, sir, that I will ever hire myself to chicanery,
and be the willing promoter of fraud? If I do, may I live hated, and
die despised!'

'Ay, ay! Very true! I don't remember that I ever met with a youth,
who had just begun to keep his terms, who did not profess much the
same. And, which is well worthy of remark, those that have been most
vehement in these professions have been most famous, when they came to
the bar, for undertaking and gaining the rottenest causes.'

'You shall find however, sir, that I shall be an exception to this
rule.'

'Excuse me, Mr. Trevor, for not too hastily crediting hasty
assertions. I know mankind as well as I know the law. However, I can
only tell you that if your practice keep pace with your professions,
you will never be Lord Chief Justice.'

'Do the judges then encourage barristers, who undertake the defence of
bad and base actions?'

'To be sure they do. They sometimes shake their heads and look grave:
but we know very well they defended such themselves: or, as I tell
you, they would never have been judges. If two men have a dispute,
one of them must be in the wrong. And who is able to pronounce which,
except the law?'

'My dear Mr. Stradling,' said Trottman, 'you are again out of your
depth. When two men dispute, it almost always happens that they are
both in the wrong. And this is the glorious resource of law; and the
refuge of its counsellors, and its judges.'

Trottman and Stradling were accustomed to each other's manner; and,
notwithstanding the language they used, nothing more was meant than a
kind of jocular sparring: which would now and then forget itself for a
moment, and become waspish; but would recollect and recover its temper
the next sentence.

I replied to Trottman--'It is true that, when two men dispute, it
generally happens they are both in the wrong. But one is always more
in the wrong than the other; and it should be the business of lawyers
to examine, and of the law to decide upon, their different degrees of
error.'

'What, sir!' exclaimed Stradling. 'If you were counsel in a cause for
plaintiff A, instead of exposing the blunders and wrongs of defendant
B, would you enquire into those of your own client?'

'I would enquire impartially into both.'

'And if you knew any circumstance which would infallibly insure
plaintiff a nonsuit, you would declare it to the Court?'

'I would declare the truth, and the whole truth.'

'Here's doctrine! Here's law!'

'No,' said Trottman; 'it is not law. It is reform.'

'It ought to be law. As an advocate, I am a man who hire out my
knowledge and talents for the avowed purpose of doing justice; and
am to consider neither plaintiff nor defendant, but justice only.
Otherwise, I should certainly be the vilest of rascals!'

'Heyday!' thundered Stradling: and, after a pause, added--'It is my
opinion, those words are liable to a prosecution, Mr. Trevor; and, by
G----, if you were to be cast in any one of our Courts for them, it
would be no fault either of the bench or the bar if the sentence of
the law, which you are defaming, did not shut you up for life!'

'My friend Trevor mistakes the nature of the profession he is
studying,' added Trottman. 'He forgets that the question before a
Court is not, what is this, that, or the other; which he may think
proper to call justice; but, what is the law?'

'To be sure, sir;' continued Stradling. 'It is that which, as a
lawyer, you must attend to; and that only.'

'I will cite you an example,' said Trottman.

'A was a gentleman of great landed property. B was an impertinent
beggarly kind of sturdy fellow, his neighbour. A had an estate in
the county of ---- that lay in a ring-fence: a meadow of nine acres
excepted, which belonged to B. This meadow it was convenient for A
to purchase; and he sent his steward, who was an attorney, to make
proposals. B rejected them. The steward advised A to buy the estate
that belonged to C, but that was farmed by B. The advice was followed.
The lease of B expired the following year; and a new one was denied by
A, unless B would sell his meadow. B consented. A bought the meadow,
but determined to have his revenge. For this purpose A refused
payment, and provoked B to commence an action. The law he knew very
well was on the side of B: but that was of little consequence.
Plaintiff B brought his action in Trinity Term. Defendant A pleaded
a sham plea: asserted plaintiff had been paid for his meadow, by
a firkin of butter: [All a lie, you know.] long vacation was thus
got over, and next term defendant files a bill in Chancery, to stay
proceedings at law. Plaintiff B files his answer, and gets the
injunction dissolved: but A had his writ ready and became plaintiff
in error, carried it through all the Courts: from K.B. to the
Exchequer-chamber; and from the Exchequer-chamber, as A very well knew
that B had no more money, A brought error into Parliament; by which
B was obliged to drop proceedings. His attorney, of course, would
not stir a step further; and the fool was ruined. He was afterward
arrested by his attorney for payment of bill in arrear; and he now
lies in prison, on the debtors'-side of Newgate.'

'How you stare, Mr. Trevor!' added Stradling. 'Every word true. We all
know a great lord who has carried I cannot tell how many such causes.'

'And were the judges,' said I, 'acquainted with the whole of these
proceedings?'

'How could they be ignorant of them? Judgment had passed against
defendant A in all the Courts.'

'And did they afford the plaintiff no protection?'

'They protect! Why, Mr. Trevor, you imagine yourself in Turkey,
telling your tale to a Cady, who decides according to his notions
of right and wrong; and not pleading in the presence of a bench of
English judges, who have twice ten thousand volumes to consult as
their guides which leave them no opinion of their own. It is their
duty to pronounce sentence as the statute-books direct: or, as in the
case I have cited, according to precedent, time immemorial.'

'And this is what you call law?'

'Ay! and sound law too.'

'Why then, damn the--'

'You do right to stop short, sir.'

'It appears to me that I am travelling in a cursed dirty as well as
thorny road,' said I, with a sigh.

'Why, to own the truth,' added Trottman, 'you must meet with a
little splashing: and, unless you can turn back and look at it with
unconcern, I should scarcely advise you to proceed.'

'I shall certainly reconsider the subject!'

'A pair of lawyers, like a pair of legs, are apt to bespatter each
other: but they nevertheless remain good friends and brothers. If you
send your spaniel into a muddy pool, you ought to take care, when he
comes out, that he does not shake the filth he has collected over his
master.'

'I wonder, sir, that you should continue one of a profession which you
treat with such unsparing severity.'

'And I, sir, do not wonder at your wonderings. Life is a long road;
and he must have travelled a very little way indeed who expects that
it should be all a bowling-green. Pursue your route in which direction
you will, law, trade, physic, or divinity, and prove to me that you
will never have occasion to shake off the dust from your feet in
testimony against it, and I will then pause and consider. You are of
the sect of the Perfectibles.'

'And you of the cast of the Stand-stills.'

'Oh no. I conceive myself to be among children at a fair, riding in
a round-about. Like the globe they inhabit, men are continually in
motion: but they can never pass their circle.'

'And do you suppose you know the limits of your circle?'

'Within a trifle. The experience of states, empires, and ages has
decided that question with tolerable accuracy.'

'But, what if a power should have arisen, of which you have not had
the experience of states, empires and ages; except of a very small
number? And what if this partial experience, as far as it goes, should
entirely overthrow your hypothesis?'

'I know that, in argument, your _if_ is a very renowned potentate. If
the moon should happen to be a cheese, it may some time or another
chance to fall about our ears in a shower of maggots. But what is this
mighty power, that has done so much in so short a time; and from which
you expect so many more miracles?'

'It is the art of printing. When knowledge was locked up in Egyptian
temples, or secreted by Indian Bramins for their own selfish traffic,
it was indeed difficult to increase this imaginary circle of yours:
but no sooner was it diffused among mankind, by the discovery of the
alphabet, than, in a short period, it was succeeded by the wonders of
Greece and Rome. And now, that its circulation is facilitated in so
incalculable a degree, who shall be daring enough to assert his puny
standard is the measure of all possible futurity? I am amazed, sir,
that a man of your acuteness, your readiness of wit, and your strength
of imagination, can persist in such an affirmative!'

'The _argumentum ad hominem_. Very sweet and delectable. Thank you,
sir.'

'Every thing is subject to change: why not therefore to improvement?
That change is inevitable there are proofs look where you will:
that which is called innovation must consequently be indispensible.
Examine the history of your own science. When England was infested
with wolves, we are told that King Edgar imposed an annual tribute of
thirty wolves' heads on the Welsh Princes; that the breed might be
extirpated. Had this tribute been levied, after the race was partly
destroyed, the law would have counteracted its own intention: for, in
order to pay the tax, the tributary Princes must have encouraged the
breed; and once more have stocked the country with wolves.'

Stradling was little better than infected with what have been lately
stigmatised by the appellation of Jacobinical principles, and
exclaimed, with great exultation--'Your remark is very true, sir; and
it is an example that will serve admirably well to illustrate another
point. Placemen and pensioners, a race more ravenous and infinitely
more destructive than wolves, have been propagated for the support of
the Executive Government; and the breed increases so rapidly that it
will very soon devour its feeders.'

'And next itself.'

'With all my heart! Let me but see that vermin extirpated, and I shall
die in peace!'

'Very right, Mr. Stradling;' said Trottman, with great gravity.
'Placemen, and pensioners are vile vermin! And so will remain, till
your party comes into office.'

'If ever I could be brought to accept of place, or pension, may I--!'

'I believe you: for I am well persuaded your virtue will never be put
to the trial. Otherwise, I should imagine, it would find as many good
arguments, I mean precedents, in favour of the regular practice in
politics as in law.'

Here our dialogue paused. Dinner was announced, and law, politics, and
patriotism were for a while forgotten, by all except myself, in the
enjoyments of venison and old port.



CHAPTER II


_More painful doubts, and further enquiries: Unexpected encouragement
and warm affections from a character before supposed to be too cold:
Hope strengthened and confirmed_


Desultory as the conversation I have recited had been, it left a very
deep impression upon my mind. It was roundly asserted, by every lawyer
to whom I put the question, that the whole and sole business of a
counsellor was the defence of his client. Right or wrong, it was his
duty to gain his cause; and, with respect to the justice of it, into
that, generally speaking, it was impossible that he should enquire.
Briefs were frequently put into his hand as he entered the Court;
which he was to follow as instructed.

It did now and then happen that a cause was so infamous as to put even
the hacknied brow of a barrister to the blush: but it must be a vile
one indeed! And even then, when he threw up his brief, though paid
before he began to plead, it was matter of admiration to meet so
disinterested an example of virtue, in an advocate.

It was in the practice of the law that I hoped to have taken refuge,
against the arguments of Turl: which, averse as I had been to listen,
proved even to me that, in principle, it was not to be defended.

The train of thinking that followed these deductions was so very
painful that I was obliged to fly from them; and seek advice and
confirmation in the friendship of Wilmot, before I should write on the
subject to Mr. Evelyn. For the latter task indeed my mind was not yet
sufficiently calm, collected, and determined.

My chief consolation was that the subject had thus been strongly
brought to the test of enquiry, before the expiration of the month
which, according to agreement, I was to be with Counsellor Ventilate,
previous to the payment of my admission-fee; of which, as it was a
heavy one, thus to have robbed the charities of Mr. Evelyn would have
given me excessive anguish.

I know not whether I was sorry or glad when I came to Wilmot's
lodging, to find Turl there. He had returned from his bathing
excursion; having been called back sooner than he expected by his
affairs.

He was cheerful, and in excellent spirits. His complexion was clear,
his health improved, and his joy at our meeting was evident and
unaffected. He even owned that, hearing I had devoted myself to the
law, he had returned thus soon the more willingly once again to argue
the question with me: for that he felt himself very highly interested
in the future employment of talents of which he had conceived
extraordinary hopes; and that he thought it impossible they should be
devoted to such a confusing study, were there no other objection to
it, as that of the law, without being, not only perverted and abused,
but, in a great degree, stifled.

After an avowal like this, it required an effort in me to summon up
my resolution, and honestly state the doubts and difficulties that
had arisen in my own mind. It was happy for me that my friends were
men whose habitual sincerity prompted me to a similar conduct. I
therefore took courage, opened my heart, and, while describing my
own sensations, was impelled to confess that the practice of the law
could with great difficulty indeed be reconciled to the principles of
undeviating honesty.

'I most sincerely rejoice,' said Turl, 'that these doubts have been
suggested to you by other people, rather than by me: for I am very
desirous you should not continue to think me too prone to censure.
And, in addition to them, I would have you take a retrospect of
your plan. To induce you to despond is a thing which I would most
sedulously avoid: but to suffer you to delude yourself with the hopes
of sudden wealth (and when I say sudden, I would give you a term of
ten years) from the practice of the law, unless you should plunge
into that practice with the most unqualified disregard to all
that rectitude demands, would be to act the cowardly disingenuous
hypocrite; and entirely to forget the first and best duties of
friendship.

'Should you ask--"What path then am I to pursue?" I own I am totally
at a loss for an answer. The choice must be left to yourself. You are
not ignorant that it is infinitely more easy to point out mistakes,
which have been and still continue to be committed daily, than to
teach how they may be entirely avoided. Of this I am well assured, if
you will confide in and exert those powers of mind that you possess,
they must lead you to a degree of happiness of the enjoyment of which,
I am sorry to say, but few are capable.

'From my own experience and from that of all the young men I meet,
who are thrown upon the world, I find that the period which is most
critical and full of danger, is the one during which they are obliged
unsupported to seek a grateful and worthy way of employing their
talents.

'My own resource has been that of cheerfully submitting to what are
called the hardships of obscure poverty; and of consoling myself,
not only with a firm persuasion that by this course in time I shall
infallibly change the scene, but that, till this time shall come, I
am employing myself on the subjects which can best afford me present
satisfaction. That is, in endeavours, however narrow and feeble, to
enlarge the boundaries of human happiness; and by means like these to
find a sufficiency for my own support.

'I know not that I ought to advise you to pursue a similar plan:
though I can truly say I am unacquainted with any other, which is
equally promising.

'How to answer or appease the imperious demands of your present ruling
passion I cannot devise. Neither can I say that I am convinced it is
blameable except in its excess. That you should desire to obtain so
rare and inestimable a treasure as that of a woman who, not to insist
upon her peculiar beauty, is possessed of the high faculties with
which she whom you love is affirmed to be endowed, is an ambition
which my heart knows not how to condemn as unworthy. There is
something in it so congenial to all my own feelings that to see you
united to her would give me inexpressible pleasure.

'You will perhaps be surprised to hear me own that, notwithstanding
the obstacles are so numerous that I have no perception of the manner
in which they are to be overcome, I yet rejoice with you that you have
discovered such a woman; that she has assuredly a rooted affection
for you; and that you have thus obtained one advantage over all your
friends, a strong and unconquerable motive to outstrip them in your
efforts.

'Shall I add that, desperate as your case seems to be, I participate
in your sanguine hopes? I do not deem them entirely romantic, but
share in that which the phlegmatic would call the frenzy of your mind;
and half-persuade myself that you will finally be victorious.

'Then summon up your fortitude. Do not suffer the failure of
ill-concerted plans either to lessen your ardour or give it a rash
and dangerous direction. Be cool in decision, warm in pursuit, and
unwearied in perseverance. Time is a never failing friend, to those
who have the discernment to profit by the opportunities he offers.
Let your eye be on the alert, and your hand active and firm, as
circumstances shall occur, and I shall then say I scarcely know what
it is that you may not hope to achieve!'

Wilmot stood with his head resting on his arm, leaning against the
mantle-piece. When Turl began, his eye was cast down, a compassionate
melancholy overspread his countenance, and a deep sigh broke from him
unperceived by himself. As our mutual friend proceeded, his attitude
altered, his head was raised, his eye brightened, his features glowed,
his soul was wrapt in the visions which were raised by Turl, and,
unconscious of his own existence or that he spoke, his interrupting
ejaculations now and then involuntarily burst forth--'That is
true!--Well argued!--Do you think so?--Indeed!--I am glad of
that!--Don't despond, Trevor! Don't despond!--'Tis folly to despond!'

Just as he repeated the last sentence, ''Tis folly to despond,' so
full a remembrance of his former trains of thought came over him, and
there was so divine a mixture of hope and melancholy in his face,
which seemed so to reproach himself and to encourage me, that, divided
as my feelings were between the generous emanations of Turl and these
torrents of affection from a man who had suffered so deeply, I seized
the hand of each, pressed them both to my heart, instantly dropped
them again, covered my face, fell against the wall, and sobbed with
something like hysteric passion.

Of all the pleasures of which the soul is capable, those of friendship
for man and love for woman are the most exquisite. They may be
described as--'the comprehensive principle of benevolence, which binds
the whole human race to aid and love each other, individualized; and
put into its utmost state of activity.' Selfishness may deride them;
and there may be some so haunted by suspicion, or so hardened in vice
as to doubt or deny their existence. But he that has felt them in
their fullest force has the best as well as the grandest standard of
human nature; and the purest foretaste of the joys that are in store,
for the generations that are to come.

This is the spirit that is to harmonize the world; and give reality to
those ideal gardens of paradise, and ages of gold, the possibility of
which, as the records of fable shew, could scarcely escape even savage
ignorance.

What clue shall I give the reader to my heart, that shall lead him
into its recesses; and enable him to conceive its entire sensations?
That Turl, from whom I imagined I had met so much discouragement,
whose scrutinizing eye led him to examine with such severity, and
whose firm understanding possessed such powers of right decision, that
he should not only sympathize with me but partake in my best hopes,
and countenance me in my soul's dearest pursuit, that Turl should feel
and act thus, was a joy inconceivably great, and unexpected!

He now no longer appeared to me as one to whom, though I could not but
revere him, I durst not confess myself; but as a generous, anxious,
and tender friend. My former flashes of hope had usually been
succeeded by a gloomy despair, that made me half suspect myself to be
frantic: but, after this concession and encouragement from Turl, they
seemed instantly to spring into consistency, probability, and system.

Turl highly approved my forbearance, and caution, respecting the
letter I had written and was so anxious to convey to Olivia.

This farther coincidence of opinion not only induced me to persevere
in my plan, but afforded me a degree of grateful satisfaction, and
self-respect, that was exceedingly consolatory.



CHAPTER III


_More traits of the character of Mr. Evelyn: A new project of a very
flattering nature: Borough interest and a patriotic Baronet_


It may well be supposed that Turl was induced to enquire, and I to
explain, the means by which I should have been enabled to pursue
the study of the law: for he had heard of my misfortunes, and the
dissipation of my finances.

This brought the behaviour and character of Mr. Evelyn in review: and
the admiration of Turl, with the terms of affection and respect in
which he spoke of that gentleman, was additional delight. He had never
entertained any serious doubt, he said, but that such men existed:
perhaps many of them: yet to discover a single one was an unexpected
and, to say the truth, a very uncommon pleasure.

But Mr. Evelyn was to be made acquainted with my change of sentiment;
and of my being once more destitute of any plan for my future
guidance. It was necessary that he should not deem me a man of
unsettled principles; frivolous in propensity, and fantastic in
conduct. For, though perhaps my pride would have felt gratification at
no longer considering myself a dependent on the favourable opinion or
calculations which another might form concerning me, and my good or
ill qualities, yet I could not endure to sink in his esteem.

I therefore applied myself, immediately, in the most assiduous manner,
to collect and state such facts as I had gathered, relative to the
practice of the law: and, that the argument might be placed in the
clearest light possible, I begged of Turl to take that part of the
subject which related to its principles upon himself.

Thus provided, I wrote to Mr. Evelyn; and my letter was fortunate
enough to produce its desired effect.

Nor was he satisfied with mere approbation. His anxious and generous
friendship would not suffer him to rest; and he immediately made a
journey to town, to consult with me, since this project was rejected,
what should be my new pursuit.

His behaviour verified all the assertions of his former discourse,
concerning the hopes that he had conceived of my talents. He
considered nothing within the scope of his fortune as too great a
sacrifice, if it could but promote the end he desired. For this
purpose he not only consulted with Wilmot, and Turl, but led me into
such conversations as might best display the bent of my genius; and
afford him hints, on which to act.

And now he was induced to form a design such as I little expected; and
which required of me the acceptance of obligations so great as well
might stagger me, and render it difficult for me to consent.

He had remarked that my enunciation was clear and articulate, my
language flowing, my voice powerful, and my manner pre-possessing.
Such were the terms which he used, in describing these qualities
in me. The youthful manliness of my figure, he said, added to the
properties I have mentioned, was admirably adapted for parliamentary
oratory. My elocution and deportment were commanding; and principles
such as mine might awe corruption itself into respect, and aid to
rouse a nation, and enlighten a world. Mr. Evelyn, like myself, was
very much of an enthusiast.

He did not immediately communicate the project to me: which was indeed
first suggested to him by accidental circumstances: but previously
examined whether it was, as he supposed it to be, possible to be
carried into effect.

Sir Barnard Bray had the nomination of two borough members: one of
which he personated himself, and disposed of the other seat, as is the
custom, to a candidate who should be of his party; and consequently
vote according to his opinion.

He had long been the loud and fast friend of Opposition. No man was
more determined in detecting error, more hot in his zeal, or more
vociferous in accusation, than Sir Barnard: his dear and intimate
friend, the right honourable Mr. Abstract, excepted; who was indeed
pepper, or rather gunpowder itself.

Mr. Evelyn was the cousin of this patriotic baronet.

It happened just then to be the eve of a general election; and, as the
last member of Sir Barnard had been so profligate, or so patriotic, as
the worthy member himself repeatedly and solemnly declared he was, as
to vote with the Minister, who had previously given him a place and
promised to secure his return for a Treasury borough, Mr. Evelyn,
knowing these circumstances, was persuaded that the Baronet would be
happy to find a representative for _his_ constituents, whose eloquence
added to his own should avenge him on the Minister; if not tumble him
from the throne he had usurped.

Mr. Evelyn and the Baronet were on intimate terms: for Sir Barnard
took a particular pleasure in every man who perfectly agreed with him
in opinion; and, though this definition would not accurately apply to
Mr. Evelyn, yet, on the great leading points in politics they seldom
differed.

As to morals, as a science, Sir Barnard on many occasions would affect
to treat it with that common-place contempt which always accompanies
the supposition of the original and unconquerable depravity of man;
of the verity of which the Baronet had a rooted conviction. In this
hypothesis he was but confirmed by his burgage-tenure voters, by
the conduct of the members he had himself returned, and by certain
propensities which he felt in his own breast, and which he seriously
believed to be instinctive in man.

Beside, if Mr. Evelyn differed at any time in opinion with a
disputant, the suavity of his manners was so conciliatory that
opposition, from him, was sometimes better received than agreement,
and coincidence, from other people. This suavity, by the by, is a
delightful art. Would it were better understood, and more practised!



CHAPTER IV


_Sage remarks on the seduction of young orators, the influence of the
crown, and the corruption of our glorious constitution: Old and new
nobility: Poor old England: Necessary precautions: The man with an
impenetrable face_


Full of the project he had conceived, Mr. Evelyn visited the Baronet,
who happened to be in town, and proposed it to him in the manner which
he thought might most prepossess him in my favour.

Sir Barnard listened attentively, and paused.

It happened that he had lately been meditating on the danger of
introducing young orators into parliament: for he had found, by
experience, that they are so marketable a commodity as to be almost
certain of being bought up. The trick he had himself been played was
bitterly remembered; and he had known and heard of several instances,
during his parliamentary career, of a similar kind.

Yet he could not but recollect that, when he and his former spokesman
had entered the house, arm in arm, there was a sort of buzz, and a
degree of respect paid to him, which had instantly diminished as soon
as this support was gone.

There is something of dignity in the use of crutches; and he that
cannot walk alone commands attention, from his imbecility.

'I do not know what to think of this plan,' said the Baronet. 'I find
your flowery speakers are no more to be depended upon, in the present
day, than the oldest drudges in corruption!

'You know, cousin, how I hate corruption. It is undoing us all, It
will undo the nation! The influence of the crown is monstrous. The
aristocracy is degraded by annual batches of mundungus and parchment
lords; and the constitution is tumbling about our ears. The old
English spirit is dead. The nation has lost all sense and feeling.
The people are so vile and selfish that they are bought and sold like
swine; to which, for my part, I think they have been very properly
compared. There is no such thing now as public virtue. No, no! That
happy time is gone by! Every man is for all he can get; and as for the
means, he cares nothing about them. There is absolutely no such thing
as patriotism existing; and, to own the truth, damn me if I believe
there is a man in the kingdom that cares one farthing for those rights
and liberties, about which so many people that you and I know pretend
to bawl!'

'This is a severe supposition indeed. It implicates your dearest and
most intimate friends. Only recollect, Sir Barnard, what would your
feelings be, if the same thing should be asserted of you?'

'Of me, truly! No, no, cousin Evelyn; I think I have been pretty
tolerably tried! The Minister knows very well he could move the
Monument sooner than me. I love the people; and am half mad to see
that they have no love for themselves. Why do not they meet? Why do
not they petition? Why do not they besiege the throne with their
clamors? They are no better than beasts of burthen! If they were any
thing else, the whole kingdom would rise, as one man, and drive this
arrogant upstart from the helm. I say, Mr. Evelyn, I love the people;
I love my country; I love the constitution; and I hate the swarms of
mushroom peers, and petty traders, that are daily pouring in upon us,
to overturn it.'

Was it weakness of memory? Was it the blindness of egotism? Or was it
inordinate stupidity, that Sir Barnard should forget, as he constantly
did, that his father had been a common porter in a warehouse, had
raised an immense fortune by trade, had purchased the boroughs which
descended to his son, and had himself been bought with the title
of Baronet by a former minister? Was it so very long ago, that Sir
Barnard, with such a swell of conscious superiority, should begin to
talk of the antiquity of his family? But, above all, how did he happen
not to recollect that the disappointment which now preyed upon and
cankered his heart was the refusal of a peerage?

I really can give no satisfactory answer to these questions. I can
only state a fact: which daily occurs in a thousand other instances.

Mr. Evelyn brought the Baronet back to the point; and remarked to him
that, at the present period, when the Minister was so powerful in
numbers, to bring in a mere yes and no member with himself would be
a certain mode of not serving the country, the constitution, and the
people, whom he so dearly loved; that the safety which is derived
from a man's insignificance is but a bad pledge; and that he thought
himself very certain I was as dear, nay and as incorruptible, a lover
of old England, or at least of the welfare of mankind, as Sir Barnard
himself.

'Shew me such a man, cousin,' exclaimed the Baronet, 'and I will
worship him! I will worship him, Mr. Evelyn! I will worship him! But
I am persuaded he is not to be found. I have learned, from too fatal
experience, that I am certain of nobody but myself! Small as the
number in Opposition is, if they were but all as sound-hearted as I
am, and would set their shoulders to the wheel and lay themselves out
for the good of their country as I do, I say it, Mr. Evelyn, and take
my word for it I say true, we should overturn the Minister and his
corrupt gang in six months! Nay, in half the time! However, as you are
so strongly persuaded of the soundness of the gentleman's principles
whom you recommend, let me see him, and talk to him; and then I will
tell you more of my opinion.'

'There is one point, Sir Barnard, on which I suppose I need not
insist; it is so obvious.'

'What is that, cousin?'

'You being as you state a man of principle, and incapable of being
biassed to act against what you conceive to be the good of the nation,
you must expect that every man, who resembles you in patriotism and
fortitude, will act from himself, and will resist any attempt to
control him.'

'Oh, as to that, we need say nothing about it. Those things are never
mentioned, now-a-days: they are perfectly understood. But who is your
young friend? Is he a man of property?'

'No.'

He will be the more manageable, thought Sir Barnard.

'Where will he get a qualification?'

'I will provide him with one.'

'You say he is a gentleman.'

'As I understand the term, he certainly is: for, in addition to those
manners and accomplishments which are most pleasing to the world, he
not only possesses a good education but a sense of justice which makes
him regard every man as his brother; and which will neither suffer him
to crouch to the haughty nor trample on the poor.'

'Why, that is very good. Very right. I myself will crouch to no man.
And, as for modesty and humility, in the youth of the present day,
why they are very rarely found: and so I shall be happy to meet with
them.'

'Nay, but Mr. Trevor delivers his sentiments with rather an unguarded
freedom, and with peculiar energy, or indeed he would be ill qualified
to rise in the assembly of which I wish to see him a member, and
undauntedly oppose the arrogant assertions that are there daily made.'

'Arrogant! G---- confound me, Mr. Evelyn, if I am not sometimes struck
dumb, with what I hear in that house! There is that Scotchman in
particular, who will get up, after our allies have been defeated, our
troops driven like sheep from swamp to swamp, where they die of the
rot, and our ships carried by hundreds into the enemy's ports, and
will roundly assert, notwithstanding these facts are as notorious as
his own political profligacy, that our victories are splendid, our
armies undiminished, and our trade protected and flourishing beyond
all former example! He makes my hair stand on end to hear him! And
when I look in his face, and see the broad familiar easy impudence
with which he laughs at me and all of us, for our astonishment, why,
as I tell you, damn me if I am not dumb-founded! I am struck all of
a heap! I have not a word! I am choaked with rage, and amazement!
Compared to him your brothel-keeper is a modest person! Were but our
fortresses as impenetrable as his forehead, curse me if they would
ever be taken. He is bomb-proof. The returns that lie on the table can
make no impression upon him; and you may see him sneer and laugh if
they are pointed to in the course of an argument.

'In short, cousin Evelyn, the nation is ruined. I see that clear
enough. Our constitution will soon be changed to a pure despotism.
Barracks are building; soldiers line our streets: our commission of
the peace is filled with the creatures of a corrupt administration;
constables are only called out to keep up the farce; and we are at
present under little better than a military government.'

Though Mr. Evelyn would have been better satisfied, had Sir Barnard's
sense of national grievances been equally strong but less acrimonious,
yet he was pleased to find that these grievances were now more than
ever become a kind of common-place bead roll of repetitions: of which
their being so familiarly run over by the Baronet was sufficient
proof: for a people that are continually talking of the evils that
afflict them are not, as Sir Barnard and others have supposed, dead to
these evils. The nation that remarks, discusses, and complains of its
wrongs, will finally have them redressed.



CHAPTER V


_Serious doubts on serious subjects: Personal qualms, and
considerations: An interview with Sir Barnard: Fears and precautions,
or a burnt child dreads the fire_


What farther passed in the conversation I have recited was of little
moment: except that an appointment was made, on the following day, for
me to be introduced to the Baronet.

Thus far successful, Mr. Evelyn returned; and, as he was a man of
a firm and ingenuous mind, he thought it adviseable to hold a
consultation with me and my friends, on the prosecution of his plan.

That personal considerations might in no degree influence the enquiry,
he first proposed the question, without intimating to what it might
lead, of--'how far it became a virtuous man to accept a seat, on
those conditions under which a seat only can be obtained, among the
representatives of the people?'

Without wearying the reader with the arguments that were adduced, let
it suffice to inform him that we all agreed it was a very doubtful
case; that, in this as in numerous other instances, manners, customs,
and laws, obliged us to conform to many things which were odiously
vicious; and that to live in society and rigidly observe those rules
of justice which would best promote the general happiness was,
speaking absolutely, a thing impossible.

Whether the greatest political characters would best fulfil their
duties by refusing to submit to the corrupt influence of elections,
to test-oaths, and to the mischiefs of ministerial management within
the walls, or whether they ought to comply with them, and exert their
utmost faculties in pointing out these evils and endeavouring to have
them redressed, was a point on which we all seemed to think the wisest
men might suspend their judgment.

In one thing we appeared to be entirely agreed: which was that such
pernicious practices were in all probability more frequently exposed,
and brought into public discussion, through the medium of an assembly
like this, than they would be did no such assembly exist.

Neither must I detail what afterward passed, before I was brought to
accept the proposal of Mr. Evelyn. It would be tedious.

This proposal did not confine itself to the single act of giving me
a seat in parliament; and of furnishing me with a qualification. It
insisted that the qualification should be a real and not a fictitious
deed.

To accept the actual possession of three hundred a-year as a bounty,
for which I could make no return, was I own humiliating to my pride.
It made the question continually recur--'Whether it did not give me
the air of an impostor? A kind of swindler of sentiment? A pretender
to superior virtue, for the purpose of gratifying vice?' It seemed at
a blow to rob me of all independence; and leave me a manacled slave to
the opinions, not only of Mr. Evelyn, but, by a kind of consignment,
of his relation the Baronet; and even to both their humours.

In fine, it was a most painful sacrifice; and required all the amenity
and active friendship of Mr. Evelyn to bring to my mind, not only my
duties, but, the power that I should have at any time of resigning
my seat, returning the deeds, and sheltering myself in my primitive
poverty.

To this I added a condition, without which my refusal would have
been absolute. It was that I should give a deed of mortgage, bearing
interest, to the full value of the lands assigned.

I shall forbear to dwell on sensations that were very active at the
moment; which, on one hand, related to all that concerned Mr. Evelyn,
my obligations, and something like dependence; and, on the other, to
my sudden promised elevation toward the sphere in which my ambition
was so eagerly desirous to move. Neither will I insist on that which
caused my heart to beat yet more high, the approach that I thus made
to the lovely object of all my wishes.

Leaving this endless train of meditation, I proceed to relate events
as they occurred.

I attended Mr. Evelyn, according to appointment; and paid my respects
to his cousin, Sir Barnard. Having engaged myself thus far, I own I
was sufficiently piqued to desire to make a favourable impression: in
which I was almost as successful as I myself had hoped.

At the first sight of me the Baronet was prepossessed; and when we
entered into conversation and he gave me an opportunity of uttering my
sentiments concerning men and measures, I painted so forcibly that he
was almost in raptures.

The only circumstance in which I failed was my frequent interruption,
and impatience, when he in turn began to declaim. I had the vice of
orators: I heard no man's arguments, or language, that pleased me so
well as my own. I could not listen without an irritating anxiety,
that was for ever prompting me to supply a word, suggest a thought,
or detect a blunder. And, to a man who loves to make a speech, it is
intolerably mortifying to hear himself corrected, and cut short, in
the middle of a sentence.

However I was sufficiently guarded not to give any offence that was
strong enough to be remembered; and Sir Barnard was so thoroughly
engrossed, by the idea of the conspicuous figure which he and his new
member should make in the house, that he was absolutely impatient to
secure me: being fully persuaded that he had discovered a treasure;
of which now, at a general election, he was in considerable danger of
being robbed.

The only precaution he took was to draw from me repeated asseverations
that I would not desert the cause of the people: by which, as I
afterward found, he understood his own private opinions; and not
that which he had literally expressed. On this head he seemed never
satisfied; and the terms in which he spoke, both of the member who had
deserted him and of all political tergiversation whatever, were the
bitterest that his memory could supply.



CHAPTER VI


_A dinner party, and fortune in good humour: The opera house, and
small talk: Sagacious female discoveries: Olivia, and the art of
fascinating: An old acquaintance suddenly seen and dreaded, though
despised: Timely recollection: The opera great room, and more
discoveries_


These points settled, the Baronet proposed to introduce me to his
friends and connections, particularly of the political kind. For this
purpose he began with inviting me and Mr. Evelyn to dine with him on
the Friday following, when he was to have a mixed party of ladies and
gentlemen, but chiefly of such as agreed with him on public affairs.

When the day came, I was presented to the company by the Baronet with
encomiums, and seated on the left of Lady Bray. A Scotch lord was on
her right: it being her ladyship's custom to divide the ladies and
gentlemen.

A young fellow properly introduced, if he be new in the circles of
fashion and possessed of a tolerable figure, is in no danger of being
ill received. I had not indeed learned to be an adept at small talk:
a qualification which, contemptible as it is, will supply the want
of every superior requisite, whether of mind or person: but I had an
aptitude to oblige, be attentive, and speak the moment I found I had
any thing to say.

I had laid no plan on this occasion: not having then read, or not
remembering, I know not which, Lord Chesterfield's sage reflections,
on the necessity of a statesman's being well with the ladies.
It happened however that, on this occasion, I was received with
distinguished marks of approbation by the dear angels: from several of
whom I received visiting-invitations.

Music and the opera were among the topics on which they conversed. I
was found to be an amateur; and Lady Bray was one of the dilettanti,
had concerts at her own house, and a box at the opera: to both of
which she said I should at all times have free admission.

This was too pleasing an offer to be refused; and I willingly agreed
to attend her ladyship the following evening, and hear the charming
music of _I Zingari in Fiera_ by Paisiello.

The opera season began rather early that year, many families were not
yet come to town, we had little delay from the string of coaches, and,
had her ladyship not provided against the misfortune by taking care to
go more late than usual, we should have been so unfashionable as to
have heard the first act. As it was, we arrived before it was over.

The thing on which her ladyship bestowed her immediate attention was
to examine, by the aid of her opera-glass, which of the subscribers
were in their boxes; and how many of her particular friends were
among them. Politeness induced me to accompany her in this excursion
of the eye: for not to have listened to the names, titles, and ages,
of her friends, with the births, deaths, marriages, creations, and
presentations at court of them and their families, of which materials
small talk is chiefly if not wholly composed, would have been the very
highest defect in good breeding.

Why yes. Listen I did, as long as I was able: till my eyes, tongue,
and faculties were all riveted to one spot!

Her ladyship's box was near the centre. She had carried my eye from
box to box completely along one side, and had proceeded to about three
of the opposite, when she directed her glass to one, with the owners
of which she had no acquaintance: but she knew the names of all; for
she had them engraved on her fan.

That name was Mowbray! And the persons in it were Hector, his aunt,
and Olivia!

I was silent, gazing, entranced! Her ladyship had talked I know not
how long; and I had neither answered nor heard one word.

'Bless me,' said she, 'Mr. Trevor! why you are _absolutely_ in a
revery all of a sudden! That Miss Mowbray I find is a very dangerous
young lady: for I am told that all the men are _positively_ mad after
her; and here are you _absolutely_ struck speechless! What! Not a word
yet?'

'I beg ten thousand pardons.'

'Why this seems like love at first sight! You are not acquainted, I
suppose, with the Mowbrays.'

'Yes, my lady: from my infancy.'

'Oh, oh! Why, then to be sure you are intimate with this beauty; who
_absolutely_ eclipses us all. I assure you she is _positively_ the
belle of the day. I hear she has the very first offers. But you are
not silly enough to act the dying swain? What, no answer? Well, well:
I see how it is! But, as we never read in any of the morning papers
of gentle youths who break their hearts for love, in the present
ungallant age, you are in no great danger. Though I think I never saw
any creature look more like what I should suppose one of your true
lovers to be than you did just now: for, beside your speechless
attitude, which was _absolutely_ picturesque and significant, you were
_positively_ pale and red, and red and pale, almost as fast as the
ticking of my watch. And even yet you are _absolutely_ provoking. I
cannot get a word from you!'

'Your ladyship's raillery quite overpowers me.'

'I declare I am _positively_ surprised at what I have seen. Had a
stranger been all of a sudden struck, the wonder would not have been
_absolutely_ so great: but it is _positively_ unaccountable in you who
are a familiar acquaintance of the family.'

'I cannot boast of that honor.'

'No, indeed! Why, do not you visit the Mowbrays?'

'I do not.'

'What, you are a dangerous man; and are forbidden the house? Well, I
declare, I shall _absolutely_ know your whole history in five minutes
without your having _positively_ told me a word.'

'Your ladyship has a lively imagination.'

'I have heard that the aunt is a very cautious _chaperon_. But, I
tell you what: I will be your friend. The Mowbrays are lately become
intimate with two families where I visit. And I will _absolutely_ take
you with me, on one of their public nights. I will _positively_.'

This proposition was so grateful, and my thanks were so much more
prompt than my recollection, that her ladyship was quite confirmed
in her surmises; and not a little pleased with her own talent at
discovery.

Her accusation however was very true. All she could _positively_ say
could not _absolutely_ draw my attention from the box of Olivia, whose
turns and motions I was anxiously watching; hoping that some lucky
accident would guide her eye toward me.

Nay I partly hoped and partly feared the same of the aunt: my emotions
being now influenced by the respectable station which I at present
seemed to occupy; and now by the remembrance that even this might turn
to my disadvantage, in the jealous apprehensions of the old lady.

Busied as my thoughts were and absorbed in anxious attention, this
anxiety was soon overcome by a much more powerful feeling.

A gentleman entered Olivia's box! My eyes were instantly turned on
him. Recollection was roused. My heart beat. It surely was he! I could
not be mistaken! My opera-glass was applied, and my fears confirmed.
It was, indeed, the Earl of Idford.

Here then, in a moment, the enigma was solved. The peer who had
aspired to the hand of Olivia, and who tempted her with all his
opulence and all his dignity, could be no other than Lord Idford. He
had long been intimate with Hector, and now comes without ceremony and
joins the family. See how the aunt smiles on him! Nay, mark! Olivia
is attentive to him! Her lips move! Her eyes are directed to his! She
is conversing with him, and at her ease, while I am racked by all the
terrors that jealousy can raise! What, can she not cast one look this
way? Is she fascinated by a reptile? Is there no instinctive sympathy,
that should make her tremble to betray the dearest interests of love
in the very presence of the lover! Does she act complacency, and sit
calm and unruffled! Has she no foreboding that I will dart upon that
insect; that thing; which, being less than man, presumes because it
is called Lord! Thinks she that I will not crush, tear, tread, him to
dust? He, the defrauder of my fair fame, who plundered me of the first
fruits of genius by infamous falsehood, who joined in plotting my
destruction by arts which the basest cowards blush at! Is he the fiend
that comes to snatch me from bliss; and plunge me into pangs and
horrors unutterable?

From these ravings of the mind I was a little recovered, by the very
serious alarm which the wild changes of my countenance produced in
Lady Bray. I apologised, pleaded indisposition, but presently was
lost again in revery. Fortunately, a gentleman of her ladyship's
acquaintance came into the box, and left me to continue my embittered
meditations.

Olivia was now attentive to the music; and the lord had only her aunt
and Hector, apparently, to bestow his conversation upon.

This was some relief; and so far allayed the fever of my mind as to
call me back to self examination, and to question my own conduct.

For the earl I could not but have the most rooted contempt. I could
not compare myself with him, and entertain a doubt, concerning who
ought to be preferred.

But what reason had I to accuse Olivia? What did these angry emotions
of my soul forebode? Perhaps that my habitual irritability, were she
mine, would make her miserable!

What was the end of existence? Happiness. Had I not a right then to be
happy? Yes. But so had she. So had her aunt. Nay so had that rival,
odious and despicable as he was, whose appearance had raised this
tempest in my soul.

But was constraint, was force, justifiable in this aunt; or in this
insignificant, this selfish lord?

Force it is said is the law of nature; and it is that law which impels
the ravenous tiger to spring upon the lamb, and suck its blood, to
appease his craving appetite. But, if so, if self-gratification were
a defensible motive, the detestable Norman robber, the monster who
inhabited a cave and seized on every stray virgin, to deflower, murder
her and prey on her remains, was justifiable.

In the agitated mind, dreams like these are endless. While they were
passing, I stared with fixed attention toward Olivia; and, had she not
been almost motionless, my passive trances could not have continued.

The first dance was over, the second act had begun, more visitors came
to pay their respects to Lady Bray, and I endeavoured to recollect
myself and shake off a behaviour that might well be construed
inattention, if not ill manners; and might injure me even in that
point on which I was then so deeply intent. I uttered two or three
sentences; and her ladyship complimented me on being once more awake.

The persevering attention of Olivia to the scene, for it was
impossible to forbear glancing at her every moment, contributed to
calm my fears.

It did more: it was a most beneficial lesson to me. It called me
again to the consideration of that impetuosity of temper which was so
dangerous in me. Into what acts of frenzy and desperation might not
these fevers of the soul hurry me? What in the present instance could
I urge to justify such excess? Had I not heard the reproaches of her
aunt for her having refused the hand of this Lord: if this Lord it
should happen to be? When he entered the box, what had she done, that
should excite such frantic ecstacies in me? What, except return those
civilities without which it is impossible for man or woman to be
amiable? Did she now coquet, prattle, and display her power; tempted
as she was by such a public scene of triumph? Was not her demeanour as
chastely cautious as my own exigent heart could desire?

Every question that the facts before me suggested was an aggravating
reproof of my headlong passions; and, luckily for me, my thoughts took
that train which was most corrective and healthful. They led me too
to dwell, with a melting and mild rapture, on the endearing virtues
of Olivia: dignified, yet not austere; firm, yet not repulsive;
circumspect, yet capable of all those flowing affections without which
circumspection is but meanness.

Nor were these visionary attributes: such as the disordered
imagination of a lover falsely bestows. They were as real as those
personal beauties by which they were embellished.

To aspire to the possession of a woman so gifted, and to be the
lunatic which my own reproaches at this moment pictured me, was to
demand that which I did not deserve. To be worthy of her, it was fit I
should resemble her.

I endeavoured to obey these admonitions. I schooled myself, concerning
my remissness to Lady Bray. I recovered my temper, became attentive,
talked rather pleasantly, and re-established myself in her good
graces: in which I could perceive I had somewhat declined, by the
folly of my behaviour. To remind the reader on every occasion of the
progress of intellect, and the benefits derived from experience, would
be to weary his patience, insult his understanding, and counteract
my own intentions. It would suppose in him a total absence of
observation, and reasoning. Yet to be entirely silent might lead the
young, and the inattentive, to imagine I had in the beginning proposed
a mode of instruction which, as I proceeded, I had either forgotten,
abandoned, or had not the power to execute. If such will attend to the
alteration in my conduct, they will perceive that I, like every other
human being, could not but reflect more or less on the motives that
actuated me; and profit by the lessons I received: though rooted
habits and violent passions were the most difficult to cure.

After the curtain dropped, I accompanied Lady Bray into the great
room; and perceived among the throng, at some little distance, Olivia,
and her aunt, attended by the peer.

I had foreseen the possibility of this; and had reasoned that there
might be more danger in an abrupt rencontre, of this kind, than in
meeting Olivia and her terrible aunt at the house of Lady Bray's
friend, as her ladyship had promised me; where I should receive her
countenance, and that of the family to which I should be introduced.
I therefore endeavoured to direct her ladyship's attention from the
place where the Mowbray party was, and succeeded in my endeavours.

Soon afterward, I saw Hector, with a knot of fashionable youths;
among whom I was rather surprised to discover my at that time unknown
father-in-law, Belmont.

I had no inclination to be noticed by this groupe; and, as Lady Bray's
carriage was presently afterward _stopping the way_, I had the good
fortune to escape unperceived, or at least unaccosted, by both
parties.



CHAPTER VII


_A debt discharged: A tavern dinner and a dissertation: The man of the
world ridiculing the man of virtue: or, is honesty the best policy?
Fools pay for being flattered: Security essential to happiness: A
triumphant retort, and difficult to be answered: Vice inevitable,
under a vitiated system: A dangerous attack: or an exhibition of one
of the principal arts of a gambler: A few cant phrases_


To the friendship of Mr. Evelyn I had so far subjected myself and the
spirit of independence which I was very properly ambitious to cherish
as, for the present, to accept the aid he was so desirous to bestow.
I was something like compelled to be his debtor, but was unwilling to
be the debtor of any other man on earth; and, as he had enabled me to
appear in the style I have described, and furnished me with money, I
was determined to seek out Belmont, and discharge the debt which his
bounty had conferred; after he had previously plundered me, at Bath.
He had sunk in my esteem: I now considered him as a professed gambler:
but I remembered this action as that which it really was; an effort of
benevolence, to aid a human being in distress.

Thus actuated, I went the next day to the billiard-table which he had
been accustomed to frequent; where I once more found him at play. He
met me not only unabashed, but with something like cordiality. He had
so accustomed himself to his own hypothesis, that 'self-gratification
is the law of nature,' and had so confused a sense of what true
self-gratification is, with such an active faculty of perverting facts
and exhibiting pictures of general turpitude, that he had very little
sense of the vice of his own conduct; and was therefore very little
subject to self-reproof. He behaved to me with the utmost ease and
good humour; and, when his match was over, proposed that we should
dine together at the Thatched-house.

For a moment, I questioned the propriety of assenting: but, seeing him
now as before familiar with the officers of the guards, and people of
whose company no one was ashamed, and recollecting where and how I had
seen him the evening before, I did not long hesitate. Beside which, I
was prompted, not only by the pleasure which his conversation gave,
but by an increase of curiosity to be better acquainted with who and
what he really was.

As soon as we were alone, I discharged my conscience by repaying him
the twenty pounds. This gave occasion to the following dialogue.

'I perceive, Trevor, you are still the same. You pique yourself on
paying your borrowings. Had it been a debt of honour indeed, I should
not have been surprised: for those are debts that must be discharged.
Otherwise, it would introduce a very inconvenient practice indeed.'

'I believe, as you say, it would be inconvenient beyond description
to you--What do you call yourselves?--Oh! I recollect: "sporting
gentlemen" is the phrase. It would be inconvenient I say, to you
sporting gentlemen.'

'Whom, when we sporting gentlemen are absent, you call blacklegs,
rooks, Grecians, and other pleasant epithets. Some such word, I could
perceive, was quivering on your tongue. You remember the plucking
you had at Bath; and, though you are too much ashamed of having been
duped to mention it, yet it remains on your mind with a feeling of
resentment. That is natural: but it is foolish.'

'Is it foolish to have a sense of right and wrong?'

'Where is that sense to be found? Who has it? I have continually a
sense, if so you please to call it, that there is something which I
want; and by that I am impelled to act.'

'True. But Locke, I think, tells us that crime consists in not taking
sufficient time to consider, before we act.'

'And, begging his pardon, wise as in a certain sense I allow you this
Locke was, in the instance you have cited, he was an ass. If I do
not mistake, he has before proved to me that I cannot act without a
motive; and then he bids me stop when I am in such a hurry that no
motive occurs to my memory.'

'According to this, an actual murderer is not a more guilty man than
he who only dreams that he commits murder?'

'Make what you will of the inference, but it is accurate. They are
both dead asleep, to any ideas except those that hurry them forward.'

'That is, in plain English, there is no such thing as vice.'

'Might you not as well have said as virtue?'

'Speaking absolutely, I do not pretend to deny what you assert. But
you will not tell me that the man who robs me, and leaves me bound to
a tree in danger of starving, has not done me an injury?'

'Will you be kind enough to shew me who it is, among those who have
any thing to lose, that does not rob? Men who enjoy the pleasures of
life rob those who are deprived of them of their due; and, according
to my apprehension, the latter have a right to make reprisals.'

'Upon my soul, Belmont, you have a most inveterate habit of
confounding every thing that should guide and regulate mankind.
You shift the question, confound terms, and are the most desperate
gladiator of vice I ever encountered. Your dangerous genius is a mine;
where the ore is rich indeed, but the poisonous vapour that envelopes
it deadly.'

'Each to his system. We have both the voyage of life to make. You
place that very sober and discreet person called Honesty at the helm;
by the single direction of whom you expect to attain happiness: which
is just as rational as to hope to circumnavigate the globe with one
wind. I take a different course: it is my maxim to shift my sails, and
steer as pleasure and interest bid.'

'Acting as you do, I cannot wonder that you should make a jest of
honesty.'

'Upon my honour I treated Sir Honesty with every possible decorum,
till I found that the insidious rascal was making a jest of me. Not
that I am quite certain I am not more truly the friend of this very
respectable person than those who pretend they are always in his
company; for I neither cant with Madam Morality nor pray with Dame
Methodism: though I cannot but think I am almost as religious, as
moral, ay and as charitable too, as your devotees and sabbath-keepers;
who go to church to pray and be saved, and leave their servants to
stay at home, roast the meat and be damned.'

'I must again repeat, you have the most active fertility at embroiling
all order and system I have any where met with.'

'Ha, ha, ha! Order and system are very pretty words. But you make a
small mistake. It is not I that embroil. I find confusion already
established; and, since I cannot correct it, give me a reason why I
ought not to profit by the chaotic hubbub?'

'But I say you can correct it. You are one of the men who might have
been best fitted for the task.'

'I know not what I might have been: but I feel that I am not. The
first right of man, ay and, to talk in your own idiom, the first moral
duty too, is to be happy; and he is an idiot that, having a banquet
spread before him, forbears to taste because he himself is not the
purveyor. What matters it to me how it came there? Why am I to be
excluded? Have I not as exquisite a relish as he that provided for the
bill of fare?

'Let dull fools puzzle their brain concerning moral fitness, which
they have not elevation enough of mind to understand; give me
enjoyment.

'Let me eat the pine apple while they are discussing the moral fitness
of feasting on such luxuries.'

'This doctrine would subject the world to your appetites and
pleasures.'

'And is not that a noble doctrine? It is the wish and passion of the
world to be gulled; and gulled let it be. Let it have its enjoyments;
give me mine.

'One man is my banker, and is assiduously careful to keep cash at
my command; which he transfers to me in the most gentleman-like and
honourable manner imaginable: namely, by a box and dice.

'Another is my steward; and he lays out my grounds, stocks my park
with deer, builds me palaces, erects me hot-houses, and torments
heaven and earth to furnish my table with delicacies; for all of
which I pay him in the current coin of flattery. It is true I permit
him to call these things his own: but the real enjoyment of them is
notoriously mine. He, poor egotist, talks bombast and nonsense by
wholesale. I applaud and smile at his folly; while he imagines it is
at his wit. The poor man is amused with fine speeches, unsubstantial
flatteries, cringes, bows, and hypocritical tokens of servility; which
are so many jests upon him.

'Thus is he mocked with the shadow, while I banquet upon the
substance. I bask in arbours and groves, without once having given
myself a thought concerning planting or pruning. I feast on the fish,
without so much as the trouble of catching them; and still less of
constructing the pond. By the provision he makes, that is, by avarice
and extortion, he nurtures a brood of sycophants and slaves. Wife,
children, friends, servants, all have the same character, only
differently shaded: except that, if any of them can become his tyrants
and tormentors, they all are ready for the task. I have studied the
noble arts both of tickling and tormenting: by which I have subjected
this very self-important race to my will and pleasure.'

'For a man whose acuteness has carried him so very far, I am amazed
that it did not impel him to advance one step farther. Happiness is
what I and all men desire, as certainly as you do: but that happiness
is of a strange kind, and held by a frail and feeble tenure, that is
agitated by innumerable fears: that, if the means on which it depends
be detected, is wholly destroyed; and that, when lost, finds infamy
and misery its certain substitutes.

'Mark what I say; and mark it deeply. There can be no happiness
without security; and there can be no security without sincerity.
Therefore, hypocrites, of every class, are acting contrary to their
own intentions. They are providing misery for themselves, as well as
for others: instead of the substantial pleasures of which they are in
search.'

'Indeed? The Lord have mercy then upon all establishments: legal,
political, and ecclesiastic!'

'Let me farther observe to you that the system of general enjoyment,
which you propose, is something, if I may so call it, more than
rational: it is dignified; it is sublime. I feel with you that he is
a poor circumscribed egotist, who can enjoy nothing but that which he
calls his own. Let me taste every blessing which the hand of nature
presents: let me banquet with you on her bounties: but let me not
embitter the delicious repast by fraud, that enslaves me to an eternal
watchfulness; depredation, that puts even my life in jeopardy; and a
system founded in lies, and everlastingly haunted by the spectres of
self-contempt.'

Our dialogue was interrupted, by the entrance of the waiters.

When we had dined, Belmont began to enquire concerning my prospects
and affairs.

'I expect,' said he, 'you will be less communicative and open hearted,
now, than you formerly were. You have discovered, what I never
attempted to conceal, that my present dependence is on the exercise of
talents which your gravity despises: especially since they have laid
you under contribution. This misfortune however, had you possessed
them, despicable as they are, you would have escaped.'

'Yes: just as the man, who hanged himself last night, escaped a
head-ache this morning. I will own to you I cannot take the pleasure
in your company, or think of you with that friendship, which I
formerly felt: for, though I find your conversation no less animating,
like strong liquors, it leaves an unwholesome heat behind.

'However, I have no objection to inform you that fortune has given me
a momentary respite from persecution. How soon she may think proper
to stretch me on the rack again is more than I can foresee: though I
greatly suspect her of cruelty and caprice. She seems at present to be
in one of her best humours; and has given me a kind of promise to make
me one of the sage legislators of this happy land.'

'What do you mean?'

'That I shall be a member of the new parliament.'

Belmont burst into a violent fit of laughter. At first, I was at a
loss to conjecture why; and especially why it should be so long, and
so unaffected: but I soon learned it was a burst of triumph, which he
could not restrain.

'I congratulate you, Mr. Trevor,' said he, with a momentary gravity,
'on your noble and moral pursuits!--The lecture you have been reading,
as well as those I have formerly heard you read, now come upon me with
invincible force!--There is no resisting precept thus exemplified
by practice!--How loud, how lofty, how sovereign, is the contempt
in which you hold hypocrisy!--How severe will the laws be that you
will enact, against petty depredators!--I foresee you will hang,
not only those that handle a card, or a dice-box, but, those that
make them.--Then what honours, what rewards, what triumphs, will
you decree to your own wholesale marauders! your great captains;
chosen, empowered and paid by yourself and sages no less moral and
disinterested!--With what gusto will you send him to swing who commits
a single robbery: and with what sublime oratory will you exalt the
prowess of the man who has plundered, starved, and exterminated
nations--"A Daniel come to judgment! Oh wise young judge, how do I
honor thee!"

I remained speechless, a few moments; and entirely disconcerted. I was
irritated; though I knew not precisely at what. I attempted to answer;
but was so confused that I talked absolute nonsense.

After some time, however, I recollected that my purpose in going into
parliament was to counteract all these abuses. I then recovered my
faculties, and urged this plea very emphatically.

Still the moral dignity, and virtue, of the honourable house I was
about to enter, dwelt with such force on the imagination of Belmont
that I could get no reply from him: except sarcasms, such as those
I have repeated, with the same intervening fits of laughter as the
images suggested themselves to his mind.

And here, lest the reader himself should be misled like Belmont, I
must remark that no mistake is more common, and I believe none more
pernicious, than that of imagining that, because man has not attained
absolute and perfect virtue, the very existence of virtue is doubtful.

Hence it happens that he, who in any manner participates in the vices
of a nation, or a body of men, is reproached as if loaded with the
whole guilt.

Hence likewise, because men without exception are more or less tainted
with error, all pretensions to superior moral principles are laughed
at, as false and ridiculous.

This is the doctrine at least which the people who most offend these
principles are the most zealous in propagating. Belmont had no refuge
against self-reproach, but in cherishing such trains of thought.

That the vices which are the most despised in society instead of being
the most despicable are virtues, if compared to actions that find
honor and reward, is a truth too glaring to be denied. That the cant
with which these master crimes are glossed over, and painted as just,
expedient, ay and heroic actions, that this diabolical cant should
be and is adopted by men even of the highest powers, is a fact that
astonishes and confounds. It impels us continually to ask--Are they
cowards? Are they hypocrites? Or is the world inhabited by none but
lunatics? And that men even of such uncommon genius as Belmont should
be entangled, and bewildered, by the destructive incongruity of those
who assume to themselves the highest wisdom, because they possess the
highest stations in society, is a proof how incumbent it is on such
as are convinced of these melancholy truths to declare them openly,
undauntedly, and with a perseverance that no threats or terrors can
shake.

When we had taken as much wine as Belmont could prevail on me to
drink, and he was very urgent, he asked if I played Piquet?

I answered in the affirmative.

'You no doubt then play it well.'

'I do not think it a game of much difficulty.'

'It is my opinion I am your master at it.'

'That may be.'

'Though you do not think it is. Will you try?'

'What, with a man who avows he does not scruple to take every
advantage?'

'Have you not eyes? Are you, a metaphysician, a wit, and a senator, so
easily deceived?'

'A man may lose his temper; and with it his caution.'

'So you think yourself able to instruct the world, but not to keep
your mind calm and circumspect for half an hour?'

'Had I a sufficient motive, I should suppose I have strength enough
for such an exertion.'

'Then try. The exercise will be wholesome. Shew your skill and
acuteness. Here is your twenty-pound bill: win and take it; or own
that you have no confidence in yourself.'

'I have that confidence which assures me I shall, one day or other,
convince you that I understand the road to happiness better than
yourself.'

'Yet you are cursedly afraid of me. You scarcely can sit still. You
blame your own rashness, in venturing to spend the afternoon with me:
and now you would as soon handle burning coals as a pack of cards in
my company.'

'And what is it you find so omnipotent in yourself, that it should
induce you to all this vapouring?'

'I tell you again, you dare not oppose your penetration to mine. You
pretend to despise me, yet own I am your master. A child is not in
more fear of the rod than you are of me.'

He saw he had sufficiently piqued me, and rang the bell for cards.
They were brought: he shuffled, cut them, and continued to banter me.

'What card do you chuse?--The knave of hearts?--There it is!' [He
shewed it, with a flirt of the cards, at the bottom of the pack.] His
brother of diamonds?--Look! You have it!--Of spades?--Presto! It is
here! You have three knaves on your side, you see. I will keep the
fourth, and drive you out of the field--Come, for twenty?'

'I see your aim, and am devilishly tempted to shew you that you are
not half so cunning as you think yourself.'

'I know you are: but you dare not. You cannot shake off your fears.
The wit, the metaphysician, the young senator suspects he is only a
half-fledged bird.'

'Cut for deal, sir.'

'Why, will you venture?--The nine.'

The sudden recollection of Mr. Evelyn, the money I had received from
him, the generous confidence he had reposed in me, and the guilt of
daring to abuse that confidence, fortunately seized me with a kind of
horror. I snatched up the cards, dashed them in the fire, and in a
moment recovering myself said--'You shall find, sir, that, whether I
can or cannot master you, I can master myself'

'Come, you do not go out of this room without the _chance_ of losing
twenty guineas for twenty.'

'Done!' answered I, impetuously: which he in an instant echoed with
Done! Done! and, again bursting into laughter, held out his hand and
bade me pay my losings.

I immediately discovered, without his explanation, that he had
entrapped me, by the equivocal sense of the word _chance_; and I drew
out my purse to pay him, with a strong feeling of indignation that I
should be so caught.

However, as it was not his intention to profit by so bald and
barefaced a quirk, he only laughed; and exclaimed--'How much the young
gentleman is his own master! But I will not pick your pocket. If at
any time I should want twenty pounds, I shall have a fair claim to ask
it as a loan.'

'Would you but really act like a man of honour, there would be no need
of such an artifice.'

'Perhaps not, for the first time. But if my poor honor were starving,
and could not repay its borrowings, I am afraid my honor would
irrevocably be lost. I therefore prefer, since in either case lose it
I must, to lose it and eat. But the birds are now beginning to flock
together; and I must begone, to the pigeon-house: the rookery.'

'I do not understand the terms.'

'The plucking office: the crab and nick nest: the pip and bone quarry:
the rafflearium: the trumpery: the blaspheming box: the elbow shaking
shop: the wholesale ague and fever warehouse.'

'In plain English, to an assembly of gamblers.'

'Where I shall meet with much the same degree of honesty, virtue,
wisdom, and all that, as is to be found in certain other assemblies.'



CHAPTER VIII


_Bad company painful, as well as dangerous: A short note, exciting
much expectation: A question that shocks and surprises: Clarke and
Olivia, or the overflowing of a full and friendly heart: Various
mistakes rectified: The reading of the letter and the emotions it
produces: Resolutions worthy of virtuous love_


I left the tavern in no very pleasant temper of mind: impatient that I
should be unable to convince, and reform, a man of such extraordinary
acuteness as Belmont: vexed that he, on the contrary, should persuade
himself that he was my master; and should actually irritate me to a
dangerous excess of vanity: and disgusted that vice and virtue should
be so confused, in the minds of men, as to render their boundaries
almost undiscoverable.

Such I mean was the impression that Belmont had left upon my mind,
by repeating the stale but dangerous maxim that--men are vicious by
nature; and, therefore, that to profit by their vices is no more than
just.

When I arrived at my lodgings, which were now in Albemarle-street, for
I had changed them, I found the following note from Miss Wilmot.

'Come to me immediately. I have something to tell you which you little
expect.'

Belmont and my chagrin were forgotten in an instant; and away I
hurried, brim full of agitation, conjecture, and impatience.

I found Miss Wilmot alone; and her first words were--'Oh, Mr. Trevor!
you are a happy man!'

I stood panting, or rather gasping, with hope; and made no reply. She
thus continued.

'Miss Mowbray has been here.'

'Good heavens!'

'She has acted like herself. I know not how I shall tell you the
story, so as to do her justice.'

'For the love of God, proceed!'

'As nearly as I can recollect her words, she began in this manner.

'"I cannot tell, my dear friend," addressing herself to me, "what you
will think of my conduct. At one moment I suspect it to be wrong; and
at the next blame myself for not having taken my present step sooner.
I have surely been grossly misled. This indeed I have long suspected;
and it cannot but be my duty to enquire. Have you lately seen Mr.
Trevor?"

'"I never fail to see him every day. I have a letter from him, for
you; which he has disdained to take any clandestine means of conveying
to you. Here it is."

'"Before I date think about his letter, answer me one question. Is he
a murderer?"

'"A murderer! In the name of God! what can induce you to make such an
enquiry?"

'"I have been assured that he has caused the death of two men: one of
whom he killed himself."

'"Where? When? How?"

'"At Bath. By delivering one over to the fury of the mob; and by
afterward provoking, insulting, and fighting with the other."

'"Heavens and earth! It is false! wickedly false!"

'"Nay but do you know his story?"

'"Perfectly. I have heard it, not only from himself, but, from the man
whom I suppose you have been told he has murdered."

'"What man?"

'"Nay you shall hear and see. You shall have the whole history from
the person's own mouth."

'"Is he alive? Is he in London?"

'"I will send for him. He will be here in a few minutes. You will then
hear what this man has to say. He almost adores Mr. Trevor."

'I immediately dispatched Mary for Mr. Clarke, who works not far off,
as I suppose you know, and who came running the moment he heard that
the lady you are in love with enquired for him.

'Mary informs me that his heart leaped to his eyes (it was her own
phrase) when he was told she wanted to question him concerning you;
that he sprang up, clapped his hands, and exclaimed--"I am glad of it!
I am glad of it! The time is come! All shall be known! He shall be
righted! I will take care of that! He shall be righted!"

'He entered the room breathless; and, the moment he saw Miss Mowbray,
he could not forbear to gaze at her: though bashfulness made him
continually turn his eyes away.

'She addressed him, with that mildness of manner which is so winning
in her, and said--"I have taken the liberty, sir, to send for you; to
ask a few questions."

'He replied, with a burst of zeal--"I am glad of it, madam! I am glad
of it, from my heart and soul! I wish you knew all I could tell you
about Mr. Trevor: but it is quite _un_possible that I should remember
it one half. Only this I will say, and dare the best man in England to
deny it, there is not such another brave and kind-hearted gentleman
walks the earth. I have had proof enough of it. He knows, for all he
is a gentleman, ay and a true gentleman too, for he has parts, and
learning, and a Christian soul, which does not teach him to scorn and
make a scoff of the poor: he knows that a man is a man; even though he
should only happen to be a poor carpenter, like myself. God in heaven
bless him! say I."

'The enthusiasm of your generous humble friend overpowered Miss
Mowbray; she burst into tears, and hid her face. Her passion was
catching, and I followed her example. Clarke continued.

'"On that night that he had the good hap to save your life, and the
life of that old cankered lady, which as I find from all that passed
she must be, though he talks of her too kindly by half, why the
stopping of the frightened horses, just do you see in the jaws of
destruction, and propping the coach was all his doing. He knew better
what he was about than the coachman himself. And then, if you had seen
him, as I did, after all was over! I thought I had loved my Sally
dearly. And so I do! But what am I? I thought too I durst have stood
up to the boldest man that ever stood on shoe leather! And perhaps I
durst: but I find I am nothing in any case to _he_. For which he never
despises me: but insists upon it that I am as good a man as he, in any
way. And as for you, madam, he would jump into burning lakes rather
than a hair of your head should be singed. I know it: for I have seen
it."

'"I know it too," said Miss Mowbray; sobbing. Then, with an effort to
quell her passion, she asked in a firmer tone: "Pray, sir, tell me:
did not you work at Bath?"

'"Yes, madam: the greatest part of my life."

'"You appear to know of a battle, that Mr. Trevor fought?"

'"Yes, yes, madam. I know it pretty well. I shall remember it as long
as I live, for more reasons than one."

'"Was there a man killed?"

'"No, madam: God be praised! I should have died in my sins, unprepared
and wicked as I was: being possessed with passion. He, God bless him!
for all he is a gentleman, begged my pardon like a man; and held out
his hand, and prayed over and over that I would forget and forgive.
But, as I tell you, I was possessed. I could be nothing else: because,
in the way of hard fighting, I despised a gentleman. But he gave me to
know better, as obstinate as I was: for, even after he had beaten me
once, why, he begged and prayed, as he had done at first, to make it
all up. But, as I said before, the Evil One had taken hold of me; and
I refused to give in, till I was carried as dead as a stock off of the
place."

'"Then it was you that was reported to have been killed?"

'"Why, yes, madam: because it could be nobody else."

'"Nay, but was not there a poor man ducked to death?"

'"No: God be thanked, once again! It was not quite so bad as that.
Though the hot-headed fools and rabble, that got hold of me, did use
me ill enough, I must say: for which I was so angry with Mr. Trevor;
and it was therefore that Old Nick put it into my head that I would
beat him. For I cannot deny but the ducking did dwell upon my memory."

'"Were you then the same person that was so ill treated at Lansdown
races?"

'"Yes, madam: for which, though I used to be angry enough before time
at pick-pockets, I will take special care never to have a hand in
ducking any body, as long as I live."

'"And is there no truth whatever in the story that two men were
killed, by the ungovernable passion and malice of Mr. Trevor?"

'"Killed by Mr. Trevor, madam! No, no! He is not that sort of man.
He would rather be killed himself than be the death of any Christian
soul: 'specially if he was a poor body. I can say that for him. Why
he fought like a mad man, to save me from the mob; when they were
hustling me, and dragging me along. But, while one part of them
gathered round him, the other had got far enough off with me. It being
all a mistake about a handkerchief: which he told them. And, though I
heard him and saw him beat about just as if he had been a lion to save
me, I could not forget how I had been used, when I met him the next
day. But I hope God will forgive me! which I do believe he will, for
Mr. Trevor has shewn him the example. I beg pardon! God forgive me!
I only mean that, though Mr. Trevor is a good gentleman, the Lord of
heaven must be a better; and even more charitable and melting in his
heart. Which, to be sure, is very strange: because I do not altogether
understand how it can be."

'"Then it seems your brother is still living?"

'"Brother, madam? I never had any brother! nor any thing of that kind:
except my wife's sisters, _which_ I love because I love _she_."

'"What strange tales I have been told!"

'"That I dare be sworn you have, madam, from what I have heard.
Because there was the sham-Abraham friends of Mr. Trevor: one of
_which_ kicked him, when he was down!"

'"Is it possible?"

'"It is as true as God is in heaven, madam!"

'"Do you know his name?"

'"He was as tall as a Maypole. And then after he had done this
cowardly trick, why he durst not stand up to Mr. Trevor, like a man.
And so, madam, finding as you have been told a parcel of trumpery
tales, I hope in God you will be kind enough not to believe one of
them; now that you see they are all false. For if there be a gentleman
on the face of the earth that loves a lady to desperation, why, Mr.
Trevor is he; as you would have been satisfied, if you had _set_ by
his bedside when as he was down in the fever; like as I and my Sally
did; and had heard him rave of nobody but you. And then if you had
seen him too the night after he took you out of the coach! and then
went on to Hounslow. Which, as he said, seeing it was parting with
you, was worse than tearing his heart out of his body! But he was so
afraid of doing you harm! and of setting that cross old lady to scold
you! For he would suffer death rather than anger you. So that, while
I have breath to draw, I shall never forget, when we came to the inn,
how he looked! and stood quite lost and changing colour! and while his
face was as set as stone, the tears kept trickling down his cheeks!
At which I was put into a panic: for I did not at that time know what
it was about, nor who we had been in company with. Which was the more
surprising, when I came to hear! For which, as he knows you to be so
good a lady, I am sure you must see all these particulars just in the
same light."

'Miss Mowbray had heard sufficient. Her heart was bursting. It was
with difficulty she could check her feelings, and she made no reply.
Your unassuming but intelligent friend understood her silence as an
intimation to him to withdraw. Zealous as you hear he was in your
behalf, this thought put an end to his loquacity. But, as he was
retiring, Miss Mowbray drew out her purse, and said to him--"Let me
beg you, sir, to accept this; as a recompense, for--for having aided
in saving the lives of me and my aunt."

'As she stretched out her hand, he looked up at her, as long as he
durst; and then, turning his eyes away, said--"Why, as for money,
madam, I thank you as much as if I had it: but, if I was to take it,
what would that seem? but as if I had been telling a tale only to
please you: when I declare, in the face of my Maker, it is every word
truth! And a great deal more! And as for saving your lives, I was as
willing I own as another: but I was not half so quick in thought as
Mr. Trevor. Because, as the coachman said, if he had not catched hold
of the horses in that very instant nick of the moment, it would have
been all over! So I hope, madam, you will not take it amiss that I am
not one of the sort _which_ tell tales to gain their own ends."

'Here he instantly left the room: by which he intended to shew that he
was determined.

'Clarke was no sooner gone than Miss Mowbray burst into the most
passionate, and I really believe the most rapturous, flood of tears
that the heart of woman ever shed! And how melting, how overflowing
with affection, the heart of woman is, Mr. Trevor, I think you know.

'Good God! How pure, how expressive, how beaming, was the pleasure
in her eyes! though she sobbed so violently that she had lost all
utterance. How did she press my hand, gaze at me, then bury her
face in my bosom, and struggle with the pleasure that was becoming
dangerous in its excess!

'After some time, her thoughts took another turn. She instantly
recovered the use of speech and exclaimed--"Oh, my friend! I almost
hate myself, for the injustice which I, as well as others, have done
Mr. Trevor--I, who had heard from his lips a thousand sentiments that
ought to have assured me of the generous and elevated virtues by
which his actions were directed! He has twice saved my life; and yet,
because on some occasions he has happened to act differently from what
I have supposed he ought to have acted, I have taken upon me to treat
him with coldness that was affected, with reproof when I owed him
thanks, and with rudeness such as I supposed became my sex.

'"For me he has risked his life again and again, without hesitation:
while I have sat in timid silence, and countenanced calumnies which it
was impossible I could believe; though I seem as if I had endeavoured
to believe them, from the disgrace which I knew would justly light
on me, should these calumnies prove false. False I could not but
think them, false they have proved, and I am unworthy of him. I have
presumed upon the prejudices which I knew would protect me, in the
opinions of the foolish, and gain me their applause, and have treated
him with a haughtiness which he ought to despise. Has he deserved it?
Has he been guilty of one mean or seductive art, that might induce me
to betray a duty, and gratify him at the expence of myself and others?
Has he entered into that base warfare of the sexes by which each in
turn endeavours to deceive?"

'The thought suddenly struck her, and interrupting herself she hastily
asked--"Where is the letter you mentioned? I will read it. I know I
shall read my own condemnation: but I will read it."

'I presented the letter, and replied, "Mr. Trevor instructed me to
tell you, when I delivered it, that it contains nothing which he
wishes you to conceal, should you think fit to shew it; that it does
not invite you to any improper correspondence; and that it is the only
one which, under his present circumstances, he means to obtrude upon
you."

'Evidently overcome by the generous rectitude of your conduct, and
more dissatisfied with her own, she broke the seal and began to read.

'She hurried it once over with great eagerness, and trepidation.
She then paused; debating whether she should unburthen her mind
immediately of a crowd of thoughts: but, finding they crossed and
disturbed each other, she began again and read aloud; interrupting
herself by remarks, as she proceeded.

'"_My reproof and anger_"--Yes, yes, I have taught him to treat me
like a Sultana. He punishes me justly without intending it.

'"_You have supposed me dead_"--Here, addressing herself to me, she
added--"It was his servant, Philip, who being hired by a gentleman
that came to Scarborough brought us this false intelligence. His story
was that he saw Mr. Trevor's distraction, on the morning after he had
lost his money at a gaming-table; to which rashness as it should seem
he was driven by despair; that Mr. Trevor ran into the fields, in a
fit of frenzy, and threw himself into the Avon: that he, Philip, who
had followed as fast as he could, hastened to the place but never saw
him more; and that consequently and beyond all doubt he was there
drowned.

'"Philip, according to his own account, hurried into the water,
and used every means in his power to find the body: but, not being
successful, he returned to his master's lodgings, took some trifles
that had been given him, and left Bath by the morning coach for
London; having nobody in Bath to give him a character, and being less
likely there to meet with another place."

'I informed Miss Mowbray that this was part of it true, and part
false: for that Philip had taken a ten-pound note, which more than
paid him his wages; and that the other things, which he carried away,
had not been given him.

'"Indeed!" exclaimed Miss Mowbray, "I am exceedingly sorry to hear it:
for, after his second master left Scarborough and he was hired by my
aunt to wait on me, he behaved with great diligence and honesty.

'"Yet this accounts in part for his running away: which he did that
very night after I suppose he had discovered it was Mr. Trevor, at
Cranford-bridge; and I have never seen or heard of him since.

'"I am persuaded he thought Mr. Trevor dead: for, after I had heard
my brother's account of the battle, I thought the time and the
circumstances contradictory, and repeatedly questioned Philip; who
persisted in declaring he saw Mr. Trevor jump into the river and drown
himself.

'"Philip's account was that he had himself been out on errands early
in the morning, at which time he supposed the battle must have been
fought; and, though there were many contradictory circumstances, the
positiveness with which the two tales were told led me to believe that
the chief incidents of both were true. And, as I say, the flight of
Philip from Cranford-bridge persuades me that he actually had believed
Mr. Trevor dead.

'"I am sorry the poor fellow has done this wrong thing, and been
frightened away: for I never before heard a servant speak with so much
warmth and affection of a master, as he did of Mr. Trevor."

'She then continued to read; and made many observations, which
expressed dissatisfaction with herself and were favourable to you,
till she came to where you inform her that you had begun to study the
law.

'"By this I find," said she, "the story I have just heard is false."

'I asked, "What story is that, pray?"

'She replied, "I was last night at the opera; where I saw Mr. Trevor,
with Lady Bray. Having so lately met with him under circumstances so
different, and apparently disadvantageous, you may imagine that the
joy I felt and the hope I conceived were not trifling.

'"My aunt saw him, likewise: but, as she was not so familiar with his
person as to have no doubt, she first watched and then questioned me:
though, as she upbraidingly told me, she needed only to have enquired
of my looks.

'"I ought perhaps first to have informed you that I had thought it my
duty to use the utmost sincerity, undeceive her, and declare all that
I knew of what had passed at Cranford-bridge.

'"I performed this task on that very night, while her heart was alive
to the danger she had escaped, and when she expressed a lively regret
that the person from whom she had received such signal aid had
disappeared. Except his silence in the coach, she said every thing
bespoke him to be a gentleman: well bred, well educated, courageous,
and as active as he was bold.

'"When she was told that the gentleman, of whom she had been speaking
with so much warmth, had a peculiar motive for being silent, and that
this gentleman was no other than Mr. Trevor, she was very much moved.
The recollection of the manner in which she had been treating his
character, and of the alacrity with which he had afterward saved her
life, was exceedingly strong; and far from unmixed with pain. Before
she was aware of herself, she exclaimed, 'This Mr. Trevor is a very
extraordinary young man!'

'"Unfortunately for Mr. Trevor, our servant, Philip, had absconded;
and a train of suspicions immediately arose in her mind. It might be
a conspiracy among them; a desperate and unprincipled contrivance, to
effect a desperate and unprincipled purpose.

'"In this supposition she confirmed herself by every possible surmise:
each and all resting upon the assumed league between Philip and Mr.
Trevor.

'"I vainly urged that the sudden disappearing of both entirely
contradicted such a conjecture; that Mr. Trevor, if he were capable of
an action like this, must be as wicked as he was mad; and that I had
every reason to believe him a man of the most generous and elevated
principles. As you may suppose, these arguments from me only subjected
me to reproof, sarcasm, and even suspicion.

'"My aunt fortified herself in her opinion; and behaved with a more
jealous watchfulness than ever. She even terrified me with the dread
of that which I could not credit: the possibility that what she
affirmed might be true.

'"But, that I might do every thing in my power to prove that one part
of her surmises was false, I determined cautiously to avoid, for the
present, seeing or even hearing any thing concerning Mr. Trevor. And
this was my inducement for writing the note, which you received.

'"My mind however suffered a continual conflict. I debated on the
propriety of listening to the daily defamation of Mr. Trevor,
when there were so many presumptive facts in his favour, and not
endeavouring to prove that it was false; and I accused my conduct
of apparent hypocrisy: of assuming a calm unconcern which my heart
belied.

'"The sight of him at the Opera renewed my self-reproaches, in full
force; and, likewise, fortunately awakened my aunt's curiosity.

'"Accordingly, one of our morning visits, to-day, has been to a
friend of Lady Bray's; and there we learned that Mr. Trevor had been
introduced, by Sir Barnard, to his lady and their common friends; as a
young gentleman coming into parliament, and supposed to be possessed
of extraordinary talents.

'"This I find by his letter is untrue; and there still appears to be
some mystery which perhaps, as you see him so often, you may be able
to unravel."

'I immediately requested her to look at the date of the letter; by
which she saw it had been written several weeks: and afterward made
her acquainted with all the particulars I knew, concerning your
beginning and renouncing the study of the law, and your new political
plans: most carefully remembering to give your noble minded friend,
Mr. Evelyn, his due share of what I had to relate.

'Oh! how did her eyes swim, and her features glow, while I stated what
I had heard of his sentiments and proceedings! Yes! She has a heart! a
heart to match your own, Mr. Trevor.

'She then read the remainder of the letter; but with numerous
interruptions, all of them expressing her admiration of your conduct
by criminating her own.

'When she had ended, she spoke to me nearly as follows.

'"I am now, my dear friend, determined on the conduct I mean to
pursue. Oh! How it delights my heart that Mr. Trevor accords with me
in opinion, and advises me to that open sincerity after which I have
long been struggling, and which I am at length resolved to adopt! I
mean to inform my aunt of all that I know, as well as of all that
I intend. I will tell her where I have been, shew her this letter,
repeat every thing I have heard, and add my fixed purpose not to admit
the addresses of any man on earth; till my family shall authorise
those of Mr. Trevor. For that, or for the time when I shall be
unconditionally my own mistress, however distant it may be, I will
wait.

'"Tell Mr. Trevor that my heart is overwhelmed by the sense it
feels of his generous and noble conduct; and it exults in his manly
forbearance, which so cautiously guards my rectitude rather than
his own gratification; that I will obey his injunction, and that we
will have no clandestine correspondence; but that our souls shall
commune: they shall daily sympathise, and mutually excite us to that
perseverance in fidelity and virtue which will be their own reward,
and the consolation and joy of our lives.

'"If my aunt, my brother, or any of their acquaintance, should
again calumniate Mr. Trevor, I will forewarn them of my further
determination to inform him, and enquire into the facts. But I hope
they will neither be so unjust nor so ungenerous. At least, I think
my aunt will not; when she hears the truth, knows my resolution, and
remembers Cranford-bridge.

'"Of misinterpretation from Mr. Trevor I am in no fear. Had he one
sinister design, he never could have imagined the conduct he has so
nobly pursued. But to suppose the possibility of such a thing in him
would be a most unpardonable injustice. The man who should teach me to
distrust him, as a lover, could never inspire me with admiration and
confidence, as a husband. But different indeed has been the lesson I
have learned from Mr. Trevor.

'"Oh that Mr. Evelyn! What a godlike morality has he adopted! How
rational! How full of benefit to others, and of happiness to himself!

'"But Mr. Trevor's friends are all of this uncommon stamp; and I
own that to look into futurity, and to suppose myself excluded by
prejudice and pride from the enjoyment of such society, is perhaps
the most painful idea that can afflict the mind. I am almost afraid
of owning even to you, my kind and sympathising friend, the torrent
of emotions I feel at the thought of the pure pleasures I hope
for hereafter; from a life spent with a partner like Mr. Trevor,
heightened by the intercourse of the generous, benevolent, and
strong-minded men who share his heart."'

To detail all that farther passed, between Olivia and Miss Wilmot,
with the particulars which the latter related to me, would but be
to repeat sensations and incidents that are already familiar to the
reader. And, with respect to my own feelings, those he will doubtless
have anticipated. What could they be but rapture? What could they
inspire but resolution: the power to endure, and the will to
persevere?



CHAPTER IX


_The study of oratory: Remarks on fashionable manners and their
consequences: A public dinner: Emotions at the meeting of quondam
acquaintance: Amenity without doors and anger within compatible: A
discovery made by the Baronet: The contending passions of surprise,
resentment, and pity: Ravages committed by vice: An awful scene, or a
warning to gluttony_


Previous to this event, I should have imagined it impossible to have
increased my affection: yet, if admiration be the basis of love, as
I am persuaded it is, my love was certainly increased. I now seemed
to be setting forward on a journey, of the length of which I was
indeed wholly ignorant; but the road was made plain, and the end was
inexpressible happiness. I should therefore travel with unwearied
alacrity.

But, that I might shorten this unmeasured length of way, it was
necessary I should be as active in pursuit as I was ardent in my
passion: and the stimulus was a strong one. Oratory accordingly,
Olivia excepted, became the object that seemed the dearest to my
heart. Demosthenes and Cicero were my great masters. They and their
modern competitors were my study, day and night. No means were
neglected that precept or example, as far as they came within my
knowledge, could afford: and the additional intercourse which I thus
acquired with man, his motives, actions, and heart, was a school of
the highest order.

I did not however entirely confine myself to the society of the dead:
the living likewise constituted a seminary, in which I found frequent
opportunities of gaining instruction. Impelled by curiosity and
ambition, I was not remiss in cultivating an acquaintance among those
people of fashion to whom I gained access.

But, as the tribe that bestow on themselves this titillating epithet
have a light and versatile character, as they abound in praises that
are void of discrimination, and promises that are unmeaning, and
affect at one moment the most winning urbanity, and at the next the
most supercilious arrogance, though they gave me much pleasure, they
likewise gave me exquisite pain.

The more I became acquainted with them, the more I was amazed, that
the man who had been talking to me in the evening on terms of the
utmost apparent equality, if I met him the next morning, did not know
me.

Some of them would even gaze full in my face, as if to enquire--'Who
are you, sir?' but in reality to insult me. The looks of these most
courteous and polished people seem to say 'In the name of all that is
high-bred, how does it happen that persons of fashion do not unite to
stare every such impertinent upstart out of their company?'

Of all the insolence that disturbs society, and puts it in a state of
internal warfare, the insolence of fashion wounds and imbitters the
most. It instantly provokes the offended person to enquire--'What kind
of being is it, that takes upon him to brave, insult, and despise me?
Has he more strength, more activity, more understanding than myself?'
In numerous instances, he is imbecile in body, more imbecile still in
mind, and contemptible in person. Nay he is often little better than a
driveller.

He, whom the _hauteur_ of fashion has compelled to reason thus, will
soon be led to further and more serious inferences.

Nothing can reconcile men, so as to induce them to remain peaceable
spectators of enjoyments beyond their attainment, except that
unaffected benevolence which shall continually actuate the heart to
communicate all the happiness it has the power to bestow. This only
can so temper oppression as to render gradual and orderly reform
practicable.

But I am talking to the winds.

This wavering between extreme civility and rudeness was conspicuous
in the behaviour of the Bray family toward me. Her Ladyship, at one
moment, would overlook me, I being present, as if no such person had
been in existence: or as if he were not half so worthy of attention
as her lap-dog; for, as a proof, on the lap-dog it was lavished: yet,
at another, I was _absolutely_ the most charming man on earth. I had
_positively_ the most refined taste, good breeding, and all that that
she had ever known.

With Sir Barnard I was sometimes an oracle. To me his discourse was
directed, to my judgment his appeals were made, and my opinions were
decisive. In other fits he would not condescend to notice me. If I
interfered with a sentence, he would pursue the conversation as if an
objection made by me were unworthy of an answer; and perhaps, if I
asked him a question, he would affect to be deaf, and make no reply.

These are arts which render the condition of a supposed inferior
truly hateful: and, as they were severely felt, they were severely
remembered, and now and then retaliated in a spirit which I cannot
applaud.

If the history of such emotions were traced through all their
consequences, and if men were aware how much the principal events of
their lives are the result of the petty ebullitions of passion, that
branch of morals which should regulate the temper of mind, tone of
voice, and expression of the countenance, would become a very serious
study.

This remark is as old as Adam: and yet it relates to a science that is
only in its infancy.

How fatal the want of such a necessary command of temper had been to
me the reader already knows: and, though at moments I was painfully
conscious of the defect, and it was become less obtrusive, it was far
from cured. It still hovered over and influenced my fate: as will be
seen.

The old parliament was not yet dissolved: it had met, and was sitting.
But the defection of Sir Barnard's member was of late date; and, as
the Baronet had his motives for not wishing to provoke the honorable
member whom he had made too violently, there was a kind of compromise;
and the apostate was suffered to keep his seat, during the short
remainder of the term.

Sir Barnard however, as I have said, delighted in his prop. It was as
necessary to him as his cane; and I generally accompanied him, when he
visited any kind of political assemblies.

It happened that there was an annual dinner of the gentlemen who had
been educated at *******; of which dinner Sir Barnard was appointed
one of the stewards. That he might acquit himself of this arduous task
with eclat, I was of course presented with a ticket; and attended as
his aid de camp.

The company was numerous, and the stewards and the chairman met
something more early than the rest, to regulate the important business
of the day.

When I entered the committee room, with the Baronet, the first person
that caught my eye was the Earl of Idford.

I shrunk back. I had a momentary hesitation whether I should insult
him or instantly quit the company; and disdain to enter an apartment
polluted by his presence.

I had however just good sense enough to recollect that a quarrel, in
such a place, nobody knew why, would be equally ridiculous and rash:
and that to avoid any man was cowardly.

The thought awakened me; and, collecting myself, I advanced with a
firm and cool air.

Habit and perversity of system had done that for his lordship to
which his fortitude was inadequate. He was at least as cool, and
as intrepid, as myself; and bowed to me with the utmost ease and
civility. To return his bow was infinitely more repulsive than taking
a toad in my hand: yet to forbear would have been a violation of
the first principles of the behaviour of a gentleman. I therefore
reluctantly and formally complied. I hope the reader remembers how
earnestly I condemn this want of temper in myself.

His lordship took not the least notice of the coldness of my manner;
but, with simpering complacency, 'hoped I had been well, since he had
had the pleasure of seeing me.'

My reply was another slight inclination of the head, tinctured with
disdain: on which his lordship turned his back, with a kind of
open-mouthed nonchalance that was truly epigrammatic; and fell into
conversation with Sir Barnard, who had advanced toward the fire, with
all the apparent ease of the most intimate friendship: though, since
his lordship had changed sides, they had become, in politics at least,
the most outrageous enemies.

This brought a train of reflections into my mind, on the behaviour of
political partisans toward each other; and on the efforts they make,
after they have been venting the most cutting sarcasms in their mutual
parliamentary attacks, to behave out of doors as if they had totally
forgotten what had passed within: or were incapable, if not of
feeling, of remembering insult.

What is most remarkable, the men of greatest talent exert this amenity
with the greatest effect: for they utter and receive the most biting
reproaches, yet meet each other as if no such bickerings had ever
passed.

It is not then, in characters like these, hypocrisy?

No. It is an effort to live in harmony with mankind: yet to speak the
truth and tell them of their mistakes unsparingly, and regardless of
personal danger. In other words, it is an attempt to perform the most
sacred of duties: but the manner of performing it effectually has
hitherto been ill understood.

Sir Barnard had witnessed the short scene between me and his lordship;
and presently took occasion to ask me in a whisper, 'How and where we
had become acquainted?'

I replied 'I had resided in the house of his lordship.'

'Ay, indeed!' said the Baronet. 'In what capacity?'

My pride was piqued, and I answered, 'As his companion; and, as I
was taught to suppose myself, his friend. But I was soon cured of my
mistake.'

'By what means?'

'By his lordship's patriotism. By the purity of his politics.'

I spoke with a sneer, and the Baronet burst into a malicious laugh of
triumph: but, unwilling that the cause of it should be suspected, it
was instantly restrained.

'What concern had you,' continued he, 'in his lordship's politics?'

'I have reason to believe I helped to reconcile him to the Minister.'

'You, Mr. Trevor! How came you to do so unprincipled, so profligate, a
thing?'

'It was wholly unintentional.'

'I do not understand you.'

'I wrote certain letters that were printed in the ----'

'What, Mr. Trevor! were you the author of the three last letters of
Themistocles?'

'I was.'

The Baronet's face glowed with exultation. 'I knew,' said he with a
vehement but under voice, 'he never wrote them himself! I have said it
a thousand times; and I am not easily deceived. Every body said the
same.'

There is no calculating how much the knowledge of this circumstance
raised me in Sir Barnard's opinion; and consequently elevated himself,
in the idea he conceived of his own power. 'Had he indeed got hold of
the author of Themistocles? Why then he was a great man! A prodigious
senator! The wish of his heart was accomplished! He could now wreak
vengeance where he most wished it to fall; and fall it should, without
mercy or remission.' His little soul was on tip-toe, and he overlooked
the world.

Though we had retired to the farthest corner of the room, and his
lordship pretended to be engaged in chit chat with persons who were
proud of his condescension, I could perceive his suspicions were
awakened. His eye repeatedly gave enquiring glances; and, while it
endeavoured to counterfeit indifference by a stare, it was disturbed
and contracted by apprehension.

Malignity, hatred, and revenge, are closely related; and of these
passions men of but little mental powers are very susceptible. It is
happy for society that their impotence impedes the execution of their
desires. I was odious in the sight of Lord Idford in every point of
view: for he had first injured me; which, as has been often remarked,
too frequently renders him who commits the injury implacable; and he
had since encountered a rival in me; which was an insult that his
vanity and pride could ill indeed digest.

Still however he was a courtier; a man of fashion; a person of the
best breeding; and therefore could smile.

A smile is a delightful thing, when it is the genuine offspring of the
heart: but heaven defend me from the jaundiced eye, the simpering lip,
and the wrinkled cheek; that turn smiles to grimace, and give the lie
to open and undisguised pleasure.

It was a smile such as this that his lordship bestowed upon me, when
I and the Baronet joined his group. Addressing himself to me, with a
simper that anticipated the pain he intended to give, he said--'Do you
know, Mr. Trevor, that your friend the bishop of **** is to dine with
us? You will be glad to meet each other.'

I instantly replied, with fire in my eyes, 'I shall be as glad to
meet that most pious and right reverend pastor as I was to meet your
lordship.'

Agreeably to rule, he bowed; and gave the company to understand he
took this as a polite acknowledgment of respect. But his gesture was
accompanied with a disconcerted leer of smothered malice, which I
could not misinterpret. It was sardonic; and, to me, who knew what was
passing in his heart, disgusting, and painful.

I had scarcely spoken before my lord the bishop entered; and with him,
as two supporters--Heavens! Who?--The president of the college where
I had been educated; and the tutor, whose veto had prevented me from
taking my degrees!

In the life of every man of enterprise there are moments of extreme
peril. In an instant, and as it were by enchantment, I saw myself
surrounded by the cowardly, servile, dwarf-demons, for so my
imagination painted them, who had been my chief tormentors. Or rather
by reptiles the most envenomed; with which I was shut up, as if I had
been thrown into their den; and by which, if I did not exterminate
them, I must expect to be devoured.

But these feelings were of short duration. My heart found an immediate
repellent, both to fear and revenge, in my eyes. Good God! What were
the figures now before me? Such as to excite pity, in every bosom
that was not shut to commiseration for the vices into which mankind
are mistakenly hurried; and for their deplorable consequences.
What a fearful alteration had a few months produced! In the bishop
especially!

He had been struck by the palsy, and dragged one side along with
extreme difficulty. His bloated cheeks and body had fallen into deep
pits; and the swelling massy parts were of a black-red hue, so that
the skin appeared a bag of morbid contents. His mouth was drawn awry,
his speech entirely inarticulate, his eye obscured by thick rheum,
and his clothes were stained by the saliva that occasionally driveled
from his lips. His legs were wasted, his breast was sunk, and his
protuberant paunch looked like the receptacle of dropsy, atrophy,
catarrh, and every imaginable malady.

My heart sunk within me. Poor creature! What would I have given
to have possessed the power of restoring thee to something human!
Resentment to thee? Alas! Had I not felt compassion, such as never can
be forgotten, I surely should have despised, should have almost hated,
myself.

The president was evidently travelling the same road. His legs, which
had been extremely muscular, instead of being as round and smooth in
their surface as they formerly were, each appeared to be covered with
innumerable nodes; that formed irregular figures, and angles. What
they were swathed with I cannot imagine: but I conjecture there must
have been stiff brown paper next to the smooth silk stocking, which
produced the irregularities of the surface. The dullness of his eyes,
the slowness of their motions, his drooping eyelids, his flaccid
cheeks, his hanging chin, and the bagging of his cloaths, all denoted
waste, want of animation, lethargy, debility and decline.

The condition of the tutor was no less pitiable. He was gasping with
an asthma; and was obliged incessantly to struggle with suffocation.
It was what physicians call a confirmed case: while he lived, he was
doomed to live in pain. Where is the tyrant that can invent tortures,
equal to those which men invent for themselves?

These were the guests who were come to feast: to indulge appetites
they had never been able to subdue, though their appetites were vipers
that were eating away their vitals.

How strongly did this scene bring to my recollection Pope on the
ruling passion! I could almost fancy I heard the poor bishop quoting

  'Mercy! cries Helluo, mercy on my soul!
  'Is there no hope?--Alas!--Then bring the jowl.'

The present man is but the slave of the past. What induced the
president and the tutor, when the bishop's more able-bodied footmen
had rather carried than conducted him up stairs, officially to become
his supporters as he entered the room? Was it unmixed humanity? Or was
it those servile habits to which their cunning had subjected them? and
by which they supposed not only that preferment but that happiness was
attainable.

Humanity doubtless had its share; for it is a sensation that never
utterly abandons the breast of man: and, as it is often strengthened
by a consciousness that we ourselves are in need of aid, let us
suppose that the president and the tutor were become humane.

Though feelings of acrimony towards these persons were entirely
deadened in me by the spectacle I beheld, yet I knew not well how
to behave. I was prompted to shew them how placable I was become,
by accosting them first: but this might be misconstrued into that
servility for which I had thought of them with so much contempt.
Beside, the bishop and the president, if not the tutor, were in the
phraseology of the world my superiors; and etiquette had established
the rule that, if they thought proper to notice me, they would be the
first to salute.

His lordship however eased me of farther trouble on this head, by
asking the bishop--'Have you forgotten your old acquaintance Mr.
Trevor, my lord?'

What answer this consecrated right reverend father returned I could
not hear. He muttered something: but the sounds were as unintelligible
as the features of his face; or the drooping deadness of his eyes. The
president, however, hearing this, thought proper to bow: though very
slightly, till the earl added, with a significant emphasis on the two
last words--'Sir Barnard is become Mr. Trevor's particular friend;'
which was no sooner pronounced than the countenances of both the
bishop's supporters changed, to something which might be called
exceedingly civil, in the tutor, and prodigiously condescending, in
the president.

This was a memorable day: and, if the event which I have now to relate
should be offensive to the feelings of any man, or any class of men,
I can only say that I share the common fate of historians: who,
though they should relate nothing but facts, never fail to excite
displeasure, if not resentment and persecution, in the partisans of
this or that particular opinion, faction, or establishment.

The dinner was served. It was sumptuous: or rather such as gluttony
delights in. The persons assembled, I am sorry to say it, were several
of them gluttons; and encouraged and countenanced each other in the
vice to which they were addicted.

Dish succeeded to dish: and one plateful was but devoured that another
and another might be gorged.

Fatal insensibility to the warning voice of experience!
Incomprehensible blindness!

The poor bishop was unable to resist his destiny.

I had a foreboding of the mischief that might result from a stomach at
once so debilitated and so overloaded. I wished to have spoken: I was
tempted to exclaim--'Rash man, beware!' I could not keep my eyes away
from him: till at length I suddenly remarked a strange appearance,
that came over his face; and, almost at the same instant, he dropped
from his chair in an apoplectic fit.

The description of his foaming mouth, distorted features, dead eyes,
the whites of which only were to be seen, his writhings, his--

No! I must forbear. The picture I witnessed could give nothing but
pain; mingled with disgust, and horror. If I suggest that poor
oppressed nature made the most violent struggles, to empty and relieve
herself, there will perhaps be more than sufficient of the scene of
which I was a spectator conjured up in the imagination.

The bishop had been a muscular man, with a frame of uncommon strength;
and the paroxysm, though extreme, did not end in death. Medical
assistance was obtained, and he was borne away as soon as the crisis
was over: but the festivity for which the company had met was
disturbed. Many of them were struck with terror; dreading lest they
had only been present at horrors that, soon or late, were to light
upon themselves. They departed appalled by the scene they had
witnessed, and haunted by images of a foreboding, black, and
distracted kind.

From these Sir Barnard himself was not wholly free: though he had been
less guilty of gormandizing than many of his associates: and, for
my own part, this incident left an impression upon me which I am
persuaded will be salutary through life.



CHAPTER X


_A few reflections: A word concerning friends, and the duties of
friendship: News of Thornby; or the equity of the dying: The decease
of my mother: A curious letter on the obsequies of the dead: The real
and the ideal being unlike to each other_


How different is the same man, at different periods of his existence!
How very unlike were the bowing well bred Earl of Idford, and the
asthmatic tutor, of this day, to the Lord Sad-dog and his Jack; whom,
but a few years before, I first met at college!

The president too at that time was, quite as much in form as in
office, one of the pillars of the university. And the bishop! What a
lamentable change had a short period produced!

Happy would it be for men did they recollect that change they must;
and that, if they will but be sufficiently attentive to circumstances,
they may change for the better.

Time kept rolling on; and I had variety of occupation. Neither my
studies, my fashionable acquaintances, nor those whom I justly loved
as my friends, were neglected. Mr. Evelyn continued for some time in
town; attending to his anatomical and chymical studies. Wilmot had
completed his comedy. It had been favourably received by the manager;
and was to be the second new piece brought forward. Turl, with equal
perseverance, was pursuing his own plans: and, though I heard nothing
more from Olivia, my heart was at ease. I knew the motives on which
she acted; and had her assurance that, if I should be again defamed, I
should now be heard in my own defence.

I was careful not to forget honest Clarke; nor was the kind-hearted
Mary neglected. The good carpenter had sent for his wife and family up
to town; and Mary was happy in the friendly attentions of Miss Wilmot,
and in the orderly conduct and quick improvement of her son.

One of my pleasures, and duties as I conceived it to be, was to
introduce Turl and Wilmot to such of my higher order of acquaintance
as might afford both parties gratification. There is much frivolity
among people of rank and fashion: but there is likewise some enquiry
and sound understanding; and, where these qualities exist in any
eminent degree, the friends I have named could not but be welcome.

It is the interest of men of all orders to converse with each other,
to listen to their mutual pretensions with patience, to be slow to
condemn, and to be liberal in the construction of what they at first
suppose to be dangerous novelty.

Turl was peculiarly fitted to promote these principles: and Wilmot, in
addition to the charms of an imagination finely stored, was possessed,
as the reader may remember, of musical talents; and those of no
inferior order. Days and weeks passed not unpleasantly away: for hope
and Olivia were ever present to my imagination, and of the ills which
fortune had in reserve I was little aware.

While business and pleasure thus appeared to promote each other, it
came to my knowledge that an advertisement had appeared in the papers:
stating that, if Hugh Trevor, the grandson of the reverend **** rector
of ***, were alive, by application at a place there named, he might
hear of something very much to his advantage.

I cannot enumerate the conjectures that this intelligence immediately
excited; for they were endless. I searched the papers, found the
advertisement, and hastened to the place to which it directed me.

The information I there received was not precisely what my elevated
hopes had taught me to expect: but it was of considerable moment. I
learned that my grandfather's executor, Mr. Thornby, was dead; that
his nephew, Wakefield, had taken possession of the property he had
left; but that he had done this illegally: for the person who caused
the advertisement to be put into the paper was an attorney, who had
drawn and witnessed the will of Thornby, which will was in my favour;
and which moreover stated that the property bequeathed to me was mine
in right of a will of my grandfather's; which will Thornby had till
that time kept concealed. Whether the testament he had produced,
immediately after the death of the rector, were one that Thornby had
forged, or one that my grandfather had actually made but had ordered
his executor to destroy, did not at present appear. The account I
gave of it in a preceding volume, and of the manner in which it was
procured, was the substance of what I learned from the conversation of
my mother and Thornby at the time.

A death-bed compunction had wrested from the deceased an avowal of his
guilt; and the facts were explicitly stated, in the preamble of his
will, in order to prevent the contest which he foresaw might probably
take place, between me and his nephew. He seemed to have been
painfully anxious to do justice at last; and save his soul, when he
found it must take flight.

The business was urgent; and, if I meant to profit by that which was
legally mine, it was necessary, as I was advised, immediately to go
down and examine into all the circumstances on the spot.

I was the more surprised at what I had heard because it was but very
lately that I had sent a remittance to my mother; which she had
acknowledged, and which must have been received after her husband had
taken possession of his uncle's effects. But, when I recollected
the character that had been given me of Wakefield, as far as the
transaction related to him, my surprise was of short duration.

With respect to my mother, I heard with no small degree of
astonishment that she had been applied to, in order to discover where
I might be found; and that she had returned evasive answers: which as
it was supposed had been dictated by her husband; under whose control,
partly from fear and partly from an old woman's doating, she was
completely held.

To say that I grieved at such weakness, in one whom I had so earnestly
desired to love and honor with more than filial affection, would be
superfluous: but my surprise would have instantly ceased, had I known
who this Wakefield was; with whom my mother had to contend.

Reproach from me however, in word or look, had I been so inclined, she
was destined never to receive. The career of pain and pleasure with
her was nearly over. On the same day that I made the enquiries I have
been repeating, a letter arrived; written not by her, but at her
request; which informed me that, if I meant to see her alive, I must
use all possible speed: for that she had been suddenly seized with
dangerous and intolerable pains; which according to the description
given in the letter, were such as I found from enquiry belong to the
iliac passion; and that she was then lying at the last extremity.

Two such imperious mandates, requiring my presence in my native
county, were not to be disobeyed; and I departed with the utmost
diligence. At the last stage, after a journey of unremitted
expedition, I ordered the chaise to drive to the house of the late
Thornby; where on enquiry I was informed that my mother lay.

I found her in a truly pitiable condition. Quicksilver had been
administered, but in vain; and she was so thoroughly exhausted
that the sight of me produced but very little emotion. Her medical
attendant pronounced she could not survive four-and-twenty hours; and
advised that, if there were any business to be settled between us, it
should be proceeded upon immediately.

Had this advice been given to persons of certain habits, assuredly,
it would not have been neglected; and, perhaps it ought not to have
been by me: but, whether I was right or wrong, I could not endure
to perplex and disturb the mind of a mother in her last agonies.
The consequence was, she expired without hearing a word from me,
concerning her husband, Thornby, or the property to which I was heir;
and without making any mention whatever herself of the disposal of
this property. I was indeed ignorant of what degree of information she
could afford me. Her conduct had been so weak that to remind her of
it, at such a moment, would, as I supposed, have been to inflict a
severe degree of torment.

This, as the reader will learn in time, was not the only shaft by
which my tranquillity was to be assaulted. My mother though she was,
there was yet another death infinitely more heart-rending hanging over
my head. The recollection is anguish that cannot end! Cannot did I
say? Absurd mortal. Live for the living; and grieve not for the dead:
unless grief could bid them rise from their graves.

I must proceed; and not suffer my feelings thus to anticipate my tale.

Knowing that Wakefield was no other than Belmont, the reader will
not be surprised that he should think proper to elude, under these
circumstances, the discovery which a meeting must have produced. My
mother, actuated by a conviction that death was inevitable, had sent
for me without his privity: so that I afterward learned he was in the
house, when I drove up to the door: and, seeing me put my head out of
the chaise, immediately made his escape through the garden.

A man less fertile in expedients would have found it difficult to
forge a plausible pretext, to evade being present and meeting me at
the funeral: but he, by pursuing what wore the face of being, and what
I believe actually was, very rational conduct, dexterously shunned the
rencontre. The following letter, which he wrote to me, will explain by
what means.

'Sir,

'Persons of understanding have discovered that the obsequies of the
dead may be performed with all due decorum, and the pain, as well
as the very frequent hypocrisy, of a funeral procession, which is
attended by friends and relations, avoided. They therefore with great
good sense hire people to mourn; or send their empty carriages,
with the blinds up: which perhaps is quite as wise, and no doubt as
agreeable to the dead.

'He that would not render the duties of humanity, while they can
succour those that are afflicted, may justly be called brutal; but,
those duties being paid, what remains is more properly the business
of carpenters, grave-diggers, and undertakers, than of men whose
happiness is disturbed by useless but gloomy associations; and who may
find better employment for their time.

'I, for example, have business, at present, that calls me another way.
I therefore request you will give such orders, concerning the funeral,
as you shall think proper: and, as I have no doubt you will agree with
me that decency, and not unnecessary pomp, which cannot honor the
dead, and does but satirise the living, will be most creditable to
Mrs. Wakefield's memory, the expence, as it ought, will be defrayed by
me.

I am, sir,

Your very obedient humble servant,

F. WAKEFIELD.'

Had such a letter been written by a man who had pretended fondness
for his wife, it might perhaps have been construed unfeeling: if not
insulting to her memory. But, as the case was notoriously the reverse,
the honest contempt of all affectation, which it displayed, I could
not but consider as an unexpected trait in the character of such a man
as I supposed Wakefield to be.

There is a strange propensity in the imagination to make up ideal
beings; and annex them to names that, when mentioned, have been
usually followed with certain degrees of praise, or blame. These
fanciful portraits are generally in the extreme: they are all virtue,
or all vice: all perfection, or all deformity: though it is well known
that no such unmixed mortals exist.

My mind having acquired the habit rather to doubt than to conclude
that every thing which is customary must be right, funeral follies
had not escaped my censure: but the thing which excited my surprise
was that a man like Wakefield, who I concluded must have thought very
little indeed, since he both thought and acted on other occasions so
differently from me, should in any instance reason like myself; and
some few others, whom I most admired.

Convinced however as I was that he now reasoned rightly, I wanted in
this case the courage to act after his example. It would be a scandal
to the country for a son, pretending to filial duty, to be absent from
his mother's funeral. The reader will doubtless remember that town and
country are two exceedingly distinct regions.



CHAPTER XI


_More alarming intelligence: An honest youth, with a printer's notions
concerning secrecy: The weak parts of law form the strongest shield
for villany: A journey back to town: Enoch Ellis and Glibly again
appear on the scene of action: A few of the artifices of a man of
uncommon cunning delineated: A momentary glance at a mountain of
political rubbish: By artful deductions, a man may be made to say any
thing that an orator pleases_


This scandal I was, notwithstanding my discretion, destined to afford.
In addition to the arguments of Wakefield, accident supplied a motive
too powerful to be resisted.

I have mentioned my intention to suppress the pamphlet which I had
written, in the fever of my resentment, against the Earl, the
Bishop, and their associates. The edition which had been printed for
publishing had lain in the printer's warehouse, till the time that I
had determined against its appearance.

The child of the fancy is often as dear to us as any of our children
whatever; and I was unwilling that this offspring of mine should
perish, beyond all power of revival. I therefore had the edition
removed to my lodgings, and stowed in a garret.

A copy however had been purloined; and probably before the removal.
This copy came into the possession of an unprincipled bookseller; who,
regardless of every consideration except profit, and perceiving it to
be written with vehemence on a subject which never fails to attract
the attention of the public, namely personal defamation, had once more
committed it to the press.

As it happened, it was sent to be reprinted by the person with whom
the son of Mary was bound apprentice; and the whole was worked off
except the title-page, which fell into the hands of the youth.

Desirous of shewing kindness to Mary, it may well be supposed I had
not overlooked her son. His mother had taught him to consider me as
the saviour of both their lives; and as such he held me in great
veneration. These favourable feelings were increased by the praise I
bestowed on him, for his good conduct; and the encouragement I gave
him to persevere.

Richard, for that was his name, suspected it could be no intention of
mine to publish the pamphlet: because he had been employed to stow it
in the garret: and, as he was an intelligent lad, and acquainted with
the tricks of the publisher for whom he knew his master was at work,
he hastened in great alarm to communicate his fears; first to his
mother, and then by her advice to Miss Wilmot.

The latter immediately informed her brother. He saw the danger, wrote
to me to return without delay, doubting whether even I should have the
power to prevent the publication, and proceeded himself immediately to
the printer to warn him of the nature of the transaction.

The man was no sooner informed of Mr. Wilmot's business than he
became violently enraged with his apprentice, Richard; accused him
of betraying his master's interest, and the secrets of the
printing-house, which ought to be held sacred, and affirmed that he
had endangered the loss of his business.

Richard was present, was aware of the charge which would be brought
against him, and was prepared to endure it with considerable firmness:
though he had been taught to believe that such complaints were founded
in justice.

Wilmot could obtain no unequivocal answer from the master: either
that he would or would not proceed. He consequently supposed the
affirmative was the most probable; and therefore, that he might
neglect nothing in an affair which he considered as so serious, he
hastened from the printer to the publisher.

Here, in addition to the rage of what he likewise called having been
betrayed, he met with open defiance, vulgar insolence, and vociferous
assertions, from this worthy bookseller, that the laws of his country
would be his shield.

The fellow had been frequently concerned in such rascalities, and knew
his ground. He was one of the sagacious persons who had found a cover
for them. Where law pretends to regulate and define every right, the
wrong which it cannot reach it protects.

This is a branch of knowledge on which a vast body of men in
the kingdom, and especially in the metropolis, depend for their
subsistence.

And a very tempting trade it is: for our streets, our public places,
and our courts of justice, as well as other courts, swarm with its
followers; at which places they appear in as high a style of fashion,
that is of effrontery, as even the fools by whom they are aped, or the
lawyers and statesmen themselves by whom they are defended. This I
own is a bold assertion; and is perhaps a hyperbole! Yes, yes: it is
comparing mole hills to mountains. But let it pass.

Wilmot, in his letter to me, did not confine himself to a bare recital
of facts. Fearful lest they should escape my recollection, he urged
those strong arguments which were best calculated to shew, not only
what my enemies might allege, but what just men might impute to me,
should this intemperate pamphlet appear: which, in addition to its
original mistakes, would attack the character of the Bishop, a man
whose office, in the eye of the world, implied every virtue. And
how immoderately would its intemperance and imputed malignity be
exaggerated, should it appear precisely at the moment when I knew
disease had deprived him of his faculties! had rendered him unable to
defend himself, and to produce facts which I might have concealed; or
give another face to truth, which I might have discoloured!

These arguments alarmed me in a very painful degree. I was averse to
quit the place before my mother was interred: especially as my reasons
for such an abrupt departure could not be made public: but I was still
more averse to an action which, in appearance, would involve me in
such a cowardly species of infamy.

Accordingly, I made the best arrangements in my power: leaving orders
that the funeral should be conducted with every decency; and, after a
very short conversation with the attorney, who had witnessed the will
of Thornby and given me the information I have already mentioned, I
travelled back to London with no less speed than I had hurried into
the country.

I arrived in town on Thursday night; and the pamphlet was advertised
for publication on the following Monday. The advertisement, being
purposely written to excite curiosity, repeated the subject of the
pamphlet: which asserted my claims to the letters of Themistocles,
and to the defence of the thirty-nine articles; the acrimony of which
charge was increased by a personal attack on the Earl of Idford, the
Bishop, and their associates.

When I came to my lodgings, I found two notes: one from a person
stiling himself a gentleman employed by the Earl; and another from
Mr. Ellis, on the part of the Bishop: each requesting an interview.
Answers not having been returned, these agents had come themselves;
and, being informed that I was in the country, but was expected
in town before the end of the week, they left a pressing message;
desiring an answer the moment of my arrival.

Eager as I was to ward off the danger that threatened me, I considered
the application that was made, especially on the part of the Earl,
as fortunate. I understood that the only means of suppressing the
pamphlet would be by an injunction from the Lord Chancellor; and this
I imagined the influence of the Earl might essentially promote: for
which reason I immediately wrote, in reply to these agents, and
appointed an interview early the next morning.

The place of meeting was a private room in a coffee-house; and, though
my eagerness in the business brought me there a few minutes before the
time named, Ellis and his coadjutor had arrived before me. They acted
in concert, and had met to compare notes.

I found the purveyor of pews and paradise still the same: always
inclined to make himself agreeable.

The other agent was seated in a dark corner of the room, with his back
to the light, so that I did not recognise him as I entered. How much
was I surprised when, as he turned to the window, I discovered him
to be the loquacious Mr. Glibly; the man whose principles were so
accommodating, whose tongue was glossy, but whose praise was much more
sickening and dangerous than his satire.

The civilities that were poured upon me, by these well-paired
gentlemen, were overwhelming. It was like taking leave of a Frenchman,
under the ancient _régime_: there was no niche or chink for me to
throw in a word; so copious was the volubility of Glibly, and so eager
was the zeal of Ellis.

From the picture I before gave of the first, the reader will have
perceived that he was a man of considerable intellect: though not of
sufficient to make him honest. His usual mode, in conversation, was to
render the person to whom he addressed himself ridiculous by excessive
praise; and to mingle up sarcasm and panegyric in such a manner as to
produce confusion in the mind of the object of it, who never knew when
to be angry or when to be pleased, and laughter in every body else.

At first the most witty and acute would find amusement in his florid
irony: but they could not but soon be wearied, by its methodical and
undeviating mechanism; which denoted great barrenness of invention.

In the present instance, he had a case that required management: a
patron to oblige, and an opponent to circumvent. He had therefore
the art to assume a tone as much divested of sneering as habit would
permit; and began by insinuations that were too flattering to fail
of their effect, yet not quite gross enough to offend. My person, my
appearance, my parliamentary prospects, my understanding, my friends
and connections, all passed in review: while his praise was carefully
tempered; and as I imagined very passably appropriate.

Hence, it certainly promoted the end for which it was given: it opened
my heart, and prepared me for that generous effusion which rather
inclines to criminate itself than to insist on every trifle that may
be urged in its favour.

Apt however as he was at detecting vanity in others, he was as open
to it himself, I might almost say, as any man on earth. He began with
a profession of his friendship for the Earl of Idford: in which he
assumed the tone of having conferred a favour on that noble lord; and
I will not deny that he was right. All his acquaintance were friends;
and perhaps he had the longest list of any man in London: for the
effrontery of his familiar claims upon every man he met, from whom he
had any thing to hope or fear, was so extraordinary as to render an
escape from him impossible. He had parroted the phraseology of the
_haut ton_, and its arrogant apathy, till the manner was so habitual
to him that he was unconscious of his own impudence.

Thus, in conversing on this occasion of the Earl who had deputed him,
the only appellation he had for his patron was Idford. 'I told Idford
what I thought on the subject. For I always speak the truth, and never
deceive people: unless it be to give them pleasure; and then you know
they are the more obliged to me. Glibly, said Idford to me, I know
you will act in this business without partiality. For I must do him
justice, Trevor, and assure you that Idford is a good fellow. I do
not pretend that he is not sensible of the privileges which rank and
fashion give him. He is vain, thinks himself a great orator, a fine
writer, a wise senator, and all that. I grant it. How should it be
otherwise? It is very natural. He would have been a devilish sensible
fellow, if he had not been a lord. But that is not to be helped. You
and I, in his place, should think and act the same. We should be as
much deceived, as silly, and as ridiculous. It is all right. Things
must be so. But Idford is a very good fellow. He is, upon my honor.'

The surgeon that has a difficult case will not only make preparations
and adjustments before he begins to probe, lacerate, or cauterize, but
will sometimes administer an opiate; to stupefy that sensibility which
he apprehends is too keen. Glibly pursued much the same method; and,
having exhausted nearly all his art, till he found he had produced
as great a propensity to compliance and conciliation as he could
reasonably hope, he proceeded to the business in question.

'You no doubt guess, my dear Trevor, why my friend Ellis here and I
desired to meet you?'

'I do.'

'To say the truth, knowing as I do the soundness of your
understanding, the quickness of your conception, and the consequences
that must follow, which, acute as you are, you could not but foresee,
I was amazed when I read your advertisement!'

'It is prodigiously surprising, indeed!' added Ellis: eager at every
opportunity to throw in such touches as he thought would give effect
to the colouring of his friend, and leader.

'Why,' said I, 'do you call it my advertisement?'

'I mean of a pamphlet which it seems has been written by you.'

'But is going to be published without my consent.'

'Are you serious?' said Glibly: staring!

'It is not my custom to deceive people, Mr. Glibly; _not even to give
them pleasure_.'

'I am prodigious glad of that!' exclaimed the holy Enoch. Prodigious
glad, indeed!'

'But you have owned it was written by you?' continued Glibly.

'I know no good that can result from disowning the truth; and
especially in the present instance.'

'My dear fellow, truth is a very pretty thing on some occasions: but
to be continually telling truth, as you call it, oh Lord! oh Lord! we
should set the whole world to cutting of throats!'

'To be sure we should!' cried Ellis. 'To be sure we should! That is my
morality exactly.'

'Men are men, my dear fellow. A lord is a lord: a bishop is a bishop.
Each in his station. Things could not go on if we did not make
allowances. To tell truth would be to overturn all order.'

'I am willing to make allowances: for all men are liable to be
mistaken.'

'I approve that sentiment very much, Mr. Trevor,' interrupted Enoch.
'It is prodigious fine. It is my own. All men are liable to be
mistaken. I have said it a thousand times. It is prodigious fine!'

'But I cannot conceive,' added I, 'that to overturn systems which are
founded in vice and folly would be to overturn all order. You may
call systematic selfishness, systematic hypocrisy, and systematic
oppression order: but I assert they are disorder.'

'My dear fellow, nothing is so easy as to assert. But we will leave
this to another time. I dare say that in the main there is no great
difference between us. You wish for all the good things you can get;
and so do I. One of us may take a more round about way to obtain them
than the other: but we both intend to travel to the same goal. I own,
when I heard of your _brouillerie_ with my friend Idford, I thought
you had missed the road. But I find you have more wit than I supposed:
you are now guided by another finger-post. Perhaps it might have been
as well not to have changed. The treasury bench is a strong hold, and
never was so well fortified. It is become impregnable. It includes
the whole power of England, Scotland, and Ireland; both the Indies;
countless islands, and boundless continents: with all the grand
out-works of lords, spiritual and temporal; governors; generals;
admirals; custos rotulorum, and magistracy; bodies corporate, and
chartered companies; excise, and taxation; board and bankruptcy
commissioners; contractors; agents; jobbers; money-lenders, and spies;
with all the gradations of these and many more distinct classes:
understrappers innumerable; an endless swarm; a monstrous mass. Can
it be conjured away by angry breath? No, no. It is no house of cards:
for an individual to attempt to puff it down would be ridiculous
insanity.'

'A mass indeed! "Making Ossa like a wart." Yet the rubbish must be
removed; and it is mine and every man's duty to handle the spade and
besom. But men want to work miracles; and, because the mountain does
not vanish at a word, they rashly conclude it cannot be diminished.
They are mistaken. Political error is a pestilential cloud; dense with
mephitic and deadly vapours: but a wind has arisen in the south, that
will drive it over states, kingdoms, and empires; till at last it
shall be swept from the face of the earth.'

'My dear fellow, you have an admirable genius: but you have mistaken
its bent. Depend upon it, you are no politician: though you are a
very great poet. Fine phrases, grand metaphors, beautiful images, all
very admirable! and you have them at command. You are born to be an
ornament to your country. You have a very pretty turn. Very pretty
indeed! And so, which is the point that I was coming to, concerning
this pamphlet. It relates I think to certain letters that appeared,
signed Themistocles.'

'And to a defence, by my lord the bishop, of the thirty nine
articles,' added Ellis: eager that he and his patron should not be
omitted.

'You, my dear fellow, had some part in both of these publications.'

'I do not know what you mean by some part. The substance of them both
was my own.'

'Ay, ay; you had a share: a considerable share. You and Idford were
friends. You conversed together, and communicated your thoughts to
each other. Did not you?'

'I grant we did.'

'I knew you would grant whatever was true. You are the advocate of
truth; and I commend you, Idford mixed with political men, knew the
temper of the times, was acquainted with various anecdotes, and gave
you every information in his power. I know you are too candid to
conceal or disguise the least fact. You would be as ready to condemn
yourself as another. You have real dignity of mind. It gives you a
certain superiority; a kind of grandeur; of real grandeur. It is your
principle.'

'It ought to be.'

'No doubt. And I am sure you will own that I have stated the case
fairly. I told you, Mr. Ellis, that I knew my friend Trevor. He has
too much integrity to disown any thing I have said. I dare believe,
were he to read the letters of Themistocles over at this instant,
he would find it difficult to affirm, of any one sentence, that the
thought _might not possibly_ have been suggested in conversation by my
friend Idford. I say _might not possibly_: for you both perceive I am
very desirous on this occasion to be guarded.'

'It certainly is a difficult thing,' answered I, 'for any man
positively to affirm he can trace the origin of any one thought; and
recollect the moment when it first entered his mind.'

My lips were opening to proceed: but Glibly with great eagerness
prevented me.

'I knew, my dear fellow, that your candor was equal to your
understanding. Mr. Ellis, who hears all that passes, will do me the
justice to say that I declared before you came what turn the affair
would take.'

I was again going to speak, but he was determined I should not, and
proceeded with his unconquerable volubility; purposely leading my mind
to another train of thought.

'I am very glad indeed that the advertisement which appeared was
not with your approbation. On recollection, I cannot conceive how I
could for a moment suppose it was your own act. A man of the soundest
understanding may be surprised into passion, and may write in a
passion: but he will think again and again, and will be careful not to
publish in a passion. And the delay which has taken place might have
proved to me that you had thought; and had determined not to publish.
Your countenance, when you disowned the advertisement just now,
convinces me that I do you no more than justice, by supposing this of
you.'

Here the artful orator thought proper to pause for a reply, and I
answered, 'I own that I wrote in a spirit which I do not at present
quite approve.'

'I know it. What you have said and what you have allowed have so much
of liberality, cool recollection, and dispassionate honesty, that they
are, as I knew they would be, very honourable to you.'

'Prodigiously, indeed!' said Enoch.

Glibly continued: 'Your behaviour, in this business, entirely
confirms my good opinion of you; and I give myself some credit for
understanding a man's true character: especially the character of a
man like you. My good friend Ellis and I are entirely satisfied. What
has passed has removed all doubts, and difficulties. We are with you;
and shall report every thing to your advantage.'

'I wish you to report nothing but the truth.'

'I know it, my dear fellow. That is what we intend. So, without saying
a word more on that subject, we will now consider what is best to be
done. I understand that the edition about to be published is pirated;
and I suppose you will join us in an application to the Lord
Chancellor for an injunction.'

'Most eagerly. That was my reason for wishing to see you, so
immediately after my arrival in town; imagining that an application
from Lord Idford, and the bishop, would be more readily attended to
than if it came from a private and unknown individual.'

'To be sure it would, Mr. Trevor!' said Enoch. 'An application from an
earl and a bishop, is not likely to be overlooked. They are privileged
persons. They are the higher powers. Every thing that concerns them
must be treated with tenderness, and reverence, and humbleness, and
every thing of that kind.'

The spirit moved me to begin an enquiry into privileges; and the
tenderness and humility due to earls and bishops: particularly to such
as the noble and reverend lords in question: but Glibly guessed my
thoughts, and took care to prevent me!

'As to those subjects, my dear Ellis,' said he, 'Trevor thinks and
acts on a different system from you and me and the rest of the world.
We must not dispute these points, now; but away, as fast as we can,
and put the business for which we met in a train. The publication must
be stopped. It would injure all parties; and, as you, my dear friend
[Turning to me] justly think at present, would be disgraceful to its
author.'

After what had been urged by Turl and Wilmot, and the reasoning that
had followed in my own mind, I knew not how to deny this assertion:
though it was painfully grating. But the reader will easily perceive
that this and other strong affirmations, such as I have related, were
designedly made by Glibly. He artfully gabbled on, that he might
lead my mind from attending to them too strictly; and that he might
afterward, if occasion should require, state them, with the colouring
that he should give, as things uttered or allowed by me.

It ought not to be thought strange that I was deceived by Glibly,
barefaced as his cunning would have appeared to a man more versed
in the arts which over-reaching selfishness daily puts in practice.
He confessedly came in behalf of a party concerned; and, as such, a
liberal mind would be prepared to expect a bias from him rather in
favour of his client. His face was smiling; his tones were soft and
smooth; the words candor, honesty, and integrity, were continually on
his tongue. He affected to be a disinterested arbitrator; and allowed
that his friend Idford, as he called him, might or rather must be
tainted with the vices of his station, and class. Could a youth,
unhacknied in the world, feeling that treachery was not native to
the heart of man, not suspecting on ordinary occasions that it could
exist, could such a tyro in hypocrisy be a fit antagonist for such an
adept?

Deceit will frequently escape immediate detection: but it seldom
leaves the person, upon whom it is practised, with that clearness
of thought which communicates calm to the mind; producing unruffled
satisfaction, and cheerful good temper.



CHAPTER XII


_A lawyer and his poetical wife and daughters, or the family of the
Quisques: Praise may give pain: A babbler may bite: More of the
colouring of cunning: A trader's ideas of honesty, and the small sum
for which it may be sold_


We quitted the coffee-house; Glibly in high spirits, and Enoch
concluding things had been done as they should be: but, for my own
part, I experienced a confusion of intellect that did not suffer me to
be so much at my ease. I had an indistinct sense of being as passive
as a blind man with his dog. Instead of taking the lead, as I was
entitled to have done, I was led: hurried away, like a man down a
mountain with a high wind at his back: or traversing dark alleys,
holding by the coat-flap of a guide of whose good intentions I was
very far from having any certainty.

We proceeded however to the house of a solicitor in chancery; who
transacted business for the Earl.

Here Glibly, attentive to the plan he had pursued, began by informing
Mr. Quisque, the lawyer, that he had come _at the request_ of his dear
friend, Trevor, to entreat his aid in an affair of some moment. 'Mr.
Trevor is a young gentleman, my dear Quisque, that you will be proud
to be acquainted with; a man of talents; a poet; an orator; an author;
a great genius; an excellent scholar; a fine writer; turns a sentence
or a rhyme with exquisite neatness; very prettily I assure you. I
mention these circumstances, my dear Quisque, because I know you have
a taste for such things: and so has Mrs. Quisque, and the two Miss
Quisques, and all the family. I now and then see very pretty things of
their writing in the Lady's Magazine. An elegy on a robin red-breast.
The drooping violet, a sonnet. And others equally ecstatic. Quite
charming! rapturous! elegant! flowery! sentimental! Some of them very
smart, and epigrammatic. It is a family, my dear Trevor, that you must
become intimate with. Your merit entitles you to the distinction. You
will communicate your mutual productions. You will polish and suggest
charming little delicate emendations, to each other, before you favour
the world with a sight of them.'

The broadest and coarsest satire was never half so insulting, to the
feelings, as the common-place praise of Glibly.

The barren-pated Ellis caught one of the favourite diminutives of
Glibly; and finished my panegyric by adding that, 'he must say, his
friend, Mr. Trevor, was a prodigious pretty genius.'

Who but must have been proud of such an introduction to the family of
the Quisques; by such orators, such eulogists, and such friends?

Acquainted with Glibly, and accustomed to hear him prate, Mr. Quisque
seemed to listen to him without surprise, pleasure, or pain. It was
what he expected. It was the man. A machine that had no more meaning
than a Dutch clock; repeating cuckoo, as it strikes.

Among Glibly's acquaintance, or, as he called them, his dear friends,
this was a common but a very false conclusion. He had not adopted his
customary cant without a motive. The man, who can persuade others
that he gabbles in a pleasant but ridiculous and undesigning manner,
will lead them to suppose that his actions are equally incongruous,
and void of intention. He will pass upon the world for an agreeable
harmless fellow, till his malignities are too numerous to escape
notice; and then, where he was before welcomed with the hope of a
laugh, he will continue to be admitted from the dread of a bite.

A lawyer however feels less of this panic than the rest of mankind:
because he can bite again. The cat o' mountain will not attack the
tiger.

Glibly returned to the business in hand; and again repeated that he
was come _at the request_ of his dear friend, Trevor, to procure an
injunction: that should prevent the publication of a pamphlet, which
had been written against his friend, Idford.

'And my lord the Bishop of ****,' added Enoch.

'Who is the author of it?' demanded Quisque.

'I am, sir;' answered I.

'For which my friend Trevor is very sorry;' added Glibly.

I instantly retorted a denial. 'I never said any thing of the kind,
Mr. Glibly. But I should be very sorry indeed if it were published.'

'Nay, my dear fellow, according to your own principles, if I do not
mistake them, that which ought not to be published ought not to be
written.'

The remark was acute: it puzzled me, and I was silent. He proceeded.

'It is a business that admits of no delay. I should be extremely
chagrined, extremely, upon my honor, that my dear friend Trevor should
commit himself to the public, in this affair. He that wantonly attacks
the characters of others does but strike at his own.'

I again eagerly replied 'The attack from me, sir, was not wanton. It
was provoked by acts of the most flagrant injustice.'

Glibly as eagerly interrupted me.

'My dear fellow, why are you so warm? I was only delivering a general
maxim. I made no application of it; and I am surprised that you
should.'

The traps of Glibly were numberless; and not to be escaped. Words
are too equivocal and phrases too indefinite, for men like him not
to profit by their ambiguity. To them a quirk in the sense is as
profitable as a pun or a quibble in the sound. They snap at them, as
dogs do at flies. It is no less worthy of observation that, though
some of his actions seemed to laugh severity of moral principle out
of countenance, he continually repeated others which, had his conduct
been regulated by them, would have ranked him among the most worthy of
mankind.

After farther explanation from Quisque, it was admitted that the
interest of all parties made it necessary for him to act with great
diligence, speed, and caution.

Through the whole of this scene, Glibly was consistent with himself;
in giving it such a turn and complexion as to make it requisite,
for the preservation of my character above the rest, to prevent the
pamphlet from being published. If, whenever I detected his drift, I
urged the true motives by which I was actuated, he always immediately
admitted them, praised them, and allowed them to be superlatively
excellent: but never failed to give them such an air as should suit
the project he had conceived; and allow of such an interpretation, in
future, as would exculpate my opponents and criminate myself. But he
effected this with such fluency, and so glossed over and coloured his
intention that, like profound darkness, it was every where present,
but neither could be felt nor seen.

My own activity in this affair, which if I meant to render my
interference effectual was inevitable, contributed to the same end.
I accompanied the whole party, Quisque being one, to the shop of the
publisher.

Here I detailed the consequences, as well to myself as to the Earl and
the Bishop; and vehemently denounced threats, if the villany that was
begun should be carried into execution. Not all the quieting hints of
my assistants could keep my anger under. I lost all patience, at every
word. My utmost indignation was excited by so black a business.

The situation was not a new one to the dealer in the alphabet. He
was an old depredator; and had before encountered angry authors, and
artful lawyers. He was cool, collected, and unabashed. Not indeed
entirely: but sufficiently so to excite astonishment.

He affirmed the copy-right to be his own: would prove he had obtained
it legally; and would face any prosecution that we could bring. He
knew what he was about; and was not to be frightened. He had printed
one edition; and had no doubt that several would be sold. He was an
honest tradesman; and must not be robbed of his profits. What would
the country be if it were not for trade? It ought to be protected: ay
and would be too. The law was as open to an industrious fair trader as
to any lord in the land. Let him too be no loser and then it would be
a different thing: but, as for big words, they broke no bones; and he
knew his ground.

The hints of the honest trader were too broad to be misunderstood; and
Quisque replied--'I think you mean, sir, that you wish to be repaid
the expence you have sustained?'

The fellow answered, with the utmost effrontery, 'I have a right, sir,
to be indemnified for the loss of my profits on the sale of the work.'

Anger and argument were equally vain. There were two ways of
proceeding. Silence and safety might be purchased: or the law might be
let loose on a knave, who set it at defiance. The one was secure: the
other problematical; and replete with the danger which we wished to
avert.

Quisque asked him what was the sum that he demanded? His reply was
more moderate than from appearances we had reason to expect: it was
one hundred pounds.

Glibly desired he would permit us to consult five minutes among
ourselves. He withdrew; and the fluent agent remarked the sum was
a trifle: but, trifling as it was, he had no doubt but feelings of
delicacy and honor would dictate that it ought to be jointly paid, by
the three parties principally concerned.

He had urged a motive which I knew not how to resist, and I gave my
assent. By this manoeuvre he gained the point which he intended. He
implicated me, as paying to suppress a pamphlet which, according to
his interpretation, I at present allowed to be defamatory, and unjust.
The money however was paid, and the copies of the pamphlet were
delivered: and, being determined if possible to avoid such another
accident, those that I had caused to be printed were dislodged from
their garret; both editions, a single copy of each excepted, were
taken into the fields by night, and burned; and thus expired a
production which had aided to drain my pocket, waste my time, and
inflame my passions.


END OF VOLUME V



VOLUME VI



CHAPTER I


_A new and bold project conceived and executed by Wakefield: The
difficulty of making principles agree with practice discussed: Fair
promises on the part of an old offender, the hopes they excite and the
fears that accompany them_


The affair of the pamphlet being removed from my mind, I had leisure
to attend to the other difficulty that had lately crossed me; by the
possession which Wakefield had illegally taken of effects which he
asserted to be his, in the double right of being heir to his uncle
and the husband of my mother, but which, if my information were true,
appertained to me.

It may well be supposed I communicated all my thoughts to friends like
Evelyn, Wilmot, and Turl; and endeavoured to profit by their advice.

Law had lately undergone a serious examination from us all; and it
was then the general opinion among us that, though it was impossible
to avoid appealing to it on some occasions, yet nothing but the most
urgent cases could justify such appeals. Enquiries that were to be
regulated, not by a spirit of justice but by the disputatious temper
of men whose trade it was to deceive, and by statutes and precedents
which they might or might not remember, and which, though they might
equivocally and partially apply in some points, in others had no
resemblance, such enquiries ought not lightly to be instituted.
Neither ought the habitual vices which they engender, both in
lawyer and client, nor the miseries they inflict, upon the latter
in particular, and by their consequences upon all society, to be
promoted.

In the course of the conversation at the tavern, when I dined and
spent the afternoon with the false Belmont, this subject among others
had occurred. Having told him that I had quitted all thoughts of the
law, he enquired into my motives; and, being full of the subject and
zealous to detail its whole iniquity, I not only urged the reasons
that most militate against it both in principle and practice, but, in
the warmth of argument, declared that I doubted whether any man could
bring an action against another without being guilty of injustice.
I considered crime and error as the same. The structure of law I
argued was erroneous, therefore criminal; and I protested against the
attempting to redress a wrong, already committed, by the commission of
more wrong.

The death of Thornby happened immediately after this conversation
took place; and it is not to be supposed that a man like my young
but inventive father-in-law could forget, or fail in endeavouring to
profit by, such an incident.

One morning while at breakfast, I received a note from him, signed
Belmont; in which he requested me again to dine and spend the
afternoon with him: alleging that an event had taken place in which he
was deeply interested: adding that he had been lately led to reflect
on many of the remarks I had made; and that he hoped the period was
come when he should be able to change the system to which I was so
inimical, for one that better agreed with my own sentiments: but that
my advice was particularly necessary, on the present occasion.

The note gave me pleasure. That a man with such powers of mind, and
charms of conversation, should have only a chance of changing, from
what he was to what I hoped, was delightful. And that he should call
upon me for advice, at such a juncture, was flattering.

I answered that an engagement already formed prevented me from meeting
him, on that day: but I appointed the next morning for an interview.
Dining I declined; as a hint that I disapproved the attempt he had
made to entrap me.

The engagement I had was to accompany Lady Bray, to one of the
families acquainted with the Mowbrays; and where it was expected we
should meet Olivia, and her aunt. This expectation, which kept my
spirits in a flutter the whole day and increased to alarm and dread in
the evening, was disappointed. Whether from any real or a pretended
accident on the part of the aunt, who sent an apology, was more than I
had an opportunity to know.

I kept my appointment, on the following morning; and was rather
surprised, when we met, at perceiving that the still pretended
Belmont, like myself, was in deep mourning. I began to make enquiries,
to which he gave short answers; and, turning the interrogatories upon
me, asked which of my relations was dead?

'My mother.'

'Oh: I remember. Mrs. Wakefield. Are you still as angry with her
husband as ever?'

'I really cannot tell. Though I have what most people would think much
greater cause.'

'Indeed! What has he done more?'

'Taken possession of property which is mine.'

'By what right is it yours?'

'It was bequeathed me by my grandfather; and since that by his
executor.'

'The uncle of this Wakefield, I think you told me?'

'Yes. A lawyer. One Thornby; who was induced by death-bed terrors to
restore what he had robbed me of while living.'

'That is, he lived a knave, and died a fool and a fanatic.'

'I suspect that he died as he had lived. Knavery and fanaticism are
frequently coupled.'

'And how do you intend to proceed?'

'I do not know. I have not yet consulted a lawyer.'

'Consulted a lawyer? You surprise me! When last I saw you, I was
half convinced by you that a man cannot justly seek redress at law.
Its sources you proved to be corrupt, its powers inadequate, and
its decisions never accurate; therefore never just. This was your
language. You reprobated those accommodating rules by which I
endeavoured to obtain happiness; and urged arguments that made a deep
impression upon me. Now that self-interest gives you an impulse, are
your principles become as pliant as mine; which you so seriously
reproved?'

I paused, and then replied--'I imagine you take some delight in having
found an opportunity of retorting upon me; and of laughing at what you
still consider as folly.'

'Indeed you mistake. I hope by reminding you of your own doctrine to
induce you to put it in practice. The virtue that consists only in
words is but a vapour.'

'Surely you will allow this is an extreme if not a doubtful case. I
do not mean to commence an action, till I have considered it very
seriously: but I presume you do not require infallibility of me? Or,
if you do, it is what I cannot expect from myself. I have frequently
been led to doubt whether principles the most indubitable must not
bend to the mistakes and institutions of society. 'This doubt is to me
the most painful that can cross the mind: but it is one from which I
cannot wholly escape.'

'Your tone I find is greatly altered. How strenuous, how firm, how
founded, were all your maxims; when last we met.'

'And so, I am persuaded, the maxims of truth will always remain.'

'Then why depart from them? Another of them, which I likewise
recollect to have heard from you, is that the laws which pretend to
regulate property, whether by will, entail, or any other descent, are
all unjust: for that effects of all kinds should be so appropriated as
to produce the greatest good.'

'I do not see how that can be denied. But this is strongly to the
point in my favour, as I suppose: for the institutes of society render
the application of the principle impracticable; and therefore I think
the property may have a greater chance of being applied to a good
purpose, if allotted to me, than if retained by this Wakefield; whose
vices are extraordinary.'

'You believe him to be a man of some talent?'

'All that know him affirm his understanding would be of the first
order, were it worthily employed.'

'Then would it not be a good application of the property in
contest, if it should both enable and induce him so to employ his
understanding?'

'Oh, of that there is no hope.'

'How do you know? I believe you have thought the same of me: but you
may chance to be mistaken. And now I will tell you a secret. I am in
the very predicament of this Wakefield. A relation is dead, who has
left his property away from me: by what right is more than I can
discover; at least in the spirit of those laws which pretend to
regulate such matters: for their spirit is force. Lands wrested from
the helpless they consign to the robber. I am in possession; and doubt
whether, even according to your code, I ought to resign. I certainly
ought not according to my own. I will acknowledge to you that I think
well of the man who claims the property I withhold. But I cannot think
so well of him as of myself: for I cannot be so well acquainted with
his thoughts as with my own. I know my own wants, my own powers, and
my own plans. I should be glad to do him good, but I should be sorry
to do myself ill. You accuse me of having fallen into erroneous
habits, of making false calculations, and of tasting pleasures that
are dangerous and of short duration. I have ridiculed your arguments:
but I have not forgotten them. Neither has the enquiring spirit that
is abroad been unknown to or unnoticed by me. Early powers of mind
gave me the early means of indulgence. I revelled in pleasure,
squandered all I could procure, and was led by one successful artifice
to another, till I became what I can certainly no otherwise justify
than by the selfish spirit of the world. In this I find the rule is
for each to seize on all that he can, with safety; and to swallow,
hoard, or waste it at will. I have attempted to profit by vice which
I knew not how to avoid. But, if there be a safer road to happiness,
I am no idiot: I am as desirous of pursuing it as you can be. The
respect of the world, the security from pains and penalties, and the
approbation of my own heart, are all of them as dear to me as to you.
I have thought much, have had much experience, and have the power of
comparing facts and sensations as largely perhaps as another.

'I will not deny that to trick selfishness by its own arts, to
laugh at its stupidity, and to outwit its contemptible cunning, are
practices that have tickled my vanity; and have perhaps formed one of
my chief sources of pleasure. But habit and pleasure led me to extend
such projects; and to prey upon the well-meaning, and the kind, with
almost as much avidity as on those of an opposite character.

'However, though I did not want plausible arguments in my own
justification, I cannot affirm that my heart was wholly at ease. New
thoughts have occurred, other prospects have been contemplated, and my
dissatisfaction has increased. You cannot but have remarked that, in
the course of human life, most men undergo more than one remarkable
change. The sober man becomes a drunkard, the drunkard sober, and
the spendthrift sometimes a rational economist: though perhaps more
frequently a miser.

'Yet, though I am disposed to alter my conduct, supposing me
to possess the means of bidding defiance to mankind, I have no
inclination to subject myself to their neglect, their pity, or
their scorn. Be it want of courage or want of wisdom, I have not
an intention to shut myself out from society. If I may be admitted
on fair and liberal terms, I am content: but, I honestly tell you,
admitted I will be. I have shut the door of dependency upon myself,
were I so inclined. Offices of trust would not be committed to me.
And to live rejected, in poverty and wretchedness, pointed at and
pretended to be despised by the knaves and fools with whom the world
is filled, is a condition to which I will never submit.

'Consequently, the property of which I have possessed myself I am in
either case determined to use every effort to keep. If I am suffered
to keep it quietly, my present inclinations are what I have been
describing. If contention must come, we must then have a trial of
skill upon the opposite system.'

I listened to this discourse, attentive to every sentence, anxious for
the next, and agitated by various contradictory emotions. I saw the
difficulties of the supposed case; and knew not what to answer, or
what to advise. That a man like this should become what he seemed half
to promise was a thought that consoled and expanded the heart. But
that it should depend upon so improbable an event as that of another
renouncing a claim, which the law gave him, to property in dispute,
was a most painful alternative. My sensations were of hope suddenly
kindled, and as suddenly killed.

After waiting some time without any reply from me, he added 'Let
us suppose, Mr. Trevor, a whimsical, or if you please a strange,
coincidence between the man with whom you have been so angry
and myself. I mean Wakefield. What if he felt some of the sober
propensities toward which I find a kind of a call in myself?'

'He is not to be trusted. In him it would be artifice: or at least
nobody would believe it could be any thing else.'

'Mark now what chance there is, in a world like this, for a man whom
it has once deemed criminal to reform. Oppressed, insulted, and
pursued by the good, what resource has he but to associate with the
wicked?'

'He that, with the fairest seeming and the most specious pretences,
affirming time after time that, though he had deceived before, he
now was honest, he that shall yet again and again repeat his acts
of infamy cannot complain, if no man should be willing to trust his
happiness to such keeping.'

'I find what I am to expect from you. The very same will be said of
me.'

'No: you have not been equally unprincipled, and vile.'

'These are coarse or at least harsh terms. However, I take them to
myself; and affirm that I have.'

'How can you make such an affirmation? How do you know?'

'A man may calculate on probabilities; and this is a moment in which
I do not wish to conceal the full estimate which I make of my own
conduct from you. Being therefore, seriously and speaking to the
best of my judgment, as culpable as Wakefield, let my course of
life hereafter be what it will, I find I am to expect no credit for
sincerity from you?'

'You do not know Wakefield.'

'Neither it seems do you.'

'There is something in your countenance, in your conversation, and in
the free and undisguised honesty even of your vices, that a man like
Wakefield cannot possess.'

'Have you forgotten that, though I can be open and honest, I can be
artful? Do you not remember billiards, hazard, and Bath?'

'Yes: but Wakefield would be incapable of the qualities of mind which
you are now displaying. With you I feel myself in the company of a man
of a perverted but a magnanimous spirit. With all your faults, I could
hug you to my heart. But Wakefield! who made women and men alike his
prey; to whose devilish arts the virtue and happiness of an amiable,
I may say a charming, woman were sacrificed; and the life of one of
the first of mankind was endangered; that he should resemble you, and
especially that he should resemble you with your present inclinations,
oh! would that were possible!'

'There is generosity in the wish. It denotes a power in you of
allaying one of the most active fiends that torment mankind: the
spirit of revenge.'

'It is a spirit I own to which I have been too subject; and which I
could wish to exorcise for ever.'

'Put it to the test. Let us suppose you should discover as much of
promise in Wakefield as you imagine you do in me.'

'I should then put _him_ to the test. I should demand of him to repair
the wrongs he has done Miss Wilmot!'

'What if you should find him already so disposed?'

'Impossible. Or if he were, it would be with some design!'

'Ay: perhaps a proposition that you should leave him quietly possessed
of the disputed property.'

'And, having obtained that, he would desert his second wife as he had
done his first.'

'There is some difference between a young woman and an old one.
Beside, if your account be true, Mrs. Wakefield, though she was your
mother, was very inferior to Miss Wilmot.'

'You forget that he seduced this lady, and deserted her.'

'I have heard or read of a man who, after being divorced even from a
wife, became more passionately in love with her than ever.'

'Wakefield is incapable of love.'

'You frame to yourself a most black and deformed being of this
Wakefield.'

'And you suppose a degree of sympathy, between yourself and him, which
cannot exist.'

'Why not? His wit, person, and manners, I have heard you describe as
winning.'

'I only gave the picture which I had from an affectionate though a
most injured woman.'

'I recollect the story perfectly. When you repeated it,
notwithstanding my raillery, I was more moved than you had reason to
imagine. I am persuaded that Wakefield himself, had he listened to it,
would have felt a few uneasy sensations.'

'I fear not.'

'Why so? Is he made of materials totally different from other men?
Dissect him, and I imagine you will find he has a heart.'

'But of what quality?'

'Better than you at present seem to give him credit for.'

'What grounds have you for thinking so favourably of him?'

'Very excellent. Don't be surprised. I know the man.'

'Is it possible?'

'Where is the wonder? Knaves of other classes associate, and why
should not gamblers?'

'It may be, then, you are deputed to speak in his behalf?'

'I wrote to you, and introduced this conversation, for that very
purpose. I know him as intimately as I can know any man. I would speak
of him as of myself, of his defects as of my own, and I declare it
as my opinion that, if he might be permitted to enjoy his uncle's
property in peace, he would change his system. To this property he
supposes he has the best claim. He is Thornby's heir at law; and, as
to the manner in which the wealth he left was acquired, if a general
inquisition were made into the original right to every species of
property, he is persuaded that ninety-nine rich men in a hundred would
be turned into the streets to beg.'

'What you have related has greatly surprised me. You have pleaded
and continue to plead his cause very powerfully: but have you no
consideration for me? Granting all you have supposed in his favour
possible, am I so situated as to justify a romantic renunciation of
claims which, if asserted, may aid me to accomplish my dearest hopes?'

'To a man like you perhaps I could be contented to resign these
claims. I need not say "perhaps": I am certain I could, were I
thoroughly persuaded you would forsake a life of artifice and plunder,
and were I myself only concerned.

'But that is not the case. I have an object to accomplish so dear to
my heart that it swallows up lesser considerations, and will not allow
me to neglect any honest means by which it may be promoted. Wealth to
me is indispensible; wealth that shall place me on a level with a rich
and proud family with which I have to contend. I have an impulse such
perhaps as you have never felt. There is a woman in the world, endowed
with such qualities that to say I passionately love her is a most
impotent expression of what I feel: for to tenderness and ardour of
affection must be added all that simplicity, purity, and grandeur
of soul can inspire. To think of life without her is to think of a
world sterile, desolate, and joyless: of a night to which day shall
never succeed: and of existence arrested and chained in motionless
despondency.'

'Which might be very pitiful; or very sublime: just as you please: but
which would be very absurd.'

'Granted: but this is the fever of my mind; the disease to which,
should my hopes be disappointed, I feel myself dangerously impelled.'

'The interpretation of all which is, that, though you have discovered
principles, which if pursued would secure to yourself and mankind in
general certain happiness, and that though you can deal forth their
dogmas and point out the path which others indubitably ought to take,
yet, when your own passions are concerned, you act like the rest of
the world. And you do this, not blindly, as they do, but, with your
eyes open; at the moment that you are reminded of your maxims, and
acknowledge their truth.'

'Your accusation is premature. I have hitherto done nothing more than
express my feelings and my doubts.'

'But these doubts, spurred on by these feelings, assure me that you
will proceed against Wakefield.'

'You may think yourself assured: I conceive myself to be uncertain. I
would willingly condemn myself to great punishment, were it to promote
any plan of the goodness of which there should be a conviction. I can
even suppose cases in which I would not only devote my life, for that
in comparison appears to be a trifle, but would resign the woman whom
my soul adores. Sacrifices like these however cannot be expected on
light occasions. The good to be obtained ought to be evidently greater
than the evil to be endured.'

He paused a moment to collect his ideas, and then replied.

'If, Mr. Trevor, you are the man of that eminent virtue which I have
sometimes thought you, and to which by your discourse to me you have
certainly made very lofty pretensions, I would advise you to reflect
on what I shall once more state. I know that this Wakefield, of
whom you think so ill, and who has been quite as guilty as you have
supposed, is now inclined to be a different man. I would have you
consider, first, to whom does the property in justice belong? I think
you will find that to be doubtful. Next, supposing it to be legally
yours, may you not nevertheless be defrauded of it by law? And,
lastly, appeal to your own principles, and ask yourself whether it be
not better that you should have a chance of doing the good which you
conceive would be done, by recovering such a man as Wakefield to that
respect in society by which his talents might be well employed; or
whether it can be consistent with your own sense of right to take
methods which you acknowledge to be precarious, and unjust, in order
to dispossess him and to appropriate that to yourself to which, if you
are impartial, you will perhaps find it difficult to prove, even to
your own satisfaction, that you have a clear and undoubted claim?'

Through this whole scene, instead of diverting my attention from the
argument by gay raillery, witty allusions, or a recurrence to the
depravity of man, and the practice of the world, he kept closely to
the question, preserved the tone of earnest discussion, and, having
uttered what I have last repeated, took his leave with that serious
air which he had thus unexpectedly assumed, and maintained.



CHAPTER II


_The plan of Wakefield pursued, and the hopes and fears of an
affectionate woman: News of Philip: An artless exculpatory tale_


Quitting the place, meditating on the scene that had passed, surprised
at every part of it, at the interested manner of the man, at the
intimate knowledge which he professed to have of Wakefield, at the
promises and the threats which he appeared to make in his name, at
the coincidence not only of their characters, if his account were
true, but at their similar incidents of fortune and corresponding
inclinations to reform, astonished while I recollected these various
particulars, instead of returning immediately to my lodgings I called
on Miss Wilmot.

When I came to the door, I had scarcely decided with myself whether
it were advisable to relate what had passed to her, which as she was
personally in question I thought myself bound to do whenever it could
be done with safety; or whether, if related at present, it might not
excite hopes that would be disappointed, and anxieties prejudicial to
her peace.

She no sooner saw me than she exclaimed--'I am very glad you are come,
Mr. Trevor! I have two unexpected affairs, on which I wish to consult
you. One of them relates to myself; and I will begin with that because
you are not only concerned in it but are appealed to in a very
remarkable manner. I have received two extraordinary letters; by both
of which I have been not a little affected. Pray read this first. It
is from Mr. Wakefield. The promises it contains, the style it assumes,
and the appeal it makes, are so strange as to appear either like
miracle or romance.'

She then gave me a letter, and I read as follows.

'Should you imagine, Lydia, that because I have long forborn all
intercourse with you I have forgotten you, be assured you are
mistaken. I have treated you so shamefully, and deceived you so often,
that I have little right to expect you should believe my professions,
be moved by my intreaties, or remember me with any other feelings than
those of hatred. Yet, to deal sincerely with you, this is what I do
not expect. I have had such proofs of the kindness of your heart, and
the strength of your affection, that my confidence is still entire.

'It is the more unshaken because my own intentions are direct: of
which the plainness with which I shall deliver my thoughts will I
imagine be some proof.

'I once more repeat, I have behaved to you like a ---- Spare me the
word. It is enough to recollect that I have been the thing. I could
plead the extreme vivacity of my youth, my ungovernable passions, and
the dangerous temptation of critical moments; but that I will not
exhibit any feature of pitiful apology, or endeavour to extenuate what
I cannot defend.

'You are intimate with Mr. Trevor. You know that his mother, my late
wife, is dead; and you have heard of a will, said to have been left by
my uncle. I feel but little scruple in affirming that I imbibed many
of the vices of my early youth from being placed under this uncle's
care. That such a man should die like a coward, and endeavour to
disinherit a relation to save his soul, supposing this disinheritance
to be true, would be no miracle. It would only be an act of
contemptible stupidity.

'I will not here enter into any enquiries of a legal kind: for I
will be open enough to own that, being in possession both in right
of my wife and as the heir of my uncle of the property he left, and
determined as I am to assert my claims, which I think paramount to
those of any other person, I will not commit myself even to you. On
the contrary, I write this letter purposely that you may shew it to
Mr. Trevor.

'You will ask my motive for this, and perhaps will be surprised at my
answer.

'By certain whimsical accidents, I have become acquainted with Mr.
Trevor's principles. I believe, or I rather know, him to be possessed
of a heart and understanding equally excellent. I wish to appeal to
them both. When he shall read this, he will have had a conversation
relating to me; which may have led him to expect the language I am
about to use. In an argument concerning property he cannot forget that
he lately delivered himself thus:

"If I strictly adhere to the principle of justice, I must not singly
consider my own wishes; which may create innumerable false wants, and
crave to have them gratified. I must ask is there no being, within my
knowledge, who may be more benefited by the enjoyment of that which
I am desirous to appropriate to myself than I can? If so, what right
have I to prefer self gratification to superior utility?"

'Mine is a case in point.

'Again: property is left for which he may be induced to contend; and
which, should he do so, will probably be dissipated in law. If not, it
may with no less probability be decided by law to be mine. He affirms
that to contend at law is immoral.

'Do you and he listen to what I have now to say.

'I am desirous of totally changing my conduct. I have a heart more
capable of affection than you, Lydia, have reason to suppose; and I
love you. My ambition at present is to do you much more good than
I have ever done you harm. I am once more at my own disposal; and,
unless that ardent love which you formerly bore me be entirely
changed, which I do not believe it is, I am now sincerely desirous to
make you my wife.

'But I will not deceive you. I can only be such a husband as you desire
on condition of being left in quiet possession of that which I believe
to be my own. I have ruined my character. Offices of emolument are
not easily obtained; but, if they were, I am not a man to be trusted.
I will not live a beggar; deprived of all the blessings in which the
fools around me wallow, till they turn them into curses. I wish to
live happily: unmolesting, and unmolested: but, if I must either prey
or be preyed upon, I am still resolved rather to act the fox than the
goose.

'I know you will condemn this determination; but I am speaking openly;
and telling you what my intentions are, without entering into their
defence.

'Supposing Mr. Trevor to be convinced that the law will decide the
property contested in his favour, the sacrifice demanded of him is
perhaps too great to be expected from any man. Yet, from what I have
heard and what I know, this is the sacrifice that I do expect. I
expect it from his abhorrence of pretending to seek justice by the aid
of law. I expect it from that principle which decides in favour of the
greatest good. And I expect it from the earnest desire I have heard
him express that you might be restored to that happiness which, for a
time, you have lost.

'Should he or you conclude that the motives I now urge originate in
that artifice of which I have been very justly accused, I ought
perhaps to feel no surprise, and shall certainly make no complaint.
But, believe me or believe me not, I have spoken with a sincerity of
heart for which I am likely to gain but little credit. Such I feel,
at this moment, are the misfortunes to which cunning subjects itself.
I am a man but little subject to fear: yet, I own, the fear of being
thought still to possess nothing better than this cunning assaults me,
obliges me to omit the tender epithets that are in my thoughts, and
without addition to sign myself

F. WAKEFIELD.'

While I read, the eyes of Miss Wilmot were fixed upon my countenance.
Whenever I looked toward her, I could perceive the strong emotions, of
hope and fear, by which she was agitated.

When I had ended, I said--'Mr. Wakefield is indeed an extraordinary
man! Be his intentions honest or base, the strength and clearness of
his mind and his knowledge of the human heart, when we recollect how
these faculties have been employed, are truly astonishing. If this be
a plan of artifice, it is little less than miraculous. Yet who can
believe it to be any thing else?'

Miss Wilmot heaved a deep sigh, and attempted to speak: but she only
stammered. Her utterance failed; and her eyes were cast on the floor.
Hope and despair were combating; and the latter was the strongest.
She wished to confide, she wished to plead for the possibility of his
being sincere: but the mischief he had inflicted, the deceit he had
practised, and a remembrance of the picture she had formerly given me
of him, rushed upon her mind; and her spirits sunk.

'Look up, lovely Lydia,' said I, taking her hand, 'and revive. There
is, there must be hope. The man who could write this letter cannot be
all villain.'

The struggle of the passions was violent. A momentary wildness, such
as I had formerly witnessed, flashed in her eyes; she started from
her seat, griped my hand, then bursting into tears exclaimed--'Oh Mr.
Trevor!' and dropped down again upon the chair.

Eager to relieve a heart so overcharged, I again addressed her. 'If,'
said I, 'the property left by Mr. Wakefield's uncle can really be
employed to so noble a purpose as that of reclaiming him and making
you happy, let me perish rather than endeavour to counteract such
blessings. Let me be the thing he so much dreads, a beggar: but let me
obey the purest passions of the heart, when they are sanctioned by the
best principles of the understanding.'

Till this instant she had forgotten that, if I consented to enrich
him, I must rob myself. But the thought no sooner occurred than she
cried, 'No! It must not be! It cannot be! To require it of you is
infamous. It debases him, and would make me hate myself; were I to
participate in such an action.'

'You judge too severely,' I replied. 'I am not so unfortunately
circumstanced as he is. My character is not lost. I am not shut out of
society. I have friends, plans, and prospects; and, granting him to
be sincere, his arguments, as far as they relate to him and me, are I
suspect unanswerable. Of that sincerity I would fain not doubt: but it
is our mutual duty to be wary. Here therefore at present the matter
shall rest. I am determined to bring no action, till time and future
events shall teach me the course I ought to pursue.'

Overwhelmed by a sense of obligation, and by the thronging emotions
of every kind that assailed her, she was again half suffocated with
passion. As she recovered her eyes sufficiently spoke her feelings.

When she grew calm, she was led to ask what conversation I had had,
and with whom, relative to Mr. Wakefield? I gave her the history of
my acquaintance with the supposed Belmont, and of the scene that had
passed that very day: which she thought altogether surprising, and
seemed to shrink with the fear that it was an artful plan, contrived
by artful men. She was in some sort appeased, however, when I once
more reminded her of my determination to wait and hope for the best.

I then enquired concerning the second letter she had mentioned? To
which she answered--'It is addressed to me, as a mediator: but relates
entirely to you, and the person who wrote it; your poor penitent
servant, Philip.'

She gave it me; and these were its contents.

'Honoured madam,

'I make bold to lay my case before you; which as it is very grievous
I hope it may move you to pity me. I am the young man that lived with
my honoured master Mr. Trevor; in the same house, madam, that you are
pleased to live. My name is Philip. I have been guilty of a very great
fault; for which my conscience worries me night and day. So that I am
sure I shall never forgive myself: though I take my holy saviour to
witness it was more a mistake than a thought of committing so wicked
a crime. I was in a flurry, so that I did not know what I was about;
for to think of having robbed a master that was so kind to me is such
a sin and a shame as never was. But I had no notion but that my poor
dear master had drowned himself in the river; and so, as he had told
me the day before to make up my account and he would pay me the next
morning, I thought it was hard that I should lose my wages and the
money beside which I had laid out for washing, and newspapers, and
tea, and sugar, and other materials of that kind: which, though my
wages _was_ only eight pounds eight shillings, made up the whole to
twelve pounds five and threepence three farthings. Which was the
reason to make me do so base a thing as it would else have been as to
break open the box, and take out a ten pound note, and four pair of
stockings, and two waistcoats: because I knew very well my master's
kindness so that it is ten to one if he had lived to make his will he
would have given me them and more. After which I hurried away: being
as I was told of a place, with an old master that I was sure would
take me again. But I had no more thought that Mr. Trevor was living
than the child unborn: which since I discovered I have never been
at rest; being out of place, and having nobody now to ask for a
character, which is the greatest misfor_tin_ that can behappen a poor
servant that never was guilty of such an action as breaking open his
master's box, and running away with his money and things, in all my
life before, or since. So that I was tempted to list for a soldier;
but that I happened, honoured madam, to meet your maid Mary, and she
persuaded me to write to Mr. Trevor: which I durst not do, though I
know his goodness. So she said your honoured ladyship would be so kind
and tender hearted as to lay my case before Mr. Trevor, and my dear
and honoured mistress, Miss Mowbray, both of _which_ I would run to
the world's end to serve. On which she said she was sure they would
take my case into merciful consideration, and grant me their gracious
forgiveness.

'Which is the humble petition of your distressed servant to command,
honoured madam.

PHILIP FRANKS.'

Poor fellow! Forgive thee? What is thy crime? An inaccuracy. A mistake
of judgment. A desire to do thyself right, without intentional wrong
to me or any one. Yet for this mistake, differently circumstanced,
thou mightest have lost thy life, and have been hanged like a dog!

I too accused thee of robbery, of taking more than thy due, when thou
tookest less. Hadst thou offered thy old waistcoats and stockings to a
street hawker, he would not have given thee half the surplus that was
thy due.

Such were the reflections that broke from me, after perusing his
simple but affecting defence.

Mary was called up, and questioned. She knew where he lived: for the
poor, little inclined to suspicion, confide in each other. It is the
rich only that tempt th